Applejack stood and looked down at her apple orchard. The sun was setting behind the trees, giving the orchards the beautiful glow they took on every night. Applejack was careful never to miss this sight, but tonight was different. These orchards, which had sustained the Apple family for generations, were the backbone of the Ponyville economy, and were the heart of the oldest business in Ponyville, was no longer the same. To the Apple family it was their livelihood, their source of food, and their very lives. It was their empire.
Unfortunately, this particular empire was about to fall. And there was nothing the Apple family could do to stop it.
For a long time ponies had wondered what made Sweet Apple Acres the most delicious, most popular, and best-selling apples in Equestria. Nopony who tried one could stop themselves from buying more, and the first one's always free. Once a pony went Sweetapple, they never tried anything else. Applejack always told them it was trademark Apple family hard work, quality control, and absolute commitment to the best apples possible. It exemplified the earth pony way of just honest hard work, no tricks and no magic.
It was really a great story for the little fillies and colts; do your very best, do good honest work, and with a little luck you'll be rewarded with the same fame and success bestowed upon the Apple family. It taught a lesson of honest work and dedication to your talent, and could really inspire a pony to be the best they could be.
A great story, but that's all it was. Just a story. A cover story. A lie. There were only two living ponies who knew what really went into the apples, Granny Smith and Big Macintosh. Applejack hadn't believed that just hard work could make such great apples, at least when she was younger. She'd asked Big Mac once, but his response was somewhat vague.
"Something special goes into each and every apple from this farm Applejack. It's not something you can find anywhere else in Ponyville, or even Canterlot. You can only find it right here in Sweetapple Acres"
At the time she believed him. She really had nothing else to believe, so she invested in the Apple family story. It ended up defining her entire personality. If good hard honest work made the best apples in Equestria, then she'd be the most honest and hardest working pony she could be! She didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the irony. The Element of Honesty had based her entire life around a lie, and she didn't even know it until today. Today was the day she finally learned the truth, and today as she looked out upon the orchard as she always did, the sight was blurred by tears.
While many ponies wondered about the apples, few wondered about the Apple family. Specifically, if their apples were so wildly popular why were they always short on bits? The family was always trying to raise money to "replace granny's hip" or "spruce up the old barn". As Applejack had now learned, it turned out the apples had a higher production cost than anypony would’ve thought. Something special did go into every apple, and it was expensive.
Something special is what made the apples popular, and made them so loyal to the Sweet Apple brand. Made them, no forced them to keep coming back. Something special that was very difficult to get a hold of.
Then one day, out of nowhere, Big Mac showed Applejack the truth. The basement in the old barn. The secret trapdoor, the secret room beneath it. It w\s the mixing room, where they mixed the secret ingredient with the apples.
Indeed Granny Smith was down there, mixing in the ingredient with the apples. Applejack looked in, and recognized the ingredient as something she had seen in her youth. She wished she hadn't, but it's been all over her school. And it was in every apple she'd ever sold. She almost gagged when she saw what it was.
It was PONY BLOOD! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN!!! Just kidding, what kind of fic do you think this is? No, it wasn't anything that terrifying, just a little something to keep the ponies coming back,
A fine white powder concoction of an assortment of highly addictive drugs, what else?
Of course, Applejack was initially appalled at the discovery. Feeding drugs to unsuspecting ponies? It was dangerous, a health hazard. Any time a pony ate an apple they could die, but they couldn't stop eating. No, they wouldn't be able to handle the withdrawal. The Apple family had ensnared every last pony in their trap, and Applejack was not afraid to tell Big Mac how she felt about this.
"Big Mac, what in the hay are you doing? Do you have any idea how stupid, selfish, and worst of all dishonest this is? This isn't the Apple family way, this is dirty business, and Ah ain't gonna have nothin' to do with it!"
"Applejack, this is the Apple family way. It's the only reason the business is this successful. Why, before Granny Smith started doing it when she was younger the farm was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was the only way, and I will not have you raise your voice at me little sis. Besides, it doesn't matter how it started, what matters is now we can't change it. Have you ever seen a pony when they quit cold turkey? It ain't pretty."
"Now wait one minute" Applejack interrupted, putting aside her objections, "Why are y'all telling me about this now? Is there something y'all ain't telling me about?
"We're out of drugs. Well, not out completely, but there's not enough to support the whole town anymore. Only enough to keep us three from going into withdrawal for a while."
"Wait, us three? What about Applebloom? She's your little sister too and-" Big Macintosh cut her off.
"Applebloom can't know about this, do you really think she can keep it a secret? It took me a week to convince Granny Smith to let me tell you, and absolutely nopony can know about this."
"Well why can't y'all get more of this stuff? You had enough for the entire town before."
"Granny Smith doesn’t remember where it comes from. She used to go and get some every week, but then she went and forgot where to get it!"
"There has to be some-"
"No little sis, there's not. The whole town's gonna have to quit cold turkey, and there ain't nothing to do 'bout it. We'll just have to hunker down and hope nopony realizes why they're sick."
"You're telling me we're bucked?"
"Eeyup. 100% bucked."
So there Applejack was, staring at an orchard that was now useless to them. Tomorrow at market she'd sell her first clean apples, and she dreaded what the results of that may be. Finally, she fell into a fitful sleep under the stars. To anypony else it looked the same as it had always been, but to Applejack, it would never be the same again.
Anypony at the market the next morning saw the same thing they always saw. Applejack setting up her stand at the crack of dawn, Big Mac hauling in apples for her to sell, and the first ponies going out for their morning trots. Nopony noticed the little things that were different about Applejack. Her hat was a little awry, her hair just a little less tidy than normal, and the spark of energy that usually filled her eyes was gone.
Applejack hoped her first customer would never come, but her heart sank when she saw her most faithful regular walking towards her. She prepared the usual order, two bushels plus one to eat now, Colgate came and got it every two or three days, without fail. She really did love Sweet Apple Acre apples, but instead of perking Applejack up as seeing her regulars normally did, the sight of Colgate coming to her stand created a knot of worry in her stomach. If anypony can tell there's something different about these apples, it'll be Colgate. She knows mah apples like the backs of her hooves; I think they're all she eats. Well, here goes nothing.
"Good morning Colgate." Applejack did her best to keep a smile on her face. Everything had to look like it always did. "What'll it be today?"
"Oh don't act like you don't already know." Colgate looked as happy as ever, with a wide grin full of perfectly white teeth. "I bet you got my usual ready as soon as you saw me coming!" Applejack couldn't help but smile at this, a real smile this time. Same old Colgate. Who knows, maybe there won't be such a problem with this whole drug thing after all. I mean, these are the best apples in all of Equestria, and they can succeed on their own merits!. Applejack then realized that while she convinced herself that everything would be fine she'd been staring rather blankly, almost like a pony sized Gummy."
"Here ya go Colgate. That'll be seven bits if y'all please."
"Aren't you forgetting something Applejack?" Colgate was smirking. "I know your policies, anypony buying more than a bushel gets to try one first." Applejack almost groaned out loud at this. Of course Colgate was correct, but sometimes AJ grew tired of her going through this routine every time she bought apples. Still, the customer was always right, so AJ pulled out the order she'd prepared.
"Do we have to go through this every time Colgate?" Rather than respond, Colgate took one of the apples and made a big show out of scrutinizing every last detail of it.
"Hmmmm." Colgate shined the apple with her hoof. "Looks the same." She sniffed it. "Smells the same too. Only one more test." Colgate opened her mouth, held the apple against her teeth and tore off a tiny piece to chew on. She chewed carefully for what seemed like hours to Applejack. For Colgate it was just part of the apple-buying experience. For Applejack it was the most intense moments of her life. If the clean apples made it past Colgate, they'd make it past anypony. If not, Sweet Apple Acres was doomed to failure. She couldn't wait any longer for Colgate's verdict.
"Well Colgate? Spit it out already, are y'all gonna buy them or not!" Colgate did a literal spit take. In all the years Colgate had bought apples from AJ, AJ had never interrupted her like that..
"Well Applejack, I don't know. They taste the same, but they're just not as..." Colgate searched her mind for the right word. "...satisfying as they used to be. I think I'll pass this time."
That was it. The death knoll. The harbringer of the Apple's doom. The next week was a nightmare for Applejack. Sales plummeted, her reputation was shattered, and ponies began to lose faith in the Apple family way. But worst of all was the sickness. All around her, Applejack could see the symptoms of withdrawal starting to take hold. Nopony knew why, but everypony in town was starting to become terrible sick.
Applebloom had it worse than anypony else. The cute little pony's appearance wasn't even comparable to the little sister Applejack knew and loved. Her eyes had sunken back into her head, and her skin wrinkled despite her age. Her fur had become discoloured and her usual excited smile was replaces by a frown even Pinkie Pie couldn't remove. To put it bluntly, she was ugly. It hurt for Applejack to look at her.
By the end of the second week, ponies were looking for somepony, anypony they could blame. Then one of the more observant citizens noticed three ponies that seemed suspiciously unaffected by the sickness. Well four ponies actually. For some reason, Pinkie Pie seemed as happy and cheerful as ever, despite being one of Applejacks regular customers. Like the Apple family (who'd only had enough drugs left to sustain Granny, Big Mac, and AJ) she looked and acted as if nothing had changed. Applejack had just shrugged it off. It's Pinkie Pie, that's all the explanation she needed.
Now the Apple family stood on their farm, looking at the mob coming towards them. Nopony had known who to blame, so they blamed the Apples. Seeing the mob marching towards them, Applejack asked the question on all of their minds.
"Well, what do we do now? Big Macintosh was the only one with any response.
"Only one thing we can do little sis. We fight." He emphasized this point by cocking the shotgun he now held.
"Where in tarnation did y'all get that?" Applejack questioned.
"I keep shotguns stored all over Equestria in case of shotgun emergencies." Applejack's jaw dropped. She really had no response to that. The rest of the Apple family had armed themselves as well, Applebloom with a small dagger and Granny Smith with several Molotov Cocktails made with apple cider.
"Well this is just dandy" Granny commented. "4 earth ponies against all of Ponyville."
"Make that 5 earth ponies Granny Smith!" Pinkie Pie had appeared out of nowhere, wielding two nasty looking katanas. Applejack just stared in disbelief. Am I the only pony in this town who doesn't have weapons stashed everywhere? As if reading her mind, Pinkie Pie said "Oh don't worry Applejack. I brought you a grenade launcher!"
"Where did you get a..." Applejack's words trailed off. It's Pinkie Pie, no explanation needed. "But why are you helping us? And why aren't you sick like everypony else?"
"You don't think i didn't know what went into those apples? What do you think makes me so cheerful all the time? Need a hint? It's not cupcakes." At this point in the conversation Applejack decided it was best to stop asking questions and start trying to figure out how to work a grenade launcher with hooves.
"Well, I guess this is it. Ready everypony?" Applejack asked.
"Always ready big sis."
"I haven't been this excited since the war!"
"Okie Dokie Lokie!"
"Alright then." Applejack looked down at the mob. This was her punishment for all those years of selling the ponies drugs. Her punishment for corrupting them. Her punishment for living a lie.
Well, if she was living a lie, she'd live it to her last breath.
"It's been a pleasure y'all. Now CHHAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGEEEEEE!!!!"
And so, 5 ponies ran down to meet a mob of drug sickened townspeople. By the end, the ground was littered with burned, exploded, and dismembered bodies. Pinkie Pie was in the center of the fray with twin katanas, with burning ponies set alight by Granny's cider bombs all around her. Applebloom stood on Big Macintosh's back slicing at ponies behind him with her dagger, while shotgun blasts cleared the area in front of him. Having abandoned any hope of figuring out how to work the grenade launcher, Applejack simply through it into a crowd of flaming ponies (causing a rather large explosion) and started fighting with her bare hooves.
Granny Smith was the first to go. With only one cocktail left, she charged into the fray and threw the bottle at her feet in a literal blaze of glory. Her final words were to the mob of ponies.
"I hope you motherbuckers like this, because you'll be burning in hell right beside me!" This was followed by maniacal laughter, until Granny finally found herself unable to speak as the flames overpowered her.
The others continued to fight, but the odds were against them. The three remaining ponies (Applebloom was trampled when she fell of Big Mac's back) fought with everything they had, and the battle raged on. They were dive bombed by Pegasi and had to deal with beams of magic from the unicorns, but it looked as if they might have had a chance.
Eventually one of the Pegasi managed to steal one of Pinkie's katanas while she was distracted with several other ponies. Unable to have a proper sword fight with the Pegasus and fend off the other ponies at the same time, Pinkie Pie was brought to her knees. She continued to hack away at the mob until her last breath left her body.
At this point Big Macintosh had run out of ammo, resorting to using the shotgun like a baseball bat. Applejack took Pinkie's katana from her dead hooves and stood back to back with Big Mac. After what seemed like hours of fighting they thinned the herd to only a few ponies, two unicorns and two Pegasi. (No points for guessing who.)
Big Macintosh fought against Twilight and Rarity, who were using their horns as swords. Unfortunately, with two unicorns two fight and only one shotgun to block their attacks, Big Mac had little means of offense.
Applejack faced down Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, who had armed herself with Pinkie's second katana. She quickly dispatched Rainbow Dash by distracting her with accusations of being gay, and then stabbing her when she tried to deny it. Fluttershy now faced Applejack in a one on one duel to the death. Fluttershy unfortunately had little to no experience with weapons and was put on the defense. It looked as if the yellow Pegasi would be defeated.
But then, all of a sudden there were animals everywhere. There was no way they'd let their master be hurt, and with an army of animals on her side Fluttershy soon had Applejack on the ropes. Think Applejack think. There's no way Ah can take on all of those animals, but maybe if I can get Fluttershy they'll give up. But how can I attack her? It’s hopeless! At this point Applejack tripped over Applebloom's body, but rather than letting herself be overtaken she kicked out in a desperate attempt to save herself. To her surprise, it actually did.
Her hoof made contact with one of the bunnies, sending him flying into Fluttershy's face. With the momentary reprieve this earned her, she found Applebloom's dagger and flung it with all of her strength. The animals gasped, and scattered when they saw their master fall to the ground. Applejack stood up and saw that, in an amazing stroke of luck, it had lodged itself in Fluttershy's eye killing her instantly. Satisfied with her work, she turned to help Big Macintosh with Rarity and Twilight.
Big Macintosh was on his last legs. The two unicorns had been relentless and coordinated, and he knew he couldn't defend himself much longer. They pushed him to the ground, but right when he was sure that he was finished Applejack appeared with a katana. She tried to bring it down on the two unicorns, but they blocked the sword using their horns. Now free to move, Big Macintosh took his shotgun and brought it down on Twilight's head. She crumpled to the ground and didn't get back up.
Now the only pony still alive to face them, Rarity assessed her situation and realized that she was royally bucked. Seeing no other option, she charged Big Macintosh, catching him off guard. Just as her horn was about to meet flesh she was bucked from the side by Applejack, knocking her to the ground. Applejack raised her katana and brought it down on Rarity's neck, decapitating her.
With no ponies left to fight them, Big Mac and AJ stood in the middle of the battlefield and looked up at the stars. Applejack broke the silence.
"You do realize the the Princess will probably be here to banish us to the moon in a few minutes, right?"
"So what are we gonna do now?"
"Well, we'll be on the moon soon so pretty much whatever we want. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Well, I guess this is it. Everypony ready? Applejack asked?
"Wait we don't have to fight them!" Pinkie Pie interjected. "Watch this." Pinkie Pie then walked over to Applebloom and picked her up. She began to walk towards the crowd, holding Applebloom high above her head. "EVERYPONY LOOK AT ME!" Pinkie Pie shouted.
The ponies in the mob looked up and saw Applebloom, being held up by Pinkie Pie. They looked upon her, and she was so ugly that everypony died.