A Hairy Problem

by BlueBastard

Ch.9: Revenge of the Bumpuses

Chapter 9: Revenge of the Bumpuses

The moment she woke up, Applejack had a feeling it was going to be a long day. While she had explained her previous behavior as being to blame on the natural functions of a female’s reproductive system, she actually hadn’t had gone through her time of the month. But it appeared to her that karma was making her pay for her lies now, because there was no question about what was going on. Applejack was going through that monthly hell that all females must endure, for real this time.

Normally, this wasn’t a problem for the farm pony. Sure, she generally had the soured attitude and the cramps and other fun things like every other mare, but outside of the general things females felt during that pleasant timespan Applejack tended to get through them okay. What the issue was this time was that she was going to have to grin and bear it like nothing was going on in that spot between her hind legs. She couldn’t dare make it obvious to anypony else, especially her friends since them seeing her tense up from “those” cramps would expose those lies and she really did not want to try making up another explanation while going through the joys of marehood.

Crawling out of bed, the suffering mare did her best to clean herself up and get ready for the day. Hopefully, she wouldn’t need to go into town for at least the rest of the week. Her friends would be worried, certainly, but there Applejack could hide behind the mountain of work needing to be done on the farm and just avoid telling the real story instead of inventing lies. Frankly, she was still amazed they had believed her reasoning about why she’d somehow ended up in a place she truly did not like to eat food she habitually shunned.

Luckily for her, breakfast was a manageable affair, and the taste of apples appeared to at least be holding steady for now and not falling. Unluckily for her, she was informed that Granny needed her to go to the town market to pick up some exotic fruits like lemons and bananas. Already holding a strained smile because Granny had asked AJ right in the middle of a cramp, there was little the poor pony could do but agree. She just prayed that nopony would notice her act.

However, on her way out to Ponyville, her faithful dog Winona had still been sleeping on a nice comfy spot on the ground, and Applejack couldn’t resist taking a moment to rub her pet’s head before continuing on. Winona had enjoyed the feeling, as it woke her up, but the moment Applejack moved on the dog smelled something extremely alarming. The only problem was it appeared to be coming from Applejack, but concerning what Winona thought the smell was it was an impossible truth. As the smell was fading, Winona just shook her head and decided to say good morning to the rest of the Apple Family. She was the only dog in town Applejack would not be trying to run from by the end of the day.

“Thank you for the tea, Miss Fluttershy, it is extremely delicious!”

Iron Will took another sip of the tea the yellow pegasus had put out for him and his assistants. It was very, very good. Which was something Iron Will had very badly needed considering how far south last night’s little hunting expedition had gone.

“So, um, if it’s not too much to ask…” began Fluttershy, worried that the minotaur would suddenly launch into another one of his self-help speeches or slogans.

“Let me guess, you want to know why Iron Will, his assistants, and that bunny showed up at your door last night and needed you to bandage them up?” replied Iron Will. Indeed, while injuries from the untold event had been minor, there had still been plenty of cuts and bruises that needed some TLC from the hospitable mare all around.

“Well, yes, pretty much.”

Readjusting his posture for a better position, Iron Will launched into a very embellished tale about how after besting a manticore with his bare hands in single combat, he allied himself with the bunny who had been watching and together the two launched into battle against a rabid pack of timberwolves who had magically appeared. After defeating all of them, the victorious duo had left the forest to find Willy and nilly already drunk in celebration, and together they all went to Fluttershy’s cottage as they had expelled too much energy to make it back to the hotel.

In reality, the only true part was Iron Will besting the manticore, and it was mostly out of sheer dumb luck as the manticore ended up punching itself in the face while trying to copy Iron Will. The moment the manticore was down for the count, Angel as “Rambun” immediately launched himself at Iron Will, attaching himself to the minotaur’s face and repeatedly trying to beat him into submission with the nunchucks. It was a vain attempt, as the muscular half-bovine just pulled the raging rabbit off his face and was probably going to crush Angel with one hand when both of them realized the circle of timberwolves that had shown up and surrounded them, attracted by the commotion. Making an emergency truce, the two then engaged a seemingly infinite number of wooden wolves. Angel for his part actually fared decently, his small size and liberal use of the needle gun helping keep off the giant lumbering lycans when he wasn’t trying to kick them in the snout. Iron Will was also fairly handy, his tough muscular build proving impervious to any deep wounds and giant hands crippling many an enemy by simply crushing their limbs into splinters. But in the end the tow had to retreat in the face of even more timberwolves and eventually found themselves at “base camp” where Willy and Nilly appeared to be trying to sing some kind of bar room dirge, an empty bottle of high grade alcohol near them. They quickly snapped out of their drunken stupor long enough to realize the approaching onslaught of wolves, and the group ran for their lives (except Angel, who had taken to being on IW’s shoulder) lest they become timberwolf chow. Fluttershy’s cottage was the closest thing they could find to shelter, but the wolves had long since given up the hunt by the time they reached her residence.

Fluttershy, for her part, might not see things as clearly as others, but even the heavy embellishment of the minotaur’s story didn’t cover the fact Angel obviously had gotten the inspiration to go all one-bunny army from Ponirambo, which in turn answered why the pegasus had kept finding it in the VCR. After giving Angel a very telling dose of The Stare to let him know just how much he was in trouble, she turned to Iron Will and asked “But that still doesn’t explain why you were in the forest.”

“Ah, yes, that. Iron Will was in the forest so he could hunt werewolves.”

“W-werewolves?!” cried Fluttershy. While she did not relish her memories of Flight Camp, she somehow never could get them out of her head in full clarity. The mention of werewolves brought back a somewhat not-so-traumatic memory of when Rainbow Dash had been going on about some kind of creature that was a pony by day, but at night was a filly-eating wolf monster. She was not comfortable with the idea that Iron Will, who even now still intimidated her, was now hunting them for some reason.

Completely oblivious to his host’s reaction, Iron Will continued on, “Yeah, it’s part of an ancient mate finding ritual we minotaurs have, and the male who first brings a werewolf’s corpse to the king will be engaged to the princess as well as given a dukedom. Personally, while Iron Will doesn’t mind becoming somepony everypony should know, this whole thing is really just so his parents will get off his back for doing what he loves instead, which is motivational speaking to help others be more assertive.”

He then realized just who his host was. Shocked, he made a rare switch to addressing himself in the first person; “Oh, right, you got to experience my self-help first hand. Look, that whole payment thing is beneath us, right? I’m sorry if you’ve been worried the whole reason I’m even here is to try and get you to pay for something you didn’t like.”

Visibly, Fluttershy indicated she had no such thoughts whatsoever. Internally, she mentally took a sigh of relief, because the possibility he wanted to still be paid had been very present in her mind. It was, ironically, the minotaur’s own assertiveness training that helped her keep up appearances.

Pleased that the pegasus didn’t think he was grubbing for money, he slipped back to third person, “Good! Anyway, Iron Will didn’t expect to actually find any werewolves here in the Everfree, so last night was meant to be a practice run in hunting some timberwolves. Which is ironic, come to think of it, considering the whole plan involved leading those things back to where Iron Will came in so they could fall into traps.”

“Wait,” interrupted the animal caretaker, “if you had traps set out for the timberwolves and led them into it, but afterwards you four came here instead of tending to the traps…what happened to the timberwolves in those traps?”
A short distance away, some timberwolves had grown tired of trying to escape from the traps they’d unluckily fallen into and now lazed around waiting for somebody to come and release them. Some of them were even chatting with each other in the language only known to timberwolves;

“So, Barkley, when do you think we’re gonna get let loose from these things?

“Beats me, Birch. Maybe running those weirdoes off wasn’t that smart an idea seeing as how we’ve been trapped here for hours.”

They didn’t have long to wait, as at that moment a very determined Fluttershy landed in front of them, leaving a very surprised Iron Will back at her cottage only seconds before.

As Sandalwood made her way around the market, she marveled at the quality of the local goods. While most of it was produce, there were some handicraft stalls with wares originating outside Ponyville and sometimes even Equestria itself. Oh, how she wished she could spoil herself a little and buy some of the fancy wall decorations from a vendor who appeared to originate from Saddle Arabia. Alas, she could not, for while she had decided to live in Ponyville due to the surprising and lucrative demand for her aromatherapy services at the spa, she was still living out of a suitcase in a hotel room. The housing market in Ponyville had jumped between her initial research and actually arriving at the town (something about property values going up due to how it was where the element bearers all lived), so she’d have to live without the comforts of a place to herself for a little while longer until she could-

“Hey, Sandalwood!”

Turning to see the source of the voice, she found herself face to face with Lyra, her partner in crime when it came to the human conspiracy scene. “Hey, Lyra, what are you doing here?”

“Not much, just looking for decorations to put up in my room.”

“Lucky” mock-grumbled Sandalwood, “at least you have a room to decorate, I’m still stuck in a hotel until something opens up here in town.”

“Really, you don’t have a place of your own? I’m sure there’s plenty of homes in the eastern section of town that-“

“No, Lyra, the problem isn’t availability, it’s the pricing! I’m still a few bits short of being able to put a down payment on anything.” As if to illustrate her point, Sandalwood dramatically took some bitcoins from her purse and shook them in front of Lyra before unceremoniously dropping them back into the dark unknown.

“Actually, I may know something that could help you out until then.” Seeing Sandalwood’s face perk up, Lyra took it as a cue to continue. “Bon-Bon’s told me that she wants to move out and get her own place with Chocolate Chip, he proposed to her not too long ago so I expect they’ll want some ‘private together time’ if you know what I mean. Since that leaves me with half a flat being unused I’d be more than happy to share the rent with you.”

“That sounds great! Although I wouldn’t be surprised if she just kicks you out instead as payback for all the insanity you’ve caused her over the years.”

Acting as if Sandalwood just slapped her, Lyra overdramatically exclaimed “How could you even imply such a thing?! You know very well Bonnie and I are so madly in love with each other that the fact you even think we could be split up is just…ah!”

Sandalwood couldn’t help but crack up at Lyra’s theatrics, sputtering out “What, does Chocolate Chip like threesomes or something?” This in turn got Lyra into a giggling fit, both mares ending up having to hold each other for support.

It was then Sandalwood smelled it. As an aromatherapist, she generally had a much better sense of smell than the average pony. While it was an invaluable asset for her profession, it also had some side effects of amplifying bad smells to a degree most ponies were blessed to never be able to experience. But it also sometimes picked up smells ponies normally shouldn’t ever be able to detect, which is what alerted her to the developing situation as she tried to find the source from where the offending scent originated.

“Hey, Lyra, why is Mayor Mare’s dog following Applejack?”

Still guffawing at her own implied lesbianism, Lyra turned to see what Sandalwood was talking about. “I dunno, but that certainly is weird. Actually, I don’t think it’s just the mayor’s dog following her…”

Indeed, as the two ponies watched the orange mare make her way through the market, she was for some reason being followed by a growing assembly of dogs from all over town.

This had to be the strangest trip to the market Applejack had ever taken. She was far from oblivious to the pack of hounds following her, but initially it had just been a few of them, so choosing ignorance the Stetson-wearing pony continued her business of grocery shopping for Granny. Then the group of dogs got bigger. And bigger. And most noticeably all of them were male. Now concerned as to why she was being followed by almost every male dog in town, her “special” complications now completely insignificant in comparison, she seemed to be spending more time looking behind her at the mobile dog display seemingly drawn by magnets to her every movement instead of examining food.

 It was also getting the attention of all the other ponies in the marketplace, as everything seemed to just grind to a halt either from just gawking or the gang of mutts pushing their way through ponies in their way. Applejack could feel a nagging sensation slowly build up from all the attention, probably another side effect from being a werewolf as attention to her for a long period of time was not good. She’d so hoped this day would have not involved being the center of attention, but now every pony and every dog in the area was focused on her. Reaching the final vendor and quickly snatching up some cherries and just dumping the exact total in front of the confused vendor, Applejack was ready to leave the market…

…when she came face to face with yet another group of dogs from all over town. Except here they were all female. And very clearly angry at the pony for some reason. For a few tense seconds, not a soul dared to move, pony or canine, as the herd of female hounds drilled into the worried Applejack with their stares. Then as if controlled by a single entity, the entire group of them charged forward in attack.

Out in public, Applejack had to fight hard not to reveal her own canine side, but that didn’t stop her from bolting the hell out of there with her saddlebags flapping all about. Some food was probably not going to make it intact like the bananas, but Applejack would gladly buy replacements with her own spending money for Granny if need be as her top concern right now was escape. For now it wasn’t just the females who surged forward but the males as well, drawn to Applejack for reasons she couldn’t fathom while she concentrated on just trying to lose them.

As Applejack ran off towards the center of town, Lyra and Sandalwood just stood in confusion like all the other ponies still in the market at what just happened. Then the two mares looked at each other with knowing smiles as they ran off to their own goal. Nopony noticed, all of them still recovering from one of the strangest events in recent Ponyville history - recent meaning since the previous week, anyway.

Rainbow Dash was among the ponies who didn’t comprehend what was happening. She’d been on her way to the library to return Daring Do and the Philosopher’s Legacy (a book she thought more than made up for the failure that was the previous novel) when she spied a familiar orange blur racing through Ponyville and being followed by every single dog in town save, ironically, Applejack’s own dog Winona.

Curiosity getting the better of her, Rainbow pulled a few aerial maneuvers until she was able to fly up to her athletic rival and maintain speed in order to converse.

“Applejack, what in Equestria are you-“

“No time to talk! Get Fluttershy! Maybe she’ll sort this out somehow!”

Sensing the desperation in the earth pony’s voice, Rainbow immediately gained altitude and flew off to Fluttershy. Applejack had to figure that if there was anypony who could stop this mess, it was Fluttershy.

However, the sound of an engine rumble suddenly made itself heard, along with the sound of two shouting mares coming from behind Applejack. As the farmer turned onto Ponyville’s widest road with the entire canine population of the town proper giving chase, the mysterious machine came into view.

“Applejack, get on!” shouted Sandalwood, who was at the front of the machine. Applejack immediately recognized it as matching the rough description of a car as told through Apple Bloom, but unlike the ramshackle wreck still in the Apple Family barn this car was much more built up. It looked nothing like a cart, with four rubber-treaded wheels propelling the creation forward while the goggles-wearing Sandalwood was in what appeared to be the driver’s seat, clutching the steering wheel.  As the vehicle came further into view, Applejack could make out Lyra in the back, powering the engine with her magic.

Great, thought Applejack, it’s that cider making machine back for revenge!

But with the dogs gaining, and the road’s end fork rapidly approaching, there was no choice for Applejack. With a combination of rodeo training and werewolf-granted reflexes, she leaped from the street and towards the car. She almost didn’t make it, landing on the back panel of the vehicle and would have slipped off had Lyra not caught her with telekinesis and sat her down in the front seat with Sandalwood.

“Wh-what is this thing?!” shouted Applejack, not feeling completely safe in an unknown machine distantly related to two things that had caused her nothing but trouble.

“This is the car your sister and friends tried to replicate!” Sandalwood shouted back, a bit of pride in her voice, before suddenly turning the wheel hard to the right. Responding immediately, the car made the turn at the fork and was heading down a much narrower road, big enough for the vehicle but small enough that the ensemble of canines was suddenly being forced through a choke point.

“And now to test my theory!” declared the aromatherapist before giving a hoof gesture to Lyra. Having received the message, the unicorn then triggered a hinged trough attached to the back of the vehicle. A mix of stinkweed, bog myrtle, and lilacs spilled out into the street behind the car just in time for it to meet the approaching wave of dogs. The strange smelling mix had an immediate effect, as the dogs were now seemingly blindsided and the few stragglers slowly peeled off their pursuit as whatever they were chasing that involved Applejack was now lost to them.

“Ah don’t know what ya’ll did, but Ah thank ya for it!” said Applejack, relieved that.

“Don’t thank us yet, you still need to explain what the hell just happened back there!” replied Sandalwood.

“But Ah don’t know what-“

“Then you know something connected to what just happened, because if my guess is correct, and I know it is because that ‘aroma bomb’ Lyra dropped back there worked, there’s something very wrong going on with you and for the sake of my olfactory sensors I’m going to find out what it is!”

Applejack could only gulp in worry as her rescuers-turned-captors drove their vehicle off to a location that the farm pony really did not want to go.

Fluttershy was horrified at the scene Rainbow led her to. Everywhere there were dogs along the street, most of them looking confused and forlorn with some rubbing their noses like something was agitating their ability to smell, while the majority of the females just looked like they were dumped by their boyfriends. As she landed to immediately survey the situation, she had to ask “what exactly happened here?”

All Rainbow could do was shrug, “I dunno, before I went to fetch you it was just Applejack running down this street with the entire mutt population in town giving chase. Even AJ didn’t know what was going on.”

Fluttershy did not give an immediate response as she began to tend to the dogs. For the most part they were all fine, just exhausted from having run so hard. But it was the ones who had something wrong with their noses that got Fluttershy’s attention. Calling upon her unique powers of animal communication beyond what normal ponies could accomplish, she learned that the male dogs had been chasing some kind of alluring scent. The female dogs had also smelled it, but had instead found it disgusting and “problematic”, the exact rationale of what problems the smell caused them remained unclear.

Or at least it had until Fluttershy detected the “aroma bomb” down the street. While the dumped pile from the car had fallen to pieces, as to not leave a giant pile of environmental waste in a public walkway, the odd smell lingered. Taking in a good sniff, Fluttershy had to wonder why this specific mix was needed as it was apparently designed to negate a certain other smell. But having unknowingly reached the same conclusion as Sandalwood through means of animal knowledge, Fluttershy couldn’t make sense of what seemed to be the truth.

RD swooped down to land next to her fillyhood friend, “Fluttershy, do you have any clue what happened here?”

Strangely, the normally timid pegasus looked at her rainbow hued counterpart dead in the eyes as she replied, “I…I think I do, but it just doesn’t make sense. Because between the scent still lingering here and what the dogs told me, the whole chase was due to the male dogs thinking Applejack was…”

“…pumping out dog pheromones!”

Both Lyra and Applejack had to step back in confusion and shock. Their current location was the shed Lyra had converted into a garage in which to construct the car, where the trio had arrived through a back way as to avoid crowds. But the moment the garage was closed to the outside world, Sandalwood immediately pressed questions to Applejack.

“Ah’m doin what now?”

“You heard me: dog pheromones. I couldn’t be sure when I first smelled them back at the market, but I made that quick little concoction of plants to be dumped and specifically block out that scent to those dogs. Doesn’t work on ponies, sadly, since I can still smell them and from here I can most certainly say they are coming from you. Those dogs were chasing you because they thought you were, to put it bluntly, a bitch in heat!”

“I actually think I’m going to side with Applejack here in wondering just what are you talking about?!” interjected a very confused Lyra, “I think I’m just having a problem where you’re implying a mare is somehow producing the stuff that tells the males of a completely different species that she wants to screw them, because that’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard! And I’ve heard strange - I believe in humans for Celestia’s sake!”

“Well I think they’re real, too, Lyra, and I know my theory sounds weird, but on top of everything else AJ here was done recently it’s pointing to something not being right about her.”

Applejack was about to try and reply, but Sandalwood looked her dead in the eye and silenced her before going in for the kill; “Ever since your recovery from that bite, you’ve demonstrated some extremely unusual behaviors. One; you easily fly off the hook and pin me to the wall at the spa with intentions to try and strangle me even though Rarity tells me you usually aren’t known for your anger, two; whatever you were momentarily distracted by at The Bannered Mare was most certainly NOT that chocolate mousse cake even though it was delicious, three; you somehow end up consuming half of a BLT at the Meatery even though you’re clearly not a meat eater, and four; you’re somehow pumping out chemicals that are inviting every male dog in the town to come and try to impregnate you with ample evidence to prove this despite how impossible that sounds. I’m also certain there are other signs as well that I either haven’t noticed or haven’t been around to notice, but what I’ve said should be enough to prove something is wrong with you Applejack, and you’re trying to hide it, aren’t you?”

Lyra just looked at Sandalwood with an expression best described as a mix between skeptical and having her jaw hit the floor. Applejack, on the other hand, was sweating up a storm and rapidly looking between Sandalwood and Lyra. There had to be some way out of this, some way she could-

No, she thought, Ah can’t hide it from them, Sandalwood already has me figured out already more or less.

Taking a sigh of defeat, Applejack looked at Lyra and Sandalwood with downcast eyes, pleading “Alright Sandalwood, you win. But please, what Ah’m about to reveal to you two, do not tell anypony else, Ah beg of you. Especially mah family and the bearers, Ah’ll tell them when Ah feel the time is right, but they can’t know, not yet.”

Lyra and Sandalwood looked at each other before sharing a nod and looking back at Applejack. “Alright,” spoke Sandalwood, “we promise not to tell anypony else.”

“Ah want you two to Pinkie Promise.”

Sandalwood raised an eyebrow, “Pinkie Promise? The hell is tha-“ Lyra had come over and began to whisper into Sandalwood’s ear, the sign of clarification and understanding evident on the tan pony’s face. “Oh, so that’s a Pinkie Promise, okay. *ahem*Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye”. Lyra followed suit with her own Pinkie Promise.

Satisfied, Applejack braced herself for her first transformation in front of other ponies. “Alright, ya’ll might wanna be sittin’ down fer this…”

Lyra sat down immediately; she’d seen enough crazy shit involving anypony who was a bearer of an Element to heed their warnings. Sandalwood was more skeptical; “Don’t worry, I think I’ll be-WHAT THE FU-?!

Neither Sandalwood nor Lyra could have prepared to see what was occurring before them. From their point of view, Applejack was somehow physically morphing herself in ways foreign to pony understanding from her regular form as a pony into something that still somewhat resembled a pony, but was clearly also very wolf like in appearance. The shock caused Sandalwood to trip in the process of backpedalling, landing on her keister while still scrambling to get as far away as she could.

The silence was so thick it could be cut with a knife once the transformation was done. Lyra and Sandalwood were still trying to comprehend that a real, living legend had just occurred before them. Werewolves were the stuff of myths, of stories told to tell kids, but they weren’t supposed to exist. Yet here was one now, Applejack having explained everything about her odd behavior in one fell swoop while raising so many more.

Then, in a slightly raspier but still very distinctly accented voice, the creature spoke;

 “Ah said ya should have been sittin’ for that, Sandalwood.”