That was when Rainbow spotted a distinct spot of orange against the green ground below.
For a moment, her terror lifted; she'd found AJ, in one piece! Yet as she landed near to the fallen Earth Pony, trotting over to her side, it soon began to resurge worse than before. Applejack was not moving. Not even murmuring. "...AJ...?" Rainbow whispered, nuzzling against the Earth Pony's side gently. "C'mon, AJ, you're fine. You're...you're tough. It wasn't...it wasn't that bad a fall. You're fine, Applejack, I know you are."
Rainbow Dash spent several more minutes talking, pleading, nuzzling, prodding, begging, her voice growing hoarser and hoarser with desperation. Applejack did not answer. Applejack did not move. No matter how hard the pegasus fought to ignore it, Applejack did not breathe. Eventually, reality overcame shock and twisted it into stabbing grief.
It was almost sunset when Twilight Sparkle entered the forest in search of her missing friends. She had grown worried when no one had seen or heard from either Rainbow Dash or Applejack all afternoon and had spent the last few hours looking for them before at last making her way to the woods near Ponyville. The sound of weeping caught her ear as she entered, and with anxious tread she followed it to its soruce, gasping in horror and sorrow at what she found.
Applejack laid out across the ground, Rainbow Dash nestled atop her with tears streaming down her face.
It took everything Twilight had to make Rainbow move, a task made all the harder by the tears the young unicorn felt coming to her own eyes.