Picnic by Paxtofettel
(Starring Berry Punch and her little sister, Apple Core)
For pretty much everypony that lived in the cozy little village of Ponyville, summers in Equestria meant two things for them: fun and relaxation. Indeed, when the days became warmer and the sun stayed in its home in the sky for much longer, the multicolored equines would spend most of their vacation time enjoying the wonders of nature, letting out all the stress that had been built up by all the hard work they had been doing. All around the park, ponies set up swaths of picnic blankets, intent on sharing time with their beloved families.
However, at this moment, two certain inhabitants of the town were nowhere to be seen. Of course, the ponies did not pay much heed to their absence, instead opting to partake in some fun in the sun.
“C’MON, SIS!” shouted a small light pink filly from the living room, “WHAT’S TAKING YOU SO LONG?”
Near the outskirts of Ponyville, around the vicinity of Sugarcube Corner, there lived two particular female ponies. Granted, if one saw them, they would not see anything special concerning them. Really, compared to the interesting characters a pony could find in the magical land of Equestria, these two seemed quite ordinary, to say the least. However (and please do stop me if this get rather “sappy”), they both shared the strongest bond ever imaginable.
“Calm down, Apple,” answered a larger pony with a coat that was of a plum color and a mulberry mane. She had a cutie mark of a bunch of grapes and a strawberry emblazoned on her flanks. This certain earth pony mare was one of the more well known of all the inhabitants. Many knew her as a producer of the finest fruit punches this side of the Equestria, neigh, perhaps the known world. In fact, being the entrepreneur she is, many of her friends have made jokes about her obsession with fruit punch, calling her an “alcoholic”, a title she laughs at every time it is mentioned.
Her name was Berry Punch.
“But siiiiiiiiiiiis!” cried Apple Core, Berry’s little sister, “I want to go to the park so bad!”
Berry Punch couldn’t help but chuckle at her sister’s impatience. Despite being related, Berry was the complete opposite of her younger sibling. Whereas Berry was more laid back and calm, Apple Core was always literally bursting with energy. This sometimes led to a few conflicts between both of them, but they always seemed to work out any of their differences.
“I know, I know,” said the older mare, poking her head through kitchen entrance, “I’ll be finished soon. Just need to pack a few more things and we’re set.”
Berry Punch began to smile when Apple Core began to hop gleefully, “YAY! YAY! YAY!” she exclaimed every time she jumped. The reason for the little filly’s excitement was rather simple, it was her first ever picnic with her big sister. In the schoolhouse, her friends would always talk about how they loved going on picnics with their parents and playing under the warmth of the sun. Feeling left out of the fun, she pleaded to her sister to take her out on one. After much convincing (and after many hours of whining), Berry finally gave in and agreed to her whims. They had been planning this day for a few weeks now and today was finally the day.
Apple Core was the first one to wake up, excited for the day’s events. Her sister, on the other hand had still been asleep after a hard day of mashing fruits for her punch. Thankfully, thought to Berry’s detriment, Apple was there to wake her big sister from her deep slumber. After a few loud bangs on a soup pot and a mare falling on the floor, Berry began packing all the refreshments that they would require today.
“Let’s see here,” she murmured to herself, “two daisy sandwiches, check. Two bottles of fruit punch and two glasses, check. Blanket, check. One bowl of potato salad, checkaroo!” As she examined all the food and drink she packed inside the simple woven picnic basket, she noticed that she had forgotten something. “Something’s missing,” she said, looking on the counter for any sign of it. After a couple of minutes searching, she finally found what she was looking for.
It was a picture frame, not unlike those you would find sitting on top of fireplaces or night stands. The outer edge was made out of smooth, polished wood; a pure testament to Equestrian craft making. Inside the frame was an aged photograph; around twenty years old and almost faded beyond recognition. To many, it would seem like an old and useless piece of the past. To Berry Punch, however, it was something that she cherished as much as her sister.
The picture was that of four ponies, all gathered in front of a Hearth’s Warming tree. The older looking one, a red coated stallion with a purple mane, had a leg draped around a purple mare with a pink mane that appeared to be his wife. Between there, there was a small filly, no more than seven years of age, similar to Berry in appearance and a baby chewing on a plastic chewing rings. Berry Punch turned the frame around with her teeth, so that the back was facing upwards.
On the back, there was a small caption that read: Mom, Dad, Berry, and Apple. Hearth’s Warming, year 507 Solar Era.
She smiled at the memory; tears of nostalgia build up in her eyes.
I miss you, Berry silently prayed, I hope both of you are enjoying The Goddess’ hall. She placed the picture frame inside the basket and placed it around her neck. When Apple saw her sister finally exit the kitchen, she felt as if she was about to explode due to the sheer amount of happiness she was feeling.
“HOORAY!” she shouted, “you’re finally finished! This is going to be the best day ever!”
Berry Punch chuckled. “It sure will be,” she said, “c’mon, let’s go, before all the shady spots are taken.”
After a few minutes of looking for a decent spot to set up their picnic blanket, Berry and Apple managed to find a nice, shady spot under an old oak tree. Both immediately got to work setting everything up, from the blanket to the assortment of food that Berry had prepared just for this occasion. Lastly, Berry took out the frame and set it up right on top of the blanket.
Apple Core eyed the picture with curiosity in her eyes. “Is that momma and papa?” she asked.
Berry nodded, “Yeah, that’s mom and pops.”
“What were they like?” asked the little filly. She had never known her parents well, having been only a foal when they passed away due to sickness.
“Oh, they were very nice,” Berry answered, “I remember dad feeding you and putting you to sleep when mom needed a break. You sure were a fussy foal.”
“I was not!” retorted Apple Core, but her tone softened up, “was I?”
Berry Punch chuckled again, “Nah, but you did cry a lot. Kept me awake for a long time.” She began un-wrapping the sandwiches she packed, “Anyways, let’s eat. I’m starving.”
As they sat there enjoying their meal, Berry took the chance to observe the ponies that had come to the park. She saw Lyra, the town’s resident foreigner and musician, twiddling with her lyre on the bench. She did not really take note to the strange way she was sitting, having seen stranger things in her lifetime. Berry took notice of Rarity, the town’s fashion expert, walking along the path with a…dragon? She noticed that they were walking rather closely, perhaps a bit too close. Berry shook her head; her mother had always told her never to jump to conclusions about other ponies.
By the time they finished the potato salad, the sky had begun to get dark, signaling the end of the day. The two sisters had packed up the basket and began to trot home. Despite the lateness of the hour, Apple was bouncing about merry; quite similar to Ponyville’s premier party pony.
“That was so much fun!” Apple exclaimed happily, “we should do it again some other time.”
Berry smiled, “Yeah, maybe we should.”
When they reached their home, Berry placed the basket on the living room table, deciding to clean it out tomorrow.
“Okay Apple, time for bed,” she said in a sing-song tone.
The filly’s smile immediately turned to a sad frown. “Awww,” she cried out, “do I have to?”
“Good little ponies always go to bed,” answered Berry, “come on, I’ll tuck you in.”
They trotted upstairs to Apple’s bedroom. It looked like a normal filly’s room, with toys spread around the floor, increasing the chance of falling face first. The little sister got into the bed and Berry pulled the covers over her. She gave Apple a small good night kiss on her forehead, and began to make way for the door. But, before she did that, her sister jumped up and hugged her neck.
“Thank you so much, Berry,” the little one said, “you’re the best sister in the world.
Berry Punch smiled and returned the embrace. “So are you, Apple.”
Apple Core then laid her head on the pillow and promptly fell asleep. Berry turned off the lights to the room but decided to leave the door open a crack, so as to allow the light from the hall to enter the room. She made her way to her own room and laid on the bed. She closed her eyes and fell into a content slumber.