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[Sweet Apple Acres]...The More Zap Apples Stay the Same. [PM for invite/Apple family welcome]

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She saluted the moment she heard AJ address her, granted by a name Lady wasn't fond of but hey , Family, what can you do? "Yes Ma'am! Pink Lady reporting for duity! Point me in the direction I am needed and I will go" Lady was a hard worker and she was planning on giving this 110% today! And every day till all the Zap Apples were harvested and jammed! Then she'd be able to enjoy the deliciousness and make her Zap Apple Jam Bread! It was a huge seller at her store, and dang it if Zap Apples wern't good eating just by themselves!

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Braeburn had attended a Zap Apple harvest only a couple times before in his life, both in his foal hood, his most vivid memory being that of hopping over water cans in a bunny suit while singing the alphabet with his cousin Applejack at the insistence of their grandmother. Other than the various odd rituals he performed as a colt, Braeburn couldn't remember any specifics save the most important one- It took five days for the zap apples to ripen and once they had, there was only one day to pick the rainbow coloured fruit.

The goldenrod stallion was sure he was on time to help though, going by Applejack's two letters, it should only be the third day. He wasn't sure what that day would entail, if anything, but at least he would get to see his cousins again, and just as important, he would get to see Willow Wisp again. For the fifty-seventh time, he worried that she might not have gotten his letter.

As he approached the familiar white terraced entrance to Sweet Apple Acres came into view, Braeburn felt increasingly cheerful and relaxed. He was sure his family would accept Willow, even if he would get a little ribbing and a few pointed questions, it would definitely be worth it. Besides, they had all met her before, and she was a local. The Apple stallion was actually more concerned over little Apple Pie, who despite having a knack for being independent, was still a filly and his responsibility; she had better be at the farm!

As Braeburn trotted in, he spotted a few of his relations, there was of course only one way to greet them; Braeburn flashed a huge smile as he reared up, [colour=#daa520]"howdy y'all from all the way from good ol' AAAAAAAPLLELOSSA![/colour][colour=#daa520] How y'all doing cousin Ingrid, Sugar Apple, Apple Cider, Pink Lady, Big Mac, Applejack, uncle Strudel, granny, and uhhh… the many ponies ah don't know!"[/colour] There were at least three complete strangers in the crowd, two earth ponies, one which was a foal, and a purple unicorn mare. The little one had to be a friend of Applebloom but the other two, maybe Big Mac found himself a fillyfriend? That would certainly make the day more interesting!

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Bramble Rose felt a flustered pink blush spread across his purple cheeks as Applejack teased under his jaw and called him affectionately. Of course, he knew she called everyone by that affectionate way, but it still seemed so nice. [colour=#696969] "Oh, ah, well, no problem!"[/colour] he stammered out, then gathered himself more confidently. [colour=#696969]"I can help, too!"[/colour] he asserted, grinning. [colour=#696969]"I'm pretty good with plants! And I can observe better from up close! I'll just zap a few of those zap apples off the trees..."[/colour] he lowered his head to flick his horn in a showy manner, a few bright green sparks bursting from the tip, [colour=#696969]"Or, y'know, I have a pretty mean kick!" [/colour] The petite lil' unicorn lifted one hind leg and gave a fierce, vigorous kick - so vigrous that it pulled him off balance and he stumbled a step or two. He quickly recovered, lifting his head proudly, defiantly - daring Applejack to comment on the stumble. [colour=#696969]"I can keep up!"[/colour]

He turned his head upon hearing Braeburn's drawl. It was so like his own sire's drawl that he found himself slipping into a family mood, matching the accent as he had since he was a foal, without even thinking. [colour=#696969]"Well, HOWDY, pardner!" [/colour]he cried merrily, putting more energy into his greeting than he ever did in either of his other two accents, his soft voice managing to rise above the hubbub to match Braeburn's, even without losing its delicate tones. He paused as he realized what he'd just done, then shrugged and ran with it. His paw's friends had never minded it. [colour=#696969] "Right neighborly t'hear a familiar tone of voice! Ah reckon ah've not met y'all yet!" [/colour] he lifted a hoof as if tipping a hat that wasn't there, and he sure missed having a proper hat for this drawl. Paw'd always had a little mini-stetson to slap on his head, when he was younger. [colour=#696969]"Bramble Rose, pleased t'meet y'all! An' greetin's from GAAAAAAALLOPlajara Plateau!" [/colour] He tossed his hoof in the air as if waving that invisible stetson. Oh, goodness, he hadn't introduced himself as from his paw's old stomping grounds in ages. The little things a familiar accent will do to a stallion ...

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After giving Granny Smith a hug in return, Sugar Apple paid attention to cousin Applejack as the orange earth pony laid down the game plan for the next few days. While the Apple family waited for the zap apples to fully ripen, they’d be getting everything organized and practicing their b[colour=#333333]u[/colour]cking skills. Once AJ finished her prep speech, Sugar swiftly flew towards her grandfather Apple Strudel and asked without hesitation; [colour=#800080]“Hiya’ grandpa, is thar anythin’ you need me to do?”[/colour]

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Ingrid Marie on the other hoof simply stood there as the introductory briefing finished. She had never been to a family gathering as large as this one before, so the vast majority of the ponies present were those that she had never met before, much less knew their names. Apparently, one pale orange stallion somehow knew her name however, even though he lived all the way in Appleoosa. [colour=#008080]“Uhhh, nice to meet you too... uhhhhh.....”[/colour] the unicorn stammered, not knowing the name of the hat-wearing Appleoosa pony.

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Back at the train station, a couple more young ponies arrived in Ponyville, both of them residents of the great city of Manehatten. Thanks to a concurrent orange harvest, no adults from the offshoot Orange clan could be spared to assist their Ponyville brethren. However, two foals volunteered to go; the pampered Valen Orange and the tough-as-nails Babs Seed. Both have made visits to Ponyville and enjoyed their time there (at least Babs did), and so the two traveled by train over to Ponyville.

As they exited the train, Miss Seed playfully slapped her cousin’s backside and asked; [colour=#daa520]“Yaw’ ready fo’ ‘dis zap apple thing, Valen?”[/colour] Babs hadn’t really done any real farmwork before like Valen had previously, but the goldenrod filly sure was eager to prove herself to her extended family. And of course, she'd get to see her other cuz Apple Bloom again, and maybe the other Cutie Mark Crusaders too.....

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As Granny Smith, Uncle Apple Strudel and Haywire walked towards the barn, the bearded green stallion stopped to receive a hug and greeting from his granddaughter Sugar Apple.

[colour=#006400]"It is vonderba dat you are here, Sugar Apple!" [/colour]Apple Strudel neighed in delight. [colour=#006400]"If you vould like, you could come und help young Hayvire bringing glass jars for me und Granny Smith to talk to! It is very important part of process to make sure dee jars vill hold vhen day are filled vith Zap Apple jam!"[/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]"Good idear, brother!" [/colour]Granny Smith neighed in a military style voice. [colour=#00ff00]"We need all the recruits we kin git our hooves on! Got two days before the harvest time comes, so we gotta git a move on!"[/colour]

[colour=#b22222]"Yes ma'am!" [/colour]Haywire answered with a shout and salute as she looked up at the Pegasus mare. [colour=#b22222]"I hope you'll wanna work with us today. I'm Haywire and I know I ain't a real Apple Family member, but I'ma gonna do mah best to help with this here harvestin'!"[/colour]

[colour=#00ff00]"That's the spirit, soldier! Now time ta march, troops! HUT TWO THREE FOUR! HUT TWO THREE FOUR!"[/colour]

Meanwhile, as Ms. Harshwhinney began to look around at the farm and the others in the Apple Family, she began to have some second thoughts about participating in this little activity.

[colour=#ff8c00]"Do I really belong here? Can someone such as I make a difference or am I simply fooling myself?" [/colour]the regal Earth Pony thought until she spotted the large, sturdy forms of Big Mac and Braeburn. Immediately, her eyes lit up and a huge smile came upon her face. [colour=#ff8c00]"WOW! Maybe this is EXACTLY where I need to be! HUBBA HUBBA HUBBA!"[/colour]

Ms. Harshwhinney rushed over to the two stallions and grabbed a basket.

[colour=#ff8c00]"Hi guys! Looks like we'll be working together! I'm Ms. Harshwhinney but you two handsome stallions can call me 'Whinney' if you like!"[/colour]

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Willow Wisp had just been hiding out behind the tree she used as a shield, watching as all sort of ponies showed up. It wasn't until she heard the typical Braeburn greeting that she perked and looked for him. Though with such a voice for a hello, it was easy to track him down. She smiled, feeling a little more nerve and slipped from her hiding, walking up to those collecting at the farm.

She didn't catch Applejack's orders, but she would try anything she was asked to do. She just hoped nopony would be put off by having her. The rumor that she lived in Ponyville's 'Haunted House', did still float around. Someponies just wouldn't list to reason when she told them it wasn't haunted. And she was sure some actually thought she was the real ghost.

[colour=#0099ff]“Uh, Braeburn,”[/colour] she walked up to the stallion with a small smile. She was doing her best no to seem nervous. But she really did worry about what his family would think if and when they heard about their relationship. She wanted to fit in as best she good.

[colour=#0099ff]“I got your letter this morning.”[/colour] She gave a joking salute,[colour=#0099ff] “I'll do my best to help your family here with this harvest.” [/colour]That said though she fell quiet so he could speak with the rest of his family.

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[colour=#000000]Applejack listened to Granny's own military speech and shouted to everyone what she needed immediately. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Alright gang. I really liked that you all came. Now first, you can choose to do three things. We need the jars to be sortin', we need every inch of the kitchen cleaned for making the jam, and we need strong stallions to help me with puttin' the baskets out under the trees."[/colour]

[colour=#000000]Applejack saw out of the corner her eye, the silly purple unicorn make a fool of himself. She just gave him a glance and smiled. He certainly was cute about his lack of composure. And then he ran up to Braeburn. Braeburn was here! Oh, and Willow, too! [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Hey, Willow! I haven't seen you in forever! You come to help out on the farm today? That's great!"[/colour][colour=#000000] As she spoke to her, she had no idea what she had said to Braeburn about a letter. She figured, that Willow and Harshwhinney were just trying to meet the family so they can be better acquainted with the tasks at hoof.[/colour]

[colour=#ff0000]"Oh!"[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack almost forgot, as she yelled at all the ponies who started to split into their separate tasks and directions. [/colour][colour=#ff0000]"Granny sang to the water already, but because we have extra orders to fill, we're gonna need more water to be sung to! Ah got extra bunny outfits over by the waterin' cans, if any of you older ponies wanna treat the water to the alphabet. And makes sure you sing it loud enough, or the water can't hear you!"[/colour][colour=#000000] Applejack didn't even flinch when she said it. It wasn't strange to her, anyways. All in a zap apple day's work.[/colour]

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Apple Pie rolled on the ground as she got out of the carriage, having already paid the nice stallions they turned and went on their way. She was pretending, hoping, to sneak up on Braeburn and pop out from his side like she normally did without anypony noticing her, this would of course be a lot harder then normal with all of the other Apple Family ponies around. She rolled across the grass one last time and snapped to his side like a shadow. Her bonnet off now as she let her hair down for a moment unsure if she wanted to keep it up all day today or not.

[colour=#00ff00]"...Quite..."[/colour] was all she said as she hugged onto Breaburns leg and giggled to herself. And what is this? Willow is here as well? Apple Pie knew that the Braeburn and Willow were great friends but she didn't expect to see her here of all places. What an interesting turn of events this was already starting to be! [colour=#00ff00]"Hello Willow."[/colour] She wanted to keep her words short and to the point, it was after all the season of the Zap Apples not the season of elongated conversation with her relatives.

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Apple Bumpkin was on her way to Ponyville yet again. Before she left she had sent off a quick letter to Cheerilee, her special somepony , letting her know that she would be in town. Bumpkin was happy to call Cheerilee her Special Somepony after their first date went so well, the relationship was still in its blooming stages much like the Zap Apples and Bumpkin felt that it would be a good move to bring Cheerilee here to further their relationship and they could both have a good time here, where else could you learn and deal with Apples at the same time, they already tried to do that on Bumpkin's farm Tiny Apple Valley and Cheerilee even brought her class. It was a good time for sure but Bumpkin felt that she could have done better as a host to make sure that the kids actually gave a good report or a report at all.

Dearest Cheerilee,

As you may have heard from some of the students in your class it is about to be the Zap Apple Harvest and I have been asked to help this year with the preparations and the harvest of the Zap Apples.

I would be most honored if you would come to the Sweet Apple Acres and assist us as well, it could be viewed as an educational endeavor for you to know more about these strange apples.

You will of course be asked to help with whatever task Granny Smith assigns us to or even the ones that AJ asks us to preform. However I will be with you every step of the way and you will not have to worry.

And yes, there will be Zap Apple Jam.

Lovingly yours,

Bumpkin.

Stretching nice and high as she trotted into Sweet Apple Acres she had but a grin on her face her hoofkerchief positioned perfectly already as she waved to her cousins and increased her speed to get up close and to make sure that she was able to hear what AJ was saying to all of her other cousins. All she caught was something about singing to water, admittedly Bumpkin didn't have that great of a singing voice but she sure had some good hind quarters and could bounce like a bunny all day long if she had to. She stretched out her legs and preformed a 'pre-game' ritual that she could have sworn that Pinkie Pie had invented or someone of that sort.

[colour=#a52a2a]" 'Ah can't sing, but 'Ah can hop over the water if that is still a viable option."[/colour] Bumpkin nodded and then leaned into AJ [colour=#a52a2a]" 'Ah also invited Cheerilee to join us thinking we could use all the help we can get this year."[/colour] Nodding her head a few more times for emphasis she backed into the lineup of her cousins and await further instruction.

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Winter Dazzle was trotting as fast as she could with Apple Bloom in tow of her as they spilled into the yard of Sweet Apple Acres. They had both been in detention yet again, one of these days Dazzle would be willing to get out of bed on time...maybe. With a quick check to make sure that her Apple Bloom was still behind her with a subtle grin she turned back forward and squeezed into the crowed not knowing what all was supposed to happen on a Zap Apple Harvest day like this as she had never been here for one before. Last year she was in Canterlot with her parents visiting and the year before that she was still attending Canterlot Schooling.

[colour=#00ffff]"So what is there for us young ponies to do?"[/colour] Dazzle asked, sort of just to anypony who was within hearing distance as being late like the norm Dazzle missed everything that AJ or anypony else had said in regards to the tasks needing to be taken care of.

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Braeburn figured that Applejack had a plan once she got the help she needed, she was too experienced with farming not to; his confidence in his cousin was shown to be accurate when she asked for everyone to split into three groups. Where he would volunteer was obvious, at least to him; getting all the baskets to the trees! Easy work for a stallion of the Apple family, especially one with his own orchard! [colour=#daa520]"Well cousin Applejack, you can always count on good ol’ APPPPPLELOOSA to do th’ heavy liftin’, so ah figure ah’m your stallion for getting’ all those baskets out!”[/colour]

Before Braeburn could look around to see who he would complete with, uh, have assist him in this endeavor that same purple unicorn mare that he spotted earlier greeted him in an accent similar to that of the Apple family, although with more of a frontier ring to it. [colour=#daa520]“From Galloplajara Plateau?! Ya don’t say!” [/colour] Braeburn smiled enthusiastically[colour=#daa520], “it isn't often ah run into ponies from the plateau, even in APPPPPPLELOOSA, but ah have talked to a few; good, hardy folk!” [/colour] She didn't seem like the Galloplajara type; demure, well-groomed, she had more of a Canterlot look to her. Still, Braeburn had recently learned he had pegasus and unicorn relatives in his family who weren't farmers, and then there was his own beautiful marefriend, Willow Wisp, so there was no reason not to take the purple unicorn at her word.

Still, Braeburn figured he could have a little harmless fun with Miss Bramble Rose by going overboard with the old fashioned “gentleman stallion” approuch. The goldenrod stallion stood up on his hind legs and removed his Stetson with his left forehoof while lifting Bramble’s still outstretched forehoof with his right. [colour=#daa520]“It is a pleasure to meet you, fair maiden from the Galloplajara Plateau”[/colour], Braeburn offered a warm smile and a wink as he gave the held forehoof a kiss.

As the goldenrod stallion went back to standing on all fours and placed his Stetson back on, another mare came up introducing herself rather enthusiastically as Ms. Harshwhinny and volunteered for the basket carrying. He was about to say something skeptical when suddenly Willow Wisp appeared next to him like a ghost who was always there but suddenly decided to make their appearance known.

[colour=#daa520]“Willow! Y’all made it!”[/colour] Braeburn stood up on his hind legs and picked up the black unicorn mare, swinging her around joyfully before planting her back on all fours and giving her a most welcoming kiss on her lips. [colour=#daa520]“Ah’m so glad y’all are here! Y’all can meet the family and be a part of one our proudest traditions! Oh! This is Miss Bramble Rose and Miss Harshwhinny, they’ll came as visitors to help out too!”[/colour]

Braeburn looked out to see which Apple to introduce Willow to first; she mentioned she knew Applejack and Big Mac already, so… Before he could finish that thought, little Apple Pie appeared just as suddenly, clinging to his leg as she was apt to do. [colour=#daa520]“Well there y’all are! Ah wasn’t sure if you even made it! Y’all should never go running off like that on me, what if you'd gotten lost, or hurt little missy?!”[/colour] Braeburn was mad, but not overly so, more he was glad she was alright and gave his little green maned cousin a hug, [colour=#daa520]“ah’d don’t what ah’d do if something happened to you.”[/colour]

Will post Cheerilee tomorrow, ran out of time today, sorry.

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Cheerilee had just finished closing up the school for the day; all the cleaning now done thanks to her detention cleaning crew for the day, Applebloom and Winter Dazzle. Now she had sent them on their way, she could finally retire for the afternoon at home, perhaps listen to some classical music on the phonograph, and get some of those novels finished.

It was only a short trot to Cheerilee's cottage, a small single story home in the outer edge of town overlooking a meadow; it was cozy and peaceful, just how she liked it, especially after the typical organized mayhem that was the average school day. Before she went inside and crashed on her couch the mulberry mare figured to at least check the mail. There was the usual, but one letter stuck out, it was from Tiny Apple Valley and one Apple Bumpkin.

Without even waiting to go inside Cheerilee opened the letter to see what it was about. Turned out Bumpkin would be in town for the Zap Apple harvest. The former was good enough, but the latter is what particularly piqued her interest. Here was an opportunity to see one of the most talked about, yet mysterious processes in action! Here she would get to part of something she never thought she’d get to experience! Just as important, she told take that experience back to school and incorporate it into her lessons about the town heritage.

It didn't take much time for Cheerilee to get ready, being local she didn't need any sleeping gear or the like since it would only take minutes to return home each night from Sweet Apple, and plenty of room for Bumpkin to stay there with her also. Within an hour of reading the letter she was ready to go, carrying nothing more than her summer straw hat, saddlebags, and most importantly her camera, with her.

Cheerilee didn't know who all to expect at all at the farm as was pleasantly surprised at how many ponies there were, most of which she didn't recognize but she assumed to be Apples. The first pony she actually did recognize was Haywire, which wasn't a surprise given she was assigned to work at Sweet Apple for some of the issues she caused during the last field trip. [colour=#800080] "Well hello there Haywire, glad you see you are here helping out! Be sure to mark your hours again so I can record them; you'll be finished with community service in no time."[/colour]

The schoolmare gave another look around the open yard and quickly spotted who she was looking for, Apple Bumpkin; who appeared to be standing in a group of what Cheerilee guess was her relatives. Not sure if it was rude to trot up and interrupt, she opted instead to wave happily in Bumpkin’s direction with a wide open smile, all geared up already to just right in.

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Apple Cider mulled over her choices for chores in her head for a moment, trying to choose the one where she would have to do the least amount of manual labor so she could continue working on the base for the Zap apple Cider that she was concocting.. Zap apples are very strange fruit, so she figures she might have to do a little experimentation to get the cider tasting fine.. she may have to replicate some of the procedures for picking and cooking the apples as well.. All in all she was sure that there was going to be a lot of work to do, so she volunteered to clean the kitchen, so she could finish and then quickly get back to her batch of bubbly elixir.

While she wasn't overly proficient with a broom, she managed to sweep up all of the floor in a matter of time, used a damp cloth to wash down all the counter-tops and appliances, and also took the liberty of cleaning the jars in the kitchen so they would be ready to be filled with delicious Zap Apple Jam. While she cleaned she cooked in a pot a concoction consisting of several different kinds of apples crushed into a pulp and separated into their juice and pomace components. Pomace was a hard cake of left-over fruit which resulted after all of the juice has been drained for apples. It wasn't particularly useful for much, but when dried and mixed with creme it made a fine dessert.

After cooking the mixtures for a little bit, making sure not to bring the heat too high to kill the bacteria responsible for fermenting the concoction, she poured each of the mixtures into their own still barrels and let them begin to ferment. Once she got access to the Zap apples she could easily introduce the juice to the existing bases, which would result in perfectly drinkable cider. Now it was all about the waiting game.. The part about cider-making that she least liked. While she cleaned the kitchen she crushed the pomace into small, cake-sized discs and iced them with some homemade icing, intending them to be served as a pick-me-up snack for all of the others working hard out in the fields or in their bunny costumes.

[colour=#00ff00]"Bunny costumes.. The alphabet.. How silly."[/colour] she thought.

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/Stallions?/ Lady snorted at that and moved to flip her blush pink mane back slightly "I'll be happy to help you haul baskets AppleJack" Lady wasn't the fastest or the toughest mare around but she WAS a strong little thing! She could harvest apples just as good as anypony else on the Apple Family tree! Why she could haul a basket by herself if she had to!

Let it never be said that Lady didn't have her pride, she wasn't masculine no, but the girl worked hard and felt she could do more to help, than doning a bunny suit and singing to water (a tradition she still found silly, even though she'd done it enthusiastically as a wee filly!)

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Scootaloo trotted onto the farm, wings buzzing with energy! She had been wanting to help something awful! "I'm HERE!" She called out, instantly darting to try and find AppleBloom, though somepony else caught her gaze first "BABS!" She waved before zipping over to the brown pony with the strawberry mane "You're here!? Awsome this is gonna be the best zap apple harvest EVER! Cutie mark crusader ZAP APPLE JAM MAKERS!" She held a hoof out for a hoof bump. She really liked Babs, the two seemed to share the same kind of spark, they were both tomboyish and a lil rough, and Scootaloo was glad she was back for now!

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Granny Smith stopped her marching when Cheeilee came over and spoke to Haywire.

[colour=#B22222]"Thank ya, Miss Cheerliee!" [/colour]the blank flank filly neighed. [colour=#B22222]"I'll be sure ta do that! Wanna come along with us ta help?"[/colour]

[colour=#00FF00]"HAY SOLDIER!" [/colour]Granny Smith shouted as the helmet wearing mare rushed over to her. [colour=#00FF00]"No talkin' in the ranks!"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"But Granny Smith, I was tryin' to git Miss Cheerilee ta join us," [/colour]Haywire said with a smile.

[colour=#00FF00]"AH! Roundin' up new recruits? Smart thinkin', soldier!" [/colour]the elderly mare gave a salute as she spun around to face the teacher pony. [colour=#00FF00]"So yur joinin' our platoon! Welcome aboard!"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"Mein sister," [/colour]Uncle Apple Strudel spoke as the spike-helmeted stallion walked over to them. [colour=#006400]"AppleJack has said dat dere is more vater dat needs to be sung to. You vill be needed to lead dat group in dat task!"[/colour]

[colour=#00FF00]"Ya gotta point thar, Strudel," [/colour]Granny Smith said as she took her Army helmet off. [colour=#00FF00]"What er we gonna do?"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"I tink vee should divide our, troops, mein sister. I can give dee jars dere marchin' orders vhile you lead dee foals in singing to dee vater cans. Dat vay, vee vill achieve our goals much faster, ja?"[/colour]

[colour=#00FF00]"Nah! i gotta better idear! Strudel, while you go and give them thar jars their marchin' orders, I kin take all the youngin's and git more of the water sang ta! Ain't that a better plan?"[/colour]

[colour=#006400]"If you say so, Granny," [/colour]Apple Strudel said with a smile. He had far too much respect for his older sister to point out that all that was HIS idea all along.

[colour=#00FF00]"Change in battle plan, kido," [/colour]Granny Smith said to Haywire. [colour=#00FF00]"Since we got a lot more youngin's now, you and me are gonna go sing ta the water with'm!"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"YAY!" [/colour]Haywire shouted as she rushed over to her classmates and then gave her a salute.

[colour=#00FF00]"Good job, soldier!" [/colour]Granny Smith neighed as she approached the group of fillies. [colour=#00FF00]"Ok youngin's, time ta git inta uniform and git ready to do some Zap Apple Water singin!"[/colour]

As Granny Smith started putting her bunny suit back on, Haywire turned to greet her friends.

[colour=#B22222]"Scootaloo! Babs! Winter Dazzle! So glad y'all's here! Hope Applebloom kin join us soon! Any of y'all ever done any water singin' before?" [/colour]the excited rust coloured filly asked as she grabbed a bunny suit and started to put it on.

Meanwhile, the helmet wearing Uncle Apple Strudel looked over at Cheerilee.

[colour=#006400]"Fraulien Cheerilee, vill you be helping me vith dee glass jars? Since vee have more jars, dee job vill go faster if I had a pony to bring in more jars und den take dem back to storage vhen I am done lecturing dem. I have vatched mein sister many years so I know dee speech vell. Can I count on your assistance?"[/colour]

As Granny Smith perpared to lead the foals in their task, Ms. Harshwhinney noticed all of the other mares who were gathering around Braeburn. Taking her cue, she then rushed over to Big MacIntosh's side.

[colour=#FF8C00]"So there, handsome. Maybe you and I can work together on this assignment. Do YOU happened to have a very special somepony in your life? Er, just asking, polite conversation and all." [/colour]the judge mare said with a goofy grin. Ms. Harshwhinney's heart raced, standing so close to such a rugged, noble stallion.

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[colour=#800080]“You can count on me Grandpa!”[/colour] Sugar Apple gleefully proclaimed, giving Strudel a mock-salute of her own. Following her “orders,” the purple pegasus raced towards the house to help collect the necessary jars. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Sugar to find the jar room; in no time, she was doing her part in placing the jars in the correct area.

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Elsewhere, Ingrid Marie managed to encounter a familiar magenta-coated sight. The beige unicorn successfully spotted Cheerilee, a schoolteacher that Ingrid met back at Apple Bloom’s birthday party. The two educators connected quite swimmingly that day, and the counselor hoped to replicate that success today. Once Ingrid’s earth pony friend finished waving to a group of other ponies (presumably other relatives), the middle-aged mare trotted near Cheerilee and shouted to get her attention; [colour=#008080]“Cheerilee, is that you? Remember me, Immie’? You’ve come to help out the Apple family too?”[/colour]

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Babs Seed was slightly taken off guard when the orange pegasus Scootaloo welcomed her to the orchard instead of cousin Apple Bloom, but she was nonetheless happy to see her crusader buddy. From all the letters she exchanged with her Ponyville pals, it seemed to Babs that Scoots possessed a similar sort of spunk as herself, so the goldenrod filly anticipated the chance to bond with the pegasus. [colour=#daa520]“How you’re doin’ Scootaloo?”[/colour] Miss Seed replied, returning Scoots’s hoofbump with a much more forceful one; [colour=#daa520]“Nice to see yaw hea’! When are da’ otha’ Cutie Mark Crusaders comin'?”[/colour]

Right then, some rust-coated filly came up to the group and asked if they ever done any water singing before. With a blank face, Babs asked; [colour=#daa520]“Uhhhh, who are yaw?”[/colour] The goldenrod Manehatten pony felt ill at ease that somepony she never met before somehow knew her name. And what was with that silly bunny costume of hers too? Babs hoped this water singing task wouldn’t turn out to be some corny activity.....

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This would be Apple Susie’s first ever Zap Apple harvest! Her ma used to tell her stories all about the reunion like the hopping over water cans in a bunny suit while singing the alphabet with her cousins, aunts and uncles. Other than the various odd rituals she performed as a young filly it was basically just a fun annual reunion based around apples. One thing that Susie never truly understood was probably the most important one- It took five days for the zap apples to ripen and once they had, there was only one day to pick the rainbow fruit, kinda obnoxious fruit right?

The little filly wasn't sure what day she was coming in on but at least she would get to see her kin outside of Appleloosa. She trotted over towards the Appleloosa train station and hopped onto the next train to Ponyville.

As she approached Ponyville she saw a white terraced entrance that read “Sweet Apple Acres”. When the train came to a stop she hopped off and ran back in the direction in which she saw the farm. When Sweet Apple Acres came into view, Apple Susie felt increasingly cheerful but nervous. She was sure that she would have barrels of fun but she didn’t exactly know all of the family that was going to be there.

As Apple Susie trotted beneath the sign, she spotted a wallop of her family, she saw Braeburn and Apple Pie but she didn’t even know them as much as she would love to, most of the mares, fillies and colts she also didn’t know, there was of course only one way to get to know them and that was to say hi! She looked and saw an elderly mare placing a rabbit suit on around a bunch of other fillies who looked around her age range, she guessed this to be Granny Smith. Apple Susie trotted over to the small group and flashed a smile, [colour=#FF8C00]"Howdy y'all I’m Apple Susie nice ta meet cha!"[/colour]

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Zap apple season always proved to be one of the most interesting times - afterall, rare events were such a union between the Apple family and so many others who wanted to help out so readily for something so physically small...but the values of the zap apple were great enough that it often amazed mac at just how massive a turnout could be come harvest time - it always appeared as though more ponies arrived than had been there the year before

Of course, Mac would have at least said hello to Braeburn, a relative whom he had somewhat-sibling styled relationship towards whenever they'd been around the same place...but here he was, finding himself being accosted by a rather impetuous little filly who was looking at him like she'd won a mound of bits.

"So there, handsome. Maybe you and I can work together on this assignment. Do YOU happened to have a very special somepony in your life?

Er, just asking, polite conversation and all."

Macintosh found himself in a rather weird position...not one benig used to this kinda 'directness' from a female - of course, he was flattered that she'd think so highly of him in this way, but...well, he didn't really practice talkin' so directly to fillies all that much, and so found himself a little redfaced and unsure.

" [colour=#b22222]Uh, well...[/colour] " Mac says, a small bead of sweat forming as he tried to think of an appropriate response to her question. " [colour=#b22222]Ah...it's...Uhh...Eeenope[/colour]? "

Of course he realised that by simply answering her question at all...he'd probably opened the floodgates to making this particular harvest a most unexpectedly 'interesting' one - mostly because he had the overwhelming feeling that this particular pony wasn't going to be out of sight, out of mind for all that long for it's duration!

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Bramble Rose blinked as a cute filly approached, such a lovely smile on her face ... she looked real familiar, but he couldn't quite place it ... And then he didn't have time, as Braeburn was kissing his hoof. Wha ... wha .. what?! Maiden? Was he ... FLIRTING with him? [colour=#696969]"Now see heah, pardner!"[/colour] she started to retort,[colour=#696969] "ah'm-"[/colour]

Then that pretty mare and Braeburn were embracing ... Willow? Yes, Willow! Oh, golly, he remembered! [colour=#696969]"Willow Wisp, what a coinci- Wait, Miss Bramble Rose? No, no, y'all don' - Ah'm not a 'miss'!"[/colour]

Then there was a little filly clinging to his leg, and wow, that was way too adorable. [colour=#696969]"Ah-hem. Ah'm not a 'miss',"[/colour] he said more softly, time for his initial irritation to ease up a little. [colour=#696969]"See, Willow an' ah dated once." he tried to explain, "back when we were younger ... Ah, um ... aw, heck. Ah'll jes' go help with th' baskets."[/colour]

With a frustrated sigh, Bramble turned to the pile of baskets and hefted a couple onto his back, then started trudging out towards the zap-apple trees.

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AppleBloomATTEMPT3final.png

It had been a pretty dumb move on Apple Bloom's part, but Celestia above she would defend it to the last. Maybe she had just inherited her sister's stubborn streak, but she wasn't going to let that colt get away with cheating one of the little foals out of her favorite sparkle toy. Luckily, he had been too embarrassed to admit that he had lost a fight to a filly younger than he and all Apple Bloom had gotten as a result was a slightly gamey leg and detention. All in all, a good day at school! Miss Cheerilee hadn't been happy, but Apple Bloom was perfectly fine with her choices. It was the right thing to do, no matter what the adults said, and she knew that in the coming days when Applejack was informed that she'd tell Applejack that as well. She was nothing if not a little proud of her bravery, even if it meant trouble further down the road.

Luckily, today was another day in the Zap Apple season, which meant any meager worries were drowned out by the excitement. She had talked about it so much that even Winter Dazzle was tagging along, and that was gonna make the whole day even more crazy. What with all the Apples they were expecting plus the usual assortment of farm aid that would flood the area looking for easy money and good friends, Zap Apple time was one of the busiest of the year. And now that Apple Bloom honestly understood what the season meant for her family, it had become one of the most important, and one she was determined to make her mark on. After ignoring so much of it last time, she had a second chance. You didn't often get second chances and this season was Apple Bloom's shot at righting wrongs. And it was going to be fun! They came up to the farm just as Applejack was giving the trotting orders out to everypony. There were simply so many things to do!

[colour=#ff0000]"Y'know Dazzle, Ah'm sure that Granny Smith needs someponies ta sing ta the water!" [/colour]Apple Bloom offered, imagining how cute they'd both look in those adorable bunny outfits.

-----

Valen Orange hadn't planned on coming back to Sweet Apple Acres so quickly, but Babs Seed was a very potent manipulator of his parents and could get him to do just about anything because of their consent. Sure the Oranges often sent one or two of their more disposable farm hands to help the Apples, but an orange harvest was taking place and they were strapped. So it had been an easy thing to convince his parents that they should send their son, who had worked his flak off once before for the sake of his dear cousins and would happily do so again for no greater reward than the love of family. The fact he was here with Babs Seed made things better- or worse, depending on your view of the filly's more aggressive attitude. They certainly worked well together, Valen himself lacking that aggressive spark. They made their way to the farm, where an overwhelming number of Apples had gathered. It was almost impossible to see through the mass!

In fact, despite all that, it was Crusader Scootaloo who welcomed them. Valen gave a curtsy out of no conscious thought- that traveling show had done a number on his mind, not to mention his body- and joined Babs Seed in wondering what was what with the water. But he had one advantage over her.

[colour=#0066cc]"Well, I remember hearing about the Zap Apple harvest. There are some truly unusual things to be done, but every little thing matters. Just grin and bear it!" [/colour]Valen playfully slapped her shoulder before looking around.

[colour=#0066cc]"But we should try to find Apple Bloom...she's used to this silliness more than we."[/colour]

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Willow Wisp was honestly surprised by her warm welcome, and a red hue could be seen even on her black cheeks. She had to quickly glanced around to see if anypony was looking at her, afraid that Braeburn might have attracted some attention with his enthusiasm. After all she wanted to make a good impression on the Apple Family and didn't want them jumping ton conclusions about her.

[colour=#0099ff]“I hope I can be of some help,”[/colour] she said shyly as she manged to give him a quick kiss back before his attention turned to his little cousin.

When she heard Bramble call her name though, she cocked her head right, trying to place him. Though it didn't click until she heard the word 'dated' .[colour=#0099ff] “We did?”[/colour] Wisp, to her knowledge had never been on a date. Then it came to her, she remembered meeting Bramble once and having lunch with him. To her though, it had just been a nice friendly get-together. And after they went their separate ways, she didn't see him again.

[colour=#0099ff]“Oh you mean that time we had lunch... that was a date?”[/colour] She had a bit of a sheepish look on her face. Had she really been oblivious when she was younger? And how awkward it had to make Bramble feel hearing her confusion over the subject.

Clearing her throat she tried to quickly change the subject.[colour=#0099ff] “Ah, well sounds like there is a lot of work to do... uh...”[/colour] But she didn't know where she could help. Though she remembered Applejack saying something about singing. She supposed she could try and help there; pretty hard to mess up the ABCs. And she did sing Grimmy's favorite story; even doing so in front of his class there in Ponyville for show and tell.

[colour=#0099ff]“I... I can help sing... I think. Bunny suit and all if that's how it works.”[/colour]

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Apple Bumpkin grinned largely as she noticed that Cheerilee had actually came to help out! And she brought her Camera! Today was going to be the most epic of epic days that was fore sure. Bumpkin quickly trotted over to her special somepony and quickly gave her a kiss on the cheek.

[colour=#a52a2a]"Hey Hun! How was yer trip here? 'Ah hope it wasn't too stressful on ya ta come down here for this chaotic mess."[/colour] She was remarking on all of the strangeness that was going on behind her with ponies dressing in bunny suits and jumping over watering cans as well as the way the kitchen was painted with polka-dots and everyone just seemed to be in a world all to its own right now. But perhaps that was the magic of the whole thing, that it didn't have to make sense as long as you worked as a team and got the job done, maybe. Bumpkin was always wondering how exactly this worked as she had only been here at the end of the Zap Apple Harvest one year and missed it all together the previous year. However that was not going to get her down as she noted that she was going to still have to be on her best behavior since Cheerilee was here with a camera. The first step was to go get a bunny suit on and attempt to sing to some water, perhaps Cheerilee would enjoy watching that.

[colour=#a52a2a]" 'Ah'm going to get a bunny suit on an try ta sing ta some water! You could always come and take photos and document stuff if'n you wanted to make a lesson on it. 'Ah'm sure cousin Applejack and Granny Smith wouldn't mind, its not like any other place has Zap Apple trees."[/colour] Bumpkin giggled as she slipped the bunny outfit on really quick and fidgeted in it a bit as she got it all situated. [colour=#a52a2a]"Well how does this look?"[/colour] She grinned and bowed before Cheerilee and hoped that she might snap some quick pics.

ApplePiebanner2.png

Apple Pie nodded her head as Braeburn spoke to her.

[colour=#008000]"I'm quite sorry Braeburn, I had figured that I would beat you here and it would be a nice surprise for you to show up and me already be here. However I misjudged the strength of the carriage ponies and even the time to travel here. I assume that an apology will be in order. I'm sorry Braeburn, I didn't mean to make it seem as if I ran away, I had no intention of making you worry either."[/colour] She bowed her head and tipped her bonnet to Braeburn in hopes that he would forgive her and not be so harsh on her with her punishment for what she had done.

[colour=#008000]"What did you plan to do to help out with the Zap Apple Harvest? Other then the manual labor part that is."[/colour] She let out a soft giggle as she knew that she was planning on perhaps helping him wherever he went to.

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Winter Dazzle stood next to Apple Bloom and giggled.

[colour=#00ffff]"Well then I guess that we could go do that!"[/colour] She shouted excitedly as she stuck to Apple Bloom like glue, she wasn't going to let her Apple Bloom get out of her sight for too long. [colour=#00ffff]"How do we even get into these things?" [/colour]Dazzle attempted to get into the bunny suit as she looked at Apple Bloom for instructions on how to properly preform this task. She has no idea what is in store for her today all she knew was that it was going to be loads of fun and for her to spend all day with Apple Bloom. Perhaps she should begin to practice her ABCs...

[colour=#00ffff]"A...B...C..."[/colour] She trailed off not so much forgetting what she was doing but simply due to the fact that she had fallen over and mussed herself up in the dirt and send her hairband flying.

[colour=#00ffff]"Noooooo...."[/colour] She dramatically stated as she hit the ground.

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[colour=#daa520]Braeburn[/colour]

Braeburn put his forehoof around Willow Wisp and gave her a reassuring nuzzle in hopes of making her feel more at ease; at this moment, only Applejack seemed to have noticed her - They already seemed to be acquainted, and there seemed to be plenty of non-Apples around to make it less nervous for his new marefriend. [colour=#daa520]"With all th' ponies that came t' help out wi' the harvest, ah reckon y'all will fit right in, Willow! Don'tcha worry, the Apples are always welcoming!"[/colour]

Even better, Willow had met an old friend! Braeburn smiled broadly. [colour=#daa520] "Well, ain't that a darn tootin' coincidence that y'all would run into each other again here, this is great! Now there's two ponies y'all know, hon, and y'all can catch up durin' the harvest!"[/colour] Braeburn turned to the silver maned unicorn and winked, [colour=#daa520]"and ah understand, darlin', ah won't call y'all miss - mah cousin Applejack don't like it when ponies call her miss, either!"[/colour]

He turned back to Willow, smiling broadly. Usually the water can ritual was left up to Granny Smith and the lil' ones, but there was certainly no age limit.[colour=#daa520] "Well if'n y'all don't mind hoppin' around in a bunny suit, hon, ah'm right certain they'd welcome you!" [/colour]His curiosity was piqued - seeing the charmingly spooky unicorn in a cute blue bunny suit was something he had difficulty imagining.

First things first, though - Apple Pie. [colour=#daa520]"Well, lil' cousin, it wasn't so much when y'all arrived - it was how y'all left that worried me. Jus' comin' in an' findin' y'all took off willy nilly? Y'all don' leave th' orchard without askin' me first, alrighty?" [/colour] He gave her a hug, then drew back, looking up and around at her question as he rubbed his hoof against his chin. He really couldn't remember all that went into the Zap Apple harvest. [colour=#daa520] "Well, Apple Pie, first thing's first; ah'd figure t'show all these ponies how we do things in good ol' AAAAAAAAPPLELOOSA when 'ah get the most baskets out to th' trees for th' harvest!".[/colour] With that speech in hoof, Braeburn confidently trotted over and flipped several of the empty baskets on his back.

There was only one more matter to attend to before the goldenrod stallion got started,[colour=#daa520] "how about you Mac? Y'all already for a friendly contest of who can get th' baskets out the fastest? Y'all can have yer new mare friend help since ah got Apple Pie wi' his, tis' fair and all!"[/colour]

[colour=#800080]Cheerilee[/colour]

Cheerilee just stood there in awkward silence as Haywire, Granny Smith, and then another elder pony, who was named Stroodels or something like that, addressed her. It looked as if she was drafted into gathering jars ... she thought. It was difficult to understand the old stallion's Germaney accent. She didn't want to appear disrespectful, or dismissive of the Zap Apple customs though,[colour=#800080] "Oh, umm, sure, I'll be happy to help out! The best way to learn about something is by doing! That is what I try to tell my students, anyway. So, umm ... lead the way, Mr. Stroooodell?"[/colour] By Celestia she hoped she got his name right.

First though, Cheerilee watched with considerable amusement as Bumpkin worked her way into the bunny suit. It was quite the sight - ridiculous, but most adorable. She couldn't help but giggle out loud as she took a few snapshots. [colour=#800080]"I'm sure I can get a few pictures of you ponies singing before I have to collect the bottles, I wouldn't want to miss this!"[/colour] Cheerilee looked over to the elderly bearded Apple, still with an enormous grin on her muzzle, [colour=#800080]"if that is alright with you Mister.. Strodell?"[/colour]

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Haywire was happy to see so many fillies her age gathering together to help Granny Smith sing to the water. As she was putting on a bunny costume, she turned towards Apple Susie.

[colour=#B22222]"Hi Apple Susie, I'm Haywire!" [/colour]the rust coloured blank flank filly said to her before turning towards Babs Seed. [colour=#B22222]"Babs, don'tcha remember me from that day we all played together in the park? My family went shoppin' and left me thar with the group and we played purta near all day till they came an got me! I'm surprised y'all don't know me! Oh well, better finish gittin' all suited up fer .."[/colour]

[colour=#00FF00]"Listen up, youngin's!" [/colour]Granny Smith neighed in a kindly voice as she put her own bunny outfit on. [colour=#00FF00]"We got an important job ta do, so let's git to it! Put on a bunny suit er some rabbit ears and join in! Foller mah lead, here we go!" [/colour]

Jumping over many watering cans one at a time, the elderly costumed mare began to sing the alphabet song as she leaped.

[colour=#00FF00]"A, B, C, D, E, F, G! H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P!"[/colour]

[colour=#B22222]"C'mon everypony, gotta foller our leader!" [/colour]Haywire shouted as she began jumping cans and singing along with Granny Smith. Meanwhile, Uncle Apple Strudel was delighted to have his winged granddaughter and Cheerilee offering to help him, although she wanted to take some photos first.

[colour=#006400]"Javol fraulien Cheerliee, join us vhen you are ready" [/colour]the elderly bearded stallion said with a nod, only now noticing that Sugar Apple had already flown into the storeroom and was already at work. [colour=#006400]"I am coming mein granddaughter!"[/colour]

The gray stallion ran as far as he could into the storeroom, pointy Germaney Army helmet on his head. With a table full of glass jars all lined up, Apple Strudel began his lecture.

[colour=#006400]"Alright you jars! Pay attention! You vill be STRONG und BRAVE! I vill not tolerate any crackin' under pressure! Dat is verbotan! Is dat clear?" [/colour]he shouted as he slammed a front hoof down on the table, causing one jar to crack. [colour=#006400]"ROUSE! SNELL! COURTMARTIAL!"[/colour]

Apple Strudel immediately tossed the jar into an open metal trash can.

[colour=#006400]"Sugar Apple, I am ready for more jars now!"[/colour]

Meanwhile, Ms. Harshwhinney tried to hide her delight in the news that Big MacIntosh was apparently, single. Not wanting to frighten him, the cultured Earth Pony mare decided to 'play it cool.'

[colour=#FF8C00]"So, Big MacIntosh, this is quite a farm you and your family have here. Perhaps when the Zap Apple Harvesting's all done, you would give me a personal, guided tour, please?"[/colour]

She now gave the husky stallion her classic, 'pleading eyes' look, the kind of look she gave to ponies when she was trying to get them to do her favors. This 'look' usually worked, and she sure hoped it would this time. Her heart was racing, her smile getting wider as she was hoping to spend as much time with him as she could. Suddenly, a taxi carriage arrived on the farm and out stepped it's lone passenger, a lanky unicorn with a apple-quartered cutie mark that went with his straw hat and mustache.

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[colour=#ff0000]"Pink Lady, my love, I have arrived as you requested!" [/colour]Flam announced proudly to all who were within earshot of him.

Edited by Mojo
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[colour=#000000][colour=#222222]Apple Susie smiled with delight in the fact that she met a new family member, she was about to ask the filly to explain a couple of things about the Zap Apple Harvest that maybe her parents forgot to explain until Haywire turned to talk to another filly with a colt standing next to her, even though Apple Susie kind of thought that was rude she didn’t hold that against her ,she probably hadn't seen her cousins in a while either, she almost said hi to the other fillies but thought better of it as Granny Smith's Sergeant persona came in and instructed all of the little fillies and colts in the group to put on a bunny outfit or at least put on some bunny ears over their heads. She saw her cousin Haywire encourage the rest of the group to start to hop over the cans and the way that they should do it so Apple Susie wiggles herself into a bunny outfit, occasionally it got stuck on opposite sides but sooner or later she was in her outfit, she left the zipper open since she didn’t exactly know how she was going to get out of the outfit. She started following Haywire in hopping over the watering cans singing at the top of her lungs [/colour][colour=#FFA500]“A, B, C, D, E, F, G! H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P! Q, R, S, T…”, [/colour][colour=#000000]She picked up her hooves as she almost accidentally kicked over a watering can but kept going.[/colour][/colour]

Edited by Twitter
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AppleBloomATTEMPT3final.png

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There were many ponies involved today and though many of them had never so much had seen zap apples live, they had the energy and the energy alone was a substitute for experience as long as those with experience could guide them. Apple Bloom herself was one of the experienced ones, but even she was more energy than knowledge. She knew what was next though, and the little filly ran to storage and collected two bunny suits- one for her, one for Dazzle. Hers was baby blue, Dazzle's bright purple. She had worried more about size than colour except when it came to hers, sentimentality telling her to pick up last year's costume. Before she could do any more, Valen found her on his quest to get him and Babs Seed ready to go.

[colour=#ff0000]"Why, hi thar Valen! Nice ta see you could make it!"[/colour] She hugged her cousin, who returned the too tight hug as best as possible before passing out.

[colour=#0066cc]"Nice to see you as well, Apple Bloom. Where are the costumes?" [/colour]He asked plainly, looking at the chaos around him ad realizing that yes, this was an Apple family gathering.

[colour=#ff0000]"Yeah! Just right over thar, Val. See ya at tha water cans!" [/colour]Apple Bloom waved him off and Valen bowed his head and trotted towards the storage, collecting two more suits for him and Babs. Meanwhile, Winter Dazzle dropped her headband on the ground like a silly filly who hadn't ever put a bunny suit on before in melodramatic fashioned. Apple Bloom herself had her suit half on and her hooves were therefore useless, so she bent down, picked the headband up with her mouth, and placed her hooves on Dazzle's shoulders and steadied herself for a few seconds on top of the filly, gingerly placing the headband in the mane and then moving it around until it was on perfectly.

[colour=#ff0000]"Thar ya go! Naw help me, zip up the back of mah costume,"[/colour] Apple Bloom offered her back to Winter as she saw Granny start the routine.[colour=#ff0000] "C'mon naw, we gotta hurry!"[/colour]

Meanwhile, Valen arrived back with Babs Seed sporting one pink bunny outfit and one bold orange outfit. He handed the pink one to Babs Seed.

[colour=#0033cc]"We have to pick up the pace. It's already started!"[/colour]

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Mac was finding himself in a predicament - this rather awkward mare was thrusting herself in his direction, and although she was certainly not a bad looking pony, he wasn't entirely sure she was exactly his type...her direct approach had softened, it seemed, in reflection to her observation of his reactions.

He had to at least give her credit for paying attention, at the very least.

" [colour=#b22222]Guided tour of th' farm[/colour]? " the stallion says, raising an eyebrow as he watches the mare - his mind reeled for something to say that would help get him out of this odd moment...his mouth opens, and he goes to say whatever came to mind, when...

[colour=#DAA520]"how about you Mac? Y'all already for a friendly contest of who can get th' baskets out the fastest? Y'all can have yer new mare friend help since ah got Apple Pie wi' his, tis' fair and all!"[/colour]

Oh, of all things...Braeburn had seen him talking to her too - this had just gotten so much more, well, weird!

" [colour=#b22222]But...ah....now see here[/colour]! " mac starts, about to raise a hoof to bring the point to Braes attention that she wasnt exactly what he considered a personal attachment...but it was no good, the cousin was clearly off in his own world again. And he couldn't help but find himself unable to say something to make the mare unhappy, even if he barely knew her.

Ah, the plight of the polite at heart...

Big Macintosh just resigns himself to the fact that he was undoubtably going to have to play ball for this occasion at least...

he could tell Braeburn after the event that there was nothing going on between him and Harshwinney, and that'd be that!

" [colour=#b22222]Fine, ah guess ah'm good for the challenge[/colour]! " Macintosh says with a small nod. " [colour=#b22222]Jus' dun be too disappointed when ah strike mah way to victory, like last time[/colour]! "

He had the oddest feeling in the pit of his stomach, however, that he was probably going to regret this!

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