• Published 24th Apr 2014
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Floret - Crystal Moose



Apple Bloom was expecting to find out about the niece she never knew existed. What Applejack shares with her, a secret she held for so many years, threatens to shake Apple Bloom’s world.

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Chapter Three

The rest of the week was difficult for Apple Bloom. Miss Cheerilee was nice enough to let her stay inside during recess and lunch times, which she spent reading Daring Do comics. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo finally gave her the space she wanted once they realised she was probably dodging them.

Her family didn’t stop their stupid joke, though.

Every afternoon, Apple Bloom walked home from school alone to the clubhouse, which had become her de facto home over the week. Big Mac still brought dinner out to her, trying every night to get her to come back into the house, but to no avail.

He stayed out with her another two times, but the other nights she was alone.

On the fourth night, Applejack came out, calling for Apple Bloom. She asked if she could come up, but Apple Bloom didn’t want to see her, so the filly hid under the pile of blankets in the corner until Applejack left.

It was hard, hearing her sister cry like she did as she left, but Applejack could end it all if they just stopped playing this stupid joke on her.

By the time the weekend came around, Apple Bloom had come up with the perfect plan to end the joke once and for all.

Apple Bloom was going to do this— she had to!

Big Mac watched her with a frown on his face as she loaded her little cart up with supplies for her trip: a small, one-pony tent and bedroll that was easy enough for her to set up on her own, three canteens of water, and a few bags of dried apples and trail mix.

She wouldn’t be gone long— two days at most.

“Ya sure ya want to—”

“Yes!” Apple Bloom hissed.

“It’s a long way fer a filly by herself.”

“Ah can do it! Ah don’t need nopony t’ come with me.”

Big Mac nodded. “Okay, well… Ah’ll come see ya off at th’ gate.”

The pair trotted silently towards the entrance to the acres. Big Mac had tried to pull Apple Bloom’s cart, but she had stubbornly refused. When they reached the gates, Big Mac stopped, though Apple Bloom did not. Now was not the time for teary goodbyes. When she returned, this silly joke would be behind her.

“Ah’ll be back soon, Big Mac,” Apple Bloom called behind her.

Apple Bloom felt good. It was great to have purpose; it was the same feeling she felt before every crusade. This was going to be it!

She trotted along the dirt path leading away from Ponyville. It was an old and well-worn track; the trees lining the edge of the road swayed peacefully in the gentle morning breeze.

“Apple Bloom!”

The filly’s good mood sank as she heard her sister’s voice call out from behind her.

“Apple Bloom, wait up!”

Apple Bloom reluctantly slowed to a stop.

“Ah was thinkin’ maybe Ah’d come with ya, if ya wanted?”

“No, thank you. Ah want t’ do this by mahself.”

“Ya sure? It’s an awful long way for just a li’l filly,” Applejack said as she finally caught up. “Big Mac said he was happy t’ do mah share of the work—”

“Ah want to go alone!”

“AB…” Applejack looked to the ground. “Ah’m jus’ worried about ya.”

Apple Bloom spun her neck around, glowering at her sister. “Ah don’t need ya! Ah’m not gonna come back pregnant.”

The filly ignored the choked sob from her sister as she continued on her journey, leaving Applejack behind.

“Hey!” Scootaloo stopped in front of Apple Bloom. “I said wait up!”

Apple Bloom tried to sidestep her friend, but found that it was impossible unless she unhitched herself from her small wagon.

Scootaloo looked over Apple Bloom’s cart.

“You’re going camping without us?”

Apple Bloom avoided her friend’s gaze.

“What’s been going on lately? You’ve been avoiding me and Sweetie Belle all week!”

“Ah don’t wanna talk about it.”

“This is about that thing with your niece, isn’t it?”

Apple Bloom prayed that Scootaloo hadn’t noticed her wince. From the frown forming on Scootaloo’s face, the filly suspected that she had.

“I thought so.” Scootaloo stepped out of the way.

“Yer not gonna try t’ stop me?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Nope,” Scootaloo responded, shaking her head.

“Thanks.” Apple Bloom smiled, then continued on her way.

“So where are we going?” the pegasus asked.

“What?”

“I asked where we’re going.”

“We’re not goin’ anywhere.”

Scootaloo looked at the wagon, then back to Apple Bloom.

“Sure looks like we’re going somewhere. Camping, at least.” Scootaloo scratched her chin. “But where are we going camping?”

We’re not goin’ anywhere. Ah’m goin’ somewhere… alone.”

Scootaloo grinned. “Well, you don’t look like you’re alone now.”

“Yeah, ‘cuz somepony won’t leave me alone,” Apple Bloom muttered.

“Eh… it’s what friends are for.” Scootaloo shrugged. “So, where are we going?”

Apple Bloom sighed. Her friend was as stubborn as a diamond dog; if she got something in her head, she’d clamp down and there’d be no letting go.

“Well, then Ah guess we’re goin’ t’ see mah great-great-something Auntie Goldie Delicious.”

“Huh? Who’s she?”

“She knows everythin’—” Apple Bloom paused for a moment, realising they never got a definitive answer on Pinkie Pie’s relationship to the Apples. “She knows almost everythin’ ‘bout every Apple ever!”

“Doesn’t your family know enough about apples?” Scootaloo asked. “You do grow them, right?”

“No…” Apple Bloom groaned. “Apples, not apples.”

“Not apples?”

“Apples, as in the Apple family.”

“Ohhhh!”

The two continued in silence for several minutes.

“So why are you going to see her?”

“T’ put this stupid joke mah sister is playin’ t’ rest!” Apple Bloom yelled. “It’s stupid and Ah’m sick of it.”

“What joke?”

“Th— uhh…” Apple Bloom stopped herself. She didn’t want to talk about it; that was the reason why she wanted to travel alone.

“The uhh?” Scootaloo pressed, ignoring Apple Bloom’s sour look. When her friend didn’t reply, Scootaloo started making guesses. “The uhh~mazing Trixie is an Apple?”

“No—”

“The uhh~ltimate Apple family cider recipe is made from little fillies?”

“N—”

“The uhh… ummm. Wait, wait—”

“Okay, okay!” Apple Bloom groaned. It was going to be a long trip, and she knew her friend would keep this up, likely for the entire journey. “Jus’— jus’ promise me ya won’t tell nopony.”

“What if it’s funny? Isn’t that what jokes are?”

“This one isn’t… it’s stupid.”

“So what is it?” Scootaloo asked, wings slightly abuzz.

“Y’know how Sweetie Belle said Ah have a niece?” Apple Bloom asked. When Scootaloo nodded, she continued, “Well, Applejack says that’s not true. She says that Ah’m her daughter.”

Scootaloo stopped dead in her tracks. When Apple Bloom turned around, she could see tears in her friend’s eyes.

“What? Don’t tell me—”

“Baaaahahahahahaha!” Scootaloo burst out with laughter. “You— Applejack?” Scootaloo dropped to the ground, pounding her hoof on the dirt road as she roared with laughter.

“It’s not funny!” Apple Bloom shouted.

“N-No i-i-i-it’s not,” Scootaloo managed to say between giggles. “It’s the dumbest joke I ever heard.”

“It is?” Apple Bloom asked, her anger subsiding.

“That has to be the dumbest joke in all of Equestria! She’s your sister! She can’t be your mom.”

“Exactly!” Apple Bloom smiled. Finally, somepony understood.

“So you’re going to see your Aunt Goldie Delicious because—”

“‘Cuz Ah want this stupid joke t’ be over.”

Scootaloo got back to her hooves. “I bet it’s a trick joke. Yeah, there must be some trick to it!”

“What do ya mean?”

“Well, okay. Like, one day my mom was talking with Twilight, and she said that she couldn’t be buried in Ponyville Cemetery if she lived in Ponyville.”

“But that’s not right… mah Ma and Pa—”

“Exactly! It’s a trick joke,” Scootaloo squealed. “Twilight was so angry, she went to the mayor’s office and started looking through the laws to see why she couldn’t be buried in Ponyville. She checked all the books, and brought this huuuuuge stack of law books to our house, just to prove Mom wrong. There was no law that said you couldn’t be buried in the cemetery if you lived in Ponyville.

“Mom lost it completely. She told Twilight that it was still true, even if it wasn’t in the books she was looking through. If you lived in Ponyville, you’re not allowed to be buried in the cemetery.”

“Ah don’t get it.”

“That was what Twilight said. It’s a trick. You can’t be buried in the Cemetery if you live in Ponyville… ‘cause you’re still alive! Get it?”

Apple Bloom slowed down as she processed the joke.

“That’s th’ second dumbest joke Ah ever heard!”

“Exactly!” Scootaloo grinned. “It’s a dumb trick joke. Twilight was so mad, she said she was going to make a royal decree about not playing pranks on princesses. Rainbow Dash said she’d never let that happen.”

“So ya agree with me?” Apple Bloom asked.

“‘Course. Adults make dumb jokes all the time. They think they’re funny when they sooooooo aren’t,” Scootaloo laughed. Apple Bloom watched as Scootaloo’s mirth turned to horror.

“EXCEPT FOR RAINBOW DASH!” Scootaloo shouted. “SHE’S ALWAYS FUNNY AND NEVER NOT FUNNY!”

“Ya alright, Scoots?” Apple Bloom asked with concern.

“Yep!” Scootaloo responded with a quaver. “Totally fine and awesome! Let’s get going so we can end Applejack’s silly joke!”

“Yeah!” Apple Bloom shouted, her spirit renewed.

They started walking again, and as they did, Apple Bloom thought she caught a flash of colour—red, yellow, blue, and green—from the corner of her eye, but when she turned to look, it was gone.

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo awoke early the next morning. They had set up camp the previous night, just before dusk, and had spent a few hours chatting, before retiring to the shared tent. Applebloom was glad she’d packed plenty of food and water; thankfully, there was enough to feed the two of them. Scootaloo refilled the empty canteens from the river while Apple Bloom pulled down their tent.

Apple Bloom felt renewed this morning. Why she was reluctant for Scootaloo to tag along, she didn’t know. Her friend had helped her out of the dumps; now the trip was becoming more like a cool campout!

After a short breakfast of cold fritters, they set out again. It took them just shy of three hours to reach Goldie’s house.

“Wow!” Scootaloo gasped. “What a dump!”

“Scoots!” Apple Bloom hissed. “That’s not nice!”

Apple Bloom was well aware of how the dilapidated old shack must have looked to outsiders. The windows were broken, and the cracks boarded up. The old bench out in front of the house was snapped in half, and the roof thatching had drooped even more since the last time she had been there.

But Apples are Apples, and Apples don’t go bad-mouthin’ other Apples.

Apple Bloom unhooked herself from her little cart, trotted up to the door, and knocked.

The elderly Apple opened the door, looking around for whoever had knocked. She moved to close the door when Apple Bloom coughed, drawing the elderly mare’s attention downward.

“Well howdy there, little fillies,” Goldie Delicious greeted them. “Didn’t see you down there. Here to sell some filly-scout cookies? Let me get my purse…”

Apple Bloom followed Goldie Delicious into the house, and Scootaloo followed up the rear.

“No, Aunt Goldie… it’s me, Apple Bloom,” she reminded the older mare. “Ah came here with mah… family a few months ago, remember?”

“Hmmm, what’s that deary?” Goldie asked as she turned back towards the two fillies. “Ohhhh, Apple Bloom! I hardly recognised you! You’re all grown up now… you’re such a big filly.”

Apple Bloom looked to the mare, but chose not to press the issue. “Well, y’see, Auntie… Ah was wonderin’ if ya had any photos of mah parents? Ah never had any pictures of ‘em.”

“Of course,” Goldie responded, hobbling towards a stack of books. “Why, I have photos of just about every Apple in Equestria.”

Apple Bloom turned to Scootaloo and grinned. This was it!

“Yes siree! If I remember correctly, I have a photo of you and your momma when you were just born.”

Apple Bloom’s heart skipped a beat. She had always been told that there were never any photos of her and her parents together; they’d died before they could get a photo with her. She was finally going to have proof.

Goldie Delicious trailed a hoof slowly over the spines of the many photo albums. Apple Bloom was certain there must have been hundreds— she didn’t doubt Goldie’s claim.

“Here we go— Ponyville’s Apples.” Goldie bit down on the spine of the book and pulled it from its precarious position. She hobbled over to a couch, motioning for Apple Bloom and Scootaloo to follow her.

Tears welled up in Apple Bloom’s eyes; she had never been so happy and excited before in her life.

“Let’s see…” Goldie Delicious licked a hoof and opened the book. “Apple Bloom… Apple Bloom… Ahh, here we go!”

Apple Bloom’s heart sank as she saw the page Goldie had opened to.

An old photo sat in the middle of the page, right above a browned copy of Apple Bloom’s certificate of live birth.

The photo showed a small foal, unmistakably her, with her pale-yellow coat and a tuft of pinkish-red mane, close to her mother’s chest. Dressed in a pale-green hospital gown, her mother held a young Apple Bloom in her forearms, a weary smile on her face.

Scootaloo put a tender hoof on her friend’s shoulder as Apple Bloom started to cry. The proof was before her, completely undeniable.

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