• Published 12th Dec 2012
  • 3,724 Views, 40 Comments

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 2: Rockin' Around The Hearth Tree

Foal Alone
Chapter 2: Rockin' Around The Hearth Tree
by WeirdBeard
(It's not a straight-jacket, it's just a fancy sweater.)

The gentle snowfall continued throughout the evening and up into the morning, completely coating all of Ponyville in a blanket of white. Normally, this would not have posed a problem for the early morning traditions of the Apple family at all. Especially since it really mattered this particular day to depart to Manehattan.

Unfortunately, the cloud cover was grossly thick and inhibited all rays of sunrise that could have awaken the family. Most of the corral's critters had been hauled away previously to spend winter at the Appaloosa ranch. Thus, there wasn't a chance of the cows nor Winona awakening the Apples either. The hen house still held occupants, but their reliable rooster had decided to spend the night on the town. At least that's what the rooster would say if it could speak. Truth be told, the hapless recluse was kicked out of the chicken coop by its' own hens and left alone to sleep in the snow.

It was now ten minutes before the train would depart that the rooster finally arose. As it realized the grave folly that was committed, the rooster unleashed an unholy crowing that caused even the heaviest of sleepers to launch skywards.

"The timberwolves are a-howlin'!" Granny screeched in shock, bolting upright in her bed. "The timberwolves are a-howlin'!"

The combination of the rooster and Granny Smith's shouts echoed loudly through the farmhouse. Everypony was soon awakened by the strange chorus and immediately responded with a cacophony of complaints and expletives.

"Five more minutes!"

"Darn tootin' rooster! Ah'm gonna wring that scrawny varmint's-,"


"Somepony that's not me wet the bed again!"

"Everypony!" Applejack shouted over the boisterous din. Her relatives all halted their tirade, save for Granny's hollering about timberwolves. The orange mare glanced at the grandfather clock opposite her bed, promptly double-taking when she saw the time. "We slept in! Everypony up and at 'em, the train's 'bout ta leave!"

Her call to arms heralded more shouts of surprise as the whole home tumbled into turmoil and utter anarchy. Foals and elderly ponies stampeded through rooms to fully prepare each other. The madness reigned for a good two minutes, any created messes were simply left in order to catch the train.

A midst the hustle and bustle, Applejack collided with her big brother in the hallway. The impact left them both dazed for a moment, but the red stallion hurriedly shook his head to clear the faze. "Got the tickets?"

"Granny's got 'em, Ah'll get the luggage. You make sure everypony is ready," Applejack quickly responded.

They parted sides instantly, almost leaving small puffs of dust behind themselves. Most of the Apple family had already fled the home in hopes of delaying the train for the rest of them. Big Mac began tallying every relative, making sure that everypony was accounted for. The large buck pondered for a moment, suddenly remembering his youngest sister. "Mushy Core! Go git yer cousin Applebloom!"

"What?!" replied the cumbersome colt from atop the stairs.

Big Mac smacked a hoof against his face. Despite the young foal's earlier claim of not wetting the bed, it was obvious that he was dilly-dallying with a horrendous attempt of removing his evidence. "Yer cousin Applebloom! Go git yer cousin!" he shouted, straightaway turning around without a confirmation.

Mushy Core remained where he stood while processing what his big cousin had asked of him. "Go get cow's inn? This place gets weirder and weirder."

Needless to say, the request was lost on him.

The home was soon emptied of everypony, including Granny Smith who was still on full alert for timberwolves. Without another word, the entire Apple family sprinted off in maddening speeds to the train station. Miraculously, the train was still loading. In the back of his mind, however, the conductor could only wish that he left earlier as he witnessed the giant cloud of kicked up snow fast approaching.

"We're here! We're here!" Applejack yelled in desperation. "Don't leave!"

The conductor clicked his tongue. "Cutting it a bit close, are we?" he asked as the family completely filled the station's loading area. "This train has to leave right now!"

"Here are yer gall dern tickets, sonny, now outta the way! Ah gotta take my mornin' nap!" Granny crankily hollered. She unloaded the bundle of paper which unceremoniously burst apart upon the surprised conductor. Seeing her job was done, the elderly mare stepped onto the train and promptly passed out on the first open seat.

Applejack smiled sheepishly at the fuming conductor. "Heh heh, sorry 'bout that. Ah promise ya though, we have all the tickets we need here for everypony," the orange mare stated, leading the rest of the family onto the train.

"Fine, just get onto the train!" the conductor exclaimed in frustration. While he knelt down to retrieve the fallen tickets, all of the Apples proceeded onto the train and seated into empty spots. "Sheesh. Some ponies."

Regardless of their morning mishap, the family had managed to arrive just in time as the train gently carried them away. Everything was going to work out.

Or so they thought.

Applebloom blearily blinked away the blurs in her vision. She had at last awaken on her own accord after a surprisingly fantastic night of sleep for the young filly. Even though she was in the barn, the formidable blanket fortress she had somehow constructed during her slumber was quite comfortable over the hard-packed floor. Not only that, but it had muffled any noises that may have disturbed her through the night. That, of course, applied to the loud ruckus that occurred just moments ago.

She yawned and stretched out her hooves as she emerged from the cozy chamber. 'Yep! Today's gonna be a great day, wait-' the yellow filly paused in mid thought, before merrily exclaiming, "Today's the day 'fore Hearth's Warming Eve! YAY!"

At her jovial shout, Applebloom's stomach seemed to protest as it loudly rumbled. She blushed lightly and rubbed at her small tummy. It was breakfast time, after all.

The young filly proceeded out of the barn with a spry spring in her step. 'Ah wonder what Granny Smith made for breakfast. Ah bet it's somethin' real tasty since everypony's here to-.' Once more, Applebloom's line of thought halted as she remembered the evening's events. Perhaps she had made a few erroneous judgments, but she felt that she had been wronged herself. Mushy Core had eaten all of her Zap Apple jam and he wasn't even punished for it! However, Applebloom felt confident that everything had smoothed out. She was going to walk right into the kitchen and have a magnificent meal.

Only to find the kitchen was completely devoid of any and all ponies.

Applebloom cocked her head to the side, confused that no pony was around. "Granny Smith? Applejack? Where ya'll at?" she called out. When no immediate response reached the filly's ears, she trotted forward into the living room.

To her surprise, no pony filled in the previously non-vacant room as an eerie quiet met the tiny, investigatory earth pony. She bit her lip in befuddlement. "Big Mac? Braeburn?" Applebloom asked aloud. Yet still, there was no reply.

"Helloooooooooooooo! Any pony?" Her unanswered interrogations continued. She even uttered one more question, quietly, "Mushy Core?" In honesty though, she wasn't disappointed that he didn't yield to the call. However, the mysterious absence of everypony but herself within the home was absolutely baffling.

She carefully sat onto her haunches and tried to piece together what she already knew. Without a doubt, her family would not have just left her behind while they vacationed. One does not simply abandon their loved ones on Hearth's Warming Eve. Yet here she was alone in the home with no pony to bug her. It led her to believe from all the evidence before her that there was only one possible deduction.

"My wish came true!" Applebloom yelped. The impossibility of it all resonated through the small filly's mind. How in Equestria such a desire as wanting to have Hearth's Warming Eve to herself could actually be granted was beyond her. Then again, some wishes do come true now that she thought about it.

Thus she sat and mused about what this entitled. It would have been nice to have her friends around with her, but both Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were away in Canterlot. On the bright side though, she had the house completely to herself. Plenty of space, no scolding, no Mushy Core. After a few moments, a small grin soon creased across Applebloom's muzzle.

"Ah'm alone and there's no pony around that could ruin Hearth's Warming Eve," she finally stated. "Time to deck the halls!"

Humming the only tune that could properly fit the forthcoming montage, the little filly set off to create the greatest Hearth's Warming Eve ever. Raiding the storage room for cider, un-boxing a plethora of decorations, donning several garments of festivity, and all sorts of acts of merriment. Not to mention swinging from the ceiling by use of long garland.

Soon, the house was decorated inside and out with all things Hearth's Warming Eve-related. Even the fake cheesy Windigo lawn ornaments were posted on the front yard. Their whimsical design and foolish caricatures amused Applebloom, but would drive any normal pony to groan inwardly. Wreaths, candy canes, strands of popcorn, wrapping paper, lights, holidays oh my!

Indeed, the filly was quite content with her holiday cheer. She had finished decorating every square inch of her home and could now sit back and relax with a nice, frothy mug of cider. The afternoon had passed splendidly and the sun was setting on a great day. Things were going her way.

That is until she heard of pair of voices conversing just outside on the porch.

"What's all this mishmash? Their house wasn't decorated last night," the first voice stated. For some reason, Applebloom recognized the accent behind the stallion outside, but she couldn't place who it could be. Cautiously, she crept closer to the door and listened closely.

"Maybe they put it up for fun this morning," a second voice suggested. Like the former, his voice also sounded familiar to the little filly. Alas, she was left pondering as to who was standing outside and what in Equestria they could want.

A quick scoff emerged from the first stallion. "They may be impractical, brother of mine, but they're not stupid. Why would they do that when they were leaving town today?"

"I bet it was the kiddo! Foals are idiots after all," the second stallion reasoned.

"You're an idiot, Flim. Now help me get this door open."

Before Applebloom had a chance to move away or react at all, the front door soon burst open. She squinted immediately, the contrast of light between the house and outside quite disorienting. After a moment though, her vision returned.

Oh how she wished it hadn't.

There before the small filly, stood the unmistakable forms of Flim and Flam. They still wore their trade-mark hats and vests, but had bundled up a bit more for the cold and snow. The one-time rivals of the Apple family were back again and Applebloom could scarcely think of what they wanted now. "You!" she quickly yelled, pointing a hoof towards them.

"You?!" they instantly replied as they recognized the filly. Flam pounded a hoof against the porch, irritation burning fiercely in his eyes. "You're supposed to be out of town, you little brat!" the tall stallion accused. His red mustache bristled as his lips formed a grim sneer.

"How did ya..." Applebloom started, but paused as she pieced together why else she recognized his voice. Her jaw dropped as she uttered a gasp of realization and exclaimed, "Ya'll was the patrol-pony who was here last night!"

Flam bit his tongue, seething more at the yellow filly. Flim raised a brow and glanced at his brother. "Guess she's a smarter cookie than we thought, Flam," he said, pushing his hat back.

"Oh shut it, brother of mine," Flam retorted, smacking his twin's side with a hoof. His glare returned to Applebloom and his eyes narrowed. "Now, you're going to be a good little filly and do what we say. Celestia and Luna are watching, after all," the mustached stallion stated as he neared closer to the youngest Apple. His horn was already beginning to radiate faintly green.

"Nuh uh, Ah ain't trustin' neither of ya! What are ya'll doing here?" Applebloom questioned. She backpedaled a bit in defense while Flam approached her.

Flim chuckled. "Don't you already know? Revenge, kiddo! After your family humiliated us, it's high time we take back what's rightfully ours. Or rather, to put it simpler for your puny little brain, we're robbing you!"

Applebloom's eyes shrank as she realized she was in much more danger than she could probably handle. Thankfully, her fight-or-flight response was already kicking into high gear. "Never!" she cried out, springing forward between the two stallions.

Her sudden outburst surprised both of the brothers and left them fumbling for the fleeing filly. Flam's horn flashed brilliantly as he shot a green spark towards Applebloom, but ended up striking Flim instead. The resulting attack shocked through Flim's body and caused him to twitch sporadically. "OWWWWWWW!!!!" Flim shouted. "That really chapped my hide, Flam!"

In bizarre retaliation, the clean-shaven stallion shot a bolt of green magic toward his brother. Flam flopped onto the ground, the shock affecting him just as bad as it had to Flim. "OWWW! You stupid fence post, she's getting away!"

Despite how funny it was to the little filly, Applebloom continued galloping away from the farm and the brothers. Now wasn't the time for fooling around and she wanted to find some help. Unfortunately for her, Flim and Flam were already back up and pursuing her.

"Help! Help! Somepony help!" she yelled out. The brothers kept their chase, but couldn't quite catch up to her as their long legs almost hindered progress in the snow. It further frustrated them as Applebloom somehow rocketed ahead, the packed snow doing nothing thanks to her small weight. "Anypony!" the filly shouted again.

By now, they had left Sweet Apple Acres entirely and entered into Ponyville. The streets were covered just like the road from the farm, much of it left untouched. Sadly, it seemed everypony really had left for the holiday and no pony was around to save the day.

"Give it up, kiddo!" Flam shouted. They, too, knew that there was little hope for the filly. She would eventually tire out and they would catch her. It was only a matter of time. "If you stop now, we won't hurt you!"

Flim hiccuped. "Hurt her? Flam, are you- OW!" he shrieked as he ran head-first into a low-hanging sign. The impact didn't knock him out, but it absolutely clothes-lined the tall stallion and sent hooves over hooves into Flam. The two tumbled for a good distance all while grunting in pain.

"OW! Get up, Flim, she's getting away!" Flam shouted angrily. They scrambled to their hooves, but the collision had given the filly more time to escape. Unfortunately for Applebloom, that didn't mean a whole lot since no pony was around to help her.

'Think, Applebloom, think! Where do Ah go now?!' the filly thought to herself as she kept running. She was almost out of Ponyville and quickly losing options. Luckily, her sight of the Everfree Forest ahead sparked an idea. "Zecora! She has to be home!" she answered in triumph.

In her rush, however, Applebloom failed to notice the frozen pond just between her and the forest. As her hooves met the surface of the ice, she instantly lost traction and slipped onto the pond. Lady Luck must have been smiling on the filly though as her momentum carried her forward without injury.

The same would not be said of for Flim and Flam when they stepped onto the pond. In near comic fashion, they immediately smashed through the ice and into the freezing water.

Crashing into a powdery snow pile and creating a cute puff of snowflakes, Applebloom bolted away from the pond and into the forest.

"Ohhhhh OH!" Flam howled, pulling himself out of the frigid pond. When Flim didn't resurface from below, the mustached stallion groaned angrily, but closed his eyes in concentration. His horn emanated faint green again and soon, a giant ice-cube emerged from the pond. Of course, Flim was frozen inside.

Flam growled, angered by both his brother's incompetence and that Applebloom had escaped. He glared at the offending forest that now sheltered the filly he had pursued. "That's right! Run! You can't stop us! We will get what we want and there's not a thing you can do about it!" he shouted. When there was no reply, the stallion grunted and began levitating his frozen brother with his magic. "C'mon, blockhead, our time has come."

Meanwhile, Applebloom maintained her speed through the forest. She desperately wanted help now and Zecora was the only one she was thinking about. One must know, however, it is unwise to do so in the Everfree Forest, especially during winter. The filly was soon assaulted with all manner of impeding natural elements. Low hanging branches scratched at her hide, roots tripped her hooves, and the declining temperature chilled Applebloom's very core.

Of the worst phenomenons that the forest had to offer during the winter was something very curious. In a peculiar opposite of quicksand, there exists an icy counterpart that acts similiar within the Everfree. This dangerous plant, known as Wintry Embrace, ensnares any being unfortunate enough to run afoul and eventually freezes them solid. This normally would be of little importance, but it so happened that poor Applebloom landed smack dab into its trap.

She was so preoccupied with getting to Zecora's that she shrieked when her hooves were suddenly frozen to the small patch. "Help! HELP!" the filly screamed. Her struggling against the trap was in vain though as the ice crept faster up her legs. "HELLLLLP!"

The situation was very bleak and growing more so for Applebloom. No pony was around in town and certainly not within the Everfree Forest.

Except for the feared Shoveler who now approached her slowly. The stallion was still covered in thick clothing, dragging along a shovel in his mouth. He didn't say anything as he neared closer and closer.

Applebloom's eyes widened in fear. "NOO! Please, somepony help! The Shoveler's gonna git me!" she cried out.

Her cries would go unheard, sadly, as the ice eventually encased the small filly. Slowly, her vision began to fade as she felt herself losing consciousness.

"Ah told ya'll, Ah'm going back and ya can't stop me!" Applejack proclaimed, cinching the straps on her saddlebags upon her back. The orange mare was absolutely livid and her brother wasn't exactly helping. The two siblings were still situated within the Manehattan train station since they found out Applebloom was left behind. The rest of the Apple family had journeyed over to the Orange's to stay the night.

Big Mac raised a hoof in protest. "AJ, she's fine! We should wait for another train and then we can all go!" the red stallion started.

"Ah am NOT gonna wait a second longer. This never woulda happened if Ah personally checked on Applebloom," Applejack replied. "Shame on ya for trustin' Mushy Core!"

"Ah said Ah was sorry!" her brother quickly responded. He shook his head and stomped a hoof against the floor. "It doesn't matter now, let's just go git her!"

Applejack nodded, pushing her hat tighter onto her head. "'Bout time, had enough chit chat," she replied. Without another word, she abruptly reared onto her hindhooves and launched forward into a full sprint. It took a moment, but her brother soon followed close behind her as they departed the station and galloped towards Ponyville.

'Please let her be safe,' the orange cowpony thought to herself while speeding ahead. Regardless, Big Mac and Applejack were on their way.