• Published 26th Oct 2011
  • 41,305 Views, 965 Comments

Those Blue Wings - Tchernobog

A bad cold causes a teleportation spell mixup, with uncomfortable consequences for two ponies

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Chapter 02

“Hey, A.J.! Wait up!”

Applejack stopped as she heard the voice, turning to see Rainbow Dash galloping down the path she had been following. “Rainbow? What’re you doing here? Ah thought you were going home!”

The pegasus trotted the last few feet to her friend, lightly out of breath. “I was, but I don’t think I can do that.”

“Why not?” The orange pony tilted her head in confusion before the realization hit, swiftly followed by her own hoof on her face. “Oh. Right.”

“It does make it kinda hard to get up there,” Rainbow said, pointing to her home floating in the distance. “Could I maybe sleep at your place?”

“Sure thing, R.D.! You can use the guest room. Ah’m sure nopony will mind!”

“Great!” Rainbow Dash grinned. “You’re a lifesaver.” She fell in beside Applejack, trotting beside her as they started towards the farm. The grin faded as her thoughts turned to events earlier in the day. “Listen, Applejack… I’m sorry I went crazy back there. I could’ve hurt you…”

Applejack eyed her friend, and shook her head. “Don’t you worry about it, Sugarcube. Ah’d have probably done similar in your position.” She motioned towards the blue appendages on her back. “I mean, you not having these things is like me not having… um.” Applejack frowned, failing to come up with a good example.

“Your hat?” Rainbow suggested, smirking.

The farm pony chuckled, shaking her head. “Ah do love this thing, but this is a bit more important than that!”

The pegasus thought for a moment. “Your bucking?”

This made Applejack shudder. “Ah don’t know what Ah’d do if I couldn’t buck them trees… Ah’d feel completely useless.” She winced as she realized what she’d just said. “Oh horseapples, Ah’m sorry Rainbow. I didn’t mean–”

Rainbow shook her head, putting a hoof to Applejack’s mouth. “Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault. Heck,” she said, lifting her head high, “it’s not even the first time, remember? Even Discord couldn’t keep these babies away from me!”

Applejack could hear the strain in her friend’s voice, trying to hide just how scared she was. “Don’t you worry, Twilight will fix this lickety split! Ah reckon you’ll be back in the skies by tomorrow,” she said, as they arrived at the farm. Seeing no lights on in the farmhouse, the pair silently made their way to their individual rooms for the night. Both were asleep the instant their heads hit the pillows.

Rainbow Dash looked around, standing on one of Cloudsdale Stadium’s highest platforms. The stadium was filled to the brim, every pegasus staring with rapt attention where she stood, and with good reason: Every pony on the platform wore the famous blue outfit, complete with goggles and a lightning bolt on their flank.

And right in their midst, one of these Wonderbolts had a distinct rainbow mane. She stood with her heroes—her companionsready to show all of Equestria what she was made of. As if that thought was a signal heard by the whole team, they all took off in a blaze of speed, the rainbow contrail surrounded by multiple thunderclouds.

As they flew through their routine, one of the fliers turned her head towards Rainbow Dash, her yellow and orange mane flowing in the wind. “What the hay are you doing, Rainbow?” she yelled, sounding angry.

“W-what? Did I do something wrong?” Rainbow stared at her wingmate, confused. On her other side, Soarin’ turned to her as well.

“You shouldn’t fly without wings!” he yelled. “It’s dangerous!”

What were they talking about? Her wings were fine. She glanced back, and stared in shock at her smooth back. Not a feather to be seen anywhere. She looked around, her forward motion suddenly gone, and now floated alone in the sky, the Wonderbolts having left her behind. She glanced downwards, immediately knowing this to be a mistake, and yelled as she plummeted through the air…

And fell headfirst onto a wooden floor. She stayed there, upside down, legs still on the bed. Oh, yeah, I’m at A.J.’s… She remained in that position, blearily trying to clear cobwebs and the dream from her sleep-deprived mind until Applejack opened the door and poked her head in a few seconds later. The earth pony’s eyebrows shot up as she saw her friend on the floor.

Rainbow Dash glanced in Applejack’s direction, noting the bags under her eyes, surely matching those under her own. “Itching all night?” she asked, pointing at the wings on her friends back.

“Eeyup,” Applejack answered with a nod, then raised an eyebrow as the upside-down pegasus laughed. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, nothing, you just… sound like your brother there!”

“Wha—hey! Ah do not!”

“Do too!”

Applejack shook her head. “If you ever decide to stand straight, breakfast is ready,” she said, which elicited an immediate reaction. Rainbow Dash slipped off the bed in a jumble of legs, quickly rising up to follow Applejack to the kitchen. As they walked, she noticed the empty rooms.

“What time is it?” Rainbow asked. “Everypony’s awake already?”

“Still jus’ morning. We get up early down on the farm!” Applejack glanced at Rainbow as they entered the kitchen. “Well, most of us do.”

Apple Bloom’s intended retort died on her lips as she saw the two older mares. Her sister had explained the situation to her a few minutes ago, but seeing the wingless pegasus really drove the point home, not to mention seeing her sister’s tail on another pony. “Now that’s jus’ plain weird.”

“Apple Bloom! Don’t be impolite!”

“But it is! Those wings! Your tails! You can’t tell me that ain’t weird!”

“That don’t mean you can mouth off about it! Now finish eating and get to school!”

The filly grumbled as she shoveled the last of her meal into her mouth, then left the room, still grumbling. Applejack sighed as she turned to Rainbow Dash. “Ah’m sorry you had to see that.”

“Don’t sweat it. I’d probably react the same way in her place.”

“At least Big Macintosh and Granny Smith didn’t make a fuss.” The orange pony sighed, munching on her meal. She continued as she noticed Rainbow’s raised eyebrows. “Ah explained it to them, and they just shrugged! Like they expect weird stuff to happen to us.”

“It does kinda follow in our hoofsteps…”

“Yeah, well, we’d better eat quick. Ah still have some chores to do this morning, then we can visit Twilight. Ah bet she’ll have this fixed by now…”

As it so happened, Twilight Sparkle did not. In fact, she was in no condition to do any sort of research. Spending several hours in the Everfree Forest had not helped her cold, nor had a night of rest improve her condition.

Spike had opened the door, his grateful expression at seeing Twilight’s friends quickly turning into confusion as he looked them both over. “Huh. That’s a new one.”

Rainbow Dash and Applejack sighed; the dragon’s reaction was one they had seen in varying degrees on every pony’s face on their way to the library. The pegasus glanced about the library. “Where’s Twilight?”

Spike shrugged, pointing his thumb over his shoulder. “Still in bed.” A hacking cough coming from the staircase, however, quickly proved him wrong.

“Spike!” the unicorn called out as she made her way down the steps. “Was someone at the door? Oh! Hi girls…” She leaned against the wall, holding a hoof to her head. Seeing this, the two ponies at the door rushed over.

“Are you alright, Sugarcube? You look like something the cat dragged in.”

“I’m fi–” A hacking cough interrupted her. Before she could react, Rainbow Dash had put a hoof to her forehead.

“You’re burning up!” the pegasus exclaimed, eyes wide with concern. “We’ve got to get you to the clinic.”

“But I–”

Applejack shook her head. “But nothing! You look ready to fall down on the spot! I’ll carry you there if I have to.”

“Okay! Okay! You don’t need to do that, I can walk.” Getting her bearings, she turned to Spike. “While I’m gone, can you find any books we have on teleportation? Especially the one I was reading last week.”

The baby dragon saluted, closing the door as the ponies exited the library, and set himself to the task.

What should have been a fairly quick trip instead proved to be a lengthier journey, as the trio slowly made its way to the clinic. Twilight’s pace was sluggish at best, her lack of energy clear in every step she took.

Ponyville itself seemed to want to slow them down even further, as everypony stared at them. A few inquisitive souls even approached them, asking what had happened and offering help. Applejack spoke for the three, politely refusing the offered aid. She repeatedly explained that it was all just “a little magical mishap” and that everything was well under control.

As they passed Sugarcube corner, a loud crash from within halted them in their tracks. Pinkie Pie came bursting through the door, tail first, her entire body shuddering in a display of Pinkie Sense the likes of which Twilight hadn’t seen since Froggy Bottom Bog.

She had little control of which direction she was heading, bouncing first past Rainbow Dash, then the rest of the group. As she pony caught sight of them, the shuddering grew more intense, culminating in an intense set of twists and shakes that eventually settled down, leaving Pinkie to stare at the three dumbstruck ponies.

“Oh, that’s what that was! I felt another one of those doozies coming along but I couldn’t see anything or hear anything at all and I couldn’t see Twilight anywhere so it couldn’t be her! And then I saw you guys and it all makes perfect sense now!” Pinkie paused for breath, trotting towards Applejack and Rainbow Dash. “So what do we call you now? Appledash?” She grinned at Applejack, then faced the pegasus. “Rainbow Jack?”

Rainbow pressed a hoof on the bridge of her nose, sighing as she once again relearned an important fact about her friend. “Pinkie, you’re so random…”

“Sorry we can’t stay, Pinkie, but Twilight’s sick,” Applejack interrupted, hoping to stop Pinkie before she started another endless monologue. Unfortunately, this didn’t have the intended effect, as Pinkie gasped and rushed over to face Twilight.

She stared at the ailing unicorn, and giggled. “Oh I know what will help! One of my super cupcakes!” Pinkie disappeared into the bakery, reappearing moments later with a cupcake balanced on her snout. She flipped it into the air, caught it on the flat of her hoof and proffered it to Twilight.

The tired unicorn eyed the cupcake and its maker, unsure what to expect. She could have sworn reading something about how sugar was bad when you were sick, but it really looked good. Plus, she hadn’t eaten anything all morning. She shrugged, biting into the cupcake, her eyes widening in surprise. “Wow, Pinkie!” She was actually feeling a bit better! “What did you put in that thing?”

The pink pony giggled, shaking her head. “Nothing, silly. It’s just tasty! And tasty always makes you feel better!”

Twilight laughed, her friends chuckling along with her until a loud gasp interrupted them. They were quickly joined by Rarity, who was whipping her gaze back and forth between Applejack and Rainbow.

“My dears! Whatever happened to you?”

Twilight opened her mouth to explain, but the only noise that came out was a hacking cough, which left the purple unicorn shivering as it subsided. Rainbow simply pointed at Twilight. “That happened, really.” She leaned closer to Rarity, dropping her voice in a conspiratorial whisper. “Don’t let a sick Twilight do magic. Ever. It’s not pretty.”

“I can see that,” Rarity glanced at her friends. “Just look at your tails! These colors clash with your manes, it’s dreadful! And those wings! Blue and orange simply don’t go together!”


“Don’t mind her, R.D..” Applejack shook her head. “It’s jus’ her silly fashion sense talking!”

“My fashion sense is perfectly fine, thank you very—Twilight!” Rarity gasped again as she finally had a good look at her fellow unicorn. “Darling, are you alright? You poor thing, you’re shivering!”

“Er, I did mention she was sick…” Rainbow muttered, but it fell on deaf ears.

Rarity dug through her saddlebags, quickly producing one of her finer coats. A quick flash of magic had it snugly around the sick pony. “There you are! That will keep you warm.”

Twilight shook her head as she looked at the numerous gems on the coat. “I can’t accept this, Rarity!” she croaked, her throat sore. “It’s too nice!”

Rarity stomped a hoof to the ground. “Tut-tut. I won’t take no for an answer! Now hurry along to the clinic.”

“You’re not coming?” Applejack asked.

“I cannot, I simply have too much to do at the boutique. But I insist you keep me up to date!”

“Will do, partner. Pinkie, you coming?” Applejack turned to the party pony as Rarity trotted away.

“Of course I’m coming! What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t?”

“The kind who forget something in the oven?” Rainbow pointed a hoof at a stream of black smoke coming out of Sugarcube Corner’s kitchen window.

Pinkie gasped, eyes widening in surprise. “Oh no!” She rushed back into the shop, and momentarily poked her head back out. “Don’t wait for me!” She disappeared back into the kitchen.

Shaking their heads in mutual bemusement, the trio continued on to the clinic.

Fluttershy nodded as she listened to Nurse Tenderheart. The medical pony had often given the yellow pegasus advice on the care of living things, be they ponies or animals, and today was no different. Fluttershy had recently put a badger’s broken leg in a splint, and she wanted to be sure she was doing everything she could for it. Her own self-taught skills were considerable, but she prefered to consult the clinic’s more professional knowledge, since the vet was not in that day.

As the front door opened, Nurse Tenderheart glanced towards it, abruptly ending her monologue as she caught sight of the group entering the establishment. Curious, Fluttershy turned to face the newcomers, a smile lighting her face as she recognized her friends. She made her way to them, but froze as she noticed something wrong. “Rainbow Dash? What happened to your wings?”

Rainbow gave a silent grimace and pointed at Applejack.

“Oh my…” Fluttershy’s eyes widened. Her ears caught the sound of movement behind her, and she stepped aside to let Nurse Tenderheart approach the group.

“Are you two alright?” The nurse’s head turned from the orange pony to the blue. “We must examine you immediately! When did this happen?”

Applejack lifted a hoof as she stepped back, confused. She hadn’t expected to be the one getting questioned. “Er, yesterday?” She glanced at Twilight; the unicron was the sick one, not her.

Her reply was met with an exasperated huff. “Why didn’t you come by immediately? This could be a very serious condition!”

“We were stuck in the Everfree forest all day! We jus’ fell in bed when we got back!” Applejack frowned. “Begging your pardon, but Ah think Twilight needs the most attention here.”

Nurse Tenderheart blinked, her attention having been drawn by Applejack and Rainbow Dash’s more visible issue. She examined Twilight with a critical eye, and snorted as she turned back to the other ponies. “That may be, but you’re not getting out of an examination. Fluttershy,” she turned to the yellow pegasus, “I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue later.”

Fluttershy nodded demurely. “Of course. I’ll… wait here.”

The next hour seemed to pass in an blur, with the three friends being subjected to a veritable barrage of tests. Even nurse Redheart was drafted into helping, the medical ponies splitting the workload more efficiently. Temperatures, heart rates, and blood pressures were checked, blood tests were performed, X-rays were taken, just to name a few. A reflex hammer ended up embedded in a wall when the wing it was testing knocked it out of Nurse Tenderheart’s grip, proving without a doubt that the appendage had responded normally, if a bit forcefully, to the examination.

Eventually, they ran out of tests to perform, and the patients were left to wait on the results. Twilight, who was clearly the sickest pony present, had been assigned a bed to rest in during the examinations. Applejack and Rainbow Dash were sitting next to her, preferring to hear the results together, and even Fluttershy had joined them, wanting to be with friends rather than waiting alone in the lobby. She listened as her friends took turns explaining the events of the previous day.

“The worst part about all this,” Applejack was saying, “is that Ah haven’t even been able to tell mah cousins why Ah wasn’t there yesterday! They must be worried sick.”

“I can ask the princess about that, Applejack,” Twilight suggested. She had been given some cough medicine which had helped her throat, but she still felt utterly spent, and was grateful to be in a bed surrounded by friends. “I’ll have Spike write a letter when I get home.”

Rainbow Dash remained silent, lost in her own thoughts. She, like the others, had missed out on their planned trip with all it pertained, and she was disappointed that she had missed seeing the Wonderbolts. However, her wings remained foremost in her mind. The numerous tests the nurses had performed did not help to alleviate the concerns. Without her wings, the Wonderbolts were a rather moot point.

Her musing was interrupted by the arrival of Nurse Redheart, carrying a chart in her mouth. She then held it against her hoof and faced Twilight. "Miss Sparkle, you have a mild case of pneumonia. It's not serious enough to keep you here, but I'm giving you a prescription and will see you back here in a week. Until then, bed rest, and no magic." Twilight opened her mouth to argue, but the nurse continued right over her. “Considering what all three of you have told me about your magic while you’ve been… under the weather, be glad I'm not adding a magical inhibitor to the prescription!"

Twilight shrunk back under the covers of the bed, thoughts of a week without magic already haunting her. Applejack and Rainbow Dash‘s ears flicked backwards, betraying their nervousness as the medical pony turned towards them. “As for you two,” Nurse Redheart began, “you’ve got clean bills of health. As much as I want to keep you here for more examinations, I can’t think of what else we could do. You’re free to go home.”

The two ponies stared in shock and confusion. “Wait, what?” Rainbow asked, speaking for both.

“Physically, I cannot find anything wrong with either of you. Bones, muscles, ligaments, tissue, nerves, blood vessels… everything is where it should be. Every feather is in place, from primaries to down.”

“Except that they’re on the wrong pony!” Rainbow could not believe what she was hearing.

“I realize this, Miss Dash. But medically, that is not something we can cure. Magic is likely to be the best solution.” She glared at Twilight. “Which, I repeat, should not be performed during convalescence. Now, let me give you some medicine and your prescription, and you’ll be free to go.”

Despite some more arguing from the rainbow-maned mare, the four ponies soon found themselves standing outside of the clinic, ready to go home. As they prepared to set off, a buzzing sound made itself heard from a nearby street, soon revealing itself as coming from an orange filly on a scooter, speeding through town.

As Scootaloo spied Rainbow Dash amongst the group, she skid to an abrupt halt, tore off her helmet, and galloped up to her idol. “Hey, Rainbow Da…” The words faded as the young pegasus took in what she saw. Scootaloo stared at Rainbow's smooth back; the distinctive blue wings were just… gone. The shock spread to the rest of her body, locking it up in a rigid embrace, causing her to tip over. Nearby, a goat bleated.

The older ponies just stared, the whole scene having happened too quickly to react. Fluttershy came to her wits first and approached the filly. She gave the young pony a quick check, and signed as she faced her friends. “I’ll bring her inside the clinic. She might need help.” She bent down to lift Scootaloo onto her back. “You should head home. Get Twilight into her bed.”

Unable to see a flaw in that logic, the ponies bid Fluttershy goodbye, and headed back to the library.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today I learned that one should pay attention to the suggestions of your friends when it comes to matters of health, even if it means they will miss something important to them. Their concern for your well-being outweighs your concern for their disappointment. The fact that they’re currently staring at me while I have this written has absolutely no bearing on that statement. At all. Really.

In a related lesson, I’ve also learned to take responsibility for my mistakes. My being sick and not heeding my friends suggestion of recuperating resulted in a… terrible magical mixup. Thankfully, nopony was hurt, but two of my friends are nonetheless significantly affected. With their permission, I’m sending a copy of the Ponyville Clinic’s medical charts with details of the condition, in hopes that you may know of a solution. Also, Applejack would like to make sure her cousins in the Caring Hooves Charity delegation know she’s alright.

Your Faithful Student,
Twilight Sparkle

Spike looked at the three mares around him, waiting for a nod from Twilight, who sat ensconced in her bed. She gave her okay, and Spike’s flame vaporized the letter, watching it vanish into the sky.

Only a few minutes passed until Spike’s cheeks bulged, the ensuing belch forming the princess’s letter in mid air. He grabbed it and rolled it open, clearing his throat as he prepared to read its contents.

My Most Faithful Student, Twilight Sparkle,

You have always been a responsible pony, and I am glad to hear that you are continuing to discover more facets of responsibility. It is a never ending lesson, and I have no doubt you will continue to learn about it in the future.

Bearing that in mind, I believe that you are the best suited to resolve this situation. I have full confidence that this is within your capabilities, and that your friends are in good hooves. The Royal Library is at your disposition should you require any materials. And I will of course inform Applejack’s cousins of her whereabouts; she may be interested to know that Red Astrachan made an eloquent, if terse, petition and received considerable support from the Canterlot nobility. He and his delegation will be departing this evening, and I understand they consider the trip a great success.

I have faith that you will find an answer, my trusted student.

Your Mentor,
Princess Celestia

The young dragon lifted his eyes from the letter and glanced worriedly at the three friends. Sure enough, all three shared a look of horror. Rainbow had even fallen onto her haunches, staring at the ground. “Oh horseapples, I’m stuck as a boring earth pony?”