• Published 17th Jun 2015
  • 781 Views, 26 Comments

House Rules - AppleJack_Wack

The Cutie Map has activated. But the Mane 6 haven't seen eye to eye lately. Will they be able to save Equestria from their most dangerous adversary yet, or will they tear themselves apart before he has a chance?

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Chapter 4: True Friends Stab You in the Front (Applejack)

12:23 p.m.

I was on my way to Twilight’s house, castle, whatever you'd call it. I was thinking of ways to help the farm along the way. I could ask Fluttershy to find somewhere new to put the fruit bats. She thinks that it'll help my farm in the future, but what is it going to do? They’ll just help the area that I sectioned off, and if they keep growing in number, I would have to keep giving them more. I couldn’t do that. The farm was never a gold mine, but it always made profit, unlike it's doing now. I cut through the middle of town, instead of taking the path around town to the castle, hoping I would get to Twilight’s faster that way.

The town plaza was definitely more busy than usual. There were ponies lined up to buy from stalls that were usually yelling out for someone to buy their product, but were now frantically reaching for food, or whatever they were selling, to hand it to customers. I guess it was just an unusual busy hour in town. I could hear the chatter of the crowd of ponies, each pony talking louder and louder to get heard over everypony else. It was most certainly a stretch from the quiet on the farm.

I passed by some market stalls in the middle of town. Usually I’d stop by to talk about how their businesses were doing, but I was already running late. I said I'd be at Twilight’s little gathering by noon. I guess I just got caught up in my work. Farm life isn’t the life for everypony, but ever since I came back from Manehatten as a filly, I knew it was the life for me.

The castle was in sight, and I started lightly jogging. The sounds of voices and hurried hooves died down. Ponies don’t come around here too often. I wondered if it was because they were intimidated by Twi’s princess status, or just didn’t care because they already knew her.

I made my way up to Twilight’s castle and knocked on the door. When no one answered I remembered how long the hallways were, and figured she just couldn’t hear me. I let myself in and was reminded how this castle was gargantuan compared to her dinky little treehouse in the middle of town, which was little more than burnt wood at this point. I just stood at the door, even though I had been here many times before, I was still reminded at how enormous the hallways were. Every step echoed for seconds. How could anypony find their way around this place? We had decorated some of the main rooms, but not the hallway. It was crystalline purple and blue, every fifteen feet or so the design just repeated itself. It was one big round crystal column after another big round crystal column. After getting my senses back I started making my way towards the dining area, where I assumed they were still eating. I started to hear chatter.

“Well Princess, I feel like you’ve gotten all the praise for what all of us did.”

“I'm sorry you feel that way Rainbow, do you know how hard it is to be princess? I didn’t ask for it, it was thrust upon me.” As I got closer I could start to make out who said what, if the spat didn’t make it obvious already.

“Oh ya, I’m sure it's really hard having a horn, wings, and telling Spike to do all the actual work for you, while you're busy getting your hooves licked by every noblepony at Canterlot,” challenged Rainbow Dash. I wondered what could have caused such aggression from Rainbow, she’s always so happy-go-lucky, if a bit full of herself, when I'm around her.

“I can't believe how ignorant you're acting. These wings don’t change who I am, and I still handle all the royal duties. Besides that, the rest of you get praise everywhere you go,” Twilight stated back. I didn’t, but I was glad, it would have made getting here even harder.

“Oh I’m sure, the only stained glass painting we’re in is the one with you smack dab in the middle, come to think of it, that’s how we look in everything.” I walked into the dining room itself, and Pinkie waved to me as if it was a normal meal, and Rarity looked at me with a look that said “What do we do?". I stopped a few feet in front of the doorway before going any further to see how the argument would play out. I tilted my head intently as I waited for the aggressive words to enter my ears.

Rainbow Dash slammed her hoof on the table, “I... We have not gotten a single bit worth of reward, a single praise for the work we have done, not even anything ceremonial! When we beat Nightmare Moon, it was you who found friendship, not us who gave it or had it in the first place, no, no,” she protested.

“Everyone else is content with their lives and happy for me, why aren’t you, the Element of loyalty?” Twilight snapped back.

“You're right Twilight, I’m loyal, loyal to my friends.” My ears perked up, with Rainbow's emphasis on that word, I knew exactly were she was heading with this. I got ready to intercede at a moment’s notice, these two obviously weren’t just having a “friendly dispute”.

“What are you implying?”

“You know exactly what I’m saying, we are no longer—”

“Now hold it a minute!” I yelled. I just about had enough, and only barely managed to interrupt before things got out of hand. I started walking up to the table and said, “Let's not do somethin’ we'll all regret, we’d been able to solve all ar problems before, why should now be any different?” I took a position at the table near the middle, to keep them both in sight.

“I agree, let's all just sit down and have a nice meal, like little Spikey Wikey had planned,” Rarity said. Spike blushed at the nickname, and Rainbow Dash contained her rage, and slouched down, for now at least.

“Okay Applejack, but you’re lucky I respect your wishes, unlike a certain pony here,” Rainbow Dash said as she shot a glare at Twilight, who returned it with equal sass. Rainbow Dash was right, my honesty puts my opinion at a pretty high regard. So it usually comes down to me to diffuse these situations. I sighed and took a seat at the middle of the table where I was standing. I was an exact distance from each of them, and a good distance away from Pinkie Pie, which was always a bonus. I never know when she's going to explode in balloons and confetti.

“Well I think now would be the peeeerrrrrfect time to bring out this!” Pinkie said as she seemed to conjure up a triple decker pink and white cake that appeared out of nowhere with a flash, and some confetti.

“Ooh, splendid, I do just love sweets from Sugar Cube Corner,” Rarity said in delight as she clapped her hooves together. The next few minutes we ate in total silence. I had hoped to break the awkwardness in the air, but I just couldn’t think of anything that would be appropriate to bring up. I could have sworn I heard a cricket or two outside.

Then Pinkie Pie spoke up,”Sooooooooo, when is Fluttershy gonna be here, is she super duper uber busy, or was she gonna bring a cake too, I knew I should have brought brownies.” Pinkie Pie can always find a way to lighten the mood with her antics.

“Well, uh, Fluttershy is in a bit of an emotional situation right now, she won't be joining us,” said Twilight. She looked down to avoid the confused look on everyone, except Spike and Rainbow’s face.

Rainbow Dash snorted, “Why beat around the bush, just say it.”

“I only have half the story right now, so—”

“Well then let me fill it in for you, I killed one of her pets,” she said matter-of-factly. Rarity and Pinkie gasped. I waited to hear the rest. Rainbow stopped slouching and adopted her aggressive stance she used during the argument, no doubt ready to finish what she started.

“Oh sugarcube, ahm sure there’s more to it than yer lettin’ on,” I reassured her.

“Mabye, but it doesn’t matter how it happened, it happened and now I’m one friend short on what I had yesterday,” she said. If she hadn’t hid it so well, I could have sworn I saw a tear starting to show.

“Rainbow Dash, darling, It matters how it happened, especially to your friends, just tell us,” Rarity took charge of the situation, and I was glad, holding the reins was getting tiring.

Rainbow Dash sighed and slouched back down in her seat, “She told me not to, but I was too busy daydreaming to listen, too busy being… me.” Rainbow also looked down, but not to hide, she was ashamed of herself, something I seldom see Rainbow being.

“You’re going to have to give us some more details, Rainbow Dash, dear,” Rarity said with genuine concern in her face.

“Fluttershy lost her bunnies, and asked me for help. Some help I was, I brought back a timber rabbit, whatever in Tartarus that is. The next thing I know, one of her bunnies was mauled on the ground.” She looked up, and started speaking with aggression in her voice, “There, I said it, you happy!” Rainbow looked at Rarity with rage filled eyes, but stopped shortly and slouched again. Even she saw Rarity was only trying to help.

“I understand, accidents happen,” Rarity said. She meant it, it wasn’t just something to cheer up Rainbow Dash. I was surprised how calm Rarity was being, for a prissy pants like her, we have a lot of things in common sometimes.

“No, no you don’t understand, if I had just listened, none of this would have happened!” I could see Rainbow was really hurting, but she was right, this was not a matter so easily remedied. I forgave her, but it wasn’t my pet, if she had done that to Winona, I don’t know what I’d feel. I put my hoof to my chin. I finally decided that there was no real solution I could give. It wasn’t my fight, wasn’t my choice. I could help, but one deciding factor stood above all others.

It was up to Fluttershy if Rainbow Dash deserved forgiveness or not. Her decision might ultimately decide the fate of the entire group.

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