Chapter Nine: Waiting Game
“I’m afraid I have some, bad news…” The doctor began his voice quiet and emotionless. His expression was set into a grim frown, the kind of expression one would wear when about to deliver news no one (or pony) wanted to hear. I could almost feel the tension in the air as his gaze flicked from pony to pony and finally to me once again. Even the sight of some alien creature didn’t break or change his expression in the slightest.
Finally, he broke the tense silence. “Your friends physical injuries are, thankfully very minor, and she’s recovering rather quickly.” He began, the faint trace of a smile forming. “She’s still very weak and drained from her…ordeal though. However all going well she should be back on her hooves in a couple of days.”
The group of ponies nodded slightly, the faintest hints of relief cracking their worried expressions. However I continued to frown, my heart beat quickening slightly as I waited for him to continue. I knew what he was going to say, and dearly wished I was wrong.
“Given the nature of her injuries however and what you told us. We ran a few tests to ensure nothing was wrong.” His smile was gone now, replaced by a deeper frown then before. “You said she was, being magically drained somehow?” He asked, to which the group nodded slightly.
“Well, sadly you were correct. While she was conscious, we ran a few tests to ensure her magical ability wasn’t damaged, standard when dealing with injured unicorns.” He paused for a moment, seemingly drawing out the moment and increasing the tension. “She failed every test…”
“What do ya mean?” Applejack asked quietly, the rest of the group completely silent, not even daring to breath.
“Near as we can tell, she can’t use her magic, at all. When she tried there was no response, no spark, no glow, and no magical discharge or even build up of any kind. From what we can tell, she’s lost all control of her magic, perhaps lost her magic entirely.”
The ponies jolted slightly, eyes widening and their eyes jumping to each other briefly before focusing back onto the doctor. I swear I could see the colour draining from their faces.
“Is that even possible/” I cut in before any pony else could speak up. The doctor’s eyes flicked to me, and he hesitated, studying me for a long moment, before responding.
“Uh, y-yes, in theory.” He stammered, his attention quickly shifting away from me. I sighed quietly and rolled my eyes, honestly I don’t even know why that reaction surprised me…
“We’ve had cases in the past where if a unicorn’s horn is damaged or broken, it leads to a loss of magic. However, her horn is undamaged and there is nothing physically wrong. It seems her magic was simply, removed somehow…I’m really not sure how to explain it.” He concluded, lightly scratching at the back of his neck with a hoof.
I simply nodded, unsure how to respond beyond that. It confirmed my fears, another point to the ‘fanfiction is real’ situation. I could take some comfort in knowing she would regain control of her magic, but on the other hand, it would too late to make a difference.
“I uh, have other patients to attend to.” The doctor continued after a few moments of silence, none of the ponies finding the strength to speak up it seemed. “As soon as Miss Sparkle is awake again I’ll be sure to let you know.”
“Thanks doc.” Applejack responded weakly, her voice strained and weak, I felt my heart sink slightly listening to her even for that brief moment. The other ponies simply nodded in response, not daring to open their mouths.
With a final nod, the stallion vanished back through the doors separating the rest of the hospital from the waiting room, leaving silence in his wake.
I barely even registered that I was moving until long after I’d returned to the lounge I’d been resting on earlier and slumped back onto it, a heavy sigh escaping me in the process. A dull thump sounded as my head connected with the wall behind me.
Why’d I have to write that…?
“Poor darling,” Rarity was the first to break the silence. “She must feel dreadful about losing her magic.”
“Well…at least she’s going to be okay, you know, aside from that.” Rainbow Dash said with a weak smile. “I mean, she’s going to live, I’m sure she can go without magic for a few days…” The pegasus offered a weak chuckle as her gaze jumped from pony to pony, almost looking for reassurance, when nopony agreed, her ears drooped slightly and her smile vanished.
“I doubt Twilight would share your thought I’m afraid.” Rarity responded after a few moments. “Magic is like…well like your wings darling!” The unicorn continued, finding a comparison that the cyan mare could relate too. Naturally at the mention of her pride and joy’s, she abruptly tucked them more tightly against her sides like a knee jerk reaction.
“Losing her magic would be like a pegasus losing their wings. It’s a part of who she is, not to mention magic is everything to the poor mare.” Rarity continued, her voice growing higher in pitch and more dramatic with each word, one hoof idly waved in the air, completely the effect.
As she continued, I began sinking lower and lower into the lounge, my eyes having long dropped to my feet. With each passing second I felt my heart sinking just as rapidly.
‘And you just stood there and let them do that to her?” I heard Rainbow Dash’s voice hiss as my mind drifted back to the castle, the brief confrontation between us coming to the forefront of my thoughts.
‘I tried, I failed. Don’t try pinning this on me!’ I frowned, the response I’d given echoing around my skull for several long moments. At the time I’d felt sure I had tried to help her, after all I go kicked into next week by Nightblade as a result of my attempted heroism.
Dash wasn’t wrong though, when she claimed I had something to do with this mess, not that I would admit it to them.
But still, the fact remained that I was to blame. I wrote the story which was influencing events around me, somehow. And even knowing what was about to happen, I still froze when I ran into Stargazer and Nightblade, I’d just stood there like a deer in headlights until they caught me, and then I’d promptly gotten my backside handed to me for my troubles.
My frown deepened. I was still worrying about myself though, Twilight had almost gotten killed and here I was thinking ‘oh woe is me I got my ribs bruised’…she needed help, and I’d spent all my time worrying about my own skin then her.
‘A selfish, whiny, coward. That’s what you are…’ I thought my inner voice bitter and dripping with venom. ‘You knew what was going to happen, you know now what’s going to happen and you just sit here wasting time!’
I winced at the harshness of my own thoughts. Though didn’t even try to protest, after all I knew I wasn’t wrong. I should have acted faster, maybe even warned the ponies about what was going to happen, and tipped them off somehow. Of course a few things had changed; last I checked the scroll wasn’t supposed to double as a teleport. But all the same, I should have said something, done something. Surely there was a way I could have warned them without directly stating ‘oh by the way your own world is a cartoon where I’m from’…?
I groaned, my head lolling back and impacting with the wall with a loud thud, a flash of pain crawled through my skull and down my neck, but I ignored it, instead resorting to sink lower down the lounge.
Why did this have to be so damn hard?!
“You okay sugarcube?” I lifted my head, eyes opening to scan the room for the source of the sudden question. My eyes landed on Applejack, whom was watching me closely, head tilted to one side and a worried frown creasing her brown.
“Fine, fine, just…restless.” I mumbled quietly, suddenly realizing I had all five ponies staring at me intently, a mix of amusement, worry and confusion etched into their expressions. “All this waiting is making me uncomfortable.” I said, idly pulling myself into a more comfortable and proper position.
“Well no one said you have to stick around.” Rainbow Dash responded, her voice clipped and impatient.
I simply sighed, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. “She might not be my friend. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care.” I responded in an equally impatient tone as I threw the pegasus a glare. The rainbow maned mare responded by sticking her tongue out at me and promptly shifting her attention elsewhere.
I felt my hands twitch as I resumed studying my feet. She really knew how to get under my skin…
For the third time since arriving, I glanced about the waiting room, searching for a clock of some description. For the third time I was disappointed to find nothing of the sort.
I swear I was starting to go mad sitting here studying the paint job. Once or twice I risked a glance out the door, but aside from the sun going down, -confirming that we’d been here for a good few hours- nothing had really changed o far.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t even any ponies entering or leaving the hospital that I could amuse myself with trying to identify. No I just had the paintjob and the random potted plant to stare at in hopes of divining some earth shattering revelation from them.
Conversation had been sparse as well. After the brief run in with Dash the ponies had fallen silent for the most part. Only swapping the odd comment or worry about Twilight’s well being. I kept myself well out of their discussions, knowing my own opinions and concerns weren’t welcome. One glance at the aforementioned pegasus confirmed that.
No, the entire time she’d been staring at me it seemed. Every time I glanced in her direction her eyes were on me and a scowl was plastered onto her face, a permanent glare. Idly my eyes wandered back to the cyan mare, and sure enough, still glaring. I offered a mock smile at her before tilting my head back to rest against the wall once again.
My thoughts had continued to rattle around my skull as well. I continued to toy with the incident at the castle, tried to figure out if that moment of hesitation had cost Twilight her magic, whether I could have changed things if I’d acted faster, rather then froze up and panicked.
If I could change things.
That thought stuck with me most of all. I knew what was going to happen, more or less, and knew more or less when and how events would play out. Though the question remained, COULD I change things?
This was almost like time travel in a sense. There was so many theory’s that came to mind about whether I could change events I’d written or not. And if things would truly follow the story to its conclusion as written or whether things had just been pure coincidence so far. I couldn’t really count the incident with Rainbow Dash at the farm, or her behaviour now even if it was how I wrote it. She was just being protective of her friends after all.
But given the events at the old castle and the two ponies involved…
I winced as a dull throbbing returned to the forefront of my mind. I’d been rattling this concept around in my head for hours now (or what felt like it) and still hadn’t come up with an answer. I only had a headache to show for it. Still, it was better then slowly going mad as I sat here twiddling my thumbs. So I guess the pain was worth it in the long run.
My hands moved to lightly rub at my temples in a vain attempt to lessen the ache.
“Why are you here?” A voice suddenly asked, so soft and quiet that it took a few moments for me to realize someone had spoken at all. Dropping my hands back to my side, I glanced about the waiting room, an eyebrow quirked in confusion.
Most of the ponies had apparently dozed off while waiting for further news, save one. My eyes settled on Rainbow Dash, who’s now trademark scowl had shifted to a mask of confusion and deep thought.
“What?” I asked, keeping my voice low so I didn’t wake the other ponies.
“Why are you here?” The cyan pony asked again, her voice a touch louder and clearer, but still quiet, likely having the same intention as me.
“I already told you-“I began, but she cut me off.
“No, why are you HERE, in Ponyville?” She asked, her head tilting very slightly to one side. “Nopony’s ever seen or heard about human’s before, and all of a sudden…”She waved a hoof in my direction. “Why did you show up the same day those ponies grabbed Twi?”
The question caught me off guard, given she’d done nothing but sneer and glare and throw insults and accusations the entire time since I’d found myself here. Now all of a sudden she was a lot calmer and rational.
“I don’t know…” I finally responded, honestly. “Some, demon of my nightmares showed up in my house, said I had some ‘role to play’. Next thing I know I’m waking up on Applejack’s farm. I’m just as confused as to why I am here as you are.” She frowned, and I half expected her to say I was lying.
Instead she simply stared at me for a long moment, studying me. I shifted uneasily, my heart beating a little faster with each passing second as I waited for her to respond, hell I would have taken insults over this silent scrutiny.
Finally she offered a subtle nod, and blinked. “And those, ponies at the castle, their working for this ‘nightmare’ of yours?” She asked, her eyes narrowing a touch.
“Most likely.” I responded slowly, still confused as to what she was digging at.
“Hm…” She paused for a moment, before moving to ask another question, though her words were cut off by the sound of the waiting room doors banging open.
Both of us snapped around to focus on it, and I felt my heart skip a beat as the doctor from before caught my eye. A string of grumbling and pony curses broke out as the sudden arrival of the stallion jolted the other ponies awake, Pinkie Pie promptly followed my earlier example and tumbled off the lounge she’d been sleeping on head first, though unsurprisingly she was on her hooves and sporting a bright grin within a heartbeat.
“Sorry to disturb you.” He said grinning slightly at the mad scramble as the five ponies all hastened to their hooves and rushed up to him, I idly followed along at a slower pace. “But Miss Sparkle is awake and can see you for a few minutes.” The group of ponies all nodded enthusiastically and murmured with excitement as he gestured towards the door and led the way.
I hesitated for a few moments as the ponies hastily followed after the doctor, my mind suddenly overwhelming me with a dozen thoughts at once.
On one hand, I wanted to go too and see her. I felt responsible for what had happened (And rightly so). However on the other hand, she’d been through a lot, and a human suddenly showing up probably would give her a heart attack. She didn’t need anymore stress…
“Hey, you coming or what?” Rainbow Dash suddenly asked, her head poking through the doors. “Or you afraid she’s gonna recognize you?” A taunting grin flashed across her face, and I felt my eye twitch. I quickly bit my tongue to stifle my response.
“Urgh, if only to prove you wrong.” I grumbled, before falling into step behind her. Honestly, if giving the poor pony a shock would prove I wasn’t a spy and got Dash off my back, then so be it…
The trip through the hospital went rather quickly, though I wasn’t surprised to see most of the medical staff and the few paitents that were out and about in the hallways pulling up short and staring as I followed the group of ponies. Wide eyed and shocked, mouth’s agape as they watched me go past. A few stopped and exchanged words with each other, their eyes jumping back to me in the process.
I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and feel the heat rising to my face as I kept my head down and shuffled along, doing my best not to meet the eyes of anypony I passed. This was maddening, being gawked at like some creature. It was exactly the reason why I wanted to avoid Ponyville, that and I didn’t want to start a panic.
But alas, fate hated me that much was certain by now. It enjoyed watching me squirm.
Thankfully the trip only lasted a few minutes, before the doctor finally halted along side a door, a number plastered onto the wall along side it indicating the room number. “Miss Sparkle is in here. She can see you for a few minutes, but she still needs rest.” He said quickly, reminding us that our time would be precious.
“Thanks doc.” Applejack said with a tip of her hat before nudging the door open and heading into the room. Each pony followed suit one at a time, offering their own mumbled thanks. I simply nodded slightly and trailed along behind.
“Hey sugarcube!” I heard Applejack call out as I followed them into the room. My eyes idly swept left and right, taking in the details out of habit.
There was a bed against the left wall, empty and well made, no doubt waiting for a patient. Next to it was a small dresser for the patient’s things and whatever medication they would probably require. A dividing screen obscured what I assumed was Twilight’s bed on the opposite side. Confirmed as the ponies all vanished behind it and copied the ornage ponies enthusiastic greeting.
I lingered on the other side of the screen for a few moments, listening to them talking and chattering excitedly, a new voice broke through the murmur, Twilights. Despite myself, a smile tugged at my lips at hearing her.
Finally, after giving them a minute or two, I inched forward and risked shuffling into view.
The first thing I noted was the bed, or more accurately its occupant. The purple unicorn looked a lot better then she had previously, a lot of the colour having returned to her coat. Sadly she still hadn’t returned to her full vibrant lavender colour, but it was a lot better then it had been back at the castle.
She was smiling brightly as well as she talked with her friends, reassuring them she was fine and the doctor said she’d be okay in a day or two. Her bright expression helped ease some of the guilt and unease I was feeling.
However it returned full force a second later when her eyes flicked past the group of smiling ponies and landed on me. Her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates, pupils shrinking almost to the point of non existence and the smile vanished instantly as her jaw dropped open in shock.
I froze my heart stopping for a brief instance as the other ponies all turned to look at me as well, though they didn’t have the same reaction, thankfully. “Uh…hi?” I greeted weakly, a shy smile forming as I waved slightly with one hand.
“Wh-what is, t-that?” Twilight stammered, eyes never leaving me as she shakily pointed a hoof in my direction.
“The names Simon,” I greeted, forcing a smile. “You must be Twilight.” She nodded slightly, though her expression didn’t change.
“He’s a…human. He’s not from aroun’ here.” Applejack pitched in,
Finally she shook her head and snapped her mouth shut, though her eyes remained wide and confused as they swept over me. “H-human? Those things that L-Lyra is always talking about?” She asked her voice a little firmer then before. I blinked, surprised both by the mention of Lyra, and in turn that she knew about humans. Score one for the fans I guess.
The thought brought a tinge of amusement to the corners of my mind. But I pushed it aside for the moment. Now wasn’t the time to start acting like a fanboy…
The other ponies exchanged glances, before nodding. “Yeah, I guess so.” Rainbow Dash responded. “He kinda, just dropped in yesterday. No idea how or where he came from, or how he got here.” Slowly, Twilight’s expression shifted almost instantly as the words sunk in, confusion giving way to excitement and a mad glee. I retreated a step, unnerved by her sudden change.
“A traveller from another world?” She asked suddenly, a grin forming. “So there is life on other planets? Or are you from another time? What’s it like where you’re from? Are their ponies there?” She continued to babble, her questions rapidly bleeding into one another until her words were an incoherent mess.
“Whoa there girl, take a breath!” Applejack said, lightly resting a hoof on the purple unicorn’s shoulder. The pony paused to take a deep breath, having long run out of air in her lungs.
“Sorry, sorry, it’s just, a creature not native to Equestria, this is unheard of!” She started again, but quickly reigned herself in with a weak cough. “Sorry…” She mumbled, her cheeks reddening as she glanced down at her hooves.
I chuckled weakly, one of my hands moving to scratch the back of my neck. “I wish I shared your enthusiasm…” I said quietly, putting on a polite smile as I shuffled to one side and propped myself up against the wall. “Sadly this visit wasn’t exactly…planned.” Silence followed my words, Twilight simply looking at me in confusion. I coughed quietly and fidgeted. “Never mind…”
“There’ll be time for questions later darling.” Rarity stated, drawing attention (thankfully) off of me for a while. “Right now you need your rest, after those ruffians’s attacked you.”
Twilight winced at the no doubt painful memories. “Who were they anyway?” Rainbow Dash asked, throwing a pointed glance my way. I sighed quietly, knowing what she was hoping for.
“I don’t know, they didn’t say who they were. Just that they need me for some, spell…” She frowned, trying to dredge up memories of her brief captivity. The ponies all exchanged a brief glance between them, words going unspoken but their expressions telling enough.
“Well, their not gonna hurt you anymore. We’ll make sure of that.” Applejack stated with a warm smile and a gently hoof on the unicorn’s shoulder. Twilight weakly returned the smile. The others simply nodded in agreement, smiles of their own forming. Even I found myself cheering up a bit. Magic or not, she was going to be okay if her behaviour so far was any indication. Although her lack of fear at having lost her magic was confusion…maybe the doctors hadn’t told her yet, or maybe they had let her down easy.
I decided not to ask for now. If she didn’t know, then it was probably best to keep it that way.
“Thanks girls, that means a lot.” Twilight replied, her smile growing a little brighter with each passing second as she studied each of her friends bright cheerful expressions in turn.
Sadly the moment was interrupted by a loud knocking. Glancing towards the door I spotted the doctors head as it appeared around the half open door. “I’m afraid visiting hours are over…well have been over for a while now.” He offered an apologetic smile. “Miss Sparkle really needs her rest.”
A collective ‘awwwww’ filled the room as the six ponies pouted, but the doctor didn’t relent. Reluctantly, the friends began saying their goodbyes and each took their turn to give Twilight a hug before heading for the door.
“Wait, before you go.” They pulled up short and quickly spun to face her again. “Could you, take this with you,” She gestured to a scroll that was rolled up and sealed on the bedside table. “Its a letter to the princess…I think its she hear about what happened.”
“Sure thing Twi.” Rainbow responded, quickly snatching the letter up in her mouth. “We’ll make sure she gets it.” She continued, her words heavily muffled by the mouthful of paper.
Twilight grinned slightly and mumbled a thanks before the pegasus departed along with the her friends.
I waited for a few moments, letting the ponies file out one by one before I pushed off from the wall. “It was nice meeting you Miss Sparkle; I just wish it was under better circumstances.” I said quietly, she nodded.
“Yes, that would have been nice.”
With a nod I started to depart, but stopped just shy of stepping past the screen and out of sight. Bitting my lip, I debated whether to say more or not. I wanted to apologize for what had happened, if not for this whole mess then at least for screwing up and not being able to help her back at the castle.
In the end I simply sighed, settling on. “Goodnight Twilight.” Before leaving her to rest and following the ponies back to the waiting room.
A few minutes later, we reluctantly stepped out into the chill night air. Leaving the hospital behind us, the five ponies wandered out onto the street, I trailed along behind, my gaze snapping left and right in search of any ponies that might be out this late. Thankfully the street was quiet, what little I could see anyway.
It took a few moments for me to realize that I could only really see about ten, maybe fifteen feet in any direction. As a thick fog had apparently rolled in, obscuring the streets and buildings. I shivered as the cold air suddenly assaulted me, far colder then anything I was used to back home. It easily cut through my clothes and right to the bone.
The ponies halted as well, glancing about at the foggy marred streets. “First that random storm, now this, what in the hay is going on?” Rainbow Dash grumbled, having tucked the scroll under one wing, she was now able to speak freely again.
“Ah don’t know…but its just fog. Nothing ta fuss over.” Applejack said, the others agreed, albeit slowly. I simply frowned and continued studying the fog choked streets. My heart beat picked up again and I felt sweat beginning to bead on my forehead and hands.
“Well, this has been…fun. But I’m afraid I must be going, I can’t skip out on my beauty sleep after all.” Rarity stated, already breaking away from the group and moving a few steps in the direction of her home.
“Yeah, I better go check on Spike and get him to send Twilight’s letter.” Rainbow Dash agreed, returning the scroll to her mouth as she flared her wings in preparation to take flight.
“Yeah, it’s probably for tha best we head home. It’s been a long day. We need ta be well rested for tomorrow.” Applejack said slowly, almost absent mindedly, eyes still focused on the foggy road ahead. I squinted, peering into the gloom, but I couldn’t see anything, just white fog. Maybe she had better eyesight then me though.
The ponies all murmured their agreement, and then shared a set of goodbye’s and goodnights before splitting up and head back towards their home, save for Rainbow Dash who was making a stop at the library. I simply followed Applejack, having nowhere else to go and not being told I wasn’t welcome anymore.
Plus, in this fog I had no idea where anything was. Best I stuck close with somepony that had a good sense of direction…
Urgh, I am REALLY not happy with this chapter...I spent weeks trying to write this bloody thing, annnnd it turned out terribly in my mind. Maybe I'm wrong but to me it feels forced and rather, aimless. I kinda feel there should be more too it, which is funny given its probably the longest chapter I've written recently :/
Oh well, Its done, sorry for the huge delay. As I mentioned on my blog posts, my computer broke and made writing difficult. Not to mention writers block set in before and after that on top >.< But its done now and I'm back on my computer. With luck the next chapter won't take as long. I DO have some ideas for that one thankfully. Though whether they work out or not I'll have to see lol.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed it :D Sorry about the long delay.