An Honest Life

This story is a sequel to The Mess We're In Flim was never one to argue with Flam. In fact, if the situation had been any different, they might have been able to work it out. But, fate being the fickle thing that it is had other plans. After a heated fight, they split up. There was no going back, the bridge was burned and the damage done. It soon becomes apparent that things are never as easy as they seem. Several failed attempts later, Flim is out of energy and ideas. Just when he's about to give up, a chance encounter with Applejack changes everything. Working beside the Element of Honesty was the opportunity he needed. If he could prove his sincerity to her, then nopony would question his desire for an honest life. But, as the days drag on, he realizes a truth that may just jeopardize everything. How can he prove his sincerity when he must constantly hide the truth? http://www.fimfiction.net/story/228959/an-honest-life

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6. The Consequences of Your Actions

When it rained in Ponyville, it poured. At least that was Rainbow Dash's new weather team slogan. Applejack was more than convinced that the lower frequency and increased intensity of rain was just her friend being lazy. Still, the deluge had one distinct advantage. That was an entire day to relax and take a break from farm work. She rolled on the rug of their living room like a cat. "This is heaven."

"You said it, Applejack!" Apple Bloom was lying across from her on the floor, coloring furiously on a piece of paper. After a few seconds, she held up the foalish drawing for Applejack to see. "How do you like it?"

"It's . . ." Applejack did not know what to say. It looked like Apple Bloom had attempted to draw herself and her friends but what they were supposed to be doing was anypony's guess. "It's real nice, Apple Bloom." She turned to Flim who was lying close by, nudging him hard in the ribs.

The stallion looked up from his book, staring at Applejack. "Yes?"

Applejack rolled her eyes, glancing pointedly at the drawing. "Don't you think it looks nice?"

"Oh, yes that." Flim cleared his throat, levitating the paper close. A small smile stretched across his face. "Cool! You all have your cutie marks! So, what's Scootaloo's talent?"

"Flyin' that's why she's in the sky. An Sweetie Belle's is dancin' an mine's runnin'."

Applejack was surprised to hear his chuckle. Unlike Big Mac's, it was soft, and so quiet it almost sounded like a wheeze. It was completely different than what he had used before. The words came before she could stop herself, "You always laugh like that?"

"Huh?" Flim looked highly confused, glancing at Apple Bloom for backup. "Like what?"

"All soft like that."

He shrugged, "I guess it's natural for me. I only laugh loudly because it's part of my stage act."

"Really?" The intricacies of his little showpony routine continued to confuse her. "So you even fake laugh when your showboatin'?"

"Well yeah." Flim gave Apple Bloom back her picture. Then he turned to Applejack, giving a perfectly normal laugh that echoed all across the room. "You see, crowds can't hear me when I laugh normally."

"Oh, guess that makes sense." Applejack pawed at the rug, avoiding eye contact with Flim. "But don't it bother you switchin' all the time?"

"Oh no. I always laugh normal when I'm with family." He froze, flushing crimson. "Sorry! I didn't mean it like that. Just, being with you reminds me of my own family."

It was somehow refreshing to hear that. Even after all the yelling she had done, he still felt comfortable around her and Apple Bloom. Maybe this starting over idea would be easier than she thought. "It's all right, Flim. I guess that makes sense, seein' as how you don't have Flam anymore."

"Right." The stallion's expression darkened and he turned back to his book.

Applejack felt like kicking herself for bringing up his brother. "Sorry, Flim. I didn't mean to upset you."

"Don't worry about it, Applejack. Water under the bridge."

They went about their activities, listening to the rain pounding down on the roof. After an hour or so, Flim looked up at the clock. "Should we get Granny up? It's already eleven."

"Let her sleep. Rainy days ain't good for her joints." Though, the thought was a little troubling. Normally Granny would be up by now. Just as she stood, Granny could be heard walking down the stairs. "Granny! Yer up."

"I was up already." The mare hobbled over to them, surveying Apple Bloom's artwork strewn across the floor. "Been busy?"

"Sure have!" Apple Bloom hopped over to her grandmother. "Flim, Applejack, an me have been colorin' and readin'."

Granny smiled, walking over to her rocker. "That's nice, dearie. I thought we'd do a puzzle after lunch if you'd like."

"That sounds right delightful, Granny." Applejack remembered all the times Granny had done puzzles with her as a filly. "It's always more fun together. What do you say, Flim, Apple Bloom?"

Flim looked up from his book, "Oh, I wouldn't pass up that opportunity."

"Uh . . ." Apple Bloom looked away from her sister. "I was kind of hopin' to go to the clubhouse today."

Clubhouse? "Apple Bloom, it's rainin' cats an dogs. I think you'd better stay here an dry."

"But Applejack!" The filly pressed onto her leg in her typical begging pose. "Sweetie Belle and Scoots already promised to be there and so did I. I don't want to be a liar!"

Pullin' the old liar card, huh? Ah well, it can't hurt. Maybe if she gets sick, she'll learn a lesson. Applejack ruffled her sister's forelock, "Sure, you can go."

"Yes! Thanks Applejack." Apple Bloom hopped back to her colors, apparently satisfied with the result. She frowned at the page she was coloring. "It's a shame Big Mac's on a date today. I wanted to show him my pictures!"

Apple Bloom's words hit Applejack like a punch to the gut. They had been lying around the living room for hours and she never even noticed Big Mac's absence. It was the first time in her life she could remember not feeling a hole inside when he was gone. Her attention turned to Flim. Was it because he was there? No, that could not be right, could it? Applejack shook the thought away. It was just a coincidence, nothing more.

 

 

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Apple Bloom pranced anxiously beside her two best friends, looking down at the low lying creek bed below them. Drenched did not even begin to describe how utterly and completely soaked the fillies were. Apple Bloom was fairly certain she would gain half her body weight in water before this stunt of theirs was over.

"Of course I'm sure!" Scootaloo gave one of her over confident grins behind the strands of lilac mane blowing in her face. The wind swept viciously across the hay field they were standing in.

Sweetie Belle glanced down at the creek bed. "So we're going to 'trap' Apple Bloom there?"

"That's the plan." Before either of them could stop her, Scootaloo descended the small embankment to the creek. Apple Bloom glanced nervously at Sweetie Belle, and together they followed Scootaloo. The rushing water was only up to their knees, so they continued on. Scootaloo, shielded her eyes with a hoof, glancing around. "Where is it, Apple Bloom?"

"There! I think." Apple Bloom pointed to a small cutout on the side of the embankment. They scrambled towards it and surveyed the spot. "It's a might smaller than I remember."

"It'll be fine!" Scootaloo eyed the filly sized hole in the dirt like the lost gold of Eldorido. "If you stand in there and we cover you with a few sticks, then it'll look like you're trapped."

"Brilliant, Scoots!" Sweetie Belle began to levitate any debris she could find.

Apple Bloom was oh so tempted to smack her. There was no way this little plan of theirs would work, but she did not want to be the wet blanket. They worked together and managed to collect a substantial amount of creek debris. "All right. I think I'm ready to be 'trapped.'"

"Cool!" Scootaloo waved Apple Bloom into their makeshift prison.

Apple Bloom watched them stack the debris with the slightest touch of apprehension. Though just sticks and rocks, it felt as though a wall was being built with her on the wrong side. As they worked, she began to notice that something was not right. The water had been up to their knees when they started, but was now fast approaching her chest. Apple Bloom squinted in the now dim light. "Hey girls?" They did not respond, though there were muffled voices some distance away. Before she could call out again, there was a massive thud from behind the sticks. "What was that?"

Sweetie Belle's cheery voice sounded behind their makeshift screen. "A rock."

"A really, really big rock!" From the tone of her voice, Scootaloo was proud of that fact. "We rolled it over from the other side of the creek. Thought it'd be more convincing than some twigs."

Apple Bloom felt her heart race at the thought. A boulder? How am I supposed to get out? She glanced down at the now visibly rising water. "Get rid of it! Get me out!"

"But we just started." Sweetie Belle sounded more than a little put out. "You really going to chicken out?"

"I ain't chicken! This here water's risin' faster than one of Granny's biscuits." Her voice took on a definite note of panic now, "It's up to my chest!"

Apple Bloom could here Scootaloo straining with the rock. There was a distinct squelching noise as they pair scrambled in the mud. Sweetie Belle's high pitched cry made her heart leap with fright. "It won't budge! What do we do?"

"Get help! Hurry!" She heard her friends tear off down the creek bed. The icy water crept up her sides slowly but surely. There had been times in her life she had been scared, but never like this. This time it felt real. If help did not come soon, she really might drown. Somepony, anypony, help!  

 

 

"All in." Flim pushed the pile of apple chips to the center of the dining room table. From the smirk on his face, he was confident he had won this round. Well, Applejack was about to prove him wrong.

"You sure you want all in, Flim?" Her eyebrow raised ever so slightly, trying to hide the snigger that threatened to break free. This was way too easy.

Flim put a hoof on the table, a mock serious expression on his face. "Do you have any goldfish?"

Applejack locked eyes with him. "Go fish."

"Argh! Seriously?"

"Seriously." Applejack giggled at Flim's over-dramatic response. Though he pretended to be upset, she could see that he was having a great time. Watching him made her wonder if dramatic reactions ran in his family.

He gave her a good natured clap on the shoulders. "Well played, Applejack."

"Thank you kindly, Flim." She could not stop the broad grin from stretching across her face. It had been incredibly fun to play with Flim, even though they had originally intended to play poker. After searching the house, the only cards she could find were Go Fish cards. Flim insisted they play anyway, and so she was dragged into their little tournament. Granny had given up after the first four rounds, leaving them to battle it out themselves for another six.

"You two youngins done playin' yet?" Granny shuffled into the kitchen with the air of some over taxed foalsitter.

Flim shrugged, leaning back in his chair. "For now. But I think we'll have to have another rematch later."

Applejack nodded her head to the mountain of apple chips in front of her. "He's out of chips."

"I can see." Granny's wheezy laugh made Applejack worry a little. Before she could bring it up, Granny started getting dishes out for supper. "Applejack, when was Apple Bloom comin' home?"

"Well, it's got to be soon." A quick glance at the clock informed her it was almost four. "She don't normally stay out passed five." Just as the words left her mouth, there was the distinct sound of hoof beats against the mud outside. "Well what do you know? She's already here."

Flim began levitating the cards into their box again. He glanced over at Applejack as he worked, "Muddy."

"What, Flim?"

"She'll be muddy." The last of the cards slid into the box. "Should I get a towel or something?"

"That'd be right helpful, Flim. There's in the closet just up the—" A loud knock on the kitchen broke her off. Before she could even walk to the door, it flung open. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo dashed in, splattering the immaculate kitchen in thick globs of mud. "What in tarnation are you two doin'? An where's Apple Bloom?" An icy dread swept over her her. Where was Apple Bloom?

Sweetie Belle huffed, looking wild eyed at Applejack. "She's . . . she's—"

Scootaloo elbowed her aside. "She's trapped!"

"Trapped?" That don't make a lick of sense. "Where's she trapped?"

"We were playing by the creek bed and," Scootaloo gulped looking down at her hooves. "we thought it'd be fun to pretend trap her behind some rocks and sticks."

"And Scoots had to get a big boulder!"

She rounded on her friend, "It was your idea too! Anyway, we couldn't move the boulder." There was a distinct note of panic in Scootaloo's voice that made Applejack's blood run cold. "She's stuck in this crevice and the water's rising really fast! You've got to help her!"

Sweetie Belle clung to Applejack's leg. "She'll drown!"

"Where?"

Applejack jumped at the sound of Flim's uncharacteristically low voice.

Scootaloo looked into Flim's eyes. "The creek bed bordering the south hay field."  

"The south creek bed!" There was no fighting the panic now. The south creek bed was off limits during a rainstorm, a fact Apple Bloom ought to know full well. "What were you thinkin'? That place floods worse than I'll get out!" She turned to Granny who was staring pleadingly at Applejack. "I'll go."

Before she made one stride forward, Flim shot out of the door so fast her mane flew back. She lunged forward, following suit. "Hold on, Flim!"

He stopped, squinting to see her through the downpour. "Wait there! I'll bring her back!"

"But, I can go too."

"I'll be faster on my own. We can't waste any time!" Before she could even try to stop him, he took off.

Applejack had always considered herself fast by pony standards, but never in all her life had she seen a pony run as fast as Flim did that moment. He did not gallop, he flew across the muddy earth, long legs eating up the distance in a flawless form that left no room for wasted movement.

Her heart sank when he missed the gate to the south end of the farm. The fence bordering that area was taller than Big Mac and led to a steep drop off. Nopony had ever tried that jump. She grimaced, waiting for Flim to fall with a crunch. To her surprise, he took a graceful, perfectly timed leap over the fence, clearing it with at least a foot to spare and galloped away from just as easily. In a matter of seconds, he was out of sight. It was up to him now. Please, let her be safe.  

 

 

Flim knew he was in trouble. Knew from the moment he started off towards the creek. But that did not matter. All that mattered was getting to the scared filly before time ran out. He urged his legs to keep going despite the now searing pain. Come on Flim, run faster.

There had been a time when his little gallop would have been thrilling. He would have savored the rain stinging his eyes and the way his hooves barely scraped the earth. Now all he could think of was the stinging agony that came with every short breath. His lungs could not handle this, and he knew it. But if he stopped now, he would never make it. So he had to push. Push past the pain and the fear of the inevitable. He had given up the right to be afraid when he took off.

Flim marveled at the distance he had managed. It was easily the farthest he had run in years. The fact that he managed to cover so much distance in so short a time was a miracle in and of itself. He was woefully out of practice. After clearing another fence, he broke out of the orchard into the hay field. Flim's heart sank when he realized he had no idea where this creek bed was.

He galloped across the slick grass, looking everywhere for the creek. His lungs felt ready to burst from the strain of it all, but he had to keep going. Finally, he heard the soft rush of water just to his left. Down a small embankment was a swollen creek. He leapt down into the creek. The frigid water had already risen up to his knees. Celestia, please let her be okay!

Slowing to a trot, he looked all over for any sign of the filly. He attempted a shout, but his lungs would not allow it. Finally, a scan of the closest side revealed a small boulder pressed against the mud. He cantered over and began to levitate the boulder in his magic. It took a few tries to dislodge it from the mud, but it eventually moved aside.

A small flood of water escaped the hole and a drenched Apple Bloom slid out. He caught her in his hooves. At first, he thought the motionless filly was dead. But thankfully, she opened her eyes to stare up at him. "Flim?"

Without a word, he slung her unceremoniously on his back and cantered out of the creek bed. His lungs began to seize up just as they had countless times before. After a few strides through the field, he fell to his knees, knowing full well what would happen next. Out of time.

 

 

Apple Bloom had never thought water could be so dangerous. But, as she stood in that hole, watching the water rise, she was certain it was. Certain that her stupid mistake would be her downfall. If Flim had not come when he did, she would be dead right now. She was brought from her thoughts when she was flung off of Flim's back and onto the grass. Her eyes darted back to the unicorn who had curled in a tight ball. "Flim, you okay?"

Instead of a response, Flim began a dry, hacking cough that made her cringe. It sounded sickeningly hollow. "Flim?" She reached out, patting his hoof in concern. He swiped it away, glowering at her. "Sorry."

Apple Bloom waited for Flim to stop coughing, but it only got worse. The dry hack had been replaced by an awful wheezing that made her cringe. It sounded as though he might stop breathing any second. "Should I get a doctor? Flim?"

Flim shook his head, sending up another violent coughing fit. There was a pain in his eyes she had never seen before. It made her whole body cold all over. Was he going to be okay? Should she run and get help? No, by the time she got anypony, it would be too late.

Apple Bloom always wondered what dying ponies looked like. It was a morbid thought, but one that often consumed her when she was little. Applejack never told her how or why their parents died. But, if she had to guess what dying looked like, it would be exactly what Flim was doing. Salty tears started to stream down her muzzle at the thought of Flim dying too. It would be her fault, hers and hers alone. Oh why did I ever let Scoots talk me into this?

The shallow wheezing came back worse than before. Flim winced, hooves digging at the mud, eyes shut from the pain. His attempts at breathing normally seemed to be failing. Apple Bloom watched him sit up, surrounding his horn with magic. He turned towards his chest and started casting some kind of spell. That seemed to do some good, and he began to cough again.

"Maybe I should get Applejack."

The stallion shook his head, closing his eyes once more.

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes. Flim was as stubborn as Big Mac. Grudgingly, she lay in the grass, allowing the pouring rain to soak what little dry hairs she had left. Thankfully, she was not coughing from her time in the hole. Precious little water had gotten into her lungs thanks to Flim's timely arrival.

There was not a lot to look at in their hay field. Just a sea of grass and clover, flattened by the deluge. Apple Bloom scraped her hoof against the blades and started. The entire surface of her leg was coated in thick mud. A quick check over her own body revealed that she was every bit as filthy as Flim was. Applejack's goin' to be mad. She grimaced at the thought of the lecture that awaited upon their return. No doubt she would be grounded, perhaps even publicly humiliated for her stunt. For once, she felt like she deserved it.

Another onset of wheezing drew her attention to Flim. She watched as he cast the spell again and returned to coughing. It went on like that for some time. Flim coughing, then wheezing, then casting the spell. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, he stopped. Her ears perked up, waiting for a reprise, but it seemed to have ceased for the moment. "You better now, Flim?"

"No." His voice was raspy. He raised a hoof, motioning for her to come closer.

She slunk cautiously forward, avoiding his harsh stare. "Yeah?"

Flim straightened, a deadly serious expression on his face. "What was this all about?"

Don't ask that. Anything but that! "It was just a game."

"No it wasn't." Another weak cough followed the statement. He reached over, patting Apple Bloom's forelock gently. "You're not the kind of filly to play a game like that."

"I . .  . You're right." There really was no point in hiding it. The tears started to spill down her cheeks. "It was Scoots' idea. I thought when you said you can't run, you just meant you didn't like to. So we thought if I pretended to be stuck, you'd run and realize how much fun it was. Then I really got stuck, and," She looked up pleadingly into his eyes, "everything went bad. I didn't know you were hurt, honest!"

Flim's disappointed expression was almost too much for her to bear. He looked at the grass, then back up at her. "That's the most idiotic stunt I've ever heard of!" The increase in volume set off yet another fit of coughing. He looked back, eyes boring into hers. "What would have happened if I didn't get to you in time, huh? How would I have faced Applejack when I brought you home dead? Celestia, think of somepony other than yourself for once!"

"I didn't . . . I didn't mean . . ."

"No. You didn't think!" Flim's eyes swam with pain as he returned to coughing.

"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry." The words sounded hollow, even to herself. It did nothing to change the fact that she nearly killed Flim and herself in one fell swoop. Her eyes focused on his heaving sides. "What's wrong with you, anyway?"

Flim managed to control the fit, staring back at her. "I broke my wind, running a steeplechase four years ago. Ran when I wasn't ready to and ruined my lungs in the process."

"You can do that?"

"Yeah, kid, you can." Flim struggled to his hooves, legs shaking uncontrollably. "It happens to a lot of racers."

Apple Bloom walked beside him as they made their way back to the farmhouse. "So, you like running?"

Flim nodded, "Love it more than life itself, kid. It's like . . . like I'm only really free when I'm running. Like, for an instant, everything is simple again." He gave a weak smile, "I know it sounds cliché, but that's the way it is. I'd still be galloping my heart out every day if I could."

"Oh." Apple Bloom wanted to say something to him, but could not think of the words. What do you tell somepony like him? There was nothing she could say that would let him run again.

"Say kid?"

Apple Bloom turned to see Flim looking back at her. "Yeah?"

"Don't tell anypony about my lungs." He turned away, lowering his head as they walked up the gradual slope towards the house. "I don't want them thinking I'm weak."

"Why?"

He looked taken aback, "What kind of ponies want to hire a stallion who's too weak to run?"

"I don't care 'bout that!" Apple Bloom wrapped his hoof in a big hug. "Big Mac an Granny don't either. An I'm sure Applejack wouldn't care!"

Flim's raspy laugh was a little unnerving, but Apple Bloom could tell he was happy. "You're a good kid, Apple Bloom. Stay that way."

A good kid? Apple Bloom's heart sank as she listened to Flim's dry coughs. I'm anything but a good kid.

 

 

"Where are they?" Applejack paced the floor of the kitchen for what must have been the hundredth time since she returned. She turned to Granny who was seated at the table, knitting away. "Should I go look for them?"

"Now, now, dearie. They'll be back." Though her words were encouraging, Applejack could not help but notice her grandmother's hooves shaking.

"How are the girls?"

"Asleep, Applejack." Granny jerked a nod to the living room. "On the couch. Poor dears are worried sick."

Applejack sighed heavily. It had taken a good deal of coaxing just to get Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to take a bath. They were understandably shaken up by what happened. Even Applejack had to admit that it had been a long time, easily an hour.

The sound of the door creaking open caused her to whirl around on her haunches. There in the doorway stood a decidedly soaked but unharmed Apple Bloom. Applejack galloped over to her, giving the mud caked filly a bone crushing hug. "Apple Bloom! Thank Celestia yer all right." She found herself kissing her little sister all over. "Are you hurt?"

Apple Bloom cringed from the sudden display of affection. "I ain't hurt! Let go!"

Applejack released her, and noticed Flim for the first time. The stallion was still standing in the rain, smiling brightly at her. "Brought her back."

"Yeah." Her throat felt tight as she spoke, "You did great." Then, before she register why, gave him a big hug. "Thank you, Flim. Thank you."

He flushed crimson, patting her on the back. "No problem."

Applejack pulled away, stepping back to examine Flim. Celestia he looks exhausted. "You okay, Flim?"

"Yeah. I'm just going to go rest now." He started towards the barn without another word.

Applejack made to stop him, but decided against it. There was a more pressing matter to deal with. Apple Bloom. It was no stretch of the imagination to say she was furious with her. But that could wait. It was enough to know she was safe. All thanks to Flim.

 

 

Flim was always weak after an attack. Generally they came as a result of physical exertion or prolonged use of his magic. This time, he had been stupid enough to run after the doctors forbid him to so much as attempt it. But there was no helping it. So he lay on the straw, trying to ignore the agony that came with each breath.

His sides ached, his loins ached, and his whole body felt numb. The water was coming off as steam now, and he longed for a blanket. Urgh. Maybe I should go get one from the house. Setting his front hooves carefully on the dirt, he attempted to push himself up. The result was a painful thud as he struck the ground. On second thought, I'll stay put.

He lowered his head on the straw, attempting to sleep. Every cough sent another spasm down his sides and jarred him awake. It was going to be a long night.

"Flim?"

Flim watched the barn door swing cautiously open. Applejack grinned back at him, lantern in her mouth and a basket on a hoof. She walked over to him, setting down the basket and hanging the lantern. "Lands above! Would you believe it's still rainin'?"

"Yeah. I can hear it hitting the roof."

Applejack grimaced. "Fields are goin' to be soup for a while." Her eyes darted over his body, and she frowned. "Celestia, Flim. Yer soaked clean through. Hang on a sec."

Flim watched her gallop back towards the house. What was that about? Sighing, he attempted to fall back asleep again. The pounding rain against the shingles echoed in the stillness of the barn. It was strangely soothing, and he was glad to be out of it.

Applejack returned a few minutes later, a few quilts on her back and a towel in her mouth. Depositing the quilts, she began to vigorously rub his coat. Generally Flim would have protested, but not now. It felt wonderful, and if she was volunteering, he would not stop her. After she was done, she threw both quilts on top of him. "You'll catch a cold lettin' yerself air dry like that."

Flim could only nod, glancing up at her. She's really worried. "How's Apple Bloom?"

"Fine thanks to you." She scooped up the basket, and settled down beside him. "Got a bath an a lecture. Might get sick, but she'll be just fine." Her ears perked up as he began another coughing fit. "I'm a lot more worried 'bout you. I never saw a pony run half as fast as you did earlier. You weren't lyin' 'bout yer runnin'!"

"I wouldn't," He coughed again, looking into her eyes, "I wouldn't lie to you, Applejack."

Applejack shrugged, a soft smile creeping across her face. "Yeah, I know. You went an proved yerself today, Flim." Her soft giggle made his heart jump. "You really are somethin' else. Turnin' full circle like you have ain't easy." She opened the basket, drawing out a steaming bowl of something and a long bottle.

"What's that?"

"Bran mash." Seeing his doubtful expression, she shoved the bowl in front of him. "It don't look to good, but I guarantee it's the best cure for pushin' yerself. An you really pushed yerself!"

Flim lowered his head to the bowl, taking a bite. It was warm, sweet, and somehow managed to numb the pain. He dug into it, eating hungrily.

Applejack watched him, smile growing wider. "So you can eat normal?"

He licked up the last bit of the mash, then looked up at her. "Too tired for magic."

"Guess I can see that." Applejack pulled out the bottle, and a mug. She filled it to the brim with the amber liquid and handed it to him.

"What's this?"

She gave a playful wink, "Granny's miracle curative tonic. 'Cept this stuff actually works."

Dubious, but thirsty, Flim accepted. The liquid burned worse than whiskey on the way down, but he took it as a sign of its effectiveness. Soon he had drained the entire thing.

"Good. Now you can sleep easy." Applejack patted his back before standing up. "I slipped some pain medicine into the mash, so between that an the tonic, you should be able to sleep."

You drugged me? Flim wanted to be mad about that, but was too tired to argue. If it helped, then he could have cared less how she gave it to him.

"Thanks."

"Sure thing." She scooped up the lantern, walking to the door. "You get some rest an don't worry 'bout gettin' up early. I'm givin' you the day off tomorrow."

Flim nodded, lowering his head on the straw. The so called tonic was doing its work well. In a few minutes, he could not feel anything trace of the pain. Even the coughing had slowed. The Apple family really knew their stuff. Idly Flim thought of the profit Applejack could make selling the stuff. But he doubted she ever would. Applejack was too honest for sales. Flim began to wonder if he would end up the same way.You're too good of an influence, Applejack. You'll make me the worst salespony in Equestria.

 

Author's Note:

So there it is! Finally wrote out the chapter I've been planing since this past spring. Been a long time coming! Next chapter will be a kind of flashback deal, so look forward to it.

I modeled Flim's condition off of exercise induced heaves (aka horse asthma or broken wind). It's an actual condition horses get from overtaxing themselves without being properly conditioned first. Got the idea from Ginger in Black Beauty (her wind was broken in a race too).

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