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source "Thanks for foalsittin' Apple Bloom for us, Carrot. You're a true friend, you know that?" Applejack walked up to the barn, which was already being darkened by the lack of sunlight. Celestia's sun was setting and a musical orchestra of nighttime crickets could be heard chirping their individual songs. "Especially on such short notice, too. I don't think there is anypony else that would be willing to help us out like this. I owe ya one." Applejack nudged Carrot Fields with a front hoof, displaying her affection to a true neighbor. Applejack counted herself lucky. She knew that any pony with apple blood on the farm would be willing to do anything at anytime, but once you left the Sweet Apple Acre gates, it became increasingly difficult to convince someone to help watch Apple Bloom. She couldn't ask her friends. She knew that Twilight was out of town visiting the Princess. Fluttershy couldn't do it, because the yellow pegasus had said something about taking care of a sick homesick seal earlier in the day. Pinkie Pie would be a disaster, Applejack thought, even though the Cakes trusted her with their twins. Rainbow Dash was also too risky, as the rainbow-maned friend couldn't do anything without being extreme about it. And there was no point in bothering Rarity, as Applejack figured she was probably busy with dress-making, and that because it was already getting late, she was probably already down getting her beauty sleep. Applejack had to ask Carrot. But she did trust him very much, more than most ponies she knew. It gave Applejack a headache thinking about what she was going to do. She had gotten a telegram today from Baltimare that was a little emotional. It described in colorful language the displeasure of not receiving a shipment of apples that they had ordered, and that if they didn't have the apples they ordered by morning, that they would cancel their contract of seventeen bushels of apples a week. This loss would be a huge blow to even the most profitable of orchards, and Applejack was taking it more personal than it was financial. She could not lose a sale, not for the sake of the profit, but more importantly, not for the sake of losing good reputation on their service and relationships. However, the local mail service office said that because it was after the delivery trucks had already taken flight to their destination for the day, there was a 20% chance that it would get to Baltimare on time, that is of course, assuming it passed the 20% of arriving there at all. Applejack couldn't take those odds. And because there were so many apples, she would need help to deliver them by hoof. Big Macintosh was ready to go as soon as Applejack was. Between the two of them, they should be able to arrive at Baltimare on time and save a sales contract from being broken. Easy as pie. The real problem though, was that Granny Smith was out of town visiting her brother Apple Strudel in Germaney, and there was no one else at the farm to watch Apple Bloom. Sure, Apple Bloom could watch herself, she was a very independent pony for being so young. However, being grounded seemed to change the ability for a foal to watch herself. Maybe if Apple Bloom hadn't decided to try and get her cutie mark in archery and shoot flaming arrows straight at one of the storage sheds, she might have had the whole farm to herself for a day. But even a loving sister can balance easily the discipline of her younger sibling with the importance of business. And Carrot was the hero who got to carry on this unpopular tradition for the night. Applejack swung open the door to the residence side of the barn, welcoming Carrot into their home. "Come on in Carrot. You've never been here before, have ya?" Applejack decided to give Carrot a quick tour. "This room is our living area place, to the left is a larger area, where we usually talk serious farm business, heh heh." Applejack chuckled as she nudged Carrot. "Straight ahead is the stairs that leads to all of our bedrooms, and to the right is the kitchen. If you get hungry, help yourself to anything in there that you can find. Please, make yourself at home!" Applejack took Carrot's saddle bag off, and set it on a nearby table. She then motioned Carrot to follow her upstairs. "This room on the right is my bed room, straight ahead is Granny's room and big brother's room, and to the left here is Abby's room." Applejack opened the door to reveal Apple Bloom lying on her bed, bored out of her mind. "Don't worry about Abby, Carrot, she's had a few sour apples today." Applejack cleared her throat and looked at her sister. "Apple Bloom, Carrot is going to be watching you tonight through tomorrow morning. I want you on your best behavior, ok Mis- What?" Downstairs, Macintosh was yelling to Applejack about hurrying up. "I'm comin' Big Mac!" Applejack looked back at Apple Bloom with angled eyes. "If Carrot tells us you've been a bad pony, you can say goodbye to that toy stable set you said you always wanted to have for Hearth's Warming." Applejack dropped her expression for the sake of Carrot as she turned back to him. "Thank you so much for doin' this. Do you have any quest-" Big Mac belted again. "Oh, horseapples, I gotta go, Carrot. Thank you so much!" Applejack ran downstairs to meet up with her brother. "Ok, big brother, lets do this. We got everything? Ok. Let's go!" Applejack walked with her big brother outside and locked the door. They fastened themselves with gear to the carts with apples to be pulled away to their destination. They would walk on foot to the train station where they would load their delivery up and take the midnight train towards Baltimare. Hopefully, they got to Baltimare before the sun rose.