• Published 12th Dec 2012
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Foal Alone - WeirdBeard



Applebloom is accidentally left home during Hearth's Warming Eve and must defend her home from thieves. (Obvious tribute to the classic, but still different details.)

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Chapter 1: Jingle All The Way

Foal Alone
Chapter 1: Jingle All The Way
by WeirdBeard
(You'll never take me sane! NEVER!)

Snowflakes lazily danced downwards from the night sky across Ponyville. It was quite picturesque for the little town as hardly anypony was about the streets. Nary a sound was made, scarce for the hubbub that distantly echoed from Sweet Apple Acres. Even though the Apple family should have been in bed hours ago, all sorts of frackus was being raised to prepare for their trip.

The youngest of their close-knit group, though, managed to escape for air if only for a moment. Applebloom trotted out the back door, looking back warily in case anypony noticed. She could hardly believe their humble home could fit so many ponies. Almost everypony and their cat and dog of the Apple family filled in the farmhouse. The filly sighed, mainly due to the fact that she would be forced to sleep on the floor again because of her countless cousins who would take her bed. However, her mind skipped the tracks when she felt a snowflake land on her muzzle.

The tiny earth pony gasped loudly and exclaimed, "It's finally snowing! We're gonna have a white Hearth's Warming Eve after all!" Her excitement was instantaneous and she began to bounce merrily. The pegasi teams had been delaying this year's snowfall and it was a wonder if they would have ever gotten around to it. However, the cloud cover proved to be quite promising of sweeping the earth with a fresh patch of white snow.

"Applebloom! Ah'm not gonna tell ya again, git yer rear in gear an' start packin'!" an elderly voice from inside the house called out. The yellow filly turned around quickly to find her grandmother standing by the doorway. Granny Smith stared expectantly at her granddaughter, pointing a hoof behind her. "Yer bags ain't gonna fill themselves!"

"But, Granny-!"

"But's are fer chairs, lil' filly, we have ta be ready ta go in the mornin'. 'Sides, there's already snow on the ground at yer Aunt and Uncle Orange's," the elderly mare explained. "All of yer cousins are set an' packed. Ah think Lil' Mushy Core is even in bed now, too!"

Applebloom groaned. Of all her relatives, Mushy Core was the least compatible. Not because he was mean or anything like that, but simply because the young buck was... odd. "Did ya put him in my room?"

"Where else would we put him?" Granny asked, shrugging her shoulders.

"Did ya see how much water he drank tonight?! He's gonna wet my bed fer sure!" the yellow filly complained.

Sadly, she was absolutely correct. Even though Mushy Core was older than Applebloom, the young buck's bladder was virtually non-existent. It would be a small miracle if there wasn't a flash-flood by morning.

"That's enough, Applebloom. At least entertain yer cousins fer now," Granny Smith scolded.

At her command, the little filly bowed her head and trotted past her grandmother. She would have to accept her fate now as there really wasn't any other option. The entire Apple family would be leaving in the morning for Manehattan to celebrate Hearth's Warming Eve together. All of Applebloom's friends had already left town the day before to visit their distant relatives as well. Fortunately, her brother and sister were still around, of course.

It just so happened that Applejack and Big Mac were near the back anyway, trying to cater to their needy relatives. Applebloom grinned at her siblings and nodded towards the window. "Did ya see it's finally snowing?"

"Eeyup," her big brother sagely replied.

Applejack sighed in relief. "There you are, sis', Ah was wonderin' where ya ran off ta. Got yer stuff packed, righ'?" the orange mare questioned.

The yellow filly rubbed behind her neck nervously. "Not exactly."

"C'mon, Applebloom, we can't cut it this close. The train leaves before sunrise tomorrow," Applejack explained. She glanced at the window, smiling for a moment at the drifting snow. A thin coat was already blanketing the ground outside.

Her green eyes flickered and caught sight of something else outside, causing her to involuntarily shudder. "There's that Shoveler again."

Applebloom raised a brow at her sister. "Shove-what-now?"

The elder sister pointed at a particular point beyond their view. As Applebloom squinted, she could barely make out the form of a broad, gray, gruff-looking stallion. Even at this distance the filly could tell that the stranger wasn't too pleasant. "The Shoveler," Applejack explained. "Every first snow fall, he wanders around the town aimlessly. He doesn't ever speak ta anypony, just carries a shovel with him and creates paths in the snow."

"That doesn't seem too strange," Applebloom began, but was soon cut off by Big Mac.

"Ain't the point, Applebloom," her elder brother stated. They continued watching the topic pony trod on. He simply pushed the shovel along the ground, scooping up snow as he went. "He's not paid fer it or anythin'. Most say he did somethin' terrible and this is part of his punishment. Anyway, don't go an' bother him."

At first notice of her look to protest, Applejack raised a hoof to her little sister. "This ain't like the case with Zecora. Celestia herself told us to not disturb him. Ah'm not lying ta ya, he's dangerous."

Just as the orange mare finished, the menacing stranger quickly looked towards their window. The three siblings darted out of view, not wanting to chance if the Shoveler really saw them. After a moment, they peeked over the window sill to find the strange stallion trotting away. Applebloom merely shrugged, but was forced out of the way when more cousins filled into the room. Hopefully she would be able to spend more time with her siblings later.

When Applebloom entered the living room, where it was filled wall-to-wall with ponies, a loud knocking echoed from the front door. Granny groaned angrily, Applebloom only being able to catch her mutter something about timberwolves and grapes. The elderly mare begrudgingly trotted to the door while avoiding the many relatives that packed the small room. Finally, she reached the front door and heaved it open.

A tall, thin stallion clothed with a dark blue trench-coat stood upon their porch, grimly staring ahead. Even though he was hooded and completely covered by the thick cloth, Granny Smith caught glance of his light-green eyes. His thick clothing reminded her that it was, indeed, now winter and incited a shiver through her bones as the wind blew by. "Good evenin', Ma'am, I'm just checking on-,"

"For the last time, we believe in Celestia, ya Nightmare-worshipping hippy! Git off my porch!" the elderly mare interrupted with a shout. Before the visitor could get a word in, the door was promptly slammed in his face.

From the far end of the room, Applejack at last escaped the clinging, more peculiar relatives to witness the episode at the front door. She groaned and rubbed at her temple with a hoof. "Granny, Ah think that was somepony else."

Her grandmother failed to hear her, however, and instead trotted away with a huff. Applejack quickly approached the door and opened it just before the stallion left. "Yes?"

The cloaked figure turned back to face her. For a split second, the orange cowpony could have sworn she saw a strand of red and white hair. "Evenin'," the stallion flatly replied. "As I was about to say, I'm just checking on the neighborhood. The mayor heard that several families are traveling out of town and wanted to see if you were as well."

Applejack was about to respond, but paused when a loud guffaw erupted from inside. Sighing, she trotted out the doorway to stand with the stallion in the falling snow. "Sorry, it's been real hectic here. All the relatives are staying the night before we head off ta Manehattan."

"Ah', so you are heading out. Good thing I caught you then. The mayor hired myself and several others to patrol the town in case of any burglary," the stallion explained.

"Burglary? In Ponyville?" Applejack asked skeptically.

The cloaked figure nodded. "Indeed, miss. There have already been several cases throughout the town. However! I will make sure nothing happens to your beloved property. You can count on me."

"Well, uh, great! Thanks very much, Mister..." Applejack replied slowly, waiting for the stallion to give his name.

"Uh... Porch. Wood Porch!" the stallion finally responded, trying his best to maintain his composure.

Despite how suspicious he was, Applejack continued on anyway. "Mister Wood Porch. Thank ya kindly fer lettin' us know 'bout-,"

"Who ya talkin' ta, sis?" Applebloom interrupted. The yellow filly had snuck out yet again to see who was visiting at the late hour.

At her intrusion, Applejack narrowed her eyes at her little sister. "Consarnit, Applebloom, didn't Ah just tell ya ta go get packed? Scoot yer boot, Ah was jus' meetin' with this here patrol-pony."

Applebloom tilted her head in examination of the cloaked stranger before her. "Hey, mister, isn't a patrol-pony supposed ta have a badge?"

"Applebloom!"

The stallion chuckled, but answered her question anyway. "It's quite alright. Here ya go, little one." With a brisk shove into his coat, he pulled a small badge out of his pocket. Sure enough, it had the seal of Equestria as well as a silver star in the center. "Nothing to worry about."

As the little filly leaned in to admire it closer, she noticed the clothing around the stallion's jaw had slightly lowered. A small, red mustache poked around the corners of his mouth, causing Applebloom to gasp a bit. "Yer that-!"

Before she could make an accusation, Applejack suddenly pulled her aside and put a hoof over her mouth. "That's enough, Applebloom!" she chided. The orange mare glanced back to the cloaked figure. "Ah'm really sorry, she's normally better mannered."

"That's quite alright, Ma'am. You have a good night," the stallion replied. He looked back at Applebloom and nodded. "Happy Hearth's Warming Eve."

Applejack smiled. "Take care, Wood Porch," the cowpony said, dragging Applebloom back inside while the stallion departed. Once she had the door closed, Applejack released her sister to admonish her. "What the hay was that about?"

Applebloom sputtered at her sister's blatancy. "Didn't ya see his mustache?! That was-,"

"Applejack! Braeburn's hitting on Apple Turnover again!" a shrill, foalish voice called out.

"W-w-what?! Ah am not, cuz, Ah was just talkin' ta her," Braeburn managed to excuse.

Applejack rolled her eyes. "Good gravy, this night's never gonna end. Applebloom, go get packed," the orange mare commanded before trotting back into the thicket of the family gathering.

"Ugh! Why won't anypony listen ta me around here?!" the yellow filly complained. Not wanting to get sucked into the plethora of bodies in the family room, Applebloom walked alongside the wall to the kitchen.

'Maybe Ah was just thinking seeing things, it couldn't have been that pony,' she thought to herself. Even though the night wasn't going her way, she could try to salvage some enjoyment. After all, there was a jar of Zap Apple jam just for her that she had been saving for Hearth's Warming Eve.

Relatives still filled the kitchen completely, however, as she finally managed her way through. One day she would ask Applejack why the storks had left so many babies for the Apple family. For now, it was simply a mystery to her. Maybe they just got lazy and stopped at their homes. That was enough silly thinking for the filly though, the time called for desperate measures. It just so happened that those desperate measure tasted like pure bliss.

However, as Applebloom reached into the cupboard for her coveted treasure, the jar was nowhere to be found. She frantically pulled other jars out, desperately hoping that it was still hiding within. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Zap Apple jam. It was then that she heard the tell-tale sound of smacking lips.

Even though she had thought the night couldn't get any worse- with cramped space, scoldings, hardly any sanity, and nopony to play with- she slowly glanced behind herself to see Mushy Core devouring her jam. His lime-colored coat was smeared completely with the delicious treat, quite oblivious of the filly in front of him. At completion of the jar, Mushy belched loudly and sighed in satisfaction.

His ruby eyes widened at Appleblom's shocked expression, but he smiled sheepishly. "Heh, sorry bout that, cousin. I had a bad dream about a river and I really needed a snack." The dim-witted buck didn't even notice Applebloom's growing anger. Instead, he held the empty jar towards her and asked, "Is there any more?"

That was it. That was the last straw that caused Applebloom to unleash an angry scream. Mushy simply sat there in mild thought, wondering what in Equestria could have prompted that sudden burst.

The yellow filly rushed forward. All rationality was bucked out of the window because of the oaf's inconsiderateness. "I was saving that!" Applebloom shouted. Her forehooves shoved into Mushy's stout body, causing him to backpedal into the kitchen's fine glassware case. The collision resulted into every single plate and goblet within to tumble to the floor. Glass shattered across the hardwood floor, inciting even more ponies to back away in fear of injury. This only continued a domino effect of the destruction of more and more objects.

At last, the glass rain phenomenon concluded and left the kitchen and all adjoining rooms in shambles. Applebloom stood motionless, perplexed by the events that just transpired.

"APPLEBLOOM!" Applejack yelled in frustration.

"It wasn't my fault, it was-!"

Before she could excuse herself, though, Big Mac interjected, "Look at what you've done."

At his command, the little filly slowly gazed about the room. Everypony was staring at her, each with different looks of disgust or judgement. She kicked at the floor dejectedly. "But... that was my-,"

"You're comin' with me, little filly!" Applejack exclaimed. At her outburst, the orange cowpony scooped her sister up onto her back and retreated the kitchen. Granny and Big Mac began procuring brooms and dustpans while everypony else did their best to help clean.

The two sisters exited out the back door, heading towards the barn. "Applejack, it wasn't my fault!" Applebloom cried out.

"Ah know it wasn't, but ya weren't exactly being the best little filly tonight. Ya should have just listened ta us and done what we told ya," the elder sister explained. The snowfall had decreased at the moment, but continued to fall. "Ah know it's frustrating right now, but it ain't exactly a picnic for me either."

Applebloom groaned. "Why couldn't we just stay here fer Hearth's Warming Eve, by ourselves? Having everypony in the family celebrate together isn't worth it!"

"C'mon, Applebloom, ya don' mean that-,"

"Yes Ah do!" the younger sister exclaimed. Applejack trotted inside the barn, lighting a few candles and obtaining blankets while her sister continued her tirade on the floor. "Ah've been scolded this whole time they've been here, all my friends are gone, there's no room around at all, and Mushy Core ate all my Zap Apple jam! Ah wish Ah didn't have ta spend Hearth's Warming Eve with them!"

"Sis'-"

Unfortunately, Applebloom's anger bristled her protests onward. "Ah wish Ah didn't have anypony ta bug me on Hearth's Warming Eve! No family ta ruin the holiday! Ah wish Ah had Hearth's Warming Eve fer myself!"

Applejack frowned, staring sadly at her little sister for a while. "Then ya would have a very lonely Hearth's Warming Eve."

A short silence passed over the two sisters as they stared at one another. Finally, Applejack sighed and said, "Good night, sis'. Get some rest before the train arrives early tomorrow."

Slowly, the orange mare exited the barn, leaving Applebloom alone to her thoughts and with plenty of blankets to keep warm. The filly stared at her departing sister for a moment, before finally nestling within several quilts and then blowing out the candles. For everypony's sake, she hoped that things would be better in the morning.


Meanwhile, the patrol-pony that had visited was trotting slowly away from the farm. There seemed to be a strange spring in his step as he hummed quietly to himself. The snow continued its slow descent around him and the orchard. It was when it was quietest that the stallion suddenly stopped. "Looks like they're leaving town after all," he stated cheerfully.

"See! I told you this would be the perfect time!" a voice called out from his side. The cloaked patrol pony glanced towards the source to find a slender, beige-colored unicorn stallion approaching him. He wore a peculiar hat and a blue pinstripe vest that somehow complimented his red and white mane.

"I believe I told you, brother of mine," the patrol-pony replied. He brought a hoof to his head and pulled the thick hood down to reveal his similarly colored mane. "Anyway, they didn't even suspect a thing. They think that we're the good guys!" Flam replied, his chuckle rustling his mustache.

Flim echoed his brother's laugh. "Then we'll finally have our revenge! We'll steal all their apple trees!"

"Apple trees? Oh Flim, Flim, Flim," Flam responded condescendingly. "We gotta go bigger. Their apples would grow back after all. No, it's their prized possessions, their recipes, and everything precious to them that we're going after!"

Flim smiled, nodding in response. "Even better, brother! Sounds like a happy Hearth's Warming Eve to me!"

"Indeed, brother of mine, indeed!" Flam replied. He laughed softly, but gradually raised in volume and strength. Flim soon matched alongside the nefarious laughter, the noise being only heard between the two stallions.

Whether for better or worse, the Flim Flam brothers were back and thirsty for vengeance.