• 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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Jet Cannon

This chapter was written by Jet Cannon.


Applejack had always secretly loved trains. Whenever she was on a train, it always meant she was going somewhere interesting or close to her heart. She could remember the train ride to Manehattan when she was a filly—she couldn’t walk the whole way there after all—along with all the excitement that stemmed from the thought of finally seeing the big city, taking it all in and finally getting away from all the boring old apple trees. True, she had soon come to regret her trip, but that only enabled the train ride home to be all the better because it represented all the things she loved and was going back to!

Similarly, all those times going to Canterlot with her friends, or to Appleloosa to see Braeburn, or even to the Crystal Empire to help out Princess Cadance, Shining Armour and the Crystal Ponies... Admittedly, Applejack thought with a chuckle, most of those occasions had also not normally turned out as she had envisaged, but everything was always sorted out in the end and the train journeys to and fro had always been enjoyable for her. Eeyup, either when going with a sense of purpose and anticipation for what lay ahead or when returning feeling that they had achieved something worthwhile with her time, Applejack always looked forward to her time on the rails.

Even now, knowing (or rather not knowing) what she and her special Pegasus were up against after they arrived at Dodge, she couldn’t help but feel excited that they were on their way; that they were finally doing something and not just thinking and planning and worrying about all the hundreds of thousands of things that could go wrong—

Nope, not goin’ there. AJ shook her head swiftly, the unfamiliar pith helmet shaking about a little atop her scalp. She sighed and settled back into her seat, staring out at the passing scenery. All of the “what ifs” could wait until they pulled into Dodge. For now, she would relax, possibly lean against Rainbow Dash just because she could, and enjoy the experience. Or at least she would if the Pegasus hadn’t disappeared all of a sudden.

Applejack looked around the carriage to try and spot Dash, quickly taking in the small number of ponies sharing the space with them but coming up blank on rainbow lightning-clouded flanks. It was safe to say that Rainbow Dash did not enjoy train travel as much as Applejack and had probably gone off to the dining car to pick up snacks and stave off her boredom. She didn’t dislike trains, per se, but nothing beat flying. The Pegasus had, after all, boasted of how she could fly from Ponyville to Dodge Junction and back, then back to Dodge Junction again, and the train wouldn’t even be halfway there yet. Applejack didn’t find this hard to believe, although it was still fun to scoff playfully at her special somepony’s daring claims.

Daring… She turned her gaze to the window once more, this time focusing on her reflection in the glass. Sure, the different mane and lack of wings were a dead giveaway, but if she squinted, she could almost see Daring Do squinting back at her, her coat colour similar enough that the reflection looked like one of those books’ cover pictures. The costume had certainly garnered a few funny looks from the ponies they had passed in Ponyville, and would likely do the same in Dodge, but it was practical enough that Applejack didn’t mind the attention. The helmet would be as good as her own hat for keeping the sun out of her eyes and the vest was breathable and would keep her cool in the heat of the day, then warm in the cold of the night. Of course, she also had a Rainbow Dash to snuggle up to for that!

“Hey AJ, want a cookie?” Speak of a windigo…

“Oh! Uh, thanks sugar cube, that’d be nice.” Rainbow Dash hoofed Applejack the confectionery and began munching down on her own. It wasn’t as nice as a cookie from Sugarcube Corner, Applejack could tell before tasting it, but the sweet treat was satisfying enough in its own way and was quickly consumed.

“You pretty much zoned out back there,” Rainbow teased, her muzzle covered in some crumbs. “I figured you’d be no good to talk to for a while, so I went exploring.”

“Oh yeah?” Applejack grinned. “Find anythin’ interesting?”

“You mean besides the food car? Nope.” Rainbow licked herself clean and lay down on her bench, putting Applejack’s hat over her face with the clear intention of going for a nap. Before long, though, a thought came to her mind and she shifted the hat slightly, allowing her to peek across to her marefriend.

“Hey AJ?”

“Eeyup?”

“What were you thinking about, anyway?” she asked, concern obvious in her voice. It was sweet of her to be worried, and considering how quiet Applejack had been it was unsurprising. The Earth pony almost felt guilty for letting her thoughts slip away like they did and not even to anything which might help their quest.

“Well, uh, I just…” She blushed slightly. “I like trains.” Rainbow Dash snorted, and the two ponies shared a hearty chuckle at the unexpectedly lighthearted revelation.

“And here was me thinking you’d be trying to work out some sort of plan or something!” Rainbow giggled, leaning over to nuzzle Applejack before lying down again.

“Well now, that ain’t a bad idea, actually,” the farmer said with a hoof to her chin. “We’re gonna need to think about what we do when we get there, making some sorta plan would be helpful.” Rainbow waved a hoof halfheartedly.

“Nah, got one already.”

“You do?” AJ asked, rather surprised.

“Sure thing: scope the place out while it’s still light, sneak in when it gets dark. Easy.” Her eyes slid shut and within seconds she had drifted off.

And that was that, apparently.