• Published 13th Aug 2013
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Married to Her Job, Single in Her Heart - Revenant Wings

Nurse Redheart believes her job is all she needs in life. That is, until she meets a mare and an almost forgotten memory who show her there's more to life than work. +COMPLETED+

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Chapter 2 - The Library


The following morning, Redheart’s alarm went off precisely at seven thirty. Redheart pushed the button on the alarm exactly once, relishing the cool sheets and warm blankets of her bed as the first bits of sunlight came into her room. It was bound to be another beautiful day outside as far as the weather was concerned. After two more times of the alarm ringing, Redheart got up and let her day begin at seven forty-five.

The day began as usual with a morning bathroom routine. A quick wash of the hair, a quick toweling of her body, and her usual ordeal of getting her somewhat long pink mane into a neat bun that rested at the back of her head. Afterwards came the trip to the kitchen, where she collected her mail from the front door mail slot and made herself a cup of coffee as she perused through the arrivals: bills, a letter from her mother, and her paycheck from the Ponyville Hospital. When the coffee was done, she made herself a small breakfast of eggs, toast, and a fresh, sliced apple from Sweet Apple Acres.

As she sat down to ate, Redheart thought of what she could do on her vacation. It was not like her to take time off, and she had little to do in the meantime. There wasn’t much around that could interest her outside of her job; it was something she had looked forward to every day of her life. Already Redheart was thinking about the next week when she was able to get back to work again… Perhaps Doctor Stable was right; she was too focused on her job.

But what else was there to do? She could cash her check and pay her bills, but that took her twenty minutes for the bank run and twenty minutes to do the bills, still leaving her the whole day to do something. She could go to the marketplace and see what was on sale to restock her kitchen, but even that wouldn’t take too long. Even then, if she figured out what she would do that day, there was always the issue of what to do the other days.

With no idea of what else to do, Redheart finished her breakfast and washed the dishes. Afterwards she gathered up her paycheck and made a list of items to get from the market. Attaching her saddlebags to her back, Redheart left her apartment and trotted off to the bank, where she deposited her paycheck and pulled out some bits, and headed for the marketplace.

While she was in the marketplace, Redheart saw another young stallion approach her. This one looked like Doctor Stable but he didn’t have his horn and his coat was a shade or two lighter. He walked up to her and smiled. “Hey, Redheart.”

“Hello, Caramel,” she said impartially. “Glad to see you haven’t been inducted into the hospital yet, today.”

“Hey!” Caramel said, not offended but hurt. “Just because I’m a regular patient doesn’t mean you have to be so sarcastic about it. So… what’s going on lately?”

“Nothing much,” Redheart said. “I’m just going about my business as I usually do. I’m looking for sales.”

Caramel tried to smile again. “I heard the celery farmer is having a sale. Two bunches for the price of one for this week only since she has a surplus. And the Apple family had a particularly good crop, so they’re selling at five apples for three bits.”

“Thank you,” Redheart said, and walked a little faster with the intent to leave him behind.

Caramel wasn’t perturbed by this and walked a little faster himself, eventually passing Redheart and getting in her way. “How come you’re being so cold? I’m not trying to do anything but be nice and you’re treating me like I’m the last person you want to meet today.”

“You’re not the last,” Redheart said, pausing long enough that Caramel started to break into a grin. “But you’re pretty close.”

Caramel’s face fell again. “Look, are you mad at me for having to deal with me so often or is it something else?”

“It’s gotten to the point where I get paid extra every time you come in,” Redheart said. “So for that I thank you. But I would rather not speak with you.” And she sidestepped and continued past Caramel.

The stallion didn’t seem to be satisfied. “What did I do wrong?” he asked.

Redheart suddenly whirled around on him. Her normally light blue eyes had tinges of red in them as she glared at the now whimpering stallion. “Are you that thick-headed? Have you already forgotten what you did? I don’t care what you say, nothing is going to make me want to get back with you! So, if you would kindly leave me alone, that would be helping me more than anything else.” She turned around with a huff and walked off.

During the rest of her shopping, Redheart did not see Caramel again. Every once in a while she got the sense that she was being followed but whenever she turned around she never saw a thing. It got to the point that by the time Redheart was heading home she kept checking over her shoulder for signs of the stallion but she never caught him if he was. She was only at peace when she arrived at her apartment and had locked the door behind her.

After putting the food away, Redheart paid her bills and walked down to the mailbox with them, depositing them in the blue box for the mailmare before returning home. Normally, she would be putting on her cap and heading off to the Ponyville Hospital after a quick lunch, but today Doctor Stable had deemed the first day of a week-long vacation. The apartment felt silent and was oddly stark and stuffy compared to the weather outside, but Redheart could not take her mind off of work.

It soon struck her that if she couldn’t go to work, she could at least find something related to work. The library seemed like a good choice; she could check out a book or two on medical procedures and history of medicine and spend some time reading those. With that in her mind, Redheart again put on her saddlebags and headed off back in the direction of the marketplace, this time heading through it to reach the Golden Oaks Library.

Redheart opened the door of the library and liked it almost immediately. She had never been inside, but she appreciated the clean and organized nature of the place. The proprietor, a certain Twilight Sparkle, had recently undergone coronation and become a princess, but she still couldn’t rid herself of the old library and still took care of it. Redheart had met her a couple of times before, but she had never been inside the library she lived in and took care of; the mare knew how to keep a place neat, not to mention the warm colors of the wood and the multi-colored books on the shelves made the place seem welcoming.

At the moment, the mare herself was sitting at a table in the center of the room reading a rather large book on the night sky. The bell rang as Redheart entered and Twilight looked up with a smile. “Hello!” she said kindly. “Welcome to the Golden Oaks Library. My name is Twilight Sparkle.”

“I remember you,” Redheart said. “I’m Nurse Redheart from Ponyville Hospital. We called you over to help out when everypony got sick from the badly-baked muffins and your friend Rainbow Dash stayed in the hospital with a broken wing.”

“Oh, I remember that. Sorry again about her stealing the book.”

“It’s fine. Hardly anyone remembers it anymore.”

“Oh… well, in that case, are you here to pick up something for Doctor Stable?”

“No,” Redheart spat. Realizing how harsh it came out, she checked herself and calmed down before she continued though some anger still shone through her voice. “I mean, the good doctor has decided that I needed a break from work, so I’m off this week. As a result, I’m at a lack of things to do. I was wondering if you had any books on anatomy or on history of medicine here at all.”

“Something to pass the time?”

“Sort of. And keep myself focused for when I go back to my job.”

Twilight nodded and perused the shelves. She pulled out two books from the medical shelves in the nonfiction section of the library and pulled out two decent-sized books. She placed them on the table, where Redheart walked up to examine the titles.

“This one is A Basic Guide to Pony Anatomy,” Twilight said, pointing at a blue book. “It’s often used in beginning medical courses at larger universities. This other one” – Twilight pointed to the book next to it with a green cover – “is A Brief History of Medicine written by a doctor and historian working in the field for twenty-five years in Canterlot. It covers all the way from the time when Princesses Celestia and Luna first took the throne to about twenty years ago. It’s a little old, but I’m sure it will be long enough.”

“It will,” Redheart said. “Thank you for both of them. I’m afraid I don’t have a library card, though.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Twilight said with a smile on her face. “I can get you one prepared in just a few minutes. You can browse around the library while you wait.”

“Is there any charge?”

“No charge at all. There are late fees, but you have two weeks to turn the books in so hardly anypony has that problem around here.”

Redheart nodded and Twilight went to a small, old computer sitting in the corner nearest to the library entrance. Redheart found herself wandering around the library, taking her time to look at each of the shelves. For some reason, Redheart found herself wandering over to the fiction section of the library, specifically the fantasy and romance sections. She found a small book with a bright red color and pulled it out to look at the title.

A Knight’s Tale,” Redheart whispered to herself. She pulled out the book and flipped through the pages. By the standards of most of the other books in the same section, this one was very small and looked like she could finish it in two or three sittings. Redheart found herself opening the book and looking at the first few pages of the book.

A light tapping on her shoulder startled Redheart out of her reverie. The nurse pony turned around and saw Twilight Sparkle holding a small card in her magic. “Miss Redheart,” she said, “I have your library card ready. Are you ready to check out?”

Redheart nodded. “Yes. I must have been distracted.”

Twilight smiled. “It’s okay. Are you going to be checking that out?” she asked, pointing to the little red book in Redheart’s hooves.

Redheart looked from Twilight, down to the book, then back to Twilight. “Yes. This and the other two.”

Twilight nodded and picked up the three books. The card was scanned with a small machine, followed by the three books. When Twilight was done, she placed the books into Redheart’s saddlebags and gave the card to Redheart, who placed it alongside the books in her bags. Twilight offered a cheery reply and Redheart left soon afterwards, still mystified about her picking up the little red book from the library as she walked on home.

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