• Published 25th May 2021
  • 1,267 Views, 122 Comments

Through Despair and Hope - Blue Writer



How does one help a grieving child? How does one heal from losing everything?

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Chapter 4

Once breakfast had been taken care of, Ben and Applejack headed off to the hospital. Due to Ben’s injury from his fall, Applejack decided to carry him on her back. The colt had protested such an arrangement, but the mare insisted, not wanting his foreleg to worsen.

As they walked through Ponyville, the majority of the town’s residents were going through their morning routines. Shops were opening up, ponies were coming and going, pegasi were moving clouds to ensure a clear sky. Another fine day in the little town.

“Woah,” breathed Ben.

Turning to observe out of the corner of her eye, Applejack could see Ben gazing with wide-eyed wonder at the sights and sounds all around him. She smiled. Ben actually seemed to be enjoying himself.

“What in the world is that?”

Ben pointed at a building that appeared to be made out of candy.

“That’s Sugarcube Corner,” Applejack explained, “That’s where mah friend Pinkie lives. She loves throwin’ parties and bakin’ all kinds of sweets for everypony!”

“Is she a witch?”

“What? No! Why, Pinkie’s one of the sweetest ponies you’ll ever meet!”

Ben sighed. “That was a joke.”

“Oh.”

Ben’s sense of humor clearly needed work, but at least he was making jokes.

“So, where does Twilight live?” he asked.

“She lives at the Golden Oaks Library,” Applejack answered, “It’s built into a tree. Ya can’t miss it.”

“A treehouse library, huh? Neat. And you’ll tell her about me, right?”

“As soon as mah work for today is done, Ah’ll talk to Twilight. Ah promise.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.”


Ponyville General was thankfully not very busy that morning as Applejack entered, Ben still on her back. Given the overall state Ben was in, Applejack decided to bring him into the hospital through the emergency entrance. Her intent was to ensure he received treatment as soon as possible.

A nurse came up to them, took one look at Ben, and gasped. “I need a gurney over here!” she commanded, spurning several ponies into action. It did not take long for a gurney to be wheeled over. One of the staff members, a unicorn, used magic to lift Ben off Applejack’s back and onto the gurney.

“What the-!” Ben yelled, likely from the suddenness of it all.

The nurses quickly wheeled Ben off somewhere else, likely an examination room, while the one who first saw him, an earth pony, stopped to talk to Applejack.

“Can you tell me what happened to him?” she asked.

“Ah don’t know,” Applejack answered sadly, “He was like that when Ah found him. He hurt his foreleg earlier this mornin’ when he fell down the stairs.”

“Was he conscious when you found him?”

“Yep. Scared to death, too.”

“When did you find him?”

“Just last night.”

“Why did you wait until now to bring him here?”

“He was so scared when Ah saw him, Ah didn’t want to make it worse. Hay, he tried to leave before Ah woke up.”

“Was that when he fell down the stairs?”

“Yep. Woke up the whole house.”

“I see. Is there anything else we need to know about him?”

There was plenty they needed to know about him, but Applejack had few concrete answers. She told the nurse everything she could. Ben’s family was either dead or missing, he could’ve been abused and/or foalnapped, he was ignorant of very basic facts, he was underweight, and he didn’t seem to care about his own wellbeing at all. What little information Applejack could give was far from comforting.

“We’ll start checking our records and looking out for any missing foal reports from Ponyville and the neighboring cities,” said the nurse after Applejack finished. “You should be able to visit him later today. From what you’ve told me, it might help him to see a familiar face, even if he hasn’t know you for very long.”

“Are ya gonna get him a counselor?” Applejack asked.

“Definitely.”

“What’s gonna happen to him if nopony can find his family?”

“If his family doesn’t come forward by the time he’s deemed fit for release, or if his family is unfit to raise him, he’ll have to stay at an orphanage or with a registered foster parent.”

Fear seized Applejack as she thought of what Ben would do if they couldn’t find his parents. She could remember the glee in his eyes when he thought of using magic to get home. What would he do if he had no home to go to? The words “Let me die” returned to the forefront of her mind. Even if he had a home, was it the right one for him? He knew so little, as if his parents had either refused to teach him or he had been separated from them for a very long time. In addition, all those bruises did little to ease Applejack’s worry.

“Are you okay?”

The question shook her from her thoughts. She looked at the nurse. “Yeah,” she said, “Yeah, Ah just...” she sighed. “Ah just hope he’s gonna be alright.”

“So do I,” said the nurse, “So do I.”


Applejack left the hospital, intent on getting through the day’s chores. Once those were done, she would assemble her friends together to help Ben. Unfortunately, her mind was plagued with worry as she started walking back to Sweet Apple Acres.

“Hi, Applejack!”

“Aah!”

It was Pinkie Pie, who managed to appear right next to Applejack without warning. “Why so glum?” asked the overly enthusiastic mare.

Applejack sighed. “Ah can’t tell ya right now, Pinkie, but as long as you’re here, can ya tell the other Elements to meet up later today? It’s real important and Ah need y’all’s help.”

“Okie dokie lokie!” Pinkie affirmed, “Say, did you know there’s somepony new in town?”

Applejack’s eyes widened.

“I knew ‘cause my hoof was being twitchy but-”

“Pinkie, wait!”

“Hm?”

“Yeah, Ah do know there’s somepony new in town. That’s actually what Ah need y’all’s help with.”

“Oooh, do you want to plan a super-duper ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ party for him?”

Applejack was about to reject the idea, but stopped. Pinkie’s parties were a very good way to socialize. It would be a perfect opportunity for Ben to meet a few foals his age. Of course, they would have to clear it with the nurses, but it just might help.

“Well, not a super-duper party,” she began, “But maybe a small party. Ah need help, though.”

Pinkie gave the widest of grins.


Nurse Silverheart sat in a chair across from the bruised and now bandaged colt she had been assigned to watch. Like everypony else who had access to his medical report, she was greatly concerned. Up until that morning, he apparently hadn’t eaten anything for at least four days. Adding the current lack of family, the marks on his body, reported tendency to self-harm, and suicidal thoughts, Silverheart was surprised he wasn’t crying his eyes out. Instead, he was silent. Very atypical behavior for a child. Now it was her responsibility to watch over him and make sure he didn’t hurt himself, or worse.

The colt in question, Ben, was sitting up in his bed. An IV had been inserted into his uninjured foreleg in order to provide him with the proper nutrients. He was staring at his assigned nurse. Specifically, his eyes would keep moving to and from her own eyes and her wings.

“Excuse me,” he said eventually, “Silverheart, right? I don’t mean to sound rude, but are you a pegasus?”

She nodded. “That’s right, sweetie,” she answered with a wide smile and a sweet voice reserved for foals.

He frowned at her. “Please drop the condescending tone and talk normal.”

Silverheart turned her wide smile into a more professional one, fighting the urge to scowl. Medical workers received enough disrespect from unruly adult patients, and here she was being criticized by a child. Fortunately, the lives she helped save made everything worth it, especially when it was children being saved. She could stand a little backtalk, especially from a traumatized colt who probably didn’t know better.

“Is this better?” she asked in her normal voice.

“Much better, thank you,” he replied, frown now gone. “Anyway, I was wondering how you guys can fly. Don’t take this the wrong way, but your wings look a little too small to lift your full body weight.”

Having read the medical file, Silverheart knew that Ben was ignorant of things most foals would have learned in school by that age. While it was saddening that he was uneducated, it was also good that he was not afraid to ask questions.

“Pegasi can use their natural magic to fly and walk on the clouds,” she answered.

Ben’s eyes widened. “You can walk on clouds?”

Silverheart nodded. “Mhm. There’s actually a city up in the clouds called Cloudsdale.”

“Are you serious?”

She giggled. “Yes, I’m serious.”

“Woah! That’s so weird! Pretty intriguing, though. Anyway, are your eyes silver? I wasn’t sure.”

She nodded. “Yes.”

“I’ve never seen eyes that color before. Is that where you got your name from? Eyes are windows of the heart and all that?”

“Windows to the soul, actually, but yes. What about you, Ben? Where did your name come from?”

A simple question, but one that could give insight regarding Ben’s family. Having strange names might make them easier to find. Assuming, of course, they were still alive.

“Well, Ben is actually short for Benjamin,” he answered. “I’m named after my great grandfather.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” said Silverheart, wondering where Ben’s great grandfather could have gotten such a strange name, “Is that your full name?”

Ben chuckled slightly. “No, my full name is Benjamin Lewis Walker, but everyone just calls me Ben.”

“That’s... a very unique name.” Quite the mouthful, in Silverheart’s honest opinion. Not remotely pony-like, save for Walker at the end. Of course, she had always heard another noun precede “walker” in a name. Names like Cloudwalker or Skywalker were fairly common among pagasi, after all. She had never heard Walker used as a stand-alone name. A strange name for a strange colt.

Ben shrugged. “Not really,” he said, “I mean, Walker isn’t a very common last name where I come from, but there’s at least a million Bens.”

A million? A child’s exaggeration, no doubt. Perhaps he simply came from a large city. “Where do you come from?”

Ben looked thoughtful for a moment, as if he was hesitant to say anything else. Not a good sign.

“Well, I guess there’s no harm in telling you,” he said after a few seconds. “I was hoping to just tell the resident magic expert about this, but you’ve got your own magic, so here goes. I’m not actually from around here. By here, I mean this universe.”

“What?”

“I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. I only got this body, which is a small child’s for some reason, a few days ago. I’m not sure what happened, but I do remember falling into a hole, probably a portal of some kind. The next thing I knew, there I was, a twenty-two year old human, in the middle of a forest in this little colt’s body. It took me forever to learn how to walk; kept tripping over rocks and stuff. That’s how I got these bruises. I’m still working out the kinks there, which is why I fell down that stairwell this morning. I got these scratches running through some thorns, trying to get away from a weird wooden wolf thing.

“I was pretty relieved when I finally managed to find Applejack’s farm, since that meant civilization. I thought there’d be humans, but I was wrong. No humans, just ponies. That was when I figured out I was trapped in an alternate reality. Scared me out of my wits. I thought for sure I’d never see my family again, different universe with talking technicolor ponies instead of humans and all, but then I found out about magic. Luckily, I got turned into a unicorn, which apparently means I can do magic, and that means I just need to figure out what spell to use to get back to my universe and my original body. The sooner I get out of here, the sooner I can figure out magic. The sooner I figure out magic, the sooner I go home and let everyone know I’m okay. Capeesh?”

Silverheart blinked. She blinked again. Her mind took several seconds to fully comprehend what Ben had just told her. “Uh, that’s quite a story,” she said lamely.

“Yeah, it sounds crazy, right? Still true, though. I mean, this looks like a world where, like, a good chunk of the population can fly or straight up teleport, so going to another dimension really isn’t that big of a stretch.”

Silverheart was caught completely off guard. She had no idea what to say to the colt in front of her. Ben was completely certain that his story was true, but it was all so fantastic. What even was a human, anyway? His name was not very pony-like and there were basic facts he hadn’t known, but to come from another universe entirely? It was unheard of. Unthinkable. Impossible.

“Um, I need to speak with Doctor Graymane,” she said, rising from her chair, “Press that red button if you need anything.”

He immediately glared at her. “What, you think I’m making this up? If you don’t believe me, have a wizard look at my memories or something!”

Silverheart headed for the door, not knowing what else to do. What she did know was that somepony needed to hear about this. Hopefully, the counselor being assigned to the poor colt could make sense of it all.

“It’s freaking magic!” Ben angrily called out, “Literally anything is possible!”

The door closed and Silverheart bolted for the doctor’s office.

Author's Note:

And now it’s time for Misunderstandings with Ponies, the part of the story where the transformed human tells Ponies he’s from another universe and they misunderstand.

As always, constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated.