A full throated argument was in strident swing in the muddy courtyard of Sweet Apple Acres main compound as the apple trees lashed and rustled in the wind and rain on the farm's rolling hills. The Apple family's latest farm dog Naomi skittered back and forth across the front porch of the farmhouse, barking frantically and wagging her tail in unalloyed canine excitement, largely ignored by the assembly of equines.
On one side stood a mud splattered white earth pony mare draped in an orange rain poncho marked with the crest of Equestrian Emergency Services, water rolling down her sodden nurse's cap and pink mane as she glared at a furious female zebra clad in a dripping dark cloak, gold rings adorning her neck and ankles as she hiked her bristling, black and white tail in agitation.
Off to the side of the argument's ground zero, two earth pony sisters stood watching with a mixture of dismay, annoyance, and worry on their faces. Both mares were bundled up in raincoats and galoshes, shiny with water and flecked with mud from running.
The orange elder sister stood hitched up to a shiny little surrey with some fringe on the top, her waterlogged old cowpony hat flopped down in her eyes, with a long blonde ponytail trailing beneath that lay flattened to her neck and dripping down her muscular shoulders.
The younger sister was a leggy, light yellow filly just on the cusp between adolescence and marehood, with an apple red mane tied back out of her eyes by a pink bandanna. Her flanks bore a cutie mark depicting a hammer superimposed over the face of a half apple.
A sneer crossed the striped equine's dark muzzle. "To take a mare in labor out in the wind and rain, I think this pony nurse has gone soggy in the brain."
The white pony scowled back at her, grinding her hooves in the muddy ground. "Miss Fluttershy needs a real doctor looking after her, not a witch doctor!"
At this the red headed filly stamped a hoof. "Hay! That ain't very nice thang t' say at all, Nurse Redheart!"
The black and white striped mare's eyes narrowed dangerously as she advanced on the Ponyville nurse. "Your thoughtless words you had best revoke, or I'll make you regret that you even spoke"
Applejack shifted nervously in her harness. "Now just hang on there, Zecora. Lets don't all go off half cocked now. If we can just calm down and talk this thru in a reasonable type fashion..."
She was cut off as Pinkie Pie skidded to a stop beside them, throwing a wave of mud ahead of her that splattered on the blonde pony and the nurse. After a brief moment of blinking her wide blue eyes at the assembled mares, she started vibrating in place like a pastel pink, mud dipped, four legged jackhammer. "Applej-j-jack is F-f-fluttershy okay?"
The farm mare hung her head and brought a hoof to her brow with a splat. "Oh good day in th' mornin'... I knew it was only a matter o' time."
She looked up at the shimmying, bouncing pink mare, ignoring the mud dripping down her own forehead onto her freckled cheek. "Fluttershy's just gone into labor, Pinkie. I went n' got Nurse Redheart, but then SOMEPONY" She emphasized her words with a glare directed at her younger sister. "figured it'd be a good idea t' run get Zecora when I distinctly told her t' stay put n' mind her sister n' law."
The younger mare set her jaw and pushed out her lower lip in a classic little sister's "you're not the boss of me" expression. "It IS a good idea. Zecora knows all kinds o' herbal remedies and suchlike."
At this Nurse Redheart cut in, her glare still fixed on the zebra. "Which is all very nice if you want to brew tea. You'll excuse me if I prefer modern medical technology for delivering a foal."
The zebra braced her back legs, standing on the tips of her hooves as she snarled at her adversary. "The mother's in no danger, nor the foal in her womb. Why take her from home and put her in a sterile white room?"
The white pony lashed her pink tail. "Exactly! It's sterile, not a filthy backwoods farmhouse..."
Applejack looked sharply at the nurse from under her drooping hat. "Whoa now, just what the hay are you sayin' there, Redheart?"
The nurse ignored her and glared at the zebra's scowling face. "And if something DOES go wrong we can deal with it right away before things turn grave. Now get out of my face and go back to your cave!" She paused, blinking in the dim light coming from the nearby front porch before scowling to herself through gritted teeth. "Oh by Celestia's sun dappled rump, now you've got ME doing it..."
Zecora snorted and surged forward, her forehead pressing up against Nurse Redheart's as they locked flaring eyes. "I DON'T live in a cave, I live in a hut. I am THIS close to kicking your skinny white butt!"
The medical pony ground her teeth and pushed back just as hard. "Bring it on, candy striper!"
The torrential rain seemed to intensify as both mares started pushing and shoving back and forth and shouting in a raucous mix of Poneise and Zebraic, with Apple Bloom tugging at her zebra friend's tail to try to pull her back as Applejack struggled to work her way free of the surrey's harness and intervene before it escalated further. Pinkie Pie continued to bounce and jitter in place like a dismayed pink wind up toy. Naomi the dog leapt off the porch and started running in circles around the whole scene, yapping and jumping and apparently having the grandest time a hyperactive canine could imagine.
It was at the height of the tumult that Rarity staggered into the farm's courtyard, her once pristine coat slicked down to her skin and splattered with several varieties of mud, her soaked, bedraggled mane and tail bearing a payload of twigs and leaves indicating she'd taken some tumbles through a couple hedges in her headlong flight. By the look of the lily pad speared on her horn, she may have fallen into a pond as well.
A few hoof steps on her heels, a raggedly panting Caramel gamely tried to keep pace with her, attempting in vain to keep the upturned umbrella clenched in his teeth over her already drenched head.
The disheveled unicorn came to a tottering stop next to the shimmying form of Pinkie, barely keeping on her hooves as she heaved and gasped to catch her breath, while the tan stallion who'd been following her dithered between sheltering her or his erstwhile fiance.
Rarity's deep blue eyes widened as she took in the scene before her, and she began to scream, as much to the world around her as to any one pony, her normally mannered voice cracking in the throes of hysterics as she danced from hoof to hoof. "What is going ON!? What's happened to Fluttershy!? I'm WET! And HYSTERICAL! And everypony's yelling and butting heads and NOTHING MAKES SENSE!"
Applejack sat heavily down in the mud with a shuddering sigh, half out of her harness and rocking in place with her hooves over her eyes, a worsening headache pounding in her skull like the rain on her hat. Meanwhile, Apple Bloom was struggling to interpose herself between Zecora and Redheart's shoving match.
Unable to choose between the two pathetic mares on either side of him, Caramel tossed the umbrella away in despair and slouched despondently between his vibrating, shimmering fiancee to his right and the wailing, mud drenched unicorn on his left. Naomi broke out of her circular track and rushed to confront and loudly denounce the discarded umbrella, focused her full barking fury on it as if it were the most villainous thing in Equestria.
A piercing whistle echoed across the barnyard, bringing everything to a sudden, startled stop. Naomi instantly deflated and slunk away under the porch, looking abject and guilty in a way that only dogs can manage.
All eyes turned to behold the impossibly wizened form of Granny Smith standing there framed in the golden glow of the doorway looking at them all. Cold steel gleamed in her eyes while the wind played at her wispy white mane and fluttered the heavy shawl around her bony shoulders. The aged green mare lowered her hoof from her lips and set it down with only the slightest tremor on the planks of the farmhouse porch.
She screwed her wrinkled muzzle into a scowl and spoke with a voice that carried undertones of implacable command beneath the raspy dryness. "If'n you younguns is done raisin' a ruckus, there's a sweet filly in here fixin' to give birth t' one o' my great grandfoals. Is any o' this commotion helpin HER even one little bit?"
To a mare the younger ponies all turned to face her and hung their heads, fidgeting uncomfortably under her relentless gaze as she glared at them.
The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.