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Hello everyone, HazuraSinner here! So it seems that the people spoke louder than I expected and demanded this story to be posted so here it is!

This is my very first fanfiction to be posted and I'm not as good in writing as I am in drawing, I actually prefer drawing a dozen times to writing! Please go easy on me. ''8D If you spot any errors I might've missed don't hesitate on telling me so I can fix them.

Warning! The characters in this story are human and contains the pairings Twilight Sparkle x Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash x Fluttershy and Applejack x Rarity. You have been warned!!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic © Hasbro

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Chapter 1: Dark Future

It was a beautiful morning in Ponyville. The sky was clear and the sun was shining bright, a perfect Summer day. For most folks it was a morning like any other with their usual routines, but for a certain girl it was anything but a usual and dull routine.

"It's reorganizing time!", Twilight Sparkle said out loud with great enthusiasm.

"Again? You did that last week, Twilight!", Spike's grumbling voice could be heard from the floor upstairs.

"I know, Spike. But Princess Celestia sent me new books to help me in my study to be a good princess so I need to reorganize.", explained the recently crowned princess. It has only been a week since her coronation and she knew barely anything about being a princess. Thankfully Princess Celestia took action before she started freaking out about her new role.

"The whole library just for five books?!", another grumble echoed from upstairs, "And don't you have a date with Pinkie Pie today?", the dragon boy reminded.

"I can't risk misplacing a book! Can you imagine how confusing it will be if that happens?", Twilight started stressing out just of imagining the whole scenario, which in her head would result in total chaos. "But don't worry, I will arrange this in no time! Besides, my date with Pinkie will only be at sixteen o'clock.", she said with a cheerful tone.

"Ugh...Whatever, Twilight. Just try to not make much racket.", said the boy, who apparently went back to sleep since his snoring could be heard across the entire library.

Twilight Sparkle chuckled to herself as heard Spike's loud snore. Even though he complained about her routines and disliked being a morning person she couldn't bring herself to censure him. The boy was still young and sometimes pushed himself to the limit, which was probably what happened last night because Twilight noticed that her working desk was tidy and cleaned when she woke up.

The princess took a deep breath and turned to the shelves full of books. Then her hands started glowing in a magenta aura and with a simple gesture the books flew out of the shelves and assembled in several piles on the floor. After removing every book from their respective place, Twilight analyzed the new books attentively and began to ponder in which shelf she should put them. She could place them by alphabetic order. But she could also organize them by the author's name. Or maybe in the category of the subject?

The princess didn't even realize that she was making a big frown and grumbling out loud in frustration. After so many reorganizations it should become easier at each new time, shouldn't it? To avoid getting even more frustrated she inhaled and exhaled as Princess Cadence taught her so she could remain calm.

"Ok, let's try this again.", Twilight said calmly while picking up one of her new books and pondering again where it should belong.

It took a while to decide and about half an hour later Twilight finally placed a few books in the shelves. She still had a long way to go before finishing the task, but she was very optimistic that would finish at least half of it before lunch and the other half before her date.

Now she turned to the pile of books of spells and prepared to insert another new book among them. When she reached halfway of the pile she paused as her violet eyes saw Star Swirl the Bearded book of spells. The girl held the book and suddenly her mind flashed memories of the day she received it, and the chaos it caused. But then the happier moments showed before her eyes. She remembered the smiles and joy of her beloved friends as they helped each other remember their true destiny, and at last the moment of when she became a princess.

The smile on Twilight's face disappeared as she thought about her new position as part of the royalty. Though her posture was calm and composed the interior of her mind was the complete opposite. She knew nothing about being a ruler. Just the idea of looking after a kingdom made her shiver a little. Even with a teacher like Princess Celestia could she still do a good job? Or would she fail miserably at it? And possibly her biggest fears were, what if she had to move far away from Ponyville? Far away from her friends and... far away from Pinkie Pie? And if she had no other choice but to go, would they still visit her and write? Or would they forget about her?

Twilight suddenly shook her head to cast away those terrible thoughts, "No, that's not going to happen. The bond I share with them is strong and won't break that easily.", she said out loud to herself as if she were giving advice to someone else. Now that that was put behind her she thought it was about time to continue her task before she got way behind on her schedule. But when she was about to put the ancient wizard's book down her curiosity started tingling.

"Hmmm, last time I didn't have an opportunity to read all of his spells.", she said in a murmur. Then she glanced briefly at the clock and turns out she was a bit ahead than she expected, "A little reading won't hurt.", she added with a smile before sitting down on the floor and open the old book.

Twilight's enthusiasm was clear all over her face as she flipped page after page and read every single spell. It was fascinating to see how many were created by the wizard she admired the most. As she reached the middle of the book she noticed that something was odd about a page, and as she took a closer look she realized it wasn't one but two pages glued as one. Carefully to not damage the book, Twilight separated the pages and gasped in surprise as saw that was some kind of secret spell.

"Time Travelling Spell?", she read the title out loud, "Is this the same spell as the one I found in Star Swirl's library?"

The princess tried to read the description of the said spell, but unfortunately the ink was barely visible and most have faded. "Hmm...f-found a way to travel...f-fu-ture? Is this the word he wrote?", she questioned out loud while trying to figure out the old writing, "Oh, there's more below."


"I call upon the power of Time,
Take me from here towards a new daytime,
To witness the challenges that lie beyond,
If I ever shake the ties I'm fond."



Suddenly the words started glowing in white and flew out of the book, then they swirled around in the air until a portal was formed right in front of Twilight. The girl gasped in surprise, she had just activated a spell without even realizing it. Although, that wasn't the right moment to be amazed as the portal started sucking her in. She tried to hold on to something but all she could try to grab on were books, and in the middle of so much panic she kept Star Swirl's book close to her chest. Then in a matter of seconds she disappeared into the unknown portal with a loud scream.

Not long after the portal had vanished, Spike headed downstairs with a messy hair and rubbing an eye while grumbling in between his teeth. After letting out a loud yawn the boy glanced around the library and was shocked by the mess. All the books were scattered across the floor as if they were violently thrown. His eyes searched high and low but he couldn't find the culprit of the crime scene.

"Oh for Celestia's sake! Twilight, how can you do such a mess? You're doing this on purpose to test me, aren't you?", Spike complained out loud, expecting to see the girl popping up in front of him, but that didn't happen. "Uhh...Twilight? Are you here?", he asked with a much lower tone and waited for a reply but no one answered him.

--------

As the portal reopened Twilight was sent flying towards a book shelf with a loud yelp, and in the moment of the impact several dusty books fell all over her. She coughed and shook her head quickly to get over the dizziness, and then when she looked at the portal it closed right before her eyes. After that she took the tomes from her lap and placed them aside so she could stand up on her feet. As she stood up a certain book fell across her feet, and she recognized that it was Star Swirl's book of spells, she had brought it along with her without realizing.

Twilight was about to grab the old book when suddenly gave a quick glance around the place. At first glimpse she deduced that was back at her home, the Golden Oak Library, but as she took a closer look she started to have doubts. The place was dark but she could tell that there were bookshelves in every wall. They were so messy and full of dust, not to mention that the books looked quite old and unused. Also, she noticed that the wooden walls were old and that some parts have been repaired in a poorly manner. The wooden floor was damaged and worn-out, and there wasn't a single window that wasn't broken.

"This is odd. It looks like my home but at same time it doesn't..."

Suddenly her moment of reflection was interrupted by a gunshot, which missed her by mere inches and hit the wall behind her. Twilight clutched her sleeveless pullover and froze in her standing posture, and then she heard a feminine voice coming from the stairway.

"Who are you and what are you doing in my house?", questioned the mysterious person covered by the dark.

"Your house? If anything, this is my house!", retorted Twilight, "I mean...it looks like it."

"Ha! Don't play dumb with me!", grunted the strange person while walking cautiously down the stairs and holding what seemed to be a rifle on her hands. "This place belonged to someone important to me, and now it belongs to me!", the person added with some rage in her high pitched voice.

Twilight blinked a couple of times while listening attentively to the other's voice. It sounded awfully familiar, and her silhouette reminded her of someone as well. The princess narrowed her eyebrows as she tried to figure out who that individual was, and when the latter reached the bottom of the stairs she could finally tell who was, even if her image was slightly darkened by the lack of light in the room.

"P-Pinkie Pie?", gasped Twilight in horror as the shooter turned out to be her girlfriend, and she was covered with scars on her face and her arms.

"Twilight?", Pinkie's blue eyes widened as gazed upon the intruder. For a second she considered lowing her weapon, but she shook her head and pointed the rifle at the girl, "No! You're not Twilight! You're a Changeling!"

"What?! Pinkie, it's me! Can't you tell?!", the princess shouted back to her girlfriend, trying to bring some sense into her.

"Yeah, you may look like her. But you made a terrible mistake, Changeling. Twilight would be older now.", Pinkie pointed out to the believed imposter with despise in her tone.

"Older? What do you-", the princess was about to question the rose colored hair girl when suddenly saw her getting ready to shoot.

"You shouldn't have tried to fool me, you scum. Much less having the nerve of pretending to be Twilight!"

"Pinkie, wait!", Twilight stepped back with her hands over the chest for protection.

All of a sudden Pinkie Pie shot her rifle and the bullet went straight to Twilight's chest. However, the bullet crashed against a bubble like shield that the princess had formed in that instant around her. Twilight breathed in relief as realized that the shield was formed just in time to save her life. She intended to keep the shield on in case her girlfriend decided to shoot again, but by the looks of her posture she didn't seem to be up for another try.

Pinkie Pie stood immobile in front of the supposed fraud, her eyes focused on the magic shield that had a particular magenta color. Only two people she knew had such magic aura, and this one emitted a warm energy which could only belong to the person she missed the most. That person couldn't be an imposter. A Changeling could mimic the person's appearance but never their magical aura. She lost the grip on her rifle as became aware that she almost killed her girlfriend and the weapon fell flat on the floor.

Twilight dropped the magical shield as perceived that she was no longer in danger, and right after doing that she was unexpectedly embraced by Pinkie Pie. The princess wanted to ask why she pulled that dreadful act on her, however, when she opened her mouth to speak nothing came out as she paid close attention to her girlfriend's condition. Pinkie's hands had a tight grip on her back, almost as if she was afraid that the princess would push her away. Her body trembled all over, her breathing was irregular and it sounded like she was crying. It also seemed that she was mumbling something, but with such an anxious breathing Twilight took a while to decode what Pinkie Pie was saying.

"T-Twilight, y-you came back! I k-knew you'd come back! I always knew!", Pinkie said while leaning her forehead on Twilight's shoulder and soaking her blouse with tears, "No one believed me, but I knew you would return!"

"Pinkie...What happened?", Twilight finally formed a question.

Pinkie Pie gave her girlfriend some space so they could glance at each other, and only now Twilight could see how scarred her face was. But that wasn't what shocked her most.

"By Celestia... Your face.", Twilight gasped, "You look...old.", she added with plain shock in her voice while staring at the clear traces of age on the rose colored hair girl's face.

"Well, duh!", Pinkie replied now with her usual tone, "It's been fifteen years, Twilight. And I'm the one who should be shocked because you haven't aged at all! What have you been eating all these years?"

"Wait. Did you say fifteen years?!", Twilight shouted in absolute panic.

"Yep! Fifteen years.", Pinkie nodded and confirming the numbers by counting with her fingers.

"B-But how did I-", Twilight suddenly switched her glance to Star Swirl the Bearded book that was still lying on the floor. Her eyes widened as she just realized what happened to her.

"I'm...in the future."

"Huh? What are you talking about?", Pinkie Pie blinked in confusion.

"This book-", Twilight paused while walking towards the said book, grabbing it and showing to her girlfriend, "-is Star Swirl the Bearded book of spells. I read this page...", she did yet another pause while searching for the specific page, "And opened a portal which transported me here."

"Hold on, you're saying that you read the page? Out loud?"

"Err...yes?"

"Twilight, you should know by now that reading spells out loud always mean trouble!", Pinkie placed her hands on the hips while lecturing her girlfriend.

"I-It was a force of habit.", Twilight was getting a little embarrassed about her mistake.
"A bad habit! We need to work on it!"

"Err, maybe later, Pinkie. Now could you tell me what in Celestia's name happened to you?", Twilight contoured the subject to bring up a far more important one.

"Oh, this?", Pinkie Pie pointed at her scarred face and arms, "Just some marks I got while I was looking for you. You wouldn't believe how many rude creatures I found, and all I wanted to ask was if they saw you. I wasn't even going to ask for a piece of cake!"

"What about our friends? What happened to Ponyville? And why is the library all wrecked up?", Twilight was showering Pinkie with so many questions, and she would ask even more if the rose colored hair girl haven't shut her mouth with her hand.

"Guess I better explain from the beginning instead of jumping parts. You better sit down because it might taaaaaake a while.", Pinkie suggested, and then both sat down on the floor facing each other. Pinkie cleared her throat before starting, "As you know, it started fifteen years ago..."

--------15 years ago--------

"And done!", sighed Spike while taking a look around the library, "Nice and clean. Doesn't even look like a certain princess made a mess of it.", he said out loud and proud of his cleaning skills.

Suddenly a knock was heard at the front door. The dragon boy took off his apron and put it down along with the broom so he could open the door. It was probably Twilight, and he was getting prepared to give her a piece of his mind.

"Pinkie Pie?", Spike was surprised to see the rose colored hair girl instead of the blue haired one, "What are you doing here?"

"Spike, is Twilight at home?", her breathing was hasty, almost as if she had ran all the way there.

"No, wasn't she supposed to be with you?"

"She was, but it's way past the time!", Pinkie pointed at the clock and it showed that it was three hours advanced.

"Wow! I was so concentrated in the cleaning that I didn't even notice the time.", Spike commented out loud.

"Ohhhhh I'm getting worried! Twilight never misses a meeting, especially with me!"

Spike scratched the back of his head with some concern, "Yeah...Twilight doesn't like breaking her schedules. Heck, she would go nuts about it!"

"Exactly!", Pinkie suddenly grabbed the dragon boy by his blouse and brought him close into a tight hug, "She might be lost somewhere!", she gasped, "She might even be hurt! We must call the army!"

"Pinkie Pie, calm down!", shouted Spike while pushing the alarmed girl away so he could breathe, "She probably got held up at a store or maybe she's distracted talking to one of our friends. Let's split across the town and see if we can find her."

And so they did. Spike headed to the commercial area of Ponyville and searched in every store that Twilight would usually go to. Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie asked around if anyone has seen the princess. She found one of her closest friends, Rainbow Dash, and asked the same she has been asking everyone. The multicolor haired girl shook her head in denial, just like anyone else she hasn't seen Twilight all day. Pinkie begged her friend to take a look around through the sky since she had higher chances of finding the missing princess, and she agreed before taking off to the sky at great speed. The rose colored hair girl continued her search and it lead her to all of her friends' places, Rarity's boutique, Fluttershy's cottage and even Applejack's farm, but the answer was always the same.

"Oh for the love of...", Pinkie suddenly took a deep breath and then she yelled with her arms wide open in frustration, "Has anyone seen Twilight Sparkle?! Anyone?!!!", her shout echoed through Ponyville. The girl breathed heavily and then fell back on the ground with a loud sigh, "Uuugh...I give up.", she looked up into the blue sky and sniffled, "Twilight...where are you?"

"Pinkie!", Spike called as ran towards the girl, “Did you find Twilight?”

“If I did, would I be laying on the floor and thinking of how terrible of a girlfriend I am?”, she pouted to the dragon boy.

“Sooo, is that a no?”, Spike scratched the back of his head in confusion.

Pinkie’s eyes suddenly turned into waterfalls as she started crying compulsively. The boy tried to calm her down while helping her getting up on her feet again.

“H-Hey, don’t cry, Pinkie. I sent a letter to Princess Celestia with the situation report, I’m sure she’ll know what to do.”, Spike assured his friend.

--------

It didn’t take long for Princess Celestia to write back to Spike, and in her reply there was a request for him, Pinkie Pie and their other four closest friends to meet with her at Canterlot. The six friends headed to the castle as fast as they could, and once there they were greeted in the throne room by the Princesses of the Sun and Moon.

“Welcome, my friends.”, Celestia greeted with a calm tone but Spike and the girls could see the expression of concern on her face, “I apologize for requesting your presence in such a short notice, but we need to take immediate action.”

“So did you find Twilight, Princess Celestia?”, asked Spike, hopeful of his friend’s whereabouts.

The princess couldn’t even look the dragon boy in the eye, shaking her head slightly in denial and saying, “I’m sorry. We cannot feel her magic, which means she must be very far away from the kingdom, or someone blocked her magic.”

Princess Luna suddenly intervened and continued where her sister had stopped, “Or she must’ve been killed.”

Spike and the girls gasped in horror at the dreadful piece of information. The boy’s mind started imagining all the possible and horrible scenarios which Twilight might’ve been tangled in, but he shook his head immediately to cast away those thoughts.

“We don’t know that, Luna.”, Celestia reprehended her sister to avoid causing more distress to her subjects, “We mustn’t take such conclusions without proof. That is why I’m going to assemble search parties to look for Princess Twilight Sparkle.”, she concluded while exchanging her glance to the group of friends.

“That’s the reason ya called us? To join the search?”, Applejack asked what everyone was thinking.

“My sister would prefer that you all wait in Ponyville.”, started Luna.

Celestia nodded slightly, “Yes, that is true. However, I know how important Twilight Sparkle is for all of you, and how much you wish to find her. So I will allow you to join the search.”

“So, when do we start searching?”, asked Rainbow Dash all pumped up to get started.

“Isn’t it obvious? Right now!”, replied Pinkie with a determined look in her eyes and jumping spontaneously around with eagerness.

“Hold on, darling. I’m not going anywhere without a bag.”, intervened Rarity.

“Wait a second! You’re coming too?”, Applejack suddenly rose an eyebrow and stared at her girlfriend with disbelief.

“Of course I am. You think I can’t handle something like this?”, Rarity placed her hands on the hips and looked at the taller girl with a judging gaze, which could make the latter step back in fear every time she used it.

Observing this scene, Rainbow Dash took a moment to think about the quest ahead of them, wherever they were heading to it should be dangerous. Concerned, she glanced at Fluttershy and held her hand closely, a gesture that caused the taller girl to look back at her.

“You don’t have to come with us if you don’t want, Fluttershy.”, Rainbow said with a calm tone, “No one will think less of you for staying out. Besides, we need someone to wait for Twilight in Ponyville in case she returns on her own.”, she added, trying to convince her girlfriend to stay safe.

“Thank you, Dashie.”, Fluttershy smiled, “But I want to go too. I know I might not be useful but I’ll do my best to not be a burden.”

Rainbow showed a big grin to the pink haired girl and brought her hand up to kiss it, “That’s my girl. And don’t worry because I will protect you from any harm.”

“Oh that’s so sweet.”, commented Rarity out loud at her friends’ beautiful moment. “Why don’t you say something charming like that to me too?”, she complained to Applejack with a light slap on her shoulder.

“W-What? What ya want me to say?”, the farm girl blushed a little embarrassed.

“You can talk about that later! Now we have to find Twilight!”, stated Pinkie Pie while rushing to the exit of the throne room. None of her friends judged her behavior because they knew that in her place they would be anxious too to find their missing lover as soon as possible.

The group turned one last time to the two princesses, bowed to them in respect and left the room. Spike was the last one to leave, and before closing the door he looked back at Princess Celestia.

“We’ll find her, I promise.”, the dragon boy vowed.

“Good luck to you and your friends, Spike. May you succeed your mission.”, the princess of the Sun replied, and shortly after that the boy closed the door behind him.

--------

Celestia kept her word, and in a matter of hours numerous teams have scattered through the land and sky all with the same objective, to find the lost princess. A few people from Ponyville joined the search too, and among them were Twilight’s inseparable friends and lover. As their quest began they started wondering where they should head first, but Pinkie Pie said it wouldn’t matter, for she was determined to search high and low in every corner of Equestria.

The six friends passed firstly by the northern lands, enduring the cold and fighting dreadful creatures along the way. They even passed by the Crystal Empire and hoped that Princess Cadence and Shining Armor would know anything about Twilight’s whereabouts, but just like them they knew nothing and have sent search teams of their own to help. Then the group’s exploration continued by the eastern lands, and there they encountered other search parties, whom just like them still didn’t succeed to find the princess. The days quickly turned into weeks, which turned into months, and when they walked to the western part of the continent it has already passed a year since their mission began.

--------14 years ago--------

Now the group’s exhaustion was starting to become visible. Their pace became relatively slower by each day. Rarity could feel her feet throbbing from all those months of unstoppable march, even her back hurt from carrying a bag for so long. Applejack noticed her girlfriend’s posture and slowed her pace a little to not leave the purple haired girl behind. And to ease her load, the farm girl took her bag and carried it herself against the other’s wishes. Rainbow Dash was starting to feel tired as well, even an athletic girl like her had limits. Sometimes she used her wings to rest her legs but soon she’d grow tired of flapping too. Spike was no exception, and for someone as young as he was it was surprising how he hasn’t given up yet. Fluttershy almost dragged her feet and was by far the one who showed more signs of exhaustion. The girl was extremely pale, her cheeks flushed and sweaty and her breathing, even if low for someone to hear, was uneven. Pinkie Pie was the only one who seemed to be less exhausted. Her friends believed that it was her purpose to find her missing lover that kept her strong, and she always took the lead of the group with Spike standing right behind her.

One day Fluttershy started feeling more exhausted than usual and nearly fell a couple of times if Rainbow Dash didn't catch her. The pink haired girl tried her best to keep a strong appearance but with each passing hour was becoming harder to do that.

“Fluttershy, are you sure you’re ok? You don’t look so good.”, asked Rainbow Dash with a concerned tone.

“I-I’m fine, Dashie.”, she lied with a weak smile.

Suddenly the tall girl lost her senses and fell forward. Thankfully Rainbow’s reflexes were still accurate and she caught the girl in her arms just before she could hit the ground.

“Fluttershy, what’s wrong? Fluttershy?!”, Rainbow patted lightly on her girlfriend’s motionless face in wait for a respond. She was breathing but something wasn’t right, her face was fairly hot and when Rainbow leaned her hand on Fluttershy’s forehead she realized what was wrong.

“Guys, help! I think Fluttershy is sick!”, she called her friends with panic in her voice.

Spike, Pinkie Pie, Applejack and Rarity turned around and quickly went to the girl’s aid. Rarity searched for the water bottle inside her bag while Applejack leaned a hand over Fluttershy’s forehead to verify Rainbow’s suspicions.

“Sweet Celestia! She’s got a high fever!”, gasped Applejack.

“We can’t keep going with her in this condition.”, affirmed Rainbow Dash while taking a wet cloth given by Rarity and placing it over the sick girl’s forehead, “We should take her back to Ponyville.”

“Going back now?”, Pinkie suddenly asked out loud, “We might be close to find Twilight! I’m not giving up now!”, she almost shouted with a gleam of tears in her eyes.

Rainbow Dash frowned her eyebrows, she understood that Pinkie was upset and anxious to find Twilight, and she wasn’t intending to protest. But when the multicolor haired girl switched her gaze down to her lover and saw the awful state she was in she couldn’t stay quiet.

“Pinkie, I know finding Twilight is important. And I know this will sound selfish of me but… Fluttershy’s safety is all I care about now.”

The group remained quiet and all eyes turned to Pinkie Pie. The girl wanted to say something against her friend, shout even, but she couldn’t find it in her heart to do so. Instead she looked down at the ground without saying a word.

Rainbow sighed and smiled at her friend, “Hey, I’m not saying that you all have to come with us. I can take Fluttershy home while you continue the search.”

“Ya want to take Fluttershy home all by yourself?”, Applejack questioned her sparring friend with a doubtful tone.

“What’s your point, AJ?”

“No offense, Rainbow, but Fluttershy is so big and you’re…”, the farm girl didn’t even finish her sentence, only glancing at the multicolor haired girl from head to toe.

“Short? Well, I got newsflash for you, AJ. This short girl has muscle power!”, replied Rainbow with a proud tone, however, Applejack contorted her lip and rose an eyebrow, “Besides, Fluttershy isn’t that heavy.”, the multicolor haired girl added.

“If ya say so.”, the farm girl sighed, there was no point in changing her friend’s mind when it was made up.

“I hope you two get back home safely.”, Pinkie finally spoke, then she kneeled down in front of the couple, “I-I’m so sorry I yelled, Rainbow. I shouldn’t have…”

Rainbow Dash suddenly patted on Pinkie’s shoulder with a grin, “No need for apologies, Pinkie. Now put on a big smile, you don’t want to find Twi with a sad face like that, do you?”, and those words of encouragement managed to bring back the party girl’s joyful smile.

--------

And so the group continued their mission, now without Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. They reached the San Palomino Desert now and walked for a week without problems. And then another member of the team started to reach their limit too.

“Owww, my foot.”, grumbled Rarity while leaning against a rock for support and massaging her ankle.

“Rarity, this is the third time ya complain about your foot, let me see if something's wrong.”, insisted Applejack.

“Oh darling, it’s probably nothing.”, replied the purple haired girl.

“It’s probably something!”, protested the blonde girl.

Pinkie Pie and Spike just exchanged glances between each other as they watched the couple quarrel like a pair of kids.

Rarity sighed with a grumbling tone, “Fine, have it your way.”, she sat on the rock while Applejack took off her shoe to examine her foot.

The farm girl gasped as saw Rarity’s foot all red and swollen, “Your foot is inflamed, Rarity! Ya knew it was like this? Why didn’t ya tell me sooner?”, while she lectured the purple haired girl rolled her eyes.

“You’re making a big fuss over nothing, Applejack. Just give me a stick and I can walk just fine.”, Rarity suggested with a calm tone.

“Are you sure? It looks pretty bad, Rarity.”, said Spike concerned while taking a look at her sore foot.

“Yes, Spike dear. It’s nothing serious.”, the purple haired girl smiled to the boy.

Applejack didn’t believe her. She was obviously in much pain but she was very good at hiding it. The farm girl glanced at her other foot and then wondered if she was hiding more than she claimed, “Does the other foot hurt too?”

“Don’t be silly, if it hurt I’d tell.”, she lied while crossing her arms over the chest.

“I want to make sure.”, said and done, Applejack inspected Rarity’s other foot. She sighed with frowned eyebrows, “It’s swollen too.”

Spike bit his lip with worry, “Rarity, why did you hide this?”

The purple haired girl looked down and confessed, “I… I did it for Twilight. If I did say anything you’d almost certainly tell me to abandon the search, and I don’t want that. Like Pinkie said, we might be close to find her so I refuse to quit now! If I stop now then I’m a terrible friend!”, her hands clutched her skirt tightly as she tried to not cry.

Applejack leaned her big and strong hands on top of Rarity’s delicate and petite ones, “None of us would ever think that, Rarity. Knowing what you’ve been through I’d say you’re the opposite of a terrible friend.”

“I agree.”, nodded Pinkie with a appreciative smile.

“Pinkie, ya mind if I take Rarity back home? I promise I’ll come back later to join ya.”

Pinkie Pie shook her head lightly and smiled, “That’s ok, Applejack. You can stay in Ponyville and wait for us there. Next time you see us Twilight will be standing beside us!”

The two departing girls hugged their friends and wished them the best luck to find their missing friend. After that both of them left, with Applejack carrying Rarity on her back. Pinkie and Spike watched them walking away and then the rose colored hair girl turned to the boy.

“I think you should go with them, Spike.”

The boy suddenly looked up at her with a gasp, “What?! You want me to quit?”

“I know you’re very tired.”, Pinkie pointed out.

“Tired? No way! I can walk a thousand miles!”, he replied with a heavy breath.

“Spike, what would Twilight say if she were here in my position?”

“She… She would tell me to go home.”, he mumbled with a frowned expression.

“Exactly, and you know why?”

“Because I’m still a boy…”, he grumbled and kicked a tiny rock.

“A boy who walked more than half of Equestria in almost two years.”, the rose colored hair girl reminded the boy of his achievement, “You did more miles than any other grown man would!”, she praised with a grin.

“Y-You think so?”, the dragon boy showed half a smile.

“Of course! When we tell Twilight about this it will blow her mind!”, Pinkie accentuated by making an explosion sound and gestures with her arms. The boy laughed at her performance and imagined Twilight’s expression. “You better go before you lose Applejack and Rarity of sight.”, she pointed out to the couple that was almost disappearing into the horizon.

“You sure you’ll be ok on your own, Pinkie?”

“Yep! Definitely sure! Now go home, you mighty dragon!”, she pushed the boy away with a big smile.

The boy didn’t want to contradict his friend, so he did as was told and rushed after Applejack and Rarity. It was probably for the best. It could be a matter of time until he’d collapse and be a burden to the girl.

Pinkie Pie waved at Spike and he did the same until they couldn’t see each other anymore. The girl sighed and looked around her. She was the only one left. The last hope to find Twilight, and she wasn’t intending to stop at any cost.

--------13 years ago--------

For months Pinkie Pie searched the remaining corners of the eastern side of Equestria and not a single trace of the blue haired princess was found. But she wasn’t going to fall in despair. After all, there were still the southern lands to investigate. She headed to the Badlands, somewhere she never had set foot before. First she had to escalate the tall Macintosh Hills. Hills, why did they call them hills? They looked more like mountains to her. And once on the top she found an easier way to climb down the mountain. With an improvised slide made out of an old tree’s bark. Even though this was a serious mission she couldn’t help but laugh as the ride was fast and fun. Then when she reached the bottom she forgot about one small detail, to stop the slide.

“Uh-oh!”, Pinkie gulped as headed towards a curved rock at high speed, and the same sent her and the slide flying a few meters before falling flat on the ground. “Argh! The ride was fun until you ruined it!”, she pointed at the rock as if she were talking to a person. After complaining she cleaned the dirt off her clothes and gasped in amazement at the place she landed, “The Badlands.”

This was it. This was her final destination, and she just hoped that her beloved Twilight would be there. Pinkie Pie walked through the valley with caution since it was a place known to inhabit the most dreadful creatures. She even expected to encounter the Changelings among them, given that they were sent that far in the last encounter at Canterlot. However, the only beings she found there were creatures she’s never seen before. All of them were very hostile and Pinkie had no choice but to fight them. Every time she had to face one of those wild beasts she was relieved that Fluttershy wasn’t around. She’d certainly give her a big lecture on how the beasts were just misunderstood. She endured every encounter and only in a few she was forced to run away. None of the wounds inflicted on her were fatal but they would certainly leave marks, and they were starting to cover most of her body.

“Twilight will be so worried when she sees me like this.”, she thought out loud while patching a fresh wound on her forehead. As she finished patching she continued her investigation through the valley. For some reason all those pointy and red colored rocks gave her the willies! And what she considered stranger was the fact that she didn’t bump into a single Changeling yet. Could their location be somewhere else? If that was the case then Pinkie was more than glad to not being forced to face them on her own.

Days of restless search and dangerous fights went by and Pinkie’s hope slowly faded. She started to accept that no matter how much she’d search she wouldn’t find Twilight. It wasn’t destined to be like that. Her last resort was going back home and wait for her lover there. Yes, she would do that. And didn’t matter how long she had to wait because deep down in her heart she knew the princess was alive somewhere.

--------

It took nearly a month but Pinkie Pie finally made it back home. However, instead of being greeted by a welcoming crowd of friends she was greeted by a scenario of war. Ponyville was at war, but with whom? The rose colored hair girl ran down the once calm streets, which were now a battleground, and looked around in search for any of her closest friends. Luckily she bumped into Spike and she instantly hugged the boy in relief.

“Spike! I’m so glad you’re alright!”, she said almost crying, “What’s happening here? Who are we fighting?”, she asked while looking around for the culprit.

“It’s the Changelings!”, responded Spike in distress, “They’ve been attacking us every week ever since we returned to Ponyville!”

“What?!!”, Pinkie gasped in horror, “So that’s why I didn’t found them in the Badlands.”, she pondered out loud.

All of a sudden a Changeling charged to them with a sword in his hand, but Spike countered right away with his green flames. The flames covered the Changeling’s armor completely and that made him run away while screaming in pain.

“Come with me!”, the dragon boy held his friend’s hand and guided her through an alley which leaded to the Sugarcube Corner’s back door. He gestured her to get in and once inside he closed the door behind them, “Girls, look who came back!”, he announced to everyone in the room.

Pinkie’s face illuminated as saw Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash standing right there in front of her. She couldn’t contain the excitement and pulled them all into a tight hug, “I missed you guys!”

“We’re so glad you’re ok, Pinkie.”, said Applejack with a content smile.

“Indeed.”, agreed Rarity before taking a good look at her friend, “What happened to you, darling? Your pretty face is all scarred!”

“Well, I ran into a few fights while I was in the Badlands.”, the rose colored hair girl responded casually.

The girls gasped all together in shock.

“Y-You went to the Badlands?”, Fluttershy could hardly believe her ears.

“Pinkie, I know you said you’d search every corner but the Badlands are the worst place to go alone.”, Rainbow pointed out.

“Hey, I’m alive aren’t I?”, Pinkie chuckled for a short moment and then her face turned serious, “Now can you explain what happened while I was gone?”

--------Future--------

“What happened?”, asked Twilight with a nervous tone.

“Apparently Chrysalis heard about your disappearance and attacked Canterlot and Ponyville during the time of my absence.”, Pinkie explained while hugging her own knees.

“She attacked both Canterlot and Ponyville at the same time? There’s no way she could’ve done that with the army she had.”, the princess scratched the back of her head in confusion.

“Well, the news about you spread fast in a matter of months, she probably started increasing her army as soon as she heard the rumors.”, Pinkie pondered out loud.

“But Canterlot still stands, right? Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are taking care of things, aren’t they?”, Twilight asked hopeful of at least one piece of good news. However, when Pinkie Pie’s face began to show a sad frown her hope quickly shattered. “D-Don’t tell me…”, the princess paused and expected her lover to say something, but her silence spoke for itself.

“N-No…”, Twilight shook her head several times in denial while sobbing, “Princess Celestia and Luna can’t be dead! They can’t!”, she shouted before burying her face in the palm of her hands. Pinkie pulled the princess gently into her arms to bring her at least a little comfort and allowing her to cry on her chest.

"H-How is that possible?", the princess sobbed, still not believing that her teacher wasn't among them anymore.

"Chrysalis told us that she absorbed the princesses' energy over the years until there was nothing left.", Pinkie bit her lip while sharing the unfortunate news, "And without you we didn't stand a chance against her and her army..."

Twilight suddenly stopped crying and then pulled back to be able to look Pinkie in the eyes, "But I'm here now. I can make things right.", she said while wiping her tears, "We can rebuild Equestria, but we can only do it together. Like we always have.", the princess showed a small smile at the end.

The princess expected to see her lover cracking a wide grin and jumping of joy but she didn't even show a little smile. Instead she showed a look of uncertainty, frowned her eyebrows a little and contorted her lip.

"About that...", Pinkie started while scratching the back of her head, "Our friends aren't exactly together anymore.", her tone lowing at each word.

"What?", Twilight rose an eyebrow at the older girl's statement, "What do you mean by that?"

"Our friends broke the bonds six years ago.", the rose colored hair girl replied and then paused shortly, "Because...of a terrible incident with Spike."

"Spike?", Twilight's hands began to tremble as she was afraid to ask, "What happened to him?"

Pinkie stood up and reached out for her lover's hand, "I better show you. But first, come with me."

The princess was led upstairs to her old bedroom. It looked just as wrecked and dusty as the bottom floor and it pained Twilight to see it like that. In the meantime, Pinkie Pie searched for something in the drawers, tossing random clothes to the floor until she had found what was looking for.

"Dress this.", said the rose colored hair girl while handing over a set of clothes with Twilight's color scheme.

It didn't take long for the princess to dress her new clothes. They really were brand new, as if they were kept unused just for that occasion.

"I made those clothes myself.", Pinkie pointed out with a little blush on her cheeks as she realized that Twilight was contemplating her new garments, "I had some free time on my hands and I thought you'd like to have a suitable outfit for battle.", she curled her fingers in her rose colored hair with embarrassment.

That sight made Twilight smile and lean forward to kiss her girlfriend on her lips, "I think they're perfect. Thank you, Pinkie."

--------

Before leaving the library Pinkie Pie gave Twilight a cloak to conceal her identity while they were out to avoid being seen by a Changeling, and once they stepped outside Twilight gasped in horror. The town was even worse than the library. The signs of unending battles were clearly visible on the pavement and the edifices. Most of the houses were in ruins and the average amount was wrecked and poorly repaired just enough to be able to live in them. The trees across the town had died and so did most of the vegetation. No animals were seen anywhere, nor a single bird sound echoed in the air. And there were a few people walking on the street with weapons at hand as if they expected an attack from any corner. It was almost like a ghost town.

"This is awful.", said Twilight while leaning a hand on her fast beating heart, "I didn't expect it to look this bad."

"It's not as bad as the other fallen towns, believe me.", commented Pinkie while leading the princess through the wrecked town.

The couple walked to the outskirts of Ponyville until they have reached a large cemetery. Twilight couldn't help but notice that it wasn't there fifteen years ago. It was probably built shortly after the battle in Ponyville against Chrysalis' army because most of the death dates were over a decade old. The princess felt uneasy just by walking on those grounds. If Pinkie led her there it could only mean one thing...

"We arrived.", Pinkie said in a sad tone while stopping in front of a tombstone, "We made this tomb as a tribute to Spike. We couldn't find his body but we thought he still deserved a monument."

Twilight halted and took her hands up to her mouth as she gasped in horror. Her eyes saw a tombstone with the carving of a dragon on the rock and below the said dragon were a few words that said 'In honor of Spike the Dragon Hero who died in combat'. The princess lost the strength on her legs and fell in front of the tombstone of her dear friend. Tears of pure grief rolled down from her cheeks and then dripped on the ground. This future was a nightmare she wanted to wake up from.

"I-I don't... I don't like this future.", Twilight sobbed uncontrollably. "I-I w-want to go home.", and suddenly occurred to her, "The spell.", she held Star Swirl's book and searched desperately for the page. As she read the words out loud she expected the spell to work backwards, but there wasn't a single change, everything remained the same.

"No. No. No. No!", she shook her head in denial while her tears fell over the book's pages, "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!", she screamed out loud to the sky in despair.

Pinkie Pie couldn’t stand to watch her girlfriend crying, her desperate sobs were enough to make her heart shatter. She leaned down on her knees, wrapped her scarred arms around the brokenhearted princess, and then pulled her gently against her chest. The rose colored hair girl wanted to say something, anything, to ease her lover’s sadness, but she couldn’t think of anything that could help in that moment so she just offered her shoulder to cry on.

“H-How…did this happen?”, asked Twilight, still crying onto Pinkie’s shoulder.

“Six years ago we prepared a surprise attack to take down Chrysalis, but the plan failed.”, Pinkie started explaining the events of that faithful day, “She knew we were coming to the castle and she ambushed us instead. We were going to be killed by her Changelings and they planned to wipe out Ponyville after that, but Spike decided to fight back the army and we followed his example.”

Twilight showed a small sad smile, “It… sounds like something he would do.”

“Unfortunately that was a battle that we lost…”, Pinkie continued now with watery eyes, “I saw our friends and comrades falling one after another, and our closest friends got terribly injured at the hands of the Changelings. Spike realized that we wouldn’t get out of there alive if we kept fighting so he chose to stay behind while the five of us escaped. After we escaped the castle we saw the area of the battle crumbling, I think it was Spike’s last resort to defeat Chrysalis and her army. Sadly, the Queen survived and she keeps increasing her army.”, Pinkie finished the brief story.

Twilight turned to her friend’s tombstone, “So he died to protect those he loved, he truly was a big hero.”, and she touched the dragon carved on the stone. “Spike, I’ll make sure your sacrifice and the princesses’ were not in vain. I will reestablish harmony to Equestria.”, she vowed while keeping her purple eyes focused on the tombstone.

“If anyone can do it it’s you, Twilight.”, Pinkie Pie leaned her scarred hand on top of Twilight’s, “And I will help you.”

Twilight was so glad to hear those words, knowing that she was not alone would give her the strength she needed to continue and restore balance to that dreadful future she was stuck in. The princess took a deep breath and then stood up, “We’re going to need more help. Let’s go find our friends.”, she said with a determined tone in her voice.
Here you go folks! I really didn't have a choice to say no after receiving so many comments to post the story. Even though I warned over and over that this story is a little dark. Just don't come shouting that you hate me afterwards! I did warn you all! XD

I'll try to get the next chapter done as soon as I can, please don't rush me or it will be crappy. And I don't want to ruin it for you all. ''8D

By the way, I'm not sure if I should add the mature content to this. What you guys think?


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic © Hasbro

Please do not repost this story in any other site. Thank you!
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It was around 10:00 PM at "Pony Joe's Café."  An apple-shaped carriage was parked outside with two male ponies chatting amongst one another.  Inside the café, the lights were still on and the open sign was flashing.  As expected, there were very few customers.  The Grand Galloping Gala was being held not too far away in the royal palace, where everyone else was.  However, inside Pony Joe's, laughter could be heard.  It seemed the customers that did decide to come there were company enough.

Twilight Sparkle and her friends had all just gotten back from the Grand Galloping Gala which did not go as planned for any of them at all.  Their dresses were torn up a bit and their hair was messy.  Some of them had even lost some footwear from running out of the Gala so fast.  Twilight had told everyone earlier that Pony Joe's would be the best place to settle down at.  She also knew that Spike the dragon would be waiting there for them, and to her surprise, Princess Celestia herself decided to join them a few minutes after they arrived.  Although the night ended horribly, they all were laughing it off and having the Princess there made things a lot more joyful.

"Well, everypony…" said Twilight to all her friends at the table full of donuts. "…I guess this night didn't end too horribly after all!"  
They all nodded in agreement and started eating their donuts and drinking their coffee.  Twilight decided to take her chance to finally talk with the Princess as she had hoped she would be able to do at the Gala.

"So Princess…" Twilight asked worried as if some unfortunate realization had just come over her, "…are you sure it's ok for you to be here with us?"

"Yeah, shouldn't you be back at the Gala helping greet the ponies coming in?" asked Spike setting his half-eaten donut on the table.

"Oh don't worry, you two, I've taken care of everything." The Princess explained. "Right after you left, I used a song spell on my animals to get them to calm down.  They all came to me and I led them right out the door.  My guards took care of the rest of the damage and the subjects and guests were all okay.  And luckily for me, the rest of our invited guests had already finished entering so I didn't have to stay there and greet anymore.  I told my guards that I would be leaving the Gala until midnight to take a break and see some friends.  They're keeping watch over the Gala for me right now; it should be no problem at all."

"I'm glad to hear that."  Twilight said sighing with relief.  "To be quite honest, I was getting kinda impatient while you were constantly greeting everypony.  I was wondering if I'd get any time to talk to you at all!"

"So was I, Twilight.  I got a little worried when you and your friends decided to leave, that's why I knew I had to come here to see you all." She then bent over to whisper in Twilight's ear.  "Between you and me, I've never really enjoyed greeting at the Gala." she said a bit deviously.  "It's too plain of a job for me to do, but as the Princess, it's my duty."

"Is every Gala really as boring as that one was?"

"Yes, pretty much.  It's just some social gathering for all the rich ponies who can afford to come.  In fact, no one usually gets free tickets like you and your friends did.  Since it's typically all just aristocrats and high-class ponies, there's nothing but a fancy, calm, and somewhat dull atmosphere.  We talk amongst each other and eat and drink and that's all, nothing else.  But like I said, I hoped you all could come and just find some way to liven things up, and I know you all tried to even if things just didn't go as planned."

"Yeah, sorry we kinda flattened the Gala…" said Twilight blushing and putting her ears down.

"Oh, it's alright, Twilight, no harm done.  I know the animals gave everypony quite a scare, but it's all taken care of."

Suddenly, sniffling could be heard from across the table.  Everyone turned to see Fluttershy with her head down starting to tear up.

"Fluttershy?  What's wrong?" asked Twilight.

"It's all my fault those animals came in like that…" She said with a lump in her throat. "I still can't believe I did that.  I don't know why that happened, everyone, I just wanted to socialize with those animals and they ran away and I lost my temper!"  Her lips vibrated from trying to hold in her tears.  She couldn't hold them in any longer and tears streamed down her cheeks and she tried wiping them away with her hoof.  She bent her head down and let her long pink hair cover her face. She didn't want anyone to see her like this.  "OH HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO CRUEL?!"

Everyone at the table had never seen Fluttershy this saddened before.  They were so shocked with how badly she was crying that none of them could even talk to her or try to comfort her.  Even a simple "It's ok, Fluttershy…" would have gone unheard under her wailing.  

Finally, Princess Celestia walked over to the other end of the table and raised Fluttershy's chin up.  She was scared at first and almost tried fighting back the hoof under her chin, but she looked up to see the Princess looking happy rather than angered.

"I forgive you, Child." said the Princess warmly.  "We all have moments when we lose our tempers."

Fluttershy had stopped crying but her eyes were still full of tears and her mouth open.  She was still so sad but finally listened to what her friends had to say.

"Yeah, Fluttershy…" said Rainbow Dash next to the Princess.  "It happens to the best of us, even when we least expect it."

"Yep!  It sure happened to me not too long ago on my birthday, remember?" Said Pinkie Pie recapping the event where she nearly lost her sanity thinking her friends didn't love her anymore. "We forgive ya, Fluttershy!"

"Don't fret, dear." said the Princess, "The animals are doing fine.  They're not used to being around ponies anyhow, most are actually rather wild.  Had I known you wanted so much to see them, I would have warned you about that.  But it's the past now, we're not going to worry about it anymore."

The Princess lowered her hoof and Fluttershy stopped crying.  For a few seconds she just stood and waited to recollect herself.  Finally a smile slowly started forming on her face and she sniffled and wiped her tears away with her hoof again.  Any remaining tears were only tears of joy.

"Thanks, everyone…" She said happily.  "I'm sorry, it's just I've never had an outrage like that before; it really made me disappointed in myself.  But you're right; I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  It's the past.  It's good to know I'm at least surrounded by caring friends."

One by one, each of her friends came over to the table and hugged her for comfort.

"It wasn't that big of a deal, Darling." said Rarity after hugging her.  "It could have happened to any of us you know.  I've had some pretty bad temper tantrums before, I even had one at the Gala with the Prince, so you're not the only one.  Ironic, isn't it?"

"Yeah, girl, things just didn't go too well for ya, that's all." Said Applejack. "Plus, no 'fense, but fer some reason, you were kinda funny when ya got all fired up like that!" Applejack giggled lightly.

"Well……hehe…now that I think about it, I guess it was a little funny." Fluttershy then started giggling a little over her outrage back at the Gala.  "I mean, who would have ever thought I'd have gotten that angry, huh?" She said as she started laughing even more.

"Think you could show us that angry scream again?" Asked Rainbow Dash.

"Oh dear no!  I'm too happy; I couldn't possibly do it now." Fluttershy said blushing.

"I think I can…" Rainbow Dash cleared her throat. "You're……going…to…LOVE MEEEEEEEEE!!!"

They all laughed hysterically at Rainbow Dash and thankfully all the laughing brought Fluttershy out of her misery.  The event at the Gala was now just a silly little memory.

The Princess was over near one of the windows of the café as if she was waiting for something.  "Oh, and Fluttershy…" she said, "I know it's too bad you couldn't socialize with any of the animals back at the Gala, but there is one animal who would like to see you…"

"There is?" said Fluttershy tilting her head.

Suddenly a large, flamboyantly red bird flew in through the window and landed on Celestia's hoof.  It fanned its wings, shook its head, and brayed happily.

"PHILOMENA!!" Shouted Fluttershy rushing over to see her old friend.  "Oh Philomena, I missed you so much!" she said while nuzzling the majestic bird's beak.

"Philomena has missed you too ever since the last time you two met!  Actually, she was flying around the palace looking for you while you were outside."

"Oh dear, I'm so sorry Philomena, I should have known." said Fluttershy with her ears down looking a bit disappointed.

Philomena cooed as if to say she forgave Fluttershy and flew down on top of her hoof.

"You won't believe how silly I got outside.  The animals out there were running away from me and I just went crazy!  It was actually quite hilarious, you should have been there!" she said as the phoenix chuckled along with her.  

"See guys?" said Twilight, "Fluttershy's all good now thanks to friendship!"

"Her night sure ended on a positive note indeed!" said Applejack walking over to the table and eating a donut.  She chomped on the pastry happily until a solemn look came over her face.  She swallowed it and then remembered how unlucky her night had gone.  "Ah sure am happy for her.  And happy tonight ended good for us all.  Ah just still wish Ah coulda sold them treats.  Ah spent so much time makin' em and really wanted to help mah family.  But in the end Ah only made a few bits.  Who's gonna eat em now?"  Applejack sighed looking down at the donut she now refused to finish eating.

The Princess then walked over to Applejack carrying a bag of 'bits' with her magic.  "Applejack, if it helps, I would be willing to use this money to buy most of those treats."  She set the bag on the table in front of Applejack whose mouth was hanging open at the sight of the amount of coinage in it.  "I really enjoyed them at the luncheon I attended a few weeks ago and I'm sure some of my subjects would enjoy what I don't eat at the buffet later tonight.  This is all the money I bought with me, I hope it will suffice."

"Oh Princess, thank ya kindly!"  Applejack said with a grin on her face.  The bag was so full of bits, it would be difficult to carry back home!  "This here is just enough for me!  Why, with this many bits, we should be able to fix our old roof AND the plow.  And it might be just enough to help us to pay for most of a hip replacement for Ol' Granny Smith!  She'd be so overjoyed if we could do that for her!  In fact, Princess, Ah reckon this amount should be good enough to buy all of mah treats actually!  They're all yours, Princess!  After ya gotta go back to the Gala, I'll lend ya mah whole cart to take to the Gala and ya can just have yer guards deliver it to me or something."  

"I'm so glad I could help out, Applejack!"  Princess Celestia said kindly.

"Well, AJ, looks like you hit the jackpot!  A night ended well!" said Rainbow Dash giving Applejack a hoof-bump.  Then she walked over to one side of the table where there were more donuts left.  She bent down and ate one of the crispy creams while listening to the others talk.

"So what will happen while you're gone from the Gala, Princess?" asked Twilight.

"Well, I believe they just got finished with the aerial acrobatics show by the Wonderbolts.  Now they're doing some more fireworks, so we should at least be able to see them from here too."

"Oh good!  Even our other folks from Ponyville can see those!  I hope they all enjoy them!" said Twilight.  "It's too bad we missed the Wonderbolts though…"

"Yeah………Wonderbolts.  I wonder what they're doing now…" said Rainbow Dash gloomily.  It would be quite hard to replace what she lost at the Gala.

"Oh, Rainbow Dash, did you get to talk to the Wonderbolts I hope?" Fluttershy asked eagerly.

"Just a little, not much." Rainbow Dash said putting her head down on the table among the crumbs.  "I only got to say, like, a few words to them.  I stopped Soarin from losing his apple pie and then they invited me to come in to the VIP seating area.  I figured I'd be able to chat with them a lot, so I just sat down somewhere and snacked a little, but when I tried finding them, they were already talking to somepony and there was so much commotion I couldn't even get them to hear me.  Even when I just about had their attention, the paparazzi just had to come along and ruin everything and get their autographs and take pictures and junk."  Rainbow Dash would have gone on about how badly her night went, but the Princess rushed over to her as if to bring some urgent news, so Rainbow Dash drew her attention to her.

"Oh Rainbow Dash, I'm glad you said something!  I almost forgot:  I met with the Wonderbolts sometime after you all left the Gala, and they asked about you.  Spitfire said they had been looking for you but were not able to find you in the crowd and they asked if I could give this to you…"  She then used her magic to lift a little piece of paper with the Wonderbolt logo on it to give to Rainbow Dash.  "It's a ticket to their next big air show, and they want you to see them after the show."

Rainbow Dash's eyes widened as she looked down at the ticket and then her excitement took over.  "OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH OMIGOSH!!!!!" She squealed joyfully.  "THE WONDERBOLTS INVITED ME TO THEIR AIR SHOW?!?!?  THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!!"  She leaped in the air and started flapping her wings holding the ticket up high and screamed for joy.

"Wow!  See you guys, what would we do without the Princess?!"  said Spike as everyone clopped their hoofs for her.

"It was my pleasure everypony!" The Princess said gratefully.

"PRINCESS, THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!" said Rainbow Dash hugging the royal mare.

"You're welcome Rainbow Dash!  I look forward to seeing you there; I'm coming to the air show as well!"

"That's awesome!  I can't wait till it comes around!"  She looked up to the ceiling imagining herself at the air show meeting her heroes again, and then had a little fantasy of herself wearing their signature outfits soaring through the sky with them.


For the next few minutes, everyone talked amongst themselves about things in a much more positive manner now that the Princess had helped a lot of them out.  Even Pinkie was happier now to be with her friends enjoying herself since none of the ponies at the Gala wanted to party.  

Rarity's mood had improved much as well.  After what had happened with Prince Blueblood, all she wanted to do was get her mind off of him and talk with her friends, although eventually she brought him up...

"So, Rarity, how did it go with the Prince?" Fluttershy asked her since she didn't see how he treated her in the ballroom.

"Oh Fluttershy, it was just awful.  I've never met a grown colt so revolting and rude before!" Rarity complained. "All he cares for is himself, he would just go on and on about himself, and barely even got to know me!  And he was NO gentleman at all; he kept having ME open the doors for him even though the man should open the door for the lady!"

"Wow, talk about rude!" said Rainbow Dash disgustedly.

"Oh 'rude' is an understatement, Darling, he was TERRIBLE!!"  She said raising her voice a bit too high.  She turned to Princess Celestia to realize that she had heard her the whole time.  "I'm sorry, Your Majesty…  I hate to speak like this, but your nephew, Blueblood, was just not the man I thought he was…"

"I understand, Rarity." The Princess replied. "That Prince Blueblood has been pampered in the palace for ages.  He is rather arrogant indeed.  If I knew you had your eyes on him, I would definitely have warned you about him."

"I should have known all along what he was like…" said Rarity.  She wanted to talk more with the Princess about this because she seemed to be rather understanding on the matter, but she figured that talking about it would only make her feel worse.  "……but I digress.  Anywho, will there be another Gala next year, Princess?"

"Oh we have the Gala every few years actually.  It takes so long to prepare for that we can't have it annually like we used to."  The Princess explained.

"I see.  Well…I don't suppose it would help for us to come back again…"

"Oh of course you all are most welcome to come back to the next Gala, if you want to that is."

"Well, I dunno…" said Twilight.  "Do you guys all think it would be wise to go back after what we did there tonight?"  

Everyone else just exchanged glances and thought about their answers.  Would it help to come back to the Gala, especially after what had just happened?

"I'm sure everypony there will forget what we did…" said Rarity.  "But I'm still not too sure about being around the Prince again…"

"Yeah, plus what's the point of going back if nopony there wants to party with me…" said Pinkie staring down at the table full of crumbs from all the donuts she ate.

"Well, doesn't matter, guys."  Spike said putting his drink down.  He wanted to do his best to get their minds off the Gala.  He didn't want to see them all saddened, especially Rarity.  "What matters is that we are all here together now and we're having the time of our lives!"  He then turned to Pinkie to cheer her up.  "And don't worry, Pinkie, you've got the best party-goers right here for ya.  Those boring aristoponies may have ruined it, but we're still here."

"That's right, Darling."  Rarity added.  "Just because the party is over doesn't mean you still can't spend time with your real friends."

Pinkie smiled sheepishly.  "Aw, thanks you guys!  I know it's……er, wait.  THE PARTY OVER?!"  Pinkie exclaimed with a quizzical look. "PFFFFF!  What are you guys talking about?!  The party's just getting started!!"  Then a big smile formed on her face and her eyes beamed with excitement.

"Uh oh, everpony…" said Rainbow Dash sarcastically. "Looks like she's just gone into maximum overdrive now!  Prepare for one crazy party!"

"Hey, Pony Joe, does the juke-box work?"  Pinkie asked Pony Joe who was standing nearby.

"The juke-box?  Oh sure, it works great!  You want me to play something?"  He asked her.

"Yeah, does it have "Equestria Girls" on it?"

"Yup, here it is!"  He then used his magic to press the on-button and Pinkie's favorite pop-song, "Equestria Girls" started playing.

"Oh yeah, this is my jam!" she said getting ready to jump high in the air.  "COME ON, EVERYPONY, LET'S PAAAAAAARTAY!!!"

"Now THIS is a party!" Applejack said taking off her Gala dress.  "Come on, gals, we don't need these here dresses!  Let's get our groove thangs goin!!"

"You said it, Applejack!" shouted Rainbow Dash sliding onto the dance floor still wearing her olive branch garment.

"This will be fun!" said Twilight excitedly.  "Um…I don't suppose you'd like to join us, Princess?" she asked wondering if the royal alicorn even dared participate in such activity.

"Oh why Twilight, I haven't danced in years!"  She said happily.  "All the boring long days in the palace keep me away from it!  Of course I'd love to dance with you all!"

In a few minutes the whole restaurant was full of music and joy.  They all removed their Gala dresses for freedom of movement but kept on a few articles of clothing just for looks.  Even Philomena danced around above their heads performing stunning aerial acrobatics.  Pinkie stayed in the center showing off her wild break-dancing moves that no one actually knew she could do.  Applejack moved aside some chairs and tables to get enough room to do some bucking bronco kicks.  Rainbow Dash for the most part stayed flying around in the air challenging Philomena with her acrobatics along with Fluttershy who just watched them in midair while cheering them on.  Twilight danced with the Princess and was surprised at how well she was able to dance.  For the ruler of Equestria, you'd think that she would barely ever have time to even know how to dance.   Suppose she had been around for so long that she had seen enough ponies dance before and remembered it all?

The only pony who wasn't dancing was Rarity.  She was still smiling and enjoying watching the others dance but she didn't feel like dancing herself.  The night at the Gala seemed to be getting her down a little.  She also kind of missed being at the Gala.  Even though ponies like Pinkie Pie need music and dancing, Rarity was enjoying the sophisticated and exquisite atmosphere back at the palace.  A donut shop wasn't the place she had in mind for her night out.

Spike was enjoying himself dancing with the others, but looked around for Rarity to see if she might want to dance with him.  He realized Rarity was over by the table by herself.  She didn't seem too happy so he thought he could do something to cheer her up.  Thinking quickly, he ran outside to get his tuxedo he was wearing earlier when driving the apple carriage to the Gala.

"I'm so happy that we were all able to get this awful night off our minds…" Rarity said to herself. "I was afraid we'd all be so angry we wouldn't talk to each other for a while.  I guess we owe half of it to the Princess for helping us out with certain problems and apologizing for how things didn't go as planned.  Rainbow Dash got a promise to see her heroes again, Applejack managed to sell her treats after all, Twilight got to socialize with her mentor, Fluttershy was comforted by Philomena, and Pinkie is having the party of her life.  And I'm happy too, but……but I just can't seem to get my mind off of that Prince Blueblood…"  She hung her head and sat down on the floor.  Now she went from being happy to being moody; there was seemingly nothing that could cheer her up.  

"And to think that ever since I was a younger pony, I fantasized about him day by day.  I thought he was a gentleman of stature and respect, and come to find out he's a living scoundrel!  I know I shouldn't be dwelling on him any longer, but I'm in a severe state of denial, I still cannot believe he turned out to be like that…...  I guess this means that I'll go on a solitary path for the rest of my life.  And if I am to dance with my friends, I'll just go alone, unaccompanied by a fine gentleman like I was expecting…"

Rarity couldn't remove the image of loneliness from her mind.  It was as if everything she had ever hoped for was gone and never coming back, and nothing in the world could cheer her up or fill the hole in her heart.  Around her, loud energetic music was playing, but it was being drowned out by her emotions.  She wanted to dance with her friends just to make them all happy and hopefully calm her mind, but she just couldn't pick herself up and get on the dance floor with the others and fight back the tears that were starting to fill in her eyes.  Suddenly a familiar voice from behind came out of nowhere.

"May I have this dance, Rarity?"

Out of the corner of her eye, Rarity saw Spike in his tuxedo.  This was coming from someone she knew and trusted, but HE wanted to dance with Rarity?  A dragon and a pony, many ages apart?  Rarity at first couldn't believe she was hearing this from Spike.  She didn't come all this way to dance with a little dragon; she had been expecting a grown prince all along.  At first she felt somewhat angered by this, but she slowly turned her head to see he had his hand out in front of him and a big grin on his face.  He looked rather nervous yet confident as if he had been meaning to ask her for a while.  The look on his face showed that he wasn't joking or teasing her, he was honestly here to comfort her and lift her spirits.  A smile started forming on her face and all of a sudden she felt overjoyed.  She was expecting a gentleman, and now there was one waiting right there for her, she was wrong about being alone!

"Oh Spike…" she said nearly crying from happiness, "…what a gentleman you are!  Here I've been having such a horrible time after what happened to me at the Gala and then you come to cheer me up!  You sure do know how to make a lady's day.  Of course I'll dance with you, Darling!" Then she put her hoof in his hand lightly and they started walking towards the others.

Spike blushed and smiled even bigger.  He looked as if he had really wanted this to happen for some time.  Of course Rarity didn't know of his secret crush on her, but she started feeling as though he really did have feelings for her even if they were different in species and age.  But it didn't matter to her, it was just a dance he wanted, and she wasn't going to let Prince Blueblood get her down, so she took her chance to let Spike make her day.

"Aw, no problem!" Spike said sheepishly.  "I couldn't stand seeing you all sad, I hate seeing you sad."

"Oh, how thoughtful of you!  I would certainly take a fine gentleman like you over that arrogant, pampered palace-brat any day!"

"Oh look, everypony, Rarity's coming!" shouted Pinkie.

"Awww, and she's got a partner!" said Twilight as Spike walked by with an expression on his face that read "I told you so!"

"Well, I'll be!"  Applejack said proudly.

"I'm so sorry I'm a bit late, everyone." Rarity apologized.  "I was just a little sad, that's all.  But Spike managed to cheer me up!"

"Daaaw, how nice of him!" said Rainbow Dash giving Spike a light nuggy on the head.

"Well, Rarity, it looks like you really did find your Prince Charming after all!"  said Fluttershy as Rarity and Spike both blushed.

"Oh, nonsense, Spike just wants to dance with me.  But I'll tell you, he's much more of a Prince Charming than……oh, let's not talk about the Prince anymore, it's time for dancing, everyone, now let's get this party started!!"  Rarity said wildly while undoing her dress and throwing it to the side so she wouldn't get it any dirtier than it already was.  

Everyone got back to their dancing and Rarity was finally so happy that she forgot all about Prince Blueblood and didn't seem to miss him anymore.  Spike danced with her and she was surprised at how good of a dancer he was.  

Pinkie Pie remembered the male ponies that had brought them to the Gala and rushed out to welcome them in to dance.  They were reluctant at first but obliged once they heard that there were some left-over donuts in there.

The atmosphere of Pony Joe's was so full of positivity and the events at the Grand Galloping Gala were nothing more than a memory that seemed like it happened so many years ago.  For a night that had ended so horribly at the Gala, it ended wonderfully at the quaint little café in the heart of Canterlot.  Who knew that they would all find their real "best night ever" in there?

"So Twilight…" asked Princess Celestia after the music had ended and she was getting ready to leave for the midnight show at the Gala, "…have you learned any lessons tonight about friendship?"

Looking back at all her friends, Twilight gave the Princess her friendship report:

"I sure have Princess.  Tonight I learned, that sometimes we expect too much of something and end up getting nothing, and when it does turn out bad, disappointment can lead to depression.  But in the end, as long as you have an entourage of honest and loyal friends at your side, you can be sure that they'll make the worst time of your life the best time of your life instead.  They can make lemonade out of lemons so to say!"

"I'm very proud of everyone tonight for having very positive attitudes.  You all have even made my night much more enjoyable than I've experienced in years, and I thank you for that." said the Princess gratefully.

"You're welcome Princess!  Thank you for making our night even more enjoyable than we thought it would be." Twilight replied.

"I'll be seeing you all now.  Take care!" Princess Celestia and Philomena then left the café and headed back to the palace to conclude the Grand Galloping Gala.

Twilight walked out of the café and watched the Princess leap in the air flying away with her pet phoenix.  She sighed contently and looked back to her friends who had already followed her out the door.

"Well guys, it sure is getting late, I guess we'd all better go home now." she said right before giving a long yawn.

"Yeah, Ah sure am partied out!"  said Applejack yawning back.

"Well, Spike, you ready to take us back home?" Twilight asked, but she looked around and couldn't find Spike anywhere.  "Spike?"

"I'm afraid we'll have to carry our little baby dragon back home instead Twilight…" said Rarity coming out with Spike sleeping on top of her back.

"Oh dear, looks like he's had too many donuts!"

"Great, now we're gonna be DRAGON him all the way home!  PFFFFFF!" Pinkie said laughing.

"PINKIE!" shouted Rarity laughing hysterically while everyone else joined in.


And so ended a night worth remembering for Twilight Sparkle and all her friends; a night so initially displeasing but ultimately wonderful.  Some may call it luck; others may call it pure coincidence.  Well whatever it was, the power of friendship conquered all odds once more!

But what new adventures would await the ponies again?  Well that, my friend, is another story yet to come our way…



~~~THE END~~~
This is my official fanfic adaptation of my ever-so-popular "After the Gala" comic series:


So far, I'd have to say this is probably one of my better fanfics. I even took the time to have a friend of mine, *kat-fight202 proofread it for me! Sorry it's kinda long though, but it is only one page/chapter, no skipping around and whatnot.

It's just like the comic, but the ordering of events is a bit different and they're told in more detail and the wording may be a bit different too. But this one is much more emotional than the comics were! I really teared up when I was writing the part with Fluttershy! :iconhappytearsplz:

So enjoy and tell me what you think! Odds are this won't go on EqD, but what do I care? It's here for you all to enjoy!

MLP (c) Hasbro
FiM (c) Lauren Faust :iconfyre-flye:
"After the Gala" fanfiction (c) Me

EDIT: Thanks to :icongerudovalley: this fic has been featured on TV Tropes! :iconlaplz: [link] Press Fan Art and then scroll down till you see the one that says "This six page fan comic that..."
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"Hey beautiful."

Rainbow came up behind Fluttershy and wrapped her arms around the shy girl. Fluttershy glanced around nervously, turning around to face Rainbow, who responded by pulling her in for a passionate kiss. After that, she couldn't complain. There was something about the way that their lips fit together so perfectly, and how Rainbow's always had the faintest hint of bubblegum, as she was often chewing. Rainbow pulled away after a moment, a playful smile on her face.

"What, afraid we'll get caught?" she teased. When the other girl didn't reply, her smile faded.

"It's not that I'm ashamed to be with you," Fluttershy tried to explain. "But I don't want anyone to treat us differently."

"There's nothing wrong with us 'Shy," Rainbow insisted yet again, pulling her into her embrace and holding her close. "We are who we are. If our friends really care about us, they'll accept that we want to be with each other."

Fluttershy sighed in contentment, letting her head rest on Rainbow's shoulder. She didn't like any type of arguing, even about the smallest thing, and least of all with Rainbow. She knew the other girl was right, and besides, she hated having to hide who she was just as much.

"Why don't we just tell them?" Rainbow suggested. "Then we can stop with all of these secrets. I love you Fluttershy. That doesn't have to be a crime."

Fluttershy blushed, feeling the arms tighten around her, and she smiled.

"I love you too," she said softly. "And you're right. We shouldn't have to hide who we are, or who we love."
So I wrote this a few days ago at school, and after a little editing, I typed it up and it turned into this. As of now, it isn't part of a story I plan on writing, and it'll probably never turn into anything. Still, I really like it, so I thought I'd submit it.

MLP Friendship is Magic and characters property of Hasbro
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CHAPTER 1: Andromeda's discovery

Scattered pages and dusty old books filled the study in a cluttered mess as Andromeda Sparkle slept among the debris of her own handiwork. Unconscious after a long night of work, her mind only left dreamland when the amber beams of the rising sun shone on her face. With a groan, she slowly rose to her feet, heavy eyelids still drooping. Various loose documents clung to her face as she stood, unnoticed by her until their delicate forms slipped from her lavender cheeks and fluttered towards the blanket of weathered volumes that lay on the floor around her. Once the blur of sleep had finally faded, she turned to see the silhouette of her mom standing against the wall across the room, following a disarrayed chain of manuscripts as if casually searching for survivors.

Twilight Sparkle hadn’t turned the corner yet, but once she did, the purple mare wouldn’t be able to recognize the room. Andromeda’s expression burned from embarrassment at the thought, but cooled gently with the sound of her mother’s humming. Twilight’s melodic tune flowed through the house like a gentle breeze and illuminated the room as vividly as the sunshine outside. Caught in its trance, Andromeda nearly forgot what was happening and suddenly shook herself awake while her eyes scoured the floor around her in worry.

“She’s going to kill me if she sees this!” she whispered aloud.

While Twilight’s shadow was temporarily distracted with gathering up the breadcrumb trail of books and placing them into a neat stack, Andromeda began to frantically tidy up the war zone around her and prayed she would be able to clear the catastrophic remains of her private study in time. With a push of her amethyst-colored bangs out of her tired eyes, Andromeda charged her horn with a yellow glow and began cleaning up as quickly as possible. While she was normally not the disorganized type, she was nowhere near as orderly as her mother. Then again, she had never met anypony as obsessed with order as her mom. Hearing the sound of Twilight’s hooves growing closer, Andromeda panicked and shoved a large number of the leftover books inside a nearby chest and nervously faked a large smile just in time to see her turn the corner.

As Twilight walked in, the glow of the morning sun sparkled in her silky hair with a serene radiance, painting the nearby bookcase in its violet sheen. Andromeda gazed as even the very world that surrounded the famous mare seemed to become magical by her presence. Her mother had a look of confidence and responsibility that one would expect from an Equestrian hero, but all that mattered to her children was her loving compassion, which Andromeda could always see in her eyes. Regardless, Andromeda put on her best poker face and hoped her mother wouldn’t see past her façade.

"Morning, mom," she said happily as her hind hoof subtly pushed the last book on the floor behind the chest. “Did you have a nice rest?”

Twilight raised an eyebrow with a lighthearted smirk. Her daughter’s fatigued eyes did not match the bouncy greeting.

“Yes, I did. How about you, Andromeda? You look like you’ve had a long night. Did you sleep okay? I see you made a mess again.”

“I slept like a baby. And what mess?” Andromeda bluffed. “Sure, I dropped a few books, but it’s not that bad, right?”

“Uh huh. Take a look at your desk. See anything out of the ordinary?”

Andromeda spun to look at her workstation and winced. She had spent too much time organizing the books and not enough time clearing the desk, and the mistake in priority showed. Empty vials lay strewn around and several books were still open. Wrinkled note papers were scattered so thoroughly that one couldn’t even see the wood surface anymore. Andromeda shrugged innocently.

“Organized chaos?”

“Is that so?” Twilight replied, toying with her daughter. “Then I’m assuming the black hair is organized chaos too?”

Andromeda’s eyes grew wide.

“Black hair?”

Scurrying to the nearest hoof-held mirror, she pointed its reflective surface towards her to see a large section of the top of her mane blackened. The dark hue spread through her hair in long gnarled streaks like angled branches of a barren tree. Touching the mysterious color, it felt oily and wet.

“Aw man!” she groaned. “Ink? Are you kidding me?”

Twilight grinned with amusement.

“I warned you about falling asleep in the middle of writing new magic formulas. Nothing tires the mind more than scientific research at four in the morning.”

Andromeda picked up a rag with her magic and began to wipe the black liquid out of her hair with a sigh.

“Alright, fine. You caught me. I dozed off in the middle of my work and the room was a wreck when I woke up. I did sleep like a baby, though!”

“Obviously,” Twilight said with a smile as she took the rag and wiped the last bit of ink from the back of her daughter’s mane.
Andromeda looked at her mom sheepishly.

"Sorry about the mess. I’ll clean it up."

"It's okay. I understand you've been busy and sometimes research can get messy. You may think I’m a neat freak but,” Twilight said, stopping in mid-sentence to straighten a nearby book on the shelf, “I’ve had plenty of disorganized nights of study as well.”

“Uncle Spike always did say you had a tendency to throw books around when you were in a panic.”

“Which was all the time,” Twilight joked.

The two giggled lightly and began to clean up. As they worked, Twilight found the chest that was hastily crammed with books and shook her head.

‘What am I going to do with her?’ she thought to herself while shifting through the piles of encyclopedias and textbooks.
As she started organizing them, a feeling of nostalgia came over her when she began to take notice of what Andromeda had been reading. At closer inspection, she recognized most of the books and documents that lay before her. Though many of the covers were old and worn, their contents remained in her mind like a fresh memory, piquing her curiosity once again. As she scanned them with purple eyes twinkling, warm sentiments of the many hours she spent reading while under the tutelage of Princess Celestia returned to her. She could tell that they had come from Canterlot.

"I see you’ve been scoping the palace’s library,” she said without looking away, “and quite fervently too. I recognize all of these books except for the ones with the jeweled hearts on their covers. Did you actually travel all the way to the Crystal Empire to get these?”

“Sure did!” Andromeda replied.

“Wow, even I have rarely used so many books for one project! What is it that you've been working on that has you in such a reading frenzy anyway?”

Andromeda immediately dropped what she was doing and grinned widely.

"Oh yeah, I almost forgot!” she said. “I wanted to show you something!”

With a sudden bolt of speed, she began searching in the heaps with bright eagerness until she finally came across an old book and lifted it with her magic horn. Its leather exterior was rough and its paper had been yellowed from age as well as torn loose in several places. Bringing it to Twilight, she laid it down on the table with glee.

“I was working on improvements to the teleportation spell, when I ran into this in the Starswirl Wing of the Royal Canterlot Library.”

When she lifted the thick cover, a slight musk of old pages filled Twilight’s nostrils in a familiar scent. Many a time had she smelled that musty old aroma from the hidden reaches of the library. Andromeda wasted no time and immediately pulled one of the loose papers out and displayed it while she pointed at its contents.

"Take a look! There's a spell in here that will allow the user to time travel to any moment in the past! Did you know about this?"

Twilight’s eyes glided from one side of the page to the other, quickly scanning it as if copying its print in her mind for later use. When she finished, she looked back at her daughter and smiled.

"Of course I know about this,” she replied. “I’ve time traveled myself.”

Andromeda's sunset eyes glistened with vivid excitement as if a whole new world had opened before her. The world of science and magic was one of her greatest loves and it showed in every fiber of her being as a million questions ran through her head.

"Really?” she cried. “You actually time travelled? What was it like? Where did you go? Who did you meet? How far back did you time jump? Why..."

"Whoa there, filly!” Twilight laughed. “One question at a time! Yes, I've traveled before. I’ve done it several times, in fact. Did I never tell you about this?”
Andromeda shook her head.

"Well," Twilight continued, "the first time I tried to go back in time was to warn myself of a danger that ended up happening anyway. It's a long story that I promise to tell you and your brother another day. The next few time jumps were made when I was testing out my improved spell.”

"Improved spell?"

Twilight lifted the book and spun the pages quickly until a page filled to the brim with notes and formulas appeared. Turning the book towards her daughter, she beamed with pride at her work.

"See the initials?"

Andromeda leaned closer to better focus on the tiny lettering. At first glance it seemed like there wasn’t an empty spot left, but at the bottom of the ink-filled page stood out two letters in bright red ink--T.S.

"T.S.," she read aloud. "Twilight Sparkle! You wrote all this?"

"Of course! Remember who you're talking to," Twilight replied with a wink. "When I first used the spell, it only allowed the traveler to go back in time once and just for a few moments at most. At some point I secretly spent months working on ways to improve and lengthen the period of time the user could stay in the past. I knew it could be done and after countless hours of work, my intuition paid off. The last time I cast it, I was able to extend the trip from mere seconds to as long as thirty days or possibly even more!"

Twilight stopped talking when she began to see the wheels in her daughter's head spinning. She could tell when Andromeda was concocting a breakthrough in her busy mind. It was in her body language. Whenever a big idea sprang into her head, Andromeda's horn would momentarily spark with a dim pink glow, a unique trait that Twilight had never seen before, especially considering the fact that Andromeda's eyes were sunset-yellow.

“Thirty days, huh?” Andromeda asked softly, not really speaking to anypony in particular.

Andromeda was brilliant and, to the shock of most ponies, was actually more so than her mother when she was her age. Princess Celestia herself said that where Twilight proved to have a special talent in magic, Andromeda showed the same potential through her intelligence and scientific analysis. Like her mother, she was made a pupil of the Princess and even managed to impress Luna, who often spent time with her when work carried on into the night. Twilight knew Andromeda was inventing some kind of idea in her mind from the way she continued to decipher every word, note, and formula written in the book with eagerness.

“I know that look,” Twilight said, catching the rapid flash of the pink spark. “You’re on to something, aren’t you?”

The young mare said nothing, consumed in the new revelation that had just been shown to her. While magic was not her special talent, she nonetheless had a keen curiosity for its wonders. She was nowhere near as powerful as Twilight in that department, but with a lucky bit of heredity, she had gotten some above-average magical ability. This often proved useful for her experimentation with old spells. Seeing that she was checked out for the moment, Twilight began to pensively return to cleaning until Andromeda spoke up again.

"Wait," Andromeda said with a tinge of confusion, "these notes are incomplete. It seems you were on the brink of a breakthrough. Why did you stop?"

Twilight paused in rumination and the once shimmering glow of her hair seemed to dull before her daughter’s eyes. Twilight remained quiet for a moment as if carefully weighing her next words.

"The spell was too unstable to continue working on,” she said plainly.
Andromeda waited for a continuation, but received none when Twilight began organizing the sheets again. Impatience nudged her to keep asking questions.

“What do you mean? What happened?”

Twilight sighed.

“The more I 'improved' it, the less control I had over it. Sometimes I would end up several hundred paces away from my intended target, even going as far as aiming for my house and ending up in Froggy Bottom Bog. At some point I realized that casting the spell was taking its toll on my body. Each time I cast it, I grew sicker and sicker. Even returning home started to become more difficult. I kept trying to mend the problem, but every time I fixed one issue, another would take its place. After six or seven time jumps, I finally quit. I haven’t used it since.”

Seeing Andromeda’s perplexed expression, Twilight lightened the mood with a smile.

"Besides," she said sweetly, "after I met your father, I stopped obsessing over spells I couldn’t control and eventually I focused on having a family. Ponies think my becoming an alicorn princess was my proudest moment, but really, the greatest accomplishment I ever achieved was having you and Orion. Even if I had fixed the time travel spell for good, I wouldn’t change a thing in my life.”

Andromeda felt warm from the sentiment, but the fact of near-scientific breakthrough still proved too much to let go.

"But you were so close!" she exclaimed. "You could have perfected it and still had a family! Why didn’t you just fix the spell over time?”

Twilight sighed and picked up the book and notes again, examining it gently like a mare who had just found her old fillyhood doll. For too many years, she traded friendship for knowledge and even though she had raised her own family along with her friends and their children, she could see the same unquenchable drive in Andromeda. With the combination of her close relationship with Celestia and her brother’s marriage to princess Cadence, Twilight knew she could have remained in Canterlot and lived a life of royalty. She could have had the world if she wanted, but she knew that deep down, the life she chose was far greater than any kind she may have had before coming to Ponyville. Looking at Andromeda waiting patiently for an answer, Twilight shook herself out of her internal daydreaming.

"You may not understand it now,” she said, giving her inquisitor a hug, “but I learned long ago that relationships are more important than these things. You can't spend all of your time alone in a lab or a library. It took me years to figure this out, even after I moved to Ponyville. I know you have true friends here, but please don't let them fade away or lose contact with you. Make sure you keep them. Promise me?"

Andromeda felt confused from the “dear princess Celestia” response, but went along with it and hugged back.

"I promise."

Giving her daughter another squeeze, Twilight let go and continued her cleaning.

"Good. Now go get ready. I need you to run some errands for your father while he’s out. I'll take care of this mess for you."

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. And don’t forget to wash your hair!”

"Okay mom,” Andromeda replied.

As she made her way to her bedroom, her mind continued to spin. The idea of a perfected time-travel spell seemed too much to ignore, especially considering the way her mom acted when asked about it. Andromeda had grown up listening to her mother’s many stories, but why Twilight would not tell them about this one was odd. The more she thought about what she said, the more curious she became of her mother’s decision to put aside months and months of work permanently. There was a piece of the puzzle missing and she had no intention of letting the mystery slide.

“Mom never leaves anything unfinished," she said softly. “There has to be more to what she said than stopping to raise a family.”

Glancing back at Twilight, she grinned with a newfound sense of purpose.

“And I'm going to find out!”
My first ever fanfic of anything. I have written plenty of short stories before, but this is a new world for me. Regardless, this has been a fun project.

FEBRUARY 22, 2013: This chapter has been edited for final submission for Fimfiction.net. [link]


The story follows my OC's, the children of the Canon Mane Cast. Together, they get thrown back in time to meet their mothers.
***I say mothers, because this is NOT a shipping story, so the fathers will only be mentioned, but not described or named. Trust me, it will make sense later. ;) ***


Art cover by LinaPrime: [link]
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For those who want to know more about the characters I am speaking of (in this chapter it is Andromeda, the daughter of Twilight Sparkle), I would suggest going to my artwork and personality profiles to get an even better understanding of the characters I will reveal.



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I know there are a million fanfics out there, but if you liked it, comments are much appreciated! I want to know what people think.
If you actually want to follow the story, hit FAVE and/or WATCH as well! :)



Want to read more? Press [link] to go to Chapter 2


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Sympathy and Synergy


AUTHOR'S NOTE: It is absolutely imperative that you read the first four sections of my fanfic series before reading this one. Otherwise, you will not understand most of the references made here. Links to story Parts 1-4 can be found in the description.


"Oh my goodness, oh no, oh no, oh no," Fluttershy zipped along the as fast as she deemed safe for all the trees that surrounded her. Her quarry, the two young rabbits that bounded along ahead of her, constantly just out of her reach, ducked and weaved their way through the trees of Sweet Apple Acres with ease. Fluttershy mentally chided herself for attempting to handle the Baby Bunny Census herself this year. She had been worried that having Applejack round them up would scare them off like last year, but she had been utterly unable to keep them all in check by herself. Now, these two babies had run off, and if she didn't get them back to their mother, they might be lost. It was all made worse by the fact that they had run into Sweet Apple Acres. Fluttershy knew Applejack had a good heart, but the last time that rabbits had gotten into her crop, she had chased them around calling them "thievin' varmits'. Those were older bunnies and they could handle it, but Fluttershy feared that if AJ ran across these and assumed they were up to mischief, she might really scare them. With thoughts of defenseless baby bunnies in her mind, Fluttershy was bound and determined to catch them before they ran into somepony.

So focused was she on the escaping bunnies, that she didn't even notice when they did run into somepony else. The rabbits however, did, and sensing the presence of another pony, skidded to a halt. Fluttershy noticed nothing but the baby bunnies stopping, and saw her chance. She pounced and landed with her forelegs surrounding them, her head above them, preventing their escape. "Gotcha!" She said with a quiet note of triumph in her voice, a little louder than she would around other ponies, but then again, she didn't know she was around another pony.

"Good afternoon, Miss Fluttershy." The kind voice of a stallion sounded from nearby.

"eeep!" Fluttershy resisted the urge to jump backwards only for fear of losing the bunnies again. She cautiously looked up to see a large dark red earth pony stallion with a short, orange mane and tail and deep, caring green eyes smiling down at her.

"What brings you down to Sweet Apple Acres today?" Big Macintosh asked the trembling yellow pegasus, "Here to see Applejack?"

Seeing Big Macintosh, who was at least familiar to her, calmed Fluttershy's nerves slightly. "Oh, no…" She began quietly, "I was just catching these two bunnies. They escaped and I have to bring them back to the census." She explained, blushing and hiding her face behind her long mane even as she did so.

"Well, then ah suppose ya'll be needin' somethin' ta carry them home with." Macintosh said. He turned around and reached for something behind him with his mouth. He brought his head back around, holding an apple bucket in his jaw. He placed it gently beside Fluttershy. "You can use that, if ya like."

"Oh. Thank you, but I couldn't take this from you."

"No, I insist. You'll need this to carry them anyway. And ya can just bring it back when yer done."

"Oh, thank you, Macintosh." Fluttershy said, placing the bunnies in the bucket, "Is there anything I can do for you?" She asked before taking the bucket handle in her own mouth, she felt like she now owed him for some reason, even though she wasn't expecting him to have anything she would be able to do.

"Actually, Ah think there is." Macintosh said, somewhat surprising Fluttershy, "Ah'll show ya if ya follow me to the barn." Fluttershy hadn't really been expecting there to be anything for her to do, and she had to get back to the rest of the bunnies, but she had offered, after all, and there was a sparkle in his kind eyes that made it impossible for her to refuse. Without speaking, she floated gently up to him, stopping next to him, signaling for him to lead on. He turned and began trotting towards the barn, Fluttershy flapping along beside him. She could tell that he was keeping a slow pace for her comfort, even if it might be slower than he was used to.

'He looks so big and strong and tough, but he really is gentle, isn't he?' She idly thought to herself, unable to keep her eyes off her companion. She suddenly realized what she was doing and shook herself to remove her gaze. Could she be having a… crush… on Big Macintosh? No. No. He was Applejack's brother. Applejack was one of her best friends; she couldn't have feelings about her big brother. Sure, most of the other colts in town were loud and brash, always trying to impress somepony or show off, they had always seemed so rude and unkind to her. And sure, Big Macintosh had never been like that, so modest, so humble, so quiet all the time, so caring and supportive of his family, so polite every time she or her other friends came around to see Applejack. He was a gentlecolt, to be sure, and he… Fluttershy shook herself again. She couldn't be thinking like this! She had always shied away from most company, except for that of her friends. She had never felt this way about anypony else before, but she found she couldn't help but keep throwing him sidelong glances. Her gaze kept falling on his tall, muscular, frame. His wideset shoulders and lean, rippling leg muscles. His orange mane, individual hairs dancing in a soft breeze, entrancing her for a moment… She blinked. 'Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.' She thought to herself.

"Are you OK, Miss Fluttershy?" Big Macintosh asked. He looked at her, holding the door of the barn open, waiting for her to enter.

"Oh, yes. I'm fine." She said meekly before entering. He followed her through the doors and pointed a hoof towards the back of the barn.

"He's back there." He said, indicating a pile of hay towards the rear of the barn.

'He?' Fluttershy thought as she trotted over. She looked down, and saw, to her surprise and delight, a tiny kitten curled up in a ball in the hay. He was a calico kitten, and his eyes were closed in sleep. Despite his warm, soft bed, he still looked uncomfortable, his sleep seemed troubled, and his breathing appeared to be a little ragged.

"Ah found him two weeks ago. Back when it was still winter, before Winter Wrap-up, Ah mean." Macintosh said from behind her, "He was cold and all alone out in a field on the farm, so Ah brought him here to warm him up. At first Ah thought he was just getting' over being cold, but now it's been spring for a week, and the weather has been getting even warmer, and he still hasn't improved. Ah think he may be sick. Ah know yer good with animals, so Ah was wonderin' if there was anything you could do for him."

Fluttershy almost didn't hear him as she went into a frenzy of activity, checking the tiny kitten's heartbeat, his breathing, and everything else she could think of. Then she stood up. "He is sick, but I can fix him. I should go back to my cottage to get some supplies." She stated. "That is, if you want me to…"

"Oh go ahead, please, Miss Fluttershy." Big Macintosh nodded his head with sincerity. "Ah just want Lil' Hayseed to be OK."

Fluttershy took the basket of bunnies in her mouth again and flew off towards her cottage. 'Such a cute kitten. And he's already given him a name? He must really care about him. I had no idea he was so passionate for animals…' She found herself landing at her cottage soon enough, and she placed the baby bunnies in the chicken coop enclosure, where she had temporarily placed all the bunnies that were waiting for the census. Then she flew inside. She stopped at a drawer in her kitchen and began digging through it. She soon produced a small white set of saddle bags with a red cross and a black paw print on it. "Here it is, the Kitty Cat Care Kit," She said to herself as she slung the bags over her back and took off out her front door again. She wasted no time getting back to the barn at Sweet Apple Acres. When she landed in the doorway again, Big Macintosh looked shocked at her speed. She had always felt that she could give Rainbow Dash a run for her bits if there was ever an animal in distress, after all.

"Could you please warm up some milk, Macintosh?" He ran off to the kitchen before she could even say: "That is, if you want to." Then, she set to work. She first removed a small pouch of catnip from the bag and swung it in front of the little kitten's sleeping face. His nose twitched and Fluttershy was rewarded when his tiny feline eyelids lifted to reveal sparkling blue eyes. She waited for Macintosh to return with a bowl of warm milk. When he did, she reached into her pack and removed some cat medicine. She gently crushed the pill into a powder and stirred it into the milk. She then carefully set a saucer in front of the kitten, who lapped at it heartily. She smiled to see that he was getting his medicine. Then she turned back to Big Macintosh. "This medicine should make him all better soon. If you want me to, I can come back every day to check up on him. Unless it would be a bother, I don't mean to impose…"

"Naw, that would be great, Miss Fluttershy. I hope he does get ta feelin' better soon. Thank ya so much for yer help."

"I'll see you tomorrow, then? That is, if you want…"

"Of course. I'm sure Lil' Hayseed will enjoy your visit too."

As she flew home again, it took Fluttershy a moment to realize that Big Macintosh had meant HE would enjoy her visit. 'Is he looking forward to seeing me?' She asked herself as she flew, a strange carefree feeling of giddiness washing over her.

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She returned to the farm every day for the next week. For the first couple visits, she gave Little Hayseed more doses of the medicine, and by the third visit, he had greatly improved. Fluttershy told herself that she was coming over every day to make sure the little kitten was doing OK, but in the back of her mind, she knew that the kitten had recovered, and she had another reason for wanting to come over every day. She didn't want to admit it to herself, but she wanted to see Big Macintosh more and more. Each day she got less and less shy around him, and found herself engaging in longer and longer conversations with him. She had never known him to share her interest in animals, but she often found herself talking with him for long periods of time about them. His knowledge of creatures, especially those he looked after on the farm, astounded her and only made her want to be with him more. She still didn't tell him of her feelings though, she still feared what both he and Applejack would think…

On the eighth day, she came to Sweet Apple Acres and was unable to find Macintosh. After searching a little bit, she found that she couldn't find him, nor Applejack, Applebloom, or any of the Apple family on their farm. A quick check revealed that they weren't in town either. Perplexed and slightly worried, Fluttershy decided to turn to the one pony who might know where they were.

Fluttershy flew towards the towering cloud house with a rainbow waterfall. Applejack and Rainbow Dash had been dating for several months now, ever since Rainbow had saved AJ's life at the cliffside back in the fall, and if anyone knew where Applejack, and by extension, the rest of the family, was, it would be Rainbow Dash. She landed on the cloud outside the front door, and composed herself before she knocked. After knocking, she heard hooves coming closer to the door from inside the house.

"Hey Fluttershy, what brings you here?" Rainbow Dash said as she opened the door, greeting her pegasus friend.

"Oh, hello, Rainbow Dash. I just had a question." Fluttershy said.

"Well, come on inside. This is no place to talk." Rainbow gestured towards the door. Fluttershy smiled at the invitation, Rainbow had become much less self-centered ever since she had begun seeing AJ. She stepped inside the cloud house and Rainbow gestured towards a couch, where they both sat down. "What is it you were going to ask me?"

"Well, I was just wondering where Applejack, Applebloom and Big Macintosh were. I haven't seen them anywhere today, and I thought you might know where they are, considering you and Applejack are… together…" Rainbow was silent for a moment, causing Fluttershy to worry. "But if you don't know where they are that's OK too, I'm so sorry I intruded, I'll just leave now." She almost got up, but Rainbow's outstretched hoof stopped her.

"No. I know where they are. You might not like this, Fluttershy." Rainbow said, "They're all at the hospital."

"Oh dear, is somepony hurt? Why didn't they tell anyone?" Fluttershy squeaked, worry filtering into her voice as she feared the worst.

"Actually… It's Granny Smith. You and I both know she's getting pretty old, and Applejack told me that last winter was especially hard on her. They finally took her to the hospital today, and AJ seemed really worried. I don't want to think about it, Fluttershy, but I fear the worst." Rainbow said, she sounded pretty worried too.

Inwardly, Fluttershy couldn't help but feel slight relief. At least it wasn't Big Mac or Applejack who was hurt, but she knew that it wasn't good for Granny Smith to be in the hospital either. She was old, and if she was getting sick, the outcome could be pretty bad. Fluttershy gulped at the thought.

After speaking a little longer, she bid Rainbow goodbye and headed home again. Nopony saw head or tail of any Apple family member for two more days, and then they showed up in town again, less one member. News spread fast, mostly from Nurse Redheart, the source of the diagnosis: "Old age and natural causes". Old age and natural causes were enough to fracture a close-knit family, and enough to bring every citizen of Ponyville to offer words of sympathy.

The funeral was scheduled for the next week, and Applejack, leaning against Rainbow Dash for support and comfort, trying to fight back tears, personally asked Fluttershy and each of their other friends if they could be there for her on that day. None of them would have thought to do anything less. As such, they all found themselves up front and center in a graveyard. All of the mixed Apple Family relatives had descended on Ponyville for the funeral. The audience of family members surrounded the eight ponies up front. Most of them were crying, some were trying to keep a brave face, but all were touched by the loss of their oldest member. Right out in front, Applejack stood, tears flowing freely down her face, staring at the dark maw that the coffin was to be lowered into. On her right stood Rainbow Dash. She wore a brave face, and Fluttershy could tell Rainbow was blocking out all emotion for Applejack's sake.

        Fluttershy pawed the ground. She knew she should have felt sad, but she felt more nervous than anything. Between Fluttershy and Applejack stood Big Macintosh, he was trying to stay composed, but Fluttershy could tell he was close to tears himself. His hoof stroked the red mane of the small yellow filly below him. Applebloom sobbed into the ground, unwilling to look up at the new gravestone or the black hole in front of it. Fluttershy, trying to stay calm and collected, which she was finding difficult due to her emotional state, hovered next to them, wondering what to do. Beyond her, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and even Pinkie Pie, her hair down and looking quite straight, all bowed their heads in respect.

Fluttershy contemplated what to do. She kept looking up Big Macintosh's face. He looked sad, but he was trying to hide it. Meanwhile, he continued to comfort Applebloom. Fluttershy couldn't help but think what a good pony he was being. He kept trying to comfort his family, even though he probably needed comforting himself. Herein lay Fluttershy's dilemma. She was beginning to feel comfortable around Big Macintosh, but she wasn't sure if he would accept if she made any advances, even if she did want to try making him feel better. As she argued with herself in her head, she glanced back up to his face. The look in his eyes made up her mind completely. Slowly, gradually, she rose up off the ground and floated next to him. She brought her mouth down to his ear and whispered. "Um… Macintosh?" He looked up at her, saying nothing but willing her to continue. "Are you… are you going to be OK?" She saw him nod. A single, curt nod.

        "Oh, Macintosh. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I know she must have meant a lot to you, and I… I think… well… if you're feeling sad, I can be here for you. If you want me to, that is." This wasn't working. There was really nothing she could say at this moment. But she wanted to help him, she wanted to be able to do something. Fluttershy looked back down at Big Macintosh. He had shifted his gaze back to the grave. She looked down. Her words weren't helping. She felt sad that she couldn't do anything to help, but then her expression brightened as she saw Macintosh's hoof. It was still stroking Applebloom's mane. 'Maybe that's it!' she thought suddenly. Tentatively, she reached her own hoof out towards Big Macintosh's own orange mane. She felt the hairs of his mane touch her hoof and began to imitate his own motion with her hoof. She dragged her hoof through his hair and smiled for him when he looked back up at her. She watched as but one lonely tear broke through his defenses and fell from his eye.

She continued this motion for a while, saying nothing more, until she got tired of hovering. She landed, but even then, she decided to try and make her comforting presence known. She continued to look up at him, and he down at her. She wasn't quite as tall as he was, but as if to remedy this, she found him leaning his own head down to meet hers. They both looked at each other for a shot while before Big Macintosh spoke. "It means enough that you care." He said. Then, without warning, he leaned his head over and gently nuzzled the side of Fluttershy's face. Fluttershy stood rooted to the ground in both shock and enjoyment. As she took in the feeling of his cheek against hers, she began to rub back, overcoming her shyness for this earth pony, this pony she now knew she wanted to be with.

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She thought about him all that night. She still couldn't get him off her mind the next day as she tended to her animals. She had never felt such a strong desire to be with somepony before, and especially now that he had lost a loved one, she found herself wanting to be there for him. To make him feel better, to see him happy again. As afternoon approached, she couldn't fight the urge anymore. She left her cottage and headed over to Sweet Apple Acres.

In the waning light of a setting sun, she approached the Apple Family's farmhouse. As she got closer, she could see ponies through the dining room window, talking. As she approached the window she recognized Big Macintosh and Rainbow Dash. They were chatting about something at the table. Macintosh was talking, and Rainbow seemed to be listening, nodding her head as if understanding something Big Mac had said. As Big Macintosh finished speaking, he looked up at the window where Fluttershy had her face pressed. Her blue eyes met his deep green ones and they locked gazes for a moment. He gave her a warm smile which she promptly returned, and then he and Rainbow stood up and headed towards the door. Fluttershy left the window to meet them. Big Macintosh and Rainbow Dash left the house, and Fluttershy flew the short distance over to them. "Thanks, Miss Dash," She heard him say as she landed next to the two of them. She looked up at Macintosh with a sympathetic look in her eyes, and even then felt warmth in her cheeks as she knew Rainbow was watching her. She looked over to her friend, and saw Rainbow Dash nod in understanding. She smiled for her oldest friend before following Big Macintosh, who was now walking down the path towards town.

Looking back, she saw Rainbow kick off the ground and fly up into the air, before disappearing into the open window that she assumed led to Applejack's room. She turned to Big Macintosh walking next to her and asked: "What is she doing?"

"Applejack took Granny Smith's death very hard. She locked herself up in her room today, and Ah couldn't get her to come down. So Ah asked Miss Dash if she could fly up there and cheer her up. Ah really hope she'll be OK."

"Don't worry. If anypony can cheer her up, it's Rainbow Dash. She is the element of Loyalty, after all." Fluttershy said. "Speaking of which, Macintosh, how are you doing? I know you're worried about Applejack, and you were worried about Applebloom yesterday, but I want to know about you. How are you taking this?"

"Ah suppose Ah'm takin' it better than most. I knew Granny Smith was gettin' weaker for a while, and Ah guess you could say I saw it comin', but… but…"

"But it still hurts now that she's not here anymore?"

"Exactly." Macintosh sighed. "Miss Fluttershy? Ah just wanted to let you know… how much it means to me that ya care enough to ask about me. Ah feel like, sometimes… other ponies just see me as a quiet farmpony without feelings, and don't pay attention to me. Ah get used to it, but it's still really nice to have somepony like you ask me how I'm feeling and spend time with me."

Fluttershy stopped and threw her forehooves around his neck, catching Macintosh by surprise. "I'm so sorry you feel like that Mac." She sobbed. "Nopony deserves to be ignored. You can always come to me if you need a little kindness." She held onto his neck, wanting with all her heart to be there for him.

"It's OK, Miss Fluttershy. Like Ah said, it means enough that you care." He said. She pulled herself away, blushing again. He continued, "Actually, Ah wanted to make it up to ya."

"Oh." Fluttershy squeaked, "You don't have to do anything for me. I'm just happy to be here, with you."

"But I want to. Please, Miss Fluttershy, let me take you out to dinner tonight." He said.

Fluttershy couldn't argue. "OK. But nowhere fancy. I don't want you to spend your bits on me"

"Ah know just the place." Macintosh replied with a wink.

As they reached town, they heard voices off in the distance. "Ahhhhhhh! Look! Can't you see them! Run, run, RUN!" They both looked to see what was happening, and were surprised as the flower sisters rushed past them. Roseluck, Lily, and Daisy had worked themselves into some sort of panic.

"Oh dear, what do you think is wrong?" Fluttershy asked, suddenly worried that something might be happening.

Macintosh chuckled. "It's probably nothing. Ah've worked the apple stand next to their flower stand for years now, and Ah can tell you, they act like this almost every spring."

"Aaaaah! Ohmygosh! Look! In my garden! Purple roses!" They heard from some distance down the road.

"See, they've always had a flair for the dramatic." Macintosh and Fluttershy shared a laugh at the thought of ponies getting so worked up over flowers. The unexpected interruption did have the good effect of lightening the mood, and both ponies found themselves more relaxed. In no time at all, Fluttershy found herself at the door of the restaurant Macintosh had been leading her to. "After you, m'lady." Macintosh said with a grin as he held the door open. Fluttershy blushed as she walked inside.

Dinner was light-hearted and enjoyable. They shared many laughs and stories as they ate their way through salad and sandwiches. Macintosh found a release in telling Fluttershy stories about Granny Smith and his childhood. Fluttershy listened intently to each one. She laughed at some, she cried when he told her of losing both his parents, and they kept talking late into the evening. When they left the restaurant, Macintosh, ever the gentlecolt, offered to walk her home. They walked the path to her cottage in silence, Fluttershy reflecting on all the fun she had had that night, more than she had in a while.

"Thank you for dinner, Macintosh. I really enjoyed myself." She said when they reached her door.

"It ain't a problem, Miss Fluttershy. Thanks for bein' there for me. It really does means a lot to me that ya cared for me when I needed it."

Before he could walk away, Fluttershy hovered up so that her mouth was level with his ear. "I still do." She whispered.

With that, Macintosh turned around and planted a big kiss on Fluttershy's cheek. She was shocked and immediately began to blush, the unexpected move catching her off guard. She didn't say anything for a moment, just floated in stunned silence. Seeing this, Macintosh thought he had overstepped his bounds, and turned away, beginning to walk home with his head hung in shame. Fluttershy saw this, and would have none of it. She sped through the air to get in front of Big Macintosh. In the split second it took for her to turn herself around in front of the Farm pony and face him, she had made her decision. She chose to let go of all fear, abandon all trepidation, and forget her shyness. Macintosh barely had time to react to suddenly having a pony in front of him before she pressed her lips to his.

For any other pony in Ponyville, the time could be measured in seconds. A couple dozen ticks of a clock and this particular moment would be over for them. For Fluttershy and Big Macintosh, however, no unit of measurement could accurately represent the moment they experienced as they were pressed together. For them, time and other such logical things ceased to exist as the universe stopped, just for them. It could have lasted for an instant or an eternity, but when they pulled apart, neither cared. For a long time afterward they just stared into each other's eyes as the universe got back up to speed around them.

"Good night, Macintosh." Fluttershy spoke first. As she passed him, walking back towards her house, she let her long, pink, tail flit across his still-frozen face.

"Good night, Flutter." She heard from behind her, and her heart threatened to burst.

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The next day, Fluttershy knocked on the door of Carousel Boutique. "Come on in, Darling, we're just about to open anyway!" She heard from inside. It was still a few minutes from opening time. Fluttershy opened the door and stepped inside the shop. "Oh, Fluttershy!" Rarity sang out, "What brings you here this morning?"

"I need to talk to you about something."

"Darling, you're my best friend, you can tell me about anything." Rarity responded.

"Please promise you won't gossip about it all over town?" Fluttershy asked.

Rarity's ears flinched. If she was worried about gossip, then this must be especially interesting. She had to promise, though. She wouldn't tell a soul. "Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!" she said as she went through the motions.

"I had a date last night." Fluttershy stated.

"Oh, Darling, that's just fabulous!"" Rarity exclaimed, "Who's the lucky colt?"

"Big Macintosh." Fluttershy said simply, blushing slightly as she did so.

"Oh. Come to think of it, I do remember you stroking his mane at the funeral." Rarity said, "You must tell me everything!"

"Well, I was worried about him, so I went to see him at Sweet Apple Acres, and then we walked through the orchard to get to town, and we talked some. Then he offered to buy me dinner, but I tried to tell him it wasn't necessary, but he insisted. So we ate dinner together, and we talked for a long time. He told me stories from his foalhood, and we just sort of talked until it was really late. Then, he walked me home. He told me how nice it was that I cared about him and how much it meant to him that I came to ask how he was doing. And then… he kissed me… on the cheek."

Rarity gasped. "What did you do?"

"I just hovered there. I was so startled, not that I didn't want it, I just wasn't expecting that. So I was just silent for a bit. Then he started to walk away, he looked so sad. Maybe he thought that I didn't want it. I was scared he would leave…"

"So what happened? Tell me tell me tell me tell me!"

"I flew after him and I kissed him right on the lips." Fluttershy squeaked, "Oh, Rarity. I'm so confused. I don't know if I did the right thing, or if I'm taking this too fast, or if… or if… I…I… I think… I think I love him." She finished, her voice growing particularly quiet.

"Oh, Darling!" Rarity cried, embracing her best friend, "You did just the right thing. You couldn't have him leave thinking you didn't like him back, could you?"

"I guess… but… but does he even like me?" Fluttershy asked.

"Well, what did he say when you kissed him?" Rarity responded.

"Well… He said 'Good night.' And… and…" She paused, blushing as if it were embarrassing to continue, but continued anyway. "And he called me 'Flutter'."

"Well there you go. Big Macintosh is a very polite, formal pony when it comes to interacting with others. I don't think I've heard a time when he hasn't referred to one of us, except for his sister, obviously, as 'Miss Rarity' or 'Miss Fluttershy', or the like. If you got him to call you a name like 'Flutter', then he must really like you and feel comfortable around you." Rarity said with a smile on her face. Fluttershy began to cry. Rarity was taken aback, "Fluttershy, darling, aren't you happy?"

"I am, Rarity, I really am!" Fluttershy said between sobs, still holding onto Rarity, "I just don't know what to do now! I don't want to ruin this, but I have no experience! I don't know what to do!"

"Well, you've come to the right mare for advice, Fluttershy!" Rarity exclaimed, smiling as her friend's sobs slowed. "And my advice is this. Go find him. Spend more time with him, and be yourself. He likes you for who you are, and if you keep being the nice, kind, caring, sweet, and cute Fluttershy we all know and love, you'll never lose him." She said with all the sincerity she could muster.

"Th-thanks R-Rarity," Fluttershy said as she pulled from her friend's embrace. "I've got to go find him now!" She declared, and before Rarity could get a word in edgewise, she was out the door.

Rarity sighed. "First Rainbow Dash and Applejack, and now Fluttershy." She sighed again, "Don't worry Rarity, you'll find somepony soon enough. The perfect stallion is out there waiting for you, you'll find him soon enough."

As if on cue, the bell to her front door rang again. "Ooh! My first customer of the day!" She exclaimed as she headed out to greet them.

She was confronted with a tall, handsome, unicorn stallion whom she had never seen before. "Is this where I can find the acclaimed fashion designer, Rarity?" he spoke in a smooth voice that seemed to flow through the air like silk.

'Yes, perhaps I will find him soon enough.' Rarity thought to herself as a smile crossed her face, ready to greet this new customer.

=====================================================================

Fluttershy flew so fast along the path to Sweet Apple Acres that she almost flew right into Big Macintosh, who was coming the other way. "Well, hullo there, Flutter." He said, brightly, "Ah was just comin' ta see ya.'

"Good morning, Macintosh, I was just coming to see you too."

"Well, I guess it's a good thing we found each other, then." He replied with a smile.

"Yes, yes it is." She said, answering a question she could have taken two ways, and answered both in the same way. "How is Little Hayseed doing? Is he well?"

"Eeeyup. He was up and playing around in the barn early this mornin', that medicine ya gave him really worked wonders."

"Oh, it's nothing special. I just love helping out little animals." Fluttershy responded, meekly shoving away the compliment.

"Flutter," Big Macintosh said, bringing his head down to nuzzle Fluttershy gently, causing her to blush, "What you did was really good. Ah'm real thankful for it." Big Mac paused as if just noticing something, "It's gettin' pretty late in the morning. Ah guess Applejack is up by now. Ah should probably be getting' on home."

"But uh… but weren't you just there?" Fluttershy asked as she started to follow him along the path.

"Nope. Ah slept in the barn last night."

Fluttershy gasped. "But why?" She stammered, "Weren't you cold? Weren't you uncomfortable?"

"Nah. It actually gets pretty warm in the barn, and Ah had plenty o' soft hay ta sleep on. Ah've done it plenty o' times before."

"But why this time?"

"Well… Uh…" Macintosh suddenly looked uncomfortable, "Miss Dash was… uh… in there uh… 'comfortin'' Applejack last night. I didn't feel comfortable goin' into the house."

"Oh…" Fluttershy whispered, "I see." She blushed again at the idea of two of her best friends… she shook herself. She didn't need those thoughts…

"Ah figure it's about time to head back for breakfast now." Big Mac said, turning his head back in the direction of the house.

"Ok. I guess I'll be going then." Fluttershy whispered uncomfortably and began to rise off the ground.

"Why don't you come with? You're just as welcome in mah house as Miss Dash is." Macintosh said, turning to her.

"Well, thank you for the offer, but I would hate to impose…"

"What's worryin' you?" Macintosh asked, sensing that there was something wrong.

Fluttershy sighed. "I… I just… I just don't know, Mac. What about Applejack? What will she think of… us? I mean… she is your sister…"

The faintest glimmer of a frown crossed Macintosh's face before he smiled again and answered her, calm and collected. "Well Ah suppose there's only one way to find out." And with that, he brought a hoof up to rest on Fluttershy's back, causing her to land softly next to him. She pressed herself up against his side for a moment. Then, with her strong, caring, protecting stallion at her side, Fluttershy began the long walk to Apple Family house.

=============================================================================

"Well Ah'm happy for y'all!" Applejack exclaimed, surprising Fluttershy as she embraced her, "but Ah gotta say, it took ya long enough! Ya came over every day for a week, even after we all knew that silly cat was all better. It ain't hard to guess what ya were really after."

"It's good to see ya feelin' better, sis" Big Macintosh spoke up, saving Fluttershy from the embarrassment of responding as red spread across her face.

"Well, Ah have mah own pegasus ta thank fer that." Applejack responded, turning to face a cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane, sitting at the kitchen table with a hot drink in front of her and beginning to develop a blush of her own. Rainbow Dash stood up and walked over to the other three ponies in the room. She placed her hooves around Fluttershy's neck as well and hugged her oldest friend for a moment.

"Don't be upset, Fluttershy," She said as she looked at her friend, "If anypony deserves this, it's you." Her eyes spoke more than her words. They spoke of the many years of experience the two pegasi had shared. Fluttershy knew the sad story of Rainbow Dash and the role she herself had played in it just as well as Rainbow herself did, and the look in the cyan pony's eyes told Fluttershy just what her friend was thinking of. Cloudsdale, Flight School, and a little yellow pegasus filly who had mended a broken heart, and was now getting her due in return.

Fluttershy smiled to her friends, finally hugging Big Macintosh as a single tear of joy ran from her eye. "So what do ya want to do today?" Macintosh whispered into her ear as he nuzzled her.

"Oh, I don't know," Fluttershy answered, her heart feeling lighter now that she had no further worries. "I think a nice walk in the park would be lovely. But you don't have to buy me dinner again. Oh, no, I don't mean that I didn't have fun last night, I really had a great time, but I… just don't feel… comfortable… with you spending bits on me…" She finished, hiding her face behind her mane as she felt she had said too much.

"A walk in the park it is then." Macintosh said, continuing to nuzzle her cheek, bringing a smile to both of their faces. "But what do you think we should do for dinner then?"

"Well… You could come to my cottage… I mean, I'm a pretty good cook… If you want to, that is, I don't want to force you…" Macintosh's only answer was to gently press his lips to hers, causing her second-guessing to melt away in a small moment of passion. Smile still on his face, he led his marefriend out the door and back outside, on their way to the park.

"Looks like we have the house to ourselves again," Applejack said, turning to face Rainbow once they were alone.

"Do you think I should tell them about the storm the weatherponies have planned for later?" Rainbow asked.

"Nah." Applejack replied, drawing closer, "They'll be fine. Besides, Ah'm not ready fer ya ta leave just yet." She whispered as she locked her mouth with Rainbow Dash's, her tongue slipping inside the mouth of her partner…


Just as Rainbow Dash had known, the storm was scheduled for that night. Everypony in Ponyville took their shelter indoors as the swollen black and grey clouds, put in place by the pegasus ponies of the weather team, unleashed their contents on the sleepy community. Droplets of water pelted down from the sky, falling thick and fast to soak the town and surrounding countryside. Winds blew in a frenzy, whipping some of the falling water into even more directions and causing further confusion in the gathering storm, as moving air and water combined to create billowing sheets of water that were thrown down at a frightening rate from the storm clouds. Every few moments, a bolt of electricity would flash from the sky, the lightning and the exploding crashes of thunder that tagged along adding more noise and confusion to the scene of chaos that was quickly enveloping the outdoors. In truth, pony-made storms were not meant to be this violent. However, unforeseen circumstances and outdoor events, especially the funeral, had necessitated the rain that was supposed to be falling steadily for a few days to be held off until the third day. Behind schedule and with a quota to fill, the Ponyville weather team had had no choice but to use the power of a major storm to dump the week's required fill of rain in one day.

The first thunderstorm of spring meant plenty of water for plants that had had but a few weeks since winter to grow. Around Ponyville, homeowners and proprietors retired to the beds in their houses and shops as the night grew late. It was the thought of all the help the plants were getting, and the beauty that would come of it, that allowed most ponies to tolerate the cacophony and drift off to sleep. But sleep did not come to everypony. In the outskirts of Ponyville, on the edge of the Everfree Forest, stood a cottage. Within the small structure was a room full of comfortable looking furniture, but the pony who would normally use them was instead on the floor. Curled in a tight ball on the rug in the middle of the floor and shaking in fright, a soft yellow pegasus with a flowing pink mane tried to block out the flashes of light and explosions of sound that assaulted her senses. Fluttershy was terrified.

Hiding from the outside world behind her mane, half-eaten dinner forgotten, Fluttershy might have even forgotten about her house guest had he not spoken up. "Flutter? Are ya OK? Is there something wrong?" Big Macintosh stood over her, staring down at her shaking form with care and concern in his eyes. 'She was fine right up 'til the lightnin'' He thought to himself.

"I… I… I-I really d-don't like s-storms." She managed to squeak out.

"There's nothing to be afraid of." Macintosh said as he lay down next to her, "It won't hurt you in here."

"B-but w-what if the l-lightning s-s-starts a f-fire?" She looked up into Big Macintosh's face, tears nearly forming in her eyes. "It's just so d-dangerous… I'm scared…"

"Don't worry, Flutter." Big Mac whispered soothingly to her, "Ah'm here. Ah'll protect you. As long as Ah'm here, you're safe. As long as Ah'm here, nothing can hurt you." He snuggled up close to the still-shivering mare and lay his foreleg over her, stroking her with his hoof in an effort to calm her down.

Fluttershy tried to stop shaking. Gradually, she managed to stop focusing on the storm. She let the sweet, succulent aroma of apples wash over her as she embraced the earth pony next to her tightly. As she held him close, she could feel his heartbeat through his chest, slow and steady, calm and collected. She let the feel of each individual beat relax her as she felt her own fast-paced heart slow down too. The noise and the flashes that so bothered her became but a backdrop to the warmth and pleasure she felt surge through her as she held the strong pony beside her. Her protector. Her lover. Her Big Macintosh. The frenzied panic of terror left her system as she was overcome with a different emotion. She suddenly found herself very tired, but above all, happy. Heart rate slowed, shivers subsided, Fluttershy opened her eyes to gaze into those of the pony whom she held so close, and was holding her back.

"I love you." She whispered, before she, content and at peace, drifted off to sleep in his loving, caring, protecting embrace.

===========================================================================

Sugarcube Corner was decorated lavishly. Pinkie Pie had pulled out all the stops for this celebration. All around the room, streamers were hung, streamers of every color of the rainbow. Hanging from the ceiling alongside the rainbow streamers were hearts and apples cut out from paper, which had obviously been hoof-made. On one side of the room an impromptu dance floor had been set up, and it was here that the pony guests had rocked and swayed to music both fast and slow for much of the night. Across the room, on the opposite wall, the first of two long tables had been set up with white table cloth and a place setting for each guest. Each place setting had the usual dishes and silverware, including flasks which Mr. and Mrs. Cake kept filled with Sparkling Apple Cider. The center of each platter featured a six-colored striped rainbow napkin with an apple placed on each. The second of these white-clothed tables stood against the rear wall. This table held an abundance of food for the ponies. Pies, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and every type of apple treat imaginable filled plates the whole length of the table.

The piece de resistance, however, adorned the center of this table. A towering cake that rose high and barely missed touching the ceiling. It was Pinkie Pie's pride and joy. Six layers tall, each layer featured a coating from one color on the rainbow, from red on bottom to purple on top. Polka-dotted across the exterior were the shapes of apples, drawn in red and green frosting. At the very top sat a real apple, and cascading down the sides of the cake were two ribbons of rainbow frosting. These stripes, made from strips of each color applied via pipette, resembled six-color waterfalls wherever they stretched down the side of a layer. It was the largest, most intricate cake Pinkie Pie had ever designed.

Of course, it was the first wedding cake she had ever designed. In the center of the room, beneath a large, hanging banner that read: "Congratulations Applejack and Rainbow Dash!" stood Ponyville's newest, and arguable happiest, wedded couple. The reception had gone well so far, the time had been spent dancing and feasting on treats, but the dinner had yet to be served.

From his own position, Big Macintosh could see the friends and neighbors from around Ponyville that had shown up to celebrate the happy event. Even though the wedding had been less than formal and nowhere near orthodox, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Rarity had still served as bridesmaids, and he himself had insisted on escorting his sister down the aisle. Applebloom had been Ring Bearer, and she, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo, who had enjoyed their roles as Flower Girl and (self-appointed) "Rainbow Dash's personal assistant", respectively, were now having fun on their own.

        Even Princess Celestia and Princess Luna had shown up to see two elements of harmony married, and he could see them having a discussion with Miss Twilight Sparkle at the head of the dinner table. Fluttershy was safely out of the way talking to Miss Pinkie Pie, and all the other ponies, except for Rainbow Dash and Miss Rarity, had left his sister. Now was the time to approach her, if he didn't do it now, he would never get the chance to ask. As he walked up to the group of three, he noticed that his sister and Miss Rarity were still having a conversation. He politely stopped to wait.

"But darling, I still don't understand why you went so fast in planning this affair. You didn't even give me the chance to make either of you fabulous new dresses for the occasion." Rarity said.

"Ah told ya, Rarity." Applejack responded, "Ah didn't want no fancy new dresses. You know Rainbow and Ah were never ones for them fancy frou-frous, and we didn't want our weddin' to be gussied up like that."

"Besides," Rainbow chimed in, "We had to get this out of the way fast. Or else this little pony would have messed things up!" She knelt down and gently nuzzled the side of Applejack's swollen midsection with her nose for emphasis, causing AJ to giggle and playfully shove her away.

"Not here, Rainbow Dash." She said in a mock-serious tone that betrayed her inner mirth, "Ah don't even think Ah could fit into a fancy weddin' dress in this condition," she continued, addressing Rarity as she looked down at her significantly bigger self.

"Well I suppose that's true, when is the little darling due, anyway?" Rarity asked.

"Nurse Redheart says it should be about two months now." Applejack replied, looking up and spotting her older brother for the first time, "Hey Big Mac, ya waitin' fer me?"

"Hello sis, Rainbow, Miss Rarity." Macintosh spoke up, "Ah was just wonderin' if Ah could ask y'all something."

"What is it, Big brother?" AJ asked him, her curiosity now piqued.

"Well," Macintosh struggled to think of a way to explain without giving too much of his plans away, "Ah hid mah 'special present' in a box under mah chair at the table. Ah was hopin' ta take it out and use it durin' dinner, but seein' as how this is yer celebration, Ah figured Ah should ask y'all for permission first."

"What do ya mean by yer 'special present'?" AJ asked, confused.

"Ask Miss Rarity, she's the one Ah bought it from." Macintosh responded. Rarity, who knew exactly what he was referring to, rushed over to Applejack and whispered in her ear. As she whispered, Macintosh was able to watch his sister's expression as Miss Rarity revealed his secret to her, finally finishing when AJ's smile had reached its widest.

"Big Mac," She said, happiness clearly audible, "Ah can't think of a better weddin' present than that." She tried to give him a hug, but was thwarted by her belly.

"A better present than what? What is he going to do?" Rainbow piped up, kept out of the loop and not understanding.

"Patience, Dashie," Applejack said as she turned to face her wife, "You'll find out soon enough," and she leaned in to give her a kiss.

=======================================================================

Big Macintosh swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. Now that the moment he had waited for was finally here, he was nervous. Extremely nervous. But, he decided, there was no turning back now. He looked up and down the table, his sister and sister-in-law were seated at one end, and Fluttershy was of course right next to him, while the two princesses were at the other. He actually hadn't counted on the rulers of his country being there at this moment, but it was a factor he was prepared to deal with. He rapped his glass five times with the hard edge of his hoof before he rose from his seat at the table, feeling all eyes shift to him as the buzz of conversation fell to a hush.

"Attention everypony." He spoke loud and clear, trying to make himself understood as well as he could. "Ah have an announcement to make." He looked around the table, most ponies looked confused, but his sister shot him a big knowing grin and Miss Rarity seemed excited enough to burst. "First, Ah'd like to congratulate my little sister Applejack, on her happy occasion, and officially welcome Rainbow Dash into the Apple Family!" This was met with a chorus of agreement from around the table, and Macintosh waited until it died down to continue. "Mah sisters and Ah have been through a lot in the past few months. Well, Ah guess Applejack more than the rest o' us." That brought laughs from some ponies, including, he noticed, Princess Luna, who was holding her hooves to her mouth with the spark of an unshared secret in her eye. "It got me thinkin', that with Rainbow Dash, and especially today, Applejack seems to be at her happiest."

Macintosh turned her gaze to the shy yellow pegasus mare sitting next to him. This was the moment now, he thought. No turning back. "Now, Ah think most of y'all know that me and Fluttershy here have been dating for a while now." He gave her a smile and got only a look of confusion and nervousness in return. Fluttershy's eyes flicked about the room, suddenly aware that she was now the center of attention, before they returned to meet Macintosh's gaze.

       "Fluttershy…" He began, searching for the right words, "what Ah'm tryin' to say is… Ah love you. Ah love you as much as a member of mah own family and maybe even more. Ah want to see you just as happy as Ah know mah sister was today. Ah want to be there to make you happy, to live with you. Ah…" He paused as he suddenly pushed his chair out of the way behind him and swept his hoof down to scoop up a small box that had sat concealed underneath. He lifted it up on his front hooves as he knelt down on his forelegs, holding the small blue velvet box up in front of his face. "Ah want to spend the rest of mah life with you, Fluttershy. Will you… will you marry me?" he finished as he flipped the lid off the jewelry box.

For a few moments that never seemed to end, Fluttershy was silent. She stared at the little box that rested on the hooves of her stallion, and she felt her heart beat faster. The beautiful ring sat there, a brilliant and flawlessly carved pink gem sat attached to the golden ring. It was carved in the shape of a single butterfly. As she took in the beautiful pony and the beautiful engagement ring before her, Fluttershy could feel the excitement rising in her body. Of all the ponies in attendance, only the other Elements of Harmony and Princess Celestia had been at the Grand Galloping Gala to witness the last time Fluttershy's excitement had gotten the best of her. Thus, they were the only ones not shocked when her rising emotions broke over the top of the emotional wall that normally prevented her from being anything but timid when in the company of so many ponies.

With one flap of her wings, Fluttershy leapt into the air in the room and soared over their heads, releasing her emotions in a sudden expense of energy as she cried "YESYESYESYESYESYESYES!" in rapid succession. Almost as soon as she had flown up she dove back down to embrace Big Macintosh. She hit the astounded stallion hard enough to knock him onto his side as she peppered his surprised face with kisses, bathing him in her love and a few tears of joy. Fluttershy didn't care that everyone was watching them and applauding them, congratulating them, she didn't care that she was the center of attention. In that perfect moment on that perfect night, Fluttershy was the happiest mare in Equestria, and that was all the mattered.

~FIN~
Applejack and Rainbow Dash may be finding happiness together, but what of their family and friends? While their own relationship blooms, another one grows as well, and it might be a strange little creature who strings Fluttershy and Big Macintosh together.

Fluttershy, Big Macintosh, and other My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters and themes are (c) by Hasbro and [link]

The rest of this story:

Part 1: [link]
Part 2 (full): [link]
Part 2 (censored): [link]
Part 2.5: HERE!
Part 3: [link] Deleted Scene (full): [link]
Part 4 (full): [link]
Part 4 (censored): [link]
Part 5 C-0: [link]
Part 5 C-1: [link]
Part 5 C-2: [link]
Part 5 C-3: [link]
Part 5 C-4: [link]
Part 5 C-5: [link]
Part 5 C-6: [link]
Part 5 C-7: [link]
Part 5 C-8: [link]
Part 5 C-9: [link]
Part 5 C-10: [link]
Part 5 C-11: [link]
Part 5 C-12: [link]
Part 5 C-13: [link]
Part 5 C-14: [link]
Part 5 C-15: [link]
Part 5 C-16: [link]
Part 5 C-17: [link]
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Chapter 1
Twilight Sparkle: War is Necessary

   Arms swaying at her sides, occasionally brushing against her skirt, a woman walked down an organized, clean hall way. Her head held up high, she walked with purpose. With each step the heels of her boots made contact with the pale gold marble floor to let out a sharp and authoritative click. Her demeanor did not waste it's presence for each person she passed either greeted her politely or stood at attention until she was several steps ahead. By now she had come to acknowledge the reactions, hardly noticing them, much different from when she first received such respect, which had left her flustered and embarrassed.
Still, nothing escaped her wandering gaze. Should one of the men linger too long in the hallway or a group of woman giggle amongst themselves to loudly (or if they giggled at all dependent on her mood), she was quick to make her existence known without a single utterance, perhaps an annoyed clearing of the throat if her underlings were slow to notice. Behavior was essential under this roof, obedience was unquestionable. The only way for a perfect world to exist was, in a nutshell, through these methods. One day all would understand this.
   Today, the castle was quiet. No, quiet would not be the right use of the words. Peaceful. The gentle hum of quiet talk, the steady shuffling of papers, the rhythm of the woman's boots on the hard floor brought a sense of calm over it inhabitants.
   "Oh, Twilight, my dear~!" Rang out a singsong voice.
   The woman turned and she allowed a small smile to form on her features. Rarity stood before her dressed neatly in her fashionable white uniform, her hair beautifully curled and her make-up done with expertise that would make any MUA cry.
   "Good morning, Rarity." She responded, silently thankful for the familiarity her friend addressed her with.
   Her only friend.
   "My goodness, Twilight!" Rarity said, her thick, full lashes sweeping over Twilight's figure as she reached out and took her hands. "You look absolutely exhausted, my darling! Have you not slept well?"
   "Well, actually-"
   "...and your hair! Oh! You have not been treating is with proper care!"
   "Rarity, you see I have-"
   "My! I can see you are also starting to get bags under your eyes! Darling, what have you been doing to yourself?"
   Twilight remained silent until she was sure her inspector was finished.
   "You see, Rarity," She continued, brushing her hair behind her ear. "I've been looking over the residents of Ponyville and-"
   Rarity clicked her tongue. "That old place? I'm surprised the house are still standing after all it been through," Her face twisted ever so slightly into an expression of disgust as she spat out the next words. "especially now that... P.A.R.T.Y. has taken over the poor village."
   Rarity sighed.
   "Life here in Canterlot is so much more suited for you and me but, still, I can't help but feel nostalgic and miss the old times in that simple place…do you ever miss it my dear Twilight?"
   Twilight's face hardened. "No, never"
   For the briefest of seconds Rarity appeared hurt but if she had been she quickly composed her features.
   "As I was saying," Twilight said. "I've been checking around to see if any of the residents...."
   "Captain Rarity!" Came a voice as a young man stood at attention upon seeing his superior. "Grand Admiral Sparkle!" He continued when he caught noticed of Twilight.
   "At ease solider." Rarity said, waving her hand lazily in his direction. "Well, Twilight, it's been fun but duty calls!"
   With that she rounded the corner, following after the young soldier.
   Twilight gave a tired smile in the direction her friend had disappeared. Her only friend left.


   Ponyville had lost its color and the cheery demeanor it had once boasted had melted and burned like the scorch marks that littered its surfaces. The streets were torn up, with no one willing to re-pave them or to at least adjust the stones back into place. Buildings looked as though they would collapse at any moment, their color faded and paint chipped. No one sold flowers in the street as they once did and the shop that once belonged to Rose, Daisy and Lily was long abandoned, its windows boarded up.
   People caught sight of Twilight and her two escorts, easily recognizable in their Solar Empire military uniforms. Some stared longer than others, but in the end they either looked away or hurried off in another direction. The painful sight had long lost its effects on the Admiral. Instead she focused beyond Ponyville, her goal was not here.
   With her escorts in tow, Twilight walked across the village, people scurrying out of the way. Despite the unevenness of the road, she did not trip or stumble, each step as confident as it had been in Canterlot. She did not seek the village of Ponyville or its residents. She sought the last place an imperial would want to go, into enemy territory. Into the Everfree forest.  Twilight glanced behind her to see that both her companions had placed a weary hand on the guns at their hips. Without a moment's hesitation she placed her foot beyond the boundary.
   The forest was dark, the air moist and heavy. Despite the fact that the sun had withdrawn behind the grey clouds for the past several months, light still found a way to push through the thick canopy and leave shimmering spots on the damp earth. The moss had grown thick and vicious in its mission to overtake every living, and dead, item within its growing reach. Leaves rustled and shadows flickered. Off in the distance a bird sang a haunting melody. The forest was alive in ways that the populated world around it wasn't. Here plants grew, animals survived and weather changed without the help of anyone or anything other than themselves. Yet it thrived and breathed as easily as a developing child.
Very few would choose to live in the Everfree Forest but for some there was nothing unnatural about the way it carried itself. Especially for those who did not originate from the surrounding land.
   The sight of the hut swept a fleeting nostalgic feeling over Twilight. The graceful tree that made up its walls. The way the foliage hung over the thick branches, next to the strange charms. The foreign masks of a distant land the decorated the exterior. Even the familiar smells of steaming herbs that floated out the windows and seemed linger around the strange home. It was all the same as before. Even the inviting call that seemed to accompany the aroma was still there. Then as quickly as the moment had come, it passed and Twilight was left feeling as cold and withdrawn as before.
   She approached the door and sharply rapped on the door. There was silence. Twilight raised her hand to try again.
   "I know why you have come, my dear old friend." Came a deep rhythmic voice through the door. "But I fear that old bonds you have not come to mend."
   "Open the door, Zecora. I want to speak with you."
   "Give me a reason to open my door, for this is not a simple visit as before."
   "I have two well trained guards with me." Announced Twilight. "In the name of the Solar Empire, I demand that you open the door or I shall have them break it down!"
   There was a soft click and the door swung open silently. Zecora did not cower as many others had done when Twilight came to their door. She stood proud and strong, towering a head taller than the Admiral. Her skin was as dark as the damp earth beneath their feet, her clothing simple in their design. Zecora look at Twilight with her deep blue eyes, scanning her uniform, her posture, her expression, then softened as they did before when the Admiral had just been a curious girl from Ponyville.
   "Twilight Sparkle, much you have changed." She said, her voice gentle. "Yet I see not the you people call deranged."
   Twilight's expression hardened. "I am Grand Admiral of an entire military force and you will address me as such."
   "Fine, Grand Admiral, if that is how you wish to be seen, but speak of why you have broken from your routine."
   "I'll be frank, Zecora," Twilight began, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "Whose side are you on? You live in the territory of the Republic but I have no records of you aiding them in any way."
   "I continue remain neutral and free," Zecora stood taller. "For no goal or belief will have power over me."
   "Then why-"
   "But before you continue let me say this, of the two armies the higher one is amiss. For the wrong of your ways if you do not admit, shall bring your downfall and many with it."
Twilight's temper flared.
   "How dare you speak to me as if I am a child! It is you who is amiss! Do you not see the world around you!? Do you not see how desperately it needs out guidance?! Our leadership?! We shall bring forth a new future, a brighter future! A new era of peace and order! One where suffering and crime is a thing of the past and where everyone is in their rightful place in the world!"
   Zecora stepped back from Twilight, her face shocked and hurt. She put a hand to her chest and dropped her gaze.
   "So it is true what they say, you have gone and fallen astray." She said quietly. "You walk forward blind of those beneath your feet, instead you look up for guidance from face of deceit."
   Twilight composed herself.
   "It's a mere matter of cultural differences I suppose." She brushed off her sleeve. "However your ideals are a danger that I don't want spreading to the neighboring towns."
   Twilight nodded to one of the guards. He reached forward and grabbing Zecora's forearm yanked her from her doorway out onto the earthen ground. The woman struggled to stand but stopped when the guard drew a pistol from his belt and aimed it at her forehead. Twilight motioned to the other guard.
  "Burn her house down."
   Zecora's eye widened as she began to yell in her native tongue. Undaunted, the guard struck a match and held it to the dry wood of one of the mask. The fire leapt to the surface and hesitated. For a moment it was as though it would fizzle and die but then it burst to life and the mask was engulfed. Tears began to streak down Zecora's dark cheeks as the fire caught the tree, her home. Forgetting the gun, she rushed to her feet and towards her burning home. Dismayed, as if realizing there was nothing she could do, she sunk to her knees and let out a wail.
   Twilight pulled the brim of her hat down, shielding her skin against the heat.
   "Take this as a warning, Zecora." She said. "Do not spread your ideals to others. Instead, I want to you run."
   Zecora looked up at her, eyes red and puffy.
   "Run to the Republic." Twilight continued. "Tell them what happened, ask them for protection. They will give it."
   The woman dropped her gaze. She stared at her dark palms before looking back up slowly.
   "Separated and broken you will be," She chanted, as if in a trance. "You will lead her to damning victory."
   Twilight turned from the scene of the woman before the burning tree. She did not doubt that Zecora would follow her instructions. With her guards in toe she left the without a second glance or feelings of remorse. There was no time for such when the future was dependent on your every action. She needed to keep a good focused head on her shoulders. After all, the world needed leaders and she was one of those leaders.
   Twilight slowed her pace. It was quiet. Too quiet. There was no rustling through the leaves, no eerie bird songs, not even the soft whistling of wind. The day was coming to an end and the pockets of light were growing fainter. She clutched her left fist and felt her guards tense behind her, understanding the signal. They continued walking; keep their features as blank as possible. They're ears were open, however, their sense heightened.
   They're here, Twilight thought.
   Something snapped.
   The silence was broken and filled with the sounds of war. The guards had drawn and aimed before anyone could so much as blink. Stunned by their failure, the Republic scouts were slow to react but when they were ready to aim, Twilight had swung her arm in an arc above her head, her finger tips glowing with the Magician mark under her left eye. A sphere of blue light formed around the trio and the oncoming bullets bounced off its liquid like surface. The dark forest was illuminated now by the flashes of gunfire and the unnerving glow of the power-shield. Twilight raised her hand again, this time straight in the air. Crackling energy began to form around the sphere, spinning and gaining speed. Her open palm began to glow brightly and pulsate. Then the energy froze and for that moment all was silent. Twilight curled her fingers into a fist.
   The sound was deafening as the energy exploded and shot out in raging currents toward the dark trees, seeking out the hidden pray. The fire had ceased and was replaced by strangled screams. It wouldn't kill them, but it would make them think twice about attacking any one member of the Solar Empire. The energy dissipated and Twilight waited. Somewhere in the distance someone called a retreat. Still she waited. Silence befell the forest again, with only the sound of quiet shuffling here and there. Finally, a single strand of the electric like energy returned to Twilight's waiting palm, signaling that the opposing force was no longer a threat. With a sigh, she dropped the shield. Her companions were unharmed as was she. There was a reason she was in charge of the Solar Empire militia. Within the ranks there was only one who is more skilled in magic than herself and that was the Princess Celestia.
   The sun was setting over Ponyville, giving the broken village a soft orange coloring. No one was in the streets anymore, only shadows in the windows. Normally, Twilight would continue on without stopping until she was back in Canterlot, but something caused her to pause. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of the library, her old home. The leaves were gone, the branches scraggly and burnt black. All the windows were shattered and broken. The door lay in splinters, the hinges the only part left standing. Even the balcony was a disaster, the railing almost all gone with a hole straight through the wooden floor.
None of these things are what made Twilight stop. Instead her eye had been caught by graffiti that had not been there hours earlier. In bright yellow and red paint that had begun to drip down the tree trunk it read: YOU BETTER PRAY YOUR SIDE WINS, TWILIGHT!!! The message was signed by a simple painted cupcake.
   A shiver slide down her spine and Twilight bit her lip. As if reading the Admiral's thoughts, laughter started to echo through the streets. It was a high, crazed sound, void of all joy or positive emotion. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, echoing from the inside out, as if the source rested within her very soul. Twilight caught sight of a shadowy form on a nearby wall. Instantly she, along with her companions, spun around toward the building directly behind them, only to find the sun setting over the crumbling tiled roof.
In the magical land of Equestria, Friendship doesn't get you very far

I know you guys have been waiting!!! So here's chapter 1!!

I don't have very extensive knowledge of Military...stuff (which, if you haven't noticed, plays a pretty large role in the story) but I'm kind of learning as I go XD If I get ANY thing wrong involving Military protocol or stuff like that please, please, PLEASE let me know! Thanks!
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Dusk Shine led the group of ponies up the wide dirt path. Close behind, Twilight read from the map Zecora had given them prior entering the Everfree Forest. According to the map, the forest worked like a storm; the closer to the center you became, the less danger you encountered. Behind them, the rest of the ponies had stricken up a light conversation amongst themselves, except for Rainbow Blitz, who was still pretty ticked that the girls had found a way to come along.

"And I said, "Oatmeal, are you crazy!?!" The ponies all chuckles weakly as Pinkie and Berry laughed hysterically at Pinkie's joke.
"Ok ok, Ah got one," Applejack said enthusically. "Derpy told me this one." She derped her eyes for effect.
"Two muffins are-a sittin' in an oven. The first muffin turns to the second and says, 'Boy, it sure is hot in here' then the second one screams 'Oh mah gosh, a talkin' muffin!'"
They all cracked up laughing. Dusk Shine wiped a tear from his eye as they continued up the path. The sun was barely visible behind the canopy but they could tell by the splotches of golden red sky in the canopy, the sun was beginning to set.
Dusk Shine quicken his pace. It was bad enough they had to travel in the forest during the day. He didn't even want to know what went on out here at night.

The path twisted and turned deeper into the forest. The further they walked, the thicker the canopy above them grew, making it harder to navigate through the forest. The laughter amongst the ponies dissolved into an eerie silence as Dusk Shine led them off the path, into the trees."
"Um, are y'all sure about this?" A.J. asked, hesitantly following the two librarians off the path. Dusk Shine looked back and saw that only Twilight and A.J. (somewhat) had actually came off the path. They all blinked blankly at him. Actually, in truth, they stared at the darkness behind Dusk Shine that only seemed to get darker.

"It's a shortcut," he explained. "If we go this way, we should be able to reach the campsite before sunset." The ponies looked at him warily. After what seemed like an eternity somepony finally spoke.
"B-b-but, it's dark in there..." Fluttershy whispered. The group let out a collective sigh of relief. Finally, somepony had said it. Given any OTHER circumstance, they would have marched in along side Dusk Shine. But in the Everfree forest, thing don't work like there supposed to.

The animals take care of themselves.
The plants grow wildly.
And the clouds move ALL ON THEIR OWN! *(faints)

Dusk Shine rolled his eyes. "Come ON guys, this is a man trip!" he exclaimed, puffing out his chest and deepening his voice. "By Solaris' beard, we gonna get some hair on our chest!"
The girls looked at him flatly, then at Twilight (that IS her double...) who gave them a sheepish grin. The colts, on the other hoof, gave a manly "Yarh!"
Suddenly, Dusk whirled around and charged into the darkness. In an instant, the boys all did the same, shouting "Yarh!" The girls all stared at the point where the boys had disappeared.

The stupidity was overwhelming.

"They really mean business on this here trip, huh?" Applejack chuckled.
"Silly boys!" Pinkie Pie cracked. The girls began laughing at the boys' seriousness, falling over, clutching their sides.
"Sillier than a dog in a flea shop!" Applejack continued.
"Their such dweebs!" Dash cried.
"I reckon-"

*Snap
The girls all rushed to each other's side, trembling with fear. A multitude of eyes appeared out of the pitch-black forest, watching them. Their eyes grew wider as a growl arose out of the forest, shaking the earth below them.
"I-I-I think it's time we'd go." Twilight stammered. The girls all nodded in agreement. Another deafening growl came out of the forest.

It was closer.

The girls backed away quickly but before they could turn and run, a horrible roar ripped through the forest.
"ELUSIVE/BUTTERSCOTCH!"
The white unicorn and the yellow pegasus shot off in the direction where the boys had disappeared. There was a quick exchange of glances amongst the remaining ponies before, they too, took off after Rarity and Fluttershy.
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Rarity's hooves pounded against the leafy forest floor as she tore pass thick brambles and low hanging branches.
"Elusive!"
Oh, how she regretted coming to this dreadful place. She should have refused Elusive when he first asked her. She and Elusive could have spent the day snuggling on her clean featherbed. Or played with Sweepy and Sweetie belle. Or snuggling in her clean featherbed. Or other things in her featherbed, that would leave it not so clean...

'Rarity!' she thought in shock. 'A lady would never thing of such a dirty thing! This jungle has gotten you thinking like a savage. Have you no shame?!?'
But even as she scolded herself mentally, she couldn't suppress the angry red blush that overtook her face. Only Elusive could make her think such a thought.

Or make her go on a camping trip in the middle of a dangerous forest and leave her behind in a area with vicious pony-eating creatures that would just love to find her in a place like this and, surprise surprise, one of those animals DID find her, causing her to flee for her life.

Only Elusive could.

The more she thought about it, the more heated she became.
'How DARE he abandon me like this! In the middle of some Celestia forsaken forest, fleeing for MY LIFE!' Fueled with pure rage, she ran faster. Not from the unknown beast, but to her so-called beloved. She'll show him what for!

But after running at her top speed for a minute or so, she grew tired. She stopped at an old oak tree for a break. Fluttershy came running after her, gasping for air. She stopped a few feet from Rarity and collapsed.
"R-R-Rarity..." she wheezed. "Please...take...break...now?" She sighed with relief as Rarity nodded. To be perfectly honest, she had completely forgotten that Fluttershy was behind her. Their gasping went in and out of sync as they rested against the oak.
"So," Fluttershy asked timidly. "what should we do now?"
Rarity did a quick scan of the area. It was almost completely dark. In the distance, she could here twigs snapping and bushes rustling, the chirping of several crickets filled the air. The thick canopy made it impossible to see anything, including the time of day. She was exhausted, so that ruled out the option of magic. She was dirty, lost...

She began to cry.

"I don't know Fluttershy. I just don't know..." Her tears flowed freely down her cheeks and off her chin, picking up the loose packed dirt off her cheeks. She hated this place. She was dirty, exhausted, and alone. How she desperately wished for Twilight and the others were there. They could have kept them strong.

Or Elusive.

She began to sob at the thought of Elusive. She wanted to wrap herself in his hooves. To smell his cologne, sweet but subtle. For him to stroke her back and whisper kind things in her ear. Instead, she was here, sobbing uncontrollably in her hooves, rolling in self-pity.
Until a pair of hooves wrapped around her. She lifted her head, half expecting to see Elusive. But instead, she found herself looking back at Fluttershy, who was on the verge of tears herself.
"Please, don't cry, Rarity," she sniffed. "we'll find a way out. Just please, don't cry... because when I see other's cry, I feel like crying too..."

Rarity blinked. Fluttershy pulled her in for another hug, resting her head on Rarity's shoulders. Slowly, she returned the hug, wrapping her own hooves around the shivering Fluttershy. With a  smile slowly creeping on her face, she squeezed her friend lovingly.
At least, she had one good friend by her side.
"Thank you, Fluttershy. I'm alright now." They pulled away from each other's embrace.
"Oh good." Fluttershy smiled. But her smile soon dropped, re-realizing their situation.
"So, what now?" Rarity though carefully. "I could try and use my magic," she said enthusiastically. "Oh but all that light might draw unwanted attention... How long have we been out here?
"About seven minutes..."
"They're bound to come looking for-" Rarity was interrupted by a inaudible yelling from the forest.
"Savages!" Rarity whispered fearfully. She grabbed Fluttershy and the both hid behind the oak tree. The yelling continued to grow louder and louder until there was a huge crash amongst the bushed.
"Rarity!"

She knew that voice!

"Elusive?" she called hopefully, poking her head out from behind the tree. He turned to her. Quickly realizing it was her, he galloped gleefully to her, stumbling a few times.
"Rarity!"
Rarity leapt out from behind the tree and ran toward him.
"Elusive!"
In a matter of seconds, they were entangled with one another, kissing and hugging their fears away.
"I'm so glad your alive!"
"I thought I would have never seen you again!"
"I'm so glad your Ok!"
"Me too!"

Rarity pulled back out of his hug, but not out of his embrace. Looking him over, she saw he was a mess. His hair, frizzed out, had twigs and leaves caught in it. His coat was covered in dirt, with a few mud accents. His eyes were a light shade of pink and dark bags hung below them.
She had only gone missing for 7 minutes...
"You have no idea how worried I was!" He pulled her in again. "If something were to have happened to you..." He squeezed her gently, refusing to finish. She felt safe in his arms. She nuzzled deep into his chest, cherishing every moment with him.
"I was really scared, Elusive..." she said softly, allowing a few tears to fall.

"Rarity, I was so distraught by your disappearance. When Twilight told us what happened, I felt nothing but guilt and disloyalty. If you were hurt, or WORSE, I would never forgive myself." He rested his head atop her's.
"Please forgive me..." he whispered. "and my stupidity," he spat out with disgust, cursing himself silently. She watched silently as he continued to beat himself up mentally, awaiting her answer.

She wrapped her hooves around his neck.
"Elusive, there is no need to apologize," she cooed just before she pulled him in for a long and meaningful kiss. She had forgotten all of her anger. Her fear. She let herself get sucked into bliss as he lifted her shin and kiss the nape of her neck.
"Oh Elusive..." she moaned.
"As Solaris as my witness, I will never abandon you again," he growl lowly.
Thing were becoming very... heated.
*Achoo!*

The two lovers found themselves looking at a red faced Fluttershy. Rarity and Elusive awkwardly untangled themselves.
"We should get going..." she said timidly.
"Y-y-yes," Elusive coughed. "we should. Which reminds me," he turned to the hole in the bush were he'd first entered. "Butterscotch!"
Just then, a yellow pegasus crashed through the bushes, looking quite frightened. He trembled with fear as his eyes darted around, looking for Elusive. But instead, his eyes landed on Fluttershy.

"You found her!" he exclaimed happily. He darted toward her, hugging her affectionately. "You're ok!"
Fluttershy blushed once again. Butterscotch was...hugging her. Her wings flapped involuntarily. Butterscotch noticed her reaction, confused by it.
"What's wrong Fluttershy?"
She looked up from his chest, blushing.
His wings began to beat as he slowly realized what he was doing. The pegasi remained motionless (except their wings), frozen by the wonderful feeling of unconditional love the hug had laid upon them.

Elusive and Rarity, the love EXPERTS, snickered from the sidelines.
"How adorable!" Rarity squealed.
"Oh young love, how I remember you so." Elusive chuckled. He swept Rarity of her seat, dipping her slowly. "A knock at the door. How I foolishly thought it was another customer." His face nearing her's.
"Oh Elusive..."Rarity swooned.
"Opening that door, I saw... I saw..."
"'Saw' what, my love?" Rarity begged, her breath quickening. Like a child to an adventure story, she waited with excitement. She knew the answer, but just to hear him say it would make her lose it. He leaned into her ear and whispered:
"I saw the most-"

"the UGLIEST MARE in Equestria!"
The two snapped out of their moment. With another rustling of the bushes, Rainbow Blitz emerged from the hole, smiling mischievously .
"Even when you're missing, you two manage to find time to suck face..." he said disgust. "And what's up with these two?!" he exclaimed, pointing at Fluttershy and Butterscotch.
Their wings continued to flap against their will.
"How DARE interrupt a moment between me and my beloved!" Elusive boomed, lifting Rarity out of swooning position.
"You finally found the girls and you figured a make out session out here would be ok?"
Blitz teased.
"We were just leaving." Elusive scoffed. He pointed his horn toward the frozen pegasi and they began to glow a brilliant shade of blue, lifting off the ground.
"Let's go Rarity." he said, politely gesturing toward the hole in the bush. "I have a surprise for you at the camp."
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End of Day 0: part 1
Sorry this took longer than I said it would, but it's finally here.
:iconphewplz:
But I'm gonna have to take a small break to actually figure of what happens next(after Day0:Part2)
Please leave a comment below XD
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"Wow!" A.J. exclaimed. They all stood on the edge of the waterfall, looking at the sparkling lake 20 or so feet below.
It was a very small waterfall, pony-sized if you will.
The fleeting water left the stone smooth, much of that of a waterslide. The current snaked down the stone and left room for a 10-foot drop into the crystal-clear lake.
"Dusk Shine, this is amazing!" A.J. said in awe.
"And it's so close to the camp," Twilight added. "How long DID it take you to plan this trip?" she nudged him playfully. He blushed at their praise.
"Come on guys, you're embarrassing me..." he mumbled, sheepishly dragging a hoof along the smooth stone.
"Ah, for one think you did a great job. Ah'm all for modesty sugarcube, but you outta be pretty proud of yourself." Applejack said as she scruffed up his hair. The ponies all voiced their approval in unison as Dusk smiled bashfully. Below, Rarity bathed in a secluded area in the lake, occluded by bushes and shrubs.
"Yes darling, this place marvelous!" she called over the uproar of the waterfall.

"Dusk Shine!" Elusive called from below. "To the right of you, there is a tree. It looks like it could fall at any moment." At the head of the fall, a lean tree hung on the edge of the water, swaying at the mercy of the vicious current.
"I'm afraid one of you might be harmed," Elusive called. "You must come down from there."
"Elusive, it'll be fine." Blitz said, waving off the absurd notion. "It's not going to fall anytime soon. Just so long nopony messes with it."
"WHEEE!"
Just as soon Blitz finished his sentence, a bubbly cheer came in the direction of the plummeting tree. Bubble Berry hung upside down off a low hanging branch, bouncing with his usual enthusiasm as Pinkie shook the tree with her forelegs.

"What are you doing?!" Dusk exclaimed. The two froze with gravity defying positions with Berry in mid bounce and Pinkie leaning back for another push.
"What?" they asked in unison.
"Where you two NOT listening just now?" he scolded. "That tree is. Dangerous. Leave it alone!"
The two snorted with discontent as they hopped off the tree, shaking it closer the ground.
"We'll be fine, Elusive." Dusk Shine shouted back. Elusive gave a curt nod before rejoining with Rarity, having finishing her luxurious soak, and headed for the single path that led out of the lake.
"We're going to head back to check on Butterscotch and Fluttershy." Elusive called over his shoulder. "Hopefully, they've gotten over their little ordeal..." he muttered as they disappeared behind the thick growth around the lake.
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"Well, enough with all the chit chat, let's party!" Berry shouted. He popped underneath Pinkie, hoisting her up with a mischievous smile. And, head first, he dove for the start of the waterfall. Screams of fear and excitement rose above the roar of the 'fall, ending in a *splash
They all peeked over the edge as Pinkie resurfaced, taking a gasp of air.
"Come on, guys! The water's great!" she splashed around playfully, completely oblivious to the dark pink mane ominous rising out of the water.
"RAWWR!" Berry pounced on Pinkie's back, dragging her back underwater. The two reemerged moments later, laughing. Pinkie started making her escape, slowly backing away for the shore. But Berry caught on quickly and chased after her. The ponies all backed away from the edge, listening to the laughter below.

"They must be crazy..." Twilight said with a wary smile. And like that, a double rainbow flashed in front of their eyes. Blitz and Dash stood at the lead of the 'fall.
"And so am I!" they proclaimed in unison. They two blinked at each other.
"What are YOU doing?" Blitz challenged.
"Sliding down the slide FIRST!"  Dash said quickly before leaping for the start of the slide. But her hind legs were caught in the air before she could hit the slide.
"No. Your. NOT!" Blitz shouted with effort as he pulled her away. He tried darting ahead of her, but she bit on his tail, anchoring herself on the ground.
"Yesh. Iah. AM!" she shouted into his tail. The two fought for the first ride, pulling manes and biting legs, until A.J. stopped them.
"Enough!" A.J. barked. The pegasi stopped.
"Now, ya'll ain't gonna be fightin' like this all week!" he stomped.
"Rainbow Blitz, let Dash, here, go first." Applejack asked kindly.
"And WHY should I do that?" Blitz snorted.
"It would be the gentlecoltly thing to do."
Blitz opened his mouth in protest, but thought better of it.

At the same time, a spine-chilling smile crept on his face.

"OK, Applejack." He backed away from the mouth of the waterfall. "Go ahead, Rainbow Dash." He said with a gentlecoltly bow. His smile began to grow more sinister. Dash opened her wings in defiance as she pasted a still bowing Rainbow Blitz, nose in the air.
She stood tall at the highest point in the area, looking over everything and everyone.
It was her proudest moment. (Today anyway...)
But just as she was about to push off, Blitz pushed her. He smiled mischievously at she hung in the air for a moment. But that smile soon vanished as Dash grabbed onto his hoof, yanking him from the safety of the cliff.

The two plummeted down the slide, screaming in fear as they surpassed the 10 foot slide and just dropped down, apparently their ability to fly evaded them. They clung onto one another for dear life as they hit the water, resurfacing in each other's arms.
Again, the ponies watched it all from the edge.
"Woah." Twilight said in bewilderment.
"Twilight!" Dusk Shine stood at the start off the fall, looking enthusiastic.
"Wanna go down with me?"
Twilight blushed. "O-ok." She left A.J. and Applejack and joined Dusk Shine at the mouth of the slide. Together, they sat at the start. Under the current, Dusk Shine found loose lodgments for his hind legs. He wrapped a hoof around her waist to keep her from starting prematurely, but Twilight couldn't suppress the blush as his hoof pulled her closer.
"Ready?"
Twilight nodded reluctantly. Dusk Shine lifted his hind legs and, in an instant, they were swept away with the current. Their screams faded away into the distance, ending in a splash.

That just left A.J. and Applejack.

Below, Pinkie and Berry's laughter could still be heard above the roar of the waterfall, along with Dusk & Twilight's splashing and Blitz and Dash's arguing.

A.J. gulped. "Hey, uh Applejack. 'Suppose ya'll want to ride down this here 'fall, do you?" He scratched his mane awkwardly.
"With me?"
---------------------------
"You ready?" A.J. asked. Applejack squeezed her hooves around his waist and shoulders as she rode, piggyback style, on his back. A.J. couldn't help but blush.
"Eeyup." She smiled. He lifted his legs out of the water and they soon found themselves being swept away by the raging water.
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The sun had fallen behind the horizon, decorating the sky with hues of red and gold. The roar of the waterfall could still be heard from the campsite. Crickets and beetles chirped their pretty song as the fire danced in the moonlight. The twigs cracked in protest as Twilight dropped them into the fire. She sputtered out the horrid taste the twigs left in her mouth as she took her seat by the fire. She rested her head behind her hooves, just barely peeking over them.

She watched Elusive and Rarity snuggle warmly by the fire. Their horns glowed brilliant shades of blue as the several apple slice skewers rotated slowly above the fire. One of the skewers grew dark than the rest as it levitated back to them. One slice twisted itself off the stick and dunked itself into the tub of caramel by Elusive. Elusive blew on the apple before it popped itself into Rarity's mouth. Rarity moaned in delight as she rolled the treat in her mouth, savoring every bite.

A few feet away, Butterscotch and Fluttershy had finally worked up the courage to sit by one another. Fluttershy spook softly with a blush, still thanking him for finding her no doubt. She leaned onto his small frame, and after a pause of hesitation, she nuzzled him gently. His wings popped out of their resting positions, frozen in the air. His cheeks turned a dark shade of red as he looked at her with disbelief and blissfulness.

Twilight sighed as she watched them with envy.
'I wish I had something like that...'
A large clash of metal and a fap of fabric pulled Twilight out of her thoughts and looked toward the rear of the camp. Dusk Shine sat in the middle of a heap of rods and fabric, smiling sheepishly at A.J. and Rainbow Blitz. Twilight could just make out A.J. and Blitz's angered expressions in the distant glow of the fire.
"What are you doing?" Blitz shouted. Dusk lifted himself out of the mess, shaking the dust off his lavender coat. "I was holding the center rod, like you told me," he said with a hint of defiance.
"Clearly not. If you were holding it, the tent would be standing by now." Blitz said angrily.
"But I WAS holding it!" The two colts argued amongst themselves, disrupting the peace.

"Alright you two, cool it," A.J. said as he pushed between them. "We'll just do it again."
"We've been working on this tent for hours!" Blitz complained. "It's obviously defective but you insist on using this one."
"We only have five tents, Blitz. We need all of them to sleep in." Dusk explained.
"Well, whoever sleeping in this one can sleep on the ground tonight." Blitz scoffed as he tossed the fabric over his shoulder and headed for the warmth of the fire.
"Well, I guess you'll be sleeping outside tonight." A.J. said smugly. Blitz froze.
"WHAT?!"
"This is your tent, Blitz. You brought this tent from home, so you got to sleep in it." Dusk said matter-of-fact-ly. Blitz groaned as he stalked his way back to the tent.

After several minutes of failed attempts, Blitz groaned aloud again.
"I'm done! I'd rather sleep on the ground." Blitz crossed his hooves over his chest with a pout.
Twilight rolled her eyes and put her magic to good use. The rods all rose off the ground and into the air, aligning themselves in different positions. The fabric floated above the assembly, allowing the rods to slide into it's slots before gently setting itself down. Four stakes levitated  off the ground and shot for the holes in the tent, pinning it down.
"Woah, thanks Twi." Blitz said with appreciation. The boys joined the others by the fire, which had already began eating. A.J. sat by Applejack and Dash, handing him an apple kabob. Blitz settled in beside Elusive and Rarity, who pay him no mined as they were lost in each other's eyes once again, making him gag.


Dusk Shine sat by Twilight, making her heart flutter.
"Some day, huh?" Dusk said, turning to Twilight with a mouth half full of apple slices and caramel.
"Yeah, it was something." She pulled her last slice off the skewer and dunked it into the tub of caramel next to her.
"The waterfall was the best part."
"Aw yeah, that was the best. Maybe we can go hang out by the lake tomorrow." Dusk smiled. Twilight blushed. "We?"
"Yeah, A.J., Elusive, and I are going to hold a tournament of chicken fight and I sorta need a partner."  
"I would love to play," Twilight started. "But I don't even know what 'chicken fight' is."
"It's like wrestling. The first pony gets on the second pony's shoulders. Then first pony wrestles with another team's first player. The first team to knock over the other wins." Dusk explained sticking more apple slices in his mouth.
"I guess I could..." Twilight said uneasily.
"Great! Thanks!" Dusk Shine smiled warmly. He yawned with a large stretch and rub of the eye.
"Guess it's about time we hit the hay, huh?" With a grunt, he forced himself up off the ground. "It's about time we go to bed guys." The ponies mummered in agreement and began heading off to the six tents. Blitz trotted hastily to Dusk Shine's side.
"Dusk, do I HAVE to share a tent with HER?" he asked, pointing at Rainbow Dash, who dumped a bucket of water over the fire.
Dusk looked at him in confusion. "What makes you think you'll be sleeping with a girl?"
"Well, aren't WE sharing a tent?" Twilight asked.
"What? NO!" Dusk shouted with a blush. "I already made the sleeping arrangements. No colt is sleeping in the same tent with a mare."

"Well, you might want to tell them that..." Twilight said pointing at the ponies. Elusive held open the entrance to one tent for Rarity. Beside that tent, A.J. emerged into the tent with Applejack waiting patiently behind. The shadows of Pinkie and Berry bounced around the tent accompanied by giggles and snickers. Fluttershy and Butterscotch blushed madly at the foot of the tent, too embarrassed to make a move.

"STOP!"

The ponies all stopped and looked at a red faced Dusk Shine.
"You guys KNOW your not going to sleep like that."
Elusive scoffed. "Dusk Shine, don't be such a stick in the mud." He nudged Rarity into their chosen tent as he continued. "It will be fine. No one will know so don't worry about it." Rarity giggled inside the tent as Elusive entered, chortling seductively. Dusk's horn flashes a quick purple and Rarity and Elusive reappeared outside. Everyone stared wide-eyed as they saw the two unicorns' current positions. Rarity laid on her back while Elusive kissed her stomach, trailing up to her neck. The two froze in shock when they realized they were, again outside.
"I think I should be worried." Dusk Shine said flatly. The two scrambled off one another, blushing.
"I-I-I see you point." Elusive stammered quietly.
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A.J. stared up at the fabric ceiling, lost in thought. The fireflies hummed softly in the jar beside Elusive, dancing their nighttime waltz. Elusive pulled his sleeping mask over his eyes and stretched his hooves.  
"Goodnight  A.J." the suit-maker yawned.
"Elusive, can Ah ask you somethin'?" A.J. asked with a distraught tone. Elusive lifted his mask.
"Is everything alright?" he asked. A.J. rolled away from him.
"I-I-I don't know. All day I've had this funny feeling in mah stomach. I don't know what's wrong with me."
"Are you sick?"
"Naw."
Elusive rubbed a hoof on his chin, already accumulating a morning peach fuzz.
"Tell me...were you with anypony when this feeling?" He eyed A.J. with a mischievous gleam. A.J. turned back to him, leaning on his forelegs.
"What are you getting-," Then it hit him. "No! It's not even like that!" he shouted with a blush.
"Oh, come now A.J. You know, just as well as I, that the funny feeling you're experiencing is love." Elusive waved him off.
"If Ah were in love, I would know it." A.J. said defiantly.
"Ok, suit yourself." Elusive said, pulling his mask over his eyes. "Goodnight."
-------------------------------------------
The cicadas chirped fitfully outside along with the crickets and grasshoppers. A.J. listened to their empty music as he laid there in silence. Elusive snored softly beside him, muttering a few words here and there.
"Could Ah really be in love with her?" he said softly. "Ah mean, she's ok, I guess. She's easy on the eyes, that's for sure..." he chuckled. His smile soon dropped as he continued to talk aloud. "Aw, but she wouldn't want anything to do with me. 'Probably has some fancy-shmancy boyfriend back home that Ah don't even know about." A.J. sighed in conclusion.
He rolled over in his sleeping bag and closed his eyes, welcoming a well-earned rest.
"Applejack probably didn't even care about me..."
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Soon, A.J. began to snore.
A smile crept on to Elusive's face.
"Applejack, huh? A.J., you silly colt..." he chuckled. Finally, he welcomed slumber with a satisfied grin.
Finally finished! So happy I got this done.
You guys have to admit, I called the camping thing pretty damn good.
I'm gonna need a break (a short one) to figure out what's going to happen next.

If there are any changes you want me to make on the story for the future (text style wise) tell me. XD
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Okay guys, you may remember some time ago that I posted my decision to not review the Equestria Girls movie. While I stand by my decision, I have, in recent weeks, been thinking that I should at least give my opinion on the film. What I liked and what I didn't, as well as some of the things other people have said about it. So rather than a review, I decided to simply give my opinions of it in a "My thoughts on" essay instead. So here we go.

As you may expect, this essay will contain spoilers for those who haven't seen the movie yet. You have been warned.

First of all, there were a couple of things about the story of this film that I'd like to discuss, first and foremost being Twilight's issues with being recently crowned a princess. As many of you know, this was an immensely controversial aspect of the season three finale, and many of the things that happen in this movie seem designed to calm people down about it. Having Twilight feel anxious and nervous about the whole thing, as well as controlling her new wings, seem like a very natural reaction for anyone in her situation, and certainly feels more like how she'd behave than the "everything's okay" way she acted in "Magical mystery cure". So on that count, the story had an element to it that I enjoyed.

However, the premise of going to the human world was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand it was certainly good to see the show trying something new. On the other hand, one of the things I liked about the show was how it did not include humans. Having this world be entirely filled with ponies or other magical creatures gave it a unique feel and helped to keep it's fantasy setting intact. By having the so-called "real world" now established as something which exists alongside the pony world, that unique element has been somewhat tarnished.

In addition to that, having this story set in a modern-era human world brings to mind many film stories that I've generally disliked. In some fantasy films, a character from a fantastical world will journey to the "real" world in order to achieve some quest or something. My issue with those stories was that they always made it so that the characters would have to awkwardly interact with things that we, the audience, would find mundane. And it's the same with this movie. Sure, from Twilight's perspective, all of these new things she comes across, not to mention having to adjust to moving as a human, would undoubtedly be difficult for her. But for the rest of us, who do those things every day, seeing her struggle with it can come off as simply boring.

Despite that though, it does have one thing that puts it above the aforementioned films. You see, in those other films, a change from a fantasy setting to a realistic one was always done primarily as a cost-cutting measure, to make it so that the film-makers could save money on sets, costumes etc. But here, that's clearly not the case. The familiar MLP images we're so often used to are replaced for new characters, new designs for old characters, and even a whole new world that had to be designed and made from scratch. So, if nothing else, this show should at least be praised for showing that they've clearly put a lot of effort into it.

As you all know, one of the most notable aspects of this movie is the "humanization" of MLP characters. I've already given my thoughts in the inclusion of humans, but the humanizing of established MLP characters seems to irk people in particular, and I think I understand why. Ever since the show started, fans have been speculating on what the characters might look like if they were human, coming up with all sorts of designs and fan-art of their individual interpretations. And now that we have a so-called "official" image of what these characters would look like as humans, that would undoubtedly upset many, with their own interpretations having been rendered, as I once put it, "officially unofficial".

While I can certainly understand being upset over that, after all my own interpretation didn't match what was on-screen, this film does not render mine or anyone else's personal vision of the humanized characters invalid, or wrong. All we're getting here is a look at what the creators themselves think the girls would look like. And that alone makes it an interesting thing as it's the idea of humanization, something we fans have been doing for a while, put in the hands of the official show staff. If anything we should be celebrating the fact that they've taken something we do and made it official, something they've been doing with their fans for a while now. Though I will admit right now that having the main six become human/pony hybrids near the end did seem a little off to me.

The inclusion of a world of humans, as well as a means to travel between it and Equestria, presents us with a number of interesting possibilities for future stories. After all, the mirror still remains at the end of the film, so there's no reason why Twilight or some other pony can't go back to it. In addition to that, we don't know if it's possible for the humans of that world to also travel to Equestria. Could the pony and human version of the same character meet each other? What disturbances could that cause? Would a human character become a pony if they came to Equestria? I don't know if they ever intend to explore such possibilities, but it's a least worth mentioning.

The characters, at least as far as the main ones are concerned, are all portrayed well here, both their pony versions and their human ones. Twilight's arc, as I said before, is one I really liked and respected, and it was interesting to see her cope in a situation where her normal strengths, like magic, were unavailable to her. The others all play to their respective strengths well, but if there was one thing I feel I need to criticise, it's that it seems just a little odd that Sunset's plan to divide the human versions worked so well. In all the time they were fighting amongst themselves, not once had it ever occurred to them to talk to each other and find out for real if they were the ones sending messages to each other. Still, I suppose having Twilight do the re-uniting does, at least, further her role as the glue with holds these five together, as has been established in many previous episodes.

And what about the new characters? Firstly, there's the villain, Sunset Shimmer. From a character standpoint, she seems interesting. After all, given how long Celestia has lived, it makes sense that Twilight would not have been the first student she'd take under her wing. So having a previous student come back to take vengeance of a sort is interesting. However, the issue with this is that Sunset never got any resolution with Celestia herself, with her main conflict being with Twilight. On top of that, I felt that her apology at the end of the film was a bit rushed. It seemed less a case of her being genuinely remorseful, and more a case of her apologising because she lost and had no other option. It's pretty much the same issue I had with Trixie back in "Magic duel", as neither apology seemed genuine to me.

However, her actions throughout the film tended to raise many questions that, admittedly, I didn't think of while I watched the film the first time around. For example, if she's been in the human world for, presumably, the entire run of the series so far, then how is it that she knew about the elements of harmony, or that Twilight was in possession of one? How would she know what it looked like in order to make a fake version of it? How could she know how to move around the crystal palace if both it and the Empire weren't even around when she first went to the human world? And how is it that she knew that Twilight and her element would be there to steal on the day she chose to return through the mirror? These questions never get answered throughout the entire run of the film and that really frustrates me.

And then we have Flash Sentry and his relationship to Twilight. This is something that, to me, seems like an interesting direction to go in. Now, for those who've read my recent fanfics, you'll know that I'm more-or-less and official shipper of these two, so I'm not exactly unbiased in this area of the film. However, even if I disliked the idea of them being together, I'd still praise it for at least trying something new. Remember, this is the first time since Rarity's crush on Prince Blueblood back in season one that a member of the main cast has been placed in a romantic relationship with another character. And while Flash wasn't really fleshed out all that much as a character, he did enough for me to like him well enough. I know it's been said that his character, at least the pony version anyway, won't be making future appearances, but I'd be keen to have him back, if only so we can see how the show handles the idea of one of it's main characters being in a long-term relationship.
One thing that did bother me about him though was that he was said to be Sunset's ex-boyfriend. This is a troublesome issue for me because, from what we've seen, Flash is a pretty decent guy, going out of his way to do the right thing whenever possible. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who'd willingly date Sunset, whose pretty much the opposite. I know Sunset has, on occasion, been known to pretend to be nicer than she is, but given her reputation around the entire school for cruelty and deception, it's hard to think that Flash would fall for such an act and go out with her, even once.

When it comes to the story, one of the biggest issues I have is with the resolution of the conflict with Sunset Shimmer. Firstly, while it makes sense for magic and friendship to solve the ultimate issue in Equestria, Twilight and the human versions of her friends are not in Equestria, they're meant to be in what's supposed to be the real world. And because of that, I was really looking forward to them finding a way to solve the big issue of the film without having to resort to that sort of ending. That's not to say I don't like that kind of resolution in MLP, but when I watch it here, it felt as though they only put it in because the writers couldn't think of any other way to end it.

Going back to the story, there are a couple of inconsistencies involved with the element of magic here. Firstly, Twilight's declaration near the end that Equestria would be fine without it is a complete contradiction of what was said to her at the start of the movie, that the other elements would be useless without it, and Equestria would be left defenceless. So either Twilight forgot about that or she'd choose to save the human world over her own, neither of which is something I think she'd do. Plus, it was established early on in the show that the elements only work with their assigned bearers, which is why Spike couldn't use the element of loyalty against Discord back in season two. And yet in this movie, Sunset Shimmer was able to use the element not only to transform herself, but gain control over others. I know I can't always expect complete consistency in a kids show, but little details like that have always bothered me.

The humour of the film worked very well, and all of the moments that were clearly meant to cause laughter did their job well. But again, setting it in the modern human world means the inclusion of pop-culture references, something I've often praised the show for avoiding in the past. The jokes in past episodes have, for the most part, been fairly timeless, like they could bee from any era. By having references to things like texts and YouTube, that sort of undermines the charm I found in the humour of other episodes.

However, I will concede that the YouTube reference is actually used in a rather clever way. As good as MLP is, I think there can be no denying the fact that it was via the internet, and YouTube in particular, that the show managed to reach the massive fanbase it now has. So, in a rather clever twist, the villain, Sunset Shimmer, makes a YouTube video in order to make Twilight unpopular The means by which Twilight and the other ponies became popular in the real world is here, in this fictional world, used to actually undermine her popularity. I don't know if this was an intentional move on the part of the writers, but if it was, then I salute them because that was absolute genius.

And now I feel it's time to discuss one of the more notable aspects of this film, that of the brony community's reaction to it. For almost all of the time leading up to this film's release, the internet was abuzz with discussions on how this change would "ruin MLP forever" and other such accusations. Guys, I get it. I understand where your coming from. MLP is not the first fandom I've been a part of, and I understand all to well how a big change can be feared. But there was never any reason for that kind of fear to exist, especially given how many times we've felt it in this franchise, only to be proven wrong. MLP survived having Luna's appearance changed. It survived introducing a third alicorn, who later married a previously-unknown brother of Twilight. It survived having Twilight become and alicorn herself. And it will probably survive this.

Remember. A show that's capable of making thirty-year-old men fall in love with a cartoon about ponies intended for girls is more than capable of making a film like this and not cause it's own self-destruction in the process..

However, having said that, I feel the need to make a confession. That being that, I myself was no better at one point. I too felt a deep sense of worry over how this change would affect the franchise. And it shames me to admit to that because, at the end of the day, I should have known better. This show has impressed me time and again and has always managed to reel me back whenever I've felt unsure about some new direction it's going in. So for all my talk about how bronies were silly to be worried, let it be known that, at one time, I was right there with them.

So, with all that said and done, how do I feel about the film? Honestly, I love it. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it's among my favourite MLP-related stories so far, it definitely impressed me in a lot of ways. The characters were still likeable, the songs, while not their best, still impressed me, and I do salute them for at least trying something different with the premise of the film. Do I think it stands among the best of MLP? No. But just because it doesn't get into my top ten or something like that doesn't mean there's nothing here to enjoy. And I DID enjoy this film, a lot.

Plus, I just love the symbolism of it. A feature-length MLP story in movie theatres. A few years ago, many would have mocked the idea of a return of the MLP franchise to television. Most people, myself included, thought that it wouldn't work, that no-one would like it. But then, it turned out to be a massive hit, earning scores of fans, even ones outside of it's intended audience. And now, on top of all that, it get's it's own theatrical release. That alone is proof enough of how well this show has done. This film may have many aspects to it that we fans may not like, but we cannot deny that by simply existing, Equestria Girls has shown the world just how popular, and how loved, MLP has become. And I can't think of higher praise to say than that.

Well, that's my thoughts on Equestria Girls. Hope you enjoyed reading it.
My opinions on the recent controversial MLP movie, Equestria Girls.

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She had worked hard this week. As much as she'd grown used to it, she still felt tired at the end of every day. Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Equestria. It had been many years since she had ascended to the role of Princess, becoming an alicorn in the process, and still the change had never stopped shocking her. The level of magic she had been able to achieve since her transformation was astounding. And not only that, but ponies from far and wide came to view her as a teacher. It brought a smile on her face to see young colts and fillies come to ask her questions and learn from her. It reminded her very much of how she was when she was their age, learning from her own mentor.

But it was not merely new experiences that this title had afforded her. In her years since her coronation, she had also experienced many physical changes that came with being an alicorn. The most obvious of which was, of course, her size. She had grown quite tall, towering over almost any other pony in Equestria, much like other alicorns before her had done. Her hair had grown long and, much like her mentor, had taken to flowing behind her regardless of the presence of wind.

She had spent much of the past week in her lessons, passing on the knowledge and wisdom she herself had to learn first-hoof, back when she was, in her own words, "just a regular old unicorn". But today was her day off. And it was fortunate hat it happened to be this day, because today was very important to her. For it was a day that she both loved and dreaded every year. She was walking along an unassuming country road, the skies above her becoming grey with clouds. It was not due to rain just yet, but the pegasi were already preparing the skies for it.

Twilight had travelled far from Canterlot, dispensing with the usual trappings of royalty for the trip. No guards. No chariot. None of the usual crown or jewellery that other princesses of Equestria wore. She was not even bothering to use her wings to fly to her destination today. No. Not on this day. This day, she would travel there as she would have done long ago. Back when she was not a princess, but a unicorn. Back before the weight of royalty was upon her.

It had taken her virtually all day, but she finally reached it, and a smile came upon her face. Ponyville. A small, relatively unimportant village that many in the larger pony settlements would not regard as anything important. But to Princess Sparkle, this place was the world to her. True, Canterlot may have been the place of her birth, it may have been the place where she had many happy childhood memories. But this place was her home. An adopted home perhaps, but home nonetheless. Even after she'd taken to residing in Canterlot some years ago to take up greater royal responsibilities, she always felt a connection to this tiny village more.

As she began entering the village, many of the ponies, earth, pegasi and unicorn alike, began turning their heads. When they saw her, their eyes widened in surprise. Under normal circumstances, ponies would bow or greet those of royal lineage when they arrived at their home. But not here. For this was not the first time that Twilight had come back to this place. And as such, many of Ponyville's residents had learned not to make a fuss over her arrival. They would still give her a nod and a smile when she passed, which she would kindly return, but for the most part, she was treated like a regular pony, as one of them. And that was always something she wanted.

She walked through the town, looking upon all of the houses and shops, many of which were around when she had been living here herself. The Mayor's hall, the quills and sofas shop, even Sugarcube Corner. Happy memories, she thought to herself. Then, as she walked through the middle of the town, she caught sight of a very important building. Well, important to her at least. At first glance many might not think it was a building at all, they'd think it was a tree. But it was dotted with windows and balconies and a simple wooden front door.

The Ponyville library. Back when she was living here, this had been Twilight's home. And nopony could have chosen a more suitable place for her to live. She had always loved books, even after her ascension to royalty. And much of her time was spent reading and studying here. Twilight approached it. She did not enter, but she gently placed a hoof on the door. Peering through the window, she saw that no-one was inside. In fact, the place looked quite dusty and unused. She sighed with a degree of disappointment. It was to be expected of course. Even when she was living here, working as the place's librarian, few ponies ever came to borrow any books or do any reading. And even in all her subsequent visits, it had remained largely unused., but it was not something she ever enjoyed seeing, books never being read.

She would have entered then and there, had it not been for a familiar voice from behind.

"Well well. I was beginnin to thin you wouldn't show up."

Another smile crept onto Twilight's face as she turned around and gazed upon an old earth pony behind her. Her coat was a faded yellow, and her mane was a bright red. One her flank, she bore a cutie mark of a large red apple. She was a very old pony, far older than almost any other pony in the village. But she was one Twilight knew well. The two smiled at each other and walked towards each other. They nuzzled the sides of each other's heads in an affectionate manner, before pulling away, still smiling.

"It's been a long time, Applebloom." She said.

The old pony nodded.

"Yes it has." She replied.

The two began walking down the street together, Twilight making sure to slow down more than normal to allow the wizened earth pony to keep up.

"How long has it been since you decided to pay us a visit Princess?" Applebloom asked.

Twilight shook her head.

"Applebloom. I told you. Here in Ponyville, I want to be known as Twilight. Nothing more."

There was no malice or ill intent in Twilight's voice as she said that, but there was enough of an edge to her words to make Applebloom nod in response. After that, Twilight considered her old friend's question.

"How long has it been? About a year I suppose."

Applebloom looked away from her.

"Longer than last time."

Twilight closed her eyes and lowered her head. It was true. Her visits to Ponyville had been getting less and less frequent. It was something that conjured up sad memories. Back when she was living here, she had lamented once that she and her brother, Shining Armour, despite having once been close, had seen each other less and less since she moved to Ponyville. And while it was true that things between them got better shortly after that, she never forgot just how lonely she had felt without him in her life.

As the two continued walking down the street, they began to move towards the outskirts of the village. The houses were becoming more sparse and they were almost up in a large green field that was adjacent to the town. Once they reached it, Applebloom stopped walking, leading to Twilight turning towards her with a confused expression.

"You're not coming?" She asked.

Applebloom shook her head.

"No. I visited earlier today. Besides, I think this really is a private moment between you and them." She replied.

Twilight gave a small smile and nodded in thanks. Applebloom nodded back and began to walk away. Twilight kept her eyes on the old pony for as long as possible before she moved out of sight. Turning back to the field, she began walking across it. After a few minutes, she reached what she came here for. Underneath a large old oak tree, were five stone slabs in the ground, all lined up.

As Twilight approached, she could make out the symbols that had been chiselled into each of them. Three apples. Three balloons. Three diamonds. Three Butterflies. And finally, a cloud with a lightning bolt emerging from it. Once Twilight had reached the stones, she sat down and gazed upon each one in turn. Her expression was one of sadness. But like most of her visits, she did not want to shed a tear here, not in front of them.

"Hey guys. I'm sorry it's been so long. I tried getting away sooner but you know how things go."

The stones were silent, like they always were. But sometimes, Twilight would remember her friends, her dear sweet friends, and imagine what they might say in response. Maybe Rainbow would make some sarcastic comment about her being late, but still happy she was here. Fluttershy wouldn't want to make a fuss and make some excuse on her behalf. Rarity would say she wasn't bothered, for fear of seeming impolite. Applejack would be eager to catch up regardless. And Pinkie, well, she'd just bounce around and be thrilled to see her.

"I see the town's doing okay. Sweet Apple Acres is still going strong. The Cake twins are running Sugarcube Corner okay. Everything......"

Twilight's smile began to fade.

".......everything's just fine."

The lavender princess stared at the stones. Cold, unfeeling......dead. She did this every time she came here. She'd act like nothing was wrong. She'd pretend that she was alright, that she was happy, that it didn't bother her to see her friends like this. But it was a lie. No matter how much she would have wanted them to, the stones stayed silent when she spoke. They were not her friends. Her friends were gone. And she remained.

She'd always known this, but she'd always tried to bury that feeling. Beneath her work, her responsibilities, her lessons to other ponies. She'd convince herself that she was alright and that she had no regrets. But here, with nopony to see, she finally let go. Her eyes welled up and she began to cry. Her weeps were the only sound that could be heard, save for the rustle of the leaves of the oak tree.

"I'm sorry. I always knew that this would happen. That being....."

She spread her wings and looked at them.

".......this, would lead to a long life. I tried my best to prepare myself for.....for seeing you all......leave. But it hurts. I won't lie to you anymore girls. Your passing was something that I have not stopped thinking about. Not in all the years since it happened."

She furled her wings once more. It had been many years since her friends had passed away. She had spent as much time with them as possible during her early years as a princess. But as the years rolled on and they grew older, it became more and more clear to her that she could not follow them. To see them grow older, to see them grow weaker with age, while she remained exactly as she was, made it very clear to her what was coming. But that made it no easier when it finally happened. And when they passed, that was the day she decided to officially move back to Canterlot. Oh sure she still had friends here in Ponyville, like Applebloom. But these five, her closest friends, were no more. And without them, she no longer had any reason to keep living in this village.

"Please understand girls. I don't hate Celestia for changing me like this, making me a princess. In the years since it happened I have achieved so much, seen so much, performed magic I once thought I'd never be able to do. But this....."

She got up and walked forward, placing a hoof on top of the nearest gravestone, that of Applejack's.

".....this sight of you, it always makes me wonder if it was worth it."

She brushed aside some of the leaves that had fallen on top of the grave.

"I would give it all up in a heartbeat for you. You know that. I'd give up my power, my crown.......my wings. I'd sacrifice it all, just so I could have one day.....just ONE day.....with things back the way they were. Back with all of you. Being friends. Laughing together. Being......being happy."

Her voice had become little more than sobs at this point. In this place, she felt free to allow herself to break down like this. Back in Canterlot, or even in Ponyville, she would never let herself lose it like this. Not where other ponies could see her. She did not care if they thought her "above" that sort of thing, but she knew how disheartened they'd be if they saw one of their rulers like this. So troubled, so....broken.

This was a far more upsetting visit than she had ever planned on it being. But, as she dwelt on her friends, more thoughts came to mind. Memories of her time here. Memories of her first meeting with all of them, how disinterested she was at first. How happy she was to see them when they cane to rescue her from Nightmare Moon. How heartbroken she felt when she almost lost them to the powers of Discord, and how joyous she was once more when that influence was broken. Hundreds of happy days, adventures, getting into trouble and learning about how important they all were to each other.

It brought another tear to her eye, but this time it was one of happiness.

"Girls. When I first came to Ponyville, all those years ago, making friends wasn't important to me. I came to do my duty towards Princess Celestia, nothing more. But, over time, you became as much a part of my life as my own family. You WERE my family. You were like the sisters I never had. I came to depend upon you. And when....when you passed, it nearly broke me. I never showed it, not to others at least, but it was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, save for the deaths of my own parents and brother. Losing you and them took something away from me that I will never be able to get back."

She turned and looked back over towards Ponyville.

"Other ponies have come and gone, and I've made friends of many of them. But...they were never as important to me as you were."

She then turned back towards the stones, taking her hoof off AJ's.

"But, I still cherish the times we had together. The good times and the bad. And I want you to know that my time living in Ponyville, my time with all of you......"

She closed her eyes and bowed her head, a single tear falling from her eye and landing on Applejack's grave.

".....they were truly the happiest years of my life. And I will never forget them, or you."

Twilight then bowed her head lower.

"I could never have become the mare I am today without you in my life. And for that, I will always thank you."

Twilight looked up and opened her eyes. She gave each stone a final look, touching each one gently in-turn, before beginning to maker her way back towards Ponyville. However, mere feet away from the stones, she stopped and turned back to look at the stones.

"......And I will always love you."

With those finale parting words, Princess Twilight Sparkle continued her walk towards the village of Ponyville, her mind filled with happy memories of the days she lived here, with the best friends anypony could ask for. Friends that would be with her in spirit no matter how many years passed. For as long as Twilight kept them in her heart, they would never truly be gone.
When I made my previous fic, "Magical mystery cure - Alternate ending", I mentioned how a long and possibly immortal life can lead to the loss of both frieds and family. After writing that I grew interested in exploring that concept, so I decided to go ahead and write a full-on story about it.

Hope you enjoy it.

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