I'm an aspiring writer looking to cut my teeth with short stories, and what better way than to write about ponies? I also have a DeviantArt account under the same username.
Applejack tossed, turned, and wanted sleep, but she couldn't drift off. Ever since she discovered what Fluttershy did, she was torn and what Big Mac told her was bothering her. She was beginning to question herself. Was she really in love with Fluttershy? Did their friendship even matter to her? She was always so proud of the fact that she would fight anypony right up to Celestia herself if any one of her friends were hurt, but now that the chips are down and there were hard times ahead what did she do? She turned tail and ran. She knew that sleep wasn't going to happen tonight. She got up and walked over to her dresser where she kept her hat. The only tangible thing left to her by her father. Sure, she had memories, but the hat was something different. It gave her comfort when she needed it, and she certainly needed it now.
She reached for it and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She got a better look and saw the face of a coward. The face of a traitor stared back at her, and she was stunned. She looked back at the hat and a sudden wave of emotion hit her. She backed away from it as though it were alive and left her room. She suddenly felt that she did not deserve to wear that hat anymore.
The night was clear and crisp, and Applejack knew that this would be a night of reflection. She thought about many things, often at the same time, so she would not think of Fluttershy. She remembered the day she discovered her attraction for fillies. It was just after she got her cutie mark and she was showing it off to her classmates. A filly that Applejack vaguely remembered just got her cutie mark and Applejack complimented her on it, but she couldn't help but stare at her flank. Thankfully, nopony noticed and she was able to get back to her seat, but the seed had been planted. She began to notice other fillies and before long, there was a little rumor going around about Applejack. Fortunately, the Apples were respected enough in Ponyville that the rumors didn't last long. It was funny since the rumors were true, and Applejack knew it.
She gave up. Sitting down she closed her eyes and began to think about Fluttershy. It was ironic that it was only three months ago that she was sitting by that very tree thinking of that pegasus when shortly after she received the poorly written note that started their relationship. Applejack looked up half expecting to see another note fall from the sky, but saw something much better. She caught a glimpse of a pegasus flying toward Ponyville. She stood up but it was gone, and she did not know if it was real.
"I'm sorry Fluttershy," she said softly. She was thirsty so she walked over to a bucket of water and was about to drink. Once again, there was the face of the traitor, but this time it had something to say.
'You sure don't look sorry. In fact, I'd say ya'll are glad to be rid of her.'
Applejack stared at the reflection for a moment and tried to walk away.
'Glad ya didn' deny it.'
"You're wrong. Ah love her," Applejack growled quietly.
'If ya say so."
She turned back to the reflection and yelled, "Why won't anypony believe me?"
'Could it be cause ya'll done up and left her now,' the voice asked sarcastically.
Applejack sighed and said nothing. What could she say? That she didn't betray Fluttershy. That was a lie and she knew it. She looked at her reflection and asked, "She really did change me didn' she?"
The reflection smiled and said, 'More than you realize. Ya'll are seeing things in a new light and it scares you. You know that the world ain't divided in neat little pieces with right and wrong in their own pens. Fluttershy is trapped in the gray, and she needs you.'
"But how," Applejack screamed, "I'm just a dumb farm pony! How am I supposed to help her?"
The reflection went silent, and Applejack had to think. She turned to continue walking when she heard, 'At least drink something. No point in coming to a trough if'n you ain't gonna drink.'
She smiled and drank from the bucket feeling a bit refreshed. The reflection still looked like a traitor, but a traitor shamed. 'It's a start,' she thought to herself. She had a great deal of thinking to do.
Both Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were flying towards Ponyville Library. All they had been able to determine was that they needed the list of victims in order to prove Fluttershy had to kill Grey Ring.
"So," Rainbow asked, "What's the plan?"
Fluttershy was wondering the same thing. The past twenty-four hours have been horrible for the yellow pegasus. First, she commits murder, a murder that she knew had to happen, and then she finds out Grey Ring is from a rich and powerful family. Now she is wanted for murder, and her oldest friend is a fugitive. Fluttershy could feel the weight of all her recent choices bear down on her like a sack of bricks, and she desperately wanted to just land and hide somewhere. It was a black pit in her heart and it was growing. She shook her head, looked back to her friend, and said, "I don't know. I think we should split up and one of us distracts Twilight while the other sneaks into her study.
Rainbow nodded and said, "Good idea. You should do the distracting. Make it look like you're considering turning yourself in, but stall. That should give me the time I need to grab the scroll. Twilight is such a neat freak that Spike has to have it spotless."
Fluttershy nodded and said, "I don't want to lie to her. If she has her study neat then we won't need much time. I'm certain that she will try to hold me somehow, so I'll have to be quick. I just hope that we can be quiet. I don't want Spike to get involved, but he is a heavy sleeper so it might not be a problem" She let a soft sigh. "Why do I have to fight my friends," she asked.
"Fluttershy, Twilight is just doing what she thinks is right, and Applejack," Rainbow paused. She wanted to tell Fluttershy that Applejack betrayed her, but that would crush her, "Well, Applejack is such a stickler for honesty that she can't see things aren't cut and dry. I don't blame her though. I wish things were simple." She was being honest with Fluttershy, and really wished that things could be the simple adventures that they were used to.
They arrived at the library and were waiting for the time to move. With a nod, both pegasi separated with Rainbow headed to Twilight's study window, and Fluttershy to the front door.
The night had an oppressive feel that Pinkie Pie couldn't shake. She decided to stay with Twilight at the library. She lied and said it was to keep her company, but she really wanted to make sure she kept her word to give Fluttershy more time.
She looked out the window and saw the night was clear. There was supposed to be rain tonight, but Rainbow was the only weather pony that worked this time of the year. Pinkie was grateful for the beautiful night. An oppressive night to go with the atmosphere would have been crushing to the pink party pony.
Parties. That was, at least in Pinkie's mind, the only thing that made her unique, and tonight she felt nothing but shame for it. She wanted to lie down, get some sleep, and stop beating herself up. 'I just know there is something I can do to help Dashie and Fluttershy,' she thought to herself. Still, the never-ending thoughts of parties danced through her head. Each one more infuriating with the last one causing her to scream when her mind pictured a banner at Fluttershy's burial reading, 'We put the 'fun' back in funeral!'
A light came on upstairs and Twilight Sparkle made her way down. She was angry and planned to yell at Pinkie, but stopped when she saw her crying. "Pinkie, what's wrong?"
Pinkie looked up at Twilight and said, "I'm sorry for waking you. I just can't stop thinking of parties."
"Well it is what you know," Twilight said, "It would be like me trying to stop thinking about books." She was trying to be reassuring but Pinkie's next outburst told her it wasn't going to happen.
"Well at least with books you can help Fluttershy," Pinkie screamed with tears streaming down her face, "How can a party help? Two of my best friends are out there! Alone and in need of help and all I can do is think of streamers and balloons!" She stopped and a glint appeared in her eye. "I gotta go," she exclaimed and ran out of the library headed home.
'Random or not,' Twilight thought to herself, 'She really wants to help. Don't feel bad Pinkie. I have no idea what to do either.' She looked at the library, and for the first time didn't feel proud that she had read each book on the shelf. She felt ashamed. There was nothing in the books about what to do when a dear friend is in trouble and one is stuck between loyalties. Who should she betray? Her mentor and ruler, or her friend the kindest and gentlest pony she had every known? Twilight sighed and felt a gust of air that she assumed was the wind. She closed the door, turned around, and was stunned to see the yellow and pink pegasus hovering before her. She was about to speak when she saw the look on Fluttershy's face. She wasn't here to turn herself in. She wanted something.
"I'm here for that list," Fluttershy said.
"Fluttershy, I can't give it to you."
"I'm not asking," Fluttershy floated closer her face deathly serious, and Twilight unconsciously flinched. "I'm not here to hurt you, but I need that list."
The pegasus gave her a warm smile and placed her hoof on her shoulder and said, "It's best that you don't know. I don't want you to have to lie to the Princess. Now please give me the list."
"I'm sorry Fluttershy. I can't. I have to keep you here." Her horn began to glow as she began to cast a holding spell on Fluttershy. She expected the pegasus to attempt to flee, but she just floated there smiling warmly. 'I'm sorry Fluttershy,' she thought, closed her eyes, and cast the spell.
The time between closing her eyes and casting the spell is less than half a second. Fluttershy had seen Twilight cast enough spells to know that. It wasn't instant. She had time to move, but there was simply no room for error. As soon as she saw Twilight begin to close her eyes, she shot upward causing the spell to miss her tail. She turned toward Twilight's study hoping Rainbow had found the scroll already.
The plan was simple; Rainbow was to sneak into Twilight's study while Fluttershy stalled. They thought the study would be neatly organized like the library would often be, and Fluttershy decided to be direct and ask for the scroll. Upon seeing the study, Rainbow realized that Spike never cleaned this room. It was a mess. Scrolls were scattered everywhere and since none were labeled, there was no telling where the scroll they were looking for was. Rainbow hurried to the desk and searched for any scroll that looked recent. There were a few and she scooped them up with her forelegs and flew out the window. She was about to signal for Fluttershy to escape when she saw a flash of a spell being cast. She looked into the window and saw Fluttershy above Twilight. Both the unicorn and yellow pegasus stared at each other and Twilight began to cast another spell. Rainbow used this opportunity to tap the window, and Fluttershy then bolted for the door.
Twilight anticipated this and added a weak tracking spell. However, she was more than a little annoyed that Fluttershy was able to dodge the initial spell, so she added more force to this new one. The spell went off and just as she planned it followed Fluttershy, but it hit with far too much force and slammed her into the bookcase. Fluttershy felt the force of the spell and the pain of hitting the bookcase. She was relieved, slightly though, that she wasn't held in place. She looked at Twilight and saw her working on another spell. Fluttershy knew that she wouldn't be able to react in time, so she grabbed a book that had fallen near her with her mouth and flung it towards Twilight. Twilight was in the process of casting a proper holding spell and was stunned when the book hit her in the face.
Luckily, it stopped the spell, and Fluttershy then took to the air and soared out of the library with Rainbow.
Twilight shook her head and put a hoof to her nose. She wasn't bleeding but she was definitely angry, "Spike," she screamed, "Take a letter!"
Rarity was back at her boutique. She trusted Twilight to keep her word to give Fluttershy the time she needed to turn herself in to the authorities. That was until she began to read the newspaper. She had a subscription to the Fillydelphia Gazette and had just recently received the late edition. She opened it up quickly upon seeing that Grey Ring's death was front-page news. She read the article with growing horror:
Weather Factory owner Storm Ring received some troubling news today. His only child, a son, Grey Ring was found dead early this afternoon. Police haven't released any information as to the cause of death or any possible suspects. Grey Ring's father had this to say, "The thought of my only son ripped from the world is unbearable, and I will not rest until the heartless fiend is brought to justice and receives the harshest possible penalty." That decision is up to the courts, but we sympathize with this poor stallion. Another article disturbed Rarity as well.
We conducted a poll after we received word of Grey Ring's death, and most ponies feel that the rumors that Grey Ring sexually assaulted mares were nothing more than lies aimed to hurt his father. Among those we polled said:
"I don't believe that anypony so rich would do something like that. Grey could have gotten anypony he wanted, but of course the court of public opinion says he had to have done it. I bet it was an ex that wanted to hurt his family."
That seems to be the general consensus regarding this matter. We will have more as the story develops.
Rarity set the paper down and looked back to the library. The clear night provided perfect visibility, and Rarity was stunned when she saw a flash come from inside the library. She knew what it was, being a unicorn that Twilight was practicing or defending herself. She was about to turn to go to the library but saw a blur fly away from the library. She was confused and looked closer at the library windows. Her confusion burned away to rage as she saw a familiar green glow emanate from within the library. Twilight had broken her promise to give Fluttershy time. "So you did pick your side," Rarity said softly maintaining her proper composure, but just so. "Well that's fine," She said loudly her composure failing, "You betray my dearest friend, and lie to me. Well Twilight Sparkle if you think you will be receiving any sleep tonight then you are sorely mistaken." She turned to the door and saw Sweetie Belle standing at the door shivering with fear. Rarity looked to her and said, "I'm going out." Before the filly could say anything Rarity said, "I am off to teach Twilight a little something about betrayal, and this will be a lesson she will most certainly not relish in learning." She ran out the door angrier than she had ever been in her life.
Rainbow and Fluttershy were flying away from the library but had to stop on a cloud at Fluttershy's request. Upon landing, Fluttershy stretched her wing and winced slightly, but was relieved that it was nothing severe. "Let's rest here for a moment," she suggested.
"Yeah sure," Rainbow said, "But we can't stick around too long." Rainbow didn't land on the cloud as she still had a small pile of scrolls in her forelegs, and was feeling rather confused. Her earlier confession was meant to comfort Fluttershy and still it felt as though she never said anything truer in her life. She was considering taking it back since she did not want to come between Fluttershy and Applejack, though she didn't feel Applejack deserved Fluttershy. She felt lost and wanted to be reassured, but knew that was a luxury that she couldn't afford. Not while Fluttershy needed her.
Fluttershy stretched her wing again and the pain was lessened. She sat down and looked up at Rainbow. She wanted to thank her for being there for her, but looking closer Fluttershy could see in her eyes what she saw in Pinkie's the week before. Rainbow was in need of sleep. 'Why can't my friends be free of my suffering,' Fluttershy thought. Fluttershy gave her a small smile and the blue pegasus blushed slightly and smiled in return. She began to feel the pain in her heart once again, and this time it was more pronounced. She remembered Rainbow's confession and wondered if she felt the same. She thought of the possibility of betraying her relationship with Applejack. Did she have a relationship with Applejack anymore? The burden she was carrying was getting heavier, and it felt as though she would sink through the cloud she was resting on. She unconsciously put a hoof to her chest and winced causing Rainbow to sink down to her.
"Are you alright? I know a little first aid but not much."
Fluttershy nodded and said, "I'm fine. It's just that I'm afraid. I don't want to die, Rainbow. I want to see Applejack again, but I don't know if we have anything anymore." She began to shake and screamed, "How could she leave me like that?" She began to cry and the burden was lessened ever so slightly. "I thought she loved me," She cried, "I love her and I thought we had something really special." She looked to Rainbow and said, "I saved you and I will never apologize for that, and Grey will never harm another pony again. I get justice but lose Applejack. It's not fair! I don't deserve this!" She didn't notice but she was already curled up on the cloud and shaking like a leaf.
Rainbow threw the scrolls down and swooped to Fluttershy into her forelegs holding and slowly rocking her. Eventually, Fluttershy calmed down and stopped crying. Rainbow couldn't help herself, "You don't deserve any of this, and Applejack does not deserve you."
Fluttershy looked up at her friend and said, "I love her. That won't change overnight, and I don't think I will ever stop loving her." She slowly got up and said, "Thank you Rainbow. I still want to crawl into a ball and disappear, but I think I can manage for now" She stretched her wing again, felt no pain, and said confidently, "What I don't deserve is you, Rainbow. You are such a good friend to me and I will never be able to repay you."
"How am I a good friend," Rainbow asked with tears in her eyes. She never forgave herself for leaving Fluttershy to that monster, and no matter how many times Fluttershy claims it wasn't her fault will change the fact that Rainbow left her. "After what I did to you," She continued before Fluttershy could interrupt, "And I'm a jerk to you all the time."
Fluttershy giggled and said, "You're just keeping up appearances. We can't have a soft Rainbow Dash now can we."
Rainbow face became sad and a little tired, "That wouldn't be a bad thing sometimes." She froze when Fluttershy threw her legs around her and hugged her. Rainbow hugged her in return and felt a mountain of stress fade from her.
Fluttershy's smile told Rainbow that she was feeling much better. She looked to Rainbow and asked, "Where are the scrolls?"
Rainbow laughed weakly and Fluttershy rolled her eyes. They flew down to the ground and began searching for the scrolls.
Pinkie was back at her home and her hot air balloon was almost ready for flight. She had to feed Gummy and pack a special bag of cupcake rations for Fluttershy and Rainbow for when she found them.
She was in a great hurry and felt horrible at her inability to find a way to help her friends. "Well at least if I can find them I can tell them whose side I'm on. Fluttershy Freedom Fighters," she yelled and jumped into the air as she found her new battle cry.
In no time, she was airborne and headed towards the Everfree Forest. She hoped that she could find her friends. Luck was with her because the pegasi had just finished gathering all the scrolls and were in sight. Her heart began to beat faster and screamed, "Fluttershy! Dashie! Over here!"
"Hey you two," Pinkie shouted, "I was looking for you!" She was in her hot air balloon and had a worried look. Both pegasi took off and stopped when they heard, "Stop! Please," Pinkie was crying, "Don't leave! I want to help you!"
"Well the balloon will support the weight of the scrolls much better than a cloud," Fluttershy said, "And I trust Pinkie." Rainbow nodded and both made their way to the balloon.
Once in the basket, Pinkie gave both of them a big hug, "I was so worried about you two. I'm glad that you got Fluttershy out of there," Pinkie said. She turned to Fluttershy and said, "How could you think of turning yourself in like that? I don't want to lose you!"
"You too," Rainbow asked not knowing what really happened between Pinkie and Fluttershy. "Geez is everypony in love with you."
"What," Pinkie asked, "I don't love Fluttershy. Well, I do, but not love, love, just love, love. You know what I mean?"
Fluttershy started laughing, "I rarely do. You're a very good friend Pinkie." She looked to Rainbow and whispered to Pinkie, "She told me a secret."
"Oh," Pinkie said, "Well, whatever it is, I do not want to know!" She looked at her friends and asked, "So, how can I help?"
"Well for starters," Rainbow said, "Help us find the list Twilight had. It contained the names and hopefully addresses of all rape victims within the last ten years whose attacker was never identified."
"Oh I get it," Pinkie said. Rainbow braced herself for a Pinkie random thought and was stunned when she heard, "Justifiable homicide! Fluttershy, that's a smart move!"
"How the hay did you figure that out," Rainbow asked.
"Well why else would you want to find Grey Meanie's victims if not to get them to help out Fluttershy," Pinkie asked smiling.
"Well your balloon will make traveling easier but you can be spotted," Rainbow said.
"You can't come," Fluttershy said, "It's bad enough that Rainbow is in trouble because of me, I don't want you to be in trouble too."
"Well I'm not exactly asking your permission Fluttershy," Pinkie said, "I want to help and I will." The pink pony looked down and said sadly, "I just don't know how."
"Let's find that scroll first," Rainbow said, "And Pinkie." Pinkie looked at Rainbow, "Don't worry. Just knowing that you're on Fluttershy's side is enough." She felt tears fall from her face and felt no shame for it. Pinkie had picked her side and was neither afraid nor ashamed by it. Rainbow gave her a hug, and was about to begin searching for the scroll when Fluttershy stopped her.
"Rainbow," She said, "Get some sleep." When Rainbow opened her mouth to protest, Pinkie stuffed a cupcake into it. She devoured it and quickly ate another. She was exhausted and welcomed the chance to get some rest. She fell asleep quickly and the other two ponies began to search for the scroll taking care to read each to ensure it was not missed.
Rarity arrived at the library winded but still infuriated. The thoughts of Twilight's lie kept the proper and poised unicorn in a state of irrational rage. She knew she didn't have the physical strength to break the door down, but she did have the magical ability. As she neared the door, she began casting a spell to focus a shockwave before her. Just before she hit the door, she released the spell severely damaging the door and allowing her to break through. "Twilight Sparkle," she screamed, "Get out here you lying traitor! I know you sent a letter to the Princess even though you promised to give Fluttershy a day. You couldn't even give her that after all she's done for us?"
Spike was still awake after sending the letter to the Princess, and knew that Rarity had the wrong idea. "Rarity," he said, "Calm down. You got it all wrong-"
"Spike," Rarity said in tears, "How could you? Fluttershy is our friend and you sentenced her to death!"
"I just did what I was told," Spike pleaded.
"What kind of excuse is that," Rarity shouted, "Are you so incapable of independent thought that you simply obey like an automaton?"
Twilight walked out from the second story study, "Leave him alone Rarity. I ordered him to send the letter, and he protested. I forced him to do so and any anger you have should be directed at me." Her calm demeanor belied the turmoil that was inside the purple unicorn, but she was tired, angry, and not thinking as clearly as she could be, "She came here demanding the last scroll the Princess sent me. It must have been a diversion because when I checked my study a large number of scrolls were stolen. I can only assume that it was Rainbow." She said her rainbow-maned friend's name with more anger than she intended. She looked back down to Rarity and just wanted her gone. "Fluttershy attacked me. That's reason enough to alert the Princess."
Rarity wanted to calm down and listen, but she couldn't. This unicorn had lied that much was clear. "You expect me to believe that Fluttershy attacked you," she spat at Twilight, "Fluttershy of all ponies?"
"She's a murderer," Twilight said with rising anger, "and I'm tired of having to justify myself. This is my decision to make and I should have made it long ago. She is a killer and needs to be-"
"Killed? I never thought I would hear this from you." Rarity shuddered and then screamed, "He raped her!"
"I don't care," Twilight screamed back, "She broke the law and has to answer for it. Maybe if she didn't keep it to herself like a spoiled child he could have been brought to justice!" Twilight was stunned at the words. 'Is this how I really see Fluttershy now? Do I even care about her safety? Was the letter of the law the only thing that mattered?' She didn't have time to process these thoughts as she suddenly found herself in the air.
"You don't care," Rarity hissed the question. "You don't care," she screamed, "Then I shall make you care." She dropped the unicorn from the air and she hit the floor hard.
Twilight wasn't hurt but stunned. She stood up quickly and levitated the horse bust that was on a nearby table. In a blind rage, she threw it at Rarity who casted a levitation to repel it. The resulting battle of magical wills caused the walls of the library to tremble and the bust to hover in a brutal tug-of-war between the unicorns. Both ponies were putting all they could into their spells and illuminated the room with a light that at any other time would be considered beautiful. Twilight had more natural talent than Rarity, but the white unicorn was being fueled by an anger she never knew. Still, Twilight began to gain the upper hoof and Rarity knew it. She had a plan. She lowered the potency of the spell without dismissing it and the bust shot at her. She then sidestepped it and applied more force to the bust causing it to loop around and flung it right back to Twilight who had just enough time to teleport out of the way.
"Guys stop," Spike screamed and jumped between the two fighting unicorns. "This isn't helping Fluttershy!"
"You heard her Spike," Rarity yelled, "She isn't interested in helping Fluttershy. All she cares about is the law!"
"The law is all we have," Twilight screamed back, "Without that we might as well be living in the Everfree Forest!"
"If I have to choose between what is right and the law, I'll gladly live in the forest!"
"The law is right! Can't you see that."
"You have a very sick definition of what is right. Abandoning one of your closest friends and for what? An ideal? You speak of justice, but tell me this Twilight Sparkle, where is Fluttershy's justice? Why must she continue to suffer? I agree she should have confided in us, but can you guarantee that Grey Ring would have been caught?"
"We'll never know now will we?"
Rarity had heard enough and was about to charge at Twilight when a gout of fire shot before her. When her vision cleared, Spike was standing before her.
"I'm sorry Rarity," Spike said with tears in his eyes, "but I can't let you hurt Twilight. Please go home and get some sleep. I can explain in the morning."
Rarity was stunned. She knew that Spike wasn't out to hurt her, and was beginning to calm down a little. Unfortunately, Twilight was still angry and wanted to fight. She levitated the baby dragon, moved him to the basement, and locked the door. "Stay there until one of us opens it for you," Twilight said.
"You intend to go through with this?"
"You strike first and expect to just walk away? I'll gladly remind you who is in charge here, Rarity."
Rarity lowered her head and leaned forward, "Come then, Twilight Sparkle, and may the best unicorn win." Her demeanor immediately darkened and she braced herself for a fight that may very well end one of them.
Spike was pounding on the door to the basement crying not wanting his best friend and the pony of his dreams to kill each other. "Guys," he screamed as loud as he could, "Don't do this! Twilight just tell her what was in the letter!" He took a deep breath and sent a stream of flame toward the door, and though it became slightly charred, it was made specifically to be flame retardant. His flame was simply too weak to burn through. He would pass out before it would do any good. He looked around and saw what he needed. In the back, there were some stored engineering supplies. Twilight was experimenting with combining magic and technology a while back and accidentally created a very unreliable bomb. Spike knew that it was destroyed but remembered that the studious unicorn kept her notes. He ran down the stairs in hopes of being able to patch together something to blast that door open.
Upstairs the air was both tense and electric. The former was the lack of communication between the unicorns. The latter was the magical energy in the air. The ponies had created a small ley-field with their magic and it was increasing the power of both. The two unicorns were staring at each other, eyes burning coals of rage. Their horns began to glow again and they both charged at each other once again entering the fray.
Applejack was still wandering around the orchard trying to sort her thoughts together. She tried to think of what she heard about Grey's father. He was the owner of the largest weather factory in Equestria. 'Don't count for a hill of beans if ya can't ship it,' she thought. She stopped when she had that thought. How did that pop into her head? She suddenly remembered her time in Manehattan with her Aunt and Uncle Orange. They were the kindest of the Oranges to her, and she remembered that they were pleased that Applejack had a head for business. They taught her some terminology of business, and business practices. They didn't tell her what their business was. Still, Applejack was a curious filly and found out.
She suddenly remembered that the Oranges were in the weather shipping business. They controlled the main weather shipping lanes. She remembered reading a newspaper as a filly that stated Celestia passed a law stating that no business or company that manufactures products for shipping could have control of the appropriate shipping lanes. There were ways around it, but it was possible that the Oranges weren't working with Grey's father. 'That's how I can help,' she thought, 'The Oranges should have enough money to help Fluttershy with a lawyer.'
She ran back to her house trying to figure out what to say to her relatives to get their help. She couldn't think of anything, and began to wonder why the Oranges always targeted her. Big Mac was obviously too intimidating looking, but what about Granny Smith? Applejack always thought it was out of respect for elders, but she was never convinced that the Oranges cared for elders. 'There must be some reason that they rarely said a word to Granny,' she thought as she continued to run home. She chuckled to herself, "Maybe she knows where the bodies are buried. But either way I gotta get to Manehattan!"
"This is the one," Pinkie squealed, "There's a medical record for one of the victims." She began to read it skipping the first page and as she continued to read, her coat began to darken slightly and there was less poof in her mane. She closed the folder and when she saw the name of the victim, her mouth dropped and was unable to speak. She turned to Fluttershy and just stared at her. After a few moments, she threw her legs around the pegasus and began to cry.
Fluttershy hugged her friend knowing what she read. "It's ok Pinkie. I'm fine now." She looked at the pink pony and gave her a warm smile.
It wasn't enough. Pinkie shook her head and said, "I know there are meanies out there. I mean there was Gilda, and I thought she was the meanest meanie ever. I never thought somepony could be this, this mean!" She continued to cry, "How can a pony's special talent be to cause pain? It makes no sense!" Pinkie was crying less now and she let go of Fluttershy and said, "I'm sorry Fluttershy. I had no idea that meanie hurt you like that."
Fluttershy hugged Pinkie gently and said confidently, "Well he won't be hurting anypony else." She got the list from Pinkie and looked it over. The list was rather small, but it made sense that even a rich pony like Grey Ring had to show some semblance of restraint. She looked at the nearest victims and saw they were in Cloudsdale and Manehattan. She wasn't in any mood to be in the same city as her parents, so she picked Manehattan. She looked to Pinkie and asked, "Is it ok if we sleep here until sunrise?"
"Of course you can silly," Pinkie said with a smile, "And take the cupcakes. You'll need them."
"Thank you Pinkie," Fluttershy said, "You don't know just how much this means to me." Fluttershy laid down next to Rainbow, and kept thinking about her confession. 'Maybe there is something here for us, Rainbow,' she thought 'I just don't know, and I don't want you hurt.' She drifted off to sleep and Pinkie woke her and Rainbow a few hours later.
Both pegasi hugged Pinkie and she felt much better. Fluttershy said, "Pinkie. Just be you. You'll find a way to help. I believe in you, and I know you'll think of something wonderful."
Pinkie smiled and said, "Thanks Fluttershy. Rainbow," Rainbow turned to Pinkie, "take care of her. I'll do what I can to slow things down here, but I have a bad feeling that it'll spread quickly!"
"That's what I plan to do," Rainbow said with a grin, "There is nothing that I wouldn't do for her, and I imagine you feel the same way."
Pinkie thought for a moment and nodded, "You're right. Fluttershy is such a sweetie that I can't think of life in Ponyville without her."
"Thank you both," Fluttershy said feeling the strength she thought she was losing beginning to return, "I promise when this is over I will find a way to repay you."
Before either Pinkie or Rainbow could respond, Fluttershy was flying in the direction of Manehattan. Rainbow took off and caught up to her easily. Pinkie was left behind in her balloon, but wasn't sad. She was happy that she was able to tell Fluttershy that she really was on her side. Things were about to get complicated, but Pinkie knew that if she just kept a cool head and thought of her friends that she will be able to help the best she can.
She stayed floating in the sky and watched the sunrise knowing that it was a new day and the beginning of an uncertain future for The Elements of Harmony.