• Published 4th Sep 2012
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Saddlebags, Sun, and On the Run (Book 2) - LotusTeaDragon



Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and the rest of the Mane Six travel to Los Pegasus on vacation together.

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Dragon Your Hooves

CHAPTER ONE
DRAGON YOUR HOOVES


"The Princess is ready to see you and your entourage, Miss Sparkle", the stoic Royal Guard pony stated in clipped, formal tones.

Twilight nodded and smiled. "Thank you, Strident Shield. Please say hello to your family for me the next time you see them."

The guard faced forward and let a slight smile form on his lips as Twilight and her friends walked past him, and through the large double doors that lead into the throne room of the palace.

"Twilight Sparkle, my faithful student! It is so good to see you once more!" Princess Celestia said as they entered the massive chamber. "It also warms me to see all of you here. I take it things were successful?"

Twilight trotted over to the Princess, and nuzzled her outstretched neck.

"Everything worked out wonderfully, Princess! That trio of dragons gave up and scattered. Hopefully for parts unknown, especially once Pinkie Pie pulled out her party cannon!"

"Alliteration! Woo!" came a bright, bubbly voice next to Twilight.

Princess Celestia turned her gaze toward the gathered six, calling off their names as she did: "My faithful Twilight Sparkle, resourceful Pinkie Pie, honest Applejack, lovely Rarity, brave Rainbow Dash and dear, sweet, Fluttershy. you have once again braved the dangers of this land, and have saved it's inhabitants from the threat of chaos and disorder. For that, I thank you."

"Oh, it was nothing, Princess. That's why we're here!", Twilight said proudly.

"Yes, I realize your dedication and appreciate it, my dear student, but there is something else I wish you to do. Something that I feel is very important, and it must be done right away, without hesitation. While I would normally ask you, I feel this is so important that you must accept." Princess Celestia intoned gravely.

Rainbow Dash's face scrunched into a determined grin. "You just tell us what it is, and we'll take it on, Princess!"

The other ponies' voices joined in agreement.

The Princess smiled. "Very good, then. Twilight, you and your Elements of Harmony need to join together and leave with all due haste for Los Pegasus. I want you to take on the serious and treacherous responsibilities of taking...", she paused for suspense, and then, leaning forward said, "...a vacation".

"Right away, Pr-huh-?!" Twilight stopped mid-sentence. "Did you say vacation?"

Celestia smiled at the confused faces staring up at her. "I certainly did, Twilight. I have spoken to Spike, and he agrees that you and your friends have worked yourselves until you can't take much more. You need a rest. All of you. I don't want any arguments or protests on the matter. I have spoken with each one of your respective family members and employers, and they all agree. Therefore, you will be taking a few days off in the beautiful city of Los Pegasus, where you will be my guests in a five star hotel, and you will enjoy yourselves. Is that clear?" she said, raising her eyebrow, her eyes full of humor at the situation.

Finally, Twilight gathered her wits, and looked to her friends, who looked back to her with resignation, and not just a hint of excitement. Nodding to them, she turned back toward Celestia. "We would be honored, Princess! When do we leave for this treacherous mission?", she asked, a hint of sardonic glee in her voice.

"You will leave in the morning, on the Friendship Express. Spike will have your tickets, Twilight. He will be attending as well, since being your assistant is a full time job, my faithful student" she added as she gave Twilight a wink, "of which I am certain you have no qualms."

Twilight smiled. "Of course not, Princess. Spike deserves a break, too!"

"Well, with that taken care of, I wish you all a wonderful, fun filled time. Perhaps you will bring back a souvenir for Luna and myself. She will be quite interested in your stories once she returns from her business in Germaney." She then turned to Twilight. "Be safe, my faithful Twilight, and most importantly, have fun with your friends."

The six mares bade their heartfelt farewells to the Princess, and left the grand throne room, a spring in their steps, a song in their hearts, and in Pinkie's case, a kazoo on her lips.

-(/)*(\)-

"So, what do ya think Los Pegasus is like?" Applejack asked Rainbow as the farmpony packed her saddlebags. "I hear tell they got buildings as tall as mountains!"

Rainbow snorted as she stepped out of the bathroom, carrying toothbrushes and combs. "Nah, it's nothing like that, AJ. They've got tall buildings, but not as tall as mountains. They do have indoor waterfalls, though."

Applejack's eyebrows shot up. "You pullin' mah leg, Dash?", she asked, incredulity in her voice.

"Nope! You should see 'em, AJ. 200 hooves high, and they fall into big lit up pools of water, and people sit by them on marble benches and throw bread crumbs to the ducks that swim there.", Rainbow finished as she shoved a cake, a bottle of suntan lotion, and the latest "Daring Do" book in her bags.

Applejack shook her head as she finished packing. "Ah sure do hope ah don't git lost in such a big city. Manehatten was bad enough, but waterfalls in their buildin's? That's jus' crazy!"

Dash laughed. "No, AJ, not in every building. It's just in the high fancy hotels." She sat on her saddlebags, forcing the contents down. One last jump and a loud crunch, and her bags were closed. She was ready.

"How do ya know so much about Los Pegasus?", Applejack asked as she packed her rope.

"My parents and my sister live in Los Pegasus. I was, um, kind of hoping that we could meet them", Dash said, averting her eyes from Applejack for a moment.

"Ya ain't worried are ya?" Applejack's voice went quiet, which was uncharacteristic for the bold pony. When it came to matters of love, though, nothing was quite as it ever seemed.

"Oh, no, no! I was just worried you wouldn't want to meet them!" Dash said quickly, hugging Applejack in the process.

"Ah ain't worried about them. Ah love ya and ah'll tell them to their faces", Applejack replied, kissing Dash on the muzzle.

She then closed her saddlebags without the need for jumping, sitting, or crunching, and they placed their saddlebags together by the door to their room.

Applejack made her way to the bed, taking her braids out of her hair, and placed them on the bedside table. She climbed in under the covers. A few moments later, Rainbow Dash jumped into the bed, and brought herself up close to Applejack. She brushed aside a stray blond lock that had fallen into AJ's face.

Applejack stared back into Dash's rosemary eyes. "You know", she began quietly, "this'll be our first real vacation together. It's been almost a year since we found out how much we cared about one another. Ah have loved every day ah've been with you, Dash. Do ya know that?"

Rainbow smiled, and placed her forehoof on Applejack's chest. "AJ, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me. Every day I see you, all I can do is smile and think of how awesome you are. You're smart, you're strong, you're athletic, and, oh yeah, you're almost as cool as me".

Applejack chuckled and punched Dash lightly in the shoulder. They leaned in and their muzzles touched briefly, before Applejack grabbed Rainbow Dash and flipped her on her back, Applejack straddling the cyan pony. She brought her face down close to Dash's.

"Ya make me whole, Rainbow, and as long as you'll have me, I'll always be by your side."

"Hey, I'm supposed to be the element of Loyalty here", Dash whispered, right before Applejack leaned down and kissed her.

-(/)*(\)-

"Spike! Where did I put that book on covalent particle magic?!" Twilight Sparkle yelled up the stairs, where her assistant was packing their things for the trip.

"Jeez, Twilight! Don't tell me you're going to pack a stuffy science book when we're going to beautiful Los Pegasus!" he said, emphasizing the last three words in an effort to dissuade his longtime friend from letting her bookishness get in the way of yet another vacation. He would never forget their trip to the Canterlot Rock Gardens. Rocks. Rocks everywhere.

He heard her frantic voice from downstairs. "No, not a stuffy science book, it could be valuable should we encounter an endotrophic super eel, or iridescent sentient jellyfish!"

Spike rolled his eyes. Again with the iridescent jellyfish.

He placed a few more gems in his backpack. Picking up his map of Los Pegasus, and his favorite fake mustache, he tried to place them in the backpack, only to find there wasn't enough room.

"Hmm." He scratched his head, and tried to arrange them in his pack. Having no success, he tossed the map and put his mustache in the pack, zipping it up. "Twilight will know her way around. After all, she's a magical pony who can teleport anywhere! What are the chances of getting lost?"

Downstairs, Twilight was having trouble deciding between two of her books to place in her own saddlebags. "Why is this so difficult? Surely I can do without 'Slumbering Creatures of the Deep Sea', but what if we go scuba diving? I don't want to fall victim to a giant mollusk! Then again, if I take that book, I have to leave behind 'Tales of Pirates on the High Seas', and if that happens, we could get boarded and be utterly defenseless!"

She concentrated on both books, furiously trying to decide, even as her combs, clothes, maps, compass, bottled water, rations, firestarter, sextant, telescope, microscope, and hoof fins lay by the book filled bags.

"AAARGH!" she called out. "Why is going on vacation always so hard?! I need a vacation from my need for a vacation!"

-(/)*(\)-

"So when are you coming back, sis?" Sweetie Belle asked her big sister as she watched her trotting back and forth between her closet and her saddlebags.

"Oh, it will only be for a few days, Sweetie Belle, though I do promise to bring you back something nice." Rarity gently placed a crisply folded silk nightie in her suitcase, and snapped it shut, only to pick up another empty suitcase by her bed, and begin filling it as well.

"I want you to behave while I'm gone, and make certain you and your friends stay out of trouble. My friends and I shan't be around to rescue you should something happen."

At this, Sweetie Belle lowered her head and pooched out her lower lip. Rarity turned and saw her younger sister's expression. She put the sun hat down and leaned down to face Sweetie Belle.

"Don't be sad, Sweetie, you know I only want you to be safe. It's all a part of being a big sister. Also..." she whispered conspiratorially, "if you're good, I shall bring you back a souvenir that will make your head spin!"

Sweetie Belle's frown instantly turned into an excited grin. "Thank you, big sis! Ooh, what will it be?!" She danced around on her hooves, turning around and facing her sister, a wide grin on her face.

"Ah, ah, ah! I can't say! You'll just have to be surprised!" Rarity waggled a hoof.

Sweetie Belle's grin faltered for a moment, but then she shrugged and the smile returned. "Okay, but now I really really can't wait until you get back!"

Rarity laughed. "My goodness, and I haven't even left yet!"

She reached down and hugged her sister. This was going to be the best vacation ever.

-(/)*(\)-

Angel Bunny was angry. He wasn't just every day angry, he was a very angry little rabbit, and he made that anger known by throwing all of Fluttershy's clothes out of her saddlebags and stomping on them.

"Angel Bunny! My goodness! I know you're upset, but I'll only be gone a couple of days! Princess Celestia ordered me to go!"

Angel Bunny ignored Fluttershy's rationale.

"Come now, Angel Bunny. Surely you can't be that upset. You know Big Macintosh will be by every day to check on you and feed the other animals."

Angel Bunny remained unmoved.

"Would you feel better if I gave you this delicious carrot?" Fluttershy waved a large orange carrot in the resolute rabbit's furry face.

He smacked it away from her and crossed his stubby little arms.

"Oh, Angel Bunny, please understand. I need to rest. I mean, um, not that you caused it or anything. I'm just, really tired from so much work as the element of kindness. So many animals need it, that I just get exhausted. Do you understand?"

He turned toward her, and seeing her eyes, with exhaustion filling them, his shoulders dropped, and he lowered his arms. Sighing, he reached up and hugged her face.

"Thank you, Angel Bunny. I knew you would understand", came a muffled, sweet voice underneath.

Angel Bunny let go and nodded at her, smiling.

Fluttershy resumed packing her saddlebags. "Oh, I hope Big Mac will be ready to handle all of this. I'm going to miss them so much!"

-(/)*(\)-

"SO MUCH STUFF!" came a bright, ultra hyper voice from the trunk in her closet. A cotton candy pink tail was the only visible part of that pony's anatomy as she shuffled through all of her supplies, her saddlebags sitting on the bright pink bed, filled to overflowing with streamers, confetti bombs, fireworks, plates, silverware, table cloths, banners, cupcakes, pies, candy, and a tuba.

"AHA!"

She grabbed, pulling with all of her strength, until she flew backwards, a large object rolling out of the closet. She got back to her feet, brushed off her hooves, and gasped in excitement.

"I found my party cannon! It's a good thing too, because you can't have a party without a party cannon!" she said as she rolled the cannon up to the waiting saddlebags.

Standing by the bed, she noticed something didn't seem right. She looked at the saddlebags. She turned her head toward the giant cannon. She looked back to the saddlebags, then again at the enormous cannon sitting by her bed. After doing this a few more times, she scratched her chin with her hoof, as if in deep thought. After a few moments, she came to a decision.

"Hmm, it looks like I'll have to really pack it in there. Maybe if I move the board games, and the chandelier."

She set to her task, oblivious to both the noise level it created, and the laws of physics it violated.

-(/)*(\)-

The next morning, they found themselves at the Ponyville train station. Everypony was carrying their saddlebags, save for Rarity, who had already sent all of her luggage to the baggage car via a very distressed, and somewhat disgruntled purser.

Standing on the platform with them were several members of the Apple family, two of the Cutie Mark Crusaders trio, and Mayor Mare.

Twilight was speaking to the Mayor at that particular moment.

"...and of course, if you need us, I'm certain Princess Celestia can call on us immediately and have us back here in no time. There's absolutely nothing to worry about."

Mayor Mare laughed softly. "Miss Sparkle, I'm supposed to be the pony telling you that. I am sure there won't be any trouble while you're gone. Honestly, what's two or three days? At the worst, we can always contact the Princess, who, I'm sure you will agree, is more than capable of handling a crisis?"

Twilight blushed. "You're right, of course. I guess I'm just nervous. I've never been to Los Pegasus before, and it's so far away. I don't want you to be worried."

Mayor Mare put her hoof on Twilight's shoulder. "Don't worry, my dear, we'll be fine. You enjoy yourself! Bring me back a celebrity!"

They both laughed.

Meanwhile, Applejack was giving Applebloom a hug. "Ya be good now, Applebloom. Don't let me hear about ya doin' some kinda crazy shenanigans while we're gone." Applejack patted her on the head.

"Yeah, you be good, squirt" Rainbow Dash added, and was surprised for a moment when Applebloom grabbed her by the foreleg and gave her a hug.

"I will, Rainbow Dash. Ya take good care o' mah sis, ya hear?"

Dash blushed and leaned down to face Applebloom. "You have my word, squirt." They hugged each other tightly.

"That goes double for me", Granny said, standing next to them, "ya with me on that, Big Mac?"

The large, red farm pony chewed on his stalk of wheat for a moment, blinking his eyes slowly and deliberately, and with a great ponderous turn, looked at Dash before replying. "Eeyup".

They laughed at that, and gave one another a group hug.

At that moment, the train's whistle sounded loudly across the platform, and the conductor could be heard above the din. "NOW DEPARTING! THE FRIENDSHIP EXPRESS BOUND FOR LOS PEGASUS! ALL ABOARD!"

The excited ponies gave a final farewell to their friends and family, with Rarity giving Sweetie Belle a quick kiss on the muzzle as they bolted for the train.

"We'll see everypony soon! Thanks for the sendoff!" Twilight shouted, looking back as they stepped onto the train. A moment later, they waved from the windows as the train's mighty steam engine powered itself up, and the giant wheels began rolling forward. They were on their way.

This was going to be a great vacation!

-(/)*(\)-

They had been underway for about nine hours. The sun had began to set on the horizon, casting a golden hue across the countryside. Applejack shifted her foreleg as she gazed out the window, humbled by the amazing beauty of Celestia's kingdom.

"Hey, mind if I join you?" she heard that familiar coltish voice behind her.

"Sure, Rainbow, git yourself comfortable." She scooted over on the wide, flat couch.

A moment later, a cyan body and rainbow colored mane lay draped across her chest.

"Ya can't see the countryside if ya lay that way." Applejack said, glancing down at the pegasus.

"Hey, I can see all the country side I want to see right where I am." Rainbow Dash licked Applejack's flank for emphasis.

Applejack chuckled. "You're a fancy talker, Rainbow."

They lay in silence for a while that way, with Applejack's hoof on Rainbow's back. She rubbed it gently, feeling the soft fur bristle up and down from the motion. Light snores came from her lap, and she couldn't help but smile, as she continued watching the landscape slowly change from lush, fertile crops to a more arid, dry plain.

She knew they were about to pass Appleloosa, and for a moment she let her mind wander to her cousin Braeburn. Her thoughts about family turned to Rainbow Dash's family in Los Pegasus. This would be the first time Rainbow would see them since she left home, back when she was a filly. She wondered how they would react to one another, how they would react to, well, her. Applejack knew that not everypony was as open minded as many of the citizens of Ponyville, or the Princesses, for that matter. Some ponies didn't like that sort of thing.

After a moment, she cleared the doubt from her thoughts. They were going to meet her sister and her parents. Whatever happened, she knew that Rainbow Dash would be right there beside her, holding her hoof and standing with her regardless of the outcome.

She leaned her head down and kissed the sleeping mare on her forehead, a warmth flowing through her chest, as she turned her gaze back toward the setting Sun and it's promise of new and exciting adventure, for her and her friends, in Los Pegasus.

-(/)*(\)-