• Published 26th Jun 2013
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Tales of Apple Scratch: The Lieutenant Cloud Kicker - Mariacheat-Brony



[humanized] (a side story to Apple Scratch) What drove Cloud Kicker into joining the guards? How did her training go? Who

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The end and birth of a monster

Two weeks had passed since that fateful saturday night in which Cloud had probably lost her two best friends forever. Cloud had spent most of the two weeks in her house; the Kickers didn’t take very well learning that their daughter got a black eye from one of her best friends because she had slept with that friend’s brother on her sixteenth birthday. That got her grounded for a month. Not really because of the fight, if we could call that a fight, and the black eye that followed, but more because of the fact that their daughter wasn’t a virgin anymore.

Cloud had accepted the first two weeks of being locked up in her room without hesitation. She needed some time alone, to cry about her lost friendships until she slapped her face and convinced herself to make everything in her power to apologize to Applejack and Vinyl, and to make it up to them. Cloud broke out of her room when she decided that she had passed enough time inside it. Her parents seemed to have forgotten it was quite hard to lock a cloud-shaper like her up in a cloud-made construction.

As soon as she was out of her cloud-house, Cloud noticed quickly that the weather was a far cry different from the last time she had been out of her house. Winter was coming at the same pace as December was; most of the trees were out of leaves and the sky had a dark grey hue due the number of rain clouds in the air, and the temperature was way below the level of that fateful saturday.

After having put warmer clothes on, she had flown around town until she she hovered above the marketplace which had many unoccupied stalls, including a familiar apple stand.

Not a real surprise they’re not here in this kind of weather. Cloud commented internally with a sigh. I should try at Sweet Apple A...

“Ya betrayed our trust, Cloud! You broke yer promise! Yer nothin’ but a liar, and Apples don’t make friends with liars! Ah never want to see ya again!”

Cloud shivered uncontrollably, and it wasn’t because of the cold weather. Applejack’s words after Vinyl’s spell had forced her to stop her flight had hurt her a lot more than the lone punch she received from her angry blonde friend, and were still hurting her whenever she thought about them.

If only I hadn’t drunk so much that night, none of this would be happening! Cloud thought while tears were rolling out of her eyes. Of all the people at that party, why did I have to sleep with Mac at that time?

Cloud had both loved, and hated having sex with Macintosh since the very first moment she woke up the day after it had happened.

She had loved it because Macintosh had been very thoughtful, and gentle with her, yet she remembered him also firm and strong when he had to. The first time every girl would dream of. Plus, Mac being considered as the best hunk of a man by all of Ponville’s girls, straight and lesbian alike, having the chance to be his first time did a good job building up her ego, even if she couldn’t exactly brag about it.

Yet, she had hated it because she knew it could break things up between her and her two best friends. Sure, Macintosh had always been a good friend from the first day she saw him, and he was good-looking as one could be. But he was just that for Cloud; a good-looking friend. It was a great relief that she saw that Mac looked just as scared as her when they woke up next to each other. Cloud was glad that he understood her reasons for not telling anyone about it, probably because he feared his sisters’ reaction as much as Cloud, maybe even more.

Though, she couldn’t chase the feeling that she had hurt him when she wanted to dismiss their fling just like that. She didn’t want to, but keeping her best friends was more important to her than the rest. If she had fallen in love with him, it would have been a total different situation. Cloud was convinced that, in that case, Applejack and Vinyl would have support her all the way. Except that she wasn’t, maybe he was (And if that was the case, he hid it very well.), but he’ll always be a good friend to her. Not even a banging buddy, just a friend who she had made a mistake with.

“I’m really a selfish person,” Cloud whispered with a wince, disgusted at her own thoughts. “I’m only thinking of making things better for myself! Because I don’t want to lose my friends! I never gave Mac any considerations about that night. I just went with the flow of things when it was convenient for me.”

She hadn’t noticed it before, but she had flown the rest of the way to Sweet Apple Acres while her mind was focused on her situation with the Apple Sisters. She conjured her small cloud to have an observation point of the farm. She saw from afar a small figure with a light blue winter jacket levitating a rather large stack of chopped wood to one of the Apples’ warehouses, a taller figure clad in red pulling a large cart in tow.

Vinyl and Mac are gathering wood for winter... I wonder where Applej....Jacquelyn is.... Cloud thought with sadness. Only her friends can call her Applejack, and apparently I’m not really one of them anymore.

She used her cloud to move stealthily above the farm, until she spotted Jacquelyn by the stables, currently serving lunch to the family horses. Cloud swallowed her spit with difficulty. She knew that the key to get her friends back was convincing Jacquelyn to give her a second chance.

Jacquelyn was the stubborn one of the family, and the one who’s the most astride on trust and honesty. If she gave Cloud a second chance, Vinyl was likely to follow without much resistance. Ever since the very first day they became sisters, Vinyl had always trusted Jacquelyn’s opinion.

Cloud took a deep breath before preparing herself to fly down of her cloud to have a talk with Jacquelyn, but stopped her movement at the thought of the word ‘talk’.

What exactly am I going to say? That I’m sorry for having sex with her brother despite my promise? Sure, that promise was made a bit after it had already happened, but it wasn’t the first time Vinyl and App..Jacquelyn had expressed their worry about my behavior toward their brother. They wouldn’t have minded if I had dated Mac normally, but they didn’t want him to become nothing more than a name on my tally. Something he has sorta become in the end. Sure it was more by accident than anything else, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

I can’t blame it on alcohol. It would be too easy, and Jacquelyn would retort that if a bit of alcohol is enough to make me forget about my promise and common sense once, what would stop me from doing it another time?

She turned to all the arguments she had planned on bringing up in the conversation, and couldn’t help to think that they all seemed pretty easy to counter. In all honesty, she doubted that what she had to say would convince Jacquelyn of trusting her again. Heck, she wasn’t even sure she would trust herself with those arguments.

“Why.... Why did I even bother?” Cloud whispered with a trembling voice. “It was a mistake to have come here!” She shook her head vigorously before abruptly flying away from her perch with a loud whistle, leaving a few purple feathers falling in her trail.

She flew until she found one of her favorite spots in the surroundings of Sweet Apple Acres: a rather large, natural hot spring right next to the southern edge of White Tail Woods where she and her friends used to go swimming during winter whenever Jacquelyn and Vinyl were willing to ditch their chores. They had chosen this emplacement as it was situated a bit outside the farm grounds, so the Apples couldn’t track down their daughters as quickly as they would if Cloud and them were hanging out by the pond inside the farm grounds.



She took her winter jacket off because of the temperature, the heat of the air around her was beginning to make her sweat. She kinda like being sweaty when she was sad about something. It was easier to hide tears when your entire face’s sweating, for herself as much as for the others.

Cloud rested her head in her right palm before sighing softly, her mind slowly wandering to something entirely different as her problems with the Apples for the first time in two weeks. Another benefit of a warm bath, or a sauna as it fit the current situation more; it relaxed the body and the mind more effectively than anything else.

“Huuurgh! How can you stand the heat?” a very shrill, girly voice asked in annoyance from behind Cloud.

Cloud turned her head toward the source of the voice with shock.

“Alula... What are you doing here?” she asked in disbelief as she watched her little sister taking her coat off, as her translucent yellow wings dissipated into the air.

“Mom said that she and Dad would have to watch over you since you came back from the Apples two weeks ago,” Alula explained casually as she sat next to her big sister. “So I followed you. Luckily you didn’t fly too fast along the way.”

“So, you’re here so that you can squeal on me because I’m out of the house?” Cloud asked angrily with narrowed eyes.

“Nope!” Alula replied innocently. “I’d have had to just tell Mom that I saw you flying away of the house earlier.”

“Why are you here then?” Cloud asked, more by curiosity than anger this time.

“Because I want to know!”

“What?” Cloud blinked in confusion.

“I want to know what happened!” Alula repeated with conviction. “Mom timed you out in your room, but no one told me why!”

“Maybe because it’s none of your business?” Cloud suggested with a roll of her eyes.

“Well, I still want to know!”

“When you’re older, maybe Mom will explain you...” Cloud said apathetically.

“And why are you like that?!” Alula asked in anger.

“Like what?”

“You’re all boring since two weeks! Mom timed you out and you didn’t argue!” Alula vented her frustration out. “Whenever I kicked you under the table at dinner, you never reacted! Every time, you just finished your food and went back to your room! Last Thursday, I jumped on you to wake you up, and you just asked me to leave you alone. You even said please!”

Cloud had no idea about how to respond to that. She kept staring blankly at her little purple haired sister raging about her behavior during the previous two weeks.

“That’s not you, Cloud!” Alula shouted angrily, pointing an accusatory finger at her big sister. “You’re supposed to be mad at me when I kick you when we’re eating. You’re supposed to shout at me and to threaten me of throwing out of the window when I jump on you in the morning before pushing me on the floor, because you hate it when I do that! You’re supposed to argue with Mom whenever she tells you off or when she sends you to your room! And you’re not supposed to cry during the night!” she yelled with a crack in her voice.

Cloud blinked as her mind processed what Alula had just shouted.

“How do you....”

“I can hear you from my room, you know?” Alula said in a shaken whisper. “I could hear you cry at night for two weeks. That’s not something you do! You don’t cry! I know so because I’ve been trying to make you cry for years, and you never did!” Alula’s voice took back her furious bravado, but Cloud couldn’t miss the worry hidden beneath it anymore. “Do you know how vexing it is?”

Cloud didn’t answer, she simply passed her arm around her little sister and pulled into a long hug, much to Alula’s displeasure.

“Hey! Don’t do that! You’re all sweaty and gross!” Alula struggled against her big sister’s grip in vain. “I said...Let me go... “ Her struggles became less and less vivid. “I’m gonna tell Mom about....”

“Thanks for caring, Alula,” Cloud whispered with affection, interrupting Alula. “Even if it’s in some weird, annoying way,” she added with a short chuckle.

“Dummy... Wh-who said I cared?” Alula stammered in a whisper before returning the hug nevertheless. “And, I’m not weird!”

The two sisters hugged each other for a couple of minutes.

“You’re gonna tell me why you’re sad?” Alula asked softly after breaking the hug.

Cloud sighed. “Well to make it simple, I kinda broke a promise I had with Vinyl and Jacquelyn,” Cloud explained with caution. “And, they’re mad at me.”

“Oh, ok,” Alula replied casually, her curiosity satisfied at the moment, though she knew that Cloud wasn’t telling everything. “Did you apologize to them?”

“No, not really.”

“Why? You did a bad thing, then you have to apologize. That’s what I do with Mom, and it has always worked,” Alula explained simply.

“I wish it was that simple,” Cloud said with a chuckle. “I’ve done a really bad thing, and I know they’re not going to forgive me.”

“How can you know they won’t forgive you if you don’t even try to ask them to forgive you?” Alula asked in confusion.

“I guess you’re right,” Cloud admitted with a short giggle. “I’ll just....”

A loud stomach rumble interrupted her sentence.

“Someone’s hungry so it seems,” Cloud mocked her little sister who was looking at her in confusion.

“It wasn’t me,” she said with sincerity. “I thought it was you because you skipped breakfast this morning.”

“It wasn’t me eit...”

A deep and loud growl came from behind them. Cloud’s eyes widened when she heard heavy steps coming closer to her and her little sister. She instantly summoned her wings and grabbed her sister’s belt.

“ALULA, TAKE OFF NOW!” Cloud yelled before a powerful flap of her wings made her quickly leave the ground.

Cloud somehow managed to hear Alula screamed in terror under the thunderous roar that overcame all the nearby sounds. She glanced at her hand who was holding her sister’s belt and saw with relief that it was still attached to Alula’s trousers, and that, most importantly, that Alula was still in it.

As she took a little bit of altitude, she looked down and saw a massive yellow and crimson furred animal passing a few inches below the tip of her feet with an impressive leap.

How? We’re about sixteen meters in the air! How did it...

Cloud interrupted her thoughts when she saw the rest of the beast’s body passing, and noticed a dark crimson, leathery bat wing attached to it. She recognized it instantly. It was a manticore. She heard a whistle coming from behind her.

“Shit!” She flapped her right wing to push herself to the left while grabbing Alula with her other hand. “Alula, spread your wings!”

“Wh-What?”

“SPREAD YOUR WINGS!” Cloud ordered before tossing Alula into the air.

As soon as her little sister left her grip, Cloud felt something massive hit her right wing’s primary bone, breaking it with a sinister crack. The strength of the impact sent her spinning down to the hot spring. Despite the huge pain she felt, she managed to catch a glimpse of her little sister hovering in the sky with her yellow, translucent wings before falling into the water.

She quickly swam back to the surface, ignoring the sudden change of temperature. She quickly noticed the manticore on the spring’s bank. The beast looked a two meter tall lion with a crimson mane, and a one meter and a half long, dark brown scorpion tail. The beast had its eyes fixed on the flying silhouette of Alula who was calling Cloud.

“ALULA, GO AWAY!” Cloud shouted instinctively, before covering her mouth with her hands.

The manticore didn’t seem to have heard her though. It still had its eyes focused on Alula.

“Cloud! Are you ok?” Alula shouted with worry.

Cloud was far from being ok. The manticore had broken her wing. That wouldn’t have any consequences in the long term as Jupitarians wings are a simple expression of their owner’s will and personality. That was why Jupitarians wings had so many different colors, shapes, or aspects. Any damage to a Jupitarian wing was dissipated at the same time as the wing itself.

However, the pain caused by the hit always remained for a time between five minutes and a hour, depending on the damage suffered. The wings would hurt like the wound was fresh if re-conjured too early. Someone could learn how to drastically reduce that time only by undertaking a special training in flight camp. Cloud was supposed to do that training during the following summer.

Cloud, now wingless for a rather long period, swam back to the part of the spring’s bank behind the manticore. She was wondering how it hadn’t noticed her. She hypothesized that the the fog caused by spring must have masked its sight, and that the hot water must have covered her own smell. But how come it didn’t hear her shouting. Cloud looked at the beast and noticed an important detail: it only had one wing.

All the gears put themselves in place as she remembered a remark a doctor had made about Vinyl’s health three years and a half ago.

She was very lucky we treated her ears so quickly! If the guards hadn’t brought her here, she would have lost her hearing ability within the next two days.”

White Tail Wood... Manticore... One wing... probably deaf. Cloud thought in realization. It’s the same manticore that killed Vinyl and AJ’s father!

“It’s focused on Alula...” she whispered to herself. “As soon as she goes away, it will follow her. She doesn’t fly fast enough to distance it. And if she gets tired, it will probably jump like it did before to grab her... Ok, I know what to do!” she said with resolution while picking a large pebble up.

“ALULA! I’M GOING TO DISTRACT IT!” Cloud shouted to her little sister. “ONCE IT FOCUSES ITS ATTENTION ON ME, FLY TO TOWN AND WARN THE GUARD!”

“WHAT?!” Alula shouted back in disbelief. “BU-BUT....”

“DO AS I SAY!” Cloud ordered as she readied her throw. “ONE! TWO! THREE!”

She hurled the pebble with all her strength at the deaf manticore who received right on top of its head. The monster turned around to face what had attacked it with narrowed eyes. Its predatory glance quickly fell on Cloud, a prey much larger than the one it payed attention earlier, and, above all else, on the ground.

“GO!” Cloud shouted before dashing toward the woods, noticing from her peripheral vision Alula flying toward the town and the beast running after her according to her plan. “Now, let’s just hope that I can distance it through the woods.”

As soon as she reached the forest, Cloud started to slalom in between the thin beeches of the forest. The manticore, being massive as it was, had the most troublesome difficulties to follow her prey without losing its speed, or occasionally crashing into a trunk, thus stopping for a few seconds before continuing the chase which went for more than fifteen minutes.

I can’t go on like this forever... Cloud thought as she lowered her head to pass below a branch. I’ve got to find a way to lose it! She heard the branch crack behind her as well as the manticore’s roar way too close to her liking. Okay, at the next big tree in front of me, I’ll go right at the last second... it should crash head first into the tree.

When she spotted a large oak in front of her, Cloud put her plan in action, and dashed toward. At the last second, she sharply turned to the right and hear with satisfaction a loud crack indicating that the manticore had indeed crashed into the tree. She was out of trouble.

That was, without accounting for the beast’s right paw which scratched Cloud’s calf while it was flaying randomly to the right. Cloud let out a loud grunt of pain before losing her footing and falling on the ground.

She tried to stand back up, but the pain of her leg was too intense for her. She heard the manticore recover from her headbutt with the tree, before she felt the heavy steps coming closer. Her instinct kicked in as she rolled on the side, avoiding being stomped on by the beast right paw. Only to be stomped on by the left one.

Completely immobilized with a massive lion paw nearly crushing her stomach, Cloud couldn’t do anything but watch in terror the feline head coming closer to hers, drool falling all over her torso.

Images of all her relatives and friends flashed in front of her eyes, as she sensed the end coming. An image of Vinyl, Applejack and her arm in arm, laughing at a supposed joke, was the last one she saw. She closed her eyes, not willing to have an image other than one of her with her friends in her mind.

I wanted to tell you in person, girls, but since the circumstances played that way... I’m sorry for what I did... Vinyl, Applejack, from the bottom of my heart... thank you for being my friends during all these years...

Tears rolled from her closed eyes as the warm breath of the beast she could feel on her face could tell her that she was about to be devoured by the beast. The manticore let out a satisfied growl before Cloud heard the maw coming closer.





CRACK

“GET. THE. FUCK. AWAY. FROM. HER!” a voice which Cloud recognized instantly yelled in an unbridled fury.

Cloud opened her eyes to see the manticore’s face being deformed by a booted kick, breaking one of its fangs in the process. The beast got propelled away to Cloud’s left side, liberating her from the massive paw which was crushing her. The manticore crashed loudly against a nearby tree, knocked unconscious.

Her gaze went up along the leg responsible of the saving kick, passing above the orange winter jacket with a red apple embroidered on the right side of the chest, ending its course on a familiar freckled face with blonde hair wearing a brown, worn-out stetson. Though the familiar face was bearing an unfamiliar expression.

Cloud had thought she had seen her blonde friend madly furious two weeks ago. But the expression of wrath and rage Applejack had on her face made look that past moment as nothing more than a commonplace annoyance. Cloud was convinced that she would piss herself if that furious stare was directed toward her.

“AJ?” Cloud asked in disbelief.

“Cloudy, are you ok?” Applejack asked as she kneeled down next to Cloud, her rageous expression completely replaced by one of concern and worry. “Can you move?”

“I don’t know...” Cloud tried to sit up, only to wince in pain as her nearly crushed ribs hurt like hell. “No, I can’t!” she let herself drop on the ground.

“It’s gonna be ok, Cloudy,” Applejack said in a motherly tone, patting gently her friend’s head. “Alula found me and told us everything. Vinyl took Alizée and went to warn the Guard! They’ll be here shortly.”

“AJ, why....”

The manticore roared in anger as its regain consciousness. Cloud and Applejack snapped their heads toward the beast who was now on its four, ready to leap at the two girls.

“Tsk, ma punishment didn’t get through apparently,” Applejack muttered, her rageous expression on her face, as she stood up. “Hold that for me, Sugarcube,” she put her hat on Cloud’s head before striding over her friend.

“AJ, wait!” Cloud shouted. “You’re not going to fight this thing, are you?”

“Cloudy, that thing has already taken away someone very important to me,” Applejack answered in a cold tone. “Ah ain’t gonna let it go away after it tried to do it again!”

The manticore roared again and charged at Applejack. The beast leaped at the farmer, ready to bite her head off. Applejack couldn’t dodge as the manticore would just continue her leap until it landed on Cloud. She took the only option she had: stopping the beast’s charge.

Applejack lunged toward the beast, grabbing its mane with her two hands before knee striking its jaw. Cloud heard another crack followed by a pained whimper coming from the manticore. With great amount of suffering, Cloud managed to sit up against a trunk, finally getting to see properly what was happening.

What she saw was something she would always remember, and probably cause a few nightmares in the process. The manticore was backing away from Applejack, another of its fangs was broken and its tongue was only being kept in one piece by an inch of bloodied flesh. Apparently the manticore’s tongue was hanging out of its maw when Applejack knee struck it.

The manticore flared its only wing open in defiance, masking its rising scorpion tail from Applejack’s view. Though from where she was, Cloud couldn’t help but noticing it.

“AJ, watch out for its stinger!” Cloud warned in shout, just a second before the stinger came crashing down on Applejack.

“Thanks for the warnin’, Cloudy!” Applejack caught the tail with one hand, carefully avoiding being cut by its stinger, before shoving it in a nearby trunk, thus getting the beast anchored to a tree.

Unable to free its tail from the bark, the beast tried to paw Applejack. The blonde farmer dodged the hit and came close to the beast to pass her left arm around the manticore’s neck before locking her arms in a choking grip. The beast tried to break free from the farmer’s grip to no avail, letting out loud, scared roars.

“That’s for ma father!” Applejack whispered coldly before making the neck of the manticore do a sudden twist.

A loud snap resonated through the forest while it was accompanied by the choking of the final roar of the manticore which stopped struggling against Applejack’s grip. The farmer let go of the predator’s body which fell on the ground with a loud thud.

“Wow!” Cloud let out in amazement.


The guards showed up within the minutes that followed Applejack’s victory over the manticore. They had trouble in believing Applejack’s story about how a two meters tall manticore had been found near two sixteen year old girls with a fractured jaw, its stinger stuck in a tree, a few fangs shattered, and finally a broken neck. Cloud couldn’t really blame them. She had witnessed the scene and she had trouble believing it had actually happened.

Applejack lost her patience after the third time she told exactly what happened, and angrily demanded that Cloud was taken to the hospital. Cloud was treated for her scratches on her calf and her cracked ribs. Nothing too serious, but she would have to stay in bed for a few days. Applejack entered the room as soon as the doctor and nurses said they were done and left the two girls alone.

“The guards sent a messenger to yer parents, and Vinyl just left to go pick yer sister up from the farm,” Applejack said casually as she sat next to Cloud’s bed.

“She didn’t want to speak to me?” Cloud asked with worry.

“The exact opposite, Sugar,” Applejack affirmed. “She just said that ya and Ah had things to talk about first.”

“Ok.” Cloud nodded before taking a deep breath.

“I’m sorry for what I did!”
“Ah’m sorry for what Ah did!”

The two blondes stared at each other in silence before bursting into a loud fit of laughter, which turned short as Cloud’s laugh turned into a pained squeaking because of her sore ribs.

“Ya first, Sugarcube,” Applejack said softly when Cloud managed to recover.

“I’m sorry for having broken my promise,” Cloud said with sincerity. “What happened with Mac wasn’t something I had planned to happen. I had a few drinks too much, and I didn’t think before acting.”

“Kinda true,” Applejack agreed. “Though, Ah’ll be a tad hypocrite for me to judge you on that matter. Of all our group of friends, Ah’m the most impulsive one.”

“Yep, that’s our Applejack,” Cloud giggled softly. “Punching first, kicking seconds, and thinking about the problem whenever the first two don’t work.”

“Ah should feel offended, but since it’s the truth, Ah ain’t gonna bother.” Applejack shrugged with a wink, before turning a bit more serious. “Cloudy, why didn’t ya tell us it had happened?”

“I was scared about losing you and Vinyl as my friends,” Cloud replied with sadness. “I know that I made this promise after it happened, but I couldn’t help but feel that I had betrayed your trust...”

“So ya didn’t break our promise like ya said ya did in the end.”

“That’s playing on the words, AJ,” Cloud retorted. “It doesn’t change the fact that I did something I knew it would upset you. Being drunk doesn’t excuse that.”

“That’s what makes the difference for me, Sugarcube,” Applejack said softly. “Ah called ya a liar because in the heat of the moment, Ah got messed up in the dates. Ya never lied to us about it, Cloudy, just like ya didn’t technically break that promise,”

“AJ, we both know that you don’t do technically on that subject,” Cloud claimed.

“Yer right, it ain’t exactly in ma temper to do that,” Applejack admitted slowly. “But, Ah’m willing to forgive ya, even if the reasonable part of ma mind tells me otherwise.”

“Why don’t you listen to your reason then?”

“Because Ah prefer listenin’ to ma heart a lot more than ma reason,” Applejack calmly stated.

“Your heart?” Cloud asked in a shaken voice.

“Sugar, when Alula found me and told me that ya were in danger,” Applejack explained. “Ma reason told me to go warn the Guard about it, ma resentment for what ya did told me to not bother,” Applejack admitted that one in disgust. “And, ma heart told me that ma best friend was in danger and that Ah had to save her maself...” Applejack locked her eyes with Cloud’s. “It didn’t take me more than a tenth of second to decide what Ah should listen to,”

Cloud grabbed Applejack’s shirt and pulled her friend into a tight embrace, softly crying happy tears on her friend’s shoulder. While a bit surprised at first, Applejack quickly hugged Cloud back and patted her head gently.

“I’m so sorry for what happened, AJ.” Cloud sobbed. “I truly am.”

“Ah know, Sugarcube,” Applejack whispered with kindness. “And if yer willing to forgive me for callin’ ya a liar, givin’ ya a black eye, and for sayin’ that ah didn’t want to see ya again, Ah’ll forgive ya as well.”

“Idiot! Of course I forgive you!” Cloud managed to chuckle between sobs. “Besides, I kinda deserved that black eye,”

“Ah forgive ya too.” Applejack smiled softly. “And, don’t say that again!”

“Only if you promise me that we’ll stay friends forever,” Cloud said as she broke the hug, her eyes still shining with tears.

“Ya promise ya won’t ever go after ma brother?” Applejack asked with a chuckle.

“Don’t worry about that,” Cloud assured firmly. “Your brother’s surprisingly small compared to his size, I can find better.” Applejack let out a gagging noise with a wince. “Too early for jokes about your brother?”

Applejack brought her thumb close to her forefinger. “A little bit.” Applejack sighed to recover from the joke. “In that case,..” She spat in her hand. “Friends forever?” she asked, extending her hand to Cloud who spat in her own hand.

“Friends forever!” Cloud affirmed with a genuine smile while shaking Applejack’s hand. “Oh, and that...” she used her other hand to bring Applejack’s face closer. “..is for saving my life.”

Cloud gave a big kiss on Applejack’s cheek which became as red as a Red Delicious. Cloud broke the kiss with a loud pop, leaving a blonde farmer standing right next to her with a blank expression.

“Hmm, even my kisses on the cheek can do that,” Cloud commented in a professional tone. “Gotta keep that in check.”

“Ya know?” Applejack seemed to have recovered from the kiss. “Ah really thought ya were going to kiss me on the lips when ya brought me closer....”

“You want me too?” Cloud asked hopefully. “Because I wouldn’t mind at all!”

“Na, Ah’m good,” Applejack replied frankly. “Still waitin’ for ma special someone!”

“Awww!” Cloud sighed in defeat. “Well, If you ever change your mind, you know where to find me.”

“Yeah but Ah don’t think...”

“I DON’T CARE ABOUT BEING QUIET IN THIS LOBBY! TELL ME WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER!” a man bellowed in anger in the corridor.

“Looks like yer dad has arrived...” Applejack commented.

“FOR THE TENTH TIME, HER NAME’S CLOUD KICKER! SIXTEEN, LONG TWO-TONED BLONDE HAIR! PURPLE EYES! CUTE AS A BUTTON!” a woman yelled in fury.

“Aaaaand my mom as well,” Cloud said in embarrassment.


“You want AJ to train you?” Vinyl asked with a cocked eyebrow.

“That’s what I said!” Cloud nodded firmly.

It had been a month since what Cloud and her two best friends had called the Big Macintosh situation. Cloud had cleared out of the hospital, to the great displeasure of the teenage nurses in training, without any long term consequences two weeks ago. Life was back to what it was before the incident, if you don’t count one tiny detail.

Cloud’s parents, now aware of her dating history, refused to let her go out at night until she’s eighteen. On top of things, Cloud was convinced she was being watched constantly by one of her parents whenever she was out. There was definitely something weird about those clouds that seemed to follow her around.

The three friends were enjoying an afternoon snack at Sugarcube Corner, and Cloud just told her friends about her new idea.

“Well, Ah suppose Ah could train ya, but why exactly do you want to be trained for?” Applejack asked with curiosity. “Ya ain’t really an athlete, but yer quite fit nevertheless.”

“If I want to pass the physical tests for joining the Guard after we graduate, I’d need to be on top of my game,” Cloud explained.

“Wowow! Hang on a minute!” Vinyl interjected. “You want to join the Guard now?”

“Where does that come from?” Applejack asked in disbelief.

“Look, I felt sorta helpless after the manticore’s attack,” Cloud said in a low tone. “I thought I could save my sister and...”

“You did save Alula that day, Cloudy!” Vinyl remarked.

“Yes, but if AJ hadn’t shown up, I’d be a big pile of manticore shit by now!” Cloud replied.

“Aaaand now Ah can’t eat my chocolate fondant! Thank ya kindly!” Applejack muttered as she dropped her dark brown pastry on its plate with a frown.

“What I mean is that I thought I could protect myself and my little sister, but I couldn’t!” Cloud explained, ignoring Applejack’s rant about her pastry. “I’m not ridiculously strong like AJ, nor do I have your magic explosions to chase monsters away, Vinyl.” Cloud let out a long sigh. “The only thing I can do is create clouds.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Vinyl asked softly.

“Nothing at all,” Cloud replied softly. “It’s just... I want to be able to protect myself and the others.”

“If that’s what ya want to do, then Ah’ll gladly train ya!” Applejack nodded with a smile. “But, it’s gonna be hard. Ah ain’t gonna be sweet on ya, because yer ma friend.”

“Considerin’ you’re not really sweet on Mac and me when we train with you, I think you don’t really need to tell her that,” Vinyl commented sourly.

“I think it’s gonna be good in the long run,” Cloud said, stopping Applejack as she was about to retort to her sister. “The guard’s training is gonna look like day in the park after training with the Monster of Ponyville for two years,”

Applejack groaned loudly while her sister and friend laughed at her. “Ah swear if Ah ever find the one who started this here nickname, he’s gonna get it!”

“Anyway, you’re sure about joining the Guard?” Vinyl asked.

“Definitely!” Cloud nodded before looking at Applejack. “And who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be the one saving you,” she added with a wink.

Applejack blinked. “Ah’m starting to think that’s just one of yer schemes to get some ‘thank ya for savin’ ma life’ kisses,” Applejack said with narrowed eyes.

“I’m starting to think that as well. The perks of wearing a uniform, huh?” Vinyl suggested with a knowing smirk.

“Well, I’m starting to think....” Cloud took a sip of her cup of cocoa. “...you’re onto something!” she smiled playfully.

Author's Note:

And there you have it. the second part of this double update.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Once again, edited by G3k0771. Thanks a lot man! :raritywink:

I hope you enjoyed.

Stay tuned for what's next.

Mariacheat-Brony