Section1: Chapter 1: Greed
Also, this is dedicated, and I mean the whole story - not just this chapter, to a friend in need: Lynked, who I'm editing for. Give his page some views, because he needs some support and this is the least I could do for him!
She walked down the path, the snow crunching beneath her hooves. She smiled to herself, though she knew that it was no laughing matter. She had screwed up. Big time. She could feel a bulge in her throat, as though she was being strangled by her own skin.
She was sucking in her stomach too, for it felt wrong to leave it out. She was angry at herself, yet she smiled.
She had a really bad feeling: is this guilt? Is this what it feels like to have too much, but not have anything to do about it? She kept walking. On and on. She was walking out into the forest. She didn't know which, but she did know that she couldn't get lost if she didn't stray from the path. Just take every right.
She kept going, never stopping, her hoofsteps always in time. Never one off the beat. She counted them, as she went.
One, two, three four, one, two, three, four, never stopping. She went on, turning right on a crossroads. She didn't know where she was, but she knew the way back.
Her hoof still ached. It began to get worse. One, two... three-four, one, two... three-four. Never stopping.
She thought back, far back, to the first time she saw the other ponies. She pulled away from that thought. It stung. No need to elaborate, she didn't think about it.
One, two... three-four, her hoofsteps slowed down, and bit by bit, she began to register her surroundings. Manehattan? Had she really gone all the way to Manehattan? That's like saying that she had... well, she couldn't think of anything that it was like.
She stopped, finally.
She began to wonder about what she would do, but then she noticed something else: everypony was looking at her kind of... strange. Did they recognise her? Had she been doing something... wrong? No, she couldn't have. She had just went out for a stroll. A very, very long, tiring stroll.
She turned around, starting up again, but this time faster: she had just remembered something important.
She didn't stop. Her mane was a mess, but for once, she didn't care. Her tail had mud in it, probably from a carriage that had passed by her on her way. No matter. Nothing was important anymore except for that. Nothing.
She arrived back in Ponyville three hours later, kicking herself for going out so far. Her limp was gone, too. It wasn't because it wasn't there anymore; her muscles just ached equally all round.
"Well, it looks like it's time to fix things up," sighed Rarity. "or maybe after a nap. A long nap..."
She knew she couldn't stay at her house, she had to avoid 'that'. Hmm. 'That' would be a problem.
"Well, off I trot, then..."
She had nowhere to stay... no-where except for one place. She would have to pull one really weak string.
Once she got there, she gave a triplet of knocks on the door, hoping that it would open.
The door cracked open a bit. A small "Oh, uh, hi Rarity, uh, what is it...?" came from behind it.
"Um, hi... listen; I need a place to stay, and I'm sorry, so... can I come in here? Please?"
"Um, ok, I, uh, I guess..." said Fluttershy.
Section 1: Chapter 2: Lies
I'd like to say again, how this is dedicated to lynked, who I am currently editing for, because he is in a contagious state of melancholy: http://www.fimfiction.net/user/Lynked
She headed out to the acres, hoping to find solitude in them. She just carried on towards them.
Big-Macintosh had stared at her kind of weird, on the way there. She didn't bother wondering why. She just carried on.
She didn't stop. Each hoofstep carried her on to the next. Never stopping. She just carried on. She couldn't stop - not for anything - or something might follow her. She didn't want that. She didn't want to admit it either, so she lied to herself about it. No way could she stop - she was so... so... what? She was so angry, is what it was! Angry!
She was just angry... nothing else. Angry at what? Angry at... herself... That was what was going on... wasn't it? Well, she tried to calm herself, thinking back to the best memory she could.
She thought back to when she met everypony, but stopped almost instantly, wincing. It hurt to think about that. Just need to do something else. she thought.
Finally, she was in the depths of Sweet Apple Acres. She didn't stop though. She needed to keep her hooves busy. Never stop.
She walked on, hoping that it would all blow over, but she knew that she couldn't lie to herself about that one, really. She shouldn't be able to lie to herself anyway! Honestly... she thought, then she laughed, dryly.
She shouldn't be able to lie. She was honesty. Down to its simplest form! But if she wasn't able to lie, then how come... never mind. "The past is the past, eh?" sighed Applejack. "ah guess it needs sorting, huh? Well, there's no time to be a' wastin', ah guess!"
The Acres had spat her back out into the open at just that moment. She still hadn't stopped. She walked on. The first thing that needs doin' is to go and make sure that Pinkie's ok; ah know how she gets when ponies argue. At this, she felt a pang of guilt; she had been the one to start it after all. Right? Or was it... who was it?
It seemed to be a bit tedious at the time. Playing the 'blame game', and all, but she felt that it mattered if she had done it. She sighed. Ah guess ah'll just apologise for what ah know that ah did, instead of finding out what ah don't want to know.
She arrived at Sugar Cube Corner 15 minutes later. She hesitated when she reached to open the door. She didn't know if Pinkie really wanted to see her, given her circumstances.
She gave in, telling herself, Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, but not knowing if that was the right choice. Okay, sugarcube, there's no turnin' back now!
"Pinkie?" she said, walking in. She turned to Mrs. cake, who was at the counter. "Have ya seen her?"
"She's upstairs... she's pretty upset, just so you know." she replied, looking worried herself.
"I appreciate it, miss."
She went up, to where she knew Pinkie's room to be, leaving a fretting Mrs. Cake. "Pinkie?" she enquired. "Are you in there?" She knocked, then noticing that the door was unlocked. The three, equally spaced beats ran through her head. This is it!
The door opened a crack, seeing a sea-blue eye peek through. Oh Celestia, what have ah done?
Section 1: Chapter 3: Loyalty Returned
The titles are not based on the element that the viewpoint-pony has, but something else. No hints for now.
The dialogue from Luna and Celestia has been deleted because it didn't seem very... relative, and the place that I had for them in this dissolved into nothingness during my writing of this chapter.
I've also edited the end of the last chapter so as that this one... 'flowed' better. The fact was, if Applejack had opened the door in the last one, then she would just have to spend most of this one coaxing Pinkie out.
"What are they doing? And where are they? Ugh!" yelled Twilight.
"Do you think that this is about yesterday?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"Hmm. They were all arguing, and I tried to stop them, but I thought that they were all on good terms with us, just not each other... did I do something wrong?"
"Nah, they're probably just moping about."
"Either way, we need to find them, before they go all... grey, and stuff."
"Yeah, if that happens then we'll have some real trouble on our hands." said Rainbow, remembering back to when Discord had struck. She looked around the field, turning her head left first, then right, before flying down closer to Twilight to talk.
"Did you see them?"
"Nope. Where do we check next?"
"We should head over to Sweet Apple Acres to see if Applejack is in; we've already checked the Boutique."
"Yeah, let's go." said Rainbow, hovering slowly higher so as that she could still hear if Twilight called out to her, stayed there for a while, and once she was sure that Twi wasn't going to say anything more, she zipped off through the sky, leaving a seven-coloured streamline in the air behind her.
After seeing Rainbow fly off, as was their routine by now, Twilight teleported over to the Acres, just in time to see the rainbow trail zip across the sky and stop at her feet.
They had decided this the best method of travel for now, because Rainbow could fly the distance needed in only a few seconds under the time it took for Twilight to charge up, teleport and regain her bearings.
"Well? Now what?" asked Dash, who looked sheepishly out to the hundreds of trees that were spread across the acres of property owned by the Apples.
"We shouldn't check the actual acres unless we think it nessacery; we should just ask if Applejack is around."
As if called, Big Macintosh had showed up walking across the path behind Twilight. "We could ask him." said Rainbow, pointing.
"Hey Big, did you see Applejack pass through here?" she asked.
"Eeyup, she went for the town." He said flatly.
"Thanks Big. Come on, let's see if she's in the town square!" said Rainbow.
"Yeah, let's go!" replied Twilight, her horn already glowing with magical energy.
A splash of colours and a bright flash later, Big Macintosh was stood on his own, a confused look on his face. I wish I knew what that was all about... oh well. Careful what you wish for, Mac. He thought, setting back off along the path to fetch the bucket.
"Pinkie? Are ya OK? Pinkie?" applejack asked; she'd tried, but Pinkie had locked the door on her and wasn't replying.
She bucked the door, using her obscene strength to snap the iron used in the lock, though hearing a light whimper, whether it was of fear, pain, angst, anger, loneliness or curiosity, she did not know.
She pulled the latch down, though it seemed pretty useless due to the fact that she could now push the door open without, what, with the latch so brittle after its shock, and creaked the door open, slowly, until it was only just ajar. She peeked through, seeing the wide eyed, flat maned, small pupiled, pink pony that was lying over on the green bean bag in the corner, quietly muttering something to herself in a paranoid manner, giving her the image of an insane murderer that had decided to take a nap in a dumpster.
"Pi~inkie, come 'ere," she coaxed, slowly letting her voice slide out of her mouth like a calm, gently flowing, clear water stream. "Are you ok?" she asked, in the same, slick, over emphasized, un-Applejack tone.
"What? Who's there? Hehe..." asked Pinkie, in a dark tone, sounding like that of a goblin.
Twilight lifted a branch from the bush that she was staring at aimlessly. "They aren't here, either. Maybe we should go check Sugar Cube Corner for Pinkie. She's the one that'll need the most comfort." She reasoned.
Rainbow Dash flew out from the area of the forest that she was checking at a casual pace, all of her excitement and energy lost from their endless mare-hunt. "Yeah, perhaps."
Off we go again, she thought to herself, giving off a mental sigh that pushed out some of the fatigue-induced-fog that had been clogging up her mind. She flew out of sight in under a few seconds, heading slightly out of the path she should of been taking, making a detour through a low flying cloud, cooling her off, whilst her sheer speed left all the water scattered across Ponyville by the time she landed next to Twilight.
They pushed open the double doors to the restaurant, the bell giving off four or five light 'ting's as she walked in, seeing her unicorn friend appear in a short flash of lavender light beside her.
Twi turned to the counter, looking up towards the disturbed face of Mr. Cake, who was standing behind the counter.
"Is Pinkie in?" she asked, with a light grin that showed a hard day's work.
"Yeah, Applejack's upstairs with her." He replied, taking his front-right hoof and scratching his neck with it, smiling down nervously at her.
"Oh, thanks," she said, pulling a leaf out of her fur. "We were... out in the woods."
"Well, we'd better head on up." saved Twilight, dragging the silent agreement out of the air and starting for the stairs.