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A Natural Remedy

by TheBlazingOptimist

Applejack counted herself lucky. She'd been all over Equestria even before becoming a member of the Council of Friendship, from Klugetown to Tartarus...but there was one place she hadn't yet managed to go.
'Thanks again, Professor Applejack,' Silverstream said, hovering in the air just above the earth pony. 'You know, when I suggested Mount Aris would be the perfect place to come to help you grow your farm, I really thought you'd turn me down...'
Applejack chuckled. ‘Now, that’s a load of horsefeathers and you know it,’ she reprimanded gently. ‘Why would I not want to come to Mount Aris? Applebloom’s told me it’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Equestria.’
‘And she’s right!’ Silverstream responded. ‘It’s just that—well, we hippogriffs can be a little….different to ponies, is all.’
‘If you fit in Ponyville, sugarcube, I can sure fit in your home.’
Silverstream smiled, ascending into the air and past some trees. Beyond them lay a sight that Applejack had to stand still to behold. In the centre of her vision stood a rock, tall and ridged, which stretched up to a point so sharp it could’ve been piercing the sky.
‘Applejack?’ Silverstream called, snapping her out of her amazed trance. ‘You okay back there?’
‘Uh-huh,’ the orange pony replied, adjusting her brown Stetson. ‘I think I might need a beginner’s tour first, though…’
At first, it seemed as if Silverstream didn’t hear Applejack. However when the pony looked further she saw that the hippogriff was giggling with delight, having sped straight into the arms of her parents.
‘We’ve missed you so much, darling,’ said her mother, a slender hippogriff with yellow fur and a flowing pink mane.
‘I’ve missed you too, mom.’ Silverstream replied.
[1:03 PM]
Applejack marvelled at this as much as the mountains; it was the calmest she’d seen Silverstream in months.
Alongside her mother were Silverstream’s father – a tall light blue hippogriff – and a younger male, who was white with a sea-green mane. They each caught Applejack’s gaze, and looked to her.
‘Oh, everygriff – this is Professor Applejack. She’s a teacher from my school. Applejack, these are my parents Ocean Flow and Sky Beak, and my little brother Terramar.’
[1:04 PM]
‘Howdy,’ Applejack greeted. ‘Did ya get the letter explaining why I’m here?’
Sky Beak nodded. ‘You’re looking to us to expand your farm, as I hear. Well, as a proud Hippogriff I’m honoured to play a part in helping you.’
‘Dad,’ Terramar hissed with a tone of embarrassment, ‘lighten up with the ‘proud hippogriff’ stuff in front of our guests…’
‘Son, I’m as delighted of my heritage as I am of both of you, whether it be your artworks, or my daughter saving Equestria!’
Silverstream held a claw to her face. ‘I didn’t save Equestria on my own, dad.’
‘Indeed, dear,’ Ocean Flow added. ‘You had help, but we’re all still very proud.’
‘Hold on,’ Applejack interrupted, looking to Terramar. ‘What’s this about artworks?’
Terramar turned to Applejack with the same embarrassed smile. ‘Yeah. Since that whole thing with the villains, it made me think even more about how lucky I am to be a hippogriff, and I got involved in some traditional culture of ours, like, uh…’
Terramar rubbed his forelegs together, not meeting Applejack’s eyes.
‘Dance,’ Ocean Flow finished gently. ‘Dance has been a part of our culture since far before the Storm King, and Terramar is finally taking it upon himself to learn some of our most valued routines.’
‘Hey, no judgement here,’ Applejack reassured, thinking of her own family’s various strange traditions. ‘But what about this fruit? The one that’s going to revolutionise my farm?’
‘Ah yes, the Kadgrenate. It grows only at the highest point of Mount Aeris, and in the stories of our land it is rumoured to have healing properties.’
Sky Beak ended his speech with a gravity that seemed only fitting. After a moment his son interrupted: ‘And it tastes delicious too! I mean, apparently.’
‘Think about it, Applejack!’ Silverstream implored, within inches of Applejack’s face. ‘Get hold of a Kadgrenate, juice it, sell it in Ponyville…’
[1:05 PM]
‘Ponies would go wild! And Nurse Redheart would probably thank me...’
There were confused glances between the hippogriffs as Applejack readied herself. ‘Well, that settles it. Guess I’m off to pick myself a Kadgrenate!’
From where she’d settled beside her mother, Silverstream let out a small gasp. ‘Applejack, I wouldn’t do that if I were you. The highest points of Mount Aris are somewhere that only the most hardy hippogriffs can go, and if something happened to you…you need someone there who knows this place, and I know I can be that creature. I want to go with you.’
Applejack’s emerald eyes went wide. ‘Silverstream, are you sure?’
‘Honestly,’ Silverstream answered.
Terramar steppes forward. For a moment, Applejack thought he was going to plead with his sister to reconsider, but instead, he pressed a crumpled piece of paper into her claw. ‘Take this, Sil. I think…I think it might help.’
Silverstream looked to her brother as if asking a silent question, but he only gave her a gentle hug in response.
With that, Silverstream looked to Applejack, and the two began their shared walk to Mount Aris, and the Kadgrenate.
At the first level, Applejack slipped along the rocks as if they were nothing. She was reminded of the terrain in her second home of Appleoosa, and wondered whether Silverstream’s parents had been over exaggerating.