Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd
The White Wagon Merchant
It was just another August nineteenth in Ponyville. The breeze was light and cool, everypony was lounging in the humidity of the coming monsoon season and everything was in a constant, tranquil siesta. Twilight and Spike were just finishing their shopping for feed and supplies to help Fluttershy with her animals later in the day.
“Ok, so that should be everything on the list.” Spike said as he checked off a box on the to-do list in his hand, “Think we need anything else?”
“Probably not.” Twilight replied, “Fluttershy said she only needed help with the small animals for today. Come on, we should get going if we don’t want to be-.”
She was interrupted mid-sentence as her sky-blue pegasus friend, Rainbow Dash, flew directly into her, colliding and knocking both of them to the ground in a cloud of dirt.
As the dust cleared, the two ponies and baby dragon found themselves in a dog pile of sudden, unexpected pain.
Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash and asked, still lying on her stomach with Spike lying across her back, “*groan* What was that for?”
“Sorry Twilight.” Rainbow responded, “I’ve sorta been in a rush to find you.”
Twilight asked as she and Spike began getting back up, brushing the dirt off their chests, limbs and Twilight’s saddlebag.
“What could possibly be so important that you had to tackle the both of us just to let us know?”
Dash picked herself back up as well, answering, “*heh* Well, it’s not that big, I just had to come and get you before we missed anything.”
“Anything of what?” Twilight asked, a hint of impatience brewing in her voice.
Dash said in a non-aggressive, but still implying manner, “I’m getting there, jeez!”
She calmed down a little and continued normally, “Every year or so, a trader comes into town who lives in this big, white caravan. The guy who runs the thing is really cool and has tons of healing magic, medicines and books on all sorts of stuff.”
Twilight and Spike were surprised to hear this, looking to each other for a second before Twilight said, “I’ve…never heard of magic being able to heal, and if he has books on the subject it sounds like it might be worth a look.”
Dash finished as she began batting her wings and suspending herself in mid-air, “Cool. If you want to find him, he should be in the town square by now. That’s where I’m headed, so I gotta go. Hope to see you there!”
She then turned and flew off in the direction of town square at her casual but quick pace of flight. As she flew away, Twilight began to ponder on the subject of this “healing magic” more and more, eventually becoming mentally immersed, unable to help but want to see it for herself.
“Spike, change of plans.” Twilight ordered, “Move everything on our schedule up by at least half an hour.”
She dusted the last bits of dirt off her saddlebag as Spike asked, “But what about our plans to help Fluttershy with her animals?”
“It’ll just be later in the schedule.” she answered, “Besides, she’ll probably be there with everypony else, assuming this is all it’s cracked up to be. We’ll be able to explain ourselves then.”
Spike simply shrugged, then nodded in agreement, hopping onto Twilight’s back and asking, “Well in that case, shall we?”
Twilight pronounced a subtle and happy “Let’s” and they were off for the town square.
As they walked into the square in the humidity of the afternoon, they spotted the alleged white caravan as it was being swarmed by ten or fifteen ponies, clambering obsessively to receive the supply or book of their choice. The look of the caravan seemed very exotic, with almost all the wood along it bearing an intricate design or trimming. It certainly looked more baroque than your everyday trader, but avoided being too flashy as the entire wagon was painted a nice, iridescent white, practically glowing as it rested in the mid-day sunlight. Nearby were all five of Twilight’s closest friends, conversing in a circle several yards from the caravan, almost all with saddlebags that appeared heavily filled. Twilight felt better about this ordeal knowing all her friends were not too far away, just in case she needed support for whatever might happen.
She approached her friends and was quickly noticed by Dash. Her expression grew gleeful as she knew that Twilight was joining them. She pointed Twilight out to everypony else and flew over to greet her, the group nearly attaining the same feeling of happiness as they noticed Twilight approaching them. As Dash hovered to a certain distance from Twilight, she slowed her forward momentum with an aerial sway back and forth, bringing herself to a calm midair stop.
She spoke to the duo in a friendly tone, “Twilight Sparkle and Spike the dragon. I was wondering when you two were gonna show up.”
Twilight replied as she trotted several more feet into speaking distance, looking up to the pegasus and speaking in the same tone, “I figured if this caught your attention so much, it must be worth at least a look.”
They both gave a contained giggle before Twilight stated, “I’m glad everypony else was able to join us.”
“You bet!” Dash replied, “Almost all of us have met this guy already, and I think almost all of us can agree that he’s quite the sweetheart *giggle*. Come on, let’s go meet up with the rest of the gals.”
She motioned a following hoof before Twilight happily nodded and they both proceeded to their friends.
As the two walked closer to the group, greetings and friendly grins were passed around. A timid hello from Fluttershy, a nice country greetin’ from Applejack, a formal addressing from Rarity and a very excitable and jumpy “Hi!” from Pinkie Pie. The first real bit of conversation came when Twilight asked Fluttershy after giggling from previous bits of small talk.
“So Fluttershy,” she said, “I’m guessing this means my visit today is going to have to wait?”
“Um…yes.” She replied quietly, “Sorry I didn’t tell you. I just remembered about the caravan earlier today. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Applejack added, “Yeah, since goods like his‘re only ‘round these parts once in a blue Moon, e’rypony tries t’ git their fill of it before he leaves town again.”
“Oh yeah," Spike said, entering the conversation, "he comes here once a year, right? Well in that case, how long does he stick around before leaving?”
“A week, approximately.” Rarity answered, “On occasions, he may even remain for a month if he does not have other matters to attend to.”
She paused shortly, looking like a curious, but somewhat sad thought had suddenly struck her.
“As a matter fact…” she continued, “…it has been a few some-odd years since his last visit. I can’t remember how many, but I know that he has not been here for quite some time.”
“Yeah, he has been gone for a while.” Dash interjected, “But don’t worry, we talked a second ago and he told me he’s been doing some research up in the more mountain-y parts of Equestria. He said he’s done and now he’s back to his old, annual schedule again.”
“That’s great!” Twilight mentioned, “I think…but wait. You gals actually keep track of when he’s or not?”
“Of course we do, silly!” Pinkie Pie loudly responded, “He sells some of the coolest potions, tonics and books about them in all of Equestria.”
Rainbow Dash added, “Yup, and it’s not even his stuff that makes him the most well-known trader in town.”
Twilight found this confusing, looking over to the obsessed mob of customers crowding his caravan, then looking back and asking, “Then how is he able to drum up business so well?”
Pinkie answered with, “Cuz he’s one of the most awesomest ponies ever, and between you and me,” she loudly whispered, “he’s quite the colt of mystery!”
“Oh come on Pinkie,” interrupted Rainbow, “he’s not that different from your everyday trader.”
“Well,” said Twilight, ending the conversation, “he certainly sounds interesting from what I’ve heard. So are we just going to talk about him or will I actually get to meet this guy?”
Everypony laughed a little before agreeing with a nod and making their way towards the white caravan.
As they approached during a break between the waves of clambering customers, the inside of the caravan came into view. Through a rectangular marketer’s window on the side, they could see a tall colt in a white lab coat with his back to the counter. He appeared to be cleaning a small glass object and re-organizing a few jars of chemicals on their shelves at the wall parallel to the counter.
When they were about at the counter’s edge, Rainbow said quietly to everypony else, “Allow me.” She then turned to the counter, slammed both hooves on its top and asked the colt in a cocky, friendly voice, “Care for another one on the house, my good man?”
“I already gave you five bottles Dashie.” the colt responded in a calm, friendly and mildly deep voice without turning around, “That should be plenty enough to last you ‘til my next visit.”
Dash giggled and said, “Fine, fine. Anywho, there’s actually a friend of mine I’d like you to meet. She didn’t even know about your annual visits ‘til I came along and told her all about how awesome you are.”
“*heheheh* Quite the flatterer, aren’t you Dashie?” the colt replied, “Ah well…” he paused, took off his lab coat, hung it on a nearby coat rack and turned around.
There stood a reasonably young stallion in his late twenties with a brilliant, alabaster coat carpeting his skin, and a height that looked like he was about half a head taller than your average colt. Small, circular, ebony reading spectacles hung on the bridge of his nose and he wore a white work shirt, unbuttoned at the top two buttons with sleeves that were rolled up past his elbows. A smooth, black undershirt was visible in the V of open shirt at its top, the bottom of his work shirt tucked neatly into the denim jeans he was wearing. A short, pointy raven-colored mane hung from his head and came together in sleek, thick triangles around the level of his brow. Although, one of the most distinctive of his features were his unusually designed eyes, just a black ring lying in the middle of a sea of glistening sclera, with a pupil of the same brilliant white. He stood, cleaning a test tube with a small rag and smiling contently, speaking in a young voice of deep composure, experience and care.
“Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.”
Rainbow said, “Awesome!” and pulled Twilight to her side over the shoulder, “This is my friend, Twilight Sparkle.”
“It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you,” the colt replied nicely before reaching his hoof out and shaking Twilight’s, “I’m a doctor.”
“It’s very nice to meet you Doctor…?” replied Twilight.
“Just a doctor,” he answered, “or Doc for short. I was never much for complex names.”
“How come?” Twilight asked.
“Cuz I’ve been called a lot more difficult things in my travels.” Doc answered as he picked the test tube back up and continued polishing it, “Thought I’d pick something anypony can remember. Anyway, anything I can get’cha?”
“Actually Doc,” Rainbow Dash added, “Twilight here seemed more interested in the healing magic you have than anything else I told her about. Care to give a demonstration?”
Doc threw his gaze to the upper corner of his eyes, pondering whether or not to show her with a thoughtful expression.
After a brief pause, he looked at Twilight and said, “Sure, and a perfect chance too, considering that you have a scraped knee.”
Twilight glanced down at her right hind leg in slight surprise to see a small scrape on the kneecap, a single drop of blood oozing from its carmine crease. It must have happened when Rainbow accidently plowed her into the dirt, amazingly unnoticed until just now.
“Come closer, if you would.” Doc said to her politely.
When she did so, he said, “Hold still please.” holding his fore-hooves in the direction of the injury. They began to glow with a slight greenish tint much like a unicorn’s horn performing magic. Bathed in the green aura, the wound slowly put itself back together, as if it were reversing the damage dealt. The top of the abrasion folded down to its original position, the bead of scarlet sucked back up into the injury, dispersing throughout it as the lower flap of skin lifted back to attention and the wound zipped itself shut. Even though the area still hurt for some reason, Twilight was amazed that the rumor of healing magic was actually true…then something occurred to her.
She asked accusatorily, “Wait a minute; magic can only be done by unicorns. How are you doing that as an earth pony?”
“Uh…it’s a…long story.” Doc answered nervously.
An awkward silence began to rear its ugly head before Doc looked up and noticed Spike.
“A baby dragon?!" he said, "Wow, I haven’t seen one of you in quite a while!”
This caught everypony’s attention as they all looked at Spike for a split second, then back at Doc.
“You seen babeh dragons before?” AJ asked disbelievingly.
“Oh of course.” Doc answered, “Some of my best friends are dragons, actually.”
The group was lightly surprised by the sudden mention of this strange fact, making everypony give Doc a weird look.
“Never heard that story before." Dash interjected shortly after, "But anywho, Twilight here’s quite the bookworm, so ya mind if she can get a copy of one of those books you’ve written?”
Doc regained the smile that slowly drooped moments ago and said, “Oh, sure thing.”
He reached under the counter and hoofed her a seemingly thin book.
“And for a new customer, and friend,” he said, “free of charge.”
Twilight was very grateful to him for this, followed by her asking, “So, mind if I show up same time tomorrow?”
Doc replied while putting the freshly polished test tube onto a rack of crystal clear ones, “I sure hope so. I still have yet to get to know more about you…I like you Twilight Sparkle…can’t wait to hear your story. Anyway, see you all later.”
He proceeded to turn around and reorganize the chemicals and various books on the shelves and desk compartments.
As the six mares trotted away from the wagon, Twilight said to Dash, “Thanks for telling me about Doc, Rainbow. Care to join me on my rendezvous tomorrow?”
“Heck yeah!” Dash eagerly answered, “I visit Doc every day that he’s here. You should hear some of the stories he tells, absolutely crazy stuff. Anywho,” she turned to the rest of the group, saying, “See you gals later!” before taking off to her home in the clouds.
The rest of the crew soon took their leave after some small talk and headed home for the day. Twilight and Spike made their way home for Spike to finish his afternoon chores and for Twilight to catch up on a little reading. She knew that she had quite a day ahead of her tomorrow…for better or for worse.