“Ah’m tellin’ ya, ya pink ball of fuzz, there ain’t no fruit better than apples!”
“You’re wrong! Cherries are the best fruit, hooves down!”
Rainbow Dash propped her head on her hooves and sighed, gazing at her two friends. Applejack and Pinkie Pie were right in each other’s faces, staring the other down with a glare that would wilt flowers. The way they’ve been carrying on, Rainbow thought idly, you’d think that they were arguing about something really important.
Another sigh of exasperation escaped the rainbow pegasus’s mouth. “You guys have been arguing about this for an hour straight. Can’t you just, I dunno, agree to disagree, or something?”
“No chance!” Pinkie Pie announced. “Not until I enlighten our dear friend Applejack here and open her eyes to the truth! And that truth is that cherries are the best fruit in Equestria!”
“No, they ain’t!” Applejack nearly screamed in frustration. “Ah’ve told ya a hundred times over, Pinkie. Apples are the only fruit deservin’ of the title “Best Fruit in Equestria!””
“Ugh,” Rainbow Dash groaned, rubbing her temples with her hooves. She was glad that they had picked a day where Sugarcube Corner was empty to argue, at least. The lack of ponies meant a slow business day, sure, but also meant they were spared any strange looks that this shouting match might have drawn.
“Girls, girls!” Twilight Sparkle meandered in to Sugarcube Corner with a very surprised look on her face. “What in the name of Equestria is going on here?”
“She’s being stubborn!” Pinkie Pie yelled, pointing an accusing hoof at Applejack.
“She’s bein’ blind!” Applejack yelled back, pointing a hoof at Pinkie Pie.
“They’re arguing about fruit,” Rainbow Dash informed Twilight.
“Not just any fruit! The very best tip top shape fruit in all of Equestria!” Pinkie produced a pristine and delicious looking cherry from thin air. “The cherry!”
Applejack delved into the entropy of Pinkie Pie, producing her own apple from the veil between dimensions. She took a loud and juicy bite from the apple, as if to emphasize her point. “Ah hate to say it for the TENTH TIME, Pinkie, but yer wrong,” the orange mare said smugly around a mouthful of apple.
Pretty soon, both ponies had dissolved into their shouting match again, supporting their respective fruit.
“They’ve been at it for over an hour, Twilight,” Rainbow Dash sighed. “And I’ve been stuck here listening to them.”
“Why didn’t you just fly away and go do… pegasus stuff?” Twilight asked.
“Because today’s the day I was supposed to hang out with Pinkie Pie!” Rainbow grabbed Twilight by the shoulders and shook her violently. “Do you KNOW how boring it is listening to an argument about fruit!?”
“Exactly!” Rainbow threw her hooves into the air, letting the dizzy Twilight fall to the ground moaning. “You gotta find some way to stop them!”
“Uhh…” Twilight shook her head, dispelling the tiny Celestia’s that were dancing in front of her eyes. “Sounds like there’s only one thing to do!”
Twilight’s hoof hit the ground, magically silencing the two arguing mares. “Girls, it seems to me that the only way to resolve this argument is through a debate!”
“Say what now?” Applejack cocked her head at her purple friend.
“A debate is used to formerly resolve a difference of opinions,” Twilight explained. “There’s a panel of an odd number of judges that will listen to both sides of the argument, and at the end of the debate will make their decisions. Questions would be posed to the debaters from a designated questioner, and each debater would have a limited amount of time to make their case in favor of their opinion.”
“A debate, huh,” Applejack put a musing hoof to her chin.
“Will there be refreshments? Like candy canes and cotton candy and cranberry punch?” Pinkie bounced around Sugarcube corner, throwing out ideas for possible snacks.
“Pinkie, you should be more worried about making your case against Applejack,” Twilight pointed out.
“Oh, right!” Pinkie Pie was suddenly all business again. “Applejack! I formerly challenge you to a debate! My cherries versus your apples! Whoever wins gets to name their fruit the best in all of Equestria!”
“Yer on, Pinkie,” Applejack spit on a hoof and stuck it out.
“Gross,” Twilight muttered. Pinkie Pie, however, followed suit, spitting on her own hoof and slapping it against Applejack’s outstretched limb.
“It’s on, then!”
“Alright, everypony,” Twilight announced, her voice filled with excitement. “The debate will be tonight at eight o’clock, so don’t be late!”
“Pinkie Pie, I don’t understand why you dragged me up here,” Rainbow Dash complained, gazing wistfully out of her pink friend’s window. The two mares were in Pinkie’s room above Sugarcube corner, with Rainbow lounging against the bed and Pinkie Pie pacing around, muttering incoherently to herself. At her friend’s words, however, Pinkie’s ears twitched.
“Oh, Rainbow Dash,” she said quietly, slowly walking towards the bed with her eyes half open. “I think you know exactly why I brought you up here.”
“Uh, Pinkie?” a blush began to creep over the cyan pegasus’s face. “What’re you doing…?”
“Shh…” Pinkie was on the bed now, and she held a pink hoof up to Rainbow’s mouth. “I need you to be quiet for this.”
A cherry was suddenly shoved in Rainbow’s mouth. “I need to bounce my arguments off of you!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed, bouncing off the bed and back on the floor. “I need somepony to tell me if they’re worth anything or not!”
A tiny sigh (of disappointment?) emanated from Rainbow Dash. “Oh, alright. But can we do this outside?”
Pinkie Pie frowned. “If we go outside, though, ponies will see what I use cherries for! It’s not something that ponies usually like to see in public.”
Pinkie Pie winked. “Gotcha!”
“Applejack, while I’m honored that you would include me in your preparation stages,” Rarity tossed her mane behind her head, “what exactly am I doing?”
“Yer sittin’ there until Ah’ve gathered mah thoughts into a good argument,” Applejack replied, leaning against a tree. The Apple Family Orchard was in full bloom, and the apple flowers upon the trees gave off the most relaxing scent.
“Yes. Sitting here,” Rarity grimaced. “In the dirt.”
“Ah thought ya wouldn’t mind a bit o’ the outdoors, after the Sisterhooves Social and all.”
“Well, it’s not that I mind, really. It’s just that you can see dirt so well against my white coat…”
“Quit yer bellyachin’,” Applejack grinned at her friend. “Ya won’t be out here fer long. Ah’ve been around apples all mah life, so it shouldn’t be hard t’ make some winnin’ arguments, right?”
“You’ve already been sitting here for thirty minutes, dear, and not a single argument has come from you yet.”
Grumbling, Applejack pulled the brim of her hat down over her eyes. “Okay, so it might be a bit harder than Ah expected…”
“Well, I can certainly think of a few interesting facts about apples,” Rarity mused.
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Well, apple seeds have a trace amount of arsenic in them.”
“Arsenic,” Rarity grimaced. “Though I doubt that’ll help.”
“Why not? It sounds pretty darn cool.”
“Arsenic is poison, Applejack.”
“Oh, right. Ah knew that.”
Applejack threw her hooves up into the air. “Why does this debatin’ stuff gotta be so hard to prepare?”
“Well, look at it this way,” Rarity said helpfully. “If you’re having trouble thinking about arguments for your apples, think about how hard it must be for poor Pinkie Pie.”
“She’s been usin’ those cherries on her desserts for Celestia knows how long!” Applejack groaned. “She’s gonna have no trouble thinkin’ up things for the debate!”
“Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way,” Rarity said quietly. “Applejack, why do you grow apples?”
“Because Ponyville needs them to survive,” Applejack responded automatically.
“And because th’ Apple family makes the best apple cider in all o’ Equestria.”
“And because nopony can deny that the Apple Family apple fritters ain’t the most delicious-like tastin’ apple treat they’ve ever laid their hooves on!”
Rarity leaned back against her own tree. “There’s your arguments right there.”
Applejack grinned and swept her friend into a huge hug. “Rarity, yer a genius! Ah could kiss ya right now!”
“Please don’t, I just washed my face.”
Darkness soon descended over Ponyville, but it was anything but quiet. Ponies flocked to the town square, where a makeshift stage had been constructed. They filled the entire square, and yet still more came, nestling themselves on lamps, hay bale carts, and flower beds. Pegasus ponies filled the skies as everypony prepared to listen to the debate that would finally put the age-old question of “what is the best fruit, really?” to rest.
“Wow, I haven’t seen this many ponies since Iron Will was in town,” Twilight remarked to a very self-satisfied Rainbow Dash. The two mares were standing on the stage behind the big blue curtain, peeking out from the gap in the middle. “Where did they all come from?”
“Oh, you know, Ponyville. And other places,” Rainbow Dash said vaguely.
“How did you get word out so fast?”
Rainbow Dash grinned and launched into a lengthy description of how she single-hoofedly grabbed Cloudsdale, morphed it into a giant megaphone, and then flew all across Equestria screaming the news that an epic debate that would finally resolve all fruit-related arguments was going to be held in Ponyville.
“And that,” she concluded, “is how Equestria was made!”
“Really, Rainbow Dash?” Twilight sighed, facehoofing. “An overused joke and a total lie to top it off?”
“Yeah, I didn’t think you’d buy that,” the cyan pegasus shrugged. “Really, I just tied a whole bunch of fliers to Derpy and pointed towards Cloudsdale, telling her to fly there and back as fast as possible.”
“Good thinking,” Twilight nodded. “Now, where’s the microphone?”
“Right here, egghead,” Rainbow Dash said good-naturedly, shoving a microphone stand towards her lavender friend. “Knock ‘em dead.”
“This is a debate, not a karaoke marathon,” Twilight replied, wrapping the microphone in her magic. “I’m just here to announce the competitors.”
With a cheer, the stage curtain began to open. Rainbow Dash leaped off the stage into the crowd of ponies below as Twilight gazed out across the audience impassively. Twilight nodded to the sides of the stage, signaling Big Macintosh and Fluttershy to push out two podiums. They set them up on either side of Twilight, and then quickly exited the stage.
A grin erupted over Twilight’s face. “Fillies and gentlecolts, stallions and mares of all ages, welcome one, welcome all to Ponyville’s first debate!”
Hundreds of pony hooves stomped against the ground and cheered at the announcement. Spike, who was situated on Rainbow Dash’s back, leaned forward and said, “Jeez, do the ponies in Ponyville have nothing better to do?”
Rainbow Dash shrugged, nearly knocking her rider off. “Who knows,” she replied. “Maybe they just came to see Pinkie Pie arguing.”
“We have two fantastic debaters for you tonight,” Twilight continued, voice light and happy. “Our first debater is a pony we all know and love, somepony who makes our lives bright with smiles and fills our bellies with delicious confectionaries. She’s the pony of parties, the cheerer of cherries, and the fuchsia filly. It’s my pleasure to introduce… PINKIE PIE!”
Pinkie Pie literally bounced onto the stage, wearing a giant cherry-shaped hat. She carried a large bowl of cherries in her mouth, and when she got to the podium, she flung the bowl into the crowd, who cheered and scrambled to get one.
“Our second debater is one of Ponyville’s hardest workers. She’s one of the most important ponies in our community, she’s honest, she’s a family pony, and she’s downright honest. She’s the arbiter of apples, the paragon of ponies, and the honest honorary her. Give it up for… APPLEJACK!”
Applejack strode onto the stage, wearing a very dignified pony suit with an apple lapel pin. She had taken a very thorough bath (at Rarity’s encouragement), and her triage of apples cutie mark shone in the lights of the stage. She had doffed her red hair bands that were usually present, opting instead to let it hang loose. Her cowpony hat, on the other hoof, was still affixed to her head. She winked at the crowd, who met the action with wolf-whistles.
“Next, let’s introduce the judges,” Twilight continued, hopping off the stage. “Our first judge is a self-proclaimed expert in the various fruits, and the wines that are made from them. Stamp your hooves for Berry Punch!”
A light red mare waved a hoof at the crowd, hiccupping and giggling.
“Our second judge is a very dignified mare who has an ear to the ground. After all, you don’t get elected if you’re ignorant of the going-ons! Give it up for the Mayor of Ponyville!”
“It’s my pleasure to do my part in this,” the mayor waved a grey hoof at the crowd. “Don’t forget me in the voting booths!”
“Our third and fourth judges are surprising volunteers,” Twilight grinned, feeling a pun coming on. “In fact, a pony could even say we were royally shocked to hear from them! Let’s hear it for Princesses Celestia and Luna!”
Groans and cheers came in equal number from the crowd as the two royal sisters gave a wave and a smile.
“And our final judge…” Twilight trailed off, coming to a halt in front of a fifth empty seat. “Where’s our final judge?” She asked, looking pointedly at Rainbow Dash, who simply shrugged again.
“Ah, no matter. We’ll fix the issue if it arises. I, Twilight Sparkle, will be serving as the referee and the question presenter for this debate. So, without any further delay, let The Great Debate commence!”
With a flash of magic and a change of attitude, Twilight appeared in a seat that was in the middle of the stage and faced the two debating ponies.
“Alright. The first question for tonight’s debate is as follows: ‘How does your fruit contribute to Equestria?’ Debaters, you have five minutes to respond, and Pinkie Pie starts.”
“Thank you, Twilight,” the pink pony folded her hooves over the podium leaning forward. “Ponies gathered here tonight, picture this: you’re enjoying your favorite dessert. It’s chocolate ice cream, your favorite kind.”
“I don’t like chocolate ice cream!” came a call from the audience.
“Can it, you!” Pinkie screamed, pointing a hoof in their general direction. “As I was saying, you’re enjoying your dessert after a long day. Suddenly, you realize something is missing. What dessert is complete, after all, without a cherry on top?” She slammed her hooves against the podium. “It’s an outrage! So, you go to your icebox, looking for the delicious little red fruit. But all you can find are boring apples!” she threw her hooves into the air. “It’s the worst possible thing!”
“I would like to remind both debaters,” Twilight said firmly, “that attacks against the other debater and/or fruit are strictly prohibited. Also, your time is up, Pinkie.”
Crossing her front hooves and scowling, Pinkie Pie nodded. “Chimycherries and cherrychongas and chimmycherrychongas.”
“And with that,” Twilight frowned at her pink friend, “it’s your turn, Applejack. How do apples contribute to Equestria?”
“Thank ya kindly, Twi’. Now, ya’ll know that apples aren’t just a staple of everypony’s diet, but they’re also a very diverse fruit. Ya can put apples in anythin’! Apple pie, apple fritters, apple butter, and even,” she wiggled her eyebrows at Berry Punch, “hard apple cider.”
Twilight cleared her throat. “For the sake of fairness, appealing to a judge’s personal tastes will be ruled dilatory, and should be avoided.”
“Mah sincerest apologies, Twi’,” Applejack said with a smile, winking at Berry Punch. “Also, growin’ apple trees have been a great source of employment throughout the nation. More ponies are workin’ in apple orchards than in cherry orchards, that’s for darn sure.”
Twilight pounded a hoof against her table. “No attacks against the opposition! Your time is up, Applejack. Pinkie, you now have three minutes to make a rebuttal.”
“All I can say is that ponies would be really really really really really really unhappy about not having cherries on their desserts! And that makes me unhappy!” the pink mare stretched her face into a frown.
“Is that all?” Twilight asked.
“Mah only comment is that apples are really darn important to the well-being o’ Equestria.”
“That’s all you have to say?”
“Oookay then. On to the second question…”
“Eesscuze me –hic!- Mish Twilight?” Berry Punch raised a hoof. “Ih’m ready to maek my deshisens!”
“But the debate hasn’t even lasted for twenty minutes!” Twilight protested.
“And thasht’s ten minutes toooooo looong!”
“I’m sorry, Twilight, but I’ve already reached my decision, too,” the Mayor said apologetically. “And I have personal business to tend to very shortly.”
“We have also reached a decision!” Princess Luna said triumphantly. “And by we I mean me!”
“As have I,” Princess Celestia said. “This has really been fun!” Cheers of agreement came from the crowd at her words.
“It didn’t last long enough to be fun!” Twilight protested. She turned to the audience. “What about you all? Have you heard enough to be finished with this?”
“YES!” they all cried in unison.
“Oh, for the love of… alright, fine. Berry Punch, what is your decision?”
“I tchink that apples win!” she said. Promptly after making her announcement, she collapsed onto the table and started snoring.
“I have to agree with Berry Punch,” the mayor said simply. “Apples are just too important to Ponyville’s economy to not pick as the best fruit.”
“You’re all traitors!” Pinkie Pie accused, waving a hoof at the two judges frantically. “You’re never getting another cherry on your desserts for as long as I live!”
“Pinkie, calm down!” Twilight ordered. “We have two other judges still!”
“We would like to cast our vote for cherries!” Luna announced. “We find them extraordinarily delicious on all things we eat, and they are our favorite snack!”
Princess Celestia nodded in agreement. “Luna said it better than I can. Cherries are the highest fruit in demand around the palace, because we eat them all the time.”
“So, that’s two votes for cherries, and two votes for apples…” Twilight frowned. “It’s a tie! We can’t have a tie, that’s not how debates work! We need another qualified judge!”
“But who do we pick?” Applejack asked, looking out to the crowd.
“Why not pick them?” Pinkie Pie pointed… somewhere.
“Pick who? The entire audience?” Twilight cocked her head in confusion.
“No, silly filly. Them!” and, with the sound of breaking glass, shattered the invisible fourth wall.
“Oh, right! Good idea!” turning to face you, Twilight smiled. “Alright, readers. In our infinite pony wisdom, we have decided to leave the fate of this debate up to you! Give us your opinion on which fruit is the best fruit, and be sure to tell us why!”
“And hurry up!” Pinkie Pie and Applejack said in unison. “I can’t wait to tell her how wrong she was!”
Leave your opinion in the comments below!