Episode 1: The Apple Festival
Part 1: Fillydelphia Freedom
Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, nor do I make the My Little Pony toys. This is a non-profit fan work.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAPLEJAAAAACK! GET YER BUUUM OUT HERE!”
Within 30 seconds of Granny Smith’s call, Applejack was outside and in line with Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom. Today was a very important day, a day where apple enthusiasts and farmers would gather from all over Equestria. Today was the first day of the Fillydelphia Apple Festival! Naturally, the Apple family made a huge deal about it every year.
Granny Smith was pacing back and forth in front of the rest of her immediate family, readying herself for the annual pep talk. She thought for a second, then began:
“NOW LISTEN UP, YOUNG’UNS! This year is the year that the AAAAPLE FAM’LY’S GONNA GIT IN GEAR AND WIN OURSELVES SOME BITS! Now these past years ain’t been goin’ so well, I know that. But THIS IS THE YEAR! Ah’ can feel it in all these here trees’ bones! SO WHAT’RE WE GONNA DO?”
“WE GET OURSELVES SOME BITS!” came the rousing reply.
“Good! Now get all yer gear down to the station now! I don’t wanna be late, and we ain’t gonna be late!” Granny Smith took off with her gear veeeery slowly while the others walked at a normal pace. It was about an hour until the train came to Ponyville, and Smith needed that extra hour.
It was about ten minutes until anyone said anything. It was Apple Bloom, who asked, “When will we get back to the farm?”
“In a few days, ah reckon. Maybe more,” came Applejack’s answer.
“How will the apples survive?”
“I got some friends to take care of it.”
“Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle? They cain’t harvest apples!”
“Ah know that, Apple Bloom! Naw, ah’m talkin about some o’ MY friends.”
“You mean like Pinkie and Fluttershy?”
Big Macintosh was a very strong stallion, even more so than the rest of his family, but even HE needed breaks once in a while. Applejack offered to carry his lone suitcase for the rest of the journey. The stallion denied this offer with a shake of his head. The Apples just kept on walking.
THEME SONG, INTERMISSION 1
Pinkie Pie was setting up Sugarcube Corner for the day’s work, hanging signs and putting the plastic pastries in the display dispensers. She wasn’t expecting any customers for at least an hour - even the Cakes were still in bed! How could anypony stand it? However, an unexpected customer WAS at the door, and the Pinkie Sense kicked in at that moment. Pinkie Pie shouted, “You’re certainly unexpected today! Come right on in!”
The Apples “came right on in”. They were here to pick up rations for the trip in case one of the family got tired of so much apple pastry (Apple Bloom, of course). Applejack started off a conversation with a joyful “Well howdy Pinkie Pie! We’re just here to grab ourselves some snacks for the road.” Pinkie Pie responded with “You came at just the right time! The cakes are fresh out of the oven, and for being the first customers of the day, you get a free coffee/muffin combo!”
In the early morning, when all pegasi were sleeping - well, almost all pegasi - a cry rang out. A cry that would strike fear into anyone who heard it. It was the cry of one Ditzy Doo, nicknamed Derpy Hooves by her peers. “WHERE ARE MY MUUUUUFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINS?!”
As the Apple family enjoyed their breakfast, Pinkie Pie knew what she had to do this year, something that she’d never, ever, ever, ever, EVER done before. She stepped near Granny Smith and pleaded, “OH PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU THIS YEAR OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEEEEEASE!”
“P- Oh, what was yer name again?”
“PINKAMENA DIANE RESPONSIBILITY PIE!”
“Pie Girl, we tell you every year that the Apple Festival is the biggest darn thing we do all year! It’s just not right to bring somepony who’s a master baker!”
“I promise I’ll just look and buy stuff from other vendors! I Pinkie Promise! Cross my heart and hope to-”
Pinkie burst out into a crying fit. Applejack gave her grandmother a questioning look, but she shook her head and sighed in sympathy at the mere thought of letting Pinkie come along. It was preposterous! As the Apple Family walked out of Sugar Cube Corner, Pinkie Pie, with a look of determination, hurried up the stairs to a costume box...
Applejack stood near the window of the train as she watched Twilight Sparkle and her friends (minus Pinkie Pie, of course) wave to her family. Rainbow Dash was floating alongside the window, calling out something that sounded like “You forgot the Cloupldump-” with a regular interruption from the sounds and bumps of the train. The message never got through. Applejack was, as expected, quizzical, but brushed it off as something frivolous just after the train left. In fact, she couldn’t have known that what Rainbow Dash said was a warning for things to come...
It was about midnight when Big Macintosh was woken by a strange sound coming from Apple Bloom. The poor filly was having a strange dream or something, he figured, and the stallion tried to get back to sleep - until he noticed that Apple Bloom was sleepwalking. Macintosh, suspicious of this activity, got out of his bed and quietly tiptoed to his little sister, trying to wake her up. She just kept on walking, so, puzzled, Big Macintosh followed her.
Apple Bloom stopped walking when she reached the conductor’s car. The train was apparently moving on its own. Big Macintosh stepped into the car and saw his sister try to pilot the train. Oh no, she’s gonna wreck it! the stallion thought, and, with a note of apology, crashed right into the filly. THAT was when he noticed a magical field surrounding the car.
Bloom woke up to a loud creaking noise, the noise of separating train cars. Unprepared for this noise, she panicked and tried to jump back onto the train proper - at least, until Big Macintosh stopped her, as both cars would be heading for Fillydelphia anyway. As the car sped down the train track, both siblings speculated, but not to each other, at what unicorn could’ve done this.
“Granny, wake up! Big Mac and Apple Bloom ah’ gone!”
Applejack slowly lifted Granny Smith onto her feet. It took some time for the old mare to figure out what had happened, but when she did, she screamed, “RUN FOR THE HILLS! IT’S A HIJACK!” and started kicking randomly until her granddaughter calmed her. The pair peered at the opening in the train so they could get a fine understanding of what was going on. Unfortunately, this was hindered by all the other passengers reacting, some screaming, some running around aimlessly, some hyperventilating.
Applejack ran as fast as she could without falling off the train to its conductor, who knew nothing about the incident. The conductor was surprised to hear that there might’ve been passengers aboard the missing car, and immediately stopped the train - before realizing that the stopping mechanics were in the lost car. Whoops!
Twilight Sparkle mysteriously teleported into the missing car, shocking Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom. Without a word, she drove the train to connect with the car and teleported away. This feat left the siblings speechless, but happy. Apple Bloom cried “We’re safe!” in joy but her older sibling wondered “But how? Could Twilight really know...?” His thought, however, was interrupted by a fierce hug from Applejack. “What happened?” she asked him.
Big Macintosh’s story was very provocative, at least to Granny Smith, who immediately pointed out, “That’s one talented mare!” which was met with nods of acceptance and eye rolls. After some speculation (“Maybe she’s posessed!” “Crazy luck?” “Pinkie Sense!”) nobody was really getting anywhere. Besides, the conductor had just returned and had requested for everypony to go back to their cabins, which they did.
The next couple of hours passed in relative silence. It seemed like an entire day to the Apple Family. Finally, the train pulled in to Fillydelphia. There was a ton of stuff for the Apples to carry in, so ponies offered help out of generosity and sympathy for the incident. Everypony was buzzing at the chance to taste delicious apple treats at the 11th Annual Apple Festival. The hullabaloo allowed Apple Bloom to sneak in and view the competition.
Apple Bloom stepped into the Apple Festival Main Area, where she found Apple-themed regalia and decoration. The variety of everything was overwhelming, but one set caught her eye - and it wasn’t just because of the huge “APPLE STAGE SHOW” printed in big, friendly letters at the top. Twilight Sparkle was setting up! The filly dashed to meet her and hurriedly asked “Twi! How-”
“Go away, I’m busy!”
“Didn’t you hear me? I don’t want to be annoyed by an annoying filly like you!”
With that, the unicorn blasted Apple Bloom to the entrance of the Main Area with such force that she recoiled slightly, letting out a gasp and a stifled scream that sounded like “HE-” but with a cutoff. Apple Bloom started to sob and walked to the welcoming arms of her sister.
Applejack, after hearing the news, was skeptical, as anyone would be when they’d known Twilight Sparkle for so long. With a frown, she asked her sister “Are you sure you ain’t lyin’?”
“Of course I ain’t!”
“Well, ah’ll just have to see it to believe it! Sounds downright mean for her!”
“Come on, then, ah’ll show it to ya!”
“Hold up! You still need to-”
With a sigh, Applejack conceded and walked with her sister. Indeed, Twilight Sparkle was setting up for her Stage Show, and indeed, she batted the pair away just like she did to Apple Bloom. Twilight disappeared behind the curtain after this, leaving Apple Bloom on the verge of tears once again and Applejack almost in a state of catatonic shock. Granny Smith and Big Macintosh entered the main area and went to their spot, leaving the sisters an opportunity to tell what had happened.
Song: The Suspicion Song!
(song lyrics tentative)
Granny Smith seemed fazed by Twilight’s reject. After an hour or so, she got an idea. With great haste, she asked, “Will you go behind the stage and see what’s up?”
“Great! Report back, ya’ll hear?”
Behind the stage, Pinkie Pie lay in wait for the Apples. As they walked inside, she dropped down and cried, “Twilight’s gone! I saw her just disappear without magic or anything!” At this, Applejack cried, “What?! But ah thought she could only teleport with magic!”
“I guess something else pulled her away! My Pinkie Sense isn’t sensing anysense worth sensing over! Or sensething!” Pinkie sat down and thought about Twilight and her relationship to vamponies, but it looked like she was thinking very hard to the Apple Family. Eventually, she said, “AHA! I’VE GOT IT!”
“What? What is it?”
“Twilight must’ve been-”
At the same moment, Twilight Sparkle appeared with a look of great disgust on her face. She looked like she was about to blast them to smithereens, as her horn was tingling with power - but at the last minute, Princess Celestia came and snatched every member of the Apple Family plus Pinkie Pie, even Granny Smith, who was still outside, away.
The group ended up in Celestia’s throne room. Applejack glared at Pinkie Pie and Celestia in turn, like they were in on a trick or something. The look on Celestia’s face, however, told a different story entirely. She looked tired, as if she’d been scrounging for food and failed entirely. Her chest heaved, and her horn almost flopped. The entire Apple Family, nonetheless, was shocked with the force of which the princess said this:
“Twilight Sparkle is no longer my student. She has defected to the side of the Elements of Chaos, led by a being more evil than anything you’ve ever seen. His name is Vantilos.”
To be continued...