• Published 10th Dec 2013
  • 14,898 Views, 1,834 Comments

My Family and Other Equestrians - Blade Star

A HiE fic with a twist. Our protagonist is not alone. How does one approach being in Equestria, when their family is along for the ride?

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Chapter 18 - Home Stretch

Due to the lateness of the hour at which I went to bed, the next morning, I found myself being woken up by Applejack. First the cowpony tried simply prodding me with a hoof. This proved ineffective so she began to shake me a little. When this too proved futile she resorted to the simplest method, and unceremoniously rolled me out of the bed. That got me up.

“Ah! Who!? What!? When!? Where!?” I blurted as I suddenly woke up.

“Breakfast is on the table, Blade Star,” Applejack said. “And if Granny has anythin’ to say about it, it’ll be gone in a minute. So come on, get up; one last day afore the end of Applebuck Season.” Memory quickly returned to me.

“Alright, Applejack. Ah’m up. Just gimme a sec to make myself presentable,” I replied, stretching, my accent once again kicking in. She smiled and headed back downstairs to breakfast.

It quickly dawned on me that I too needed that breakfast, so I quickly began to prepare myself for the day. I hurriedly made my bed up, threw open the curtains, tidied my mane and tore out of the bedroom toward breakfast.

When I finally got downstairs, everypony else was just beginning to finish up. Luckily for me, there were still some bare necessities left, including coffee. I swear, even as a morning pony, I still needed that stuff first thing. The Apples had an unusual way of serving their coffee. Instead of offering cream and sugar, they would set a small beaker of their own apple juice next to the cups of coffee. This had initially thrown me a bit, but according to Granny Smith, the apple juice both gave the coffee a bit more of a kick, and reduced the inevitable crash later on. So, not wanting to break with Apple family tradition, I tried some.

By Discord’s beard! This was a damn good cup of coffee. Granny Smith was right; the apple juice really did give it a stronger kick as well as countering the otherwise bitter flavour of black coffee. Back when we were all at the palace, there had been a running gag between me and Twilight. Whenever the princess asked me how I wanted my coffee I always replied ‘black as the heart of King Sombra’. While this always drew a laugh, Twilight cautioned me not to use such a joke if I ever visited the Crystal Empire.

So, with strong coffee quickly replacing the blood in my veins, we all prepared to head out for the last hurrah of Applebuck Season. One last day and we were done. The majority of the orchards were already bare and devoid of apples, their leaves already starting to turn beautiful colours of red, gold and yellow.

Of course, since we had sort of skipped half the work yesterday due to the party, today we would have to do our normal workload and half again. We were in for a long day. Luckily though, my strength had been improving since I started, we had Big Macintosh, with his impossible strength and if needed, we could always call on our friends to help out.

The trees also were not that tough, and could be cleared usually with just the one hit. There were just so many of them. It was like Zulu but with apple trees. An hour in and we were going strong. We all kept together, but due to the sheer amount of work we had, there wasn’t much time for conversation. We did do our best though to encourage each other.

“Come on y’all, we’re nearly a quarter of the way through. Just keep goin’ and we can all kick back for the week!” Applejack proclaimed.

“Eeyup!” offered Big Mac.

I just kept my head low, nose to the grindstone and all that. Although I could hear a snippet of the Simpsons movie in my head. ‘Must keep going. Must keep going. No I can’t. Yes you can. No I can’t. Yes you can.’ This got tedious after thirty five minutes.

So I just kept going after the apple trees and trying to keep a steady but sufficiently rapid pace. Of course, since we were doing more work today we wouldn’t have as much time for a break. In fact, we kept working right through the midday. When we finally paused for a one hour break at one o’clock, we were all soaked in sweat and tired as anything.

We all quickly headed back to the farmhouse. First things first, hydrate. We each probably drank about four bottles of apple juice each. With that in us and a quick meal of apple pie, we sat down in the living room to rest for as long as we could. My muscles ached, a lot. Back on Earth, I was not a physical person. When a school health questionnaire had asked how often I exercised, the worst option they gave was once a week. So I took my pen and crossed out the ‘a week’ part. It was probably true, I had exercised, once. It was horrible. Now though, I was relatively healthy. While I wasn’t as strong as Applejack, and nowhere near as strong as Big Mac, I could nevertheless hold my own.

Half an hour later, we trudged back out again, still not fully recovered, to go out and do it all again. The worst part was, from my position, we didn’t appear to have put much of a dent into the number of apple trees still carrying apples, though Applejack said we were about halfway through.

An hour and a half later, we were all struggling to even hit the trees, never mind dislodge the apples from them. We were all gasping for air and could barely lift our hind legs, or feel them for that matter.

“Ah think we’re gonna have to throw in the towel y'all,” AJ said. “There’s not much left, but ah just can’t go on. How about you two?” There was a brief puffing sound before Big Mac replied.

“Nnope,” he said feebly. It gave me some small comfort to know that it wasn’t just me who was exhausted.

“How ‘bout if ah go ‘n’ see if any of the others are free to help. Ah’m sure Twilight’d be willin’ to help us out,” I suggested. Applejack and Big Mac readily agreed. The alicorn princess would have no difficulty in clearing around fifty apple trees. Hay, she did that back when she was still a unicorn. But it soon turned out that her help would not be needed.

At first, we just heard a faint rumble. I thought it might be a stray storm or something. It certainly sounded like thunder in the distance. But unlike thunder, this rumble just kept on and on, and was getting loader all the time. The water in the nearby lake began to ripple; indicating whatever was causing the noise, was on the ground. And it seemed to be heading straight for us. Even in our exhausted state we all looked up.

Suddenly we saw a rainbow coloured blur shooting across the sky. If you’ll pardon the pun, Rainbow Dash was flying. She had to be going pretty close to her maximum speed. She seemed to be shooting all around Ponyville. I could faintly hear her shouting something. As she neared us it became clearer.

“Stampede! Everypony run for it, there’s loads of them!” she cried.

My blood turned cold. I’d never seen a real stampede before, but I was fully aware of what a herd of stampeding cattle can do. Even one frightened animal can prove deadly to a human. We quickly all turned to make a break for it, but in our state, I feared we wouldn’t be able to get far. That’s when we first saw them.

Rabbits, or bunnies. Hundreds of them, their eyes wide in terror, were bolting across the open fields. They were heading straight for us, but due to their small size, they were not much of a threat to us. Following behind them, going as fast as her wings would carry her was Fluttershy.

“Oh no! Please bunnies, just stop! There’s nothing to be scared about, just follow me back to my cottage, please.” Her desperate begging and pleading was ineffective on the usually timid creatures. Whatever had scared them had scared them bad. Following behind Fluttershy was Lizzie, also doing her best to placate the tiny beasts.

As they began to crash into the orchard, a remarkable thing happened. The apple trees began to shake from the vibrations. One by one, they steadily began to lose their fruit. We all looked on in amazement as over three hours of work was accomplished in mere moments. By rabbits of all things! Still, there was the problem of the oncoming armada of bunnies, not the way I would wish to go. Luckily for us, help was at hand.

Granny Smith walked out directly in front of them all, the dinner triangle in her hooves. As they neared her, she struck the instrument once, with force only an earth pony can possess. The ensuing high frequency ring caused us all to splay our ears, while the bunnies all suddenly stopped dead in their tracks. Granny Smith smiled slyly at her little trick.

Now stopped in their blind panic, the rabbits were more than willing to listen to Fluttershy, who guided them back home. Apparently, she and Lizzie had been part way through the census, when Winona had jumped in amongst them. Her excited barking and her role as a carnivore had triggered the rabbits’ natural flight instinct.

While the stampede had been a trying time for Fluttershy, it had certainly saved us a great deal of trouble. Thanks to those tiny creatures, we were finished. All of Sweet Apple Acres had been harvested, and on time too.

“Ah swear,” said Applejack “That little dog is sometimes more trouble than she’s worth, but at least this time things went our way.”

At that moment said canine immediately joined us. Her tail wagged as she barked happily, evidently pleased with both her bunny chasing skills and the fact that she had just helped AJ finish Applebuck Season. I liked that dog. She was remarkably intelligent, even for a collie. She frequently chipped into conversations, which she evidently understood and was a great companion to all of us. It was just sometimes, particularly if she hadn’t been walked, she would get over excited.

We all headed back to the farmhouse, we needed the rest. All the bushels of apples were taken to the barn for storage. A fair few would be sold as is, while some of the best would be set aside for Cider Season in a couple weeks to coincide with the Running of the Leaves. The bruised ones would go to the pigs, who loved them. The rest of the day was spent simply relaxing, letting our heavily strained muscles relax.

A few hours later, when we were sufficiently recovered to fall into idle chit chat, we began to converse. I was interested to know a bit more about Cider Season. I knew a fair bit having seen last year’s during Season Two, when Flim and Flam had shown up with their ridiculous contraption. It had been a close run thing, the thought of these ponies losing the farm made me shudder.

“Ah just hope we have a smoother Cider Season than last year, Applejack. Ah certainly ain’t in the mood for no conponies.” AJ heartily agreed with me.

“They won’t be back ah don’t think. After all, Big Macintosh said he wanted to have a ‘quiet word’ with ‘em. Didn’t ya, big brother.”

“Eeyup,” the big stallion said menacingly. Sweet Celestia, I hope those two muppets turn up now!

By evening, we all settled down to a nice quiet dinner, where Applejack also handed me my pay. Overall, I now had quite a pile to my name. Combined with the gift my parents received from Princess Celestia, we should certainly have no money troubles.

Thus another chapter in my life in Equestria drew to a close. Applejack essentially gave me the rest of the week off. Cider Season would open first thing on Monday, with the Running of the Leaves taking place on Thursday next. I thought about maybe taking part in that. My physique had improved greatly since I got here, and Twilight herself, not the most athletic of ponies, had managed to gain fifth place on her first attempt. Tomorrow, I would head to Town Hall and sign myself up. But first, I needed a good long sleep.

Author's Note:

There are two very subtle movie references in there somewhere.

I've seen the preliminary version of the cover art and should have that up in a week or so.

Next chapter will be another interlude, this time from the mother's perspective.

As always rate, comment and subscribe. To those ten who disliked, tell me what's wrong, otherwise your just wasting my time.

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