• Published 23rd Nov 2022
  • 112 Views, 4 Comments

Applerock Rhythm - dr-soviet



After struggling with the family business, Applejack becomes the biggest rockstar in Equestria.

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 4
 112

Viva Las Pegasus

"My, I do wonder what kind of performance Coloratura will do on stage this time," Rarity said as the air balloon soared through orange clouds.

The cool gradient of a late afternoon sky hung over the six ponies and they didn't know if evening Las Pegasus could match a view like it. A warm, cozy expanse stretched forward to the horizon, snuggled by velvet and dark blue colors with tiny twinkling pinpricks scattered around.

"I've been keeping track of her discography as of late," Twilight said, her mane rippling with high-altitude winds. "She's been shifting from alternative pop to pop-rock and it's selling really well. Critical reception is stellar, too."

Applejack heard none of them. She was on the floor leaning against the wall with a hat covering most of her face. But she couldn't sleep. She worried if the ponies she hired a while ago screwed up the apple delivery to Las Pegasus. Of course she couldn't hire reliable, renowned services to do the job, not with those great costs. She had to go cheap.

"Applejack?" Pinkie's voice rang out. "Are you okay? Seems like some pony didn't drink their coffee today."

"Mmm..." Applejack mumbled. "I drank two."

Rainbow Dash heard the conversation and flew from the sky to the gondola. "Two cups? Pfft! Rookie numbers, AJ!"

Applejack shifted and adjusted her hat. "Two barrels", she could barely say, but everyone heard.

"Woah. AJ, those aren't rookie numbers anymore. Those are overkill... numbers."

"It's still two, so technically they're the same numbers!" Pinkie said.

"Applejack, if you're too exhausted, maybe you could book a hotel when we get to Las Pegasus," Fluttershy suggested.

"Ngh, I can't!" Applejack said and stood up. Bad idea, but Rarity saved her from collapsing on the floor again. "I have to... sell some apples, you see?" she said, balanced again but barely.

"We can sell some apples," Twilight said. "You just rest while we---"

"No... Not gonna happen. Big Mac and Apple Bloom are already there ready to sell some with me. I ain't gonna give y'all the burden of sellin' my apples. That's too much..."

"I know a certain thing that's also 'too much', darling. The girls and I can handle it! We can't bear to see you overworking yourself like this!"

"Thank ya kindly, Rarity. And all of ya. But I just can't let any of you do that." Applejack stood firm. "This is the grand opening of the Equestrian Hotel! And Rara will be singin', too. Y'all should enjoy the show and worry about me none."

Applejack blinked a bit of exhaustion away. "Besides... Zecora gave me a lil' somethin' to put the pep back in my step for a little while. Oh! And would you look at that."

Six ponies awed at as the clouds depart like stage curtains to reveal a floating city during a beautiful sunset. A picturesque sun the color of molten iron aligned perfectly with the main avenue, and the skyline silhouettes on both side framed it like a sky altar. A pair of tired green eyes reflected the view. It was almost a consolation for everything.

The air balloon landed on a platform and the valets tied it down with a rope. Twilight put out the flames as they exited the gondola, though Rainbow Dash was already hovering outside. Applejack was the last one to exit, trudging along slower than her friends in a vain attempt to conserve energy.

They walked the streets filled with tourists and residents alike and stopped at the gate to the Equestrian hotel. The building was the largest structure in Las Pegasus and built like a tall, rectangular prism curving inwards. Grass fields surround the building like a flattened, floating Sweet Apple Acres. It glowed with luxury. A sign the size of a barn was erected on the large terrace near the entrance, and it said some interesting things.

Malcolt McSaddle presents
COUNTESS COLORATURA
and the Royal Fillyharmonic Orchestra

Applejack smiled at the thought of her childhood friend. Apparently Rara signed a contract to perform at the Equestrian Hotel for its publicity and recognition, and this time Svengallop wasn't pulling the strings.

They met Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom near the big glass doors of the hotel.

"Sis, you're here!" Apple Bloom hugged Applejack. "You look like you should get some rest."

"For the last time, Apple Bloom, we ha-"

"That's why you shouldn't worry! Some rich guy bought a bulk of our cider and we had a lotta success selling them fritters. It's been a good day! Ain't that right, Big Mac?"

"Eeyup."

"See?"

Applejack sighed in relief. "Oh thank the heavens. That's good news."

"And since the market avenue was closed we're gonna have to sell inside."

"Now hold on." Applejack shook her head. "Do we even have the proper authorization to do that?"

"Yep! From Filly Ruffin herself! She's like, the owner of the darn hotel!" Apple Bloom beamed, but then frowned. "But we have to wear hotel clothes. They're like these red uniforms. I don't like wearin' them."

"Eee-Nope."

"So you don't have to sell with us! Let us handle it for the night and you just rest up with-"

Applejack was becoming frustrated. "Okay, hold on just a minute! I ain't gonna waste a precious opportunity to help the farm!"

"But like I said, we did really well today! I'm sure we can cut you some slack!" Apple Bloom said. "I don't want to see my sister like this!"

Applejack bit her lip. All the walking she'd done, she forgot how much her hooves hurt. But Apple Bloom's words reminded her that indeed she was hurting, and she needed to sit down.

Sweet Apple Acres endured a steady decline of sales for the past few years, and every year's end Applejack would scrutinize every financial detail that might spell out a reason why. But she couldn't find out. It seemed like every way she tried to fix the farm something else pops out that derails a good day's work. The barn roof needs fixing. The plow needs replacing. An acre's worth of land needs attention and debts need paying. Eventually it all piled up and the usual schedule for Applejack needed changing. She needed to work twice, thrice as hard to cover the costs that seemed impossible to overcome.

"Applejack, please relax with us for a while. We really miss your company." Fluttershy put a hoof over her shoulder.

Applejack frowned and drew out a weak, relieved breath.

"Okay then, " she said. "I guess I need that. Business won't be good if somepony's runnin' it like a zombie, right?"


The evening was a grand event. There were dozens of round tables, each covered in pristine table cloth and readied up for ten guests. The tables nearest to the stage were long and rectangular like dinner tables, ensuring ponies a good view of the performance and a place to eat while watching it. Applejack seats were at one of those. Blossoms of jasmine, roses, and daisies were organized into tall centerpieces, filling the air with scented delight as ponies begin to sit down and prepare for the show.

Usually posh snobs from Canterlot filled events like these like a swarm of bees but tonight was different. The guests came from diverse places. Saddle Arabia, Cloudsdale, Manehattan, Hoofington. Crystal Ponies too. It seemed like Rara's reach was enormous and if she could bring in ponies from all over Equestria, then Filly Ruffin picked the right mare.

"Ugh, I need to eat," Rainbow complained. "Where's the food? I'm starving!""

"Food's not coming until after the show, darling," Rarity said. "Don't worry, with Countess Coloratura on stage, you'll forget your cravings!"

"I doubt that."

The lights began to dim. Applejack saw Big Mac and Apple Bloom amidst the crowds of ponies and tables. They refilled ciders, offered apple fritters, and ponies seemed to give their bits with no hesitation. They donned bright red formal coats and boater hats with little crimson accents as hat bands. A bowtie each hung from their neck as well as an open box containing the apple goods. A tinge of guilt hit Applejack. She should be with them wearing those campy clothes and she thought it was unfair.

Knowing how hotels and other properties like these work, the owners of the hotel would be getting a small cut if they let third-party ponies sell in their estate but it was better than nothing. After the place gets it popularity, executives would hire well-known distributors and companies to replace temporary sellers anyway.

She shook her head. Until the show ends she needed to stop and smell the roses. Of course she'll worry about the farm but that was for later. Now would be the time to lick wounds and recharge batteries, just as her friends advised.

A faint memory sparked in her mind. She sifted through her saddlebag and looked for Zecora's potion. She pulled out a red one, but she saw another potion under it.

Which one was she supposed to drink?

Sleepiness tend to make ponies forget. Maybe Zecora gave her two potions? That was probably the case. Shrugging, Applejack drank both of them in a few chugs.

A sense of freshness washed over her. Her eyelids weren't as heavy anymore. In fact, she felt them moving in some sort of rhythm.

"Ya know, Rara sent a letter to me a few months back." Applejack joined the conversation. "Said she was 'branching out' to the other genres after all that Svengallop business in Ponyville. She has more freedom now."

"Oooh, I hope she plays the accordion! It's about time for some of that Colorapolka!" Pinkie said.

"Polka? Heh, I'd like to see that. I dunno if her fans are gonna get used to it, but hey, they should give her the opportunity to try... to try... um..."

Her head pulsed like drums striking a playful, upbeat tempo.

"To try a-new a-things!" Applejack blurted. She quickly closed her mouth. "Sorry."

Twilight raised an eyebrow and put a concerned hoof over Applejack's back. "Are you okay, Applejack?"

Her vision twirled like a tumultuous sea as a massive, burning headache formed in her head. The sudden urge to belt out high notes made her throat dance.

Sweet Celestia. It was as if every hoof step in the building rang out in her head and arranged like some sort of song. A phantom cadence in the back of her mind. She whirled her head around frantically. The waiters set a plate on the table, followed by a laugh from a pony on the other side of the room then the clinking of glasses from another spot and she heard in them a song!

"Your ears are twitching," Fluttershy said.

Applejack covered her ears. "I'm fine! I'm fine! Um, please excuse me for a bit."

Applejack stood up and rushed to the bathroom. She squeezed through the crowds as nausea curled her vision in a rather doozy manner. Was she going crazy? Everything throbbed like music and her throat itched her to coax a song with the omnipresent beat. She heard them everywhere!

And it wasn't like she was imagining them. All the sounds were real but her brain organized them like a conductor conducting an orchestra. What did I drink, Zecora?

Thud!

"Hey, watch where you're going!" A stallion exclaimed.

"I'm a-sooOOorry!" Applejack sang. "Umm is it too late now to say sorry?"

The stranger looked at her incredulously. "What in the..."

Applejack dashed past him, heat rising up her cheeks. She had to go to the bathroom fast and take a good look of what's happening to her. And maybe find a way to fix it!

"Sorry ma'am," a hotel employee said, stopping her in front of a locked bathroom door. "It's under construction. Use the one in the backstage."

Applejack groaned and galloped to the backstage. She burst through the door, slid across the bathroom floor, and looked at herself. The mirror reflected a pony that seemed too normal compared to what she was feeling. Applejack half-expected a crazy witch-like version of herself in the verge of irreversible insanity but that wasn't the case! She was still beautiful.

In fact, she thought she was more beautiful than before. But how could that be? Her facial structure didn't change one bit.

Back in her table, the other five ponies wondered where Applejack had gone, or what kind of silly mushroom she had accidentally consumed in the Everfree forest. Twilight immediately dismissed that imaginative idea of Pinkie's.

The pony in question stayed idle in the bathroom for about five minutes before the sensory overload of musical factors seemed to calm down. Upon further thought Applejack realized it didn't go away; she had merely adapted to it. Splashing water onto her face, she exited the bathroom and headed for her table. She had to explain everything to her friends.

But before she could leave the backstage she overheard two ponies.

"...Coloratura still not here? Did she forget about the whole darn thing!?" came a booming voice.

"N-no! Of course not Captain McSaddle! She has been looking forward to performing tonight, that's all she could talk about all day! Something must have happened with her ride!"

"Svengallop, there is an audience waiting!"

"I know, I know!"

"I talked with Mrs. Ruffin. If Coloratura's still not here after 20 minutes, the hotel executives will be bringing in the after show performance and end the event early. The guests are getting impatient, and frankly, I am getting impatient too! Especially for a pop star who I don't know will even be coming here tonight!"

Applejack froze as the realization set. If Coloratura wasn't coming...

Then Big Mac and Apple Bloom couldn't sell anymore apple fritters. Dozens and dozens of potential customers from different walks of life all in one place... a chance to breakeven for all the costs for the past week. A chance for a more secure life.

The show must go on.

Under the influence of a mysterious potion, Applejack steeled herself for what was about to happen. Then and there the story had fallen out just as a musician writes notes in a music sheet.

"I'll do it!" Applejack said, approaching Svengallop and Malcolt McSaddle. The pain in her hooves had disappeared, she realized, and was replaced by an exuberant rhythm.

"If Rara ain't comin' for another half an hour, then I'll perform! I'll sing until she comes!"