Evergreen, Act I

by DoctorEvergreen

First published

A traveling merchant arrives in Ponyville, bringing with him good tidings, strange commodities and a mysterious past.

A strange, new and friendly merchant comes to Ponyville in a bright white caravan. He brings peculiar healing potions, a joyous and social disposition, and a strange familiarity with many of the ponies in town. Twilight and friends spend the week that he is staying there to learn all they can about him, get to know him and otherwise make a new friend with a stallion from a far off land. Little did they know that behind this bright and helpful exterior, lied a mysterious and secluded past.

Chapter I: Passer-by

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Act I

The White Wagon Merchant

Chapter I


It was just another August nineteenth in Ponyville. The breeze was light and cool, everypony was lounging in the humidity of the coming monsoon season and everything was in a constant, tranquil siesta. Twilight and Spike were just finishing their shopping for feed and supplies to help Fluttershy with her animals later in the day.

“Ok, so that should be everything on the list.” Spike said as he checked off a box on the to-do list in his hand, “Think we need anything else?”

“Probably not.” Twilight replied, “Fluttershy said she only needed help with the small animals for today. Come on, we should get going if we don’t want to be-.”

She was interrupted mid-sentence as her sky-blue pegasus friend, Rainbow Dash, flew directly into her, colliding and knocking both of them to the ground in a cloud of dirt.

As the dust cleared, the two ponies and baby dragon found themselves in a dog pile of sudden, unexpected pain.

Twilight looked at Rainbow Dash and asked, still lying on her stomach with Spike lying across her back, “*groan* What was that for?”

“Sorry Twilight.” Rainbow responded, “I’ve sorta been in a rush to find you.”

Twilight asked as she and Spike began getting back up, brushing the dirt off their chests, limbs and Twilight’s saddlebag.

“What could possibly be so important that you had to tackle the both of us just to let us know?”

Dash picked herself back up as well, answering, “*heh* Well, it’s not that big, I just had to come and get you before we missed anything.”

“Anything of what?” Twilight asked, a hint of impatience brewing in her voice.

Dash said in a non-aggressive, but still implying manner, “I’m getting there, jeez!”

She calmed down a little and continued normally, “Every year or so, a trader comes into town who lives in this big, white caravan. The guy who runs the thing is really cool and has tons of healing magic, medicines and books on all sorts of stuff.”

Twilight and Spike were surprised to hear this, looking to each other for a second before Twilight said, “I’ve…never heard of magic being able to heal, and if he has books on the subject it sounds like it might be worth a look.”

Dash finished as she began batting her wings and suspending herself in mid-air, “Cool. If you want to find him, he should be in the town square by now. That’s where I’m headed, so I gotta go. Hope to see you there!”

She then turned and flew off in the direction of town square at her casual but quick pace of flight. As she flew away, Twilight began to ponder on the subject of this “healing magic” more and more, eventually becoming mentally immersed, unable to help but want to see it for herself.

“Spike, change of plans.” Twilight ordered, “Move everything on our schedule up by at least half an hour.”

She dusted the last bits of dirt off her saddlebag as Spike asked, “But what about our plans to help Fluttershy with her animals?”

“It’ll just be later in the schedule.” she answered, “Besides, she’ll probably be there with everypony else, assuming this is all it’s cracked up to be. We’ll be able to explain ourselves then.”

Spike simply shrugged, then nodded in agreement, hopping onto Twilight’s back and asking, “Well in that case, shall we?”

Twilight pronounced a subtle and happy “Let’s” and they were off for the town square.


As they walked into the square in the humidity of the afternoon, they spotted the alleged white caravan as it was being swarmed by ten or fifteen ponies, clambering obsessively to receive the supply or book of their choice. The look of the caravan seemed very exotic, with almost all the wood along it bearing an intricate design or trimming. It certainly looked more baroque than your everyday trader, but avoided being too flashy as the entire wagon was painted a nice, iridescent white, practically glowing as it rested in the mid-day sunlight. Nearby were all five of Twilight’s closest friends, conversing in a circle several yards from the caravan, almost all with saddlebags that appeared heavily filled. Twilight felt better about this ordeal knowing all her friends were not too far away, just in case she needed support for whatever might happen.

She approached her friends and was quickly noticed by Dash. Her expression grew gleeful as she knew that Twilight was joining them. She pointed Twilight out to everypony else and flew over to greet her, the group nearly attaining the same feeling of happiness as they noticed Twilight approaching them. As Dash hovered to a certain distance from Twilight, she slowed her forward momentum with an aerial sway back and forth, bringing herself to a calm midair stop.

She spoke to the duo in a friendly tone, “Twilight Sparkle and Spike the dragon. I was wondering when you two were gonna show up.”

Twilight replied as she trotted several more feet into speaking distance, looking up to the pegasus and speaking in the same tone, “I figured if this caught your attention so much, it must be worth at least a look.”

They both gave a contained giggle before Twilight stated, “I’m glad everypony else was able to join us.”

“You bet!” Dash replied, “Almost all of us have met this guy already, and I think almost all of us can agree that he’s quite the sweetheart *giggle*. Come on, let’s go meet up with the rest of the gals.”

She motioned a following hoof before Twilight happily nodded and they both proceeded to their friends.

As the two walked closer to the group, greetings and friendly grins were passed around. A timid hello from Fluttershy, a nice country greetin’ from Applejack, a formal addressing from Rarity and a very excitable and jumpy “Hi!” from Pinkie Pie. The first real bit of conversation came when Twilight asked Fluttershy after giggling from previous bits of small talk.

“So Fluttershy,” she said, “I’m guessing this means my visit today is going to have to wait?”

“Um…yes.” She replied quietly, “Sorry I didn’t tell you. I just remembered about the caravan earlier today. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Applejack added, “Yeah, since goods like his‘re only ‘round these parts once in a blue Moon, e’rypony tries t’ git their fill of it before he leaves town again.”

“Oh yeah," Spike said, entering the conversation, "he comes here once a year, right? Well in that case, how long does he stick around before leaving?”

“A week, approximately.” Rarity answered, “On occasions, he may even remain for a month if he does not have other matters to attend to.”

She paused shortly, looking like a curious, but somewhat sad thought had suddenly struck her.

“As a matter fact…” she continued, “…it has been a few some-odd years since his last visit. I can’t remember how many, but I know that he has not been here for quite some time.”

“Yeah, he has been gone for a while.” Dash interjected, “But don’t worry, we talked a second ago and he told me he’s been doing some research up in the more mountain-y parts of Equestria. He said he’s done and now he’s back to his old, annual schedule again.”

“That’s great!” Twilight mentioned, “I think…but wait. You gals actually keep track of when he’s or not?”

“Of course we do, silly!” Pinkie Pie loudly responded, “He sells some of the coolest potions, tonics and books about them in all of Equestria.”

Rainbow Dash added, “Yup, and it’s not even his stuff that makes him the most well-known trader in town.”

Twilight found this confusing, looking over to the obsessed mob of customers crowding his caravan, then looking back and asking, “Then how is he able to drum up business so well?”

Pinkie answered with, “Cuz he’s one of the most awesomest ponies ever, and between you and me,” she loudly whispered, “he’s quite the colt of mystery!”

“Oh come on Pinkie,” interrupted Rainbow, “he’s not that different from your everyday trader.”

“Well,” said Twilight, ending the conversation, “he certainly sounds interesting from what I’ve heard. So are we just going to talk about him or will I actually get to meet this guy?”

Everypony laughed a little before agreeing with a nod and making their way towards the white caravan.

As they approached during a break between the waves of clambering customers, the inside of the caravan came into view. Through a rectangular marketer’s window on the side, they could see a tall colt in a white lab coat with his back to the counter. He appeared to be cleaning a small glass object and re-organizing a few jars of chemicals on their shelves at the wall parallel to the counter.

When they were about at the counter’s edge, Rainbow said quietly to everypony else, “Allow me.” She then turned to the counter, slammed both hooves on its top and asked the colt in a cocky, friendly voice, “Care for another one on the house, my good man?”

“I already gave you five bottles Dashie.” the colt responded in a calm, friendly and mildly deep voice without turning around, “That should be plenty enough to last you ‘til my next visit.”

Dash giggled and said, “Fine, fine. Anywho, there’s actually a friend of mine I’d like you to meet. She didn’t even know about your annual visits ‘til I came along and told her all about how awesome you are.”

“*heheheh* Quite the flatterer, aren’t you Dashie?” the colt replied, “Ah well…” he paused, took off his lab coat, hung it on a nearby coat rack and turned around.

There stood a reasonably young stallion in his late twenties with a brilliant, alabaster coat carpeting his skin, and a height that looked like he was about half a head taller than your average colt. Small, circular, ebony reading spectacles hung on the bridge of his nose and he wore a white work shirt, unbuttoned at the top two buttons with sleeves that were rolled up past his elbows. A smooth, black undershirt was visible in the V of open shirt at its top, the bottom of his work shirt tucked neatly into the denim jeans he was wearing. A short, pointy raven-colored mane hung from his head and came together in sleek, thick triangles around the level of his brow. Although, one of the most distinctive of his features were his unusually designed eyes, just a black ring lying in the middle of a sea of glistening sclera, with a pupil of the same brilliant white. He stood, cleaning a test tube with a small rag and smiling contently, speaking in a young voice of deep composure, experience and care.

“Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.”


Rainbow said, “Awesome!” and pulled Twilight to her side over the shoulder, “This is my friend, Twilight Sparkle.”

“It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you,” the colt replied nicely before reaching his hoof out and shaking Twilight’s, “I’m a doctor.”

“It’s very nice to meet you Doctor…?” replied Twilight.

“Just a doctor,” he answered, “or Doc for short. I was never much for complex names.”

“How come?” Twilight asked.

“Cuz I’ve been called a lot more difficult things in my travels.” Doc answered as he picked the test tube back up and continued polishing it, “Thought I’d pick something anypony can remember. Anyway, anything I can get’cha?”

“Actually Doc,” Rainbow Dash added, “Twilight here seemed more interested in the healing magic you have than anything else I told her about. Care to give a demonstration?”

Doc threw his gaze to the upper corner of his eyes, pondering whether or not to show her with a thoughtful expression.

After a brief pause, he looked at Twilight and said, “Sure, and a perfect chance too, considering that you have a scraped knee.”

Twilight glanced down at her right hind leg in slight surprise to see a small scrape on the kneecap, a single drop of blood oozing from its carmine crease. It must have happened when Rainbow accidently plowed her into the dirt, amazingly unnoticed until just now.

“Come closer, if you would.” Doc said to her politely.

When she did so, he said, “Hold still please.” holding his fore-hooves in the direction of the injury. They began to glow with a slight greenish tint much like a unicorn’s horn performing magic. Bathed in the green aura, the wound slowly put itself back together, as if it were reversing the damage dealt. The top of the abrasion folded down to its original position, the bead of scarlet sucked back up into the injury, dispersing throughout it as the lower flap of skin lifted back to attention and the wound zipped itself shut. Even though the area still hurt for some reason, Twilight was amazed that the rumor of healing magic was actually true…then something occurred to her.

She asked accusatorily, “Wait a minute; magic can only be done by unicorns. How are you doing that as an earth pony?”

“Uh…it’s a…long story.” Doc answered nervously.

An awkward silence began to rear its ugly head before Doc looked up and noticed Spike.

“A baby dragon?!" he said, "Wow, I haven’t seen one of you in quite a while!”

This caught everypony’s attention as they all looked at Spike for a split second, then back at Doc.

“You seen babeh dragons before?” AJ asked disbelievingly.

“Oh of course.” Doc answered, “Some of my best friends are dragons, actually.”

The group was lightly surprised by the sudden mention of this strange fact, making everypony give Doc a weird look.

“Never heard that story before." Dash interjected shortly after, "But anywho, Twilight here’s quite the bookworm, so ya mind if she can get a copy of one of those books you’ve written?”

Doc regained the smile that slowly drooped moments ago and said, “Oh, sure thing.”

He reached under the counter and hoofed her a seemingly thin book.

“And for a new customer, and friend,” he said, “free of charge.”

Twilight was very grateful to him for this, followed by her asking, “So, mind if I show up same time tomorrow?”

Doc replied while putting the freshly polished test tube onto a rack of crystal clear ones, “I sure hope so. I still have yet to get to know more about you…I like you Twilight Sparkle…can’t wait to hear your story. Anyway, see you all later.”

He proceeded to turn around and reorganize the chemicals and various books on the shelves and desk compartments.

As the six mares trotted away from the wagon, Twilight said to Dash, “Thanks for telling me about Doc, Rainbow. Care to join me on my rendezvous tomorrow?”

“Heck yeah!” Dash eagerly answered, “I visit Doc every day that he’s here. You should hear some of the stories he tells, absolutely crazy stuff. Anywho,” she turned to the rest of the group, saying, “See you gals later!” before taking off to her home in the clouds.

The rest of the crew soon took their leave after some small talk and headed home for the day. Twilight and Spike made their way home for Spike to finish his afternoon chores and for Twilight to catch up on a little reading. She knew that she had quite a day ahead of her tomorrow…for better or for worse.

Copyright 2012

Chapter II: Acquaintance

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter II


Twilight awoke the next day sitting at her desk, her face in the healing book as it lied open amongst a disaccorded pile of parchment. She checked the time, eleven forty-five. She knew she shouldn’t have stayed up so late, but she was compelled to figure out how this healing magic worked, since most biological magics are illegal and the ones that aren’t are either too difficult to cast or serve little to no use.

As she made her way to the kitchen for some breakfast, Spike noticed her and said in a sunshine-like tone, “Mornin’ sleepy horse. Somepony was up a little after hours last night, weren’t they?”

Twilight answered with a morning grumble and continued toward the kitchen.

Before she waltzed out of sight in her sleep-drunken stupor, Spike said, “Check the counter for your breakfast. I made your favorite!”

Twilight heard this, looked back over her shoulder and gave a nice, closed eye grin followed by a “Thanks Spike, can always count on you, can’t I?”

When she reached the kitchen, she found a full breakfast sitting on a breakfast-in-bed tray, comprised of a stack of four syrup drenched flapjacks with butter on top, a tall glass of milk and an orange on the side cut into four pieces. Twilight would have shed a tear if she didn’t know that this is how Spike usually is; a dragon with a true understanding of loyalty and a full life ahead of him. Twilight picked up the tray and took it to her desk. Dining on the savory flapjacks, she surveyed various notes and papers on the table. She was just finishing off the flapjacks, orange and sipping on her half full glass of milk when she uncovered the book on healing magic from underneath an avalanche of study material she accidently piled on top of it.

She remembered something important, asking Spike suspiciously, “Hey Spike…about what time did we meet Doc yesterday?”

Spike replied, “Oh about…um…noonish.” Twilight checked the time, eleven fifty-eight.

She instantly snapped out of her quarter drowsiness and rushed to clean herself up for her meeting with Doc and Rainbow Dash.

After quickly combing out her mane and brushing her teeth, she was just about to gallop out the front door when she brought herself to a screeching halt, turning around and asking Spike, “Oh Spike, you wanna come with?”

Spike was in the middle of mopping the hardwood floor of the Library when he replied, “Nah, I still have a few more chores to do. If I can, I might catch up with you later. But for now, hope you have fun!”

Twilight said, “Thanks Spike.” before heading out the front door and for the town square as fast as she could.

As she galloped around the corner of a candle shop, completely out of breath, she saw Doc and a hovering Rainbow Dash at the near center of the town square, having a conversation a small ways away from the fountain. She rested her hoof on the candle shop wall and caught her breath for a moment, then cantered in the direction of the two.

Doc looked slightly to his left, noticed her and said to Dash, “Hey! There’s Twilight.”

Dash looked to her right, said, “Really? Oh yeah, it is her.” and began waving to her happily.

“Hey Twilight! Over here!”

Twilight exhaustedly waved back as she drew closer and the two turned in her direction.

When she reached the pair, she said, “Hey *pant* guys *pant* how’s it *cough* going?”

Dash responded looking to the top-right corner of her eyes, “Eh, same old, same old.”

She looked back to Twilight and continued, noticing her fatigue, “You okay?”

“Yeah, *cough* *HACK*, I’m good. Just a little worn out.”

“You look really exhausted.” said Doc, “Did you run here from wherever it is you live?”

Twilight gave her last croak before answering, “Yup *pant* *phew*.”

“That’s quite the distance for a sprint like that.” Dash remarked, “But back to the subject, we were actually just talking about you.”

“Oh yeah, Dashie here was just telling me stuff about you.” Doc added.

Twilight asked in a puff, “Really?” let her head hang for a second to give one more pant, then looked back up and continued, “What kind of stuff?”

“Not much.” Dash explained, “In fact the two of us just barely got here ourselves. All I’ve really been able to tell him was the story of how we met.”

Doc failed to conceal his chuckles and snickers before sighing and saying, “I would have given anything to have seen your mane after that ‘rain-blow dry’ thing Dashie did.”

“Hardy har, very funny.” Twilight countered, “*heh* But anywho, on the subject of today, what do you guys want to do?”

“I was actually thinking we could just walk around town and talk more about you.” Doc suggested, “I’ve already heard the beginning, and can’t wait to hear more."

Twilight and Dash just gave a simple “O.K.” and “Sounds good to me” before joining Doc as they walked down the street towards the park.


They walked for several minutes in silence, admiring the various scenery of the town that never really changed. Twilight broke the silence as she caught a glimpse of a dove sitting on the branch of a weeping willow.

“So Doc, where are you from?”

“Hm? Oh, I come from a lot of places.” Doc answered, “With all the traveling, it’s sometimes hard to keep track.”

He halfway turned his head around and looked at her with his left eye, asking, “I’m assuming you’re from here?”

“Actually, no.” She replied, “A year ago, I was moved here from Canterlot on official business.”

“Yup!” Dash added, “And we’ve been best buds ever since, along with everypony else.”

They were just passing Sugarcube Corner at that point.

Twilight noticed the charming bakery and asked, “Yeah. Say Doc, care to give any of your stories on how you met the rest of us?”

“Oh, you mean the rest of your friends?” Doc asked before giving a somewhat gleeful reply, “Sure! Which one do you wanna hear first?”

Dash put her hoof around Twilight’s shoulder as she hinted, “Why don’t you start out with the best?”

Doc chuckled at Dash’s narcissistic remark and said, “*sigh* Fine Dashie, I’ll tell yours first.”

Dash gave a condensed “Yes!” and Doc began.

“Last time I remember, it was ten years ago, and Dashie here was just a wittle filly.”

He was cutoff as Dash rolled her eyes and added with a blank tone, “True, I was nine, but you know your just saying that to make me seem younger.”

He turned to her and mentioned, “And I’m also the one telling the story. Your Point?”

Dash stared back at him with an annoyed face before Doc responded with a smirk, turned his head back to the direction they were walking and continued.

“Anyway, it was about ten years ago and Dashie decided to walk up to my wagon all by her wittle self.”

Doc said the last words in the sentence like a parent would say to a toddler, further mocking Dash and suddenly making her regret having him tell the story.

Twilight tried miserably to keep herself from laughing at his foolishness, while all Dash could do was roll her eyes again and keep herself from hitting him in the back of the head. Doc continued.

“She asked me if I could cheer her on as she practiced a few flying techniques. The funny thing is, back then her flight routines were just a loop and a roll or two. I’ve seen how she does now, and I gotta say, I’m impressed with her improvement.”

Now Dash responded with a more proud infliction, huffing onto her hoof once and then buffing it on her chest with a satisfied smile. Typical Dash.

“After that,” Doc continued, “we talked, told stories, got to know each other and well…here we are.”

“Yep.” Dash replied. “I’ve basically known him my entire life since then. Over the years, I eventually introduced him to everypony else in our little friend circle.”

“Yeah,” Doc added, “and as I met each one I got to know them too.” He widened his eyes and shook his head lightly, tilting his head up slightly and saying, “And my word, what ponies they are.”

“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.

He answered, “I mean the heart in Applejack, the sustained greatness in Fluttershy, the sophistication in Rarity, the energy in Pinkie,” He gave Dash a friendly, sibling-like noogie, “the soul in Dashie here, and from what I’ve seen so far, the prioritative grasp and true discerning of others that you absolutely excel in. I’ve seen many ponies like you in my travels, and almost all of them have grown to be some of the best living things to exist in this world. Their very presence can lighten a mood, their very voice can control the movement of the sun and their personalities are like a flower in a sea of rocks. They are, singlehoofedly, the most beautiful things a fool like me could ever hope to last in this a cold, cold world we live in.”

They all stopped in the sudden surprise of such an intricate statement. Doc’s eyes widened, realizing he had said it out loud as he shyly stammered.

“Oh…uh…sorry I…erm.”

Twilight was dumbstruck by what she had just heard, saying, “Wow…that was…”

“Sorry…it’s just…”

“…amazing!” Twilight continued, “I guess a lot of the stuff I’ve heard about you is true! I’ve never known anypony to say something so…sweet to somepony they’ve barely even met.”

“Yeah…sorry.” Doc recovered, “It’s just that you…remind me of somepony I know.”

“Well I’m sure that whoever that is,” Dash remarked, “they sure are lucky to have somepony as cool as you thinking about them like that.”

Doc blushed and gave a big closed eye grin whilst scratching the back of his head with his left hoof.

“Heh, thanks.” he said before shaking his head, “But anyways, any other place you two wanna go?”

“Well I’ve already shown you all the other places where my friends live.” Dash suggested, “Why don’t we show you where Twilight lives?”

“That sounds like an idea.” Doc replied whole-heartedly, “Although from where we are now, it might take a while.”

“Actually,” Twilight mentioned, “it’s not that far from here. C’mon, I’ll show you.”

Doc just said, “Okay.” and the triplet was off to the Library.

After twenty minutes or so of walking, the Library came into view. Doc ironically began a small conversation, asking, “So Twilight, what is your place like anyway?”

Twilight lifted her hoof in the direction of the Library and said, “You’re looking at it.”

Doc looked in front of him, realized that it was the Library, and froze for several seconds before a pleasant grin slowly grew across his face.

Dash noticed this and asked, “Eh, Doc…what’s wrong?”

His eyes widened very slightly as he heard his name, looked to his right and answered, “Hm? Oh, it’s just that…I didn’t expect this to be the place.”

“Yeah *heh*.” said Twi flamboyantly. “To be honest I actually am quite the bookworm. It’s more or less the reason the princess herself asked me to be her personal student…not to brag or anything.”

Doc’s grin and eye widening immediately altered from a nostalgic glow to a minor, past-induced appearance of surprise as he asked, “You…were one of Princess Celestia’s private students?”

Twilight answered with a still lighthearted persona of conversation even with Doc’s suspicious reaction.

“Yeah, ever since I was a filly. She’s been so good to me in that time. I just don’t know what I would’ve done without her.”

Doc responded feebly whilst slowly averting his gaze to the ground, as if he felt shame, “Yeah…I guess she is pretty nice huh?”

This surprised Twilight, so she asked, “Do you know the princess?”

Doc pulled himself from his near depressed stupor and said, “Uh yeah, I mean no, I mean…Sorry, it’s another long story.”

Dash finally stopped hovering since they began their walk to this spot, faced him and asked, “Doc, you and I both know that when you don’t wanna talk about it, it’s a long story. What’s wrong?”

Doc shook his head and answered, “No, it’s nothing.” before attempting to end the conversation on a lighthearted note.

“Anyway, I guess I’ll see you two later.”

He walked away from the two and in the direction of the town square.

Twilight timidly offered before he got too far, “You can come inside and have some lunch if you want. I don’t mind.”

“Well…it’d be rude to resist an offer like that from a new friend,” Doc answered just as bashfully. He retrieved that humble, at peace, nostalgic simper he first had and replied, “Why not?”


As they entered the Library, Spike was standing atop the pinnacle of a very long ladder, directly in front one of the many enormous bookcases that lined some of the building’s walls. With five or six books under his arm, he was placing a several others into their correct places, helping as he usually does.

As the trio approached, Twilight said, “Hey Spike, finishing up morning chores?”

Spike replied after some slight surprise, “Yep, just need a few more books.”

He looked over his right shoulder and saw the three. A smile began to form on his scaly face before the force of his turning made him wobble back and forth, eventually sending him toppling backwards. He was about to clash with the hardwood floor when Doc took several calm steps forward, put a hoof between Spike’s back and the floor, and caught him with ease. When Spike unclenched his eyes from anticipation of impact, he saw Doc’s amused face.

“I don’t believe we’ve properly met.”

A minute or two later, they were all sitting at a circular table that stood just in front of one of the bookcase walls, out of the way and perfect for a group of friends to enjoy talking in peace. Twilight sat on one side, Spike to her left, Dash across from him and Doc to her right. They spoke as good friends while sipping on cups of chamomile, all except Dash who just had a bottle of water.

“So Doc,” Spike asked, continuing the conversation they were having, “what kind of places do you go to?”

“Oh, all kinds of places,” he answered before taking a quick but calm sip of his tea, “and not just here in the country either.”

After taking a long chug from her water bottle, crossing her forelegs and placing her elbows on the table, Dash added, “Yeah, and with each place he goes, there’s always a new story to tell.”

“You sure have talked about these stories a lot Rainbow,” Twilight mentioned, “what are they like?”

“Crazy.” Dash simply responded. “Doc here always tells stories about how he helps others, goes on adventures and even saves ponies’ lives.”

Doc pointed at Dash lightly with his teacup whilst making the remark of, “You make it sound like I brag about it.”

His shoulders fell after giving two chuckles, then looked to the lower rights of his eyes with a humble smile as he continued, “Really, I only do it because I’ve met a lot of ponies that could use a hoof. It just feels like the right thing to do, ya know?”

“Kind, mysterious and honest to boot!” Dash said to Twilight and Spike before putting her right hoof on his head and rustling his mane, “What’s not to like about this guy?”

They got into a friendly poke fight, almost as if they were true siblings before Doc gently pushed Rainbow off of him, laughing elatedly and wiping a tear of happiness from his eye.

“*sigh* Anyway…Twilight,” he said, “I hope you don’t mind me bringing up the subject, but you said earlier that you used to be one of the Princess’s apprentices, right?”

“Yeah, ever since I really became interested in magic,” Twilight responded. “Why do you ask?”

“I just wanted to ask…how has she been lately?” He pondered.

“Ah, so you do know her!” Twilight mentioned, giving a slight, smirking laugh.

“Um…yeah.” Doc said, sinking his head into his shoulders, “To be honest, one of the things you’ll learn about me is that I can be a horrible liar. How I know her though, I’m going to have to keep a secret.”

He leaned back in his chair and took a long, closed-eyed sip from his tea with both fore-hooves on the cup.

“In that case…” Dash asked in the cocky voice she has used on Doc throughout his entire stay, “Why do you wanna know?”

“Just figured I’d ask…” Doc answered as he finished sipping, “I haven’t been able to check up on her when my travels take me to Canterlot. So I thought if I could ask anypony, it’d be you.”

“Thanks…” Twilight responded, “That’s really nice of you, and I’m more than happy I could help.”

“Well, this was a nice meet-up.” Dash said after finishing off the last drops of water left in her bottle and standing up. “Sorry for the abrupt ending, but I got a few moves to practice. Say Doc, wanna come along and cheer me on for old times’ sake?”

“Sure.” Doc answered, “Just let me check on the caravan before I do. Ponies are probably wondering where the heck I am, especially since I should be working right now.”

“Alright, I’ll meet you out by the fields in a bit.” Dash responded. “See you later guys!” she finished before taking flight and silently gliding through and out the door.

Doc stood up, pushed his chair in and remarked, “I better get going, or she’ll never let me hear the end of it. Twilight, Spike,” he ended politely, bowing to the both of them as he said, “it has been awesome in every sense of the word.”

He picked up his tea cup with his mouth, attempting to speak through his teeth by saying, “Ipft you may jush direc me ‘o the kishen, I’ll ake thish back foh you.”

“Oh, allow me Doc.” Spike offered as he got out of his chair.

“Thanks Spike,” Doc said after untightening his jaw and giving Spike the teacup, saying in a much clearer manner than before, “very kind of you.”

As Spike walked towards the kitchen with a friendly smile on his face, Doc said to Twilight with a look of appreciation and wisdom, coped with a dash of nostalgia.

“You have quite the assistant there, loyal even to somepony they’ve only known for an afternoon.”

“Yup!” Twilight simply acknowledged. “And he’s got quite the life ahead of him. I just wonder what he’ll be like when he grows up.”

“Yeah, quite a life…” Doc said subtly, looking at the ground as if in reminiscence. He snapped back into a casual persona, saying, “Anyway, I gotta go. See you later, Twilight.” before making his way to and out the door.

“Okay…bye.” Twilight said to herself.

Spike came back to find Twilight sipping her tea alone with a pleasant look on her face, as if the other two were still there.

“Hey, where’d Doc go?” Spike, asked Twilight confusedly.

“He had to leave for Dash’s trick, remember?” Twilight responded in a tranquil voice.

“Oh yeah.” Spike said, “That’s a shame. I wanted to say bye to him before he left. He seems like such a cool guy.”

“Yeah…cool guy…” Twilight responded, staring at the front door in a silent bliss.

After looking at her, the front door and back at her quizzically, Spike asked, “What’cha thinking about, Twilight?”

“Oh nothing,” she said before she took a third to last sip of her tea and continued, “I just think we made a new friend…and quite the colt of mystery he is.”

Copyright 2012

Chapter III: Strange Friend o’ Mine

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter III

Strange Friend o’ Mine

That night, the moonlight was more luminous than ever before in Ponyville. The delicate breeze made leaves whistle as it passed by in the absolute silence of nightfall, and the moonshine through those very leaves brokenly illuminated the path as Twilight took a midnight stroll. She had been reading all day and was already nearing the end of the book that Doc had given her, half of it instructions on how the healing magic is used and the other half comprised of detailed, biological drawings showing how the magic tailors the pony body back together. Twilight thought the information to be amazingly useful and well-organized, but regarded a warning mentioned in the book, saying not to attempt use of the magic unless in the possession of a high degree in medical training. She knew she wouldn’t be able to use her new skills, but was more than content that they were at her disposal. And now, mere pages away from finishing her studies of it, she felt a period of mitigation amongst the dark blue vale of dimmed hours would be nice after reading the book for so long. A gentle flurry chilled Twilight’s back as she walked, wearing a cloak as to not freeze. She always hated cold weather, even after spending most of her life in the mountainside utopia of Canterlot, so much higher in elevation, and thus, chillier nighttime climate than its surrounding villages of the valley. Nevertheless, Twilight continued to march, embracing the cloak over her shoulders as a frigid gust rolled up under it and across her spine. She observed the various houses and buildings beyond the line of bushes she walked beside, separating the main street from the off-road trail she was on. As she sauntered by, she could see each house sitting peacefully in respite, a few lights gleaming through the windows or holes of closed shutters. But breaking the calm beauty of the night was a dark figure that Twilight noticed lurking on the outskirts of The Carousel Boutique.

“How could anypony be out at this hour?” she thought, “It’s the dead of night!”

She grew dangerously curious and figured she would follow the shadow, wanting to learn its intentions for being out at such a strange time. The shadow took a bizarre route amongst town, pausing outside the homes of Twilight’s friends and gazing at them for a minute or two. All the while, Twilight continued to pursue close behind on the off-road path, concealed by the shrubs and trees of the brush. The persona traversed from place to place, outside Sugarcube Corner, the Carousel Boutique, Fluttershy’s cottage, locations to overview the majority of Sweetapple Acres and Rainbow Dash’s home in the Clouds, lastly taking a swift but calm path to the Library. The figure stood in front of the Library the longest out of all aforementioned places, simply staring at the gigantic tree in what could be deep thought. Twilight noticed the silhouette’s shoulders rise with the black, hooded cloak it wore and then droop suddenly, as if the figure gave a sigh. Then suddenly, the shadowy pony sprinted directly for the tree and leapt vertically when it approached its base, jumping and swinging from branch to branch until it reached the pinnacle of the tree’s roof. Twilight sat in awe at what she had just witnessed, the fluid motions of the acrobatic pony as it elevated itself up the tree’s bark like a true expert. She looked again, saw the figure sit down on the canopy of leaves that made up the Library’s roof, remove its hood and show the outline of a slim colt with glasses staring up at the Moon. Twilight finally recognized this persona as she stalked around the Library to the shadow’s left, seeing the moonlight refract off the white coat of the stallion she had just gotten to know earlier that day. She continued watching patiently as Doc visually probed the lunar surface, a smile and unblinking glare displayed on his face. Twilight flinched back into the underbrush when Doc looked downwards at his chest, reached into the torso of his cloak and pulled up a C-shaped pendant strung around his neck by a thick, dark brown string. He gazed at it for a moment, then kissed it and pushed it to his forehead as a tear began to slowly roll down his cheek. Twilight wondered what this meant, as this instant of reminiscence, sadness or remembrance began to strangely bring a tear to her eye as well. She saw Doc bring the pendant back to the level of his heart, looking back to the Moon with the tear line still rolling down his cheek, motioning his lips as if to slowly read the words,

“I’m sorry.”


The next day, Twilight woke up at approximately five-fifteen in the morning after willingly catching some sleep postliminary to last night’s ordeal. She pulled herself out of bed, muscles aching but mentally wide awake as she made her way to the kitchen, deciding to make breakfast herself for once. She hadn’t done so in a little while, Spike usually being the chef of the house, so she simply made a bowl of cereal and grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl on the kitchen counter. She took her breakfast to the desk she usually read at and cleared up the mess of study material on the table. Afterwards, she picked up the book Doc gave her and finished it over the course of the next few minutes whilst calmly eating her breakfast. When she finished, she wondered what compelled her to act as such. She felt as though she was on auto-pilot…like she had a thought that was taking precedence over all others and forcing in a certain, unknown direction. As she watched the sunrise peek over the nearby mountain tops, blinding her for a moment, she began to wonder what the day would hold in store for her. She remained sitting there, watching the sun rise and the earth below it slowly awake until about seven in the morning. Spike was just waking up then, sleepily waltzing down into the foyer to begin his daily duties. When he saw Twilight sitting at her desk through the half open eye he wasn’t rubbing with a fist, he was dumbfounded to find her up so early. So, he began to approach, but was quickly noticed by the keenly sharpened senses Twilight had suddenly acquired that morning.

“Mornin’ Spike, sleep well?” she asked with a smile before nonchalantly looking back over the desk and out the window without waiting for a response.

“What on earth are you doing up so early? You’re going to get sleep deprived if you keep this up.” Spike responded as he pulled up a nearby chair.

“Thank you Spike,” Twilight subtly replied to his concern, “but to tell you the truth, I don’t know why I’m up so early.”

She took a long pause, looking down at her desk and at the healing book, then looking back out the window and off into the distance as she spoke.

“…I think I’m gonna go see Doc again today.”

Not wasting any time, she pushed herself away from the desk and began to head straight for the door. Spike, still oblivious to Twilight’s behavior, said to her as he looked over the back of his chair.

“Already? Jeez, you sure are on the move today. What’re you thinkin’ about that’s got you acting so differently?”

She replied, staring at the ground after a short pause of searching it for an answer, responding with a blank expression.

“I honestly don’t know what I’m thinking about Spike.”

A miniature smile pulled itself up on her face as she looked back up to him and said,

“I guess that’s why I feel so different.”

Minutes later, she was making her way to the town square to see the famous white caravan open for business, Doc standing behind the counter as he waited for the avalanche of customers to come pouring in for the morning rush hour. Twilight spotted Doc and her blank expression of deep thought instantly disappeared, reconstituted with an expression of sunlight and joy. She cantered happily towards the caravan and was noticed by Doc as she drew closer.

“Hey Twilight, you’re up early.” Doc said as Twilight came up the steps of the platform and Doc leaned on the counter with his elbows.

“Yeah, I actually got some good sleep last night, if you can believe that.” Twilight responded, stepping up to the counter.

“I didn’t know you haven’t been getting good sleep lately, something wrong?”

“No, just a lot on my mind, you know?” she said while scratching the back of her head.

Doc took out a mopping rag from under the counter and began to clean the countertop with it.

“Yeah, I know how ya feel. Anyway, need anything?”

“No, not really. Although, I did finish the book you gave me.” She said.

“In two days?!” Doc responded in surprise, “That’s impressive, even for me. *heh* And I’m assuming that by ‘a lot on your mind’ you meant ‘pulling all-nighters reading the darn thing’, right?”

“Yeah, that’s most of it.” Twilight said as her cheeks crimsoned a little, followed by the both of them chuckling like good friends.

“So, have anything planned for the day?” Twilight asked happily as they finished sighing from their laughter.

Doc looked to the top right of his eyes and placed his non-busy left hoof on his muzzle in contemplation of any recent requests. He continued to compel this thought for a few more seconds until his eyes widened and he spoke.

“Oh, I remember AJ asking me to help at the Acres with some harvest work. Why do you ask?”

Twilight leaned slightly forward, widened her irises, and asked politely with a childishly ambitious face.

“May I join you?”

“Um…sure.” Doc responded, mildly surprised by the question before he continued, “Never took you for the working type though, no offense.”

“None taken and believe me, I’m not the working type,” Twilight humorously mentioned, “but I figured I could just be there to make your job easier, ya know?”

Doc tilted his head slightly to the left and smiled as though he were just given a very nice compliment.

“Thanks Twilight…” he said brightly, “that’s very kind of you. If you want to meet up with us, go see AJ, Big Macintosh and myself outside the gates to Sweetapple Acres in about…”

He checked the watch on the wrist of his left foreleg.

“one hour.”

“I’ll be there” Twilight said as she happily gave a closed-eyed grin accompanied by a salute.

She began to walk away from the caravan, but before she could get too far, Doc caught her attention.

“Hey Twilight!”

She turned around and Doc said after putting the mopping rag back under the counter.

“You seem…‘different’ somehow…I like it.”

“Thanks…” She said with a slight blush before continuing to walk towards wherever she would spend the next hour in anticipation.


The past hour had been a painful wait, but about fifty minutes later, Twilight was walking on the trail that led to Sweetapple Acres, ready for her day of honest farm work. She saw the farm as she drew closer, the barn in a much calmer state than usual with AJ and Mac in serious conversation, standing several yards past the wooden, labeled arch that served as the main entrance to the estate. When Twilight was within ear shot of the two, she shouted to catch their attention, succeeded, and continued towards the farm to talk with her work-horse friends who were now in a surprisingly happier mood. When the three met up a few feet from the wooden arch, Twilight greeted them in the casual way she does. AJ gave the same old greetn’ as always and Big Macintosh simply smiled and raised his hoof lightly off the ground in a shy, miniscule wave.

“So, you need sum’m?” AJ asked Twilight as they finished introductions.

“Actually, I came here to help you and Doc with the apple harvest this morning.” “Realleh?” Applejack asked after gawking with disbelieving look, “Whah the su’en urge ta come’n work on the farm?”

“I just felt like helping somepony today, especially if it’s Doc and you guys. I hope you don’t mind.” Twilight responded.

“ ‘Course we don’t!” AJ kindheartedly answered, “The more, the merrier, raht Big Macintosh?”

He responded, the same subtle way he always has, giving a light nod and saying that one word in his deep, disused, hardworking voice.


Several minutes passed. In the distance, Doc was just trotting over the hill and into view of the farm on the same trail taken by Twilight. After crossing under the arc unnoticed, Doc spoke to the trio of friends as he approached from behind them.

“Don’t tell me you guys are starting without me.”

Twilight instantly recognized his tone, spun around and gave Doc a grand, squeezing hug.

“Doc!” she said, “It’s so good to see you again!”

“Whoa!” Doc responded, elbows pointed outwards above Twilight as she wrapped around his ribcage, “*heh* You really are in a good mood today! What’s got your chin so high?”

“I just felt like doing stuff with you today.” Twilight responded, “For some reason, I felt happier when I saw you and…I guess I just wanted to keep it up.”

Doc once again smiled as if he was receiving the nicest of adulations before promptly hugging her back.

“Alraht ya luvbirds, break i’ up.” AJ sneered with a smirk, “We’ll have plenty a’ tahm fer that later.”

They both broke the friendly embrace instantly, Twilight’s cheeks crimsoning exceedingly as Doc responded, scratching the back of his head with his right hoof as his own blush was minor in comparison to Twilight’s.

“Er…yeah, I guess your right.”

A moment later, he noticed the presence of Big Macintosh, saying to him in a much calmer state,

“Hi Mac.”

Mac, who scarcely spoke, responded deeply.

“How many times ‘ave Ah told’ja not ta call me that?”

“Not enough apparently.” Doc replied with a clever smile, “Still as subtle as ever, I see.”

Mac smirked to Doc’s wise comment, giving his usual, “Eeyup.” a much prouder, yet friendlier affliction.

“You still up for the usual post-harvest race?” Doc spunkly asked before Mac and Doc butt foreheads like young bucks, both of them with a happy, competitive look on their faces and a hoof up in a challenging drawback.

“D’ ya realleh think I’ll say no?” Mac answered at Doc’s face in a much more gutsy voice than how he usually speaks.

“Boys!” AJ exclaimed, causing the both of them to look alertedly at her, listening as she ordered to them and made her way to some nearby saddlebuckets.

“You two c’n have yer tussle after we harvest.”

She grabbed two of the saddlebucket pairs and individually slung them at the guys’ stomachs in turn with the first two commands she gave, wearing an authoritative but friendly smile on her orange, sun-soaked face.

“Now, shut up, break it up and git busy, we got work ta do.”

The first hour or so into the harvesting went smoothly. All four of them walked along a trail on their way back to the farm to dump off the saddlebuckets of apples each had on their backs, filled to the brim with a good days work. Most were silent as they cantered, the only real noises being the harmonious melody of surrounding birds, the rustling of leaves as they danced in the sunlight and Big Macintosh whistling the classic “Blue Moon” as he trotted, almost unaffected by the manual labor he was so accustom to over the years. Doc, stepping to the beat of the tune Mac trilled, being one of his favorites, kept up with the group despite the large, heavily-filled tub he slung between the two buckets on his sides, acting as though such labor was simply average work.

The girls had nothing special for their harvesting manner. They simply walked at their own pace and kept to themselves. Twilight, however, sped up her trotting at one point, catching up with AJ and whispering to her in disclosure from the guys.

“Hey Applejack.”

“Sup?” AJ responded without the slightest ounce of secrecy or discretion.

“Why were the guys butting heads and talking all manly an hour ago?” Twilight continued, ignoring her friend’s lack of reticence.

AJ secluded her tone only slightly, the guys being a little farther up the trail, so they were out of ear shot all the same.

“Oh they’re jus’ boys, always pickin’ scraps with one another. *sigh* Ah’m jus’ glad they see eye ta eye.”

In the short distance, Doc flaunted the fact that he was carrying more than Mac in his face, causing him to sock Doc in his upper foreleg with the same competitive smile his good friend wore.

“Ah jus’ can’t ever imagine those two bein’ enemies.” AJ continued, “Idiotic brothers maybeh, but never enemies.”

A miniscule fight built up between the guys, Doc pushing back after getting knocked in the bicep and Mac pushing back twice as hard after that, causing Doc to lose his balance and plow back-first into a bale of hay on the side of the road, dropping every apple he was carrying out of the various types of buckets he had along his body.

“Boys!” AJ yelled as the guys were laughing happily over the situation.

This caught both of their attentions in a sudden frightening, much like a wild animal as it spots a threat.

“Wha’d Ah say about you two scrappin’?” AJ bantered in a parental tone, “At leas’ drop yer share of the apples off before ya start! Dang near spilled e’ry last one outta yer buckets. *sigh* Really, what am Ah gonna do with you two?”

She stuck her hoof out to Doc and began pulling him up from the stack of hay.

“You could stop acting like our mother for one thing.” Doc said with a pressured tone as he was rose back to his hooves.

If Doc hadn’t already been up, AJ would have dropped him like a rock and said the same thing she said then.

Don’t you start with me Doc. If Ah wasn’t here ta keep an eye on ya both, not a single bit of work would get done. Ya’d probleh break e’rything in the farm with yer constant bickerin’ just before breakin’ yerselves! Now pick up yer mess, the farm’s just a bit up the road.”

Twilight caught back up with her, now trotting ahead of the group as the guys were farther back, placing the apples back in Doc’s buckets, then slinging their forelegs over the other’s shoulders and giving an affable hoof-bump, accompanied by a friendly set of chuckles.

“Like Ah said Twi,” AJ said to Twilight with the slightest bit of reticence before looking over her shoulder and at the brothers in arms, saying in a voice of family pride and bright expectations, “idiotic brothers, but never enemies.”


The barn came into view soon after, surrounded by the various stables and coops of livestock with fenced-in areas of storage by their sides, just as the quartet of workers had left it. The only difference they could see was AJ’s little sister, Applebloom, searching for something in a frantic panic by the front of the barn and looking quite concerned. The group approached the barn as they passed between a large gap in the fence, serving as the way of passage to the acres of trees behind them. As they neared the barn, Applebloom was facing the other way, scanning the hillsides that surrounded the farm with a distressed hoof an inch from her frowning, worried muzzle.

“Lookin’ fer somethin’ sweetheart?” AJ asked her as the group was in front of the barn, several feet from the troubled filly.

“Applejack!” said the foal as she turned around, large eyes opened to the widest.

“Ah thought you two lef’ the farm fer good.” she said with a frightened tone as she leapt at her sister, constricting her leg in a loving grasp, “Ah was scared you were never comin’ back.”

“Aw sweetie,” said AJ gently as she knelt to Applebloom’s level, “ya know we’d never leave ya bah yourself lahke that. Ah’m sorry we hadn’t told ya where we went, must’a slipped mah mind. We promise ta never leave ya out of the loop again, under any circumstances.”

AJ gave her a loving hug as her sweet little sister was on the verge of tears. Mac comforted her as well, stating in his deep, somewhat caring voice.

“Yeah, never as long as we live. We’re a family,” he continued as he put a re-assuring hoof on her shoulder, bringing her back to a smile as she snuck tears back into her eyes with a sniff. She promptly hugged them both over their shoulders as Mac finished, “an’ that’s never gonna change.”

Twilight and Doc watched the heartfelt moment of this loving family with smiles on their faces. After several more moments of hugging, Applebloom opened her eyes and looked between the shoulders of her siblings, still squeezing their necks as she noticed a certain white stallion she didn’t recognize. She snapped instantly from her melancholy state into a gleeful expression.

“*gasp* Ya’ll made a new friend!”, she excitedly said, darting between them and stopping directly in front of Doc with a slight-forward lean, friendly grin and a look up to him like an anxious little angel.

“Hi! Ah’m Applebloom. What’s your name?”

“I’m a doctor,” Doc replied after giving a closed-eyed smile and kneeling to Applebloom’s level, “but you can call me Doc if you want.” Twilight was actually surprised by such a calm reaction, given that if she were in his shoes right now, she would have reacted and spoken much more awkwardly.

“Are ya a doctor that makes ponies feel better?” Applebloom continued.

“Yup, that’s my job!” Doc replied with the same kind expression, “What about you? What do you do here on the farm?”

“Oh nothin’ realleh.” AB replied, “Mah big brother an’ sis say Ah’m too little ta help with anything, so Ah jus’ sorta stay on the farm an’ play around.”

“Are they crazy?!” Doc said as he looked over Applebloom and directly at AJ and Mac, who had entertained looks on their faces by what they were witnessing.

“I’m sure you could handle this farm all by yourself if you had to.”

As he said “all by yourself”, Doc lightly grasped the tip of her nose and wriggled it back and forth playfully, making her giggle as she raised her forelegs up to her chin, burying her face in her pasterns.

“Your so nahce mister.” she said as her giggling came to a stop, “Can we be friends?”

“In the words of your faithful brother over there,” he replied just before giving the most accurate impersonation of Mac Twilight had ever heard, “D’ya realleh think I’ll say no?“ and smiling properly.

The next noise they heard was the sound of Applebloom’s name being called in the distance, shouted by voices familiar to the little filly’s ears. The voices drew closer as her good friends, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle could be seen dashing towards the farm on the trail to its entrance.

“*gasp* Girls!” Applebloom said in joyful surprise as she turned around and began running towards the wooden archway to meet up with them.

As all three approached the arch, they greeted each other happily, grinning and laughing after bits of friendly small talk.

“We’ve been looking for you everywhere.” said Scootaloo, “Where’ve you been?”

“Ah was lookin’ for these two.” she replied as she pointed over her left shoulder with her right hoof and at her older siblings, “Whah? Ya need me?”

“Yeah!” Sweetie Belle answered, “We need you for our weekly brainstorming session. How could you forget?”

“Guess Ah had other things on mah mahnd. Oh, bah the way, mah sis and bro have a new friend with‘em taday.”

The two fillies’ eyes widened with a smile as they looked around Applebloom and at the only one amongst the crowd they were unfamiliar with. The process of them approaching Doc was virtually identical to Applebloom’s that was recently displayed, followed by both of them standing in front of the white stallion and saying, “Hi!” in practical harmony.

“Hi,” Doc happily replied, still knelt to their general level, “I’m guessing you’re friends of Applebloom.”

“That’s us!” Scootaloo spunkly replied, “Who are you?”

“Just a doctor,” he answered subtly while putting a humble hoof on his chest, “but you can call me Doc.”

“I’m Scootaloo, and this here’s Sweetie Belle.”

The pale filly gave a closed eyed grin to follow Scootaloo’s introduction.

“It’s very nice to meet you.” said Doc politely before shaking both of the little fillies’ hooves like a kind, gentle giant.

“So since you’re a doctor,” Scootaloo asked, “I’m guessing that means you fix ponies up?”

Doc answered the same way he did for Applebloom, then continued his conversation with the girls, talking to them with his friendly tone and answering any questions they asked. Twilight listened to them at first, but gradually let the talk grow hushed to her ears as she looked at Doc, a thoughtful simper across her muzzle, seeing him as not just another standard in the background. She saw a real pony in that knelt, smiling father figure, somepony to look up to and seek guidance from, somepony with friends to care about and be cared for…with a story to tell and a real life to live.


Doc ruffled the two fillies’ heads as he finished his conversation with them and began standing back up.

“You’re a cool guy Doc.” complimented Scoots, “Think you could join us for some brainstorming back at our clubhouse?”

“I’d love to kidos,” Doc responded, “but I have a few things I need to finish up here first. Promise I’ll join you some time soon.”

“Okay.” Sweetie Belle said as she and Scoots hugged Doc over his shoulders, “See you later Mister Doc!”

They released the embrace and pranced over to Applebloom, conversing about what to do with the rest of the day. After a minute or two of discussion, they nodded their heads in some sort of agreement and proceeded in the direction of a certain part of the estate, assumingly to the trio’s clubhouse. Before she and her friends got too far away, Applebloom looked back at the group with a smile.

“Bye Doc!” is what she happily said before continuing on with her fellow crusaders and out of sight.

“Ah never knew you were good wi’ kids.” AJ mentioned as she approached Doc, “Ah always took ya fer the brotherly tahpe.”

“*heh* Thanks.” he replied, “Just trying to spread a good mood, I guess. But anyways…”

Doc then lifted the large tub of apples he had back onto his spine with a grunt and continued in a pressured voice.

“Let’s drop these off already…before my legs cave in.”

After placing the various saddlebuckets and baskets back in the barn, the group decided to cool off at a nearby rectangular table with a few bottles of sarsaparilla in the midst of the afternoon sun. Twilight sat on side, Doc sat at the end on her right, Mac sat at the other end across from him and AJ on the side to his left. The wood of the table was splintered and worn, and the only thing to sit on were small wooden boxes, but it all felt perfectly in touch with the theme of the situation. After some affable conversation, Doc, hunched over with his elbows on his knees, wiped the sweat from his brow using his free foreleg and spoke.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had this good, old, western feeling after a good days work.”

“Ah know!” AJ acknowledged, “This is honestleh more work than Ah’ve seen get done ‘round here in a long tahm. Even on our good days, Me and Big Macintosh don’t get this much done. Reckon how that happened?”

“Probably cause we got some help from little miss ‘non-working type’ over here.” Doc answered, looking at Twilight as he took a sip from his sasperilla, a cocky smirk barely visible on his face.

“Well excuuuuse me for not being confident in my abilities.” Twilight responded as she put her right hoof on her chest and looked directly back at Doc, speaking in a near identical tone that Dash would use, just before she returned to her noble persona and continued, “I’m just glad I could help.”

“So’re we!” AJ remarked happily, “Today was enough ta cut this month’s harvestin’ in half! We can’t thank ahther of ya enough.”

“Think nothing of it.” Doc humbly replied, “It’s always a pleasure to get some work in these old bones once in a while.”

“Oh! Speaking of which,” He said a moment later as his eyes widened in sudden joy, “I almost forgot about our little competition.”

“Oh yeah.” Mac responded casually before finishing off his sarsaparilla in a final chug and standing up from his box, stretching his leg muscles as if before a vigorous work-out.

In the mean time, Doc ran into the barn for some reason and Twilight, confused, finally asked in a slight burst of frustration.

“Ok, that’s it, what is this ‘competition’ you all keep talking about?!”

“E’ry visit that Doc makes, these two digits play a game.” AJ calmly answered, despite the slight volume of Twilight’s outburst.

Doc came back out of the barn, pulling a large hay cart in the direction of the dirt road across from the barn doors, turning and facing it down the direction of a long road that appeared to go off into the distance and farther into the estate.

Doc ran back into the barn swiftly, pulled an identical cart out and placed it next to its twin as AJ continued her explanation.

“Each of ‘em gets a cart and fills it full a’ sacks of the biggest, heaviest apples we got. Then, ya see the trail over there?”

They both looked at and down the road that the carts faced.

“That there’s a three mahle long trudge ta the edge of the property, first ta get there n’ back with their cart wins.”

Doc emerged from the farm once more with two large sacks on his back. He appeared to be in somewhat of a struggle to take each step to the cart before offloading the sacks in a burst of relief, then repeating the process several times as the girls continued their conversation.

“Wow, three miles back and forth?!” Twilight reacted, “Don’t you think that’s pushing it a little?”

“It was their ahdea, not mahn.” remarked AJ, “*sigh* Ah swear, these boys ‘re gonna break themselves if they keep this up. And y’know…it’s weird…Mac only acts lahke this when Doc’s around.”

Mac was currently helping Doc load some of the sacks into the carts after he finished stretching, so he was out of earshot from AJ’s remark.

“It’s almost lahke i’ gives ‘im a reason ta…Ah don’t know, ‘act out’ or sum’m.” AJ continued, “*sigh* Ah really don’t know.”

She looked off in the direction of the guys, watching them work for a moment before a humble smirk grew lightly on her face.

“Ah’m jus’ glad, even after all we’ve been through, keepin’ the farm up n’ runnin’ n’ all, that he’s still as happy ‘n healthy as always…”

AJ then looked down at the wood of the table as her happy, humble expression quickly began to droop, as if she couldn’t stop thinking about something she really didn’t want to. A moment later, once all the happiness had fled her hardworking demeanor, she sighed through her nose before slumping down onto the table, leaning on it with her elbows and slightly burying her lower-face in her forelegs as she finished.

“…that we all are.”

Twi noticed her depressed state and wondered what could be bothering her at a time like this.

“Well…” she stated in a friendly tone, trying to keep the conversation in a light-hearted mood, “I hope that I can see more of that joy in the future!”

She reached across the table and placed her hoof on AJ’s shoulder as she continued, hoping to relieve her of her sudden melancholy.

“I sure know I’m happy to be here with you.”

AJ looked up from her dejected slump and at Twilight as she spoke. As she heard her friend’s kind words, AJ let a different kind of smirk creep up the side of her muzzle, one that was subtle and tired, silently thanking her for such comforting words. Though before anything else could be said, they were quickly interrupted by Doc.

“Hey gals!”

This caught their attention before they looked over, hearing him speak as he stood next to the two waiting carts.

“It’s ready.”


“Okay,” said Doc with a slightly pressured voice as he assisted Twilight and AJ in securing the last heavy-duty buckle on the industrial harness that clung to his torso, now only covered by the skintight, pitch black undershirt that Doc refused to take off, saying he was nervous about being naked around friends. They thought it ridiculous, but went with it anyway considering he was at least comfortable with taking his white shirt off, which, along with all his other belongings, could be seen lying on a crate next to the fence that sat just a few meters away. Once the three friends finally secured the buckle with a burst of relief, Doc gave the harness a final tug for security before finishing his sentence in a slightly exhausted tone.

“I think I’m all saddled up.”

“Alrahty then,” replied a drained AJ, standing up on her hind legs with her forelegs on her knees, catching her breath with several deep coughs covered by one of her fore-hooves.

After hitting herself in the chest twice in response to her coughs, she stood up in a somewhat triumphant pose, her neck and brow saturated in perspiration with hooves on her sides as she looked over Doc’s harness. As she visually checked it, Twilight collected herself in the same way AJ did, panting heavily before AJ spoke.

“That looks about raht. Now,” she looked over to Mac, who was attempting to secure the first clamp on his own and failing miserably. She pointed at him and continued, “ta get you hooked up.”

She walked over to Mac and helped him secure the first clamp with embarrassing ease. Twilight eventually finished collecting herself a few moments later and proceeded to assist AJ. As they completed fastening and tightening in a much easier fashion than before, the girls stood on the side of the road next to the brothers at heart they knew so well, ready to witness their annual struggle and the outcome to behold.

“Alraht you two,” said AJ as the girls finished catching their breath, “*cough* you know the drill. Yer gonna get a warm-up period makin’ it from here ta the fence.”

She pointed to an open space in the fence approximately ten meters down the dirt road, serving as the border between the orchards of apple trees, the trail that continued down their middle and the farmland itself.

“Soon as you get there,” AJ continued, “that’s when the race really starts. Give it yer all on the count ‘a three…One…”

The two combatants revved up into a sprinting position and tensed their muscles.


They looked each other square in the eye with faces not of cocky competition, but of true, sporting rivalry. They looked straight forward, took a deep breath and then…


The two got off to a slow start for the beginning of their trek, like trains flaring their engines for departure, faces beat red with strain and backs pulling in an abaft position, forwardly dislocating the axes of the carts’ iron wheels from the rust that held them in place. They gradually gained speed after the first few meters and began pulling with grand, athletic lunges in a forward lean, their heads, shoulders and fore-hooves thrown forward in momentum with each step. As they continued, their expressions began to transform from the gritting of teeth in tolerance of pain, to angry, small-mouthed stares of determination, their awkwardly bent spines eventually bending forwards and into a much more direct manner. Twilight could tell that this race would have an interesting conclusion as she witnessed the intense passion in both of the stallions’ eyes, their bodies picking up speed from struggling, to striding, then slowly galloping, and finally galloping at near-full speeds as they proceeded down the last few meters and through the gap in the fence. They galloped off into the distance and out of sight, leaving the girls in a small silence before AJ proclaimed happily.

“Well…that’s that.”

“That’s that?” asked Twilight, “What do you mean that’s that? Aren’t we going to…I don’t know, follow them or something?”

“D’ya realleh wanna follow those two fer three mahles straight, and then another three back from there?” replied AJ as she began to make her way back to the table where the four sat a moment ago.

“Oh…yeah, good point.” answered Twilight as her head sunk into her shoulders slightly and she accompanied AJ back to the table.

They both sat at different locations than before, AJ sitting in Mac’s spot and Twilight pulling her box around and up to AJ’s right.

“So…” Twilight asked as she sat on her box with a slightly happy bounce, “how long does it usually take them to get back?”

“ ‘Bout half an hour ‘r so.” she replied, “Ya’d be suprahsed how fast they are fer heavin’ such a heaveh load. *heh* Gonna get ‘emselves hurt, Ah tell ya.”

As she finished, she looked down at the bottle of sarsaparilla she recovered from her previous side of the table, the humble and tired smile she’s been wearing almost the entire day visible on her kind face.

“Why are you always so concerned on the well being of those two?” Twilight asked, noticing AJ’s recent motherly behavior.

“‘Cuz if Ah’m not Miss Sparkle, then who ‘n Equestria ever will be?!” she bellowed back with an angered face and severely austere tone.


Twilight’s eyes widened and her head shot back in response, completely surprised by such a furious reaction. The honest work horse immediately snapped out of her furious phase a moment later and back to her normal self with a shake of her head.

“Oh jeez, Ah’m sorry Twi!” she quickly said, “Ah just…*sigh* it’s…a long story.”

She then tipped her hat down over her eyes in shame, bottle of sarsaparilla still in her adjacent hoof.

“Listen Applejack,” responded Twilight, “I’ve heard that excuse enough times to last me the week.”

AJ tipped her hat up slightly with a flick of her hoof as she listened, looking at Twilight as she spoke before looking back down at the table when she was done, knowing just who Twilight was talking about.

“So tell me…please…” Twilight continued, sounding as quiet and concerned as she could, “what’s wrong?”

AJ answered her with a sigh followed by another question.

“Ya ever wonder whah we live with Granny Smith n’ not our Ma and Pa?”

Twilight’s eyes dilated a little in the surprise of understanding AJ’s situation.

“Oh…Applejack…I’m sorry I brought that up.” she said consolingly, “We don’t need to talk about it if you-“

Ahp!” AJ swiftly lifted her hoof in a stopping motion, cutting Twilight off, “Ya asked fer me ta tell ya what’s wrong, so Ah’m gonna tell ya!”

She spoke with a reassured look on her face just before taking a swig of her quarter-full sarsaparilla and slamming it back on the table. What little carbonation left in the sarsaparilla could be heard fizzling from the impact before AJ continued, returning to her depressing demeanor.

“It was back when Big Macintosh and Ah were jus’ youngins, n’ Applebloom was practic’lly a newborn. Back then, we were jus’ gettin’ the farm started.”

She pointed out at the sea of apple orchards just beyond the fence with an outstretched foreleg.

“Not a single tree that you see out there today was even a saplin’ in the dirt back in those days. That’s whah mah Pa constantly worked the fields, while mah Ma was just busy keepin’ us three fed, healthy n’ happy. Both of ‘em did a dang good job doin’ it though, and they both had this special thing about ‘em. Pa would always have his horse collar ‘round his neck for the plowin’ that took the whole day from ‘im, and mah Ma always wore a hat…don’t know whah though…n’ she never told us. As difficult as it was ta get bah, Me, Big Macintosh, Applebloom, Granny Smith, we all stayed happy, doin’ jus’ fahn and makin’ sure we always got through our problems…as a family.”

“Then…some tahm later, after the farm was built to a good standin’, Ma and Pa said they had ta go. They were in the military at that tahm, mah Pa workin’ as a soldier and…mah Ma as one a’ them field medics. We asked ta come with ‘em, but they said we had ta stay…that…there’d be a chance they might not be comin’ back.”

AJ started to tear up a little, her voice sounding much weaker than when she started. But she still tried to keep the situation in a relatively happy mood by attempting a smile and giving a little snicker of remembrance as she continued.

“Our little hearts just started breakin’, but they comforted us and…said that they’d be alraht. Pa gave his horse collar ta Big Macintosh and…mah Ma…”

AJ gripped the brim of her hat as what little strength she had left crumbled to pieces and the tears she had been struggling to hold back began to roll down her face. She didn’t finish that sentence, merely continuing as her nose began getting very stuffed up.

“It’s jus’…*sniff* Ah can’t stop thinkin’ about ‘em, y’know? *sniff* Doc always remahnds me so much a’ mah Pa and…what he said earlier, ‘bout how Ah should stop actin’ lahke his mother…*sniff* Ah just…”

Once again, she couldn’t work up the strength to finish her sentence. All she could do was use the same hoof she grasped her hat with to cover her eyes, sniffing occasionally as she cried to herself in silence.

Twilight just sat there for a moment, stuck in disbelief that AJ, her strong, hardworking, independent and loveable friend could ever have had such a lonesome, depressing childhood. She wondered what could be done to cheer her up, what she could possibly do or say that would bring back the jolly, orange workhorse she was just sharing drinks with moments ago. But as Twilight continued to ponder, AJ just sat and continued to weep, so many thoughts and memories that she had dealt with for years, now rushing back into her head. It was a horrible feeling, one that grew worse with each passing second, until AJ suddenly felt a slight pressure around her middle. She looked down from her hoof in slight surprise to see Twilight, forelegs out and wrapped around her stomach, head slightly down and eyes shut sadly…Twilight was giving her a hug. Out of all the complex or emotional things she could have done, Twilight just chose a subtle, harmless way of saying “I care, and I’m here if you need me”. Such simplistic compassion from an in-depth mind like hers brought a small smirk to AJ’s face, the kind of smirk you give someone when you’re truly happy they exist. A moment later, AJ closed her eyes and hugged Twilight’s back gently with one of her forelegs, saying in a quiet, tired, recently-been-crying kind of voice.

“Thanks sugar cube. *sniff* Ya really are quaht the sweetheart.”

Twilight gave one last tight squeeze on AJ before releasing her grasp on her and sitting back up in her seat. They both faced the table and grabbed their drinks once more before AJ wiped the remaining tears out of her eyes.

“Anywho,” AJ continued, “*sniff* back to mah parents leavin’. After mah Ma…well, y’know…”

She motioned her hoof a little towards her hat before continuing.

“She said that no matter what happens ta ahther of ‘em, we’ll always be safe, always be strong…”

She turned her head to Twilight, staring her right in the eyes with a face that spoke who she truly was with absolute, unintended perfection. What Twilight saw in those eyes was a mare, one that, at her young age, had already been through so much in comparison to all of the happy, carefree ponies around her. From her childhood, she had practically raised her baby sister, kept her family’s farm alive and growing, and still always had the time for what mattered to her, the happiness of her friends. Twilight looked into those eyes for that split second, understanding AJ through her glare of hard-earned strength and experience, cheeks moistened and miniscule smile barely able to stay up as she finished.

“…that we’ll always be a family. But then…next thing Ah know…they got up…and were gone.”

Silence followed as they just stared at each other for several seconds, motionless, the only noise being a passing breeze that lightly shook the branches of nearby trees. The sound of a loose apple thumping against the dirt in the distance could be heard before it rolled in the lush grass surrounding its tree, coming to a calm, crooked stop a moment later. The moment of silence these two were having ended as AJ just stared back at her drink, her smile of motherly content for Doc and Mac now back across her face. Twilight put her left hoof on AJ’s shoulder, asking “Are you okay?” her in simple body language. AJ replied in the same silent way, just giving a calm nod that signaled “Yeah, I’m good.” Twilight then figured that since they were all square and done with each others’ concerns, why not still make this a good time? She lifted her sasperilla bottle and what was left in it up in proposal of a toast, right before AJ noticed it, smiled, and lifted up her own near-empty bottle in acceptance. Both of their drinks met with a nice, friendly chink before they happily chugged what was left in their bottles and slammed them back onto the table, laughing a little at each other’s own happiness like real friends. It was nice.


They heard Doc’s voice shouting desperately and urgently from what sounded like the gap in the fence, the spot where the race had begun. Surprised and a little worried of his tone, the girls turned in his direction, their eyes widening, pupils dilating and breath catching in their throats with terror of what they saw. Doc stood there, dirt stains littering his coat and jeans, both of the industrial harnesses the stallions were originally wearing now tightly wrapped around his wrists as they connected to the two carts behind him, one looking much more mangled and broken than the other. Big Macintosh’s pale, barely conscious face could be seen hanging off the right side of Doc’s back and blood could be seen running down one of Mac’s legs as Doc yelled to the girls with a deadpan and authoritative expression.

“We’ve got a problem!”


The girls panicked at the sight and ran over to help as fast as they could.

“Wha’ happened?!” screamed AJ, horrified to see the very thing she saw coming but hoped not to happen.

“I’ll explain later,” Doc replied, ordering them with a straight and stern face, “but right now I need you two to clear the table, Mac’s hurt badly.”

With very minor hesitation, AJ ran over and knocked all the empty bottles of sarsaparilla off the table with a quick swipe of her foreleg.

“Let’s get these harnesses off you!” Twilight nervously proposed after deciding to stay with Doc.

“No time! We need Mac on that table now!”

Doc began pulling the two carts at an extremely fast rate for how heavy they were. Twilight watched as both carts were pulled by each of his forelegs in turn with his hind legs’ steps, left…right…left…right. She looked back down the road where he came from and saw a small trail of blood that followed Doc’s left side in a dotted-looking line. She could tell in a moment that this couldn’t be good.

Doc quickly lunged himself, Mac and the two carts over to the table and offloaded Mac onto it on his right side, showing a mortifying wound in his left flank, starting at his cutie mark and ending at the half-way point of his shin. The torn muscle of his leg twitched and staggered at a violent rate, jiggling any of the skin that hung off the tips of the wound as they looked like fresh, red leather.

AJ nearly threw up when she saw this before asking Doc once again in a much more infuriated tone.


Doc replied seriously while reaching into his pocket, taking out a small multi-tool, flipping out the knife feature and cutting the straps that connected the harnesses on his wrists to the carts.

“While we were racing, Mac’s cart hit a big rock, flipped into the air and landed on his leg, splinching the flesh, breaking the bone and severing his femoral artery.”

They looked over to Mac in fear, his only movements being his face twitching in agony and his chest moving in and out with his staggered breathing as the wound bled profusely onto the old wood of the table. Doc placed the survival tool back in his pocket and commanded while putting his hoofs together and rubbing them like a true doctor.

“He’s losing a lot of blood so we need to fix him now!”

“AJ!” he barked.

She turned to him, eyes and ears wide open.

“I need you to get me a glass of milk and a bucket of hot water. Don’t ask questions, just do it.”

After a second of confusion and making sure she heard him right, AJ nodded her head and ran off to get the supplies. Doc turned around and spoke to Twilight in a quieter but still commanding tone.

“Twilight, sweetie, I need you to go inside the barn and get me two rags, they should be on a crate to your right as soon as you walk in, okay?”

Twilight nervously nodded and ran as fast as she could into the barn, seeing three rags placed on top of a box just a few feet from the entrance. She quickly swiped two of them with her mouth and ran back outside to see Doc, who was now looking franticly off in the distance for AJ while occasionally comforting Mac.

She ran over to him and muffled words through the rags.

“I go’ f’em!”

“Good,” Doc replied, “now keep Mac calm while I move these carts out of the way. We’re gonna need lots of room.”

He ran over and began amazingly shoving the carts several meters back with a single push, the muscles in his forelegs flexing and the veins his body coursing up against his skin as his expression remained austere and unchanged.

As Doc finished shoving Mac’s much more broken cart aside, they heard AJ’s muffled yelling as she approached with a glass of milk in her mouth and a bucket of water slung over her shoulder.

“You got the stuff?” Doc asked before she nodded, trying to not spill the milk. Once she got closer, she gave the glass of milk to Doc and he chugged it in several seconds.

“Okay,” he instructed after wiping his mouth, “put the bucket next to the table where Mac’s head is.”

Twilight took the bucket from AJ and did so.

“Hoof me one of the rags.” requested Doc.

Twilight did, followed by Doc slinging the rag over the buckets edge, getting closer to the table and standing up on his hind legs next to it. He supported himself on the table with his elbows and began to hold his hooves close to Mac’s wound as Twilight told Mac he would be okay in the calmest voice she could. Mac nodded to her twice with his mouth puckered and his eyes closed, all he could do in his severe state of pain. Doc’s hooves began to glow with an aura, but not the green one he had when he healed Twilight’s scrape the day they met. This aura was as white as Doc’s coat, and looked much like a unicorn’s magic as it surrounded the splinters and other pieces of wood in the ripped flesh of Mac’s leg. One by one, the pieces of wood rose out of Mac’s flesh and were telekinetically thrown over Doc’s shoulders, as if Doc somehow had the use of telekinetic magic as an earth pony. Such a feat confused Twilight for a second before an order from Doc snapped her nervously back into reality.

“Okay,” he said, “now put the other rag in his mouth. Mac, I’m gonna need you to bite down on that as hard as you can in a second, alright?”

Mac nodded his head, looking down his side and at Doc as Twilight put the rag sideways in his mouth. Doc waited a moment as the aura on his hooves changed from white to green, followed by him rolling his shoulders and cracking his neck twice.

“Okay,” he said sternly, “on the count of three. One…two…three!”

Doc’s hooves glowed brighter as he appeared to be putting himself in severe pain. Mac, however, sounded much worse as he screamed in agony through the rag, almost as if his leg was being slowly severed by a rusty saw. Twilight and AJ put a hoof on their muzzles in concern as they watched the strange, excruciating process, completely unable to understand just what was actually going on. Doc suddenly released his strain and caught himself on the saturated table, now drenched in blood from Mac’s wound. Mac’s violent screaming slowly came to personal whimpers of pain and then back to his staggered breaths, all at a very quick rate. AJ rushed over to help get Doc back onto his hooves, but he merely pulled himself back up and said in a tired voice before anypony even got the chance to ask.

“I put the fragments of his bone back in place and healed the fracture enough for it to recover on its own. *phew* Now,” he put his bloody hooves together once more and continued in a slightly reassured tone, “to heal the outside.”


About a minute or so into the healing process, Doc began getting focused on putting every strand of the muscle in Mac’s leg back together. AJ stood next to Mac’s head, holding his hoof in support. Twilight stood next to Doc, observing his work with a shaken curiosity.

“So Doc,” she asked, still sounding a bit nervous, “how did that bone thing work again?”

He answered quickly without looking away from restitching the flesh of Mac’s leg.

“When a bone snaps completely, bits and pieces of the outside are spread out and the marrow is separated from its other half. Undamaged tissue cells around it will divide and form a sort of…collar of tissue around the break, that being where new bone comes from. I have to get all the pieces together and solidify them before that happens, and then I use that tissue division to my advantage by speeding it up to heal the skin and flesh. But the process of moving all those pieces back into place without severing any arteries or nerves is both painful, challenging, and has to be done before the collar forms.”

“Oh, so you just speed up natural bodily processes when you heal ponies?” “Exactly…well, sort of.” he replied, “If the damage is too severe to heal on its own, kinda like this one, I heal it myself, and that’s another long story. In terms of the pain, well, the pony just has to deal with it the best they can. Even if I fix the injury, I can’t stop it from hurting just as much as before. The reason for this is that, even if I wanted too, I can’t fix the nervous system of the injury…last time I tried, I put the poor pony in a coma for a week.”

A few moments later, Doc seized the glow of his hooves and let them rest.

“Okay…flesh is done.” he said before rolling his shoulders and saying through a sigh as his hooves rose once more, “Now for the skin.”

As his hooves began to glow again and the wound began to shrink, AJ asked, also sounding a little shaky.

“Bah the way, w-what was the milk fer?”

“I need calcium in my system to work on bones…and lucky me, the one day I don’t have my flask full of milk just had to be today.”

He began reducing the glow of his hooves as the wound came to a miniscule close and the flow of blood completely stopped.

“And…done! Should be good now.” concluded Doc as he made his way to the bucket by Mac’s head.

The skin looked flawlessly repaired, with only a minor twitch that caused the newly formed skin to cringe. The only other imperfection was that Mac’s cutie mark on that side of his body had a seamless triangle of blank skin splitting up the right side of the apple core and ending at its center.

“Ya awright big guy?” asked AJ as she patted his hoof comfortingly.

“Eeyup…” he responded, same way he always does, “Ah’ll be fahn.”

He sat up slowly, gripping his leg and grunting in tolerated pain while putting a hoof to the temple of his wobbly head.

“Mah head’s a bit swimmy though.”

“Yeah,” said Doc as he washed his blood drenched hooves in the bucket of water, “you lost a lot of blood over the last…”

He put a half-way cleaned hoof up to his muzzle in thought of how long it had been since he was hurt.

“…fifteen minutes.” he continued, “I should carry you to the hospital. There, we can pump you back up to working condition and have you back out here in no time.”

“Don’ you worreh none.” said Mac dismissingly, “Ah’m jus’ fahn.”

He then got down from the table, tried to stand up and failed as his leg zinged with razor-sharp agony, his knees wobbled twice and he fell. AJ quickly grabbed his hoof in mid-fall panic before Mac spoke through gritted teeth.

“…Then again…maybeh not…”

“Your legs don’t have enough juice to keep you on your hooves,” said Doc like the semi-sassy pony of medicine that he is, “and if you keep trying to act tough, there won’t be enough blood in you to keep anything of yours running, now grab on, hospital’s not that far from here.”

Doc stuck his hoof out and gave a friendly, reassured smirk. Mac gave an identical beam back at him despite the constant twinges of pain that shot through his closed injury. He grasped Doc’s hoof with a flick of his wrist and a brotherly thwack as their hooves met. Doc pulled Mac up and onto his shoulders in a supporting stature from Mac’s left side, almost the same way they were an hour or so ago when Twilight noticed how brotherly they acted.

“And not only are you running on empty,” Doc mentioned with a slightly pressured voice due to Mac’s weight, “I just fixed that leg your trying to stand on. Do that again and I’ll just leave the re-broken bone to fix by itself. Now let’s get moving.”

“Any way Ah can help?” AJ asked proudly.

“Sure.” Doc answered, “Would you mind giving me a hoof with Mac while I get these harnesses off my wrists?”

“Sure thing.” AJ responded before she ran over to support her injured sibling.

She worked her way under her brother’s right foreleg and supported him as Doc did the opposite, working his way out from under Mac’s shoulder.

“Thanks sis.” said Mac gently as AJ struggled to hold up his muscle weight.

Doc took the multi-tool back out from his pocket, flicked the knife feature out once more and began cutting the straps that were just before the bases of each clamp. As he simultaneously removed the bunched up harnesses and let both bundles of useless leather and metal hit the dirt, he revealed a half-foot stretch of severe cuts, gashes and stressed skin where the harnesses violently clung to his wrists. Doc rolled his wrists in the palms of the adjacent hoof with an unaffected look on his face, followed by Twilight noticing these wounds.

“*gasp* Your hurt!” she said worriedly before running over to help him.

Doc calmly put his hooves up to stop her panic.

“Relax…relax…” he said, “It’s just a flesh wound or two.”

“Flesh wound?!” Twilight responded loudly, “There’s…”

She began counting his cuts, silently saying each number she counted to herself before looking back up to him and continuing.

“Fourteen horrible cuts going down your shins!”

“Relax…” Doc repeated with a smile on his face and a calm, joke-like tone, “I’ll be fine.”

“Ya realleh should get that looked at though.” AJ proposed in a pressured tone as she kept herself from collapsing.

“It’s okay.” Doc responded, “I’ll have this fixed in a minute, I’m too lazy to heal them now. But anyway,” he looked at Mac with a smile on his face, “I think we have something much bigger to attend to at the moment.”

He ran over to the crate that supported his things and swiftly put on his shirt, making sure to conceal his strange, C-shaped necklace, leave the top two buttons un-fastened and roll his sleeves just high enough to be above his elbows. Doc rushed over to AJ, who was just on the verge of collapse, and braced Mac on his left side once more. AJ exhaled with great relief as the weight of Mac was lifted from her shoulders.

“If ya’ll don’t mind,” She said tiredly after a short pause of recollecting herself, “*pant* Ah’m gonna go get another drink.”

She then made her way into the barn, tired and really in the mood for another sarsaparilla. As Doc and Mac began limping in the direction out of the estate, Twilight stopped them.

“Hey Doc!” she said, catching his attention.

He turned both himself and Mac to his left with an alert expression.

“…thanks” said Twilight coyly as she gave a shy smile.

“Just doing my job.” Doc said with a modest beam. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he turned back around, continuing his walk as he finished, “and we’ll both be right as rain!”

Copyright 2012

Chapter IV: A Horse with a History

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter IV

A Horse with a History

Mac opened his eyes and felt the cool air of the A.C. brisk his skin. The lingering smell of anestheptic and disinfectant filled his nose and the constant beep of an E.K.G. monitor rang in his right ear. He groggily lifted his head and the first thing he heard besides the beeping and the whir of the A.C. was the sound of a familiar voice.

“Ah! Your finally awake!”

He looked to his left in surprise to see Dash lying sideways in the bed next to his, head propped up with her elbow, half of her body covered with sheets and bodily-monitoring pads taped onto her chest.

“Good thing too.” she continued before her foreleg relaxed, her head plopped onto the stiff hospital pillow and she began staring at the ceiling with a smile, “I was just starting to get bored again.”

Mac inspected the space he was in, turning his head to follow the motions of his lethargic eyes. The room was a typical, rectangular hospital room with a white floor, walls, ceiling and furnishings. Four hospital beds were evenly spaced from each other along one of the walls and a night stand with a small drawer was placed on the left side of each. Mac was in the second bed from the left, his E.K.G. placed on his right side and Dash’s on her left, giving them clear sight of each other. On the far wall, past Dash, was a clock hanging next to a four-paned window, providing the amber-tinted sunlight that not only displayed it to be the early evening, but seemed to refract off the alabaster templates, illuminating the entire space naturally. A small flower pot containing a nasturtium, German iris, dog rose and a stalk of lavender laburnum sat beautifully on the fourth bed’s nightstand in the distant corner of the room.

“You seemed pretty out of it when they wheeled you in here.” Dash mentioned, continuing their spontaneous conversation, “What happened?”

Mac veered his sights to Dash as she began her question, then sunk his head into his shoulders as she finished. She turned to her side and propped her head up with her elbow once more.

“Oh come on, relax.” she said, “I know you’re the shy type, but it’s gonna get really boring if you just keep to yourself the whole time.”

She appeared to be scanning the depths of her memory, try to remember something until she spoke.

“…Big Mac, right?”

He nodded timidly, head still at level between his shoulders before he quietly responded.

“Jus’…Big Macintosh, please.”

“Okay.” she said, sounding a little more confident now that Mac started to speak, “So, once more with feeling, what happened to ya?”

Dash patiently waited as Mac contemplated how to react, thinking on whether he should keep his sheepish laconism or rather…. He eventually brought his mind to the thought of finally starting to make a friend or two.

“And what better time to start,” he looked to Dash as he thought, “than now?”

He shrugged to himself, then scooted his body upwards, out from under the sheets and into more of a sitting position, propping his back against the cold metal of the bed frame while being careful not to disturb the heart monitors on his chest or the IV that painfully stuck out of the inside of his right elbow.

“It was earlier t’day at Sweetapple Acres.” he suddenly began, “E’ry year that Doc rounds about the town, the both of us have ourselves a little contest. First, we both git a cart and fill ‘em with about fahve-or-so bags of realleh big and heaveh apples. Next…”

And so he continued to explain the process of the race, along with the incident that happened in the midst of it and the occurrences that followed. Dash reclined, enthralled with the story and situation that Mac displayed as he eventually grew from a less timid explanation to a passionate narration of adrenaline-pumping events. Each scene was told with spectacular imagery and passionate hoof gestures in descriptive body language. Mac began to calm his sensual description with a sigh before finishing it up.

“An’ the last thing Ah remember, Ah was limpin’ down that dirt road that lead here with Doc, and then everythin’ went black.”

“That must’ve been when you passed out.” Dash suggested, “Although I wouldn’t know, Doc didn’t even bother to come in and say ‘Hi’, let alone explain what the hay’s been happening the last few days.”

“He’s probleh jus’ out gettin’ a thing ‘r two fer us.” Mac implied, “You and Ah both know he always has tahm fer his friends.”

Just then they heard the creak of the door and beamed their attention in its direction, spotting Nurse Redheart standing curiously in the doorway. Her expression appeared to acquire some reassurance as her gaze met Mac, realizing he was now conscious.

“Ah! Mr. Macintosh, you’re awake.” she said in her halcyon, beauteous and appeasing voice.

“Hey nurse.” Dash said gladly and casually.

“Hello Ms. Dash. Recovering well, I hope?” she replied while bowing her head slightly and closing her eyes.

“Yup! I can even move my forelegs with out them aching, and my hind legs are feeling better too.” she said, rolling her left foreleg on its socket as she spoke.

“Great!” Redheart replied, “You should be out and about by tomorrow morning. How about you, Mr. Macintosh. Resting well?”

The shy stallion surveyed his chest with his eyes as he did a mental inspection of his body.

“Yeah,” he said, a smile spreading across his face, “Ah’m okay. And ma’am…”

Her attention became more apparent to Mac as he continued.

“You can jus’ call meh Mac, e’rypony else does.”


Dash stopped rolling her left foreleg and used it to support her body as she reached over and socked Mac in his left bicep. He flinched on the impact and asked with a much friendlier and fun tone as he chuckled.

“Ow! What was that fer?!”

“You’re finally coming out of your shy little turtle shell. *heh* Took ya long enough.”

Nurse Redheart laughed at the slapstick humor between the two.

“You really have been healing well,” she said, “*giggle* *sigh*. I have to go check on other patients. But in the mean time, Ms. Dash, if you haven’t already, why not tell Mr. Macintosh your story?”

“Will do. See ya Nurse.”

The friendly white mare proceeded out the door with a humorous glow and a good mood smile across her face.

Mac watched her as she left, looked down at his sheets and chuckled slightly. He turned his gaze to Dash with an eager smile on his face. Several awkward seconds passed until Mac leaned his neck at her and turned his head to the right, heightening his smile on that side to give an impression of “Well?”.

“Oh!” Dash said as she rolled her eyes and promptly placed her hoof to her forehead, “My story…right.”

She relaxed her elbow once more, letting the right side of her face plummet to her pillow. She lifted her middle for an instant and let it fall once more to get comfortable…then she began.

“Yesterday,” she started, “I was practicing a trick of mine out in the woods. It’s one where I dive off a cloud and make a vortex of leaves follow me after I fly over a bunch of trees. I asked Doc to come and cheer me on while I did it, since I haven’t practiced that move in a while. We got everything setup, I was over the trees, wind blowing, and everything was perfect…until I…well…did somethin’ I shouldn’t of.”

After carefully listening, Mac rotated his head to the right and changed his expression to a curious manner. Dash thought he had the cute, curious look of a dog for an instant, then shook her head and focused on the conversation before explaining.

“Every time Doc comes by,” she said, “I buy a bottle or two of a certain…something from him. He doesn’t want me telling anypony about this, but it’s a sort of dream drug thing called “Celeritate”. You see, you take a sip of it…”

She grew into more of an addictatious joy as she looked at the palms of her hooves with wide open eyes and a sadistic grin.

“And it’s like every fiber of your body is in a frantic adrenaline rush! Your eyes zip anywhere and everywhere, your heart beat turns into a solid hum and your speed is increased practically ten fold! Speed freaks like me are like junkies for the stuff and the best part…!”

She looked over to Mac out of the trance of her hooves, pupils dilated to the size of sand, to notice his…reaction. His eyes were wide open to the point that the eyelids were almost gone, his head defensively leaning back. He was genuinely creeped out, Dash could see that crystal clear. She compressed her eyelids together, turned her gaze back to her torso, blinked twice with an open-eyed pause in between each, causing her eyes to dilate to their original beauty before she calmly continued.

“…Um, and the best part is,” she said in an attempt to lighten her tone, “there’s no damage in the long run. You can keep on drinking it and your body won’t ever take any unnatural damage.”

This intrigued Mac, easing his surprise from Dash’s eerie catalepsy. He expected some type of mental or physical deterioration over prolonged use of something that powerful, if it is really what she says it is. Just goes to show you that expectations can be a treacherous thing.

“But anywho, back to my tale of sorrow and woe.” Dash continued with a comedic exaggeration and tone before returning to her normal persona of conversation.

“So yeah. Yesterday, practicing a trick, Doc was there, yada yada yada.” she summarized, “But just before I dived off the cloud, I took a chug of that stuff. And that’s saying a lot, considering you get all those effects from just a tiny sip. My heart raced, my spine jolted and I was dragged by instinct to just hop off without preparation. I dove straight down and pulled up too late, only to meet my face with the bark of a tree at sixty miles an hour. The tree was cracked in half and I think I broke a lot of my bones, along with my noggin.” She tapped the top of her scalp twice after saying the previous description happily.

Mac blinked twice with open eyes at what he perceived, lips at a minimum size on the tip of his muzzle in surprise. He quickly held his right hoof up and gaped his jaw, looking as if he was about to propose something. He followed the previous action after several, silent and stationary seconds and looked down at his bed sheets, hoof over his muzzle in a focused attempt at comprehension.

“Yes, I know it was a stupid thing to do and Doc’s gonna poke at me about it for the rest of his stay. But hay, I certainly learned my lesson.” Dash stated before she fell backwards into her pillow, which had become much more fluffed from being constantly slammed into by Dash’s recently repaired skull.

Mac simply shrugged and plopped back into his pillow as well. They both stared at the ceiling for several minutes, the ceiling fan that hung overhead making a faint *wooh* noise after each, apathetic cycle. Mac’s eyebrows contorted to his eyes in concern only for an instant before he pushed himself back onto his elbows and broke the silence.

“So wait…” he asked, “Doc jus’ fixed e’ry bone in yer body right then and there aftah ya crashed?”

She turned to her side in his direction, too slothful to raise herself to his level once more. Her cheek flattened on the pillow’s plush but solid surface as she simply replied with a somewhat muffled voice.


“He fixed mahn on the spot too.” Mac mentioned, “Probleh a little bit less elaborately than yers, but still.”

“Yeah. But I was too busy writhing in pain to see Doc fix me up, so I don’t really have a comparison to give you. All I remember was the bark of the tree in my face, my eyes being closed for a little while as I tried to cope with the pain, feeling it get horribly worse at one point that made me scream bloody murder, then opening my eyes to everything with me being back to normal. The problem is that Doc was lying on the ground a foot or two away from me and nothing in my body actually felt like it was fixed. Doc got up after a minute or two and carried me to the hospital. I fell unconscious on the way here and woke up in this bed all hooked up and well…Here I am now, slowly recovering and bored out of my mind.”

Afterwards, several more minutes of silence passed between the two as the ceiling fan made its constant, but slow *wooh* noise, its cycling made only audible by the absolute silence of their utter dullness. Mac decided to continue scanning the space, spotting three paintings on the wall across from the beds. One showed a location resembling the town square, another showed the grim rendition of what seemed to be the Everfree forest, and the last showed a big, steeple-like building in the dead of night, the Moon hanging over and behind the building’s very top with tombstones littering its front. The admiring of each detail kept Mac entertained for a moment or two until the boredom slowly sunk back into his body, forcing him to lie back down as his sheets went up and under the pits of his forelegs, which now rested on his sides. Looking to his nightstand, he thought of a way to break the boredom that tore at his mind like a crazed monkey.

He reached over to the nightstand and opened the drawer, feeling the inside for anything of use…it was empty. So, he looked over to Dash for suggestions, only to find her facing Mac on her side as she soundly slept. The beauty in her slumber was somewhat surprising, her eyelids lightly shut rather than sealed tight and the adorable way she lightly suckled on her pastern (the equivalent to sucking your thumb). He eyed her nightstand and struggled to reach over, open it and feel the surface of a book inside. He retrieved it, holding in his hoof a copy of “Of Mice and Mares”. A good, short read by John Steinbuck that Mac had already read in earlier years. He said Dash’s name to her lightly, waking her up instantly and ceasing the cute teething of her pony wrist. She rubbed her left eye and asked what he wanted before he lobbed the novel over to her. She caught it with surprise, then looked at the cover.

“A mahty good book.” Mac complimented, “Figured ya might like it while Ah take your lead n’ catch some shut eye.”

Before Dash could turn to protest, not being one to read outside of the Daring Doo series, Mac was already turning on his side in the opposite direction of her and shutting his eyes. She stared at him for a second in silence before looking back at the book. Might as well read a chapter or two, anything is better when sleep starts to get boring.


Pinkie Pie was prancing around the town early the next day, same as usual. She happily skipped along any trail she felt like without any sense of navigation or direction, sniffing some flowers she passed by and enveloping the scent for a moment, then continuing her blissful stroll. Just another walk in the park, that’s what a lot of life was for her. Just another day to be yourself, just another day to be Pinkie.

She was trotting along the front of several two-story buildings in town when she heard a sort-of scuffing noise on the roof to her right. She stopped in her tracks and became curious as to what had caused it, and more importantly, what it was doing up there. The sound was not that of a bird or a squirrel, but it resonated like a hoof meeting the shingles of a roof. She looked at a V-shaped space of roof between two buildings and stared intently at it in anticipation. Several moments later, she saw a pony clear the space from one roof to another with a bounding leap, heading from her right to her left across the space. The pony had medical tape wrapped around its wrists and carried a satchel that slung over its shoulder and onto its back with a single strap. The single jump appeared in slow motion to Pinkie as she looked over the persona and noticed his bright white coat, trademark clothes and the smile that Doc rarely let fall.

As the moment returned to normal time and he cleared the space, he continued sprinting along the rooftops, and Pinkie decided to follow him, attempting to get his attention from the streets below. He was fast, very fast and even Pinkie had trouble keeping up with him as he crossed each building’s rooftop with fluent, quick and balanced movements that stretched with the length of his limbs. As he jumped over an alley way, several meter’s distance from one roof to another, and grabbed onto the other building’s ledge, Pinkie yelled his name from the left end of the open corridor. Doc stopped himself from climbing up, recognizing the voice and looking to his left, hanging by his right hoof and keeping his hind-hooves flat on the wall.

“Oh hey Pinkie,” he said casually, “what’s up?”

“You are!” she happily remarked.

She wasn’t trying to sound like a smartaleck, she was just being Pinkie. Doc chuckled once at the response and hopped down from the two-story roof edge, landing in a stance that supported him from the fall, like a somewhat noble kneel. He then nonchalantly stood back up into a regular stance, satchel now hanging over his left side as he gave a slightly tired smile to Pinkie. The first thing she did was not ask him what he was doing, but a compliment.

“That was some really good jumpin’ ya did!” followed by her asking him accordingly, “What were ya doin’ up there anywho?”

He looked over his left shoulder and at the duffle bag as he responded.

“Oh just getting a thing or two for some friends.”

He looked back at her.

“Figured I’d get there as fast as I could.”

“And you sure were!” she mentioned happily, “Even I could barely keep up with you.”

She snickered cutely.

“If you don’t mind me asking, can I tag along?”

“Sure thing!” he answered before spinning around, facing the other end of the alley way and saying as he looked back over his right shoulder.

“Company to me is like a homemade brownie, and a rule of mine says that I can never refuse those.”

Pinkie really liked the sound of that rule.

As they walked down and out the gloomy corridor, Doc spoke again.

“We’ll be passing by a few stores in town, and maybe later we can go see a friend or two of ours.”

“Sounds good to me, lead on!” she gladly proclaimed before they began their quest for “a thing or two” on this calm, Sunday afternoon.

They walked along a street littered with ponies that passed by them peacefully or stayed on the trailside as they lounged with friends in the sun or blissfully kept to themselves. The pair’s first stop was a store that sold gifts, everything from some lusciously cut jewelery to subtle and joyous gift cards for almost any occasion. Doc bought the latter from a nice, young mare that stood behind the counter of the store. She wore huge, circular glasses in front of her grassy-green eyes and her smiling, caramel colored face was surrounded by a thick, long, chocolate-toned mane. She was a very happy and sociable type, doing things such as leaning towards Doc and Pinkie with her elbow on the counter and placing her other hoof on her hip with a smile. Very slight conversation was given between Doc and her, just a little bit of friendly small talk during a purchase that was surprisingly social for its minor length. After they bought the card and began making their way out, they could hear the mare talking to a young filly that sounded as if she stood next to her, presumably a relative of some sorts, but hey, that was her business, not theirs.

On the way to their next destination in the beautiful peak of the day’s sunshine, they were passing through town square and in front of the town hall. They were just admiring the scenery, trotting on the warm soil beneath their hooves when they heard a sarcastic, but experienced and well rounded tone.

“Going somewhere, doctor?”

He recognized the tone instantly and a smile cracked on his face within a fraction of a second. Pinkie recognized the voice as well, but she was much more caught off guard than glad, and Pinkie being surprised yet not glad is certainly not ordinary. They turned simultaneously in the voice’s direction to see the Mayor of Ponyville leaning against a post on the porch of the town hall, her forelegs crossing over her chest as she leaned on her right shoulder, flashing a half-cocky smile to the pair.


“Ms. Mayor,” Doc said formally with a closed-eyed bow of his head and a reminiscent smile, “you’re looking quite well!”

The Mayor walked down the short steps towards them.

“Are you ever going to call me by my real name?” she remarked.

“Probably not.” Doc replied, “You know I give respect where it’s deserved.”

She trotted over to him and they hugged, Pinkie could tell in surprise that they had some sort of good, back-in-the-day kind of relationship.

“You know the Mayor of Ponyville?!” she asked in surprise with an exaggerated tone, hovering jump and outstretched limbs, average Pinkie reaction. Doc just responded with his left foreleg over The Mayor’s right shoulder.

“Yup, we go way back.”

“Indeed.” the Mayor confirmed, “I knew him all the way back into my younger years. I never dreamed of being mayor back then, but the doctor here convinced me to run.”

When Pinkie heard “younger years”, she assumed it meant only a few half-dozen years ago, which stopped her reaction and returned her to a…“normal” persona, if you can describe anything about Pinkie being normal.

“Ms. Mayor,” Doc said with a right hoof gesture from her to Pinkie, “this is my friend, Pinkie Pie.”

The Mayor took a few steps closer to Pinkie, stuck out her hoof and spoke happily.

“It’s a pleasure. We have actually seen each other a few times, but we’ve never actually met.”

Pinkie slowly and nervously stuck out her hoof to grasp the Mayor’s and give it a single, weak shake.

“*heh*” Pinkie snickered, “Never thought I’d be shaking hooves with the Mayor of Ponyville.”

“Likewise to meeting the one who saved the town from that parasprite invasion, especially in such an…interesting fashion.”

“Aw, it was nothin’.” Pinkie humbly replied, “You just need the right know-how and you can do anything.”

They unclasped their hooves before The Mayor responded.

“I couldn’t agree more. But anywho, I sadly have paperwork back in my office with my name on it, or shall I say, needs my name on it. So, my apologies to you two, but I must take my leave before my bodyguard realizes I snuck out again. He’s so passionate about his job.”

She turned back over to Doc and said after scanning the ground with her eyes for the right words to say.

“Thanks…for coming back. I wasn’t sure when you’d be visiting again.”

“I always keep a promise Ivory, you know that.”

She smiled reminiscently up to him, faced the porch and trotted to and up the stairs, going through and closing the large wooden door behind her.

Doc watched as she left with a small, reminiscent smile and a slight tilt to his head. He thought about the fact that she didn’t look back for once, how much she’s changed since they first met. His thoughts were interrupted as Pinkie spoke with an energetic hop and slight yelling tone in her voice.

Wow! You sure have friends in high places!”

“*heh* Yeah…I guess I do.” Doc nervously replied while abrading the spinal area of his neck.

“Anyway,” he perkily said before he pointed to the next shop that stood just across the square, “shall we?”

They entered the candle shop to see a dark grey, aged pony in a typical merchant’s outfit, much like that of Mr. Breezy with his attire that might be compared to a golf uniform. Yet, this pony’s outfit contained more of a darker sense to it, as well as several more hints of red. The withered stallion’s mustache had a much darker shade of grey than his ashen coat, with it covering most of his upper lip but not much of his muzzle. He was cleaning the front counter, looking contentedly at the old rag in his hooves with his deep eyes of chestnut, his other hoof lazily hanging on the counter’s edge.

The shelves that ran along almost every wall were full of candles that appeared to have been lit before, evident by the dry drops of wax that ran down their sides. None of these were currently lit though, the room was just naturally lit by sunlight coming in through a nearby window. The old stallion noticed the duo approaching, instantly stopped cleaning the counter and put the cloth back under it before popping his head back above the wood of the countertop with a smile.

Just as before, the exchange between customer and owner contained some friendly conversation before Doc bought anything. But as they talked, Doc noticed that the old stallion always had this certain glow in how he communicated. He looked as though he was at peace with everything about himself. Doc liked to see that mood in ponies, and kind of wished everypony had such an aura when they hit the stallion’s age. Doc finished his purchase of several candles, shook the pony’s hoof farewell since they had introduced themselves during the conversation, and promptly looked back over his shoulder, waving at Mr. Wick as he and Pinkie left in an even better mood than when they walked in. Mr. Wick waved back at them as they closed the door, keeping his hoof in the air a little bit longer after they left before slowly bringing it down. He hung it off the counter’s edge once more, reached under the counter with the other hoof to grab the old rag, let it flop back onto the countertop and then caressed it with the rag once more, a wrinkled smile barely laying visible under his lush moustache.

“Okay, that should be everything.” Doc said as he double-checked the contents of his duffle bag just outside of the store’s entrance.

“Great!” said Pinkie, “Anything else you need help with?”

“No, not really. It’s still pretty early and I don’t have to be back at the caravan for a while. Anywhere you wanna go?”

“Nope.” she replied with a closed eyed grin.

Doc placed a hoof on his muzzle, wrinkled his brow and thought hard as he looked at the ground. As he thought of what he and Pinkie could do, he heard a familiar voice calling to him from around the corner of the candle shop. He looked around Pinkie and in its direction, spotting Twilight as she peeked around the corner with one hoof on the wall, the common, subtle smile that everypony in town had almost all the time shown on her face.

“Oh hey, Twi! What’s up?”

“Twi?” she asked as she rounded the corner, saddlebags hung over her back, “Only AJ has ever called me that before.”

Doc looked to the bottom right of his eyes and shrugged.

“Eh,” he said, “thought it would fit. I’m kind of one for nicknames.”

Pinkie hopped out of the way as Twilight trotted to Pinkie’s side.

“I could tell. Dashie, AJ, heck they all fit, and so does mine.”

“Really? Awesome! Anyway, what’cha doin’?” he asked with the happy tone of a child.

“I was just going to see a friend of mine, maybe get a certain potion from them.”

Pinkie hopped to turn herself in Twi’s direction.

“Which friend?” she asked.

“I’ll give you a hint, ‘Sooo…Watch out!’.” Twi said as she jumped up on her hind legs, forelegs up over her shoulders and her hooves bent down on Pinkie like some cartoonish monster…the pink mare knew instantly who she was talking about. Pinkie laughed and asked her after wiping a tear of hilarity from her eye with a sigh.

“Mind if we tag along, we’re bored!”

“Sure, no prob.” she happily answered, “You okay with that Doc?”

“Uh…sure.” Doc said, a hint of confusion in his voice, “But who are we seeing again.? I don’t get the hint.”

“Relax, you’ll see.” said Twi mysteriously before continuing her previously determined course, walking away from the two and across the square.

Pinkie followed close behind her with joyous hops, and Doc followed them both, smiling as he hadn’t a clue of their destination. Although, behind a pane of glass on the top floor of Town Hall, the Mayor watched them cross the square from her office with a smile of nostalgia. Turns out she did end up looking back…Some ponies just never change, do they?


Sounds of the unknown echoed against the barks of twisted trees and the muddy earth beneath their hooves squished with each step as the friendly trio trotted through the Everfree Forest, permanent in its state of gloom and lonesome despair.

“So what you’re saying is that the ponies in Ponyville fear this place not for the creepy atmosphere or the things in it, but because its an independently living place?” Doc asked from the back of the three. They all navigated in an evenly spaced line, Twi at the front, Pinkie in the center and Doc at their six.

“Of course that’s why!” Twi responded with her head hanging over her right shoulder to look past Pinkie, who was hopping happily on the soggy trail, causing a miry splash with each bouncy contact she made.

“How can something so unnatural not freak you out?!”

“Probably cause I grew up in a place like that.” he answered with a shrug.

Twilight was slightly baffled by this discovery.

“Where?” she asked simply.

“Long story” he replied with a fiendish grin and a gaze at the top left corner of his eyes.

“*heh* Is that just your excuse for everything?”

“Pretty much.”

Pinkie interrupted their conversation by stopping her uniformed caper and yelling to the two after a slight gasp.

“We’re here!”

Doc and Twi looked forward to see a hollowed tree stump turned into a hut-like abode, various masks and bottles tribally decorating the outside. Doc instantly attained a smile of amazement and remembrance as he loudly whispered.

“No way…”

He ran past the girls and up to the hut’s red, wooden door. They both wondered what in Equestria he was doing, but simply watched in awe as he stopped at the door and flawlessly spoke Zebra while knocking on the door twice with the back of his hoof.

“Yangekuwa na kubisha, Mtu yeyote nyumbani?” he said before everypony froze in a short, silent pause, followed by the sounds of clinking glass and colliding wood coming from inside. Then suddenly, the door swung open and Zecora jumped out at Doc, hugging his ribs tightly under his forelegs and welcoming him with a surprised and joyous tone.

“Wewe umezingatia ahadi yako!”

Doc steadied himself on his hind legs before hugging her back tightly, laughing while he scuffed her striped, mohawk mane and spoke in an inquisitive, friendly tone.

“Jinsi umekuwa, Bakora?”

“Kubwa, vipi kuhusu wewe?”

“Faini...faini...jinsi ni kiingereza yako kuja pamoja?”

Both the girls were mentally deaf to whatever conversation these two were in, right up until Zecora unclamped from Doc’s middle, they both steadied back onto all fours and Zecora spoke to Doc in a reply.

“My Equestrian has been at its peak, but only in rhymes, may I speak.”

“Good job!” he said enthusiastically, “Keep it up and it’ll become second nature in no time.”

He looked to the girls once he finished his sentence with a jolly chuckle and noticed their utterly baffled expressions, instantly closing his widely spread, smiling muzzle and opening his eyes widely in a sort of awkward surprise. He stole a quick, suspicious glance at both of them with a flick of his eyes and spoke after several awkward seconds.

“Uh…guess I have some explaining to do, don’t I?”

“It was a while back, at least eight years from now, and I was exploring Zecora’s homeland for reasons that I’m not gonna say.” Doc explained as they all sat in a circle on the floor of Zecora’s hut.

Pinkie sat to the left of Doc, Twi to his right and Zecora across from him.

“I was researching the ways of Zecora’s kind for a…” he held his hooves up and bent them twice to resemble air quotes as he said, “ ‘business matter’. Anyways, it was sort of a ‘Dances with Timberwolves’ kind of story. I needed to get info about Zecora’s tribe for this business thing, the tribe didn’t like me very much, she alone stood up for me, I got acquainted with the tribe and their customs, including the info I needed, but revealing it would have led to the tribes destruction so I kept it to myself.”

Twi loved the story he referenced, but remained focused in listening to this tale of Doc’s somewhat distant past.

“The tribe didn’t like my nosiness in their affairs and saw me as an enemy from the start. Zecora here stood up for me though, said that the tribe should be a little less dependent on just their own knowledge and resources. So they let me stick with them for a while, but only on certain conditions. I had to be as formal as I could to others, no nicknames and giving respect where it belongs at all times, yada yada yada. Zecora didn’t mind though, so I gave her the nickname Stripes, which translates to ‘Bakora’ in her language.”

“He has learned our language without a doubt, yet my skills in Equestrian have still to come about.” Zecora complimented on his story.

Though, Twi wondered why Zecora judged her own abilities.

“But you sound just find to me.” she remarked.

“Same thoughts here,” Doc added, “but she only speaks in rhymes so she can think through what she wants to say. It was a trick I showed her as I taught her Equestrian…and she taught me Zebra.”

“Wow, you must have stayed their a long time to learn an entire language.”

“Four months as a matter of fact,” he reclined backwards onto the edge of an old, wooden chair with his neck and said with his hooves behind his head and a close-eyed smile, “and I don’t regret a second of it.”

Four months?!” asked Twi, “Quite a long time for a ‘business trip’, don’t you think?”

Twi gave the same hoof motions for “business trip” as Doc did.

“True…” Doc responded, “but if you new what my ‘business’ was at the time, it wouldn’t sound strange in the slightest. Too bad that that,” he gave a sly grin, “is another long story.”

Zecora laughed whole-heartedly and said while her cachinnation boiled down.

“*hahahah* Out of all the words for your excuse, it is still ‘long story’ that you abuse?”

“Eh,” he said uncaringly, “I was too lazy to think of something else…it’s good to follow rule thirteen.”

She chuckled once at the remark of that subject. Doc noticed that the girls looked inquisitive when he mentioned the rule number, so before they got a chance to ask, he simply answered them.

“Keep it simple.”

“But in the mean time,” he returned to the previous subject, bringing himself back to a sitting position by throwing his body weight backwards, then rocking himself forwards to a vertical stance, “I might as well make this long story short. After I gained the tribes trust and got the necessary information, I told them the actual reason I was even there and the ‘business’ I was supposed to do. But to keep them from skinning me alive and for their acceptance of me, I made a promise not to reveal the info and keep their tribe safe. They knew I would keep that promise, but I was heading home all the same whether they decided to kick me out or not, which they did. So, basically as I walk away from the tribe’s territory, Stripes here sort of catches up to me and yells, from a distance, the promise that we’d meet again someday…in Equestrian, of all things to yell it in. And so, many suns and moons later, here we are,” he looked to Stripes and they smiled to each other, reminiscent and nostalgic, “keeping our promises the way we should.”

The girls sat with faces of quiet amazement after hearing such a true, heartfelt story. They even almost felt like crying a little, but they didn’t and simply gave that type of smile you give somepony when you know they deserve it. Stripes and Doc beamed each other a closed-eye simper before they looked back to the girls.

“Wow…that was beautiful.” Twi remarked.

“Thanks.” Doc quietly replied with a humble and reminiscent smile, “Quite the tales we weave as we get to know our friends, huh?”

“Absolutely…” Twi responded before remembering why she was there in the first place, “Oh, and I hope you don’t mind me asking Zecora, but can I get a utility tonic or two? It’s for research.”

Stripes answered with a more glad than nostalgic simper across her muzzle, but she was still just as happy as her old, alabaster friend.

“Of course child, anything for you. And I think for your studies, I have just the brew.”

She got up and made way for a makeshift counter on the other end of the hut. The three sat there patiently as she mixed and stirred up a strangely colored liquid that emanated an unusual plume of purple smoke, typical brew for most miscellaneous uses. After a few moments, Twi began looking around the hut and eventually to her friends, looking over Pinkie momentarily and then turning her attention to Doc. She looked him over silently until she noticed the bandages that tightly covered his wrists, originally just thinking he had the sleeves on his work shirt rolled down for once.

“What happened?” she asked him calmly, pointing to them in emphasis.

He looked at his wrists alertedly for a second, then returned his gaze to her as he casually spoke.

“Oh, remember yesterday, how my wrists were all torn from the harnesses.”

Twi nodded.

“Well…” Doc paused momentarily in thought on how to explain why his wounds were not instantly fixed by his healing abilities. He smiled just before continuing happily.

“I’m too lazy to fix them with magic. But relax, I’ll do it later. For now, I’ll just let nature take its course.”

Doc looked to his watch after several more minutes of waiting and raised his eyebrows slightly, then began to stand up.

“Actually,” he said, “I need to get going. Have to deliver a little present.”

As Twi heard the way he said “little present”, she grew slightly suspicious, but forgot about it a moment later and hoped for the best in whatever he was doing. Just then, Stripes came over with a strange bottle of tonic, designed to speed up the mixture of substances. So everypony grabbed their gear after giving appreciation and farewell, saddled up and set out to wherever they pleased, all but Stripes who remained under the door frame of her hut as she watched Doc look back at her from the back of the trio’s reestablished formation. He looked over his shoulder from the back of the group and gave her a little salute with a flick of his hoof off the top of his forehead, then looked back to face the direction the group traveled. Zecora had déjà vu of the day Doc left her tribe back when she was younger, remembering that same salute he gave when he walked away from what she almost thought would be the last time. But she knew of Doc’s strange ways both then and now, which made her feel warm inside as she noticed the hidden promise Doc made when he looked back. The one he makes every time he looks back.

The group trotted out of the Everfree Forest and back into the town square. They stopped in the middle of a street-way leading into it as Doc stretched his limbs and spoke in a pressured voice while doing so.

“So…what will you be doing now?”

“I actually have to be back at the Library soon,” Twi answered, patting the side of one of her saddlebags, “I need to go and put these tonics to use.”

“Okay, see ya later!” said Pinkie, “I’m starting to get hungry, so I think I’ll head back to Sugarcube Corner for a snack or two. See ya guys later!” and she hopped off in the direction of her humble, pastry-making abode.

The two gave a little wave as she bounced off, then looked back at each other. Doc grinned happily and Twi did the same in response before Doc happily concluded their little time together.

“See ya later.”

He began walking away, but as he did so, Twi saw him look back over his shoulder only for a second to give a friendly smirk. Twi felt warm inside for some reason, as if Doc looking back to her gave her a sense of security in some way. She didn’t know how or why, but she was just glad it did.


Mac woke up, barely cracking his eyes open to the painful sunlight that poured into the room and set his cornea aflame. He looked to his left to see Dash asleep once more, the book he recommended to her being held tightly to her chest. He gave a small smile of personal accomplishment followed by a single chuckle, he knew she would like it. He looked beyond her and to the clock on the wall, three twenty-six, guess the body needs a lot of sleep to heal a wound like his. Instantly, his expression gave the appearance of him remembering something important just before he beamed his gaze at his sheeted leg and flung the tightly tucked covers off of it. He looked at it for a moment, lifted it in the air, rolled it in circles on his fibula and bent it inwards and outwards once. It was fully healed, he didn’t know how, but he was just glad and amazed that it was. He felt good knowing he’ll be back up and running in no time. He also felt glad that Dash’s dents and dings should also be gone soon, if they aren’t already. He relaxed his leg from the tension of keeping it in the air and let out a sigh, looking into the ceiling contentedly. His head curiously looked to the right, almost out of instinct, to see a colorful “Get well!” card standing vertically on his nightstand. He was surprised to see a gift for him, and then the irony sank in of him receiving it on the day of his recovery. He reached over and plucked it off the nightstand. The outside read “When times have you down, here’s to you getting right back up.” in bold, colorful, abstract and diagonal letters. He smiled and opened the card to see Doc’s hoofwriting on the inside.

“Hey Mac!” it read, “Hope you get back on your hooves soon. This card is for both you and Dashie, so can you give this to her and say hi for me?”

Next to the word “this” was an arrow that pointed to a small bottle of celeritate about three centimeters tall, taped to the inside of the card underneath the writing. At the very bottom of the card, Doc wrote in italicized letters.

“Hope you get out of there soon, you two have lives to live.” and added a small, childishly drawn smiley face directly under the writing.

Copyright 2012

Chapter V: The Walker of Rain

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter V

The Walker of Rain

“*sigh* The sunshine is positively pristine today, is it not?” Rarity chirped to Fluttershy as she felt the warm embrace of the late afternoon sun grace her skin and soak into her coat.

“Yes…beautiful…” Fluttershy quietly replied while looking around at clusters of trees and patches of swaying grass, their colors of sage exploding and dancing in the delicate gale that gave an frequent pass-by. It was the next day, and the two were on their way to their weekly appointment at the spa. The trail from Fluttershy’s cottage, through town and to the spa, was a beautiful one at that time of year to saunter leisurely. The air felt brisk with the approach of fall and winter, yet the humidity that lingered in the lambent sunshine gave a comforting coziness to the earth and made everything feel just right. The two ponies were in the middle of pleasant small talk as they walked through town, nearing the spa. It was a short distance away just as Rarity noticed the natural lighting of the area beginning to grow darker and darker as they walked. She immediately knew what that meant and stopped right in her tracks. Her mood instantly switched from her subtle and regal joy she had at most times to a much more irritated disposition as she gazed skyward and saw Dash placing one dark cloud after another into a gigantic clump that had begun blanketing the entire town. She yelled up at Dash as she was moving a cloud into a dented area of the clump and fixing its position.

“Rainbow Dash!”

Dash quickly perked her neck upwards for a moment and spun it around her left shoulder to see Rarity, a fierce look that demanded explanation on her face and a timid-as-always Fluttershy standing shyly several feet ahead of her.

“Oh hey gals.” Dash remarked casually, “What’s up?”

“Don’t tell me your ruining another perfectly sunny day with all this vile rain!” Rarity said pompously.

“Well sor-ry! that a shower was scheduled today, Rarity.” Dash sarcastically replied, “We haven’t had rain in a while and the plants are getting dry. It’s gonna take up most of the day, so if I were you, I’d get your thingy at the spa over with and let me do my job!”

Rarity simply gave a snobby, personal *hmph!* and continued on with Fluttershy into the spa. Dash returned to her work as they walked to the door and shut it behind them.

“Are they gone?” somepony whispered from behind Dash.

“Yup, you’re good. ‘Means you still have a little time before you have to tell them.”

“Great.” Doc said as he emerged from under a small mound of clouds, standing in front of it as if he were a pegasus and saying as he adjusted the top of his shirt, the bandages no longer around his wrists, “It’s hard to explain how the hay an earth pony like me can stand up here.”

“You mean aside from everything else?” said Dash after gawking at his comment.

“Eh…” Doc sounded as he looked to the top left of his eyes and sort of “twitch-swiveled” his right hoof in the air, followed by him continuing with a smile, “I guess you could say it’s more of a priority, but not by much.”

They both laughed. Dash friendly asked as the duo’s laugher died down.

“Are you ever going to tell ‘em?”

“ ‘Course I will, Flutters and Rare deserve to know that at least.”

He leaned backwards against the mound that he just emerged from and crossed his forelegs over his chest.

“Well, you better do it soon, somepony is bound to notice you up here and be quite surprised.”

He leaned his neck forward and spoke in a brazen tone.

“It’ll happen on it’s own time. ‘Patience, like magic, only needs a little to go very far.’ ”

“Ya know, there’s a difference between letting things come on their own time and just being too lazy to do them.” she said without the slightest ounce of aggression and a hint of sarcasm.

“Yeah, and I think we both have trouble finding that difference.”

They chuckled happily once more before Dash remarked sarcastically and placed another cloud into the gigantic bunch.

“Very funny. What are you even doing up here again?”

“Just stickin’ close to one of my most favorite pegasi ever.” he replied with a childish grin and tone before returning to his friendly, mentor-like persona, “Keeping an eye on ya so you don’t hurt yourself again.”

“Awww…” she sarcastically sighed while rolling her eyes, looking back over to him and saying in the same tone, “you really do care.”

She gave a few chuckles as she looked back to her work with a grin. He stuck out his tongue at her like a child, but still kept his calm smile.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” Dash dismissed after a short pause.

“Okay, don’t let me down on that.” he said while walking to the clouds edge and looking back over his shoulder, “It already sucked enough helping you the first time.”

She smiled widely, knowing he cares but is cool enough to make a joke out of something so serious. She tried her hardest not to blush, but failed after he spoke his next words.

“Just be careful Dash. That feeling I had, that I might have lost you, I never want to feel it again.”

He then jumped casually off the cloud, and out of sight.


Twilight was back at home, taking some notes on an experiment she had been conducting for the last few hours. She was deep in her work, as she is with most things. A very determined mare, doing her best since the day she was born. She heard a knock at the front door, perked her ears to hear it a second time, then dropped what she was doing to run for the Library foyer. She was in a very minor state of panic as she entered the foyer, but quickly calmed herself as she heard Doc’s happy voice from the other side of the front door.

“Candy gram”

She opened it to see Doc bowing his head down and speaking in a comedic imitation of a regal, Canterlot gentlecolt.

“Good afternoon, Miss Sparkle. How go-ith thee this fine day?”

She laughed and attempted the imitation herself while emitting the last ounces of her cachinnation.

“Well, *heheh* I have been feeling positively splendid today. As for you?”

“Simply divine.” he replied with exaggerated facial expressions before chuckling thrice and returning to his normal self, “What’s up Twi?”

“Oh not much, wanna come in?”

“It’d be an honor.” he replied politely, taking several steps inside, “I just came by to say hi and possibly read a book or two.”

“What about your caravan business?” she asked as she closed the door behind him, “Come to think of it, I barely ever see you working there.”

“Oh, everypony just grabs what they can on the first day and barely need anything past that. I like to see as many of my friends as possible before I have to go.”

“Well, thanks for coming to see me then. So, what book would you like?”

“Oh I don’t know, I’ll find something. In the meantime, just pretend I’m not even here.” he said before turning over to a nearby bookcase, searching it for something that would pass the time.

About an hour later, Doc was just finishing up a few chapters of “The Maretian Chronicles” while reclining in a wooden chair that he teetered on its back legs. Twi made great amounts of progress in her project, even though she worked solely on her own while Spike was acquiring some well deserved rest. Doc had his face in that book since he started reading, so he was surprised to hear a booming sound from outside and was exceptionally overjoyed to realize it was thunder, followed by the pitter-patter of rain against the glass of a window above one of the nearby bookcases. He immediately jumped out of his chair and from one shelf of a bookcase to another with ease, placing the book back in it’s proper place while at the levitated peak of a jump, then gladly letting gravity take over as he cleanly fell fifteen feet down to the resilient hardwood floor of the Library. He ran over and looked down the short hallway that led to Twi’s lab.

“See you later Twi, gotta go!” he yelled down it before turning and making a run for the door.

Twi barely made it to the end of the hallway to see Doc close the door behind him, but she still gave a smile and slow wave in its direction…She didn’t quite know why, but she did. Several minutes later, Doc literally waltzed in the rain as he happily trotted through town. Every drop that hit his coat felt like a tidal wave across his skin. He would spin in it and feel the drops hit him horizontally along his forelegs and pretend he was falling with it. The fresh, hydrated smell of precipitation flooded in and out of his nose with every savory inhale and happily made room for the next with the sigh that served as every exhale. Other ponies were running for cover with an umbrella, newspaper or book over their heads while Doc happily stood their and danced with himself, drenching every inch of his body and feeling the surge of energy with each nearby lightning strike and the ear-busting crack of its thunder. He maneuvered through every street, walkway and path he could find in the fifteen minute span between his first steps in the cool humidity to the point in his waltz when he passed by the Carousel Boutique, only to have his joyous warmth come to a screeching halt as he heard a shriek from within…and it sounded bloodcurdling. He violently burst through the door with his left shoulder and looked viciously around, ready for a fight. He was slightly calmed to simply see Rarity running around the house, looking for something in a panic. She failed to notice his entrance so he asked her, sternly and deeply.

“What’s wrong?”

*EEP!* Oh…*easing sigh* it’s you Doc.” she reacted nervously, “I need your help! I’m looking for a ladder, a rope, anything!”

She continued searching frantically.

“What for?”

“Come, I’ll show you.”

She took his hoof and led him out the door, taking a left and approaching the tree next to her house. She pointed into an open section of leaves before Doc knelt a little for a better view, squinting his eyes and getting a perfect sight of Opal up in the tree, clenching onto a branch for dear life.

“I got her. Stand back.” he calmly ordered while getting into the prepatory position for a sprint, followed by a dash at the tree with incredible speed.

He scaled the tall tree in an instant, simply placing his hooves lightly and swiftly as he they appeared to practically stick to the tree side until he slung himself up and landed on a branch in a crouching position. He balanced himself on the branch with his hind legs and held out his forelegs to Opal without saying a word. When Opal caught a glimpse of Doc as she decided to take a quick peak from her eyes that were practically welded shut, she started clawing her way to him slowly with long reaches and nervous pulls. Opal would never do that for anypony else under any circumstances, not a pony on this earth. When she got within his reach, he bundled her up for warmth and cradled her in his bosom with his left foreleg, hopping down from the high branch hind legs first and landing smoothly with Rarity’s shivering cat huddled in itself under his drenched, tired body. Rarity screeched with excitement and worry as she ran over and hugged her cat lovingly. Any other situation and Opal would have sliced her face into ribbons of meat, but right about now, all she could think about was keeping warm. Rarity relished the moment as much as she could before she looked out of Opal’s fur and at Doc through her dripping, straightened mane with her soft blue eyes. She saw a smile trailed along Doc’s face after he got back on all fours, the only thing breaking through his serious stance and the somewhat frightening way he looked down on her due to his height. Yet she saw his smile, and simply thanked him by embracing herself and Opal tightly to his chest, which was so cold that it almost felt dead in the icy water that clung to his clothing. She muffled a thousand “thank-you”s into his shirt with sobbing pauses and tears of joy concealed in the rain.

“It’s my job to keep all of you safe, think nothing of it.” he simply said before hugging them back for a few blissful moments. He then backed up and began taking off his soaked work shirt.

“You two should get inside.” he said, pulling his shirt off with a tug over his back and a pull across his head and shoulders.

He slung the dripping glob of cloth over his shoulder and onto his back as he continued.

“If you stay out here you’ll catch a cold, not to mention all the lightning. I’ll be fine, but right now,” he began walking off in the direction of the Library while saying over his shoulder to them, “you two need to watch out for yourselves. So be careful, I’ll be there when you need me.”


Back at the Library, Twi had made great progress in her experiment and was even beginning to near its end. Despite this milestone, she decided to take a break and join Spike for a nap, absolutely exhausted after so many hours of work. Spike was still asleep as Twilight approached her bed, so she gave him a delicate kiss on the forehead and whispered “Thanks” before jumping into bed and off to sleep, content with the cute idea of Spike still assisting her as they napped together. She awoke suddenly as she heard the door to her room surprisingly open. She attempted to get up without waking Spike, but failed and they both decided to go see who had made the noise. They looked over the edge of the upstairs nook containing Twi and Spike’s beds to see Doc, soaked to the bone with his drenched shirt still slung over his shoulders, closing the door behind him carefully. He jumped a little as Twi called his name, then turned around bashfully and spoke to the sleepy duet.

“*heh* Hey you guys. Sorry if I woke ya.”

“No problem Doc…*yawn*” Spike replied, “What’cha doin’?”

“Oh not much. Just got back from my walk in the rain.”

Spike looked to Twi inquisitively, followed by a groggy nod from her to answer the question he silently asked.

“I might be going out again later, just a forewarning.” mentioned Doc before he began making his way out of Twi’s room.

“Can I join you for that?” Twi asked, quickly stopping him.

“Oh sure!” he answered after listening with a slightly surprised look on his face, “Maybe I can show you what I do when it rains in this town. I’ll just keep reading until then. Come see me when your ready.”

Later, the rain had begun to slow down from a stormy gale to a gentle drizzle. It was definitely going to return to the previous speed over time, but Twi and Doc at least had that slight tranquility to themselves as they walked the trail, discussing friendly topics. Twi brought along an umbrella and wore a scarf for warmth in the brisk, stormy air. They were both crossing a hill shortly outside the area of town, laughing together and enjoying their conversation.

“*hahahah!* That really happened?!” Twi asked.

“No joke.” responded Doc, “He rounded a corner into an alleyway and BAM!, right into a brick wall!”

She laughed once more at the slapstick comedy of the tale. Doc was telling her the story of a time he chased a purse snatcher in Trottingham, only to have the thief run around a corner into an alleyway and meet nose first with the brick wall of the dead-end space.

“Never knew that Trottingham had such…‘interesting’ characters.” Twi commented.

“Yup!” responded Doc, “One of my favorite places to go in the world, other than here. I’ve never had as many friends in one place as Ponyville.”

He looked over to her out of the corner of his eye and said with a smile.

“And certainly none of them, no matter where I went, was ever quite like you.”

Twi blushed immensely, she had never met such a sweet talker in her whole life. The “semi-romantic” mood of the scene was cut when she was surprised by Doc’s sudden change in tone.

“Ah! Here we are!” he loudly said before running ahead of her and towards a relatively large hill, a single, lonesome tree standing tall at its pinnacle.

“What are you doing and what is this place?” she asked him with a chuckle.

“This is the place I was telling you about!” he shouted to her from halfway up the hill before turning back around and proceeding to take slow, steep steps up the incline of the hillside, “Come on up, you have to see it for yourself!”

She just decided why not? and began heaving herself up the slope as well. As she approached the peak of the hill’s height, Twi looked up to see Doc looking down at her from his side, then, as she began to see over the crest of the hill, the white bulb of sun that shone through distant grey clouds blinded her. Doc held his hoof out in the direction over the hill as he gladly announced his next, oh-so accurate words.



Over the hill, Twi could see a small, beautiful oasis just a short walk from the base of the hill, with lush trees, green grass and multitudes of flora surrounding it. At first glance Twi couldn’t see it, but after scanning the picture for a second longer, she could see the miracle in it. The small lake, fascinatingly alive and full of color, stood independent from the overwhelming darkness of The Everfree Forest that literally surrounded it. The trees of the Everfree seemed to spread miles past the Oasis, ending at the base of a monstrously large mountain, standing behind it all as the large backdrop of this natural, artistic masterpiece. The Mountain stood so tall that right behind its highest peak, the Sun shone through the clouds, streaking the sky and earth with silver brushes of sunlight, the incandescent globe practically perched on the Mountain’s pinnacle. The Oasis, the Forest, the Mountain and the Sun…so much for Twi take in as she finally understood Doc’s enthusiasm of this place.

“Woooowwww…” she whispered loudly as she marveled at the beautiful view.

Doc smiled at her fascination and trotted over to the lone tree, bending his knees for a moment as he lowered himself and spun around to hit his back against the tree bark and sit in a pretzel-legged style.

“Never get tired of that view.”

“It’s…amazing!” she said, swerving her vision around for only a moment to look at Doc, but the gravity of the scenery could not be resisted as it pulled her gaze back in its direction.

“How did you ever find this!” Twi asked.

“I told you, I go places.” Doc casually answered, ‘But this one is truly my favorite out of any place in this country, or the world for that matter.”

Twi laughed at the beauty of the picture, then spun around in joy, enveloping the smell of rain and life as Doc did just earlier that day. She spun around and around until she was nearly dizzy and just plopped down against the tree, sitting right next to Doc as she laughed wholeheartedly. She was having the time of her life and all she was doing was sitting on a hill with a good friend.

After sitting next to Doc and laughing a little bit more, Twi spoke like she was beginning to ask a question.


She caught his attention before continuing.

“Why does this place and all of our friends mean so much to you?”

Doc looked to the ground for a moment in thought, snickered, then said with a smile.

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m just some old fool that’s seen too much for his own good. I’ve been everywhere, Twi. Any place you can name or think of, I’ve visited at least one time or another. And everywhere I go, there’s always somepony in need of some kind of help…This world we live in, Twilight, is filled with more pain and suffering than you can even imagine. I’ve spent pretty much my entire life trying to make it right. To make ponies everywhere see the error of their selfish ways. But…every time I think I’ve made a difference, that I actually got through to someponies’ heads, I return to that same place, only to find my work forgotten. Its been hard, but even in the darkest tunnel, you’ll always find that one spark, that one bit of goodness that can never be erased, no matter how hard anypony tries. That’s what’s kept me going for so many years, the thought that, maybe someday, ponies will finally learn to get along. And that’s what I love about Ponyville, Twilight. The second I got here, I knew that everypony had already learned that lesson. That they had understood the joy of a carefree and peaceful lifestyle while everypony else in the world was still bickering over money and popularity like spoiled children. Everypony was always happy, nopony was ever too greedy, violent, judgmental or anything! This town, Twi, has been that light, that bit of goodness that has always kept me going. Whenever I thought about giving up, I thought of this place. It reminded me of what I was fighting for. A world where everything was alright and ponies finally got along. *sigh* It really is something magical.”

Twi was practically baffled by what she just heard. She had always thought of Doc to be like any other merchant she’d seen come to town. Come in, sell stuff, market your business and leave. Of course, she always knew he had something special about him, with his friendly nature and bizarre skills…but this, the story of his travels, his love for Ponyville and his noble hopes for the future, was just breathtaking.

“Wow…” Twi simply responded after a short pause.

This, once again, caught Doc’s attention.

“What?” he asked casually.

“You really are amazing…” she answered.

He chuckled once before speaking modestly.

“Aw shucks. Look at you, makin’ me feel all special.”

“You are!” she interjected, “You are easily one of the most interesting ponies I’ve ever met! Your knowledge of medicine, magical abilities with just your hooves and travel experience reaching as far as Zecora’s homeland?! It would be crazy to call you anything but special!”

“*heheheh* Yeah…” he responded quietly while looking to the lower left of his eyes in embarrassment, then sighing before saying with a hint of remembrance in his voice, “…crazy.”

They spent the next couple of minutes just silently staring at the scenery and absorbing every detail of it, even when it changed due to the slow descent of the sun. After a little while, Twi suddenly broke the silence.

“Say Doc…” she said, catching his attention for the third time, “When you said you were just some old fool who’s seen too much for his own good, what do you mean? I mean, I get your point, but you still look quite young to be some ‘old fool’.”

Twi noticed Doc raise his eyebrows a little at the mention of his words. He then chuckled twice, looked back out at the scenery and answered her after another sigh.

“I may seem young Twi, but let’s just say that I certainly feel a whole lot older on the inside. Maybe someday I’ll be able to tell you more than just that…”

He paused, giving a lightly dramatic effect on the scene before he smiled a little and said with a tone of deep, personal importance,

“Maybe someday, I’ll be able to tell you everything...”

Copyright 2012

Chapter VI: Sincere Saint

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter VI

Sincere Saint

It was seven-twenty in the morning and Twi was just finishing up her project after another all-nighter. She had worked on it restlessly since she began two days ago and was very proud to have finished it before Doc’s inevitable departure. So, after she lethargically set her lab tools down and back into their kit, she happily pulled her tired body through the hallway, past Spike with a wave, up the stairs to her little nook of a bedroom and collapsed against the bed with an accomplished sigh. She enjoyed a nap that she would normally never dream of taking so early in the morning. She didn’t care though, she knew she needed it. Outside, the air was rich with the smell of the heavy rain that had died down overnight. Puddles lay as oddly shaped panes of glass on concave bumps in the dirt, refracting the morning sunlight that contacted their surfaces. At the town square, Doc was inside of his caravan, setting up certain pieces of machinery for a task he planned for later in the day. He felt glad that his trip here had gone so smoothly, just as every other visit to Ponyville he’s ever made. He was in the middle of placing a transparent tube in its rightful place amongst an array of machinery that looked like a large chemistry set, when he heard Dash’s voice from behind him.

“Hey Doc!” she said, sounding particularly happier than usual, like she was expectant of showing him something.

He turned around to see Dash leaning on the counter with both her elbows and two ponies he was unfamiliar with standing beside her. One had a coat the color of the mid-day sun and a fiery-orange mane that gracefully, frigidly and casually hung down along the sides of her head. The other was a colt with a coat bearing a somewhat lighter cyan than Dash‘s coat, along with a navy blue mane that flared backwards on his head and down his neck. Both of them wore goggles, the orange pony’s hanging around her neck and the blue one’s resting atop his brow. They looked quite interested with the design of the caravan’s outside as Dash concluded her salutation.

“I have some ponies I want you to meet.”

As she said that, the two ponies turned their gazes away from the caravan’s exterior and focused more on its interior, specifically at Doc with friendly smiles on their faces.

“I’d be happy to.” Doc replied to Dash as he looked directly at the duo and smiled back.

He stretched his hoof across the counter towards them in greeting. They happily shook hooves in the order that Dash introduced them.

“This is Spitfire, and this is Soarin.”

Doc’s eyes widened as he realized who they were.

“Wow!” he said, “…Um, sorry to bring this up if you’re on vacation or something, but I never thought I would meet members of the Wonderbolts, let alone their leader and star performer!”

The both of them grinned, followed by Spitfire responding with her beautiful voice that always had that ounce of spunk in it.

“It’s okay.” she said kindly, “After so many years of meeting fans, we’re kind of used to it.”

She gave a light, friendly sock at Dash’s shoulder as she said “fans”, followed by Dash laughing as she got into a tiny poke fight with Spitfire’s hoof to playfully push it away. Soarin watched the scene with a sort of sentimental look, speaking to Doc with his voice of leadership, experience, youth and daring.

“Yeah,” he said, “and through all our fans, we still find ponies that don’t tear us to shreds in the middle of the street.”

He looked back to Doc as he concluded.

“Ya know, ponies that are actually friends instead of hyenas.”

“I know what you mean.” Doc responded, “But anyway, what fortunate turn of events has brought us the honor of meeting you two in person?”

Dash began powering down the laughter from the tickle fight she and Spitfire’s poking evolved into.

“*hahahahah* *sigh* Oh, that’s right! I haven’t told you yet! I’ve actually known them for a while now.” she said, answering Doc’s question happily, “They instructed me a while ago when I visited the Wonderbolt Academy for a week. After that, we talked, did stuff and just sorta became friends.”

“Yeah,” Spitfire spunkfuly interjected, “and not to mention the fact that you saved our butts years ago when we were headed face first for the ground, unconscious after your friend kicked us in the face.”

Doc grew an exaggeratedly curious and funny look on his face as he quickly and repeatedly stole looks from both Spitfire and Dash. Dash responded to this by motioning both hooves at him in the “back off” sort of fashion, speaking in a friendly manner with a hint of laughing at the start.

“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry I didn’t tell you and I’ll make sure to give you the whole spiel later.”

She concluded by chuckling out the word “Jeez” as she smiled and looked away from his ridiculous expression, trying not to laugh any further than she already has.

“Wait a minute.” Spitfire mentioned as Doc returned to his normal self, “It’s been years since that happened and you still haven’t told him?”

“It’s not her fault.” Doc interjected, explaining to Spitfire before Dash could even give a word of response, “I’ve been up in the more mountain-y part of the country for the last few years, doing research and stuff, so I’ve kinda been out of the loop. In fact, this is actually my first time back, and now I’ve returned to my regular, old travelling schedule.”

“Ah!” Spitfire responded, “That makes sense.”

“Yeah…” Soarin added, “Well, I’m just glad Rainbow got to introduce us to you, especially at a time like this. We don’t take vacations very often.”

“You’re on vacation? From what?” Doc interestedly asked.

“Dude…everything.” Soarin satisfyingly answered, stretching his forelegs as he continued, “Two months straight of no shows, no flight camps, no schedules. Just Spitfire and I livin’ our lives the way we like, and it…is…awesome!”

“Yeah, it’s great!” Spitfire added, following Soarin’s blissful statement, “We barely started a week ago, and we’ve already run out of things to do in Cloudsdale. So, we decided to take a trip out here to the countryside, get a little taste of the nature we fly so high above everyday of our lives. We passed through a few small towns before deciding to come to Ponyville, and when we did, we made it our mission to eventually try out the spa, especially since we’ve heard so many good stories about it. We were approaching it from the skies, and who else would we find working on a cloud directly above the building.”

As she said that, she nudged Dash with her elbow.

“Yeah,” Dash responded, “When I was doing weather duty yesterday, they flew down to my cloud a few minutes after you left.”

“You should have seen the look on her face when we snuck up on her,” Soarin humorously commented, “absolutely priceless!”

Doc looked at the ground blankly and snickered at just the thought of what that must have looked like.

“Once we said hi,” Soarin continued, “calmed her down a bit *heh*, and talked a little, we practically spent the whole day together.”

“It was one of the best days we’ve been on vacation yet.” Spitfire added, “Just spending time with a good friend, no commitments, no limits, no schedules…”

“It really felt like we were just ponies instead of the superheroes someponies think we are.” Soarin added, concluding Spitfire’s sentence, “You need that feeling every now and then when you have lives like ours.”

In response, Doc just smiled…they had no idea how much he really understood how they felt.

“So…” Soarin began as he looked around Doc, into the caravan and at the machinery inside, “what’cha doin’?”

Doc turned for a moment to the mess of equipment, sounding a “Hm?”, then turning back once he realized what Soarin meant.

“Oh, I sell brews and potions here at the caravan, and every time I go somewhere, I sell out of most of them on the first day. I figured that rather than spend my time remaking this stuff on the trail to my next destination, I could just make the next batch here before I leave.”

“Are you leaving soon?” Spitfire asked.

“I’ve got until tomorrow at least, then I’ll probably be off for another year.”

“A year!?” Soarin asked in amazement, “Where are you headed that it takes you that long to get back.”

“Meh, anywhere really. It’s just that can’t stay in one place for too long.”

“How come.” Spitfire asked.

Doc was seriously beginning to notice a pattern, as if Spitfire and Soarin took turns speaking in the conversation. He chuckled quietly at what he noticed, then politely advised.

“I’m going to give you two a little fore-warning about me. ‘It’s a long story’ is an excuse I use a lot, so…sorry. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”

“You sound just like AJ.” Dash happily remarked, “*heh* Say, since this is like your last day, do you wanna join us? We were going to go practice some flying the way these two do every day somewhere way out of town.”

“That’s why we have these.” Spitfire mentioned, looking down at the goggles that hung from her neck by the strap, “We wear them whenever we practice, mostly for efficiency’s sake.”

“Cool,” replied Doc, “I’d be happy to join you.”

“Awesome!” Dash responded before leaning in closer to Doc over the counter and whispering to him, “Could you bring some of the…well, you know.”

She nudged him twice with her elbow as she finished.

“You’re lucky I still have some left.” he whispered back, “It’ll cost you extra.”

She rolled her eyes and placed fifteen bits on the counter, followed by Doc swiping the little golden coins into a money box he kept underneath the countertop at all times of business. He then walked to the other side of the caravan with a smile, opened an overhead cabinet, grabbed a strange, green bottle and placed it back on the counter as he asked the three pegasi.

“Well…shall we?”


“Do we really have to travel this far? I don’t see a problem with just doing this above the square.” asked Doc annoyingly, the bottle that Dash asked for placed in the satchel he wore on his side.

The four of them were trotting along a trail far out from the reaches of town, looking for some open space to do their flight practice.

“*sarcastic gasp* Doc!” Dash exaggeratively said as she turned her head around to look at him, “Are you complaining? That’s not like you!”

Both Soarin and Spitfire, in that order at the front of the group, attempted to contain their snickers at the childish nature of the two friends behind them, but failed embarrassingly as Doc pouted with big, cartoonishly glistening eyes on purpose to act even more childish. After several seconds of making that face though, Doc broke the look of his alleged moodiness and laughed to himself while closing his eyes and looking down for a moment with a smile.

A few moments later, the group stopped as they heard Soarin speak.


They had halted before a large area of free grassland. It teemed with life as small animals scurried around, flowers swayed in the distance and a surprisingly large amount of free-floating clouds hung above it in a slow, peaceful bliss. Soarin finished his sentence after taking in the beauty of the scene, taking a deep breath through his nose before he sighed out his next words.

“This spot should do just fine.”

“Well then what are we waiting for?” said Dash spunkfuly before she looked up and saw a cloud hanging directly above their heads.

She flared her wings with a crouch, then shot skyward for a few seconds before calmly landing and sitting on the cloud’s edge, looking down at her friends from about seventy-or-so feet in the air. Soarin and Spitfire flared their wings in an identical crouch, before they looked over to Doc who just had a sunny smile on his face.

“Oh…uh…sorry you can’t join us Doc.” Spitfire unfortunately remarked, “Guess you can just um…watch from down here.”

But before Doc could respond, both pegasi were surprised to hear Dash yell to from the cloud above.

“Oh don’t worry, just watch!”

Not knowing what to expect, they looked back at Doc in slight confusion, wondering what the heck she was talking about. Doc’s smile then changed from a friendly glow to a nearly devilish grin as he crouched down in what looked like preparation for a jump. Then, with a slight blast of dust from where he was originally standing, the pegasi watched as Doc rocketed through the air with a superhero-like bound, flying straight up to Dash’s cloud before landing perfectly on it as if he too was a pegasus.

The two pegasi stood in absolute shock to see such a leap from an earth pony, if that’s even what Doc was. They slowly, but naturally flew up to join the strange duet, their muzzles still amazedly agape. As they peaked over the clouds edge, their disbelief grew even more when they saw Doc standing true on the cloud’s cumulus, puffy surface, leaning against a taller section of it on his back with his forelegs crossed over his chest. They uttered absolute gibberish as they tried to comprehend what they had just witnessed, while Dash just sat on her bum with her knees bent upwards, laughing hysterically at their expected reactions.

“Sir…Madam…” Doc said, quickly cutting off their palaver and answering their unspoken questions, “When you said that you two needed to feel like normal ponies instead of alleged ‘superheroes’ every once in a while…you didn’t have a clue how much I agreed with you.”

After a pause of the Wonderbolt idols just staring at him in amazed thought, Dash broke the slight silence.

“Quite an interesting friend, ain’t he?” she said, finishing her incessant snickering.

She then rocked herself back and forth once from her sitting position, hopped out of it and landed back on all fours.

“But anywho, let’s get started already!”

Both of the pegasi blinked twice, slowly and widely to help snap themselves out of their trance, then Soarin shook his head rapidly, ruffling his mane and regaining his focus.

“Uh…why don’t we start out with a little race?” Spitfire suggested nervously.

“Yeah, that sounds…good.” Soarin agreed, the same unsure tone in his voice.

“Alright!” Dash responded simply, ignoring their uneasiness and jumping to one end of the cloud excitedly.

“Who’s first?” she asked, ready for whoever stepped up to the challenge.

Spitfire instinctively stepped forward, trying to act much calmer than how she really felt by giving Dash her signature cocky smile. Seeing that Dash and Doc were good friends, how Doc’s strange qualities didn’t faze her in the slightest, brought Spitfire back to her old self over a little time.

“You sure you can keep up with a Wonderbolt kid?”

“I know I can!”

The guys stepped back to the center of the cloud and faced the two mares as they stepped to one end of the cloud, prepared for take off, Dash counted down with “One…two…three…Go!” and they both shot off at jet speed.

The guys watched as the mares ricocheted from one cloud to another, veering through them gracefully along an unplanned, yet natural track of space between long lengths of cloud. It ran in many turns, curves and inclines until it came back to the other side of the cloud they started at (with a few tweaks from them here and there, of course). Although, the cloud where they began had an overview of most of the racing area, so both of the guys watched it side by side, a few feet from each other with Soarin almost directly on Doc’s right. Doc turned his head away from the race for a moment and looked at Soarin out of the corner of his eye. He noticed Soarin was frantically scanning the patch of cloud Doc stood on while his body still faced the direction of the race. When Doc turned his head to him, Soarin noticed it, yet continued surveying Doc’s hooves, unsure of what strange magic allowed this earth pony to stand in what should be a spot reserved for only winged creatures.

Soarin asked him with slightly increasing volume from start to finish, beginning with an almost irritated whisper.

“I still don’t get how the heck your doing that.”

“What can I say,” Doc responded after a momentary snicker, “it’s a long story.”

Soarin stopped his investigation in its tracks. With his neck still lowered in an inspecting fashion, Soarin looked up at Doc without changing the position of his head.

“*heh* So you do use that excuse after all.”

Soarin retracted his neck back to a straight and comfortable position.

“Well if you knew the actual reason,” Doc mentioned, “you’d be even more suspicious about me, and I’ve tried to keep that a secret from as many ponies as I can.”

Soarin spoke after a short pause of looking at a patch of cloud in front of him. “I’m sorry for asking such a rude question,” he said, “but…what are you…exactly?”

Doc looked at the cloud’s surface as well before he answered with a smile. “*heh* Sorry for the bad first impression but…”

He looked to Soarin and gave a close-eyed, wider and more innocent grin as he said nicely and without a hint of hesitation,

“I guess you could say I’m a monster…”

Soarin simply looked at the white stallion that stood before him out of the sides of his eyes, smiled, then reached his right hoof across his chest and at Doc. Doc looked at his hoof for a second with an interested face, then back up to him as he regained his smile. Doc reached his hoof up and grasped it firmly, giving a single up and down flick of the wrist.

“It’s nice to meet’cha.” Soarin said politely, “Whatever you may be and whatever your secrets are, I have the feeling we’re still gonna be great friends.”


They heard and felt a loud thud against the cloud surface behind them, turning alertedly only to sense another strong thud very close to the first one. They saw Spitfire standing triumphantly as Dash lied stomach down beside her, hooves on her head as she spoke.

“*groan* I lost!”

“Still think you have it in ya ta take on a Wonderbolt, kid?” Spitfire said in friendly mockery.

Dash just looked up out of the pile of clouds that her muzzle and nose lay in with competitive furiousness. It was only the fact that Spitfire was a Wonderbolt and a friend that kept Dash from proposing an identical rematch…she had a much better idea than that.

“Alright then,” she said with a sly grin, “how about a little ‘high-stakes’ rematch?”

She got up quickly, motioning for Doc to pass her the bottle of celeritate before he did so without question.

“Thish bo’le,” she said while holding the container of celeritate in her mouth, then putting it on a table-high chunk of cloud next to her to speak better, “can do things for a pegasus’ speed that you wouldn’t even believe. If all of you, Doc included, can beat me in a race with this in my system,” she nudged the bottle with her hoof as she said this and continued, “I won’t drink another drop of it for the rest of my life.”

The two pegasi contemplated the offer for a moment, but rather than ask what the bottle of strange fluids did, they took turns asking two halves of the same question.

“Quite the offer,”

“But what does that do for us?”

With her hoof on her muzzle, Dash thought of how to answer. She wasn’t really thinking about their victory, but what reward hers would provide. They all turned to Doc as they heard his proposal.

“As much as I don’t like this deal, considering Dashie here is my cash cow for this stuff,” he said, “I have an idea of how to motivate you to win.”

He pointed to the Wonderbolt duet as he finished.

“How about, if Dashie wins, you train her for an entire month as if she was a new recruit to the Wonderbolts, starting the day after tomorrow.”

Dash could barely comprehend his proposition. Why didn’t she think of it sooner, an entire month learning from her fillyhood heroes! It’s perfect! The Wonderbolts contemplated this even further. Half of their entire vacation dedicated to the teachings of an old fan and friend, even if she saved their lives in the past….

“Okay,” Soarin said, “but you still haven’t said what we get if we win?”

Doc thought this through with a speculating groan that lasted several seconds as his eyes rolled to the top of their sockets, hoof on his muzzle…then it hit him.

“How about, regardless of whether you win or lose,” he began slyly, “you can have as much of the stuff in that bottle as you want when I’m in town, free of charge starting the day after tomorrow.”

They perked their ears at the proposition. They were oblivious of its effects, only knowing that it would give them some insane speed boost, a game changer for any performance.

“Deal” Spitfire said before Soarin looked at her, nodding in agreement with a smile.

Soarin looked as though a thought entered his head before he turned to Doc and made a good point.

“By the way,” he asked, “why do all the deal outcomes start the day after tomorrow? Why not just do them as soon as we can?”

“Because I’m leaving tomorrow and won’t be back for another year, remember?”

Their heads fumed. Even if they won, they weren’t going to be able to get any celeritate until Doc got back, he had tricked them.

“Why you little…” Soarin said to himself in a frustrated manner.

Doc had a devilish smile on his muzzle and his eyes were happily open and rolled to the top right of his sockets. Dash laughed at his brilliant negotiating skills before speaking to the duet.

“Well, you already said ‘deal’!” she mentioned before grabbing the bottle, hopping to the cloud’s edge and continuing enthusiastically, “So let’s get started!”

Soarin pouted at Doc for a second, then his lip quivered and he burst into an intense, joyous laughter. Spitfire was surprised by this and by him what he said to Doc a moment later with a smile.

“You really are a clever one.”

He lightly bumped Spitfire with his elbow.

“He’d make a perfect Wonderbolt, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, if he could fly.” she replied, “Speaking of which Doc, how do you plan to race us, not having wings and all?”

All Doc did for a response was give them the same devilish smile he did before he made his abnormal, skyward bound. They knew he could race them somehow, and it frightened them trying to imagine the possible methods. Doc stopped his devilish grin, switched it to a concentrated, but happily competitive glare and moved quickly to the cloud’s edge. He prepared himself in a sprinting position, as if he was going to run his way there. Crazy, but the Wonderbolts went with it anyway and prepared at the starting line as well.

“Okay,” said Dash spunkfuly, “on the count of three. One…”

She pulled the cork out of the bottle’s top.


She swigged it once, just enough. Her body suddenly buzzed as if hit with electricity, vibrating violently in a wave from her head all the way through her tail. She then opened her eyes, her pupils now the size of grains of sand as she concluded with a creepy, energetic and animalistic voice.



They sped out of the starting line, the same as any other racing cliché ever written, as fast as lightning. Dash blasted ahead farther than any of them in the first second by yards. Her stance of flight was more bloodthirsty than that of an aerodynamic professional. The look on her face, eyes wide open, pupils flickering in place and near-pointed teeth sneering in a grin that spread from ear to ear, it showed a terrifying, animalistic effect the Wonderbolts had never seen before. The duet soared like the experts they had trained for years to be, but Dash’s “enthusiasm” left them a little…distracted. Doc’s method of racing them on this track of clouds, however, distracted them even more, leaving them completely baffled. Doc ran on the stretch of cloud to their right that was meant to be the barrier for the race track. What baffled them was not only the incredible speed that his hooves met the puffy surface, but the fact that he dashed like no pony ever should. He ran on his hind legs, leaning forward with quick, gigantic lunges with his forelegs neatly bent behind his back. His face displayed no actual emotion, only concentration in the winding track ahead of him and the placement of every hoof to keep himself stable, reason being that the simple act of standing on two legs was as hard as doing a handstand for ponies. Feats such as that are only seen in certain races throughout Equestria and peculiar sports throughout the world, but mostly in the myth of humans, an ancient race of beings that can walk on two legs, have appendages on their fore-and-hind legs and apparently are evolved forms of monkeys. Utter nonsense in the scientific world that ponies know, but I digress. Dash’s carnivorous attitude and Doc’s intense concentration drove ahead almost equally, leaving the Wonderbolts in a struggle to remain focused and even stay within the possibility of beating these strange, new opponents. The Wonderbolts persisted in competing under such different circumstances. Even though they both fell into last place constantly, they loved every minute of this race. They both knew that they needed a bout like this to get their blood stirring every once in a while, even if they were on vacation. They realized what they really needed was to find passion in racing once more, and this was the perfect place to have it surge into their skin like the wind against their faces. They zipped around every corner quickly and flawlessly, mentally denying the possibility of losing to an inexperienced, hotheaded friend who was hopped up on some sort of speed drug and a strange “earth pony” they could barely even believe was real. Dash bounced furiously from one side of the barrier to the other, ricocheting down the path in a horribly devastating ardor. Doc still zipped along the barrier with expeditious hoof work, refusing to simply jump the gap from one section of barrier to another and straight to the finish line. He wanted to have a nice clean race, not cheat after spending so much time in the slow paced world. They bent around every bend, slid up and down every slope and eventually began to approach the final terminus. Doc was ahead of Dash by several yards and she was ahead of the Wonderbolts by barely any more than that. Doc was about to claim victory, but decided to make a sort of “business” decision. He would lose such a mass of income from Dashie in his celeritate business should he win, and remembered that his victory held no reward, only a negative effect on a good customer and a legendary friend. So, he purposely threw one hind-hoof out in front of the other, tripping himself as he hit face-first against the cloud’s surface and let Dash wiz by him. His face lied in a pile of condensation, hind legs bent and hanging down above his head as he slowly slid just an inch before the finish line. It looked cartoony and hilarious, but all the same, Dash was victorious, followed by the Wonderbolts shortly after. Once Doc easily picked himself back up, he casually strolled onto the platform with a smile of accomplishment and joy for his friends on his muzzle. After several minutes of Dash letting the celeritate wear off by buzzing frantically in place, then promptly rubbing her victory in the Wonderbolts’ faces, they all decided to sit down in a circle in the middle of the platform to recollect themselves. Dash sat on one side of the circle, with Spitfire across from her, Soarin to her right and Doc across from him. Spitfire’s mane was no longer hanging from her scalp in a relaxed fashion, it was now blazed up, just as in the many shows and occasions she has attended throughout the country. The conversation started when they just began sitting down and Soarin spoke in an exhausted voice.

“That was *pant* quite a race.” he said before collapsing onto the cloud’s surface and into a criss-cross sitting position with a bouncy fwump, “We haven’t *pant* *pant* done something like that *pant* in years!”

They all followed his action, practically fainting onto the plushy texture of the brume with a comforting and joyous bounce, much like on a bouncy-house or trampoline. Doc sat on his hind quarters, bending his knees upwards slightly, grasping the kneecaps and letting his hind-hooves rest flat against the puffy alabaster. Dash sat with her hind-legs straight out from her pelvis, bracing herself up with the buckled elbows of her forelegs. Lastly, Spitfire sat almost identical to Dash, the only difference was her lean forward instead of backward and her forelegs and hooves resting limply on the muscle of her thighs.

“Likewise!” Doc replied to Soarin.

He was the only one of the four that didn’t look debilitated, despite the fact that his motions required the most energy and movement.

“It feels so good to get back into the fast track of life!”

He punched the air when he said “good” in a spunky emphasis, then relaxed as he continued.

“*hahahaha* *sigh* And I sure am glad I got to return to it with you three.”

They all looked to him as he said that, and gave subtle, miniscule simpers in return. They knew he was a good friend to feel that way, to care that much for both an old companion he’s known for years and two pegasi he barley met an hour ago.

“And it was a pleasure of ours” Spitfire replied, “to spend a day of our vacation meeting a pony like you.”

“Told you it would be awesome meeting him.” Dash commented, “You just wait ‘til you try some of the stuff I had. This guy here really knows what he’s doing when it comes to brewing it.”

In slight surprise, they both turned to him.

“Wait,” Spitfire asked, “you mean you make that stuff?! I thought you just trade for it with some insane potion expert along your travels. That’s incredible!”

Doc blushed a little and grazed the back of his neck with his hoof, looking to the bottom right of his eyes.

“Y…yeah, I do make it.” he responded, “It’s nothin’ to be proud of though.”

“Are you crazy?!” Soarin asked laughingly, “That stuff turned this little speedster,” he scuffed Dash’s colorful mane with his hoof like some sort of big brother, then continued, “into a freaking animal! *heh* I just hope we don’t have to race her like that during her Wonderbolt training.”

A second later, when Dash’s brain calculated what he just said, her eyes widened up to him and gleamed with ambition. She couldn’t believe she had just heard those words actually come from his mouth. She lunged a hug at him and clenched at his ribs while giving a loud, high-pitched, fan-mare squeal.

“So you’re sticking to our deal?” Doc asked him after chuckling once at Dash’s cuteness.

“Oh, of course!” Soarin responded, “I gotta say, it was clever how you tricked us, but your also just too nice of a guy for us to turn back on it now.”

He then changed his smile to a cocky grin as he mentioned.

“You just better hope you make enough of that stuff for your return. We’ll take every fluid ounce you brew up in one year’s time.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” Doc replied, giving a friendly smirk.

Doc got back up on his hooves, stretching his back as he spoke in a pressured tone.

“Speaking of which,” he said, “I have to get back to the caravan. Finish up some brewing and what not.”

Dash stood up as well, stretching her hamstrings and rolling her neck until it popped.

“Yeah, I need to get goin’ too.” she said, “I better rest up and practice some more if I’m ever going to win a race against any of you.”

She looked to Doc as she continued.

“Especially if a certain somepony doesn’t let me win.”

Doc looked embarrassed for a moment before he asked.

“Too much slapstick when I tripped?”

Way too much.” she answered as she smirked in his direction.

Even with her senses under the stimulation of that revolutionary elixir, Doc couldn’t fool her. Nopony could if she didn’t allow it.

The Wonderbolts looked at the connection those two had, and could now see it for what it really was. Doc may be an unearthly being that doesn’t seem to fit right with the natural world, but they saw through that and to the ponies…the friends they knew. They could tell Doc at least belonged somewhere, and right here definitely seemed like a good place to start. Doc gathered his saddlebags and the bottle of celeritate he would have to clean out for the backwash from Dash, then made his way to the cloud’s edge that faced in the direction of town. The three pegasi could see it over Doc’s shoulders as he stopped at the brink, then spun around happily to the three pegasi with a smile.

“It’s been an honor to spend my second to last day with you all,” he said, “especially in the happy glow of a good, old-fashioned race. Be safe and farewell.”

He then fell backwards casually, slowly tipping off the cloud’s edge and out of sight.


Twilight cracked her crusty eyes open, sensing the sunlight that warmed her face and painfully enveloped her eye sockets, informing her that naptime was over. She lifted her head up sidewise from lying on her left bearing when she soundly slept. She sat up, her mane ruffled like a dragon’s scales and her hind legs dangling off the edge of the bed. Her jaw gaped and her eyelids compressed as she gave a long, blissful yawn. She spun around slightly and looked to the clock, two in the afternoon. She would have raked herself over the coals for sleeping in so late, wasting so many hours of precious daylight, but all she felt like doing was smiling. She dazed in the warm afternoon grogginess of her siesta as she faced forward, yawning once again and scratching her loins while smacking her lips, lazily tasting her muzzle’s divide. She hopped out of bed and onto her hooves, feeling the soreness in her left bicep from being slept on. She rolled it twice and felt it pop deeply, then forced her legs to drag towards the door, en route to getting some lunch for her bellowing insides. As she waltzed to and under the kitchen’s wooden doorframe, she saw Spike standing on one side of the kitchen’s island countertop and wearing a chef’s hat as he placed the last finishing touches on a PB and J sandwich. He promptly kissed the tips of his thumb, index and middle finger like a cliché French chef and gave the customary “mwah!” sound that accompanied it. Twi snickered while leaning on the wood of the frame, catching Spike’s attention as he alertedly flicked his head and eyes in her direction. She almost appeared to be injured with how she slanted against the timber, but Spike knew as he saw the smile on her face and her half-closed eyes that she was just up and at’em out of her siesta, slothfully, but up and at’em all the same.

“Mornin’ Ms. Workaholic! Finally finish that thing you were working on?” Spike asked as he placed the freshly crafted sandwich onto a nearby plate.

“Finally,” she tiredly answered, rolling her eyes to the top of their sockets, then walking into and across the kitchen as she continued, “and boy am I glad I did.”

“What were you even doing that it took you that long to finish? A whole new spell for the world to adore you for and make you famous?”

“No *giggle*, it’s just a little thing I have planned for a certain somepony.” she replied before opening an over-head cupboard with her teeth and extending her neck to reach one of the glasses that waited inside.

Spike removed his culinary cap and walked behind Twi as she struggled a little to reach the glass. She succeeded a second later and took it from the cupboard as Spike placed his hat into a nearby drawer.

“Would that certain somepony happen to own a white caravan that comes into town once a year, or do you just feel generous for some stranger out in the town?” he asked sarcastically.

Twi brought her glass to an open space on the island just to the right of where Spike was working, then inverted her neck and gazed at Spike as she responded with a friendly and sarcastic tone.

“Who do you think, Mr. Smartaleck?”

“*heheh*” chuckled Spike, “My bits, if I had any, would be on the caravan-owning gentlecolt we both know and love. But I think I’ll just leave that for you to surprise me with. I like surprises.”

He walked back across the kitchen and to the fridge, opening it and pulling out a gallon jug of milk. He then picked up the box he was standing on while making the sandwich and placed it in front of the spot where Twi’s glass stood, forcing Twi to move a little to her right. He climbed up on it, struggling to lift the jug of milk with him as it weighed half as much as he did. He brought it to countertop level with a thud and great amount of strain, followed by Twi lifting the jug in the air with her magic, twisting the cap off and pouring it into the glass with graceful movements, like she was handling a feathery balloon. Spike pulled his top half onto the counter, letting his chest and chin contact against the countertop’s surface with a solid thump. He looked at Twi with an annoyed expression as sweat beaded down his scaly forehead. She looked back at him directly and squinted her eyes with a wide smile, giving him the face of a cocky, but joking show-off.

“Alright then,” she happily said as she bent her neck backwards and lifted her chin slightly higher than usual, closing her eyes and smiling, “I’ll leave it a surprise and reveal it to you soon enough.”

She lifted the glass of milk and plate with the sandwich on it in her magical grasp.

“Thanks for the lunch Spike.” she said, “I can always count on you, can’t I?”

Spike looked to her, smiled, then closed one of his eyes in a winking fashion, pointed his index finger up and his thumb out while keeping all other fingers closed, then tilted his hand at a ninety degree angle toward Twi. Twi stretched her already current smirk, then turned and left to enjoy her somewhat late meal in the afternoon sunlight.


Twi just finished off the last drop of milk from her glass several minutes after she sat at her desk and began eating. She soaked in the sunlight that poured from the window just across her tabletop. Happily wiping her mouth with her wrist, she looked upwards to see her fluffed mane hanging just in sight over her brow. She wildly shook her head in a swivel, then dragged the side of he foreleg forwards down her scalp, straightening her mane almost as normally as if with a brush. She hadn’t actually thought that would work over the conventional and common use of a brush, but was glad it did all the same. She was honestly too immersed in relaxation to get up and put effort into any of her regular routines, let alone mane control. Yet, even in her complaisant state, something still muscled its way through the slothfulness that anchored Twi to her seat, motivating her to get up and go see Doc again. She knew she would have wanted to see him that day anyways, considering it was the last day he would be in town for an entire year. If there’s one thing Twi has learned since the day she left Canterlot, it was that a year felt a lot longer in Ponyville than it normally did. At the time, the date was a little under two months away from the anniversary of the day she arrived in town. Yet, as she reflected on it, the few years she had stayed here had already felt like a lifetime. So, she knew that to wait another year just to see a friend’s face again was going to be difficult for her, if not unbearable. Of course, while inevitable, Doc’s actual time of departure depended on whether he planned to stay a month or just leave tomorrow. Twi thought she already knew the answer, but still felt she had to check, knowing it would scrape at her mind all day if she didn’t. She hopped out of her chair and made way for the front door, opening it only to see a figure swing down from above, hang upside-down and stop its momentum just before crashing directly into Twi’s face. Doc smiled after stopping his upside-down face an inch away from Twi’s nose and happily yelled.


She practically had a heart attack as she shrieked, instinctively rearing up on her hind legs, only to fall backwards with a slapstick thud against the Library’s hardwood floor. Doc watched her reaction with an interested expression, eyes slightly wider than normal and his lips compacted lightly to the tip of his muzzle. His expression changed as he saw Twi sit up and rub the back of her head with closed eyes and a little groan of pain. He knew it wasn’t serious and changed his expression from an inquisitive interest to squinting his eyelids slightly and giving a some what devious chuckle through his grinning teeth, a sort of cocky and malicious expression for him to perform.

“*heh* Still jumpy as ever I see.” he added.

“Well, forgive me for not expecting you to show up to my front door and suddenly become a ninja.” Twi said sarcastically before lightly yelling, “What the hay were you even doing up there?!”

“Just thought I’d give you a little buzz when I came to say hi.” Doc said happily before he curled his body inwards, detached himself from wherever he was hanging, tucked his head in and flipped mid-fall to land professionally in the opposite direction of the doorway.

“Sorry if I scared you.” he continued after standing back up and turning around casually.

“It’s okay.” she said while motioning her hoof in a dismissive manner, “I needed it anyway since I just got up from a nap.”

“A nap?” he checked his watch for a fraction of a second, “This late in the day? What were you spending all night working on this time?”

“Long story.” she said in a conceited, mocking tone and a grin that matched it perfectly.

“Ya know,” Doc loudly whispered with a hint of frustration, leaning forward at her with his neck, “you could just say ‘it’s a secret’.”

“Of course I could,” she replied, “but you of all ponies should know of the lack of fun in that.”

Doc stared at her in silence before squinting his eyes a little bit tighter, saying “Touché” before both of them chuckled happily.

“So, mister sneaky-pants, what are you up to?” asked Twi as she motioned a hoof over her chest, inviting him in.

“Oh,” he trotted inside, continuing while facing more of the Library itself, “just coming to see the last, but far from least of my friends that I visit on my second to last day here. It’s just a little tradition I have and I’ve already visited everypony else.”

He stopped and faced Twi as she asked him with a hint of sadness.

“Aw, so you are leaving tomorrow?”

“Yeah. Believe me, I would stay longer if I could, but I didn’t quite get as far ahead of schedule as I thought. I gotta leave tomorrow…or…”

He stopped himself, saying the last few words with a hint of concern as he turned his head away slightly.

“Or what?” Twi asked, suddenly exchanging her friendly tone for a worried one, “Is something wrong?”

Doc took a deep breath through his nostrils and out his mouth, eyes shut as he coped with personal thoughts and the sudden mood change of the situation. He opened his muzzle as if he was about to say something before they heard a voice carry over into the suddenly tense conversation.

“Care for a drink, doctor?”

They both turned in its direction to see Spike, smiling as he stood in a nearby doorway and held two bottles of water in his hands.

“Yeah…” Doc responded, startled tone and expression still evident until he looked down momentarily, slapped a smile across his muzzle within half a second, then looked back up to Spike and said in a much more calm intonation, “Yeah, that’d be great.”

Spike lobbed a bottle at him from across the Library foyer. Doc caught it by quickly flicking his left hoof up at it, but rather than catching it in his hoof, he caught it from about a foot away with the unnatural magic that radiated from his palm. Twi was once again amazed by this strange occurrence and carefully inspected his hoof from where she stood. As Doc twisted the cap off, tilted the bottle up at an angle and happily drank, she could see that this magic was different from the one she saw him use at Sweetapple Acres. The magic he had back then was green and used for healing, while this one was much more like the kind of magic a pony of Doc’s color would have, even if he wasn’t a unicorn to begin with. It was as white as his coat and appeared to be just like any other unicorn’s magic, but that was all Twi could survey in that short amount of time without appearing too obvious. Doc tilted the bottle back to its vertical position and gave a nice *Aaahhh* sound as he exhaled, the bottle was completely empty. He placed the cap back on it before lobbing the vacant bottle back at Spike.

“Think fast!” he said as he sent it at a much faster arch than its arrival, but still allowed it to land in Spike’s empty hand without knocking him back.

“Thanks little buddy.” Doc said before Spike simply replied while turning back into the kitchen.

His face grinned greatly as he winked at them, using his free hand to point, index finger straight, thumb bent and all other digits retracted, he gave same motion as he had given to Twi several minutes ago, the only difference being two clicks that sounded through his teeth. He faced back in the direction he was headed and marched on, opening the other bottle and taking a casual swig of it before disappearing around the corner. Both Twi and Doc stared at the doorway a little longer than necessary before Doc looked at the ground in front of him, sighed, then looked at Twi.

“You have some good friends, Miss Sparkle.” he said, “I plead that you never abandon them under any circumstances.”

She nodded once, slowly and fully with a timid smile and shut eyes. While facing her, he asked in a much lighter tone than before.

“Uh, sorry to ask, but I was wondering…Would you like to go back up to that hill with me? It looks really nice after a rainy day.”

She replied, lightening her tone as well.

“Oh, I’d be glad to! Would you like to go now?”

“Sure!” he answered happily, “I was actually hoping for that!”

He ran over to the door and opened it, letting the still lingering smell of precipitation flood through the doorway and into the foyer. He gestured with his hoof across his chest and a regal bow.

“Shall we?”

“Let’s.” she replied before proceeding out of the entrance.

Doc walked halfway under the doorframe, but looked back into the Library with his left hoof on the door knob, surveying the room once more with a slow scan from left to right with his head, then turning back and shutting the door as he left for what he thought would be a very long time.


They trotted through town, stepping on tightly packed mud and into the occasional puddle that splashed up in a warm burst, heated from the constant sunlight that poured into it through the clouds of the light-grey sky. The two exited town and walked along the trail to the hill, eventually reaching it and hiking up its slightly steep slope, feeling the miniscule squishes that each step made onto the hill’s saturated dirt. As they reached the top, Twilight enveloped the beauty of the scenery once again. She relished the sight of the tranquil oasis at the base of the hill, surrounded by the grim and mysterious Everfree Forest and all overshadowed by the dark, towering mountain behind it, but still covered with the sunlight of the brilliant, white orb that hung in the sky above the tip of the sierra, blazing brightly as it pierced the grey clouds that blanketed the area with thin streaks of light. Twi took in the smell of it all through her nose, then exhaled out of her muzzle as Doc plopped against the dirt at the base of the tree. She joined next to him, sitting in a criss-cross fashion with her shoulders tucked in and her fore-hooves resting on the ground just beyond her hind legs, forelegs straight out from the front of her body. Doc sat on his backside, knees bent up, hind-hooves flat on the ground and fore-hooves on his knees, the same way he sat on the cloud a few hours ago with his pegasi friends. The two stared at the scenery for several minutes in complete silence, the only sounds being birds that chirped their own beauteous anthems and the occasional breeze swaying the leaves above their heads.

“So Doc…” Twi said as she broke the silence, catching Doc’s attention before continuing, “You never really did answer my question. What’s wrong?”

After a short pause, he took another deep breath through his nose and out of his mouth, same as before. Then, while looking out at the masterpiece of nature before them, he asked her in the same serious tone he had back at the Library.

“Do you know why I like this place so much?”

Twi was confused on what point he was making, considering they just talked about that the last time they were here. Doc clarified a moment later.

“And I don’t mean Ponyville, I mean here. This spot, on top of this hill, under this tree, the only place you can really see this” he motioned both of his hooves out at the scenery, “for what it really is. Do you have any idea why I like it so much?”

Twi was still a little confused on where he was going with this, but continued the conversation.

“Well,” she said, “I guess the view is kind of an obvious answer.”

They both laughed a little, then Twi continued with a smile.

“But aside from that, no, I don’t know why.”

“Alright.” Doc added as he nodded very slightly, not looking surprised at all that she didn’t know.

“Sorry for the stupid question,” Doc continued, “but do you remember what we talked about yesterday?”

“It’s okay, that’s not a stupid question.” she responded before giggling slightly at how sweet he was, then answering, “But yes, I do remember.”

“Okay, remember how I said that, to me, Ponyville has always been that little light in the darkness? The one that’s kept me going for so many years?”

Twi nodded.

“Well…” he paused, looking down the slope of the hill for a moment in thought before saying, “Take a look down there. At the oasis.”

They scooted up and changed their positions from a relaxed sit to more of a crouch, getting a better view of the beautiful oasis that sat at the forward base of the hill, surrounded by the dark and damp trees of the Everfree. Twi listened as Doc spoke with the tone and motions of a wise, passionate mentor.

“You see the oasis? How there’s nothing around it but black trees and swampy grass, but it doesn’t let that keep it from being beautiful?”

Twi nodded again, paying very close attention to whatever point he was getting at.

“Okay…” he said, “Now imagine the oasis is Ponyville.”

As Doc said that, his point suddenly clicked into place with the clockwork of Twi’s brain, making her understand almost instantly. But to keep herself from seeming like a know-it-all, she patiently listened as Doc describe the details in his own philosophical way.

“That little pond” he began, “sits in a place where the laws of nature dictate things to look like, what some would consider, pure evil. Water should be murky, grass should be grey, and any life forms, flora or fauna, should be built only to live a carnivorous and violent life. But, despite something as powerful as nature itself telling it what it should be, that little place has decided what it thinks is best for itself and the things around it. It has favored green grass, clean waters and self sustaining plants over the bleak and lonely lifestyle that endlessly surrounds it. And not only that, but that little spot has fought to be itself for so long, the laws of nature no longer compromise its efforts. Now, the forest and that little oasis just live, side by side, not disturbing each other, just happy to exist in their own special ways. It’s that symbiosis, that harmonious acceptance, Twilight, that I strive to spread all over the world. I’d like to change everything for the better, give it that sort of ‘Oasis Mentality’, but sometimes that’s not always an option. So, at the very least, I like to see if I can teach that place the complex art of acceptance. Because, Twi, if I can’t teach ponies the bliss of absolute peace…I may as well show them the first step to getting there.”

A short silence followed of Doc waiting for Twi’s usual response, while Twi remained still, once again amazed by the depth of Doc’s thought processes. But rather than sit there, dumbfounded as she usually is, she chuckled several times with lightly closed eyes, slowly shaking her head and turning her gaze back in the direction of the scenery.

“What’s so funny?” Doc asked with a smile.

“Just that…” she answered, “You are so…you when you explain stuff.”

Doc responded with a short snicker, closed eyes and his signature move of rubbing the back of his head while beaming a large, modest and silly grin.


“Thanks…” he said as he finished his snicker, then returned to his previous tone and attitude as he continued, “But anyways, back on subject. Not only does Ponyville have a firm grasp on that ‘Art of Acceptance’ I talked about, but it also has that beautiful ‘Oasis Mentality’, making it one of my favorite places to visit. But we talked about that already so…I think I’ll finally get down to my point. I’ve traveled through the forest that surrounds that Oasis, A.K.A. the rest of the World, about a hundred times over. And every time I do, the amount of good to the amount of evil is one to one thousand at the very least. But occasionally, I’m lucky enough to have my next stop be at that little place, right down there in the one good corner this world has to offer. The beauty and peace of such a paradise allows me to stay happy, to remain who I am and not become just another beast that roams that malicious forest. If I could, I would stay in that place for the rest of my days, never worrying about the danger that surrounded me and living in true, harmonious bliss. But sadly, I can’t stay, so all I can do when my time there is done is pack up my things, say my farewells and hope that I may return to see it again. So, Twi, to finally answer your question, that is what’s wrong. Even though the Oasis, Ponyville, is such a happy, beautiful place…I know that I will never be able to stay there, that I will always have to leave come one time or another.”

“But why do you have to leave?” Twi interjected, “If it’s about your business, then I bet you’d do just as fine, if not, better with your sales here than you would travelling everywhere else.”

“I know,” responded Doc, “but it’s not about my business. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about my business! All I really wanna do is help ponies. If I could, I would just stay here and make every single one of my concoctions free of charge. But not only do I need money to eat and fix my caravan, but I’ll never be able to stay here because…!”

He paused for a moment, puckering his lips angrily and searching the ground for the right words to say, his hoof slowly drifting up near his head until it smacked limply against his face, dragging down and stretching it as he gave stressful sigh. He then gripped the bridge of his nose and continued in a stressed, but still calm and reasonable tone.

“Look, Twi…” he said, “You have no idea how happy it would make me to live here with you…and Dash…and Zecora…and everypony else but I just can’t. I’m not leaving because I want to…it’s because I have to.”

“But why?” Twi asked persistently, “Can’t you just tell me what’s keeping you from staying here? From doing what makes you happy?”

Doc took a deep through his nose before answering.

“I’m sorry Twi, but…telling you right now would only jeopardize your safety. For now, all I can say is that when I travel the dark reaches of this Everfree forest called Earth, I’m not just sight-seeing and trying to make it a better place…”

“I’m running…”

“Running from a force that I know I’m not strong enough to defeat. A terrible force that has haunted me all my life and is never going to stop until I’m either dead or become part of it. I’ve tried fighting against it in the past, believe me I have, but when I do, all it’s ever done is hurt those I care about…those who are close to me. So, for the sake of you and Dash and Zecora and everypony else, I’ll just keep on running…and running…and running…”

All this talk of mysterious, haunting forces and involuntary life on the road not only scared Twi, but began to discourage her, and it quickly became evident in her expression. Doc, after a slight pause at the end of his gargantuan explanation, saw the brewing concern in Twi’s demeanor. He quickly smiled and gave her a reassuring tap on the side of her shoulder, like a friendly sock on the foreleg, but much softer and more caring.

“Hey, chin up.” he said as he did so, “I know all of this sounds really shady, and I don’t blame you if you get suspicious, but don’t worry. I’m not some sort of escaped criminal or murderous psychopath or anything like that. I’m still just your friendly neighborhood alchemist, same as I’ve always been!”

Doc finished his sentence with a large, close-eyed grin, making Twi laugh a little, reminding her how silly and fun he can be and getting her spirits back up to where they once were.

“So,” Doc continued, “it’s true that I’ll have to leave tomorrow, but there’s no need to be sad about it. I promise I’ll be back in a year’s time, if not less.”

“Great!” Twi responded, “It’s just that, in Ponyville, a year can feel like a long time, you know?”

“Yeah, I understand.” Doc answered, “So, while I’m gone, just remember this. Even though I’m not here, and I’ll never be able to settle down in one place for the rest of my life, this town, this…Oasis, will forever and always be the one place I can truly call…”


Doc began standing up as he concluded.

“Now let’s head back. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be quite an eventful day.”

Copyright 2012

Chapter VII: Paragon on Departure

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Fan fiction by Grey McBoyd

Chapter VII

A Paragon on Departure

“Hurry up Twilight, we’re gonna be late!” Spike called to Twi from the front door of the Library.

It was the next day, and Twi was frantically combing out her mane in preparation for Doc’s farewell. She was excited to go and see him for this last time, but a constant lump wouldn’t cease to sit in her throat, even after the talk she and Doc had the day prior. This now legendary friend of hers would be leaving for a whole year of her life, twelve long months, three-hundred and sixty-five boring days without her new best friend. She couldn’t shake the sadness that welled up in her gullet and danced in her stomach, but she knew she was far from actual sadness, at least for the moment. She ran down to the foyer, all combed, prepped and happily saying “Ready!” to Spike, who had already opened the door for her. Although, before they actually left the building, Twi halted as she remembered something.

“Oh! One moment Spike” she said before running back down into her lab.

She grabbed her saddlebags off of her desk and slung them onto her spine, only one side noticeably heavier than the other.

“Okay, now I’m ready!” she said after running back up to Spike.

He could already tell that her bag contained the little project that she had worked tirelessly on to give to Doc. He was glad she didn’t forget it, especially after so much work. They walked into the square, just as they had done seven days ago, to see Doc nearby his caravan, knelt in front of a practical mountain of large black bags. He packed them with dismantled pieces of equipment as he smiled, occasionally turning to talk to Twi’s friends who had gathered just behind him. It was the usual gang of mares Twi could recognize from a mile away, but as she squinted and leaned her neck in closer, she noticed the absence of a certain pink-pigmented pony and the gentle giant, Big Macintosh, standing in her place. But Twi continued on towards them all the same, trotting up to the team without being noticed, hearing them all laugh lightly at what might have been a joke from Doc. The two entered the conversation with Spike starting.

“Hey guys.”

Followed by Twi finishing.

“What’d we miss?”

They all turned to them, and their already joyous smiles grew even wider. All usual greetings were passed through and through, along with Twi greeting Mac for the first time since the incident at the farm. While pulling on the belt-like strap of a bag after fiddling with it forcefully, Doc looked up to Twi and Spike before speaking.

“I’m so glad you two could make it.”

“Same here.” responded Twi, “Spike almost thought we were gonna be late.”

“You kidding?” asked Doc, “I would never leave without saying a proper goodbye to such a well-found friend.”

“And definitely not without saying bye to all the ponies who helped you find her.” Dash remarked, thrusting herself into the conversation with a proud hoof on her chest, accompanied by her usual, sly smile.

“Yes, you too Dashie. How could I ever forget about you?”

The sarcastic look on Doc’s face and the tone in his voice could have been palpable to the deaf and dumb, causing Dash to beam him a solid glare. He chuckled through a smile as he looked to the stare out of the corner of his eye, turning back to concentrate on what looked like the straining task of packing. Doc didn’t break a sweat as he pulled the leather straps past his shoulders and let them fall again, returning to various fumbling with buckles among the many pieces of luggage that lay outside the caravan. Twi looked amongst the paraphernalia, noticing its immense quantity, strange variety and one peculiar fact.

“By the way Doc,” she asked while cocking her head sideways, “why are you packing outside of the caravan?”

“I tried packing inside while talking to everypony…” he answered before looking away from his intense effort against the luggage to look at Twi, motioning his right hoof in a straight, minor turn from left to right before remarking, “Couldn’t be done.”

“He simply could not get a sentence out without having to stop and come to the counter. Poor dear, having to bear such a burden.” Rarity verbalized with imposing and disquieting resonance.

“*snicker* I’m flattered Rare, really, but it’s alright.” Doc reassured the dramatic mare, looking up to her over his shoulder from his completed work.

He stood up, scratching the back of his neck and surveying the wagon’s roof.

“I needed to load these on the top of the caravan anyway.” he remarked, “Having them out here just saves me time.”

He smiled at them again before lobbing a bag up to the caravan’s roof, allowing the, what appeared to be, fifty-pound clump of assorted commodities to land safely on the roof without so much as a light thud.

“Oh, allow me to help.” said Twi before she began lifting one of the bags with an aura of telekinetic magic.

“Please,” Doc said as he held up a hoof in her direction, “it’s the last day I see you for a while, no need to strain yourself. Besides,” he chucked a bag over the last and onto the roof with a grunt, “I kinda like the physical labor. When you’re able to use magic as an earth pony,” he repeated the same action, “you get used to not doing a lot.”

As she saw him toss another bag up, she could see the little smile he had modestly hung on his face. Twi didn’t know this exactly, but Doc was glad to have friends who cared about him and would simply give help whenever needed. Twi was a little glad she didn’t have to help him though. The bags were much heavier than they looked, so just lifting the end of one of them a few feet into the air left her on the brink of strain, just enough to hide it, but more than enough to cause slight exhaustion. It was just then that they heard Pinkie Pie, the only one absent in their group, happily yell Doc’s name from several feet behind them. They all veered their attention to her voice, widening their eyes in surprise to see an absolutely gigantic crowd of ponies standing behind her, smiling, but not as much as the pink-tinted mare practically leading them. Doc ungripped a bag he held in his fore-hooves, letting it hit the dirt carelessly as a baffled smile flew across his muzzle. He attempted to speak several times, which only ended in gleeful stuttering until he finally worded out his next sentence while gesturing with his hooves.

“Wh-when did you all get here?!” he said before breaking out in astonished laughter.

Everypony smiled even wider at such a joyous remark. Most of them were glad to be there for the reason Pinkie was just about to explain. With that bounce in her voice that she only gets when a party is in its preparation, she responded to his question.

“I held a “See ya later” party and invited everypony in Ponyville! What do ya think?”

Doc simply stood there and scanned the crowd with his eyes frantically, a wide beam on his muzzle. It really was every single pony in town. How Pinkie was able to organize this was insane.

“How did you do this?!” he asked in turn.

“I got a little help from a certain somepony.” she replied before stepping to the side and letting the Mayor herself step up from behind her.

“Doctor.” the Mayor announced with a friendly, but reminiscently calm smirk.

Doc let his forelegs limply relax in front of him in surprise of her presence, but only for a moment before he remembered her profession and how he should show respect. Chuckling for a second, then clearing his throat, he stood up straighter before speaking with a much calmer inflection.

“Ms. Mayor. It is good to see you.”

“Are you always going to address me formally?”

“Force of habit, Ma’am.” he replied with a smile, rolling his eyes to the sky and shrugging innocently.

The Mayor snickered, her eyes closed as she shook her head lightly and slowly lowered it. Now with her head slightly facing the ground, she opened her eyes and sighed before she looked at Doc from the top of her eye sockets and asked with a smile.

“Will you ever let formalities go and just be yourself for once?”

“Maybe,” he slyly replied, “but I maaayyy need some convincing.”

“*heh*,” the Mayor sounded before she motioned with her foreleg to the crowd behind her, happily asking, “And this isn’t convincing enough?!”

The crowd followed her implying statement by leaning some of their heads in to add pressure on Doc, but all for not as he inquisitively sounded while looking to the top corner of his eyes.


He paused for a second, then looked to the Mayor and the crowd behind her, finishing with a smile on his face.

“I guess you’ll all do.”

Everypony laughed, glad to see that Doc really appreciated what they had done, but always had time for a joke or two.

“So, Ms. Scroll.” asked Doc, “What honor do I have of you,” he looked amongst the audience of friends behind her, “and everypony here coming to visit little old me?”

“You know you deserve it doctor.” she replied, “Almost everypony here knows about you and the things you do for us. Everything you’ve done to help this town is more than deserving of a reward, and that only accounts for your personal assistance. Practically everypony here has either purchased or used something you’ve made for them. You are an incredible help, doctor, and we all would like to give you our thanks.”

She looked over to Pinkie as she continued.

“Miss Pie and I orchestrated this event, passing out invitations and such. Everypony was surprisingly happy to attend. It…gladdened me to see so many ponies with real appreciation for what you do. So, on behalf of everypony here, I beg of you to give us some time to talk and bid you a humble farewell, for now. Will you have us?” That last sentence of her speech was asked in a surprisingly more timid and friendly fashion than anypony in town had ever heard her speak in. Everypony in the crowd could be seen happily tensing in anticipation of his answer, so he tapped his chin with a “thoughtful” hoof, merely teasing them as he had already decided. After a moment, he finally answered them with a simple shrug and smirk.

“Aaahhh what the hay, why not?”


Suddenly, they all sort of sprang out towards him, but in a some-what calm and orderly fashion so that nopony would get trampled in the excitement. In a few minutes, Twi and everypony in the group was swallowed up by the crowd, separated from Doc in all the excitement. As Twi tried to work her way closer to him, she could occasionally see him through the crowd, taking a picture with somepony, giving a hug, high-hoof, or even an autograph. She worked her timid way through the herd to get to him, possibly talk and congratulate him on being the “life of the party”, although, her mission was actually to make sure all this wasn’t going to his head. She lightly nudged two ponies’ shoulders to the side to see a colt, cinnamon-colored with a short, frizzy and unruly mane of a sandy-tan, wearing glasses and a green tie, shaking Doc’s hoof intensely as he thanked him for something.

Doc put his hoof on the colt’s shoulder as he replied to his thanks.

“Please, I’m just doing my job.” he said humbly, “It was my pleasure to give you that medicine for your wife. Saving ponies lives is just what I’m here to do.”

“Oh, thank you still, sir.” the colt replied in a happy, nervous voice.

“Please,” Doc responded, “call me Doctor or Doc, everypony else does. Oh and also, please say hi to your wife for me and give her my best wishes.”

“Gladly…doctor.” the pony said before running off through an open space in the surrounding crowd.

Twi was glad; she could see that the smile on Doc’s face was a humble, experienced joy rather than a prideful one. The bumps of Doc’s cheeks rose under his eyes as he smiled and cocked his head in a slight tilt, watching the kind colt dash off. A little while later, the crowd shifted their focus from Doc to talking more amongst themselves in little groups, just like any party waiting for its main event. Nopony actually left though, they all waited patiently for Doc’s farewell like true and loyal friends, far and wide. Working her way closer to Doc past group after group of ponies, Twi finally reached him and saw that he was sitting on one of his large bags rather than loading it…holding a silver flask in his right hoof and smiling as he looked out amongst the crowd. As always, Twi immediately assumed the worst as she saw this, thinking he had secretly been a compulsive drinker this entire time, not so much upsetting her as piquing her curiosity. So, she snuck up on his right and sat down next to him with a thump against the bag, alertedly catching his attention as he straightened up and looked at her.

“Oh hey Twi, what’s up?” Doc asked, relaxing as he realized it was her before he took a casual swig from his flask.

“Not much. What’cha drinkin’?” she asked childishly.

“Oh, do you remember a few days ago at Sweetapple Acres when I mentioned that I keep a flask of milk with me at all times?”

“Oh yeah, you did.” Twi responded, “Well that’s good. I almost mistook you for a drinker when I saw you with it.”

“Well…” he replied, “I won’t deny that I enjoy the occasional shot every now and then, but yeah, I don’t drink all the time. I just like to drink this stuff for all the upsides it gives. Stronger bones and what not.”

He took another casual swig and looked back out into the crowd.

“Awesome!” Twi happily replied, “Anywho, can you believe how many ponies are here for your departure?”

“Yeah, I know…” he answered before looking into the crowd and holding the mouth of the flask an inch away from his lips.

“I know” was all he said, and in a way that sounded like it pulled at his heartstrings just thinking about it. Twi leaned a little bit forward to get a clearer look of his face, but before she could say or ask anything, he finished his sentence before taking another sip of his milk.

“…and I love it.”

“What do you mean?” Twi asked.

“I mean that, Twi, standing right before us is another gigantic reason for why Ponyville is so great!”

He took a longer swig of milk, wiped his muzzle with his foreleg, then continued after exhaling happily.

“I’m just an everyday trader doing what I can to help and this is the kind of praise I get! Literally everypony in town came here simply because two ponies asked them to! All I do is help a little here and there, and yet, all these ponies make me feel like some sort of hero. They just…*sigh* really know how to make somepony like me feel appreciated.”

“But you deserve it, Doc!” Twi added, “You say that stuff like you aren’t a hero, but you are! I mean, you sell elixirs that ponies like that light-brown colt needed, you miraculously fixed Big Macintosh’s leg with your weird ‘earth-pony magic’, you were great friends with Zecora back in her homeland, you apparently know the Mayor like a best friend, and most of all, the way you spoke of changing the world and making it a better place was just phenomenal! All I’ve seen you do since we met is nothing but give and give and give. So for once, everypony just wants to give back. So relax! This is your party, so its about time you enjoyed an old-fashioned bit of thanks from us ordinary townsfolk.”

As Twi said “about time”, she gave Doc a classic, light sock in the shoulder, showing a spunkier side of herself with which Doc was unaware.

“*heh* Thanks Twi.” he responded, “Like I said, I just do what I can.”

Before they could continue, they heard a familiar colt’s voice call to them from their right.

“Hey Doc!”

They turned in its direction, surprised to see Soarin and Spitfire, Doc’s newest Wonderbolt friends standing next to each other without any uniform on or goggles hanging from there necks. Spitfire’s hair was back to its previous hang, showing that she came to this party relaxed, a good sign for a new friend. Doc was elated to see them here and, needless to say, Twi was downright flabbergasted to see the very stars of the Wonderbolts present at this celebration. More amazing to Twi is the noticeable friendship they had with Doc, who was closing the flask of milk, putting it back in one of his pockets and hopping off the bag to trot closer to the famous mare and colt that just made this “party” a whole lot more interesting.

“I can’t believe you two made it!” Doc mentioned jovially as he trotted closer to them.

He bumped hooves with Soarin and hugged Spitfire as they responded in turn.

“Are you kidding?”

“We wouldn’t miss it for the world!”

Twi followed Doc’s motions, hopping off the bag and trotting closer to them, the dumbfounded look still evident on her face.

“You guys actually took two days in a row from your vacation just to come see me? You’re the best!” Doc said jovially.

“Ah it’s nothin’.” responded Soarin who motioned with his left hoof dismissively, then looped his right foreleg around Spitfire’s shoulders as he continued, “Besides, we’ve still got most of our two months left! Well, now just one month because of the little deal we made yesterday.”

Doc’s head sunk into his shoulders as Soarin emphasized with a glare and a forward lean of his neck, then returned to his normal self by bringing his head back up high and looking to the upper-right corners of his eyes as he continued in a sighing voice.

“Other than that, it’s mostly just practice and goofing around.” he said, “Some vacation huh?”

“Yeah,” Spitfire added, “but we thought we might as well miss a practice session for your goodbye party.”

“Thanks…” Doc said in a slight, appreciative and humble slump. He gave his head a minor tilt after a short pause, then finished with a smile, “…it really means a lot.”

“Catch you later, Doc. We have some autograph hounds to get back to in the crowd.” concluded Soarin.

He turned halfway around, stopped to give Doc a salute with a flick from his eyebrow with his free hoof, then finished turning and melted into the crowd with his sun-colored teammate. Twi looked at Doc with inquisitive astonishment, so he simply told her before she could ask any questions.

“Just ask Dashie about yesterday and you’ll understand.”


All other seven of Doc and Twilight’s Ponyville friends, including Mac and Spike, came forward from the crowd to form their own group of conversation.

“So amazing that the situation of a place could change so fast, don’t you think?” Fluttershy stated quietly as she joined the circle.

“Yeah, isn’t it awesome!?” Pinkie replied with a joyous hop before she spoke swiftly, “I wanted to make sure Doc’s goodbye party was as fantastically big as it could get! The Mayor sure had a good idea with this one!”

“Oh, this whole thing was The Mayor’s idea?” Doc asked.

“You bet!” Pinkie answered “She thought of everything! Inviting everypony, when to surprise you, how to surprise you …”

As she rambled on, a reminiscent smirk slowly climbed its way up Doc’s left cheek. He tilted his head slowly to that side, following his smirk at the pace it rose. He looked at Pinkie as she continued frantically, but her explanations quickly became muffled to his ears as his perception slowly crept into a small, personal bubble around him. Everything was blurred in his eyes as he watched her for several more seconds, then looked at the ground before him in his own little world, chuckling and speaking to himself with a sigh.

“So even after all these years, she really hasn’t changed…”


He snapped himself out of his trance and turned to Twi alertedly as she finished her question.

“…are you okay?”

“I’m fine…just…thinking.” he responded before they redirected their attention to Pinkie, listening as she finished her explanation at the same unnaturally quick pace she had started with.

“…and I can’t believe she thought of that as a hiding method but we used it and now, here we are!”

She gave a fan-mare squeal before continuing.

“I’m just so glad we could make this happen. I haven’t been this excited during a party since the one I held to welcome Twilight into town…or maybe I was, but I don’t care! This is the best parties ever!” she finished with a smile and closed eyes as she began hopping around in a playful circle.

“Pinkie…” Dash remarked in an annoyed tone, “every party is the best party ever to you.”

“Oh yeah, *giggle* I guess I forgot!” she replied before grinning innocently.

They all laughed, and the friendliness of the situation reminded Twi of a certain something she had planned for that day.

“Oh, by the way Doc,” she said, getting his attention, “I made a little something for you.”

She opened one side of her saddle bags with her mouth and pulled out its only contents, a single dark green bottle, and gave it to Doc. He took it lightly with a free hoof and looked at it as Twi continued.

“It’s a brew that I sort-of based off of your healing magic. It doesn’t fully fix a wound though, more-so that it just sews it back together for a few hours before it wears off. It’s not perfect, but I did what I could in the time I had. Whad’ya think?”

He popped out the cork that was tightly stuck in the top, put the mouth of the bottle an inch or two from his snout and wafted the scent that erupted from it. He shot his head back slightly and shook his head from the intense smell before he remarked on it happily.

“Wow!” he said, “This might even be better than some of the stuff I make. Thanks!”

“My pleasure.” she replied.

Doc sighed a little loudly through his nose as his shoulders sunk, but his hoof and the bottle he held in it remained in place before he looked up at the group of friends before him.

“Wow…holding me parties, giving me gifts…with friends like you,” he grinned widely and closed his eyes, “what more could I ask for?”

“Mister Doctor!” rose a highly pitched, ecstatic voice from above the crowd.

They all looked at an upward angle in its direction to see a grey pegasus with a mane of dulled champagne and a mail mare’s saddlebags, dive-bombing straight for the group’s center. Most of them jumped back just in time as to not be plowed into the dirt by this strange mare’s speed, but Doc remained still with a small smile unchanged by the dusty collision the mare made against the dirt in front of them. The tanish-grey smoke of the dust cloud cleared to show that strange mare rubbing her head with a smile, accompanied by her tongue playfully sticking out of the side of her mouth.

“Hey Derpy. Still working on your landing, I see?” Doc asked casually.

“Yup!” she replied childishly as she spun her head in his direction and opened her eyes, revealing the right one as it gazed at the center of her eyebrows, while the other was locked on the tip of her nose.

This made Twi’s eyebrows raise in absolute surprise as her head instinctively leaned backwards, then everypony else in the group reacted the exact same way as this mare named Derpy turned her gaze to their direction.

“Yeah, that’s how everypony reacts the first time.” she responded in that still childlike, high pitched and enjoyable voice.

“Anywho, I brought you a letter!” she said as she got up, faced Doc, opened her mail bag and pulled out an envelope with her mouth, horribly muffling the words “express delivery” before Doc took it from her muzzle.

“Any more deliveries for the day?” Doc asked calmly before he gained slight joy from her answer.

“Nope! So now I can stay and enjoy your farewell party. See ya later, Mister Doctor!” she concluded before trotting off into the bulk of the crowd.

“What a strange mail mare.” Twi thought curiously, the rest of the group incomprehensibly locking their eyes on her as she trotted away.

“A combination of Pinkie’s energy and Dash’s speed...”

Twi finally spoke her thoughts to Doc.

“Doctor…out of all the friends you have, I never knew you had ones that could be so…‘interesting’.”

“And you’re one to talk, Ms. Sparkle!” he replied mockingly. “*heh* Anyways,” he held the letter in front of him, saying to the group, “let’s see what we have here.”

He went over to another one of his bags and sat on it with a happy plop, opening the envelope as everypony in their little crew crowded behind his shoulders, expecting a letter of fare tidings or something like that from somepony in town who couldn’t make it to the party. But Doc opened the envelope and pulled out a small piece of folded parchment, curiously unfolding it and revealing…a very strange picture. On the paper was a square that took up most of the writing space. In it were two diagonal lines that connected the corners of the square and one line that ran up and down its middle. There was a circle in the center of the square and four other, smaller ones on the diagonal lines between the middle circle and the corners, all other circles equally spaced. To the group, it appeared to be some kind of ancient symbol or weird drawing, but that thought fled most of their minds as they heard Doc whisper deeply under his breath, the kind of tone you have when you’re in absolute terror evident in his next, unsettling words.

“…Oh no.”


Suddenly, the cartoony and childish feel of the scene changed drastically to one of serious, troublesome bustling. Doc suddenly sprang from the bag, grabbed it hastily, ran over to the caravan, threw it up in a sort of panic and began repeating this process with the several remaining bags that were waiting to be loaded. As he cast the bags with haste and carelessness, Dash asked him in a very concerned tone.

“What’s wrong? It’s just a picture.”

He replied with a rushed, terrorized tone as he grabbed the last two bags at once and suddenly threw them to the pile that had been sloppily made on the wagon’s canopy.

“I’m sorry guys, *throwing grunt* but I have to get out of here NOW!”

He grabbed an elongated belt looking strap off the ground next to one of the caravan’s wheels and slung it over the top of the caravan.

“Why?” Twi asked worriedly as Doc desperately reached under the belly of the carriage to get the other end of the strap, “I thought you’d stick around for a while before you had to-”

She was interrupted as he grasped the other strap end and pulled it up to the buckle that had hung in front of him on the caravan’s wall. He slipped it through and began fumbling with it nervously as he interrupted Twi.

“I’m sorry Twi, I really want to, but I have to leave now or else-”

“Hello Conquest…”

Doc froze, his eyes opened as wide as possible. He shivered as the words he almost said halted in his throat with a gurgle through his barely parted lips. This happened as he heard those words eerily spoken from across the crowd, but it was unlike the rest of the loud chatter that ran amongst the crowd members. The voice was heard much more clearly than anypony else, as if it had a sort of passive authority to it that cut through everypony’s conversations like a knife, catching all of their attentions and quickly bringing the entire town square to a dead silence. The voice sounded professional and composed, but carried an unpleasant resonance in it that delved deep into one’s body, making most of the ponies there shiver unexpectedly, like they somehow knew who the voice was, but were strangely scared of who it belonged to. This feeling, and the clarity of the voice over everypony else, scared Twi, leaving her and the rest of the group with no clue to whom it could be. They looked in the direction of the voice after noticing Doc’s reaction, and what they saw would soon become far more important in all of their futures than they thought, and in many more ways than one.

As the crowd backed away in what appeared to be sudden fear, Twi and the group saw a trio of stallions that were absolutely different from any they had ever seen in their entire lives. The one on the left of the trio had a coat of a darkly-shaded red, almost resembling blood. His incredible height was a little shorter than Celestia herself, but was perfectly balanced with his entire body rather than having all of his height in his legs. His mane frayed backwards like that of Soarin’s and possessed a deeper shade of red than the color of his coat. His face looked stern and furious, showing a thick, X shaped scar barely missing his left eye at the tear duct and spreading out across his face. Yet, rather than having a piercing scowl, as most would expect, his expression showed more of a tempered, controlled anger as he trotted like the worn, military Clydesdale he appeared to be. Twi saw that one of his ears had a large, scarred split running down to its center and the other had a tip that was horribly jagged, most likely battle scars like the one across his face, no doubt. He wore a large cargo vest, lined to the brim with pockets for anything he might need and showing the same shade of red as his mane.

But out of all these intimidating details, two stood out that were just plain abnormal. Behind him, some terrifyingly large and unrecognizable object was being dragged in his wake, about the size of a boulder and shaped as if it had large blades sticking outwards from a cylindrical center, like that of a flanged mace. The other distinctive feature was, much like Doc’s distinctive feature, his eyes. Despite the distance, Twi could see every detail of them perfectly, but horribly regretted it as she realized their appearance. His eyes almost seemed to be pitch black in their irises, the only difference being what looked like the design of a blood splatter inside them, broken by the pupil in their centers and contained by the normal, achromic sclera that surrounded the designs. Although, despite its limits, the blood smear that laced these strange irises really got to Twi, and to anypony else that looked directly into them, making Twi sink her head down and take a step back, not to say everything else about this tank of a horse that strode towards them didn’t.

She looked to the other side of the trio, entirely skipping over the center stallion for a split second. At that side, she saw a stallion with a coat of coal-black and a height that stood at just a little over her own, about the size of an average colt. His mane was a sickly-bright, neon green, same color as the spiked tail that pointed outwards from the base of his spine. His mane looked more like that of a business colt, but smoothly stuck outward to a jagged point only a few inches farther than his muzzle. His ears looked menacing as they curved and pointed at the tip, almost like horns, always perked, alert and listening. He wore a work shirt almost identical to Doc’s, the difference being its color, the same pitch black as his coat, just as Doc’s shirt was the same white as his. His right sleeve was rolled up past his elbow while the other remained flat along his foreleg, and the tie around his neck was the same bright green as his mane.

This colt also had two distinctive features, one of which, severely caught Twi off guard the moment she saw him. It was the fact that she could see four gigantic insect wings, like that of a locust, protruding from his back vertically, while the other feature was once again, like Doc and the red stallion, his eyes. Their designs could be compared to Gummy’s exotic eyes, the only possible difference being the color to show the same vibrant green as the only other colorful parts of his body. His face was nowhere near as deadpan as the red stallion, but still as intimidating with a truly devilish smile, stretching the skin on the ends of his mouth in a demented, conniving happiness. She had no idea who these colt’s were, but she was already scared of the first two she saw.

“What kind of pony could be leading these two monsters?” she thought before quickly looking to their centers, and finding out.

In the middle of these two things stood what seemed to be their boss, but this one stallion got into Twi’s head more than any of them. He had a coat that appeared almost dead, the same green-grey as a decaying body or of old bones. His mane was slicked back, running along an extremely acute V on his hair line and draping ever so slightly behind his neck, like a curtain of a lighter greyish-green than the one his coat so terrifyingly beared. His ears were different from most ponies, constantly laying down as if to match his slender hair style and shape of his head. She was amazed he could hear with those kinds of ears, but continued surveying him all the same. He wore a full pinstriped suit, complete with a vest and tie, all of the colors identical to that of his mane, with an unusual, slightly-large hour glass hanging off of one of his belt loops by a gold ring. His evil smile was only half the size of the black stallion’s on his left, but all these things came in second to what Twi noticed the most, which were, once again, two distinctive features.

The first was that she looked down at the ends of the stallion’s forelegs and saw not just regular old hooves…but gloves…ones with hands and five fingers in them, opposed to the common three fingers and thumb found on most dragons or gryphons. Such a thing looked more than alien, but did not catch Twi’s mind for long, for after her millisecond inspection of this stallion, she noticed his other distinctive feature that chilled her body to the core. Just as the others and Doc…it was his eyes. No sea of sclera or iridescent iris…just two orbs, raven, the color of a starless midnight sky with a small gleam on them from the overhead sun. She felt them bore into her very soul as they all marched closer, but not before she heard the middle one speak. It was the same voice they had all just heard a moment ago. With a moderately deep and professional tone containing a hint of villainous humor, he finished what he said in Doc’s direction, with vicious, pointed teeth lining his frightening mouth.

“…‘tis been a long time.”


Twi and the group responded in their own ways. Mac got into a sort of defensive stance as the other girls hid behind him. Everypony in the crowd began whispering questions amongst each other in surprise of Doc knowing these stallions, and vice-versa. The trio stopped their forward march relatively at the other side of the square, lining up side by side as they faced Doc, Twi and all their friends. The grey stallion spoke once more, leaning his head a little to the left as if to emphasize his gaze at the group that nervously stood behind Doc.

“I can see you’ve made friends…*sigh* as usual.”

Doc retracted his mouth from its slightly gaped position, compressing it inwards, closing his eyes and letting his forehead hit the side of the caravan as he heard this voice continue. The grey stallion spoke again, a hint of innocent request now hanging on his vile tone.

“I still don’t see why you try to reach out to these lesser beings. You have all you could ever need for friends right here!” This stallion twisted his…hands to palms up, giving emphasis to himself and his pair of goons while keeping his strange sights locked on Doc. Doc’s expression slowly began to change to one of fury, the bridge of his nose and the space between his eyes wrinkling as his joyful muzzle turned up a deep, scolding frown. He spoke to himself, eyes closed, making sure it resonated as a whisper but was still audible to the trio.


He swung in their direction, eyes blazing open and his head lowered to bare his shoulders as yelled, loud, clear and furious.

“EVER!…refer to us as friends!”

Twi jumped at his tone. She had never seen him so angry before, no longer sounding controlled and leader-like as he does in most situations, but sounding terrifying and impatient, like he was just plain tired of these ponies and whatever they had to say.

“*tisk tisk tisk* Temper, temper…” the grey stallion replied without an ounce of fear, “We haven’t seen you in years and this is how you greet us?! I was expecting, ‘Oh hey guys, it’s been so long. Glad to see you’re doing okay…’”

He sounded a little impatient and disappointed for his next words.

“I thought you were better than that…guess I was mistaken.”

Doc still chanted, sounding vicious and irritated, as if these stallions’ very presences began to claw at the inner-workings of his mind.

“After what you’ve done, do you really think you deserve such respect?!”

The grey stallion responded with a short, insulting chuckle before continuing.

“Well I’d sure hope so.” he said, “Despite what you think, our actions have done you far more good than anything else we could have done.”

Doc’s boiling demeanor deepened even further before he responded.

“Don’t you dare try to justify what you did! Everything you did to those ponies…all the pain…”

His voice turned into more of a growl as he took an intimidating step forward.

“…the suffering…”

“All of it,” responded the grey one, a golden trim of pride now lining his horrid words, “for your greater good. It may seem like we enjoy this, Conquest, but we have no greater interest than what is best for you.”

“If you idiots even had a clue of what was best for me,” Doc spouted back, “you would take your meat-headed, blabber-mouthing, older-than-dirt asses and drag them back to the pool of scum you came from!”

The stallion took no offense at this, but simply chuckled a little behind his sharpened teeth as he gave Doc an amused look, followed by him saying in a slightly proud tone.

“*sigh* Still spry as ever, I see…”

He chuckled a few more times before continuing in a tone of innocent request.

“But come on Conquest, at least say ‘Hi’! We’ve missed you!”

“That’s not my name, you freak!”

The movement of the sun’s reflection off the grey stallion’s black eyes and the small circular spin of his head showed that he gave his eyes a judgmental and disapproving roll.

“Another name change, how exciting.” he said sarcastically, “So, what silly persona have you plagued yourself with this time, Conquest?”

“My name, you bag of bones, is Doc…and that’s how it always will be!”

“Doc?” he asked curiously, “*hmm* Short for ‘doctor’, I presume. Fitting…alright then boys.”

He snapped his fingers and ordered to his henchponies.

“Greet the doctor, if you would.”

Twi saw the red stallion simply look over to Doc after giving his attention to his boss, nodding his head down an inch and a half in a recognizing, kind-of respectful fashion. Doc gave recognition to this by simply looking to him, not changing his furious expression but giving him notice that this gesture mattered. A second later, Doc averted his attention to the black stallion as he threw his neck forward like some sort of jackal and widened his terrifying simper, yelling at Doc in a young, thick, Trottingham accent.

“Nice ta see ya lookin’ well Conquest! ‘Ow ya been?!”

A moment later, the stallion pulled his head back slightly, looked away and swung a dismissive hoof as he continued insultingly.

“Aw, what am I sayin’? I don’t ca’e. But back to the subject! When are ya gonna stop bein’ such a bloody nuisance an’ join us again? We may have all the time in the world, but we’re startin’ ta lose our patience!”

Doc gave recognition of hearing this idiotic chant by deepening the anger of his brow and frown, as if looking to the black one made him angrier, then quickly returning his spiteful gaze to the trio’s center.

“That’ll be all, boy.” the grey stallion said to the black stallion, then turned back to Doc and clapped his hands together, saying, “So! Now that we have greetings out of the way, let’s get down to business. Just come with us, and we might not do the same thing here as we have done to all the other quaint, little stops that you love so much.”

Twi could hear Doc grit his teeth and growl at them. In the midst of this stalemate Twi finally built up the courage to speak.

“Wh…what does he mean by the same thing?” she asked Doc timidly.

The grey stallion perked his ears up only slightly from their down position with a twitch and a surprised expression, then leaned to his left once again to look around Doc and at Twi, saying in a voice like a creepy adult overseeing a small child with a smile, lined with his pointed teeth.

“Oh and who’s this? A friend of yours?”

He looked her over for only a second, then widened his smile and sighed out of his nose before continuing.

“She’s a beautiful little flower. Perfect for somepony like you.”

Twi put a concerned hoof to her muzzle and looked to this thing as it spoke. She could still feel his melanoid eyes bore into her soul, plus his tone and “compliment” didn’t help the creepy factor. To steady herself, she moved closer to Doc, placed a hoof on his shoulder and asked him with a terrified voice.

“Doc…who are these ponies?…Why do they keep calling you ‘Conquest’?...What do they want?”

He turned to her, breaking his crossed expression as to not scare her and changing it to one of surprise, eyes open and mouth still slightly agape. The grey one heard her question, thought for a second, and then spoke quietly.


He squinted and leaned in a little towards her, then continued by excitedly asking Doc,

“She doesn’t know, does she?!”

He threw his head back and laughed maniacally for several seconds straight into the air, each devious chuckle making everypony shiver with its devilish sound as it polluted the air around him with uneasiness. He brought his head back down to level and spoke as he sighed from laughter.

“That’s so like you! not giving your friends the respect of telling them the truth.”

He sighed once more before turning his head to the red one and casually giving him a generally disturbing order.

“Show them.”


They looked to the crimson clydesdale as he raised his right hoof slowly to the level of his eyes, then brought it down to shoulder level instantly with a focused expression as his hoof spawned a ball of fire an inch away from his palm. Everypony in the crowd and in the group had stepped back slightly at this alien sight of earth pony magic, watching the fire for a moment until the red stallion juggled it up and down in the same hoof, looking only amongst Twi’s group of friends. They grew unsettled as the stallion’s sight scanned over each of them, looking almost everypony over before the clydesdale’s sight met with Twi. He looked at her the longest, slowly squinting his eyes before throwing the blazing ball once more into the air, catching it with a flick of his hoof, winding it up like a baseball pitcher and promptly sending it with a flick of his wrists on a collision course with Twi’s head. She froze in fear, only able to watch the miniature sun grow larger and larger as it grew closer and closer. She could hear the crowd gasp and her friends scream at her to move, but her hooves were locked in place like concrete. They watched as the scorching orb grow nearer, and Twi closed her eyes just before the ball contacted in a blaze that burst on impact and spread outwards in a blinding flash. Everypony shielded themselves from the glare and mentally panicked for Twi‘s safety, thinking that the ball of fire had just collided and burned her face horribly. But Twi stood there for a moment, expecting to feel burning all along her upper body, but she didn’t and looked up from her shielding forelegs curiously. She saw a foreleg, visible flesh and bone painfully scorched black in the spot the ball had apparently hit. She looked a little to her left and saw Doc standing there, it was his right foreleg that took the brunt of the blast and was horribly burned beyond repair. He yelled at the trio again after everypony’s realization of Twi’s safety and Doc’s severe injury.

“She, and everypony here have nothing to do with this!” he bellowed, “If you even think, about doing something like that again…”

He retracted his singed foreleg to the front of his shoulder with the crackling sound of burnt skin. A second later, the sounds of moving flesh could be heard as the black flakes of his skin began to fall off, followed by new flesh and skin quickly re-connecting on his foreleg as he continued.

“And I’ll gut you like slimy fish you are!"

The grey one chuckled twice in his own creepy way before speaking again in a satisfied demeanor.

“Very good reflexes, Conquest! ‘Tis nice to know you haven’t mellowed in the time you have spent with these peasants!” He flicked his head sideways as he said peasants, as if pointing a big, fat, insulting finger at everypony in the crowd. Doc began taking several steps towards them as he yelled once more.

“These are my friends!”

As he said friends, he shot his foreleg out in a violent and intimidating point, shattering and shrugging off any of the remaining burn flakes and revealing his foreleg to somehow be fully healed. Incredible, Twi had never seen a recovery from such a bad wound in that amount of time. Even by Doc’s standards, that was completely abnormal, and she didn’t even remember seeing him heal it with magic.

“They are not peasants and they still have nothing to do with us!” Doc continued, “But If it’s a fight you’re looking for…”

He stopped taking the few steps forward and got into an unnatural battle-ready stance for a pony, standing on his hind legs steadily, doubling his height and tensing up the fore-hooves readied a foot from his sides.

“than I’d be happy to oblige!”

The grey one didn’t flinch, just as he hadn’t done this entire scene he had caused. He only allowed a deep smirk to crack along his cheek.

“You know…I might just take you up on that offer.” he replied, “It’s been so long since we’ve sparred together…*sigh* such good memories. But all the same…”

He snapped his fingers once more, and Twi could barely believe any of the events that shortly followed.

She saw the large object behind the red stallion slowly begin to rise. It was being lifted by a thick stalk of something that had the same red color as the stallion’s coat. It hung in the air for a second, allowing Twi to see it actually resembled the head of a gigantic flanged mace before it came to the ground of the red one’s right side with a thundering crash, sending everything that wasn’t fastened to the ground about a foot in the air. The townsfolk gasped, panicked, then calmed themselves as much as possible after landing back on the ground. When Twi rose her vision back up after her split second of free fall, she looked to it again. She was certain now, this thing actually was the head of a flanged mace with ten, battle worn and exotically shaped steel blades, the size of swords, making up its majority, but it was still the size of a small boulder, equaling the carmine stallion in height before he stood up on his own hind legs, allowing him to dwarf everypony’s stature like a furious, living skyscraper.

Behind him was the same cylindrical stalk that Twi saw connecting to the mace, wrapping from the base end of the mace, around his right hind leg and connecting where his tail should be. She realized the truth…this giant cudgel that could crush a pony’s bones in a fraction of a second was this stallion’s tail.

“How could any of this be?” Twi desperately thought. “Were they surgical enhancements? Were these stallions born with these horrific traits? Magic fire balls from an earth pony’s hoof, things like the mace, the black one’s wings, the grey one’s hands, and their insatiable interest in Doc, meaning he has something to do with these abominations…”

All of these different theories and ideas that flooded Twi’s were too much for her to handle. It sent her comprehensive state into a whirlwind, so she couldn’t think straight even if she tried. Still, she persisted her gaze towards them, seeing the black one’s wings start flapping quickly with a loud, deep and terrifying buzz as he lifted himself into the air. She heard the grey one continue speaking after he rose up unto his own hind legs, abnormally towering over everypony there just as his comrades had done and snapping his fingers, ordering to his henchponies mischievously.

“Boys…go nuts.”


They suddenly charged at Doc, the red one sprinting on his hind legs, dragging the stegosaurus-like tail behind him without hesitation as the black one flew beside him at the same pace. Doc did the same towards them, screaming deeply and angrily until they met at a mid-way point between each other. That is when the action began. Just before reaching the halfway point, the red one jumped into the air and spun horizontally, swinging his tail down like a deadly trebuchet. Doc was running towards their center, so he was able to jump to his right and to the black one’s altitude, spinning midair to kick the flying stallion with his left hind leg. The black one blocked it, but the impact sent him several feet backwards to recover with even faster wing flaps. As Doc landed, he reversed the clockwise momentum of his body to spin around and strike the red one with his right fore-hoof. The red one was able to react after his booming miss, blocking the strike with the forearm section of his left foreleg before promptly driving his adjacent hoof into Doc’s stomach, knocking the air out of him loudly. After hammering Doc’s abdomen, the red one spun on his hind-hooves and used the elbow of the same foreleg he struck with to bash into Doc’s bent-over spine, knocking him to the ground. Twi could see the pain in his face after just those two hits. If this kept up under the red stallion’s strength alone, Doc was going to end up dead within minutes. With Doc’s clenched face in the dirt, the red one braced himself and raised his tail up, bringing it down more like a gigantic scorpion than how a mace is supposed to be used. Doc reacted, rolling backwards and out of the way before the bludgeon crashed into the ground on its top with another thundering boom. Doc got back into his abnormal fighting stance in a flash, only to see the mace coming back down once again in his direction. He evaded to his right, tucking and rolling as the mace thundered the soil once more. It came back again, only to miss for a third time as Doc evaded with a much longer roll to his left, bringing him back to the center of the town square. The red one’s already enraged face could be seen getting angrier with each miss he made. So, now angry at all three of his failed attempts, the red one spun clockwise on his hind-hooves like a top, bringing the mace in close as it rotated around him, just missing the nearby crowd by an inch, and swinging outwards as the circumference of the spin approached Doc. Before he could react, the mace hit his torso like a freight train, sending him at least thirty feet backwards across the square. Bones could be heard breaking over the agonizing grunt Doc gave on contact, making the crowd gasp and flinch, and most of all, making Twi and her friends panic and begin to worry for his safety, watching helplessly as their friend was mercilessly beaten. Doc flew back limply across the ring of spectators this conflict had made until he felt the black one’s right hind hoof jab into his spine, the flying demon grinning horrifically at his clever, mid-air backstab. The contact once again broke some of Doc’s bones with loud snaps before he agonizingly fell back to the dirt on his stomach. The black one then flew in a frantic, insect-like hook to his right and kicked him in the spleen like a soccer ball, sending him spinning and tumbling back across the square and returning him to Twi’s side, almost in the exact same spot as when the fight started. Twi looked at his broken body, curled up and clenching his middle tightly, dirt and blood from his many injuries littering his white shirt, one of his spectacles lined with a single, diagonal crack. She looked at him in fear that he was going to die, then looked to the two monstrosities that had caused this. They were standing there, battle-ready and waiting for him to get back up, evenly spaced as to leave what lied farther back completely visible. It was the grey one, standing tall as his hands held onto each other behind his back. He smiled widely, watching this beating take place before him, looking proud of himself, yet not doing a darn thing. His cocky appearance infuriated Twi, the concerned hooves covering her muzzle now lowering and twitching violently as they tensed and tightened like fists. Her crying face turned sour, her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth bared its teeth angrily, until she became the same thing she was when she attempted to understand Pinkie’s sixth sense. It is a rare occurrence of magic for unicorn kind, but a possible one when enough magic is released at once, so much that it is made grandly visible. Her mane and tale went up in magical flames and her coat became a heated, sun-white as her furious, red eyes glared at the grey one. She charged directly at him, yelling much like Doc did, but in her own, high-pitched way, not sounding very intimidating at all. Her stampede caught everypony’s attention from the horrible display that took place in front of them. The group yelled at her to stop and even began to try and chase after her, only to be stopped by Mac’s foreleg. He knew that to chase after her would be just as stupid as following her, but he couldn’t deny his worry that she would get hurt…or worse. Twi charged directly in between the black and red stallions, amazed that they did not try to stop her, but simply stepped aside and watched as she grew closer to the grey one, who kept his head level to her, lowering it as she drew nearer.

“Leave him alone!” she screamed as she got just before him, wound up a punch and sent it directly at him.

It was her first punch ever, and she missed horribly as the grey one dodged to his right in a millisecond, then rammed his left knee into the little mare’s stomach with a loud, merciless thump. She reacted to it painfully, feeling it knock the air out of her and send her middle several inches backwards from her torso. She had never, in her whole life, been hit before, and she never knew it hurt so bad. She fell to the dirt, clenching her middle much like Doc was doing as she attempted to get back up, the bright color and flames quickly dying from her body with every failed attempt. The other two monsters trotted back to the grey one’s sides, nonchalant and happy before Twi heard the grey one shout to Doc.

“You sure have made some good friends, doctor!”

He looked down unto her.

“Foolish, but good all the same! Still…‘tis a shame that they only weigh ponies like you and I down!”

He began taking off one of his gloves.

“So…I’m sorry to say that if you are going to be coming with us once more…”

Twi looked up from her inner agony and saw a horrible sight…the skeleton of a human hand, index finger pointed with a slight bend about a centimeter away from her nose’s bridge, all of his other fingers half-way retracted as she heard him continue.

“…you’re going to have to lose some dead weight!”


Doc, already looking up at him furiously after his assault on Twi, reacted. He stood up after constantly failed attempts, no longer gripping his middle, but just standing on all of his angrily-bent fours as his glare of bared teeth slowly grew larger. He eventually reared up and hollered “NO!” loudly, catching everyponies’, including the three monsters’ attentions before he brought his hooves back down to earth…smashing the dirt underneath him with mighty cracks and a thunderous boom, changing how he appeared to the townsponies and his friends forever. Everypony watched him as four gigantic, dark appendages, like enormous spider legs, shot out of his back and through his shirt, tearing it with a horrible rip as the pointed edges shot skyward. They then bent like a spider’s legs and came down to the ground with four separate booms, furiously stabbing into the dirt on Doc’s sides. The top legs that came from his shoulder blades were long, about eleven feet in length, while the lower ones, coming from behind the base of his rib cage were about eight feet long. Everypony, and I mean everypony except for the three stallions, went pail with fear as they saw their beloved doctor turn into a monster. Black, crooked lines began running along the skin of his legs, exposed torso and face, as if following his veins and arteries, traveling to his hooves that had begun changing as well. They became engulfed in the darkness that ran along his skin, completely blackened from the wrists down, growing three, sharply pointed fingers and a thumb on each hand. Twi watched this transformation take place before her very eyes, chilling her to the core more than anything else she had seen in her entire life. She was watching the very pony she had spent the last week with as a friend, the one that had saved one of her friends’ lives, receive a present from her and talk beautifully of changing the world change into a monster himself…and then it hit her. He was exactly like the three demons that surrounded her, tall, powerful and possessing two distinctive features that could separate them from anypony on Earth. One, could regrettably not be mistaken through his transformation, but the other made itself apparent as she saw him lift up his head, making her shudder with a cold gasp. Doc flicked his head up in their direction, showing his face to be covered in the same lines that crookedly sprawled his body, leading up from his neck and surrounding his eyes, the final distinctive feature. The originally glistening sea of calm sclera was now the same raven as the bloodlines across his body or the…things on his back. Although, the only difference they had from being identical to the grey one’s eyes were the irises that lied in their centers, each having a single ring, scarlet, glowing and focused on the grey one with a murderous, spiteful scowl. Doc stood up on his hind legs again, showing his torn shirt hanging in pieces from his forelegs and waist, his exposed chest now housing a new, terrifying element. A large splotch of darkness lied where his heart was, surrounded by the branching lines that spread out across his body. His heart was the origin of these bloodlines, like pure evil had just replaced his blood, and was now flowing through his veins. Twi tried to see the goodness in him, to look through all these horrible sights and see the happy, traveling merchant she had gotten to know and love like all of her other friends over the past week. But it couldn’t be done, she only saw a monster, suspending the legs that protruded from its back up in the air, clenching its newfound fists and taking several steps forward towards them, involuntarily making the crowd more fearful with every step he took as he preached in a commanding, very intimidating and hate-ridden voice.


He stopped, prepping himself for some sort of sprint as he jabbed his upper-spider-legs into the ground with another terrifying thud, followed by his lower-spider-legs stabbing the dirt directly behind the upper ones as he whispered loudly.

“Not now…”

He launched himself at them with his legs, zeroing his sights on the grey one and bearing his forelegs and dark appendages for a deadly strike as he screamed in a bloody horrifying conclusion.


-End of Act I-

Copyright 2012