Yes it's over. I finished two stories and it's been one hell of a journey. Thank you to all those who followed and faved and reviewed. I wrote these stories out of a bout of anxiety writing grad school papers way back last year and have helped balance me in terms of my work and my fun in writing. My only real regret with either of these stories is that I didn't make them human. Sex would have been easier to write. Also, I'm writing a RWBY story, a new chapter every three weeks and would love if you checked it out as well. Done with that shameless plug and now I want to ask the audience, what pairing would you want me to write for next? I have no intentions of coming back to this universe, but writing a one-shot or maybe a 3 part piece is reasonable. Any suggestions, leave them in the reviews. Thank you and enjoy.

Chapter 15: Romancing The Talisman

"Are you sure I can't bring my eyelash curler?"

"If you tell me a secondary function that could be useful to survival I will gladly let you bring them."

"Umm...we can handle small light objects with a steady hoof." Rarity tried to pull out of the air.

Applejack lowered the hoof with the beautifying instrument with a disconcerting expression. "Sorry, kiddo, but that's a swing and a miss. The eyelash curlers get left behind. Especially with the unicorn who has magic that could thread a needle with ease. I'll let you bring your hairbrush though."

"Thanks, Love" Rarity happily replied. She packed it away in the pink saddle with with the diamond clasp. Rarity usually kept up with fashion, but the trusty saddlebag had been with her for such a long time that refurbishing it from time to time was worth it to keep the sentimental value.

It had been a week since Rarity came home to Ponyville. The train ride there she was able to catch up on some well deserved rest. She almost was left on the carriage if it wasn't for a conductor with pride for his job, checking to see if all the ponies that needed to depart, departed. After the slight embarrassment of being thought of as a vagabond, Rarity made her way to Sweet Apple Acres. Rarity felt the surge of success as she came to her mare with the answer to her problems. She wished she brought the texts from the library for explanation purposes, being with the farmer for so long built a level of trust that would be harder to break than a mysterious DNA duplicating magical artifact.

Applejack was initially deflated, feeling that she didn't contribute to such a discovery. Rarity understood, but no doubt her mare was about to carry her as they were going their way through a blazing hot desert, a dangerous temple and poor conditions for keeping her coat, and her sanity, pure. "Need me to run down the checklist before we head out?"

"Yeah. Read it off, Rare. I'll check yer bag too." Applejack said as she was orienting the mint green bag next to the unicorn's.

"Towels, our water bottles, sporks, knives, sleeping bags, compass, the tent, first aid kit, strawberry lip gloss, wash kit, my personal beautifying kit, the fire starter, lantern, flashlights, your lasso and last but not least, the weeks supply of Bulk Biceps Super Energy Bars..." the last items mentioned in slight disgust. "I do not remember theses tasting too great, but you're going to tell me they are the most efficient."

"I am, but I'll also agree with you. These taste terrible. You did forget two items though." Applejack said as she went over to the hat rack. Before Rarity could react, she pale yellow sunhat with a ripe blue bow was placed gently over her head "Yer hat."

Rarity felt the pleasant resonance from the farmer. Rarity picked up on it and dusted the stetson off before placing it atop Applejack's blonde mane. "And your hat. Glad we can still be this playful given the circumstances."

"It's takin' a lot to keep me together like this. A lot emotions runnin' through me, but we won't get anywhere if we give in to the negative ones." Applejack admitted.

"I know what you mean. I apologize in advance for whatever I may scream out of the heat of the moment, but you know how I get at times. I want to explode out of happiness because we may have the answer. I want to run and hide because this won't be easy. I want to also not venture out, in case we get disappointed."

Applejack placed her arms around the unicorn, lime eyes calm, validating the fears and also tranquilizing them. "You just keep yer wits about you. Defiantly what separates you from me is yer quick thinkin'. Yer strength is my weakness. I have a feelin' that we're going to need more then just my raw strength to deal with what's ahead. I can't do this without you. Nor would I want to. It might be too much to ask fer, but you gotta trust me when I say everythin' is goin' to be alright."

Rarity smiled and brought in her pony for a hug. Nodding slowly in her farmer's chest, analyzing the quickened heartbeat, now relaxing by the pony's will. "I don't really have a choice. I'll try to not get on your nerves during this endeavor. I never have fared heat well."

"That's appreciated." They released and Applejack moved over to the window. Outside were Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. The kind pony was drying off the cows as Rainbow Dash was riding around on a cloud, slowly showering the bovine. In the distance, Rarity could hear the hyper-charged energy of the party pony, no doubt talking Twilight's ear off as she was following Applejack's instructions in the most economic way possible. "I know I shouldn't even be surprised when our friends pounced at the chance to help, but it's far too kind, even fer my likin'."

"I feel the same sentiments. Least I was able to close up shop until further notice. The luxury of my line of work. Also, I'm creating demand by being less available. It is rather beautiful though. Our friends believe in our relationship to the degree that they would take over the farm's tasks for a week. Almost begging to help us, just to give us time to pursue this opportunity." Rarity grazed at the orchard with her eyes. The sun already high in the air, too warm already for the mid morning. The unicorn not anticipating noon in the middle of the desert. As she was getting lost in the splendor, Fluttershy caught her gaze and was waving from her post. Rainbow Dash joining next to her. The couple waved back.

"Use the spare time out exploring thinkin' of a way we can thank them all in proper." Applejack whispered as she was gesturing the pegasi.

"Well, I know a way I could thank Fluttershy. Turns out that pony has the biggest crush on a special somepony." Rarity tipped off in the same tone.

The two returned to the bedroom. "Anypony I know?" Applejack asked.

"You do some pony watching while I organize the books. Pay particular attention to pegasi interactions." Rarity slyly said, giving a wink as she took to the saddlebag. She took to the journals that Twilight has highlighted, tabbed the correct pages and even wrote small notes of what each key word means. Rarity read the book back a forth and was confident her memory would serve her well, she would kick herself in the flank if she couldn't remember the the temple was seven hundred and forty paces west of a cactus shaped like a fork.

"I do hope that cactus is still there or else we'll have to look for the mountain shaped liked a horseshoe or the one small oasis that wouldn't trick our eyes as light rays bend to produce a hundred of them. The cactus is the closest. The less mirages we see, the less we can get distracted."

"It's Rainbow Dash." Applejack's answer came out of nowhere, almost excited she was able to figure out Rarity's enigma. "Come over here, Rare."

The unicorn, now taken out of her thoughts, walked over to the farmer. "I can neither conform nor deny you're right, but show me your evidence."

"Right there. Look at how Fluttershy hides behind her mane as Rainbow Dash is trying to get a better look at her face. Fluttershy acts exactly like you before you confessed. I barely would touch you and yer face would light up." Applejack said jesting at the unicorn's initial bashfulness.

"You try and hide a blush when somepony you like is doting on you like that. You are always the charmer. I still am astonished how easily you're able to play the strings of my heart." Rarity gave credit where credit is do and Applejack certainly earned it every time she complimented, made love and cared for the unicorn. Rarity noted the clock and they were slightly behind schedule. "We best head off now. We can reminisce about the past once we've secured our future."

Rarity and Applejack picked up their saddlebags and headed towards the train station. Already said their goodbyes and gratuities towards their friends, they left for Appleloosa It may not have been the best town to stop in first, as Las Pegasus is a mountain pass over to the San Palomino Desert. However, Big Mac turned in a few favors for a chauffeur to taxi the ponies to the river. From the river, a one-way raft saved the ponies precious daylight. As the base of the dry mountain region was the barren wasteland of the sandy flat lands.

The sun was beating down on the earth. Rarity felt the soft parts of her hoof cry in pain as she took a new step onto the burning floor. Applejack's calloused hooves were paying off as she didn't even feel the heat. The unicorn dare not complain though. At least not this early into the journey. Not when there is not a shadow of a doubt it will come out later.

Looking for the three most ambiguous things in the sprawling landscape wasn't easy. Rarity wishing she had wings to get around quicker or at least give a vantage point to see where to go. Or where not to go. Applejack had been cataloging their travels on her map and compass. Heading to the middle of the desert was the goal of the first day and by nightfall had succeeded. Rarity couldn't believe how low the temperatures dipped down as the sun set. As much as she was profusely sweating with her mare during the day, she couldn't get closer to the sticky Applejack at night. The farmer couldn't agree more as the two spooned each other for warmth instead of love.

"I know it's cold, darling, but you're going to leave marks on me in the morning if you don't loosen your grip."

"Sorry. Is this better?" Applejack asked as she went from a vice like grip to to allow blood to flow to Rarity's lower half.

"Yes. Very Much. It's freezing." Rarity got out, teeth chattering and a small shiver running through her body.

Applejack tightly wrapped the unicorn more as she uttered the statement. "Surprised I didn't hear more opinions earlier today along the lines of it's too hot to carry on."

"I'm just trying to keep it all in like you. I know during the heat no pony wants to hear the negative aspects as they are feeling them. I'm trying to stay strong."

"And I feel yer doing it wrong."

"How so?"

"I've seen you bottle yer feelings up. I remember a certain unicorn threatening me with a knife in my own home because I wouldn't kiss her at the rodeo." Applejack snappily said. Rarity blushed furiously. Definitely not one of her finest hours. "I've been with you fer five years and have known you even longer. You complain, Rarity. I may not like it, but I've accepted it. Also I can't think of a worse time to blow yer knife out than now. Let it out. I can take it."

Rarity was charmed by honesty. She always was. The unicorn had been holding it in all day. Releasing some steam from the kettle wasn't the worst thing she could do. "I hate the fact that you're sticky. If I were to pull away now, I would pull your coat with me. I never wanted a shower so bad in my life. It's only going to get worse as we trek this terrain. Why couldn't the talisman have been in the mountains? Or better yet, just lying in some vault under Canterlot."

Applejack smiled and pressed her sweat ridden face up against her mare's and gave a sloppy kiss, Rarity let out a disgruntled moan at the pony stroking her neuroses. "I promise that in a couple days we'll check the base of the mountain. There we can shower up proper. Tomorrow though, we head towards Las Pegasus. Check that quadrant first, even though I doubt a temple would be that close to a big city."

"Even though we're wandering around aimlessly through the desert, at least we have a plan." With that sentiment, Rarity drifted off to sleep.

The next day, the couple took to searching early as to avoid the stressful heat. Their egarness to start backfired as the morning sun was mercilessly scorching the earth. Rarity figured it could only get worse before it gets better. She didn't know about the latter, but it certainly was getting worse. The heat was boiling her blood to a boil. She took Applejack's advice and complained throughout the trip to find nothing, but each complaint uttered only making herself angrier with the situation. The sun feeling hotter, the sand more unbearable, the food bars tasting worse and the water less satisfying to her thirst. Rarity could tell the heat was getting to her as small mirages were popping up around her. The most ridiculous being a dining table with cool lemonade pitcher in the middle. Applejack wasn't fairing much better than her counterpart. As Applejack had a more survivalist mentality, Rarity found the pony often rationing more resources than she is supposed to. If it wasn't for the unicorn constantly keeping tabs on the farmer's intake, she was sure that Applejack would have fallen over.

As the night came and the day proved unsuccessful, the two set up camp again. The playful banter of the first night evaporated, leaving behind two disgruntled mares who were considering packing up and trying again. As Rarity looked into her partner's eyes, she saw the grueling temperatures, dry air and physical strain depleting her glorious green gems from their usual brilliant clarity. Applejack didn't mention, but the unicorn wasn't at her standard of beauty either so much so that she wouldn't let her take a peek at herself in the pocket mirror. With outlook falling to a new low, the couple had a hard time falling asleep, now with so much failure staring them in the face.

Rarity had at least one thing to look forward to the following day, and that was a proper bath in the river. Her mind was tricking her, every step she took was worse than the last as the idea of the cooling water was stretching across the desert. Small ponds of water, a luscious patch of grass and a single palm tree were popping up on the landscape as the heat was driving her crazy. "I don't think I can do this anymore. I love Applejack. More than anypony or myself can fathom, but we have at least another nine months to try again. I know I was going into this mission optimistic. The desert is large, but not impossible to cover the entire terrain. Well, maybe for a couple of ponies with their hearts so high. I swear though if I see another ice cream stand I will scream. You can't fool me mirage. I know your tricks. I would be absolutely mullered if one of those stands were real. I could go for..."

"Water! Rarity! I see the water!" Applejack shook the unicorn out of her thoughts and as she focuses her vision, unless she was having the same sight as her partner, there was indeed the water they so desperately craved. Rarity's sluggish pace was reinvigorated. With energy from the adrenaline pumping through her from excitement, the two ponies ran towards the river. Rarity was already untying her saddlebag before stumbling face first into the water. Applejack followed with a large splash. The many trips to the spa didn't compare to the relief her body was getting from the cool liquid now. Muscles relaxing to the chilly touch, body floating atop the gentle surface, hair splaying in the water. She closed her eyes. The dreary blue of the hot day was only reminding her of the heat that lies just beyond the shore.

A surprise hit her as she felt hooves wrap around her head and pull her in to the toned stomach of the orange mare. Water waist high, Applejack was on her hind legs, upside down from the unicorn's perspective. The water having a magical effect on her mare as well. A wide smile smile was shining down on Rarity. It was as endearing as it was infectious, the unicorn beamed back, magically pulling on the wet ponytail, bringing the farmer closer. Applejack obeyed and clumsily overlapped her lips with Rarity's. The peaceful moment turning blissful as love overtook their senses. Rarity didn't realize how much she yearned for the touch as unconsciously she licked her lover's lips, begging for entrance. Applejack eagerly obliged and pulled the unicorn into her moist cavern. Tongues lightly brushing against each other, the river water diluting the taste of her lover.

Rarity pulled away, both with shortened labored breathing, a slight flush on the white mare's face. Applejack placed her head on Rarity's, drinking in the moment. Bringing them back from the brink of despair with their journey so far being nothing but a down slide of disappointment. "I wish this was the end, Rare, but let's get cleaned up. Can't stay here fer too long."

The unicorn didn't want to admit Applejack was right, but she knew she couldn't spend all day in here. "Fine. Let's get started before I start to prune. Pass me my beauty care kit." As Applejack was being her chivalrous self, Rarity noticed her sunhat was lazily drifting in the water. Rarity picked it up and placed in on a rock that no doubt she could cook eggs on the surface for drying. The two got to work. Applejack massaging Rarity's head with the lavender shampoo that the farmer had grown fond of over time. Rarity, although completely getting lost in the tactile touches of her lover, had a loofah getting the hard to reach spot for the earth pony.

While enjoying the pleasant silence, Rarity couldn't help, but break it. "Applejack." The farmer hummed to acknowledge her attention. "What were you going to name your little bundle of joy?"

Applejack stopped a moment at the suddenness of the intimate question. "I really, I guess I really never thought about it. All this foal makin' talk and a name never dawned on me. I know it sounds selfish, but mind if I get to name this one?"

"You can give me a list of names and we'll come to one we both like. I love you, darling, but if I am not a fan of some of your relatives names like Baked Apples or the dreaded Apple Tart. Apple Brioche is quite lovely though." Rarity standing her ground democratically.

"You would like the froo-froo name. Apple Brioche is one of the more dignified of us. No, I was thinkin' perhaps maybe I name them after me Ma and Pa. Think it would be...appropriate." Applejack said lowering her voice. Five years together and Rarity wishes she knew more about her love's parents, but unfortunately she knew as much as Applejack. She empathized with her girlfriend and couldn't find a point to counter Applejack's heartfelt answer.

"You checkmated me there." Defeated tone overlapping her understanding thought.

"Don't feel so down about it. This is our foal, Rare. If you come up with somethin' better, I'm willin' to listen. I know I may need it, but yer every bit on this adventure as I. Even more so if you are the one that ends up carryin' it." Applejack reassured. She dunked the mare into the water and took the brush to her mane to rid the scalp of dry flakes.

"There's another question that you answered. You sure you want me to carry our foal?" Rarity curiously asked.

"I want you to if you want to. I'm not goin' to push it on you when this situation came up out of the blue."

"It's not that I don't want to, but...I hate admitting this. My hopeless romantics even coming into my emotions, but I was always hoping I'd be married, then foals would come into the picture."

"If yer willin' to admit somthin' you hate, I'll do the same. I've been meanin' to ask you to marry me fer a year, but Granny Smith sort of put a delay on those plans." Applejack confessed. Rarity's heart jumped, spinning around to face her mare, face filled with glee.

"Are you...Oh my gosh, you are serious. Applejack..' she giddily let out a girlish squeal at the utterance of her girlfriends name, cupping the orange hooves with such veracity that it was making the brawny mare wince. "I would have said yes in a heartbeat."

"I know you would have. It makes me regret not pullin' the trigger sooner, but there wasn't a rush to get hitched. No need to complicate the relationship with a wedding to plan."

"More like give me a chance to plan my own wedding. I've been dreaming of that day Applejack. The day me and my special somepony walk down the alter and profess our love for one another in front of everypony. You make me a promise. When we get back, you propose. Ring or no ring." Rarity exclaimed. Almost hoping that the farmer would pull a ring out of thin air and propose on the spot.

"There will be a ring. You'd be sore if it didn't give the perfect proposal. I've been plannin' it in my mind. I'm sure you'll be impressed." Applejack leaned into the mare, adjusting to the energy of the unicorn.

"I'm sure to be dazzled. You've always surprised me with the thoughtfulness of your ideas." Rarity gave the mare a generous kiss of gratitude. Applejack pulled away, playing with the long naturally straight hair that Rarity had to manage. She couldn't contain herself and pushed her pony into the water, rolling around in the revery. Even though it was a promise, Rarity still was walking on air with the promise of proposal.

As the pony was drying herself off and re-beautifying her mane, Rarity noticed that her sunhat had gone missing. Upon investigation, she saw small prints into the sand and they seemed to travel far in the opposite direction of where they needed to. She knew the feeling of being kind of proposed to wouldn't last in the journey they still had left to complete, but she didn't anticipate it being immediately snatched away after the romantic act. Rarity was letting out a worried whimper as she was looking frantically for a miracle that her hat wasn't truly gone. The farmer saw her mare distressed, looking back and forth like a mad mare.

"Rare. What's the matter?"

"Umm...I don't want to alarm you or anything, but I am a hundred percent sure that my sunhat was taken by one of the desert animals." the unicorn admitted.

Applejack was initially shocked, but couldn't react to the absurdity of the situation. " Now I regret not lettin' you bring the umbrella."

"Applejack I can't go this trek another four days without a hat. My hair with get damaged, my eyes will start hurting from squinting and the delicate nerves on my face will be screaming in agony with so much sunlight. I'll..." The unicorn was silenced as the farmer stuffed the stetson on Rarity's head.

"Take mine then. My mane should do a lot of the work a hat does if I don't tie it out of my face." Applejack explained. Rarity lifted the hat up as the earth pony pushed it roughly down past her forehead.

"Applejack. No this is my fault. I can't burden you with the sun like this." Rarity mention, truly concerned for the farmer's lovely but foolish offering.

"It's no one's fault. I could have been the one with my hat and, to tell you the truth, I would be in pieces right now if that were to happen. I probably would be convincing you to go chase after the varmint." Applejack joked. Rarity still felt uneasy, although there was no tension there was the guilt of having Applejack have to tough out the elements.

"If it's alright with you then...It's just weird. I usually have to steal this away from you so I can wear it. Come to think of it, this might be the first time you offered it to me." Rarity sounded out as the epiphany hit her.

Applejack pondered it a moment, raising her hoof to her chin. "Well, I don't doubt you. You know how much it means to me. I only gave it to family because this is Pa's hat. I know that I haven't made it official, but with the makeshift proposal I just did, yer as good as family to me."

Rarity's spirit spurred at the statement. In the whole ordeal with Granny Smith's death she felt like an outcast by Applejack and the family. It was like a VIP section that was behind a velvet curtain that no pony was allowed to enter. "Yes. I don't want to cry right now because I just reapplied my makeup and I am afraid of losing any water in my body, but that is one of the more meaningful things Applejack said to me in such a long time. I am part of the family now. I finally have fully integrated myself into Applejack's world."

Rarity kept her composure. She was sure to express herself in a more intimate matter when the journey was all said and done. Till then, they still had tow more quadrants to check before calling it quits. The two set off into the wilderness. Rarity was sure to have snapped in some way if it wasn't for the refreshing dip in the river to recharge her mood as the third day proved as successful as the other two.

It was the middle of the heat on day four. Rarity had already slumped below average in mood. The hotness simmering on the sand. The heat waves producing misconceptions ranging from a popsicle stand to the extreme luxuries of the cyrotherapy of Canterlot. Rarity still stayed vigilant, sweeping the landscape every so often to find the one cactus shaped like an eating utensil or the cockamamie horseshoe rock. Rarity was getting tired of the occasional reality striking her as well. Cactus were few and far between, so when one would reach their field of vision, the couple would have to march over and discredit it. Finally, after thousands of steps, ninety hours, and twenty-four cacti, Rarity and Applejack found the cactus shaped like a fork. The unicorn collapsed at the trumk of the large plant, pre-expelling the efforts as Applejack reminded her that they were only half way there.

Rarity didn't want to be reminded as she knew now it was seven hundred and forty paces west, with a labyrinth of a maze-like temple and three trapped rooms. The two trekked the correct amount of steps and what they found was a small shed, made out of sandstone that was almost covered up by the environment.

"Certainly am glad that I was able to get directions. Even with my keen eyes I'm sure I would have missed this." Rarity pointed out.

"Yea. Surely looks unimpressive from the outside. Unless this is my sister's apartment, I doubt there is three rooms crammed in there." Applejack said, examining the exterior.

Rarity peered into the darkness with in. other than the light pouring in the the outside, it was incredibly dark. No stairwell was to be seen either. It was just this room. Rarity pulled out Applejack's headlamp and placed it securely on her head. "No reason to dilly dally now. Do you mind if you take the lead?"

Applejack looked inside and seemed to get the same chilling factor as her lover. "I think we can cooperatively lead on this one. Last thin' I want is fer us to get separated. Applejack wrapped her tail around the coiled purple tail of the unicorn. "Come on. Let's be on guard."

As soon as the ponies met the center of the small room, the ground below them started to shift downward. The unicorn's impulse to leap back to the door quelled when she saw Applejack not moving. Rarity was able to deduce that whatever they were on was like a scale, their body weight lowering the stone panel slowly kicking up dust, from who knows how long, that had settled alongside the walls and cracks.

The slab hit the bottom of the floor with a soft thud, the couple departing from the small confinement to a far more grander scale of operations. Applejack and Rarity both were shining their lights in different directions to get their bearings. The dark loom walls did at some point inhabit somepony as torches were lines up against the walls, the old and burnt out sticks were a good place to start and how to not get lost as Applejack pointed out. Passing along the room, hugging the wall of torches, Rarity was admiring the architecture. Clearly somepony with both taste and expertise created such a lovely stone mansion to themselves, even if the tapestry was decrepit and the lack of life seemed to leave the manor with an almost haunting feeling. "I was fooled once by 'ghosts' and I won't let it happen again. Still, with my wits about me this is still eerie." she thought as she was gripping Applejack's tail harder.

"Scared, Sugarcube?" the farmer immediately picking up on the tightened tension.

"A little bit. If anything I'm scared we're trapped, but so long as I'm able to use my magic anything is a possibility. Are we just winging it or should I be trying my best to map where we are going?"

"Naw. I'm just goin' to follow the torches, If it gets any more complicated than that, I'll have you be makin' a map. Finally a door." Applejack noticed the stone paneling that seemed to be working on a rolling track, a simple slide was all that was needed to let the ponies in. As the two stepped forward, Rarity felt a tile dip underneath her hoof, slamming the entrance, and exit, behind them. Rarity felt a chill run up her spine.

"I'm a little bit more afraid now."

"Yea. I wasn't too scared before that." Applejack said, testing the force of their entry, the heavy strains of her grunting sealing the notion to the unicorn that there was no turning back. With no place left to turn but forward, Rarity survived the situation. A couple of torches were adorned on the wall where Rarity flagged the lantern to give a decent light to the room, each held by a leg of a pony that she was hoping not severed. She felt like she was in an armory with all the lances and swords that sat between the the torches. The most peculiar part of the room were suits of armor, stood on ceramics purple granite bases, blackened to a smokey detail, the holes where the eyes should be even darker with the hint of light shining from Rarity's magic, an unsettling thought that drove the pony to look for a clue as to how to get out. She turned ahead and examined the wall. A sign above the wall stood above what could be their exit.

"No more the knight, in shining armor dressed. Opposes to the proper place his rest." Rarity read aloud, puzzled by each word as she read along.

Applejack moseyed up behind the unicorn. "Don't suppose you have any idea what this means?"

"Not even a little bit. The only phrase I recognize is 'knight in shining armor'. The hopeless romantic in me waiting for the stallion of my dreams to sweep me off my hooves and carry me away to a perfect life. Unfortunately, none of that experience is going to help me here." Rarity answered, placing her hoof under her chin to properly think.

The two rattled their brains, staring at the four suits of armor, wondering what they could possibly mean to getting out of the room. Rarity's attention to detail only noticing the small detail that made each one unique is that all four were made for different breeds of pony; earth pony, unicorn, pegasus and alicorn. The white mare was getting frustrated and collapsed on her girlfriend. "I give up. I think it's easier to try and pry open the door and come back when we are better prepared."

"We have time, Rare. We got plenty of food and water before we have to worry." Applejack said, trying to sooth the ponies worries as she examined the earth pony suit or armor. "Sure was a big earth pony that could fill this. Big Mac might be able to." Applejack reached out and lost balance as Rarity shifted her weight and hit the suit. It didn't break or falter, as if the armor did have somepony residing in it to be so sturdy. The base moved to the back of the wall and the unicorn suit followed shortly after.

A light bulb flashed in Rarity's mind. "That's the answer. We push these suits of armor back in." A small jubilation between the ponies occurred before they got to the alicorn armor. As they successfully pushed that in, the earth pony suit back back out to it's original spot, deflating the couple's mood as they shortly realized this was only the first room of three, and it would only get harder.

Rarity took a step backward to analyze the situation. Since they initially messed up the puzzle with their excitement, the unicorn has been trying to analyze the pattern. She did feel sorry she couldn't help Applejack, the pony pushing back the heavy suits of armor just to get trail by error data enough so that the unicorn could figure it out. Heavily panting for air, Applejack turned to her lover, body fatigued as it showed in the glow glow in her eyes.

"Please tell me yer close to sovlin' this. My shoulder is gettin' sore from pushin' these things in over and over again"

Rarity could see her farmer's plight. She took a very calculated measure, making sure the next step would be their last. With three suits of armor left, Rarity was able to see the end to the puzzle. She just had to wok in reverse. "Applejack, move the unicorn one."

"But that one pushes out the alicorn, doesn't it?"

"Yes, but trust me. Then move the Earth Pony." Rarity ordered. The tired farmer, complying in hopes that her girlfriend was right. The unicorn's process was correct as she saw only two pony suites out. With the earth pony left, Applejack pushed it in and took the alicorn one with it. The two heard a series of locking mechanisms activating behind the walls. A small slab of stone was slow descending as the two made it to the next room. "I'm not going to lie on this one. I was about fifty percent confident that was the solution. It's hard to concentrate when you can barely see."

Applejack placed her hand over her face, massaging the bridge from the exhaustion. "Well, can't get mad and you fer givin' an honest effort." the farmer grabbed the lantern and the too headed forward. As soon as they crossed the threshold into the next room, Rarity's horn went out, the sudden loss of light startling the pony. She concentrated again, trying to make the common magic work again, but only small light blue sparks came out from the tip.

"Uhh, Applejack. I think there's a spell covering this room. My magic won't work." The farmer turned around, giving the lantern to the white mare.

"Oh good, now the temple is makin' it that much harder to reach the end. You gonna be alright without yer magic."

"I suppose, but I'm now starting to get nervous. If there's magic looming around, then that means in the next room we could be speaking different languages or involuntary use of our legs."

Applejack placed a leg on her unicorn. "You're doin' great. You didn't even complain in the last room."

"That's because you were doing all the heavy lifting and I was focusing too hard at the task at hoof. Thanks for taking the brunt of that. I don't know if I could solve it as fast as I could if I didn't see the whole picture." Rarity admitted, smiling strong in the lantern's faint light.

"We gotta cooperate, Rare. It's the only way we're gonna get through this. If that means I gotta suffer a bit to have you utilize yer advantage to its' fullest, I'll oblige."

Rarity examined the room, headlamp revealing the next puzzle bit by bit. Rarity deduced it was either a trophy room or a place where a hoarder kept all their fine collectables as the walls and part of the floor were decorated with machshia There were holes in the ground, pressured plated inside that she couldn't weigh down. One hole was shaped like a square and the other a circle. Sympathy for her girlfriend rose when she noticed a cube the size of Big Mac sitting in the corner of the room. Rarity pointed it out, feeling a pit in her stomach grow as she heard her mare grunt and groan making little progress with each push towards her goal. Rarity wanted to help her, but Applejack insisted she find the other piece to complete this puzzle.

The unicorn was getting befuddled from the lack of a circular object in the room. Granted her limited field of vision was from he head, but she was sure to stumble upon the boulder by now. She sat in her small defeat, mood souring from hearing Applejack struggle and her ineptitude. She lay on her back, head becoming to heavy to bear. She was gazing at the ceiling, almost to high for her to fathom as the light was gracing the surface. All this trouble in this temple was making Rarity not want such a grandeur house in the future. Something modern and with a tad of country small town charm for Applejack.

A glimmer caught the unicorn's attention. Rarity stood up and saw the boulder that needed to be used, precariously hanging from an iron chain. With no way of getting to it she figured it was a puzzle within a puzzle. She followed the chain and came to a stop against a corner, hidden, but clearly marked for a square-like key to unhook the ball. She looked over to her girlfriend, heartbroken to see her mare exhausting all her energy for nothing.

"Applejack. Wait. Stop." she quickly got out.

"Hold yer words, Rare. Almost" Applejack setting the cube into place. "Done." Heavy breathing from the earth pony, wiping the sweat from her face. Rarity walked over to her girlfriend, still figuring out how to tell Applejack of her mistake. "What was so urgent there?"

"Applejack, I found the other part." She motioned the light to the ball, her girlfriend struggling with a smile.

"Then why the downtrodden look, Sugarcube?"

"You're not going to like this, but I think I made a mistake." Rarity shined her headlamp towards the other marker, the mood in Applejack's face deflating. Before the farmer could maker her response, Rarity had moved to the back f the cube, pushing it with all the muscle she could muster, making even less progress than Applejack's charges. The unicorn was fully prepared to right her wrong, her punishment for not being so thorough with her search. As she was pressing along, she felt the stone move a little bit quicker as Applejack came beside her. "Applejack, rest. You've got be spent from moving this infernal thing."

"I am, but sittin' around watchin' you seemed wrong. Beside your mistakes are our mistakes now. Think it's been long enough fer that to be true." Rarity which she could feel the love in her heart if her shoulder wasn't numb from digging into the hardest possible stone in Equestria. The couple moved the stone into place, even Rarity felt like ending it all there from how heavy it was. She heard the chambers and mechanisms unlock as the cube was set into place.

The chain snapped and the boulder came crashing down with a thunderous blow, cracking the tiled ground into pieces, the tremors rocking the precious items on shelves. Their first instinct was to duck and cover, but the unicorn's sixth sense sensed something was falling. A large vase was plunging towards her, her first reflex to use magic to levitate the danger away. A few sparks flew out and she realized the outcome. She covered herself, anticipating the impact until she heard a yelp.

"Aaahhh!" came a scream to her ear. When the clashing of metals and porcelain stopped she pepper her eyes open, a couple drips of blood dribbling down her from Applejack's foreleg.

"Applejack. Applejack what did you do?"

" I saw the blasted thin' comin' down and sprang into action. I almost regret it. I am goin' to feel that in the mornin'." the strong keeping as strong a face she could in front of her lover. Rarity had seen this facade too often to know how hurt Applejack must be. She crawled out from underneath her and brought out the first aid kit before taking a look at the wound.

"Gimme your leg." Rarity requested, the farmer winching as she extended her leg. The unicorn was taking the gentlest of touches. Rarity often thought she become a doctor if the whole tailor business went under. With her years with Applejack, she was used to cleaning the occasional scrap and bruise that would come from the usual toils of hard labor, but this one seemed to be a bit out of her basic skill. There was a place piece of porcelain stuck in the foreleg, but other than that there was no bleeding. As she pulled out the fragment, she notices just beyond the tissue was a part of bone, the scene shocking her and triggering a few dry heaves.

"That bad?" Applejack worriedly asked.

"Little bit. I'm going to have to get more creative than just a bandage." The unicorn said as she scrambled through her pack for her scarf. She looped the striped pink and white accessory around Applejack, securing and fastening the new slightly colored sling around the broken appendage. She took a step back, the spotlight fixating on her farmer, Applejack cringing at the pain as she was getting used to the new position. "I can't believe you were right, the only way you would wear something this frilly would be in a life or death situation."

The farmer reflexively laughed, only to be impeded by the pain shooting from her leg. "First casualty half way through this. I was being too optimistic when I thought this would be easy if both of us worked together."

"It was and you were too careless. For Celestia's sake, Applejack, you could have really gotten hurt. Who knows what were to happen if that vase hit your head. Forget it. I was about to go on a rant, but telling you to not protect me would be like like telling Pinkie Pie to stop having fun."

Applejack forming a small smile. "Glad you've caught on to my heroics. Now come on. Those boulders, aren't going to move themselves."

"No, no no. You sit and keep warm near the lantern. As long as my intuition is correct all I have to do it put the rocks in place. You've done enough already." Rarity insisted, the farmer ready to rebel to the generosity before her pain reached her face. Applejack didn't want to sit and do nothing, but her body was denying her. The unicorn got to work, Back breaking and muscles straining to move the boulders to their respectful places. Rarity thought she knew hard labor, but she had a far new disparagement for this type of work. Spending a few days on the farm was less taxing.

After hearing the mechanisms unlock, the stone slab of a door was opened and the two were free from the puzzle room. The unicorn being a makeshift cane as Applejack leaned heavily into her as the two were getting slowed down by the injured mare. Rarity keeping her worries to herself. Now the mission was in her corner if Applejack was too contusioned to partake in whatever the temple had left as a final puzzle. The dark corridor they were taking had a slight slope, bringing the two deep to what must be a basement, the temperature of the room getting increasingly hot as they descended farther down.

The door to the next room was lit up bright from the cracks, almost as if there was a second sun behind it. There was no trick or mechanisms blocking it this time, as the two stepped it, the door not trapping them in the bright red room. Rarity felt her heart sink as the light source was liquid magma, boiling in a pit with little cylindrical stones floating at the surface, the steam lifting as the unicorn's spirit was faulting.

"If this wasn't for our future, this is where I would have a dramatic breakdown and go home, but can I please say one thing?" Rarity asked.

"Vent away, Sugarcube."

"You have got to be kidding me? How in Celestia are we supposed to get past this? Those stones are barely big enough for one pony to stand on let alone two and that's two able bodied ponies. How are we supposed to get you across this?" The unicorn letting the anger flow freely, the new roadblock seemingly impossible to pass. She let go of Applejack as she slumped to the floor, looking for a way past his lava pit. A peculiar sign hung from the ceiling, 'The cause of most of the discord in the world, as well as most of the cooperation?'

"That's all just a bunch of gibberish's a riddle." The unicorn pondered. She looked around, finding a way to solve it. She found small engravings on the stones and on closer inspection all she found was letters, the key to the puzzle being on the hottest possible substance. With only having a few of the letters, the steam covering a lot of what was beyond the first row. Rarity tested a theory as almost everything in this castle was weighted. She took a small step onto a stone, her heart beating into her through, both wanting and fearing her hypothesis was correct. With the slightest push, the stone started sinking to the lava, the liquid almost licking the unicorn's hoof and she back away, stumbling over her girlfriend's pack.

"You alright, Rare?"

"Ye-yeah. This is a riddle with only one shot at an answer. One small mistake and there we go. I don't know about you, but can we go into the other room, take a metal rest before we try and figure this out."

"Yea. I'm sort of out of adventuring for today." the farmer concurred, the two moving their camp to the next room. It was a silent breather, Rarity taking a poke into the other room to make sure she wasn't losing her mind and forgetting part of the puzzle. All she had to go on was the six letters of the first six stones, K, G, L, S, R, and C.

Rarity set up the beds, the two lying in the figuring out the puzzling words. The riddle rattling in her head, making the unicorn infuriated to be stumped by such a silly verse. Applejack was no Twilight, but she wasn't by any means dumb and was helping Rarity in anyway she could. They went to sleep, disgruntled and too warm from the boiling pit in the room. The unicorn shifting and turning in the night from the high temperature. The lack of proper sleep tolling on her mind, making the riddle even harder to figure out.

She stood at the doorway, mind spiraling and the letters of the sign were becoming a swirling mess. "I'm so close yet so far away. I don't know. Maybe this is the universe trying to tell me something. Me and Applejack aren't meant to have our happy ending. Maybe we're just supposed to take a different path, one that's less fulfilling, but at least we'll be together. Maybe that's the answer to the riddle. Give up."

Rarity took her position in front of the pit, the heat already cause her to squirm, but she didn't care. The answer was clearly in front of her. Just follow the path and let it happen. As she was reaching her hoof out for the G stone, She was lurched back with a sharp tug, Applejack's stetson coming right off her head and a very cross farmer on top of her. "What the hay was that?"

"What-what happened? That's really hurt, Applejack."

"Probably hurt a lot less than scorchin' yerself on lava. I was hollerin' at you and you weren't responding. Before I knew it, you were headin' towards the pit where it looked as if you were gonna sacrifice yerself." Applejack harshly explained.

Rarity's heart pounding, realizing her own delirium almost cost her her life. She stood up, grabbed the hat and was ringing it between her hooves. "Th-thanks, Love. I guess you can say the heat is getting to me. I'm at my last end...This is too hard for me to wrap my mind around let alone solve it. Maybe...maybe we should give up."

Applejack using her only good arm to bring the unicorn to look at her. "Please, Rarity...don't say that. I've seen you come up with an entire new line of clothing in a night because somepony stole yer design. I've seen you win over and become the leader of the Diamond Dogs. I've also seen you hide yer feelin's tryin' to overwork yerself desperately to get the affection of a mare that you didn't even knew liked you." Rarity giving into a smile, relishing in Applejack's praise. "Please center yerself and I know you can figure this out."

Applejack buttoned her speech with a reassuring kiss on the lips. Like an epiphany, the idea flashed in her head. Rarity immediately ran towards the lava, Applejack about to protest, until she saw the white mare with to hooves firmly planted on the letter L. The little spark of happiness bursting trough her, hooves firmly on the rather hot rock, but not sinking into the lava was the revelation she needed to carry on to their final mission.

Rarity scurried over to her girlfriend, grabbing her by the shoulder, not noticing the pain she was placing on the injured leg. "It's Love, Applejack. The answer is love!" she exclaimed, her voice ringing through the halls as her highest pitch was reached.

"It's love?" Applejack forced to question.

"Come over here I'll show you." the unicorn dragging Applejack to the edge. "Think about it. The only thing ponies fight about is love. Whether it's love of our principles, our family, our land. Anything falls underneath that, but it also is the only reason we cooperate, to gain the love we so richly desire. Think about me before I confessed to you. I was a wreck, pulling all these strings and ideas to make sure you would fall for me. And let's face it my neurotics cause a small amount of dissonance because I want to show my love for you daily. But look where we are now, cooperating to make sure we can protect our happy ending, the farm, us and a couple of foals. It's love that brought us here, Applejack and it's love that will carry us across this lava pit."

The farmer was wearing a confused look, but Rarity's beaming face of revelation. "If I weren't in love, I'd have to question how hopeless a romantic you really are, but if you really think you got this then I got to trust you, right?"

Rarity gave her girlfriend a quick hug. Everything falling into place and leaving the final obstacle. Applejack's injured leg will prove to be a problem that the unicorn was already on top of. To help balance her if she falters, the farmer's trusty lasso was tried around her neck, making the comment that this was the first time she was on the other end of it. With camp packed up, Rarity and Applejack were ready.

Rarity confidently jumped on the first step, the stone holding her body weight perfectly. She scanned through the steam to look for the letter that she knew that without a shadow of a doubt was there. The O stone was in her reach and now the hard part. "Alright, Applejack. On my mark. One...Two...Three."

The two leaped simultaneously, the unicorn landing flawlessly as Applejack stumbled and was able to catch herself, Rarity's heart skipping as she knew there was four more jumps for her girlfriend to make. The V stone was in her reach and with another countdown, the two made it safety to the next. Rarity could barely see the E stone through the steam, confused that it was farther apart from the rest by a meter. Readjusting her stance for a greater leap, she counted down and with another leap of faith made it to the E.

Rarity overestimated the lasso, tugging forward harshly as she was getting her balance down. She heard a scream of terror behind her, the unicorn's heart stopping as she saw she mare teetering backward. She called out her name, pulling forward on the rope to bring Applejack forwards, the tugging letting out a few of the provisions that were settled in their saddlebag. "Applejack, You alright?"

"Ye-yeah. Had the whole life flash before my eyes bit. It was awfully short..." the farmer answer, dazed by her own near death experience.

"Just two more. We got this." Rarity trying to instill confidence into her faltered mare.

Applejack nodded her acknowledgment of Rarity's comforting words. Rarity making sure she didn't overshoot such an easy target as now there was no danger for her, just the danger of hurting Applejack. With another gentle jump, Rarity made it, turning back quickly seeing Applejack lose her step and foreleg crashing hard to the E stone. "Ow...that smarted."

"I know it hurts, but one more jump and that's it we made it." Rarity called out, her body shaking to its' core watching her mare stagger upwards. With a final nod, the farmer took as hard of leap she could, falling into Rarity's open legs, the worn out body giving into the force of Applejack's weight. She couldn't have grasped harder onto her girlfriend, the small snippet of time where she could have lost her brought out her own needless worry as the two were catching their breathes.

"Can-can you let go now, Rare. As nice as it is you be huggin' you and solid ground, the adrenaline is wearin' off and my leg is poundin' like you wouldn't believe."

Rarity immediately let go, the orange mare taking to her hooves as she stood beside her. The two makin' a slow pace to their goal. Down another musty hallway, they could see a room that was lightly tinted with ornaments, lave lamps decorating the side for eternity as the treasure they had been seeking stood in the middle. On a stone circular pedestal stood the talisman. From Rarity's readings with Twilight, was almost described perfectly. The gold was slightly withered from the time it had been sitting there and the glass windows to the separate compartment cracked, but so long as it worked, Rarity could care less how it looked.

The two lifted it up, the object less fragile once in their grasp. A smile formed, part from delirium that they made it, but also from the satisfaction of succeeding. Rarity looked over to her girlfriend, green orbs already in tears triggering her to let her water works flow. The unicorn turned Applejack's face towards her, placing her lip passionately onto her, a small emotional moan of affection escaping her throat.

They released each other, Applejack looking at peace for the first time in months. "We did it, Rarity. We...we did it."

"Yeah...we sure did. The only damper of this plan is that we till have miles to trek back before we can even think about resting." Rarity said, the sentiment not bringing down Applejack's mood, only motivating her to the exit. A stone elevator like before was present in the room behind the table. The two walked in, rode up and was blinded by the sun light they hadn't seen in days, Applejack's stetson coming in handy at the most crucial of times, the unicorn trying her best to shield her mare from direct sunlight as the two were limping their way back home.

Rarity hadn't realized how much of the damper on plans would be the most impossible part of their quest. Both could barely support the other as they passed around the mountain and got to the river bed. With most of the supplies gone, the two were starting to lose hope as their return journey was proving too much for either of them. With the unicorn carrying most of the load, her energy was waning quicker, each step bringing her closer to the point of pure exhaustion. With the scenery fading white, Rarity collapsed unable to continue on.

Her eyelids fluttered open. The only thing seen was a deep red canopy with golden trills on the side. The periodic beeping of a machine close to her ear, the sound so familiar, leading her to fear where she could have woken up. The initial urge to jerk up being resisted by her own fatigue, leaving her to scan with her head. Her mind running at full speed as she recognized the d├ęcor of the Canterlot Castle. The vastness of the room for a single king sized bed being extravagant, but the softness of the fabric being the right size of fluff to her sore body.

"Rare- Rare yer up!" came the even more familiar call from Applejack to her side.

"How long have I been out?" the burning question as Rarity had pieced what had happened to her together. "All I remember is that bloody river."

"You blacked out fer a couple days. We both almost did. I was unable to carry you, leaving my only solution to keep you hydrated by the river, but all the water in Equestria wasn't gonna stop us from crashin'. I was about to drag us to a clearin', but a young merchant travelin' from town to town found us. He was on his way to Appleloosa and with the help of the local doctor we were able to ship us to Canterlot with an IV drip."

Applejack now embracing the unicorn, elation bursting out of her as she saw her mare wake up. The unicorn was still recovering, but weakly returned her lover's affection. "And the talisman?"

"Safe and secure, just like our future." Applejack reassured, the unicorn unable to decide whether to relax because the adventure is over or scream down the halls that she is going to be a mother. "You think yer ready for the ritual or should I leave you alone fer a few?"

"I am horribly sore and being asleep has ironically made me too tired, but let's grab some coffee before we see the Princess. Should give me the ample burst to my normal self for conception." she answered. The unicorn slipped out of bed and her plush sick robe to follow Applejack out down the corridors. The soft moonlight shining through the windows as the sun was setting. Rarity looked down to her lover's leg, now in a proper splint. The unicorn smiled big, physically seeing the torment both of them were put through hadn't changed the lovable farmer that was helping her when she was down. The unicorn moving her face closer to nuzzle Applejack's neck, the farmer craning to the motion as they kept in step. "Have to ask, did you at any point think that adventure would be the end of us?"

"Yea. When I realized that it was the bottles of water and a few energy bars that fell into the lava, I felt the looming reach of death close by. The only thing keepin' me goin' is that I saw you tryin' so hard fer my sake."

"For our sake. There is no my anymore. We're about to create a family, Applejack and even if that weren't the case, I couldn't imagine going through this life without you. We spend so much time together that getting glued to the hip wouldn't make much a difference. It's still sort of unreal, to think though. Just a few days ago could have cost us our lives, humorously to create one."

"Any regrets?"

"None, other than the fact that I'll essentially be going to have a compulsory marriage since you're proposing after I get pregnant." The two got the station, Rarity using her magic to pour her some brew. The warm liquid exactly want she need as the heat was spreading throughout her body. As she turned around, she saw Applejack on her knees, barely able to prop herself up as she held a little box box in her hoof, the unicorn's heart jumping to her throat.

With her other foreleg broken, she used her nose to pry open the box, revealing the most precious and well cut diamond fix around a glorious golden band. "Rarity, will you marry me?"

The question breaking the magical concentration of the unicorn, the cog mug clattering to the ground, breaking and pouring the liquid across the tile. Rarity couldn't hold it back, she jumped into the farmer, embracing her and peppering in the phrase "Yes, Applejack. A thousand times yes!" as she pecking her new fiance to death.

"Rare...settle down. My leg still hurts...along with a whole lot of me." Rarity did as instructed and withheld her endearing act of passion. Blue eyes gazing into the emerald, peerless orbs, the rest of the unicorn's approval of Applejack's eternal affirmation of love been conveyed non-verbally.

"Not that I'm complaining, but why pop the question now?"

"You were makin' such a big deal of gettin' married before we had the foal, that I decided now was my only chance to make that possible. I know it isn't technically a wedding, but I hope this counts."

"It does in my book, Love. Now we're getting married because we want to, not because we have to." Rarity explained, her attention being taken away from her love to her other passion. Rarity's eye for gems noticing the exquisite cutting of the centerpiece, clearly done by a professional with an eye as keen as hers. "This must have cost you a fortune. I'm grateful, but I wasn't going to be picky about the quality of the ring."

"It cost more than some of the equipment on the farm. Definitely bled dry some of what's left of Granny Smith's life insurance, but I know you, Rare. Couldn't be so sloppy about somethin' you've been dreamin' about since you were a little foal. Which is why when you were out, I was talkin' to Princess Celestia about plannin' a wedding."

"Somepony was incredibly busy when I was asleep, but does this mean...?"

"Rarity, if you so wanted, we could have the wedding you deserve in a few weeks time. Yer belly wouldn't even show the foal and we'd look like we did it on the honeymoon like a regular couple."

"Apple...Applejack, you're simply are divine, but you're about to make me cry. Making me get all emotional before I'm about to get extremely emotional with the pregnancy." Rarity barely got out, the strain in her throat from the brink of tear sof happiness getting out a joke to soften the romantic tension. The unicorn desperately wanting to make love to Applejack on the dirtied tile floor if the circumstances were better. Instead, she knew neither of them were up for any sort of play of that nature and picked her mare off the ground, dusting her off and adjusting her stetson to the perfect setting. "Think this is a good idea though? Can you handle a pregnant bride trying to plan her wedding?"

"A pregnant bride? Probably. A pregnant you? I wouldn't put it past you to give me a few white hairs before it's all said and done. However, in light of recent near death adventures, I think I'll manage." Applejack answered, buttoning her response with a cheeky smile that Rarity had to silence with a kiss. Enjoying their new splendor for a moment, knowing their future awaited them in Celestia's chambers could wait a few more minutes as they relished in their engagement.

The two eventually knew their future awaited them, finding Celestia's room and seeing the white alicorn sitting at her desk, her face stuffed behind a book peeped out to greet the couple. "Good to see you awake, Rarity. I thought I would have been consoling Applejack a little longer."

"I try not to keep a lady awaiting." Rarity replied. "So, I guess...I guess we're here."

Celestia smiled at the happiness Rarity was suppressing, noticing the unicorn grip tightly to Applejack. "Since you're here, might as well not take any longer. We got your results form the hospital, Rarity. I know it was wrong to not ask permission, but we made sure to cover our bases when you came to us in your condition. You are a fine specimen of unicorn, certainly healthy enough to carry a foal." she heavily hinted.

"Then I see no reason why to wait. If yer ready, Princess, we can begin the ritual." Applejack proceeded.

"Well, after tinkering with it, I am sure I have the process down. I need a DNA sample from the both of you." Celestia, requested. Applejack ready to spit in the Princess' hoof, until she remembered hair would suffice. Rarity helped pluck a strand from the both of them and gave the strands to Celestia. The alicorn placed either stand into the talisman's separate compartments. "Applejack, please take a step back."

The farmer did as told, leaving Rarity to be in the moonlight as the Princes was radiating a glow from her horn. Using a lot of concentration, she penetrated the talisman and the gears inside it were twisting and turning at an astonish pace, the unicorn afraid it would explode. After a while of whizzing and whirling, a timer when off with a tiny ding and a small, almost microscopic, white ball popped out. Celestia gently cradling the orb to the unicorn, Rarity watching as it punctured through her abdomen and feeling a little bit more full.

"Never had to play doctor, but that was relatively easy. Be sure to get a real doctor's appointment when you're back in Ponyville. This was my first time, but I want to make sure it was a success." Celestia implored.

"Yes. Absolutely. I don't know how to thank you enough, Princess." Rarity excitedly got out, tears building in her eyes from joy.

"Girls. I don't want you to feel indebted to me. Recovering the artifact was more than I could ask from Twilight, let alone you two. It was my pleasure. I'll be in touch with the wedding, but please you two, enjoy. You earned it."

Applejack walked over to Rarity, landing a large smooch on her fiance. Rarity reciprocating her lover's eagerness. "So seems like we're gonna have a little bundle of joy. I know you said I could pick the name, but I would like to hear yer suggestions, Rare."

"To help you narrow it down. It's going to be a girl." Celestia piped in.

"How do you know?" Rarity inquired.

"If you can find the Y chromosome in either of you, I'll give you the kingdom. Sorry if you wanted a stallion, but I can alter a lot of things with magic, not science though."

Rarity couldn't break from the stare of the overzealous eyes. She was indeed thinking about names in the desert. She had a few picked out, but she new their first born was special and already had a name in mind. Since now any of the stallion's names would be immediately crossed of the list, but she waited till their foal to name it, knowing instinctively what to call her once she saw her. Till then, Rarity and Applejack enjoyed their final few days before sitting down planning the wedding, which would nearly kill the both of them with the time constraint. Rarity and Applejack were ready for their ending.

"Sparkling Cider! Please, don't run ahead. We'll get home soon enough."

"Sorry Mom. If I don't pick up the pace, Applejack might have already finished the batch." the little white filly screamed.

Rarity wanted to scold her, but it's hard to find a reason to be angry when all her daughter wanted to do was go home. "Fine. Just be careful. I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Wohoo. Zap Apple Jam, here I come." the little filly started sprinting out of Rarity's sight, the golden wavy tresses disappearing in the distance. The unicorn felt a twinge of happiness until a small voice came from her side. She looked down to see her youngest daughter, violet hair so long and smooth as it lengthily draped alongside her orange coat, big aqua eyes staring back.

"Aren't you going to join your sister in some Zap Apple Jam making, Jewel?"

"No. I'm not one much for the farm. I love it because it feels like a second home, but I like it more when he get to stay at the home in Manehattan." the little filly honestly said, a big smile loving that both of her daughters weren't drawn to the farm. The two leisurely made it back to Sweet Apple Acres, grabbing some supplies in the marketplace for a small dinner to celebrate another successful harvest. In the ten years they had been married, Rarity was able to convince Applejack to hire ponies full time by expanding the farm, converting the old barn into a boarding house and making connections to the farmer's markets that many big city residents were paying top bits for. Even tough she was technically the boss, Applejack couldn't be torn away from farming, bunking in the old home whenever she was forced to. The unicorn was waving goodbye to the workers as she could tell they were being let out for the day.

Rarity could hear Sparkling Cider in the distance, laughing very carefree as she was trying to capture a butterfly with an extra jar from the harvest. The fluttering inset immediately catching the attention of Jewel and had her running off to join her unicorn sister. Rarity let the two play as she sought out her wife. Like a painting, Applejack was sitting alongside the fence, watching the little ones play against the silhouette of the sun. Rarity couldn't help but sneak and give her pony a powerful hug from behind, leaving a few small kisses trailing up the neckline.

"Na-uh. Gimme those lips." Applejack ordered, immediately flipping the tables on Rarity and dipping the mare, placing a firm kiss on her lips, the unicorn reacting immediately and wrapped her legs around the pony's neck, longing for the taste and texture of her lover.

"Oh somepony missed me."

"Let's just say after we tuck the two into bed, we're goin' to tucker ourselves out with some crazy rompin' around the bedroom. You've been gone fer two weeks, Rare. Missed you and the girls."

Rarity was let upright and fixed the stetson that had dipped in the pose. "I know. Work was hectic. Not everyday you get to design an entire fashion line for Hoity Toity. Surprising I didn't blow up in front of Jewel and Sparkling Cider. And I can say the same about you. I know Zap Apple Harvest is big, but it kept you away just as much as my work."

"Fine we'll agree that this was just bad schedulin'." Applejack brought out a flushing smile that the unicorn appreciated. The emerald orbs still as vibrant as the day she fell in love with her. Before Rarity could say what she was thinking, Applejack already beat her to it. " I love you, Rarity."

"I love you too, Applejack." he sneaked in another small kiss before each returned their attention to their foals. "Those two are two peas in a pod, but when Sparkling Cider gets older, she's to doubt going to be treating Jewel like we treated our poor sisters."

"Yeah, probably, but at least we know from experience what to do. To think though, those two are half of each of us. Certainly wasn't expecting that in my future."

"I wasn't expecting a lot of things in my future. Foals, partially owning a farm, owning two homes, coordinating business deals for my wonderful wife and of course, falling in love with you." Applejack shot her a stare, knowing the unicorn had struck a playful nerve she quickly explained herself. "No, darling. Nothing like that. It's just, I never thought I could be this happy with something I didn't necessarily intend to chase. Life sort of fell into place when I fell in love with you. I still remember the day like it was yesterday."

"I know. You tell the most sappy version of our love story to everypony we meet. Sure one day when the girls are curious, you'll sit them down and bore them fer years." A small laugh following the jest. "But if we're being honest, certainly didn't see myself on their road neither, but I'm happy, Rare. Everyday this continues makes me the happiest mare in the world and I would never change this."

"Second happiest. I'm the happiest." the unicorn teased, inching closer so she could nuzzle herself into her lover, head buried beneath her strong head as Applejack reciprocated. "I too would never change this. I'm far too in love with you to think of myself without you."

Applejack snuck a kiss through the purple locks before returning to what her wife was admiring. The kids still working hard on playing with the insects. Rarity coiled her tail around her mare's, the golden length of hair tightly taking hold. The unicorn still hadn't lied to Applejack in years, and kept to it as she looked towards the sunset. Two lovely foals, a prosperous business and the love of her life next to her. "From the second I saw that brash farmer in a more focused light was I able to see how I had been so wrong before. Now that we're here I know that I will always love her and I can't stop loving her, not even for a second. All the mishaps, fights, life endangering adventures I have carried this lesson with me because she has always been the apple of my eye."