• Published 1st Mar 2013
  • 3,237 Views, 152 Comments

I'll Love You To Tartarus and Back - AppleDash Group Collab 100th Prompt Special - LunaTheFox



A collab featuring 23 writers, who all came together to create a story of loved ones lost... and a long-shot at seeing them one last time.

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Steel Resolve

This chapter was written by Steel Resolve.


Applejack woke to the smell of brimstone, and the sound of four paws followed by four hoofsteps. Her eyes darted around in alarm. Rainbow was still asleep, and no amount of poking would do more than make her snore louder. Cautiously, AJ peeked up over a rock, hoping to see the source of the sound before it found the two of them.

What she saw surprised her to no end. As she feared, Cerberus was nearby. But he was... playing with a filly. The filly in question was picking up a tree trunk and tossing it for the giant three headed dog to fetch. AJ would have found it heartwarming were she not afraid for her very life. Maybe with Dash’s help she could tackle that thing... but while trying to protect Dash?

The filly paused in her play, and looked directly at her. “Hello! You’re a long way from home, aren’t you?”

At first Applejack did not respond, hoping against hope that the filly was addressing somepony else in this empty stretch of land nearby to the pit of Tartarus. Seeing nopony else, she finally nodded. “Yes, Ma’am. Ah reckon you are too... That there dog is a might dangerous, you sure you wanna mess around like that?”

The filly laughed in what sounded like one hundred children's voices at once. If AJ was uncertain before, she was sure now. This was not ordinary filly. “Cerberus is not dangerous. He’s my pet! Aren’t you boy?” The dog happily rolled over, presenting his belly to be rubbed.

“Beg pardon, Ma’am. Um... who are you exactly? Ah mean...”

The filly smiled at Applejack. “Don’t be afraid, he won’t hurt you. My name is Meph, and this is my home. What brings you here?”

Her home... Horseapples. Looking over the filly in a new light now, the farmer noted something she had missed. This filly had been using magic, and had a pair of wings. “Yer majesty! Ah’m real sorry, Ah only met the other four princesses. Ah never knew there was a fifth—”

Meph laughed again, in that same eerie tone. “Princess... no Applejack. I am a queen. But I hold no power over the government of living ponies. I tend to those who have passed on.”

“Then yer who I need to see, yer majesty! Ah came to see my folks...”

“Meph, please, your titles mean nothing to me.” She paused, considering the request. “I’m sorry, but the land of the dead cannot be visited by those who still live. When you pass on I will welcome you with open wings, but it’s simply not possible for you to visit with them.”

Applejack sat down with a slump. In this whole venture, she’d never considered the idea that she would reach the very gates of Tartarus, only to be told it was impossible for her to enter. She had been prepared to face anything, but here stood the goddess of the dead, not barring her entry, simply telling her there was no way to get there while she lived. “Begging yer pardon Meph... but isn’t there any way? We came so far, and went through so much. Ah’d do just about anything to see em again.”

“Anything, you say?”

“Well, nearly anything...”

Meph produced a book in a flash of magic, flipping through pages at a furious rate. “Applejack Apple, Born to mother Red Delicious and father Carrot Seed. They died saving you and your siblings from a fire at your farm. The barn collapsed as they got you out. Died instantly.” She nodded as she read over the file.

“How did you—”

“Interesting... Your marefriend kissed you after being struck by a falling beam during a barn razing. She woke up dazed and confused. She never would have confessed her feelings for you had that not happened.”

“What in tarnation?! How do you know that?”

Meph closed the book and tapped it. “The book of life, Applejack. I am its protector, and when necessary, it’s editor. You have had two very similar, yet improbable events happen in your life. One took your parents, one gave you your love.”

“So?”

“If you wish, I can strike them from the book.”

Applejack stared at the filly, uncertain if she understood what was being offered. “Are you offering to bring my parents back from the grave?”

“I am offering to unmake their death. To you, it will be as if they never left you.”

“How can you... No, better question. Why would you do that fer me?”

The filly looked at her, and suddenly Applejack was struck by a sense of overwhelming age. “I have presided over this place since the first pony fell, and my last charges shall be the princesses you spoke of. I occasionally venture into the world of the living. When it strikes me, I offer a boon to a pony. But such a thing cannot come without a cost. I cannot unbalance your life, if I strike a tragedy, I must also strike a miracle.”

Applejack was silent for some time. She was being presented with the chance of a lifetime. No, more than that, a chance nopony could ever expect to see ever under normal circumstances. She could have her parents again...

She looked back at her sleeping marefriend. But the cost...

“Which will it be? Your love, or your family?”

Everything snapped into sudden focus for the farm mare. “No deal.”

“Excuse me?”

Applejack shook her head. “Ah’m real sorry to waste yer time, Meph. But Ah can’t do that. Yer asking me to pick Dash or family. Dash is family. You’ll have to find somepony else to make your offer to.”

Two voices cheered from behind Meph. Applejack’s ears perked up.

A strong male voice spoke from the darkness. “Ah told you she wouldn’t bite. Pay up Meph, she earned her chance.”

Meph sighed. “Very well. You may have your day pass to the land of the living. I will return for you two as the sun sets tomorrow.”

A stallion stepped forth from the shadows, accompanied by a smiling mare. “Thank you, Meph.”

Applejack stared at the two, unable to believe what she was seeing. “Ma? Pa?”

Carrot Seed galloped forward, but not to the loving arms of his daughter. He stopped next to Rainbow Dash, waiting patiently as Red Delicious carefully pushed the still sleeping mare onto his back.

“Wha—”

“Lil Apple, there'll be time for questions later.”

Carrot Seed checked to make sure the Pegasus was secured.

“We have to get your marefriend to a doctor now.”

He turned, and now Applejack could see the infection making its way up Rainbow’s leg.

”Or else she'll be joining us when we go back.”