• Published 3rd Dec 2018
  • 593 Views, 16 Comments

Cupid Mark Crusaders - Coyote de La Mancha



A while back, Applejack and Rarity had broken up and were plainly miserable about it. With their own summer plans unexpectedly cancelled, the CMC decided to save the day... and see if their cutie marks were in matchmaking. It could have gone worse.

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Welcome Home

“Well, I gotta tell ya, Pinkie,” Applejack drawled, “As welcomin’ parties go, this one takes the cake.”

Along with Twilight and Pinkie, the earth pony glanced over at said cake’s shattered remains, and the massive oaken table that creaked beneath its weight.

“A ten-foot tall chocolate / red velvet swirl upside-down pineapple ice cream sundae layer cake, with…” Twilight shook her head. “How did you even do that?”

“Trade secret,” Pinkie grinned.

Applejack went on, “An’ the party favors, second to none, as usual…”

“Thanks!”

“…but, don’t you think the sky-writin’ was a little excessive?”

“Yeah,” considered Twilight. “Not to mention the dancing bears…”

“…silver horn-playin’ mice…”

“…a firework display with a guest appearance by the Wonderbolts…”

“Bungee-jumpin’ ‘possums…”

“Aw, c’mon, guys!” Pinkie laughed. “I had to wait an extra-super long time for this one!”

“You had to wait a week,” Twilight said, dryly.

“You can’t expect me not to pull out a few stops!”

“‘A few stops?’” Applejack’s eyebrows raised up. “Pinkie, ya woke up Princess Luna.”

“She thought Sweet Apple Acres was under attack,” Twilight agreed. “You could have at least let me know what you were planning, or when! Then I could have told the princesses, especially Luna…”

“Silly, then it might not have been a surprise!” the pink pony teased. “After all, you’re sharing a castle with the guest of honor.”

“Still, though.” Applejack went on, shaking her head. “Never wanna get on that gal’s bad side. You see how she flew in here from the castle, all thunder an’ fury? Like ta scare me half to death. An’ I seen her as Nightmare Moon.”

“Eeyup,” agreed her brother, trotting by.

Pinkie Pie rolled her eyes. “Okay, maybe she got a little loud…”

Twilight stared at her friend with a mix of laughter and incredulity. “‘A little loud?’ Pinkie, she blew out the candles!”

“Well, yeah, but there was ice cream cake. Ice cream and cake make everything better! And besides,” Pinkie continued, eyes full of mischief, “if I hadn’t had the bunny cannon brigade chime in for the Welcome to Equestria for the First Time Ever Sunrise Salute, then Princess Luna wouldn’t have woke up in time and come here in time for the party even though she didn’t know about the party and then been surprised too with snacks and games and had Sunrise run up to her all glad to see her even while she was all scary and stuff and then we wouldn’t have known about them being maaare frieeeends!”

This last was sung in a squee of pure delight. The three mares looked over to the shade of a large apple tree where the princess lay in the tall grass, sated from an assortment of confections. Smiling sleepily, she watched as Sunrise Shimmer and Rainbow Dash played chase games with the Cutie Mark Crusaders. The five of them were dodging around and between the nearby trees, amid a variety of war cries, whinnies, and laughing squeals of excitement.

As the trio watched, Sunrise took a break from the galloping back and forth. She trotted happily to where Luna reclined, the latter smiling more as she approached. The two mares nuzzled one another, then Sunrise lay down next to Luna as they continued watching the ponies at play. As Sunrise skootched against Luna, the latter covering her with a wing, a new turn of events took place in the game.

“Roar!” yelled the Frumious Bandersnatch, her terrible blue wings spread out to their fullest. “I’m taking down all of Equestria! With your precious princesses defeated, there is no one cool enough to stop me!”

“Oh, yeah?” challenged the Hero of All Earth Ponies, “Well, we’ve got a secret weapon!”

“Ha ha ha!” laughed the evil villain evilly. “No secret weapon is awesome enough to challenge my might!”

“So you might think, villain!” grinned the Master Sorcerer. “Well, behold, as my power summons forth a Mighty Dragon!”

There was a small flash of pale green light from her horn, followed by a puff of smoke and fire, and a new player entered the field.

“Roar!” bellowed the Mighty One, his arms splaying out his leafy wings majestically. “Fear the power of Spike the Magnificent!”

“Aaack!” agreed the many-coloured monster. Thus, the chase reversed itself, with the three fillies and dragon hatchling chasing after their dreaded foe, to save the world from her Dreaded Frumiousness.

During this time, Rarity had trotted up to the trio, coming to rest beside Applejack.

“Hey, hon,” Applejack smiled.

“Hey.”

As the two of them kissed, Pinkie Pie grinned, and Twilight smiled at both of them warmly. The kiss was relatively brief, though the mares continued to be lost in one another’s eyes.

“Which reminds me,” Twilight said, “I finished work on the tesseract spell. I can cast it tonight, if you’re ready.”

“Oh, I think so,” Rarity smiled.

“Yeah,” agreed Applejack, also smiling. “Me, too.”

“Great! I’ll take care of it tonight after I get home. The house geometries may take a little time to adapt to their new definitions, though. You’ll want to wait until the morning to test it, just to make certain”

“First thing,” said Applejack, with a look to Rarity. “Promise.”

Rarity blushed prettily.

“Wow, I am so glad you two got back together,” Pinkie said happily, grabbing another bowl of ice cream cake. After a moment, she added through a mouthful of confection, “Coursh, fur a minnid it lukked like youf mighd nodd.”

Twilight cocked her head. “It did? When was this?”

“Oh, we were seeing one another for a while before we went public, darling,” Rarity said. “Pinkie Pie knew, and so did a few others, but that was all. I wasn’t ready to come out just yet. That wasn’t until the Gala.”

Twilight nodded. “I remember that.”

Applejack chuckled, shaking her mane slightly. “Ain’t nopony like ta forget it.”

“But, you broke up before that?”

“Well, it was a near thing,” Rarity admitted. Then she spared her marefriend a loving look, adding, “But mercifully, good sense prevailed.”

“I dunno about that, Rare,” Applejack said. She glanced towards the trees where their sisters played. “Seems to me that sense had precious little to do with it, ‘ceptin’ at the end there.”

“Whereupon, it did indeed prevail,” Rarity rejoined with good-natured dignity.

“Okay, not meaning to pry… well, not too much, anyway,” Twilight said, “but, am I sensing a story here?”

* * * *

The Cutie Mark Crusaders had been on a summer vacation with various classmates at camp, but they’d been rained out after just a few days. Apparently there had been some magical battle between the Mane Six and the forces of evil, and the weather had taken some of the spill-over. Even with the pegasi working overtime, the lake quickly overtook the little camping site, and so all campers had been sent home almost three weeks early. Thus, the CMC had fallen back on what they usually did to fill their days.

“…and so, with the recent addition of bee keepin’ to the list of things we ain’t got cutie marks in,” a bandaged Apple Bloom said wearily, “there any further business afore we quit this here meetin’?”

The other two Cutie Mark Crusaders looked at one another, trying desperately to not scratch the various stings and welts beneath the ointment-soaked wrappings that covered much of their bodies.

“Well, I do have one thing,” said Sweetie Belle. “I don’t know that it’s exactly cutie mark related, but…”

“Remember the Cutie Mark Crusader Oath,” Skootaloo reminded her. “Friends first, crusaders second.”

Sweetie nodded. “I’m… well, I’m worried about Rarity.”

Apple Bloom frowned. “She okay?”

“I don’t know. The last couple of days, she hasn’t been her usual self.”

Skootaloo’s frown matched Apple Bloom’s. “How do you mean?”

“Well, she’s just so sad,” Sweetie sighed. “She stays in bed most mornings, or else she sits in the main room, petting Opal. She isn’t eating.” She looked down. “When she thinks I can’t hear, she’s crying.”

“That’s…” Skootaloo stopped. She was frankly at a loss, but, looking at Apple Bloom, she saw an identical downcast expression.

“Apple Bloom?” she asked. “You got something?”

“Applejack’s the same way,” Apple Bloom said into the floor. “I figured she was just thinkin’ about our folks. Sometimes it hits outta nowhere, even now. But now as I think on it, it’s been about, what, a week she’s been like this?”

“A week,” Sweetie Belle affirmed.

Skootaloo looked from one to the other and back. “How bad is this?”

“Applejack ain’t buckin’ like she was,” Apple Bloom said. “Apples’re getting’ left behind on the ground. She don’t even see ‘em.”

“Rarity isn’t sewing,” Sweetie Belle added. “She says she isn’t in the mood.”

“Guys, this is an emergency!” Skootaloo exclaimed, wide-eyed. She was standing now, chair behind her, bee stings forgotten. “We’ve got to do something now! Your sisters are on the line!”

“Our sisters?” Apple Bloom stared at her friend in growing horror. “Do you think they’re…?”

Sweetie Belle finished for her in a hoarse whisper, “…Dying?”

“Like, from a curse?” whimpered Apple Bloom.

Skootaloo paused, eyes even larger as she considered the idea. “Um… I dunno?” she offered uncertainly. “I mean, Rainbow Dash says there’s no such thing as curses, that they’re just old pony tales…”

“Grown-ups used to say the same thing about Nightmare Moon,” Sweetie Belle pointed out.

“But Rainbow Dash is fine, so it isn’t like they got cursed while they were saving ponies or anything—” Skootaloo started.

“Unless she’s just bein’ brave, ta spare yer feelins,” Apple Bloom pointed out.

“Is that something she might do?” asked Sweetie Belle.

Skootaloo stared at her friends with growing horror.

“Yeah,” she gulped. “It is.”

* * * *

Twilight winced, putting a hoof to her forehead. “They didn’t.”

Applejack nodded. “They did. Convinced themselves we were goners, sure as birds gotta fly. Got themselves worked up in a right state about it, too. Rainbow Dash ain’t never talked about what Skootaloo said to her…”

“…but poor Sweetie Belle was just beside herself,” Rarity finished. “The next day, she made me breakfast in bed, then started the most tearful little series of apologies for any number of minor failings, all the while talking about how much she wished she’d been a better little sister…”

“…Apple Bloom tried to take over my chores for me, tellin’ me the whole time how much she’d always loved me an’ all, wished she’d showed it better… an’ then she just started havin’ the gallopin’ come-aparts like I’d about never seen before…”

“…by the time I’d gotten the little dear quieted down, I’d started thinking again…”

“…me, too, an’ explained what-all was actually a-goin’ on, at least with me…”

“…and I started to realize that, well, I’d made a terrible mistake.”

“I kept starin’ at Apple Bloom, once she was calmed down again. I just kept a-wonderin’, ‘why didn’t I think ta say that to Rarity, there at the end? How much I love her, how much I need her? It’s all true…’”

Rarity nodded. “Me, as well.” She looked at Applejack. “I just couldn’t believe how foolish I’d been, how I hadn’t tried harder to find a way we could be together. How I hadn’t told you how I truly felt about you, how much it tore my heart out to walk away.”

Applejack nodded. “Yeah. I just couldn’t believe I’d let’cha get away, without tryin’ harder ta keep ya. Like to of kicked myself clear to Canterlot. But, I just figgered it was too late to say anythin’ then.”

“Likewise. I was so convinced that ship had already sailed. Especially since breaking up had been my idea.” Rarity shook her head. “And I knew it was wrong, I could just feel it! But I did it anyway, because I thought it was the sensible thing to do. I was thinking of my shops, and the cities they would be in someday. The life I’d imagined building for myself, before I’d fallen in love. And so, I let the mare I loved go because of it.” She sighed. “Idiot.”

“Hey, now,” Applejack frowned. “That’s enough of that. Besides, I didn’t help none, getting’ my back up about the farm.”

“You had every right to feel defensive, dear. I wasn’t appreciating its beauty properly, and you called me on it.”

Applejack looked down. “Yeah, but I called you a few other things, too.”

Rarity ran a hoof along Applejack’s mane. “We both made mistakes, dearest. The point is that, eventually, we worked it out.”

Applejack chuckled, kissing her gently on the forehead. “Well, I guess that’s one way a’puttin’ it.”

Twilight cocked her head. “Wait, that was it? You guys just realized you were both unhappy without each other, so you talked it out and got back together? Sounds pretty straightforward.”

Both mares looked uncomfortable.

“Well, it might have worked out that way…” Rarity acknowledged.

“Eventually, maybe…” Applejack allowed.

“But you must remember, darling, our sisters were now aware of our dilemma.”

“An’ with the CMC involved...” Applejack shook her head. “Girl, there ain’t nuthin’ simple.”

* * * *

“I hereby call this emergency meeting of the Cutie Mark Crusaders to order.”

Skootaloo banged her little gavel solemnly, while her friends nodded in agreement. The bandages and bee stings were gone, thanks to Apple Bloom’s ointment (mixed under Zecora’s watchful eye, of course). But this was no time to dwell upon such frivolities. Far greater matters were at hand.

“Quick question, afore we proceed,” Apple Bloom said. “Are you sure Rainbow Dash ain’t any part of this?”

“Uh-huh,” Skootaloo nodded. “This is just your sisters. Which makes me the perfect chairmare for the day, since it gives us a clear, unbiased, rational approach.”

The young pegasus walked over to where they had a large paper tacked to the wall, with the air of a military officer holding a briefing. “So. It’s obvious that your sisters’ happiness is impossible unless we do something. I therefore move that our first priority, until further notice, be getting them back together again.”

“Seconded,” said Sweetie.

“Carried,” agreed Apple Bloom.

“In order to accomplish this,” Skootaloo went on, “We must understand what brought them together in the first place.”

“Seconded,” said Apple Bloom.

“Carried,” nodded Sweetie Belle.

“So,” Skootaloo opened a box of crayons, “each of you make a list of everything you know of that happened when they got together. We’ll use that as a reference.”

Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle looked at each other, uncertainly.

“Um, we don’t know exactly what-all that was,” Apple Bloom pointed out.

“Or just when,” Sweetie added.

But Skootaloo merely nodded sagely. “Sure. But that’s why there are two lists. Each of you will think of different stuff. So, just write down everything you can think of that might apply. If we do everything on both lists, we’re bound to do the right thing to make them fall in love again, right?”

There followed an uncomfortable silence.

“…and maybe get our cutie marks in match-making,” Skootaloo added.

Suddenly, there was a flurry of activity, the crayon box tearing and colorful bits of wax hurtling in all directions as the CMCs threw themselves into their cause.

“Carried!” they all cried.