• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 894 Views, 22 Comments

I Can Read Names in Clouds - Yuu

In the aftermath of the confusion with replacing the newest princess, a human arrives to learn about pony society.

  • ...

Endangered Species

The second transformation was faster than the first: everything appeared blurry for a second and became smaller. I hit the floor with my talons and felt a sharp pain. Rainbow looked at me with a weird expression; that could have made me laugh if I hadn’t sprained my left talon. I decided to sit on the floor, supporting myself with my uninjured talon. Then I quickly checked for my backpack, fortunately it appeared with my new form on my back.

“Are you alright?” Gloaming asked, examining my body, without moving closer.

“I can say that doctor may have another reason to check me and my talon, I had an unlucky landing.” I shrugged. “It doesn’t feel like a fracture, so I should be fine anyway.”

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have tried to catch you in the air,” Gloaming said, as she scratched the back of her neck with a forehoof.

“Nevermind, you have called a doctor already.” I tried to smile, forgetting that I didn’t have lips in this form, only the beak.

“By the way, I should introduce you to my friend, her name is Rainbow...”

Rainbow something, yes. I turned to face her.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t get the second part of your name, so I will call you Rainbow. And my name is Snowy Clothes, nice to meet you.”

Rainbow just looked at me for several seconds, then turned to Gloaming.

“Are you sure she didn’t charm you somehow? You suddenly sound very friendly with her.”

“Well, you see—” Gloaming began to answer, but was interrupted by knocking. She quickly went to the door and opened it.

“Hello, I was told there was a medical emergency here,” a pony with a tangelo slanted fringe said, his fur shaded amber.

“Yes, please, come in,” Gloaming said. She directed the doctor to me, then turned to Rainbow. “You see, I decided to be as diplomatic as possible. Thinking of her as of an ally until I can prove otherwise.”

The doctor levitated several items from his saddlebags, like Gloaming did. But the colour of the light on his forehead and around the items was different from Gloaming’s, kind of reddish.

“Doctor Steel Hooves,” he said. “So, what happened?”

It was the first pony name I understood fully. It was another alloy, actually, but close enough to steel.

The doctor produced a cylindrical device, without any visible indicators, and began to pass it over my body. Meanwhile I couldn't identify what he had on his haunch-mark. Maybe some symbol of medicine for ponies.

I stretched out my left talon for the doctor, to answer his question. “I dropped on the floor when Gloaming showed me some magic. I’ve had some injuries in the past, and I’ve also had basic medical training, so I suspect I got a sprain.”

As he worked, I wondered what this device did. He didn’t have any receiver on another side of my body, so this device could work as a passive scanner, which detects some kind of radiation from me. Or it could also work on reflected signals, like an advanced ultrasonic scanner, which doesn’t require physical contact with a body.

“My initial examination confirms it,” the doctor said after several seconds, still scanning me. “You have a mild sprain. Still, to find the best treatment I need to make a full scan of your body, especially considering you aren’t a pony.”

Rainbow frowned at me and took several steps closer, but Gloaming made a swinging motion with her extended forehoof, stopping Rainbow.

“I agree, and doctor, please tell all of us if you find anything,” I said.

Steel Hooves took a bigger, disc-shaped device from his bag, then his forehead glowed and he lifted the device in the air with his telekinesis and moved it above my head. Two tubes extended from the disk with a click, then another pair of tubes spread down from each protrusion and the whole construction began to resemble the letter U turned upside down. It silently moved around me, making a full circle in about two seconds.

“Try not to move much,” the doctor said, as he stared somewhere in space to my right.

I had to ask about this device too, later. It looked like a compact x-ray scanner or, maybe, it worked in another wavelength.

After a minute the device stopped, and the doctor folded it back into the disk shape.

“Anything good or bad, doctor?” Gloaming asked.

“I haven’t seen people like you before, but I’m familiar with similar species, so I understand how your talons work.”

Gloaming tensed for a moment as the doctor began to speak, but visibly relaxed after listening to his observation.

“When I have seen her, I thought she is a griffin,” Rainbow said.

Steel Hooves looked at her and Rainbow closed her mouth, stopping whatever she wanted to add.

“You are correct, miss,” he said. The he turned to me. “But your backside clearly belongs to a horse, and I can even say, to a winged horse.”

Winged horse? That kind of horse is called a pegasus in mythology, I think. And Rainbow possibly meant mythological griffins. Well, if I became a horse-bird hybrid, maybe they really had lion-bird hybrids here, not so mythological as on Earth.

“And regarding you talon,” he said to me, “even if you aren't fully a pony, I can use a radiation treatment suitable for ponies to speed up the regeneration of your tissues, then I can apply a compression wrap. You also need to drink more water today, and increase your protein intake. And you’re better to sit or lie for a while, elevating your forelimb at least to your head level.”

“Thank you doctor, I will see to it,” Gloaming said.

“I’ll also need your name for the record, and I will register you as a guest of miss Gloaming, if that’s correct?”

Steel Hooves turned to Gloaming and she nodded, then I introduced myself.

He took a rectangular device from his bag and held it near me, about a centimetre from my skin. It emitted a red light on my talon. Steel Hooves illuminated my limb from different angles, but I suspected the red light just showed the affected area and the actual treatment was done by an invisible emission.

After several seconds of treatment I felt a warmth inside my talon. As I didn’t get any directions not to move, I decided to ask about instruments doctor had used.

“I haven’t seen devices like this before, could you please tell me how they work? For example, the device you’re using right now.”

“I’m not an engineer, so I can’t tell you much about the mechanics and such.” Steel Hooves briefly looked at me, then turned to the device again. “But, in essence, it emits a very low frequency electromagnetic field. It has separate parts to produce a magnetic field and an electrostatic field. It can’t replace certain invasive treatment methods, but for injuries like yours it is very effective.”

He looked at Rainbow, but she was staring so hard at me she didn’t notice.

“Thank you, and what about the devices you used for diagnostics?”

“The smaller one is a multifunctional scanner, it is used by most doctors,” Steel Hooves said. “It detects thermal radiation, and it also emits and detects more high frequency radiation to get some useful information about internal tissues and organs. The bigger device also uses a penetrating radiation, scanning deeper into the body and making more detailed images.”

The doctor finished with the therapy and took a roll of bandage from his bag. He quickly wrapped my talon levitating the roll, then made a clean cut with his magic from the rest of the bandage. The edge of the wrap attached itself to my talon; either it was sticky or the doctor had used an unnoticed magic effect to affix it.

“I see.” I could imagine they used microwave frequencies and, possibly, x-ray radiation. “But how do you know the results? I haven’t seen any displays on your devices.”

“Most doctors use external displays, in the form of special spectacles. I have a virtual display produced by a small implant in my head, which sends an image directly to the optic nerve.” He tapped on the side of his head, near the right eye. “Any scanner I use will transfer information to this imaging implant.”

That was astonishing. Some guys from the Coalition used implants, too, but technology like this wasn’t used in a common medical practice. But I hadn’t noticed any other advanced technology here. I should probably look around the library.

“I believe I have finished with you,” he said. “Does anypony else have any complaints about their health?”

“No, we are fine, thank you,” Gloaming said, after a short pause. It seemed she also listened to the doctor with interest. “Though, the last question, have you noticed any other issues with her? Even small ones? I’m asking because she traveled from far away, and it may have affected her health.”

“I don’t think so,” the doctor said, packing his instruments back. “Comparing to healthy ponies and griffins, she is in good shape.”

“Thank you.” I didn’t know how these doppelgängers would appear on medicinal scanners, but I suspected he would find something unusual.

The doctor left the library, and for about a minute the ponies remained silent. I mentally accounted my equipment, trying to think of something that could confirm I wasn’t a native of this world. I also looked around the room, but I couldn’t find anything that looked like a computer.

“Now I’m pretty much convinced that you aren’t one of the doppelgängers,” Gloaming said, smiling for the first time since our small confrontation, and she turned to Rainbow. “You don’t need to guard the door anymore.”

“Well, fine,” Rainbow said, and she slowly walked back to us.

Gloaming sat near the table on a pillow, moved her journal closer, and looked at me.

“And it's a good thing I called a doctor anyway, after you fell down. I’m sorry about that. You also don’t have medical sensors like we do.”

“Actually we have medical sensors in the Coalition. Common medical devices use sensors with cables, but there are also wireless ones, not so widely used. Doctors from the Coalition use them during treatment to gather data from patients—”

“We also have them,” Gloaming interrupted, “but I mean sensors for daily use.” She pointed on her neck with her hoof. “All ponies have an implanted sensor here, which monitors biological parameters and sends a distress signal if something happens, usually in case of emergency.”

“Regarding sensors and other devices, why don’t you use something more efficient to make notes?”

“I can project letters to paper very fast,” Gloaming said, “and almost all of my journals are made from special paper which allow quick transfer of their contents to a computer.”

She took another journal with her telekinesis from a shelf and opened it. Under the cover I saw a rectangular screen with several symbols on it. Gloaming put her paper journal under the device, then lit some of the symbols on the screen with her magic glow. In a moment a page from her journal appeared on the screen.

Rainbow silently observed us all this time. Gloaming noticed it and turned to her.

“Do you want to ask me anything?” she asked.

“No, I still don't trust her,” Rainbow said, narrowing her eyes at me.

“I think if you can tell us more about yourself, it will help to establish trust with Rainbow,” Gloaming said. “For example, why have you come here?”

I shifted my weight from one leg to another. “I came here because I met a messenger spirit who told me about a library in a tree, and kind of asked me to come.”

Gloaming started writing in her journal. “Messenger spirit? What is that?”

“A spirit who delivers messages.” I tried to gesture with my wing, momentarily forgetting that I didn’t have them in this form. “Well, do you know about spirits, in general?”

The ponies shook their heads. They really had many gestures that were similar to ours.

“I’ll try to simplify it,” I said. “Spirits are creatures who lives around us. They're usually invisible. I know about them because I can interact with my spirit nature, and therefore interact with them. Actually, almost every object and living being has a spirit side, but only some people can interact with them.”

“What is the nature of the spirit world?” Gloaming made some notes, again without taking any writing tools. “So far it sounds like a parallel world.”

“There are several theories, I can check in more detail when I go back home. Sorry, I don’t remember anything substantial right now. But, yes, it really is a kind of parallel world.”

“I see. But how could somepony here send you a spirit, if we don't know about spirits?” Gloaming came closer to me as she said this, and looked directly in my eyes. Her eyes also opened a bit wider.

“When I came here, I noticed that you have a very low barrier between this side of your world and the spirit side of it.” I decided to watch her without blinking too. I hoped this didn't count as flirting for ponies. “So you could send a spirit without knowing it. Gloaming, have you tried any new magic today, or yesterday?”

Gloaming blinked several times, and quickly glanced at her friend, then returned to the table with her journal. “As a matter of fact, I found travelling notes from an explorer who travelled to ponies with black and grey stripes.”

Stripes? Did zebras also live here? Or, not exactly here, but somewhere else in the world?

“These zebras have some interesting rites.” Gloaming looked somewhere at bookshelves, possibly looking for the notes she mentioned. “I wasn't sure if there was any magical component, so I tried a rite or two. And I remember now, one of them described...” She levitated a book, which hovered before her snout, and quickly leafed through. “...how to call small helpers to do something, and I decided to call one. But nopony appeared, so I became frustrated, because I surely did something wrong. And I can't easily travel to these zebras and ask for some advice...”

“Hm, maybe you actually called for a messenger spirit.” I thought of walking to the table to look at the notebook, but I still needed to rest my arms. “This spirit understood your desire to ask someone, and went to seek for a suitable person.”

“Yes, and then it found you,” Gloaming said with a smile. “It was unexpected, anyway. These zebras have a lot of strange things in their myths, which science and magic as we know it can’t explain.”

“Like what?” I asked.

Her smile slowly disappeared as she continued. “Many of them are related to spirits. It is said that somepony could bring the dead back to life, if they asked the right spirit. But nopony asks for that, because the price is too high.”

I didn’t know about any spirits who could do that. Even the most powerful ones didn’t do things like that. But zebras may have some special spirits...

“But where are you from, actually?” Gloaming asked. “I haven't read about your kind, and I read a lot.”

And she lived in a library. I would never have guessed about her reading habits from that fact.

“I came from another world,” I said. Now take me to your leader!

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