You groggily begin to open your eyes after what was definitely one of the worst nights you've ever slept.
Attempting to stretch out, as you do every morning, you come to remember that your hooves are still tied behind you. The awkward position they were in overnight lent to the slight pain in your shoulder you were feeling. Stretching out your hind legs, you relish in the slight relief you get from your less-than-desirable sleeping position.
You look around for any way of telling the time. Craning your head around, you spot a small clock on the wall on the far end. You squint to find the clock reads 5:59 AM.
Figuring you wouldn't need to be awake for a few more hours to start your...duties, you lay back down and attempt to fall back to sleep.
Your mind was abuzz with questions. Just what were they going to make you do? The mundane, everyday tasks that they do around here, or the grueling, shortest-straw kind of jobs? What if they weren't telling the truth about letting you go? What if they were planning on getting their repayment, and THEN hand you over to the police!?
Not wanting to dwell on such questions, you figure it would be best to cross that bridge when you got to it. Silencing your inner monologue, you lay your head back down, and drift off to sleep.
*CLANG CLANG CLANG*
...or so you thought.
"RISE 'N' SHINE!"
You somehow manage to find the strength to shoot back up into a sitting position far faster than a pony should be able to. Not particularly easy with no front hooves to do so.
Thinking (or rather, praying) that you must have at LEAST dozed off for an hour or two, you glance back at the clock on the far wall. It read 6:00 AM sharp.
Looking back to the source of the racket, you find Applejack with a pot in one hoof and a pan in the other, violently smashing the utensils against one another.
"C'mon buddy, we got work to do!" She says, in an insufferably cheery voice.
"At this Celestia-forsaken hour?" You let out a groan.
"Yup. We gotta get started right away, before it gets to about noon. Nothing worse than working during the hottest part of the day!"
"How can you be so perky this early!?" You stifle another groan.
"I've always been a mornin' kinda pony! You should too, helps ya start the day better." She punctuates her point by smashing her kitchenware a few more times.
"Would you quit doing that!?" You're forced to yell to be heard over the sound of the utensils.
"Well c'mon then, let's get some grub. Gotta get started soon." She begins to trot towards the door.
"Uh, hey, country bumpkin, aren't ya forgetting something?" You shake your restrained arms to her, trying to remind her that you can't move.
"Oh, that's right, how silly of me!" You swear she was just toying with you, and she was enjoying it. She rests her kitchen tools on the floor and trots toward you. Sitting down, she begins to loosen the ropes binding your hooves.
You take this opportunity to think of an escape. The second those ropes were off your hooves, you would buck her right in her pretty, little face, then make a break for it. That's exactly what you were going to do...that is, it WAS what you were going to do, until you saw Big Macintosh patiently waiting the barn's entrance.
There's no way you would manage to break past him in your current state. He was easily much larger than you, and had a distance advantage to prepare for you should you try to bolt.
You figured it would be best just to play along for now.
Applejack had freed your limbs, and you took a much needed chance to stretch out your aching shoulders. The muscles slowly shifted out from their awkward position, and the tension melted away, much to your relief.
"Now c'mon, we gotta get some breakfast." The mare suddenly sounded a bit more serious. Perhaps it's because she had just freed you from your only restraint.
With as much reluctance as you could muster, you begin to follow her. As you pass Big Mac, he utters out a friendly "Morning." You only reply with a snort.
Following the two siblings, you shake your head a few times in a feeble attempt to fully wake up. It's beyond you how anyone could wake up this early on a regular basis, let alone with as much energy as that mare.
Looking into the sky, you catch a glimpse of a grey pegasus flying overhead, saddlebags in tow. She must be part of the Ponyville Postal Service. You hadn't even thought about that when you were planning your escape earlier. Had you ran, there's no way one of those pegasi flying around delivering mail right now wouldn't have noticed you. They could have gotten an ID on you, and you would have been screwed. In a way, Big Mac's presence just saved your flank.
Looking over to the east, you can barely see Celestia's sun peeking over the horizon. The sky was a cascade of the purples and reds of the early dawn. As you were walking, you heard that traditional rooster's call, and the chirping of other birds soon followed.
For others, this would be a lovely morning. For you, it was just day one of your death sentence.
After trotting along the dirt path for a few minutes, Applejack led you to a table outside, and instructed you to sit with Big Mac and wait. You do as told, and sit on one of the wooden benches, Big Mac sitting on the opposite side of the table as you. An awkward silence followed as she went into the house nearby.
"So..." You start, wanting to end the slightly creepy quiet. "How can you get up this early?"
"Dunno." Mac replied, with little emotion in his voice. "Jus' used to it."
You expected him to say more, but when nothing came, you continued. "So, what exactly am I gonna be doing today?"
"Dunno." Again, no emotion. "AJ hands out the jobs."
Seeing that you weren't going to get answers that consisted of more than a few words and 'dunno,' you gave up. Leaning back on the bench, you wait for the mare to return from whatever it was she was doing. Looking around, you get a better examination on the house. It was a quaint home, two story, and was in great condition. Most stories about farm families portray their home as being rundown and ragged. Perhaps Mr. Vocabulary over here is some kind of carpenter, you muse.
You catch something in the corner of your eye. Looking at one of the second-floor windows, you spot what looked like to be a pair of eyes. Before you could focus on it, the blinds of the window quickly shut.
Before you could question, AJ came out of the house, multiple plates of pancakes in tow.
"I hope y'all are hungry!" That overly perky voice was beginning to grind on your ears. "We got plenty of pancakes!" She sets the plates on the table, and tosses some silverware to each seat. Setting herself down next to her brother, she looked ready to dig in.
You look at the morsels set in front of you. They looked like any regular pancakes, stacked three high, generously covered in syrup. The smell though...it was one of the most tantalizing smells to ever grace your nostrils. The syrup itself smelled great, but there was an odd hint of apple looming around the scent of the pancakes themselves. Your mouth started watering already.
"Well?" You snap out of your trance and look at Applejack. "Are ya just gonna stare at 'em all morning? Ya better eat up, you'll need all the energy you can get with them skinny legs!" She finished her statement with a slight chuckle and a bite of her own pancakes.
"Oh, I'm sorry," you start. "I just wanted to bask in the glory of the masterpiece of a meal before me!" You could cut the sarcasm in your voice with a knife.
"Cut the crap 'n' just eat, already." Applejack was not clearly amused.
Feigning your disgust, you take a fork in hoof and slice off a small bit of pancake. You delicately bring the fluffy morsel to your mouth. The moment it makes contact with your tongue, you're hit with an explosion of flavor. The sweet blend of the sugary syrup, combined with the fluffy, warm pancake exuded copious amounts of pleasure among your tastebuds. The strong flavor of apples was abound, as the sweet fruit had been gingerly blended into the pancake.
Needless to say, it was good. Damn good. Not that you would admit that.
After having finished up your morning meal, Applejack led you and Big Macintosh to a rather barren part of the orchard. Compared to the surrounding area, there was a notable lack of trees here. The house was still in view from where she led you.
"Alright," she started. "Today, you are gonna be plowing this section of the field. We'll be planting some new crops here, and we need it tilled up nice for 'em."
"I can hardly contain my excitement!" If sarcasm had a weight, you would have put out enough in one day to break a pony's back.
"We'll just see how eager you are after today. Big Mac, bring in the plow." Mac begins to trot off towards the barn.
Following Applejack, she leads you to a section of the pasture closest to the house. "Alright," she begins. "Now, you'll have to plow this entire section. Drag the plow about fifteen feet, then loop around, bring it back fifteen feet. Keep it up until you meet that flag." She points off away from the house to a small, red flag about a hundred feet away.
"Alright, where's the plow?" You ask, not spotting one in the immediate area.
"Over there." She points behind you towards Big Mac, dragging a very ragged looking piece of machinery.
"This here is 'old bessie.' Treat her nice, she's the only one we have." Big Mac says.
You wait until the stallion gets the plow right up to you before speaking. "...she's a beaut." Not. You turn back to Applejack. "Now, how exactly do we get this thing-"
Macintosh suddenly ambushes you an brings a yoke around your neck, partially suffocating you. He then quickly ties the plow to the device. Before you can even react, you're already set up and ready for work.
"Welp, off ya go!" Applejack punctuates her statement by slapping your flank, a very snide look on her face.
It took all your reserve to not kick her in the face right then and there. Stopping yourself just short of an instinctive buck, you take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. "DON'T, do that again." You growl, punctuating your words.
"Pardon me." The mare replies, tease in her voice. "Now get to it, ya don't wanna take too long. Better get 'er done before the sun gets right overhead."
Feeling a reply wasn't necessary, you plant your hooves and begin walking forward. As soon as the ropes binding you to the plow went taught, you were stopped in your tracks. You pull forward with your hooves as hard as you can, yet the device wouldn't budge.
"C'mon now, put your muscles into it!" Applejack yells. You couldn't help but feel she was treating this as some sort of sport that she had the pleasure of spectating.
Pushing all your strength into your legs, you dig deep and manage to get the plow moving. Slowly but surely, you being to pull the plow over to the designated fifteen feet. Your legs dug deep into the ground with each step as the plow reluctantly dragged along with you, loosening the soil as you went. Sweat begins to run down your face, and your legs are already becoming fatigued. Taking deep, heavy breaths, you slowly approach your goal.
Upon reaching the end of the fifteen feet mark, you take a small moment to take a mental celebration. You felt quite accomplished having drug that infernal piece of metal this far. Unfortunately, the sound of that mare breaks your spirits again.
"Hoowee, can't believe you managed to bring it that far." She begins. "Ya only got another nine or so passes ta go!"
Looking over to the flag, you realize you hadn't gotten any closer to it. Instead, you had only shifted to the opposite side of it. Putting your hooves back into the dirt, you drag the plow one row closer to the flag, and begin your next fifteen feet drag.
"And don't think about goin' nowhere! I'll be buckin' apples in the field right over there, so I'll be keepin' an eye on you!" Applejack trots off to the adjacent field, and Big Mac begins to make his way towards the barn again.
Not only did you have to do this grueling work, but now you had nopony to keep you company. Sure, those kooky farmers weren't the best company, but they were better than no one. You figured you could at least talk to Big Macintosh, since he seems to be the only one who mildly respects you around here. Sure, he doesn't talk much, but it was better than nothing.
Instead, you get to work alone, pulling a device from Tartarus through the dirt.
This is gonna be a very long day...