Sequel to Call Him in the Morning and
Prequel to It Just So Happens
“Oh my, oh dear, What to do, what to do...” Fluttershy paced from one side of her little area to the other. The depressed grass under her hooves told tale of her disposition - it was flat as the ground it grew out of. The pegasus had been walking like this for over a half an hour - perhaps longer. Nearby, a white unicorn walked parallel with her every step of the way, attempting to calm the delirious yellow pony.
A cyan mare stood nearby, alongside a very energetic pink pony. Exchanging glances, Rainbow Dash could tell even though she was bursting with happiness, Pinkie Pie was doing everything she could to keep it under control for their friend. Rarity talked on and on about how the world would be a brighter place after today, and how Fluttershy should simply look forward to what would be happening in just over two hours. “At least think of Applejack, darling. Speaking off.” Turning her head a moment, Fluttershy mimicked the action a second later, their eyes trained on the pink and cyan pair. “Shouldn’t you two run along and be with her?”
“Hey, Granny kicked us out, saying it was some Apple family tradition or something, so we came here to see how Fluttershy was doing.” Rainbow pointed out, putting a hoof on Pinkie’s shoulder. Looking about, the rainbow-maned mare raised an eyebrow. “So what’s the big meltdown for?”
“Rainbow!” Rarity chided, tittering her tongue as she put her dainty hoof on Fluttershy. “Unlike your brash need to take everything head on...” She trailed, catching a look from the pegasus she was touching.
“I’m sorry. I really shouldn’t be worrying much.” She squeaked, looking back toward Rainbow Dash.
“Yeah, you see? Not here two minutes and I’ve solved all your problems.” Rainbow pounded her chest in victory, but it did not impress Rarity in the slightest. Realizing the awkward silence and the cynical glare from the unicorn, the pegasus cleared her throat. “Say, where’s Twilight, anyway! She’s part of the wedding party.”
Rarity shook her mane a bit. She was about to answer when a brown Earth pony poked his head in a moment, followed by a second, more draconian head on top of him. “Excuse me, don’t mean to barge in or anything but I was wondering if any of you ladies have seen a mare named Twilight walking about?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. This earned him a quick tap on the head from the purple dragon perched on his back.
Rarity groaned, putting a hoof to her face. “Well, I’m fairly certain that if she isn’t with you, Whoof, then she very well may be-”
A pink rush cut her off as it bounced next to Spike and the Doctor. “Ooo! I know, the Library! She lives there, y’know!” She related, looking over toward the unicorn and pegasus pair on the other side of the white tent. “Oh, um.” Halting her bounces, she smiled sheepishly. Rarity gave her a disappointed gaze, to which the pink pony responded. “I know, I’ll mess up my tuxedo.” She murmured, struggling against the constricting clothing. Pinkie had to admit she’d take one of Rarity’s dresses anyday. Dash pondered over slightly as she looked at the dressed Earth pony. She gave pause, as if she was forgetting something herself.
“Well, thank you for that, Pinkie.” Whoof muttered a moment, before turning to the girls. “Then it falls on me to go get her. Alright then, Spike, we’re off!”
“Hey hold it, Doc, I wanted Rarity to fix my bow tie.” Spike heeded, giving Whoof pause. Leaping off his back, Spike landed hard on the ground, but ignored it, his curtails of his suit lightly brushing to top layer of grass. “H-hey, um, Rarity! I was wondering, you know, if you have the time-”
Rarity sighed as her horn glowed with the power of magic. “Please, Spike, you know a quick fix like this is well within my limits of time for friends, darling.” She smirked, glad for the reprieve she was getting. She loved her friends to death - but sometimes keeping up with all of them was a momentous task all by itself. Spike’s bow lifted off his shoulder, the red ribbon draping slightly over him as Rarity smoothed it out and began working on trying it around the dragon’s neck.
Fluttershy looked over the dragon a moment before turning to Whoof, her eyes shrouded in uncertainty. “Doctor, if you um, don’t mind. Could you and get Twilight for me? I really would like her to be here.” She said, causing Rainbow Dash to snap her attention toward the other pegasus.
“So, uh, Spike, I’ll just leave you here while I go and get Twilight, then?” Whoof wondered aloud. A wind blew past him as a mighty push of feathery wings came between him and the exit, the pegasus giving a smirk.
“Don’t worry about it, Whooves.” Dash smirked, padding at the ground as she looked back at the group of ponies. “I’ll go get Twilight, you guys stay here. Be back quick as a flash.”
Rarity looked over at the cyan mare as she streaked off, huffing as she put the finishing touches on the gemstone bow tie Spike found himself quite proud of. “Well, at least she realized she forgot her dress.” She chided, giving a passing glance to the Doctor, who suddenly found himself without a task. “Ahem, Doctor...”
“Whoof, Whoof. Not Whoove- I’m sorry what?” Doctor Whoof shot to attention a bit late, but found himself under the collective stares of everypony - and dragon - in the room. “Can I help you with something?” Venturing a guess, perhaps they needed him to be-
“Out!” Rarity pointed a hoof toward the flap of the tent, trying to keep her composure while the male pony stared at her incredulously. “Really, Whoof, I know you like to be around us mares a bit more than the next stallion, and believe me when I say we like you too, but this is a wedding and more importantly the bride’s quarters, so you really have no reason to be in here.” Talking a mile a minute in a way that would make Pinkie proud, the designer was now forcefully pushing the colt right out of the tent, the Doctor trying to put in a word in edgewise the entire way out.
With the Doctor out, Rarity exhaled long and hard. “Huh, yeah, like he had any reason being here, am I right, Rarity?” Spike mentioned, leaning on her flank with a cool elbow.
The glare she gave him would of frozen Nightmare Moon in mid catch-phrase.
Giving a nervous chuckle, the dragon nodded his head slowly. “R-R-right, I’ll go see what Whoof is up to. See you girls later!” He stammered, rushing out the flap behind the brown stallion.
Fluttershy chuckled lightly as tent lost three of it’s occupants, turning over to Pinkie Pie as she did. “Um, Pinkie, if you don’t mind, I’d like to talk to Rarity alone for a little while. Would you mind checking on Applejack again? I’m sure whatever they’re doing is finished now.” Pinkie looked ready to explode, but held back and nodded.
“Okie-dokey-Loki!” Pinkie took great care to step slowly and deliberately toward the flap, ushering it open softly and letting it slide off her gently, giving the Bride and her Maid of Honor some privacy. Looking back, the pony smiled. “I know two ponies who are in Loooooove~” She giggled and bounced away toward the other pony whose love was shared with Fluttershy. “I hope Rainbow Dash comes back with Twilight quickly.” She mused, lifting her jump higher as she soared over Spike and Whoof, who gaped slightly until they realized who it was.
“That Pinkie Pie - always a wonder.” Whoof trailed, chuckling as he turned to his companion. “Now, Spike, what do you suppose we do for the next... Spike?” Whoof raised an eyebrow as the dragon frantically checked his pockets multiple times, looking for Celestia knows what. “What are you doing?”
Spike started to kick his feet as he felt the movement would jostle whatever it was into existence. “The- The Rings! I’m the ring bearer, and I don’t have the rings!” He cried, turning his pockets inside out for effect. Leaping off the Doctor’s back, Spike put his face near the ground as the crowds moved around them.
“The rings, Spike?” Whoof echoed.
“You know, the wedding bands! They go around the left forehoof.” Spike raised his left arm and pointed at the dragon equivalent. “And I’m the ring bearer! And I don’t have the rings!” Looking about, the dragon gazed over the gathering crowds of ponies. “They could be anywhere!”
Whoof gave Spike a long, hard look, his eyes trailing all over his features, moving unto the crowd and along the path they came from. He didn’t see any hoof sized rings, and if they had left it in the tent, then surely Rarity would of seen the immediately. Ponies crossed his vision, moving all about as they met with friends and family as they came out to the wedding. It was larger than he expected. Someponies with not-so-nice tendencies could of seen golden bands sitting on the ground somewhere and just scooped them up. This was a problem.
A big problem.
Pinkie Pie slowed her bounce as she approached the white tent on the other side of the orchard hill. Both tents were not far from each other - in fact, they lay on either side of the long stretch that made up the aisle. Pinkie slowed slightly, taking in the empty expanse, decorated with white arches and various flowers. Apple blossoms rained down in a swift breeze, covering the area in pink and white natural confetti. The pink mare squealed a little in happiness, turning her head around to see the various balloons and decorations that made up the reception area just outside of the main event space. Her tail twitched rapidly, but she ignored the reaction as her mane became full of the falling petals.
Catching a moment of deviance, Pinkie snapped a petal out of the air, enjoying the light taste that was reminiscent of the apples that filled the orchard. Sighing contentedly, the mare allowed herself a moment of calm, taking herself down to a simple stride, the tux releasing itself from the various folds that occurred during her nigh relentless bouncing. The petal rain got stuck in her inflated mane, but the pony found nothing wrong with that - and being away from Rarity for a time meant that it was likely to stick there for awhile.
Sticking her head in the white tent opposite Fluttershy’s, the pink mare found herself face to face with a rather dashing Big MacIntosh, his large form looming over her, his mane brushed smooth and, to Pinkie’s joy, a light smile on his face. “Heya Big Mac!” The pony beamed up at the stallion as she tried to look around him. “Are the Apples all done in here?”
“Eeyup.” Big Mac nodded, stepping aside to let the pink pony in as she looked about for Applejack. “You’ll find AJ beyon’ those flaps.” He added, gesturing to a second pair of tent flaps that sectioned off the tent, much unlike Fluttershy’s open room.
Walking gently past the colt, Pinkie smirked as a little white bunny hopped right on by. Angel looked fairly simple, a neat black bow around his neck, no little animal tux adorning his features. Although Pinkie had to smile at the inspired choice of two golden ear loops that adorned either ear on his little head. Patting him gently, Pinkie giggled slightly as Angel sighed with customary annoyance, letting the pink mare get her fill. Pinkie let him go before long, the bunny giving a small salute to Big MacIntosh. The mare thanked the stallion quickly, before heading into the next ‘room’ of the tent.
“Nahw how am I supposed ta’ be a flower girl when it’s already rainin’ ‘em!” A little filly complained, shaking her red mane as little specs of white and pink fell to the ground. “It ‘taint fair, ‘sis! Nopony’s gonna notice my flowers now.” Applebloom sighed, kicking at the dirt below as yet another small flap covered the elder pony’s vision.
“Ya mean t’say all our flowers are white ‘n red?” Applejack’s voice could be heard. Pinkie giggled to herself as she entered the room, listening to the sister’s talk.
Applebloom turned her amber eyes towards the pink mare’s direction, her eyes trailing over the multitude of appleblossoms that adorned her mane and tail. “I reckon Pinkie Pie could just shake herself down the aisle and flowers would go everywhere!” She claimed, walking over to the older pony. The pastel yellow pony’s brilliant red mane was unmistakable, her normal red bow had been replaced with one that was shining white. Literally shining, as the bow had been custom made with a silvery gleam to them by none other than Rarity. All of the clothes on exhibit during the wedding were made by Ponyville’s own fashionista. Applebloom pushed against Pinkie a bit, the pink mare curious in what she was doing, only to see the slightest movement had jostled a few of the petals off of her. Again, she snapped up the petals as they fell from her mane. The young filly giggled as she pushed against Pinkie again, this time jumping up and chomping at the blossoms as they came near her - taking pains to grab them as they fell instead of snatching the ones that fell on the ground. Pinkie giggled louder, this time grabbing the attention of the other full-grown mare in the room.
Sticking her head out of small flaps, Applejack caught sight of Pinkie Pie and her little sis, her expression one of exasperation, but melted as she saw the two playing. “Well hey there Pinkie Pie. No news on Twi, I ‘spose.” Pinkie Pie shook her head. Taking note of the lack of purple in the room, Applejack sighed slightly as she felt her mane pulled backward.
“Now Applejack, don’t you go out there before you’re finished with your mane. This is a special day and I want the pictures to last me a good while.” A voice called from the small side room as the mare was forcefully pulled behind the curtain. Pinkie giggled as she recognized the voice belonging to Granny Smith, and looked toward Applebloom.
“So you need flowers that’ll POP, right?” Pinkie mentioned idly, putting a hoof to her chin in what looked to be deep thought. Applebloom nodded her head excitedly, expecting a very explosive idea. “Oo! I know! The blue flowers in the Everfree are sure to POP!”
Applebloom’s face fell slightly as she considered the consequences. “I don’t think that’ll work right, Pinkie Pie. Mah sister’s pretty antsy already, and getting the whole weddin’ caught up in Poison Joke seems like a bad idea.” She muttered, her voice not into denying the plan, enjoying the prospect of another Appleteeny episode.
Pinkie Pie nodded and put her hoof down. “Plus then we’d need to put Fluttershy in the Tuxedo or nothing would make sense.” The mare talking about sense just about broke the filly’s mind, but she didn’t ponder it for everypony’s sake. Pinkie turned about as she realized there was nothing she could do for Applejack in her current situation - probably being fancied up by Granny Smith. The Oranges were present for the wedding, so it was probably a good idea to have Applejack be somewhat more presentable than just her hat and whatever tuxedo she had on. Spinning about, she took stock of her own clothes, guessing that Applejack’s own would look similar to hers. As she continued to spin in place, Applebloom ahemed and caught her attention. The flowers! “Oh, um.” Pinkie’s face contorted to one of serious comprehension as she stared at the petals on the ground. “I dunno.” Shrugging her shoulders at the filly, Pinkie knew a trip into town for flowers would take too long.
“Oooh, this’ll never work! I’m going to be a terrible flower pony...” Applebloom sighed, catching a look at her blank flank. “Looks like I’m not gonna get a flower filly cutie mark either.” Kicking some dirt, she found herself moving slowly toward the door.
“Wait!” Pinkie shot up. Going airborne, the mare ended up hitting the top of the tent lightly, disrupting her mane and causing a shower of petals to swirl down below over the little filly below. “I got it! We don’t need blue flowers, we need blue petals!” She exclaimed.
Applebloom stared at the mare, simply nodding to appease her. There was a bit of a disconnect in Pinkie Pie’s plan. “An’ how’re we gonna do that?”
Pinkie stamped a hoof on the ground, looking proud of herself. “Twilight Sparkle!”
“I’m here, I’m here.” A rushed voice called, entering the back room of the tent. A purple pony with a straight mane, accented with a violet strip of hair, trotted in, parting the tent flaps with a glow of her horn. “Really, Pinkie, I didn’t make a noise, how’d you even... nevermind.” Letting the subject drop and filing it under ‘it’s Pinkie Pie’, Twilight let her attention be drawn by the other pony in the room. “Hello, Applebloom.”
“Twilight!” Applebloom cheered, but quickly composed herself. The idea that involved the unicorn belonged to Pinkie, and unfortunately the filly was unaware of the intricities involved. “I’m glad you’re here.” She forced out, which seemed to placate the purple mare’s curiosity.
“Good to see you too, Applebloom. You must be excited to be a flower filly for your sister’s wedding, huh?” Applebloom nodded enthusiastically as the unicorn loosed the curtain and dropped her white saddlebags nearby, unlatching them and revealing her tailored tuxedo. Smirking, she could see the intricate details Rarity had put into it - a mare’s tuxedo, what a strange order. “I can’t imagine getting into this without magic.” Twilight smirked, looking about at Pinkie Pie. “Did Rarity help with yours?”
“Nope!” Pinkie offered no further explanation as she poked her head out of the tent, seeing Big MacIntosh continued guard over the front room. The curtain protecting them from the onslaught of the floating petals was open slightly, and she could see Spike outside, his face right next to the ground as he looked to be searching everywhere for something. Poking her head back in, she found Twilight was almost completely dressed, fiddling with the bow tie. Apparently, even magic had it’s limits. “How. Does. Rarity. Tie. These. Ugh.” Her horn ceased it’s glow, the bow falling gently upon the saddlebag below. “I give up, I’ll have Rarity tie it later. Applejack?”
Twilight’s call caused the pony in the small sectioned off part to stick her head out, a look of reprieve on her features. “Twilight, yer a sight fer sore eyes, Ah tell ya.” She felt a tug on her, but she held firm, turning her head slightly. “Please Gran, Twi’s here now an’ Ah’d like to talk ta her fer a lil’ while.”
“Ooooooh.... fine.” A sigh was issued before Granny Smith came through the curtain, a simple dress on her features. An interesting note was she was without her walker, and stepping cleanly upon the grass. “Ah, Twilight, good to see you, good to see you.” She greeted, the unicorn flashing a small smile toward the grandmotherly mare. “Don’t take too long with my Applejack, now.” She smirked before passing the other girls, where they could hear her lightly chewing out Big Mac for leaving his fetlocks unshorn.
“Ah, that’s Gran for ya.” Applejack muttered, stepping out from the small enclosure. Twilight gave a light gasp at the sight. Decked out in a pure white tuxedo made from a similar material to Applebloom’s bow, it had a tinge of blue to compliment her natural orange coat. But what was far more breathtaking was how light her mane seemed. It flowed around her head gently, curving slightly, no longer tied back in a ponytail. The long, flowing blonde hair swayed free from any earthly restriction. Applejack looked between the three ponies whom now stared at her, raising an eyebrow. “What? Y’all look like ya seen an Ursa.” She joked, giving a quick look toward her freed mane. “Guess Ah let mah hair grow a bit too much, but Granny said it looks fine.”
“Applejack, you look...” Twilight trailed, hey eyes flowing with the hair, before blinking hard and shaking her mane. Handsome? Beautiful?
“Fantabulous!” Squeaked Pinkie, hopping up and down on the spot.
Applebloom strode over to her sister and nuzzled against her. “You look great, sis. Real proper like.” Applejack grinned down at her sister, putting her attention on her friends.
“Amazing.” Twilight finished, choosing a good gender-neutral adjective. “Truly amazing.”
“That’s right nice of y’all ta say. Calms the nerves.” Giving a lopsided smile, her eyes trained downward, unexpectedly locking eyes with the large amber orbs below her. She opened her mouth, but was interrupted from a voice in the front room.
“Hi. Terribly sorry and all that, but I was wondering if you’ve seen Twilight around? We have a bit of an emergency and-” The Doctor was talking to Big MacIntosh, the three mares in the room sighed slightly.
“Emergency.” Applejack stated flatly. Looking over to the purple mare, she gestured with her head for her friend to check it out. “He’s your boyfriend, Twi, you go an’ sort it out. An’ bring Granny Smith back o’er here ‘fore long, would you?” She asked.
Twilight nodded, a sheepish smile on her features. “Will do Applejack. And... you really do look stunning. I don’t think you have anything to be nervous about.” It earned her a soft smile in return, and Twilight trotted out the door, intent on seeing this emergency dealt with. Applebloom galloped along behind her, curious about the emergency the Doctor spoke of.
Exhaling long and hard, the elder Earth ponies were left alone in the tent. “Well, S’far as she knows.” She trailed, catching Pinkie’s attention. Applejack looked up at her friend, forcing a smile that Pinkie didn’t buy for a second.
“What’s wrong, AJ?” The pink mare stressed, taking it slow as she walked over to her friend. “Weddings are happy days. Plus they have big parties afterwards and your whole life with Fluttershy after! Think of how happy it’s going to be and your nerves will melt away!” She beamed at her friend, but the orange Earth pony just solemnly nodded her head. Resting her flank next to Applejack, the pink party pony nudged Applejack softly. “Applejack?”
“‘Taint nothin’, Pinkie. Jus’ some family matters.” She muttered, shaking her mane. Pinkie’s face contorted into thought, considering just what was to be meant from that. Applejack caught her look and chuckled despite herself. “Let’s just say there are ponies in mah family that... don’t take too kindly to this kinda marriage.” She swallowed, averting her eyes. “‘Taint proper, they said. Said I’m shamin’ the family name.” Sighing, she didn’t expect to feel a hoof fall on her shoulder - in fact, two of them did. Looking up, she saw Big MacIntosh had silently entered the room, and had pulled her in for a hug. In her moment of vulnerability she hadn’t expected the large colt to have appeared, but she didn’t fight it. Applejack leaned into it, the side of her head nuzzled against her brother’s chest.
“Love ain’t nothin’ to be ashamed of, AJ, no matter what anypony tells you.” He grunted, not letting go of his little sister. “Not even family.” He added, and tightened the hug. Applejack just returned it, burying her face in her brother’s chest, her cheeks tightened in a smile. Pinkie decided it was time for her to check on the others, leaving the Apple siblings to their moment. Plus she could find out about this emergency.
“They had more’n a year to say somethin’, Big Mac! Why do they have to bring it up on mah weddin’ day?” Applejack muttered, her voice cracking slightly. “It’s mah day.” She whimpered. The big red pony released his sister and raised her chin up with his now free hoof.
His face was hard, but his eyes held love. “Now you lissen here, AJ. This is your day. It is also that beautiful pegasus’ day. And I ain’t gonna let nopony say otherwise, ya hear? So you stop frettin’ your little head about the Oranges and let me take care’a everythin’.” He said, giving his sister a lighter hug. “Enjoy it, Applejack. Ain’t no one prouder’a you than me.” Standing tall, he coughed slightly, unused to saying so much so quickly. The orange mare sniffed and smiled, nodding as she did. As Mac started to depart, Granny Smith entered as he did, pausing him briefly as she placed a hoof on his side, a silent thank you from his grandmother. “Gran.” He greeted as he left the tent proper, looking about.
“So Spike is looking for the rings.” Twilight muttered, rubbing a hoof on her temple. “Saying he’s lost them, no less.” She added, earning two nods from her boyfriend. “Doctor, we have to find him.”
Whoof looked about a moment, across the seas of ponies and over the tables and chairs set for the reception. He let himself take idle notice of the brilliant color of the ocean of bodies before him, each one seemingly next to the color that best complimented it. Still, he was brought back down by Twilight, who prodded his flank, snatching his attention. “Hm?! Right, sorry.” Giving an ahem, the scientist pushed up his non-existent glasses and stared the unicorn down. “So why are we looking for our little dragon friend when we could be searching for the rings.”
Twilight sighed, rolling her eyes. “Because the rings aren’t lost. Spike’s the ring bearer but we never gave him the rings.” She said simply. Applebloom giggled a bit nearby, finding it a bit cute.
Doctor Whoof hesitated, averting his eyes as they spun left to right as he considered this. “How do you know that - you just got here.” He related, before a soft glow emanated from the unicorn’s horn. She raised an eyebrow expectantly as a knowing smile crossed her features, her hooves padding along the ground as she trotted along. “The locater spell! Brilliant!” He applauded, thundering his hooves on the ground as he took off after the purple mare. “So, Twilight, where are they?”
The pony turned to her date and smirked. “Angel has them - we gave him the rings last night for safe keeping. If there’s one thing we can be assured of, it’s that he’s never far from Fluttershy, and since he’s so small he’d notice a weight like the rings falling from his body...”
Applebloom nodded slowly. “I saw him earlier with the rings in his ears like bit ‘ol earrings.” She related, thinking back when she was in the tent, just before Pinkie Pie arrived. “I knew he didn’t look like he enjoyed them bein’ there!”
“He couldn’t really lose them without somepony taking them clean off him, and then he’d come hopping. Fantastic.” Whoof agreed, noticing they had found themselves at Fluttershy’s tent. “Oh, well... I don’t think I’m really allowed in here. You’re certain Angel’s in here?” He asked, looking about for the not-so-amicable rabbit.
“I wasn’t looking for Angel or the rings, Whoofsey.” She teased, taking great delight in the embarrassed reaction Whoof gave her in response to the nickname. Applebloom giggled at his expense as well. It was sickeningly sweet, and Twilight knew it, but it was too entertaining to let slide sometimes. Nuzzling the brown Earth pony, Twilight parted to curtain. “Wait here, I’m sure one of your targets will show up soon. Applebloom, you go out and see if you can track our dragon friend.”
“Cutie Mark Crusader Dragon Patrol! You got it, Twilight!” Applebloom shouted, taking off into the crowd, her small stature aiding her as she swung under the legs of the adults and scurried under tables looking for the wandering dragon.
Resting his flank, the Doctor seemed a bit beside himself. “When did I become the one to ‘wait around’.” Sighing, he kept an eye out for a purple dragon or a white rabbit. Bleating, he drummed his hooves in a bored fashion. Looking about, he began to contemplate the best way to eavesdrop against a white tent that wasn’t glaringly obvious. Color tended to blend into the outsides of them, so he couldn’t keep too close without risk of the very light of the sun itself betraying his presence. There were enough folds in the flaps to make it a non issue, except it would be obvious to anypony outside, and anypony inside would likely run into the colt on their way out. No, it was probably best just to... sit there. And take orders. “How... domestic.” He muttered, defeated.
“So Spike is running about out there looking for the rings? Oh, but he’ll get so dirty!” Rarity sighed, shaking her mane. “Perhaps I rushed him out a bit too quickly, he’s so excitable sometimes.” Placing a hoof near her chin, she dared not actually touch it, as the floor below was just, well, dirt and grass, much too many things to even contemplate getting close to her pristine white coat. “Still, I suppose it does keep him out of our manes for a little while.” A silver lining in everything.
Twilight smirked and rolled her eyes, but Fluttershy seemed a bit downtrodden by such a remark. “Oh, poor little dragon. Rarity, you mustn’t let him keep worrying over it.” She asked, hey eyes threatening tears.
“Darling, please, I’m sure our little scamp is more than capable about such a small thing.” Rarity provided, but she relented quickly enough and sighed, looking Fluttershy in the eye. “Fine, if I must! Rainbow Dash-” She started, before looking about. “Now where did that filly get off to, I thought she was right here.”
Twilight shrugged, pointing toward the tent flap. “Might as well check out there. Probably laying in some tree. But, oh! Before you go find Spike, can you help me with my bow tie? I’ve never read up on proper tying techniques and I kinda frustrated myself earlier.” Sheepishly, she presented the length of fabric, in which Rarity soundlessly and almost without looking looped the entire thing around Twilight’s neck and had it sitting pristine on her chest in mere moments.
“Well, if there is one thing in magic I hold over you, dear Twilight, is I’m a bit more dexterous about it. Perhaps you should start taking a few lessons from me.” She added coyly, a bit of laughter in her voice as Twilight matched it with a grin. Heading out the door, Twilight found herself alone with Fluttershy, a development she didn’t exactly see coming. She could hear the Doctor conversing quickly with Rarity, and two took off to find the dragon together, figuring if he came back to the tent the others would hold him there.
“Well, today’s the big day, huh?” She asked, trying to get some discussion going. She didn’t know much in pre-wedding situations, to be certain, but she had some idea.
“Oh yes, I’m so excited. And. Nervous. Like my cutie mark is going crazy in my stomach.” Shrinking down, she gave Twilight a smile. It was a lot more settling than Applejack’s earlier display, and the purple mare smiled.
Looking about, Twilight noted quickly that there was someone missing from the tent that she hadn’t seen yet. “Hey Fluttershy, if you don’t mind me asking... Where’s your mom?”
The pegasus smiled softly, shaking her mane. “Oh, she’s on her way. She’s very busy and, um, she’s important in Cloudsdale.” She nodded, before looking over at Twilight. “Oh, but don’t worry, she’ll be here in time. Papa, too.” She added. Relief flooded over the unicorn as she had realized she never much asked about the parents of her friends - Rarity’s lived in Manehatten, and Applejack’s... well, they always said they were far off. Probably for Applebloom’s sake. “Um, Twilight?”
Snapped out of her revelry, the unicorn looked up at the pegasus before her. “Yes?”
“Um, I wanted you to know, that, um. Well, there’s somepony who’s part of the wedding party, she’s someone we’ve met before but, she looks different.” She said.
“What’s her name?”
“Sunny.” She murmured. Twilight’s eyes bulged a moment before regaining her composure. “Sunny? As in... well okay then. I didn’t think you’d be so bold-”
Fluttershy smiled, actually giggling a little bit as well. “Well, she’s been so friendly to us before, and I needed one more bridlesmaid to even them out since Big MacIntosh is the best man and Applejack wanted you and Pinkie on her side.”
“I’m surprised she didn’t want Dash, really.” Twilight mentioned idly, a small smile on her lips.
Fluttershy smiled sheepishly. “Oh, well, she did, but um, I wanted her on mine first.” Twilight paused, but nodded in retrospect. The two pegasi did know each other for a long time, all the way back in Cloudsdale, even. In fact, the nature of how they came to Ponyville was something Twilight never thought to ask, but it did interest her. “So, um, if you could find Sunny for me, I’d feel a lot better.”
Twilight nodded, a large smile on her face. “It’s no problem at all, Fluttershy. I’m on it on the double.” Lifting a hoof up, Twilight paused and hesitated, leaning back. “As soon as somepony else comes. I don’t feel right leave the bride-to-be alone in her tent.” She smirked, jostling her body around a bit in the tuxedo.
Twilight talked with Fluttershy for a little while, before Rarity returned with a rather unkempt Spike. Between the two of them, though, they cleaned and pressed the Dragon with a little magical prodding, and he was good as new. As soon as they had, Whoof had entered with Angel in tow, Rainbow Dash carrying the bunny in her hooves as she placed the rebellious rabbit down. Twilight took off with Whoof shortly thereafter to search for the enigmatic Sunny to complete the wedding party.
The final preparations complete, Mayor Mare entered the tent, having already visited with Applejack shortly after Twilight had left her tent. She would be presiding over the ceremony, and asked for the ponies not in the wedding party, which happened to just be Whoof, out of the tent as they rehearsed the wedding. As they discussed, however, it became apparent that they had overlooked a part in the wedding, and he was soon brought in as an usher for the matrons of both parties.
It had gone without a hitch, the initial ceremonies. Twilight had paired with Dash down the aisle, and Rarity with Big MacIntosh, the sight of which caused a few murmurs in the crowd. Pinkie ended up walking down with another pony who had a light pink hue on her coat, and a matching pink mane to boot. There was some discussion if this pony was a sister to Pinkie, being of like coloration, but those who knew the Pie’s knew better. A friend of Fluttershy’s from Cloudsdale, the others imagined, taking note of the pony’s wings that adorned her sides.
Still, many ponies didn’t pay her as much mind as she might of normally gathered, as in attendance toward the back of the aisle was a familiar regal pony. Dark blue in color and with hair that shone with the paleness of the moon, Luna had come down from Canterlot to view the wedding herself. What most ponies couldn’t take account for was her amused smile as the wedding party was assembled at the alter.
Spike walked along with a mature mare, her coat a deep yellow, her hair a streaming magenta that flowed much like her daughter’s mane. Leading the mother of the bride to her seat, it didn’t surprise many to see Whoof help out at the last minute to lead Granny Smith to her seat on the ‘groom’s side’. Looking about, the good Doctor found himself in the awkward position of standing in front of everypony with nowhere to sit himself, but Granny motioned for him to sit next to her, which he gleefully accepted if only to make it look intentional. Behind him Spike walked down the aisle near Applebloom, holding a pillow where the two golden loops rested, freed from the bunny’s ears. The flower filly beside him was swaying her head, letting small blue and red rose petals tumble out of the basket she held around her neck. Spike helped grab a few and loosened them from the sides of the basket, allowing all of the petals to be spread along the ground. He smirked as he felt a small magical resistance to them, noting that their colors had been changed via a spell. He gathered that Twilight and Rarity had worked on them moments before the ceremony began. The dragon looked toward his companion, noting that Applebloom couldn’t look any happier as she did right then, making a mark at the wedding herself, although sadly not earning one on her flank.
Vinyl Scratch, talented musician and DJ for the reception, gestured to her friend Octavia, motioning her to start playing with her group of more classical talents. And thus the wedding march started, and all eyes turned to the back of the aisle.
In most circumstances the pony involved under so much attention would of cowered, ran, or fidgeted all the way down the aisle, but right now she held such beauty and grace, not even the slightest movement betrayed her. She stood in her long, flowing wedding dress. Traditionally white, it was adorned with flashes of color, an obvious Rarity original, it made Fluttershy be seen by anyone in the crowd. Her flowing pink mane had been shortened by the white unicorn, clearing her face to the eyes of the crowd, but mostly to Applejack who stood proudly at the other end. Her tail was stylized, a bit more wave to it than normal. Her bangs, too, had been shortened, barely the length of Rainbow’s hair, parted neatly to one side. Her brilliant sapphire eyes shown as she came into view, catching sight of the Earth pony who awaited her on the other side.
Along with her was a large stallion that in his heyday would of given Big MacIntosh a run for his money. His pale blue hair screamed of an age gone by, but his gaunt face and powerful frame let everypony know he was still in it for awhile. His white coat couldn’t be seen much under his black tuxedo, and he stood in front of everypony as he stoically gave his daughter away as Mayor Mare asked, a gleeful tear running down the face of his daughter as she turned and nuzzled her father, his tough face breaking as he smiled warmly, brushing her mane from her eyes. “Let Daddy see those sparklinh eyes one more time.” He said, before gesturing her to go to the pony who awaited her at the alter. “Go on, Fluttershy. Be with her.” Breathing deeply, the mare broke from her father one last time, and headed up next to Applejack. The large stallion moved toward his wife and sat next to her in the grass, his smile holding back the tears that threatened to fall. The mare next to him leaned against him, breathing rhythmically as she watched her daughter in the dancing petals.
“If there is anypony who feels the union between these two loving ponies should be quelled, speak now, or forever hold your peace.” Mayor Mare mentioned. All part of the routine, for her. There was a shuffling among the crowd of ponies, and Applejack felt her heart shoot up into her throat. She waited for it, those prim and proper city ponies that she called her kin. Any second now they would speak up, cause a scene, and ruin her day. She scanned the crowd, looking for them. But something else caught her eye. A pink strand of hair to the corner of her vision, catching her attention. Looking over, those deep aqua blue eyes staring deep into her emerald orbs. Her features softened. Nuzzling her love gently, Applejack felt her nerves calm, and the anxiety melt away as she found herself no longer caring about the neigh-sayers. The only thing important to her, right now and right there, was the pegasus in front of her.
“Ah love you, Fluttershy.” She spoke softly.
Silence reigned over the crowd, Big Mac holding an uncharacteristic smirk on his features as his eyes locked onto the Manehatten ponies who spoke so little of Applejack’s love. He had had words with them, and it was interesting on how such proper and so called powerful ponies could be quelled so easily with a few words. The order of the ceremony continued without hiccup, no one speaking out against their love. A couple of ponies in the audience were a bit noisy for it, a pastel green one with her mate, a dual-colored mane tan-coated mare. They were playfully shushed by some other ponies, who couldn’t help but smile at the two.
“It’s simply dreadful.” Mister Orange muttered darkly. “Our Applejack, sweet little Applejack... A filly fooler. This simpleton town mustn’t have had the stock to produce a man enough for her.” He harrumphed clearly, taking no mind of the ponies around him.
“Yes, simple to gather why she would go for a mare, seeing that all the men here are... rubes to the rubes.” Misses Orange seethed out, turning to an ensemble of their friends they had brought along - without invitation or prior notice, to boot. They chuckled and laughed ‘politely’ at her joke, taking great pride in her words.
“Ahem.” A voice called from behind. The group turned to find one Big MacIntosh standing behind them, a smaller but formidable caramel colored pony alongside him. “Now, I won’t say anything against you city dwellers, ‘cause I’m not that kinda pony.”
“MacIntosh, really.” Ms. Orange drawled, earning a few chuckles from her entourage. However, a quick stare from the muscular red stallion ended their pips and squeaks quickly. Yet the Oranges weren’t through. “We already had our discussion earlier, and as I recall you didn’t say anything there, so why come to us now? Because you don’t have the entire Apple Family there to stare you down, you big lummox?”
Caramel stepped forward, but Mac shook his head gently. “I didn’t find proper form to speak down a family member in front of kin like that.” He said simply. Ms. Orange didn’t look too pleased, but he continued. “Now, as I saw it, you were just runnin’ some hot air ‘cause you gone and missed your chance with AJ a long time ago. I don’t see any foals running around you now, either.” He added. Caramel chuckled slightly, which the red colt appreciated.
“Ugh, foals are so loud, MacIntosh, hardly worth the time and energy dealing with them at such a young age. Applejack was just past our point of contention, not that I think you know what that word means, simple Mac.” Mr. Orange muttered, earning a chortle from some of the men in the group.
“I don’t think you even know what that means, Mr. Orange.” Caramel rolled his eyes, unimpressed with the pomp and ‘proper’ ponies. Big Mac chuckled, shaking his large frame.
“See, I’m not here to cause any trouble with you. You’re still kin, and I have to respect that.” Big Mac paused, leaning close toward his aunt and uncle. “But what you did at the Apple Family meetin’. Well, that wasn’t respectful a‘tall.” His eyes squinted slightly, causing a visible shudder to go down Mister Oranges spine. “I woulda simply let it go, bein’ the simple pony that I am. But then I found out your words hurt AJ.” He snorted, and steam emanated from his nostrils. “And no one hurts mah sister, understand?” Leaning up, his towering figure seemed infinitely taller than before, and various ponies in the Orange entourage started to falter and move away, no longer wishing to be associated with the two posh ponies.
“B-b-but she’s-” Mr. Orange stammared. Big Mac’s eyes became hard as he stared down his uncle.
“I said. You understand?” The Oranges nodded their heads. “Good. Now, you’re gonna attend that weddin’. The weddin’ of yer niece.” His eyes turned sharply toward Ms. Orange. “Your sister’s daughter.” He seethed the last bit out. “And yer gonna be on your best behavior. And you know what, you’re gonna give them a right good gift, too. I know that they don’t have the money for much of a honeymoon - and you’re such a rich aunt and uncle. I’m sure you can think of somethin’. Somethin’ real respectful.”
Big Mac sniffed slightly, listening to the vows from both mares. His sister’s words were short, but powerful, and Fluttershy’s were full of feeling, straight from her heart. In front of a crowd so large, many of them strangers hailing from the Apple family, he knew whatever the pegasus felt for his sister was purer than newfoals laugh. And that was all he could ever want for his sister.
A breeze picked up, sending the petals from the apple trees over the congregation and the alter, where Pinkie and Dash simultaneously snapped up a couple petals as they flew by, much to the delight of all those who caught the act, their friends included. Even Applebloom tried to catch a few, but failed, stamping her hoof lightly in reaction to her lack of skill in catching flying snacks. It was picturesque, the light smell of sweet apples covering the orchards, the high afternoon sun sparkling overhead, giving it’s blessing as the moon’s ambassador stood in the back, giving hers.
“I now pronounce you...um. Oh dear. Umm.” Mayor Mare stumbled. In all her preparation, she had forgotten to word the end a bit better in this new scenario for Ponyville. Both ponies in the middle of their pronouncement found some humor in it, but to be held up on such a triviality was a little annoying for all involved.
“Mare and wife, Ma’am.” The light pink pony offered, giving the Mayor a knowing look as she nodded.
Nodding quickly, she smiled and continued. “I pronounce you ‘Mare and Wife’. You may now kiss the, uh, kiss each other.” Stumbling again, Applejack chuckled a little as she turned to her mate. Her wife. Her... everything, now. Fluttershy returned the look in kind, nuzzling her companion a moment before breathing in deeply.
They leaned close, touching gently. The pegasus closed her eyes, letting the Earth pony guide her in. Their lips touched gracefully, locking together in a loving embrace, much to the ‘aws’ and ‘D’aws’ of the crowd, and the very energetic clapping of one energetic pink pony. Twilight was clapping her hooves together as well, standing on two hind legs a spell before landing on her feet again. Rarity was bawling, tears absolutely ruining her mascara as she cried in what everypony wasn’t quite sure was joy, but it was rather entertaining. Rainbow whooped and cheered, her forehoof pumping the sky as she cheered her friends on. Parting, both ponies blushed profusely as the crowd of ponies that had gathered cheered and applauded, the thundering of their hooves causing the the remaining petals on the trees to loosen and trickle into the air, covering the entire area in beautiful leaves and streaks of pink and white. In response to Dash and Pinkie, plenty of ponies snatched up the blossoms as they floated by, taking the taste of light apples with them as the two mares bowed slightly.
“I now pronounce you, Misses and... Misses Applejack.” Mayor Mare finished, having decided that since Applejack was in the tux, she’d be the name delivered. Sighing from the load off her mind, Ponyville’s first same-sex wedding came to a close, both ponies practically galloping past the thundering crowds which blessed them with cheers and calls. Tears of happiness streamed from both of them, Fluttershy’s wings outstretched and giving a light flap at every gallop, carrying her alongside her wife.
Looking on, Twilight smiled warmly as the two disappeared into the crowd of ponies, finding herself uncaring that the normal organization that went with weddings was being generally forgotten. The friends in the wedding party chatted as the crowds in the aisle, flanked by two tents, filtered out. Mischievous fillies and colts walked around the sides and out the front near the alter, finding it a much faster way out of the large amounts of ponies. Approaching the light pink pony, Twilight smiled coyly. “Well, I’m glad you could make it out here.”
The light pink pony smiled and nodded. “It’s not often a pony actually asks me to be in her wedding, Twilight. And your friends are very dear to me and my sister.” Looking about, she giggled slightly. “Not to mention it’s nice to be in front of everypony and not be the center of attention.” Twilight nodded as well, sighing contentedly.
“Well, ‘Sunny’, would you like to join Whoof and I in some cake and discussion before you and Luna have to go?” She asked, offering the mare some additional time away from her duties.
“It’d be my honor, Twilight.” Sunny smiled, the group of friends moving out and around the tents, avoiding the crowds - much like the mischievous foals. They laughed and joked as they found their table, meeting up with Luna along the way. Applejack and Fluttershy joined them, the party continuing a short time before the two wedded ponies decided they had some things to do before they were off for their honeymoon.
“It’s tha strangest thing. One moment mah Aunt ‘n Uncle are against us, and the next they’re offerin’ us their home fer the week in Manehatten.” Applejack laughed, a tear holding firm behind her eye.
“We really didn’t have anything planned for afterwards, this all happened so quickly.” Fluttershy added. “It’s really kind of them to offer something so selflessly.”
The big red pony who had accompanied them thus far chuckled slightly. Applejack raised an eyebrow, as if asking him what was so funny. “Well, the Oranges are rather rich ponies, they probably thought it was a good idea to go on some cruise or somethin’. A right good idea.” Big Mac finished, winking slightly toward his sister. She gave him a knowing smile before pushing against his shoulder playfully.
Applebloom spoke with ‘Sunny’ for quite some time after that, as Spike, Luna, and Doctor Whoof discussed things over a bottle of strawberry cordial. Twilight and Rarity stuck with the couple for as long as possible before they took off, leaving them to head to the table with the other three. Pinkie was all over the reception, something seemed to set her off into some mission, the Wonderbolt of the group honestly trying to keep up with her. Between giggles and laughter, Twilight noticed the light pink Pony appear at her side with a small smile on her features. “So what has you so happy?”
‘Sunny’ gave a light smile, gesturing dismissively, but her eyes held a more mischievous intent. “Left the little Apple child a moment to speak with her sister...s.” She hesitated before adding the second ‘s’, putting in the fact that Fluttershy was now legally Applebloom’s sister. “Just a quick parting gift for the wedded couple, when they’re ready.”
Twilight raised an eyebrow, looking toward the disappearing figures of the Earth pony and pegasus. “A gift from the Princess? And what would that be?” She asked, legitimately curious. The playful smile never left the ponies lips, causing a mirthful giggle to erupt from the studious unicorn.
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find out someday, my faithful student.” Celestia informed, taking a sip of the cordial that Spike had poured for her. “Someday soon, maybe.” The high afternoon sun radiated off the light pink pony, as she returned to conversation with the rest of the wedding table, enjoying cake, laughter, and friends. Twilight made a quick mental note that today, she needn’t write a letter to the princess, instead she would share a laugh in honor of her happy friends, those who would go on and reach the highest magics of friendship.
Call Him in the Morning
Two pastel ponies trotted along the path to the library, chatting amiably as the life of Ponyville came into focus. The blue sky was tinted slightly in the late afternoon sun, and the wafting sugar-sweet smell of Sugar Cube Corner filled the air as the two mares, Applejack and Fluttershy, enjoyed themselves with talk of work, life, and the various antics of little fillies. “An' the bigger ones tha' act like 'em!” Applejack laughed slightly, watching the sky for a certain rainbow pegasus. “Ah swear, paintin' apples is one thang, but tryin' ta mess with mah pappy's hat...”
Fluttershy giggled slightly, turning her head as she got a better look at the accompanying mare. “But I'm sure even he dreamed of flight sometimes.” She defended the other pegasus, causing the Earth Pony to cast an indifferent gaze. Pressing, the yellow coated pony nuzzled her love gently. “And now he got to, if only for a short time. But if she crossed a line, I'm sure she'll apologize, um. Sometime.” She added meekly. In truth, when Fluttershy pursued the pony and explained to the other pegasus why taking the hat was wrong, Rainbow Dash had immediately gave the hat back, apologizing. However, she begged Fluttershy not to tell Applejack before she could. Applejack softened her expression, putting a hoof to her hat.
“Don't you worry about it none, Fluttershy. Not many ponies know how special it is tah me. Rainbow especially.” Applejack calmed down a bit, letting go of the last vestiges of indignation she felt for the cyan pony. Fluttershy gave a pained smile, not wanting to betray Dash's wishes. “So what do ya suppose Twi has us comin' to the Library fo', anyway?”
Shaking her mane, Fluttershy simply didn't know. She wasn't a pony to venture a guess on unbased assumptions. The discussion trailing off, she started to take in the late afternoon activities of other ponies. She could even see Pinkie Pie putting away the outside stand for Sugar-Cube Corner, dancing about and quite possibly singing a little ditty she made on the spot. Snips and Snails were talking about Celestia knows what to little Dinky, but she seemed to be responding well to it. A gentle breeze flowed through town, brushing Fluttershy's mane aside. It was a wonderfully warm wind that offset the slight cool air that had been descending around them. Breathing it in deeply, the pink maned pegasus looked to Applejack, leaning slightly upon her. “Whatever it is, I think....”A long pause. “I think it'll be good. She didn't sound too urgent in her letter.”
Applejack smiled, nodding. The two ponies continued their way, listening to the sounds of Ponyville. As the library came into sight, Applejack paused, feeling a second weight on her other side. Closing her eyes, she sighed, shuddering her flank a bit to remove it. “Pinkie Pie. Leanin' privileges extend only to members of tha Apple Family.” Turning her head, the hyperactive pink pony smiled hugely as she removed her head from Applejack's broadside. Fluttershy did the same, looking over Applejack's mane to see the bouncing hair of Pinkie move energetically in place.
“Hi girls! I saw you walking by and then I remembered that I got a letter from Twilight, except I really didn’t forget but I was going to wait a little bit longer to finish working, but then there you two were and I was like HAAAAAAAAUUUUUHHHH,” The sudden intake in breath spooked the pegasus, but she kept herself firm and on the ground. Pinkie's almost permanent smile shifted from the two ponies before pointing toward the Library. “So I finished up super-quick! Super-duper quick! And then I caught up and I was all 'Awwwww' when I saw you two and I wanted to lean against you too because it was so cute. But then you said it was Apple Family only and since I'm not part of it, at least I don't think I am. Oh, could you imagine if I was?!”
“Ah fear it everyday.” Fluttershy laughed despite herself, before covering her mouth for a bit. Pinkie laughed more explosively at Applejack's deadpan delivery, causing the only sane Earth Pony to take small pride in her humor. “So Pinkie Pie, you got a letter from Twi, too, huh?” Looking toward the sky, Applejack's eyes scanned the skies for Rainbow Dash, expecting that all of them had been called by this point.
“Yep! Rarity too! She was with me when Derpy delivered our letters.” Pinkie mentioned, putting a hoof to her chin. Somehow, she continued her forward momentum despite the loss of one of her hooves to thought, something which the other ponies had ceased to question. Applejack stopped and reached a hoof out, rapping at the door as she looked to the other two ponies. “So why does Fluttershy get to lean on you? She's not Apple family.”
Applejack sighed, shaking her mane. “Well she's close enough!” Exasperated, she didn't notice the smile that had appeared on the yellow mare's face. Fluttershy turned slightly to look at Pinkie, who was ready to meet her gaze with a crafty smile, her tongue hanging out of her mouth playfully. She couldn't help but giggle, which caused the Earth Pony to look about her. “What? What're you two fillies sayin' behind mah back?” In all her mock threatening, she missed the door opening, revealing a white unicorn standing inside the Library.
“Applejack, really. If you are going to knock please have the decency to face the door. I, unlike someponies, take no pleasure in being greeted with your flank.” Rarity chided, a mischievous smile on her face. Not always known as a joker, the quip caught Applejack completely off-guard, and Fluttershy had to hang unto Pinkie Pie to keep her face from exploding into laughter and embarrassment. The pink pony simply looked proud, as if surveying a new protege.
“H-Hey now! I-I-It wasn't mah fault!” The hardworking mare had trouble defending herself. Taking in the moment, Rarity breathed deep, stepping aside to let the others in.
“Applejack, it was a joke. You simply mustn't be so easy to haze so even I can...” Rarity turned her head over to Pinkie Pie, who was currently looking around, a puzzled expression hanging on her face. “'Pull a fast one' on you. Pinkie Pie, this isn't a party, darling. There aren't any drinks or sarsaparilla.” Trotting over her friend, she noticed the downtrodden Earth Pony and shook her mane. “Ahem. However, I'm sure if we ask Twilight nicely, she can cook something up last minute, even if it might be a bit... small. I mean, we are all together.”
Looking about, Fluttershy took note of a couple missing factors. “Um. Where is Twilight? And...” Looking straight up, she scanned the ceiling space for the weather pony, but to no avail. “I don't see Rainbow Dash.”
“Hardly everypony, then.” Applejack huffed, bringing her attention back to Rarity. “Well, you let us in. Where is Twilight anyhow?”
“Oh, I'm sure she's in her bedroom, talking to Whoof and creating MASSIVE experiments! Like, maybe they're making Spike into a GIANT DRAGON, or maybe purple!” Pinkie hopped about, thinking heavily on just what the two intellectual ponies could possibly be doing alone in the bedroom.
“Darlin', Spike already is purple.” Applejack stuck a hoof out as Pinkie collided with it across her chest. “An' Ah don't think they're into experimentin' on livin' things.” Putting a finality on her opinion, she added, “'Least of all, Spike.”
“Somebody call?” Opening the upstairs door, the purple dragon appeared, followed closely behind by a brown Earth pony, an hourglass adorning his flank. Looking down below, he saw the one pony, the one brilliant, beautiful, perfect unicorn Rarity - and the other three. “Oh, uh. Hey guys. Twi's gonna be with you all in a sec'. Me 'n Whoof here are gonna go get a bite to eat.”
Applejack raised an eyebrow at the two. “Oh, and what an' where to?”
“If – you don't mind us asking.” Rarity cut in, tittering at the orange mare. What she got in return was a low bleat and an eyeroll, landing on Fluttershy who simply smiled at her companion.
“Quite alright, really.” The Doctor mentioned, trotting contentedly down the stairs. “I believe I owe Spike a dinner for an ill-placed bet.”
“Yeah, Doc here didn't even consider the idea of distortions in time and space being able to be manipulated by magic and technology.” Spike sneered, as if he knew the words that were coming out of his own mouth.
Laughing, the Doctor turned to look at the group. “It's an interesting concept, really. Right now I'm referring to such an object capable of that ability as a DTS – that is, Dimensions in Time and Space. However, I believe that's a bit off, as there are still many variables to be found.”
“Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.” Pinkie's mouth ran, her nose literally crammed in a nearby book. The Doctor looked blankly on as the mare giggled a bit. His eyes clouded over a moment as Pinkie continued. “Then you'd have a T-R-D-S. 'Terds'!” She yelped suddenly, feeling a hoof against her flank, deftly delivered by the other Earth Pony. “Owie, why'd you do that, Applejack?”
“'Cause you're letting yer mouth run without you on board.” The orange mare chuckled regardless, keeping her head facing Doctor Whoof and Spike, the latter of which had clambered onto the former's back. “Well, Ah ain't gonna act like Ah know what y'all are sayin', but Ah know we're holdin' you up. An' Spike gets grouchy when he's hungry.”
“I do not!” Spike shouted, raising a fist at Applejack's comment. The jolt brought the stallion he sat upon back to reality, causing him to distressingly look about, as if fearing an impending fight. The mare simply laughed it off, pushing Spike’s claw back with her front hoof. “What a ridiculous claim. I’m perfectly fine - I don’t get grouchy.”
“That you don't, Spike.” The Doctor chimed in, ending their tirade. Clearing his throat, he counted the ponies. “Well, anyway, Twilight will be out soon, although I don't think she'd mind...” Trailing, he looked about the room. “Say, isn't there supposed to be one more of you? Let's see... Fluttershy... Rarity... Applejack, of course, Pinkie Pie... Ah! Ponyville's famous weather pony, where is our Rainbow Dash?” Looking about, all he was met with were shrugs and shaking heads. “That so? Well, our new Wonderbolt is obviously quite busy, so of course she’d be excused for being a little late-”
“A Wonderbolt is known for it's speed, Egghead!” Coming in in a burst of wind, the cyan mare trotted about on the upper floor, having flown in from the balcony. Goggles adorned on her visage, the rainbow-maned pegasus smirked at the ponies below, one of which was clapping her hooves together happily. “I’m never late!”
“Whoo! Rainbow Dash!” Pinkie cheered her friend, as if she was in attendance of a celebrity. Turning her head away from the others to hide a threatening red blush on her cheeks, the pegasus acted as if she could find Twilight by looking about where she came in.
“So Egghead two, where's Egghead one?” Rainbow called from the upper floor, still hiding her face from her friends below. Applejack took it upon herself to trot up the stairs, whereas Fluttershy and Rarity decided to catch up in the downtime.
“Apt...” Whoof trailed, before shaking his mane. “Well, now that you girls are all together, I believe it's best Spike and I are off. Twilight's in her room cleaning up a bit, she'll be out momentarily. She asked that we vacate the premises before hand.”
“Heh, yeah. Don't wanna be here when all the huggin' and stuff happens.” Spike pointed at his tongue in disgust, obviously not pleased with whatever sort of reaction the news Twilight was going to break to the group would bring. However, a quick buck from Whoof quieted the dragon. “Oh, right, the saps don't know yet. Eh, whatever.” Shrugging, the dragon kicked his feet softly against the Doctor's flank, egging him on to leave. The other girls which had caught on by this point started to move in.
“Right, right, we're off then.” Sweating bullets, the good doctor made for the door, barely making it past Rarity as she slammed the door behind him by accident. The sound of a gallop could be heard as Spike's laughter coincided with it perfectly as they rode out toward the sunset. Rarity frowned and shook her mane, decidedly livid that she had reacted too slow to stop the gossipers from spilling everything.
“What do you think he meant by that? Do you think Twilight's news is... bad?” Fluttershy breathed, tapping the ground uneasily. Applejack's attuned senses wheeled her about at the sound of the soft spoken pegasus, having missed Spike's faux pas.
“What's wrong, sugarcube?” Raising her voice slightly to clear it over the others, the attention it brought caused the door to be opened behind her, revealing a very tired looking unicorn. Looking back, Applejack looked her friend over a moment before smirking. “Well Ah'll be, Ah ‘spect that professor's gone and worked you to the bone there, Twilight.”
The purple unicorn gestured something between a wave and a dismissal as she strode into the room. She took quick stock of her guests and smiled. “Hello everypony. Nice to see you all again-” She got cut off by a yawn as she rubbed her eyes with a free hoof. “Oooof, sorry. Nice to see you all.” The other girls started to make their way to her, Pinkie Pie having somehow already accomplished such when nopony was looking.
“Oh, Twilight, you look dreadful!” The white unicorn looked her friend over, tittering over her. “You must get some rest soon. That stallion must be working you so hard.” Rarity dismissed the colt quickly as she set to work moving the other unicorn against her will toward her couch. “Please, darling, at least take a seat.” Less a please than an instruction, the purple mare was too tired to refuse the gesture, and lacked the ability to stop her friend.
“Aww, I think Twilight's too tired to have a party!” Giggling, Pinkie accepted this as a good enough reason to postpone any sort of party she may have been gearing up in her head. Sipping absentmindedly on some nearby drink, Applejack was trying to contemplate where Pinkie came across it.
“So, um, we got letters from you, Twilight...” Fluttershy began, causing the unicorn to lift her head towards her. “I was hoping it wasn't, um... Bad.” The pegasus' wings folded in tight along her side, prompting Applejack to move over to her and rest her head against the pony, calming her.
Smiling at the two, Twilight shook her head. “No, it's not bad at all, really.” Intention confirmed, the ponies in attendance breathed a collective sigh of relief. The purple mare shook her mane incredulously. “Really, girls, if it was bad news do you think I would of sent a letter through the mail?”
Rainbow Dash shrugged. “Well, sometimes you can't catch me, being up in the air and all, so you could of sent Derpy after me with a letter.” Defending the prospect seemed important, but Twilight gave it little thought.
“Dash, you may go a mile a minute, but I know you always come back.” She smiled. Turning her head, she missed the ferocious blush which crawled over the cyan mare's visage as she suddenly found the window being of the utmost fascination. “Sorry for making you girls wait, though. We were on a roll and we just had a bit of a breakthrough-”
“Oh, think nothing of it, Twilight. We know how important your studies are.” Rarity put a hoof on Twilight's shoulder, smiling and patting her friend's back. “What's a minute or two of waiting when we've got each other to talk to in the meantime.” She mentioned, gesturing to the other girls, who nodded in agreement. The group mingled for a little while, letting each other in on their days, and praising Rainbow's admission into the Wonderbolts which had happened only a month prior. “And let me say, darling, I'm always happy to give your mane and coat a quick brush up if you need to be spic and span for a show.”
Rainbow hesitated before finally nodding, trying not to mind that her tough-guy attitude was being threatened again in front of the others. “Really guys, it happened a month ago, and uh – Hey, weren't we here to listen to Twilight anyway?” Deflecting questions was a bit of a specialty she was developing, but Rarity let it drop as she was quite interested in having to hear what the other unicorn had called them for.
“Hm...? Oh, right! My letters!” Twilight pushed a hoof into the couch, bringing herself up a full head above the others. Looking about, it took a moment for the tired mare to realize she didn't actually have to reach for anything, and she laid back on her haunches again. “I just wanted to let you all know... I'm dating somepony again.” She murmured, her purple cheeks turning pink.
The reaction was instant and explosive. Pinkie and Rarity tied for loudest shriek, both of them fawning over the unicorn – for different reasons, of course. Applejack chuckled deeply as she patted the unicorn on the back. Rarity was prodding on just who the lucky pony was – taking great care not to assign a gender role, 'lest she end up with hoof in mouth disease. Pinkie’s idea for parties began anew, as Twilight couldn’t even begin to cut through their chattering.
Fluttershy made the first coherent messages clear. “Oh that's wonderful, Twilight.” She graced, brushing her hair to the side. Her azure eyes pierced through the crowd of ponies, locking eyes with the unicorn and catching her undivided attention. “Is it the Doctor?” It was a simple question, but blunt. Just like the unicorn's own tact, she responded in kind.
“Yes. Yes it is.” Closing her eyes, she allowed her friends time to digest the new information. It wasn't surprising to them, really. “He and I just sort of... click, I guess. It's nice to have somepony who I can talk to so candidly.” She spoke of their shared intelligence, and of their similar upbringing in Canterlot and attending the university there. Twilight sighed, nodding her head. “Plus I can tell he really needed someone. So I extended my friendship, and got back more than I bargained for.” She smiled, staring off as if in a dream.
“Aww, that's super-duper sweet!” Pinkie bounced from one end of the couch to the other in one solid motion, peering out a window to see if she could see the escaping Earth pony. She couldn’t of course, but she still made as if she could. Winking slightly, she leaned close at her own reflection. “Plus he totally has a nice flank.”
“PINKIE!” Twilight shouted, in unison with Applejack and Rarity. There was a long pause, before Pinkie looked back with a huge smile on her face.
“Well he does.”
The ponies couldn't help but laugh, Pinkie Pie spreading her element around gleefully. Even Fluttershy was giggling uncontrollably, causing a few hiccups to cut in the laughter. The high pitched squeaks were harmlessly embarrassing, and the group couldn't help but laugh harder, until streams of tears were pouring out almost all ponies present.
“So you're Twi's boyfriend now. Huh.” Spike mentioned idly, playing with a emerald, passing it around in his hands. Whoof broke the news at the table among a couple of other colts who they had run into at the restaurant. Spike knew, but he had barely given the concept thought. “Guess I'll be seeing you around the old library a lot more.” Leaning back in his chair, the dragon found that the high chair – while demoralizing - was quite comfortable with the additions of arm rests at the sides - perfect for sitting up a filly, or housing a baby dragon.
Caramel laughed a bit. “Well, Whoof here can never seem to pry himself from there ever since that librarian invited him in. If you see any more of him, he might as well live there!” He chuckled, taking a bite of his orange and apple salad. The multitude of colors in the dish made it look like a bowl of shining gemstones in the low-light atmosphere, and Spike had twice found himself snacking on an apple on accident. Not that he minded. He was an omnivore, after all.
“Well enough with the joking, please. I'm sure I'll be there just as much as I normally am. Just under newer pretenses.” Whoof strangled out, trying to hide the red that had been glued on his features since he told everyone. “It's quite a trip, being with another pony, I have to say.”
Spike snorted. “I'll say. Do you know how this guy asked Twilight out?” He slammed the table to get the party riled up, and the dragon scanned their faces. Caramel seemed quite interested, and Whoof liked death himself was on Spike's features. Butterscotch, Caramel's twin sister, seemed passingly interested, and was more keen on watching the bar for potential fun. Filling out the ranks of their table was one blue stallion with an adapt name – Blues. Blues was leaning back, fiddling with an unwieldy instrument. “He tripped.” Spike finished, a victorious grin on his face.
“You tripped?” Butterscotch echoed, looking back toward the men at the table. “Like, stumbling hooves and everything?” Doctor Whoof shrunk in his seat, trying desperately to disappear completely from the conversation.
“Right into her. BANG!” Chuckling like a fool, Spike turned to see the Doctor giving him a pleading look. Relenting, Spike fell back into his chair, as if the story bored him suddenly. “Kissed her right then and there. Should of seen the look on his face when she kissed back. Apparently she'd been reading about how to.” His own face reddened as Spike recalled the memory visually, trying to erase it from his mind.
“She could have been practicing with that rainbow pony – what's her face-” Butterscotch drummed on the table with her hooves, her tongue sticking out and up.
“Rainbow Dash? I dunno, they only went out on one date.” Spike mentioned, shrugging. “Don't even think they kissed.”
Caramel laughed aloud, nudging the pony next to him. “There you go, Doc, you're already one step ahead of the Ex!” Whoof chuckled nervously, shrugging slightly at his friends. Blue peered over with a simple expression, and nodded in approval toward his friend. “Hey 'Scotch. What about Dash, she’s available!”
“Oh-ha-ha, bro.” Butterscotch clocked her brother's side with an open hoof, turning over to Blues and Spike. “So how're you two's love lives treaten' you? You get that unicorn yet, Spike?”
Huffing, Spike crossed his arms. “Pheh, no. I tried a suit and a mustache and a beard and Luna knows what else. I can't seem to get my mind around it. What am I missing.” Leaning forward, he drummed his claws on the surface, leaning his head on his free hand. Butterscotch stifled a giggle before turning to Blues.
Catching Butterscotch’s stare, Blues sighed. “Bah, can't get 'er to look'it me.” Blues mentioned, rolling a hoof through the air dismissively. “Figure she thinks I'm too artsy for her tastes.” Bringing the instrument up to his lips, Blues belted out a few chords as Butterscotch hummed in harmony with the tune, laughing slightly as Caramel ordered another round for the table – taking pains to make sure the dragon didn't get any.
“I already told you, man, Dragon's aren't affected by alcohol.” Spike defended, watching the pony behind the counter get to work. The others always got drinks, and here he was with... well, gemstones. Taking a turquoise, he found himself no longer minding.
“Oh, I know little dragon. But I also know it's highly flammable, and it's highly gaseous. Right Doc?” Caramel mustered, prodding the Doctor.
Whoof looked up sharply a bit, looking left and right quickly. Spike tapped his shoulder, getting his attention, before flicking the colt's snout quickly. “Yowch, what was... Oh hey Spike.” He murmured, before taking stock. “Right. What was that, again?”
“Nothing, Doc. Caramel just doesn't want me burping flames.” Spike informed bitterly, having taken quite a shine to the idea. “Speaking of which – ever seen a dragon sneeze?”
“Yes. That's how Celestia got her hooves on some of my more important research. Never expected to see those again.” The Doctor rolled his eyes, looking about the table as the conversation was dying down.
“Hey, it put in a good word for you at Canterlot U, didn't it?” Spike cheered, rubbing his claws against his chest. “If anything, a good word from the Princess has to be the best kind of words.”
The brown Earth pony chuckled, turning to his friends. The lot over at Canterlot University were a bit tougher crowd than that, to be won over by simple words from the princess. Taking in the musty odor of the bar, he hadn't noticed Blues had left the table until he had made it up on stage and was playing with the band. One extremely garish cowboy tuned his guitar slightly before grabbing the mic. Whoof leaned back, content with the direction his life had been taking in recent months. The Dragon to his right drummed his palm on the table, intent on listening to the song. It was going to be an interesting future, as well, it seemed.
“Alright, let's get this rollin'.” The singer started, his voice low and gravelly. “We're gonna start with a song a little pink pony taught me, about Friendship. Hit it.” The lead pony on stage hit his guitar with his hoof limply, causing the rest of the band to start up, filling the room with the fresh sounds of the band. The jazzy tunes hit them with a modified western song that Spike swore he had heard somewhere before.
“I noticed you didn't stick around very long.” Rarity called, stepping out into the balcony. Above, on a branch of the library, lay a very dejected pegasus. “Come down here, Rainbow Dash. Why are you even up there?”
“No reason. Too much girly stuff in there. Cramps my style.” She muttered, picking herself up and stretching. “So Twi's dating the Doc, huh? Fits. Egghead for an egghead.” Hopping down, the rainbow-maned mare landed on the balcony's railing, her face a mask of unamusement. “What's it to you, anyway? You normally love this kind of stuff.”
“Rainbow Dash, I put up with your little quirks as well as anypony, but I will not be accused of leaving a friend out in the cold while they’re so obviously hurting.” She took a step toward the mare, who's wings shot out, threatening to leave the premises quickly. “Stop right there, Rainbow. Please.” Rarity added, halting her forward motion. Putting her haunches down, she sighed.
Rainbow paused for a moment. Running was cowardly. She wasn't a coward – she wasn't! “I'm not... hurting. Or anything like that. I mean, why would I be? I'm a Wonderbolt! Do you know what that means? I'm the best, Rarity!” She stomped at the ground angrily, but didn't take into account the small surface area of the railing and clipped the edge. Losing her footing at the energy leading down, the pegasus toppled over, her wings outstretched in an attempt to take off before she fell – and completely failed it. Hitting the balcony with a loud thump, Rarity rushed forward to her aid, but was rebuked almost immediately. “Get off, Rarity, it was only a tumble.” Rainbow gnashed her teeth as she moved her hoof, wincing slightly at the action.
“Hmph, so this is how ‘the best’ acts.” The unicorn sighed, shaking her head sadly. She moved forward to help the cyan mare again, but again the pegasus backed off.
“Flap off, I don't need this right now.” Dash challenged, picking herself off the ground and into the air.
Rarity would have none of it. Her horn glowing, she focused hard on grabbing the pegasus' foot in a locking spell, something she had seen Twilight pull off before. Resisting, the pegasus flapped hard against the spell which was slowly working her down to the ground. “I. Respectfully. Disagree! Now. Sit. Down. You. Silly. Little. Filly.” Each word was drawn out with baited breath as she struggled against the pegasus, but she finally brought her friend down, finishing off with a small binding charm that kept Rainbow grounded. Exhaling long and hard, she opened her eyes and saw a now very disgruntled mare in front of her. “I think this is exactly what you need, darling. Now please, Rainbow Dash, talk to me.”
Struggling against the binding that held her hoof down to the balcony, the cyan pony ignored her for a time. However, it became clear in time that Rarity wasn't going anywhere, so in a bid for freedom, Dash sighed, laying down completely. “Look, there's nothing to talk about, okay?”
“I should say not. Nothing wouldn't of struggled against me and had to have been bound to the deck.” Rarity rebutted, rolling her eyes. A cool wind blew from behind Dash, chilling her slightly. The unicorn chuckled a bit, feeling that the wind coincided with her friend's demeanor quite well. “Rainbow, it doesn't take a PhD in Friendship to know why you're out here.”
“Oh yeah?” The challenge was nearly gone from her voice, but she withstood it. “And why is that, oh Element of Generosity? This isn't even your area of expertise.”
“And you think Element of Loyalty would be loyal to herself.” It hit Rainbow across the face like a ton of bricks, and she looked away. Hot, angry tears threatened to come out. “Rainbow Dash... we're friends. More than that, really. Despite all odds, me being a dressmaker with a penchant for styles...” Walking over to the pegasus, the unicorn spun around a couple times before laying next to her friend, sharing her warmth against her friend in the cold wind. “And you, a rough and tough Wonderbolt!” Rarity drummed her hooves along the ground, giving Rainbow reason to move a bit. Pushing a hoof against her friend's shoulder, she smiled. “You know I'm not out to hurt you, darling. I want to help, in any way I can.”
Rainbow was defeated the moment Rarity laid next to her and helped her stand the slight cold that was creeping up. “I-I know. But... I'm not hurting. Really. I'm just...” She trailed. She didn't have the words, but suddenly she laughed. “I guess I am now, a little. It's good though, I think.” She hastily added, wiping away the threatening tears. “I don't know. It's more of a... missing, feeling.”
“Missing?” Rarity parroted, much to her own displeasure.
“Yeah, missing. Missing a chance. Missing the signs. Some of you didn't look at all surprised, and I know the squeal you made was more for Twilight's sake than your own, Rare.” The pegasus sighed, cushioning her head on her hooves. “It was a surprise to me.” Looking away from her friend, she sniffed uncharacteristically.
Rarity nodded her head slowly. “I'm so sorry, Rainbow Dash... up until you stormed out here I didn't even realize you still held feelings for our dear Twilight.”
“SSSSHHHH! Not so loud...” The pegasus warned, looking wildly about. Some part of her expected buffalo of all things to have rushed up to her the moment Rarity said that. “Look, I kinda maybe still have a... thing for... her. But it's my damage.” Standing up, Rainbow noticed Rarity's enchantment had been gone for awhile, and she happily kicked her hoof at the ground a couple times to make sure. “So I missed my chance while being an awkward little pony. It's not like I'm going to stay away from her now that she has somepony else.”
Rarity picked herself up gracefully, feeling the cold wind herself batting around with her posh mane. “That's very brave of you, Rainbow.” She gave a soft smile as she trotted forward, placing a hoof on her friend. “It might hurt awhile, but eventually it will heal.” She smiled, playfully pushing against the pegasus' chest. There was a small crash from inside the library as she did, drawing the attentions of the two mares. “Well, I do believe our visitations are up, or Pinkie has fallen down.”
“Or both.” Rainbow chuckled, stretching her wings out. Blowing an insect from her, the cyan pony moved toward the door back inside. “Oh hey, Rarity... how do you know?”
“Know what, dear?” Rarity asked, halting slightly, believing whatever Rainbow might ask might be fairly personal and not fit for the ponies inside.
“You said whatever hurt... whatever hurt I may have will go away with time. How do you know that?”
Rarity paused, giving a faraway look. Giving it some thought, she took a step forward and shook her mane. “I... think I may have read it in a book once, I'm not sure.” She normally posh pony gave a lopsided grin. Messing with her hair a moment, she moved inside once no curl was out of place. “But it's sound advice, I assure you. If not, a lifetime of free makeovers from mwah.” Gesturing toward herself, Rarity fluttered her lashes, giving a small showcase of her style.
It didn't much effect the pegasus. “Well, sounds more like a gift to yourself than one to me.” Dash added wryly.
Swishing her tail about, Rarity opened the balcony door and let the mare in first. “Well, I didn't say I couldn't be generous to myself, now did I?” Giggling, she let the door shut itself on her way in, content with bringing Rainbow back into the fold. She looked on as the rainbow-maned pegasus started talking with the others, and finally discussing Whoof with Twilight, keeping a straight face and being exactly what could be asked of her.
Being a friend.
It Just So Happens...
Another day was coming to a close on Sweet Apple Acres. A warm wind blew playfully along the trees, the rustling of leaves rousing a chorus of birds from their branches to take flight back to their homes. The setting of the sun glowed in brilliant reds and oranges, silhouetting a pegasus of a different color as she worked the last tree of the day. Fluttershy moved silently downward, a small basket of apples draped around her neck unloaded in rhythmic beats into a waiting applecart. Landing gently, the yellow pony turned to look out upon the glorious setting before her.
It didn’t take long at all before the orange workhorse appeared with two baskets draped over her flank on either side. Silently and diligently the two worked in tandem, cutting the workload by more than a half as soon the cart was full, and the last trees bare. Applejack sighed contentedly, before a shock ran along her spine as the pegasus nuzzled softly against her mane, whereas the Earth pony repaid in kind. “Thank you, Fluttershy. Ah can’t believe how much sooner we got done this year ‘cause a you.” She breathed, obviously winded from a long day of work.
The pegasus’ cheeks reddened slightly, but she shook her mane regardless. “Oh, you know it’s really no problem.” Moving over to the cart, Fluttershy squeaked slightly as the looming form of Applejack’s brother emerged from the blind side of the cart. “Oh! Um.” The pegasus stammered, as a curious look dawned over Big MacIntosh’s features as he looked to two mares over.
“Now what are you two doin’ out here t’night? I know I sent you two off a couple hours ago.” Big Mac said, his eyes moving from Applejack over to the pegasus. “Y’all should be in Manehatten by now.”
“Now see here, Big Mac, today was a special day an’ all but this orchard belongs to all of us now and-” Applejack was cut off from a rising wing from Fluttershy, who shook her head. Applejack’s face melted from indignation to acceptance as she turned back to Big Mac. “‘Twas only a little bit more left to do. Y’know me, I can’t just leave no job half-finished.”
“And I couldn’t let her.” Fluttershy said, standing next to Applejack, her wing coming to rest over Applejack. Her hooves patted the ground as she stood, but she met Mac’s gaze head on. “And, um.... We’re going to. Soon, after we take the cart back and-”
“A’right, that’s enough outta you two ponies. Y’all got married today and you’re gonna be in Aunt ‘n Uncle Oranges flat by the time Luna’s moon hits mid-crest and let me take care of this.” Big Mac gestured over to the full cart. The red apples shown brightly in the sun as the stallion threw himself under the ropes attached the cart. “Applebloom’s already been at your cottage fer the last couple hours......” Big Mac paused briefly.
A strange silence filled the air as the two married mares looked at each other a moment. “You okay there, Big Mac?” Applejack called, looking over her brother. “Why’d yo-”
A Pink mane popped out from under the apples in the cart suddenly, drawing the attention of all those present. Big Mac unamusedly kicked the cart near the base, causing the pink Earth pony within to stick her head out quickly, drawing a big breath. “ARE YOU TWO IN LOVE-Oh hey guys!” Pinkie shouted, waving her hoof at her friends. “Weren’t you two going to Manehatten? I’ve always wanted to go but I’m not going to go with you, because, really! You’re married now and I was in a tuxedo!” She said, a now very wrinkled tuxedo coat sagged slightly from her back as she hopped nimbly out of the cart. “But that’s not why I’m here.”
Fluttershy tilted her head, trying to figure the pink mare out, but Applejack merely sighed. “Pinkie, why are you here now?” She asked, her voice filled with exasperation. “You already outed me ‘n Fluttershy over ah year ago.”
“Oh I know! Tuxedo and all, I mean, come on! That question obviously wasn’t meant for you.” She smiled happily, before turning to Big MacIntosh. “But I don’t see anyone here but you three, and Big Mac can’t go and love himself! Not like you two.” The mare wasn’t making any sense at all, but the nearby stallion seemed amused by her antics, if only because it left his sister completely dumbstruck.
“Pinkie...” Fluttershy stepped forward, shaking her mane slightly. Pinkie noticed it was actually shorter than she had realized. She had seen it done up during the wedding, but the flowing hair Fluttershy normally sported had been cut back some, although still framing her features. Her normally stagnant hairstyle caught the pink pony completely off-guard that she almost missed Fluttershy’s question entirely. “Um, what are you doing here? In the apples?”
“Oh, well, I was at the wedding - oh! It was during the reception, with all the cake and games and I was helping with Pin the Tail on the Pony!” She smiled, nodding her head. Her mane bounced around a bit as she kept nodding her head, until Applejack cleared her throat, causing Pinkie to reflexively continue on with her story. “And then, and then...! Um. What happened next?” She paused, falling on her haunches suddenly. Putting a hoof to her chin, sitting there longer than anypony wished to admit to. “Oh! I remember! The Hyper Combo!”
“Naht this again...” Applejack blurted, causing Fluttershy to giggle slightly, recalling the extravagant display of Pinkie Sense that had originally been unleashed upon the married mares. “Pinkie, please, can you get on with why you’re asking about ponies in love and how you ended up in our applecart?!”
“Surely Furly!” Pinkie sang, once again bounding unto her feet. “Well! Suddenly I knew that someponies were in love, and I had to find out, because love is a big thing and big things need parties and I love parties! Endless love cycle!” The pink Earth pony nodded furiously again, causing Applejack to shoot a hoof out and stop the pony from moving even more, forcing a hoof over her nose. Cross-eyed, Pinkie stared at the hoof a moment, as if contemplating it’s very existence. But before another moment passed, she had launched into her story again, “So I went on a journey to find the loving ponies! So I looked all over, talking with all the ponies there that I could find, even though some of them had already went home when you to left even though you didn’t leave because if you had we wouldn’t be talking an-”
“Pinkie.” Big MacIntosh looked back slowly, raising an eyebrow. The colt of few words moved his head back forward, waiting for the story to finish before taking off toward the house.
“Um. But! I couldn’t find anypony in love that wasn’t already in love. I thought I had something when I was talking to Rainbow Dash, but she wasn’t with anypony at the time so it couldn’t of been her...!” Digging at the ground with her hoof, Pinkie Pie sighed. “And now I don’t know who it could of been.” She sighed.
Fluttershy digested the information, trying to think of anything that could help her friend. “Well, I’d love to help you Pinkie-” A small ahem escaped from Applejack as she nodded toward the position of the sun. “But uh, um. Applejack and I really do have to go...!” She mumbled, just high enough for everypony to hear.
“Nahw just hold on a apple-pickin’ minute. That doesn’t explain why you were in the cart!” Applejack mentioned quickly.
Pinkie Pie stared, unassuming. Suddenly, she was up on all four hooves, shrugging. “I dunno!” She sang. “Alright, see you later!” And with that, she took off, hopping down the road and humming some incoherent tune.
“Did ah... did anyone else get that?” Applejack muttered, shaking her mane. Fluttershy nuzzled her side and motioned for them to get going, waving a hoof toward the stoic stallion nearby.
Pinkie Pie stared out her window, looking at all the Ponyvillians below. It had been a couple days since the wedding and Operation: Secret Snack wasn’t going as smoothly as she had hoped. Granted, it was the same plan and execution that happened everyday regardless, but with increased fervor and eavesdropping - but nopony had even come close to mentioning new loves or even anything regarding romance. Her Pinkie Sense had never been wrong before, so she knew that someponies were in love... the pink pony paused. Maybe it was someone she knew! Sometimes love wasn’t quick, and it was gradual. She remembered back when Mr. And Mrs. Cake weren’t a married couple, back when she was just a filly. She had begun a small tutelage under Mr. Cake after finding out her cutie mark, and she knew treats always meant parties. The now Mrs. Cake was simply a regular customer in those days, as Mr. Cake’s now chiseled chin had taken a much softer look. When her Pinkie Sense kicked in shortly after, she had used it to nimbly dodge opening doors when carrying trays of snacks, but her first love combo happened one day when Mr. Cake had just so happened to accidentally missed her twitchy tail and had strode too close to the door when Mrs. Cake barged in, intent on alleviating a foul mood with various snacks.
Needless to say, a short tumble later and the two ponies were as inseparable as they were frosting covered, Pinkie throwing a small party for them shortly after their third date. She sighed wistfully, turning from the window and heading downstairs from here loft above Sugar Cube Corner. She had never not thrown a party for loving ponies. The idea that somewhere out there, a potential party was being missed because she couldn’t find the culprits... it almost took the laughter right out of her.
“Hey Pinkie! What’s up?” Rainbow Dash stood below, leaning up against the wall next the stairs. The pink mare’s eyes shot up and sparkled at the sight of her friend, calling forth a happy laugh from her lips. Dash merely shook her mane, remarking she hadn’t even said anything to cause a laugh.
“Hi Dashie!” Pinkie bounded, feeling positively restored. “What are you doing up so early! I thought you were gonna nap today after the big party we had yesterday!” She asked, catching a glance from Mr. Cake. She immediately ceased her hopping, instead opting for a more leisurely walk. “It was sooooo much fun, even when I got distracted because it was like a game. I didn’t win though, but that’s okay because-”
“You didn’t win?” Dash echoed, tilting her head, causing her mane to slide with it gracefully. It hid the fact that Dash tended to blush everytime someone used that nickname. Pinkie watched the multicolored strands for a moment before snapping back to attention. “You mean you didn’t find the ponies who were in love?” Nodding, the pink mare’s mane bounced around, defying gravity.
“There were so many ponies and it was a wedding, so it’s normal for proposals to happen and stuff, so it was hard to pinpoint just anypony who was starting to fall in love.” Stamping her hoof, Pinkie looked about the shop, picking out a small muffin and snatching it up in her mouth without a second thought. “Behshides, ahf moy Phinkey Fensh wharked all dah timmmmmmmmmm...” Pinkie trailed, finally swallowing the small treat. “Then I wouldn’t get even the teeniest amount of rest around anypony.”
Rainbow Dash shook her mane, smiling. “Pinkie Pie, you’re so random.” Heading for the door, the two friends walked out into the Ponyville air, Dash taking an extended breath as she stretched her wings out, giving a few flaps, wind rushing past her and through Pinkie’s untidy mane. Folding them back up, Dash looked about. “So that’s what you wanna do today, huh?”
Rainbow Dash exhaled sharply, putting a hoof to her head. “Look for the new loves! I can’t stand to let one of my friends lose!” She said, looking about, her eyes twinkling as she looked at the passing ponies. This was going to be a challenge - and she was going to win it. “Someponies out there triggered your Pinkie Sense and we’re gonna find ‘em!”
Pinkie giggled, nodding her head excitedly. “Okay Dashie!” She hopped up, her head on a swivel. “Where will we go first? How do we know who all was there? I wonder if the combo’ll trigger again! I’ve never not found happy ponies when it happened!” Pinkie Pie was bouncing around with no clear destination, Rainbow Dash giving it a slight ponder.
“How about Rarity? You know that mushy stuff is perfect for a mare like her! Remember when she went absolutely wild fantasizing about Celestia’s nephew?” Recalling the memory, Rainbow laughed slightly, her laugh clearer now than it had been in Pinkie’s memory. The pink mare paused her jovial hop long enough to realize Dash had seemingly changed a bit over time - she was a Wonderbolt some time out of the year, her mane had been kept in better shape, and her voice was starting to lose that boyish rasp. Feeling a prodding push on her flank, Pinkie whipped back to see Rainbow with a quizzical look on her face. “Hey Pinkie, what’s up? You’re going into the clouds without me.” She asked, giving a second prod against the pony’s head.
Pinkie laughed as she shook her mane. “Nothing! Just being a old granny Pie, thinking of awhile back, when Twilight first moved to Ponyville! I was so excited back then to have a new friend! And now we have more new friends than ever!” Her mouth moving quicker than Dash cared to catch up with, she seemed satisfied with the answer none-the-less. She would have stopped the pony from her revelry by this point, but she enjoyed a look in the past now and again - when she wasn’t speeding ahead.
Pinkie was still off in a tangent about love and ponies by the time the two reached Rarity’s boutique, finally provoking Dash to clear her throat and knock on the door, which ceased Pinkie’s verbal river. “Thank you, Pinkie, that was, uh... very cool.” She sighed, shaking her mane.
“Wasn’t it?” The mare giggled as the door of the Boutique opened. It revealed a proper white and purple unicorn, decked out in her usual mask of product. The two vistors looked to each other and giggled slightly at the sight as the blinded unicorn before them whisked her hoof at them.
“Come now, I believe I’ve been open in Ponyville long enough for everypony to know I’m closed today, so you can- Oh! Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie!” Rarity concluded, the two no longer able to contain their merriment at the ridiculous sight and bursting into laughter. In pure daylight, the mask of green mud and cucumbers on her eyes looked as comical as it did messy - unlike in the dark of night, illuminated by candlelight where it’s various molds would pronunciate fear into the hearts of ponykind. Removing the vegetable from one of her eyes, she pursed her lips, but she eventually cracked into a smile at the two. “Oh, come in, darlings...” She sighed, realizing her beauty mask would have to wait. The two mares behind her, she went to her sink and deftly washed the product off quickly, taking great pains not to let her mane get wet. She placed the two cucumbers on a small plate nearby.
“Geez, Rarity, I thought that stuff only came on at night!” Rainbow teased, wiping a rogue tear from her eye. A few strangling chuckles escaped her lungs as Rarity huffed slightly, but said nothing as she finished cleaning her face. As she waited for the unicorn to finish, Pinkie stomped a hoof on the far end of the plate, sending the two slices of cucumber into the air, and she snapped them both in her mouth.
Rainbow stuck her tongue out, visibly disturbed, but ended up rolling her eyes regardless. “Not exactly what I’d say good. What’s that green stuff made out of, anyway?” Pinkie poked at some of the mud which floated on the surface of Rarity’s sink, the pony in question using magic to rub her face with a nearby towel.
“It’s made of essential plants and herbs to ensure cleanliness and to bring out a ponies natural beauty, Pinkie darling.” She mused, placing the towel down nearby. “Now, what can I do you two for?”
Dash opened her mouth, but was somehow beaten to the punch by a hyperactive Pinkie. “Well Rarity, we were at the wedding yesterday and Fluttershy and Applejack got married, and-”
Another hoof found it’s way to Pinkie’s snout again, Dash shaking her head. “I think Rarity knows what happened during that part, Pinkie. She was the Maid of Honor.”
“And must I say, Rainbow Dash, you looked simply stunning in the outfit I designed for you.” Rarity complimented idly, causing the unsuspecting cyan mare to blush profusely. Rarity paid it no mind, however, and turned her attention back to Pinkie Pie. “Dash has a point, Pinkie, but do go on, darling.”
“Okay!” The Earth pony among them went into her spiel anew. Rainbow Dash found herself wandering off in her mind, taking in the sights of Rarity’s Boutique. Outside of the adventures the six friends tended to go on, she didn’t find herself here as often as she’d like - Rarity teaching her how to care for her own mane without magic. She usually did drop by for a visit between shows, however, as the ‘Fastest Flyer in Equestria’ usually didn’t take that long in arriving back home in Ponyville when she put her mind to it. The scent of vanilla wafted into her senses as she walked about during Pinkie’s epic, and she soon found the culprit nestled near some stairs up to Rarity’s bedroom. Sniffing the concentrated source, she decided she rather liked the scent, having only really smelled it at Sugar Cube Corner when Pinkie was making vanilla cupcakes. “...and then we came here and you had that silly mask on!” Rainbow turned to look at the other two. Trotting back over to her friends, the pegasus shrugged.
“So long story short, Pinkie here needs help finding ponies in love.” Rainbow summed up, reading Rarity’s expression.
It melted from confusion, to understanding, and after a moment, Rarity was back to confusion. “Well, I can understand the need to satisfy curiosity, believe me, and gossip of love and friendship is always something I love to hear, but what catches my attention, is why you, Rainbow Dash, are interested in this as well.” Rarity smiled coyly, eyeing Rainbow Dash with an assuming expression laden on her face. “I have it on good authority that sometimes Pinkie goes off on a one-sided crush...” She trailed, putting a hoof to her mouth in mock contemplation.
“Yeah, and I have it on good authority that Luna doesn’t have a kid.” Delivered as deadpan, Rarity merely raised a hoof back in shock and defense, before placing it back on the ground. “Seriously Rarity, we all heard the arguments for the gala back when Twi had only 2 tickets, and two years running there hasn’t been hide nor hair of any such stallion as ‘Celestia’s Nephew’.”
Before she knew what happened, the unicorn had rushed past the two ponies and straight upstairs, her cheeks red and her horn had a slight glow about it as she thundered past. Rainbow’s wings were out as she had instinctively taken flight a few feet as she watched the white mare disappear. “Uh.” She drolled, landing back on the ground.
“That wasn’t very nice, Dashie.” Pinkie interrupted. Dash spun to see the pink mare’s expression, but it looked more dark than normal.
“Uh.” She squeaked out again. What had happened? It was all so fast she couldn’t put a hoof on it. “She was... I mean.” Placing a hoof down, Rainbow hung her head. She had been so quick to be defensive about something that hadn’t even been established in conversation yet. “Real smooth, Dash.” She muttered, closing her eyes.
“Aw, don’t you worry!” Pinkie suddenly sang, putting a hoof around Rainbow’s shoulders. “Come on, let’s go upstairs and tell Rarity we’re sorry.” She said.
“We’re sorry? What did you do?!” Rainbow asked, her mouth agape.
“I ate her cucumbers, silly!” Pinkie called, hopping off and up the stairs, leaving a confused and downtrodden pegasus below.
Rarity stamped around her bedroom. The nerve of that pegasus. How dare she... How dare she...
“Shoot.” Rarity stomped. She really had no reason to react the way she did. Melodramatics aside, she knew the story of the stallion wasn’t at all true the moment it fell out her breath - but it was two years ago! The pegasus had no right to open such an old wound to her otherwise clean record of honesty. Actively ignoring all the other times she may have lied, Rarity fell to her haunches in a completely unladylike manner. “Not even a dramatic exit.” She cooed, staring at the floor. There was nothing about that encounter which even echoed logic, not that that was her strong point. Sighing, she brought herself back up, only to slump again. Why had she reacted as such, anyway? She had merely teased Rainbow Dash... “Oh dear Celestia.”
Rainbow Dash. The poor girl had a stake in this search of love, moreso than any other pony, really. Rarity had been so proud of the brash flyer. Rainbow Dash had been taking steps over the years to let her hard attitude soften slightly, and she had been taking such better care of her mane than before. Rarity had been so caught up in all the changes that she didn’t see all that had stayed the same about her friend. It was a horrid realization to the pony that prided herself on details. And to add more to the table, her door knocked loudly as Pinkie made her presence known.
Breathing in deeply, Rarity picked herself up, straighted her mane, and opened the door without a word.
“I’m sorry!” The voice belonged to all three ponies as they said it at once. There was a brief pause from the unicorn and pegasus, however the Earth pony ended up laughing at the reaction. “For the cucumbers!” She added between snickers and giggles.
Rainbow took the moment to straighten up. “I’m sorry Rarity, I didn’t mean to attack your dream like that, it was pretty... unawesome. I just thought-”
Rarity shook her mane. “No, Rainbow Dash, I’m sorry. I really had no reason to react as I did. It was a schoolyard filly’s daydream, one that seemed so lovely when I was so small.” She laughed sheepishly, hoping that she could salvage the situation. “I’m just sorry I wasn’t more attentive... I really wasn’t paying attention when I really should have.”
Rainbow looked shocked. Eyes wide, she suddenly made the connections that seemed to obvious to Rarity, and quickly hid her expression from Pinkie Pie, who was finally coming around from a giggling fit. “Well, ah, no problem Rarity. But, well.” She paused. Rarity could see a slight mental debate taking place in those rose-colored eyes.
“Rainbow Dash...” Rarity breathed, sighing. “I really have no excuse for why I reacted the way I did.” She sighed, lowering her head. The pegasus raised an eyebrow, surprised that the white mare had correctly concluded what she was trying to bring up. “I think... I need time to figure it out myself, darling.” She mentioned. A window rattled nearby as it distracted those in the Boutique, long enough for Pinkie to insert herself into the conversation.
“Well, I’m glad that’s over with! I hate it when friend’s fight, and especially when everyone would be all saddy-waddy.” Bouncing past Rarity, the hyperactive pony flicked the lock on the boutique window, keeping it in place. “And now we’re happy again, so we can go exploring for the love couple!” She shouted, excited to start the search.
Rainbow smiled sheepishly, not meeting the pink mare’s gaze. “A-actually, Pinkie, I’m not feeling up to it anymore. I think I’ve got to check a couple things. Wonderbolts business. Kind of forgot all about it.” She lied. Pinkie Pie pouted, but nodded.
“And you, Rarity? Do you wanna come help me search them out?” She asked.
“Oh, I’d love to, Pinkie, I really would, but I’ve got so many dresses to finish this week that today really is my only day off, and gallivanting around town and getting into other pony’s business, well, that would not be very lady-like of me.” Rarity walked over to her door, opening it slowly with magic as Pinkie Pie trotted out.
“Okie-Dokey smokey! That’s alright because some of my hiding spaces are super secret and I can’t let everypony know where they are.” She sang, heading downstairs. As she left, Rarity turned back to Rainbow Dash, the pegasus in question with a far-away look in her eyes.
Rainbow Dash felt good. Maybe even more than good. Every limb felt loose, and she couldn’t even feel the normal tension that often accompanied her wings when she extended them. The pressing movements of the Spa Twins on her flank felt good, taking great care to keep it all as professional as possible. “So, this is what you and Fluttershy do every Sunday?” Rainbow called, her head flat against the table. Her hooves were lazily stretched out in front of her, dangling off the edge.
“Oh yes. Sometimes Applejack as well.” Rarity screeched out, the other twin doing a much more aggressive massage to the fashionable pony. “It’s really-AH-quite relaxing! Wha-HA! Ooo!” She cried at every jolt and push, her face again masked in the green mud that now mimicked what little was left on Rainbow’s face - the pegasus had commonly scratched an itch on her face or rubbed the mud on the table, much to the professional’s displeasure. “Isn’t it-AH- glorious?!”
Rainbow felt a chill run down her spine as one of the twins started to work her mane, causing her haunches to relax into butter. “I gotta say, Rarity, it is pretty awesome...” Rainbow admitted.
It wasn’t long before the two ponies found themselves in the steam room, chatting amiably. It wasn’t long before the privacy of the room allowed them to cover what had happened earlier in the day. “Please allow me to once again apologize, Rainbow Dash. It was quite... crass of me to make such idle circumstances over what’s happened.” She said, putting a hoof to her chest. “I do hope you don’t hold animosity toward me for it.”
Rainbow shook her mane swiftly. “Nah, it’s no big deal. I actually wanted to tag along to see what I could find out - and I guess I found out a lot quicker than I thought.” She sighed, turning over unto her back and stretching out as far as her anatomy would allow her to. “I guess it was kinda selfish, really.”
“Don’t sell yourself so low, darling.” Rarity chided, pressing her hoof against the wood. A satisfying pool of water appeared where she had, the liquid quickly sinking back in as she released her hoof. “I doubt anypony wouldn’t of tried to use Pinkie’s little gift to find out something if she had it in her head to do so anyway.” She breathed, before adding, “Not that she had any ulterior motivations herself. I don’t think our dear Pinkie Pie could have it in her.”
Rainbow laughed at the prospect. “Yeah, Pinkie Pie being a master schemer!” She smiled, before giggling a bit more. It was infectious, as Rarity herself got lost in quite a few giggles. It wasn’t long at all before both friend were laughing loud and hard, bringing up absurd ‘truths’ to Pinkie’s diabolical plans. Before either of them knew it, there was a knock on the steam room door, signifying only five minutes remained for the ponies. “Ahh... ha ha...” Wiping away a tear that she sword was just concentrated steam and sweat, Rainbow sighed. “Do you... think she’s happy? With him?”
“Oh, Rainbow, I really don’t know. I for one shouldn’t be the one to ask on matters of the heart, when I have so much of my own to work through, Rainbow.” Rarity confided, closing her eyes. “But I’m sure you’ll find yourself some mare who’ll deserve you someday, Rainbow Dash. Or stallion, if you’re still giving those a chance.” She teased, gratified to hear the rainbow-maned pegasus laugh in response.
The sounds of hooves clopping along outside reached their ears as the two friends looked apprehensively toward the door, but were relieved to hear them start to secede. “Thanks, Rarity.” The unicorn beamed contentedly, enjoying her last moments in the spa, and with her friend.
Twilight trotted over to a shelf in the library, looking over the section before finding a gap in the bookcase, magically sliding a book in the gap. “Ahh... there.” She smirked, admiring her handiwork. Spike was off on official duties in Canterlot, and Twilight had finally finished cleaning up the library on her own. Well, not completely alone.
“Ahem, Twilight.” A brown Earth pony coughed, causing the purple unicorn to turn around. “I do believe I’ve found something of value regarding mixing gemstone properties and magic with machinery!” He called from above, a couple books near his hooves. “I was wondering if you’d like to test them?”
“Of course, Doctor!” Twilight beamed, trotting up the stairs toward Doctor Whoof.
Shaking his head, he wore an expression of amusement. “How many times must I ask you to call me by my first name, Twilight? Really, we’ve been seeing each other for quite some time!” He laughed, before getting cut off as the unicorn nuzzled him unexpectedly. “Oh! Ah...” His cheeks blazingly red, he made no complaints over the sign of affection.
“Sorry, Whoofey, I just... like it. Calling you Doctor.” She smiled warmly, her own cheeks a faint shade of pink in using one of the pet names she used for him. “So at least one more time. As always.” She said, her eyes diverting toward the hastily scribbed notes. “So what did you find?” She mused, looking over the notes.
As if on cue, a certain pink pony shot out from under a load of books, spooking the doctor but merely earning a smile from the purple unicorn. However, it faded quickly as Pinkie pointed at the two. “ARE YOU TWO IN LOVE?!” Staring, the room became quickly and undeniably awkward as only the hurried panting of the pink Earth pony pointed accusingly at the pair. Catching each other’s glances, they averted their eyes back to the mare in front of them. However, she showed no signs of dropping it, frozen in her gesture. Twilight look once more upon the doctor, searching his features slowly.
“....I... don’t know. Are we?”