• Published 2nd Mar 2017
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Land of Equines - Daddy Joe

Who would've thought that being at the wrong place at the wrong time would bring something so surreal.

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Pony Vs. Machine

Pony Vs. Machine
November 11th, 2012

I was awoken by a loud clang in the kitchen and the clock read nine-fourteen in the morning.

“Oh shoot, we’re late.” I said to myself.

Then I remembered that there probably isn’t going to be any cider today because of the competition today. I climbed off the couch and went upstairs to get ready for the day. Twilight was already up making her bed while Spike continued sleeping in his tiny, dog-like bed.

“Good morning, Caleb.” Twilight said.

“Hey, Twi. What time is the competetion supposed to start again?” I asked.

“At ten-thirty.” she answered.

I walked over to Spike’s bed and shook it violently while yelling: “STAMPEDE, SPIKE! STAMPEDE!” which made him jump to life with a startled face.

“Morning, Sleeping Beauty.” I said in my normal voice.

“Oh c’mon, I was sleeping.” Spike whined.

“Nine o’clock Spike, no moseying around.” I said,

“I’ll get you back for that.” Spike said.

“We’ll see.” I said.

We left the tree house around nine-forty five and noticed some ponies heading up to Sweet Apple Acres as well. Rarity was one of them.

“Hey, you guys go on ahead. I’m gonna talk with Rarity.” I said.

“Alright, Caleb.” Twilight replied.

“Rarity!” I yelled and she turned towards me.

“Oh, Caleb. Good to see you!.” Rarity said with a smile.

“Likewise. You worried about the Apples?” I asked.

“Why of course. Applejack and her family are very close friends.” she explained.

“Me too. I just hope they can pull this off. It’s really a challenge to create a supply of cider for an entire village in one hour with only four ponies on deck.” I said.

“I know they can pull it off. The Apples have been doing work like this for moons.” Rarity said, firmly.

"You're right." I said.

Rarity and I continued to walk and gawk until we reached Sweet Apple Acres. We both found Twilight and Spike who joined up with Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash.

“Hey guys.” I greeted.

“Sup, Caleb?” Rainbow asked.

“Not much. Just waiting for this to unfold. I’m rootin’ for Sweet Apple Acres though.” I said.

“Same.” Rainbow said.

“Me too.” Fluttershy said, quietly as usual.

“Me three.” Spike said.

"Me quadruple!" Pinkie piped. "Wait.... does that count?" Pinkie asked.

"I think so." I replied.

"Oh, okay." Pinkie said, cheerfully.

In the distance, I heard those dreaded mixes of sounds from the locomotive.

“Look, here comes dumb and dumber.” I said, causing Rainbow to laugh.

While watching the locomotive pull up in the grass opposite to the side the Apples were on, I saw the mayor walking towards them.

“Even the mayor’s involved with this?” I asked.

“Yeah, I asked her why she was here too. Apparently Flim and Flam talked her into announcing the competition.” Twilight said.

“Huh. She’s not supporting them, right?” I asked.

“Oh, nothing like that. She said that she's just announcing and remains neutral.” Twilight said.

“Good.” I said.

Twilight walked off towards Applejack to tell her something while I stayed back with the crowd. I could see Applejack practicing her bucking with a punching bag with Applebloom clinging onto the back of it. Granny put on her red glasses and Big Mac was trotting in place as if he was about to run a marathon.

“Attention, everypony!” Mayor Mare announced to the crowd.

Twilight looked back at us and said one last thing to Applejack before trotting back to the group.

“Thanks, Twilight!” Applejack responded to whatever Twilight said.

“The teams have one hour to produce as much cider as they can. After which, the barrels will be counted and the winner will be named the sole cider producer for all of Ponyville.” Mayor Mare declared. “Are both teams ready?” Mayor Mare asked both teams.

The Apples stare competitively at their rivals until Applejack shouted: “Ready!” Flim and Flam both said ready in unison while sitting on their couch, looking rather relaxed.

“GO!” the mayor shouted.

A brown stallion flipped a giant hourglass in the other end to start the timer.

The Apples quickly dashed off to their position while Granny took her time. Right when the Apples started working on their first barrel, Flim and Flam activated their magic and switched on the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. The suction funnel stretched out towards the nearest apple tree and sucked all the apples off clean. Applejack on the other hand bucked the tree with her hind legs which made it visibly shake. The apples on the tree slowly began to fall off and land into a bucket that Applebloom held on her head. Applebloom rushed over to Granny Smith and handed the bucket to her so that she could inspect the apples individually. Granny Smith immediately looked at one apples and tossed it into the grinder that was powered by a treadmill that Big Mac ran on. Cider began to pour from a faucet into a barrel and soon enough, it was full. Big Mac quickly capped it with the lid and shoved it away. So now the Apple’s had one barrel of cider down.

I was too busy watching the Apple’s progress that I forgot about Flim and Flam. I directed my attention to them and guess what? They already had five barrels filled up and ready to go.

“Oh crap!” I exclaimed while nudging Twilight to get her attention.

Twilight and the other four looked towards Flim and Flam’s pile and gasped in shock. The Apple’s also seemed to realize how many Flim and Flam had, which was now six. Applejack looked rather nervous as she could be seen visibly gulping.

The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 continued to suck apples at a fast pace that beated the Apple’s by a mile. More and more barrels were added to Flim and Flam’s pile while the Apple’s were still behind.

Applebloom was lost in a trance at the moment, but was quickly snapped out of it by Applejack. Granny Smith buckets of apples to inspect were beginning to congregate around her and Big Mac was starting to fatigue, but they pressed on.

“Oh, this is dreadful! Every barrel they produce is covered up by Flim and Flam’s” Rarity stated while pointing at the barrels.

“No kidding, they're looking pretty bad at the moment.” I said.

“Maybe we could help out.” Twilight said to all five of us.

"You may be right! Go ask the mayor quick." I said.

Twilight proceeded to walk towards the mayor and asked:

“Um, Ms. Mayor. Are honorary family members allowed to help in the competition?” Twilight asked.

“Well, i’m not sure. Flim? Flam? Would you object to honorary family members helping?” Mayor Mare asked.

“Are you kidding?” Flim asked.

“We don’t care if the whole kingdom of Canterlot helps. It's a lost cause.” Flam said.

“Mmm, I guess its ok. Applejack, what do you think?” Mayor Mare asked again.

“I think i’d love to have the rest of my... family helping out.” Applejack responded.

“ALL RIGHT!” Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy shouted.

Suddenly, I felt all the adrenaline pumping throughout my body at that moment. I was ready for anything.

"Alright everypony, line up!" Twilight instructed.

“Okay everypony, we’re not gonna let those smooth talkers take our friends farm.” Twilight said.

“YEAH!” we yelled.

“Fluttershy, help Applejack with the trees.” Twilight said.

“Got it.” Fluttershy said.

“Pinkie Pie, you’re on Apple catching detail.” Twilight said.

“Yes, sir, ma’am, sir.” Pinkie said while saluting.

“Rarity, you got a discerning eye, help Granny Smith at the quality control station.” Twilight said.

“Of course.” Rarity replied.

“Rainbow Dash, do you think you can help Big Macintosh press?” Twilight asked.

“In my sleep.” Rainbow said.

“Caleb, you look strong, can you toss the filled barrels to me and i’ll stack them?" Twilight asked me.

“Tossing barrels? I got this.” I responded.

“Alright everypony, let's save Sweet Apple Acres.” Twilight concluded.

“Alright!” we all shouted again.

All of us quickly ran to our positions and began to work hard at our tasks. I got to my station and started lifting the barrels. These barrels were pretty heavy, so I had to use effort in my toss. I grunted as I threw the barrel as hard as I could and Twilight caught it with her levitation magic and started stacking. Than another barrel came and I repeated the same action again. More and more barrels kept coming to me and I was giving everything I got, I’d throw one towards Twilight, another one would be right behind me, than another one, another one, another one, they just kept on coming.

While I was performing my duty, I looked over at Flim and Flam. They were panicking at this point due to that every three they’d make, we would make five. Flim was saying something to his brother which made both of them shoot their green beams of magic at the machine. The machine started to get louder and the suction funnel hovered over a tree and ripped the tree right out of its roots.

“Okay! Now it’s on.” I thought to myself.

When I saw that tree get sucked in, it only egged me on to push harder, even though my arms were burning at the moment. Big Mac suddenly lost his footing on the treadmill and fell off which made Rainbow fly off it.

“C’mon Rainbow Dash, keep grinding.” Twilight shouted.

“We don’t have time for quality control if we want to win this thing!” Rainbow yelled as she than flew over to Granny Smith.

“Gah! Get back you! One bad apple spoils the bunch!” Granny scolded.

“Applejack, help me!” Rainbow said.

“There’s no point in winning if we cheat!” Applejack replied.

“We’ll just have to work harder. C’mon everypony!” Twilight said.

“Oh, fine. Double time than!” Rainbow said, triumphantly.

My arms at that moment were starting to fatigue, but I knew I had to keep going. I took in large, deep breaths as I lifted and yelled as I threw the barrels to Twilight. Sweat was running down my forehead, face, and neck.

“Your doing good Caleb! Great job!” Twilight supported while I nodded to her in thanks.

We kept pushing harder for about a few more minutes until Mayor Mare said the words of relief.

“Time’s up!” Mayor Mare declared.

Everyone came to a halt with their actions and my poor arms were numb at that moment. But hey, nothing like a good workout. All of our team members dropped to the ground in exhaust while I did the same. I layed on the grass flat on my back, trying to inhale oxygen in order cool down.

“I’m proud of you, Applejack” Twilight said, tiredly.

“Thanks.” Applejack said back.

“Integrity like that will always be rewarded!” Twilight said.

“Ha! we did it guys!” I wheezed.

“We sure did. You were big help everypony, thank y'all” Applejack said.

Unfortunately, I spoke too soon again because the mayor said something that made my heart drop.

“Flim and Flam win!” the mayor announced.

“What!? No!” I said to myself in disbelief.

Everypony picked themselves back up and walked slowly to the middle that separated the teams. Flim and Flam had unfortunately had a stack of barrels that towered over ours.

W-what?” Applebloom asked confusedly to Applejack.

“We….lost?” Applejacked asked, upsetly.

“D’awww, too bad, Apple’s.” Flim said, mockingly.

“Guess you’ll have to find a new line of work, it doesn’t match your name quite sooo….perfectly.” Flam said.

“Now should we tear down these tacky, old buildings and put new ones up brother?” Flim asked Flam.

“I don’t see why not brother. After all, this isn’t Sweet Apple Acres anymore. How about Flim and Flam Fields?” Flam said while pulling a rope their sign that covered Sweet Apple Acres.

Rainbow quickly flew towards both of them.

“I ought to press you into jerk cider!” Rainbow threatened.

Applejack caught her by the tail and yanked her back to our team.

“No, Rainbow Dash. A deal’s a deal.” Applejack reminded which made Flim and Flam emit this annoying, smug laughter which made my head go hot. I than walked over the mayor

“Are you actually letting them get away with this!?” I asked, sternly.

“I’m sorry Caleb, but they made a deal and they cannot break it.” Mayor Mare replied, sympathetically.

“Well can’t they ju-” I said before my attention was directed towards a commotion going on by the stand. The ponies were spewing something out of their mouths which was in fact; Flim and Flam’s cider.

“I can’t get this taste of my tongue!” a rose colored mare exclaimed.

“Mines got rocks in it!” Bon Bon said, disgusted.

“I wouldn’t pay a bit for this dreck!” a stallion jerred.

These comments encouraged me to walk up to Flim and Flam and tell them off. I slowly walked over towards the stand and I made eye contact with both of them.

“Well, well, well. Looks like the tables have turned, huh?” Rainbow asked.

“Kind of an idiotic idea to pull up an entire apple tree in order to create your rubbish trash.” I said while holding a cup and dropping it onto the ground. “Now look at you two. You’re both now know for selling crap to Ponyville. Am I right Ponyville?” I asked.

“YEAH!” they all yelled.

“Would you ever pay one bit for this so called cider?” Rainbow asked.

“NO!” they all yelled again.

“So, now you have me and the entire town against you. What will you do now?” I said while leaning closer to them, making them back away slowly.

“It seems we’ve encountered a slight problem here in Ponyville.” Flam said, nervously.

“Nopony wants our product. Next town?” Flim asked Flam.

“Next town. Let’s go Flim.” Flam said.

“Let’s go Flam!” Flim replied, hastifully.

Both Flim and Flam dashed to the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 and drove off into the the distance, never to be seen again.

“Looks like that’s the last you’ll be seeing them.” I said to the crowd.

“Good riddance!” a stallion said.

Applejack, the other four, and Spike walked over towards me and Rainbow.

“They’re gone!” Applejack said in a cheerful tone.

“That means Sweet Apple Acres is still in business.” Twilight informed.

“Plus, we can have high quality Apple Family Cider!” Caramel added.

“And since we had this silly competition, we made enough cider for the whole town.” Applebloom said.

The crowd cheered for the victory that Sweet Apple Acres had just achieved and that they won’t have to drink that piss that Flim and Flam produced. Everyone started to form a line that was much shorter than yesterday and soon enough, the third day of cider season was in effect.

I got my cup of cider and chugged it down halfway which made hiccup. I don’t know if that cider had alcohol in it because I was starting to feel a little fuzzy on the inside.

Pinkie, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, Twilight, Spike, and Rainbow had their own ciders too. All of us took our cups and performed a toast. Rainbow finally took a sip of her cider for once these past three days.

“Worth the wait?” I asked Rainbow.

“It’s better than I remembered! Did you guys change your recipe or something.” Rainbow asked Applejack.

“Nope, not at all.” Applejack confirmed.

“Maybe its because you haven't had a good cider in a while.” Pinkie said.

“Yeah, don’t remind me.” Rainbow said.

“Hey Caleb, mind if I speak to you quick?” Applejack asked.

“Sure, i’ll be back guys.” I said to the other five as I walked away with Applejack.

“What do you need?” I asked.

“I remember when you said 'I owed you one' on Wednesday morning. Consider the favor returned for helping out my family while in need." Applejack said, placing a foreleg on my leg.

“Oh, no problem Applejack.” I said.

“And I was wondering if you would like a job here at Sweet Apple Acres.” Applejack offered.

“A job?” I asked, surprised.

“Sure, it can help you earn some money. We’ll pay ya ten bits and hour” Applejack said.

“Isn’t Sweet Apple Acres more of a family business?” I asked.

“It is. But we could sure use some extra labor with the heavy stuff. Even Big Mac has trouble with that kind of stuff.” Applejack said.

“Really? How much does the 'stuff' weigh?” I asked.

“About eight-hundred pounds and up.” Applejack revealed.

“Woah! Applejack, i’m afraid you’re out of luck. The heaviest weight i’ve ever lifted was two hundred and ninety-two pounds.” I said.

“Ah shoot, that’s a shame. Well, we can always have extra assistance with the regular based tasks. Unless….” Applejack trailed off.

“Unless?” I asked.

“In the Everfree Forest is a kind zebra named Zecora. She has all these potions for almost every ailment you can think of." Applejack said.

“A zebra, huh? Do you know the way?" I asked.

“I would, but I have to help wrap up Apple Cider Season. I’m pretty sure Twilight knows the way though.” Applejack said.

“Awesome. I’ll let her know about this.” I said.

“Sounds good. Thanks again, Caleb.” Applejack thanked.

"Yep." I replied. “Hey, Twilight!” I yelled.

“Yes, Caleb?” Twilight responded.

“Do you happen to know a zebra by the name of Zecora?” I asked.

“Yes I do. She lives in the Everfree Forest. Why?” Twilight asked.

“Well, I got a job here at Sweet Apple Acres.” I began to explain.

“Congratulations, Caleb!” Twilight said.

“Thanks. But I need your help because you know the way to Zecora’s because I have no idea where her place is at and I was wondering if she had some....strength potion, maybe.” I said.

“I know exactly where she lives.” Twilight said.

“Excellent! Should we get going now or do you want to stay for a little while longer?” I asked.

“We can go whenever you’re ready.” Twilight said.

“Alright then, let’s go." I said. "We’ll see you guys around.” I said to the other five.

“Bye.” they responded.

Author's Note:

Credit goes to M.A Larson for writing Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000.

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