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Flora: “I’d like to know what was running through your mind the day we met.”

Tomato: “Uh… why do you need to know that?”

Flora: “I’m curious.”

Tomato: “Very well…”

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Tomato: “I was just exploring the campus, trying to find all my classes, see if there were any times that I’d study with Bluejinx, and plan the route that I was going to take for each day. I was a little nervous, stepping out on my own without Mom over my shoulder, but I was getting a strange sense of freedom. 

“Then, I came across you in the middle of the sidewalk, your bag ripped and your books on the sidewalk. It was a sad sight that I couldn’t help but feel pity for, though I was about to go on my way, thinking somepony else would take care of it; of course, that made me realize that most other ponies would have that same thought. So, since you seemed harmless enough, there was no harm done in helping you.”

Flora: “And you and I both thought that we wouldn’t see each other again after that and our… awkward conversation… but then…”

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Tomato: “Ah, yes, I remember when I got annoyed by how frustrated you were with math. Also, I thought it a shame that it was difficult for you.”

Flora: “It still gives me a headache.”

Tomato: *chuckle* “Well, I could have just let you get a tutor of your own volition, but I wasn’t about to let tutoring experience go to waste!”

Flora: “You and your bluntness caught me by surprise… I swear, if you had asked me out on a date like that I might’ve slapped you.”

Tomato: “You, uh… forgive me for being harsh, right?”

Flora: “I forgave you a long time ago. Heck, I think of those two moments as reasons to trust you. No matter what you think of yourself, I like you, and you’re not going to scare me away.

“I wonder… was math a factor in how you earned your cutie mark?”

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Tomato: “Well, since something compelled me to volunteer to be the teacher’s super special helper for the fundraiser… yeah, it helped a lot. My main job was supposed to collect and count the bits from the white elephant sale.”

Flora: “Bluejinx told me you took it one step further with extra ‘marketing’ and scaring your classmates into doing their jobs. Sounds like someone was enthusiastic about that job…”

Tomato: *eyeroll* “So much that I don’t know the exact moment my cutie mark appeared. Well, Mom always did say that I had a tendency to be extreme… she had to metaphorically beat it out of me so that my personality aligned with my talent… and… well…”

Flora: “What?”

Tomato: *sigh* “I don’t know, Flora. Everything emotionally beat me to a pulp. I suppose it’s what I get for being a little trouble magnet that makes everypony miserable no matter what I do. I bet I caused this insane spell that all of Equestria is apparently under.”

Flora: “I don’t think so, Tomato–whatever the root cause is, I know you haven’t been messing with magic. After all, I know you’re smarter than that! In fact, we better find out what the root cause of this is before we’re forcibly married.”

Tomato: “Wouldn’t it be common sense for us to stay away from each other?”

Flora: “I think we have a better chance of beating this thing if we work together to figure out what’s going on and find a cure.”

Tomato: “…would you leave if said cure wasn’t exactly what we expected?”

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