- Glittering Thoughts –
"Ah'm sorry, wha--?"
Applejack turned towards the blue pegasus. This was becoming slightly annoying.
"I uh... I said that you did a fine job.... today, I mean," replied Rainbow Dash. She quickly pointed at the nearest apple tree. "The apples, all gone. Ha! I never knew how you could get them all down... you know, with a single kick."
Applejack tilted her head to the right. This was surpassing annoying, sliding towards worrying.
"Are you sure you're okay, Rainbow? Y'all seem a bit…" She stopped mid-sentence, not really knowing how to continue.
"Okay? Pff, of course I'm okay! I was just... you know..." she said, ending her phrase with a wide, awkward smile. The pegasus shifted a bit, trying to arrange the bag she was carrying so it wouldn't fall off her back.
Applejack frowned a bit, but decided to ignore this altogether. She had plenty of chores to do today and she had no time for Rainbow's silly pranks or less-than-inspired jokes. Without a word, she moved on to the next tree.
"Oh, by the way!" Rainbow continued, a little faster than she would've wanted to. "Twilight asked me to bring you that book about foreign apple trees."
"Uh, thanks... just... put it on the kitchen table over there," replied the cowpony, pointing a hoof in the general direction of the farmhouse.
"Sure thing! I'll let you get back to your work," said the blue pegasus, and then took off, managing to somehow avoid colliding with any branches.
Applejack didn't even look away from her trees. The sun was setting and she wanted to buck as many of them as she could before calling it a day. It would've made it easier tomorrow. Even so, somewhere, in the back of her head, a little thought wouldn't let her fully concentrate on the task at hoof.
The same tiny thought that she was trying to ignore lately. A tiny thought that came with a question attached.
THUD! The tree she bucked shook fiercely and every single apple fell to the ground. If only it would be that easy to shake the thoughts from your mind the same way.
Three tiny knocks on the door stopped Applejack from putting out the candle in her room. Did she forget to do something? She walked towards the door and opened it, only to discover Apple Bloom with a curious look on her face.
"Hey, sis... everythin' okay?" asked the orange pony.
"Yup, all's fine and dandy with me... but Ah'm not so sure about you, big sis," replied the filly, trotting into the room. Applejack blinked once, wondering if she should just send her sister to bed and also, if Apple Bloom will one day altogether ignore knocking and just start invading ponies' personal spaces. She could see it clearly: Cutie Mark Invaders.
"What do you mean?" she asked, cautiously shaking the previous image in her head, as her little sister climbed onto her bed.
"Ah mean... we're special, right? We have, like, superpowers!"
Was this another clever scheme to stay up late or was just Apple Bloom being Apple Bloom? Other thoughts crossed the earth pony's mind, but she found it better to just listen, for now.
"Y'know, when there's something wrong with me, even if Ah don't say anythin', you just know," continued the filly. "So, it's only natural that Ah know when there's somethin' wrong with you."
Applejack let out a soft giggle. "So that's what this was all about? You don't need to worry, sugarcube. Ah'm fine. Just tired, Ah guess."
Apple Bloom shook her head in disapproval. "Nu-uh. Mah sister may be the greatest sister ever, but y'all have problems too. Also, it's not nice to lie to your lil' sis."
She was right. Applejack sighed and her ears tilted a little to the back of her head.
"This is really not somethin' you should worry about, Apple Bloom. Yeah, Ah have some stuff to figure out... it's really nothin' bad or serious."
"What's it about? Can Ah help?"
Applejack smiled. "Thanks, but Ah think Ah can handle it on mah own."
The candle flickered a little, making the shadows of the two ponies tremble against the dark orange walls. Apple Bloom stood there for a few seconds, then just got up and started walking towards the door.
"If you say so... but you've kind of been handlin' it for the past 3 weeks or so," she continued. "Ah get it if you don't wanna tell me about it, but at least talk to somepony about it."
Applejack frowned a little at those last words. She couldn't just talk about it. She didn't really know what to talk about in the first place.
"I'm always here if y'all wanna talk," said Apple Bloom, giving her sister a great big smile. "G'night, sis."
"Good night, sugarcube," replied the orange pony, as she closed the door.
She didn't like this... all this hiding and confusion. It's not like she didn't trust her family. She just didn't know what to say to them. Her sister was way too young for this kind of talk.
Wait, what kind of talk? That little thought creeped into her mind again. She didn't like thinking about it, but what choice did she have? It just wouldn't go away.
Applejack climbed into bed and blew out the candle. The orange colors now turned into a dark blue pool of thoughts. One by one, like stars, broken pieces of ideas started emerging into the pony's mind.
Maybe Ah could talk to Big Macintosh about it. Or Granny Smith. They both are older and wiser than me... but this ain't no farm-related problem, she thought. This is something... else. Maybe it's something that Rarity would know, since she meets all kinds of ponies every day. Even so, Rarity would probably frown at that kind of thoughts. Well, Ah now Ah am frownin' enough already and I ain't all that sophisticated.
Fluttershy is... not really the best choice. Pinkie has her moments of wisdom, sorta, but this might be too much even for her. Or worse, she could turn it into a party of some sorts.
The orange pony cringed at that thought. She looked up at the ceiling and let out a soft sigh. The night was quiet, the wind was soft... the smell of freshly picked apples was still lingering in the cold air.
Twilight knows stuff, even more than Rarity. She would probably be quiet enough about it. After all, it would probably be like one of those, what does she call 'em... experiments of hers?
...or maybe Ah should just focus on work and forget this whole thing altogether.
"Horseapples," she mumbled, turning to her side and trying to fall asleep, knowing very well that it would surely prove to be the most difficult task of the night, or rather, of the past nights along with this one.
"Horseapples," murmured Rainbow Dash as she rested her head on her cloud-made pillow.
Her home was floating peacefully at the outskirts of Ponyville. It was simple, but cozy. Even at night, the place seemed very welcoming. All over the puffy walls you could see images related to Rainbow's favorite pony bands, shelves with little prizes she won in various flying competitions and, of course, the unmistakable Wonderbolts poster that she had, ever since she was a filly.
Rainbow was always prepared for everything, always ready to spring into action.
I was actually able to talk to the Wonderbolts a few weeks ago at the Grand Galloping Gala, she continued her thoughts. So what's happening to me now?
The pegasus turned to her side, sliding a hoof under the white pillow, her gaze landing upon the brown bag she was carrying a few moments ago. A quick slap over her forehead was unavoidable, as she realized that she forgot to actually put Twilight's book on the table, as instructed by Applejack. How could she have forgotten that? It's like the information didn't even reach her.
"I'll get it to her tomorrow morning," she mumbled as she turned around again. "Or maybe in the afternoon," she thought, trying to find a good position to sleep.
Yeah, sleep... that would be something new. Ever since that particular night, she wasn't able to sleep at all. Well, she eventually fell asleep every night, only to wake up feeling very tired and frustrated.
Her thoughts floated a bit towards that night. As much as she tried to understand, nothing really made sense. Everything was going swell, she had fun, she felt great.
So why did I…
Rainbow turned again in her bed, facing one of the windows. It's not like it was something bad.
And I didn't mean to do that.
Still, it never happened before and she's been to many slumber parties.
So why now? ...and why can't I just get over it?
The stars were starting to appear, one by one, glittering silently in the distance. It's nice to have big windows when you're living near Ponyville, since the view can sometimes be breathtaking. Twilight had big windows in her treehouse too, she thought. After all, it was a big treehouse, it needed big windows. It was big enough to hold slumber parties.
Like that one...
Nevermind sleeping. Waking up can influence how somepony starts his or her day. Rainbow was very fussy when it came to waking up.
Warm... so warm... and the sunlight... I could feel the sunlight on my face... she remembered. The warmth, the smell.
She remembered too well.
Especially the sun making Applejack's golden hair glow even brighter, as Rainbow woke up on top of her friend.
- End of Chapter 1 –