• Published 15th Dec 2014
  • 3,074 Views, 82 Comments

Minor Details! - Tchernobog

Applejack and Twilight investigate an old artifact. And then they try again. And try, try, try, try, try again.

  • ...


Applejack quietly followed Twilight as she trotted through the castle. She seemed to know where she was going, intent on some destination only she knew about. Applejack didn’t ask. She knew they’d get there eventually.

She squinted as they exited the castle’s interior, stepping into the Royal Gardens. She stuck by Twilight’s side as they weaved past the trees and flowerbeds until they reached a small copse. She ducked under the low branches, coming to a halt as Twilight stopped.

Applejack watched her fiancée close her eyes and sit down. Twilight took a deep breath, holding it in for a few moments and then expelling it. “Feelin’ better?” Applejack asked.

“Much.” Twilight smiled, leaning against Applejack. She looked around the copse as if seeing it for the first time. “Gosh, I haven’t been here in years.”

“I’m guessing this is some hidey-hole o’ yours?”

Twilight nodded. “I used to come here as a filly when I didn’t want to spend all day reading in the castle.” Twilight chuckled as Applejack raised an eyebrow at her. “I may have been reading here too. Shut up.”

“I didn’t say nothin’,” Applejack chortled.

“You implied it,” Twilight shot back. She tilted her head to the side. “How’d you know?”

“Every lil’ colt an’ filly has a hidin’ place, Twi. Places we think our elders don’t know about.”

Twilight groaned. “Don’t remind me. I used to wonder how I always found Shiny or Cadance nearby.” She giggled. “I thought that Princess Celestia had some guards spying on me. Which, come to think of it, was probably not far off the mark.”

“The Castle gardens ain’t exactly far afield, Hon.” Applejack grinned as Twilight stuck her tongue out at her. “Granny always used’ta find mine. An’ Apple Bloom still thinks I don’t know ‘bout that lil’ cave of theirs.” Applejack gently nudged Twilight with a shoulder. “Got any more hidin’ places?”

“A few, but why should I show them to you? You’re just making fun of me,” Twilight said, her nose up in the air. She held the pose for a few seconds before they both burst into giggles. “C’mon.”

Applejack eagerly took her place next to Twilight, following the alicorn’s gaze as she pointed something out every so often.

“I used to hide behind that statue… and in those bushes, oh! And under that bench!”

However, Applejack could see a definite trend. “Twi, Darlin’. Do you have any hidin’ spots that ain’t on the Castle grounds?” she asked, fighting to keep a grin off her face. Despite her best efforts, Twilight still blushed.

“Uhm. Lemme think.” Twilight raised a hoof to her chin in thought, a habit Applejack found adorable no matter how often she saw it. “Well, there’s Pony Joe’s, but we’ve been there already…"

“Wouldn’t mind goin’ again, I’m gettin’ kinda hungry.”

Twilight raised an incredulous eyebrow. “Didn’t we just have lunch?”

“That was the last loop, Hon.”

“Okay, okay, let’s go to – wait!” Twilight gasped. “I know the perfect place!”

“For food?”

Twilight bit back a laugh. “Later. I wanna show you something first!”

Applejack’s eyebrows shot up as Twilight galloped away, speeding off at a pace that would’ve looked good in the Running of the Leaves. Not one for letting her admittedly not-so-athletic fiancée beat her, she tore after Twilight, catching up quickly. “So where we goin’?”

“A bookstore!”

Applejack nearly stumbled but caught herself immediately, shaking her head at the pony next to her. “Now why ain’t I surprised?”

“Oh shush. This one’s special!” Twilight panted lightly as she slowed down to a trot, her head shifting back and forth. “This way!”

“Slow down, s’not like we ain’t got plenty of time!” Applejack called out as Twilight set off on a gallop. The alicorn did however slow down, easing into a brisk trot. “What’s so special ‘bout this one?”

“It’s where Princess Celestia took me on my first birthday after becoming her student. Well,” Twilight hesitated, “more like the day after. She insisted I stick with my family on my birthdays.”

“Knew I liked her for a reason.”

“I bet.” Twilight grinned. “They all bought me science and spellcasting books. Princess Celestia bought me my first Daring Do book.”

“Guess Dash oughta thank her next time she sees her, then?”

“Yup! Ah, here we are!”

Applejack glanced up at the sign above her head. “ ‘Tomes-A-Trillion’?” she read, her eyebrow raised high. “Do they really have that many?”

“I’ve asked, and Weathered Page never gave me a straight answer!” Twilight huffed.

“Who’s that?”

“The owner. I wonder if she’s still here.” Her horn glowed and the door swung open, setting off a little bell.

Behind the counter, a wizened old mare turned to face them. “Ah, hello there, welcome to my– ” She paused, her eyes widening in surprise. “As I live and breathe, Twilight Sparkle, is that you?”

“Page!” Twilight waved gleefully. “How are you?”

“Better than some of these moldy old tomes, I assure you!” the older pony chuckled. “And you? Still in Whatsit-ville?”

“Ponyville, yes. It’s my home, now.”

“Is it now?” Page asked, raising an eyebrow. “That whole Element of Harmony business, isn’t it?”

Twilight nodded. “All my friends are there.” She glanced back at Applejack, who’d been browsing the shelves. “And more.”

“More? What else has my best customer been up to?” Page leaned conspiratorially in the direction of Applejack, who’d just trotted up to join Twilight. “She’d spend all her pocket money on books, every time.”

Applejack grinned back at the older pony. “She still does.”

“Do not!” Twilight pouted.

“Do too,” Applejack and Page replied simultaneously, before bursting into laughter.

Twilight sighed, the corner of her lips pointing upwards. “Why am I marrying you again?”

“Because you love me, Darlin’.” Applejack leaned in to quickly peck Twilight on the mouth.

“So that’s what you’ve been up to, then?”

Twilight blinked, blushing as she turned towards the momentarily forgotten Weathered Page. “Eheh. Page, meet Applejack. My fiancée.”

“It’s a pleasure t’meetcha!” Applejack extended her hoof to shake the older pony’s.

“Likewise. I’ve heard much about you.”

“You have?” Applejack tilted her head, wracking her mind for a time where somepony might have mentioned the old shopkeeper.

“Yes, Princess Celestia mentions you and your friends whenever she stops by to get a book for a certain somepony.”

“Would you like to attend the wedding?” Twilight blurted out. “I’d love to have you there!” Twilight glanced at Applejack, her eyes pleading.

Applejack shrugged. “Yer an old friend of Twi’s. We’d be glad to have ya.”

“It would be my honor, then,” Page replied, bowing to the pair and fixing them with a pensive stare. “You’re not having the wedding in Canterlot, are you?”

“Um. We’re thinking about it.” Twilight frowned. “Why wouldn’t we?”

“It's bad luck, don't you know?”

“Really?” Applejack asked. “How so?”

“Don’t you remember changeling incident?”

Twilight laughed. “Do we? That was my brother’s wedding. We were in the middle of it.”

“Oh, but that’s just the latest. There was the wedding of Prince Gilded Gold – that was Prince Blueblood's father. Two of the groomstallions got into a fight over a bridesmare they were both trying to seduce, and it spread into a riot that took two days to end.”

“Two days…?” Applejack mumbled, her eyes growing wider with Weathered Page’s every word.

“And then there was the Gryphon Pass Incident.”

“Wasn’t that th’closest thing Equestria's had to a war in about six hundred years?” Applejack mused.

Weathered Page nodded. “What most ponies don't know is that that broke out three days before the wedding of Prince Sterling Silver and Lady Bella Donna was scheduled. The wedding was cancelled, and they ended up getting married by a Justice of the Peace during the march to the pass.”

Twilight frowned. “But what does that have to do with anything? That just sounds like bad luck.”

Weathered Page smirked. “But do you remember what caused it?”

“Sure, Wing General Blacktalon got drunk and punched out Lord Hoofington… at… the…"

“At the royal wedding of Prince Copper Field and Lady Direction, exactly. Nopony warned him that the cider was alcoholic – what Gryphonians call 'cider' is just unclarified apple juice.”

Twilight held up a hoof, cutting off Weathered Page before she could continue. “Okay, okay, we’ll… take it into consideration,” she said, rubbing the same hoof on her forehead.

“That’s all I was hoping for.” The old mare smiled at them. “Now, is there anything I can help you two with? Are you looking for something?”

Applejack shook her head. “Nothin’ we can use right now, sorry.”

“What?” Twilight asked. “What’re you…" She trailed off, her hoof meeting her forehead. “Right. That.” Twilight smiled apologetically at Page. “Sorry to run out on you like this. We’ll be back another time, okay?”

The old mare nodded. “Of course. I’m always happy to see you, Twilight. Come back soon, you hear?”

“I will!”

Applejack silently followed Twilight as she wandered through the city. A few minutes after they’d left the shop, they arrived at a little park, barely large enough to fit a few families’ picnics. Twilight ignored the activity around her and made a beeline for the only bench around, which was empty, surprisingly.

Applejack sat next to Twilight as the alicorn stared up at the clouds, waiting for her to speak up. After so much time spent together, she’d learned Twilight would do so on her own, often without the prompting Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash subjected her to. It just took a while to formulate her thoughts.

“I used to read here as a filly,” Twilight murmured. “Nopony else knew about it. I guess that’s changed now,” she said, her lips curling up into a smile as she watched the foals play with their parents. The smile dropped as she glanced back at Applejack. “I’m sorry.”

Applejack scooted closer to throw a foreleg around Twilight’s shoulders, holding her mare close. “ ‘Bout what, Darlin’?”

“About not asking you before I invited Page.” Twilight stared at her hooves. “I should’ve–”

“She seemed like a nice pony,” Applejack interrupted, her smile turning sly. “An’ it’s not like you don’t need to even th’numbers a bit. I still got plenty more Apples on my list.”

Twilight snorted. “I’d have to invite half of Canterlot to make it even.”

“Nah, just a quarter.”

“Oh, of course. My mistake.”

Applejack grinned. “And don’t ya forget it.” She studied Twilight a moment, hugging her tighter. “Wanna head back?”

“Sure.” Twilight stood up, stretching her back and wings. She grinned at Applejack, running a wingtip over the earth pony’s cutie mark. Applejack walked close to her, her coat brushing against Twilight’s with every step.


It was a shame that little intimate moments like those always got interrupted. Applejack blushed as she twisted her head back to look at her stomach, glaring at it. She smiled as Twilight giggled. “Yeah, I’m still hungry.”

“I think we can have a pit stop first, if you want. How abou–” Twilight gasped, staring down the street. “We can go there!”

Applejack blinked, peering in the direction Twilight was pointing at. “I only see a weddin’ dress shop.”


Applejack blinked again, eyeing Twilight sideways. “I could’a sworn I was gettin’ married to Twilight Sparkle, not Rarity,” she said, shuddering as she briefly considered the idea.

“Bah,” Twilight bah’d. “We can get measured while we’re here. And maybe get some ideas for what to pick!”

“But Rarity can do that! Heck, she did it for yer brother’s weddin’!”

“True, but she’s not here, is she? C’mon, let’s…" Twilight trailed off as Applejack’s gaze shifted from her eyes to a point slightly above, and groaned. “It’s sparking, isn’t it?”


“Of all the times to–”

“Okay, fine! We’ll skip the dresses for now,” Twilight grumbled as they walked through the Castle halls, missing Applejack’s sigh of relief. “Let’s get back to the important things first.”

“Y’got that right. Wanna head back to the archi–”

“What should we do about the dinner rehearsal?”

Applejack’s frown at being interrupted turned into one of confusion. “What?”

“I mean, considering how big the wedding’s going to be, I think the Treasury will handle the cost of that.”

“I guess–”

“So, traditionally, that means it’s your family that will handle the dinner, right?”

“Uh, sure?”

“We could have it at the royal castle.” Twilight’s face lit up briefly. “Or my parents’ place! What do you think?”

Applejack raised a hoof and placed it on Twilight’s chest, stopping her in the middle of the corridor. “Now hol’ on a second. If’n we’re the ones doin’ this, why not do it at the farm? Or even yer own castle?”

“Practicality!” Twilight exclaimed, pointing a hoof in the air. “Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are already here, so are my parents. Shiny and Cadance can just take the train here, too.”

“Not all that practical. Since we’re doin’ the organizin’, that means we’ll be doin’ the cookin’, right?” Applejack asked, not waiting for Twilight’s response. “Then we’re gonna be haulin’ all th’food from Ponyville! An’ I don’t rightly know if Granny can handle a trip like that.”

“Are we talking about the same Granny Smith here?” Twilight asked. “Didn’t she win first place in the Ponyville swim meet a year ago?”

Applejack felt one of her ears starting to flick. “Well, yeah… An’ what about our friends? An’ the rest of my family? I was thinkin’ Uncle and Aunt Orange could attend the dinner rehearsal. It’s a long trip for them too.”

“The train from Manehattan stops at Canterlot first, Applejack.” Twilight grinned. “And Ponyville’s a stone’s throw away. We’d be the least inconvenienced.”

“Not if ya count everypony from Appleloosa and Las Pegasus. That train goes through Ponyville.” Applejack shook her head in frustration. “We're thinkin' of all this sideways; it don't make sense to have the rehearsal dinner in a whole different town than where we're havin' the weddin', an' we sure as heck ain't decided we're havin' it in Canterlot."

“Well, we haven’t decided we’re having it in Ponyville, either.”

Applejack closed her eyes and took a deep breath, calming herself down before she said something she’d regret. “How ‘bout we work on somethin’ else for a bit? Give us time t’cool off a lil’.”

Twilight sighed. “You’re right. We can figure it out later. What did you have in mind?”

She’d been ready to suggest returning to the archives, but as she took stock of Twilight’s haggard expression, she realized her fiancée could still use some time off. “How ‘bout the wedding bands?”

Twilight blinked. “You mean the music?”

“The things on our ears, Hon.”

“Oh!” Twilight grinned sheepishly. “I got those in Ponyville. I figured we could go to the same place.”

“Yeah, well. The shop owner ain’t here, is he?”

“I had the perfect idea, right on the tip of my tongue!” Twilight growled. “And then he started screaming!”

Applejack placed a hoof on Twilight’s shoulder. “To be fair, Hon, all the horns in the shop were sparkin’ like crazy.”

“Like he’d never seen uncontrolled magic before…" Twilight mumbled. She frowned as Applejack stared at her. “What?”

“Y’said you had an idea.”

“Oh. Well, I was thinking about these.” She lifted a hoof to point at the apple-shaped earring. “I don’t really feel like getting one of those gem hoofbands. Too big and unwieldy and ugh.”

“Impractical?” Applejack offered.

Twilight nodded. “Exactly. So how about we just combine these? One earring, with both our cutie marks together.”

“I like it. Nice and simple.” Applejack leaned in and kissed Twilight’s cheek. “So what next?”

“How about… from wedding bands to music bands?”

“How long were you waitin’ to say that?”

“About five seconds, to be honest.”

“Uh huh.” Applejack smirked. “So I was thinkin’… how about a mariachi band?”

“You have got to be kidding.”

“I still think we should jus’ do a hoedown!”

“And I want to keep you alive. Rarity would kill you if you tried that.”

Applejack snorted. “Okay, maybe y’got a point.” She stretched, working out stress she knew shouldn’t have been there, but felt like it was anyway. “So, wanna head back to the arch–”

“Photographers!” Twilight exclaimed.

Applejack frowned again. That was starting to get annoying. “Who in the what now?”

“We need photographers!”

“Don’t we have some in Ponyville? If we’re havin’ the weddin’ there, why find em here?”

“If we want the best photographers, and if we decide to have the wedding in Ponyville, it’ll be worth having them commute!”

“Oh fer Pete’s sake…"

“Hon, I think it’s time we–”

“–found some florists. I agree.”

“No, I–” Applejack sighed. “Alright, fine. Florists. I was hungry anyway.”

“Not for eating!”

“Do we really need manedressers?”

“Of course.” Twilight grinned. “We have to look our best on that day, remember?”

“But I mean, why look for them now? S’not like we even need em until the day proper! We ain’t even figured out where we’re gettin’ married yet!”

“Well, yes, but with these loops we can try different manecuts over and over again!”


“Okay, so if we count Princess Celestia as the officiant, we’ve got the catering, the flowers…"

Applejack grunted. “That was what, five loops? I know my stomach's loopin’ every time but I'm not even hungry anymore.”

“We've been to the manedressers, the photographers, and we’ve got a printer for the invitations.”

“How long we been at this? I've lost count and you don't seem to care none."

“Oh, the honeymoon!” Twilight grinned as her left eye twitched. “Gosh, there’s still so much to do!”


“We don't necessarily need to go anywhere and just spend time together back home, but I've always wanted to see Las Pegasus–”


“Though that might be a little ritzy, maybe Neighagra Falls? Or even Rainbow Falls; I really liked that town when we were there, though we were distracted by all the training and–”

“Dangit, Twi, listen to yourself!” Applejack barked, her voice reverberating in the empty corridor. But it had finally stopped Twilight’s tirade. The alicorn was staring at her, eyes wide at Applejack’s tone. “None of this matters!”

“Wh-what do you mean, it doesn’t matter?” Twilight sputtered indignantly. “Of course it matters! It’s our wedding! Or don’t you even care?”

Applejack glared at the accusation. “I cared for the first forty loops. But we ain’t plannin’ anymore, we’re just goin’ in circles!”

“We’re not ‘going in circles,’ we’re just being thorough because I want everything to be perfect! And, it’s only been twenty-five loops!”

Applejack growled in frustration. “That ain't even the danged point, Twi, 'cause even if we did pick everythin' out exactly as we want it, we'd still be spinnin' our wheels 'cause every Celestia damned day is the same!” She pointed a hoof at Twilight. “It ain't that I don't care, it's that you don't care! Wha’ happened to fixin’ this loop thing?”

“… Of course I care,” Twilight muttered, glaring at the ground.

“Yeah? You got a funny way a' showin' it.”

“I’m sorry, okay?” Twilight suddenly yelled, whipping her head up at the wincing Applejack. “I'm so sorry I haven't gotten us out! I just want – I need more time to organize our wedding!”

“An’ why can’t we do that tomorrow, Twilight?”

“Because it needs to be perfect! I know what I want, I just need to organize everything first!”


Twilight stomped her hoof. “And that means the wedding will be in Canterlot! And that’s final!”

Applejack stared in mute horror, a frown slowly forming on her face. “So you want the weddin' in Canterlot and that makes it final, huh?” Applejack snorted. “I kinda thought it was two ponies gettin' married here, but y'know what? Fine,” she said, turning away from Twilight. “Make yer decisions, simmer down, and lemme know when ya' want to focus on the real problem!”

She didn’t even glance back as she walked away, disappearing down the Castle’s corridors.

She hadn’t lied, really. The longer she’d let Twilight’s wedding preparation craze go, the more annoyed Applejack had become. Her stomach had felt like it was filled with lead, roiling around to the point of nearly making her sick.

But as she trotted through the Castle halls, she felt herself gradually calming down with every step, and that weight vanishing. This left her quite hungry, as she usually was at this point in the loop. Figuring that food would take her mind off of things, she set a path towards the castle kitchens.

She hadn’t expected to find a crowd of guards peeking around the corners of the royal dining room, but find one she did. She opened her mouth to ask a question, but was immediately drowned out by a gleeful cackle from within the room, followed by an indignant sputter.

“Princess Luna, I demand you cease fire!”

The cackling redoubled, evidently coming from the lunar princess. “Never!”

“Princess Celestia!” a third voice cried out, filled with a hint of desperation and a bucketload of confusion. “Can you please control your sister!”

“Not unless you both agree to the trade agreements!” Celestia called back, her answer quickly followed by the sound of something soft and squishy impacting something else.

“Then you leave us no choice but to retaliate!” the first voice growled, just as Applejack pushed herself through the crowd to finally see what was going on.

This left her right in the path of a delicious strawberry cheesecake, flung by the hand of a minotaur ambassador. While this solved her food problem, she still didn’t know what was going on.

“Ha! You have arms and hands and you can’t even aim!” Luna taunted. She glanced at the path the cheesecake had taken and noticed Applejack licking her own face clean. “Ah, fair Applejack! Come come, join us!”

Applejack quickly complied, though due less to being asked and more to wanting to get out of the path of further projectile delicacies, despite her hunger. Plus, it seemed the princesses had plenty of grub of their own, so a small amount of ammunition wouldn’t be missed.

“Beggin’ yer pardon, Your Highnesses, but what in Equestria’s name is goin’ on?”

Celestia nodded at Applejack, smoothly avoiding a slice of pie that had been sailing in her direction. “We are simply taking your advice, Applejack, and have decided to–”

“Let loose!” Luna cried out, flinging a bowl of salad, tisking at the inevitable uselessness of her projectile. “Or is that not the correct term these days?”

“Yes, that.”

“Plus, it lets my sister release some stress. Did you know she hasn’t taken a vacation in two hundred years?” Luna leaned down towards Applejack to whisper conspiratorially, loud enough for even the ambassadors to hear.

Applejack could only stare in confusion as Celestia frowned at her sister. “Advice? What advice–” She trailed off as her mind drifted back to the start of the current loop.

Applejack trotted through the Castle corridors, wrinkling her muzzle in an effort to work the ache out of it. She’d have imagined that she’d get used to having a door hit her face, but no, it hurt just as much every time.

She rounded a corner, cutting off the princesses as she had the last ten times. She barely even noticed their looks of surprise anymore.

“Oh! Hello, Applej–”

“Howdy, Yer Highnesses, Prime. Yes, we’re doin’ fine. No, I’m not angry, jus’ annoyed. Why? ‘Cause we’re stuck in a time loop because of that Starswirl doodad ya want us to look at.”

Both princesses blinked. Luna lifted a hoof, ready to ask a question.

“We done tried doin’ nothin’, Princess Luna. And that. And that too. And before ya ask, Discord ain’t of any help either.” She tipped her hat, her smile tight and strained. “Now if’n you’ll excuse me, I need to go waste time plannin’ my weddin’ with Twi, since she don’t feel like botherin’ tryin to fix this thing.”


“I know, Princess, ya don’t believe me.” She nodded to the eldest princess, who had attempted to get a word in edgewise. “Ya will when Prince Blueblood comes around that corner complainin’ about shampoo. Ask him if he remembers Twilight tryin’ to force feed him his mane. Oh, and we know about Dash and Darin’.” She smirked at Luna, whose eyes had grown wide. “Y’all can jus’ do whatever. ’S’not like it’s gonna matter in a few hours anyway.”

“Aunt Celestia!”

Applejack blinked. “Seriously?”

“Is something the matter?” Celestia asked.

“I'm sorry Princess, but I jus’ can't believe you'd just do this off what I said. I reckon I wouldn't believe m’self.”

“You are one of the most honest ponies we know, Applejack. I do not believe you would lie about this matter. You also predicted Blueblood’s arrival, and all of my suggestions as I thought of them. That was convincing enough for me." Luna shrugged. “And after three days of meetings with the buffoons at this table–”

“The Minotaur Kingdom resents that!”

“As does the Griffonian Empire!”

Luna lifted a platter to block an incoming meringue pie. “–If somepony tells us none of this matters? We are not going to waste time on it.”

“Oh come off it, Luna,” Celestia chuckled and leaned close to Applejack. “She cracked first and threw the fruit bowl.”

“It's not like they were slow to respond!” Luna countered, then yelped as a tomato splattered the side of her horn. “See?”

“Luna, you had to smack Ambassador Günther in the face with a cucumber before they responded.”

“Minor details!”

The griffon in question stood up, banging the table he was leaning on with a claw. “Minor details that show that you, Princess Luna, lack hono–”

His tirade was suddenly interrupted by a chocolate cake.

“Ha! Your father was a rooster and your mother smells of elderberries!”

“Luna, no need to taunt them. And I thought I told you not to throw the chocolate cake.”

“Apologies, sister! It was the closest thing at hoof.”

Applejack could only shake her head, her mind still trying to catch up with one situation after another. She jumped when a large, white wing draped over her.

“I sense there is more that worries you than our culinary warfare, Applejack,” Celestia said, forming a small shield of energy around the pair, warding off any delicious projectiles. And if the sudden quiet was any indication, she’d given them a bit of privacy too. “Please tell us what troubles you.”

Applejack snorted, looking away from the princess. “It’s Twilight.”

“Is she well?”

“I can think of a few words to describe her right now, and that one ain’t at the top of my list.” She shook her head. “I mean, she ain’t sick, but… I told you we’re gettin’ married, right?”

“You did.” Celestia nodded. “I would have imagined this was a good thing.”

“Yeah, me too, if’n we could get out of this loop. But she’s not even tryin’ anymore!”

“ ‘Anymore’?” Celestia repeated.

Applejack nodded. “Like I told ya, we tried doin’ nothin’, then skippin’ forward. When that didn’t work, we went to Starswirl’s archives to try to find somethin’ there.”

“That does sound like my student,” Celestia said, chuckling to herself. “I take it that didn’t go so well?”

“We spent ‘bout a dozen loops findin’ nothin’ before she finally took a break. Figured we’d just do a lil’ weddin’ preparation while we had the time, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

“Pun pardoned. But I fail to see the issue.”

“Now every loop she just goes back to the weddin’ plannin’! She don’t listen when I tell her we need to get back to the archives! She just wants her stupid perfect weddin’. It’s like nothin’ else matters.” Applejack stomped a hoof. “And the worst part? She ain’t even listenin’ to me, she’s just doin’ all the plannin’ herself!”

“How so?”

“I say ‘let’s go to the archives,’ she says ‘dresses!’. I say ‘let’s go back,’ she says ‘photographers!’ Or ‘florists’!” Applejack growled. “Anythin’ but gettin’ back to work. And then she just decided to have the weddin’ in Canterlot and wouldn’t hear a word against it.”

“I take it you had other ideas?”

“Darn tootin’!” Applejack said. “I ain’t got nothin’ against Canterlot, but Ponyville is home, ya get me? I just want this day over with so I can sit down and talk with her.”

Celestia nodded, her wing hugging Applejack closer. “Tell me, how do you feel about the wedding itself, Applejack?”

Applejack blinked. “Wha?”

“Ignore the loop for now. How do you feel about Twilight?”

After a few moments of silence, Applejack said, “I love her, Princess. More than anythin’.” She smirked. “Even when she gets a lil’ pig-headed.”

“And the wedding?”

“I kinda don’t want to think about it anymore,” Applejack grumbled. She shook her head as Celestia raised an eyebrow. “I mean, I still want to marry her. But I want her to listen t’me too. I feel like it’s gonna be her wedding, not ours.”

Celestia nodded. “What about beyond that?”


“Beyond the frustration. Beyond any anger you may have. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the wedding?”

Applejack’s gaze fell to the floor as the the thought struck her. “I’m scared,” she murmured.

Celestia lifted Applejack’s chin with a hoof. “And if you are scared, how do you think Twilight feels?”

“She’s… I reckon she’s terrified.”

Celestia nodded. “She has grown so much since her arrival in Ponyville. All because of you and your friends. And maybe a bit more because of you.” She winked at Applejack. “But she still has much to learn. She still tries to carry everything on her shoulders.”

“She taught me to ask for help when I need it.” Applejack shook her head. “But she rarely does herself.”

“That’s why you must be there to remind her, Applejack. Sometimes, she forgets to listen.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” Applejack snorted. She smirked up at the princess. “I’ll make her listen. Once we get out of this stupid loop.”

“Good luck.” Celestia nodded, and the glow around her horn began to fade as she dismissed the shield she’d summoned. “Now, let us see how the battle fares–”


“Not well, clearly,” Celestia sighed, wiping a banana sundae off her cheek.

“Of course not, 'Tia! I've been fighting alone!”

“Surrender now, Princesses,” the minotaur yelled, “and we'll be merciful!”

Celestia grinned and shot a look at her sister. “Luna? I do believe we've just been challenged.”

“We have indeed! Let us respond in kind!” Luna’s gleeful grin lit up her face as she levitated more food. “Have at you, fiend! Feel the wrath of the Night!”

“Just a moment,” Celestia said, and turned to face Applejack. With a quick swipe of her magic, the food clinging to Applejack’s face vanished. “I believe she’ll take you more seriously now.”

“Thankya, Princess. And don’tcha worry about that. I’ve never been more serious in my life.”

“Good. Go now, we’ll give you cover.” Celestia’s magic surrounded her next projectile, lifting it above their entrenchment.

As Applejack rushed out of the room, she heard a gasp from a familiar yellow unicorn.

“Not the jello!”

Applejack found her fiancée exactly where she expected: in her office. Though Twilight had insisted that she had one in Ponyville and didn’t need another, her regular trips to Canterlot had made it a necessity.

Applejack sighed as she watched her, flitting from one side of the room to the other, peering at the guestlist and floorplans she’d drawn up to figure out the seat placement, leaving the instruments she’d lugged around that morning to sit forgotten in a corner.

Every single loop, she’d do it again, just to have a physical reference on hoof, even if it vanished with the reset.

“Twilight?” Applejack spoke up, hoping against hope that she’d be heard. “Twilight!” she shouted as the alicorn ignored her, lost in her own little world.

And still, Twilight offered no reply.

“Hard way it is,” Applejack sighed. She closed the distance, and with a deft twist, she leaned in and grabbed Twilight’s tail in her mouth, earning a startled squawk.

“What the – Applejack! What’re you–”

“Yer comin’ with me.” Applejack tugged at Twilight’s tail, dragging her towards the door.


Applejack spat Twilight’s tail out and lifted a hoof to silence Twilight. “No talkin’. You’re comin’ with me, even if I have to drag you there by your horn.”

Twilight opened her mouth to argue, but closed it again as she looked at Applejack’s eyes. Wordlessly, she followed Applejack out of her office, but the silence only lasted a minute. “Where are we going?”

Applejack remained silent, Twilight’s annoyed huff ignored as she stared straight ahead. Ponies they passed jumped out of their way, more intimidated by Applejack’s expression than the presence of one of their princesses.

Twilight broke the silence again as they arrived at the entrance of the Royal Archives. “The archives? We don’t have time for this, not when we still have preparations to–”

“We don’t have time?” Applejack repeated incredulously. “We got too much time, and we ain’t spendin’ enough of it on fixin’ the artifact!”

“It’s not broken.”


“I said it isn’t broken. Or we wouldn’t be in this loop.” Twilight held a hoof to her forehead, massaging it gently. “Let’s just go back to the preparations, okay?”

“No, it’s not okay!” Applejack shouted. “What’s gotten into you? Snap out of it.”

“Snap out of what? I’m fine!”

“No you ain’t! You’re doin’ the wrong things!” Applejack prodded Twilight’s chest with a hoof. “It’s like you’ve given up on this! You never give up on anythin’ without a fight. And it’s not like you’ve figured it out already. So why now?”

Applejack stared at Twilight, waiting for her to answer. Waiting for her to frown, and maybe stomp her hoof like she always did in these situations. She looked into the eyes of the one she knew so well.

Her breath caught when those eyes broke contact with hers, looking away.

“You have,” Applejack said, her voice flat. “Y’figured this out. How?” she asked. “When?

“I… Does it matter? We should go back to–”

“Don’t,” Applejack spat. “That ain’t what I wanna hear. When, Twilight?”

Twilight turned her head, facing Applejack with a glare. “Right before we first took a break, okay? I found one of Starswirl’s journals, and it was all in there.”

“Why didn’t you say anythin’?” Applejack shook her head. “Consarn’ it, Twilight, we’ve been stuck in here for ages!” she said, glaring when Twilight remained silent. “Well?”

Twilight wavered under Applejack's gaze until her muzzle wrinkled in a snarl. “Because it’s my fault, okay?” Twilight yelled back. “Starswirl made it so that it only activates when an earth pony, a pegasus and a unicorn touch it at the same time.” She lifted a hoof, sweeping it across herself. “And since I’m all three…"

“So it turned on when ya fell on it?” Applejack grunted as Twilight nodded. “Why’d he even make this stupid doohickey anyway?”

“It’s not stupid! It’s how he made so many spells. To everyone else in the world, he’d take minutes to come up with something new, even if it really took him hours! It’s a brilliant piece of magic, even with the drawback!”


“The loop affects a bubble about the size of Equestria. And everything outside just keeps going. Time moves normally.”

“I know I don’t get all this timey-wimey stuff, but even I understand that’s bad!” Applejack stomped a hoof. “Why’d you let it happen?”

“What would you do if you just found out you’d put your entire country in danger?” Twilight asked quietly. “I just… couldn’t deal with it back then. I just wanted to relax a bit. Maybe have a little fun.”

“Fun?” Applejack stared at Twilight. “Y’call this mess fun?”

“Yes! I just wanted to spend a loop or two making sure that our wedding would be fun. That it’d be perfect! So we can’t stop now!”


“We’ve got to finish the plans! Once we’re done, we can shut this off.”

“Wh– no! How can ya even think that?” Applejack prodded Twilight’s chest with a hoof. “The world ain’t loopin’ with us. Who knows what mess you’ve made already? We gotta shut this off now!”

“But we’re almost done with the preparations!”

We are not!” Applejack snapped, throwing her hat to the floor. “You're never gonna be done, Twi! You're tryin’ to plan somethin’ perfect, but I got news for ya: nothin’ is ever perfect! You're always gonna find somethin’ to change or t’fix!”

Twilight’s ears fell flat. “No I wo–”

“You will. I know ya too well.” Applejack stepped up to Twilight, their snouts nearly touching. “You're always gonna try to get your plans working. Not ours. Yours.


“I get it, Twi. You're scared. Well, newsflash, I’m scared too.” Applejack leaned away, snorting angrily. “I'm scared about the weddin’, and I'm scared we'll never actually get there if ya don't get us out. I'm scared that I'm not gonna be marryin’ my Twilight.” She shook her head. “I don't rightly know if she's still there.”

Twilight blinked, flinching backwards. “Wh-what?”

“You sure haven’t been actin’ like the Twilight I fell in love with. She wouldn’t act like this.”

“Wh-what are you saying?” Twilight asked, choking on the words.

Applejack turned her head, facing away.

Twilight took a step backwards, then another, her breathing coming in short, shaky pants. “I… I had to, Applejack. I j-just thought I'd do a loop or t-two.” She shook her head, her gaze on the ground, hiding from Applejack, still backing up slowly. “Th-then it turned into three. Then t-ten. And then I lost count.”

Applejack snorted. “No kiddin’.”

Twilight jumped as her rump hit the wall, stopping her backward motion. She lifted her head back up, staring at her fiancée, her eyes swimming with tears. “I know I could've stopped it at any time. I know I sh-should have. I just… d-didn't want to.”


Twilight fell to the floor, her forelegs crossed over her eyes. “I p-put everypony at risk, and for what? For nothing? I j-just… didn't want to come back empty hoofed!” She pulled herself back up, a sob escaping her throat. “I want… I need everything perfect for us. You're my everything, Applejack. I need this!” she said, and broke into tears.

Applejack silently stared at Twilight, her ears flat, trying to block out the wails. It tore at her to listen to Twilight’s pain. But all she could hear were a few words in her mind, from not so long ago.

“She taught me to ask for help when I need it. But she rarely does herself.”

“That’s why you must be there to remind her, Applejack. Sometimes, she forgets to listen.”

As Twilight lay there, sobbing into her hooves, Applejack felt her anger bleed away.

“No ya don't.”

Twilight blinked. “Huh?” She flinched as Applejack stepped closer, nearly curling up on herself until Applejack threw her forelegs around Twilight, hugging her tightly.

“You don’t need it, Sugarcube,” Applejack whispered. “You just need me. And I need you,” she said, squeezing tighter. “We need each other. And we’ll get through this.”


“Yeah. Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow,” Twilight sighed as she hugged Applejack back. “I just hope it’s not too late…"

“Not too late at all. We got all the time in the world, Sug.”


“It took me hours to fix the Crusaders’ dresses! Hours! That I could have spent on getting everything just right!”

Applejack couldn’t stop grinning, not that she wanted to. “We did tell ya to take it easy, Rarity.”

“Pish posh! It’s your big day! I wouldn’t consider myself a friend if I didn’t try my damndest to make it perfect!”

The news of their wedding had been a bigger event that either had expected. Every nation, every city had wanted to be there, to celebrate the union of two heroes. Applejack had reluctantly agreed that Canterlot just had more space to accommodate everyone. Despite everything, some of Twilight’s plans were salvaged.

Twilight giggled. “I tried, Rarity, remember? You know how that turned out.”

“Well yes, but I’m willing to bet you didn’t plan for your brothers losing their ties in a bet!” Rarity harrumphed, glaring at an elk with a tie on each antler.

“We also expected a summer weddin’.” Applejack commented, glancing out the windows at the falling autumn leaves. “Not that I mind.”

“Or the earrings!” Rarity cried out. “I nearly had a heart attack!”

“S-sorry…" Spike mumbled, slumping down in his chair in an attempt to hide.

“Don’t you worry your scales off, Sugarcube,” Applejack chortled, fondly rubbing Spike’s crest. “Ya found them in the end, didn’t you?”

“Yep! I’d just left them under my pillow.”

“Then it’s alright!” Applejack grinned, nuzzling Twilight.

“And then Fluttershy’s birds developed a cough…" Rarity pressed a hoof to her forehead. “I swear, if anything else goes wrong, I will start ripping out my mane.”

“Excuse me, Miss Rarity?”

“Yes?” She glanced to the side. A young waiter stood to attention, sweating bullets as he tried to avoid meeting Rarity’s gaze.

He shuffled on his hooves, slowly inching away. “We’ve, um, we’ve run out of salad.”

Rarity’s left eye twitched dangerously. “We only just served it. How can we have run out already?”

Twilight giggled as Rarity ran off towards the kitchen, passing by Pinkie and Butterfly Stitch going head to head in a jello eating competition. “I don’t think she’s going to listen. Do you?” she said, wrapping a wing around Applejack.

Applejack shook her head. “Naw. We warned her. Ain’t no skin off my nose if she put herself in a tizzy about it.”

“It sounds like you took what you learned to heart,” interrupted a new voice.

Twilight blushed, smiling up at Celestia. “We did. I just wish I could’ve helped you these last few months.”

Celestia shook her head with a grin. “You know as well as I how the other heads-of-state would have reacted. It was best to let them cool off before you met them. After all, they did spend more than a month under the sun.”

Twilight’s ears drooped. “Still…"

“I am always and forever connected to the sun, guiding it along its course. When time rewound itself in the bubble, my control was rewound as well, pulling the sun back to where it had begun. I'm told it was quite an unusual sight, the sun zipping along five hours of motion in seconds.”

Twilight’s ears drooped lower still. “Oh boy.”

“Most of our allies were satisfied with the explanation.” Celestia blinked. “Except the Sarosian Colony. They were most cross to be stuck in their caves for a month. They still won’t speak to me.”

“But it was my fault! I–”

“Twilight.” Celestia lifted a hoof, instantly silencing the smaller princess. “This is your wedding. Leave those other concerns aside for now.”


“Also, I may have forgotten to mention your name when explaining the situation to the other regents. Consider that a wedding gift.” She smiled at the pair’s shocked expressions. “In any case, Luna has been acting as a middlemare to the Sarosians. And thanks to the support of the Griffonian Empire and the Minotaur Kingdom, we have come to an agreement.” She swept a hoof towards another table seating the two dignitaries and Princess Luna. “The artifact will be kept under lock and key, and dismantled as soon as we figure out how.”

Applejack rolled her eyes as she watched Luna accept the Minotaur ambassador’s hoof wrestling challenge, much to the delight of the Griffonian ambassador, who’d started taking bets on the pair. “I swear, I’ll never understand politics.”

Celestia grinned, leaning closer to the pair. “I still learn new things, even at my age.”

Twilight sighed happily as she leaned against her wife, settling into the couple’s seat. “You were right, Honeycrisp. This is perfect.”

Applejack raised an eyebrow and prodded Twilight’s side with a hoof. “I thought we didn’t want perfect?”

“It isn’t.” Twilight shook her head. “So much went wrong. But that made it better. It made it perfect.”

Wave your rump in the air like you don’t care, glide by the fillies as they start to look and stare! Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick! Mama, come on baby tell me what’s the word, Word Up!

Twilight winced, staring at Rainbow Dash and Daring Do, as the pair danced and sung on a table covered with suspiciously empty punch bowls.

“Well. Mostly perfect.”

“And that makes it better, right?” Applejack asked.

Twilight nodded, leaning in to kiss Applejack. “That makes it better.”

Author's Note:


Celestia paused, pie hovering before her mid-throw, as Applejack and Twilight walked in, chatting amicably.

“… I still can’t believe, after all that, you fixed it in five minutes.”

“Well, I just had to press the right rune, and I looked up the teleport coordinates after the second time we had to walk there. Oh, hey Princesses! Great news! I did it! The loops are over! We can – what in the world happened here?”

Celestia’s eyes went from Twilight, to the pie, to the food-covered foreign diplomats holed up behind their table across the hall. Her gaze met Luna’s.

“Oh, horseapples.”

Many thanks go to bats, timaeus, bookplayer, skeeter the lurker, and macdjord for all the help in brainstorming, prereading, editing, and stuff. Even if it did take bats a while to do so :ajbemused:. Still appreciated! <3

This went through a fair amount of iteration. It initially was one of the ideas I mentioned in a blog almost a year or two ago, of wanting to put AJ and Dash in a time loop and add romance. My interest in TwiJack grew since then though, and the story got reworked into what it is now. If I really wanted to have it close to the inspiration source several of you can probably guess at, the characters would have been Dash and Maud, if anything.

The story changed somewhat after advice from both bats and bookplayer, and the current form is much stronger than what it would have been without their help. Maybe not my best work, but I had fun with this!

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Comments ( 64 )

Finally! I was beginning to think you'd never get around to posting this. :pinkiehappy:

Now to wait and see how many... no. I won't spoil it. :moustache:

Just from the cover I have to say: those Ancients get everywhere.

I think I'll enjoy reading this. :derpytongue2:

Even if it did take bats a few months to do so.

Considering my slow-going accounted for less than half the development time, I'd say I've got a Get Out Of Jail Free card to play on this.


Took you long enough!

~Skeeter The Lurker


Yeah, yeah they truly do, don't they?

~Skeeter The Lurker

Tcherno has broken his appledash streak, you know what that means? He ain't an appledash overlord anymore bwahahahaha!

Whoah! I will read this at some point, but...

What the heck are those votes? D:

Honestly? Most of those are just pure haters. I got 3 of the downvotes within 2 minutes. Whoever they are can go fuck themselves. :ajbemused:

Pft. This is only temporary! I will get back to Just a coupe of ponies, and then do an appledash!

Wait, wait, wait...
Tchernobog posted a story NOT related to AppleDash?!
Oh gosh, we need to take him to the emergency room, STAT! :pinkiegasp:

Just kidding....maybe.

5387259 Why don't they take their little hate, roll it sideways and-

Okay crap, I gotta go.

Screw them, tho.

This was beautiful to read. Easily one of the best series on the site!

5387259 If you must know, I downboated you because I despise you on principle, regardless of how talented you are as a writer.


Also, TwiJack is mega gay.


:scootangel: :heart:

5389343 :rainbowlaugh: Glad someone caught that!


I've literally waited months to post this pic and Tcherno went ahead an uploaded the fic on the one day I'm not online.

This is why we can't have nice things. Oh, and also because time loops.

5390075 Who says it didn't happen~ :trixieshiftright:

To be fair, Tcher - you've published 5 fics (At The Drop of A Hat doesn't count), and only one of them actually has AppleDash as the primary ship~

Ahem. Those are en-dashes, not hyphens. And putting spaces around them is less common, but still perfectly acceptable, style. I will admit, putting a space between apostrophes and quote marks isn't good style, but alas we are at the mercy of Fimfic's font and rendering system, so the proper solution - using advanced kerning to add a small but distinguishable separation between the characters - is not possible, and as editor I chose to go for readability over style.
And, yes, TwiJack is gay. As is AppleDash. In fact, all Mane 6 ships are gay, what with them all being female.


Gosh, this trope was done long before Stargate did it. Or did you mean the story was based off this particular episode? Because if so that's pretty cool. I loved Stargate, :twilightsmile:

That episode was pretty much the entire inspiration of the fic, yes. Obviously needed some heavy edits to make something original, but the basic idea (and some jokes) are there. But yes, I still maintain that stargate's is the best time-loop example of any show/movie/story ever :pinkiehappy:

I wonder if they discovered the wonders of weather vanes.

Quite the awesome story you have here.


I was always partial to the episode for Xena, Warrior Princess that did this trope. She gets very frustrated and kills people a few times. ^^

5390657 Can't say I ever saw that one! Haven't seen much of xena to be honest. And most of it in german about 15-20 years ago?

Ooh, I recognize that writing. This is going to be good. :)

Nice job... especially considering the references to the inspiration, which I had a good snicker at when they showed up...

5391609 I couldn't help but include some of the jokes. But I think I made enough different as well ^^;


Okay seriously, what in the blue depths of hell is so fascinating about these lesbian pairings? That and a spineless and ball-less human in the HIE fics seem to be the only damn things around. Jesus Christ man.

Romance is a popular genre of literature.
+ The show features six female protagonists who are popular in fandom.
+ Shippers care more about the character's relationships than the tabs and slots.
= Lesbian romances are popular in MLP fanfiction.

Any more questions?

Right on the point

I had an inkling as I read this. It was tickling my nostalgia sense, and literally the FIRST two sentences my brain went, "Door to face." ... OH SNAP IT'S MY FAVORITE SG-1 EPISODE!

Notices the Ancient writing on the cover...
->Hype levels rising...

Ahem. Episode 200.

Mane cast: all female. Major supporting cast: all female except for Spike, who is a child. Minor supporting cast: mostly female.
So, yeah. Most stories featuring romance will feature it between two female characters, because most of the characters we care about are female.

a) They only actually got quarantined during the first few loops. During those loops, they were still trying to work with the princesses to solve things, so not telling them what was going on would be counterproductive.
b) Avoiding telling everyone what was going on would require either avoiding the princesses, who were expecting them, in a castle full of guards, or lying to their faces that nothing odd was going on.

5393765 Screw you, ep 200 is boring and idiotic! :P


It has gotten out of hand hasn't it?

Lies and slander!

That treasony.

You know how your AppleDash followers must have felt when they saw it in their feed.

"Oh hey nice, new story by Tchernobog."

Then they clicked the link and saw the cover image.


Every. single. one.

It is right to ship all those ponies, but your disloyalty disgust me, sir, so deeply.

Yet, nice story (yeah, just read it past night, couldn't fit it in earlier)

This was just brilliant. Unfortunately I've only just gotten around to actually finishing it. Regardless, you've done a wonderful job keeping it true to both shows while not just copying Stargate. I loved the explanation for the artifact as well. You really nailed this one!

I, for one, thoroughly enjoy both ships. Ain't disappointed in the slightest!

5411657 His expression alone makes that line so, so good! :rainbowlaugh:

Somehow I suspect the food fight actually made negotiations go smoother, to be honest. :trollestia:

5515035 :ajsmug::twilightsmile: I see what you did there!

You know, I'm was totally expecting Twilight to figure out a way to reverse engineer it so it works in a smaller radius, and then put it to use for fridges.

5400401 I know! Tchernobog was the one who introduced me to Appledash, only to abandon ship! Of all the possible things that could happen, this is THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. THING!

But seriously though, you and I may not like the shipping, but the man's hardly REQUIRED to write Appledash (not until my mind-control device gets functional, anyway). That being said, it's not like we need to read it anyway.


Actually, at least to me, it is not a bad thing.

The only true ship has viobluelett feathers, I'm not a fan of AppleDash at all ;)

Tchern is just terribly colorblind, now he starts confusing the orange with the blue instead with the lavender :P

Maybe, some moons later, both of his eyes might work correct at the same time for once enabling him to get it done properly and bring the right ponies together ;)

Well everyone's entitled to believe what they want-it's not as though we can say one ship is objectively "better" (Again, not until my mind-control device is working), but read Tcherno's subtitle. With his last two stories being ADL and TJ, the "complete Appledash fanatic" should perhaps re-evaluate his position, dontcha think?
Also, I don't want to spam the comment section, (which we may have already done) so if you have a reply, I suggest you send me a message.

The text that is written on the 'artifact' in the thumbnail says: "Do not bucking touch this for the sake of the princesses". Yes, I actually took the time to decode the glyph alphabet 'cause I've got the time to. :twilightsheepish: I thought it was a fun quote as it is supposed to be by Starswirl. :applejackunsure:
The rest of the text was just the title and "by Tchernobog".

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