• Published 24th Oct 2018
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The Dragon of Sweet Apple Acres - closet brony 77



Spike gets raised by Applejack's family, good old hilarity ensures.

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lost in manehattan

“Aj, sugar, are ya awake?” said Pear Butter, poking her head into her daughter’s room.

The blonde filly in question lifted her head up to meet her mother’s soft gaze, ears perking at the sound of her voice.

For the past hour or so, Applejack had been laying face down on her bed with forlorn thoughts filling her head; the more she thought about it, the more she realized that she would probably end up spending the rest of her life at Sweet Apple Acres, doomed to be nothing more than a simple farmer pony until she was all old and grey like Granny Smith was. The elderly mare seemed dead set on having her inherit the farm from her parents who clearly wanted the little filly to work alongside them when she was all grown up; but she knew she could stand up to them, she was a tough little filly, what really was keeping her from saying anything was her brothers. Big Mac and Spike cared a whole lot about her, possibly even more so than her parents did: The older colt, while a complete chatterbox, was the best big brother a filly could ask for, when she scraped her knees or had a nightmare and ma and pa weren’t around, Big Mac was the one who made it all better or at least tried his best to do so.

While Big Mac was the responsible older brother, Spike was the one she could have fun with, the one that would spend hours running around playing hide and seek in the apple orchids with her, the one that would scale the kitchen cabinets to get at the apple fritters Granny Smith put on the top shelf to keep out of reach for her, the one who always happily went along with whatever mischief she wanted to get into if she asked him; Spike wasn’t just her brother, he was her best friend.

To say that they would be devastated if she left would be an understatement; Big Mac would completely lose his head over worrying about her and Spike would simply be crushed, his heart shattered by the loss of his best friend in the world.

She knew she wanted to leave, that she was destined for something beyond just harvesting apples, but her love for her family made it a difficult decision to make. A decision she didn’t quite feel like sharing with ma at this time.

The orange filly gave a small nod in reply

Pear Butter used one of her back hooves to gently shut the door behind her as she walked over to her daughter’s bed.

“Aj, me and Bright Mac have noticed that lately that ya’ve been actin stranger than a cat in a corduroy suit and we jus wanted ta make sure yer okay.”

“Ah’m…..ah’m fine ma” Said Applejack unconvincingly

“Now Applejack, Ah ain’t raisin no liar.” Said Pear Butter, giving the filly the ‘mom’ glare.

Applejack let out a huff, there was no way she was resisting that look “well it’s jus that….ah don’t know if ah wanna stay on the farm.”

“What do ya mean?”

“Ah know ya’ll want me to work on the farm when ah’m older but ah don’t want that. Ah wanna see the world!” Applejack explained “Places like Las Pegasus, Fillydelphia, and Vanhoover”

Pear Butter cringed slightly at that last one, knowing what or rather who was likely waiting for her there.

“Ah wanna be an adventurer! Not a downhome farm pony like the rest of ya’ll are.”

“Sugarcube.” said Pear Butter, pulling her daughter into a gentle embrace “why didn’t ya say something sooner? We would have understood.”

“Maybe, but Big Mac and Spike wouldn’t.”

Applejack did have a point there. While Pear, Bright Mac, and Granny smith were fairly reasonable (although Pear Butter was a tad confuddled by the ‘zap apple’ ritual Granny Smith performed every year), Spike and Big Mac were very different; even a pony blinder than a bat could see that those two cared about their sister more than anything else in the world and would lose their minds if anything bad ever happened to her, they were thicker than thieves and just as mischievous.

Pear Butter started to hesitate, she actually hadn’t considered how her sons would react to the news of Applejack going away to Manehattan; at best they’d be heartbroken and at worst…..well the farmer mare didn’t even want to think about that. But she had to do it, she had already sent the letter and it was the only way for Applejack to truly understand what she wanted for herself, no matter the consequences that would follow.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Pear Butter began to speak “well Applejack, yer pa and I have been discussin it lately and we thought that it might be good fer ya ta have a change of surroundings.”

Applejack merely blinked in confusion at her mother

“See I had a bit of a chat with Aunt Orange and she said…..”

********************************

“Yer going to Manehattan?!” Spike exclaimed, chunks of apple spraying out of his mouth.

Granny Smith brought a wooden spoon down onto the baby dragon’s head with an audible smack, causing him to howl and rub the sizeable red spot forming on his scales.

“Don’t talk with yer mouth full!” said the elderly mare, before turning back towards the cooking pot.

“Sorry granny.” Spike replied, after swallowing his food.

It was the morning after Pear Butter had informed Applejack of the little trip she was taking and the filly had spent all of last night packing her bags, she agreed with her mother to keep the true intent of the journey itself a secret from her brothers and pass it off as a vacation; if nothing else, that little white lie would delay any emotional pain that would be invoked in Big Mac and Spike when they learned that their sister wasn’t going to come back.

Or so applejack thought….

“Yes Spike, Applejack is going away to Manehattan for a spell.” said Bright Mac, taking a bite of his eggs.

“Why does she get to go and not us?” asked Big Mac.

“Don’t tell me ya’ll forgot about the noodle incident.” Granny Smith remarked with a frown.

Spike shot up from his chair so quickly you’d think it was on fire, “NOPONY CAN PROVE WE DID THAT!”

“The royal guard might disagree with ya on that one.”

Spike grumbled as he shoved another apple slice into his mouth, it wasn’t his fault things happened the way they did; he didn’t push the big red button.

“So uh, how long is she gonna be gone fer?” Big Mac interjected.

“Bout a week, m-maybe two.” said Bright Mac, suddenly finding the apple trees visible from the kitchen window very interesting “depends on how long Aunt Orange will have her.”

If there’s one thing Bright Mac was downright terrible at, it was lying. From the day he was born, Granny Smith set about hammering a good sense of morals into his head, the most significant of these being to always be honest with everypony. Sure Pear Butter seemed to know what she was doing and he trusted her judgement, but he still couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of dishonesty crawling on his back that weren’t helped by the fact that he was lying to his sons of all ponies and er….. dragons.

“Anyhow.” Said Pear Butter, trying to cover for her husband’s not-so subtle deception “ya’ll had better get yerselves cleaned up right quick if ya wanna see yer sister off at the train station, she’s leavin today.”

“Wait if she’s leaving today, then who’s doing all of her chores while she’s gone?” Spike asked.

Granny looked over her shoulder at the baby dragon with a smile commonly found on the cat that ate the canary.

It took Spike a second to catch on to exactly what she was implying “aww. Why me? Can’t Big Mac do em?”

“Sorry Spike but yer older brother is gonna be learning how to plow the fields this week with me an with Pear Butter tendin to the trees, yer the only one who can pick up the slack.” Said Bright Mac. “Now hustle yer flanks, we don’t want Applejack to miss her train.”

“Yes pa.” Spike replied, putting away his dirty dishes and trotting upstairs alongside Big Nac.

Once the dynamic duo of the Apple family were out of earshot, Bright Mac turned to address his wife.

“Still doesn’t feel right, lying to em all like this.”

“Mac we both know that those two would pitch a fit loud enough to be heard all the way over in Canterlot if they thought Applejack wasn’t going to come back.” said Pear Butter “Trust me, this is fer the best.”

“Ah know. Ah know.” Bright Mac then looked over towards his daughter. “So yer all packed up? Got everything ya need? Cause ya won’t be back here for awhile.”

Applejack nodded in reply, plopping her saddlebags onto the table, though it took nearly all of her willpower to stop herself from bouncing in her seat. She was getting to live in Manehattan, the big apple, of all places; she’d heard plenty of stories about small town ponies who went there and made it big, like Aunt Orange did, she went there with nothing but what she could carry on her saddle bags and was now a ‘socialite’....whatever that meant, Applejack had heard her mother use the word alot to describe Aunt Orange. Plus there was all the sights to see there: The Mare statue, Bridleway, Manehattan Park, the Manefair Hotel, Saddle Row, Carneighie Hall, The Manehattan Museum of Art, Madisoat Square Garden, Madison Mare Garden, and many more! There’d be so much to do, so much to see! She might just have to take the backstreets to visit them all, nothing wrong with it.

But there was still something that was gnawing at the back of her mind, a small part of her trying to tell her that this wasn’t what she was meant to do, but her excitement over going to the largest city in Equestria completely eclipsed it.

“Good.” said Bright Mac “BOYS! YA’LL READY?!”

“Almost pa, we...we jus need to finish brushing our teeth!” Spike nervously shouted from upstairs.

It was at that moment that Bright Mac took notice of the small waterfall running down the stairs, forming a growing puddle on the rug at the bottom.

The father of three could only groan “not again, ya wanna take this one Pear? Or should ah do it?”

Pear Butter responded by calmly trotting upstairs in a quiet fury, a series of shouts and banging sounds resonated from upstairs moments later, followed shortly by Pear Butter roughly dragging her two soaking wet sons downstairs.

“When we come back, ya’ll are scrubbing that bathroom til it shines brighter than Luna’s moon. Understand?”

Big Mac and Spike silently nodded.

“Good, now let’s head out everypony.”

***********************

It didn’t take very long for the Apple family to reach the train station, it was practically right down the road from Sweet Apple Acres, and they collectively decided that if there was any final goodbyes they wanted to get out before Applejack was gone, now would be a good time.

“Now remember, ya call us as soon as ya git to yer Aunt Orange’s place” said Pear Butter, rubbing some stray dirt of the filly’s cheek with her hoof

“Yes ma.” Applejack replied.

“And stay outta trouble, ya hear? Manehattan can be a dangerous place.” said Bright Mac.

“Okay pa.”

“And could ya bring us a souvenir? Ah’ve always wanted to see Manehattan” said Spike.

“Since when? Ah’ve never heard ya talk about it.” Big Mac added.

“Well ah….”

“Oh will ya’ll just let the little filly git along?” Granny Smith said, bringing her granddaughter into a hug. “hope ya have a good time in the city young un.”

“Thanks granny” Applejack replied, returning the embrace only to break away at the sound of the train horn piercing the air.

“Next train to Manehattan, now boarding!” the conductor shouted.

“That’s fer me, ah gotta go!” said Applejack, engaging in one final group hug with the rest of her family before running off to the train to her new beginning.

As the train whistle blew and the locomotive started chugging along the track, Applejack leaned out the window and waved goodbye to her family and by extension Ponyville.

“BYE EVERYPONY! SEE YA’LL AROU-”

“STOP LEANING OUT THE WINDOW!!” The conductor screamed, cutting her off “I DON’T NEED A DUMB FOAL FALLING ONTO THE TRACKS AGAIN!”

Applejack quickly withdrew back into the train compartment, slightly embarrassed by what she had just done if the blush on her freckled cheeks was anything to go by.

The train began to shrink further and further into the distance until finally it disappeared onto the horizon, leaving the remaining members of the Apple family standing on the train station platform in relative silence.

Bright Mac leaned over to Pear Butter and whispered in her ear “so uh, how long until-”

“Ah give her bout a week, maybe less. Depends on how soon she realizes the high life ain’t all that.” the mare whispered back.

**************************

Applejack could barely contain herself once the sprawling metropolis that was Manehattan came into view, it had been a long and boring train ride; every pony on board were either boring old business ponies who needed to do business things in Manehattan or obnoxious tourists who kept going on and on about what they were going to do when they arrived in Manehattan and insisting on showing off the various knicknacks they had gathered from their travels, many of them very strange (seriously, who spends their hard earned bits on a tissue that might have been used by Princess Celestia?). Combine that with the fact that there was virtually nothing to keep a young farmer filly occupied aboard the train and Applejack was like a caged animal just itching to get out. When the train did finally pull into the station, Applejack broke into a full sprint and was the very first one off the train, paying no attention to the glares and rude remarks she received as she pushed passed several ponies on the way out.

Her eyes glistened at the massive structure she now found herself in; above her head were the words ‘Gallop Central Station’ carved into the stone wall, massive windows letting in the rays of the midday sun surrounded her on all sides, marble pillars that reached up to the ceiling like massive oak trees, it almost felt like she had stepped into a fairytale castle.

“Applejack! Darling, over here!” shouted a rather refined voice.

The filly looked over to see her Manehattan Aunt waving her hoof in the air, trying to get her attention. In response, Applejack immediately ran over and gave the mare a big hug.

“Aunt Orange!” Applejack exclaimed.

“Hello Applejack, I hope you had a pleasant trip” said Aunt Orange, returning the hug with earnest

“Eh….”

“What? Did something bad hap-”

“HONEY LOOK!” a middle aged mare in the tackiest outfit imaginable with a camera cutie mark shouted to her presumed husband in a similar getup “THEY’VE GOT BOTTLES WITH LITTLE TRAINS IN EM IN THE GIFT SHOP, LET’S GET TEN!”

Suddenly, Aunt Orange understood why her niece may not have had the best journey here.

“Feh, tourists. Just ignore them sweetie, let’s get you to your new accommodations and please do be polite to your uncle when you meet him.”

With that, Aunt Orange led applejack out onto the street and let out a shrill whistle.

“TAXI!”

A yellow and black checkered carriage drawn by a rather gruff looking pony seemed to pop up out of the plethora of carts rushing around the building and came to a screeching halt in front of the pai‍r.

Aunt Orange climbed in first and motioned for applejack to follow her “20 Ingram street please.”

The gruff pony nodded in acknowledgement and began to pull the cart back into the fray that was Manehattan traffic.

As they made their way through the stop and go streets, Applejack decided to take the opportunity to observe her new surroundings and boy oh boy did manehattan live up to it’s expectations: Tall skyscrapers surrounded her on all sides like a jungle of steel, glass, and concrete; shops lined the streets ranging from small grocery stores, jewelry stores, themed restaurants, and even disco pants and haircuts, all covered in a rainbow of paints and stones that only added to the dazzling look of the city; hundreds of ponies walking around, covering the sidewalks like swarms of ants and acting just as chaotic and disorganized but far from boring, when they passed through Bridleway Applejack saw a pony wearing nothing but a speedo, cowpony boots with a matching hat, and a guitar slung over his back, more fictional characters than she could count, and she could have sworn that she saw a pony in a strange red and blue suit hanging upside down from a street light by some kind of thread.

With every landmark she got more and more excited about her stay in Manehattan, the objecting voice in the back of her head was getting quieter and quieter until it seemed to go silent when they arrived in front of Aunt Orange’s home; a quaint little apartment building built out of plain red brick, the simplistic and blocky architecture seemed to greatly contrast with the picturesque style of the rest of the city but Applejack tried to ignore it.

‘Like granny always says, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.’ Applejack thought to herself, stepping into the building.

One short elevator ride up later, Applejack came to Aunt Orange’s apartment building. A quick knock on the door summoned her husband Mosely Orange, who answered the door with a smile.

“Applejack, it’s wonderful to see you again!”

“It’s good ta see ya too” said Applejack, walking into the well decorated apartment, taking notice of all the refined furniture that would have dazzled most guests; but on Applejack it just seemed….boring.

“Come on let’s show you to your room.” said Aunt Orange, leading Applejack down the hall towards the guest room.

It wasn’t really much to write home about; it had a bed, a dresser, a closet, a small desk in the corner, everything any temporary visitor might need.

“Thank ya’ll so much fer lettin me stay.” said Applejack as she tossed her saddlebags onto the bed spread.

Aunt Orange chuckled at that, “ya’ll. Isn’t she just the living end?”

“How quaint” said Mosely Orange in agreement.

Aunt Orange reached down and ran her hoof through Applejack’s messy blonde hair, mussing it up playfully “Don’t worry we’ll have you acting like a true Manhattanite in no time.”

“But for now, we’ll leave you alone to get settled in.”

With that, the pair walked out and left the filly all alone in her new room.

Applejack could only flop down onto her bed with a smile, she was finally here, the city where anypony could make it big; although she didn’t know what she was gonna do first, there were so many opportunities for her out here.

‘Who knows, ah might even get mah cutie mark.’ Applejack thought to herself.

Only two things were certain: it was going to be a great week and she was going to love living in manehattan.

******************************

‘This has been the worst week of mah life, ah hate livin here.’

These were the thoughts that ran through Applejack’s head as she gazed out the window, overlooking the urban sprawl.

From the very first day, Aunt and Uncle Orange had tried to completely reshape the filly into a ‘refined pony’. Changing her long flowing mane into a tight and uncomfortable bun that iched more than one of Goldie Delicious’ cat hair sweaters (Applejack could never quite understand why she made them out of cat hair when she used yarn for everything else), but it didn’t stop there; she had to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, act a certain way, it was all so suffocating. She couldn’t even go outside because according to Uncle Orange ‘high class fillies don’t play in the streets’ and instead spent most of her time inside, reading dusty old books clearly written for foals. Then there was the food, almost every evening it was a single shred of lettuce garnished with some lima beans; except on sundays when it was topped with carrot slices instead. She couldn’t sustain herself on stuff like that, it barely even qualified as a snack, her tummy had been rumbling almost constantly. Not to mention all the ‘extra-curricular’ activities that Aunt Orange insisted she participated in; piano, ballet, swimming, painting, and many other things that she’d probably never even use all of them with cranky old teachers.

To make things worse, Applejack was getting terribly homesick as well; she missed Granny Smith’s stories, she missed her mother’s delicious baking, she missed snuggling up with her father by the fireplace, she missed sharing an apple with her brother Big Mac, she missed playing in the mud with Spike, she missed the way the apple trees glistened in the sunlight as that big yellow ball called the sun came over the hills, the way the rooster crowed at dawn to wake everypony up for the day, the way the farm looked, felt, and smelled. She missed it all.

The little voice that had tried to tell her that she didn’t belong her was now at the forefront of her mind and was screaming louder than a diving hawk.

The sun soon began to rise over the mountains in the distance, showering light over the city but it just wasn’t the same as it was at home.

“Cock-a-doodle-doo... Oh, ah wonder what Ma and Pa are up to. Ah bet they're applebuckin' their way through the Red Delicious trees right now. Oh, what ah wouldn't give fer jus’ one bite…” Applejack said forlornly, she had never felt worse in her whole life.

But that’s when it happened.

A loud boom echoed across the landscape and nearly made Applejack fall on her flank in surprise.

Quickly recovering, the filly’s eyes scanned the horizon in an attempt to find the source of the explosion and was met with the most beautiful rainbow she had even seen stretching across the sky, touching down directly…..

She squinted her eyes in an attempt to get a better look at exactly where the rainbow touched down.

Taking notice of a very familiar looking farmhouse, flanked by a barn, it only took Applejack mere seconds to figure out what she was honed in on.

‘Home’ she thought to herself.

This had to be a sign from Celestia herself, trying to tell the filly something important and all at once it came to her; what she was meant to do and where she really belonged.

“Aunt Orange! Ah changed mah mind, Ah wanna go home!” Applejack exclaimed, running around as fast as she could to pack up her things.

They had made it back to Gallop Central Station in record time, Aunt Orange trying and failing to put back up Applejack’s hair as they traveled over.

“Are you sure this is what you want Applejack?” said Aunt Orange.

“Positive, ah hate livin here, ah miss mah family, ah miss the farm, ah jus’ wanna go home.” Applejack replied, clearly eager to get on the train back to Ponyville.

Aunt Orange could only knowingly smile “well if you’re that sure, then by all means don’t let me stop you.”

Applejack hopped on the train back home and waved goodbye to her Aunt Orange.

“THANKS AGAIN FER HAVIN ME! AH’LL TRY TO VIS-”

“KID! I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU NOT TO LEAN OUT THE CELESTIA DARNED WINDOW!” the conductor shouted.

The blonde filly quickly darted her head back inside the train cart, leaving her aunt standing on the train station platform with a happy expression dancing across her lips.

“She really is Pear Butter’s daughter” the Manehattanite said to herself, turning around to head home “thought I wonder if I should tell any of the ponies I hired for her various activities that I was only using them to make my niece realize she didn’t belong here…..hmm.”

******************************

Spike sat on the outer fence of Sweet Apple Acres, just like he had done for the past couple of days.

After Applejack left it didn’t take long for him to start missing his playmate.

Sure he still had Big Macintosh but he wasn’t the same as Applejack, he wasn’t the same playful filly that Spike loved to mud wrestle with, he just couldn’t pal around with the dragon like Applejack could.

About two days after Applejack went onto her vacation to Manehattan, Spike started spending the better part of the day waiting for her on the edge of the farm; he’d do all of his chores for the day, help his parents when he could, and then just hung around the outer edge with his gaze focused on the horizon, hoping to see the orange filly come running over the hills. Both Pear Butter and Bright Mac had tried to convince him to go inside, play with some other colts and fillies but Spike wouldn’t have it; he just sat in silence, waiting. Sometimes Big Mac came out to join him for a bit before heading back into the house, neither one saying a word to the other.

Spike knew that his brother missed Applejack almost as much as he did, constantly asking about letters from their sister and when she was coming back. He was clearly worried about her.

“Bit fer yer thoughts Spike?” Said Granny Smith approaching from behind with some apple muffins.

Taking one from the elderly mare’s hooves, Spike sighed “ah really miss her granny.”

“Ah know, Ah know but she’s gonna be back at the end of the week.” Granny Smith replied.

“Is she? Ah’m startin to think that ma and pa lies to us.”

A small sweat drop ran down the side of the Apple matriarch’s head “What, uh, what makes ya say that?”

“Well whenever ah ask if they know when Applejack comes back, they get all nervous like and tell me to be patient. Are they lying to us Granny? Is Applejack never comin back?”

“Young un just listen to yer parents, cause there ain’t much else ya can do sides’ be….well speak of Discord.” said Granny Smith, jutting a hoof out to the horizon.

Spike looked over to seek a growing speck just down the road, right where granny smith was pointing. As it got closer he noticed that the speck was a very familiar shade of blonde and orange, one with sparkling green eyes similar to his own.

“Applejack?” said Spike in disbelief “APPLEJACK!”

The baby dragon quickly hopped off the fence and started running towards his sister, arms stretched open wide for a hug. One that the farmer filly gladly accepted when the two collided with each other.

“Yer back! Yer back! Yer back!” Spike chanted, hopping up and down.

“Ah’m back! Ah’m back! Ah’m back!” Applejack chanted in unison.

“Applejack!” shouted Big Mac, galloping over to give his sister another hug. “It’s so good ta see ya again!”

“Same here mac! Oh ah missed ya’ll so much!”

Soon enough the grown-ups came out to welcome Applejack back with, you guessed it folks, a big old hug.

As they had their daughter in an embrace, Bright Mac leaned over and whispered in Pear Butter’s ear “ya knew this was gonna happen didn’t ya?”

“Why do ya think ah became a farmer? Never could stand city life.” Pear Butter replied with a slightly smug smile.

That’s about the time Spike noticed something different about Applejack, a certain mark on her flank that wasn’t previously there.

“Applejack, look!” the dragon exclaimed.

Applejack craned her head around to try and get a look at what Spike was pointing to and almost instantly her eyes started to sparkle; right there on her flank was a set of three apples in a triangle formation, still glowing from their materialization.

“Mah cutie mark!”

“Well it seems somepony was meant ta be on the farm after all.” said Granny Smith.

Applejack smiled and was brought back into the group hug with her family, she knew that everything was going to be alright, she was finally where she truly belonged.

Of course just because Applejack found herself didn’t mean things were going to calm down at Sweet Apple Acres because of it; no, soon the apple siblings would soon have to face the greatest challenge of their young lives.

SCHOOL.

Author's Note:

sorry I've been slacking off on my stories lately, I've just had a hectic month lately. First came my college finals that I had to spend weeks studying for, then my dad had surgery on his foot and I had to help him around for a while because he was in so much pain, and of course the chaos that is the Christmas season. But now all of that is behind me and I can finally get back to my writing.

But anyhow, the next chapter will introduce a certain cake loving earth pony and a certain marshmallow that we all know and love onto the scene. Along with all the other hi-jinks a farmer filly with a dragon brother could get into on the first day of school.