An Apple Knows Their Kin

by ChappyHooves

Chapter 1: A Suprise Visit

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Scarlet Gala stood guard in the throne room of Canterlot Castle. Her seasoned legs stood at attention as her tuned senses scanned through the room. Her back was to her majesty, Princess Celestia who sat on her throne. In front of her was the whole of the throne room that was mostly empty with the exception of the other guards who were standing at their posts.

“Your Majesty,” The steward of the hall called as he entered the room. “Mrs. Twilight Sparkle, the Mayor of Ponyville is here to see you.”

“Splendid,” Celestia said pleased. “Please send her in, Archibald.”

Celestia stepped down the steps that lead to her throne. Scarlet was aware of her movements before she even saw her in the corner of her eye.

“At ease Scarlet, it is only my faithful student.” Celestia said to her as she passed by.

To the Royal Guard, there was no such thing as ‘at ease.’ You were alert or your were not, nothing else.

When Her Majesty said at ease, the volunteer city watch and recruits would relax. The only way a Royal Guard would truly stand at ease would be if they had been dismissed or allowed leave by Her Majesty. Remaining at attention when the princess said at ease was a testament to those who have taken the oath to protect the crown and country.

The term at ease Scarlet was a subtle phrase Princess Celestia used with her personal bodyguard to signify to her she wanted her to listen in on her conversation, and possibly she may speak with her after it.

Celestia from time to time would ask Scarlet on details of a previous conversation she had with another pony. Scarlet had a gift for observation and catching subtleties and Celestia was well aware of it. Picking up a telltale sign of an ambassador who had a nervous habit of scratching a forehoof when he was nervous or lying was an ability Celestia admired in her.

“Princess Celestia!” A modest middle aged lavender mare with glasses said entering the room.

“Twilight Sparkle, my former pupil. It is good to see you again.” The princess replied.

Twilight approached Celestia and gave her a hug.

Scarlet saw a few of the guards in the room slightly shift their weight, and the sight of someone hugging the princess. The younger ones glanced briefly at Scarlet, knowing if there was any danger, she would be the first to act before any of them. Scarlet however was solid rock.

“How are you and your wonderful family?” Celestia asked pulling away from the hug.

“Pinkie is still Pinkie, and Glitter is in fact right now visiting her Uncle Shining and Aunt Cadence.” Twilight said adjusting her glasses.

Scarlet knew all about the Sparkle family since she was a little filly. Twilight Sparkle worked at the same school of Magic where Scarlet’s mother Cheerilee taught history. Scarlet met her and her wife Pinkie Pie a couple of times at holiday parties. The two of them moved back to Ponyville quite a few years ago when Pinkie was pregnant to raise their daughter there.

“We are all looking forward to your visit to Ponyville for the Summer Sun Celebration this year.” Twilight said to the Princess.

“Yes, I think this may be my first time visiting there for the celebration since that fateful evening you became a bearer of one of the Elements of Harmony.”

“I think you may have raised the sun at least once in Ponyville since then.” Twilight admitted.

“Well you may be right, my friend.” The princess humbly admitted.

“Oh, your majesty I will always be your student. You yourself taught me that to be a teacher you must admit to yourself that you will remain a student.”

Celestia gave a modest smile at Twilight.

“How are the preparations coming along in Ponyville?”

“Quite well. I hope you will find everything to your liking, Princess.” Twilight replied in a formal tone.

“I hope you wouldn't mind if I sent a few representatives into town next week to check on the preparations?” Celestia asked.

“Why please do! I’ll inform the committees to expect a visit.” Twilight assured.

“Would you like to stay for lunch, Twilight?” Celestia asked.

“That is a most generous offer, Princess, but I’m meeting my friend Applejack for a dinner date already.” Twilight admitted.

“Well, we’ll certainly have time next week to catch up during the celebration.”

Twilight gave a low bow and exited the throne room.

“Archibald,” the princess called out to the steward. “I would like to have my lunch today in my private chambers.”

“Very good, Your Majesty. I’ll have the maid bring up the usual.” The steward replied.

Celestia turned to Scarlet and gave her a nod. Scarlet broke her stone stance and followed Celestia in a proper Canterlot canter that was fitting for any pony of the court.

Scarlet followed Celestia through the hallways of the castle not missing a step in her canter. With the exception of Shining Armor himself, no pony in the castle could carry themselves with such poise. It was not flamboyant, nor snooty, it was a canter that gave the aura of both awareness and formality.

Scarlet followed Celestia into her private quarters. Like magic the table on the terrace was already set with the princesses’ lunch.

Celestia lit her horn, the door behind them shut closed, locked itself and gave off the hum of a shield spell being placed on it.

Scarlet was surprised at Celestia’s security measures but still kept her posture and neutral expression.

“Please join me Scarlet,” Celestia spoke as she sat down at the far end of the table.

“It would not be proper, Your Majesty.” Scarlet responded.

Celestia closed her eyes and lit her horn again. Her crown glowed with her magic and it floated off her head and lightly landed on the table.

“Indeed a lunch shared between a princess and her personal guard is not proper. But behind closed doors a lunch shared between two friends who have agreed to leave their rank outside is acceptable.”

Scarlet then did something that many in the palace did not think was possible, she smiled.

“If you put it that way,” she said with a grin to the princess.

She removed her helmet and joined the princess at the table.

Celestia gave a small laugh that seemed to warm Scarlet like the sun itself.

“How long has it taken me to finally get you to stand at ease in my presence, Scarlet?”

“Never, Your Majesty. In seven years you have only gotten me to smile and speak freely within confidence.”

Celestia gave a louder laugh.

“Twilight Sparkle seems to be doing well,” Celestia said, pouring herself some tea.

“She was a bit nervous see you,” Scarlet commented.

“I’d expect that with her, especially since she had taken the Mayor’s office of Ponyville.” Celestia remarked.

“She’s slightly exhausted since last we’ve seen her, and the bags under her eyes show she’s been burning the candle on both ends again.” Scarlet factually stated, waiting for Celestia to take her first bite before she even reached for the teapot to serve herself.

“Hearing that almost makes me regret having the Summer Sun Celebration in Ponyville this year.” Celestia said sadly. “I don’t wish for her to overstrain herself.”

“Your majesty, permission-”

“You still have to ask me even though we’ve established behind closed doors, I allow you to speak freely.” Celestia sighed.

Scarlet nodded her head, she knew the princess was going to say it, but she could not break the habit of asking to speak freely to her.

“I think Twilight may be pushing herself, but would feel immensely better having hosted a satisfactory Summer Sun Celebration than had not having it at all.” Scarlet stated.

Celestia pursed her lips as she stirred her tea.

“Your observations are right as always, Scarlet.” She said, nodding. “Now to business about you.”

Scarlet raised an eyebrow.

“As you know, with Shining Armor finally taking reassignment, you are now the oldest and most seasoned member of security detail GOLD.”

“Being your personal guard is an honor, Princess.” Scarlet responded with a slight bow.

“I think it’s time for you to take some leave time, Scarlet.” The princess said with a warm smile.

“That sounds like a good idea, Your Majesty. I’ll gladly set aside some time after the celebration.”

“Actually, Scarlet. I was thinking of you taking time off to enjoy the celebration yourself.”

Scarlet looked stoically at Celestia. It was the closest she could ever get to dropping her jaw.

Celestia gave her a smile as if Scarlet had actually did drop her jaw.

“Answer me this, Scarlet, have you been to Ponyville before?” She asked her.

“No, Your Majesty.”

“Your mother is from there, right?”


“Does she have plans of going back this year for the celebration?”

Scarlet took a moment to take a sip of her tea, using the pause to relax her nerves.

“Yes she is, Your Majesty.”

“First, I believe some of your subordinates should have a chance to run security without you as a safety net. I must say you are almost too good for your job, having a week without you will be a growing experience for them. Second, I think you should spend the holiday with your family. It’s been so long since you seen them.”

“Them?” Scarlet responded. “It’s just me and my mother, Your Highness.”

“Of course, it’s been so long since you’ve seen her.” Celestia quickly corrected. “I understand break has just begun of the Magic Academy. Maybe you should go visit her this afternoon and talk about it.”

“If you think I should, Your Majesty.” Scarlet spoke politely.

“When was the last time you saw your mother?” Celestia asked her.

“Hearths Warming Eve.”

“Well, I think that is much overdue than. Scarlet don’t hide it from me, I know you have reservations on taking the whole holiday off. I’ll allow you time off afternoon to go speak with your family on the issue.”

“Are you ordering me to go talk to my mother?” Scarlet asked her.

“No, but I advise that you take up my suggestion before you force me to actually do so.” Celestia replied nicely.


Scarlet walked through the regal hallways of the Royal Magic Academy. She had been in the building numerous times as a filly. She had also visited the school many times as an adult with the royal guard. But this was the first time she realized she was walking through the hallways as an adult not in uniform. It felt a little strange, she felt a little exposed and almost like she was a back to being a filly again.

Scarlet found her way with ease to her mother’s office. On the front of the door was a golden plaque that read:

Prof. Cheerliee

Pony Pedagogy, History & Political Sciences

The door itself was locked and the lights were off. Scarlet checked the schedule posted next to the door. Normally at this time her mother would be lecturing a Modern Societies of Ponykind class in the west lecture hall.

Though classes were on break, she figured the lecture hall would be the next logical place to search for her mother.

She made her way to the lecture hall, taking notice that a few paintings of honored professors on the walls had changed since the years she had been in the school. As she approached the lecture hall she heard a few voice coming from inside. One was unmistakably her mother’s.

Scarlet walked into the hall and saw her mother standing in front of the empty room speaking with another mare. The mare was older than Scarlet but much younger than her mother. She had a yellow coat and a bright red mane, and on her flank was an image of an apple in a field.

“-Things have changed much since yah been to Ponyville.” The yellow mare said with a southern accent.

Scarlet cleared her throat.

The two of them stopped their conversation and looked a Scarlet. The yellow mare looked over at Scarlet, while Cheerilee’s eyes got huge and she ran over and threw her fore hooves over her.

“Oh Scarlet! My little girl! You know how I always hate it when you pull these surprise visits on me!”

Scarlet smiled and hugged her mother back.

“Oh, it’s wonderful to see you. You're not in uniform, did Celestia order off duty again!?” Cheerilee went on.

“Mom,” Scarlet said defensively feeling a bit embarrassed at her mother mentioning her stubbornness at work in front of a complete stranger. “It’s alright I just got the evening off.”

“Mom?” The yellow mare asked, looking strangely at Cheerilee.

“Oh,” Cheerilee said stepping immediately back. “Y-yes! Apple Bloom, meet my daughter Scarlet Gala.”

“Apple?” Scarlet asked her mother, with a sudden realization.

“Apple Bloom,” Cheerilee said quickly. “Before you were born she was a former student of mine from Ponyville. You know about Ponyville, Scarlet? I’ve never taken you there, but you know all about it. Yup Ponyville.”

Scarlet noticed her mother had started rushing her words and her pitch was going up, a common sign of when she was nervous.

She herself was just as nervous as her mother, though she had a military discipline that kept her poise calm.

Her mother told her at an early age that her father was an owner of a successful farming business that was run by a large family that went by the name of Apple.

Scarlett herself ran into her half-sisters and few years ago, though they had no clue who she was. Scarlet had made it a point to hide that fact from everyone. The only ponies who knew of her connection with the fillies were her mother and the Princess Celestia.

“You told me you never married, Ms. Cheerilee.” Apple Bloom said with a slightly surprised tone, looking over at Scarlet.

“No, never did,” she said back to Apple Bloom. “I only really had just one special somepony, and well... That was a long time ago.”

Scarlet wanted to jab her mother, her body language and her choice of words were just spelling it out to Apple Bloom.

“Special somepony,” Apple Bloom pondered to herself and then let out a gasp.

Scarlet stood her ground as Apple Bloom approached her, her own thoughts going back to all the little information she knew about her father’s heritage.

I first met your father thanks to his little sister. Scarlet remembering what her mother telling her once. She was a darling little filly with a deep red mane, and a talent for getting into mischief with her friends.

Apple Bloom took a closer look at Scarlet.

Scarlet kept her posture as her eyes darted back between her mother and Apple Bloom.

“Fetlocks,” Apple Bloom scanning Scarlet, starting at her hooves and moving up. “Physique, and freckles!? And by your age, you must have been born right after Ms. Cheerilee moved here?”

Scarlet said nothing.

Cheerilee on the other hand fell back on her haunches and lowered her head.

“You and Mac were very close all the way up until you moved away,” Apple Bloom stated to Cheerilee. “And then we just lost all contact with you. If it weren't for Snails tellin’ me about you, ah’d never come up here to talk. But...”

Apple Bloom looked back at Scarlet. She stared into her eyes, Scarlet looked right back. She had been dressed down in front of drill sergeants countless times, this mare was nowhere as near intimidating. Yet Scarlet felt a different form of fear burn inside of her.

Cheerilee turned her face away and let out a sniff.

“I know those freckles and that mane. An Apple knows their own kin.” Apple Bloom whispered.

Scarlet was speechless. There was a long pause, Apple Bloom continued to stare at her with a look on her face like she was expecting Scarlet to say something.

Apple Bloom then finally threw her forehooves around her neck.

“Hi Scarlet!” She bursted out with emotional gasp. “Ah’m your auntie Apple Bloom!”

Apple Bloom hugged Scarlet as if she was close family member whom she hasn't seen for a long time, despite that the two of them having just met.

Scarlet felt both terrified and overwhelmed. The surprise visit to her mother resulted in not only running into one of her blood relatives, but for them to find out by themselves who she was, and they were now was hugging her.

“I’m so sorry,” Cheerilee finally said breaking the silence, she was now weeping into a hoofkerchief she pulled out. “I couldn’t tell Macintosh, especially when I found that he fell in love with Fluttershy. I kinda suggested it to her. I’m sorry to both of you, I... I...”

Scarlet turned to say something to her mother but Apple Bloom was quicker to speak up.

“Oh no, no, no!” She said pulling herself away from Scarlet. “Ah’m kinda responsible for this.”

Scarlet now felt confused, which only complicated her already heightened emotions.

“Ms. Cheerilee, you know you would not have found mah big brother if it weren’t for that whole love potion incident.”

“Love potion!?” Scarlet said horror-struck. “I came to be... be... because of a love potion!?”

“No!” Both Apple Bloom and Cheerilee blurted out together at once.

“It started with a potion at first,” Apple Bloom said quickly. “But we undid it.”

Cheerilee nodded her head, her eyes still red.

“That was a full (sniff) two years before you were born.” Her mother sobbed. “We did have a real relationship after that. Then I move here, and shortly found out I was pregnant, and... Sweetheart, you were a surprise, I’ve told you that. But you were never a mistake. You were (sniff) no! You ARE the most wonderful thing to happen in my life.”

Scarlet walked over to her mother and placed her forehooves over her. It was easy for Scarlet her nearly a full head taller than her.

“I know mom,” she said resting her head on her's. “We will always love each other, and that’s all that matters.”

“Ah should be going,” Apple Bloom said quickly, looking at the two. “Ah just realized that ah should have not found out about this. The two of you are happy with your lives, and mah family is just fine not knowing about it. Some secrets are best kept that way. Ah promise that no one will hear about this.”

“Thank you,” Cheerilee said as Apple Bloom started walking towards the door.

Scarlet’s mind danced between respecting her mother’s choices, and her yearning to learn more about her own heritage.

She heard the hoof steps echoing behind her get farther away, and the door to the lecture hall open.

“Wait!” Scarlet called back suddenly.

She heard Apple Bloom pause and turn around.

“Mom,” Scarlet whispered. “I love you, and I know it’s better to just leave the past as is, but if I let her walk out-”

Cheerilee lifted a hoof up to her daughter’s mouth to silence her.

“Shhhh,” she whispered back. “I know, she has answers those many questions that I could never answer for you. You’re a grown mare now, and you have a right to know. Whatever you decide to do, I’ll support you. I’m proud of you not matter what. It didn’t matter when you changed your name or who you called your family. You will always be my daughter.”

Cheerilee kissed her on the cheek.

Scarlet turned around and saw Apple Bloom standing in the doorway looking back at the two of them.

“I don’t want you to leave,” Scarlet said to her.

Apple Bloom’s expression softened as she looked at her.

“I have so many questions,” Scarlet said, approaching her. “Let’s try this again on the right hoof. I’m Scarlet, Scarlet Gala, it is nice to meet you Aunt Apple Bloom.”

She reached out her hoof, Apple Bloom took it and gently shook it.

“It is nice to me you too, Scarlet,” she said back he face beaming with joy. “For the longest time as a filly ah always wondered what would it look like if mah teacher and big brother had a child. And here you are, you are more gorgeous than ah ever imagined you'd be.”

Apple Bloom sat back on her haunches and scratched her head.

“Ah’m kinda a stranger around Canterlot,” She said to Scarlet. “Is there a place where we could get a bite to eat and perhaps we could get better acquainted.”

“That sounds lovely,” Scarlet replied. She then turned to Cherrilee. “Mother, would you like to join us?”

“I’m not sure,” Cheerilee said with hesitation.

“Ah’d much appreciate it.” Apple Bloom added. “Ah’m sure you have some stories about Scarlet you would love to share.”

Cheerilee expression grew to a small smile.

“OK, let me just get my things from my office.” She finally said.

Next Chapter: A New Challenger Estimated time remaining: 31 Minutes
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