• Published 7th May 2016
  • 10,175 Views, 192 Comments

Changing Lanes - AutoPony



When a human and his home land in Equestria, his love of speed quickly draws a few ponies to him, most notably Princess Luna. But her own desires and secrets soon begin to create..... complications in their friendship.

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Chapter 20

"...you had to be a big shot, didn't you? You had to open up your mouth..."

Billy Joel's melody crackles through a speaker as you slowly come to your senses once again. Fluorescent lighting above momentarily blinds you when you open your eyes, before they adjust to the harsh light. Finding yourself lying down in a bed, you prop yourself up on your elbows to look around.

Judging by the colors - or lack thereof - it looks like you've managed to find your way to a hospital. It is a small room you've been situated in, surprisingly barren aside from a cabinet with countertop on one side, and a hodgepodge of miscellaneous equipment and diagnostic devices on your right. A stark white door lies in front of your bed, closed and isolating you from the rest of the world. Aside from the soft music playing from the speakers overhead, there is dead silence.

You try to remember the last thing before waking up here, but your last memory is of Twilight getting ready to blast you into oblivion with her magic. Stretching a bit as you sit up and look yourself over, you don't feel too bad. Even your ribs and shoulder feel fine, as if the events earlier never happened. Must be magical healing, you tell yourself. Either that, or it was all a dream. But why would you be here in the hospital?

"This is the dream, dummy," Nightmare Moon interrupts, just as you sense her presence. You turn your head to find her seated upon a stool next to you, inspecting herself in a mirror as she adjusts her armor. "It's about damn time you woke up."

"If I'm dreaming, how can I have woke up?" you ask. Your question quickly draws a look of disdain from Nightmare, who finally turns to face you.

"Really? You want me to try to explain this to you? Because I can already tell you how that will go," she muses, already frustrated. "It will end up like that stupid argument scene in Scary Movie 3 debating whether or not one can wake up dead."

"What did I tell you about going through my memories?" you demand, already as short on patience as Nightmare Moon seems to be with you. "And don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question. I'm not looking for a wisecrack, Darkie."

Nightmare cringes with disgust as you utter the stupid pet name you came up with for her. Considering she always has to refer to you by something rather insulting, you figured it would be best to repay the favor. More often than not, it only stirs the pot already simmering with sarcasm.

"What else do I have to do all damn day? Besides, you said memories of your past, not memories of movies," Nightmare calmly responds, ignoring your jab at her. You can already see this argument will lead nowhere, so you fold.

"Fine, whatever. So I've basically been completely blacked out in my own head, I'm surprised being alive is still an option after taking the brunt of Twilight's fury," you mumble. Despite being told this is a dream, you still find yourself gingerly moving different parts of your body, searching for pain. Meanwhile, Nightmare shoots you a queer look.

"Twilight? She didn't touch a hair on you, remember?" Nightmare responds cautiously. You can only stare back, unsure if the two of you are even on the same page of the previous events.

"Uh, no. I don't remember," you announce, folding your arms. "The last thing I remember is Twilight preparing to zap me. Maybe you can fill me in."

"Wow, you missed the whole event, then," she says calmly. Nightmare eyes you suspiciously, evidently not believing you really have no idea what has happened. The two of you sit there in silence, waiting for the other to speak up. After almost a minute, you break first.

"So, do you plan on filling me in, or are we just leaving it at that?" you ask, slightly frustrated. Without a word, Nightmare turns away from you, sliding off the stool she had been sitting on and trotting to the door.

"How about I show you rather than explain it?" she responds quietly, turning back to look at you.

"You can do that?" you ask, somewhat confused. Considering you have no recollection of the events, you don't understand how you're going to see a memory that doesn't exist.

Nightmare only sighs, clearly impatient with you at this point. Without another word or sound, she opens the door just wide enough and slips through to the other side, closing it behind her. Quickly, you jump out of bed and dash for the door, flinging it open and stepping through without a thought.

"I figured that would get you motivated," Nightmare says as you check your surroundings. Once again you find yourself back in Twilight's home, a freeze frame of your last memory. Except this time, as you spot yourself on the floor, this is a third person view of everything.

"This doesn't make any sense, how am I seeing myself? Are you just making crap up now?" you ask. Wandering around the scene, Chrysalis stands beside Twilight, her face twisted in rage as the green glow of her magic seeps into the form of your friend. Twilight stands over your splitting image, at the point you are about to raise an arm in a futile attempt to brace yourself.

"You're seeing it from my viewpoint, not yours," Nightmare laments as your whip around to focus on her.

"How do you have a view of this other than through my eyes?"

"Honestly? I'm not really sure," she replies, lacking any sort of the excitement or shock her statement has created within you. "Best theory I can come up with is I've figured out how to project myself outside of your body. Maybe it was the stress of the situation. But you're losing the whole point of this exercise."

The scene suddenly starts up, just as Twilight starts to charge up a spell to finish you off. But just as she releases it, a crackle of blue light erupts from your cowering form in all directions, not only striking Twilight's magic beam but the alicorn herself, throwing Twilight across the room into a bookshelf. She crumples to the ground as Chrysalis turns to watch in shock, as Twilight lays lifelessly in a heap.

"How did you do that?! You don't have magic! You can't!" cries Chrysalis as her rage builds, turning back to your past self on the floor. You watch yourself slowly lower your arm and look around in confusion, just as the changeling queen leaps atop you. By this point, you actually feel as if the memory is reminding your body what it has gone through, as pain lances through your chest, albeit somewhat muted from what it had been before.

"I will not be bested by some freak! This ends right now," Chrysalis shouts, her eyes wild as she lunges towards your face, her mouth wide as she bares her sharp teeth. Even as you watch yourself stare down this monster, you feel your hand reach into your pocket, mirroring the scene unfolding in front of you.

Everything slows to a crawl, as both you and your memory draw your hand out, clutching the key to your car. It begins to glow with the same blue energy as enveloped your form moments ago, but brighter. Just as your twin swiftly jabs Chrysalis in the neck with it, a sound like electricity sizzles through the air as her whole form suddenly tenses up. An ungodly howl escapes from her, loud enough to make your ears ring slightly.

Abruptly, the scene flickers, as a wave of searing, painful heat washes over you, strong enough to drop you to your knees in seconds. You close your eyes and clench your jaw, the sensation seeming to center around your torso.

"What's wrong?" call Nightmare Moon. The normally stoic, almost arrogant tone of her voice has been replaced with an air of uneasiness. You manage to look up to see her looking genuinely frightened by you.

"It feels... fire..." is all you can gasp out as it intensifies.

"Anonymous," another voice calls out.

The pain suddenly subsides, as if a light switch had been flipped. Opening your eyes, you find yourself back in the hospital room again. You quickly sit up in surprise, finding Princess Celestia sitting by your side. With a scan of the room, you find Nightmare Moon nowhere to be seen.

"Celestia?" you manage to bleat, turning your attention back to her. Your mind swirls trying to make sense of the situation, as you look around the room, finding yourself laying down and hooked up to various medical devices and IVs. Celestia places a hoof on your bedside near your arm, as her magic slowly drapes a cool, damp cloth over your forehead.

"You were suddenly turning and groaning, I was worried for a moment. You're in the hospital, Anon," Celestia quietly responds. Her mane seems less lively and flowing than normal and judging by the bags under her eyes, it is a result of fatigue.

"I can see that, but thank you," you say. Looking over yourself, your right arm is in a sling, and you can feel a set of bandages wrapped around your torso, cinched around your lower ribs. In general, you feel your whole body ache, but it's nowhere near as bad as the pain you felt in the dream. Though you would swear you could feel some remnant of that burning pain within your gut.

"So how long have I been here?" you ask Celestia. "And how long since you've had sleep?"

"Don't worry about me, you've had us worried for about two days now, Anon," Celestia replies, letting out a brief sigh of relief. "My sister and I got to you roughly the same time the scuffle inside Twilight's home ended, with Twilight and Chrysalis unconscious as well. What the hay happened in there?"

"I don't- I don't really remember, I guess," you lie. At this point, you can't decide whether to fully believe the vision, considering it was not from your viewpoint. "Last I remember is being thrown against my car when I tried to ram Chrysalis. Not one of my brightest moments, I suppose."

Celestia says nothing, her face slightly troubled by your answer. Perhaps she sees right through your fib, but after a moment she relaxes a bit. If she suspects you aren't telling the truth, she leaves it alone for now.

"I understand. But yes, it was rather foolish to run into a situation like that. You very easily could have been killed by Chrysalis. What injuries you have should be considered a lucky escape indeed."

"You're probably right, but I have a feeling I'm going to hear it from Luna," you sigh with a tinge of regret. It is a little surprising to you Celestia is here rather than Luna, but a bit of a relief at the same time. No doubt you're in for it when you finally do see her again, whether it be justified or not.

"She's... yeah, she's a little upset with you. I fully understand why you did what you did, rather than wait. But that was not a wise decision," Celestia lightly scolds. As you drop your gaze downward, she comforts you with a brush of her soft, feathery wing across your cheek.

"But I guess, other than me everyone is good, right?" you ask, hopeful. But your positive outlook is misplaced as Celestia's gaze falls away from you, her shoulders slumping just a bit. She takes in a rather deep breath before responding.

"No, I'm sorry to say, not all is well, Anon. I don't know what happened between the three of you, or what Chrysalis cast on Twilight as far as magic, but Twilight is..." Celestia trails off for a moment, unable to bring her internal turmoil outward.

"But what? Tell me," you demand. It takes much of your strength and more than a bit of pain from your aching body before you sit upright in bed, eager for the truth. You think back to the memory Nightmare showed you, Twilight being thrown against the wall and falling like a sack of potatoes. What did you do?

"Twilight is back in Canterlot, currently being watched over by Luna. Whatever mind control spell Chrysalis cast on her did not rescind even after the changeling queen was defeated," Celestia sighs, the pain in her voice palpable at this point. "Now, she just seems to be trapped in her own mind. Devoid of will. Just... sitting there, empty."

Your stomach churns as a wave of nausea washes over you. It takes a moment of focus to keep from being sick right then and there at the thought. The thought that you are the cause of this.

"But what about Chrysalis, she's not..."

Before you can finish your question, Celestia shakes her head and interrupts. "As I said, I don't know what happened between the three of you, but Chrysalis is not in good shape. She's alive, but not conscious at this point. We haven't been able to rouse her, and there's no guarantee she will survive either. Whatever, whoever stopped her managed to actually go through her armor-like hide and gave her something akin to an electrical shock."

That last sentence makes it feel as if you have been hit square in the chest, causing your breath to catch in your throat as you slump back into the hospital bed. Your injured shoulder throbs with a new wave of pain, but it is drowned out by the mere idea of what you have done to Twilight. Instead of helping her, you may have completely ruined her, and her only chance at recovery.

But a wingtip once again tries to comfort you even as you dwell in your own misery and self-pity.

"Anonymous, do not be hard on yourself. You did what you thought was right at the time. There's no guarantee my sister and I could have solved this mess with a positive conclusion, either," she says, trying to convince you that this wasn't a complete cock-up on your end. "But all hope is not lost, I promise we will find a way to bring Twilight back," Celestia adds, her sudden change of tone and steely resolve causing you to meet her gaze. Even with the odds stacked against her, the princess's magenta eyes burn with silent confidence.

"I hope so, Celestia," is all you can respond.

"I know so," she replies. "Do not blame yourself, or worry about any of this. We will fix this. But for now, I think both you and I need our rest." Just as she finishes her sentence, Celestia's maw opens in a wide yawn.

"I'll say, you look like hell, Tia," you joke, trying to lighten the mood a bit. It at least elicits a small chuckle from Celestia.

"You don't look much better, Anon," she jests, before slowly rising from her seat and heading to the door. "Get some sleep, and either Luna or I will be here again this evening."

A thought crosses your mind just as Celestia is about to turn the corner out of the room. "Hey, Celestia?"

The alicorn turns around quickly and trots back to the foot of your bed. "Is something the matter?" she inquires.

"No, I just was wondering, is it just my shoulder and ribs banged up, or did my insides get rearranged, too?" you ask, thinking back to the intense, fiery pain you experienced watching the flashback. True, it was basically like a dream, but you swear you felt it again as you awoke.

But Celestia shakes her head, looking more than a bit concerned. "The doctors did not see anything during examinations and x-rays. Are you in pain?"

"No, but... I don't remember really what happened back there, but I vaguely remember a burning pain, I think," you explain carefully, watching your words as to not arouse suspicion from her.

"Like heartburn?"

"Yeah, but a million times worse. As in, literally on fire burning from the inside out."

"I don't know, Anonymous. Unless Chrysalis hit you with her magic, it's hard to say, especially if you don't feel it now. Of course, I suppose the doctor could have missed something, you are unique in this world. Maybe they should take another look?" Celestia turns toward the door again, looking out into the hall.

"No, don't worry about it," you quickly backtrack. "Probably just a dream or something like that. Who knows what the stuff they got me drugged up on can do to my mind?" You offer up your most convincing grin possible to go along with your excuse.

Celestia nods with a small smile. "Alright then, but don't be afraid to speak up to the doctors or nurses if you need anything, I will see you later."

"Thanks, Tia," you reply, as she shuffles out the doorway. As you rest your head back into the pillow behind you, your mind swirls with confusion, with endless questions from the last few days. Yet, even with a busy mind, you feel your eyes grow heavy, and you feel no need to fight it. In fact, you welcome it.

Hopefully, you can get some more answers, from somepony you feel you can trust with your thoughts.