• Published 2nd Jul 2017
  • 1,233 Views, 53 Comments

Wonka Vs. Applejack - MrPeaches

When the legendary candy-maker shows up in Equestria, a simple business proposal turns into an adventure that could change apple-farming in Equestria forever!

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Chapter 5: Applequest

Applejack did not like having her hooves off the ground for long. When the Great Glass Elevator lifted off of the ground in the lemony morning sunshine and her farm fell away beneath her, her stomach twisted itself into a pretzel. When the chocolatier offered motion-sickness-curing candies, even she didn't hesitate to put a few down. “Did ya have to make the floors see-through??”

“But of course! It makes landing much safer. I'd hate to squash anyone again.” The interior of the glass elevator, covered in its legion of buttons, was furnished with Wonka's armchair and several large pillows for the ponies to lay on as they traveled. Applejack set out a morning repast of fruit and hearty breads with butter, while Pinkie Pie brought along a box of pastries and baked goods to see them through the rest of the day. As they began to move forward over the lush fields, Twilight sketched the elevator's controls and mechanisms and Pinkie bit into an improvised apple-jam-and-candy sandwich, seemingly unaffected by the motion of the elevator.

Applejack looked down across the fertile land beneath their hooves; the pastoral fields of Ponyville, the dark sea of leaves that was the Everfree forest, the mountains of Canterlot in the distance. “So,” she said. “What's yer plan on findin' the Golden Apple tree?”

“Simple,” the man said, sitting in his armchair and poking at a few directional buttons with the end of his cane. “We get very lost.”

“Come again?”

“Oh, I have Ponyville's location stored in the sucrose matrix. But if you're going to find something's that's lost, then you have to get lost to find it,” Wonka continued. “That's how I found Equestria, after all.”

“Er, what do you mean?” Twilight looked up from her sketchpad.

“Why, when I would leave my factory in the Great Glass Elevator to look for new candy flavors, I'd simply bash in some random numbers into the Dimensional Hopulator and whizz-bang, off I'd go!” The older man stared off into the distance. “My gracious but I've seen some things.”

“Wait,” Pinkie looked up from her sandwich. “If we always know how to get back to Ponyville, can we really get lo-”

“Onward to adventure!” Wonka bellowed.

The elevator wended and swooped over Equestria: past the Everfree Forest, then west over the Whitetail wood, and then a bit of a wobble back toward Ponyville, and then off west again, over the Smoky Mountains and beyond. Every now and then one of them thought they saw something unusual, and would call out to the others. Down the glass elevator would whizz, and everypony would hop out and survey the area. They managed to find a field of particularly colorful flowers that made everypony sneeze, a particularly large and ancient tree that turned out to be a very old maple, and a migration of golden butterflies, but no Golden Apple tree. Still, Applejack was glad for the chance to stretch her legs.

The evening sun was beginning to dip toward the horizon when Wonka suddenly stood and peered down through the glass. “Ah, what do we have here?”

The ponies peered down, following his gaze. By now they had traveled into mountains so thick and high that nothing more than lichen could survive. The sunset light turned the range beneath them into a zebra-striped magma ocean, but in one spot, in a small divot in the mountain range invisible to anypony not directly above it, there was a splotch of bright green, red, and orange. Wonka wended the Great Glass Elevator down through the chilly air until the mountains began to rise above them on all sides like a wall, flame colored in the sunlight, morose purple in the shade.

“It's... trees!” Applejack said, surprised. And so it was, a great glen of trees spread out beneath them, and what trees they were! There was a slender tree of silver bark with glowing cyan lines running up its trunk and into its canopy, where knobbly leaves glowed a fierce turquoise, cherry-sized fruits blazing like Hearth's Warming lights. There was a squat, gnarled tree the color of soot whose roots held it twenty feet above ground on a hundred stilts, curved black fruits curling up from under boughs thick with needles. Here, a tree whose bark appeared to be smoldering like an ember but emitted no smoke. Over there, a purplish barked tree that gently swayed to and fro although there appeared to be no breeze. All of the trees were bearing fruit or seeds, and no two were the same.

“Well then!” Wonka crowed. “What do you know – I think we're lost enough now! 'For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought!'”

Wonka expertly wove the glass elevator between the trees. Whenever the elevator passed underneath a tree's canopy, the sounds of falling fruit, seedpods and nuts drummed on the roof of the elevator, making them jump. The musty smell of old parchment filled the space as Twilight furiously flipped through an old tome. “I thought I'd seen these trees before! That dark tree with the elevated trunk and the needles is a Coalfruit tree! Its fruits are written to have burned for a week straight in a brazier like a piece of coal! It was a common heat source in the early days of Equestria, in the north. The book says Coalfruit stopped being used after all known orchards caught fire in a short span of time. Believing that the trees had become unstable, ponies stopped growing them.”

The purple unicorn princess flipped through more pages in a blur. “And that tree there, with the lumpy trunk and those yellow fruits! It's a Journey Willow! The seeds of the tree are written to have filled a pony with energy to gallop for half a day with just a mouthful! During the Reign of Discord, the Nopony messengers would use these seeds to run great distances in a day without stopping...” Twilight's brow furrowed. “... Until a great fire destroyed all known Journey Willow groves.” She flipped through entry after entry. “Fire, fire, fire... rockslide, fire, fire... almost all the entries in the book end by describing how all known orchards of these rare magical trees were destroyed, most often by fire! And afterwards, nopony could find any of the trees again, no matter how hard they searched.”

The ponies looked out of the walls of the elevator again in the dusky darkness of the grove. Now it seemed quite obvious how regularly the trees were spaced from one another, how short the grass was between them, how clean the ground was despite every tree bearing some manner of fruit or seedpod.

“This is an orchard!” Applejack exclaimed. “Somepony has gathered together all of these here rare trees and, and...”

“And protected them from the fires maybe?” Pinkie Pie wondered.

Before the hypothesis could be discussed further, a golden glow began to fill the Great Glass Elevator. It was a like the first sunrise of a long, well-earned vacation. It was like waking up in a comfy bed and remembering some distasteful errand you had to do, only to then remember that you'd already done it yesterday. It was like visiting a town on a trip only to discover that you'd found home. Willy Wonka smiled as broad as a sunrise himself and leaned against his crushed velvet armchair. He pushed open the door of the elevator with his walking stick.

The ponies filed out with trepidation and not a little awe. Towering above them fifteen ponies high, gleaming gold from root to canopy, stood the Golden Apple Tree. Its bark was emblazoned with glowing gold lines, which ran next to one another at strict angles in patterns precise and perfectly positioned. When the breeze fluttered its half-moon leaves, they made a sound like whispered reassurances. The tree was heavily laden down with spherical golden apples, and the scent in the air was like a thunderstorm stirred into a barrel of cider. Breathing in the air caused a rush of revitalization from the ponies' ears to the bottoms of their hooves, awakening the mind and soothing cramped legs.

“Wow,” Applejack sat down heavily and boggled at the mythic tree. As Twilight and Pinkie Pie inspected it, golden apples began to fall, landing on the ground with a soft poomf.

“Awww, look! I think it likes us!” Pinkie cried, bouncing around erratically. She soon got herself in the way of a falling golden apple that bounced off her forehead. “Ow!” she cried, her voice hurtling off between the trees.

“Pinkie, hush!” Twilight admonished. “Although, you could be on to something.” Twilight trotted to the next tree over, which had a trunk smooth and red as copper. The unicorn trotted underneath the tree; as she did so, blue lemon-shaped fruit fell and bounced off the grassy lawn behind her. Once she was clear of the tree, the fruits stopped falling.

“Surely the trees don't mean to attack?” Wonka rejoined everypony by the golden apple tree, carrying some sacks and fruit bins from the elevator.

“No, I don't think that's it,” Twilight mused. “Trees are alive, and these ancient ones even more so. These trees are all bearing fruit, but there's nopony here to take them and plant new trees with them - new orchards!”

“And it don't look like nopony's been sellin' 'em, either,” Applejack looked around contemplatively. “These here branches are so loaded down that they're bendin' fit to break! A responsible orchard keeper wouldn't let trees just sit like that!”

Willie Wonka strode under the Golden Apple tree and gave an eloquent bow, deftly catching a golden apple out of the air as he straightened up. He held it up in his fingers and admired it in the shining light, then turned to the others. “Well, let's not dilly-dally any longer, eh? Any further contemplating we can do whilst gathering up some of these fruits! Or do you think we can remove the entire tree, Ms. Applejack? The elevator's a tough old girl, she can take it!” He and the others began to gather the golden apples. They were smooth to the touch, and gave off a heavenly fragrance.

“Um...” Pinkie pondered, juggling three golden apples on her poofy tail. “Wouldn't that be kind of... stealing? I mean, we don't know who put the trees here or why, right?”

“Stealing?!” Applejack stamped a hoof. “Why, these trees were meant for everypony in Equestria! And not just ponies, neither! It's just plain wrong to keep these trees from growin' new ones!”

“I agree, Applejack, but I think it's only right that we take a look around to see if anypony's here,” Twilight said. “If nopony's here, then maybe these trees were brought here for protection afterall, long ago. But if someone is, we should listen to why they did this.”

“Ooh! I can help see if somepony's here!” Pinkie Pie sidled up to Twilight and, in a theatrical fashion, exclaimed: “But Twilight! This orchard is, so huge! How are we to find, whomever put these trees here?! It's not like they're just going to, come walking up to us to say hello!”

At that very moment, in the distance, there was a sound like a manticore trying to gargle an avalanche, and the ground beneath their hooves began to tremble. Through the spaces between the trees and through the boughs they could soon see a huge shape drawing nearer and nearer.

“Are you all sure that Twilight is the magical one?” Wonka murmured to Applejack.

“We try not to talk about it much,” she replied.

A great green dragon sauntered up to the assembled party, its head and wings reaching well above the canopy of the trees. Its eyes blazed with amethyst fire, its scales were immaculate and tightly fitted, its wings free of holes and tears, the teeth of its tapered snout all neat and clean. Bathing them all in a disdainful look, the dragon spoke:

“Greetings... sneakthieves.”

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