• Published 20th Aug 2013
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A Hairier Problem: Rise of the Furball - BlueBastard



Applejack is back to normal and one of the greatest threats in Equestria's history has finally been laid to rest. But if that's the case, then what's going on with Apple Bloom?

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Ch.34: Finally a Brighter Tomorrow

Rise of the Furball Chapter 34; “Finally a Brighter Tomorrow”


“Hnnnnng!” Raspberry sucked in air with a hiss, enduring the pain her injured leg was radiating. It was to be the last laugh for Fair Vista, in that due to the severity of the injury to her hind leg having been denied immediate magic healing until well after Fair Vista had been dealt with, and how burnt out Raspberry had been at the time, the fact she hadn’t needed her leg amputated in the end was thanks to the rapid response of Royal Guard medics applying battlefield triage until she could safely be transferred to Ponyville General’s Emergency Room. Over the past two weeks, she’d been stuck in a hospital bed under orders by Twilight, the rest of the elements in a show of their power as her “wardens”, all the doctors, and everypony else who thought she hadn’t been reminded of her lower left leg still being attached to her body by tendons thinner than a toothpick.

What had made the stay at Ponyville General even more awkward was that because she put every last drop of magic she recharged while bedridden into healing her wounds, there was nothing to put into her ‘true’ colors disguise and so there was more than one instance where her elongated horn caused somepony to freak. But now, after her magic had recharged enough for her passive regeneration to kick in, her leg wasn’t going to fall off if hit by a stiff breeze now that the bone and tissue had healed…mostly. As it was, her muscles couldn’t heal the scars left by Fair Vista’s teeth, leaving her left leg forever weakened slightly. Back in Sombra’s time, a pony would have been killed out of mercy due to the impossibility of them ever being able to walk again.

But as Razz grunted again, shifting herself to a more accessible orientation, she smiled at the device her magic levitated. Modern technology had answers to problems like hers, and while she would need it for the rest of her life, it was but a small price to pay for what she’d been able to do. Gingerly, the three-piece leg brace wrapped itself around the still scarred middle joint of Raspberry’s left leg, before closing and the clips snapping into place, ready for testing.

“Alright, are you ready?” asked Nurse Redheart, positioning herself to give support. It had taken the caregiver some time to acclimate to Razz’s unusual appearance, much like the rest of the medical staff when the mauled unicorn was carted into the ER, but after learning she was a princess it didn’t take long for first impressions to fade.

“Y-yeah, here goes!” said the unicorn, easing herself over the edge until she was sitting upright. First her right leg, thankfully still as good as ever and to support her weight. Her left…not so much, as she involuntarily let out a brief scream of pain as she put weight evenly on her legs for the first time in fourteen days.

“Easy, easy!” cautioned Redheart, immediately rearing to support the upper body of Raspberry, “you don’t want to put too much strain on it too soon!”

“I know, but no offense, Nurse, I’m no stranger to pain, I can-HNNNNNNGGGGGGG- take it!”

That may be, but even princesses must take the time to lick their wounds.”

Gradually, Raspberry was eased down with Redheart’s help until she was once again upright on all four hooves. Delicately, the unicorn walked forward with baby steps, testing out her new accessory. While it didn’t totally numb the pain, Razz wincing with every step she made with her left hindleg, the brace’s sliding and twisting in tune with her leg was like heaven, and it only increased as the rehabilitated mare started to prance around the room in a circle, the pain fading into nothing as both her leg and magic worked together to acclimate to the brace.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” asked Redheart, to which Raspberry nodded happily. The nurse smiled, happy herself to see another patient back on her hooves, especially one who she could easily tell had a long road still to go in terms of healing in ways other than just physical. “The brace is designed such that it will eventually allow you to walk around while supporting your own weight on your leg, but I’m afraid that doesn’t mean much more than allowing you to take it off safely to sleep or take a bath. Any time you’re mobile for even a short distance, like down a hallway, the brace will be needed or else you risk tearing the ligaments again.”

Raspberry stopped her trotting in circles to look face-to-face with the nurse. “I must confess; when I chose to prevent my leg from healing because I didn’t want to risk not having enough magic to stop the monster who threatened Ponyville, or more importantly the very filly who is the reason I am able to call this town home in the first place, I was prepared for the worst and would have been happy if I’d been stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. This leg brace is better than I could have hoped for…like everything that’s happened to me once the truth about me got out.”

Oddly, Redheart snickered. “Funny you should mention that. Did you take a closer look at your brace before you put it on?”

“Uh, no, was there more than just the black plastic and straps?”

“Well, yes, but now that I think about it, I’m not the pony who would be best suited to describe what really went into your new support.” Redheart then gave a sly wink that Raspberry had no idea how to interpet. Just then, Heliodor appeared at the room’s open window.

“Oh, there you are, Heelee!” said Razz, “I was worried when you didn’t come back around the time you usually do from your morning hunts.” As if in answer, Heliodor stretched forward one of his legs, which had tied to it a note. Raspberry took the note off and unrolled it to read. “Ah, I thought as much.”

“What?”

“It’s a summons to Golden Oaks, signed by Princess Sparkle herself.”

“She can’t possibly be serious!” Redheart firmly stated. “You literally just got back on your hooves, after the state your leg was in it’s an absolute miracle you’re able to walk around half a month later without any aid other than the leg brace you now wear.” However, one hard look from Raspberry was enough to have Redheart back down.

“Nurse Redheart, I appreciate your concern, and if it hadn’t been for you and your colleagues I may have ended up more of a cripple than just needing an accessory. However, as you can see, I’m back on my hooves and off the bed. The latest miracle in a long series of miracles that I’ve been more that fortunate to have. But now it’s my turn to work miracles, to give back to the ponies who have given me so much…but I can only do it with Twilight’s help.”

An understanding gleam shined in Redheart’s eye as she smiled. “You may think I’m just flattering you, but a dedication to your fellow ponies like that truly is a trait of true nobility. Go, my lady, I’ll handle the paperwork, just…be careful, alright? Normally I recommend ponies go through some physical therapy once they’re at your stage, but then again, it’s just a brisk gallop to the center of town you’re seeking, no?”

“Thanks, Nurse. Alright, Heelee, let’s go make miracles.” The phoenix chirped happily, taking his place on Razz’s horn as she felt strong enough to don her brighter colors. Together, the pair left for the library with high spirits.


The great sun shone bright in the sky, but a pony who was not aware of that fact would have thought the sound reverberating from the middle of Ponyville meant another wild storm was approaching. But, as the dark powered unicorn entered the library, the dark interior suddenly was brought into light, with over a dozen ponies inside and all but one of them stamping their hooves in applause.

Within the library, Twilight had gathered all the ponies involved with the recent werewolf troubles. As it was, all the surviving werewolves were in attendance; including Diamond Tiara who was behaving the complete opposite of her usual self. The usual company Twilight kept was also there, along with Corporals Skyracer and Daffodil, who had wished to keep their respective units in Ponyville until they were sure that it was safe once again. The only pony who was absent was Lyra, citing her new job as an instrument repair pony and that she was trustworthy to keep the secret, given her involvement in the Sable Loam incident a year prior.

That was all Raspberry could figure from the brief second she had to survey the group, before Pinkie vanished from view only to make her presence known again by a massive side tackle hug that knocked Heliodor clean off his mount.

“YAYIMSOHAPPYTOSEEYOUAREBACKONYOURHOOVESRASPBERRY!” squealed Pinkie, squeezing the unicorn hard.

“OHCELESTIAMYLEG!” screamed Razz, Pinkie’s death grip having pushed her leg into a position where the brace couldn’t work and thus relieve the strain on the weakened muscles.

“Oh, sorry…” apologized Pinkie, immediately letting go, “It’s just that I’m so glad that meanie Fair Vista didn’t do any more lasting damage than to your leg, that I sort of forgot you just came from the hospital.

“D-don’t worry, Pinkie,” the unicorn winced as she repositioned her bad leg, pain still shooting pain in brief spurts, “compared to the two times Fair Vista’s jaw closed on my body parts, that was nothing.”

“Okey dokey, then! Does this mean we can throw you a ‘survived fighting a werewolf twice’ party now?”

“Not yet, Pinkie,” interjected Twilight, “even though Fair Vista has been vanquished and Ponyville no longer under immediate threat, we have one more business item to attend to.”

“How?” asked Sandalwood. “the only thing left to deal with is the fact about a third of the ponies in this tree have lycanthropy, and of them only two aren’t going to eventually going to be forced to lose everything that makes us ponies in both body and mind.”

“Oh, great, I totally forgot how much time I’ve got left,” realized Lightning, her ears drooping. “Though if I remember enough about how long it’s been since AJ and I fought…I’ll no longer be a pony by the end of the month.” The werewolf pegasus slumped onto her rear, involuntarily unfolding her wings while she gingerly petted one of their tips.

“And what about us?” inquired Silver, “Aside from Apple Bloom, are we fillies going to become simple wolves ourselves?”

“Great, now we’re never going to get our cutie marks!” moped Sweetie.

“There, there,” babied Rarity, taking Sweetie into a one foreleg embrace. “There has to be some way to undo this…this crime done to all of you.”

“No…” mumbled Tiara, who didn’t even look up from the ground. “There isn’t a way. Fair Vista was very, very adamant about how one of the ‘benefits’ of lycanthropy is that it was a gift that couldn’t be taken away, only given back to other ponies.”

“Well, with all due respect to Vista, which is to say no respect whatsoever,” voiced Raspberry with a smirk, “she wasn’t born as the direct descendant of the dark unicorn who invented the curse.”

“What are you sayin’, Razz?” asked Applejack, daring to hope for the impossible.

“I’m ‘sayin’ that for all lycanthropy is, it’s still just parasitic dark magic. All kinds of enchantments, hexes, and such cannot exist without there being one way to remove it, no matter how powerful they are made to be.”

“But Lycanthropy is more than just the typical run-of-the-mill magical punishment, when I tried to examine it with Lightning, I only ended up making things worse,” pointed out Twilight, cringing slightly as she glanced over to the fallen pegasus who was being comforted by Rainbow.

“No offense, Twilight, but if you understood as much about dark magic as I do, you would have known trying that without knowing exactly what to do would be like…like trying to pick a sensitive lock with a hairclip. Lycanthropy is complex purely because it needs to sustain itself long enough for it to be spread to a new host.”

“So, it’s in a way a woven tapestry?” suggested Rarity, “only far less admirable?”

“Yes, the components are very much woven together and unless pulled apart precisely, will have disastrous effects as what happened with Twilight and Lightning. However…” Raspberry's eyes grew bright in the way all the other ponies leaned forward in anticipation, “…because my last attack on Fair Vista involved me driving my horn right into her heart, I was able to directly see the curse and pick it apart while turning her into the wolf she had wanted to be.” She shrugged at the squeamish look her audience gave her. “Gruesome, I know, but along with being rightly deserved for what she did to my leg, I’d say it was better for me to understand the curse from as close to the original strain as I could get without having to harm any of you. Especially since it would be defeating the point of having worked out the cure – the actual, honest-to-goodness, cure.

“W-will it work on all of us?” asked Apple Bloom, “Or just the ponies who aren’t related to that monster?”

“Let’s find out, shall we?” Raspberry’s words barely had any time to register to the others before the unicorn revealed her magic was far more recharged than she had let on, her horn enshrouded in dark purple bubbles and her eyes the thing of nightmares, as she cast a spell Twilight had only guessed she’d even begun to think of.


-The next day –

“Rainbow, where are you taking me?” shouted Lightning, struggling to keep up with her multi-colored counterpart.

“It’s a surprise!” was all the answer Rainbow gave back. But she didn’t leave Dust in the dark for long, as not long after did the clouds part and there, plain in sight, was the plateau of Wonderbolts Academy.

“Wh-what?” Dust was shocked, what possibly could Dash have in store here? The green pegasus had been kicked out following her dishonorable actions and behavior, with every impression that she would never return, never have a chance to live her dream as a Wonderbolt.

So why was Spitfire apparently waiting for the duo in front of her office.

“Well, I can’t say I ever expected to see you again, Private Lightning Dust,” the Wonderbolt captain curtly said, apparently meant as some sort of greeting.

“That makes both of us, ma- wait, did you just call me a private? But I got kicked out! By you!”

Oddly, Spitfire smiled. “I’ll be inside once you’re done, Rainbow.” She then turned and entered the door, leaving a very confused Lightning at the doorstep.

“You might explaining this, Dash?” asked the not-sure-if-still-ex-or-not-Wonderbolt hopeful.

Rainbow gave a characterful smirk, before her expression changed to that of somepony who was about to express gratitude. “I’m not gonna lie, even though the tailspin your life went into after you got kicked out was totally your fault, I still felt more than a little guilty about it all.”

“I was a horrible pony back then, Dash, I deserved everything that came my way. You stopped me before I did something even more stupid and got more than just a hoofful of ponies hurt.”

“But that’s just it, that was you back then.” A blue hoof found its way onto a green shoulder. “The werewolf thing…well, on your terms that was still totally all your fault though nopony could have foreseen you actually getting cursed from that small brawl. But now that it’s all said and done, you’re a new mare, Dust. Goodness knows you put up with having to live with me for a few months, which must have been worse than our time in training here.”

“You kiddin’? I never made you for a neat freak. Your pad was spotless, which is more than I can say for anything I did to that couch.”

“Exactly, for all that I kid around with Twilight for being so OCD all the time, I do not like the place I live in being a mess. But it must have driven you crazy not to do…wolf things in my house.”

“Do not even get me started.”

Rainbow chuckled. “Thought so. However, the main reason why we’re here is because I owe you. Big time.”

“For what?”

“Scootaloo. Fair Vista grabbed her under my supervision and I couldn’t go rescue her, which is like letting a wingpony down. But you…you went in there and saved her. You proved you are wingpony material because you were there when I couldn’t because of the situation. And, as I said back when you first showed up in Ponyville, you deserve a second chance. So here we are, where everything went wrong.”

“A second chance…” repeated Lightning, “Is…is this for real?”

Rainbow laughed. “You heard the captain, private. They’ll ride you hard, probably harder given they most likely still remember you, but having one of the princesses vouch for you helped grease the wheels a bit.” She then was going to give a sly wink, but Dust beat her by charging forth in a giant Pinkie Pie style hug.

“You’re the greatest, Dash,” said Dust, muffled by her face buried in Rainbow’s neck while her tightly shut eyes were overflowing with tears.

“H-hey, now, don’t get me all sappy, I have a rep to keep up!” mock whined Rainbow, smiling all the while. Eventually she managed to pull Dust off of her neck. “Also, if you ever need someplace to crash, or just want to hang out – when you aren’t supposed to be here, mind you – sometime, just drop by Ponyville.”

“O-of course!”

“But in return, you gotta promise to not let me down, Dust. Someday we’ll be Wonderbolts together, but it’s on you to prove to Spitfire and all the others you’re just was worthy as me, got it?”

“Yes, ma’m!”

“Alrighty, then! I gotta get back to Ponyville, some of the stormclouds from you-know-what didn’t fully dissipate and as weather manager I need to handle the response, so I’ll be seeing you.”

The two wingponies batted wings together in a sign of their friendship, before Rainbow then took the opportunity to launch into the air off of the tarmac. As for Lightning, still teary eyed, she was still trying to understand how fortunate she was.

And to think I originally blamed her for all my troubles, thought Dust, slowly waving after the fading afterimage of a rainbow streak, but now she’s the reason I can keep my dreams alive.


Recess at Ponyville Elementary had, initially, looked like it was going to be another playground showdown between the Crusaders and Diamond Tiara, now that all the ruckus over whatever they’d been involved with (in the interest of minimizing public outcry, Fair Vista had been painted as an anarchist who had been obsessed with her own appearance to the point of painting trained wolves to look like her, all mention of lycanthropy stricken from official records given to the public). However, it was an air of disappointment when Diamond Tiara merely walked out the back door of the schoolhouse just to turn the corner and sit in a heap of depression in the building’s shadow. Inevitably, the Crusaders – all five of them – soon turned up to have followed her.

“What do you all want?” she sneered, though there was no feeling behind it. After she’d woken up following the high fall Silver had knocked her into, she had also come back to her senses. Once Silver Spoon had recounted what Tiara had done while serving Vista, the pink filly had been horrified to see how far she’d gone in the name of revenge and been blinded by her own ego. Her father’s punishment of grounding her for life until further notice was trivial compared to what judgement lay in store for her at the hooves of the Crusaders.

“Well, Ah’m here to apologize,” Apple Bloom said flatly.

“Y-you’re what?” Tiara was stunned. “After all the stuff I did to you, to your friends? What do you have to apologize for?”

“That was me at the window that night durin’ the storm. Ah’d been so worked up about gettin’ back at you for all that Ah’ve had to deal with because you don’t like me, or mah friends…it’s mah fault for drivin’ you to such extremes. And Ah’m sorry for callin’ you a bitch ‘cause you insulted mah parents.”

“Seriously, Apple Bloom?” asked Scootaloo. “Are you going to apologize to her for everything before you got the cast, too?”

Tiara sighed. “No, I wouldn’t accept an apology for any of that earlier stuff, either, I deserved it. Especially since I now know more often than not I dragged Silver along for the ride as well, didn’t I?” Silver just nodded, prompting Tiara to continue. “All this time, I’ve been a big fat bully, all because of some stupid reason.”

“There was a reason?” Sweetie raised an eyebrow in confusion. “I thought you just didn’t like us because we didn’t have cutie marks?”

“Well, that too, but that was really just a bonus cause for being mean to you all. Really, I guess the main reason why I was the bane of your existences was that you three will be more important than I ever will be.”

Now Babs was confused. “Say again?”

Tiara scowled, “are you all that blind? Your sisters – or sister figure in the case of Rainbow Dash – are half of the Elements of Harmony; the six most influential ponies in all of Equestria below the alicorns! You have near direct ties to two princesses now! The only reason I’m even from the wealthiest family in town is because my great grandfather sold the goods made by the Apple Family!”

“So, what, does that make me chopped alfalfa now?” grumbled Silver.

Realizing her lapse back to her usual behavior, Diamond immediately became ashamed of herself. “Sorry for the outburst, but…old habits die hard. As for you, Silver; you’re from a line of silversmiths and are in line to take over the family business, along with the other thing your family did. But me? I’m just a rich brat.”

“A rich brat with a cutie mark she likes to flaunt in our faces,” commended Apple Bloom, referencing the argument that had gotten the entire mess started in the first place.

Diamond picked up on it. “If you really want to know; my cutie mark isn’t really all that special. My special talent? I love to get attention. That’s it. I’m rich, I’m popular – or was, at any rate – and for all anypony cared I was living the dream life. So it was a constantly maddening thing to go through every single day to see you three blank flanks have something that I couldn’t have for all the money in my dad’s bank account or any other means.”

“And what would that be?”

“Friendship.” DT couldn’t even look any of the other fillies in the eye as she elaborated; “You were right, Silver, we were never really true friends, we really just hooked up because I wanted to be seen with the second richest filly in town and you were desperate to do anything for a friend. But as much as I tried to deny it, there were you Crusaders, undefined by cutie marks but instead possessing something my cutie mark demanded I try to have but the best I could accomplish was a mere farce of one. Hence, why I always worked to try and knock the Crusaders down whenever I could, to prove to myself that I was better. That’s what blinded me during this whole affair, I wanted to get back at you so badly, Apple Bloom, that I willingly sacrificed everything that mattered to me. In the end, I guess I did become what I always have been; a bit-“

“Okay, that word’s been tossed around far too much at this point, okay?” interrupted Babs. “You’re all ponies again, can you just refer to yourselves and each other as ponies instead of as small female dogs?”

“Of course!” laughed Apple Bloom, who – against every logical particle in her body screaming for her not to – did the unthinkable and outstretched a hoof towards the teary-eyed filly who had been the most hated thing in her life for years. “And ponies are the best at friendship.”


“Someday I’m going to get you to pay for one of these things,” said Sandalwood, her hooves around Raspberry’s neck.

“I could just as easily undo the cure, y’kno-oohhhhh yessss…” replied Razz, sighing contentedly as Sandy’s delicate hooves worked their magic on her body.

“But you won’t, will you?”

“Of course not, I’m too nice a pony for that. Besides, I doubt you’d be this good at your job with canine paws.”

Sandalwood merely ‘mm-hmmmed’ a reply but Razz knew the aromatherapist was grateful. After all, she’d immediately promised the unicorn free aromatherapy for a month or so when it was found the cure did indeed work and lycanthropy had ceased to exist in Ponyville. That had been yesterday, but while not even a full day had gone by it felt like so much had happened. The guards, satisfied that Ponyville was now safe from any lingering threats, had bid their farewells and departed back home to Canterlot. Rainbow had begged Twilight to get Lightning that second chance at the Wonderbolts for a variety of reasons. And here was Sandalwood, back to work as if nothing had gone wrong.

“So, are you going to go back to selling those gems of yours?” asked Sandalwood, moving to set up another one of her scents, one which smelled something like cinnamon.

“Sort of. If ponies want to order them from me, I’ll do it, but as it stands there’s no need for me go door to door anymore. The Traveler’s Retreat is my workplace and my home, now, so I have to abide by the rules of Ascot and Cashmere and they probably won’t want me installing a blast furnace inside the place. Doesn’t bother me, anyway, since I still have my set up back in the safehouse in the Everfree ruins.”

Sandy raised an eyebrow at that. “The guards didn’t confiscate that stuff? Even though it was used for illegal counterfeiting?”

“It’s dark crystal, you think anypony would even try touching that stuff? Of course, there is that stipulation I have to add the embittering charm on any gems I make from now on to prevent a certain baby dragon from eating them and repeating that fun scenario.”

The conversation largely stopped at that point as Sandy started to go deeper in her motions, the relief evident in the noises coming out of Raspberry’s muzzle. She was slightly disappointed when it was all over, but not too much as if the conversation with the waiting Rarity in the spa’s lobby meant anything, this was going to be a weekly occurrence.

“Oh, Sandalwood, I got a package for you,” said the receptionist, not looking up from whatever fashion mag she’d grabbed off of the stack sitting in the lobby’s table. “Lyra Hearthsrings or something dropped it off.”

“Really, now?” Sandy popped into the small office and retrieved the package, choosing to open it in the safety of her own little corner in the back as she didn’t have another appointment for at least 15 minutes. Inside the package was a book: Minotaur Anatomy for Dummies. The section about minotaur hand structures had little post-it tabs attached, no doubt Lyra’s doing.

“Well, this should prove useful,” chuckled Sandalwood, wondering if the book in her hooves could prove that minotaurs were in fact related to the mythical human race in one way or another.


“So, this is the one you actually killed eleven years ago?” asked Luna, skeptical of the body she stood next to. “I was, admittedly, expecting more than a dead wolf, almost literally skin and bones no less, with its heart gored out.”

“Come now, you read what Twilight wrote was how this came to be,” chastised Celestia. “The only thing still remaining in that crater is a broken tombstone, which ironically marks where Sable Loam died last year.”

“Poetic justice, I guess?”

“I honestly don’t care, the fact these two are finally both dead for good is enough for me.”

With a nod, Celestia commanded the guards to carry the stuffed body that had once been Fair Vista’s resurrected vessel into the secret vault under the Crystal Castle. Silently, the also stuffed body of Sable Loam, untouched and forgotten since having taken residence there, gazed into nothing as it was finally reunited with its mate.

“And so here, finally, ends the legacy of Sable Loam.” Celestia’s tone was a mix of relief and annoyance. She was relieved that there truly had been an end to Sable’s plans in any form whatsoever, but was also annoyed at this being the third time she had decided he had been finally dealt with. “Let us hope that the third time truly is the charm and these two will stay locked away forever.”

“Of course they will, Celly,” snarked Luna, “they finally are reunited, what more do they need than each other?”

“Oh, that’s easy, Lu-Lu; silence.”

Together, the alicorns of day and night re-sealed the vault, the light from outside being drawn across the two stuffed werewolves inside, where their only companions were each other and the elaborate defenses that would ensure they would never get out if, for whatever reason, they actually could still come back to life. Then, with a resounding clang, all light was shut out of the vault, leaving the last of the werewolves forever entombed under the place where the curse had been created.


That evening, a great feast was held at Sweet Apple Acres, to celebrate the final defeat of werewolves and how it had cursed the farming family for two generations. Of course, due to needing to keep werewolves actually having existed as a secret, it was instead Pinkie’s “Ponyville is now safe thanks to Raspberry Beryl/Celebration that Raspberry Beryl’s injuries weren’t more serious” bash. The majority of the townsfolk were in attendance, namely to thank (and for many, the first chance to really meet) Raspberry, who did her best to not show how uncomfortable she was with being the center of attention. Though, admittedly, she did appreciate the attention being positive and welcoming to her instead of the mobs of old who drove her out under the impression she was no better than Sombra.

By the middle of the party, when it was pretty late at night, Razz did manage to find a way to sneak out of the festivities. Once reunited with Heliodor, who had been off doing his own thing in the edge of the Everfree, the two silently made the short journey to the farm’s graveyard. There, standing out from the other, smaller gravestones in the sea of roses, two alabaster sentinels marked the final resting places of the ponies Raspberry wished to speak to. She drew closer, getting in range to read the inscriptions.

APPLESEED

Loving Father

CORNFLOWER

Loving Mother

“Um, hello,” awkwardly greeted the unicorn. The tombstones said nothing, which was perfectly normal behavior for tombstones. Nonetheless, Razz sighed. “You probably don’t know me and I most likely never met you before you died, but I know the monsters named Sable Loam and Fair Vista were the ones who transformed you into werewolves yourselves, before Sable murdered you both in the dead of winter. Applejack told me of how she and the rest of your surviving family met you on some other plane of existence following Sable Loam’s defeat, so I’ll just assume you know everything up to that point.

“As for why I am here now…it’s to apologize. Because of me, Applejack had to suffer everything she went through a year ago all over again. It was unintentional, but it doesn’t make me feel any less guilty about the matter. However, you should also know that I have purged the curse of lycanthropy not only from your daughters but from the thankfully few other ponies who were unfortunate to contract it, along with personally dispatching Fair Vista. No more shall werewolves plague your family, nor this town as a whole.

But I am also here to let you know how deeply indebted I am to your daughter: Apple Bloom. Until I came to Ponyville, there was nothing for me other than my companion Heliodor and a unique type of magic that ponies believed was all they needed to know about who I was and that I was to be run out of town, if not worse. Then not once, but twice I almost did things I would have forever regretted and ruined any chances of me being ever accepted as a regular pony, much less being able to have a stable life that others take for granted. If it wasn’t for her, who knows what would be different?”

“Ah’d still be a flea bitten varmit, for starters!” suddenly came the voice of Apple Bloom. Surprised, Beryl turned around to see the filly standing not too far away from her. Apple Bloom was not alone, for Applejack was also there.

“Heh, don’t worry, we talk to our folks once ‘n a while ourselves. Just ‘cause they’re dead don’t mean they aren’t around,” said the orange mare. “Heck, after all you’ve done for us, you’re practically part of the Apple Family already!”

“I guess so, huh?” Razz smiled. “I even have the fashion accessory, too.”

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow, “What are you talkin’ about?”

“Oh, well, all of the Apples have some kind of accessory. You’ve got your bow, Applejack’s got her hat, Granny has her neckerchief, Big Mac has his collar…and I’ve got this.” The unicorn’s rear left leg rose up to show off the brace she would forever need to wear.

“Funny you should mention that, darling,” said Rarity, who also had appeared on the scene. Pinkie, Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rainbow followed right behind her. “I take it nopony’s explained why your leg brace is so special, yet?”

“I remember Nurse Redheart mentioning something about it, but that she wasn’t the one who should tell me.”

Twilight beamed, “Can you take it off for a second?”

“Uh, why? Right now I can’t even stand up without it.”

Pinkie suddenly produced a large, pony sized mirror with a back stand, putting it between Twilight and Raspberry. “I knew I kept an emergency fashion mirror on Sweet Apple Acres for a reason!” she said with pride.

Raspberry didn’t pay any attention to Pinkie, rather her focus was more on the detail she’d missed. On the middle section of the brace, positioned right over where the scars still were normally quite visible, was an engraving of a Claddagh Ring within the smooth face of the plastic case. Two hooves held a heart between them, with the heart having a crown of sorts sitting on top of it. Of note was that the heart appeared to be more than just the outline of one, rather it was faceted. It was the Crystal Heart.

“Traditionally, Claddagh Rings are symbols of shared bonds of love, loyalty, and friendship," explained Rarity. "The hooves are friendship, the heart is love, and the crown is loyalty. Admittedly, while I was the one who suggested the heart be made to resemble the Crystal Heart in recognition of your nobility - I have a working relationship with the pony in charge of making medical attire of all sorts used by Ponyville General ever since I simply had to redesign those hideous patient gowns following Rainbow’s accident almost two years ago, and if you need another brace for formal affairs I’ll gladly have another one designed and made just for you - it was Apple Bloom who came up with the idea first to put a meaningful symbol on your brace.”

“Yeah, after what happened at your trial, I never did forget how you only did that because you thought we, as your friends, had abandoned you, even though we hadn’t. This way, you’ve always got a piece of Ponyville to take with you, a reminder that no matter what, we’ll always be there to support you!”

The way Raspberry’s eyes started to tear up almost made it a truly heartfelt moment as she took in the significance of the symbol emblazoned on the leg brace, except at that same moment Heliodor started making some kind of whining noise, evidently worried about something.

“Oh, shush, you!” scolded Raspberry, “Don’t think for a second I’m ever going to abandon you just because you’re not my only friend anymore, which I will point out hasn’t been true for months. Besides, it’s not like I could get you to stop using my horn as your favorite roost spot.”

Heliodor shrugged as if that was a good enough answer for him, to which everypony laughed. Then Pinkie shivered.

“Wowee!” she exclaimed, “is it just me or is it getting colder?”

“Well, we are getting close to when the weather team will be bringing in the snow for Hearth’s Warming!” said Rainbow. “Plus, we’re missing the party, so let’s go!” The group nodded in unison, though the Apples didn’t seem to make a move to follow along.

“We got some things to say to our folks, too, we’ll be along shortly,” said Applejack.

“Alright, see you inside,” replied Raspberry, who then seemed to remember something. “Hey, Twilight, can I ask a favor of you?”

“Uh, yeah, sure,” answered the alicon. “What do you need?”

“Well, it’s sort of a personal matter…”

Whatever Razz and Twi were discussing, the Apple sisters didn’t hear anything more as they turned to commune with the dead.

“Well, Ah guess there really isn’t much to say, given Razz said most of it,” chuckled AJ. “But yeah…we ain’t werewolves no more, for real this time, and there aren’t any more so it’s almost like they never stopped bein’ more than legends in the first place.”

“But just because we’re A-OK don’t mean we won’t ever stop thinkin’ about ya!” added Apple Bloom. “We still miss you, ma and pa, but we know you’re lookin’ out for us from wherever you are!”

As if given an invisible que, both Applejack and Apple Bloom instinctively looked up. There, streaking across the sky, were a pair of eternally mated shooting stars. AJ took her sister’s side, draping a foreleg over her body, as the sisters watched their parents fly towards the horizon and through the cerulean night.


Meanwhile, in Canterlot…

“Honestly, Vinyl, you can’t be serious!” complained Octavia. This had been an extremely difficult resturaunt to get reservations to and while Vinyl Scratch, a.k.a. ‘DJ P0N-3” was capable of acting like a normal pony in this setting, she tended to be quite eccentric given an interest in something.

“I’m serious, Octy! I got a guy in the 501st, old childhood friend of mine, he told me there were honest-to-Celestia werewolves threatening Ponyville! He even killed one or two of them, though I will admit I don’t believe him on his claim that they were all identical clones.”

“Right. And the fact something similar happened in that strange forest – why anypony lives near it still confuses me – last year that the Minotaurs were somehow involved with also had something to do with werewolves? Didn’t that one individual, ‘Iron Will’ I think his name was, claim to have killed the last one and thus make the princess as his bride?”

“Yeah, totally! I know everypony says it was all a cover up for some seriously bad stuff that went down and our nations only used his wedding with the excuse of werewolves to hide why they suddenly have stronger ties, but think about it! What if it actually was werewolves involved there, too?!”

“Oh, please.” Drawled the gray pony with the black mane, “werewolves… a silly idea, no doubt about it.” Suddenly, the pony behind her broke into hysterics. Annoyed, Octavia turned around to confront the offender. “Sir, do you mind?”

“Ah, yes, sorry!” apologized the finely dressed brown unicorn, then taking the chance to sip at his coffee…which looked suspiciously more like chocolate milk than anything. Octavia couldn’t be sure, but for a second she thought his eyes, which appeared to normally be regular, brown colored eyes, had flashed in color where they were yellow with red irises. “I just figured out an old joke that a friend once told me long ago, unfortunately it’s an inside joke so you wouldn’t understand.”

“Well, please, some ponies are trying to have a conversation with ponies at the table they’re sitting at.” She then turned back to Vinyl, scowling. “But honestly, ponies who turn into wolves…what rubbish!”

Author's Note:

Believe it or not, this last chapter was written under a full moon (3/13/14), for real. It's been slightly over a year by the time anybody other than me reads this with regards to when A Hairy Problem was first put up, so it felt appropriate that I end Applejack's lycanthropy, along with all the other ponies being turned back to normal, on their special lunar phase.

Comments ( 106 )

That was awesome. One of my favorite stories here, finally done! It's a little sad to see it go, but I have a feeling that it isn't entirely over yet.

After all, Discord was certainly interested in that conversation, wasn't he? :trixieshiftright:

And so another chapter closes, and this one is hopefully the last time that Sable Loam or Fair Vista will torment the Apple Family.

But in life, as in many things, the ending can never truly be written.

I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel where they try and take the beneficial parts of the werewolf condition and create another pony race like the bat ponies.

A great story all the way through. Very glad to have been following it from the beginning.

It was Discords fault, right?:trixieshiftleft:

And then discord curses Octavia, cuz CHAOS:pinkiecrazy:

“Okay, that word’s been tossed around far too much at this point, okay?” interrupted Babs. “You’re all ponies again, can you just refer to yourselves and each other as ponies instead of as small female dogs?”

u put in my reference. Yay:pinkiehappy: also Razz is back on her hooves:pinkiegasp:yay:pinkiehappy:

So next chapter please:ajsmug: please?:fluttershysad: pretty please?:fluttercry: p-pretty please with a cherry on top!!!?:raritydespair::raritycry:
I expect greatness good sir:raritywink::scootangel:

:rainbowkiss::rainbowlaugh::rainbowwild::rainbowdetermined2:

:twilightoops:Also that last character. Was that wat's his face. :facehoof:Silver something. Sable Loam's right hand guy from the first one?:twilightblush:

4266116

The 'bed-and-breakfast' term is used here to describe the scale of the operation. The Traveler's Retreat is as small as they get; in this case it's literally nothing more than a single family home that's been built on to include a good number of spare rooms and an enlarged dining area.

4274941

She says she wants to harm Apple Bloom, which isn't necessarily the same thing as saying she wants Apple Bloom dead.

Ooh, I loved this story. Definitely worth my evening. Things did wind down rather quickly, though, here at the end - I mean, the curing even happened entirely offscreen.

“Oh, great, I totally forgot how much time I’ve got left,” realized Lightning, her ears drooping. “Though if I remember enough about how long it’s been since AJ and I fought…I’ll no longer be a pony by the end of the month.”

Hmm. I feel like this plot point really lost a lot of oomph because we never actually saw Lightning regress or fade; I was watching for that, and I was rather disappointed when it never actually turned up. Also, I thought the process took longer? Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought you said it took years in a previous part of the story.

The other thing that stands out to me - well, I wish that Raspberry wasn't so 'self-aware' and afraid of being a Sue. Just let her ride on her own merits. :P No need to push at the fourth wall.

4276616

Glad you enjoyed it!:pinkiehappy:

The curing is intentionally left vague as a way to exploit any possible lingering effects for later stories in this timeline.

With LD's "regression", that actually ended up being more of an aborted thing at the last minute and downgraded to essentially being foreshadowing of how magic can trigger a relapse of Lycanthropy, the importance of this of course being AJ reliving her worst nightmares later when Razz goes out of control. Originally, the plan had been for LD to temporarily go feral and be the one who bites Sandalwood, but I opted to have that come about from a generic Vista clone going after Rarity and Sandalwood (whose relationship to Rarity is an intentional reversal of their counterparts over in All-American Girl) taking the hit instead. I'd need to check my master notes doc to confirm, but under normal circumstances the curse would take about a few months to fully alter a pony and turn them into a full feral wolf, I.E. Applejack's father. Given how the curse is carried by blood, the manner of transmission would effect how fast the victim changes, as LD's thinner blood (natural to all pegasus ponies) combined with Applejack's natural mutagen immunity to the curse, meant that whatever amount she got from their tussle in the last story was only enough to slowly ruin her life over the course of a year. It got fast fowarded upon Twilight trying to fix it and only triggering the curse to go faster. Additionally, given how fast Apple Bloom changed, which was about only a month, the fillies were in even greater danger as only Apple Bloom and MAYBE Babs were fully immune, the same was not true of Scoot, SB, Silver, or Diamond.

And for Raspberry? Admittedly, she was partially envisioned as being a parody of the usual red/black super-perfect alicorn OC sterotype, given her unique powerset and in optimal conditions overpower all four alicorns at a whim, and partially created to fill a role that was left in the wake of changing the first ideas that inspired the story (you can probably guess what that was if you pay close attention in the right places). But she has a right to be scared of her powers, as demonstrated more than once there is never anything good that comes from her losing control, and her parent issues certainly haven't been fixed either. These issues will be covered in subsequent Berylverse stories.

4350358
Actually, I took Pear Blossom from this comic
derpicdn.net/img/2012/6/22/15137/tall.JPG
I really liked her design and I felt kinda bad about how she's been forgotten by the fandom more or less after basically being the butt-end of Godfather/Mafia jokes, so she was given a place in my Ponyville setting.

4355550 No, "ado" is a word, and that phrase is its proper usage.

4502266

Except Vista effectively faked her death the day she willingly joined Sable as a werewolf, which was over 200 years ago. As far as anypony knew, she had been dead for centuries, the only evidence that ever surfaced to the contrary since then being the picture of her Sable had on his body at the end of the previous story.

4502552 oh yeah, forgot about her faked death since we know the true story behind it :twilightblush:

UGHM I finished this story at last :yay:

4549201 I kinda started it already :twilightblush:. Good thing it wasn't imperative to read this before Sunny June so far :pinkiehappy:. In fact, I started reading this ASAP because either you or Shinsakura wrote that Sunny June book 2 does need knowledge of this story

4655438

Yeah, that scene was written well in advance of that episode even having its synopsis released.

4660935

Listen to the lyrics at 1:03.

4666324

- Cardlight Sparkle just generally being accepted and not openly questioned is really a joke about how the Applejack Truck toy came with a cardboard Twilight Sparkle in its truck bed for no discernible reason.

- Keep reading:trollestia:

- That was more of a 4th wall breakage moment and no, it's not a left over plot thread as it wasn't one to begin with. It was a joke sequence of just being another thing Pinkie does that defies even the show's broken physics model.

4671331

I know it's completely unrelated to the actual plot, but given that Scoots can't fly in the show, it's a subject I would think kept getting brought up once in a while.

Don! Awesome! Whens the next part?

4699828
SWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT! :heart:

i uhh... i never knew he made a second one of these.... a sequel...
THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME LESS BORED

:rainbowhuh:
I can't remember if the Cardlight Sparkle is ever really explained.

4730614

That's actually sort of the joke. Cardlight Sparkle is the Twilight cut-out that was included with the Apple Truck way back at the beginning of the G4 toy line, and so the fandom latched onto it purely because it didn't make any sense why Applejack would have a cut-out of Twilight Sparkle in the back of her truck.

4730630

That explains it, I didn't get into the show until the Season 3 finale (as in I marathon-ed the show that week)

4747331
Generally, Phoenixes are treated as being highly emotive creatures, sustaining themselves as much on the bond they form with their chosen masters as much as conventional food. Given the nature of how Heliodor was taken from Razz and his worry about her, plus the fact Blueblood saw him as something to be permanently caged and displayed instead of a living, sapient bird of prey that needs to be let out into the open, his health deteriorated extremely fast to the point he simply didn't have the strength to hold on. Given the dramatic nature of phoenixes, it's safe to say they're also probably unstable in some magical way, hence why when Heliodor crumbled to dust it was a given he couldn't simply self-resurrect despite that being the exact thing phoenixes are known for because he simply was too young, but when Philomena gave some assistance he was able to pull himself back together just fine.

4760931 Yeah, noticed my mistake a day later, but didn't bothered to correct myself :twilightblush:

Oh, Discord, you sly devil! Spying on Tavi and Vinyl!

Overall, these stories were a great read. I'm not normally one for werewolves thanks to the Twilight saga (and definitely not vampires, for that matter), but you presented a gripping tale of legends come to life, a struggle to remove a dark curse brought by one stallion's evil ambitions, with a nice side of your true friends sticking by your side no matter what happens, or what you're afraid might happen. And I'm glad Razz gets some kind of happy ending. :twilightsmile:

And I'm glad Razz gets some kind of happy ending. -TurboBlaze

you know... we never did get an extra chapter or something where she went back to her home and... sorted out her life. oh well. this was incredible

4802616
Oh, don't worry. I'm not done with Razz yet:trollestia:

4802799
oh? so are you gonna make another sequel to this? or are you gonna make a story based off of this one based all around razz?

4823614
She's in Seven Days in Sunny June; Book 2, though I strongly recommend reading book 1 first for obvious reasons.

So wait, in a magical world where fire-breathing dragons, black sorcerer tyrants, chimeras, manticores, and hydras, oh my, and deranged world-destroying deities are real and present dangers, the Official Royal Response to a werewolf problem is to cover it up?

:facehoof:

So the next time it happens, the populace will be that much more ignorant and vulnerable. Because of course there's no way this could happen again, right?

All the known werewolves are dead or cured. There's no one left to protect with this kind of secrecy. And any unknown werewolves are being denied knowledge of the cure, and made that much more of a threat.

And what are we told is the logic behind the decision? "We don't want anypony to panic."

Nightmare Moon was real. Sombra was real. Discord is real. On that scale, werewolves don't even register.

...so, yeah, I'm calling horseapples on this one.

4852731
Well, in truth, Werewolves are like an extension of both Sombra and Nightmare Moon. It's mentioned plenty of times that the first werewolves were pretty much Sombra's gestapo before the CE vanished, then from there they allied with the New Lunar Republic and mostly destroyed when that side lost. The only real werewolf threat left alive was Sable Loam, then later Fair Vista, but even in death the latter still caused her own fair share of trouble.

Plus, it's not so much the scale of the threat as it is the potential ramifications for certain pony reputations. The Apple Family is the biggest producer of crop foods in the entire area, what will people think if their main cash crop suppliers are made up partially of werewolves? Especially when one of them is Applejack, one of the most important mares in the country for she holds the Element of Honesty? Ponies freaked the hell out whenever Zecora came to town simply because they didn't know what she was, how would they react to knowing that there are ponies in the town that were in fact carnivorous, canine-like shapeshifters that could strike in the middle of town? With figures like Sombra, NMM, and Discord, they're single entities who hit hard and with a ton of theatrics. With werewolves, however, they're opportunistic hunters who know how to lie in wait, a town overcome with mass-hysteria is precisely what would give werewolves openings to attack. After all, that's pretty much exactly what happened when Chrysalis took out Celestia and all hell broke lose at the end of S2

4853233

At least one carrier of the disease-like curse was running around for centuries. Sable Loam might have been the last werewolf (besides those later cured), but there's no way for anyone else to know that. Not even him, if he's been occasionally careless.

Edit: Unless Faust mentioned something, but even she's apparently not totally reliable, since she claimed Applejack was cured after Sable Loam died.

I'm really not seeing how the reputation bit works, either. "These ponies were afflicted with a curse, but we found a cure and they're better now." Ta-da! See how easy that was? Or better yet, "Certain ponies that we will not specifically name were afflicted with this curse, but we found a cure and they're better now. This is how the curse works, these are the signs to watch for, if you spot any suspicious behavior please contact the guard immediately."

Instead we get "Nothing to see here, move along."

By the time foals start being kidnapped they all have a right to know what's going on.

4853389
I don't know what you want me to tell you, frankly. Trying to keep ponies oblivious to the obvious danger is something the show actually has done (Crystal Empire Pts 1 & 2) and they DID also let a major bad guy run around loose for two years without even telling Twilight, since allegedly Tierek broke out of prison back in the S2 episode "It's About Time" when the one security measure - Cerberus - somehow ended up in Ponyville.

4854667

Oh, I just realized. I'm becoming one of those fans, aren't I?

Or maybe I always was, and am only just now noticing.

Regardless, I'll try to stop nitpicking so much. :twilightsmile:

4855856
Nah, it's cool. I do understand where you were coming from, but since in a way the threat of werewolves is comparable to that of Changelings (on face value), I thought it would be more interesting for the plot to require that ex-lycanthropes have that status kept secret as being open with it...wouldn't provide as much potential dramatic tension.

Plus, regarding the MST3K mantra about how they never explain how Joel/Mike lives and breathes on the SoL; "if you wonder how (name) eats and breathes, and other science facts / it's just a TV show so you should really just relax," it probably should apply here given this is a story about technicolor horses who may or may not be related to ancient tyrannical beings of shadow or potentially turn into wolves. Especially since it was the MST3K episode "Werewolf" that actually inspired the original "A Hairy Problem" from a quick gag in the first segment involving apples.

4855962
I do not think I've seen that MST3K episode. Thanks for the recommendation, and keep circulating the tapes. :derpytongue2:

...well, ok, video files now-a-days, but the statement still stands.

4969648
Actually, both the Gundam AGE-2 Normal and the Delta Gundam Kai have more to do with Zeta Gundam (the former being basically an alternate universe version of Zeta itself, the latter being the final evolution of the Delta Gundam design, which in of itself is the transforming, perfected version of the Hyaku Shiki a.k.a. Char Aznable's suit from Zeta Gundam). I don't own any wing series Gunpla:twilightblush:

4976475
Wow. Um...given Ascot is an elderly pegasus, that's kinda creepy...:rainbowhuh:

4978748
Hint: it's a two step process, with the first step being fairly easy if you can see it.

4980267

...so yes, due to the 501st, this is now a Werewolf vs. Vampire story. You have much to answer for. :derpytongue2:

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!:twilightangry2:

4980810
Someone else already slipped me the cypher. ...decoding the post-cypher results by hand, one word at a time, that gave me a headache. :pinkiesick:

4980810
:fluttershbad: ...I thought the inclusion of the "Derpy Tongue" was a good enough indication that I was joking! I didn't think it was something worth doing a Rage Shift over.

...actually, have we seen Twi do a Rage Shift since Season 1? :rainbowhuh:

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