Apple Blossom: Part 1
Written by nukeiffum
“Big Mac, why is everypony actin’ all sad?”
It was the night after all the older ponies in Ponyville held some kind of “event” in town. Applebloom was asked to stay on the farm by Big Mac, and no matter how much the filly whined and complained, the stallion was obstinate in keeping Applebloom away. When Big Mac and Applejack returned to Sweet Apple Acres, Applebloom immediately ran up to the two to pester them into telling her what happened in town. The elder stallion whispered something to Applejack, and Applebloom’s big sis tiredly shrugged and walked off into the fields.
Big Macintosh hesitated before answering Applebloom. “Well sis, ah’m thinkin’ this li’l event we held in town today knocked all our spirits down a few notches.”
Applebloom frowned. “Ah don’t git it, why would somethin’ like a li’l event get everypony down like this? Ah mean, look at Applejack, Big Mac, she’s all gloomy and whatnot!”
The stallion sighed. “Applebloom… remember what ah told ya about the other day? ‘bout Pinkie Pie?”
The filly thought back to the day before. “Oh yeah… ya tol’ me she had some kinda sickness called… uh, ‘dice-a-blee-tus’ or somethin’.”
Big Mac winced at Applebloom’s carefree response. In this time of sadness, when it felt like the world was crumbling beneath everypony’s hooves, Applebloom’s innocence felt extremely out of place. Big Macintosh couldn’t bear to tell Applebloom the truth; it seemed like a crime to tarnish such a beautiful innocence.
“Well ya see… Pinkie Pie had ta go on a… li’l vacation.” The red stallion lied.
“A vacation?” Applebloom tilted her head. “So if ya git this ‘diah-pla-tee-tus’ thingy-ma-boby, ya git ta go on a vacation?”
Big Macintosh felt a pang in his heart. “Yeah, Applebloom… Pinkie went on a wonderful vacation full of sweets and streamers that’ll never end. She’s havin’ a grand ol’ time over there, ah’m sure. And ah bet she’s doin’ all of her partyin’ while thinkin’ of her friends in Ponyville the entire time.”
“Sounds fun!” Applebloom exclaimed cheerfully. “Hey Big Mac, can ah get her ‘dia-blee-blah-da-ble-blah’ too? Ah wanna go party with her!”
The stallion quickly pulled Applebloom into a tight hug.
“H-Hey Big Macph? W-what’re ya foin’?!” Applebloom said, her voice being muffled by her elder brother’s embrace.
Big Mac said nothing for a moment, trying to hold back his tears. He concentrated on the feeling of his little sister against his chest as a concrete reminder that Applebloom was still there, still alive. He couldn’t imagine a world without his two little sisters, and to hear Applebloom’s words sent an agonizing jolt of pain through his heart.
The struggling filly in his hooves snapped him out of his thoughts. “Lepf me go Big Macph!!” The stallion loosened his grip and Applebloom sent herself launching out of his embrace. “What in tarnation’s wrong with ya, Big Macintosh?!”
Big Mac let off a faint smile. “Nothin’ at all, Applebloom. Jus’ feelin’ a li’l sentimental fer mah li’l sis is all.”
“Don’t be so weird, big bro.” Applebloom dusted off her mane, quickly restoring it back to its original style. “So… why is everypony so sad?
The stallion slowly trotted over to the younger filly and sat himself down next to her. “Ya see Applebloom… Pinkie Pie’s vacation’s gonna be a long’un, and everypony’s jus’ kinda sad cuz we won’t be seein’ her anytime soon.”
“But she’s havin’ fun, right?”
Big Mac patted Applebloom’s mane. “Ah’m sure she is.”
Applebloom smiled and let Big Macintosh pat her for a couple more moments. “Hey Big Mac, when can ah go on a fun vacation party like Pinkie Pie’s?”
The red stallion paused. “Ya see, Applebloom, this special vacation’s only given to pony’s when they’ve gotten real old, so ya won’t be invited to that party fer a long time.”
“But Pinkie Pie’s not that old of a pony!” Applebloom protested. “Ah’d say she’s only a couple years older than a filly!”
“Well y’see Applebloom… she was invited… a li’l early, that’s all.”
Applebloom grinned. “Well ah wanna grow up quick so ah can get mah cutie mark and get invited to that party!”
All Big Macintosh could do in response to Applebloom’s innocence was to smile and nod. He knew that he should’ve told Applebloom the truth straight off, but his heart just wouldn’t be able to stand seeing little Applebloom cry. Perhaps… she was better off this way, for now anyways. She was only a little filly after all, too young to comprehend what death is. Maybe when she was a bit older he’d tell her the truth…
But for now, Big Macintosh resigned himself to protect Applebloom’s innocence. Teaching her the tragic truths about the world would come later.
An entire week has passed since Pinkie Pie’s “vacation,” and life on Sweet Apple Acres had scarcely returned to normal. Big Macintosh constantly wore a tired expression on his face, and Applejack was always out working in the fields. The only pony who was “normal” on the farm was Granny Smith, and that’s only because all she does all day is sleep!
Applebloom let off a little sigh. Things were kinda boring for her on the farm, and Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle didn’t seem to be available the past week, leaving Applebloom to fend off her boredom by herself. She hung out at the CMC headquarters a couple times, but without the other Cutie Mark Crusaders it was pretty dull there.
With nothing to do, Applebloom just lazed around all day, watching the clouds float by. Speaking of clouds, there seemed to be an abundance of them in the air lately, and Applebloom didn’t remember the weather for the week as being scheduled for cloudy skies.
The filly stretched out her hooves. It wasn’t like the weather was really her problem anyways, so she might as well go on a walk to ease her boredom a bit. Applebloom trotted outside her door, and was greeted by harsh yell coming from the direction of the fields.
“C’mon… git down ya stupid apple!!”
Applebloom gazed in the direction of the yell, and saw Applejack frustratedly bucking an apple tree. The filly didn’t even remember the last time she saw her big sis taking a break, and worried over whether Applejack was wearing herself out with all the work. The young filly trotted towards Applejack with the intention of helping out her big sister, but before she could reach the grove Applejack was crudely pushing her way towards another side of the field.
“Git outta mah way!” Applejack shouted as she stomped off, barely missing bumping into Applebloom. “Somepony’s got ta make sure this farm keeps goin’!”
Applebloom worriedly watched her elder sister storm off into the fields. “Big Mac? What’s wrong with sis?” Applebloom asked timidly. “She’s yellin’ all the time these days…”
Big Macintosh gently patted the young filly’s head with one of his hooves. “Nothin’ to worry yer little head about, she’s just got a lot on her mind.”
“Does it have anything ta do with Pinkie Pie’s vacation the other day?”
Big Mac chewed on a piece of grass, smiling at his younger sister. “Eeeyup. AJ’s just kinda worried ‘bout Pinkie Pie. Ah’m sure she’ll be back to her normal self in no time. Now why don’t you go play with yer friends a while and let AJ work?”
Applebloom nodded and trotted away from Big Macintosh. She didn’t really get why Big Mac was asking her to play with her friends as if she’d be able to find them straight off. If the other Cutie Mark Crusaders were available then she wouldn’t even be here on the farm right now on the first place! The filly sighed. “Ah guess ah should try to find them ah guess…”
Sweetie Belle was trotting around Ponyville, trying to find something to do. She couldn’t hang out at Rarity’s house, since her older sister Rarity was busy losing her mind over her shop. Sweetie felt that the stress from Pinkie Pie’s death alongside all of her usual orders was putting a great amount of strain on Rarity, and that it was best for Sweetie to stay clear of the Boutique until her older sister calmed down.
Even though she was wandering Ponyville with that purpose, Sweetie Belle was still at a loss at what to do. It was normally Applebloom and Scootaloo who led her around, so she wasn’t used to figuring out how to pass the time on her own. Sweetie thought of going to Sweet Apple Acres to fetch Applebloom, but every time she got close to the farm, Applebloom’s older sister had such a mean look on her face, scaring the little unicorn away. Not to mention that she had no idea where Scootaloo lived in the first place, so Sweetie couldn’t stop by at her place for a visit.
Sweetie Belle sighed and decided to take a break on a nearby bench. Soon enough something would come falling out of the sky to give her the answer she was looking for.
“Look out below!!”
A tiny earth pony suddenly flung herself into the sky and fell down on top of Sweetie Belle, sending the two fillies tumbling to the ground.
“Owww…” Sweetie Belle rubbed her head. “Applebloom? Is that you?”
“Of course it’s me, silly!” Applebloom picked herself up and gave Sweetie a hug. “It’s been a while! How’ve ya been!”
“Oh, I’m okay.” Sweetie Belle said. “What about you?”
“Bored!” Applebloom bluntly stated. “Ever since Pinkie Pie went on that there vacation, nopony’s been any fun anymore!”
Sweetie Belle tilted her head. “… vacation?”
“Yeah, vacation!” Applebloom continued her rant. “Ah mean, Applejack’s bein’ a workaholic all day and all Big Mac’s been doin’ is sighin’! Not ta mention that we haven’t been gettin’ any visitors for the past while now!”
“… vacation?” Sweetie repeated again, lost in the wave of Applebloom’s enthusiasm.
“Yeah, Sweetie Belle, vacation!” The earth filly went on talking. “It’s been so boring on the farm with nopony to pass the time with, and you and Scootaloo haven’t even come to visit once! What’s up with that?! Jus’ because everypony’s in a rut doesn’t mean we can stop our crusade to find our cutie marks! Ain’t that right, Sweetie Belle?”
“… Sweetie Belle, yer bein’ more repetitive then a parrot at a parrot convention! Why you so stuck on that anyways?”
“… vacation? Oh, wait!” Sweetie Belle snapped out of her confused stupor. “Sorry Applebloom, I was just confused. What vacation are you talking about?”
Applebloom frowned. “Pinkie Pie’s vacation! You silly filly!”
“Pinkie Pie…?” Sweetie Belle bit her lip. “U-um… Pinkie Pie didn—”
“So where is Scoots anyways?” Applebloom interrupted, oblivious of Sweetie’s uncomfortable expression. “Ya’d think she’d be around here somewhere, with how she’s always goin’ about on that scooter of her and all!”
“SCOOTS?!” Applebloom called out. “SCOOTALOO! WHERE ARE YA?! SHOW YERSELF YA FILLY!”
“Did somepony call for Scootaloo!” The brown pegasus came swooping in on her scooter, performing a stylish flip before braking in front of Applebloom and Sweetie Belle. “What’s up my fillies? How’s it hangin’?”
“Scoots!” Applebloom threw herself on top of the young pegasus. “Where ya been?”
Scootaloo shrugged. “Oh… I was just cruising around Ponyville, trying to find something to do.”
“If you were lookin’ fer somethin’ ta do, why didn’t ya visit?” Applebloom inquired.
“Oh…” Scootaloo smiled nervously. “Your sister was on the warpath, so I kinda… chickened out and went home whenever I saw her.”
“What? Is Scoots here scared of mah big sis?” Applebloom teased.
“What?! Of course not!” The pegasus defended herself. “I was just… uhh, not in the mood for apples. That’s all.”
“Ah don’t believe ya, Scoots!” Applebloom said. “Ya love mah family’s apples!”
Scootaloo and Applebloom jumped, startled at Sweetie Belle’s sudden outburst.
“Geez, Sweetie Belle, what’s got your mane in a knot?” Scootaloo asked.
“Oh, well…” Sweetie Belle hesitated. “Applebloom…?”
The earth filly tilted her head. “What is it Sweetie Belle?”
“Um… I…” Applebloom was looking at Sweetie with such innocent eyes, the young unicorn couldn’t bring herself to finish her objection. “… nevermind, Applebloom.”
“Ya sure are actin’ kinda funny today, Sweetie Belle.” Applebloom grinned. “Say, ah got an idea! What if bein’ silly was our special talents! We can start a on the road show, ah can see it now! Cutie Mark Comedians, comin’ to yer town! And ah’m sure everypony in Ponyville could use a laugh since Pinkie Pie can’t do it while she’s on vacation!”
Scootaloo gave Applebloom a strange look.
“… what’s wrong, Scoots?” Applebloom asked.
“Vacation?” Scootaloo parroted, tilting her head. “What’re you talking about?”
“Um… Pinkie Pie’s vacation, obviously?” Applebloom said, confused. “Ain’t that why everypony in Ponyville’s so down, ‘cuz Pinkie Pie ain’t around to make them laugh?”
“Well… Pinkie Pie isn’t around to make them laugh, but…” Scootaloo hesitated. “… I don’t think it’s because Pinkie Pie’s on vacation.”
“What? Big Mac told me that Pinkie Pie went on a party-filled vacation and won’t be back for a while, ain’t that what happened, Sweetie Belle?”
Sweetie bit her lip. “Um… no.”
Applebloom’s smile faded. “… no? B-but, Big Macintosh told me that Pinkie went away on vacation! He don’t got any reason ta be lyin’ ta me!”
“Uh, Applebloom?” Scootaloo said timidly. “I think you should take a moment to sit down.”
Applebloom ignored her friend’s suggestion. “What’s wrong with you ponies? Sayin’ Pinkie Pie’s not on vacation, that’s crazy!” Applebloom could feel something cracking inside of her. “Oh, ah know! This is a prank, ain’t it! Ya’ll are tryin’ ta trick me, right? Well ya gotta do better than that if ya wanna get yer cutie mark as a prankster pony!”
“Applebloom…” Sweetie Belle put her hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “I think Big Macintosh lied to you.”
Applebloom smacked away Sweetie’s hoof. “Don’t you dare.” Applebloom said, her voice shaking. “Don’t ya dare suggest Big Macintosh was lyin’ ta me! He’s mah big bro, there’s no way he’d ever lie!”
Scootaloo tried to cut in. “Applebloom, listen—”
“No, you listen!” Applebloom interrupted, feeling the cracks inside of her getting larger. “Big Macintosh is mah precious older brother, and there’s no way he’d ever mislead his precious li’l sis! Ah don’t know what kinda prank ya’ll are tryin’ ta set up, but ah don’t like it when ya try to make mah kin look bad!”
The two other fillies waited for Applebloom to calm down. After a few moments, Scootaloo was the first to speak up. “… Applebloom, ask anypony in Ponyville what happened to Pinkie Pie, and they’ll tell you that she’s not on a vacation.” Sweetie Belle nodded in agreement.
Applebloom glared at her friends. “Then tell me then, if Pinkie Pie ain’t on vacation, there where did she go? An’ what was that event las’ week?”
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle grimaced. Scootaloo tried to get the words out, but she choked and was unable to break the news to Applebloom. Sweetie Belle just stood there, waiting for Scootaloo to speak.
“Exactly,” Applebloom said triumphantly. “Now why don’t ya’ll drop this bad prank so we can get some crusadin’ done?” Applebloom turned her backs to her friends, and began to trot away, thinking the other two were following behind her.
“It was a funeral!!”
Applebloom stopped in her tracks. She turned around and saw Sweetie Belle stepping forward, tears forming in her eyes from having to break the bad news.
“T-the event last week… it was a funeral…” Sweetie Belle explained, her eyes downcast. “B-because… Pinkie Pie… she… she…!!”
Scootaloo finished Sweetie’s sentence for her.
And at that moment, the cracks inside Applebloom’s heart burst, shattering the shell of innocence that Big Macintosh had tried his hardest to preserve.
Apple Blossom: Part 2
Written by nukeiffum
Applebloom knocked open the door to her room and collapsed on her bed. After Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle relayed the news of Pinkie Pie’s death to her, a strange feeling had crept over her. Before, Applebloom felt as if everything was pretty much perfect; she had a loving family, energetic friends, and the only thing that was really missing from her life was her cutie mark.
But now… the world she lived in suddenly felt cold and colorless. The earth beneath her hooves felt loose and shaky when it was once sturdy and concrete. The normally comforting breeze now felt sinister, as if it were threatening to knock Applebloom over if given the chance. Even the smiling faces of her friends felt like they were hiding some dark secrets behind them. The world simply didn’t seem as certain as it used to be.
Applebloom buried her head in her pillow. Did Big Mac really lie to her? Sure, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo didn’t look like they were joking, however, maybe that was because they became expert pranksters. They were setting up the ultimate prank for Applebloom, a prank that ripped out and tore her heart to shreds. But since it was a prank, surely one day Applebloom could forgive her friends and laugh at it. If it was a prank, the world would regain its color and the knot in her stomach would disappear.
That is… if it was really a prank. Applebloom clutched tightly at a tiny stuffed toy she sometimes slept with. If it really wasn’t a prank, and Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were being sincere… then that would mean Big Macintosh was lying to Applebloom. And if Big Mac lied about this, what else could he have lied about? Was she really Big Mac’s favorite filly? Did he mean everything he said whenever he complimented her foolishness? Did… did Big Mac lie whenever he told her “ah love you?”
The filly threw her pillow and stuffed toy across the room, holding back her tears. She wouldn’t believe it, she couldn’t believe it, she didn’t want to believe it. There’s no way Big Macintosh would ever lie to her. Her world was built upon the guidance and affection of her older brother, and for all of that to be false would be nothing short of saying everything that composed Applebloom’s world was false. She’d rather believe her friends were being incredibly cruel to her then to believe that Big Macintosh was a liar, which is definitely what’s going on because her older brother was definitely not lying to her!
Yes. Her friends were making fun of her, that was all. They were poking fun at how Applebloom was always so dependent on her older siblings, how Applebloom always spoke about them, how Applebloom believed every word that ever came out of their mouths. They were just jealous. Jealous of her closeness with her older brother.
Sweetie Belle never bonded with Rarity the way Applebloom did with Big Macintosh. Scootaloo never even mentioned her family to Applebloom, so she obviously must be envious of the earth filly. That would explain everything that came out of their mouths today, they were just incredibly jealous. Just jealous. Completely jealous. So jealous, they’d come up with an incredibly detailed and elaborate prank in order to rip Applebloom’s heart to shreds.
Applebloom clutched at the sheets with her hooves. She knew what she was trying to do right now. She was trying to trample over the love and trust she held for her greatest friends in the world. She was trying to take every single happy moment they ever had—every laugh, adventure, scheme, and failure they experienced while searching for their cutie marks—and shattering them into pieces.
It hurt to think of her friends in this way. There was no way Applebloom could describe the way she felt as she took the images of her precious friends and slandered, desecrated, and violated her fondness for them in her head. But she did know one thing…
Viewing Big Macintosh in that same light would tear her apart even more.
Big Macintosh wiped the sweat off his brow. He spent the afternoon trying to persuade Applejack to ease off a little on the amount of work she was pulling, but Applejack stubbornly refused. It eventually became apparent that Applejack wasn’t going to cool off anytime soon, so Big Mac decided to retreat for now and try to calm her down later.
The stallion lazily chewed on a piece of grass as he blankly stared at the sky. Applejack was a big pony, so Big Macintosh knew that eventually the orange pony would get over friend’s death. He didn’t know how faraway that moment was, but eventually that moment will come.
Big Macintosh perked his ears at the sound of a door shutting closed. Was Applebloom already home? The stallion chewed over his hay before deciding to take a look at what caused the noise.
Not to his surprise, he caught Applebloom leaving the house. He thought she left for town earlier to play with the other Cutie Mark Crusaders, but supposed that wasn’t the case since she was here now.
“How’s ya’ll doin’?” Big Mac asked nonchalantly, not wanting to surprise Applebloom.
Applebloom jumped at the sound of her older brother’s voice regardless. “O-oh… hi Big Mac.”
Big Macintosh instantly noticed that something was off about his little sister. “Applebloom? Are ya alright?”
The filly twitched nervously at the question. “U-um… o’ course ah’m alright!” Applebloom lied. “J-jus’… a li’l under the weather is all.”
“Under the weather?” Big Macintosh asked suspiciously. “But ya’ll was fine earlier this mornin’.”
“T-that was then!” Applebloom exclaimed. “A-ah guess ah caught a li’l somethin’ from Scootaloo earlier. C-can’t be helped ah guess! W-well, gotta go!”
Big Macintosh stopped Applebloom from escaping. “Alright, li’l sis, tell me what’s goin’ on with ya.” The small filly finally faced her older brother, revealing her red eyes and tired demeanor. Big Mac froze. He instantly put a hoof around his younger sister and held her tightly. “What’s the matter, Applebloom? Tell yer older bro’ what’s troublin’ ya.”
Applebloom stayed silent for a moment. “… friends… Pinkie… vacation…” The filly mumbled.
“What’s that, Applebloom? Ya need to speak up, ah can’t understand you.”
The filly gazed firmly into Big Macintosh’s eyes. “Ah heard from mah friends that Pinkie Pie didn’t really go on a vacation.”
Big Mac’s calm demeanor cracked. “O-oh really… what’d they say?” He was a fool for hiding the truth from Applebloom! He should’ve known she would’ve heard the truth from somepony in town! The stallion mentally slapped himself. How could ya slip up like this, Big Mac!?
“They… they told me… Pinkie Pie’s funeral was last week, and that she died.” Applebloom explained sadly. “They also said that once a pony dies they don’t get sent to a happy place full of balloons, they don’t get sent anywhere. They jus’… stop existin’… that ain’t true though, right Big Mac? Pinkie Pie was really sent on a vacation, right?”
Big Macintosh sighed. Applebloom found out the truth in the worst possible way, and it was his fault for being such a coward. “Ya see Applebloom… Pinkie Pie… didn’t get sent on a vacation.” There was no use sheltering her now that she heard about the truth. “What yer friends told ya… was what really happened. Sorry fer tryin’ ta hide it but…”
“So ya lied to me, Big Mac.” Applebloom said coldly.
Applebloom’s words felt like a stab to the stallion’s heart. “Well… kinda… but ya see, ah—”
“You lied to me!!” Applebloom shouted fiercely, preventing Big Macintosh from finishing his words. “Ah can’t believe ya’d lie to me, Big Mac!!”
The way the tears streamed down Applebloom’s face hurt Big Macintosh in a way he’d never imagined. Here was his little sister, the filly whom he’d always saw smiling and laughing… with a look of absolute despair on her face.
“Now Applebloom…” Big Mac said slowly, wanting to make sure he chose his words carefully. “It’s not like ah wanted ta lie to ya, but—”
“Ah see how it is Bic Mac!” Applebloom cut off. “Ya’ll think ah’m too much of a li’l filly to handle the truth! Well ah’ll show ya Big Mac! Ah’ll show ya that ah’m a big pony! Ah’ll show all o’ ya’ll!” The small filly ran away from her brother, leaving nothing but a trail of steaming tears behind.
It was true. Big Macintosh did lie to her. The destruction of her world, everything she lived her life for, was complete. All she could do now was run. Run away from the sadness, run away from the tears and pain, just run until she couldn’t run anymore. She didn’t even know where she was headed, all she knew was the gravel in front of her path.
Applebloom wanted to block out everything. As long as she ran she didn’t have to think about what happened. It’s a horrible thing, the moment when a filly finds out that her elders really don’t know everything about how the world works and why. Applebloom built up her brother as the centerpiece of everything, the centralized figure who would always be able to provide her with an answer to any problem. Now that Big Mac was knocked off the pedestal Applebloom held him on, the filly was at a loss. For if she couldn’t trust her older brother, who else can she trust?
After what felt like months, Applebloom finally wore herself out from running. She collapsed onto the ground, exhaustedly panting for oxygen. And finally, she screamed.
She let out a scream that contained everything of her. All the anger and sadness she tried to bottle up while she was running was released in a single shriek, piercing the air. When she ran out of breath again, she buried her head in her hooves, sobbing frustratedly.
However, a voice kept her from drowning from her own sadness.
“Applebloom? That you?”
The filly raised her head and through her tears saw a blurry purple and green figure. “… S-Spike? Is that you?”
“Well do you know any other dragons?” Spike crouched down next to Applebloom. “Hey… you don’t look so good.”
Applebloom threw herself into Spike, knocking the books he was holding out of his hands.
“W-what’s going on?!” Spike yelped in shock.
Applebloom said nothing and just sobbed in Spike’s arms. She didn’t know why she decided to make the dragon comfort her, she just felt like she needed somepony, anypony, to hold her before she broke apart. Even if that somepony wasn’t actually a pony.
Spike quickly picked up on what Applebloom wanted, and decided to stay silent and hold the filly. They stood like that for what seemed like hours—when in fact it was only minutes—before Applebloom calmed down enough to stifle her tears.
The filly awkwardly parted from the dragon’s embrace. “U-um… sorry ‘bout that, Spike. J-jus’… needed to cry for a bit…”
“No prob’, Applebloom.” Spike shrugged. “I’m your friend, aren’t I? If you need a shoulder to cry on, mine’s vacant and ready to go!”
Applebloom let out a small smile from Spike’s joke. “Thanks, Spike…”
“So what’s going on, anyways? How come you’re so sad?”
Applebloom hesitated for a moment, and then decided to pour all of her thoughts, fears, and worries onto Spike. She felt that even though Spike wasn’t as close enough to her to be spilling her feelings onto him, if she did, she maybe would’ve felt a tiny bit better.
When the filly got through her explanation, she felt that the load on her heart was lightened, if only a little bit. Spike acted like a careful listener, not even interrupting once during her entire spiel. Applebloom really appreciated Spike for not cutting in.
“So… what’re you gonna do now?” Spike asked. “It doesn’t seem like you wanna head back home anytime soon…”
“Ah don’t know, Spike.” Applebloom admitted. “Ah’m scared. Ah’m scared that goin’ back home’ll only hurt me more, and ah don’t wanna talk ta the other Crusaders ‘cuz ah don’t wanna trouble them…”
“… does that mean you don’t mind troubling me, then?” Applebloom’s eyes glistened with tears again after Spike’s off-hand comment. “I-I was kidding!” Spike said hurriedly. “Sorry… thought a joke would help lighten the mood already.”
“Maybe if it was funny.” Applebloom commented.
“Fine, how about this one.” Spike cleared his throat. “There were two ponies who walked into a bar. The older pony—”
“This sounds like a bad joke already.” Applebloom interrupted.
Spike frowned. “How about this, why did the pony cross the road?”
“… to get to the other side? C’mon, Spike, everypony’s heard that joke already…”
“T-then! W-why was six afraid of seven?”
Applebloom frowned. “Ya know, Spike, yer real sweet tryin’ ta make me laugh and all, but ah ain’t really in the mood for it.”
“Oh… well, why don’t we just laze around and stare at the clouds for a bit.” Spike suggested. “You must be tired from all that running, anyways.”
“Yeah, runnin’… runnin’?” A spark lit up in Applebloom’s eyes. “Ah got it Spike! Ah know what ah’m gonna do ta prove to everypony that ah’m a big pony! Somethin’ that’ll show everypony that ah don’t need them all to coddle me all the time!”
“Oh? Tell me, what is it Applebloom?” Spike said enthusiastically.
Applebloom let out a small smile. “Ah’m gonna run away, Spike!”
Apple Blossom: Part 3
Written by nukeiffum
Big Macintosh was at a loss as to where he could find Applebloom. After the filly ran away, the stallion ran into Twilight Sparkle and after directing her to the direction of Applejack, decided it was best to find Applebloom to resolve what happened between them. However, Big Mac couldn’t find hide nor hair of the small filly. As time passed his worry built up, and now that it’s been two hours since her disappearance it felt like the stallion was about to explode.
“Applebloom! Hey, Applebloom!!” The stallion worriedly dashed across the farm, calling out his little sister’s name in desperation. “Please stop yer hidin’ and come out! Please!” He checked the treehouse, the cellar, anyplace Applebloom might have been hiding in, but he met with no results each time.
Come to think of it, he couldn’t find Applejack either. He went over the entire farm at least twice, and he could find no sign of the other earth pony. Seeds of worry sown next to the ones for Applebloom were beginning to sprout, but Big Mac judged that Applejack was a big pony who could handle herself, and in turn was significantly less worried about her than Applebloom.
As luck granted, Big Macintosh stumbled upon Applejack before he did Applebloom. He found her in a little visited alcove of clear ground on the groves—an area the Apple family couldn’t cultivate no matter how hard they tried.
“… Applejack?” The stallion murmured, “S’that you?”
The younger earth pony jumped. “W-wha—?! Big Macintosh, what’re ya tryin’ ta do, startlin’ me like that?!”
Big Macintosh had never seen his sister in such a state before. Her eyes were puffy and red, her mane incredibly disheveled. Applejack looked as if she spent a thousand years without rest.
“Are ya alright, sis?” Big Macintosh asked.
“Do ah look alright ta ya?!” Applejack snapped. She looked far from alright, and Big Mac knew that. At worst, Applejack closed herself off from everypony and threw herself directly into work when tragedy strikes. The same thing happened a few years back, when a faraway cousin of theirs died from an accident in the field, and again, when one of their great-aunts died of old age. Applejack was close enough to them to feel the impact of his departure as any loving relative would, but they were distant enough that Applejack got over their deaths in a couple days.
But now, someone incredibly close to Applejack died, and it was way too much for the young earth pony to handle. Big Macintosh cursed himself for not trying to intervene sooner. As fierce and tough as Applejack made herself out to be, Big Mac should’ve noticed how it was all a front, and she was just as vulnerable as anypony else.
“No, ya don’t.” Big Mac stated, pulling his sister into a tight hug. “And there’s no reason ya should, either. A pony should allow herself to cry if somethin’ horrible happens in her life.”
“Cryin’—who said ah was cryin’?!” Applejack shouted, squirming around. “Ah—ah just took a nasty fall, that’s all!!”
Big Mac said nothing and kept his sister locked in his embrace. He knew that Applejack’s pride meant a lot to her, and he had no intention to trample all over it.
Applejack finally managed to push herself away from her brother’s embrace after a couple moments. Her demeanor was slightly improved, but she was still visibly distraught. “What’re ya doin’ round here anyways?” The mare asked, trying to change the line of conversation.
The stallion hesitated. “… ah can’t find Applebloom, sis.”
“YOU WHAT?” Applejack instantly roused herself up from her depression. “Why the hay would she be missin’?!”
“Well… ah think it’s because ah’ve been treatin’ her too much like a filly.” Big Macintosh guessed. “Ah… kinda hid the truth from her about what really happened with Pinkie Pie.”
“You didn’t use that horrible vacation story again, didja?!” Applejack interrogated.
“… ah did, sis.”
“Oh fer Celestia’s sake!” Applejack smacked her hoof to her face. “Ah didn’t even believe ya when ya told me that stupid story!”
Big Mac was caught off guard at Applejack’s words. “You didn’t?”
“O’ course not!” Applejack exclaimed. “That story’s full o’ more holes than the holiest piece o’ cheese! It’s pretty darn obvious that it’s a false story when ya got everypony ‘round ya talkin’ ‘bout funerals and whatnot! And ya told Applebloom that?! When all o’ Ponyville could easily tell her the truth?! Even with all the fancy mathematics ya do fer the farm’s finances, yer still so gosh darn slow, Big Mac!!” Applejack’s voice lowered a couple octaves as she thought over where Applebloom could’ve gone. “Ya sure she’s not with her friends or somethin’? It’d be jus’ like them ta be hidin’ away in some secret place they jus’ stumbled upon.”
“She ain’t with ‘em, sis.” Big Mac explained. “They came ‘round here earlier to look fer her, so ah sent them into town ta search. Told ‘em ta tell me right away if they found her.”
“And ya just trusted them ta do it themselves?!” Applejack asked disbelievingly. “Gosh darn it, what if Applebloom got herself into trouble! Ya can’t just get a pair o’ fillies to search fer her!!” Applejack galloped out of the alcove. “C’mon Big Mac, we’re gonna go ta town and search for her ourselves!!”
Big Mac sighed as he chased after his sister. First he drove Applebloom away, and now Applejack was leading him around by the saddle. It seemed like he couldn’t do anything right!
Today was just not his day.
It’s been a whole two hours since Applebloom left the borders of Ponyville. She was now on the long dirt road to Fillydelphia all by herself, with nothing to her name except the large ribbon on her head.
After she made the decision to leave Ponyville, Spike tried to get a word in to stop her, but she had her mind set to leave Ponyville and prove to everypony that she was no longer a filly. Applebloom managed to lose Spike after accidentally knocking him unconscious through a mishap with her hind hooves, a wooden bridge, and some apple pie, and ever since then she had been trying to get to Fillydelphia by herself.
Applebloom pepped herself up while on the road, trying to push all thoughts of Big Macintosh and Sweet Apple Acres away from her mind, and instead thinking of what she’ll do once she reaches the city. At the moment she planned to become a showpony in a theater troupe where she’ll be able to try many different things and hopefully get her cutie mark. And if she can’t find a troupe to join… well, it was still a work in progress.
While Applebloom was walking the deserted path, her thoughts couldn’t help but turn back to her siblings on the farm. It was heart-wrenching for her to think about how everything she believed in was possibly a lie, but since there was nopony around to distract her, her thoughts couldn’t help but be pulled back into the cycle of misery. The cracks formed in her deep faith for her brother took a major toll on her still developing psyche, and the empty nagging feeling inside her heart refused to go away, despite trying to occupy herself with thoughts of life in the city.
Ah can’t cry… Applebloom thought. Ah’m gonna live in the city where ah’ll get mah cutie mark and everything. Ah’ll show everypony that ah’m not a filly anymore, ah’ll show ‘em… Ah can’t cry, ah can’t cry, ah can’t cry—
A trio of voices shouted her name from behind her, snapping her away from her thoughts. Applebloom turned around and saw a cloud of dust headed her way. Soon enough, the cloud stopped in front of her, clearing away to reveal the source of the voices.
“Scootaloo? Sweetie Belle? Spike?” Applebloom tilted her head in confusion at the two fillies and one dragon in front of her. “W-what’re ya’ll doin’ here?”
The three of them jumped off of Scootaloo’s scooter. “Spike told us you were skipping town!” Scootaloo explained. “And we went a mile or two down each path out of Ponyville looking for you!”
Sweetie Belle let out a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness you’re alright. We were beginning to think we’d never find you!”
“Of course she’d be on the last road we’d check…” Spike muttered.
Applebloom almost gave a small smile to her friends for coming after her, before remembering the hateful thoughts she had of them before. “U-um… sorry girls, ya’ll have ta go back ta Ponyville.”
“What are you saying?!” Scootaloo exclaimed. “We came all the way out here to look for you! Not to mention your brother looks like he’s about to have a heart attack from how worried he is about you!!”
“O’ course he’d be worried.” Applebloom said bitterly. “He think’s ah’m jus’ a li’l filly who always needs lookin’ after. Well that’s why ah’m runnin’ away, ta prove him wrong!!”
“What? That’s crazy!” Scootaloo argued. “How’s that supposed to work?”
“Well if ah can take care o’ myself then Big Mac’ll hafta see that ah’m grown up!” Applebloom reasoned. “After all, fillies can’t take care o’ themselves!”
“What if you can’t take care of yourself?” Sweetie Belle asked with a concerned tone. “Rarity told me that the city is no place for a filly by herself…”
“Weren’t you listenin’?” Applebloom snapped. “Ah’m not a filly, so ah can take care o’ mahself! And if ah can’t…” Applebloom paused. “… ah guess ah was wrong, jus’ like everythin’ else ah was raised ta believe in…”
“What? Are you sore because Big Mac lied to you? Seriously?” Scootaloo asked disbelievingly. “Man, everypony lies, Applebloom!”
“Not mah big brother!!” Applebloom shouted, causing everypony else to go silent. “Not mah big brother… he’d never lie to me… or that’s what ah thought…” Applebloom held back the bitter tears. “Ya’ll don’t get how it is fer me. Here ah was, livin’ mah entire life thinkin’ mah big bro was somepony who’d never lie ta me… and then he goes and lies ta me.” She shot her friends a harsh look. “Ah held him higher up than Princess Celestia, makin’ out ta be some great pony who’d never tell a lie. Now that ah know he’s a liar, how am ah supposed to trust anything he says anymore?”
The ponies had were at a loss of words in response to Applebloom’s outburst. They didn’t know what it was like to have the entire foundation of a pony’s life be dismantled at a time when she was most impressionable.
However, it was only the ponies that had no proper response.
“Is that really it?” Spike sighed, pushing Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo aside. “Applebloom, no offense, but running away like this only makes you even more of a filly.”
Spike’s words went through Applebloom like a dagger. “W-what’re ya tryin’ ta say, Spike?”
The dragon frowned. “I’m trying to say that you’re being incredibly immature right now.”
Applebloom furiously glared at Spike. “What d’you know, Spike!? Ya don’t even have any idea how ah feel!!”
“And your yelling isn’t helping your case either!!”
Applebloom shut her mouth at Spike’s words.
“Look, I get it, you’re mad because your older brother lied to you.” Spike lectured. “Big Macintosh meant the world to you, and now that you don’t know what to think of him, it feels like your world’s all messed up.”
“Don’t talk ta me as if you know me…” Applebloom muttered angrily. “Why are ya tryin’ ta preach ta me, ya stupid dragon! Lookit you, actin’ all high and mighty, ah bet yer lookin’ down on us ponyfolk and laughin’ at how we’re all bent up over this funeral mess! Ya don’t even look sad like everypony else, yer jus’ goin’ about yer everyday business like nothin’ ever happened! Didja even care about Pinkie Pie? Didja even care about one of yer closest friends?! If ya did, ya sure don’t lookit—”
Sweetie Belle timidly raised her voice. “Applebloom, stop—”
“And you, Sweetie Belle, why d’ya always hafta be so slow?!” Every bit of poison that spewed from Applebloom’s mouth to her friends pained her greatly, but she couldn’t stop the bitterness from pouring out of her heart. “Ah don’t think ya even cried until the day after the funeral because yer so slow!”
Sweetie Belle teared up from the insults. “That’s not—I mean—”
Scootaloo tried to stand up for Sweetie Belle. “That’s not cool, Appleblo—”
“And you, Scootaloo, always on that scooter o’ yers, showin’ off. What, ya tryin’ ta be Rainbow Dash or somethin’? Fat chance, a filly like ya will never git to her level of skill!”
“Tch!” Scootaloo bit back her anger.
“Everypony should just git outta my sight!!” Applebloom exclaimed, her demand tearing her apart from the inside. “None of ya’ll understand me, none of ya’ll knows how it feels ta be betrayed by yer family!!”
“… I know I don’t.” Spike finally responded. “But hey, at least you have a family.”
Applebloom stiffened at the dragon’s remark.
“I wish I could go through the same thing you’re going through.” Spike continued coldly. “Feeling hurt because my brother lied to me, even though it was only to protect me. You don’t know what I’d give to know what that’s like.” His voice started to shake. “Did you know everyone in my family is dead? My father and mother, my sisters and brothers, all of them were dead before I hatched. I don’t even know how they died, the first thing I ever remember waking up to was a nursery in Canterlot, surrounded by a bunch of baby ponies.
“It’s a strange thing, not being surrounded by any of your kin. I was different from everypony, obviously, and while the guys at Canterlot’s nursery knew to feed me with gemstones, they couldn’t do anything to get the ponies around me to play with me. And that went on as I grew up. Everypony treated me differently, and I had no one around to relate to. No father or mother to guide me. No brother or sister to play with me. Almost complete solitude as I grew up in my first few years.
“Only reason I’m happy now is because I was able to find a job as Twilight Sparkle’s assistant. She was the first pony to treat me as an equal and not as a dragon, the first pony who made me feel loved. But she still really wasn’t actually my family, nopony could ever replace the spot that your true family’s supposed to hold.
“So what if Big Macintosh lied to you? The only reason he did was because he loved you. I’m sure he only wanted to protect you from being hurt by the truth—he just went about it the wrong way.” Spike reached over to Applebloom and gave her a hug.
“You shouldn’t be mad at him for loving you.”
Applebloom finally broke down, letting her tears flow freely. The pain, the sadness, the bitterness, all of it flowed away along with her tears. “A-ah sorry Spike, ah’m sorry Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo. Ah—ah don’t even know why ah was sayin’ those things—”
The two other ponies joined the embrace, comforting Applebloom. “Don’t worry about it.” Scootaloo mumbled. “You were just frustrated.”
“And I really am kinda slow…” Sweetie Belle added softly.
“You girls…” Applebloom hiccupped. “What did ah do to deserve friends like ya’ll?”
“Don’t forget about me!” Spike joked weakly.
Applebloom nuzzled Spike affectionately. “O’ course ah won’t forget about you. Ah’m real sorry fer actin’ up the way ah did… yer right, ah don’t even know what ah’d do with mahself if ah didn’t have mah kin wth me.”
Spike pushed Applebloom away, blushing. “D-don’t mention it! You’re my friend, and I care about all of my friends.”
Applebloom smiled and wiped away a tear. “Ah think ah don’t wanna run away anymore.” She said weakly. “Ah think ah wanna go home and tell mah brother ah’m sorry. And…” A strange feeling was welling up in her heart, although this time it was not unpleasant.
“Ah wanna let him know jus’ how much he means ta me.”
There are many obstacles that get in the way of maturity. At some point in everypony’s life, it’s discovered that parents or brothers aren’t as amazing as made out to be. The tiny foundations of the world built on what is thought to be greatness crumbles upon the realization of the truth, forcing the harsh truths of life on a pony.
But this is something that must happen. Something that must happen despite the pain endured after the discovery. And once the pain passes, a new appreciation for life appears in its place.
Applebloom learned this fact that day.
It’s been a week since Applebloom’s escape attempt, making it two weeks since the funeral. When Applebloom got back into town with her friends, she was shocked to find out that everypony had been looking for her. Big Macintosh and Applejack had rallied the entire town into looking for her, causing Applebloom to break down crying on the spot from the guilt of making everypony worry. Everything seemed to have settled down since then, with the faint glimmerings of happiness slowly making its way back into Ponyville.
Big Macintosh was brushing Applebloom’s mane, making sure everything was nice and neat for the special event that was about to go down on Sweet Apple Acres.
“Hey Big Mac, ya sure ya didn’t lie ta me ‘bout anything else?” Applebloom joked.
“Eeeeeeeeyup.” Big Mac said calmly, concentrating on Applebloom’s mane. “Pretty sure there ain’t anything else ah might’ve lied to ya about. Oh wait.” Big Mac chewed on his piece of hay. “I lied about there bein’ a blue ribbon fer today, only got yer plain red one.”
“Whaaaaaaaaat?” Applebloom pouted. “That ain’t cool Big Mac.”
“Eeeeeeyup.” He put the finishing touches to Applebloom’s mane and beautifully tied her ribbon together. “There ya go, Applebloom, all ready.”
“Yay!” Applebloom leapt off the stool she was sitting on and pranced around enthusiastically. “Hey, hey, Big Mac!”
“What is it, Applebloom?”
Applebloom let out a huge smile. “Did ah ever tell ya ah love ya today?”
Big Macintosh grinned. “Eeeeeeyup.”
The two ponies left the barn, ready to celebrate the most important moment of Applebloom’s life. For now Applebloom had something. Something to symbolize the deep love she held for her family and friends. Something to ensure that she’d never enter the dark depths of doubt and sorrow ever again.
That something was her cutie mark. Three pink apple blossoms, nothing more, nothing less.
And that was all she needed.