The next day, I bucked trees to get apples, I glanced from the orchard to the field, where I noticed Big Mac having trouble with the plow. I went over and talked to him.
"Mac, why are ya havin' trouble with the new plow? Is it gettin' saggy, too?"
"Nope, it seems kinda unsteady"
My question was answered when the plow fell apart. The blades fell off, and my brother was dragging the ropes along behind his harness. Several screws fell to the ground.
"Looks like somepony been tampering with the plow", I said.
Granny Smith and Apple Bloom came out of the barn, holding bucket handles. "Somepony's pulled a prank on us", said Granny.
Apple Bloom piped up "Maybe I should get the other crusaders. Then we could investigate, and we'll be the Cutie Mark Crusaders Detectives!"
I got Winona and went into the barn. There, Big Mac was holding samples of fur from all of our suspects, including Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, all three Crusaders, and several others. Winona smelled the air, and pointed to Dash's fur.
"So, looks like Dash is the culprit".
My brother piped in with his characteristic "Eyup".
However, we knew we would need more evidence, so we sent Fluttershy up to Rainbow Dash's house. Tank let her in, and she searched the home. Under the bed, she found a modified stick, with a prong on the end. We put it into one of the screws, and it was a perfect fit.
"So it's settled then." said granny. "Dash did it".
I returned to Ponyville, only to find that Twilight had called an emergency meeting. When I arrived at her library, I saw the other members of our group looking at me strangely. Fluttershy was trying to avoid my gaze, Twilight had a skeptical expression, Pinkie Pie was even more wound up than usual, Spike was holding a pronged stick, Rarity had her nose in the air, and Applejack was glaring at me.
"Why did ya do it?"
I was confused by the blonde farmgirl's question. "Do what?"
"Don't play dumb. I know it was y'all who sabotaged our equipment".
I stared at her. "What makes you say that?"
"Winona smelled your scent all over the tools, and Fluttershy found the stick that removed the screws under your bed. Exhibit 'A'". Spike put the stick on the table. "Here it is. It makes a perfect screwdriver. Ah'd say that's pretty conclusive evidence. But don't change the subject. Why did ya do it? I mean, you like pranks, but this is much more work than the pranks you normally pulled. Besides, the result was also considerably less harmless. Now we're set back a day while we fix the equipment".
I was irritated by her accusation. "Oh yeah? Well, maybe it was the griffin that's been stealing your apples".
Spike gave a suspicious look. "How do you know about the griffin?"
I had to admit it now. "Okay, I kinda... sorta... overheard you talking about the find".
Twilight spoke up. "I think that's enough for the moment. Spike and I would be happy to help you fix your equipment."
Spike looked at her like she had just told a joke he didn't get. "Leave me out of this", he replied.
Rarity piped up "Spike, if you help Twilight and the Apples fix the equipment, I'll give you some nice jewels for your dinner."
Spike's mouth opened and he began to drool. "I... guess I could do it".
Twilight shook her head at him and moved to the next item on the agenda. "Now then, how do we deal with this griffin?"
Applejack said "I doubt he or she will come back again, after the scare Big Mac and I gave her".
Rarity said "Griffins aren't like that, darling. They're disgusting, mangy brutes who really know how to hold a grudge".
I was shocked. "What did you say? How many griffins have you known?"
"Well, Gilda, and she didn't exactly set a good example".
Then Fluttershy piped up. "Just because she was... a bit cruel... doesn't mean all griffins are like that... if I'm right... which I may not be".
I was relieved to hear that Fluttershy's experiences with Gilda didn't sour her on all griffins. "You're right, you can't paint all griffins with the same brush".
The others all started talking at once, getting into an argument, with Applejack and Rarity saying some less than kind things about Gilda, Fluttershy trying to defend her, Twilight and Spike trying to break up the fight, and Pinkie Pie just rambling on about something entirely different.
I sighed. "May I have your attention, please!" They stopped arguing. "Thank you. Honestly, I don't know why Gilda did all that stuff in Ponyville. I mean, she was nothing like that when we were at Junior Speedsters'."
Twilight looked at me. "Have you tried to get in contact with her?"
"Well, she sent me several letters, but I wrote back, refusing to speak to her again unless she came back to Ponyville and apologized."
"Good for you, taking a stand like that".
"Yeah, I guess. Did I ever tell you how I met Gilda?"
They said "No" in unison.
"Ya never did tell us that, sugarcube. Why not?"
Then Pinkie chimed in. "Because this story isn't canon, so the author can make whatever he wants happen!"
Pinkie had been making these kinds of statements for a long time. By this point, I knew to ignore it. "Do you want to hear the story?"
They nodded yes.
"Very well, then. It all started back on the first day of Junior Speedsters'..."