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"Get outta here! Get!" Applebloom yelled, throwing rocks at the fruit bats in the dead apple tree.

The pale moonlight shone on a decaying Sweet Apple Orchard. Drained and bruised apples hung on branches and rested at the feet of their trees. Where there were no apples, there were bats.

"We have enough problems!"

She threw more rocks. When rocks ran out, she started throwing fallen, rotten apples and rotten apple cores. Night after night since her sister disappeared, she turned her confusion, her anger toward what she thought was the cause - the bats.

It was all their fault. The day before Applejack disappeared, she said she was going into the orchard to get rid of them. She didn't come back in the morning. Or the night after that. Or the day after that. Or the week after that. Or the month after that.

Big Macintosh had to take over, but as the farmpony once said "One pony plus hundreds of apple trees just doesn't add up." There was too much for him to handle alone. His sister's disappearance weighed heavily on the poor stallion's emotions. In recent days, despair set in. Some mornings he couldn't even get out of bed. Applebloom and Granny Smith both worry about him.

All this because the dang fruit bats couldn't pick some other orchard to feed on! They had to take her sister, and their orchard!

"Why can't you take somepony else's family!? Huh!? Why ya'll gotta take mine!?" she clipped a fruit bat's wing, making it screech in terror and fumble away.

"Jus' git outta here! Leave us alone! We never wanted ya'll here!" she yelled, throwing a relatively pristine apple...

A hand sprang out of the tree's canopy and caught it in mid air, startling the mad filly. A silhouette was all Applebloom could see... a shadow figure dropped out of the tree... a mare. Applebloom stood in stunned confusion. The figure stepped forward and the moonlight peeled away the shadowy veil.

It was Applejack. Applebloom was speechless as she came closer.

"Ah seen the rest of this here orchard, Applebloom. Shouldn't waste no apples." she said.

Applebloom experienced so many emotions at once, too many for a little filly, but Applebloom did her best to compose herself. She was afraid, overjoyed, and furious all at the same time.

"A-applejack? Wut happened?" Applebloom asked, choking back tears but unable to stop her trembling.

"Long story, Twi's spell went all screwy 'n' we got... misplaced... kinda." applejack tried to explain.

"Wut happened to yer eyes? Why ya'll got them fangs? What're ya'll wearin'?" she asked looking over her now crimson eyed sister with pointed teeth protruding from her upper lip. In the filly's eyes, Applejack was dressed like some sort of undertaker, if that undertaker were at the beach.

A little voice in the back of her head told the little filly to run. That this wasn't applejack, but something using her form... she backed up, ready to make a break for the house. Big Mac would protect her from the monster.

Applejack held out her hands.

"Applebloom... ah know what yer thinkin'..."

she slowly stepped closer to the tense filly.

"Wut ARE ya'll!?" applebloom demanded. "Wut'd you do to mah sister!?"

"Applebloom, ah AM yer sister. Ah been missin' fer..." Applejack stopped. "... long time."

"Jus' tell me th' truth!"

Applejack sighed. "If ah tell ya'll, do ya promise not ta run away screamin'?"

"No promises." Applebloom said

"Applebloom... ah... am a vampony. Twi done gone an' used th' wrong spell and got some spooky ancient sumareian famine-endin' spell or sometihn' an' we all ended-" Applejack was interrupted.

"If ya'll are jus' vamponies then why'd ya'll not come back!?" Applebloom snapped, on the verge of tears.

"We couldn't. Endless Night is callin' the shots. We got a job ta do, an' only we can do i-"

"WELL WHY YOU!? WHY CAN'T SOMEPONY ELSE DO IT!? LOOK AT THE ORCHARD!!" Applebloom's fist clenched and she gestured to the rest of the orchard, many of the fruitbats flew off, startled by the filly's rage.

"Th' job's almost done, Applebloom..."

"OH THAT'S NICE! OUR ORCHARD'S GOIN' TA HELL, WE'RE GOIN' HUNGRY AN' BIG MAC'S TOO SAD TA GET OUTTA BED, BUT AT LEAST TH' JOB'S ALMOST DONE!" Applebloom started to pace back and forth, face turned red from ranting. "YOU JUS' LEFT US ALL! NO GOODBYE, NO VISITS, NOTHIN'!"

"Applebloom, ain't none of us had a choice. When the endless night calls, ya'll answer. Ain't no runnin'. No fightin'. No hidin'."

Applebloom shook a finger toward Applejack. "THERE'S ALWAYS A CHOICE, APPLEJACK! YOU... JUS'..." Applebloom ran toward the creature calling itself applejack, fists balled, and wailed on it's hard stomach with her fists, screaming in incoherent rage and sadness.

Applejack knew she had no excuse. Even if she had to remain hidden, there was no reason she couldn't have come to visit, to let the apple family know of the... transformation. Applebloom had every right to be furious.

She stood there, taking the weak, held back blows. Unflinching until Applebloom finally stopped, screams of rage slowly shifting into heavy sobs of frustration. Finally the punching stopped, and she wrapped her arms around the small of her sister's back and collaped into her.

"Ah'm sorry, Applebloom. Ah shoulda come back. Even fer one night ta explain things... there ain't no excuse fer abandonin' ya'll like ah did..." Applejack said, holding the weeping filly close.

The crying eventually passed. Applebloom was quiet in her sister's arms.

"Yer so cold Applejack."

"This won't happen again, ah promise. We'll all be a family again an' we'll all be t'gether 'til Equestria's end.." Applejack said softly.

Applebloom looked up into the blood red eyes of her sister who smiled back.

"Ah still have a job ta do, but ya'll gon' be taken care of 'till ah get back."

Applebloom wiped the tears from her eyes with her arm as Applejack gently pulled away.

"Ah need ya'll ta wait outside. Don' follow me, ah'll be right back." Applejack said, turning toward the darkened farmhouse. A sign that no one was awake inside.

---

commission for shadowdath shadowdath

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