• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf

What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

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The Last Roundup

Episode 40 – The Last Roundup

There was a quiet chatter around my home as I tried to sleep. It wasn't actually that bad… The noise simulated being in a crowd, but it was mostly muted. It was possible to sleep through it, but I decided to wake up and get myself out of bed anyway. I could probably check out what all the noise was about as well. As always, I took a few minutes of yawning and stretching, and then headed downstairs to escape through the doors.

When I was outside, I noticed that ponies were strolling and trotting around town in a more social matter. Was there something happening today that I did not know about? As I walked through town, looking around, I spotted several banners being placed upon buildings. It seemed to be a social gathering for some specific reason…

But something in the banners caught my attention. They contained apples and in the middle revealed a drawing of what appeared to be Applejack. The drawing was a bit amateurish, to be honest, but it was clear enough to be certain that it was Applejack depicted on there. So this social gathering has something to do with Applejack… I should go over to Sweet Apple Acres and see what's going on…

I mentally nodded my head and began walking the path to the farm.

After a few minutes, I reached the area near the barn, but I didn't spot anypony. I looked around with a confused expression on my face, even scratching my head a bit. However, my ears slightly twitched when I heard some very faint and soft cheers coming from somewhere. I analyzed my surroundings and finally noticed something I hadn't noticed before. I could see, in the distance, some movement several yards away. The area appeared to be an obstacle course, and I could see two familiar ponies there. I began galloping my way towards there.

I spotted Applebloom standing and holding her hooves over the wooden railing she was leaning against. She seemed to be excited about something… I also noticed that she was wearing Applejack's hat as she watched her run around the obstacle course.

"Hey, Applebloom." I greeted. "What's going on?" I asked as I walked next to her and joined her by the railing.

"Hi, Alex! Applejack's just practicing one more time before she leaves for the rodeo!" She responded as we both watched Applejack.

"Rodeo?" I questioned.

"Yup! Isn't she amazing? She's sure to win the rodeo! Just look at all her blue ribbons!" She pointed towards a wooden wall of ribbons. She had five, and they all looked nice.

"Wow." I observed the wall for a moment and then returned my look towards Applejack. "I'm sure she'll have no problem."

We continued watching Applejack speed through the obstacle course with barely any issues. She galloped until she came upon a wooden gate that was held over a rectangular pool of mud. She swiftly jumped over it, presenting a nice amount of distance. After, she turned at the end of the curve and reached another obstacle. It was another gate, but the mud below it was slightly larger than the first one. Yet, she still managed to jump over with no problem. She turned again and now was heading towards a much taller obstacle, possibly twice the height of the original gates, and the mud below it was larger as well. This caused me to lean my head in, growing excitement and suspense in me as I saw her lick her lips and prepare for it. When the time was right, she then took a giant leap with all of her legs outstretched. As if in slow motion, I could see her leap over the entire blockage, only having the top of it tap her hoof, but she made it out alright! She then continued the speed of galloping and jumped over another obstacle.

After seeing that, Applebloom waved her hoof excitedly and cheered. "Whoo-whoa!" She almost fell back when she released her front hoof from the railing, but I quickly placed my hoof on her back and lightly pushed her back on the railing. The hat tipped over her eyes, but she fixed it by placing it back on the right position. "Thanks." She thanked me and continued watching Applejack, who returned a wink as she continued to run. Applejack then reached an area with hays held by a rope. She grabbed one of the ropes with her teeth and swung it with great force, sending it several feet over a line and passing a couple of other hays. Applejack observed this accomplishment and crossed her legs. "Whoo-hoo!" Applebloom cheered, sending her hooves upwards but throwing the hat she had onto the ground. "Applejack, you're sure to knock everypony's hat off at the Equestria Rodeo competition!"

Applejack smiled and grabbed her hat off from the ground. "Aw shucks, Applebloom." She placed the hat back on. "I sure hope so."

"Hope so? I know so! After all, you're the ten-time rodeo champion of Ponyville! Why, you got more blue ribbons than anypony in Ponyville ever! And I can't wait for my big sis to win every blue ribbon in Equestria and bring home the title of Equestria Rodeo champion!" Applebloom exclaimed, causing Applejack to look away and blush bashfully.

I smiled and turned my attention from Applebloom to Applejack. "You sure are very agile Applejack. I believe that you'll be the best at the rodeo!"

She chuckled lightly as her cheeks remained a little reddened. "Thanks, Alex. That really means a lot…"

"Is that the reason why everyone is putting up banners and things back in town?" I inquired.

"Yup. I guess so. Ponyville's giving me a big send off for going to the rodeo! I promised to use the prize money for fixing Town Hall."

"Fixing Town Hall? What's wrong with Town Hall?" I formed a concerned expression.

She then released a heartily chuckle. "You should go check it out. It's in pretty bad condition, to be honest."

"Oh…" I returned my smile again. "Well, I guess I'll go do that then." I removed my hooves from the wooden railing and began preparing to walk back to town. "Are you coming?"

"Sure. In a little while. I just want to practice a bit more before leaving."

"Alright then. I'll see you in town again."

"Yup! See ya, Alex!"

I waved to Applejack and Applebloom and headed towards town, specifically Town Hall.

Arriving at Town Hall, I looked at the building to see any damage, but I was distracted by seeing Rainbow Dash place another banner on it. After she secured it on the front of the building, she flew near it, looking accomplished. However, a streak of lightning flashed right by her, causing her to move away, but the lightning burnt the tip of her tail a bit. "Huh?" She looked over to a dark cloud nearby. "Now, careful, Derpy!" Derpy? She flew over to the cloud, and I noticed Derpy was bouncing happily on it, creating more lightning below the cloud. "Don't want to do any more damage than you've already done." She stopped bouncing and opened her crossed eyes to observe the building. Now I saw the issue… The roof of the building was literally collapsing.

"I just don't know what went wrong!" Derpy replied as she continued to jump on the cloud, but she ended up shocking herself and became dazed for a moment. Her behavior managed to make me smile again as I watched the scene.

"Yeah…" Rainbow Dash added sarcastically, planting her hoof on the nail that held the banner. "It's a mystery."

"Derpy!" I exclaimed happily towards her.

She looked below her and noticed me. "Alex!" She quickly flew off her cloud and over to me to give me a hug.

"Whoa! Whoa!" Rainbow Dash suddenly exclaimed. "You two know each other?"

"Yup." I answered. "We've known each other for a while actually."

"She hasn't dropped or broke anything of yours, has she?" Rainbow Dash questioned, crossing her forelegs.

This caused Derpy to slightly frown. "Aw, come on Rainbow Dash." I defended Derpy. "She's really a good pony at heart. I'm sure something good comes from everything she does."

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, but decided not to continue the conversation any further.

Nonetheless, Derpy, growing a smile once again, began flying back in the air and observed the work Rainbow Dash did. "Nice work, Rainbow Dash!" She flew backwards towards the supporting wood for the building. Her butt accidentally smashed and created a thud on the wooden pillar, causing it to fall and head towards the ground. Rainbow Dash quickly flew over to the end of the pillar and tried to stop or lift it up, but she ended up crashing through the floor, yelping. Derpy landed on the floor with worried eyes as I joined her by the hole. She poked her head in the hole that Rainbow Dash made, and I looked inside as well, seeing Rainbow Dash sitting inside, annoyed. "You okay, Rainbow Dash? Anything I can do to help?" A wooden piece that was hanging by a splinter fell and landed on the floor inside of the hole, causing Derpy to notice it and look downwards.

Rainbow Dash immediately flew out and confronted Derpy. "No! Nothing! In the name of Celestia, just sit there and do nothing!"

Derpy did as she was told, planting her behind on the floor, but it caused several cracks to form and instantly break the part of the floor she was sitting on. When Derpy began falling down, she quickly grabbed Rainbow Dash, bringing her down with her. They landed with a loud thud. "Oops. My bad."

I quickly walked over to the hole to help them up. "Applejack! Applejack! Applejack! Applejack!" I heard the crowd chant, even while the Mayor began her announcement.

"Everypony, can I get your attention? Attention please!" The crowd halted their chanting, and I stretched my hooves out to Rainbow Dash and Derpy to help them out of the hole. "Yes, we are all here to send Applejack to compete in this year's Equestria Rodeo competition in Canterlot." The crowd cheered as I began pulling Rainbow Dash and Derpy up. "And, I want to thank Applejack in advance, for generously offering up her prize money to fix town hall." Rainbow Dash had managed to get back up on the floor, but Derpy was still struggling a bit, so I used my free hoof to help her up. Just as half her body was out, she joined the crowd, verbally.

"Yeah, Applejack! Whoohoo!" Derpy cheered, using the hooves that she was using to hold on to mine and fell back into the hole. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes at this and continued observing the event. I lightly chuckled and helped her out again as the crowd pounded their hooves.

"Speech! Speech!" Pinkie Pie demanded, hopping excitedly and happily on the ground.

"Oh, shucks. I'm not much for speeches." Applejack responded, who was standing near the mayor.

"Alright then, no speech!" Pinkie dashed off, but came back when Applejack began speaking.

"Buuut, this here is the nicest send off anypony could ask for. Y'all have been cheering me on in every rodeo since I was a little little pony. So it seems only fittin' to use my winnings to fix up town hall. I promise to make Ponyville proud!"

The crowd cheered, once again, causing Applejack to tip her hat over to us and smile. I looked over to Derpy. "Hey, why don't you go make some muffins for Applejack? I'm pretty sure she'd love that."

She gasped. "You're right! I'll go make them right now!" She sped off, causing me to smile at her kindness that most ponies were too stubborn to see.

I walked towards Applejack to see her. "So…you're leaving in a little while, huh?"

"Yup. Don't worry, I'll only be gone for a week." She responded.

"Well, I hope you have a good time." I sent her a warm smile. "I'm sure you'll win that rodeo and the prize money."

"Gee… Thanks, Alex." She hugged me. "It really means a lot that you believe in me."

"We all do, including the town."

She nodded and pulled away. "And I'll be super proud when I'm bringin' in that prize money to fix Town Hall for everypony!"

"And we'll all be proud of you…"

Her cheeks reddened a little in embarrassment again, but she looked at me. "Thanks."

All of us, including Applejack's family, stayed with her until her train came when we were at the train station. I heard the bells ring as the coal burnt inside. I had already told her my goodbye, so a few other ponies were telling theirs.

"I want you to show all them high-falutin' rodeo ponies what a real rodeo pony's like!" Granny Smith encouraged her before Applejack could begin to board the train.

"You betcha, Granny Smith." Applejack replied with a grin.

"And bring back all that money!" The mayor announced, cheerfully.

"You betcha, Mayor." Applejack responded, beginning to walk towards the train, but Pinkie Pie suddenly appeared in her way.

"And have fun. And don't be nervous. Or if you are, use that nervous energy to do even better than you already would!" Applejack smiled and continued her way towards the train. "And eat peanuts and popcorn and taffy and taffy gives lots of nervous energy!" She held out a bag of candy and began munching on it.

Twilight narrowed her eyes a bit at Pinkie's behavior, but she turned her head to face Applejack. "Just do your best, Applejack."

"I'll do better than my best!" Applejack answered confidently.

I heard some flapping of wings nearby and looked around to see Derpy coming my way. I smiled and waited for her as she came and landed with a saddle bag. "Hi!"

I looked at Applejack. "Hey, Applejack. A good friend here wants to give you a gift before you leave for the week." I gestured my eyes towards Derpy.

Derpy walked towards Applejack and opened her saddlebag, revealing several muffins. "I made these just for you, Applejack!"

Applejack began blushing, once again and rubbed her head embarrassingly. "Aw, shucks. You all always make me feel embarrassed." She placed her hoof down and looked at Derpy. "Thank you, that was real kind of you."

Derpy opened Applejack's saddlebag and placed the muffins in there. "You're welcome! You deserve it, Applejack!"

She returned a friendly smile and nodded.

"The train to Canterlot is about to leave! All aboard who's coming aboard!" We suddenly heard.

"Guess that means me." Applejack told us.

"Seeya in a week!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed, excusing Applejack to board the train.

"With lots of new blue ribbons!" Applebloom promoted.

"And lots of money!" The mayor highly emphasized again.

"Darn tootin'!" She entered the train, which began moving. We ran by the train, staying with her as much as we could. "See y'all in a week, with a big bag full of blue ribbons!"

Every one of us released an assortment of byes.

"And drink sarsaparilla!" Pinkie Pie added last. We all looked at her. "What? It gives you extra sass." I only smiled at her comment as some other ponies closed their eyes, sighed, and shook them.

"Well, I guess I better go." Derpy told me. "Maybe I'll make my little sister some." She began flying and waving her hoof. "Bye!"

I waved. "Bye."

Applejack's family then departed back to their farm, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and I remained for a while. Fluttershy flew up to me and hugged me. "Sorry, I didn't see you in the morning, Fluttershy." I told her.

She shook her head lightly. "It's alright."

I placed a hoof around her and looked at the others. "So, surprise party when Applejack comes back?" I questioned, expecting the answer to be yes.

"You know it!" Twilight answered, winking an eye.

"Whohoo!" Pinkie Pie added.

The week seemed to go by slow, but when the time for Applejack to come back came, it seemed that the week actually passed by fast. Of course, we had planned Applejack's surprise party and began setting it up in the barn. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash just finished placing on the banner as I finished setting the balloons.

"Oh, I hope Applejack is surprised by this surprise party!" Fluttershy excitedly, but softly announced.

"Well, that is the point." Rainbow Dash responded as she and Applebloom grabbed streamers from a box nearby.

"I know," Fluttershy caught the end of the streamer that Rainbow Dash threw to her. "…but I hope she isn't so surprised she's startled, because while being surprised can be nice, being startled can be... very startling."

"Surprise!" Pinkie Pie suddenly yelled out at Fluttershy, causing her to gasp in terror and fall back, along with the confetti Pinkie threw.

"Oh, Pinkie, you startled me."

"Sorry!" Pinkie Pie helped Fluttershy up. "I was just practicing my "surprise!" for when we surprise Applejack with this super cool party for becoming rodeo champion of Equestria!" Fluttershy sighed in relief and continued walking until Pinkie Pie appeared in front of her again. "Surprise!"

Fluttershy fell to the floor again. I rushed over to her and grabbed her hooves, pulling her up.

"Quiet, Pinkie, I think Applejack's coming!" Twilight announced as she looked out the door.

I patted Fluttershy on the back and gave her a quick kiss before jumping on the side of the room with Pinkie Pie and Applebloom. Pinkie stood on the left side of me while Applebloom stood on the right. "Don't worry, Twilight. Got my lips all limbered up!" She responded and began making odd faces, which I assumed to be for exercising her lips. Applebloom returned narrowed eyes as if she was becoming annoyed by the weird faces Pinkie was producing, but I looked at Pinkie with a surprised expression on how she could stretch her mouth very wide.

Despite that, I saw Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash hide in the nest of hay above the barn. The last of Applejack's relatives ran and hid behind the table. The lights turned off, and we all hid behind our choice of surfaces. Once the door opened, the light turned on and we all revealed ourselves, yelling "Surprise!"

"Surprise!" Pinkie Pie yelled, a second late. "Aw, shoot!"

However, when we really saw who was at the door, it was actually a mail carrier. "Wow, this is the best surprise ever! How did you know it was my birthday?" This caused all the ponies to frown and lower their heads. He pulled out a letter, which Twilight grabbed with an angry expression. She slammed the door after, causing me to feel bad, since it was his birthday.

"At least give him some cake…"

Pinkie Pie was on it and quickly grabbed a slice, dropping it off outside and shutting the doors again.

"Who's it from, Twilight?" Applebloom asked as I walked near her. "What's it say?"

"It's from Applejack." Twilight answered her happily. " 'Family and friends, not coming back to Ponyville' ." Everypony gasped. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. " '...Don't worry, will send money soon.' Twilight presented the letter before us. "…that's all there is…" Her comment caused the ponies to gasp again.

"Applejack's... not comin' back?" Applebloom questioned with a saddened tone.

"What do you mean Applejack's not coming back? She loves Ponyville!" Rainbow Dash claimed.

"And she loves Sweet Apple Acres!" Granny Smith added.

"And she loves her family!" Applebloom finished with shaking eyes.

Rarity gasped. "Oh, something just dreadful must have happened to Applejack to make her not return!"

"Maybe she's hurt, or sad, or scared!" Fluttershy offered.

"So, what are we waiting for? Let's go find her!" Rainbow Dash released and flew out the barn doors.

"Don't worry." Twilight assured the Apple family. "We'll search all of Equestria if we have to. We'll bring her back." She and the other girls ran up to the door.

"Y'all are the best." Applebloom commented as I caught up with them, still confused with what Applejack said…

"Thank you!" Granny Smith expressed. Twilight saluted and we immediately headed on our way.

"Applejack not coming back?" I announced as we ran towards the train station. "Something must have happened to her! There's no other reason to explain so!"

"I know!" Twilight responded. "That's why we have to find her and help her out and soon as possible!"

We quickly caught the next train to Canterlot and could only be patient enough to wait as the train traveled towards the city.

When it arrived, we quickly headed towards the area that Applejack was supposed to be competing in. Once at the entrance, we all agreed to the split up. While I was looking around for ponies to question about Applejack's location using a picture of her, I saw Rarity approach a couple of ponies and present it. As they shook their heads, Pinkie Pie was following a clown, rolling on a ball as the clown. The clown shook his head as well, causing her to frown and the ball to deflate. Twilight presented the picture using her magic to a couple of ponies with brooms, but the same results occurred. Rainbow Dash stopped a pony rolling a barrel, but the same thing happened as well… Fluttershy flew up to pony above me that was lying lazily on the roof. She tried to show the picture, but the pony merely flipped his hoof to scoot Fluttershy away. As she slowly backed away, I began wishing I had wings so I could fly up to that pony and flip his hat off, making him see the picture.

We continued to ask around for Applejack until the area was deserted. We had no luck. Rarity brushed the dirt off of her flank as Twilight had her head faced downwards on a table. Rainbow Dash was lying on the stands, exhausted, as Pinkie Pie was leaning over the stone railing. I sat with Fluttershy as she sighed in sadness. I placed a hoof over her and patted her back. She placed her head on my shoulder. I turned towards Twilight to see a pony walk up to the table. She noticed the picture and smiled, causing us to quickly rush up to her with high hopes. She turned around and pointed towards a landscape with dry mountains and cactus, much looking like the landscape of Appleloosa. When the girls saw this, they opened their jaws, shocked.

We then caught a train to our next destination as quick as possible. As we watched the scenery go by, Rainbow Dash began a conversation of worriment. "I hope this lead doesn't turn out to be a dead end. I don't wanna go home empty-hooved after promising we'd find her."

I couldn't help but hear Pinkie Pie grunt in high restrain as she crossed her legs.

"I don't know how we'll break it to the Apple family." Fluttershy worried.

"I don't know how we'll break it to Ponyville!" Twilight added.

"I don't know how I'll make it to the next stop!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed as she sweated.

"Alright, just stop, girls!" I announced, grabbing their attention to me. "Stop thinking so negatively. We'll find her! I know we will! We're all friends, remember? No matter what."

"He's right! We'll find her!" Twilight supported. "Look!" We heard the train whistle. "This is Dodge Junction. Applejack is supposed to have come here after the rodeo ended." The train ceased and we boarded off. "Let's fan out and try to find her."

Pinkie Pie suddenly flashed by us. "Pickles!" As she rushed to the nearest restroom, we began questioning two others ponies for Applejack, but after a short while, she came back. "I found her, I found her, I found her, I found her, I found her!" She exclaimed excitedly as she bounced around us, causing us to quickly run after her.

Around the corner of the building, she pointed to the pony that brightened our faces.

"Oh, Applejack, thank heavens!" Rarity commented as we walked towards her. However, her odd expression, depicting of sadness or disappointment, caught my attention.

"We're so glad you're safe!" Fluttershy added.

"I found her, I found her, I found her, I found her!" Pinkie Pie continued exclaiming as she bounced in the air until she stopped and crossed her legs. "Be right back." She said and quickly rushed to the outhouse.

"Uh, hey, everypony. What's up?" Applejack greeted as we walked by her.

"Why didn't you come back to Ponyville?" Rainbow Dash immediately brought up.

"Yes, why are you here?" Rarity agreed as I heard the toilet flush.

"Are you okay?" Fluttershy asked.

"Do you have any snacks?" Pinkie Pie added.

"Tell us what happened, Applejack!" Twilight demanded with so much care in her voice.

Applejack lowered her head and stared at the floor as waited for an answer. However, we heard another pony call her name. "Applejack? Are these some of your Ponyville friends?"

"Yes ma'am." Twilight answered.

"And you are...?" Rarity questioned the pony with the cherry appearance.

"Why, I'm Cherry Jubilee, boss of Cherry Hill Ranch. Hasn't Applejack told ya?" I looked at Applejack with a raised eyebrow in the corner of my eye. "I saw her compete at the Equestria Rodeo. Never saw anypony win so many ribbons in all my life."

"Aw shucks, Miss Jubilee. You don't have to go into all that."

"Oh, she's so modest. Anyway, I can always use a pony with quick hooves and a strong back. So, when I heard Applejack was looking for a change of scenery, I snapped her up as quick as I could and brought her to Dodge Junction." Change of scenery…? … "Well, I'll let you catch up with your friends. See you back at the ranch."

" 'Change of scenery' ?" Rainbow Dash immediately questioned. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"No big deal, guys. I thought cherries would be a nice change from apples, so I took the job and came here. That's it. End of story."

"What?" I instantly stepped up. "So you left your family, your friends, everypony in Ponyville, JUST for change from apples?" My reaction seemed to have struck her as she lowered her head and stared at the floor. "Applejack… I know you're lying. You're keeping something from us."

She lightly shook her head and faced us. "Sorry, but that's all there is to tell. Thanks for checkin' on me, but y'all can go home now. Tell my family hi, and that I'm doing A-okay." She began walking away.

Just as I was about to share my feelings on that comment, Rainbow Dash flew up to her and began making her back away. "Excuse me, AJ, but we didn't travel all over Equestria searching for you to come home without you!"

"Well I didn't ask you to come lookin' for me!" She resumed walking. "There is nothin' to tell and I am not going back to Ponyville!" She galloped away.

"I don't care what she says, Applejack's not telling us something." Twilight commented.

I grunted and began running after Applejack, desperately wanting to know the real reason about this situation.

"Applejack! Applejack!" I called after her as I galloped towards her.

She turned her head to notice me and immediately increased her pace. "Go away!"

I groaned and increased my speed as well. When she noticed that I wasn't stopping to catch her, she began leading me to a high speed chase. She jumped over a wooden gate and galloped near the buildings. I narrowed my eyes and jumped over the gate as well. As I was inching closer to her by the second, she quickly began looking around for something to stop me. She spotted a couple barrels of cherries and knocked them over, causing them to spill over my path. I quickly jumped on the barrels and jumped off them.

Applejack looked back and still noticed me following her. "Leave me alone, Alex!"

I wanted to respond to her comment, but I needed to save my energy as much as I could. She turned to a path between two buildings. I turned on that path as well, but I had lost Applejack. I looked around. She has to be hiding around here somewhere… I don't hear her hooves anymore… I cautiously looked around, keeping my ears listening to any changes in my surroundings. As I walked slowly through the alley, keeping my head still but moving my eyes, I suddenly heard a noise emerge from my right. I saw something being thrown at me, causing me to quickly dodge roll to the right and avoid what was thrown. When I regained my balance, I saw that they were many cherries that most likely came from a bucket. I heard quick taps of hooves and immediately ran around the other side of the building. By the time I made it, I saw Applejack just about to pass me until I tackled her to the ground. I stood over her, placing my hooves on hers so she wouldn't get past me. She continued to struggle to free herself.

"Applejack, stop this, now!" I ordered.

"Just let me go, Alex!" She demanded as well.

"No! Not until you let me know the truth! Why are you acting like this?" She didn't answer, but only looked away. "I know you Applejack. You wouldn't leave Ponyville for a 'change in scenery'. You wouldn't leave your family and friends. You love Ponyville and Sweet Apple Acres! Just tell us the truth…we're your friends…"

She looked saddened, but continued to look away. "Alex…I suggest you get off of me right now…"

"Not until you let me know what's going on…"

She sighed and faced me. "I really didn't want to have to do this…but…" She raised her back legs and kicked me off her, causing me to land on my back on the ground with a thud. When I raised my head to look at her, she was already galloping away. I raised my hoof and pounded it on the ground aggressively. What is she hiding? We're her friends! What could she be hiding that is causing her to treat us like this?

"Alex! Alex!" I heard Twilight's voice call me. I looked behind me to see the girls running up to me. They caught up to me, concerned. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah…" I answered with a sense of disappointment. Fluttershy had stuck her hoof out to me. I grabbed it and allowed her to help me up.

"What happened?" Twilight questioned.

I sighed. "I ran after her and eventually caught up to her… I then tried getting some information out of her…but she kicked me and ran off…"

"Okay, this has gone too far!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "We need some answers, now!"

"You're certainly right there, Rainbow…" Twilight agreed. "We have to come up with a plan."

"Doesn't Applejack work with Cherry Jubilee?" Rarity brought up.

"You're right, Rarity…" Twilight thought. "Hm…we should 'get jobs' there and try to get some answers from Applejack."

"How exactly are we going to get answers? She already knows that we're desperate…" I responded.

"Well, we'll pretend that we don't care anymore. That we just want to know how life is here now."

"I'll try anything…so I guess it's a plan."

Twilight smirked. "Let's go talk to Cherry Jubilee then."

We gathered up and began walking back to the place.

Back where we entered the town, we walked in to Cherry Jubilee's office. She was sitting by a desk, doing some paperwork until she looked up to see us walk in. "Why, hello! You all are Applejack's friends, right?"

"Yes, ma'am." Twilight answered. "We were wondering if you could help us out with something."

"Of course! What do you need?"

"Well, we were wondering if you could hire us for working with the cherries as well."

She studied all of us for a moment. "Sounds splendid! The more the merrier! I was just about to start heading towards the cherry barn to give Applejack the directions, but with you six, you can organize the cherries while she runs the machine. Sound good?"

"Yep!" Twilight cheerfully agreed.

"Perfect!" She stood up and began heading out the door, but suddenly stopped. "Oh, hold on." She poked her head into a closet and tossed us some sort of hat that appeared to be what chefs used and a saddlebag for holding cherries. "Go ahead and put that on. I'll meet you all over there." She headed out the door as we began placing on the uniforms.

We all did so, almost rapidly because we wanted to commence the plan at once.

Eventually, we reached the barn where the cherries were picked, packaged, etc. Cherry Jubilee spotted us and invited us in. "Terr-ific! Come on in, y'all!"

I walked inside as the girls trotted happily towards their stations wearing bright smiles, but my expression wasn't exactly the same as theirs, still remembering how Applejack actually kicked me…

"What are you all doing here?" Applejack asked as she stood inside the moving wheel, forming an angry expression.

"We're your cherry sorters." Twilight answered peacefully. "Shall we get started?"

"Fine." Applejack responded briefly.

"Haha, red cherries go in one bin, and yellow cherries go in the other." Cherry Jubilee directed as she pointed to the two bins. "Simple as cherry pie." It is simple…really simple… as long as Applejack doesn't go too fast… "Uh, just one teensy thing to remember – have fun!" I'll try to keep that in mind… She walked away.

"What are you six up to?" Applejack asked us, annoyingly.

Still feeling a little angry from the scene, I decided to respond to her. "Well, you know, we felt so bad intervening in your new life, so we thought we'd be nice enough to help you out a bit with your job working with cherries for a while to make up for our inclusion, and then be off our own."

She returned silence for a moment, narrowing her eyes towards me. "Uhuh. Well, just remember: No talking about Ponyville."

"Fine!" Rainbow Dash banged on the assembly line with her hoof. "Why don't you quit talking and get walking?"

Applejack turned her head back away from us and began walking, turning the gears that activated the cherries to come towards us. We then began separating the cherries. Twilight, Rarity, and I were handling the red cherries, the ones that mostly represented my mood, while Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie were organizing the yellow cherries. The job was really easy, all it took was teamwork and trust…

Rainbow raised her head and looked towards Applejack, who remained speechless as she walked. Then, she darted her eyes towards Twilight and cocked her head to the right. Twilight raised her head from the cherries and winked, smiling slyly. "...So, AJ, how was Canterlot?" Applejack widened her eyes and looked at Twilight with offended eyes. "Not talking about Ponyville, talking about Canterlot, totally different town." Twilight quickly defended.

"Canterlot was fine." Applejack turned her head away and responded with an irritated tone.

"Was the rodeo fun?"


"Did you meet some nice ponies there?" Twilight asked, now right next to Applejack's wheel, causing the work to become a little harder for the rest of us.


"Really?" Rainbow Dash flew over to her, removing herself from the work as well. "Did you see Wild Bull Hickok? What about Calamity Mane?"

"Yes, saw 'em both."

Rainbow Dash nodded excitedly at Applejack, who only returned an even more annoyed expression. Rainbow noticed and crossed her forelegs, returning an upset face.

"And how did you meet Miss Jubilee?" Rarity walked over there now.

"Um, well, Miss Jubilee had a cherry stand at the rodeo. Real good treats." Applejack began trotting, which began to show me how irritated she was becoming now.

"Um, excuse me?" Fluttershy asked softly as the cherries were coming much faster than before and the work was much harder with only the three of us.

"Cherry winks, cherry cheesecake, cherry tarts. We struck up a conversation being orchard folk and all." Applejack responded, ignoring Fluttershy.

"So you told her about Sweet Apple Acres?" Twilight inquired.

"Yes." Applejack answered frankly.

"Did you tell her why you weren't going back?" Rainbow Dash questioned in an aggressive tone.

"No, 'cuz it was none of her business!" Applejack grew quickly defensive, increasing her pace even more.

Even though I didn't want to cause the work to increase for the rest of the girls working, I couldn't help but allow my emotions to take over. I released my hooves from the assembly line and began walking towards Applejack in an irritated manner. "And it's none of your most important friends' business, either?"

"No! Now why don't you all just back off and leave me alone like I asked you all!"

I stomped my hooves on the ground. "Because we're your friends! We care about you! But you're over here, telling us that you left EVERYPONY that was important to you back at Ponyville just because you were bored of the town!"

"NO! That's not it!"

"Then tell us, Applejack! Tell us why you left!"

"No no NO! I'm not telling you why, so just—

"STOP!" Fluttershy screamed, causing Applejack to sit down on the wheel and bring it to a sudden halt.

However, all the cherries that were on the assembly line retained their velocity and flew off, shooting straight towards Applejack and covering her, including the wheel, with them. The girls reacted by returning gasps. Applejack opened her eyes and looked at us. She narrowed them and walked off in silence.

As we were the only ones left behind, we began cleaning up the entire area that was covered with squished cherries after we removed our uniforms.

"Well…we seem to be striking out." Twilight announced as she used her mop with her magic.

Fluttershy was using one to clean the inside of the wheel as Rainbow Dash was doing the same on the other side. Rarity and Pinkie Pie were cleaning the assembly line. I was near the assembly line, holding the mop with my front hooves and removing the spot nearby. I was the only one in the room to have my eyes narrowed in anger as well as an irritated frown planted on my mouth.

I couldn't stop thinking on how Applejack left Ponyville, including us, after she was so thankful for the send off we gave her. It felt like it was just a few minutes ago that we were smiling and saying our farewells before she boarded the train. I growled a bit and threw the mop against the floor, creating the banging sound of wood to clatter on the tiles.

"Alex?" Twilight questioned, concerned.

"How could she leave us like that?" I answered, almost in a loud voice. "Not only does she leave us, she doesn't even want to talk to us! Are we not her friends anymore? Is Cherry Jubilee her new best friend?"

Fluttershy dropped her mop and quickly began flying over to me, placing her hooves on my shoulder to try to soothe me. "Alex… please calm down…"

I sighed angrily and plopped down on to the floor and hanging my head low. I remained silent for a moment. "…I just don't get it…Why won't she tell us…?"

"That's 'cause we're playing too nice." Rainbow Dash pointed out.

"Yes. Desperate times do call for desperate measures." Rarity added.

"It's time to call in the big guns." Rainbow Dash concluded, causing the girls to turn their heads. I raised my head and looked at them, wanting to know what they were staring at. I looked at their direction and saw Pinkie licking off some cherry mush from the assembly line and consuming it, licking her lips happily afterwards. Oh…

"Pinkie Pie," Rainbow Dash began, catching her attention. "Can you do us a favor?"

"Sure! What is it?"

"We want you to go help out Applejack in the back of the barn. She's kicking cherries off the trees. Think you can do that?"

"Okie dokie lokie!" Pinkie Pie began hopping out the back door.

Rainbow Dash smiled competitively and pulled out something. "Here." She revealed earplugs to all of us. "I'm sure you all don't want to hear this."

All the girls took a pair, but I shook my head. "I'm okay…" Pinkie Pie's voice couldn't be that bad…

"Suit yourself." Rainbow Dash shrugged and the girls began following Pinkie Pie.

We saw her bouncing towards Applejack as we arrived at the back.

"Quick! Let's hide in the bushes!" Rainbow Dash advised, and we all dove into the bushes and began watching the scene as we remained hidden. Applejack was aggressively pounding the trees with her back legs, possibly using the anger from a while ago.

"Hey Applejack. Need some help?" Pinkie Pie asked when confronting her.

"You promise not to ask me any questions?" Applejack questioned.

"I promise." Pinkie delightfully agreed.

As Pinkie began shaking the trees with her hooves, I turned to Rainbow Dash. "So you're planning to use Pinkie Pie's voice to get Applejack to tell us what's going on?" I whispered.

"Yep." She answered, keeping her eyes on them.

"And if she doesn't get annoyed?"

"Trust me, she will." She smiled slyly after that.

Pinkie Pie looked back at Applejack. "Have you ever had a cherry changa?" Pinkie asked, but then retreated when she realized it was a question. "Ooh! Sorry, that was a question."

"That kind of question is fine, Pinkie. No, I-I never had a cherry changa." Applejack responded.

Pinkie then bumped her face towards Applejack's and began her supposedly "torturing".

"Well no wonder, because I made it up myself!" Applejack then began slowly backing away from Pinkie as she followed her. "A cherry changa is mashed up cherries in a tortilla that's deep fried. Cherry changa. Great name, huh? Oh, but maybe I should call it a chimmy cherry." Applejack reacted with an annoyed look and was about to attempt to continue her work, but Pinkie unknowingly prevented that. "Ooh, that's good too. Which do you think sounds better? Cherry changa or chimmy cherry? Or what if I combine them? Chimmy cherry changa! What sounds the funniest?" Applejack walked away and grabbed the basket with cherries and continued walking as she was growing more irritated. "I like funny words! One of my favorite funny words is 'kumquat'! I didn't make that one up. I would work in a kumquat orchard just so I could say 'kumquat' all day! Kumquat, kumquat, kumquat! And 'pickle barrel'! Isn't that just the funnest thing to say? Pickle barrel pickle barrel pickle barrel. Say it with me! Pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, chimmy cherry changa-!"

"No!" Applejack screamed out, releasing the basket and cowering while trying to cover her ears. "Make it stop, make it stop!"

"The only way to make it stop is for you to spill the beans." Rainbow Dash negotiated as she revealed herself and held her hoof over Pinkie's mouth, muting the chanting that continued endlessly.


Rainbow Dash just simply released her hoof.

"Speaking of beans, did you ever realize how many words rhyme with 'beans'? Lean, mean, spleen, unclean, bean..."

Applejack then covered her hooves and surrendered as Pinkie resumed her chattering under her. "Alright, alright! I'll tell everypony what's goin' on! Just please stop talkin'!" As soon as she said that, we all revealed ourselves, walking towards her and causing Pinkie to halt her talking. "But... can it wait 'til tomorrow at breakfast? I'm plum tuckered out."

I narrowed my eyes.

"Tomorrow, huh?" Rainbow Dash responded suspiciously or uneasily. "I don't know..."

"Do you Pinkie promise?" Pinkie Pie asked, crossing her hoof and placing it on her eye.

Applejack sighed. "I will tell you the whole truth at breakfast. Pinkie promise." She repeated Pinkie's movements.

The girls then returned confident smiles, but I wasn't so easily bought…

After, we found out that the barn was also a type of inn as well. There were beds on the second floor. As we headed to our rooms, I couldn't help but feel uneasy. "Pinkie… are you sure Applejack will tell us? That seemed too easy…"

"Don't worry!" She assured. "She Pinkie Pie promised! She has to!"

"…and if she doesn't…?" I questioned, knowing that a promise could be easily broken.

However, she remained smiling brightly and patted my head. "Let's just say Pinkie won't be so Pinkie when a Pinkie Promise is broken."

"She's right…" Twilight agreed.

I remained silent.

"Well, Goodnight, everypony!" She exclaimed cheerfully and rushed off to her room.

"Yeah, Goodnight…" Everypony replied and headed off to their rooms as well, leaving Fluttershy and me.

"I guess I'll see you in the morning, Fluttershy." I told her.

"Okay…sleep well." She offered me a kiss and a hug.

I managed to smile lightly and accept it, feeling better afterwards. As she walked into the room next to mine, I retired to bed as well.

I snuggled inside the bed, looking out the window for a bit, but I ended up dozing off.

When I opened my eyes, I didn't know what time it was, but when I looked out the window, the sun was just rising, so I assumed I was up a little early. I was actually looking forward to some breakfast as I was beginning to feel a little hungry and the thought of eating breakfast sounded well. I got off from bed and began walking towards the door.

After I opened it, I spotted Twilight and the other girls.

"Oh, hey Alex." Twilight greeted. "We were just about to wake you. Are you ready to wake Applejack?"

"Oh…sure…" I responded, almost forgetting about that.

"Great!" We began walking towards her room. "I'm glad we're finally gonna get some answers from Applejack."

"Yeah…maybe." Rainbow Dash added, lacking faith in Applejack as I was.

"Don't worry, Rainbow." Pinkie Pie emphasized, majorly confident. "She's gotta 'fess up after making a Pinkie promise."

We reached her door. Twilight raised her hoof and began knocking. After, she opened the door, allowing Pinkie to poke her head in. "Good morning, Applejack. You ready for br—

Her sentence was interrupted when we noticed that there was no pony in the room…

Pinkie Pie immediately gasped and sucked in her face. She lowered it and her face immediately turned red in anger as her cheeks blew up. Afterwards, she raised it and spoke angrily as she blew steam through her ears and her eyes turned…well…deathly. "Nopony breaks a Pinkie promise!" Her immediate shift did surprise me… but it wasn't much of a surprise when we weren't going to get the answers we wanted to know. Pinkie Pie darted out of the room, causing us to follow her as well.

She led us towards the train station, which was most likely the place she would be in if we made it in time. When we had her in our sights, Pinkie instantly took action. "Applejack!" She screamed. "You Pinkie promised!" She shouted, even being slightly distorted which actually terrified me a bit, but my attention was mostly on preventing Applejack of escaping. Applejack yelped and began running away, making us increase our speed even more. "Applejack, come back here!"

"Giddy up, fellas, I gotta get the heck out of Dodge!" Applejack ordered as she jumped onto a carriage pulled by four coach ponies.

"She's gonna get away!" Pinkie Pie stated, stopping us for a moment.

"Oh no, she won't! Look!" Twilight responded, pointing to a cart that contained two straps.

Knowing Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash could fly, I allowed them to pull the carriage, just in case we needed to take any drastic measures. Twilight, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and I jumped on the back of the cart as Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash began galloping.

"Follow that stagecoach!" Pinkie demanded. Passing through several startled and surprised ponies, we eventually caught up to Applejack. "Oh, we have you now!" Just as we began closing in to her, Fluttershy widened her eyes. I looked at the road and noticed a bunny cross in our path. She immediately halted, pressing her hooves against the dirt. However, Rainbow Dash didn't notice this and continued moving, which caused the cart to turn and drift. Involuntarily, I was thrown out of the cart and landed near the bunny with a thud. The bunny remained in its place and merely sniffed me. Afterwards, it just hopped off.

"Alex! Are you alright?" Fluttershy asked, worriedly.

I grunted as I pushed myself off the ground. "Yeah…I'm fine…" I dusted myself off and climbed back in the cart, suffering some pain.

Rainbow Dash looked at her, narrowing her eyes and then rolling them, causing Fluttershy to frown. Nonetheless, Rainbow Dash continued, startling Fluttershy when she began without her.

Eventually, we managed to catch up to her once again. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy maneuvered the cart to the side of the carriage and began striking it against hers.

"Whoa! What the hay?" Applejack questioned, surprised.

"Pull over!" Rainbow Dash ordered and crashed the cart against the carriage again.

"Hey! Cut that out!" They did, once again, causing Applejack to almost fall off. "Whoa!" She looked over to the ponies pulling her carriage. "I'll pay you double to outrun them."

They smirked and increased their pace.

"We'll pay you triple to slow down!" Twilight counterattacked.

They agreed and slowed down.

"I'll pay you quadruple to leave them in the dust!" Applejack demanded, obviously causing them to quicken their pace and literally leave us in the dust, which then caused us to close our eyes and cough.

"That was rude!" Rarity commented.

"Get them! Get them!" Pinkie Pie emphasized, highly irritated of Applejack's behavior.

"Come on, Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash encouraged, causing them both to gallop faster to catch up to Applejack.

Applejack turned around to face us, but dropped her jaw when she saw we were catching up to her. "Hyah! C'mon, y'all! Go, go!"

However, Pinkie Pie stood up, looking as if she was ready to jump over to the carriage. In fact, she did hop on over to the carriage and began having a heated conversation with Applejack. "Applejack, you broke your Pinkie promise! Apologize!"

"Pinkie, I did not break my promise!"


"If y'all reckon back, I told you that I would tell you everything at breakfast. But I didn't come to breakfast. I couldn't come to that breakfast, not if it meant telling y'all what happened."

"Well, I... I..."

"I'm sorry, Pinkie, but I can't tell y'all the truth. I just can't."

"Well I heard a sorry in there, so that'll have to do for now. I'll get a real apology later. Rarity, catch me." Pinkie Pie suddenly jumped, expecting Rarity to catch her when she actually wasn't expecting that.

"What? Pinkie-

As I saw Pinkie flying back towards us, I quickly stepped in front of Rarity and placed my hooves around Pinkie. Her impact almost caused me to fall off the cart, but with the rest of my strength, I managed to balance myself back.

"Let me take care of this!" I exclaimed and hopped over to the carriage. "Applejack!" I called, as I saw her holding the reigns. "Stop this carriage right now!"

"No! Now get off!"

"Listen to me! You have to stop this before anypony gets hurt! We only want to know why you're acting like this! You just need to tell us the truth!"

"I told y'all I can't! Now go!" She faced back at the road, and we both noticed the lights flashing on the railroad crossing. The two striped bars began coming down, sending a warning that we needed to stop. However, Applejack saw this as an advantage and continued racing towards it.

"Applejack!" I tried the only option I had left…emotional appeal… "Remember when we were in the train ride home from Appleloosa? Remember what you told me?" Her eyes seemed to widen and slowly frown. "You told me that you girls were my friends and that whenever I needed to, I could come talk to you… Well it works both ways, Applejack! You really want to throw everything we all have been through, just for some stupid little thing? No matter what, Applejack, we'll understand! You can talk to me, Applejack! You know I'm here for you…"

She sadly turned her head towards me to see me as she presented a frown on her face. "Alex…"

However, our talk was interrupted when we heard the train whistle blow and the train speeding across the tracks. Applejack tried to stop, but it was too late. The ponies pulling the carriage broke through the wooden barriers, causing a sudden bounce and impact on the carriage that threw me out behind. I heard Applejack call my name, but I didn't see her since the train blocked the other side. I landed harshly on the ground, twice now today, making me be unable to get up for a while since I had to deal with the pain.

"Alex!" Fluttershy called, causing her to halt along with Rainbow Dash nearby.

"Are you alright?" Rainbow Dash asked.

I groaned, but threw in a sigh as well.

Twilight jumped off from the cart and quickly came by to my aid. She focused her horn on me and worked her magic. She eased the pain a little, and I was able to at least sit up.

"Thank you, Twilight…"

Before any of the girls could say anything, the train finally passed by, and we were pretty shocked to see Applejack waiting on the other side as we mostly thought that she would have left. Once she saw me, she came running towards me, calling my name again. Once she reached me, she quickly threw her forelegs around me. "I'm so sorry!"

I patted her gently, feeling her understanding and removing the anger I had about her.

"There she is!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "Get her before she gets away!"

I quickly placed my hoof in front of her, preventing her from tackling Applejack.

"I don't think she's going anywhere, Rainbow…" Twilight commented, causing Rainbow to loosen up a bit and back away a little.

"No." Applejack responded, pulling away from me and placing her hooves on her saddlebag. "You want to know the truth?" She pulled her saddlebag off and threw it on the ground, causing it to open and reveal many ribbons. "Fine. Now you know." She spoke in an irritated but disappointed tone and laid herself down, covering her face with her hooves.

"Know what?" Twilight questioned, not seeing anything that represented negativity.

Applejack raised her head and looked at the ribbons that were splattered on the ground. She stood up and pointed at them. "Well, just look!"

"I am. You won an amazing number of ribbons, just like Miss Jubilee said!"

Unaffected, Applejack continued. "Don't you get it?" She presented a medal with a red strap. "There's every color of ribbon down there. Every color... but... blue." She planted herself on the ground, beginning to look as if she was about to cry, causing me to frown as I continued to observe her. "I came in fourth, third, even second, but I didn't win one first prize, and I certainly didn't win any prize money."

"But the telegram said you were gonna send money." Rainbow Dash stated.

"That's why I came here. I wanted to earn some money. After that big old send off Ponyville gave me, I just didn't have the nerve to come back empty-hooved. I couldn't come home a failure…"

"You're not a failure Applejack…" I answered, looking at her with depressive yet understanding eyes. "You're an amazing pony who loves to help out any other pony…you should never feel like that…ever…"

She returned watery eyes towards me.

"And we're your friends!" Rainbow Dash added. "We don't care if you came in fiftieth place! You're still number one in our books."

"So... you're not upset, or disappointed…?" Applejack asked as she looked at each one of us.

I shook my head as the girls responded. "Nn-nn."

"But what about the mayor?" Applejack inquired. "I don't think I can face her and tell her I didn't get that money to fix the broken roof."

"Applejack," Fluttershy added in to the encouragement. "We can always find a way to fix that hole in the roof. But if you don't come back, we'll never be able to fix the hole in our hearts." The rest of the girls nuzzled Applejack as I heard crying above me. I looked to see tears streaming from Rainbow Dash's face. She felt them and shook her head.

"Darn it! Now you got me acting all sappy!"

Applejack smiled and felt relieved. When I saw her, it made me smile. Now I know why she wanted me to smile so badly back before…

"Come on girls." I announced. "Let's go back home."

They looked at each other and agreed, beginning our journey back to the nearest train station.

I sighed as we finally boarded the train back home. Everything got settled out. Applejack had told Cherry Jubilee of the need to return back to Ponyville. Of course, Cherry Jubilee understood and expressed her farewells to Applejack.

As we finally relaxed on the train, Applejack had something to announce. "Twilight…mind if you take a letter?" She asked.

"Of course not, Applejack." She answered, taking out a quill and scroll.

She smiled and looked out the window as she spoke. "Dear Princess Celestia, it's a tad easier to be proud when you come in first than it is when you finish further back. But there's no reason to hide when you don't do as well as you'd hoped. You can't run away from your problems. Better to run to your friends and family."

"Excellent." Twilight commented and rolled the scroll up for Spike to send later on. I smiled lightly and understandingly as I nodded.

"I must thank you, Alex…" I heard Rarity speak, who was also wiping the leftover dirt I had off of me.

"Hm?" I turned my head towards her.

"If you would had never caught Pinkie Pie, I would've been thrown out, and who'd know how angry and annoyed I would be if I had to come back home all by myself with her!" She looked towards Pinkie Pie, who seemed to have not heard anything at all. She was too busy sticking her head out the window.

This caused us to chuckle.

I looked over to Fluttershy and lightly nuzzled her with a smile.

Applejack was looking out the window to see Ponyville near closer to us. She lifted her hoof and smiled brightly to wave to her friends and family she returned to. When the train stopped, we began leaving to see Applejack tackled by her dog. We all presented smiles to show how happy we were to see everypony reunited with each other. Seeing the fun, Big Macintosh began a dog pile which was joined by Granny Smith and Applebloom. Applejack laughed and managed to escape from the dog pile, but formed a frown when she faced the mayor.

"Um…I just want to get this off my chest…" She sighed. "I don't have any prize money…"

Instead of looking shocked, the mayor returned a warm smile. "That's alright… You did your best, but everypony always dont get what they want… No matter, we can fix the roof somehow else. Perhaps a fundraiser."

"You got that right." Applejack replied and created a light smile.

The Mayor nodded and began walking away. Applejack's family also began walking back to the farm. Before Applejack began leaving with them, she turned to face me and smiled. "Thanks again, Alex… I owe you one…"

"For what?" I asked.

"Well for being such a good friend like always." She chuckled.

I smiled and shook my head. "Don't worry about it."

She shrugged playfully and gave me a quick hug before running off with her family.

"Well, I guess we should be heading home too." Twilight offered.

The girls agreed and responded. "Bye!" They all exclaimed in unison and parted towards their homes as well.

I looked at Fluttershy and sent a smile, causing her to return a smile as well. Thus, we began walking to her cottage.

Arriving at her door, I looked at her lovingly.

She lightly giggled and blushed, slightly looking away embarrassingly.

I smiled at her cute reaction. "I guess I'll bid you Goodnight, Fluttershy?"

"Hehe, okay 'Mr. Alex'." She responded, causing me to chuckle. She wrapped her hooves around my neck and brought me in for a soft and gentle but passionate kiss. When she pulled away, I felt almost dazed actually, in a good way, while she reacted with a strong blush. "Goodnight, Alex." She then retired to her bedroom inside her cottage.

I continued staring at her as she left, feeling a little love struck like Spike is when he sees Rarity. I couldn't really understand how he could be attracted to her…but… I shrugged that thought off and returned home.

As I was walking towards my front door, I came to a stop when something caught my eye. I looked at the ground to notice a flyer near the door. I picked it up and tried to read it, but it was a tad dark outside. I carried it with my teeth as I walked inside and shut the door. I walked to the kitchen and flicked the light on. I placed it on the table and began reading it.

There was a picture that caught most of the eye's attention firsthand. There was a pony that posed in the picture. She held a microphone to her hoof and her mouth was opened to look as if she was singing. She appeared to be staring back at me with mocking eyes. I narrowed my eyes in anger at this. However, I looked below the picture to see something in captions. Four Hooves Strong. Below the large letters, there were smaller ones, depicting to come see the show that would be playing in Canterlot on the sixth of June. I narrowed my eyes in anger and felt my teeth clench. I grabbed the flyer and tore it to pieces. Afterwards, I immediately threw it in the trash. I quietly stormed to bed, flicking the light off in the kitchen.

I lay in my bed, unable to believe that that was able to remove my good mood so easily…but as I thought for a moment before closing my eyes… I realized that it actually was believable…

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