• Published 16th Nov 2012
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Address Unknown - remedy



Derpy's suffered scorn for a mold she doesn't fit. Will a chance meeting change her life for the better?

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2. A Meeting with Misfortune

Chapter 2 – A Meeting With Misfortune

Spike! Hurry up!” Twilight yelled, racing through the library as though her tail was on fire. Spike rolled his eyes as he lazily trotted down the stairs, listening to the patter of rain on the window and rolling thunder outside much more than the frantic librarian. As usual, Twilight was working herself into a frenzy over nothing. Pinkie Pie had asked the pair for some help taste testing her newest confectionary creations, and Twilight had reluctantly agreed.

Spike was indifferent about the idea since the sweets were certain to contain no gems, but he was still never one to turn down free food, especially of the sugary kind. He also knew that his iron stomach could take whatever Pinkie happened to dish out, so to speak.

Twilight, conversely, was the polar opposite of indifferent. She dreaded the notion of having to taste some of the bizarre things the bright pink blur of activity would undoubtedly concoct, but a simple request from a friend was not something she could turn down easily. Her state of mind this morning was due to nothing more than a combination of apprehension of the unknown atrocities looming ahead and the absence of the nausea preventing medications she was sure to need.

“Geez, Twilight, calm down,” Spike muttered, attracting a look of reproach from the unicorn.

“Calm? Calm? How can I be calm at a time like this? I’m going to be feeling sick for a week unless I can find some medicine! Where in Equestria did I put that potion Zecora made me?” she snapped, her eyes and ears beginning to show signs of involuntary twitching.

Spike slowly walked over to the shelf where the vial sat undisturbed, taking his time as he counted how many times the distorted purple streak shot past it. Time had taught him that keeping calm both allowed him to easily recall where everything was in the library as well as counteract Twilight’s occasional frantic outbursts. He smirked as the counter in his mind hit 17 times that she had run right past it.

“It’s right here, Twi, in the same spot you always put Zecora’s medicines. Now, can you please slow down a bit? You’re going to wear a groove into the floor if you keep that up.”

Twilight glanced at the clock and gave a small gasp. This was not an encouraging sign to Spike.

He shrugged as Twilight inevitably announced, “We can’t slow down! We’re late!” The unicorn enveloped him in a magical haze as she dragged him along, dashing out the door.

****************

Derpy trotted along the road, having distributed half of her mail for the day already. She was wet, cold, and a bit muddy, but overall the day had not been unpleasant. She had tried flying low for the first portion of her rounds, but had decided shortly afterward that walking wouldn’t be any more effort for her, and flying in the rain was more bothersome than walking in it anyway. She had been traveling so easily through the town that she was actually hours ahead of schedule.

Her mind had been conflicted for the day. Her embarrassment at the thought of being, in effect, an earthbound pegasus was being crowded away by the prospect of working with friendly ponies such as Post and traversing these enjoyable streets in proper weather. She steeled herself as she walked, resolving to be as careful as possible in order to not tarnish her reputation with her newfound colleagues so quickly. She glanced at the next delivery on her schedule and turned down the road leading toward the library.

Upon approach, she heard some commotion coming from inside. She wondered what in Equestria could cause such a racket in a library of all places. The mystery didn’t last long though. As she stopped to make her deposit at the mailbox, she was literally run over by a purple wall made up of a combination of pony and dragon. Twilight, Spike, and Derpy rolled in a jumbled mess, the force of the impact knocking her back several yards and sending her bag soaring away in a vibrant splash of white confetti against the darkened sky.

Twilight Sparkle hurriedly extracted herself from the living pile of her own creation, while Spike simply lay sprawled on the ground, dazed from the sudden tugs and stops he had endured within the past thirty seconds. Twilight whirled around looking for to find what she had run into, but a soft groan coming from the ground quickly made her realize that her obstacle was not a what, but rather a who.

Still trying to recover some of the wind that had been forcefully ejected from her chest, she dropped to her knees in apology, managing to gasp out, “…Sorry! Derpy, I’m so sorry! Are you all right? Are you hurt anywhere?”

Spike had also recovered from the initial shock, and was looking the pegasus over for any bruises or sprains. As far as he could see, there were none.

Derpy lay silent on the ground, not responding to the questions as her mind caught up with what had just happened. Her eyes roved over the scattered mail - wet, muddy, and blowing away in the breeze. It was as though Twilight and Spike were not even there. None of Twilight’s apologies or questions were heard, no dragon looking inquisitively at her was seen, and no pains or aches from the fall were felt.

In fact, Derpy had barely noticed anything, save the mucky remains of her career splayed haphazardly around her. There was only one voice that was heard in the abrupt chaos of the moment, and she was the only one to hear it.

You did it again, Featherbrain.

She dropped her face into her muddy hooves and silently sobbed.

You did it again.

Of all the responses that could have come from the collision, this is the one Twilight had expected least. She had run full tilt into another pony, apparently knocked them temporarily senseless, and, as it seemed from the sudden outburst of tears, she had hurt the poor mailpony horribly somehow. Twilight was confused, though, as she could see no visible injuries, and Derpy was showing no signs of having any pain at all - just that deep, quiet, and almost imperceptible weeping coming from the shuddering pegasus. She looked up shortly.

“Spike, go to Sugarcube Corner and tell Pinkie Pie that I won’t be able to make it this afternoon. You can stay there to help her, if you’d like. I’m going to check up on Derpy.”

No argument came from the little dragon. He gave a small nod of acknowledgement and took off in the direction of the shop, throwing glances back every little bit at the kneeling unicorn next to a quivering gray lump in the mud until they were out of sight.

Twilight turned back to Derpy, wondering how best to handle the situation, and the thought of Fluttershy flew through her mind. She had somepony here who was hurting in some way, though in which way she could not tell, but knowing Fluttershy gave her the insight at what anypony in this instance would doubtlessly need: kindness, care, and compassion.

She allowed her expression and voice to soften as much as they could and tried her hardest to resemble the level of care one could expect from the Element of Kindness herself. She heard herself speaking, though it did not sound like her frantic self from only moments ago. It sounded like another pony entirely, one who abandoned all concept of self in order to raise another from whatever suffering they were going through.

“Derpy, just let me know what I need to do to help you.”

It was simple, it was straight to the point, but with the amount of care squeezed tightly into those few words, it was just what was necessary.

Derpy slowly stopped sobbing long enough to look around at her demolished responsibility - a testament to her ineptitude at life in general and a signal to her that change was coming, and it would not be a welcome one. Twilight followed her gaze as the prone equine looked around. She had no idea as to what significance some spilled mail could have, but even though it was unspoken she knew that this was the problem. Her horn glowed gently as she gathered together as many envelopes as she could into the purple magic cloud that had formed. She regained the soothing voice that was not her own.

“Come on, Derpy. I’ve got your mail. Let’s get inside and clean them, and you, off. I’ll send Owlowiscious out to track down any others the wind may have carried away.”

Derpy sniffled and tearfully looked up at the one pony who not only cared enough to help her, but who understood her without needing to hear the problem first. Her vision was blurred even more than usual from her tears, and she was unable to identify the pony who was now offering to help her. However, as she wiped the tears from her eyes with a muddy hoof, it took only a few seconds of cleared thought to recognize whom she was with.

Dear Celestia, it’s Twilight Sparkle…

****************

Being a librarian had few advantages, unless you were an odd sort of librarian who was not completely obsessed with books. In the latter case, being a librarian had no advantages whatsoever. However, Twilight was likely the most book obsessed, half crazed, neatly compulsive librarian to ever roam Equestria, and she knew and took every advantage she had available. One such advantage was the knowledge and skill to clean and restore books that were returned wet, filthy, and falling apart. Twilight smiled to herself as she thought of how much practice with that skill she had gotten thanks to three small fillies who were, in a euphemistic sense, the four ponies of the apocalypse shrunken to miniature and missing a member.

Twilight tended to cleaning and drying the damaged missives, while Derpy sat on a sofa, drying off and sipping hot chocolate, calming herself beside a magically conjured and contained fire Twilight had made for her. Twilight glanced over to see that Derpy’s quivering fits were subsiding, her tears had dried along with the rest of her coat and mane, and the only remainder that could hint she had been upset was an occasional sniffle escaping her muzzle.

She still had no idea what had sent Derpy over the edge, but had decided not to press her for details until she had sufficiently relaxed, so she kept about her work while the tension in the pegasus wound down. Seeming satisfied with her work, she left the last of the envelopes to dry and went to join Derpy on the couch.

“Are you feeling any better?” she asked, giving the mare a bit of a start from the broken silence.

“A little, yeah, I guess.” Derpy suddenly became very interested in the floor and felt her cheeks redden slightly as Twilight sat down next to her. Her mind flashed back to the previous summer’s accident and she gave a slight wince. Apparently Twilight had been studying her features quite well, because she picked up on the involuntary movement immediately.

“Derpy, if you’re still thinking about last summer, I told you to forget about it.” Her head was cocked inquisitively to the side, with a small caring, but knowing, smile playing across her face.

Sweet Celestia, she’s a mind reader, too.

Derpy slowly closed her mouth, which had momentarily gone slack at Twilight’s insight. “Yeah, I was thinking about… Yeah. Still, I am sorry about that.” She gave a weak smile.

Twilight returned the smile, adding, “Well, now I ran you over and made a mess of your mail, so I guess we’re evened back up a bit.”

Her smile was dampened slightly as she realized that bringing up the incident so quickly, and in such a lighthearted way, could have been offensive. “I am very, very sorry about that, by the way. I guess I never realized how much you cared for your work. You must be very proud to be able to give such a service to everypony around.”

Proud. That struck a nerve.