Spike watched Apple Bloom leave, his heart sinking as he watched the little pony be lead away by her big sister. The crowd had parted for them and all eyes were focused on the one who had been the cause of the rampant suspicions that had swept through the town. Except that wasn't true. It WASN'T Apple Bloom who was the cause of this, and the baby dragon knew it. Guilt weighing heavily on his heart, Spike made his way back to the Library with Twilight.
Spike scratched his head nervously. "Hypothetically, what would you do if something you did ended up getting a friend in trouble?"
Twilight Sparkle turned her head and gave spike a flat stare. "Hypothetically?"
"Y-yeah, hypothetically!" the dragon grinned sheepishly
"Spike, does this have anything to do with Rarity's vase?"
Back at sweet Apple Acres, things were not looking up for little Apple Bloom.
"Just what the hay were you THINKING, Apple Bloom?" Applejack nearly shouted. She had lead her sister into the barn to deliver her scolding. "Breaking into Rarity's boutique? I thought you was smarter than that. Didn't we teach you better?"
"Ah didn't break in!" Apple Bloom insisted. "Somebody else was in there before me!"
"Oh really? And just who might that have been?"
"It was..." Apple Bloom looked down. "Ah can't tell you."
"And why the hay not?"
Apple Bloom looked her older sister firmly in the eye. "Cuz I made a promise, and there ain't no way Ah’m breaking it. Ah'm a big pony now and big ponies don't break their promises!"
Applejack sighed. "Look Apple Bloom, ah appreciate what you’re doing. It'd be bad for a member of the Apple family to be caught breaking a promise, but this here's different. Whoever was in there first was up to no good in there, you know that."
Apple Bloom shook her head. "He weren't doing anything bad. He was acting mighty stupid, sure, but it was for a good reason!"
"Apple Bloom, what good reason could somepony possibly have for breaking into another pony's place of business?"
"Ah... ah can't tell you that neither."
"Fine. That's the way you want it, then that's the way yer gonna get it." Applejack snorted and trotted towards the barn door. "Run out into that orchard over yonder and fetch me a switch. Don't you go skimping on the size now. I'm gonna get Big Macintosh."
Sighing, Apple Bloom left the barn and went out into the orchard to pick an appropriately sized branch. She knew full well that her Sister would just go out and pick a bigger one if she disappointed. She wasn't going to back down though. The Apple family kept the promises they made to their friends. True, she no longer had to worry about Spike telling on her but... that was no excuse. Spike hadn't told anypony about her, and she wasn't going to tell anybody about him.
It took Apple Bloom a while to find a branch that was long enough yet flexible enough to satisfy her sister’s standards. Dragging the stick in her mouth, she began marching back through the orchard. It was an awfully pretty sight this time of year, with all the blossoms in full bloom. It wasn't too uncommon for her or Applejack to find young couples out for a stroll. Hay, even a few weddings had been held under the colorful canopy.
Coming back in view of the barn and farm house, Apple Bloom barely noticed somebody leaving the house. Coming up to the barn, Apple Bloom set the switch down and waited patiently for her siblings to arrive and discipline her. It wasn't long before Applejack stuck her head in the barn door.
"Go ahead and leave the switch there, sugar cube. We won't be needing it tonight."
Confused, Apple Bloom got up and walked out of the barn, catching up to her sister. "Ah'm not complaining or anything, but what changed your mind? I thought for sure ah was going get my hide tanned back there."
Applejack sighed and shook her head. "We just got a visit from Twilight Sparkle. And Spike. They explained the whole thing; you ain't got nothing to worry about anymore."
"Spike did WHAT?!"
"Its okay, Apple Bloom." Applejack gave a small chuckle. "You kept your promise."
"Ah gotta talk to him! Is he still here?"
Applejack shook her head. "Naw, they just left a couple minutes ago, but you should be able to catch up with them if you hurry. I'm surprised you didn't see 'em leaving on your way back."
Galloping as fast as her hooves could carry her, Apple Bloom raced down the path leading from Sweet Apple Acres to Ponyville. It wasn't long at all before the town came into view, as did Spike and Twilight. "SPIIIIIIIIIIKE!" Apple Bloom cried out. The older pony and the dragon turned back to see Apple Bloom racing towards them. Skidding to a halt, Apple Bloom took a few seconds to catch her breath.
"Spike... can I talk to you for a second?"
"Uh..." Spike looked back at Twilight Sparkle who nodded. "Sure, Apple Bloom." He climbed down from Twilight's back and folded his hands behind his back nervously.
"Why'd you tell them, Spike? Ah wasn't gonna say nothing! Honest!"
"Because it wasn't your fault, Apple Bloom. I'm the one that was going through Rarity's things to begin with; you were just trying to stop me."
Apple Bloom looked at Spike confused. "Well, have you told anypony else yet?"
Spike shook his head. "No, but we're on our way to Rarity's to apologize. Somehow I think I'm even further away from my goal then I was before I started."
Apple Bloom giggled. "You know, instead of riffling through her stuff to get to know here, y'all could have just asked one of us." Seeing Spike's confused look, she continued. "Ah may not know Rarity that well personally, but I hear a lot about her from mah sister. You could have asked me or any of her friends what she likes. Who knows, maybe you can even get her something to help with the apology!"
Apple Bloom smiled. "Well... You’re a dragon right? You gotta have some jewels by now, and diamonds ARE a girl’s best friend."
Spike scratched his head. "Diamonds? Huh, I never thought of it that way. I guess when you spend your entire life thinking of something as a dessert; it's hard to think of it otherwise."
"Hey Spike?" Apple Bloom scuffed a hoof on the ground nervously.
Walking up to the dragon, Apple Bloom leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks," she whispered before turning and galloping off back towards Sweet Apple Acres.
Spike stood stunned and blushing until Twilight scooped him up onto her back. "Come on, Casanova. We got another stop to make today."