Caramel's Confections

by Liquid Savage

First published

A brand new business comes to Ponyville...

A new pony named Caramel Crumble has come to town to sell her desserts and treats. But the Cutie Mark Crusaders believe there's more to this than just some cookies...

Contains: Weight Gain, addiction, gluttony, blob

Commission for Fatblack! Enjoy!

Class Project

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The sky over Ponyville was a beautiful violet as the sun rose to declare a new day in Equestria. Shops opened, market stalls were topped with products, and ponies of all types and ages trudged to where they needed to go for the day.

In the case of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, it was another day of school.

The earth pony, pegasus and unicorn fillies called themselves the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Once a trio of friends forged through the desire of finding their one true talent, now that they had earned their fittingly matching cutie marks, their group now existed to help other struggling fillies and colts to find their own.

But lately, business had been going slow, and it was difficult to find ways to fill up the extra time. Even part-timing as tutors at Princess Twilight’s School of Friendship wasn’t enough to lift that lingering boredom.

“You think anypony’s gonna need our help today?” asked Sweetie Belle, stifling a yawn.
“Ah’m sure of it,” said Apple Bloom, giving her friends a smile. “Somepony’s bound to be havin’ trouble findin’ their cutie mark, or makin’ friends. Gotta stay positive, y’all!”
Scootaloo let out a loud, intrusive yawn. “Don’t jinx it.”

The three walked through their hometown of Ponyville, joining their classmates as they filed into the Schoolhouse. Everypony else looked as tired and bored as they did, which didn’t bode well. Nonetheless, they took their seats and greeted the teacher as she walked in to start the lesson.

“Good morning, class,” said Ms. Cherilee with her trademark warm smile. “I want you all to be alert, because today I have a special assignment to give you all.”

A few groans rose from the class. Scootaloo’s head slammed her desk.

“And it doesn’t involve an essay.”

Eyes widened with renewed intrigue. Scootaloo’s head shot up.

“I think you’ll all find it quite fun,” she went on, smile unwavering, “and we even have a guest speaker to talk to us about what you’ll be doing.”

Murmurs rose among the classroom. A class project that involved a speaker? That had to mean it was something important. Guesses began spreading as Cheerilee prepared things.

“Maybe Rainbow Dash is gonna talk about the Wonderbolts?” suggested Scootaloo, her tiny wings buzzing with excitement. “Or even better, herself!”
“Maybe my dad wants to promote one of his stores?” muttered Diamond Tiara, tapping a hoof on her chin.
“Bet you Princess Twilight just wants to talk about ‘how great books are’ again,” Silver Spoon groaned next to her.
“Applejack woulda told me if it was about the farm,” Apple Bloom muttered to herself, “so that can’t be it.”
“Rarity would’ve let it slip to me too,” Sweetie Belle agreed. “She’s not the best at keeping secrets either. If it’s about fashion anyway.”

The teacher had at least woken the class up enough to make them listen to the lesson for the day. She hoped they were actually paying attention, but part of her figured they were too intrigued by the assignment. Some students were listening, but most were indeed too excited, thinking about what they’d have to do that didn’t involve parchment or quills.

At least the wait hadn’t been a long one, since before anypony knew it, the lesson had finished early for the day. But it wasn’t to get out of school a half-hour sooner.

“I know you’ve all been waiting for this,” said Ms. Cheerilee. “I figured if I just said we had a fun assignment and not explain it till now, you’d all wake up a little faster. I can see it worked, but not how I wanted it to.” She rolled her eyes. “Anywho, it’s time for our guest speaker.”

The door opened, and a pony strode in that no filly or colt in the room recognised. A plump earth pony mare, tan coated and brunette maned, dressed smartly in a sharp suit jacket and a black saddlebag.

“Good afternoon, everypony,” she began with a bow of her head, “my name is Caramel Crumble. I’m what you might call an entrepreneur. Does anypony know what that is?”
Sweetie Belle’s hoof shot up, recognising the word from when her sister told her about it. “A pony who starts up their own business, right?”
“That’s right,” Caramel said, making the filly beam with pride. “I’m the owner of Caramel’s Confections in Manehattan. It’s still a small candy company right now, but we’re planning to do plenty of expanding in the future.”

The Crusaders exchanged quick looks with each other. They definitely hadn’t heard of her.

Caramel opened her saddlebag, fishing out a sizeable, rectangular cardboard box. It was white, with the company name in thick soft letters on the front. Anypony close to the front could see a neat line of big, chocolate-chip cookies in the plastic window.

“But I digress,” she continued. “I’m sure your teacher mentioned an assignment? I have with me an assortment of cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, candy bars, and much more. I’m curious to see if Ponyville has any potential salesponies, so I want you to sell as many as you can. Work alone or in teams, whichever you prefer. Whoever sells the most will receive quite a few spending bits.”

The last part got everypony’s attention, just as Caramel expected. She was yet to meet a pony not motivated by money.

“Remember,” she said, raising a hoof, “no eating them. Not even tasting. Only selling. Can’t have a candy salespony who eats all the merchandise, hm?”

A few disappointed moans sounded in the room. She felt almost sorry for them, but if things went her way, things would work out for everypony’s benefit. Especially her own.

Everypony in the class muttered excitedly. Colts and fillies were already choosing partners.

“My daddy owns a chain of stores,” Diamond Tiara said to Silver Spoon, “selling is practically in my blood.”

“I hope we all do really well,” said Class President Pipsqueak, sneaking a dubious look to his partner, Truffle Shuffle.

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo smirked to one another. No points for guessing who they would be working with.

“I have a wagon full of boxes just outside,” Caramel went on. “Once your class has ended, you can all stock up. Good luck, everypony.”

The Cutie Mark Crusaders wasted little time in getting to work. As soon as school was out, they gathered as many boxes as they could carry and loaded them into Scootaloo’s wagon. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle kept working to keep the precariously stacked piles of doughnuts, cupcakes and chocolate bars from toppling over while Scootaloo dragged her red cart along with her scooter.

“Where do y’all think we should start?” asked Apple Bloom, constantly darting her eyes at the staggering stack.
“We should start big,” said Scootaloo. “Maybe Princess Twilight’s place? Or Sugarcube Corner?”
“”I dunno,” said Sweetie Belle, using her magic to keep a box of muffins from toppling. “Pinkie Pie might get the wrong idea, think we’re trying to mess with her business. We should just start at a few houses and see what happens.”
Scootaloo shrugged. “If you say so.”
“Rarity says starting small is starting smart,” said the unicorn filly, puffing out her chest. “If she can make it as a big business pony, I’m sure I’ve got it in me to sell some cookies.”

“DID SOMEPONY SAY COOKIES?!” squealed a new voice, causing the Crusaders to halt in their tracks. In front of them stood a familiar earth pony mare in different shades of pink, a wide grin on her muzzle.

“Oh, uh,” Scootaloo murmured, while her friends struggled to keep a tidal wave of cardboard and crumbs from overwhelming them, “hi, Pinkie Pie.”
“That’s a lotta sweets n’ treats you got there,” said Pinkie, bouncing around the wagon. “A lotta sweets n’ treats that don’t really look like they came outta Sugarcube Corner. I’ve never heard of no Caramel’s Confections.”
The Crusaders froze at the accusatory tone in Pinkie’s voice. The stink-eye she was giving them didn’t help.
“You three aren’t plotting anything, are you?” she asked.
“P-plotting?” Sweetie Belle whimpered.
“If I didn’t know you three any better, and I know you three pretty darn well, I’d think you were helping to undermine Sugarcube Corner and put me and the Cakes outta a job.”
“What?!” Apple Bloom gasp. “Naw, Pinkie! We’re just doin’ an assignment fer school, that’s all! We ain’t gonna mess with Sugarcube Corner!”
“Oh, I know you’re not!” Pinkie snorted, grinning ear to ear again. “”I’m just messin’ with ya! You three are far too nice to do that!”

The three fillies were even more terrified than before, by how quickly Pinkie’s demeanour had shifted back and forth like nothing had ever happened. In fact, they weren’t even sure if it actually did happen.

“Well, I gotta get on gettin’ on,” Pinkie said, bouncing past the Crusaders. “Good luck with your school dealie!”
They waved as she left, and looked to one another.
“Keep this stuff away from Sugarcube Corner,” Sweetie Belle whispered.
“Agreed,” Scootaloo said.
“Dang right,” Apple Bloom murmured.

The trio went on their way, keeping the bakery a wide berth, and chose one of the neighbourhoods to begin their little mission. They agreed on a starting house and approached it, recognising it right away but still finding it curious how half of the outside was painted one colour and the other half a different one.

“I’ll do the talking,” said Scootaloo, smirking as she knocked on the door. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom exchanged sceptical looks behind her back.
A white unicorn mare with a spiky blue mane answered, her tinted sunglasses hiding her eyes. She lowered the headphones from her ears, the dance music loud enough for the three visitors to hear.
“Hiya, Vinyl Scratch,” the pegasus filly began, and gestured to the stack behind her, “got some cookies and cupcakes and stuff here from, uh, Caramel’s Confections. Want some?”
Vinyl Scratch frowned and tilted her head.
“Only three bits a box,” added Apple Bloom.
The local DJ rubbed her hoof on her chin. The three saw an eyebrow raise behind her sunglasses.
Sweetie Belle flipped a box open with her magic, floating a cookie out in front of Vinyl. “Maybe a free sample will help you decide?”
Vinyl took the cookie in her own magic and sniffed at it. Apple Bloom leaned toward her friend. “Ah don’t think we’re supposed to give free samples.”
“Just trust me on this,” whispered Sweetie Belle, not taking her eyes off the potential customer.

Vinyl Scratch took a bite of the cookie, and the Crusaders watched intently.
The DJ froze for a moment and lowered her sunglasses, showing her eyes widened with surprise. She stared at the cookie, then crammed the rest of it into her mouth, grinning and licking her lips. The Crusaders smiled at each other.

“I think we got a sale,” Apple Bloom chirped.

Vinyl held up a hoof and ran back into the house, leaving the door open. The Crusaders exchanged confused frowns.

Scootaloo shrugged. “I think she wants us to wait?”

“Alright, alright,” said a new voice from inside, in a Trottingham accent, “I’m coming. Honestly, what’s got you so worked up, Vinyl?”
The DJ returned, making space for a grey earth pony mare with a neat black mane.
“Oh, hello girls,” she greeted the three with a smile, then looked over at the pile of boxes. “Ah, candy. That explains it. Honestly, Vinyl and her sweet tooth.”
“Yeah, we’re doing a thing for school,” Scootaloo said. “Wanna buy some, Octavia?”
“I’m sure Vinyl will,” Octavia said, “but I shouldn’t. Sugar goes right to my flanks.”
Vinyl rolled her eyes behind her glasses and gestured toward Sweetie Belle. The filly blinked, then got the hint and floated another cookie out toward Octavia.
“Have a taste of it, at least,” she insisted. “Might change your mind.”
“Oh, very well then,” the earth pony sighed, and took the tiniest nibble of the cookie. Like Vinyl, her eyes widened with surprise, and she quickly crunched the rest of the treat. “Goodness, this is good!”
The Crusaders grinned, and Apple Bloom stepped forward. “Wanna buy some then?”
“Oh, definitely!” Octavia licked her lips. “I’ll take a few boxes of those cookies, and some cupcakes. Ooh, is that chocolate there? Some of those too!”

While Apple Bloom grabbed what Octavia asked for, Sweetie Belle floated boxes down from the pile that Vinyl pointed out to her. The two fillies could swear they saw something in the mares’ eyes, like a sort of desperation, but they figured it was just excitement.

Minutes later, the Crusaders trotted away from the house a few boxes lighter and many bits richer.
“Our first sale,” Apple Bloom said, puffing out her chest. “Ah knew payin’ attention to Applejack would pay off too!”
“We’re gonna make the best sales in no time if everypony reacts like Vinyl and Octavia did,” squeaked Sweetle Belle.
“Let’s find out then,” Scootaloo said, smirking as she scooted the wagon toward another house. “The Cutie Mark Crusaders are gonna be the best salesponies in Ponyville!”

Special Delivery

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Over the next few weeks, the Cutie Mark Crusaders were becoming quite popular with everypony they sold Caramel’s Confections to. Thanks to word of mouth and the efforts of their classmates selling their own, the trio proudly accepted the hearty cash prize from Caramel Crumble on the day of the deadline.

“Come to my new building after school if you’re available,” the mare had whispered to them, pushing a sheet of parchment into Apple Bloom’s hoof. “I have an offer for you three.”

Given how much spending money they’d just earned, the three needed little time to decide amongst themselves whether to accept or decline the invitation. After school, they travelled through town, following the directions on the parchment.

“If we’re gonna keep making this kinda cash,” Scootaloo said, “how can we say no?”
“It’ll really help out the farm,” Apple Bloom agreed. “Ah just hope we’re gonna have time fer whatever this is, since we also got part-time tutorin’ at the school.”
Sweetie Belle kept quiet for a moment before speaking up, concern in her voice. “Did any of you notice something...different about everypony?”
Apple Bloom looked at her friend, head tilted. “Different how?”
“Well, everypony looks...bigger.”

The three looked around them. Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had never thought about it, but everypony indeed looked heavier. They saw Lyra Heartstrings and Bon Bon sitting on a bench enjoying some of Caramel Crumble’s triple-chocolate bars, sporting round stomachs and chubby cheeks stuffed with batter. Stallions, mares and foals walking around them certainly had a jiggle to their step now, and almost everypony was chewing on a cupcake or muffin. Anypony close to them, they could see some kind of cloudiness over their eyes that the three couldn’t identify.

“Now that ya mention it,” Apple Bloom muttered, “Ms. Cheerilee definitely looked like she was really hittin’ the cookies.”
“Everypony in class has been putting on the pounds too,” Scootaloo agreed. “Guess this stuff really is that good, huh?”
“Do you think it’s to do with the stuff we sold?” asked Sweetie Belle.
“Probably,” said Apple Bloom with a shrug. “Ah wouldn’t worry, though. Just seems like a phase everypony’s goin’ through. Ain’t hard to burn off a couple’a pounds.”
“Maybe,” said Sweetie Belle, unconvinced. “Still, we should keep off this stuff for now.”
“Yeah,” agreed Scootaloo. “Caramel Crumble probably wants us to sell even more, so we gotta look professional!”

The directions on the parchment led the Crusaders to a shop in a backstreet. They looked at each other nervously; they weren’t expecting a lavish penthouse like one would see in Manehattan, but something about the location seemed a little dodgy. The friendly face next to the Crumble’s Confections sign over the door helped put their minds at ease. They stepped inside, even more comforted by how the candy store-bakery combination of the interior made them think of Sugarcube Corner, if the image of a suspicious Pinkie Pie made them shiver.

They saw Caramel Crumble setting some sprinkled, quad-glazed doughnuts in the display window, and she looked up at them with a smile.
“Ah, there you are,” she said, stepping out to them. “Interested in my offer, then?”
“That depends on what the offer is,” Sweetie Belle said, taking a step forward. Her friends nodded in agreement.
“Smart girls,” said Caramel with a smirk. “Well, I’ll get right to the point; I was impressed by you three. Very impressed. Not just by how much you sold, but your self-control too. The only three fillies in your class who fought the urge to take a bite of my treats.”
“Yeah well,” Apple Bloom muttered, cheeks flushing pink, “it wasn’t easy. It all smelled so good!”
Caramel chuckled warmly. “My point is, I’ve decided to offer you three a little part-time job as delivery fillies. I know you three have school and tutoring to keep you busy, so it’ll just be a little weekend job. You’ll be well paid, of course.”
Scootaloo and Apple Bloom grinned at each other, but Sweetie Belle tilted her head. “How do you know we’re tutors?”
“I just wanted to learn a little more about my potential new employees,” Caramel said, waving a hoof dismissively. “It’s a small town, so it’s pretty easy to learn about the locals. Especially when they have a reputation.”
Scootaloo smirked. “Well, we are kind of a big deal.”
“So it’ll be easier for you to make some good sales,” the mare added. “I’m sure you three could put all that spending money to good use, couldn’t you?”

Sweetie Belle had to admit, all the extra bits would be useful. She could use them to get herself some spellbooks to practice her developing magic, Apple Bloom could use it to help her family’s farm, and Scootaloo could get some more Wonderbolts merchandise or whatever she could find related to Rainbow Dash.

The three murmured as much to each other, and nodded before looking at Caramel Crumble.

“You got a deal,” they said in unison.

“Splendid!” said Caramel, clapping her front hooves. “Now, I have a delivery for you three to make, but first let’s discuss your work hours.”

Later on, the Crusaders were taking a wagon of treats through town. Plump ponies stared with wide eyes, but they thankfully didn’t jump the fillies for their cargo. Extra good thing for them, considering who they were delivering to.

“A few hours of delivery on the weekend,” Scootaloo said with a smile. “And good pay, too. We really got it made!”
“Sweet Apple Acre’s gonna be swimmin’ in bits at this rate,” chirped Apple Bloom.
“Something about it feels a little too good to be true,” muttered Sweetie Belle, “but I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
Scootaloo looked at her, eyebrow raised. “Are we allowed to say something like that?”
“I dunno,” the unicorn said with a shrug.

Once at their destination, Apple Bloom did the honours of knocking the double doors. It soon opened to a familiar purple dragon looking up at them.
“Oh, hey Crusaders,” he greeted them, and looked at the wagon. “You’re doing the delivery?”
“Yeah, we got a part time job,” Sweetie Belle explained.
“Oh cool,” he said, grinning and leading the three inside. “C’mon in, they’re all waiting.”

The fillies followed the dragon into the crystal-like castle just outside of Ponyville, which served as the residence for Twilight Sparkle, Equestria’s Princess of Friendship. To anypony else, getting to go inside the Castle of Friendship would be a great honour, but it was a normal thing for the Crusaders, considering Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle’s sisters were Elements of Harmony and Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash were close enough to be sisters.

Inside the Map Room, the Mane Six themselves were all sat around the circular table. There were welcoming smiles all around, but nonetheless the presence of Pinkie Pie put the three on edge. They could see the suspicion behind her usual wide grin.

“Hello, girls,” Twilight began, sitting in the centre. “That really is a lot of treats. Nopony was exaggerating then.”
“I didn’t think you’d be into this kinda stuff,” said Sweetie Belle, as Twilight’s magical aura began lifting boxes off the wagon and splitting them amongst the other Elements of Harmony.
“We weren’t at first,” Applejack explained, flipping open a box of chocolate muffins given to her by her sister, “but everypony’s been goin’ on about how they’re the best thing since my family’s apple pies, so we figured we’d give ‘em a shot together.”
“Besides, they got stuff based on me,” said Rainbow Dash with a smirk, grabbing a box of rainbow-sprinkle cookies, “so they’ve gotta be awesome!”
“Oh they totally are,” agreed Scootaloo, her small wings buzzing as her idol started digging in.
Sweetie Belle floated a tub of double-chocolate ice-cream to her sister, Rarity, who took a few dainty spoonfuls before ravenously shovelling it in.
Even Fluttershy had quickly gone from polite nibbles to loud scoffs on her mixed-berry muffins.

Pinkie Pie stared at a lone strawberry-cream cupcake in her hoof, eyeing it suspiciously and sniffing at it. Inspecting it from every possible angle.
The Crusaders glanced at each other, biting their lips. It was great to see the rest of the Elements, even Twilight herself enjoying the treats, but Pinkie was an expert baker, so her approval definitely held some weight.
Finally, she took a bite. A large, fateful chomp. Her jaw hung open, pupils dilated. She stared at the cupcake for a few moments more, and finally crammed it in her face before shoving said face into the whole box.

The fillies sighed with relief and grinned with regained confidence as a large bag of bits floated over to them.

“Wow, they weren’t kidding,” Twilight mumbled, crumbs falling out of her mouth, and she gulped. “This stuff is amazing! I’ll have to order some more, and get some muffins for Starlight!”
“Darn right!” Applejack agreed, wiping her face on her hoof. “Might just sell ‘em some of my apples and see what they make of ‘em!”
“Simply divine!” purred Rarity, lowering the empty ice cream tub from her face. “I must order more! Much more! I may even sponsor them in my next line!”
“Oh, I’d totally put this logo on my Wonderbolts uniform if I could,” Rainbow Dash declared with a belch.
“I wonder if they’re safe for animals,” muttered Fluttershy, licking crumbs off her snout.
“I wasn’t sure about this stuff at first,” said Pinkie, “but my tummy confirms this is definitely yummy! Maybe they’ll wanna do a collab with Sugarcube Corner!”

The Crusaders were definitely pleased that their delivery to the most important ponies in town had succeeded perfectly, but they couldn’t help but feel unnerved by the almost animalistic ‘want’ in their eyes.

A Growing Problem

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A few months after that day, the Cutie Mark Crusaders were sitting in a booth on the train, on their way to Canterlot.
They’d held a meeting in their treehouse just the day before, because things in Ponyville had definitely changed. And they were certain it wasn’t for the better.

All over town, mares, stallions, fillies and colts were stuffing their faces with anything and everything from Caramel’s Confections, which had grown so powerful that its influence was spreading into other local businesses. Sweet Apple Acres sold a lot of its harvested apples to them to make pies and crumbles with, and frighteningly, Sugarcube Corner’s flow of customers was slowing more and more each day.
And everypony hooked on the stuff was blowing up, the town filled with more balloons than one of Pinkie Pie’s parties, which was really saying something. Even Pinkie herself was swelling rounder every day, along with the other Elements of Harmony. Nopony had any idea what was really going on, happily convinced nothing was wrong.

“Girls, nothing’s wrong,” burped Princess Twilight, who had bloated up into a purple sphere of alicorn using her magic to open box after box of treats when the fillies came to her for help. “I’m just on a little snack break!”

With Rarity too busy eating ice cream to even make clothes, Applejack and Big Macintosh constantly having their faces shoved into pie tins, and Rainbow Dash becoming so heavy she fell halfway through the cloud she was lounging on, the Crusaders couldn’t rely on who they were closest to in Ponyville. Everypony was too far gone.

So it was up to them.

They looked around the train, frowning at the other passengers being colourful, wobbling orbs of blubber stuffing themselves with cookies and cupcakes. At least the stallions pulling the train were on a strict diet so they hadn’t been put under the addiction.

“It really looks like it’s just us left,” Sweetie Belle said. She wasn’t afraid of anypony overhearing, since nopony cared about much else than their treats.
Scootaloo bit her lip. “Yeah, it’s like a zombie movie, but the zombies are just really fat ponies who wanna eat candy instead of brains.”
Apple Bloom grunted and rubbed her aching hooves. “I dunno how Applejack bucks so many trees by herself. Well, she can’t now, and doesn’t wanna, and those fancy-dressed ponies workin’ for Caramel Crumble needed apples.”
“Don’t worry, Crusaders,” said Sweetie Belle, “if anypony can save Ponyville, it’s Princess Celestia and Luna. They’ll know what to do.”
“Yeah,” Scootaloo agreed with a nod. “They’re really strong too, so they’ll be able to resist whatever’s making ponies sugar-crazed.”
“And once everypony’s back to normal,” added Apple Bloom, “then we can go face Caramel Crumble about all this!”

But once the three got off he train at the Canterlot station, they realized their plan would not be so cut and dry.

As they rushed up the main street toward the castle, every single unicorn around them ranged from ‘slightly chubby’ to ‘morbidly obese’, waddling and wobbling along with boxes of Caramel’s Confections in their magical grips. There was even a sign pointed to another store on Restaurant Row.

“They’re here too?!” Apple Bloom gasped.
Sweetie Belle’s eyes widened with despair. “How could she spread her business so quickly in just a few months?”
“Don’t sweat it, girls,” Scootaloo said, carrying on her gallop toward the castle, “the Princesses will know what to do about this! Especially if they know Caramel’s store is here too!”

The sight of plump castle guards straining their armour didn’t help boost the fillies’ confidence as they raced into the castle unopposed. In fact, it seemed all the castle staff were under the same affliction. They just hoped the Princesses were no different.

They burst through the doors to the throne room. “Princess Celestia! Princess Luna! We-!”

They were interrupted by a pair of wet belches from the other side of the room. Their jaws dropped.

A pair of enormous, round, fold-covered globs of blubber, one white and one dark blue, squished together where the Princesses normally sat, taking up so much of the podium that their flab spilled over and almost reached the ground below. The magically waving manes on each globular head confirmed that they were indeed Princesses Celestia and Luna, albeit trapped inside rolls and rolls of adipose. The two each had a large box of what looked like large, triple-cream doughnuts, using their magic to cram as much of each treat into their soft muzzles. All over the floor around the thrones were boxes of Caramel’s Confections, either neatly stacked and ready to be eaten or carelessly tossed into a heap of empties.

“Oh, hello girls,” mumbled Celestia, licking her lips of sugar. “My apologies, my sister and I were just enjoying a lovely snack.”
“Oh no,” Sweetie Belle groaned, “she got you too?!”
“You mean Caramel Crumble?” asked Luna, letting out another burp before continuing. “Yes, she came to our castle asking if we would allow her to sell her treats in Canterlot. I never understood why my sister enjoyed these so much, but she quickly showed me that her sweet tooth most definitely paid off.”
“Listen,” Scootaloo said, stepping forward, “Caramel Crumble’s putting something in those desserts. We dunno what it is yet, just that it makes ponies get so hooked on the stuff that they’ll keep buying more!”
“That’s why y’all are the size of barns like everypony else!” Apple Bloom blurted out, then covered her mouth with wide eyes. “Uh, no offense.”

The alicorns halted their feasting and looked at each other. The Crusaders looked hopeful; maybe they were going to snap out of their trance and do something about this?

Their hopes were dashed once more, by the sisters chortling to each other, sending their gelatinous frames bouncing and wobbling.

“Oh girls,” Celestia chuckled, her double chin jiggling as she spoke, “there’s nothing wrong with a little indulging from time to time. We can still perform our duties.”
“If there were a problem, we would have already taken care of it,” Luna pointed out, cramming a jam doughnut into her mouth. “Perhaps you three are hungry from a long journey on the train? You are more than welcome to join us.”

The three looked at the stack of unopened boxes. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo looked at each other.
“Ah am pretty peckish,” admitted the earth pony.
Scootaloo nodded and started a slow walk toward the treats. “Me too.”
“No!” Sweetie Belle quickly used her magic to yank her friends back over, dragging them out toward the hallway. “Um, we don’t want to take up more of your time, you look busy! We’ll see you some other time!”

“What the hay was that about, Sweetie Belle?” Apple Bloom asked, pouting as she walked alongside her friends back to the train station.
“Do you wanna turn out like that?” asked Sweetie, pointing to a blob of a mare struggling to get her hooves on the ground with how her belly squished between her legs.
“Well, no,” she admitted, “but why not find out what the big deal is?”
Scootaloo nodded. “Besides, Princess Luna had a point. She and Celestia would know if this was a problem and already taken care of it. And the sun and moon haven’t been out of whack.”
“That doesn’t make it okay for everypony in Equestria to turn into flabby water balloons!” squeaked the unicorn filly. “We’re the only ponies not affected, so we gotta shut down Caramel’s Confections ourselves.”
Apple Bloom groaned as her stomach let out a pleading growl. “Ah still feel like a timberwolf in a chicken coop, though.”
“We can go to Sugarcube Corner then,” suggested Sweetie Belle. “They’re still holding out against Caramel.”
“Yeah,” agreed Scootaloo, “and the Cakes’ll be glad to have some more business coming in.”

It was agreed; a snack stop at Sugarcube Corner, then a plan to take down Caramel Crumble.

In Ponyville, Caramel Crumble sat in her office, reading a parchment of sales figures. A dark smirk distorted her plump face. A stallion in a sharp suit sat across from her desk.
“As you can see,” he said, “profits have skyrocketed ever since the secret buyout of Sugarcube Corner. We have every business dealing in candy and desserts under the Caramel’s Confections name.”
“Wonderful,” the mare said, chuckling into her hoof. “I’ve been thinking about that Hay Burger in the town. We can’t buy them out, but maybe we can convince them to put our treats on the menu. Some lovely milkshakes and the like.”
The stallion nodded. “I’ll see what I can do. They’ll no doubt agree to a partnership if it puts more bits in both our coffers.”

Both ponies’ ears pricked up as they heard voices from the storefront.

“Probably some more ‘hungry’ customers,” snickered the mare, raising from her plush seat. “I’ll be back in a moment.

Caramel’s round body bounced and swayed through the door, into the kitchen area. The bakers she hired were proving to be quite loyal, though the masks around their noses and mouths helped. There would be no licking the bowls in her kitchen, that’s for sure.

She walked out to the shop area, behind the counter, and was rather pleased at the sight greeting her. A trio of familiar fillies, all sporting barrel-shaped bodies and large flanks, their chubby cheeks dimpled from eager grins and pupils dilated with desperation.

“If it isn’t my favourite salesfillies,” she giggled. “What’ll it be, girls?”


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“Alright, class,” huffed Cheerilee, “we’ve had a lovely lesson today, but I think it’s time for a snack break.”

Everypony in the classroom eagerly reached under their desks and each grabbed a box of Caramel’s Confections of their choice.The Ponyville Schoolhouse was definitely packed now, but it wasn’t due to more students; it was due to more of the students. Everypony in Ponyville, maybe even all of Equestria, had eaten themselves into hedonistic, carefree blobs of blubber and batter, and the fillies and colts of the class were no different.

Nopony even realised that there wasn’t really a lesson at all. They all just talked about how amazing Caramel Crumble and her treats were. But any excuse to snack was taken.

Even the Cutie Mark Crusaders, once believing themselves to be Equestria’s saviours who would rid the world of a plague of gluttony, had ballooned into a trio of colourful, jiggling orbs digging into cookies and cakes.

“So, girls,” Apple Bloom mumbled through an apple pie, “what’re y’all gonna do after school?”
Scootaloo raised her head from a box of glazed muffins. “I’m gonna head to Caramel’s and get a snack before going home. The stash in my room’s been calling me since this morning!”
“Mine too,” agreed Sweetie Belle, taking a large chomp from a tub of triple-chocolate ice cream. “I dunno why we ever thought this stuff was bad, it’s so delicious!”
“Yeah, like Caramel Crumble says, anything that tastes this good’s gotta be good for you!”
“She’s such a nice pony. Ah wonder if she’ll let us deliver fer her again?”
“I dunno, but getting free snacks just for showing up is a great deal!”

Indeed, the fillies began a slow, awkward waddle out of the Schoolhouse - after a squeeze through the door - toward their new favourite hangout. They even met Princess Twilight and Starlight Glimmer along the way. Starlight had to be the fattest mare in town, with how her globular shape towered over most other ponies and how she was cramming muffins into her mouth like she needed them to live. And honestly, she believed she did.

All over Equestria, wings and hooves were becoming used more for holding doughnuts than moving, and magic was reserved for holding up as many milkshake cups as possible to a unicorn’s mouth.

But everypony was big and happy, and that’s all they cared about.

Caramel Crumble was happy too, but she was only getting started. There was so much of Equestria to introduce to Caramel’s Confections.