• Published 23rd May 2012
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Quest for the Silver Crown - Lycan_01



Applejack and her friends journey into the Everfree Forest to find the cure for Winona's illness.

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Out of the Ordinary

QUEST FOR THE SILVER CROWN
Chapter 1: Out of the Ordinary


It seemed like this Tuesday morning was just like any other morning in Ponyville. The sun was rising and shining, the birds were starting to sing, and the various residents were waking up and beginning their usual morning routines. Ponies were eating breakfast, opening their shops, getting ready to go out for the day, and otherwise going about their typical daily business.

On the outskirts of town, things seemed to be no different at Sweet Apple Acres. The Apple clan had just finished a nice breakfast together, just like they did every morning, and Applejack was getting ready to start on the day’s work.

“Alright, lets see here…” the orange pony muttered to herself, casually trotting towards the front door. “Hat? Check. Got Applebloom ready fer school? Check. Ate breakfast? Check. Brushed mah teeth? Check,” she said, idly running through a verbal checklist of her morning routine.

“Winona? Che-” Applejack paused as she stepped through the doorway.

Winona was not waiting for her on the doorstep.

Every morning, the little farm dog would greet Applejack at the front door, and they would set off together to do the day’s chores and tasks. It was their routine; it was the way things worked. And yet, Applejack was standing in the doorway, and there was no Winona. Something was amiss.

“Er, Winona?” Applejack asked aloud, looking from side to side, expecting to see Winona rolling in the grass or chasing/traumatizing a squirrel. However, the front yard held no signs of the dog.

“Winonaaaaaa?“ she called out. Craning her neck, Applejack saw no sign of her beloved pet in the orchard, either. Confusion flickered across the straw-haired pony’s face. She couldn’t remember a time when Winona hadn’t been waiting for her, or was at least in the immediate vicinity when she stepped out to start her day. “Huh. Guess she’s still sleepin’ in. Ah better go wake her up…” she mused, before trotting around the house to check Winona’s dog house.

As Applejack approached the cliché little red doghouse, she noticed something off. Winona’s food bowl was still mostly full - she hadn’t eaten breakfast. “Winona?” she called out, a hint of concern creeping into her voice. And when Applejack peeked in through the entrance of the dog house, she couldn’t restrain the gasp she let out.

“Winona!”


“Oh Angel, it looks amazing!” Fluttershy gleefully proclaimed, surveying the meal in front of her with delight. The yellow pegasus’ kitchen table was covered in various plates and bowls of food, creating an almost picturesque example of breakfast. There were pancakes, grits, hash browns, stacks of toast, and various jars of jellies and jams.

“Everything looks so delicious! You’ve really outdone yourself this time!” she observed to the little white rabbit perched on a chair in front of her. The bunny responded by adjusting its tiny chef’s hat, crossing its arms, and smiling in the most smug manner imaginable on a rabbit. “Thank you very much, Angel,” Fluttershy beamed, before turning and asking: “Would anyone else like to thank Angel for making us breakfast?”

A chorus of chirps, squawks, yips, and other noises erupted from the various critters scattered around the pegasus’ kitchen. Squirrels, birds, raccoons, mice, rabbits, and various other animals all thanked the bunny in their own language. And Angel showed no signs of humility, judging from the rabbit’s smirk as it bowed to their applause.

“Now, who’s ready to eat?” Fluttershy asked, rhetorically of course. “Angel, you get to go first, since you-”

A sudden knocking at the door interrupted the timid mare, causing her to let out a small “eep” as she froze mid-sentence. To his credit, Angel did not dive headfirst into the pancakes as he so desperately desired, but instead turned to survey Fluttershy and the front door with a suspicious eye. Several more knocks suddenly followed, accompanied by a familiar, accented voice. “Fluttershy? Fluttershy, open up! Ah need yer help!”

“Applejack?” Fluttershy recoiled slightly in surprise, before quickly galloping across the house as she realized her friend was in some sort of trouble. Throwing the door open, the shy pegasus didn’t even have a chance to ask what was wrong before Applejack barreled through her and charged into the room. The pink-haired pony was left spinning in place for a moment, before finally coming to a (somewhat dizzy) stop. “Applejack, what’s wrong?” she asked, eyes still spinning.

“It’s Winona!” Applejack responded, her voice full of worried anguish. It was then that Fluttershy noticed the brown canine cradled in Applejack’s right foreleg. “There’s something’ wrong with her!”

“Oh, let me see her…” Fluttershy said, her voice filled with concern. Trotting over to look at Winona, Fluttershy’s trained eyes immediately recognized that things were amiss. The normally happy and active dog was lying almost motionless in her owner’s cradling hooves, her normally bright eyes dull and half-lidded, her normally wagging tail sitting still. The occasional whimper could be heard. “This isn’t like her at all,” Fluttershy said, before factually asking: “What other symptoms has she shown? Any uncharacteristic behaviors? How long has she been like this?”

“Uh, lemme see…” Applejack looked down at the sick dog. “She’s sluggish, hasn’t eatin’ since last night Ah don’t think, uh…” her voice trailed off as she tried to think. Applejack then looked back up at Fluttershy… and blinked a few times.

Somehow, in the last few seconds, Fluttershy had donned a doctor’s coat and a surgical mask. “I see…” the de facto veterinarian mused aloud, continuing to survey the sick dog. “Looks like she’s got some spots on her skin. Yes, I think I know what she has. Its-” she proceeded to say some crazy-sounding disease’s scientific name, which Applejack knew she had no hope of ever pronouncing or remembering.

“There‘s only one effective cure: the silver crown flower,” the pegasus explained. “It has fascinating restorative properties on canines, but its not very common, especially in its medicinal form. Thankfully, I should still have some. Angel? Please get me the powdered silver crown seed concentrate, if it isn’t too much trouble, please.”

Angel sighed. It was hard to say no when she was asking so nicely, or when another animal was actually in trouble. Snapping off a quick salute, the white rabbit proceeded to go bounding across the room and up the stairs, his tiny chef’s hat flying in the wind. After a brief moment, the bunny returned, surfing down the banister rail with a plastic bottle tucked between its ears. It leapt off the railing, did a flip, and managed to land a foot or so to the left of Fluttershy.

A trio of rabbits in the kitchen held up score cards, rating his performance.

“Ah, thank you, Angel!” Fluttershy beamed. When she picked up the medicine container and surveyed its contents, though, her smile disappeared. “Oh no…” she squeaked.

“Wha’s wrong? Ain’t got enough?” Applejack asked, worry rising in her voice.

“Worse,” Fluttershy whimpered. “I’m out! I forgot to restock after Mr. Fox caught the flu last week. I haven’t had any opportunities to resupply, and-” the pony suddenly gave her head a shake, causing her pink mane to whip about. “Wait, I think… Yes! Zecora!” she exclaimed with a smile.

“Yer right! Zecora always has random extracts an’ concentrates an’ other funny things fer alechmy... elchamy... Allekazam?” Applejack muttered, trying to find the right word.

“Alchemy.”

“Yeah, that. Anyway, lets git on over there,” Applejack said, heading for the door with a smile. “She’ll have what we need.”


“What do ya mean ya ain’t got what we need?” Applejack howled.

“Sadly, I do not have the things you seek. If only you had come to me last week,” Zecora said with a sad shake of her head.

It hadn’t taken long for Fluttershy and Applejack to get to the zebra’s hut, but unfortunately Zecora had recently run out of the medicine Winona needed, much like Fluttershy. Not only that, but she was also currently lacking the proper ingredients needed for any sort of alchemical treatment or potion. Nevertheless, Zecora was still looking through shelves and cabinets, sifting through jars and bottles of various things in hopes that she could find something even remotely useful. Her search was proving fruitless thus far.

“Do you know where we can find some silver crown flowers, or anything else that might help?” Fluttershy asked, trying to ignore all the scary masks hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. Instead, she kept her gaze on either Applejack, Zecora, or Winona, who was resting in a more peaceful corner of the hut, wrapped up in a warm blanket.

“Ah, now that is where of help I can be!” Zecora replied with a smile. “They are found in the depths of Everfree.”

“The Everfree Forest? Depths? As in very, very deep?” Fluttershy whimpered.

“Tell me where,” Applejack stated flatly. “Ah’ll get ‘em, even if it kills me.”

“Oh, you cannot trek alone, no no no. Only with friends are you going to go!” Zecora warned sternly, shaking her head and hooves at the stubborn earth pony.

“Alright, then Ah’ll find somepony or someponies to go with me. But Ah ain’t sittin’ around and doin’ nothing while Winona suffers, ‘specially if she starts to get worse!” Applejack stomped. Her eyes were burning with determination, but also with worry. Her best friend was sick, and she was nearly powerless to stop it. But if going into certain danger was the only way to help Winona, then it was obvious what she had to do.

“I can keep her from getting worse,” Fluttershy spoke up. “I know I’ve at least got medicines for that. So while I can’t get her to improve, there‘s no chance of her getting any sicker, at least,” she said, flashing Applejack as comforting a smile as she could muster. And considering that it was Fluttershy, the comforting effect would have been devastating to most living creatures.

Applejack, though, was able to withstand the near-fatal levels of cuteness. With a sigh, she said “Alright, that‘s a pretty big relief. Still, Ah need to help her! Ah can’t just sit back and do nothin’ while she suffers…”

“Allow me, then, an idea to offer. What if we leave Winona here with her,” Zecora suggested, waving a hoof at Fluttershy. “While I and you embark upon a quest, to retrieve the plant which will her help best.”

“And you know to find the flowers, or whatever it is we need?” Applejack asked. Rising hope was audible in her voice and visible on her expression.

Zecora nodded. “Indeed, as a matter of fact I do. Though, more than me should accompany you. Do you know where your friends currently? Your fellow Elements of Harmony?”

Applejack rubbed her chin with a hoof. “Twilight’s in the library, Ah’m pretty durn sure. Rainbow Dash is prolly workin’ on the weather. And Rarity and Pinkie are in Canterlot for a fashion show.”

Zecora blinked. “Okay, Rarity I can comprehend. But… Pinkie is not one for fashion trends.”

“Oh no, she’s not there for the fashion,” Fluttershy informed her with a bemused smile. “She’s catering. Princess Celestia wanted her to help provide refreshments and whatnot for the event, and she was nice enough to invite Rarity along too. She also asked me, but I didn‘t feel like going. Fashion… doesn‘t really interest me…” she said, her gaze drifting to the nearest convenient wall. Okay, that was a lie. But now was not the time nor the place to explain her discomfort with the prospect of bumping into Photo Finish or some other big name in the fashion world.

Zecora continued to blink, clearly still confused. Applejack coughed. “Personally, Ah think the Princess wanted to see what would happen if Pinkie had anything’ to do with all them stuck up, snooty fashion ponies and their fancy doins. Heh heh heh…” she snickered. “Anyhoo, reckon we ought to go see if Twi and Dash want to tag along? They‘d both prove mighty useful, Ah reckon.”

“Yes, seeking their assistance would be wise. Lets start with the bookworm, then she who flies,” Zecora suggested in her typical sagely manner, donning her traveling cloak as she spoke.

“Sounds like a plan,” Applejack nodded.

“I’ll take Winona on back to my cottage, and get her as comfy and cozy as possible,” Fluttershy said, trotting over to pick up the blanket-shrouded canine. Gently cradling Winona in her hooves, she hovered over to Applejack, and smiled. “Don’t worry, Applejack. She’ll be okay.”

Applejack smiled meekly. “Thanks, Fluttershy. Ah really appreciate yer help. You too Zecora. Now, lets get a move on…”

And so the trio of ponies left the hut and headed back towards Ponyville. As they neared the town, Fluttershy flew off towards her cottage with Winona, while Applejack and Zecora went on into town to find their friends.

So much for a normal Tuesday…