• Published 2nd Jul 2017
  • 1,086 Views, 61 Comments

Stories in Stone, Last Dance - TDR



All stories must end, even those in stone. The final book of the Stories in Stone series.

  • ...
1
 61
 1,086

Last Harvest

Stories in Stone
Last Dance
by TDR

Last Harvest

[131 years after Tirek's defeat. ]



The sun shown down brightly over the orchard, the sound of foals laughter echoing in the air as the latest generation of Apples played among the trees. The mornings chores were done and the adults were going about the days work leaving the foals free to do as they wished. The noise of nearly a dozen foals running around brought a smile to her wrinkled lips as she walked among the trees.

There was always something going on. Some new foal being born, or some sick tree that needed to be taken care of, dinner to cook or clothing to mend.

Had always been something any way. Her eldest great gran foal had found himself a mare. Pretty little thing, a soft pastel green with hair white as snow. Reminded her a lot of Granny Smith when she was in her prime. Curious filly too, always wanted to know what was going on, had her nose in everything and was doing her best to take care of every one all at once. Anglesite was a strong mare, a Crystal pony at that, Honey Sweet better know what he had found and hold onto that mare as tight as he could.

She couldn't think of anything she didn't like about the mare save one thing.

Since Anglesite arrived the mare had been steadily taking on all of Applejack's chores.

She fought it of course, despite having a hundred and sixty two summers under her hat, Applejack wasn't about to not pull her weight around the farm. Of course that was exactly what was happening.

Applejack smiled, her wrinkles showing wrinkles as she nodded to some of the foals as she went past headed up a small hill on the edge of the farm. Far in the distance she could see the spires of New Canterlot shining in the morning sun. She expected Twilight to come by some time, she usually did on Sundays. She couldn't imagine what she looked like to the Princess. Poor thing looked exactly the same as when she first took over for Princess Luna, hadn't aged a day, got a bit taller though, the purple mare looked far more like a alicorn now than she had when she first ascended.

Not the same for any one else however.

The orange of her fur had faded to a muted yellow. Her mane and tail had long ago faded from blond to dingy white, she was far thinner than she had ever been, barely kept any muscle mass any more and every step she took made parts of her hurt that she didn't even think were still attached to her. But she could always ignore it before, always something to do to keep her mind off how dang gum old she was. Keep her mind off things she wanted to keep her mind off of.

She reached the top of the hill about midday, and found a blanket and some lunch waiting for her. She frowned, probably one of the kids ran up the other side of the hill to put it there. Applejack wasn't going to protest, she simply sank down with a groan and the popping of old joints.

She dug through the basket noting the fresh cucumber sandwiches and the fresh slice of apple pie though it was the jug that held her attention the most.

She pulled open the jug taking a sniff. Cider. She smiled wide taking a swig of the sweet liquid. It was chilled, she knew who brought it now. Wolf and his wife.... she never figured out how tha little half Zebra had done it, but he managed to wed a Windigo mare. They lived up north and had about six of the cutest little balls of snowy fluff she had ever seen, pity none of them could really deal with the heat that well in full summer. This was one of the first few days of fall and the temperature was cool enough for the pair to visit already , though they likely wouldn't stay too long. Besides they all came to visit for Hearths Warming every year, freaked out the city something fierce to have a Windigo about during that time, but whatever, the mare was family now.

Setting the jug aside she lifted her gaze looking out over her home for as long as she could recall. Sweet Apple Acres.

The view from here was always breathtaking. This hill had always been her favorite spot on the farm. She could see all the fields the barns and the main house from here. The old apple tree that had once been up here had long ago been removed after a storm took it out. The new one was much younger though no less impressive. It was a personal spot for her too.

Things had changed, a lot in the years since she first started working the fields. A river had been redirected through the property for irrigation, the old farm house was now huge and looked more like a mansion surrounded by dozens of smaller homes and outbuildings for family and workers, the place was a small town into itself with a blacksmith and even it's own sheriff. Granted Babs' colt was only here part of the time being a member of the Guard, but Thistle could keep order around here with just a glance, that colt gave Jer a run for his bits when it came to intimidating.

And the old barn that always kept getting trashed and broken was fully torn down and another was built in it's place much sturdier and reinforced, though still just a prone to getting wrecked some how.

It looked nothing like it did when she looked down from this point as a filly. They had specialized in a scant few kinds of Apples back then. Mostly the Sweet Apple and the Zap Apple. Now? Thanks to Applebloom, and Jer'rahd and Luna's travels every kind of Apple that existed on Equss was grown some where on the farm, either in the fields, a specialized green house, or in two odd cases in a underground cave, and the bottom of a nearby pond.

Applejack smiled at that there wasn't a pony any where that hadn't at least heard of Sweet Apple Acres at this point.

Applejack frowned slightly, her sweeping gaze landing on a spot of land far from the main house on the very edge of the property before it became the Everfree Forest. She couldn't see it well, even if her eyes had still been good, but she knew every inch of her homestead, that place was no exception.

The Apple Family Graveyard.

Rhede, Velkorn, Granny, Big Mac, Rainbow Dash and a few others were there. Despite thoughts of the others being painful to think about, there was one that brought her to tears just to recall her name. The reason she kept herself busy so long so as to keep herself from thinking on it.

Fluttershy's grave.

There was no body there mind you. Just the marker. Same with a number of the others. Big Mac and Dash had been buried in the field and a tree planted over them , same as Granny. Mac had a Macintosh tree and Dash had been planted with the same, though it came as little surprise to her that a Zap apple tree had sprouted instead over Rainbow. Dash always had to do something awesome.

Shy had the same with her. A tree planted. It grew strong and healthy rather quickly. It was one tree that she never allowed to be harvested. That wasn't much of a problem since where it was planted was out of the way and it was the only tree on the hill. Anything the tree produced was left to feed whatever critter might happen by.

Applejack rose slowly moving over to the apple tree on the hill settling herself down between some of the roots and leaning back against the sun warmed bark. Bird song came from above and she could hear the skittering of squirrels rustled the branches.

She had been beautiful, right up until the end when she simply didn't wake up one morning. The pair of them had gone to bed as normal, with a small kiss and telling each other that they loved one another. Apple Jack had drifted off feeling her loves wings draped around her.

The next morning Applejack had gotten up like she usually did and headed out to start the chores, fully expecting Fluttershy to be roused and have breakfast made when she came back.

That hadn't happened.

When Applejack came back, the stove was still cold, She called out and got no response, so she rushed upstairs as fast as her eighty three year old form could only to find Fluttershy still laying in bed unmoving.

Applejack didn't recall much after that aside from that she tried to rouse her love and failed. Her cries and screams brought the rest of the family running in and the next thing she recalled was Twilight holding her as she broke down.

The doctor said she had died in the night, natural causes, she was two years older than Applejack at the time and she had never been the most sturdy of ponies any way. Being a Bearer of Harmony extended their lives considerably, though at this point aside from Twilight she was the last one of the mane six.

Applejack sighed recalling how she and Fluttershy had first actually fallen for one another. In truth it was all Rarity's fault. Just about everything involving romance in town was at that point in their lives. Fluttershy actually had a thing for the white mare, and despite their differences so did Applejack. Rarity however was unfortunately for the pair, straight. The one time Apple Jack posed the question it was set as more a off hoof remark. Rarity took no offense, well none past the usual dramatic nonsense, but she made it clear she only was interested in stallions. Applejack was crushed by that, but she noted that Fluttershy had also seemingly deflated in on herself at the declaration with out saying anything about it.

Applejack went along with Fluttershy after she left the rest of the group to try and figure out what was wrong with her.

One rather long walk and an even longer talk had the pair of them finding new ways to get close to each other. Something that evolved into Fluttershy and AppleJack getting roped into some hair brained scheme by Rainbow to keep her dating Big Mac a secret from every one until she became a Wonderbolt. While a complete disaster, it had turned out to be rather fun in the end, particularly the look on Rarity's face when it was all revealed, the mare never even knew she had set the two of them up with her words.

Applejack sighed, the smile still on her lips as she took another sip of the cider looking down at her farm.

The foals running about in the trees and fields had their older siblings watching them

The fields on the other side glimmered with the apple blossoms showing a bountiful cold harvest to come this year. There was always a harvest now and fresh apples all year long. Her foals and grand foals working the fields making sure everything was ready for the first cold spell to protect the less hardy trees.

Her gaze drifted to the house where she had spent her days, a number of ponies were gathered around there, including a tall black mare she didn't recognize, from this distance it looked like an alicorn, maybe Luna had come to visit? That would be nice. It had been a bit since she had seen those two, not since they brought back that one tree that grew upside down from one of their trips. That one was a interesting green house construction project.

Still. There wasn't anything for her to do here any more, it was a place with no place for her any more.

Applejack looked up to the cloudless sky , the sun shining from above down on everything warming her old old bones despite the shade of the Apple tree she sat under. She smiled figuring a small nap might be in order, walking up the hill had been more tiring than she liked. She took off her hat setting it over her fore hooves, a little pink Butterfly ribbon sewn into the band stared back at her.

Maybe if she was lucky she would dream of her little butter yellow 'tree' pony, heh.

Apples on the farm, alls right with the world as the saying went.

==================================================

“Applejack? Applejack?” Twilight Sparkle called. She spotted the mare on the hill where she expected her to be, but it would be rude just to land near her.

Twilight pulled up short, her wings fanning as she landed on the grass near by trotting up to the mare laying on a blanket against the tree that grew over Fluttershys grave, her head dipped, her nose almost touching the old hat resting on her forelegs.

“Applejack there you are. I came by to see how you …... were doing...” Twilight trails off her gaze shifting over the still form, the lack of movement from the mares sides, her closed eyes and the small smile on the old mares face. Twilight's expression tightened as she quickly cast a spell to fall over the pony before her, a simple scan, but the results were instant and the Princess's features fell. She slowly moved forward picking up the hat and adjusting her friends head to rest on her hooves like she was asleep, tears pouring from the Princess's eyes.

She hugged the hat to her chest with a small sob before looking back down the hill and out over the farm.

“You picked a beautiful place for this my friend. I just wish I could have seen you before you were gone. “ Twilight sniffled.” Rest now my Applejack, I'll take care of everything.”

And thus overlooking everything she held dear, Apple Jack Apple passed from Equss.

Author's Note:

I think out of all the ones I've written so far, this one has hurt the most.