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Beast Friends (RiverEagle - AppleShy)

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Applejack had a long day.  Typical of a farm pony, she spend her morning preparing for her afternoon work, fed all the animals on location, did a bit of watering the vegetable crops, and by late afternoon had half of the south field of apple trees pruned.  Once she finished that, Angel came hopping up to Applejack with a not in paw.  It was Fluttershy asking for help and that she needed to go into the Everfree forest.  Applejack saluted to Angel that she would arrive shortly after.  Applejack could only think of what the help might involve.  Since she was mostly done with her chores, she figured Fluttershy wouldn't need much more than a moments aide and that she would be able to return back to the farm before sundown.  After putting tools away, and washing up a little, she trotted out towards Fluttershy's cottage.

Applejack knocked on Fluttershy's door.  She was here to help Fluttershy with a problem.  Which can only mean one thing.  Fluttershy was afraid.  Applejack was willing to help though, especially since it had something to do with the Everfree Forest, which was something Applejack had grown accustomed to over her years dealing with it neighboring the apple orchard.  And anything to do with tree in general, Applejack was always a great reference to turn to.

"Fluttershy?  It's me, Applejack, your fearless friend," she stated with a chuckle.  "You said you needed help with something in the forest?"

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It was a wonderful day that Fluttershy had planned. Mostly if she just considered what she could gain from it and how much she could learn about all the strange and wonderful creatures of the Everfree. And that was fun and she was excited, especially after learning what was supposed to be in there.

Fluttershy was not a big fan of the Everfree Forest, even if she loved all the animals inside of it. Most anyway. It was just so dark and gloomy and scary and lonesome and- no, no, don't get worked up. She could do this! She had done done this! She had been in the Everfree forest oh so many times now and even if it was still as dark and dangerous as it ever was, full of nastiness not fit for any pony, she wasn't....okay, no, she was still scared. She could tell by how long she was waiting to walk out of her front door. But she also knew that no matter how scared she was she would have to go in there today because if she didn't, she would miss the opportunity of a lifetime.

A few days ago, she had been tending to some of her friends' hollows on the edge of the Everfree when this strange bird had appeared. She knew it was strange because she knew all about birds and had never seen this one before. It had such beautiful plumage that shimmered in the light and changed based on emotion. It was black when she had seen it struggling to gain any lift and smacked into a nearby tree, knocking itself out. Poor thing! She had taken it back home and got it all nice and cozy. It hadn't been hurt in any way that was serious, so she waited for it to wake up. And when she did, what a nice conversation she had.

It was a baby bird, just a little baby, known as Preenies. Fun name for such a beautiful creature! He had got separated from his family and this week they were going to be migrating deeper into the Everfree. He was so scared, so alone! But luckily the migration was continuing for the next few days. There was still time to reunite this baby bird with his family, and Fluttershy was going to do it- and see what an adult looked like as well! It was so exciting. But scary. And so the day of her little expedition to where she believed he needed to go to catch on the last migratory winds had arrived and here she was, a small bird on her shoulder, a saddlebag tugged type, and the familiar cold sweats coming over.

But she could do it!
"Okay Preeny, we're going to meet a strong pony who wants to help us find your momma and poppa. How does that sound?" The bird chirped. "Great. Let's go, shall we?" She asked pleasantly before-

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
"Gahh!" Fluttershy squealed, so lost in thought that she had spaced out the possibility of anypony arriving just then! Preeny jumped up and slide down her back, bumping up against her saddlebag. Angel bunny hopped in through the window and pushed the grateful bird back up where he belonged.
Then Applejack spoke. 
"Oh, that's her! Don't worry, we'll get you home all safe and sound," she said, opening the door.

"Hello Applejack! I'm so glad we can do this together. With your help we'll get this little guy home in no time," she said, allowing the small bird to slide down a wing she outstretched so it could crawl around on Applejack.

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Without flinching, Applejack let the bird walk on top of her haunches.  "Aw, isn't he the cutest thing?  Am I supposed to believe this cutie came out of the Everfree?  I don't believe it," Applejack snarked.  "It doesn't know how to fly yet, huh?  Well, you asked the right pony to help.  There ain't gonna be a thing that can get in our way.  But just one thing, Fluttershy.  Do we know where to look?  The forest is an awfully large place to look for a bird's nest."  Applejack stepped back away from the door, allowing Fluttershy to have room to carry her bags out of the doorway.

It wasn't any skin off Applejack's pelt to help Fluttershy through the forest.  Even though it was a little inconvenience to do such a task, she knew that all Fluttershy needed was a sense of security.  Everything else within the Everfree, including things Applejack is stumped by, are things that Fluttershy is an expert at.  Applejack will never forget when the yellow pegasus tamed a pony-eating manticore the night they met Twilight.

"What's the little guy's name?  How and where did you find him?"

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Applejack seemed to appreciate the little Preeny just as well as Fluttershy thought she would. Some ponies let Applejack's severe dislike of some 'pest' creatures- Fluttershy thought no such thing, but she understood Applejack's dislike of them- let them color their perceptions of her relations with the animals of Ponyville and the outer edges. She was probably one of the most animal-friendly and capable ponies in town, and has more experience than anypony not named Fluttershy...did that come across as arrogant? She didn't mean to come across that way, but she loved her animals so very much. That was why she was so thrilled to have Applejack's help!

"He is so cute, right? A few days ago, I was helping clean some hollows when it appeared. It was so beautiful and the color was changing all the time! It was black and first and struggling to gain any lift and hit a tree!" She said, sounding like a mother relating a tragic accident, "Poor little guy! I took it back home and made sure it was all nice and cozy. He wasn't been hurt in a way that was too bad, so I waited for him to wake up. When he woke up, we talked! His species is called a Preeny, and they change color based on emotion. He was separated from his family and this week they are going to be migrating deeper into the Everfree. The poor guy was so scared," she said, petting his plumage as he turned a rosy red like he was embarrassed.

"But luckily the migration is continuing for the next few days. Based on other migration patterns and what I've seen from other birds, I've located where I think he needs to go. I-I could be wrong of course, but hopefully when  we get there his family will be worried sick about him. He can help when we get there too, or we can talk to the animals- once we get there, we can find his family easily. I hope," she eeped, allowing the Preeny to snuggle in her wing feathers as she looked out at the Everfree. "Well Applejack, it's time go. Y-You can lead, okay?" She asked, preparing for the journey ahead!

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