EQUESTRIAN SHIPPING SHORT STORY 02: WHAT NOW WITH APPLES? PART 2/2
DAWN OF THE FIFTH MONTH
Applejack twisted and turned in her sleep. Before her closed eyes, the guilt and responsibility twisted and turned her dreams into horrid nightmares. She jolted awake and her eyes immediately fell on Rainbow Dash in the corner opposite. Even in her sleep, she was eating. She had ballooned up near Fluttershy's size in just a month and the cause was clear. Everything Dash had been eating had had thrice the calorie intake coupled with eating nearly twice as much as anypony else.
Applejack went to the blue butter ball and rubbed the flabby stomach, first gently and then more and more feverishly. Dash simply continued snoring loudly and reflectively carrying a pie up to her mouth. Applejack jumped up, using the folds of fat to climb up to the spherical head. She wrestled the pie out of her hoof and tossed it far, then nuzzled her cheek affectionately.
Blearily, Dash awoke with a grunt but perked up seeing Applejack right in her face. Rainbow Dash tried to talk but only wheezes escaped her. Applejack bit her lip and looked away, like wanting to ask a question she really didn't want the answer to. Yet she had to know.
"Ah'm gonna ask ya a question, and Ah wantcha ta answer honestly," Applejack said and put her arms around Dash's neck.
Dash nodded almost undetectable.
"Who do ya love more. Me or mah pies?"
"Pies," she blurted out and stared off into the distance. Applejack nodded and jumped off again. She took her hat from the bedpost and strode for the door.
"Ah'll be gone fer a little while. Trah not ta get yerself constipated by moving about again," Applejack said.
Rainbow Dash barely registered and simply shovelled more pies into her face.
Applejack hurried from her bedroom on the ground floor to the outside. She looked up at the farm which had also doubled in size lately. It was a veritable castle except it was made of red-painted wood and only contained one extra floor. A truer castle had been erected on the outskirts of their land, a big stone structure with spires and a mote. Applejack could only shake her head.
"When did Ah lose sight of all this?" Applejack asked.
Workers in various states of mobility were busy harvesting as she passed the orchards. There were no one left in Ponyville and vicinity that hadn't yet tasted the forbidden fruit. Her wracking sense of guilt turned to a hard knot in her stomach. Lyra being fed by an overweight Bon Bon, the Flower trio sitting outside and warming their bellies and discussing current events and Berry Punch lying in the street in a stupor, too drunk and full to move. Applejack tried to shut her eyes but she could still hear the noise of a thousand ponies eating incessantly, only taking time off to breathe with labour.
Applejack entered town and had to swallow a lump. Various pony officials lazed around, indifferent about their clerical duties. She lowered the shadow of her hat and continued up through the floors to the very top. The mayor's office was ornately furnished with a thick red rug covering the floor, a heavy wooden desk and bookcases on all sides. From a window at the back, one could inspect the city and see what was going on for miles.
Apple Bloom sat comfortable behind the desk with a carefree expression on her face. She smiled and waved as her big sister entered, but her enthusiasm dwindled when she saw how serious Applejack was.
"Apple Bloom, this has gone far enough. We have made plenty of money already," Applejack said and went up to desk.
"Are ya crazy? We've only just taken over the city!" Apple Bloom said and slammed her hoof down on the desk.
"We're making ponies miserable and they don't even know it themselves. We're ending this now," Applejack said firmly. Apple Bloom simply leant back in her chair and closed her eyes. When she opened them, they were filled with fire.
"Ah don't think ya truly understand the situation," Apple Bloom said with a chilling voice. She jumped down from her seat and went around the desk to face her big sister. "And what do ya think will happen ta all the ponies eating our pies now? Do ya really reckon they can all just give up their habits? It'll kill them if we don't feed them what they want."
"And it'll kill them if we keep feeding them," Applejack said angrily, her face shoved all the way into Apple Bloom's. "We're makin' everything go back ta normal and that's final."
"Heh. Ya really seem ta think Ah have ta listen ta ya," Apple Bloom said and turned away from her sister. "Ya know what happened ta Big Mac?"
"He... he went ta Trottingham ta expand business?" Applejack said nervously. Not for the first time, nor for the last, did Apple Bloom smirk as she looked over her shoulder.
"Oh, he's expanding all right... in the basement of Sweet Apple Acres!"
"Ya.... ya monster!" Applejack screamed and was about ready to pounce, but Apple Bloom whistled. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo emerged out of thin air, pressing Applejack to the floor. They were now too fat to both sit on a normal-sized pony's back and Sweetie Belle simply rolled off, neither of them having the energy to talk or move. Mirroring the incident with Rainbow Dash, Apple Bloom came over to her sister with a fresh pie.
Try as she might, Applejack could not lift Scootaloo. Even breathing made the filly sweat plentifully and Applejack was fast soaked in perspiration. Some of it was her own from dreading that she should become like her victims. Despite thoughts of a justified end, she struggled and jerked her head out of the way. Apple Bloom tried to force the spoon through the clenched teeth, but Applejack was well-known for her stubbornness.
"Sweetie Belle, would you kindly?" Apple Bloom said with a sigh. The young filly had landed on her back next to Applejack, her tail pointing away. She flailed for a moment before giving up. "Use yer horn!" Apple Bloom said annoyed. The white marshmallow blob wriggled her head and eventually found Applejack's soft side. The pain was making her eyes water but still she resisted desperately. A small spark erupted from Sweetie Belle's horn and a pained yelp escaped Applejack.
Apple Bloom was quick and jabbed the spoonful into her sister's mouth. Despairing, Applejack closed her eyes. She knew it was over once the pie was in her mouth and made no attempt to spit it out. She chewed it slowly, savouring the salty aftertaste. She and swallowed and awaited the disastrous addiction that would follow. Apple Bloom nodded and Scootaloo rolled off. Applejack's back was dark with sweat.
"Ah don't think Ah'll be feeding you too well," Apple Bloom said. "Ah still need ya ta work fer me."
Applejack ate the rest of the pie calmly, sticking out her tongue in resentment. It was dry and tasted mostly just of dough and flour. Apple Bloom returned to her desk and folded her hooves together, contemplating the bright future ahead of her. Applejack wiped her mouth and got up again.
"Who told ya ta could get up? Yer staying right here; I still need ya ta eat at least thirty more pies just to be sure."
"No can do," Applejack replied determinedly.
"What? Aren't ya hungry?" Apple Bloom asked incredulously.
"Strangely enough, nope! And Ah have a suspicion wha it didn't work.... Ya used one of mah pies, didntcha?"
"You're not actually saying.... ?" Apple Bloom asked, slamming her hoofs into the desk and leaning forward.
Applejack smiled triumphantly. "Ah am immune ta mah own apples!"
"It's so obvious and yet so ridiculous," Apple Bloom said and stretched her neck back. "Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, restrain her this instant!"
Apple Bloom jumped down again to yell at her friends, but they were both immobile and barely able to wriggle. Apple Bloom facepalmed herself. Applejack made good her escape and fled the office. Apple Bloom followed her to the doorstep and screamed down the stairs.
"Ya've got nowhere to hide, sister! This is MAH town! Ya understand that!"
The rash of insults followed Applejack all the way through the buildings. Security guards tried to give chase for tops two seconds at a time, allowing her to walk unhindered wherever she pleased. Her victorious smile fainted slowly at her absolute loneliness. Though surrounded by ponies she knew and even loved, none of them paid her any mind.
Her heart beat rapidly and sweat poured from her brow as she frantically tore through town. "No pony in town ta run the trains. No pony fer miles not infected. Oh Celestia, what am Ah supposed to do."
Apple Bloom returned to the farm later that day, scowling at all the workers toiling with bucking the apple trees and harvesting the other crops. She headed for a wooden tool shed next to the farmhouse and hurried across the dusty lane. She traced a hoof across the tin wall then gave it a gentle push. The shed flipped and revealed a large hole in the ground.
Down in this pit sat a blue ball of a pegasus. Only Rainbow Dash's head poked up, her chubby cheeks contorted in dread. The surfaces were covered with cold sweat and Dash shivered and gnashed in as much of a foetus position as she could muster. She dared not look up at Apple Bloom and covered her face instead with her hoofs, like an animal having been frequently beaten.
"Ah trust ya won't let me down again?" Apple Bloom asked coldly. Dash shook violently but managed to nod nervously in reply. "If ya fail me again, Ah won't keep the pies from ya fer a few hours. Ah might just decide on a whole day."
Dash looked up, her eyes almost nothing but white. She grabbed the edge of the hole hard. "Please, I-I'll do anything... just give me more pies!" Dash shouted desperately.
"There's nothing wrong with mah hearing... and ta think they called ya the element of loyalty. Look atcha. Morbidly obese and whimpering just because Ah took yer pies away from ya." Apple Bloom shook her head and then smiled wickedly. "What do ya think of Applejack?"
"To Hell with Applejack, I just want more pie!" Dash said.
Apple Bloom finally took mercy on the quivering Rainbow blob and threw a pie into the shed. Dash flailed to reach it as it landed on her voluptuous belly. Or was it her neck?
"Ah'll have more pies fer ya, but Ah first need ta see if ya can still be of use ta me."
Rainbow Dash nodded fervently to show the she would. Apple Bloom pressed a pedal by the hole and the floor hovered back up in position. Despite her large size, Dash Rainbow Dash quickly got up on her feet again. The pie had restored her energy and she was ready to take on any challenge that stood between her and her pie-supplier's trust.
"There is still one pony left in this town who hasn't tasted our pies," Apple Bloom said and walked away from the pit. Dash followed her with the pie smeared all over her face.
"Indeed, yet it's true. Ah believe yer familiar with her... her name is Ditzy Doo... or Derpy... or sumthing. Ya can't miss her, she's usually around somewhere playing with those accursed muffins of hers. Convert her and Ah'll forgive ya."
One of the workers came dragging a cart and quickly retreated again at Apple Bloom's hard stare. She turned back towards Dash and swept her hoof towards the load.
"Whatever ya do, Dash, do not eat from this pile," Apple Bloom said with a triumphant smile from ear to ear. "Ah call this... the Franken-Pie!"
Dash waddled closer to get a better look, her large belly dragging along the ground and jiggling with each step. "Looks pretty normal to me."
"Of course it does, that's the whole point!" Apple Bloom said and rapped Dash over the head. "Instead of just being filled with addictive apples or oranges or tomatoes, the Franken-Pie is filled with ever... last... possible thing!"
Apple Bloom laughed sinisterly, but Dash was not particularly impressed and stuck out her tongue. "Disgusting."
"Well what do you know. Feed one to Derpy and watch as her hunger grows large enough to kill her!"
Rainbow Dash laughed quietly in step with Apple Bloom before equipping the cart on her back. Before sending her on her way, Apple Bloom also put a large sack on Dash's back. It was filled with regular apple pies and lasted her all the way back into town. The other residents followed her with hungry eyes but all lacked the mobility to highjack the cart. Huffing and puffing, Dash started the search for Derpy.
Afternoon turned to early evening with Dash's slow tempo. With buckling knees, she finally collapsed just outside of town. The grass was long and soft and tickled her expansive stomach. The sack was empty and carried off by the wind, but her stomach growled. She could not go a moment without sustenance and was forced to constantly eat. The Franken-Pies suddenly became very appetising and Dash licked her lips. She could not reach however and was completely unable to move anyway.
"Ugh," she exclaimed tired. "I'm never going to find Derpy."
She closed her eyes to sleep but farted herself awake almost instantly. She opened her eyes again and saw a grey pegasus prancing around before her eyes, a muffin perched on her nose. Derpy stopped up just in front of Dash, her eyes wandering apart in confusion.
"Rainbow Dash, you look different. Did you do something with your mane?" she asked.
"No, I'm.... still the... good old.... Rainbow Dash," Dash puffed in response. "I've been... looking for you."
"You have?" Derpy asked and assumed a scrunchy face.
"Yeah... I came to offer you a pie... instead of those muffins you always eat."
Dash tried to reach behind her but her stubby limbs couldn't even get past her back.
"No thanks! Perhaps you'd like to try some muffin?"
Derpy wasn't taking no for an answer and forced the chocolate muffin from the top of her head into the little-struggling blue jaws. It was quickly gone in just one gulp and Rainbow Dash licked her lips to get the crumbs. She smiled content for a moment before her face was distorted with searing pain. She couldn't even scream as her mouth was clenched tightly shut. Derpy cocked her head in bewilderment, her eyes trying to focus on the events unfolding.
Dash went from pain to elation to constipation to Popeye, her body waving and undulating in rhythm with her quickly beating heart. With a loud crack, all of the excess disappeared from her bones. Her hooves touched the ground again, her derriere returned to normal and her cheeks lost their cherubic shape. She was left on the ground as she was before eating the pie, with eyes reduced to spirals.
"Ah, Rainbow Dash!" Derpy exclaimed exuberantly. "You look like yourself again!"
There was no response from Dash, not even from vigorous poking. Derpy shrugged and flew up to the top of the cart. She was about to plunge her face into the pies when she was pulled back with great force and landed on her back. Dash spat out her tail and pinned her down to the ground.
"Don't eat these pies or anything else you find within the city, you hear me?" Rainbow Dash shouted with tears lining her eyes. "The pies are filled with... with..." She repressed the urge to hurl and swallowed the sour liquid rising in her throat. "Where did you get that muffin?" she finally asked to change the subject.
"I make them myself," Derpy said cheerfully. "Carrot Top always tells me to eat her muffins but I much prefer chocolate, though."
"Carrot Top? Oh, you mean Golden Harvest." Dash released Derpy but she remained on the ground. "Do you have anymore?" Rainbow Dash asked, the urgency in her voice lost on the scatterbrained mare.
"Ummm... I've eaten a few, but I think there should be some left."
"What about four, do you have that many?"
Derpy stuck out her tongue and closed her eyes in deep concentration. It took her a moment before nodding.
"I need those muffins, Derpy. Please?"
Derpy got up on her hooves and spread her wings. Dash followed her back over town. "I can't believe the things I've done," Dash muttered to herself and looked down at the ponies below them. "When I get my hooves on Apple Bloom... that filly's quest for her cutie mark has gone too far this time!"
Golden Harvest lived in a large house with an adjacent garden plot. It was a house like most of the others with white walls and a thatched roof. The wide door was of wood and yielded instantly to Derpy crashing through it. She came to a stop in the hallway and scooted along the floor with her tongue sticking out. Dash on the other hoof entered more cautiously.
"Derpy, is that you?" a deep voice asked from one of the rooms. "Why don't you take some carrots and make yourself some more muffins?"
"No thanks, Carrot Top, I'm just here for my chocolate babies!" Derpy replied and proceeded into the kitchen at the end.
Rainbow Dash followed behind and looked around curiously. The hallway was lavishly decorated with numerous expensive knickknacks and with large paintings. There were no doors inside the house but all the doorframes were large enough for two.
Golden Harvest lay inside a room on the right, taking up all the floor space like a heaving blob of fat. If there had been any furniture in there, it was all compressed underneath her massive girth. Dash shuddered at the sight and quickly went to the kitchen. Derpy was just about to sink her teeth into a chocolate muffin but Dash swiped it from her hooves.
"Please try to understand the seriousness of the situation, Derpy. I need exactly four muffins and no less."
Derpy nodded and pushed the tray towards Dash. She took only the required amount and stuffed them inside a bag conveniently leaning up against the fridge. One extra was eaten by Derpy and another one placed on top of her head. Dash swung the satchel across her back and turned towards the window.
"I don't know how you do it," Rainbow Dash said and looked back at Derpy with a smile, "but please make some more. We may need them soon."
Dash raced up into the sky where she could watch the whole town. Her eyes slowly glided across the place, contemplating her next move. Wherever she looked, it was obese ponies that caught her gaze. Ponies napping outside, ponies hilarious stuck in doorways, ponies curiously still waddling around.
"I wish I had enough for all you," Dash lamented. A shadow of grief passed over her face for a moment, but she breathed in deeply and steeled her face. "I need to free my friends of this curse first. I can't stop Apple Bloom on my own. And what better place to start than Sugarcube Corner?"
Once again springing into action, Dash zoomed down towards the large candy store. Several floors had been added along with a few spires. The ground floor inside was overflowing with addictive apple treats on all shelves running across the walls and rows upon rows of racks. Dash sprinted between them and came to the counter. Behind it lay Pinkie next to a heaping stack of pies.
Her severely bloated stomach almost covered the trolley she was utilising. She had a panicky look on her face as she shoved pies into her maw at a frantic pace. It didn't look like she had even time to swallow, savour or digest. Dash climbed up on her stomach unnoticed and switched one of the pies out with a muffin.
"Must... eat... everything. Ability... to explain... fading," Pinkie said, her eyes savage with desire. The muffin went in unnoticed and was almost followed by another helping of pie. The effects were instant however. Her body quivered, head rocking back and forth and limbs flailing. With the sound of someone slurping a milkshake with a straw, the fat melted away. Pinkie was left on her back with hooves in the air and a puzzled look on her face. "That was fun!" she exclaimed and giggled. Dash rolled her eyes.
"We're not doing it again. We still have three muffins left to distribute."
But Pinkie's laughter only gained momentum. She was snorting and kicking her hooves wildly, unable to stop. Dash gave a deep sigh and pushed behind the trolley, not caring what she knocked over in the store.
"Come on, Pinkie, I'm really worried about the others. They've been eating a lot longer than we have."
"I-I'm sorry, Dashie, but –" Pinkie managed to force forth. "You were... and then Apple Bloom! I can't believe I... and I got so large!"
The trolley squeaked all the way through Ponyville, its wheels threatening with falling off at any moment. Its surface was covered in sweat and pie remains. Its scent attracted many ponies but none of them had the energy to pursue their interest.
"I just hope it wasn't a bad idea to leave the cart out where anypony can find it," Dash mumbled.
The tree library looked about ready to burst. A strange purple material was pushing at the walls from the inside and all glass had burst. Even the door was a thing of the past, lying splintered on the ground. A closer examination of the material revealed it be fur. Rainbow Dash was taken aback at how squishy it was and a moment later horrified. An overblown image of Twilight's cutie mark passed the window, by now bigger than the frame.
Dash facehoofed herself and flew up to the highest floor near the crown of the tree. Twilight kept her astronomy items here, but all the telescopes and blackboards were covered in a layer of thick dust. Her mouth stuck out through the hole where the stairs would normally be. Twilight had been reduced to a living, heaving mass of flesh. Rainbow took a muffin from her satchel and dropped it into the wet hole, hoping that it was her mouth.
With the sound of magical spell igniting a box of firecrackers in a thunderstorm, the purple mass sunk into itself. Twilight landed on the bottom floor with a thud among the wreckage of the floors she had burst through. Books dripping with sweat, a bed crushed to tiny particles and assorted kindle was what remained. She could only look in horror at the damage, quickly turning to anger and grinding of teeth.
"Applejack," she said with murderous calm, prodding a book and watching it disintegrate at her touch.
"It's not her fault," Dash said and touched down next to her. "The one to blame is Apple Bloom and those cursed pies."
She nodded in agreement, but proceeded to tap her muzzle in wonderment. "Say, where is Spike? I hope I didn't squish him."
"Perhaps he went to get help!" Pinkie suggested as she cartwheeled into the library.
"I hope you're right," Twilight said gravely and hurried outside. "I haven't seen him in months and this is so freaky."
Roseluck passed the library, resembling an oversized cow ruminating slowly.
"And that's why we need put a stop to this," Rainbow Dash said and flew out over her head. "I've only got two more muffins, so we have to make them count."
"How do they even work?" Twilight asked and ran along with her below with Pinky bouncing behind.
"Twilight, I learned a long time ago not to question how Derpy works. It will only give you a headache."
They arrived at Fluttershy's cottage a few minutes later with their newfound strength. The closer they got, the more anxious they became. Even Pinkie frowned in worry. Whatever they had been expecting would not measure up to reality. The first sign of danger was the repellent stench coming from the hut. They tried crossing the bridge over the brook but they were all three instantly hit by nausea.
Fluttershy lay just inside the entrance in a pile of broken and twisted wood. Her fat had burst through the first floor and was now pressing against the walls. Large cracks were forming in the wood and everything not nailed down had been rocketed out through the walls, windows and the door. Numerous small animals crawled all over her to keep up with her growing appetite and to wash her body.
"Smells like... somepony died in here," Pinkie said and clasped her nose.
"It's a combination of sweat, leftovers and... and..." Twilight said but was gagging too hard to get it out.
Rainbow Dash hovered above them and looked at the yellow blob with a single tear trailing down her otherwise hardened face. The animals noticed her blue form and a plethora of squeaking erupted among the workers. Two squirrels crawled down from the upper floor and scampered down the wall. They stared with pleading eyes up at Rainbow Dash and looked like they were begging for help with their little dexterous hands.
"What are they saying?" Pinkie asked and dropped flat on the ground.
"Do I look like I speak squirrel?" Dash asked and landed next to them.
"I think they want us to help them, you guys," Twilight said and took a muffin with her magic, placing it down in front of the critters. "I'm not sure whether you get this or not, but you must feed Fluttershy this muffin. It will return her to normal. Nod if you understand."
The two squirrels looked at eachother, then took the muffin and nodded. They scaled the wall again, carrying the helpful treat between them. Despite their starved appearance, they didn't go on board the muffin... as if they really had understood. They all took a few steps back and waited breathlessly, for more than one reason.
Pinkie bit her lip and danced around in tense expectation, while the other two looked at the quivering yellow mass. Loud munching noise could constantly be heard from inside the hut, but exactly she was eating wasn't easy to tell. The first sign was a loud crack, like an old car backfiring and then sputtering to life. As it picked up its speed, Fluttershy shrank back to her original size. She lay dumbfounded on her back, looking around confused. All of the animals inside embraced her but Fluttershy just cried.
"I'm sorry, everyone. I'm so, so sorry. I don't know what came over me," she told the animals.
"It's good to see you back to normal," Rainbow Dash said and embraced her as well.
"Yeah, I didn't like the big mean Fluttershy at all!" Pinkie said, following just behind Dash.
Twilight was too moved to say anything and simply joined the group hug. "Perhaps you'd like to help us return things to normal?" Twilight finally said as they broke free again.
"I'd rather stay here... that is if you don't mind," Fluttershy said, still lying on her back. She rested her head on the floor with a deep sigh. "I have a lot to make up for and this place needs to be cleaned."
"That's all right, we only need to visit Rarity," Rainbow Dash said and gave her an encouraging smile. "Pinkie, why don't you stay behind and help Fluttershy? We won't need a whole lot of ponies to stop Apple Bloom."
"Oh, I'd love to!" Pinkie said and gave Fluttershy a hoof to help her up.
"I'm just glad you're not mad at me for how I've behaved the last few months." Fluttershy wiped her eyes as tears came trickling down, of shame or of joy.
"We were all under the spell," Dash said and shook her head. "Think nothing more of it."
And so, only Rainbow Dash and Twilight went back into town again. Rarity's Carousel Boutique was in the other end, but the two ponies enjoyed their regained mobility and went with a brisk pace. They met no resistance on the way, no pony to stop them or halt them. Evening was giving way to night fast and it would be dark before they could go to Sweet Apple Acres for their final showdown.
They entered the dress shop and found it empty at first sans all the packaging lying around. Empty paper bags, cake trays and candy wrappers had been strewn carelessly around the floor. The two stepped carefully around in their investigation. Unfinished dresses hung on ponyquins smeared with frosting, blueprints had been smothered beyond recognition with cake cream. Dash shook her head when she heard Twilight gasping from the backroom.
Rarity lay on her stomach, her enormous rear too big for any couches. The floor was covered with pillows instead, her flab filling up the entire room like a sloshing river of cookie dough. Five young stallions tended to her whims, kneading her fat, scrubbing her clean, feeding her. Spike was here as well, trying desperately to save his damsel in distress. The servants merely knocked him around as he hoped to wrestle the treats from them and otherwise stop Rarity from eating. One of the servants gave him a good kick and Spike rolled out, coming to a stop between Twilight and Dash.
"Rainbow Dash? ... Twilight?" Spike asked surprised as he got up again. Happy tears escaped his eyes as he embraced Twilight tightly. She hugged him back, nuzzling his cheek motherly. He released her and took a step back. "How did you even... You know what, I don't even care right now. I'm going back to the library, take a shower and then I'll go back to bed."
"Wait," Twilight said and put a hoof to his shoulder. "Listen Spike, I'm so sorry for how I've behaved. I... I haven't been myself in a long time. Can you forgive me?"
"I know, I know," he said and flicked his wrist. "Anyway, Applejack told me everything."
"Applejack did? When did you meet her?" Rainbow Dash burst out and grabbed Spike. He looked back at her in surprise.
"She came by the library to make me send a letter to Celestia. Can't believe I didn't think about that."
Rainbow Dash gave an impish smile and rubbed her hooves together. "Then she must be back at the farm already. Let's hurry this up, Twilight."
Just at that moment, Rarity finally noticed their presence. She had been too absorbed with eating to even care that there had been others in the room. She had probably not even noticed Spike who now slumped outside.
"Rainbow Dash, Twilight, welcome!" she said and burped. "You look famished. I wish I could share with you, but a lady like me mustn't be kept waiting."
"Well, that's kind of why we're here!" Twilight said and took the last muffin with her magic. They were afraid to get any closer to their clinically obese friend than the doorway. She was eating like an absolute pig and pieces of pie flew everywhere.
"Ugh, what is that thing?" Rarity scoffed. "I only let the Apple family's genuine treats across my lips. I don't know where that... thing has been last."
"But it IS from the Apple family!" Rainbow Dash said and caught with Twilight's plan. "It's, uh... it's a new apple-chocolate recipe."
"Really?" Rarity said, salivating and smacking her lips. One of the waiters approached her with a pie, but she sloshed with her fat and made him fall on his back. "I must try this at once! I must!"
She wriggled her flabby arms to get closer to the muffin but she was irrevocably stuck in the room. The brown confection flew through the air with Twilight's magic and landed in Rarity's waiting maw. She chewed it greedily with little regards to manners.
"Simply divine," she moaned. "Strange. I couldn't even taste the apples."
The pony she had dismissed got up on his hoofs again and found a new pie. He waved it under her nose and she was just about to sink her teeth into it when she began to vibrate violently. The sound a jackhammer boring into concrete or a woodpecker on speed accompanied her transformation. Like a carpet being dragged out under their hooves, all of the fat melted away and turned the waiters upside down. Rarity finally lay on her belly with several astonished ponies around her. She looked around bewildered and then flushed immensely.
"All of you, out!" she yelled to the waiting ponies with such intensity that they stumbled over each other to get away. She looked up at her friends with a stern look. "We shall never speak of this again... EVER."
Her two friends couldn't help but laugh slightly, but quickly stifled their grins when they saw her expression.
"Want to come with us to Sweet Apple Acres?" Rainbow Dash asked, but Rarity was already busy and on her feet.
"I'm afraid I'll have to decline. I can't remember the last the time I had a shower that didn't involve a rag on a stick," she said and tried to straighten her hair out.
"Just you and me then, Twilight," Dash said determinedly. "That was our last muffin too, so we better not eat any of the pies."
"Yes, and please don't do something rash, all right?" Twilight asked concernedly. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes.
"I never do anything rash. I just like to take the initiative is all," she replied, but Twilight gave her a dismayed look. "Fine, we'll do this your way. Only because I don't have a plan! ... At the moment."
"Apple Bloom, ya come on out here right this moment!" Applejack said and yelled up at the large keep in front of her. The once so idyllic two storey farmhouse had been completely overshadowed by a small fortification at the edge of their land. It included a moat, spires, drawbridges and the finest masonry in all of Equestria and sported an extravagance rivalling even that of Canterlot. Large flags waved in the wind and banners hung down the walls, all displaying Apple Bloom's face.
Applejack stood at this moment on the wrong side of the water trench, trying to talk sense into her little sister. "Tarnation, Apple Bloom, yer in so much trouble right now, young missy. Ya come out right this instant or Ah'll be seriously mad atcha."
There was no response. Instead, two guards came waddling towards her from behind the keep. They looked like Celestia's white guards clad in gilded armour and were not yet overly fat.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm afraid we must ask you to leave," the first one said.
"Ah'm her sister, fer crying out loud! This is mah home and Ah live here too," Applejack said and pounded the ground with her hoof in frustration.
"Not according to Lady Apple Bloom," the second one said. "Now you'll either get out or be thrown out."
"Ugh, this is ridiculous," Applejack said and facehoofed herself. "Look, can't ya see what's happening to ya? Look how big yer getting!"
"Lady Apple Bloom preserve us from the heretics," they both said and slowly advanced upon Applejack with spears pointed at her fluffy chest. She backed away nervously before retreating in full run.
She sped across the Apple family land, down the dirt road towards the orchards. The old house still stood in renovated splendour with its freshly painted picket fences and barn. She looked up at it, memories flashing before her eyes and wetting them. She reminisced back to the days before, of apple bucking and apple selling. She missed Big Mac and she missed Rainbow Dash so much that it clutched at her heart. It wrought her stomach to think that somewhere inside, Dash was eating her own weight in pies and it was all her fault. She clenched her face and wailed large streams of helplessness.
Composing herself was difficult and the tears would not stop coming. But through sniffing and sobbing, she eventually found an inner peace that calmed her down. The overweight apple pickers ignored her and carried on their harvesting as they always had.
"Please forgive me." She snivelled quietly at them and wiped her eyes. "I WILL find a way to stop this."
She looked up at the shining Sun. As if to answer to her pleas, a streak of white flashed above her. Celestia's unmistakable mane flapped behind her. Applejack's face lit up. She raised herself up on her hind legs and waved her arms around. Celestia's head turned, noticing Applejack and touched down before her. The Princess looked grim and looked much taller than she usually did. Applejack cast herself down on the little dirt road.
"Ah'm mighty sorry, Princess," Applejack said and buried her head in her hooves. "Ah didn't know that this could go so wrong and when Ah did it was too late. Mah sister... Apple Bloom, she ain't herself no more. Please, Ah'm begging ya, please help us."
Celestia looked down motherly at Applejack. She reached out a hoof and lifted Applejack tear-stained face gently up. "I can see the sincere regret in your eyes. We shan't worry about pointing hoofs just yet, first we must take action. Will you lead the way?"
"Yes, Princess!" Applejack said and eagerly got up again. She was nearly bursting with happiness that the Princess would be so kind and forgiving. She gave a weak smile at Celestia and Celestia smiled back warmly. Applejack blushed and dragged the hat down her eyes, quickly darting down the path. The Princess followed her at fresh pace, her longer legs negating any need for running.
The guards were gone from their place, so Applejack and Celestia met no opposition. They stopped up in front of the moat and peered up the walls, into the windows of the towers to see if they could find Apple Bloom.
"Apple Bloom, this is yer last warning. Come out here NOW!" Applejack yelled up at the battlements and ramparts with just as much luck as before.
"Apple Bloom, there is something you should know," Celestia said, her calm voice carrying through the thick walls. "You do not know the magic you're trifling with. It may look as if you're only affecting others, but you're affecting yourself just as much. It is not too late. We can still help you."
Apple Bloom appeared up on the wall between two towers, right over the entrance. For a moment, it really seemed like they had gotten through to her. She was smiling positively and the gate slammed down. Applejack and Celestia was just about to cross when Apple Bloom nodded. Their progress was cut short by two gigantic fillies landing right on their back. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were now the size of large, sweaty cars.
"Oh horse apples, Ah forgot she could do that," Applejack said. "Wait... how is she doing this!"
"Yay, I got the Princess!" Sweetie Belle said jubilantly.
"I just got Applejack... again," Scootaloo said disappointedly. "No offence, of course."
"None taken," Applejack said and tapped her hoof impatiently on the ground.
The Princess didn't look to worry. Her horn glowed and an aura engulfed Sweetie Belle. Nothing happened. Celestia increased her effort and focused more energy into the spell she was performing, but Sweetie Belle remained where she was.
Apple Bloom waltzed across the bridge joined by several guards. Each of them hauled several carts of all kinds of treats. She was smiling and quite devilishly so. Applejack knew how this would end and squirmed and struggled with all of her might, but Scootaloo had only gotten heavier. Her flab completely engulfed Applejack so that only her face and front hooves stuck out. Similarly with Sweetie Belle. Celestia increased her efforts and the strain was visible on her face, but nothing worked.
"Ya can move the Sun and the Moon, but one little overweight filly is too much for ya?" Apple Bloom remarked, her voice thick with malicious mockery.
"You're under the spell just as much as everypony else," Celestia said, ignoring Apple Bloom's observations. "Please allow me help you."
"Are ya kidding me? Ah feel better than Ah've had in all mah life! Ah can't believe Ah was such a goody two shoes when it pays so much better ta be a tyrant!" Apple Bloom said and laughed maniacally.
"I'm not angry with you, little Apple Bloom. I'm only asking you to let me cure you," Celestia said serenely, ignoring Apple Bloom's harsh words.
Apple Bloom grunted and turned away. "Ah tire of our conversation. Don't even think of escaping, Sweetie Belle is a magical sponge. The stronger she gets, the more powerful she becomes." She went towards the carts. The royal guards were shaking and sweating from being so close to their drug that they could smell it. Apple Bloom ran a hoof down the gilded armour and a slight whine escaped his lips. "Ah hear ya like cake, Princess, so Ah prepared a few hundred just for you. Wha don't Ah give ya the first piece?"
The guard kicked the cart and the back hatch fell open. Apple Bloom leapt up and bit down on a plate, dragging it all the way to Celestia. She took an adjoining spoon and snipped off a little piece of frosting on the seven layer cake. Thick butter bled from the sponge like blood from a wound.
"Open up wide," Apple Bloom said and waved the spoon. The Princess merely closed her eyes and her mouth as well. "Suddenly haven't got anything ta say? Doesn't matter, it'll all be over in a few secs. Sweetie Belle, open her mouth."
"But how?" Sweetie Belle said and flailed her arms and legs.
"For the love of... use yer magic!" Apple Bloom said angrily, nearly dropping the utensil between her teeth.
"I'm sorry, Apple Bloom. You know I'm no good with magic," Sweetie Belle said, nearly crying from her ineptitude. Apple Bloom simply gave her a stern look, the dire consequences of her failure written in her eyes. Sweetie Belle trembled and pinched her eyes shut. Her horn flickered to life, slowly glowing light blue. Celestia's jaw did as well and popped open for Apple Bloom to feed her. The Princess's eyes rolled back into her head with pleasure the likes of which she had not experienced in her long, long life.
Sweetie Belle heaved with the effort and rolled off the Princess' back, eyes reduced to swirl. Celestia quickly got up again, greedily devouring the cake she had sampled with Apple Bloom's helps. The guards unloaded their cargo before the Princess. She sat down, making obscene sounds as she stuffed her face. Apple Bloom lifted an eyebrow at her before moving on to Applejack.
"Ya have caused me so much trouble, dear big sis. Ah was actually starting to worry. But that's all in the past," she said with a slight laugh. "Though... Ah think ya deserve a little punishment."
Apple Bloom motioned for two guards to come closer. They hauled a big metal barrel behind them, scraping it across the drawbridge with a sound as eerie as it looked. Something sloshed around inside as it came closer, dragging across the ground. Applejack increased her kicks and sprawls, but Scootaloo's butt was irrevocably closed down on her.
"This is a special liquid that Ah had made," Apple Bloom said proudly and knocked on the metal. It sounded full to the brim. "Every single aspect of it is designed ta add fat ta the pony body. Berry Punch was nice enough ta donate ta it, ensuring that it will overpower any urges ya might have ta flee. Think about it, big sis. From this day forward, ya won't have ta do anything anymore in yer life. Just sit absolutely still and become the world's biggest mare."
The stallions released the ropes binding them to the barrel and sat down on the ground next to it, enjoying their breather. Apple Bloom jumped up top of one of them and dipped a little spoon into the liquid. She cautiously carried it down to her sister, aiming it straight at her.
"Apple Bloom, don'tcha dare," Applejack said angrily, despair and futility filling her eyes with horror. Even to the last she would be fighting this. The thick, goopy stuff came closer. Applejack shook her head from side to side. It was getting hard to breathe and consciousness was dwindling. The shaking wasn't helping and the world was spinning. She flexed her eyelids, keeping her awake just long enough to see Apple Bloom trip. There were sounds as well, but Applejack dove into the encroaching darkness.
Twilight and Rainbow Dash raced up the dirt path towards the Apple family home. They too had observed the white streak that had announced Celestia's arrival. Help was near and filled with them renewed energy, hoping things would be resolved when they arrived.
But as they passed the lines of apple trees, shapes started to form in the shadows around them. They shambled into the light, their eyes empty and their coats greasy. The guardians of the Apple land come from out of the trees, across the fields and out of the farmhouse. "Lady... Apple Bloooom," they moaned.
They quickly formed a circle around Dash and Twilight, surrounding the two in an inescapable ring of blubber. Twilight sprang to action and lit up her horn. The subsequent spells repelled the maddened workers, but their insatiable hunger and adoration for Apple Bloom hardened them. All Twilight did was exhaust herself and pushing them back slightly.
"Aim for their bellies!" Dash said and reared to free her front hooves for punching.
Following the suggestion made the workers fall on their back. Once there, they could only flail their limbs uselessly. Twilight used this to her advantage, but there were too many advancing them at the same time. They were relentless in their onslaught and Twilight was just a single unicorn.
"How didcha manage ta break the hex?" Apple Bloom asked over the din. The battlefield went quiet as all participants directed their attention towards the newcomer. She was riding one of the guards she had stolen from Celestia, surrounded by an additional small band of them.
"Like we'd tell you!" Rainbow Dash said and stuck out her tongue.
"Very well. Ya'll tell me once yer under the spell again and then Ah'll make sure that this won't repeat itself," Apple Bloom said, a hint of concern betraying her otherwise cool response.
The wave of fat ponies started anew and trampled loudly towards Twilight and Dash. There seemed to be no end to them as they poured out from their hiding places.
"Get them, get them, get them!" Apple Bloom shrieked.
"We can keep this up all day if need be! Right, Twilight?" Dash asked and looked at her friend.
The effectiveness of Twilight's spells was waning and it strained her harder and harder to perform them. They simply didn't have as much kick behind them and only served to annoy the advancing horde.
"I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash. I don't think I can't keep this up much longer... there are just too many of them," Twilight panted. Her spells flew left and right, but were just short of mist by now.
"Hmph. Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle!" Apple Bloom shouted
Everypony stopped up for a moment to gaze heavenwards for the much anticipated secret technique, but nothing happened. Apple Bloom looked behind her and saw that the two were still where she had left them, unable to move.
"Dang it. Forgot Ah had already deployed them. All right everypony, listen up, no food fer no pony until these two have been captured!" the little yellow filly yelled.
Twilight was heaving from the exertion. She was too exhausted to perform any more tricks.
"Come on, Twilight, you can't stop now," Dash said encouragingly, but Twilight collapsed into her arms.
"Just... give me a minute or two," Twilight said with a faint smile and looked up into Dash's purple eyes.
"We don't have a minute or two! It will be too late by then," Dash reprimanded but conscious slipped from Twilight.
Suddenly realising the severity of the situation, Dash embraced Twilight deeply to protect her.
The fat ponies stumbled over each to get at them, somewhat working in their favour. Twilight had removed most of the immediate threats and turned them into roadblocks for the next waves. They bumped each into other and stumbled over their fallen comrades, staggering like drunkards unable to focus.
"Rainbow Dash, you have to leave," Twilight said and stroked Dash's cheek. "You can still fly and no pony will be able to stop you once you're in the air."
"And leave you here?" Rainbow Dash said, appalled that Twilight would even suggest it.
"Please. If they get you as well, how will we warn other cities of the pies?" Twilight said pleadingly with tears in her eyes. "I never want to fill out my library again, but I want even less for others to experience our misfortune."
"I'm sorry. I would never forgive myself if I did that. When I leave, it will be with you in my hoofs. I don't care if I have to drag you, we're doing this together."
"You stupid stubborn pegasus," Twilight said, pounding Dash weakly in her fluffy chest. "Can't you just carry us both?"
"I can't carry us far," she said gravely. "I still haven't recovered completely from being under the spell, and neither have you. This would be child's play otherwise."
"I know... I just didn't want to hear it," Twilight said and buried her head in Dash's coat with tears staining it dark. Dash wrapped her hooves around Twilight and rested her head on hers.
The overweight workers had passed the barriers and the distance was closing fast. The enemy ponies were upon them now, so close that the two could smell the sickeningly sweet taste of apple pie on their breath. It was at times like these that you could rely strongest on your friends.
"Ouch," Dash said and rubbed her head. Something small and squishy had fallen on her which Twilight was quick to pick up.
"A muffin?" she asked inquisitively.
They both looked up to see Derpy flying by above with her arms full of muffins, and not just her, Fluttershy as well. From the city came Pinkie and Rarity as well, all of them with saddle pouches stuffed with muffins.
"Ah don't get it," Apple Bloom said and shrugged. "Muffins?"
The chubby ponies stopped up at the sight of food. The muffins rained down on them and they voraciously stuffed the treats into their mouths with no further thoughts. Their reversal was as good as instantaneous.
"No, don't eat them! Ah forbid ya from eating muffins anymore," Apple Bloom said in a panic but it was too late. Those still standing had all shared in the feast and were all back to normal. They turned their ire towards Apple Bloom and approached her menacingly instead.
Rainbow Dash released Twilight and waved her friends forwards. "Come on, girls!" she exclaimed and took the lead.
Apple Bloom's guards were defenceless against the superiorly fit attackers. The disgruntled workers jabbed muffins into little struggling jaws before pinning Apple Bloom to the ground. She was then subjected to her own medicine and had pies and other treats forced into her face.
The mane six with Derpy made no moves to stop them and instead continued up towards the keep. Princess Celestia was licking her hooves lovingly, her distended body covered in thick strawberry butter jam. Her legs, belly and neck were all coated in bulky layers of fat, her rear big enough for a normal pony to hide behind.
Applejack, on the other hoof, was still lying underneath Scootaloo. Judging by her annoyed expression, she was enjoying the experience less and less.
"Darling, are you all right?" Rarity asked.
"Juuuuust dandy," Applejack replied.
"Not you. Sweetie Belle, dear, you really shouldn't be eating those."
Sweetie Belle had decided to help Celestia with her food pile. She was lying on her stomach, head buried in a triple layer chocolate cake with caramel heart. Rarity levitated her sister's head out and flipped her on her back. Sweetie Belle's eyes rolled around lazily, her white coat matted with chocolate. Rarity had no problems getting a muffin between jaws. Scootaloo likewise turned back easily, Applejack shirking her off her back.
Celestia was a bit more difficult as she maniacally began to wolf down more cakes with little regards to manners or anything else. Applejack and Rainbow Dash had to restrain her while Twilight and Pinkie removed the cakes and Rarity forced the muffin into her royal mouth.
They all took a moment to breathe. They were all thinking the same thing, but none of them could voice it. Instead they all laughed, like their humour had been bottled away and suddenly released all at once. None of them would have dared to speculate about the future just yesterday, but now it was finally over. Celestia wiped her eyes as the mirth died down with an occasional snickering.
She led them back to where the muffin brigade had left Apple Bloom to the mercy of her angry workers. The workers helped revert their fat brethren with all the muffins lying around. None of them wanted to help the little yellow filly that was ravenously eating everything in sight.
Applejack moved towards her, but Celestia stopped her. "Apple Bloom will finally learn her lesson; what it means to be always hungry, always craving food, never caring how much the belly hurts or how fat she gets."
Apple Bloom knew where all of the stashes were hidden around the farm, the secret ones as well as the movies. She was running around feverishly, digging up caches of food from the ground or extracting them from hollowed trees.
"Ah can't tell ya'll how deeply sorry Ah am," Applejack said and bowed. She was speaking to everypony gathered here, not just her friends and Celestia, but the apple pickers too and the guards and the farmhoofs as well. "All the money we stole from ya'll will be used ta make things go back ta how they once were and ta any reimbursements."
"That's very noble of you, Applejack," Celestia said and smiled. "I hope you have learned your lesson?"
"Ah sure have, Princess, but... how will we prevent this from happening again?" Applejack asked worriedly and looked up into her eyes.
"I wouldn't worry about that," Celestia said and looked at all of the ponies gathered around them. They finished their conversion and knelt on the ground in respect of her. "Everypony who has tasted your cursed goods will be immune to its effects once they have been turned back."
"But how can we cure the whole city?" Twilight asked with concern and came up next to the Princess, looking at the town before them. "The muffins Derpy has brought will barely stretch to the ponies gathered here, and there are still many trapped in their own homes."
"I brought something with me that should help speed things up a little," The Princess said serenely. With a little flick of her horn, a chest appeared on the ground between them. She prodded it with a hoof and it opened to reveal the Elements of Harmony inside. "This should be easier than when Discord came for a visit."
The ponies equipped their corresponding elements; Twilight her crown and the others their necklaces. Twilight felt her energy replenished and got the feeling she could accomplish anything. She levitated up into the sky and brought with her her friends and encased them in a bubble the colour of purple like how her horn glowed.
The bubble grew in size and covered all of Ponyville in the span of seconds. Whomever it touched, regardless of walls or other obstruction, was instantaneously slimmed down to a state before their first fateful taste. Ponies emerged from their dwellings for the first time in many months and blinked at the sun that they had not seen for so long.
Once it had crossed Ponyville's borders and even reached into the Everfree Forest, the bubbled dissipated again. Twilight and her friends returned to the ground, their elements slipping from their bodies. Celestia collected them and stowed them away inside the chest. Twilight smiled tiredly and dropped down on the ground. The other were equally exhausted and sat down as well. Still, one question remained that Fluttershy was astute enough to ask.
"Well, uhm... what are we going to do with all the pies and other treats that have already been made?"
"I know one filly who'd be more than happy to eat it all," Celestia said and gave a small laughter. "Just be sure to give her a muffin once she's done."
Celestia spread her wings and motioned to leave for the skies when Applejack addressed her.
"Uhm, Princess? Can Ah ask ya a question?" she asked and rubbed her arm.
"Of course you may," Celestia replied calmly.
"Well... Ah still can't believe Apple Bloom would do this. She's the nicest little pony there is!"
"The magic of earth ponies is ancient, far older than that of unicorns, but also little understood. Don't worry, Applejack, your sister will grow up to be a fine mare and a strong earth pony with you there to help her."
Applejack pondered that for a moment. She nodded finally with an enthusiastic grin. "Ah will, Princess! Don'tcha worry!"
Celestia beamed at them all before taking off with a mighty flap of her wings. They all waved at her until she disappeared towards the sun and was gone. It had been one crazy adventure and they all came out of this having learnt something.
To feed the ire of the afflicted, a new attraction arose in Ponyville. It lasted only for a few months, but it was absolutely free and attracted a large crowd. Ponies came from all over Equestria just for this one thing. "Feed Apple Bloom" became the biggest hit since Summer Sun Celebration and, short-lived as it was, really rallied the community together again and helped everyone to slowly forgive the atrocities committed by the Apple family.
Needless to say, Apple Bloom fast became the biggest pony who ever lived. Day and night, curious spectators would grab a pie or a donut or an éclair and shove it into the eagerly waiting maw. Even the liquid Apple Bloom had developed just for Applejack had to go, all forty barrels of them.
After just a week, they had to haul Apple Bloom outside of town and into a meadow where she eventually grew to the size of a small mountain of blubber. One curious aspect of the spiked food was a total removal of any ill side effects one might otherwise expect from extreme obesity. She quickly couldn't move any parts of herself and was completely dependent on others to care for her, but she was under the circumstances fine.
At the end of it all, when the last of the poisoned goods were gone and it was time for an antidote, Apple Bloom had almost disappeared into her own enormous rolls of fat. Her head alone was like a belly button sunken in the enormous globe of fat that she had become. When she was finally returned to normal, she was above anyone else ashamed of the things she had done. It would serve as a reminder for her to the ends of her days what a monster anyone could become if they allowed desire to take control.
Rainbow Dash and Applejack had a difficult time finding out how they belonged together and mostly tried to avoid each other. They would blush, look away and then hastily go in another direction if they met randomly. It would take them awhile to realise their own feelings for the other mare and admit it freely.
Ponyville soon recovered from the tragedy that had befallen them, but no one would ever forget the events that happened over the course of that year. Although things returned to normal, the memory of what they had all become would remain with them all for a long time.