It was still early, the sun was just beginning to rise above the horizon, Applejack let a big yawn escape her, she was still tired since she hadn’t slept much the night before. She threw her saddle pack over her shoulder and quietly shut the applebarn doors, making sure not to wake the other sleeping ponies. She let out a long sigh and saw her breath get carried away in the cold breeze.
“I sure could use a smile today, I miss you so much.” Applejack thought to herself. She knew she had a hard day ahead of her. Today marked the third year since Pinkie Pie’s tragic death. She began walking down an old dirt trail facing the rising sun, and disappeared into the orchard.
It was approaching noon when Applejack finally arrived at the old Ponyville Cemetary. She walked up to Pinkie’s headstone and brushed the old leaves off with her tail.
She was a highlight in everypony’s life, she always knew how to make her friends smile.
She truly was the best friend a pony could ask for.
Applejack dropped her saddle pack on the ground next to Pinkie’s headstone and pulled a small blanket out. She spread it out and laid down on it.
“A lots changed since you’ve been gone Pinkie, no pony’s been the same.”
Applejack laid her head down on the blanket and began to remember all the smiles and laughter she shared with Pinkie. Even though she was alone she tried her best to keep her tears held back, she knew Pinkie wouldn’t want her to feel this way, so she did her best to hide it.
“Looky here Pink, I brought ya somethin’”
Applejack reached into her bag with her teeth and pulled out an old photograph of them as young fillies laughing and playing in Sweet Apple Acres.
“I found it in the old apple cellar just the other day when I was cleanin’ ‘er out. It sure brought back some good memories, and a few bad ones.”
Applejack stood up and looked around for a minute, then up at the sun. She noticed she had been there for a few hours now and was still alone.
“What, was everypony else just too busy to bother showin’ up to see an old friend?!”
Applejack was outraged at the lack of ponies who showed up to pay their respects to Pinkie Pie, but then again Ponyville is a dying city.
“I guess I can’t really blame ‘em, things have really changed around here Pinkie. I’m almost glad you didn’t have to watch your home fall apart the way the rest of us did, it really changed us a lot. I’d give just about anything to go back to the good ol’ days, the days when we still had somepony to make us smile.”
Applejack laid on her back, staring up at the gray cloudy sky. She began to think about that day, the day that changed Ponyville forever. She closed her eyes and fell even deeper in thought.
“Come on Big Mac, last one to fill up their apple barrel is a sour apple!” Applejack called out playfully. Big Macintosh and Applejack were busy harvesting apples as quickly as possible. The pegasi were also hard at work preparing a storm, not just any storm, this storm was the final storm of the year before winter. The final storm is always the biggest most fearsome storm of the year.
“I feel the wind starting to pick up, lets hurry and take what we got back to the apple cellar!”
Applejack looked up to the sky and saw black swirling clouds and lighting.
“This looks worse than last years storm don’t cha think Big Mac?”
“Eyup, it sure does.” Big Macintosh replied.
They quickly rushed the apples into the safety of the apple cellar. There they met Granny Smith and a very nervous Applebloom.
“Its about time you got back here, I was gettin’ worried about you two!” Applebloom yelled at them, relieved they made it back before the storm arrived.
“You know we need to save as many apples as we can before this storm blows them all over the ground, dirtyin’ em all up! These apples are our lively hood ya know.” Applejack explained.
They heard large amounts of rain and wind begin to hit the cellar door. Crackling thunder shook some of the apples off the pile and on to the ground. Applejack could sense that something was wrong, but she didn’t say anything to keep Applebloom from worrying more than she already was. She noticed how the cellar door was shaking due to the powerful gusts of wind so she lead the other ponies to the back of the cellar and warned them to keep their heads down if the cellar door happened to swing open. There lying on the floor was an old scrap book she and Pinkie Pie had thrown together when they were still just a couple of young fillies. Applebloom picked out a picture and giggled at the thought of her big sis ever having been so young.
Large hail began to fall, violently crashing into the door. Applebloom dropped the book and began to tightly hug Applejack back leg.
“Now don’t you fret sugar cube, this little old storm’ll be over before you know it.”
“Somethin just doesn’t feel right about this storm, its been goin’ on for far too long now hasn’t it.” Big Macintosh said quietly to Applejack.
She knew he was right but didn’t know what to say. Suddenly the cellar door broke free from its hinges and flew into the air. Applebloom let out a terrified shriek and buried her face into Applejack’s tail.
“Everypony just keep your heads down!”
Applejack quickly stood and crouched over Applebloom, Big Macintosh stood strongly in front of Granny Smith. Applejack felt the rain and wind pelting her flank, it stung but she was still thankful that it had stopped hailing. Debris and dirt filled the cellar as the fierce winds slammed into the ponies. The only thing keeping Applejack from collapsing was her will to protect her little sis.
“I’m scared big sis.”
Applebloom was soaking wet and shivering. She curled herself into a little ball in an attempt to get warm.
“There’s no need to be scared little one, there’s no way no how I’ll ever let anythin’ bad happen to ya, I promise you that little sis.”
Through the pain she mustered up an encouraging smile for Applebloom.
The wind finally began to die down. The rain slowed, then stopped. The ponies all walked outside to see a devastated Sweet Apple Acres. Applebloom looked up into the sky and saw a huge rainbow in between the breaking storm clouds. It almost seemed as if it was pushing them further apart.
“Wow, that sure is some kind of rainbow.” Applejack thought.
She felt a sting on her flank, looked back and saw a few small scrapes and cuts from the twigs and pebbles blown into her by the wind. She took another look at the growing rainbow, and felt an unexplainable sadness fill her chest. With a lump in her throat she told Applebloom to get inside so she can dry off and warm up. Before going inside Applejack looked back, the rainbow was gone, but the sadness was still there.
About an hour later there was a knock on the door. Applejack stood up and gave Big Macintosh a questioning look. He simply shrugged. She walked over to the door and opened it to see Twilight Sparkle standing there with tears in her eyes. Applejack still had a painful lump in her throat which was now keeping her from talking at all.
“Some... something terrible has happened.” Twilight said with a breaking voice. Applejack looked at her with a heart broken expression on her face.
“Its Pinkie Pie. There was an... an accident. She’s no longer with us.” Twilight spoke with tears pouring down her face. Applejack took a few steps back and stood there in disbelief. Dozens of questions filled her mind, what happened, how did it happen, why did this happen. But what came out was,
"Where is she, tell me where she is!"
Twilight looked down and shook her head. Without an answer Applejack pushed past Twilight Sparkle and ran towards Ponyville. She arrived at the outskirts of the city where she met a small crowd of mourning ponies. Among them was Rarity, who immediately ran out and embraced her. Applejack looked past her to see an area taped off and a few officer ponies taking notes.
"Don't go over there Applejack, I'm certain you'll regret it. No pony should endure witnessing such a tragedy."
Rarity's words didn't stop Applejack from running to the scene. She saw the small pink pony laying there covered in dirt and debris. She tried to cross the crime scene tape but was immediately stopped by an officer pony.
"Please ma'am, remain on this side of the crime scene, we don't need any evidence contaminated or our investigation delayed."
"Crime scene" "evidence" "investigation". These words were racing through Applejack's mind.
"Crime scene investigation?! Are you saying somepony did this to Pinkie Pie?! Nopony could hurt her, why would they... Who could do this?"
Rarity walked up behind her, nuzzled her, and urged her to head back to town.
"Come sit with me and we'll talk Applejack, I'll tell you everything I can."
Applejack opened her eyes just in time to see a falling leaf land on her nose. She looked at it cross eyed for a minute then shook it off.
"Well would you look at that, it'll be gettin' dark out soon. It's been a wonderful and beautiful day today Pinkie, I'm glad I could share it with a friend, with you. Ya know, you're just about the only friend I got left... Thanks for always being here for me when I need you. I wish I was there for you, I wish I could have helped."
Applejack packed up her bag and began her journey home, finding herself lost in her own memories.