• Published 19th Apr 2013
  • 12,560 Views, 1,099 Comments

Mortal - Benman



Twilight Sparkle's friends have lived long and happy lives. Now their time is coming to an end, but Rainbow Dash, at least, will not go gently. Twilight has the power to save her friend's life. Is it worth violating the natural order?

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Laughter

Carousel Boutique had changed over the decades. The space was Sunstone’s as much as it was Rarity’s, if not more so. The mannequins and racks of clothing were joined by glass cases displaying bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and brooches. Rarity’s work was still prominent, but much of it was for display, not for sale. Rarity simply wasn’t able to keep the hours she once had. Nevertheless, when she worked, she worked with as much passion as ever.

“Turn a little to the left, darling,” said Rarity. “No, your left, not my left. Yes, perfect! Don’t move.” From her perch atop a thick cushion, Rarity floated a small arsenal of pins and clips through the air and used them to make a dozen small adjustments to the pure white dress draped over the yellow-gold earth pony before her. “This won’t take long. I’m sure you’ll look perfect for the big day.”

“I’m sure,” said Honey Pie as she was pulled this way and that by the twitches and tugs to her dress. “It looks wonderful already, really. Are you sure you need to change it?”

“But of course,” said Rarity. “Your father asked for some additions to the bridesmaids’ dresses, so yours simply must be changed to match.”

“Dad!” Honey Pie shot an exasperated look at the earth pony by her side. “Did you have to? Those dresses were fine.”

“You only get married once, Honey,” said Shepherd Pie. “You should have something better than ‘fine.’ The new ones will be a much better match for the wedding’s scenery.”

“But now we have to collect them again, alter them, and get them back to the right ponies! Who knows what could go wrong?”

“Already taken care of.” Shepherd Pie draped a cream-colored foreleg over his daughter. “Have some faith. You asked me to plan this thing, and by the blue sky above, it’s gonna stay planned.”

“He’s quite right,” said Rarity. “You’re lucky to have somepony who’s so talented at coordinating all these details.”

“Yeah.” Honey Pie nodded. “I don’t know how you can keep all that straight, Dad.”

“Hah! You think this is good?” said Shepherd Pie. “You should see your grandmother in action. I swear she has a seventh sense for that stuff.”

The bell above the front door tinkled, and Twilight Sparkle entered the shop. Honey Pie bowed.

“Do hold still, darling,” said Rarity. “We’re not finished here.”

Honey Pie stared at Rarity with wide eyes. “But, but—princess! Here!”

Shepherd Pie smirked. “Don’t worry, Honey. It’s just Twilight. She doesn’t bite.”

“It’s alright,” said Twilight. “I’m not here for anything official. I’m just picking up my dress for the wedding, actually.”

“Of course,” said Rarity. “I finished the alterations before we left yesterday. We missed you, you know.”

“I wish I could’ve gone,” said Twilight. “Rainbow wasn’t up to going to the grave, though, and I didn’t want to leave her alone. You know how hard this is for her.”

Rarity nodded. “She’s lucky to have a friend like you.”

“Talking with her helped me, too,” said Twilight. “She’s not the only one who’s hurting.” Her eyes flicked to Shepherd and Honey. “Let’s talk later. I’ll let you get back to work.”

“Oh, one other thing, darling. Will you be stopping by Sweet Apple Acres?”

Twilight nodded. “I’m planning to drop in and see Fluttershy.” It wasn’t a lie, she decided. She was certainly planning to visit now. It would be a good excuse to stretch her wings.

“Splendid. Could you bring her gown when you go? It’s the one by the door, there.”

“I’d be happy to.” Twilight levitated both gowns and folded them neatly into her saddlebag. Twilight smiled to herself as she left the shop. It was good to see Rarity staying active in spite of her condition.

“Hey, Twilight! There you are.”

“Hi, Rainbow Dash.” Twilight craned her neck upwards to watch her friend’s descent. Rainbow flew in a broad circle, slowly losing speed and altitude until she touched down. “How are you feeling?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking. You remember when you first turned into a princess?”

“Of course.” It wasn’t something she was likely to forget. When her friends’ power washed over her, all those decades ago, the feeling of warmth and wholeness had been staggering. She had fully comprehended the Elements of Harmony on that day, and forged her first connections to the pegasus and earth pony parts of her soul; now it was difficult to imagine life without them.

“Do you think we could do something like that again? I mean, I know we—” Dash swallowed. “We don’t have all six Elements anymore, but there was that stuff you were telling us that time we beat Spike’s mom, about how all of the Elements live in you now that you’re an alicorn. Anyway, do you know if it could work?”

“I guess it’s theoretically possible,” said Twilight. “Every Element actually exists in every pony, but not necessarily that much of it. I don’t know if anypony could power a spell that big without six full Bearers. I probably couldn’t do it. Maybe Celestia could. I’d have to look at Star Swirl’s notes…” She snapped herself back to reality. “Why do you ask?”

“What do you mean, why? So you can do it to us!”

“Oh. Oh!” Twilight nodded. “That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? You, me, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Rarity… I don’t know, though. Immortality is a huge responsibility. Celestia made that very clear. I think she would’ve had us do that already, if she meant to do it for you.”

“Come on, Twilight. You can’t tell me you don’t want us around.”

“Of course I do! But I don’t know if it’s a good idea, or even if it’s possible.”

“I do impossible things all the time. There was the sonic rainboom, crossing the Arabian Sea, that thing with the sphinxes, outrunning the—”

“I get the idea,” said Twilight. “I’ll talk to Princess Celestia. I can’t promise anything, but we’ll see what she says.”

“Thanks,” said Rainbow. “This last week… I don’t ever want to go through this again. Let me know, alright?” She took to the sky and soared away. Her flight was steady, but not nearly what it had been in their youth. Twilight remembered being the second-fastest flier in Ponyville, but while she had only grown stronger with the passage of decades, Rainbow Dash was… well, she was remarkably fit for her age.

Twilight had planned to fly to the farm, but decided to teleport instead. Twilight knew how Rainbow Dash suffered every time she saw Twilight flying with the grace she now lacked. The old mare tried not to let it show, but Twilight could read her like a book.

A quick spell took her to Sweet Apple Acres. Twilight would never have managed to teleport so far in her unicorn days. Even in her first decade as an alicorn, the spell would have been a challenge. Her power and knowledge continued to grow, however, and now she could teleport as far as Canterlot without exerting herself.

Twilight Sparkle materialized amidst rows of apple trees. It was harvest season, and her earth pony senses were aglow. Twilight closed her eyes and basked in the life force radiating from the trees and their young fruits. She took a deep breath, sucking the brisk autumn chill deep into her lungs.

“Well, now,” came a voice from behind. “If it isn’t the Princess Of Standing In My Way.”

“Hi, Crabapple.” Twilight turned to face him. The brick-red pegasus was hitched to a half-full cart of apples. Twilight stepped aside, clearing his path to the next unharvested tree. “I’m looking for your mom.”

“You’ll have an easier time with your eyes open.” He positioned the cart beside the tree and undid the traces.

“I’ve got her dress for your son’s wedding,” said Twilight. Like everyone who spent time around the Apple family, Twilight was used to shrugging off Crabapple’s gibes.

“Produce shed,” said Crabapple. He drove a powerful kick into the tree, knocking its fruit into the cart.

Twilight nodded her thanks and set off.

She quickly found her way to the shed, where Fluttershy was combing through the harvest, sorting the good apples from the bad. “Oh, hello,” Fluttershy said. “What brings you here today?”

“Rarity asked me to bring over your dress for Apple Sprout’s wedding. Here, look.” Twilight spread the gown in the air.

Fluttershy examined it closely. “It’s very nice,” she said. “I told Rarity not to bother with the embroidery on the hem, though. She’s too busy as it is.”

“When has that ever stopped her? You know how she gets about weddings. She’s almost as bad as Pinkie Pie.”

“Mm.” Fluttershy nodded. “It will be good to see her again.” She refolded the dress in silence before abruptly looking up and meeting Twilight’s gaze. “Can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” said Twilight.

“What do you think happens to ponies when we die?”

“I know this is a hard time, Fluttershy. It's going to be okay.”

“You’re close to Princess Celestia,” said Fluttershy. “If anypony knows, it’s her.”

“She doesn’t. I asked her once, right after my grandmother died. That would’ve been way back when I was in school. She told me, ‘I don’t know. I’ve never died.’ Much later, I did some more thorough research. If there were answers out there, I would’ve found them, but nopony knows for sure.”

“I like to think we come back as some other type of animal,” said Fluttershy.

“Why do you believe that, if I can ask?” said Twilight.

“There are just so many different types of creatures, and they all live such different lives. If we only got to experience one, I don’t think that would be fair. Besides, nothing really ends.” She gestured to the orchard behind them. “Look at the farm. Trees die, but when they do, another tree takes its place. The orchard keeps going, it’s just a little different. What if ponies are the same way?” Fluttershy shrugged. “But, um, that’s only what I think. What do you think happens?”

“Any sort of afterlife or reincarnation would need some kind of powerful mechanism behind it. Something like that would leave behind traces of its existence, but nopony’s ever been able to find anything of the sort.”

“You’re saying this life is all there is?”

Twilight nodded. “Put simply, yes. But that's okay. Applejack had a good life.”

“Thanks for stopping by, Twilight. I’ll go put the gown away.”





Twilight Sparkle cantered down the red-carpeted hallway. She had managed to track Princess Celestia here, halfway up the palace’s Radiant Spire. She was just in time, too. She found Celestia leaving the office of some minister whose name eluded Twilight. “Celestia!” Twilight called. “Excuse me, Princess?”

Celestia stopped walking and turned. “Yes, my little pony? What is it?”

“I wanted to ask for your help.”

“Always, Twilight. Come, walk with me.”

“Right. So. I was thinking about my friends.” Twilight fell into step beside Celestia and set off towards the enormous open windows at the end of the hall. “I remember what living without them was like, before I came to Ponyville.”

“That was a long time ago. Is something wrong?”

“I don’t want to live like that again. I don’t want my friends to die. If we can turn them into princesses, too, then I’d like to do it. I looked through Starswirl’s notes, and it should be possible, but I don’t know if I’m powerful enough to harmonize with all six Elements. I was… I was hoping you could help?”

“I see.” Celestia’s expression grew distant, the way it had when Twilight once asked her about the Mare in the Moon, back during her school days. “We talked about this at length, Twilight. You know Equestrian society would collapse if we elevated our friends like that. You know that most ponies aren’t prepared to handle immortality.”

“I know, I know. But I thought, well, my friends aren’t most ponies. They’re the Elements of Harmony. They’ve saved Equestria eleven times, by my count. Twelve, if you count the Volcano Sisters separately. And they taught me everything I know about friendship. That counts for something, right? We want ponies like them around forever. If anypony’s earned this, then they have.”

“Is that what you believe is true?” asked Celestia. “Or is it just what you want to be true?”

Twilight looked at her hooves. “Honestly, I’m not sure.” Decades ago, Twilight had agreed with the implacable logic of letting nature and mortality take their course, but that had all been abstract. Applying the same logic in the wake of Applejack’s death was something else entirely. A part of Twilight was refusing to face that, she knew. She had the unclean feeling that came with trying to argue her way to a foregone conclusion instead of trying to find the truth. “I think maybe it was.” She forced herself not to shrink away from the logic. Such weakness would have been embarrassing in the best of circumstances. In front of the princess, it made her feel like a filly who had forgotten to study for a test.

Celestia gave her a bittersweet smile, the one that always appeared during lectures that started with I expected too much of you. “I know how hard this must be. Why don’t you stay a week or two in Canterlot? Some space might be good for you.”

“I can’t. I really don’t want to leave Rainbow Dash alone right now, and I shouldn’t miss the wedding.”

They walked in silence, past a portrait of Celestia with Star Swirl the Bearded and two ponies Twilight didn’t know.

“I wish I could spare you this,” said Celestia. “Your friends are very special ponies. They’re good-hearted, and wiser than most ponies can imagine. They wouldn’t make good princesses, though. Being a princess is not a favor to be given to those you love. It is not an award to be given to the worthy. It is a solemn duty and a terrible burden, and it must only be carried by those with the will to endure it and the talent to steward Equestria for all time.” Celestia reached the end of the hallway and its enormous open window. Without breaking stride, she unfurled her wings and launched herself into the vacant space beyond. “Ponies like that are extremely rare, and we are always trying to find them. We can’t act on a hunch or a hope, though, because making somepony an alicorn is something that can never be undone. Cadence and I had our eyes on you since you became my student, but even so, it took us years to be sure.”

Twilight followed into the open air, barely aware that her hooves had left the ground. “You mean you were thinking of this when I was a filly?”

Princess Celestia banked towards the Argent Tower, a shorter turret on the other side of the palace gardens. “The Princess of Love doesn’t foalsit for just anypony.”

Twilight blinked. “Wow. I had no idea.”

“I hope that gives you an idea of how seriously we take this,” said Celestia. “These decisions are permanent, not just for a lifetime, but for all lifetimes. We must never, ever make a mistake. Very few ponies have the strength to watch their friends and family die, generation after generation, and still care for the ponies who come after. Even fewer have the compassion, wisdom, and raw talent it takes to guide Equestria. Finding a pony with both, like you, is a rare and special thing.”

“I understand,” said Twilight. “So that fortitude you’re talking about, that’s necessary to becoming an alicorn, right? I mean, apart from whether it’s a good idea.”

“Not quite. Your friends could become alicorns; all it takes is the right application of the Elements. They just shouldn’t.”

“But how do you know that? Did anypony try transforming a pony who wasn’t ready?”

“That’s not my story to tell,” said Celestia. “You will learn that lesson someday, but not through experience, I hope. Do you understand?” She landed gently on the terrace atop the Argent Tower.

Twilight touched down beside her. “It’s not what I wanted to hear, but I think so. I just don’t like the idea of leaving my friends behind.” Of course Celestia was right, as always. “I know what I have to do, but part of me still wishes there was another way.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. When we first discovered the Elements, there were six of us…” Her mouth tightened. “Letting go hurt, but I had to do it.” Celestia looked Twilight straight in the eyes. “I’d like you to spend half an hour and think of all the ways society could fall apart if we tried any other way. We went over the descriptions, but I want you to picture it. Imagine trying to become a respected scholar in a world where Star Swirl and Owlbright are still alive. Imagine how crowded Ponyville would be with a thousand years’ worth of alicorns. Imagine how bored an average pony would become after three or four centuries of life. To you, this is all just words, now. You have to understand with your heart as well as your mind.” Celestia walked into the tower, leaving Twilight alone with her thoughts.





“This is bad,” said Honey Pie. “This is really bad.” She paced across the bare pine floor of Apple Sprout’s bedroom. “We have to fix this.”

Apple Sprout fought down the urge to grin. His fiancée was adorable when she got like this, but saying so aloud would probably be unwise.

“I’m sorry,” said Granny Fluttershy. “I thought you wanted the red roses.”

“No, no, no!” said Honey Pie. “The red roses are for the entrée. The garlands are supposed to be the white roses. Oh, what are we going to do?”

Fluttershy shrank away. “Oh, goodness. I’m sorry.”

Honey Pie took a deep breath. “It’s okay,” she said. “It’s not a big deal.” The fake smile she put on was enough to reassure Granny Fluttershy, but Apple Sprout could see through it like a window. “You did fine.”

“Oh. Good,” said Fluttershy. “I’ll talk to Rosebud and see if we can fix this before the wedding tomorrow.”

“That’s alright, Granny,” said Apple Sprout. “We’ll take it from here.”

“If you say so,” said Fluttershy. “I’ll bring the flowers over, so you can figure out what to do with them.” She left the room.

The moment the door closed, Honey Pie dropped her calm façade like a hot coal. “This is bad, Sprout. We have to fix this.” She tugged at her mane.

“Relax,” said Apple Sprout. “It’s just flowers.”

“It isn’t! It’s our wedding! It’s supposed to be perfect!”

“Hey. It will be.” He laid a hoof on her withers. “We’re getting married, right? I’m going to spend the rest of my life with you. It doesn’t get any more perfect than that.”

“I know.” Honey Pie leaned against him. “But there’s still the ceremony, and there’s so much that can still go wrong!”

“So what if it does?” Apple Sprout sat on the floor and pulled Honey Pie down beside him. “I don’t care if the whole town catches on fire, I am still going to marry the stuffing out of you.” He poked her in the ribs.

“Hey!” Grinning, she slapped his leg away. “Watch those hooves!”

“How’s this?” He wrapped her in a loose embrace.

“Mm. Better.” She shifted into a more comfortable position, resting against his side.

He held her close, listening to the soft sound of her breathing. Neither of them moved.

They didn’t notice when Fluttershy came back. She cracked open the door and saw the two of them locked in their silent embrace. Carefully, quietly, she shut the door, left the basket of red roses beside it, and backed away.






The wedding was in full swing. The Apple clan, nearly a dozen strong even excluding the ponies who had left the farm, had transformed the largest of their fields into an outdoor banquet hall. Over a hundred guests milled around as the ceremony approached.

Fluttershy scanned the crowd. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t see her.”

“She said she’d be here this time.” Crabapple twitched his wings impatiently. “Element of Loyalty, my tail.”

“Wedding ain’t started yet,” said Big Macintosh.

Fluttershy hopped down from the wooden crate on which she stood. “She could still show up.”

“She better,” said Crabapple. “I’ve got one kid and he’s got one wedding. If Auntie Dash misses it, I don’t aim to let her live it down.” He glared at nothing in particular as he paced, nervously brushing a wing against the slats of the crate. It was a heavy, solid thing, just about the height and length of a pony.

“You should try to calm down,” said Fluttershy. She leaned over and nuzzled Big Macintosh’s neck.

“Calm down, Ma?” said Crabapple. “I did mention that this is Sprout’s wedding? Hey, careful, there!” Crabapple darted over and restraightened Macintosh’s bow tie where Fluttershy had knocked it askew. “Great. Now the collar’s all wrinkled. You look like a vagrant.”

“It’s just a shirt,” said Big Macintosh. “Ain’t nopony gonna notice a shirt today.”

“Look,” said Fluttershy. “Here comes Rarity.” She pointed to where Sunstone was entering the field, pulling Rarity’s carriage behind him. He was chatting with an older unicorn stallion who walked alongside. Fluttershy waved, and Sunstone changed direction to approach her.

Macintosh nodded at the guests as they arrived. “Center Stage. Sunstone. Howdy.”

“Hey, Big M! Glad to be here,” said Center Stage. “One moment, let me get the wife.” He opened the carriage door and helped Rarity ease her way out.

Despite her slow, painful steps, Rarity was beaming. “Congratulations, everypony. This is such a fabulous day for all of you.” She looked to Fluttershy. “I can’t even imagine how proud you must be.”

“Everything should be set up alright for you, Miss Rarity,” said Crabapple. “If you’re too broken to get around, let us know.”

“I appreciate your… concern, darling, but I’ll manage just fine.”

Macintosh frowned dubiously at that. He glanced to Fluttershy, who nodded and began scanning the crowd.

“C’mon, my jewel,” said Center Stage. “It’s a long walk to the pavillion.”

“Then we’d best get started,” said Rarity. “I’ll see all of you there.” She began hobbling towards the heavy canvas tent at the far end of the field, leaning heavily on Sunstone as she went. The middle-aged stallion sagged a bit under the burden.

Fluttershy reached out and stopped a passing colt who was only a couple of years past getting his cutie mark. “Would you please help Miss Rarity get to the pavillion?”

“Aw, but Granny, I—”

“No buts,” snapped Crabapple. “Do as you’re told.”

“Yes, Uncle Crabapple.” The colt took Sunstone’s place supporting Rarity. Sunstone breathed a sigh of relief.

Rarity smiled at Fluttershy as she tottered away. “Thank you. It must be wonderful to have grandchildren around.”

Sunstone rolled his eyes. “Subtle, isn’t she?”

Center Stage poked him in the ribs. “Well, hurry up and get us some! We’re not getting any younger.”

Dad! I swear, I can’t take you anywhere.” Sunstone’s voice faded into the general hubbub as they left.

A voice came from behind. “Hey, guys. Did I miss anything?”

“Auntie Dash!” Crabapple whirled and threw a hug around Rainbow as she stepped around the crate. “I was afraid you weren’t coming.”

Rainbow Dash returned the hug. “Like I’d miss Sprout’s wedding. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.”

Crabapple took a step back and cleared his throat. “Yes, well, it took you long enough. This’d be a lot easier if you’d move back to the farm with the rest of us.”

“Yeah, no thanks. Too many memories here.” She turned to the rest of the group. “Hey, Fluttershy. Hey, Macintosh. Uh, what’s wrong with your collar?”

“See?” said Crabapple. “You see what I mean? You’d think—” He paused as he caught sight of a passing pony. “Hey, Shepherd! Get over here!”

The father of the bride made his way over. “Crabapple. What can I do for you?”

“What do you think? Did you find where Sprout left the rings?”

“No,” said Shepherd Pie. “I thought I heard you were looking for those. I’ve been trying to get the banquet ready.”

Crabapple rolled his eyes. “Well, it’s only the galloping wedding rings. I guess it’s no big deal.”

“Hey, there’s only one of me. I’ll find the rings, but somepony else is gonna have to track down these red roses.”

“Fine. I’ll deal with your plants. You find those rings.” Crabapple stomped away. Shepherd gave the remaining three ponies a brief wave before he was gone, too, leaving them in an island of calm amidst the chaos of the surrounding wedding.

Big Macintosh turned to Rainbow Dash. “Crabapple was right.”

Rainbow Dash looked up. “Huh?”

“About living with us,” said Fluttershy. “You should come back to the farm. I don’t like thinking of you all alone in that cloud house.”

“Hey, I’m fine on my own.”

“Ain’t right for a pony to be alone,” said Macintosh. “Not at our age.”

“You have a family here,” said Fluttershy. “I know you first came to be with Applejack, and I know you never had children of your own, but you’ve been here since before the kids were born. You’re part of their lives, and you always have been. You saw how excited Crabapple was to see you.”

“Yeah. I know.” Rainbow Dash pawed at the ground. “It’s just, without AJ, it doesn’t feel right. Everything around here reminds me of her, you know? Like, right there, that’s the fence I helped her fix after the thing with the jackalopes. That patch there is where we’d throw horseshoes. And we were standing right here when she told me about her fight with Crabapple. The big one, I mean. You remember how mad she got?” She gasped a high, shuddering breath. “I can’t live with all this. It’s too much.”

Fluttershy nuzzled her friend. “You miss her.”

Rainbow Dash squeezed her eyes shut and buried her face in Fluttershy’s shoulder. “So much.”

Big Macintosh cleared his throat. “Ladies.”

They looked up. A mound of perfect white silk was approaching on four legs, accompanied by a young stallion in a tuxedo. Rainbow Dash hurriedly composed herself.

Fluttershy stepped forward. “Congratulations, you two!”

“Thanks, Granny,” said Apple Sprout, giving Fluttershy a quick embrace.

“Hi, Fluttershy,” came the voice from behind the veil. “Guess I’d better get used to calling you ‘Granny,’ too.”

“Oh, it isn’t such a big change,” said Fluttershy. “You’re almost family already. Your grandmother is like a sister to me.”

“Have you seen her?” said Honey Pie. “Dad said she was getting in late, but she’s cutting it awfully close.”

Rainbow Dash frowned. “Unless they changed the schedule on me, the last train from Fillydelphia got in a couple hours ago. If she’s not here, then something’s up.”

Fluttershy coughed. “I, um. I’m sure she’ll make it in time.”

“I hope so,” said Honey Pie. “Unless you have her hidden away somewhere, we’ll have to start without her.”

“SURPRISE!” Bits of wood flew everywhere. Honey Pie staggered back, stumbled over the train of her dress, and sat down heavily. Where the crate had been was now a wrinkled pink pony, shaking sawdust from her graying mane.

“Wh,” said Honey Pie, “wh, what?” Apple Sprout helped her upright and brushed her dress clean.

“You guessed!” said Pinkie Pie. “I never thought you’d guess!”

Rainbow Dash poked around the detritus that had once been the crate. “Wow, Pinkie. How long were you in there?”

Pinkie giggled. “Just long enough!”

“Granny Pie!” Honey Pie tried to scowl, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Today is important.”

“Well, of course! You think I’d hide in some stuffy old box if it wasn’t?”

Shepherd Pie bustled up to the group. “Honey Pie, what on Equestria are you two doing out here?”

“I’m mingling, Dad! It’s my wedding. I’m supposed to mingle.”

“Not right now, you’re not. The ceremony starts in fifteen minutes.”

Honey Pie cast a panicked glance at Apple Sprout. “What? But what about the rings?”

“I found them. I told you, don’t worry.”

“See?” Apple Sprout nudged Honey Pie. “You see what I mean? Everything’s under control. It’s all gonna be fine.”

“Yes, yes.” Shepherd Pie rolled his eyes. “Move along, you.” The two of them galloped away.

Shepherd chuckled. “Kids, right? Everything’s so important to her. Five years from now, she’ll be laughing about all this.” He gave Pinkie Pie a quick hug. “Good to see you, Mom.”

“Look at her,” said Pinkie, watching the bride hurry off. “All grown up.”

Author's Note:

Some folks asked for a family tree. BEHOLD. If you have a burning desire to know about Apple Sprout's cousins, there is also the extended version.

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