Applejack was moving from tree to tree, bucking them so that the apples would fall down in the baskets resting on the ground underneath. Big Macintosh was carrying the filled baskets over to the barn, while Applebloom carried the empty ones to the orchard. Granny Smith was practicing her apple sniffing to ensure she had not lost her strong senses. Winona was playing out in the fields, while keeping a watchful eye out for trouble.
Cider Season was the biggest event for the Apples and one of the biggest for all of Ponyville. It was still only weeks away, but to them starting early was the best way to ensure every pony, zebra, buffalo, and dragon that lived around there would be able to receive a mug before they would run out.
“Golly, Applejack. Ya think there will be enough fer everypony?” Applebloom asked her big sister.
“I don’t know, Applebloom. With tha’ population of Ponyville increased, we may be seein’ more who’ll be wantin’ a mug of cider…but then again, that means more profit fer us.” The orange coated earth pony hypothesized while focusing on her work.
“Move yer cabooses! We gots to get in more apples fer the….uh…what was it again?” Granny Smith had it on the tip of her tongue.
“Cider Season, Granny Smith!” Applejack finished for her.
“Oh yeah, that’s right…” The elderly pony recalled.
“I just hope we can get all dese here apples in, big sis,” Applebloom hoped with a small amount of doubt, “I mean unless we get ourselves another bunny attack.”
“I doubt it, sugarcube. Two in a row was already enough…and I’m sure ol’ Fluttershy will be able to keep dem varmints in-”
Winona, the family dog, began to bark loud enough for the Apples to hear…which was to warn them.
“What is it, girl?!” Applejack asked as she ran to her to see what was wrong, but halfway she could already see what it was: a large number of little bunnies running on towards the orchard.
“Ah, ponyfeathers!!” She gulped as the bunnies arrived.
The massive number of bunnies ran on through the farmland, knocking over the stores of apples and eat what they could. In only less than a minute, these critters had eaten at least a fourth of the apples gathered today. Applebloom and Granny Smith took cover as the bunnies stampeded through their farm. Big Mac and Applejack did their best to round them up, with the help of little Winona.
In a few minutes, every pesky little rabbit was rounded up in one big circle. This was the third time a stampede of critters had run through their farm this month alone. The only difference this time was that the Apples were more prepared for it, despite some damages caused.
“Whew. Glad we pulled that off…and just in time a’ might say,” Applejack said as she wiped the sweat from her brow.
“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh agreed.
“But I think its high time a’ have a talk with a certain pony about this, cause dis has got ta stop!” Applejack declared as she made her way off the farm, while the rest of her family stayed to clean up the mess.
“Oh Angel, please…” The timid pink-maned pegasus begged, “Please tell your friends to settle down and return the apples they took.”
The stubborn white bunny shook his head, refusing to obey his owner’s please. He and his other bunny friends were enjoying some of the apples that they took from Sweet Apple Acres.
“Oh dear. Applejack is not going to be happy…”
“Darn right a’m not!” Came a voice from behind.
“Eeep!!” Fluttershy screamed and bolted behind a nearby bush; the sudden scare frightened the little pegasus.
“Ya’ll come on our of dere dis instant, Fluttershy!” Applejack ordered.
Fluttershy nervously obeyed and came out of hiding, and stood before the upset earth pony.
“Fluttershy, we just had another bunny stampede right through our farm…for the third time!!”
Applejack shook her head and interrupted her friend, “Sorry aint gonna cut it this time!”
Fluttershy shook nervously, and felt a lecture soon to follow, “Well, you see-”
“I mean ya’ll are suppose ta be great with animals and all, so why can’t ya keep a few rabbits off our farm?!!” Applejack explained, “How ever are ta get ready fer Cider Season if ya’ll can’t keep the animals in control?!!!”
“I’m…I’m doing the best I can, Applejack,” Fluttershy assured, “It’s hard since Angel and the other little bunnies want to eat your apples. I try explaining that they are not allowed to steal your apples, but they won’t listen to me.”
Applejack sighed and could not accept that explanation, “”I’m sorry sugarcube, but I can’t allow another stampede or Cider Season may have to be canceled! So please keep them away from the farm, or I may have ta’ do it myself!!”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m sayin’ is that I will have ta’ watch dem varmints and keep dem in line!” Applejack stated.
Fluttershy shook her head upon hearing this, “Oh no, Applejack. You musint do that...”
“Because caring for all the little animals is a lot of hard work. Even for me there is a lot to do.”
Applejack, for some reason, did not believe her timid little friend, “I seriously doubt dat. I be I could handle dem animals without any problems,” She gloated, “Plus, harvestin’ apples is much harder than caring fer some pesky little critters.”
Fluttershy gasped a little and felt the need to disagree in return, “Caring for animals is much harder, Applejack!”
“And I say it isn’t!”
The two immediately exchanged glares and continued to argue for sometime, as the rabbits nearby munched on the apples they stole…watching the whole thing.
“I am a top athlete, Fluttershy! I can handle anything…even your animal friends!” the frustrated earth pony insisted.
“No! You cannot!” Fluttershy defended, “Harvesting apples is much easier than what I do!”
Fed up with the little pegasus and her inability to accept Applejack’s assumed theory, she was ready to leave and return home, “If it weren’t fer Cider Season, I’d prove you wrong. Fer now, just keep dem critters away from my farm!”
“Fine! I will!”
The two both exchanged one last glare, turned around, and made their way home. Applejack felt bad arguing with Fluttershy, but she had to in order to keep the apples of her farm safe. Fluttershy felt terrible shouting like that, but she had to defend herself and her beliefs. Angel and the rest of the rabbits followed, not wishing to upset the little pegasus further.
Later that evening, at the Golden Oaks Library, Twilight Sparkle was inside working on her latest spell: One that can temporarily switch features of a certain object into that of another.
With Spike’s assistance, an apple and an orange were placed upon the table; her objective was to turn the two pieces of fruit into the other, without affecting the outsides. With total silence, Twilight focused and aimed her horn at the target. Spike unfortunately was feeling a sneeze coming on. He tried his best to hold it in, but it was too late, “ah…ah…AH-CHOOO!!!”
The shock from the sudden loud sneeze, along with a small amount of green fire coming from his mouth, surprised Twilight to where her aim was thrown off course and right out the window.
“Sorry, Twilight. I couldn’t help it…” Spike apologized after rubbing his nose.
The lavender unicorn sighed and accepted her little dragon’s apology, but noticed his nose was a bit red, “I think you might be coming down with a cold, Spike. Let’s get you to bed.”
“But I don’t-”
Twilight gave him a small glare, much similar to Fluttershy’s. Spike immediately made his way up the stairs to his little basket bed, “But what about…*sniff*…the spell?”
“Right now taking care of you is far more important. We can practice more in the morning,” Twilight assured.
Little did Twilight know is that the beam she shot out her window soared high into the sky above Ponyville. Without proper magic to support it, the beam spit into two and started to make it’s way down to the ground.
One beam reached the outskirts of Ponyville, to Sweet Apple Acres…striking the barn and the very room where a certain orange coated pony was sleeping. The second beam arrived at the other end of town, to the edge of the Everfree Forrest. There, it struck the cottage of a sleeping yellow pegasus.
The following morning, Twilight Sparkle awoke to the sound of somepony banging at her door. Yawning, the half-awakened unicorn made her way to the door, which was stilling receiving loud knocking. “I’m coming!! Shesh!” Twilight called out as she was nearing the door, which happened to burst open right as she was about to open it.
“What was that for?!” She demanded from the two ponies standing before her: Applejack and Fluttershy, “Well?!”
“I know ya’ll had something ta’ do with dis, Twi!” Fluttershy blurted out, but with Applejack’s voice.
“Please…fix this…if you can that is,” Applejack asked kindly, in a tone that sounded just like Fluttershy’s.
Twilight’s eyes widened as big as plates and her jaw dropped so far down it always felt like it was touching the floor. She was in total shock and completely speechless to this unforeseen situation.
“What Happened?!!!!” Twilight finally muttered.
“Why are ya’ll askin’ us, Twi?! Dis has you written all over it!” Fluttershy, or rather Applejack, retorted.
Twilight recalled when her spell was shot out of the window last night, “Oops…”
“Please Twilight. You have to fix this,” Applejack pleaded…though it was actually Fluttershy.
“Yeah ya do! How am I suppose ta harvest apples like dis?“ Applejack complained, referring to the body she was now in.
“Girls, listen!” Twilight tried to calm them and explain the best course of action, “The spell is only temporary, so it should wear off by the end of the day…and then you will be returned to your bodies.”
“That is too long, Twi! Can’t ya’ll just find a spell ta’ fix this now?!” Applejack asked, while trying to move her pink mane out of her face.
“I’m sorry Fluttershy…I mean Applejack. Spike has a cold and I don’t have time to look up a counter spell.”
“Oh dear…” Fluttershy gasped from within Applejack’s body, “Do you need some help caring for him?”
“Thanks Apple- Fluttershy! But I have it handled,” Twilight reassured, “Besides, if Spike were to see any of you like this, it would make his condition worse.”
“She right, Fluttershy. I think it be best we don’t tell anypony about dis,” Applejack stated, all while taking her hat from…”herself”, “And that is MY hat!”
“Sorry…” Fluttershy apologized.
“Alright girls, I have to get back to making Spike some soup. You both…well…go do what you need to do,” Twilight suggested as she returned to taking care of her sick baby dragon.
“Fine…” Applejack sighed, “Guess I’ll be gettin’ on back to da farm.”
“I don’t know about that, Applejack. How will your family react if they see…well…me trying to harvest apples?” Fluttershy theorized.
“Gosh…I didn’t even consider that. So what do we do?”
“I guess…I go to the farm and you go to my cottage,” The now timid earth pony suggested.
Applejack didn’t like that idea, but there was no alternative, “Fine den. I guess dis is my chance ta show you dat I can handle critters as much as I can handle apples.”
Fluttershy shook her head, “Even in my body, I still say it is a lot to handle.”
“Well, I aim ta prove ya wrong!”
The two resumed their argument once more, which only annoyed a nearby unicorn. While Twilight was shocked to hear them arguing like this, she had not time for it, especially with Spike trying to sleep above. Summoning her magic, she teleported the two ponies outside her house and slammed the door.
“Well…that was mighty rude!” Applejack stated, then tried to push her pink mane out of her face for the twentieth time, “How can ya’ll stand havin’ this much hair?!”
“Um…please don’t mess it up. It take a lot to comb my mane,” Fluttershy pleaded as she feared for her precious long mane.
Applejack sighed and rolled her eyes, “I’ll try…but I hope you can stand getting dirty today…since you’ll be the one harvesting apples all day…until the spell wears off.”
Fluttershy gulped a little, “I don’t mind getting a little dirt on me…but a lot is…” She shivered a little at the thought.
“Tell ya what, sugarcube: Since we have no choice, let’s go do the others job and see just which is da hardest?!” Applejack challenged the doubting…herself.
“I uh…well…I guess we could.” Fluttershy accepted, with little choice.
“Fine den. It is settled!” Applejack grinned, as she spit on her yellow hoof and held it out for Fluttershy to shake.
“Come on! Ya’ll are gonna get much worse on ya once ya’ll start harvestin dem apples!”
Fluttershy gulped once more, and gave a weak spit on her hoove, which was the size of a tear. She held it out nervously, awaiting Applejack’s shake.
Applejack shook her own hoof, which Fluttershy was holding out, and nodded, “Alright den. Let’s get to it!”
After placing her hat back on the head of…herself, Applejack galloped on towards Fluttershy’s cottage at the edge of the Everfree Forrest. Though she had wings now, she did not know how to use them, nor did she have time to. Since this was only to last for a short time, the pegasus only needed to take care of Fluttershy’s animal friends until the end of the day.
Fluttershy walked on towards Sweet Apple Acres. She had greater pony strength now than before, but disliked the idea of all that work and sweat that earth ponies were use to. It would only be for the rest of the day, and Fluttershy was determined not to lose to Applejack; she still believed that caring for animals was harder than picking apples.
Once “Fluttershy” arrived at the cottage, every animal inside paused and looked at the pegasus that entered, but felt that there was something different about her.
“Alright ya’ll, since we are gonna be spendin’ the day together, here are the ground rules…” Applejack announced.
The second they heard Applejack’s voice instead of the sweet, caring voice of Fluttershy, most of the animal either ignored her or ran around rampant, doing whatever they wanted…Angel being the most chaotic.
Meanwhile at Sweet Apple Acres, “Applejack” was out in the orchard, doing her very best to buck at the apple trees. While she had the strength to do it, the routine of running from tree to tree and kicking it until apples fell was tiring. While Big Mac, Applebloom, and Granny Smith remained unaware that their Applejack was really Fluttershy, Winona had already figured it out. The brown and white coated dog watched Fluttershy from afar, while hoping that the real Applejack would return soon.
“Oh…this is a lot of work,” Fluttershy thought to herself, remaining quiet so the other members of the Apple family do not hear, “I never thought it would be much more difficult using my legs instead of my voice.”
Fluttershy continued to harvest the apples as best she could, while hoping the spell would soon end and she would be returned to her own body.
After a long afternoon, which seemed to go on forever for some ponies, the sun began to set over the horizon…making way for the rising moon and the night. At the cottage, Applejack tried her best to round up the critters, but most were too quick and too stubborn to listen to her. The yellow pegasus tried to use Fluttershy’s “stare” on them…but could not pull it off for some reason.
“I’m doomed…” Applejack sighed as the animals ran all over the place. Eventually, she sat down upon the floor and felt like crying; this was more than she could handle.
Noticing “Fluttershy” about to cry, the animals halted their rampage and settled down. Angel hopped over to the little pony’s side and gently rubbed her side.
Applejack felt the gentle paw of the kind bunny and smiled at him, “Thank ya kindly, Angel.” Suddenly, a surge of magic illuminated from the yellow Pegasus; something was happening…something that this pony had been waiting for all day long.
Meanwhile, Fluttershy was growing exhausted from all the bucking and running that she felt like collapsing. “I don’t…know if I…can do this…any longer…” She panted as she felt herself slipping. Suddenly, Fluttershy felt a paw come to her side. She turned and noticed it was Winona, smiling at her…followed by a small lick to her cheek. “Oh…thank you, Winona.”
The happy dog gave a pleasing bark, and helped her friend back up to her hooves, encouraging Fluttershy to stay strong for a while longer.
Suddenly, the same surge of magic appeared around the body of the orange coated pony, “Oh my…what is happening?!” Winona barked happily, sensing something good was about to happen.
The magical spell that Twilight Sparkle cast had finally come to an end. Both Fluttershy and Applejack were returned to their original bodies. At long last, they were back where they belonged. "Alright! I’m back!” Applejack cheered once she found herself back at the farm, in her own earth pony body.
Winona was so thrilled, she tackled her owner to the ground and licked her face nonstop. “Okay Winona…hahaha…I missed ya too…hahaha…!!”
“What in da name of Ponyville is goin on here?!” Came the voice of the little yellow coated filly, revealed to be Applebloom.
“Oh nothing, just playin with Winona, tis all,” Applejack assured, choosing not to inform them of what really happened.
“Alright…but we still gots some more apples to bring in,” Applebloom stated.
Applejack jumped back up, picked up her hat and nodded, “Den lets get to it!”
“Eeyup!” Big Macintosh agreed from nearby.
Together, the three Apple siblings worked as hard as possible, bringing in the last remaining baskets of apples before the sun would set completely. While they worked, Applejack would have to meet up with Fluttershy and Twilight after all this was over; she had some things to wrap up with her two best friends.
After reuniting with her little animal friends, Fluttershy made them clean up the messes they made, and then tucked them all into bed. Afterwards, the little yellow pegasus made her way out and towards the Golden Oak Library. On route to Twilight’s house, Fluttershy managed to run into Applejack. Once they were standing face to face, only one phrase was on the mind of the timid pegasus pony, to which she had to say it.
“I’m sorry…” Fluttershy apologized, as Applejack said the same at the exact same time, which surprised both of the little ponies.
“What are you apologizin’ for, Fluttershy? I’m da one that should be sorry,” Applejack admitted.
“No. I am sorry too, Applejack. I never realized how difficult harvesting apples could be…until I did it myself,” Fluttershy confessed, “It was long and hard, plus the hot sun made it even more difficult.”
“Yep that’s how it is,” Applejack nodded, then made her own confession, “Carin’ fer dem little critters is much harder den what I do. So many to care fer, and not enough time ta do it!”
Fluttershy giggled and gave a nod, “Oh yes…they are all a hooffull to deal with, but it is all worth it…since I love every little animal in the world.”
The two spent the next few minutes talking and having a small laugh about all they had to put up with during their time as the other…and also hoped it would never happen again, because once was far enough. After their pleasant conversation, the two hugged and promised to never fight again. They then walked together to Twilight’s house; they had a friendship lesson that needed to be written.
“Okay…I’m ready!” Twilight announced as she held up a scroll with her magic, along with a quill.
“Wait…” Spike tried to mutter from upstairs, “It’s…my…job…to-”
“Not this time, Spike!” Twilight called out, reassuring him, “You need your rest…so I’ll write this letter to the Princess!”
Spike groaned and tried ever so to rest, but his tummy was hurting and had trouble reaching his hot soup nearby.
“Oh dear…” Fluttershy worried for her friend. She flew up to where Spike was and helped fed him the hot soup.
“You’re welcome, Sweetie,” Fluttershy smiled as she did what she does best: care for every animal and creature with all the love she can give.
“I guess we should wait for her?” Twilight asked Applejack.
“Nah. We already discussed what we would be writtin’ to da Princess,” The orange earth pony assured, “Go ahead and write. I’ll give the lesson.”
Twilight smiled and was ready to jot down everything:
“Dear Princess Celestia,”
“Today we learned an important lesson on friendship: While you may excel at one of a few things, that does not mean you can do anything…even something that a friend of yers is far better at.”
“I, Applejack, learned that harvestin’ apples is my trademark and somethin’ that I will always be good at. Fluttershy is the best at carin’ fer little animals…and when I tried to do her job, I found it to be much harder den I imagined it would be. Even she felt the same towards workin’ with apple trees.
“So no matter what, it is better to stick with what ya know best…and leave everythin’ else to dose who know better then we…because nopony is best at everythin’ in da world.
Your loyal subjects,
Applejack and Fluttershy
Twilight finished the letter, wrapped it up and gave it to her little owl assistant, Owlicious. He carried the letter off to Canterlot for the Princess to read. “That was a good lesson to learn. I am sure Princess Celestia would be proud of you both,” Twilight smiled.
“Thank ye kindly, Twi. But now I think it be time to be headin’ on home.”
“Shhh!” Fluttershy shushed her friends quietly as she came down, “Spike is finally asleep. Let’s try not to wake him.”
The other two ponies agreed and remained as quiet as possible as they made their way to the front door.
“Goodnight Twilight. Goodnight Applejack,” Fluttershy whispered as she left and returned to her cottage.
“Nite Fluttershy. Nite Twilight. Thanks for helpin’ us with all dis,” Applejack thanked, “Just be careful next time. I don’t think either of us can handle that experience again.”
Twilight giggled and waved goodbye to her honest friend as she galloped off to the Farm. With her two friends gone, Twilight returned inside and prepared herself for bed. Thanks to Fluttershy’s caring, Spike would be all better by morning. The little lavender unicorn smiled and climbed into bed. Cider Season would be approaching soon, and she was looking forward to it with all her best friends.