Daring Do walked into the building and slowly made her way to the table. She hadn’t noticed her jaw hanging wide open. It didn’t seem possible: neither of them were unicorns and even had one of them been, she had never heard of a spell that could teleport them such a long ways away. Even in times of emergency the great kings, queens, and princesses of the land still had to fly to a given location. How could it be possible that a pegasus and an earth pony would get here before she could?
“Please sit down dear, you don’t look well," the Doctor said, smiling. "Now, there was something we were talking about before you dashed off." The neurons in Daring's brain were firing faster than ever before. She had been through strange ordeals, and exotic places. Why was this stallion pushing her beyond her limits? Limits that she thought had almost vanished! "I've got a couple apples here if you'd like. I'll never quite get a hold of the idea of eating hay." Derpy giggled at his comment.
Derpy was sitting across from the doctor with a bowl of soup in front of her. At the moment, she held the bowl between her two front hooves tilted up to her face and drinking the last contents of what was inside. Lowering the bowl, Derpy gracefully whipped the right side of her mouth, though some soup and small oats were still stuck in her fur. "Glad you could make it!" she said happily.
Daring stared with her mouth still open. "But... How did... I mean the train..." She turned her head as if to look in the general direction of where the train should be. She could picture it in her mind still clattering along the tracks with the few passengers – now fewer than before – eating or getting a short nap in before their arrival. "Oh, you have got to be joking."
"Not at all!" replied the Doctor happily, "But I am the Doctor. Now, would you like an apple? I'm not too fond of them, but at the moment they seem to be the best source of energy. Mammals need food to produce energy! And we're going to need energy if we are to go on a hike up that mountain later!"
Daring's moods had been everywhere today: shock, nervousness, amazement, fear, and anger. She felt tired and a part of her didn't want to fight it any longer. But that fight in her, the part that never gave up, seemed to grow in this situation. "Why couldn't it also be in the woods?" she asked the Doctor directly. "You still don't know exactly."
"Fair point. Either way, we're going to need energy. At least I will. I guess I'm odd man out in this scenario, seeing as how I'm the only one that can't fly here!"
Derpy chuckled at the remark. Daring looked at the young mare and scoffed. Derpy didn't seem to mind as she bit into one of the muffins that they had ordered. Her expression surprised Daring because for the first time there was a serious look on the grey mare's face. Almost as if tasting every ingredient in the muffin. "Wow..." Derpy said after a moment, "they did something different here, and I like it! I wish I could know what they did."
The Doctor held out a hoof and Derpy gently placed the muffin on it. He brought out the same tool Daring had seen him use on the train, flicked it on, and it again made the same buzz/whistle noise she had heard. The Doctor flicked it upward and examined it closely. "Well, I wouldn't have expected that to be in there!" he said.
What is it Doctor?" Derpy asked puzzled. "I can't exactly read whistling lights you know."
The Doctor chuckled again. His laugh began to annoy Daring. Grabbing one of the apples she took a big bite as the Doctor took out a small black sleeve. He flipped it open towards Derpy, Her eyes moving around scanning whatever it was, then after breathing a heavy "oooh," he replaced it where he had got it from. Daring looked around at it.
"What was that?" she asked.
"The ingredients for the muffin," Derpy said.
"How did they get there? Can your... thing... send letters to paper? Or scrolls?" Daring finally felt like it she was getting somewhere. But her hope faded shortly at the Doctor's next laugh and shaking of his head. The frustration that she had felt back on the train was coming back to her. Her relaxing and speedy flight had cleared her mind, sure, but the Doctor managed to bring it all back.
"Will... You... Tell me... What.. You... Want..." Daring's teeth were clenched tightly. She was visibly shaking and the Doctor, seeing the signs, began to look more serious than in any time he had spent with her. "NOW!" Daring shouted with a simultaneous banging of her hoof on the table. The other patrons in the diner stopped mid-conversation to look at the commotion for a moment. Daring was staring hard into the Doctor's eyes.
"Alright," he replied calmly, "I got a message. From who? I don't know, about what? It wasn't too specific. But I know that it must be stopped. I picked you out, because you seemed like you know what you're doing. An extra set of," he paused for a moment, seeming to choose his words, "hooves would be of great use."
Daring continued to stare at him. A small tear began to form at the base of one of her eyes. She wasn't sure if it was from stress, anger, relief that she had finally gotten somewhere, or just the fact that her stare was so hard she hadn't blinked. Daring didn't care, she at least had gotten somewhere. "And the girl?" She followed sternly. "Your assistant right? If you have an assistant why would you need my help? You two seem to manage everything."
"Like I said, you seem like you can handle yourself and you have only proven that fact more and more as we talk. Now, would you like another apple before we set off?"
"What are you a doctor of?" Daring replied, almost not caring if she got a straight answer. At the very least, he was finally being open or at least seemingly so. Taking another apple, biting into it, taking a moment to relax, she looked up at the sun and figured she had a few more hours before it would be dark. Even if she’d stayed with the train she would have arrived before nightfall, so she had counted on gathering information before sunset. That way, she could put the starting pieces of the puzzle together while resting in bed and then be off in the morning. After a moment, she realized she had spaced off into the sky. "Sorry..." she started, "What were you a Doctor of?"
He smiled strangely and replied, "42."