“Boy, howdy!” Applejack exclaimed. “We really grew a big bumper-crop this year. Ain’t it so, Big Macintosh?” Big Macintosh stood by his sister and observed the miles and miles of apples.
“Eeyup,” he replied with his signature catchphrase. “Y’all sure you can buck it all on yer own?”
“Sure as th’ sun rises in th’ mornin’, Sugercube,” beamed Applejack with pride. “Don’t worry yer purty little head ‘bout it, y’all just rest nice & comfy while ya wait fer that there injury ta heal up.” She punched his side affectionately, and he winced in pain. “Sorry,” she apologized.
“Ah’m jus’ sayin’,” Big Mac continued, “That this crop might be too big ta handle on yer own.”
“Are you sayin’ that Ah can’t buck all these apples all by mahself?” she asked suspiciously.
“Well, buck you Ah can’t buck all these apples!” Applejack snapped.
One hour later…
All was well and quiet in Ponyville. The streets were bustling with shop and stands tending to their customers. Fillies frolicked at the playground, enjoying their weekend. Nopony suspected what was about to happen.
Suddenly, a great rumbling was felt in the earth, as if the very ground was infused with thunder. Ponies ran around in panic. Rainbow Dash flew up high to see what could ever cause such a commotion less of an earthquake. She gazed on the horizon, and saw the source of the powerful rumbling.
“Stampede!” she hollered. “Everypony into their homes! Let’s not get any casualties!” Indeed, a herd of crazed cattle rampaged toward Ponyville.
But what was that running with them? It was Applejack, having taking a break from applebucking to aid in the crisis. Galloping alongside her trusty dog, Winona, she herded the cows away from her hometown and slowed them to a stop.
“Whoa there, little cowgirls,” the apple farmer said. “What’s with all th’ ho-down?”
“Applejack, it was terrible!” exclaimed one of the cows that was still a little shaken. “Mootilda thought she saw a snake, and it just gave us the worst case o’ the willies, don’tcha know?”
“A snake?” Applejack replied cynically. “Y’all kinda overreacted there, Sugercube.”
Mootilda fidgeted, a little embarrassed. “Well, it was a really big snake.”
“Ah’m not sayin’ anythin’ ‘bout your… concern with reptiles,” sighed Applejack. “But if Ah were you, Ah’d keep mah mouth shut ‘bout what spooked me. Ah think some folks here might be less forgivin’ if they knew what startled ya. Ya know, Ponyville almost being trampled into th’ ground ‘cause of a snake?”
“I swear, it won’t happen again,” insisted Mootida.
Meanwhile, Applejack’s friends were cheering in gratitude.
“We should find a way to thank Applejack for our safety,” suggested the Mayor. “I believe the Prize Pony of Ponyville award would suffice. All in favor?” Everypony cheered. “It’s unanimous. The award goes to Applejack!”
“Wait a second,” said Spike. “The award is named ‘The Prize Pony of Ponyville Award?’ Doesn’t that seem a bit redundant?”
“Not at all,” replied the Mayor. “What? Is there a problem with how we name things around here?”
“Actually,” Spike said as he scratched his head. “I was also wondering why would picked to name this town ‘Ponyville.’ You see, Dusk made me read up the local history of this place, and I learned that the Apples and Riches founded it by cornering the market with their trademark zap-apples and zap-apple accessories, so why not name it something like Appleburg, or even Richton. Ooo, how about Everfree City? Yeah, that sounds catchy. Maybe even-mmmmph!” Spike was cut off by Dusk covering the dragon’s mouth with a hoof.
“Sorry about Spike, Mrs. Mayor,” Dusk said with a nervous laugh. “You know how kids are these days, so disrespectful to tradition.”
“I’m not meaning *umph* any flankhurt,” Spike protested as he escaped Dusk’s grasp with a struggle. “I’m just saying that naming your town Ponyville is nothing special. I mean, you do know you can find ponies living anywhere else, right?”
“That’s enough out of you!” scolded the Mayor. “Now are we going to throw a ceremony for Applejack or not?” There was a murmur of mutual agreement, but it was accompanied by several angsty grumbles on how the village could have a better name.
Three days later…
Several apples that resemble Applejack’s cutie mark adorned the decorations of the party. Everpony who knew and adored Applejack participated in the celebration. Of course, Pinkie Pie was the head party planner. All that remained missing was Applejack herself.
“Where’s is she?” demanded Rainbow Dash. “She’s three hours late, nopony’s seen her since the cattle stampede, and we’re running out of refreshments! Do you have any idea what it’s like to have an entire mob of hungry ponies asking you for more grub?”
“Do I ever, Dash!” said Pinkie. “This one time at Cloudchaser’s birthday party, I forgot that it was a double birthday with her twin sister Flitter, so that meant I need twice as many cakes! It was a nightmare.”
“Did it mean that the party had twice as many guests as well?” wondered Dusk Shine aloud.
“No,” Pinkie confessed. “Flitter & Cloudchaser spend a lot of time together, so they basically have the same friends.”
“So it was the normal amount of party guests?” said Dusk.
“Yessirie!” she nodded.
“Then why did you need twice as much cake? I mean, too much cake can be bad for you,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Dusky,” Pinkie said flatly. “You know I love you like the dickens, but you’re describing a world I don’t wanna live in.” Dusk was just about to jump into a lecture about stomachaches and retaining good dental hygiene, but was interrupted by a stumbling pony bumping into several others on her way to the stage.
The said pony was indeed Applejack, and she looked like a wreck. Her hat was tilted slightly, and her eyes were baggy from sleep deprival. “Howdeeee thar, Ponyville,” she slurred with her mind in a haze. “What is dis award-thingy fer again?”
The Mayor cleared her throat. “It’s officially for being the most helpful and prestigious pony in the community, but we’re using it to thank you for saving us from the stampede,” the politician explained. “Pardon my asking, but are you drunk? You seem… off today.”
“Ah’m okay,” assured Applejack with a yawn. “Can we hurry this up? Ah have a busy schedule, kickin’ trees all week.”
“Hey!” blurted Rainbow Dash. “You promised to help me with my new flying stunt this week!”
“Oh yeah, that,” said the farmer. “Well, Ah guess Ah’m gonna help Rainbow with her fancy-schmacy flyin’ tricks too, so Ah’d better get goin’.”
“Yes!” Dash squee’d. “This is gonna be so awesome!~
“Fine,” Applejack yawned again. “Now if there will interruptions…”
“You were supposed to help me run Sugercube corner for the first time!” remarked Pinkie. “We were gonna bake some drool-worthy muffins together. After all, you’re one of the best cooks around!”
“Ah guess Ah’m doin’ that thing what Pinkie jus’ said too this week, now if you’ll excuse me…”
“Um, Applejack?” Fluttershy spoke up as softly as possible. “I don’t really want to put pressure on you, but you kind of said that you’d also help me count the newborn bunnies for the spring. Are we still going to do that?”
“Fine,” Applejack said through her teeth. “Ah’ll go count th’ stupid rabbits with ya.” She walked off the stage, dragging her trophy with her and muttering to herself.
“What’s up with her?” inquired Spike.
“I don’t know,” said Dusk. “But I intend to find out.”
After the ceremony, Pinkie walked over to Rainbow Dash. The speedster's stomach churned.
Celestia help me, Dash thought to herself. It’s the motor mouth.
Since the dilemma with Nightmare Moon, Rainbow Dash understood one very hard truth: she would have to associate with ponies less cool than her (namely, the other Elements of Harmony), and that would lower her street cred. Applejack, she could somehow relate to, although the blonde’s taste in music (banjoes in particular) left something to be desired. Rainbow Dash knew Fluttershy since flight camp, but they had next to nothing in common. Rarity was… Rarity. Just Rarity. If you knew her personally, you’d understand. Dusk Shine was cute and all, but he was deeply rooted in a dark territory that Dash called “egghead.” The daredevil could tolerate all these ponies and even call them her friends (except for Dusk, she was saving him for a different title), but the one pony she couldn’t stand for more than five minutes was the abomination of all things awesome that was called “Pinkie Pie.”
Rainbow Dash’s hatred for Pinkie Pie had several reasons: Pinkie never shut up, she was annoying, she wouldn’t shut up, she always hogged all the cider in Cider Season, she wouldn’t shut up, she was a grown mare that still liked stupid games for kids like Pin-the-Tail-on-Pony & the Pony Pokey, she talked about crazy stuff like OCs and background ponies, she wouldn’t shut up, she wouldn’t shut up, AND OH FAUST, SHE NEVER SHUT THE BUCK UP.
“Hey, Dashie!” Pinkie Pie said. “Can I talk to you? We haven’t had any time for character development between each other, and the ‘Griffon the Bush-Off’ episode is coming up next chapter, so I really want to become BFFs forever with you already before the ol’ ‘Queen of Mean’ come to try to steal you away and DASHIE! WHERE ARE GOING? WE NEED TO HANG OUT!”
Rainbow Dash couldn’t remember the last time she flew so fast. She was pretty sure that she cleared Ponyville twenty times over. She rested on a mountain top to catch her breath. There, that should keep me away from Pinks for a while, she thought. I think I should just stay here and chill for a while, let the idea that I don’t want her around sink in.
“I just figure something out, Dashie,” Pinkie said as she popped out nowhere. “’The author isn’t going to wait around for the next chapter to have ‘Griffon the Bush-Off,’ we’re just doing it right now, so that why I’m chasing you!”
“Gah!” Dash screamed in response as she took to the air again.
“Come back!” Pinkie yelled. “It’s scenes like these in the show that contributed to the inspiration of ‘Cupcakes!’”
Applejack once again stumbled with her hooves. “Consarn it,” she muttered. “Come on legs we’ve got work to do.”
“Hello Applejack,” Dusk Shine said as he trotted through the orchard toward her. “What are you doing bucking all these trees by yourself?”
“It’s harvesting time, remember?” said AJ. “’Round here we call it Applebuck Season.”
“What about Big Macintosh?” he asked.
“He hurt himself, so Ah’m filling in fer him by workin’ twice as hard.”
“Here, I’ll help you,” he offered. “Let me just get the girls and-“
“No,” she lashed out verbally. “Ah don’t need no help.”
“You can’t be serious,” Dusk said. “You can’t possibly buck all these apples by yourself.”
“Buck you Ah can’t buck all these apples!” she repeated. “Ah can handle mahself. Are we clear?”
“Applejack, let me break this down logically,” Dusk lectured. “How much did you sleep in the past few days?”
“Sleep is fer cushy-tushies,” said Applejack. “All a real workin’ pony needs is coffee.”
“So not at all?” inquired Dusk. “That’s extremely unhealthy for yo-” *CRASH!*
All of a sudden, Rainbow Dash crash-landed into a tree, knocking all the apples out of it.
“Darn it, Rainbow!” yelled Applejack. “Not you too! Ah said it once, Ah’ll say it sgain: Ah don’t need no help!”
“You need help?” Rainbow Dash panicked as she got to her hooves. “What about me? I’ve been trying to avoid Pinkie all morning, but it’s no use! She’s EVERYWHERE!”
“That’s what you need help with?” Dusk said flatly. “Avoiding Pinkie?” Dusk thought for a moment. There was a chance that Rainbow Dash might be talking about Pinkamena, but he wasn’t so sure.
“Shh!” she put a hoof over Dusk’s mouth. "Did you hear that?" she whispered.
“Ah don’t hear nothin’,” said Applejack.
“Not so loud!” the pegasus hissed. “She’s watching us, I can feel it.”
”Did you do anything to upset Pinkie?” asked Dusk, lowering his voice. “Is she acting any different than usual?”
“No, and that’s the problem,” she said. She’s trying to get me to spend the day with her. She even wants to be…” She gulped. “…BFFs.”
“Rainbow Dash,” Applejack said in a judging tone, “That there’s not only the stupidest thing Ah’ve ever heard, but yer jus’ being mean too, shunnin’ Pinkie like that. Now, Ah want ya ta hightail it off ta wherever the lil’ sugar vacuum is and apologize.”
“Th’ only ‘but’ Ah wanna see is yers gettin’ off mah farm. Now scram, both o’ you! Ah got work ta do.”
Rainbow Dash met Pinkie Pie around town hall. “Alright Pinkie,” said the frustrated pegasus, “What do you want me to do?”
“See that cloud over there?” said Pinkie, pointing at a random cumulus. “Try moving it in front of the door.”
“Okay,” Dash shrugged. “If you say so.” She moved the cloud like so. “Like this?”
“Perfect!” confirmed Pinkie. “Except little to the left…” Dash complied. “You know, it looked a little better a few eighteen hairs to the right…”
“Your right or my right?”
“Bon-bon’s right! She lives down the street.”
Three hours later…
“Now, turn it upside down, adjust it 60 cementers northeast, turn it 172 degrees counterclockwise, and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Ferinhoof and serve with hayfries… UGH! Dashie, that was 100 degrees Celestius! Get a different cloud, we’re starting over.”
“…and by ‘get different cloud,’ I meant ‘it’s absolutely perfect!’ Now, we wait for my signal.” With that, Pinkie hid in the bushes. Soon enough, Spike walked out of the town hall, carrying a big stack of scrolls. Rainbow Dash jumped on the cloud as hard as she could, and with loud *BOOM*, the cloud erupted into a burst of thunder and lightning, scaring Spike into dropping his load.
“Hey, what was that for?” asked Spike, still spooked a little. “You almost gave me a heart-*hic*-attack!”
“Cheer up Spike,” said Rainbow Dash after rolling in laughter. “It’s just a prank.”
“Hehehehe, you have the hiccups!” giggled Pinkie. Spike laughed along a little with the joke, and went on to recover his notes. The trouble was that every time he tried to pick up a scroll, he hiccupped and let out a gout of magical flame.
The result of this was Spike losing all his scrolls, and Celestia getting spammed with unexpected mail. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie roared in laughter.
“You know, you’re not so bad, Pinks,” Dash confessed. “What other things do you have in mind?”
“I have some ideas…” Pinkie said mischievously. And so for the rest of the afternoon, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie went around Ponyville, pulling practical jokes on everypony in sight. Because of the national motto of love and toleration, nopony took any of the two’s jokes personally, so they never faced any consequences. Later in life, Rainbow Dash would admit that the hours of bliss spent with Pinkie was some of the best of her life, seconded only by winning everything and making Sonic Rainbooms.
The next day…
Rainbow Dash waited patiently as she could. As radical as yesterday was, this was the day that Applejack was to help her with a new trick to impress an old friend from flight camp. The problem was that hatted mare hadn’t shown up yet, and Gilda was scheduled to come in any minute.
“There you are,” Dash exclaimed as Applejack stumbled by. “Where have you been?”
Applejack shook her head awake and blinked couple times for good measure. “Zzzzz… Wha? Where am Ah? This ain’t Sweet Apple Acres!”
“Yeah, no manure,” Dash deadpanned. “What are you talking about, anyway? Today’s the day you’re supposed to help me with my stunt, remember?”
“Huh,” said AJ. “Ah guess Granny Smith was right: Ah really do sleepwalk. But enuff of that, what am Ah supposed ta do again?” Rainbow Dash gestured to a makeshift wooden tower with a diving board. Below it was something similar to a giant see-saw.
“You just jump down while I’m on top of the lever, then I launch up to the sky, and then I do some wicked freestyle moves that’ll practice later and save for when I apply for the Wonderbolts!”
“Y’all built this contraption all by yourself?” questioned Applejack.
“Well,” said Dash as she scratched her head in flattery, “I did have a little help from Derpy.”
Applejack backed away from Rainbow Dash’s creation very, very slowly. “Derpy helped you build that? There’s no buckin’ way Ah’m touchin’ it with ten-foot pole.”
“Relax,” assured Rainbow Dash. “The other seven models broke down while testing, so eighth time’s the charm!”
“Rainbow,” Aj said sternly, “You know ya sound like th’ infamous Lemon Johnson, right?”
“Pfft,” dismissed the near death-speedster. “You say that all the time. What could possibly go wrong?”