TwilitPonyWhiteAbyss: Thanks for understanding.

Ecomonococo: Nice to hear that.

JustCurious: Yes.

charizardag: Thanks.

DeadSpace123: This might be the last one for now as Season 4 comes out in a week from now.

MovieNerdKing: Thanks.

Romulus Magnus: Thanks. I don't want Spike to be seen as a spoiled child, just like...a child lol.

Stubborn as a Mule

I stared blankly at the empty piece of paper in front of me. The bottom of my head was resting silently on the wooden table in same area. The noticeable but undisturbing ticking noise of the clock in the room rhythmically sounded.

I couldn't think of anything for the party that was being held for Applejack after she saved the town from a surprising and odd stampede led not by creatures you'd think would host a stampede but by cows. A herd of cows. I've never heard anything of the likes and never expected so. But it happened.

My mind was blank, and as soon as I tried concentrating on what to think of, my wondering thoughts would immediately interrupt. I only continued staring at the fresh piece in silence.

Afterwards, the pencil slowly escaped from my lips and onto the table. Then, I only allowed gravity and my head to shift in movement and plant my face on the table instead.

As I stepped outside my home, I was pretty dazed in astonishment after seeing how much the town worked to get the decorations up everywhere the eye could see. They did all this work for one single pony. She did save the town after all…

I walked through town, analyzing every piece of décor as ponies continued to joyfully do their work. To me, the décor already looked like it was enough or finished, but I guess the ponies in Ponyville really appreciated Applejack to go above and beyond. It's as if she has done this so many times, it's like the usual thing for Ponyville to do. There were just bunches of balloons, banners, and large ribbons everywhere.

"Alex, there you are!" Rarity spotted me and grabbed my right foreleg with her hoof.

"Rarity?" I questioned her sudden appearance.

"Come with me!" She pulled me across towards another part of town with no warning. She led me to this area near the town hall. There was a tree in front of us, but beneath the branches were decorative supplies. "What do you think?" She asked me, leaving me no clue on what exactly she was talking about.

"What?" I merely asked.

"The décor, darling." She mentioned, flipping a hoof towards the stuff on the ground. "How should we use our fabulous artistic skills to make this bare place a wondrous beauty?"

…she was really asking the wrong pony.

"I don't know." I looked blankly at our surroundings. "I only said I drew a little."

"O-o-oh, Alex." She expressed as she laughed, finding my response funny for some reason. "Everything begins in your mind, and the tool you use is to create it into a living thing!" She cleared her throat and lightly bounced the loose part of her mane with her a hoof a bit. "Figuratively speaking of course…" Giving no response, she continued to speak. "Look at this tree, Alex." She brought my attention to the regular old tree in front of us. "How could you possibly liven its beauty? You can't place a dress on it. You can't give it a makeover. You can't even wrap this large banner around it." She presented the banner she was talking about with both her front hooves. It was larger than the average banners I found among Ponyville. "What can you do?" She asked as she tapped a hoof on her chin, eyeing the tree analytically. "Ah, but think of things that make you happy, or whatever fits the occasion." She placed a hoof on the bark of the tree. "Gifts always make me happy. Ah, there's an idea!" Using her magic, she received a spare of silky soft red ribbon. She gracefully wrapped around the tree and tied the end into an elegant bow. Tightly securing it, she pulled on it with her teeth. "Voilà!" She presented it with an outstretched hoof. "See how beautiful it looks? One little thing can make up a whole lot!"

I didn't take Rarity's message for granted. I know I didn't look like I was shockingly amazed…but I was.

"Hey, you two!" Twilight approached up with a heartily greeting. "We all ready?" She asked as Spike sat on her back.

"Just one last thing." Rarity returned and levitated the humongous banner she presented earlier with her magic. She managed to hang it across the top of Town Hall, giving it an absolute decorative look along with the balloons around it. "Now we're ready."

"Is Applejack all set?" Twilight questioned.

"Actually, I haven't seen her all week." Rainbow Dash flew in and landed by me in the group.

"Not since the stampede." Pinkie Pie joined as well, nonetheless having a cheerful look to her face.

"But she'll be here for sure. Applejack is never late." Rainbow Dash assured.

"Well then, I better get ready for my speech." Twilight excused herself. "I'll see you all at the ceremony!"

They waved her off as they headed for their own activities, leaving Rarity and me.

"Take a walk with me." She pleaded politely. Silently, I obeyed so. "I hope you've learned something new with that little demonstration from me." She mentioned to me.

Honestly, I did, I think. She somehow made me look at something in a different way. She kind of made me realize that it is possible to be good at something, as long as you're capable of accomplishing the little steps between. In short, what looks like a huge leap can really be taken with baby steps.

Of course, I couldn't really express these emotions into words, so I could only give…well…a probably unappreciative sounding answer.

"Yeah…I guess…"

"You should come over to my boutique and see me in work sometime, darling." She offered. "My designs are a perfect example on how everything starts with a touch of a pencil!"

I didn't want to give a straight answer to that, as I didn't want to guarantee anything. I merely looked slightly to the side and held my head down a little low. "Sure…" I spoke softly.

Rarity and I had rejoined the others in front of the stage where the speech was to be announced. A massive group of ponies had formed behind us, leading me to believe that this may have been every single pony in Ponyville. Wow…

Twilight began walking towards the podium and straightened out her note cards. I was really impressed with her ability to walk in front of all of us like it was nothing. I probably would have melted where she was standing. With a bright smile, she greeted everyone from Ponyville.

"Welcome, everypony! Today we are here to honor a pony we can always count on to help in matters great and small." She placed the first index card in the bottom of the stack and lifted up the next one. I don't know why she had them if she didn't even really seem to be looking at them. I suppose she just loved being organized… "A pony whose contributions to—"

Rainbow Dash suddenly flew in uninvited, joining Twilight on the podium in an excited manner. "Did you see Applejack's slick moves out there? What an athlete." She continued exclaiming out her exhilaration while Twilight could only look back in annoyance. This week she's gonna help me with my new flying trick, and I know it's gonna be so awesome!" She squealed, pressing her cheeks inwards with both of her hooves.

"Exactly." Twilight pushed Rainbow Dash away in order to try to regain control. "And..." She announced, continuing from her speech until Pinkie Pie zipped into stage.

"This week, I get to run Sugarcube Corner for the first time!" She gladly broadcasted.

"What does that have to do with Applejack?" Twilight inquired.

Pinkie Pie returned a series of blinks in silence until she remembered about the subject. "Oh. Applejack, one of the best bakers ever, is gonna help me. Applejack makes everything great, so free samples for everypony!

The crowd cheered. Twilight allowed this for a few seconds until she shoved Pinkie Pie off of the podium. "Oh-kay, that's great. Now if I could just make a point without being inter—"

"Twilight?" Fluttershy surprisingly revealed herself from below the podium.

"-rupted." Twilight nonetheless scooched over to allow the tender Fluttershy to reveal her announcement.

"Twilight, I'm so sorry," Fluttershy apologized in acknowledgement. "…but I just wanted to mention that Applejack is also helping me this week with the official bunny census, where we count up all the new baby bunnies that were born this season. She's gonna help gather them using her wonderful herding skills."

Twilight seemed to have enough, as she sent her a glare that appeared to softly frighten her away.

"Anyone else?" She asked bitterly in frustration as she stared among the crowd. "Anyone?" There was a cough as everyone looked around awkwardly. "No?" She picked up the cards to where she left off. "Well then, as I was trying to say..." She looked to her side to notice the mayor excitedly wanting to the take the stand. "Urgh!" She threw out her cards angrily and walked away. "Never mind."

She took a place near me and sat down forcefully while crossing her forelegs furiously.

"Sorry…" I apologized in a gentle voice. I felt like I wanted to at least place a hoof on her in comfort, but the thoughts of the negative reactions that might be displayed prevented me from doing so.

"Ah-ahem." They mayor cleared her throat. "And so, with no further ado, it is my privilege to give the prize, Pony of Ponyville Award, to our beloved guest of honor, a pony of the utmost trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity. Ponyville's most capable and dependable friend: Applejack!" She presented the area where the curtains opened, but there was no pony there.

The crowd had cheered once again, but immediately died down once they realized Applejack's false appearance. However, Spike didn't seem to notice this as he continued to cheer.

"Cool! Way to go, Applejack. That was awesome! I mean—" He stopped when he realized the others were staring at him, forming a blush of embarrassment afterwards.

The mayor rubbed her head and cleared her throat once again as if she was signaling Applejack to come out from hiding behind the curtains. "Ah-ahem."

"Awkward." Spike mentioned before Applejack's voice suddenly sounded from around the crowd.

"I'm here! I'm here." She yawned loudly and sighed as she walked through the crowd. "Sorry I'm late—whoa—I was just... whoa... Did I get your tail?" I noticed she was carrying a basket full of apples, but a lot of them seemed to drop onto the ground nonetheless. "Miss Mayor." She made her way onto the stage, but something about her looked an awful lot different. "Thank you kindly for this here... award thingy." She yawned again. "It's so bright and shiny and, heh, heh heh, I sure do look funny heh. Ooo-ooo." She released while staring at the reflection on the trophy.

"Woo-ooo!" Pinkie Pie joined her energetically.

They continued making this sound until Twilight walked on stage to finish the ceremony. "Okay. Well, thank you Applejack for saving us from that scary stampede, and always being there for everypony."

Beginning with yet another yawn, she answered to Twilight. "Yeah. I like helping the ponyfolks and…" Another yawn. "and stuff." Her eyes had been closed for longer than they should have and led her to begin snoring all of a sudden. Twilight looked back in confusion while Pinkie Pie remained unaffected. Applejack woke up in a jolt. "Oh, uh, yeah. Uh, Thanks." She grabbed the side of the trophy and literally dragged it across the stage and on the dirt, leaving us with a quite momentarily uncomfortable sound.

"Was it just me, or did Applejack seem a little—"

"Tired?" Rainbow Dash mentioned after Twilight.

"Dizzy?" Fluttershy offered.

"Messy?" Rarity completed, but received weird stares from the others. "Well, did you see her mane?" She pointed out.

"She seemed fine to me!" Pinkie Pie bounced in. "Woo! Woo!" She repeated, leaving Twilight to stare back at Applejack's direction in curiosity.

"Hmm." She began walking off the stage. "I'm going to go have a talk with her."

Everypony seemed okay with it, but for some reason, my foreleg pulled me forward and I spoke up unintentionally. "Wait."

"Huh?" She looked back in question.

I didn't even know why I was saying what I am saying now. "I want to go talk to her…"

"Oh. Um…" Twilight seemed surprised. "Okay. Can you make sure she's alright?"

"…yeah…" I merely returned as I walked past the others, including Twilight, and headed off in Applejack's direction instead.

As I walked towards Sweet Apple Acres, I was stuck wondering why I did what I did. Why did I push myself so suddenly? Was there a reason to? Did I really want to know why Applejack looked the way she did? Maybe I did… Maybe it's because for how long I've technically known her, but never really treated her more than a pony I did business with…

Back to reality, I was relieved I didn't stray off too much in going after Applejack, otherwise I wasn't sure if I'd ever be able to find her in so many acres of trees. I heard sounds of grunts, yawns, and sighs, leading me to follow them easily. There were also sounds of slow paced bucks and apples falling to their place. In only a short amount of time, I was able to see Applejack tiredly attempting to buck a specific tree, but she had already previously taken down the apples from it. She moved to the side and kicked over a bucket of apples instead.

"Whoops." She expressed before continuing on.

Is she supposed to be doing all this by herself?

"Uh…" I released and tried to slowly confront her. "Applejack…?"

Instead of answering, her head fell forward and her eyes flopped down. She began snoring quietly.

"neigh…neigh…" She sounded as I cautiously approached her.

It wasn't until I had the guts to place a hoof on her when she finally woke up startled, leading me to quickly retract my hoof. "Oh!" She shook her head wildly. Afterwards, she stared intently at me as if she was trying to figure out who I was. "Howdy, Alex."

That was all she said. Usually, she would have wanted to be much more interactive with me, but instead, she didn't have the energy to.

"…what's going on?" I asked.

"Just buckin' some apples." She answered, walking past me towards somewhere else.

I looked around to notice the buckets full of apples. "It looks like you've worked enough…" I decided to follow behind her. "You look like you need to sleep."

"Can't. It's Applebuck Season." She faced her back legs at a tree and kicked it, bringing the apples from the tree into the buckets down below.

"Huh?" I continued to follow her, hoping she wouldn't find it bothersome.

"It's what the Apple family calls harvestin' time." She explained. "We gather all the apples from the trees so we can sell 'em." I noticed her eyes could barely keep themselves open.

"Do you…usually do it alone?" I asked, remaining cautious to my choice of words.

"No, my big brother helps me, but he hurt himself. So… I gotta make up for his work." She approached another tree, aimed her back legs at it, and gave it another strong kick. "Ugh."

I looked around for a moment in a slight nervous thought. I wasn't too afraid with her conversation, as she seemed too tired to return any emotions at all. But, I couldn't help but feel bad at seeing her do all this work… I had to at least offer her some help.

"…can I help you?"

"Help?" She stopped in her tracks to shake her head in a determined manner. "No way, no how."

"But you look in terrible shape. You can't possibly continue to do all this." I tried to reason.

She turned around and seemed to glare at me with an irritated mood. "Are you tryin' to say something?"

"N-no…" I tried to answer, feeling my fears take over. "I didn't mean anything bad by that… I-I just…"

She released an angry sigh and turned around, walking away. "I've got to get back to buckin' apples."

I didn't dare try to approach her again. I felt my heart sink as I've already done something horribly wrong. As I turned away sadly to head back to town, I desperately hoped she didn't hate me for what I did.

As I arrived back in Ponyville, Twilight seemed to find me and approached me by my side. "Hey! Did you find out what was going on with Applejack?"

"…yeah…" I answered unenthusiastically, feeling too down to say anything at all.

"What is it?" Twilight noticed my sulky behavior, lowering her head to meet with mine. "Did something happen?" I honestly couldn't really answer truthfully on that, so I only continued to walk and remain silent. There wasn't really a word from Twilight for a moment either. "Hey… Why don't we go to my place? You can explain there."

I wasn't sure whether I would be comfortable with that offer, but I couldn't leave her hanging and it was a more private place after all…

"…okay…" I accepted.

"Make yourself at home!" She encouraged as she walked inside with me trailing behind her. I stared at the massive amount of books in each shelf standing at the sides of the room. "I just hope you don't get bored. I usually tend to read most of the time."

"…it's fine." I returned.

Twilight grabbed a few books off the shelves and walked up towards the balcony. There was nothing for me to do here, so I decided to take her company.

As I reached the balcony, I noticed her cracking open a book and lying it on top of two others for support. Silently, she began reading. This slightly made me feel better. The fact that she wasn't demanding the information about what happened from me was…warming. She actually appeared…sensitive to my emotions and patient for when I decided to talk about it. Either way, it was more like she invited me so I could get myself together and tell her then. She didn't mind waiting.

I didn't want to trail it on though. I didn't want to make her wait because I'm too stupidly emotional to say anything. Was it anything to get so worked up over anyway? I figured it'd be better just to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

"Applejack isn't doing too good…" I finally announced, surprising Twilight.

"Huh?" She looked away from her book at me.

"She's like…bucking all these apples because it's the time that her family harvests apples to sell them." I explained as I stared at the wooden floor. "She's doing it alone because her brother hurt himself and now she has to work twenty-four seven to make up for his work."

"That's horrible." Twilight expressed with a worried expression.

I hesitated for the next part. "…I tried to offer some help…but she got angry at me. I guess she wants to do it on her own."

"We should go talk to her." She suggested, but I shook my head.

"Trust me, she's going to say no, and I don't think it's going to change anytime soon."

Twilight sighed and nodded her head lightly. "I just hope she's alright. She also supposed to help out the others with…whatever they're doing."

I didn't know what to say, so I just acknowledged that. "I know."

After, I rested myself, not in boredom, but in slight sadness. I faced away from Twilight, so she couldn't really see my face. It was silent, but fortunately not awkward silent as she seemed more into her books. However, at one point, she decided to speak.

"Hey…" I lifted my body up and looked at her. "You know…this time shouldn't be spent on me just reading my books. We should talk."


"…about what?" I asked.

"I don't know." She shrugged. "I'd like to get to know you more, if you don't mind."

I kind of mind, but I'll try not to.


She patted the area in front of her, leaving me to worriedly follow her request. I had nothing to say, so she began the conversation.

"So, tell me about yourself. Is there anything you want to be when you grow older?" She asked with another small beaming smile on her face.

Wow. I've never really thought about that actually.

"Well…" I answered without making eye contact too much. "I guess… I've always…kind of…wanted to be an artist but…" I shrugged. "I don't really know if that's anything I'm good at."

"I'm sure you are." She assured. "I'd love to see some of your stuff sometime, if that's okay."

"…yeah…" I merely said. "…what about you?"

"Boy, well…" She placed a hoof on her chin and thought. "I don't really know how to answer that in a straightforward way but… I pretty much want something to do with my studies and magic. I don't have an exact career in mind…but you know…somewhere around that area."

"Oh." I became silent. That other night when Twilight hugged me was beginning to really bother me. I just feel like I needed to bring closure to it after being right in front of the same pony. "Ugh." I grunted lightly and stood up to turn away.

"What? What is it?" She asked of my sudden change of emotion.

"I'm sorry." I apologized.

"For what?"

I was hesitant in my answers. "…that other night…when I freaked you out…I didn't mean…" I sighed and stopped myself, as I didn't even plan on what to say.

"Hey, it's fine. I understand. We all have our comfort zones." Twilight responded understandingly.

"Yeah…" I nodded my head. Thank you. "…but I still feel bad."

"Don't be. I just don't want to make you feel uncomfortable…"

I stared down at the floor for a moment and then turned towards her. "…thanks."

She answered that with another smile.

I placed my hooves on the railing surrounding the balcony and looked out at the ground a certain distance below our current location.

Do you ever get the feeling that if ponies knew how pathetic you really were, no one would ever talk to you? That's what I wanted to tell her. But, of course this wasn't directed at her. I wasn't describing her, I was indirectly describing myself. There was so much I wanted to share with someone I could trust, but I'm just so afraid to talk to anyone…even a professional…

A distant scream that grew louder by the second interrupted me from my thoughts. Before I could know what was happening, I was knocked backwards, falling on my back near Twilight.

She gasped, noticing my condition. "Are you okay?!"

I sighed lightly. Perhaps just a little humiliated… "…yeah."

She turned to see what the source of the problem was. We both noticed it was Rainbow Dash, who was leaning over the railing exhaustedly and disordered.

"…Can I help you?" Twilight asked in a casual but puzzled tone.

"I...think…somepony else…needs your help…" Rainbow Dash returned in a jumbled state with pauses between almost every word. It was as if she could barely string together a sentence.

Twilight turned towards me, and then back at Rainbow Dash. "Applejack?" She asked, most likely recalling her part in the interruptions of her speech and how they related to Applejack's condition.

"Yep." Rainbow Dash connected sterningly before passing out on Twilight's railing.

In silence, Twilight looked down and closed her book firmly. She levitated them with her magic and stood up. "Come on." She stated as she turned around to head back into the library, as if she was completely oblivious to the fact that Rainbow Dash was unconscious on her balcony railing.

"Is she going to be okay…?" I asked as I followed Twilight but glanced over at Rainbow Dash at the same time.

"I'm sure she will." Twilight answered with no hint of worriment as she organized the books into the shelves without even looking.

"You're…sure…?" I questioned with a hint of doubt.

"Hey, for a pegasus who loves practicing her daredevil moves instead of doing what she's supposed to, I don't even think I need to prove that this isn't the first time that this has happened."

"I guess you got me there…" I mentioned before we left out the door.

It actually took me a while before I realized what I did. I was going back to see Applejack, despite our little…conversation. I had completely forgotten for that moment because of Rainbow Dash's unconscious state. She probably didn't mean what she said, but I still couldn't really see her face-to-face after that. I couldn't back out now, though. I probably could, but I'd have to say something stupid to make an excuse. Ugh… What is wrong with me?

"Where'd you see her the last time you were here?" Twilight asked me as we were already deep into the sunny orchards.

"Um…" I looked around and tried to remember if there were any familiar objects and obstacles besides trees and apples. I didn't really seem to recall anything that helped, but then I spotted this white long wooden fence. I believe I did see that in the background from my last visit, but it wasn't anything promising. I wasn't too sure about saying this, as I didn't want to be wrong, but then I realized something else I could use to my advantage. The area we were in were already bucked. All the apples in the buckets were from the now empty trees. But the trees around the white fence were still filled. She had to be somewhere nearby. "I think she's here." I spoke. "Those trees haven't been picked yet." I pointed.

Twilight scanned across until we heard multiple thuds on the ground from a distance. Around the same area, we spotted Applejack staring motionless at an unbucked tree.

"What on earth is she doing…?" Twilight questioned. Of course, I definitely didn't want to offer any more words, so I greatly allowed Twilight to walk ahead of me and approach Applejack. "Applejack, can we talk?"

Applejack reacted by turning, squinting her eyes at Twilight, and flopping her ear with her hoof as if she was attempting to translate Twilight's normal words in her brain.

"CAN BEES SQUAWK?! I DON'T THINK SO." She stated out loud like if she was talking in a super noisy environment.

"No. Can we talk?" Twilight repeated calmly.

"TWENTY STALKS? BEAN OR CELERY?" Applejack now shouted at the same volume.

"No! I need to talk to you!" Twilight now began to raise the volume of her voice to get Applejack to hear her clearly.


"I need to TALK to you!"


"Rainbow Dash dropped in to see me today."


"Yes, except that she crashed onto my balcony after you launched her into the air."

"Oh, yeah…" Applejack finally lowered her voice after I had been flinching a bit from the bothersome volume. "I wasn't feeling quite myself this morning." She explained as she held her head down tiredly, lightening me up a little.

"Because you're working too hard and you need help." Twilight greatly recommended.

"What? Kelp? I don't need kelp. I don't even like seaweed." Applejack responded, retrieving the slightly altered messaged again.

"HELP! You need HELP!" Twilight corrected very loudly, stinging my ears a bit.

"Nothin' doin', Twilight." Applejack expectedly answered. "I'm gonna prove to you," She glanced over to me, noticing that I was brought along as well. "…t'everypony," She included, most likely because of our last talk, which brought me back down again. "…that I can do this on my own." She began walking away but then struck her head directly against a branch. "Ow!" She expressed and looked back with both her eyes in odd directions. "Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go help Pinkie Pie." She declared as she stumbled across the grass in a dizzy manner.

Twilight sighed and groaned out loudly. "Now I see what you mean…" She told me. We made our own way out of Sweet Apple Acres while I remained silent along the way. I could feel Twilight looking at me at certain times. "Listen…whatever she told you before…just remember it's not her. She's just being a stubborn pony and all this work with no rest is making her almost delirious! Don't take it personally if she sounded a little mean."

Twilight's words of encouragement wanted to help, but it still was unable to change my mood entirely. "Yeah…okay."

I spent most of the time returning to Ponyville thinking. Anyone could have easily believed I thought too much over little things. I don't know if they would be right, but nevertheless it's who I am. I have to admit, thinking did have its benefits…which led me to one thing…

Applejack, one of the best bakers ever, is gonna help me. Applejack makes everything great, so free samples for everypony!

Rainbow Dash already became unconscious because of Applejack's behavior, but what if she's in charge of food for the entire town?! If she's not focused on her baking, what if she practically poisons everypony?!

"Twilight…" I mentioned with a face struck with fear, as if I had forgotten something terribly important.

"Huh?" She returned.

"I've got to go to Sugarcube Corner."

"But…isn't that where Applejack is heading?" Twilight questioned, unaware of what I had just thought of.

"Exactly. Applejack isn't in the condition to bake samples for Ponyville!" I explained frankly.

Twilight lightly gasped. "You're right! Want me to come too?"

"No thanks…" I answered, feeling better off on my own. "I'll take care of this."

"Okay." Twilight understood, nodding her head. "Good luck, alright? Remember what I said."

"Yeah…" I'll try… "…thanks."

Afterwards, I hurried off to the sweet shop.

I didn't run or sprint. I rather just walked hurriedly with an occasional trot between.

After walking in and hearing the doorbell ring, I heard Pinkie Pie's voice from the kitchen.

"Now that's gonna be delicious!" She exclaimed happily, leading me to begin hurrying in.

"If you say so…" Applejack answered in an unimpressed and tired manner.

"Let's get them in the oven!" Pinkie Pie stated just as I arrived inside the same room they were in.

I spotted Pinkie Pie just about to pour some weird green goop with…worms…into the holes of the muffin bake pan.

"Wait!" I held up a hoof to stop her.

She stopped in a bit of surprise while Applejack only stared with half-lids at me. Nonetheless, she grew glad to see me. "Oh hi, Alex! Are you here to help us bake muffins too?!"

"Yeah…" I cautiously answered as I walked in. "In fact…I wanted to take Applejack's place to help you."

Applejack's ears flopped down and her eyebrows furrowed angrily at my sentence. "Are you sayin' I can't bake?!"

I closed my eyes tightly and thought for a quick second. She doesn't really mean it… She doesn't really mean it… "N-no." I quickly responded. "I was just thinking… you already have enough on your plate, wouldn't you rather spend more time wanting to prove to everypony about harvesting your apples?"

Applejack rubbed her hoof below her chin. "I suppose you've got a point. All right. Fine." Applejack began walking outside the kitchen, leaving us in silence, which wouldn't last for long.

"That's great of you to help, Alex!" Pinkie Pie included. "But, all we really need to do is put these bad boys in the oven!" She directed at the bowl with the obviously spoiled inedible paste.

"Right…uh…" I carefully retrieved the bowl from Pinkie Pie and began heading towards the back door to dump it out. "Why don't we start over?"

"What for?" Pinkie Pie shrugged a little confusingly.

I didn't want to tell her what Applejack did bluntly, so I just had to try to come up with something else. "You want those who eat the free samples to love them, right?" I asked as I finished dumping out the bowl.

"Of course!" Pinkie Pie beamed brightly as I walked in to wash any remainder in the bowl.

"Well, we should get these in the oven as soon as possible so they taste the best." I wasn't exactly sure what I was saying, but it's not like I had all the time of the world to think of what to say. "They kind of stayed in the bowl too long when I came in." I dried the bowl after thoroughly cleansing it.

"Ooooooh." She returned as if she completely understood. "Okay!"

"Right." I placed the bowl on the counter and stood in front of it. "So what did we need?"

"Chocolate chips!" She began.

I looked around, spotting the open fridge with a couple of sodas inside. However, hidden in the shelf of the door were a bag of chocolate chips. I grabbed them, tore open a hole, and began adding them into the bowl. "Alright."

"Now, baking soda!" She listed next.

"Baking soda…" I searched in a cabinet nearby to find various boxes of such the item. I grabbed one that seemed to already be open and emptied out the rest which seemed plentiful. "Okay."

"A cup of flour!"

"Flour…" I spotted a bag of flour sitting on the counter to the side of the room, near the fridge. Grabbing a measuring cup, I dipped it in using the opening on top and scooped up a cup of flour. I added it into the bowl.

"And the last thing is wheat germ!" Pinkie Pie finished.

"Right…" I confirmed and rummaged among the fridge to eventually find it. I finally included the reasonable amount and returned the wheat germ inside the fridge.

Pinkie Pie noticed I was finished and quickly retrieved the bowl. She stuck her tongue out and rapidly mixed everything in the bowl. When she was finally finished with the preparations, she poured the batter into the holes of the muffin pans and quickly stuck them into the oven. She grinned brightly and expressed her thanks. "Thank you, Alex!"

"You're welcome…" I returned, feeling rather relieved that a disaster was prevented after seeing the previous mix.

"You want to stay and help me give out the samples?!" She offered.

I thought about the crowd of ponies and shook my head politely. "No thanks… I actually have to go somewhere…"

"Oh, okay. Well, see you!" She waved her hoof energetically.

I raised my hoof and lightly waved it, taking my leave after.

I decided to tell Twilight the news, so I walked along over to her home. Once I was at her doorstep, I knocked a few times and waited patiently for a few minutes. There was no answer, so I allowed myself to knock once again. After waiting some time and still receiving no answer, I assumed she wasn't home.

I found it pretty pointless to go out and look for her, so I figured I should wait until she got back.

I then sat there in front of her home with nothing really to do. Of course, I really didn't mind. It gave me time to just be to myself without any disturbances. As long as there were no crowds or noisy environments, it didn't bother me at all.

I stared at my surroundings but mainly at the ground most of the time. I would shuffle my hooves every now and then and poked my hoof at the dirt. I drew pathetically on the ground at first, but then rubbed it off all in slight anger.

After a moment, I placed myself on the ground and rested my head on top of my front hooves. I noticed a small rock in front of me and just meaninglessly placed one of my hooves on it. I dragged it on the ground every few inches within my reach. Finally, I just grew tired of doing the task and flicked it away from my sight.

My eyes were already drooping downwards, most likely serenaded by the sound of the calm wind, until I heard a voice lightly startle me.

"Alex, there you are." I lifted my body up, regaining my energy. I turned around to see Twilight standing near me. "I've been looking for you."

"You have?" I questioned. "Why? I was waiting here for you."

"Sorry about that…" She apologized. "After I saw Applejack leave from Sugarcube Corner, I wanted to see if I could convince her about the dangers she might cause in her condition. But of course, she didn't want to listen." Twilight ended with an irritated sigh. "I swear, you can't get a word in without having her refuse to listen out loud." She took a pause before she returned to me. "What about you?" She asked as walked past me and opened her door to head inside. "What happened?" She held the door open with her magic to invite me in.

"I'm relieved I got there in time…" I accepted her offer. "…I don't know what Applejack used, but it was this…really disgusting green goopy paste that somehow had worms in it."

"Eww!" Twilight reacted by scrunching her flinching face a bit, but managed to add a short laugh in there. "And then? What did you do?"

"I made up an excuse to have her leave and another to throw it out. I ended up helping Pinkie Pie remake the whole thing."

Twilight smirked and lightly nudged me. "I hope you didn't throw in a few bugs of your own, did you?"

"…no…" I answered a little seriously. "I wouldn't do that…"

"I know you wouldn't. It was just a joke." Twilight explained with a surprisingly warm smile.

"Oh…" I looked away a bit embarrassingly of my failure of a sense of humor. "…right…"

For another moment, we stayed indoors this time rather than the balcony. Twilight was lying on her back on the ground while she levitated one of her books in the air in front of her. I couldn't find myself reading, at least not for the moment, and headed up to the balcony instead, specifically to see if Rainbow Dash was still there.

However, I found out that she wasn't, which was sort of expected. But I was curious to what she thought after she recovered from her crash. I returned downstairs to wait in peace. I guess it was better than being home by myself.

"You don't have to stay here if you don't want to." Twilight assured, catching my attention. "I don't know if you have important things to do."

I shook my head silently, showing no emotion. "Don't worry about it."

"Oh, okay." She tapped a hoof on her chin. "If you're really sure, then how about a bite to eat? I'm pretty hungry."

It felt only right to go along, as I really had nothing else to do. "Sure…" As she began trotting towards the door, I realized that her baby dragon wasn't around like he usually was. "Hey, where's Spike?"

"It's a free day." Twilight explained as I caught up with her. "He's probably running around Ponyville or something." She opened the door and walked out, continuing to hold it open for me. "He deserves it anyway. Poor little guy is always helping me on my intense study days, almost to the point where he does nothing but help and then fall asleep right after. I try to tell him he doesn't need to help me so much, but…" She shrugged lightly. "He just tells me he wants to."

"Oh…" I could only reply with. Talking about Spike somehow reminded me of something else. Something I wasn't sure in worrying about or not. "Hold on… I just remembered… Didn't Applejack have to help Fluttershy with something? Something to do with bunnies?"

"Oh right." Twilight answered, continuing to smile and be seemingly unaffected by it. "I wouldn't really worry about that."

"Why not?" I had to ask.

"Making food was one thing, but rounding up some baby bunnies is another." She returned. "Applejack is too exhausted to focus on using the correct ingredients, but with the bunnies, it probably won't make too much of a difference. The worst she can do is probably fall asleep on the job, but that's better than poisoning a bunch of ponies, huh?"

"Oh yeah." I understood her reason. "I guess so…"

"Don't worry." Twilight assured once again. "Fluttershy's going to be with her."

I nodded, feeling a little surer.

Afterwards, Twilight began trotting lightly and humming joyfully.

I analyzed her carefully as I walked by her side. I couldn't help but wonder how she could easily just take the day in and be so…bright about it…

She suddenly came to a stop and gasped.

"What?" I asked before I turned and noticed a few ponies on the road. They appeared to be struck down by something fierce, and I wasn't sure if they were okay or not.

"The horror, the horror!" One of them screamed out loud, leading me to come to the conclusion that they were, in fact, perfectly fine in health.

"It was awful!" Another cried.

"A disaster. A horrible, horrible disaster!" The last one exclaimed in distress.

Twilight and I could only look around and notice everything appear fine as it was.

"I don't get it." Twilight returned with an expression of confusion.

"Our gardens, destroyed!" One of them directed at empty gardens.

"Every last flower, devoured!" Another presented what was left of the flowers in pots.

"By... by... THEM!" The last pointed out horribly at a specific location.

Twilight and I finally realized where she was pointing and saw a plethora of bunnies rummaging around and eating almost everything edible in their sight.

"Oh my. Oh... Please stop, little bunnies. Oh no! Please, let's go home. Oh my goodness!" Fluttershy was desperately trying to gather them up, but for some reason, the bunnies just wouldn't listen.

Twilight and I stood there with our mouths slightly agape for a short moment. We turned to each other and closed our mouths. Twilight narrowed her eyes and spoke seriously. "All right. Enough is enough."

Twilight turned around and began trotting angrily back to Applejack's location. I caught up with her, feeling rather worried instead. "Are you sure Applejack did this?"

"Fluttershy would never lose control of the bunnies. I don't know what Applejack did, but she must have done something to scare the bunnies off like that." She explained as she continued storming ahead.

"…I guess you have a point…" I returned softly.

"Must…keep…buckin'...just…a few…more." We heard Applejack express exhaustedly, significantly gasping between each word. "Must finish harvestin'."

"All right, Applejack." Twilight confronted angrily. "Your applebucking hasn't just caused you problems, it's over-propelled Pegasus', potentially poisoned plenty of ponies, and terrorized bushels of brand new bouncing baby bunnies. I don't care what you say. You. Need. Help."

Applejack gave one last grunt and kick to the tree behind her before responding. "Ha! No, I don't." She answered smugly as dozens of apples fell in her baskets. "Look, I did it." She presented an orchard with harvested trees. "I harvested the entire Sweet Apple Acres without your help." She panted lightly for air. "How d'ya like them apples?"

Applejack's brain must have been starting to fail because not too far away was another orchard full of unharvested apples. "…what about those apples?" I pointed hesitantly towards the easily visible area.

Once she got a good view of the area for herself, she began mumbling beneath her breath. "Where'd all the apple...?" She continued mumbling in an incoherent way before she finally lost her balance and fell to the ground, passing out.

My heart dropped, as I felt it was my fault. "Maybe I shouldn't have said that…" I stated fearfully.

"It's fine." Twilight assured to me. "She had to know the truth and see it for herself." Twilight walked over to her to make sure she was okay. "Applejack. Applejack." She called her name repeatedly.

"Huh…?" Applejack answered in weak voice, as she was most likely still recovering from the blackout.

"Oh, good, you're okay." Twilight became relieved with a soft grin, but shifted into a serious furrowed expression. "Now Applejack, I completely respect the Apple family ways. You're always there to help any pony in need, so maybe you can put a little of your stubborn pride aside and allow your friends to help you." She attempted to convince as Applejack looked around worriedly.

Finally, she broke.

"Okay, Twilight."

"I am not taking 'no' for an answer—what?" Twilight expressed in surprise, being unexpected of Applejack's answer.

"Yes, Twilight. Yes, please." She practically begged. "I could really use your help." She turned over to me in an apologetic look. "Both of yours…"

Twilight both chuckled softly and sighed in great and content relief. Next, she turned to me. "Alex, do you mind staying here and helping Applejack home? I'm going to go get the others so we can get this done before the end of the day."

"Alright." I understood.

"Great! I'll be right back!" Twilight ran off into the distance, leaving just Applejack and me.

Now… How was I going to get her home?

I noticed the empty apple cart near the lone tree. She must have meant to use that to place the apples in before she passed out… Nevertheless, I brought that cart over to her and then confronted her. Without sparing a word, I held out a hoof towards her. With a small but tired smile, she accepted it and allowed me to lift her on her shaky hooves. She chuckled softly. "What are you gonna do? Carry me back to the barn?"

"I don't know if I could…" I returned. "…so just in case, I'll take you back in this cart." I looked over towards the transportation method. "That way, I can take your apples back too."

"You sure it won't be too much?" She asked a little worriedly. I didn't really care, so I just shrugged. "Alrighty then."

"Can you walk?" I questioned due to her appearance.

"Yeah…I'm fine…" She wobbled over to the cart. She looked like she could fall to the floor at any moment, so I carefully placed a hoof on her. Now was not the time to worry about my fears. When she was able to, I helped her get into the cart. She sat down with an exhausted grunt as I picked up the basket of apples from the floor, including a few stray apples that fell. Finally, I attached myself to the cart and began to carefully work downhill.

There was silence for a few moments as I speechlessly brought the apples and Applejack in the cart.

"Thank ya, Alex… You're…very kind." She expressed softly.

"…it's not a problem." I answered.

Applejack placed her hooves over the edge of the apple cart and managed to lean a little closer to me. "You know… I'm really glad to be your friend…as well as have one for you."

That…kind of stunned me. I continued walking, but my mind wasn't on the same page. I only thought about those exact words. She didn't hate me… She liked me… Apparently…enough to be her friend. I guess…I really am more than just a customer to her…

"Is something wrong, Alex?" She asked me, leaving me to even further realize that she used my name instead of 'partner'.

"…no…I'm okay…" I responded and finally reached the barn, which ended the road from Ponyville.

Once I reached the front door, Applejack stopped me. "Right here is fine." I unstrapped myself and moved over to Applejack, helping her off. Her legs weren't as wobbly as she managed to slowly head over to her home. Before I attended to her, I removed the basket of apples and placed them in the cart instead. Then, I trotted over to Applejack and held the door open. Once she was inside, I joined her and assisted her to the comfortable couch in what appeared to be her living room.

She grunted lightly and rested her body with her eyes closed. "Thanks…" She coped to express.

"Do you need me to get you anything?" I asked her considerately.

"I'm fine, thanks." She almost whispered out, but then seemed to have something else to say. "Well…actually…some water would be good."

"Okay." I nodded.

"Kitchen's right next door." She lightly pointed.

I followed her direction and entered the room. I took a nearby glass and filled it with the water from the faucet. I brought the glass carefully over to Applejack. She noticed my arrival with half-closed eyes and slowly brought herself up to a sitting position. I gave it to her as she accepted it with both of her hooves. "Thank you." She expressed before she closed her eyes and lifted her head to chug down the water. She must have been really thirsty.

After she finished her glass, she pulled it away from her lips and released a sound that greatly revealed her satisfied thirst. She placed the empty glass on the floor and then rested her hooves on her stomach, closing her eyes again. I decided to walk over to the couch and take a seat next to her, but I remained silent.

I waited for the next thing to do as I looked around the room.

"Hey, Alex…?" I heard her call my name, leading me to look at her. Her eyes remained half-closed. "…can I…ask you a question…?"

"…I guess..." I answered, not sure if the question was something I'd be comfortable with.

"How come…I've never seen you smile?"

She figuratively bucked an apple straight into my heart. She didn't intentionally try to hurt me…but that question made me remember and realize how pathetic I really was. I don't believe I've ever been able to smile like other ponies, and maybe that's one reason why they never really liked me… But I can't complain… I've never been happy, thus having no need to smile… I don't even know if I've at least smiled once in my life…I don't…

"I…" I was speechless… I couldn't just break out everything to her… "I don't know…" I stared at the ground gloomily and a bit embarrassingly.

"Alex…?" She asked, lifting herself up a bit in concern.

I didn't want to talk about it anymore. I just wanted to change the subject. "Listen." I quickly stated as I removed myself from the couch. "Twilight and the others should be getting here in a few seconds. I should go out and help them. Just stay here and rest up."

Applejack didn't say anything. Instead, she only continued to look at me worriedly.

I excused myself and walked out the door.

As I arrived outside, I looked back with my eyes and felt horrible for how I left.

"Hey there!" Twilight's voice surprised me, snapping my attention towards her. "Where's Applejack?"

"Oh…" I felt the scene from a few seconds ago being played in my head again. "She's inside resting…"

"Something wrong…?" She must have noticed my expression.

"I'm fine." I answered with a hint of nervousness. "Let's just get to work."

After hesitating for a moment, she finally agreed.

There weren't that many trees with apples left, so we were divided and worked in sections to get the job done fast and efficient.

"Do you need any help?" I asked Twilight as I approached her.

"No thanks. Magic makes this job a lot easier!" She stared down the trees and focused her magic. Her aura literally surrounded ever single apple from the tons of trees in front of her. Then, she easily picked them off and filled the large buckets nearby with the fruit.

"Wow…" I commented in astonishment. Those amount of trees would have taken at least half an hour to pick and collect…

"See how much trouble we could have prevented had we been able to help?" She giggled. "Why don't you go see if another pony wants the help?" She suggested. "I'm sure they'd appreciate it."

"Okay. Thanks…" I returned and walked around to do so.

I came across a tree that no pony seemed to be occupying. I stared at it for just a moment until I heard something rattle inside. The branches shook and apples fell to the ground, startling me a bit. I looked back at the branches to see Fluttershy come out in sight. She spotted me and slowly landed on the ground while slightly looking away. "Oh. Hi, Alex…"

"Hey…Fluttershy…" I returned, almost beginning to feel like I was getting sucked into a trance. I snapped out of it and asked her the question. "Um. Do you want any help…?"

"Okay." She nodded and then turned her head to one of the empty buckets close by. "Could you get one of those and have it ready down here to catch the apples?"

"Sure." I responded and did as she asked.

Being the silent type as well, we didn't really talk as we worked, but I actually felt like…I really wanted to talk to her…

When the sun was just about to start setting, we all heard Applejack from the barn.

"How about y'all take a little break?" She caught the attention of everypony. "I got some fine apple juice waitin' for ya!" She released a relieved sigh, as she must have felt a lot better. "I can't thank you enough for this help." She expressed as we gathered around the table in front of her. "I was acting a bit stubborn."

"A bit?" Twilight asked in a skeptical but light-hearted manner.

"Okay." Applejack admitted. "A mite stubborn, and I'm awful sorry." She apologized and then turned to me. "Especially to you, Alex. I was awful mean to ya…but I really didn't mean any of it. I…I hope you can forgive me."

I only stared at the ground for a moment and nodded my head. "I do…"

She turned towards the others and continued speaking. "Now, I know the town gave me the Prized Pony award, but the real award is having you six as my friends." She finished, leading the girls to drink their apple juice.

"Phew!" Rainbow Dash released. "That applebucking sure made me hungry."

We heard another sound of steps approaching us. Twilight turned her head and noticed Spike walking this way. "Spike? Where have you been all day?"

"Just exploring around Ponyville." He explained. "Plus, I was really lucky today! I found something yummy near the sweet shop! I don't know why anyone would throw it away. It was delicious!"

"Uh…what's he talkin' about?" Applejack asked in curiosity.

Twilight noticed my slightly disgusted expression at Spike and then chuckled, answering Applejack for me. "You don't want to know."

"Well then…" Applejack brushed that subject off and looked towards the others. "If it's food you're hankerin' for, why don't y'all come inside, I've got a heap of treats for ya!"

"Awesome!" Rainbow Dash lifted her wings and began flying eagerly to follow Applejack.

"Sounds good!" Twilight included, ready to eat.

The rest of us followed Applejack back to the barn, the girls talking among each other about the food they'll eat.

I was able to meet Applejack's sister, Applebloom, as she happily assisted Applejack in making her apple treats. Applejack had introduced all of us before she dispersed the treats. When everypony had their first bite, they immediately moaned in pleasure.

"Mmm!" Twilight expressed joyfully. "Applejack, these are amazing!" The other girls strengthened this by heavily agreeing.

"Aw, shucks." Applejack responded modestly, crossing her front legs. "Nothing to it…"

"Hey, Spike…" Twilight turned over to him as he was in the middle of finishing an apple fritter. "I think now would be a perfect time to send a letter to the princess." He wiped off the crumbs from his face and quickly pulled out his writing utensils. "Dear Princess Celestia," She began. "My friend Applejack is the best friend a pony could ever have, and she's always there to help any pony. The only trouble is, when she needs help, she finds it hard to accept it, so while friendship is about giving of ourselves to friends, it's also about accepting what our friends have to offer. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle." She finished, allowing Spike to send out the letter.

Applejack lightly chuckled and raised a bottle of apple juice to the air. "How bout a toast to friendship?"

"To friendship!" They all cheered and exclaimed out loud, tapping their bottles together and laughing.

I wasn't exactly as motivated as they were…but I suppose I did have somewhat of a warm feeling inside of me…

When everypony except Twilight and Applejack had left, Applejack began cleaning up while Twilight approached me.

"It's been great hanging out with you today, despite what's happened." She told me.

"Yeah…you too…" I answered, not really sure what to say.

"Maybe we can do this again sometime? Without all the trouble, of course." She offered.


"Great." She sent out a soft smile. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"


"Goodnight." She expressed as she readied herself with Spike to leave.

"Goodnight." I returned, seeing her walk out the door.

"Thanks for helping me out, Alex…" I felt a hoof suddenly touch my shoulder, sending a quick shiver through me.

"You're welcome…" I replied, realizing it was Applejack.

"I'm grateful, I really am." She picked up her other hoof and placed it on her chest to emphasize her point. "So…if you ever need help… Don't hesitate to come to me, okay?"

I remained silent for a moment, thinking about what she said. It was…warming to hear that…but I wasn't sure if I would actually take her up on her offer.

"…thanks, Applejack." I answered. "I'll…keep that in mind."

She smiled and patted my back with her hoof. "Goodnight, Alex." Afterwards, she turned and headed towards the stairs.


Once I headed out in the night sky to finally get home, I was surprisingly confronted by Fluttershy. I really didn't expect her to be waiting…for me, I think.

"Um…" She began, staring away again, but managed to glance over to me once. "Hi, Alex…"

"Oh. Hey, Fluttershy…" I answered.

She picked at the ground with her hoof shyly as her eyes wandered around. "…um…I…I was…wondering…if…if you…wanted to…um…help me feed my…baby bunnies…"

It was almost completely dark out…yet she was asking me to do this. Was there a certain reason behind this? Or am I thinking too much into it? I should probably stop that…

Nevertheless, it didn't change my feelings on the subject. Whatever I thought…I couldn't help but feel like…I really wanted to do it.

"S…sure." I returned.

"R-really?!" She almost actually exclaimed with widened eyes, but she quickly brought it down a notch. "I…I mean…" she expressed with blush forming in her face. "Let's go."

She brought me to this place I've never been. It was also on the outskirts of town, just like Sweet Apple Acres. However, it was on a different side. What caught my interest was that her homeland contained different areas with different animals. There were nests for birds, houses for chickens, rivers for otters. There was just so much of the variety, it was all too much to list. Meanwhile, Fluttershy had retrieved several carrots to bring.

"So…how exactly many animals do you have here, Fluttershy?" I asked as I looked around.

"I have so many!" Her excitement grew again, but it still remained with a soft voice. "I have chickens, bunnies, butterflies, squirrels, birds—" She spotted me looking at her and noticed how she allowed her excitement to get the better of her. She immediately blushed a little. "Well…you know…a lot…" She continued escorting me to the area the bunnies were supposed to be, but I didn't see any. "Here we are."

I looked around, scanning to see if I had missed any. "…where are they?" I asked.

"They're just hiding. You have to call out them very gently so they won't get scared. After they get to know you, they won't be afraid anymore." She flew softly over to their apparent hiding spots and called them as she advised. "Come on, little ones. It's dinner time… It's time to come out…"

After a few seconds, they slowly crept out, staring at Fluttershy.

"There you go…" She rewarded them with each a carrot and petted them when they began nibbling on it. She managed to turn her head to me. "Do you want to try, Alex?"

"Well…" I looked away in thought, but figured I should at least try to do this without being afraid of messing up. I released a sigh. "Okay."

She gave me a few carrots and led me to another area where a group of bunnies were huddled together hiding. I turned to her to receive a confident nod. I closed my eyes in preparation and then finally looked out to the bunnies. "Here…uh…baby bunnies…there's some…delicious carrots for you…" Despite my struggle in speaking the same tone Fluttershy held, they slowly poked out to look at me. "Nothing to be afraid of…" I continued encouraging. "…it's just food…"

Their noses twitched in smell and they slowly lurked out. They seemed to finally trust me and began nibbling on the treats I gave them.

"That was great, Alex…" Fluttershy complimented softly.

As soon as I took the time to notice her sweet…and…soft…smile, this feeling quietly erupted in my heart. My body felt weird and I couldn't explain it. Other than that…it felt…really good.

However, Fluttershy noticed the silence I returned and blushed once again. "I should probably…head to bed now…" She looked out to the night sky that seemed to become beautiful now for some reason…even though nothing about it changed. "It's…getting really late…"

"Oh…" I responded. "…alright, then."

"Maybe…we could…um…do something else…tomorrow? If you want…" She offered.

"Y-yeah…" I quickly accepted. "…that sounds great."

She managed to smile as her mane covered her right eye a bit. "Okay… Goodnight, Alex."

"Goodnight…" I answered…feeling somehow entrapped.

Afterwards, she began flying away into the cottage ahead, leaving me to only gaze at…beauty…

I had this…weird but good feeling the whole time I walked home. Arriving home, I could only feel the need to place a hoof on my chest. That's where the feeling seemed to be the strongest. I almost walked weakly up the stairs to my bedroom and took a seat on the side of my bed. I stared at the wooden floor, my head feeling both empty but full at the same time.

My head lifted to see the stack of papers in front of my desk. Without question, I brought myself towards it and lifted up my pencil. I drew out a blank piece of paper and stared at it.

What is wrong with me? Why am I feeling so weird? These girls are something else… I can't explain it… Mind too blank right now… A lot of feelings… Friendship… When all of us were gathered together at the barn eating those apple treats… It all felt good… But Fluttershy is keeping me from thinking. Why? Why is she the pony I don't feel so nervous around? Why is she the one pony that…I actually feel like interacting with more? I don't understand. Too many things going inside my head but nothing I can explain…

Not exactly knowing what to write, and seeing it heading into a weird direction anyway, I dropped my pencil and headed to bed.

I laid there with my eyes stuck on the ceiling, but my mind reviewing my thoughts.

My heart began to pump just a little faster…