• Published 12th Sep 2013
  • 1,279 Views, 22 Comments

Canterlot Wondercolts - risingdusk

Applejack juggles school, work, and family problems, while also helping her friends' relationship problems and falling in love without realising it.

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Chapter 9

Steam and mist from the showers clouded the girls locker rooms. A small lake formed on the floors, seeping into the tiles and threatening to trip any unsuspecting person, though Applejack was too well practiced in keeping a sure footing. It did however manage to get some of the freshman, much to Rainbow Dash's and Applejack's amusement.
"Hey, remember when I fell that one time and sprained my ankle?" Rainbow Dash joked, elbowing Applejack in the side. Both just finished getting dressed and sat next to each other on the bench, putting their shoes on. "Man, was Coach so mad."
"Happened right 'fore a track meet, if I recall correctly," Applejack laughed, tying the laces to her boots. "Almost placed last, thanks to your slip up. No pun intended."
"Awh man, well at least you were able to keep us in the running since you carried us to second place." Now the two of them gathered their things from the lockers and slung their packs over their shoulders in very similar fashions. Practice had been a hard one, but everybody left it feeling confident in their abilities and almost visualising the championship trophy already.
"Shucks, Dash, you given me too much credit," Applejack replied humbly, shrugging her shoulders. "It was a team effort after all."
"Oh, come on, you're the second best runner in our team. You and I? We scream 'awesome' just entering the field. This time we're definitely going to get the championship, you just watch."
"Dunno if I'm your second best anymore," Applejack corrected, with a glance at one of the rookies. "That girl, Lightning Dust? I reckon she almost as fast you."
"Pshh, nobody is as fast as I am, AJ, please. I am the fastest runner in all of Ponyville. Hell, I bet I'm the fastest in all of Equestria. If the Wonderbolts don't pick me out, they don't know what they're missing!"
"Couldn't agree more, pal," Applejack laughed, leading the way out of the locker room. The sun was beginning to set, a testimony to the long practice they just endured. It had been this way for a little more than a month as Coach Spitfire and her crew prepared the team for the season, even though the first track meet was still weeks away.
Sunset Shimmer had been right. The school loved talking about Rainbow Dash. Anytime she saw her friend, someone had a snarky comment to deliver, which irritated Applejack. Back in middle school, this would have resulted in an immediate fight, since Rainbow Dash was known to take action into her own hands, but oddly enough this time around Rainbow Dash was quiet. Not that she was shy and meek, but she walked down the halls with her chin up in a certain defiance that Applejack admired. This time around Rainbow Dash was fighting in a silent protest, and when the school realised they weren't going to get anything out of her, she no longer became a hot topic. There was still the occasional slur in their direction, but to Applejack's relief, it was nowhere near as bad as it was before.
"So heard anything from the egghead?" Rainbow Dash asked, breaking her thoughts.
"Nah, reckon she's busy studying. I see her at lunch though, 'cause we share a luch together. Stressed 'bout school as usual."
"Well that solves that mystery. We were wondering if you two had lunch together, or if you got unlucky with the lonely lunch."
"Y'all tellin' me that y'all all share lunch?"
A grin formed on Rainbow Dash's face. "Yup! Flash, Pinkie, Rarity, Flutters and myself. You and Twilight are the only ones who don't share with us and we were wondering if you two got split up or shared it together. Guess Flash owes me A La Carte next lunch. Awh yeah."
"I hope you stopped gambling 'gainst Pinkie," Applejack laughed.
"Are you kidding me? She's got that freaky Pinkie Sense going on, I learned my lesson already."
There was a time where Rainbow Dash was determined that Pinkie Pie couldn't possibly be always right. The end result had Rainbow Dash doing all kinds of embarassing acts at different public areas, or owing Pinkie Pie a lot of money which Rainbow Dash had only recently managed to pay off. Still it was an amusing time, particularly when Rainbow Dash had to perform one of Pinkie Pie's compositions in the middle of the cafeteria.
"Why you ask about Twi?" Applejack asked suddenly.
"Well, we haven't heard from her in a while. Apparently she's barely even paid attention to Flash again, and I can tell he's getting irritated. Won't be much longer before there's a big blow up, and with the Fall Formal, I don't know if that's a good idea."
"She prolly done got herself worked up again," Applejack replied shaking her head, though she was wary about the implications. It was too early in the year to start their bickering, and Applejack didn't want to have Twilight fall apart before they even began midterms. "I'll talk to her. She'll listen to me."
"You'll probably find her at the library. I swear she might as well just live there at this point. She's taken egghead to a whole new level."
"Well, guess I'm headed that way then," Applejack replied, laughing at the partial truth in Rainbow Dash's statement. Once Twilight began her studies, she took them very seriously. She even had a favourite study room that no one entered since she all but claimed it. "Don't really need to take the truck. Save a little gas and leave it here. Not like I mind walking."
"You know, I'm headed that way myself. Gonna meet up with Flutters at Sugarcube Corner so I can show her my awesome new trick." Applejack looked past Rainbow Dash's shoulder and realised that she had her skateboard. How Applejack failed to notice this before, she didn't know. "Maybe when you finish talking with Twilight you can convince her to join up with us."
"Maybe," Applejack said with a shrug. "I also gotta run to the pharmacy and pick up Granny's meds, so I prolly ain't gonna join y'all."
"Awh man, that's a bummer. So I guess I can't show you my trick then. I promise you it's super cool. How is Granny doing, by the way?"
"Don't wanna talk 'bout it," Applejack answered curtly.
Rainbow Dash threw a look in her direction which Applejack staunchly ignored. "That bad?"
Clenching her jaw and hissing through gritted teeth, Applejack repeated, "I said I don't wanna talk 'bout it."
"Alright, alright, it's cool, sorry. Won't mention it again." The parking lot came into view and Rainbow Dash's flashy car looked odd next to Applejack's beat up truck. "Hey, wanna lift? I know you said that you don't mind the walk, but I don't mind giving you a ride, you know. Like I said, we're headed the same way."
"Nah, I'm good, Dash. Y'all go on ahead."
"It'll save you some time."
"You calling me slow?"
"Come on, AJ, quit being stubborn," Rainbow Dash scolded, rolling her eyes. "I may not be as touchy feely as Flutters, but even I can see the worry all over your face. Lemme give you a ride. Or at least give you gas money."
"Dash, you ain't even got money for yourself," Applejack shot back, narrowing her eyes at her friend. "You ain't got a job. Speaking of, ain't you living with Shy? How y'all keeping up with the rent?"
"Are you saying I'm not pulling my weight?" The indignant look that Rainbow Dash threw at her could have left a normal person shamed, but Applejack was too concerned to be affected. "I wouldn't make Flutters do all the work, come on, AJ. I've got money, don't worry."
"How're you getting it?"
Rainbow Dash shrugged, and kicked a stone. The cars were getting closer, and Applejack didn't miss how Rainbow Dash was trying to lead her closer to them. "Well, every weekend there's a race."
At the mention of "race," Applejack stiffened. "What kind of race?"
"Street racing."
This time Applejack completely stopped, and glared at Rainbow Dash. "Are y'all insane? Dash, what if you get caught? You'll get kicked off the team! Then say bye bye to your scholarship. And all them dreams can just go in a nice lil package with that scholarship that you might as well send off to Saddle Arabia 'cause ain't no one gonna let you be an athlete with a criminal background."
"That's not true," Rainbow Dash shot back. "Plenty of athletes have had backgrounds but they're too awesome that they just get pardoned. Besides, I only race in the ones I won't get caught and that I'll win for sure."
"And how you supposing you know?"
At the mention of Pinkie Pie, Applejack became a little less guarded, though she still continued to worry. Though it was true that their friend had an incredible, almost unnatural ability to predict events, she still couldn't help but worry. "And what if Pinkie ain't right?"
"Come on, AJ, even you said that Pinkie is the closest thing to psychic we have. Her freaky ability has helped me get money since our Sophomore year!"
"You telling me y'all have been doing this for two years?" Applejack couldn't believe what she heard and gave her a face mixed between disapproval and disbelief.
Rainbow Dash bit hard on her bottom lip, but it still didn't stop the smile from growing all across her face. Doubling over, Rainbow Dash clutched her stomach with one hand and tried miserably to hold back her laughter with the other hand.
"I don't see what's so funny about this," Applejack scolded, glaring at her friend.
Now Rainbow Dash did nothing to hold back the laughter and nearly fell on to the pavement as she expressed her merriment. Wiping tears from her eyes, she fought hard to stop the laughter long enough to say, "You should see your face!"
"Why in tarnation are you going on like that, Dash? This is serious!"
"I can't believe you fell for that, AJ!" A flash of irritation crawled up Applejack as she realised that Rainbow Dash wasn't serious. "Awh man, out of everybody, you fell for it! This is priceless! Wait until I tell Pinkie!"
"Damnit Dash, I reserve the right to kick your ass," Applejack responded, but even as she said it, she smiled. "Next time one of them boys give you trouble, I'm gonna let them, think I won't."
"So worth it ."
The two of them finally made it to their cars, and Rainbow Dash stopped at hers, still chuckling. Applejack rolled her eyes and made as if to keep going, but Rainbow Dash said, "Come on, AJ. If you don't get in the car, I'll hit you."
"You won't."
"Yeah I will."
"You won't, 'cause you don't like losing, and you hurt me you'll be hard pressed to find another runner to replace me."
Stopping to think about it for a few seconds, Rainbow Dash grinned and said, "I'll have Lightning Dust replace you. You said she's fast."
With a snort, Applejack raised an eyebrow at Rainbow Dash. "You gonna do me dirty?"
"Just get in the car already and we won't have to find out."
"Well I reckon I will since I don't fancy being hurt." Applejack finally doubled back and entered the car. As she did, her phone fell out of her pocket and she stooped to pick it up, noticing that there were two new messages. After settling in the car and putting on her seat belt, she checked them; one of them came from Big Mac, saying he already visited the pharmacy so she didn't need to, and the other from Flash Sentry asking for the homework assignment.
"You remember what the homework assignment was?" Applejack asked just as Rainbow Dash pulled out of the parking lot. "I can't remember for the life of me."
"I dunno, AJ," Rainbow Dash answered with a shrug. "I don't pay attention to that boring stuff. Why?"
"You should. Don't you wanna stay on the team?" Applejack scolded, though she felt guilt creeping on her. Her own grades were slipping due to her lack of turning in homework assignment, and if she let anybody know, she wouldn't hear the end of it.
"What, you gonna lecture me like Twilight now?"
"Nope," Applejack responded, shrugging as well. "Just saying."
"Well, you don't have to. Twilight helps me study for the tests like she usually does, and I pay for some kid to do my homework so I don't fail and I don't get kicked off the team. Got it covered."
Though she wasn't entirely sure if she agreed with the methods, she focused on something else that Rainbow Dash said. "So, you never did answer my question. How do you get the money to help Fluttershy?"
"My grandpa."
Her grandfather was a wealthy business owner in Cloudsdale and the reason Rainbow Dash had the car she did, amongst other things. Every so often he would come to visit Ponyville, especially during the winter, but because he didn't exactly agree with her parents, he always moved back to Cloudsdale.
"So he ain't unhappy about..."
"No, no, he's totally cool with it," Rainbow Dash answered waving a hand in her direction. "Which is better than what a lot of people say over here. But small town, big problems, huh? My grandpa is literally the best though. He even offered to take me in at his house when he heard what my parents did."
"Why didn't you, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I didn't want to quit the team."
"But Dash you about quit school!"
"I know," Rainbow Dash answered exasperated. "But I didn't want to choose between going to school or living with my grandpa in Cloudsdale. So I tried to make it on my own, but you and Flutters changed my mind. And I'm glad. My grandpa helps me pay the rent now, so Flutters doesn't have to keep both jobs anymore, and he said that even if I don't get a scholarship, which I will because I'm too awesome not to get a scholarship, he'll pay for my schooling."
"Well that's great to hear, Dash. Looks like things really are looking up for you."
"Yeah. That's why I'm not too worried about what the kids at school have to say. They're all losers, and they'll be cheering my name in the future and wishing they hadn't messed with me before."
"Have to say, you sure came a long way since middle school."
"Yeah, for starters, I'm more awesome. I'm cooler than all of them and they just haven't realised it yet, so I'm not going to let them get to me."
"That's the spirit, Dash," Applejack said with a grin, punching her friend lightly on the shoulder. Downtown Ponyville was coming into sight, and pretty soon they would be at the library. "You sure Twi's gonna be here?"
"Like I said, she basically lives here," Rainbow Dash answered, rolling her eyes. "You could try texting her though."
"Ain't got that many minutes left."
"Seriously? Okay, hang on." Rainbow Dash pulled out her phone and unlocked the screen, going to the messages section. In that instant, Applejack snatched the phone out of her hand. "Hey, what gives?"
"You know how I feel about texting and driving, Dash!"
"Fine, then you send her the message."
"If it means I won't be the next roadkill, then I will."
"You've been hanging around Rarity too long. You're getting as dramatic as she is."
"Am not."
"Are too."
"Am not, so there!"
"Are too so there yourself!"
"Just focus on the road, dang nabbit," Applejack argued while trying to figure out Rainbow Dash's phone. It was one of the newer models, a smart phone as they were called, and navigating around it was becoming quite a challenge for her. Still, she finally found where she needed to go, and grinned that Rainbow Dash had Twilight listed as "Egghead."
By the time that Applejack sent the message, Rainbow Dash announced, "We're here!"
"Well shoot, I just sent the darn thing."
"Now my fault you're slow," Rainbow Dash said with a smirk.
"Second time you called me slow today," Applejack warned, though she had a grin on as well. "Remember, I still reserve the right to kick your ass."
"Well kick it hard then," Rainbow Dash shot back, chuckling. "I might like it, you know."
"You dirty dog." Opening the door, Applejack started to get out of the car. "Well, Big Mac said that he already went to the pharmacy so maybe I will stop by after, since tomorrow's the weekend."
"Sounds like a plan. Good luck talking to Twilight, pal."
"She ain't that difficult."
"You kidding me? She's almost as stubborn as you are! Anyways, I shouldn't keep Flutters waiting. Catch you later, AJ."
"See ya, Dash," she said, then shut the door and headed in the direction of the library.

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