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"Of course they're gold. They're Golden Delicious, ain't they?"

Applejack stomped her hoof, glaring up at her brother. "For one thing, I found 'em in the western orchard, and you know darn well there's Cortlands, Winesaps, Honeycrisps, and Galas, but no Golden Delicious."

Mac shrugged and rolled the piece of straw he was chewing on to the other side of his mouth. "So maybe the wind blew a seed - "

"For 'nother thing, they're not golden, they're gold! Like shiny new fancy jewelry. Like metal!"

"Huh. That is strange."

"It's downright creepy, is what it is."

"Nothin' to get yourself in a tizzy about, little sis. We've been gettin' lots of funny crops since that there Discord critter got loose."

They certainly had. Like the one that sprouted tufts of blue and purple fur in place of leaves, another that grew completely upside down, branches buried in the soil, roots in the air, and several that went out of sync with the seasons, flowering in late winter, leaves turning orange in the spring. There was a whole grove that bore watermelons, oranges, grapes, mangoes, pineapples - everything except apples. And the one with branches that swayed and rustled, even when there wasn't any breeze.

Applejack shuddered as she remembered. That tree had somehow been the worst of all. She could never shake the feeling that one day when she wasn't paying attention those branches were going to reach down and grab her.

When they first started finding the odd trees, Applejack worried that it meant Discord had returned, but Twilight Sparkle assured her it was merely the aftereffects of his bizarre magic.
She'd speculated how Discord's first rule of Equestria might have been responsible for mixed up creatures like manticores and cockatrices, and bizarre plants like poison joke. Applejack wasn't sure she understood how Discord's magic could exist without him, but then, she only understood practical magic.

Twilight had asked her, "You know how when you pull up a weed, sometimes a little bit of root gets left behind?"

"Yeah, that makes sense!" Applejack had brightened. She knew all about stubborn weeds. "But you got to get all those roots out, or it'll sprout again. Could Discord come back?"

"No, I don't think so. We're just going to have to get used to things being a little, well. 'off' once in a while."

Mac nuzzled Applejack comfortingly, bringing her back to the present. "We'll chop this'un down and burn it like the others."

That was all fine and good, she thought, but it had been a hard year for the farm and they couldn't afford to lose any more trees.

She squinted up at the golden apples. They weren't diseased or malformed. If she didn't worry about how they shouldn't even exist, she could almost think of them as pretty.  

She sighed. Maybe it wouldn't do any harm to let them grow. She'd test them out before they sold any. Shoot, maybe they were a new variety! Really, they weren't any stranger than zap apples or any of the other magical varieties they grew. Maybe some good would come out of this after all.
A little writing exercise to get back into the groove.
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February 19, 2012
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