To the world, it was but a few years ago. To me, it was a lifetime.
I was at the Best Young Flier's competition in Cloudsdale, about to begin my flight. You see, back then, I had wings. Yes, I was born a pegasus.
I didn't just have wings, though; I had a sister, and another name, too. My name was Doctor Hooves, and my sister, dear sweet Derpy...
She was born with a lazy eye which made her have trouble flying straight. I did everything I could to help her, determined to be the best brother I could. All I wanted was to see my little sis smile.
Anyway, I'd just completed my flight, the septupple corkscrew backflip, when I went back to the seats to join my family and watch Derpy fly. That was when the accident happened.
Derpy's trick was playing pony pinball with a storm cloud. Everything was going well until she hit the cloud wrong and caused it to loose a bolt of lightning which struck her directly in the head, knocking her out.
I knew that wasn't part of the act, and I rushed to her aid, desperate to catch her falling body. The other ponies, however, thought it was just for show.
I... I wasn't fast enough to save her.
From then on, all I could think about was the sister I failed. I blamed myself for her death and carried the burden alone wherever I went. How I wished I could trade my life for hers.
Later that year, disaster struck. The mad god of chaos, Discord, broke free from his stone prison. He wreaked havoc on Equestria, and caused the world to ignore the laws of reality.
While some ponies begged him to end the madness, I came to him with another plea. I asked him to bring my sister back to life, but even his nearly endless power could not return a dead pony to the realm of the living.
Discord may have been the god of chaos, but he wasn't heartless. Since he could not bring my sister back, he offered me an alternative: the power to go back in time and save her myself.
He warned me that this power would come at a price, but I took it anyway. The cost was two things. One, I could only travel so far back in time this once, and two, I would have to give up my wings.
The day of the competition came, and everything transpired exactly as I remembered it. The accident happened again, and for the second time, I saw my unconscious sister plummet towards the earth. But this time, I was ready and waiting.
At the last moment, I made my move. The world around me froze in place, and I was able to simply turn her around and give her a push in the right direction. When everything began to move again, she flew parallel to the ground for a while and landed in a lake.
My past self was able to rescue her in time, and I was relieved because I thought everything would go back to the way it was.
Were I only so lucky. The ease of my mission should have been a sign.
While Discord wasn't heartless, he wasn't kind either. The trickster didn't warn me of the third cost, that I couldn't return to the future. I was stuck in the past with an alternate me living the life I was meant to lead. I knew then and there that I could never be with my family again.
So I changed my name, from Doctor Hooves to Time Turner, and moved to Ponyville for a fresh start. I wasn't entirely down trodden; I got my wish and saved Derpy. She's alive and well right now.
My only regret is that she can never know that I'm her brother.
The earth stallion hung his head and sighed. "If anypony knows what you're going through, I do."
"I'm sorry... I didn't know." Conrad looked sorrowfully at Turner.
"It's alright," Turner said, "And in case you're wondering, I've already forgiven that crack about pegasi being the violent ones."
Conrad's eyes went wide and he smacked himself in the forehead. "Ugh, I am so stupid!" He dragged his hand down his face.
Turner laughed. "Yes, well, just don't forget, I'll be around if you need to talk about anything. You remember the way to my house, right?"
Conrad nodded. "Mhm."
"Good. Feel free to visit anytime."
"CONRAD!" Applejack came galloping up, "Conrad, where have ya been?"
The human scooted back nervously. "A-Applejack? Um, well--"
"Lyra had him captive," Turner said, standing on the ground now, "I snatched him up and took him to Celestia. Why? What's going on?"
"Big Mac an' Ah've been lookin' all over town fer him since he disappeared. An' Twilight's on the war path. She's as determined as Lyra to get him in her hooves."
"Great!" Conrad threw his arms up. "So now I have too crazy mares out to get me?"
Applejack raised an eyebrow. "While Ah don't rightly approve ah ponies talkin' 'bout mah friends like that, Ah hafta agree with ya. Twi's behaviour these past couple days is a might disturbing."
"AJ," said Turner, "I'm afraid in his condition, Conrad isn't fit to handle this. I need to ask that you help me keep him safe here."
"Shoot, don't ch'all worry none," Applejack said brightly, crossing one hoof over the other, "Ah stick by mah friends. Y'all can be sure Ah'll do mah best to keep them apart 'til we got this all settled."
"Thank you," Turner said.
"Yeah, thanks," Conrad said, smiling weakly.
Turner trotted a few paces away and faced the other two. "Conrad, do you mind staying here with Applejack?"
The human glanced uneasily at the mare. "Um, I guess?"
"Where y'all headed?" Applejack asked.
"I have a few things I need to do," Turner replied, "Don't worry, I won't be long. I'll see you yesterday, Conrad." With that, the stallion clopped his hoof and disappeared.
Apllejack bugged. "What in tarnation? Where the hay he go?"
Conrad shrugged. "No idea. But I think the better question is when the hay did he go."
Applejack looked from the spot where Turner stood to the human. "Right. Ah still don't understand what's goin' on, but it's probably best Ah don't hear it. Might just give me a headache." She spun her eyes as she said this, and then gave the human a nudge. "Hey, you hungry?"
"Um, I guess so." His stomach growled and he put his hand on it. "Eh heh heh... Yeah. I'm starving."
Applejack nodded. "Alright. Y'all just rest here, sugarcube, and Ah'll git ya some grub." She cantered off to the house, leaving the human alone by the barn.