“I’ll ask ya this one more time.” Applejack narrowed her eyes. “Why did ya send a shipment of quills to Twilight’s castle in the dead of night?”
Davenport glanced around nervously. That was about all that he could do to express his anxiety, considering his current predicament. The storeowner lay on one of his own sofas, completely unable to move. Being tied to said couch by a lasso tended to restrict movement.
Applejack paced to and fro in front of the couch. A few minutes prior, she had burst into Davenport’s store, thrown a lasso around him, and tied him to the nearest piece of furniture. Since then, she had been interrogating him with a string of demanding questions that he could not make sense of. Davenport had no idea what sort of problem could cause a usually dependable pony to behave in such an antagonistic manner; the Apple family had always been very satisfied customers. He had never received so much as a complaint from them, much less anything that could explain Applejack’s current psychotic activities.
“Again, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Davenport swallowed before continuing. “I did not authorize any shipments yesterday evening, and certainly none in the middle of the night.”
“Don’t lie to me.” Applejack abruptly stopped her pacing and spun to face her immobile captive. “Lyra already told us that she saw a pony carryin’ one of your boxes of quills through town last night directly toward Twilight’s castle.”
“Did you have to tie her up to get her to tell you that?” Davenport muttered to himself.
“What was that?” Applejack demanded.
At that moment, the pegasus who had been sitting silently in the far corner of the store finally spoke up. “Um, Applejack,” Fluttershy ventured timidly. “It’s possible that maybe he could be telling the truth.”
Davenport nodded vigorously. “I am, I certainly am. I only received one order of quills yesterday, and that was in the morning. I remember being surprised, because she had never ordered quills from me before.”
“And who was that?” Applejack asked.
“Um, it was your friend Rainbow Dash,” Davenport replied.
“WHAT?” Applejack jerked her head back so quickly that her hat flew off. “What in tarnation was Rainbow Dash doin’ orderin’ quills?”
“Well, I believe she was simply placing an order on behalf of Princess Twilight.”
“She was, was she?” Applejack face set in a grim frown. “What else do ya remember about her order? Tell me everythin’!”
“If that’s alright with you,” Fluttershy quickly added.
“Well, I remember she originally placed an order that was way too small. I mean, why would anypony think that Twilight would only need five boxes of quills?” Davenport chuckled to himself. Then he glanced at Applejack’s blank look before quickly continuing, “And she turned down my offer to deliver the quills directly to Twilight. Rainbow Dash took them herself and said that she would drop them off at Twilight’s castle that evening.”
Applejack leaned forward, her face mere inches from where Davenport lay bound. All he could see were her eyes intensely boring into his. “Interesting. Y’all are tellin’ me the truth?”
Davenport nodded again, despite the difficulty of doing so in his current position.
“Is there anything else you might be able to tell us? We would really appreciate it,” said Fluttershy gently from somewhere behind Applejack’s imposing glare.
“Sorry, Fluttershy, but that’s all I can remember.” Davenport paused for a few seconds as he recalled his meeting with the bold pegasus the previous morning. “Wait. There was one other thing. Rainbow Dash seemed rather nervous when she came in yesterday. A lot different from her usual brash self.”
Applejack blinked slowly a couple of times, processing this strange information. Then, she suddenly spun away from Davenport. She hurried over to Fluttershy, grabbed one of her hooves, and hoisted the startled pony to her hooves. Applejack galloped out the door, dragging Fluttershy behind her. Fluttershy was only able to mumble a quick, “Thank you,” before the two ponies were gone.
Leaving Davenport still tied to his couch.
A few seconds passed. Davenport glanced around, at a loss for what to do.
He had absolutely no idea.
The door to his shop burst open once more, and Applejack rushed back in. “I forgot somethin’,” she commented bluntly.
“I would say so,” Davenport said.
Applejack reached down and picked up her hat from off the floor. She stood there for a moment as she carefully placed it on her head. Then she turned and charged back out of the store.
Davenport blinked. He still couldn’t move.
Applejack galloped down the streets of Ponyville. Without hesitation, she hurried on toward her destination. Fluttershy’s soft panting behind her indicated that the pegasus was still barely managing to match her pace. Regardless of whether or not Fluttershy could keep up, Applejack would press on to discover the truth and find her lost friend.
Out of the corner of her eye, Applejack noted Spike hurrying toward her from a side street. Not bothering to slow down, Applejack nodded a greeting to Spike as he caught up and began running alongside her.
“I sent a letter to Princess Celestia letting her know what’s happened,” said Spike.
“Good,” came Applejack’s short reply.
“Also, I found that the bouquet with poison joke did not come from the flower shop. Whoever sent it to Twilight picked those flowers themselves.”
“Alright, then.” Applejack picked up her pace as she considered this new information. “That might be a dead end. Fluttershy an’ I found that Rainbow Dash ordered a whole bunch of quills yesterday, but we can’t seem to find that pony anywhere to ask her what she did with them.”
“Did you check Sugarcube Corner?” Spike asked. “Pinkie Pie would probably know where she is.”
“We did, but Pinkie wasn’t there,” Applejack said with a frown. “So we’re gonna go ask Rarity if she knows where any o’ our friends have disappeared to.”
Carousel Boutique was coming up. Lowering her head, Applejack charged toward the fashion store and burst through the front door. Dresses went flying as Applejack tore across the shop’s main room, up the stairs, and into Rarity’s sewing room.
Startled, Rarity jumped up from working on her latest creation with a rather uncouth gasp of surprise. Recovering quickly, she composed herself and carefully approached Applejack.
“Really, Applejack,” Rarity admonished, “I do not know why you are so agitated, but it simply will not do to have you come bursting in and disrupting my work.”
“Sorry ‘bout that, Rarity,” Applejack said briskly, “But somethin’s come up, and we need to talk with ya.”
“Well, whatever it may be, surely it can wait until I have finished the stitching on this dress.” With an indifferent flick of her mane, Rarity turned her back on Applejack and returned to the outfit she had so diligently been working on.
Applejack chuckled. “I don’t think it can wait.”
“Hm.” Rarity did not bother to look up from her labor. “Please, Applejack. This dress is for a very important customer, and I have no intention of letting anything distract me until it is completely finished.”
“Suit yourself.” Applejack turned to leave. At that moment, Fluttershy and Spike finally appeared in the doorway, gasping for breath. “I just thought ya might want to know Twilight’s been kidnapped.”
Applejack moved toward the exit. She carefully stepped around a winded Spike and proceeded to head down the hallway. It wasn’t until Applejack had gone half a dozen steps that her last statement finally registered with Rarity.
“TWILIGHT’S BEEN WHAT?”