• Published 25th May 2021
  • 1,454 Views, 121 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 8

Applejack’s daily chores were once again finished. She was about to head for the hospital to ask about Ben when somepony knocked on her door. Opening it, she was greeted by a white unicorn mare with a mane the color of sunset.

“Hello,” the mare greeted, “I’m Doctor Warm Light. Are you Miss Applejack Apple?”

Applejack nodded. “Just call me Applejack.” She shook hooves with Doctor Light. “Is this about Ben?”

“Yes, actually. May I come in?”

“Sure, sure. Come on in.”

Applejack led Warm Light into the living room. “Ya want anythang? Cider? Fritters?”

“No, thank you.” Doctor Light took a seat. “I’m Ben’s counselor. I was hoping you could answer a few questions about him?”

Applejack took the opposite seat. “‘Fraid Ah don’t know much about ‘im. Ah’ll help best Ah can, though.”

“That’s all I ask. He needs a great deal of help.”

“Did somethin’ happen?” Applejack asked, worried for the little colt. Ben had tried to run from the hospital, so there was no telling what else he might’ve tried to do.

“Nothing bad has happened,” Warm Light reassured. “He was resting when I left. Back to the matter at hoof, I would like to hear your direct account of Ben’s time spent with you. I know you gave the story to the hospital staff, but I want to make sure there are no stones left unturned. Any detail could be very important.”

Applejack agreed to recall what had happened that night and the following morning. If it could help a troubled child, she would provide as much help as possible. She proceeded to give her best account of the events, making sure to include as much as she possibly could. As she spoke, Doctor Light held out a notepad a periodically wrote in it.

“And Ah left ‘im at the hospital,” Applejack finished. “Mah friends and Ah tried ta visit yesterday, but Doctor Graymane said he had ta be watched on account o’ tryin’ ta run off. Is he doin’ alright?”

“Physically, he’ll be back on his hooves in no time,” Warm Light answered, setting down the notepad. “Psychologically, there’s no telling when or if he will fully recover.”

Applejack sighed and looked at the floor in silent lament. “Have y’all found any o’ his kin?”

“Not so far. That’s part of the reason why I’m here.”

Applejack raised her head and eyebrows, looking quizzically at the counselor.

“I have several theories about Ben’s past and psychological state,” Warm Light explained. “From what I’ve gathered, I’m positive that he does not trust adults. What caused that distrust is still conjecture at this point, but abuse is extremely likely. So far, he has refused to appear vulnerable in front of anypony except you.”

“Me?”

“Yes. He let his guard down around you by crying, which is a big display of vulnerability. Not only that, but he let you hold him as he cried. He trusts you, Applejack.”

The farm mare smiled, feeling a surge of joy on Ben’s behalf. With the joy, however, came confusion. “But why would he trust me?”

“My best guess is that you subconsciously remind him of somepony from his past who showed him unconditional love and affection. Whether that was a parent or somepony else, I don’t know. The point is that you are in the best position to help him regain his trust in adults until we find his biological family.”

Determination took root in Applejack’s heart. “How can Ah help?”

“Would you be willing to temporarily foster Ben?”

Applejack was not fully prepared for such a request. Yes, she had plenty of experience trying to be the best big sister she could be for Applebloom, but this was something else entirely. Warm Light had basically asked her to become Ben’s mother. Even if such an arrangement was temporary, the task was monumental. Was she ready for that kind of responsibility? Doubt attempted to worm its way in. “Ah swear Ah wanna help Ben, but I don’t know how ta take care of a young’un who’s been hurt like that. Ah don’t wanna make him worse.”

“I would be visiting frequently to talk to him. You could give me updates on his behavior and I could give you advice. If you do accept this, the best thing you can do for Ben while he’s in your care is to be there for him. It won’t be easy. There may be times when he’ll do bad things or throw fits purely to get your attention because he craves recognition and/or affection. You’ll need to be patient with him if that happens. He might wake up screaming from a nightmare. I don’t need to tell you what to do then. You already know that he’ll lash out whenever he feels helpless. Through all that, you need to be there for him.” Warm Light looked Applejack straight in the eye. “Are you willing to do that? Nopony would blame you if you refused.”

Applejack did not doubt that taking care of Ben would be difficult. Even watching him for less than twenty-four hours had tested her. Ben’s abrasive behavior would’ve certainly gotten him in trouble if he was a normal colt. To Applejack, Ben’s actions only served to remind her of how hurt he was. Any frustration she might’ve felt was greatly outweighed by her compassion. This would be a challenge, but she refused to back down. She still remembered the silent vow she made when she held him. An Apple did not break a promise. Doubt was crushed and resolve took its place.

“Ah’ll do it,” she declared.

Warm Light smiled in relief. “Thank you.”

“There anythin’ important Ah need ta know ‘bout Ben?”

Warm Light’s smile vanished. She sighed heavily. “You’ll definitely need to know this since you’re taking care of him. You of course remember Ben talking about his family being gone, only to later say he had to get home.”

“Yep.”

“Are you familiar with the concept of alter egos?”

“Nope.”

What followed was Warm Light’s complex theory regarding Ben’s mental state. According to her, “Ben” was an alter ego the colt created to suppress painful memories, leaving behind a subconscious distrust of adults. His drive to get home might be a twisted way of coping with his parents’ deaths, assuming that they were no longer living. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ben had fooled himself into thinking he was some kind of mythical creature called a human trapped in a little pony’s body.

Applejack could hardly believe her ears. She and her friends had dealt with some strange things, but this was unlike anything she had ever imagined. “What… What happened to that colt?” she asked aloud, more to herself than anypony else. “What coulda made him try and forget his whole life? What kinda rotten, vile, evil monster did that to ‘im?”

“I don’t know,” Warm Light replied. “Whatever it is, he got away. It’s our job to heal him the best we can. That’s all anypony can do.”

Applejack’s face hardened. “Whatever did that to ‘im could still be out there, torturin’ little fillies and colts fer fun! We’ve gotta find it and buck it ta Tartarus!”

“You have no clue where to start,” Warm Light said calmly. “The only pony who could tell us about his tormentors is Ben, and he’s nowhere near ready to talk about it, especially when he’s actively repressing the experience.”

Applejack took a deep breath, chiding herself for getting carried away. Ben badly needed her help, and she was going to help him. “Ah’ll take care of ‘im,” she declared. “Nopony’s gonna hurt ‘im no more.”

Warm Light nodded. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”


Dear Princess Celestia,

Applejack brought the six of us together yesterday to help her with a very serious problem. A unicorn colt had wandered into Sweet Apple Acres the night before she talked to us. The colt in question claimed his family was gone and that he had no way of getting back to them. Later on, the colt, who goes by Ben, said that he wanted to get home to his family by using magic. We were very confused by this, since Ben had basically contradicted himself. As a result, we have no real way of knowing whether or not his parents are alive.

According to Applejack, Ben doesn’t seem to have any real knowledge of magic despite being a unicorn. We think he might’ve been foalnapped when he was really little, which would explain his lack of magical knowledge. Foalnappers wouldn’t want to give their prisoners a means to get away. How Ben might’ve escaped is anypony’s guess.

I’m sure that Ponyville General Hospital has already started searching for Ben’s family and I hope they’ll find somepony related to Ben. In the meantime, my friends and I, especially Applejack, really want to help Ben however we can, but I don’t know how to help. How can we help a colt who’s been hurt like that? What if his family’s dead? What then? How can we help him get better? I need your help.

Your faithful student,
Twilight Sparkle.

Author's Note:

Sorry for the wait. I had to reevaluate which direction this story was going. Surely, Celestia would sense some kind of magic disturbance if dimensions were crossed, right? On the other hand, there’s apparently a portal that takes ponies to a high school AU FanFiction universe and Celestia can’t sense when that portal is used. This series is weird.

I apologize if anyone seems OOC. Evidently, Twilight practically worships Celestia, so I thought it made sense for her to ask advice on something this serious.

I couldn’t figure out whether to call my OC Warm Light, Doctor Light, or just Light. I mean, Sweetie Belle is always called by her full name, but then you have names like Scootaloo with no apparent surname. I can’t even with these pony names.

Finally, I would’ve gone into more detail about Warm Light’s alter ego theory, but I already did that in a previous chapter. No sense repeatedly telling the readers what they already know, right? I’m already treading the line with everyone having to relay information to others.