• Published 25th Jun 2012
  • 11,566 Views, 1,211 Comments

Ascension - cloudedguardian



Celestia is dying. Or at least it seems so. Afflicted with a curse that is destroying her very nature, she sets a plan in action. The Bearers of the Elements of Harmony will take the throne in her wake... Not that they know that yet...

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...Will Set a Blaze.

Much to Big Macintosh’s dismay, Applejack’s trip was taking a bit longer than expected, and he had three very hyper fillies on his hooves. Apple Bloom and her best friends had decided that it was time to bring their “crusading”, AKA grand chaos, to the Apple Farm, and he had spent the majority of the day either trying not to trip over them as they plotted their next scheme in some inconvenient spot, or getting them out of trouble.

For example, this morning he had to put out a small fire they had created after deciding that ‘Cutie Mark Crusader Firefighters” was only good if none of you were actually in fact afraid of fire. Thankfully they had at least been smart enough to set it up by the riverbed, so it hadn’t been able to spread, just get a little too far out of hand for the young girls to handle.

For another example, this afternoon was spent getting Fluttershy, and calming down a very freaked out Scootaloo, after they had woke up a large amount of snakes from their mid-day sunbathing while trying out “Cutie Mark Crusader Hikers!” (They had, unknowingly, gone directly over the snakes’ sunning rocks.)


So as it was, despite their various “Crusades” being chosen by Sweetie Bell (it being her turn, and Scootaloo’s usually being much more dangerous), today had been far from productive for any of them, as the girls were now frustrated with their lack of success, and Big Macintosh severely behind in his work. Applejack had always had a knack for getting the girls doing something more “constructive”, but as stated earlier, her trip was taking longer than expected. She had left the day before and, knowing her, had most likely gotten caught up looking at the new farm equipment on display at the Harvest Festival currently going on in Canterlot. Never-the-less, she would most likely be back by this evening… But in the meantime, he had to get the CMC out from under his hooves so he could finally get his work done.

Sighing to himself, he trotted over to where the three were lounging in the middle of the porch, (And therefore, directly in his path out to the Orchards… Of course!) pausing for a second when he caught a snippet of their conversation.

“If you could pick ANY special talent, wha’ would it be?” Apple Bloom asked her friends, and there was a small hum as the girls thought it over.

“Being an amazing super fast flyer like Rainbow Dash! Then maybe the two of us could try out for the Wonderbolts together…” Scootaloo mused.

“Ya really look up to her, huh?”

“Yeah, she’s so cool. Everything I want to be.” Scootaloo sighed. “But what about you Apple Bloom?”

“Ah dunno. There’s so much cool stuff Ah’d love ta do… Ah don’t think I could just pick one… Ah’d be pretty happy if it was somethin’ ta do with tha farm though. Jus’ bein’ a gen-u-ine Apple.”

Sweetie Bell gave a small nod. “I know that feeling. I want to be a designer like my big sister… She doesn’t like it when I try to help though. I just mess stuff up.”

“Maybe you need to do your own thing?” Scootaloo suggested.

“Maybe…”

“Hey!” Applebloom jumped to her hooves as an idea struck. “I know! Why don’ we all try that out? Ah don’t think we hav’ yet…”

“Cutie Mark Crusader Designers!” Scootaloo grinned, getting to her own hooves as the idea sank in.

“But Big Macintosh will probably get mad… We’ve caused a lot of trouble.” Sweetie Bell pointed out carefully, just to be very surprised as Big Macintosh himself stepped around the corner.

“Ah thinks it’s a great idea. There’s some old blankets in the barn we aren’t using any more, why don’t you use them for material?”

That was all the encouragement the girls needed, and after sharing an eager grin between them, they charged off to their newest adventure… leaving a very relieved Macintosh convinced that they couldn’t get into too much trouble while playing dress up.


~~~


Scootaloo, Sweetie Bell and Apple Bloom had quickly decided that just making the clothes wouldn’t be enough for a cutie mark, but an actual fashion show would. However, they found themselves with a distinct lack of models. To quote Sweetie Bell “Boys can’t really be models”, and the few girls they did know were either completely uninterested (Archer), didn’t want to be a model (Twist), or held far too much disdain for them to even be asked (Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara). In the end, the girls simply decided to be the models themselves. (Three’s enough, right?)

After heading back to the barn, the girls tried to decide whether to make the runway first, or try and figure out some designs. Sweetie Bell said that Rarity always did the clothing first, so that she would know what kind of runway to make. It made sense, so all the blankets got pulled out to be “designed.”

A few long minutes of staring at the old fabric passed, before Scootaloo asked the obvious question of;

“Uh, how are we going to make these into clothes? I mean, we need like, scissors and patterns right?”

“Ah dunno… Sweetie Bell?”

“Oh right. I guess I should go get my sewing kit…”

“Sewing kit? You mean we have to do this by hoof?” Scootaloo asked, sounding slightly horrified at the prospect.

“Errr…. Yeah, probably. Rarity doesn’t really like me using the sewing machine. She got pretty mad when I “borrowed” it last time for the talent show… She actually ended up finishing the costumes for me… It was still my design though!” Sweetie Bell assured her friends quickly, adding in remembrance, “She seemed to tell ponies that a lot, now that I think about it…”

Apple Bloom sighed. “You go get yer kit Sweetie Bell. C’mon Scoots, we may as well start on the runway while we wait.”


It wasn’t long before the two girls found a nice sunny spot on the edge of the orchards for the runway. The nearby trees would allow them to hang decorations, and the level path would work perfectly for the catwalk itself.

“We could even lay down some old boards for a stage!” Apple Bloom suggested, and Scootaloo eagerly agreed.

They quickly set to clearing the path of all its rocks and stones so that they could set down the planks that Apple Bloom had suggested. Half-way through however, Scootaloo stepped on a slippery spot, and accidentally slid right into Apple Bloom, knocking her over.

“Wha-? Scootaloo? What was tha’ about?”

“Sorry Apple Bloom, I didn’t mean to, the path’s all… Slippery right here.” The orange pegasus apologized.

Her friend looked at her questioningly, before investigating the path herself. After carefully stepping onto it, her hooves went out from under her before she even had the chance to take another step.

“Wha’da, it’s all icy!” Apple Bloom exclaimed in surprise as she carefully worked her way off of the black ice that coated their would-be runway.

“Ice? At this time of year? I mean, it’s a little early, isn’t it? It’s barely mid-Autumn!”

The two fillies stared at the path for a few minutes before Applebloom shrugged and said;

“Oh well, it don’ matter. Once I salt it and put the boards down, it won’t make no difference.”

“Yeah, that’s true.”

And that was that.


By the time Sweetie Bell returned, with her sewing kit and some decorations in tow, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had gotten the boards down, and were discussing whether or not they should paint them with some sort of design.

“Now that should definitely be left till after the clothes are made.” Sweetie Bell laughed, gaining the attention of her two friends.

“Sweetie Bell!”

“There you are! What took you so long?” Scootaloo asked as she galloped over to the white filly.

“I stopped to get some streamers and stuff. Wouldn’t these look great along the trees?” Sweetie Bell explained, gesturing up to the green-clad branches above them.

“Yeah, it would like kinda nice.” Apple Bloom agreed as she admired the brightly colored ribbons and paper streamers.

“So glad you agree dear Apple Bloom.” Sweetie Bell teased, mimicking her sisters regal tone. “Why don’t you and I get to work on the designing and sewing, while Scootaloo hangs these up?”

“Why do I have to hang them up?” Scootaloo whined.

“Because my magic isn’t developed enough yet to hang them up… I’ll rip them. And you have wings.”

‘Well they ain’t dee-vel-uped enough to fly up there!” Scootaloo snapped back.

Before her friends had a chance to argue, Apple Bloom offered to get a step ladder. When she came back, Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell were working peacefully on designs. Once the step ladder was set up, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo switched places. Scoots began to hang the brilliant streamers, and the other two began to draw out various ideas for clothes.

“This is harder than I thought it would be.” Apple Bloom muttered as she erased her latest design as well. “Shouldn’ all three of us be design’in?”

“I’m not sure… But, Rarity says the environment is really important for design inspiration! So, that’s why I thought the streamers should be up first…”

“Then why don’t you two help me?” Scootaloo asked through the ribbons she was holding.

“There’s only one step ladder.”

Scootaloo groaned.

~~~


It was just before Supper when Applejack finally stood upon her own doorstep again. She was glad to be home… Although she was a little embarrassed that she had gotten so caught up in Canterlot’s Harvest festival that she had missed the train home and had to wait till the next day. But here I am! Home Sweet Home. I bet Big Macintosh had fun today. Applejack chuckled. If Ah do recall, Apple Bloom’s little club was meeting here today. She thought merrily as she trotted inside. She was expecting to get tackled by her little sister the minute she stepped in the door, so she was surprised at how quiet it was.

“Apple Bloom, Macintosh, Granny Smith, Ah’m home! Sorry for bein’ so late.”

Her grandmother called a greeting back from the living room, and Big Macintosh poked his head out of the kitchen.

“Howdy there. What’s for Supper?” Applejack asked cheerfully, as she looked around the kitchen. “…And where’s Apple Bloom?”

Big Macintosh’s eyes widened as he remembered something. “Oops.”

“Oops?”


~~~


“What in tarnation is goin’ on here?!”

It hadn’t been too hard to find the CMC again, as they were still in the Orchard setting up their fashion show. The scene before her, however, spoke of untold chaos and bad luck.

Sweetie Bell was knotted up in red yarn and the plaid blanket she had been trying to turn into what looked like an attempt at a dress. Despite her constant mutterings of "Dumb Fabric…” she was having no luck in getting untangled again.

Scootaloo, probably in an attempt to put up decorations, was hanging by one hoof from a large tangle of ribbons, her wings working frantically to aright herself again. The fallen step ladder below her shook as it was tried to be picked back up out of the mud, and set up once more so that Apple Bloom could get her friend down.

Applejack’s loud exclamation got their attention, the three fillies looking at her in surprise and relief. They exchanged a sheepish look between themselves as Applejack sighed and picked up the step ladder to assist.

She got Scootaloo down rather easily with Big Macintosh’s assistance, and with a few quick snips of the scissors got the rather confused garment off of Sweetie Bell. By the looks of it, she was trying to sew it while wearing it, which was what had caused the issue.

Applejack had half a mind to scold them, but decided against it. They were embarrassed enough as it is, and no real damage had been done. She sighed to herself, before calling them into dinner.



The girls slept over for the night, laughing themselves asleep at their own failures. It made Applejack happy that they had already learned to take their mistakes in stride with a grin, as well as remind her of her own blunders during her attempt at the “Best Night Ever”, which had gone sour at every turn until she herself had learned to laugh at it, and all the ensuing chaos as well. All in all, it was an amusing memory, and Applejack chuckled to herself as she trotted up the stairs to bed.

The next day, she took Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell back home, leaving Apple Bloom home to help Granny Smith prepare meals. Once back at the farm, Applejack immediately set to working on all the backed-up chores from yesterday, knowing full well that all of today’s had to be done also. It was tiring work, but she didn’t let herself dwell too long on what had yet to be done, focusing instead on what she was doing.

When the two stopped for lunch, Applejack nearly groaned when she realized they weren’t even half-done yet. The west orchard still needs tendin’ too, and the cows need to be escorted to the northern field. On top of that, three of the vegetables fields need to be harvested up so Granny Smith can start on her preserves. This is way too much work for just the two of us… And I should check along the Everfree forest for Celestia… Maybe I should ask Twiligh’ for help… Then she remembered what else the Princess had said. Gah, I can’t. Ah’d rather she think of me as stubborn than know that I’m keepin’ secrets from her. May as well just buckle down and set to it.

As soon as Lunch was eaten, Big Macintosh set to fixing the plow, and Applejack fixed one of the old fences that had started to fall apart. Once their food was a little more settled, Applejack did a quick trot around the outskirts of the farm, just to make sure there was nothing major to report on. Seeing nothing, she went back to the large amount of farm work still waiting to be done.

By the time they crashed for the night, they were still behind, but not nearly as badly as they had been. Another crazy day was ahead of them, but then they would once again be caught up.

In the following day’s desperate effort to get caught up, heck, maybe even ahead, Applejack forgot to do any sort of patrol around the outskirts of the farm, and so she did not see the growing patches of frost, or the ice beginning to cover some of the fences; She went to bed satisfied with the days work, and oblivious to what was approaching until it was far too close for comfort.


“APPLEJACK! HELP!” Her sister’s terrified yell shattered the pleasant dreams she had been having, leaving only the real-life nightmare that was developing before her.

Darkness surrounded her, Luna’s moon shrouded in clouds, leaving little light to see by. Dull roars and panicked hoof-steps was all she could hear as she charged down the stairs she knew so well. The scene that met her eyes hardly made sense. Apple Bloom crouched by the fireplace, eyes wide and scared, Granny smith brandishing a candle as if it was a sword, and a frightened but determined Macintosh trying to stare down a large bear, fur like icicles, that had broken down the front door and coated the surrounding ground in spreading ice that grew like vines… Vines that hurt her brother with thorns and cold as he refused to get out of its way.

Anger blossomed like a blaze in her chest, warming the red droplet where it had laid since it was given to her. Without thinking of her own safety, or of any sort of plan, Applejack charged at the creature before her; slamming into its chest and causing the two to roughly tumble outside, shattering its spell over the icy plants and allowing Big Macintosh to break free and tend to his wounded legs.

As Applejack staggered to her hooves again, panting heavily as the world righted itself once more, the creature’s fur rose up into larger icicles and spikes, before reforming into a large crow that quickly rose up into the air. It glared at her from above, before diving down at her head, its beak and claws missing her eyes by an inch as she ducked down just in time to avoid its assault. It circled above her for a heartbeat before diving down once again. This time Applejack knew what it was going to try for, and span around, allowing herself to buck it squarely in the chest before it had a chance to pull out of its dive. She felt the ice crack under the strength of her kick, and the creature pulled away again, this time shifting into a quick fox whose eyes shone defiantly in the darkness as it circled her.

The two stared off for a minute, each trying to predict the others movements. The fox lunged forward, jaws ready to clamp around her neck. Years in the rodeo had paid off though, and Applejack sprang sideways, and the fox sped past her… But before she even had a chance to react, it turned on a dime and clamped its teeth around her back hoof. Applejack yelped in pain, and shook it off. Her hoof had already gone numb from the cold, but it wouldn’t hold her weight any longer either; And the fox was already aiming for round two.

As it lunged forward again, Applejack had a second to know in dread that she had no plan, before a shattering of glass in front of her sparked a protective blaze that stopped the fox in mid-leap; Granny Smith had thrown the hurricane lamp. Despite its efforts to stop, the fox’s tail still grazed the flames, and it immediately retreated; water dripping from the wound, revealing a shadowy skeleton for the breath it took before the ice began to reform over it. As the two stared off once again over the fire’s dieing embers, Applejack’s mind whizzed in an attempt to find a way to beat it once and for all.

For a second, she thought that perhaps she could make a torch with a nearby broken branch and the embers that were still alight… But as she looked at the fox, she realized it wasn’t just healing, it was also changing again. Her mind stuttered to a stop as the fox’s form disappeared altogether to become a monstrous beast the size and shape of a Timber Wolf, which was more than a match for ten ponies, let alone just her. Her torch idea would do nothing against this thing.

It took a step forward, a deep growl rolling from its throat, its breath cold and white in the warm late summer air. Applejack took a step backwards, her heart drumming out a terrified rhythm, her hurt hoof warm enough to cry out in pain as she put too much weight on it, and she nearly tripped in an attempt to ease it.

The wolf stepped forward again, its eyes shining with cruel confidence. Celestia, help me, I don know what da’ heck A’m doin’… Applejack thought desperately, as she fought down panic, I need to protect my family… Ah need fire, magic, SOMETHING…

With a brilliant glimmer in the darkness, the medallion vanished, dissolving into her fur, easing her pain, and giving her the hope that she had the one thing that she needed the most;

“FIRE!”

A brilliant lace of gold and orange flames suddenly encircled her, protective, warm and comforting… And devouring the wolf as a snake would a mouse. With a fizzle of sparks a shadow skeleton burst from the circle and ran desperately away into the awaiting darkness of the Everfree Forest.

With an exhausted sigh, Applejack fell to her haunches as the fire dissolved away, no longer needed, leaving only the scent of scorched grass behind. Her family was at her side in seconds, relieved and grateful. Applejack had barely had the chance to hug half of them, relieved that everyone was okay, and happy that the medallion had also healed her hurt hoof... When Apple Bloom, her voice filled with wonder, pointed out that the medallion had done one other thing as well.

“WOAH! Sis, you got a HORN!”

“Wha’da?!”