This couldn’t go on any further. She could not live like this anymore. Her heart was burning in disapproval, and her very soul screamed to be released. She was the embodiment of Honesty, and as such, being dishonest was tearing her apart.
This was not good for Rainbow Dash either. On one hoof, she was living a lie, and on the other, it was not hard to notice Applejack was not alright.
“Applejack, am… am I boring? Am I not what you expected when you asked me out?” The pegasus said, looking into her lover’s eyes.
“Wha-? Don’t be silly Dashie, y’all are fun, n’ y’all are more than Ah could ever hope n’ desire…”
“ That’s true. I can see it in her eyes… then what is wrong?” Rainbow Dash blushed. “Is it… is it because of last night?”
“What about last night? It was amazin’.”
“Your eyes say that you say the truth… but you made me uhm… get there three times and you didn’t get to… not even once.”
Applejack blushed and nuzzled her mare. “Aww don’t care ‘bout that Sugarcube… it ain’t yer fault yer ‘the fastest gal in Equestria'…”
“Yeah, you’re rig-Hey!”
A chuckle escaped Applejack mouth and it helped calm Rainbow Dash. After a sweet tender kiss the cow-mare added “Don’t y’all worry ‘bout that missy. Y’all were better than mah wildest dreams. That ain’t it.”
“Then what is, Applejack? What is wrong about us? You… you were so eager, so… loving when you asked me out a week ago, but since I dropped the L word you started getting sadder and sadder… W-was it too early? You weren’t ready to say it?” She cried “Is it… is it ‘cause you realized you didn’t love me back!?”
Applejack seemed hurt, terribly hurt, while anger grew in Dash’s heart. “L-like she should! S-she shouldn’t be lying to her marefriend!”
Sighing and lowering her head, Applejack replied “Ah know Ah didn’t treat y’all like y’all deserve to… Ah’m so-”
“No, that’s not it. You’ve been treating me like a princess, you’ve done everything I wanted to, and even more, in just a week… B-but I can’t stand looking at you and see you sad. And you’ve been nothing but sad since I said that I love you!”
“Ah can’t… Ah can’t tell’er. But she’s right. Ah can’t go on like this, Ah’ll go crazy, n’ she’ll jes’ be hurt. There must be a way…” “Dash… Y’all are right, sumthin’ ain’t right. N’ Ah know what it is, but Ah jes’ can’t tell y’all… But y’all here me loud n’ clear now.” She got closer and nuzzled the neck of her marefriend lovingly. “Ah love y’all, more than anythin’ in this world. More than Ah love mahself… n’ Ah always will. B-but y’all... what y’all feel fer me ain’t natural, Sugarcube. N-n’ as hard as it may be fer me, Ah have to fix it Dash.”
“W-what are you talking about Apples? Y-you’re scaring me.”
Feeling the twin stream of tears fall off her cheeks and into Rainbow Dash’s mane, Applejack kissed her faux-lover one last time, and ran away towards Golden Oaks library.
“Ah jes’ hope Ah can fix it, RD. Ah wouldn’t be able to live with mahself knowin’ Ah changed who y’all were.…”
A deep sigh echoed inside the hollow tree. “I missed my library… I’d just like to have Spike with me right now, but he was requested by Luna back in the castle. I wonder what’s he doing right no-”
The loud slam of a door against the wall made Twilight jump and fall from her resting place in the bed. Before she could ask what was going on, a familiar voice was heard on the entrance.
“Twilight! Y’all gotta help me. Y’all can get me to the Crystal empire faster than the Friendship Express right?”
Desperation dripped from her tone, and it was worrying Twilight. “Applejack? Are you okay? Why do you need to go to the Crystal Empire that quickly?”
Between pants, the earth pony could manage to get a coherent answer. “Ah… Need to… talk to Cadence… now.”
“My sister-in-law? I don’t want to be rude by prying but… why?”
“Can’t tell y’all right now… C-can y’all take me there?”
“Well… yes I think I can. Should I wait until you pack something or …”
“No, we leave right now.”
Against her best judgment Twilight decided to trust her friend in this, and prepared to do a long-distance teleportation spell. “ It’s Applejack, Element of Honesty, if she’s not to trust… then who?”
“C’mon AJ, where are you!?” Rainbow Dash worriedly said while she flew over Ponyville, trying to spot the brown Stetson she was used to see above her lover. “An earth pony can’t just disappear!”
After a few seconds she spotted Twilight’s library. “I think I saw her ran that way… maybe Twi knows where she is…”
Upon arrival, she noticed three major things. The door was opened, there was a book laying on the floor, and the bed was untidy.
“I don’t like it. This is not like Twilight… totally not like her. Something’s going on. Where is she? Where’s AJ!?”
A large ball of light surrounded by a couple of smaller lightning bolts appeared in the middle of the Crystal Empire Royal Castle, making all the guards nearby to step back. A moment later, the ball started shrinking and morphing until it was shaped like two ponies. With a loud boom, Applejack and Twilight Sparkle were resting on the floor.
“Ugh… Ah hate those spells, Ah always get dizzy.”
“Yeah, and you’re not drained by using magic!” Twilight groaned” “High level magic, mind you…”
“Ah’m real sorry, n’ real thankful too.”
“Twilight? Applejack?” A feminine voice was heard behind the ponies.
“Hello, you two. What brings you here in such a hurry? I must say the visit was unexpected, and the entrance was quite… flashy.”
“Ah’m to blame, Princess. Ah’m sorry if we interrupted sumthin’.”
“Oh, No! No, don’t worry. It’s nice to see you, but… I have to ask, where are the others?”
“It’s just us today, Cadence. Applejack had to talk to you about something urgent, so I brought her. While you girls talk… is Shinning around?”
“Third door to the left” replied Cadence with a smile.
Nodding respectfully, Twilight decided to leave them alone, and visit her brother.
“So… Applejack. It’s quite peculiar to hear you need to talk to me. And given the fact that you convinced Twilie to perform a long range teleportation spell, and you didn’t ask for a meeting prior to coming, I can deduce it’s…”
“Follow me, let’s go somewhere private.”
Soon, both ponies where sitting on armchairs at the royal chambers.
“So… What is it that you need from me?”
“Y’all are a princess, right?”
“Yes, so are Twilight, Celestia and Luna yet you came looking for me.”
“Yeah, but y’all are the princess of love. Y’all can control it, isn’t that right?”
“I can’t control love, Applejack. I… merely help it bloom. Love has it’s own, mysterious ways.”
“But can y’all know true love when y’all see it?”
“Yes, it’s how I notice anomalies or lacks, and give the proper push, or punishment for those interfering…”
Applejack had to gulp loudly at that last phrase “A-Ah’m sorry… what was that?”
“I believe I’ve erased all trace of love potions and poisons from Equestria, but ponies always find new ways to meddle with love, and they deserve punishment.”
“O-oh…” Applejack started frantically looking everywhere, trying to know what to do, but in the end, she knew exactly what to do. Taking a deep sigh, she confessed. “Then Ah might need punishment, Princess Cadence.”
“What do you mean, Applejack? Have you love poisoned someone?”
“C’mon AJ… where are you… Did I blow it or something?” Rainbow Dash thought, as she flew over Ponyville for the fifth time.
After half an hour of talking, Applejack finished confessing her ‘sin’ to Cadence. The whole time, the Princess of Love, listened to her pensively.
“N-n’ Ah jes’ can’t take it anymore! Ah can’t look at her, feelin’ all that love she gives me, n’ fear that it’s not real! T-that it’s jes’ like a big ol’ prank Ah did to mahself…” Applejack blurted, crying desperately.
“S-so… Ah don’t care ‘bout the consequences. Punish me as y’all need to, but Ah beg y’all to fix Rainbow. She deserves to have a normal life, not controlled by mah dreamwalkin’… to turn her back to how she was before Ah meddled with her heart…”
“Do you truly love her? Or now that she’s with you, have you noticed she isn’t what you wanted?”
“No, she’s more than Ah ever wished for. Ah love’er more than anythin’. It’s why Ah’m doin’ this, she deserves more.” She took a deep breath, and calmed the tears falling from her eyes. “S-so… what’s mah punishment, Princess?”
“Follow me; we need to go get Twilight.”
“… and yes, he’s doing quite well. I never thought he’d be so helpful with the library! But mostly, I’m happy that he’s alright, out of the fear of Sombra.”
“I’m glad to hear. Well, send my regards to the crystal ghost.”
“Bard, Twilie. He’s a crystal bard!”
“Right, sorry…” She said, blushing lightly. “I need to go check on the girls… they’ve been talking for a long while now, and it’s worryin-”
As she was saying that, the door was opened, revealing a very stern looking Cadence, and a bloodshot eyed Applejack behind her. “Twilight, are you free now? I need you.”
“Oh dear, Applejack, are you okay?”
“Twilight, I need you to get back to Ponyville, this instant. And to come back, bringing Rainbow Dash with you.”
“W-wha? O-okay, but what’s going on? Why can’t we tell her to take the Friendship Express?”
“It’s important, Twilight.”
“Okay. I’ll be right back!” Channeling her magic, Twilight Sparkle started concentrating on her library, back in Ponyville, and started glowing with a white light. In a blink, she was gone.
Rainbow Dash noticed something bright and flashing in the library, so she immediately nose dived and head directly towards it.
“Applejack!? Are you there!?” she asked, bursting through the door.
Instead of her orange marefriend, she could only find Twilight, with a terrible headache. “Ugh…”
“Twilight! You must help me, AJ’s been missing, and I need to find her! She’s been acting all strange this week, and today she said some things that kinda scared me and, and…”
“S-she’s in the Crystal Empire. And you need to come with me…”
“Just… shut up.” Taking a deep breath, Twilight Sparkle re-did her previous motions, and soon, both where in the Royal Castle once again. “AGH!” She shouted upon arrival, the magical strain being too much to handle.
“Twilie!” Shinning Armor said, grabbing her and laying her in his bed. “Rest for a bit. You’re too magically drained”
“What the hay is going on!?”
“Rainbow Dash, come here.” Cadence commanded.
Dash looked towards her, and saw Applejack, sitting down, crying as she looked away from her. “Applejack!? W-what did you do to her, Cadence!”
“Calm down Dashie… it ain’t her. It’s mah fault.”
“Applejack… please, what’s going on?”
“Rainbow Dash, do you love Applejack?”
“What are you talking about? Yes, I do. I love her more than anything! And… even if I just started feeling it this hard since last week… I can say I’ve never been happier.”
Cadence simply nodded and then looked back, to where Applejack was sitting.
Without needing to hear a single word, Applejack sighed and looked at her marefriend. “Ah’m sorry Rainbow Dash, but it’s… it ain’t real love what y’all are feelin’. It’s all a big lie, n’ its mah fault.”
“Some days ago… Luna caught me in a… not-so-pure dream, so she offered something as an apology. N’ Ah asked to let me get in yer dreams. Ah’ve entered yer dreams fer some days, to make y’all dream nice things ‘bout me. To have y’all think ‘bout me all day. N’… basically, Ah did all Ah could do, to make y’all fall in love with me…”
“Applejack!?” Rainbow Dash couldn’t believe what she was hearing “Why…”
“BECAUSE AH LOVE Y’ALL!” Applejack shouted, stomping her hoof hard on the floor. “B-because Ah love y’all… N-n’ Ah was too afraid to act without knowin’ how y’all felt… n’ instead of gatherin’ courage n’ asking. Ah was a selfish monster n’… n’ Ah did that…” A long sighed escaped her mouth as she looked up and into Rainbow’s eyes “N’ Ah’m terribly sorry fer doin’ so. It’s why Ah came here to ask Cadence to… erase all the influence Ah put inside yer brain. Y’all… get back to normal.”
“Wait, wait! Will that mean I won’t love you anymore? I don’t want that to happen! I really love you, and I’m happy with you…”
“Don’t y’all get it Dash? It’s ‘cause of what Ah did that y’all don’t want it to happen. Without mah… meddlin’, not only y’all wouldn’t mind it, but y’all would probably ask Cadence to undo what Ah did yerself…”
“Are you sure you want this, Jackie? I… You won’t be able to be with me anymore, and trust me, I am happy with you, right now. I don’t even blame you for what you did. Because thanks to it, we’re together, and I’ve never been happier.”
“Ah’m sure. Ah can’t live with y’all not genuinely lovin’ me. Goes against mah Element.”
“Enough! Rainbow Dash, prepare yourself. I’ll take all of Applejack’s influence on your love life.” Cadence commanded, using the Royal Canterlot Voice for the first time in years.
Gulping hard, Rainbow Dash looked at Applejack lovingly one last time, who was still crying hard and looking away, before nodding. “I’m ready.”
Cadence nodded back and lowered her head, letting her horn glow for a minute. Rainbow Dash grimaced and closed her eyes hard, expecting a magic blow. Soon, the pink alicorn’s horn stopped glowing and she raised her head again, smiling tenderly. “I’m all done.”
Rainbow Dash opened her eyes wide and looked at her “Wait, what? That can’t be right, you did nothing! I feel the same.”
Cadence giggled lightly as Applejack stopped sobbing to look at her quizzically. “That’s right, Rainbow Dash, because nothing needed to be done.”
A collective “Huh!?” was heard by all the ponies present, including Twilight, who was still trying to process everything that just happened, with her still-aching head.
“Applejack, you can stop crying and feeling bad now.” She calmly announced, resting her hoof on the orange pony’s shoulder. “I will not need to punish you, because… even if you did meddle with her feelings… you merely pushed her true feelings to bloom earlier. She has been in love with you for years, but only now, and thanks to you, she has realized it.”
The speedster pegasus squinted and looked at Cadence quizzically “Wait, what? I was in love with AJ?”
“No, no wait. No way! I never felt for AJ until the girls kinda pushed me a bit and made me realize I loved her… Which only worked, ‘cause AJ was doing that dream thingy!”
“Not exactly. As I said… you always felt that way about her, it was just… dormant. Applejack merely pressed you, until you started feeling love for her. Even then you still didn’t realize it, it was all inside you. Now… when the girls did what they did, and pressed you even more, pushing you off the edge, then you finally got it.” Cadence gently beamed at Applejack and said “And you, Applejack, you’re forgiven on my side, for what you did ended up as a productive thing, and you did not change love’s true course. Now… only thing left is for you to ask her if she forgives you too.”
The orange mare wiped her tears with her hoof and looked at her lover in front of her. Taking a deep breath, she fearfully opened her mouth.
Before Applejack could even utter a word, she was tackled to the floor for a big kiss by her marefriend. After a full minute, Rainbow Dash broke the kiss and licked the remaining tears from Applejack’s eyes, before resting her head on the pinned mare’s chest. “Of course I forgive you, Applebutt! I love you!”
“Ah…” Applejack’s throat dried as tears began forming in her eyes. No, they were not tears of regret and sorrow as last time. This time, they were actually tears of pure joy and happiness. Finally, she was able to love and feel loved, without guilt and pain. With the biggest smile she could muster, she said, looking at Rainbow Dash with her still crying eyes “Ah love y’all too, mah dear Dashie”
“Good, ‘cause you’re the mare of my dreams…”