• 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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27. Returning to Harmony

Chapter 27 – Returning to Harmony

Derpy succeeded in untangling herself from Twilight’s grasp after a short while, though her efforts to break apart from her lover were less than wholehearted. The night’s events were far from over, and keeping the secret that Princess Celestia had sent Derpy a personal letter would be impossible. Derpy needed to talk with Twilight about the princess’ letter, though she would need to be careful which portions of her letter to disclose to Twilight and which she could gloss over to avoid worrying the unicorn too much.

She simply had to summarize the letter and sidestep a few specific examples to avoid alarming the unicorn unnecessarily. Letting her know that the decision to not use the spell was well founded, as well as the fact that the princess was working hard at looking for alternatives, would doubtless make Twilight feel better.

She took Twilight’s hooves in hers, and a serious look shadowed her face, contrasting the exuberance they had just shared. Her voice was hesitant at first, unsure how to address the subject.

“Twilight, I do need to talk with you about something else tonight. It’s not anything bad,” she added quickly, as concern and fear etched into the unicorn’s face. “It’s just that Princess Celestia sent me a letter tonight, too, and I think it might help you feel better to know a bit more about what’s going on.”

Twilight’s expression changed to one of puzzlement, and she cocked her head to the side, looking slightly hurt. I thought she trusted me…

A hint of sadness echoed in her response. “Why did she send you a letter explaining more about the situation than telling me?”

Derpy spoke carefully and slowly, making sure to pick and choose her words cautiously. “The letter she sent me was more about how they were dealing with the situation, the risks involved, and why they decided to stop the use of the spell. If the princess gave you the information on everything they found, she probably would have caused you more worry and anxiety than was necessary.”

The explanation seemed a bit vague to Twilight, and the hint that some of the contents of Derpy’s letter might be disturbing unsettled her. However, she hadn’t heard any of it yet, and so drawing conclusions already would be foolish. She nodded to Derpy, waiting for the pegasus to start when she was ready.

“First of all,” Derpy began, “the princess didn’t respond to us right away because they immediately started additional research on the spell you found. They thought there might be more to the spell than you had found, and Princess Celestia said that she, Princess Luna, and the entire royal medical staff immediately began looking for any more information about it. They wanted to know where it had come from, and if there were more detailed accounts of mistakes and risks available.”

Twilight nodded; that certainly seemed to make sense. If anypony had access to more detailed records, there was nopony better to ask than the top doctors and researchers in Canterlot. She mentally berated herself for not thinking of that first.

Derpy continued, noticing the slight self-doubt crossing Twilight’s face. “What they found was that the spell was incredibly old – the princess described it to me as being an experimental spell from when magical medicine was not understood. In fact, the reason it had been in the Canterlot Archives was for reference material for medical students on how medical research began.”

The idea of keeping records of past failures for learning purposes was certainly familiar to Twilight; she meticulously kept journals of every action, reaction, success, and failure of every one of her spells for reference and reports. However, the thought that she had chosen a spell that was being used only as an example of what not to do made her heart sink, and her face reflected a degree of self-loathing. It was a cue that Derpy picked up on immediately, and she did not intend to let it continue.

“Twilight!”

Derpy’s tone was caring, yet firm and demanding of attention. It did its intended job of snapping the unicorn back to the moment with her full focus on Derpy.

“This is exactly why the princess didn’t bring these topics up in your letter. You’re already criticizing yourself over a simple explanation of what steps they took in addition to your own. You can’t anticipate everything, and they had the entire medical staff looking into this. Even they didn’t know where to begin looking; they spent all day simply trying to find any record of the spell. It’s a miracle they found anything at all, but I suppose with hundreds of researchers looking through their own libraries, it was the best possible solution.”

Twilight looked slightly ashamed at Derpy’s reprimand, and she shrank back further as Derpy continued. “There’s more in the letter that I think you would benefit from knowing, but if you’re going to do nothing but beat yourself up over it, I’m not going to tell you anything more.”

The unicorn openly gawked at her marefriend’s threat, and she could see that Derpy fully meant every word she had said. It was all true, as well; if she wanted to know anything about the situation, she couldn’t let her emotions beat her down. The scientist in her spoke in her mind.

In learning, you need to be objective about whatever may happen. When you lose your objectivity to sentiments, all purpose in your study becomes biased and unfounded. Your study loses its value, and since your emotions are vested in it, you unavoidably fail and suffer because of it. If failure only results in regrets, nopony would ever press to succeed. If you truly want to learn, listen to the facts instead of looking for faults.

With grim determination, Twilight steeled herself and nodded. “I messed up, but that can’t be changed. I can either learn from my mistakes, or wallow in pity because of them.” She shook her head in disgust at the latter choice. “I’d much rather learn.”

Derpy smiled slightly; the response was enough for her to believe that the strong and intelligent, ever curious Twilight she knew and loved was returning.

“If you really feel that way, I’ll keep going. But…” she stared hard at Twilight, “if you start blaming yourself again, then I’m just going to let it drop, and you will just have to trust me that there’s reasoning behind this.”

Twilight gulped at the ultimatum, but gave a mild nod of assent.

Derpy resumed where she had left off. “When they found the spell with all its notes, it was in the historical archives, and had details of every failure catalogued, a lot like you do with your work.”

Twilight brightened slightly at the compliment to her researching abilities.

“Princess Celestia looked through the notes for anything similar to the initial mistake we had; she actually found the reference that prompted somepony to make that annotation that was smudged out. It described exactly what happened to me, right down to the sensations I had when you were casting it, and so I trust the rest of the information was accurate as well.” Derpy paused for a moment, taking a deep breath before continuing.

“From what was written in the documents, the princess said some of the mistakes could have been extremely dangerous. She said that it wasn’t that she doubted your abilities – it was that she didn’t want us to be in that danger, and I’ll agree with her on that. I don’t want to take the risk for two reasons – of course, what might happen scares me. But, if something horrible did go wrong, I don’t want to think of what that would do to you.”

Derpy looked at Twilight affectionately. “It’d be terrible for both of us if something went wrong, and it’s just not worth chancing.”

Twilight bowed her head in agreement. “You’re right; of course you’re right, and I’m sorry that I was so stubborn about it.”

“It’s okay, Twilight. We were both so set on getting it to work we weren’t thinking clearly about how much worse it could get if it didn’t work.” She smiled at the glimmer of hope that Princess Celestia had left her with. “The princess did say that they were still looking for anything else that might help.”

Twilight jolted upright with shock.

Derpy’s look turned slightly sheepish. “She said not to count on anything, but they were still going to try. Even if nothing comes of it, that still makes me feel better.”

“It makes me feel better, too,” Twilight conceded. “But, it makes me feel horrible that I got so angry at the princess while she was working so hard for us. I said terrible things about her, but she was working relentlessly to make sure you stayed safe, and she’s still trying to make everything turn out all right.” She hung her head, ashamed at her actions from earlier.

“Well, the princess did ask us to keep her informed on any developments here. Maybe this would be a good time to send her a letter explaining what happened tonight,” Derpy responded thoughtfully.

Twilight smiled at the idea, noticing Spike ready with parchment and quill in hand. “Spike? You can relax. I’d like to write this note myself.”

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

A flash of green fire illuminated the chambers of Princess Celestia, and she looked up from her vast collection of parchments and books to see a familiarly tied scroll. A mixture of happiness and apprehension blanketed her over what it could contain. She knew that it could be ill news of Twilight’s reaction, especially given the time that had lapsed since she had sent the pair their own letters, but she kept a glimmer of hope that it would be a better update than that. She slowly unfurled the document, revealing various pages rolled together, with a letter situated on the top of them all.

Dear Princess Celestia,

I would like to start by letting you know that both Derpy and I received the letters you sent us, and thankfully we were able to use them to come to terms with the difficult decision you had to make.

However, though I was eventually able to accept your choice, I still owe you an apology; after reading your letter to me, I became very upset, and that is only a mild way to describe my reaction. My moods shifted quite violently for a while, and at a point in that time I became bitterly hostile toward you. I said some horrible things, and harbored several thoughts that were even worse.

When my anger reached these new heights, I lost control of my magic, much in the same way as I did in my youth on the day you accepted me as your pupil. On that day, my magic was relatively weak, and the unintentional release of magic was rather harmless. However, during this incident my loss of control resulted in damage to the library, and worse, I harmed several of my friends in the incident.

Luckily, none of the harm was severe, but I believe Spike received a concussion, Rainbow Dash got several burns and a singed mane, and Applejack suffered the worst of the injuries – she currently has several large bruises and what appears to be a dislocated shoulder. I am ashamed to admit that her injuries were a direct result of protecting Derpy from my magic, and I shudder at what may have happened if she had not.

I deeply regret my actions, most of all to my friends, who were gracious and understanding enough to forgive me. I also give my apology to you; I owe you as much for such an excessive and dangerous response to a decision that you most certainly did not take lightly. It was entirely unwarranted for me to react as I did, and I humbly beg forgiveness from you for it.

Regarding my research, you will find it enclosed with this letter in its entirety. No other copies remain, of either the original spell or any of my notes concerning it. No further attempts at using the spell were made since the first successful cast, and I do not intend to continue seeking alternatives.

Derpy has informed me that, in your letter, you stated that you have tasked the royal physicians with looking for a safer spell that may help her, and for that I am grateful. I shall do what I should have done in the first place; namely, leave the use of medical magic to the professionals in the field. Though I am skilled in magic, this experience has taught me that regardless of talent, I possess neither the ability to perform all spells, nor the knowledge of when to use them properly. It was a true lapse of judgment that I did not come to you seeking help in the first place.

All that being said, please do not feel obligated to devote all of your staff’s resources for us. Derpy has accepted her sight as it is; her self-assurance has increased exponentially since we have met, thanks to the friendships extended to her by not only myself, but all my friends as well.

This leads me to the final point in my letter, and it lifts my spirit to be able to share this with you. As of my last letter, I had told you of the changes to Derpy’s cutie mark, and that four of her seven bubbles had changed to represent the Elements of Harmony. This evening, her cutie mark has fully completed its changes; as suspected, two of the bubbles that remained signified the final elements, and now reflect representations of Fluttershy and Applejack.

The seventh bubble turned out to represent Derpy herself. Its change manifested at her realization that, with the friends she gained, she was happy with herself as she was. She recognized that, despite her vision impairment, she was, and will continue to be, an integral part in all our lives.

With this revelation, her cutie mark changed in an extraordinary fashion, flaring a splendid burst of light and spreading a tangible warmth and love through our own cutie marks. Even now, as I write this, I cannot help but smile at the way a chance meeting has influenced and changed the lives of seven ponies for the better.

Yet again, the power of friendship has given us pause for reflection on its deep meaning in our lives. There is a certain magic inherent in friendship that can vastly improve the way in which ponies see themselves and the world around them. The strength others lend us not only serves to build us up momentarily, but also permanently impacts on our entire outlook on life.

Your faithful student,

Twilight Sparkle


Princess Celestia smiled to herself, feeling pride in her student’s insight and maturity. She set the remaining contents of the message alongside the other copies of research Twilight had given her earlier, and placed the letter itself on her desk next to several documents she had finished separating out just prior to the missive’s arrival. She gave the note one last approving look before turning back to her own blank parchment and picking up a quill.

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

The lights were dimmed and the atmosphere was jovial in the Golden Oaks Library as the night wound its way on, occasional bouts of giggling interrupting the constant stream of voices interrupting, overlapping and intertwining with one another. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Derpy, and Spike were lounging in the main lobby of the library while Twilight worked silently to systematically arrange and classify the books lining the shelves in the library.

The unicorn marveled at how well Derpy had done with categorizing and organizing her books. However, the perfectionist in her still insisted that everything had to be just right, so her evening was spent sorting books rather than partaking in casual banter as her friends had. She rolled her eyes, noticing the trend that had begun to guide the conversation – Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Spike were all sharing stories about Twilight with Derpy, most of them humorous at the expense of the unicorn.

She shrugged to herself in mild amusement – after all, having Derpy for a marefriend meant sharing everything with the pegasus, embarrassing moments and all. In addition to that, Derpy was certainly enjoying herself, and more than once Twilight had caught her stealing affectionate glances in her direction. She smiled to know that, rather than making her look foolish to Derpy, the stories seemed to be endearing her to the pegasus even more.

The discussion was currently revolving around her total of five days without sleeping when her future self had visited her, not to mention the commotion she caused by making everypony ‘disaster-proof’ all of Ponyville. While Rainbow Dash was chortling over Twilight’s attempt to stand completely still no matter what happened, a belch and flash of green emanated from beside Derpy, startling her noticeably. A small scroll dropped to the ground in the midst of the circle of friends while Spike awkwardly blew out a residual haze of smoke.

I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that, Derpy thought, glancing toward Spike, who gave her a sheepish grin as an apology.

Twilight trotted over nervously, picking up the response the princess had just sent via dragon-mail with a rosy glow of magic. The room hushed suddenly at the arrival, and everypony stared at Twilight with nervousness as she broke the seal over the letter and started to read.


Dear Twilight Sparkle, my most faithful student,

I would like to start by setting your mind at ease, as you seemed quite distraught in your letter to me. My dearest Twilight, there is no reason for you to feel ashamed or apologetic, least of all to me. I will be entirely honest with you – I expected you to react in the way you did, though how strongly I could not predict.

Regardless of how harshly you may judge yourself, remain calm in the knowledge that I do not think any less of you or harbor any anger toward you over this incident. I made the decision knowing fully that you would take it to heart and would likely resent me as a consequence. The importance lies in the fact that you reconciled with your friends and learned from the experience.

I am happy to hear that Derpy has had her cutie mark finish with its transformation, and it will certainly be documented as a first in Equestrian history. I look forward to being able to meet her myself, and I intend to do just that tomorrow. I would like you to have all your friends assembled in the library by noon, if at all possible on such short notice.

In addition, given the current circumstances that surround this ordeal, I have sent an additional letter with this one. It is to be delivered to Post Haste requesting a leave of absence for Derpy, so she may be present tomorrow and be given some time to recover from any aftereffects of the spell and the incident at the library that you described in your letter to me. I will assign two of our Canterlot mailponies to cover for her in her absence; from what I have heard about her, at least two will be needed to make up for her ability. If more are necessary, the Post Office need only request them. Derpy’s pay will be reimbursed through royal funding, in case she is concerned regarding loss of income.

As for the injuries inflicted to your friends, I am sorry to hear that the incident harmed them, though I am glad it was nothing more severe. I commend them for being understanding of the situation and not holding a grudge against you. It is more proof that you have friends that value your relationships above all else. I would recommend that Applejack spend the night at the library with you if that is acceptable for her. When I arrive tomorrow, I will bring some of our doctors to look over her wounds, as well as tend the burns and concussion that Rainbow Dash and Spike received, respectively.

Once again, I am proud of all of you for your strengthening friendships, and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Until then, I wish you a pleasant night.

Princess Celestia


Twilight looked up, her eyes wide at the unexpected contents of the letter. She had not anticipated such a praising and positive response, especially after her earlier mental meltdown. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and Spike, however, seemed to have taken the news in stride; it was no surprise to them that the princess had forgiven Twilight, and though she didn’t make a habit of it, it wasn’t entirely uncommon for Princess Celestia to visit Ponyville.

Derpy, though, sat completely immobile, petrified of the prospect that the princess, Princess Celestia herself, wanted to meet her personally. Rainbow Dash noticed her blank stare and flew over to Derpy, giving her a soft and playful punch to the shoulder.

“Don’t worry, Derpy. As much as Twilight tends to freak out over her, the princess is pretty cool. I’m sure she’ll love meeting you.”

Derpy snapped out of her trance and gave Rainbow Dash an appreciative smile. “Thanks, Rainbow. I guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m nervous.”

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “It’s not every day you have royalty make a special trip to meet you.” She nudged Derpy. “Besides, you’re marefriends with her prized student. She’s gonna want to know who you are.”

“She’s right, sugarcube,” Applejack added from her place on the couch. “Ain’t no point in gettin’ worked up over it. She’s gonna like ya just fine.” The farmpony turned her attention to the rest of the group.

“Ah got a few favors to ask of y’all, now that the princess brought ‘em up.” She fidgeted with her hooves momentarily, trying to pose her question in a way that wouldn’t be too crass.

“Twi, would y’all mind if Ah took the princess’ advice an’ crashed here tonight? Ah don’t wanna intrude on any of your special time together or nothin’, seein’ as ya just got together after a bit of a tussle…” Her gaze fell to the floor in embarrassment at the underlying connotation.

Twilight looked quizzically at Derpy, apparently missing the suggestive idea Applejack had been referring to. Derpy, however, had not missed it, and she was more than happy to let them know she was perfectly comfortable around them, regardless of the topic. A quick smirk crossed her face.

“Applejack,” Derpy began, drawing the mare’s face to hers in nervous apprehension, “are you asking us about make-up sex? Because, if you are, I highly doubt I’d be much use with all these bruises from the day I’ve had. Though,” she rubbed her muzzle with a hoof, a faux-playful grin spreading across her face and a sultry tone in her voice, “I just might…”

It took several seconds for everypony to process what Derpy was suggesting. Twilight blushed a violent shade of deep violet as the crimson mingled with her purple coat; Applejack stared straight at Derpy, her jaw completely slack at the brazen statement. Rainbow Dash simply burst out laughing at all the ponies’ reactions to Derpy’s unanticipated insinuation.

Derpy giggled quietly to herself for eliciting such an amusing response from her friends. She had no idea it had only started.

With an annoyed huff, Spike got up, folded his arms, and remarked in a cross, dry tone, “If anypony needs me, I’ll be moving my bed out of Twilight’s room. Probably permanently.”

The room erupted in peals of laughter as the dragon trudged up the stairs, and out of the corner of her eye, Derpy noticed Twilight giving her an amused, yet lecherous, grin.

After the chuckles and laughs had died away, Applejack returned to the question on hoof. “So, Ah never really got mah answer – y’all mind if Ah stay the night?” She shot a glance to Derpy, accompanied by a wink. “Ah’ll even stay on the couch down here, just in case y’all really are feelin’ frisky.”

Derpy grinned back. “I don’t mind; do you, Twi?”

Snapped out of her daze, Twilight shook her head. “By all means, feel free to stay, if you’d like to.” Now it was Twilight’s turn to do the unthinkable, looking Applejack directly in the eye as she said very matter-of-factly, “Though, if anything like that's going on tonight, I can’t promise we’ll be very quiet. Derpy can moan kind of loud.”

It took several long minutes for order to be restored in the library. As they wound down again, Spike tromped down the stairs, dragging his bed, blanket, and a small sack of gems to snack on. He looked around the room at the four mares, in tears of laughter. He sighed.

“The complete other side of the library it is, then,” he said irritably.

Order would have to wait a good long while before it could take residence in the library again.

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

“Well, Ah guess that’s settled, then,” Applejack remarked after finishing her broken questioning session. “Ah’ll spend the night here, Dash’ll let my family know Ah’m here, Derpy’ll go deliver that message to the post office so her boss gets it bright an’ early, Dash’ll gather up the other gals in the morning,” she paused, wondering if she dared. She decided she did.

“An’ Spike’ll gather socks ta stuff in y’all’s mouths if ya get too loud.”

Pandemonium ensued.

Finally gathering their wits, the mares each set off on their own tasks, Rainbow Dash flying toward Sweet Apple Acres, while Derpy made her way to central Ponyville, aimed for the post office. At least, this time she had her key, thanks to Rainbow Dash gathering her equipment.

Derpy let herself in, only to be greeted once again by the night shift, who eyed the mare cautiously; to them, it looked as though she had gotten into a fight with a badger and lost. Derpy gave them a curt nod, writing Post Haste on an envelope and sealing the letter inside. She set the envelope in the middle of his desk, politely asked the puzzled night crew to ensure that their boss received the letter, and let herself back out into the night air. She took a deep breath, savoring the refreshment it gave, then set out on a trot back to the library.