“I’m sorry miss but there’s nothing we can do.”
“But won’t it grow back?” Tinker hopefully asked the doctor.
“I’m afraid that the chemical compound we cleaned off will prevent it from ever growing back. Normally that stuff strips the hair for a time, but I’m afraid that it seeped into the base of the horn itself.”
“But, but what about my studies, and my work I can’t do them without my horn?!”
“I’m sorry miss, but these things happen; as rare as they are. Just be thankful it was only your horn.”
“Hmph…” Tinker let out a snort. “Yeah, I’m real lucky.” She hopped off the exam bed.
“Now just take it easy and try not to use any magic.”
“NO problem doc.” She rolled her eyes, then opened the door with her hoof, something she hadn’t really done in quite a while.
“Oh by the way,” The doctor held out a small sack. “It’s your horn, we cleaned it up as best as we could.”
“Thanks for everything.” She grabbed the sack in her teeth and walked out, her head hanging about as low as her spirits.
“Hey Tink! There you are! I came as soon as I heard. Are you o-“ Flo gasped, noting the lack of the distinguishing unicorn characteristic. “It’ll grow back… right?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay… Hay, I brought these for you.” Flo grabbed the strange metal device that her friend had been working on. The fan-like blades reflecting the bright lights of the hospital hallway.
“Ugh why did you have to bring those things?”
“Because they’re yours, and I kind of want to know what they are.”
“I’ll never be able to finish them now.” She sulked, heading for the exit.
“Why not?” Flo fluttered alongside her friend, fidgeting with the blades as they headed outside.
“I was counting on powering them with that animation spell if I could ever figure it out.” Now I’ll never be able to use the magic to make them work.”
“Work? I’d say they work well. They sure made quick work of the workshop on campus.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. That was a mistake waiting to happen.”
“Can’t you at least tell me what they were supposed to do?”
“Only if you promise to shut up about it then.”
Flo hovered in front of her friend, “Cross my heart and learn to fly, stick a horn in my eye….” She cringed at the last part. “Sorry.”
“Sometimes I swear you just have the worst timing.”
“Yeah, I do that a lot don’t I?” She scratched the back of her head. “So can you tell me?”
“Fine, just don’t tell anypony else.”
Flo nodded in agreement, all ears.
“I was making a set of mechanical wings.”
“NO WAY!!! I mean…. No way, really? That’s awesome. How’d you know that they’d work?”
“I don’t, and I guess know I’ll never know.”
“But there has to be some way of making them work.”
“Just can it will you? I’ve been through enough these last few hours. I just want to go to bed.”
“Alright, fine. We’ll head back to the apartment.” Flo landed on the ground and walked dejectedly behind her friend.
The walk back was oddly quiet for a night in the city. Even the normal commonplace sounds of the night seemed to dim with the mood of the two ponies as they made their way back in silence. Flo opened the door once they reached the apartment without receiving so much as a nod. Tinker drug her hooves straight off to bed, closing the door behind her. She had never felt so defeated.
Flo set her friends contraption on the table in the kitchen and proceeded to fix herself up a snack. “It can’t be that bad, can it?” She thought aloud, pour herself a glass of carrot juice and setting it aside. “It’s not like can’t still make things… wait a sec.” She paused looking down at her own wings. She could only imagine how she would feel if she lost her wings, “That must be how Tinker feels right now.” She turned to the cupboard, accidently knocking her cup of juice to the ground. “Ugh, not again.” She groaned, fluttering up and wiping her hooves on a towel before proceeding to wipe up the spilled juice. “I wonder how she’ll be able to finish her studies?” What she didn’t know was that Tinker was quietly thinking the same thing.
A thousand images flashed through Tinker’s mind. A countless array of what-if’s and why-not scenarios bouncing around her still aching head. If hadn’t had forgotten that one book, if she would have tied up the cable, if only she had stayed all night to finish them instead of heading home. The possibilities were endless, but yet she had to deal with the outcome she had been dealt. She felt sick. She had kicked it off to a good start at the school, made several friends, landed a good job and she doing well in all her classes, except history that is. Honestly if everypony keeps making the same mistakes over and over again maybe teaching about the mistakes is pointless. They’ll just make them anyway. And yet she had made the biggest mistake of all, costing all too much. How would she be able to continue on with her studies? She glanced over at the night stand, piled high with service manuals and scraps of paper covered in equations. How would she ever be able to make anything ever again? She needed her horn. She’d be the laughing stock of the whole school. A unicorn who can’t use magic and looks like a sad excuse for an earth pony. Wait a minute, earth pony? Maybe that was the answer? She hopped off the bed, putting a hoof to her forehead when she remembered how much her head still ached. She walked over to her mirror, staring at her miserable self in the reflection. She just couldn’t look at the pitiful stump of what was left of her horn. But maybe if she planned everything right she could make a new identity for herself. She grabbed a brush and struggled with a bottle of mane-spray as she spiked her mane just enough to hide the hideous stub. She turned her head from side to side, looking at herself in the mirror, pleased by the result. “The hard part will be breaking it to Flo, I just can’t go back to school, and I can’t do my job anymore.” She muttered to help reassure herself of her decision. She pulled out several of her belongings and laid them out on the bed. “But where will I go?” She rolled up several sheets of paper and set them aside. Tinker looked at the books filled with spells and new tricks for welding and metal working, they were useless now; stacking them on the dresser. She was desperate to figure out a place to go when it hit her. “I can go anywhere! I have the whole of Equestria to see and my own private airship to take me there!” She spun around elated, catching the little sack out of the corner of her eye. She had set it down by the door when she had gotten home. She picked up the bag, not daring to open it and trotted over to the trash. She stood there thinking about what she was about to do, the bag poised over the place of lost dreams and scrapped ideas. “Ohgoshdarnit…” she mumbled through her teeth, as she tossed the bag onto the bed with the rolled up pieces of paper. Maybe she could use it later or maybe someday a miracle procedure will be able to reattach it somehow. She didn’t want to throw away that chance. Tinker eyes the stuff she had set aside to take with her, making a mental checklist of what she had and what she would need. She poured out all the bits she had managed to save and count them up. “Thirty seven… thirty eight… Only thirty-eight? I swear I saved more than that.” She then recalled how much it cost to rent a small enough space to store her airship. She would have to leave that night. She set her alarm so she could get a few hours sleep at least and make sure Flo was sound asleep. She pulled out a pad of fresh paper and started writing a note. It would just be easier this way she thought to herself, trying her best at the hoof scratch that she had used since she was a filly. It was time she hit the road, time to start anew.