• Published 7th Jun 2012
  • 6,054 Views, 104 Comments

Mistaken for Strangers - Evan MacIan



While expecting her first foal, Rarity finds her relationship with Big Mac tested.

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Nasty Letter

Chapter 4

Nasty Letter

A loud knocking sounded through the library, overpowering the sound of rain pounding down.

Twilight hurried to the door and opened it to see Big Mac soaking wet and shivering.

“Oh, quick, Big Mac, come in out of the rain,” Twilight said.

“Thank you kindly, Miss Twilight. Guess Ah forgot there was rain planned today.”

The patter of hooves heralded the three Cutie Mark Crusaders running into the room from the kitchen.

“Hey, Big Mac,” Apple Bloom called. “Come to pick us up? We ain’t gonna have to walk home in the rain are we?”

“No, Ah reckon we’ll wait for the weather to die down. If that’s okay with you, Miss Twilight.”

“Of course,” Twilight replied. “We were about to make some hot chocolate anyway.”

“And Spike was going to tell us a ghost story,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Why don’t you come into the kitchen and dry off?” Twilight suggested.

Big Mac followed her through the living room and into the kitchen. Twilight levitated a towel over to him and started drying him off.

“Um… Ah appreciate it, but Ah reckon Ah can do that mahself,” he said.

“Oh, right. Of course,” Twilight said with a slight laugh. “I guess I’m just used to taking care of Spike.” She went over to the counter and started mixing together the ingredients for hot chocolate.

“So how did you like Canterlot?” she asked. “Rarity hasn’t really said anything about it. Did you enjoy your trip?”

“The trip was fine,” Big Mac answered while getting the last of the water.

“Did you visit the gardens?” Twilight smiled. “That was always my favorite place in Canterlot.”

“Yeah,” Big Mac replied. “It was nice.” He hesitated for a moment. “Rarity didn’t go with me.”

“How come?”

“She wasn’t feelin’ good. She was upset. Ah kind of made a fool of mahself at Fancypants’ party.”

He hung the wet towel on the door.

“There was this one unicorn. Blueblood, Ah think his name was. He was kind’a drunk, an’ he started badmouthing Rare. Ah went an’ lost mah temper. Didn’t do much, jus’ pushed him around a little. But still…”

“That’s not the first time Rarity’s had a bad encounter with Blueblood,” Twilight said. “She must have been pretty mad at him.”

“Madder at me, Ah reckon,” Big Mac said, giving a slight laugh. He didn’t look that amused. “Matter’a fact, she’s been pretty upset with me since it happened.”

Twilight didn’t answer, unsure of how to respond.

“It’s jus’… she ain’t been speakin’ to me. Ah mean, if she was mad, Ah’d understand. But she ain’t even been that.” He sighed. “It’s like Ah ain’t even there.”

“Maybe if you try to find out what exactly the problem is…”

“But she won’t even talk to me!” Big Mac said, punctuating his words with a frustrated kick.

A loud crack made Twilight jump. Big Mac looked behind himself to see a sizable hole in the kitchen wall.

“Shoot, dammit! Aw, Ah’m real sorry, Twi.”

“No no, it’s okay,” she said.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders burst into the kitchen.

“What was that?!” Apple Bloom asked.

“Was it a ghost?!” Scootaloo added excitedly.

“Don’t worry girls,” Twilight replied, “no ghosts in here.”

“Aw,” Scootaloo said.

Sweetie Belle looked relieved.

“Then what happened?” Apple Bloom asked. Her eyes traveled to the hole in the wall and made a connection. “Did ya kick the wall?”

Big Mac hesitated for a moment. “Yeah,” he admitted sheepishly. “Guess Ah thought it was an apple tree.”

“What?” Scootaloo said. “Why would you think that?”

“Ah was jus’ kiddin’, Scootaloo. Miss Twilight, Ah’m real sorry. Ah’ll come by later an’ fix yer wall.”

“You don’t need to do that Big Mac,” Twilight replied. “I can fix it easily enough with magic.”

Big Mac glanced down at Apple Bloom. “No,” he said firmly. “Ah’ll fix it. It’s important that ponies own up to their mistakes. Miss Twilight, is that hot chocolate ready?”

“Just about,” she answered. “Who’s thirsty?”

*****

Rarity was sitting in her boutique looking out the window while the rain poured down over Ponyville. The shop was empty of customers, as the foul weather was keeping everypony indoors. Normally Rarity would have used the free time to work on some orders, but lately she’d found herself without the energy to get any work done. As she gazed listlessly out the window, she saw Ace hurrying home, probably from a tennis practice cut short by the rain. Moved by a sudden impulse, Rarity opened up the front door.

Excuse me, Ace, would you come inside for a moment?”

Hearing his name, the earth pony looked over, then hurried into the store out of the rain.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Rarity,” he said politely.

“Hello, Ace,” she answered. “I was actually hoping to get your help with something.”

“Oh?” he said.

“Yes, well, I’m working on a new line, a… sports line, and I just know that if you could model for me for just a few minutes, it would work wonders for my inspiration.”

“Um… not to be rude, but couldn’t you just use anypony? Like your husband, for instance?”

“Oh, but darling, it’s not the same as having an actual athlete.”

He still looked hesitant.

“And you would of course get a free outfit as a thank-you,” she added.

“Well… okay,” he said. “If it really won’t take long.”

“Only a moment,” Rarity said.

She levitated a tape measure over and started to measure his size. “So, Ace, I understand you went to school with Big Macintosh?”

“Uh, yeah, that’s right,” he answered.

“I’ll bet you have some fascinating stories,” she said. She gave a laugh. “Why, I’ve heard that Big Mac could be a real
troublemaker when he was young!”

“I guess we all were,” Ace replied.

“You know,” Rarity said, “I was just talking to Ditzy Doo the other day, and she was telling me how one time you and he really ‘got into it.’ Maybe you could tell me about it?”

Ace shifted awkwardly. “Yeah… I’m not sure that story is really appropriate.”

“Oh, don’t worry, darling,” Rarity replied. “I’m not as delicate as I look. I’m sure whatever happened won’t scandalize me too much.”

Ace glanced out the window and said, “You know, it looks like the rain is dying down. I should probably get going.”

Rarity quickly grabbed a random piece of fabric and draped it over him. “Oh, but darling, I’m right in the middle of fitting you! I can’t possibly stop now! Now why don’t you tell me that story while I keep working on this?”

“Rarity.” He sighed and pulled the fabric off. “We both know you’re not working on any outfit.”

Rarity looked away.

Ace started to walk to the door. “What you’re asking about, it’s not something I like to talk about. I’m a different pony then I used to be, and I’d prefer not to dig up the past. I’m sorry.”

“Ace, wait!” Rarity said.

He stopped and looked at her.

“Ace, I’m sorry. I tried to trick you into this, and I shouldn’t have. I can’t force you to talk to me, and you have every right to refuse, so I’m asking. Please, it’s important to me that I know what happened. I don’t care about what you did; I just need to hear about Big Mac. Please?”

Ace looked at her for a moment. “Okay,” he finally said. “Okay. I’ll tell you the story. You won’t like it, but I’ll tell you.”

*****

There were three of them: Ace, Fast Cart, and Kicker. All three were earth ponies, and all three were top athletes. Currently they were on the edge of town, out by the river. There weren’t any ponies around, but if there had been, they’d have noticed that Ace and his friends weren’t standing around with the aimlessness of most young ponies. Rather, they were traveling the outskirts of town as if they were looking for something. Or someone.

“Maybe he’s not here,” Kicker said. He was the largest of the three, with a dark gray coat and a brown mane. He was also the strongest, though not the brightest.

“Yeah,” agreed Fast Cart, “how do we know he’s not at his farm?” He stood in contrast to Kicker, being a small build, with a yellow coat and a red mane.

“Because he’s always down here,” Ace replied. “This is where he hangs out and drinks. Besides, we can’t go up to his farm. We want to get him alone.”

The three turned and started down an alleyway.

“Listen, Ace,” Kicker said as they reached the end of the alley, “when we find him, do you—”

The kick was sudden and hard. It hit Kicker in his side right as he turned the corner. He didn’t fly back so much as crumple to the ground. Big Mac’s second kick came swiftly, striking Fast Cart just below the neck, right on his sternum. He didn’t crumple; instead he was lifted back, his torso flipping over his hind legs, until he crashed heavily into his back.

By then, Ace had realized what was going on. He reared up and swung a hoof at Big Mac. Ace was fast; his athletic training had given him speed. But his game was tennis, and while he knew how to deliver speed, he didn’t know how to deliver power. His blow struck Big Mac on his forehead, leaving a cut above his eye, but it failed to stop the workhorse.

Big Mac got his training from bucking apple trees, and applebucking didn’t teach him speed. But it did teach him power. His blow connected with Ace’s cannon, near the bottom of his leg, with a loud crack. Ace let out a cry of pain and dropped on the broken leg. Big Macintosh stepped forward and placed a hoof on Ace’s neck. He leaned in towards Ace.

“Next time,” Big Mac said, blinking some blood out of his eye, “Ah’ll jus’ kill ya.” And with those words he lifted his hoof up and slammed it down on Ace’s face.

*****

Outside the boutique window, the rain had slowed, and the late afternoon sun had started to break through the clouds.

“How badly did he—I mean, was it very—” Rarity was unable to finish her question.

“Kicker had two broken ribs,” Ace answered. “Fast Cart got it the worst. He had a bruised sternum and a slipped disk in his back. I had a fractured leg. And this.” Using a hoof he pulled back at the facial hair Rarity had found so ridiculous. It had been carefully styled to cover a long jagged scar that stretched up his face. “I couldn’t eat solids for two weeks. Come to think of it, I might have had it the worst.” He gave a slight chuckle.

Rarity didn’t laugh. “But now, between you two… A little while ago I saw Applejack giving you a free basket of apples.”

“Well,” Ace said, “just a short while after the fight, Big Mac came to see me.”

“Why?” Rarity asked.

He laughed again. “At first I thought he had come to finish me off.” His smile faded. “But instead, he apologized.”

“What?”

“Yeah, completely out of the blue. He told me he had ‘done wrong by me,’ and he wanted to put things right. Of course, at first I told him to go to hell. But being holed up from my injuries gave me a lot of time to think, and the more I thought, the less angry I felt. I mean, having a feud with somepony seems okay when you don’t have to suffer for it, but when you’re lying there with your jaw wired shut, the whole thing starts to seem kind of stupid. I decided to go find Big Mac and make peace. Me and him aren’t really friends now, but I do get free apples whenever I go by AJ’s apple stand.”

“But why the change of heart?” Rarity asked. “From Big Mac I mean?”

“No idea,” Ace said shrugging. “Look, maybe it’s not my business, but couldn’t you just ask Big Mac about it?”

Rarity sighed and glanced out the window. “It looks like the rain has stopped.”

He took the hint. “I guess I won’t be getting that outfit, huh?” he joked as he moved to the door.

Rarity looked over at him and smiled. “Ace, did I at any point say you wouldn’t?”

“No, but I just thought—”

“You will indeed be getting your sports outfit. And... yes, some nice evening wear as well.” She shooed him out the door before he could protest. “Now please, I have work to do.”

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Author's notes:

The chapter title is taken from a song by Otis Taylor.