Earth And Sky - Part 14Part 14 - Machinations
A perfunctory "thoomp" broke the stillness of a tiny, cluttered office, heralding the arrival of a message capsule through the building's pneumatic tube delivery system. This caused the skinny, pale yellow unicorn slumped over the paper choked drafting table to stir and flick an ear at the unaccustomed sound. Nopony ever sent messages down here.
His face peeled free of the blueprint he had been working on as he sat up groggily. He pushed his bifocals up his narrow snout with the side of his hoof as his horn sparked with green magic, enveloping the message and floating it over. His eyes widened as he saw it bore the gold and royal blue insignia of the head office, and hastily unscrewed it with his telekinesis and read over the note contained inside.
The rawboned stallion drew in an alarmed breath as he finished, and exclaimed to nopony in particular. "Great Hurricane's Ghost! What the everlovin' hay does the big boss want with me?"
With that he leapt down f
Windfall - Part 1Caramel's voice sounded from deep in the closet by the door, his mellow tan hindquarters the only thing visible as he rooted about, his brown tail lashing in mild agitation. "Sweetheart, do you know where I put my umbrella?"Windfall - Part 14 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Pinkie Pie's chipper voice called out over a faint clattering from the direction of the kitchen. "You left it hanging on the coat pegs by the back door."
The earth pony stallion backed out of the closet and trotted across the empty tile floor of Sugarcube Corner and disappeared through a swinging door marked "Employees Only". A couple of moments later his plaintive call came from the store room. "Aw, now where did I leave my rain slicker? It was just here yesterday!"
Pinkie's voice in the kitchen chirped in reply. "On the rack in the bathroom, remember? From when Snails brought Gummy over from Froggy Bottom Bog for his weekly bath!"
"Oh right, how could I forget?" Came the stallion's mildly pained reply as he cantered out of the back room shaking his head, an umbre
Windfall - Part 11A sound of hoof steps in the doorway caused the group of ponies to look up and see a tired looking Nurse Redheart, standing with Granny Smith at her side. The ancient mare was dabbing her eyes with the hem of her shawl and grinning from ear to ear. The white medical pony smiled at Applejack. "Cabbage Leaf was wondering if the Apple family would like to come in and meet their newest member."Windfall - Part 114 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The blonde earth pony drew herself up and caught her breath, tears welling in her eyes. Her voice trembled as she answered. "Why yes, I surely would, Nurse Redheart. I s-surely would."
With that she traded some quick hugs with Twilight, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash, and hurried up the steps, pausing and giving Pinkie a hug as well, and then fell into step beside Granny Smith, helping the Apple family's matriarch make her way back inside. Apple Bloom came bounding excitedly down the stairs with a towel draped over her withers, a beaming, disheveled Zecora in tow. The younger sister took up her position o
Windfall - Part 10Granny Smith stayed in her rocking chair knitting merrily away as all the younger ponies in the parlor leapt to their hooves and went thundering out the front door into the drizzling rain of the darkened courtyard. The wizened mare shook her head and chuckled to herself over the clack of her needles.Windfall - Part 104 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Applejack skidded to a stop and started to bark orders, her tail lashing behind her. "Apple Bloom! You go and rustle up as many lanterns as y'can, light 'em up, and git Rarity t' help ya hang 'em in the treetops in a line toward th' barn! Caramel! You come with me to the barn and help me drag th' big hay wagon out into th' yard. Twilight! I need you t' whip up any spells you might think'll help! Stay here and keep an eye peeled, and holler if ya see her! She'll be comin' in hot! Pinkie, you..."
As the other ponies scattered to their tasks, the blond farm mare paused and looked back at Pinkie Pie, who stood jittering up and down on the porch with an expectant look on her face. Applejack pur
Windfall - Part 2Rarity's employees at the Carousel Boutique had just finished drawing the blinds and hanging the "Closed" sign in the window when they heard the gentle tapping of their boss' hooves on the polished floor to draw their attention.Windfall - Part 24 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A brisk smile crossed her alabaster face as her red rimmed glasses settled onto her nose. "Well done, darlings. Now that you've finished I'd like to take a few moments to discuss all the orders for the GGG as well as give you the overview for this year's Fall collection."
She turned and summoned a cork board festooned with drawings and fabric swatches from the back room with the glittering magic from her horn. "I'll be returning to Canterlot tomorrow to oversee the work at The Bijou personally, so you'll be on your own until I return for the Summer Sun Celebration."
At this her two assistants, Snips the apprentice tailor and Thimble the seamstress, exchanged a concerned glance. Rarity usually preferred to keep a tight rein on the Gala dresses her boutique produ
Windfall - Part 7The ponies gathered in the parlor of the farmhouse at Sweet Apple Acres sat in silence, too anxious to talk but still drawing comfort from each other's presence.Windfall - Part 74 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Caramel shared the love seat with Pinkie Pie, gamely trying to sip his coffee or take a bite of a pfeffernusse without spilling or getting crumbs all over due to his fiancee's relentless oscillations.
The pink mare herself was looking a tad green around the gills, and was uncharacteristically uninterested in any of the apple based baked goods freely on tap in the kitchen.
Rarity huddled on the couch wrapped in a rustic quilt, her mane bound up in a red and white checked towel, a cup of tea cooling on a barrel converted into an end table next to her. She was looking a bit peaked herself, her deep blue eyes never settling for long on any particular point in the room, although whether it was from her recent ordeal or simply from being immersed up to her horn in the Apple family's down home country decor she declined to say.
Windfall - Part 3A full throated argument was in strident swing in the muddy courtyard of Sweet Apple Acres main compound as the apple trees lashed and rustled in the wind and rain on the farm's rolling hills. The Apple family's latest farm dog Naomi skittered back and forth across the front porch of the farmhouse, barking frantically and wagging her tail in unalloyed canine excitement, largely ignored by the assembly of equines.Windfall - Part 34 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
On one side stood a mud splattered white earth pony mare draped in an orange rain poncho marked with the crest of Equestrian Emergency Services, water rolling down her sodden nurse's cap and pink mane as she glared at a furious female zebra clad in a dripping dark cloak, gold rings adorning her neck and ankles as she hiked her bristling, black and white tail in agitation.
Off to the side of the argument's ground zero, two earth pony sisters stood watching with a mixture of dismay, annoyance, and worry on their faces. Both mares were bundled up in raincoats and galoshes, shiny
Windfall - Part 4Before any of the chastised mares could respond, the Apple family matriarch looked up toward Sweet Apple Acres' front gate with a grin spreading across her wrinkled face as a cheery voice sounded over the muddy courtyard . "Another Apple about to drop on our heads, eh Granny?"Windfall - Part 44 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
All eyes turned to see a stout mare draped in a heavy canvas cloak and broad brimmed hat pick her way across the churned up mud of the courtyard, bulging saddle bags hanging from her sides. When she stepped into the light she revealed a broad, olive green face with a bluff, open smile.
Granny Smith held up a hoof in welcome. "Just the gal I was a-waitin' fer. Howdy, Cabbage Leaf. Y'got my note, I reckon."
The sturdy mare nodded. "That I did, Granny. Sorry if the weather slowed me up a little gettin' here."
Nurse Redheart blinked in recognition and stammered. "C-cabbage Leaf, the... the midwife?"
The new arrival nodded again. "Right a roonie."
She squinted her eyes and peered at the flustered nurse from under the
Windfall - Part 5A flourish of warm brass echoed over the pristine towers of Canterlot, as the sun descended below the dark layer of clouds that currently obscured the valley and distant Ponyville from the lofty mountain capitol city. An answering call of silvery horns sounded as a bright crescent began its ascent on the opposite horizon.Windfall - Part 54 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
In an oak paneled lecture hall at Canterlot University, Twilight Sparkle's vivacious voice rang out as she levitated a stick of chalk and drew complicated sigils and runic equations on the broad expanse of green slate. "... and so, by process of elimination, we can determine that the magical field tastes like grape-ade." With that, she emphatically underlined a string of symbols and rounded on her audience, beaming with satisfaction. "Does anypony have any questions?"
Her smile tightened a bit at the corners as she beheld a largely empty hall, with a scattering of undergrad unicorns, half of whom were struggling mightily to appear politely awake while the other half m
Windfall - Part 6Spike the dragon lounged in a nearly pony sized basket next to Twilight Sparkle's desk in the office shared by several of Canterlot U's junior faculty and student teachers, seemingly flipping lazily through an advanced and esoteric tome of magical theory.Windfall - Part 64 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
In truth, he was perusing the four color panels of the latest issue of Thunderpony tucked neatly into the pages of the larger book. He'd picked up a lot in his years as the lavender unicorn's assistant, and knew how to choose books to get the best startled double takes from any students or faculty who happened to pass by.
His stomach rumbled a bit, and he glanced at the somnolently ticking grandfather clock that stood by the door, noticing that Princess Celestia's beaming portrait on the dial had been replaced by Princess Luna's shyly smiling visage.
As the comic book he read wrapped up on a cliffhanger, he began to mutter petulantly under his breath. "Is this it for our hero? Will Thunderdragon ever... eat... again... Will the nefari
Windfall - Part 8A pair of pegasi lounged on a terrace outside the VIP suite at Madison Mare Gardens, looking down at the busy street in front of the stadium's main gates. Down below, a cyan pegasus mare with a multicolored mane and tail stood with folded wings amongst a throng of colts and fillies, looking for all the world like a swan swimming in a lake of swirling manes, tails, stubby horns, and small fluttering wings. She was dressed in a sweat stained, form fitting blue and yellow bodysuit with jagged lightning motifs, the signature uniform of the celebrated Wonderbolts Stunt Flying team.Windfall - Part 84 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Shootin' Star popped a grape from a nearby fruit tray into his mouth and cast a scathing glance at the spectacle below. "Just lookit' that show boatin' glory hog down thar." He muttered, his Appleloosan drawl more pronounced than usual. "She just cain't git enough, can she?"
The lean, blaze yellow mare reclining on a deck chair next to him shook her head, ruffling her fiery orange mane, and chuckled, fixing the y
Windfall - Part 9A blare of brass rose from the gramophone in the corner, a bright sting that heralded the rise of a driving bossanova beat formed by a backbone of piano, rhythm guitar, bongos, and maracas. A vibrant orange pegasus mare sashayed out onto the compressed clouds of the studio floor, a gauzy skirt of purple, red, and gold swaying and floating around her hips as she shook them in time to the music, the butterfly and flowers cutie mark that adorned them seemingly brought to life by her movements. She clenched the long wire stem of a silk rose in her teeth, with a spitcurl of her magenta mane hanging down roguishly over her right eye.Windfall - Part 94 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
As the trumpets began to shimmer around the core of the rhythm, she was joined by a strutting pegasus stallion wearing an embroidered jacket and a wide brimmed hat with little red pompoms hanging at intervals around it's circumference, a picture of a mango adorning the lime green hide of his flanks.
The two circled, drawing ever closer as the driving tempo and f
Windfall - Bonus ChapterEPILOGUE:Windfall - Bonus Chapter4 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
They visited for only a short while, whispering heartfelt congratulations and blessings on the infant foal, before Cabbage Leaf and Granny Smith shooed everyone out so the little family could take their rest.
Windfall was wrapped in a soft blanket and laid in a beautiful crib that the younger Apple sister had constructed out of the family's namesake wood, the fragrant planks sanded to such smoothness that they felt like silk to the hoof. Apple Bloom beamed with pride to see her niece nestle in with another precious sigh, as Applejack smiled and ruffled her little sister's mane.
Big Macintosh and Fluttershy climbed back onto the bed together after the lights in the room were lowered, sharing a kiss as Granny Smith gently closed the door.
The aged matriarch of the Apple Clan said her thanks to Cabbage Leaf and slipped her a bag of bits, that the stocky earth pony in turn cheerfully split between herself, Nurse Redheart, and Zecora. Their business concluded, the midwife, herbali
The Turning of the Screwball 1The silvery sound of the bell hanging over the Carousel Boutique's front door rang merrily as its owner hurried out into the crisp morning air, the sun gleaming on her pristine white coat and sending subtle shimmers of purple through the slightly frayed curls of her luxurious violet mane.The Turning of the Screwball 14 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A "Back in Five Minutes" sign was hung in the window in a cloud of sparkling unicorn magic, as Rarity strode past a large boulder that sat by the path, pointedly ignoring it with the slightest upward turn of her muzzle.
A horn painted sign was posted next to the huge stone, with delicate calligraphy stating "The Management of Carousel Boutique humbly requests that customers not bring this object up in conversation. Ever." followed by a flowery "Thank you!" and signed with a cursive R with stylized eyes gazing out from the loop.
She stopped a few steps beyond it, turning back with an annoyed toss of her mane and calling toward the still open door. "Please do come along, Sweetie Belle, I'm far enough be
Earth And Sky - Part 1Part 1 - Necessity Is The MotherEarth And Sky - Part 13 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Clouds of steam from the engine mingled with the fine mist of a drizzly spring morning as passengers disembarked from the express train from Canterlot.
Among them, a lavender coated unicorn mare paused to savor the pervasive scent of apple blossoms that hung in the air, smiling up at the familiar hoof carved sign hanging over the station house proclaiming her destination: Ponyville. She cast an apologetic glance over her shoulder as the passenger behind her irritably cleared his throat, and hastily stepped down onto the hoof scuffed concrete of the platform.
When she'd moved a bit out of the way of the milling crowd of earth ponies and unicorns, she paused again to properly stow the book she'd been reading, which had been hovering at her side like a dutiful companion since she'd exited the train. She pulled an umbrella from her saddlebags and opened it over her head. There it floated in a cloud of sparkling purple magic, its shaft balanced like the poin
The Turning of the Screwball 2The following morning found Rarity hard at work tracing patterns on a length of shimmering cloth in her workroom, humming softly to herself. Sweetie Belle was home with their parents, and so she only had her surly cat Opalescence to keep her company.The Turning of the Screwball 24 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
To be perfectly candid, she was grateful for a chance to work in peace without dreading the inevitable crashes, splashes, scatterings, and tearing noises, or the strident denials and/or weeping apologies that followed them, when her sister was underhoof.
She let out a clipped sigh and adjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose as a frantic, staccato tapping came to the front door of her boutique. Tucking her charcoal pencil behind her ear, she trotted out through her empty showroom, wondering if she'd forgotten to hang up her "Back in 5 Minutes" sign.
The door shimmered with her magic and swung open wide enough for her to look out. "Hello? Can I help... you..." She trailed off as she looked out on empty air. She let out a mild huff and
The Turning of the Screwball 4Button Stitch sat staring into space on Twilight Sparkle's couch, a blanket wrapped around her shivering shoulders.The Turning of the Screwball 44 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
She'd been brought around with smelling salts, dried off with a clean, fluffy towel by the quiet yellow pegasus, and soothed with a cup of strong tea containing a shot of something the orange earth pony referred to as "apple tonic".
The lavender unicorn had scanned her from snout to tail with her glittering horn, consulting a stack of large, dusty tomes from time to time while asking her an exhaustive battery of probing questions about the past few days, to which she replied with a vague sense of disconnection from the answers, while a little purple dragon stood nearby and jotted their exchange down on a piece of parchment.
Now, the unicorn librarian was giving her diagnosis. Button's best customer... that is... her friend Rarity sat beside her gently brushing her mane. While it felt good to have the tangles straightened out, she was tired, more tired than she'd ever felt
The Turning of the Screwball 3Soon, Rarity stood before the front door of Button Stitch's notions shop. The "closed" sign was hanging in the window at an angle, and she peered over it into the shop, her sapphire blue eyes trying to focus past the bright reflections from outside and see what was going on in the darkened interior.The Turning of the Screwball 34 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
From what she could see, it looked like a tornado had blown through the little store, with shelves and bins toppled and every little bit of merchandise scattered and piled on the floor among a veritable birds nest of unspooled thread and ribbons.
At the center of it all, the huddled form of an earth pony mare sat with her back to the window, her brown mane unbound and tangled, her tail unbraided and in disarray. Her shoulders shook, and Rarity could hear her whimpering.
The elegant unicorn tentatively reached up with a hoof and rapped on the window, her brow furrowing with concern. "Button Stitch! Button dear, are you all right?"
She shook her head and pursed her lips, chiding herself. It w
Earth And Sky - Part 5Part 5 - Getting In On The Ground FloorEarth And Sky - Part 53 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Apple Bloom perched on a step ladder, articulating the wooden spars of the flight harness' redesigned wing, which now bore as much resemblance to the fins of a fish as it did the wings of a butterfly. Satisfied that the hinged attachment points were solid as well as moving smoothly, she gave Twilight a confident nod and climbed back down the ladder, folding it up and flipping it onto her back to move it out of the way.
The lavender unicorn stood on a square platform occupying the center of one of Sweet Apple Acres' hay barns, which had been partially cleared out to give Twilight, Rarity, and Apple Bloom someplace to work. A stout rope connected the harness to a pully, with Applejack holding the other end as a safety measure.
Since they'd arrived on her farm with this new project, the blonde earth pony had been watching their progress with an air of detached bemusement, but when time came to test the latest iteration of the wings she was adamant a
Screwball Mio Amore 1Rarity narrowed her sapphire blue eyes in concentration as a needle floated before her in the sparkling aura of her magic, awaiting a glimmering length of iridescent thread winding out from a nearby, hovering spool. A shoal of assorted sewing notions hung in the air about her, bobbing in the shimmering cloud that centered on her horn like apples on a tree in a mild summer breeze.Screwball Mio Amore 13 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The crash of a hastily kicked open door accompanied by the frantic jangle of her shop's bell abruptly jarred her out of her reverie, causing the array of spools and scissors and pincushions to tumble to the floor as if the metaphorical apple tree had been soundly bucked by a metaphorical Applejack.
The alabaster coated unicorn looked up sharply with a polite yet pointed admonition on the tip of her tongue, which died before it reached her lips as she saw the beige earth pony mare who had sold her the assorted sewing supplies that were now scattered about her hooves.
Button Stitch wasn't so much standing in her
Earth And Sky - Part 3Part 3 - Research, Experimentation, Testing, More TestingEarth And Sky - Part 33 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Over the following week, the usual sketches and fabric swatches of high fashion dress designs that lined the walls of the Bijou Boutique's workroom were rapidly covered over with a profusion of diagrams and drawings of different wing shapes. A chalkboard filled with magical equations stood in the corner, with disused ponikins shoved behind it looking as if they were taking shelter.
Twilight Sparkle reached up to pull a pair of goggles down over her eyes and skimmed over her notes for the umpteenth time, calling out to the adolescent dragon stationed in the corner with a quill and clipboard in his claws. "Okay Spike, lets start recording the proceedings now." She cleared her throat, assuming an official tone of voice. "Sparkle/Belle Personal Flight Harness, Mark One, Test One."
She stood on the turntable platform, decked out in a stripped down version of the Princess Celestia costume comprised of the basic harness attached to a c
Daring Do and the Pyre of PerilDaring Do felt the tropical sun beat down upon her wings as she soared over the trackless expanse of jungle, following the barely visible path of a winding river that glinted and glimmered in glimpses through the dense canopy of trees.Daring Do and the Pyre of Peril3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In her wake, a balloon from the Globe-Gallopers Society coasted along at full sail, barely managing to keep up with its heroic guide and guardian. An old friend and frequent patron, one Dr. McMonocle, gripped the craft's wheel in his hooves and a finely ground lens in his eye socket. The grizzled, grey whiskered earth pony scanned the horizon with a gimlet eye, trusting the intrepid pegasus mare to lead him to his current quarry: the world famous ethnologist, equinopologist, and explorer Professor Wander, who'd been missing for well over a week.
He drew himself up expectantly as Daring banked and traced a wide soaring arc, like a wheeling falcon, and circled back toward his conveyance. She came alongside the gondola, sheltering from the boiling sun under
Screwball Over 4As the bearers of the Elements gathered round to discuss solutions with Equestria's immortal rulers, Button stood nearby with a troubled look on her face. She looked down at the milling throng of tiny eqimorphs below, and then cast a long look at Davenport, who was preoccupied with holding the door shut with his hind legs. The beige mare took a deep breath and walked over to him, a solemn look on her face.Screwball Over 43 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
He met her gaze with a gentle smile as she approached. "How're you holdin' up there, sweetheart?"
She glanced behind her at the princesses and heroes in deep consultation, and leaned in to speak to him in a low voice. "Davenport, open the door. There's something I have to do."
The smile fled from his face as he looked in his wife's eyes. "Wh-what do you mean?"
Button's face was serene with terrible resolve. "Discord was wrong. Twilight Sparkle and the Elements of Harmony didn't pull out the 'plug' and unleash this catastrophe. I pulled myself out. And I think that I'm the only one wh