• Published 1st Jul 2017
  • 3,068 Views, 66 Comments

A Quest for Love: An Apple-Pear Family Story - Silver_Bolt

A story filled with adventure, tragedy, and most importantly, love. Grand Pear struggles to forget the life he left behind, while Buttercup and Bright Mac make a decision that forever changes the Apple family...

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Chapter 2: A Bittersweet Lullaby

Chapter 2

A Bittersweet Lullaby

“Shhh… Shhh… Come now Sugarcube, don’t cry. Don’t cry. Mama’s here.”

But the newborn filly cried even louder, her round face turning the same shade of red as the silk bow she wore in her crimson mane.

“Buttercup!" An old scratchy voice called out from downstairs. “You best get that little one to settle down ya here!? It’s been far too long since I had me a nice, quiet relaxing day. All this crying is making my old ears hurt. Perty soon I’ll be deaf! Well... I'll be even more deaf!”

“Sorry Ma!” Buttercup yelled back.

She wiped the tears off her filly's face, her ears now ringing from her infant’s never-ending tantrum.

“Come now, Apple Bloom!” she pleaded as she continued to rock her in her arms. “No need for all this crying!”


She turned towards the door, her eyes meeting another small filly.

“Applejack, what are you doing here? Didn’t I ask you to help Granny and Big Mac with supper?”

“Yeah, but Granny told me to come up here to help you quiet down Apple Bloom. She says her ears hurt and that she’s going deaf. Actually, she’s becoming even more deaferer than she already is," she said innocently.

“Yes I heard,” she said with a chuckle as she walked over to her daughter, embracing her in one arm while holding the crying filly in the other. “So you want to help me calm down your sister hmm?”

Applejack nodded.

“Well then, it’s a good thing you came up just now. I was fixing to sing a little lullaby to your sister."

“Which one!? Which one!?” her filly asked, bouncing up and down. “Hush Now Quiet Now? Or Sleep Now Little Filly? Or-“

“Actually,'' she began to say, trying to avoid even more commotion, “I was going to sing Little Pear Blossom.”

“Little Pear what now?” Applejack said as she stopped, raising an eyebrow. “I never heard that one before.”

Buttercup swooped her up, now having both little fillies in her arms. “Sure you have. I used to sing this to you when you were Apple Bloom’s age.”

“I don’t remember that. Ya sure?”

“I'm positive,” she grinned as she began to fix her daughter’s messy blonde mane. “It’s a lullaby that I don’t sing too often.”

“Well, why don’t you ever sing it?”

She stopped in a cold sweat, seeing the curiosity building in her daughter’s green eyes.

“It’s… well… It’s because I…”

But there was no thought, no compelling lie or made-up story that came to mind. All she could do was stare at her, pressured by this little filly who asked a simple, innocent question. She closed her eyes, drowning out the crying and her emotions with the thought of a song, a song that hadn’t left her lips for what seemed like an eternity.

“That ain’t important right now,” she said softly before opening her eyes with a smile. “Just listen, okay?”

The melody of a forbidden hymn left her lips, flowing through the air like a magical spell. It was like recalling a precious memory, rolling off her tongue effortlessly as if no time had passed at all. With each passing note she sang, the crying began to quell, subsiding until it was replaced with the melody of a long-lost lullaby.

“Hey there little pear blossom, don’t you cry,

You are the pear of my eye,

Through stormy days I’ll always be with you,

Yes, I will be with you till the sun breaks through,

Oh little pear blossom, how I love you-“

But it happened again. As quickly as the song had started, it began to break, interrupted by an unwelcoming feeling of sorrow that grew with every note. She could feel her breath beginning to thin as she desperately tried to continue. She moved her lips, but no sound, nor note was to be heard. She took another breath, the lyrics of the next verse in her mind, but what came out were no words, just a crack in her voice that was quickly met with a gentle tug on her mane.

“Mama? Are you alright?"

Buttercup gasped as she looked down at her fillies, seeing Apple Bloom sound asleep and Applejack half awake as she rubbed her eyes.

She felt tears run down her cheek which she quickly wiped off with her shoulders.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine,” she said softly. “It’s just that sometimes, this song makes your mama feel sad, that’s all."

“But the song is so beautiful,” Applejack said with confusion. “How could that make anypony sad?”

With a small kiss on her forehead, she gently placed her daughter back down on the floor.

“Never mind that,” she whispered, placing her sleeping infant into her crib . “Why don’t you run along downstairs and continue to help with supper? I’ll be down in a minute.”

“Yes ma’am,” Applejack said disappointingly as she slowly made her way out of the room.

Just as she was finished tucking in Apple Bloom, the deafening silence was broken once more.

“Papa! You’re back!” Applejack shouted excitedly as she bounced up and down once more.

She could see her husband, standing in the doorway with his contagious grin. He quickly took off his battered hat from his sweaty red mane, placing it on his daughter’s head, and tapping her nose with his muddy hoof.

“Shhh! Be quiet now,” he said, raising his hoof over his mouth. “You don’t want to wake up your sister now do you?”

“Oh yeah,” she said quietly, lifting the brim of her dad’s hat from her eyes as she looked up at him. “Mama and I worked very hard to get her to calm down. Actually, Mama did most of the work, but you should have been here Pa! She just sang the most prettiest song I ever heard and just like that, Apple Bloom went and hit the hay!”

“Oh is that so? Your Mama has the prettiest voice in all of Equestria,” Bright Mac said with a smile. “What song did sh—“, he paused, as his eyes met hers.

She tried to hide the fact that she cried with a delicate smile, but he could clearly see through her guise.

“Ah. I see,” he said quietly. “Jackie, go downstairs and help your brother and Granny. We’ll be down in just a minute.”

“But Pa, could I just-”

He took back his hat that was on his filly’s head, cleaning off the mud he had placed on her nose with a sincere, yet stern look.

“Jackie. Please,” he said calmly.

Applejack averted her gaze from her father’s eyes down to the floor, slowly making her way out of the room.

“Yes sir…” she mumbled.

Bright Mac quietly inspected his hat, brushing off the dirt and grime with his one clean hoof.

“How was the tree cutting at Burnt Oak’s?” Buttercup asked while she tucked in Apple Bloom. “I’m guessing it went pretty well, being that you’re home so early.”

“Eeyup. Sure did. Ended up clearing an acre and a half of trees in under two hours.”

She looked at him with surprise. "An acre and a half?"

“I know, I know. Impressive right?” he gloated with a teasing smile.

"You know, honesty is one of the traits that I love most about you," she said, narrowing his eyes at him.

"Okay, fine. I might've exaggerated just a bit… but enough about me. How have you been, dear? According to Applejack, you had a little concert here just before I came in. Shame I missed it. Wish I could’ve been here. Sounded like it was lovely.”

She rolled her eyes and embraced him, putting her head snugly on his neck. “It was. Shame you weren’t here.”

“Is everything alright Buttercup? Sang that lullaby again didn’t you?”

She bit her lip.

“Yeah,” she said with a sigh as she brushed her mane back from her face. “One of my favorites, but I always have a hard time just tryin’ to finish it, no matter how hard I try.”

“I know,” Bright Mac said gently.

“It’s just that… I just wish… Why did he…” she said weakly, unable to find her words as her eyes began to brim with tears once more. “Why did he have to leave Bright Mac? And why wouldn’t he want to come back? I write almost every single week to him about Big Mac, Applejack, and just recently about Apple Bloom, and still no response. Doesn’t he want to meet his grandchildren? Doesn’t he want to see us, and… and… be there for them? To be there for us? To be there... for me?”

Her husband’s embrace tightened around her, feeling his broad hoof gently comb through her mane, just as he would always do whenever her mind decided to think about her father.

“I just miss him. I miss him so much."


In the kitchen, Applejack busily helped Granny and Big Mac set the table for supper. She laid out the place mats at each seat, as well as the plates, napkins, and utensils, while Granny and her brother were busy placing the freshly cooked food at the center of the apple wood table.

"That about does it!" Granny said proudly. "I'ma freshen up before supper. Be right back!"

Seeing Granny leave for the outhouse, Applejack dashed over to her big brother and nudged him.

“Big Mac!” she whispered.

“What are you whispering for?” he asked in his booming voice.

“Shh! Would ya quiet down? I have a question for you. Do you know anythin’ about a lullaby that Ma used to sing for us?”

He looked at her in annoyance. “She sings a lot of songs Jackie. You need to be more specific.”

“It’s a lullaby called Little Pear Blossom. Does that mean anythin’?”

He froze. “You heard her sing that?”

“Yeah. To me and Apple Bloom just a short while ago. Why?”

Her brother looked down at the floor, tapping his hooves anxiously on the wooden panels. “I only heard her sing it once when you were just a baby, about the same age as Apple Bloom. As beautiful as it sounded when Mama sang it, I couldn’t help but hear a bit of sadness in her voice. Did you?”

She nodded. “But why? Why does that lullaby make her sad Big Mac?”

He continued to lightly tap the floor, a curious little habit she had noticed whenever something made him uncomfortable. “You promise to say nothin’ to anypony?”

She nodded.

He stopped his tapping before letting out a big sigh. “I don’t know much about it. I only heard Ma, Pa, and Granny talking about it when I was younger. Apparently there was some feud between our family, and another family, the Pears. From what I can piece, it hurt our family pretty badly, especially Mama.”

She looked up at her brother, having more questions than answers. “Who are the Pears? And what’s a feud?”

“I’ll tell ya what it is!”

Her heart stopped at the sound of that scratchy, stern voice.

Her and Big Mac quickly turned around, only to be confronted by a stern-faced Granny Smith. “It’s something that you two should never poke your noses in.”

“But Granny…” she started to say.

But her response was met with a death stare. “Now you two listen close and listen hard. Never, ever talk about the Pears. Got it? It’s been really hard on all of us, especially your Ma. For her sake, and for yours, you best forget you heard any of this. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes Granny,” the two said together guiltily.

“We all set for dinner?” their father called out from the floor above as he and their mother climbed down the stairs.

“We’re all set in here!” Granny said with a smile. Looking at the two fillies, she said in a cold tone, “Remember, not a word.”
Dinner at the Apples’ is nothing short of a feast. The long, apple wood dinner table was covered, head to toe with innumerable amounts of food, something that was expected every night. Fragrances of mashed potatoes, apple fritters, mac n’ cheese, and other delicacies filled the entire house, all coming together in perfect unison to create a distinct scent that was found only in their family dinners. This was the best time of the day for Applejack, not just because she can stuff her face (although she enjoyed that very much) but the fact that she can sit down with her entire family. Talking is a must for an Apple family dinner. It was expected that you told everyone what you did that day, even if your day was boring. No one cared if it was, and that was the beauty of it. Everyone felt included, everyone was heard, and everyone broke out in laughter, which was something, other than the food, that was always passed around the dinner table.

Like every other Apple family dinner, the food that night was amazing. It filled the mouth with a multitude of delicious flavors just as soon as it entered the mouth and touched the tongue. But this Apple family dinner was different. The dinner table, as Applejack noticed, was quiet. Too quiet.

Clearing his voice and taking her mother’s hoof, her father finally broke the deafening silence. “Kids, Ma. We have an announcement to make.”

“Oh please!” Granny cried out, “Not another one!”

“Another what?” Big Mac asked, his mouth filled with food.

Applejack immediately leaped out from her chair, feeling her heart leaping out from her chest just the same. “You’re going to have another baby Ma!?”

Her mother immediately spat out her water as she was taking a sip from her cup. “What!? No, no, no!”

“No Applejack, and no Ma,” her father said laughing, “We are definitely not having another filly.”

“Aww come on,” Applejack said to herself quietly as she slumped back down in her chair.

“Your Ma and I decided, that we are going to take a little trip.”

“Really!?” Applejack exclaimed, regaining her excitement. “Where we goin’?”

“Oh Jackie,” her mother began in a soft tone, “Only your Pa and I will be going.”

She leaped to her hooves once more. “What? What do you mean?”

“Yes indeed. What do you mean?” Granny Smith asked, raising an eyebrow. “Where in blazes are you two going?”

“Buttercup and I need to… We need to tend to something. Something that has been long due for a fixing...”

Granny closed her eyes and nodded. “When are you two leaving?”

Looking up from his plate, Bright Mac made a forced grin. “Well… Ma… We decided to leave tomorrow mornin’.”

Granny spat out her food, nearly choking in the process. “Are you two serious? Just like that you two decide to take a trip all the way to Vanhoover without any proper time to plan? And what about Apple Bloom? You think I can take care of her by myself?”

“Ma, Pa…” Applejack began, unsure as to what Granny and her father were arguing about, “why are you leavin’?”

Her father let out a sad smile. “We have to go to Vanhoover to tend to some business, that’s all. Your Ma and I have always talked about taking this trip, but we have been delaying it for far too long.”

“But why now? Why can’t you just take the trip some other time?” Big Mac asked with the same sorrowful tone.

“I know this is a shock for both of you, but your Pa is right. We have been delaying this for far too long. Please understand that this isn’t easy for us either,” said their mother.

Applejack bit her lip, feeling tears building up. “It’s about that lullaby you sang, isn’t it Mama?” she said, her eyes closed tightly, “the one that made you sad?”

Her mother turned to her in surprise. “Jackie...”

She threw her fork down at the floor. “No! Just No! I don’t want any of you to leave! I want you both to stay here with all of us… and with me!”

Before she even realized, she got up from her chair and ran out of the kitchen towards the stairs.

“Applejack!” her parents called as she raced up the stairs and into her room, slamming the door behind her.

She leapt onto her bed, burying her face onto her pillow, soaking it with her tears.

She laid there for about an hour or so, until she heard a knock on her door.

“Applejack?” her father called out calmly from behind the door.

“Can we come in?” asked her mother.

“Yeah,” she said sniffling as she sat on the edge of her bed, her back against the door. “I guess.”

Her bedroom door slowly creaked open, the light from the hall casting two shadowy figures onto the wall. She stared at them, hearing the sound of her parents' hoofsteps as they made their way towards her.

She continued to look away, her parents taking a seat on her bed, one on each side, sandwiching her as she prepared to be scolded.

“You alright Jackie?” her father asked gently.

“No. I’m still a little angry at ya’ll,” she said looking down at the floor.

“Now, now. There’s no need for that,” her mother said soothingly, her voice as soft as butter as she lifted her chin with her hoof. “The last thing we need is for our little Applejack to be mad at us.”

She looked into her mother's teal blue eyes, her anger slowly melting away.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, her anger replaced with a sense of guilt, “I just don’t want you guys to go.”

“I know sweetheart,” her mother said, embracing her as she wiped the tears off of her freckled face. “Believe me. I wish we didn’t have to go either. But please understand, your Pa and I need to take this trip. We won’t be long. Why, we’ll be back faster than you can say apple jam!”

She let out a little giggle. “How long will you guys be gone?”

“We’ll only be gone for a week tops,” said her father.

“A week?” she exclaimed, “That’s way too long. It’ll be so lonely without you guys."

Her father chuckled as he tipped his hat. “Jackie, you know that we will always be with you, no matter how far apart we may seem to be?”

“How so?”

He lifted his hoof and placed it right over her heart.

“Because of this. Your mother and I will always be with you, because our love for you is so strong. The same goes for Big Mac, Apple Bloom, and Granny. We will be with all of you. Always."

Her mother placed her own hoof over her heart as well, right next to her father’s. “Don’t you fret Jackie. We’ll be back bright and early a week from now, so early that when you wake up, the first thing you’ll see is us."

Applejack was comforted by her parents' words, taking every single thing that they had said to heart. She hugged her parents as tight as she could, feeling their warm embrace, savoring every second of the precious moment.

“Mama?” she said gently. “Can you promise me something?”

“What is it Jackie?”

“When you guys come back, do you think… maybe… you could finish that lullaby you sang earlier today? I know it makes you sad, but…”

She took her hoof and held it tightly. “I promise."

“You Pinkie Pie swear?”

“Pinkie Pie, what now?” asked her father with a laugh. “What in Equestria is that?”

“My friend Pinkie Pie taught me. Like this!”

She performed the gesture taught to her by her friend, performing every little detail to a T. “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!”

Her parents burst out laughing as she performed it, marveling at the strange (yet cute) routine.

Her mother smiled as she began the same routine, mimicking every minute detail to the best that she could. “Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” She let out a laugh. "How was that?"

Applejack giggled with delight. "I think you got it!"

“Alright,” her mother began, “You best get some sleep now.”

Her parents tucked her into bed, gave her a kiss on the forehead, and turned off the lights.

“Good night Jackie,” her father said softly.

“Good night Pa. Good night Ma," she said with a yawn, "I love you."

“We love you too Jackie, so much,” her mother said gently as she closed the door.

At this, she began to drift into a deep sleep, thinking about what her parents had said. She thought about how much they loved her, and about how much she loved them…


“Huh?” she gasped.

“Applejack! You best get out of bed and get down here! Otherwise, there won’t be much breakfast left for you! Big Mac is eating all the eggs and flapjacks!” Granny called out from downstairs.

“Gah! Big Mac!” she exclaimed to herself, leaping out of her warm bed. “You best hope there’s enough food for me Big Mac!”

She quickly fixed her bed, sprinted out of her room, and ran down stairs to the kitchen. She saw Granny, Big Mac, and Apple Bloom already seated at the table. Granny, holding the morning paper, was feeding little Apple Bloom in her high chair, while her brother was busy stuffing his face with flapjacks.

“Gee Big Mac,” said Applejack as she grudgingly pulled out her chair next to him. “Thanks for waiting.”

“Well we did try calling you,” he said without an ounce of guilt, “but you hit the hay pretty hard.”

She noticed the two empty seats that stared at her from across the table.

“Don’t you worry little filly,” Granny began, “They didn’t leave yet. They’re outside prepping the carriage. Now, hurry up and finish your breakfast so you and your brother can help ‘em.”

She usually took her time eating to enjoy the delicious food, however she quickly cleaned her plate and took her dishes to the sink before bolting out the screened door.

Outside in the front lawn, she could see that her parents were busily loading up the family carriage with suitcases and supplies for the long journey ahead of them.

“Ma! Pa!” she called out, running towards them.

“Morning Jackie!” her father called, “you slept pretty hard! Wasn’t sure if you were ever gonna get up!”

“I almost didn’t!” Applejack said panting after she reached them. “When I heard Granny say that Big Mac was eating all the food, I woke up immediately and sprinted downstairs!”

“Is that so?” her mother said with a grin. “I believe that.”

“You two fixing to head out?” Granny called out as she walked over from the house to meet them, along with her brother and a smiling Apple Bloom in her arms.

“Yes Ma,” Bright Mac said as he secured the last set of luggage to the back of the wagon. “Looks like we’re all set to go.”

Applejack looked down at the ground, her father's words hitting her like a hammer.

“Remember what your Pa said Jackie. We’ll always be right here,” she heard her mother say as she took her hoof and placed it over her heart once more.

“I know,” Applejack said with a tearful smile. "I'll always remember that."

"Hey Jackie? I need you to do me a favor.”

Her heart began to race, seeing her father take off his old, worn-out hat as he approached her.


“I want you to take care of this for me till I get back,” he said with a smile. “I can trust you, right?”

She took the old hat that her father had worn for as long as she could remember and placed it on top of her head, the large brim covering her small eyes.

“You sure can," she said proudly. "You can count on me!"

Big Mac, who was silently standing next to Granny, let out a brief, yet noticeable sniffle.

“Now I know my Big Mac isn’t crying now, is he?” their mother said as she walked over to him.

“Nope...” he said as he looked away. “...Eeyup.”

“Come here,” she said as she held him in a tight embrace.

“Big Mac,” Bright Mac said in a firm, but loving voice, “My boy, promise me you’ll look after the family while I’m gone? Don’t let anything happen to your sisters, or Granny, okay?”

“Yes sir,” Big Mac said, wiping the tears off from his face. “I promise.”

“I love you son,” Bright Mac said as he hugged his boy.

Buttercup made her way over to Granny, taking cheerful little Apple Bloom from her arms as she cooed.

“My little Sugarcube,” she began as she gently rocked her baby filly in her arms. “You be a good girl now ya here?”

“Mama?” said Apple Bloom in a sweet voice.

“Oh my lands!” gasped Applejack. “Ma, Pa! That’s her first word!”

"What? No fair!" Bright Mac said as he approached them. "Her first word was supposed to be Papa!"

“Papa!” repeated Apple Bloom.

With tears in their eyes, the two hugged their little filly, each leaving a small kiss on her forehead.

“Goodbye Apple Bloom,” her mother said with a smile as a tear rolled down her cheek.

Bright Mac returned Apple Bloom to Granny and then hugged his mother. “Ma? Will you be alright here?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Granny said with a smirk, “I have plenty of help.”

“I know you do," he said as he looked at his three children. He hugged his mother once more. "I love you Ma."

“Bye Ma,” said Buttercup, hugging her as well.

“Goodbye you two,” she said softly. “Come back home safely.”

After exchanging their tearful goodbyes, the two made their way over to the carriage. Bright Mac, after helping his wife up onto the seat, began strapping on his harness.

“We’ll be back!” called Bright Mac.

“We love you!” called out Buttercup as she waved her hoof.

Bright Mac began pulling his harness, the large bulky carriage slowly moving, eventually making their way out the front gate.

The remaining Apples stood in the front lawn, keeping their eyes fixed on the family carriage, which made its way up over a tall hill, until it disappeared from their sight.

Granny, holding Apple Bloom, and Big Mac began to make their way back to the house, except for Applejack, who remained staring at the hilltop.

“Applejack!” Granny called out to her before entering the house. “You don’t plan on standing there till they get back do you?”

Applejack didn’t mind that at all. In fact, she was perfectly fine waiting there till she saw her parents again, but she knew there was no sense in doing that.

“Alright Granny. I’m coming.”

After many days of waiting, the day finally came in which all of the Apples (especially for Applejack) were waiting for. She sat at the kitchen table, picking aimlessly at her breakfast. The night before, she had tried her hardest to stay awake as she laid in her bed the entire night, hoping to catch her parents returning. After all, they did promise that they’d be back before she woke up.

Big Mac sat at the table happily munching on his breakfast as usual, while Apple Bloom sat in her high chair, delighted that Granny was feeding her.

Granny hit the table firmly with her hoof. “Applejack!"

“Gah!” Applejack exclaimed, dropping her fork.

“Up all night, weren’t you Applejack?” Granny said, staring suspiciously at her.

“And what makes you say that Granny?” she asked with a yawn.

“Lucky guess I suppose,” Granny muttered as she continued to feed her sister.

“Where's Ma and Pa? Shouldn’t they have arrived by now?” asked Applejack worriedly.

“Well, Vanhoover is a very good distance from here. I’m sure they’ll be here sometime today,” said Big Mac, his mouth filled with flapjacks.

She was not content with his answer. She picked up her fork, placed it on the table, and got out of her chair. The thought of them not being here upset her to the point where she couldn't take another bite of the delicious food.

“And where are you going?” Granny asked with a glare.

“I’m going up to hay loft in the barn to wait for Ma and Pa,” she said as she opened the kitchen door.

“But you barely touched your food!” Granny said firmly.

“I’m not very hungry Granny. I’ll eat later though!”

She made her way out of the house and into the cool morning, hearing the birds sing their tunes. She ran into the barn, climbed up the rickety wooden stairs, and settled onto the dusty wooden floor of the hay loft. There, she sat comfortably near a large opening, overlooking the entire Sweet Apple Acres orchard. From here one has a clear view of the front gate, as well as the long dirt road that made its way up and over the hill, which was the last place she saw her parents. Here, she reasoned, was where she would stay while looking out for them.

She waited patiently, looking out from the barn, beyond the acres of apple trees, staring blankly at the hill where she last saw her parents, waiting to see them reemerge from the hilltop.

“They’ll be here soon,” she said to herself, “And I’ll be the first one to greet them.”

She continued to stare at the hill, with the gentle sun pressing on her face, giving her warmth, while the songs of birds echoed from across the orchard…


“Pa?” Applejack said softly, slowly opening her eyes.

She looked up, only to see Big Mac, with tears in his eyes, at least it looked like tears. She wasn’t sure, as her eyes were still heavy.

“How long have I been sleeping?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.

“I-I I'm n-not sure," he stuttered.

She looked sharply at him, seeing much clearer now that he was indeed crying.

“Big Mac, what’s wrong?”

“Jackie,” he said, his voice shaking, “Ma and Pa…”

Her heart felt as if it had stopped beating. “What!? What’s wrong!? Are they okay!?”

“Ma and Pa… they aren’t coming back,” Big Mac said looking down, tears rolling down his cheek. “Sheriff Silver Star came by just a bit ago and… and…”

She took his hoof and held it tightly, bracing for the news she knew was coming.

He looked at his sister, his eyes swelling with tears, as he let out a heavy sigh. “Sheriff Silver Star said that there was an accident. A few ponies who were passing through High Mountain Pass on their way to Ponyville found Ma and Pa’s carriage smashed to bits, lying at the bottom of a valley a good distance away from here. It looked like the carriage fell off the edge of the road and… tumbled down the cliff."

She sat silently on the wood floor of the loft, staring blankly at the apple orchard that was now dimly lit by Celestia's setting sun. She averted her gaze to the hilltop and paused a minute, taking in everything her brother had said, debating whether or not she should continue to ask questions.

“And Ma and Pa?” she asked reluctantly, her eyes beginning to fill with tears.

“Sheriff said that a group of them went to the scene. They searched everywhere, but couldn’t find them. He said that there’s still a group of them searching right now. He said that he’s going to send more ponies to search first thing in the morning.”

She looked sternly at her brother.

“So they’re still out there then?”


“What are we still doing here? We need to find them! Now!”

She leapt onto her hooves and raced down the stairs, sprinting out of the barn and into the orchard.

“Applejack! Wait!” her brother called out, following closely behind her, “You can’t go out there! It’s getting dark! Don’t you know how far High Mountain Pass is? It’s miles away from here!”

But she didn’t care. She needed to find them. They were out there. They had to be. She was promised that they would be back, promised that they would be there before she woke up, and above all, promised that she would hear the rest of her mother's lullaby.

She continued to sprint through the South Orchard towards the front gate. Where High Mountain Pass was, she did not know. All she had in mind was finding her parents. The thought of them out there, all alone in the wilderness, waiting to be rescued, gave her every bit of energy needed for a long journey.

With the sun setting and just barely over the horizon, the farm and its numerous trees started to become darker by the second. Looking up, she could see the Mare in the Moon slowly emerging into the night sky as the sun retreated. She continued to run towards the front gate, losing her balance from the rocks and roots that littered the dirt path, but quickly regaining her momentum. She could barely see through her tears as the sunlight began to fade, however, she could just barely make out the front gate only a short distance away. Behind her, she could hear heavy hoof steps growing louder and louder.

“Applejack!” cried Big Mac as he chased her through the dark orchards. “Applejack stop!”

But she ran faster and faster, her heart beating so hard that it felt as if it were coming out of her chest. But just as she reached the gate, she felt a hoof grab her by the back, pulling her backwards. Unable to control herself, she fell to the ground, along with her brother.

The two of them toppled and rolled across the ground until they came to a stop.

Applejack struggled to get onto her feet, inching herself towards the front gate, but two strong arms pulled her back down.

“Let me go!" she shouted, striking at his arms with her hooves. “Let me go! Please! I need to find them! I need to find them!”

But the hold became tighter, feeling her brother’s face pressed against her back, his warm tears beginning to soak her coat.

“Stop it Applejack! Stop! I promised Pa that I wouldn’t let anything happen to you! And I will keep my word!”

She slumped to the ground.

“They promised,” she said weakly, a cascade of tears flowing down her face. “Big Mac, they promised!”

“Shhh,” her brother said as he combed his sister’s mane, attempting to calm her down. “I know, I know.”

“No. No you don’t understand Big Mac,” she began again while managing to get out of his hold. “They promised they’d be back today and Ma promised! She promised that she would finish singing her lullaby for me when she came back.”

He hugged her, tighter than he did before. “I’m so sorry Jackie,” he said quietly, closing his eyes.

They held onto each other for what seemed like an eternity under the pale moon in the cold airy night, before slowly making their way back to the house.

Upon opening the kitchen door, the two saw Granny, her eyes tinted red with tears, sitting in one of the dining chairs holding a calm Apple Bloom. Seeing her grandchildren, she immediately got out of her chair and hurriedly ran towards them.

“Where in Celestia’s good name have you two been!?” she said in a panic. “I looked high and low for you two! You two nearly gave me a heart attack!”

“We’re sorry Granny,” Applejack began, unable to look at her grandmother. “We were-“

But her grandmother’s sudden embrace cut her off, a gesture that had her speechless. With tears in her eyes, she held Apple Bloom in one arm, while embracing her and her brother in the other. She had never seen her grandmother emotional, let alone cry. She always maintained a tough shell, always lecturing them about acting rather than reacting, keeping a level head during hardships.

But not even Granny could withstand the overwhelming sorrow and pain. Applejack could feel her sadness, every gasp, every sniffle, and every wet tear she shed as she stood there, locked in a tight embrace with her and her siblings.

Without any words, they all stood there in the kitchen, embracing each other as they silently cried about the tragic events that unfolded. A day that was meant for joy and happiness, had ended in bitter sorrow, the darkest day in which their family had ever endured.

Days passed since then and no news was heard regarding the whereabouts of Buttercup or Bright Mac. The Apple family, once filled with so much joy and happiness, never fully regained that same feeling, as if that tragic night left a deep scar on the entire family itself.

Big Mac, albeit a quiet pony, fell even more silent since that night. Rarely did anypony hear him speak, even his own family. The only words anypony managed to get out of him were either a “Eeyup” or a “Nope”.

For Granny, she never dared to again show her sorrow in front of her grandchildren, although she, like the rest of them, felt torn inside. Never did she mention the reason for their parents' departure. For many moons since that night, she fought a silent battle within herself, blaming herself for losing her son and her daughter-in-law, two precious ponies that she loved so much, who became casualties in a pointless feud.

As for Applejack, she continued to make her way to the hayloft in the barn, staring blankly at that hilltop where she last saw her parents, hoping that if she waited long enough, she would see her parents once more.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. Still no news came through about her parents. But that didn’t stop her. She continued to wait there patiently, every day, up in the hay loft.

“They’ll be here,” she would tell herself time and time again while placing her hoof over her heart. “They’ll be here.”

One day as Applejack was lying up in the hayloft, she heard the hoofsteps of somepony climbing up the stairs.

“Applejack?” said a sweet, innocent voice.

Turning around, she saw her sister, Apple Bloom, now a few years old, clumsily climbing up onto the loft.

“Hey there Sugarcube,” she said with a smile. “What are you doing here?”

“I was going to ask you the same question,” her sister said as she sat her blank flank down next to her.

“Oh,” said Applejack as she put her arm around her as they both looked out across the endless rows of apple trees. “I like spending time up here, that’s all. Say, shouldn’t you be inside the house? Taking a nap?”

“Yeah, I know,” she said with a pout. “I can’t go to sleep though. I just lay there in my bed, but I can’t seem to hit the hay.”

“You know what? I have a lullaby that I think would do the trick.”

“You do?” she said in excitement. “What is it?”

She picked up her sister and placed her on her lap. “It’s a lullaby that our mama used to sing to us.”

“Really?” Apple Bloom asked, her crimson eyes widening.

“Really. It’s called Little Pear Blossom.”

And just like their mother, she began to sing a song, the same song she had heard all those years ago. With each note that left her lips, that precious moment came back to her, where her mother’s voice filled the air which carried her and her sister into a deep sleep.

“Hey there little pear blossom don’t you cry,

You are the pear of my eye,

Through stormy days I’ll always be with you,

Yes, I will be with you till the sun breaks through,

Oh little pear blossom, how I love you-“

But she slowly began to stop, her voice becoming thinner, and her eyes filling with tears.

That was it. That’s all she knew. She never had the chance to learn the whole thing. The remaining lyrics to that beautiful hymn eluding her once more.

Her sister began to stir in her lap, talking softly in her sleep. "Applejack... keep singing please? It's... beautiful..."

“I'm sorry Sugarcube,” she whispered softly, rocking her in her arms, “It’s just that sometimes, this song makes me sad.”