• Published 28th May 2013
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The Arrival of Ford Mustang - RoyalRainbow

After a mysterious golden light teleports him to Equestria, the human, Ford, has been transformed into a full-grown Pegasus without a Cutie Mark. What challenges await him as he coops his new life in Ponyville?

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Chapter 18 – A Gift from the Heart

Chapter 18 – A Gift from the Heart

A couple of days later, Applejack and I continue to our daily routine of applebucking in one of the orchards. Big Mac couldn’t help out with us because he is busy with attending the needs of poor, sweet Fluttershy, who as I have expected is still sick from the Feather Flu. Despite how surprised AJ was when she first found out that Big Mac is dating Fluttershy, Applejack is never the less happy for her big brother and believes that he is the perfect stallion for her timid friend.

Despite Big Mac’s absence, we received some surprising assistance from one of our friends, Rarity! Yesterday, when she stopped by to pick up Sweetie Belle from Apple Bloom’s clubhouse, Rarity learned about how Big Mac wasn’t with us this week since he’s been taking care of Fluttershy in the meantime. Once she heard this, Rarity insisted to lean us a hoof for the next couple of days. Applejack, of course, tries to humbly turn down Rarity’s offer, but the seamstress won’t have any of that as it would go against her Element of Generosity after all.

As of now, Rarity has been an excellent helper to us. While she can’t applebuck like me or Applejack, she makes it up with her masterful levitating magic. Why, her magic is so good, she can pluck out every apple from a tree at once with such grace and ease. Even Applejack admires how Rarity is just as efficient and hardworking in apple picking as she is in fashion designing. Plus, she may not admit it, but I think Applejack is truly grateful for Rarity’s company today.

As the day goes on, I was still thinking about what kind of gift I should get for Rainbow Dash on her birthday next month. I want it be something unique. Something she would very much appreciate it in case I have to leave at some point. But I just can’t think of a single good idea as of now.


Once we have gathered up enough apples for the day, all three of us begin to stock up our baskets onto the carts nearby the entrance of orchard.

“Thank ya kindly for all of yer help, Rarity!” Applejack says cheerfully to her Unicorn friend. “We couldn’t have wrapped this up so quickly without ya!”

“It’s no trouble at all, Applejack!” Rarity humbles sweetly. “Considering that Big Mac is taking good care of our dear, sweet Fluttershy at her cottage, it was the least I can do after all of the hard work you put through with Cider Season last week.”

“You know, Rarity…” I join in their conversation. “…I’m still quite surprise you were willing to help us out so eagerly. Considering how you like to… umm… maintain your physical appearance that is.”

Rarity harrumphs at my comment before she holds her head up with pride as she says with a smile, “Just because I like to maintain my cleanliness unlike someponies, doesn’t mean that I am afraid to get a little dirty no matter what the task may be!”

“Uh-huh.” Applejack deadpans sarcastically. “By the way, ya got a lil’ something on yer face right there.” Uh-oh. Now Applejack has done it.

GASP! I DO?!” Rarity panics dramatically as she fidgets uncontrollably. “QUICK, SOMEPONY FETCH ME A WET CLOTH! A TOWEL! A RAG! ANYTHING!” I couldn’t help but chuckle along with Applejack as we witness Rarity’s melodramatics.

“I’m just kiddin’, sugarcube!” Applejack teases. “That beautiful coat of yers shines just as nicely as a polished apple!”

“Oh, you--!” Rarity flusters with barely containable anger. But then, her anger swiftly vanishes as her eyes went wide and a small blushing smile begins to emerge. “Wait, did you say my coat is beautiful?”

My chuckling comes to a complete halt as I stare at Applejack for her response to Rarity’s question. The unresponsive farm pony is blushing just as red as her Cutie Mark.

“Umm… no!” she obviously lies by making that sour face of hers while her eyes avoid our gazes.

“Well, even if you did, it’s very nice of you to say that.” Rarity smiles tenderly. It surprises Applejack to hear that, but she eases up a bit as she smiles back at Rarity while her intense blush starts to die.

“You know, darling…” Rarity continues meekly. “…if I remember correctly, you once told me that Zap Apple Season may come up in a couple of weeks or so. If you still need some addition help, I’ll be happy to lend a hoof once again.”

“Ah wouldn’t mind it at all, sugarcube.” Applejack replies with a nice smile. “In fact, Ah could offer you some free Zap Apple Jam in return for yer kind generosity that is.”

"I do believe that sounds like a fair trade.” Rarity says agreeably. As I listen in on their conversation, all this talk of Zap Apple Jam finally gives me an idea.

“AJ!” I yelp out to get her attention immediately. “Do you think I can also get some Zap Apple Jam for myself?”

“Of course ya can, sugarcube! Ya can have as much jam as you’d like!”

“Actually, I wanted to give it to Rainbow Dash… as a gift for her birthday.”

“Uh… sorry, Ford! Ah can’t let ya do that!”

I’m surprise to hear her say that. “What?! Why not?!” I cry out in protest.

“Because that’s gonna be my gift for RD this year!”

“…Dang it!” I mutter to myself quietly in disappointment.

“So… Zap Apple Jam is going to be your present?” Rarity asks with curiosity.

“Actually…” Applejack restates. “…Ah’m plannin' on creating a whole gift basket revolving around Zap Apples, which includes jam, some various pastries, and a bushel of apples, of course.”

“My my!” Rarity glees with hungry eyes. “That’s sounds like quite a feast for her!”

“So, Rarity.” I turn to her, hoping that it may spark some ideas. “Might I ask what you’re getting for Rainbow Dash this year?”

“Sorry, my dear Mustang…” Rarity replies chivalrously. ‘…but a true lady never reveals her secrets.”

“It’s a dress, ain’t it?” Applejack guesses as if she already knows the answer. Granted, that was going to be my guess as well.

“HOW DID YOU KNOW?!” Rarity exclaims surprisingly at Applejack.

“Well, ya just told me for one thing.” Applejack replies grinningly.

“…Shoot.” Rarity mumbles to herself with a slight embarrassing blush.

“No offense, Rarity, but isn’t Rainbow not that too keen when it comes to dresses?” Applejack inquires.

“Oh, you just wait and see for what I have in store for her.” Rarity answers back with all-knowingly devious grin.

“How about you, sugarcube?” Applejack turns her attention towards me. “Have ya come up with anything for RD’s birthday?” I am about to say something, but nothing comes out of my mouth.

After thinking more on this, I can only admit this sadly to them, “I… can’t think of a good idea just yet.”

“Well… how about gettin’ a gift dealin’ with them Wonderbolts?” Applejack suggests to me. “You know she’ll always like that.”

“I thought about that…” I reply. “…but that’s too predictable for a gift. Besides, she probably has every Wonderbolts merchandise known to ponykind. Plus, I really want this gift to be something special for her.” Applejack and Rarity look at each other with concern as if they're trying to think of something they can suggest to me. But then, Rarity brightens up as she beams towards me.

“Say, Ford.” she says to me. “You once told me that you are an artist yourself, correct?”

“Yes?” I answer with a puzzling look.

“Then that’s perfect!” Rarity shouts suddenly in delight. “You should create a work of art for Rainbow Dash!”

“What?!” I startle in surprise at her suggestion.

“Ya know, that’s not a bad idea, Rarity!” Applejack agrees.

“Umm... girls? I’m not sure if Rainbow will be very appreciative when it comes to artwork.” I say timidly to them.

“Nonsense!" Rarity dismisses my notion. “I’m very well certain that Rainbow Dash will love whatever you create for her!”

“B-but! I don’t know if this is such a good idea!” I hesitantly keep denying this. “I mean, I’m probably not that great of an artist myself!” I won’t say that I’m a terrible artist, but I don’t think that the level of my talent would be enough to qualify as the perfect gift for Rainbow Dash.

Applejack walks up to me and rests a reassuring hoof on my shoulder before speaking her mind, “Listen to me, sugarcube. Try to look at it this way. It doesn’t matter how detailed or fancy the picture is. What matters is what you want that picture to represent for Rainbow Dash. Something that can be personal. Something that can be expressive. Something that can come from the heart itself.” she says as she softly presses a fore hoof on my chest where my heart should be.

“The heart itself…” I murmur to myself quietly as I lay a hoof on my own heart. I let AJ’s words sink in deeply, until at least, I finally have an idea on what to create for her! Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe this is my chance to do something extraordinary. Maybe… I can show my true feelings for Rainbow through my artwork. After all, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

“You’re right, girls.” I say to them determinately. “I think I know what I must do now.”

Applejack smiles before playfully shoving me and saying, “Well then, get to it, Mustang!”

“Yes, I should get started right away!” And with that, I gallop ahead while Rarity and Applejack cheer for me from behind. But then, I stop in my tracks as I had no idea where I am about to go. I turn around and walk back to the girls with my head hanging low.

“Oh, come on!” Applejack frowns in disappointment. “Don’t tell me yer gettin’ cold feet again!”

“Actually… umm… do either of you have any idea where I can find an art store around here?” I ask them in a sheepish manner.

“Perhaps I can save you the trip, Mr. Mustang.” Rarity approaches me. “Back in my shop, I have whole cabinet of unused art supplies just waiting to create the next masterpiece! Who knows, they might be able to help you in wooing the heart of your fair maiden!”

Rarity giggles at her little joke while Applejack, of course, follows suit. I fluster a bit at their teasing, but eventually I get use to it as I too lightly chuckle along.

“Thank you, girls.” I say to them gratefully. “I’ll take whatever help I can get!”


And so, the most important project of my life has begun!

After we have taken care of all of the apples we have gathered, Rarity leads me back to her Carousel Boutique. Once there, she shows me all of her available art supplies in her cabinet. I must say, she has quite a collection for someone who just focuses on fashion design. In fact, her vast collection is far superior to any major arts-and-craft store that I know of (seriously, they suck!).

As I marvel at what’s before me, I begin to think on which medium to choose. I have to admit to myself, I am at a disadvantage right now since I mainly used my computer and its programs to create my artwork and comics, so I have to choose my materials carefully. I thought about using acrylics since I’ve used them a lot in art school, but they take too long to blend each specific color I need. Plus, when brushing them, they don’t blend so easily since they dry too quickly. Watercolors are nice, but I have very little experience with them to bring out their full potential. Then I see it, the best material for my top-secret project: a nicely large set of soft colored pastels. They can be blended really nicely, and they showcase such vivid colors. These will be perfect!

After gathering my materials and paper, I thank Rarity for lending them to me and make my way to next destination: the Golden Oaks Library. Once there, I look around the “Art” section of the library to gather as many how-to-do art books as possible. Each of them covering nearly every subject in the art world: pony anatomy, landscapes, light sources, pastel techniques, color theory, and so on.

Lastly, I stop by at Vinyl & Octavia’s house. After a friendly chat with them, I ask them if I can purchase some copies of their music records. Whenever I create works of art, I often listen to music to inspire and motivate me. And ever since I got to know these two musicians, I’ve been an aspiring fan of their music. To my surprise, they offer me their best soundtrack records, free of charge. When I ask why they were so generous, they reply it was their way of saying thanks for bringing them together. Afterwards, I thank them for their gifts and dart back to Sweet Apple Acres.

For the first week, I did nothing but reading. Reading through each and every book I took from the library. I know that I am out of practice, especially in tradition art media. So I thought it would be best to do my research first before I begin my work. Once I have done enough require reading, I layout my plan through sketches and thumbnails, until I have come up with my rough draft.

On the first day of the second week, I borrow Applejack’s camera to take many photographical references of Winsome Falls, the ideal landscape for my drawing where I can show off the magnificent colors of the rainbow waterfalls streaming from the clouds above. I got up as early as possible to take an assortment of pictures of the mysterious clouds from sunrise to sunset. In between, I did some sketches of my surroundings at Winsome Falls just so I can get good feel of them.

Throughout the rest of the second week, I start on my finished pencil drawing. Since I drew Rainbow Dash and the rest of her friends a lot of times when I was human, I didn’t need that much reference when it comes to drawing her. In this portrait, I have to make sure I get the right posture and expression of her if I’m going to present this as her birthday gift in less than two weeks from now. Once I was satisfy enough, I fill in the rest of the drawing with the scenic background of Winsome Falls.

On the third week, I start on the most difficult phase of my project: the coloring. After going through all of my photographs of Winsome Falls, I make my choice on how to color the scenery. With a steady hoof, I make good use of Rarity’s pastels as I begin the coloring process. With nothing distracting me (especially with video games and the internet, since they don’t exist in Equestria as of now), I am totally in sync with my portrait. And thanks to Vinyl & Octavia’s music which I play on a record player, it helps me to keep moving forward with my coloring. Strangely enough, I have never felt this relax and confident before after devoting a major of my time to this project. This isn’t just something that’s only personal, but also something that I am obligated to do. I am doing this for Rainbow Dash after all, and I’ll see to it that I won’t let her down, no matter what!


Finally, after three, long, excruciating weeks, which is just a few days before Rainbow Dash’s birthday, I take one last look at what I have just created before taking it to a frame shop. I check for any small blemish or anything missing that needs to be corrected. After a closely thorough inspection of my portrait, I breathe out a heavy sigh of relief and finally say this to myself: