Rain fell down hard in Ponyville. The thunderclouds rumbled as lightning lit up the sky in a brilliant display. Everypony took shelter where they could find it, save for one earth pony stallion.
The stallion ran with the speed of a bullet train, the bangs of his damp, pink mane stuck to the side of his forehead as he ran, occasionally slowing down to brush them aside when they obscured his vision.
His hooves ached and his muscles burned. The falling rain felt like ice against his orange-brown coat. Thunder rang loudly in his ears as lightning struck the earth. Had he not known any better, he would have assumed the forces of nature were mirroring his own torrent of emotions.
He ignored all of it, however. Stopping now was not an option. Pushing his mane back once more, he spotted his destination, the Ponyville General Hospital. Bursting through the doors, he crashed into the front desk, causing the mare sitting there to yelp in shock. Peeking her head over the desk, she stared at him.
“Um… M-may I help you, sir?”
He nodded, panting, “Y-yes! Looking… for… the… room… of F-flash Sentry.”
“Oh, of course. Are you a relative of the patient?”
Another nod. “I'm his father. Landslide Sentry.”
The mare's head shot up. “Oh! Yes. Your wife informed us that you’d be coming. Captain Sentry's room is number two-thirty. On the second flo-”
Landslide took off like a rocket to the nearest staircase he could find, his heart racing as thoughts of his son formed in his mind along with an old fear.
He knew many ponies who had either joined the Royal Guard or had children in it. His friends in the Guard had told him stories of the various wars they fought in, the ponies who suffered great injuries or who did not return from the battlefield. What was worse, however, was the stories of the young stallions and mares who died for the kingdom. Land's brow furrowed as he recalled the funerals of those young ones he attended. Many of them he'd seen grow up from foals
Landslide lost many friends to the horrors of the battlefield, and now the possibility of his son being among them reared its head.
The stallion bit down hard on his bottom lip, hard enough to draw blood. He shook his head furiously, trying his damnedest to keep such thoughts at bay. With a final sharp turn, he saw three familiar pegasi sitting outside a room.
One was a stallion standing close to a sobbing mare, with a light blue wing wrapped around her shoulder.
“Come on, Shy,” the stallion spoke softly. “Don't cry. Flashy's gonna be okay. I know it.”
“Y-y-you didn't see him, Soarin! H-h-he wasn't moving and there was so much blood and-”
A loud thump caused the mare to jump slightly. They turned to the last pegasus, who was muttering angrily as she paced back and forth.
Soarin turned to her, his brows lowered. “Dash, cool it. You scared Shy.”
“Stupid bucking chimera,” she spat coldly through gritted teeth. “When I get my hooves on it, I'm gonna make it regret hurting Flash!”
“Rainbow,” Soarin sighed. “You need to calm down.”
“Calm down? Calm down?! How can you say that, Soarin?!” she snapped, facing him. “Our best friend is in that room clinging to life because of some damn chimera! How can you be so calm right now!?”
“Because somepony has to be! I'm worried too, but freaking out and being angry isn't going to help!” Soarin gave a sharp exhale. “I understand how you feel. I really do. But, right now, Fluttershy needs us.”
Rainbow gritted her teeth, casting her gaze away from Soarin and directly at Landslide. “Mr. Landslide?”
Land quickly trotted over to the pegasi. “Hey, everypony.”
Soarin gave a wave and a weak grin. Fluttershy wiped away her tears and grinned Landslide with a wave of her own. Rainbow Dash merely nodded. Landslide stared at the three and could see the shared pain across there faces. It tore him up to see the three in such a state. He always cared for them as if they were his children. The urge to pull them into a comforting hug was overpowering, however, he needed to see Flash.
“Solar Flare and Twilight are inside,” Rainbow spoke, snapping Landslide back to his senses.
“Oh. Okay,” Landslide replied absentmindedly. “Are Scootaloo and First Base-”
Soarin shook his head. “They’re both at Sweet Apple Acres. They were here earlier, but Solar sent them there after a while.” Soarin turned his gaze downward, brows lowering.
Landslide nodded, quietly thanking him before turning to the door. Slowly, he placed a hoof on the knob. Taking one last look at the three Pegasi behind him, he forced his lips into a grin.
“Hey, don’t worry. Flashy’s been through worse. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
Soarin nodded weakly. “Y-yeah. Bro’s gonna be just fine. Right girls?”
Soarin turned to the mares, Fluttershy wiped away the last of her tears before nodding in agreement. Rainbow Dash shook, her wings flaring briefly before nodded also. Smiling one last time, Landslide exhaled steadily, turned the knob and walked into the room.
As Landslide walked in, his breath caught in his throat at the sight before him. His eldest child, his pride and joy, and captain of the Ponyville guard, was lying in a hospital bed. Bandages nearly covered him from head to hoof, making him look like an unconscious, barely-breathing mummy. Shaking, he fought back the tears and slowly tried to walk to his injured son.
“Land?” a voice called to him. Snapping back to attention, he turned to see a mare trotting towards him, wrapping her dark brown wings around his husky build. Landslide lightly rubbed his wife’s back as Twilight approached.
“Good evening, Mr. Landslide.” Despite the brave face she wore, the princess's voice shook. Sending a look her way, he pulled Twilight into a tight hug. As they embraced, Landslide heard a few light sobs come from Twilight.
“It’s okay, Twilight,” he muttered sadly, tears rolling out from his eyes. “It’s okay.”
A few seconds passed before they broke the hug. Landslide hastily wiped the tears from his eyes as he turned back to his wife.
“How is he, Solar?” Landslide asked, looking away from the bed.
Solar turned to Twilight who cast a gaze downward. Inhaling, Solar spoke. “According to the doctor, Flashy’s life isn't in any immediate danger.”
A sigh of relief flew from Landslides jaw. Thank Luna for that.
“But,” Solar continued. “He still suffered very serious injuries and still hasn't woken up. They… aren’t sure when he will regain consciousness.”
Landslide’s heart fell like a stone into his gut. Slowly, he trotted over to his son and placed a hoof on Flash’s cheek. Twilight saw the pain look in Landslide’s eyes. Walking up to him, she raised a hoof only to for a brown wing to tug her.
Twilight stared at Solar in confusion, only to find the same eyes bearing hurt. Not only for Flash, but Landslide as well. With a nod, Twilight turned towards the exit. Ears drooped down, she gave a final gaze at the bed. Wiping a few tears from her eyes, she opened the door and left.
Solar watched as Twilight left, sighing heavily. She turned from the door to a despawned Landslide. Trotting up to him, she gave him a light nuzzle.
“Flare?” Landslide spoke softly.
“Do you remember when Flashy first learned to fly?”
She tilted her head at the question. “Yes?”
“Flashy looked terrified. I was scared for him, too.” Landslide said solemnly. “I figured cuz he’s got my genes, he wouldn’t be a good flier… but, then-”
“He flew off the cloud and was soaring like a Wonderbolt,” Solar cut in, beaming proudly. “That smile he had that day always warms my heart.”
Landslide nodded as his frown shifted into a small grin. “Remember when he graduated?”
Solar Flare giggled. “It’s hard not to. Flashy had that huge grin for most of the day. I thought his face was going to get stuck like that!”
He stifled a chuckle. “And then he joined the royal guard.”
“I remember,” She sighed. “Those eight weeks were hard on him.”
“It was worth it, though. If not for all that training, he never would have become a captain.”
“True. And because of that, he became Twilight’s captain.”
At the mention of Twilight, Landslide turned to his wife, his brows lowered. “Yeah… about that. Flare?”
“Next time Twilight comes over for dinner, could you be a bit more subtle?”
Solar Flare let out a gasp as she recoiled. “Whaaaat? I have no idea what you mean, Land. I was on my best behavior!”
“Solar, you more or less begged Twilight to marry Flashy.”
Solar Flare folded her forehooves, turning her head sharply away from Landslide. “I don’t know what you are referring to.”
A low chuckle rumbled from Landslides stomach, a sigh following it. Turning his gaze back to Flash, Landslide’s smile melted away and was replaced with a sorrowful scowl.
“Is… is this my fault?”
Solar Flare blinked. “What… Where did that even come from?”
“It’s just… if Flashy was in construction, I would have been able to keep a closer eye on him and this wouldn’t have happened!”
“Land, we both know that isn’t true!” Solar Flare shot back. “It may not have been a chimera attack, but Flashy would still have been in danger!”
“But, I could have prevented it!”
“You don’t know that, Land. You can’t protect him all the time! Besides, the only thing that would change is that you’d be in that bed and Flash would be beating himself up!”
Landslide opened his mouth, but no words came. Hanging his head low, Landslide sighed.
“I… I’m sorry, Flare. It’s just… we were so close to losing him. I’ve been to one too many funerals for Royal Guards who were Flash’s age. I can’t go to another one.“ Landslide lightly gripped Flash’s hoof. “Especially not for my own son.”
“I know, Land. I know. But despite… this, Flash ended up saving a lot of ponies.” Solar Flare walked over to Flash’s right side, grabbing his free hoof. “And I’m proud of him for it.”
Sending his wife a weak smile, Landslide nodded. “Yeah. So am I.”
Solar let out a small gasp as she felt a light squeeze on her hoof. Landslide quirked a brow.
“Solar? What’s-” A painful groan was let out from the bed. Hastily turning, they saw Flash’s eyes slowly begin to open.
“F-flash!?” Solar called to him, tears welling up in her eyes.
Flash let out another groan, his eyes barely more than slits. “M-mom? Dad? What… what happened?”
Solar Flare’s hooves covered her mouth as tears fell from her eyes. Throwing her forehooves around her son’s neck, she pulled him into a hug.
Landslide watched for a few brief seconds before wrapping his hooves around Flash as well.
Flash clenched his eyes shut from the pain before forcing himself to open them and briefly scan the room, and then himself. He noticed the bandages covering his form.
Landslide broke the hug, staring teary-eyed at his son. “You gave us of a heck of a scare there, buddy!”
Flash chuckled light, followed soon with by a cough. “Yeah, sorry... But, is everypony okay? And what about the chimeras?”
“Everypony is fine, honey.” Solar Flare answered, wiping the last few tears from her eyes. “Twilight and the remaining guards chased them back into Everfree.”
Flash breathed a sigh of relief as he laid back down. “Thank Celestia.”
Solar Flare sent a hoof through his spiky blue mane. “Don’t worry, honey. Everything is alright. Now, try to get some more rest, okay?”
Flash nodded as he felt sleep creeping up to him. Pulling up the blanket, his eyes slowly began to close. “Sorry if… I… worried you guys.”
Landslide shook his head, letting a few tears fall. “Nah. It’s okay, buddy. I’m just glad you are safe.”
With one last grin, Flash fully slipped back into sleep. Solar Flare quietly moved to the door, Landslide closely behind her. Taking one final look, Landslide smiled warmly. “Good night, Flash.”