It was an egg.
Rarity carefully held the little white thing in her magic and slowly rolled it over, adding to the irritation of the pony manning the stand. Her first assessment was still holding strong: it was an egg.
There was always something missing when she shopped for food. With cloth and thread, or even gems and gold, she could see beyond the materials. She could see the ebb and flow; the patterns and potential deep within. With them, her muses would sing to her until she could see and feel everything that they might be.
This… was an egg.
It would be an omelet.
Rarity sighed, momentarily envying chefs their ability to see food as an art. To see something new and wonderful, every day, in the most mundane of things.
“Goldangit!” cried a voice behind her, “I don’t even know what in the hay ya mean by caliper! I just want some nice paper. Why in the hay does everything have to be so dang complicated?”
Rarity, and most of the ponies in the marketplace, turned to see a red faced Applejack yelling at Paper Weight, owner of a small stand that sold stationary.
Well, that was certainly new.
Rarity leaned into the soft back of her couch. She was content to let Applejack drink her tea. The poor farm mare’s hooves still shook, but it was only visible how uneven the cup balanced on her hoof was.
Applejack kept her eyes low, but Rarity saw the edge at the corner of her eye and the unconscious beginnings of a curl on her lip. Applejack was angry.
Three cups later, and the chamomile was working its magic.
Rarity sized up her friend, then, “something troubling you, Darling?”
Applejack’s eyes narrowed and caught Rarity’s. Rarity held them with a slight, carefully not-quite-smug smile.
“The hay is that supposed to mean?”
“Oh please, Applejack.” Rarity half-shrugged with her eyebrows and half-rolled her eyes as she did. “What? Did you find your dear sister — what do they call it? — making out with Featherweight again? Really, I would have thought you past that considering…”
Applejack leapt to her feet, one hoof slamming down on the table. “Now you leave Twilight out of this! And I ain’t got nothing against that pegasus ‘cepting he moves too quiet.”
Rarity took a deliberate sip of her tea.
“Ah. Macintosh then, hmm?”
“Why… I… bu… dangit!” Her poor table took another hoof slam. “It ain’t like that!”
Applejack pushed away from the table and started for the door. Rarity let her. The orange pony made it about halfway before spinning back around.
“Ya don’t know what yer talking about.” Applejack pointed an accusing hoof at Rarity. It held a second, then she dropped her eyes and started pacing back and forth in front of Rarity, who just watched and sipped tea. “Coming on four months since the dang fool up and left the Acres.”
“You haven’t heard from him?”
Rarity saw Applejack glance away. “Naw, he writes every other week. Got himself set up real nice in Trottingham. Even been talking about a filly he met.”
…Three… two… one…
“Well that’s marvel…”
Applejack stopped her hoof. “No it ain’t! I ain’t written him back yet. Not. Once.” Applejack turned back to Rarity. “The hay am I supposed to say? Happy to hear you’re doin’ so well after walking out on us? I need Twi to go over the ledgers ‘cause I can’t? Oh, by the way, Bloom didn’t stop crying for a week after you took off?”
Rarity let that sit in the air for a moment. “Darling, weren’t you the one saying how he stayed until…”
“I know!” Another stomp. She’d need to ask Buff Wax to pay a visit after this. Applejack deflated, “I know. She’s doing good, too. But, Twi’s been going over the numbers from Applebuck season. We had to pay a lot for help this year. She’s just not the bucker me and Mac are.”
Now, now, Rarity, snickering won’t help…
Rarity cleared her throat. “Applejack, darling, you did insist on paying us, you know.”
“I ain’t taking charity.” She looked away again. “Every time I try to write something all I ever get is me yelling at him, calling him a traitor or asking him to come home. Went through all the paper in the house. More ‘n anything, I just wanna talk to him, like we did before. But, the hay am I supposed to say?”
Rarity smiled. “Darling, take it from an artist. You’re simply trying too hard. Take your mind off of it. It’ll come to you.”
Applejack squinted her sleepy eyes against the new day sun as she trudged down the lane to her mailbox. She grabbed the small stack of letters and put them on top of the box and then kicked down the little flag.
“Lessee here… bill… bill… bill… Rarity?” Applejack blinked and tore it open.
Sorry I ain’t written yet, but you know how I am with words. Needed to get some help to get this coming out right.
Ain’t gonna lie, we all miss you something terrible. Seems every day something comes up and I expect to see you there. Ain’t easy, but we’re doing okay. You’d be real proud of Apple Bloom. She’s coming along great. Still needed to ask my friends for Applebuck, but our little Bloom showed she’ll be holding her own come next year.
Listen Mac, like I said, I ain’t much for words, but I want you to know that I’ve never been prouder. I just want you to remember that you’re an Apple and the Acres will always be here for you. It’s my turn to make sure.
Oh, and you’d best bring that filly I heard about home sometime. You pull what Twi’s brother did and I’ll tan your hide.
Love you, Mac
PS: Applejack, darling, you should probably rewrite this before you send it. I did try, but your chicken scratch is simply impossible to match while sober.
Commentary from Donny’s Boy
This was a wonderful story, from start to finish. Telling it from Rarity’s POV was a good choice, I think, as we got to learn about Applejack’s anger in bits and pieces. I liked all of the little details, such as about Featherweight and Twilight helping AJ with the ledgers, that made things feel real. It was the ending, though, that I liked best—Rarity doing such a lovely favor for Applejack, while ending it with an insult, is a perfect encapsulation of the Rarity/Applejack friendship.