The wind whipped against her face as she floated high above the skies, feeling the weightlessness of the air take hold and drift her through the endlessness. She looked over in awe at the sight below her, as every tree, river, building and pony seemed little more than a scale model. Adjusting herself, she glided down to follow along the river below.
She felt a heavenly bliss overcome her as she glided barely inches above the streaming water, briefly drifting a hoof through its surface before gliding higher above the trees. She felt free. Free of the very earth that held her, free from the confinements of any reality that could possibly be. With such endless freedom, she knew why Rainbow Dash had claimed the skies as her home.
She grunted, more from surprise, as she felt a slight turbulence force her feeling of unreality away momentarily, before that same freedom return. As if expecting to see the cause, she glanced behind her, only to see the endless river that she continued to follow.
Rarity and Spike were calling to her in the distance, waving at her on the riverbank nearby. She smiled at them, returning the wave as she glided past. Despite passing them, she could still hear them in the distance in front of her. With another glance behind her, they were gone, yet their voices echoed through the very banks that she continued to follow.
They were there once more, now accompanied by others, standing before her as the bank turned sharply to the left. She hadn’t noticed their faces when she saw them before, now that they were in front of her, she could feel her entire world shiver and groan. She flew over them, towards the open plains.
The bright and sunlit world she was exploring turned dark before her very eyes. A feeling of foreboding overtook her, as rain began dampening her coat. She covered her eyes with a shriek as lightning flashed, blinding her entire world. She looked around frantically at her surroundings; her friends had disappeared once more.
“Please.” She heard a young, familiar voice in the distance, accompanied with a deep sobbing.
A draconic face filled the skies above her, each tear turning in to one hundred drops of rain, as the same gagged word murmured from his lips.
The mare alighted on the wet grass below her. The river had long disappeared, as she had continued to drive forwards through the oncoming storm. She stared up at the sky, wordlessly trying to comprehend what was in front of her.
Beside the dragon, the faces of Applejack and Rainbow Dash came in to focus, pensively staring down at her. Their eyes told the same emotion, betraying their expressed bravery with worry.
On the other side of the dragon, appeared Rarity and Fluttershy, wearing their hearts on their sleeves, as tears and wailing flowed free from both of them. But why were they crying? Why was such fear strewn through each of her friends?
Below the dragon came the usually bouncy and hyperactive smile of Pinkie Pie, in an unrecognisable stare of worry and anxiety. Her mouth opened, calling to the mare once more.
Twilight stared through the storm, unexplained words muttering from her mouth, “Don’t tell the Princess...”
As the words fell from her lips, she could feel reality grasping for her, pulling her away from the world she had built around her. Her world slowly crumbled, falling in to a bleak nothingness. She felt as if she were floating on her back, as a wave of reality, and sickness, moved over her.
The sounds of various beeping filled her ears, accompanied by various emotions from ponies around her. She tried to open her eyes, slowly beginning to feel pressure around her face, everything was black. Fear gripped her heart as she instinctively shot upwards with a yell.
“Twilight! Twilight, calm down! It’s alright, sugarcube.” Came various voices and gasps, the most noticeable being the accented voice of Applejack beside her as she felt a gentle embrace slowly lead her back down to the familiar sensation and warmth of a pillow, “You’re in the hospital.” Despite Applejack’s calming, there was no hiding the choke deep within her throat.
Two arms wrapped around her neck, followed by an impending weight on her chest as the most familiar voice filled the room, “We were so worried! I-I came home, to find you lying there!” The dragon sniffed, “I was so worried about you.”
“Twilight, what happened to you?” Rarity’s voice sounded from the other side of the bed.
Twilight felt for the cause of the pressure on her face, deducing it to be some form of cotton material wrapped around her head. She thought to herself, digging in her mind for an answer, “I... don’t know. I can’t remember.”
“It was lucky that I was coming down to see you,” Rarity remarked, “Spike was absolutely frantic. I called for an ambulance as quickly as I could.” She went quiet for a moment, prompting Twilight to turn towards her, “The news of commotion at your library quickly spread through the town. Before we arrived at the hospital, everyone was already here.”
Twilight was silent, still attempting to get her bearings. Being unable to visualise where she was facing, or what was around her, was very disorientating. She tried to mentally visualise her surroundings by the various sounds, only able to assume that she was in a similar bed to Rainbow Dash’s, during her time in hospital. She pictured her friends surrounding her bed, knowing the true locations of three of them, “Am I... okay?” She knew it was too vague of a question, but couldn’t bring herself to ask more specifically.
An awkward silence filled the air. Twilight could visualise each of her friends exchanging their expressions with one another.
“Uh... yeah,” Rainbow Dash’s voice sounded beside her, opposite of Applejack, “yeah. You’re going to be fine.” The forced laugh only further expressed her nervousness, “You’ll be back to the books in no time!”
Twilight forced her own smile; each pony knew she wouldn’t accept that answer. But nevertheless, she replied, “Good. The new Daring Do book is out tomorrow. I’m having it delivered straight to my library.” Twilight was shocked at her own avoidance.
It was harder to search for answers, when the answer could very likely be life changing. She could feel each part of her, nagging at her in different directions, for their own selfish reasons. On one side, she had to know what was keeping her hospitalised. Ponies were not kept in bed, purely because of a minor incident.
On the other hoof, there was a part of her that was afraid to find out the details. Would the answer mean something would change in her life? Or would everything return to normal eventually? That part of her, an instinctual fear of the unknown, was now gnawing at her to defy her own personality, and avoid knowing what had happened to her.
This feeling was never mentioned in the excerpts of journal records she’d seen in books of real life accounts, for various life-changing reasons. Everything she had read was recorded in such a way, that everything worked out for the best. No pony ever had to worry about what would go wrong, or how they would change. It was always a happy ending.
A third nagging feeling pulled at her, that if something was wrong, she should know, so she can have time to adapt, and understand. If something had changed, and her life would be different, then it should be no trouble to simply adjust and continue on.
What do I do? Twilight thought to herself, conceptualising the possibilities was getting her nowhere. There were two possible ways to handle this: Find out now, or find out later.
“Sugarcube,” Applejack asked with a pause, “do you feel alright? Is there something we can do for you?”
“I don’t know, Applejack.” Twilight replied simply. With the important questions rolling around in her head, it was impossible to think of anything else to ask for.
She felt the cool touch of glass at her lips. A small chill ran through her spine at the sudden sensation, “Drink this, Twi’.” Spike said as the glass slowly tipped upwards.
Twilight drank the cold water, suddenly becoming very self conscious that everypony was watching her drink. What do they look like? She questioned, Are they watching me? The feeling became quite overbearing.
The glass was removed from her lips, followed by the familiar clink of it being replaced on whatever was next to the bed, “Feeling any better?” Spike asked.
“A little, I think.” She lied, “When will the doctor be here?”
“Right now, actually!” A deep voice came from the end of the room, “Good to see you’re awake, Ms. Sparkle. That was quite the nasty scare we had.” There was a calming tone to his voice, reminding her of how so many doctors seemed to speak to their patients. “The good news is you’ll be out of here in a few days. However...”
Twilight’s stomach lurched as the pause filled the air nervously. She held her breath, unable to let go, as her heart beat nervously in her chest. She could feel each rhythmic thump, as her entire being dreaded the next words from the doctor’s mouth.
“However,” the doctor repeated, “we’re going to need to run a few tests before you’re allowed to leave.”
Twilight awkwardly felt half of her body relax, before tensing up once more. You can’t just tell me that! Twilight thought furiously, why are you keeping me here? What tests?! She screamed inwardly, yet her throat was locked. The silence hung through the room around her as the unanswered question remained.
“Now, don’t worry, it’s quite possible that it’s only a small trauma that will go away on its own. If it is, it will clear up within a couple of days.” Twilight relaxed at the inkling of hope, “So we’ll just hold on until then. Unfortunately, we can’t have all of your friends here all the time. There’s one bed next to you, which one of you can sleep in,” he seemed to realise through his sentence that her friends were in the room, “but only until we need it again.”
Twilight smiled at that, feeling relieved that she wouldn’t have to be alone. She hoped, at least, that somepony would be able to stay with her, even for one night.
“‘fraid I can’t. I’m needed at the orchard every day.” Applejack said.
“And, um,” Fluttershy finally spoke, “I need to take care of the animals at night, and in the morning, but... I can visit during the day... if you’d like.” Until now, it was almost as if Fluttershy had been completely invisible, aside from the odd emotional sniff that didn’t fit with the other five.
“I’d love to, however Sweetie Belle is staying with me, and I just know how bored she gets. I couldn’t have her playing around you, given your condition, Twilight.”
Twilight’s heart sank. She knew she would have to send Spike back to the library. The dragon’s silence suggested that he was aware of that, as well.
“Oh! I could stay! We could play games, and make stuff, and oh! Oh! We could have a party! Everypony in the hospital could join in! It’ll be so awesome! I’ve never had a party in a hospital before. Have you? I bet you have, you work here all the time, right? Do you live here, too? I heard you do. It’s just a rumour around town that all the doctors and nurses live in the hospital, so you’d have to have parties sometime, right? If there wasn’t anything fun, that’d be so boring!” Pinkie’s usual trail was cut short by a surrounding plethora of ‘No!’ To Twilight’s inward delight, she was glad everypony had agreed.
Twilight was saddened by the commitments, and respective desires of her friends, however she could never ask them to leave their lives behind. She turned her head towards where she had heard Rainbow Dash’s voice, assuming that she was still standing there. She hoped that the Pegasus would at least be willing to stay for one night.
“I can’t tonight...” Rainbow said conflicted, “I’m rostered to help with the storm tomorrow, and they couldn’t do it without me. We start really early in the morning, and I have to make sure everything is ready before we head out...”
Twilight suddenly felt lonely. Tonight, the first night in hospital, was going to be very long.
“But...” Rainbow added with an upwards inflection, “I’ll pick your book up tomorrow, Twilight. I’ll come down and spend the night with you. The weather team’ll understand. “
Twilight smiled, relieved. There was something to look forward to, “Thank you, Rainbow. I really appreciate it.”
“No problem, Twi’.” Rainbow replied smugly, “I wouldn’t be the best if I didn’t!” She added.
Twilight giggled quietly at her friend taking a tongue-in-cheek stab at herself.
“Good, good.” The doctor interjected, “now I’m afraid Twilight’s going to need more rest, if she’s going to have any chance of recovery.”
Spike hugged Twilight tightly around her neck, threatening to never let go, “Owlowicious’ll look after the library, right? I mean, he can do it!”
Twilight nuzzled Spike gently on the cheek, “Sorry, Spike. Don’t worry; I’ll be home soon, okay?”
She felt Spike hold her for a long moment before letting go reluctantly, “Okay, Twi’. I’ll come visit you every day. I’ll bring some cookies!”
“Sounds good, Spike. Take care of the library for me, okay? And... if I was working on something before this happened, please leave it untouched. I need to find out what it was.” Retrograde amnesia. It’s normal after trauma.
The sudden lack of weight, and thud on the floor suggested that Spike had jumped off the bed, “Hey Twi’?”
“I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Me too.” Twilight forced a smile.
With a final bout of goodbyes, her friends filed out of the room, leaving only the doctor left. The door closed with an audible clack before he began talking again.
“Dinner will be served soon, Ms. Sparkle. The nurse will help you when it comes. I advise that you don’t worry, and just focus on making sure that you get yourself well-rested, so you’re able to make the best possible recovery.”
Twilight simply nodded, listening for the doctor walking out of the room.
As the door clicked shut, Twilight sighed deeply, What mess have I gotten myself in to now? What will the Princess think?
Don’t tell the Princess.