The door opened, revealing a young nurse who led the two fillies into the room. On the bed lay their mother, hooked up to several machines. The ambient noise of the beeps that they would occasionally give off, echoed throughout the room, adding to the tension of the situation. Slowly, Rarity led her sister over to the side of the bed.
Their mother had never looked so terrible in all her life. She was pale and sickly looking, while her breathing was labored. Her once luxurious mane was now thin and falling out. Slowly, her eyelids fluttered opened as she turned her head to look at her two daughters. Her eyes carried dark bags underneath as tears slowly trickled out from them.
Rarity lifted her sister up to sit on the bed into her mother’s waiting arms. She nuzzled her filly before making her best attempt to raise herself a little bit. “Sweetie Belle,” she weakly called out in a frail and shaky voice.
Sweetie Belle raised her head to meet the gaze of her mother. “Mommy, please don’t go!” She cried with all her might. “I’ll be good, I promise! I’ll do anything you say-”
The mare quickly cut her off before pulling her in again for another hug. “Sweetie Belle, there are some things in this world that we can’t change. We just have to learn to accept them.” The mare was having trouble explaining the most difficult concept of Equestria to her innocent filly, choking on every word. “There comes a time in everypony’s life when we must return what we’ve borrowed. Princess Celestia gave us all one great gift, and that is the gift of life. I have reached the time when I must return that gift now.”
“But why mommy? Why can’t you stay just a little longer?!” Sweetie Belle begged.
“We can’t choose when our time comes. All we can do is make the most of the time we’re given.” She held her filly’s head as she looked deep in her eyes. “I need you to be strong Sweetie Belle. Your sister needs you just as much as you need her.”
“Okay, mommy… I promise,” she said, sniffling her tears up. “I love you, mommy.”
“I love you too, Sweetie Belle.” The two gave each other one last hug before she motioned for Rarity to come closer.
“Mother… Why you? Why now?” Rarity asked with tears in her eyes
“Rarity, you know that I would give anything for just a little more time with you.” She paused, swallowing the sadness that was building up inside her. “It’s just the way it has to be. I know it isn’t fair, but we take what we’re given.”
Rarity opened her mouth to express her displeasure, but quickly stopped herself. She found that it would be pointless to argue and she didn’t want to spend the last moments with her mother being upset. “I… I understand.”
“I need you to be strong, Rarity. You and your sister both,” she said with urgency, feeling her energy slowly begin to fade. “I want you to take good care of Sweetie Belle.” She paused, taking Rarity’s hoof in hers. “Promise me, you’ll look after her. That you will raise her as your own, but you’ll also be a good sister to her.”
“I promise,” Rarity said assuredly through her tears. She leaned into her mother and wrapped her hooves around her as tight as she could. She motioned for Sweetie Belle to join them, lifting her back up to the bed and wrapping her hoof around her to squeeze her in the center of the group. “I love you, mother.”
“I love you too,” she replied. “Sweetie Belle…” she said weakly. “Will you sing for me? The lullaby. That one’s my favorite.”
With a quick nod, Sweetie Bell cleared her throat and blew her nose, before she started to sing.
“Hush now… quiet now,
It’s time to lay… your sleepy head.
Hush now, quiet… now…
It’s time to go to bed…
Drifting off to sleep,
Exciting… day behind you,
Drifting off to sleep,
Let the joy of –”
The constant tone of the heart monitor cut through the melody.
“Mommy!” both unicorns cried in unison.
“Mother… Sweetie Belle... I failed you both.”
Rarity sat in the chair with her head rested on the dusty table. She hadn’t moved an inch or stopped crying since the guards took her sister. She didn’t chase them down; what could she do against three winged guards? She could only lie on that table, broken down from her own guilt. “It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t been so selfish. If I hadn’t forced Twilight to do that spell.” A million thoughts raced through her mind, filling her with guilt with every word. “I failed you…”
“Miss Sparkle?” inquired a royal guard in a stern voice.
Twilight abruptly rose from the chair as she quickly tried to rouse herself from her sleep. “Mmm… uh… yes, that’s me.” She responded, unable to completely focus on the armor clad shape in front of her.
“Your friend is being released. If you’ll follow me.” Without waiting for a response, he started to walk down the hallway to the holding cell. “Right in here Miss Sparkle,” he said, pointing her to a door.
As she walked inside, she saw Spike standing at a booth, filling out paperwork for an upcoming court date. She cheerfully bounded over to him, giving him a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’m so glad to see you, Spike!”
“Whoa Twi, is everything alright?” he asked, startled by her excitement.
“Oh… I’m sorry. It’s just that I’ve been so worried about you,” she giggled. “It’s not easy when someone you’ve known that long is in jail.
“Ah, well I’m fine. How did your meeting with the Princess go?” Spike asked as they turned to start leaving.
“Not as well as I thought it would,” she responded in a disappointed tone. “Luna told me that she couldn’t send me back to my time.”
“What? Why?!” Spike barked, snorting out smoke from his nostrils.
“It’s not what you’re thinking, Spike. She actually couldn’t, because the spell wouldn’t work for her.” Twilight could tell by the look on Spike’s face that he still didn’t quite understand. “It’s complicated.”
“So what now? Where does that leave you?”
“Well, she said that Princess Celestia wanted me to find a secret archive, but she didn’t leave much information about it or how to find it. Luna only said that Princess Celestia left me clues to find it.”
Spike was disappointed with the answer, having come all the way to Canterlot just for that simple information. “Well, that’s pretty disappointing.”
“Well… yeah…” Twilight couldn’t help but snicker at her own response. “But wait, there’s more. After the meeting, I found that they added a statue of me in the Sculpture Gardens!”
“What?” Spike scoffed, astounded by the news. “But they never held a ceremony or anything for that! It must be fairly new.”
“Well, actually, I met somepony there, and she said she would visit since she was a filly. She was only a little younger than me.” Twilight shook her head to stop herself from rambling. “That’s beside the point though. I think the plaque had a clue on it. I think the next clue is in Ponyville with our friends.
They continued on down the road to the monorail station, stopping first at a bank to withdraw some bits to pay the fare. When they reached the station, Twilight was greeted by the familiar lobby. Its elegant decorum was all the more enjoyable since she wasn’t as frantic as she had been during her last visit. After they passed the toll gate, instead of heading straight to the platform, they headed towards a set of steps that led to an overhead walkway to the other side of the tracks. As they waited for the next Ponyville-bound train, Spike began to recount his encounter with Sweetie Belle to Twilight.
“She thought you would be able to handle yourself out there. She didn’t know about your condition.”
“Still, why didn’t she just introduce herself? I know who she is.” Twilight responded, disgusted with her irrational actions.
“She was afraid you were going to take her to the guards. I don’t blame her either,” Spike snapped, growing increasingly defensive. “She knew that we were going to see the Princess. That and the fact that Canterlot Central Station has more guards in it.”
Twilight was shocked by his aggressive tone, only at first. Slowly, she lifted her hoof to her mouth and let out a chuckle. “Oh… I see how it is. Well she is Rarity’s sister. I should have seen this coming.” Twilight began to giggle derisively at Spike, who was now confused with her sudden change in attitude.
“Hey, what’s so funny?” He snapped again, snorting smoke.
“Tell me something. How pretty was she?” Twilight put on a cheesy grin as she waited for Spike to get what she was insinuating.
Spike’s eyes sparkled as he began to think back about her appearance. “She was beautiful, but I don’t see how…” He paused for a moment, suddenly realizing the trap he just played himself into. Quickly, he reeled back, hiding his vibrant blush that glowed even through his thick scales from the giggling mare. “Hey! Stop laughing! I have no idea what you are suggesting,” he lied, poorly.
“I’m just teasing, Spike.” She said, wiping a tear from her eye. “So… when’s the wedding?”
Rainbow Dash trotted joyfully to the office of her former squad mate, excited that he was finally the one to invite her to talk after all these years. As she reached his office door, she busted in playfully. “Hey Soarin! What’s… up?” Rainbow Dash was surprised to see a concerned Headmaster talking with two Royal Pegasi Guards.
“Thank you sirs,” he continued his conversation after recollecting his thought from before the interruption. “Now if you all will, I need a moment to talk with Captain Dash.”
The two pegasi nodded in unison as they turned and walked around Rainbow Dash and out the door.
“Um… Soarin. What’s going on?” Dash inquired worriedly.
“Have a seat Dash.” He said calmly but with a quiet ferocity that stung Dash’s ears.
“Did I do something wrong? What’s going on?” Dash’s eyes darted around the room, nervous about the news she was about to receive, before she realized just who she was. “I’m Rainbow Dash. Captain of the Wonderbolts, I’m not on trial here!” Dash swaggered over to the chair and plopped herself down. “What’s up Soar? Got something on your mind?”
Soarin reached over the desk and dropped an empty envelope in front of Dash. She looked at him expectantly, to which he only responded by giving her a head nod to suggest that she read it.
“Uh right. This has a return address and it’s addressed to Barrack #12, Bunk #4.” Dash was having a little trouble keeping her cool. “Hey Soarin, I’d hate to break it to you, but unless you have a point, this doesn’t interest me. For cryin’ out loud, the thing is empty,” Dash sneered, flicking the envelope back on the desk with her hoof.
“Tell me, do you know what who is in Barrack #12 Bunk #4?”
“Uh, no. You assigned the barracks, I just manage the team,” Dash scoffed, becoming increasingly annoyed.
“If you had to guess-”
“That’s it! I’m outta here,” Dash shouted, getting up to storm out the door.
“I seem to recall you vouching for this student. Saying, ‘she wouldn’t let us down.’ Does that ring any bells?” Soarin was becoming even fiercer without even raising his voice.
Dash winced at his response, and turned with her hoof still on the door to meet the glare of the Headmaster. “Scoots? Is… is she alright? What’s going on?” Dash lost her act of being tough and showed serious concern for her young friend.
“Captain… This envelope was found in the home of a criminal.” Soarin cleared his throat before continuing on. “The guards came investigating any leads to find any potential associates. In fact, this letter was found on the same pony who you invited into my facility to visit with her. For all I know, you’re working with them.”
Dash looked around nervously, sweating bullets. “Oh… you sure got me! This is a prank, right?” She asked frantically. “Please tell me it’s a prank.”
“Captain, I can assure you this is no joke.” Soarin stood up, moving towards a filing cabinet. He began flipping through the files before coming to the file he was looking for and pulling it out. “The reason why I bring you here is because I know how much she means to you, but I don’t appreciate you abusing my trust, so I am leaving it up to you to try to appeal her inevitable suspension,” he said as he dropped the file on the desk.
Dash moved to the desk to pick up the file. “But you know that they won’t let her stay after something like this. They’ll force me to kick her out.” Tears were streaming out of her eyes as she dropped the file back in front of Soarin.
“Well then, if you’re saying that you won’t do it, then I’ll just turn her over to authorities,” Soarin said as he stood up with the file in hoof to retrieve the guards that were waiting outside.
Like lightning, Dash snatched up the file and turned her head to hide her tears from her ex-squad mate. “Fine, I’ll do this,” she hissed at Soarin. Quickly, she turned back to head out the door, snorting as she passed the frame. She headed down the long hallway where the Board was already waiting outside a meeting room. A sinking feeling had hit Dash, like her wings had been clipped. No matter how hard she struggled, she could not regain her composure. Tears relentlessly flooded her vision as she walked towards the group of ponies that were now making their way into the room at the sight of her arrival. Reluctantly, she began to follow them in.
“Captain Dash,” one of the older representatives called out. “It’s a shame to see you under these circumstances. Shall we just try to make this as quick as possible?” She led Dash into the room as she moved to take her seat at the podium. “Have a seat if you will Rainbow Dash.”
“I’ll stand,” she mumbled.
“Very well,” she continued. “Captain Dash, you stand here today to appeal the suspension of Delta Squad member, Scootaloo. Failing to gain our approval will result in you being the sole pony with the responsibility to carry forth her suspension. Do you understand the conditions?”
Dash nodded in agreement.
“Very well then. Present your case.”
“These charges are absurd,” Dash blurted out. “They found an envelope addressed to her from a criminal. Big deal! They have no proof she wrote back or even got the message!”
“Captain, our records show that you approved a visitor for Scootaloo. This visitor was later found with the envelope in her possession and in the company of a wanted felon at the address specified. We also found that this pony was the felon’s sister. How do you explain this?”
“It’s just a coincidence!” Dash argued, becoming frustrated. “How do you know Scootaloo ever had the letter?”
“How does testimony from a witness sound?” One of the board members retorted.
The senior member took a second to calm the seething pony who had given the outburst before turning her attention back to Dash. “We had testimony from an Undercover Royal Guard who had been following the visitor,” she said as she checked a file in front of her. “Rarity, I presume?”
“Fine then,” Dash responded in defeat. “Who cares? You don’t have any proof that she wrote back or had any contact with Sweetie Belle and Rarity isn’t a criminal. Sharing information with her isn’t against the rules.”
The group turned quickly and began to whisper to each other before they all turned back to Rainbow Dash. “Let the record show that Captain Dash knows the felon on a name basis,” the senior member stated to the stenographer in the room.
Dash’s face dropped at her slip up. She knew things weren’t looking good for her case.
“Captain,” she continued. “Regardless of whether she broke the rules or not, we cannot have an investigation sully our proud reputation. We aren’t looking for proof that she didn’t break any rules here. That, with your testimony, we might be able to overlook. We are looking for definitive proof that Scootaloo isn’t working with the criminal. We know that the two go way back.”
“That isn’t fair! You have no proof that she is!”
“Dash, might I remind you that we are not a military organization. This is a private company, and I am here to represent the best interest of the company, not our friendship,” she retorted. “An investigation would be bad for business, which leaves me with only one choice. Now if you have nothing else to present, then I as Chairmare of the Board have come to my decision.”
Dash could only turn her head away to concede her defeat.
“Then without further ado, we hereby uphold the suspension of Delta Squad member, Scootaloo.” With that, she stamped her gavel on the podium and stood, taking her papers with her before maneuvering her way over to Dash. “Look Dash, I’m sorry things had to turn out this way, but at least, with your testimony, authorities have no grounds to arrest her. All that needs to be done is-”
“I know what I have to do,” Dash interrupted. She wiped a tear from her eye as she looked up to meet the eyes of the senior board member. “Damn it, Spitfire.”
“Hey Dash!” Scootaloo beamed with a smile across her face. “How are…” She stopped herself when she noticed that Dash had been crying. She noticed that Dash was out of her Wonderbolts’s uniform, a rare sight for anypony. Dash stood right in her way, blocking the path to her next class. “Hey what’s wrong?”
Rainbow Dash lifted her hoof and placed an envelope in Scootaloo’s hoof.
“Wait, this is…” she began, appalled at the return of the envelope. “No!”
“It was enough for them to make a decision,” Dash disclosed, turning her head to avoid eye contact with the young mare. “Scootaloo… you’ve been suspended.”
The young mare dropped to her haunches, mouth agape in shock. Dash reached over to lend her a hoof, but right before it made contact with the distraught pegasus, she flared her wing to slap the hoof away. Without saying a word, she took off to her barracks, leaving a trail of tears in her wake.
Fluttershy was getting restless. It had been far too long for Rarity and Sweetie Belle to be out. She was concerned that they might’ve gotten hurt or worse out in the blizzard. Against her better judgment, she decided that she had waited long enough. Angel’s daughter carefully wrapped Fluttershy’s wing and hoof in extra bandages to keep them warm while Angel himself went to her closet to fetch her thickest coat. They had tried to stop her, but facing a determined Fluttershy was like trying to stare down a dragon, ironically something only she could do.
As she came to her front door, there sat a set of warm snow boots waiting for her which she slipped on one at a time. She looked as if she would be ready for a week long arctic expedition. With one final goodbye to her animal friends, she opened the door and hobbled her way down the path. The weather had calmed down quite a bit since her last expedition, but the wind still chilled her to the bone. She continued onwards, finally reaching the edge of Ponyville. Ahead of her lay a white wasteland as far as the eye could see, which was actually a shorter distance than she had expected. With a deep gulp, Fluttershy gained enough courage to press onwards, the possibility of her friends’ lives being at stake.
The trip was rather calm, but if it hadn’t been for Fluttershy’s countless journeys to Whitetail Wood, she would probably have gotten lost in the blizzard. She paced herself as much as she could, being cautious not to further injure her hoof or wing, but still making haste to find her friend.
Fluttershy continued on, almost instinctively in the direction of Whitetail Wood. The area around Ponyville, including the Everfree Forest and Froggy Bottom Bog, were crawling with wildlife, which gave her a reason to constantly visit. The whole area had become like a backyard to her. Before long, she could see the edge of the wood, the tall trees almost obscured by the snow that covered them. She began to pick up the pace, heading straight for the cottage. She had seen it many times before, but every time, she had dismissed it as abandoned. As she approached the run down building, she could feel a strong chill run down her spine. Something wasn’t giving her a good feeling about this place. The door hung loosely on its hinges, slapping the frame as the wind tossed it open and shut constantly.
Reluctantly, Fluttershy moved in to the doorway, catching the door with her shoulder to keep it from slamming in her face. “He… hello?” She called into the dark building. Hearing nothing but the howling of the wind, she cautiously made her way in, straining her eyes to see in the darkness. Fluttershy turned around to prop the door open with a loose stone out of fear of the door slamming shut and locking her in. Just before she turned back towards the darkness, she could hear the sounds of sobbing, almost completely muffled by the howling wind.
“Hello? Is somepony here?” Fluttershy called out again, removing her hood and pivoting her ear to listen for the sounds. She heard more sobbing coming from the side of the room. Quickly, she made her way to the noise, being extra cautious not to bump into anything. As she reached the edge of the room she could feel what felt like a tabletop. The sounds of sobbing were almost directly in front of her now. She lowered herself until she was almost face to face with the grieving pony when she recognized Rarity’s eyes.
“Rarity!” she squeaked, reaching over and shaking her. “What’s wrong?! Are you alright?!”
Rarity only began to mumble incoherently as she choked on her own sadness.
“Please, Rarity! It’s me, Fluttershy! Talk to me!” Fluttershy was getting desperate to find out what was troubling her so much. All seemed to have been going well before she left.
Quietly, Rarity began to speak, only slightly more coherently. Fluttershy was having difficulty making out what she was saying, but three words remained very prominent. “I’m so sorry,” she muttered over and over again.
Fluttershy reached into her bags for a small lantern that she had packed in case of an emergency. It only had enough fuel to last for a few minutes, but now seemed like a good time to use it. She pulled out the lantern along with a book of matches and set them on the table. She turned on the fuel to the lantern and with a quick strike she lit a match, carefully setting it inside to light the burner. Light filled the room as the fuel lit up. Fluttershy looked at Rarity, taking notice to how awful she looked. Her eyes were bloodshot and streaks of mascara ran down her face. Her mane was a mess and her face was red from being in the cold for so long.
“Flutter… shy…?” She weakly murmured, taking notice to her standing in front of her.
“Oh, Rarity! You look terrible. What happened?”
“They… they took her. It was all my fault. I’m so sorry,” she rambled on.
“What? Who took her?” Fluttershy asked in shock. She could only assume Rarity was talking about her sister.
“The… the guards… I led them here… it’s… it’s all my fault,” she mumbled between sobs.
Fluttershy couldn’t comprehend how Rarity would do such a thing. She could only dismiss it as mindless rambling. Besides, something else had preoccupied her thoughts. Rarity began to shiver violently as her snout began to leak. She was getting sick, and the longer they waited, the more chance that hypothermia would set in. She frantically tore off her coat and threw it over Rarity’s shoulders. Immediately, she felt just how cold it was, but her main concern rested with Rarity, who continued to sob and ignore her personal wellbeing.
“Come on Rarity, we need to get you someplace warm,” Fluttershy cried, tugging on her arm. “Please, Rarity, come with me!”
It was no use. Rarity refused to cooperate. All of her will had left and her muscles had shut down. In the back of her mind, she wished that nopony had come to look for her, so that she could waste away there forever. She believed it to be a fitting fate for her transgressions.
Fluttershy began to flex her wings as she undid the sling over her arm. She knew what she had to do; she had no other choice. Carefully, she rested her weight down on all four legs, wincing at every ounce of pressure that she put on her injured hoof. Her wing stung with every flap, causing her to tear up at the pain. With all of her might, Fluttershy pulled Rarity over and into her arms. Using her wings to hold herself upright, she began to walk backwards while dragging Rarity to the doorway. With one mighty flap, she began to lift the distraught unicorn through the threshold and out into the blizzard. None of the pain mattered to her anymore. She seemed to be getting used to it and the cold had helped to numb her nerve endings.
She continued to fly back into the direction of Ponyville. She could feel the remaining warmth of Rarity’s body slowly start to fade away. She had to push herself into overdrive if she wanted to save her friend. Her head swarmed with pain and fear as she flew faster than she ever thought she could. Ahead of her, she could see the light of the moon punching through the dark clouds. She was getting close; she just had to push it a little harder. With every last effort, she pushed herself to breaking point, tearing through the edge of the cloud layer with a trail of ice following her in her wake.
Ponyville General Hospital was the nearest facility in the area, which was where she intended to take Rarity. She needed urgent care immediately. Fluttershy had no time to slow down. She burst through the front doors and into the lobby in a shower of glass, tumbling to a stop just in front of the counter. Once again, pushed to the limit, she began to slip out of consciousness. “Somepony… please… help…” she called out with the last of her breath.
Fluttershy awoke to a bright light shining in her face. Ahead of her, Nurse Tenderheart was eyeing a chart. Behind her, were x-rays of her wings and legs, but she couldn’t make out if everything was in place. Slowly, she tried to lift herself up. “Rarity!” she shouted, concerned about the fate of the unicorn.
Nurse Tenderheart rushed over to the side of the bed, carefully pushing Fluttershy back into the bed. “Hey, take it easy! You’re in bad shape as it is.” She let out a sigh, exasperated with the poor pegasus’s reckless abandon. “Your friend is alright. She’ll just be running a fever for a while. You need your rest. You probably saved her life,” Nurse Tenderheart assured. “But you might not be as lucky…” she continued. “You suffered severe nerve damage in your wing. I’m sorry… but… you may never fly again.”
The news came as a shock to her. She wracked her mind for the proper response to the news, but her head swarmed with pain. Her body’s last instinct was to release that pain in a shower of tears. She bawled into her hooves as the Nurse could only stand and cry for the pain that she was in.
The monorail had reached its destination, now rested at the platform of Ponyville Central Station. Twilight and Spike both exited the train and made their way across the overhead walkway back to the exit gates. It was a relief to finally be home after their ordeal. Twilight was excited to go see Rarity and Fluttershy again; the only thing left to do was to find them. Together, they made their way to the Library, the last place they had seen each other.
As they approached the tree, they could see that all the lights had been turned out, which wasn’t a good sign that anypony was there. Still they went in just to make sure. “Girls? Is anypony home?” Twilight called out as Spike went around the room, lighting the lanterns.
“I don’t think anypony is home,” Spike interrupted as Twilight continued to patiently wait for a response. “Rarity went with Fluttershy and that’s who I told Sweetie Belle to find. I bet you could find them at her cottage.” Spike ascended the stairs up to his study as he slumped over, looking as tired as ever.
“Aren’t you coming?” Twilight asked curiously as she watched Spike.
“Na, Twi… I’ve had a long day. I’d rather just go to sleep,” he said in a long yawn. “Will you tell me how it goes?”
“Alright Spike. Get some rest.” With that, Twilight turned to go back out.
Fluttershy’s cottage had seemed like it was swarming with activity, but it always was with the amount of critters she kept in and around her home. Twilight lightly knocked on the door and waited for an answer. To her surprise, the door opened revealing a very elderly looking hare. He seemed just as surprised to see Twilight, rubbing his eyes in astonishment.
He lifted his paw to suggest to Twilight that she wait right there. He slowly walked over just out of sight before coming back with a note in his paw, handing it over to her.
Twilight quickly read the note, recognizing Applejack’s chicken-scratch writing. The note told her that her friends were in the hospital and to head over there as soon as she got it. Twilight looked at Angel, concerned about the note. “Oh my, are they alright?”
He responded by crossing his arms and tapping his foot to let Twilight know that she was wasting time.
Twilight hastily made her way to Ponyville General, seriously concerned about the wellbeing of her friends. As she approached the building, she noticed that the doors were smashed open as some worker ponies were busy sweeping up the glass that covered the floor. She carefully maneuvered her way around them, cautious to avoid stepping on a stray piece of glass as she made her way towards the counter. “Nurse Redheart, what happened here?” she inquired worriedly.
“Twilight Sparkle!” she exclaimed. “I wish we had time to catch up, but your friends requested that you see them as soon as you got here. They are up on the second floor, Rooms 207 and 209.
Twilight gave her a quick nod before she hastily made her way up the nearest staircase.
She arrived at Fluttershy’s room first, appalled by the sight. Fluttershy was covered in bruises and bandages as her wing was completely secured. Her eyes were bloodshot from tears.
“My goodness, Fluttershy! What happened?” Twilight asked in shock as she made her way over to the side of the bed.
“Oh Twilight!” Fluttershy cried, wrapping her hooves around the unicorn’s neck. “I got hurt trying to save Rarity. I’ll never fly again!”
Twilight could feel the tears dripping onto her back as she leaned in to return the hug. “What happened? Is Rarity alright?”
Fluttershy sniffled as she tried to regain her composure. “She’ll recover…” Fluttershy mumbled as she turned her head in sadness. “But I don’t know if she is alright. You should go see her. I’ll be fine here.” It took a gentle push to convince Twilight to go; she still wasn’t convinced that Rarity needed her attention more, but Fluttershy insisted.
Twilight made her way into the next room to see Rarity sitting up in the bed as Applejack stood at the side of the bed, holding her hoof. There were no machines hooked up to her and other than her distraught appearance, she didn’t appear to have any serious injuries. “Rarity, what’s going on?” Twilight questioned, almost accusingly since Fluttershy was hurt and she wasn’t.
Rarity didn’t answer. Instead, she just sat, staring off into space, occasionally whispering “I’m so sorry,” to nopony in general.
“She’s been like this since I got here Twi.” Applejack explained. “She hasn’t said anythin’ else. I’m real worried ‘bout her.”
Twilight moved in to see if her presence could help the distraught unicorn. “Rarity? What’s wrong?”
“Everything…” was all she said.