• Published 20th Aug 2013
  • 5,812 Views, 581 Comments

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.4: Two-Eyed, One-Bowed, Farming Yellow Apple Werewolf

Rise of the Furball Chapter 4: “Two-Eyed, One-Bowed, Farming Yellow Apple Werewolf”

As Cheerilee approached the tent where the CMC’s were supposed to have been sleeping, she could have sworn she’d heard a zipper being hurriedly closed up and some grunting, as if one of them was trying to lift something heavy.

“Girls, is everything alright in there?” she asked. Almost immediately the front door was partially unzipped and two heads popped out, one light gray and the other orange.

“Shhh! Mrs. Cheerilee, Apple Bloom’s asleep!” scolded Scootaloo in a half-whisper.

“Yeah, she conked out right when we got in the tent, she’s really tired and I’d hate to wake her up!” added Sweetie.

“Is she now?” asked the teacher suspiciously, inching closer. “Mind if I take a look inside?”

“Uh, sure, I guess?” replied Scoot, noticeably not very confident in her tone. After some force, though, Sweetie and Scootaloo got their heads out of the small zipper hole to allow their teacher to look inside. As Cheerilee did so, she saw a giant lump inside a heart-decorated sleeping bag, the occupant easily identifiable by the giant bow marking where its head was. Apparently, the CMC’s were telling the truth, much to Cheerilee’s surprise after those earlier noises.

“Is something wrong?” asked Sweetie.

“Uh..no, no, just making sure you three were okay. It’s just that we heard some screaming coming from over here and since you three were the only ponies in this area…”

The two awake Crusaders looked at each other nervously, sweat starting to appear out of trepidation. There was no possible way they could explain Apple Bloom’s pained screaming, but if Cheerilee got one look at the filly’s new form it was all over, although what would happen was beyond what the two fillies knew. It would take a miracle to get out of this one.


As if their need for a miracle had been silently heard by the powers above, a loud cry that sounded strangely similar to Apple Bloom echoed from the sky. Then, as Cheerilee pulled her head out to see, the source was none other than the Screaming Mynah that was soaring overhead. Everypony in camp (save for Apple Bloom) soon stood in the open to see the majestic bird. It’s deep, near-black feathers sparkled with a natural shine that complimented the yellow crest on its head. It was not clear what had awoken the bird, but after a few minutes of it circling the camp it made a line southward and landed somewhere in the trees.

That’s the ‘Screaming Mynah’?” asked a stunned orange dodo.

“Oh, yes! I wasn’t expecting to see one at night, they’re normally daytime birds. However, this is great, since now we know where to go tomorrow to see it up close!” said Cheerilee, half-answering Scootaloo and rather disturbingly half-squeeing in delight.

“So…um…can we go to bed now?” asked a not-so-impressed Sweetie. She knew Rarity had made some hat that looked the exact same as the Screaming Mynah (having been the figure the hat had been fitted on during sewing) so actually seeing the bird wasn’t as amazing.

“Ah, yes, sorry about disturbing you girls, back to bed you go!” replied the schoolteacher in a daze as she walked off to go talk to the other adults. After Cheerilee had left, it was silent in the CMC tent barring the rather unsettling breaths Apple Bloom was making. It was extremely subtle, but each time she inhaled and exhaled, it sounded more like Winona was in the sleeping bag as opposed to the youngest Apple.

“She’s gone, Apple Bloom,” whispered Scootaloo, not willing to elevate to normal talking voice just yet. “You feelin’ okay?”

“N-no,” the shaken filly whimpered, “but now Ah understand what Applejack was talkin’ about, how she wouldn’t want this to be forced upon anypony else.”

The mention of Applejack surprised the unchanged fillies in the tent.

“Wait, what was Applejack talking about in relation to, um…whatever happened to you?” asked Sweetie.

Apple Bloom opened her mouth, but then closed it and decided it would be better to be standing up for what she was going to say. As she got out of the bag, she couldn’t help but notice the backstep her two friends made as they got a good look at her new form. While still very equine like, the differences could not be denied. Her coat was longer and her mane, while still somewhat in its recognizable style, looked messier than Scootaloo did with bedhead with the middle of her signature bow all but swallowed up in the mess of mane. Her ears were straighter and twitched around, unlike normal pony ears. The front of her face was now noticeably different with a longer, more canine muzzle that certainly had sharper teeth meant for eating the kind of things ponies were normally squeamish about, complemented with her golden eyes that actually didn’t appear to have changed beyond them having a slight glow that may or may not have been a trick of the low light. Most telling, though, was her hooves having shifted into well-defined paws, the pointy ends of claws sticking out at the tips and on the bottom were leathery pads.

“Ah don’t know how, but…Ah’m…Ah’m a werewolf…” the traumatized Apple Bloom said, choking on the last word and about to break down into tears again.

“What?! That’s impossible! You’re just trying to pull a fast one on us, aren’t you?” accused Scootaloo, rolling her eyes at what had to be her friend’s attempt at an extreme prank.

Sweetie Belle was more considerate, taking one of Apple Bloom’s paws into her own hoof and examining it up close. “Scootaloo, I don’t think this is a joke,” the unicorn chided.

Scoot remained unconvinced. “I’m sorry, but it will take more than just something you could probably accomplish with a magic potion to convince me otherwise.”

Sweetie then took the paw in her hoof and used its claws to rake across her own sleeping bag. Sharp tips ripped through the top layer, leaving thin scars that bled cotton in the middle of the pony of pop.

“Okay, I’m convinced. I still want to know how, though. I thought werewolves were just mythical monsters made up to scare fillies at night?”

Apple Bloom shook her head. “No, they existed, once. It’s a long story, one Ah’d rather not go into now, but as far as Ah know the only ones who were left are either dead or cured.”

“Wait, you can be cured of being a werewolf? How does that work? And how do you already know so much about werewolves even though you’re saying you aren’t supposed to be one?”

“Yeah, that does seem kind of surprising, how do we know you haven’t been hiding this from us the whole time?” squeaked Sweetie.

With both her friends looking suspiciously at her, AB had no choice. “sigh…Okay, Ah can explain, but y’all have to promise me that under no circumstances are y’all to tell anypony else about what Ah am, or what Ah’m about to tell you.”

Sweetie and Scoot nodded.

“Pinkie Promise.”

They Pinkie Promised.

With another sigh, Apple Bloom began to retell her elder sister’s hairy problem. “You guys remember when we built the car and ended up sendin' it into the Everfree?”

“Yeah, the one you got in so much trouble for because we painted it red?” recalled Scootaloo, “Didn’t Applejack end up getting the rest of the Elements to go in there and…wait, are you saying the thing that nearly tore out your sister’s throat was a werewolf?!”

“Yep.” Confirmed Apple Bloom, “As far as Ah know, he was supposed to have been the last one, made immortal by that evil unicorn who conquered the Crystal Empire, whatever his name was.”

“Rarity said something about him…was it King Sombrero?” suggested Sweetie.

“Ah dunno, somethin’ like that. Anyway, the point is that mah sister ended up becomin’ a werewolf because of that attack, but it took some time for her to finally tell everypony close to her about it. But Sable Loam, at least that’s what Ah think his name was, was killed and mah sister cured of ‘Lycanthropy’ or whatever Twilight said the name of this curse was.”

“Wait, that’s impossible, Iron Will killed that guy. They even stuffed his body and paraded it around the Minotaur capital at his wedding!” Scootaloo pointed out.

“That’s the official story, in truth Iron Will beat Sable within an inch of his life, but refused to finish the job since the only way to stop bein’ a werewolf is to either die or kill the one that turned you into a werewolf in the first place. It was Princess Celestia’s idea to give Iron Will credit so he could go get married, in return for his silence of the truth. Ah was there with the rest of the girls when it happened, that’s how Ah know Sable Loam is dead. His body isn’t even in Iron Will’s possession, since Ah overheard the Princess sayin' the real body would be moved into storage at the Crystal Castle.”

“Hold on a sec,” spoke a confused Scoot, “If this Sable Loam guy and Applejack were technically the last werewolves alive and your sister was cured of the curse by killing him, then how did you end up becoming one?”

“That’s what ah wanna know. Ah’ve never been bitten by anythin’, especially by no werewolf, except…no, that couldn’t have happened, Ah refuse to believe that could have happened…”

“Could what have happened?” inquired Sweetie.

“Ah…Ah don’t want to talk about that. Ah just know it can’t have happened.” Apple Bloom’s tone was clear it was an extremely personal matter, to which the other crusaders respected and dropped the matter. Several minutes passed in complete silence before Scootaloo spoke up.

“So…what are you gonna do now?”

“Ah guess…Ah guess Ah’m just gonna have to learn to live with this until Ah can figure out how it happened, an’ if Ah can reverse it.”

Sweetie frowned. “Don’t you think you should at least tell somepony? Like Twilight, who has access to pretty much any library in Equestria and could find a cure, or even just Appleja-“

“NO!” barked Apple Bloom, her eyes momentarily glowing brighter, “Ah can’t do that. Twilight’s a princess, now, she has more important matters to handle than just a farm filly like me. And Applejack…after what this curse did to her, did to all of mah family, Ah can’t let them go through it all again.” It was clear there was more to the connection between the Apples and werewolves that she wasn’t saying, but although Sweetie and Scoot wanted to pry for more information, they had enough sense to not dig into the personal secrets of an emotionally distraught werewolf.

“Well, as long as you don’t go and bite us, we’re here for you like always!” declared Scootaloo, raising a hoof. Sweetie did the same, saying “We’re the Cutie Mark Crusaders, after all, we don’t let each other down. Even if one of us sorta turns into a monster.”

Apple Bloom looked at her friends, smiling. “ You girls are the best friends a pony could ask for.” She raised her hoof/paw up and together with her friends made a three-way hoof-bump. Then she noticed the damage she’d indirectly caused to Sweetie’s sleeping bag. “Uh…sorry ‘bout that…”

Sweetie waved it off. “No biggie. I’ll just have Rarity patch it up. Having the best fashionista in town for a big sister does have its perks, after all!”

The rest of the night in the CMC’s tent was spent with whispered voices as Scootaloo and Sweetie bombarded Apple Bloom with questions about her new form. While it was uncomfortable, it did sort of ease the troubles plaguing the newly transformed werewolf’s mind, since unlike Applejack she could be open about this to certain ponies.

Meanwhile, unknown to the rest of the entire camp, a translucent figure watched from the shadows. Her focus had been on one tent in particular, which for a short period of time had been exposed through the back window flap. She’d seen a new werewolf become born, although if the conversation in the tent had been true, she had not been born of a conventional bite. However, the mention of somepony named “Applejack” as having been a werewolf, turned by Sable himself, only to cure herself through killing him, soured the figure’s mood. Such a crime would not go unpunished, especially not when the great Sable Loam had reportedly been stuffed and paraded about like some kind of common game hen - his legacy demanded more respect than that.

But at the very least the painful conversation had yielded something worthwhile. The body of Sable Loam remained, having been sent back to the place where his rebirth had occurred. Sure, the Crystal Empire was several hundred miles away, but without a physical body that was of no concern.

“I’m coming, Sable, please wait for me,” whispered the diluted form before turning and rushing off. Nopony could see her, she was too fast for anypony to catch more than a glimpse of, and even if they did see her all they would see is a ghost, an impossibility. She herself hadn’t really believed in ghosts, but she wasn’t going to complain about a return to the physical world, since now she could operate without worry of constraints such as food or even air.

Through the Whitetail Woods she rushed, like an unending gale of wind. From there it was a quick trip through Ponyville itself, potentially risky but as there was nopony out at this hour save for some sleepy guards it was no problem at all. Next was the Everfree, which should have been easy enough to just bolt through, but without warning the ghost hit an invisible magic barrier that against all reason halted her progress.

“Gah! What the-?!” responded the spirit, recovering from the impact and taking stock of her surroundings. She was near the ruins of Castle Everfree, in one of the little housing subdivisions that once held the lower classes of the capital prior to its destruction at the hooves of Nightmare Moon. Houses lay in various states of ruin, with vines having grown all over and most structures having eroded away after a thousand years of exposure to the natural, uncontrolled forces of the Everfree.

Yet, at the end of the street where the ghost had been running, there remained one house not only standing but in a decent state of repair. The barrier she had run into seemed to be surrounding that cottage, indicating there was some magic force still at work here, although instead of the usual type of magic the barrier seemed to carry a feeling she had the faintest memory of having encountered before - around Sable Loam, no less. But that didn’t make any sense: Sable had never come back here after joining up with King Sombra; he’d even said the best thing to ever happen to this place was it getting destroyed when the Royal Sisters came to blows. But then why was this magic even here?

Without warning, a cloaked figure emerged from the house, any distinguishable features covered by the garment. But the feeling of the magic barrier suddenly grew tenfold, and the ghost suddenly felt something she hadn’t felt in years; fear. With horror, she realized the feeling was from the dark magic that allowed Sable Loam to be immortal. King Sombra’s dark magic. Yet, in her limited time of having returned from the dead, she’d learned the egotistical unicorn had been destroyed by the power of the Crystal Heart. There were no regular users of dark magic other than him alive…or so it had seemed. But this individual…it’s connection with dark magic was strong enough for her to feel, even though her origins as an Earth Pony dictated she shouldn’t have.

The dark figure turned to face the spirit, its eyes glowing an unsettling combination of purple irises with green where white should have been, with some kind of magic smoke flowing from them off to the side. Where a horn presumably would have been, a bubbling mass that in the full moon’s light could be just made out to be purple in color appeared. The ghost needed nothing more to have reason to turn tail and flee. She’d find another way around Castle Everfree, but she was sure as hell not dealing with dark magic, against which she had no offense or defense. And she still had things to do before her time on the physical plane was up.

As the dark figure watched the spirit vanish back into the Everfree, the mass of dark magic around its horn vanished, the eyes returning to a normal state of whites with red irises. The only clue to the figure’s identity being revealed in the process; a lock of mane hair that wouldn’t have been visible had it been for blood-red streaks hovering in mid air, implying the base mane color was jet black. Silently, the figure returned to its abode, leaving the grounds surrounding Castle Everfree once again devoid of any pony life, either living or undead.

The following Sunday afternoon, the weekend field trip was over and all the colts and fillies were heading home for what little weekend they had left before Monday rolled around with yet even more school. But as three certain fillies walked together back to a familiar treehouse, one of them was still dealing with a very hairy problem.

“Hey, at least you’re back to normal, right?” Scootaloo pointed out in an attempt to be helpful.

“Yeah, but Ah don’t know how long this is gonna last. When she was still a werewolf, Applejack always said she’d feel the need to morph into the other form every few nights or so to do ‘wolf things’ in the forest.”

“Like bury bones for no reason and pee on everything?” chirped Sweetie. She just got weirded out looks from her Crusader compatriots. “What? We did learn that wolves have something in their pee that marks their territory during school last month, remember?”

“Ah really do not want to think about that.” Commented Apple Bloom, realizing that being a werewolf might have even more problems than just being less equine physically.

“Well, what are the positive things you could get from being a werewolf?” interjected Scootaloo, trying to change the subject to a more optimistic tone. “I’m sure you’re going to be a lot faster when running, at least.”

“Applejack never really mentioned anythin' good about bein’ a werewolf. Somethin’ about how the benefits were outweighed by the negatives. Ah know one of her biggest problems was her need to eat meat on a daily basis.”

Both of the non-cursed Crusaders were shocked.

“She actually had to do that?!” squeaked Sweetie, “I mean, everypony knew about the mess she made at the Meatery, but having to eat other animals every single day? That’s just-ULP!” Her face having turned green faster than Rainbow Dash accelerating from a dead stop to maximum top speed, Sweetie immediately ran behind a nearby tree and purged the contents of her stomach.

“Oh, great, how are we going to explain this one?” complained Scootaloo. Apple Bloom, who had been watching Sweetie, turned to see what her Pegasus friend was seeing and paled. Coming to meet the CMC were Applejack, Rainbow, and Rarity. They didn’t appear to have seen Sweetie’s sudden vomiting, but they’d learn soon enough. And as they couldn’t tell the elders the truth since it was now connected to Apple Bloom’s hairy little secret, they had to come up with something else and fast.

In light of the situation, Apple Bloom could only say one thing;

“Buck my life.”