Apple Bloom's Day Off

Chapter One

"How can I be expected to handle school on a day like this?"

Apple Bloom was bouncing on her bed, looking out of the window at the glorious sunshine. It was clearly too nice a day to spend indoors with Cheerilee lecturing her, so she'd employed some... childish tactics to get out of school.

"Are you okay, Apple Bloom?"

"Urrrghhhh..."

"She looks sick, Big Macintosh."

"Eeyup."

"You'd better stay home from school, Apple Bloom."

"Oh, no, Applejack... I have a test."

"Lie straight back down missy, you are going nowhere."

"What? You're letting her stay off school?"

"Of course, Granny Smith. Just look at her!"

"When I was a filly, you only missed school if you were bleeding through your eyeballs!"

"Just ignore her, Apple Bloom. You rest and get better now."

Now that Applejack and Big Macintosh had gone out to tend the farm with Granny Smith, Apple Bloom was pretty sure they wouldn't be back for a little while. Thus the bouncing.

"Faking a fever is a little childish, but then again, so is school."

With that, she made her way into the bath for a soak before she got up.

"Can you believe that Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara got their cutie marks before me?" Apple Bloom complained, while drying herself off with a towel. "I mean, I work hard on the farm, I get nothing. They sit around all day, they get cutie marks. I mean seriously. What does a silver spoon even mean? What kind of talent is a silver spoon? A soup eating cutie mark? Come on."

Apple Bloom bounced over to the phone and picked it up, dialling while sipping from a cup of punch.

"He, hello?" Scootaloo coughed.

"Hi Scootaloo, can you come and pick me up?"

"Apple Bloom, I'm sick."

"It's just in your mind. Now come and pick me up."

"I'm really sick!"

"I'll be waiting."

She was about to put the receiver down, then picked it back up.

"It's all in your mind. Now hurry up."

Scootaloo was lying in bed, a sweat on her brow, looking awful.

She coughed again, and blinked hard.

"When Scootaloo was in Discord's land..."

"Let my Scootaloo go..."

Scootaloo walked over to her scooter, muttering to herself.

"I'll do it, I'll do it. She'll just keep ringing me up, telling me to come and pick her up, complaining at me... I'll do it."

She started the scooter.

"No, no, no." She switched it off.

"Okay fine. I'll do it." She pounded her hooves on the ground in frustration.

Apple Bloom was eating some cookies.

"I can guarantee she's sat on her scooter, debating with herself."

"No, she can't boss me around." With that, Scootaloo went back inside.

Returning to the scooter, Scootaloo jumped up and down in anger, then got on the scooter and drove off.

"Okay My Little Ponies. Who's present? Able?"

"Here."

"Academy?"

"Here."

"Addle-head?"

"... here."

"Affection?"

"Here."

"Apple?"

"Apple?"

"Apple?"

"Apple?"

"Oh, my sister's boyfriend's cousin's dad overheard Pinkie Pie telling Rarity's aunt's mother that Apple Bloom got sick at Cupcake Corner yesterday. It must be serious."

"... thank you Affection."

"You're very welcome."

"Belle?"

Apple Bloom was relaxing in a chair while Scootaloo paced.

"What if they find out, Apple Bloom?"

"They won't, just relax."

"I don't want any part in your plan."

"Yes you do. Now relax."

Scootaloo continued to pace, then the phone rang.

"You get it!" Apple Bloom said, urgently.

"Why me? Why not you?"

"You do the voice better!"

"But-"

"Just do it."

"Hello, this is Applejack."

"Hi Applejack, it's Cheerilee. I was just wondering, did you know that Apple Bloom is away from school today?"

"Oh, yes. I plum forgot to phone up. I'm ever so sorry."

"Are you also aware that this is the ninth day of school she has missed this semester?"

"Why no, I'm not."

"Exactly. Now, if Apple Bloom wants to graduate, she has to put the work in. No more absences."

"OK Cheerilee, I'll have a word."

"Good. Nice talking to you, Applejack."

"Excellent job, Scootaloo."

"What if she recognised my voice?"

"No chance. You were perfect."

"You think?"

"Absolutely. Now for part two of the plan, Sweetie Belle."

"Sweetie Belle? The nurse wants to see you outside."

Sweetie Belle got up and picked up her things, making her way to the door of the classroom, where Nurse Redheart was waiting.

"I'm so sorry dear, but Rarity is sick!"

"Oh, my. That's terrible!"

"Of course, of course. Now, if you need to cry, I'm here."

"I'm... I'm okay. At the moment."

"Your father is on his way to pick you up."

Scootaloo was on the phone once again.

"Hello, this is Cheerilee."

"Ah yes, this is Sweetie Belle's father. I'm going to come and pick my daughter up from school, Rarity is terribly sick."

Cheerilee narrowed her eyes.

"This is another one of Apple Bloom's tricks, I just know it."

"Ah, yes, of course. If you could just produce a bucket of sick, to prove that she really is."

"I beg your pardon?"

"A bucket of sick, right in front of school. As soon as possible."

The second line on Cheerilee's phone flashed.

"One second, you idiot." Cheerilee giggled as she pressed the second line.

"Oh hi, this is Apple Bloom. Could you please send my homework to the apple stall in the middle of Ponyville, and Applejack can pick it up from there. Thank you!"

Cheerilee's face turned a shade of pink as she switched the line back.

"Ahem, hello?"

"Hello, Miss Cheerilee."

"Ahem, well sir, well, I think I may owe you an apology..."

"I should say you do!"

"Well, I am very sorry... I didn't mean to disrespect..."

"Call me sir, dammit!"

"Yes, sir, of course, yes, sir."

"Have Sweetie Belle out in front of the school in ten minutes."

Apple Bloom kicked Scootaloo. "Too obvious!"

"Ahem no, no, just leave her..."

Another kick.

"I want you, and her, outside, in ten minutes, dammit!"

A hard kick.

"Actually, well, time to run, no time to chit chat. Bye."

"You kicked me!" Scootaloo put the phone down.

"It was a light tap."

"You kicked me, and I was trying to help you."

"I'm sorry."

"No you're not. I'm going home."

"I'm sorry Scoot, I really am. You were magnificent on the phone, a truly great performance."

"... you think?"

"Absolutely. Now, let me make you a drink."

"Well, okay then."

Chapter Two

"I really hope Rarity gets well soon, I really do. Please tell your father that I, well, I apologise... for well, your, problem."

"That's okay Miss Cheerilee."

"Love is but a rose, doomed to bloom but once, for all ponies will eventually return to the urf."

"Thank you."

"Scootaloo, we have to."

"No way."

"Look, Cheerilee will recognise your scooter. No self-respecting adult pony would ride it."

"We can't."

"It's easy. We just take it, and bring it straight back."

"No way Apple Bloom."

As Scootaloo protested, Apple Bloom sneaked into the garage and jumped onto the beautiful, sleek machine.

"What does your dad call it?"

"He calls it... a moped."

"A moped. It even sounds sophisticated."

"My dad loves that thing. More than cupcakes."

"We've got to."

"Look, no. I'll get Rainbow Dash to carry us."

Apple Bloom started the moped.

"We could go on the train?"

Apple Bloom drove off.

"A balloon ride?"

"If Rarity is sick, then there will be a little less beauty in the world... and the world is worse for it. For a flower that cannot bloom is barely a flower at all."

"Um... thank you."

With a roar, the moped arrived, being ridden by a tall pony in an overcoat.

"This is my dad. Thank you, Cheerilee. You're a beautiful pony." Sweetie Belle said, trotting away.

"Well, yes, ahem, yes."

"Do you have a high five for the Cutie Mark Crusaders?" Apple Bloom giggled, swaying atop Scootaloo's shoulders.

Sweetie Belle high-fived Apple Bloom, then they jumped onto the moped and sped away, shedding the overcoat as soon as they'd turned the corner.

Cheerilee's eyes narrowed once again. "I just know this has something to do with Apple Bloom. And I will find out."

"Okay Apple Bloom. Now let's take the moped back." Scootaloo said, grabbing onto the back of Sweetie Belle tightly, while Apple Bloom drove.

"If you had access to a sleek vehicle such as this, would you take it back right away? Neither would I."

"Come on Apple Bloom..."

Apple Bloom simply revved the engine and sped away.

"We should go to Canterlot."

"No, no way. Too far."

"Not on the moped."

It didn't take long for the Cutie Mark Crusaders to be arriving in Canterlot, and approaching a vehicle park.

"No. What if it gets scratched?"

"It won't."

"Damaged. Looked at wrong."

"It won't. I'll give him two bits."

The stallion appeared, wiping his oily hooves on a rag.

"How can I help you lovely young fillies this fine day?"

"You could give extra special attention to this moped... if you see what I mean?" Apple Bloom said, pressing the bits into his hands.

"Of course. Please, step off the moped. It's safe with me."

"See Scootaloo? He said it'll be safe."

"Well, okay. I suppose. We'll see."

"Now, let's go find somewhere to crusade. We can educate ourselves while we're here."

Behind them, two stallions from the vehicle park leapt into the moped and sped away, throwing their hooves in the air as they did so.

At Sweet Apple Acres, there was a visitor. The rest of the Apple family were out tending the trees, so when Cheerilee knocked, there was no reply.

"Open up Apple Bloom. I know you're in there."

No reply.

"Come on Apple Bloom. It's Cheerilee. I just want a quick word."

Still nothing.

Cheerilee, her eyes narrow once again, made her way around the back of the house, looking for a way in. There didn't seem to be anything obvious – no windows, no doors unlocked. Cheerilee took a look through one of the windows, but only managed to fall into a muddy flowerbed and dirty her hooves.

"Come on Apple Bloom, I've got you this time..."

Canterlot Gallery of Fine Art was quiet, so for a change, the Cutie Mark Crusaders were quiet. They examined the artwork, staring at the priceless works in total silence, following the example of others who seemed to know what they were doing.

As they left, it was approaching lunchtime.

"Let's get something at that exclusive doughnut restaurant." Apple Bloom suggested.

Sweetie Belle laughed. "Yeah, right."

"You don't have a reservation." Scootaloo said.

"No problem."

"Hello... erm, ponies. How may I help you?" The maître d' said, looking down his nose at them.

"Ah yes, we're here, party of three, name of Platter."

"... you're Silver Platter?"

"Yes, indeed."

"Silver Platter? Carrot king of Canterlot?"

"That's me."

"I suggest you go back to the playpen."

"Excuse me?"

"Clearly you are joking. Now run along, otherwise I shall call the police."

"The police? Well, I'm going to call them. To complain about your rudeness."

"Hello? Silver Platter's office?"

"Yes, this is Privileged Doughnuts."

"Ah yes."

"Could you describe Silver Platter for me?"

"Well, she's got red hair... yellow coat... amazingly awesome..."

"Right this way, Silver Platter." The maître d' was blushing.

"Don't mind if I do."

"I feel sorry for Scootaloo. I really do." Apple Bloom said as she dried her hooves in the bathroom.

"She grew up in this deathly quiet house... no love there. She loves going fast, but only when she's allowed to. Only when people say she can."

Apple Bloom took a mint from the tray. "That explains the moped. Depriving Scootaloo of such a magnificent thing is terrible, but her father does it anyway. If you have the means, I suggest getting one yourself. They are so choice."

They left the restaurant, all full of the super-posh doughnuts they'd polished off.

As they did so, however, Sweetie Belle suddenly spotted a problem.

"Um, Apple Bloom?"

"Sweetie Belle?"

"Rarity's... right there."

"Of all the doughnut restaurants in the city, we had to pick the only one Rarity would go to."

"We're pinched for sure." Scootaloo said.

"No Scootaloo, only the meek get pinched. The bold survive." Apple Bloom said, trotting down the steps and heading for the taxi Rarity was stood beside.

"Oh of course darling, you need to look for some new designs. As they say, you need to set the trends, not follow them."

The Cutie Mark Crusaders dived into the taxi behind Rarity, the driver just about managing to pull away before Rarity noticed what was going on.

"That was close, Apple Bloom."

"Ah, the best is still to come, Sweetie Belle. Just wait and see."

The dog flap.

Cheerilee had just remembered. It was just about large enough for her to squeeze through, and they she could expose Apple Bloom once and for all.

On her tummy, she wriggled halfway in, then heard a strange noise... like a growling.

Looking up, she spotted Winona, standing on the other side of the kitchen and looking angry.

"That's okay Winona. Good dog..."

Winona charged, and Cheerilee ran away hastily.

In the taxi, Apple Bloom was pleased with herself.

"Hasn't this been an awesome day?"

Sweetie Belle nodded, but Scootaloo was unconvinced.

"Haven't seen anything good."

"What? What? Nothing, nothing good? What?"

"Yeah. Nothing good."

"We saw priceless works of art! We ate fifty bit doughnuts!"

"Whatever."

"Oh no, you did not say that. You did not."

The Cutie Mark Crusaders' teacher was currently, unbeknownst to them, standing outside Sweet Apple Acres, with teeth marks in her leg. She was muttering about Apple Bloom.

"Delivery!"

"What?"

"Delivery, for Apple Bloom. I hope she gets well soon, please tell her we're thinking of her at Rose Florists."

With that, the florist disappeared again, having handed Cheerilee a vase full of roses.

"Here, Winona."

Chapter Three

"Where's Apple Bloom?" Sweetie Belle asked, as they walked along the street.

"No idea... she could be anywhere. Probably went back to school, just to make me sweat." Scootaloo replied, a little irritated.

"No way... she'd never go back to school.

"Hi there young lady, could I speak to Miss Cheerilee?"

"No, Granny Smith, she's away on personal business."

"Personal business? I ain't never heard of that. What is it?"

"It's personal, and none of your business."

"Okay missy, you're going to take that tone."

"Shouldn't you be on the Apple stall right now?"

"Probably."

"Off you go then."

Granny Smith went off in a sulk.

"Now, this little song is for a filly who says she's seen nothing good today." Came a familiar voice over the loudspeaker.

"What in the hay?"

As Apple Bloom burst into song, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo ran towards her position on the parade float.

"Apple Bloom! You'll get caught!"

"Come on down from there!"

A security pony ushered them away and Apple Bloom's song continued, as she waved to the cheering crowd.

The song finished shortly afterwards, but far from stepping down, Apple Bloom simply burst into a much livelier rendition of the Pony Pokey, with the crowd quickly getting into the actions. Even the bewildered judges of the parade floats got into the swing of things, Pony Poking with the best of them.

"Hmm. What's going on down there?" Rarity said to herself, from the styling studio she found herself in, trying to organise a fashion display. Looking down at the street, she could hear the music and see the dancing, and she twisted a little herself, giggling as she did so.

Granny Smith arrived home in a bad mood, and ran straight into the house, not even noticing Cheerilee round the corner. She stomped straight up to Apple Bloom's room and kicked open the door, revealing an empty bed.

"I KNEW IT!"

Cheerilee took her opportunity to get into the house. Finding herself in the kitchen with no sign of Winona, plus sounds of movement upstairs, she'd hit the jackpot.

"Apple Bloom."

Granny Smith, now very angry, went back downstairs to the kitchen, hoping to get the phone and notify the school. But then she heard movement.

"Apple Bloom."

"Hah!"

"Hah!"

"Wait-"

"GET OUT OF MA HOUSE!"

Granny Smith unleashed a powerful kick, knocking Cheerilee straight to the ground. The elderly pony then ran back upstairs as fast as she could, shouting all the way, then grabbed the upstairs phone.

"Is that the police?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Please come quick, there's a strange mare in my house."

"Is that you, Granny Smith?"

"Yes, but I'm in danger! Come quickly!"

"Okay, we'll send someone over. Eventually."

"Why are you so stupid!"

"Give our best to Apple Bloom, by the way."

"You're caught."

"Yeah, you're not going to get away with it this time."

The Cutie Mark Crusaders walked back into the vehicle park, to find their moped waiting for them.

"Excellent service." Apple Bloom said, giving the attendant another bit as she stepped up to the handlebars.

"You're very welcome." He said, before walking away.

"Let's go back to your place, Scoot. Then we can take the moped back."

"Okay, sure. Let's do it. You know, Apple Bloom?"

"Yes?"

"This has been an awesome day."

"You're welcome."

Apple Bloom revved up the moped and they set off, speeding back towards Ponyville.

"Hey, Apple Bloom. I didn't notice this on the way here." Sweetie Belle said, pointing to a small mark on the fabric of the seat.

"Hmm. Wonder what it is."

Sweetie Belle investigated, and found that it actually led to a huge rip in the fabric, which small pieces of padding where falling out from.

"Um, Scoot? You might want to take a look."

"..."

Cheerilee came round and found herself on the floor.

Realising what was going on, she began hunting for some ice to put on her painful head.

"Whoever is in ma house, get out right now, I have called the police." Granny Smith shouted down the stairs.

Taking the hint, Cheerilee quickly stepped outside, and ran round the back of the house, trying to stay out of sight so that Granny Smith wouldn't be able to recognise her.

There was a knock at the door, so Granny Smith cautiously went to answer it.

"Hi, we're just here to say, we hope Apple Bloom is feeling better soon, would you like to give some money?"

"What?"

"We heard she's really sick and might need a transplant. So we're saving up."

Granny Smith slammed the door.

"You heartless-"

At Scootaloo's house, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle were playing in the pool.

"Come on Scoot. The water's lovely."

Frozen stiff, Scootaloo hadn't recovered from the shock.

"Just say something!"

Scootaloo just leant forwards and fell into the pool.

Instinctively, Apple Bloom leapt in after her, pulling her out of the water, despite the weight of her wings.

"Scoot! Answer me! Please!"

Scootaloo grinned.

"Oh... oh you... you..." Apple Bloom stuttered.

"Gotcha."

Applejack wasn't pleased to be pulled away from the stall just as she was about to make a sale. Not least because it was a police mare doing the pulling.

"I'm sorry officer. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again."

"That's okay. Phony calls can be very dangerous."

"I know. I'll make sure she doesn't."

Granny Smith was sulking on a seat in the police station. Fancy them, arresting her! For phoning them up about a real threat!

"You look pretty angry."

"What?"

"I said, you look angry."

Doing the talking was a brown-haired stallion with a strange-looking hourglass cutie mark.

"So? What's it to you?"

"Just thought I might be able to help."

"Well, you can't."

"Try me."

"Okay. I'm here because the police picked me up for a phony call. But I was only home to catch my granddaughter skipping school, and there really was an intruder."

"Why do you care so much about your granddaughter missing a day of school?"

"Because, she shouldn't be allowed to do whatever she wants!"

"I think your problem is not your granddaughter. I think it's you."

"Oh, right, yeah, that's definitely it."

"No really. But I think I might know a filly who can help."

"If you say Apple Bloom, I shave you."

"Oh, you know her?"

None of the Cutie Mark Crusaders could come up with a way of fixing the moped. It was obvious now that they weren't sat on the seat, and Scootaloo's father would see it instantly. Plus, most of the sponge had fallen out.

"I'm sorry Scootaloo. It's my fault. I'll get in trouble."

"No... I'll do it."

"No Scoot, you can't handle this much trouble. I had the cutie pox, I've been in trouble before."

"No Apple Bloom. I have to do this myself. My parents shouldn't be obsessed with objects like... mopeds. They should care for their family, like Applejack and Rarity do."

With that, she kicked the front of the moped, shattering a light.

"Okay Scootaloo, that's enough."

"No, I need to do this. This stupid moped..." She kicked it again, sending it rolling backwards a little. "I hate it!" It rolled back a little more. "HATE IT!" Further. "HAAAATE IT!"

The moped rolled back and broke the parking brake, instantly picking up speed and crashing through the window, before plummeting to its destruction.

"Scoot. You killed the moped."

"I know. I know."

"Granny Smith, come with me. Seriously, phony calls? At your age?" Applejack said, still annoyed that she'd lost a sale.

"Whatever. Leave me alone."

"You're coming back to Sweet Apple Acres with me, right now. Come on."

"Fine."

"Wait, what's your name? Your first name?" The mysterious stallion asked.

"Well... people call me Jean."

"Nice to meet you Jean. I'm the Doctor."

"Doctor? I ain't never heard of no Doctor."

"Come along Granny Smith!"

"I had a great day." Sweetie Belle said, as they walked away from Scootaloo's house.

"Yeah, me too."

"We probably shouldn't do it again, though. Missing too much school might send Cheerilee round the twist."

"True." Apple Bloom glanced at the clock, which said it was five minutes to six.

"Oh, my! I need to be back!" She set off at a gallop.

"Bye Apple Bloom!"

"Bye Scootaloo!"

Apple Bloom was racing as fast as she could, heading for the main road to Sweet Apple Acres, the winding track that led to the farm. As she arrived though, she could see Applejack and Granny Smith walking up it.

"Oh my..."

There was no choice. Apple Bloom had to run through the orchard to get back before they did. But Big Macintosh was making his way back through the orchard too. Apple Bloom could only go straight round the back and hope she could sneak in the back door before the others arrived.

She dashed over fallen logs, jumped round trees, avoided stepping on apples, all the time galloping for all she was worth. She could see the house approaching and she quickly got round the back, scrabbling for the spare key.

"Well well well. Apple Bloom."

"Miss Cheerilee...?"

"I've got you now. I knew you were skipping school. And now you're going to pay for it. Oh yes. Right down to the last bit."

Cheerilee smirked, just as the back door opened and Granny Smith appeared.

"Apple Bloom, thank goodness you're safe!"

Granny Smith winked at her granddaughter.

"Thank you, Cheerilee, for bringing her home from the hospital. I just don't know what we'd do without your help."

Apple Bloom, realising that Applejack must be nearly home, nipped past Granny Smith.

"Next time, Cheerilee... don't try and break into our house." Granny Smith said, sweetly, before slamming the door in her face.

Applejack and Big Macintosh were about to step into the front door, so Apple Bloom dashed past and ran up the stairs, jumping into bed as soon as she could. She could hear hoofsteps on the stairs, and she pulled the covers up to hide her still-drying tail just as Applejack stepped in.

"Aw, Apple Bloom, are you okay?"

"Yes, Applejack."

"Do you want some hot soup?"

"Okay then."

"I hope you're feeling better."
"Eeyup."

The door closed.

"Yep. Equestria can move pretty fast sometimes. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." With that, Apple Bloom assumed a triumphant smirk.

"Hey Cheerilee, need a ride?"

Twist had stopped, riding her scooter.

Sighing, Cheerilee stepped onto the scooter, feeling ridiculous.

"Want a candy cane? They're nice and warm, I kept them in my mane."

Cheerilee picked up the offered candy cane, and flung it into the nearest bush.