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[Sweet Apple Acres] 100 Country Kisses (3 Kisses Left! Line Now Closed!)

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Looking at Tiger was a bit of a strange experience for Feng.  His trained vision was able to detect the stallion as a competent fighter, at the very least, with the kind of roguish attitude that, honestly, came rather easily to Feng when he found it necessary to adopt that persona in the course of duty.  He'd infiltrated and taken down a bandit gang by passing himself off as a big-timer from Long Kong, which took no small amount of genuine sang froid to pull off.  In another, perhaps more likely life, that would have been him entirely, no faking or infiltration.

 

*And it isn't as if I couldn't have gotten a kiss for the asking.*  He reflected, thinking of the mares he knew at home who held (largely unrequited crushes) upon him.  Now that he thought about it, the attitude he held towards first kisses had a lot to do with how seriously they would have taken them.  Which was, ultimately, the better determinate of how seriously he should take them.

 

All that said, Tiger won a more sympathetic look from Feng than the scorcher he got from Sunset, though not necessarily a more accepting answer.  "Well, the short answer is, no one with your attitude would be considered acceptable for the Dragon Court."  *Unless you were actually part of the Imperial Family.*  Feng thought to himself, remembering the attitude of the Royal Prince Lian.

 

Sunset Shimmer had more to say, and more worth paying attention to, to be honest.  His own thoughts as to first kisses he kept to himself, as he really didn't think that the mare's example was necessarily something to generalize from.  As for the rest, though... Well, it wasn't as informed an opinion as one with personal knowledge of the Empress and her circumstances would have, but there was sound insight within it.

"Insecurity... honestly, not a bad way of saying it.  Your Princess, as I recall, has only ever had one pretender sibling to the throne?  Empress Yue has, by my count, ten.  And we don't have the Elements of Harmony should any one of them turn out to be a nightmare."  A distinct possibility for sure.  "The Empress is young, and her rule is not so secure that she feels free to challenge tradition.  The Watchers are an order that go far back, and our oaths have been codified by Emperors and Empresses all the way back to the First Dynasty.  Not to mention, the court is full of bureaucrats and scribes who will at the slightest provocation be more than willing to unveil voluminous, comprehensive, and exhaustive records of reigns, and entire past dynasties, brought down through the leveraging of divided loyalties."

 

Though he was, in some ways, an impulsive actor, especially when it came to physical activity, fighting, and protecting those he saw in need, Feng was also a longma who took the time to reflect.  Indeed, his physical haste had often sent him to the infirmary, where he had no choice but to stay still and think over things.  "I don't think your Celestia is wrong, and I will say that the marriage of your Cadence gave me much hope.  I even wrote a letter to her for advice.  But... I know why my Empress feels herself not secure.  And I do not believe she will be made any more so through breaking my oaths outright."  His visage was serious, even somber, but he wasn't the sort that could maintain that look for long.  Breaking out into a smile, he said, "That said, the formal oath only forbids familial and romantic ties.  Friendships I do maintain, and I hope to count you as one of them."

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Tiger hummed slightly at the reaction to his words. Seemed the mare didn’t appreciate the compliment, oh well. At least the stallion kind of had a response to him aside from dirty looks. 
 

“Just as well, I don’t think I could handle being around all those high-society ponies all the time. Guess that’s what happens when you grow up in a small Hesperian town.” He shrugged, focusing more on Feng since the mare didn’t even deign to speak to him. “Oh well, my current job is better anyways, I get to talk to the normal ponies and get into fights. Either to break them up or draw them towards me so they can blow off steam, usually. Fighting dragons is fun too, when I get the chance.” Tiger smiled to himself as he spoke, not really paying attention to what the two were whispering to each other. Not like he had been trying to eavesdrop earlier, but sometimes you can’t really help it. 
 

“Anyways, my point was you should enjoy life while you have it, and hopefully make it better for others in the process. Who knows when your time is up? Sorry for the unwanted compliments, didn’t think about how it must’ve felt to get them from an unknown pony.” He added, directing the apology mostly towards the mare, since she had the worse reaction to them. 

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Although Sunset Shimmer still didn’t speak a word to the rugged earth pony, her stare significantly softened when he apologized. As much as Sunset quickly got mad at folks who antagonized her, she was also relatively quick to adopt a forgiving attitude when warranted. After all, it wasn’t as if the Equestrian girl’s own past was entirely spotless.


…..Yeeesh! If Feng’s word was anything to go by, the whole imperial system of rule was a byzantine nightmare in of itself. Being an empress sounded more like being a hostage to competing interests. Since Sunset was not an expert in political science however, she stayed quiet on the subject for the time being. But she reciprocated Feng’s beaming smile upon his formal offer of friendship. “Oh, ABSOLUTELY!” Sunset euthestically replied, before a realization made her cheeks redden with embarrassment; “...Except now I wish I’d thought of asking Twilight for another set of magic journals for the two of us. It might be hard keeping in touch, otherwise.”


Sunset’s self-consciousness didn’t take long though to morph into mischievousness as the unicorn grinned wickedly. “...So NOW that our friendship is official..... time to spill the beans. Come on, Feng,” she elbowed the longma; “Tell me how your loooovely Empress is like! Who’s her name, anyway....?”

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Stellar froze when he was asked a question. He was already on edge after being told he was out of line, once. His social anxiety had gone through the roof, and the pony had come up behind him asking a question, which had startled him, and he hardly even heard what the words had been. However, after a moment, he calmed down a bit and realized he hadn't been accusatory or anything, just asked how long the wait was. He felt stupid for being so on edge, and breathed to calm himself down. He waited for a lull in the others' conversation and finally responded to Tiger's question.

"O-oh, um... sorry... the wait's not too bad, but there are a few ahead of us..." If Stellar had been honest with himself, at this point, he would rather have his apples and be out. This much social exposure was liable to give him a heart attack. Unable to hide his uneasiness, anypony who paid the least bit of attention to him could tell he was uncomfortable. Though he tried to keep calm, his first impression had set the mood for him to be extra anxious. More than normal.

He remembered a passage he'd read in "The Introvert's Guide to Socializing" that had said that interaction gets easier the more you do it, and breaking the ice can help you feel more comfortable. He thought this sounded counter intuitive, but he was trying to branch out and bemore social, so he figured "what the hay" so he took another look at the gruff, scarred earth pony with the tough exterior. Celestia, he looked scary. "Here goes nothing..." he thought to himself

"S-so, um..." he finally blurted out when it seemed to him Tiger was ready to move on to a new conversation. "You're from the borderlands?" He'd gathered as much from his mention of a "Hesperian town" "It seems this event is drawing ponie- erm creatures in from everywhere." he chuckled uncomfortably "I-I'm Stellar." he offered, quickly adding "Drift. Stellar Drift." He timidly offered his hoof in greeting.

 

[edit (ooc)] I didn't know what "Hesperian" referred to, so I looked up the word and the dictionary said "western". I assumed you'd just known that word and used it, but then I was doing Lore research, and learned Hesperia was the name of a place.... I thought about editing my rp to reflect the real intention, but I decided I'd keep it. Stellar is very well read, but his studies are mostly astronomical. I decided he must've just never heard of Hesperia, and came to the same conclusion I did.

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That whole Iron pony business proved to be quite the pain in Yanhua's neck... really it had ended up being a pain just about everywhere for her. Thankfully, in the aftermath the imperial chef found herself with some interesting friends. Friends who were now in on her secret. There were still many other confession to make in good time, but for now she would make the most of her time in this most unusual country. 

 

While she did feel somewhat safer after meeting Sunset and tempest. Yanhua still felt the urge to be wary. There were so many strong mages in this land, not all of them in town but many so close by in canterlot. Having her cover blown now would be the worst way this trip could end, so she stuck close to the scent of those she knew she could trust. Today, her nose lead her to this farm. Two familiar aromas were lingering here: The steadfast and loyal defender of the empress, and the interdimensional traveling mage. Feng and Sunset. It seemed they'd only arrived recently so Yanhua soon followed them into the line. She'd sent Feng out earlier for some apples for the kitchen... but waiting for him at the inn or around the carriage was leaving her feeling anxious. 

 

Then she came upon the sign. 

 

"Country kisses..."

 

Internally she fumed, but quickly fought down the anger. Surely Feng would probably just get a kiss on the cheek or something. He'd never share his lips with anypony but the empress... and just like that she got herself annoyed again. It was fine, She'd sent feng out before, surely he'd be fine that she decided to come along. They may have an assortment of apples and she failed to describe a particular type that would be best for baking...

The chef quietly walked up behind her fiery maned friend and smiled, "Good afternoon, Sunset. Feng." She came in just to hear the last question from sunset and immediately it felt like she'd been shot in the side with a barbed arrow. Somepony with empathy might have felt that...

 

 

Edited by Pretzelparty
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Wow. Smolder never realized she was funny either. Was her teacher just being polite? “Ah shucks Miss Applejack, I didn’t come here for the apple-ause!", she gave a little bow, "But if you're offering it, I'll be more than happy to take it."  It was nice to be appreciated, even if she only had a few corny jokes or puns to say.  And she at least had an teacher approved title for her paper. Always a good start. There was just those three thousand words she needed to come up with between the title and the conclusion. Easy peasy!
 
Once the bits were handed over, she waited for the pony to make her move. The dragon had half-watched the previous kisses and the farmer seemed to always pull....yikes....Smolder knew she was turning a little red in the cheek area. There was not fighting it! That pony was fast! Once she received her kiss on the forehead, right below the fin, she managed to return to her feet. There was also her apples. Which would soon find their way onto Silverstream's wagon.
 
"Thanks Miss Applejack.." There was the need to start on her paper...But there was an awfully shady tree not that far from where they stood. And she really wanted to see how her 'little brother' would handle a smooch for the Earth Pony.
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Her second attempt at a pun wasn't as fantastic as her first, but it still drew a delighted titter from Applejack. She was a fan of corny humor like bad puns and good song lyrics changes. Truth be told she didn't think much of most of what stood for comedy these days but she figured it was because she grew up with a healthy dose of those projector picture shows with the Slapstick Stallions. They didn't make comedy like they used to, she could tell you that! "Well, you do somethin' ta earn it, you deserve to hear if you've done yerself a good job. Ah can't wait ta read that report," she said with a wink. Smolder's reports were easily the most wide-ranging of all the youngins in her class. You could rely on Gallus' to be dry but accurate, Silverstream to be overflowing with passion if a little unfocused, Sandbar's to be predictable but good, Yona to grasp it only half the time but be perfect when she did and for Ocellus to get everything right but miss the forest for the trees. Smolder? You had no idea. It was why she liked Smolder a whole heck of a lot. Reliably excellent but never one to be pigeonholed scholastically. 

 

"You have a good'n yerself, Smolder," Applejack waved off her student as the little dragon found some shade. It was good to see her students get active i the community, and doubly so since it involved an activity that Applejack was fairly certain would become an annual event for the Orchard. Look at all the business, and that was with just twenty-four hours prep time! She had been very reticent to start but Applejack was not a mare who would argue with obvious success when it stared her starkly in the face. Though she figured a smaller stand more times a year might be even more lucrative. Whatever the case, Applejack cracked her neck and loosened up. Still bits to collect, apples to sell, and ponies and otherwise to lay a smacker on!

 

"Neeeeeeeext up!"
 

*Grubber*

 

Spoiler


11 Kisses left!
90. Grubber
91. Candy Cain
92. Spike
93. Stellar Drift
94. Tiger
95. Feng Yinhaitao
96. Sunset Shimmer
97. Yanhua
98.
99.
100. 

Next up

 


 

Kissed
1-10

Spoiler

1. Carrot Fields :smug:
2. Reno Golucky
3. Lore Weaver
4. Dunder Blust :?
5. Gentle Sol
6. Flam watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
7. Starburst :?
8. Astral :smug:
9. Flim watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
10. Silverbolt :smug:


11-20

Spoiler

11. Klondike :smug:
12. Lyra Heartstrings
13. Donut "Pony" Joe
14. Rarity ajscreen.png;)
15. Pigpen :smug:
16. Cherry Jubilee :?
17. Misty Morning :smug:
18. Pathfinder :?
19. Earth Writer :smug:
20. Thorn


21-30

Spoiler

21. Metal Maker :smug:
22. Twilight Shine
23. Opal Shards
24. Bon Bon
25. Electric Vibe :smug:ajscreen.png
26. Princess Luna
27. Guiding Light
28. Mythos Gray
29. Harrington Sleuth
30. Pumpkin Cake


31-40

Spoiler

31. Inkwell
32. Pinkie Pie :smirk:
33. Star Storm :smug:
34. Master Mustang
35. Parhelion
36. Prime Meridian
37. Razor
38. Dr. Spin Tale
39. Professor Ashen Smirk
40. Quiet Harmony


41-50

Spoiler

41. Ice Storm
42. Heart Line
43. Pocket Change
44. Sugar Rush
45. Moonstone II
46. Valen Orange
47. Mojo
48. Trixie :shifty:
49. Princess Twilight Sparkle
50. Zelda


51-60

Spoiler

51. Curiosity Sparks
52. Flash Sentry
53. Gadget
54. Professor Clyde Krashkop
55. Carrot Top
56. Presteza
57. Prince Blueblood
58. Princess Celestia :Celest:
59. Princess Cadance
60. Ruby Pinch


61-70

Spoiler

61. Berry Punch
62. Fluttershy
63. Red Cedar
64. Night Glider
65. Granola Gracie
66. Cheerilee
67. Fast Track
68. Fire Walker
69. Sky Sailing
70. Gideon


71-80

Spoiler

71. Mint Zest
72. Discord
73. Rune Writer
74. Rainbow Dash <3
75. Tai
76. Detached Cable
77. Ejaz
78. Boulder Dash
79. Chipper Demise
80. Dusty


81-90

Spoiler
 
 
 
 
Spoiler

81. Princess Blueblood
82. Swift Squall
83. Mythic Visions
84. Starlight Glimmer
85. Countess Coloratura
86. Naj
87. Tempest Shadow
88. Silverstream
89. Smolder
90. 

 
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Feng had to appreciate that Tiger had a level of self-awareness not often seen in stallions sporting his attitude.  Much like his own thoughtfulness, it was a reminder that ponies (and long sun) held hidden depths it was best not to underestimate, whether they be friend or foe.  “Understandable, though if it comes to that, I came from a small mountain town myself. It was just that… I really, really wanted to leave it.  And you can’t go further and higher than the Imperial Palace.  Show all of those at home who thought I’d never make anything good out of myself…”

 

Sunset Shimmer might have recognized the old trope of home town antipathy, having felt some of it herself.  Granted, his own village wasn’t as unpleasant overall as Hope Hollow had been, but for him in particular, it was it’s own little brand of low-grade Tartarus.  Something he’d rather not dwell on, frankly. Thankfully, the orange mare brought up a subject which Feng was much more willing to wax eloquent upon.

“Oh, her full name is Yu Yue, Jade Moon in your language.  She’s a sweet qilin mare, beautiful in poise, and able to maintain calm in the midst of holding heavy burdens.  She does have a bad habit of internalizing her anxiety, though. As much inner strength as she has, I don’t think she’d last without a few close friends to share those burdens with.”

What exactly those burdens were, however, Feng considered a manner of confidence.  Thus, a pivot in description. “Oh, but if you were asking what she looks like, she’s about so high,” He held out a wing, showing a height that indicated a mare who he could easily tuck under his wing, “Beautiful cream coat, with an underbelly of coral scales that just shine.  Dark blue mane and tail that would rival shimmer silk, and just the clearest sea-blue eyes... I'm telling you, whatever hardships palace life has, she's living proof that the greatest obstacles guard the greatest treasures- Oh, hello Yanhua!”

 

What timing for the yokai-disguised-as-a-chef!  Speaking of hiding burdens, Feng was rendered quite incapable of perceiving the wound her overhearing would have caused her.  Or, perhaps it was just an internal sort of denseness. If such a thing as a “friend zone” existed, Yanhua would feel herself firmly placed within it.  “Didn’t trust me to get the apples to you intact?” He asked, with a teasing grin, “Or did you just want a little time with our new friend before we left?  Good idea, it’s gonna be hard to stay in touch, from what she tells me. Unless… Would Princess Twilight be willing to send my letters through her journal?”

 

Spoiler

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With the possible exception of Professor Pie’s pastry-filled classes, Grubber was by and large a mediocre Friendship student whose biggest issue was not applying himself to put in the academic work. And nowhere was that glaring flaw more apparent than the classes taught by Professor Applejack, a notorious proponent for value of hard, honest work. You know, the one thing a slacker like Grubber tended to avoid at all costs.


But all of that was back in the classroom. Out here, Grubber was just another customer hoping to score some tasty treats! “Hi there Profethor Applejack,” the peppy hedgehog began his sweet-talking routine, hungrily eying the delicious fruits that for the moment were the apples of his eye; “You thure have a lovely apple orchard here! It'th got everything, like appleth... and more appleth!!”

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“Hey, everypony’s different, even from similar hometowns.” Tiger shrugged, though he wasn’t too sure they were as similar as Feng seemed to think. Oh well, not that it mattered all that much. The earth pony gave a wink and a wave to the new mare before turning his attention back to Stellar. He chuckled a bit at the stallion’s nervousness, and his misunderstanding of where Hesperia was. 
 

“Well, not exactly. Hesperia is its own place. Continent, I think. There is a wide variety of home locations here though, it seems.” He said, glancing back at Feng and his friends. “Name’s Tiger Blood.” He added, returning Stellar’s introduction. “You from around here? I’m living in Beakbreak currently.”

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Despite the young dragon's politeness, Cain had a feeling that she wasn't quite focused on the talk. That was likely because she seemed to be here for more than apples. She did clear up the problem of Cain not knowing what the deal was with the Kisses, though - and that just made things a lot stranger. Apparently, the Kisses were actual kisses. This was a line to receive bushels of apples in exchange for a few bits and a kiss. That caused a multitude of problems for the pink-maned pony. For starters, he needed a fair amount of bushels. If folks were going up there, there was a good chance that many of them would be gone by the time Cain actually got up there, leaving him with little to work with over the remaining seasons. That wouldn't do - he needed a fair amount of candy apples and other confections done by Winter. Multiple trips in the future to make small purchases just wasted time. There was also the fact that Cain found the whole thing rather improper. Apples for kisses? Cain didn't kiss ponies. He gave them hugs and candy, and sent them on their jolly way. There were several other, lesser but more personal issues with that. . . Perhaps he was just making a big deal out of things. Everyone else seemed to be doing it. . . Still. . . "Oh, dear," Cain sighed.


The young one - Smolder, she'd called herself - had already gone up to get her apples, along with several others. True to what she'd said, all of them had payed their bits and kisses, before leaving with their bushels. At least there still seemed to be a decent amount. Cain glanced back at the line behind him and winced. A confection designer's life was hard. . . He hoped that he didn't wipe out the remaining bushels somehow with his order. The stallion chomped down on his pink candy cane in his nervousness, frowning. Exactly how many apples did he need? A good amount of batches of candy apples would require several bushels on its own. If he wanted to add anything else, that would cost him. After a few more calculations, Cain reasoned that he'd need around six. Seven would be ideal. As for the type, any would do. Of course, Candy was a little bad at remembering the types, seeing as he mainly worked with candy and other, sweeter fruits. Berries were his specialty. Luckily, he had just the thing for the situation! Candy hopped back into his covered wagon (which he'd carefully moved off to the side of the line as to not be rude to those behind him) to recover his personal guide to using fruits in confections: Fruits and Confections (a lazy name which he'd likely fix in the future).


As usual, the manual was buried somewhere among his numerous other books, which included cookbooks, personal journals which he'd long since filled out, and fantasy stories he read when he was bored and it was raining during his travels. It was rather cramped inside the cart with all of its supplies and personal items, despite the fact that Candy could've sworn that he'd cleaned up that morning before he'd decided to head out and get some apples in the first place.Apparently that wasn't the case (or Candy HAD cleaned, and that last hill out of Ponyville had caused everything to fall inside the cart. "Oh, of all the -" He began, only to be cut off by a book from a shelf above him falling on his head. He yelped, and nearly shouted a few unpleasant things. "Blasted buckeyes," he mumbled, using one of his simpler candy-curses. The thing was around here somewhere. . . Outside, he could hear the commotion of those in line behind him. Hopefully, the fellow in front of Candy could pause a little longer with his order so that he had a little more time to find his missing manual. If not, he'd be the focus of more than a few angry looks and shouting soon.    

 

 

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Sunset Shimmer nodded attentively at Feng’s description of Empress Yù Yuè, which sounded like it was plucked right from the introduction of those princess fantasy novels where the author went a little too out of their way to make the main heroine sound as beautifully flowery as possible. Hey, that could be a second career for Feng if he ever retired from the Watchers; just something he should think about. Now then, Sunset didn’t need to be a love princess to understand how a bodyguard like her longma friend would naturally be drawn towards the qilin mare he was duty-bound to protect, even when-


Oh, look who showed up! “Glad you could make it, Yanhua!” Sunset greeted the newcomer; something seemed just the tiniest bit off with the chef’s voice, but Sunset wasn’t given much time to dwell on it before having to answer a question from Feng; “Uhhhh... I’ll have to check if she’d be down for that. Don’t forget, the Transition’s coming up soon, so Princess Twilight will be busy ruling over this whole kingdom...” Sunset made a sweeping gesture to place emphasis on all the land around them, land destined to very shortly become the domain of one Twilight Sparkle. “By herself, I must point out!”

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Applejack smiled again, though she had to admit it was slightly more forced than before. She gave Grubber a lot of credit for coming from the background he did and trying to do what he was doing now. It wasn't easy and it was reflected in his performance. He was the hypehog in every situation and somecreature who by his very nature couldn't help but tell lies. It was hard work trying to break that habit but she reckoned it was only a matter of time. He'd make friends and friendship would set him free. "It sure does have apples, apples, and more apples. And then it has Apples, like mah sister and Ah!" Applejack laughed at her own joke. She was in the mood for it after Smolder, to the detriment of the others in line.

 

"You've been doing yer homework, Grubber?" She asked as she prepared to serve him. Grubber's issues appeared to simply be an inability to grasp what was best in most situations, but she didn't buy that. You didn't become a hypehog for the Storm King and Tempest Shadow, no matter their personality, without the ability to understand your social situation. It wasn't capability. Was it desire to change? Laziness? Or was she just missing something? She didn't know. She knew she'd keep on trying and it would continue today, where she would treat him like all the others. "So, the deal is simple. You pay five bits and you get a bushel of apples and a kiss from me, to you. Sound good?"

 

*Grubber*

 

Spoiler


11 Kisses left!
90. Grubber
91. Candy Cain
92. Spike
93. Stellar Drift
94. Tiger
95. Feng Yinhaitao
96. Sunset Shimmer
97. Yanhua
98.
99.
100. 

Next up

 


 

Kissed
1-10

Spoiler

1. Carrot Fields :smug:
2. Reno Golucky
3. Lore Weaver
4. Dunder Blust :?
5. Gentle Sol
6. Flam watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
7. Starburst :?
8. Astral :smug:
9. Flim watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
10. Silverbolt :smug:


11-20

Spoiler

11. Klondike :smug:
12. Lyra Heartstrings
13. Donut "Pony" Joe
14. Rarity ajscreen.png;)
15. Pigpen :smug:
16. Cherry Jubilee :?
17. Misty Morning :smug:
18. Pathfinder :?
19. Earth Writer :smug:
20. Thorn


21-30

Spoiler

21. Metal Maker :smug:
22. Twilight Shine
23. Opal Shards
24. Bon Bon
25. Electric Vibe :smug:ajscreen.png
26. Princess Luna
27. Guiding Light
28. Mythos Gray
29. Harrington Sleuth
30. Pumpkin Cake


31-40

Spoiler

31. Inkwell
32. Pinkie Pie :smirk:
33. Star Storm :smug:
34. Master Mustang
35. Parhelion
36. Prime Meridian
37. Razor
38. Dr. Spin Tale
39. Professor Ashen Smirk
40. Quiet Harmony


41-50

Spoiler

41. Ice Storm
42. Heart Line
43. Pocket Change
44. Sugar Rush
45. Moonstone II
46. Valen Orange
47. Mojo
48. Trixie :shifty:
49. Princess Twilight Sparkle
50. Zelda


51-60

Spoiler

51. Curiosity Sparks
52. Flash Sentry
53. Gadget
54. Professor Clyde Krashkop
55. Carrot Top
56. Presteza
57. Prince Blueblood
58. Princess Celestia :Celest:
59. Princess Cadance
60. Ruby Pinch


61-70

Spoiler

61. Berry Punch
62. Fluttershy
63. Red Cedar
64. Night Glider
65. Granola Gracie
66. Cheerilee
67. Fast Track
68. Fire Walker
69. Sky Sailing
70. Gideon


71-80

Spoiler

71. Mint Zest
72. Discord
73. Rune Writer
74. Rainbow Dash <3
75. Tai
76. Detached Cable
77. Ejaz
78. Boulder Dash
79. Chipper Demise
80. Dusty


81-90

Spoiler
 
 
 
 
Spoiler

81. Princess Blueblood
82. Swift Squall
83. Mythic Visions
84. Starlight Glimmer
85. Countess Coloratura
86. Naj
87. Tempest Shadow
88. Silverstream
89. Smolder
90. 

 
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@PyroBlaze Stellar was visibly surprised "The world just keeps growing."  he said, seemingly more amused at his blunder than anything else "So you're from out of Equestria, then."  his anxiety slowly waning as it formed into curiosity, the only thing that ever seems to overpower his nervousness. A thousand questions raced through his mind, the gears turning could be noticed by anypony paying attention. Finally he realised he'd been asked a question, himself, so he broke free of that train of thought and apologized "Sorry. Um.. no- I mean yes, compared to you, but no, not Ponyville. I study the stars in Canterlot. I'm just here visiting a friend. She needed apples, so here we are."  He chuckled uncomfortably. "So, uh.... what brings you to Equestria, and specifically Ponyville?"

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“Just exploring the world, happened to be nearby while this was happening, so here I am.” Tiger nodded, looking around at the farm. “Nice area, good place to come and take vacations in the future. Wonder where I should head next though, maybe Canterlot.”

 

He thought about his options, which was most anywhere, really, trying to figure out what kind of path he should take to the ones that seemed most interesting in Equestria. Maybe that Hollow Shades place...

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Stellar laughed "I'm not so sure Canterlot is the destination for an adventure. I live there specifically because nothing happens. That and it's on a mountain. Makes stargazing easier." he added "Also most ponies there are a little...how can I say this nicely... full of themselves."  he quickly amended not wanting to sound like he didn't want Tiger around, or something "But if you do visit Canterlot, be sure to look for me." 

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“Fair enough. Sparse events are still events though. Probably won’t show in Canterlot, actually, if it’s like you say. If I end up there I’ll make sure to find you. Always good to have a friendly face to see when visiting a new place.” Tiger smiled, nodding a bit at Stellar’s offer. He appreciated the warning about what he was likely to find in Canterlot. 

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If the question from Sunset was a single arrow in her side, Feng's long answer to felt as though she'd been turned into pincushion. It took a few seconds before Yanhua actually spoke up. She was silent with her usual smile and near-shut eyed expression masking a hurricane of frustration brewing inside her mind. "... I trust you just fine, I just realized that I didn't tell you what type of apples would have been best for baking purposes." Her tone was its usual calm register, "I suppose now that I'm here I may as well remain to get a look at what I'll be working with." 


Her tail was twitching... she was thankful when Feng turned his attention back to Sunset so she could take another breath to steady her nerves. Yanhua liked Yu as much as she could like an employer, but this situation with Feng and her unique past with the family made thing's very tense. To make matters worse hearing how well Feng could describe the empress had made the cook somewhat concerned. Was her own form so unremarkable? She'd spent so much time thinking about and crafting it but it seemed the only compliment she ever felt she got on it came from either Prince Lian or Wuya. In the hopes of distracting herself from her worries again, Yanhua looked to the new stallion: Tiger Blood. 

 

"Yanhua, Imperial chef. It's good to make your acquaintance."

 

A small smile came to her muzzle as Sunset greeted her, "Thank you, Sunset. It's good to see you as well. Have things with Tempest and ... other interests of yours been going well? I'm sure letters will be a fine method to communicate. No need to trouble the new ruler of the lands with such a small request when a simple paper based remedy will do." 

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"Oh, OK!"  Feng accepted Yanhua's answer with a smile, his crimson eyes not at all penetrating her calm exterior.  "I'll just get a bushel of snacking apples then, maybe a variety pack if she's offering them.  Be nice to have something to eat together on the long trip home, right?"  It wasn't so much that he thought his foxy friend's qilin visage was unattractive, it had just never been relevant for him to consider just how attractive she was.  Romantic tunnel vision certainly cut down on infidelity, but it could be troublesome before one was actually in a mutually acknowledged relationship...

 

Speaking of which, he had to consider the communication issues that would come with maintaining his friendship with Sunset Shimmer.  "I really do wish there was a simple postal service between worlds that could reach you; I don't suppose you and Twilight have considered hiring a transcriber?  I mean, the Empress has secretaries so she doesn't have to write every Imperial letter and decree by hoof.  Twilight wouldn't try to do everything like that herself... right?"

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“Uhh yeah, thure thure,” Grubber addressed his professor’s inquiry with an answer that some might have found vague and unconvincing. Those who knew the hedgehog best won’t find a more infamous procrastinator than he.


Payment was a far less awkward subject for Grubber. “OH OH OH,” he boasted; “I can do better than five bitth! I’ve got...” on cue, he suddenly produced a huge wad of numbered grey-colored notes adorned with an official portrait of the Storm King; THTORM BUCKTH!!! Ah… storm bucks; as far as Grubber knew, they still remained the official currency of the Stormlands and all overseas territories that were once incorporated into the Storm Armada’s jurisdiction. And unlike everypony else in Ponyville, a true believer of love and tolerance like Professor Applejack will surely accept this official currency as legit payment.....

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Applejack's eyebrow cocked up as she tried to blow off the homework question. Not a real shock there. You had to really and truly motivate the little hedgehog to get him to do any serious work. Once you did so he could surprise you, maybe even himself, with what he was capable of. But it was no lie to say that she had at worst half-expected this answer out of him. A letdown and sadly one of many, but even bumpy roads led to the final destination. He'd get there. She was sure of it. "Good ta hear. Ah reckon you'll be tha first student Ah call upon then, on account of how sure you are," she ended in a smile, trapping him within the confines of the box she made. Maybe that'd motivate him to do it all right and proper-like.

 

Which was more than she could say for his payment plan. She let out a pained sigh as she took out Storm Bucks or whatever currency it was supposed to be. That had never been legal tender in Equestria- even during that brief, brief occupation. Storm Bucks hadn't even arrived in Equestria by the time the Storm King had been routed! And even if it had, it certainly wasn't legal now and she wouldn't have accepted it even then. "Grubber, that ain't legal currency. Why tha hay do you even have any Storm Bucks? Does anycreature even accept them anymore?" She asked, rubbing her temple. Still, she had to see this through. "Grubber, I know you have ta have some bits," she implied, half out of hope. She had already been lenient once but she had to draw a line and she wasn't going to allow it to happen again.

 

*Grubber*

 

Spoiler


11 Kisses left!
90. Grubber
91. Candy Cain
92. Spike
93. Stellar Drift
94. Tiger
95. Feng Yinhaitao
96. Sunset Shimmer
97. Yanhua
98.
99.
100. 

Next up

 


 

Kissed
1-10

Spoiler

1. Carrot Fields :smug:
2. Reno Golucky
3. Lore Weaver
4. Dunder Blust :?
5. Gentle Sol
6. Flam watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
7. Starburst :?
8. Astral :smug:
9. Flim watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
10. Silverbolt :smug:


11-20

Spoiler

11. Klondike :smug:
12. Lyra Heartstrings
13. Donut "Pony" Joe
14. Rarity ajscreen.png;)
15. Pigpen :smug:
16. Cherry Jubilee :?
17. Misty Morning :smug:
18. Pathfinder :?
19. Earth Writer :smug:
20. Thorn


21-30

Spoiler

21. Metal Maker :smug:
22. Twilight Shine
23. Opal Shards
24. Bon Bon
25. Electric Vibe :smug:ajscreen.png
26. Princess Luna
27. Guiding Light
28. Mythos Gray
29. Harrington Sleuth
30. Pumpkin Cake


31-40

Spoiler

31. Inkwell
32. Pinkie Pie :smirk:
33. Star Storm :smug:
34. Master Mustang
35. Parhelion
36. Prime Meridian
37. Razor
38. Dr. Spin Tale
39. Professor Ashen Smirk
40. Quiet Harmony


41-50

Spoiler

41. Ice Storm
42. Heart Line
43. Pocket Change
44. Sugar Rush
45. Moonstone II
46. Valen Orange
47. Mojo
48. Trixie :shifty:
49. Princess Twilight Sparkle
50. Zelda


51-60

Spoiler

51. Curiosity Sparks
52. Flash Sentry
53. Gadget
54. Professor Clyde Krashkop
55. Carrot Top
56. Presteza
57. Prince Blueblood
58. Princess Celestia :Celest:
59. Princess Cadance
60. Ruby Pinch


61-70

Spoiler

61. Berry Punch
62. Fluttershy
63. Red Cedar
64. Night Glider
65. Granola Gracie
66. Cheerilee
67. Fast Track
68. Fire Walker
69. Sky Sailing
70. Gideon


71-80

Spoiler

71. Mint Zest
72. Discord
73. Rune Writer
74. Rainbow Dash <3
75. Tai
76. Detached Cable
77. Ejaz
78. Boulder Dash
79. Chipper Demise
80. Dusty


81-90

Spoiler
 
 
 
 
Spoiler

81. Princess Blueblood
82. Swift Squall
83. Mythic Visions
84. Starlight Glimmer
85. Countess Coloratura
86. Naj
87. Tempest Shadow
88. Silverstream
89. Smolder
90. 

 
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Aw dang, Grubber got hogtied into having the spotlight shined on him! “No prob, Profethor!” Although he was sweating from nervousness, the hedgehog hoped his fake enthusiasm would encourage Professor Applejack to move on to a more pleasant subject.


Unfortunately, Applejack’s rejection of storm bucks as a viable currency left Grubber in somewhat of a bind. You gotta underthand,” he tried explaining; “I wath thoppothed to overthee the tranthition from bitth to thorm buckth, tho the Thorm King ordered a whole bunch of money to be delivered to Canterlot. All thothe buckth arrived, but then you guyth happened, there wath that big windthorm and the cake with the creepy parrot eye in it... long thory thort, at the end of the day, I wath left with a thhip load of thorm buckth!


Next thing I know, all my old homieth were mailing me their thorm buckth too!!! But everytime I try uthing buckth, nopony acceptth them! Like, I managed to corner thith banker dude one time, and he wath telling me all about exchange rateth and how thoppethedly one bit ith worth a quadrillion thorm buckth, which he then explained ith what happenth when countrieth abandon the gold thandard for fiat currency, or thomething like that. Point ith, everybody around here thinkth thorm buckth thuck, and I don’t know how to get rid of them..."


Grubber sighed dejectedly. “But I thoppothe if I really mutht.....” Five shiny bits now appeared in Grubber’s grubby paw, ripe for the taking.

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The sad fact of the matter was that she wasn't sure how much of what he said she believed initially. He lied all the time about almost everything, yet he had lived a pretty wild life so far, hadn't he? What she did know about the background of the Storm King and Grubber and the rest meant there was some truth to a lot of what he was saying...except when he was just lying. Would he have been trusted with what amounted to the arrangement of the entire economic structure of occupied Equestria? She didn't believe that. She didn't believe that because it made no sense. But she couldn't discount it, either. His boasts and stories and excuses were all wild but enough of them had a kernel of truth to them. So much that she couldn't call him out on it.

 

But even if he was telling the truth...well, she'd essentially be giving him the apples for free. That wasn't fair to all the paying customers that had spent their bits all day long on her products and service. It would also mean accepting the currency of a creature and government that she didn't much care for, almost like some manner of endorsement. No, she wouldn't accept the Storm Bucks. And luckily, as expected, he produced the bits. She took them in hoof and went ahead and banked it, filling up a bushel as she went. She did feel bad for him. His life hadn't been easy, not one bit, and a defensive reaction or not she had to admire his cheery disposition in the face of it all was commendable.

 

When she was done she sent the bushel over- and while she was in the area she grabbed Grubber and pulled him up onto the stand, holding him close for a whisper.
"Grubber, you've had one heck of an awful time of it but if you keep on doin' tha right things for tha right reasons, there ain't no tellin' how far yer gonna go. Ah believe in you," she said as she gave him a short, sweet kiss on the cheek before giving him his bushel and letting him back down. "You just keep on tryin' yer best, okay? Yer worth a hardy friendship or ten."
 

*Grubber*

 

Spoiler


11 Kisses left!
90. Grubber
91. Candy Cain
92. Spike
93. Stellar Drift
94. Tiger
95. Feng Yinhaitao
96. Sunset Shimmer
97. Yanhua
98.
99.
100. 

Next up

 


 

Kissed
1-10

Spoiler

1. Carrot Fields :smug:
2. Reno Golucky
3. Lore Weaver
4. Dunder Blust :?
5. Gentle Sol
6. Flam watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
7. Starburst :?
8. Astral :smug:
9. Flim watapplejackbyfelixkotd.png
10. Silverbolt :smug:


11-20

Spoiler

11. Klondike :smug:
12. Lyra Heartstrings
13. Donut "Pony" Joe
14. Rarity ajscreen.png;)
15. Pigpen :smug:
16. Cherry Jubilee :?
17. Misty Morning :smug:
18. Pathfinder :?
19. Earth Writer :smug:
20. Thorn


21-30

Spoiler

21. Metal Maker :smug:
22. Twilight Shine
23. Opal Shards
24. Bon Bon
25. Electric Vibe :smug:ajscreen.png
26. Princess Luna
27. Guiding Light
28. Mythos Gray
29. Harrington Sleuth
30. Pumpkin Cake


31-40

Spoiler

31. Inkwell
32. Pinkie Pie :smirk:
33. Star Storm :smug:
34. Master Mustang
35. Parhelion
36. Prime Meridian
37. Razor
38. Dr. Spin Tale
39. Professor Ashen Smirk
40. Quiet Harmony


41-50

Spoiler

41. Ice Storm
42. Heart Line
43. Pocket Change
44. Sugar Rush
45. Moonstone II
46. Valen Orange
47. Mojo
48. Trixie :shifty:
49. Princess Twilight Sparkle
50. Zelda


51-60

Spoiler

51. Curiosity Sparks
52. Flash Sentry
53. Gadget
54. Professor Clyde Krashkop
55. Carrot Top
56. Presteza
57. Prince Blueblood
58. Princess Celestia :Celest:
59. Princess Cadance
60. Ruby Pinch


61-70

Spoiler

61. Berry Punch
62. Fluttershy
63. Red Cedar
64. Night Glider
65. Granola Gracie
66. Cheerilee
67. Fast Track
68. Fire Walker
69. Sky Sailing
70. Gideon


71-80

Spoiler

71. Mint Zest
72. Discord
73. Rune Writer
74. Rainbow Dash <3
75. Tai
76. Detached Cable
77. Ejaz
78. Boulder Dash
79. Chipper Demise
80. Dusty


81-90

Spoiler
 
 
 
 
Spoiler

81. Princess Blueblood
82. Swift Squall
83. Mythic Visions
84. Starlight Glimmer
85. Countess Coloratura
86. Naj
87. Tempest Shadow
88. Silverstream
89. Smolder
90. 

 
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Grubber was left speechless as Professor Applejack grabbed the hedgehog, put him up on the stand, and whispered words of encouragement. It was an odd feeling really; the last time any creature ever expressed earnest faith in Grubber was, who knows... back when the hippogriff rooted for him several minutes ago? But BEFORE then, such instances were few, assuming they even happened. Stormlanders by and large were a reserved, cynical lot.


But a result of that sort of upbringing was that with nobody putting real trust into Grubber, he never felt that failure and laziness led to genuine consequences. Sure, you could have tried being super successful in the Storm King’s regime instead... just go ask Strife and Tempest Shadow how “success” worked out for them! On the other hand, only putting minimal effort into tasks might not have won Grubber acclaim... but he got his grub regardless, and getting grub was the only thing that mattered in life anyway.


.....Or did it?


As Applejack’s kiss sent blood rushing to Grubber’s cheeks, the hedgehog strangely felt much more was on the line than at any point in his life. The runt disliked hard work, no doubt about that... but would he have the heart to let his professor down after she spoke those inspiring heartfelt words?


The hedgehog would have to answer the important questions of life on his own time. At the moment, Grubber needed to jump down and fetch his bushel of apples... which looked rather heavy for a runt like him to carry. But the diminutively-sized hedgehog would see it through! “Jutht you wait and thee, Profethor!!!” Grubber eagerly boasted as he walked off with his new fruit cache; “I’m TOTALLY going to have the betht homework grade next clath....!”

 

*EXIT GRUBBER*

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Today was a rather eventful day for the Long Guo Prince. He had managed to sneak away from the majority of his retinue, but knew full well that his ever present bodyguard was watching from the shadows from not far. It wouldn't be long though before, for both her and the worrying guards' sake, that the prince would have to return for their trip back homeward. But no trip to Equestria was complete without a little detour for a snack. Granted, Hēi Lián's sweet tooth was originally leading him towards Sugarcube Corner, a fateful flyer flitting by alerted him to a more interesting opportunity. "Hmm, it has been a little while since I've had the chance to see the Apple family. No harm in catching two birds in one net." he mused to himself before placing the flyer into a pocket on his robe. With an idle little tug to the ribbon keeping his mane up, Lián made his way off to Sweet Apple Acres.
 

After a short little walk the young prince would find what one could only assume to be the line for the sale...given that Applejack was up ahead and the bushels of apples setting about. While he could very well announce himself and make his way to the front of the line, that would A: be completely stupid and rude and B: be something that snooty chancellor would do and the thought alone gave him indigestion. And so politely the qilin would quietly take his place...only noticing the familiar faces in line as he came to a stop. "Well then, this is certainly a surprise." Lián grinned and dipped his head, flicking a strand of his mane out from his face as he stood back up. "Feng, Yanhua! A pleasant surprise on an otherwise rather boring trip. What brings the two of you so far from home, mm?"

 

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