• Published 5th Jun 2020
  • 1,768 Views, 112 Comments

Slice of Velvet and Pear - David Silver

We walk down our long roads of life, but what of the roads not taken? Twilight and Applejack are carried along a different path, where their fates were bound in new ways.

  • ...

1 - Considering

The last page read, the book closed. With the power of a finished story, it moved to rest on a shelf with other equally important tales, but it never made it. A will took hold of it, gently caressing the tales of friendship, struggle, and triumph. It was a good story, this force decided, but...

It drew a second book from the first, a copy. The first, unharmed by this interference, was allowed to take its place on the shelf, to be read again some other day. But the attention of this formless being was on its duplicate, bidding it open towards the first page, then beyond the first page, flipping backwards to things the first book had simply assumed to be. The story would begin long before the first, and this edit would cause other changes.

The being couldn't wait to behold the altered flow of the words, to see how the characters it had grown fond of would react.

It would save a life, and change the world.

Twilight bounced on her seat. "We never went this far before," she gushed excitedly at the mare beside her.

Velvet rest a hoof on the far shoulder of her daughter, keeping her close. "We really should get out more often. You deserve a little more exposure to what makes Equestria great. Do you know where we're going?"

Twilight put a little hoof to an equally small chin. "Um, yes." She turned in place to her mother. "To try something sweet and tasty."

"Even more than that," spoke her mother with a gently agreeing tone, a smile on her face. "I'm told this can really knock your taste buds off, it's so delicious. I always wanted to try some myself, but it's almost impossible to get outside of one little sleepy town."

Twilight clopped her hooves with growing excitement. "That sounds fun! Why isn't Shinie with us?"

"Because your father and he went off on an adventure too." Velvet looked past Twilight to the scenery flying past the train window. "Two exciting adventures for our family. Later, we'll get back together and get to tell each other all about what we were up to. Doesn't that sound fun?"

Twilight rapidly got out a little notebook and held a pencil in her mouth, scribbling busily. She was not yet very good at writing, so a lot of pictures made up the slack in her note taking, but she was well-prepared to document their adventure, to share later.

"Ponyville," announced a conductor.

The train was drawing up into a small station. Some ponies rose to depart, and Velvet was with them. Twilight bounced down without being asked, following her mother with a huge smile. "Where are we?"

Twilight had never visited Ponyville before. She wasn't supposed to for many years yet. This was the one change forces unseen to her had set in motion. One change was all it took, sometimes. "This is where they make that tasty treat I was talking about. They call it Zap Apple Jam, and only the Apples make it," explained Velvet as she trotted, Twilight dashing forward in little galloping bursts to keep up.

Her eyes went wide when they exited the station. There was a town, a real town, not like the city she was born in and raised in. "Wow! There's so much... space!" She waved her hooves wildly, trying to get a grasp on just how much there wasn't compared to what she was used to. "And barely anypony's wearing anything."

"You're not wearing anything either," reminded Velvet with a little smile. "But it's true, dressing up is less popular out here, and they have a lot more room." She willed her child up, grabbing Twilight in her magic and setting her on her own back to get a ride. "Now, you know your mom. I'd rather gallop. You want a fun ride?"

Twilight dutifully tried to keep up her note taking, but Velvet took the lack of a complaint as a yes and began to gallop, making that task more difficult. Despite that, the scrawling continued as they rapidly crossed through the town and burst free into a new level of open space.

Twilight dropped her pencil from a slack jaw. They had left Ponyville and were approaching the orchard of the Apple family farm. Trees, so many trees, spread out in all directions, with so few ponies in sight. "Wow," she had to say, before she realized she had dropped her pencil. "Oh no! Mom, my pencil!"

"Here you are." A new pencil floated free of a little bag she wore, moving within range for Twilight to grab hold of it with her mouth. "I'm trusting in you to keep good notes." Not that she looked terribly worried about Twilight failing to do that.

"Howdy there," greeted a mare that was about the same age as Velvet. "You don't look like a local. Ah'd know a familiar face." She wasn't looking at Velvet with suspicion. The earth pony mare was approaching with a welcoming smile. "The name's Pear Butter, but mah friends call me Buttercup. What brings such fancy unicorns this way?"

Twilight leaned out from behind Velvet's neck. "Where'd her horn go?"

Velvet turned one ear back at Twilight, the other on Pear Butter. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Pear Butter--"

"Missus," corrected Pear Butter, looking proud. "Mah hubby's helpin' run the Zap Apple stand right this second."

Velvet raised a hoof to her chest. "Twilight, this nice mare is an earth pony. Just like us, but less horn. I'm Twilight Velvet, but just call me Velvet when Twili here's around so we don't get confused."

Pear Butter circled around Velvet to get a better look at the little filly. "Aw, isn't she just the cutest. Well, second to mine. Speakin' of that. Why don't you play with her while I help your mom?"

"I'm takin' notes!" Twilight tapped at her notebook to emphasize it.

"Hon, we're here to adventure." Her magic took hold of Twilight and set her on the ground, casually snatching the book. "No notes for an hour, so you'll have to write it down in there." Velvet gently tapped Twilight on the head. "Go have fun."

"Mom!" but it wasn't Twilight that had cried it. Another filly came in a great galloping. "What'ya doin'--" She pulled up short, seeing new strange ponies. "Who're they?"

"Don't be rude, Applejack. These are new friends." Pear Butter gestured at Twilight. "This one's Miss Velvet--"

"--My turn," interrupted Velvet with a grin. "Missus."

"That one's on me," admitted Pear Butter with a little laugh. "And this little one--"

"I'm Twilight Sparkle," announced Twilight, looking at Applejack curiously, but also hiding a bit behind her mom. There were so many new things going on.

"Well, howdy there," started Applejack, looking over the strange pony. "Ya got something in yer mane." She hurried forward and moved to brush it aside, but Twilight's horn did not brush away as expected. "What the..."

"Applejack," sighed out Buttercup. "Now, that ain't the first unicorn ya ever saw."

"Jus' surprised me, is all," defensively spat out Applejack as she patted her breast clear of dust that wasn't there. "Uh, hey there."

"Hi..." Twilight looked up to Velvet, but her mom wasn't saving her. "I'm..."

"Twilight Sparkle, ya said that." Little Filly Applejack bobbed her head. "Wanna help get some apples down from a tree?"

Twilight blinked owlishly at that. "How do you do that?!" She craned her head to look up at the nearest tree and its apples so far up. "They're... so far away..."

"Ah'll show ya!" And Applejack broke into a trot. Soon the two fillies were wandering off together.

Velvet and Pear Butter both watched them go with the gentle smiles only a mother could have at seeing their young be wonderful. Velvet broke the silence first, "Oh, you mentioned Zap Apples, that's exactly why we're here. We were hoping to try some of that jam."

"Well, shoot. Ya done came to the right place fer that." Pear Butter turned in place and began to walk off. "Ya ever had any before? It packs a powerful punch."

"You are speaking exactly my language," complimented Velvet with a hopeful expression. "Is it safe for foals? I'm grown enough to make my own mistakes."

"And ya sound like ya don't regret it none," laughed Pear Butter. "A right pleasure to meet you, Twilight." With the other Twilight gone, she went with her new friend's first name.

"I'll agree to that, Buttercup." She accelerated to be at Buttercup's side, their flanks touching in their trot. "I'll be honest, I can't wait to try it. I'm a bit... Well, let's not mince words. I'm a daredevil. If it's new, I want to try it. If it's exciting, I want to try it maybe twice."

"Well, we'll satisfy that thirst for adventure for today," confidently assured Buttercup as they cleared the trees, their farm house ahead. A small table had a stallion sitting behind it, with a few other ponies in a line. They were getting jars of brightly rainbow colored somethings and trotting off with smiles. "There he is. Bright!"

"Buttercup!" he replied, a smile instantly erupting on his face at the sight of his wife. "Who's yer friend there?"

"Another customer, but we got to talkin'. Speakin' of that, where ya from? Oh, did I mention, her daughter's runnin' round somewhere with Applejack."

Bright chuckled softly at that. "She's in good hooves then. Still, Big Mac?" He turned to the left even as a colt in his young teens poked his head free. "There ya are. Go find yer sister and be sure she's not gettin' herself or her new friend into any trouble."

"Yes'ir." Big Mac saluted and charged off into the orchard like an Applejack-seeking missile.

Bright turned his attention onto Velvet. "Now, ya didn't come here just ta say hi, I reckon. Ya came to enjoy a treat." He grabbed a jar and set it on the table in front of him. "The kind of treat ya can only get here, once a year."

Velvet licked over her lips, her tongue suddenly so slippery. "Is it as good as they say it is?" She came closer, drawn by the magnificent power of zap apple jam. "You know so much more about it than I do... How do you enjoy it at its peak?"

Buttercup circled around to be at Bright's side. "Ah can help with that. You buy a jar and ah'll make you and yours a little feast. Somethin' fit for a filly, and somethin' else for a mare that wants to be bucked right in the face with taste." She finished the statement with an almost growl, a playful smile on her face.

It was working on Velvet, her head bobbing quickly. "Yes! Please, yes, exactly that. I'll take two!" With a glowing horn, a bag came free, jingling with bits. Soon she paid for what was to come, cantering in place with excited little giggles. "Oh, I can't wait, but I will!" She plopped down on her haunches. "This is going to be such fun!"

Twilight thrust out her hind hooves, kicking a tree. The tree did not yield. She did, falling forward as if she had jumped off the tree instead of kicking it. She landed on her belly and slid away several feet from the force of it.

Applejack barely restrained the laughter trying to escape her. "Ah... did that a few times ma'self the first couple a tries. Don't feel bad."

Twilight sat up with a frown. "I must have had the angle of approach wrong..." She stood up and shook off, dirt flying free of her. "Maybe if I..."

Applejack inclined her head as the smart-talking unicorn went back for another try. "That's the spirit. You'll be a proper apple bucker in no time!" Of course, one of them was an earth pony, and the other a unicorn. The odds were against Twilight.

"Sis?" Big Mac emerged from the trees. "There ya are!"

"Hey Mac!" She put out an arm and the siblings soon shared a fond little hug. "This here's Twilight. Twilight Sparkle. Ah'm teachin' her how to buck an apple."

"Howdy." He tipped his head towards the new filly. "Ya alright?"

"I will be when I figure this out." Twilight lined herself up and thrust a hoof out, feeling the wind as if that was making a big difference. "Alright..." She squared herself and was just about to kick when a hoof came down on her left rump. She looked over to see Big Mac had a hoof on her. "Excuse me?"

"Yer stance is off." He sat down next to her and began adjusting her footing. "It's all about where ya start, not where ya wanna go."

Twilight looked to Applejack, but Applejack seemed confident. "Do as he says. He showed me how to buck, and ya see how good ah do it now."

With the assurance of her new friend, Twilight accepted the lesson given. Once she was in proper apple-bucking position, She let out a little breath, then thrust out her hind hooves. The tree vibrated. One lone apple fell to the grassy ground, rolling away. She hadn't fallen.

"Now that's a buck," noted Big Mac with a satisfied nod.

Applejack brought her forehooves together in an enthusiastic clopping. "Congratulations, yer first! And ya get a prize."

"A prize?" Twilight blinked, not even realizing a prize was involved.

"Sure, right there." Applejack pointed to the downed apple. "Ya bucked it, ya can have one."

"Oh!" Twilight practically pounced on the apple and took a big bite out of its side. "Mmm!" An apple fresh from the tree was a whole different thing than the apples she got in the city. "It's... so different." She began crunching away, devouring the helpless fruit.

Big Mac moved over to Applejack's side. "She seems nice. Ah saw her mother, up by the house."

"Oh yeah, saw her too, nice mare." Applejack waved at Twilight. "Speakin' ah that, we should probably get back to them. Ya want to write this all down, right?"

"Correct." Twilight dashed over, leaving the apple behind, and receiving a boop on the nose.

Applejack pointed back at the abandoned apple core. "Ya throw out trash, not just leave it layin' around."

"Oh, right." Twilight willed the apple up with some effort, bringing it over to herself with uncertain magic and much hesitation. It reached her hooves, only to be taken by Big Mac.

He tucked it in a saddlebag. "Got it."

All three of them began walking back towards the farmhouse through the orchard. "So," he spoke. "What brings ya here?"

"My mom says there's this extra special jam." Twilight put a hoof to her cheek, the other three carrying her forward. "I'm supposed to take notes for my brother and father."

Applejack nodded at that. "Right proper, keepin' yer kin in mind. What're they like?"

So Twilight gladly began to gush about her Big Brother Best Friend Forever.

Applejack put a hoof on the side of Big Mac walking with her. "Ah got one of those m'self! Ain't they nice t'have?"

"Uh huh!" quickly agreed Twilight, her tail wagging rapidly as she looked up at the larger form of Big Mac. "Hello, not my BBBFF. Thank you for taking care of Applejack."

Big Mac began to blush at the attention the two fillies were raining on him. "Aw shucks, jus' doin' mah job, as the big brother."

"And that is exactly why I am thanking you." Twilight bobbed her head with a smile. "Good big brothers are the best, right?" She met Applejack's eyes and the two nodded, unified in their belief of the benefit of quality big brothers.

Later, the entire Apple Family had gathered around the table, with two guests. Granny Apple nodded towards them. "A right welcome to ya both. Now, ah year this is yer first taste of Zap Apple Jam, so sit back, relax, and prepare for an experience." She hooted with wicked joy at what was to come.

Velvet giggled a little to herself, rubbing her hooves together in giddy expectation of the new experience. "Thank you for being such lovely hosts, for Twilight and myself," she got out despite that. Good manners were not to be entirely forgotten.

"Thank you!" chimed Twilight, reaching a little hoof across the table.

Down came a ladle, knocking Twilight's hoof back. "Ya get back there, ya little whippersnapper." Granny was smiling despite her admonishment. "We'll serve ya up somethin' tasty, don't you worry none."

Pear Butter came trotting in, a tray on her back. "This one's a special one, just fer yer mom. I made it with her tastes in mind. I present, the Wild Mare Zap Special!" She turned to the side, presenting the tray.

Velvet squealed, her glowing horn lifting the top off to reveal a brightly colored ring of little doughnut-shaped jello rings. "Oooo. Now, while I cannot wait to sink my teeth into this, I'm not greedy. You're all welcome to give it a try... after me."

Bright Mac chuckled softly at the enthusiasm. "From the way the missus is actin', ah figure that'll be a treat even for us old-hooves."

Applejack nudged Twilight silently. When Twilight looked over, Applejack popped an apple fritter on the plate that had been empty a moment ago. The two shared a wink and a grin, and they began to eat while the adults dealt with boring adult things.

Velvet brought over a quivering ring to her snout. "It's never as good as the first time," she said as almost a little prayer, then popped it right into her unprepared mouth. "Mmm, tasty, but not--" Her words died. She went still, a little shiver starting at the end of her tail and creeping up over her, her fur changing colors to match rainbow hues as it worked up over her. As it hit her bottom and rolled up over her, she let out a huge holler. "Woo!"

Pear Butter inclined her head a little. "Do ya like it?"

"Like it?" gasped out Velvet, a rainbow puff of smoke escaping her even as the rainbow colors began to fade. "That was worth the entire trip. Twilight, how are you liking yours?" She looked over to see Twilight contently chewing on a fritter.

Twilight thrust a hoof up in approval before leaning back, licking her lips clean. "It's tasty!" Sure, she hadn't had nearly a concentrated blast of flavor as her mom, but it was delicious and she approved. "And I made some new friends."

"Me too." Velvet gestured at the platter. "Now let's not let this go to waste. I challenge you all to try at least one."

Bright Mac laughed at that. "City unicorn's thrown down the horseshoe, in my house? It won't stand." He leaned over and grabbed up two jiggly rings in his teeth, sucking them down with loud chomping bites. "Think I can't... handle..."

"Oh, hon, I..." Pear Butter looked on with concern at her husband's bravado.

It was too late, rainbow hues exploding across Bright Mac from his dear wife's concentrated offering made especially for the daredevil unicorn. He coughed out little puffs of rainbow as he sat back, beating on his own chest with a hoof. "Woo! Alright, that's... some powerful stuff."

"Y'all a bunch of foals," laughed Granny, reaching over to claim one for herself. "Been enjoyin' this for more years than ah can count." And down it went. The colors tickled at her greying hide, but she was not overwhelmed, just smiling and content with it. "Yer a mighty fine cook, Buttercup."

"Aw, thank you, Mother." Pear Butter leaned in and kissed Granny on the cheek, looking ready to turn and go, but a hoof found her first.

Velvet was grinning at her. "You have to have one too. I challenged you too."

Pear Butter knew exactly what she had made. "Oh, I couldn't..." She twisted in place, trying to hide her blushing cheeks.

"Don't be shy," shouted her husband. "One won't hurt you."

"Ya can do it!" called Applejack. "Don't let her show ya up!"

"Yup." Big Mag bobbed his head. "Ya can do it!"

Pear Butter let out a little sigh, a wry smile on her face. "Just one..." She coiled on herself and snatched one off her own back. It vanished between her lips as she chewed on it. "Mmm, the cherries were just con--" She didn't get to finish her statement, shivering as the intense concentration washed out over her. It wasn't as powerful as Velvet's first time explosion, but she let out a gust of rainbows, laughing lightly. "That wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be."

Velvet hopped to her hooves and helped Pear Butter put things away. "You shouldn't be afraid of a little adventure," she gently counseled as they moved away. "Half the fun."

Granny Smith had her eyes on Twilight. "Twilight was it?"

"Yes ma'am," politely agreed the little filly, smiling up at the much larger adult mare. "Nice to meet you, Grandma Smith."

"Aw shucks, ponies call me granny. Grandma sounds way too formal-like." She waved it away. "Ah hear ya bucked yer first tree."

Big Mac nodded firmly. "Saw it myself."

"Me too," piped in Applejack.

Twilight was blushing. "It wasn't my specialty. I prefer reading books, but that was fun too." She threw out a leg and soon had an Applejack snared with it. "I'm glad I had the chance."

"Shucks, me too." Applejack returned the hug, then pointed to her brother. "Looks like this one's a real expert at training fillies to buck right."

Granny suddenly laughed, though she never said at what. "Yer a right good colt, Big Mac. Thanks fer lookin' out."

It would be the first, but far from the last meal the family would have together. Twilight Velvet and Pear Butter became fast friends, the two influencing each other, encouraging more compassion and empathy from Velvet while nudging Pear Butter from her little shell.

More often than not, Velvet arrived with Twilight in tow, and Twilight got to play with Applejack and Big Mac eagerly.

"BBBFF?" asked a white unicorn colt.

"BBBFF," agreed the red earth pony colt. The two nodded at one another with understanding.

They broke into laughter and threw an arm around one another's necks, accepting one another as kindred spirits. "You ever have to save yours from throwing herself off a roof?" asked Shining.

"Yep." Big Mac rolled his eyes. "You ever have to stop yours from getting run over?"

"Oh yeah." Shining laughed all the harder. "Hey, Twilight, go have fun. I want to compare notes."

"Notes?" Twilight looked less sure about leaving. "Can I see them?"

Shining reached out and booped his little sister on the snout. "They're boring colt notes. You have fun with Applejack."

"Oh, okay!" She hopped away and scrambled to find Applejack, leaving Shining to talk with Big Mac.

Big Mac watched her go before looking back to Shining Armor. "We're real lucky."

"Sometimes I need to remind myself." Shining Armor sat on his haunches with a little nod. "But, yeah... we are. They look up to us."

"Oh! I didn't even tell Applejack this yet." He leaned in, raising a hoof to whisper conspiratorially, "Mom's gonna have another foal. I'll be a big brother twice."

Shining's eyes widened. "W-what?! Wow! Congratulations!" He offered a hoof and it was met with a loud clop. "Did she already pick a name?"

Big Mac nodded firmly. "Apple Blossom. Ain't that the cutest name?"

Shining smiled gently, considering it. "Yeah, that is pretty cute. I bet she'll be a great little filly. She has to be, with a big brother like you around."

The two shared a laugh of brotherhood and their conversation moved on to other things. Little colts could only speak of their little sisters for so long in a day.

Author's Note:

Welcome to a new story, but it's also an old story. We travel back as unseen forces, all of us, to watch what happens when you change one little thing. I really enjoyed writing this episode and hope you liked reading it. Comments are super welcome!

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