To Return Home

by Yonah21

First published

Sequel to My Very Little Ponies. Micah the human is brought to Equestria to save his life. But he finds there seems no way for him to reutrn. And as there's a war going on, he has to rely entirely on himself to get back. But what'll it take

Sequel to My Very Little Ponies

Edited by the awesome Tired Old Man, aka TOM . He is a great editor

*If you want your pony or gryphon OC in this story as a cameo (or possibly more than that) appearance, let me know via PM or comment :) . I already have some I am using, might use yours too! And the art is by Latiwings

After Micah being severely wounded by Chrysalis, the queen of the Changelings, he is brought to Equestria to heal his wounds. But being stuck there, away from home while there seems to be no way back to his family and lover, he has more than merely physical wounds.

On top of that, Sombra, a unicorn gone for many years, has returned and is swiftly moving through the north of Equestria, having already conquered the Crystal Empire during the absence of Princess Celestia and the Mane Six. As of this moment, he is moving his forces south, with the Equestrian military just holding the line against him.

With war happening, and the two princesses needing to lead the nation and defeat Sombra, along with the Mane Six needing to defend Equestria as well, Micah is on his own as he tries to find some way to return home. But one little nurse seems determined to help him through it all.

But as he tries to find a way home, learns how to fight so he can survive in this now violent land, and makes both friends and enemies, one must wonder what exactly might he sacrifice to return home?

*You do not have to read My Very Little Ponies to understand all that happens in this, but still, I recommend doing so. And to those that read it, know that this is going to be darker than My Very Little Ponies.*

*Also, this story is in first person but it switches between different character's perspectives, so you know.*


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Everything hurts. From the top of head, down all the way towards the soles of my feet, everything is in pain. It’s as if I was repeatedly run over by a truck after getting crushed by an elevator. But a bit ago when I was talking to Luna I didn’t feel a thing. I felt darn right near perfect. Though, if my memory serves me right it shouldn’t be a surprise that I feel like this, given what Chrysalis put me through.

“Yes yes. But only after he adjusts. I haven’t heard everything, but he’s been through a lot already.”

“That would be putting it mildly.”

Voices? Alright then, hopefully that means I’m in a hospital of some kind. But, that wouldn’t mean I’m in Equestria, right? No, no of course it wouldn’t. Luna didn’t mean any of what she said, there’s no way. It was all a regular dream. I’m just in a hospital bed in Seattle. I got no idea what happened to Twilight and the others, but I’m sure that they’re fine.

I open my eyes, but do so slowly. The room is very bright, as a hospital room normally is. It takes a bit for my eyes to adjust after being shut for… Well, I don’t know exactly how long. But when they do, I notice the ceiling at least looks normal, like it should.

“True. Hopefully he-”

Whoever it was that was speaking gasps, which of course causes my gaze to fall on them.

What I see, however, is not what I was hoping for at all.

There are two ponies here. One of them looks like a stallion, but since I have no real knowledge of pony anatomy I could be wrong. The supposed stallion is a unicorn, with a brown coat and an equally brown mane. Its cutie mark is a cross with a needle sticking it. The other pony, one I presume is a mare, is has a white coat with a pink mane, done up in a bun and tucked underneath a nurse’s cap. Her cutie mark is a red cross with hearts at every corner of the cross. Each of them seem surprised that I happen to be awake.

I am as well.

I immediately try and get back, wanting to put as much distance between the two of them as possible. But my arms and legs scream in pain the moment I try to, as they give out from underneath me. “Stay away f-from me!”

The unicorn steps closer towards me, as the earth pony mare does the same. “Easy there Micah, you don’t have to worry. You’re safe here.”

“This isn’t r-real. I’m n-not here, I c-can’t be here!” I shout, flinching back from the unicorn as he gets closer, my heart pounding away in my chest.

The earth pony steps to the side of my bed. “I know this is all very strange for you, but please, just try and stay calm.”

“Th-this isn’t real, it’s j-just a dream. Only a dream, it h-has to be!” I shout, my hand over my heart as it continues to beat like crazy. “I’m on earth, in S-Seattle! I’m not in Equestria!”

This just has to be some kind of sick, screwed up joke. Skittles must have decided to do this, and talked Twilight into doing this. I’m not sure why the hell she’d do that, but that’s the only possibility.

I’m able to press against the bed, trying my best to ignore the horrid pain from my weakened arms. “TWILIGHT! Whatever th-this spell is, stop it! It’s n-not funny!”

The pony with the nurses cap places a hoof on my chest, and gently starts to push me back down onto the bed. “Please, Micah, you need to stop this, just lay down and relax.”

I back away as much as I can from her, which isn’t much. “Don’t touch me!” I shout at this pony, as I swat away her hoof.

Next, though, this nurse pushes down on me with her hooves, keeping me stuck to the bed. I try to push her away as hard as possible, but try as I might I just can’t do it.

Stepping towards me, the unicorns horn begins to glow as he lowers it towards my head. “I’m sorry about this Micah, but I have to do this for your own good. I won’t let you hurt yourself. When you wake up, one of your friends will be here to speak to you.”

The second that unicorns horn gets close my eyes feel heavy. So heavy that it seems that they are coated with lead, though I still try to back away from him.“Stay a-away! J-just stay away… from…”

*Redheart POV*

“I haven’t seen a patient that terrified for a long time, Doctor Haywick.”

“That’s putting it mildly. I’ve never had a patient like him before. I also normally don’t have to use a sleep spell on a patient because of their behavior. He’s definitely very interesting.”

He’s right about that. Ever since I’ve started to work here, I’ve cared for every type of pony you can think of, along with gryphons, minotaurs, deer, and others. But this guy surprises me more than any other patient I’ve had.

Even when he first got here.


“It hurts! Take it out, please!”

“I haven’t even given you the shot yet Sweetie Belle. Now, count to three, and it’ll all be over before you know it.”

Sweetie Belle, like her friends Scootaloo and Applebloom like to act brave, but like most fillies she is terrified of shots. I’m yet to have the needle touch her and she’s acting up. But, I can’t really blame her. When I was her age I was terrified of getting shots too.

“Oh,” Sweetie Belle says as she opens her eyes, looking at the needle still on the tray. Grinning sheepishly, she says, “Um, I knew that.”

“Mhm. Now, count to three, and take a deep breath, alright?” I ask, picking up the needle.

She does as I ask, closing her eyes tightly, and starts counting down. “One…. Two-OW! Hey, you said you wouldn’t do it till three!”

“There we go, all done,” I say with a grin as I place the needle back on the tray, and get a bandage onto the puncture point. “And, I only asked you to count to three,that’s all. Besides, I bet it doesn’t hurt now.”

I begin placing the bandage on her leg. “Well, yeah, I guess so,” Sweetie Belle says as she looks. “Rarity said they don’t hurt though.”

“Rarity’s a grown unicorn. They won’t hurt so bad when you’re bigger,” I say. Saying a tiny little fib like that won’t do any harm.

Oddly though, Sweetie’s expression suddenly changes. Shuffling her hoof on the ground, I notice her frowning as our eyes meet. “I miss my sister.”

Oh. I should have guessed she’d say that. It’s been more than a month since her sister, Twilight, and the others were gone. I wasn’t there in Canterlot when Chrysalis attacked, but I know that Twilight and her friends stopped her somehow. But they haven’t come back since then, and Princess Celestia is missing as well.

This has been hard on many of us, but I’ve noticed it’s been awful on Scootaloo, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle. Big Mac’s been trying to keep an eye on Applebloom, but with the need to care for Sweet Apple Acres, there’s not much he can do, and Granny Smith is getting on in years. Scootaloo has been seen to by her parents, but, with her father working hard, and her mother away fighting, she’s been taking the absence of Rainbow Dash hard.

Sweetie Belle has had it easier, but, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t miss her sister. She’s been drowning her sorrows at SugarCube Corner whenever she had enough allowance money saved up. Her parents though are able to help her stay happy. But, being a little sister, she still misses Rarity.

I kneel down to be at eye level with Sweetie Belle. “Hey, Sweetie Belle? It’s okay to miss your sister.”

“I want her back. She’s been gone for a whole month!” Sweetie Belle shouts as her eyes start to water. “I want her to come home!”

“She’ll come home, I promise,” I say as I gently rustle her mane. “I know she will.”

“Mom and Dad always say the same thing,” she says as tears start falling from her eyes. “But she still isn’t back yet.”

“Just give it some time,” I say as I pull her in for a hug. “She’ll be back, I promise, they’ll all be back.”

Sweetie Belle buries her face into my chest as I hold her. If I can give her even a little bit of comfort it will be enough. I hate seeing somepony like this. But, I honestly don’t know if they’ll be back.

But for our sakes I do hope so.

“Redheart! You’ve got to come see this!”

Quickly looking behind me, I see a familiar doctor in the doorway, wide eyed and shocked for some reason. “Doctor Haywick? What is it? Did somepony have an accident?” I ask as Sweetie Belle and I both show interest.

The doctor looks down the hall, then back to the two of us before answering. “No, it’s just, you have to see this. Sweetie Belle, you better come too,” he says, before dashing back down the hall.

Looking down at the still sobbing Sweetie Belle, I say, “Come on. Let’s go. After this, since I’m almost done with my shift, I’ll take you to SugarCube Corner, alright?”

Sweetie Belle sniffles for a second, before summoning the strength to smile. “O-okay,” she says, as she wipes tears from her eyes.

With a friendly grin I start walking, with Sweetie Belle at my side. Hopefully whatever is happening will help her to keep her mind off of her sister.

It doesn’t take long for me to tell that we aren’t the only ones to know that something’s up. Other ponies here are rushing towards the entrance of the hospital, each and every one of them with a look of urgency. One of them nearly runs into Sweetie Belle and I.

“What’s going on?” Sweetie Belle asks as we near the entrance. The closer we get the more ponies we see, some in hospital uniforms, and some in hospital gowns.

“I don’t know… But if it was dangerous, I’m sure Doctor Haywick would have told us,” I tell her as we both make our way through the crowd of ponies. Soon enough we get to the front of the crowd, which at this point is spilling out of the hospital.

And looking up, I immediately know why Haywick called me out.

Up in the blue sky, I see something I definitely did not expect to see today. Flying above us are the same ponies that disappeared from Equestria a month ago. I don’t know how they got here, nor where they’ve been, but right now I don’t give a flying feather about any of that. They’re finally back!

As they all get closer, I notice Rainbow Dash holding onto Applejack. For some reason, both of them look dirty, as if they’ve been trudging through filth for hours. Applejack’s mane, normally in a ponytail style is loose and matted. Rainbow Dash’s normally vibrant colored mane looks greasy.

Once they touch down, Rainbow Dash lets go of Applejack, and quickly flies up into the sky with towards the rest of them. Applejack immediately makes her way through the crowd until she comes across Doctor Haywick.

“Doc! Ya need to get an operatin’ room ready!” Applejack says as she glances back at the other ponies as they get closer to the ground. “My friend’s hurt!”

Sweetie Belle gasps and quickly runs at full speed to Applejack, grabbing onto her mane to get her attention. “Is my sister with you? Is she hurt? What happened?”

“Sweetie belle, your sister’s fine, I promise, but I’m busy right now,” Applejack quickly says, then goes back to speaking to Doctor Haywick.

Make way!

Everypony immediately moves as fast as they can, because right above us is none other than Celestia herself, with something draped over her back. But, she does not look the best. She looks exhausted. Her eyes have bags underneath them, her mane is lying flat against her skin, and her tail hangs down, instead of flowing in the wind like normal. Yet her gaze alone commands respect, as her eyes lock on Doctor Haywick.

“Doctor, I have a patient for you. He is severely wounded, and needs medical attention at once,” Princess Celestia says as Rainbow appears carrying Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy holding Twilight who held Rarity in her magical grasp, all equally as dirty as Applejack.

As Haywick walks towards the princess, Sweetie Belle dashes towards her sister the moment she reaches the ground. “Rarity! I missed you so much!” Sweetie Belle shouts as she jumps into her sisters already open hooves.

“Oh Sweetie Belle, I missed you too. I’m so glad you’re alright,” Rarity says as she holds her little sister tightly, a wide smile crossing over her muzzle.

Well, this day is turning out great! Princess Celestia is back, Twilight and her friends are back, and apart from being dirty, they seem fine!

“Nurse Redheart, come over here!”

But time to go back to work.

Quickly, I move to Doctor Haywick and Princess Celestia. “Yes doctor, what do you-What in the name of Celestia is this?!”

What kind of place did they go to to find this?! It’s some kind of odd looking ape! And… Oh my, it looks awful. There are bruises on every bit of it’s skin I see, and its hands are blistered and red, as if it was keeping its hands on a red hot stove.

I can clearly tell he has been hurt horribly. His breathing is shallow and difficult to hear. One of the poor things paws looks like it was struck by a hammer. The small appendages splintering off from its paw look all twisted and going in what I think are wrong directions. Who would have done such an awful thing?

“Doctor Haywick, this young man needs the absolute best care you can give. Do whatever it takes, no matter what,” Princess Celestia says as Twilight makes her way over towards us. “Twilight will assist you. While in his world, she was able to learn some of his anatomy. Her insight should prove invaluable to you.”

“Understood Princess Celestia,” Doctor Haywick says as he gives a slight bow. “I will do what I can to help it.”

Before Doctor Haywick has the chance to do so however, he is suddenly confronted by Rainbow Dash, whose eyes show a mixture of anger, and stress. “He’s not an ‘it’! His name is Micah, and you’re going to get him better! You got that?!”

Not wanting to wait a moment more considering his wounds, I grasp Rainbow Dash’s chin with my hoof to get her to look at me. “Rainbow Dash, please calm down. The more you delay, the longer it will take for us to get him inside and help him. I promise you, he’ll be fine.”

Rainbow Dash looks from myself to this ‘Micah’. I’ve seen that look many times before. Whenever somepony has a close friend that’s going to go into surgery, they have that look. Their ears flat, emotions high, and extremely protective. Every species acts in a similar manner. Whoever this fellow is, Rainbow obviously cares about him.

Soon though, she looks to Haywick and says, “Okay.”

“Good. Nurse Redheart, get two gurneys, it-I mean, Micah, looks like he’s a bigger guy. He’ll need them,” Doctor Haywick instructs as he looks over him.

Without a moment's delay I head back inside and get the gurneys. Micah is easily placed on them with the help of Celestia’s magic. While Haywick and I take him inside, Twilight walks right by our side.

“Tell us what happened, what are his injuries, how’d he get hurt?” Doctor Haywick asks as we go down the hall.

“It’s a very, very long story. But his injuries, as best I can tell, are broken bones, and internal bleeding. And when he wakes up he’ll probably have emotional scars too,” Twilight says as we arrive at the operating room.

The bit about emotional scars caught my attention most. “Emotional scars? What exactly happened to you girls when you were gone?”

Twilight doesn’t look at me when she answers, and instead looks to Micah. “A lot of things. You can ask him about it when he wakes up.”

By Celestia, what could have happened to them? Whatever happened, they obviously aren’t in too bad shape, but it looks like they’ve been through a lot. But this guy here, what did this to him?

“Nurse Redheart, go scrub up. Twilight, you do the same,” Doctor Haywick says as we wheel him into the operating room. “I’m thinking we’ve got a long surgery ahead of us.”


“Redheart? Hey Redheart, can you hear me?”

“What, huh? Oh, sorry doctor. I was just thinking back to when he got here.”

“Oh. Yeah, that was quite a day, wasn’t it?” Doctor Haywick says as he levitates a pencil, and starts writing on Micah’s medical chart.

As he does that, I make my way to the top of his bed, and start re-adjusting his pillows. “You can say that again. I wish that somepony’d tell us exactly what he went through though.”

“Likewise. But, he’ll tell us himself if he wants to. We can’t make him,” Haywick says as he places down the medical sheet.

*Knock knock*

A visitor? Hm. Wasn’t expecting any today for him. Twilight and her friends haven’t been in Ponyville or Canterlot for a while. But, still, visiting hours aren’t over, so whoever it is can come in.

“Coming,” I say as I make my way towards the door, and smile as I see a familiar face. “Well hello. I haven’t seen you here for a while.”

“Yeah, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna have us all over the place,” Rainbow Dash says with a slight smile as she glances past me to Micah. “How’s he doing?”

“Actually he’s doing rather well. He woke up a bit ago, but he panicked. We had to use a sleep spell on him,” Doctor Haywick says, causing Rainbow Dash to smile even wider.

She quickly dashes to Micah’s bedside, placing her hoof on his hand. She looks him over from head to toe, the only movement from him being his chest as he breathes. “When will he wake up again?” Rainbow Dash asks as she keeps her eyes locked on him.

“In a few hours. Make sure to be careful when he wakes up, he swatted at me when I was lending a helping hoof,” I state.

Strangely, Rainbow Dash moves a hoof to his face. At first I’m perplexed, but soon I see her gently moving a loose lock of hair out of his face, tenderly moving it past his ear. Why in the world would Rainbow Dash do something like that?

Though, she stops the second she notices me watching her, quickly withdrawing her hoof. “Uh, he, I just didn’t want that hair of his to get all nasty by getting stuck in his mouth,” Rainbow Dash says as she pulls away slightly from him, but still stays close to the bed.

“Mhm,” I say, raising an eyebrow in some confusion. “Just make sure you don’t wake him up too early. He may be healing but he still needs rest. He’s got a while to go yet until he’s fully recovered.”

“Oh come on Redheart, don’t worry so much! You don’t know how much of a tough guy he is,” Rainbow Dash says dismissively.

I shoot her a glare, which seems to get her attention since she scoots back in her chair a little. “I’m not kidding Rainbow Dash. It doesn’t matter how much of a ‘tough guy’ you say he is,” I say to her. “I saw how badly he was hurt. Anypony with wounds that bad needs a lot of rest, not disruption. Understood?”

“Yeah yeah, I got it,” Rainbow says as her eyes drift to Micah once more. “I won’t do anything to get him hurt.”

“Make sure you don’t. When he wakes, come get Haywick or myself,” I say to her as Haywick and I move for the door. “He’s going to have a lot of questions.”

A friend, and rude nurses (REWRITTEN CHAPTER)

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(So you know, this chapter replaced the second one I used t0 have up)

Alright Micah, stay calm. Maybe what happened earlier was all a dream. It feels the same as before, but, still, there’s a chance. There is at least something of a chance that I’m on Earth. Whatever happens, this time, don’t freak out. Maybe the medicine the doctors gave me made me hallucinate, Leah has told me that happens sometimes.

Oh Leah, please G-d keep her safe, wherever she is.

Before I open my eyes though, I feel something over my hand. Whatever it is it doesn’t feel like a hand. Not finding any reason to delay this, I open my eyes slowly. Eventually when my eyes adjust to the bright lights I see what is on my hand, and who it belongs to.

My eyes go wide the second I see this pony. “S-Skittles?”

Part of her is sitting in a chair, while the other part is draped over my bed. It looks like she must have fallen asleep. Her hoof is over my hand, reminding me of what Leah would do when I went in to the hospital to get my appendix taken out. Simple operation, but she worries. Rainbow must have been worried as well. That’s actually kind of sweet. I’m not too surprised she’s the one that’s here. I have spent the most time with her after all. Maybe she can tell me what’s going on here.

I move my hand from being under her hoof, and gently pat her head to wake her up. “Skittles, you there? H-Hello?”

She snorts for a second as she swats my hand away. “Mm, ugh, five more minutes mom,” she mutters.

I can’t stop a short chuckle from escaping my lips from the rather odd sound of her snorting. I don’t think I’ve heard her do that before. “C-Come on Skittles, I g-got some really important q-questions I need t-to ask,” I say, this time giving her a shove with my hand.

Slowly, she comes to. She sits up fully in the chair, bringing a hoof to her eyes to rub them while she yawns. Once the yawning subsides, her eyes slowly open. As soon as they do, I swear they go nearly as wide and big as dinner plates. For some reason, right after that she looks at the still shut door, then back to me with a huge smile.

“Um, Skittles, why are y-you looking at me l-like tha-AK!”

In what looked like a flash of some sort, the next thing I knew was Skittles had her legs around my neck, bringing me in for a tight hug. With my head trapped against her neck, she says, “I knew you’d be fine Micah! You always were a tough guy!”

Geez how strong is this pony?!

I press against her grip as hard as I can, but in my weakened state I’m nothing against her. “Sk-Skittles, please, I’m, ugh, I c-can’t breathe!” I’m able to mutter as my face is pressed against her neck.

Upon hearing a gasp from her, she let’s me go and I collapse back onto the bed. “Oh! Heh, sorry about that,” Skittles says as she settles back into the chair. “Other than that time in the sewers, each time I hugged you or did anything I was the size of a toy.”

“At least th-then you didn’t n-nearly choke me,” I say as I rub my now sore neck. “But that’s n-not why I woke you up S-Skittles.”

Her smile is gone in an instant, as a hoof of hers goes to her neck, rubbing it nervously. Her ears lying flat, she says, “Well, um, why did you then?”

It’s probably best to just ask and get it done with. No point in drawing it out.

“Skittles, I w-want you to be honest with m-me. Am I somewhere in S-Seattle, or am I in E-Equestria?” I ask her as I rest back against the pillow.

Her reaction is the opposite of what I was hoping for. She doesn’t even look me in the eye. Instead her eyes are downcast, and she doesn’t say a thing. “Well, you were in Seattle. But now you’re in Ponyville.”

“P-please tell me you’re j-joking,” I say to her, my eyes narrowing. “And if y-you are, this is a r-really awful joke.”

“I’m not joking. I just, we did what we could, but, you were banged up pretty bad,” Skittles says while she puts her hoof over my hand. “We needed to get you to a hospital.”

Not buying her excuse, I yank my hand away from her. “W-why didn’t you t-take me to a n-normal human hospital? They c-could have treated me th-there,” I ask, not lessening my glare.

“Micah, come on, you’re smarter than that. You were hurt so bad that only magic could help you,” she says. “We didn’t have any choice.”

I hate that excuse. So many people say that. But the truth is, you almost always have a choice. It might not be pretty, but you still can choose.

“You d-did have a choice. Y-you knew I didn’t want t-to be here, b-but you took me h-here anyway,” I state as I continue to glare. “Didn’t Applejack tell you?”

“She did,” Skittles says as she keeps her eyes on my hand, not meeting my gaze. “I told Princess Celestia, but she’s the one who made the decision.”

“But you l-let her. I just, I d-don’t understand why you j-just let her do th-that,” I say, and turn away from her, only to be made to look right back at her with her hooves grasping my cheeks and turning me back.

“You’re my friend. You’re awesome. You’re cool. And I didn’t wanna let you die,” she says, her voice slightly choked. “You don’t know how messed up you were. Your arm was all bent, you had bruises, the-the doctor said you had something called internal bleeding, and I, I…”

Wow. I wasn’t expecting something like this from Skittles. If Fluttershy was here? Definitely. Pinkie Pie? Possibly, after she got through her usually shpiel. Rarity might as well, but not Skittles. She’s the toughest pony I’ve met. If she’s this upset over how bad I was…

Not wasting anymore time, I try and wrap my arms around her, pulling her into a hug, earning a short gasp from her. “C-come on Skittles, I d-don’t want you t-to cry,” I say as one of my hands moves over her mane.

But, she seems to be allergic to hugs, since she pulls away at once and my arms fall back to the bed. “I wasn’t crying! I never cry!” she states adamantly as she sits back, trying and failing to go back to her normal mood. “Geez, you humans are weird, thinking that that was crying. You must be a bunch of fillies if you cry like that.”

“Skittles, kn-knock it off. There’s n-nothing wrong with c-crying,” I say, earning a small smile from her. “You d-don’t need to be t-tough all the time.”

“But I am tough! I’m Rainbow Dash! I’m cool, tough, and awesome!” Skittles says as she dashes about the room, leaving a multi-colored trail in her wake before she lands once more on the chair. Upon doing so, she leans in close as she says, “And I never cry.”

A short chuckle escapes my lips from her comment. “W-we all cry s-sometimes Skittles. It’s a f-fact.”

“Yeah yeah, say whatever you want to make you feel better when you start crying,” she says as she waves her hoof dismissively. “So, um… Are you not angry with me now?”

The fact that my smile leaves in a second seems to get across plenty to her, as she looks down to the ground. “Skittles… I d-don’t want to be h-here. I w-want to go home, a-and I’m not going to just p-pretend everything's-fine. But y-you’re not the pony I’m m-most angry with.”

Skittles raises an eyebrow, and is about to speak before the door opens. Looking to the door, I see a white pony walk in, wearing a nurse’s cap. But, as soon as she looks in, her eyes narrow and her ears go flat as she stares straight at Skittles.

“Rainbow Dash… I told you to come get Haywick or myself when he woke up,” she says as she quickly walks towards me. “Are you alright? Any pain?”

“Actually I… Huh. I f-feel none. L-last time I w-woke up I felt l-like I was hit by a c-car,” I say to her, before glancing to Skittles. “And don’t be t-too hard on Skittles here. W-we were just talking, and I’m f-fine.”

Those words earn a grin from Skittles, but the nurse doesn’t lessen her glare towards Skittles. “Well, Micah, now it’s time to eat if you’re hungry. We, um, we know that you eat meat, but we don’t have any of that here,” she says, her voice a little uneasy. “But we have some apples, grapes, and salads, if you’d like them.”

As if on cue, my stomach growls from being empty, and judging by the reactions from both Skittles and the nurse here, they seem almost surprised by how loud it was. “Well, I g-guess that’s a b-big ‘yes’.”

“Sounds good to me too,” Skittles says with a grin as she relaxes in her chair. “Some apples from Sweet Apple Acres would be awesome.”

“They’re not for you Rainbow Dash. They’re for Micah here,” the nurse says. “And, visiting hours are over for now. You can come back later if you wish.”

Skittles’ eyes widen, truly looking surprised. But why? She must have known she couldn’t stay here all day. “What? Can’t I stay a bit longer?” Skittles pleads.

“Rules are rules Rainbow Dash, I can’t break them for anyone,” the nurse says. “You can come back later today if you wish though.”

Skittles looks to me, a hopeful smile spread wide across her face. “So… Would you like that?”

That is one question I am able to answer very quickly. “Y-yes,” I say with a small grin. “But, d-don’t expect me to b-be all sunshine and r-rainbows.”

I definitely shouldn’t have snapped at her like I did earlier. That was wrong. But she certainly couldn’t expect me to just be happy all the time given my situation, right?

“I’ll be back tomorrow then,” Skittles says as she flies off of her chair. “And you better get well soon, big guy. After you beat me in your weird video games, I’ve been itching for a rematch.”

“Rematch? There aren’t any v-video games here to p-play, I think,” I say to her, an eyebrow raised in confusion.

“Oh, it’s not gonna be that. You and I. One on one,” Skittles says, pounding her front hooves together. “Now you get better. I want an awesome sparring match.”

Oh bollocks. That’s just what I need.

I notice the nurse glaring at Skittles for a moment before quickly going back to a neutral expression. “Rainbow Dash? Can you and I speak outside for a moment.”

I’m thinking it might be good that I won’t see this, considering this nurse’s expression.


“Uh, alright, sure.”

“I’ll be right back Micah, then I’ll ask exactly what you’d like to eat. Try and stay comfortable,” I say to him as Rainbow Dash and I leave the room.

Shutting the door behind the two of us, I quickly scan the hall to see if anypony else is about. Thankfully, for now the hall is clear.

“What gives Redheart? I mean come on, do you really think I’m going to do something to mess him up while he’s stuck in the hospital?” Rainbow Dash asks as she continues to hover.

“Rainbow, do you forget how you acted when you left a book in here? There’s not a lot I’d put past you when it comes to unexpected things,” I say. “I know you wouldn’t do it on purpose, but he’s still in a fragile state. We have to be careful around him, alright?”

“Alright, alright. But I’d never hurt him,” she says as, for some reason, she looks away. “Well… I’d never hurt him on purpose.”

‘Never hurt him on purpose’? Why did she say it like that?

“Rainbow Dash,” I say as I take a few steps closer to her, “What exactly happened when you were away?”

“Uh… Nothing happened,” Rainbow says as she puts on a sheepish grin, and looks down the hall. “Tell Micah I’ll be back to visit tomorrow.”

Before I have the chance to ask anything else, she shoots down the hall and out of sight. She’s lucky there were no ponies in the way; if there were, she would have definitely knocked some of them over.

But now I wonder again, what did she mean by that? She said she’d never hurt him on purpose. Did she somehow cause all these wounds Micah has? If she did… No, no I shouldn’t think like that. Unless I hear otherwise, it’d be wrong to think of her like that.

“Um… N-nurse? I’m k-kind of hungry still.”

And it’s also wrong of me to forget about my hungry patient.

Immediately I go back into his room, seeing him trying to get himself to sit up. I can already see his muscles straining to keep him upright.

“Easy there Micah, don’t overwork your arms,” I say as I quickly get to his side, helping him to sit up. “The more you stress them the longer it will take to heal them.”

Looking at me, he says, “I kn-know that, nurse. I’m n-not an idiot.”

“I never said you were,” I say with a smile. “Now, is there anything in particular you’d like to eat?”

After only a few seconds of contemplation, the young fellow speaks up. “I g-guess pancakes would be nice. But I d-don’t want to be st-stuck in bed when I eat,” he says as he looks towards the door. “I’d prefer to b-be at an actual t-table.”

Well, I didn’t expect to hear that.

“Oh. Well, you know you can’t sit up without help so you can’t walk. So, if we did that you’d have to be in a wheelchair. Is that alright with you?” I ask. But would he be alright with being in the cafeteria? He’d probably have to eat in there.

“If y-you don’t mind wheeling m-me, yeah. I j-just don’t want to b-be cooped up in b-bed all the t-t-t-ugh,” Micah sighs, looking at me, exasperated.

Now that is one really bad stutter. Has the poor fellow had it his entire life? I can’t imagine what going to school with something like that’d be like. That must’ve been awful.

“I understand, it’s alright,” I say with a smile. “I’ll go get you a wheelchair, and I’ll take you to the cafeteria, alright?”

Upon getting a nod from him, I quickly leave to retrieve the wheelchair. Thankfully, as we’ve had many sorts of patients, I know we have some wheelchairs that should fit his size. I wonder if he’s short or tall for a human? Well, I’ll ask him later.

“Oh, there she is. She doesn’t look like she’s scared of it.”

Out of the corner of my eye, a bit down the hall, I see two fellow nurses. One of them being Tenderheart, who has been here nearly as long as I have. The other one is nurse Snowheart. For a moment they look at me, but quickly look away.

I notice their voices get a lot quieter, but not quite enough that I can’t hear.

“But how? You were there when the princess brought it here. It’s freaky!” Tenderheart says quietly.

“I know Tenderheart, it’s weird. Thank Celestia I don’t have to take care of it. I don’t think I could,” Snowheart says, sounding relieved.

Tenderheart’s eyes go wide for just a second before grinning. “Do you remember what the paper said? Do you think we should give it a try?”

“I don’t know… It’s too risky for me,” Snowheart says, looking away from Tenderheart.

Alright, I don’t know what they’re talking about, but I won’t let them go on mocking my patient a second longer!

With a single stomp of my hoof against the tiled floor, I’m able to get the attention of the two nurses, who both look at me with wide eyes. “Snowheart, Tenderheart, get your flanks over here right now!”

They look at each other with a look of dread before walking towards me, their eyes locked onto the floor.

“I can’t believe what I heard. How can two ponies, two nurses, act like this?” I ask them both with a glare, feeling my tail start swishing back and forth. “Snowheart, you saw him. How can you talk like that about a poor fellow who’s hurt so badly?”

“Redheart, come on. You were the one who helped Haywick operate on it. It’s just, it’s so strange-looking. You’ve seen it the most. Don’t you think it’s just weird-looking? How are you so fine being around it?” Snowheart asks, seemingly not thinking she’s saying anything wrong.

“Because he, not ‘it’, is a patient. He’s far away from home. He’s the only one of his kind here. And, from the wounds he somehow got, he’s not exactly about to jump out of bed and try to eat anypony. You’re fear is unwarranted,” I say, my ears laying flat.

Tenderheart speaks up before Snowheart has the chance to say anything else. “But Redheart, what if it’s a changeling spy? What if it’s just waiting for the right moment to strike? It could be-”


Normally, I’d never raise my voice like that. It’s not right, especially not in a hospital. But considering how Snowheart and Tenderheart both have finally shut their mouths, it seems to have done the job well enough. Not to mention that their ears are flattened against their heads and jumping back a few feet.

“Not one more word out of your mouths. Turn around right now, and report to the head nurse. Tell her what you did, or I will. And trust me, if I’m the one who tells her what you have said, you won’t be able to work in any hospital within 100 miles of Ponyville,” I say with a glare that if I was a unicorn I’m sure would set them ablaze. “Now go!”

And with those words those nasty mares turn tail and gallop away down the hall.

If I ever see those mares treat my patient like that again they’re going to regret it. But, what were they talking about when they mentioned the paper? I’ll deal with that later. For now I better get the wheelchair. I’m sure Micah’s rather hungry by now.


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“Now, are you sure you want to go to the cafeteria to eat? There’s nothing wrong with eating in bed.”

“Nurse, please, I w-would really p-prefer to eat at an actual t-table.”

I wish we could just get to the cafeteria. I’m starving right now.

On top of that, it took the nurse longer than I thought it would to get back. Originally I was going to ask what took her, but when I saw how angry she looked with her tail swishing back and forth and her eyes rather narrow, I decided against it. I just hope it’s not anything to do with me.

“Alright then, as you wish. Just, um, remember we will not be the only ones there.” the nurse says from behind as she pushes my wheelchair. I wonder what normally uses this wheelchair? It definitely isn’t made for ponies.

Looking back at the nurse, I say, “We won’t b-be the only folk in an e-entire cafeteria of a h-hospital? Really? I n-never would’ve guessed that.”

“Are all of your kind this sarcastic?”

“Only the r-really sexy ones.”

The instant the words leave my lips the nurse looks perplexed, with her ears twitching slightly. I both see and practically feel her eyes looking me up and down. It’s like she’s taking in every single detail of me, from my toes to my scalp. I don’t much like it. “Okay… I don’t see it. It might be just because I’m a pony, but you don’t do a thing for me.”

Maybe I should have seen that one coming.

“Well, y-you don’t really do a-anything for me either,” I say, looking up at her mane. “P-pink isn’t really my color.”

The wheelchair stops suddenly, the nurse moving in front of me with a surprised look on her face, her ears straight and eyes wide. “What?! I’ll have you know pink is a lovely color,” she says. “The stallions love it” she states as she flips her mane with a grin, causing me to emit a short chuckle.

“Whatever. Pink’s st-still too weird for me t-to ever like it. But c-come on, let’s head to the c-cafeteria,” I say with a grin.

But, the nurse doesn’t do that. Instead, her lips curl into a smirk as she… places her hoof on my head? Why?

“At least I have hair. You seem to be missing most of yours,” she says as she rubs her hoof against the admittedly thin patch of hair on my scalp. Keeping up the smirk, she says, “Do all of you humans lose your hair so young?”

“Oh bollocks,” I say as I facepalm, eliciting a giggle from the nurse. “You’re as bad as L-Leah.”

Wait… Leah. What happened to her? Skittles didn’t tell me anything. Did they find any clue? Did Chrysalis do something to her? They have to know something, right? Twilight and the others wouldn’t just leave without having some sort of information. But why wouldn’t Skittles have told me?

Trying to calm down, I breathe in and out, allowing myself a heavy sigh.

Maybe I should not think about that. If I do, it won’t change anything. But still, I just hope Leah’s alright.

“Uh, Micah? Micah, it’s alright. Your, uh, your hair isn’t that bad, no reason to look so glum.”

Glancing up, I notice the nurse’s expression has changed quite a lot. Her smirk is gone, and instead there is a somewhat nervous grin, with her ears flattened as well.


Did I just commit some kind of taboo with humans? Is their hair really that much of a big deal to them? I didn’t mean anything by it, it was just a joke! He may go bald but it’s not that big a deal, I’ve seen stallions with no mane that still are very attractive. Why would he react like this?

“I’m sure there’s got to be a bunch of females where you’re from that wouldn’t mind you having only a little hair,” I say as I try to put on a comforting smile.

Yet now he doesn’t seem upset. With an eyebrow raised he looks to be more confused. “You think I’m upset about th-that?”

“You’re not? You seemed a bit off a moment ago.”

He leans back in the wheelchair with a loud sigh. “It’s not what you s-said about the h-hair. It’s…. It’s s-something else, forget it. L-let’s just keep moving.” he says as he looks down the hall.

“Um… Alright,” I say as I move back behind him, and begin to move the wheelchair.

The short trip to the cafeteria occurs in total silence from both him and myself. For a bit I think about asking what it was that changed his mood but I decide against it. He doesn’t seem to be exactly eager to share what it was he had in his mind.

Soon enough, we reach the cafeteria. The second we go in, nearly every pony here looks straight at Micah and I. Some of them do so with their mouths open, their spoonful of food hovering before their mouths. I don’t see many stares or looks of anger, but some definitely look scared. Before too long they go back to their business, but all of them still look back at the two of us.

Hopefully he won’t get too many more stares. But with the way that Snowheart and Tenderheart acted, and how the ones here are, I don’t know how likely that is. Though anypony that insults him won’t be in the cafeteria for long.

“What the h-hell? Why does that p-pony have an axe in its h-head?”

Axe in the head? What’s he talking about? If anypony was admitted with an injury like that, I would have noticed. Are all humans this by Celestia there’s a pony with an axe in her head!

In the middle of the cafeteria, there are three earth ponies. One of them appears fairly normal, with a simple white coat and red mane, save for a rather odd looking hat. It looks like a strange version of a pirates hat. Next to her, in a hospital gown, sits what I swear is the fattest pony I’ve ever seen. I can’t tell exactly from looking at her, but right now she looks like she might be more than double the weight of a normal pony, and with the chin of three ponies combined. And, no shock, she’s eating more than anypony else in the room.

But, of course, the pony with the axe in her head stands out the most. It’s not a huge axe or anything, more the remains of a small wood cutting axe. But, still, that’s something I’ve never seen before. The mane is also weird and strange, with her black mane all in numerous, somewhat tangled, small braids. Her eyes are also darting about, as if she’s trying to keep an eye on everypony in the room at the same time.

“Sh-shouldn’t that pony b-be in the operating room?” Micah asks as he keeps his eyes locked on the axe-struck pony. “How is she even a-alive?”

The moment those words leave Micah’s lips, however, the ears of that very mare twitch, and she looks straight at Micah. Normally I can tell if a mare is upset, confused, or angry, but on this mare I can’t tell a thing.

Suddenly, she gets off of her seat and quickly makes her way towards Micah and myself. The other mare, the one with the pirate hat that was sitting by her just rolls her eyes, and the large pony continues to go about eating.

I don’t know what that mare wants, but considering Micah’s condition, I’m not about to let her get too close to him. Before she gets too close I move to be in between Micah and her, and cast a glare in her direction.

Said mare stops, but only once she gets close enough that she could strike me with her hoof if she chose to. “Ma’am, I ask that you step back. You can stay with you friends, but please stay away from my patient. He’s injured, and nervous, and I don’t want you to cause him any stress, understood?” I ask, speaking in a non-threatening voice, but making clear I won’t let her try anything.

First, she looks around and behind me at Micah. She doesn’t look angry, as best I can tell. At least there’s that. After looking at Micah, then at me, she opens her mouth. Hopefully she’ll agree, and leave the both of us alone.

But instead of saying that, or saying anything that is any sort of intelligible speech, it sounds like a bunch of made up words. Sort of like what you’d hear from someone pretending to speak a foreign language would sound like. I can’t understand a thing this mare is saying. Yet, she doesn’t seem to be stupid.

“Tender Hooves, you stop that and leave the poor nurse alone,” the mare with the pirate hat says as she comes up behind her, getting the mares attention. “Come back to the table with Butter Cream and I. Don’t you go and ruin our visit.”

This mare, Tender Hooves, speaks once more in those gibberish sounding words. Before stopping, she points a hoof at Micah and I, and stomps onto the ground.

“Now lass, don’t you think the lad this here nurse is wheeling about would be surprised seeing all of this? It’s not every day now that you see a mare as unique as yourself,” this new mare says to Tender Hooves.

With a grunt, Tender Hooves goes back to the table towards the rather large mare who I presume is Butter Cream. Which leaves myself and Micah with this other mare.

Going back to behind Micah to control his wheelchair, I say, “Thank you ma’am. I promise you that Micah here didn’t mean anything by what he did. He’s, um…”

“Ah, don’t apologize lass. Tender Hooves has always been a bit off,” she says as she looks back at her companion, who is now sitting with Butter Cream again.

“D-does the axe in her h-head have something to do w-with that?” Micah asks. “That’s n-not something that I’ve s-seen bef-OW!”

“If you don’t want another hoof to the back of your head, don’t be so rude.” I say, before looking back to this mare and nodding for her to continue.

“Aye, that’s right. Ran into a diamond dog as a filly, got an axe to the head, messed with her head ever since. Can’t be taken out because it’s too dangerous. Ah, but where are my manners?” the mare says as she takes off her hat, and does a slight bow. “The name’s Swift Burst, crew member of The Dauntless, serving under Captain Venture.”

Venture? Venture… Now why does that name sound so familiar? By Celestia I swear I’ve heard it before.

“So how is big ol’ Butter Cream doing?”

Quickly looking back, I see a rather interesting pegasus walk in. It’s not often that we see a thestral pony here in Ponyville. Because of the, um, difficulties with Nightmare Moon, they have something of a bad reputation. This stallion, though, is different even from other thestrals. Mostly in the fact that he has a rather pronounced scar over his left eye, and a strange visor over his right eye.

The coat of this stallion is a bit different than most thestral ponies I’ve met. His coat is a steel gray color, while most thestral’s are blue. The mane is also odd, it being a rusty sort of color.

And what kind of cutie mark is that?

“Ah, so this must be the new arrival that Celestia brought back with her,” this stallion says as he walks up to Micah and I. As he does so I notice exactly how many other ponies in the cafeteria are looking, or more accurately put, staring at us. Almost all of them are. And, glancing at Micah whose eyes are flittering back and forth, he definitely doesn’t seem comfortable with all this.

“I’m st-starting to regret choosing to c-come here,” I hear him whisper as he glances up at me. “C-can we just pick a sp-spot somewhere please?”

The bat pony seems to have heard him, since he quickly speaks before I have the chance to do so. “You can sit with my crew and I. Most of these other ponies seem like they’re liable to shriek like a filly if you get too close. I think we have room for you two, though with how much Butter Cream is eating I don’t know how long that space will be there.”

“Well, what would you like Micah?” I ask, looking about and seeing most tables rather filled up. The table with Butter Cream and Tender Hooves is the least crowded.

Looking at Venture, Micah says, “Sh-should I expect stares or in-insults from your table, like w-what Tender Hooves did?”

“You don’t need to worry about her lad. I’ll make sure she won’t bother you anymore,” Swift Burst says with a grin.

Well, I did not expect that. But it’s better than not being offered a seat by anypony, that’s for sure. Maybe it will help Micah not feel too awkward here.

“What do you think Micah?” I ask him. “Your choice.”

For a moment Micha looks at the other tables, but quickly looks back up at me. “Well, better w-with them than be around the ot-other ponies.”

“Well… Alright.”

With a grin Swift Burst trots back to the table, with Venture next to her. Following the two of them, we get to the table as Swift pulls out a chair to make room for Micah. Once he’s close enough to the table, I sit down next to him.

And the moment I do, I feel like if a picture was taken of us, it would be the perfect definition of ‘awkward silence’.

Butter Cream continues eating with an occasional glance at Venture, myself or Micah. Swift Burst seems to be trying to think of something to talk about, her hoof under her chin. Tender Hooves’ eyes are darting about, as if she’s trying to look at everypony at once. Micah, after looking at the just mentioned ponies, seems to be trying to sink down into his wheelchair.

Venture though, thankfully, breaks the silence. “So Micah, does your species indulge in awkward silences as much as my crew does?”

Well that’s something I didn’t see coming.

“Um… That w-was kind of r-random of you,” Micah says with a raised eyebrow.

“Awkward silences are boring. When you’re on a ship for weeks or months at a time, boredom is the last thing you want,” Venture says as he relaxes in his chair.

Thinking of a way to continue the conversation, I ask him, “Speaking of your crew and ship, why is Butter Cream here in the hospital?”

It’s hard to tell with Butter Cream, but I think I can see her face turning red. Venture glances at her, and she gives him a nod.

“She was climbing up to do repairs on a sail. But, the rope decided that would be just the right time to break. So, down she went. Broke a few legs, but she’ll be alright eventually,” Venture says as he ruffles Butter Cream’s mane with his hoof.

“W-what kind of ship d-do you captain exactly?” Micah asks.

Upon hearing that Venture’s eyes light up with a near insane sort of glee. “How wonderful of you to ask. She’s a lovely ship. It’s not the largest, but she’s fast, not to mention quiet. She’s powered by wind caught in the sails and also by steam boilers. No ship in the Equestrian navy is faster than she.”

“And don’t forget to mention that no ship has a better crew,” Swift says with a smirk.

“A crew that, need I remind you, seems to have forgotten to clean their quarters before going on shore leave,” Venture states with a short glare at the three mares.

Swift Burst stammers, “Um, well, we just were away for so long and, uh…”

“Fair enough. Though, how many days have you been on shore leave?” Venture asks with a grin.

“One and a half weeks.” Swift Burst responds quickly.

Venture grins widely, and says, “Then you’ll have your duties doubled for one and a half weeks.”


Micah interjects before the conversation can continue. “Excuse me,” Micah says as he rests his hands on the table, “B-but, I’m curious, I notice you d-don’t seem too shocked by m-me.”

Raising an eyebrow, Venture says, “Would you prefer me to run around screaming, ‘Ah! Monster, it’s going to eat me!’ If it’d make you feel better I could.”

“I think he’s just saying he’s confused. If you take a look around, everypony else is looking right at him,” I say, not trying to speak quietly. A few ponies take the hint, and look elsewhere.

“I’ve seen too much to be surprised easily. My crew and I have traveled far enough away from Equestria and seen enough oddities that it’d take more than Micah here to surprise me,” Venture says.

Well, it looks like now there are some ponies that won’t be staring at Micah. This ‘Venture’ seems like a decent stallion. His crew though is rather odd. I’m surprised the navy allowed a pony with an injury like Tender Hooves has to join.

“That’s a g-good thing to hear,” Micah says as he starts to smile. Though a loud rumbling sound from his abdomen draws his attention away from the conversation. “B-but that’s not. Um, nurse, could you m-maybe get me something to eat p-please?”

“Heh, sure,” I say as I get up. “Pancakes sound good?”

“That sounds g-good, thanks,” Micah says with a grin. “Oh, another th-thing, I d-don’t know your name. I don’t w-want to just call you n-nurse.”

Huh. I forgot that this entire time he hasn’t known my name. Don’t know how I forgot that.

“Redheart. You can call me Redheart.”

“P-pleasure to meet you Redheart,” Micah says with a grin. “Thank y-you for all the help today.”


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Thankfully the time in the cafeteria yesterday went rather well. Venture was pretty decent company, as were his crew. Butter Cream didn’t say much of anything though, since she usually had food in her mouth. How much could that pony eat? I’ve never seen a human on earth eat like that, even on television during eating competitions.

And Tender Hooves is a… Special type of pony. I’ve never in my life seen anyone with an injury like that. Could a person really live through something like that? I mean, really? An axe to the head? How could a human or pony live through it? Eh, maybe it’s magic or something.

But Swift Burst was decent. She was a mare that was polite and kind. I wonder if the rest of Venture’s crew is like the three I met? Eh, I’ll ask him about that later.

This mattress I’m on though has been a bit annoying. Oh, it’s comfortable enough, but the problem is that I just can’t sleep. I keep waking up, and this is the fourth time tonight that I’ve woken up. I’m tempted to call in a nurse and maybe ask them to use a sleeping spell on me at this point.

Actually, I’ll do just that. At this point I highly doubt if I will be able to get a good night’s sleep without it. I push the call button, but, it will probably take a bit for them to get here. I just hope it won’t be too long.

“Oh, is the little human having trouble sleeping?”

Well that was fast. But that doesn’t sound like Redheart. Though she wouldn’t be here 24/7. I wonder who this nurse is?

“M-my names Micah, not ‘l-little human’. And yes, I’d l-like some help to s-sleep,” I say as I try and get more comfortable in the bed.

“Well then,” the nurse says as the door begins to open. “Let me see if I can lend a helping hoof.”

The mare slowly walks in, and the moment I realize who it is, I swear my heart stops beating. Only one creature looks like this, and she is the last one I want to see, especially while I’m stuck in bed like this.


All she does is smile upon seeing me. A toothy smile, revealing her sharp teeth. She could easily bite off a finger with those. “I’m glad to see you again Micah,” she says as she slowly steps towards me, her mane cascading down her face.

“St-stay away from me,” I say as I try to prop myself up, looking about for anything possible to defend myself with.

Chrysalis only chuckles at my words. Slowly, with the sound of each step echoing in the room, she makes her way to my bedside. She knows she can take as much time as she wants with the condition I’m in.

Her horn glows green, and quickly she yanks off the blanket covering me, now leaving me covered by an ill fitting hospital gown. “Hm. Looks like the doctors and nurses here did a good job with fixing you up,” she says as she looks over me from head to toe. “Do tell me, what hurts most?”

“G-get away from me,” I’m able to say as I continue to try and look for something, anything to defend myself with. “Don’t t-touch me.”

“Shh,” Chrysalis shushes me as she looks to my chest. “Tell me, do your ribs still hurt?”

“Don’t. Do you d-dare do that,” I stammer as I try to get out of bed and away from her. Though, while I’m able to get out of bed, my legs are still too weak to hold up my weight. The moment I try and stand, I fall straight to the floor.

Once more I hear that horrendous chuckle from Chrysalis. Quickly I find her standing over me, smiling. “This is quite a familiar position for the two of us, isn’t it? Once I get you out of here, we should do this again, but with one difference,” Chrysalis says as she traces her tail against my thighs.

“I swear to G-d, if y-you don’t g-get away from me r-right now, I’ll-mph!”

Before I can say a word more, my mouth is covered by the blanket that was covering me only a few moments ago. Immediately I try to reach up and yank it off, but with a loud slam Chrysalis steps hard onto my hands, making me yell from the pain.

“I’m sorry Micah, I didn’t hear what you were trying to say. Try and speak a little more clearly next time,” she says as her head leans down.

Luna, Redheart, Celestia, Skittles, somepony please get here soon!

“When we get out of here, I know the perfect spot for us to go to. There’s a little place near the caves beneath Canterlot with a small underground waterfall. It is surprisingly romantic. There’s a secret entrance I can show you,” she says softly as she opens her mouth and licks my cheek.

I try my hardest to pull my hands free but with her hooves on them I can barely move them at all. The only thing I can do is just look at her, and hope that somepony will get me out of this situation as fast as possible.

And before Chrysalis does anything else.

“Tsk tsk tsk. Micah, I’m disappointed in you. Here I was, hoping that you’d be more participatory in this,” she says, and then grins. “Though… Maybe if I give myself a makeover, you’d be more receptive.”

Her hooves leave my hands, though they are soon restrained by a magical field. Glaring up at Chrysalis, she says, “I think you’ll like this.”

I’m temporarily blinded from a bright green flash. Even when it subsides my vision takes some time to come back. But that doesn’t stop me from hearing something I have missed for so long.

“Micah, dear, why don’t you open your eyes? I have a surprise for you.”

That voice. She didn’t. She wouldn’t dare do that.

As my eyes adjust, I pray that she didn’t do what I fear she has done. But it seems that was done in vain, as I see what stands above me.

“I think it’s a flawless resemblance, wouldn’t you say?” Chrysalis says as she moves her hands, not hooves, over her new body. Leah’s body.

Every bit of it is exactly like her. The hair is just as long and black as hers. Her eyes are the exact same as well, no fault in either eye. And her figure which for some reason is only clad in lingerie is perfectly matched as well. How changelings are able to replicate someone, or somepony so perfectly is something I doubt I will ever understand, nor am I sure I even want to.

“Now, be honest, don’t you like this form?” she asks as the sheet over my mouth is removed, finally allowing me to speak. “Be careful now. Say anything I don’t like, and you’ll be gagged once more.”

To hear these words in Leah’s voice, and from her body is sickening. The real Leah is strong and assertive, certainly, but never cruel. “It’s n-nothing compared to the or-original,” I say, practically in a disgusted hiss.

But… As much as I don’t want to admit it, the sight of Leah’s body in nothing but lingerie is having an, well, having an ‘effect’, one could say, on me.

Chrysalis glares at me for a moment, before looking down below my waist with a smirk. Without warning, she suddenly places her foot atop my groin. At this point I don’t even bother trying to move, and instead just look away.

“Haha! Even though it’s not the original, you’re body is certainly giving me quite the salute. I’m flattered Micah,” she says as she removes her foot, and lays down next to me, posing on her side. As she moves a lock of hair behind her ear, she says, “You’re one of the more easily excitable stallions I’ve met.”

“Shut up,” I spit at her in disgust, earning a glare from her. “Shut up and ch-change back!”

Chrysalis sighs, and looks away for a moment. But after that short moment, her hand grabs my throat and squeezes hard enough that I can’t breathe nor make a sound. As before I try as much as possible to get free but nothing works. Her strength and magic is too much.

“Now listen, Micah. I’ve changed into this pitiful, ridiculous form for you. For some reason the males of your species seem utterly infatuated with this sort of body,” Chrysalis says as she looks down at her chest. “Particularly these bags on the female chest. Why are these teats so ridiculously big?”

As she goes on and on I barely pay attention to her. With her cutting off any and all oxygen, I swear my face might be starting to turn blue. Does she really want me dead? She wouldn’t get what she wants that way, would she? But… If she doesn’t kill me…

Looking back to me, she chuckles for a moment. “Heh, sorry about that. I shouldn’t ask questions when you’re in no position to answer,” she says as she eerily traces her finger down my cheek. “I’ll let you speak. But, only speak when I ask you a question, understood?”

Knowing I can’t exactly stop her, I just nod.

“Good. Now tell me, you do enjoy this body, do you not? This is the form of your lover after all,” she says softly as she licks the edge of my ear.

After shuddering from her doing that, I say, “It d-doesn’t matter. If y-you think that I’m going to just g-go along with whatever you w-want because you look like L-Leah, you’re an idiot.”

I at first worry that she’s going to strike me somehow. Chrysalis definitely has a horrid temper, but oddly enough, she smiles. Though she still has that eery and creepy changeling smile. The sort that is everything but comforting.

“I think you’re lying, Micah,” she says as she leaves my side, and quickly moves to straddle my hips.

Immediately I close my eyes, but that does little to cease my, well, my ‘reaction’ to her ministrations. I’d give anything right now to have that stop, I’d give anything to have all of this stop.

“Just give in. It’ll be so much better for both of us that way,” she says as I feel her hands on my torso. Slowly she inches them up my abdomen. “Besides, it’s obvious that some part of you definitely wants this.”

“H-how stupid must you b-be?” I ask as I practically spit out the question, earning a glare from her in response. “If you think that j-just because you look like L-Leah, the only one I could ev-ever love, you are the m-most foolish b-bitch ever.”


Damn how can a slap hurt so much?!

Looking up at Chrysalis, any pretense of trying to be gentle or seductive is gone. Instead of that facade, I now see the angry Chrysalis. The same Chrysalis that was in the sewers.

“You need to learn how to speak to your betters,” she says with a low growl, her hand diving down to my throat, squeezing tightly. “Once I’m done with you, you’ll never speak to me like that again.”

I’m unable to even say a word back as her grip tightens even more, making my breath come out as nothing more than a whimper before it’s cut off altogether. I try to free my hands, try to bite her, I try anything possible to dislodge her but she isn’t moving a muscle.

“Go ahead! Keep trying, it’ll only tire you out all the faster!” she shouts at me as I strain against the binds on my wrists as hard as possible, only to accomplish nothing.

Damnit! This can’t happen again! Someone, somepony, help! Shouldn’t there be someone here who should hear all this?! A doctor, nurse, somepony?!

Please… I can’t do this again.


Back at work today. Hopefully it will all go well. I hate working on Saturdays, that’s the one day I wish I could have off in the week. I admit one reason for that is my favorite restaurant has a rather nice special only on Saturday, and since I work almost each Saturday I never get it.

What restaurant would only offer such a delicious hayburger one day a week at that awesome price?

Walking inside the hospital, I give a quick greeting to the receptionist as I don my cap, and at once start my rounds. Of course, first I’m going to check on Micah. I hope he had a good rest during the night. Since his physical therapy starts today he’s going to need his energy. It’s not going to be anything too difficult, but with his condition, he’s going to need some to be rested to do it well.

Slowly, so as not to wake him if he’s still asleep, I open the door and peek into his room. I wince from the annoying sounds of the hold hinges creaking as the door moves. Looking inside I see that he’s still asleep, but, something feels off. I can hear him mumbling something, and… Oh by Celestia his gown looks soaked!

Quickly I get inside, and as I get closer I notice immediately the reason it’s soaked. I can smell the sweat coming off of him. Putting a hoof to his forehead I can tell he’s not hot, so he hasn’t gotten a fever during the night. Why then is he soaked?

“N-no… Stop this… L-let me go…”

Oh no. He must be having a nightmare. That would definitely make anypony soaked during sleep if it’s bad enough.

“Ch-Chrysalis, stop…”

I gasp the second I hear that name. There’s only a few ways he’d know that name, and that would be if Twilight and her friends mentioned her, or… Or if he met her. And if he met her there’s no way it could have ended well.

Gently I prod his arm with my hoof to try and waken him. The first few nudges have no effect, but as I want to get him out of that nightmare I have no plan to let him keep sleeping, even if it might anger him.

“Micah, wake up, it’s just a dream,” I say in as comforting a voice as possible, pressing a few more times, a little harder against his side. “Just wake up, I promise you you’ll be-”

My speech is cut off as his eyes shoot open, and he jolts upright at once, his face giving off a pained expression with his eyes wincing and a shout coming from his lips. His hand dives to his abdomen as he looks around the room, taking in as much detail as he can. It’s like he thinks Chrysalis could come out of the walls and pounce on him.

Gently and slowly I place a hoof against his side. If he keeps this up he’ll only succeed in hurting himself. “Easy there Micah, I don’t know what exactly happened in that dream of yours, but you’re safe, I promise,” I say, and point to his pillow with my free front hoof. “Just lay back down, you’re going to hurt yourself.”

“Wh-where is she? She w-was just-” Micah’s speech is cut off by another shout from his lips, the pain now so bad he curls up as his hand continues hold his abdomen, tight enough that it’s as if he fears his blood is going to leak out if he removes it.

Cautiously, I gently start to help him get back to laying down in the bed. “She’s gone, Micah. It was just a dream, I promise, you’re safe here. There’s only you and me now,” I say softly as he slowly starts to recline once more.

Groaning all the while, he slowly allows me to ease him back onto the bed. I place his blanket back over him as I hear him say, “J-just a dream? You’re s-sure it was only a dream?”

“I promise it was only a dream,” I say with a smile. “You’re safe here.”

His breathing finally begins to slow, and get to a more normal level. His eyes also stop darting around the room, and instead keep to me. “I’m s-sorry. I didn’t m-mean to-”

“Don’t worry about it,” I say softly. “Now, I’m going to go get a doctor to use a spell to help with the pain in your abdomen, and I’ll also bring you a new gown. Yours is rather soaked.”

Not to mention that all the sweat smells AWFUL, but now’s probably not the best time to mention that.

He gives me a nod in the affirmative, and with a smile I leave the room to get the gown and a doctor. But the smile is gone the second I depart.

So that’s why he was injured so horribly when he arrived. Chrysalis. I don’t need to ask him to know that whatever she did to him, it was horrendous. But why him? I’ve seen him with nothing on, he’s no threat to her. He’d probably be no threat to me either, even when healthy. Though I suppose there’s no way to figure out why she does things. From what little I know she just does whatever she feels like.

But what exactly happened in that dream of his? Was Chrysalis attacking him? Or was she perhaps just terrifying him? Whichever it is I doubt he’ll tell me any time soon. Maybe later I’ll talk to him about it. At the least his friends should know about that nightmare.

“Oh! Hey there nurse!”

Speaking of which…

Looking down the hall I see a smiling Rainbow Dash trotting down towards me, expertly dodging doctors and patients as she does so. “How’s Micah been doing? Is he gonna be able to get out soon? Pinkie and I’ve got some stuff planned,” she says eagerly.

Sighing, I say, “He’s still stable. It will take some more time before he can walk on his own. He’s also only now woken up, so, you probably should wait before visiting him.”

Rainbow’s smile disappears at once as she says, “Oh. Well how much longer will that take?”

“About half an hour or so. Before anything else I need to get him a new gown and help him put it on,” I say as I continue walking, but stop when Rainbow puts her hoof on my shoulder, stopping me.

“What does he need a new gown for?”

Well, this isn’t about his overall medical status, so I can tell her this much. Besides, as a friend of his, she should know.

After quickly glancing down the hall to make sure nopony is nearby and won’t overhear, I whisper to Rainbow Dash, “He was covered in sweat. It was so bad I could smell it on him. It’s because he had a nightmare and was terrified. Rainbow Dash, what happened exactly in his world? He mentioned Chrysalis in his sleep.”

Rainbow gasps, and actually steps back as she hears those words. Though she only steps back for a second before recovering from any shock she has.

“Come on Rainbow, what hap-ACK!”

I’m grabbed by the shoulders by Rainbow. I knew she was strong before, but now that she’s shaking me back and forth like a filly would with a doll, I get first-hoof experience. This mare could give Applejack a run for her money!

“Is he alright? Did he tell you what it was about? Did you wake him up gently? Why would you leave him alone? You have to let me see him now!” Rainbow Dash shouts as she shakes me more and more violently with each question, until finally I’m able to get out of her grip.

“Enough, Rainbow Dash!” I exclaim as I back away from her, and pick up my fallen cap as I also try to fix my mane. “He won’t be alone for long, and you will see him when I am sure he has calmed down. And he did not tell me what it was about. I just know whatever it was about, it terrified him. Also, of course I woke him up gently, why wouldn’t I?”

Before my words finish leaving my mouth, Rainbow Dash is already moving down the hall towards Micah’s room. Quickly moving after her, I grab her tail between my teeth and with one quick yank I pull her back, as she lands on her flank.

“Ow! What was that for?!”

“For not listening to me,” I say, keeping her pinned to the ground with my hoof on her tail. “You can’t go see him now. I will let you know when you can.”

Rainbow pulls hard to try and get her tail loose, but thanks to my being an earth pony, she can’t do a thing. Eventually she stops and sits back down. For a moment she just sits there, head hanging low, before turning to look at me.

“I can’t tell you what happened,” Rainbow says, her ears flat against her head. “But… She hurt him. Badly. You… You will have to ask him if you want to hear anything else.”

Unless something major happens he’s not likely to trust me enough to tell me that. What could that monster have done to him? I saw the wounds she gave him. But the way he reacted from that nightmare, it seems like she must have done more than physically harm him. By Celestia, what happened back on his world?

Exercise, and new friend

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“Okay Micah, you know what to do. It should be easy, but I’ll be right here if you need me,” Redheart says.

“Of course it’ll be easy. He’ll be ready for our sparring match in no time!” Skittles says.

G-d help me when that happens.

That dream earlier was just… Ugh, words alone isn’t enough. It does make me wonder though, why is it that dreams here seem so more real than dreams back on earth? And if anypony I ask says ‘because magic’ I swear I’m going to slap them, even if it’s Celestia.

After that horrid nightmare, Redheart got me a new gown to replace the one that was soaked in sweat. She offered to help me put it on, but since I’m not exactly keen on letting her see me in my birthday suit, I politely declined.

That was more difficult than I thought it would be.

I was a bit confused why I was given a different looking gown, but I didn’t say anything as the differences are miniscule. The only differences are the length of it, and the fact that it doesn’t have an opening in the back.

But after being wheeled into another room, I found out why. This room holds weights, a few inflatable balls, and I think I see a treadmill off to the side.

Apparently Redheart wants me to start therapy. I have to say, at first I was kind of apprehensive about it. I mean, if I can’t even stand on my own what kind of therapy can I do right now?

Which brings us back to the present.

Redheart has brought the wheelchair around to a short little trail, with some bars on both sides of it. The bars are adjustable, as she raised them up to a level that would be more fitting to me than a pony. She doesn’t have to say anything for me to figure out what it is she wants me to do.

Grabbing each bar, I begin to lift myself out of the chair. My muscles feel like they are being pushed to the max just from this. I notice that Redheart is right at my side, ready to grab me if I fall. Or, I presume that’s why she’s right next to me.

As a gust of wind goes by, I quickly look side to side to see what it was, and I see a smiling Skittles hovering at my eye level.

“Come on big guy, all you have to do is stand up,” she says. “Besides, if you fall I’ll grab you.”

“That’s my job, Rainbow Dash. Besides, should he fall, there’s a particular way you’re supposed to grab him,” Redheart says, her hoof on my back. “You do it wrong and you’ll just end up hurting him.”

“What? I wouldn’t hurt him! He’s my friend!”

“G-girls? Please stop, I n-need to concentrate,” I say, my arms beginning to tense up as I begin to put some of my weight on my feet. And just about the moment I do, they start buckling.

Oh dear G-d this hurts like hell! Alright, alright just try and block it out, don’t worry about it, just get through it. It’s just standing up, right? Nothing difficult about that at all.

“Well, Rainbow Dash, if you are so sure you wouldn’t hurt him, why did you hug him far too tightly when he woke up? I understand you were excited to see him, but you should try to be more gentle” Redheart says as I continue to focus on just standing straight.

“Oh come on Red, so I was excited my friend woke up and I gave him a hug. You’re making it sound like I broke one of his bones or something!”

Grunting, I utter, “Girls, please, st-stop talking.”

“You nearly did!” Redheart shouts, and as I look at her, she glares up at Skittles. “You don’t get how badly hurt he is!”

“What do you mean I don’t know?! I was there! If Micah wasn’t a patient of yours you wouldn’t care!” Skittles responds, meeting Redheart’s glare with her own.

“Girls… P-please stop-”

“How dare you! I’d help anypony, no matter if they’re my patient or not! If somepony needs my help, they’ll always get it!”

“Psh! Sure, as if you were going to help Micah if you weren’t told to. I bet you-”


Finally, the two of them shut up. It’s about damn time!

“Both of y-you, stop arguing. The m-more you talk, the h-harder it is for me to c-concentrate. Now sh-shut up and let me try to d-do something as simple as st-stand up!” I shout as I look down at both of them.

Wait a second. I’m looking down at them. Meaning…

“Well look at that! I didn’t think you’d be able to stand so quickly!” Redheart says with a wide grin as she examines me. “You’re recovering at a rapid pace.”

“Yeah! Knew you could do it!” Skittles says with a grin as she flies in even closer, as Redheart walks under the bars to get close as well. “Before long it’ll be ponyo e mano.”

I can’t help myself but smile, “It is nice t-to be able to st-stand up on my own for a change.”

The moment the words leave my mouth I feel my legs start to shake, and I tighten my grip on the bars to keep me up. A glance at Redheart gets the message across.

“Micah, do you want me to help you sit down in the wheelchair?” Redheart asks as she looks down at my legs with a frown.

“Oh come on, he’ll be fine!”

Just like back on earth, Skittles gives me a congratulatory pat on the back. And now, just like then, it makes me stumble. I immediately fall, my hands flailing to try and grab onto anything to stop the descent.

“Micah be caref-mph!”

Redheart’s voice is cut off as I hit the ground, feeling something underneath my torso and my hips both. Normally, I would immediately look to see what’s underneath me but instead, I’ve got a different issue in my mind at the moment.

Specifically the pain I feel from falling down onto the ground.

Damnit! Ugh, why the hell does the human body have to be so receptive to pain? WHY? Shit, I thought that human bones would be more strong than this! For goodness sake, why in the world did I actually try this? That was an awful idea, I should have waited until I recovered more. At least I fell on something soft and furry.

“Um… Are you okay Micah?”

Once I finally come to my sense, I realize exactly why I’m feeling something soft and furry. Laying right underneath me, with her normally blue cheeks turning red, is Skittles. It’s kind of cute seeing her blushing with her mane a bit tangled and cast over her face.

Cute or not, though, I really wish I wasn’t seeing it from this position. She’s on her back, I’m laying right on top of her, and our faces are less than a few inches apart. I can feel and smell her breath on my face.

“I f-feel pretty banged up b-but I don’t think it’s an-anything awful,” I say with a grunt as I try and prop myself up with my arms, but stop almost instantly. They’re still too weak. “Are you okay Sk-Skittles?”

For a short moment, her eyes look down my body before looking up once more. “Yeah I’m okay,” she says. She smirks. “I think you might need to lose a bit of weight though big guy. You nearly turned me into a rainbow pancake.”

“I’m not f-fat, Skittles,” I say, as I feel something squirming uncomfortably close to my groin. “And, um, c-could you please stop moving your t-tail against me? I kn-know you’re not doing it on purpose b-but please stop.”

Skittles raises an eyebrow at that, glancing down. “Uh, I’m not doing that Micah,” she says, and looks to my side as I feel something pushing against my leg. Her eyes go wide as she gasps, then close as she starts to laugh loudly.

“Heh, I think Redheart’s going to have something to say to you,” she says while chuckling.

Confused, I look down my side. I see Redheart, her front hooves pushing against my side, with her head underneath me, probably right next to-

Oh bollocks!

“Sk-Skittles! Help me out h-here!” I shout as I try to turn over.

Oh damn I’m dead, I’m so dead! How stupid am I not to notice Redheart was stuck so close to my… Ugh, how could this happen?!

Still laughing, Skittles wiggles her way out from under me and moves to my side. After tossing her mane out of her eyes, she looks at Redheart. Grinning, she leans down, “So, Red, how’s the view down there?”

“Mmph! Mmrph mph!”

“Oh for g-goodness sake, Skittles, c-come on!” I shout as she continues to chuckle.

Glancing at me, she grins and grabs Redheart’s tail with her teeth. With a single yank she pulls Redheart free, sending her flying for a moment before landing flat on her flank.

Shaking her head vigorously, Redheart puts her cap back on before her eyes and mine meet. She then looks to Skittles, baring her teeth as she looks at her with her eyes narrowed.

Oh crap, this isn’t going to be good. She looks pissed off. Alright Micah, just make sure that she knows that you didn’t mean for that to happen, and that it was an accident. But, if she’s really ticked off she might not be so professional about this. Not all medical people are as professional about things as Leah was.

No, IS. Not ‘was’, is. I can’t give up on her.

Hearing hoofsteps and the sounds of wheels turning, I look up. Redheart looks down at me, with the wheelchair at her side. Instead of looking angry, she looks concerned.

“Micah, how badly do your legs and arms hurt?” she asks. “Do you think you can sit up on your own?”

Well, I definitely didn’t expect to have her react like this.

I push against the ground as hard as I can, but I can only get a few inches off of the ground before I collapse once more. “Ugh, my arms d-don’t feel so g-good. Don’t know about m-my legs,” I say with a groan.

I catch Redheart glaring at Skittles again before she lays down next to me. “Okay, Micah, place your arm on my back, and hold on. I’ll help you get up. Rainbow Dash, you make sure that the wheelchair is in a good position so we can get Micah in it quickly,” Redheart states as I place an arm over her barrel as instructed.

“Are you s-sure you can d-do this? I d-don’t want you to g-get hurt,” I say, though she doesn’t seem to concerned as she already starts to stand up, my grip tightening on her. I notice her wincing as I accidentally pull out a few bits of fur.

Putting on a smile, she says, “I’m sure, we got to get you back in the chair. I don’t want you on the floor.”

As Skittles brings the wheelchair close, Redheart says, “Put your free hand on the chair, and I’ll help you the rest of the way.”

I do as she says, and in surprisingly quick fashion she pushes me up onto the chair, and helps me get comfortable. “Th-thank you for helping m-me Redheart,” I say with a smile. “It’s a lot b-better being here than on the f-floor.”

“Heh, I bet,” she says with a slight chuckle.

Is she just going to ignore the extremely awkward position she and I were in? If this were any other pony they’d say something about what just happened. I know if her position and Skittles’ one were switched, Skittles would be making a few jokes at the minimum.

“So, Micah,” Skittles says as she walks in front of me. “Want to try one more time? I bet that you can do it this time.”

Redheart facehoofs loudly, the sound getting Skittles’ attention as she sighs. “Rainbow Dash, that’s a bad idea. We can try again later, but for now he shouldn’t do anything physical,” Redheart says as she sends a glare towards Skittles.

“Ugh, Red, you worry too much. He’ll be fine. So he tripped, it doesn’t mean he will next time,” Skittles says.

Walking behind me, Redheart unlocks the wheels of the wheelchair and begins pushing me towards the door. “That’s right, he won’t, because I’m not going to allow you to be here when he tries next time.”

What? That’s a bit on the extreme side isn’t it?

Skittles reacts despite being surprised as I am. She puts her hooves on the wheelchair, stopping me at once.

“Alright nursey, listen up. You’re acting like Micah is a tiny piece of glass that you’re gonna break if you touch it too hard. He’s tougher than you know,” Skittles says as she leans in over me, glaring at Redheart.

“Skittles, R-Redheart, please, st-stop this. Let’s not argue, al-alright? Let’s just g-get out of here,” I say.

Both of them decide not to listen to me as they continue to argue, with me being literally right between the two of them. I wish I could just slink down into the floor.

I just don’t understand why these two need to keep going at it over such tiny things.

“Um, excuse me, but is it alright if I use this room?”

As Skittles is in my way , I have to lean to the side to see who the newcomer is. I’m a bit surprised that I could hear him at all since Redheart and Skittles are still yammering on.

This new fellow is a stallion, specifically an earth pony. His coat is a light brown, with a darker brown mane and tail. To me, though, the thing that gets my attention is his cutie mark. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pony with an hourglass for a cutie mark before.

But his reaction to seeing me isn’t all that odd, since most ponies don’t know that much about me. As soon as he sees me, he gasps and jumps back, only to wince as he hits the floor. Glancing at his legs I see why; he has a brace on his left front leg. How could that have happened?

“G-girls, if you want to k-keep doing this, could you t-take it outside p-please?” I ask them.

Thankfully they stop bickering, but the glares between the two of them remain. Though they both turn to leave, Redheart stops for a moment before she joins Skittles outside. “I’ll take you back to your room shortly Micah. I’m sorry for the delay, I won’t be with Rainbow Dash too long,” she says before following Skittles out.

If you ever looked up the phrase, ‘awkward silence’, there would be a picture of myself and this stallion staring at each other. His reaction had been understandable. From what I saw in the cafeteria, most ponies seem either scared or upset with me. Redheart, Skittles, Venture and his crew seem like they’re in the minority of ponies.

Eventually, however, this stallion breaks the silence. “So… What are you?” he says as he examines me.

“Um… I’m a h-human, named Micah,” I say as he takes a few steps closer, the look of fear in his eyes lessening.

As the stallion continues to close the distance, I have to admit I’m now the one who’s a bit nervous. I shouldn’t be, since it’s a pony who’s in a cast. An earth pony in a cast. A stallion earth pony in a cast.

This could actually go rather badly.

But oddly, he just puts out his hoof as he smiles nervously. “I’m Time Turner. Earth pony,” he says as he continues to hold out his hoof.

“Well, it’s a p-pleasure to m-meet you,” I say as I make a fist and bump his hoof with it.

Raising an eyebrow, Time Turner pulls his hoof away. “I gotta say I didn’t expect you to know what a hoof bump is,” he says as he shuffles his braced leg a bit.

“Let’s j-just say that b-before I got here, I met somepony who sh-showed me,” I say, recalling that event from when I was on earth.

“Mhm,” is all Time Turner says as he looks back at the equipment in the room. “So… What did you come here to do?”

“To s-see if I could stand up. I d-did, but only for a f-few seconds,” I state with a sigh. “Let’s just s-say it didn’t end w-well.”

Time Turner chuckles for a moment, before saying, “Heh, yeah, I could hear bits of what happened down the hall.”

Raising an eyebrow, I ask, “Uh, exactly h-how much did you hear?”

“Enough that it’s clear that you landed on top of the mares that were just here,” Time Turner says with a grin as he walks towards the treadmill.

Huh. This is going better than I expected. Maybe I’ll be able to have a somewhat normal conversation. I don’t mind speaking with Venture and his crew at all, though I would prefer to talk to someone who’s a bit more, well, normal.

But him warming up to me so fast definitely wouldn’t qualify as normal… I remember it took me a while to warm up to Skittles and the others.

“Time Turner?” I ask, getting him to turn around. “I h-have to ask, why d-do you not seem too n-nervous around me? You w-warmed up to me pretty quick.”

As he steps onto the treadmill, he says, “I’ve traveled with my father on business a lot. You see quite a few things when you go beyond Equestria. You did surprise me at first, but not any more than when I saw my first minotaur.”

“W-was that how you g-got your leg busted?” I inquire, glancing down at the brace.

“This? No, no that was just me being a klutz. Never try moving a grandfather clock by yourself, let me tell you,” he says with a grin as he begins to use the treadmill.

“Oh, that w-would hurt,” I say, trying to imagine that. The closest I can come to that is dropping an extremely hot, and heavy, baking sheet. It might not have been as heavy as a grandfather clock, but it still hurt like hell.

“Yes, yes it did,” he says with a shudder. “But, how did you end up in a wheelchair?”

“Uh… Th-that’s a long story.”

Council in Canterlot

View Online

“Did you enjoy your breakfast?”

“I’m g-getting a little tired of apples and s-salads, but it w-was alright.”

That is putting it mildly. Apples and salad, apples and salad, ugh! What I would give for a delicious pizza with jalapeno peppers and garlic, mm! Now that would be a delicious meal. But, seeing as how I don’t even know if pizza exists here I’m thoroughly screwed when it comes to getting one.

My stomach seems to share my sentiment as I hear a loud rumbling from it, getting the attention of Redheart.

“Still hungry? I can get you some more if you want,” she offers with her usual smile.

Sitting up a little more to get more comfortable, I say, “No thanks, I’m g-good for now.”

“Oh? You sure ‘bout that? ‘Cause I bet you’re wanting something other than hospital food.”

Both Redheart and I raise an eyebrow at that, and look to the door. Unsurprisingly, the pony to enter through it is Skittles, with a surprisingly big smile.

“H-hey Skittles. Are you d-doing well?” I ask, glad to see her. But with a glance at Redheart I notice she’s not exactly too happy about this.

Come to think of it, she hasn’t exactly been nice around Skittles at all. Redheart seems to always think Skittles is too rough, while Skittles believes Redheart is too cautious. I hope that doesn’t keep going between the two of them.

“Yep! But I’m not here for chit chat. I think it’s time for you to get out of this hospital for a while,” Skittles says, getting a surprised look from Redheart.

Getting out of here? Though I don’t know where we’d head off to, I’m definitely not opposed to leaving here for a bit. It does get rather boring after a while. I don’t know how somepony can work in a place like this, with the boring routine they must have.

“Rainbow Dash, that’s not a good idea. He needs to stay inside, at least for a few more days,” Redheart says as she steps between Skittles and I.

Clearing my throat I say to her, “Redheart, you’re b-being a little over-protective. I’d l-like to get out of h-here for a little while. I’m n-not sure what I’d be d-doing, but I’d like it n-nonetheless.”

“You see?” Skittles says, walking past Redheart and towards me. “He wants to get out. You should let him.”

Sighing once more, Redheart says, “Micah, are you sure about this? I don’t know if this is a good idea.”

Grinning I say, “I’m n-not sure what I’d be d-doing when I’m out, but I w-would like to get out f-for a bit.”

“Something tells me that no matter what I could say you’re going to be stubborn about this,” Redheart states.

Sporting a grin I say, “Oh? Wh-why’s that?”

“Just call it a hunch. If you really want to do this though, I have to get the paperwork started, and have Doctor Haywick come by to do a last check to make sure it’s alright for you to leave the hospital for a short time,” Redheart says as she heads towards the door.

“Make it quick nursey! We got places to go and things to do!” Skittles shouts and turns to me as Redheart exits the room.

But not without a final glare directed at Skittles.

“Sk-Skittles, you don’t have to be s-so abrasive with R-Redheart. She’s just d-doing her job,” I say.

As those words leave my lips she groans, saying, “But she doesn’t have to be such a pain in the flank about it. She’s treating you like Fluttershy treats her kittens.”

“Are you s-saying you think I’m as c-cute as a kitten? I d-don’t know whether to be t-touched or insulted,” I state, laying back and pouting.

“Hah! Dontcha ever try to pout around me. That sort of stuff never works,” Skittles laughs and pats my shoulder.

Grinning, I say, “I bet it w-would work on Fluttershy th-though.”

“Probably. Not sure about Twilight,” Skittles says. “Eh, it doesn’t matter. But I’m betting she’ll be glad to see you. Her and the rest of the girls.”

“H-how have they been d-doing? I h-hope they’re alright,” I say, as I sit myself up in bed.

“They’re fine Micah, don’t worry. Twilight’s finishing up some stuff in Canterlot, so she should be coming down here soon,” Skittles says as she jumps onto the bed next to me, getting herself comfortable.

Canterlot? Huh. Must be speaking with the princesses. I hope that she’s giving Celestia at least something of a talking to.


*Venture’s POV*

“When we’re done here, do give Micah my best wishes, will you Twilight?”

“Of course Princess Luna.”

Princess Luna is something. All of these Lords and Ladies here, who might say anything when by themselves, wouldn’t dare say a word against her when she’s within earshot. It’s a pleasant change from their usual pompous attitude.

Twilight being here certainly helps as well. That bookworm definitely makes these Lords show respect, near as much as Luna does.

And with the size of this chamber, there will definitely be a lot of them inside here. The chamber, at maximum capacity, could hold possibly sixty sitting ponies, and many more standing ones. Normally the light from outside would be shooting through the windows and illuminating the room. Instead, today we have a heavy storm of rain.

Somewhat fitting for us having a war council. It shouldn’t exactly be comforting.

“Captain Venture. I heard your recent excursion was a successful one,” one of the Lords say from the side.

Looking at the stallion who just spoke, I see that there are actually a lot more of them now. Some I recognize, some of them I haven’t yet seen until just now. The cutie marks, which also double for their sigils, are recognizable if even the ponies they belong to are not. Some are from Baltimare, some from near Appleloosa, a few by Las Pegasus, and some of course from Manehattan and Fillydelphia. But, there are only four remaining from what should be a group of ten northern lords.

I don’t need magic to guess what happened to the other six. But, back to the present.

“Lord Sapphire. Yes, my excursion was quite successful indeed,” I say as I put on a grin for the overdressed, over-scented, pompous pony.

It was a simple reconnaissance mission, and I have the quietest ship in the whole fleet. How could it not have been successful?

Nodding, the stallion says, “Ah, very good captain. I suppose your boat is a perfect fit for you then.”

I swear I feel a vein in my forehead pressing against my skin. Did he just call the Dauntless a boat? She’s the fastest ship the Equestrian navy has! No other ship has ever sailed the Eastern or Western Seas swifter than she!

Before I have the chance to say a word more, and put this ‘Lord’ in his place, Princess Luna speaks up, casting a glance my way. “My Lords and Ladies, thank you all for coming to Canterlot. Please, sit.”

“Aunt Luna, before we do so, I must object to the inclusion of Captain Venture and Twilight Sparkle in this meeting.”

Oh ponyfeathers, I forgot Blueballs is here too.

Out of all the ponies who are here, he’s the one I cannot stand above all others. He’s the most pompous and rude noble I’ve ever seen. If he wasn’t a noble I don’t think he’d be able to survive. The only reason I’ve heard he became a noble is because of him being barely related to the Princesses, and his being good with finances.

Though I admit I’m looking forward to seeing Luna’s reaction to a recent military maneuver he ordered. That will probably happen later.

“Objection noticed, Prince Blueblood. But overruled. Captain Venture has news to report, and Twilight Sparkle is here by my personal invitation. They shall both stay here,” the princess declares as she takes her seat. “Everypony, please sit.”

Princess Luna sits first, followed by Twilight Sparkle. After the two of them everypony else sits at the seat emblazoned with their sigil, usually a copy of their cutie mark. Except, oddly enough, for Blueblood. His sigil is nothing like his cutie mark, instead being a white sparrow on a red field.

After Luna’s horn shines for just a moment, the table in front of everypony glows. As the glow subsides the surface of the table is an exact replica of a map of Equestria, with names of the various cities and towns. To add to that, there are also markers for the locations of our forces and keeps that are currently in our control.

Princess Luna turns to me. “First of all, Captain Venture, I ask that you report to all here exactly what you discovered during your sailing in the western sea.”

I bow my head in respect to her, before standing. “Of course Princess Luna. My crew and I did a reconnaissance mission through the western sea for a month,” I say as I move my hoof over that part of the map.

“We followed the instructions given to us not to engage any enemy vessel and only fight if it is absolutely necessary. Thankfully, we were able to remain undetected for our entire voyage. But, our fears of the siege of Vanhoover have been confirmed,” I declare as I point to the coastal city.

“The ships Sombra has sent outnumber our western fleet? Is this what you’re leading up to?” Lady Stream Right says, her ears flat.

“Sadly that is correct. They outnumber our entire western fleet by at least fifty percent. If we tried to break their blockade of Vanhoover, our ships would be destroyed and the blockade would remain in effect,” I say.

I wish these ponies would know not to interrupt at a war council. There are certain customs that are meant to be followed. Not to mention it’s just rude.

With a sigh, Lady Stream Right slumps down into her chair. Unlike some lords or ladies, she has a good reason for being worried about Vanhoover, other than it being a vital city for us to hold. It’s been said she has a daughter still within the city at this moment.

“And what news of the garrison inside Vanhoover itself? How long can we expect them to hold out if we cannot bring them new supplies?” Lord Topaz Sapphire inquires.

Okay Venture, don’t say anything. Just grin and bear it for now. Maybe later they’ll stop interrupting. There has to be at least one pony who’ll have some sense of decorum.

“We have received no word from Lady River Tinker for some time. It’s possible Sombra’s unicorns have used spells to block any communications from the city. As to how long they can hold out, I do not know. But probably no more than three months, if the enemy army doesn’t simply overwhelm the defenses,” I say, causing Lord Sapphire to rub his eyes with his hoof in frustration.

Sadly, Blueblood speaks next. “Can we do supply drops using pegasi? They cannot carry much but even the smallest amount is better than none at all.”

“Prince, the pegasi from Baltimare have tried that,” the red coated pegasus Lady Rare Charge says. “For every hundred that are sent, no more than a dozen return. We can’t continue to do that, the casualties are far too high.”

“I agree with Lady Rare Charge. While Vanhoover is important for us to hold we cannot continue to do supply drops using pegasi. The casualties are too great,” Princess Luna says. “We will have to find another way to bring them supplies. Captain Venture, thank you for your report.”

With a nod to the princess I take my seat. While Blueballs might not want me here at least the princess appreciates my talents.

The next to stand is Lady Windy Haze, her gray coat showing her age. “While the siege of Vanhoover is a pressing concern, there is another matter to which we should attend”, she says as she motions her hoof over Galloping Gorge. “My cousin Arcing Hammer holds a keep at the Northern entrance to Galloping Gorge. His scouts have informed him that an enemy force numbering three thousand, maybe more, is massing near the gorge. Arcing’s force numbers only a fifth of that of the enemy.”

“We have more pressing matters than your cousin’s keep, Lady Windy Haze,” Blueblood declares, earning him a glare from Haze. “Vanhoover at the moment is more vital. A keep is just a keep.”

Wow, this moron doesn’t know much does he?

“Vanhoover might be a more well known target, but Galloping Gorge is one of the major passes from the north down to Canterlot itself,” I state, Blueblood looking at me wide eyed, as if he’s almost in shock someone would disagree with him.

“Whoever controls it can move ponies, supplies, artillery, and nearly anything else as they wish. So I’d say this is a most pressing matter.”

Before Blueblood has the chance to utter a word more, Luna cuts him off. “I agree, Captain Venture. While Vanhoover is vital, we need to be realistic about those we can help, and those we cannot. At this moment we can act to keep Galloping Gorge in our control,” Luna says as she looks around the assembled lords and ladies.

“Princess Luna, my troops and I shall make our way to Galloping Gorge to join the garrison.”

The voice comes from the assembly of northern lords and ladies. Everypony glances to the previous silent nobles. At the beginning of the war they were always the most vocal, as their lands are right next to Sombra and his armies. But as the war progressed, and more land fell to Sombra, the northern nobles became far more quiet and subdued. They’re not as proud as they used to be.

All that pride has turned into vengeance.

The Lady who spoke is Lady Icy Shield. She’s a cross old mare, but she’s certainly somepony you’d want on your side in any fight or dispute. Her lands have held out against Sombra the longest, and has had a surprisingly good set of victories.

“My one thousand troops, added with Arcing Hammer’s garrison, should be enough to hold Sombra’s forces for a time,” Lady Ice Shield says. “At least enough that the southern entrance to the gorge would be able to have a surprise for Sombra, should he get through.”

“Thank you Lady Ice Shield,” Princess Luna says. “Now, there is one last thing I wish to say before we conclude our meeting for today.”

Blueblood grins widely upon hearing that. He seems to know exactly what is going to be said next.

“Prince Blueblood, before arriving here, you led a counterattack against the incursions led by Ruby Red, one of Sombra’s most well known lieutenants. Before your actions, she repeatedly attacked our eastern coast, raiding many villages and towns. I commend you for your actions,” the princess says with respect.

“Thank you auntie,” Blueblood says as he rises. “My troops fought quite well. I had no doubt they’d succeed in their task. She will think twice before picking a fight with Equestria again.”

From what I know you should have kept sitting on your flank.

Rising to her hooves, Princess Luna says, “For now, I’d like to speak with Captain Venture and Prince Blueblood alone. I have private business to discuss with them both.”

I’d bet a thousand bits that Blueblood thinks he’s about to get showered in praise by Princess Luna. I hope more than anything right now that he’ll get the chewing out he deserves.

The nobles all leave quickly, and the moment the door behind them closes, Blueblood opens his spoiled, rotten mouth once more.

“Auntie, I think you should know that we were able to capture some of the enemy officers. They might have some information which-”

“Ugh, will you stop going on about that? And don’t call her ‘auntie’ when in front of the nobles. She’s your princess,” I say, getting Blueblood’s attention.

Immediately his eyes narrow and he steps towards me. “You watch your tongue Venture. Just because you have a ship doesn’t mean you are an equal to us. If it weren’t for the information you happened to gather, you wouldn’t even be here. And besides, Luna knows I meant no disrespect.”

“Whether you meant it or not doesn’t matter,” I say through clenched teeth. “And you’re lucky that she put on that little show when the other nobles were here. I wouldn’t have been so kind to you.”

“What are you talking about? I stopped Ruby Red’s attacks on Equestrian soil. If you were smart you’d know that’s a good thi-”

“Enough, Blueblood.”

Oh, here it comes. I think now’s the time for me to step away for a bit.

Luna glances my way as I do just that, before turning back to Blueblood. Just like before, she doesn’t reveal anything that she might be feeling.

“Tell me, Blueblood. What were your orders when you were given your soldiers and your command?” Princess Luna inquires as I look on, grinning all the while.

One of his eyebrows arches as he answers. “To hold our positions and only act in defense, not offense.”

Luna steps towards Blueblood, keeping her emotions hidden. “Yet you committed your forces to an offensive maneuver. In direct violation of your orders, no less.”

“I saw an opportunity. We took the fight to her and she was unable to stop us so she turned tail and ran. It was a great success,” Blueblood declares as he grins from ear to ear.

“A short term success. I wanted her to go in further. I had a lieutenant of mine waiting with a trap set. I wanted her to go south because she is blind to any traps. I could have her being interrogated right now,” Princess Luna states, narrowing her eyes. “Instead I have a few junior officers. Tell me, do you believe they will have any useful intel that can aid us in the way against Somba?”

Well Blue it looks like you’ve done bucked up.

His lips move but not a single word leaves them. It takes nearly a minute for him to find words to say. “No. But for every pony we lost Ruby Red lost--”

He stops speaking instantly as Luna leans in closer, and uses her very well known Canterlot voice.

“We need our soldiers more than the enemy needs theirs!”

Her voice sends chairs flying and nearly topples the table over. Blueblood has to grab the table so he won’t be sent flying, but even that just barely allows him to hold on. Though, as soon as the voice is used, it’s gone.

“Leave, Blueblood. I wish to speak with Captain Venture alone. And next time, you’d best follow my orders exactly as I give them, is that understood?,” the princess asks through bared teeth.

Damn I’m glad I’m not in Blueblood’s hooves right now.

At this point Blueblood is shaking. Even though I’m quite a bit away I can see his mane shaking, and think I can even hear his teeth chattering. Without a single word more he dashes out of the chamber, nearly knocking me over in the process.

The second he’s out Luna says, “I trust you shan’t tell anypony of what I said to him.”

“I admit I’d like to let the other nobles know how much of a screw up he is, but if it’s an order you know I’ll keep quiet,” I state as I shut the door.

“Then consider it an order,” Luna says as she slides into a chair, sighing. “He may be a fool. But he’s a fool who is part of my family.”

“I don’t know whether that’s more of an insult to you, or a complement to Blue,” I say as I sport a smirk and take a seat next to her.

Grinning, the princess says, “Maybe a bit of both. But enough of him. I have a new mission for you to undertake, as soon as you can.”

Oh? Hm, didn’t expect that.

“What would that be?” I ask, as I sit.

Princess Luna leans in close, her voice lowering to a whisper. “I want you to take your ship and sail north again. I want to know the movements of the fleet blockading Vanhoover. Get information on the number of ships, their patrols, any openings that a ship might be able to exploit. I want as much information as possible. Is that understood?”

“Yes, it is. Though, why are you whispering? There’s nopony here,” I state, gesturing to the obviously empty chamber.

“I do not wish for anypony outside the door to hear. I didn’t say this to the other nobles because I don’t trust them. I trust you alone with this information, and the mission. Do you accept it?”

Well this is one thing I definitely didn’t see coming. If Luna wants me to go and do this, I’ll do it.

Nodding, I say, “I’ll do it. But I can I ask why?”

All I get from the princess is a smile.

Through Ponyville

View Online

Finally it is time. It has arrived. A moment I’ve been waiting for for some time. Admittedly not something hugely important, but still.

Redheart places a box on my bed, my wheelchair at her side. “Alright Micah, time to get you out of that gown and into some real clothes.”

I punch the air in glee, smiling as I say, “Yes! F-finally I get out of th-this gown!”

“What is it with you humans and clothes? I don’t get it. Us ponies walk around without them all the time,” Redheart states, glancing from my fist back to my eyes.

“Well, Redheart,” I say as I start pulling off my gown, grateful to have the blankets covering me from the waist down, “We h-humans don’t have a sh-sheath for our sword, n-nor a tail covering our tuchus.”

As I struggle with getting it off with my still not fully healed arms, Redheart finishes taking it off for me. “Yeah, I noticed that when you were on the operating table. It was, uh, a bit of a shock,” she says as she pulls out a shirt, pair of pants, and underwear from the box for me.

“And I am v-very, very grateful for y-you not teasing me ab-about seeing me l-like that,” I say with a grin.

“I’d never mock a patient for that. Except, of course, if they were being a major pain in the flank like some ponies I know,” Redheart states as for some reason her eyes lock on my chest. “Uh, I do have a question though.”

Grasping the shirt I start to pull it on, and succeed in getting it over my head. But I still can’t get my arms through the correct holes. “C-could you give me a helping h-hoof with this please? And what’s y-your question?”

With a bit of a giggle Redheart assists me in pulling on the shirt. “I was wondering why is it male humans have nipples. I don’t get it.”

Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting that question.

“Um… I d-don’t know exactly. I’m a b-baker, I don’t know m-much about anatomy,” I say to her.

“Fair enough. Now, would you like some help getting on the rest of your clothes, or do you think you can manage?” Redheart asks, pointing to the other clothes.

I definitely hope so.

“Yeah, I think s-so. Besides, I think l-letting you ogle me once when I’m unconscious is e-enough,” I say with a smirk. “No more f-free shows. Unless you b-beg, of course.”

“Heh, well someone’s got a high opinion of himself. Does that sort of thing work on human females in your world?” Redheart asks with a grin.

“Only some. L-Leah was impressed just about as m-much as you are now when I t-tried it on her,” I state as I grasp the clothes. “But eventually she w-warmed up to me.”

“If you say so. Well, I’ll leave you alone for now. I’ll be right outside if you need anything, okay?” Redheart says as she makes her way to the door.

With a nod to her she departs, leaving me with some privacy. I swing my legs over the side of the bed, and start getting dressed. But right after I pull off the blankets covering me below the waist, I hear Redheart speaking to someone outside.

“Rainbow Dash? Wait! You can’t go in right now! He’s-”


Skittles runs through the doors with Redheart right behind her. As fast as I possibly can I fumble for the blanket to cover myself.

But my luck seems nonexistent today as I seem to have butterfingers.

“Hey there big guy! Time to get out of this hos- BY CELESTIA!”



I swear if Skittles ever does that again, even by accident, I’m going to deck her. I really, really don’t like hitting women, but she’ll be one of the few I’ve ever struck in that case.

“Stupid wingboner… So embarrassing…”

“What was that Sk-Skittles?” I ask.

“Oh, uh, nothing!” Skittles says as she tries to flatten out her wings which for some reason are sticking straight out.

Redheart leans towards Rainbow Dash. This has happened enough in the past that I’m not too surprised by Redheart getting upset.

But I am surprised by Skittles actually stepping back from Redheart. Normally she’s not that intimidated in the least.

“Rainbow Dash, if you ever run into a patients room again, I will make sure you will never be allowed to see Micah for as long as he’s in the hospital, is that clear?” Redheart says, practically with a snarl.

Scrambling to get away from her, Skittles moves to the front of my wheelchair, saying, “Sure, fine! Calm your flank nursey, accidents happen.”

“But usually they d-don’t involve seeing m-me naked,” I say with a glare of my own at Skittles.

That seems to actually hurt Skittles. Her eyes are downcast for a moment, with her ears flat before meeting my gaze again. “It’s not like I meant to. I just, you know, really wanted to see you.”

Ugh, myself pouting might not work on her, but she doing it works on me, that’s for sure.

“Mhm. Well I hope y-you enjoyed the view. You’re n-not seeing me like th-that again anytime soon,” I say with a grin. “Well, where are we g-going to go? Or are you p-planning a surprise?”

“We got something set up at Rarity’s boutique. All the girls are there waiting for you,” Skittles says as she starts grinning again. “But I think Rarity said something about you having to try on some new clothes or something boring like that.”

Clothes? Meaning she might possibly have me style them for her? Oh dear G-d it’s every birthday I ever had all over again! Every time I get new clothes I have to become a damn runway model!

“Ugh, great. At l-least I can see the g-girls again,” I say, and look back at Redheart. “Thanks for l-letting me out for th-this.”

“Only because I’m going with you. Rainbow Dash agreed to it,” Redheart says.

I wasn’t expecting her to come along.

“W-won’t you be needed here? I th-think I’ll be fine for a b-bit without you,” I say as she starts pushing the wheelchair.

“Nursey here has rules. She was really annoying about it, but if you were going to get out I had to agree to it,” Skittles says as we walk down the hall.

Skittles and Redheart both in the same building, possibly for hours and hours? This can’t be good.

To both ponies, I say, “Just do me one f-favor you two. Don’t g-get into a fight or anything, p-please?”

“Don’t worry Micah, I won’t cause trouble. You don’t need to worry about that,” Redheart says as she casts a glare at Skittles.

“Ugh, stop worrying so much nursey. I won’t mess this up. I want this to be awesome for Micah just like you,” Skittles says.

Thankfully the rest of the escort out of the hospital goes quietly, save of course for the occasional glare or curious look from other ponies.

Is this how most ponies are going to act around me? If that’s the case I hope I get home all the more. At least back at home I don’t get stares just from being a human. But, maybe there will be some more ponies outside that will be like Redheart or Skittles.

As we reach the exit to the hospital, I see two ponies standing outside the glass doors. They are slightly blurred from the glass, but the voice from one of them tells me immediately who she is.

“Now, you remember what you need to do when I’m gone, right Gamer? I don’t want to come back and see Sweet Apple Acres all run down and looking worse than an apple pie left out in the sun all day.”

Well, I guess I get to see one of the girls earlier than others!


I hear a gasp from outside, and in what I swear is less time than what it takes for me to blink, that exact same mare dashes inside.

With a wide grin Applejack grabs my hand between her front hooves and shakes it as if it’s a rag doll. “Landsakes Micah! Long time no see! It’s about time you’re let out of this dingy ol’ hospital!”

I swear that my entire body is vibrating from her shaking my hand. “C-careful AJ, my arms aren’t in th-the best shape right n-now!” I say swiftly, getting her to let go.

“Heh, my bad. Just glad to see you again!” Applejack says as she keeps up the grin and goes for a neck hug.

“Glad to see you t-too AJ”, I say as I wrap my arms around her neck. Out of the corner of my eye though I think I catch Skittles sending AJ a glare for a second. But maybe I’m imagining things.

But, as Skittles notices me looking her way, she instantly changes. “Blech! Applejack you’re so sappy sometimes,” Skittles says.

“Oh really Sk-Skittles? You were n-nearly crying when I w-was talking to you,” I state, getting Applejack’s attention.

“Really? Well now RD, I didn’t think you were such a softy!” Applejack says with a grin as she playfully pokes Skittles in the side.

“Excuse me? Could we make this a trot and talk conversation? I think the sooner we get to our destination the better,” Redheart says behind me.

Glancing about at some of the ponies here staring at me, I definitely agree with Redheart.

With a nod from Applejack, she says, “Sure thing. Ya’ll go on to Rarity’s, I’ll be there in a bit. Just gotta talk to my friend out there.”

As she walks out and the rest of us follow her, I see who it is she means. Waiting out there for her is a stallion with a red coat. His mane is an odd one, with green and orange in it, and being rather spiky. It’s like he has gelled it permanently to that position.

“Alright Gamer, remember what I said. Big Mac’s tough, but he’ll need your help if he’s going to get all the crops in,” Applejack says to this stallion.

With a nod and a smile, he says, “No problem! He can count on me!”

Without so much as a glance at me he quickly turns around and walks down the street. I barely open my mouth before Applejack beats me to it.

“You want to know why he didn’t stare? He’s kind of absent minded. Think of.. Pinkie lite,” Applejack says.

“Oh. Anyway, wh-why do you need his h-help? Didn’t you once s-say to Big Mac that you c-could handle all the apples in S-Sweet Apple Acres on your own?” I ask.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen that episode but I think I’m right.

“Ah, right, that. I ain’t as stubborn as I used to be, so I know when I need help. And… Some stuff that’s come up has kept me pretty busy, let’s say,” Applejack says as she tries horribly to force a grin. “Um, let’s keep going. Ain’t right to keep the girls waiting!”

Well that was weird. I’ll ask later what she meant by that.

As we head down the street towards Rarity’s boutique, every single pony looks our way. Some of them go back to their business shortly, but most continue to look. I wish I was able to know what they were thinking. Hopefully they’re just curious more than anything.

While we continue down the streets of Ponyville, a mare and her filly step out of their home. It takes less than a second for their eyes to land on me.

“Mommy, what’s that?” the filly asks her mom. Strangely, this filly doesn’t seem all that scared. She actually steps closer towards me.

Huh. Looks like the younger ones aren’t quite as scared. This is a nice surprise.

Slowly she begins to grin as she says, “Hi, I’m--”

“Storm Heart, get inside!”

Quickly the mother runs between her filly and I, her eyes narrowed and showing both anger and fear. The only time I remember seeing someone look like that was my mother. She once caught a teacher about to slap me and she was pissed.

“Don’t you touch my daughter!” she practically screams at me. “I don’t know what you want but you’re not getting it from her!”

“I w-wasn’t going to d-do anything to her. She walked over t-to me,” I say, trying to be calm, though I’m definitely starting to get ticked.

Upon hearing those words, the mare’s eyes go from narrowed in anger to wide in fear in an instant. And her words echo that sentiment. “It talks! It talks! Get inside Storm Heart, now!”

The door slams behind the mare after she ushers her filly inside. Skittles is the first to speak her mind on that.

“Hey! Don’t call him it! He has a name! And he wouldn’t hurt nopony!” Skittles shouts. Not getting any response from the ponies inside she takes to the air and is about to lunge for the door.

And she nearly does so, but is stopped by Applejack grabbing her tail between her teeth.

“Rainbow Dash, stop it! You’re not gonna change her mind acting this way!” Applejack says with gritted teeth. “Calm down!”

“Why? Are you gonna let that mare talk about Micah like that?!” Skittles protests as she tries to get free of Applejack.

When you’re this close to Applejack and Skittles, you start to get a good idea about just how strong they are. Applejack is actually able to hold her with just her teeth. Yet Skittles is pulling hard enough that Applejack’s hooves are digging into the ground as she struggles to restrain her.

“Skittles, come on, kn-knock it off,” I say, which thankfully, yet surprisingly, is enough to get her to stop struggling.

The bad thing though is that the sudden stop causes Applejack to yank her back hard enough that Skittles collides flank first right into Applejack.

Now, a mature, serious person would ask if they are alright. Perhaps ask Redheart, being a nurse, if she could make sure neither of them are hurt.

I however am not in that category.

“Hah! Skittles, y-you really need to l-learn to control that t-temper of yours!” I laugh at the amusing sight before me of Skittles with cheeks as red as tomatoes, and Applejack glaring at Skittles with the most angry eyes I can think of.

Sadly, though, I’m not able to look at that for long. Redheart doesn’t seem to share my sense of humor.

“Let’s keep on going. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, come on,” she says as she begins pushing my wheelchair again.

“Aw, Redheart, why’d y-you make me l-leave? I was enjoying the en-entertainment,” I ask with a grin as I turn to look at her.

Her expression though seems rather different. With a frown, and eyes darting about the area, she says, “And the other ponies here were using you for their entertainment.”

Huh? What is she talking about?

Quickly looking around I see exactly what she means. While before some ponies just glanced my way and then went about their business, now EVERYPONY is looking right at me. Even a few who seem to be scribbling in notepads, and some with cameras.

Well bollocks, the press here is just as annoying as it is back home. Well, at least they saw that I did nothing wrong here. Heck, I was the victim in this engagement. Though… If they are even more like the press back on earth, they might change things around so they can sell more papers.

Dear G-d I hope that doesn’t happen.

“You see? I don’t like it but you have to be careful. This town is normally nice, but whenever something new shows up, we have a bad habit of over-reacting,” Redheart says. “But, I wouldn’t worry too much. In a few weeks something else will happen, and you’ll be considered part of the town.”

“If I’m st-still here,” I say as Skittles and Applejack catch up. “I want to g-go back home as s-soon as I can.”

“That doesn’t mean we can’t make sure you have as much fun as me at an apple bucking contest,” Applejack says as we round a corner, and finally the building we have been heading toward is in view.

The boutique is exactly as I expected. It’s design is a perfect match to how I remember it on the show. From the windows, to the walls, the color, all of it is exact. I wonder how the interior will measure up.

Applejack trots out in front of Redheart and I, heading to the door. “Wait here for a sec. Rarity ain’t going to be happy ‘bout having a wheelchair that went right through the dirt driving over her floor,” Applejack states as she walks in. “RD, come on in, I, uh, gotta tell you something.”

Skittles raises an eyebrow at that, stopping in her tracks. “Huh? What are you talking about?”

“Don’t you remember Rainbow? We’ve got stuff to talk about inside?” Applejack says through clenched teeth.

Okay, what is she planning?

“Oh. Oh! Right, coming AJ,” she says as she dashes inside with Applejack as Redheart and I are left outside.

Walking out from behind me, Redheart says, “You know they’re planning something right?”

“I’m nearly c-crippled, Redheart, not stupid. Y-yeah I know they’re p-planning something, but not s-sure what,” I say.

“Well, it’s not anything bad. I know Rainbow Dash, she wouldn’t do a thing that would get you hurt. She likes you too much,” Redheart says with a smile.

That brings a smile to my lips. “Yeah, she’s a g-good friend.”

I like all the girls, but Skittles and I have spent the most time together out of all of them. She and I got on each others nerves often but she warmed up to me eventually. If it wasn’t for her being so fast I might even be dead.

“Yeah. Yeah, she’s a good friend to you,” Redheart says. Wait… Did she just roll her eyes?

Before I ask her about that, the door to the boutique opens and Applejack pops her head out with a grin. “Alright you two, come on in!” she says before she goes back inside.

Shrugging at Redheart, she pushes me to the door. The closer we get the more I hear voices from inside. However, I cannot tell what exactly is being said.

Redheart pushes me inside, and… For some reason everything is pitch black. It’s like something is even keeping out the sunlight.

The door behind is quickly shut after I hear a jingling sound that almost always is from magic of some kind. I try to see if there is anyone here, but I can’t see anything. Odd enough, I cannot hear anything either. It’s almost as if nopony is in here.

“Redheart, are y-your eyes any better than mine?”

“No, not in the dark. I don’t see anypony. Hey, if you can hear us could you turn on a light? We can’t see anythi--”


My ears are rocked as I nearly fall out of my wheelchair flat onto my tuchus from the sudden shouts around us. Even Redheart let’s out a short shriek in surprise as the lights suddenly illuminate the boutique, allowing the two of us to see what’s inside.

A banner across the ceiling saying ‘Welcome!’, and a table covered with sweets, sandwiches and drinks. My mouth waters instantly at the site of non-hospital food, the smell finally hitting my nose. It smells heavenly.

But those are very, very minor compared to the six mares that are flying or jumping straight at Redheart and I. All of them are smiling, all of them are wide eyed. Even Fluttershy, who normally I could never imagine acting like this, is joining the other five.

Though since I’m in a wheelchair and not fully healed, I don’t know whether to be ecstatic or terrified at the site of six ponies about to collide head on with me.

Please don’t break anything please don’t break anything please don’t break anything!

My eyes slam shut as I wait for the impact from the incoming ponies, but I don’t feel their bodies slamming into mine.

In any other situation I’d be happy to see them like this. Hell, I’d probably hug them right back after being away from them for such a long time. But, since their hooves are squeezing me so tight, I’m doing something else.

That being trying to get them the hell off of me!

“Micah darling, I’m so happy to see you again!”

“Mikey Wikey you’re not leaving until you get a big super duper party!”

“I’m so glad you’re better!”

“We got a buncha grub here for you Micah! You’ll love it!”

“Oh, thank goodness you’re alright!”

“I told you he’d be fine! I told you!”

“Can’t… Breathe… Too… T-tight…”

This crushing yet touching reunion is broken apart, thankfully, as Redheart steps in. “Girls, could you maybe crush him later? He hasn’t fully healed yet.”

Instantly all six mares let go, and I take in as deep a breath of air as I possibly can. By G-d it felt as if my lungs were squished to the size of raisins while they were squeezing me.

“So… How are you Micah?” Twilight asks with a hint of nervousness to her voice, and with her ears pointed back. All the other mares, save for Skittles, are copying her expression almost exactly.

Out of all the things she could say, she had to say that. How in the world should I respond to that? I mean, yeah, overall I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I was a few days ago, that’s a given. Both emotionally and physically this is an improvement. Not to mention that other than Redheart, Venture and his crew, I’ve had no good experiences with any ponies other than these six here. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t glad to be amongst friendly faces again.

But that being said, it doesn’t excuse their actions. Every single one of them knows that I didn’t want to be here. And it’s because of them, because of their actions, that I was hurt so horribly to begin with. I would be at home, with my family and Leah if it wasn’t for them.

Yet I cannot in good conscience say that they wanted this. To say that would be foolish. And as much as part of me wants to just unload on them, I can’t. Not now, at least. For now, that won’t happen.

“Get over here,” I somehow manage to say without a stutter.

The eyes of every single pony go wide at that. Except for Skittles of course. She’s the only one that doesn’t look surprised by my reaction. Immediately, she moves straight at me, holding me tightly, though not painfully so, with her hooves.

“Thanks for not being angry,” she whispers.

All of the five other mares quickly join us in an embrace. I notice that Redheart doesn’t join in, rather she stays off to the side. Though she does so with a smile, and an approving nod.

For now I’m just glad to be amongst friends again.

Dinner, dishes, disposal, and dress up

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The food here is delicious. I don’t know what what they make it with but it’s a thousand times better than anything served in the hospital. I’m guessing that it’s Pinkie Pie’s cooking. She is the best at baking, after all.

The sweets are delicious without being too sweet, and there is plenty of chocolate for everypony here. For me, since Pinkie Pie seems to have remembered how I do not care for it, there are sweets and candies of the fruity variety.

Yet I do wonder how they were able to make something as simple as sandwiches taste so good. I checked the one given to me before I ate it to make sure that it didn’t have anything like daisies, dandelions or some other type of plant. Thankfully it didn’t, yet I’m still not sure exactly what some of the ingredients in it are. I saw some lovely peppers and tomatoes, along with a weird looking kind of cabbage. At least it was good, whatever it was.

“Pinkie Pie, the f-food is delicious,” I say upon swallowing the last bite of my sandwich. “G-d bless you for th-that.”

“Aw, thank you Micah!” Pinkie says as she gives me a hug. “You needed some good yummy food! Not that icky nasty hospital food.”

“Um, is the food in the hospital really that bad?” Redheart asks as she takes a sip from her glass.

“It could’ve been a lot better. Some of the sandwiches there were nasty,” Skittles says with a gagging action. “I’ve never been at a hospital with good food.”

“Speaking of the hospital, how was your time there? I hope it went well,” Twilight says as she takes a bite out of a chocolate cupcake.

“A mixture of b-boring, tiring, painful, and a b-bit of embarrassment to t-top it off,” I list off.

The last one gets a raised eyebrow out of all the assembled ponies; save for Redheart and Skittles of course, who know what I’m talking about.

“Embarrassing? What was embarrassing about it?” Fluttershy inquires as she shifts looking between Redheart and I.

There’s not really any point in hiding it. It was just an accident after all. Well, at least I hope it was an accident.

“Wh-when I was getting dressed, Sk-Skittles decided to barge into my r-room. So two ponies n-now know what I look like in all my n-naked glory,” I say as I cast a glare at Skittles and Redheart.

Skittles’ cheeks turn bright red as I mention that, while Redheart remains unaffected.

“I am your nurse, Micah. We had to take your clothes off to operate on you,” she says as a smirk crosses over her face. “Besides, it wasn’t all that glorious to begin with.”

Oh, ouch. Leah’s the only one to ever say something like that.

“What are you talking about? He looked great!” Skittles says.

Her statement gets the attention of every other mare in the boutique.

“Rainbow Dash, were you staring at him?” Rarity asks with a raised eyebrow and a grin to match.

“That wouldn’t be nice if you did that. He deserves his privacy,” Fluttershy says.

Skittles looks about at the mares who are all staring right at her as she begins to speak. “Well, uh, it’s not like I meant to barge in. And I didn’t stare at him, I just… glanced.”

“You c-call having to be d-dragged out of the room by R-Redheart ‘just a g-glance’?” I ask with a raised eyebrow. “And for some r-reason your wings stuck st-straight out afterwards.”

A mix of gasps and chuckling echoes through the room, with Skittles going bright red.

“Shut up! It just happens sometimes, okay?” Skittles says adamantly and gives me a sheepish grin as the other girls continue to laugh.

“What? The w-wing thing? How is that e-embarrassing?” I ask.

But judging from some blushes from the mares, and how Applejack and Pinkie Pie have bursted out laughing, they seem to find it pretty funny.

“Oh you don’t know?” Redheart asks with a wide grin. She quickly steps towards me. “Well Micah, what happened to her wings is commonly called a wingbo--”

“Don’t say it!”

Skittles leaps straight at Redheart, and soon they’re rolling on the ground. They’re moving so fast it’s like watching a cloud and rainbow in a blender.

“He’s going to know!”

“You’re not going to say it!”

“Yes I am!”

“You’ll never say it!”

All the girls, along with myself, can’t help but laugh at the sight. I have never once seen Redheart like this. Sure she can dish out a joke here and there, but I never figured that she’d be the sort to wrestle about on the ground. What the hell is it that Skittles doesn’t want Redheart to say? This just makes me want to know more.

“Girls stop it! Don’t make a mess of everything! You’re almost knocking the dishes off the table!” Rarity pleads with the two.

It would seem that those words were foretelling future events. Somehow while wrestling, a stray hoof of Redheart juts out and kicks the table. A plate that was already on the edge shakes for a moment before sliding off, plummeting to the floor. Rarity’s eyes are as wide as the falling plate as she watches it plummeting to the ground.

Or more accurately, the temporarily falling plate. Right before it strikes the ground it is surrounded by Twilight’s magic. Rarity breathes a loud sigh of relief as it is placed gently back on the table.

“Thank you Twilight,” Rarity says with a grateful smile. “I didn’t want to lose these dishes. They’re the best I have.”

“No problem Rarity,” Twilight says with a smile before turning to look at Redheart and Skittles. “Rainbow Dash, stop it. At this point I don’t think Redheart will say anything.”

The two ponies finally stop their wrestling. Redheart mumbles something with Skittles’ hoof covering her mouth. Skittles sports a smug grin from holding Redheart. But that is short lived as suddenly Skittles lets go of Redheart.

“Ew! That’s nasty!” Skittles says as Redheart walks back next to me with a smirk. “Why’d you do that?”

“When I fight I fight dirty,” Redheart states with a grin as she adjusts her cap. “Next time don’t tackle me and I won’t lick your hoof.”


Rarity looks at Skittles, still wiping her hoof on the carpet with sheer terror. At a speed that would make her herself jealous, she runs over to Skittles with a napkin levitated by her magic.

“Stop that this instant Rainbow Dash! Here, let me clean that!” Rarity says as she immediately begins cleaning Skittles hoof.

Heh, I never get tired of seeing them being this silly.

“So, what was the reason Sk-Skittles tackled y-you?” I whisper to Redheart as Skittles tries to get free of Rarity.

Giggling, Redheart says, “I think the other mares will tell you later. Don’t worry about it.”

Eventually Rarity leaves Skittles alone, but not before looking with disapproval at the spot of the carpet Skittles used as a towel.

“The s-silliness of this reminds m-me of our meals back at my ap-apartment,” I say as I lean back in the chair with a grin, folding my hands behind my head. “You girls remember th-that?”

“Oh yes. They were fun,” Fluttershy says in her usual soft voice.

“Heh, they could turn into a roarin’ good time,” Applejack says as she finishes her plate. “We did make a mess that one time though, didn’t we?”

“That we did A-Applejack, that we did,” I say as I look over the multitude of dishes, cups and plates.

I hope these are some sturdy dishes. I wouldn’t want Rarity to shout at me.

“Micah, what are you thinking about?” Redheart asks with a raised eyebrow.

I only return her query with a grin while I grab a plate. The only time I did this with the ponies was when they were all toy sized. Now that they are normal sized, this should be far more fun.

The weight of the plate seems just right. Not so heavy that I can’t throw it, but not so light that it will be sent flying into the wall.

“Why are you eyeing my cutlery like that Micah?” Rarity asks, her eyes on the plate in my hand.

I shoot her a grin before turning to Pinkie Pie. “P-Pinkie, catch!”

Pinkie doesn’t look surprised in the slightest as I throw her the plate. With a wide smile she grabs it in her mouth with ease. Rarity looks appalled at our actions, but Applejack and Skittles soon grasp plates of their own and join in.

While singing a certain song of course.

It doesn’t take long for everypony, minus Rarity of course, to join in. With great ease and joy we throw or kick the plates straight towards the kitchen sink. The little brawl earlier between Redheart and Skittles seems forgotten as they both work together on this. I guess having fun can make both people and ponies put aside their differences for a time.

“Micah why did you do this?! These are priceless plates!” Rarity cries out as I toss a bowl at Pinkie Pie.

The bowl bounces off of her head, is sent forward by a kick from Applejack, and is sent right into the sink by a headbutt from Skittles.

“Because it’s f-fun!” I say with a wide smile. “Redheart there’s a cup c-coming your way!”

As I send the cup her way, she removes her cap and uses it like a baseball glove. She catches it perfectly, and sends it towards Twilight who has it land perfectly in the sink.

“Do you do dishes like that often where you’re from?” Redheart inquires as she trots back to my seat as the others send the last dish flying.

I respond with a smile as I speak. “Only amongst f-fellow weirdos and n-nerds.”

“You think I’m a weirdo?” Redheart asks as the other ponies return to their seats.

“I know you’re b-both,” I say with a smirk. “All of you p-ponies are.”

“Could you at least be neat nerds?” Rarity asks as she glares right at me. “You nearly made a huge mess! You could’ve broken my dishes!”

Twilight intervenes on my behalf. “Now Rarity you know he wouldn’t break anything. None of us would. Micah’s not like that.”

“Hmph. Well, Micah, since you stressed me out so much you can repay me by helping me with the dishes. They do still need to be cleaned,” Rarity says as she trots towards the kitchen.

Dishes? I HATE doing the dishes. Whether at the bakery or in my own home it sucks.

“Oh, well y-you see, I would help. B-but my arms aren’t f-fully healed yet so I think it w-would be best if I declined for now,” I say politely. She may be my friend but that doesn’t mean I want to clean up after her and the others.

Redheart though isn’t buying it. “Seriously? You seemed well enough to throw plates around like a silly filly. Come on, I’m taking you to the kitchen.”

“Redheart come on, I h-hate doing dishes,” I say, trying futilely to move the wheelchair away from her. But she has none of it, and immediately starts taking me straight to the kitchen.

“Nopony likes it. But I’m not going to let you be a bad guest,” Redheart states as she wheels me into the kitchen.

Looking back at the other ponies, I see that thankfully I won’t be the only one to have to do the dishes. The rest of them quickly walk into the kitchen with Redheart and I.

“Ain’t about to allow Rarity to make you do the dishes on your own,” Applejack says as the other mares nod in the affirmative.

“I’m not about to d-deny help,” I say with a smile as I’m wheeled towards the sink, where most of the dishes are currently piled up.

Well, can’t have a lovely meal without cleaning up afterwards. Every Thanksgiving back home is evidence enough of that.

Rarity speaks up before I have a chance to even grab a dish. “Micah, before you start could you do a little favor please?”

“I’m already d-doing your dishes. You’d r-really ask a poor, wounded f-fellow like me to do more?” I ask while the other mares start on the dishes.

“Oh come now Micah, you and I both know you’re able to do this. Besides, I’m only asking you this because it’s something I can’t do myself,” Rarity says as she nods towards the sink.

Something tells me I’m not going to like this.

“You see, my garbage disposal seems to be jammed. I can’t get my hooves down there to fix it because-”

“Because y-you’re a unicorn who d-doesn’t like getting dirty?”

“Well… That, and because my hooves can’t fit down there. Your hands could though,” she says with a smile. “I’d really appreciate it.”

Glancing down at the garbage disposal I’m almost immediately hit by the pungeunt smell of G-d knows what down there. How long has this thing been jammed? Did she wait this long just so that she wouldn’t have to pay a plumber?

“You p-promise it’s off?”

With a nod from her, I roll up my sleeve and slowly move my hand down into the garbage disposal. It takes less than a second for me to want to vomit from the sticky, slimy feeling. I don’t want to know what exactly has fallen down there.

“Rarity, I can just use magic to clean it out for you,” Twilight says as she looks over at me. “He doesn’t have to do that.”

“It’s alright T-Twilight, I can manage,” I say as I force a grin and try and not retch from the stench.

“Oh my, are you sure Micah?” Fluttershy asks. “That can’t smell nice.”

“I can c-cope Fluttershy,” I say as I feel my fingers touch something more solid, which I grasp.

Even though it’s wet, slimy, and feels as if my hand is going through the mouth of hell itself.

(Insert garbage disposal sound I will think of later here)


I yank my hand out immediately from the sink, the blockage being pulled out at the same time. The sudden movement of me going backwards nearly makes me fall out of the wheelchair, the slime and muck on my arm getting onto my clothes as I immediately look at my hand to see...

Nothing? No scars? No cuts or nicks? Only old rotten food? How can that be? The garbage disposal was turned on with my hand right in the drain!

“Heh, sorry, my bad.”

Immediately I turn around and see Pinkie Pie with her hoof on the button of a blender. With a sheepish grin she taps the button, and it makes the same sound I hear when my hand was down the drain.

“I just wanted a snack,” she says. “You want anything Micah? I can fix anything you’d like.”

“Are you k-kidding me? Pinkie Pie you scared me to d-death! I thought my h-hand was about to get chopped up!” I shout.

“Now now, let’s not yell. You got the blockage out, so it should work now,” Rarity says as she pushes the button to turn the disposal back on again.

It better work. I’m not sticking my hand in there again.

Thankfully the disposal works like a charm. Rarity looks to me with a grin at first, though it soon turns into a frown.

“Oh my, you look filthy with all that muck over you. Come on, we need to get you out of those clothes and into some new ones,” Rarity says as she looks to Redheart. “Can you wheel him to the dressing room please?”

“Do you already got clothes ready for him or something?” Redheart asks as I have a silent sigh of relief for not having to do the dishes anymore.

Though I would have preferred a far less messy reason to get out of that chore.

“We’ll handle the rest of the dishes for you Micah. I hope you like your new clothes,” Twilight says as she and the others get back to doing the dishes.

I hope so too. Though I wonder how Rarity was able to get the proper size for me. I can’t recall her doing so at any time.

Redheart pushes me towards the dressing room swiftly, with Rarity following.

“It seems you don’t have to do dishes after all, lazy bones,” Redheart says with a grin.

“I’d r-rather not be c-covered in slime, but yeah. Can’t complain about not d-doing dishes,” I say as I return her grin with my own. “I still n-need to recover after all. Though not f-for too long. Before l-long I’ll be able to have the rematch Sk-Skittles wants.”

She chuckled. “You’ve got a bit of an ego don’t you? If you were here at the wedding in Canterlot I wouldn’t be surprised if you would say you could fight the changelings single handedly.”

The changelings. With all that’s happened it just about left my mind. That hive was… Oh G-d am I glad I was able to get out of there. With it being underground, dark, and filled with changelings, it was horrible. And that’s not counting Chrysalis and what she did.

Where could she be?

“Here we go Micah! We’ll just wheel you in and you can change,” Rarity says with a smile as she takes the wheelchair from Redheart.

“He might need some help. He wasn’t able to dress himself at the hospital,” Redheart states as I’m wheeled behind the changing curtain.

Before I have the chance to say another word Skittles zooms in and peaks her head around to look at me. “I can help! I mean, if you need help,” Skittles says as I swear I see her usually blue cheeks turning a bit red.

“Um… No thanks Skittes. I’ll b-be fine on my own,” I say as I wheel myself a little bit away from her. She seems a bit too eager for my liking.

With a sheepish grin she goes back behind the curtain. A box is shoved behind the curtain next to me soon afterwards.

“Take as long as you need Micah,” I hear Rarity say. “I do hope you love the outfit.”

*Redheart pov*

This boutique is extremely nice. Maybe when I’m off work I can come in and get myself a nice hat. Or perhaps a good new dress? There’s a nice purple one that could really help make my flank look better. It doesn’t look as good as I’d like.

“Are you looking for an outfit?” Rarity asks me, drawing my attention away from the dress. “That would be a lovely choice. It’d help make your flank stand out a lot. The stallions would be all over you.”

“It’d be a nice change. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a stallion in my home,” I state as I imagine how I’d appear in that dress. “And I don’t go for mares, even though I’ve been hit on by a few.”

Rainbow and Rarity nod.

“Yeah, it blows. For every stallion there are five mares. And all the good ones are snatched up fast,” Rainbow Dash says with a sigh.

“You s-serious?” Micah asks as I see his pants landing outside the curtain. “Five mares per st-stallion?”

“Yep. Five for each stallion. Good for the males, but it sucks for us,” I say as I take a seat. “Is it different where you’re from?”

“Yeah. It’s v-very different. It’s about an even m-match.”

An even match? Oh, if only that was the case here. It would be so much easier for everyone. And us mares wouldn’t have to settle for the rudest of stallions.

“How did you meet your mare? I bet she’s quite a beauty,” I say with a smile.

I don’t know why, but for a while he doesn’t say a word. I can’t even hear him moving. It’s almost as if he froze up.

“Redheart don’t ask him that,” Rainbow says in a whisper as she quickly appears next to me. “It’s none of your business.”

I take a few steps back from her and respond in a whisper. “Why? It’s an innocent question.”

“His marefriend was… Just don’t ask that sort of thing again,” Rainbow says as she slinks back towards Rarity.

Okay, I’ve got to talk to Micah about this later. From what Rainbow said, whatever happened couldn’t have been good.

“Her n-name’s Leah. And she’s more b-beautiful than you can ever imagine,” Micah says.

“A nice sounding name for what must be a lovely mare,” I say with a smile.

“M-more than you know.”

A few more moments pass before Rarity speaks up, breaking the silence. “So Micah, how do you like the new clothes? Do you like the color and the fabric?

“Yeah I l-like it. It’s nothing like what I’d w-wear back at home though,” he says. “I’m coming out n-now, and thanks for the cane. That’ll h-help.”

“Of course, no problem at all. Now we won’t have to have Redheart here push you around everywhere,” Rarity states with a grin. “Now come on out, I absolutely must see how you look. This is my first time creating attire for a human after all.”

That it is. If she did a good job this could be pretty good for her business. What could she have made for him?

Shortly he steps out from behind the curtain. Now, I know nothing about human fashion. For all I know he might be wearing clothing that would appear ridiculous to most humans. Though I have got to say, from a simple nurses perspective, he looks rather… Nice.

What gets my attention faster than anything else is his long, dark blue coat. It looks a little bit odd but it hugs his body nicely enough to get a good idea of his shape. It is cut somewhat lower than I originally thought it would, but it definitely doesn’t look bad. And, for some reason Rarity decided to put on a few golden six pointed stars. There also seems to be a hint of an undershirt of some kind of a lighter blue hue, with only a slightly higher cut than the coat.

But the boots… What in the name of Celestia possessed Rarity to design boots for Micah that are bland and brown? The rest of his outfit is colorful and vibrant and stands out. His boots though, to me, just don’t make sense.

“Yes! Micah you look amazing! Now be a dear and spread your robe a bit, I need to check to make sure your trousers fit you well,” Rarity says with a wide smile as she trots towards him.

With a raised eyebrow, Micah parts his coat to reveal blue trousers, the shade of which is somewhere between the light blue of his shirt and the dark blue of the coat itself.

They seem just a little tight though around his legs. But I like it. It shows off his form more.

Glancing at Rainbow Dash she seems to think the same as I as she has a grin that would nearly rival Pinkie Pie. Her eyes take in every single detail of Micah’s attire. Specifically his legs. And thighs. And his groin…

I give Rainbow a shove with my hoof.

“Ogle later. And if you must don’t be so obvious about it,” I say in a whisper.

“I… I wasn’t staring. All I was doing is enjoying Rarity’s work,” she responds as softly as I.

“Yeah. The part right between his legs from what I can tell,” I say to her with a glare.

Rainbow shoots a glare right back. She can pretend as much as she wants to, but it’s obvious to me she likes him. If it wasn’t her rather constant ogling of him, it is how she seems to always be very happy just by being around him.

I wonder why Micah doesn’t see it.

“Now Micah could you turn around please? I need to see how the trousers hug the back of your legs,” Rarity says with a smile from his side.

“Sure y-you’re not just t-trying to take a peak at m-my ass?” Micah says with a grin as he turns around.

“Tsk tsk tsk, Micah you should know better. I simply need to make sure it fits just right,” Rarity says as she looks at the back of Micah’s legs.

Or, as it seems to me, stares at his flank. I know she’s just trying to make sure it fits right, but it does seem like she’s just staring at his flank.

“I think you look great Micah,” Rainbow says as she keeps up her smile.

By Celestia Rainbow, if you keep staring like that I don’t think you’ll be able to look at anything else. Not to mention that pretty soon you’re wings will probably get a bit stiff.


Or, suddenly go into full wingboner mode. Oh if Micah only knew what that means it would be hilarious.

“I trust that y-you’re not staring, right R-Redheart? I know it m-must be tempting but t-try not to,” Micah says.

“Trust me Micah, your flank is the last thing I’m staring at right now,” I say, stifling a chuckle from the sight of Rainbow’s stuck wings.

With her ears flat in embarrassment, she tries to press her wings down with her hooves.

“Stupid wings! I can’t let him see me like this!” Rainbow whisperss as she glances at the door. “Uh, I’ll be back in a bit Micah! Gotta take care of something!”

In no less than a second Rainbow Dash zips out of the room so fast my cap goes flying off my head.

I really got to tape that thing down.

“Alright Micah, I think it looks perfectly fine,” Rarity says with a smile as Micah turns around to face me.

“Where did Skittles go to? Did she tell you where she went?” Micah asks as I pick up my cap once more.

“Yeah. She had, well, something to attend to. She’ll probably be back in a bit,” I say as my grin finally leaves. “You clean up well Micah.”

That gets him to smile quick. It seems the more he’s out of the hospital the more he smiles.

“Thanks Red. It’s different than w-what I normally wear b-but I like it,” Micah says as he grabs his coat. “It’s so soft.”

“Well the day is not yet over Micah. There’s more to come,” Rarity says with a smile as she walks towards the door back to the kitchen.

“How much more? I don’t know how much he can handle at this point in his condition,” I interject as I get between Rarity and the door.

“Ugh, R-Redheart, I’m fine. What d-do you have planned Rarity?” Micah inquires as he follows her. He’s able to walk rather well with his cane.

“Why the spa of course!”


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A trip to the spa is something I’ve never done before back on earth. The bakery I worked at paid me enough to survive and have the occasional little trip to the theater, but that was it. Going to the spa was something I could never have done. Leah always liked it though. And every single time she went she somehow appeared even more sexy than before. Her cheeks looked even more defined, and her hair was so soft.

All of that put together meant that whenever she visited me after a spa treatment, she didn’t leave my apartment for at least a full day. The neighbors complained to my landlord about the loud noises every time. But I never cared.

Though I doubt that I’ll have as lovely a night tonight as I would have back on Earth. I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy my time at the spa, but there’s no chance of such a, well, ‘happy ending’ shall we say.

Now that brings another question. How can I get the happy ending I want of getting back home? Celestia should be able to help me. If anypony can she can. And by G-d she better if she doesn’t want negative consequences.

“Have you ever been to a spa before, Micah?”

I look down at Skittles who is with the rest of the group near the door leading outside.

“Nope. Back at h-home they cost t-too much for me to ever en-enjoy them,” I say as Redheart and I walk towards them.

Rarity looks at me with wide eyes and an open mouth. “What?! Never gone to a spa? Micah darling, you have been missing out!”

“I won’t have t-to strip when we get th-there for the massage will I? I’m not about t-to let even more ponies see m-me in the buff,” I say as I look at Skittles and Redheart.

“What’re you looking at me for? That was an accident!” Skittles says adamantly. “I’d never do it on purpose.”

I think I notice Redheart holding back a chuckle for a moment. “Yeah, sure, whatever makes you feel better Rainbow,” she says.

I really hope that Redheart and Skittles don’t act like this at the spa. I’m not in the mood for that kind of crap.

Twilight breaks the silence by saying, “Well everypony, let’s go. Time for the spa!”

With everypony smiling, we leave the boutique. Rarity goes faster than anypony else as she seems giddy at the prospect of going to the spa again. Redheart and Skittles meanwhile stay close by me while giving an occasional scathing glare at a few ponies that give me a bad look.

“Some ponies don’t know how to mind their own business,” Skittles says as she moves close enough to me that we touch.

“Ponyville has a bad habit of not liking anything new. But they should change eventually,” Redheart says.

“I h-hope you’re right,” I say as I look about the many ponies looking at our group.

“I wouldn’t worry so much. Besides, we’ll be at the spa in a bit. Aloe and Lotus shouldn’t mind you at all Micah. They’re strictly business.” Twilight says with a grin as we turn a corner in the road.

Rarity smiles widely the moment we do that, nearly letting out a squeal.

“Yes! We’re here! Come Micah, time for your first spa treatment!” Rarity says with glee as her horn begins to shine.

“Rarity why is your h-horn shini-WHOA!”

Before I have the chance to even finish a second Rarity grabs me with her magic and brings me with swift speed into the entrance of the spa. I can hear the other ponies voicing their disagreement with her tactic outside but she doesn’t listen to any of them.

“Hello! My friends and I are here for our appointment. Oh, and can we squeeze in one extra? We have an unexpected guest,” Rarity says to the two ponies who I presume own this place.

The ponies are both rather fashionable looking mares. One of them is pink with a blue mane, the other having the opposite color scheme. Their manes appear so perfect that I wouldn’t be surprised if they each spent an hour a day on their manes.

“No problem Rarity. So other than the girls, who else are you bringing?” the mare with the pink coat asks. “Could it be a stallion for a change? I haven’t had my hooves on a stallion for quite some ti-oh!”

Rarity puts me down gently as this new mare looks over me. As I lean against the wall to steady myself once my feet touches the ground, the mare surprisingly smiles.

“You must be the new arrival we’ve heard so much about. You’re my first non-pony customer, but I assure you that your experience here will be nothing short of divine,” she says as she looks me over. “Have you ever been to a spa before?”

“No. This would be m-my first time,” I say to her as everypony else walks in.

“So this is your first. Well then we’ll make sure your first is something for you to remember,” this mare says with a wide smile before looking back at the rest of the group. “And of course your time here will be just as wonderful.”

“Thank you. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back here,” Fluttershy says as she trots towards Rarity.

“I don’t come here often but when I do I love it,” Applejack says with a grin. “But don’t tell anypony I said that.”

The other mare, this one with the blue coat and pink mane, motions our group out of the main room.

“Did Rarity tell you of what she set up for all of you?” the mare asks with a smile.

We all nod in the negative while Rarity smiles.

“I promise that all of you will love it. First is the sauna. It makes you feel amazing, I swear it,” Rarity says, her hoof over her heart.

“Do you g-got a towel or something for m-me to wear? I’m not going to go in there n-nude,” I say as my eyes scan for any towel I could use.

The blue mare says, “Of course we do. We wouldn’t want any of our customers to be uncomfortable.”

Well that’s a plus. Now I don’t need to worry about the others seeing me in the nude. Skittles and Redheart are more than enough, that’s for sure.

After a brisk walk we reach another door, though the blue mare stops me from going any further.

“The towel you asked for is right around the corner. Ones of that size usually are used by minotaurs but it should suit you easily enough,” she says with a smile.

“You do know you don’t have to wear anything, right?” Twilight inquires. “I know where you’re from it’s normal, but it’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to here.”

“I g-get that Twilight, but still, letting Skittles and R-Redheart here see me in the b-buff was enough. Go on in, I’ll be th-there in a bit.”

With a nod from Twilight, they all walk into the sauna. Skittles does so last as she gives me a quick smile before entering.

As the blue mare leads me to another small room where I find a towel, she speaks up as I shut the door behind me.

“It’s nice to see that you’ve got some friends already.”

“Yeah. They’re some g-good mares. Redheart, Twilight, Skittles, P-Pinkie Pie, all of them are,” I say with a smile whilst I disrobe.

“But I have a feeling some others might have given you the stink eye, right?”

“That’s one way to p-put it, yeah. I don’t retaliate but I d-did get ticked off at some being s-so scared of me. I mean, I haven’t done anything t-to any of them.”

That’s just another reason that I want to get back home.

“Some ponies just don’t have any manners. Don’t let it get to you if you can.”

A short chuckle escapes my lips. “That’s easier said than d-done. But I’ll t-ry.”

I quickly slip on the towel, finding that it fits me surprisingly well. Stepping out, the mare quickly leads me back to the sauna. As she opens the door I’m instantly hit with steam and a far greater level of heat than I expected, along with a strange yet pleasant smell I can’t place.

“Come on Micah! Don’t let all the heat escape!” Rarity shouts somewhere behind the steam.

The mare and I quickly step in and the door is latched shut behind us. Walking through the steam I quickly find the other mares. All of them have a towel over their manes. I have to say, even after dating Leah for so long I still got no idea why girls do that.

“Hi Micah. Come on, we got a seat here for you,” Twilight says as she pats a spot near her with her hoof.

I quickly take a seat next to her and relax against the wall as Fluttershy speaks up.

“So, um, how are you liking Ponyville so far?” she asks.

“Well it’s interesting, I’ll s-say that. Were you t-told of how my walk to the b-boutique went?” I ask.

She nods her head in the negative. “No. What happened?”

“Everypony was being a scaredy filly. You remember how Zecora was treated when she visited here?” Skittles interjects.

Fluttershy nods, her ears flat against her head. “I remember.”

“He was treated like he’s even weirder than she is. I don’t get why. I mean, so he’s got two legs. Big deal!” Skittles declares.

“And hands, fingers, a different face, only having fur on his head, and an entirely different biology than a pony,” Twilight says quickly.

“What?” Skittles looks at Twilight with narrowed eyes. “You’re not saying what those ponies did was fine are you?”

I can actually hear the slap from the impact when Twilight facehoofs.

“No, Rainbow Dash. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that everypony is scared of things they don’t understand,” she says as her eyes turn to me. “Micah here is a good guy, but come on. He’s very different, and you know how ponies, especially in Ponyville, act when something different comes around.”

How bad can it get? It was certainly annoying how some ponies treated me and I did get legitimately ticked. But it wasn’t more than what I dealt with in high school.

“I’m kinda curious ‘bout that Micah. What do you think you humans would do if us ponyfolk came strolling ‘round your world?” Applejack asks.

“Oh. Well, that’d d-depend on where you’re at,” I say as the steam fills even more of the room.

“Are some places dangerous to ponies?” Pinkie Pie inquires.

“Not really dangerous for p-ponies, per se. It’s like Twilight s-said, some folk just don’t react well t-to strange things. No matter where you w-would be at though you’d definitely be s-spoken to by the government and media.”

Oh man what it would be to see them being interviewed by Fox News. I’d pay money to see that happen.

“Media? You mean cameras? Now that sounds good to me! Perfect time to show them my moves!” Skittles says as she flexes her admittedly impressive muscles.

My lips curl into a smile at Skittles’ little display of her prowess. She’s an odd one but I like her. But the idea of her being on earth and talking to the media? Oh that would definitely not go well. It’d be funny, but wouldn’t go well.

“Heh, do that if you w-wish Skittles. But know that considering h-how we treat our own, not all h-humans would be glad to see y-you.”

That draws the eye of everypony here, even the spa pony working creating all of the steam.

“How you treat your own? What do you mean by that?” Twilight asks.

“Back on earth, while we often t-try our best to be non-judgemental, f-folk often treat others poorly for any n-number of things. Their skin color, nation of origin, th-their sexuality, religion. I’ve experienced foul words b-because of religion.”

“Like what?” Rarity inquires as she scoots closer.

“Well my faith is a r-relatively small one out of the total p-population. We’re less than a h-half of a percent,” I state as I adjust my seating.

Twilight’s eyebrows raise at that little tidbit.

“That small? Why would other humans even bother you? That’d be so small there just… There wouldn’t be a point,” Twilight asks.

“That’s a question that d-deserves an answer, but I can’t g-give it to you.”

“Why’s that?” Redheart interjects.

Okay, how did my rabbi put it…

Leaning forward, I say, “Here’s an example. In my w-world, my people, Jews, are h-hated if we stay to our own, or if w-we try and assimilate. If we stay t-to our own we are told that we m-must think we are superior, and if we t-try to assimilate, we are accused of p-poisoning the dominant culture.”

No sooner do those words leave my lips than does everypony speak up, and do so so loudly that I can hardly hear them.


“That’s ridiculous!”

“How could anypony think like that?”

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

“You’re right, it d-doesn’t make any sense,” I say to my companions. “It never does. My people have b-been targeted ever since the t-time of our forebears Abraham and Sarah.”

“Just your folk? Aren’t others treated badly sometimes too?” Applejack asks.

“Yes, they c-certainly are. I’m just using my p-people as an example. Just like I’m d-different to you as I’m h-human, I’m different compared to other humans because of s-some aspects of my faith,” I tell them.

“Like what? Does yours have something that singles you out somehow?” Redheart asks with a single eyebrow raised.

That’s putting it mildly. If she knew about what a bris is I bet she’d be surprised as hell.

“That’s not f-far off from the point actually. We have s-some customs that definitely make us stand apart. D-diet is one thing I always h-have to explain at dinner parties.”

“Why’s that? Is it because you don’t eat chocolate?” Pinkie Pie asks.

“Heh, no Pinkie Pie that’s n-not it. Chocolate isn’t forbidden in my re-religion. But certain things are.”

The blue mare joins our conversation after she creates more steam for us.

“What sort of things are forbidden? And why would you forbid anything to begin with?”

“I’d explain why s-some things are forbidden but for a f-full explanation that would take a long explanation of rabbinic scholarship.”

Ugh, rabbinics. That was not something I liked learning at my time at the synagogue.

“Ugh, please don’t do that,” Skittles groans. “Just do the short version.”

“Well let’s say it’s p-pretty much divine mandate for that. Anyway, another thing that is mentioned is e-equine meat.”

A gasp is heard from the spa pony as her eyes go from normal to the size of saucers in less than a second. She scoots back from us all the way to the door as she keeps her eyes locked on me.

“Equine meat? Is that a delicacy where you’re from?” she says with a shiver.

“Ew! No way, he didn’t eat anything yucky like that when we were with him,” Pinkie Pie says quickly. “He mostly ate a lot of baked goodies.”

“Anyway,” I say, before Pinkie Pie can continue, “I d-don’t eat equine meat. I mentioned that b-because that’s something that’s strictly f-forbidden amongst my people. I’d n-never eat it even if I had the chance.”

The mare tentatively moves back towards the group, though she keeps her eyes on me.

“Sorry about that. It’s just that even the thought of somepony actually eating meat is just, blech, nasty,” she states with flattened ears. “I’m sorry about over-reacting though.”

Hopefully I can find some kind of substitute for meat while I’m here. If I eat meat in public while I’m here that might very well send the ponies here into a panic. But, at least without meat I won’t have to worry about accidentally having dairy and meat in the same meal. That definitely won’t be kosher.

“Sorry to interrupt, but I have a scroll here for Micah.”

Damn, there must be a lot of steam in here to stop me from even seeing the door open.

The other mare, the one with the pink coat and blue mane steps towards me with a scroll.

“Spike ran to the spa holding this. He didn’t tell me anything except that it’s for you,” she says as I take it from her.

“It’s for Micah? Did Spike say who it’s from?” Twilight asks.

The pink mare nods in the negative as I unroll the scroll. As soon as I do we get the answer to Twilight’s question.

“It says it’s from L-Luna, of all ponies.”

Everypony instantly crowds around me upon hearing those words, including the two spa ponies.

“From the princess? What does it say?” Redheart asks as she gets a bit too close for my taste, her hoof trying to grab for the scroll.

I get to my feet to back away from the rather too eager ponies. “Give me a second and we’ll f-find out,” I state as I look back at the scroll.

“Greetings Micah. I hope this l-letter finds you in good health. You must h-have many questions about your c-current circumstances. I apologize for not speaking t-to you since our encounter in your d-dream. Recent events and very v-vital affairs have kept both myself and my sister b-busy.”

So busy she couldn’t spend a few minutes at night to talk to me again? Seriously?

“However, we do h-have time for you to come see us n-now. Therefore, I, Princess Luna and my sister P-Princess Celestia invite you to c-come to Canterlot palace. We will answer any q-questions you have as best we can.”

“Oh my! Micah that’s wonderful!”

“Oh boy you get to go on a trip! Can I come too?”

The other ponies all say something similar. Some talking about how lovely Canterlot is, others about what I can expect from the princess. But, I don’t think about any of that. There’s only one thing I have in my mind now.

“When can I leave?”

New information

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“I wish that you didn’t have to leave already. I had so many things planned today for us to do,” Rarity states as I grab my cane.

“W-well it’s not like we c-can’t do this again sometime, you know. Next time we’re all in t-town we can meet up again.”

After I got the letter I wasted no time getting ready. Upon being told by Twilight I could go any time, I had to go at once. I’ve had a good time with Twilight, Skittles, Applejack and the others, but I sure as hell still need answers. Celestia and Luna are my best chance to getting the answers I need.

“So long as you don’t do something that makes you end up in the hospital, you can do whatever you want,” Redheart says. “You may be able to walk but without your cane you’d fall flat on your flank in an instant.”

“Gee, thanks for b-being so confident in me Redheart,” I state as I give her cap a flick, earning a glare from her.

Twilight jumps between the two of us.

“She’s just being a good nurse Micah. Would you prefer it if she didn’t tell you the proper precautions to take?”

“No, Twilight, of c-course not. But she d-doesn’t need to treat me like I’m m-made of glass, either.”

“Well, if you’re so healthy maybe we could have our rematch.

The sound of flapping wings makes me turn around to see Skittles at my eye level, smirking.

“And since you're in top notch shape, don’t expect me to go easy on you,” she says, bobbing her hooves like a boxer would.

Well, it’s nice to see that Skittles doesn’t think I’m likely to keel over at any moment. But she better not plan to dive bomb me any time soon. Being human I got an advantage over her.

I hold my hand in front of her face. Her eyes widen, she looks at it and then back to my eyes. As I wiggle my fingers I say, “I think these will help even the p-playing field a bit.”

“What the hay? My hooves are a heck of a lot tougher than those flimsy things!”

“T-true. But my fingers are far more p-precise. With just one f-finger, I can temporarily disable my opponent.”

“How the hey could you do that?” Applejack asks her eyes look over my hand with eager anticipation.

With one movement, I poke her dead in the eye. A second later, the proud pegasus goes from hovering in the air to flat on her flank.

“Ow! You can’t get me in the eye, that’s against the rules!” Skittles protests as she gets to her feet, rubbing her eye with her hoof.

“Rainbow, when somepony has to fight hard, there ain’t any rules,” Applejack says with a smile, Redheart chuckling beside her.

Applejack’s right. Before I ran into the Changelings, I would have thought the same as Skittles. But now? Hell, I’d do anything to win.

Skittles’ eyes narrow into a glare glare. But the two mares decide to ignore her.

“Next time try and aim for the wing joint. That’s a sensitive spot for pegasi”, Redheart declares with a smile.

“Not to mention for alicorns too.”

Who in the world does that voice belong to?

Twilight turns around just as I do, and to my true surprise I actually see an alicorn before us. But this one is certainly different from Celestia or Luna. Where Celestia is taller than I am, this pony’s eyes doesn’t come up to my chin. And while both Celestia and Luna have the supernatural manes and tails, this mare doesn’t have anything like that. Perhaps she’s a younger one, and only older ones have the flowing mane and tail.

“Twilight? Who’s this mare and-”


Cadance? I know I’ve heard that name before.

Twilight practically jumps at the newcomer, the both of them smiling from ear to ear while the other mares, minus Redheart, crowd in as well.

So Twilight knows her. I guess she must be an old friend, since I can’t remember her mentioning an alicorn before, and I definitely don’t remember this one from the show.

I think I’ll let them have their moment before I introduce myself. Let them hug and all that.

“Sunshine sunshine ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!”

Or shake their flanks and do some kind of secret hoofshake. I really wasn’t expecting that.

Leaning down, I whisper to Redheart, “Is this s-something Twilight does often?”

“Only around Cadance. She’s known her since she was a filly.”

Cadance gives Twilight a tight hug, which Twilight of course returns in kind as the alicorn greets the other ponies.

“Oh I’ve missed you! I’m sorry I haven’t been around much but I promise I’ll try and be around more,” she says.

“Not that I’m displeased that you’ve returned, Princess Cadance, but why are you here?” Rarity inquires.

Wait she’s a princess as well?Is being an alicorn the only requirement to being a princess in Equestria? And what is she a princess of? Does she have her own nation?

“I’m here for Micah actually.”

Okay, something I was definitely not expecting. Did Celestia and Luna send her?

Thankfully, she’s smiling, so she’s probably not angry. She doesn’t say a word, though, not a single word as she moves closer.

“Micah, it is a pleasure to meet you. Twilight has told me much about you in our letters,” Cadance says, nodding towards Twilight.

“All g-good things, right?”

“Um, mostly good things,” Twilight says, glancing at me briefly before looking back to Cadance.

“It’s nothing worth worrying about Micah, I promise you. But as you can probably guess I’m not here to talk about letters. I’m here to be your guide to Canterlot whenever you wish to go.”

A royal escort through Canterlot? Well that’s nice. Even if some ponies there don’t like me much, at least they won’t be likely to get up in my face like that one mare that acted up in Ponyville.

“Huh. It’s not often somepony gets a royal escort,” Redheart says.

Cadance nods . “True. But Micah here is a special case. After what he did for Celestia, Twilight and her friends, he deserves it.”

Redheart looks up at me. I know she’s got to be curious about just what the hell happened to me. She was the nurse that worked with the doctor when I first got here so she obviously saw my wounds. It wouldn’t take a genius to tell that I was nearly beaten to death, and given Redhearts medical knowledge she could get a good idea about my assailant. And if I keep getting treated by her, eventually she’s going to ask. I just hope it won’t be any time soon.

Noting the awkward silence , Cadance clears her throat.

“Well Micah, whenever you wish to depart just let me know. We can take the train whenever you want. And don’t you worry about paying. Being a princess there are certain perks I enjoy, so I can get you a ticket easily. But before we go, I’d like it if we can have a chat.”

“I, for one, think that sounds like a lovely idea. If dear Cadance here is going to be with you in Canterlot, it only makes sense that she should know more about you. It wouldn’t do for her to travel with a stallion she doesn’t know anything about,” Rarity says with a smile.

I roll my eyes.“Right, because I’m s-so dangerous. Every mare should f-fear my presence.”

“Heh, yes, you’re certainly terrifying. But I’m just curious. If you don’t want to talk we don’t have to,” the princess says with a smile.

As Redhearts eyes and my own meet, she gestures towards Cadance. I guess she wants me to take the opportunity. But she doesn’t need to convince me.

“I don’t mind. But I’d p-prefer it if we could h-have it in a private place.”

Cadance nods knowingly and uses her horn to open the door outside for the two of us.

“The rest of you go back and enjoy your treatment. And schedule an appointment for me too. I’m dying for a good hooficure,” she says as she looks down at her hooves with the same look Leah’d give her nails.

With a nod Rarity leads the other mares back to their enjoyment. Skittles pauses and glances back at me.

“Don’t ya think I’ve forgotten our rematch, big guy. I’m gonna take you down,” Skittles says with a grin.

“Looking forward to it you s-silly mare.”

As soon as she disappears with the others, I turn back to Cadance. I sure as hell don’t want to get shouted at by another angry mare. But, so long as nopony bothers us, being outside shouldn’t be a problem.

As soon as the both of us step outside, I check for any ponies that could be giving me nasty looks. I don’t want a repeat of the incident on the way to Rarity’s boutique.

On that note, what are the other ponies thinking about me at this point? Sure not all the ponies think I’m as big a freak as a lone Jew at a Christmas party. But what’s going through their minds right now? Yeah not all the ponies are giving me the nasty eye out of fear. But some sure as hell are.

“You don’t have to be worried about what somepony might do. They’re better behaved when a princess is around,” Cadance says as she glances over the mares and stallions milling about.

“About that. Celestia is princess of the s-sun, Luna the m-moon. What are you princess of?” I ask.

She smiles so fast I worry she’s straining something. “The Princess of Love of course! I’ve always had a talent for helping others find their special somepony.”

My eyebrow goes up immediately. How could there be a princess of love? I don’t know if anybody can be that good of a matchmaker. They would near to be damn near perfect or anyone could claim the title.

“So your talent is playing C-Cupid? Is that really something th-that comes into play a lot?” I ask.

She looks flummoxed. “I don’t follow.”

“He’s a h-holiday figure that shoots love arrows into p-people’s behinds.”

“And you have a holiday surrounding him?”

“N-never said it was a good holiday,” I say as Cadance chuckles.

As we walk, passing by two mares on a bench. These two mares are the only ones that I’ve seen that aren’t staring at me during this walk. It’s probably because they’re too busy staring at each other to notice me.

That look is one I recognize. Leah and I often had the exact same one. When you’re with someone you love so deeply that you’d do anything for them, sometimes you could ignore everything else around you. Hell, I’d believe it if someone told me they wouldn’t notice a building on fire behind them. Love can be extremely powerful, and it’s great to see it is as present here as back at home.

But it’s not so great to see them french kissing.

Cadance chuckles as my pace speeds up.

“Hee hee! It’s just kissing. There’s no reason to be uncomfortable with it,” she says, glancing back at the couple

“Trust me I kn-know. I did have a g-girlfriend back on earth. It’s just a bit weird to s-see two ponies swapping s-spit.”

“I guess it would be weird to see an entirely different species being so passionate. I remember the first time I saw two minotaurs kissing. It was…odd, I have to say.”

That forces me to stare from this new information.

“How did you c-come to see two minotaurs kissing?”

“When you’re a princess you do a lot of traveling and see a lot of things,” Cadance says as she stops to sit on a nearby bench, and motions for me to join her.

“Like what?”

“I’ve seen every city in Equestria for starters. It’s a big and beautiful world after all. Most ponies live their entire lives in the same place they grow up. I don’t want to be ‘most ponies’. Baltimare was the first place I visited outside of Canterlot and Ponyville, and it was the first time I saw the sea. It was so beautiful, you should see it sometime. Though Las Pegasus was probably the most memorable.”

“Wait wait, h-hold on a second. You have a c-city named Las Pegasus?”

“Yes. Some of the snooty ponies don’t like it, but it’s a great place if you love the night life,” Cadance says, her grin transforming into a smirk. “Why? Do you want to go?”

Instantly my mind fills with those that should never be ponified. Ponies playing poker and throwing their bits away at casinos. Ponies playing the slot machines. Even ponies… Oh dear G-d I didn’t need that image.

“Micah? What are you thinking about? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“My mind has envisioned s-something far worse,” I say, shaking my head to erase of the image of pony pole dancers.

“Ooookay then. Anyway, I’ve seen quite a lot of non-ponies too. I’ve visited the Griffon Empire too, even though recently very few from their lands have come to Equestria. Things haven’t been right for a while,” Cadance says, her smile disappearing.

Okay, something is up. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something about things not being quite right in Equestria. And Applejack did mention how her brother hasn’t been around lately.

“Alright C-Cadance, what’s going on? A lot of you p-ponies keep hinting at something not being right with Equestria, b-but nopony’s telling me what it is,” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest.

At first, Cadance looks as if she’s about to deny anything’s wrong. Her eyes dart from side to side, as if she’s afraid of something. It’s like she’s worried somepony might hear her.

Her horn glows pink and flashes.

“I’ve set up a temporary sound barrier around us. I didn’t want the other ponies to hear this. Even if they know some of what I’m going to tell you, there’s no reason to spread the rest of it around,” Cadance says.

“What are you t-talking about?” I ask.

“Micah, before Twilight, Celestia, and everypony else came back, an old enemy forged his return. Very far to the north, a land known as the Crystal Empire arose again, and with it, so did Sombra. He’s one of the most vicious ponies to exist, and rules over the Empire.

His name alone sends a shiver down her body. Whoever he is, he’s strong enough to scare Cadance, and if she’s as powerful as Luna and Celestia, then this Sombra must be dangerous indeed.

She continues to stare at the ground, almost as if she fears if she looks up that she will see this Sombra.

“With Celestia, Twilight, and her friends gone, Luna went north with Shining Armor and me. We did what we could, but it wasn’t enough. Shining was nearly killed during the fight with him, if you could call it a fight. It was more like a massacre.”

Shining? That’s where I knew her name from!

“You’re the mare that married T-Twilight’s brother?”

That finally made her look up.

“Yes, that’s me. Twilight told me she told you about that,” Cadance says as she smiles again, though slightly.

“She did. She t-told me about that after I g-got kicked in the ribs by one of C-Chrysallis’ changelings,” I say as I place a hand over the healed wound. “Made what Chrysallis did to me even m-more painful.”

“I can imagine. But she won’t be hurting anyone again. She’s locked up tight beneath Canterlot.”

Locked up? In Canterlot?!

“What? Why isn’t she dead like she d-deserves?” I ask as I leap to my feet.

Cadance’s eyes widen, seemingly just realizing. Her hoof meets her face with an audible ‘slapping’ sound.

“Ponyfeathers, me and my big mouth! I didn’t mean for you to know that yet!”

“Too late! She’s in C-Canterlot right now and alive?! Do you know w-what she did to me?!”

Surprisingly Cadance actually scoots back. Her eyes show no fear, but that action is rather telling.

Did I actually scare a princess? That… That wasn’t my intent. But, I’m not going to let off on this. She’s keeping Chrysalis, she’ll answer my questions, to hell with what she might think.

“Micah, please stay calm. I can explain why we-”

“Explain what?! Explain s-somehow why you’re allowing a monster th-that tried to kill me and everyone I care about live in C-Canterlot?!”

“We don’t kill criminals. She’s being held until a trial can be held, and I promise you she has no chance of getting away with what she’s done,” Cadance says.

“You don’t understand! She m-might have killed the w-woman I love!”

Her eyes go as wide as Rarity’s dinner plates. So Twilight hasn’t told her about this

“Micah… I’m so sorry, I had no idea that-”

“No idea of w-what? That’s something T-Twilight hasn’t told you yet?! That I don’t even kn-know what happened to her?!

Nopony here knows.

Unless I’m able to talk to Chrysalis myself I won’t be able to know what the hell happened to her.

“Take me to C-Canterlot, now. I want to s-speak to Chrysalis.”

“That’s not a good idea. We can have other ponies talk to her to find out what happened, and I promise you that we will find out. Please, just-”

“NO! She w-won’t listen to any of you, b-but she might do so with me.” I’m not about to let this chance pass me by.

Cadance’s eyes show her worry. She has to deal with it though. I’m not going to let up on this for a second.But I am pleasantly surprised by her answer.

“There will be guards with you every moment you’re with her. If we see anything that can possibly be dangerous, we will end your chat. Understood?”

I nod.

“Alright. This might feel a little weird for you,” she says as her horn lights up. A pink aura surrounds both of us.

It begins with a tingle at my ribs. It’s a bit ticklish, but that’s it. If this is all it is then it shouldn’t be too bad.

But that’s short lived. Without warning it’s like something is tugging me, then yanking me in all directions at the exact same time. My body might look normal but it feels as if I’m being ripped apart piece by piece!

I try to shout for Cadance to stop but I can’t speak as this continues. I can’t even see at this point.

Damnit there’s no way this is normal! Something isn’t right!

Suddenly I’m moving, but I don’t know where. The pain remains, and the feeling of my stomach doing cartwheels is added to it. My meal with the mares is starting to come back up and though I place my hand over my mouth I know that isn’t going to stop it.

Finally the feeling of being ripped apart is gone. The reverse begins, being put back together. This feels like something that should be normal with the pain finally going away.

But there’s one feeling that remains.

My sight returns and the first thing I see are four pink hooves as the nausea finally overwhelms me.

Questions and memories

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*Cadance POV*

Okay, alright, don’t say anything. With a bit of magic, I’ll be fine. But maybe to be safe I should disinfect my hooves with some alcohol later too...

As soon as my magic wipes my hooves clean I step back and look at Micah. He’s kneeling, with one hand on his stomach. He wretches again-

“By Celestia!”

With a flap of my wings I back off as he vomits again. I don’t want to get near him but I should do the same thing Shining did for me when I was ill.Using my magic, I hold his hair back. I know from experience how long it takes to clean once’s mane, even with magic. I don’t want to imagine how long it would take him.

“I’m so sorry, Micah! This hasn’t ever happened before,” I say as Micah stops.

After a moment of dry heaving he finds his voice.

“That was h-horrible. I felt like I was g-getting ripped apart,” he says as he tries and fails to get to his feet.

My eyes widen at that. Even when teleportation spells go bad, they should never hurt like that. I might not be best at teleportation but not once has anypony gotten hurt.

“Micah, I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean for you to be that hurt, I swear,” I say, using my magic to help him get to his feet.

I start to wonder if he can even walk, as he starts shaking and clutching his stomach again. The hand grasping his cane shakes noticeably, and I keep my magic ready in case he falls once more.

“I… I’ll be f-fine. S-sorry about making a mess on your hooves,” he says.

“Don’t worry about it. It was an accident after all,” I say with a reassuring smile.

An extremely messy accident, but an accident nonetheless.

“Princess? We were wondering who used a teleportation spell! We were worried when we saw- What’s that?!”

Oh horsefeathers, what now?

Down the road from the courtyard we teleported into stand two unicorn guards, armored and with swords sheathed at their sides. I was hoping that we’d have more time before they found us, but I guess that was too much to ask. At least no civilians have seen us yet.

The guards quickly draw their swords with their magic. “Creature, step away from the princess at once!”

“So m-much for expecting a warm welcome in C-Canterlot,” Micah mutters, glaring towards the advancing guards.

This is not going according to plan. Why is it something new is always met with suspicion?

“Stand down!”

I may not have a royal Canterlot voice like Celestia or Luna, but my authority is the same. The guards immediately stop in their tracks.

“Do not ever call him ‘creature’! His name is Micah, and he is my guest! He shall be treated as such as long as he is here, is that understood?”

I catch Micah smiling while the guards hurriedly nod their heads. No surprise that he approved of that.

“Do any p-ponies know how I w-was involved with Twilight and the others b-back on earth?” Micah asks in a whisper.

“So far most ponies only know that Twilight and her friends left to fight the Changelings. They know that Twilight brought back someone from that world, but they don’t know why. The press here is kind of finicky.”

Micah sighs. “Great. At least that explains a f-few things.”

“Um, princess, forgive me for asking, but why did you teleport so close to the palace?” a guard asks.

“Micah here is in a rush to… Well what he’s in a rush to do is his business. He needs to enter the palace. And it’d be better if we do it in a way that won’t get him spotted by other ponies.”

Raising an eyebrow, one of the guards asks, “Why’s that a concern?”

“B-because I don’t want to have more ponies y-yelling at me like I’m a m-monster,” Micah says as he glares at the two guards.

Both guards look away sheepishly.

“We understand Princess. This way, please,” one says with a bow as they turn and lead the way.

With a nod to Micah, we follow them. The path we go along is thankfully nice and quiet. It would seem they’re taking us towards a back entrance to the palace.

“I haven’t been this way in a long time. Hehe, the first time I came around here was to sneak inside to visit Shining,” I say with a smile.

“Why would you need to sn-sneak inside to visit him?”

“Well… It was at night, and we didn’t want anypony interrupting us,” I say, giggling as his eyes go wide.I can only imagine the thoughts going through Micah’s head. His eyes slowly widen as his cheeks go red as a tomato.

“That was not what I w-was expecting at all.”

“You go red so easily, Micah. There’s nothing about love anypony should be embarrassed about,” I say as we turn a corner, now getting a far better view of the palace.

“Wow. I knew that the p-palace was big. But I didn’t know it w-was this huge.”

He’s right about that. The palace is amongst the largest structures in Equestria. While some buildings in Manehattan are larger, there is nothing comparable in the center of Equestria. It would probably take Micah at least an entire day to see all of it, including the multiple turrets, of course.

Of those turrets, Celestia’s is the tallest, with Luna’s only slightly shorter. Each of them reaches at least one hundred feet over any other part of the palace. Though they aren’t fragile by any definition, nor is any part of the palace. The entire thing has a protection spell. So long as it is maintained, no army could take the palace without destroying the spell first.

If any army could take the castle they’d have one hay of a time of it. Really, to take the palace, you’d have to be already inside of it with quite a lot of soldiers, as Chrysalis did.

“Twilight told me you have castles in your world. How does Canterlot Palace compare?” I ask as we near the back gate.

“Well seeing as h-how most castles are nothing but r-ruins now it’s rather good,” he says, grinning for a moment, but it disappears just as fast. Following his gaze I see why.

Why in the name of Celestia did HE have to be here?

“Cadance, I didn’t think you’d be here. Why are you coming in through the back?” Blueblood asks. He looks straight at Micah as soon as the human comes into view. “And why did you bring Twilight’s monkey with you?”

If there’s one pony I didn’t want to run into today it would be him. Him and those bodyguards of his are always a pain in the flank.

Micah’s grip on his cane tightens. “You better watch your t-tone jackass. I’m not in the m-mood for that sort of c-crap today.”

Blueblood grins, as do his two bodyguards.

“Or what? You’ll stutter some more? That might be intimidating for apes but it doesn’t really work on ponies,” he says with a sneer.

I hold out my hoof in front of Micah. Blueblood has done this before, goading those he doesn’t like into attacking him, and every time it ends the same. Each time I see him do it, the unfortunate pony ends up arrested. But he’s not getting away with it this time.

“His name is Micah. And you should know Celestia herself has an interest in his well being, so you better show some respect,” I say, which gets Blueblood to drop his sneer.

“Hmph. Auntie made a mistake. But I suppose even somepony such as her isn’t perfect. I’ll talk to her later. I have to ask though, why are you going through the back entrance? Princesses always use the front entrance,” Blueblood asks as his eye shift from myself to Micah and back again.

“Noble ponies leave a n-nasty stench everywhere they go. W-we wanted to avoid it,” Micah says as he waves his hand in front of his nose.

Blueblood’s eyes widen at that. It’s not every day somepony so bluntly insults him. It’s definitely a nice change.

“You’re lucky I have someplace to be,” Blueblood says. His guards follow him, shoving Micah out of the way in the process.

Almost immediately Micah begins to lift his cane. Using my magic I hold it down, earning a glare from him.

“Don’t. That’s what he wants. I know he’s rotten but you should ignore him,” I say, glad that he doesn’t look like he’ll argue the point.

“That g-guy’s a prick,” Micah says as he looks at Blueblood. “I c-can’t believe he’s related to Celestia.”

“Just barely, thank goodness for that,” I say with a smile.

Soon though I notice the guards are staring straight at Micah and me. I guess even palace guards can’t help sticking their noses into somepony elses business sometimes.

“You got a reason for staring? Unless you see something dangerous to a magic using princess- which I most certainly don’t, there’s no reason to stare.”

If there’s one thing that can get the guards out of your business, it’s letting them know that you know their boss. It works every time. The guards instantly straighten up and look away.

“Good,” I say and look to the guards who took us here. “Lead on. We’re heading below.”

The guards open the door for us, the large doors creaking under their hooves. Our two guards lead the way inside while the doors closes.

By Celestia I hope Chrysalis won’t get Micah as upset as Blueblood did.


*Micah’s POV*

“If I never see another f-flight of stairs after this it w-will be too soon,” I say, while I walk down flight number… Oh hell with it, I’ve lost count at this point.

This place looks exactly as I imagine the entrance to a dungeon would. Dark and rather tight quarters which only two people could walk side by side . Or, at least, mostly dark. The further down we go, the more I notice glowing bits of crystals sticking out of the wall. I don’t know how much these crystals here would be worth but I feel some temptation to take a few. Rarity would certainly appreciate them.

“It’s not much farther. We should reach the end soon,” one of our guards say.

“At least we’re not going upstairs right?” Cadance asks.

“Yeah. At least s-soon I shouldn’t have to need a c-cane anymore,” I say, glancing down at it. If I was asked a year ago if I’d be using a cane in my twenties I would have laughed. But Chrysalis changed that.

The only good thing about Chrysalis being alive is that I can ask her about Leah. As soon as she tells me what I want, she can rot in that dungeon for eternity. But not until then.

“Um, pardon my asking Princess Cadance. What are we doing down here? The only thing down here are the dungeons. Not to mention they’re holding only one prisoner.”

“That’s the reason we’re heading this way,” Cadance says. “Are you guarding the prisoner?”

Both guards shake their heads.

“No, princess. We patrol inside the palace, and just happened to be outside earlier. We barely ever go this far below, then only to escort a prisoner. Being near that buggy creature is terrifying. I wouldn’t take a job down here for all the bits in Canterlot. How could anypony stand being close to her?” the guard asks.

“Because sometimes a p-person has to,” I say, getting the attention of the two guards.

“Why would anypony have to?” one guard says as he looks back at me. “When the changelings attacked, everyone what we could against the changelings, but none of us were stupid enough to fight Chrysalis. You’d have to be a moron to even think about standing up to her.”

“Or possibly someone d-did so just because it was r-right,” I say, getting the guard to look back.

“There’s a time to do what’s right and a time to save your own flank,” he says.

“I don’t know. Micah here has a good point. Really, we’re guards after all. It’s our job,” the other guard says before he turns to look at me. “And I’m guessing by your limp that you’ve probably had to do some fighting of your own.”

“Hm. W-well that’s one way to put it,” I say while my feet finally hit the last stair.

Internally I cheer the instant I hit the ground. Finally the stairs are over! Though the hall to the dungeon entrance looks like just a wider version of the stairway we just went down.

“We can go no further. Knock on the door and the guards within should let you through, princess,” the guard says.

I expected a bigger, more ominous door for a dungeon holding a monster like Chrysalis. Though, with magic involved here, it would explain how it’s safe to hold a criminal.

“Thank you. You are dismissed,” Cadance says, sending the guards on their way.

As soon as the guards were out of earshot, she turns to me.

“So… Are you sure you want to do this? The guards or even I can ask for you,” she says.

“No. I w-want to do this. I want to hear h-her say what happened,” I say, walking straight to the door.

“Just be careful alright? I know you’ve been around her before, but even locked up she can be dangerous.”

“Does she have a chance of k-killing me while inside th-there?” I ask.

She shakes her head.

“Then I’m good.”

The door to the dungeon opens partway, revealing a unicorn mare. The skin under her eyes appear saggy, like me when working at the bakery on a split shift.

“Before you say anything p-please don’t call me a m-monkey or-”

“You’re Micah, the human from earth that helped Twilight and her friends. They might be in changeling hooves if it weren’t for you,” she says as she locks eyes with me, and slowly begins to smile. “Some of us ponies know who you are. The guards down here won’t treat you badly, that I promise you.”

She opens the door further, revealing three other guards: an earth pony mare, pegasus stallion, and another unicorn mare. Each one holds a sword in one hoof and has a shield strapped to their side. I’m not sure how they can hold weapons with hooves, but so long as they can use them well, I don’t care.

“You don’t need to say why you’re here, I got a pretty good guess,” the mare says with a slight grin. “Here to see your beaten foe?”

“Ask her questions actually. Sh-she has information that I w-want,” I say as the mare looks from me to Cadance, questioningly.

“We are here to speak to Chrysalis. Or, more accurately, Micah here is. I know that the four of you know about this case, and are aware of some of what happened to Micah. I have to ask that you don’t ask him any questions while he’s here,” Cadance says quickly.

The four guards look disappointed, but quickly recover, their faces stony and neutral once more.

“Understood. Well Micah, if you can come with me, I can take you to the prisoner,” the unicorn mare says, her hoof pointing down the dungeon.

“Please do.”

Before I can take a step, Cadance grasps my arm with her hoof.

“Remember, be careful. Very, very careful,” she says.

“Why so much c-concern?” I ask.

Cadance’s ears go flat, her eyes narrowing slightly in a fuss.

“Like I said before, even in her cell she’s dangerous. She’s a trickster. Don’t let her get to you, no matter what she might say. The only reason we have so few guards here is because her cell is impossible to break out of,” she says.

“Do you think I’m a f-fool? I won’t let her g-get to me,” I say, pulling my arm away from her. “I’ll leave as soon as I get an-answers.”

I can tell she doesn’t like the idea, but she gives me a nod of approval.

“I will be waiting here,” she says, before I begin walking down the hall, the unicorn mare escorting me towards the cell.

“She’s right. Chrysalis is dangerous. You can ask her what you want, but I’ll be next to you the entire time. Alright?”

“Do you have to b-be? There are th-things I want to know that I’d r-rather keep private.”

“I’m sorry but I have to insist. Somepony has to come with you.”

“I w-wish that I could have some p-privacy but if I can ask her the q-questions I want I accept.”

The mare nods as she leads me down the hall to a cell at the far end of the dungeon.

“By the way, you can call me Silver Arch. We don’t use rank too much down here.”

The door to this cell is made of metal instead of wood, with five locks. On the top of the door lies a glowing symbol, a sort that I have never seen before.

“It’s a magical ward. It blocks nearly all magic inside so we don’t need to worry about Chrysalis trying anything,” she says as she opens the door.

“Here’s hoping it w-works.”

I walk inside. And finally, after so long, I see her.

Chrysalis, Queen of the changelings, who once was so close to ruling Equestria, chained and locked behind bars. Her mane appears tangled and filthy, and the holes in her legs more widespread, easily seen as she lies on the floor.

It nearly brings a smile to my face.

“So. Chains. They look nice. But being headless m-might fit you better.”

Chrysalis looks up, blinking a few times before her eyes meet mine.

The first thing Chrysalis does when seeing me is smile.

“Micah? Well well. Long time no see. You look better than the last time I saw you. Tell me, how do you like being a cripple?”

“Shut up. I have questions I need t-to ask.”

Chrysalis chuckles, earning a glare from me.

“Oh Micah it’s nice to see you. Really. The ponies here are no fun at all. But you? Oh now didn’t we have some fun times together!”

I back up a bit, and get close to the guard.

“Silver, she s-seems a little strange,” I ask my escort in a whisper.

“Maybe you should try living here. Being starved does things to a pony,” Chrysalis says, now standing up.

“So. Now you have d-decided to listen. Good. I have questions. Q-questions you’re going to answer, and then I’m l-leaving,” I say, my grip on my cane tightening.

Her sharp toothed smile falters for a moment before returning.

“That’s not how it works Micah. If you want to talk with me I have some rules. First rule is-”

“I don’t care about your r-rules,” I say, hitting my cane against the bars of her cell. “Now tell me-”


One second she was standing on the far edge of the cell, weird but calm. And somehow she dashed to within one foot of the bars without me noticing?!

“Back off prisoner!” the guard shouts as her horn lights up, striking Chrysalis with a magical blast.

How the hell did she move so fast?!

Chrysalis stumbles back for a moment, though quickly regains her composure.

Grinning once more, she says, “You see Micah? They’re no fun at all. But you were a lot of fun. Not that you remember most of that, of course, but still.”

“Chrysalis. Once again, I’m h-here to only ask a few questions. What happened to L-Leah?”

“Leah? Leah… That name sounds so familiar. But human names sound so alike after all,” Chrysalis says as she puts a hoof under her chin.

I grab the bars of her cell, wishing my hands held her throat instead. “Y-you know who she is! You replaced her!”

Her infuriating grin only made my desire to strangle her stronger.

“Ah! Yes, I think I remember her now. She had a dark mane, right? A curvy shape to her, and with darker skin. As far as humans go I suppose she looked… Decent. Far better than you deserve, that’s for sure.”

“Chrysalis, just… Just tell me what it is y-you did to her. Tell m-me where she is. Now.”

Slowly, she takes a few steps closer towards me. Her eyes never stray from mine as she keeps up that rotten smile.

“I thought a little goody two shoes like you’d be more worried about what you did after she disappeared. And yet you’re more worried about what happened to her?” she says, standing within six feet of the bars.

Oh, if she was a little closer I’d wring that neck of hers.

“Any decent person c-cares more about their love. Not himself. And I c-can guess what you did to me. It’s not h-hard to figure out.”

I can see the guard’s ears flatten as I say that. It’s nice to know she has the same opinion that I do.

“So you’re not quite as stupid as I thought. However… I don’t think I should be the only one to share such wonderful memories.”

One second. Just one second. One second for me to realize that being this close to the bars, my face pressed against them is a bad idea. Only one second for Chrysalis to close the gap between us and press her horn against my forehead. A single second is all it takes for her to use magic.

Yes, the guard instantly blasts her back with some magic of her own, and calls for the others. Cadance soon follows immediately behind. But it doesn’t stop what has already happened.

It doesn’t stop me from remembering everything.

A meeting

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Panic returned to me as my eyes snapped open, my flailing arms soaked with sweat as the image of that monster returns.

“Where are you?! Stay away f-from me!”

She was just here. A second ago she was right here in front of me in-

Wait a second. This isn’t the cell. I’m in a bed, with a blanket around me. This place smells of antiseptic. This is the hospital.

What the hell? How did I get here? I was in the cell with Chrysalis just a second ago. Chrysalis, she...

I just, she, Chrysalis was making me remember everything. Everything. Oh G-d that word means a lot more now.

“Whoa there! Easy Micah, don’t get up so fast.”

I jerked my head towards the voice, and blinked at the unexpected sight.

“Redheart? Where am I? N-no, wait, where’s C-Chrysalis?” I asked, as my eyes darted about the room. Looking around I see nopony here other than Redheart. No Chrysalis, changelings, or anything.

Redheart walked towards the bed and gently placed a hoof on my shoulder.

“Chrysalis is in her cell. After she hit you with her magic the guards made sure she wasn’t going anywhere,” she said with a smile.

“You s-swear? No lies.”

Placing her hoof on her chest she said, “I swear it. You’re safe here. You know I’m not the lying type. Now, please, just try to relax, okay? So long as I’m here, I promise you’ll be fine.”

Those words were all I needed to relax. After a sigh I fell straight back onto the bed, and I almost smiled. But her reassurance - pleasant as it might have been - was no more than a passing distraction.

How did she do that? It should have been impossible! That guard said there was a ward that should have stopped her! But it didn’t. Chrysalis… She actually…

“Redheart, is… Is there a spell that can create memories? Y-you know, make someone r-remember things that didn’t really happen?” I asked as I feel my heart quicken as more memories and thoughts fill my mind.

“I don’t know much about magic. Only spells I know about are healing ones,” she said as her ears flattened. “Why do you want to know?”

“You don’t kn-know everything she did to me, do y-you?”

There’s a moment of silence before she answered.

“No. I was never told any specifics.”

“Then I’ll tell you. H-have you ever come across a pony that w-was cruel? Cruel j-just for the sake of being cruel? Imagine that that pony t-took the place of somepony you l-love. I’m not talking about a c-crush, I mean actually head over h-heels in love. And even worse y-you don’t even know whether your l-love is alive or not.”

I tried to take a few breaths to calm down. It worked in the past, back on earth. But it didn’t bring any relief this time.

“And… And she d-does things to you. Sometimes she tries t-to get you to do it w-willingly. Other times she f-forces you. But t-to toy with you she rips that from your m-mind. Until she d-decided to make you remember again just to c-cause more pain,” I said as Redheart sat next to me.

“You don’t have to talk about this Micah. I think it’d be best if-”

“She raped me. It, I just, the things sh-she made me do… She hurt me, she humiliated me and sh-she had me…”

Oh not now, don’t do this now! Don’t let her see me like this. Control yourself. Stay calm.

But I couldn’t. Tears started flooding from my eyes. Through the tears I saw Redheart put her hoof on my hand, and immediately I grasped it.

“I… Micah I had no idea it was that bad. If you need to talk about it I know some kind ponies that can help.”

“Have you and I s-seen the same ponies? At least h-half of them are scared of me, the other h-half seem to th-think I’m a monster. It’s like… Like they think I’m as b-bad as Chrysalis!”

“That’s where you’re wrong. Ponies here, well, they’re just very skittish. Or at least most of us are. You should’ve seen how they acted when Zecora the zebra first arrived here,” Redheart said as she gently rubbed my hand.

“But it d-doesn’t make it right. Maybe if th-they knew what C-Chrysalis did… How… How she-”

It happened again, only that time it didn’t stop. My heart pounded so hard I’m surprised my chest didn’t burst open.

“Just breathe Micah. You’re safe here. So long as I’m around I promise you you won’t have to worry about her hurting you anymore. Okay?”

“You can’t promise me that R-Redheart.”

She grinned.

“I’m your nurse. What I say goes. Besides, imagine what the other nurses would say. ‘Redheart single hoofedly kept Chrysalis away from her patient’. Ponyville General’s gonna have to seriously increase my pay if they want to keep me around.”

That was able to get me to laugh.

“Hah! Having my d-delightful company wasn’t reason enough t-to stay around?”

“Oh please, they’re going to have to pay me double to put up with you,” Redheart said as she chuckled for a moment. “Since I’m taking care of such a dangerous creature.”

“Y-yes, I’m so dangerous. Fear the cripple!”

We both laughed after that. I’m so glad Redheart wasn’t like some of the more stuck up nurses I’ve met on earth.

“But, seriously, once you get back to Ponyville, I’m taking you in for a check up at the hospital. After being in a coma for a week Doctor Haywick is gonna want to see you for himself.”

“What?” I asked, eyebrows raised. “I’ve been asleep for a w-week? And if I’m not in P-Ponyville what are you doing here?”

“You were never in serious danger, but the magic Chrysalis used knocked you out cold. The doctors hoped it’d be temporary, and they didn’t want to risk a negative effect from trying to snap you out of it early, so they let it run its course. The reason I’m here is because I was invited while I was doing some shopping here in Canterlot.”

“Invited? B-by who?”

Redheart was about to answer, but was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“Hello? Nurse Redheart, may we come in?”

Redheart left my side to go to the door and opened it.

“Who’s there?” she asked before her eyes go wide.

I heard laughter from the now open door as Redheart quickly bowed.

“There’s no reason to fear us. This isn’t Nightmare Night after all, I’m not going to gobble you up.”

Wait a second… I remember that voice. Only one pony has that voice.

Redheart instantly moved away from the door while bowing. As soon as she did so, our visitors entered.

First was Princess Luna. The show doesn’t do her justice, not at all. If ever a pony could qualify as beautiful, it would be her. Her mane doesn’t look like simple hair, like Redheart’s or Skittles’. It’s seems almost otherworldly with the way it moves with no wind.

Her dark blue, near purple coat fits her title of Princess of the Night perfectly. Her small tiara and matching chest ornament both are jet black with the crescent moon on them. The only part of her that doesn’t match the dark motif she has going are what look like fancy horseshoes, which are a lighter shade of blue, and those eyes of hers.

Her eyes looked to Redheart first, but soon landed on me. For a pony that could be thousands of years old, her eyes showed absolutely no sign of age.

“Greetings Micah. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you,” she said with a smile, and glanced back at Redheart. “Thank you for coming Nurse Redheart.”

“Yes. Our special guest deserves the best care possible.”

And then she came in.

As much as she annoyed me, I had to admit that Princess Celestia was as impressive as ever. Luna’s mane might be lovely, but Celestia’s is far more so. It looks as if it's nearly angelic, if I dared say so. Along with that, her white coat is quite the contrast to Luna’s.

In just about all ways they are opposites. Celestia is taller and more welcoming an appearance. Luna has more of a guarded appearance to her. But why both of them are here is something I definitely don’t know.

“Micah, this is Princess Celestia, and Princess Luna,” Redheart said as she pointed her hoof towards them.

“I know who th-they are. I think anypony in Equestria would know these t-two,” I said to them both.

Celestia smiled.

“I’d hope so. No doubt Twilight and the others told you a lot about me,” she said as she and Luna walked towards my bed and quickly reached my side. Redheart however, stayed away.

“Well… If you need me I’ll be right outside. Just holler okay Micah?” she said as she went outside as I gave her a nod.

The moment the door shut, I spoke up.

“I deserve some answers f-from you C-Celestia.”

Celestia seemed unfazed by my abruptness, but Luna wasn’t.

“There’s no reason to be so curt Micah. We knew you’d have questions for us, and we will answer them,” Luna said as she narrowed her eyes.

“She’s being truthful Micah. I’ll gladly answer any and all questions you have,” Celestia said.

Wow. I could tell immediately Celestia was tall for a pony, I didn’t think she’d be able to stare right down at me like that.

“But first if you’ll let me, I’d like to know how things are going for you. How has your time in Ponyville been?” Celestia asked.

“You w-want to know? Alright then. S-save for Twilight, her friends, R-Redheart and a few others, most ponies either h-hate me or are scared of me,” I said.

“What happened exactly?” Celestia asked.

“A m-mix of insults, anger, and b-baseless accusations. If R-Rainbow Dash wasn’t nearby it very well could h-have been worse.”

Both Celestia and Luna frowned. They didn’t know? I’m surprised. I thought Twilight shared everything with Celestia.

“I am very sorry to hear that Micah. Twilight told me that you had some difficulties. But I did not think that most of those in Ponyville would act so poorly,” Celestia said.

“Well, they did. Or most of th-them did. There was one pony named T-Time Turner that was alright, but, w-well…”

“We understand Micah. We shall arrange a meeting between you and the press. You will be able to get out your side of the story,” Luna said.

“Hold on a s-second. That’s something I want to kn-know. You two queens-”

“Princesses”, they each interrupted.

“Princesses, whatever. You r-rule this place. All of Equestria is under your p-power, and you can d-do anything you want. Why did you w-wait until now to talk to me? You could have spoken to m-me whenever you wanted,” I said to the both of them.

The two of them shared a glance before Celestia responded.

“Cadance told me that she spoke to you about a unicorn named Sombra. Correct?”

I nodded, and Luna continued.

“After our failure to defeat Sombra, Cadance, Shining Armor and myself had to come back to Canterlot and call upon every single noble-pony. With their help, we raised an army to fight him. It’s the first time in centuries Equestria had engaged in full warfare,” Luna said.

Celestia placed a hoof onto her sister’s shoulder.

“It’s not your fault sister. Cadance told me of your encounter. You fought valiantly.”

“That doesn’t explain why y-you couldn’t have at least checked on me. At l-least once.”

“Leading a nation at war is time consuming. Our priority was the front lines, and everything else had to wait. I don’t deny that we should have tried to contact you earlier. That was a failing on our part. But what is in the past is in the past. We can’t change that now,” Luna said.

“G-d knows I w-wish we could,” I said.

Now to the million dollar question.

“When can you s-send me back?”

The silence that came from them wasn’t exactly comforting. They shuffled their hooves before Celestia answered.

“We’ve been looking for a way to send you back for some time. After what you’ve been through, anyone would want to go home.”

“I’m sensing there’s a b-big ‘but’ coming any second.”

The silence that stretched on before she answered was not exactly comforting.

“However I can’t send you back. I will not risk your life after what you’ve done for my subjects, and myself. I don’t want to see you hurt again.”

“That’s not your choice t-to make. I don’t b-belong here. I belong on my planet, w-with my family, my friends, my own s-species. You can’t just t-take that from me,” I say, my fists clenched.

“We shan’t take anything from you. We’re not robbing you of anything,” Luna interjected.

“Seriously? Ah, j-just like your sister didn’t r-rob you of your place when she cast you t-to the moon.”

“Would you truly wish for us to send you back when you could die?” Celestia asked.

I was about to last out again but stopped.

“No. But why can’t you s-send me back? You got back h-here safely enough,” I asked.

“If by safely enough you mean nearly killing ourselves falling out of the sky? If Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and myself had not been there, the others would have died. Teleportation magic is risky enough from city to city. But trying to teleport somepony across worlds? That’s far more dangerous,” Celestia responded.

“But it’s still p-possible. I can’t s-stay here forever.”

“And you won’t, I promise you. We have vast archives here. I’m certain we can find the information we need. It will just take time.”

I sighed.

“How much time exactly is ‘s-some time’? I just… I n-need to know. Just give me s-something.”

Luna’s eyes looked away.

“Most likely a few months.”

“A few m-months? What the hell am I g-going to be doing here for m-months?!”

Celestia smiled at hearing that.

“Well, Pinkie Pie has said there is an opening at Sugar Cube Corner.”