A Tempest Tossed

by LotusTeaDragon

Chapter Four

Chapter Four

City of Manehattan
Time and Date Unknown

It was pitch black, she was soaked to the fur, and Violet's brain was threatening to secede from the rest of her body. Amidst the war drums between her ears, she could feel nothing but the cacophony of cannon shells as they slammed home against her cerebellum, giving her a pounding headache, and one heck of a sensory overload to where she couldn't even open her eyes, much less move.

It would have reminded her of the time she had rode the WonderBlast, the official theme park ride of the Wonderbolts, and Los Pegasus' largest rollercoaster. In a fit of teenage stupidity, she had ridden it backwards on a dare, in order to impress some mare she had been fancying that morning.

What she had failed to realize at the time was that the seats were designed facing forward for many reasons, the biggest one was that the ride only traveled forward in the first place.

So what happened? Violet's face was repeatedly smashed into the seat rest over and over and over and over, all the way down, up, around, and back down again. She had an imprint of the Wonderbolts logo tattooed on her forehead for three days.

What sucked the most was that the mare she was trying to impress had a coltfriend, and he was among those laughing the hardest at her folly. Violet concluded that being a teenager was stupid, riding backwards on a forward moving coaster was stupid, and this pounding headache was stupid.

It was then that she noticed something she hadn't when she had been casually screaming down memory lane: while the pain was still present, its sharpness had receded. It still throbbed like a mother of Celestia, but it wasn't nearly as crippling as before.

She opened her eyes. Daggers of light caused her to immediately close them. 'Okay,' she thought, 'still sensitive.'

Taking the opportunity to quiet her brain's chattering as much as possible, she tried to focus on the world around her. Even though the pain was still enough to force her eyes closed, she could still listen to, feel about, and even smell her surroundings if only she could concentrate.

The first thing she could hear, through the hazy web of pain, was the constant thrumming of rain against a hard surface. She was in some kind of shelter, she assumed, because the next thing she noted was that the rain wasn't hitting her in the face. Taking a quick sniff, she immediately detected a mustiness, the odor of things long since neglected, and possibly abandoned.

The dust suspended in the air caused her to sneeze.

"Bless you."

She figured that she had ended up in some kind of... and her mind froze as she realized she wasn't the only creature in the room.

Her heartbeat quickened. "Hello?" she called out, her voice less than a whisper. She tried to clear her throat, and the action caused a blossoming pain in her forehead. She stopped immediately as her eyes screwed shut even tighter, a mask of pain forming on her face.

"Don't try to speak or move, please. You've a serious head injury."

Violet tried to grasp at every detail she could sense. The first thing she noticed was that the voice was higher pitched. The second thing she felt was a cool washcloth on her forehead.

"You've got some serious bruising all over your body," her companion commented in her soothing voice, as she dabbed the cloth along Violet's face.

Violet tried to open her muzzle, but her companion replied before she could utter a sound.

"Try not to speak, please. I've brought you some water, and a few more bandages. I've also extinguished the candle, so it should be dark enough for you to open your eyes, but do it slowly."

Taking great care, Violet gently opened her eyes halfway, letting them adjust to the room. Her companion, rescuer, whatever you wanted to call her, was silhouetted next to her. She couldn't make out very much, but she could immediately tell her newfound friend wasn't a pony.

She opened her eyes the rest of the way.

"Ah, now, isn't that better?"

Violet had to admit the almost non-existent light helped ease the pain in her head, but it also had the side effect of keeping her pretty much literally in the dark.

Her companion's shape could be seen to move in the dark. She was bringing something closer.

"I would imagine you're quite thirsty, and in some pain. I've added an analgesic compound to this cup of water, so when you drink it, the pain should begin to go away. Okay?"

She really was very thirsty, and her head was still pounding, even in the much improved darkness. Attempting to sit up, she felt her body protest hard. Her breath caught in her throat.

"Whoa, there," she heard her companion's voice tinged with worry. "I don't think your body is quite ready to do anything just yet, my dear. You're going to need to let me hold your head up, alright?"

Violet nodded, and then realized that they were in the dark. She was about to roll her eyes, when she felt a limb support her head to where she could raise it. She felt, rather than really saw, the cup of water move against her lips, and she began drinking in small sips. That went by the wayside when she realized how thirsty she was, and began drinking it down quickly. Before she realized it, she had drained the cup.

"Very good," she heard her companion say. Violet could almost hear a smile in that voice. She hoped that the smile was to her benefit, rather than her detriment, because she still had no idea the identity of her rescuer.

She felt her head being lowered back to lay against her hooves.

Her companion spoke. "Now that we've got that out of the way, I need to bandage your wounds. I've applied salve to most of them, but they need to be protected from dirt and grime so they may heal. You also have several bruised ribs, so I will need to wrap them. May I proceed?"

Though the water had reduced the dryness of her throat, Violet could only emit a whispered "yes, please." Still, she was thankful that she hadn't been all alone with bruised ribs, and bleeding wounds. That would have been a rather grim situation. Not that things weren't already pretty bad all around.

A few moments later, she was surprised to feel herself floating a hooflength from the floor, encapsulated in a magic field. She could feel bandages being applied to her barrel. So her companion was a magic user. She didn't look like a pony, though, and she couldn't think of any species other than unicorn that could utilize directed magic. Of course, that may have been due to her mind being occupied with her situation, but that only meant her curiosity had grown ever stronger.

"Hold on, I'm moving you just a little bit," she heard her companion say, a bit of strain in her voice from the effort of holding Violet in the air for such an extended period of time.

Violet felt herself moving, and then descending. She immediately noticed the surface had changed from hard floor to soft pillows.

"There we go," she heard a satisfied murmur from right next to her. "Now," she continued, "how is the pain?"

Violet took a quick mental inventory, and realized the pain had receded. She breathed a sigh of relief, and spoke in a whispered, "I think it's going away. I don't feel like Tartarus warmed over."

She heard a chuckle. "Wonderful," came the reply, "this means I can raise the light level for you just a bit. I'm sure it must be a bit disorienting at the moment."

A few moments later, she saw a spark of magic light several candles, and the room achieved a soft illumination, not unlike that of dusk.

"I'm going to get us some food. I will return quickly," she heard the voice as it trailed out of the room.

The first thing Violet noticed was that she was now lying on a divan, with pillows on every side to prevent her from falling off should she shift positions in her sleep. The divan itself was old and musty, probably from years of disuse, and situated near one corner of the room.

Along the walls she saw rows and rows of books, stacked on wooden planks, and cinder blocks. The floor was concrete in appearance, the walls made of a red brick she remembered seeing in old magazine photos of Baltimare. Near the center of the room stood an old table, one of its legs uneven and held in place by what appeared to be a stack of dilapidated magazines. Everything had a fine layer of dust on it, as if it hadn't been used in eons.

So her initial shelter idea may have had some merit to it. This could have been some kind of emergency shelter, though it looked like the last time there had been an actual emergency where this thing saw use, Violet had probably been in kindergarten.

She sighed, and could feel the scratchiness in her throat had diminished. She tested her voice. "Hello, hello, hello," she intoned softly, her voice getting clearer each time.

"I am the very model of a modern weather pegasus,
I've mastered every weather form from here to Whinnyapolis," she singsonged quietly to herself.

"Oh my, someone's voice is coming back!" she heard from around the corner. Turning her head to the sound at the doorway, she watched as a tan colored earth pony ambled into the room, a tray of food balanced on her back.

The earth pony, managed to sit the tray on a nearby table. She turned to meet Violet's gaze, her golden eyes apprehensive, and smiled.

"Hello," she waved a forehoof timidly. "I'm, uh, Candela Bright."

Violet coughed to cover her surprise, and replied quietly. "Hi, uh, I'm Violet Tempest. I, uh," she paused, not sure how to proceed, though she knew she had to address something immediately. "Thank you for rescuing me, Candela Bright. I owe you a debt of gratitude."

She watched as Candela Bright's face burnished red, a blush creeping along her tanned cheeks as she looked away, one eye partially hidden by the braid of her chestnut mane.

"Oh," she replied, still looking towards the wall, "you can just call me Canby."

A few moments later, she clapped both hooves together. "Well," she said, attempting to break the slight awkwardness one encounters in new social situations, "why don't we eat? I bet you're hungry, and I have to admit I'm a bit famished myself."

Violet smiled for the first time in what felt like forever. Still, as they sat together and shared the small meal of bread and cheese, she couldn't help but think back to the moment where magic had been used to lift her up and bandage her ribs.

Earth ponies possessed magic, of course, it's how they grew crops, and it was the source of their incredible strength and stamina, but there had never been an earth pony who could use magic the same way a unicorn could. A horn was required for that kind of magical manipulation, and so Violet couldn't let go of the notion that there was more to Candela Bright than the shy mare seemed to let on.

Still, it was a matter to investigate when her wounds had healed, and she could move about again. In the meantime, the kind pony seemed harmless enough. Since Violet had learned a long time ago to give new friends the benefit of the doubt, for every stranger was just a friend she had yet to meet, it wasn't something that had to be answered right now, as they sat in companionable silence.

Regardless, there would be an answer.