• Published 24th Mar 2013
  • 12,567 Views, 400 Comments

A Hairy Problem - BlueBastard

Strange things are happening with Applejack after a mysterious wolf-like creature attacks her when she looks into the aftermath of another CMC incident.

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Ch.11: CMCWH...Y? - Part 1

Chapter 11: Cutie Mark Crusaders Wolf Hunters!...Yay? - Part 1

Once Applejack was finally able to plop down onto the living room couch, she let out a sigh of relief she didn’t know had been waiting to come out. Between having to explain why she was wearing high-class perfume to not only her closest friends but then practically half the town and then her own family (along with why the bananas were slightly beaten up), she had no plans to leave the farm anytime soon. At this point she was sure this whole “dog hormones” thing was tied into the cramps she’d started feeling again, so until she could go around town without having her rear quarters drive her crazy and not have dogs wanting to make her their marefriend, the farm was the only safe place for her. The perfume applications would also have to be done for at least another week, as recommended by Sandalwood who had just outright given her a bottle of Chattelle No. 50, in order to be sure the whole dog chasing thing never happened again.

But then she let out a groan as the realization of the scope of her problems made it clear how much trouble she was in. No doubt she’d still be radiating hormones in her wolf body and it would probably end up attracting timberwolves and other things she really did not want to get to know intimately. That posed a problem as she was going to need a good night run within the next week, but with her special spot still being disagreeable she couldn’t risk going back into the Everfree.

Ah wonder if Ah could just get away with runnin’ around the farm? she pondered. Sure, she knew the lay of the land that the farm covered like the back of her hoof, and it wouldn’t be as exciting as running through the unpredictable Everfree, but it was better than nothing. She just had to take care to not disturb the other residents of the farm, if they got alarmed and reported in there was a wild predator, which they’d probably think was a timberwolf, it could be bad for her.

Her mind made up, she got back onto her hooves and went off to go do some more work around the farm, of which there never was a shortage of.

The bell on top of the schoolhouse clanged back and forth, as if to tell the world school was done for the day and to prepare for the army of fillies and colts to return home where they would create much trouble. The young ponies all began to disperse from the school, separating into various groups of friends and siblings as they went their separate ways for the day. Naturally, this meant the CMC came together to plan their next misadventure in the eternal quest for their bum marks.

“Hey, Apple Bloom, think we might be able to fix up the car we built and try for car-racing cutie marks?” eagerly asked Scootaloo, who seemed to like the speed of the car a bit too much.

“Ah’d rather not. After lookin’ at it when Applejack and Big Mac weren’t around, the front axle’s broken an’ there’s no way we could secretly fix that. Sorry, Scoot, but Ah think our car drivin’ days are over.”

The young pegasus nickered in annoyance, once again relegated back to her scooter for wheeled speed. Sweetie Belle, on the other hand, proposed a different idea: “What if we tried being armoatheparists? Rarity and Applejack seem to have become good friends with that new pony who works at the spa. Plus, she did suggest we try making the car, so maybe she’ll be willing to help us again?”

“Aromathera-whatits?” inquired a confused Scootaloo.

“Armoatherapits!” Squeaked Sweetie Belle, “From what Rarity told me, they’re ponies who use all kinds of things to generate smells and stuff to help relax ponies! Apparently it’s really popular at the spa and I’m sure she would appreciate some help!”

“Ugh, that doesn’t sound awesome at all, but I guess I’ll go along. Not like I have anything better to do.”

With two crusaders in agreement and one reluctantly participating, it was decided that they were going to get their cutie marks in aromatherapy.

Sandalwood was in good spirits. After the whole debacle involving Applejack revealing she was a werewolf, the day had gotten much better for Ponyville’s newest resident. As it turned out, Chocolate Chip already had a place of his own and Bon-Bon was in the process of moving out. She was pleased to hear Sandalwood would be taking her place in the flat, as she’d secretly doubted Lyra would find anypony willing to deal with the local human-obsessed pony to the point of living with her. While Bon-Bon was back at the flat and taking the last of her things, Sandalwood was off to the hotel where she’d get her own things and check out before moving into her new shared home.

“Hey, Sandalwood!”

Turning her head to see who was calling for her, she paled slightly as the source of the voice was one of three fillies running towards her. The same three who had expressed interest in the car project she and Lyra had built, then later built their own and crashed it into the forest. While the threat of Applejack throttling her into a wall was mostly gone, Sandalwood really didn’t want anything to do with what mishaps this trio was going to get into next.

“Oh, um, hello girls. Can I help you with something?”

“We want to try getting our cutie marks in armorahethrapy and we were wondering if you could teach us how to be aromatherapists!” said Sweetie Belle.

Sandalwood, who had been trotting at a light pace, came to a dead halt upon hearing the CMC’s plans of becoming aromatherapists. Looking at them incredulously, she had to wonder what gave them the idea they could become the same thing she was.

“This is a joke, right? Please tell me it’s a joke.”

The three fillies, one of each type of pony, shook their heads in unison.

They’re actually serious about this? Thought Sandalwood, I know Rarity told me her little sister and her friends could do some silly things in trying to find their talents, but really? Aromatherapy?

“You three seriously want to learn how to be aromatherapists like me?

Three nodding heads, although the pegasus whose name Sandalwood didn’t know seemed considerably less enthusiastic than the other two fillies.

Much to the CMC’s disappointment, Sandalwood shook her head; “Sorry, girls, but being an aromatherapist isn’t something you just try and do. I’ve always been interested in working with perfumes and scents and stuff, so I was happy when I got my cutie mark and discovered performing aromatherapy was my special talent. It’s actually very complicated to make the right mixtures and applications if you don’t know what you’re doing and isn’t something most ponies can learn.”

Somehow seeing a ray of hope where there really was none, Apple Bloom tried to reason with Sandalwood; “but what if we’re not ‘most ponies’ and we can be aormaparathists like you?”

Sandalwood shook her head again; “Even if you three are, which I honestly doubt, I wouldn’t make a good teacher. Most of what I know has been either instinctual with my talents or learned through years of trial and error. I once made my mother; Burnin’ Sarcasm, smell like rotten eggs for a week when I gave her some perfume I’d made that was supposed to have been the scent of vanilla. I eventually got the mix right, but it took months of experimentation and hard work. From what I can tell, you three think just trying to be aromatherapists will get you your marks, but that’s not how it works. You just need to be patient, your marks will come in time when you realize what you’ve been good at all your life but never noticed before.”

“But that’s what everypony says!” cried the trio in unison.

“With good reason, I’ll bet,” Sandalwood responded, unmoved by the CMC’s desperation to rush things that could not be rushed. “I also have a lot of rare and expensive things, not the kind of materials beginners want to start out with. Let me...um...order some basic materials and you three can come back later and try, okay? Now, I apologize but I really need to go get my things and check out of my hotel before the clerk charges me for staying another night when I’m not.” And with that, Sandalwood bid the CMC’s goodbye and trotted off rather quickly in the direction of the hotel.

“Well, so much for that idea,” Scootaloo moaned, secretly glad that she’d never risk learning her special talent was making other ponies smell better. “What are we going to do now?”

A thought came to Sweetie Bell’s mind: “I dunno, maybe we could try something nopony within a thousand years has tried, like raising the sun? Ponies apparently could do that before the princesses came around to do it for them, according to the Hearths Warming legends.”

Scootaloo was not amused, “Yeah, we’re gonna raise the sun. Do I look like the daughter of Princess Celestia to you? Am I secretly hiding my true identity as ‘Princess Scootaloo’ by magically rendering a horn on my head invisible and pretending I can’t fly?”

“Um…yes?” Rarity’s little sister replied, her face as straight as a plank of lumber.

Scootaloo just stared at Sweetie Belle, rolling her eyes when the tiny unicorn couldn’t keep up the straight face and began giggling.

Apple Bloom once again acted as leader in trying to get the Crusaders back on track: “C’mon girls, we need to come up with some new ideas for getting cutie marks, Ah don’t know about you two but Ah don’t wanna be a blank flank all mah life. We need to have some kinda brainstormin’ session so we can have a whole list of possible talents we could try.”

“What about a sleepover at the clubhouse?” proposed Sweetie Belle, ever a fan of sleepovers. “It’s the weekend, so we won’t have to worry about school and stay up night to come up with new ideas!”

“Yeah!” agreed the flightless pegasus. “Mom and Dad probably won’t mind having the night to themselves instead of looking after me, they’re always so busy around this time of year.” Scootaloo’s parents, Flower Shower and Slipstream, were evaluators for weather teams all over Equestria. As a result of their always being away at their jobs, they tried to spend as much of their free time with their single daughter and were usually not around. While there were a few adults who knew them and watched Scootaloo when they weren’t around, they were so rarely seen around town that rumors had started that Scootaloo was a runaway or an abandoned orphan.

“That sounds like a great idea, Ah’ll go ask Granny if it’s alright!”

Applejack tried to keep her grumbling to herself. Tonight’s running plans were complicated now not only by trying to not wake the rest of the farm up, but now she had to contend with her sister and friends sleeping over at their clubhouse in a secluded part of the farm. A place she’d wanted to go to because it was the only place on the farm with trees located close enough to best simulate the challenges of the Everfree. Maybe she still could, but unless the Crusaders eventually conked out before she reached there at night she’d have to scratch plans to visit that area of the farm until another night. She was sure the normal fields of apple trees should be sufficient in that situation.

However, another issue Applejack found herself having with the Crusaders on the farm was invoking some major déjà vu feelings she really didn’t like. For one reason or another, Scootaloo suddenly looked really, really delicious to her. As if she was a giant, walking chicken who was both young and supple. A walking chicken dinner just ripe for the-

No no no no no. Applejack rebuked herself as she went off to go offload more harvested apples, She is not on the menu. Period. Ah’m gonna control this werewolf thing, not let it control me!

Meanwhile, at the CMC treehouse, the three fillies were getting ready for their sleepover. Naturally, as is the case with all sleepovers, they had no plans to actually fall asleep. After all, this was supposed to be their big planning night where they would come up with an inexhaustible list of things to try so that they could gain their cutie marks.

“Hey, maybe we’ll get our cutie marks in having sleepovers!” Sweetie Belle chirped happily.

“Sweetie, if that was our special talent then we would have gotten our marks back when we were having a sleepover at Fluttershy’s,” Scootaloo retorted.

“Oh, right…”

Applebloom then poked her head out of the upper floor observatory; “Hey, girls come up here and take a look through the telescope, the sunset is really somethin’ to see!”

A mad scramble between a pegasus and unicorn shortly followed as they ascended their clubhouse fortress to gaze through the telescope. Celestia’s sunset truly was a sight to see as the duty of maintaining the sky fell to Luna once more. Once the night had settled in and Big Mac had come by to check in on the Crusaders before the rest of the Apples went to bed, the trio “went to bed” before checking to see all the lights in the house go out. Upon that moment, the three young ponies got back up and began their true mission of planning their future endeavors. But their next attempt at cutie marks was something they would never have seen coming.

She had to. Feeling the sensation of her body changing into a more feral form, Applejack could not resist the urges of the night. It was hard enough winning the battle for her mind to not direct her into the forest, because she really didn’t want to know the effect she’d have on the wildlife in there at the moment.

Making her usual leap from the bedroom window to the ground, she quickly darted off to take cover. Couldn’t risk anypony seeing her as she began formulating her plans for the night. She’d start off easily enough, bobbing and weaving through the apple trees. Them maybe a few laps around the practice rodeo track. Finally, if she was lucky, Applebloom and her friends would have fallen asleep and she could run through that area for the greatest thrills. Once done, she could finally go back to her room and shift back, and nopony would be the wiser. Sure, there was the risk of waking up the other residents of the farm, but the risk was part of the thrill, the adrenaline high that Applejack’s werewolf side seemed to crave almost as much as meat.

Her plan set, she quickly dashed off to begin her substitute running course, starting with the groves of apple trees. It wasn’t anything too challenging, but trying to imagine more random obstacles in her way to dodge made things a lot better. But what she hadn’t predicted was her ability to go flat out. Without obstacles and the trees neatly spaced out from one another, she could open her throttle and rush as fast as she could with the source of her family’s income rushing by on both sides.

Then she made a critical mistake. Overcome by the adrenaline, she couldn’t stop herself for letting out an excited howl. Without the thick, dense cover of the Everfree, she sounded very much like a timberwolf who had trespassed onto Sweet Apple Acres looking for an easy meal to steal. So she not only woke up all the other animals on the farm but also Big Mac and Granny. The run hadn’t even really begun and she was already in hot water.

“Damnit damnit damnit!” the werewolf cursed as she frantically looked around for a place to hide. Conveniently, there was a thick patch she could see at the far end of the farm where she could lay low until enough time had passed that she could turn back to pony form and pretend to be trying to track down whatever it is that had spooked everypony.

She’d just gotten into her hiding spot when all of a sudden bright lights came on nearby. To Applejack’s horror, she saw it was coming from the CMC treehouse. And even though it was a stupid idea any sane pony, those there were going to come out here to try and find the culprit for causing all the ruckus if their previous actions fueled by curiosity were any indication. Unfortunately, despite being the most wooded part of the farm, the trees were still too neatly separated to completely conceal Applejack, her orange coat was a dead giveaway. She needed to figure out how she was going to get out of here while still explaining why she was out on the farm at night. And fast.

Contrary to even their own expectations, the Crusaders had ended up all falling to sleep rather quickly. They didn’t get much shut eye, however, as the sound of a close by howl followed by a large racket of noise coming from all over the farm made them stir.

“What in the world could that be?” Apple Bloom murmured groggily.

Sweetie Belle yawned. “I dunno, but it seems to have gotten the cows and the sheep all worried about something.”

“Five more…minutes…” half-snored the half-asleep Scootaloo. She did not remain asleep for long as she suddenly found herself in the middle of a three-way hug, the scientifically proven method that had been found to convince Scootaloo to do something she didn’t want to do. “Okay! Okay! I surrender! Just get off me!”

“Well, now that we’re all awake,” Apple Bloom, started, taking leadership charge of the group, “we probably should actually plan what we as the Cutie Mark Crusaders are gonna do to earn our marks!”

“I dunno…” objected Sweetie Belle, “Whatever caused the cows and the sheep to make all that noise out there might still be around, and I don’t feel so safe in here anymore.”

Suddenly, Scootaloo shot up into the air, hitting a hanging light bulb that instantly turned on from the collision. “You mean to say the creature outside is dangerous and could possibly kill us all if we tried to get it?”

The earth and unicorn fillies slowly nodded their heads to the pegasus, not quite sure where she was going with this.

“Well, what if we tried to find it and catch it? We could get our cutie marks in dangerous animal capturing!”

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow at that, “Scoot, that sounds highly dangerous and most likely we’ll just end up dead and/or the next meal of that thing out there.”

“Yeah, I’ll admit there is some risk. But it can’t be too bad, since back when you had the Cutie Pox you tamed lions, remember?”

“Oh, yeah, you’re right!”

And so, without any actual reasons for not agreeing with the plan to hunt down a potentially lethal monster that could eat them, the trio immediately got to work assembling makeshift animal control gear in the hopes of getting their dangerous animal capturing. Nothing could go wrong.