The Extra Mile

by CommissarAJ

Chapter 1: Cold Apples

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The rustic red pickup truck rattled and shook as it made its way down the back roads leading out of the city. It made for a cacophony of clangs, pings, and clunks as the poorly-kept asphalt knocked the old family car about with every pothole and crack. None of that bothered Applejack, however, who sat behind the wheel with a cheerful smile across her face as she swayed from side to side, enthralled by the bluegrass tunes coming from the radio.

The same, however, could not be said of her passenger and friend, Rarity, who was struggling to maintain steady texting hands. Every bump in the road sent her thumbs skittering across her digital keyboard like an epileptic strung out on amphetamines.

“Dammit! I meant to type ‘opens’ not ‘penis’! What is with this autocorrect? How could it possibly think that was what I wanted to say?” Rarity cursed out loud for the umpteenth time that hour. She glanced over to the driver and snorted when she realized her friend appeared to be actively ignoring everything she said, as if somehow the music could’ve been more important than her plight. “You know, Applejack, would it kill you drive a little bit slower? And maybe not hit every pothole along the way?”

Applejack hid her rolling eyes by pretending that she had to reach out and adjust the side-view mirror. It gave her an opportunity to make a quick check on the cargo loaded into the back of the truck: a dozen crates filled with apples, pies, and other baked goods, all secured beneath a large tarp and heavy-duty straps. Normally the countryside air and the rumble of her family’s truck made evenings like these a relaxing breeze, but she was getting the distinct feeling that today was going to be anything but.

“Rarity, I appreciate you coming along to help with this delivery run, but I told you right from the very start that this was going to be a rough ride.”

“I thought that was just another one of your countryisms,” Rarity grumbled back. Giving up on using her phone, she leaned back into her seat in an attempt to make herself more comfortable. The worn and lumpy block that somehow called itself foam, however, was about as comfortable as a slab of granite. “How can you stand sitting in this? I swear I can feel the bolts poking into my back.”

“This is going to be a long trip,” Applejack groaned to herself.

“Well excuse me for wanting some semblance of comfort,” Rarity shot back. She tried to put on an air of indignation, but it was hard to maintain when every potholes threatened to toss her out of her seat. “Not that I don’t mind being here, but I’m not sure why you asked me to help you anyways. I would’ve thought Rainbow Dash would be the first person you’d turn to.”

Suddenly, Applejack bolted upright in her seat, and her hands tightened around the steering wheel with enough force to turn her knuckles white. “What? Rainbow Dash? I didn’t say anything about her! Why’re you bringing her up?” she blurted out.

“Uh, nevermind. Forget I said anything.” As odd as Rarity found the response, she refrained from pressing the issue any further. It seemed that Applejack was under a bit more stress than she had originally thought, and she started to feel a little guilty about making so many complaints. “I… I suppose the ride’s not that bad, once you get used to it. I still don’t understand why we couldn’t just take the highway.”

“Because Granny doesn’t want me driving on those until I’ve got my full license,” Applejack answered as she relaxed to her normal composure. “Plus, the truck don’t really like driving at those kinds of speeds. This thing ain’t no spring chicken, after all.”

Rarity glanced down to the floorboard, which lacked any carpeting or mats and was just the bare, rusted steel floor of the truck’s cabin. “Yes, I’ve noticed,” she muttered under her breath. She watched with growing anxiety as flecks of dirt and dried leaves bounced across the floor, any one of which could sully her precious boots at a moment’s notice.

“Tell you what,” Applejack said with a reassuring grin, “I’ll let you pick the radio station. How’s that sound?”

“Oh, thank god!” Rarity exclaimed. She lunged forward and twisted the knob so quickly that it was almost ready to pop off. A moment later, more familiar pop music began to fill the cabin. “A girl can only listen to a man whining about lost love on an acoustic guitar for so long.”

“Really now? I would’ve thought that sorta thing would’ve been right up your alley.” Applejack let out a playful laugh, but her friend didn’t quite find the humour.

Folding her arms, Rarity puffed out her chest in a façade of staunch defiance. “Puh-lease, darling, I do not whine like a little baby over a little bit of heartbreak. When you're as fabulous as me, you do the heartbreaking, not the other way around. And even if somebody was so blind as to not appreciate my charm, I’d be able to replace them with a snap of my fingers. Why, I could have every boy at Canterlot High at my beck and call if I were so inclined.”

Cocking an eyebrow, Applejack promptly snapped back, “Is that why the others found you wallowing behind a tub of ice cream during that whole Trenderhoof thing?”

“T-that was different!” Rarity snapped as her face began to turn red, though whether it was from embarrassment or frustration was anyone’s guess. “I was young and naive back then. It was a harsh lesson, but one that I have learned from.”

“That wasn’t even two months ago.”

“A minor detail.”

“A good thing, too,” the farmer replied with a trifling chuckle under her breath, “because you looked like you were ready to drop to your knees and open wide for him.”

Though already sporting a hint of crimson around her cheeks, Rarity managed to turn an even deeper shade while sputtering out a forced laugh. “W-what? Oh, pfft! Like I’d do that! I-I mean, what kind of fool-hearted girl would even consider something so crude and vulgar,” she stammered as she averted her gaze to the opposite direction

Affording herself a little smirk, Applejack simply replied, “Well, you did put on overalls and a straw hat, so you obviously weren’t thinking straight.”

“E-exactly! Besides, it probably wouldn’t have worked anyways.” Rarity paused for a moment, glancing back to her friend, who said nothing while remaining fixated on the road ahead. “And it was only for a moment. Not like I seriously considered it.”

Maybe the ride wouldn’t be as unbearable as she had feared, Applejack thought to herself. It wasn’t perfect driving conversation, but it was better than listening to her friend complain about every little thing. And given that her friend was still smiling, she could tell that Rarity knew there was no malice behind the playful teasing. The fact that they could look back on that incident and laugh about it spoke volumes to the integrity of their friendship.

“You know he sent me a dick pic, right?” Applejack quipped.

So caught off-guard she was, Rarity’s phone nearly flew out of her grasp. “He did what?” she gasped back in a mixture of horror and disbelief. “Oh my god, I’m… uh, sorry you had to see that. So uh… how did it look?”

“Seriously?” Applejack yelped back. “I deleted that the second I realized what it was! I wasn’t going to risk Apple Bloom seeing it or nothin’.”

“Come now, you must remember a little bit,” Rarity playfully pleaded with her. “Big? Small? Did it curve to the left? How would you rate it on a scale of one to ten?”

“I don’t know! I ain’t no expert in dicks!” an increasingly flustered Applejack replied.

“Really now?” Rarity paused with a mischievous smirk across her face that just made her friend even more nervous. “I do recall a certain someone once proudly proclaimed that they were a ‘master at handling unruly cocks.’”

“That was about my chickens and you know it,” Applejack sneered back, although she, too, understood that there was no malice behind her friend’s teasing. Even she had to relent from glaring daggers and just snicker alongside Rarity. “Ah-heh. Yeah, I did sure make a fool of myself that day, didn’t I? Sure learned my lesson about using farm talk in a city school.”

“You seriously talk like that on the farm?”

“Of course! It’s important to make sure you’re clear about what you’re discussing,” Applejack answered, accompanied by an affirmative nod. Or perhaps just another pothole. “If there’s trouble in the coop, you don’t want people thinking you’re talking about hens when the problem is with your cock. Why this one time, I was out by the pig sty when I heard this monster of a ruckus from across the farm. A second later Big Mac comes racing across the field shouting ‘get this cock off of me!’”

By that point, Rarity was already doubled over in a fit of laughter, but that just emboldened Applejack to carry on.

“I raced on over all ‘why’s that cock on your face?’ and he shouts back ‘the cock’s gone crazy’. And he’s running around with me chasing after him. ‘Hold the cock still!’ ‘I can’t, this cock’s too riled up!’”

She would’ve pressed on, but Rarity was now frantically waving for her to stop, unable to utter out even the simplest of words from all the laughter. It took a few minutes for all the chuckling and giggling to quiet down, and for Rarity to catch her breath afterwards.

“Oh my,” she said between heavy but contented breaths, “I haven’t had that much fun with cock in a long time.”

“Nothing like a little bit of cock to make a roadtrip interesting.”

The two friends shared in another hearty round of laughter, which brought with it a peaceful tranquility in the truck. Or at least, it would’ve been peaceful save for the potholes that still rattled the girls around like marbles in a washing machine.

Feeling more relaxed and less concerned about uncomfortable seating or dirty floors or the constant rattling noise that sounded like something was about to come flying off the truck at any second, Rarity cast her gaze out to the picturesque countryside. It reminded her of the wilderness around Camp Everfree, which felt like a lifetime ago given what happened. One moment it was rock-climbing like normal teenagers, and then it was magic powers knocking people into lakes. Simple moments like these with friends were more important than what was on the radio station.

“Say, Applejack,” Rarity perked up after a prolonged silence, “have we gone in a circle?”

“What do you mean?”

“Just that I could’ve sworn we passed by that sign before,” Rarity explained. She pointed out to an old wooden signpost that stood by the side of the road. It was one of those directional signs that had long since been replaced by the big, green steel ones along most roads. It was easily recognizable as it was barely holding together, with a hanging plank that read ‘Canterlot 25km’ while pointing to the ground. “AJ, are you lost?”

“Of course not!” came the expected response from Applejack. “I’ve been down these roads plenty of times. I know them like the back of my hand. I just… uh, missed a turn, so I had to double-back, that’s all. I ain’t lost.”


Two hours later, not only was it beyond a shadow of a doubt that Applejack was, in fact, lost, but now it was getting dark and raining hard. The once jovial atmosphere inside the truck had soured, growing worse as the minutes drizzled by. Scenic landscapes had been replaced by a dark and dreary sky with ever-growing shadows as the sun sank beneath the horizon. In a few hours, the only source of light would the truck itself and the moonlight that only got to occasionally peak from beyond the veil.

“Just admit that we’re lost,” Rarity grumbled.

“I. Ain’t. Lost!”

As tempting as it was to start complaining again, Rarity opted to be more proactive about her predicament. Her patience had worn out, after all, and she just wanted to be back home, sitting on soft velour with a hot cup of tea instead of rattling around inside a gasoline-powered tin can.

“You’ve got directions, right? As in written down somewhere,” she demanded.

Applejack let out a low groan as she slouched forward, not wanting to take her eyes off the road as the rain and darkness continued to sully her vision. “Fine! There’s directions on my phone.”

“And your phone is?”

“Uh… i-it’s around here somewhere.”

Rarity performed a few quick sweeps of the truck’s interior, but saw no sign of her friend’s phone. Granted, it was getting dark and the old truck lacked reliable interior lightning, but she knew that if any loose item had been sitting in the cabin during the ride, she would’ve heard it bouncing around at some point.

“Are you sure you brought it?” Rarity inquired.

“Of course! It’s right in my—” Applejack’s words cut to an abrupt halt just as she recalled the last place she saw her cellphone, which was when she tossed it into her backpack just before heading out to pick up Rarity for the delivery run. A bag that, as memory served, was still sitting in the front hall of her home. “—dammit.”

“You forgot it, didn’t you?” Rarity remarked before letting out a disgruntled huff. “How typical.”

“Well excuse me for not having a phone glued to palm like some people.”

“I can’t even begin to fathom what you’re trying to insinuate with that last part.” Unfazed by the verbal barb, Rarity took out her own phone and began tapping upon the screen. “Lucky for you, I’ll ignore any ill-will while I pull up a map and get this little errand back on track.”

Applejack didn’t bother acknowledging her friend, as she figured it would spurr only further boasting. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Rarity, smirking all triumphantly as if to flaunt her superiority. The smile lasted only for a brief second, though, as the screen on her phone suddenly went black, save for a flickering red battery symbol. It took Applejack all the willpower in the world just to avoid snickering when her friend’s triumphant expression evaporated in an instant.

“No! No, don’t do this to me now!” Rarity exclaimed, shaking her phone in desperation. For someone who spent half their waking life on a phone, a dead battery was next to a death sentence. “Y-you have a charging adaptor with you, right?”

“Glove box,” Applejack answered in a terse manner.

It took a few tugs and a fair amount of grunting, but eventually Rarity was able to pry the glove compartment open. Amongst crumpled-up receipts and gum wrappers, a flashlight and a folded-up map tumbled out. It didn’t take long for her to figure out what Applejack wanted from her, and despite her misgivings, she realized she had few other options. The longer they were lost, the longer she’d have to put up with the stetson-topped nuisance.

Rarity began fumbling about the map and light, trying to unfurl the map enough while still keeping the flashlight centered on it. In her frustration, she paid no heed to the mess she was creating as the map kept getting bigger and bigger with each unfolding, until it was spanning almost the entire cabin. By then, the only way she could keep the light focused while still maintaining some semblance of control over the map was to hold the flashlight between her teeth.

“Ueth ush ruhdeecuhlush,” she said in a distorted grumbling.

“Sorry, can’t understand a word you’re saying,” Applejack replied with no shortage of catharsis.

“Uae shed—”

Before Rarity could finish her guttural utterance, another pothole caused the truck to pitch forward. The sudden lurch knocked the flashlight out of her grasp, whereupon it punched clean through the middle of the map, leaving the city of Canterlot little more than a cylindrical hole.

“Oh, to hell with this stupid map!” Rarity shrieked. In a fit, she threw the ruined paper aside. However, in her fury, she forgot that she was inside a truck and so the map wound up flying right into Applejack’s face.

In an instant, the cabin was filled with flailing limbs and panicked screams as Applejack tried to find her view of the road again. The truck swerved from side to side, its tires squealing across the rain-slicked roads as they fought a pitched battle to hold on. The brakes slammed on, but between the weight and the water, the pickup just carried on forward because Newton’s First Law was a cruel and unforgiving mistress. After careening off the road and ploughing through a picket fence, the vehicle plunged headlong into a ditch with a whiplash-inducing crunch.

Inside the cabin, through pained and weary groans, Applejack and Rarity opened their eyes again. They were both slumped forward slightly, due to the truck’s now downward angle, with only their seatbelts having kept either girl from becoming intimately familiar with the dashboard.

Applejack’s hands were still fused to the steering wheel, for no other reason than because it was the only way she could keep her hands from shaking. She inhaled, slow and deep.

“Nice driving, Louise,” Rarity remarked.



“Thelma was driving the car; Louise was in the passenger seat,” Applejack stated flatly. “Also, we wouldn’t be in this ditch if you hadn’t thrown that map in my face!”

“Which I wouldn’t have had out if you had bothered to remember your phone or just brought a damn car adaptor!”

“You know I don’t go around with every latest gadget in my back pocket!”

“It’s a car adaptor! They’ve been around for thirty years, you backwater hillbilly!”

After a round of fierce growling, both girls let out a pronounced ‘hmph!’ before turning away from the other. For the longest minute-and-a-half of their lives, they stewed in their simmering rage with nothing but the pitter-patter of rain upon the roof to break the tense silence.

“Come on, let’s get this over with,” Applejack said with a sigh of resignation. She popped open the door and carefully climbed out, making sure not to slip in the muddy ditch. “The sooner we get back on the road, the sooner we can be out of each other’s hair.”

“But it’s pouring outside,” Rarity protested. “And look at all that mud. I’ll ruin my outfit if I go out there.”

In hindsight, she should’ve seen that reaction coming, but that didn’t stop Applejack from shaking ever so slightly in her growing ire. “It’s just a little water,” she said through clenched teeth. “And if you haven’t notice, we’re in a ditch. I can’t do this alone.”

“And if you haven’t forgotten, you’ve got super strength now. Or did you leave that at home too?”

“Oh. Right.” A flash of embarrassment swept over Applejack as she recalled the pendant that hung around her neck. With that kind of magic, she realized she could probably carry the truck back onto the road.

Stepping over some puddles and the deeper-looking parts of the mud, Applejack made her way around to the front of the truck and braced her back against the hood. One magic-infused push would be all it’d take to get her truck back on level ground. Unfortunately, while it may have been truck of steel and girl of steel, it was still ground of soft, rain-soaked grass. The second she pushed with all her might, the ground beneath her came apart like soggy tissue, and Rarity got treated to the sight of Applejack’s feet kicking straight into the air, followed by a hard, wet landing amidst a splatter of mud and profanity.

Applejack found herself now sitting in a puddle that almost went up to her waist with nothing but the faint echoes of her friend snickering from inside the truck.

“Ought to drag her pretty little butt out here and see how she feels,” the irate farmer grumbled under her breath.

Undaunted by her failure, Applejack braced herself once again upon the hood of her truck. This time, she made sure to stomp her feet hard into the earth, giving her a solid footing as she pushed the pickup back onto level ground.

Content in her triumph, she afforded herself a quick congratulatory smirk at a job well done. “I’d like to have seen her try to fancy-pants her way outta that mess.”

Her sense of smug superiority lasted no longer than her first step, as she suddenly fell forward as the upper part of her body moved but her feet remained cemented in the mud. It was an awkward, muddy faceplant that left Rarity hiding behind her hands to avoid laughing even louder.

Applejack growled under her breath as she wiped the thick, fetid clumps of mud from her face, and then proceeded to check on what had happened. As it turned out, she had dug herself so deep into the ground when she braced herself that mud had formed a suction around her feet.

“No biggie, just a little mud,” she sighed again. With no other choice, she had to slip out of her boots and then dig them out before she could return to the truck. By the time she sat back down, the farmer was drenched from head to sock-covered toes with traces of grass and mud still clinging to her clothes and hair, and her soiled boots tucked under one arm.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking,” Applejack growled back.

“I figured with all the work you do on your farm, you’d be right at home with a little bit of mud,” Rarity replied. “I do appreciate you fixing the mess in such a prompt manner. Also, good news! I think I’ve managed to figure out this map of yours and it shouldn’t be hard to get us back on track.”

She unfurled the map once again, and though Canterlot was thoroughly ruined, the outlying regions around the city were still intact.

“Well, then let’s get back to it,” Applejack said with a tired but determined sigh. She reached for the ignition and gave it a twist.

And nothing happened. The engine whirred and sputtered a bit, but then fell immediately silent.

Applejack’s eyebrow began to quiver, her teeth grinding together as she glared hate and fury towards the truck. “Oh, don’t you start with me now!” she snapped, turning the ignition again. And again.

And again and again and again.


Even someone as stubborn as Applejack had to admit defeat at some point. With one last exasperated sigh, she collapsed back into her seat. “Welp, she’s done for by the sounds of it.”

“Y-you can fix this, right?” Rarity asked. There was an edge of worry already lacing her words. “We’re not going to be stuck out here with no phone and no help, are we?”

“Doubtful, but I’m going to take a look.”

Despite already being cold, wet, and close to barefooted, Applejack hopped out of the truck to brave the elements once more. With a flashlight in hand, she popped open the hood and started poking around inside. Unlike before, there was no sense of amusement for Rarity. Her friend was out there in the pouring rain, while she sat back in fear of what the deluge would do to her hair. That was hardly behavior befitting of a friend, especially now when things were serious.

“Let’s see… maybe it’s the starter motor,” Applejack murmured under her breath. She and her brother may have taken good care of the truck over the years, but she was still far from a mechanic. All she was likely to accomplish was getting colder and wetter, or at least so she thought until the rain suddenly stopped pelting down on her. “What in tarnation?”

Applejack glanced upwards and saw a large, shimmering diamond over her head now, and Rarity standing alongside her.

“I… um, thought I should at least make myself useful in some way,” Rarity offered up as explanation.

“Thanks, Rarity,” Applejack replied, managing a tired but warm smile back to her friend. “You mind holding the flashlight for me?”


The two girls huddled close together beneath the shelter of the magic gemstone, but as the minutes continued to tick by, it became more and more apparent that Applejack wasn’t going to be able to fix things.

“It’s no good,” Applejack announced in the end. “Maybe if Big Mac were here he’d be able to figure this out, but I’ve got nothing.”

Defeated, the pair retreated back into the relative warmth and safety of the pickup. There was a prolonged silence as both girls contemplated the situation. As easy as it might’ve been to give back into frustrations and start blaming one another, both realized that was never going to get the truck working again.

“Well… now what do we do?” Rarity asked.

“Wait until morning, I reckon. We can try flagging down somebody then and hopefully call for a tow.” It wasn’t the best solution, but it was the most sensible. Reaching behind her seat, Applejack pulled out an old blanket. “Here, you can use this. It’s going to get pretty chilly overnight.”

Rarity eyed the blanket with a moment of apprehension. Even from a few feet away, she could see that it was covered in hairs and reeked of dog. No doubt, that blanket was predominately used by Winona whenever she was riding in the car. Despite all that, however, it was the only thing they had so she accepted it with reluctant gratitude.

Next Chapter: Hot Cider Estimated time remaining: 20 Minutes
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