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First Kiss by EndlessWire94 First Kiss :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 1 0
Literature
Ch. 8: New Beginnings
I awoke so suddenly that I nearly fell out of bed! With an anxious yelp, I quickly righted myself. Once I had gotten over my shock, I sat up, stretched, and yawned. "Well, that was somethin'," I remarked, thoroughly bemused.
Judging by the faint light beneath the window shades, it was some late time in the wee hours of the morning - indeed, when I checked my alarm clock, it read 4:45. I lay back down and tried to fall back to sleep; but a whole half hour passed, and still my eyes could not close. All the while, my mind spun, mulling over Luna's advice: don't let the best things in life pass you by.
I sat up once more, and squinted through the weak darkness, trying to make out Tali. To my surprise and joy, he lay nearer to my bed than he had before - he must have got up and moved during the night! I clicked my tongue softly - right away, his sensitive ears perked up, and he looked up at me. "Hey, buddy," I whispered. "I'm really, really sorry I snapped at you - you still love me?
:iconEndlessWire94:EndlessWire94
:iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 1 0
If you teach a fruit bat to play Fruit Ninja... by EndlessWire94 If you teach a fruit bat to play Fruit Ninja... :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 8 3 Patrick tries to make friends with Guysborough by EndlessWire94 Patrick tries to make friends with Guysborough :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 14 4 My Monty Python and the Holy Grail recast by EndlessWire94 My Monty Python and the Holy Grail recast :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 3 0 Ravishing Railcar by EndlessWire94 Ravishing Railcar :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 17 3 Flo by EndlessWire94 Flo :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 5 0 Take on Thomas by EndlessWire94 Take on Thomas :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 5 7 Learned Helplessness by EndlessWire94 Learned Helplessness :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 4 0 Not sure if Rheneas by EndlessWire94 Not sure if Rheneas :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 10 0 That Darn Roller! by EndlessWire94 That Darn Roller! :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 23 8 The Grouchy Rainbow Dash by EndlessWire94 The Grouchy Rainbow Dash :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 5 4 Bedford's Big Move scene recreation by EndlessWire94 Bedford's Big Move scene recreation :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 6 0 Molly's swimsuit by EndlessWire94 Molly's swimsuit :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 7 1 Bikini Babe Emily by EndlessWire94 Bikini Babe Emily :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 12 10 Ponies in Maine by EndlessWire94 Ponies in Maine :iconendlesswire94:EndlessWire94 12 1

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MLP: yay by keterok MLP: yay :iconketerok:keterok 1,555 135 Ashima by Trains4Days Ashima :icontrains4days:Trains4Days 14 5 Its so cool to meet a dragon by Porygon2z Its so cool to meet a dragon :iconporygon2z:Porygon2z 74 11 TF-Emily by Trains4Days TF-Emily :icontrains4days:Trains4Days 13 11 Fluttershy Bedhead ~ Umm... Goodmorning ~ by PonyEcho Fluttershy Bedhead ~ Umm... Goodmorning ~ :iconponyecho:PonyEcho 820 127 Prof. Zecora by uotapo Prof. Zecora :iconuotapo:uotapo 4,748 521 Commission: Alone In The Forest by ZuTheSkunk Commission: Alone In The Forest :iconzutheskunk:ZuTheSkunk 1,530 116 But Mike, you'll cath a cold by CartoonLover20 But Mike, you'll cath a cold :iconcartoonlover20:CartoonLover20 17 24 Emily by CartoonLover20 Emily :iconcartoonlover20:CartoonLover20 11 13 Friendship is still Magic! by dennyvixen Friendship is still Magic! :icondennyvixen:dennyvixen 3,552 131 Pony Herds by Mundschenk85 Pony Herds :iconmundschenk85:Mundschenk85 25 5 Somewhere Only We Know by SickRogue Somewhere Only We Know :iconsickrogue:SickRogue 696 44 A True, True Friend by Mundschenk85 A True, True Friend :iconmundschenk85:Mundschenk85 8 7 Kindness by CreativityBox18 Kindness :iconcreativitybox18:CreativityBox18 162 13 Remus and Padfoot.. ZOINKS! by Alatariel-Amandil Remus and Padfoot.. ZOINKS! :iconalatariel-amandil:Alatariel-Amandil 1,984 177 Sugar Belle by Ispincharles Sugar Belle :iconispincharles:Ispincharles 30 0

Activity


I awoke so suddenly that I nearly fell out of bed! With an anxious yelp, I quickly righted myself. Once I had gotten over my shock, I sat up, stretched, and yawned. "Well, that was somethin'," I remarked, thoroughly bemused.

Judging by the faint light beneath the window shades, it was some late time in the wee hours of the morning - indeed, when I checked my alarm clock, it read 4:45. I lay back down and tried to fall back to sleep; but a whole half hour passed, and still my eyes could not close. All the while, my mind spun, mulling over Luna's advice: don't let the best things in life pass you by.

I sat up once more, and squinted through the weak darkness, trying to make out Tali. To my surprise and joy, he lay nearer to my bed than he had before - he must have got up and moved during the night! I clicked my tongue softly - right away, his sensitive ears perked up, and he looked up at me. "Hey, buddy," I whispered. "I'm really, really sorry I snapped at you - you still love me?"

As if in reply, Tali gave his tail a few gentle thumps on the floor - I smiled from ear to ear. "Thanks, Tal."




Another half hour passed, but I remained restless. At long last, I decided to start the day early, and took Tali outside to do his business. Back in the apartment, I set out some kibble for him, then brewed a pot of coffee and popped some bread in the toaster. About six minutes later, I sat at the breakfast table, enjoying toast and marmalade, and planning my day. "First things first, Tali," I said determinedly. "I'll go right to Fluttershy's house and apologize for yesterday's incident." (Fluttershy had invited me to her rural cottage on the outskirts of town once or twice before, just to hang out, have some tea, or play with her animal friends.)

Tali gave me a soft nudge with his muzzle, as if he expected me to say more. "Oh, so you're wise to my real feelings," I smirked after a brief pause and realization. "I swear, you dogs have more empathy than most ponies!" Tali wagged his tail happily.

"But, how do I fess up to her?" I wondered aloud. "It'd be pretty awkward to just knock on her door and say, 'Fluttershy, I love you', wouldn't it?! And how do I know whether she'll return the feeling?"

At that point, Tali put his paw around my arm, almost as if he were hugging me. Once again, I was momentarily stunned, but put two and two together after a few seconds. "You're right: there's real warmth in her hugs," I said fondly, giving my furry friend a scratch behind the ear. "There may be proof in the pudding, as they say."

Tali reached up and licked my chin affectionately. "Thanks, old pal!" I chuckled.




My plan to set things right was set in motion sooner than I expected. A few hours later, Tali and I were just about to leave the apartment, when we heard a few rapid knocks at the door - you can only imagine my surprise when I answered, and found a very sad-looking Rainbow Dash hovering outside! "Uh...hey...," she said slowly, breaking the awkward silence that followed.

"Hey," I replied, a bit uneasy but mostly still stunned.

"So, about yesterday," went on Rainbow. "It just didn't feel right, you know, leaving things the way we left them..."

"Look," I sighed, starting to get defensive again, "if this is about me turning your friends against you, then..."

"Cool your jets, poodlehead!" Dash snapped - then, to my further astonishment, she winced, groaned, and slapped a hoof to her forehead. "No, no!" she muttered. "I shouldn't have said that. I just wanted to...well, what I mean is..." Her voice trailed away, as she let out an exhausted sigh.

"...Wanna go for a walk?"




Outside a few minutes later, Tali and I ambled along the street, while Rainbow Dash hovered a few inches above us so we could talk face to face. "Look, Endless," she began, "I know I've been...well, a real lout lately; but, the thing is, I just don't know how to..."

"Admit your mistake?”

"Yeah! I mean, don't expect me to make speeches to you or anything - it's hard enough I've got competition with some gawky, scatterbrained Manehattaner..."

"Well, technically, I come from Clyde Park..."

"Do I look like I care?!" Rainbow Dash barked irritably - she grimaced in self-reproach milliseconds later. "Sorry!" she groaned.

"It's fine," I replied. "See? That wasn't so hard!"

"What wasn't so hard?"

"...Apologizing?"

Rainbow exhaled quietly. "I guess not," she admitted.

"And I'm sorry I said you were afraid of your own feelings. I know I've harped a bit about not resorting to insults, but..."

"No," interrupted Rainbow. "It's fine - I needed to hear that."

"But what about that jab I made about hot air clogging your ears? That was a step too far!"

“Maybe," conceded Rainbow. "But up to that specific point, your words sort of opened my eyes a bit - after awhile, at least. I hate to admit it; but, as awesome as I usually am, I can be kind of a sourpuss to my own friends. And sometimes, I do take my issues out on them - like the time I was practicing for the Best Young Flyer Competition."

"How so?"

"Ya see, Fluttershy was the only one of my friends who could come to Cloudsdale and support me - at least until Twilight found this cool spell to prevent her and the others from falling through the clouds. Anyway, I drilled Fluttershy through what it took to be a good cheerleader, and she seemed to learn fast enough; but when she tried to cheer for real, it was super quiet! Just this whispery little 'Yaaaay!'"

"Well, that's Fluttershy for ya," I chuckled.

"Yeah, I know. I yelled at her to crank up the volume, and I even gave her an earful in front of everypony else about how feeble her performance was; but, truth be told, I did it partly because I felt lousy for not living up to my own performance standards. No matter how hard I pushed myself, I couldn't pull off a single sonic rainboom! That's my signature move, for Pete's sake!"

"Whoa!" I remarked. "I've heard only a select few pegasi have been able to do that!"

"Yup! Pretty awesome, right?"

"Heck yeah! And you're so fast to begin with - no wonder you made it into the Wonderbolts!"

"Finally catchin' on, are ya?" Rainbow teased, and we both laughed. "But you get my point, right?" she continued. "I was frustrated that my efforts weren't paying off, so I got a bit snippier with Fluttershy than I should've. Guess I made that same mistake again, huh?" she added sadly, looking me right in the eye.

"...You mean...?"

"Yeah - I was a jerk to you out of insecurity. I just felt like you were taking away all the popularity I'd earned here in Ponyville, and it kinda made me snap."

"Well," I said modestly, "I wouldn't take it that far. I'm not really much of a social butterfly."

"But you're so nice and cheerful all the time, and you've gained a reputation for that!" Rainbow persisted. "You don't strut your stuff all that much - don’t get me wrong, your singing voice really is out of this world - but everypony loves you to death just for being you! And you don't even bust your flank for that popularity - it just comes to you like a fish to water!"

It was true I'd made several positive connections since my big move - I'd acknowledged this myself three nights earlier. But even these best-case scenarios had been a bit overwhelming. "Funny," I murmured, reflecting on what Rainbow had just said. "I'm usually so worried about whether ponies like me or not, that I usually don't notice how much they already do! I mean, I've always been kind of awkward, and first impressions can stress the Tartarus outta me - but, for all my dad's criticizing, he has repeatedly told me that most ponies like me the way I am."

"Well," Dash remarked, "Fluttershy sure speaks highly of you. She's a lot like you, y'know," she went on thoughtfully, "always pleasant like that. I mean, sure she can be shy and sensitive, and even a scaredy pony at times; but all in all, she generates a ton of positivity - and she never uses her insecurity to hurt anypony. I don't know how she does it, but she does!"

"She's got a way about her," I agreed, smiling fondly.

I must have started to space out, because Rainbow clapped her front hooves together to get my attention. "Hello?! Thinkin' hard or hardly thinkin'?"

"Sorry," I grinned self-consciously.

Rainbow chuckled reassuringly. "Don't sweat it. Jeez, your mind really is an endless wire!"

"Finally caught on, eh?" I quipped, repeating her previous joke.

"Hey, that's gonna cost ya!" Rainbow admonished playfully. "Then again," she continued ruefully, "I do owe you to begin with - I really am sorry."

"It's okay," I replied. "You know, Fluttershy was right: you really aren't so bad after all."

"And you're not so lame yourself. Maybe I should give this ol' common decency shtick a go more often. Don't count on me to change overnight; but hey, I gotta earn back my reputation somehow!"

"Rainbow...," I said, raising a wary eyebrow.

"Not like that!" she laughed. "I just meant I've gotta patch things up with Twi and the others - wasn't just you I was rotten to, remember?"

"I remember," I mumbled, frowning a little as my mind returned to my previous goal.

"You okay?" Rainbow asked.

"Oh, I was just thinking about Fluttershy," I explained. "I wanted to go over to her place and patch things up with her."

"And fess up to your everlasting and unreserved love to her?"

I stared, astonished. "How did you...?"

"Well, you kinda get this twinkle in your eye whenever you talk to her - I'd know it anywhere. Even now, you got it just talking about her!"

"Well, how do I know if she'll even love me back?"

"Oh, you'd be surprised!" Rainbow smirked. "Fluttershy could talk nonstop about you, if you let her! She doesn't exactly swoon for you; but the twinkle in her eyes is more or less as bright as yours."

"So..."

"Yeah. I meant that bit about your 'little girlfriend'," Rainbow verified with a blush. "Sorry about that..."

"No worries - all water under the bridge."

"So," Dash went on determinedly, "what are we waiting here for? Next stop: Fluttershy's cottage!" Before I could raise any objections, she had gotten behind both Tali and me, and was rocketing us through the sky!




In less than two minutes, we had arrived at the little path leading up to Fluttershy's house and the meadow adjacent to it. Once Rainbow Dash had set us back on the ground, Tali pranced about excitedly, as if begging her to do it again. I, on the other hand, staggered about dizzily. "Please...don't do that again...for the next millennium!" I panted.

"You're welcome," Dash replied nonchalantly. "Now go on and spill the beans - nopony's stoppin' ya!"

I stared nervously up the path, took a deep breath, and took a few steps forward. I wasn't even halfway there before we heard a familiar, soft voice drifting around from the backyard. Dash, Tali, and I quickly went to investigate - as we drew nearer, we heard the voice sing:

"Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
In the church where a wedding has been.
Lives in a dream;
Waits at the window, wearing the face
That she keeps in a jar by the door.
Who is it for?

All the lonely ponies;
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely ponies;
Where do they all belong?"


Sure enough, the voice belonged to Fluttershy. We saw her halfheartedly scattering birdseed on the ground, her mane and tail just as frazzled and lifeless as they had been the day before - her coat even seemed to have lost some of its usual sheen. Angel, her bear friend Harry, and a few birds were with her, each with the same sorrowful, sympathetic look in their eyes.

"Guess that's our cue," I murmured, clearing my throat a bit. "Hey, Fluttershy?"

As if cautiously biding her time, Fluttershy slowly turned around. "Endless? Rainbow?" she breathed, wide-eyed. "You're...you're not..."

"At each other's throats?" Rainbow Dash cut in.

Fluttershy shuddered. "Not the words I would've used; but, yes."

Following an awkward pause, I cleared my throat a second time. "I never thought that feud would nearly end your friendship - Fluttershy, I'm so sorry I put you through all this grief..."

"What are you talking about?" interrupted Rainbow. "I was the one acting like a big baby!"

"Still, Fluttershy went to the trouble of standing up for me - I at least owe her for that..."

"Endless, if anypony owes her, it's me. If I hadn't been so rude to you, this never would've happened!"

"Well, I did kinda make a scene in front of her..."

"Well, so did I..."

Our dispute was suddenly cut off by a quiet giggle. "At this rate, you two'll never learn!" Fluttershy teased.

Rainbow and I exchanged glances. One look was enough to tell each other that we'd both put two and two together - we were still at odds as to whose fault it was! Nevertheless, we couldn't help laughing too. "You're right, Fluttershy," Rainbow chuckled. "Sorry we left ya hangin'. And I'm even sorrier for everything I said and did," she continued, her voice growing remorseful. "I was petty and cynical and mean-spirited, and I hurt you as well as Endless. But if you give me another chance, I promise I'll never get that carried away with my pride again. And," she added, acknowledging me with a warm smile, "I promise I'll try to work on my attitude."

Shedding overjoyed tears, Fluttershy flung her arms around her friend - the color seemed to flood back to her coat as she did so. "Apology accepted, Dashie," she whispered happily.

Rainbow melted into the hug, catching me off guard as she gave a few sobs of relief. Watching the two mares reconcile, I just had to beam inside and out - everything had resolved itself for the best after all.

After another few moments, Rainbow stood up. "Well, guess I'd better go tell the others. I'll just leave you two to your...private affairs," she finished slyly, and swooshed out of sight.

Fluttershy giggled fondly, wiping away her residual tears. "Well, that's our Rainbow Dash - living it up on the fast lane."

"She really is fun once you get to know her," I smiled, although deep down, I felt more unsettled than ever. Fluttershy was quick to notice my wavering grin. "What's the matter, Endless?" she asked gently. "Everything's all right again - aren't you happy about that?"

"Well, sure," I faltered. "It's just that...well, I wanted to...ugh, I wish I could just get it out already!"

"Get what out?"

I resolved myself with a deep breath: there was no avoiding the confession now. "Fluttershy," I said slowly, "I...I love you..."

Fluttershy swayed on the spot. "What did you say?" she breathed, as if in a sort of trance.

"I love you!" I repeated more emphatically. "I really, truly love you. Ever since that day we met on the train, I've just found myself repeatedly and naturally drawn to you - and at first I thought it was just puppy love, but now I know the feeling is real. And I could yak on and on about all the reasons why it's real; but, I guess the key reason is because I feel myself around you, and I feel happy around you. You unreservedly accept me as I am, more than anypony else I've known in my young life. You're honestly the kindest, most empathic, most beautiful mare I've ever met, and I can't imagine how my new life here in Ponyville would've been enhanced without you!"

For one heart-wrenching moment, Fluttershy stared at me, looking deeply stunned - I was certain I'd said too much. But the very next moment, her face broke into another overjoyed smile. "Oh, Endless," she gasped, "I can't tell you how long I wished I could tell you that!"

"You kinda did two days ago!" I chuckled, feeling happier than I'd been in ages. "Remember? 'There's the Endless Wire I know and love'?"

"Oh - that," murmured Fluttershy, looking a bit embarrassed. "I wondered why you looked so shocked. I was just using a figure of speech; but I'm sorry if I got your hopes up too high..."

"Fluttershy, Fluttershy!" I cried as I comfortingly took her by the shoulders, being mindful of her healing bruise. "It's perfectly okay! You don't need to be sorry. I'm just glad the feeling turned out to be mutual."

Blushing, Fluttershy returned the hug. "Well, one thing's for sure," she smiled coyly. "If we are gonna be a couple, at least we'll keep each other reassured 24-7!"

I burst out laughing, and Fluttershy quickly joined in. Tali bounded over, tail wagging vigorously; Angel jumped for joy, Harry thumped his paws together in applause, and the birds gave a collective, twittery cheer - something in the way they celebrated told me Fluttershy had confided her crush to them, same as I'd admitted to Tali.

Once everything had calmed down a bit, Fluttershy and I gazed affectionately into each other's eyes. "I love you, Fluttershy," I whispered.

"I love you too, Endless," replied Fluttershy softly.

Then, before we knew it, our lips had touched - Fluttershy drew me just a bit closer, and I ran a hoof through her beautiful, silky mane. As we broke our kiss, the birds began to whistle a gentle tune. I gave a quiet chuckle, recognizing the song, and began to sing along:

"Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside.
You don't know how many times I've wished that I had told you;
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could hold you;
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you."


Fluttershy smiled sweetly and sang the next verse:

"Perish is the word that more than applies
To the hope in my heart each time I realize
That I am not gonna be the one to share your dreams;
That I am not gonna be the one to share your schemes;
That I am not gonna be the one to share what
Seems to be the life that you could
Cherish as much I do yours.

Oh, I'm beginning to think that ponykind has never found
The words that could make you want me.
That have the right amount of letters, just the right sound
That could make you hear, make you see
That you are driving me out of my mind."


"Oh, I could say I need you, but then you'd realize
That I want you, just like a thousand other guys,
Who'd say they loved you, with all the rest of their lies,
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hooves,
And gaze into your eyes."


With tears of joy flowing from our eyes, we sang the final chorus together:

"Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside.
You don't know how many times I've wished that I had told you;
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could hold you;
You don't know how many times I've wished that I could
Mold you into someone who could
Cherish me as much as I cherish you.

And I do cherish you.
And I do cherish you.

Cherish is the word."


It was a miraculous day, full of wonderful new beginnings: the beginning of a fire-forged friendship with Rainbow Dash; the beginning of a loving relationship with Fluttershy; and third and most importantly, the beginning of a whole new chapter of my life. As long as could I live it with the mare I loved, I felt ready to face whatever it might throw my way; but that's another story...
Ch. 8: New Beginnings
After a rather long hiatus, here's the most recent chapter to The Chronicles of Endless Wire - hope you like it! :D
I do not own MLP, or the music/lyrics to "Eleanor Rigby" and "Cherish".
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First Kiss
As a follow-up to the new chapter I posted last night, here's a drawing of Fluttershy and Endless sharing their first kiss. Hope you like it. :)
I do not own MLP.
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The next day came, and I headed to work a half-hour ahead of schedule, full of pep and positivity. While my previous fretting wasn't exactly dormant, I was determined to try not to let it spoil my day. After all, on a clear Friday morning like this, how could anything bring me down?

I strolled into the pet center happy as a clam. "Hello, hello, hello!" I sang out as soon as I saw Fluttershy.

Fluttershy smiled warmly. "Now there's the Endless Wire I know and love!"

That last word hit me like a streamlined express engine: "love"?! I couldn't help staring blankly, as a slow blush came to my face. Fluttershy hovered down to my level. "What's wrong?" she asked. "Cat got your tongue?"

No sooner had she said that than a kitten in one of stalls gave a demanding meow, catching us off guard. "Does that answer your question?" I quipped, and we both laughed.

"But honestly, Endless," Fluttershy continued, her voice becoming more serious, "is there anything wrong?"

I could feel the sweat beginning to bubble up on my forehead, as my mind once again became a tangle of self-doubt: was this the right time and place? Did I really know Fluttershy well enough (and feel strongly enough) to truly love her? Would she turn me down? Finally, I took a deep breath and smiled. "Nothing whatsoever, Fluttershy," I answered, giving her a small hug. "Now, what's on the agenda today?"

"Well," Fluttershy answered, "seeing as you're early, you could help me get the breakfasts ready. Isn't that right, little guy?" she cooed to the kitten. "Are you hungry?"

As if in response, the kitten let out a second, even more demanding meow. "Guess that's a 'yes'!" I remarked. "Let's get crackin'."

The day went splendidly for me. No longer as badly weighed down by stress and hurt, I soon gained back my usual work ethic, and playing with the puppies put a huge smile on my face. By day's end, I felt like a million, and Fluttershy was very impressed. "You've certainly bounced back!" she giggled, as we closed up shop.

"I have you and everypony else to thank for that," I replied. "I haven't had so much genuine support and understanding for a long time. By the way, when are you planning to speak to Rainbow Dash?"

"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! We're having the meeting tonight - finally, we might be able to get to the bottom of this predicament!"

"Well," I murmured, "even if it's not easy, I still appreciate you doing this for me. I wish there was some way I could make it up to you..."

"Oh, you don't need to do that!" said Fluttershy bashfully. "You know what they say: kindness is its own reward."

"But I want to," I persisted. "You've been such a good friend to me ever since I arrived - it's only fair I do something nice for you too." I paused for a moment, deep in thought; then an idea came to me. "Would you like to come swimming with me at the lake this weekend?" I suggested. "It'd be a great way to burn off some extra stress, what with all we've been through this week."

"Oh, I'd love to!" Fluttershy replied eagerly. "I'm free tomorrow around 1 - we could go then! I-if you're free then, that is."

"Sounds like a plan!" I beamed, starting to trot away. "See you then - good luck with you-know-who!"

"Night, Endless!"

I watched as Fluttershy flew gracefully off into the distance, and smiled to myself. "What a pony," I sighed.




Early the following afternoon, Tali and I set off for the lake in the further reaches of town. I had become accustomed to coming here whenever I needed a change of scenery, or if I wanted to burn off some stress - now seemed just as good a time as any. And Tali, being a water dog, would feel right in his element.

As we strolled along, however, the streets seemed strangely quiet. Naturally, on weekends, there's not that much activity out in the open to begin with; but even today, Tali and I passed relatively few ponies. "Oh, well," I observed. "Probably just one of those days. No biggie: there's bound to be at least a bit of a buzz at the lake, what with all this nice weather we've had lately. Come on, buddy," I said to Tali, enthusiastically quickening my pace. "We better hurry if we wanna beat the crowd." Tali responded with a will, and we cantered happily toward our destination.

But when we reached the lake, my expectations were quickly dashed: nopony was there. At least, it initially seemed that way, until I heard a quiet sniffling and whimpering coming from behind a nearby tree. I peeked around the corner, and what I saw made my heart drop to my stomach: Fluttershy, her usually elegant, flowy hair now a wild, frazzled mess, lay on the ground crying, her head in her arms.

Tali was the first to approach her: he timidly pawed at her shoulder and sniffed the narrow slit between her face and her arm. Fluttershy looked up, saw Tali, and embraced him, sobbing harder and harder, while he placed his paw on her hoof as if to say, "I'm here for you." After a brief hesitation, I slowly walked over and sat down beside them. "Fluttershy, what happened?" I asked.

Fluttershy took a few shaky breaths. "It's over, Endless," she choked. "You were right: she was angry with us!"

"Rainbow Dash?"

Fluttershy nodded, wiping her eyes. "When we told her about our meeting with you, she flew off the handle. She wouldn't listen to your side of the story at all. In fact, she acted as if she was the victim - she even called us a bunch of backstabbers!"

"What?!" I cried out incredulously. "But that's ridiculous!"

"Try telling that to Dashie," faltered Fluttershy, "because...unless we 'admit' that this is your fault, she...she...oh, Endless, she w-won't be our friend anymore!!!" She flung her arms around my neck, as she broke down all over again. I would have immediately hugged her back had it not been for the massive wave of shock I was now drowning in: I couldn't tell whether this was reality or just some crazy nightmare.

Finally, I mustered enough courage to return Fluttershy's hug; I could feel her squeeze just a bit harder as I did so. "She can't be serious," I murmured, still in disbelief. "Can she?"

"I don't know," Fluttershy sniffled. "Twilight and Applejack say we should just give her the time to come round; but I'm not so sure. She looked ready to strangle me the way she was ranting! I couldn't sleep a wink last night I was so shaken - and this morning, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to come to the lake at all. I mean," she went on in a hurried, anxious voice, "I didn't want to break my promise and disappoint you, or make you think I was ungrateful for your offer; but I've lost one of my closest friends, and it's taken the spirit out of me, and I don't feel like swimming, and I've ruined our day out, and I'm so sorry, Endless!"

By now, I had started to shed a few of my own tears: I understood this kind of self-deprecating mental entrapment all too well. "You don't need to be sorry, Fluttershy," I soothed, trying to choke back the massive lump in my throat as I stroked her silky mane.

"You got that right, freak! It's you who should be sorry!"

Three guesses who said that.

"It's because of you all this has happened!" Rainbow Dash snapped, hovering a few feet above us. "Your petty little tantrums over my honesty are one thing; but turning my own friends against me?! Huh! If you think you can get away with that, you've got another thing comin'!"

Fluttershy winced, while Tali shrank back, tail between his legs. "I turned your friends against you?!" I repeated, stepping forward indignantly. "I'm the one who thinks he can get away with anything?! Don't make me laugh! You did this yourself with your bad attitude! And now here you go behaving just like my father whenever I try to stand up to him!"

"Oh, boo-hoo! Your old man chews you out about things! Yeah, your little girlfriend told me all about that!" Rainbow thrust an accusing hoof down at Fluttershy. "For all I know, you probably have it comin' to ya!"

"Oh!" I said, giving a sarcastic laugh. "So that's how it is to you, huh? If somepony does anything you don't like, even without malicious intent, that's all the justification you need to lay into them?!"

"Pretty much, yeah," Rainbow replied smugly.

"Well, excuse me for only wanting some common decency!" I huffed. "Life wouldn't be worth living if everypony were as afraid of their own feelings as you!"

"What did you just say to me?!?!?!" Dash hollered lividly.

I felt frightened for a moment, but continued to stand my ground. "I said you're afraid of your own feelings! What, are you so full of hot air that it's clogged up your ears?!"

"That's it, pal: you're dead!!!!" Without warning, Rainbow Dash dove straight at me, fire in her eyes. Anger giving way to complete fear, I shut my eyes and braced myself for the impact, but instead felt a sudden breeze rush in front of me. Then I heard a sickening thud, followed by a shrill yelp.

I slowly open my eyes, then gasped in horror: Fluttershy lay on her side, clutching a bruised shoulder. She had taken the blow for me! "Sweet Celestia!" I burst out, rushing to her side. "Fluttershy, are you all right?"

Fluttershy gave a painful moan, but managed to look up at me. "Don't do this to yourself, Endless," she whispered.

Rainbow Dash hovered in place for a few moments, mouth agape. Then, to my further shock, tears began spilling out of her eyes. "Look what you made me do!" she shouted at me. "If you hadn't gone and put ideas in her head, it never would've come to this!"

I was deeply stung by this accusation. "But I...," I faltered.

"But nothing!" Dash interrupted thickly. "You just stay away from her, because a braindead waste of space like you will never be good enough for her, for Ponyville, or for the whole stinkin' world of Equestria!" With those last biting words, she took off.

The aftershock of her departure never seemed to fade: instead, it grew stronger, louder, and fiercer, pounding ruthlessly in my brain. My head was spinning, I felt nauseous, the tightness in my throat was intolerable. Finally, I stood up, grimacing as tears of shame stung my eyes. "Come on, Tali," I said, struggling to hold back my sobs. "We're going home."

"Endless?" It was Fluttershy. "Endless, wait!" I didn't answer, and continued walking even as her calls became more and more tearful. "Endless, come back, please! Endless?! Endless!!!"




I did practically nothing for the rest of the day. I stayed shut in my apartment, with all the blinds down, lying facedown on my bed. Naturally, as evening fell, I got up to feed and walk Tali, as well as have some dinner myself; but even then, I felt listless and depressed, and only took a nibble or two before giving up and tossing my food in the garbage. "Why did this have to happen, Tali?" I asked. "Why is it that I'm still the scapegoat?"

Later that night, I morosely crawled into bed, and lay there with my arm dangling over the side. Even as I felt Tali paw anxiously at my hoof, I didn't smile as I usually would have. "Enough, Tali!" I snapped, finally growing irritated as he continued to tap me.

In the darkness, I saw my ever-faithful dog retreat, a look of absolute guilt in his soulful eyes. I winced remorsefully as he curled himself into a ball and lay on the floor a foot or two from my bed. "Sorry, buddy," I whispered. Way to go, moron, I berated myself inwardly. It's bad enough you've screwed up the life of the mare you love - don't go making things worse for yourself! Biting my lip in misery, I turned over, and slowly fell asleep...




In Dreamland, I found myself alone in a black void. "Hello?" I called tentatively. "Is anypony there?"

There was no reply - at least initially. Then, the scowling face of a colt I'd gone to preschool with appeared in front of me out of nowhere! "You're stupid!"

I leapt back with a yell of shock; but the face vanished just as quickly as it had appeared.

I walked slowly through the void, my heart pitter-pattering uneasily. I had only gone a few feet when the screaming face of my father suddenly seemed to jump out at me:
"HOLD STILL!!!! And stay still!!!"

"That happened when I was only six," I mused aloud, as the vision evaporated. "He was helping me put on my winter gear that day. Why is this happening to me?"

"You had it comin' to ya!" Rainbow Dash's scornful voice suddenly echoed through the darkness.

"Well," I admitted, "it's true I kept forgetting to hold still, even after he told me to twice...no! That's still no excuse for a father to scream at his son!"

Picking up the pace a bit, I suddenly tripped over my own hooves and fell down hard - a group of laughing high-school fillies' heads popped up! "Well, I
am awkward," I mumbled, as I got up again. I stood there a moment, wondering if walking on was even worth it.

"Don't just stand there mouth agape!" It was my father's face again.

"Quit patronizing me...," I began indignantly.

"Endless, shut up!"

I grimaced in frustration as the face disappeared. "I've gotta get out of here!"

"Endless?!"

I'd recognize that soft, sweet voice anywhere: "Fluttershy! Where are you?!"

I cast my eyes here and there, and at last made out her shape in the distance. I broke into a relieved gallop towards her; but strangely, with every step I took, she grew no larger.

Then, as if to add insult to injury, my father's face appeared a third time, flashing a sarcastic smile at me. As it circled my head, continuing to leer ruthlessly, a volley of putdowns boomed all around me, all in Rainbow Dash's voice: "Idiot!...Retard!...Freak!...
Brainless Wire!...Dork!...Oversensitive pansy!...Weirdo!...Twerp!...It's no wonder you've got such a lousy name!"

I shook off the last insult with a furious growl, only to see Fluttershy vanish in the wink of an eye. "NO! WAIT!!" I cried, stopping so quickly that I plunged to the ground again. I could do nothing but cower and cover my ears, as an even louder barrage of cheap shots bore down on me like savage beasts, the loudest of all being, "A braindead waste of space like you will
never be good enough for her, for Ponyville, or for the whole stinkin' world of Equestria!"

Just as sobs of defeat and despair were about to tear out of my throat, there came a blinding flash of white light, followed by a regal yet soothing voice: "You have suffered too much for too long, Endless Wire. Let me help you bear your burdens."

Squinting through the piercing light, I made out the approaching shape of a midnight blue alicorn with a translucent royal blue mane and tail. "...Princess...Luna?" I croaked. "But I...I don't understand..."

The Princess smiled reassuringly, as the light dimmed to a gentler radiance. "Surely, you've heard of my duty as Princess of the Night? How I enter my troubled subjects' dreams and help them face their demons?"

"Of course, but..." I paused, gulping back the tightness in my throat. "I never thought you'd bother with a nopony like
me..."

"And therein lies perhaps your greatest demon," Luna cut in solemnly. "Your crippled self-worth."

"It's not entirely
my fault," I retorted, getting defensive. "I've been mocked and patronized practically all my life, just because of who I am! I mean, can I help it if my brain's wired a little differently than everypony else's?! I never asked to be this way! What excuse does that give ponies to be so cruel and condescending?!" By now, what would have been tears of sadness had become tears of anger, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to keep my voice steady.

Luna frowned sympathetically. "It is clear you fear rejection, as I once did. It's true, many ponies
can react unkindly to things they can't entirely comprehend. But that alone should not invalidate ponies who do appreciate you, nor should it so drastically alter the way you view yourself."

"All I want is to be seen as an okay guy," I said, wiping my eyes. "But, how can I get anywhere in life without making myself vulnerable? There are probably
hundreds of ponies, all over Equestria, who would hate me just for being myself!"

"You cannot change the way other ponies think, I trust you know that," replied Luna firmly. "No more easily than you can change the way
you think. But if you let your self-doubt hold you down, the best things in life may very well pass you by."

I was quiet for the longest time after that: I knew she was right, but one other problem continued to ail me. "Well, how am I supposed to patch things up with Rainbow Dash? She'll
never hear me out!"

"Even the most rigid of ponies have their own vulnerabilities, Endless," said Luna. "And even the worst of feuds can be put to rest, if you only know where to find some common ground."

Instantly, I thought back to the devastated look on Rainbow's face after she had punched Fluttershy. "Well, nopony with a heart of stone could
ever cry after striking down their own friend!" I remarked. Then I went silent for a third time, remembering my deepest fear. "But what about Fluttershy? I admire her so much, but I've practically ruined her life. There's no possible way she could love me now, even if I confessed to her!"

Luna chuckled warmly. "I've known relatively few ponies as kind and forgiving as Fluttershy," she said. "If you tell her how you really feel, she'll understand - trust me."

At that moment, the void around us started to warp and melt away. Luna herself was beginning to fade as well. "Remember, Endless!" she called. "You're just as competent as the next pony! Don't let your doubts rob you of a happy life!"

"Your Majesty!" I cried after her. "What should I do?! Princess?! Princess Luna?!"
That evening, as promised, Fluttershy arrived at my apartment. I didn't hear her knock at first: I was too busy taking rapid, furious swings at my inflatable punching bag. It was only when she knocked again and called my name - and when Tali barked out a welcome - that I was snapped out of my brief rage. "Coming!" I cried anxiously, and rushed to the door, simultaneously trying to regain my composure.

"You...box?" quizzed Fluttershy, once she had caught sight of my punching bag.

"Not as a sport," I explained wearily. "I just use it to vent my bottled-up anger every now and then."

"I'm not surprised. Your landlady said you were screaming and shouting at the top of your lungs earlier - you even scared the neighbors!"

"Yeah. In all honesty, I'm surprised she didn't give me the boot."

"But, why?" Fluttershy persisted. "I mean, you're the last pony I'd expect to have fits of rage, even that one time last Saturday!"

"I know," I replied, shuddering painfully at the memory. "But you'd be surprised, Fluttershy - I'm not always as even-tempered as I seem."

Fluttershy winced, as if she too were recalling a painful memory. "Well, I know what that feels like," she said sadly.

"What do you mean?"

"I'll tell you at Twilight's."

"The castle?!" I exclaimed.

"Of course," replied Fluttershy. "I think it's about time we all had a heart-to-heart talk about the way Rainbow Dash has been treating you."

"She won't be there; will she? Seeing her is the last thing I need."

"No; it'll be just you, Twilight, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie, and me. Oh! And maybe Spike and/or Starlight."

"You...arranged all that...for me?" I asked in disbelief. "I'm...I'm touched!"

Fluttershy hugged me gently. "It's nothing," she said modestly. "We're supposed to spread friendship across Equestria - we might as well help our friends back home!"

I went silent in deep thought; then, as we headed off into the gathering evening, I began to sing softly:

"No one could ever know me.
No one could ever see me.
Seems you're the only one who knows
What it's like to be me."


Fluttershy caught on and sang the next portion:

"Someone to face the day with,
Make it through all the rest with."


Here, I interjected:

"Someone I'll always laugh with."

"Even at my worst, I'm best with you...yeah."

We finished together, exchanged awkward glances, then laughed out loud. "This is the best I've felt all week!" I said, grinning uncontrollably; but my smile vanished just as quickly as it had appeared, as I wondered how I would get by in weeks to come...




Less than twenty minutes later, I was seated with the Elements of Harmony - minus one - in the throne room of the Castle of Friendship. Each of the young mares had her own throne with her cutie mark inscribed into it, while Spike had his own smaller chair parallel to Twilight's. Just for tonight, they had an extra chair set up specially for me - "Celestia knows what Rainbow'd say if she knew you'd used hers!" remarked Applejack.

"My sentiments exactly," I said grimly.

Now, as I settled in and glanced around the Round Table, my namesake mind was racing: where should I start? Rarity could see my apprehension, and was quick to reassure me. "Take all the time you need, dear - we're all ears!"

Pinkie giggled. "All ears! Wouldn't that be wacky?!"

"It's just an expression, Pinkie," Twilight explained dryly.

"It'd still be wacky!" said Pinkie in a singsong voice.

This brought a hearty chuckle out of me - Pinkie flashed Twilight an innocent smile, as if to say, "Toldja so!"

I took a deep breath. "Well," I began slowly, "as I'm sure you all know, Rainbow Dash and I haven't exactly gotten off on the right hoof. I wish we could be friends, believe me; but it's hard to make friends with somepony who's always bragging or making wisecracks or putting you down."

"She's always had a rather sharp tongue," admitted Rarity, "and a knack for conceitedness and impatience; but she's usually not this bad."

"Great," I groaned. "Even on a good day, she's a carbon copy of my younger brother, only ten times worse!"

"Hang on a sec," Spike interjected. "How does your brother come into all this?"

"I just see a lot of him in Rainbow Dash," I explained. "Mandolin Wind has always seemed to exceed in things I struggle with: socializing, dating, and a way with words - something he all too often takes for granted. He put me through Tartarus when we were growing up, and he still has a bit of an edge to him even now; but more often than not, when I complain to my parents about how much he's pushing my buttons, they just tell me the usual: 'That's just Mandolin being Mandolin - he'll grow out of it!'

"Come to think of it," I went on, "my dad's always had a rather sarcastic, patronizing side too, not to mention a frightening temper."

Fluttershy let out a small whimper, and shrank back a little in her seat.

"I know," I replied with a twinge of shame. "It's safe to say I've inherited that temper - and it's something I've had to struggle with for years now. I find any anger very upsetting, even if it's my own, and especially if it's aggressive - that could be another reason why I feel so wary around Dash."

Fluttershy let out a sad sigh. "I've been there and beyond myself," she said, hesitating a bit. "You...you wouldn't believe it; but...I turned extremely nasty once."

Rarity cast her a solemn frown. "You mean that dreadful fiasco with Iron Will; don't you?"

"Mm-hmm!" squeaked Fluttershy, in a voice I could hardly hear.

"Who's Iron Will?"

With Rarity and Pinkie's encouragement, Fluttershy painstakingly told me of how she had grown tired of other ponies walking all over her, and attended a traveling minotaur's seminar on how to become more assertive. The only flaw in the solution was Iron Will's philosophy, which was basically this: if somepony treats you like dirt, or simply inconveniences you unintentionally, let 'em have it. That being said, it didn't take long for things to go from bad to worse.

"...A-and then," Fluttershy faltered tearfully, as Rarity stood by her side and rubbed her shoulder comfortingly, "I - I hurt my own friends! I told Rarity a-and Pinkie their lives were meaningless! I-I w-wish I hadn't, but I d-did! I DI-HI-HI-HI-HI-HIIIIIIIIIIIIID!!!!!!!!!!!" Unable to say any more, she burst into uncontrollable sobs. I could feel my heart break just watching her - what she'd said just couldn't be true!

After a few moments, Fluttershy managed to compose herself, dry her tears, and take a few deep breaths. "I'm so sorry you had to see me like that, Endless," she sniffled, "but I still regret what I did to this day - even after I righted my wrong and started asserting myself more appropriately, the guilt's never really gone away."

"Don't beat yourself up, Fluttershy," I replied gently, trotting over and hugging her. "You realized you went off the rails and you made up for it, and that's all that matters - unlike some," I finished darkly.

"You've got a point, Endless," admitted Twilight. "I don't think Rainbow Dash often realizes how hurtful her words can be."

"Kinda funny, isn't it?" mused Spike. "How she dishes it out one moment, then showboats herself the next?"

"Kinda sorta," I agreed bitterly. "Unabashedly putting her peers down while building herself up. The question is: why am I suddenly her favorite target?"

"Well," said Twilight thoughtfully, "if I know anything about Rainbow, it's that she tends to lash out more when she's under a lot of stress, or if she feels challenged."

"Tell me about it!" piped up Pinkie. "She blew a fuse at me just for saying the word 'hibernate'!"

I blinked in confusion. "Huh?"

"Long story short: Dashie's pet tortoise was gonna hibernate during winter; she didn't want him to," Pinkie replied quickly.

"That ain't a patch on how she acted when we had to save the Crystal Empire," Applejack continued. "Barkin' at the locals fer a way ta protect the city, scarin' 'em away from the fake Crystal Heart while Twilight 'n' Spike tracked down the real one..."

"Trying to guilt me into jousting with her," put in Fluttershy, rubbing her arm and shivering slightly.

"She guilted you?!" I repeated, stunned.

"Yes," Fluttershy replied unhappily. "She said if the Empire's fate mattered to me, I would go on jousting - and then she turned right around and said she had her reputation to think of."

"Oh, the irony," I deadpanned.

"And let's not forget how Dash reacted to the Mysterious Mare Do Well," frowned Rarity. "She'd been getting so much praise for her heroics lately, she couldn't bare to have some masked stranger take the stage in her place - that masked stranger really being the five of us in disguise, in a bid to deflate her ego."

No sooner had Rarity said this than a lightbulb went off in my head. "So, in other words," I said slowly, putting two and two together, "she feels jealous when a newcomer gains a lot of popularity in a short period of time - like she's got competition for her imaginary status as awesomest pony around. Do you think that's why she's being such a pain in the flank?"

"Now that you mention it," Twilight ventured after a few moments' pause, "I wouldn't put it past her. She does tend to have something of a jealous streak."

"Well," I smirked ruefully, "that's one thing I can empathize with her about. Remember how I said I sometimes have trouble with my social skills? Well, seeing anyone far more neurologically impaired than me get ahead in areas I haven't tends to burn me up. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's true. Maybe Rainbow feels the same way: that I shouldn't have become friends with you guys here in Ponyville so quickly, because I'm just some awkward freak!"

"Don't say that, Endless!" cried Fluttershy imploringly. "You're anything but a freak!"

"It's true, you are prone to sensory overload," Rarity added delicately. "I could see that from the day you first arrived."

"But you're a kind, honest feller through and through," finished Applejack. "And ain't that all that really matters at the end o' the day?"

"I'm not really sure anymore," I murmured sadly. "If being nice won't stop Rainbow Dash hating my guts, what will?"

"One way or another, we need to get to the bottom of it," said Twilight stoically. "I suggest we hold another meeting and get Rainbow's side of the story - we'll report back to Endless afterwards."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" I asked anxiously. "There's no telling how she'll react. For all we know, she might get angry with you for holding this meeting without her knowledge, and even angrier with me for whining about her..."

"Whining?!" Rarity burst out incredulously. "Voicing upset over somepony treating you badly is not whining! Thiiiiiiiiiis is whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiniiiiiiiiinnng!!!!!!" she added in a grating, high-pitched voice.

I snickered, then launched into a massive laughing fit: who knew Rarity had such a taste in theatrics?! As Spike and the mares all joined in, I felt like the luckiest stallion in Equestria. Even though I'd been beginning to doubt it in light of recent incidents, I now felt positive once again, that as long as I had supportive friends on my side, Ponyville was the right place for me...

For a time I thought my faith it must be hidin'
Searchin' through the sky
Hoping to find a way, a way
To get me through the day
Wonder where I belong
Is this where I should stay?

You lift me up when I am fallin'
You're my friend when I was callin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world
Yeah, you always been believin'
Give my life a whole new meanin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world

It's a strength in me it seems I had forgotten
Now I realize today
I'm starting to dream again, again
Was a matter of when
I guess we all lose our way now and then

You lift me up when I am fallin'
You're my friend when I was callin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world
Yeah, you always been believin'
Give my life a whole new meanin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world

Always been believin'
Give my life a whole new meanin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world

Yeah
Top of the whole wide wide world
Yeah, you always been believin'
Give my life a whole new meanin'
Now I'm on top of the world
Top of the whole wide world!
Over the days that followed, I found there was much more in Ponyville to get used to than merely Rainbow Dash's ego or Pinkie Pie's quirks. As promised, Rarity took me furniture shopping the morning after my arrival. Believe me, you have not experienced shopping till you've done it with somepony as nitpicky and detail-oriented as Rarity: she dragged me all over town looking for the perfect furniture. "Your apartment is simply groveling for a makeover, Endless," she insisted, "and I'm just the pony to help you answer its pleas!"

"It could do with a touch-up," I replied, "but a mahogany dinner table and chairs are a bit much for me to afford right now. Couldn't we find a cheaper one and get some nice linens to spruce it up with?"

"Very well," Rarity conceded. "I'd be more than happy to provide those linens - I am an accomplished seamstress, you know! Oh, and we simply must get you this splendid maroon couch: it complements your coat perfectly!"

"Well, I do like maroon..."

"And it never hurts to have an armchair or two! What about this lovely golden yellow one?"

"Sure, it's nice..."

"And you could always do with a bookshelf!"




Our shopping spree ended around noon. This was just as well for Rarity, who remembered that she and her friends had planned to have a picnic lunch in the fields near town. "Would you care to join us?" she asked me, as we finished putting my new bookshelf in place.

"Well, I didn't really have any other plans for today," I admitted, "and Tali could use some exercise. I'd be happy to."

"Wonderful!" replied Rarity, turning to leave. "I've just got to run to my place to grab a few necessities: back in a mo!"

She returned within fifteen minutes wearing some decorative sunglasses and a headscarf, with her mane tied into a ponytail, and levitating a basket containing a bottle of sunscreen and a picnic blanket. Then we headed toward the far reaches of town, where we soon met up with Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Applejack, Pinkie, and Spike, as well as a lilac unicorn mare with a two-tone purple and aquamarine mane and tail. This was Starlight Glimmer, a mare who had made "many mistakes in life" as she put it, but was currently making an effort to change her ways as Twilight's pupil. "Oh, you mean like how you were once Princess Celestia's student," I said to Twilight.

"Precisely!" she chuckled.

As we settled down to lunch, the topic of our conversations shifted to the important duty Twilight and her friends had. As I had learned during last night's party, Rainbow helped with the town's weather patrol when she wasn't training with the other Wonderbolts, Applejack worked at Sweet Apple Acres, her family's apple farm, and Pinkie was the town's official party planner and apprentice to Mr. and Mrs. Cake, who owned and operated Sugarcube Corner. But livelihoods aside, they were all incredibly valuable to the maintenance of harmony across Equestria. In fact, they represented the vital Elements of Harmony: Dash had loyalty, Fluttershy kindness, Applejack honesty, Rarity generosity, Pinkie laughter, and Twilight magic, which could only be activated by the previous five Elements. Now, with Twilight's role as the Princess of Friendship, she and the others were often summoned to specific cities and areas of Equestria by a magical map in Twilight's castle, to help resolve conflicts concerning relationships: if somepony's cutie mark glowed, that meant the map was specifically calling them. "The map is a bit unpredictable, though," pointed out Fluttershy. "It could call us from anywhere at anytime. You'll understand if I have to leave you on your own at the pet center for awhile, won't you? Or if any of us aren't at home?"

"Of course," I smiled. "You're only doing your duty to Equestria, and I respect that."

"We're usually gone for only a short while, though," Rainbow Dash put in. "I never deprive Ponyville of my awesomeness for too long, if I can help it!"

"Riiiiiiiiight," I muttered, getting mildly annoyed. But Fluttershy placed her hoof on mine and smiled sympathetically, which made me feel a bit better. And once again, there was that strange fondness I had felt on the train yesterday. I had heard several times that you couldn't rush feelings like this; but I couldn't help smiling back at my mellow, yellow new friend and soon-to-be manager.




The next Monday morning, I woke up feeling ready for anything. Today would be my first day of work at the pet center, and I had also arranged with Rarity to stop at her place following my shift to audition for the Ponytones.

After I had had my breakfast, attended to Tali's needs, and packed a lunch, I made my way to the west end of town, and soon arrived at a pet center unlike any other I had ever seen or worked at before: it had no main building, and was set up entirely outside in a meadow. There were booths for adoption and buying pets' supplies, and stalls full of animals as far as the eye could see. These animals were not merely limited to usual dogs, cats, and domesticated birds and rodents, but also songbirds, deer, tortoises, even the odd seal or bird of prey!

I walked along, drinking this all in, only to bump right into Fluttershy. "Oh, my!" she cried anxiously. "I'm so sorry, Endless!"

"No, no - it's my bad," I insisted. "I just got a bit preoccupied by this whole shebang. I never knew you could set up a pet center outdoors!"

Fluttershy smiled modestly. "Well, when you live in a town like Ponyville, anything's possible. So, are you ready to get started?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," I replied, "if I even knew where to start."

Fluttershy giggled. "Well, for one thing, you can help me refill some bird feeders," she offered, "and then take our new puppies out for a play session."

"No problem, Fluttershy!" I grinned eagerly.

Before long, Fluttershy and I were replenishing the various bird feeders that hung from the nearby trees. As we worked, Fluttershy hummed serenely, and eventually began to sing:

"Everyday, the world begins again,
Sunny skies or rain.
Come and follow me!"


Recognizing the song, I smiled broadly and sang the next verse:

"Every sunrise shows me more and more,
So much to explore.
Come and follow me!"


We sang the chorus together, as the animals listened happily:

"Every mornin', everyday,
Every evenin', callin' me away!"


As the other employees arrived, they picked up the tune and joined in, and soon our singing resonated like a chiming bell across the meadow:

"While the sun goes 'round, I'll still be found
Followin' the sound.
Somethin' 's callin' me.

When the world goes driftin' back to bed,
Memories in my head,
Wonders follow me.

Every mornin', everyday,
Every evenin', callin' me away!

Every mornin', everyday,
Every evenin', callin' me away!"


The day passed quickly. I worked well, made a few more new friends, and by the time my shift was over, I was tired but happy. "I'm gonna get goin' now, Fluttershy," I called, as I locked the gate to the puppies' stall. "Rarity'll be expecting me."

"Oh, that's right: your audition!" chirped Fluttershy. "Would you mind if I came along to watch? I love your singing voice."

"Sure!" I replied. "And what a coincidence: I love your singing voice! No wonder you joined the Ponytones!"

"Well," chuckled Fluttershy, blushing coyly, "if I'm anything to go by, Rarity will accept you for sure!" And with that, we set off back to town together.

"You did really well for your first time on the job," Fluttershy commented, as we ambled through the streets. "I've never seen animals like and trust another pony as much as you."

"Well," I replied, "I have worked at a shelter before. And having Tali helps a great deal."

Fluttershy smiled kindly at me. "You really do love him; don't you?"

"More than anything in the world. I think I've been a lot happier since he came into my life."

"That's good," replied Fluttershy sweetly.

"Fluttershy?" I ventured after a brief pause.

"Yes, Endless?"

"Being with you makes me really happy too. I know we haven't known each other for too long; but I haven't often met somepony as genuinely kind as you. I'm glad to have you as a friend."

To my surprise, Fluttershy pulled me into a gentle hug, which I was only too happy to return. "Thank you, Endless," she smiled. "I'm glad you're my friend too."




As evening began to fall, we arrived at Carousel Boutique. I could now see what Rarity meant by calling it "the most divine building in town": it was a beautifully decorated shop, whose cylindrical shape easily gave its name away. I knocked on the door, and after a few moments, Rarity poked her head out. "Ah! Endless!" she said warmly. "I was beginning to worry. Oh, and Fluttershy too! Do come in, darlings!"

"Now then, Endless," Rarity said, once she had coached me through some breathing warmups, "time to see if you're Ponytone material. You may sing any song of your choice."

"I think I have just the thing," I replied cheerfully. I meant that too: the song I had in mind perfectly reflected how I felt about coming to Ponyville - at least that's how I felt.

"Off you go, then!" encouraged Rarity.

I took a deep breath and began to sing:

" 'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right."


As I finished, I heard a small sniffle. I turned and saw that Fluttershy had tears in her eyes - but she was smiling broadly. "That was beautiful!" she whispered, stifling a sob of joy.

I blushed and rubbed the back of my neck. "Well!" I remarked. "I've never known my singing to move anypony to tears!"

"That was a splendid performance, darling!" complimented Rarity. "You're just the baritone we've been searching for! Endless Wire, I could not be happier to welcome you to the Ponytones!"

I beamed from ear to ear: this was the perfect ending to an already wonderful day. I was so happy I didn't know what to say; but that was more than enough to tell Rarity how pleased I was. "Oh, you're quite welcome, I'm sure," she smiled. "Come to think of it, that song you just sang might be perfect for our performance next Hearth's Warming Eve!"

"Actually," I grinned, "I know a few other songs we could perform. Would you mind if I taught them to you?"

"I think that can be arranged!" replied Rarity brightly.
Ch. 4: Settling In
The fourth chapter to The Chronicles of Endless Wire. Enjoy! :D
I do not own MLP or the music and lyrics to the songs in this chapter.
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Pride

I AM PROUD

Made with pride by the DeviantArt community BROWSE ALL ART

Yes, you read that correctly - I'm now the proud owner of Eli, an 11-week-old Maine Coon kitten! La la la la 

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EndlessWire94
Jacob
Artist | Hobbyist | Traditional Art
United States
Hi all! It's me, EndlessWire94 from FanFiction.net and wren94 from the Sodor Island Forums.
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:icondisneyfangirl774:
disneyfangirl774 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist
Hello. How's it been? For me, things have been great. Here's a picture of Stellaluna: Greetings from Stellaluna by disneyfangirl774 You can add it to your group. :D
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:iconendlesswire94:
EndlessWire94 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Looks great - I'll add it ASAP. :)
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:icondisneyfangirl774:
disneyfangirl774 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist
Thanks. :)
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:iconsodormatchmaker:
sodormatchmaker Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey. Got some new humanized Thomas sprites up. Go check them out.
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:iconendlesswire94:
EndlessWire94 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've seen - they're pretty good. :D
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:iconsodormatchmaker:
sodormatchmaker Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks.:D Who should I do next?
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:iconendlesswire94:
EndlessWire94 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
How about Diesel?
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(1 Reply)
:iconteachersteve35:
TeacherSteve35 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello
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:iconendlesswire94:
EndlessWire94 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hi.
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:iconteachersteve35:
TeacherSteve35 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Some Odd Reason I Ship Stellaluna with Rikki Tikki
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