• Published 24th Dec 2014
  • 842 Views, 40 Comments

Friendship Still is Magic - ultronquake



Twilight Sparkle and her new found allies, Cloudchaser, Berry Punch, Lyra Heartstrings, Lotus Blossom and Derpy hooves must confront an ancient threat in the Everfree Forest. And, you know also do that thing the princess said about making friends.

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Apple Bucking Season: Sleepwalking through your part

Applejack wasn't hard to follow, all Lyra had to do was look for the bumped into gates and knocked over fences. She would be making some remark about Applejack being a silly pony if not for her concern. From the way she was acting on stage it was clear something was not right. Lyra followed the trail of minor property damage all the way back to Sweet Apple Acres, there she found Applejack hard at work, emptying the trees of their fruit. The trophy she had accepted lay strewn about on the field, almost like she forgot about it entirely.

Lyra decided to speak up, "Hello Applejack," she said in a chipper voice. "It was good to see you out today, haven't seen you around town lately."

Applejack continued bucking the trees, "Yeah, I've been *Thud* pretty busy." With a swift kick the tree yielded it's fruit, all of it falling neatly into the large baskets placed bellow.

"Wow you make that look easy! Still it must take allot of time to work the whole orchard, where's your brother at?" Lyra pried.

"I aint' needing no ponies help, ah can get this all done myself." Applejack said in a huff.

"I never say you couldn't, i was just curios about Big Macintosh. It seems like i see even less of him around town than you." said Lyra.

This seemed to put Applejack at ease, "Big Mac's fine, just restin' up after his back surgery. Poor guy might be strong as an ox, but he doesn't know his own limits sometimes," Applejack wiped the sweat from her brow.

"Do you know your limits?" asked Lyra.

The calm was gone again, "Of course i know my own gall darn limits, i set them myself!" She bucked the tree next to her so hard every apple on it fell at once. "See ahm perfectly fine."

Not wanting to push the matter any farther Lyra decided to change the subject, "So is it alright if i go see Big Macintosh, or is he too unwell?"

"You can go talk to him if you like, b'sides some company would do him good, he should be resting in the farmhouse. I've got to go, ahm helping Ditzy Doo with her flying practice or somthin'." Applejack said as she wiped the dirt from her hooves.

'Ditzy Doo? Not sure if i know any ponies by that name.' Lyra bid her a good day and started walking to the Apple Family homestead. It was a nice red wood home with bright wight trim boards. In all the windows were flower boxes with colorful tulips and other assorted flowers. Not too far from the door were the hen houses and the apiary, there was also an old stone well from years past, long before indoor plumbing came to Ponyville.

She knocked on the half door and called out, "Hello? Big Macintosh you in there?"

A strained "Yep" replied from inside the house.

"Mind if i come inside? It's Lyra Heartstrings,"

An equally strained "Nope" left the threshold.

Lyra opened the door and found Big Macintosh sprawled out on their old floral print couch. His entire midsection was wrapped in plain white bandages. The yoke he often wore even when not working the fields was laying beside him on the floor. "Hi-ya Big Macintosh, i just heard from Applejack you hurt your back, thought i should come in and see how your doing."

The stallion made motions to the dining table where a large pitcher of water rested. "Your thirsty?" asked Lyra.

He nodded yes, "Yep"

Lyra complied and pored him a tall glass of the cool liquid, she levitated the glass over to him and he greedily drank it down. "You feel any better?"

"Ahh, Yep" Big Macintosh said with satisfaction.

"So how did you hurt your back, i hope it wasn't too serious," Lyra said beginning the conversation.

"I lifted a cart wrong and gave myself a hernia, doctors said i'll be out of commission for a few weeks." Big Macintosh said in his deep tone of voice, straying from his trademark ye or neigh answers.

"Ouch that musta hurt, especially right before harvest," Lyra said while rubbing her own back in sympathy.

"Yep," Big Macintosh said twirling the wheat stock in his mouth.

"So, you're stuck in here and Applejack is left with the whole orchard to harvest?" Lyra asked.

"Yep," said Big Macintosh.

"And she's been working herself to exhaustion everyday for a whole week now?" Lyra asked.

"Yep," said Big Macintosh.

"Do you think she'd let me help if i offered?" Lyra asked.

"Nope," Big Macintosh said flatly.

Lyra thought about what to do, "Pride does come before a fall, right?"

"Yep," said Big Macintosh.

"I think i'm going to keep an eye on her for a while, at least until she breaks down and lets other ponies help out." Lyra concluded.

"Yep." Big Macintosh said signaling the end of his half of the conversation.

*****

It took around a half hour of searching but Lyra finally tracked Applejack down. She was standing in a clearing not far from town, in it were large pillars constructed from dense clouds. Derpy sat on top of one of the pillars and was giving instruction to Applejack. "Okay so since i'm not the most graceful flyer i was thinking of some other way to impress the judges. And then i hit me, anything looks a hundred percent more impressive blindfolded!" Derpy said, producing a blindfold for her use.

"What i need you to do is spot for me, let me know when i'm getting too close to the pillars and that sort of stuff. You got that AJ?" Applejack was somewhat unresponsive, staring off into the middle distance. "Applejack? Applejack? HEY APPLEJACK!"

She snapped to attention, "I heard ya'll,"

"Good, i'm putting on the blindfold so i'm counting on you," Derpy began her routine of blindly weaving between the cloud structures. For a split second it seemed like she was going to make it, but she plowed face first into the last column. Removing the blindfold she looked down to find Applejack head darting arround wildly as if she were still watching the practice.

"Applejack-" Derpy said with disappointment. "-You were supposed to tell me when i got too close."

"Sorry! It's hard to keep track when there's three of ya flying about." Applejack's eyes were just as crossed as Derpy's normally were from trying to track the movement of two nonexistent pegasi.

"Oh wow, our eyes match! We must be sisters or something," Derpy said coyly.

Applejack shook her head getting her eyeballs back looking strait ahead. "Yeah sisters, anyway it's been fun Bright Eyes but ahve got to go help them spa folk with their pea hays or somthin." She walked away leaving Derpy stuck in the clouds.

"Applejack? I still need help, Applejack?" But she was already out of earshot. Lyra emerged from her hiding place in the bushes to help her friend. "Hi Lyra! Were you in there the whole time? Cause if so that's kinda creepy."

Using her magic she tugged on Derpy's legs, "Applejack hasn't slept in days, i'm trying make sure she doesn't get hurt. Or worse yet hurt other ponies." With a poomf the pillar fell apart and Derpy was freed.

She landed with a thud, "Is that why she's been acting loopy and not able remember my name?" Derpy asked.

"Eh, maybe she thinks your name's offensive or something," said Lyra.

Derpy replied by sticking her tongue out at Lyra. "Meh, that's just stupid. Mom and dad named me Derpy cause they loved me, and you don't see ponies calling Dinky's name offensive."

"I'd better go catch her before she over chlorinates the hot tub or worse. Good luck with your routine, I look forward to seeing the finished product." said Lyra.

"You'd probably have a hard time doing that, seeing as the contest is in Cloudsdale," said Derpy.

"I'll figure something out," Lyra waived goodbye and galloped off to the day spa in pursuit of Applejack.

*****

At the spa the harm was already being done, Applejack was busy handling the noxious pool chemicals, dumping in the container of chlorine. Lotus was standing beside her, "I am most gracious for your assistance, money is a bit short now." She eyed the bottle with suspicion, " I don't mean to nag but, we were already getting complaints about our tub giving patrons rashes and irritations. Do we not need to reduce the PH?"

Applejack scoffed, "Whose the expert here?"

Lotus was going to say "Not you" but bit her lip instead.

With a final glug the bottle was empty, "Hmm i don't think that's enough, where are the tablets?" asked Applejack.

Lotus resigned herself and pointed to the room holding the water heaters and chemicals. Applejack went inside and a loud crash could be heard, "Found em'!"

She returned with packages of chlorine and bromine tablets, as well as a bottle of high strength detergent and some other unidentifiable foul smelling substance. "This should about cover it."

"I-i-i i do not think this is right, perhaps we should test the scale before adjusting it further, yes?" Lotus panicky asked.

"Pushaw, you wan't to make it nice and clean before people take a swim dontcha?" Applejack said in a slurred voice. In one motion she dumped the mess of chemicals into the small hot tub, the water became cloudy and white. "Well mah work here is done."

The air in the pool room was acrid and burned the lungs, Lyra couldn't handle it any longer and emerged from the basket of towels she had been hiding in. "GAH! Open a window i can't breath!"

Lotus jumped back in surprise, almost falling into the nasty sludge water. "Were you watching us the whole time?"

"First open a window!" Lyra said wrapping a towel over her mouth and nose. Lotus complied and opened one of the small windows, getting the air moving. "Thank you! I could barely breath in here, and it was starting to sting my eyes."

"May i ask why you were living in my laundry hamper?" said Lotus.

"I'm here to watch over Applejack, you wouldn't think so but it's quickly becoming apparent she needs somepony to watch over her." Lyra stuck her head out the window and gulped in several deep breaths of clean Ponyville air. "What i wan't to know is why you brought her here to do this in the first place? This crud is dangerous."

Lotus tried thinking up an excuse, "Well it costs money to bring out the experts and money is tight lately." She bent down and picked up one of the PH tester strips, "Besides i'm sure it's fine as it is, see?" She dunked the strip in the murky water, when she brought it back up it had begun dissolving. "Oh, that isn't supposed to happen," Lotus flicked the strip away before the corrosive materials touched her.

"Lotus stop being cheap and call in the professionals, and while your at it call hazardous waste disposal and get them to drain this pool. I've got to follow Applejack before she causes anything worse." Lyra left Lotus in the foul smelling room in search of Applejack once more.

*****

In Berry Punch's house an assortment of pipes, barrels and other odds and ends filled the spare room. Applejack was assembling a still for brewing cider. "It was nice of you to offer your help Applejack, i was kind of surprised you did considering the apple family is the sole provider of cider to Ponyville."

"Aw shucks it twernt nothin'" said Applejack, Berry was unsure if it was her natural drawl or Applejack tasting the cider making her speech like that. "We've had these pipes sittin' round the farm for ages. I'm sure Granny Smith well be pleased as punch to have em gone."

"Hmm never heard that one before." Berry said in reference to the lame pun.

"Let's see, hook up this one to clean water and this un's yur spout." After several minuets of jigery pokery, the still was assembled. Berry thanked Applejack and she went on her way, shortly after a knock on the door. She answered and found Lyra out of breath, apparently she had ran all the way here.

"Apple*huff*Jack, show me*huff* what she did," Lyra wheezed out. Berry led her to the side room with the completed cider still. "Huh, it looks fine, i would have thought it would be catching on fire or something like that."

"Oh yes it looks fine-" Berry said while grabbing a neatly stashed sledge hammer, "-Too bad those are lead pipes!" She swung the mallet and ripped the soft pipes from the still. "I bet that girl thought she pulled the wool over my eyes, a bit of lead poisoning to take out the competition. To bad for her, this isn't the first time somepony's tried something stupid like that, probably wont be the last time either. But i guarantee it will be her last," Berry swung the hammer menacingly.

Lyra looked a bit shocked, was Berry threatening harm to another pony in front of her? "N-not to contradict you but i think it might have just been an honest mistake. Applejack has been overworking herself and not getting any sleep for a week. Don't you think a pony in her condition could mistake lead pipes for the right kind?" In her head Lyra was screaming 'OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OF PLEASE OH PLEASE!'

"Hmm i suppose i could believe that," Berry said with a shrug. "Wait you said she hasn't slept in a week? How is she even standing? I pulled more than my fair share of all nighters back in my hay day but i could never stay awake that long."

"Exactly, she should be at home sleeping. Instead whenever she's not trying to harvest the entirety of Sweet Apple Acres by herself she off doing inane tasks for everypony. I've been trying to keep an eye on her all day," said Lyra.

"Well that's noble of you but, you know she isn't your responsibility. Applejack is a grown adult, it's her problem if she doesn't know when to ask for help." said Berry.

"*Hrm* You may be right, but i'm not going to turn my back on a pony who i know is in trouble. I'll see you latter alright Berry, and sorry about your brewing idea not working out." Lyra said her goodbye and tried following Applejack's trail of mishaps once more.

Author's Note:

Sorry if this ones a mess but i'm feeling pretty sick at the time of writing this chapter.
I can't help it, i love the Gen 1 music.
Not sure how i feel about Big Mac talking in complete sentences, but at least in this episode he does so i'll stick with it.
I probably got some of the stuff with the pool PH wrong, i don't know it's been years since our family had a hot tub.

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