TwiMacVerse Part 3: The Apple of My Bulls Eye

by ThatBronyWithTheClipOns

First published

Sweet Apple Acres gets help from cousin Braeburn and his best buddy Mal, who Applejack has never been a big fan of. And in between all that, a certain pink party pony also finds romance, and we see more of our TwiMac couple.

Big Macintosh and Twilight Sparkle are happily married and expecting their first child. This keeps Big Mac busy and unable to work as much at Sweet Apple Acres. So they seek outside help in the form of cousin Braeburn. The Appleoosan native decides to bring his best friend, Malady "Mal" Wesson, along which doesn't please Applejack as he used to pick on her when she was a little filly. Pinkie immediately befriends Braeburn, and it's easy to see sparks flying between the two. For the first time in her life, somepony asks Pinkie what she would do, instead of her just going along with what every other pony wants; and she doesn't know how to deal with this. Meanwhile, Applejack finds herself developing feelings for her childhood tormentor; and she can't stand it!

This is the third story in my TwiMacVerse. I highly recommend reading the first two stories in the series if you haven't already. Malady Wesson is a character from my story, My Little Wasteland, but that story is not connected to this continuity so you don't have to read that story to know anything about the character. Cover art altered by me using some google images.

Chapter 1: Arrival from the Friendship Express

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It had been six months since the wedding of Twilight Sparkle, now Twilight Apple, and Big Macintosh Apple. The newlyweds were living in the Golden Oaks Library, and Twilight was currently eight months pregnant with their first child. With all this going on, Big Macintosh was having a harder time doing as many work hours as he usually did at Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack decided they needed some outside help, so she sent a message to her cousin Braeburn out in Appleoosa. A few days after contacting him, Applejack, Big Macintosh, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Hayseed Turnip Truck, and Fluttershy waited for Braeburn to arrive at the train station. Rainbow Dash wasn’t present, as she was busy with her high flying career with Equestria’s best flyers, the Wonderbolts. She was managed by her loving husband, famed author Bookworm Scholar. Pinkie Pie was hopping about in excitement, as she always loved greeting visitors, but Applejack seemed a bit frustrated.

“Applejack, darling, why the long face,” asked Rarity.

“Ah don’t know what yer talkin about,” lied Applejack.

“Aren’t you super excited for your cousin visiting,” said Pinkie Pie. “I sure am! He’s super duper fun time go!”

“I’m very happy Braeburn is visiting,” said Applejack.

“Then why do you look so annoyed,” said Fluttershy.

“No reason,” Applejack lied again.

“She’s upset cuz Braeburn is bringin a friend with him,” chimed in Big Macintosh.

“What’s wrong with friends,” said Pinkie Pie. “I love friends! Friends are the best!”

“It’s a particular friend,” said Big Macintosh.

“Malady Wesson,” said Hayseed. “Or Mal for short. He and Braeburn been the best uh friends since they could walk.”

“Sounds marvelous,” said Rarity. “But why is Applejack upset about him coming along? Won’t the extra help be a good thing?”

“Extra help is always good,” said Applejack in monotone.

“Ah’d help out more if ah didn’t have to watch the park,” said Hayseed.

“She and Mal don’t get along,” said Big Mac.

“Why’s that,” asked Fluttershy.

“Cuz he’s a no good bully,” exclaimed Applejack.

“He used to pick on her a little when they were kids,” said Big Mac.

“Pick on is an understatement,” exclaimed Applejack. “He’d constantly give me noogies, steal mah hat, and just chase me all over the place! He always took advantage of the fact that he was bigger than me!”

“He was just a colt, AJ,” said Big Mac. “Ah’m sure he’s matured since then.”

“Oh sure, and ah’m the ruler of Equestria,” said Applejack.

“You’re not the ruler of Equestria, Applejack,” said Pinkie Pie. “Princess Celestia is the ruler of Equestria.”

“Ah know that, Pinkie,” said Applejack. “It was sarcasm.”

“Ohhhhhhhh,” exclaimed Pinkie.

“Would this Malady Wesson be related to Smith Wesson,” asked Rarity.

“Eeyup,” said Big Mac. “The very same.”

“Who’s Smith Wesson,” asked Fluttershy.

“The Wesson Family are the biggest manufacturers of projectile weapons in all of Equestria,” said Rarity.

“How do you know that,” asked Big Mac.

“Some clients are interested in having sequenced holsters for their slingshots,” said Rarity. “But they say the Wesson line of holsters are very expensive.”

“Mal’s a heck of a shot,” said Hayseed. “He could castrate a fly from over a hundred yards away with his eyes closed.”

“Sounds impressive,” said Rarity.

“He’d always fling apples at me with his dang slingshot,” said Applejack.

“Sounds like he was teasing,” said Rarity. “My guess is, he had a bit of a crush.”

“Oh please,” said Applejack. “No bully like that gets crushes.”

“Whatever you say,” said Rarity with a giggle. “I bet he’s handsome too.”

Hayseed gave Rarity a look.

“Now now, dear, I still only have eyes for you,” assured Rarity.

She leaned in and gave her colt friend a passionate kiss. When she was done, Hayseed blushed brightly and grew a big, goofy grin. It was his goofy grin that Rarity found to be his cutest feature. The two of them had been dating over a year now, and about a week ago Hayseed finally got the courage to propose to Rarity. Fluttershy and Snowflake had had a secret wedding together, because Fluttershy didn’t want a huge fuss made about her getting married. Of course, a week or so later, Pinkie Pie threw a party for the timid pegasus pony with just their closest friends. Snowflake wasn’t with them now because he was the gym teacher at the Ponyville Schoolhouse; this was also why Apple Bloom wasn’t there to greet her cousin. Finally the train pulled into the station. Pinkie Pie began tossing confetti all over the station.

“He hasn’t even gotten out of the train, dear,” said Rarity.

“It’s always fun to throw confetti though,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

Out of the train came cousin Braeburn.

“Howdy, ya’ll,” exclaimed Braeburn.

He went over to give Applejack a big hug, along with Big Macintosh.

“Cousin Applejack, it has been way too long,” exclaimed Braeburn. “And Big Macintosh! It has been even longer! And is that Hayseed Turnip Truck?! Ah thought he lived in Canterlot?”

“Ah was, fer a while,” said Hayseed. “But ah moved back nearly two years ago. Ah’m now the groundskeeper of the park here.”

“Well that’s fantastic,” exclaimed Breaburn. “Why Miss Rarity, still looking lovely as always! Miss Fluttershy, a real pleasure! And Miss Pinkie, ah see you already brought out the confetti!”

“Sure did,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “It’s super duper exciting to see you again, Braeburn! Rainbow Dash couldn’t make it because she’s a Wonderbolt! Twilight couldn’t come because she’s really really REALLY pregnant now and can’t walk around very far!”

“That’s right, ah almost forgot,” said Braeburn. “Big Mac here’s gonna be a daddy! Ah can’t wait to see the birth of yer little fella!”

“So where is he,” asked Applejack morosely.

“Ya mean, Mal,” asked Braeburn.

“Course ah mean, Malady,” said Applejack.

“You know you can always call me, Mal,” said a pony coming out of the train.

Out of the train was a large, white stallion, with a dark brown mane and blue eyes. He was a little taller than Big Macintosh, was wearing a black stetson hat, and had a black bulls eye for a cutie mark. He tipped his hat to the welcome party, while sporting a large smile on the right side of his face.

“Everypony else calls me that,” said Mal.

“Yeah, well, ah just prefer calling you Malady,” said Applejack.

“Suit yerself,” said Mal, still smiling big. “Janaluska.”

“Why you,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Janaluska,” exclaimed Rarity and Fluttershy.

“You guys didn’t know Applejack’s real name was Janaluska Clementine,” said Pinkie.

“How the hay did you know that,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Duh! I know everything about everypony in Ponyville,” said Pinkie Pie. “I thought you knew that by now.”

“Whatever,” said Applejack, taking her attention back to Mal. “Nopony calls me that and you know it.”

“Well, nopony calls me Malady,” said Mal with smugness in his voice.

“Ya’ll think yer so charmin,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Ah never said no such thing,” said Mal. “But, ah can’t control what you think of me.”

Applejack face went red at that remark.

“You sure are turning red, Applejack,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Ah am not,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Are you sure,” said Pinkie Pie. “Because you sure look red.”

“Pinkie Pie, knock it off,” exclaimed Applejack.

Pinkie Pie finally took the hint based on Applejack’s tone. Pinkie turned her attention to Braeburn.

“I should show you around Ponyville when you’re free,” said Pinkie Pie.

“That sounds mighty fine,” said Braeburn with a enthusiastic smile. “Ah can’t think of a better pony to show me around. You seem to know all there is to know.”

“You betcha,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“Might as well show me some of the town now,” said Braeburn. “After all, ah don’t wanna head to farm without getting to see Miss Twilight and her growin belly.”

“Okie dokie lokie,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Let’s move out!”

“Ah do believe this is gonna be a fun trip,” said Mal, giving a wink to Applejack.

Applejack simply gave Mal an extremely annoyed look.

Chapter 2: Visiting Twilight

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Applejack and the others arrived at the Golden Oaks Library, so that Braeburn could say hello to his pregnant cousin in law. The orange apple bucker was still in a bit of a mood because of Braeburn’s decision to bring Mal along. Big Macintosh knocked on the door.

“Honey, we’re here,” exclaimed Big Macintosh.

The door opened to reveal Spike, Twilight’s trusted assistant.

“A dragon,” said a surprised Mal. “Gotta say, didn’t expect to see that.”

“Oh yeah, ah plum forgot to tell ya bout Spike,” said Braeburn. “This little guy helps out Twilight around her library and other jobs.”

“Hey Braeburn,” exclaimed Spike. “It’s really great to see you again. Who’s your friend?”

“This here’s Mal,” said Braeburn. “He’s my best friend in the whole world.”

“Never seen a dragon before,” said Mal. “You’re a tiny feller.”

“He’s only a baby,” said Fluttershy.

“I’m not a baby anymore,” exclaimed Spike. “I just haven’t grown much.”

“Give it time little guy,” said Mal. “Believe it or not, ah used to be the runt in my family.”

“Wow, really,” said Spike. “You're bigger than Big Macintosh!”

“Can we come in already,” said Applejack, getting annoyed.

“Oh sure, sorry,” said Spike. “Twilight’s sitting on the couch.”

They all walked in to greet the pregnant librarian unicorn. For the last few months she began sleeping on the couch to avoid having to use the stairs, and it would make things a lot easier should she need to go to the hospital.

“Hey everypony,” said Twilight. “It’s great to see you all.”

“It’s certainly great to see you, Mrs. Apple,” exclaimed a proud Braeburn. “My cousin here couldn’t have married a finer mare in all of Equestria!”

“Thank you very much, Braeburn,” said Twilight, blushing a little. “It’s wonderful to see you again. I’d get up, but…”

“Now, don’t you worry bout that,” said Braeburn. “Ah completely understand ya needin to rest. Why ah remember when mah mama was pregnant. Looked like she was smugglin a pumpkin under her dress!”

“Pleasure to meet you, ma’am,” Said Mal, tipping his hat.

“Oh right,” said Braeburn with an embarrassed tone. “This here is mah best friend, Malady Wesson. But you can call him Mal.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Mal,” said Twilight.

“You as well, Mrs. Apple,” said Mal.

“Twilight will due just fine,” said Twilight.

“Alright then, Twilight,” said Mal with a wink and a smile. “Ah heard you were a looker. But, ah had no idea just how beautiful you really were.”

“Oh, well, thank you,” said Twilight, now blushing. “You certainly are a gentle colt.”

“It won’t last,” said Applejack.

“Don’t mind Janalusca,” said Mal with a sly grin. “She just doesn’t care for me because ah used to be a bit of a bully to her when we were youngens.”

“Ah done told ya not to call me that, Malady” exclaimed Applejack.

“And ah done told ya ah’ll stop callin ya that when ya start callin me Mal,” said Mal smugly.

“I see you know Applejack’s given name,” said Twilight.

“Of course,” said Mal. “Ah’ve been close to the Apple Family my entire life. Mah grand pappy is good friends with Granny Smith.”

“Have you been to Ponyville before,” asked Twilight.

“No, ma’am,” said Mal. “But, Macintosh and Janalusca have visited Appleoosa many times, and Granny Smith joined them back in her more mobile days.”

“I see,” said Twilight. “Do you help Braeburn at his ranch?”

“Ah sure do,” said Mal. “Shame ah didn’t meet you and yer friends back when ya’ll visited. Ah was busy helping out my pa at one of our factories.”

“What does your father do,” asked Twilight.

“My family manufactures projectiles,” said Mal.

“You’re a member of that Wesson family,” said Twilight.

“Yes ma’am,” said Mal with a proud smile.

“Mighty impressive,” said Twilight.

“So, Twilight,” interrupted Braeburn. “Do ya’ll know what yer havin? Filly or colt?”

“It’s actually hard to tell with unicorns,” said Twilight. “Because our natural magic tends to block ultrasounds. But from the pokes, I’m certain I’m having a unicorn.”

“Makes sense,” said Braeburn. “We don’t have many unicorns in the Apple family; be mighty refreshin.”

“We’ll know in about three months,” said Big Macintosh with a proud smile.

“I’ll be so glad when that day comes,” said Twilight. “There have been some advantages to the pregnancy. An excuse to eating more, and being pampered is always nice. But the cramps and morning sickness are getting old.”

“It’s just so super duper exciting that we’re gonna have a little foal in our group,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Maybe Rainbow Dash or Fluttershy will be the next ones to have a baby!”

“I doubt Rainbow Dash will be trying to get pregnant anytime soon, Pinkie dear,” said Rarity. “Since she only just joined the Wonderbolts. I can’t speak for Fluttershy though.”

“Oh well…um,” said Fluttershy nervously as usual. “Snowflake and I have been trying…”

“Wonderful,” said Rarity.

“What about you,” Pinkie Pie asked Rarity.

“I prefer to be married first before trying to have a foal,” said Rarity. “Luckily, I’ll be an honest mare pretty soon.”

“Who’s the lucky stallion,” asked Mal. “Whoever he is, he’s one lucky colt.”

“Ah sure am,” said Hayseed with a proud smile.

“You,” said Mal, quite shocked.

“That’s right,” said Rarity. “And I’m quite lucky to have him in my life.”

“This family is popular,” said Mal with a chuckle. “Hey, Braeburn, you should try going out with the pink one.”

Braeburn and Pinkie both blushed at Mal’s remark.

“Do you have a special somepony, Pinkie,” asked Mal.

“Nah,” exclaimed Pinkie. “I don’t really have time for that kinda stuff. But it’s ok, have a lot of fun with my friends!”

“Friends and family are nice an all,” said Mal. “But havin somepony special is a very good feeling as well.”

“What the hay would you know about that,” said Applejack.

“Ah’ll have you know that ah’ve been in serious relationships,” said Mal. “Nothing too recent, mind you, but ah do believe in romance and all that mushy stuff.”

“Sure yah do,” scoffed Applejack.

“So, Pinkie,” said Braeburn. “When can yah give me a tour of this here town?”

“Anytime you want,” exclaimed Pinkie. “I guess I didn’t really get a chance on our way from the train station; sorry about that.”

“No need to be sorry,” said Braeburn. “I was eager to say hello to my cousin in law.”

“Cousin in law,” said Twilight with a bit of confusion.

“Of course,” said Braeburn. “Yah married my cousin; so that makes you my cousin in law! Yer now officially kin in my eyes!”

“So glad to hear that,” said Twilight. “Are all your family members this excited by new family members?”

“Well ah tend to get a little over enthusiastic ah spose,” said Braeburn with a little embarrassment.

“Nothing wrong with enthusiasm,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “And new family members are always super exciting fun time go! I wish my sisters would me somepony special! I wanna be an aunt!”

“Don’t wanna be a mama, yerself,” asked Mal.

“Well, maybe some day,” said Pinkie, starting to blush.

There was an awkward moment of silence after Mal’s remark.

“Hey cousins,” said Braeburn. “Mind if Pinkie here gives me a tour of the town today?”

“Nope,” said Big Macintosh. “We don’t really need to start getting to work till tomorrow anyway.”

“Go right ahead, Braeburn,” said Applejack. “Care to join them…Mal?”

“Well ah am quite shocked,” said Mal. “You used my nickname.”

“If it’ll stop ya from calling me by my given name,” said Applejack with annoyance.

“While a tour of this lovely town sounds nice, Applejack,” said Mal with a grin. “Ah think ah’ll join you back on the farm. Ah’ve never had a chance to see Sweet Apple Acres. Will you be joining us, Big Mac?”

“Nope,” said Big Macintosh. “Not till tomorrow. Till then, gonna stay here with Twilight.”

“Then Applejack and ah can have a nice little walk together on our way to the farm,” said Mal.

“Fantastic,” said Applejack with obvious sarcasm.

Chapter 3: Heading to the Farm

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Applejack and Mal made their way towards Sweet Apple Acres; Applejack continued to have a sour look on her face.

“What’s with the long face, sugar cube,” asked Mal.

Applejack rarely had anypony else call her sugar cube; and she especially didn’t like hearing it come from Mal. It caused her to blush.

“Ya’ll know exactly what ah’m upset about,” said Applejack.

“Yer still all upset about me bein a bit goofy with you when we were little,” asked Mal with a chuckle.

“A bit goofy,” exclaimed Applejack. “A bit goofy?! Ya made mah life miserable when ah was a filly! Every time I visited Braeburn as a kid, ya always teased me, picked on me, threw things at me!”

“We were kids,” chuckled Mal. “Kids do stupid things.”

“It didn’t end there,” exclaimed Applejack. “Even when we got older, an got our cutie marks yah still bullied me!”

“That wasn’t bullying,” said Mal.

“Then what in the hay do you call it,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Well where ah come from, we call that flirting,” said Mal with a sly smile.

Applejack blushed at that remark.

“Y-yer gonna try to excuse yer behavior fer flerting,” fumbled Applejack.

“Aint no excuse, darlin,” said Mal. “Guess ya aren’t around colts enough to know that we tend to tease the fillies we fancy.”

“F-fancy,” said Applejack. “You teased me back then because you had a crush on me?”

Mal got a bit closer to Applejack’s face.

“Had? There aint no had, sugar cube,” said Mal. “Why do ya think ah came along with Braeburn?”

“C-cuz he’s yer best friend, and you like annoying me,” said Applejack.

“Now come on, ya aint that naïve,” said Mal with a smug smile. “Ah never stopped crushin on ya, darlin. You were a cute little filly growin up. Ah figured at this point, you’d have grown up to be a fine lookin mare. My assumptions were correct.”

Applejack turned bright red and her heart began to thump a mile a minute. She never really thought of Mal in that capacity, what with him picking on her as kids. Now he comes out with saying he always liked her. She was rarely this close to him, and she hated to admit it to herself, but he had grown into a handsome stallion. She shook her head back to her senses.

“Oh please,” exclaimed Applejack. “Ah aint gonna fall fer that load of bull!”

Applejack continued to walk ahead of Mal.

“Ya’ll filled out that hat nicely,” said Mal. “And the apple bucking has done wonders fer ya too.”

“N-no more talkin,” exclaimed Applejack nervously.

“Whatever ya say,” said Mal.

They finally made it to Sweet Apple Acres, where Granny Smith was sitting on the porch in her rocking chair.

“Hey Granny,” exclaimed Applejack.

“Huh, wah, oh Applejack,” said Granny Smith. “Yer back from the train station ah see…say, who’s the fine lookin stallion with you?”

“Ah don’t know who you mean,” said Applejack annoyingly.

“Yer kiddin right,” said Granny Smith. “He’s standing right behind ya. Feller is bigger than Big Macintosh. An he’s been checkin ya out the whole time.”

Applejack turned around to see Mal was indeed looking at her; though he turned his head nonchalantly as if he wasn’t. Applejack went red again.

“That’s Malady Wesson, Granny,” said Applejack.

“Well, ah’ll be," exclaimed Granny Smith, going wide eyed. “Lil ol Mal Wesson!”

Granny Smith got up from her rocking chair to get a closer look at Mal.

“Mah mah, have ya grown,” exclaimed Granny. “An ya’ll used to be the runt in yer family! How’s yer pappy doin by the way?”

“Pappy Wesson is doin just fine, Granny,” said Mal. “Not quite as spritely as he once was. But, we can’t all be as angelic as yerself.”

“Ya always were a charmer, Mal,” blushed Granny Smith.

“Give me a break,” said Applejack.

“Pappy Wesson and Granny Smith go way back, as you know Applejack“ said Mal. “Did ya know that mah daddy was named after yer Granny?”

“Ah may have heard that at some point,” said Applejack, trying to act like she had no idea of that little tidbit.

“Since Macintosh no longer lives here, you and Braeburn can sleep in his old room while here,” said Granny Smith.

“That’s mighty kind of ya, Granny,” said Mal. “Ah’ll go in now to unpack.”

Mal walked into the household of the Apple family, leaving Applejack and Granny Smith out on the porch.

“He certainly has grown,” commented Granny Smith again.

“Ah spose,” said Applejack.

“An ah see he still fancies you, sugar cube,” said Granny Smith offhandedly.

“Still,” exclaimed Applejack. “What the hay do ya mean by that?!”

“Ah aint that old, Applejack,” said Granny Smith. “Ah figured it was always obvious he fancied you. Colts tend to tease the fillies they like. Heck, yer grampa was always teasin and tuggin at my ponytails when ah was around yer age, befer we really started courtin. In fact, Carter was the very same when he met Bella Donna.”

Applejack didn’t hear Granny Smith talk about her parents often. It always managed to make tug at her heart.

“Yer a lot like Carter, ya know,” said Granny Smith.

“Really,” asked Applejack.

“Eeyup,” said Granny Smith. “Stubborn as a mule, and not easy to express yer romantic feelins.”

“Ah don’t have any romantic feelins,” exclaimed Applejack. “Ah can’t stand Malady Wesson!”

“Ah never said it was Mal you were havin romantic inklings fer,” said Granny Smith coyly. “But there aint nothin wrong with that. He’s a fine, young stallion.”

“He is anything but that,” exclaimed Applejack. “He’s stubborn, narcissistic, a smart mouth…”

“And good lookin,” interrupted Granny.

“Drop dead gorgeous,” exclaimed Applejack, who immediately turned bright red. “You set me up, Granny!”

“You said it, sugar cube, not me,” laughed Granny Smith. “Ah think ah’m gonna go take a nap now.”

Granny Smith walked back into the house, and Applejack followed. The orange mare made her way upstairs towards her room. Mal had the guest room door open.

“Looks like our rooms are right next to each others,” said Mal.

“That used to be Big Macintosh’s room,” said Applejack. “He’s livin at the library now, as ah’m sure ya already knew.”

“Nice to see how dedicated he is to both the farm and his lovely wife,” said Mal.

“Twilight’s a great friend,” said Applejack. “Ah’m real glad she’s part of the family.”

“This is a nice family to be a part of,” said Mal. “Maybe some day ah’ll be closer to this family than just association.”

“Don’t know who’d be crazy enough to marry you,” said Applejack.

“Ah could say the same about you,” smiled Mal. “But ah think ah could handle it.”

Applejack tried to make a comeback, but all she could do what get flustered and she ran into her room.

“This is gonna be a fun couple a months,” said Mal.

Inside Applejack’s room.

“This is gonna be a long couple a months,” said Applejack.

Chapter 4: A Tour of Ponyville and Feelings

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Pinkie Pie took Braeburn all over Ponyville, showing him ever single site she could think of.

“This is Rarity’s shop, the Carousel Boutique,” said Pinkie Pie. “This is where she makes all her fancy clothes for ponies all over Equestria. She’s made mine and my friend’s gowns for the Grand Galloping Gala, and did all the dresses for the Royal Wedding of Princess Cadence and Shining Armor!”

“Well ah’ll be,” said Braeburn in surprise.

“She also makes special jewel studded outfits for pop sensation, Sapphire Shores,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“No way,” said a shocked Braeburn.

“Big super duper way,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“That’s amazin,” exclaimed Braeburn. “Ah knew she made stuff fer the princess for fancy occasions. But ah had no idea she also made outfits for celebrities!”

“She sure does,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie then took Braeburn to the town market place.

“This is where most ponies come to do their sales,” said Pinkie Pie. “Mostly fruits and veggies, like Applejack with her apples of course, and Rarity will come here to collect fabrics for various projects. Though, I guess this is nothing new, since you have markets back in Appleoosa.”

“True, but markets tend to vary from town to town,” said Braeburn.

“I guess you have a point there,” said Pinkie Pie.

Pinkie proceeded to show Braeburn the schoolhouse, town hall, the various houses, Fluttershy’s cottage with her many animals, and finally Pinkie’s place of work.

“And the best location of all,” continued Pinkie Pie. “Sugarcube Corner! Home to the most delicious pastries in all of Ponyville! We have the ribbons and trophies to prove it!”

Pinkie took Braeburn into the bakery to show off the various goodies it had to offer. The aromas immediately took over Braeburn’s sense.

“Well golly,” exclaimed Breaburn. “That certainly is a heavenly smell! I could live in a place like this.”

“I do live here,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie with a big grin. “I sleep in the spare room above the bakery. My employers and tenants, Mr. and Mrs. Cake also live here along with their twin ponies, Pumpkin and Pound Cake. Ooh, wait, I’ll introduce you!”

Pinkie Pie sped off and almost instantly came back with Mr. and Mrs. Cake and the Cake twins.

“Breaburn Apple, meet Carrot Cake, Cup Cake, owners of Sugarcube Corner,” Pinkie Pie introduced. “And this is their son, Pound Cake and daughter, Pumpkin Cake. Mr. and Mrs. Cake, this is Applejack‘s cousin, Braeburn Apple, from Appleoosa.”

“Pleasure to meet ya,” said Braeburn.

“Likewise,” said Mr. and Mrs. Cake together.

Braeburn, like any other pony, noticed something different about the Cake twins.

“Hey, how come one’s a unicorn and the other’s a pegasus,” asked Braeburn.

“Distant family genetics,” Carrot Cake said nervously, afraid that Braeburn wouldn’t believe it as many others didn’t.

“Sounds reasonable to me,” said Braeburn. “Genetics can throw ya a wild card from time to time. Ah’m from a family of mostly earth ponies, but ah got a distant cousin who’s a pegasus. Yer youngans are awfully cute, too!”

“Thank you very much,” said Mrs. Cake. “They’re a hoof full, but still our pride and joy.”

“Aw heck, every kid has their wild moment,” said Braeburn. “Celestia knows I used to be a pretty wild colt back in the day.”

“So what brings you to Ponyville,” asked Mr. Cake.

“Here to help out mah cousins at Sweet Apple Acres,” said Braeburn. “Twilight’s far along, as ya’ll probably know, so Big Macintosh wants to make sure he’s there for her as much as possible. Ah brought my best buddy along with me as well, fer some extra help. But we didn’t plan to do any work today, so ah figured ah’d have Pinkie Pie here give me a tour of Ponyville.”

“That’s very noble of you,” said Mrs. Cake.

“They are mah kin,” said Braeburn. “Family sticks together!”

“He’s quite the colt, Pinkie,” said Mrs. Cake. “You certainly know how to pick them.”

Pinkie went a little red from Mrs. Cake’s remark.

“Oh, well, um, he’s just a friend you know,” fumbled Pinkie Pie.

“Yeah, just friends,” said Braeburn, also turning red.

“Can’t have too many friends,” commented Mr. Cake. “We should probably get back to the kitchen now. Very nice meeting you, Braeburn.”

Mr. and Mrs. Cake, along with the twins, went back into kitchen area of the bakery, leaving Pinkie and Braeburn alone.

“Well this has been a fun day,” said Braeburn. “Whatcha wanna do now?”

“Oh, whatever you wanna do,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Well ah can’t really think of anything in particular,” said Braeburn. “So you think of somehthin.”

“Well nothing is fine with me,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Don’t ya ever do things fer yerself,” said Braeburn.

“Well, sure I do,” said Pinkie Pie. “I'll go see what my friends are doing…”

“Well, that aint the same,” interrupted Braeburn. “When was the last time ya just did somethin fer yerself?”

“Um, well, I never really thought about it,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Ah mean, sure, doin things with friend is nice an all,” said Braeburn. “But sometimes ya gotta do what makes ya happy.”

“Well, doing things for others makes me happy,” said Pinkie Pie.

“That’s nice an all,” said Braeburn. “But, does that give you time fer other things?”

“Like what,” asked Pinkie Pie.

“Like romance,” said Braeburn.

“I don’t really have anypony special,” said Pinkie Pie. “I guess I haven’t really looked. Then again, there aren’t nearly as many male ponies as there are female, and most of them have been spoken for by my friends.”

“What about out of town ponies,” asked Braeburn.

“Don’t know a lot of those,” said Pinkie Pie. “I guess there’s you. But we’re just friends.”

“Would you mind bein more than that,” asked Braeburn, with total seriousness.

“Are…are you serious,” asked Pinkie Pie, getting very wide eyed from Braeburn’s question.

“Pinkie…ah’ve had some feelins fer ya fer quite a while now,” said Braeburn. “Yer a really energetic mare. Yer really nice, love to help out others, love parties and celebratin, and if you don’t mind me sayin, yer also mighty pretty.”

“How come you never said anything before,” asked Pinkie Pie.

“Ah never thought ah’d really get to say these things to ya,” said Braeburn. “Once Applejack asked fer mah help, ah knew it would be an opportunity to tell ya how ah felt. Ah’m not sayin we need to start being special someponies right away. Ah’m an old fashioned kinda colt an ah’m all about courtin and gettin to know ya an everyting. So…would ya like to go out with me sometime while ah’m here?”

Pinkie Pie had never been asked out before. She figured most colts didn’t think she was approachable because of her hyperactive nature. It didn’t really bother her though, because she found plenty of fun things to do besides go out on dates. She didn’t know Braeburn as well as the ponies in town, but she knew he was a really nice pony; and he also liked greeting ponies and throwing parties.

“Uh, Pinkie,” asked Braeburn.

“I’d love to go out with you sometime,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“Fantastic,” exclaimed Braeburn. “Not sure when ah’ll be free though. There’s gonna be a lot of farm work for the next few weeks.”

“Well, I can help you out on the farm some,” said Pinkie Pie. “We can talk while working, and then later have a proper date!”

“Sounds like a mighty fine idea,” said Braeburn. “Ah should probably head back to the farm now. Applejack is probably getting annoyed with Mal, and she probably wants to go over some plans on what we’re gonna do on the farm. Ya can come by tomorrow if ya like.”

“If I’m free,” said Pinkie Pie. “I have this job of course, and I foalsit the twins.”

“No problem,” said Braeburn. “Whenever either of us is free, lets have one of us stop by the farm or here and see what we can do from there.”

“Okie dokie lokie,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“Ah’ll see ya around, Pinkie,” said Braeburn nervously, turning bright red.

“Have a good one, Braeburn,” said Pinkie, also turning red.

Soon as Braeburn was out of the bakery, Pinkie started bouncing off the walls in excitement.

“Ohmygoshohmygosohmygosh,” she exclaimed. “My very first date ever! I can’t believe it! This is super duper extra special fantastic awesome fun time go!”

Chapter 5: A Moment With TwiMac

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Big Macintosh sat on the couch in the reading area of the Golden Oaks Library, next to his very pregnant wife Twilight. Since finding out his wife was expecting, Big Macintosh wanted to cut as much work time at Sweet Apple Acres as possible. Naturally, Twilight didn’t let her husband start this right away, only letting him cut back his hours when she was farther along. He did all he could to make sure that his wife was as comfortable as possible. He had some experience in waiting on pregnant mares, since he helped out a lot when his mother was pregnant with his sisters. Twilight appreciated the help, and while she was glad to have him around, she could tell he was a bit antsy from lack of his usual work. It was understandable, Big Macintosh had been a workhorse his entire life, and when his parents died he had to take on multiple responsibilities of doing farm work, looking after his sisters, and handling the books. He may not have looked it, but Big Mac was very good at math.

“Doing ok,” asked Twilight.

“Eeyup,” said Big Mac.

“Not bored are you,” asked Twilight.

“Nope,” said Big Mac. “Why would ah be?”

“Well, you seem a bit antsy,” said Twilight. “I figured it’s from lack of things to do. I doubt you’ve had this much time off…ever.”

“Ah’m more antsy from anticipation,” said Big Mac. “Ah mean, ah’m gonna be a father! It’s a crazy feelin. Know what ah mean.”

“You have a very good point,” said Twilight. “I never really imagined I’d be a mother. Oh sure I’ve thought about it, I’m sure most ponies do, but it’s so much different when it’s actually happening.”

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh.

“I must look so dumpy right now,” said Twilight.

“Why would ya say that,” asked Big Mac.

“Look at me,” said Twilight. “I’ve gotten so huge.”

“You could never not be beautiful, Twilight,” said Big Mac.

“You’re so corny,” giggled Twilight.

“But ah mean it,” said Big Mac with a warm smile.

“Of course you do,” said Twilight.

“Ah remember when mah mama was pregnant with Applejack,” said Big Mac. “Ah was a little younger than Apple Bloom. At the time, it was so amazin to me how big her belly was gettin over time. Then there was the day she was born, ah couldn’t believe how tiny she was. Did ya know she was born on the farm?”

“No, I didn’t,” said Twilight.

“One day, mama just went into labor,” began Big Mac. “We got her into the cart, but it was clear that there wasn’t time to get to the hospital.”

“Oh my,” said Twilight.

“Eeyup,” said big Mac. “Granny Smith ended up deliverin Applejack. She wrapped her up an placed her in a an almost empty basket of apples. She was so tiny, and her coat and mane were both real frizzy. And despite bein only a few minutes old, she immediately tried munchin on an apple.”

Twilight let out a giggle from that, and Big Macintosh joined her.

“An apple lover from birth, eh,” commented Twilight.

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh. “It was at one of our family reunions where we learned she had the appetite of a full grown stallion, when at barely a year old she downed a whole plate of apple fritters. Needless to say, we made sure to have extra food from then on.”

The couple shared another laugh.

“Do you think your parents would have had more children,” asked Twilight. “If they hadn’t…well you know.”

“Ah think so,” said Big Mac. “Ah’m from a big family, after all. It’s a very important thing in mah family.”

“I don’t really have a large family,” said Twilight. “Then again, it’s not always easy for unicorns to have children. A lot of things factor into it. Such as surges of magic and even the horn of the baby.”

“Ah didn’t know that,” said Big Mac.

“It’s mainly a problem with unicorn couples,” said Twilight. “I’ve been told that there’s less risk with mixed couples.”

“Do ya ever wish you married a unicorn,” asked Big Mac.

“I don’t care about that sort of thing,” said Twilight. “I love you because of you. You’re honest, gentle, and a hard worker. You’re a fantastic husband, Macintosh, and you’ll be a fantastic father.”

“Thank you, Twilight,” said Big Mac. “You’ll be a fantastic mama.”

“That I’m not so sure about,” said Twilight.

“Ah am,” said Big Mac. “Yer the sweetest, smartest pony ah know.”

“But my social skills aren’t the best,” said Twilight.

“You doubt yerself too much,” said Big Mac. “You’ve taken care of Spike most of yer life haven’t ya?”

“Well sure,” said Twilight.

“Then you know what it’s like to take care of another life,” said Big Mac. “Sure, these days you two have more of a brother sister relationship. But startin out, when he was just a real tiny fella, you were the closest thing he had to a mama.”

“I never really thought about it that way,” said Twilight. “I certainly never thought of him as a pet. But, I never thought of him being my baby or anything like that.”

“He’s lucky to have had you in his life,” said Big Mac. “As lucky as ah am to have you in mine.”

“And I’m so lucky to have you in my life,” said Twilight. “I love you so much, Big Macintosh.”

“Ah love you, Twilight,” said Big Macintosh.

The two then shared a tender kiss; they knew that they would always be happy together. Despite marriage and a foal on the way, it always felt like they were still courting, learning new things about each other every day. As far as anypony else was concerned, they were the happiest couple in all of Equestria.

Chapter 6: Not Having Any Fun

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Rainbow Dash and her husband/manager, Bookworm, had relocated to the sky city of Cloudsdale so Rainbow Dash would be able to easily train with the Wonderbolts. Within a few months of joining them, the cerulean mare had become the star attraction of the greatest flyers in Equestria. Naturally, her biggest move in her routine was the Rainboom Kaboom. She had originally worried that the side effects from her accident several months prior was just going to be temporary. But close to a year later, her eyes were still changing colors every second and she was still able to perform a Sonic Rainboom pretty much on command. She and Bookworm had been married a little over five months now, and both were flourishing in their careers. Bookworm managed to live in Cloudsdale thanks to a special set of enchanted horseshoes, which allowed him to walk on the clouds. Although, despite the massive success, Rainbow Dash didn’t seem to be her usual lively self outside her shows.

“What’s the matter, honey,” asked Bookworm.

“I don’t know,” said Rainbow Dash. “I just feel like something’s missing. I mean, I don’t know what. I’m living my dream for Celestia’s sake! I’m a Wonderbolt! Top that off with the fact that I’m married to the greatest stallion ever!”

“Aw, thanks,” said Bookworm. “You’re not so bad yourself.”

“Don’t I know it,” said Rainbow Dash smugly. “But, I just feel…I don’t know.”

“Maybe you just miss your friends,” suggested Bookworm.

“That’s a good point,” said Rainbow Dash. “I haven’t seen them in what feels like forever! I don’t even know how long it’s been.”

“I think Twilight was only three months along in her pregnancy,” said Bookworm.

“How far along is she now,” asked Rainbow Dash.

“I would guess close to eight months now,” said Bookworm.

“Oh wow,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without seeing them! Do we have any free time coming up?”

“Let me check,” said Bookworm. “According to my planner…we have some time off coming up in about a week.”

“Awesome,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “Then we gotta make a trip to Ponyville! No way I’m gonna miss the birth of Twilight’s kid!”

“Great,” said Bookworm. “But, do you think Spitfire will be ok with us leaving?”

“I don’t care what she thinks,” said Rainbow Dash. “My friends are the closest thing I have to a family. Besides, how can they say no to their star attraction?”

Rainbow Dash went to go talk to Wonderbolt captain, Spitfire.

“Are you out of mind,” exclaimed Spitfire.

“What’s the big deal,” asked Rainbow Dash. “It’s not like we got anything happening for a while.”

“That’s not the point,” said Spitfire. “We still have to keep training, work on our routines.”

“Our routines are always the same,” said Rainbow Dash. “Plus, you never let me actually fly along with you guys. I’m a separate part of the show.”

“That wasn’t my idea,” said Spitfire. “The other team members are a bit nervous being around you while you fly.”

“That’s so stupid,” said Rainbow Dash. “I’m not dangerous! It’s just beams of light! Light doesn’t physically affect you!”

“Regardless, I gotta think of the feelings of my teammates,” said Spitfire.

“Well then my feelings should matter,” said Rainbow Dash. “And I want to see my friends! One of them is gonna be giving birth to her first kid in a few months.”

“If I let you leave early, then all the others will want to leave early,” said Spitfire.

“Oh please,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “They’ll probably be glad to see me gone! Seeing as how they don’t like being around me! And I don’t affect any part of your routines! You just don’t want me to go because I might slow down your sales!”

“You’re just mad that this didn’t turn out the way you thought it would,” yelled Spitfire.

“If you mean the overall experience with this group, you’re right,” yelled Rainbow Dash. “I’m not having any fun!”

“This isn’t about having fun,” yelled Spitfire.

“Coulda fooled me,” yelled Rainbow Dash. “It’s just an air show!”

“Just an air show,” yelled Spitfire. “We represent Equestria! It’s not just some simple air show! You just want to be able to laze about all day!”

“You know I don’t need as much practice as the rest of you,” yelled Rainbow Dash.

“We can’t all have freak abilities,” yelled Spitfire.

“So you do agree with them,” said Rainbow Dash. “What happened to you being all impressed back when I auditioned?”

“Things change,” said Spitfire.

“You mean your popularity changed,” said Rainbow Dash. “You and everypony else on the team are just mad that I became the most popular team member. It’s not like that was my intention! I just wanted to be a Wonderbolt!”

“You act like we betrayed you or something,” said Spitfire. “We’re just team members. It’s not like all team members are best buddies.”

“Not with they way you all treat me,” said Rainbow Dash. “But the rest of you all seem pretty buddy buddy with each other; even with members that joined after me.”

“I’m sure it still beats being a weather pony in some tiny, insignificant town,” said Spitfire.

“That’s it,” yelled Rainbow Dash. “I quit! “And I’m sure you all will be so saddened by that!”

“Fine,” yelled Spitfire. “Go back to your stupid little down with your nerd husband!”

Rainbow Dash then socked Spitfire in the face with her right front hoof, knocking her to the floor.

“At least your outfit will cover your black eye during shows,” said Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash went back to her house to tell Bookworm what happened.

“Wow, you really did that,” said Bookworm.

“Darn right I did,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“You sure you made the right decision,” asked Bookworm.

“I don’t need fame and fortune to be happy,” said Rainbow Dash. “And you still make good money from writing. You’re not upset by this are you?”

“I just want you to be happy,” said Bookworm. “I don’t care if we have all the money in Equestria. I just want you.”

“Jeez, you’re corny,” said Rainbow Dash.

“But you still love me,” said Bookworm with a confident smile.

“Yeah yeah, of course I do,” said Rainbow Dash with a slightly annoyed tone.

They then shared a kiss.

“Plus I can write anywhere,” said Bookworm.

“So, to Ponyville,” said Rainbow Dash.

“To Ponyville,” said Bookworm.

“Awesome,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “The look on my friends faces when they see me will be priceless! I bet nothing all that exciting has been going on since yours truly has been away!”

Chapter 7: Feelings of Confusion

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At Sweet Apple Acres, Mal was getting on the graces of the entire household; with the exception of Applejack of course. Apple Bloom, along with the rest of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, clearly had developed a crush.

“He sure is dreamy,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Ah’ll say,” said Apple Bloom.

“I don’t get why your sister hates him so much,” said Scootaloo.

“Apparently he used to bully her a bit when they were little,” said Apple Bloom.

“Rarity says that means he likes her,” said Sweetie Belle.

“He seems to be teasin her still,” said Apple Bloom.

“So he still likes her,” said Sweetie Belle. “That’s so romantic.”

“This is so mushy,” said Scootaloo.

“Ah figured you’d be more into romance,” said Apple Bloom. “Now that Rainbow Dash is married. Wouldn’t that make romance more cool now?”

“That’s not the same thing,” said Scootaloo. “Rainbow Dash is cool no matter what she does.”

“So are we gonna try to set up your sister and Mal,” asked Sweetie Belle.

“Nah, ah don’t really see the need to intervene,” said Apple Bloom. “It’s pretty obvious that she likes him too.”

“It is,” asked Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo at the same time.

“Ah can read my siblins better than anypony,” said Apple Bloom. “Whenever Mal makes a remark to Applejack, she gets all mad lookin, but then ah see her either smirkin or blushin real bright.”

“But Applejack is also really stubborn,” said Sweetie Belle. “It could take forever for her to admit her feelings.”

“Nah,” said Apple Bloom. “Seein as how they’ve known each other all their lives, I imagine he’ll have won her over before he has to go back to Appleoosa.”

In another part of the farm, Applejack was bucking apples. Suddenly, Mal showed up to flirt with her.

“You sure know how to buck them apples,” said Mal in a smooth voice.

“Dontcha have anything better to do,” asked Applejack.

“Well ah could be workin of course,” said Mal. “But ah’d rather watch you all day.”

“Oh yeah, ah’m real sure that’s all you wanna do,” said Applejack sarcastically.

“Like you’d know much about that,” said Mal with a smug grin.

“An just what do ya mean by that,” said exclaimed Applejack.

“Oh, ah think you know exactly what ah mean,” said Mal.

“That aint none of yer business,” said Applejack.

Mal then got up real close to Applejack’s face.

“I could help ya out with that some, if ya like,” said Mal, in a very seductive tone.

Applejack’s heart began racing fast, and she was sweating like crazy. Mal started to get a bit closer, and began to pucker his lips. Applejack’s expression went from nervous to angry, and she socked him in the face.

“OW! What the buck,” yelled Mal. “What in the hay did ya do that fer?!”

“You think ah’m some kinda Manehattan floozy,” exclaimed Applejack. “That charm of yers make work on other gullible mares, but not me! Ah aint gonna be some notch on yer bedpost! Ah may not look or always act it, but ah’m a lady! An ah expect a little dang romance and wooin and all that fancy stuff!”

“So yer sayin that if ah were to take you out on a date, you’d then have a roll in the hay with me,” asked Mal with a perplexed look.

“Aint sayin that either,” exclaimed Applejack. “Look, ah aint against foolin around outside wedlock or nothin, but ah aint the kinda mare to put out on the first buckin date!”

“Ah was only messin around with ya, Applejack,” exclaimed Mal. “Course ya aint that kinda mare! Ah’m glad you aint that way!”

“What,” said Applejack, a little confused. “You are?”

“Whatever rumors you may have heard, they aint true,” said Mal. “Ah’m not some player, going around town bedding random mares. You seem to assume that just because ah picked on you when we were kids that ah’m still some despicable colt.”

“Then what’s with all the jokes and innuendos,” asked Applejack.

“Duh, stupid, ah’m flirtin with ya,” said Mal. “Do ya not get teased much by stallions?”

Applejack twirled her front hoof on the ground. That’s when it hit Mal; Applejack has never really been hit on by a member of the opposite sex.

“Applejack, have ya ever been on a date,” asked Mal.

“What kinda question is that,” said Applejack defensively. “Course ah’ve been on a date!”

“Ya really are a bad liar,” said Mal. “How could somethin like this happen?”

“What are ya talkin about,” asked Applejack. “Why’s it so hard to believe ah’ve never been on a date?”

“Ah figured a mare as good lookin as you would get asked out all the time,” said Mal.

“Beg yer pardon,” said Applejack.

“If ya lived in Appleoosa, ya’d be asked out by just about every stallion there,” said Mal. “Probably some little school colts too.”

“Quit messin with me,” said Applejack.

“Ah aint messin with ya, Applejack,” said Mal. “Ah’m serious. Yer absolutely gorgeous!”

Applejack was getting very confused now. Given that she was the Element of Honesty, she was able to tell when somepony was putting her on. And she could tell that Mal was being totally sincere with her.

“You think I’m pretty,” said Applejack in amazement.

“Ah don’t see how nopony couldn’t,” exclaimed Mal. “Ah figured you were just getting annoyed because stallions are always makin passes at ya. Well, that and cuz of me pickin on ya when we were kids.”

“Ya aint playin me,” asked Applejack.

“Course not,” said Mal.

“You actually are interested in me,” asked Applejack.

“For bucks sake, yes,” exclaimed Mal. “Ah mean, sure ah’ve had some relationships before, but none of them have worked out. Part of it could be my personality, ah’ll admit that ah’m not always a walk in the park. But, ah would also contribute it to the fact that ah’ve had a huge crush on you since ah was a school colt.”

“Ah…ah,” fumbled Applejack. “Ah gotta get out of here for a while! Need to be able to think straight!”

Applejack ran off as fast as her hooves could take her.

“Well, that went about as well as ah thought it would,” said Mal, giving himself a face hoof.

Chapter 8: Pinkie's New Look

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Pinkie Pie rushed over to the Carousel Boutique to talk to her fabulous fashionista friend, Rarity. Rarity was, as usual, working on a new dress when Pinkie practically flew into her shop in a pink blur.

“Pinkie, darling, what in in the world,” exclaimed Rairty.

“Rarity, I need to talk to you,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “It’s super duper important!”

“There was nopony else you could talk to?” asked Rarity.

“I figured you’d be the best pony to talk to about this sorta thing,” said Pinkie Pie. “Something super duper crazy wonderful fantastic has just happened and I thought there was nopony better in all of Ponyville to talk to about it and…”

“Pinkie, darling, please,” interrupted Rarity. “I’m not working on this dress for my leisure delights. So, do please calm yourself and tell me what it is that’s going on.”

Pinkie inhaled inward deeply and then exhaled, calming herself.

“Braeburn asked me out on a date,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Oh my,” exclaimed Rarity. “This is such a huge moment! Have you ever been on a date before?!”

“Nope, never,” said Pinkie Pie. “I think boys are afraid to ask me out because I’m so hyper.”

Pinkie frowned for a moment, then Rarity put a hoof over her shoulder.

“Now don’t you worry about that, darling,” said Rarity. “It’s their loss. You’re a fabulous young mare. You’re positively adorable, with your poofy pink mane and tale, and your fabulous blue eyes. Any stallion would be lucky to go out with you.”

“Aw, thanks Rarity,” said Pinkie, giving her a big hug.

“Now then,” continued Rarity. “Have you made a specific day for your date?”

“No, not really,” said Pinkie Pie. “We’re both kinda busy right now since he’s gotta help Applejack on her farm and I got work at Sugarcube Corner. So we just figured that I’d meet him at the farm when I’m free and we’d figure it out from there.”

“Well, that isn’t a bad strategy,” said Rarity. “So, what exactly did you want to talk about?”

“I…I wanted you to make me look pretty,” said Pinkie Pie, blushing.

“But you already are pretty, Pinkie dear,” said Rarity.

“Well, prettier then,” said Pinkie Pie. “I figured that it’s good to put in some effort when you start courting…or whatever it is we’re doing.”

“You do have a good point there,” said Rarity. “Even I still make sure to gussy myself up for Hayseed, even though we’re engaged now.”

“And do you two still go on dates,” asked Pinkie Pie.

“But of course, darling,” said Rarity. “The romance isn’t gone once you’re about to tie the knot. Look at Twilight and Big Mac, the two of them act as though they’re still courting despite being married and having a foal on the way.”

“Oh yeah, I did notice that,” said Pinkie Pie. “Then again, I don’t know how long Braeburn will be in town. If we do get together, are long distance relationships possible?”

“That all depends on the couple, sweetie,” said Rarity. “If you two are willing to see each other when possible. But let’s try not to think that far ahead, alright?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Now, what did you have in mind for your prettier appearance,” asked Rarity.

“Nothing too drastic,” said Pinkie Pie. “And I plan to visit him on the farm as much as I can so…I’m thinking nothing too dressy. Really, probably not a dress at all.”

“Maybe just a new hair accessory,” said Rarity.

“Do hair accessories really make much difference,” asked Pinkie Pie.

“You have no idea, darling,” said Rarity. “This coiffure doesn’t happen on it’s own, you know. All you see before you is premeditated work.”

“Never really thought about it,” said Pinkie Pie. “My mane just does what it does all on it’s own.”

“Yes…I noticed,” said Rarity. “We can’t all be so lucky though. Now, what sort of accessory would you like?”

“I’m not sure,” said Pinkie Pie. “I suppose it should be something that stands out a little, but not too much that it’s overwhelming.”

“Very good,” said Rarity. “I was thinking something that would go with your eyes.”

Rarity went over to a drawer full of various hair accessories, levitating each one trying to find the perfect one for Pinkie.

“No, no, good heavens no,” Rarity mumbled to herself. “This one could be a possibility. Absolutely not…I think I found the perfect one!”

Rarity went back over to Pinkie, with the chosen accessory and a comb.

“Now, hold still darling,” said Rarity. “This will look perfect on you.”

“Okie dokie lokie,” said Pinkie Pie.

Rarity didn’t come across a mane like Pinkie’s that often. While at first glance, it appeared bouncy and fluffy, it was also very thick and hard to get a comb through it. But Rarity, of course, had a variety of combs at her disposal for just such occasions. A fashionista must always be prepared.

“There we go,” said Rarity. “Have a look, Pinkie dear.”

Rarity levitated a mirror in front of Pinkie to show her the new look. At first, the pink party pony didn’t notice anything different, but then she turned her head to the right and noticed a pretty blue ribbon tied to her mane. It wasn’t anything extravagant, not too big and not too small, but it matched perfectly with her eyes and somehow just made her shine. Pinkie began to tear up a little, gave Rarity a warm smile, and then gave her a giant hug.

“Oh thank you thank you thank you,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “I can’t believe how super pretty I look with just a ribbon! This is the nicest thing anypony has ever done for me…this week anyway!”

“Not a problem at all,” said Rarity. “That’s what friends are for.”

“Do you think Braeburn will notice it though,” asked Pinkie Pie.

“Hard to say,” said Rarity. “Males tend to not noticed little things like a hair accessory. But, subconsciously he’ll notice.”

“But I want him to notice when he’s awake,” said Pinkie Pie.

“No, Pinkie, I mean…oh never mind,” said Rarity.

Chapter 9: Reunion Part 1

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Rainbow Dash and Bookworm made their way to Ponyville via a hot air balloon, since she couldn’t carry her husband all the way down. She was getting a bit impatient though, as hot air balloons weren’t the fastest mode of transportation.

“I coulda been in Ponyville seconds ago,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “Why didn’t you just have me pull the balloon?”

“Because we have our belongings with us,” said Bookworm. “They’d get spread all over Equestria.”

“You just had bring logic into it, didn’t you,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Do you think you’ll be able to get your old job back with the weather patrol,” asked Bookworm.

“Of course,” said Rainbow Dash. “It’s not like they have a huge staff in the Ponyville division. Plus, I was their best worker.”

“By the way, did you tell your friends you were coming back,” asked Bookworm.

“Nah, I figured they’d like the surprise,” said Rainbow Dash. “I know Pinkie sure will. She’ll probably throw a huge welcome back party and everything.”

Once Ponyville was in site, Rainbow Dash jumped out of the balloon basket and flew about, looking for her friends. She then spotted Pinkie Pie bouncing around.

“Yo, Pinkie,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

Pinkie Pie looked around, not seeing anypony.

“Look up,” Rainbow Dash yelled again.

Upon looking up, Pinkie let out a huge gasp of excitement. Rainbow Dash flew in and tackled her, but Pinkie ended up pinning her to the ground.

“Rainbow,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “I’m sure super excited to see you! I’ve missed you so much! Where’s Bookworm are you two still together is he still your manager are you still with the Wonderbolts!?”

“Bookworm is up in a hot air balloon, we’re still married, but he’s not really my manager anymore because I quit the Wonderbolts,” answered Rainbow Dash in the order Pinkie asked.

“You what,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “But, being a Wonderbolt was your big super dream!”

“What can I say,” said Rainbow Dash. “It didn’t turn out to be as good as I hoped. But I don’t mind, I’m just glad to be home. How’s everypony doing?”

“Well,” started Pinkie Pie. “Braeburn came in from Appleoosa to help out at Sweet Apple Acres, and he brought a friend along named Mal who used to pick on Applejack when they were kids but they clearly like each other. Rarity and Hayseed are now engaged but don’t have a wedding date planned out just yet. Fluttershy and Snowflake are still married, Twilight and Big Mac are still married, and Braeburn confessed that he liked me and we’re gonna go out on a date when we’re both free. Oh and Rarity gave me this new hair accessory. You like?”

“Yeah, it’s really cute,” said Rainbow Dash. “Wait…did you just say you have a date with somepony!?”

“Sure do,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“Well isn’t that something,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Hello down there,” yelled Bookworm from the hot air balloon.

Once again Pinkie looked in various directions. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, grabbed Pinkie by the head and tilted it up to the direction Bookworm was in.

“Oh hey, it’s Bookworm,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“You don’t say,” said Rainbow Dash in a sarcastic tone.

She may have sounded annoyed, but Rainbow Dash would be lying if she said she didn’t miss these Pinkie moments.

“Hey Bookworm,” yelled Pinkie Pie, pulling a megaphone seemingly out of nowhere.

“Wonderful to see you again, Pinkie,” yelled Bookworm.

The balloon finally landed and Bookworm hopped out of the basket. Pinkie immediately pounced to give him a hug.

“I see your glad to see us,” said Bookworm, gasping for air.

“Rainbow Dash says she’s no longer a Wonderbolt,” said Pinkie Pie. “Is that true?”

“Afraid so,” said Bookworm. “They weren’t treating her fairly.”

“Aw, that’s a shame,” said Pinkie Pie. “Oh well, at least you’re home now! Are you gonna join the weather team again?”
“That’s the plan,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Are you guys still gonna live in the sky,” asked Pinkie Pie. “I know Bookworm has those fancy horseshoes and all.”

“We haven’t totally figured that out yet,” said Rainbow Dash.

“I suppose we’ll stay in a hotel for the time being,” said Bookworm. “And place some of our items in storage.”

“Great,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Let’s go around and say hi to everypony!”

The first place Pinkie rushed Rainbow and Bookworm to was the Carousel Boutique; Pinkie entered first.

“Pinkie, why are you back so soon,” asked Rarity. “Did something go wrong?”

“Nope,” said Pinkie Pie. “I got a surprise for you!”

“I don’t need a gift, darling,” said Rarity.

“Oh it’s better than a gift,” said Pinkie Pie. “It’s Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow burst in and struck a confident pose.

“Rainbow, darling,” exclaimed Rarity.

The two friends embraced in a hug, and Pinkie soon joined in.

“What on earth are you doing here,” said Rarity.

“I quit the Wonderbolts,” said Rainbow Dash. “It wasn’t as cool as I had hoped. I don’t wanna hear how sorry you are or any of that stuff. I’ve grown up some since we’ve met and it’s just one of those things that happens.”

“I suppose that’s the best way to look at it,” said Rarity. “Is Bookworm with you?”

“I certainly am, Miss Rarity,” greeted Bookworm.

“Hope living in the clouds wasn’t too difficult,” said Rarity.

“These enchanted horseshoes made it a breeze,” said Bookworm. “For the most part. I still had to walk of course, but it beats plummeting to your doom.”

“I know that feeling all to well, dear,” said Rarity. “All too well…”

“Oh yes, the Best Young Flyers competition,” said Bookworm. “That’s a good story.”

“We must have a get together with everypony,” said Rarity. “Once we’re free, of course.”

“Well for now, Pinkie is taking me around to surprise them,” said Rainbow Dash. “You were our first stop.”

“That’s flattering,” said Rarity.

“You were the closest,” said Pinkie with a smile.

“Oh,” said Rarity. “I see.”

“But I’m still glad to see you, Rares,” said Rainbow Dash.

“And it’s so wonderful to see you again, Rainbow Dash,” said Rarity. “It’ll be good to have you around more again.”

“No kidding,” said Rainbow Dash. “I make everything around here 20% cooler!”

“Let’s go see Twilight next,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Cool, but then lets see Fluttershy,” said Rainbow Dash. “I’ve been missing Tank like crazy. I doubt the little guy would’ve liked living hundreds of miles in the sky.”

“Okie dokie lokie,” said Pinkie Pie.

Arriving at the Golden Oaks Library, Pinkie Pie burst through the door and made a little music with a kazoo.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts,” announced Pinkie Pie. “All the way from Cloudsdale! Former Wonderbolt star! Rainbow Dash! And Husband Bookworm!”

Rainbow Dash then burst in a did a couple aerial maneuvers before landing.

“Rainbow,” exclaimed Twilight. “I don’t believe it!”

“Well believe it,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “Your favorite rainbow maned pegasus is back in town! For good this time!”

Rainbow Dash when over to give Twilight a hug, as she wasn’t gonna make her get up from the couch if she didn’t need to.

“Man, Twi, you’ve gotten huge,” said Rainbow Dash. “But…I mean that in a good way.”

“Don’t worry, I didn’t take is a negative comment,” Twilight assured Rainbow Dash.

“Glad to hear,” said Rainbow Dash. “Are Spike and Big Mac around?”

“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh, coming from his bedroom.

Rainbow went over to give Big Mac a hug.

“Great to you see you, big guy,” said Rainbow Dash.

“You too, Rainbow,” said Big Mac.

“Rainbow Dash,” exclaimed Spike.

Spike leaped through the air and wrapped himself to Dash’s neck.

“Hey Spikey Wikey,” said Rainbow Dash, hugging him back. “Have you grown?”

“I don’t think so,” said Spike. “Why?”

“You feel heavier,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Well, I could’ve grown some,” said Spike. “I don’t know enough about dragon biology to know when I actually get a growth spurt.”

“Well you aren’t a baby anymore,” said Rainbow Dash. “But at least you got a new one on the way! You excited to be an uncle?”

“Uncle,” said Spike in confusion.

“Well sure,” said Rainbow Dash. “You and Twi here are pretty much siblings. So her kid will be your niece or nephew.”

“I never really thought about it that way,” said Spike.

“You should know by now that you’re family to me, Spike,” said Twilight.

“Uncle Spike,” he said out loud. “I do like the sound of that!”

“You’ll be an awesome uncle,” said Rainbow Dash. “You take care of Peewee after all.”

“Yeah, I guess I do,” said Spike. “He’s definitely grown since you were last here.”

Spike gave a loud whistle, and in flew Peewee. He wasn’t quite the size of a full grown phoenix yet, but he was twice his size for sure. He swooped down sharply and perched himself on Spike’s arm.

“He likes to go flying a lot,” said Spike. “But he always comes when I whistle.”

“Super cool,” said Rainbow Dash. “That reminds me, I need to get over to Fluttershy’s place.”

“That’s right, she’s looking after Tank again,” said Twilight.

“Last thing I needed was worrying about my pet tortoise falling through some clouds,” chuckled Rainbow Dash.

Chapter 10: Reunion Part 2

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Finally departing the library, Pinkie and friends made their way to Fluttershy’s cottage; the yellow pegasus spotted Rainbow Dash right away and squeaked for joy.

“Oh my goodness,” exclaimed Fluttershy. Well, exclaimed as best as she could.

“Yo Fluttershy,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

The two friends, who’d known each other the longest, flew into each other’s hooves for a warm embrace.

“I didn’t know you were coming,” said Fluttershy.

“Nopony did,” said Rainbow Dash. “I just showed up today. I figured you should also know that I quit the Wonderbolts. No need to make any fuss about it, I feel better for doing it.”

“Oh…um…ok then,” said Fluttershy. “As long as you’re happy, that’s what really matters.”

“So, where’s your better half,” asked Rainbow Dash.

As if sensing it, Snowflake came out through the front door. While still a hulking stallion compared to most, Snowflake’s physique had reduced some over time as he didn’t want to accidentally crush his beloved wife.

“Yo, Rainbow Dash,” exclaimed Snowflake in his usual enthusiastic manner. “Long time, no see!”

“Yo, Snow,” said Rainbow Dash. “Looks like you’re not pumping as much iron anymore.”

“Don’t wanna scare the animals away,” blushed Snowflake. “Also makes it easier to get through doors.”
“Bet it does, big guy,” chuckled Rainbow Dash. “Ok, now that we got this meeting taken care of. Show me to my favorite tortoise!”

“Oh, yeah, sure thing,” fumbled Fluttershy. “He’s out back.”

They made their way to Fluttershy’s backyard, which as usual had several varieties of animals. Rainbow Dash immediately saw Tank, and he noticed her as well. She sped towards him to embrace him, but passed him; forgetting that he wasn’t a speedster. She went back, picked him up, and spun around in the air wit her beloved pet.

“It’s so great to see you, buddy,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash, embracing him warmly.

“And I got fantastic news. I’m back in town for good!”

Tank slowly developed a big smile.

“That’s what I was looking for,” said Rainbow Dash.

“He has been a bit down since you’ve been gone,” said Fluttershy. “It’s good to see him smiling again.”

“I can’t wait for a pet get together again,” said Rainbow Dash. “When we all have the time, of course. I guess those aren’t as frequent as before.”

“Well, um, no,” said Fluttershy. “But, we can always find a way to make time.”

“That would be awesome,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “I’m sure Gummy would love to see the other pets and get to play with them.”

“I hate to break up this tender moment,” said Bookworm. “But we should probably go see Applejack and then hopefully be able to get a room for the night.”

“Yeah yeah,” sighed Rainbow Dash. “Good thing I keep you around to keep me in check.”

“You’re so flattering,” joked Bookworm.

Rainbow Dash gave him a peck on the cheek and they made their way to Sweet Apple Acres.

“So why’s Braeburn and his pal working on the farm,” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Big Macintosh wants to be more attentive to Twilight right now,” said Pinkie. “So he’s cut back his hours at the farm, which of course means Applejack doesn’t have as much help. Braeburn said he’d come and he brought his buddy, Mal, along with him. He used to bully Applejack when they were little, but he obvious likes her and she clearly likes him back.”

“Ha! I bet he drives A.J. crazy,” laughed Rainbow Dash.

“Oh you bet he does,” said Pinkie Pie. “He’ll tease her by calling her by her given name too.”

“Applejack isn’t her actual name,” asked Bookworm.

“Nah, it’s just a nickname,” said Rainbow Dash. “But it’s in our best interest to never bring it up. She prefers her nickname over her so called ‘fancy soundin name.’”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Bookworm.

Apple Bloom was the first to see Rainbow Dash walking towards the farm. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were also with her today, and she knew Scootaloo would be excited to see her mentor.

“You guys, look,” exclaimed Apple Bloom, pointing down the road.

“Rainbow Dash,” exclaimed Scootaloo.

The orange pegasus hopped on her scooter and sped towards her beloved mentor. She was still having some trouble flying, but Rainbow Dash had helped her improve some. Still, she preferred using her scooter when able. While racing towards her, she hit a rock and was hurled towards Dash and the others. The cerulean mare spotted her quickly and took off to catch her.

“That was a close one,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Oh man, what a catch,” exclaimed Scootaloo.

Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash gave each other a big hug. The other two Cutie Mark Crusaders ran up and also gave Rainbow Dash a hug.

“Great to see you guys again,” said Rainbow Dash. “Still no cutie marks I see though.”

“Yeah, it totally stinks,” said Scootaloo.

“We’ve done dang near everythin to earn them,” said Apple Bloom.

“We’ve been banned from certain areas in town,” said Sweetie Belle.

“You kids are nuts,” said Rainbow Dash. “But that’s normal. Anyway, where’s A.J.?”

“Buckin apples as usual,” said Apple Bloom. “She’s out in the east field. Mal might be with her too.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve heard of him,” said Rainbow Dash.

“I’m gonna go talk to Braeburn,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Hey, you got a bow in your mane,” said Apple Bloom.

“Oh yeah, Rarity gave it to me,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Looks real nice,” said Apple Bloom.

“Rarity knows how to make any pony look prettier,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Thanks a lot,” said Pinkie. “Where’s Braeburn?”

“Last ah saw, he was doin some work in the south field,” said Apple Bloom.

“Great, I’ll be on my way there,” said Pinkie Pie. “Tell A.J. I said hi!”

Pinkie hopped off to the south field to go find Braeburn, while Rainbow Dash and Bookworm went towards the east field to find Applejack. Applejack was indeed bucking apples, but thankfully Mal wasn’t bothering her. After their awkward conversation, the two were avoiding each other when able.

“Yo A.J.,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “Miss me?”

“Well ah’ll be,” smiled Applejack. “What in tarnation are you doin here so soon.”

“Long story short, not a Wonderbolt anymore,” said Rainbow Dash. “I’ll elaborate on it later. For now though, let’s just be excited to see each other.”

“Alright then,” said Applejack, giving Rainbow Dash a hug. “when did ya’ll arrive in town?”

“Bookie and I just got in today,” said Rainbow Dash. “Pinkie took us around town to see the others before we get a hotel. I had to pick up Tank as well.”

“Hey there, little guy,” said Applejack. “Haven’t seen you in a while either. Guess ah don’t get out to Fluttershy’s like ah used to. We’re all pretty busy these days. Say, where is Pinkie?”

“She went to find Braeburn,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Braeburn, eh,” said Applejack. “Is everyone around here strikin up romances?”

“I hear you have a special somepony too,” said Rainbow Dash with a nudge.

“Mal aint no special somepony,” exclaimed Applejack. “He’s just Braeburn’s old buddy, and he brought him along to help on the farm.”

“Whatever you say,” said Rainbow Dash with a sly grin and a wink.

“Anyway,” said Applejack, wanting to change the topic. “Whatcha gonna do now that you aint a Wonderbolt?”

“I’m gonna get my old job back with the weather team,” said Rainbow Dash. “I had a lot more fun with them.

“Probably helps that you were able to slack off more too,” quipped Applejack.

“Hardy har,” said Rainbow Dash. “Not my fault I get stuff done before the others.”

“Well if you’re able, ah wouldn’t mind a little help on the farm,” said Applejack.

“Not a bad idea,” said Rainbow Dash. “At the moment though, Bookie and I gotta find us a place to stay.”

“Ah think some houses became available recently,” said Applejack.

“Awesome,” said rainbow Dash.

Rainbow Dash looked over at her husband and noticed he was getting a little antsy.

“I think we better get going, A.J.,” said Rainbow Dash. “Bookie here is probably worried we won’t get a hotel room for the night.”

“Well shoot, don’t worry about that,” said Applejack. “Ya’ll can stay here fer the night.”

“Seems like you already have a full house,” said Rainbow Dash.

“We recently had the barn insulated,” said Applejack. “It’s nothin fancy, but it’ll keep ya’ll warm fer the night.”

“You okay with that, Bookie,” she asked her husband.

“So long as we have a place to stay,” said Bookworm.

“Then it’s settled,” said Applejack. “Ah’ll be sure to let Granny Smith know to fix some extra plates. Ah bet Pinkie will wanna stay fer dinner to so she can talk more with Braeburn.”

Chapter 11: Dinner

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Pinkie Pie hopped about the south field of Sweet Apple Acres, trying to find Braeburn.

“Oh Braeburn,” shouted Pinkie Pie. “Where are you!?”

“Well hey there, Pinkie,” exclaimed Braeburn. “Didn’t expect to see you so soon!”

“Neither did I,” said Pinkie. “But Rainbow Dash and Bookworm showed up all of a sudden in Ponyville, and she wanted to go see everypony after being gone for so long! Plus she wanted to get back her pet turtle Tank from Fluttershy because obviously he couldn’t live with her on Cloudsdale while she was a Wonderbolt! But Rainbow Dash quit the Wonderbolts and is gonna live back in Ponyville! And we ended up here on Sweet Apple Acres and Apple Bloom told me you were here in the South Field and here I am!

Pinkie Pie finally stopped talking let out a huge sigh of relief. But during this whole ramble, Braeburn didn’t seem confused or annoyed by her fast talking; this was something the pink party pony had never come across.

“Well that sure is some exciting news,” exclaimed Braeburn. “By the way, ah like the new bow in yer mane. It’s mighty pretty!”

“Oh…um…thank you,” fumbled Pinkie, blushing brightly. “Rarity gave it to me today. Sometimes you feel like changing it up some.”

“Ah know whatcha mean,” smiled Braeburn.

“How’s work been going?” asked Pinkie.

“Oh, just fine,” said Braeburn. “Pretty much done fer the day. Thank goodness too, cuz ah sure ah’m starvin.”

“I could sure eat too,” said Pinkie.

“Ah bet Granny Smith wouldn’t mind ya stayin fer dinner,” said Braeburn.

“It would be nice to have a meal I didn’t have to cook myself,” said Pinkie.

Just then, Apple Bloom came running towards them, stopping with an almost audible screech.

“Hey, ya’ll,” exclaimed Apple Bloom. “Granny Smith and Applejack are fixin dinner. And Rainbow Dash and Bookworm are gonna spend the night in the farmhouse.”

“Sounds like we got ourselves a full house tonight,” said Braeburn. “Granny know about Pinkie Pie comin fer dinner too?”

“Eeyup,” said Apple Bloom. “Applejack told her everything. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo will be stayin too!”

“Almost as big as an Apple Family reunion,” exclaimed Braeburn. “Let’s head towards the house.”

“Okie dokie lokie,” exclaimed Pinkie.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Dash and Bookworm were sitting in the living room of the Apple Family abode, while Applejack and Granny Smith were in the process of making dinner. They then heard hoof steps coming down the stairs, and were greeted by Mal.

“Howdy there,” said Mal. “Ah’m Mal Wesson, ol’ friend of Braeburn and the rest of the Apple Family.”

“Yo,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Pleasure to meet you, sir,” said Bookworm.

“Ah’m gonna guess that yer Rainbow Dash,” Mal motioned to the cerulean pegasus.

“Oh gee, what gave it away?” Rainbow Dash said sarcastically. “Could it be the rainbow mane?”

“Ah heard you had some sas in ya,” chuckled Mal. “And this here must be yer lovin hubby, Bookworm.”

“Best husband in Equestria,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash, which made Bookworm blush.

“Ah heard you write them Daring Do books,” Mal asked Bookworm.

“Well, only the last few years,” said Bookworm. “Chester Buckingham is a pen name that’s been used by three previous writers.”

“Ah thought you looked a bit young to be writin them stories so long,” said Mal. “Mah Pappy’s been readin them books since he was knee high.”

“Are you in the apple business too?” asked Bookworm.

“Nah, ah’m just friends with the family,” said Mal. “Mah family manufactures slingshots an other projectiles.”

“Wait…you’re gramps is Pappy Wesson?” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“The very same,” said Mal.

“Holy cow, that’s awesome,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “You probably don’t know this, Bookie, but the Wesson family produce some of the best projectiles in all of Equestria! The Wonderbolts use them all the time!”

“That’s right, ah forgot you were part of the Wonderbolts,” said Mal.

“Not anymore,” said Rainbow Dash. “Let’s just say, they weren’t the best teammates in the world.”

“Oh, ah see,” said Mal. “Well, no point in doin somethin that don’t make ya happy. An ah imagine Bookworm here can write anywhere, so long as he gets it sent in to his publishers.”

“I was actually plenty happy working for the weather team in town,” said Rainbow Dash. “Plus, it’s nice to be closer to my friends. I can’t wait for Twilight to give birth! I’m so excited to become an aunt!”

“It’s fun havin little ones around,” commented Mal. “Ah myself have a few nieces and nephews. You two thinkin of havin any little ones?”

This remark caused Rainbow Dash and Bookworm to blush brightly. To be honest, they hadn’t really thought about having kids. What with Rainbow Dash being a Wonderbolt, it wasn’t practical for them at the time.

“Well…we haven’t talked about it really,” fumbled Rainbow Dash.

“No rush of course,” said Mal. “Yer both young an healthy ponies. Plenty of time to decide on those sorta things.”

“Are you married?” asked Bookworm.

“Nope,” responded Mal. “Still single. But ah got mah eye on a certain mare.”

It was at that moment that Applejack walked into the house. Rainbow Dash noticed the smile forming on Mal’s face as soon as the orange apple bucker walked in. Pinkie was right, these two clearly liked each other.

“Hey, A.J.,” said Rainbow Dash. “Bookie and I have been sitting here talking with your special somepony.”

“He aint no special somepony,” snapped Applejack.

Rainbow Dash immediately started laughing; she missed messing with her friends.

“So when’s dinner?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Granny Smith’s done some of the prep work,” said Applejack. “Ah’m gonna go help her out now. Apple Bloom’s friend will be joining us too. Gonna have to set up the big table.”

“I’ll help you with that, A.J.,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Thanks a lot, sugar cube,” smiled Applejack.

A moment later, Pinkie Pie and Braeburn walked in and were greeted by Mal.

“Nice to see you again Miss Pinkie,” said Mal. “An might ah add, that is a lovely ribbon you have in your mane.”

“Gee thanks, Mal,” said Pinkie Pie. “Rarity gave it to me today.”

“Will you also be gracin us with yer presence at dinner?” asked Mal.

“You betcha,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Where are A.J. and Dashie?”

“Settin up the big table for everypony,” said Mal. “Apple Bloom’s little friends will also be stayin fer dinner.”

“Why didn’t you offer to help with the table?” asked Braeburn.

“Ah figured Applejack wouldn’t much care for me tryin to help her out,” responded Mal.

“Spose you gotta point there,” said Braeburn. “But on the other hand, she might see that yer a nice guy by helpin her out, and might get a bit softer on ya.”

“Like ah care about that,” said Mal.

“Ah wasn’t born yesterday, Mal,” retorted Braeburn. “Ah know full well why ya decided to join me on this trip. You’ve fancied Applejack pretty much since the first day ya laid eyes on her.”

“You really do know me too well,” sighed Mal.

“Course ah do,” said Braeburn. “Yer mah best friend in the whole world!”

“How come we never met Mal when we visited Appleoosa?” asked Pinkie Pie.

“Mal’s become something of a traveler in recent years,” said Braeburn. “But he heard all about it from me.”

“Sure did,” said Mal. “Sounds like a crazy event. Wish ah’d been there. Ah heard you put on a heck of a show, Miss Pinkie.”

“Well most, didn’t seem to feel that way,” sighed Pinkie Pie. “I tell you, some people have no taste in entertainment.”

“Yer a spirited gal, Miss Pinkie,” chuckled Mal.

“Thanks, Mal,” said Pinkie Pie who then sniffed the air. “Dinner sure is starting to smell really really good!”

Rainbow Dash rejoined her friends in the living room after helping Applejack set the big table.

“Hey, Dashie,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Where’s Applejack?”

“Helping Granny Smith in the kitchen,” said Rainbow Dash. “They got a lot to fix.”

“Got ourselves a full house here,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Super duper exciting!”

Nearly a couple hours later, it was time for everypony to sit down and dig in on the bountiful feast Granny Smith and Applejack had created.

“Oh wow,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “This all looks scrumdidlyumptious!”

“Ah’ll say,” agreed Braeburn.

“Feels good, makin all this food,” said Granny Smith with a big smile. “Don’t usually make this much food unless it’s fer a family reunion.”

“Sorta is like one though,” said Mal. “After all, I haven’t seen ya’ll in a good while.”

“Ah never even met you before,” said Apple Bloom.

“Very true,” said Mal. “And that certainly is a shame. Yer just as cute as Applejack was at that age.”

Applejack noticeably turned a bit red at Mal’s remark; Mal of course noticed, but said nothing.

“So Braeburn tells me that you and yer little friends have a club,” said Mal.

“Sure do,” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS! YAY!” the energetic fillies yelled at once.

“We do all we can to earn our cutie marks,” said Scootaloo.

“But we’ve had no luck so far,” said Sweetie Belle, with a hint of disappointment.

“Ya’ll just gotta be patient,” said Mal. “Ah once thought ah’d never get mah cutie mark.”

“Really?” the crusaders said at once.”

“You betcha,” said Mal. “In fact, Applejack helped me get it.”

“How?” asked Apple Bloom.

Applejack was clearly intrigued by this as well.

“She helped me discover ah had a knack fer hittin things with pin point accuracy,” said Mal.

“Are you really usin that excuse fer hittin me with stuff?” exclaimed Applejack.

“Ah’ll admit, it started with simply pickin on ya,” said Mal. “But it didn’t take long before ah realized sharp shootin was mah special talent.”

“You bullied Applejack?” said Apple Bloom, with disappointment in her voice.

“Ah was a stupid kid,” said Mal. “Ah’m not proud of what ah did. Ah hope yer big sister understands that ah really am sorry for what ah’ve done.”

“Aw, I think he’s sorry for reals, A.J.,” said Pinkie Pie. “Why not just forgive him?”

“Ah’ll admit that he’s not as bad as he used to be,” said Applejack.

“Well, that’s progress,” said Pinkie Pie with an enthusiastic smile.

“Hey granny, can we be excused now?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Ifin yer all done, than go right ahead,” said Granny Smith.

“Come on girls, we got some more crusading plans to think up,” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders ran off in what seemed like a blur.

“Granny, that was an awesome meal,” said Rainbow Dash. “Right, Bookie?”

“Yes it was,” agreed Bookworm. “Thank you very much for the hospitality Mrs. Apple.”

“Ah’ll have none of that Missus talk,” said Granny Smith. “Just call me Granny Smith, or Granny.”

“Alright then,” said Bookworm. “Thank you, Granny.”

“Aint no problem,“ said Granny Smith. “Any friend of Applejack, is a friend of mine.”

“Bookie and I should probably get to bed now,” said Rainbow Dash. “That way we can get up early to go house hunting.”

“Probably good fer all of us to hit the hay,” said Applejack. “Tomorrow’s when the real work starts.”

“Aw, I was hoping we’d have more time to talk,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Don’t worry, Pinkie,” said Braeburn. “We’ll have plenty of chances to talk while ah’m here. And remember, you can stop by the farm anytime yer free.”

“Yeah, you have a point there,” said Pinkie Pie, instantly cheering up.

“And ah’d be happy to walk you back to yer house,” said Braeburn.

“I couldn’t ask you to do that,” said Pinkie. “It’s already night out, and you got work in the morning.”

“Ah am first and foremost a gentlecolt,” said Braeburn. “And it would be wrong of me to have a mare such as yerlsef walkin home alone in the dark.”

“Well…that is sweet of you,” said Pinkie, blushing brightly. “Ok, you can walk me home.”

“Ah’ll be back in a little,” said Braeburn.

“No rush,” smiled Granny Smith.

Pinkie Pie and Braeburn walked out the front door and headed towards Sugarcube Corner.

“You gonna show us the barn, A.J.?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Sure thing, sugar cube,” said Applejack. “Ah’ll get some blankets and pillows for ya’ll.”

“Yer havin yer friends sleep in the barn?” asked Granny Smith.

“We had it insulated recently, Granny,” said Applejack. “It’s plenty warm. Sepcially for just one night of sleep. Not like we have many other places to sleep.”

“Gotta point there,” said Granny Smith. “Be sure to get our warmest blankets.”

Chapter 12: A Lovely Stroll

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Pinkie Pie and Braeburn walked casually down the dirt path, heading towards Sugarcube Corner. It was a crisp evening, not too cold and not too warm. In an unusual turn of events, both seemed nervous to say anything to each other. Finally, Braeburn built up some courage to say something.

“So…um…,” began Braeburn. “How long have ya been workin at Sugarcube Corner?”

“Oh…well…I guess it’s been close to six years now,” said Pinkie Pie. “My Grandma used to deliver supplies for Mr. and Mrs. Cake, and I would sometimes go on deliveries with her.”

“That sure sounds nice,” he remarked.

“It was,” she said, with a nostalgic smile.

“Ah’m gonna guess by yer tone, that yer Grandma aint around no more,” he said.

“No, she died about seven years ago,” said Pinkie, now frowning.

“Sorry fer bringing it up,” said Braeburn, now frowning as well.

“Oh, that‘s ok,” she said in a reassuring tone. “You didn‘t know. Anyway, I decided to move away from home, and moved to Ponyville. Mr. and Mrs. Cake offered me a job and a place to stay. And now I also help look after their kids.”

“Where’d ya originally come from?” asked Braeburn.

“I grew up on a rock farm,” said Pinkie Pie. “Not too far from Ponyville.”

“What exactly do ya do on a rock farm?” asked Braeburn.

“It’s more what you call a quarry,” said Pinkie Pie. “We collect rocks, break some of them down, and sell them for things like landscaping material. Not exactly what you would call fun.”

“Ah can see why ya went into parties and pastries,” said Braeburn.

“I have nothing against my parents raising me on a rock farm,” said Pinkie Pie. “We weren’t exactly well off. But my sisters and I never went without a meal, and we always had a roof over our head. The first time I ever threw a party and made my parents smile was one of the happiest days of my life.”

“Makin ponies smile is what drives ya, eh?” said Braeburn.

“You betcha,” said Pinkie Pie.
“But what about yerself?” asked Braeburn.

“What do you mean?” asked Pinkie Pie.

“Ah mean, makin other ponies happy is good and all,” continued Braeburn. “Ah mahself love makin others happy. But, what about makin yerself happy?”

“Making other ponies happy makes me happy,” said Pinkie Pie.

“So does that mean ya only do what others wanna do?” asked Braeburn.

“Um…well…I never really thought about it that way,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Then it’s settled,” said Braeburn.

“What do you mean?” asked Pinkie Pie.

“When we have our date, yer gonna choose what we do,” said Braeburn.

“But I thought the stallion chose what to do,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Well, think of it as mah choice,” said Braeburn. “Ah wanna do what you wanna do.”

“B-but, I can’t think of what I wanna do,” said Pinkie Pie.

“So, we’ll go out once you come up with an idea,” said Braeburn.

“But, but that could take forever,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“We can still hang out and all that stuff,” said Braeburn. “But it can only be on the farm. Once you figure out what we wanna do fer our date, we’ll do that.”

“I suppose that’s a good idea,” said Pinkie Pie. “I’ve certainly never heard of anypony coming up with anything like that.”

“Ah’ve been known to have a few good ideas in mah noggin once in a blue moon,” said Braeburn, with a proud smile.

There was another moment of silence, before Pinkie Pie thought up something to say.

“Say…Braeburn,” she began. “What did you think of my musical number during that whole buffalo fiasco?”

“Oh…well…,” he began to say, which was making Pinkie nervous. “Ah thought it was wonderful!”

“You did?” said Pinkie in shock.

“Course ah did,” he exclaimed. “It was a rip roarin good time! You have a mighty lovely voice.”

“Oh…well, thank you,” said Pinkie, who began to blush.

“And, if ya don’t mind me sayin,” he started to say with a gulp. “Yer outfit was mighty fine as well.”

Pinkie Pie didn’t know how to respond to that. Nopony ever really called her pretty; at least that she could ever recall. All that she could really think to do was giggle at Braeburn’s compliment. This caused Braeburn to giggle as well; he rarely told a mare she was pretty. Despite his outgoing personality, the Appleoosan farmer didn’t go out on dates much. The two continued to laugh all the way to Sugarcube Corner, stopping at the front door.

“Well…here we are,” said Pinkie.

“Eyup…we’re here,” said Braeburn.

“You, um, wanna come in for a little?” she asked.

“Ah don’t think that’s a very good idea,” said Braeburn.

“Why not?” asked Pinkie.

“Cuz ah don’t wanna do anything stupid,” said Braeburn. “Ah wanna be a gentlecolt. And ah know that if ah go in there with you, being so late in the evening, ah won’t be no gentlecolt.”

“You’re very sweet,” said Pinkie. “This was a really nice evening.”

“Ah agree,” said Braeburn.

He then took Pinkie’s front hoof and gave it a soft kiss.

“Sweet dreams, Miss Pinkie,” said Braeburn, tipping his hat.

“Sweet dreams, Mr. Braeburn,” said Pinkie. “Or should it be Mr. Apple?”

“Either works fine,” he chuckled.

“Well…I’ll start thinking of what we can do for our date,” said Pinkie.

“Ah look forward to that,” said Braeburn.

Pinkie walked into the bakery and watched through the window as Braeburn walked back to Sweet Apple Acres. Unbeknownst to the young apple bucker, Pinkie saw him leap in the air with joy and click his hooves together. Pinkie Pie giggled at this site, and she was then interrupted by Mrs. Cake.

“Pinkie?” she said in surprise. “Are you just getting home?”

“Oh…hello Mrs. Cake,” Pinkie greeted her boss, tenant, and surrogate mother. “I had dinner over at Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack’s cousin Braeburn was walking me home.”

“Oh, that nice stallion from earlier,” commented Mrs. Cake. “Where you two on a date?”

“Oh no, just hanging out,” said Pinkie. “But we’re gonna go out on a date.”

“When?” asked Mrs. Cake.

“Soon as I know what I want to do,” said Pinkie.

Chapter 13: A Night in the Barn

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Rainbow Dash and Bookworm settled down into the Sweet Apple Acres farmhouse, to get ready for a good night’s rest. But as the married couple laid there, neither could find themselves going to sleep.

“You asleep, Bookie?” the cerulean pegasus asked her husband.

“No, I can’t sleep a wink,” said the bookish unicorn.

“Sleeping in a barn aint easy, eh?” joked Rainbow Dash.

“It’s not the barn, Dashie,” said Bookworm, in monotone. “The barn is fine. It’s nicely insulated, and plenty warm.”

“Yeah,” sighed Rainbow Dash. “You’re thinking about what Mal said…aren’t you?”

“And you aren’t?” said Bookworm.

“Well…um…I don’t typically think about girly stuff,” fumbled Rainbow Dash.

“You are so full of it,” said Bookworm.

“Was it that obvious?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“When you lie, you can never make it through a full sentence without pausing and going um,” commented Bookworm.

“That’s what I get for marrying someone who knows me too well,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Do you want kids?” asked Bookworm.

“Uhhhhhhhhg!” groaned Rainbow Dash. “Is this really the best place to talk about this? In a bucking barn?”

“If not now, then when?” argued Bookworm. “I know you’re not a fan of talking about serious subject, Dashie. But that’s not how life works. Sometimes, you gotta talk serious.”

“Damn you for being so smart!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

Bookworm and Rainbow Dash shared a little chuckle.

“So, do you think about having kids?” asked Bookworm.

“All the time,” admitted Rainbow Dash.

“Surprising,” said Bookworm. “So…do you wanna give it a go?”

“I don’t think it would be a good idea, though,” said Rainbow Dash, now frowning.

“Why not?” asked Bookworm.

“Because I really suck with kids,” said Rainbow Dash.

“You seem to do well with Scootaloo,” said Bookworm.

“Oh, that’s different,” said Rainbow Dash. “I only hang out with her, I don’t take care of her. Mentoring a young filly is one thing, but being responsible for another life is completely different. The only pony I really know with a kid is Derpy.”

“The mail mare?” asked Bookworm.

“The very same,” said Rainbow Dash. “She’s also my cousin. Do you know why she’s called Derpy?”

“Well, if I had to guess, I would say it’s because of her eyes,” said Bookworm.

“Yeah,” said Rainbow Dash. “Poor thing had an accident when she was a filly. As a foal, she got an infection and lost her hearing. Then one day she got away from her mother, and was hit by a cart. So that’s why she has the wonky eye. She eventually gained her hearing back, but because of being deaf she now has that speech impediment. Combined with her eye and clumsiness, ponies think she’s mentally challenged. But she’s sharp as a tack! You try not being clumsy when you can’t see straight!”

“I’m failing to see what this has to do with parenting,” interrupted Bookworm.

“I’m getting to that, Mr. Impatient,” Rainbow Dash said aggravatingly. “Anyway, Derpy has a filly named Dinky; she’s a unicorn.”

“I don’t mean to interrupt again,” said Bookworm. “But where’s the father?”

“The dude was no good,” said Rainbow Dash. “When she got pregnant, he was only gonna marry her because she was pregnant. Derpy didn’t wanna stay with somepony who felt obligated. She’s raised Dinky all on her own. I help out when I can, of course. But for the most part, it’s just Derpy looking after her. She’s probably the best mother I know, and she can’t even see straight. Meanwhile, I’m the best flyer in Equestria, and I have the maternal skills of an eggplant.”

“But you also got me,” said Bookworm. “Plus, you’re the element of loyalty. Who better to be loyal to than your own foal?”

“You really think I’d make a good mom?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Of course I do,” said Bookworm. “I worry about being a good father.”

“You!?” said Rainbow Dash. “You were a student at the school for gifted unicorns.”

“Where I was one of the most socially awkward ponies you’d ever meet,” chimed Bookworm.

“More than Twilight?” asked Rainbow Dash.

“Are you kidding?” said Bookworm. “I can’t believe I was ever able to ask her out. But if I hadn’t I never would’ve met you.”

“You’re so corny,” said Rainbow Dash.

“But it’s true,” he exclaimed, now standing on the bed. “If I had never met Twilight, I never would’ve broken up with her, moved away, met somepony else, been dumped horribly, gotten into a drunken stuper, sloshed by way to Ponyville, and then have you crash into me!”

“Not the most graceful of ways to meet somepony,” she sighed, thinking about the day she collided into him.

“But I still met you!” he continued to exclaim. “And it was the greatest day of my entire life! And while you may not admit to it being your best day ever, I know it was for you too!”

“Sure, sure, it was a fantastic day,” said Rainbow Dash, trying to sound as if that wasn‘t a great day for her (she had to remain cool after all). “But how do you figure we managed to get this far? Most of what we have in common is books.”

“Because we also share passion!” he kept exclaiming. “Because I can express the words that you’re unable to. But then I can get you to express them.”

“I’m glad you’re so enthusiastic,” said Rainbow Dash.

“You just don’t feel as enthusiastic because of quitting the Wonderbolts,” said Bookworm.

“Nah, I’m pretty much over that,” said Rainbow Dash. “I just don’t know if I’m ready for kids.”

“Well, it’s not like we have to have them now,” said Bookworm. “Anytime you’re ready is when I’m ready.”

Rainbow Dash smiled warmly at her husband’s remark, pulled him down to her, and gave him a passionate kiss.

“Why don’t we have a little roll in the hay, and see what happens, Mr. Scholar,” she said, giving her husband a sultry smile.

“I like the way you think, Mrs. Scholar,” he said, arching his brow.

Chapter 14: The Early Morning Routine

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Big Macintosh woke up from his bed with a loud yawn. Like most mornings, he accidentally smashed his alarm clock with his massive hoof. Years of living at Sweet Apple Acres, the large farm stallion was used to waking up naturally at a specific time. Now that he was living at the library with his very pregnant wife, he had to wake up earlier than usual so he had time for some breakfast. Applejack had told him many times before that he didn’t have to worry about being at the farm at his usual time, but Big Mac was a pony habit. He wobbled to the bathroom to take a shower, which thankfully helped wake him up some. He never forgot the first time he went through this routine.

Downstairs, Spike was busy making some breakfast for the farm pony he now considered to be his brother in-law. Getting out of the bathroom, Big Mac could smell the aroma of breakfast; his mouth started watering instantly. He made his way down the stairs as quietly as possible, so as not to wake up his sleeping wife.

“Good Morning, Mac,” greeted Spike.

“Mornin, Spike,” Big Macintosh responded. “What the hay are you doin up so early?”

“I didn’t want you doing farm work on a empty stomach,” said Spike.

“Well ah coulda just made some toast or something,” said Big Macintosh.

“I could never do that,” said Spike. “Twilight wouldn’t want you going on an empty stomach either. And I’m not gonna let my brother in-law starve.”

“Brother in-law?” said Big Macintosh, perplexed by Spike’s remark.

“Well, sure,” responded Spike. “Twilight is pretty much my big sister, since I’ve been with her my whole life. Now that you two are married, that makes you my brother in-law.

“Guess ah never thought of it that way,” responded Big Macintosh.

“No big deal,” said Spike. “Now, sit yourself down. You got plenty of time to eat something before you head out. Besides, Applejack says it’s no big deal if you don’t show up at your usual time; seeing as how you don’t live on the farm anymore.”

“Guess ah’m just a creature of habit,” commented Big Macintosh.

“I know that feeling,” said Spike.

The dragon assistant set down a plate of four scrambled eggs, four buttered pieces of toast, and a tall glass of orange juice.

“Wow,” exclaimed Big Macintosh. “Didn’t expect this kinda breakfast.”

“Like I said, don’t wantcha going to work on an empty stomach,” said Spike, with a gleaming smile.

“Thank ya kindly, spike,” said Big Macintosh, bowing his head to the purple dragon.

“No problem, big bro,” responded Spike.

The farm stallion never thought he’d hear Spike refer to him as a brother. But he actually did like the sound of it. He ate up as fast as he could, and guzzled down his glass of orange juice. He then let out a sizeable burp, causing him to blush slightly.

“Guess ah should get goin,” said Big Macintosh.

“Be sure to say bye to Twilight,” said Spike.

“But she’s sleepin,” said Big Macintosh.

“So what,” said Spike. “She’s not gonna see you all day. I doubt she wants you leaving without a kiss.”

Big Mac couldn’t argue with that logic. Letting out a sigh, he walked back up the stairs to see his wife before heading out. At this point she wasn’t too far along to where it was safe for her to walk up and down stairs. The red stallion took a moment to look at his sleeping bride. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked, and how it wouldn’t be long before they were gonna become parents. He leaned in and nuzzled Twilight gently on her muzzle. The lavender librarian slowly opened her eyes, to see her husband standing in front of her.

“Morning, sweetheart,” responded Twilight, clearly tired.

“Mornin, sugar cube,” responded Big Macintosh. “Ah gotta head out to Sweet Apple Acres today. Be home this evenin. Need anything before ah leave?”

“How bout a kiss,” she said coyly.

“Ah think ah can oblige,” he said, giving her a warm smile.

He leaned in and gave her a nice, long kiss. Once done, he headed towards the bedroom door. Before heading out, he gave her a final goodbye for the day.

“Be sure to get back to sleep,” said Big Macintosh. “Ah love you, Twilight.

“I love you too, Macintosh,” said Twilight, letting out one more big yawn before drifting back off to sleep.

Big Mac made his way back downstairs, slid on his yoke, and got his saddlebags and prepared to head out. Before leaving however, Spike once again had something for him.

“Hey, Mac,” exclaimed Spike. “Just a sec. I made you a lunch for later too.”

“Oh,” Big Mac responded with a little confusion. “Yah really didn’t have to…”

“I won’t take no for an answer,” smiled Spike. “I want to make sure my family is taken care of.”

The little dragon surprised the farm pony further, by giving him a warm hug. While not sure what to do at first, Macintosh gave Spike a hug back. He was finally able to make his way out the front door.

And that’s how Big Macintosh’s routine pretty much went from then on: wake up, shower, eat breakfast, kiss Twilight goodbye, get his bagged lunch from Spike and head out to Sweet Apple Acres. The only real change in this system, was when Twilight was too far along to sleep upstairs in their bedroom and had to start sleeping on the couch in the sitting area of the library. Despite this routine going on for months, Mac was still having some trouble getting used to his new wakeup time. He figured it was normal, since he spent years on a fairly constant schedule; and he wasn’t even married a year yet. Even the simple act of walking towards the farm for work seemed off to him.

But he had to admit, he enjoyed seeing Ponyville before anypony else was awake for the day ahead; in all his years he had never had that opportunity. The only time he ever saw Ponyville bathed in Luna’s moonlight was evening dates with Twilight, or some sort of special event like Nightmare Night. His favorite part of these walks, was Celestia raising the sun. He’d seen sunrises numerous times before from his old bedroom back on the farm, but seeing the sun rise going towards the farm was a whole different experience. He knew it was going to be good day.

Chapter 15: Early Morning Conflict

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Applejack woke up as soon as the sun began to hit her face. She fumbled a little bit, partly from still being tired and partly from her hair being tangled without her hair bands. First thing she did was fix her hair for the day ahead. Grabbing her prized stetson, she made her way down to the kitchen, where Granny Smith was making breakfast; but she wasn’t alone.

“Mal,” said Applejack, in surprise. “What are you doin down here?”

“Helpin Granny Smith make breakfast, of course,” responded Mal. “What does it look like ah’m doin?”

“You know how to cook,” said Applejack.

“After a while, you’ll learn that I’m a stallion of many talents,” said Mal. “Plus, when ah was travelin, there were times where ah didn’t have anypony to fix me food. So it became necessary for me to learn how. And ah couldn’t let this lovely mare do all this hard work on her own.”

“Oh, now stop it right now, Malady,” said Granny Smith, blushing from his compliment. “Flattery aint gonna get ya outta doin yer work.”

“Ah would never try somethin so underhoofed, Granny,” said Mal, sounding playfully aghast at the elderly mare’s remark. “Ah intend to do all my required work on your lovely farm. Mama Wesson didn’t raise no slouch.”

Just then, they heard the rapid sound of little hoof steps running around upstairs. Scampering down the stairs were the Cutie Mark Crusaders, no doubt woken up by the smell of breakfast.

“That sure smells good,” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“Can’t start crusading on an empty stomach,” exclaimed Scootaloo.

“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,” exclaimed Sweetie Belle with a large grin.

Everypony in the kitchen stood there in silence, giving Sweetie Belle a confused look.

“What,” asked Sweetie Belle. “It’s just an expression.”

Seconds later, Braeburn came trotting down the stairs whistling a happy tune.

“Good mornin, Apple Family!, “Braeburn exclaimed, as if he was welcoming them to the newest family reunion. “And how is everypony on this most glorious of days!?”

“Mah mah, aint you in a good mood,” deadpanned Applejack.

“An why shouldn’t ah be,” exclaimed Braeburn. “After all, ah’m hangin out with mah favorite cousins, mah best friend in the whole wide world, the cutest little fillies in all of Equestria, and of course mah favorite Granny!”

“Sweet Celestia,” chuckled Mal. “If he’s this happy now, imagine what he’ll be like once he’s gotten some Pinkie action.”

“Mal,” snapped Applejack. “There’s little ones present!”

“A.J., ah live on a farm,” Apple Bloom said matter of fact like. “Ah know where babies come from.”

“Rarity loves talking about boys,” chimed in Sweetie Belle.

“Rainbow Dash doesn’t have what some would call a filter,” grumbled Scootaloo.

Applejack stood there for a moment, trying to find something to say.

“Looks like ol' Janaluska Apple is speechless,” said Mal, beginning to laugh his head off.

Mal was laughing so hard, he didn’t see the back hooves coming at his face. And at that point, Big Macintosh had walked through the front door and made his way to the kitchen.

“Mornin ya’ll,” exclaimed the farm stallion.

He then noticed Mal, laying unconscious on the floor. Everypony stood there for a moment, first looking at Big Macintosh to acknowledge his presence and then taking their attention back to Mal. Big Mac leaned over towards Apple Bloom.

“He called A.J. by her given name, didn’t he,” he asked his little sister, his eyes locked on Mal‘s unconscious body.

“Eeyup,” replied Apple Bloom.
“Ah bet you think your soooooooo fast, don’t ya,” groaned Mal, now sporting two black eyes.

Applejack just kept on working, sporting a smug smile on her face.

“If ah wasn’t laughin at the time, ah coulda dodged yer kicks,” he went on.

“Ya wanna test that theory,” Applejack said, giving him a harsh stare.

“Maybe once mah eyes have gone back to normal,” responded Mal defensively. “Ah’ve lost a good deal of mah depth perception at the moment. Is it a normal occurrence on this farm to attack the help?”

“It is when the help is mouthin off like a jackass,” barked Applejack. “Ah’d hardly call you help though.”

“What’s yer damn problem,” exclaimed Mal.

“What’s my problem?!” yelled Applejack. “What’s my problem!? Are you serious!?”

“Course ah’m serious!” yelled Mal. “Look at mah buckin face!”

“Yer mah problem, Malady!” she yelled louder. “You say yer interested in me, but yer always makin fun of me and teasing me!”

“Ah’m just bein affectionate,” exclaimed Mal.

“No! Yer treatin me like one of the guys!” she exclaimed.

“Huh?” said Mal. “What?”

“In case you didn’t notice, ah aint no stallion,” she said.

“Ah know that,” he said with a confused tone.

“Do you? Cuz you sure don’t act like it,” she said. “You treat all mares like this?”

“Well…no…ah guess not,” he said, his ears pinning back.

“Ya figured ya didn’t have to treat me the same cuz we grew up together,” she went on. “An ah may not be as fancy as somepony like Rarity, but ah still want to be treated like a lady. Ah still expect things, like dates and gifts and all that romantic stuff.”

“D-dates?” Mal said, quite shocked.

“For buck’s sake, Mal,” said Applejack. “You said you were interested in my, didn’t ya?”

“Well…yeah,” said Mal.

“Ah’ve had time to think,” she continued. “And ah’m interested in you too. But this aint gonna work if ya keep treatin me like ah’m a school filly. Not that most school fillies wanna be picked on either.”

“So, what do ah do,” he asked.

“Ah thought ya dated,” she said in a sarcastic tone.

Finally, Mal got the hint. He took off his hat and bowed at Applejack.

“Applejack,” he began. “Would you do me the pleasure of goin out with me sometime?”

“That’s much better,” she smiled. “And sure, ah’ll go out with you. Soon as we have some free time of course.”

“Yeah, of course,” said Mal.

“But don’t expect me to be wowed by a simple stroll to the park,” said Applejack. “Don’t have to be some high class, exclusive place or anything. But ah at least want a decent sit down place.”

“Ah can do that,” he nodded.

“We should probably also wait for yer face to heal some,” chuckled Applejack. “Ah can’t be seen in public with a busted lookin stallion.”

“Ah wouldn’t be busted if you hadn’t….” he started to say before Applejack shot him a look. “Ah mean to say, yer absolutely right. Also, ah’m sorry fer treatin you so bad.”

“Just get back to work,” said Applejack.

Chapter 16: Advice from the Cakes

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“Something to do, something to do, something to do,” Pinkie Pie kept saying to herself as she paced around like crazy in her bedroom.

Last night, Braeburn said to Pinkie that they wouldn’t go out until she came up with the activity. And it had to be her idea. The thought of that terrified the hyperactive pinkie party pony. She always did what others wanted to do, and seemed ok with that. But now, now she wasn’t sure if that was good enough anymore.

“What I want to do,” she spoke again to nopony. “I’ve spent my entire life doing what others want; and I’ve loved every moment of it. But, can I keep doing that forever? Can I really be truly happy from only doing that? Then again, I never really thought about going out with boys. I mean, I’ve BEEN with stallions before, during crazier parties. Hehehe. Thank Celestia I remembered protection! GAHHHHHHHH! This shouldn’t be SOOOOOOOO HAAAAARRRRRDD!”

Then she heard a knock at the door.

“Come in,” she sighed.

In walked in the Cake twins, Pound and Pumpkin. Pinkie Pie still couldn’t believe how big they were getting; now close to four years old.

“Are you ok, Pinkie?” asked Pound Cake.

“Yeah, we heard you screaming,” said Pumpkin Cake.

“Oh, it’s nothing, I’m ok,” said Pinkie Pie. “I’m just trying to think of something to do for a date with Braeburn.”

“That nice stallion you introduced us yesterday,” asked Pumpkin Cake.

“The very same,” said Pinkie Pie. “We decided to go on a date, but he wants me to decide on what we’re gonna do. And I just can’t think of anything to do.”

“Because you’re so used to doing what others wanna do, right,” asked Pound Cake.

“Did everypony notice that,” said Pinkie Pie, frowning bigger now.

“I didn’t know it was supposed to be a secret,” said Pumpkin Cake.

“Yeah, you love doing stuff for other ponies,” said Pound Cake. “It makes you happy.”

“It does make me happy,” said Pinkie Pie. “But, Braeburn had a good point too. I should do more for myself.”

“So do it,” said Pumpkin Cake.

“Just like that,” said Pinkie Pie.

“Why not,” said Pound Cake. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do stuff for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish or anything.”

“How are you two so smart,” asked Pinkie Pie. “You’re like four years old.”

“I guess we’re just wise beyond our years,” said Pound Cake.

“Or you’re just dreaming,” said Pumpkin Cake.

Then all three began to share a hearty laugh.

“But seriously, you’re dreaming,” the Cake Twins said at once.

Pinkie suddenly jolted awake so fast that she fell out of her bed, making a loud thud. And just then, Pumpkin and Pound Cake walked in to check on that noise.

“You ok, Pinkie,” asked Pumpkin Cake, in a voice that was clearly more for a four year old.

“We heard a bump,” said Pound Cake with a concerned tone.

“Oh, I’m ok kids,” she reassured the twins.

“Did you have a bad dream,” asked Pumpkin Cake.

“Not exactly,” said Pinkie Pie. “More like an anxiety dream.”

“Anxi-what,” asked the Cake twins in a confused tone.

“I guess that is a big word for four year olds,” said Pinkie. “A worry dream is probably the best phrase.”

“Aw, what are you worried about, Pinkie,” asked Pound Cake.

“Don’t worry about it, kids,” she reassured them again. “Just go off and play, and I’ll come join you in a little.”

The Cake Twins walked off slowly to leave Pinkie Pie alone in her room. The seemed to be in a bit higher spirits, but they could tell their favorite foal sitter was feeling down. A few minutes later, Pinkie heard a tap on her door.

“Pinkie, dear,” she heard the voice of Mrs. Cake. “Pumpkin and Pound tell me you seem sad.”

Pinkie lets out a little sigh; she’s a bit annoyed that the twins went talking to Mrs. Cake. But on the other hoof, she is glad to see their concerned about her well being.

“Come on in, Mrs. Cake,” said Pinkie.

The light blue pastry chef made her way into Pinkie’s room.

“So what’s going on, sweetie,” Mrs. Cake asked in her usual motherly tone.

“Well,” began Pinkie. “I have a date with Braeburn.”

“That nice stallion you introduced us to the other day,” asked Mrs. Cake.

“Yeah, him,” said Pinkie.

“That’s wonderful, dear,” exclaimed Mrs. Cake. “When’s the big date?”

“Well, that’s the thing,” said Pinkie. “He wants me to decide what we do for our date.”

“A little unusual,” thought Mrs. Cake.

“It’s because I tend to do what others want to do,” said Pinkie. “So, he figured I should pick the date.”

“I see,” said Mrs. Cake. “And you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, aren’t you?”

“Hit the nail on the head,” responded Pinkie. “I feel bad that I can’t come up with anything.”

Mrs. Cake moved to Pinkie’s bed to sit with her, putting her hoof around the pink party pony’s shoulder.

“Aw, sweetie don’t say that,” said Mrs. Cake.

“But I should be able to have my own ideas,” said Pinkie. “But all I ever do is go with what others want. And I mostly know how to arrange parties. Btu, I’ve never been on a date.”

“I’m surprised by that,” said Mrs. Cake.

“I think most stallions are nervous to ask me out,” said Pinkie. “I know what I’m like; really hyper and outrageous.”
“But you’re also a wonderful mare,” said Mrs. Cake, giving Pinkie a warm hug. “Any stallion would be lucky to go out with you. And if this Braeburn makes you happy, then I wish you both the best.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Cake,” said Pinkie, returning the hug.

Mrs. Cake got up from Pinkie’s bed and made her way out the door.

“Just remember that it doesn’t have to be anything over the top,” said Mrs. Cake. “When it comes to a first date, it’s usually good to go small and intimate.”

And then Pinkie Pie was alone again in her room. That’s when a light bulb went off in her head, and a huge grin grew across her face.

“THAT’S IT!,” she exclaimed as loud as she could.

Chapter 17: Making Plans

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“Ya’ll know yer gonna be washin them sheets!” exclaimed Applejack at the top of her lungs.

The orange farm pony had walked in on the Rainbow Dash and her husband in a post coital embrace. Needless to say, she wasn’t too happy at this site, and dragged the two out of the barn.

“I heard ya the first time, AJ!” Rainbow Dash shouted back. “You act like we’re the first ponies to ever have a role in the hay in your barn!”

“We Apples are a decent bunch of ponies!” the orange mare continued to yell. “We’d never do something so obscene! Right Big Mac?”

Big Macintosh, who had just arrived at the farm, simply stood there and tried to act as casual as possible. But being the honest stallion he was, he eventually cracked a guilty grin.

“Oh for Celestia’s sake!” exclaimed Applejack. “Am ah the only decent pony around here!?”

“You’re certainly the only one not getting any,” chuckled Rainbow Dash. “Although, if you play your cards right, I’m sure Mal will help you with that.”

This remark even caused the normally stoic Big Macintosh to let out a chuckle.

“Why you know good piece of…” Applejack began to yell, before being cut off.

“Would you look at the time,” Bookworm chimed in. “I think it’s time that Dash and I go house hunting. Thank you so much for your hospitality Miss Apple.”

Bookworm engulfed his still cackling wife with his magic and ran off as fast as he could. Big Macintosh meanwhile had to hold back his fuming sister. A little down the road, Bookworm let Rainbow Dash out of his magical embrace, dropping her to the ground.

“You didn’t have to keep pushing her buttons, you know,” commented Bookworm.

“Oh, come on, Bookie,” said Rainbow Dash, still chuckling some. “I was just bucking around with her. Sides, not like she couldn’t use her own little roll in the hay.”

“We seem to have a habit of your friends walking in on us,” he remarked. “Remember our wedding?”

“At least this time we weren’t still in the act,” she retorted. “Now lets go find us a house.”

“Shouldn’t we find a realtor for this?” asked Bookworm.

“I got that taken care of,” said Rainbow Dash. “He’ll be meeting us by the town statue.”

“When did you have time to contact a realtor?” asked Bookworm.

“When we visited Twilight I had Spike send a message for me,” answered Rainbow Dash.

“So who is he?” asked Bookworm.

“You’ll see,” said Rainbow Dash, with a devilish smile.

The young couple arrived at the statue in the middle of town.

“I thought you said he’d be here,” commented Bookworm.

“I said he’d be meeting us here,” retorted Rainbow Dash. “I never said he would be here before us.”

“At my age, I’m allowed to take my time,” answered somepony.

Bookworm looked up to see none other than Bifröst, father of Rainbow Dash, descending down towards them. Like his daughter he sported a rainbow colored mane and tail, but with brown eyes and a frosty blue coat. Soon as he landed, Rainbow Dash leaped towards her father and gave him a big hug.

“Awesome seeing you again, dad,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“It’s always great to see my little Dashie,” said Bifröst, with a warm smile.

The older pegasus stallion then turned his look towards his son in law.

“Bookworm,” he said, with a slightly bitter tone.

“Sir,” said Bookworm, now blushing.

At their wedding, Bifröst was the one who walked in on Rainbow Dash and her new husband in the “act.”

“Dash never told me you were a realtor,” commented Bookworm.

“Well, I wasn’t originally,” began Bifröst. “But I’m not as athletic as I used to be. Some of my friends told me they’d made some decent extra bits working in real estate, so I figured I’d give it a try. Been at it for a little over a year now; I do alright.”

“Well, it’s good to have things to do,” said Bookworm.

“Sure,” replied Bifröst, in an uninterested tone.

“Aw, come on dad,” said Rainbow Dash. “Cut Bookie some slack. It takes two to tango, ya know.”

“I’d rather not talk about it,” said Bifröst. “Let’s focus on the task at hoof. You two need a place to live. Of course Bookworm can’t live up in a cloud house, given he has no wings.”

Rainbow Dash rolled here eyes at her dad’s remark. Bifröst always figured his daughter would marry a fellow pegasus athlete, not a writer.

“Hey, we could always live in a tree house,” commented Rainbow Dash. “It would be off the ground.”

“I’m pretty sure Ponyville doesn’t have tree houses for sale,” said Bifröst. “But you could always make some sort of addition to a house. Something that would elevate your bedroom off the ground.”

“That actually sounds pretty cool,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“Maybe we should build a house then,” commented Bookworm.

“Think you can actually afford that?” replied Bifröst, in a condescending tone.

“Bookie is a best selling author, dad,” replied Rainbow Dash. “And I still have bits saved up from being the Wonderbolts. So yeah, I think we can afford to build ourselves a house.”

“Alright then,” said Bifröst. “Let’s look at some plots for sale.

Bifröst wouldn’t admit to it, but he was glad to see his little Dashie sticking up for her husband; he knew that meant she really did love him.

“How much space do you think you’ll need?” asked Bifröst.

“Well, I’d say a decent amount of space,” began Rainbow Dash, who was blushing a little. Bookie and I…were thinking of maybe…starting a family.”

“Do what now,” exclaimed Bifröst, who’s ears perked up slightly. “Did you say starting a family?”

“Well…um…” fumbled Rainbow Dash, now sounding a bit like Fluttershy. “Yeah.”

“Well why didn’t you say so!?” exclaimed Bifröst, now sporting a huge grin.

“I’ll be glad to help pay for anything you need to make sure you’re house is absolutely perfect!”

“Um…thanks dad,” replied Rainbow Dash, surprised by her dad’s enthusiasm. “You really don’t need to do that.”

“Are you kidding!” he exclaimed again. “This is my first grandchild! This is the greatest news I could hear! If only your mother was around…”

“Yeah,” said Rainbow Dash.

“But she was too busy to make the trip with me,” replied Bifröst. “But I’ll give her the great news!”

“Don’t get overly cheery, dad,” said Rainbow Dash. “I’m not even pregnant yet.”

“That’s why we gotta get you a place and fast,” exclaimed Bifröst, who then turned his attention to Bookworm. “I’m sure you won’t have any problem getting the job done, my favorite son in law!”

“Uh, sure, thanks,” said Bookworm, nervous at how much more affectionate his father in law had become.

“You two just enjoy the day,” said Bifröst. “I’ll swoop around town and find the perfect piece of land for you!”

In an instant the frosty blue pegasus flew off to find something for his precious daughter and son in law. Rainbow Dash and Bookworm stood there in confusion.

“Guess all we had to do get your dad to like me was promise him grandchildren,” said Bookworm.

“I didn’t even know he wanted to be a grandpa,” said Rainbow Dash.

Just then, Bifröst dashed back in front of them, sporting a huge grin.

“I have found the perfect place!” he exclaimed. “And I’ve already contacted a construction team and everything!”

“Wow, dad,” said Rainbow Dash. “I haven’t seen you move like that in years.”

“Guess I got a new kick in my step,” replied Bifröst with a proud smile. “Although you’ll have to stay in a hotel or with a friend while construction comes along.”

“I doubt Applejack will have us over again,” thought Rainbow Dash.

“Maybe Twilight wouldn’t mind us staying with her,” said Bookworm. “I bet she could use some assistance anyway, since Big Macintosh has to work on the farm.”

“That is an idea,” said Rainbow Dash. “Let’s give her a visit.”

Chapter 18: A Moment With RarSeed

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Rarity was humming to herself quietly in the sewing room of the Carousel Boutique, working on her latest fashion idea. It was at this moment that her beloved fiancé, Hayseed Turnip Truck paid her a surprise visit. The groundskeeper stallion walked in rather timidly, with what appeared to be a frown on his face.

“Hayseed, darling,” exclaimed Rarity. “It’s so wonderful to see you! What brings you here at this time of day?”

She sauntered over to give her fiancé a kiss.

“Oh…ah…just wanted to see ya,” Hayseed fumbled about. “Whatcha doin?”

“The usual,” she said. “Working on a fabulous new design.”

“That’s…really nice,” he replied.

“Are you alright, deary,” she asked with great concern. “You look as though you’re sick or something.”

“No, no,” he said. “It aint nothin like that. Ah…ah was just wonderin if ya were sure about marryin me?”

“Why on earth would you ask such a thing,” she asked in shock.

“Well…ah’ve just been thinkin about things,” he said. “Ah mean, ah aint the richest, smartest, cultured, or even best lookin stallion around. Ah can’t believe ya even started goin out with a country bumpkin like mahself. And…”

“Now you just stop right there,” she chimed in. “I don’t want you saying such terrible things about yourself. What brought such thoughts in your head?”

“Ah know what ah look like, Rarity,” he said. “Oh sure ah fixed mah teeth, but ah’m still goofy lookin by most standards. Ah see the way other ponies stare when we’re walkin around town. Every so often ah even hear ponies say stuff like ‘What the hay is that yokel doin with somepony like Rarity?’ And ah know how big you are on things like social status and fancy stuff. Sure ah make ok money workin at the park…but it’s not as if it’s money that’ll make us fancy pony folk. Then there was that one time in Canterlot, where ah…”

Rarity then embraced Hayseed warmly and began stroking his mane.

“I don’t want you to ever worry about silly things like that, Hayseed,” she interrupted. “That was a long time ago, and I’ve learned a lot of things since then. I’m not with you for your money or looks or any other sort of materialistic thing like that. I’m with you because I love you with all my heart and soul. You’re the kindest stallion I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t have agreed to marry you otherwise. I’ve been with plenty of stallions who were concerned with their own selfish needs, or wanted me for nothing but my looks. Some were even intimidated by my success with the boutique, or helping my friends save Equestria. But you’ve never treated me that way. You treat me as if I was the most important pony in the world.”

“Well, ya are the most important pony in the world,” he said, blushing brightly. “Aw man, that sounded so corny!”

“But I know you mean it,” she said, stroking his cheek. “And you’re the most important pony in the world to me. I wouldn’t want to change anything about you. You’ll make a wonderful husband, and a fantastic father.”

“Ya wanna have kids with me,” he said in surprise.

“Of course I do,” she laughed. “We need more wonderful ponies in this world like you. What better way to do that than having some little ones of our own.”

“Aw shucks,” he chuckled and blushed even brighter. “Ah’m too lucky to have ya, Rarity.”

“The feeling is mutual, darling,” she said, planting a long kiss on the lips.

After kissing, Rarity pulled away for a moment and started batting her eyelashes.

“You know, the store’s having a bit of a slow day,” he cooed. “Why don’t I, close shop for a while?”

Hayseed’s entire body turned beat red and he began to chuckle even more uncontrollably. That was all Rarity needed to hear, so she used her magic to lock the doors and then floated Hayseed to her bedroom; he was still chuckling as she levitated him along.

Chapter 19: Gym Class

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It was a typical day at the Ponyville elementary school. The school colts and fillies were having gym class, under the supervision of Coach Snowflake. The bulky pegasus stallion had been in charge of gym class for almost a year now, and it didn’t take long for him to have gotten on the good side of nearly every school pony; of course not all took a liking to him.

“Do you really think you’ll ever get a cutie mark,” sniped Diamond Tiara at Scootaloo. “You can’t even fly!”

“I heard the Cake’s little colt, Pound, was flying by a month old,” continued Silver Spoon. “Bet that makes you feel really pathetic.

Scootaloo had been doing her best to get airborne, but nothing seemed to do the trick. Even with Rainbow Dash’s help, she couldn’t fly on her own for more than a few seconds. Naturally, this got the attention of the two biggest bullies in her entire class. On this particular day, Sweetie Belle was home sick, and Apple Bloom had been excused to help out some on Sweet Apple Acres. Despite her best efforts, the orange pegasus filly couldn’t shake her tormentors.

“You’re gonna be blank flank for life,” they shouted in unison, and began laughing.

Just then, they heard a lout snort behind them.

“And just what do you two think you’re doing,” exclaimed Snowflake.

The two bullies turned their heads slowly to see their imposing gym teacher standing right behind them; his eyes flaring up in anger. Not the “I’m going to kill you type anger” but the “I’m terribly disappointed in you both” anger.”

“N-n-n-nothing,” they both stuttered.

“Nothing, what,” he said in a soft, but firm tone.

“N-n-n-nothing, Coach Snowflake,” the both responded, again in unison.


“YES SIR, COACH SNOWFLAKE SIR!” the two shouted before darting off to do their laps.

This left Snowflake alone with Scootaloo, who was still trying to process what had just happened. She stood there, frozen in awe at the size of her gym teacher. More specifically, she looked at how small his wings were. She always wanted to know just how a pony his size, with wings barely bigger than her own could fly so easily. Snowflake wasn’t blind to these stares, and he figured now as a good enough time to talk with her about it. By herself, he wouldn’t have to worry about her two little friends interrupting with several questions per second.

“Wondering how I do it, aren’t you,” Snowflake asked.

“How you do what,” asked Scootaloo.

“I’m not as dumb as I look,” he said with a sly smile. “I know you wonder how somepony as big as me is able to fly so fast and gracefully through the skies, despite having a wingspan no bigger than a filly’s hoof.”

“Well…”she began. “Yeah! Of course I am! I mean, who wouldn’t be!? I do all I can, every single day, to try and stay off the ground for more than just a few measly seconds! I do everything Rainbow Dash tells me to do! I exercise like crazy to build up muscle! And Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were right about Pound Cake! That little colt was flying within a month of being born! HOW!?”

“Muscle isn’t everything, kiddo,” retorted Snowflake. “I mean, look at me. Many ponies have been amazed at my abilities. Several doctors have even said that by all accounts, I shouldn’t be able to lift my body with such tiny wings. But I do.”

“Then…how,” Scootaloo asked in confusion. “How do you do it? And what am I doing wrong?”

“You lack confidence in yourself,” he said bluntly.

“What the hay are you talking about,” she exclaimed. “I got confidence coming out the wazoo!”

“Maybe when you’re playing with your little scooter,” he retorted. “But when it comes to actually flying, you don’t believe enough in yourself. You clam up, you worry about what you’re gonna do wrong and it all backfires on you.”

“But…but I have Rainbow Dash for a teacher,” she said. “How can I not be confident, when I have the best flyer in Equestria teaching me everything?”

“The teacher can only do so much, Scootaloo,” he explained. “A teacher can tell you everything you need to know. A teacher can tell you they have confidence in you, and that’s great and all. But eventually, the student has to believe in themselves or they’ll never truly soar. That’s the true secret to pegasus magic.”

“Pegasia have magic too,” questioned Sctootaloo.

“Of course they do,” said Snowflake. “All ponies have magic in them. I thought you knew that by now.”

“Well, I’ve always been taught that unicorns were the magic users,” she replied.

“They have visible magic, true,” he explained. “But remember, only pegasai can fly and walk on the clouds, and only earth ponies can grow plant life. It’s our own sort of internal magic. Rainbow Dash does what she does so well because she believes in it so badly that’s she made it a reality.”

“How come she’s never said this to me,” asked Scootaloo.

“I’d say it’s because she thinks more about the technical aspects of flight,” he said. “The do’s and don’ts of it all. Sure, she has instincts too, but she still doesn’t take into consideration that her own confidence is what allows her to do the things she does. Another example, my wife Fluttershy.”

“Fluttershy,” Scootaloo responded in surprise. “But she’s so timid.”

“Very true,” he chuckled. “But, when she’s able to drown out all of her doubts, she’s able to pull forward better than anypony could imagine. I’m sure you heard about that time she helped get the water up to Cloudsdale.”

“Oh yeah,” Scootaloo remembered. “Dash said that if it weren’t for Fluttershy, they never would’ve made it.”

“She made all the difference in the world,” said Snowflake. “So, keep following Rainbow Dash’s instructions of course. But, also remember that the more you believe in yourself, the more magic you’ll buildup within to send you soaring through the skies.”

“Does that mean no more playing on my scooter,” Scootaloo asked with a frown.

“Of course not,” said Snowflake, after letting out a hearty laugh. “I’ve seen what you do on that thing, and it’s quite impressive. I’m sure if anything, it’ll help you in your endeavors.”

In her mind, this gave Scootaloo a great idea. Of course she couldn’t execute said plan till she got back in touch with Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom.

“Thanks a lot, coach,” exclaimed Scootaloo, giving him a hug.

He wasn’t expecting that, but he gladly hugged her back. She then ran off to make some plans. Snowflake then noticed Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon panting heavily off to the side.

“I DIDN’T SEE FIFTY LAPS LADIES!” he shouted to them.

The two prissy fillies let out a shriek and ran even faster.

“Oh Celestia, do I love this job,” Snowflake exclaimed with a proud smile.

Chapter 20: Back to the Library and Back to Work

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Rainbow Dash, Bookworm, and Bifröst made their way to the Golden Oaks Library to pay a visit to the very pregnant Twilight Sparkle. The cerulean pegasus and her husband were hoping for a free place to stay, while Bifröst got to work on making a custom house for them.

“So, when is your friend due?” asked Bifröst.

“Last I heard, just a couple months,” said Rainbow Dash.

“They know the gender?” Bifröst asked another question.

“Unicorns don’t know the gender of their foals till they’re born,” responded Bookworm. “Our magic prevents ultrasounds from working.”

“Huh, that sure is interesting,” thought Bifröst. “Who’s watching over her at this time of day?”

“Well, of course Big Macintosh has to work on the farm,” began Rainbow Dash. “Though he has been cutting back to help here as best as he can. But, no worries, she’s still got her number one assistant Spike to help her out.”

They walked up to the front door and Rainbow Dash knocked a few times.

“Just a moment!” yelled Spike from inside.

The purple dragon opened the front door, and appeared to have grown a couple more inches since Rainbow Dash and Bookworm last saw him.

“Hey, Rainbow and Bookworm,” greeted Spike. “Who’s this other guy with you?”

“This is my dad, Bifröst,” Rainbow Dash introduced him to Spike.

“Nice to meet you sir,” Spike said.

“Say Spike…” began Rainbow Dash. “Have you grown since we last saw you?”

“We just saw each other yesterday,” thought Spike. “I don’t think I’m any taller. But, I’m not a baby dragon anymore, you know?”

“You’re not having one of those greedy phases again, are you?” Rainbow Dash asked nervously.

“No, Dash, I’m not,” grumbled Spike.

“What are you two talking about?” asked Bifröst.

“It’s a long story,” Spike, Dash, and Bookworm said in unison.

Spike led them all in.

“Twilight will be happy to have visitors,” said Spike. “She can’t do a whole lot lately, you know. I can’t believe she only has a couple more months to go!”

“It can’t come any sooner,” groaned Twilight, sitting on the couch.

“Good to see you again, Twi,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash, giving her pregnant friend a hug.

“It’s only been a day,” commented Twilight. “What happened to staying at Applejack’s?”

“Well, I’m thinking they have enough ponies staying over there,” grinned Dash.

“I see,” replied Twilight, a little suspicious at how Rainbow Dash worded it. “It’s nice to see you again too, Mr. Dash.”

“Bifröst will do just fine,” replied Dash’s dad. “Dashie and her husband are planning to build their own house. I’m gonna get everything ready for them, but they need a place to stay. They were thinking you could use some help around here, given your condition.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” exclaimed Twilight, looking down at her ever growing belly. “That does sound like a great idea though. I suppose you could sleep in the basement. We can easily get a cot down there for you both.”

“Sounds awesome to me,” said Dash. “How long do you think it’ll take to get the house built, dad?”

“Well, that depends on a lot of things really,” said Bifröst. “Weather conditions, how fast the workers will be, plus making sure everything is safe and secure.”

“Sounds really boring,” replied Dash.

“Well, it’s not a race, honey,” chuckled Bifröst.

“You should ask Apple Bloom for some help,” said Spike. “She’s really good with tools.”

“I’m thinking we should use adults, Spike,” said Dash.

“Ok, it’s your loss though,” shrugged Spike.

Rainbow Dash and Bookworm managed to acquire a cot to put in the basement of the library, and set up a few other furnishings to make it a bit more homey. Bookworm figured that he would help Spike with organizing the library on a regular basis, while Dash went to go get her old job back with the Ponyville weather team. She met up with the current leader of the team, Thunderlane.

“So what happened, Dash? Couldn’t keep up with the Wonderbolts?” asked Thunderlane.

“Oh, please! If anything, they couldn’t keep up with me,” exclaimed Rainbow Dash defensively. “It just turned out to not be the place for me, ok Thunderlane?”

“I suppose that’s fair enough,” he said. “So, you think it’ll be that simple to get your old job back?”

“Why wouldn’t it be?” she asked. “I was the best worker you guys had.”

“Still just as humble,” he replied.

“You know it’s true,” she retorted. “This is a win-win for everypony. I get a job, and you guys get a top notch flyer and former celebrity working for you!”

“I guess that wouldn’t be such a bad thing,” thought Thunderlane. “Well, when can you start working again?”

“Anytime you need me,” said Dash. “Although, I am hoping we can keep the rain down for a little. My husband and I are in the process of building a house.”

“We’ll see what we can do, but I can’t make any promises,” said Thunderlane. “We’re at a time of year where rain is beneficial. Either way, welcome back Rainbow Dash.”

“Good to be back, Thunderlane,” replied Rainbow Dash, and the two gave each other a slam hoof.

And Rainbow Dash really was happy to be back in her old job. After all, it meant more chances to relax and see her friends more often. Sure, it wasn’t as glamorous as being a Wonderbolt, but happiness and friendship were more important at this point in her life.

Chapter 21: Back at the Farm

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A few days later, Pinkie Pie was hopping down the country road to Sweet Apple Acres to pay a visit to Applejack’s cousin, Braeburn. The two had agreed to make a date, once the pink party pony though up her own idea of what they were gonna do on said date that is. The first pony she came across was Braeburn’s best friend, Malady “Mal” Wesson, who was still recovering from his two black eyes Applejack had inflicted on him.

“Heeeelllllllooooooo, Mr. Mal!” chimed Pinkie Pie.

“Howdy there, Ms. Pinkie,” greeted Mal. “How are ya, on this lovely day?”

“Super duper fantastical!” she exclaimed. “How are your eyes doing?”

“Still a little swollen,” he said, blushing a little. “But ah’ll be just fine.”

“For someone who grew up with Applejack, you sure don’t know how she works, do ya?” she pointed out with her usual grin.

“Well…in mah defense,” he began. “It had been a good while since ah’d seen Jan…um…“

Mal then trailed off from speaking for a moment and fearfully glanced around the farm as if he was being fallowed. Reassured, he went back to talking with Pinkie.

“Ah mean, Applejack,” he gulped. “But we’ve been workin through all that. An once mah eyes heal up, ah plan to take her out for a nice date.”

“Ooh, sounds wonderful,” Pinkie exclaimed. “Anyhoof, is Braeburn around?”

“Course he’s around,” said Mal. “If he weren’t here at the farm, he’d be in town lookin for you.”

“I see,” blushed Pinkie, making a circle with her front hoof.

“He’s out in the south field,” said Mal. “Ah know he’ll be excited to see ya.”

“Thanks, Mal,” said Pinkie with a cute little smile. “I’ll see ya later!”

Pinkie bounced off towards the south field, leaving Mal to himself again. Meanwhile, out in the south field, Braeburn was bucking trees while whistling a tune to himself. Then he noticed a pink blur at the corner of his eye, causing him to grin ear to ear. Spinning around, he came face to face with Pinkie Pie.

“Well, howdy there, Miss Pinkie,” exclaimed Braeburn.

“And howdy to you too, Mr. Braeburn,” exclaimed Pinkie, which then made them both giggle for a moment.

“So, what brings ya around the farm today?” he asked.

“Well, I finally got a fantastical wonderful superawesomefantabulousbestthinginthewholewideworld thing to do for our date!” she exclaimed.

“Wow, great,” exclaimed Braeburn. “What is it?”

“It’s a secret,” Pinkie smiled. “All I can say, is when you have a day off, meet me at the park at noon.”

“But, ah’m not sure when ah’ll be havin a day off,” said Braeburn.

“No problemo,” assured Pinkie Pie. “I’ll stand by the park entrance every day from noon to one till you show up!”

“Ah must say that is mighty unique,” thought Braeburn. “Aint never heard of somepony usin that strategy. Ya sure you’ll be ok doin that?”

“Don’t you worry about me, silly,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “It’ll be a fun anticipation! Like waiting for Santa Hooves to bring you presents!”

“Well, here’s hopin ah have a day off soon,” said Braeburn with great optimism.

“Yuperoonydoony!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “Till then though, I’ll find other ways to occupy my time! Shouldn’t be too hard! Lots of ponies to play with around town!”

“Does that mean yer gonna head off?” he asked, with disappointment in his voice.

“Just remember…” began Pinkie Pie. “Santa Hooves!”

“Yer absolutely right,” exclaimed Braeburn, getting some pep back in his voice. “Ah’ll see you very soon!”

“See you soon,” exclaimed Pinkie Pie, hopping off into seemingly thin air.

“Ah’ll never understand how she does that,” said an impressed Braeburn.

Back at the front of the farm, Mal was mending the fences to the pig pens, when Applejack trotted up next to him.

“What brings ya round here?” asked Mal.

“Well, ah do live on this here farm,” said Applejack, with a smart aleck tone.

“Hardy har har,” grumbled Mal. “Ah meant to say, what brings you to this area of the farm? Dontcha have apples to buck?”

“Ah came to see how yer eyes were doin,” said Applejack.

“Oh…” said Mal, in surprise. “Doin better. A little swollen still. But ah can open mah eyes a lot easier.”

“Yeah, ah thought about a way to help with that,” said Applejack.

Out of her satchel, Applejack retrieved a jar of some sort of pasty substance.

“What the hay is that?” Mal asked with clear suspicion.

“It aint gonna hurt ya, if that’s whatcha think,” assured Applejack, opening the jar. “It’s an old Apple family remedy. Good fer healin various ailments.”

“Why’d you wait three days to use this stuff?” exclaimed Mal.

“Ah wanted you to have some time to think about everything that’s goin on between us,” admitted Applejack. “Now, close yer eyes.”

“Is this gonna hurt?” feared Mal.

“Know of many remedies that don’t hurt a little?” asked Applejack.

“Touché,” said Mal.

“Just keep yer eyes closed and it won’t hurt as bad,” assured Applejack.

Mal shut his eyes tightly, and Applejack began to apply the remedy over his eyes. This caused him to wince a little, but true to her word, it didn’t hurt too terribly.

“Smells like…apples,” Mal noticed.

“Well, this is an apple farm,” said Applejack. “Most things we make here are apple related. Mah great grampa Apple came up with this stuff a little before settlin in what would become Ponyville.

“Ah forget yer family has a huge history with this town,” said Mal, still keeping his eyes shut tight.

“Aint exactly somethin folks bring up often,” said Applejack. “Family’s been around long enough to where it’s just an everyday thing.”

“Granny Smith teach ya how to make this stuff?” asked Mal.

“Nope, my pa did,” said Applejack, with a hint of sorrow in her voice.

“Oh…jeez,” fumbled Mal. “Ah’m really sorry bout that, Applejack.”

“Don’t think nothin of it, Mal,” she assured him. “Ya had no way of knowin. Sides, ah can see how you’d think Granny Smith taught it to me. She’s taught a lot of ponies a lot of things. Ah’m sure ya can guess though that she taught the remedy to mah pa.”

“Makes sense,” taught Mal. “Guess it’s tradition in yer family for parent to teach child this remedy, eh?”

“Spose so,” said Applejack.

There was decent pause between both of them before Mal broke the silence.

“How much longer do ah have to keep this stuff on me?” he asked.

“Ah’ll guide ya to some water,” said Applejack. “By then, it shoulda been on there long enough.”

Applejack guided Mal back into the Apple family home; taking him into the kitchen so she could get water from the sink. She soaked a wash rag, rung it out a little, and gently rubbed it across Mal’s eyes.

“It’s all good now,” said Applejack.

Mal slowly opened his eyes, seeing the orange mare right in front of him.

“Aint that a site fer sore eyes,” he said, with a sly smile.

“Oh please,” snorted Applejack.

“Ah mean it, Applejack,” he exclaimed. “Ah know ah’ve been a real buckin idiot with you over the years. But one things ah’ve always been honest about is that you grew up to become a fine lookin mare. Not that looks are everything, of course. With you though, it’s most definitely a bonus.”

Applejack started turning a shade of almost beat red; Mal began to turn a little shade too. Applejack then showed him a mirror to see how his eyes looked.

“Ah’m mighty impressed,” said Mal. “Aint totally gone, but still.”

“Well, it aint gonna heal instantly,” said Applejack. “Still, a couple more days of usin this stuff an you’ll be right as rain. Then we can make plans.”

“Fer what?” asked Mal.

“Our date, knucklehead,” sighed Applejack.

“Oh, um, right,” said Mal, feeling a bit embarrassed.

Another moment of silence filled the room. This time, Applejack broke the silence.

“Ok, no more lollygaggin,” she said. “We gotta get back to work.”

“Way to kill the mood,” said Mal.

“We aint on a date now,” she rolled her eyes. “Work comes first above all else.”

“Yeah yeah,” groaned Mal.

The two made their way out of the house. In the living area, Granny Smith was sitting in her rocking chair, seemingly taking a nap. The ancient mare then slowly opened one eye.

“Bout time them two get together,” said Granny Smith to nopony. “Ah swear, youngens these days move slower than molasses in winter.”

Chapter 22: At the Construction Site

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It didn’t take long for Bifröst to get a construction crew to begin working on the ideal house for his beloved daughter, Rainbow Dash, and her husband Bookworm. As they finished laying the foundation and began to work on the frame of the house, they were given a surprise visit from Ponyville’s tiniest troublemakers, the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

“Hey there, Mr. Dash,” greeted Scootaloo.

“Hello there, Scootaloo,” Bifröst greeted back. “I’ve told you time and again, that it’s alright to call me Bifröst.”

“Well, you know how it is,” began Scootaloo. “You go to school and the teachers tell you refer to grownups by their surnames or whatever.”

“I suppose that’s true,” he thought. “What bring you and your friends here?”

“Apple Bloom heard about the construction going on and wanted to see it for some reason,” said Scootaloo.

“What? Ah like buildin things,” said Apple Bloom. “Sides that, new houses don’t get built in Ponyville that often. Most I ever worked on was a tree house.”

“You did add that second floor to the tree house,” said Sweetie Belle.

“You really did that?” asked an impressed Bifröst.

“Well, it wasn’t too hard,” said a modest Apple Bloom. “Ah mean, the tree provided most of the structure for it.”

“Still, pretty impressive for a little filly,” Bifröst pointed out. “Your friend Spike mentioned the other day you were good with tools. Wanna take a look around the site?”

“You betcha!” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“Great, let’s have a look then,” said Bifröst, obtaining hard hats for the little fillies.

Bifröst took the Crusaders around the construction site, where many of the workers got distracted by the overall adorableness.

“Hey, Bifröst,” exclaimed the foreman of the construction team. “Who are the adorable little fillies?”

“They’re friends of my daughter,” explained Bifröst.

“I’m more than just a friend,” interrupted Scootaloo. “I’m the personal protégé of Equestria’s greatest flyer!”

“Well, aint that somethin,” said the foreman.

“Hey mister,” interrupted Apple Bloom.

“What is it little gal?” he asked. “And you can call me Hard Hat.”

“One of yer workers is messing up with those beams, Mr. Hard Hat,” she said, pointing to a young stallion working on a wall frame.

“Whaddya mean?” asked Hard Hat.

“Those beams are way too far apart from one another,” she went on. “That far apart, the walls of the house will crack up in no time.”

The foreman went to inspect the work the young stallion was doing. Upon closer inspection, he saw that Apple Bloom was indeed correct in her assumption.

“How’s a little filly no so much about this stuff?” he asked.

“Ah read a lot of books on the subject,” explained Apple Bloom. “Mah sister in law, Twilight, works at the Golden Oaks Library. So ah borrow book from er all the time.”

“There anything else you can point out to me, kid?” the foreman asked.

“Ah spose so,” replied Apple Bloom.

Hard Hat showed Apple Bloom around the site, and to everyone’s amazement the youngest Apple sibling pointed out many other inconsistencies with the construction work.

“Little lady, I am damn impressed,” exclaimed Hard Hat. “Pardon my language.”

“Ah live on a farm,” retorted Apple Bloom. “Nothin ah aint heard before…and occasionally said.

This remark caused the foreman to let out a hearty laugh.

“You got spunk, kid,” he said. “How’d you like to work with me?”

“Really?” she said in amazement.

“Really!?” exclaimed Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo at once.

“Well, work I suppose wouldn’t be the appropriate word,” explained Hard Hat. “More so, I’d like to make you my apprentice.”

Apple Bloom went crazy wide eyed, and grinned ear to hear.

“Ya really mean it!?” she jumped around in excitement.

“I wouldn’t joke about something like that,” he said. “Though we will need to get some permission from your parents or guardians.”

“Ah’m sure my brother and sister will be more than happy to let me work for ya!” she said with excitement.
“Are ya’ll crazy!?” exclaimed Applejack. “Yer too young ta be workin at some construction site!”

“Aw, come on Applejack!” her little sister begged. “Ah help around the farm already!”

“That aint the same as workin at some construction site, Apple Bloom!” the elder sister yelled some more. “There’s a lot more dangerous things to worry about!”

“If I could say something,” interrupted Hard Hat. “I wouldn’t be letting her work on the actual site.”

“Huh!? Whaddya mean!?” exclaimed Apple Bloom in confusion.

“You’re too young and inexperienced for that right now,” he explained. “I’d start you off in my workshop, teaching you some of the basics. I’ll also have you lookin at blueprints for any flaws and ways to improve things. Once I feel you’re ready, then I’ll have you workin on site.”

“Well…that’s fine too!” exclaimed Apple Bloom. “So long as ah get to work with ya!”

“Apple Bloom, ah don’t think…” Applejack began to say, but then was interrupted by her brother.

“Apple Bloom is old enough to make her own choices, AJ,” he said.

“Big Mac!” exclaimed Applejack. “Ya’ll can’t be serious!”

“Course ah am,” said the eldest Apple sibling. “Plenty of ponies start learnin a trade at her age. You and ah weren’t much younger than her when dad started teachin us how to apple buck.”

“But apple buckin aint as dangerous,” responded Applejack.

“He just said he won’t be havin her on site right away,” retorted Big Mac. “He knows what he’s doin, Applejack; he’ll make sure she’s plenty safe.”

“Well…what do you think Granny Smith’ll think!” asked Applejack.

“Sounds like a mighty fine opportunity to me,” replied Granny Smith in her rocker. “In mah day, plenty ah young fillies and colts were startin the trades practially outa the womb.”

Applejack had nopony else turn to for some excuse as to why Apple Bloom couldn’t become Hard Hat’s apprentice. She finally let out a sigh.

“Alright, Apple Bloom,” she said. “Ya can work with Hard Hat.”

Apple Bloom began jumping like crazy in excitement.

“Ah can’t believe it! Ah can’t believe it!” exclaimed the littlest Apple Sibling. “This is the best day of mah life! Can’t get any better than this!”

When she stopped hopping, she was confused to see her friends and family staring at her in awe.

“What the heck is wrong with ya’ll?” she asked.

“Apple Bloom…” began Scootaloo.

“…Look,” finished Sweetie Belle, pointing to Apple Bloom’s flank.

Apple Bloom looked at her flank and her jaw practically dropped to the floor. There, on her flank, was an apple with a hammer in the middle. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo embraced their friend and all of them cheered with all their might.

“Ah finally got mah cutie mark! Ah finally got mah cutie mark!” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“You’re the first to get your cutie mark!” exclaimed Scootaloo.

“You did it! You did it! You did it!” exclaimed Sweetie Belle.

Then Applejack and Big Macintosh embraced their little sister, both tearing up from all the excitement.

“I’m so proud of ya, Apple Bloom!” exclaimed Applejack.

“Eeyup!” exclaimed Big Macintosh.

“But, you’re still gonna help us get our cutie marks, right?” asked Sweetie Belle with a little worry.

“Course ah am!” exclaimed Apple Bloom. “CUTIE MARK CRUSDERS FOREVER!”

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS FORVERE! YAY!” the little fillies all shouted in unison, and high hoofed.

Chapter 23: Double Celebration

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Once word got to Pinkie Pie about Apple Bloom getting her cutie mark, the party pony took no time setting up a cute-ceañera for the little sister of one of her bestest friends in the whole wide world. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo helped design the banner.


Everyone in Apple Bloom’s class was invited to her special event, including the always antagonistic Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Applejack even managed to get Apple Bloom’s favorite cousin, Babs Seed, to pay a visit from Manehattan.

“Babs! It’s so great to see ya!” exclaimed Apple Bloom, as she embraced her cousin.

“Great ta see ya too, cuz!” exclaimed Babs, returning the embrace. “So excited ta hear ya got yer cutie mark! Here’s hopin the rest of us get ours soon.”

“Ah’m sure it’ll happen!” said Apple Bloom. “Anypony in your Cutie Mark Crusaders branch have their cutie marks yet?”

“Nah, but not for lack of tryin,” sighed Babs.

“She’s an apprentice to a construction pony!” exclaimed Sweetie Belle.

“Although, that means she won’t be able to help us out as much with our own crusading,” frowned Scootaloo.

“Oh yeah,” thought Sweetie Belle.

“Hey now, no thinkin like that girls,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah’ll do mah very best to help ya’ll out in yer crusading. Ah won’t be workin every single day. Ah still got school after all, we can crusade during lunch!”

These words brought a lot of comfort to her two closest friends, and they once again shared a friendship embrace.

“How come you all haven’t gotten anymore members?” asked Babs. “There are other blank flanks in yer class, aren’t there?”

“Well, not as many as you’d think,” said Scootaloo. “We seem to be among the last ones who haven’t gotten a cutie mark.”

“Then look for other ponies in grades below ya,” suggested Babs.

“Ah spose we could do that,” said Apple Bloom.

“Sounds good to me!” exclaimed Sweetie Belle.

“Right on!” exclaimed Scootaloo.

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS NEW RECRUITERS!” they all shouted together. “YAY!”

Just then, they were approached by Apple Bloom’s old friend, Twist. The bespectacled earth filly had earned her cutie mark not long before Apple Bloom first made friends with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. The two hadn’t had a falling out or anything, it’s just that Apple Bloom became very busy crusading that she and Twist never really got talk as much anymore.

“Hey, Apple Bloom,” greeted Twist.

“Hey there, Twist,” replied Apple Bloom. “This here’s mah cousin, Babs Seed, from Manehattan. And ya already know Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, right?”

“Oh thure,” said Twist, still talking with a lisp. “I’ve theen them around thcool lots of times.”

“How’ve ya been?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Doing great,” said Twist. “I wanted to come and congratulate you on earning your cutie mark. I remember you were really eager to get one.”

“Yeah,” chuckled Apple Bloom, now blushing. “Ah spose ah was. Sorry ah haven’t really hung out with ya since formin the Cutie Mark Crusaders.”

“Oh, don’t be thorry about that,” said Twist. “I’ve made more friends thince then.”

“That’s great ta hear,” said Apple Bloom.

They were then approached by their worst enemies, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.

“Well well well, I had to see it for myself!” exclaimed the spoiled filly. “The little blank flank finally got her cutie mark!”

“What’s it to ya, Diamond Tiara?” asked Apple Bloom defensively.

“Just wondering what you’re still doing hanging around these still blank flanks,” she scoffed.

“And what the hay do ya care who she hangs out with!?” barked Babs. “Aint none of yer all’s business!”

“Whatever,” Diamond Tiara said rolling her eyes. “It’s not like she has an attractive cutie mark anyway.”

“And what exactly does yours even mean?” Babs retorted. “That you can wear some silly piece of head jewelry? At least Apple Bloom’s means she can build things from nothin.”

“And Twist is able ta make candies and other confections,” Apple Bloom pointed out.

“So, what exactly can you and Silver Spoon do?” asked Scootaloo defensively.

The two snobby ponies were at a loss for words, and rather than answering the Cutie Mark Crusaders just walked away with their heads up in the air.

“Ha, showed them,” said Babs.

“Thome things never change,” said Twist.

“Ya sure said it,” Apple Bloom agreed.

“That was amazing!” exclaimed a filly.

“Huh? Who said that?” asked Apple Bloom.

The all turned around and saw two unicorn fillies. One had a light, grayish violet coat and light goldish gray mane. The other had a pale rose coat and moderate rose mane.

“Hi there,” greeted the violet filly. “I’m Dinky Hooves, and this is Berry Pinch.”

“We’re a grade below,” said Berry Pinch. “And we were wondering…if um…we could…”

“Become Cutie Mark Crusaders?” Dinky finished.

“But, we’ve seen ya’ll around town with cutie marks,” said Apple Bloom.

“I recall one of you having a pillow cutie mark,” thought Sweetie Belle. “Or was it a couple dolphins?”

“I thought one of them had jewels?” thought Scootaloo. “Or was it a horse shoe?”

“We were…actually faking,” blushed Dinky.

“We painted those cutie marks ourselves,” finished Berry Pinch, also blushing. “Mostly using stencils.”

“How come we never thought to do that?” asked Scootaloo.

“Not sure,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah didn’t know there were kids below us gettin cutie marks in the first place.”

“It’s not too uncommon,” said Dinky. “There are more blank flanks for sure in our class.”

“But, we see you guys around town all the time, doing some really cool things!” exclaimed Berry Pinch. “And wondered if we could be part of that?”

The Cutie Mark Crusaders huddled with each other to have a private discussion.

“We did just say we were needin new members,” thought Apple Bloom.

“And they seem ta have real spunk,” Babs pointed out.

“Maybe they can even use some unicorn magic to help us out,” said Scootaloo.

“I really like their manes,” said Sweetie Belle.

The rest of the Crusaders gave the white unicorn a confused look.

“What?” she asked defensively.

They brought their attention back to the potential new Crusaders.

“Welcome aboard!” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“You mean it?!” Dinky and Berry said in unison.

“Course we do,” said Apple Bloom. “The Cutie Mark Crusaders are always willin to have new members.”

“We just don’t get asked too often,” said Scootaloo.

“Probably because most of the kids in our class have their cutie marks now,” said Sweetie Belle.

“Soon as we’re able, we’ll get ya both fitted with an official Cutie Mark Crusaders cape!” exclaimed Apple Bloom.

“And we’ll have a ceremony for you too!” said Sweetie Belle.

“WOW!” Dinky and Berry joyfully exclaimed.

Later at the Cutie Mark Crusaders Clubhouse, the current Crusaders held a ceremony for their new inductees. Apple Bloom, being the first to gain her cutie mark, read the induction speech.

“We, the Cutie Mark Crusaders,” she began. “Elect Dinky Hooves and Berry Pinch as a sister, friend, confidaynte, alley, boss-om buddy, gal pal, compadre, chum of chums, home girl, amgia…Ah thought we were gonna revise this thing?”

“Scootaloo originally wrote it,” Sweetie Belle pointed out.

“I haven’t exactly had the time, what with all of the crusading,” retorted Scootaloo.

“How bout we just forget about the speech,” suggested Babs.

“Good idea,” agreed Apple Bloom. “Long story short, ya’ll are now official members of the Cutie Mark Crusaders! As such, ya’ll do yer best to help other fellow Crusaders earn their cutie marks, along with yer own. And senior members, such as mahself, will continue to help out the members that are still tryin to get their cutie marks. That all make sense to ya?”

Dinky and Berry looked at each other with their eyebrows arched, then back at the fellow Crusaders.

“Sure!” exclaimed Dinky.

“We get it!” finished Berry Pinch.

“Then me and mah fellow sisters, compadres, and all that other stuff,” continued Apple Bloom. “Hereby welcome you into the Cutie Mark Crusaders with these official Cutie Mark Crusader capes!”

Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo then draped their new members with newly made Cutie Mark Crusaders capes. Dinky and Berry were grinning ear to ear, while the others were brimming with pride as their club had expanded. They all then gave each other a group high hoof.

“NEW CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS!” they all shouted. “YAY!”

Chapter 24: Pinkie & Braeburn's Date

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True to her word, Pinkie Pie went to the entrance of the park everyday at noon in hopes that Braeburn would have the day off from farm work. The normally bouncy mare was standing stoically in one position, patiently waiting for her possible future colt friend to show up and go out with her. For four days the other residents of Ponyville would walk past and wonder what was up with her. It wasn’t everyday they saw Pinkie Pie standing still; some even walked up to her to make sure everything was ok.

“Are you ok, Pinkie Pie?” asked Time Turner, the local clock store owner.

“Sure am, Dr. Whooves,” replied Pinkie, often calling him by his assumed true identity. “Why do you ask?”

Time Turner rolled his eyes whenever she called him “Doctor Whooves.” But, at this point he was used to her and most of the school ponies referring to him by this name. He supposed that’s what he gets for indulging children in their crazy fantasies.

“You’ve been standing here or four days now,” he said. “Everypony is a bit nerved by this. Are you up to something?”

“Well, you could say that,” she replied.

“What, exactly?” he asked with great suspicion.

“I’m going on a date with Applejack’s cousin, Braeburn,” explained Pinkie. “But he said I should decide what we’re gonna do since I always do what others wanna do. So I finally got an idea and I told him to meet me here at the park between noon to 1PM when he has time off from the farm.”

“And you’ve just been standing here everyday at that time in hopes that he’s got the day off?” asked Time Turner.

“Yuperoonydoony!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“Why not just have a proper schedule set?” asked Time Turner.

“He’s helping on Sweet Apple Acres, and wasn’t sure when he’d have a day off,” she kept explaining. “This way we know what time to meet and where and don’t have to worry about not running into each other.”

“I suppose I can’t argue with that logic,” said Time Turner, especially when it’s Pinkie Pie logic.

“Are you and Derpy Hooves still seeing each other?” she asked.

“But of course!” exclaimed Time Turner. “We’re very much in love! And I get along wonderfully with Dinky.”

“Soooooooooooo” she began. “Are ya gonna marry her!?”

She then moved her eyebrows up and down at great speed. Time Turner’s whole face went beat red.

“Well…I…um…haven’t t-totally f-figured that out yet,” he fumbled about, sweating like mad. “I I I I mean, sure, w-w-w-we love each other v-v-v-very much.”

“Aw, don’t worry about it, Doc,” giggled Pinkie, nudging Time Turner in the side. “It’ll happen when it happens.”

“Well, yes, of course,” he fumbled to say. “I must be going now. My shop isn’t going to run itself.”

“If it could do that, it wouldn’t need you there,” chuckled Pinkie Pie.

“Indeed,” agreed Time Turner. “Good day, Pinkie Pie.”

“See you later, Doctor Whooves!” exclaimed Pinkie.

Half an hour later, Braeburn Apple came strolling towards the park. Pinkie began hopping in place and waving like mad.

“Hey, Braeburn!” she yelled with great enthusiasm. “Over here! Over Here!”

“Howdy, Pinkie” greeted Braeburn. “Have ya really been comin here everyday waitin fer me to show up?”

“Darn tootin!” she exclaimed with a giant grin. “I told you I would, after all. But, how did you know I was here everyday?”

“Apple Bloom told me,” he explained. “She passes by here when going to her apprenticeship with Hard Hat.”

“Oh yeah!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie. “I threw a party for her! I was super duper extra special happy that she finally got her cutie mark!”

“We’re all proud of the little filly,” said Braeburn. “Anyway…whatcha got planned fer us today? Some sort of crazy prankin adventure? A wild party? Bakin several hundred cupcakes?”

“I had something else in mind,” she said with a warm smile.


Pinkie Pie led Braeburn into the park, stopping at the playground.

“Here we are,” she announced with glee.

“A playground?” Braeburn said, clearly perplexed.

“Yuparoonydoony!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“What are we gonna do at a playground?” he asked.

“Well duh! We’re gonna play, silly,” she said, as if it was obvious.

“But…we’re not kids,” Braeburn pointed out.

“You sure like pointing out the obvious, huh?” said Pinkie Pie.

Braeburn turned bright red with embarrassment.

“I guess it would make more sense if I explained,” said Pinkie. “You told me to think of something for us to do. Well, I decided that I wanted to play on a playground because I’d never played one before.”

“Wait, what?” gasped Braeburn. “How could ya have never played on a playground!? You throw parties constantly and foalsit them Cake twins.”

“Partying isn’t the same as playing, Mr. Silly Pants,” explained Pinkie Pie. “I grew up on a rock farm, there was never any time for playing. And we certainly didn’t have a playground. And sure, I take Pound and Pumpkin Cake here to play, but it’s not the same as playing with somepony who really understands. I mean, when was the last time you got to just play and be a kid?”

Now that Braeburn thought about it, he couldn’t even remember the last time he really played like a kid or as one. He had worked pretty much his entire life, being an only child and all. His only friend growing up was Mal, but of course he had family obligations too.

“Ah’d love to play on the playground with ya, Miss Pinkie,” he exclaimed with a big smile.

“Race ya to the swing set!” the pink party pony exclaimed.

They both raced off to the swing set, laughing like a couple school kids.

“I won!” exclaimed Pinkie.

“No way!” Braeburn retorted. “Ya totally cheated! Ya’ll had a head start on me!”

“Nah uh!” she replied.

“Yah huh!” he argued back.

The two stood there a moment and began to laugh at how foolish they must have sounded. Once they regained their breath, Pinkie sat herself into a swing. Suddenly, Braeburn went behind her.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Ah’m gonna push ya, of course,” he smiled. “That’s what kids do on a playground.”

“Oh yeah,” she blushed. “I guess they do.”

Braeburn started out slow, but soon picked the speed up some (mainly at Pinkie’s request). Both were once again laughing and having a terrific time, when suddenly Pinkie lost her grip on the swing and started flying through the air. Braeburn naturally panicked and went running after her. As she fell, he tried to figure out where she’d fall so he could catch her right.


Pinkie landed right on Braeburn, knocking the wind right out of him. But she was safe, that’s all that mattered to him.

“Oh my gosh!” she cried out in worry. “Are you ok, Braeburn!?”

“S-sure…” he managed to gasp out. “I’ll (huff) be (puff) fine. What about (huff) you?”

“I’m just pinkie keen,” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“I (huff) wasn’t (puff)…” he began, still catching his breath. “Wasn’t just gonna (huff) let ya fall on yer plot. Wouldn’t be very gentlecolty of me. Plus, ah don’t wanna see the mare ah care for to get hurt.”

“Care for?” she blushed.

“Course,” he grinned and blushed.

Once again, there was some awkward silence, when Braeburn decided to just go for it. He leaned up and planted a kiss right on Pinkie’s lips. Caught off guard, Pinkie was at first shocked, but quickly joined in.

Chapter 25: Makeover!

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Rarity was having a typical day at the Carousel Boutique, when she got a knock at the door. The fashionista was surprised to see Applejack at her doorstep.

“Applejack, darling,” she said in surprise. “What brings you to my shop?”

“Well…ah uh…” Applejack began, clearly having trouble getting it out. “Can we go into yer shop first?”

“Certainly,” said Rarity.

Once Applejack entered, Rarity flipped the open sign to closed, as she figured Applejack had something private to talk about.

“Alright then dear, what do you have to say?”

“Well…ah’m sure you know about me and Mal Wesson?”

“Oh yes! That stallion who picks on you. Is he still helping out on the farm?”

“Sure is. Ya may have heard about me kickin him in the face.”

Rarity let out a chuckle

“Of course. Sweetie Belle told me all about it. I’m certain he had it coming.”

Applejack chuckled a bit as well.

“Yeah…he did. Anyway, we…decided to go out on a date.”

Rarity let out a gasp.

“What!? Really!?”


“Oh, Applejack darling! That’s so wonderful! I knew there was some sort of spark between you two!”

“Yeah, ah figured most knew.”

“Are you going out tonight?”


“Well then, what brings you here?”

Applejack began looking at the floor and twirling her front hoof before talking.

“Well…ah was…wonderin if it would be possible…if you could make me look pretty for the date…

“I’m sorry dear, but could you speak up a little louder?”

“Could you…make me look pretty for the date?

“Please speak up, Applejack.”

“Make me look pretty for the date!”

“Really!? You want me to give you a makeover!?”

“Why the hay else would ah be coming to see ya?”

“I suppose you have a good point there. I figured you just wanted to talk boys. I really would’ve never guessed you’d also want a makeover.”

“Ah’ve never been on a date…any kinda date. And sure ah’m ok with how ah usually look, but ah’m still a mare ya know?”

“I understand completely, Applejack. Every mare wants to look pretty from time to time. Not that we need to do much for you.”

This gave Applejack a surprised look.

“Whaddya mean?”

“Dear, you’re already beautiful. Anypony can see that. But there’s nothing wrong with enhancing your features.”

“Thanks Rarity…ah don’t get called pretty very often. Sides family ah guess.”

“Well I’m sure Mr. Wesson thinks your pretty.”

“Ah spose so,” Applejack blushed brightly at the thought.

“And of course Mal himself isn’t too bad to look at.”

“Sure, he’s not bad lookin.” Her whole body went red this time. Rarity laughed lightly at her friends embarrassment.

“I’m just teasing, darling. Hope you don’t mind.”

“Nah, it’s ok, Rare.”

“Let’s get started!”

Rarity took Applejack to the part of her store the pedestal and mirrors.

“Let’s take a look at your mane first.”

With a bit of magic, Rarity removed the bands on Applejack’s mane and tail. To her surprise, there was more hair than she thought there’d be.

“Goodness! I see you don’t do much with your mane often.”

“Well…not really. Ah mean, ah spend most days workin on the farm.”

They continued to talk, as Rarity worked on Applejack’s appearance. She turned Applejack away from the mirror so that she could surprise her.

“No worries, I can work with this. I’ve come across much more unruly manes than yours. Despite the length, I will say your mane and tail are in spectacular condition. Now, how fancy would you say we need to go?”

“Um…not super fancy ah spose. We’re just gonna eat at that Blue Bridle place.”

“That’s a lovely place! Not an overly dressy restaurant, but still a wonderful location for a date. That’s where Macintosh proposed to Twilight you know?”

“Uh, yeah, ah remember…ah aint really thinkin that far ahead though.”

“Right…of course not.”

There was a bit of awkward silence after that, but Rarity continued with no real fuss from Applejack.

“Do you and Hayseed have a date set yet?”

“No, not really. We talk about it though. We’re both thinking a winter wedding. Both of us have less work during that time. And a winter setting I think will look marvelous!”

“A lot of places do look nice in snow.”

“Indeed they do. I think the park would be a fabulous location. It is where I first started to fall for Hayseed.”

“Be awful chilly.”

“Very true. But I think Twilight knows some sort of spell that can warm the place up without melting all the snow.”

“Spells like that exist?”

“You’d be surprised.”

After a few more moments, Rarity let out a tiresome sigh.

“Alright, I think we’re done!”

Rarity spun Applejack around to show her what she’d done. Applejack’s eyes went wide at her new look. She had her mane wrapped into a stylish bun with her bangs brushed out some and there was an apple hairclip, while her tail was tied up in a braid. To most it wouldn’t be anything extraordinary, but for Applejack it was like looking at a whole new pony. She began to tear up at the new sight.

“I do hope those are tears of joy.”

Applejack grabbed Rarity and hugged her tightly.

“Yer one of the best friends anypony could ever ask for, Rarity.”

“Aw, thank you darling. You’re quite a friend as well. And I just know Mal will love your new look.”

With one more hug, Applejack headed off to her date with Mal.

Chapter 26: A.J. & Mal's Date

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Mal was still at Sweet Apple Acres, trying to get himself ready for his date with Applejack. To say he was nervous was an understatement. The usually cool and collective stallion was now a jittery mess. Braeburn checked up on his best friend.

“What’s happening, best pal of mine?” greeted Braeburn. “Ya’ll ready fer yer date with Applejack?”

“Um…well…ahm getting there,” fumbled Mal.

“You ok, Mal?” asked a concerned Braeburn. “Yer more jittery than teeth in a snowstorm.”

“Ah’m just a bit nervous ah guess.”

“You!? Malady Wesson, nervous!? Ya’ve been out with plenty of mares.”

“Ah, know…but this is…different.”


“Ah’ve known Applejack a long time now, Braeburn. And ah’ve had a soft sport for her for a long time as well. It just never occurred to me that she’d want anything to do with me. Since ah picked on her a bunch and all.”

“Well, she’s clearly forgiven you for that, seeing as how she agreed to go out with ya.”

“Spose you got a point there.”

“Course ah do. Now stop bein nervous. Ah betcha she’ll look mighty pretty fer the date too. Ah hear she paid a visit to Miss Rarity at the Carousel Boutique. And Rarity has a talent fer makin any pony look fantastic.”

“But…Applejack’s already beautiful…”

This remark from Mal made Braeburn smile wide.

“Well then, Rarity’ll make her look even more beautiful!”

There was something Mal never considered. Applejack even more beautiful? Sure he didn’t admit it out loud much, but he always found Applejack striking. The idea that she could look even better began to make him fluster some more.

“Don’t think too much about it, Mal. Just go out and have a good time with her. That’s what ah did with Pinkie Pie, and now we’re head over heels for each other!”

“That’s awful fast, considerin ya’ll just started going out.”

“What can ah say? We just click really well. Ah’m sure it’ll be even better with you and Applejack, since ya’ve both known each other since ya was knee high.”

“Spose that’s true.”

Mal wore a simple, but nice bolo tie and his black steston. He headed towards the front door of the Apple residence, when the door suddenly opened to reveal Applejack coming in. Mal was shocked at her new look, he remained wide eyed and slack jawed for what seemed to be forever.

“Ya’ll alright there, Mal?” asked Applejack.

“Ah um…sure ah’m fine,” Mal fumbled again. “Guess ah was just put off guard by your new look.”

“Rarity did it. Too much?”

“Not at all. “You look…you look amazing.

Applejack’s face went red for a moment. She’d rarely heard a stallion comment her on her looks.

“Thanks…you don’t look too bad yerself.”

“So…why’d ya walk all the way back to the farm? We’re eating in town.”

“Ah know. Ah just figured we could have a nice stroll together on the way.”

“Oh…ah see…that sounds nice.”

“Glad to hear.”

There was a bit of awkward silence, then Granny Smith interrupted.

“Con sarn it!” exclaimed the ancient mare. “Would ya two go already!? Aint never seen courtin so slow in mah life!”

“Alright alright, Granny. We’ll be back later on tonight.”

“Ah won’t be waitin up. And Malady, ya better treat my granddaughter right! Ah got that slingshot yer Grand Pappy gave me, and ah can still use it!”

“Sure thing, Granny Smith.”

The two made their way out for the evening.

“They sure make a cute couple, Granny,” said Apple Bloom, who was peeking from upstairs.

“You betcha, sugar cube,” replied Granny Smith with a warm smile.

The walk into town started off with silence, as neither really knew what to say to each other.

“So…” began Mal. “Ah hear you and yer friends have gone through a whole lot together.”

“Ah’d say that’s an understatement,” chuckled Applejack.

“Ah spose that’s true, what with facin a dragon and all.”

“How’d ya hear about that one?”

“Apple Bloom sent Braeburn some letters about some of you and your friend’s exploits, and he relayed them back to me. Course, she had plenty to talk about as well with her and her little friend’s club.”

“Ah think ah’d rather face ten dragons than do all the crazy stunts Apple Bloom and her friends do on a daily basis. They were real gung ho on getting their cutie marks.”

“Now she’s got one. So all that hard work paid off.”

“Eeyup. Course she’s still gotta help her friends get theirs. So her crusading is far from over.”

“Eh, it’s fairly common for kids to be wantin to get their cutie marks soon as they can. Ah know ah was that way when ah was a colt.”

“True, ah was pretty anxious as well.”

The two continued to share some stories as they made their way to the Blue Bridle for dinner. They were greeted by a server, who turned out to be Derpy Hooves.

“Welcome to the Blue Bridle,” greeted Derpy. “Oh, hey Applejack!”

“Hey there, Derpy,” Applejack replied. “Ah didn’t know you worked here.

“Only part time. Gotta make some extra bits. “Do you have a reservation?”

“Ah made a reservation, under Wesson,” Mal chimed in.

“Ok, lemme see…”

It took her a moment, but eventually Derpy came across Mal’s name on the guest sheet.

“Oh! Here we go! Milkmare Windchime!”

“Uh, actually that’s…”

“Don’t bother with it, Mal.”

“Right this way, Mr. Windchime!”

Derpy led Applejack and Mal to their table and gave them a couple menus.

“Hope you enjoy your meals,” Derpy said with great enthusiasm, as she left them with their menus.

“She certainly is a cheerful mare.”

“Yeah, Derpy’s quite a character.”

“But uh…what’s up with her…you know…”

“Her eyes. She had an accident as a filly. She does ok, though her vision as you may guess isn’t quite tip top.”

“Ah would say, given how she pronounced mah name.”

Applejack chuckled.

“Don’t think anything of it.”

Time passed as the two placed their orders and talked about various things. Mal talked about his various travels around Equestria. He’d made several trips to Las Pegasus and Manehattan over the years. He often made personal deliveries for the family business, and other times it was just for leisure. Applejack talked about her various adventures with her friends, besides the ones Mal already heard about. The most amusing being the incident with the poison joke. Enough time had passed to where Applejack could now laugh at that whole debacle. Mal got a real chuckle out of the time Spike became her devoted servant. Once dinner was finished, they decided to go for a walk around town.

“So, ah got a question fer ya,” said Applejack.

“And what’s that?” asked Mal.

“If ya had these feelins fer me all this time, why’d it take ya so long to admit them?”

This question cause Mal to blush.

“Ah figured ya’d ask that eventually…It’s simple really, ah was scared to.”

And this remark caused Applejack to chuckle.

“You!? Malady Wesson? Scared?”

“Everypony gets scared, Applejack. Ah treated you poorly when we were kids. Ah based mah behavior on mah older brothers and how they treated fillies they fancied, and it seemed to work fer them. But that don’t excuse mah behavior and ah figured you’d never want anything to do with me. Ah thought about writin ya letters to tell ya how ah felt, but ah figured ya’d just throw em away the second ya saw they were from me. Then Braeburn told me he had to go to Ponyville to help ya’ll out with buckin because of Big Macintosh dividin his time between the farm and becomin a daddy. Ah saw that as an opportunity to see ya again. Course ah told Braeburn ah just wanted to help out on the farm, but he can see right through me. On the train ride ah thought ah’d act differently towards ya, but once ah saw you from the window all the memories just flooded back and ah guess it caused be to regress back to my bullyin self. Once ya bucked me in the face and gave me a talkin ah finally realized how stupid ah’d been this whole time. Ah shoulda never treated ya that way. Ah guess till now ah was never all that good to ya.”

“Now that aint true…there was one time.”


“When mah parents died…”


“Not long after the funeral, Granny Smith took us on a vacation to Appleloosa to get our minds off things. One day ah was cryin real bad and you came to see me. Course at first ah didn’t think you were up to any good. Then you mentioned how you lost your momma a few years ago. And ya told me that anytime ah was missin them to just look up at the stars at night and they’d give me a sign they were out there watchin me. And every time ah looked up at the sky at night thinkin of them, ah’d see two stars wooshin across the sky.”

“Ah can’t believe ah forgot that.”

“It’s alright, it was a while ago. But it meant a lot to me at the time. Course, the next day you were back to yerself.”

“Again, Appljack, ah’m really sorry fer that.”

“Don’t worry about it, Mal. Ah think kickin ya in the face gave me some closure on that whole thing. You were just a silly colt at the time.”

“So…um…how long have ya liked me?”

Applejack blushed brightly and chuckled a bit.

“Well…probably after what you said about mah parents. But ah didn’t admit anything because of ya goin back to yer old ways. But things have happened over the years to make me realize how life is short. What with Twilight and my brother gettin hitched and startin their own family, Apple Bloom finally gettin her cutie mark, and of course mah other friends meetin their special someponies. Time has flown by. Seems like only yesterday the six of us were becomin friends and have crazy adventures. And ah still can’t believe how big Apple Bloom is gettin. She’s lucky really, she got to have a fairly normal childhood and grow up at her own pace. Macintosh and ah didn’t have it so lucky. Granny Smith was only able to help with the farmin for a couple years or so after mom and dad died, then it was just me and Mac for the most part.”

Tears began to form in Applejack’s eyes; this made her feel embarrassed and turn her head away. Suddenly, Mal leaned a hoof in and wiped away a tear.

“Nothing to be ashamed of. Everypony cries.”

Mal’s comment put a soft smile on Applejack’s face.

“So…“ began Applajack. “Now what?”

“Well…“ gulped Mal. “Most couples on a date would share a kiss.”

“Are we a couple now?”

“If…uh…you want that…”

Applejack leaned in and gave Mal a kiss.

“So is that a yes?”

Applejack chuckled and gave Mal a playful slug on the shoulder. She then leaned on him and the two gazed at the stars.

Chapter 27: A Lot of Stuff Happens

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It started as just any other day at the Golden Oaks Library. Twilight, despite being far along in her pregnancy, was arranging books in her workplace/home. At this point, Big Macintosh had gone off to work at Sweet Apple Acres, and Spike was surprisingly still sleeping. When he finally did wake up, it was easy to see that something was…off about her young assistant. While he’d been showing hints of growth here and there, but now he was at eye length with Macintosh; and he’d grown a pair of wings!

“Spike!? Exclaimed Twilight.

“What?” asked Spike. “Something on me?”

“Yes! You have wings! And you’re taller!”

Spike looked at himself and was just as surprised as Twilight. He walked in place in a circle to get a better look at his wings; falling over in the process.

“Please tell me you haven’t been stealing again!”

“Of course not! Besides, last time I didn’t grow wings.”

“Maybe it’s different every time?”

“But I haven’t been feeling greedy, Twilight, honest!”

“We better take you to the vet now!”

“But she doesn’t know anything about dragons.”

“Maybe that’s changed since then.”

Twilight took Spike to see Dr. Mane Goodall, Ponyville’s resident veterinarian, to see if she could figure out what was wrong with Spike…again.

“I told you last time, Mrs. Apple, I don’t know anything about dragons,” said Dr. Goodall.

“B-b-but, I figured maybe you’d know something now,” said Twilight sadly.

“Sorry to say, no.”

“But, this is the second time this has happened! And last time he grew even larger and destroyed nearly half of the town!”

“What about going to Zecora, Twilight?” suggested Spike. “She knew what was up.”

“I can’t believe I didn’t think of that already! I must not be in the right mind, what with everything going on, and…”

There was a sudden pause from Twilight, Spike had no idea what was up.

“Twilight? What’s wrong? You’re not moving, and you’re just standing there.”


“What!? What is up with…”

Walking closer to Twilight, Spike suddenly slipped and landed in some sort of puddle.

“Where the heck did this water come from!?”

“Oh dear!” exclaimed Dr. Goodall.


“Her water broke!”

“She wasn’t drinking any water though.”

“Oh sweet Celestia! Her amniotic fluid!”

Spike just stared in confusion.

“I’m in labor, Spike!”

Spike’s pupils shrunk to the size of pin needles.

“Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! What do we do!? What do we do!? What do we do!?”

Twilight grabbed Spike’s face and looked intensely at him.


“Wait now! You can’t deliver here! I’m just a vet!”

“Then get her to the hospital, doc! I gotta go get the father!”

“But, I’m just an earth pony! I don’t have magic or wings!”

“I’m sure you got a cart or something you can pull her in don’t you!? For wounded little bunnies and shit!”

“Spike! Watch your….ugh…tongue! And go get Macintosh!”

Spike ran out of the vet’s office as fast as he could. Twilight was still groaning as Dr. Goodall panicked to find her animal cart.

“I’ll be with you in just a moment, Mrs. Apple!”

Dr. Goodall managed to find her cart for picking up animals.

“Now, keep in mind it won’t be the cleanest cart….”

Twilight darted Dr. Goodall an evil look, with glowing red eyes.

“JUST GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL!” she commanded in an almost demonic voice.

“Right away!”

Spike ran through Ponyville as he could.

“Gotta get to the farm!”

Just then, it hit Spike to try out his new wings.

“Ok, here we go!”

Spike launched into the air with amazing ease and sped his way towards Sweet Apple Acres.

“Guess my dragon instincts are kicking in.”

Meanwhile, at Sweet Apple Acres, everypony there was doing their daily routine of harvesting and apple bucking. And then came a crashing purple dragon.

“Was that Spike?” exclaimed Applejack.

“And apparently the little guy has wings now,” said Mal.

Spike picked himself up and ran over to Applejack.

“Applejack!” exclaimed Spike.

“Tarnation, Spike! You’ve grown!”

“No time for that! Where’s Big Macintosh!?”

“He’s in the South Field. What’s up?”

“Twilight…She’s in labor!”


And then Big Macintosh sped to the main part of the farm; as if hearing the name of his beloved wife tapped into an unknown speed force in him.

“What did you just say!?” exclaimed Big Macintosh, the loudest anypony had ever heard him yell.

“Twilight, she went into labor. Dr. Goodall is taking her to the hospital. She was panicking about me growing again so she…”

“Who gives a buck about you!? Mah wife is in labor! Ah’m becomin a daddy! We gotta get to the hospital now!”

Chapter 28: The Moment You've All Been Waiting For

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Big Macintosh rushed away towards the Ponyville Hospital, while Braeburn and Applejack made their way to Sugarcube Corner to tell Pinkie Pie the big news knowing that she could gather everypony up faster than anypony else.

“Pinkie!” exclaimed Braeburn and Applejack.

“Oh, hey there Braeby Wabey! Hey Applejack!” responded Pinkie. “Did you take time off work to see me!? Oh that is super duper sweet!”

“No no, not that! There’s big things going on!”

“What? Is somepony throwing a party that isn’t me!?

“No, Twi…”

“Is there a crazy attack by dragons or timber wolves or something!?


“Is the sky falling!?”

“Pinkie, listen! Twilight is havin her baby!”

This caused Pinkie Pie’s eyes to widen wider than anypony thought possible. And to say her smile passed ear to ear would be the understatement of the millennium. She soon began to shake like made till she finally launched into the air with excitement cheering as if speaking in tongues.


“We gotta get the others now!” exclaimed Applejack.


“Alright Pinkie,” replied Mrs. Cake. “We’ll see you later.”

Pinkie grabbed her colt friend and best friend and they darted out of the bakery. Pinkie ran around town collecting her friends. She first ran to the edge of Ponyville to grab Fluttershy, then made her way to the Carousel Boutique grabbing Rarity, and finally Rainbow Dash at her newly constructed house. Before any of them had time to blink, or say anything, they were at the hospital. Big Macintosh and Spike had already made it there. Mal, Bookworm, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders came following after.

“Pinkie, what the hay!?” exclaimed Rainbow Dash.

“I must agree darling,” added Rarity. “You’re acting very strange…well, stranger than usual.”

“And…um…why are we at the hospital,” finished Fluttershy. “If it’s ok to ask.”

“Twilight is in labor!” exclaimed Pinkie, which caused them to gasp in unison.



“YAY!” yes, even Fluttershy let out an audible cheer.


Applejack went over her big brother, who was sitting in a chair and sweating like crazy.

“So what’s goin on, big brother?”

“Ah have no idea, Applejack! The doctor hasn’t said anything yet! Ah haven’t even seen Twilight yet!”

Finally Dr. Stable appeared before the anticipating party.

“Good day, Mr. Apple,” said Dr. Stable.

“Is mah wife okay, doc!?” asked Big Mac, still panicked.

“We’re getting her ready now, Mr. Apple.”

“Alright, then ah’m gonna go back there with her.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Mr. Apple. You see, unicorns often give off powerful bursts of magic while delivering their foals. While safer for unicorns, earth ponies are at a much higher risk to get harmed.”

“MACINTOSH! WHERE ARE YOU!?” came Twilight’s voice from her room.

“She’s callin for me! Ah don’t care what the risks are, doc. Ah’m goin in there. An apple husband is always with his wife when she‘s in labor.”

“I’m still going to have to advise against that, Mr. Apple…”


Finally, Big Macintosh then nudged the doctor against a wall, with intensity in his eyes. And he said calmly, but commandingly:

“You listen to me very clearly, Dr. Stable. In that room is the mare ah love. Mah wife, my best friend, mah lover, and the mother of my future child. Nothin is gonna stop me from going in there. Not you, not yer security, not even the very evils of Tartarus will keep me from bein with mah wife.”

The waiting area became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Dr. Stable let out an audible gulp.

“Right this way, Mr. Apple.”

Dr. Stable lead Big Macintosh to Twilight’s room, leaving the others in the waiting area.

“DAAAAAAYYYYYUUUUUUUM!” exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “I had no idea Big Macintosh could get so intense!”

“It’s a rare thing to see,” said Applejack. “And ya don’t wanna see it often.”

Big Mac was taken to Twilight’s room, where the purple mare was tossing and sweating in her bed.

“Ah’m here, Twilight.”

“Oh thank Celestia! I wasn’t sure they’d let you come here.”

“Ah managed to convince Dr. Stable. Nothin’s gonna stop me from bein with you.”

“I love…ugh…so much, Big Macintosh.”

“I love you too, Twilight.”

The two then shared a kiss. Then Twilight started to groan more in pain and her horn began to spark some magic.

“I think you’re ready to deliver, Mrs. Apple,” said Dr. Stable.

“I…can’t…do this.”

“Course ya can! Ya’ve taken on Nightmare Moon. Ya took on dragons, changelings, and all kinds of other crazy things! You successfully bucked a tree!”

That last one made Twilight laugh a little, albeit a strained laugh.

“There’s nothin in Equestria that you can’t do.”

Twilight simply gave her husband a warm smile, as she prepared to deliver. Some of other unicorn nurses were brought in to help shield Big Macintosh from any possible magic surges. Twilight breathed deeply and starting pushing with all her might.

“Here we go!” exclaimed Dr. Stable.

A huge burst of magical light engulfed the entire room. When the light finally faded, Big Macintosh was the first to open his eyes.

“How’s mah wife, doc? How’s mah baby? Is it a filly or a colt?”

Twilight came to soon after.

“Macintosh? Is it a filly or colt?” she asked weakly.

Big Macintosh walked over to his recovering wife to show her what they made together.

“Oh my goodness,” exclaimed Twilight. “I can’t believe it.”

Meanwhile, out in the waiting room, many of the party had started to grow impatient.

“UGH!” Exclaimed Rainbow Dash. “How can this be taking so long!?”

“Labor isn’t something that one gets over with, darling,” replied Rarity. “Why I recall my dear mother being in labor with Sweetie Belle for nearly a day.”

“A DAY!? I can’t stay wait here a day! I got things to do!”

“Just be patient, sugar cube. Big Macintosh’ll bring the little guy or gal when he’s able.”


“It’s always wonderful to have new life come into this world.”

“Well, I wish it would come faster!”

Just then, the doors swung open and out came Big Macintosh pushing a cart.


“Hush it, Rainbow Dash! Alright big brother, what do ya have to show us?”

Big Macintosh smiled a soft smile.

“Everypony…ah would like to introduce ya’ll…to mah son, Lil' Macintosh."

Macintosh pulled off the cover to show a tiny, dark red unicorn with a yellow mane and white freckles.��

“He’s so adorable!” exclaimed Fluttershy.

“He is a cute little guy,” said Rainbow Dash.

"Simply darling!" said Rarity

"Super duper adorableness!" proclaimed Pinkie Pie.

“And…” continued Big Macintosh.

“AND?!” exclaimed everypony else.

“Our daughter, Shimmer."

Underneath the other blanket, was a pink earth pony with a purple mane.

“TWINS!?” exclaimed Applejack.

“YAY! MORE TWINS!” declared Pinkie Pie.

“How in tarnation!?”

“Well…the doctor couldn’t give Twilight a proper ultrasound. We had no idea what we were getting.”

“This is fabulous!” exclaimed Rarity.

“I’m an aunty of twins!” proclaimed Apple Bloom.


“Ah need to take them back to Twilight now.”

Applejack and Apple Bloom then gave their big brother a loving hug.

“We’re so proud of you, Big Macintosh,” said Applejack, beginning to tear up.

“Yer the best big brother ever,” said Apple Bloom, also tearing up. “And you’ll be the best daddy ever.”

A tear ran down Big Macintosh’s cheek at both of his sister’s remarks. He then took his newborn foals back into Twilight’s hospital room, once again leaving everypony else in the waiting area.

“Things have definitely gotten 20% cooler!” declared Rainbow Dash.

“Here’s hoping you and I can have our own some day,” said Bookworm warmly.

“Well…you won’t have to wait too long.”

Bookworm’s face went into utter confusion.

“I beg your pardon?”

Then Rainbow Dash jabbed her husband in the shoulder.

“HA! You shoulda seen the look on your face!”

Bookworm, despite being confused, joined Rainbow Dash in the laugh, and the others soon followed. After the laughter subsided, Rainbow Dash let out a sigh.

“Yeah…but seriously I’m pregnant.”

Epilogue: A Little Extra

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And so, a couple days later, Twilight and Big Macintosh took their newborn foals home to the Golden Oaks Library. Of course Pinkie Pie had set up a banner welcoming the newborn twins.


Twilight’s parents, Andromeda and Orion had also shown up to see their first grandchildren. Naturally, Shining Armor and Cadence showed up as well.

“They’re so precious!” exclaimed Cadence.

“Shimmer looks just like you, Twily,” said Shining Armor.

“Now you two just need to give us some grandchildren,” Andromeda said with a smirk, causing them both to blush.

And there was much celebration abound, and gifts were given, and there was cake. And it was good. Twilight was also given the wonderful news that Rainbow Dash was pregnant now and again much rejoicing…and more cake.

Later that evening, Big Macintosh and Twilight, along with the other Apple siblings. decided to take the twins up to Sweet Apple Acres to introduce them to their great grandmother.

“Granny!” announced Apple Bloom. “We’re home!”

Granny Smith was in her rocking chair as usual. She was also sleeping at first, but Apple Bloom’s announcement woke her right up.

“Huh…wah…” Granny Smith mumbled. “Well it’s bout time ya’ll brought them little foals here tah see me.”

“It’s only been a couple days, Granny,” said Big Mac.

“Ah don’t need tah hear no excuses from ya. Now lemme see em.”

Big Mac and Twilight brought their newborn twins over to the ancient mare.

“This is Lil’ Macintosh and Shimmer, Granny.”

“Ah’ll be. We got ourselves another unicorn in the family. An they certainly are the cutest things ah seen since ya’ll was born.”

“Thank you very much, Granny Smith,” said Twilight.

“So, have ya’ll taken em tah see yer parents? Ah’m sure they’d love to see their first grandchildren.”

Everypony looked at the old mare with a little confusion.

“Granny…Ma and Pa…are…”

“Ah know where they are, Macintosh! Mah mind aint that far gone! Think that means they still can’t see ya’ll? Course not! Now, let’s head out, it aint far.”

They all made their way to the resting place of the Apple Siblings parents.


“Well, go on," said Granny Smith. "Interduce the little ones.”

Big Macintosh and Twilight walked up to the gravestone, holding their newborns.

“Ma, Pa…” began Big Macintosh. “These here are yer grandchildren. Lil’ Macintosh and Shimmer. And Lil’ Macintosh here is a unicorn. Aint that somethin? Um…ah wish ya both could be here in the flesh to see them…we all miss you…everyday…we love you both so much.”

Tears flowed from Big Macintosh, everypony else soon followed. Suddenly, there was a blinding light, nopony knew what was going on. When the light lessened, everypony was shocked to see Princess Celestia and Princess Luna in front of them. Everypony naturally bowed in their presence.

“You may all rise,” said Princess Celestia.

“Princess, what are you and your sister doing here?” asked Twilight.

“I wasn’t going to miss out on seeing the children of my most prized student.”

“But, it’s been a couple days.”

“We felt now was the right time.”

“My sister and I have decided to grace thee with a most wonderful gift,” announced Luna. She hadn’t quite stopped using her old world speech, but wasn’t using her “royal tone.”

“Oh…well…that’s flatterin and all your majesties,” fumbled Macintosh. “But, ya’ll didn’t have to.”

“We do believe you will approve of this.”

The Princesses moved to the side slightly to reveal in front of them all, Carter Blue Apple and Bella Donna Apple. Needless to say, they were all speechless for a moment. Apple Bloom was the first to break the silence.


The Apple parents both smiled and nodded at their youngest child. Apple Bloom began crying madly and embraced her parents. Applejack and Big Macintosh followed within seconds.

“You’ve all grown up so well,” said Bella.

“Eeyup,” agreed Carter. “We’re very proud of all ya’ll.”

Twilight looked in awe and confusion at this miraculous sight.

“But…but how?” asked Twilight.

“Nighttime is when spirits are at their strongest,” said Princess Luna. “But, bringing them into the physical plane takes a bit of energy.”

“That’s why I joined my sister tonight,” continued Celestia. “In order to help bring them forth.”

“I’m guessing that means this isn’t permanent,” said Twilight.

“Unfortunately, my student, no it is not. The spell will only last till sunrise.”

“Ah don’t care!” exclaimed Apple Bloom to the Princesses, still shaken up by the whole thing. “Ya’ll still gave us the greatest gift anypony could ever ask for!”

“Apple Bloom is right,” Applejack chimed in. “There’s no way we could ever repay ya’ll!”

“E-eyup!” fumbled Big Macintosh.

“There is no need for repaying,” said Celestia. “Applejack, you have helped Twilight Sparkle save Equestria on multiple occasions. You and your family are amongst the most noble of ponies.”

Carter and Bella then got a better look at their grandchildren; and soon put their focus on Twilight.

“So,” began Carter. “Yer the mare who wed our son.”

“Um…yes…I am,” Twilight fumbled nervously.

“You certainly are a fine looking mare,” said Bella warmly. “I don’t think he could’ve picked a better wife.”

“Or produced finer grandchildren,” said Carter.

“Oh my, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Apple.”

The two chuckled a bit at Twilight’s formality.

“We’re kin, sugar cube,” said Carter. “We don’t need formalities.”

The two then embraced Twilight, much to her surprise. But it didn’t take long for Twilight to embrace them back.

“Just so ya’ll know,” began Carter. “We woulda seen yer children even if we weren’t here in the flesh.”

“We’ve never stopped looking after you all,” continued Bella.

“Still, we aint gonna complain bout gettin to see them.”

“So, ya’ll saw me gettin mah cutie mark?” asked Apple Bloom.

“Of course we did,” said Bella. “We’ve seen all your little adventures with your friends.”

Apple Bloom began crying again, she was so overjoyed knowing that her parents were always there watching. Time passed and it was eventually time for Carter and Bella to leave. They began to fade with Celestia’s sunrise.

“Remember, we’re always with ya’ll,” said Carter.

“We love you all very much,” said Bella.

“And we always will,” they both finished together.

They then disappeared as the sun fully rose. Everypony was left in awe at what just transpired. Few moments would ever top what they just experienced.

THE END…of this story.

But the story will continue in My Little Pony: A New Generation