The broom swept against the dusty path as Apple Bloom drove it forward. She hummed gently as she drove the autumn leaves onto the grass, her long pinkish red mane drooping over her neck. She lifted her head, and the broom-stick clattered to the ground. There was silence.
"Silly me." She mused, then lent down and grabbed the end in her teeth and lifted it back up.
Again she was startled into jumping back, but this time the sound responsible repeated. She turned, ears twitching as the galloping grew louder and louder, then a gleaming orange shape appeared on the horison, speeding towards Sweet Apple Acres. Apple Bloom abandoned the broom against a fence and trotted towards Scootaloo, who opened her wings and flew into the air before spiralling to a stop.
"Apple Bloom!" Scootaloo whinnied, running circles around her amused friend. "Did you hear? Did you hear?"
Apple Bloom sighed irritably. "Slow down!" She snapped. "Hear about what?"
"The Festival! And the competition!"
"What?" Excitement rose in Apple's belly.
Scootaloo skipped around and around, a grin spread across her face. "That's right! Princess Celestia is coming for a festival right here in PonyVille before she goes to one in Canterlot- and the Wonderbolts are performing!"
Apple narrowed her eyes a little. She aught to of guessed that this had something to do with the Wonderbolts. The Wonderbolts were a group of pegasus ponies that performed aerial acrobatics at special occasions for the princess. Scootaloo's best friend of many years, Rainbow Dash, had been accepted as one of them, and Apple guessed that she was eager to see her friend again.
"That's... er, great." Apple said. "But it's apple season... and Apple Jack and Macintosh can't do it without me."
"Oh, c'mon, Apple Bloom!" Scootaloo whined.
"No." She said firmly.
Scootaloo sighed and turned away. "You're no fun..."
"You're picking me, right?" Sunrise Brisk said slowly, watching her mother pull out a tray of muffins.
Rainbow Dash sighed. "I can't just pick you because you are my daugher, Sunrise. It's whoever does the best for the Wonderbolts."
Looking up from a cookbook, Cloud Puff's green eyes swept across the kitchen and landed on her sister, who had screwed her nose into a stubborn pout. She smirked and let out a chuckle, then glanced at the muffins.
"Perfect!' She said, taking a deep breath of the sweet steam that rose off them.
Rainbow Dash smiled and trotted over to the counter and let the tray clatter down. "Get them while they're hot."
Cloud waited for Sunrise to grasp one in her hooves, then she leaned in for her own. Gently getting the edge with her teeth, she pulled it out and rested it in front of her, letting the aroma reach her before she took her first bite. She closed her eyes and bit forward happily, just to clack her teeth against the air. Huh?
She opened her eyes, then furrowed her eyebrows as she looked up into her sister's dimpled face dotted with crumbs and painted with a beaming smile. White Whirl giggled and licked her lips, her pink eyes shining like soft roses glittered with dew drops.
"White Whirl!" Cloud Puff scolded gently.
Sunrise Brisk trotted past them, her short tail bobbing up and down. "C'mon! We gotta go see dad before him and mum leave for the preparations!"
"Are you sure you don't need help with the decorations?" Cloud asked her mother as they all herded out of the door.
"I'm fine, thank you." Dash said warmly, nudging White Whirl ahead of her.
Cloud nodded, then blew her white plait out of her eyes before following Sunrise onto the street. The day was perfect for a festival, the sun glowing gently up in the cloudless sky. She could see pegasus ponies floating around, making sure nothing blew in to hide the golden sunshine.
She walked for a bit, leaving Sunrise behind her to chat with Dash. Young ponies frollocked down the road, chasing each-other's tails and playing games in the humid warmth. A group had clustered around DJ Pon3, listening to the pony grooving out. Cloud shook out her hair then galloped down the street, bucking in excitement. Soon the Princess would be here, and she would get to see the WonderBolt's performing!
A fork came in the path ahead, and Cloud slowed and looked between them, her wings stretching.