• Published 6th Apr 2012
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The Colors Of A New World - LordOfTape

I've finally made it Ponyville, but what in the world is going on?

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The Value of Orange

Chapter 6: The Value of Orange

I could hear the faint chattering of voices in my head. It sounded like two people arguing about…cereal? That couldn’t be right, who would argue over something as simple as cereal? Get up from your cereal? Why would I be on my cereal? Such preposterous anomalies were absurd.

Ack, big words hurt my head early in the morning. But why was I supposed to get up? It was so early, the sun was just breaching the horizon, way too early to be awake. I turned myself over, only to be stuck in the side by hundreds of tiny hay needles.

“Geah!” I screamed, jumping from the spiky bedside.

Landing not so neatly on my hooves, I stumbled and fell over. I wasn’t much good at anything in the morning, not even balance. I needed sleep to function properly. Brushing the needles from my side, I realized quickly that that wasn’t going to happen.

The barn door was open, which was why the light was getting in so easily. Wait…the barn door? Oh no! Applejack was expecting me for work today! I couldn’t be late, I promised I wouldn’t. Getting myself together as quickly as possible, I rushed out of the door, jettisoning onto the trail to the house. The wind rushed against my face and I could feel the current whoosh through my mane. It was a glorious feeling of both excitement and anxiety. I was afraid I was already late, but at the same time I enjoyed the prospect of just narrowly beating the clock.

Quickly halting myself at the entrance to the rustic abode of the Apple’s, I took in a deep breath. Letting the wind go, I then wiped the few beads of sweat from my brow. What a rush; I could never run that fast as a human.

The door clicked open and a tired yellow filly tumbled outside. Applebloom bumped down the stairs onto the dirt ahead of me. I couldn’t help but chuckle and grin at the cuteness of the young Apple. Behind her was AJ, awake and ready to go. She picked her sister up with her teeth and planted her hooves firmly on the ground.

“Now wake up Sugercube, we got alotta buckin’ to get done.” She prodded.

“Aw, but Ah don wanna.” She whimpered.

“Now Bloom, show this ‘ere colt what the apple buckin’ spirit really is.”

At this request, Applebloom lit up and sprinted to the nearest tree, ramming her tiny body into the large trunk. With a resounding thud, the filly bounced off the tree and into the ground. My breathing stopped momentarily for fear of the girl’s condition. This fear was alleviated quickly though as she proceeded to get up and watch the wooden base with intrigue.

The light rustling of the leaves halted and no sooner had they done so that a rush of apples came flooding from the brown and green monstrosity. The apples all fell into the buckets beneath, piling nicely on top of one another.

“Well.” I coughed.

Applejack smiled a winner’s smile at me, “An she’s just a filly. Still think your busted body’s gonna be enough t’ knock down these apples?”

She was challenging me. This earth pony farm girl was challenging me of all people, er, ponies to a contest of strength. I let out a short snicker as our eyes met. Raising one eyebrow to match my satisfied grin, I responded “I can buck more of these trees in one hour than you could the entire day.”

Feeling offended and put down, the orange pony stomped closer into me until she was breathing down my neck. She was more annoyed by my acceptance than I thought she would be. She pressed her forehead against mine, her eyes digging through my own trying to make me back down. I stood there calmly as she tried again and again to intimidate me, quickly enough she backed down.

With a quick spit to the side, she said “Then that there mean’s y’all think you cn’ buck more than Ah could in only an hour. So let’s see, Slick, let’s see how many apples ya cn’ buck.”

Without even so much as a signal, Applebloom screamed out, “Cutie Mark Crusader Judge! Both ponies gotta go t’ oppsit sides a the farm an’ in one hour, come on back. The pony with th’ most bucked trees wins! Ready, git set…GO!”

Applejack tipped her hat to me before bolting off into the forest of trees behind her. It was interesting to see that although I did annoy her and frustrate her with my words and personality, she still valued me as a challenger of sorts. She was honest to a fault I suppose. She was going to do her best to win, and I knew it. My face grew happy with the thought of beating Applejack in a good old fashioned who-can-do-more. Laughing to myself about the prospect, I spat on the ground just as Applejack did.

An interested and excited filly commented as I too ran off to my own set of trees, “Now it’s on.”

Having seen AJ buck hundreds of trees in the show, I knew exactly how to go about it. Reaching the apparent center of the orchard, I picked a large tree and reared my hind legs. Colliding with a painful snap, the red orbs flooded from the canopy. Wincing at the noise, I looked to see what I had done to my legs. On my backwards glance, I did not see any broken bones, instead, a splintering apple tree.

Making a full turn, I looked up and down in awe at the cracking wood. I just…bucked a tree…in half. This day could only get better. I was one strong stallion, and I couldn’t say I was disappointed with that. Realizing my new strength, I ran from tree to tree smashing my legs into them. It wasn’t a difficult task, each kick having the same effect.

The adrenaline pumped through my pony veins. Each new tree revealed another rush of energy and power. Soon enough I was hyped up on the surges and couldn’t stop. Running wildly throughout the orchard I nearly destroyed half of the trees I bucked. I hadn’t realized it earlier, but being cooped up inside of beds my entire trip, I had no outlets to release this massive energy. In no time at all, I had finished up every apple tree in visible range. Feeling as though there was nothing else I could do, I began trotting at a slow pace back to the house. The pace soon quickened, and became even faster from there until I had reached a full gallop. I just couldn’t get enough of the feeling.

After having breached the edge of the orchard I planted my hooves firmly into the ground to stop myself from overshooting the house. Applebloom was left, jaw dropped on the meadow underneath, as she witnessed my return.


“Buh, buh you, ya jus’, but AJ, howd’ya, wha?” she blabbered incoherently.

Of course she hadn’t expected me to finish first, or buck more trees, but it was still funny to look at her astounded face. Passing the girl, I looked out at Applejack’s side. I could see the line of bucked trees clearly sweep over half of her turf. Unfortunately for her, there wouldn’t be enough time to finish the other half. I tried figuring out where she was, but it was almost impossible with the vast amounts of trees.

After several intensive minutes of staring, I finally found the pony I was looking for. She was a simple orange blur, dashing from green blob to green blob. Although her form was tiny amongst the large figures of the trees, her vibrant coat was stunning and defining. Even at the incredible speed she ran, I could still define the base outline of her body. I followed the darting shape intently, bemused by its stark contrast.

The other colors of the forest were all the same, if not extremely similar. And when the apples had fallen, there was nothing to distinguish these trees from any others. But Applejack was completely different from both the trees and their apples. Her orange tone was a striking center piece to the whole of the uniformity. Bright and constant in its movement, her coat spoke volumes to me. Her entire being was different, it was against the waves of green, and it was unconforming in its value. No matter how much green or brown or red, Applejack would remain orange. Nothing could change the orange on her outside, nothing could mask how truly it shown. No amount of trees would ever change Applejack’s orange.

Entranced once more in the wonderful world of the color spectrum, I had almost missed the pokes and prods of one Applebloom on my battered sides.

“Excuse me mister, but those trees don’t look at all sturdy or nothin’. They look like the ones that hurt ma brother Big Macintosh.”

I shut my eyes and shook my head, putting my mind back into its normal thought patterns. Taking a good look at the trees I too noticed their unstable characteristics. Taking a quick recap of my own area, I saw that some of the trees had indeed fallen down. Noticing Applejack’s position, I could plainly see she was headed back through an area or already bucked trees. If one of those was too collapse on top of her…no, I didn’t want to think about it.

I ran out into the east side of the orchard towards the earth pony, calling out her name. She didn’t respond, and I wasn’t sure if she could hear me. Each step I took I could feel the same energy rush soar through my body. It took all I had to not let it overwhelm me and control me. The two of us rounded the corner and saw each other clearly standing not fifty feet from each other.

“Hey, what’r y’all doin’ on my –” her sentence cut off as she noticed one of the gigantic apple trees begin its descent upon her.

Running as quick as I could, I planted my right hoof into the ground and let my body swing in a circle around it. With my hind legs now facing behind me, I let out a supped-up-apple-bucking kick and wailed on the tree. It was a strong enough force to push the timber to the side of the unsuspecting pony and keep her safe. I on the other hand was completely exhausted and collapsed quickly to the ground.

“Y’all….y’all saved my life, Slick.” She thanked me, albeit it greatly surprised and terrified.

From the ground below, I joked with her, “That enough ‘real apple buckin’ spirit’ for you?”

The orange pony let out a happy sigh and helped me up. She brushed off the dirt from my coat, and we began our slow walk back to the house. We were both tried, having spent our energy on the vast majority of trees. Applebloom was waiting as excited as ever at the top of the hill. When we came into her view, she bounced up and down all over the place before rushing to her sister’s side.

“Oh ma Celestia, there were the trees and they all went SNAP n’ then he was all WHOOSH an’ ZOOM and aw, aw, he slid in the circles and POW, showed that dang ol’ tree whose boss ‘round here. An’ then, an’ then, aw Applejack, are you ok?” she blurted out.

With a caring smile, Applejack patted her sister on the head, “Ah’m alright Sugercube. Now why dontcha calm down and get Slick ‘ere a glass o’ water.”

The three of us took a nice long rest inside of the farm house. Even though I had just been enjoying the vast amounts of exercise, taking a break was quite nice on my muscles. After all, I still wasn’t fully healed. Applebloom handed me the glass of water. It was cold and refreshing as it trickled down my still panting throat.

“Thanks Applebloom.”

The yellow crusader beamed a ‘you’re welcome’ with her bright, childish smile. She then proceeded to hand…hoof, her sister a drink. I can’t say I’ve become greatly familiar with their terminology quite yet.

Applejack took a swift sip and then began questioning me, “Why’d ya go and risk your own life f’r me? Ah woulda been jus’ fine all by maself y’know.”

I shot her a suspecting look, “Oh really, Applejack. So then your body is tougher than your older, bigger brother’s?”

“Not exactly…” she backed off “But it’s not like Ah asked for your help.”

“Maybe not,” I replied “But what kind of pony would I be if I just willingly let a kind mare such as yourself get crushed beneath one of her own apple trees, let alone while letting her sister watch it all happen?”

She decided not to take in my whole message, but instead to debate its finer points, “Kind? As much as Ah hate t’ say it, Ah haven’t been all that great to y’all.”

Confused but aware, I alleviated her guilt “Absurd. You came to the door late at night and had the courtesy not to turn me away. Then you even went on to allow me the use of your barn for sleeping purposes. Not only that, but even as I pushed you off the edge with my attitude, you still didn’t dismiss me. I’d call that kindness if I’ve ever seen it.”

“Well, if y’all are looking for kindness, Fluttershy’s your gal. T’ be honest with ya, Ah thought y’all were more stuck up ‘an a rattlesnake on a cactus. Ah was really try’n to beat ya in that race.” Her eyes shifted towards the ground, and her remaining words were mumbled, but I could still here them “A race you even won anyways.”

“Well, at least you’re honest about it. Better to tell me I’m being a jerk then try and cover it up with lies.” I chuckled.

“Honesty is the best policy for me.” she nodded, affirming the idea. “And apparently it’s yours too.”

“ Thanks Applejack.” I said, “You know, I’m really sorry for being a jerk.”

Applejack took off her hat and threw it at me, “You aint’ the only pony round here who likes to run their mouth off, but at least y’all got the skill t’ back it up. Plus, underneath that big ego a yours is a good heart, real good heart. Nopony without one woulda even bothered savin’ my hindquarters from a mess like that.”

Her pride was a tall order in itself, much like my own, but she was able to take it from its ‘high horse’ so to speak, and accept defeat. Not because she had lost to me, but because she finally found that I was somepony worth losing to. Even past the snarky remarks and shots at her abilities, she still saw something in me that most others wouldn’t. She saw a good heart, somepony who might not always act how they should, but tries to anyways.

I was about to respond, but Applejack began speaking before I did. It wasn’t to me though. Her words were instead directed towards her sister.

“Applebloom, you mind leaving the room fr’ a bit?” she asked politely.

“Awwww, but Ah don wanna!” she complained.

“Bloom, please.” She asked, still nicely but with an authoritative overtone.

“Awright.” She sighed.

I wondered what Applejack could have had to say that little Applebloom couldn’t hear. Something about the challenge? Maybe about Big Mac or the farm? Twilight even? I had no idea.

Applejack cleared my head, “You know why we were buckin’ all those apples t’day?”

“Yeah, for cider season right?” I answered.

“Eeyup.” She started, her response reminding me of Big Mac. I wondered how he was doing, if the operation was a success. I hope everything is alright. After everything that’s happened, if Big Mac couldn’t move anymore….oh god.

She continued with her answer, dispelling my thoughts of Macintosh “But our real cider sales don’t start till a good ‘nother three weeks. Pinkie Pie was havin’ a big hoedown o’er at Sugarcube corner tonight, and wanted to well, ‘serve the strong stuff’ if ya know what Ah mean.”

Cider really was beer here. “So you’re making it early then?”

“Mhhm, just early enough t’ keep the brew nice and powerful, give it that Sweet Apple punch. But Ah can’t have Bloom drinkin’ this stuff, so Ah don’t want her hearin’ bout it.”

“Oh.” I chuckled.

“Anyways, with Big Macintosh in the hospital, Ah need ya to deliver all that cider to the party. If ya aint too tired after our little race that is.” She smirked.

“Not at all.”

“Hoo-ee! Then it’s settled, Ah’kll make the cider with Granny Smith and y’all can bring it t’ Pinkie’s. You’re a real life saver, Slick.”

I was going to remind her that my name was not ‘Slick’, but Drumroll. I decided instead to leave it though, cause I did kind of like the name. Applejack left the room, giddily racing to Granny Smith with the news. It made me feel great to have helped out somepony who I knew was truly a great pony. Applejack was a hard working girl with lots of responsibilities and goals, and I respected that. Anything I could do to help was at least some amount of good.

Although they wouldn’t let me help with making the cider, I did help collect all of the bucked apples from the orchard, and finished the trees that Applejack didn’t get herself. It was good hard work without being able to fly, but it wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to in my world. As the day neared prime party times, I watched as they filled the last barrel of cider. I kicked the barrel onto the cart and had them hook me up.

It was slow going at first, but once I got the cart to start moving it was easy. As I trotted down the dirt road back into town, I stopped to wave goodbye to the Apples. They returned my wave with their own, and I headed onward. Right before leaving the gate at the entrance though, I heard Applejack call out to me. Her voice increased as if she was getting closer.

“Hey Slick! Wait up!”

I stopped, heeding the mare’s request. “What is it Applejack?” I asked.

“Since y’all offered to help, I was hopin’ y’all could come back after the party and help do some more buckin’ tomorrow morning.”

I had never expected Applejack to actually ASK for anyponies help. Without even skipping a beat, I answered yes. I was going to leave after that, but Applejack stopped me again.

“Here,” She said, placing her hat back on my head, “Y’all forgot this.”

“But this is your special hat?” I questioned her.

“Ah know, but y’all are gonna be back. A’sides, y’all earned it.” her bouncy smiling returning quickly to her face as she trotted back to the barn.

As I watched her run back home, I found the orange outline once again fade into the sea of green. I happily watched, knowing that no matter how far deep she went into the green, she would always be orange, always different, always standing out from the rest. There could be nopony who would mistake her for one of the crowd.

Orange, my favorite color. If it was true, that orange was what defined the absence of conformity, then would it make any more sense that I was here? That in itself is crazy though, because Applejack, the most orange of all orange ponies, was too different from me. What did orange mean? Why was this color so intriguing? What made orange so important?

Shaking my head of the troublesome colors, I resumed my long, cider filled trek to Sugercube Corner. The cider barrels banged as a walked, but did not fall. Beneath the banging I could hear a light murmur. It held the same two tones of the voices that partook in my nightly debates.

To the leftish, “A true pony earns the respect of his friends.”

To the sortof right, “Yes, a TRUE pony.”

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