The violet unicorn tossed aside book after book, flipping through each of them only a few seconds at a time. "No. No! NO! Ugh, SPIIIIKE!"
Spike sighed and rubbed his temples. "Twilight, will you give it a rest? That thing is gone."
"But I still need to know what it was!" A flying book nearly struck the dragon in the face, "That thing could come back at any time, and none of my books has anything on it! Not even Bright Brain's Biology of Bizarre Bipedal Beings!"
"Have ya tried Max Marvel's Mysterious Mythological Mammalians?" Spike asked, handing her the book.
"Ugh, Spike, honestly," Twilight waved her hoof through the air, "A book on mythological beasts contains fiction, not facts! We need solid evidence! What we saw was--"
"Twilight!" Bonbon burst into the library, "It's Lyra!"
Twilight dropped what she was doing and turned to the distraught earth mare. "What happened?!"
"I don't know!" Bonbon panted, "She was crying when I came home and said something about her human being gone!"
Twilight and Spike exchanged a silent glance. "Lead the way," said Twilight.
Lyra buried her muzzle in her forelegs as she sobbed on her bed. "Why did he leave me? Am I not good enough? What did I do to deserve this?!"
"See?" Bonbon said, "She's been like this since I got home. Probably longer."
Twilight put her hooves on the green unicorn and shook her gently. "Lyra? Talk to me. Was that thing from yesterday the human you're talking about?"
Lyra gasped and snapped her head up. "You saw him too?"
Immediately the green mare pinned the purple one to the wall. "Where is he? What's become of my Conrad?"
"Y-your Conrad?" Twilight asked nervously, "You mean, the human, right?"
"Yes!" Lyra pressed her face against Twilight's. "I think somepony stole him! I need to save him! He's my human! MY HUMAN!" The mare was nearly hyperventilating now.
Twilight gently pushed Lyra off her. "Lyra, I understand. You're really worried about him, I can see that. I'll do whatever it takes to solve this human problem.
Lyra started to smile excitedly. "R-really?"
Twilight nodded. "Really, Lyra. I hate to see a friend torn like this. I'll make sure you never have this problem again."
"Oh, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!" Lyra squeezed Twilight in her forelegs.
Twilight gritted her teeth. "Herk! Happy to, nnf, help!"
After getting freed from Lyra's grasp and calming her down, Twilight assured Bonbon she would handle everything and left their house.
"So, Twilight?" Spike asked, "How exactly do you plan to solve this?"
Twilight narrowed her eyes, looking dead serious. "I'm going to capture that human, and then do what I do best: study him!"
Conrad nearly tripped as his legs started to get ahead of him. A few guard ponies tried to get him to stop running, but their appearance only added to his panic.
Time Turner blipped in front of him and stood in the human's path. "Conrad, please, they don't want to--"
A loud thunk preceeded the two tumbling over each other several paces down the corridor. Conrad and Turner laid dazed on the velvet rug.
Turner shook his head and scowled at his human friend. "Ugh, honestly, Conrad, this has got to stop." He got to his hooves and helped Conrad up. "You realize this is no way to behave in a palace, yes?"
The human panted and gripped his knees. "I'm... I'm sorry... That... freaky magic..."
Turner held up a hoof. "Just calm down. I'm well aware of the spell the princess used on you and the effect it had."
"You are?" Conrad looked at Turner incredulously. "When did you hear that?"
Turner chuckled. "You've been running and screaming for ten minutes. Thank goodness we managed to keep you corraled inside."
Conrad didn't share the earth stallion's sense of humor. He glanced at the guards who were watching him intently, some brandishing spears. "When do we go back to the farm? I don't like the looks they're giving me."
"Ah, yes, about that." Turner grinned. "There are actually three ways we can go about that. You're not going to like any of them."
Conrad paled again. "W-what are they?"
"One," Turner began, "we take you right back to the princess and ask her to teleport us back to Ponyville."
"More magic and tall ponies?" Conrad nodded in thougbt with his hands on his hips. "Pass."
"Two, we walk through Canterlot in front of thousands of ponies and take the train."
Conrad's eyes bugged.
"Pass, yes." Turner cleared his throat. "Three, we rent a chariot and fly there."
"Wait, fly? You mean, with a plane, right? A flying machine?"
Time Turner laughed. "Ha, ha, no. I mean pegasus power. The royal pegasi will pull the chariot."
Conrad paled. "No. Absolutely no pegasi!" He shifted his eyes and leaned in close to Turner. "They're the violent ones."
"Oh, right, the business with Fluttershy." Turner nodded understandingly.
"Can't you use your weird time stopping thing to get us there?"
"Conrad, even if I could hold time still for that long, which I can't," Turner explained, "the trip would only be instantaneous for the rest of the world. For us, it would be a three-day walk."
Conrad sighed. "I see. So my best bet is to talk to Celestia again?"
"'Fraid so," said Celestia from behind.
Conrad whipped around and froze in place. "P-p-p-p..."
Celestia smiled warmly. "Easy now. I'm not angry with you."
"You, uh..." Conrad grabbed the back of his head. "You happen to hear that bit about--"
"Fluttershy?" Celestia asked, "Yes. Although, I'm sure it was a misunderstanding, I won't pry."
Conrad looked down. "You know her?"
"I do," said Celestia, "But I am nonetheless willing to help you. Now then, about going back to Ponyville, are you ready?"
"I... I guess am."
Without a word, Celestia cast the spell. Conrad felt like his entire body was being pulled by a wind tunnel for a split second, and then the sensation of falling. It was over as soon as it started, and when he looked up, he was standing in the front yard of Sweet Apple Acres.
Conrad remained silent and sat down on an overturned bucket.
Turner smiled at him. "Well, this was good news. You have Celestia backing you up. Surely this helps you feel better?"
Conrad pointed only his eyes at the pony. "Turner, is there anypony more powerful than Celestia?"
Turner raised his eyebrows. "Oh, certainly. But none as kind and wise as her, I assure you."
Conrad sighed. "Then I'm royally screwed. The only powerful being here willing to help doesn't even know how to get me home. I'm stuck here!"
The stallion put his hoof on his friend. "It's not all that bad, is it? You have me and Big Mac. We can work through this."
"No we can't!" Conrad snapped, tears flowing down his cheeks, "You have no idea what this is like for me! You don't know what it's like waking up somewhere you don't belong full of things that scare you, and know that there's no hope of ever seeing your family again!"
Turner stared slack-jawed and then closed his mouth. He picked up a bucket and set it beside Conrad, taking a seat next to him. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Perhaps it's time I told you how I got the nick name, 'The Doctor'."