67w, 2dHuman in Equestria
95w, 6dRule 63
35w, 4dAll-OC Stories
90w, 4dPonies in the Real World
35w, 4dFinnish Bronies
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66w, 4dAlternate Perspectives
60w, 6dMy Little Over Analysis
24w, 4dM16 Uber Stories
24w, 4dSuper Best Friends
20w, 19hEquestria Daily
4w, 1dFirst Pony View Fan Club
5d, 14hHidden library
5w, 3dA small notice about chapter 14 and some art. 35 comments · 319 views
9w, 4dI'm so totally not dead. For realzies. 22 comments · 230 views
23w, 5dRosy Stripes GMOD/SFM model 15 comments · 272 views
25w, 9hHow long until chapter 13? 12 comments · 164 views
34w, 1dI'm sure you guys and girls are eager for the next chapter. 36 comments · 699 views
37w, 4dAudio book updates, and an essay from a fan. 14 comments · 162 views
42w, 5dHappy Valentine's Everypony! 23 comments · 286 views
42w, 6dAnother audio book chapter update. 3 comments · 128 views
44w, 3dChapter 12? Soon . . . 16 comments · 258 views
45w, 6dI updated the art page. Also, there's a new audio chapter by BronyKen! 11 comments · 217 views
A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fan fic
In The Air Tonight
Voices intruded upon my black tranquility as I became aware of a rocking motion. No! I didn't want to wake up! I didn't make a sound. More talking. One apologetic and defensive, another admonishing and displeased. I tried to retreat back into my tranquil state. I heard a mutual understanding, spoken with calmer words. I still didn't respond, even as I felt gentle prodding begin. More talking, now worried. My sleepy feeling was comfortable . . . but I was starting to feel weird all over. I guess my sleep was ending. I suddenly felt myself hoisted . . . like a pallet on a forklift? Wait! What was going on?
My eyes shot wide open. “Heyyy!” I cried in surprise and confusion. The feelings tripled when I registered the uncharacteristically high pitch of my voice and a blurry impression of what might've been a bathroom. Shortly, my focusing vision confirmed it really was a bathroom. Somehow, I was suspended above the floor.
“Oh man, am I glad that you're finally back!” a relieved male voice came from a little overhead. Something uncomfortably integral atop my head twisted around to make his subsequent talk clearer: “You gave us quite the scare when we found you out cold and couldn't wake you. But Aidin did a quick examination and said you were okay.” I was momentarily perplexed, but my senses hastily kicked in to remind me of the present reality: where I was, who had spoken, what he had spoken about, and . . . that white thing in my vision meant—No!
“Yes, that I did,” another male voice said from beyond my immediate eyesight, currently filled by the white floor. With a light cringe, my semi-autonomous ears turned to my left to pinpoint the source before my eyes followed. Golden eyes that sat beneath furrowed brows focused on me. “But then, I began to worry that your loss of consciousness might be a symptom of a brain injury, like a hemorrhage, so I want to get you to the hospital.”
“Oh, yeah, that . . .” Marcus admitted plaintively. “So, that explains her erratic behavior you told me about?”
“Anxiety, communication problems, unexpected loss of awareness . . .” Aidin sighed, then continued, “I'm afraid they might indicate a hemorrhage.”
I had countless inquiries spinning in my head. Concentrating on the most pressing problem, I asked, “What's a hemor—?” Every muscle in my body turned rigid as the sound of my light voice reached my ears, and I squeezed my eyes shut to dispel my shock. “Hemorrhage? Wh-wh-what's that?” I continued, dismayed by how frail my fear-filled voice sounded.
“Internal bleeding,” he clarified after a momentary hesitation. No doubt my episode emboldened his suspicions of my health. “Or it could just be ischemia,” he muttered under his breath as he turned around for the bathroom exit. I had no idea what that word meant, but I knew enough already. The thought of my brain bleeding brought on a fresh slice of dread. How was internal bleeding stopped anyway? With an operation, I supposed. The imagery that presented itself to my mind's eye chilled me to the core.
“Please follow me, sir. We must go,” Aidin urged, glancing over his back as he left the room. The world began to sway and bob as my living forklift obediently trailed him.
“And, and, uh, this bleeding . . . it's bad?” I struggled against what seemed to be my body's inclination to speak in a hushed voice while still keeping my faculties organized. Being carried like a lapdog wasn't helping, but unfortunately, I still didn't feel I could walk on my own.
“Yes,” Aidin said to me, his expression serious. “Very bad.” Shouldn't he just say everything is fine? Or was it better for him to be bluntly honest? Either way, the pony considered my health to be in danger, and it seemed certain I wasn't going home as soon as I had anticipated.
“A-are you sure that your diagnosis is correct?” I worried, hoping he had misjudged and that I wasn't carrying a subcranial time bomb; I didn't want to die anymore. Blind luck had guided me to that road, and now that I had a second chance at life, I didn't want it to end on an operating table.
“I'd also like to know if you're correct on that,” Marcus shared some of my feelings. I had taken little notice of his home's decoration and furniture, but now, a plain white door with six identically shaped square windows stood before the pony's path.
“No, I'm not, and I can't be sure until I get her to the hospital, but I hope I'm wrong.” He glanced at me. “Now, uhm, this door is locked, er . . .” A grimace twisted his lips as he flailed a forelimb indicatively toward the door. Marcus deftly opened the lock without dropping me. “Thank you,” Aidin sighed, relieved. “Human houses and their doors . . .” The sand-yellow pony pushed the door open with his left foreleg, permitting the outside air to rush over us. Its chilly bite on me was minor, and I guess I had my coat to . . . thank.
A hospital wasn't a place I wanted to go to—a building packed to the brim with people who could label me insane the moment I said something about being a human male. I truly hoped I wasn't ill. If I was, I'd have to remain hospitalized for days. How could I keep myself secret for that long? Maybe I couldn't? Who am I kidding, I definitely couldn't! Oh no . . . Oh no! No, no, NO!
Desperately, I tried to argue. “But I-I, uh, I f-feel fine,” I stammered shakily, sounding like an imperfect Fluttershy copy. I wasn't sick, as in puking, coughing, or . . . paralyzed. Truth be told, I had no idea what hemorrhage could really lead to. The illness I best identified was the chronic discomfort and anxiety caused by my highly unsettling female equine form.
Turning his head around to reply, the paramedic had a sad glint in his eyes that matched his words: “I'm very sorry, but feeling fine and being fine aren't the same thing.” As we stepped outside into the rainy darkness, the water that began to run down my ears afflicted me with a sudden queasiness.
I hated to admit he was right; a life-threatening ailment could be amidst my brain matter. A trip to a hospital was likely unavoidable, and I'd be crazy to conjure any new counterarguments or attempt to flee. I had to accept this.
“I'm not taking any chances,” he continued as we began to head for the driveway, “and I fear I may not have taken action soon enough.” He let out a sigh that expressed both worry for me and remorse for himself.
“However, while you were unconscious, I took the liberty to check your pulse and finish the medical examination—and I apologize deeply for encroaching on your privacy.” He glanced at me with a sorry frown. “I hope you understand.” I was a bit disgusted, maybe even slighted, at what he had done while I was out cold, but I did understand his actions. “I believe you are unharmed, but a TIA or similar injury—or something worse—could be possible, and that's something I can't treat with the medical equipment I've brought with me.” I had no clue what a TIA was. My medical experience was limited to perusing random articles on human anatomy while bored at home, and that information was of little use to me now.
Marcus joined in to be the voice of reassurance. “If you ask me, I think you're completely fine, and your stay in the hospital won't be a long one.” Hopefully, he spoke the truth . . .
Cursorily, I noted that Marcus' home was the only house I could see out here. I guess we were in a rural area. Even the distance from his old-fashioned house to the driveway was notable, as were the two pony-like shapes facing us, illuminated by the driveway lights.
“I'm glad that you're hopeful, and I assure you, so am I. Still, it's better to be safe than sorry,” Aidin said as he came to stand before two soaked pegasi. “But if my worries are unfounded, then you're free to leave the hospital at any time.” After this, a pegasus by his side pointedly cleared her throat. “I'll also owe somepony special a bag of carrots, if you're sound as a bell,” he said to me with a confident smile. The mare chuckled lightly after that statement; I think she was more than convinced of my well-being.
“Don't sweat it,” Marcus said as I tried to discern the details of the flat object placed on the ground between the two pegasus ponies. They wore body-length harnesses that connected to the green contraption with two flexible rods per pony. “You'll be back on your legs in no time!” His fingers rubbed me lightly as he carefully adjusted my position in his arms, lightly tickling my new form in the process. Unfortunately, I couldn't appreciate the sensation.
“Of that, sir, I have no doubts,” the paramedic concurred with surprising decorum. The others watched me with compassionate curiosity as Aidin motioned at the device between them. “Now, please rest her gently on the stretcher,” he instructed amicably, identifying the contraption for me. Marcus began to do as prompted, and as my health—and my life—could be in jeopardy, I decided it was best to be perfectly compliant. Carefully orienting me to be parallel with the two pegasi, Marcus let my forehooves touch down on the stretcher first, which ensued without too much mental conflict; however, when I was laid prone and my hind legs were tucked to my sides, I winced with an unintended grunt. The reconciliation with my extremely unusual physiology was still in its infancy. Marcus voiced an apology, which he augmented by gently running his hand down my neck and back. Nonverbally, and therefore secret to him, I accepted his mollifying gesture, although my briefly tensing muscles informed how questionably I regarded his gesture. He almost seemed to perceive me more as an animal than a sapient being.
Heeding Aidin's further instructions, Marcus began to affix belts over my forelegs, back, and across my . . . tail. That sent a powerful squirm along the total length of my spine, but I knew that I had to be secured. Simultaneously, I realized that I was about to be taken into the air by the pegasi duo, which was a fascinating method of transportation. Still, it was hard to ignore the feelings of unease and disgrace for my restraints, but those were nuisances compared to the real threat on my well-being. A glance revealed that the locking mechanism for the belt holding my forelimbs in place was fastened with a user-friendly lock even . . . a pony could open. With their . . . my mouth.
“Thank you for your help, sir,” Aidin said politely once the three belts were in place. The tangerine-maned pony looked at me with a gentle gaze, although I could see his worry shimmering in his golden eyes. “Now, please allow me to introduce my colleagues.” He looked to my right: “Ampoule.” The pegasus nodded silently with a lean smile, his short cobalt blue mane and eyes creating a strong contrast with his bright yellow coat. “And Medical Brace,” Aidin said with warmth to the mare to my left. Her aquamarine pelt was identifiable thanks to the illumination provided by the few lollipop-shaped driveway lamps.
“Hello, hon,” she said with a smile, half-lidding the amethyst eyes that sat beneath her long and weathered peroxide blonde mane, before lowering her head down to whisper into my ear: “If you're what we call a false alarm, my sweetheart here owes me some fresh carrots. I promise to give you a share after you get a clean bill of health, okay?” Compassion and confidence were drawn on her features when she withdrew from me, but I was simply confused. A false alarm?
With a smug expression on her visage, she looked at Aidin, who poorly feigned obliviousness of what she had said. I think. I couldn't tell if they were being honest, or if it was simply an act to make me feel safe. Relaxed. I managed to reply with a ghost of a smile. I didn't know if they could tell, but I was starting to feel ill from stress. I could only hope I'd build a resistance to my fears, and inure to my ears . . . before I broke into tears.
“All right, everypony. The situation is this,” Aidin said to both pegasi, and I looked at him attentively. “As I said earlier, our patient seems to be suffering from psychological trauma. She lost consciousness recently, and she may have an intracerebral injury.” The two ponies nodded sharply in acknowledgement, whereas my frown worsened; I found no joy in being referred to as a female, and I was very much concerned of what would happen to me at the hospital. My fears ranged from surgery to death, to the potentially devastating consequences of an accidental or forced revealing of my identity. Plus, the rain landing on my literally inhuman ears was discomforting. “Good. Now—Oh, pardon me!” An apologetic grin dawned on Aidin. “I almost forgot to tell you: her name's Rosy.”
Rosy? Rosy Stripes? That was my name? The one that had caused me to faint? The one that I had outright refused to think of again? The name that had always been mine, except not before today? My name must be a sign of brain injury! I mean, that name! Aidin was right; I was really suffering from a brain injury!
Worryingly, the two pegasi, whose cutie marks I saw matched their names, dawdled with benign expectation on their expressive muzzles. In turn, I eyed both with justified alarm on my mind. “Um, h-h-hi,” I managed to whimper to the stallion. Ampoule simply bowed his head with a frown of sympathy, radiating goodwill that I was impervious to. My ears and head sunk down, the latter mitigating my stress none, and I closed my eyes tightly as I began to counter my ascending anxiety and hyperventilation.
“Don't be afraid, hon,” Medical Brace's dulcet tone slinked into my ears, and I felt something soft grace my neck. “You can count on all of us.” She paused, while the massage continued. “Remember what I said about carrots?”
“Yeah,” I pushed a shamefully tiny squeak past the lump in my throat. I couldn't understand nor believe that I was capable of producing such a sound.
“Listen. In an hour, you'll be eating carrots with a smile on your lips. Trust me, hon,” she assured. By now, I believed she was sincere. As I turned to look at her with exhausted eyes, I noticed what was on my neck and smiled lightly. A real pegasus wing! It was so soft, even through my fur. A desire to unbuckle myself and cry into her aquamarine plumes threatened to impose its will upon me, but I pushed it back—simply being graced by her wing was more than I could've wished for.
A rustling alerted my ears, which informed me that it came from behind, and Medical Brace retracted herself. A translucent tarp that was apparently integral to the stretcher was rolled over me by Marcus. It shielded me from the elements, much to the relief of my overly sensitive ears. The fairly spacious cover that was now being painted by the downpour had small support beams of its own, probably to provide rigidity against the colliding air once we were airborne. Noting that I was saved from the rain's torture, and with the help of Medical Brace's gesture still fresh in my mind, I began to calm. I was so shaken that I wanted to leak tears from behind my closed eyes, but I couldn't allow that. Not now, not here. Maybe . . . if I let out just a few furtive tears . . . just a small release . . . No, not even that was permitted. I had cried more in the past few hours than I had in an entire year. I had to show some dignity and resilience.
By the sound of things, Aidin or Marcus began to close some kind of latches to secure the cover in place. Aidin spoke, “I wish to speak with Marcus for a while, so leave without me this time.”
“D'accord,” the so far silent stallion said, and then I heard the flapping of wings.
“Sure thing! See you soon, sweetheart,” Medical Brace affirmed chipperly to her special somepony. I was silent, but a few seconds later, my eyelids and ears ascended as I suddenly remembered something vital. “But, uh—” It was too late; a small g-force pressed my body to the canvas when I was hoisted into the air. “My pears . . .” I continued in a pitiably mousy tone, followed by a moan of comparable quality as I slumped my head between my forelegs. The lock for the belts irritated my jaw, but I didn't care. A muted, agitated groan emitted from my throat when my annoying ears fell, too. No matter, sooner or later, I'd acclimate to them, but the single morsel in my stomach had probably dissolved by now, and soon I'd have an empty hole in me again.
Why were all the good things being taken from me? I had to overreact. I had to mess up, and now, I had only myself to blame! Everything could've gone better had I not been tricked twice by my name . . . Or a subcranial injury was the culprit. That must be what was making my name feel so genuine. I could do absolutely nothing now but hope the hospital could cure me. And maybe provide me with nutrition, too. Preferably something edible and tasty. Perhaps. Was hospital food terrible? I didn't care. I just had to be tight-lipped about myself and disallow my curiosity to act. My survival as a free, inconspicuous individual rested on being laconic and passive.
I peered into the darkness. The lights from a few houses and scattered light poles of this rural area were a drab sight. I glanced at the ponies by my side, noticing a gently upwards-slanted surface between them and me. The shape was connected to the equine's harness with a pair of segmented rods. As I was examining it, the flight path changed, and a brighter light show crossing the horizon caught my immediate attention. It took me a few seconds to identify it as a highway a few kilometers away, and . . . it was beautiful. The orange streak that was slowly nearing us had me mesmerized. I couldn't help but smile, and I felt . . . a little happy. My concerns were being pushed to the caboose of my train of thought.
The air and rain noisily toyed with the tarp, but they didn't distract me from soon fantasizing about the perky droning of a horizontally opposed, four-cylinder Lycoming engine rotating a two-bladed propeller at 23,000 revolutions per minute. I closed my eyes to immerse myself deeper into this stress-alleviating vision.
Clear sky all around, with the exception of a few clouds. The scenery of roads, lakes, forests, and towns a few thousand feet below scrolling gently by at a velocity of 90 knots, with the wind, the entrancing rotations of the airscrew, and the heart of the machine as a soundtrack. My imagination ran so vividly that I began to hear ATC chatter, and the engine and the propeller sounds became subtly separate. Flying an airplane was a wondrous beauty worth achieving. A wish to covet. A dream to realize. It was so close. Me and the plane, together in the air . . . experiencing a freedom like no other, not as two, but as one . . .
I sighed, I couldn't properly describe it, but it would be magic. I had only one more month of jobless procrastination until I was supposed to enter flight school. Despite my initial concerns on the contrary, I would safely make it on the money I had saved from my former job.
I had worked in a small electronics shop, owned by one Oscar Dahlin. My task there was to do pretty much everything that didn't require his seemingly unlimited expertise on electronics. While I never saw him outside work hours, we were nonetheless cool with each other. He didn't talk much about his personal life, but what I did learn was that he was a widower with no family. He was also very passionate about his little enterprise, which he had kept successfully afloat for about thirty years. I found that to be a very admirable accomplishment.
What was funny was that when he placed his old car up for sale, I bought it almost right on the spot, with the money I had earned from being in his employment. I had to wonder if getting me the car was his intention. I wagered it was; he had an air about him the days leading up to his decision to sell it. The car wasn't expensive, and it wasn't in bad shape. Of course, it didn't have power steering, central locking, or proper air conditioning. Pure practicality. Still, I was happy with the sky-blue sedan, and I think he was happy that it was in my possession instead of in a scrap yard. Sadly, he kicked the bucket the next weekend. Apparently, he ruptured a vessel, or something. I hoped it had been painless . . . and that brought back to mind my present condition. What was I thinking about? I had to go back to it! It was Oscar, and he . . . Gone . . . The shop . . . Yes! Calming, calming . . . calming . . . calming memories . . .
After Oscar's death, I decided to simply enjoy my home, living on my meager savings and unemployment benefits for a while. Occasionally, I would hang out with my friends, but I had grown tired of their idea of fun, which entailed drinking themselves stupid almost every time I was with them. It hadn't always been like that, but it seemed that adulthood equaled a right to frequently invoke intoxication. Since I was the only sober guy, it was highly awkward being with my temporarily obnoxious friends, who voiced opinions that I didn't acknowledge, hoping they weren't their true beliefs; however, the louder they became, the quieter I became, and with that kind of isolation came conviction. About two weeks ago, when they were once again in an altered state of mind, I finally lost my cool and gave them a piece of my mind. After an embittering altercation, I left them to their own devices. It would take a while before I'd dare to see them again, if ever . . . They were still my friends . . . Or were they? Was I a friend to them? I was so torn on those subjects . . . and I didn't want to focus on that now.
Oscar had looked so healthy that day. Slightly graying hair, but other than that, his features bore no trace of the sixty years of his life's journey. I still remember the smile on his spry, bespectacled face when he handed over the keys to me. Said that "I should take care of the humble fella.” I bought his car for a meager sum and fully expected to see him after the weekend. But that was the last I saw of him. Next I heard, he had collapsed on the way out of a hardware store. I hated to admit it—even now—that I had honestly teared up a smidgen when the news reached me.
Life went on, I wasn't in any kind of financial trouble, and I was the new owner of an old car, so things were comparatively good. During my first days of ownership, I took the car on a few excursions to get a better feel for it. Namely, I tested the nimble sedan a little on a sizeable and usually vacant lot of a horse racing track outside the city limits.
At some point, I had promised myself to take very good care of the aged sedan for as long as possible. I felt it was the right thing to do. Some kind of legacy, or duty, that Oscar had passed to me. Four meters of alloy and plastic weighing at about one ton gained status that was beyond its original intent as an ultimately impermanent and replaceable form of transportation. I believe that in an effort to ensure I'd responsibly protect and preserve the car, I applied a name to it. Or would that be him? Quite absurd, I confess, that I was taking Oscar's humorous comment a bit too seriously. Jim's just an unfeeling, lifeless machine . . .
Maybe someday, I'll get over the sentimentality and give him a good home. I had actually learned a few days ago that he was just a couple of years short of qualifying as a museum car. I guess that was another, much better and logical reason to maintain the car. My little automobile, a future museum exhibit? That kind of an impressive accomplishment would make me burst with immense pride and joy!
Wait, what was that?
Ampoule's sudden guffaw wrenched me out of my memory lane. Whatever the cause of his mirth was, I had now been brought back to the present moment, and my current method of travel was dissuading me from slipping back into my recollections.
After an arbitrary glance of my immediate surroundings, the compactible wing design that was integrated to a stretcher made me primarily wonder whether it was a recent innovation or if it had been perfected over several generations, and had it been developed here on this Earth or brought from Equestria? If that place truly existed, that is. As I understood (with the help of countless fictional stories and some educated theories), there's a universe for anything and everything, and more are created constantly and indefinitely. Even the number and arrangement of atoms flowing in and out from my lungs probably created an infinite number of universes for every passing attosecond. Hence, it wouldn't be a completely absurd claim that two drastically different universes – one with humans, the other with ponies – were somehow connected.
However, I had no way to ascertain the existence of Equestria other than asking the pegasi . . . What if they asked what Equestria was? How would I explain that? These ponies weren't inarguable proof of its existence. Maybe I could blame the brain injury for my unusual question? Perhaps it would be wiser to start with an innocuous question from which I could segue the direction of the conversation to the ponies' birthplaces. I just had to hope they wouldn't ask me any similar questions; I didn't trust myself to produce a proper cover story on a short notice. Maybe I could pretend that I was amnesiac? No, that would be too risky. However, I could learn a lot just by starting a conversation with a simple question that's unrelated to Equestria and ponies. Now, what could that question be . . . ?
Luckily, the air and rain rattling the protective tarp sparked an idea, and with a smile, I looked at the pony to my right. “Can you tell me what our altitude and airspeed are?” I queried enthusiastically to Ampoule, but my distinctively feminine voice immediately caused me to gag in disgust. I had defaulted to being an out-and-out male on a subconscious level in spite of my awareness of my equine shape. I may've received a reply to my aeronautically pertinent inquiry, but I didn't hear it over my morosity.
Suddenly, I recalled an instance when I was in an ill mood, just like now. In my mind's eye, lush rolling hills were stretching so far that the vivid green blended with the light blue horizon. I was just a young . . . filly?
The memories of my own human past were unquestionably authentic, and the brief vision I had just seen was nothing but a glitch caused by my cerebral injury! I shouldn't worry too much. I would be healed soon, and then my real name would be restored. The name that I could see in my mind but had failed to come out. No fear. The docs would fix me. Save me.
Unfortunately, I doubted they could cure my number one illness: my physical composition. I had been assured—and I wanted to be sure—that I wasn't in a life-threatening danger. If I kept quiet, there was a very good chance that once I was discharged, the hospital staff would be none the wiser of who I was. And then I'd stroll home to do some on-site research, and . . . If that research was inconclusive? If I found nothing from there, or from the infinite well of information that was the Internet? Or if I learned that there was no way back? That this was how I had to be, for all time? That the worst case scenario had become real and eternal . . . ?
Something started to tug at my heart, and my breaths became spasmodic. Those were the symptoms of the vague but disheartening predictions that were swirling in my mind. There was no clear vision of what kind of a life I'd have as a female equine, just . . . abstract horror and overwhelming melancholy. I knew there was nothing I could do, not right now . . . except to keep my hopes up!
‘For goodness sake! Here and now's not the darn time to drag myself down to sadness city! Anything less but the total restoration of my real self and life is completely unacceptable! I will prevail!’ I scolded myself, frowning tensely as I worked to perish the dismal thoughts and salvage my declining mood. The contempt I felt for my own moment of weakness channeled outwards, and I glared at nothing, hoping to overhear the ponies' conversation.
Much to my disappointment, the two were talking in a language I recognized but couldn't speak nor understand. I almost growled at my linguistic deficiency; it would've been less menacing than a revving Vespa thanks to my dauntingly feminine larynx.
I was envious of the duo's method of flight, although I would have preferred a machine to pilot. Regardless, if I had any say in my unexplained transformation into a pony, I would've chosen to be a pegasus.
A pegasus stallion, just to be clear.
The rhythmic oscillation of their wings gradually soothed my ill feelings, though I wasn't exactly sure why my sights became affixed to the repetitive movements of their plumed limbs. Obviously, I was amazed by their existence alone, especially now that the worst of my mind-addling trauma was behind me. I could've tried to initiate dialogue with them again, but . . . those wings . . . I stared at them in complete bewilderment.
After a short duration of thoughtless observation of both ponies, it occurred to me that the wings were working in opposing directions: when the mare's wings were in an upward cycle, the stallion's were thrusting downwards, and vice versa. It took me a while, but I was able to guesstimate that turning was accomplished by the pony on the inner side reducing the wing beat rate, whereas the outer pony increased theirs. Their wings may have tilted, or the pony yawed to aid the maneuver, but such intricate details were difficult to distinguish through the darkness and the droplets streaking the plastic cover; it was only because they carried lights that I was able to see them at all. The change of heading was comparable to steering a twin-engined airplane by adjusting the engine power to create asymmetrical thrust. It was interesting that the pegasi expertly employed a technique usually demonstrated by aircraft whose control surfaces had become inoperable.
The flying pair changed heading nimbly and efficiently, maintaining a level attitude. When the ponies had lifted off, the folded surfaces between them and the stretcher had expanded to produce an airfoil of sorts, although that had gone unnoticed by me when it had occurred. Apparently, sex didn't have much effect on a pegasi's muscle mass, as Medical Brace had no trouble matching her partner's wing strokes. Another apparent and astonishing aspect was their adherence to aviation regulations: the lights they carried were navigational lights! A red and a green collar on the mare and the stallion, respectively. I had to wonder where the strobe lights were. Maybe hidden underneath the stretcher and airfoil?
I finally detached my focus from the pegasi to scan my surroundings. The highway was below us now, dotted with the moving reds and whites of automobile lights. Moist air was rushing in from small gaps between the tarp and stretcher. To my surprise, the smell of emission from the cars below was detectable but not irritating. Not too far away was the familiar sea of colors belonging to my home city. Mostly orange and white, in addition to logos, traffic lights, and other signs. A few kilometers ahead, on the right side of the highway, was a mall. The illuminated latticed column, most likely brandishing familiar brand names, marked its location. I had been there once or twice.
The rural landscape gave way to more and more homes of various types, and commercial buildings as well. Passing the mall, we soon reached the city proper, and the highway transitioned to a thoroughfare leading into the heart of the population center. The lights of civilization that stretched out in every direction were unusually bright and vibrant. Maybe it was the darkness creating a contrast, or the water on the tarp working as lenses to enhance the luminosity of the incalculable gleams. Or my vision; I didn't exactly have human eyes anymore. In any case, it was an unusual but magnificent view.
I saw so much more and farther. This vista helped me to remember the times I had ventured to one of the few hills in the city to survey the landscape. Armed with binoculars and a map, I'd sometimes stay there up to an hour, spotting landmarks for my own pleasure. Although the hill wasn't very tall by worldly standards, most of the city's buildings were of less height, thus granting me a good impression of the scenery. The farther away the landmark, the more spectacular and breathtaking it was to witness. Most notable was the water tower over 30 kilometers away! The wondrous sight was spellbinding; it took so long for me to tell myself to leave every time I had been up on that hill. All I had done was watch in stunned awe and delight. It had been so beautiful, yet so simple, and so was this.
Really, what could be more wonderful than flying?
Because I had no way to tell the time, I couldn't gauge how long we had been in the air. We had left the expressway behind to cross over the denser areas of the city. In the distance, a relatively large building stood almost half again taller than the ones surrounding it—our destination. I recognized the thirteen-floor-tall monolith as the city's main hospital. A sadness at the end of my flight, and the uncertainty of my future, began to creep in at the same rate the predominantly white building became more distinct. Hopefully, in less than an hour or so, I'd be told I was okay, or at least being treated back to health.
I hoped they had unicorn magic that'd be able to fix me. The image of my head being cut open, the insertion of surgical tools and . . . brain bandages or whatever—Those didn't play well with me. The relaxed look I had just moments ago had been replaced by a frown, and my tail was trying to hide itself between my legs. That felt uncomfortable. Regardless, my primary objectives were to be as inconspicuous as possible and to keep my male humanity strictly to myself. I had to wear my appearance like it was perfectly normal; I couldn't detest any of its properties or show signs of ineptitude.
It took a few seconds for me to fully comprehend my scheme, but when I did, my face blanked in unprecedented terror and shock. The greatest challenge of my life was minutes away, and I had no better or wiser options available. I would strive to be as passive and reticent as possible to minimize the attention I'd receive, besides the obvious medical care, and the staff would naturally be predisposed to perceive me as what I resembled.
Once the hospital was no more than a few hundred meters away, I summed up the behavior I'd stick to: withdrawn, quiet, and very cautious of what I'd say or do. However, I had to ask myself: was my planned guise just another layer of humiliating femininity I was applying to myself? Was it better if I behaved as myself, sans the male human traits? Was it even possible to disallow my innate characteristics from manifesting? I couldn't know for sure. I was being taken to a hospital, a place stacked with people who could legitimately suspect my sanity the moment I acted outside my soon-to-be-assumed role. I had to attract as little attention as possible. I couldn't tell what frightened me more: the supposed brain injury, the methods the doctors would employ to treat me, my true self being exposed, or my ruse of being an authentic pony if the situation demanded for it. I hoped for the best, but I had no idea how to prepare for the worst.
With the flight in its landing approach, I took notice of a wide white structure with an overhang at the far side of the rectangular roof. Exercising much precision and care, the two ponies flared to a glide along the length of the roof before landing smoothly underneath the overhang. The wing-like assembly and stretcher lowered to the floor, and a pair of the sliding doors in front of me opened into a surprisingly bright room.
The sudden increase in luminosity forced my eyes to close. The two ponies pulled the entire wing assembly, and me with it, into the room. Judging by the clicks and shuffles, they were proceeding to uncouple themselves from the complex harness. The stallion said something in a complaining tone, and the mare replied with an appeasing one. Why did they speak in that language? Not that I could ask. I had to be passive.
I heard more clicking, and then the stretcher was lifted off the floor and almost simultaneously rotated 90 degrees. A quick glance informed me that I had been placed transversely on the ponies' backs. I had not seen or heard any others besides the two, so they must've done it by themselves.
Hooves clacked softly on the floor, then came to a halt after only a few seconds. The two spoke briefly again in that fancy language, and I heard elevator doors open. It wasn't until now that I actually questioned why I had been airlifted by pegasus ponies instead of an ambulance delivering me here. If it wasn't so unnerving being in a hospital, I would've felt amazed again.
“Feeling well, hon?” Medical Brace asked softly. I replied with a hasty, positive-sounding hum. The too-high sound that climbed from my throat didn't convince me, but at least I hadn't gone rigid in dread. “Don't worry,” she continued in that unbelievably soothing voice of hers, “You're safe now, and you'll have carrots soon. Promise.” How could she be sure of that? Was she the pony splitting my head open and staunching my internal bleeding?
The brightness inside the elevator was unbearable to me, so barring a few quick looks, I continued to keep my eyes sealed while I waited for my vision to acclimate. I briefly envied the two ponies for being less light-sensitive than me. To help quell my fears, I wondered if, perhaps once this was over, I could ask for a return flight home? I almost smiled in anticipation in spite of my concerns.
To think, the previous evening, right before sleep, I had been busy playing . . . a video game? How odd. Why couldn't I remember what game it was? I had . . . four games? That few? I saw them on the desk this morning, and yesterday, too. Didn't I have more? Odd. Something seemed off about my home now that I thought about it. Something I should be aware of, but my mind wasn't telling me what it was. Or . . . it was simply the stress and possible brain injury throwing my faculties into disarray. Probably that, yeah. I would've continued to play whatever video game it was the next morning and leisurely counted down another day to flight school, had not fate, or whatever, done this to me. I had been removed—No! Torn away from my comfy and safe existence, and all I could do now was maintain hope that it wasn't impossible to get it back. Until then . . . For as long as I would be here, in this hospital, maybe even in this realm . . . I had to keep myself a secret . . . and that meant . . . I had to be a mare.
What had I done to deserve this kind of torment?