• 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 21 – Double Date

Chapter 21 – Double Date

Around 5 o’clock, Applejack and I are walking over to the main entrance of the fairground, which spreads throughout the town of Ponyville. Each of us are carrying a little money bag secured around our necks so we can purchase our tickets, food, drinks, etc. Ever since I’ve stayed at the Apple Family’s home, Granny Smith was kind enough to give me a little allowance each week as a way to thank me for helping out on the farm. I don’t usually spend much of my money, so I am glad I’ve saved enough for the fair this evening. It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a fair before, so I am kind of excited for what’s to see over there. AJ’s pretty excited about it too, and by “excited”, I mean that she’s completely petrified about her first date with Rarity.

“Gosh, Ford! Ah’m so nervous about all of this!” Applejack admits anxiously.

“Don’t be!” I reassure her. “You and Rarity are going to have a good time tonight! I’m sure of it! Besides, she’s the one who invited you on this date, remember?”

“Th-that’s true. But… how can Ah impress her when Ah’m just an ordinary farmpony?”

“Oh yes!” I roll my eyes with a sarcastic smile. “A farmpony who saves the world on a daily basis and produces some of finest, well-known apple products on this side of Equestria! Yes, that’s something only ordinary ponies can do!”

She chuckles a bit from my sarcasm before saying to me, “Alright, smart aleck! Ah get whatcha sayin’! But ya know exactly what Ah’m referring to!”

“So what, you want be an obnoxious, ignorant prick like Prince Blueblood?” I ask with mocking puzzlement.

“Of course not! Besides, Ah tried actin’ like a noblepony once when Ah was little. It… just didn’t suit me that well.” She’s probably referring to that flashback when she went to Manehatten as a little filly from the “Cutie Mark Chronicles” episode.

“Applejack…” I say to her with a comforting smile. “Just do what you do best: be your true, honest self. Rarity will love you for that. And remember to have fun tonight. It will work out in the end. You’ll see.”

She smiles gratefully at my reassurance before saying, “Thanks, sugarcube. What will Ah ever do without ya?”

“Well, you’ll have one less helper around the farm. That’s for sure.” I reply with a smirk.

“Yoo-hoo! Applejack! Mustang! Over here!” Rarity cheerfully calls out to us as she waves her foreleg in the air. Applejack and I see Rarity and Rainbow Dash standing near the ticket booths and the main entrance to the fair. Unlike the three of us, Rarity is carrying a purse-like saddle bag instead of a money bag strapped around our necks.

Wait… Rainbow’s here too?! I wasn’t expect that! Great, now I’m starting to become just as nervous as AJ! Well, wait a minute! Maybe… this could work out for me. Yeah, while Applejack and Rarity go on their date, perhaps I can hang out with Rainbow throughout the rest of the evening! This will be perfect!

“So, Ford. You’re here for the fair too, huh?” Rainbow says to me in that cool, casual manner.

“Yeah, I guess.” I respond as I gingerly approach her. “It’s been a while since I’ve attended one, so I’m looking forward to it.”

“Oh, you’re gonna love it!” she squeals in excitement. “This fair has some really awesome food here and some of the craziest rides to go on!”

“Well, since I’ve never been to this fair before, maybe you can give me a tour around here.”

“Only if you won’t chicken out on some of the rides I wanna go on!” She smirks as she playfully nudges at me.

“I-DE-A!!” Rarity surprises us in her familiar sing-song voice. “We should all go on a double date together!”

Rainbow and I stare speechlessly at the gleeful Rarity for a few seconds before we both shout out simultaneously, “WHAAAAAT?!”

“Why, Ah reckon that sounds like a mighty fine idea, Rarity!” Applejack chimes in with an approving grin. “What do ya say, you two? Y’all wanna join up with us?”

Me? Go on a date… with Rainbow Dash? This will be a dream come true! Though… I wonder if she wants to go along with this notion.

“Well… I mean… if Rainbow is up to it at least--” I say very meekly to the group.

“Of course I am! I’m up for anything!” Rainbow Dash states that with a bit of her usual boastfulness.

I blink speechlessly before saying to Rainbow in surprise, “…Wait, really?!”

“Sure! It’ll be fun! Unless of course, you don’t think I’m good enough to be your date that is!” she teases me with a playful smirk.

In a flustered state of panic, I quickly respond, “No no, of course not! I think you’re perfect!”

It starts to become very quiet all of a sudden. Once I realize on what I've just said, my face blushes into an intense shade of red. I’m so embarrassed right now, that I thought I would screw up my chance to go out with Rainbow Dash. But to my surprise, I see Rainbow blushing up too as her cheeks start to show a hot pink glow on them. Almost at once, we swiftly turn our heads away from each other as we try to control our blushing faces. Was she that embarrassed by my hasty choice of words, or… did she really like hearing that from me, I wonder?

Then, Rarity tenderly interrupts this awkward moment of silence for us. “Ahem! Well… now that that’s settled, let’s get going, shall we?”

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After paying for our tickets, we begin our double date by strolling around the fair for a bit. It certainly is bustling with life here tonight with the shrill screams and infectious laughter of the ponies, the colorful displays from the rides and vendors, and the delicious smells of all kinds of cooked goodies. AJ and Rarity are leading ahead while me and Rainbow Dash are right behind them. Even though she’s closely right alongside me, we’re still avoiding each other’s gaze as we try to diminish what’s left of our blushes.

Once our rosy cheeks have finally tone down to a near minimum, Rainbow is the first to start off our conversation. “So… Rarity and Applejack, huh? Have to admit, didn’t see that one coming. I don’t suppose you had a hoof in this, did you?” she slyly asks with a playful nudge to my side.

“What makes you say that?” I reply with a nervous smile while I’m still looking the other way.

“Well… considering that it was you who helped out Fluttershy and Vinyl Scratch settling in with their dates, I figure that this latest matchmaking scheme had to be your doing.”

“How did you find that out?!” I yelp in alarm as I snappily look at the smirking, cyan Pegasus.

“Well, for Fluttershy’s case, she’s my closest friend. So we talk about everything. As for Vinyl, we usually hang out together at some of the clubs she performs.”

“And… you’re not bothered by all this?” I ask cautiously.

“Why would I?” she responds with a bewildered look.

“I don’t know. I guess I’m kind of worried if I’m interfering with their lives too much, especially since they’re your friends too for that matter.”

“Hey, you’ve made my friends happier than ever, so I think what you’re doing for them is pretty awesome!” she reassures me with an approving smile.

I begin to show a soft smile after hearing Rainbow’s approval over what has happened in these few months since I’ve arrived here. Then, I turn my head to look at Rarity and Applejack. I can’t hear much out of them considering how noisy it gets at the fair this evening. But from looking at their expressions, I can tell that they are having a really good time with themselves. I see them talking and laughing with such enthusiasm that I would have never expected that from their first date so soon. My smile starts to grow wider as I am certain that I have made the right choice to help them discover their own feelings for one and another.

“So tell me something, Ford Mustang.” Rainbow curiously asks of me. “If you’re so good at this matchmaking business, how come you haven’t found a special somepony yourself?”

I take a moment to think about this before I reply sadly with a heavy sigh. “I wish I can answer that myself. Maybe… I just I don’t stand out that much to the other mares.”

“Are you kidding me?!” Rainbow reacts with surprising disbelief. “You’ve stood up against a dragon without a breaking a sweat! You can create some amazing artwork when you really want to! Heck, you’ve nearly pulled off a Sonic Rainboom! Any mare would be crazy to not go out with somepony like you!”

I smile broadly with a small blush at her compliments of me before responding, “Well, my accomplishments are nothing compared to yours! You not only helped save the world a dozen times, but you’re also the most accomplished flyer I have ever heard of! Guys must line up to be asking you out for dates!”

“Heh, too bad for them!” she smirks at me. “I’m only interested in dating the best!”

“So… does that mean I’m a special case here?” I teasingly smirk back at her. I surprisingly catch Rainbow Dash off-guard as she greatly stutters while avoiding my gaze once again as a heavy blush consumes her. But before I can get a proper answer out of her, I hear Rarity shrieking out in delight.

“Aww! Look at them! They look so adorable!”

Thinking that Rarity is talking about us, the rapid blush on my face matches that with Rainbow Dash’s. Briefly, we stare at each other with wide eyes before turning our attention back at Rarity. Shockingly however, Rarity wasn’t talking about us; she was talking about the prizes that are displayed at a carnival game stand. The prizes consists of various dolls depicting the princesses of Equestria: Celestia, Luna, Cadance, and their latest princess, Twilight Sparkle. And not only that, but they also come in two sizes: big and small. The big ones are hanging along the roof of the tent while the smaller ones are hanging on the two front posts that are supporting the tent.

“Ooo! There’s one of Twilight Sparkle as well!” Rarity squeals in a cutesy manner as she points them out. “Oh, Sweetie Belle would love to have one of them!”

“Care to try you luck, miss?” a smiling Unicorn with a gruff voice calls out to us as he stands right besides his carnival game. This rough-looking, grey stallion with a squared jaw and a small bowler hat on top of head must be one of the carnies around here based off the orange-and-yellow pinstripe vest he’s wearing over his white, short-sleeved shirt.

“Why not?” Rarity approaches the game stand with an eager smile. The rest of us follow Rarity along as we get a better look at what’s underneath the tent. About a few yards away from a white line drawn at the entrance to his tent, there stands a wooden table where six empty milk bottles are stacked on top of another in a neat pyramid arrangement. It looks like a simple game to follow through.

Once we get close enough, the gaming vendor begins to explain the rules to us. “Alright, that’ll be one bit for three balls, please! You knock all six of them, and you win one of the smaller prizes!”

“May I use my magic to throw them?” Rarity asks politely.

“Of course!” he smiles at Rarity. “Just as long as your aura doesn’t cross that line!”

After Rarity gets one bit from her bag, she exchanges it for three balls with the carny pony. With all of her balls wrapped in her light blue, magical aura, Rarity takes careful aim with her first ball. Once she is ready, she unleashes the first volley towards the stack of six bottles. With the first ball, Rarity hits the first bottle on top of the pyramid.

“Hey, I got one! I GOT ONE!” Rarity yelps in joy as her two friends and I cheer for her vigorously.

“Nicely done!” the vendor with a hoarse voice comments. “Only five more to go with just two balls left!”

With renewed confidence, Rarity perhaps her second aim with greater precision before releasing it. This time, the second ball hits the rim of the middle bottle on the lower level before knocking down the last two bottles on the upper level.

“Hey, look at that, Rarity!” Rainbow cheerfully hugs her gleeful Unicorn friend. "You only need to take those three down, and you’ll win that prize for sure!”

As the two mares continue to excite over how close Rarity’s victory is, Applejack and I stare silently at the three remaining bottles. I remember how the previous ball bounces off one of them before knocking the last two down. Why did it do that? Shouldn’t the other bottle be knocked down as well?

Psst! AJ!” I whisper to her. “Did you notice anything strange about those last three bottles standing?”

“Yeah… Ah’ve been wonderin’ about that myself.” Applejack responds back quietly as she continues to eye suspiciously at the last remaining bottles standing.

“Last chance, miss! Make it count!” the carny pony announces with a wide smile.

“Oh, believe me, I will!” Rarity confirms confidently.

She glares with a sure smile at the last few bottles standing on the table before giving some spin to her last throw. After a couple of more spins, Rarity tosses the last ball with all of her might as it flies through the air towards the remaining targets.

Upon impact, the bottles vibrate intensely, and then… nothing. Not a single bottle fell off of that table.

“Wh-wh-what?!” Rarity stammers in disbelief as all four of us gape at the three mocking bottles over there.

“Ooooh, so sorry!” the gruff-sounding pony offers his sympathies exaggeratingly. “But hey, you’re welcome to give it another shot! For another bit, of course.”

“B-b-but…” Rarity tries to compose herself over her lose. “...I know I’ve put a lot more power into that throw than the previous ones! It should at least knock one of them down!”

“Well, what can I say?” the gaming vendor shrugs nonchalantly. “Not every Unicorn is that gifted when it comes to magic you know.”

“Hmph!” Rarity scoffs at this smug offense. “I’ll have you know that my magic is just as versatile as any other Unicorn’s!”

“Really?” the carny pony continues to grin smugly. “Care to put your money where your mouth is?”

“Oh, you…!” Rarity begins to boil in anger at his continued smugness.

“Alright, that’s it!” Rainbow Dash growls as she decides to step in on this matter. “Let me handle this, Rarity! I’ll knock them all down in ten seconds flat!”

“Hey, the more, the merrier!” the grey stallion provokes the boastful Pegasus. Okay, this guy is obviously trying to entice us into his little rigged entrapment, and I’m quite positive that Rainbow is going to make it worse for herself. But before I can try to stop her, Applejack blocks Rainbow Dash with an extended hoof.

“Hold on there, sugarcube. Ah got this.” AJ says calmly to the agitated Pegasus. Rainbow stares at Applejack for a moment as I am certain they would argue over on who should go next, but to my surprise, she nods with an approving smile and allows Applejack to proceed.

“Applejack, you don’t need to do this--” Rarity protests gingerly.

“Trust me, Rarity. Ah got this.” Applejack shows her honest, assuring smile. Don’t know why, but there’s something about AJ’s sudden self-confidence that got all three of us more at ease about this tense situation. It’s as if everything will go according to plan and that Applejack is the one pony right now we can count on to get us through in the end.

“Say, mister. How do ya get one of them bigger prizes right over there?” Ask asks the vendor pony casually as she points up top at the big dolls hanging above us.

“Simple.” he grins at the Earth Pony. “You just have to win the game three times in a row. Of course, you have to give up your prizes if you want to take a chance to get the big one.”

“Okay, how about this. Ah bet Ah can knock down all of them bottles with just one ball. If Ah win, you give me that big prize instead of the smaller one.”

“Oh, really? And what happens if you lose?”

“If Ah lose, Ah’ll give ya five bits just for tryin'. Deal?” She finishes it off by spitting into her fore hoof and extending it out to the bewildered swindler. Then, he does the same and spits into his fore hoof to make it official.

“Deal!” he agrees grinningly as he shakes AJ’s moisten hoof firmly.

“Eww!” Rarity quietly flinches in disgust over this unsanitary display in front of her.

After reassembling his pyramid of six milk bottles on the table stand, the grey stallion gives Applejack her only ball for this game. “He-heh! Good luck!” the carny pony chuckles sarcastically over his assured victory.

AJ didn’t look like she’s paying any attention to that smug shark behind her as she walks a few feet away from the drawn line. Once she stops her pace, she turns around and takes careful aim at the stack of bottles from afar.

And before we even know it, Applejack flings the ball high in the air before she swiftly spins herself around with her strong, raised hind legs locked-and-loaded. And as soon as the descending ball aligns up with her ready hind hooves…

BAM!

…her powerful double kick bucks that ball so hard, I swear I can see smoke trailing from that minature cannon ball launched by none other than Applejack! As for those six bottles, they weren’t knocked down… they were literally DESTROYED! All that remains of them are shattered glass sprayed across the ground and three broken bottom rims of the bottles that used to mock us before, but no more. We awe speechlessly, including the gaming vendor, by Applejack’s display of awesomeness before she breaks that stunning silence for us.

“YE-HAAAW!” AJ exclaims with pride. “And that my friends is how ya git her done!”

“Applejack, you did it!” Rarity praises her date’s valiant efforts.

“Way to go, cowgirl!” Rainbow Dash hollers with excitement.

“Nice shootin’ there, AJ!” I root for her as well.

“W-w-wait a minute!” The surprised carny pony gripes greatly over his unexpected loss. “You were supposed to throw the ball, not buck it!”

“Hey, we said nothing about that.” Applejack confronts the stubborn stallion sternly. “Now be a good sport and hand me one of them bigger dolls like you’ve promised.”

“Like heck I will!” He objects furiously. “You’ve shattered my bottles! That’s gonna cost you more than five bits for that!”

“Well ya should have used something less fragile than glass bottles for yer game next time!” AJ retorts back. “Now quit fussin' around and give it here!”

As those two are busy butting heads with each other, I am too distracted by what’s left on that table. How can those three broken rims still remain on that table after dealing with such great amount force from the ball launched by Applejack’s two powerful leg cannons at her disposal? Then it hits me!

“Wait a second…” I say to myself with suspicion before flying over to the table and investigating this myself.

“Hey! You can’t cross over there!” the gruff pony protests at my course of action, but that didn’t stop me from continuing my examination over this mystery.

I try to pick up one of the broken rims with one hoof, but it didn’t budge from my grasp. So I try again with two hooves, and this time after making a plopping sound, the rim comes off the table. Looking underneath it, I see a small disc attached to the rim’s bottom. With one hoof touching it, I feel a strong, sticky substance from the attached disc. At last, I can confirm my accusation once and for all!

“This game’s been rigged!” I announce loudly to the group. This ceases the argument between Applejack and the con artist as all of them stare at me.

“WHAT?!” Rarity and Rainbow cry out in a mix of rage and surprise. Applejack just smiles knowingly as it looks like she knew it all this time before making that bet. As for the swindling pony, he is beginning to sweat bullets from my accusation.

To confirm my point, I flip the table upside down before shaking it, so I can show everypony how the remaining rims are still stuck to the furniture. “Look! These are glued right on the table!” I then show everypony the rim I’ve just removed. “These last three bottles had adhesive pads right underneath them!”

After presenting my evidence to prove my point, the three mares and I glare intensely at the cheating pony, who had nowhere else to run or hide from this matter.

“Oh, w-w-wow! How did those get there?” he poorly tries to cover up his tracks in a trembling, hoarse voice.

Rainbow rushes over to the frightened cheater and grabs him by his vest very harshly. “I ought to knock your teeth for this, you lousy swindler!” she growls menacingly as she threatens the petrified hooligan.

“Now settle down, Rainbow, there’s no need for violence… yet.” Applejack intervenes in a surprisingly calm manner as she separates the grateful carny pony from feeling the wrath of Rainbow Dash. Then she turns her attention back at the grey Unicorn with a stern expression. “And as for you, you’re left with two options to choose from: either you give me my prize like ya promised before, or we can report this to one of the Royal Guards right over there.”

AJ points out to a Pegasus guard in golden armor several yards away from here as he does his usual patrolling around the area while also taking steady licks of his giant lollipop. Huh… Never thought I would see something both intimidating and funny as I watch the stoic guard continuing to lick his lollipop so seriously.

“Can we add ‘beating this guy to a pulp’ as a third option?” Rainbow asks with suppressed fury as she pounds her fore hooves together.

“Mmm… Ah’ll consider it.” Applejack replies with a devious smile. That earns a loud gulp from the intimidated grey stallion.

“Well…?” Applejack asks with a cocked eyebrow as she waits for the cornered cheater’s final decision.

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At last, the disgruntled swindler finally gives in to AJ’s demands. Allowing Rarity to choose which ever prize she wants, she uses her magic to retrieve the large doll of Princess Luna. She says that it might help Sweetie Belle sleep easier if she has the Princess of the Night watching over her. After that, we left the moping cheater to his pitiful defeat as we commend Applejack’s triumph.

“Oh, Applejack! Thank you!” Rarity acclaims as she continues to adorably hug the Princess Luna doll. “You were magnificent! And you handled yourself so well!”

“Oh, it’s nothing, Rarity!” Applejack responds humbly, but with a little sense of pride to her noble deed. “Nopony is going to take advantage of my date like that! Especially some no-good, dishonest cheater for that matter!”

“My hero!” Rarity coos to her date before going right up to AJ and affectionately kissing her on the cheek. This causes Applejack to briefly bear a blank expression as her face blushes as red as an apple.

“Goooooosh!” Applejack smiles bashfully as she tries to hide her growing blush with her hat. Rarity giggles a little after witnessing Applejack’s bashful display.

Rainbow Dash simply rolls her eyes as she says with a smile, “I still can’t believe you had to show off like that for just some silly doll--!”

All of a sudden, her mouth hangs opened with wide eyes as she looks ahead at something. Curiously, the rest of us turn our attention to what Rainbow Dash is looking at. Once we see it for ourselves, it’s quite clear on what Rainbow’s awing over: another carnival game stand featuring dolls of Rainbow’s favorite fictional character, Daring Do. There are even dolls of Ahuizoti, the main villain from the first book of the series.

GASP! A DARING DO DOLL!” Rainbow gushes extremely like the fan that she is. “MUST… HAVE IT!” And in a flash, she zooms over to the gaming stand in order to claim her prize.

The other two mares and I trot over there to get a better look at what the next game is going to be. For this gaming stand, there are four machines, which are alongside each other. Each machine has a stand, which shows a score keeper and timer, and a thick platform, which reminds me of those rhythmic dancing games I used to see at the arcades back on my world. Except these platforms have many holes bored through them. We stop along to wait in line for the next round with an impatient Rainbow Dash as we watch the latest round taking place. From what I’ve observe, the participants are trying to stomp out those chuckling rodents that pop out from the platform before diving back inside.

“Hey, this game looks interesting! What it is?” I ask with eager curiosity.

“It’s called “Stomp-A-Varmint.” Applejack answers as she points it out to me. “See those pesky, animatronic gophers that pop out of their holes like that? The object of this game is to stomp out as many of them critters as possible before time runs out. It’s my personal favorite by the way!” So basically, it’s like “Whack-A-Mole”, except you have to use your hooves to whack those obnoxious, mechanical rodents instead of using a soft hammer.

“I can’t say the same for dear Fluttershy.” Rarity adds with a weak smile.

At last, it’s Rainbow Dash’s turn, and to my surprise, she grabs me by the foreleg as she pulls us to the two gaming contraptions. “Hey, Ford! Play this one with me!” she begs eagerly. “The only way I can win that Daring Do doll is if I beat the rest of the competition!”

“Okay, Rainbow!” I respond with a chuckling smile. “But don’t expect me to go easy on you just because you’re my date!”

“Hey, if you go easy on me, it won’t make my victory all that sweeter once I kick your flank!” she responds back with a boastful grin.

Once the two of us are all set in our respective platforms, we hear the bell ring and the match begins! It takes a while for me to figure this out considering I have to use my hooves for this game and also I have to constantly turn my head to find which gopher pops out of their holes. I glance at Rainbow Dash to see how she’s doing, and just as I thought, she’s a natural at this when it comes to anything that could entice her competitive nature. I figure I would be done for, but overtime, my dexterity from all those video games I used to play starts to kick into high gear as I make use of my heightened hearing to pinpoint the locations of the obnoxious laughter of those critters. And for every few seconds clocking down, the difficult steadily rises as the mechanical gophers pop in and out at a rapid rate. With another glance, I see Rainbow struggling a little bit as the game is coming to a close. I’m certain that I still have a fighting chance at this! Well… at the very least, I can give Rainbow Dash a run for her money.

DING-DING-DING-DING-DING-DING!

Finally, it’s over! The two of us stop what we were doing as we pant mildly. I look at Rainbow’s side, figuring that she must have been the one to take the gold. On her stand, her score says 150 points on there. One point for each stomped gopher. I smile and nod at Rainbow for her accomplishment and she returns the gesture back. Then, I look back at my score keeper, which says 151 points. Hmm… not too shabby really. Wait… 151 points?! Then… does that mean…?

“I won?!” I gasp in surprise.

“I lost?!” Rainbow gasps in even greater surprise than me.

“WOO-WHEE!” Applejack cheers us. “That was quite a show you two pulled off there!”

“And by only one point no less!” Rarity chimes in.

“Congratulations, sir!” a female vendor Unicorn gives me a Daring Do doll. “Here’s your prize!”

I hesitantly accept the prize as I am unsure on how to feel on my unexpected victory. I mean, I had won, but in doing so, I took away what Rainbow wanted most from this game. To get of rid of this guilt-ridden feeling, I of course do what’s necessary to set things right.

“Here you go, Rainbow.” I offer my prize to my staggered competitor. She smiles humbly as she surprisingly pushes the doll back towards me.

“Oh, you don’t need to do that, Ford.” she says to me with a meek smile. “You’ve won that prize, not me.”

“But you wanted this prize.” I respond kindly as I gently shove the doll back. “Beside, I don’t really need it for myself.”

“Yeah, but... I don’t deserve it.” she modestly refuses again.

“Sure you do, Rainbow.” I reassure her. “Take it.”

“Ford, that’s not necessary.”

“I insist. Please take it.”

“It just won’t feel right if I--”

“OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, RAINBOW!!” Rarity interrupts us with her hysterical outburst. “JUST TAKE IT ALREADY!!”

Rainbow Dash and I stop whatever we were doing as we stare blankly at Rarity, who is panting breathlessly over her outcry while Applejack pats the seamstress’s back softly. I look back at Rainbow as I playfully shake the Daring Do doll in front of her. She crosses her forelegs as she frowningly turns her head away from the doll. But soon enough, a smile starts to creep on her face as she keeps glancing at the plushy doll within her reach. Finally, she gives in as she swiftly accepts my gift heartily. Seeing her nuzzling with her prized possession in such a cutesy manner is far more rewarding than the victory I’ve obtained for myself.

“So… just some silly doll, huh?” Applejack teasingly smirks with Rarity softly giggling at Rainbow’s uncharacteristic manner for her stuffed doll. In return, Rainbow sticks her tongue out at her giggling friends before going to back to her adorable cuddling.

“You know, Ford.” Rainbow Dash grins at me after she finished snuggling with her new buddy. “For defeating somepony as awesome as me, you still deserve a prize yourself.”

“Oh, what kind of prize will that be--?”

But before I can finish my sentence, Rainbow quickly gives me a tender kiss right on my cheek. And while I freeze in place with wide eyes and a blank expression, my entire face does the opposite as it boils a reddening blush that has a shade similar to AJ’s blush before when she recieved a kiss from Rarity.

“Umm… Applejack? Can I borrow your hat real quick?” I ask her as I try to find a way to cover up my uncontrollable blush.

“Nnnope.” she responds with a chuckling grin.

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After our games, we decide to go out and get something to eat. And while this fair (and perhaps every other place in Equestria for that matter) doesn’t have anything relating to meat, I still enjoy myself on what is to partake in this feast we have collaborated for all four of us: minature pizzas, corn-on-the-cob, softly fried sweet potato chips, roasted acorn squashes, kettle corn, candy apples, and apple cobbler with ice cream.

Once we are nearly done with our satisfying meals, we continue to lounge at our picnic table as we drink our frosty beverages. Applejack and Rainbow are gulping down their large cups of fizzy cola while Rarity and I are sipping our frozen lemonade drinks.

“BURP!” Applejack belches after finishing her big gulp.

“Heh! Nice, AJ!” Rainbow comments grinningly.

“Applejack! Really?!” Rarity says to AJ disappointingly.

“What?” Applejack shrugs with a chuckling grin. “It’s just my way to compliment the food here!”

Rarity rolls her eyes before she continues to drink her icy beverage. After sighing in satisfaction, she makes a sound that neither one of us would have expected from her.

“Urp!”

She tries to quickly cover it up with her hoof over her muzzle, but it was too late. The three of us were initially shocked by this before we try to control our irresistible giggling at Rarity’s embarrassing moment. Well, except for Rainbow Dash because she couldn’t help herself as she laughs out loud while tumbling out of her seat.

“Why, Rarity!” Applejack gasps in a mocking tone of nobility. “Ah am shocked to see such table manners from you!”

“Oh! Forgive me, I… couldn’t help myself!” Rarity responds with a pink blush as she gingerly wipes her muzzle with a napkin.

“Ah’m just kidding with ya, sugarcube!” Applejack says with a chuckling smile. “Besides, Ah think it’s awfully cute when you burp like that!”

“D-d-don’t say it like that!” Rarity stammers with a maddening blush.

Rainbow Dash gets up from the ground and retakes her wooden seat. “Pfft! That’s nothing! Watch this!” she boasts before take a huge swig of her soda. After finishing off her cup, she prepares her own unique display of awesomeness.

“BUUURRP!”

“Ha-ha! Good one, Rainbow!” Applejack laughs as she hoof bumps with the triumphant Rainbow Dash.

“Honestly…” Rarity scolds at the two mares. “…you two set a bad example when it comes to having proper etiquette! You should be more sophisticated like me or Ford Mustang over here!” she points to me as I innocently slurp my crystallizing drink.

“Why, thank you, Rarity.” I say to her chivalrously. However, I couldn't resist the challenge as I finish what’s left in my sweet, citrusy beverage. Once it was all gone, I begin to feel it building up inside of me as I prepare to unleash it in full force.

“BUUUURRRRRP!”

I begin expecting to hear some laughs from some of the girls, but no, all I got are blank stares from all three of them. I start to get embarrassed as I delicately wipe my muzzle with a napkin.

“Uhh… excuse me?” I say to myself awkwardly. After that brief, disturbing moment of silence, the girls break into uproarious laughter. Even Rarity ignores the distasteful habit we were all getting ourselves into and laughs about. And to my relief, and I join in as well.

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After we’ve finished our meals, we go on several rides together, including the Tilt-A-Whirl, Bumper Cars, Fun Slide, my personal favorite, the Scrambler. Later that evening, we decide to go on one more ride before we turn in for the night. As we look around on which ride to go on, Rainbow Dash already has an idea as she awes at what’s ahead.

“Ooo! We should definitely go on this one! The Screamer!” she declares eagarly.

“Th-th-the Screamer?” I repeat to myself with a slight trembling voice. I definitely don’t like the sound of that.

As if on cue, I hear the ear-piercing screams and the thunderous locomotion nearby as these dreadful sounds can only mean one thing: the Screamer is apparently a roller coaster ride.

“Oh, Ah remember that one!” Applejack comments gleefully. “Hey, RD! Remember when we bet which one of us would scream first?”

“Yeah, and if I recall correctly, I won that bet!” Rainbow recalls with a boastful chuckle.

“Nuh-uh!” Applejack retorts grinningly. “You’re the one who screamed first when we made that initial descent, remember?”

“Hey, that wasn’t a scream!” Rainbow flusters hastily. “I was just… hollering in joy, that’s all! There’s a difference, you know!”

“Whatever.” Applejack shrugs with a smile. “Let’s just get in line before it gets any longer.”

We begin to make our way towards the main gate of our final attraction. However, Applejack, Rainbow, and I realize that we’re missing one other pony. We turn around to see a hesitant Rarity frozen stiff in the spot we were standing before.

“Umm… you three go on ahead.” Rarity insists gingerly. “I’ll just… wait for you right here.”

“Oh, come on, Rarity!” Rainbow gripes impatiently. “You’re not too scared to go on this ride with us, are you? It’s not like you’re going to fall off or anything!”

Suddenly, Rarity starts to tremble terribly before she immediately drops to the ground as she whimpers to herself softly. My guess is that Rarity has a great fear of heights ever since that terrifying incident during the climax in the “Sonic Rainboom” episode.

“Rainbow.” Applejack softly chastises her.

Realizing on what she just said, Rainbow begins to feel bad after unintentionally reminding Rarity of that traumatizing event. “Oh… right… sorry, Rarity. I... didn’t mean to bring that up.” Rainbow apologizes. Using my feathery wing, I pat Rainbow’s back gently to let her know that she means well. She smiles a little at my sympathetic gesture towards her.

“It’s okay, Rarity.” Applejack coos to her while brushing her mane. “You don’t have to go with us if y'all don’t really want to. Ah’ll stay with you, if ya like that is.”

“Applejack, you don’t need to do that.” Rarity says with a weak smile. “I don’t want you to miss out on this ride just because of me.”

“Nonsense, sugarcube!” Applejack dismisses Rarity’s worries with total conviction. “Ah’m gonna stick to ya like caramel on a candy apple, and that’s that!”

“Well since Applejack is staying behind, I better not expect you to skip out on me too, Ford!” Rainbow Dash says to me.

“M-m-me?!” I respond startlingly. “What makes you think I wouldn’t go on this ride with you?”

“Your knees would say otherwise.” She points at my legs with a deadpan expression. I look at them and I see what Rainbow is referring to. My knees haven’t stopped shaking since I first saw that roller coaster.

“Well… I’ve… never ridden on that many roller coasters in my life. That’s all.” I admit sheepishly.

“I don’t see why you have to be so nervous, Ford. I’ve seen you do aerial flips as big as that one without breaking a sweat!” I look at the one of the roller coaster’s giant loops as I witness another screaming cart doing a loop-de-loop. I make a heavy gulp after seeing what’s ahead of my inevitable fate.

“Yeah well… that’s only because I was in control of my own actions, not when I am strapped to some crazy contraption with a name like the Screamer!” I make a hasty excuse to my puzzled date.

I take a deep breath and exhale gradually to calm myself down before saying determinedly, “Never the less, I will accompany you and try to enjoy it myself.” After hearing me saying that, Rainbow Dash happily nuzzles a bit with me before we resume our way to the end of the line.

“Wait!” Rarity surprisingly calls out to us. “I shall give it a try as well.”

“Are ya sure, Rarity?” AJ asks with concern. “You don’t have to force yerself into this if ya don’t want to.”

“No, Applejack.” Rarity responds with renewed determination. “I need to do this. As Ford Mustang has nobly demonstrated, I need to face my fears and conquer them myself! I just… hope the three of you won’t mind me for all the screaming I’ll be doing at least.” Applejack comfort the slightly nervous Unicorn with a reassuring hug as Rarity starts to beam lightly.

“Well it is a roller coaster, Rarity! This ride’s going to be filled with nothing but screams from everypony!” Rainbow cheers up Rarity in her own way. “Now, can we go already? That line is getting longer by the second if we keep wasting time like this!”

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Sigh… If there’s one thing I really dislike about these thrill-seeking attractions, is that waiting in line for them is what kills me in agonizing anticipation! You just want to get on them and be done with them! But oh no, you have to have a good 30 minutes to over an hour to wait before riding these terrifying attractions! Sure, you start off all determined in the beginning, but for every minute passing by, your newfound resolve starts to dwindle overtime as fear and doubt begin to take over! Like I said, it’s the anticipation that kills me the most on these kinds of rides!

Finally, the wait is over. We are on board of the roller coaster as it slowly makes its way to the peak of railed mountain. In front of me, Rarity clings to Applejack as the farmpony welcomes this notion. Meanwhile, I am desperately clutching to the handle bar of the cart to my dear life. Suddenly, I see a cyan hoof resting on one of my trembling hooves. I turn my attention to Rainbow Dash who gives a small, reassuring smile towards me. Steadily, I begin to smile calmly as I let go of the bar to firmly grasp hooves with the encouraging Pegasus next to me.

Distracted by the gentle gaze of my date, I didn’t realize we are already at the top as we stare down at the deep slope before us. And in an instant, we make our initial, hurtling descent as we all scream (or holler in Rainbow Dash’s case) to the top of our lungs. After that, our screams begin to mix up with uproarious laughter for every turn and slope we come across.

Soon enough, my laughter comes to a brief halt as we approach our first loop. In the midst of that loop, I tense up as I instantly cling on to Rainbow Dash closely. Surprisingly, Rainbow Dash doesn’t mind it as she’s too busy laughing all of the way. Once we return right-side up, practically all of my fears diminish as I laugh hysterically from experiencing that exciting rush. In fact, for the next giant loop, Rainbow and I squeal excitingly with our hooves up in the air as we experience another loop-de-loop. Even Rarity is hollering with such exhilaration as she is clearly enjoying the ride like the rest of us.

And then, it is all over as our ride slows down before reaching the exit platform. Strangely enough, I’m disappointed how short the ride was.

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Once the roller coaster ride has unfortunately come to its end, we exit our final attraction as Rarity hops around with uncontrollable excitement after that thrilling experience.

“Oh, what fun that was!” Rarity exclaims delightfully. “Let’s do it again!”

“And wait in line for another 30 minutes? No thank you!” I say with a giggle.

“Hmm… that’s true, I suppose. Still, I can’t believe on how very thrilling it was!” Rarity glees continuously.

“Yeah, you could even say that it was hair-raising!” Rainbow Dash emphasizes with a repressed chuckle. I look back at Rarity and see what Rainbow is talking about. After the last ride, Rarity’s hair is extremely pulled back into a hairdo fashion similar to the Bride of Frankenstein. Once I realize this, I too try to suppress my chuckling.

“Yes! Hair-raising--! Wait, are you implying something?” Rarity inquires bewilderedly.

“Oh nothing! Nothing at all!” Rainbow lies grinningly as she tries to prevent any more laughter to escape from her smiling lips.

“It’s my hair, isn’t it?!” Rarity gasps as she’s aware on what Rainbow’s implying. “Applejack, it doesn’t look that bad, does it?”

‘Uhh… well… it’s… unique?” Applejack hesitantly admits to the best of her abilities.

“Mirror! I need a mirror!” Rarity panics to a great extent.

“Sure, Rarity. There’s some right through that tent over there.” Rainbow points out with an extremely suppressed chuckle. Without a second glance, Rarity gallops frantically to the large tent nearby. Applejack and I read the sign above the entrance before we gasp simultaneously at what it says: “House of Mirrors.”

“Rarity, wait! Don’t go in there!” Applejack tries to warn her frantic date. But it’s too late, Rarity is already inside the House of Mirrors.

Sigh… 3… 2… 1…

“AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!”

As I wonder if Rarity’s ear-piercing scream was enough to break every single mirror in that funhouse, Rarity makes a mad dash outside as she wails out of our sights.

“Oh, now look at what you’ve done, RD! Come back, Rarity!” Applejack calls out while galloping after her. Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash finally gives in as she laughs wildly while rolling on the ground.

“That was terrible, Rainbow.” I shake my head with a giggling smile.

“Hey, you were laughing with me as well, so you’re just as terrible as I am!” she retorts while controlling her laughter.

“Well, come on! We better find them and go apologize.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” She concurs as she gets up off the ground. “Let’s go!” We take to the skies to search for our missing friends.

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We search high and low for Applejack and Rarity in the midst of the fairground. Rainbow suggests we split up to make our search easier. From high above, it’s kind of hard to find them within the thick crowd done below. After a short amount of time searching for them, Rainbow rushes towards me with an exciting grin.

“Ford! I found them! They’re over there!” We take flight as Rainbow leads me to our missing companions.

Once we arrive, we float above as we see Applejack and Rarity out in the open right next to a town circle’s water fountain. Rainbow’s about to make her landing, but I gently stop her.

“Wait, Rainbow! Let’s give them some space for now and see how it plays from here.” I suggest quietly. She nods at me as we take cover at one of the clouds nearby.

“Rarity.” I hear AJ down below as she takes a seat on the edge of the fountain. “Are you okay?”

Ugh! I knew I shouldn’t have applied so much hair gel this afternoon!” Rarity groans in frustration as she looks at the pool’s reflection while trying to fix her hair using magic. Unfortunately, her mane is too stiff to readjust into its proper style.

With a disgruntled sigh, Rarity dunks her head into the shallow water and whips it back like how a sexy supermodel or an actress would do in such a cliché when she exits out of the water. With her hair flung back, Rarity’s wet hairdo looks just like how Rarity did when she was having fun with her little sister outside in the muddy rain near the end of the episode, “Sisterhooves Social.” It’s… quite a good look on her, and I think Applejack would agree as she stares speechlessly at Rarity’s naturally new look.

“Rarity… your hair…” AJ awes with wide eyes.

“You don’t need to say anything, Applejack!” Rarity dismisses with a pouty face. “I must look so awful right now!”

“No! Ah wasn’t thinking of it like that!” Applejack hastily reassures Rarity. “Ah’m just… surprised how you still look beautiful with yer hair down like that.” Surprised by AJ’s compliment, Rarity blushes mildly with a tender smile as she takes her seat right next to the flustered farmpony.

“Rarity…” Applejack speaks again. “…Ah just wanna let ya know that Ah had a really good time tonight, so Ah wanna thank you for being my date this evening. And even though this may be the last time we get together like this, Ah won’t ever forget yer kind generosity for doing this for me.”

“‘Last time?’ What do you mean by that, darling?” Rarity asks in a shocking manner.

Sigh.... Rarity, Ah know this isn’t what you really want as yer special somepony.” Applejack continues while struggling to hold back her own grief. “You used to talk about how ya always wanna meet yer very own Prince Charming someday. And… well… look at me, Rarity! Ah’m no prince, and Ah’m certainly no stallion! Ah’m just… a rugged farmpony, that’s all.”

As Applejack sadly lowers her head, Rarity is perplexed from hearing this. But then, she softens up as she smiles softly to her distressful companion while lifting Applejack’s chin gently so that they can look at each other in the eye.

“You’re right, Applejack.” Rarity says to AJ affectionately. “You’re not a prince. And you’re not a stallion. But you know what? You don’t have to be any of those things to win me over. Remember when we attended our first Grand Galloping Gala together? You were not only kind enough to offer us an apple fritter free of charge even though business was terrible for you, but you were also very caring enough to show me just how much I matter at being true to myself. Even at tonight’s fair, you’ve demonstrated to me just how noble and gallant you are without having the need to hide who you really are. And while you may be rough around the edges, within that rough is a diamond that’s shinier than any gem I have ever gazed at. So yes, I didn’t get the prince I have always wanted, but I did get something that’s even better: a kind and honest pony with a heart as golden as your lovely mane.”

After Rarity finishes her kindhearted speech, she caresses AJ’s golden, silky mane. Hearing Rarity’s confession causes Applejack to bear a warm smile as she returns the gesture by stroking Rarity’s wet mane. Up here, I couldn’t tell which one makes the first move, but almost simultaneously, Applejack and Rarity lean forward as their lips press gently against each other’s.

As I bear witness to Applejack and Rarity sharing their second kiss together (this time, without the need of alcohol to help them out), I feel something close leaning right next to me. At my side, I see Rainbow nuzzling against me with a soft smile. I lean my head against hers as we continue to observe new couple’s display of affection.

Once they slowly break up their kiss, Applejack confesses with a dreamy smile, “Ah love ya, darling.”

Rarity giggles a little before saying, “I love you too, sugarcube.” After admitting their love for each other, they simple lean their heads against each other’s as they sigh affectionately in content.

“So… mission accomplishment, won’t you say?” Rainbow smirks at me with a playfully nudge.

“Yep.” I respond with a grin. “Come on. Let’s gets out of here and go home.” She nods at my suggestion as we take flight from our hiding spot to head on out of here.

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I escort Rainbow Dash back to her cloudy home just like the previous night. It’s just a nice, quiet flight between the two of us. Kind of fitting for all of the excitement we went through this evening. After making our landings, we slowly walk towards her door.

“Rainbow?” I ask her gingerly.

“Hmm?” she responds.

“I just want to say thank you… for being my date that is.” I say to her with nervous smile. “I really had a great time with you this evening.”

“Thanks, Ford.” she smiles back at me tenderly. “I had a lot of fun tonight as well.”

“I’m glad to hear, Rainbow.”

As she’s about to enter through her doorway, I hesitantly call out to her. “Actually… I was wondering… if you want to go another date some other night. You know... just the two of us.”

“A-a-another date?” Rainbow stammers in surprise. I nod quietly as my answer.

After a dreadful moment of silence, she quickly flies into her house and slams the door behind her. I was startled by her unexpected reaction, but then, the terrible revelation starts to sink in. I sigh in disappointment as I turn around to make my long way back home.

“FORD, WAIT!” Suddenly, I hear calling Rainbow Dash out to me from inside her house. I quickly turn around with a hopeful smile to see Rainbow exiting the house exhaustively.

“Sorry about that!” she apologizes while catching her breath. “It took me awhile to find something!”

“To find what exactly?” I ask with an inquiring smile.

“This!” she exclaims before using her muzzle to pull something out of her cupped right wing. Between her smiling teeth, is a shiny piece of golden paper. I extend my hoof out before she places it for me. In my hoof, I see big, bold letters on the golden parchment reading, “The Grand Galloping Gala.” I stare in awestruck after reading the golden ticket to myself.

“Rainbow… is this…?” I ask her in disbelief.

“Yep! It’s a ticket to this year’s Grand Galloping Gala!” She announces joyfully.

“H-h-how do you get this?!” I inquire as I am still shocked by all of this.

“Well, since I’m one of Twilight’s friends…” she explains grinningly. “…she not only gave each of us a ticket for ourselves, but she also gave us an extra ticket in case we want to bring a guest along.” I glance back at the ticket speechlessly before looking back at Rainbow Dash.

“And I figure since you’re still kind of new around Ponyville…” she continues bashfully while trace her fore hoof on the cloudy surface. “…I was wondering if you like to accompany me to the Gala next week.”

This is it! This is what I’ve been waiting for! The perfect moment for me to confess my true feelings for her! There’s no way I’m going to let this once-in-a-lifetime chance slip by me!

“Rainbow Dash, it would be my pleasure.” I answer delightfully.

“Great!” Rainbow grins broadly at my enthusiasm. “So… how about you pick me here around 7 o’clock next Saturday?”

“I’ll be there!” I reply eagerly.

“Cool! See ya until next Saturday then!” she waves goodbye to me. I return the notion until a mischievous thought comes to me.

“Hey, Rainbow?” I get her attention.

“Yeah?” she replies as she turns around.

Briskly, I zoom up to her to give a quick peck on her cheek. “Thanks for everything.” I say to her gratefully. She stares blankly into space after the surprising kiss I gave her, and suddenly…

FOOMPH!

Her wings fan out instinctively as her face lights up as red as neon sign.

“He-heh! Gotcha!” I whisper to her with a winking smile.

“Oh… well then… umm… goodnight, Ford!” she stammers blushingly as she hastily enters back inside her house.

After a brief giggle, I say to her with a satisfying grin, “Goodnight, Rainbow.” And with my ticket securely clenched between my teeth, I shoot off like a rocket and head back to my home. As I fly happily towards my sleeping quarters, a familiar tune starts to play in my head whilst I hum merrily right along with it.

I've got a golden ticket!
I've got a golden twinkle in my eye!

Author's Note:

I can't believe how long this chapter was! Usually I would try to split them up like I did the previous times, but for this one, I couldn't find the right "breaking point" to do that.

Anyway, there are only a few chapters (Six, the last time I've counted) left to go before I can finally conclude this story!