I do not own Bleach or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Chapter 9: The State of Ponyville
Day 3: Rainbow Dash and Ichigo
"Not bad, Strawberry!" Rainbow Dash shouted from a cloud.
Ichigo flew next to her. Clouds didn't seem like something either of them should be able to stand firmly on. He lowered himself slowly to test whether he'd fall through or not, but once his hooves met with a solid footing, his apprehensiveness disappeared.
"How many times do I have to tell you? My name's not 'Strawberry.'"
"I already told you, your other name's too hard to say, so you're Strawberry." She retorted. "You know, you don't act like most other pegasi I know. It's like you're completely new to flying, but at the same time, you can fly almost as fast as me."
Ichigo tensed. He didn't know if he should tell her about him or his friends. After all, Twilight and the princesses knew, and no one told him not to tell. Light-magenta eyes inspected him as he debated what he should tell her.
"It's hard to explain." He finally said.
"Whatever. If you can fly like that, you're okay by me." Rainbow slapped his shoulder with a hoof.
A low rumbling echoed across the sky.
"Hey! Have you ever flown through a lightning storm?" Rainbow's eyes showed a mix of excitement and sadism.
Ichigo shook his head.
She smiled wickedly. "Today's going to be your first time, then."
Rainbow bolted off of their cloud toward a dark mass in the distance. Ichigo watched her for a second before departing. The storm drew closer to them. She wouldn't have told him, but Rainbow knew there was going to be a lightning storm on the outskirts of Ponyville, being a weather pegasus had its benefits.
Their skin tingled as they flew through the tempest. Electricity sparked around them. The energy from the storm flowed into both of the pegasi, and each of them could feel it. A long streak of lightning shot out in front of them, and both of their heart rates increased with the sudden jolt of extra energy.
They burst out of the other side of the storm, glistening and rejuvenated. Rainbow led the way to another cloud not involved in the electric spectacle below her.
Ichigo set himself next to a sitting Rainbow Dash.
"You know what, Strawberry? I like having someone to fly with." She said with little more than a whisper.
He looked at her.
"Flying alone is fine, but I really like having somepony who can actually keep up with me. You're the first pony who's been able to do that."
Ichigo cringed at being directly called a 'pony,' it was a little too girly for his liking. He also didn't quite like where he thought the conversation was going.
"You're like my brother, or something. You know what I mean?"
Ichigo wiped his forehead inwardly; at least she didn't go where he expected her to.
"Yeah, Rainbow, I think I understand." He said. Ichigo shook his head, he was never this…soft back in his world.
"You can call me Dash if you want. I can see you don't like Rainbow."
He nodded. "Alright."
Rainbow shook her head and jumped onto her hooves. "Alright, no more breaks, Strawberry. Let's see if you can keep up with this!"
She took off so fast that a rainbow trail followed her. Ichigo followed her as best as he could. He hated losing, so twice to a hot-shot mare didn't sit well with him and he wasn't going to let it happen again. Not without a fight, at least.
They rounded clouds and dusted a forest, Ichigo trailing a few seconds behind Rainbow. Their routine seemed to take hours and Ichigo started to feel fatigue setting in.
"Damn. She's fast." He mumbled.
Rainbow led him in an upward spiral around a mountain. "He's not letting up."
The impromptu race thundered over Ponyville. Ichigo saw Pinkie Pie and Orihime bouncing around a tree in the park, but his concentration broke as his view of the two earth ponies flashed quickly beneath him.
He guessed another hour passed and neither of them let up in their unplanned contest. Ichigo's wings burned, but he pushed to stay behind Rainbow, who had increased her distance ahead of him over the course of the race.
Rainbow turned her head to see Ichigo. He was still trailing her, which surprised her. "Impressive." She could feel her wings get heavier and heavier as the race progressed, and her breathing had lost control sometime before. A nearby cloud caught her attention in the evening light. Rainbow smiled and altered her course for the object. She alighted herself on top of the cloud and hugged it.
Ichigo followed Rainbow onto the cloud she picked as the finish of the race.
"What was that?" He panted.
Rainbow gasped for air as well behind a grin. "Looks like: Rainbow, three; Strawberry, zero."
"Oh, come on!" Ichigo's exhaustion disappeared as anger took over. "That one doesn't count!"
She folded her wings into her sides. "Does so. Don't be a sore loser."
Ichigo planted a hoof onto her cheek. "'Sore loser?' You're being a sore winner!"
"Get off me, Strawberry!" Her muffled voice came in between her gasps as she laughed. "I'm trying to nap!"
"Why are you laughing?" He shouted and took his hoof away from her face.
"Because, it's so easy to make you mad!" Her voice cracked slightly as she continued to laugh at the tan colt.
Ichigo, now flustered, folded his wings in. "I hate losing."
Rainbow rolled onto her back so she could see Ichigo. Those words were the same she told Applejack before the Running of the Leaves. "It's alright, Strawberry, I won't count that one. Next time we race, it'll be fair."
He nodded. "Fine."
Rainbow maneuvered herself back onto her stomach, closed her eyes, and drifted into sleep. Ichigo walked slowly to the other side of the cloud and did the same; he decided to meet back up with his friends the next day.
Day 3: Applejack, Fluttershy, and Chad
Applejack didn't stop talking the entire trip to Sweet Apple Acres. Fluttershy floated next to her friend and Chad strolled on the other side of the farm pony. Chad thought the Apple Family farm was surprisingly close to town as they reached the area in a few minutes. The land was blanketed by green trees, each of which was laden with apples.
"Welp, what d'ya think?" The orange earth pony grinned at Chad.
The brown colt only nodded in the direction of the massive orchard.
"No dilly dallyin' now. Big Macintosh's is plowin' the field 'round back."
Chad saw Fluttershy tense out of the corner of his eye.
Applejack nudged the timid pegasus before starting off again. "No need to worry, sugarcube. Mah brother ain't nothin' but a big puppy dog, and Ah'm sure he'd love ta see ya'll."
The other two followed behind Applejack, silence fell over them as the ocean of trees enclosed around the path that led to a stereotypically red barn. They rounded the building to reveal a brown landscape with a large red dot patrolling the grounds.
"Hey! Mac!" Applejack shouted and waved a hoof at the red colt pulling a plow through the dirt.
Macintosh undid the knot used to connect the plow to the yoke around his neck and casually strolled up to the three ponies. Fluttershy partially hid herself behind Applejack as the large farm colt approached them.
"What do ya need, AJ?" Big Mac asked.
From what Chad could tell, Big Macintosh was as tall as him and just as fit. The large yoke around his neck seemed to serve as a weight to tone the muscles along his neckline. The mark on Mac's flank showed a green apple with a bite taken out of the front, something Chad found strangely fitting for the large, red, earth colt.
"Ah wanted to intraduce ya ta Chad, here. He's new in town." Applejack raised her front hoof closest to Chad.
"Hello." Chad said.
"Hey." Big Mac answered.
They stared at each other. Applejack looked confusedly at the two colts. Finally, the two each raised a hoof and thrust them together as a greeting.
The red farm pony broke the silence. "Nice ta meetcha."
Big Macintosh caught slight movement behind Chad. He turned to find Fluttershy staring at him from behind the new pony.
"H-hello, B-B-Big M-Macintosh." Fluttershy stuttered.
He nodded his head at her. "Fluttershy."
Her face flushed. Applejack looped a hoof through her front leg and pulled her into the open.
"Don't be shy now, sugarcube." Applejack smiled before her eyes suddenly popped open. "Ah just got an idea, why don't Ah show Chad how ta applebuck and you two stay here and start plantin'?"
"Oh, I don't know about that, Applejack." Fluttershy's cheeks were still red.
Something told Applejack that Macintosh was blushing too, but it was impossible to tell because of his bright red coat. The only indication was that his eyes were fully opened instead of half-closed, like usual.
"Are ya sure about this, AJ? I wouldn't want Fluttershy to git all dirty workin' for us." Big Mac calmly protested.
She ignored her brother and looked at the sky to give her a reason to leave before either Fluttershy or Macintosh could argue any further.
"Would ya look at the time? Gotta git ta applebuckin' 'fore night comes. We'll leave you two alone, now."
She pushed Chad in front of her so fast that Chad didn't have time to prepare himself.
"But Applejack!" Fluttershy and Big Mac shouted together.
They stopped and looked at each other, then turned away. Fluttershy blushed and Macintosh whistled around the wheat stalk in his mouth.
"So, uh," the stallion started, "how are ya?"
"F-fine." Fluttershy barely squeaked out the word.
Another awkward silence descended on them.
"How, um, how about you? Are you, um, okay?" She asked.
"Eeyup." He answered with his signature reply.
They stood next to each other quietly again, neither one breaking the silence until Big Mac took control of the conversation.
"Hey, Fluttershy, I need ta ask ya somethin'…."
"Applejack, what are you doing?" Chad was still being pushed by the much smaller farm pony.
"Ah needed ta git those two alone. They have the hot's fer each other, but neither one'll admit it. Maybe if they spend some time alone, they'll figure things out." She explained.
Confused, Chad looked around and realized she was still pushing him. "Um, Applejack, you can stop now."
"What? Oh, right. Sorry 'bout that, sugarcube." Applejack stopped and wiped her forehead with a hoof. "Alright, time ta show ya'll 'bout applebuckin'."
Chad hesitated before speaking. "I thought that was just an excuse to get us away from Fluttershy and your brother."
"Nope," she shook her head, "I was serious 'bout showin' that."
Applejack trotted over to a nearby apple tree surrounded by empty wooden tubs and full with the ripe fruit. "Now, all ya need ta know is buck the tree with enough force," she grunted the last word as she forced her hind legs into the sturdy plant, "ta knock the apples down into the tubs. Got it?"
He nodded and hummed as he walked up to the tree next to the one Applejack just used as a demonstration. Chad turned so his rear legs were perpendicular to the tree. "Like this?"
"Yep, now just kick as hard as ya can."
Chad looked ahead and did as he was told. The impact cracked the tree vertically along the trunk, but that wasn't the worst of the damage. He kicked the plant with enough power to uproot it and cause it to fall. Apples were thrown all around the two ponies as the kick created a backlash, sending fruit not only behind Chad, but also in front of him. The surrounding earth quaked with the impact.
"Ya'll just-just kicked the tree down." Applejack whispered.
Applejack stared at Chad. "Ah've never seen somepony strong enough to buck a tree over."
"Sorry." Chad repeated as flatly as the first time.
"Maybe ya'll aren't applebuckin' material. Ah don't need all mah trees kicked down." She said.
Chad nodded and looked at the toppled tree. "Um, what should we do about that?"
Applejack investigated the chaos. "If ya could help me replant it, that'd be greatly appreciated."
The large, brown colt nodded and stepped next to the fallen plant. He placed a massive hoof on the bottom of the tree and pressed down. Chad pushed hard enough to raise the tree straight up again and back into the hole where it stood before. Taking its previous home, the tree stood like nothing had happened.
"It's a little rough, but it'll have to do." Applejack sighed as she fixed some dirt to surround the base of the tree. "How 'bout we git something to drink?"
"Okay." Chad's voice rumbled.