• Published 28th May 2013
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The Arrival of Ford Mustang - RoyalRainbow



After a mysterious golden light teleports him to Equestria, the human, Ford, has been transformed into a full-grown Pegasus without a Cutie Mark. What challenges await him as he coops his new life in Ponyville?

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Chapter 12 – Feather Flu

Chapter 12 – Feather Flu

After making my departure from the house of Vinyl Scratch and Octavia this morning, I feel a drop of water trickling my muzzle. Then, some more drops land on my mane and coat. That’s when I notice that it's starting to rain. It isn't raining heavily thankfully, but it isn’t drizzling either. I look up to see what the sky is like. It is nothing more than a light gray sheet of massed-up clouds covering the town of Ponyville. I didn’t even know it was supposed to rain today.

I high-tail out of there as I take flight towards Sweet Apple Acres. Right now, I can fly comfortably right above the rooftops. It’s not so bad being this high up once you get use to it. As I fly towards my only means of shelter, something starts to tickle my nose, and then…

AH-CHOO!!

That sneeze nearly made me lose my concentration for a bit. As I sniffle my suddenly stuffy nose, I see a few feathers dancing in the wind. Hey, those feather kind of look like--

AH-CHOO!!” Another sneeze happens, and more feathers start to fly around me. What’s going on? Why am I starting to lose my attitude?

AH-CHOO!!” This one really knocks the wind right out of me as I tumble towards the ground. I try to gain control of my flying, but my flapping wings aren’t working. As I make my descent, I look up to see where those floating feathers are coming from. They were coming from… my wings.

Upon seeing the cause of my downfall, I crash onto the muddy, grassy floor. As I weakly to try to get up, I start to feel really hot. My head feels like it was on fire. What is going on? How could I be sick all of a sudden? Is it because of the rain, the lack of sleep, the hangover, or all of the above?

Maybe… if I… take a nap… for a bit… it’ll… go… away…

PLOP!

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“In the deep, dark, damp caverns off the coast of Triton Islands, Daring Do treads lightly with caution as she ventures forward to her next objective.”

Wait… what is that? I hear someone talking. But who could it be, and where am I?

“Though she may be stranded due to the wreckage of her own ship, the famed archeologist is too determined on seeking out the lost treasure that dwells within these cavern walls.”

I gradually open my eyes as I verify my surroundings. I am in my bedroom right now. Somehow, I was tucked into my own bed. But how? I fainted in Ponyville. How did I end up in here?

“Soon enough, Daring Do arrives at her marked destination: the Lost Lagoon, an underground lake filled with various wreckages of ancient pirate ships. Each undiscovered ship has a different surprise inside: one that could either contain a vast amount of fortune or a deadly trap waiting for its next victim.”

There's that voice again! Where’s it coming from? I look to my right and see somepony sitting next to me. Sitting on a chair next to my bedside is Rainbow Dash reading a book. And she seems to be quite occupied in whatever she is reading right now.

“But Daring Do already knows which ship she wants to explore first. The mother of all pirate ships: the Majestic Unicorn! A once magnificent ship that was commandeered by the most fearsome pirate in history: Captain Blackjack! For decades, this legendary pirate has made countless pillages across the Equestrian seas. And despite all of the efforts of Equestria’s finest guards, nopony has ever caught him. And nopony has ever seen him since his last great plunder.”

I carefully look at the cover of the book Rainbow Dash was reading: “Daring Do and the Lost Lagoon.” Of course! One of Rainbow’s favorite pastimes. I knew she enjoys read them, but I never thought she would like to read them out loud with such passion. It’s… quite cute actually.

“Amongst the graveyard of broken ships, Daring Do flies across the cataclysm towards the Majestic Unicorn. Delicately, she lands on the fragile ship. As she begins her exploration within the deserted cabins, Daring Do quietly sneaks around the ship. Every delicate step she takes, a loud creak is made on the squeaky floorboards.

At long last, she arrives at the chambers of Captain Blackjack. Staring right in front of Daring Do is a grinning pony skeleton wearing a captain pirate’s uniform and displaying a nasty scar on his right eye. And in his grimy, boney hooves is a small treasure chest. Carefully, Daring Do approaches the motionless skeleton. With a steady head, she reaches for the chest that was held tightly in the dead captain’s grip. Using her jaws, she pulled one of chest’s handles with all of her might and manages to break it out of pirate’s grasp. The rusty chest makes a loud thud after it lands on the floor. It startles Daring Do for a bit as she was afraid on how the loud noise might wake up something, but nothing else in the room moved. With a sigh of relief, Daring Do looks back at her prize with anticipating eyes.”

I smile to myself as I quietly listen to Rainbow’s reading-along. I really admire how energetic her storytelling was. Makes me kind of wish I was a kid again.

“Unbeknownst to Daring Do as she eagerly examines the lock on the ancient chest, the hollow eyes of a skeletal pirate start to glow menacingly. Soon the bones start to rattle as the undead captain begins to rise from his chair.”

I eagerly eavesdrops the exciting climax that’s about to come, but then, something starts to build up in my nose.

“Ah…” Oh no. Not here! Not now!

"Blackjack quietly unsheathes a jagged sword nearby. He then creeps up to the distracted archeologist with bloodlust eyes.”

“AH…” No no no no no no! Don’t do this to me, nose! Don’t you dare do this to me!

"Like a Manticore readying its stinger, Blackjack lifts up the nasty blade in the air to lay down the execution on the defenseless Daring Do. And just when he is about to strike--”

AH-CHOO!!” That cursed sneeze of mine breaks Rainbow’s concentration as she is scared right off her chair and plops on the wooden floor.

“Dang it, Ford!” Rainbow groans as she gets back off the floor. “I was just getting to the good part!” I slightly whimper in shame for doing that towards Rainbow Dash as I partially hide behind the covers.

“Oh, sorry!” Rainbow quickly apologizes. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that! You’ve already had a pretty rough day as it is.”

“You don’t even know the half of it.” I chuckle weakly.

“Wait.” I’m losing track on some of my unanswered questions here. “How… did I get back here?”

“Simple.” Rainbow answers matter-of-factly with a smile. “I brought you here myself.”

“You did?” I respond astonishingly. “But… how did you find me?”

“Well, I was in charge of weather duty this morning. Had to prepare a downpour that was needed for the crops around Ponyville. So, once I was all finished up, I saw you lying there motionlessly on the ground. I’ve notice how sick you were, so I immediately carried you across town and brought you back to Sweet Apple Acres. After I told them what happened, Applejack and her family helped you up to your room.”

“Well...” I faintly smile towards Rainbow. “I guess this makes up for missing your chance to save my flank last month.”

“Yeah, I guess...” Rainbow smiles to herself. “…but without any dragons to take down though.” She mutters to herself with a small frown.

“Well still, thank you, Rainbow. I don’t know what would have happened if you haven’t spotted me.” My sincere gratitude for her causes Rainbow to blush for a bit.

“Hey it’s all good!” she says sheepishly as she gingerly rubs back of her head. “You would have done that same thing for me as well.”

We stare at each other with warm smiles for each other until…

AH-CHOO!!” The feathers start flying.

“Umm… gesundhoof.” she smiles softly.

Sniff! Thanks.” I congest slightly. Suddenly, my forehead begins to feel hot again.

“Rainbow…” I ask her sickly while sweat starts to moist my coat. “What’s happening to me?”

“It’s Feather Flu.” she states while wringing out a wet cloth from a bowl of iced water. She then gently pats the cooled cloth on top of my forehead. “It’s a type of sickness that only Pegasi can get. It’s just like a common flu except when you sneeze or cough, your feathers will--”

AH-CHOO!!

Phew!…do that.” she finishes her sentence after blowing one of my scattered feathers away from her nose.

“Sorry.” I sniffle a bit. Funny, I’ve heard about Feather Flu being mentioned from that episode, “Hurricane Fluttershy”, but it’s never been stated what it does to a Pegasus. Now I finally get my answer the hard way.

“Hey, don’t apologize for something you can’t control, alright?” she says firmly. “Oh, that reminds me! We should do some preening right now!”

“Preening?” I puzzle softly.

“Yeah yeah! Just lie down on your stomach!” she instructs eagerly. I pause for a few seconds upon hearing that strange request. But considering that I was too sick to even question her, I comply with her demands and adjust myself slowly on the bed with my stomach laying flat on the sheets.

“Okay… now what?” I ask her perplexingly.

“Now…” Rainbow smirks greatly. “…I do this!” As soon as she says that, I felt a great tug as something is yanked out of my wing.

"YOWCH!" I turn my head sharply to glare at a grinning Rainbow as she holds one of my feathers in her mouth.

“Rainbow! Is this your idea of a joke?!” I snap alarmingly at her. “I thought you were supposed to make feel better!” She spits out the feather that was in her mouth.

“I am!” she retorts back. “This is what preening is about it!”

“…What?” I response softly in confusion.

“Don’t you know anything on how to groom your feathers properly?” She asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Umm…” I stall with shame as I turn my gaze away from her piercing stare.

Ughh… nevermind!” she shrugs. “Look, you know for a fact that Pegasi always grow new feathers over time, right?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, in order to make way for the new ones, the old feathers got to go first. That’s what preening is all about, where a Pegasus plucks the old feathers out of their wings so that new feathers can take their place. It’s a common practice that all Pegasi have learned since like the beginning of time. …Wow. I’m starting to sound like Twilight already.”

“Well… thanks for the lesson, Rainbow Dash, but can you please go easy on them?” I plead softly.

“Oh, suck it up, Ford!” she gives a cold response at me. “Your wings are just sensitive, that’s all! You’ll get used to it over time.” I give a pouting frown upon hearing that harsh answer, but I give in and allow her to continue her work.

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“So… Rainbow Dash… ouch!” I ask her as she continues to pluck my old feathers out. “If Feather Flu is something… eek! …that only Pegasi can get… ow! …won’t you get sick from me as well?”

“No way! My body is in peak physical condition!” she boasts with a confident smirk as she drums her chest a couple of times. “There’s no way some little flu can stand up to my impervious immune system!” After her playful boastfulness, she continues to pluck more of my feathers. Thankfully, this plucking sensation isn’t like getting your hairs pulled out. It starts to ease me a bit as I begin to notice how more spacious my ruffled feathers have started to become.

“You know… eek! …this preening business… ah! …isn’t so bad… ooh! …once you get used to it!” I comment to her.

“Told ya! Just got a few more feathers just left to pull. Geez! This one is in there deep!” She pauses briefly as she assesses on how to pull that feather out. In a swift motion, Rainbow presses her muzzle firmly in my wing as I begin to feel that tickling feeling again since the first day of training.

“Hey, cut it out, Rainbow!” I giggle a bit. “That really tickles!”

“Ooooh.. you don’t like that, do you?” Rainbow says playfully with a devious grin. “Well, then how about this!” She quickly dives right back in and rubs her muzzle wildly around my wings’ vulnerable spots. I couldn’t contain myself as I laugh out loud uncontrollably.

“Stop! Please! No more! I give up! Uncle! Uncle!” I plead greatly as I continue to laugh breathlessly. In the position that I was in, I am now at Rainbow Dash’s mercy. As she continues her ruthless assault, I hear the door to my room creaking.

“Hey, RD!” Applejack announces as she comes into my room with large woven saddlebag. “I brought y’all some soup for you and Ford to have--!” Rainbow and I immediately freeze up as AJ see us. She stares at us with wide eyes as she witnesses our misunderstood activity. All three of us begin to blush immensely.

“Oh! Well… Ah’m glad to see that y’all up and at 'em, Ford!” Applejack says with a nervous smile. “Sorry for intrudin’ on ya like that! Ah’ll just… leave yer soups right here for now!” From her saddlebag, she carefully places the two empty bowls, some spoons, and a thermos that contains our lunch for the day. “Carry on!” Applejack quickly slams the door as Rainbow Dash and I continue to lie still on the bed.

“I think we’ve done enough preening for today.” Rainbow breaks the silence finally.

“Yeah, we’re done here.” I agree without hesitation.

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We were just finishing up our lunch together, which was a delicious, creamy apple-carrot soup. My compliments to the chef as always!

“I can see why you want to stay with the Apple family in the first place!” She chuckles from the soup she just eaten. “I’m kind of envious that you get to eat like this everyday!”

“Mm-hmm!” I agree in silence by licking my chops.

“Well… now that that’s taken care of, why don’t you get some sleep, Ford.”

“Good idea.” I comply as I adjust myself within the comfy, quilted sheets.

As I prepare to take my nap, I become disturbed by this unusual silence. I look around to see if Rainbow Dash is continuing her reading. She is focusing back on her book, except that she isn’t reading it out loud like before. I’m kind of disappointed to see that. I miss the display of intensity she was showing off when she was reading that story. I really want to hear more.

“Hey, Rainbow…” I ask her gently.

“Hmm?”

“Why did you stop?”

“Huh? Stop what?” she responds bewilderingly.

“Why did you stop reading it out loud?” She flusters heavily as soon as I reveal that to her. An immense blush fills her cheeks as she struggles on how to answer that question.

“Oh! That! Well…” She stammers greatly while maintaining that rosy blush. “It’s just… a little hobby of mine… that’s all! Don’t worry about it! I won’t disturb your sleep like that again!”

“I don’t see your reading as a distraction.” I said with sincere honesty. “I’ve quite enjoyed it. In fact, I think you’re a terrific storyteller.” She flabbergasts once more as her glowing blush now closely resembles the red-colored streak in her mane and tail.

“M-m-me?! Really?!” She shouts shockingly.

“Oh course! Do you think… you can continue where you’ve left off?” I ask her humbly. She thinks to herself silently. I know it was a lot to ask out of her for my own benefit.

“I… I don’t know, Ford.” she replies bashfully. “You should really get some sleep first.”

“I’ll sleep better if you'll read me a story first.” I bargain lightheartedly. She takes another moment to rethink on this.

“You… promise you won’t laugh at me?” she asks timidly.

“I Pinkie Promise.” I vow as I cross my heart and place a hoof over my eye. She finally starts to smile after knowing that she can trust me.

“You know, I could be a bit overdramatic sometimes when I read a good book.” she begins to show that egotistical grin of hers.

“Hey, all the more to make reading more engaging, right?” I smirk right back at her.

“Oh… alright. But this stays between us! Got it?!” she threatens me playfully. “I’ve got a reputation to keep, you know.”

“My lips are sealed!” I happily gesture towards her as I zip my lips with a hoof.

She smiles greatly in content as she returns back to her book, this time, providing the narration of course.

“Like a Manticore readying her stinger, Blackjack lifts up the nasty blade in the air to lay down the execution on the defenseless Daring Do. And just when he is about to strike, the adventurous mare notices a strange reflection on the ancient lid’s large jewel. She slightly gasps to herself as she sees the walking skeleton behind her, but she quickly recovers her moment of fear as Daring Do resourcefully uses the hard chest to block the incoming strike of the dead captain’s sword! After blocking that blow, she immediately gives herself some space as she stares down at the ghastly ghoul.

‘So…’ the grim captain begins to speak. ‘You’ve come to collect my booty, have you? Well let me tell you something, sweetie… dead ponies tell no tales when they come face-to-face with Captain Blackjack!’

‘Dead ponies, huh? I think you should take a look in a mirror, gruesome!’ Daring Do taunts boldly as she prepares to face her latest adversary.”

Oh, now it’s getting good!