• Published 15th Aug 2014
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Pony-Pet Playdate Campout - Never2muchpinkie



The mane six have a campout at Sweet Apple Acres, and all of them talk about how they came to be with their pets

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Chapter 1: Applejack and Winona

“Where are you going, Twilight?” asked Spike.

“Spike,” Twilight said with a laugh, “I already told you three times already.” Her horn was glowing as she placed items into a bag. “We’re having a campout tonight. You should pay more attention to me when I tell you things.”

“I know, but I don’t see why you’re taking Owlicious and not me.”

“Hoo,” hooted the owl.

“ME!” Spike slapped his claw to his face. “I don’t know how many times we need to go over this. “Me! Spike!”

“Hoo?”

“Ugh! I give up!”

“Oh, Spike,” said Twilight. “Don’t be so jealous. You already know you’re irreplaceable to me.”

“I know… but I still think I should go too.”

“It was Applejack’s idea. We already have our pony-pet playdates once a week. She suggested that for a change of pace we have one at night. All of us are going to Sweet Apple Acres to play under the moonlight and then go to sleep.

“You know you’re welcome to come, Spike, even if you don’t have a pet. I know you, though. You’re gonna be out like a light in just a little while. I know how much you like your sleep, so I’ll cancel your chores tomorrow so you can sleep in extra late.” She gave him a wink.

That brought a smile to his face. “Thanks, Twilight. That makes me feel better.”

“I’m glad, Spike.” Placing one last item in her bag she said, “All set!” Giving Spike a hug she said, “I’ll see you later, number one assistant.”

“Bye, Twilight.”

“Come on, Owlicious.” Opening the door she ran out, the owl flying alongside her. “You know, this kind of thing will suit you, being a nocturnal bird and all.”

“Hoo!” he cried out.

When she arrived at Sweet Apple Acres she saw all her friends were already there, waiting inside the barn. “Hey, there!”

“Hey, Twilight!” said Applejack. “Say hello, Winona!” The dog let out a happy bark. “We’ve been waitin’ fer ya.”

“Yeah!” said Rainbow Dash impatiently. “It’s about time.”

“We’ve already set up the camp site so let’s go have some fun!”

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” Twilight replied.

The six ponies and their pets left and headed to the outskirts of the farm. On an open part of the field there were a few tents already set up, along with logs around a spot for a campfire.

“I brought the marshmallows!” Pinkie chirped in. She began salivating. “Mmmm! Roasted marshmallows on an open flame. I can’t wait. Can you, Gummy?” Gummy blinked in response. “I know! Me too!”

“Applejack, darling,” started Rarity, “It’s a little chilly for poor Opal here. Can you get that fire started?”

“No problem, Rarity.” Taking a set of sticks she began rapidly rubbing them together until it sparked and lit up.

With the campfire all set up Rainbow Dash stood up. “I think it’s time for a story.” She let out a melodramatic laugh.

“Ugh,” Rarity said, rolling her eyes. “We had enough of those at the last campout. As a professional racer I didn’t think you were such a one-trick pony.”

“Hey!” she cried out. She sat down with a “Hmph!” Looking around for a different topic she lit up as she said, “I got it!”

“What is it, Rainbow Dash?” asked Fluttershy.

“This is our pony-pet playdate sleepover, so why don’t we talk about our pets?”

“Sounds good ta me,” said Applejack.

“How did all of you get your pets? You were all there when I was having that big competition to see who would get to be my pet. What about all of you?”

“Well, there’s not much to tell with me,” said Twilight, rubbing her owl’s head. “Owlicious just showed up one night when I was doing my studying. He helped me get back a paper that flew out the window with a breeze, and I offered to let him stay as a thank you. Nothing too special about our meeting, but boy was Spike jealous of having to share the assistant job.”

Rainbow Dash sighed. “BO-RING! You see, Rarity? THIS is why I wanted to tell some spooky stories. To get the blood pumping and the heart racing!” She made a sweep of the group and said, “Alright! Who’s get a BETTER story?”

Applejack spoke up. “I’ll go next. My story is very sweet and inspirational. Isn’t that right, girl?” Rubbing Winona’s side the dog flopped over and Applejack began rubbing her belly as she wagged her tail. “Oh, yes! Yer such a good little doggy!” She stopped after a minute, turning back to the rest of the group. “Knowing me as ya do today, you might not ever guess that I used to have a lot of self-confidence issues. Winona here was the one who taught me ta believe in my own strength."

***

Applejack ran around Sweet Apple Acres, excited as anything to be back home. She had thought a change of pace would open up her mind to the possibilities, and in a way it did. Visiting her Aunt and Uncle Orange showed her how lucky and fortunate she was to have her older brother, her grandmother, and her little sister.

Getting her cutie mark only made it more obvious that this was where she was supposed to be.

The day after getting her cutie mark she was out with her older brother, grabbing the baskets and moving them to catch the falling apples.

“This is fun, Big Mac. Do you think I could give bucking apples a try?”

“Eeyup!” he responded.

She let out a laugh, running up to the tree. She turned around, balanced herself on her front hooves, and attempted to hit the tree. She was a bit too far away and only hit air, falling to the ground. Letting out an awkward laugh she got back up, moving closer to the tree. Once more turning around she swung at the tree. She started out strong, but right before her hooves hit she slowed down, barely tapping it.

“Somethin’ wrong, AJ?” asked Big Mac.

Looking up at Big Mac she said, “I don’t know. I guess I’m just nervous. This is the first time I’m tryin’ ta buck somethin’. You’re so much bigger and stronger than I am. I feel like I’m gonna break my hooves if I hit those trees as hard as you do.”

Big Mac laughed. “That’s just silly. It’ll be fine. Just give it a good, hard whack.”

She awkwardly looked at the tree, lifting herself up on her front hooves and shaking the tree to no effect.

“What’re ya doin’, AJ? You ain’t gonna get any apples down that way.”

After a few minutes of nothing happening but her trying other creative and ineffective methods Big Mac said, “It’s okay, AJ. You’re not ready yet. Just get the buckets and collect the apples like we usually do."

“Okay,” she responded, letting out a disappointed sigh. For the next two hours the two of them collected all the apples they could.

Applejack was down in the dumps the rest of the day.

In the morning she got up at the crowing of the rooster. Without eating breakfast she ran outside, going up to one of the trees they didn’t get to yesterday. “Alright, you varmint! Yer givin’ up those apples, ya understand me?” Intimidation wasn’t any more effective than any of her other methods. Turning her back on the tree she said to herself, “Alright, Applejack. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Just bend forward, jump up and give it a KICK!” She let out a growl of frustration as her legs stopped right before the tree. “Ah, dernit! What’s wrong with me?”

She spent the next ten minutes just glaring at the tree. She gave up with a sigh as she heard movement inside the house. Big Mac would be out soon. She went inside to eat breakfast, and then grabbed the apple buckets like usual.

***

“At first I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. All I knew was that no matter how many times I went outside I just couldn’t bring myself to give it my all. Big Mac and Granny Smith were real encouragin’, but I still couldn’t bring myself ta do it. Day after day I’d go out ta the apple trees, each day telling myself, 'This is it! This is the day!' And then each time I’d falter. I felt like such a failure, unworthy of the cutie mark that adorned my flank. It all came ta a head one day, and that’s when I finally realized just what the problem was.”

“What was that?” asked Twilight.

“I was upset and jealous, that’s what.”

“Why?” asked Pinkie Pie. “You were jealous of Big Mac because he could buck them and you couldn’t?”

“No. That’s not it. It was deeper than that.”

***

Applejack was getting more and more furious at herself. Attempting to hit the tree like usual she slipped and fell flat on her face. “Darn it, Applejack! Ya no good loser! Ya good fer nothin’! It’s just a stupid tree! Hit the darn thing already!” Missing again she fell back on the ground. She let out a frustrated yell and began punching the tree with her front hooves, tears coming down her eyes. “I hate ya! I hate ya! Stupid tree!”

“AJ!” came the voice of Big Mac, picking her up. “Come with me.” Taking her to the barn he set her down on a bale of hay. “What’s this all about now? I know there’s something really bothering you about bucking. And don’t try to tell me it’s about hurting your hooves. You sure didn’t seem to be hurting them a second ago. What’s the problem?”

Applejack glared at Big Mac, attempting to hop off the bale but he held her in place. Her angry look faded, and she began shaking as tears came down her eyes. “It’s not fair!”

Big Mac rubbed her back as he asked, “What’s not fair?”

“Yer so lucky. Ya got the be trained by Mom and Dad and help out with all the hard work. Now that I’m finally old enough to do it too they’re both gone! I’ll never get to work alongside them and show them how strong I am!” Her eyes clenched tight. “It’s not fair!” She began sobbing.

“It’s okay, AJ,” said Big Mac, pulling the filly close to him in a hug. “They’re still watching over you, Sis. They want to see you do your best. You can’t let that hold you back forever. You have the strength to be great. Apple Bloom is still just a baby but she’s going to be looking up to you as her role model. So don’t let it get you down. You can do it.”

“No!” she yelled out. “No, I can’t! I’m never gonna buck any apples ever in my whole life. Not until they come back and help me!”

Big Mac was quiet for a short time, before he said, “You know they can’t do that.”

***

“It was all about my parents. I was jealous of Big Mac for being able to spend that time bonding with them. He used to be the apple collector and them the buckers. When he got old enough and strong enough he helped buck and that’s when I became the collector. Before I grew enough to join the three of them in the bucking our parents were gone. I was so sad and lost. I didn’t think I was ever gonna recover. Not until I was forced ta.

“There was a big storm one day. After it was over me and Big Mac had to clean up all the broken branches and see if any of the trees had fallen over. While I was near the edge of the orchard that’s when I heard it: a cry of pain."

***

“Yip! Yip!”

“What’s that?” said Applejack, following the noise. She rounded herself around a tree and saw a dog. It let out a howl as it spotted her. As she got closer she let out a gasp. Its leg was caught underneath a fallen tree. The only thing that had stopped it from crushing her leg entirely was a smaller tree that had broken its fall just enough.

Running up to the tree she attempted to lift it but it didn’t budge an inch. The dog kept barking and whining, clearly in pain. Backing up for a running start she jumped at it , ramming it with her body. Besides another wail from the dog as it moved slightly on her leg there was no effect.

Applejack looked around, trying to see if there was something she could use as a prop to lift the tree, but she saw nothing. “Hold on, dog. I’ll be right back. I’ll go get my big brother. He’ll know what to do.”

She began running, ignoring the dog’s cries until a sharp crack made her stop and turn her head around. The dog let out a loud yelp, and Applejack saw that the smaller tree was being crushed under the weight of the bigger one. There wasn’t any time to go get her brother. By the time the two of them got back that leg would be completely crushed.

She ran back up to the tree, pushing with her utmost. “Come… on… tree! Budge!” Panting, she let go. It was too much for her. She looked into the eyes of the little dog, whimpering and crying out for help. She wasn’t going to just sit here and do nothing while someone needed her help. Taking a deep breath she did the only thing she could think of that would help. Turning her back on the tree she took another deep breath. “Mom… Dad…LEND ME YER STRENGTH!” Putting her weight on her front legs she hopped up, and with a savage cry she slammed her back hooves as hard as she could into the tree.

She turned her head to look and saw that she had only moved the tree a few inches, but it was enough. She let out a relieved sigh as the dog stood up. Limping, it hobbled over to her and sat down as she held it to her. It began licking her face gratefully. “Aw, you’re welcome. I’m glad you’re okay.”

***

“After that I took her back to the house and Granny Smith helped to patch her up. I told them about what happened, and they were so proud of me for finally overcoming my fears. I just had ta realize that my parents may not be alive in the body, but they’re still livin’ inside my heart. I named her Winona, after one of my aunts. She became my partner growin’ up. I trained her in herding up the animals, and she helped to keep me strong.

“Now I’ve come ta the point where I no longer have those doubts inside me. I know I’m strong and powerful, because my folks are watchin’ over me.”

“Oh, Applejack,” said Fluttershy, wiping away a tear. “That was such a sweet story.”

“Thanks, Fluttershy.”

“Come on!” said Rainbow Dash. “Can we get something a little juicier here? How about you, Pinkie Pie? You have an exotic animal. I’m sure you’ve got a wild tale for how you got Gummy.”

Pinkie stared into the fire, looking disturbed. She let out a small sigh as she shook her head. “It may be wild… but it’s not a happy story. It was probably the saddest, worst way we could have met.”

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