It was a calm day at the Public Park of Other-Questria, where Vignette helped Applejack settle their food cart next to the Center of the park.
"Okay, remind me again, Applejack," Vignette groaned as the duo finished setting up the cart and caught their breath. "Why did you insist we take the food cart all the way over here?"
"A change of scenery's always nice, Vignette," Applejack replied. "'Sides, if we wanna make more money, we need to spread our words!"
"But I could've just as easily make a promotion of the cart for you," Vignette shrugged. "I mean, I'm not that good when it comes to advertising, but this should be simple enough for me to handle."
"Maybe next time, Vignette. For now," Applejack put on her apron and walked inside. "Lets get t' work."
Vignette sighed and put on her own apron. "Aye aye."
And so, the duo went inside the cart, and it wasn't long before they got their first customer.
She was a small girl with cream pink skin and light blue hair, wearing a pink shirt with a white skirt, black shorts just barely visible beneath it, and white mary jane shoes.
"Hello there, dear customer!" Applejack greeted. "Would you like an apple-based confectionery?"
"Yeah, but not just any candy apple," the girl pointed at something. "I want that one!"
Applejack and Vignette looked at what the girl was pointing at, and saw a caramel apple, covered in a rainbow syrup.
"Ah, the Caramel Zapple? Nice choice!" Applejack stated. "That'll be five bits!"
The girl's smile faltered.
"Is something wrong?" Vignette asked.
"Well, how do I put this: I do have the money, but I don't wanna pay for it," the girl folded her arms behind her back and pulled the cutest look she could muster. "Will that be a problem?"
"Uh, ya think?" Applejack put her hands on her hips. "Don't take this the wrong way, but we're not doin' charity here. We're runnin' a business here."
"But I don't wanna pay for it!"
"Sorry, kid, but if you don't pay, I can't give you anythin'."
The Bluette pouted for a moment... then got an idea.
"Then how about we make a deal?"
Applejack raised an eyebrow. "What kinda deal?"
"See, I've been bored waiting for someone to play chess with me, and given that I want both a good game and a Caramel Zapple, why not hit two birds with one stone?" the girl narrowed her eyes. "Come to the center of the park, and play a game with me. You win, I pay for the candy. I win, I get it for free!"
Vignette quickly covered Applejack's mouth with her hand and spoke for her:
"Fine, we'll play with you, but what are the conditions again?"
"I win, you give me the candy apple for free."
"And if we win, you pay for the candy apple, right?"
"Sounds good to me!" Vignette shook hands with the girl. "It's a deal!"
Applejack slapped Vignette's hand away. "Vignette, what are you doing!?"
"Too late, country pumpkin: we shook hands, which means the deal is sealed!" the girl scoffed. "Get that sweet, juicy Caramel Zapple ready for me!"
The girl laughed like a cartoon supervillain as she strolled to the center of the park, Vignette waving goodbye while Applejack rested her chin on the counter.
"Great; the Caramel Zapple is one of the toughest apple-based candies to make, and the first one we "sell" is gonna be "sold" for free!"
"That's not really the case, though."
Applejack raised an eyebrow, prompting Vignette to clarify:
"She said if she won, she'd get the candy apple for free. She never said she'd get the Caramel Zapple."
And with that, Vignette took off her apron and left the cart, walking to the girl's side as Applejack processed the explanation.
Once she arrived, she sat down opposite to the girl, who looked genuinely surprised.
"Uh, who are you? Wasn't the farmer girl gonna play with me?"
"Right, we never introduced ourselves, did we?" Vignette flashed a gentle smile. "A.M.T.I.M.,. I'm Vignette Valencia. Nice to meet you?"
"The name's Cozy Glow."
"That's a beautiful name!" Vignette chirped, clasping her hands together as she added. "Anyway, I was wondering if you'd like to play a game of chess with me. Since Applejack's busy and everything."
Cozy raised an eyebrow. "Have you ever played before?"
Vignette shrugged. "T.A.F.T."
Cozy tilted her head, the acronym flying right over her head, prompting Vignette to translate:
"There's Always a First Time."
"Oh, I see," Cozy nodded, then flashed a cocky smile. "Alright then, I wouldn't mind playing with you. But I hope you understand what'll happen if you lose."
"Oh, trust me," Vignette lowered her eyelids. "I'm very well aware."
"Then what are we waiting for?!" Cozy flashed a devious smile. "Let's play!"
Vignette remained calm as Cozy stared at the board with wide eyes, Applejack looking just as surprised in the distance.
"Two turns. That's all it took for me to beat you," she stated in utter disbelief. "That's got to be the shortest chess match I've ever had, and you the worst player I've ever seen."
"Well, wait can I say?" Vignette stood up and dusted herself. "It was my first time, it was only natural I wouldn't be good."
"Right... Anyway," Cozy got off her seat and ran to the food cart. "Gimme my prize!"
Applejack eyed Vignette, who nodded with a smile, and the farmer girl handed a candy apple to Cozy...
One that she quickly recognized as not the one she wanted.
"Hey, wait a minute! This isn't the Caramel Zapple!" Cozy pointed at Applejack. "You're ripping me off! We had a deal!"
"Whatcha talkin' 'bout, kid?"
"The deal was that if I won the chess match, you'd give me a Caramel Zapple for free!"
"Ah, yeah, that's not what we agreed on," Vignette spoke as she walked to the girl's side. "The deal was that if you won, you'd get a candy apple for free. You never said you'd get the Caramel Zapple."
"But I did! At least, I think I did!" Cozy shook her head. "Anyway, you're ripping me off! Give me the Caramel Zapple!"
Vignette folded her arms and sternly responded. "Pay for it first."
Cozy gritted her teeth and grumbled as she reached for her pocket, took out some bits, and paid for the Caramel Zapple, which Applejack handed her soon after.
"See? Now you not only get the Zapple, but a candy apple for free!" Vignette chirped. "Doesn't that-"
"Ow, my shin! Why is that the place little girls always kick!?"
"Because it's very kickable!" Cozy yelled before running off.
And as Vignette hit the floor and caught her breath, she pondered: was it really worth it tricking the girl into getting the wrong candy apple just so she'd pay for the apple she really wanted?
... Yeah, it totally was.