The next day I was let go. Just like professor Joyous said, there was no further questioning from the Canterlot police. I’m grateful for what he did, thinks may not have ended well between us but I’ll make sure to make it up to him someday.
Now that I was free, I was left to wonder what to do next. Returning to school was no longer an option, but that didn’t mater because I wouldn't find what I was looking for there.
In school every pony starts by learning the same basic classes. With the passing of every semester, you get separated by how proficient at magic you are. The ones with high magic potential move on to learn all kinds of healing spells, while the rest of us learn more conventional medical techniques. This system felt unfair to many, but the way teachers explained is that “all ponies have the same potential for magic, so only you decided how far you go”. That’s what they were trying to teach us, but the truth is that even the most determined of ponies, with the utmost dedication for studying can only reach a certain point if they don't have the talent. The best that the unskilled ponies can hope for is to become nurses and help in the menial tasks, like assisting doctors and dealing with patient paperwork.
I saw no other choice but to return to a place I haven’t been in years. Home. I went to the train station and took the next train to Baltimare.
Once I arrived I was immediately greeted by the crowded streets and the roads fill with carriages. I didn’t think it was possible, but Baltimare looks like it grew even larger in the time I was absent. The tall skyscrapers now seemed to reach even higher, almost as if its architects wanted to reach the cities in the skies. I could have tried taken a taxi, but preferred to walk instead. It would give me a chance to see how much I can remember of the city.
As I was walking by, trying not to bump into any pony, I realized how much everything has changed. Most of the shops I used to go to seemed to have disappeared to make way for bigger and flashier businesses. I began walking west, and the further go, the quieter the streets became. The skyscrapers and noisy streets were slowly replaced with desolation and narrow allies. Many ponies from uptown would be too afraid to walk these streets by themselves, but these where the streets I grew up in.
Eventually, I reached the edge of the city. There wasn’t anything here besides a few modest houses surrounded by the wildlife. The furthest house was the one I grew up in. It was in need of maintenance, but hopefully the inside will be in the same condition I left it. I was about to go in when I notice the bright red flowers from one of the neighbor’s garden. Curiosity caught the better of me and decided to take a closer look, and immediately notice they weren’t red roses; these had creamy white petals edged with a rich red color. There was no mistaking them, they were Double Delights! I kneel closer to catch a whiff of its lovely spicy fragrance.
“They’re lovely, aren’t they?” I quickly stood up as I heard a voice behind me. When I turned around I was greeted by a light blue pony with a lavender colored mane. She smiled at me and then also shifted her gaze to her roses.
“I was just admiring your Double Delights.”
“Oh, are you also a gardener?”
“I’m more of a flower enthusiast. I love them, but don’t have the time to tend to them”
“It’s nice to know there are other flower lovers around here. I’m Mrs. Mist, but you can call me Misty.” She said as she extended her hoof.
“Poppy.” I shook her hoof back. “I’m actually moving back to this neighborhood”
The blue pony seemed especially happy about that, and It wasn’t hard to see why. Just by looking at the other houses you could tell that the neighbors didn’t care about their lawns.
“Would you care for some tea, neighbor? I was about to have some in the porch.”
“That would be nice”
The conversation began with small talk. I told her a little about my school life in Canterlot, and she shared a little about her family. She especially couldn’t stop talking about her son and his fancy office job in the city. After a while, our talk slowly died down and we just enjoyed the view her garden provided. There was no awkward silence, it was the kind of moment you could only share with another that appreciates the beauty in nature.
“I could stay here all day” said Mrs. Mist as she poured herself more tea “I don’t know what is it about them, but there’s something about flowers that radiates peace.”
By now I have had enough of tea, but was still helping myself to Mrs. Mist’s cookies “My mother always said that flowers are the sweetest thing Celestia ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.”
“I couldn’t agree more! Celestia is an artist, and flowers are one of her best creations”
Our quiet moment was interrupted when Mrs. Mist’s front door opened with such force that it almost made her spill her tea. From inside emerge a very serious looking grey pony. He made no effort to introduce himself; he just stood there in front of us without saying a word. “Are you out here with some pony?”
For the first time since I met her, Mrs. Mist wasn’t smiling “I’m just having a cup of tea with one of our neighbors” she looks at my direction before continuing “Poppy, this is Morning Mist. My husband”
This pony didn’t seem very friendly, so I just waved my hoof to greet him from where I was sitting “good afternoon, Mr. Mist”.
Not surprisingly he didn’t greet me back, but I notice there was something wrong with his eyes. They had no color in them. They just look clouded.
“I’ll be inside if you need me.” And just like that. Mr. Mist left as fast as he appeared.
Mrs. Mist breathed a sigh of relief. “You’ll have to forgive my husband; he can be very distrustful of strangers.”
“Yes, I can see that”.
Once again, we remained in silence. But it wasn’t the same type of silence we had when we were enjoying the flowers. Now it felt…different somehow, like a heavy atmosphere engulf us.
“He wasn’t always like that, you know? Mr. Mist. He was always so friendly, so independent.” she was staring intently at her teacup. It sounded like she was talking to herself rather than me. “Then all of a sudden, he got this illness…he changed a lot after that”
“Waterfall eyes” I said while looking over the porch.
Mrs. Mist look surprise. She never heard of this disease until her husband caught it. And yet, this pony sitting next to her seemed to know more about it than her.
“What else do you know of this condition?”
“Only what I’ve read in textbooks. That those afflicted have trouble appreciating colors, recognizing faces and copying with bright lights. It is most commonly due to aging, but it can also be caused by other things, like trauma. There’s an experimental treatment being developed in Canterlot, but it has only showed positive results when treated early.“
“Yes, that’s what a lot of the doctors told me”
“Can I ask you a personal question?
“Why is a pony with a flower cutie mark, such as yourself, studying medicine?”
I wasn’t surprised at all by her question. During my years in school I was asked that hundreds of times. Many couldn’t understand why a pony wanted to do something that was so foreign to its cutie mark, and there were others that greatly disliked me for it. Some even acted like I was taking something that belongs to them.
“You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to…”
I pointed a hoof at my flank “This cutie mark is of a Bellflower, and it’s not just a simple flower. For me it’s the symbol of healing”
“Plants can be use for healing?”
“Not all of them. This flower in particular can be use for colds, coughs, sore throats, and lots of other things. If you know how to use it”
As I was telling this to Mrs. Mist, I could tell that she looked genuinely interested by my explanation. It’s nice to be able to talk to some pony about this without them thinking its some kind of dark art.
“It sounds wonderful. But, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you want to study medicine if you already have this skill?”
I smile at her before answering “Why can’t I do both?”
She said nothing.
“Why can’t I love plants and also love medicine?”
For the longest time Mrs. Mist didn’t know what to say
“I don’t know. I guess you can, it’s just that…I don’t see why any pony would want to do something like that”. She instinctively touched her own cutie mark. An Orchid flower.
“I got mine when I was a filly helping in my mother’s flower shop. It was there I discovered my love for tending flowers." she look at me before continuing. "I just cant see how a pony can be happy doing something that would take them away from their cutie mark”
“There’s nothing wrong with your garden if that’s what makes you happy. But I want to learn much more. I want to learn all there is to know about what makes ponies sick, so that I can help as many of them as I can. That is my dream”
“That is a beautiful dream”
After that I decided to take my leave, but not before Mrs. Mist made me promise to have tea with her again sometime. After saying our goodbyes I finally headed home. On my way there I realize how much I missed having some pony that also shared my interests for nature. The ponies from Canterlot didn’t really care for growing plants, they only buy the so they can eat them.
I’ll be nice to have a friend again.