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There is No I in Team (Closed: TheOne)


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As Ponyville stood directly in the dark cloud's core, the rain poured into the streets, drenching anything the drops touched. It was the middle of spring, but the pegasi decided a downpour would be healthy so some plants could thrive from the past few hot days. Of course, this was the day a farm pony had to walk by herself to Cantorlot, in the dark, but warm, dirt road. Most ponies were basking in their homes, not interested in getting their mane's wet. A few little fillies and colts were spotted here and there, jumping in puddles with their little rain boots and having fun making memories that they'll hopefully remember in the future. 


Of course Alizarin Fruits ignored the suckers. Little kids drove her nuts anyway, their high pitched noises and always asking 'why?'. Why did they ask why so much? Can Ali ask them why for once? 'Why are you so annoying?' she'd often ask to the kids if they ever questioned her own doings. Of course, not in front of her own customers, because she needed as much bits as possible. Just on her off time. 


The splotched pony found herself outside, her mane already wet, but it still looked the same as normal. Just bright red and droopy, with a messy bun in the back. As long as it was out of her face, she didn't care about her appearance. Kind of. She just needed to get her work done. Which is why she was outside, packing in all her red fruits into a very large cart, along with a big tent, blankets, and some water. A big pile of wood was also in the back of her very large cart, to create a fire later on when the day grew old. She had everything she needed for the long walk to Cantorlot, hopefully. She wanted the trip done as soon as possible. Though she did travel a lot, the farm pony did get homesick.


Ali latched her cart onto her very small back, barely strong enough to pull the rickety 'ol thing along the bumpy dirt road. Since it was dark outside, she had to keep an eye out on the ground to make sure she didn't get stuck in a hole. With her luck, of course it did the second she started tuggin' it. "Ah, shoot!" she shouted, unlatching herself and trotting over to the stuck wheel. She took at look at it, frowning at the mud covered wheel. "This rain ain't helpin' neither. It would be nice if it all stopped rainin'!" the country pony then yelled at the sky, furious of this mishap. Her voice had a sweet country tang to it, something a lot of farm ponies didn't have nowadays. 


The brown pony started digging in the mud, trying to get the wheel to pop out of the hole. Of course it wasn't working, the rain was pouring down too hard. "C'mon now! I just wanna get a move on this gosh darn place." She started to twist the wheel, trying to see if the wooden thing would at least move a little bit. Suddenly a bolt flew out of the wheel, hitting Ali in the face. "What the?!" Pop! The wheel then fell off the hinge, as her cart tipped over on her. "Wah!" Her fruits, tent, wood, everything, landed on the ground and her. Ali was stuck, and furious, and couldn't see a pony in sight to help her. She didn't think she needed help though, so she tried to turn on her back and lift it up with her short legs, but she wasn't quite strong enough...

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Rainy days like this were quite something to Grey. They didn't happen very often but when they did, this grey unicorn would often find himself delaying his plans. Not only because of the weather, but also to just chill out in one of the bars, admire the view and listen to the most relaxing sound in the world, which is the raindrops hitting the roof. And so, this was the exact thing he was doing right now. He had his plans to go to Canterlot and visit his family for the first time in a while, but now... now, he was sitting in the pub, next to a window with a glass of water on his table and his packed saddlebags laid down on the bench beside him. 

Grey was staring out the window, looking around the drenched Ponyville, stopping from time to time to observe the kids playing around. It brought him waaay back, to his younger times, seeing kids playing around like that. But there was someone else in the streets and it caught Grey's attention.  A rather big cart with a rather small mare standing next to it. What was she doing in this rain? The roads will be muddy, no way she will be able to move this thing far. But still, she seemed quite determined to get it moving...

Oh, she seemed a bit angry, now walking to the back of the cart... Yeah, she is definitely stuck... Grey lifted the cover from his saddlebags and as his horn lit up a light grey rain-coat flew out of it. If he could offer assistance, then why wouldn't he. And so, he started to make his way towards the door, putting on his raincoat and pulling the hood down to cover his head. 

As soon as he opened the doors he saw that the situation... escalated a bit, one can say. Everything was laying on the ground, next to the now tipped over cart. But where was the mare? It took him a good while to spot the brown coat and red mane with this mud and apples laying around, but he finally saw it. Grey, without thinking much ran up to the cart, his hooves splashing the muddy water everywhere.

Once there, he started to asses a situation "Are you alright?" He asked, while his eyes went to the mare for a second, then back to the cart. Now, without all of those things on it, maybe Grey could lift it, but well... He wasn't really strong himself. Being a traveler maybe trained your hooves, but the lack of steady nourishment definitely wasn't helping with building muscles. Well... Worth a shot. Grey bent down his knees and found a good place to stick his head in and rest the cart on his shoulders "Push on three" He muttered to the mare "One, two... Three!" His muscles tensed up as he put all of his strength into his hooves, trying to lift the cart at least a tiny bit.

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Ali laid there, getting pounded by rain and darkness. From being stuck on the bottom of the street, it wasn't really a pleasant time, especially for the firecracker of a pony herself. Her face was as red as her mane. Not from only fury, but frustration. She just wanted to get a move on and get the bits she and her father desperately needed, no matter what the cost, even if it was getting stuck underneath a very heavy wooden cart, in the mud, getting soaked from the wet drops that escaped the cloud's grasp. She didn't need help though, definitely not her, not Alizarin. Of course not. 


Or she did really need help. 


The small mare struggled to get her body unstuck, but she really couldn't move. Her stubborn nature wouldn't give up though, not until she could get free, and taste the sweet air of freedom, even though she was going to get stuck carrying a heavy cart full of fruits.. and her other belongings. Thinking about this, her greenish eyes looked around at all her stuff piled all over the floor. She'd have to pick it up too. "Ugh!" she groaned, growing very impatient at the whole situation. Why did she have to get stuck?


After laying there for a few seconds, Ali heard a voice. A very unfamiliar one. It set off the angry mare. "Does it look like ah'm alright to you, sir?" she questioned rather brashly, producing a very big scowl. She tried to roll over on her back to get a bigger push off from the cart, but it started moving. He started counting down, and it made Ali turn on her back completely. She pushed with her hind legs, obviously a little stronger than the stallion, but it helped. Her farm horse legs kicked the cart all the way back up on its wheels, making Ali jump up from the muddy ground.


She searched for the unicorn who helped her, and when she found him, she still had a big frown plastered on her face. "Couldn't come any sooner?" she questioned again, mud washing off of her from the rain. She had a few scratches on her legs from the fall, but it didn't faze her. She then began to pick up her fruits, setting them back in the cart and letting the rain wash off the mud. Her fruits were all over the place though, making Ali lower her head. She picked up her tent as well, setting it carefully in the cart. She then let out a big huff, all her anger rushing away, and turning into exhaustion. The farm horse wasn't emotionally ready for the day.  

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Grey pushed the cart with all his might but soon learned that he didn't need to do that for long. The cart just jumped back into its place with a firm kick from the mare. She indeed was stronger then it seemed. And so, the stallion pulled himself out from the now standing cart and backed off a bit. The cart seemed... more or less stable.

Hearing the mare approaching, Grey turned towards her expecting a... different kind of approach. Maybe some gratefulness, maybe just a nod of appreciation. He wasn't expecting what was going to come out from the mare's mouth. "Oh... Well.." He started, blinking a couple of times, a bit confused about this little situation. This definitely wasn't typical "I'm glad to see you're all right..." He said, trying to come out of this... awkward little spot he has found himself in this conversation.

Seeing her starting to pick her fruits up, Grey wasn't sure if he should just leave, seeing the mare's previous reaction or still insist to help. For a second, he turned his head back to the warm, pleasant tavern, which he was planning to spend some time in. But he couldn't just leave like that. "Let me help" He said a bit on the quieter side as his horn lit up with a yellow taint. A couple of apples were lifted into the air before Grey gave them a little shake to clean off the thick layer of mud and let the rain clean the rest and put them at the back of the cart. 

Grey's eyes landed on a tent that the mare was picking up. "Where are you going?" He asked, picking up another bunch of apples, his head turned towards her with an expression of interest.

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This situation felt like one of those cartoon stereotypes where one character was so mad, steam was literally coming out of their head. Ali felt like that. She could physically feel the steam rolling off her angry face. The water seemed to evaporate off her head as it landed on her. The rain was pulling in harder, but Ali didn't seem to get more wet. She was that frustrated, and angry, and any negative feeling anyone could feel ever. Maybe not sadness though. No, not sadness. Ali never felt sad. 


She forced her angry greenish eyes on the unicorn stallion, giving a death glare that could kill any weakling that even tried to make eye contact. Ali was good at that face. Too good. She seemed to do it almost everyday. If being grouchy was a sport, Ali would go to the Olympics for it. So, as she listened to the grey pony stumble with his words, she huffed and turned back around, picking up more fruit. "I ah'm alright. I didn't need your help in the darn first place." Venom oozed out of her words. "But thanks for the help, wasting your own time. Hopefully it was fulfilling for 'ya." She placed more fruit in their baskets, piling them up perfectly.


The splotched mare turned to see the stallion picking up fruit too. Her guess was he wanted to help. "Hey- now!" she yelled, confronting the stallion. "Don't use your dilly dally magic on my perfectly earth grown apples, ya' hear? Magic ruins the taste- as my Pop-Pop says." She took the apples out of the air, that were remaining at least, since he already picked them up, and set them down herself into the cart. Her ears pulled back as she looked at the soaked pony again, feeling a little guilty. Why? She didn't really want to think about it. 


Turning away to pick up the rest, she heard the stallion ask a question. "Ah'm goin' to that fancy place called Cantorlot. I have to deliver these fruits so me and my Pop can actually afford a new barn door for our apple pie carts. What's it to 'ya?" She didn't mind his question, she just didn't want to break down on him. He seemed sweet anyway. 

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There was something about this mare Grey didn't see often. Anger that truly made him shiver down in his core. Not many ponies refused help, less was angry once this help was given and very few were STEAMING because of it. All that this stallion could guess on why was Pride. But not the Canterlot type, where you would be proud because you are so glamorous. Maybe pride in your work? Maybe she needed to prove something to herself? Well, whatever it was... This death-glare definitely wasn't inviting. And this spiteful tone mixed with sarcasm when she said her thanks... Quite cold. "You're welcome?" Grey wasn't sure how to answer that as well, so he just said that with a questioning tone, unsure.

Oh! No magic? Does it ruin the apples? That was something Grey never heard before. Interesting... Did it truly do that? He has always eaten them with magic and they tasted alright... "Sorry. I didn't know" Grey started to feel a bit more comfortable in this conversation. He did know what to expect now, after the initial outburst, so it wasn't as bad "Your dad seems like a wise man. He is a farmer, I suppose?" Grey continued, trying to spark some conversation before slowly picking up another apple with his hoof and putting it on the cart. Ugh... This damned rain, sticking all this mud to those apples. Would've been much easier with magic, but... yeah

Hearing about her target, Grey raised an eyebrow and pointed above them, at the clouds "All the way to Canterlot? You ain't gonna make it in that mud. You'll probably get drenched and sick before you get half-way. And that would be no good for both you, your Pop and the apples. Would it now?" He asked before raising his head upwards, thinking for a bit "I know that this won't probably fit your fancy, but..." He stopped for a second, his green eyes going back onto the mare "I could propose a bit of cooperation. For one or two of your apples, I could shield you from the rain on your way to Canterlot. Could also help with the mud" The price of apples was just a symbolic one. Grey didn't have much to do so might as well help, right?

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"It's fine," Ali said in her sweet country tune, shaking off the apology like it was nothing. It was nothing, right? It didn't matter to her. No, not one bit. And it didn't matter when the stallion brought up her dad either. This guy was the curious type, Ali thought at least. It was kind of annoying. She just wanted to get on with her day and deliver these fruits that she worked her tail off to grow. "I trust mah Pop-Pop with every part of my bein'," the mare said, responding dangerously to his question. "I never take his words with a grain of salt." The mare threw the rest of her apples into the cart, letting the rain soak them off. She opened her cream mouth again, "Farmin' runs in the family. Though it's just me and him workin' on our farm." Ali was really passionate with her farm work, and her family. She didn't mind opening up about that to him. 


The mare quickly let her hair down and put it back into a loose bun, trying to keep it looking not like a rat's nest. She listened as the stallion talked about the long walk up there, but she just shrugged her angry shoulders. "I make that walk up there all the darn time." She shook the excess rain off her red mane. "This is the first time ah'm makin' this trip in the soakin' wet rain, but it's mah job." The mare still had a hint of rudeness in her voice, but it was a lot more relaxed now after she had her outburst and calmed down. The rain, she guessed, had a cooling effect on her. If it was hot outside, it would be a different story. 


The small mare sat down, looking up at him as he talked. He offered to help her, and her immediate reaction was to be stubborn. "Absolutely not. I can do it mah-self." She shook her head rapidly, not even batting an eye at the question. But she thought about what he said a little longer, about her Pop, and what he could help her with along the journey. "Two apples you said?" she repeated, giving him the notice that she was thinking about her decision. 


The mare got up, stood right in front of the unicorn and stared at him for a couple seconds. "You got ur-self a deal. But! You better keep your fancy magic away from my apples." The mare turned around, heading towards her carriage and hooking herself onto it. She then looked back at him, with the smallest smile. "Also you can't sleep in mah tent with me." Her sass protruded with her words. "To also get on a first name basis, I'm Alizarin Fruits."  

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Grey had a feeling that in-fact his apology didn't truly reach her, but what could he do? Apologise again? That wouldn't work, would it? And it was the truth that Grey was a rather... curious pony, sniffing where he could, however he could. Knowlage was power, after all! But, it was also interesting, and this aspect of it was more appealing to Grey. 

So she had a close relationship with her father and they are running a farm togheter.... Grey started to take mental notes of this mare. An aspiring farmer mare seemed like she was truly made for this job, maybe not physcially but defenietly mentaly. "I see! It must be quite a lot of work to do when you two are working alone." He remarked, thinking for a bit. Probably hiring someone to help them would be a good idea, but Grey could guess from the part of her personality that she showed, that this wasn't a probable option for her. 

When the mare started to rather agressivly tell him that she was doing those walks of the time, Grey nodded, showing that he understands "Well, that doesn't mean that it is an easy or in any way efficient way..." It was rather a risky response but Grey hoped that maybe she won't react so harshly.

Hearing the mare almost immidietly reject with an angry expression visible through her body, Grey took a step back and nodded "Well, if you don't want my help, I can so go..." He said before slowly turning to his side. But then, she seemed to start and think about it, which made the grey sallion smirk a bit. Two apples was a steal for such travel, and even more so in such rain. "Aye. Two apples, no less, no more." He said with a proud tone. 

Ha! So she did accept this deal. Great! It was going to be quite a trip. When the mare requested no magic to touch her precious fruits, Grey placed his hoof on his chest, around the place where his heart was "I promise that my magic will not touch your apples unless compleatly necessary" The tone was both playful and serious at the same time. He did really mean it, but it seemed a bit absurd to him to swear such thing. It was kinda funny, though.

"Don't worry. I have my own stuff. I will go grab them. Just give me a second" His voice was now full of excitment. He traveled many, many times, but travelling with someone else was always exciting. And so, he quickly turned around before starting to jogg towards the tavern. He just bearly cought onto her name and quickly responded, by briefly turning around "The name is Grey Shield!" He shouted and ran into the tavern.

It didn't tak him long to join her once again, this time with saddlebags on his sides, filled to the brim with all sorts of items "I'm ready

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The mare scoffed at his answer, rolling her eyes. "You have no tootin' idea how hard it is workin' on a farm. Me and my Pop work all day long."  He then said something in response to her walking wherever she goes all the time, and she wrinkled her nose, about to bite his head off. "We make money, that's all that matters." Her stubbornness was taking a toll on her answers, as that was her biggest weakness. No pony could really get into her head, besides her dad. Ali never really gave a second thought on things. Everything was a one and done thing. 


A sudden confidence was given to the short mare from the stallion, which made Ali nod her head a bit. The brown pony then trotted over to her drenched haul of apples and picked out two with her mouth. She then walked back to the unicorn, handing him them gently. "Try 'em without the magic. They're better off without it," she motioned, her tone of voice slowly turning calm. She was serious about this fruit business, she wouldn't lie about something like magic on the fruit. Well, she never actually tried magic on the fruit, but her dad said it wasn't has good.


And the stallion seemed to take her magic talk seriously, as he quite amusingly put his hoof to his chest and gave her a promise. Ali just nodded her head, still not giving the stallion a smile, but instead a small head nod. "Congratulations, partner, I trust your promise. One strike though and you're done, 'ya hear?" the mare said, giving him a serious eye. She wasn't joking around with that one. 


Not one bit.


Ali noticed him get all excited, which made her roll her eyes and huff at this dork of a stallion. "Best hurry up then. It's gettin' colder by the second and I ain't feelin' it." The mare organized her belongings real quickly, making her she has everything she needs, has the trip will take a couple days. "Grey Shield, huh?" her country accent made his name sound a little funny. "Alrighty then." 


Very soon actually, Grey was back, and Ali stood next to him. "Quicker than I thought," she said briefly, and she started walking. "If you forget anything, I ain't walkin' back." Her wagon started shaking lightly as the duo started walking, the wind in the air beginning to get a little stronger. They only had to be together for two days, and then Ali could be by herself again. No big deal. 

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