Twilight Sparkle wasn't very happy about this. In fact, Twilight didn't think she'd ever seen a dentist before, strangely enough. But every pony in town seemed to go there for a checkup, and as Ponyville's newest citizen, she wanted to fit in.
The dentist's office was at the other side of town. Spike had insisted to accompany her. For some reason, he seemed even more nervous than she was.
"Twilight, do you really think this is necessary?"
"It's really no big deal. Everyone is doing it. Don't you want me to be healthy?"
"Of course I want you to be healthy, it's just, this idea of you walking into that door, and then... and then they'll put drills into your mouth, and pliers, and little things that go "Iiiiiiiiiih"..."
"Gee Spike, thanks, I feel a lot better about this now. What am I supposed to do? Wait until they catch me and drag me in by force?"
Twilight was trying to sound cheerful, but it didn't have any effect on the mood of her friend. The little dragon seemed downright devastated.
"Spike... I really appreciate that you've come with me, but you don't look so well. Maybe you should go home. I can handle this."
Spike took her hoof in his little hands.
"No, Twilight. I don't want you to go there alone."
"Spike, seriously, what's wrong? You look awfully upset."
Her little assistant seemed to have an inner debate. Obviously, he wasn't very happy with the conclusion.
"It's... nothing, I guess. Sorry I'm spooking you like this. I just don't want you to be hurt..."
"Oh Spike, she is a dentist, for crying out loud. Sometimes you have to accept a little pain in order to get better! Besides, I always brush my teeth - unlike a certain little dragon, may I add. I should be fine. No "Iiiiiiiiiih"... for me."
She gave him a big smile to illustrate that thought.
He smiled back, halfheartedly.
"Miss Twilight Sparkle?"
The dentist pony stuck her head into the waiting room.
"Looks like it's my turn."
The dentist blocked the door when Spike tried to follow his friend inside.
"I'm afraid you'll have to wait here."
"But I thought..."
"Please, have a seat."
"Don't you worry, Spike", Twilight said, "Be good now."
The dentist closed the door, and Spike was alone. He sat down right where he was, trembling.
"Please... Please don't hurt her..."
And a treacherous little voice in his head added: at least not more than usual.
"Lay down, please. And relax."
Twilight climbed on the strange contraption in the middle of the room. It was comfortable enough, but something seemed fishy about it. It even had a special sheath for the horn on her forehead. Most unicorn ponies considered their horn as a very intimate part of their body. This didn't feel... right.
Oh, Gosh darn it. Spike and his childish fear of doctors! He was sweet, but she'd never bring him to something like this again. He was contagious.
The exam itself was slightly unpleasant (a very prude part of her even considered it a little humiliating), but nothing out of the ordinary. It was no surprise to her that the dentist ended up complimenting her on her dental health.
"I will have to fill out some forms. Please remain seated while I go to the other room. Feel free to have a little snack. That's how we stay in business, you know."
The dentist pony pointed to a round jar full of colorful candy on a little table right next to her.
Twilight frowned when the other pony had left the room. Of course it made sense that she'd stay here until all formalities had been concluded, still, why couldn't she just go back to the waiting room?
It wasn't much, just these LITTLE things... the way her horn was tied down... the smell... this strange candy jar... The candy DID look delicious, and it smelled good, too, but suddenly Twilight didn't feel very hungry. To put it mildly.
"Have you had your candy yet?"
The voice of the dentist from behind the door made her jump.
"Thanks, I think I'll pass..."
"Oh, you should really have some, dear, they're quite good."
"I have no doubts about that, but I don't think I can eat right now, sorry..."
Okay, what was going on?
Twilight didn't feel so good. She didn't feel good at all. What was wrong with her? She had been a little nervous before, but now her fear- yes, her fear!- rose exponentially. Her breathing accelerated. Her bones started to shake. She was starting to panic. And the worst part was, she didn't even know why. Suddenly, everything looked wrong. Like some sort of awful joke... or a trap. The door through which the dentist had disappeared, the colors of the candy in the jar, the posters and diagrams on the walls, and most of all... this horrible chair, or bed, or whatever it was she was strapped to. Yes, strapped! Getting off the contraption had never been an option. Who had tied her down? The dentist? And when did she do it? And how come Twilight didn't notice?
Was she about to lose her mind? The colors became painfully bright, she felt as if she was sitting in the middle of a firework.
And then, they started to fade. The walls turned gray. The posters and other decorative elements disappeared. The candy in the jar turned white, like little bones... No, they weren't candy. They were pills.
Twilight wanted to scream out of confusion and terror, but she heard no sound coming out of her throat. It was like a nightmare come true. A little sparkle deep down still tried to remain rational, to analyze what was going on. This part of her realized that the world she had known had disappeared. It didn't matter why, or where she was now.
Now was the time to ESCAPE.
While her body was shaking in a mad, unconscious effort to loosen the straps, her mind was racing as well, looking for clues.
She was in some sort of cubicle. The walls looked like cheap decoys. Where the ceiling used to be, there was now endless darkness filled with red stars and a small, but horribly bright sun at the centre. And there were noises, lots of them.
Some of them went "Iiiiiiiiiih"...
Still squirming on the siege, she gazed upon her lower body. And in a way, what she saw was worse than all the other things combined.
Naked, sweaty skin with a slight purple glow. Stubby hooves. A tattoo on her flank. These stitches on her big, vulnerable belly. An entire scalp of hair growing on her behind. Oh Celestia, she had always assumed that was her tail.
Why? Why had she never noticed what she was really like? Why had she never wondered? By Celestia, she had lived without ever wondering what her coat was made of... She had just assumed she was... purple. PURPLE!
As if she had been living in a dream, a very sweet yet surreal dream...
Her throat was hurting. A lot. So she had been screaming the whole time.
She knew that she was going to faint, and she welcomed the darkness. The horrible cubicle became blurry, yet she could still see spindly, twisted things with glowing eyeballs descending from the darkness above. Mere hallucinations? Who was she to tell.
"My my, this one was screaming. I've never seen any of them waking up before. Why did the effect of the drugs wear off?"
"It was supposed to swallow the pills, but it didn't. No idea what happened in that little thing's brain."
"Maybe we'll have to take this one out completely."
But eventually, these horrible voices started to fade as well.
"Wow, slow down little buddy. You... you're kinda suffocating me."
The dentist accompanied them to the exit and waved them goodbye.
"So... how do you feel?"
"Well, what do you think? A little dizzy actually, I guess that's from sitting in that big chair... thing for so long with my mouth open."
"Nothing bad happened?"
"Spike!" Twilight laughed in disbelief. "She is a dentist, not some sort of evil dungeon master. And my teeth are in top shape, just as I expected. See, nothing to worry about."
"Can I... can I ride on your back?"
Twilight was amused at how shy Spike looked all of a sudden.
"Since when do you ask permission? Hop on already!"
Spike felt her warmth, and her strong muscles moving beneath him. Inhaled the familiar smell evaporating from her skin as she was sweating under the artificial sun. Twilight was alright... She was alright, somehow, somewhat. Spike tried to ignore the red marks on his friend's skin where the straps had been, tried to ignore the little wounds where they had stuck the needles. Tried to ignore how pale she was. But he couldn't.
He would try harder. Just a little longer. One day after the other, right? Just like it had always been. Just like it was supposed to be.
"Spike? You're awfully quiet."