• Published 23rd Apr 2017
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Magic School Days - Dogger807

When the CMC asked Discord to help them attend magic school, he pulled an owl out of his hat. Only he didn't exactly have a hat. Which was okay, since their new school had a singing one laying around. Where the hay was Hogwarts anyway?

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Chapter 70: Pain


That was the sum of her entire world.

It was not a single sensation; instead, it was a chorus of discordant voices, each screaming for attention, that drowned out everything else.

What she should have seen as a drab room in the infirmary was supplanted by a field of cruel red.

What she should have smelled as the scent of antiseptic was snuffed by the sting of tears.

What she should have felt as firmly gentle pads holding her body immobile was overshadowed by indescribable agony.

What she should have tasted as the bland flavor of the bindings allowing her to breathe while preventing her from biting her tongue was overshadowed by the bitterness of old regrets.

What she should have heard as the sounds of silence was overwhelmed by screams that she could not voice.

Her existence was a discordant chorus of agony, with voices growing ever louder.

And it was wonderful.

It meant she was truly alive again.

With tears flowing freely, she closed her eyes and reflected on how she had come to be in such a state.

She had, unquestionably, been less than subtle when she had burst into the mostly vacant infirmary. The only one present had been the matron herself.

Madam Pomfrey had stood up quickly to address the unfamiliar pony in the room, using the mane color as a guide. “Miss Berrytwist?! What’s the emergency? Is someone injured?”

The mare had taken several rapid breaths, fighting to gulp down enough air to respond. “Madam Pomfrey?”

“Yes, calm down. I need you to tell me if someone requires my help,” Madam Pomfrey had said sternly. “Is someone injured? Where are they right now?”

“No,” Fizzlepop had said, her eyes starting to mist, “that’s not it. That’s not it at all.”

“Why the rush, then?” Madam Pomfrey had asked, staring down at the pony.

“Marcy said,” Fizzlepop’s voice had started to quiver. “Marcy said you’d be able to fix my horn.”

Madam Pomfrey had blinked before stretching a hand out to brush aside Fizzle’s mane for an unobscured look. “This looks like an old wound.”

“It happened when I was a foal,” Fizzlepop had acknowledged, the harrowing memory snapping her mask of aloofness back in place. “It’s how I got the scar across my eye too.”

“The one you said you wanted to keep as a reminder.” Madam Pomfrey had taken her wand out to scan the damage. “Why didn’t you tell me about your horn?”

“I never,” Fizzlepop had started, before taking another deep breath. “Marcy says it’s just bone and that you could help.”

Madam Pomfrey had let a smile cross her lips and enter her eyes. “A gross oversimplification, but I might manage something useful.”

Fizzle had stared at her before whispering, “Please.”

Pomfrey had frowned at her. “From what I’ve observed, unicorn horns are a lot more complicated than just bone. There are a substantial number of nerves involved. That, coupled with the fact I would be unable to give you anything for the pain, means what you are asking would be extremely unpleasant.”

“I don’t care.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t rush into this.” Madam Pomfrey had frowned. “Maybe sleep on the decision. It’s just a horn after all.”

“No!” The shout had gotten away from her, breaking her normally calm demeanor. “No,” she had repeated more quietly. “There’s nothing to decide. I don’t care how much it hurts. I don’t care if you have to take all of my legs for it to work. Please, give me back my horn.”

Madam Pomfrey had eyed her for a good minute before she had said, “Surely, your own people have a less painful way of regrowing horns. No, wait, you did say you lost it as a foal. Have they no treatment?”

“Horn loss is not common. Short of sawing it off, anything that takes a unicorn’s horn usually takes her life as well.” Fizzlepop had sighed. “I was unnaturally lucky, or unlucky, depending on your point of view.”

Another minute had passed before Pomfrey had said, “You don’t understand. I have no idea how much potion is the correct amount. I can guess, but to be sure, I’d have to triple the dose. This means there will be bleed off. While that is easy to treat with no risk to you, it will magnify the pain. Since there is no prior information for regrowing this particular body part, not only is it going to be painful, it is also going to be much more painful that it ought to be.”

Fizzlepop hadn't waited even a heartbeat before she had given her reply. “Somepony has to be first. It might as well be me.”

A long drawn out sigh had followed. “This will hurt a lot.”

“It will be worth it.”

Madam Pomfrey had lied.

The regrowing didn’t hurt a lot.

It was pain distilled as a raw element.

Still . . .

Undeniably worth it.

One room in Canterlot General Hospital was quite different from all of the others. Its blandly-colored walls and furnishings projected an aura of serenity, and the chairs were lounges that afforded comfort and quiet dignity. This was meant for gathering those ponies in the most fragile state of mind. Mending Psyche appreciated the stability that it gave her sessions.

Among ponies, suicide was as rare as a politician's scruples. Only in an absolutely horrendous year would the number exceed what twins could count on their hooves and tails. Each seat in the room was occupied by an undesirable outlier. Each pony was motivated to take their own life. Each pony was a reminder of a war that Mending knew she could not win. Each pony was a reason for her to keep fighting.

Some might argue that this was a breeding ground for heroes. As a group, they had saved foals, saved mares, saved stallions. As a group, they had saved villages, saved crops, saved so many things. The only thing they did not save was themselves. It seemed that years of group therapy inspired them to find something greater than themselves that was worth dying for.

Mending's job was to make them believe that there were things worth living for. Her successes were many, but each failure was another heartbreak, another weight on her soul. An outsider would have been impressed by the statistics. Mending's work had more than halved the number of suicides. Mending, however, saw beyond the numbers. For every group of ten, two would not survive the year, and two more would not survive the decade. By contrast, ninety percent of those who refused therapy ended their lives at their own hooves.

From a totalitarian standpoint, Mending's job was unnecessary. Because the number of suicides was statistically insignificant, the lives saved and the lives lost made no difference to ponykind as a whole. From an equine standpoint, each life was precious, and Mending would be damned before she would end her quest.

“Hello everypony,” Mending greeted the room, emoting as much happiness and care as she could manage. “I’m glad to see you all made it to our weekly get together.”

The returned salutations covered the entire spectrum. Chipper Smile did her best to live up to her name while South Storm scarcely gave an acknowledging grunt, refusing to make eye contact in the process. Mending feared one of the two was going to be her next statistic.

“As usual, we’ll start out with some announcements,” Mending said, looking down at her clipboard to refresh her memory. There was a knock on the door, interrupting her routine. “The first one being that there is somepony at the door.”

The jest brought a few chuckles, leading to Mending mentally making note of who had and who had not responded to the humor.

A magic aura surrounded the knob and opened the door, admitting Dr. Leg Splint. Behind him was what Mending assumed to be a human stallion. With only Harry Potter and Fluttershy's human form as guides, she was uncertain of the human's level of maturity.

"I'm sorry to intrude," said Dr. Splint. "Everypony we need to see is here for your weekly meeting, so I thought we'd save ourselves the trouble of hunting them down individually.

Mending gave a questioning look but held her tongue.

“This is South Storm,” Dr. Splint said, trotting up to the stallion in question. “He shattered his left wing in a tragic accident with his weather team. One hundred and seventeen individual breaks and splinters, if I recall correctly. He is in constant pain due to his refusal to undergo the necessary surgery and is at constant risk of infection.”

“You are not taking my wing,” South Storm snarled at the doctor, turning his body so that he could ward off the intruders with his good wing.

“Hello Mr. Storm,” the human said, taking out a fancily carved stick. “I am Healer Yates. I am here at the request of Princess Celestia to see what might be done to help you.”

“You can’t help me,” South Storm sadly said. “Nopony can.”

“That remains to be seen,” Healer Yates said, sitting on the floor. “We won’t know until we try.”

South Storm lowered his head and said. “Just leave me alone. I told you nopony can help me.”

With those words, Mending felt alarm bells ringing in her head. Her patient was in a very dark place.

Healer Yates replied, "Then it is a good thing that I am not a pony." He swirled his hand in a tight circle, gesturing for South Storm to turn around. “Please, may I have a look? I promise, you’ll be no worse off than when I entered this room.”

Dejectedly, without a word, South Storm turned to present a wing tightly bound to his barrel.

“Thank you.” Healer Yates made a brief gesture with his stick, muttering under his breath and the bandages vanished without a trace. He then started waving his stick over the wing as South Storm gasped at the pain of his suddenly-released wing. “This is a very severe case, and infection is setting in.”

Dr. Splint lit his horn and focused his attention on South Storm. “It always was just a matter of time. We need to treat that before it spreads to the rest of his body.”

“You are not taking my wing.” South Storm took a sidestep away from the human healer.

“I don’t think it will come to that,” Healer Yates said, reassuringly. “Now please hold still, I need to concentrate.”

“What are you going to do?” South Storm demanded as the human moved his stick and said some strange words.

“Do?” Healer Yates said, pausing in waving his stick. “What I’m going to do is replace the bones and bone fragments in your wing with magical placeholders. Then, we’ll find you a bed and give you something for that infection. Later, we’ll give you a potion to regrow your bones. I think I’ll do two of your ribs while I’m at it, but they can wait until after we get you stabilized.”

Ten pegasi and Mending all gasped at the declaration. Chipper Smile launched herself out of her chair, literally climbing over Falling Rain to get a closer look and to ask the most important question. “Is he going to be able to fly again?” She glanced at her own misshapen wing. “Are we all going to be able to fly again?”

“That is the goal,” Healer Yates said, once again stopping his stick movement. “If this doesn’t work, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve.

Mending was giddy; she’d take any help she could get to buck statistics in the face.

Aboard the Canterlot Express, nopony noticed the owl who flew in from an orthogonal dimension. The window-rattling belch, however, did not go unnoticed. Everypony glared at the unapologetic lavender unicorn at its epicenter. As creatures from a fairytale exited the owl's pouch, conversation among the passengers came to a dead stop. Taking advantage of the height her human form afforded, Bon Bon spotted a rainbow-hued mane and rushed to that aisle.

“You’re on the train? What are you doing on the train?”

“Of course, we’re on the train.” Rainbow Dash shrugged at Bon Bon’s human form. “We have to go to Canterlot, so it makes sen . . . Stop poking me!”

“Mum!” said an astonished Dudley, who poked his finger at Dash’s barrel one more time. “It’s real!”

“Of course, I’m real,” Rainbow said, crossing her forehooves over her barrel. “Real awesome, that is.”

Dudley turned to look at his mother. “I want one!”

“Now, Dudders,” Petunia said nervously, aware that every pony in the moving railcar was staring at her. “I don’t think that they are pets.” She looked accusingly at Bon Bon. “When you said 'Ponyville', you weren’t being figurative, were you.”

“Nnnnope,” said Big Mac.

“This puts seeing Lily off on a magic train to shame,” Petunia said.

“Bark!” said Hedwig in what Petunia was confident was owl for, “You have no idea, lady.”

“Actually, this train does use magic,” Twilight helpfully offered.

“I don’t suppose they serve tequila?” Petunia asked hopefully as Dudley started to scratch Rainbow behind her ears.

“No,” said Rarity, “but I do still have some firewhisky in my bag.”

Human ingenuity would have appalled earth pony purists. The twins had decided that doing things the wizarding way would avoid overtaxing their delicate unicorn constitutions, so they had shared a knowing smirk before transfiguring back into their human forms. A bit of pyromancy cleared the snow from the area and left a layer of ash that could be plowed in to enrich the soil. Like the gunslingers of yore, they blew the tips of their wands before returning them to their holsters.

Apple Bloom closed her eyes and walked the perimeter of their greenhouse's site. She then carefully paced every square foot within, extending her earth pony senses to judge the soil. Surprised, she opened her eyes and declared, "This makes tha grade."

Harry asked, "What about all the leveling?"

"Tha ground told me it's good enough. Walk with me, Ron. Can't you feel it?"

"Cool!" exclaimed Scootaloo. "What do we do now?"

Fred's snowball to the side of her head answered her question. The pegasus shot upward, out of range, before declaring, "It is on!"

Seven older fillies approached the field, carefully scrutinizing the ponies behind each of the snow walls. Spotting their quarry, they advanced under the covering fire that was unwittingly provided. Daphne smirked as the fillies trapped the twins against the wall. The eldest said, "Hey there, we were wondering why you hadn’t made your way into town yet.”

Apple Bloom gasped in surprise when, instead of snowballs to the face, she found herself on the receiving end of Equestria's longest synchronized broad jump, forcing her to sink in the snow up to her cannons. She blinked a few times before looking up to find that the twins had decided to copy the Crusaders' defensive formation. She exclaimed, "What in tarnation are you two doing?"

George answered from the middle of the stack, "Getting away from them!"

Peering over the top of the wall, Apple Bloom saw the seven fillies casually trotting over. She said, “Y’all know Ah’m not that tall. They can still reach you up thar.”

“Stand on your hind legs,” Fred suggested from his spot on top of George.

“Or you could go over there, say hello, and try to make friends,” Scootaloo suggested.

“We tried that yesterday,” George said.

“That’s why we’re up here right now,” Fred added.

“They want to be our special friends, all right,” George finished.

“Hey Apple Bloom,” an orange filly said, trotting over. “you need to stop hogging all of the colts. Isn’t five enough?”

“Yeah,” Apple Bloom said. “Five’s plenty, Dull Roar. But ah’m still keeping an eye on these two, so if they say ya need ta back off, ya need ta back off.”

The other fillies worked their way into the conversation.

“Understood,” Soft Rock said before addressing the two unicorns perched on Apple Bloom’s back. “We may have been too forward yesterday, but we’d still like to get to know you better. May we join in the fun?”

“I don’t understand,” said Open Secret. “The way they were talking yesterday, I thought they wanted some special someponies.”

“From what I hear,” Daphne said, also trotting up to the group, “the Weasley twins like to flirt, even with Slytherins.”

“Flirting?” asked Sad Smile. “Is that what you call it? I’d say it was more like cruel teasing!”

“Yeah,” said Random Order. “I’d like to take Fred Weasley up on his offer to find a nice quiet corner and practice kissing.”

“Kissing?” Apple Bloom did her best to look up at Fred. “What have y’all been promising these fillies?”

“We didn’t promise anything,” Fred objected.

“When we tried that line on the girls back at Hogwarts, we were lucky if all we had to do was avoid a slap to the face,” George said.

“Their loss,” Minor Miracle huffed. “I suppose you weren’t serious about the licking either.”

“I’m starting to think that since these two have made their own beds, they should sleep in them,” Scootaloo said.

“I am not a cunning linguist,” George complained.

“That does it.” Apple Bloom snapped. “No more late-night HBO for you two.”

"Wait a minute," said the remaining filly. "You two are actually those humans that everypony here's been talking about, aren't you?"

The twins nodded sheepishly.

"Why don't we start over?" she continued. "It sounds like things are a lot different where you come from." The filly held out a forehoof. “Hi, I’m Icy Hot, would you like to be friends?”

The twins shared a look before saying “Yes, we’d like that.”

“Does that mean the licking is out?”

“Minor, tone it down,” said Icy Hot. “We’re trying to find some common ground.”

“But they must be dying to have the right filly show them how to plow a furrow.”

“Minor,” warned the others.

“I’d settle for the kissing.”


“Y’all realize ya deserve this,” Apple Bloom said to the unicorns climbing down from her back.

“It’s a completely unexpected reaction,” Fred said.

“We’ll be more careful in the future,” George promised.

“So, no kissing?”

“Minor!” scolded the other fillies.


“For goodness sake, give it a rest, filly,” snapped Sad Smile.

A flash of flames brought the conversation to an end as Sweetie and Ginny appeared, carrying a large wooden box between them with Philomena perched on Sweetie’s shoulder.

“We’re back!” Ginny called out unnecessarily.

“You won’t believe what we bought,” Sweetie said. “Turns out that they sell some pretty comprehensive kits for prefabricated greenhouses.”

Several of the foals looked around for Hermione to translate, and they were slightly embarrassed when they realized she wasn’t there.

“All we have to do is bury some rune stones in the four corners, place the shrunken greenhouse in the center, tap it seven times, then run.”

“That sounds like it takes all the fun out of it,” Scootaloo said.

“Says our fastest runner,” Harry, who had been quiet up until that point, noted.

Applejack had persuaded Dainty Lace's father to disclose the location of the young mare's lair. The cave in Whitetail Woods had been easy to find; even a blind mare could have followed the trampled path in the snow. As she approached its mouth, she saw eerie shadows cast by the herd's lantern. The cave's acoustics gave an otherworldly tenor to the voices. Grimly, Applejack set her hat. It was well past time she got the situation under control.

“There you are!” Applejack exclaimed as she came around the corner.

Percy looked at Applejack in surprise.

Applejack looked at Percy in shock.

Bristle blushed.

Applejack blushed.

Gracious Tact looked defiant.

Dainty Lace glowed.

“Ah hope y’all know yer mother is going ta kill me!” Applejack called out over her shoulder as she retreated.

Lounging in a waiting room in Ponyville General Hospital, Bon Bon turned to Twilight and asked, “So, you forgot that you could owl yourselves directly to Canterlot?

“Nah,” Rainbow answered for her, looking sullen. “They decided they wanted to take a nice leisurely ride on the train and skip the cramped quarters, not to mention the embarrassment of being regurgitated. Our first meeting isn’t for another hour.”

“You’re just upset because you missed the chance to get close to Big Mac,” Rarity said. “Don’t worry, darling; he will be waiting for us when we get to Canterlot proper.”

“That’s not it!” Rainbow objected, looking away. “I just don’t get to ride with owls much.”

“I’m sure we’ll owl ourselves back. You can get closer to him then,” Rarity said.

Rainbow harrumphed, but said nothing.

“How much longer do we have to wait?” Dudley asked from his seat. As soon as he had finished his own checkup, he was led to the waiting room where he had waddled over to a filly who had been sitting next to her mother. Without asking permission, he had picked the youngster up, taken her seat, and begun petting her roughly.

The mother had started to protest but stopped herself when she saw that both her daughter and the strange creature looked content over the arrangement.

“Here comes the doctor now,” Twilight said, pointing a hoof at the professional accompanying Petunia, who mutely looked around at her surroundings.

“First of all,” the doctor said once he saw he had the attention of the room, “would somepony please explain to me how she managed to get first degree burns on her throat?”

Petunia shot Rarity a damning glare as Twilight said. “Don’t worry, we’ve already confiscated Rarity’s bottle of firewhisky. She’s proven she can’t be trusted with it.

“That’s not fair Twilight,” Rarity sulked. “How was I supposed to know it would have that effect on a human whose magic was blocked?”

“Fair enough,” the doctor said. “On to the second matter you brought her to me for. There was indeed lingering magic affecting her behavior. It was easy enough to remove. I’m afraid it has been present for a considerable amount of time and has burned some pathways into her psyche. This means that even absent, the spells are going to be affecting her outlook for some time until natural healing occurs.”

“That’s horrible,” Rarity said. “Is there nothing we can do to speed up the process?”

“I suppose if you managed to get some concentrated love, you could apply it directly to her forehead.” The doctor smirked. “Other than that, I can think of nothing offhoof.”

“Concentrated love?” Twilight asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

“Concentrated love?” Rainbow asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

“Concentrated love?” Dudley asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

“Concentrated love?” the filly in Dudley’s lap asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

“Concentrated love?” Bon Bon asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

“Concentrated love?” the filly’s mother asked.

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded.

Everypony turned to look at Rarity expectantly. She sighed and asked, “Concentrated love?”

“Directly to the forehead.” The doctor nodded. “Now that we’ve had our laugh, if you’ll excuse me, I have some other patients I must attend.”

Lavender’s mother abandoned her exuberant study of a box full of thumb-sized crystals when she heard the sounds of the floo. It didn’t take her long to find her children in the family room. She arrived just in time to see a beaming Lavender set down her latest purchase.

“I have no idea how she managed to carry that,” Dale said, waving at the large box Lavender had been lugging. “It must weigh at least ten stones. The muggles in the store were shocked when she said she was going to be the one hauling it around.”

“Don’t you have work tonight?” Lavender’s mum asked as she surveyed the assortment of packages her daughter had dragged into the house.

“No, I had a bunch of time off saved up. I decided to take a couple days off.”

“Do you have any idea what she’s making?”

“Mum,” Dale said, “she just dragged me into the biggest store I’ve ever seen. Packed full of muggles, I might add. I haven’t a clue about half of what I’ve seen. I don’t think even my friends who took muggle studies would know.”

“Okay, I’ve got everything,” Lavender said, skipping past her mother and brother on her way to the floo. “Now I just need Hermione and maybe Seamus to put everything together for me.”

“You sure bought a lot of food,” Lyra said as she watched the colt stuff his latest purchase into the pocket of his coat. “You may have gone overboard.”

“Nah,” Dean said. “It all has preservation spells. I can leave Eva my spare wand so she can unshrink it when I’m at school.”

“You have a spare wand?” Rosie perked up.

“No,” Dean said, hastily. “No, I don’t.”

“I want a wand too. Why are you giving it to Eva?” Rosie wailed.

“You’re too young for a wand, and I’m not giving it to Eva. It will just be there so she can get you something to eat.”

“I wanna see your wand,” Rosie wailed.

“Shhh, shhhh,” Dean shushed. “You can’t see my wand. Tell you what, I’ll take you to the candy store instead.”

“I didn’t see a candy store,” Lyra said. “Besides, you have two boxes of chocolate frogs.”

“I dun wanna frog!” Rosie screeched.

“Shh, Shh,” Dean said. “They have a floo. We can go to Honeyduke's in Hogsmead and I’ll get you something you like.”

“Okay,” Rosie said, lowering her voice immediately. “I like the floo.”

“Anything's better than the bus,” Eva added.

Failure hung heavily on Applejack's withers as she trudged back toward the farmhouse, cutting across the fields to save time.

She was so dead.

Molly Weasley was going to kill her. Molly Weasley was a member of a carnivorous species. Molly Weasley was going to kill her and then cook her up for lunch. Molly Weasley was going to kill her, cook her up for lunch and tan her hide for a coat.

Applejack was so dead.

It had only been two days and she had failed miserably in defending the virtue of the colt she had promised to nurture.

Molly Weasley was going to kill her, cook her up for lunch, tan her hide for a coat and use her hooves to sharpen knives.

“Things can’t get any worse,” Applejack groaned.

As soon as she realized what she had said, Applejack, lurched to a halt to perform a facehoof. “Ah sure hope ah didn’t just pull a Twilight.”


Applejack looked up and beheld the marvel. Unicorns and earth ponies only dreamed of flying, but overhead, the colts and fillies seemed to have broken the bonds of gravity. Just like their pegasus companions, they demonstrated the limits of the Newton drag model as they swiftly flew backward.

Wait a minute. Ponies were not meant to be projectiles.

With a string of invectives that was sure to elicit a formal protest from Yakyakistan, and every place in between, Applejack galloped to intercept the flying foals. She passed a similarly galloping Magah as if the unicorn were taking a casual stroll.

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