• 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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Speaking Words of Wisdom

CHAPTER FOUR
Speaking Words of Wisdom

In the hour that had passed since they left the coffee shop to retrieve their belongings and head to their new accommodations, the Mane Six had spent time getting familiar with Violet Tempest, Rainbow Dash's sister.

"So that's when Rainbow left for Cloudsdale?", Twilight was asking Violet Tempest, as they disembarked from the taxi carriage.

Violet nodded, a few stray hairs from her bangs getting into her eyes. She blew them out of her face, as she continued. "Yep. Rainbow was always ready to leave home, even as a filly. From what mom and dad tell me, she had always wanted to fly, to be a Wonderbolt. Nothing was going to stop her, so they decided to curb any need for a rebellious estrangement, and paid for her enrollment in the best flyer's academy in Equestria."

The seven ponies, and one dragon, entered the lavish hotel, as the bell hops lagged behind them, carrying dozens of suitcases and hoofbags, each one of them marked by a large and fancy 'R' on the facing.

As they reached the desk, Twilight noted the snooty clerk pony they encountered last time was nowhere in sight. Thank Celestia for small favors, she thought to herself. In his stead was what appeared to be a polite young mare, perhaps in her early 20s. She wore a small smile, and looked up at them with bright blue eyes, her golden mane falling over her light brown shoulders.

"Can I help you?" she asked the group of ponies across the counter.

"Hello Miss..." Twilight began, taking a moment to look at the young mare's nametag before smoothly inserting it into her greeting. "Treble Clef. My name is Twilight Sparkle, and these are my friends. We have reservations for this hotel, courtesy of Princess Celestia."

She took a deep breath, hoping there would be no more confrontations. Her fears were allayed a moment later.

"Of course, Miss Sparkle. We've been anticipating your arrival. We have your room prepared. This is your key card for the Penthouse floor", she said as she handed Twilight the room card, a slight smile on her face as she did so. "If you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask. You may follow the bell hops to your rooms. If there is nothing else, then I shall let you attend to your business. I would also like to thank you for staying at the Ritz-Colton hotel. Have a pleasant evening."

Twilight smiled. "Thank you, Miss Treble Clef. I'm sure we will have a nice stay."

The polite young clerk pony smiled, nodded her head, and walked away from the counter to see to a stallion standing by the mail desk.

Twilight turned to face her friends. She clopped her hooves together as she grinned broadly, her eyes crinkling. "Well, everypony, let's go find our room! It shouldn't be too difficult since it's at the very top of the hotel, and we get the whole floor!"

A chorus of cheers was the only thing to break the calm, staid atmosphere of the posh hotel's lobby, as the colorful group of friends followed the service ponies to the large silver and brass elevator waiting for their arrival.

<(/)*(\)>

Violet couldn't help but stare in awe as they boarded the fancy elevator. Her parents weren't poor by any means, but she had never seen opulence like this. Everything appeared to go out of it's way to look ostentatious, to be a pretentious overture of high society and frivolity. She turned toward her sister.

"Hey Dash, is this how you live all the time?!" she asked, incredulity in her voice.

Rainbow Dash laughed and slapped her on the shoulder. "Nah, kiddo. Twilight here's just good friends with the Princess."

Applejack broke into the conversation. "Not just any ol' friend, but her mentor! Twilight's th' Princess's prize pupil!", she said, raising her eyebrows and tipping her hat up for a moment before bringing it back down over her forehead.

Violet smiled. "I like the way you talk, Applejack. Your accent's really cool."

Applejack frowned and pursed her lips. "Ah ain't got no accent."

All she heard in response to that statement were giggles from the mares (and dragon) around her in the elevator. Before she got a chance to respond, though, the lift stopped. The bell hop placed a key card into the slot underneath the number pad, and a few moments later the doors opened, chiming softly as they did.

The lift's passengers stepped out into the entryway of the penthouse.

Nopony had a word to say as they all took in the sheer experience of what they were seeing. The desk clerk hadn't been exaggerating when she told them their room had been prepared for their arrival. Everything had been made ready for each one of them. The penthouse at the Ritz-Colton was enormous, and was made in a modular design that allowed for easy configuration depending upon the size of the party staying on that floor. In this case, the penthouse had been divided into individual rooms, with a large gathering area in the center. Inside that gathering area was an indoor fire pit, lined with soft cushions.

One of the bell hops coughed, and motioned to them as he took their luggage to their individual bedrooms. Following along, they noted each bedroom had the same layout. A large, Queen size bed, covered in soft blankets made of silken cloud. Clothes dressers, made out of a beautiful teak wood from the northern provinces of Equestria. They passed by a bathroom, and Twilight saw marble floors, golden wall tiles, and a large whirlpool bathtub.

The bell hop noticed her interest and replied to her unspoken question. "There are 3 such bathrooms on this floor, Miss Sparkle. I hope you find them to your liking."

Twilight smiled and nodded. "Oh, they're beautiful! I'm sure they will be more than sufficient for our needs." She looked over to Rarity, who was enthralled by the crystal chandelier above her own bed, and coughed. "I think even the most discriminating pony would find this suite to be satisfactory." At this she winked at the bell hop, a touch of humor in her voice.

The bell hop returned her wink, followed up by his own smile, as he lead Twilight into her bedroom, placing her saddlebags on the bed and stepping out of the room as she followed.

"Well, then, Miss Sparkle, and honored guests", he addressed the group as he and the other bell hops lined up by the elevator, "if there is anything else you need, do not hesitate to call for us. There is an enchanted message pad on the writing desk next to the sitting area. All you need to do is jot down your request, and it is instantly transferred to our customer service department, where the request will be served."

"Thank you for your hospitality, sir, we're overwhelmed by it, if I may say so. If we need anything, we'll be certain to let you know!", Twilight replied.

He stepped inside the elevator with the other service ponies. "Well, then, on that happy note, I leave you with my warmest well wishes, fondest regards, and I thank you, kindly. Speaking for myself, and my fellow service ponies, I hope you enjoy stay at the Ritz-Colton." With that, he smiled, tipped his hat, and bowed. The other service ponies followed suit as the elevator doors closed, leaving the group of mares (and a dragon) free to enjoy their well appointed surroundings.

Spike was the first to speak up. "So, who wants to toast marshmallows?!"

<(/)*(\)>

Applejack emerged from the bathroom feeling refreshed. She had cleaned herself, brushed her hair, and now, having put her hat back on her head all good and proper, she felt like a brand new, shiny bit. Trotting back into her bedroom, she noticed her saddlebags were missing. A frown formerd on the orange earth pony's face. "Who in tarnation would take a pony's saddlebags?" she thought to herself before her mind jumped to a conclusion. There was only one pony who would do so. Well, okay, two, actually, but only one of them would do it to her in this fashion.

She stomped out of the room, and headed to the bedroom across the hallway. "Rainbow Dash! Ah know you got mah belongins' and ah'm coming ta get 'em!" She pushed aside the halfway closed door, charging into the room. Looking around, she saw her saddlebags on the floor next to Rainbow's. What really got her attention, though, was the look on the face of the filly who had just dropped them in place.

Violet Tempest had a look of fear on her face as she met the eyes of her sister's marefriend, and then lowered them quickly, her forelegs trembling.

"Violet!", Applejack began, then lowered her voice as not to frighten away the young pony. "What in the name o' sweet gala are ya doin' with mah saddlebags?"

Violet Tempest opened her mouth to speak, but found that she couldn't.

Applejack noticed this, her face softening into a look of concern. She slowly stepped over next to the filly and looked her square in the eyes. "What's the matter, darlin'? If'n ya got a good reason, ah ain't gonna be upset. Even if'n yer reason isn't sah good, at least tell me." She placed her hoof on Violet's shoulder.

The fear on Violet's face was replaced with an expression of trepidation. "I didn't mean to make you angry", she began, licking her lips before continuing, "I just saw the bell hops had placed your luggage in a separate room. I figured if you and my sister were in a relationship, you'd want to be together. Please don't get upset with me, Applejack, I didn't mean to interfere. I'll understand if you're angry for me meddling in your business, but..."

She was cutoff as Applejack's forehoof came to rest under Violet's chin. Tears were in AJ's eyes as she spoke. "Ya just have ta be the most kind an' understandin' pony there is. Ah don't think ah've ever seen anypony wantin' ta see her sister sah happy. Ya really do love yer sister, don'tcha, Violet?"

Violet nodded in earnest. "She's my whole world, Applejack. When she was away, all I could think about was my awesome, brave, loyal sister, who was going to make something of herself. In the few times I had the chance to see her, when she would visit for a few days, she always took the time to tell me everything she had done and seen. She told me I could be a great pegasus flyer just like her, someday! That I could make something of myself, and do great things. I just want to be like her, and when I found out that she had found you, I knew that if you made her happy, then you were just as important to me." She coughed lightly as she finished, the sudden emotion overwhelming her for a moment.

Applejack's tears began to flow freely as she embraced the younger filly. Together they cried in each other's forelegs, and so involved were they in this bonding, they didn't notice the spectral maned cyan pegasus standing in the door, a tear drop making it's way down her cheek. Looking around to make sure nopony else was watching, she flitted over to the pair, and quickly grabbed them in a bear hug, lifting them off the floor and landing with them on the bed, as they started, and then laughed in surprise.

"What did I tell ya, AJ? Best little sister in all of Equestria!" Dash crowed as the three ponies separated, and positioned themselves on the side of the bed. Rainbow Dash mussed her younger sister's mane as she turned to face them.

After a moment, Violet cleared her throat. "Rainbow", she began, a hint of nervousness creeping into her voice, "can I tell you something? Something I haven't even told mom and dad?"

Dash looked up at Applejack, who returned her glance with an unsure expression, her eyes telling nothing. They both looked down at Violet as she drew circles in the blanket with her hoof. She began speaking again. "Remember when you told me I could, you know, be a great flyer like you someday?"

Dash grinned and nodded her head. "Yeah! I told you that if you really wanted something, you had to chase after it. You had to have the guts to get it yourself, and I know you've got the guts, kiddo!", she said, giving Violet a light punch in the shoulder.

"Oof!" Violet wheezed jokingly, rubbing her shoulder as she sat back up straight on the bed. "Well", she continued, "I wanted you to be the first to know. I'm..." She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath, "I've got a tryout for the Wonderbolts in two days, and I want you to be there."

She closed her eyes, unsure of what to expect. After a moment of silence, she opened one eye and saw her older sister's mouth agape, eyes wide. It registered only a moment as Dash leaped forward and grabbed Violet in a tight hug.

"Aw yeah!", Dash crowed, "that's my little sister! Violet Gale Tempest, trying out for the Wonderbolts!"

Violet's face began turning the color of her name as she started pulling at Dash's strong forelegs. "Air!" she wheezed out before Dash let go.

"Heh, sorry, kiddo", Dash said, blushing fiercely.

"No problem", Violet said between coughs, as Applejack patted her on the back to help get her lungs going again. "That there's great news!", the orange pony said as she thumped Violet's back.

Between Dash's hugs and Applejack's ministrations, Violet was surprised she was still conscious. Still, she wouldn't have had it any other way.

"That really is awesome, Vi", Dash spoke while standing up and stretching her wings. After a few more stretches, she turned and faced her two companions. "Now", she said, "who wants to go see mom and dad?"


<(/)*(\)>


Half an hour later, the city bus had stopped on the corner of a quiet suburb washed in the hues of the evening Sun. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Violet stepped off, with Violet taking the lead. "Follow me. The house is this way", she said, turning back to her two friends. One of them near and dear, the other new, but already as close. "Mom and dad have been making improvements. It doesn't look much like the house you saw when you left, Dash."

Applejack looked at her marefriend. "Aw, and ah was hopin' tah see Rainbow's room, what with all th' frou frou dresses an' stuffed animals", her voice taking on a cuddly tone, as she teased Dash, a smirk playing out on her muzzle.
Violet couldn't help but giggle as Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. "Hey, Applesnack, I'm not the one who has a brother that walks around carrying a Miss Smartypants doll."

"Rainbow if ya ever tell anyone ah'll show you what this lasso can do!"

"Oh yeah, you'd have to catch me first, Applestack, and if I recall correctly, I'm the champion of the Iron Pony competition."

"Only after ya cheated, or don't ya remember?!"

"Heh! All I remember is being awesome and beating the hay out of you every single time!"

"That contest tweren't fair, and you know it, Rainbow!"

"Didn't seem that way to me!"

"Well, that's all cause ya'-"

Applejack was cut off as Violet turned and raised a forehoof. "I'm sorry to interrupt you two, because this is just too good, but you're going to have to be quiet as we walk up to the door. We don't want to give mom and dad the wrong impression!"

Applejack nodded. "Ah'm sorry 'bout that, Violet"

Rainbow Dash coughed lightly and flipped the hair from her mane out of her eyes. "Yeah, sorry, kiddo. Me and Applejack get a little... heated... sometimes."

Violet waved her hoof. "Oh, it's no big deal. I figure anypony who would be with you has to be just as stubborn." She giggled as she looked at their flat, half lidded expressions. "You two are perfect for each other", she added, holding in an errant snicker.

"By the way, kiddo", Dash began, her voice low, "about me and Applejack. Don't say anything to mom or dad until we tell them. To be honest, I don't know how they'll take it."

Violet nodded soberly. "You have my word, Dash. Though I have to say, the sooner you tell them, the easier it will be to take their reactions."

They approached the house, and trotted up to the porch as Violet grabbed her key from her mane, and turned to her sister and her marefriend. "Don't worry. No matter what happens, I've got your backs." With that, she turned toward the door, and stepped inside, beckoning the other two. "Mom! Dad!" she called out, "I'm home, and you'll never guess who's with me!"

<(/)*(\)>

"Oh my goodness! Rainbow, it really is you! Come over here and give me a hug!" said the voice from the table, as they entered the dining room.

Rainbow Dash blushed and rolled her eyes as an older mare, her coat sky blue and her mane a shock of orange and red as it fell down over her shoulders and highlighted her bespectacled face, stood and embraced her oldest daughter. "It's been so long since we've seen you! First we heard you were visiting, but we know how busy you get and how often you have to cancel your plans. How long has it been? It must be 3 or 4 years since we last saw you!"

Rainbow Dash's mother let go of her daughter, and called into the family room, "Dusk! Our oldest has decided to come home to the roost and bless her parents with a visit! Don't be rude!"

A few moments later, an older stallion stepped into the dining room. His green coat and silver mane rather unkempt, as he placed a screwdriver on the table. Looking toward his wife, his face lit up as he saw who was standing there next to her.

"Rainbow! Oh, my sweet daughter! You actually showed up! Come here and give this old stallion a hug!"

As Dash and her father embraced, Applejack stepped back a few steps inside the doorway, trying to keep herself out of the spotlight so her marefriend could have a family moment. To AJ, nothing was more important than family, and she figured this one had a lot of catching up to do. Before she could go any further, however, Dash's mother glanced in her direction and beckoned for her to come forward.

"Rainbow, you haven't introduced us to your friend!" she said, as Applejack approached the other ponies standing in the dining room.

Rainbow turned her head and smiled at Applejack and looked back to her parents.

"Mom, dad", she began, "this is my best friend in all of Equestria, Applejack. She's visiting with a group of our friends who live in Ponyville. She and her family run a huge apple orchard called Sweet Apple Acres."

Applejack, noting Rainbow's conservative use of their relationship but brushing it aside, nodded to them both, tipping her hat and smiling politely. "Howdy! It's nice ta meet ya'll!"

Dash placed a hoof on the shoulder of the older mare as she turned to her marefriend, "Applejack", she said, "this is my mom, Sunset Wind. She's an Administrator for the Los Pegasus weather patrol."

She dropped her hoof, and sidled up next to the stallion standing by her mother, and patted him on the back. "This is my dad, Dusk Thunder. He's the Chief Engineer for the Los Pegasus department of power and water."

Rainbow Dash stepped away from her father and grabbed the younger filly sitting at the table, and ruffled her mane, grabbing her into a bear hug. "You already know my awesome sister, Violet", she said, her voice straining as her young sister happily fought Dash's grip.

After a moment of struggling, and a quick yelp of "Uncle!", Dash let go of her giggling sister, and stepped back over by Applejack. Her eyes shone proudly. It was clear how much she loved them, and how proud she was to be their daughter.

After a moment to allow the introductions to sink in, Sunset Wind spoke up. "Well, Rainbow, Miss Applejack, why don't you both stay for dinner? We can catch up on family gossip, and you both look like you could use a good meal!"
Rainbow Dash grinned and placed her foreleg on Applejack's shoulder. "That sounds like an awesome plan to me, how about you, AJ?"

Applejack smiled her half smile, and bopped Rainbow Dash on the head. "Ah'm willin' if you all are! Ah thank ya fer invitin' me ta supper!"

Dusk Thunder spoke up, "You know, Applejack, I have to say, I just love your accent. It's so rustic!"

Applejack looked at Rainbow's father with mild surprise. "What accent?"

Violet Tempest cleared her throat. "Well, then", she said, "I guess I can show our guests around until dinner. I want to show them my room, anyway, so they can see the latest trophy I've won from school!"

"That sounds like a fine idea, just don't talk their ears off, Violet. I know how you can be when you get on a subject you like!", her mother admonished.

"I won't!", she said, an exasperated sigh escaping her lips. She perked up and called behind her, "Come on, Dashie, Applejack. I'll show you the coolest room in the whole house! This way!", her voice becoming muffled as she rounded a corner and bounded up the stairs.


<(/)*(\)>


"This is pretty cool, kiddo! A first prize trophy for spelling! I knew you had it in ya!" Rainbow Dash said as she sat the small trophy back in it's cubby hold on her sister's shelf. "Then again, anyone who has a room like this has to be the smartest filly in Equestria!"

Violet's room was a virtual shrine to her heroes, the Wonderbolts. The walls were plastered with posters, calendars, photos, and newspaper clippings showcasing the exploits of Equestria's premier stunt flying team.

Violet, for her part, was beaming from ear to ear as she sat on her bed, watching her older sister take in the whole room. "Thanks, Dashie! I am really proud of it. I beat out Norbert Whitegrass, and he's the biggest egghead in school! Shoot, after we were getting in the carriage to go home, we saw him running to the library. He looked frazzled."

"Sounds like somepony we know", Rainbow Dash quipped, glancing sidelong at Applejack.

Violet stared at the both of them for a second, and her face lit up. "Oh, you mean that really nice purple unicorn I saw at the coffee shop! What's her name? Twilight, uh, Spackle?"

Applejack and Rainbow Dash burst into a fit of laughter as Violet merely raised an eyebrow, waiting patiently for them to calm down so she could find out what was supposed to be so funny.

"Twilight Spackle!" Rainbow Dash wheezed out between guffaws, her body rolling on the floor as she clutched her sides with her forelegs, her back hooves kicking into the air.

"Ah ain't heard nothin' sah funny in sah long. Ah don't think ah'll be able ta face Twilight again!" Applejack spoke, words coming between the deep breaths that had followed the gales of laughter.

Violet threw a pillow at the pair in good natured annoyance. A few moments later, they had managed to collect themselves.

"It's Twilight Sparkle, Violet", Dash said finally, as she flicked a stray tear away from her eye. She coughed, and cleared her throat before continuing. "Anyway, yeah, Twilight's an egghead, maybe the biggest egghead in all of Equestria. There's almost nothing she doesn't know", she finished.

Violet's eyebrows raised as she smiled, "Really? She seemed so nice! Nothing like Norbert Whitegrass. I thought eggheads didn't like to be around other ponies."

Applejack smiled and sat on the bed next to Violet. "That's because Twilight learned a great lesson on friendship. She learned that friends an' family was just as important as books and knowledge, an' one can't live without the other around."

Dash sat down on the bed, next to Applejack, and took her hoof in her own. "I learned a really cool lesson about friendship, too."

Applejack blushed.

Violet d'awwed, and leaned forward, taking the two mares into an embrace. "You two are so adorable together!" She sat back and looked at both of them, a look of concern forming on her face. "I do have a question. Something that's been nagging me a bit since AJ met mom and dad downstairs." She looked at Applejack, and then her older sister. "Dashie, when are you going to tell mom and dad about your relationship with Applejack?"

Rainbow Dash looked up to her marefriend, who gazed back at her, her emerald green eyes showing nothing but trust and faith in her love.

"Tonight", Dash said firmly, her voice unwavering. "We'll tell them tonight."

A moment later, Sunset Wind's voice could be heard calling from downstairs. "Violet, Rainbow Dash, Miss Applejack! Dinner is ready!"

The two mares, and intelligent young filly looked at each other, their faces showing apprehension, but also hope. Together, they stood up from the bed, and made their way to the door, and down the stairs.

<(/)*(\)>