My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
Off The Record
It was a quiet night in late March, the sky was clearer than it had been in days. The only noise besides the distant sounds of city life was the wind blowing through the grass, and a wind chime that could be heard some distance away. The sun had only set a few minutes ago, but to Alex, it had felt like a lifetime ago.
Normally, Alex would enjoy every second of the fresh night air, and use the opportunity to relax away from whatever loud sports his father had on the television. However, being able to hear his father doing anything would make all of his pain go away. He sat with his back against the front door of his house, fighting back tears. He hadn't cried in years, but at this point, he really didn't care how hard it came out.
Alex was your typical only-child, with brown hair, blue eyes, he was smart, athletic, and getting ready to graduate in a few short months, he had never been the most popular guy in school, but hadn't ever been the least popular one either, which, to be honest, was the way he had always preferred it. All over, he was pretty generic. Generic, generic, generic.
Being a rather attractive guy, he never particularly had any issue getting girlfriends, his most recent; Courtney, had only broken up with him a few hours before... leaving him for a more "exciting" guy, whatever that meant.
The two hadn't been overly physical with one another over the course of their relationship, although that wasn't exactly any fault of his. He had pushed for intimacy plenty of times. However, much to his excitement, she kept insisting that they save themselves for graduation, when it would 'mean' something. So, it was always up to the animated Japanese girls on the internet to help him deal with the tension.
Still, none of that mattered. She could be banging that new guy right now and he wouldn't have given a shit.
Alex kept replaying the events of the past day in his head, none of it seemed real. One thing led to the next, which led to next, which led too… the knock on his door.
Alex walked through his school parking lot absolutely livid; he had just been told by his girlfriend of 6 months that he was boring, and not worth her time. He had honestly thought that everything between him and her was going well. And out of nowhere she had hit him with this!
The argument that followed was nothing more than him asking what her real problem was, and her dismissing every effort he made to make things better.
So, after ten minutes of endless evasions, and other various bullshit, he simply walked away, deciding that whatever had changed, there was no fixing it. So, reaching his car and tossing his backpack in the passenger seat, he started it up, and pulled out of the parking lot and started driving straight away from the school, not caring where he ended up.
Eventually he ended up driving past a diner he and his father had visited every now and then over the past couple years. Deciding that he could use something to drink, he to stopped, resolved to forget about the last hour of his life for a few minutes.
"Hey kiddo, your dad with you?" His usual waitress, Rosie, said with a grin.
"Just me today, Rosie" Alex replied with a meek smile.
"Alright" she smiled, "the usual spot?"
"Yeah, thanks." Alex kept his eyes glued to the floor as he walked over to his usual chair at the counter, mulling over what had just happened.
Rosie saw that something was wrong with him as soon as he walked in, but decided not press for any kind of answers from him, "What can I getcha' Alex?"
"Oh," he said being shaken out of his thoughts, "Uh, just a coke please."
"Sure thing." she said with a smile, turning and walking back in to the kitchen.
After another moment, Rosie dropped off the drink and headed off toward another set of people that had just entered the restaurant.
The anger caused by Courtney's lack of explanation had subsided by this point from within him, and now he was just confused. He couldn't see what she was trying so hard to keep from him. It must have been something pretty big...
"I'll have a soda water with a couple of lime wedges please"
Alex was immediately pulled from his thoughts as he heard the unusual drink order. He looked over his shoulder and absolutely everything became clear. Across the diner sat Courtney, and Chris; the running back of his high school football team, the one guy any girl would kill for the chance for, the one guy who had just broken up with his girlfriend.
Alex could feel every ounce of anger return to him. He couldn't believe that he got dumped just so she could have this guy. How could she have been so stupid that she didn't see the car in the parking lot? He quickly realized that she probably hadn't seen his father's car enough times to associate it with him, as he drove a truck ninety-nine percent of the time. Either way, he needed to leave now, before he did something stupid, and got his ass kicked by a football jock.
Leaving a five dollar bill on the table, he walked out without being seen by anyone, except a concerned looking Rosie.
Getting back in his car, he decided to go home. He knew his his parents would start to wonder where he was.
After driving well above the speed limit for 15 minutes, he finally arrived at him home, a small ranch on the outside of the town.
Pulling through the main gate, he was surprised to see his parents weren't home from the grocery store in the city yet. His father had asked to borrow his truck so they could bring home a larger load of groceries than they normally could with the car he was in at the moment. Alex quickly shrugged it off and went inside to lie down.
Throwing his bag next to the front door, Alex walked through the kitchen and threw himself onto the couch in the den. After all that had happened, he just wanted to close his eyes for a few moments, and forget everything.
And within a few minutes, he was fast asleep.
Alex was awoken by the doorbell ringing, he gazed over at the clock, it read 7:30, he figured his parents would have woken him up when they got home. 'Are they not home yet?' He muttered to himself still a little groggy.
His attention went back to the door, and quickly composed himself as he walked over to it, and opened it. He was surprised to be greeted by a police officer, "Can I help you?" Alex asked, unsure of what else he could say.
"Are you Alex Mackenzie?" The officer asked in a slightly uneasy tone.
"Yeah…" Alex replied, still unsure of his purpose at the house
"I'm afraid there's been an accident… "He started slowly "your parents were involved…"
Alex grimaced at the thought of it all. He couldn't even keep his eyes open, everything reminded him of something. His stomach churned. He needed to get away. All of this familiarity was driving him nuts.
He stood up and started walking toward a rather think patch of trees that sat on the outside of his property.
He walked in silence, while screaming in his head.
His uncle had been by shortly after the police left, and asked him to spend the night at his house just across the road. But, Alex refused. He was, however, happy that he offered to look after the animals on the ranch. Alex knew they would be neglected in one way or another if the responsibility was all his.
Looking up, he was surprised to see that he was already a good ways into the woods. However, his plan to escape from familiar things had somewhat failed.
His mother had used to take him through a small part of these woods. They would always follow the same path looping them around to where they started, so, realizing that, he purposely strayed away from the usual path, and went deeper into the woods. He needed a blank slate.
As he walked through the maze of trees and rocks, he kept his gaze glued to the ground. Everything stuck on permanent repeat in his head. And, after wandering like that for so long, he started to wonder just how long gad passed. But, it wasn't any real kind of concern for him. So, he just kept walking. Eventually, the ground started to clear up, and after a few moments, there was nothing on the ground but neat, cut grass.
His gaze was pulled up when he noticed some kind of light illuminating the ground around him.
He was puzzled to see some kind of shimmering light, about the size of a door in his home, directly in front of him. He tried to look into it directly, but found it almost impossible to look for more than a second. It had that same intensity of the sun, while not projecting it's light very far toward the outside world.
His mind wasn't able to process what was making the light appear. There was nothing in the immediate area, and nothing could possibly be casting it from a distance. It's a strange feeling when you find yourself unable to explain something. Everything in your brain tells you that it shouldn't be there. And yet, it stood in front of him.
So, in order to satisfy his now massive curiosity, he inched closer and closer toward the light, intent on finding its source. He used one hand to shield the light from his eyes, and with the other he slowly moved to the light, expecting a kind of heat to be radiated from it; he was very surprised when he felt nothing but the cool night air.
He did a quick circle around the light to make sure there was no source immediately behind it, which there wasn't. When he finished his lap, he walked back to where he started, and considered his options.
He could leave it alone, and just move on.
As if there was any debate.
Since he wasn't able to look directly in to it, he decided to just reach his hand out, and see what it felt like, while simultaneously keeping himself from going blind. He reached forward, and felt nothing. So, figuring that he had miscalculated it's distance, he reached further. But, again. Nothing.
Looking quickly, Alex felt his pulse quicken as he realized that his arm was inside of it.
"Nope nope nope nope!" Alex said immediately.
He tried to withdraw his hand from the light, but found it wouldn't come out. His arm was completely stuck inside the mysterious light despite the lack of any grip he could feel. and Then, the light started expanding, slowly consuming more of body as it did.
Alex went wide eyed and started yanking and jerking his arm as much as he could, however, to was to no avail. He was stuck, short of ripping his arm off.
The light continued to grow, and slowly engulfed more and more of his body until it had just about reached his head, which he had tried to keep as far away as possible. But, as it obviously had no intention of slowing down, Alex finally lost the battle with the light, as it completely consumed him.
The only thing he could see was white, even when he closed his eyes he was still plagued by the solid color. He instinctively tried to cover his eyes with his hands, but was still unable to pull them toward him. He pulled against the invisible force holding him in place, and was surprised when the force suddenly disappeared.
However, once it vanished, his attempts to cover his eyes were finally fruitful, as his hands flew with more force than he intended, and he ended up striking himself in the face with two very solid feeling hands. He tried to inspect himself, but found the light to be too intense to see anything.
The bright world slowly started fading, however, Alex couldn't tell if it was the world dimming, or it was simply him passing out from the strike to his head. Whether or not the color was fading, Alex passed out, embracing the darkness that came with it.
Alex felt his world slowly coming back to him. He was lying on something soft… Grass. It smelled great, and felt great. He smiled and pressed his face into it after a few moments of this, he stopped. Why was he sleeping on grass? He slowly opened his eyes to investigate what was going on around him. What he saw almost made him pass out again.
Nothing looked right. Even though it was still night, everything that surrounded him was brightly colored, and… what word could he use to describe this place?
What exactly was going on right now...? Did he hit his head or something?
Everything in his mind was buzzing, every detail he tried to flesh out in his head made little to no headway on explaining why he was seeing the world the way he was... was he high? He hadn't ever done shit like that, but something was pressing on his brain, and making him view the world in a completely different way.
Looking around, everything was the same... style, if that were an appropriate word. The world offered a severe lack of variety in the colors, it was like ninety-percent of shades had been blocked from his vision, making most objects have a single, uniform color to it. A tree trunk was solid brown, while the sky was a solid purple.
His brain simply couldn't comprehend what he was seeing.
Alex had always had rather vivid dreams, but this was something entirely different, everything felt so… real. And on top of that, he was pretty aware, if this were indeed a dream.
Quickly looking around the area, he immediately came to the conclusion that he was in the same area that he had stumbled upon with the bright light…
Then, like a tidal wave, Alex remembered everything. His parents, the walk through the woods, the shimmering light, everything that had just happened…
"Well, either I'm dreaming, or I've completely lost it" Alex muttered to himself. "I'm probably just dreaming"
Alex looked around for another moment, and really appreciated the strange, but simplistic world around him. It was beautiful.
However, looking around can only get you so much out of life. So, he decided to investigate this dream in a little more detail by looking around the field. Reaching forward, he attempted to push off the ground with his hands. But, he wasn't supported the way he had expected to be, and he immediately tumbled to the ground.
"What the…?" Alex said, looking to his hands and gasping loudly in horror.
"Hooves?" Alex said out loud. His mind started racing, this wasn't right. He did NOT have hooves. "This... this is just a dream! Come on hands! Change back! Any time now!" He was starting to get frantic, if this was a dream, why wasn't he waking up? He put one hoof to the other and tried to pinch himself, but quickly remembered that he had no fingers to pinch with.
His first instinct was to stand up without the use of his hands. However, this didn't end well, as he found himself unable to balance properly, and he immediately fell back to the ground face-first.
He stopped for a moment, and forced himself to calm down. He wouldn't get anywhere freaking out. So, slowly, he attempted to lift himself up from the ground, but found something was keeping him stuck in the ground. Putting his hooves on the ground, he managed a few yanks, and pulled his head free. He put a hoof to his head, feeling for what could have caused it, and quickly discovered the source. A Horn.
At this point, Alex just wanted to wake up. Everything felt too real.
It was like no dream he had ever had. The feelings, the smells, the ache in his head from falling over; every little bit was pushing him further and further away from 'dreaming' and closer to 'insanity.'
The next thought that came to him wasn't the smartest thought he had ever had, but that hardly mattered, as he leaned over and bit himself anyway. He squeezed his eyes closed, and knew once he opened them, he'd be back at home, in his room, in his big comfy bed.
Slowly opening his right eye, he was sad to see that he was still here, in the forest that looked like it was right out of a cartoon.
Alex sighed, glancing around he took a moment to examine the hell he was in with a little more detail. The full moon was illuminating the entire area he was in, allowing him to see all the different shades of the grass he was standing in. The sky was a beautiful shade of purple, with a few wispy clouds covering some of the brightly shimmering stars. He sighed as his head sunk, but he was quickly reminded of his new appendage as it stopped him from touching the grass with his forehead. Alex looked back and forth and spotted a small pond a couple yards away.
Quickly making up his mind, Alex decided to get a good look at what exactly he was. Knowing that he needed to keep himself busy, so he wouldn't go completely insane by over thinking what was happening to him.
Remembering that he had hooves, he slowly tried to stand himself up on four legs. And miraculously, when he managed to get himself to that point, he started walking forward one step at a time. He was surprised to find that as long as he remained focused, he had almost almost no trouble walking this way. He was making his way over to the pond much faster than he had anticipated.
Finally reaching his destination, Alex looked into the water and was greeted by the something that surprised him much less than it should have. He was a horse. No… he was a unicorn. The obvious horn on his head confirmed that. He tapped his hoof against the horn, he was DEFINITELY a unicorn. Besides the fact that he was a unicorn, in a cartoon world, and starting to accept it, nothing was out of the ordinary. White coat, black mane... why couldn't he have had a black coat with a red mane? Imagine how badass he would be if THAT was his color scheme! Oh well!
Looking back, he did notice one other odd thing. There was a large grey spot on his coat. It extended from just below the right hand side of his neck to lower on his body. He repositioned himself to he could see the rest of his body in the reflection, upon doing this, he found that the spot expanded until it reached his right wing, which was completely grey itself…. Wait.
Alex did a double take.
He had wings too.
"Did I really need both?" Alex muttered, turning and inspecting his other wing, which was completely white, "At least that makes up for not being red and black!"
He figured he would have been used to these surprises by now. But, this was just as much a surprise as the horn. So, inspecting them further, he saw that his wings were covered in feathers, which kinda made sense.
So, what did this make him? A pega-corn? A uni-sus? Jesus, those names were stupid.
Instead, he decided not to overthink anything, and pushed the thought from his mind. Keeping his eyes glued to his grey wing. He was suddenly determined to figure out how to move them. It shouldn't have been too hard.
Alex thought for a moment about how this might be done, before he decided to trust his body to know how to move them. It had somewhat worked for his legs, so maybe the solution was really simple! He closed his eyes, and did the first thing that came to his mind.
Alex felt his back relax in some places, and tighten in others, he opened his eyes slowly, and was happy to see his wings slowly extending. He wasn't great at it at first, but he quickly got used to the motion of opening and closing them. Upon more experimentation he found he could flap them, flare them, and even manipulate them in ways he knew birds couldn't. This was pretty easy!
Alex started working on the flapping motion. But, no matter how hard he flapped, or how fast he flapped, he wasn't going anywhere, which really was no surprise. Where would the fun be if he were perfect at it right away?
"How can this be real?" Alex said out loud.
However, as impossible as it seemed, he had a nagging feeling that this had happened before to other humans, many, many times. TOO many times. Like, it was inappropriate how much it had been done. But, well, that was just a hunch.
Shaking the thought from his mind, Alex looked down, and then lifted a hoof to his mouth, and bit himself again for good measure. But, as he figured, this left him right where he started, plus a dull ache. He figured he had two choices; he could sit around in the field until he woke up, or… The more adventurous choice, indulge himself in his obvious insanity.
Then, Alex remembered something his father had said to him once.
"If you're losing your mind and end up in crazy land, you might as well have fun while you're there!"
Alex smiled at the memory. His Father had said this to him a few months ago when his grandmother was moved to a care facility because of her dementia.
"I guess that settles it" Alex said to himself "Since I've obviously lost my mind, I might as well try to have a little fun!"
He chuckled to himself and started scanning the horizon; he was surprised to see a city protruding off the side of a mountain some distance away. Normally he would have questioned the possibility of such a thing, but decided it was a waste of time. After all,
Alex quickly spotted a path that pointed him straight to the mountain. As he started walking, he wondered if walking into the dark forest filled with how-knows-what, was really a smart idea, but really, what was the worst that could happen?
Alex had been walking through the woods for what seemed like days, but in reality had probably only been a few hours. The path he had been following had taken too many twists and turns for him to be completely sure he was going toward that city, but even if he was in here for days, he knew he wouldn't be in too much trouble. His father had used to take him out into the thicket and the two would live off of different kinds of plants and animals. He had always hated going on those trips as a kid, leaving behind all the comforts of home to go eat gross food, and sleep on a hard, cold ground. But now, Alex couldn't be happier his father had forced him out on those trips. Although things were different in this world, a lot of things were still the same. He had managed to scavenge a few things to eat, and drink plenty of water
One thing that had surprised him was the complete lack of animal life. Not that he was looking for something to hunt; his father had always been the one to do that. And Alex could never bring himself to eat it anyway. The thing that had him confused was that not only had he seen nothing alive, but he hadn't heard a single noise. Besides him, the forest was absolutely dead silent. There was something unnatural about it. He knew this world was completely foreign to him, but couldn't shake the feeling something was wrong.
Alex was also surprised to find that the sun hadn't risen yet. He knew he had been out walking for hours, and that on top of that, it was pitch black out when he woke up in this place. He looked up, examining the sky, not being able to see any kind of change in the shade of purple he had seen hours ago. Was that another thing about this insanity world? Was night longer than day here? Was there a day at all? Maybe-
Alex was cut off from his thoughts when he heard screaming and a roar pierce the absolute silence of the forest. The screaming had been far off, but not so far that he couldn't get the direction is had come from.
Taking a deep breath, he started walking in that direction, slowly picking up his pace, while still making sure to avoid tripping and hurting himself. Once he found a rather clear path, he started to move faster and faster, trusting his new instincts, until he reached a speed he was happy with. He was amazed to see how little effect on his body his running was having. He was moving faster than he ever had before, and it was barely fazing him.
However, after fifteen minutes of straight running, he was finally feeling that he needed a break. He hadn't heard another noise since the initial screaming, and wondered whether or not he had gotten to the place it had come from. For all he knew, he could be way past, or not even close. He closed his eyes and concentrated, listening for any sign of life around him... but, there was nothing. As he opened his eyes in defeat, he noticed that the forest was suddenly much darker than it had been before. He could barely even see his hoof in front of his face.
Where had this darkness come from? Or… rather, where had all the light gone? After a few seconds of squinting, and tripping over almost everything he possibly could, he sat down on him rump, giving up on navigating the pitch black. However, he wasn't feeling defeated for long. Another shriek sounded out, this time; he could clearly hear that there were a group of people. Girls.
Snapping his head toward the direction of the scream, Alex saw a dim pink light illuminating a section of the forest just ahead of him. He was lucky he was so close, he never would have seen it if he had been any further away.
Normally he would have made it there in no time, but the darkness surrounding him made it extremely difficult. He had to squint at the ground, and calculate every step. Any screw up, and he would be horn deep in the ground once again.
As he closed the distance to the illuminated area, he started to hear something that sounded quite melodic. If he hadn't known better, he would have almost said that it was singing! His pace started to pick up as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, and he headed closer and closer to the source of the noise.
After 5 or so minutes he finally arrived at the clearing that had just housed the group of people. Seeing no one around, he figured that they must have headed up the path.
Looking around, he noted that all the light had been restored to the area. It had been such a gradual thing, he didn't even notice it. Realizing that he didn't exactly know where those girls had headed off to, he started examining the ground, looking for clues as to where they had gone.
Quickly picking up on the directions of the hoof marks, he knew what direction they were headed.
"Hooves…" Alex said out loud. "That means that they're horses too. Like me. Or... more likely, they're riding horses."
Knowing that this wasn't the time to stop and think, he pressed on.
Galloping along the path, he squinted trying to see if anyone was in front of him, but found nothing to suggest any sign of life ahead. After failing at that, he looked at the ground and saw that the hoof prints were farther apart than they had been before. They must have been running to.
So, after another 10 minutes of galloping, he had to slow down and take a break. These other horses must have been much more used to running compared to him. But, this didn't REALLY surprise him, as, well… this WAS his first time being a horse.
So, after only a two minute breather, he started moving again, picking up from his previous pace.
Next, Alex came upon a large, rushing river.
On close examination he noted that he couldn't cross it by any normal means. He glanced back and forth at his wings, wishing he knew how to use them. Sighing, he sat back on his rump, and grumbled at the fact that he didn't know how he'd be able to follow them from here. He closed his eyes, and sighed, looking at the ground.
"Why hello there!" A slightly flamboyant voice said from in front of him.
Alex just about jumped out of his skin. Opening his eyes he was greeted with the sight of a giant serpent towering over him.
"I… I…" Alex stammered, almost paralyzed with fear, not able to form any coherent words as he simply stood frozen in place.
"What's wrong with you?" The serpent said, sounding concerned enough to put Alex a tiny bit at ease.
"Remember Alex! This is a different world. This guy… might be a normal thing! At least you're talking to someone!" Alex muttered to himself.
Composing himself as much as physically possible, he managed to squeak out a few words, "Did you… see a group of girls head across this river?"
The Serpents face lit up "Why yes!" He said beaming. "The lovely fillies that just came through here and helped me with my crisis!" The dragon said adding as much emphasis on the word 'crisis' as he possibly could. "And now!" he began, "My amazing moostache, is even more fabulous than before! All thanks to those wonderful ponies!"
Being slightly confused, Alex looked up to see that the serpent's moustache, or… Moostache was made up of two different colors on either half of his face. On the right, it was orange, and matched his other hair. On the left, it was purple.
"So, if I'm like them, that makes me a pony?" Alex asked quietly, before laughing at the absurdity of it all, "How manly!"
But, really, considering his size, pony actually made a measure of sense.
Quickly snapping back to the creature in front of him, Alex cleared his throat, "By any chance, could you help me across the river to follow those… Ponies?" Alex asked, hoping that he wasn't screwing up the use of the word.
"Can't you just fly across with those wings of yours?" The serpent asked, cocking an eyebrow.
"Oh! Well, you see…" Alex considered his options carefully here. Did he want to tell him that he was from another world, and that he didn't know how to fly yet? No. No point in sounding like a complete lunatic. "I… Uhh… hurt my wing! And… can't seem to get myself airborne!" He said laughed nervously.
"Well that is just terrible! I'd be more than happy to give you a lift after what your friends did for me!" He said smiling. "Here! Hop on!" The snake said lifting the back half of his body onto the shore, next to Alex.
Alex gulped. He REALLY hoped he wasn't about to get eaten. Slowly stepping over the serpents tail, he walked a few more careful steps, finding some more solid ground to stand on.
"Here we go!" The friendly snake said, quickly moving his body over to the other side of the river.
After an agonizing 15 seconds of Alex trying to keep his balance on the creatures back, he reached the shore on the other side of the river. Hopping off, Alex turned back to his new friend smiling, "thanks for the lift!"
"It was no problem at all!" He said beaming. "I'm always happy to help out new friends!"
"So... You just live in the river?" Alex asked, suddenly curious about the lifestyle of the creature, "Or do you have a house or something?"
"I live in a cave just downstream!" He said happily, pointing behind him, "But, as much as I'd love to continue this conversation, aren't you trying to catch that group of fillies?"
"Oh!" Alex remembered suddenly, "Right!" He smiled, looking at the ground and finding the tracks once again and picking up speed, "Thanks again!"
"Come back any time!" The serpent shouted, watching Alex gallop into the night.
Alex had been running for only a couple of minutes where he came to a small bridge crossing over a large expanse. On the other side, was some kind of temple. Completely made out of stone, and had been completely overgrown.
Deciding not to waste any time, he took his first step on to the rickety bridge. However, he felt a certain place on his backside pucker as the entire thing squeaked, however, he forced himself to keep moving, pushing fear to the back of his mind.
Once he was half way across, the fear began to force it's way back in to his head. The boards on the bridge were both old, and giving way under his weight. Considering how old the temple looked, he wasn't really surprised this was happening.
Realizing that he needed to cross this bridge before it collapsed, he began quickly moving from one board to the next, closing the distance between him and the other side. He was only a few planks away from the end, when he stepped on a board and it suddenly gave away under his weight. He barely managed to take a step back without falling, but found that the gap created by the lost board was simply too big for him to safely step over.
How would he get across now?
Alex always considered himself somewhat smart, and this was one of those reaffirming moments, because he knew he'd have to jump the rest of the way across the bridge now. Even if he had been able to jump to the next plank, past the one that had fallen, he knew it would just collapse under the weight of his landing on it.
Gauging his distances, he took a few steps back... He hadn't tried jumping as a pony yet, but, as far as he could remember, knew they were very capable of covering distance in his world with a single jump.
Besides, really, what was the worst thing that could happen? he would run, jump, then fall, and wake up from this dream!
He gulped, not being completely satisfied with that previous reasoning, but started running anyway.
As Alex quickly got to the gap, he bent his hind legs, and pushed them off the board, launching himself toward the other side of the cliff. He sailed through the air, but quickly realized he was going to be just short of his destination. He was only a few feet away from crashing into the bridge, and likely falling into the chasm, when his new instincts kicked in, and his wings extended and gave a few powerful flaps.
In no way had he achieved any kind of flight, but his wings HAD given him just enough lift to get him past the end of the bridge.
Being so surprised with this, Alex hadn't prepared for the landing, and promptly tumbled onto the ground head first, which got his horn stuck in the ground. Again.
He yanked his horn out of the dirt with little trouble, and looked up at the stone temple in front of him. He could clearly see a small group of ponies standing in front of the main structure. He had found them! Getting a good look at the group, he noticed that two of the ponies had only wings, another had only a horn, and the other two had neither.
He was different from them... But, deciding this might be another completely normal thing in this world, he started approaching them.
As he started walking toward them, he carefully considered what to say. What do you tell a group of horses, when you're a human that came through some kind of convenient portal in to Equestria? Well-
But, before he could formulate any kind of plan to talk to them, a dark purple light quickly shot through the structure, disappearing as fast as it had come.
"Twilight?" shouted all of the girls in unison, before all of them ran into the building.
"She's gone!" he heard another one of them say.
Alex started walking toward to the temple when his focus was pulled to a building to the left of the main structure. He saw the same purple light pierce through the darkness, shining out all of the windows of the temple. If that light had made someone disappear, he figured it was a safe bet to go check this out. If anyone was in danger, he had to make sure this 'Twilight' was safe before he worried about himself. He was a nice guy, after all.
Running up the main stairs into the temple, he came to the main chamber of the building, where he saw a much larger horse, with some kind of flowing black mane, and a set of armor, standing on a pedestal on the opposite end of the room. Closer to him, was a purple pony, with only a horn, who was confronting the other mare.
Alex ducked behind a pillar so he wouldn't be seen right away. He watched as the small purple pony, who Alex assumed was 'Twilight' took a rather aggressive stance, looking like she was going to charge the much larger horse in front of her.
"You're kidding." The larger mare laughed. "You're kidding, right?" She said seriously, upon realizing it wasn't a joke.
Alex quickly moved himself behind another pillar, heading inward toward the middle of the room, before looking back to the confrontation. Twilight started charging the black mare full speed, with some kind of spark shooting out the end of her horn.
The Black mare laughed, and returned the gesture in kind, rushing toward the small girl.
'What is she thinking!?' Alex said to himself. 'There's no way she'll ever win this!' But, to Alex's and the black mare's surprise, Twilight vanished in a bright light, and reappeared on the pedestal the black mare had just been on.
"Just one spark, come on, come on!" Twilight said concentrating.
Skidding to a halt, the larger horse turned and saw Twilight pointing her horn at the six stones on the ground. "No!" She shouted as she started running at the pony.
Alex could clearly see that Twilight was in no position to avoid any kind of oncoming attack, and that the horn on the charging horse could probably do some real damage if it hit her. So, he decided that there was only one thing to do.
He gulped, jumped out of his hiding spot, and ran on an intercept course, to protect the girl.
He had to laugh at himself; here he was, running at the scariest horse he had ever seen, all to protect somepony he didn't even know. For all he knew he was attacking the GOOD guy. However, he seriously doubted this, and braced himself for the impact, making sure to tilt his head far enough down that he didn't impale her.
'Wait? Did I just say somepony?' Was the last thing he thought, before colliding with dark horse.
The hit HURT. It felt like he had run head first into a brick wall, even getting his horn stuck in it.
Staggering back, Alex was happy to see his pain was worth it, as he had knocked the mare off balance, causing her to wipe out on the stone ground, and skid across the floor.
"You foal! You dare attack Nightmare Moon!? She shouted, at Alex.
Righting herself, she seemed to have forgotten Twilight, and started approaching him, growling. Alex, stood his ground, hoping to give Twilight as much time as he possibly could, so she could do... whatever it was she was doing. However, Nightmares focus was pulled back to her when the six stones in front of the purple mare started sparking back and forth, sending Twilight flying away from them with some kind of magical burst.
"No!" Nightmare shouted rushing onto the platform.
Alex ran over to the collapsed Twilight, "Are you okay?"
Twilight looked at him with a confused face, before a light bulb turned on in her head, and she lit up. "You're the one! The one we were missing this whole time! But… Who are you?" She asked, her eyes wide with curiosity.
Alex wasn't sure how to respond to this, "Um... my name is Alex, but, I don't really understand… how am I 'the one?' You don't mean in a boyfriend kind of way, do you? Because I just got here-"
Twilight shook her head, cutting him off, "The elements! Look!"
She looked over at the sparking stones excitedly, obviously expecting something spectacular to happen. However, the stones suddenly stopped their exchange, and seemed to die.
Then it dawned on her, that had only been six elements. "But… Where's the seventh element?" She said confused.
The mare laughed manically, raising her front hooves, and stomped them down, shattering all of the stones on the pedestal. "You little foal! Thinking you could defeat me? Now you will never see your princess, or your sun! The night will last forever!"
Twilight watched, horrified, as the shards of the stones landed on the ground around Nightmare Moon. What was she going do now? There was no hope left.
Alex saw that Twilight was feeling defeated. He wasn't entirely sure what had happened, but he understood that it probably wasn't good, so, taking a defensive stance over the collapsed pony, all he could do was try his best to keep her out of danger.
"Don't worry Twilight!" a voice called from the entrance way.
"We're here!" another voice called
Twilight looked back, she could hear all of them calling out to her, worrying about her... all that made her really... happy! Then, all at once, it made sense.
Standing up, she puffed out her chest and smirked to Nightmare.
"You think you can destroy the elements of harmony just like that?" Twilight asked, suddenly very confident in herself. "Well you're wrong!" She said standing next to Alex, "Because the spirits of The Elements of Harmony are right here!"
The other five ponies lined up next to Twilight and Alex, all of them giving one look or another toward Alex in confusion.
The shards of the Elements of Harmony started two float off the ground, "What?" Nightmare Moon shouted, suddenly in a panic.
Twilight smiled, more than happy to explain their victory to her enemy.
"Applejack, who reassured me when I was in doubt, represents the spirit of... honesty!" Twilight said as several shards of the stone flew over to her, and started circling her.
"Fluttershy, who tamed the manticore with her compassion, represents the spirit of... kindness!" A startled Fluttershy got her own collection of shards circling around her, like Applejack.
"Pinkie Pie, who banished fear by giggling in the face of danger, represents the spirit of... laughter!" Jumping up and down, the pink pony was thrilled to see shards start looping around her as well.
"Rarity, who calmed a sorrowful serpent with a meaningful gift represents the spirit of... generosity!" The white and purple pony looked down modestly as the shards started moving around her.
"Rainbow Dash, who could not abandon her friends for her own heart's desire represents the spirit of... loyalty!" The cyan pony stuck her chest out proudly, as the shards started circling her, the same as all her friends.
"And Alex, who threw himself in harm's way to protect me when I needed it most, represents the spirit of… selflessness!" Alex was surprised to hear himself included in this list of names, realizing that this is what she meant when she said he was 'the one.' A part of him was sad that it wasn't more of a 'soul mate' deal. It sure would have been nice to instantly fall in love with one of these horses, wouldn't it have been?
"The spirits of these six ponies got us through everything you threw at as!" Twilight finished triumphantly.
"You still don't have the seventh element! The spark didn't work!" Nightmare countered, her voice having lost all of its power.
"But it did!" Twilight began again. "It was a different kind of spark!" Looking back to her new friends, she beamed toward all of them, "I felt it the very moment I realized how happy I was to hear you, and to see you! It was how much I cared about you!" She said as her eyes welled with tears. "The spark ignited inside me when I realized that you all… are my friends!" she said to the group of five ponies behind her. Turning to Alex she smiled "And even though I've just met all of you, you're all still important to me." She said holding back more tears.
Alex smiled back at her earnestly as she turned her head to face Night Mare Moon.
"You see, Nightmare Moon," Twilight started, as a seventh stone, much like the other six before they were shattered, appeared and started floating down toward her. "When those Elements are ignited by the… uh… spark! That resides in the heart of us all, it creates the seventh element: the element of… magic!"
All at once, the shards circling all of the girls started coming together on each of them to form a necklace, with a different shaped gem in the center of each one. Alex watched as the other ponies necklaces appeared around their necks.
The Yellow pony with the pink mane had a necklace with a pink butterfly jewel in it.
The Pink pony got a blue balloon shaped jewel in her necklace.
The Rainbow pony got a red lightning bolt in the center of hers.
The Orange pony with the blonde mane got an orange apple jewel in the center of hers.
And the white pony with the purple colored hair got a purple gem cut much like any precious stone.
Alex looked down, and saw that the gem in his was simply a large round diamond, sparkling brilliantly.
And finally, the stone floating above Twilight transformed itself into a crown, with a purple star on the top of it. Closing her eyes, Twilight, and the six other ponies were lifted off the ground, and engulfed in a bright white light.
As the necklaces built up their power, Alex could feel it sapping his energy, draining the last bit he had. He watched as a brilliant rainbow shoot out from him and the other six ponies, and surrounded Nightmare Moon.
Then, opening her eyes, Twilight focused all of the magic surrounding the seven ponies into one powerful blast, engulfing the entire room in a bright light.
The next thing Alex knew, he was on the cold stone floor, losing consciousness. But, even as that was happening, he couldn't help but laugh at how insane everything was that had happened. As the world started fading, he wondered if he was going to wake up in his room by his mother...
The world buzzed. Alex felt like he had just been hit by a flash-bang grenade.
"How is he?" A voice asked.
Alex stirred momentarily, focusing enough to listen to the conversation.
"He'll be fine" a soothing voice said. "He was just exhausted from the fight with Luna."
"Thank goodness!" The first voice, who he identified as that purple mare, said sounding extremely relieved.
"But… as for his missing mark, that is somewhat of a mystery to even me." The second voice said, with a touch of confusion in her voice. "Only he can explain this to us."
"And what about the wings and the horn?" Twilight asked, with the confused tone returning to her voice.
"While those normally belong only to royalty, it isn't impossible for somepony to be born with both. That simply must be the case." The second explained. "However, I'm should get back to the party. You know how tied up royal duties can make me." She said with a soft laugh.
"Well, I'll stay here until he wakes up. I didn't get a chance to thank him." Twilight said.
"Very well, my student. Please bring him to me when he wakes, I'd like to have a word with him myself." She said, as the sound of a door opening was heard.
As Alex listened to the footsteps move further away, he slowly dozed back into oblivion.
Alex, finally started to wake.
Slowly opening his eyes, he noticed he was still in the other world… The colorful, vibrant, beautiful world, which he was happy to still be in, surprisingly. After all that happened, he didn't want to go home without figuring out what had happened after that the battle with that big horse.
Slowly lifting his upper body off the bed he was on, Alex was surprised to see that he could sit straight up, as if he were a human, something he was sure regular horses couldn't do. Looking around, he saw that he was in some kind of room made entirely out of wood. Almost as if he was inside a giant tree, which really wouldn't have surprised him. Scanning the bookshelves and walls, he saw a clock hanging off the wall next to the window. It read '3:45,' and, judging by the bright light shining through the window, he figured it was 3:45 PM.
he was happy to see sunlight, finally. It had felt like eons since he had last seen it... he had almost forgotten how beautiful it could be, but, then again, for all he knew it was way more beautiful in cartoon world. Smiling, he slowly started examining the room with some finer detail. There were books. Lots of books. A few plants, a lamp... it looked a lot like a normal room to him.
Alex's examination was cut short as he started hearing muttering coming from just below him. He gazed over the edge of the bed, and saw Twilight on the floor, fast asleep. Briefly remembering the conversation from before, he remembered her saying something about staying in the room until he awoke.
He took this opportunity to properly examine her instead... That thought sounded dirty, and he didn't care.
She was a purple pony, with a dark purple mane. However, also in her mane, were two different streaks of purple, one that he saw was an indigo shade, and one that was almost pink, but a touch darker. All and all, she was a very purple pony.
Her tail had the same colors as her mane, which he had expected, however, next to her tail; he saw some kind of mark on her side. She had a purple star, similar to the color of the second streak in her hair. And around the star were several smaller white stars.
Thinking back to the fight with Night Mare Moon, he had noticed that she had a moon in the same place Twilight had her star. Was this something all of the ponies had in common? A mark on their sides? Alex twisted his body and checked his flank, and saw that there was none. He looked back at Twilight and studied her mark closer.
After a few minutes of this, his mind started to wander to the night before. He thought back to the fight, back to crossing that bridge, back to the snake, back to waking up in this place, and eventually, back to his parents. He felt his chest tighten up at the thought. Shaking it from his mind, he decided the time to mourn was later. As horrible as he felt to say that, he knew his parents wouldn't want him to sit around and wallow in sadness rather than figuring out what was going on.
Alex nearly jumped out of his skin, Twilight was awake, looking at him, and… blushing?
"Were you just… staring at my rump?" Twilight said a little flustered.
"What? No! Nononononono!" Alex stammered, "No! … okay, well, I mean, I was, but! I was looking at… That." Alex said pointing a hoof at her back side, as she examined her flank, giving him a chance to shamelessly stare at the toned muscles of her hind legs. He knew that she was a horse- or pony, but men look at women. It was that simple- and sexist.
"Oh! You mean my cutie mark?" Twilight said laughing at the misunderstanding, "Do you not know what that is?" She asked cocking an eyebrow.
"I have absolutely no idea." Alex said flatly.
Twilight was surprised to hear this, everypony knew what a cutie mark was, but he didn't. "You're not from around here, are you?" Twilight said.
Alex laughed, "You could say that. There are probably a LOT of things I need you to help me figure out."
"Well, I'll try to make sure all of your questions get answered" Twilight said smiling. "But first, I just wanted to say that we wouldn't have won the battle, and… I could have been really hurt if you hadn't shown up when you did." Twilight said earnestly. "So, thank you, Alex"
"Oh, I was just doing what anypony would have done," Alex said furrowing his brow at his use of the word 'anypony.'
"You don't understand, not just anypony would do that." Twilight explained, "The pony would have to be either extremely stupid, or extremely brave to throw themselves in front of somepony as powerful as her."
Alex opened his mouth to explain that he was indeed stupid, but decided to simply move on. "So, what happened after that necklace knocked me out? All I remember was floating up into the air, and attacking her with some kind of… beam."
"Well, those necklaces- The elements of harmony, unleashed the power that we all have inside of ourselves." Twilight began. "It took power from all of us, and using that, I was able to channel it all into one blast, which I focused right at Night Mare Moon."
"What did it do to her?" Alex asked, intrigued.
"It changed her back." Twilight said, unsure of how to word her explanation. "Her evil side was purged, and all that was left was a filly. And, as it turns out, that filly was the sister of Princess Celestia. " Twilight paused expecting a shocked reaction, but was given none. "Do you know who that is?" Twilight asked.
Alex simply shook his head and laughed. "No, although, I remember overhearing her ask to speak with me when I woke up. That was her, right?"
"Oh! Yes! I almost forgot!" Twilight said suddenly remembering. "I'll take you to her right now! She's just outside enjoying the party."
Alex started trying to get out of the bed, but had to stop and think about it. Getting out of bed as a pony was very different from getting out of bed as a human. Slowly rocking himself back and forth, he was able to roll himself on top of his legs. Then, he pushed off his hooves into standing position. However, he was still covered in the blanket, which posed as an entirely new obstacle. He shook his body and tried to get the blanket off of him, but failed. Thinking carefully, he came up with an idea he considered genius.
Leaning his head forward, he flared his wings straight up, sending the blanket straight up into the air. "Ha!" Alex said triumphantly, proud of his ingenious thinking. He looked over, and saw Twilight giggling at the door, he opened his mouth to say something, but the blanket floated down and covered his face before he could. He sighed dejectedly and sat down on the bed, defeated.
"Here" Twilight said lifting the blanket off his head using her magic. "Normally, we use our mouths to get something off of our backs. Where exactly did you say you were from?" Twilight said becoming more curious at how he couldn't even perform the most basic of tasks.
"Well, that's a long story…" Alex said unsure of even where to begin. "Can I get it all together in my head while we find the princess?" Alex asked slowly.
"Oh! Sure!" Twilight said, not wanting to press anything on him. He was obviously troubled over it. "Come on, let's go find her." Twilight said dropping the blanket in a ball on the bed next to Alex, who was still standing on top of it.
Jumping off the bed Alex walked out the door behind Twilight, unsure of what waited for him outside.
As soon as Alex stepped out the door, he was hit with a refreshing burst of cool air. Breathing in, he smiled, happy to be out in the sun.
Looking around, Alex saw ponies everywhere. Dancing, eating, all together having a good time. It was a pleasant sight to say the least.
He hadn't gotten five steps from the house, before a pink pony zipped in front of him, blocking his path.
"Hiya!" The pony said with a bright smile on her face. "You want some cake?" She said shoving a piece of cake into his mouth, "I made it myself!"
Alex was taken by surprise by the sudden intrusion of her hoof into his mouth, however, upon tasting the cake, he had forgotten all about the impossibility of pushing cake into a ponies mouth that way.
"Gooooood huh?" She said giggling.
"Hmmph!" Alex said with his mouth full. "It's the best I've ever had!" He said after swallowing.
The pony beamed, "Thanks! I'm Pinkie Pie!" She said extending a hoof.
Alex reached his hoof out to shake hers "My name is AaaaaaaAaaaa!" Upon shaking her hoof, he was greeted with a
shock coming from a buzzer on her hoof.
The pink pony snorted, and fell over in uncontrollable fits of laughter.
Alex looked into a mirror attached to a building a few feet away, his hair was sticking straight up, the feathers on his wings were skewed in all directions, and to top it all off, a small amount of smoke was rising from the tip of his horn.
'Just like a cartoon…' Alex said to himself.
This made him think of something. Shaking his whole body back and forth as if he were a dog drying off, the soot caused by her buzzer flew off in all directions around him.
"Hey Alex!" He heard Twilight call. "Come on! We'll have plenty of time to spend with Pinkie after we talk to the princess." She said trotting toward what looked like the center of town.
"Oh! Right!" Alex said hurrying off toward Twilight. "Thanks for the cake uh... Pinkie!" He said before he moved into a crowd.
As Alex walked through the town, he couldn't help but notice the difference in girls to boys. For every one colt he saw, there were five mares. And while a ratio like this may not have been the strangest thing he had seen in this world, he still decided to ask about it.
"Hey Twilight, I was wondering…" Alex started.
"Hmm?" Twilight said, turning around to face him, walking backwards.
"Well… Why are there so many girls here?" Alex said plainly.
Twilight looked around, she had noticed this yesterday, when she first arrived in the town. "Well… not all places are like this." Twilight said slowly. "In my hometown of Canterlot, we have plenty of stallions… This town is just… different. I don't really know more than that."
"Huh. Okay. Thanks, I guess..." Alex laughed.
"Sorry I can't be more help, it's just how it is." Twilight said, slightly embarrassed that she couldn't provide a better explanation. "We'll figure it out some day, I'm sure" She finished, with a smile.
Twilight had been so involved with her conversation with Alex that she didn't notice the pony in front of her, and the two promptly collided with one another.
"Oh my gosh! I'm sorry!" Twilight said picking herself up off the ground.
Alex quickly moved around Twilight to check on the collapsed pony behind her. "Hey, are you okay?" He said to the deep purple pony.
The filly looked up and looked at Alex silently, with a pinch of worry, confusing him greatly, as he tried to figure out if he knew her already, or alternatively, if there was something on his face.
"What's wrong?" Alex said concerned at her reaction to him, "It is the lack of tattoo on my butt? Because I don't know about that either."
Twilight shook her head, regaining her composure. She then moved to beside Alex, so she could see what was wrong with the pony she had bumped into. Upon seeing the speechless filly, she immediately understood.
Twilight approached them, and gave a relieved look to see that the filly- or princess, was just fine. "Alex, this is Princess Luna, I believe you two have met." She said, smiling inwardly, knowing this would confuse Alex.
Alex gave Twilight a puzzled look, he knew a handful of ponies, and didn't even know the names of half of them. This filly wasn't one of those few. "Sorry. I haven't met any children."
Cutting him off, Twilight smiled. "Alex, I'd like to reintroduce you to Nightmare Moon."
Alex cocked an eyebrow, he remembered Twilight mentioning her being transformed into a child, but this filly looked so… harmless. He could see that she was worried about how he'd receive her, so, he lowered his head to her level and smiled,
"Nice to see you again, um, Princess... Nightmare Moon."
The filly looked up at him with massive eyes, tears welling and ready to start running down her cheeks, "I'm sorry that I threatened to hurt you... I wasn't able to control myself..."
Alex hadn't expected this kind of reaction from her. Here was the proud, dark mare that had wanted to hurt them all so badly, changed into this crying child who could barely even make eye contact with him. Upon seeing her like this, any worries he might have had about her trying to hurt anypony again were pulled away from his mind.
Alex smiled and used his hoof to lift up her chin, until she was looking at him.
"Listen, I don't blame you for a thing. I don't even understand how one person- or pony, could be changed so much by magic, or evil... or whatever!" Alex said, his happy attitude almost infecting the princess, "So you don't have to worry about apologizing to me. I'd never hold something against someone, when I don't even understand the situation."
"That's a relief to hear," She said, a small smile forming on her lips as she wiped a running tear from her cheek, "Thank you for helping Twilight the way you did."
"You don't need to thank me;" He returned, "I just did what anypony would have done." He said for the second time, rolling with his use of the term 'anypony.'
Twilight smiled as she saw this side of Alex, he was a genuinely nice colt. She had been a little worried that he might have reacted poorly to finding out this was Night Mare Moon. But, she was happy to see that he was treating Luna like a real pony, unlike so many of the villagers who still obviously feared her, despite their attempts to act normal.
Luna beamed, she had expected a much worse reaction, but was overjoyed to see that he wasn't judging her "Well, if i can't thank you for helping Twilight, then I'd like to thank you for just being nice to me right now." She said quietly.
"I'm an incredibly nice person," Alex nodded, "It's my biggest flaw... Well, except for my modesty."
Luna giggled at the small joke, putting a bigger smile on Alex's face.
"Oh!" Luna said suddenly. "My sister was looking for the two of you!"
Twilight stepped forward as Luna said this. "We were just looking for her; do you know where she is?" She asked.
"She's over at the table with all the cake" Luna said pointing a hoof toward the most densely packed part of town.
Twilight laughed at hearing this. Her mentor had always had a weakness for pastries... especially the spongy variety. So, her being at that particular table was no surprise to her. "Thanks Luna. We'll come see you afterward, okay?"
"I'd be happy to see you!" She replied, her mood lifted significantly from where it was only a minute ago.
"Come on, Alex. We have some things to sort out." Twilight said trotting off toward the crowd.
"Thanks a lot Princess Luna!" Alex said following after Twilight.
As Alex followed Twilight closely through the crowd, he couldn't believe that he had just had such a casual encounter with a princess. The royalty in this world was so much more down-to-earth than in his world. Well, except for maybe the one with red hair.
Alex had been looking at the ponies in the crowd he was been walking through, and besides the fact that most of them were girls, he also noticed that they all had marks on their sides, like Twilight. But one difference was that there were so many variations, like: flowers, clouds, bubbles, hourglasses, and many more. The only ponies he had seen without these marks were all children... Why did that make him worry a little bit?
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight said, coming to a sudden stop, causing Alex to bump in to her rump, "We've been looking for you."
Alex looked up from the ground to see a large white mare, who was about the same size as Nightmare Moon, at the table about to eat a piece of cake.
The Princess looked at Twilight, then to Alex, then back to her cake and sighed dejectedly, she then put the cake down and looked back to Twilight.
"I see our guest has awakened" Princess Celestia said to Twilight. Turning to Alex she smiled "Thank you for what you did for Twilight. It sounds like you showed up right in the nick of time."
"I just did what anypony would have done," Alex said again, "However, if you insist on giving me a medal, I'd like to request the kind that unwraps and has chocolate inside it."
"I'm sure something like that can be arranged," Celestia laughed, "Are you sure you wouldn't you want one made of silver or gold intead though?"
"I think I speak for everypony- uh, here when I say that gold would taste terrible..." Alex laughed nervously, showing a small amount of frustration over his automatic use of 'everypony' once again.
"Is something wrong?" Princess Celestia said noticing his obvious shift in attitude.
"Well, A lot of things are wrong…" Alex said, exhaling and rubbing his eyes. "And I don't think you'd believe me if I told you what all of them were. But hay, I barely believe the story myself." He said sighing at his use of 'hay' instead of 'hell.'
Princess Celestia could see how troubling this was to him, and decided that it was time she learned some things from him, "I think it would be best for everypony if you were to tell us what series of events led you to my student."
"Well, I feel like I have more questions than answers right now," Alex said, looking around dejectedly.
"I'll try to answer yours, if you can answer ours." She said in a soothing voice, "Don't be afraid."
Alex looked around him, at crowd of ponies that now surrounded him, all waiting to hear his story.
"Alright" He said simply. "Where do I start?"
Alex thought for a moment then decided where he would start things off, "Well, I'm not from here. I'm from somewhere very… different. Somewhere where I wasn't a horse- or pony, or whatever."
One long explanation later.
"And, that's how I ended up here." Alex said finally.
By the time he was done talking, just about every pony in town was there. They had been standing around him listening as he explained where he had come from, how he was a human, about when he found the bright light, and how he woke up in Equestria. He explained that he had caught on to the girls trail and being able to follow them, then he mentioned the serpent, then the bridge, and eventually, the fight with Nightmare Moon.
Alex had explained how different ponies were from humans, and how he had been saying the wrong words, in place of the ones he would have used in his world. He even explained that he couldn't get a blanket off his own back, which had elicited a few laughs out of the crowd.
One thing he had not mentioned, was what had happened to his parents.
He wasn't looking for pity, and didn't feel it was overly important to his arrival.
Sitting down, Alex sighed and looked up at the Princess, who had a fairly mystified expression herself.
"I see…" Celestia said, breaking the silence.
"You think I'm completely insane, don't you?" Alex said, staring at the ground.
"No. I don't." Celestia began, clearly meaning every word she said, "I knew something was different about you the first time I saw you. This simply confirms my suspicions."
"Well, that makes me a little more comfortable, I guess," Alex sighed happily.
"But Princess," Twilight spoke up, "How was he one of the Elements of Harmony? He wasn't even in Equestria until last night!"
"That is something that I have yet to understand myself, Twilight." Celestia said thoughtfully, truly having no answer for her student, "Perhaps it's an answer we'll discover as time progresses."
"And what is up with that 'Selflessness?'" Alex asked, as they all gave him an odd look at the open-endedness of his statement. "I mean, I remember hearing a generosity already! Isn't that the exact same as mine?"
"Oh," Celestia nodded, understanding his confusion, "Really, a lot of the elements are synonymous with one another. Kindness and Generosity go hoof in hoof. Laughter and Kindness as well. The element represents the pony. Not the other way around."
"Oh." Alex nodded, satisfied with that answer, "Well, I guess I really shouldn't be questioning something I don't understand anyway."
"Feel free to ask any question you want!" Celestia laughed, "I'd be asking plenty if I were in your situation."
Alex smiled, but decided to move on with the conversation, to the more important topic at hoof.
"So, I saw all the magic you guys have here... do you think you can you help me get back home?" Alex asked, looking around the crowd, sincerely hoping for a rousing 'yes' from them all.
"Now that, I'm afraid I cannot help you with." She said, frowning slightly at the poor news.
"So... I'm stuck here." Alex said, feeling his hope begin to leak away from him.
"Now, I didn't say that." Celestia said, unsure if what she was about to tell him would be great news for him.
Alex perked up at hearing this, "What then?" he said excitedly.
"When it comes to using magic to move yourself- teleportation and whatnot, only the pony casting the spell can choose the destination" Celestia explained, as Twilight nodded along, "And, since only you have been where it is that you're trying to go, only you know those feelings that come with it." She continued, "If you think of your home, and the feelings that it brings you, you can use those to take yourself back."
"Oh, so I can't just click my heels together and say 'there's no place like home,' huh?" Alex said laughing, before clearing his throat when Celestia obviously didn't get the reference. "So, basically, I just have to think of home and use a spell? Sounds easy enough, let's get started!" He said standing up.
"I'm afraid it won't be that easy Alex," Celestia said, cutting his excitement short. "Performing a spell like that takes a lot of practice."
"I've been training for years, and I can only just perform a spell THAT powerful." Twilight piped in.
"Oh. So… I'm going to need to be trained for… years?" Alex said, as their words sunk in.
"I'm afraid that may be the case…" Celestia said, unhappy at having to deliver this news.
Alex felt like the entire world had fallen silent, as a high pitched ringing began sounding in his ears. It was one of those moments where everything stops, and nothing seems to matter in the entire world. He had just felt this way yesterday, when he was told about his parents.
But, something else came to his mind, as he stood frozen in place. This could have been a blessing in disguise.
He had been destroyed by the news of his parents death. His life was more or less going to take a very shitty turn, and he didn't want anything to do with it.
So... maybe this was a good thing. He could spend some time in this world, and completely forget about the magnitude of issues back on earth. He could have a blank slate, and start a new life... this could have been a silver lining.
Alex looked up, and surprised everypony with what he said next, "Well, then let's get started! If this is gonna take me years, I'd better get started now, right?" Alex said, his voice filled with vigor, as he but on a faux-smile.
Everyone was shocked by this, including Celestia. However, her shocked expression eventually changed to a small smile, she admired his enthusiasm. "Well then, if you'd really like to learn this, I can think of nopony better to teach you than… Twilight."
Twilight was shocked by this to say the least, "What? Me? Princess, I don't know if I'm able to-"
"Twilight" Celestia interrupted. "I can't think of a single pony that would do a better job teaching him than you."
"But… what about you? You- You could do a much, MUCH better job than me!" Twilight stammered, blushing at everypony staring at her.
"With Luna coming back to the castle, I'll have my hooves full helping her integrate back into normal life." Celestia explained. "This way, Alex can live here in Ponyville, and you and your friends can help him adjust to his new life. Would you mind that Alex?" She asked him.
"No! Not at all! Besides, you're kinda the only pony I know…" Alex said turning to Twilight.
Twilight looked back to the crowd of ponies, each one waiting for her to finally agree.
"Well, okay! I'll do it!" Twilight said, as the crowd erupted in a loud cheer.
"Wonderful!" Celestia said, smiling to her student, before looking to Alex, "Now, you'll need somewhere to stay while you're in Ponyville."
"Would you mind staying in the library with Twilight until I can make you the necessary arrangements?" Celestia asked politely, hoping this would make neither of them uncomfortable.
"Uh, sure!" Alex nodded, not wanting to be a pain in the butt whatsoever, "Whatever works, i can live with it!"
"Great!" Twilight said, smiling to her teacher, "I'll try my very best, not to let either of you down."
"Oh please," Alex laughed, "You could accidentally light me on fire and I wouldn't hold it against you."
Twilight exhaled slightly in relief. She was happy to have a student that wouldn't be judgmental, as this was her first real chance to teach a pony about advanced magic.
"Alright, now that we have everything worked out, let's say we get back to the party, hmm?" Celestia said to cheers of the crowd, as they all went back to enjoying themselves.
Not wanting to be stuck in a town full of ponies he didn't know, Alex looked around for Twilight, and was surprised at where she was. He approached Twilight, who had sunk into an ally way between some cottages as everypony had spread out.
"Hey Twilight, you okay?" Alex asked as he got closer to her.
"Um, yeah…" She said, her voice sounding shaky.
"What's wrong?" Alex asked, concerned.
"Look, I know I sounded sure of myself back there... but I don't know if I'm going to be able to do everything the princess asked me to…" Twilight said looking at the ground. "I guess I'm just a little scared."
"Are you kidding?" Alex said walking right next to her. "I saw you charge head first at that Nightmare horse! Something nopony would EVER do- well, I assume anyway. Then! You gathered all the energy of the... uh... Helements of Armory... and defeated her with it!" Alex continued. "Twi… You're the most capable person I know! Pony OR human! And I seriously do have all the confidence in the world that you will be able to help me" Alex finished, hoping this had improved her confidence.
"You really think that?" Twilight asked quietly.
"Absolutely" Alex said back.
"Thank you Alex" Twilight said looking up from the ground. "I needed that."
Alex smiled at her, and she returned it.
"Come on," Alex said walking beside her "let's get back to the party, I wanna try some more of that cake!" He finished as the two walked back to the party.
Hours had passes since Celestia had asked Twilight to teach Alex how to perform magic, and since then, the two had been eating lots of cake, dancing with their tongues sticking out, meeting ponies around town, altogether enjoying the party, and getting used to their new home in Ponyville.
The sky had just started getting darker, when, Princess Celestia stood up and used her magic to lightly bang a spoon on the side of her teacup.
Alex and Twilight turned along a few others, giving their attention to the princess.
"Mares and gentlecolts, if I could please have your attention" Princess Celestia said with just enough volume to make sure everypony heard her. Once the last of the talking died inside the crowd, she continued. "In honor of the one thousandth annual summer sun celebration, and the return of my sister, Princess Luna, I would like to invite her to come and raise the moon, and usher in the night, for the first time since the banishment of Nightmare Moon!"
All attention was drawn to Luna, who had clearly not been expecting this. She blushed deeply as she approached Celestia. "Are you sure about this, Sister?" Luna asked timidly.
Celestia smiled, "Of course, Luna. Nothing would make me happier."
Luna nodded, and smiled back at her sister, holding back tears. "Thank you so much..."
As Luna moved away from Celestia, the crowd backed away, giving her plenty of room to perform her duty, that she had earned back to quickly.
Alex watched on, wondering exactly what it meant to 'raise the moon.'
"Hey Twilight, what's going on here?" He asked quietly.
"Just watch" Twilight whispered back, not taking her eyes off of Luna.
Luna bowed her head in front of the crowd, and her horn started to glow. Then, giving her wings a few powerful flaps, she lifted herself into the air. Raising her head up, she looked up into the sky as the glow around her horn brightened. Everypony watched on in awe as the moon rose from the horizon, moving directly behind Luna. Encompassing her in its light, all anypony could see of her was a silhouette, in front of the large moon behind her.
The crowd cheered as Luna landed on the ground. She looked at the cheering ponies in front of her and blushed again. She hadn't expected everypony to warm up to her this quickly… Looking through the crowd, she saw an awe-stricken Alex standing next to a giggling Twilight. She winked at him, and then moved away from the crowd rejoining her sister.
Celestia beamed. This had done exactly what she had wanted it to. She wanted Luna to be accepted by the masses as quickly as possible, and she could think of no better way to do this than to have her raising the moon, and watching over the night again as quickly as possible.
"With that, I'm afraid I must announce our leave" Celestia began, earning several moans of displeasure from the crowd. "The party has been lovely, but much needs to be done in Canterlot to accommodate the return of Princess Luna." She continued.
Twilight had been observing Princess Celestia since the party had started, and she was considerably shocked, to say the least.
She had been mentored by the princess for years, but... she had never seen her like this. Celestia was absolutely beaming with positive energy. Twilight didn't think she had ever seen her smile this much.
She was truly happy to have her sister back.
"So, thank you for having us everypony, I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening." The Princess said standing up, and walking toward Twilight, who quickly moved out of the crowd and met her half way. "I hope you enjoy your stay here, my faithful student. And remember, I have faith in you." She said looking at Alex, then back to her. "And don't hesitate to ask me for anything if you need It." Celestia said, trying her best not to tear up at her parting of ways.
Twilight and Alex walked behind the royal sisters as they made their way to the royal carriage, and both took a seat within it.
"I'll see you in Canterlot soon, Twilight." Celestia said softly from her seat, "Thank you again for taking on this task."
"Of course, Princess!" Twilight said, her voice cracking as her tears began flowing freely, "I'll be stopping by soon!"
"Bye everypony!" Luna said over Twilight, waving hoof to the crowd, then turned around and followed her sister.
The royal guards took their positions in front of the carriage, and prepared for their departure.
"Oh!" Celestia said suddenly. "Mrs. Cake!"
"Yes dearie?" a blue pony with a pink mane said taking a step from the crowd, toward the carriage. "Oh! I mean… P… Princess!" She stammered, correcting herself with a nervous smile.
"About what we talked about…" Celestia said to the earth pony.
"Don't worry about a thing!" Mrs. Cake said with a smile, "I'll make sure they get to you."
"Wonderful," Celestia said with a smile, nodding to her lead guard, signaling them to start taking off, "Thank you."
As the carriage started to take flight, Luna popped her head over the edge, "Thank you everypony!" She shouted loudly, happy to finally be going home, after the passing of the thousand years.
Alex couldn't help but smile at her. She acted so young, and yet, only one night before, she had been a fully grown women... or mare, with no trace of what she was now. This world truly offered some things he would have to get used to.
Either way, he was just happy that things turned out the way they did, because really, they could have turned out much worse.
"So!" Alex said turning to Twilight, "Do you mind if we head back? I'm kinda-"
"Hey Twilight!" Pinkie Pie shouted, falling out of the sky and landing in between them. "I'm throwing an after-party at Sugarcube Corner!"
"Pinkie? Where did you…" Alex began looking around for some place that Pinkie could have jumped from to land between them the way she had.
'Remember Alex, cartoon world' He said to himself.
"Uhh, never mind." Alex finished quickly.
"So! I was thinking you could bring Alex around and introduce him to the rest of the gang!" Pinkie said excitedly.
"Oh!" Twilight said turning to Alex, with a concerned look, "You wanted to head back, right?"
"Oh, no! I'll come," Alex said with a yawn. "I can keep going for a bit."
"Alright!" Pinkie cheered, "Come on! Everypony's waiting for us!" she said as she started hopping off into the crowd, toward Sugarcube Corner, with Twilight and Alex closely behind.
Luna and Celestia sat in their carriage on their way back to Canterlot.
"Sister," Luna said softly, "That pony with the Rainbow mane..."
"I know," Celestia said, the wind blowing through her mane, as she looked on in to the night, "I see him in her too."
"A day doesn't go by that I don't think about him..." Luna muttered, far beyond tears, but not beyond sadness.
"Luna, he died a hero, trying to protect both of you, and the Crystal Empire," Celestia consoled, turning to her sister and placing a hoof on her cheek, "Please don't fret at a time like this."
"Of course, I'm sorry," Luna said softly, pursing her lips slightly, "I should be focusing on the positive right now."
Alex was in awe of the building Pinkie had brought them to. The bottom of the house looked normal, but the roof looked like it had been made of gingerbread, decorated with icing and candies. Above that was decorated like a giant cupcake. It looked like someone had pulled it straight out of Hansel and Gretel.
Upon entering the building, Alex was met with the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. The room was absolutely full of sweets. There were cakes, cupcakes, candy canes, pies, cookies, and much more. This store would definitely be having his business in the future.
"Come on guys!" Pinkie said leading them up the stairs to the left of the entrance, "Everypony is up in my room!"
Following her up the stairs, they entered a large circular room directly above the shop, filled with balloons, cake, punch, and four ponies.
"We're here!" Pinkie shouted, getting everyone's attention.
Alex recognized all of the ponies from the battle with Night Mare. He had seen them around town during the party, but hadn't talked to any of them except for Twilight and Pinkie.
"Girls, I'd like to introduce you to Alex." Twilight began. "Alex, these are my friends, Pinkie Pie, Rar…."
"Wait!" Alex said interrupting her. "Can I try? I think I can remember their names from the battle last night." He was always good at remembering people's names, so he thought this would be a fun challenge.
"Sure!" Twilight laughed. She had only said their names once in front him, so, she was happy to let him give this a try.
"Okay…" He said looking at the lineup of girls in front of him, then, pointing a hoof at Pinkie he started working his way across. "You're Pinkie Pie." Alex began "I would shake your hoof, but I don't want another shock."
Pinkie lifted her hoof off the ground and flipped it, revealing a buzzer. She then exploded into a fit of snorts, and giggles.
Everypony else started giggling along with her, she had a very contagious laughter, which was fitting for her Element.
Moving on to the next pony in line, Alex pointed his hoof at a peach pony with a blonde mane, who was wearing a brown hat. "You," he started confidently "Are... Applejack?"
She smiled "Darn tootin'" She extended a hoof "It's a pleasure to meetcha'!"
Shaking her hoof, he took a mental note of her southern American accent. This should have confused him, but, at this point, it was the most normal thing in this world.
The next pony in like was the white unicorn with the purple mane. She was very ladylike, and extremely good looking… In fact, he found himself a little mesmerized by her beauty.
This thought made him pause. He thought she was beautiful? Looking back and forth between all six ponies in front of him, he had to admit, they were all attractive. But why did he think that? These ponies were, well… ponies. Generally, he limited his attractions to his own species... although, he had spent a few seconds looking at Twilight's butt.
Then it hit him, they WERE his species. He WAS a pony. He knew his mind hadn't been quite right since he was brought here, he had been saying the wrong things, having odd cravings for odd food, and now this. The more he thought about it, the more sense it made. Deciding that finding ponies attractive wasn't the end of the world, he moved on.
"You're Rarity" Alex finally said, as she nodded in response.
"Quite right," Rarity said with a smile, "It's a pleasure to meet you Alex."
"The pleasure is all mine," Alex said lifting her leg up, and lightly kissing the end of her hoof.
Rarity cocked an eyebrow, as she laughed lightly, "You've only just come to this world, and you're already attempting to court me?"
"I'm gonna be honest," Alex laughed, releasing her hoof, "Now I can tell all the guys in town that I got to kiss you. "
The girls all laughed as Rarity only shook her head with a small smile, "Well, you'll certainly be the envy of every stallion in Ponyville."
The next pony in line Alex knew he would have some trouble with. She was a yellow pony with a bright pink mane, and a pair of wings. He tried to make eye contact with her, but she hid behind her hair. He thought hard, but couldn't come up with her name… He needed to get a better look at her.
"Hey... um, would you mind letting me get a better look at you?" Alex asked, trying to walk the line between 'polite' and 'creepy.'
She only squeaked in response.
"Come on now, Flutterhy," Rarity said, without realizing that she had just given the name away, "Let him try and guess your- Oh."
Again, the girls all laughed at Rarity, as her cheeks burned red with embarrassment, "My goodness, I'm so sorry!"
"That's okay, Rarity." Fluttershy said politely, "I'm actually happy that he wouldn't have to stare so much at me, just to try and remember my name..."
"I would have gotten it!" Alex lied, having been very surprised by the name... he had been expecting something like 'lollipop,' or 'dragonfly.'
Alex extended his hoof to her, deciding to capitalize on her upright posture. "It's nice to meet you, Fluttershy," He laughed, taking the unsteady hoof she offered him and shaking it, "What is it you do in town?"
"Oh," She said, surprised that he was asking her something he hadn't asked the others, "Well, I take care of all the animals out by my cottage. And if anypony is ever looking to adopt one of them, I'm always happy to send them to a new home!"
"So, you run like, the pet store?" Alex asked, nodding to himself, "That's really cool!"
"Thanks..." She smiled happily, as he finally moved on from her.
Alex a mental note about her timidness, knowing that he would have to be careful about how he treated her in the future. He didn't exactly want to sneak up on her and give her a pony-stroke.
Moving on to the last pony in line, Alex knew that he was in trouble. She was cyan blue, with a rainbow mane, and wings. She was perhaps the most memorable of the entire group, but he had no idea what her name was. "Well…" he began "Um... I can remember your element! It was... uh, loyalty!" Alex said, nodding rapidly, "As for your name... Uh... It's..."
"Come on, spit it out!" She said crassly, narrowing her eyes slowly to him.
Alex truly tired his hardest to think of something, but, he simply drew a blank. "Uh… is your name… Colors?"
"Excuse me?" The cyan pony said with an unhappy look on her face. "Does it LOOK like my name is Colors?" she asked, with a few cracks in her voice, as she stepped toward him.
If Alex were a smarter pony, he wouldn't have answered that question the way he did.
A moment of dead silence followed, as all the other girls in the room collectively gulped.
"My name is RAINBOW DASH" She said angrily, trying her best to hide the embarrassment she felt over being the only one Alex couldn't name. "And, I'm sorry if I wasn't memorable enough for you to remember that."
"Well, I didn't mean to-"
"I don't care!" She said, storming past him and heading for the door, "Maybe next time you'll- Just... nevermind!"
Rainbow walked past Alex, and out the door behind him, before calling over her shoulder, "Thanks for the party Pinkie. I'll see you guys later."
With that, they all heard her walk downstairs, open the front door, and close it a littler more harshly than was required.
The silence in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife; everypony just stared awkwardly at one another.
Alex's frown was large, as he tried to wrap his head around the sudden outburst of anger he had just been subjected to.
"Don't worry about her," Twilight said finally breaking the agonizing silence, "She's probably just tired. With everything that's happened, nopony's slept in almost two days!" she explained, "She'll come around after good night's sleep, I'm sure of it." Twilight finished.
"Yeah…" Alex said slowly. "Sorry about that everypony. I didn't mean to hurt her feelings…"
"Don't worry about it darling!" Rarity said to him.
"Yeah!" Applejack chimed in, "Don't you worry nothin' 'bout her."
"Rainbow Dash is made of tough stuff!" Pinkie said "She'll definitely come around!"
"All she needs is a little sleep" Fluttershy added quietly.
"Well… speaking of sleep" Alex said, still a little flustered, "If you all don't mind, I think I'd like to get some of that myself…"
"Are you sure?" Twilight asked him, "I'm sure there's a lot more fun to be had here!"
"Thanks for the offer, but I think I've enough of myself a jerk today" Alex said laughing lightly, "I don't wanna risk insulting anypony else."
"Alright…" Twilight said slowly, walking next to him, "Do you want me to show you the way back?"
"No, you stay here and enjoy yourself; I can find my way back." Alex answered quickly, the truth was, this little exchange with Rainbow Dash had simply given him an excuse to head back to the library and get some sleep.
"Well, if you're sure…" Twilight replied, not pushing anything on him.
"Yeah, sorry again everypony..." Alex said turning around, and quickly exited the room.
The girls all had a concerned look on their faces as they watched him leave.
"Well, that was certainly interesting…" Rarity said after hearing the front door closed behind Alex. "So, what do you think of him Twilight?" She asked.
"Well, he certainly is different…" Twilight began, "But from what I've seen of him, he's a really… genuine pony- or human." She said, unsure in her choice of words, "The way he treated Luna, how he didn't complain about having to study magic, even the way he introduced himself to all of you... he seems like a nice guy to me. Or a manipulative monster."
"I agree! He was quite charming when he introduced himself to us" Rarity said blushing at the thought. "He isn't too hard on the eyes either." She finished with an impish grin.
"I noticed…" Twilight said, now blushing as well.
Fluttershy obviously agreed, as turned red slightly.
"Eeyup" Applejack agreed simply.
Alex walked out of the bakery nodding to himself. That's definitely what they were all saying about him.
Alex walked through the now almost empty town. He inhaled, enjoying the fresh night air. Now that he had some time to himself, he found his thoughts wandering back to his parents. This world had been doing a pretty good job of keeping his mind off of them.
But right now... he needed to just remember them. Even if it were only for a few minutes.
As he walked through the town, his mind mulled over countless memories of them he had, until, his mind stopped on one in particular. The last time he had seen them. Only two days before.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
Alex stirred, opening his eyes looking at his alarm clock.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
"7:00 AM… Too early" Alex groaned, rolling over in his bed, clamping a pillow over his ears.
BEEP BEEP BEEP
BEEP BEEP BEEP
BEEP BEEP BEEP
"Fine!" Alex shouted, hitting his hand down on the top of the alarm, silencing the hellish noise.
"Good to see you're up" Alex's mother said from his bedroom door. "Breakfast is almost ready downstairs, so don't go back to sleep!" And with that, she pulled the cord on his blinds, allowing the burning light of the sun to pour over his face, blinding him, despite his closed eyes.
His mother had always loved doing that. Blinding him first thing in the morning. Alex hated it. He told her every single day. But, she kept right on doing it. His mother was fairly average as far as 'moms' went. she cooked, she cleaned... It was that simple. She would often joke about how oppressed she was, but really, she knew better than anyone, that she was the REAL boss. around the house
She was a small women, standing at a measly 4'6, which worked well, due to how short his father was. She had black hair that had started greying recently. But, whatever grey would grow in, was quickly dyed out.
Having seen both of his parents graduation pictures, Alex couldn't understand how his father ended up with his mom. Back in her day, she was gorgeous- not to say that she was ugly now. But, when his father was younger, he was a dweeb. Even now his mother still got looks from men wherever they went. It was something, that his father hated, obviously.
Alex shielded his eyes from the obnoxious light with his blanket. "I love you too mom!" he shouted from under the safety of his comforter, where it was nice and dark.
"Don't take too long." She said to him, walking out the door, "You'll have time for a quick shower before the food is ready."
Sighing, he pulled the blanket from over his head and let his eyes adjust to horrible- no, hellish brightness. Then, he stood up from his bed and headed for the shower.
Once he finished, he pulled on a clean shirt, and a pair of jeans he had worn the day before. Once he was satisfied with himself, he headed down for breakfast.
"Mornin' sleeping beauty" Alex's father said lowering his newspaper and smiling "Did prince charming wake you up with a kiss?"
Alex rolled his eyes and laughed. The line itself was terrible, but his dad used it more than twice a week. Apparently there's comedy in repetition- apparently.
His father was a short man, standing at only 5'6. His hair had started to grey recently, slowly taking over his natural black. You could also see the wrinkles forming on his face. But, because of his work on the ranch, he had kept himself in rather good physical condition. Alex and his father had always been close. With the constant insults, the fist fights over the TV remote, and the "camping" he hated so much, Alex really couldn't be happier. His father had always given him a hard time, but it was always in good fun.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you, me and your mother were gonna head into the city to pick up a load of groceries. You mind if we take your truck?" His father asked.
"Yeah, sure" Alex said, getting some scrambled eggs out of the frying pan, then sitting down to join his father.
"Great" He started slowly, "You know, I was thinking… what say you and I go on another camping trip next weekend?" His father said, poking his eyes over his newspaper.
"Ha!" Alex said. "How about this, you go, and you can tell me all about it when you get back. Sound good?" He said, taking his first bite of his breakfast.
"Come on! Name one thing that's wrong with going camping." His father said confidently.
"Oh, I won't just name one," Alex began with a smile, "There's the lack of electricity, the lack of heating, the lack of toilets, the lack of showers. So, pretty much the lack of EVERYTHING. Then, there's The bears, the wolfs, the bees, the mosquitos, and, did if forget to mention the BEARS." Alex repeated. "And, to top it all off, I just don't like you." He finished, scooping more eggs in to his mouth.
"Come on chief!" His father mocked. "You might need those skills for the future!"
"I can promise you right now, I will NEVER need those skills. I don't see myself getting stuck in any forests any time soon." Alex said, shaking his head, "So, I think I'll pass."
As he finished his last bit of breakfast, Alex's mother entered the room.
"I got all of your laundry done, and put in your room." She said sitting down at the table. "So, make sure it gets folded and put away."
"I think a pile on my floor works better for me." Alex said, truly knowing that's where it would end up.
"Oh! Dear," His mother began, "Your father and I were wondering if we could borrow the truck to run some errands."
"I know, dad already asked" Alex said. "And I said he could take it, if I didn't have to go camping with him." He said smirking.
"Fine" His father laughed, "You're lucky I have to feed your mother, because I'd just skip the groceries, and have you starve.´
"I have money you know." Alex said pulling an extremely wrinkled 5 dollar bill out of his pocket.
"Oh, I see that. You're rolling in the dough, aren't you?" He said sarcastically.
"Yeah well… I'll go out and work the corner if I REALLY need money." Alex said, causing his mother and father burst out in laughter, "Stop laughing! There are plenty of old men that would love to have all 'this.'"
"You know what, Alex?" His father laughed, "I think i agree with you on this one."
"Well. All career choices aside," Alex said snickering, "When are you two heading out?"
"Probably the same time as you" Alex's mother said, shaking her head at the immaturity they both showed. "We were thinking we would go into town, have some lunch, see a movie- you know, make a day of it!" She said wrapping her arm around her husband's neck.
"You want anything while we're there?" His father asked, "They have way more selection at some of the stores over there than what we have here."
"No, Don't worry about me" Alex said, shaking his head. "You two just do your thing."
Standing up, Alex's walked over to the stove and tossed his plate and the frying pan into the sink. "Well, I'm gonna take off, can I grab the keys from you?" He asked, looking at his mother.
"Sure thing" She answered, said opening her purse and tossing her key-chain toward him, "Why don't we get going as well?" She said, walking to the front door with Alex, before noticing that her husband was still firmly planted in his seat at the table. "You coming? Because If you'd rather, I can just go down to Alex's corner and hire one of his co-workers to be my date for the day."
"Well, we can't have that!" His father standing up from the table quickly, "They might fall in love with you and convince you to run away with them! Well, then again… that doesn't sound so bad."
"Oh shut it, you!" She said hitting her husband with her purse lightly.
"You're way out of their league anyway" His dad said giving her a kiss on the lips. "Let's get going." He finished with a smile.
The three of them exited the house together and headed for their respective cars. "Hey Alex! I need those keys!"
Reaching in to his pocket, Alex grabbed the single key from his pocket, and threw it toward them.
Using them, he got inside the truck with his wife, and roared the engine to his life. "Oh, kiddo, come here." His dad said suddenly.
Walking over, his father reached into his pocket and handed him his credit card.
"What's this for?" Alex said raising an eyebrow.
"Almost no gas in that thing, you'd better fill it up on your way." He said pointing at the car.
"Oh, thanks." Alex said smiling. "You guys have fun, okay?"
"Aww, thanks sweetie!" His mother said happily. "Come here!" She said leaning over her husband toward the open window with her arms outstretched.
Alex sighed and leaned forward, letting her embrace him over his dad through the open window.
"Have a good day at school!" She said, then kissing him on the cheek.
Alex could hear his dad laugh quietly at his embarrassment. "I will" he said pulling back. "Love you."
"I love you!" His father mimicked in a squeaky voice.
"Shut up." Alex said rolling his eyes. "You'll be back by the time I'm done my date with Courtney?"
"Yup" His father said putting the car into gear. "Try not to miss us too much; we'll be here when you get home." He finished as he drove the car straight out the gate.
"I'll try not to!" Alex shouted as they pulled away on to the main road.
Smiling, he got into his dads car and started it. Looking at the gas gauge, It was full. He knew this was his father's way of saying 'Please come camping.'
"Well, if I'm going camping," Alex said, inspecting the massive lump of cash he had been given, "I might as well make him pay for it."
Knowing this would score him some points with his girlfriend, Alex Slipped the card into his pocket, and started thinking where he was going to take her for dinner.
Everything had happened so suddenly that day. It had all started out wonderfully. Like any other day. But after that, the day went from good, to bad, to horrible. However, the one thing that he was happy he had, was the final exchange he had with his parents. He thanked Celestia that the last thing that happened between them wasn't an argument or something like that. His final memories of his parents had been great ones. And, as heart wrenching as it was to think of his 'final memories' with them, at least those memories had been something worth it.
Smiling lightly, Alex opened the door to the library. He was surprised that all the lights were on. Something he hadn't noticed on his arrival because of his little flash back.
"Who are you?" A voice said.
Alex almost had a heart attack. He hadn't expected somepony else to be here.
"Are you a burglar pony? Because I'll have you know that I'm a dragon! And you shouldn't mess with a dragon!" The voice said, attempting toughness.
Alex looked up the stairs to where the voice had come from. And, sure enough, there was a dragon. A very small dragon, or, what Alex assumed was a small dragon. He was a small purple creature with a light green stomach, and dark green scales across his head, almost like a mohawk.
"Don't worry buddy. I'm no burglar." Alex said to the dragon. "I'm staying here until I can get a place to stay in Ponyville... Sorry if that's a little sudden. I only just found out myself."
"Oh yeah," Spike nodded, "You're the guy that was passed out in the extra room a few hours ago!"
"That's me," Alex laughed, happy that he wasn't completely foreign to this guy.
"It's lucky that you showed up when you did," Spike said, remembering all Twilight had told him when she arrived home this morning, "It sounded like you saved the day!"
"Honestly... I was just in the right place at the right time." He explained for the millionth time, looking at the wide eyes staring at him, "By the way, what's your name?"
"I'm Spike!" The small dragon said puffing his chest out and smiling. "I'm Twilights assistant!"
"Well, it's nice to meet you Spike." Alex said, walking up the stairs toward the dragon. "What kind of dragon did you say you were again?"
"Well…" Spike began, "I'm still TECHICALLY a baby dragon… But because of all the studying with Twilight I've done, I'm a lot smarter than I look!" He said proudly.
Alex laughed inwardly. A 'baby' dragon wasn't exactly the answer he had been looking for, but decided to roll with it.
However, the fact that he was talking to a dragon in the first place didn't seem all that strange at this point. This world was filled with surprises, and he was starting to get used to it. "Well, I'm Alex" He said extending a hoof.
Spike reached out and wrapped his hand around Alex's hoof, shaking it. "Nice to meet you! I'm Spike" he repeated with a smile.
Alex couldn't help but be jealous that Spike had actual hands... He was going to miss his right hand a whole lot. It was essentially his girlfriend most nights.
"Have you seen Twilight?" Spike asked, pulling Alex back to their conversation, "It's really late!"
"Oh, she's over at Pinkie Pie's house. They're having an after party." Alex explained.
"That pony sure likes parties." Spike said to himself, remembering the night before. "So… Why are you staying here?" He asked.
"Well… THAT, is a long story…" Alex began, heading down the wooden stairs toward the main reading area. "I guess I'll start from the very beginning. You should probably sit down." He said taking a second to gather his thoughts. "Oh!" He said suddenly, "I'm not crazy, no matter how crazy this story sounds."
Spike nodded and sat down on a chair sandwiched between two bookshelves.
"This is all true" Alex said before beginning.
"I'm not making it up" Alex continued.
Spike nodded again.
"I'm not crazy" Alex said, still not moving on.
"Okay! I get it!" Spike said frantically, just wanting to hear the story.
"Right, sorry!" Alex began. "Well… It all started a few days ago…"
"And then, after making a total jerk out of myself, I headed back here." Alex said, finishing his story.
Spike was silent. The story had been beyond farfetched. But, if Princess Celestia believed Alex, then he must have been telling the truth. "Well, if all that's true, that means you'll be around for a while learning magic, right?" Spike asked.
"I guess so," Alex answered. "Twilight said it could take years…"
Spike saw the troubled look cross Alex's face. "Well, I'm sure it won't take you that long." He said comfortingly. "Besides, now that you're here, I'm not the only guy!" Spike said, realizing how excited this made him. "I won't be stuck doing lots of girly stuff with Twilight and her friends all the time!"
Alex couldn't help but smile. Spike may have appeared to be young, but he had the mindset of a young teenager. And on top of that, Alex really couldn't help but agree with him. It would be nice to have another guy around. He was sure he'd get along with Spike just fine.
However, looking at the clock, he realized just how late it was, and decided that it was time to get to bed. "I couldn't agree more, Spike. But, right now, I should hit the hay."
"Yeah, I should too. Twilight would kill me if she knew I was up this late." Spike said laughing. "But, one more thing before we go… You know that white unicorn with the purple hair?" Spike asked.
"Rarity?" Alex asked, confused.
"Yeah!" Spike said smiling. "She's mine. Don't go near her." He said, suddenly dead serious.
"Oh... dude," Alex said, wide eyed and biting his lip, "I already kissed her."
"W-what?!" Spike asked, his eyes bugging out of his head, before Alex exploded in laughter.
"I'm just joking! Calm down buddy!" Alex laughed, fighting the urge to fall on his back and continue his laughing fit.
"W-well, good!" Spike said, flustered as he walked down the stairs ahead of Alex, and pointed to a door, "That's gonna be the room you stay in. It's the only other one with a bed."
Alex recognized the room as the one he had come out of when he first woke up after the battle with scary-horse.
"Thanks!" Alex said walking toward the room. "Get a good night's sleep, alright?" Alex asked. "The last thing I need is Twilight angry at me for keeping you up!"
Spike laughed, "Sure thing! And If you need anything, just ask." He said before blowing out all the candles, then heading back up the stairs to his and Twilights room.
"Goodnight!" Alex called to Spike, hearing him close his door.
Alex walked into the room that he had been in previously. Smiling, he walked his way over to the bed, and collapsed on top of it. If today and yesterday were any indicator, life here was going to be insane. Which, really, he couldn't complain about, because along with the insanity, was a measure of fun.
However, if he was going to be able to keep up, he would need his beauty sleep... and a lot of it at that.
He had a feeling this story was only just beginning.