• Published 1st Jun 2014
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Equestrian Epona - Shritistrang

What does a horse do when it finds out that it's actually from a world inhabited by intelligent equines? And when she gets the choice, where would she decide to live?

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A Mother's Love

Let me tell you about Ponyville.

That little town wasn't the place where I was born. That would be bustling Manehattan. But I always felt I didn't belong there, even as a filly. I was a country pony at heart, which I discovered once I got my cutie mark… the first cutie mark I had, before coming to Hyrule. And after meeting the love of my life, we quickly moved to Ponyville and lived on the farm he inherited from his parents. And I stayed there for the rest of my life. Well, my life in Equestria.

Ponyville was a community full of friendly, helpful ponies. Earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi alike lived there as friends and neighbors. It was a much better life than in Manehattan, where you always had to prove your worth to others. And Sweet Apple Acres was, well… the core of it, if you pardon the pun. The Apple family represented everything I always missed in the big city. Honesty, tolerance and helpfulness, the pride you feel after a day of hard work. And when my darling first told me the story how his mother and her family founded the town back in the days, I could see that the whole town was practically built on these virtues.

So yes, Ponyville was my home. And it will always be. And now that I was finally back in Equestria and saw the familiar landscape, the buildings and the orchard… all of my memories of my previous life came back to me. Up to now, it had all been nothing but that: Memories, hidden away in the back of my head. Sure, I realized that this dream was the truth after turning back into a pony, but as long as I stayed back in Hyrule, it was still foggy and hazy. Now everything was crystal clear.

I almost didn't notice how Link was staring at me with worry. "Epona, are you all right?"

"I remember now," I muttered. I pointed my hoof at a wooden cart standing in front of the barn. "That cart… my honey and I used it when we went for a picnic at the old watering hole. But the wheel was broken and he had to fix it first. And over here…" I ran to one of the nearby apple trees. "We scratched our names into the trunk of this tree." Tears came to my eyes when I put my hoof on the old carving. It was still visible after all these years.

Both Link and Navi stayed silent for a moment while I was standing in front of the tree, eyes closed. I realized they were giving me some time to gather myself. It was a lot to take in, I admit. I was very confused at the moment. My feelings were scrambled and my head was unable to take everything in.

But that was just the beginning. Suddenly, I heard this voice behind me. The sweetest, cheerful little filly voice I ever heard in my life. "Howdy there!"

I slowly turned my head… and froze. That small, yellow body… that red mane, bound by the most adorable bow… and those eyes. Those big, lovable eyes…

I cried with joy as I held the little bundle in my forelegs. "It's a girl! Honey, it's a little baby girl. Applejack has a little sister." I've given birth to two foals already in my life, but the joy I felt whenever I held one of my own children for the first time was incomparable with anything else.

My husband stepped at my side and glanced down at me and the little foal with a loving expression. "She has your eyes. What do you want to call her, dear?"

I smiled. "Apple Bloom!"

The filly kept smiling at me. "I haven't seen you on the farm before. Have you come to buy some apples?"

I couldn't blame her for not recognizing me. She was just a baby when I last saw her and now she had to be at last ten years old. I wonder how she did at school. Did she get good grades? And did she make any friends? Seeing my sweet little Apple Bloom like this made me realize how much I had missed while I was gone.

She tilted her head. "Um, miss? Hello? Are you alright?"

"I… I'm fine," I forced myself to say. I was still in a daze. What do you say to your daughter who you haven't seen in ten years?

I must have looked like a fool, but thankfully Link jumped in. "We, um… we're new here. We're from a different town and don't know our way around this one. So, we stumbled here by accident…"

"Oh, you're new?" Apple Bloom asked. "Then watch out for Pinkie Pie once you walk into town. She's gonna freak out once she realizes she has to throw another party." She giggled in the most adorable way. "But since you're already here, why not try one of our apples? I'm tellin ya, they're delicious and nutritious."

"Apple Bloom!" came a stern voice from the barn. "Didn't your sister tell you to leave the sales to her and Big Mac?"

I winced inwardly when I saw her walking up to us. My mother-in-law, the undoubted matriarch of the whole Apple family. I did everything I could to stop me from freaking out. If anypony recognized me, it had to be her. Now don't get me wrong, I loved old Granny Smith like my own mother… but I knew I didn't want my family to know I was back. Not yet, at least.

"But Granny!" Apple Bloom protested. "I still think I have a chance to get an apple selling cutie mark." My gaze wandered over to her little flank, and sure thing, it was blank. My sweetie had yet to get her cutie mark. That thought made me feel a little giddy on the inside. Maybe I could help her find her special talent, like all good mothers should.

"We talk about that later, filly. Now, you get going. Your little friends are waitin for you at Sugarcube Corner, aren't they?"

"Yer right, I almost forgot. Bye!" the filly shouted as she ran off.

Granny Smith smiled. "Please excuse her. That little one is so bent on getting her cutie mark that she's willing to try about anything. Now then, what can an old mare like me do for a couple of young'uns like you?" She then eyed Navi curiously. "Why, is that a Breezie you got with you?"

"Something like that, ma'am," Navi chuckled. "My name is Navi, and these are my friends Link and…"

"Romani!" I blurted out. It was the first name that crossed my mind. "My name's Romani. And we are here because, umm…"

"Because you lost your way and stumbled across Sweet Apple Acres, I got that much when I heard you talking to my granddaughter." She chuckled. "I might be getting old, but these ears are still working just fine. Your name is Romani, is it? Have we met before? You look mighty familiar. Have you ever been to one of the Apple family reunions?"

"No!" I lied. "Never!"

"Really? Oh well, maybe it's because your coat reminded me of cousin Apple Cobbler. Anyways, you have to go down that road to reach Ponyville's town square. I'm sure you'll find your way from there."

"Thanks a lot for your help," Link said.

"Ah, don't mention it. Have a nice day now, y'all. I would invite you inside for a mug of cider, but my two older grandchildren aren't home at the moment and it's a real mess in there."

"Maybe some other time," Link said. "Ep… I mean, Romani? Are you coming?"

With a deep longing in my heart, I took another good look at the house that was my home. How I wished to just walk in there and help Granny with all the chores… but I couldn't do it. Not yet. "Yeah, I'm coming," I said. Together, we walked down the road to Ponyville, past all the majestic apple trees.

"Why didn't you tell her your real name?" Link asked. "Isn't that what you wished for? To see your family again?"

"You're right, but… I can't. Not now. I wanted to tell my mother-in-law the truth, I wanted to run up to my little daughter and give her a hug, but then I thought: I was gone all these years. How will they react when they find out I'm back? What if they reject me? They seem to be capable of taking care of the farm by themselves."

"I'm sure they will be happy to see you."

"Maybe… but I still can't do it right now, Link. I need some time."

"So… that was your family?" Navi asked. "Do you want to tell us more about them?"

I felt a surge of anger. Being in the fairy's presence had annoyed me all day long and now I had enough. "Why do you want to know? Why do you even care?" I shouted. "You left us alone and we had to search for you all that time. And never did we hear anything! Why did you decide it was best to leave us right after the job was done?"

Navi was taken aback by my sudden outburst. Link seemed to be just as surprised, but I didn't care. I glared at Navi and kept yelling: "Did it ever cross your mind that we would miss you? We saved Hyrule together. We faced all sorts of dangers together. And then you thought you could just say 'Oh, that was it? Fine, I guess that means I'll be going now, bye.'? Is that it?"

"Epona…" Link said. "I had no idea. You… you missed her as well?"

"I… I didn't want to… I thought you…" Navi muttered.

"Well, you thought wrong!" I shouted. "Did you honestly think Link was the only one who missed you, Navi? Did you really think the three of us could go on a journey together without creating a bond? Did that thought ever cross your little fairy mind? Or did you think I wasn't important because I was just the dumb horse that always waited outside the dungeons?"

That was it. I couldn't hold it back any longer. All those years I missed her, all the times I was hoping she'd be all right, and the frustration I felt when I heard she was sitting safe at home. Yes, I admit it: Link wasn't the only one I grew close to during our adventure. True, when I first met Navi I thought she'd be very annoying. But I quickly learned that the little blue fairy had a charming personality that kept me entertained and happy on our travels. Whenever we rode across the plains, she'd sit in-between my ears and laugh. Whenever we took a break, she'd struggle to pick up those long juicy carrots I loved so much and carry them up to my mouth. At night she'd either sleep in Link's hat or snuggle within my mane. Yes, Navi is my second-best friend. And I missed her horribly when she left after the journey was over.

"Epona, please calm down," Link told me softly. "I'm sure Navi had a very good reason."

"Oh, did she?" I snorted. "Well, I also have my reasons. And my reason to be angry is flying right there!" I pointed my hoof at Navi.

"P-please let me explain, Epona," Navi sniffled. I saw tears in the corners of her eyes, but I was just too angry at her at that point.

"I just don't care anymore!" I yelled. "You want to leave us alone? Fine! Then leave! I don't need you anymore!"

Navi broke down into sobbing as she turned around and flew away. I didn't know in what direction, I just didn't care at the moment.

Link stared at me. "Epona…"

"C'mon, let's get going," I grumbled as I walked towards Ponyville. "We don't need her."

"If you want to go ahead, fine. But I'll go looking for her." And he ran after her.

I didn't know what to think at the moment. I thought Link would understand. After all, Navi abandoned him as well. But then, Link had never been one to hold a grudge. As for me… well, that had to be the old Apple family stubbornness. I know I wasn't ready to forgive Navi that easily.

For now, I wanted to concentrate on the good things. I was back in Ponyville. I had reasons to be happy.

I didn't feel a lot of happiness.

I saw multiple ponies walking past me, but none of them looked familiar. Ponyville probably had received a lot of new residents over the years I was gone. That grey pegasus with the mailbag for example. Or the white unicorn with the unique glasses and the over-the-top hairstyle… if she was my daughter, I certainly wouldn't allow her to walk around like that.

Most of the buildings were still the same. Town Hall, the library and the schoolhouse… but there were also a couple new stores that must have opened during my absence. I saw what looked like a spa, and a strange building looking like a gingerbread house. Was that some sort of confectionary? Intrigued, I approached it.

Before reaching the front door, I ran into a small group of school-age ponies, and among them was my little Apple Bloom. My heart did a little jump when I saw her again. I was about to steer clear of them, but then I heard what they were talking about.

"Still wearing that same silly old bow?" a pink filly with a tiara said mockingly. "That thing is sooo out of date."

"Yeah," the grey filly with the glasses added. "Can't your family afford new accessories that are more, I dunno, in fashion?"

"Hey!" Apple Bloom protested. "That bow was given to me by my big sister, so lay off."

"Yeah, you don't see us making fun of that tiara you're wearing all the time," said another filly, the cutest unicorn I've ever seen. Probably one of Apple Bloom's friends?

"By the way," the orange pegasus filly next to her added. "That tiara does look pretty stupid."

"Hah! You're just jealous my daddy buys me everything. I just have to ask him. That bow doesn't even look like it's clean," the pink filly continued.

"But it is clean!" Apple Bloom shouted. "I'll have you know that I always get a new, clean bow out of the hats-and-bows-closet as soon as my current one is dirty."

That didn't help her case very much, as the two bullies broke out into laughter.

"A hats-and-bows-closet? Honestly? Wow, no wonder your sister always wears that dusty old hat. You must have so many old things in that barn you call a house… don't you ever buy anything new?" the grey filly chuckled.

"Maybe she can ask her parents to buy her something. Oh wait, I forgot: She doesn't have any!" the pink one laughed.

Something in my heart broke when I saw the tears in my little filly's eyes. If you ever had children, you know there are some things that are never, ever said in the presence of any good mother.

Faster than Link could ever be with the bunny hood in his head, I ran up to the pink little bully and gave her a good slap that made her stumble and fall back on her bum.

"OW!" she cried. "Wh-what the…? Hey! What do you think you're doing, lady?" She held her swollen cheek. "I'm going to tell my daddy!"

"Good!" I shouted. "I would like to have a word with the father of such a spoiled little brat like yourself. And make sure to tell him how you ridiculed another filly for her parents or lack thereof."

With the help of her friend, the pink bully got back to her feet. "Just you wait. My daddy is Filthy Rich, and he's one of the most important ponies in town."

Filthy Rich, I thought to myself. I should have figured. Back when I lived here, I always despised that rich little snot. I could always tell his family always thought of themselves as better as the common Ponyville resident, just because they were the owners of Rich's Barnyard Bargains, the biggest store in town. They probably forgot which family was the one who founded Ponyville.

"Come on, Diamond Tiara. Let's get out of here," her grey friend muttered. Her pink friend nodded and they ran off. But Diamond Tiara turned her head one last time and yelled: "And don't you three blank flanks think this is over!"

Great, a school-age cutie mark supremacist. Filthy sure knew how to raise his kid.

"Are the three of you okay?" I asked. I spoke to all three children, but my eyes were solely on the bow-wearing yellow filly in front of me.

"Y-yes. Ah'm fine," Apple Bloom sniffled. She quickly wiped away her tears. "Thanks for helping me out there, miss…"

"Just call me Romani," I smiled.

"Okay, Miss Romani. Hey, I remember you. You were the one who visited Sweet Apple Acres with her friend."

"Your name is Apple Bloom, correct? I was happy I was able to help. That little brat had it coming. Are these your friends?"

Apple Bloom nodded. "Yeah, this is Sweetie Belle…" She pointed at the unicorn. "And that's Scootaloo." She gestured at the pegasus, who I noticed had unusually small wings for her age.

"Wow, that sure was awesome the way you slapped that little pest Diamond Tiara!" Scootaloo shouted with excitement as she flew around me. It was more of a hover, actually.

"Thanks, kid. But remember that violence is not always the solution," I chuckled.

"Still, you're a cool lady, Miss Romani!" Scootaloo said.

"And what about Rainbow Dash?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"What about her? She's still cooler. I'm sure Rainbow Dash would have done the same thing." Whoever that 'Rainbow Dash' was, the little filly sure seemed to hold her in high regards.

"Hey, I know!" Apple Bloom suddenly said. "Why don't we all get some cupcakes from Sugarcube Corner? Our treat. Because you helped us with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon." And she gestured towards the entrance of the gingerbread house.

So I was right. It was a confectionary. I was about to refuse, but then my stomach rumbled, reminding me that it was nearly lunchtime. And Link was the one with all the rupees in his wallet.

So I said: "I gladly accept your invitation, girls."

Author's Note:

I edited the previous chapters and changed the format on the apostrophes and question marks. Everything should be in order. If I missed anything, let me know.

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