• Published 3rd Oct 2015
  • 4,552 Views, 141 Comments

The Dragonfly Effect - Ichiro Sato



When Spike went to bed, he was a 162 year old dragon, war veteran, twice widower, and living on the outskirts of Ponyville. This morning, he wakes up to a voice he hadn't heard in decades on the eve of the 1000th Summer Sun Celebration.

  • ...
8
 141
 4,552

Chapter 5: Brother, Zebra, Moon Mare, and Mystery

“Feeling under the weather? Took a bad spill in your last game? Just need a vital pick-me-up? Well when you’re in need of medical attention fast, just reach reach over the counter with a talon, hoof, or your magic, and grab Insta-Doc from Zecoracorp! For all your common ails, it’ll cure you up quick!
Insta-Doc; he’s there in a jiffy
Fixin’ you up all nice and spiffy!”
-Radio Ad circa 146 RoH

When Spike awoke in his hospital bed, he groaned in pain, a numbness in his injured arm that made him want to go back under and sleep it off. But when the dragon remembered the events that led to his unconscious state, he shot bolt upright, emeralds wildly rolling in his skull while he whipped his head around the duskglow hospital room.

The dragon felt lethargic, mildly lightheaded, and overall numb in a good way, a glance to his right arm revealed.

Nothing.

Not even his claw hanging at his side, just an empty space until a familiar, standardized prosthesis cap affixed to his shoulder.

“Oh.” Was all Spike could say, suddenly noticing the mild trouble he was having balancing himself even sitting down caused by his new asymmetry like a some cartoon comedy when the door suddenly ‘clicked’ and the familiar face of Nurse Redheart greeted him.

“Sparkly vamponies, you’re awake!” She marveled and galloped over the short, few meter distance between them and began going over Spike’s vitals. “How are you feeling kiddo? Any lingering sensations from the aural poisoning?”

The dragon blinked, one eye at a time and shook his head, provoking a mild headache through the pain medications but instinctively gave a full report. “Mild headache from rapid head movements. Lethargy, lightheadedness, numbness, slight blur in vision when I move my head, and slight vertigo and loss of balance. But I think most of those are from the loss of my arm and the medications.”

“Definitely the medications.” Redheart nodded. “We had to bring in a tranquilizer normally used on Buffalo and Yaks, and even then you’re dosage well into fatal ranges for them.” She explained while checking off the list of vitals, occasionally instructing Spike to do some action he was already prepared to do. “You’re pretty cooperative, wish I had more pediatrics like you.”

“I’m well acquainted with hospital procedure.” Spike explained.

“Really? Because according to Twilight and Princess Celestia, you’ve only been in the hospital three times in your whole life. Two of them you shouldn’t remember.” The nurse asked suspiciously.

“I live with Twilight, we’ve read on the subject.” Spike reflexively lied while trying to stop himself from rolling his eyes. “About Celestia, and Twilight…” He glanced out the window while changing the subject.

“They’re fine. Twilight and her friends apparently are ‘The Bearers of the Elements of Harmony’; or whatever and vanquished Nightmare Moon, rescued Princess Celestia from The Darkness, and her vanished sister Princess Luna. While they were at it they also cured baldness and managed to create a tax system that makes sense.”

“Depending on how long I’ve been out, I’d believe that.” Spike chuckled thinking of the thaumaturgic abilities Twilight seemed to have when united with her friends.

“Yeah, no. It’s only been about thirty three hours.” She said jotting down the last of Spike’s vitals onto the form. “Thus, the sincerity of my astonishment you’re even still alive, much less conscious.”

“So… Can I see everyone?” Spike asked and got a strange look for a moment.

“Alright, but first I’m bringing in Doctor Sawbones.” She said hitting a button near the wall. “Doctor Sawbones? Your new patient is awake.”

Not long after, a fairly new face Spike recalled only hearing faintly of in his old timeline entered. A fairly well known unicorn doctor from Germaney who was rumored to have written a compelling thesis on revivification of the dead which took a rather dark meaning during the war. Which meant Twilight went on about him for a solid week and the younger Spike had blocked most of it out.

Back in the present (past. Future? Whatever.) the good doctor and Spike conversed about his current state of health, the fact that he would be taking strong pain medication for at least the next year, get his system flushed of magic to try to keep him from relapsing, the work on his prosthesis, and lastly making regular checkups for the foreseeable future.

“You’re a dragon, this is ancient black magic, so we’re stumbling a bit to try to understand your situation. Frau Sparkle, Großfürstin Celestia, and her sister have been forthcoming with information, but our academics are still reading through ancient texts and working out treatments.” Sawbones explained at the end of twelve minutes where Spike was in a hurry to see his friend again and Sawbones seemed to be hurried purely out of habit.

“Alright, so, can I see Twilight and my friends now?” The dragon asked. The split second before Sawbones could finish saying ‘Ja’, the door to the private room practically exploded inward from the combined surge of Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Pinkie, Princess Celestia and Luna themselves, and even a worried an unusually excited looking Fluttershy.

Spike’s ears were suddenly filled with more than a half dozen voices at once. Twilight and Celestia asking about his health, Luna had thrown herself on the tile floor and sobbed thousands of apologies, her more Middle Equestrian decaying in more ancient mantra of ‘mea culpa, mea maxima culpa’, Rainbow Dash was telling Spike how incredible he had been saving her with Rarity in agreement, Pinkie proposing an immediate party to celebrate Spike’s recovery, and Applejack and Fluttershy immediately taking in the situation and trying to bring the energy in the room to a less chaotic mess.

“RUHE!!!” The unicorn doctor screamed loud enough to shake the windows and make even Spike jump.

“Uh, yeah, one at a time please.” Spike placated and watched Luna opt to go first by continuing her apologies in ancient tongue. “Princess Luna? Princess Luna.” He called to her putting his remaining hand on her muzzle. “It’s okay, breathe and focus. I don’t understand you right now.” He urged her.

Agreeing without actions or words, the blue alicorn closed her eyes and took several breaths, her sister laying a calming hoof on her back. Princess Luna then bowed low, her muzzle nearly kissing the tiles. “We-” She stopped herself. “I cannot begin to express ou-my regret for harming thee and thine companions.” She began, finding her words. “Mine actions cannot be redeemed. Cannot be forgiven and regardless mine sister's words I differ to you for my final judgement, you whom I have harmed the most with my selfishness and evil.”

There was a stunned moment on Celestia’s part as if she honestly feared Spike would command her death. This might have been more hurtful to the dragon without some of his foresight, but he instead focused on the matter at hand. His gaze swept across the room and it seemed to him that Twilight and friends had not survived their trials with such the ease they had last time. As he had lost an arm, Fluttershy was now harnessed with a prosthetic wing on her left side, he noticed Applejack’s right foreleg ended in a wooden hoof now, half of Rainbow Dash’s face was covered in bandages with signs of a deep cut having bled slightly through, and Rarity was now missing much of her horn, replaced with an admittedly stylish crystal tipped, silver extension. Along with these glaring injuries, he could see each of them had been pocketed with scars across their bodies their coats had not grown over. It made him wince, thinking his actions had changed things enough for this to happen.

He then considered how Princess Luna must have felt, how he knew she felt from the last time.

“Forgive yourself and let go.” Spike immediately said when the Tantabus incident jumped back into his thoughts.

“Pardon?” Luna asked, confused not just by the request but his tone while the rest of the room glowed with pride.

“That’s very big of you, Spike.” Celestia nigh-literally beamed.

“But what of all we have done to wrong you and your friends. You may be blighted-”

Spike cut the princess off. “No, I am serious, Princess Luna DO NOT hold onto this. I forgive you, it seems everyone else here forgives you, forgive yourself, and LET. IT. GO.” He punctuated each of the last words by leaning closer and closer.

There was a moment of silence, an awkward cough, and Luna bowed again, taking another moment to find her words. “We- I shalt take thine forgiveness to heart as a lesson learned. But if ye requires any of mineself, speak immediately, Sir Spike.”

“Then, let me add on don’t call me ‘Sir’.” The dragon asked as memories of his marriage to Twilight replaced the Tantabus incident.

“Ah, but she’s not wrong there.” Celestia smiled, surprisingly, Luna joined in too. “For your actions and those of your friends, I have decreed each of you receive the honorary rank of ‘Knight’ for your bravery, compassion, and ability.”

“Ah swear, anyone calls me ‘sir’ or ‘lady’ an’ Ah’m buckin’ ‘em in the face.” Applejack whispered to Spike who nodded in agreement, having had enough titles in his last lifetime and certainly having no want for more.

Despite this mutual feeling, Spike put on a smile and said; “Thank you, Princess Celestia, for the honor.”

“You know it’s technically illegal to lie to The Crown, right?” Celestia’s expression shifted to a mirror of Applejack’s bemusement while practically everyone else in the room jumped, waiting for the beheading. “But if I acted on that, there wouldn’t be a politician left in Equestria. That aside, how are you feeling?”

Spike wanted to say ‘young enough for painkillers to still have any effect on me. I don’t care I’m missing an arm!’, but the drugs were not strong enough to lower his inhibitions quite that much and instead answered: “Feeling a lot better, thank you.” Just as he noticed a familiar, cloaked zebra enter and blanch. “What are you doing here?” He asked in disbelief.

Everyone in the room blinked and followed spike’s gaze to the sage Zecora as she removed her burlap hood revealing a few scars and stitches on her. “I apologize for my suddenness causing such alarm, please know I mean no harm. I came to this hospital with the others though against my will, I know very well what to do when she is injured or ill.” She huffed.

“Spike, this is Zecora, she’s a zebra who was living in the Everfree forest.” Twilight introduced.

“I admit, I’ve been in the Everfree Forest but never so deep. Everypony was counting on me and I got us lost-” Fluttershy was cut off mid-admonishment by Pinkie.

“Don’t worry, Fluttershy, we all got turned around and around and around and around and around…” The pink earth pony rambled, physically demonstrating this by walking in circles in place.

Feeling it the burden of completing the story was on her, Rarity chimed in. “In any event, nopony blames you, Fluttershy. I’ll admit, we actually sort of just rushed in once Spike was on his way to Canterlot hospital, and we quickly got lost… And hurt. A lot.”

Luna hung her head and whispered an apology under Pinkie’s continued ‘and around’s.

“Almost thought we were all gonna buy the farm. Or in my case take out another mortgage on it.” Applejack chuckled at her own joke. “And just when things looked so bad even Pinkie here was startin’ to gloom, along comes Zecora who knew the way. Pretty big coinkydink, don’cha think?”

“In truth, to save your lives had not been my original plan. But I was looking for a thief who had stolen my adderwasp glands.” Zecora admitted. “It was a pleasure to help and make new friends. But to find the six of you where thief’s trail ends? It is in my head, that I had not chased them but was led.”

Everyone else seemed rather confused, but Spike couldn’t shake the gut instinct this was important, and judging by Zecora’s expression, she felt the same. “So, did you get a good look at your thief? Maybe the royal guard can find them?”

“Beneath cloak they seemed clad in steel and brass, a mask covered their face with lenses of glowing glass.”

“Well that sounds ominous…” Applejack commented as Spike noticed three new figures standing in the doorway.

One was the familiar features of the blue maned brother of Twilight Sparkle, Shining Armor. The other was his girlfriend and eventual fiancee (or maybe she was now?) and wife, the pink and conspicuous alicorn Princess Cadance.

“Twily! How’s Spike doing?” Shining Armor called into the increasingly crowded hospital room grabbing quite a bit of attention with Twilight’s sudden and affectionate reaction, but Spike was too focused on the third figure.

“Zecora, did she look like that?!” Spike shouted, standing up and pointing towards the third figure in the doorway.

Everyone followed his finger to the empty spot that had been occupied before he blinked, then looked back at him with a blank expression. “I’m pretty sure they don’t look like my niece.” Celestia said with a mild tone of confusion while Spike fell back on the bed.

“I think he’s had too many painkillers dripped into him.” Twilight laughed nervously and approached Spike’s IV bag only to be swatted away by a red corona of telekinetic magic and receive a glare from the Germane doctor who had been quiet until now.

“Disagree I may with frau Sparkle’s assessment, the patient does need his rest and there are over ten ponies in a room built for only seven. Raus! Everypony! Now!” Sawbones shouted and began to shoo a very annoyed group of ponies. “You too!” He grunted, picking up a still spinning Pinkie Pie with his magic and dropped her outside of the room door.

The displaced dragon now leaned against the raised end of his bed while Sawbones worked in silence, the individual differences are all sinking in to create a mess sum he increasingly had no idea how to turn back from.

All because he couldn’t play his part.

No, there was also that mysterious stranger, even if he didn’t actually see them in the hospital, Zecora’s story, and Spike felt certain this strange pony was yet responsible for his arrival in the past to begin with.

Before he could go too much deeper into these thoughts, Spike’s attention was drawn to a wrapping on a window in the door leading out of the room where he could see at least ten ponies trying to squeeze their faces into visibility, including Princess Celestia, and Pinkie, who breathed on the glass and wrote with her hoof ‘we’ll see you!’ only for them to be shooed away once more by Sawbones, followed by him pulling down a canvas curtain to block the scenic view of the hospital hallway.

Author's Note:

In which basically nothing happens. But since I've made many of you wait and the last chapter was so short, and I had another magical hour at three in the morning...

Also, I really need to cave and more actively look for pre-readers, so forgive and notify me of any errors.