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Fresh Farm Air [Sweet Apple Acres] Attn Steel & Hypo


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Flurry Heart

A lone guard sat in the seat across from the young alicorn as the train rumbled down the tracks towards Celestia knows where... Or was it Aunt Twilight knows where now? Her facial expression showed boredom as turned to look out the window. "I don't suppose you can tell me where we're heading?" Flurry said with a bit of winning. "I know we're not going to Aunt Twilight's in Canterlot, that was three stations ago." The guard would smile at her as shake his head no. "Some help you are." she said slouching into her seat and levitating a few small snacks. "With your mother and father busy at the summit, your aunt has made special arrangements for you." Flurry's face picked up. "Special!" she exclaimed. "I love special. Is it meant to be a surprise? That's why your not telling me isn't it?" The guard would smirk at the young alicorn. "Oh, you'll be surprised alright, and don't act so board. Your mother sent a few books she wants you to read while your away from the empire." Flurry's excitement would quickly fade as she began to pout. "Hfff. Fine. Royal Etiquette... 4th Edition..." as she rolled her eyes before beginning to read it. 

 

As the train lurched to a stop, Flurry would look up from her book. "Well, here you are, Ponyville. The real center of Equestria. Princess Cadance has left strict orders for you. I'll see you in a week." Flurry had already stepped off the train onto the platform when she heard him speak. "What do you mean see you in a week? Aren't you suppose to accompany a princess wherever she goes? And who's supposed to carry my bags?" The guard grinned. "My orders are only to make sure you got off the train...and your supposed to carry them yourself." The guard would levitate Flurry's bags onto the platform as well as a parchment. Before Flurry could respond, the doors to the train car closed. Flurry would glare at the guard through the window as the way back home pulled out of the station.

 

It had been years since Flurry had set hoof in Ponyville and apparently she left quite the impression before she left. "Auntie Twilight's other castle..." she would stop mid sentence as she had the opportunity to actually read her mother's scroll. "Sweet Apple Acres?!" she exclaimed with annoyance. "They're sending me to a farm.. Ugh." As the alicorn took her first step onto the dirt streets, she would quickly decide to hover there instead of walking, her bags held in her magical aura. "Well, this should be interesting..." as she began her short journey. If there is was one silver lining, she'd at least get to visit her Aunt's friends. Little did she know they where also at the summit...

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"Pick tha pace up!"

Apple Bloom couldn't believe her fortune.
Or her lack of it.
Of all the days for the roosters to not crow and for the sun to be ever so darkened so that the rays didn't splash across her face, it had to be today. She had to be just that much later to everything, following her big sister's precise schedule. Of all the days for the chickens to put up an extra bit of a fight, for the pigs to run from her, from her nascent bucking skills to leave her. Everything was just that much harder, just took that much longer. What had been a well-planned if busy day that would give her more than enough time to take care of her obligations and prepare turned into a mad scramble. And the most important of all her jobs? Yeah, she was late for that too.

 

How in the hay had Apple Bloom been made responsible for foalsitting a Princess, anywho?
Applejack and her big, dumb summit. Apple Bloom was a young mare but she had her hooves tied enough dealing with her own nephew. He was younger than Flurry Heart but he knew the farm and he could fly. Truth be told it was only her 'auntie authority' that kept him in check. What was she supposed to do if he flew away? She wasn't half bad with a rope but lassoing him was right out of the question. And now she was supposed to try and keep track of an Alicorn? That was a recipe for a bad time. She could fly, she could zap Apple Bloom with magic, and she could probably compel Apple Bloom to do anything due to *her* own, innate authority as a Princess.
This was a bad idea.
It was all a bad idea.

 

It had also been her idea.
With Applejack out for a while, it seemed only natural that Apple Bloom would assume the mantle of head mare of Sweet Apple Acres. And while it was not a title she planned on affixing to herself anytime soon it was one she wouldn't mind renting once in a while. So she had volunteered for any and all duties, which included a pre-planned trip to Sweet Apple Acres by the True Alicorn Princess of the Crystal Empire, Flurry Heart. It was the sort of trip that would make a young mare get real nervous if it wasn't for the fact that she had spent much of her youth hobnobbing and rubbing fetlocks with some of Equestria's best and highest, not the least being the sovereign Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Princess herself, not to mention Flurry's mother, Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. What better way to really see how well she could handle things than this?

 

Then everything was late. Then she was a fool. And now she was galloping dramatically to the train station with her nephew in tow. Was he still behind her? When she saw the time after carrying out her sorting task in the barn she had barely given a moment's thought before she started galloping, yelling for Zap Apple to follow. Now here she was yelling-

 

"Pick tha pace up!"

 

-to what she hoped was her nephew but may just be empty space. Maybe he was flying and was already there, now wouldn't that be just a kick in the flank? In any case she picke dup that pace herself, galloping fiercely until she had reached the station. No, no Crystal filly Alicorn Princess here. But she did see the train in the distance leaving Ponyville- yep, she had missed the dropoff. She would never live this down, even if nopony ever noticed. She'd know, and her knowing was more than enough. Apple Bloom trotted to the other end of the platform and looked around. After a moment of concern she saw Princess Heart's hovering form and breathed a sigh of relief. "Thar ya are, Yer Highness," Apple Bloom said, the relief echoing off of every syllable. She approached and bowed- she may be familiar, but that would never excuse her from being disrespectful. "Sorry for bein' late on ya. But better late than never, right?" She asked in search of absolution, calming herself down and allowing her nervousness to rise in equal parts.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Zap liked some chores more than others. The chores that utilized his ability to fly gave him more purpose, and so he tended to enjoy the tasks on the farm that required a bit of verticality. But with no parents or grandparents home, Zap Apple was left with his Auntie Apple Bloom to do more of his fair share of chores. Unfair for a young pegasus pony, but he would think that no matter that situation. Some days, one chore is too many chores.

 

He was in the middle of sorting apple seeds, arguably his least favorite thing to do. Sometimes, he flew the piles of seeds up to catch them in a bag to give himself more of a challenge, but he would only do it when his mother wasn't looking. Having Apple Bloom be the only other pony on the farm to give him any sort of discipline, he had more freedom than he was used to but once she yelled at him to follow her into town, he took this opportunity to escape the monotonous job of sifting through seeds.

 

"Where are we going?" He asked Apple Bloom out of earshot as he attempted to follow her. He was faster than her in the air, but he would not attempt to fly fast in case this was a trick to get him to do chores faster than he normally would.

 

Once he caught up to Apple Bloom, he landed, and in front of both of them was Flurry Heart who was hovering with an indifferent expression on her face. Zap was immediately struck by her appearance. Her bright colors and bright blue bow shimmered in his eyes as he wondered who she was. And she had a horn and wings? Like a princess? He thought. As Apple Bloom addressed her with royal terminology, it was clear to Zap that this was an important pony. But why was she here? "Auntie, why is she a princess?" He asked bluntly in front of both of the older fillies.

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Flurry would land, setting her bags down next to her as the Apple's approached. Looking them both over, she would look to Apple Bloom with a disappointed look. "I guess I was expecting Applejack or Rainbow Dash...but at least somepony came to greet me." When the alicorn heard a little pegasus as why she was a princess, she gave him a confused glare. "I...uh..." she would defer that question till later, though she would give her standard spiel. "I am Princess Flurry Heart. Daughter of Mi Amore Cadenza and Shining Armor, Rulers of the Crystal Empire. And you must be...." Flurry's brain locked for a moment. She was sure that Auntie Twilight has mentioned something about a new apple foal in a letter but it was sooo long ago. "The youngest member of the apple family," She'd look to Apple Boom hoping she would say his name otherwise it was going to be an award few days and she had an image to keep up.

 

"Mom says I'm spending a few days at your apple farm while she and dad are at some summit with Aunt Twilight." As her horn glowed, her luggage would lift off the ground and follow her. "I take it Applejack  got mom's letter with her....instructions..." Flurry would roll her eyes. Even when she wasn't there, her life still seemed to be micromanaged. "Anyhow, I take it my room is ready? After that train ride I could use a nap and a snack. You guys still have the best apple pie, right? I can't wait to talk with Apple Jack about her adventures over some pie and milk." 

 

Walking to the farm, her luggage in tow in her aura Flurry would try to think of some small talk. "So mom says I have you to thank for my style Apple Bloom. Well, you and Rarity. Apparently I've been wearing a bow ever since we first met, and Rarity found the perfect color. Oh, maybe we can visit her one day this week too!"

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Apple Bloom knew better than to take great offense at Flurry Heart's disappointment. Why wouldn't she be let down? Here she was, expecting to deal with one of the great heroines of Equestria and a friend of her mother and aunt. One of their best, Apple Bloom would argue. Instead, she was met by the smaller, less well known, more gangly, and less respected younger sister. It would be like being in line to meet Princess Twilight and meeting pre-reformation Prince Blueblood. Would anypony not be radically let down by the change in plans? She was about to speak when her nephew, bless his heart, spoke up instead. She was mortified by his bluntness. She was long past the time in which she viewed a Princess with the justly awed fear that came with mystery, but she didn't want Flurry Heart to get the wrong impression and come away from Sweet Apple Acres thinking that they were anything else other than the best family in all of Equestria. "Y-yeah," she said shakily to begin before firming up her voice, "this here's Zap Apple! Little fellow here's mah nephew. He's a bit of a troublemaker, ain't ya?" She said playfully as she winked at him, smiling as she remembered all the playfully destructive times they had.


Then she realized, again, PRINCESS.
"Uhh, but he'll be on his best behavior, Yer Highness. Ain't that right, Zap?" She asked pleasantly, but with no small amount of stern pleading underneath it.

 

She took a deep breath and started following the Princess. Luckily, she got her own luggage. Apple Bloom was more than willing to carry it but she wasn't going to stop anything from being done by the Princess for any reason until they got home. She was still trying to recover from arriving late. As Flurry Heart continued speaking though, Apple Bloom came to a realization. The Princess didn't know that Apple Bloom was the one watching her. Was she still expecting to see Applejack or Rainbow Dash? Oh fiddlesticks. Well, better late than never, and better now than in five minutes. "We certainly got some pies an' milk ready. Always have at least one pie ready ta go, haha!" She began happily before trying to clear her throat. "But- uhh," she began, rubbing her beck. "Uhh, 'bout that. Applejack ain't here, same with R-D. They're at tha summit too. Ah'm watchin' you," she said before trying to change the subject. After all, Apple Bloom knew they shared one thing in common! "And, yeah. I guess yer mama did get tha whole bow idea from me," she said as she shook her mane, moving the bow that she still wore up there to and fro. The size of the bow changed but never the intent! "You look good with it. Yer mama's got good taste. So does Rarity," a pregnant pause, "she's gone too."

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As Apple Bloom explained who Zap Apple was, he perked up when she mentioned how much of a troublemaker he was. He giggle maniacally, stood up on his hind legs, and started making flatulent noises using the pit of one of his front legs. When Apple Bloom changed her tune and suggested that Zap would be well behaved, Zap paused silently, and then continued to make more flatulent noises, laughing while doing so.

 

Zap wasn't really sure what to make of Flurry Heart. Even his aunt seemed to be perplexed on the proper way to address them. It was like talking to Princess Twilight Sparkle, except the princess was less kind and smaller in size. Instead of pondering it too much, Zap mostly resorted to just being himself, constantly looking around at things to distract him from the moments of boring things older ponies talked about.

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Flurry Heart

Looking to Zap, Flurry would smile momentarily. "Well, it is nice to make your acquaintance Zap Apple,"  as she tried her best formal greeting. She would look him over from ear to tail. He differently looked what she expected a foal of Applejack and Rainbow Dash would look like. When he started to make sounds that resembled that of the body, she rolled her eyes. "I take it you take after your...." Flurry had to pause to think of the proper term. "Rainbow Dash."  Flurry's attention quickly returned to the older of the Apple Kin, though what she heard was not to her liking. Letting out a deep sigh, her eyes would look to the sky. "Dumb summit," she would mutter under hear breath. As she continued to walk, there would be an awkward silence. As she opened her mouth to ask a question, "What about....is....Summit, never mind..." Flurry's body language showed her disappointment as her head hung low. At least she had Pie to look forward to.

 

Flurry would look over to the eldest pony in her little entourage of sorts. "So...how did you get picked to handle such an esteemed task? With everypony else at the summit, I though that Aunt Twilight would want the famed 'Crusaders' there as well..." A light would go off in her head of sorts. "If your still here, they still must be in Ponyville, right?" Ponyville would soon be to their rear as the famous gates of Sweet Apple Acres grew closer.

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Zap Apple. 
What in the wide wide world of Equestria, Zap Apple.
He wasn't a foal anymore. He could try and be polite when his mothers were around. Did she have to bring up the specter of maternal punishment to reel him back in line? Something had to be done because his coltishness was obnoxiously timed and incredibly embarrassing. Was he nervous? is that why he was acting like the worst version of himself? She was nervous. If she could be nervous then why not he? And if he was, why couldn't he just be silent and nervous instead of embarrassing and nervous? Somepony needed to run energy off in the farm. He would be flying and galloping laps around the place if he didn't start acting like the sort of colt his mommas were raising him to be.

 

And that wasn't even the worst of it. The Princess was rather let down by who was here with her. Apple Bloom tried not to take it personally. She tried to look at it from the perspective of the Princess. Here she was in some town that, while famous, certainly lacked all the things that made the Empire fascinating or the metro areas of the big cities. And she wasn't even being met by the town in a huge ceremony or with an official guard or even by the heroes that made the town famous. Instead she was being met by a young mare and an unbelievably misbehaving young colt. Yep, not exactly the royal treatment, was it? Still, she'd do her best. "Well, Ah reckon it's on account of-" she began before realizing saying 'she was the only one left at Sweet Apple Acres who could' was not that great an answer, even if true, "-me bein' mighty responsible. An' strong, so if we run inta any Timberwolves Ah can protect ya," she said with a beaming smile.

Hopefully that, like a timberwolf, didn't come back to bite her. 
"Oh, the other Cutie Mark Crusaders? Scootaloo is visitin' her parents in Shire Lanka, but Sweetie Belle's in town," she said positively as the trio entered the Orchard in all of its earthy glory. 

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Zap took any comparisons of him to his rainbow mother to be a compliment. Because she was the best. Except if he was with Applejack, then she was the best. If both of his mothers were with him, he need not worry because they would face each other in a best-off, in which Zap would slip away unnoticed to do his own things that he is best at.

 

Once back at the orchard, Zap did his best to pretend like he didn't have more chores to do and called on Jack, his puppy he got for Hearth's Warming a year and a half ago. "Jack! Come 'ere boy!" Zap grabbed a stick on the ground and flew up above where Jack would show himself, just outside a doggie door to the inside. Zap threw the stick as far as he could. "Get it!"

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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Flurry looked up to Apple Bloom and gave a faint smile. "Well, at least that's good that you didn't get left behind alone." The young alicorn's facial expression would quickly change. "I....I didn't mean to sound like they left you and her behind. I meant that at least you still had a friend in town." Flurry sighed deeply, looking down to the ground. "You did it again Flurry," she mumbled. "I hope I didn't offend you Apple Bloom. Seems that's my talent. I'm sure you heard of the wing incident a few weeks ago...How was I supposed to know that extending your wings when talking meant a show of authority. I just needed to stretch."

 

As the little alicorn finally set hoof into the famed orchard, Furry would set her luggage down. She would look around, focusing on various things in the farm, but only for a few seconds. Even the dirt felt different then the streets of Ponyville, and anywhere else for that matter that she had walked. Perhaps this is what was meant when her instructors had meant that alicorn's contained magic from all three races of ponies? Was she connecting with her earth pony bit? What really caught her attention however was a breeze. Some tree on the farm had to be in bloom as she closed her eyes and took in the aroma. "Such a wonderful smell..." Flurry would snap out of her small little trace and quickly pick up her luggage once more. "Which way to my accommodations?" she'd say to Apple Bloom, trying to hide her embarrassment as she could only imagine what her hosts must have thought of her. When Flurry saw Jake, she would grin from ear to ear, taking a step towards Zap and his dog's direction before re-correcting her course. She had to remember her etiquette classes on how to act, even though it took every fiber of her control to keep from running over and petting the puppy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apple Bloom felt a pang of pity for the privileged pony Princess. Despite being an Alicorn it must feel disheartening to believe you were being shuffled off into the corner. When your destiny was dominance yet your reality was subservience, how could you help but feel as if your parents and others of your stature were treating you less? It was something Apple Bloom was acutely familiar with. "Ah'm fine, an' so are you. Not everypony can be perfect. Not even tha Princess of the Crystal Empire," she chuckled, "though Ah reckon you've been able to use the 'unfurled wing' trick a time or two to yer benefit?" She asked with a laugh as the sound of a dog entered her frame of reference. As did a poorly understood understanding of the Princess' reaction.

 

Uh oh. She hadn't expected this development. Did she not like dogs? Oh shoot, she must not like dogs! Did she like cats? Maybe royals liked the prissy, preening nature of a cat and disliked the down home rough housing of a good mutt. She'd have to keep in mind to keep both Jack and Winona away from her. Not hard to do with Winona. She may not have been as loyal to Apple Bloom as she was Applejack, but Winona could follow commands well enough anyway. Jack would be a problem though. He knew to listen to the Apples but Zap Apple was the most Apple of all the Apples as far as he was concerned. And since Zap *barely* listened to Apple Bloom when it came to important matters anyway, she'd have to be careful. Gotta keep the Princess away from the dogs at all costs! 

 

"Yer accommodations are right this way, Yer Highness," she said as she led the way inside past Jack, who charged his way outside to find the stick. Inside, things were as prepared as she could make it. The house was clean and warm with everything mostly in its place (don't look in the foal's room). She had kept to the food arrangements and the laundry and all the boring practicalities of what made a house a home when you were simply a caretaker (or felt like one- also, don't look in the foal's room). Flurry heart would be staying in Applejack's room- it had the best bed and access to the master bathroom. That was a more recent addition- blame Rainbow Dash for that particular enhancement to the living quarters. It was the best place to put a prissy pony princess, even one that didn't want to be that prissy. "Tha master bedroom. Well, Ah guess its mistress bedroom on account of a mare living here. Why is it even called a master bedroom?" She pondered before shaking her head. "Well, no matter. You just make yerself comfortable Yer Highness. When yer ready, meet me downstairs an ah'll cook you up something good!" She said, leaving the Princess to her devices.

 

She had a nephew to meet.
She trotted out of the house what seemed like moments later, following the sound of barking and laughter which accompanied a colt and his puppy as readily as warmth did the sun. When she did find them, she made sure to suck in a deep breath before calling him down. She'd wanted to have this talk already, but everything had become so hectic that she hadn't the time. "Zap Apple! Need ta talk ta ya," she said ina  friendly enough tone. When he was ready, she continued. "All right. Princess Flurry Heart's gonna be with us for a few days. She's a real important pony. One of tha most important ponies in the whole wide world, and she's choosing us to be her caretakers," she approached closer, "'cause she knew that this was tha home of tha Apples. Yer mommas. They left me with this here important task and Ah need ta make sure that yer not gonna 'round and cause her any trouble. That would make me pretty dang sad, and it would make yer mommas sad," she let that sink in. "So, do you promise ta try to be on yer best behavior? Please?"


 

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  • 1 month later...

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A few tosses and returns of the stick to and from Jack, and Apple Bloom called Zap over. He obediently did so once he threw the stick again, the terrier sprinting towards it gleefully. "Yes, Auntie Apple Bloom?" When Apple Bloom addressed her concern for Zap's conduct, he brushed it off mentally. While she lectured, he was just thinking about the simplest way solve the issues that he didn't think was an issue in the first place. Once Apple Bloom finished her request in the form of a plea bargain, Zap Apple scuffed. "So, can I just play outside the whole time then? No sense in me bein' 'round to do chores if I'm only going to cause trouble." Zap was a little offended that a family member would once again assume his constant mischief, but he would use that assumption in order to leverage what he really wanted.

 

Jack returned and ran a few circles around the two ponies. "Good boy, Jack, here gimme the stick." Zap grabbed one end of the stick and tried pulling it from Jack's clench on it. This time, the puppy had decided to be a little greedy with the device. Zap pulled harder and harder to retrieve it. Eventually, Jack finally let go making Zap yank the stick into a throw behind him accidentally, crashing right into a window to the barn. "Oops."

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  • 4 weeks later...

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Flurry nodded to Apple Bloom's question. "It has, but most in the Crystal Palace have become accustomed to it. Every now and then it will work on a new pony working there or a visiting creature." The young alicorn would sigh deeply as she turned her head to look back at Jake and Zap. "Mom won't let me have a pet... or not yet anyway. There is some tradition that goes with the 'Royal Pet,' that she still has yet to completely research, though it's low on her and dad's list. My tutors also seem to have planted the seed that a pet, be it a puppy or kitten or even an owl like Auntie Twi would distract me from my studies...."

 

Flurry's slight depression would lift as she entered the Apple homestead. It was small compared to the Crystal Palace, though most places where. It felt...welcoming, almost as if the building itself was giving her a hug compared to the vast openness and cold halls of her home. Her minor trance would be broken when Apple Bloom said she'd be staying in Applejack's room. "Excuse me?" she said with shock in her voice. "I...a standard guest room would have sufficed. Dose Applejack know that I'd be sleeping in her bed?"

 

She'd begin to unpack as Apple Bloom left the room. With a sigh she'd get to her work and then her studies. She'd take her seat at the table and began reading one of her many schoolbooks. Every so often, she'd look out the window at Zap and his dog before returning to her studies, waiting on that apple pie. Yum.

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  • 2 weeks later...

She didn't want to fight Zap Apple on it and this also meant he was out of her mane, at least for a little while, so she didn't fight his interpretation of her statement before much. If he did what he needed to do then she didn't quite think it mattered just what the cause behind it was. He ran off and she was content to have him do so, which allowed her to focus on getting the Princess all set up. She seemed to warm up to the house mighty quickly and that was a relief as well. It was the best house in the world no doubt but a house and a palace were very different games. Of course, the prospect of not having a gaggle of critters popping about your home was something she couldn't quite cotton. "Well, Ah'd take yer tutors 'round back and give'm a right kick in the haunches. Ah bet you could get yerself tha perfect pet an' that'd bring so much love and fun into yer life, you'll never understand how you got by without one! As fer yer room, well, it's all we really got. 'Sides, it's tha best one, and Ah'm sure AJ wouldn't think nothing of it," she said with a smile. She then gave a bow and worked away from her, giving the Princess space.

 

She went head to work on the pies. She wasn't the same cook AJ was but through experience she knew how to make herself a killer apple pie, one that the Princess would be proud to have. Or at least she hoped so. There was always the possibility that she was about to make a foal out of herself but she had long ago ceded the space in her that would allow that to paralyze her. Piece by piece she assembled her pie and she could smell the wafting deliciousness as it grew moment by moment. Soon the aroma would start to infiltrate the house en masse, fresh apples and crust and a nice mix of the right flavorings and ingredients to give it all the right texture. It was almost done when a window shattered nearby in the kitchen, a stick flying in. Her ears momentarily pushed themselves flat against her skull in alarm as she walked delicately over towards the window and looked out, seeing one (1) tail wagging pup and one (1) sheepish looking colt. "Zap! Really, Zap? Uggh!" She ended with rolling eyes, inspecting the damage. 

Grumbling, she immediately went to work cleaning up the mess. She had to move quickly because the pie was almost ready and Twilight above if it didn't require precise- 

 

DING!


TIMING. She hurried, hurried, and hurried some more, sweeping up the last of the mess. As she put the broom away and made sure the pan and the glass was safely away, she took a deep breath. Everything was okay. Okay! Okay. She reached down to pull the pie out and a small, sharp pain shot out from her hoof. There was a small piece of glass wedged right in between the wall and her peddy, which she couldn't remove just then. It wasn't gonna go too far in but it would be a heck of an irritant until she could focus on it later. "For Land's sakes..." she muttered as she used her other hoof to pull the pie out and gave a quick look around- no, no more glass. Darnit Zap Apple. "Got some Apple pie ready!" She yelled loud enough for both to hear her as she got out some gauze and started wrapping the end of her hoof.

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If anypony was a young pegasus colt on a farm who had to do chores on the regular, you would suspect that that anypony would be doing their regular chores at a time like this. However, if that anypony's parents were not there to supervise the young colt, what kind of expectation would there be for one such pony to behave and do things productively as normal. Zap Apple played. It was the thing he was best at. Maybe he should do his chores now, so that he doesn't have to do them later. Maybe he would be a good family member if he went inside to help his aunt clean up a mess he made literally a few minutes ago. Maybe having the freedom to do whatever you want seemed inappropriate during a time in which the youngest member of the royal Equestrian family was visiting the farm. But these thoughts would only occur in a pony who had the sensibilities of others built up over a life experience of relationships, hard labor, and unfortunate hardships. Zap Apple had no such experience, and would do best to stay as clear from that kind of experience for as long as his young wings would allow him.

 

Unless there was pie.

 

"Pie!?" Zap Apple threw the stick for Jack one more time, with this time having the intent to leave Jack hanging around outside with no pony to give the stick to. The russell terrier would be fine though, he had plenty of other things to do when Zap wasn't actively playing with him. Zap zipped into the kitchen, and without announcement, sat at the supper table and placed a napkin around his neck. He softly did a drumroll with his hooves on the table while licking his lips, waiting to be presented with a slice of pie by his mother. Oh, but his mother wasn't here. No matter, he assumed his experience would probably be the same.

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Flurry had heard the commotion down below. Taking a few deep breaths, she would return to her book, 'The history of Unicorn Magic, Volume 4.' It wasn't the most boring subject she had to study, though it wasn't a Power Pony comic. As she began the third chapter, she heard her favorite three letter word, Pie. "Pie?! I'll be right down!" Quickly she sat the book on the table with a thud before her horn would glow gold and with in a split second.

 

*Poof*

 

Flurry appeared near the table and quickly took a seat, taking in the lofting sent of the pie. Her eyes locked onto Apple Bloom's hooves, the one holding the pie inpeticular before she noticed the injury. "Ya want some help," as she looked to the injured hoof. "Her horn would glow bright, but did not do anything yet. "Um...Aunt Twilight says Applejack doesn't normally let magic use around here, but Daddy has trained me in basic first aid. All you got to do is say the word and I can wrap ya up." 

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If she hadn't experienced Twilight and her teleportation all the dang time in her formative years, Flurry's precise and instant entrance would have sent something flying. Instead, Appple Bloom took a reflexive step back and then regained herself. It was no time at all before the Princess made seatfall. "Oh, don't worry Yer Highness, just a little bit o'glass," she said, nodding to the window that had a new shape in it. "Reckon-" she started up with gauze in her mouth as she continued to wrap it, "ahhhh gosh it. Ain' grow'n uhp in-ah fahm wiihot learnen' tah tahk cahr yerself," she said as she finished. "As for magic?" She shrugged and got to work cutting the pie, the first piece being the biggest given to the Princess. "Applejack ain't as opposed ta magic as some ponies think. An' even if she was, Ah'm not," she said as she delivered the piece. "Here ya go. Dig in!" She said with a big smile as she started cutting two more pieces.

 

Didn't take much for the second younger participant to show up. Zap Apple didn't even pay his aunt much of a mind, didn't even ask about the window, didn't look to make sure a fat p[iece of glass hadn't been laying in ambush for him. Nope, he just flew right in and sat down immediately despite knowing what he had done. Right then and there Apple Bloom realized that foals could be a little too crazy and swore off having them forever. For not. While she had glass in her hoof. She had half a mind to not give him a piece of pie as punishment but that would be an awkward conversation to have in front of a Princess, so she gave him his piece. "Here ya go Zappy," she said with as much cheer as the growing pain in her hoof would allow. "You two feel free ta chow down. I'm just gonna go wash up real quick!" She let off easy as she trotted, limping lightly on one hoof, out of the kitchen and left the two youngins alone.

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As the rumble on Zap Apple's side of the table continued, he began to feel feelings of resentment towards the guest of the day. Regardless of which princess it was, why was he not being served first when he clearly arrived at the table first? Mom had always challenged Zap and his sister on arriving at the table first, in order to guarantee that they would be here as soon as possible. But apparently, those rules do not apply when there is a princess, or if Auntie Apple Bloom was in charge. Not cool. Zap would successfully withhold his clever remarks for another time though, and would smile the moment a slice of pie was presented to him. Before he dug into it, he looked at Princess Flurry Heart to see if she had also been digging in. If there were in fact, new rules that Zap would have to abide by today, he would not want to infract on those principles in case there were serious consequences. So instead of diving in like he normally would, he waited to see what Flurry Heart would do first. Zap leaned in and smelled the pie, getting very close with his teeth to take a bite, but would wait until he saw Flurry make the first move.

 

After several seconds of stalemate and waiting for Flurry Heart to do whatever it is she does when eating pie, Zap kept his filter off a blurted out the next thing that came to his mind, asking in a subtly rude way. "Why are your wings so big?" Zap felt a little self-conscious about his wing size compared to Flurry Hearts plumage, but didn't have the brain of an adult pony to dwell on those possible shortcomings.

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As Apple Bloom left the room, the youngest alicorn would put her nose near her slice of pie and take in a few deep breaths of its heavenly aroma. Levitation her silverware over, she would place the fork into the pie near the front before looking across the table to the other pony getting ready to enjoy some apple pie. Carefully eating her first bit, she'd hear Zap's question. A confused look adorned her face. That definitely the first time she'd been asked any such question. Flurry would sigh as she extended her wings to their full spread. "I-um...Alicorn's are just bigger in general then most other winged creatures." She'd take another bite, using her best table manners. "Oh, um, I can paraphrase...is that the word...or is it summary? Ether way my Mommy and Aunt Twilight say that an alicorn's wings are a symbol of authority and power. It's the reason I gotta keep them at my side unless I'm flying or making a royal decree."

 

Flurry would retract her wings back to her side and eat a few more bites of pie, waiting for Apple Bloom to return. That's when she got an idea. "Hey Zap, what to see what I mean?" she said in a low voice. "How does some milk sound?"

 

When Apple Bloom would return, she'd wink at Zap Apple. "I have decided that milk would be the perfect drink to go with this wonderful pie for myself and Zap." she would extend her wings and wait and see what followed. She was sure that the Apple's had been around Twilight enough to know the symbolism of extended wings. The other possibility was that Cadance and Shining Armor left instructions for what to do if Flurry decided to put on a display of 'Authority.'

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Apple Bloom allowed herself some choice words once she was in the bathroom. The glass was wedged in just so that it would be hard to remove, but remove it she had to do. She searched for some tweezers and slowly started digging to find it. Even when she did find the first of two pieces, pulling it out caused no small amount of irritation and pain. She dropped it into the bin and worked on the second one, gently pulling it away from the wall. Even then, some irritation remained. She washed herself up and got some new gauze- still a tiny bit of blood, no reason to be unsanitary. Luckily, she didn't hear the sounds of complete chaos and the destruction of the farm, so that meant they must be getting along. Best friends, even!

 

After collecting herself, Apple Bloom made her way back downstairs. She didn't know what most of the day was going to be like. She was taking it moment by moment but really she felt like she was going to drown. Zap Apple was Zap Apple and he was wonderful but he was just that right age where doing the opposite of what she asked him to do was the right thing to do as far as he was concerned. After all, she was only the Aunt, right? As she moved into the kitchen she took a deep breath and was gonna put her front hoof forward. "So, how-" she began before she sighted the wings, the Alicorn wings!, in full display. She was mesmerized ever momentarily and something in her mind was awed. A click of a switch somewhere and she could almost feel herself subtly shift perspective on the Alicorn until her words were treated as far more than mere suggestions. She did hear what was asked of her pretty clear, though. "Yes, Yer Highness. Two cups'a'milk coming up," she said quickly, giving an ever brief bow before bounding to work. In just a few moments the slight fog vanished but by then she just completely agreed that indeed this was the best idea. "Here ya go!" she said, sliding two cups of milk over to the youngings.


 

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Royal decrees? Zap had always just assumed that royal decrees were only made by Princess that, you know, were actual princesses. Not princesses that just existed unbeknownst to anypony else, including her own parents. The school lesson in where alicorns come from was an interesting one, and the new chapter on Flurry Heart definitely threw a wrench at the definition of a princess and made it harder for educators to teach the next generation what it all meant. Zap only cared about one thing, though. Alicorns had bigger wings.

 

Apple Bloom entered the room and when Flurry Heart spread her wings, Zap shouted "She's trying to fly!" When the young princess made her decree for milk, Zap hesitated. "Oh." He spread his wings, too. "Um, yes! Me, too! I want some milk." Apple Bloom was acting strange at the small request. Zap wondered if he could obtain such a power, or if it was something he could do already.

 

"Thank you, Auntie! Uh." Zap respread his wings. "Also I want an extra slice of pie."

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Flurry retracted her wings back to her side as she gave Zap one quick wink before looking over to her chaperone. "Thank you Apple Bloom. I hope your going to have a slice of pie as well." Flurry's horn would glow for a moment as she pulled out the chair next to her. When she saw Zap try the same trick from across the table, she'd put a hoof to her mouth to stifle a laugh. "Pssst, I don't think it works like that, but keep trying," she'd chuckle. Flurry's eyes went wide for a moment though. "Um..don't do it with your mothers though."

 

Eating another few bites of pie and taking a sip of milk, Flurry would ask a question. "So, you two are going to come visit me in the Crystal Empire sometime, right? I got some pull there," she'd say with a grin. "Mom says you haven't been there in a few years, right Apple Bloom? I think she said there was a story that went with that trip, right?"

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Apple Bloom was bemused by her nephew as she poured herself a cup of milk. What was he doing? Didn't he know it was impolite to spread your wings out in front or somepony intentionally? It was one thing f you lost control due to some emotion, that was understandable and every pegasus did that. But flared out wings were...well, it was just plain rude. "Ah already gave you some milk, Zappy," she said as she pointed at the milk she had just given him and the Princess. "Now put yer wings down. You know Applejack don't like that at the table. She'd tan mah hide just for 'llowin' it!" She stated with a laugh. It was only a quarter true but a quarter true was a quarter too true when it came to discipline. She took her seat at the table and smiled at the Princess. "Sorry about that. Y'know, colts and their wings, right?"

 

She cut herself up a piece of pie and took a big gulp as the Princess talked. Yeah, it had been a hot minute since she had wandered over to the Crystal Empire. Not out of disinterest but she was just so busy with everything in her life. "We really should. Ah don't reckon Zap Apple's ever been, have you Zappy?" She chuckled. "Boy, how priceless will his reaction be to crystallization...hehehe. Anyhoof, it ain't been for lack of interest, Yer Highness. Ah've just been so busy! Gonna have ta plan one out soon. And this time, no critters or crystal games or saving tha world. Just a nice time in tha Crystal Empire."

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Zap folded his wings slowly and gave a look of disappointment. He didn't obey out of fear of the wrath of his auntie, but rather just felt unsatisfied with the reaction he got. He couldn't tell if his wings had done anything. And the fact that Auntie openly admitted his mother would likely punish her for allowing him to continue to spread his wings at the table only fed Zap with the ideas for leverage that he could use later to get the things he wanted. Flurry Heart might have the status of a young princess pony of a leader Princess pony to get what she wants. But Zap at least had the creative adaptation in his own environment in which he might be able to procure a situation of his liking, and he could do it without secret magical pony stares and strange echo-y voices.

 

"Nu uh. Never been to the Crystal Empire. I heard it can get cold there sometimes with snow, and that they have a crystal heart at the center that glows." Zap sipped on his milk and gasped urgently when he cleared his mouth. "Is that why you're name is Flurry Heart!?"

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She’d smile to Apple Bloom. “Then let’s make it happen….when you are in a non busy season of course. I’m sure that a place like this takes a lot of pony power to run. I don’t want to get blamed for putting you behind.” Flurry would finish the last of her pie before taking a sip of milk. “Um when is your slow season?” She’d pause for a moment ”When you do make it, you’d be my royal guests. I’m sure mom would let you stay in one of the guest bedrooms. Some of them have pillows as large as me!” 
 

Looking to Zap, she’d nod. ”Yep, and there is a long story that goes with it. I think both your mothers where there. I was too young to remember it,” as she hid her shame for a moment before looking to AB. “I don’t suppose Applejack ever told you that story, did she?”

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