4w, 6dInfectious Personality Disorder 21 comments · 138 views
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7w, 2dSo Shall it Begin... 13 comments · 140 views
7w, 4dRead This! 10 comments · 165 views
7w, 6dQuestions 36 comments · 172 views
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27w, 4dChapter 1: An Average Day (But with Lasers) 33 comments · 393 views
It was a beautiful spring day, and the town was full of life. The first fruits of the season were proudly displayed in the many stalls, and the bright, sunny sky was accompanied by a refreshingly cool breeze. It was the type of day that, at any other time, Applejack would have relished. Taking in the sights was one of those simple joys that couldn’t be bought, couldn’t be sold, but was simply a blessing to be savored. The friends stopped their stroll as she stopped, lifting her muzzle to the sky and closing her eyes, taking a breath of the air and trying with all her heart to shake the mantle of gloom from her shoulders. A fleeting memory of the moment she had shared with Silver in the cellar arose from the depths, filling her soul with the echoes of hope and her eyes with tears.
“That’s it, Applejack! I knew you still had some smiles in you.” Pinkie Pie said, suddenly wrapping the mare in a deep embrace. It was a bizarre moment of seriousness for the comically energetic mare, and so unexpected that it managed to circumvent the uncertainty entirely. Pinkie Pie maintained her hold as the motion was returned, Applejack’s squeeze slowly intensifying until the forces matched, while the rest of her friends added their hooves to the group hug.
“Do... do y’all think there’s any hope of Silver comin’ back?”
“Not after what you did. Huh, and here you had everypony thinking you were nice.” Everypony turned to see Carrot Top glaring at the now quaking mare in the center of the ring.
“It would do you well to hold your tongue, Carrot Top. You are within moments of making me truly angry,” Rarity growled at the defiant mare who matched her piercing gaze.
“He made the best drinks I’ve ever tasted, and now he’s gone. Thanks a lot, Applejack!” Bon Bon took a step back as Twilight’s horn began to glow, bidding the mare hold her peace. But one by one, more voices joined together until the friends were surrounded by an angry throng, formed for the sole purpose of lashing out at the orange mare in the center who stood with her head hung in shame.
“Everypony be quiet!” Unable to stand seeing her friend bullied, Fluttershy’s ear-splitting yell rose above the chaos and silenced the masses. The enraged pegasus was about to give them all a piece of her mind when Applejack’s icy voice sounded out in the quietude.
“It just... ain’t fair,” she whispered before pounding down a hoof and glaring at the ponies gathered around that she counted as her friends. “After years of helpin’ y’all... after breakin’ mah back an’ tryin’ mah best fer the whole town, ah make one mistake an’ what happens? Y’all turn on me like a damn pack o’ wolves! Where’s the loyalty in that?!?” The sullen stares continued from all around, unwavering and unforgiving. “Fine then, ah’ll leave! Ah hope you’re all happier with me gone!” Several ponies were bowled over in her frantic rush to leave the town. Rainbow Dash rose to give chase but Twilight teleported her back down to the ground, shaking her head and turning her attention to the withering looks now being pointed at herself and her friends.
“Fluttershy, go talk to Applejack,” Twilight managed through clenched teeth.
“But, I don’t know if I...”
“Fluttershy, please. Just... try to talk to her.”
“Um, ok, I’ll try.” The timid pegasus took wing, taking one look back before pressing to catch up with her distraught friend who was nowhere to be seen.
“Rainbow Dash, is she out of sight yet?”
“You’re clear, Twilight.”
“Good. Now then... what the hay is wrong with you ponies?!?” Watching the lavender mare burst into flames was unnerving, to say the least, and the crowds quailed as she gave them all a sound dressing down. “Silver was barely here for over a week. Applejack has lived here nearly her whole life, and done nothing but good by everypony here! Are you all meaning to tell me that one mistake, and not even to one of our own, is enough for you to cast her out?”
“You’re all acting like a bunch of lowlife barbarians, ganging up on the poor mare like that. Did any of you even stop to consider how much she must be hurting right now?” Rarity added in.
“I’m sure you all haven’t forgotten what kinds of crazy things happened when I was pregnant, and yet you all accepted me back readily enough. Now, if something like this ever, and I mean ever, happens again, you will all be in for a world of trouble, got it?” There was a frightened murmur of assent from the crowds, and Twilight’s color shifted back to normal. “The next time you all see her, it better be with an apology, or else. Come on, girls,” she growled, turning and walking towards Sweet Apple Acres with the other three of her friends falling in behind.
After a few passes over the apple grove, Fluttershy landed outside the house and gave a light knock on the door. Applebloom slowly creaked the door open, worry written all over the filly’s face.
“If yer lookin’ fer Applejack, she’s in ‘er room, but ah don’t think she’ll take kindly t’ visitors. She seems t’ be in a huff ‘bout somethin’ but ah don’t know what. She locked me out an’ wouldn’t talk t’ me.”
“Don’t worry about it, Applebloom. I’m sure you tried your best. I’ll see what I can do.” Fluttershy’s reassuring pat on the head didn’t do much for the filly, who trotted out the door to find Big Mac. Just as Applebloom had said, the door to Applejack’s room was securely locked, and it took quite a few of the mare’s timid knocks to yield a response.
“Ah ain’t here.”
“Applejack, you know you really shouldn’t lie, especially when you’re, well, really bad at it.”
“Go away, Fluttershy. Ah don’t feel like talkin’ to nopony.”
“You don’t have to, you can just listen. Please, let me in.”
“Ah said no.”
“Applejack, open this door.”
“Ya know, ever since Ironwill’s trainin’, you sure can be a right pain in the flank sometimes. No means no, remember? Now go away!”
“Applejack, so help me, I will break down the door!”
“Ahll right, let’s see it then!” Applejack listened as the frustrated mare stomped her hooves in agitation, followed by silence. “What’s the matter, can’t bring yerself t’ hurt a door?”
“That’s it, you’re getting a lesson in kindness when I get in there! Take... that!” There was a thump. It was a solid thump, the kind that one makes when knocking to get somepony’s attention. “Um, ok, that was just a warm up.” Another thump. And then another, followed by a fourth, a fifth, and then silence. Applejack cringed as sound of impact came from Fluttershy hurling herself bodily at the door.
“Fluttershy, knock it off. You’re not gonna break down the door, you’re only gonna hurt yerself.” Fluttershy ignored the warning, shaking off the pain and going again. “Fluttershy, stop it! You ain’t doin’ anypony any good,” Applejack exclaimed as the door shook under the repeated impacts. It was unfortunate that Fluttershy’s patented stare only worked on the living, because otherwise the door would have fled in terror long ago.
“I’m not... giving... up!” she shouted as her chest heaved from the exertion. She took a step back to prepare to go again, wincing at the pain and cramming it down. A gentle hoof descended on her back as Big Macintosh walked up with Applebloom close behind. The muscular stallion bid Fluttershy stand back, and with one solid buck, the door again found itself free from the confines of the hinges. Applejack drew back fearfully as Fluttershy locked her in a trance, one that was broken as she took a step and stumbled, whimpering as the dull throb became a sharp pain. Her right side was bright red from the self-inflicted beating, with small patches turning a darker shade that edged into blue. Applejack leapt off the bed to help support her, but Fluttershy smacked her hoof away and began marching her back into the room.
“I never thought I’d see the day when I’d have to say this to you of all ponies, Applejack, but I’m disappointed in you. I know you’re upset, but that’s no reason to be so mean, pushing us all away. We’re your friends, remember? Friends! And there’s nothing you can do about it!”
“An’ we’re yer family!” Applebloom exclaimed, shaking her shock at seeing Fluttershy so worked up and trotting in. “Sis, no matter what happens, we ain’t gonna leave ya high ‘n dry. You can kick an’ scream all you like, but we’re gonna stick t’ you like glue. An’ that stuff’s sticky, ah can tell ya!”
“Ah know ah’ve been sayin’ this a lot, but it doesn’t make it any less true; ah'm sorry, everypony. Can y’all fergive me?”
“Applejack, it’s all going to be ok.” From anypony else, those words would have been nothing but vexing, but coming from Fluttershy who truly believed what she spoke, they were a breath of life.
“Do ya really think so, Fluttershy? Ah’ve made a right mess o’ things.”
“Applejack, I don’t think so, I know so. And any mess you make, we’ll help you clean right back up.”
“Finally, somepony is talking sense!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed as she arrived with Twilight, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie. “The Applejack I know didn’t run away from her problems, she dealt with them head on. Sure, you may have made the biggest mistake of your life, like ever. Probably won’t top it, either.”
“Rainbow Dash, I suggest you get to the point,” Rarity whispered, noting the growing dejection on Applejack’s face.
“The point is only you have the strength to fix it. And even if you’re feeling weak, you can depend on all of us to back you up one hundred and twenty percent!”
“Well, technically that isn’t possible, but she’s right on everything else,” Twilight chuckled.
“Know somethin’? Yer right, everypony. Things ain’t gonna get any better if I ain’t tryin’. Ah'm... still worried an’ scared. Ah got more confusion bottled in mah noggin than ah ever thought possible, but one thing is clear. Ah have to find a way to get Silver back t’ Ponyville, no matter what it takes. Even... even if he can’t stand t’ look at me ever again.”
“Well, your mane is a disaster, but I think that a stallion like Silver could overlook such a tragedy.”
“Thanks, Rarity, you sure know how t’ lift mah spirits,” Applejack replied, chuckling softly.
“I heard that, Applejack, you laughed!” Pinkie squealed, cheering wildly.
“Yeah, ah guess I did. Haven’t had much of a cause to lately, but it sure feels nice.”
“So what are you going to do now, Applejack?” Rainbow asked.
“Ah don’t really know. Ah need t’ reach Silver somehow, but ah don’t think goin’ back t’ Manehatten this soon is such a good idea.”
“How about writing a letter? Spike could have it there in no time.”
“Twilight, that’s a great idea! Do ya mind if ah come over right now t’ write it?”
“Well, you may be assailed by my daughter the moment you set hoof in the door, but I have no issues with it.”
“Sorry, everypony, our group day out is gonna have to wait a bit. Fer now, ah have some writin’ t’ do.”
“Woohoo! Applejack’s gonna win her stallion back!” Applejack didn’t bother to correct Pinkie on this point, mainly because it filled her with an unexplainable sense of comfort. Her friends all went their separate ways at the edge of the farm. Applejack followed Twilight, trying not to make eye contact with anypony.
“You can relax, Applejack. After you left I gave everypony fair warning. You shouldn’t have any more problems.”
“What kind of warnin’?”
“I may have threatened town-wide, pregnancy status magical punishments to anypony who is rude to you.”
“Oh Celestia, that must have turned some heads.”
“Being on fire helped my authenticity, I’m sure.” Applejack couldn’t stop the snickers that bubbled forth, imagining the scene in her head. She turned as somepony called her name, and found Lyra and Bon Bon trotting towards her.
“We’re sorry for treating you like that, Applejack,” Lyra offered before turning to Bon Bon.
“Yeah, that was pretty rotten of us.”
“Ah fergive you two. Don’t worry, one way ‘r another, ahm gonna bring Silver back, ah promise.” Relieved that they had appeased the lavender mare who hadn’t ceased giving them the look she normally reserved solely for Dawn when she was in one of her less than reasonable moods, the two trotted away to let their nerves calm down. Along the way to the library a few more apologies came, and like kindling to a sputtering flame, a small blaze grew from within, oppressing the shadows of sorrow that had maintained undisputed dominance the last few days. A sudden shining star banished the shadows into hiding as Applejack stepped into the library to find Dawn sleeping quietly in Cerulean’s grasp as he lay on the couch, both enjoying an afternoon nap. They both came awake as the door closed, and Applejack suddenly found her muzzle clamped shut by the excited filly’s hooves as she teleported onto the unsuspecting mare’s face.
“Ajack!” Releasing her death grip, Dawn clambered onto Applejack’s head and began running a thoughtful hoof through her mane. It was the first time the filly had seen Applejack without her hat, and she immediately began comparing their hair.
“Hey there, Dawn. You sure seem happy.”
“Sharp as always, got that from yer mother, ah reckon. You’re right, no hat.” The filly continued several trials of running a hoof through the earth pony’s hair, each time hitting a knot. Using her ponytail as a rope, the filly slid down and ran upstairs.
“I sure don’t get any credit,” Cerulean muttered, sitting up and yawning.
“That’s not true, Cerulean. I reward you plenty for your progress,” Twilight said with a wink before realizing that such comments were likely not appropriate given Applejack’s current condition.
“So, about that letter...”
“Right, let me just grab some parchment and a quill. Spike? Can you come down here, please?” Ever the faithful assistant, Spike came dashing out of the kitchen and stood to attention. “You know, if you’re going to insist on stealing my ice cream, the least you could do is wipe your mouth.”
“Oh man, I’m busted, aren’t I.”
“Just go get cleaned up and come back.” Spike returned a short while later, clean and ready to write.
“Actually, Spike, ah wanna right the letter mahself. Ahm gonna need you t’ send it, though. Just give me a few minutes, ok?”
“Sure thing, Applejack.” She wandered into the kitchen and sat staring at the parchment for a moment.
“What am ah supposed t’ say? Ah don’t wanna sound demandin’, but ah want him t’ know how bad ah want ‘im t’ come back, too. I ain’t that great with words, either.”
“Applejack, just write the truth. Write what’s on your heart, and that will be enough.”
“Thanks, Twilight, you’re right.”
“Well, I have a good teacher,” she beamed, again forgetting Applejack was present and kissing Cerulean unashamedly.
“Take the mushy elsewhere so ah can write, you two.”
“Right, sorry.” They both left as the quill met the page, translating the condition of her heart into written word. A short while later she called for another page, and Twilight delivered three just to be safe. So absorbed was she that she didn’t feel Dawn untie her hair, having returned from the second floor while Cerulean and Twilight were engaged in one of their whispered discussions. Applejack’s hoof slipped as her head was suddenly yanked to the side, and she pulled back her hair to reveal Dawn hanging with her hooves just off the ground, her jaw clamped around a foal sized brush.
“Uh, Dawn? What’re you doin’?” The filly giggled at the silly question and pointed a hoof at her mane.
“Hmmm, ah reckon it is. All right, you can comb mah hair, but try not t’ yank it like that. It makes it hard t’ write.” However, due to the extremely knotted condition of her hair, even removing the brush was a task, and after several firm yanks, Applejack removed it and handed it back to Dawn, who decided to start with her tail, since it was much closer to the ground. Applejack’s tail was just as difficult, and she paused to smile as Dawn’s frustrated grunts temporarily distracted her.
“No... work!” Patience was not something given to Dawn, who closed her eyes and augmented the size of the brush, since the problem clearly lay with the instrument and not the operator. Applejack was too absorbed in her writing to notice the bright flash of light behind her, but she did, however, notice being yanked over backwards in her seat. She shook her head and sat up, turning to find the guilty filly staring back at her with an oversized brush levitating beside her. Nearly all of Applejack’s tail was tangled in the fibers, and the foal returned the brush to normal size and flung it to the ground.
“Ajack, hair mess hard. No work!”
“Couldn’t ‘ave said it better mahself, Dawn.” Scooping the filly up and setting her atop her head, she set the chair upright and sat down. “Let’s do it together when ah'm done with mah letter. How’s that sound?”
“That’s right. Ah want Silver t’ come back.” Dawn watched as Applejack put the last few touches on the letter and set down the quill. Having mastered every facet of artistic expression, Dawn immediately snatched the quill and set about drawing a picture on the empty canvas that was the bottom half of the page. “Dawn, is that... me an’ Silver?” It was crude, but the likeness couldn’t be denied. Seeing as how the answer to her inquiry was painfully clear, Dawn snickered and used the one word she’d picked up from a certain energetic mare.
“Duh is right, ah don’t know what ah was thinkin’. Come on, then, time t’ fix mah hair.” Dawn followed Applejack out to the living room with the brush in tow. “Spike, can you send this t’ Silver Moonshine, please?”
“Sure thing, Applejack.” Spike took a deep breath and the letter was off. Cerulean and Twilight watched as Applejack gave their daughter brief instructions on technique before holding the filly’s hoof in her own and helping her through the motions. An hour long tug of war later, Applejack’s mane finally met Dawn’s standards, whereupon the filly plopped down in front of Applejack and levitated the brush towards her.
“I haven’t seen Applejack look that at peace in a long time,” Cerulean whispered as he observed the genuine smile that was spreading ear to ear on Applejack’s face. Twilight nodded, leaning against his shoulder.
“You’re going to make a great mother someday, Applejack.”
“Huh? What’re you talkin’ about, Twilight? Ah haven’t even thought about that none. Ah can’t even find a decent stallion without scarin’ him away. But, now that you’ve said it...” She dropped silent, the brush poised above the foal’s head, who leaned back to see what the problem was and fell back. Instinctively Applejack reached out and caught the foal, lifting her back to her original position and resuming the luxurious grooming treatment. Twilight didn’t know how right she was. It was something that had never crossed Applejack’s mind, but sitting there with Twilight’s daughter, a new longing flared to life. “Ah guess you’re right, Twilight. Ah never thought about it much before, but ah would like t' be a mother someday. Ah don’t care if it means ah can’t work the farm, or drink alcohol, or anythin’. Even if ah become the crankiest mare in the history o’ Ponyville...”
“Sorry, Applejack. You'll get your foal someday, but the trophy for 'crankiest pregnant mare ever to endanger Ponyville' is mine.”