Quick Author's Note: HOLY CRAP 16,000 WORDS!!! *Ahem* Anyways... this is most likely be the longest chapter due to it's foundations for the rest of the story. To start off, as said in the previous chapter's author's note, I am not following the timeline of WWII exactly. I am slightly alternating the timeline; however, nothing too drastic to make it not WWII related. Specific dates to certain events will remain the the same such as April 30, 1945 for the Battle for the Reichstag ponified in the last chapter, but the years will/may be altered. So don't get confused when events like ponified Stalingrad (Stalliongrad in this) starting in 1943 (1043), instead of 1942 (1042). It's all for the sake of the story. I am also mixing other relevant historical events into this plot as well that don't entirely sound accurate; but again, its all for the sake of the story.
So those history-buffs like me out there reading this, don't fret; I'm not too much of an idiot. The purpose of this is to accurately portray how Equestria will enter such a disastrous war if such events were to take place canon. In addition, many things that did not exist in the WWII-era, but do in the show, will be present to keep the continuity.
One last thing - a warning and a personal claim: Accurate representation of the Holocaust are present throughout this entire story. I am in no way shape or form denying or poking fun at such a tragedy. Please keep in mind that if you are sensitive to such things I will post a friendly "[[[(((XXXXXX)))]]]" before and after those sequences AFTER this chapter in this same color. This chapter's references are mild enough for all to read and are rather important to the plot as a whole.
On that note: Let's begin!
"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
17 Months Earlier...
October 3, 1043
Ponyville Weather Patrol Station; Ponyville, Equestria
The Ponyville Weather Patrol Station building was only recently constructed, and the Weather Patrol itself for the this two-story town of Ponyville had grown in numbers in recent years. All thanks to Rainbow Dash's efforts to expand her influence with Cloudsdale's approval into Ponyville's neighboring towns. This station's building was about the size of a small hut on the outskirts of the Ponyville that was built by the left over wood from one of the many reconstructions of Sweet Apple Acres's barn from certain "mishaps".
Inside the station were only two rooms, three if counting a closet; the main room and a unisex restroom. The main room was decorated with maps of the surrounding Ponyville area, as well as several whiteboards with weather predictions drawn in with red and brown dry erase markers. In the center of the right side of the room, next to the restroom, sits a small kitchen having from the back right corner to the restroom a dirty refrigerator, a sink filled with neglected dishes, and a trash can overflowing with garbage that has not been taken out for weeks. In the middle of the room sat a wooden table with another map of the area, as well as a plate of a half eaten sandwich that was left to mold and an unfinished board game. Around the table sits four wooden chairs, one of which was half broken. Another table off to back left corner of the main room sits a radio, a telegraph machine, a telephone, and other devices of communication to Cloudsdale, Canterlot, and other Weather Patrol stations throughout Equestria.
The room smelt as though mold had infested the corpses of dead mice inside the walls of the station, but the the ponies who worked in there have either gotten used to the stench or simply didn't care. Surrounding the corner table with the radio stood five male Pegasi awaiting their boss. Two of which these males were the familiar faces of Thunderlane and Snowflake who were the first to join the Weather Team alongside Rainbow Dash after their training together at the Wonderbolts Academy. The last three are new residents to Ponyville who both, needed a good paying job, and fit Rainbow Dash's strict physical requirements. Each Pegasi wore a plain blue vest on their torsos, chatting among themselves or enjoying the lengthy upbeat guitar solos of the classic heavy metal music; awaiting news from Equestria National Radio about the war that almost surrounds Equestria.
The heavy metal, glam rock style song ends and a prideful tune plays before a nasally sounding voice speaks:
"And now for some international news with me, Mainstream Media...! Germaneigh's 6th Army, as well as the armies from Germaneigh's allies, have reached the gates of the Equissian city of Stalliongrad earlier this week. The death toll are currently already immensely high, and as the battle rages the death toll is only expected to rise even further. The leader of the Hooviet Union, Vladimir Stallion, vows to keep the city under Hooviet control, no matter the cost. Olaf Sitler - leader of Germaneigh, claims that both Stalliongrad and the Equissian capital of Moscolt will be quote, "Served to him on a plate by Hearth's Warming" according to Gerneighian broadcast from Bearlin. On the other front in the war, the Empire of Nieghpon has put our own nation of Equestria on high alert as more islands are conquered by the Neighponese in the Haycific Ocean; edging ever closer to our territory islands of Haywaii. Tensions brew once again up in Canterlot between Princess Celestia and Princess Luna on Equestria's current state of neutrality. Princess Luna spoke to us earlier this morning about Equestria's stance in the war, saying quote, "We art thou last economically super-powered nation to remain neutral," she then goes on to say, "Tis only a matter of time before hath thou...how you say, shoved into the ring," Princess Luna has ordered the construction a new navel fleet at Diamond Harbor in the Haywaiian islands to counter any offensive acts from the Neighponese, despite Princess Celestia's disapproval. Princess Luna, with the help of the newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle, have increased the military spending and production in an effort to make Equestria less vulnerable for a surprise attack by our potential enemies. Princess Twilight warned Equestria National Radio this morning saying that, quote, "The next few months are going to be a bumpy road for Equestria! I suggest we prepare for the worst and hope for the best," This is your center for interational news here at Equestria National Radio with Mainstream Media; tune in later for entertainment news, featuring a possible love quarrel between Fancy Pants and Photo Finish; but for now, back to the music!"
Another upbeat heavy metal song begins and the Pesasi stallions chat among themselves about the news they just heard. Like most Equestrians, they feared that the war will one day force Equestria into the conflict, despite Princess Celestia's vows of neutrality. This fear is only a few months old as the Axis Powers got more powerful and their sights were recently set across the oceans.
The door to the station swings open from behind them, standing none other than the lead pony in charge of the Weather Patrol, Rainbow Dash, wearing her blue vest, like the rest of the team, but with a gold star on both sides indicating her leadership role.
"Ey guys! Sorry I'm late. Tank got himself stuck in sewage pipe, again," Rainbow Dash said shutting the door and trotting over to the fridge.
"S'alright Rainbow," one of the Pegasi speaks, "We were just catching up on the news, anyways."
"Lemme guess, the war?" Rainbow asked opening the fridge, "That's all you hear about nowadays."
"Sitler reached Stalliongrad's gates and is fast approaching Moscolt," said Thunderlane.
"What the hay!" Rainbow cried searching the fridge, "Who ate all the waffles!?" Rainbow looked to the group. She sees Thunderlane lower his head behind Snowflake's massive shoulders.
"Dang it, Thunderlane!" Rainbow yelled grabbing the only other thing in the fridge, a bag of chips, "You know I make my breakfasts here. Now I'm stuck with the stupid chips," Rainbow shut the door with the bag of chips in her hoof to the center table, pulling out the closest chair to sit, facing her team.
"Y' know you can make breakfast at home, right? And why are the chips in the fridge?" one Pegasus asked his boss.
Rainbow took a hoof full of the cooled chips and put them in her mouth, "At this point, this room is so messy, I don't even ask those questions anymore; and cooking breakfast at home requires me to get up earlier," she responded with a mouthful of chips. She swallows and continues, "You expect this girl to actually get up and cook...? Ha! You're hilarious!" she chuckled and shoved another hoof full of chips into her mouth, "Blah, I hate salt and vinegar... So what what's this about Stalliongrad?" she asked with a full mouth.
"Sitler reached it's gates," says Thunderlane.
"Damn," Rainbow swallowed, "I was hoping the Equissians will hold them off."
"Also, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are having at it about entering the war, again," another Pegasus says, turning off the radio. Another Pegasus turned around to read a telegram from the telegraph machine.
"Ah well, that's expected," Rainbow said before she shoved another hoof full of chips and continued with her mouth full, "Celestia tries to avoid conflict all together - has been for several centuries. Luna is still used to the Equestria before her banishment where violence was much more common around here," Rainbow swallows, "I honestly think we should wait it out. As much as I can't stand Olaf Sitler, I don't think Equestria is in any danger from them. Neighpon, though? Now that's a country to worry about! They're getting too close for comfort to Haywaii. But again, I say we wait and see if they actually have the to guts to make a move. Talk is only talk until some action happens."
"I disagree," argued Thunderlane. "I believe once Sitler has Equissia and Great Braytin under his hoof, he will set his sights on Equestria."
"That is if Neighpon doesn't attack us first," one of the Pegasi replied.
"Or both at once," said the Pegasus reading the telegraph.
"It's a tough call to make," Rainbow said, now really thinking about the scenario, "but I think the Princesses will make the necessary call, especially if push comes to shove. And now that Twilight has a voice up there, no doubt she's done her homework enough to become the voice of reason between Celestia and Luna's arguing."
"Oh yeah!" Thunderlane realizes, "I forgot that Twilight's a Princess now!"
"You're tellin' me," Rainbow replies, "It's been six months since her coronation and I still can't believe that," she chuckles to herself. "Any-who, ladies! We gotta job to do!" Rainbow yelled enthusiastically lifting herself above the table with her wings. She turned to the Pegasus at the telegraph, "Any word from Cloudsdale?"
"Partly cloudy today; rainy tomorrow."
"Excellent! Easy day since it's already partly cloudy!" Rainbow bolts out the door, leaving her signature rainbow trail out the door.
"YEAH!!!" Snowflake shouts as the team heads out the door of the station to do their job for the day.
* * *
The job is done, and over a span of a 50 mile radius the area only has a few clouds overhead to fill Cloudsdale's order for partly cloudy weather. The team all met up over Ponyville to discuss any problems or mishaps. After confirming it was yet another flawless day, Rainbow Dash dismisses the team for the day.
"Alright guys, good work today! See you all tomorrow at nine."
And with that the five Pegasi stallions dispersed down into the town below. It was now time for Rainbow Dash's daily nap. It was another hour or so before Scootaloo gets out of school and she usually goes to hang with Applebloom and Sweetie Belle anyways, and most of her friends were still on their daily endeavors. She has another two hours or so before she has something to do.
Rainbow had flown to a lower altitude to try and find a cloud she had saved a few hours earlier just for this occasion. For a second she feared that one of her teammates had kicked that cloud because it was no longer where she left it, but luckily she found it right next to the Everfree Forest. Somepony must have pushed it aside.
She flew over, "Oh well, not the first time I've slept next to the Everfree," she says to herself landing on the cloud. She lays on her back, back hooves crossed and hanging over the edge, front hooves behind her head, and a relieved smile on her face as she closes her eyes for a nap.
It wasn't long before she fell right asleep.
* * *
The air is quiet on this sunny windless day, only Rainbow Dash's obnoxious snoring fills the air as the day went on.
Suddenly, the almost quiet air is broken as a distant crack from inside the Everfree Forest hit Rainbow's eardrums. After a few more seconds, another one. Then another. Each crack caused the birds within the trees of the forest to fly away from the disturbance.
"No Rarity... I hate dresses...*Snore*," she mumbles to herself, slowly awakening, "No... I wasn't even there... *Snore* ... I wasn't even there... Well, Nightmare Moon is a liar... *Snore*... Leave me alone you bully... *Snore* ... get off of me before the zombies come... *Snore* ..." she throws her front hooves in air as if she is punching something.
The crack sounds again, this time awakening Rainbow Dash by a surprise with a shriek as she bolts up into the air, hovering above the cloud, looking all around her frantically, "We're under attack!" she cries.
After realizing that Ponyville looks exactly the same as before, she calms down, "Oh," she sighs, "What a dream... why would I beat up Rarity in a zombie apocalypse?" she asked herself lazily rubbing her head, "Must be those chips; I hate salt and vinegar."
Another crack sounds; this time four times the amount of birds fly out the trees of the Everfree Forest causing Rainbow Dash to look behind her into the woodlands, "What the...?" she said with a curious expression gazing at the birds flying away.
Another crack sounds, "Wait'a sec. That's a gun!" Rainbow realizes, "But how does an Equestrian get a gun and end up in the Everfree...?" Rainbow Dash's curiosity gets the best of her and takes off for the forest to find the source of the gunfire.
She flew over the treetops towards the source of the gunfire. As she approaches the source, the gunfire that continues to crack gets louder as she flies. With every shot fired the birds, varied in size from a few to many, flee from the trees with each crack, showing Rainbow Dash where to fly. Rainbow Dash looks down to the path in the woods below her and sees a motionless four-legged creature lying there on it's stomach and legs outstretched. Rainbow Dash's curiosity got her again and decides to investigate.
After landing behind the creature, she approaches it, now realizing it was a timberwolf. A dead one, to be exact. At first she was amazed by the fact it is possible to kill one of these creatures. She walks to the front side to see it's face, a bullet hole is right in between this timerwolf's closed eyes.
Rainbow was unsure whether to be impressed or intimidated by the sight. Another shot fires, sounding much closer to her location. This caused Rainbow to look up and realize her eerie surroundings of the Everfree Forest, but luckily she and her team made it a bright sunny day, so the scariness of these woods did not effect her as much. No faces on the trees, no eerie fog, or the feeling of being watched. It felt like any other woodlands, even with the stench of nearby swamps and abnormally dense plant life. Rainbow peered down the path in front of her and sees another dead timberwolf lying on it's side. She trots up to the it, turning the body over on it's back to see it's face, another bullet hole right in between the eyes.
"Whoever this is, he sure as hay has a good shot," Rainbow says to herself staring at the dead timberwolf before her. Rainbow looks down the path again, this time sees an entire trail of dead timberwolves leading to the source of the gunfire as another shot is fired down the path. Rainbow was astonished, yet nervous. Nonetheless she followed the trail.
Trotting down the path, as she passed the corpses of these wolves made of tree trunks and bark, she notices each one has a bullet hole to their brains. After several hundred feet of this, Rainbow Dash comes to a turn off in the road where the trail of corpses follows up at narrow road the eventually foes alongside the edge of a small, yet steep hill with the entrance to a cave halfway up. In front of this trail, at Rainbow's location is obvious signs of struggle in the dirt, as well as a small pile of red liquid.
Rainbow looks at the liquid, now realizing it is blood; blood from something else. A gunshot fired, now louder than ever, coming from the cave, forcing Rainbow Dash to look up at the cave. A timberwolf flew off of the road in front of the cave and rolls lifeless down the hill. Rainbow grew a confident expression on her face and takes off with her wings up to the entrance of the cave, landing to the side to avoid getting shot at by whoever, or whatever, is in there.
Before Rainbow called out, she notices three timberwolves lying dead in front of the cave with even more obvious signs of struggle as more blood stained the ground around them; and since timberwolves don't bleed it must have been from whoever is in the cave. Inside she can hear grunts of pain from a male voice. This caused her to act without thinking and turn the corner into the cave in an effort to help whoever is in pain.
It was dark inside the cave, but she can see a small trail of blood leading to shadowy figure of a pony inside who appears to be curled up, facing away from the entrance. A rifle with a strap hanging from the bottom of the stock lies the ground in front of the figure. Rainbow took a step in to get a better view, in doing so she stepped on a twig, snapping it.
This caused the figure to react, it picked up the rifle and aimed it right at Rainbow Dash, hoof on the trigger. The figure notices that Rainbow has the silhouette of a pony and not a timerwolf, easing tension on the firearm. The figure cannot see Rainbow Dash's face from the direction of the sunlight, nonetheless kept the gun pointing at her.
This action startled Rainbow Dash, but she kept her stance and did not back down. Rainbow can only see the outlining of the figure, as well as it's weakened posture as his stance was slouched and appears to be breathing heavily. The muzzle of the gun was shining in the sunlight, forcing Rainbow to have most of her attention onto the barrel of the gun.
Suddenly, the figure speaks. "Deutsch?" he asked in a foreign language, clearly a tired sounding male voice. Rainbow stood there, unsure how to respond. He spoke again angrily, "Du siehst aus wie eine schwache Feigling!". Rainbow Dash began to get frightened, taking a step back, feeling very uneasy of this situation, she tried to keep a strong face, but with no communication and a loaded gun aiming right at her, this was impossible.
The figure spoke again, his tone much less hostile, almost sounding relieved, "English?" he asked. He clearly had a foreign sounding accent.
"Yes," Rainbow replied, feeling much better as her posture returns to normal, "Put the gun down," she said in a soft tone, putting out a hoof to negotiate, "I just want to help..."
"How can I trust you?" he asked, now showing his strong, yet authentic Eastern sounding accent.
"You don't have to trust me... just let me help you," Rainbow responded, taking a step forward cautiously. Now that communication had been established, Rainbow felt much better about the situation, however, she still treaded softly for his sake.
The figure slowly put down the gun as Rainbow Dash cautiously approached.
"You're hurt," Rainbow attempted to negotiate taking two steps forward, "Come into the sunlight so I can patch you up."
The figure dropped the gun entirely. The gun made a small cloud of dust as it hit the ground, the figure returned to all four hooves, "It's going to take more than a bandage to do that," he said solemnly.
He steps forward into the sunlight, exposing his entire body. Rainbow Dash couldn't believe what she saw before her, eyes widening in both fright and disbelief. He was a light brown medium sized Pegasus stallion, a few inches taller than Rainbow Dash, with dull, lifeless light blue eyes that had dark circles underneath them. He had a black mane that was poorly and carelessly shaven off and a black tail trimmed to the the tail bone with the same neglect. His left wing was positioned in an unnatural and disproportional place, clearly to be broken. Over his body he wore an unbuttoned and tattered blue and white striped shirt that had a red upside-down triangle cloth badge poorly sown with cheap yarn under a long prison number that said '59670' drawn in with a marker. His body was skinny, very skinny, unhealthy skinny; his rib cage outlined his chest that was visible from his unbuttoned shirt, his stomach arched inward, his vertebrae outlined his back that was visible even under the fabric of the shirt, and his face outlined his skull. His cutie mark was covered with black ink that was just beginning to peel off. His front left leg was bleeding from three scratches by one of the timberwolves' claws. Every breath he took was deep, like every motion he made took out all of his energy.
Rainbow stood there in utter shock, she have never seen a pony who looked even remotely close to being this bad. She was at lose of words, her mouth hung ajar and eyes wide open, feeling useless to help him. The stallion took another step on his injured leg and collapsed. Rainbow reacted and caught him by placing her body under his head and lifted him back up.
"Come on!" cried Rainbow Dash trying to give the stallion some support to regain his balance, "I need to get you into town, you need help, now!" she demanded looking up into his eyes as sat on his bony flank, seeing the desperation in his eyes. He still could not see her, only her outlining due to the sunlight's position. Even though all he know about her is her outlining and her voice, something about her forced him to allow her help. All he knew is that he needed it, the first friendly face in a long time.
Rainbow's mind was racing, it was so hard for her to comprehend such a thing to a pony. She's seen photos of ponies suffering in foreign nations in a similar way, but never in the wide, wide world of Equestria did she ever think to see a malnourished, possibly tortured pony with her own eyes, let alone under her own responsibility. Rainbow Dash was almost on the verge of tears by the sight of this pony's current state, however she managed to pull her act together to get him help and to save the crying for later. This stallion needs her, and needs her now!
Rainbow Dash took a deep breath to calm her racing thoughts to focus on the here and now. She looked down at his bleeding wound, the best place to start. She reacted quickly, realizing that she was still wearing her Weather Patrol vest; she reached back and ripped of a long piece of fabric from the bottom of the vest.
"Give me your hoof." she demanded in a raspy voice, still unsure on what to do. The stallion did as she commanded. Rainbow took the piece of fabric and wrapped it tightly around his leg, hearing a small grunt of pain from the stallion. She tied it on the other end. It was then when she noticed a set of numbers branded into his skin on the backside of his leg. '59670', the same number written on his blue and white stripped shirt. She stopped all her movements upon seeing this.
"What the hay happened to you?" she whispered staring at the branded numbers. She shook her head to focus back to the wound, tying the fabric around the the back of his leg.
"You would never believe me if I told you," he breathed getting up, pulling his arm away from Rainbow Dash's hooves. He picked up his rifle with a hoof and limped towards the exit of the cave. Rainbow followed close beside him, ready to provide support at a moment's notice. Upon leaving the cave he stops in front of the pile of dead timberwolves and gets a view over the trees of the Everfree Forest and into the nation of Equestria.
Rainbow Dash jumps in front of him, on top of the timberwolves, with arched eyes, "I think I will believe you! Nopony in Equestria ends up like this without some out-of-this-world reason! I have a million questions for you, by the way!"
The stallion's eyes widened when seeing Rainbow Dash's face for the first time; her mane style, her physique, her fierce attitude, and most importantly her magenta eyes. Thoughts raced through his mind and he whispered words in a foreign language, backing up a step from the wave of revelations.
Rainbow came into realization, raising her eyebrows, "That's the second time you spoke in a different language to me. You're not from Equestria... are you?"
"Sorry, you.. you just reminded me of someone I... used to know. And no... I'm not from here," the stallion says hastily, breathing heavily.
"Then where are you from? Who did I remind you of? Who did this to you? Are you some kind of convict? Where did you get that gun? How do you know English so well?" only more questions filled Rainbow's head. She wanted answers.
"I'd rather not say..." the stallion simply answered.
Rainbow wasn't sure whether to get upset or show sympathy for him remaining so mysterious, but Rainbow remembered her sole purpose at this very moment; to get this stallion the help he so desperately needs.
"You're coming with me, anyways," she demanded pointing to the trail down the hill, "I need to get you to the hospital."
"The hospitals will not take me... I already tried in Baltimare, Dodge City, Appleloosa, and... every other town on the way here," the stallion pleas.
"Well I'll personally make sure Ponyville's will take you in," says Rainbow Dash heading back down the path. She then turns back to face him with a soft smile and speaks in a calm tone, "I'll be with you every step of the way..." she said, giving him a warm look while motioning him to follow.
The look Rainbow Dash gave to the stallion forced him to strap his rifle onto his back gently over his broken wing and follow this stranger. His heart began to race with a small blush forming on his face as he followed Rainbow Dash who was walking very slowly down the path so he could catch up. Her look was not sexual, nor signaling; only welcoming. A warm, open-hearty welcome with just a single glace was something the stallion had long missed. Unbeknownst to Rainbow Dash, with those magenta eyes of hers, she had discovered one of the stallions few weaknesses.
The two began to walk down the path, over the corpses of timberwolves. At first, it was silent between the two, until they took the turn to the main path back to Ponyville. The stallion seemed to be walking fine now; slow, but fine; which was a good sign. Rainbow Dash wanted desperately to find out more about the stallion, at least know where he's from. Then she figures out to start from the beginning in an attempt to establish some trust.
"So... I know you don't trust me and all, but... can I at least know your name?" Rainbow asked in an effort to break his protective barrier, "I'll start with mine; my name is Rainbow Dash."
"Rainbow Dash?" the stallion asked, "I heard Equestrians had adjectives and nouns for their names... but I didn't believe it," he chuckled, "I suppose you knowing my name is harmless... the Gerneighians already know it. My name is Olek.... Olek Poznan."
"Olek?" Rainbow asked, "Ha! I can poke fun at your name to, ya know," she teased, nudging him playfully. She put out a hoof to shake his. Olek responds and they shake hoofs as they continue to walk through the eerie forests in the direction of Ponyville.
In Rainbow's mind she had just scored. She now knows both his name and that the Gerneighians are after him. That narrows it down a little, but Rainbow knew that Olek was still suspicious about her intentions. So instead of asking more things about him, she will open up to him in hopes that he will open up to her back. However, once she gives Olek gets some medical attention, food in his stomach, some hydration, and a place to stay, she knew that Olek will open up. At least enough to get just a hint of information about his current state. But the two had about a mile walk before reaching Ponyville, and at their speed, it was going to take a while.
Rainbow Dash began to start a conversation about life in Equestria before she started boasting about herself:
"So since you're new here and all; allow me to give you a few pointers on Equestrians before you actually meet them..."
* * *
Rainbow Dash and Olek Poznan are now within sight of the edge of the dense forest. After walking rather slowly and stopping for several breaks for close to an hour, the two make it to the end. Rainbow has pretty much given Olek her entire life story from gaining her Cutie Mark to Princess Twilight Sparkle's Coronation and establishing the Weather Patrol, as well as all the information he needs about the day-to-day life in Ponyville. Olek was still very silent about his own life story, speaking only in small sentences; but from the few things that he said about himself Rainbow managed to get bits and pieces about where he was from. His accent was easily identifiable to Eastern Europa, saying his W's with V sounds, rolling his R's, and emphasizing his G's. Whenever he vaguely mentioned the cultural aspects from his home country it fits the Equissian stereotype. Rainbow Dash wanted to think the he was from Equissia until he opens up to make life easier, but she picked up the little details when Olek mentioned his home of some small hints of capitalism, such as private property. She knew that Equissia was under a communist regime, and digging her mind back to the Flight Academy's history class she knew that under communism there is no private property. He clearly has a vibrant hatred for Gerneighians, so he defiantly was not from Germaneigh, so he must be somewhere in between the two countries. The two have been standing side-by-side throughout the entire walk and now they finally reached the end of the forest.
"Wait, wait..." Olek says out of breath just before exiting the woods into a grassland, "I need to sit..." Olek plops to the ground. Rainbow turned to him, she wants to keep going after walking for so long at a very slow pace, but she calmed herself by sitting next to him instead. It was 15 minutes since his last break and in his condition he was exhausted.
"When was the last time you ate?" Rainbow suddenly asked through impulse. She instantly regretted asking when Olek gives her a glare as he tried to catch his breath. The glare quickly fades and his expression softens with a sigh.
"I'm sorry..." Rainbow plead, "I didn't mean to ask y-"
"Two weeks," Olek replied.
Rainbow's eyes widened.
"The last decent meal... at least two years..."
Rainbow was shocked, "You mean to tell me that you ate nothing for two whole weeks? When did you last get a drink of water?"
"Last night... I found a spring in those woods," Olek began to violently cough.
Rainbow reacted on impulse and wrapped her arm around his shoulder, in between the rifle and his back, and patted his back as he coughed with a concerned expression. In front of the two ponies was the grassland separating Ponyville and the Everfree Forest. Rainbow was mapping out the town to the fastest route to the hospital. Normally she would just fly there, and if Olek was able to fly she would have recommended they flew there a long time ago, but his broken wing prevents that.
Olek regained control of himself. Rainbow notices this and lets him go, backing up into the grass field to give him some personal space before speaking, "Before we get you to Ponyville we should get rid of the gun."
Olek didn't say anything, but from the glare he gave her, he disagreed.
"It's OK, Olek. You're safe here, I can assure you," Rainbow negotiated, "It's just... here in Equestria ponies aren't really used to seeing other ponies carrying guns out in the open, ya know?"
Olek thought for a second and nods in agreement. He slowly took off the rifle from his back, carefully over the broken wing. He then cautiously handed over the rifle towards Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow slowly reaches for the gun, keeping eye contact with Olek. When her hoof was placed on the gun to take it away, Olek still kept tension, unsure whether to let go his only protection.
Rainbow gave a look of sympathy; a small smile and that welcoming look she gave back at the cave, "Don't worry, Olek. Nothing will happen to you... I promise..."
Olek stood there still glaring with arched eyes, unsure whether to let go. After a quick judgment, he cautiously let go of the gun, "Alright, Rainbow Dash... I trust you."
Rainbow Dash now has possession of the firearm. This was the first time she ever held a gun; it felt powerful. Regardless, she brought the gun to the nearest tree and leaned it behind it with the muzzle pointing up. She turned to Olek knowing something was missing. She turned to him, "You must have ammunition for this," she added.
Olek nodded and reached into his chest pocket of his blue and white striped tunic and pulled out two magazines full of cartridges and tossed them over to Rainbow Dash. Rainbow drops them beside the gun. "I'll come back for these once we get you settled in; for now, let's get you into town."
* * *
The two walked into town to the hospital. Rainbow tried to avoid as much of the town's citizens as she could, taking as many back alleys and streets without going off coarse, avoiding the main roads. Luckily the walk to the hospital was short; even so, Rainbow Dash had no choice but to take some busy streets. She can feel the prying eyes all around her. Most of the stares she felt were to the skeletal outlined stallion wearing convict looking tunic close behind her. Rainbow can hear the whispers from groups of mares looking her way. Rainbow Dash gave each and every pony who looked at them in any way with a nasty glare, especially at the whispering mares. Rainbow already knew she and Olek were going to be the talk of the town in a matter of hours, but she didn't care (for the most part), getting Olek medical attention was far more important than idle gossip. They finally turned into the hospital's swirly dirt walkway, making their final approach.
Rainbow Dash busted through the doors of the hospital, thankfully there where no ponies in waiting room and it appeared to be a quiet day at the hospital. Behind the front desk sat nurse Redheart going through a stack of med forms who looked up to see who came through the doors.
"Nurse! I need your help!" cried Rainbow Dash trotting right up to the front desk.
"Rainbow Dash? What's wrong? Did you break your wing again?" she asks coming around the desk to assist.
"Not me this time, nurse. It's him," Rainbow points to Olek who came through the door, "He needs medical attention."
Nurse Redheart was briefly stunned by the sight of the malnourished stallion, "Oh my goodness..."
"I found him in the Everfree Forest," Rainbow added.
Redheart rushed over to Olek, "Come take a seat, let me take look at you," she says guiding him to the nearest seat in the waiting room against the wall. Upon sitting on the seat nurse Redheart examines his entire body, saying her thoughts out loud, "Clearly malnourished, visibly broken wing, flesh wounds on the leg, obvious signs of torture, abnormal breathing..." Redheart waves her hoof slowly in front of Olek's face. Olek attempted to follow her hoof with his eyes, but his focus was too slow to keep up, "physical signs of sleep deprivation," Redheart said. She took her stethoscope around her neck and gently placed it under his unbuttoned shirt, over his heart. After a few seconds of this she added, "As well as a irregular heart rate." Redheart moved the stethoscope around his chest to get the best angle to hear his heart, from doing this, Olek cringes in pain, "Signs of broken ribs on top of that..." said Redheart noticing Olek's cringe.
Rainbow stood behind Redheart with a concerned expression, "Can you help him?"
Redheart sighed, looking down at the bloody piece of Rainbow's vest around Olek's leg, "Yes, but it's going to be a while for a full physical recovery; that is, if there isn't any permanent damage to the heart. Anorexia can damage the heart's efficiency. Then we have to worry about possible mental trauma as well. Sometimes that can never heal."
Olek began to mumble in a foreign language again. This caught nurse Redheart's attention. She turned to Rainbow Dash.
"Does he speak English?" she asked.
"Yes," Olek responds instead of Rainbow Dash.
"Tell me, sir;" Redheart turns back to Olek, "where are you from?"
Rainbow steps in, "What's it you, nurse?" she asked defensively.
"Because no pony in Equestria ends up like this!" Redheart cried back at Rainbow, almost angrily.
"Coltland... I'm from Coltland." said Olek weakly.
Both mares had their eyes widen with different thoughts running through their minds. Rainbow Dash was mentally yelling at herself for not thinking the nation of Coltland back in the Everfree Forest, while Redheart dashed back to the front desk, scouring her paperwork. She pulled out a paper from a folder and read it thoroughly.
"I can't help him," Redheart said reading over the paper with the Royal Canterlot seal made of red wax stamped on the top right corner of the page.
Rainbow's ears perk up and glared at Redheart, "What'ya mean you can't help him!"
"By royal decree from Princess Celestia herself. It entails that all civil services, including the health department, to forbid any aid to all citizens of Axis, and Axis occupied nations without the written consent of the Princess to protect Equestria's neutrality. Unless you can get written permission from one of the Princesses, there is nothing I can do," nurse Redheart tried to reason.
This only enraged Rainbow Dash even further, "Screw the royal decree! Look at him! He's going to die if he doesn't get help!" she cried, pointing to Olek who began to slouch further in his seat and his dull eyes trailed off as his head bobbled from dizziness.
"I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash! I can't take him or I'll loose my job! On top of that, this hospital will have to answer to Canterlot's court system, perhaps even Luna's War Department! You're gonna to have to take care of him instead," Redheart's ears dropped, it was clear that she regretted her response.
Rainbow's expression calmed as she thought about what Redheart had just said. She turned to Olek back in the chair; he stared at her with those desperate dull eyes as he continued to breath heavily. Her eyes arched with confidence and nodded, "Fine," she turned back to Redheart, "I'll do it."
Redheart was shocked. Rainbow walked over to Olek, placing a hoof on his shoulder, "Come on, let's get you something to eat and I'll take you back to my place."
Rainbow Dash can tell Olek was shocked as well, raising his eyebrows and forming a small smile. She helped Olek back onto his hooves and the two headed for the door with Rainbow right by Olek's side, supporting him in his weak, unstable state.
"Wait!" Redheart called. Rainbow and Olek turn around to face Redheart as she came around the desk again, "I can give him some X-rays, as well as getting that wing into a cast."
"Didn't you just say you'll loose your job?" Rainbow asked suspiciously.
"If I get caught, yes. However, as a nurse, I have devoted my life helping others. To hay with the politics. Luckily it's a quiet day and we do have some supplies to spare. Come, follow me," Redheart turned to the closest hallway. Rainbow Dash was relieved, so was Olek as they both grew a small smile. Olek was getting weaker by the second as he needed Rainbow's support now more than ever as they made their way into the X-ray room.
"Whatever you do, Rainbow; don't tell anypony," Redheart whispers back to the two.
"I won't. Olek was never here," Rainbow responds.
The three turned to the X-ray room with a sign above the door that said the same thing. Nurse Redheart held the doors open as Rainbow Dash and Olek entered the darkened room. After they entered, Redheart peaked out of the door, looking left and right down the hall before closing and locking the door.
* * *
33 Minuets Later...
Nurse Redheart hung several X-rays of Olek's rib cage and his left wing on a clip attached to a light on the wall. It was the only light in the darkened room. Olek sat up on a patient's bed with a large half empty bottle of water in his hoof and a proper gauze bandage around his leg to replace Rainbow's vest piece. He looked much better than before, he was able to support himself and able to concentrate on his surroundings much better than before. Rainbow Dash was sitting in a chair in the back corner of room staring at the X-rays, thinking about what to do next after Olek gets patched up since the hospital cannot keep him; and of coarse, the dozens of possibilities of how Olek ended up this condition in the first place.
On the X-rays, four of the ribs were easily identified to be broken and the left wing had three major breaks and a dislocated joint. "Well," nurse Redheart starts, "It's clear we have seven clear breaks, three of which in the wing. Looking closely at the X-rays is that there are several other fractures on both ribs and wing," Redheart turned to Olek, "Fortunately, nothing's too severe that it requires surgery, and the wing only needs a few months in a cast and he'll be good as new."
Rainbow Dash snaped out of her train of thought, "That's good to hear."
Redheart pulled out a wheeled table from the corner of the room topped with gauze bandages, a soft sock, a bucket of water and other object used to form a cast. Olek took a large swig of his water as Redheart drags the table over to Olek.
"Careful, Mr. Poznan. Drink slowly," says nurse Redheart getting the casting process ready while putting on some rubber gloves over her hooves, "I know you're thirsty, but your body is not used to too much of anything at this point. Now; turn around."
Olek did as ordered and turned his back towards nurse Redheart, "This might hurt for second, Mr. Poznan. I'm going to start with that joint of yours, OK?" she asked. Olek nods in response. The nurse first forced Olek's wing back into place, followed by the disturbing sounds of cracking bones, and the yelp of pain from Olek, "One more time, this time the bones... you ready, Mr. Poznan?" Olek nods, preparing himself.
Rainbow Dash could only sit in the chair and watch this disturbing scene in front of her. Rainbow cringed and turned away, covering her face with a hoof when Redheart straightens Olek's wing's bones. The piercing sounds of bones cracking and Olek's cry of pain that follows filled the room. Rainbow looked back up to see Olek growling words in that foreign language as before as his pain vanishes; most likely insults or threats to nurse Redheart.
Nurse Redheart sighed in relief, this was the worst part of the job for her. There was a reason why she never became a surgeon instead, "Alright, Olek. The worst is over... Time to put on that cast."
Redheart first put the soft sock around Olek's left wing. Rainbow now wanted to know what to do with Olek now that his wing is properly patched up, "So nurse? What should I do now?"
Redheart answered her question as she wrapped the wet plaster cast around Olek's wing, "Get him some food immediately. With starvation victims I would stick to softer foods like soups, puddings, and breads for the first couple days. And I cannot stress the importance of drinking water. We got him hydrated for the next hour or so, but like I always say; there is never too much water, especially in his current state. Don't expect him to eat too much right now since starvation victim's stomachs tend to shrink."
"I think I'll take him to that buffet in town," said Rainbow Dash in thought.
"I have no objections to that," Redheart commented as she looks back and forth to both Rainbow Dash and Olek's cast in-progress, "Just make sure he eats slowly so his body gets accustomed to the food. And make sure all of the food he eats are soft and full of vitamins. I'd give it a week before moving to more solid foods. After getting some nutrition going through his body again, give him plenty of water and all the rest he needs. He does show signs of sleep deprivation, so don't be alarmed if he starts having hallucinations. So in other words: get him to bed early tonight and let him sleep after you get him fed and hydrated. Finally, I would also recommend short exercise routines to help get strength in his muscles again. That should be no problem for you, Rainbow Dash."
"Not at all! What about after the first week?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"GAH!!!" Olek shrieked in pain, he glared at nurse Redheart.
"Whoops...! Too much pressure on that one," Redheart gives a faint smile of innocence as Olek rolls his eyes back forward again.
"Anyways," Redheart started again, "by then he should be healthy enough to move to more solid foods, as well as much of his independence. The fat should be starting to return to his body and his muscles to be returning to their former strength at that point. Just make sure he gets enough of all the vitamins he needs; calcium and protein are the most important ones for now, as well as proper exercise to top that off. Keep doing that and he should look like his normal self by the time his bones heal." Redheart just adding the finishing touches to the cast.
"How long will that be?" asked Rainbow getting off of the chair and walking over to Redheart.
"Well, his ribs should heal on their own in about month or so, as long as he remains gentle on them. The wing will heal, I'm guessing around two months; three months tops.... and the cast is done!" Redheart proudly took off her rubber gloves and tossed them into a small trash can a few feet away by the wall.
"Thank you, nurse," Olek says stepping off of the patient's bed. His voice is already sounding stronger after this visit with the nurse.
"Yes, thank you!" Rainbow Dash steped in, "You risked your job to help him, I owe you one, big time."
"Nah. Don't worry about it, Rainbow. It's all in good morals. I just wish I could provide you with more help without politics stepping in. It's you I should be thanking for taking this poor soul into your care. It's real noble of you," Redheart exclaims leading the two ponies out, unlocking the door into the hallway.
"It's all in good morals," Rainbow Dash quoted with a smirk. She turned back to Olek behind her and smiled. He was clearly uncomfortable with the cast on his back, but he appeared to already look better just by his posture. Although Rainbow knew it wouldn't last if she doesn't get him fed soon. Rainbow admired his strength, she had a feeling that this whole thing might work out.
Olek notices Rainbow smiling at him as they walked back to the main lobby. He returned the smile with his eyes beginning to return to life. This was the first time Rainbow had seen him really smile. Giving Olek's gun to Rainbow was the first sign of trust, now this smile was the first sign of hope.
"Now, I'm sure I don't need to give you the lecture about how to treat a cast since you have already been in several, Rainbow Dash." Redheart proclaims, entering the waiting room.
"I think we're all set, nurse. Thank you, again," Rainbow pleaded heading for the door with Olek close behind her.
"Just remember soft foods and plenty of water, both of which consumed slowly; and of coarse, no pony can know about this!" Redheart waves them out.
Olek stepped in, "Don't worry, nurse... I'll make she remembers... I cannot thank you enough."
Redheart smiled feeling great about herself for doing such a good deed. Rainbow Dash and Olek went through the doors to the hospital to head back into town.
* * *
Rainbow Dash and Olek made their way towards the center of town. Olek had come out of the hospital much stronger from going in as he was walking on his own with little to no support from Rainbow Dash by his side, but his sudden burst of strength was starting to vanish. While the water Olek received at the hospital was of great help, it will only last for a short time. Without proper nutrition it will all be in vein in a matter of minutes. Rainbow Dash knew that, and thankfully the buffet she was taking him to was now within eyesight.
Rainbow Dash can feel the eyes of the town on her and Olek once again, but it didn't get to her as much this time around. She ignored most of them, but she did give the occasional glare to the ponies who were obviously talking about her and/or Olek behind their backs.
"Ew gross! He looks like he had trouble finding his way out of prison!" cried the obnoxious voice of a filly from behind them, followed by laughing from her and another filly.
Rainbow Dash's eyes narrowed in rage and turned around to give one of the most fiery, hate-filled glares she had ever given to none other than Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon laughing away. Rainbow had heard about these brats from Scootaloo, but never witnessed their snobbery until now; and boy, she was one fiber away from murdering them. Rainbow Dash lifted herself with her wings and was just about to go over there and give the two fillies a piece of her mind, but she was stopped by a hoof from Olek to in front of her chest.
Olek shook his head, "It is not worth the fight... look..." Olek pointed towards Filthy Rich walking over from a shopping stall to the fillies with a rather angry expression.
"Diamond Tiara! Not another word out of you!" he cried dragging her by the ear with his mouth.
"Ow! But Dad!" Diamond Tiara cried as she was dragged away with Silver Spoon following with her head lowered.
Rainbow Dash landed and looked at Olek with a curious expression. "How did you know that was her dad?"
"It is my job to be observant," he replied as they began to walk forward towards the buffet in front of them once again.
"What is your job, then?" Rainbow asked.
"Good afternoon," says a male waiter behind a podium at the entrance to the fenced area outside the restaurant with tables made of large mushrooms, looking down at some paperwork, "Seat for t-" he looks up and sees Olek with wide eyes.
Rainbow Dash answers, almost sounding insulted, "Yes, seat for two. Inside will be great."
"Y-yes, of coarse... right, um, right this way," studded the waiter as he lead Rainbow Dash and Olek inside the buffet restaurant.
* * *
"Right there is fine, waiter," said Rainbow Dash pointing to an empty two-pony booth-styled table off to the left corner of the half filled restaurant buffet. Nearly everything from the carpets to the chairs were colored red. On the back end of the room was a long table with trays on both ends filled with all sorts of foods and cuisines.
"Very well, Miss," the waiter said, guiding both Rainbow Dash and Olek to their table. The waiter lays out two place mats on both sides of the already preset table. He leaves briefly as Rainbow takes a seat on the far side of the table, facing the door to the restaurant, while Olek sits across from her. The waiter returns with a pitcher of water and fills both glasses.
"Do think you can leave the pitcher here?" Rainbow asked.
The waiter looked over to Olek and nods, realizing who's it for, "Sure. No problem, Miss," He knew better than to ask why, especially since she already knew Rainbow Dash and her notorious temper, just seeing Olek's current state was enough to answer the question, "Enjoy your meal," he said plainly before leaving.
"Well," Rainbow turned to Olek with a sly smile, "you heard the nurse! Drink up! I'm off to get your food." She gets up from her seat to the back of the resteraunt, leaving Olek to drink the water before him. Rainbow picks up the try that had a strap on one side so ponies like herself can easily carry it, puttting it over her neck so she can freely pick out Olek's food. Soups, breads, apple sauce, squash, mashed potatoes, turnips, and various other soft foods she put on the tray. She knew Olek was not going to eat all of this, but she at least was going to make sure she gets plenty to wrap up to go with them back to Rainbow's cloud home.
All of this is reminding Rainbow Dash that she is going to have to do some serious grocery shopping very soon since all of the food at her house is not suitable for starvation recovery, let alone herself since she barely eats at home.
She returned to the table with they tray filled with soft foods and placed it in front of Olek, "Here you go, champ. Don't worry about eating all of it; we're taking the rest back with us."
Olek's eyes grew wide, as if he was seeing God himself. He didn't know where to start. He picked up the spoon and started with soup. It was heavenly to him as mumbled words in his native language as he ate before speaking English again to Rainbow Dash. "It is so hard to listen to the nurse about eating slowly," he says with his mouth full.
"Then don't!" says Rainbow Dash, "You don't have to worry about manners around me; trust me," she chuckles.
There was a brief pause, then he dove into the soup. Taking spoonful after spoonful, eventually loosing the spoon and going in head first, creating a mess all around him. This caused Rainbow to smile, eventually to chuckle. She figured that Olek will not be saying another word for quite a while, and that now was her cue to get food for herself, after all, all she had today was a few hoof full of chips earlier this morning, whose taste of vinegar still lingers in her mouth.
* * *
17 Minuets Later...
4: 48 PM
After the two have chowed down on their all-you-can-eat meal, as well as some idle chat between the two, both are now completely full. Rainbow Dash ate much more solid foods than Olek, finishing all of it. Olek only ate about half of what was given to him, but even for a healthy stallion it still was a lot.
"My goodness..." Olek murmurs with very pleased smile on his face leaning back into the chair with a hoof over his stomach, "I have not eaten like that for as long as I can remember..."
"You're telling me!" Rainbow agreed lazily, "I've always preferred this place the most because of this feeling right now."
"What about the bill?" Olek asked.
"Don't worry about that, I'll pay for it. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet, so the price is always the same; and this place is surprisingly pretty reasonable," replied Rainbow looking up to the ceiling, satisfied.
The two sat there for another few moments, allowing the food they were just devouring only minuets ago settle in their stomachs. Rainbow then decided to try and get Olek to open up about himself again, this time after getting his wing in a cast, getting him properly fed, and promising to take him into her care. She can tell that Olek, not only is breathing better, and in much better shape now than a few hours ago, but is no longer suspicious about her after helping him so much, and now is probably the best time she might ever have.
"So Olek..." Rainbow began, "Back at the hospital you said you were from Coltland, and just before coming in here you said it was your job to be observant. Now, unless I got my news wrong, wasn't Coltland the first nation that Germaneigh attacked in the war?"
"Yes it was," he responds.
"Do you think you're ready to talk about yourself, now? I gave you my life story, I think it's fair I know your's; I mean if you're staying with me, I would like to know who I'm dealing with," Rainbow said cautiously, but confidently.
"From the moment I saw you outside that cave I knew you were not some spy for the Gerneighians, especially after insulting you in their language; but I wanted to make sure just in case. After you took the time to rescue me, and even offer to shelter me; I think it's safe to let you know..."
Rainbow Dash was more than happy that her curiosity about this stallion was going to be satisfied. She leaned in, signaling that she was listening.
"I was born and raised in a distillery that was built on a small vineyard just on the outskirts of Coltland's capital of Horsaw," Olek says looking down towards the table recalling his past.
"A distillery? Like where they make liquors?" Rainbow asked, now even more interested as a smile grew on her face on the topic of booze.
Olek smiled at Rainbow's reaction, "Yes, we made both vodka and wine. Our vodka was sold across all of Europa before the war, though most of it rarely went to Western countries. Our wines were only a local commodity. I was the oldest of three siblings. My mother and my baby sister, Ruta, were both killed when I was only six years old from the Bird Flu epidemic in the 1020's. Ruta was only two when she passed."
"Wow... I'm, I'm so sorry!" Rainbow announced, debating if she brought up bad memories.
Olek smiled, "It is alright. I still had my brother, Mirek, and my father; though I rarely saw him in my foalhood. He always worked in the distillery or got himself drunk. Mirek was only a year younger than me, but he was so mature for his age while I was the immature troublemaker; nonetheless we were both very mischievous. It was only a five minute walk into Horsaw. We used to go into town almost everyday and did all sorts of pranks. Mirek and I were close. We worked together to get our Cutie Marks and formed a small time gang with other colts; even after I turned eighteen when my father forced me into the military, I refused to leave until Mirek turned eighteen as well so he can join along with me."
"So you're a prankster, huh? Oh, you and me are going to have some fun once you get healthy enough!" Rainbow commented, rubbing her hooves together wickedly.
Olek chuckled and continued,"Yes. Well. I joined the Coltish Armed Services at the age of nineteen in the summer of 1038. My marefriend at the time also joined as a nurse."
"Oh! A mare's stallion!" Rainbow commented as she nudged his hoof on the table playfully with hers.
Olek shrugged at that comment, but shook it off and continued, "During boot camp I was separated from my brother for the first time after showing my skills behind the gun. That's what my cutie mark represents under this ink," Olek points to his ink covered flank, "a set of crosshairs I earned from shooting the rats in the vineyard; with Mirek's help of coarse. They then shipped me out of boot camp early and into the Coltish 1st Sniper Battalion and began their training. These stallions were the best of the best, and were unheard of from the public. They can pick off an apple off one's head hundreds of meters away, and I became one of them."
"So that explains you saying it's your job to be observant, and those pinpoint accurate shots on those timberwolves," Rainbow thought. A question then popped in her head before Olek continued, "I don't mean to get off track, Olek, but how is it you know English so well? How did you get bilingual?"
"I'm trilingual, actually; almost quadrilingual. I am native to Coltish, and I learned Equissian while doing some missionary work in Equissia before I joined the military. Then I was forced to learn English after doing diplomacy work in Great Braytin later on, and I picked up on some Gernieghian during the war. I can assure you that it saved my tail more than a few times."
"Missionary work? You're not going going to start preaching to me are you?" Rainbow asked sarcastically.
Olek chuckled, "Maybe a decade ago when I was a little choir-colt. My father... was very religious, but my views on religion and even life itself have changed greatly since I first left the distillery with Mirek for the military. So anyways, I become a sniper. Trained in the art of stealth, precision, strategy, and most importantly... patience. I came out of training in the fall of that year, and I was then required to learn English for diplomacy work in Great Braytin. Apparently, I was hoof chosen by the Coltish government itself because of my missionary work in Equissia, along with a dozen other Coltish diplomats. They knew I can work well in a foreign country with foreign ponies."
"Why did the Coltish government send diplomats to Great Braytin, anyways?" Rainbow asked.
"Coltland was at the brink of war with both Equissia and Germaneigh and the Coltish government wanted to negotiate with the Braytish to allow the Coltish government to go into exile in their country, should Coltland were to ever fall. I remained in Liondon, Great Braytin's capital, for about two months; until war broke out in November of 1038."
"Wait a sec," Rainbow interrupted, "I thought the war began in September of 1039?"
"This was another war. Vladimir Stallion of Equissia wanted Coltland back. You see: Coltland only gained it's independence after the Great War in 1018, after being under Equissian territory for over a century before that. This war was called the Cotish-Hooviet War, be we called it the Winter War, for it only lasted through the winter. Let us just say it was the longest winters of my life; but I became a distinguished soldier and promoted to 1st Lieutenant as a result."
"Damn... That's so cool!" Rainbow cried.
"You weren't there," Olek looked down solemnly, "The first time I took a a life... was one of the worst things I ever had to do... We were outnumbered and outgunned in those freezing forests; but Coltland became victorious nonetheless; holding off the force of Equissia. I returned home to Horwsaw after that in March of 1039 as a hero, along with Mirek who helped man the artillery convoys. My father, for the first time, was proud of us. For the next few months it was quiet... quiet like the beginning to any storm."
Rainbow put her hoof out to connect with Olek's in sympathy, noticing that Olek was beginning to struggle with his narration and knowing where this was going, "Then this war begins, right?" Rainbow asked.
Olek was silent, "I'll never forget the day the Gerneighians first attacked. September 1, 1039. Wave after wave Sitler's war machine blasted through our defenses, inching - no, not inching: sprinting... Sprinting closer and closer to the capital. The odds were against us; Sitler attacked with a forty-to-one force against us. Sitler's bombers dropped their bombs over all of the major cities without end; night and day, even Horsaw. It was a miracle how the distillery managed to not get hit, out vineyard still has craters from those bombs today. Mirek and I were sent to fight in the decisively losing battle; as soon as we reached the defensive line we were ordered to retreat. To make matters worse, Stallion worked alongside Sitler and invaded Coltland's eastern borders on the 17th, splitting our nation into two halves. We had enemies, now at an eighty-to-one ratio all around us; surrounding us."
"But isn't Sitler attacking Equissia right now?" Rainbow asked.
"Yes. But at the time, they were mutual partners. On September 30, Sitler's army marched through the streets of Horsaw victorious as the Coltish government had fled to Liondon in exile and the Coltish military were ordered to stand down and disband. However, Coltland never officially surrendered, even to this day. The ponies of Coltland did not just let the Gerneighians parade through our streets so easily... We resisted. My brother and I were some of the first to organize an underground movement against the Gerneighians with some our colleagues during the Winter War. As they tore down our flags and raised their own above Horsaw, we fought back in the streets, marking the beginning of the resistance movement."
"Hold on a sec..." Rainbow interrupted again, "You mean to tell me that you are one of the leading ponies of the Coltish Underground?"
Olek simply nodded, looking right into Rainbow's eyes as she began to glow with amazement.
"That is... so awesome!" she squealed. Olek couldn't help chuckle at the sound she made saying that, "I mean it, Olek! That is coolest thing I heard since my friend Twilight grew frick'in wings!"
"I am surprised you even heard of us, the Allies seem to forget we even exist," said Olek, feeling rather comfortable and prideful at the moment. This is the first time he talked about all of this to another pony, ever.
"Well, I've been paying attention, unlike others who only say they do. And if it makes you feel any better, I have great admiration for what you resistances stand for," Rainbow reached for Olek's hoof again, giving a welcoming smile, "Although... I can't imagine the true horrors you've seen. It's probably not as glorious as I'm making it sound."
Rainbow can then feel his hoof shake, and Olek's eyes wonder. Rainbow began to worry if she had just triggered an hallucination that nurse Redheart warned might happen.
The look Rainbow gave to Olek, along with her previous statement about the true horrors began to fill his mind with the sounds from memories. The sound of his brother's voice, gunfire, the burning of buildings, the booms of artillery fire, the crying of foals, the screams of fear from mares... the voice of one certain mare.
Rainbow noticed Olek's facial expression changed rapidly and fear filled his eyes as he avoids eye contact in every way, his hoof beneath hers began to tremble, and his breathing increased. "Olek...? Are you alright?" she asked nervously. She must have said something that reminded him of something terrible. This must be an hallucination, all she can do is wait it out. She kept her hoof on his to comfort him, "Olek?"
"Olek!" that mare's voice cried in Olek's mind, "Hurry! They're right behind us!".
He then heard his own voice call out, "Mirek! Panther tank! Get down!"
After a loud explosion, Mirek's voice says, "Their coming up the stairs, get to the roof!"
"Olek!" cried the mare's voice again "I can't do it!
"You have to, come on!" cried Olek's own voice.
Olek looks up to Rainbow Dash's magenta eyes, although Olek didn't see Rainbow Dash, but something else; a blurry shadowy mare with the same outline Rainbow Dash. The magenta in the eyes are the only color that almost seemed to shine through the shadows. "Olek!" she cried. The sound of a gun fires and the hallucination disappears, only to have Rainbow Dash in front of him once more with a very concerned look on her face.
"Olek!" Rainbow cried, just loud enough to not disturb the other tables in the restaurant.
Olek shook his head coming back to reality, "Sorry... I... I must have hallucinated."
"Ya think...? We can stop and head to my place if ya want?" Rainbow offered.
"No...! No. You are the first pony I have ever talked to about any of this," Olek takes a second to recuperate. Rainbow Dash was staring at him with a concerned expression, he needs sleep. However, something about him showed he was just as stubborn as she was, so she listened to attentively knowing she can't do anything about it. Olek continued, "So for the next couple of years Mirek and I fought back; being a part of the formation of what was eventually called 'the Home Army', which was one of the leading groups that made up the Coltish Underground. We trained and lead civilians and soldiers alike in sabotaging Sitler's war machine and assassinating key figures and officers. Through it all we remained loyal to our government-in-exile. Stallions, mares, colts, fillies; we all fought back as citizens our nation, regardless of political or ethnic background, in hopes to one day we ignite an uprising that will free our nation from our oppressors."
"That's incredible..." said Rainbow Dash in awe, trying not to spark another hallucination from him, "You're so outnumbered and yet you continue to fight. I'm impressed. I don't think Equestria could have that much determination if we became occupied, even if Celestia was leading us the whole way."
Olek smiled at the comment, but it quickly vanished when he began talking again, "Then one day in February of 1042... we made one fatal slip. After detonating one of the railroad supply lines that went to the Equissian front, somepony forgot to hide our tracks in the snow. Because of that the Gernieghians found us, and our hideout, taking about a dozen resistance members, including Mirek and myself to... to that, that camp."
"Camp? What camp?" asked Rainbow Dash, curious about where this was going.
Olek didn't answer for another few moments, he simply stared at the table, slowly shaking his head. "Mój Boże," he whispered putting a hoof on his forehead. Olek looked up into Rainbow's magenta eyes with his light blue. Rainbow can see how serious he was. She noticed that she had forgotten her hoof was still on his, she grasped tighter in an effort to comfort him.
"That camp..." he says in a raspy voice, "is the true definition of Hell."
Rainbow was stunned by that sentence. They both sat there in silence. Rainbow Dash was unsure where to take the conversation after hearing what she heard. She wasn't sure if he should continue. After several seconds of silence between the two she took her hoof off of Olek's and was just about to get up and move to his side of the table to comfort him somehow; that is until the waiter came over again.
"Um... excuse me," said the waiter, looking and sounding almost like he was intimidated by something, "I don't mean to interrupt anything, but there are two foreign stallions looking for somepony that fits your... *ahem*... features," he said nervously after seeing Rainbow Dash's hate-filled glare to him.
"Two foreign stallions?" asked Rainbow Dash. Olek looked up to the waiter curiously.
"Um, yeah. They're wearing black leather jackets, some weird red armbands on their arms, and creepy military hats with a skull and crossbones on them. Judging by their accents, I think they're Gerneighian. They're at the front door, now."
Olek's eyes widened and his heart raced, he knew that description all to well. It took him a second to recuperate and turn around to peer over the seats to the door. Rainbow pushed her body up to look over everypony's heads. There stood those stallions, one Earth pony and the other a Pegasus, waiting impatiently at the entrance. Olek turned back around, his fear-filled eyes scanned around the room to find a quick exit. Rainbow continued to watch those peculiar stallions for another few seconds, getting an idea developed in her mind.
"Waiter?" Rainbow asked sitting back down, "You tell them that he is not here."
"But they said they have witnesses of him coming in he-."
"Do it or I'll personally see to it that you're out of a job by this time tomorrow! Got it, buddy?" Rainbow threatened gripping hit collar with her hoof and dragging his head down to her level.
The waiter nodded nervously and Rainbow let go. The waiter bolted back to the stallions by the door.
She gazed past Olek's head for another few moments to be sure the waiter was going to do as she requested. She looked back to Olek after sitting back down. Olek whispered nervously:
"I need to get out of here."
"No," Rainbow says putting both of her hooves onto his on the table, looking right into Olek's eyes, "You stay here; I'm not going to let 'em take you... I promise," she smiled.
It was Olek's turn to be stunned by Rainbow's sentence. No one has ever helped Olek to this extent before. This was the first time in a long time he looked into the eyes of an ally. No... a friend.
"NEIN!" cried one the foreign Pegasus, breaking Rainbow and Olek's bonding moment as Rainbow Dash looked back, as well as the rest of the restaurant as all other conversations ceased and all focus was to the Pegasus, "HE IZ HE'A! AND VE'A GOING TO FIND Z'IM! Gustav?"
Suddenly, the Earth pony through up his hoof and struck the waiter across the face. The waiter fell to the floor with a bloody nose that left everypony in the restaurant to gasp and be dismayed by the scene. The two stallions separated and began to walk the length of the two opposite walls. The Pegasus headed right for Rainbow Dash and Olek's table. From the entrance, only the the back of Olek's head was visible as he did not look back to the stallions in fear they might spot him. The stallions searched each booth as he passes each seat. Rainbow gazed at him angrily.
"V'e know you are her'a, Prison'a fifty-nine thousand, six hundred and seventy! Olek... Władysław... Poznan...! V'anted for treason, murder, reconnaissance, espionage, sabotage, resistance, counterfeiting, vandalism, thievery, jaywalking..."
The Gerneighian continued to spout out words that Olek was charged for. Rainbow chuckled and looked at Olek, "Nice middle name," she commented in a hushed voice. Olek felt surprisingly comfortable in this situation, chuckling along with Rainbow Dash. Rainbow's face returned back to seriousness, "I knew I shouldn't have taken you right through town before Ponyville knew who you were. Take off that shirt... put this on," she said quietly, taking off her blue Weather Patrol vest she wore that was still ripped at the bottom from it's use on Olek's arm back at that cave, and passed it under the table to Olek.
Olek took the vest and had swiftly taken off his blue and white striped uniform, being careful around the new cast over his left wing. He put on the vest with the same cautiousness, buttoning it; hiding most of his abnormal skinniness that would make him stand out in a crowd. He kept the uniform in his hoof since he mentally refused to leave it behind.
The Pegasus approached, ponies attempted to back away in their seat from their intimidation as he stared into each pony he passed. Thankfully, no pony besides the waiter noticed Olek enter the restaurant, so no pony was able to give him away. "You v'ill not escape! You hide yourself v'ell! But by the Fuhrer's name, you v'ill regret your treachery!"
"Now," Rainbow begins with her voice hushed, "I'm going to get their attention and lure them outta here. I'm going to bring them outside and turn left. Wait a few seconds, and walk out, then you turn right. Keep walking until you get to Ponyville's library just down the road. It's literally a tree, so it's hard to miss. Go inside, and I'll meet you there."
"Go inside? Isn't that where you said your Princess friend lives?" Olek asked.
"Yes, but she and her assistant are both in Canterlot right now. Twilight almost always forgets to lock up anyways, so it should be no problem getting in," Rainbow replied.
"Alright," Olek whispered.
Rainbow nods with a devious smirk on her face and got up from the booth table and dashed to the approaching Pegasus with a worried expression on her face, picking up her lessons from Rarity, "Quick! He just escaped through the kitchen! I know where he is going! Hurry, follow me and I'll take you to him!"
The Pegasus turned to the Earth pony across the restaurant, he nods to the Pegasus, "Very v'ell, Equestrian. Lead," the Pegasus ordered.
Rainbow Dash, acting anxious, lead the two stallions out of the restaurant, "He said something about blowing up the railroad! Come'on! We gotta stop him!" she acted.
Trotting outside, Rainbow lead the stallions to a fake destination and turned left on the cobblestone road. Since she just mentioned the railroad, she decided to head towards the train station. It was the perfect idea, the train station was well across town from both Twilight's library and Rainbow's home, so she can get Olek back with these Gerneighians far away. Now she has to find a way to loose them without getting herself in danger.
"Quickly now!" she urged the stallions in the black leather trench coats behind her, "It's only a matter of time before a criminal like him to cause harm to us... uh, poor Equestrians!" Rainbow's mind was on fire for saying such a thing since she can easily kick these guy's flanks, but she tamed herself.
"You better be right about this, Equestrian!" threatened the Earth pony.
"You won't be disappointed!" she replied with a big fake smile.
Rainbow's plan was almost flawless, though the same thought came to her. What's she going to do once she gets to the train station? Fly away as fast as she could was the best option; but then she will be wanted by these guys. She needs to find a way to get these guys about of town, at least long enough for Olek to blend in with the townsfolk.
After trotting towards the train station for a good few minutes, a stroke of luck appeared down the road. There Pinkie Pie came bouncing towards her. That's it! Thank Celestia!
"Pinkie!" she cried in both excitement and relief.
Pinkie Pie heard Rainbow and came over.
"Dashie! Where have you been? We're supposed to hang at Applejack's and when you weren't there we got all worried and set out looking for you and we had no luck finding you and we were like, 'where is she', and Applejack was like, 'I don't know' and then w-"
"ENOUGH!" cried the Pegasus stallion, "V'er'a is the prison'a!"
"Prisoner five-nine-six-seven-zero?" Pinkie asked, "He said something about heading to Fillydelphia."
Rainbow's eyes widened in shock. "How did...?"
"Come on, you silly Gerneighians!" said Pinkie said staring to bounce away, "He'll get away with you just standing there! And don't forget: it it never hurts to smile!"
The two Gerneighians looked at each other, the Earth pony rolled his eyes and the Pegasus chuckled, then begin to follow Pinkie Pie, leaving the confused Rainbow Dash to herself.
Rainbow shook her head, "I'm not even going to ask, anymore..." With that she took and flew over the buildings for the library where Olek was supposed to be.
* * *
5: 01 PM
Inside the library, Olek, wearing Rainbow Dash's ripped vest, sat at the center table with the wooden statue of a horse's head reading a book that was placed on the table next to Olek's blue and white stripped uniform with the red upside down triangle and prison number facing up. He had spent a few minuets reading the book he found about Coltish history during the 700's AC. Olek didn't read much, but when he did it always related to history somehow.
Rainbow Dash opened the door to the library, fully relieved. "I owe Pinkie, big time!" she said shutting the door.
Olek wanted to finish the paragraph he was on, without looking up to Rainbow Dash he asked, "Pinkie is the shy one, correct?"
"No, that's Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie is the exact opposite," said Rainbow, walking over to Olek. She noticed the book, "What'ya reading?" she asked.
"Something about Coltland under Sweetish occupation. I always found history fascinating," Olek exclaims closing the book and looking up to Rainbow Dash.
"Ha! Twilight would love to hear you say that. I only read the Daring Do series," said Rainbow Dash.
Olek picked up the book and put it back on the shelf he sound it. "I never read it," he announced.
"Then you got some reading to do, bub. Come on! Let's get you back to my place, you're sleep deprived enough as is," said Rainbow heading for the door. Olek grabbed his striped uniform and threw it on top of his back and followed.
Rainbow Dash and Olek leave the library and go around the tree-structure to an open field behind it with Rainbow's cloud house in the middle of the field that was in sight.
"So," Olek began "Pinkie Pie is the hyper one of your friends; Fluttershy is the shy one."
"Yep," Rainbow replied, "Don't let Fluttershy's shyness get to you when you meet her, she'll open up eventually. Especially once she sees you're with me, she'll trust you a little better."
"OK. Twilight is the Princess," Olek said searching his mind, "I heard about that coronation even imprisoned. Though, I never thought I would meet one of her best friends. I better not make you angry," he joked.
"Nah. I'll just kick your flank myself," Rainbow replied with a smirk lightly punching his shoulder.
"Um... the fashion designer... um, it starts with an 'R'... Rarity, correct?" Olek asked.
"Uh huh! You'll probably see her tomorrow to get you a new outfit. Just use big words and show off that accent of your's and she'll love ya," said Rainbow laughing to herself.
"The farmpony... Apple Joe?"
"Close. It's Applejack. I can already tell she's gonna like you. In fact, her and her family are serving their special cider next week. Perhaps you can give them a hoof if you're feeling up to it; perhaps a few pointers."
"Me?" Olek asked.
"Well, yeah! You said you grew up in a distillery, right? You can help them with the one thing they're usually lacking," Rainbow said with a smile.
"You mean alcohol?" Olek asked with a smirk.
"I mean, there's some in there, but not enough. Know what I mean?" Rainbow asked.
"Oh, I know what you mean," said Olek with a devious smile, "trust me."
Rainbow Dash and Olek are now at the foot of Rainbow's cloud house, "Well, this is it," said Rainbow, "Here, let me help you out," Rainbow took off to the nearest stray cloud and draged it down to Earth in front of Olek.
"Hop on," Rainbow ordered, "Until your wing gets healed, this is your only way in and out."
Olek smiled and stepped onto the cloud. He was amazed by the sight of the house, with it's tower-like structure and rainbow waterfalls, it brought back memories of peace. Rainbow Dash went to the other side of the cloud-lift and lifted it up to the cloud platform right to the front of her door.
"I haven't seen a cloud house in years," Olek commented walking towards the door.
Rainbow Dash opened the door, "Sorry for the mess. I wasn't really expecting company."
Inside was a small living room that lead into a kitchen. All across the carpet floors of the living room were crushed soda cans and other sorts of trash. Nothing appeared in order and disorganization was rampant. In the center of the living room sat a couch facing the radio, music player, and a dog's bed with a sleeping tortoise in it which was against the wall.
Olek chuckled as he walked in, "Don't worry, I've seen much worse."
"I'll take the vest and that uniform," Rainbow offered out stretching her hoof.
Olek complied and took off Rainbow's Weather Patrol vest and handed it and the blue an white striped shirt to Rainbow. After she closed the door and hung the two pieces of clothing onto a rack next to the door, Rainbow informed Olek who was looking around, "I only have one bed, and-"
"The couch is fine," said Olek moving towards the couch.
"You sure? I can sleep there if you want."
"No, no. It's fine. You taking me into your care is enough burden on you as it is," Olek said after leaping onto the couch, placing his head on the pillow at the end.
"Well, OK then. I've gotta head back out and do something I was supposed to do earlier, and I have to go back and pay for the food since we did just dine and dash," said Rainbow Dash.
"Rainbow," Olek said closing his sleep desperate eyes, "Thank you... for everything," he mumbled.
Rainbow could not help but smile, "No pony should go through what you went through; there's no need to thank me... I take it you're gonna to hit the sack?"
"Tak..." he said barely above mumble, clearly fading fast. Rainbow didn't understand, but she thought it meant 'yes' in his native language. Rainbow didn't answer, but opened a closet in the room and pulled out a large white feather blanket. She dragged it around the couch and threw it over Olek. Rainbow smiled as Olek's breath grew in depth and volume. He was already asleep.
Rainbow Dash figured he's not going to be getting up for a while, so she turned around for the door. Before leaving she reached into the pocket of her vest hung on the rack and pulled out a couple of bits to pay for the meal at the buffet. She opened the door to the outside world. Just before she was about to leave, she stopped herself, thinking about what she went through today to get Olek on that couch. More importantly, what Olek went through to get on that couch. She stared at Olek for about a minute or so, thinking about what Olek had said about his life, what he went through. She admired him for such strength and determination. Seeing him in his current state, and the look in his eyes while he told his story there was no way that was just a pile of horse apples.
Her thoughts then trailed to what Olek had not said. There were holes in his story that were not filled, like how he knew English to the extent he does despite is government just telling him to, or what happened in that camp he only briefly mentioned, or how he escaped, the hallucination he had right in front of her. She grew a small blush at the thought of him at full health and his mane fully grown back; fighting for his country's liberation in the resistance that he helped form.
Today she saw more in a stallion than just an escaped, anorexic convict. She saw a stallion with loyalty still burning through his veins, whereas any other pony would have just given up in his current state. Rainbow Dash turned to leave her home and shutting the door, she felt the best she had felt in a long time.
Princess Celestia's sun began to fall towards the horizon, over the buildings of Ponyville. Rainbow Dash took a deep breath.
"Man," she breathed, "what a day..."