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Princess Celestia couldn't believe it. How could she let this happen? Twilight Sparkle was now lying in a hospital bed with wounds that may never heal. Although every pony felt they could have done something to help prevent this, the Princess kept torturing herself with thoughts like "I should have sent guards to escort her" or "I should have asked her to stay in Canterlot for the night!" But hindsight wouldn't help any pony now. Twilight was in a coma, and all they could do was wait for her to wake up.
Twilight's parents were inconsolable at their daughter's condition. Her mother covered her eyes with her hooves while shaking her head wearily, mumbling things like "my poor baby..." and "no no no no...." between her sobbing. Twilight's father just held her close, shushing her and telling her that Twilight was a strong girl and that she would make it. Princess Cadence and Shining Armor were outside in the hallway. They had been arguing about something, and Celestia wanted to know whether or not the Captain of the Royal Guard was about to do something idiotic in his rage-filled state. The Princess couldn't bear to see Twilight like this any longer anyway.
As she opened the door, Celestia found Princess Cadence fairly close by. She had a defeated expression on her face, obviously having lost the argument she had had with her husband. Cadence saw Celestia and nodded her head to show where Shining Armor had gone. He was standing by a window at the end of the hall, and the Princess could feel darkness radiating off him in waves as she got closer.
Celestia stopped next to him and saw his face was completely rigid and serious. He was looking out as far as he could see from the view of this hospital window, and it seemed to the Princess he was searching for something. Or rather, some pony.
"I'm going to find her, Princess." said Shining Armor. "The fiend that did this to my sister will pay dearly, I swear it."
"Don't let your hate consume your thoughts, Shining Armor. Twilight wouldn't want this, she wouldn't want you to go out seeking revenge."said the Princess, but she could see her words fell on deaf ears as he magically picked up his helmet and walked down the hall towards the exit.
"I'm only doing my job, Your Highness. I've got a criminal to catch, and she has to take responsibility for the crimes she's committed. I'd do the same for any pony, not just my sister." said Shining Armor.
But Princess Celestia rarely saw this kind of determination in any pony, and she could still feel Shining's rage even as he walked away. Shining Armor was hunting down the pony who had caused Twilight's injuries, and no pony was going to stop him. Not even Celestia. Realizing this, she called out to him as he reached the exit, hoping to spare the pony who'd incurred his wrath.
"I want her alive, Shining Armor." said the Princess. The white unicorn donned his helmet without turning to face the Princess.
"No promises." he said as he galloped into the night.
Once Princess Luna was done with her (and her sister's) royal duties, she went to see Twilight Sparkle. Celestia greeted her sister, and thanked her for taking care of business in the kingdom in her stead. The two went into Twilight's room, and Luna moaned with sadness at the pony who'd saved her life and Equestria from eternal night such a short time ago.
"Oh Twilight Sparkle...you're a strong pony, you can't leave us like this!" said Luna with tears in her eyes. She had the same habit Celestia had of holding back emotion, since as rulers of the kingdom they were not allowed to show weakness at any time. Of course, seeing one of her friends in the hospital pushed Luna over the edge as she wept for the unicorn.
She couldn't stay long, however. As long as Twilight was incapacitated, Celestia would not be able to perform her duties as Princess. The burden of ruling Equestria 24/7 had fallen to Luna, and her country wouldn't wait while she visited a unicorn in the hospital, no matter how special she was.
As the Sun came up, the hospital staff started to move around the hospital at a faster pace. Celestia had received word that all of Twilight's friends were coming to visit her, and they would arrive shortly. So she went out into the hall, waiting for the first of Twilight's friends to show up. Cadence had gone home, and even though she'd refused to leave her daughter's side, eventually Twilight's mother let her husband take her home. Celestia was used to staying awake for days. She was ready to stay until Twilight woke up, if she ever did.
At that thought the Princess shed a tear for her student, but found that she quickly had to wipe it away as a familiar streak of rainbows flew down the hall.
"Princess! Is Twilight alright?!" asked a frantic Rainbow Dash as she skidded to a halt in front of the Princess, her saddlebag almost flying off.
"Yes, she's fine. The doctors say she's stable but all we can do is wait." said Celestia. She lied, Twilight wasn't fine. But what else could she say to a pony as sensitive as Rainbow Dash?
"Can we go in and see her?" asked Rainbow. The Princess could see how much she cared for her friend.
"Yes, let's go in. I'm sure Twilight would be happy to hear your voice." said the Princess warmly. Twilight was truly blessed to have friends who cared so much for her.
"Twilight, your friend Rainbow Dash is here to see you." said the Princess to the unconscious pony in the hospital bed. Twilight might not be able to hear her, but believing she could helped her deal with the pain.
"Twilight...?" asked Rainbow Dash. No response. Celestia had hoped that hearing her friend's voice might snap her out of her coma, but of course the chances were slim. Rainbow Dash looked at Celestia with uncertainty, not sure of what to do. The Princess simply nodded for her to continue.
"Hey, um...I know you wanted to get the new Daring Do book that came out so I went out and got it for ya!" said Rainbow Dash with a smile as she reached into her saddlebag and pulled it out. Still no response from Twilight. "I'll...leave it here and come back to read it to you later." she said. Twilight's silence made Rainbow Dash feel like her friend wasn't there. She knew Twilight wasn't just sleeping, but the fact that Twilight was hurt made a lump grow in Rainbow's throat as tears welled up in her eyes.
"Come on, egghead...say something..." Rainbow whimpered as she got closer to Twilight. All she could hear was her raspy breathing. Celestia knew Rainbow Dash was as strong as they come, but she couldn't picture the tomboyish mare shedding tears until today.
They heard the rest of Twilight's friends in the hallway. Through sobs and sniffles, Rainbow Dash excused herself from the room. "I'm not the only pony who came to see her." she said walking out of the room. As Rainbow opened the door, Celestia was slightly shocked to see just how many ponies had gathered in the hallway. Every one of Twilight's friends from Ponyville had shown up to the hospital, and the nurses were trying to keep every pony from barging in at once. Spike slipped past the nurse and rushed to the Princess's side.
"Princess, how's Twilight?" the little dragon asked worriedly. Celestia just looked at her student as Spike hopped up onto the bed. "Twilight...?" asked Spike, waiting for a response. Celestia knew this would be the case for everyone who came into the room. Call Twilight's name and see if she responds. No response would follow, and they would turn to look at the Princess as if asking what to do next.
"Talk to her, Spike. Maybe she can hear you." said the Princess.
Spike gulped as he looked at Twilight. Her chest rose and fell with each breath, and it felt as if she was expecting Spike to say something.
"Um...well Twilight, I...uh, was gonna organize the books in the library but...well I was just so worried about you! I worried so much I fell asleep and I almost missed the train coming to Canterlot!" No response. The Princess had stopped expecting Twilight to say anything. To her, it felt like Twilight's body was here, but her mind was elsewhere. Could Twilight be trapped inside her own mind? There were many stories of unicorns seeing incredible things while in a comatose state, claiming they had traveled long distances through strange realms to return to the real world. If any pony could pull this off, it was Twilight Sparkle. The Princess had been lost in thought for a moment, but found a heartwarming image waiting for her to return.
Spike was hugging Twilight and crying into her bosom, much like a child to its mother. Spike was just a baby, after all. Celestia herself had helped Twilight raise him years before. She vividly remembered Spike's first bath, and their trip to the hospital's burn ward after Spike discovered he could breathe fire. She remembered when Spike started chewing on Twilight's books, and the hilarious tug of war between filly Twilight and her pet dragon that always followed. "Spike! Let go!". Potty training him had been an ordeal, and even though Celestia had never managed to wash the stains out of her expensive imported carpets, each stain held a different memory. Little Twilight would yell "Bad Spike! We don't do that on the Princess's carpets!" as she smacked his nose with a rolled up newspaper. Spike would always have the last laugh though, as he turned the newspaper into ash. Seeing Twilight's little assistant weep for her broke Celestia's heart, and she wished she could just undo everything and they could all go back to living happily.
Celestia managed to get Spike off of Twilight so her friends could come in and see her. He sobbed under the Princess's wing as Fluttershy walked into the room.
"...Hello Princess..." Fluttershy said nervously. Something had been bothering Fluttershy since the night of the attack and Celestia had to know what it was.
"What's bothering you, my little pony? You know Twilight is in the hands of capable doctors who are giving her the best care in Equestria, don't you?" asked the Princess.
"Yes but, you see, um..." Fluttershy couldn't look the Princess in the eye. "Princess, when Trixie brought the Ursa to Ponyville, I could see it was mad! When it took the collar off, I tried to calm it down! But I've never handled a creature as large as an Ursa Major, and I think I made it even madder!" Fluttershy's face was wet with tears as she tried to get her point across to the Princess. "It's my fault Twilight got hurt!" she sobbed. Some butterflies that were hiding in Fluttershy's mane flew out and fluttered onto Twilight's unconscious body. "Butterfly kisses..." said Fluttershy with a quivering smile.
Celestia couldn't believe Fluttershy was torturing herself like this, making believe that Twilight's condition was her fault. The Princess couldn't blame her though, she had been doing the same just hours before.
"Fluttershy..." said the Princess, "None of this is your fault. If Twilight hadn't been in Ponyville you all would have been in terrible danger. I'm sure Twilight doesn't regret protecting the town, and she wouldn't want you to feel like any of this is your fault either...We all could have done a little more that night, but that's just not how things went. All you can do is be here for her when she needs you."
Fluttershy hugged Twilight and cried, knowing no amount of her experience in helping animals could help her now.
Pinkie Pie and Rarity came in together. Pinkie's hair was still straight and as long as Twilight was in a coma, it wouldn't be returning to its regular cotton candy shape anytime soon. They both had to hold back tears as they walked up to Twilight's side.
"Hey sleepy head..." said Pinkie Pie. "You better get well soon, because I'm throwing you a great big welcome back party, and every pony in Equestria is invited..." Pinkie was trying to smile as she pulled out a cupcake with the words "Get well soon" written on it in frosting and put it on the table next to the bed.
"And when you come back I'll have a wonderful dress made for you." said Rarity. Her make up ran and smeared as she wiped her tears away. "Look on the bright side, you're going to lose so much weight. Lucky..." Rarity said, trying to lighten the mood before a fresh wave of sadness caught her and she couldn't continue.
The last ponies to come in were the Apple family. Applejack, her brother Big Macintosh, the family matriarch Granny Smith, and little Apple Bloom and her two friends had shown up to see Twilight, one carrying a saddlebag. The Princess was expecting Applejack to say something to Twilight, but all she did was remove her hat as Granny Smith walked up to Twilight's side.
"Twilight Sparkle, I've lived fer a very long time. You've become a part of our family, and nothin' would hurt this old ticker o' mine more than you leavin' us. I'd hate to have to out-live such a talented and special little filly like yerself." said Granny Smith, her wisdom showing in her old age. She stepped aside as the three little fillies that had accompanied them stood on their hind legs to see Twilight.
"Didja bring it?" asked Scootaloo.
"I got it." said Sweetie Bell.
The little unicorn pulled a drawing out of her saddlebag and gave it to Apple Bloom, who was closest to Twilight.
"But she can't see it!" said Scootaloo.
"Doesn't matter." said Apple Bloom. "Twilight, if ya don't git well soon, then please keep lookin' after us while we look for our cutie marks..." Celestia felt a lump in her throat as she got a better look at the drawing. It was a drawing of the three fillies, all wearing capes, and Twilight watching over them with angel wings and a halo. "Hope ya can see our cutie marks from heaven..." Apple Bloom whimpered.
The Princess was relieved when all the ponies in the hall had had their chance to see Twilight. She felt her heart had been ripped to shreds, and she was dehydrated from crying so much. Celestia was happy that Twilight had made so many wonderful friends, and all of them would be there for her when she woke up...if she woke up...
"It's all that stupid goblin's fault! If he hadn't sold me that worthless chain, I wouldn't be in this situation!" Trixie said to herself. It was late night, and her coach-puller Horatio had been pulling her stagecoach for hours. The Great and Powerful Trixie had finally achieved the country-wide fame she'd been seeking, but for the worst possible reasons. She was now Equestria's most wanted mare, for putting Twilight Sparkle in the hospital and endangering Ponyville.
She had been bragging to every pony that she'd wrestled and captured and Ursa Major when in actuality, she'd sneaked into its cave while it slept and tied the collar she'd bought (with every last bit she had) around its gargantuan neck. To the goblin's credit, the chain had worked for a while. It was common knowledge that Dragon Binding Chains gave witches and wizards control over dragons, but Trixie was a pioneer. She had been the first to try it on an Ursa Major, and for the first few hours the beast was under Trixie's control. However, the effect had worn off by the time she had brought it to Ponyville.
"And now Twilight Sparkle is in a coma for breaking her horn, trying to protect her precious little town." sneered Trixie with crossed hooves. She had to admit, she was somewhat worried about Twilight Sparkle. Not many unicorns survived a broken horn. But Twilight had grown incredibly powerful since their last encounter, and while Trixie had used tricks on the Ursa Major, Twilight faced it head on. She was truly worthy to be Trixie's rival. She shook off her concern and regained her usual narcissistic attitude.
"Well, she may have stood her ground against an Ursa Major, but she will never have the show-stopping abilities of THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRI-"
Trixie was cut short as her coach came to a stop. Worried, she called out to her driver.
"Horatio? Is everything alright?" She could hear him talking to some other ponies. "Hora-"
Her coach door suddenly swung open, and Trixie let out a surprised yell. An armored unicorn stood there silently before he walked in. Trixie had been found by the royal guard. As she sat there, scared to move a muscle, the unicorn walked up to her and looked her dead in the eye. If looks could kill, Trixie would have been in thousand pieces.
"Trixie Lulamoon, you are under arrest for criminal negligence, maiming a government official and member of the royal family, and endangering the lives of thousands of citizens in the town of Ponyville." said the unicorn. As he approached Trixie, she realized this wasn't just a royal guard, it was the Captain. Twilight Sparkle's brother had found her and Trixie had never been filled with more fear, not even when the Ursa Major slipped out of her control.
"You know," said Shining Armor letting his formal guard attitude go, "my 'special talent' is defending the weak. That's what my cutie mark represents, and that's why I'm Captain of the royal guard." He leaned in close so he and Trixie were face-to-face. "But if I ever decide to change that, you're at the top of my list." he growled.
"You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..." said one of the guards as they placed a brace on Trixie. Two guards escorted her onto an armored coach and Shining Armor himself closed the door after her. Through the window, she could see a guard giving Horatio a large bag of bits to repay him for helping them turn her in. She probably should have paid him.
Celestia had been dozing off in Twilight's room as Rainbow Dash read her book to Twilight and her friends when the doctor came in and asked to speak with the Princess privately.
"What is it doctor?" asked the Princess.
"Well Your Majesty, I don't quite know how to say this. Twilight's injuries are much more severe than what we're used to, and quite frankly, we've done everything we can to keep her alive. She might wake up in a few minutes, a few days, a few weeks, months, or even years, there's no way for us to know. But I'm afraid her chances for recovery are slim. Unicorns with just fractured horns have a hard time recovering, and Twilight's is the absolute worst case I've ever seen. Usually, a unicorn's horn breaks from an external force, but Twilight's horn broke through the spontaneous combustion of her own magic, and that's causing us a variety of problems we've never seen...I'm sorry Your Highness. There's nothing else we can do for her now. Twilight Sparkle's survival will have to be through her own will to live, and she'll need all of her friends and family to be there for her."
"...Thank you, doctor." said the Princess. As the doctor left, Celestia looked through the window of Twilight's room to see friends and family gathered around her, talking and laughing, waiting for Twilight to wake up. The Princess steeled herself before she went back in and told every pony the news. She considered getting something to eat. Twilight could take her time reviving because unlike other ponies, Celestia could wait forever.