Hey there! This story's popularity's taken a dip, so I thought now would be a great time for a story update. I've yet to write it (this being a foreword), so I hope this can reach over 1,500 words, and what I'm hoping to do is use more metaphors and other literary devices (as one commenter told me, "Don't tell it, show it!" And so I got a major muse for this particular chapter from where else than YouTube! Despite it being a totally non-pony video, it still gave me a great idea. So slip on your high heels, strap into a frilly dress, gird your dusters, and...
Enjoy the show!
As the universe rumbled into focus, a relieved sigh of many dry throats reverberated throughout the sterile white room. A dozen of brightly-coloured eyes implored into Apple Bloom's, cheering her on as she drifted back to consciousness, as if it were a major accomplishment. She was just sleeping, wasn't she? No, her head felt far too heavy for just being under for a couple hours... had she fainted? All of the Elements of Harmony were gazing on her as if they'd never seen her before, but their shining grins complimented their eyes and translated for them as 'It's good to see you're awake'. That is, all except one. Applejack was off some distance, bawling in relief in one of the comfy hospital chairs hooves shrouding her tear-stained face, though her wails were apparently now reduced to sniffles. Apple Bloom's mind shifted into focus as she tentatively cranked her frail body into an upright position. Before she could open her mouth to speak, in any language, a chestnut-maned stallion, donning a pearl-white button coat, interrupted her, spawning out of seemingly nowhere, as if he was the child of the countless apparatuses in the ER.
"Ah, Miss Bloom, it's good to see you awake," he said nonchalantly, seemingly not paying her an ounce of attention. "You've been a frequent visitor here as of late." As the medic waited for a response to his open statement, the realization that likely could not speak to him dripped into his mind, slowly filling the curves of his brain, until his conscious took note of it. "Oh, that's right. You were admitted here for a sudden loss of consciousness after a strange chain of events," his amber eyes seemingly bored holes into the hospitalized filly's very soul, intimidating her to no end with his sheer gaze. "Tell me, do you remember anything from yesterday? If you need, you can write it or act it." Apple Bloom made no attempt to speak, but instead gestured to an invisible cup, and her years of charades experience finally paid off as her request for a cool glass of water was swiftly granted. She grasped the cup and raised it, shaking, to her parched lips and sipped, closing her eyes in pleasure as the waves of refreshment flowed into every nook and cranny of her mouth, and finally trickling down her throat. After the cup was taken away by one of the kind nurses, the sun-yellow patient finally forced an "ahem" out of her throat. All eyes were on her yet again, as they were when the Cutie Mark Crusaders had choreographed a dramatic performance of an original melody. It hadn't gone too well, but the feeling of pure attention shone over the ponies like sweet, golden honey. Her lips forced themselves apart, and let out their first sounds for quite some time. However, nopony could've ever expected them.
"Why yes, docteur, I zink I may recall somezing." From Apple Bloom's mouth came not her high-pitched accented squeak, but a refined, thick, French tone. This surprised even her, and she recoiled from her own words. This lead to a couple of confused stares, before they were blotted out by a bright orange blur.
Applejack's elated, breathless yelp came next as she leapt on to her little sister in a hug, tight as a vice. "Oh lil' sis, it's just so grand to hear ya speakin' English again!" Tears streamed freely from emerald eyes to butter body. "Sure, it ain't quite yer voice, but you're talkin!" The embrace was cut painfully short by the doctor mashing the farmer pony's body off of the bed with his own. His horn continued to take notes, his pen shrouded in a maroon aura. "Ah, well, this is new! However, it does continue the pattern," he said coldly, transitioning from joy to grimness effortlessly. Despite seeing Apple Bloom's pondering eyes silently beg the question, he quickly shifted the topic, ignoring the questioning gaze. "That's odd. You've been in and out of here for two days, yet don't remember anything in particular. Tell me, what day is it today?" Apple Bloom thought quietly for a handful of minutes, but the tension expanded them to hours and years. Finally, she remarked, assured of her answer: "It iz ze tventy-furst of Augoost, I believe." Without a word from anyone, a bedside calendar levitated before the filly's eyes, with a date that was three days in the future from her guess. Her hooves yet again crossed themselves before her forsaken lips, as she mumbled: "Zut alors! What has happened in zis missing time?"
She felt faint again, the world spinning ever faster, her mind and body battling like contestants on a quiz show, trying to find the answer to a difficult problem first, when Twilight Sparkle rose from her seat. This quickly ended the metaphysical duel, as her insides settled back into their proper positions. Twilight seemed to know everything about everything there was to know; if there was something wrong with her, she was the mare to go to. However, her usually upturned, caring grin instantly flip-flopped into an ice-cold frown as she comprehended the difficult task at hand.
"Apple Bloom, a definite pattern has been developing in your... let's just say... err, condition." Try as she might to stay calm, it was very hard remaining emotionally sound as she explained this devastating, life-ruining, and possibly embarrassing news.
"You'd wake up, not being able to remember anything you did that was French-related, and slowly over the day, become more and more like you are now - and even further." Twilight's face screwed up with worry as she wiped back the sweat beading on her lavender face with a forehoof. "You'd start by wanting eat to French cuisine, like coffee and pastries, and then develop an accent, then start tossing in French words like you did four days ago. And it only gets worse." Apple Bloom gulped tensely as she attempted feebly to absorb this revelation, but the bombardment of embarrassment kept coming. "You'd quickly lose all sense of yourself, and just become an all-out Frenchie. You'd totally forget English and your name and whatnot, and - " She stopped abruptly. Twilight Sparkle, protege and personal student of Princess Celestia, Holder of the Element of Magic, couldn't bring herself to tell such a young filly her own subconscious fate. She backed down into her seat, whimpering at the mere thought of the horror that had befallen her. "Et quoi? Ce qui s'est passé?" Phase two had begun, and Apple Bloom's waterworks began to crawl to life, her lower lip convulsing and quivering, nervous of learning her unbeknownst past. Imploring eyes forced a certain honest mare to speak up before the hospital room flooded with salty tears from pure worry. Applejack took a deep breath and looked her young sibling straight in the golden eyes - assuringly, but direct. "Sis, you ain't gonna like this, but's it's gotta be told." She sighed audibly and looked straight back to her previous focal point. "By 'bout eight o' clock at evenin' every day, your eyes would glaze right over, as if you were in some crazy trance, and then... You'd do something very stereotypical of French people, the kind of thing you'd see in movies," Apple Bloom was appalled at herself, but tentatively listened on. "You broke into mah private cellar and the barn, and ya ate cider and cheese all night in the shed, and were out cold by mornin'. Yer first trip here. Day after you got out, we came home from work to find ya teeterin' about in Granny's old high heels, dustin off everythin', and you were wearin' one of them silly, frilly maid's aprons! When ya saw us watchin' ya, yer face turned all red from blushin' and you collapsed again. Second visit. And just wait 'til the third time!..."
The subject of this story couldn't take it any longer. Her cheeks burned like flames, identically as red as her mane, and she dove under the covers to hide it. She slapped her ears on her hooves, but only to have the duvet ripped away, Applejack's burning glare paralyzing her in place.
"Well, here goes... I had 'ta pick ya up from school early, because Miss Cheerilee sent me a message that somepony was flirtin' with everypony, tryin' ta pick 'em up with French, before passin' out in the middle of a half-flanked love song for Scootaloo!" Rainbow Dash smashed the solemn mood like the visible light spectrum in her signature Sonic Rainboom by laughing heartily, snorting loudly and convulsing from laughter. "Truffle Shuffle was still starin' at ya half-eyed until ya left! You shoulda seen it! BAHAHAHAHA!" Her fit didn't see a possible end until it was pierced by a loud sniffle, followed by a wail that could be heard across the hospital (along with a backhoof across her cyan face from Rarity for being insensitive). That final story had broken the filly's heart, realizing just how stupid she had become. She slammed her face into the springy mattress and sobbed, her only accompaniment from a rhythmic pat on the back by her big sister. After what seemed like years of non-stop crying, she finally mustered up enough courage to sit up again, and, trembling, remarked: "J'ai besoin de réfléchir. Est-ce que je peux boire du café?" The question was refused an answer, blocked by the language barrier thick as the layer of stone that had frozen Discord in place for thousands of years.
Eyes shifted back and forth, looking for an answer, upon murmurs, attempting to interpret individual words, when a particular fashionista suddenly got up with a nod to nopony in particular and exited the hospital room, not leaving the slightest note as to where she had gone. The translation party continued without one member, with Pinkie suggesting that she wanted food from the café downstairs, and just as the ponies were about to reach consensus, Rarity returned, swaggering with her normal perfect mane bouncing just so. She could melt a stallion's heart with just one gaze, and could convince anypony to do anything for her. Balanced on her back was a metal tray holding a steaming mug of coffee, with an arsenal of creams and stirrers on the side. The ivory pony carefully slid the piping-hot beverage down her tail (pulling Spike's tongue out in lust in the process, which earned him a gentle buck across the room) and onto Apple Blooms lap. Before returning to her seat, she whispered "de rien" into the French filly's ear as sideways as possible. She proceeded to mix and match the flavours of creams and sugars like alchemy, having it down to an instinctive science, like any good Frenchpony should. She picked up the wooden stirrer in her mouth and stirred vigorously, before staring intently at the brown elixir before her. The dark swirls of the coffee rotated and morphed, pulling Apple Bloom's eyes ever closer to the centre. She just wanted to drink this potion of wonder... To learn its secrets... Perhaps it would help her remember what had happened... The ceramic mug felt cool in her hooves, spiting its scalding contents.
Her eyes fluttered shut in bliss as the strength of the coffee titillated her taste buds, before the fresh creams washed it all down smoothly... the buzz of energy from the caffeine zapping around her like electricity, giving her a whole new being. All thoughts and worries were shoved away... Background noises faded to nothingness... She was alone in this ecstasy... But she needed someone to join her... To be hers.... Her eyes heavily drew open, only to see the doctor glaring into them yet again. Just her luck! He seemed so perfect to live in nirvana with... Apple Bloom crossed her legs elegantly, tinkered and tussled with her braided mane, and gave out a soft giggle. She wasn't focusing on anything, just staring out into space, but happy as can be to do so.
"Bonsoir, docteur. Bonsoir, mon bel étalon."
The filly giggled drunkenly, the heavenly aroma remaining in her olfactory system intoxicating her with love. No wonder she had acted this way in class: It was pure ecstasy. Her laughter grew to a snigger, before exploding into a guffaw. Apple Bloom stood up on her hind legs, crossed her forehooves behind her back, and leaned forward to meet the doctor's supple lips... Only moments away now... But the target suddenly blurred, everything darkening. Her face felt like it was on fire, but it didn't matter much - she was slumped over the footrest of the bedframe, still beaming under the sweet influence of the magic that is coffee. Rainbow Dash had to bolt out of the room to avoid hurting herself with laughter, and even Applejack was chuckling at her sister's plight. It was going to be tough, living with a sister cursed with becoming a hopeless romantic every day at random times.
Or maybe it was just the coffee.