At Ponyville’s nicest restaurant, Big Macintosh and Twilight were sitting opposite one another. Macintosh was telling Twilight the story of how Granny Smith discovered the zap apples and how Sweet Apple Acres and Ponyville was founded, Twilight hanging on to every word. Both remained blissfully unaware of how several of the diner patrons were looking at them. Twilight and Big Mac were both well-known figures, Twilight the librarian, student of Celestia, hero of Equestria and Big Mac the male of Sweet Apple Acres, the biggest guy in town, and most sought after guy in town.
Of course, there were no share of detractors: many thought Twilight was a cute sweet gal but she had a tendency to go crazy at the drop of a hat, making just as many problems as she solved and her connection to the princess could get her out of anything. Mac was more or less spotless, save for a few idiots who believed the lothario rumors and accused him of sleeping with some female relative or another which the Apple family would have to prove were untrue. One particular mare, offended by Mac turning her down, accused him of raping her which brought down the wrath of nearly the whole Apple clan on her head for such an accusation. Rumor had it that said mare was hiding with dragons where there were absolutely no Apples.
At the moment, however, ponies were marveling at how the neurotic librarian was apparently on a date with Ponyville’s most eligible bachelor. Already a few were leaving their meals early to spread the gossip like wildfire. Quite a few mares looked on in jealously. Twilight had only been in town for months and she had succeeded where the rest of them failed all their lives? This would require investigation and even confrontation.
It was late when Big Mac took Twilight home; they’d walked for quite a while without even realizing it. When Twilight said goodbye to him, she sat in one of the library’s chairs, thinking about what Mac had said to her earlier when she snapped at him and how she wanted so much to see him again. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Lyra and Bon Bon entering the library.
“Can I help you?” Twilight asked.
“Actually, yes. We saw you eating out with Big Macintosh.” Lyra said.
‘Huh boy.’ Twilight thought.
“And why is that important?” Twilight asked aloud.
“So, is it true you’ve been seeing Big Macintosh?” Lyra asked.
“What if I am?” Twilight cautiously returned.
“Well, we were just wondering how it, you know, happened.”
“I don’t know, it just…happened. We’re not even an official couple which, by the way, I don’t think is any of your business!”
“Aw, come on, Twilight.” Bon Bon pressed. “Pretty much every mare in town has tried to snare Mac!
“Can you at least tell us if his ‘apple tree’ is as big as they say it is?” Lyra asked. “Or that it’s like sitting on a fire hose at full blast?”
Twilight blushed furiously.
“Wuh? Buh…no! Look, if you two are just going to bug me about my personal affairs, then you can just leave!”
“Okay, sorry!” Bon Bon said. “We just wanted to know what was going on in your life.”
“Why do you care so much about Mac? Aren’t you two gay?” Spike asked, having suddenly entered the room.
“Why does everyone think we’re gay?” Bon Bon groaned in disgust.
“So we spend a lot of time together! How does that make us gay?” Lyra snapped.
“It’s just as bad as the rumors saying you’re obsessed with some hue-man species, whatever those are.”
“I sat on the bench like that ONE TIME!”
“Thank you, girls, we’ve established that the people in this town have far too much time on their hands.” Twilight said as she shoved Lyra and Bon Bon out the door. “Now please, get out!”
“So, how’d it go? The date, I mean. ” Spike asked as Twilight locked the doors and closed the curtains.
“Hmm? Oh, it was all right. He told all about his family helped found Ponyville.”
“People saw you, right?”
“Well, of course, Spike. It was a public restaurant.”
“Then a lot more people are gonna try to pry into this, Twilight. Rumors fly wildly in a town like this, as you’ll remember.”
“Yes, I know, Gabby Gums. But Diamond Tiara was punished for blackmailing the girls, Featherweight was punished for taking the photos, and Cheerilee apologized for not keeping a closer eye on the paper.”
“This isn’t like Gabby Gums, this is something that’s really happening.”
“I really don’t want to talk about this now, Spike.” Twilight said, rubbing her forehead. “I’m tired and I’ve got to take a trip tomorrow.”
“A trip? What kind of trip?”
“I need to talk to Princess Celestia about something.”
“And that something is…?”
“Please, Spike, it’s been a hard day for me.”
“All right, fine.”
As Twilight headed upstairs, Spike watched her go, contemplative. He knew Twilight better than anyone, even her older brother, and what he was seeing was throwing up a lot of warning signs. Twilight was becoming more and more stressed as time had gone on, a clear sign that all these adventures and missions were taking a significant toll on her. He didn’t think Twilight was crazy, but anyone would snap under all that, even without the pressure Twilight was under with her titles of Element of Magic and Princess’ Student. Twilight did all she could to hide all that and reassure him she was fine, but he knew better. Only he didn’t have the courage to actually confront her about that.
Spike sighed and headed up to bed. He just hoped Twilight could keep a handle on her stress. Who knows what would happen if she didn’t.
Over at the farm, Big Macintosh lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling, clad only in pajama bottoms. He too was thinking of the time he’d spent with Twilight today. She was an eager listener, a pleasure to talk to, a pleasure to be with, hell, the fact that he’d unconsciously spent a large chunk of the day with her was proof enough of that. But still, Mac couldn’t stopped thinking of her episode in her bed. She had said that she felt like she was under a constant amount of pressure being who she was. He’d given her the best advice he could and hoped that’d be enough, for now anyway. That still wouldn’t fix her problems, however. Mental and emotional scars ran deep and usually they cut enough to destroy a pony’s life, shattered beyond repair. Could he help Twilight with this? Could she improve herself?
Could he love someone with her kinds of problems?
Mac’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a lasso snapping in Applejack’s room next door.
“Ah hear someone’s been a bad boy…” Applejack said seductively.
“Oh, yeah. Bust me, baby!” Soarin replied.
“Oh, fer cryin’ out loud…” Mac moaned, pressing his pillow over his face.
As Applejack’s bed began groaning furiously, all Mac could do was pray they finished quickly.
Two hours later, they were still going strong. Macintosh couldn’t sleep a wink with all the noise and the knowledge that his sister was getting plowed like a cornfield next door. Finally, he got up, left his room, and entered Applejack’s. He went over to the window and opened it. The two didn’t even notice he was there until he grabbed them and neatly chucked them out the window into the backyard.
“Macintosh! Have you lost your stinking marbles?” A livid Applejack yelled.
“You two wanna screw like a pair of horny rabbits, do it in the barn with the other animals!” Mac yelled back. “And you, flyboy, if you wanna keep ruttin’ mah sister, you better put a ring on her finger and take her to the altar!”
With that, Mac slammed the window shut and went back to bed.
“Yeesh.” Soarin said. “I haven’t seen anyone get that pissed about sex since Spitfire found out Fleetfoot was sneaking her boyfriend into the camp.”
“Aw, shut up.” Applejack growled as she stormed off toward the barn.
“Hey! What’d I say? What’d I say?”
The next day, Twilight was riding the train to Canterlot, hoping that she’d be able to tell Celestia even a little bit about how she really felt. Twilight idly flipped through a cheap tabloid she’d bought, the Ludicrous Lookout ‘Nightmare Moon resurrected as sweet, innocent filly!’ “Author A.K. Yearling leads double life as adventurer!’ ‘Studies show mares outnumber stallions ten to one!’ ‘Baker snaps, turns ponies into cupcakes!’ ‘Rainbow factory secretly murders foals!’ ‘Princess Celestia secretly nymphomanic rapist!’ ‘Famed cello player and DJ secretly in torrid love affair!’ ‘Secret agency in Equestria?’ ‘Mysterious time traveler in our midst?’
‘What garbage.’ She thought to herself, tossing it aside.
Twilight tried to think of what she’d say to Celestia when she got there. ‘Excuse me, Celestia, but do you think I could not get any kind of missions for a while? I’m getting kind of burned out.’ No, no, that was way too informal. ‘Celestia, I don’t want to do this anymore. Find someone else to be your patsy.’ Definitely not. ‘Celestia, all this constant pressure on me since foalhood has grown to the point that I become a nervous wreck if something even goes slightly wrong. I really think I need help before I go off the brink.’
No, not that either. If she said anything like that, Celestia would want to pry more into her mental health and Twilight really didn’t want to open that door.
When the train arrived, Twilight headed straight to the castle. She got to the gates and looked up at the glimmering palace. All she had to do was go inside and ask for the princess’ audience, which she would surely get. All she had to do was tell Celestia was sick and tired of the whole hero/student title and wanted to cut it all out of her life.
She couldn’t do it. What would Celestia say? What would she do? How would parents react if they found out? They’d been so proud that Twilight became Celestia’s student, it would destroy them. And what about Equestria? What would happen if she refused to act when the next disaster occurred? Unable to think of it, Twilight ran until she reached the cliff of Canterlot.
Twilight looked the fence on the edge of Canterlot. She marveled at how far down the ground was and how small everything was. Her hands gripped the metal bars, the wind roaring in her ears. She couldn’t help but wonder how fast a body would fall from this height. Would the person black out? Would there be much pain at the sudden stop? How long would it take to get to the bottom? The wind in Twilight’s ears roared louder. The ground below seemed so enticing. A voice in the back of her mind told her to climb up on the fence and jump, just to satisfy it all.
With a sudden burst of fright, Twilight turned and ran for the train station.