• Published 9th Sep 2012
  • 13,504 Views, 619 Comments

Flipside - Bed Head

A retelling of the first two episodes in an Alt. Universe. Spike is the pony, Twilight the dragon.

  • ...

Chapter 4

Chapter Four

Lunchtime was a surprisingly simple affair at Canterlot Castle. Celestia sat at the head of the grand dining table, her meal before her. Much to the head cook's surprise the princess had only requested a simple salad and kettle of tea today.

Anything would have been fine really. This was a day to savor the little things in life. Not even her petty nephew Blueblood was going to get her down.

Even if he had insisted on joining her for lunch. The ivory-white stallion was seated just to her left. Not a single lock of his blond mane was out of place as he poked at the lavish meal he'd ordered for himself.

"Really Aunty, Ponyville?" Blueblood asked for what Celestia had counted as the fiftieth time. "Don't you think this honor would be more fitting for Canterlot?"

Celestia calmly lowered her fork. The haughty prince had been acting like this ever since the location of the festival had been announced.

"Plus you've asked the staff not to assist?" he went on, trying not to sound like he was whining. "Do you not trust them anymore?"

"Of course I do, Blueblood," Celestia answered, looking honestly hurt at the suggestion. "What about the citizens of Ponyville?"

The ivory stallion seemed off-guard as his fork slipped from his telekinesis and back to the plate.

"Excuse me?" he asked.

"Don't they deserve as much trust?" Celestia asked, her rosy eyes focused solely on her nephew. "I've never visited a town or city that failed to impress on the Summer Sun Celebration. I have every confidence that Ponyville will be no different."

Blueblood's mouth opened to reply, but just as swiftly snapped shut. His aunt's love for everypony was well known after all.

"Of course," Celestia continued as she took a sip of tea. "You're more than welcome to come join me. Perhaps you'd be surprised by how fun 'common' ponies can be."

The prince bit his lip at the way Celestia stressed "common". It was clear from the look on his face that he hadn't expected the princess to know of his opinions on that matter.

"I'm... I'm afraid not, Aunty," Blueblood answered, hooves shuffling as she sipped more tea. "The castle staff is still putting in so much work for our own celebration! It would be a shame to let it go to waste."

Celestia just smiled, having heard exactly the answer she'd expected. Insufferable as he could be, Blueblood didn't deserve to be caught up in what was to come.

The only thing left to do was hope that the coming danger felt the same as her nephew. That Ponyville was too small to bother with when she returned...

"I'm certain Cadence will enjoy herself though," Blueblood said, inadvertently stopping Celestia's heart for a moment.

"Excuse me?" she managed to ask, her teacup rattling in her magic.

"Oh dear, I didn't mean to let that slip," he answered with the fakest regret Celestia had ever heard. "She so wanted to surprise you by showing up at the festival tonight. She just wouldn't stop talking about it!"

It was clear from his tone that the prince was taking some meaningless jab at Cadence for all that talking. For a moment Celestia wondered what possessed her niece to confide the plan with him. What quickly took precedence though was what this meant.

Cadence would be there when Nightmare Moon returned.

Royalty were far from the only ponies that needed to eat. At the moment two of the more common ponies and a baby dragon were doing just that. Several other ponies were passing by the open-air cafe, rushing about to prepare for the festival.

Not that this seemed to be noticed by Time Turner or his two guests. The earth pony had a big smile on his face as he pushed aside his empty plate.

"So thanks to the businesses flooding in after the Zap Apples were discovered, Ponyville flourished," he explained as he placed a few bits on the table. "From there, our little village grew into what it is today."

"Fascinating," Twilight breathed, notebook clutched attentively in her claws. "This will be great for the article, right Prose?"

She turned to the unicorn and the smile on her face was quickly wiped out. Spike's notepad and quill hovered in front of his face still, but his eyes had drifted shut. The quill still worked, dutifully recording everything being said thanks to the Come-to-Life spell placed on it.

With Time Turner distracted stacking up their plates for the waitress, Twilight's claw struck out again. Spike woke with a startled yelp, his quill and pad clattering to the table as the spell on them fizzled out. He looked around in confusion, only to cringe as he spotted the glare Twilight was giving him.

"Something wrong?" Timer Turner asked, giving the unicorn a worried look.

"No," Spike lied, trying not to wince from the pain in his flank. "So...uh..."

He quickly flipped through the notes his enchanted quill had taken. His eyes went wide as he saw just how much had been written down.

"This place has quite a history, huh?" he wondered aloud, eliciting a chuckle from the brown pony.

"Indeed," he responded, looking up as a bell tolled in the distance. "Dear me is that the clock tower? Apologies, it seems I prattled on a bit longer than I meant to."

"It's alright," Twilight said before Spike could comment. "It was all really interesting!"

"Oh, oh yeah," Spike agreed, nodding quickly. "Of course if you have time for just a few more questions—"

"I dearly wish I did," Time Turner apologized with a shake of his head. "Unfortunately, duty calls. I need to get back to Town Hall to set up the food arrival..."

He trailed off as he turned around though, before letting out an amused laugh. Spike and Twilight both looked to one another in confusion.

"Something up?" Spike asked.

"Just a bit of serendipity," Time Turner answered, gesturing down the street. "Take a look."

Coming toward the cafe was a pair of earth ponies. One was an orange mare in a large Stetson hat. The second was the one that drew Spike's eye though. A huge, bright red stallion nearly twice the unicorn's size. A hefty yoke hung around his neck, hitched to a large cart that he pulled along with ease.

"Well howdy thar, Time Turner!" the mare said, waving one hoof as the duo walked up. "Rarity said we might find ya here."

"Well you have wonderful timing," the aide responded, turning to Spike. "Ah yes, Mr. Prose, allow me introduce the current proprietors of Sweet Apple Acres. This is Applejack and her older brother Big Macintosh."

"Nice to meet you," Spike said, wondering just why the names sounded familiar.

For the third time that day he found his hoof pulled into an extremely enthusiastic shake.

"Likewise, Prose!" Applejack said as she released the stallion's numb leg. "Any friend o' Time Turner's is a friend o' mine! What brings ya'll to Ponyville today?"

"We're doing a report on the Summer Sun Celebration," Spike answered, attempting to shake some feeling back into his hoof.

"You guys really own Sweet Apple Acres?" Twilight asked. "The same Sweet Apple Acres that Ponyville was founded around?"

"Sure as shootin'," Applejack answered. "The farm's been in our family since Granny Smith was a filly. Ain't that right, Big Mac?"

"Eeyup," the stallion answered with a slow nod of his orange-maned head.

"I actually just finished educating the two of them on the Apple Family's role in our town's founding," Time Turner said proudly.

Spike glanced over his notes again, noticing the pages where that was written down. He quickly closed the notes, but already Twilight was rolling her eyes at the sight. He motioned for her to keep quiet, an act that none of the others seemed to notice.

"Miss Applejack's family is actually providing the food for tonight's party," Time Turner continued, nodding to the mare. "I was just about to head off to meet you to get it all set up."

"Aww, ya ain't got nothin' to worry about," Applejack assured the stallion with a casual wave of her hoof.

"Yeah!" a voice chimed in from the cart Big Mac was pulling. "We already got everythin' unloaded for ya!"

A yellow filly with a large bow in her red mane popped up from the cart. She had a smile on her face as she looked down at the other ponies from her seat.

"Apple Bloom?" Applejack seemed confused as she tilted her head at the filly. "Ah thought you were taking a nap. We've all been working awful hard today after all."

"All the chatterin' woke me up," the little foal said as she climbed out of the cart and slid onto Big Mac's back. "Besides, Ah wanna meet these new ponies too!"

"Um...Apple Bloom?" Time Turner had an anxious look on his face. "Did you say you and your siblings already dropped off the food?"

"Yup," responded the filly, causing the brown stallion to shuffle his hoofs.

"Oh dear, I wanted to get it all arranged perfectly early," he fretted, starting down the street. "I'd better go check on it just to be sure."

"Time Turner hold up!" Applejack called after him, only for him to take off galloping. "Ah swear, that stallion gits himself worked up over the smallest things."

Spike couldn't help it as a chuckle slipped from his muzzle. Applejack turned toward him at the noise as he covered his muzzle.

"So anyway," he tried to cover, magic wrapping around his pad and quill again. "Time Turner said you were in charge of the food, right? Any chance you'd have time for a few words for my article?"

"Well Ah'd be honored," Applejack responded, jerking her head down the street. "But Ah think I'd better catch up with Time Turner and show him everything's alright first."

She gave Big Mac a pat on the shoulder, causing the large stallion to look at her curiously.

"If you only need a few words though, Mac here's your stallion," she said before chasing after Time Turner. "Ah'll be right back!"

The red pony opened his mouth, possibly to protest, but the words didn't come fast enough. Applejack was already out of earshot and Apple Bloom was bouncing on his back.

"Ooh! We're gonna git interviewed for the newspaper?" she cheered, hopping to the ground. "This is gonna be so great, ain't it Big Mac?"

"Er... eeyup," he answered with a slow nod of his head.

A flash of light drew their attention, the both of them blinking away spots. Twilight swiftly lowered her camera as the farm ponies looked at her.

"Oh, sorry!" she apologized. "I thought we might need a picture for the article. I should have asked first."

Big Mac just rubbed one hoof against his front leg. To Spike the giant stallion almost seemed embarrassed, a notion he shook away.

"Come on, no way a big guy like you is afraid of a few photos," Spike encouraged as his spell sparked around his quill, which immediately began to move with a life of its own. "Now then, let's get started! You and your sisters must be really excited about providing food for such a huge event."

"Eeyup," Big Mac answered simply, with another nod of his head.

There was silence for a moment, aside from the quill scratching out the single word answer. Spike heard small hooves clopping on the street as Big Mac just gave him a sheepish smile.

"Okaaay..." he said, raising one eyebrow as he flipped through the notes from Time Turner. "Soo.... according to Time Turner it was actually Princess Celestia that gave the Apple Family rights to settle here—"

He double checked to make sure he'd read that correctly. He suddenly found himself wishing he'd paid more careful attention to the history lesson.

"Right, so any thoughts about that?" he asked, trying to cover his pause. "This seems like it'll be a great chance to show the princess how far your farm has come."

"Eeyup," Big Mac answered again, causing Spike to let out a sigh.

"Can you say anything other than that?" the unicorn asked, trying to suppress his mounting frustration.

"Err..." Mac bit down his lip before answering. "Eeyup?"

There was a clunk as Spike's hoof met his face. He tried very hard not to think about how much he'd been doing that lately.

"Big Mac's a little shy 'round new ponies," Apple Bloom's voice chimed in.

Spike's raised an eyebrow in disbelief as he looked to the red stallion. Big Macintosh scraped one hoof against the ground before nodding in confirmation.

"Right then," Spike said with a frustrated sigh as he put the writing implements back. "Well Applejack said she'd be back soon—"

"Um, Prose?" Twilight's voice suddenly broke in. "A little help?"

The two stallions looked down to see the dragoness backed up against the table. Apple Bloom was pacing around her, orange eyes showing intense focus.

"Apple Bloom," Big Mac said, one massive hoof gently herding his sister to his side. "It's rude to stare."

Spike bit down on his tongue as the subject of his interview finally spoke up.

"Sorry," Apple Bloom apologized before pointing to the purple reptile. "I just never seen a pony like her before."

"That's because I'm not a pony," Twilight explained, crossing her arms. "I'm a dragon."

"A real dragon?" Apple Bloom gasped at the revelation. "A full-blown, jewel-hoardin', fire-breathin' dragon?"

"Uh..." Twilight picked at her claws awkwardly until Apple Bloom's face split into a wide grin.

"Cool!" she cheered, jumping at the dragoness.

Twilight stumbled back, banging against the table as she found herself face-to-face with the filly again.

"Ooh, are thar a lot of you up in Canterlot?" Apple Bloom asked eagerly. "How'd you git to be workin' with Mr. Prose?"

Spike put a hoof over his mouth to keep from chuckling at the sight. His own troubles were suddenly fading in light of the new development. Twilight was actually stunned into silence.

"She this friendly with everypony?" Spike asked the other stallion.

"Eeyup," Big Mac responded, pulling the foal back again. "Apple Bloom, Ah think yer scarin' her."

"You okay Twi?" Spike asked, nudging the dragoness with one hoof.

Twilight just nodded, taking a few deep breaths.

"Dagnabbit!" a voice suddenly exclaimed.

All eight eyes shot down the street, spotting Applejack coming back toward them. The galloped right up to her siblings with an angered gleam in her eyes.

"Come on you two," she said to her siblings. "We've gotta git back to the farm, pronto."

"Wut's wrong?" Big Mac asked.

"Yeah," Apple Bloom joined in. "We got all the food set up!"

"Time Turner says it ain't enough," Applejack explained, giving a frustrated stomp of her hoof. "Said he wanted extra portions of everythin' to make sure thar'd be enough fer the princess. That means we've gotta head on back and git cookin'. Literally."

"Wait!" Spike exclaimed, raising a hoof to stop her. "What about the interview?"

"Ah'm awful sorry, Prose," Applejack apologized. "It's just gonna have to wait fer now. Big Mac, Ah can count on you to make another trip, right?"

"Course yew can," her brother said with a solemn nod before gesturing to Apple Bloom.

"We'll probably have plenty of time to talk at the party," the yellow filly said as she bounded back up into the cart. "Oh hey! Why don't ya'll go talk to Miss Fluttershy in the meantime?"

"Fluttershy?" Twilight asked, relieved that she was no longer pinned by the little pony.

"Good idea, Bloom," Applejack said with a nod. "Fluttershy lives in the cottage at the edge of town. She's handling entertainment fer the party tonight."

"Well that's something at least," Spike admitted, his head still lowering a bit.

"Gotta warn you though," Apple Bloom added. "She's even quieter than Mac here."

Spike could feel his brain imploding trying to wrap itself around the idea. Big Mac himself seemed to blush a little, though it was hard to tell under his coat.

"Sorry Ah wasn't more help," he managed to say to the reporters.

Spike just waved one hoof dismissively. Mac hesitated for a moment, but Applejack let out a shrill whistle.

"Come on," she encouraged. "Time Turner's got us on the clock now."

The farmers started back down the road, leaving Spike and Twilight to watch their retreating, apple-marked flanks. Apple Bloom jumped up from the back of the cart, waving her hoof at the duo.

"See ya'll at the party!" she called out as her siblings raced off.

Spike and Twilight both waved until the three were out of sight. The purple unicorn let out a groan and rubbed at his head with one hoof.

"Great," he grumbled. "That makes strike two for interviews so far."

He looked to his assistant only to find she was rubbing her own head.

"Apple Bloom a little too much for you?" he guessed, trying to suppress a grin.

"It's not funny," Twilight retorted as she clambered onto his back. "That filly has no concept of personal space."

"Aww, come on Twi," Spike said with a chuckle as he started down the road. "Here I was thinking you were finally gonna make a new friend."

"Proooose," Twilight moaned, tugging his mane.

"Well I'm sure you'll see her tonight," he went on as he looked around at the streets. "Now let's see... drat. Applejack didn't say which edge of town, did she?"

Twilight's claw suddenly tapped on his head, pointing down a nearby side street. Spike gave her a confused glance as she just rolled her eyes in response.

"Some of us were paying attention to Time Turner earlier," she explained, crossing her arms. "Seriously, that's supposed to be part of a reporter's job."

"That's why I'm glad I have you to cover for me," Spike joked as he started along. "Let's just hope we can get something useful out of this Fluttershy pony."

He took off galloping, Twilight clinging to his back. The sun continued to roll across the afternoon sky. Less than half a day remained in its final trip.