• Published 13th Dec 2011
  • 7,212 Views, 539 Comments

Far From the Tree - Rust

A mysterious pony turned to stone 1000 years ago is revived by the denizens of Ponyville.

  • ...

Coming of Age

Note: I do not own My Little Pony.
I think Hasbro gets some kind of sick satisfaction every time I have to say that. Bastards.



The Cutie Mark Crusaders, the Elements of Harmony, one zebra mystic, one baby dragon, and the Goddess of the Night milled around the inside of Ponyville's library. The stallion, once a hoof had been pointed towards the toilet, had neatly dismounted from the chandelier with a double backflip spin that even Rainbow Dash had been impressed by, trotted off to the bathroom, and promptly proceeded to open the floodgates on one thousand years worth of bladder buildup.

"Oooooooooooooooohhhhhh yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah..." came the relieved moan from behind the closed door.

Everypony blushed and tried to pretend they hadn't heard that, besides Spike, who, being the only male in the group, was cracking up hysterically.

"Err... So, Princess," Twilight tried to lessen the awkward atmosphere. "Last night you gave me the impression that you've met this pony before."

Princess Luna nodded, eyes misting up with faraway memories. "The pony you just saw is called by the full name of Sir Buck Apple. But he prefers to be called 'Buckshot'. He and I have a bit of a... history."

Several eyebrows raised in a mix of disbelief, humor, and shock.

The Princess immediately understood what the others were thinking. "Oh, no! Not like that. We would never consort with a married pony in such a manner."

Rarity, who's ears had perked up at the mention of this pony's prestigious title of a knight, now looked downcast. "He's married, is he then?"

Luna's demeanor turned downcast. "Not anymore," she simply said.

"What do you mean by that?" Twilight spoke up.

"Sir Apple has been away for a long, long time."

Applejack's eyes narrowed. "How long wuz that, Princess?"

Luna turned away from the others and stared out the window at Ponyville. A light drizzle had begun to fall outside. "He vanished roughly two months before we fell to the corruption of Nightmare Moon. We had no idea where he'd gone, and a great search was called up. We regret not searching harder, for his presence during these times may have spared us a millenia of imprisonment."

Silence fell the thick across the room. The muffled sound of a toilet flushing could be heard.

"That was over a thousand years ago," Luna murmured softly. "Almost everypony he knew has long since passed on by now. Including his wife and daughter."

"Uhm, excuse me," Fluttershy broke in gently. "Is there any way that we could, you know, send him back?"

Luna turned from the window to look at Fluttershy. "No." It was barely a whisper.

A new voice sounded, gravelly and oddly accented. "Righto, g'day everypony. Apologies for the odd first impressions and all that, but when a bloke has to go, he has to go."

The group turned to the source of the voice to see Sir Buck Apple stepping into the library, visibly more relaxed than before. The ancient knight trained his gaze over the room, taking in his surroundings with a trained gaze. His ocean eyes finally settled on the Princess. "Allo, Luna! Fancy meeting you here! We gonna have that discussion about the you-know-what now?"

The Princess shook her head slowly. "No, Sir Apple, we have something much more grave to discuss with you than before," She turned to the group assembled in the library. "Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Apple Bloom, please stay here with us. Everypony else, we must ask that you leave for a time. We shall send for you once we are done here." The zebra, baby dragon, and other ponies filed out of the library in a colorful yet somber line.

"Huh, they all look like they caught the business end of the frowning-fever," Buckshot said wryly.

Luna went into the kitchen, followed by the others. "Twilight, is it possible to have some tea prepared for everypony?"

Twilight nodded and set about the task of heating up the teakettle.

Applejack spoke up. "Uh, Princess, Ah wuz-"

"Call us Luna, please, fair Applejack."

"Sorry, uh, Luna, but ya see, Ah wuz wonderin' why ya asked me an' mah sister to be here fer this."

Buck's eye's widened, noticing the two Apple sisters for the first time. "Oi, you sound like somepony I know. I like the hat, by the way," he said, staring at Applejack. His gaze shifted to Apple Bloom. "And you look like somepony I know, too. Come to think of it, botha' you sheilas seem a mite familiar. What did ya say yer names were?"

"Jackie Apple, but Ah'd prefer it if ya called me Applejack."

"Mah name's Apple Bloom, sir. Pleased ta meet ya!"

"You're both Apples?"

"Eeyup!" came the simultaneous reply.

The knight looked at the pair quizzically. "How is that? Last time I checked, the only three living members of the Apple family were me, my lovely wife, Leafdapple, and my daughter, Apple Blossom."

Princess Luna interrupted the conversation. "Sir Apple, do you happen to remember what occurred to you right before you woke up here?"

Buckshot thought for a moment, before shaking his great head. "Not entirely, Luna. I was in the Everfree, lookin' for somethin'. I can't remember what it was though, for the life of me. Then... everythin' gets blurry. I think I was runnin' somewhere, and then poof! 'Ere I am wakin' up in a library, of all places, havin' ta piss like the dickens. Where is this library, anyway? The Palace? Canterlot?"

Apple Bloom answered his question. "Yer in the Ponyville town library, Mr. Apple!"

The dark teal stallion snorted in amusement. "Mister Apple was my father. I'm not that old yet, so you can call me Buckshot, iffin' you'd like. As for bein' in Ponyville, that ain't possible."

Twilight sat down at the table, placing several mugs of herbal tea that had been sweetened with honey in front of the various ponies sitting there. "Why is that, Sir Buck?"

"Because I've been diggin' the foundations for the town library for the past few weeks with some mates from the village. We haven't even begun building it yet. So I know this can't be Ponyville when you say we're in a library."

Twilight winced slightly, remembering the size of the time difference that was present here. But she also couldn't help but be a little awestruck. The stallion sitting at her table had dug the foundations to her home over a thousand years prior. She'd no idea the library was that old.

The Princess spoke up again. "Sir Apple, do you know what a cockatrice is?"

"Aye. Nasty buggers they are. Look 'em in the eye, and they turn ya to stone. Then they drag ya off to their hollow to use like some kinda trophy for attractin' mates, or something like that. 'Orrible way to go out, if ya ask me," Buckshot scratched his chin thoughtfully. "Why do ya ask, Luna?"

Luna gazed down at the table as if it had challenged her to a stare-off. She decided to be blunt about it; Buck would appreciate that eventually. "You were frozen by one," No response came from the dark teal knight, so she continued. "This filly here," she motioned to Apple Bloom with her hoof, who smiled at bit at being recognized by a princess. "And two of her friends, retrieved you from the cockatrice's den in the Everfree Forest, which has been recently exposed by an earthquake. They brought you here with the help of the zebra who was present earlier. Twilight here," she gestured to the lavender unicorn. "Performed Equestria's very first revival from petrification on you." She ran out of words at this point, electing instead to fix Buckshot with her midnight-blue eyes.

Buckshot's face held a spot-on impersonation of a member of the Royal Guard, revealing no emotion whatsoever. He did not say a word. Slowly, he got up from the table and went into the main library area. Exchanging a look, the others rose to follow. They found him looking out the same window Luna had been earlier. The knight said nothing, only continued to look out on to Ponyville.

Applejack started forward. "Look, uh, Buckshot-"

Buckshot silenced her with a raised hoof. He didn't even bother to glace in the her direction; his eyes were fixed on the outside world.

"If it were anypony else sayin' that, Luna, I'd have called 'em loony. But I know you'd never fool around on something like this, so I have no choice but to believe you."

Nopony moved, or spoke for a good five minutes.

In a calm, yet tired, voice, he finally offered a few words. "So that's Ponyville." It was more of a statement than a question.

Princess Luna joined him by the window. "It is."

"And this is the town library."



"So then I'm guessing I've been away for quite a spell, then."

"Yes. One thousand years, to be exact."


"So that means..."

"Yes. They are."


"Did they go out happy, at least?"

"We know not. Our sister was present at the time, but we were not."

"You'll have to tell me about that sometime."

"We will."


"I had grandfoals, didn't I."

"You did."


"And they had grandfoals."


"And so on?"

"And so on."


"So those two behind us are..."

"They are."

"So that means..."

"The farm is still there. They never left it."

Buckshot turned toward the two Apple sisters. They held his gaze evenly, a mixture of curiosity, respect, and pity visible in their eyes. He spoke to them gently. "I helped build this town. I raised the first wall, set the first brick, reaped the first harvest, and danced in the first storm with my family," he paused. A tear collected in his left eye as he remembered. He brushed it away quickly. "But those days ended eons ago. Ponyville carried on. My wife and child carried on. You two are the latest in what is now, at least to me, a long line of noble ponies that was created over a thousand years ago. I am proud to call both of ya my family. You kept up a tradition of growin' the land for food, and providin' for others. I know that ya don't know me very well, but I feel like I can ask ya for a favor."

"What do you need, Mister Buck?" asked Apple Bloom softly. Applejack sniffled.

Buckshot gave a small smile that failed to reach his eyes. He stepped up to Apple Bloom, towering over her. His presence conveyed no threat, however. Instead, Buck reached down, picked Apple Bloom up by the scruff of her neck, and set her gently on his back, her giggling slightly all the while. He then turned to Applejack and swallowed her in an emotional hug, which she returned. He released her and backed a few steps.

"You can call me 'Uncle' Buck, if ya like. I need you ta take me home. I'd like to be with my family again."

Author: I felt bad about leaving off on the last chapter, so I wrote this one in two hours right after the last one was published. I plan on releasing at least once a day at my fastest pace. Hope you like it, I'm new to writing in such a way that people are saddened. Tips and criticism welcome.