• Published 16th Nov 2012
  • 1,921 Views, 24 Comments

Samurai Applejack - A. Tuesday



After being sent forward in time, Applejack must find a way back to her time to undo Sombra's evil.

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Blazing

Every nerve in her body was telling her to look down, but she couldn’t. She fought waves of panic and closed her eyes the entire time.

The silhouette of a Stetson-wearing pony ran across a thin wire, set across the backdrop of a red sky, seemingly crossing it as if she were a squirrel. Every hoof was completely in front of the other, completely in sync with Applejack’s heavy breathing.

The pony running across this wire had no sense of balance at this point; she actually refused to let herself do anything but move and breathe. Not until the point where she could touch all four hooves on the ground did she let up for a minute. If she thought, she’d realize what she was doing. Then, she’d fall.

Breathe in, breathe out. Never mind the fact that who-knows-what was behind her looking for an easy capture. Never mind the fact that the wire she now ran across was thinner than her own hoof. Never mind the fact that it was somehow three hundred years in the future. Never mind the fact that her friend was still alive. And imprisoned. Never mind that there was nothing you could do to –

The wire jounced beneath Applejack, and the pony flew out apprehensively, throwing her hooves out in front of her to break what was probably going to be a long fall down. She braced herself for impact.

And then, a moment later, hit stone.

AJ remained sprawled out on the rooftop of the building for only a moment longer before opening her eyes and realizing that she had successfully gotten across, somehow. She rolled over on her backside, leaning on her forelegs for support, and saw the high tower of the Crystal Palace eclipsing the setting sun, a black wire that had just served as Applejack’s footpath leading up to it.

The high tower.

Where friend Twilight Sparkle remained imprisoned.

Applejack felt a tightness in her chest, and she put a hoof on her tangerine fur in a futile attempt to slow her deep breathing. Why was Twilight up there, in a crystal prison? And, why hadn’t Applejack been the good friend and stayed with her?

Twilight wanted her to leave.

AJ moaned in sadness. She’d forgotten the exact reason why she had left somewhere in her blind sprint down the wire. It was for the best, right?

As Applejack righted herself up, standing up on all four hooves and brushing herself off with her tail, feeling the weight of the magic sword on her side, she couldn’t help but feel that there was some other reason that she had left her friend…

Like a cue was given, pegasus-shaped silhouettes flew out of the window of the highest room of the place, hovering in one spot collectively outside the windows. They seemed sort of jerky in their motions, not like a pegasus should be flying. At least, not in Applejack’s time. The orange pony squinted at the figures, which seemed to be talking amongst themselves.

As she did, one of them turned to face her. The pegasus-thing stared down at Applejack.

With glowing, red eyes.

That wasn’t a pegasus.

“What the…?”

Applejack barely had time to question what in Celestia’s name that was when its friends turned around with the same red eyes. Just hovering there, menacingly.

“Quick, before the Pegasystems get up here and find you!”

Horseapples.

They darted towards Applejack as she turned and sprinted in the other direction, thanking her lucky stars that she was a decent athlete as the city opened up before her.

* * *

Two minutes into the chase, the buzzing was getting louder, and Applejack began to realize she was going to have to start getting crafty with her escape.

So far, she had been running in a straight line, dodging and weaving the chimneys and satellites that adorned every rooftop, the reason for their presence there being something Applejack couldn’t fathom. Practice had gotten her stamina up high and she was decent at jumping across the heights of the smaller buildings on this one particularly lengthy block; it was soon coming to an end, however, and the flying robots hadn’t any obstacles at all.

The edge of the uneven buildings was beginning to come up, and the gap looked like something Applejack wouldn’t be able to make, nor did the wire surpassing them be able to hold anything but a pigeon.

It was time to take the plunge into the impoverished streets.

Taking a large gulp as the sound behind her seemed to morph into an actual presence, she pumped her apple-bucking legs into the concrete and vaulted off the building into the market below.

Few ponies noticed the jump at first, until the farmpony crashed into a wooden food cart, and, subsequently, the vendor running it. A resounding “oomph”, followed by the sound of rolling cabbages, and splintering wood, stopped surrounding ponies in the marketplace for a moment.

Realizing she couldn’t miss a beat, Applejack used the poor vendor as a spring bad and pushed off of him, a low grunt coming forth from the tan stallion as she sprinted off.

“My bad, stranger!” Applejack called out to him, glancing back only for a second as the metallic Pegasystems closed in behind her.

The faded crystal ponies of the market place stepped aside, letting the strange pony with a Stetson rush past them, a herd of Pegasystems in chase. While Applejack had no clue what the things behind her were, the townsfolk had a pretty clear idea. Their shouts were heard mixed in with the general chaos amid Applejack’s pursuit.

“Are those Pegasystems?”

“What are they doing out there?”

“Why are they chasing her?”

“Goodness, we have a criminal afoot!”

“Say, isn’t that the Second Spirit?”

Applejack had gotten the gist that Pegasystems were some sort of law enforcement, but as she bobbed and weaved through the crowds of ponies everywhere, the last phrase stuck out in her mind. Second Spirit? Who were they referring to?

Her thoughts drifted to her breathing, which was getting shallower by the second. Despite legs made for working, they couldn’t hold forever. She was going to need to get rid of a few of them.

Up ahead, still weaving through the throngs of ponies, AJ looked around for a small building she could duck into. None seemed striking to her, though; absolutely all of them where either residential or some generic place where the Pegasystems could still get to her. At this rate, it was going to be easier to pick a random building and hope for the best.

“Ah, hell,” Applejack said to herself, “Legs, don’t fail me now.”

The orange figure cut across the crowd, causing many-a basket and items to fall on the concrete ground, and into a small shop, the sign outside advertising a Laundromat. The door swung out behind her, right as the Pegasystems barreled into the shop. Glass fragments flew over tiles as if they were wet.

Applejack, beginning to panic, ignored the searing pain in her flanks and bolted right through the other door, using her head to bang the door open. It, like the glass entrance, was also an easy-swing door; this one, however, led to a small enclosure. All around her, AJ saw nothing but the ugly backsides of slummy apartments; boarded-up windows and black fire escapes galore.

She danced around nervously for a moment before the sound of screaming patrons and the whirring of her pursuers brought her back to the real world. Pick one and go.

Thinking on her hooves, Applejack leapt for a specific black ladder that ran up the length of the building, the banging of a swing door notifying her that she did so just in time. Metallic buzzing filled the space beneath her as AJ increased her climbing rate.

The pony almost made it to the top when cold iron grasped her hoof. A gasp was uttered from the escapee’s throat. Applejack whipped around, clinging to the ladder for dear life as she saw a Pegasystem up close for the first time.

They certainly looked like pegasi, except for the fact that they were very box-like in terms of appendages and overall body structure. A small, carved mane rested on their head, and, where graceful wings should be, barely visible rotors spun at unimaginable speeds, keeping them hovering in the air.

And a metallic claw, shaped like a C, grasped Applejack’s hoof tightly, preventing her from going anywhere it didn’t want her to. She tried to move her leg, but it remained rigid in the robot’s grasp.

The other two Pegasystems moved up slowly from the ground. The laserbeam eye of the first Pegasystem thinned, sensing a strenuous pursuit’s close was within its reach.

Applejack had other plans. Taking in a deep breath and tensing up her foreleg muscles, she gripped the iron ladder fiercely, and, bringing her rear leg off one of the rungs, bucked her captor in its head.

Its entire face caved in with an electronic shriek, the grip on Applejack’s forelegs disappearing as it sparked and whirred erratically, falling out the air on to one of its comrades.

With just a small smirk for compensation, Applejack brought her legs back to the ladder and finished climbing the rest of the ladder, back onto the rooftops where she was only moments ago. She allowed herself one minute pause – just one – and then took off like a bullet across the rooftops of the Crystal Empire again.

* * *

A loudspeaker began to blare, its wail becoming higher and higher in pitch until the climax, where it gradually began to get lower once more. All ponies within the market-place stopped and stared. The Emergency Alert system didn’t go off often.

Applejack, of course, wouldn’t know this – the only thing she knew was that her leg was beginning to hurt. She needed to stop. Stop running across rooftops, stop blazing across the entire empire, just stop. And, not like a “tell herself to stop and then keep running anyway” – a legitimate stop.

The edge of the block was coming closer to her, as she saw dozens of ponies fixated on tall lamp-posts that lined the pavements, watching the loudspeakers that the poles were adorned with blare out the alarm. The tangerine pony could only guess that it was probably her causing such a fracas.

Pain resonated throughout her left foreleg, a small dinging accompanying it and rushing right past her. Applejack gritted her teeth, forcing back the urge to make some unearthly sound. She had stumbled over a satellite in her sprint across the rooftops, which was coming to a fast close.

Going forwards only led to a small townhouse across a crowded street. To her right was a taller building she wouldn’t be able to scale rapidly enough, and to her left was more of the crowded street. AJ wouldn’t be able to leap to any of the tops of the higher buildings. The only safe route out seemed the street, and the farmpony could not run anymore. She briefly thought about turning herself in.

Then, as Applejack kept running forwards, a streak of sunlight glinted off something in front of her – a window pane. Applejack thought to the glass shards in her back, right about the time when she ran out of rooftop.

A couple market-place ponies looked upwards when they saw the small movement. Anypony that did would’ve noticed a pony-shaped silhouette bounding from the rooftops, hooves stretched out, bracing for impact. Two robotic figures were also shadowed against the red sky, in perfect chase with the escapee. Their mouths might’ve opened in awe at the sight, which seemed to pass by in slow motion.

The shattering of glass was barely audible above the din of the alarm, as Applejack crashed through the residential window along with another Pegasystem. The second, however, overshot it a bit – driving itself right into the brickwork above the window.

One of those poor ponies who was looking at the spectacle above might’ve been hit with iron and steel debris, electrified from loose circuiting, an anvil of electrocution to anypony in its awful shadow.

* * *

The rolled-up body of Applejack slid across the polished wooden floor and glass shards, culminating in a crash against a wooden end table. Picture frames and small trinkets fell with various crashes beside AJ’s shaken form, as she uncurled herself from the very same crash. No, flying through windows was not the greatest idea.

She reached out for her Stetson, which she wasn’t able to locate due to extremely bleary eyes. AJ righted herself in the sunlit room, brushing a hoof to push her mane out of her face. When she brought it back down, there were red streaks on it.

There was barely time for a sigh when a large, electrical crash became audible, and the slow-moving silhouette of a Pegasystem entered the room. Its glowing red eyes thinned out, having finally cornered its target. Once and for all.

Applejack stood up shakily, legs bending every which way. Her breath was coming to her in gasps, the wind having been knocked out of her. Blonde hair was matted against a bruised, glass-filled forehead. She didn’t have the energy to fight this thing, and the Pegasystem sensed that. It slowly hovered forwards, arms reaching out in front of it. The claws on the automation clicked, ready for its prey.

An odd weight made itself known to the tangerine pony. She took a glance down to her side and noticed a long, dark form, nestled neatly at her side through use of some belt she had completely forgotten had existed. The sword. The one Twilight had given her.

“It should keep you more than safe from anything, once you know how to wield it properly.”

Applejack knew that she had no conception of the capabilities of the sword at her side, nor did she know the first thing about wielding it, but...

The farmpony planted her hooves out in front of her, keeping them rigid. She was going to be captured anyway – it was worth a shot, wasn’t it?

The unsettling buzzing of the Pegasystem neared. Applejack could almost feel the metal upon her hide. Now or never.

In one quick instant, the pony turned and bit into the hilt of the sword, and, as gracefully as she could, pulled it out of its protective sheath and drew it forwards.

“Gracefully” was a bit of an overstatement.

Applejack pulled the sword out so fast that she quickly lost control of it, the weight of the sword finally becoming apparent as she swung it out in front of her. She opened her mouth in surprise, the glistening blade swinging in a circular motion, just like the rotors on the backs of Pegasystems.

Just like the rotor on the back of the very same Pegasystem that Applejack’s sword sliced right through, in the midst of its flight of chaos.

The bottom half of the robot fell off cleanly, falling to the wooden floor with a clatter.

The top half of the Pegasystem remained motionless, in air, for a few moments. A few more, and the red eye went completely dark. Then the whole thing came down, rotors still spinning, onto the floor. It spun around awkwardly like a misshapen top for half a minute or so before coming to a full stop.

The whole time, Applejack stood there, wide-eyed, only just regaining her breath and hearing ringing in her ears from the sword’s contact with the mechanism. The weapon in question was against the door frame that led out into a dining room – only a couple hoofsteps away from two residents of the apartment, who had the same gawk-eyed look that Applejack wore.

* * *

For a minute, there was only the loud, obnoxious ringing of the emergency sirens, blaring throughout the whole empire.

AJ didn’t even register the fact that there were two other ponies there until one of them, a small filly who hadn’t even a cutie mark yet, approached her with a worn hat between her teeth. “You dropped your hat.”

Applejack shrieked a moment, the sound of the child frightening her as she reared up slightly, only to see that it was just a small filly who seemed just as scared. The filly’s father stood in the doorway, very confused and also surprised. The farmpony looked to him, and then down to the little girl, who still held her Stetson hat between her teeth. Slowly, Applejack reached out with a hoof and took it from her, placing it back on her head.

“Uh, thank ya kindly, little missy,” she said awkwardly, “Sorry ‘bout yer… yer, uh…”

Not bothering to accept the apology or offer a correction on what exactly Applejack was sorry about, the filly asked, with fascinated eyes, “Are you the Second Spirit?”

AJ raised an eyebrow at her. Hadn’t she heard some citizen outside say the same thing, when she was running across the town square? “Pardon?”

“Come on, Seashell,” her father beckoned, “Let’s not bother her with weird questions.”

The cerulean filly, Seashell, trotted over to her father, standing behind her with a curious look on her face. Neither they nor Applejack knew how to break the silence, which was fast becoming uncomfortable.

AJ decided that it’d be best to leave now, and not bother these poor folk anymore than they needed to be. She spied her sword close to them, and walked very, very slowly over to retrieve it.

“Sorry about yer house,” she offered weakly, picking up the sword between her teeth, “I didn’ ‘ean ‘er iss ta ha-enn.” Sliding the weapon into its sheath on her side, “but, if ya don’t mind, I’ll just be outta yer mane now and be on my way. I’m on a bit of a trek, I reckon.”

There were no other words spoken. Realizing this, Applejack tipped her hat toward the two ponies; she turned and began to walk towards the open window, seeing it as the only way out.

“Where are you headed, stranger?”

The question was innocent enough, and she could’ve just as easily ignored it, but Applejack, being the nice-mannered farmpony she was, turned to face the asker, Seashell’s father, and replied casually, “Equestria. I mean ta find the Princesses.”

As Applejack noticed, there seemed to be something… wrong with her answer. The father raised both his eyebrows in disbelief, and Seashell actually took a dramatic breath in, rather comically. Excited, the filly turned to her father. “She is! She is the Second Spirit! I told you, Dad! I told you!”

The father put a hoof on his daughter, telling her to be quiet. He cast a worried look at Applejack. “Do you need a place to rest, stranger? Been out in the sun too long or something? I can get you some water, if that’s what you need.”

Applejack pursed her lips and shook her head. Her heart rate increased, her body flushing with warmth – something had definitely been wrong with her answer. “No, I – I don’t think so. I really only jus’ got here. Is there a problem with traveling to Equestria, mister?”

The father’s brown mane bounced in the darkened dining room as he chuckled. “Well, I’d imagine there’d be a problem, considering Equestria hasn’t been around for almost two hundred and fifty years.”