The Prized Pony of Ponyville
Prologue: The Accident
Applejack hid under the bed sheet trying to block her eyes as much as possible from the flashes that preceded the roars of thunder. She got up for a quick rant.
“How the hay am ah supposed to sleep in this here storm?! The crops need rain badly but they coulda at least go easy on—“ she was interrupted when another bright flash illuminated the room, the sound of a series of explosions rocking an already quivering Applejack.
The pitch of the hissing wind was low. Indeed, this was the classic ‘dark and stormy night’.
“I hope the damage here won’t be too severe tomorrow. Me and Rainbow Dash are gunna have something to talk about it without a lick of a doubt!”
To Applejack’s surprise, the skies of the next morning was almost empty of clouds. As she walked further away from the house and into the apple fields, the damage from last night’s storm became apparent. Knocked over barrels, scattered hay and buckets but what caught Applejack’s eye was the barn: some of the barn’s roof tiles had come off and so has the apple weathervane. In shock she stared at the space where the weathervane should be.
“Looks like we gonna have our hooves full for some time… Well then, time’s a wastin’!”
The Apple siblings looked up to the slightly battered roof from the side of the barn with the replacement weathervane lying in front of Applejack.
“Hey there, Big McIntosh. Think you can be so kind as to bring me a ladder?”
“Eeyup”, he replied before moving off.
“Hey, big sis, can I be the one to fix the weathervane in place? Please?” asked Applebloom enthusiastically.
“No can do, silly filly. None of us here know how stable them roof tiles are after the storm and ah couldn’t possibly let an inexperienced filly like yerself take on somethin’ that dangerous. It’s a long way down from that there tower, lil’ missy”.
“Aww, you never let me do anything, Applejack! How am I going learn to be a good farmhand like you when you don’t let me here practice?” protested Applebloom.
“Ah told you, ya aint ready fer somethin’ like this”
“Eeyup!” said Big McIntosh in agreement as he arrived with the ladder on his back with one of the steps in his mouth.
“Urgh!” Applebloom started walking away out of anger. Neither of her siblings wanted her to do anything!
“Now hold on there, Applebloom!”
She turned to face Applejack with a look of curiosity.
“You can watch me make that fix!” suggested Applejack, grinning.
Applebloom sighed and walked towards her two siblings, “Fine…”
Big McIntosh bowed his head which tilted the ladder toward by using his shoulders as the axis of spin. The ladder was put in place in between the two windows sticking out of the roof.
“Thank you kindly, brother” said Applejack as she happily walked to the ladder, picking up the new apple weathervane with her mouth along the way.
“Now be careful now, Applejack” said Big McIntosh before he passed the saddlebag with the necessary tools to Applejack.
“Oh come on now, Big McIntosh, you know ah ain’t the type to get careless”
“That’s what you always say, sis. Even when you make filly mistakes”
“Pff! Just watch me! ‘Sides, ah gotta make a good example for Applebloom!”
Applejack climbed the ladder steadily. The large apple weathervane slightly impeded her vision. She’s glad she didn’t let Applebloom take this one. The ladder ended where the angle of the roof was acceptable enough to walk on. She swung her head side to side and checked for any loose tiles while maintaining her centre of gravity within the three legs she stood on while she scanned, wary of the large weathervane shifting that center of gravity. Rinse and repeat. Slowly but steadily she neared the tower of the barn where the new weathervane would be put in place. At the back of the tower that stuck out was a built-in ladder for just such an occasion. Once on the roof of the tower, she checked for any loose tiles before making another steps. A few of them did come loose on the way to the top. She leaned on the elbows so that she could use her hands to set the vane in place before using the tools in the saddlebag to take care of the rest. She used her hind legs to inch closer toward the tip.
Catastrophic failure. The roof tiles beneath her hind legs broke off and gravity faded. Applejack and the vane parted ways where the roof converged and she was sliding head first on her back and her hooves hardly slowed her down. Parted from the roof, she jerked the front of her body forward for one last chance to grab hold of the roof but it was too late. Acknowledging that the next destination was the ground, she slightly tilted her body to one side for a quick stare of horror at the ground. Her hind body met the ground first and then an elbow then finally her head whipped the earth and bounced very slightly.
The sudden silence was even more horrifying to the siblings than the scream of Applejack’s panic. Both rushed to the other side to see if their sister was alright. She was still conscious, although barely and still breathing, although in a distorted way. Faint sounds of air being forced out of her throat made the level of injury more apparent. Big McIntosh arrived first while Applebloom stayed behind to let the scene sink into her. He tried to turn her to the side but Applejack let out a very forced out scream from the pain in the shoulder. He gently laid her on her other side.
“Ahm gunna get help! Stay here and keep your sister company, Applebloom!” before running off.
She slowly walked towards her injured sister. Applejack curled her head towards her chest and tried to move her left arm but it wasn’t responding. She vomited right there and kept her eyes closed from her terrible headache.
“Applejack… Can you hear me…?” said Applebloom while holding back her tears. “You’re going to live, right?” she asked as she began to cry.
“Hhh…… Nghhhh………” still cringing and her face tight from the pain she is in.
“Sniff. Please! Tell me you’ll be okay!” yelled Applebloom.
Chapter 1: Hospitalized
The Apple family as well as the five other bearers of the elements of harmony waited. So sullen and silent was it, enough to hear electrical currents flow through the lights. The news has already been broken to Applejack’s five friends and all that remained was to wait for news from the surgeons. Rainbow Dash looked more bored than worried. She’s known Applejack to be a tough pony. After all, those two had a pretty fierce competition last fall. No pun intended…
Pinkie Pie looked frozen. Is she even breathing? Does she blink? Without wind inside the building, not even her mane moved. What thoughts are racing through her mind? How are they affecting her?
Twilight, Rarity and Fluttershy would occasionally turn and look at each other. One could mistake them for having a conversation but not a word’s being spoken. Have they mastered telepathy or are they simply fidgeting?
On the other side were the Apple family. Applebloom had cried herself to sleep on Big McIntosh’s tail. Granny Smith also asleep but wasn’t snoring. Big McIntosh simply stared at the floor and would sometimes look around by making slow movements. He turned to look at Pinkie Pie. Without warning, she slowly turned her had to face him while maintaining her facial expression and the precise position of her eyes locked in place. The two stared at each other for a while.
The sound waves of the opening door made Pinkie Pie jump.
“Yaaah!” she let out in a high pitched voice and dashed towards the door.
After the doctor closed the door behind his back, he looked in surprise at the pink earth pony rocketing towards him. A loud thud disturbed the halls.
“IsshealrightisshegoingtoliveamIgoingtohaveanother partywithherareyousureshe’sgonnabealrightTALK TO ME!!”
Rainbow Dash had caught up to her. “Pinkie Pie…”
Pinkie Pie realized that she held the doctor tightly at the neck. The doctor’s eyes were shot open wide, his tongue out and his forelegs swinging wildly in his confusion.
Her face turned red and she let go. Two nurses ran in to investigate the disturbance. The still coughing doctor simply raised a hoof, signalling to the nurses that the situation’s under control, after which they both left. After the coughing settled, one deep breath brought back his composure. By this time the others had caught up and everypony was around. One clearing of the throat later and the doctor was ready to talk.
“There is good news and there is bad news. Which do you wish to hear first?”
Pinkie Pie cowered behind Big McIntosh. Twilight rubbed her chin with her right hoof.
“Start with the bad news,” she pointed.
“Very well. The lower spine took more damage than we had initially feared. I’m afraid miss Applejack may never walk again”
Everypony else let out a shocked gasp.
“So she’ll live then,” Twilight inferred. The doctor simply nodded
Everypony save Big McIntosh and Rainbow Dash responded with a synchronized sigh of relief. Rainbow Dash stared straight into the doctors eyes from where she stood and Big McIntosh stared into nowhere with a look of subtle realization on his face. The doctor swallowed.
“As the unicorn had said, miss Applejack is going to live, for the time being at least” His words sent out a wave of angst as all listened with intensified attention.
“That was the worst of it. Miss Applejack also broke some ribs, her left arm and dislocated her shoulder. She will have to stay here for quite some time in order to undergo therapy. You see, when someone has severed their spinal cord, you lose function and feeling in more places than just the leg.”
Twilight’s eyebrows moved up and closer to each other as she bit her lip. Rainbow Dash saw her and turned to look at her. “What does that mean?” she wanted to know.
“It means she also lost control of her bladder and colon. And this is why she will need therapy.”
Rainbow Dash began to snicker but that quickly ended when Twilight struck her on the arm and gave her a stern look. Rainbow Dash lowered her flank and withdrew her neck in shame for her lack of maturity.
“As I was saying…” continued the doctor, “It will be some time before Miss Applejack will be ready to leave. For now, she will be kept here for observations and put under pain killers so she will be asleep for some time. That concludes the news on the situation”
Pinkie Pie jumped forward. The doctor flinched. Two seconds went by and he took his normal stance.
“But what about the good news?”
“I suppose I should have spelled it out a little more. That is truly all I have to say on the situation. I’m sorry.”
Pinkie Pie lowered her head in sadness.
Twilight stepped forward for one final greeting. “Thank you for all your efforts. We hope you would all continue to do your best and give us more good news,”
“I assure you, miss, that you do not become a doctor if what you do is anything short of ‘ding your best’. Now you will please excuse me, I have other patients to be looking over”
Twilight politely lowered her head in acknowledgement and the others followed suit.
Days had gone by and this time the visit by Twilight and the other four were met with Applejack awake. Like before, her left arm was totally bandaged, and so was her torso. The bed sheet covered half of her body. When they stepped into the room, she greeted them with a smile, but it’s easy to tell that this smile was forced.
“H-hiya there, friends! What brings y’all here?” she said with an embarrassing grin. The others looked at her dumbfounded. Rainbow Dash was holding back her laugh from such a stupid question. Pinkie Pie raced towards her. “Ohmygosh Applejack, you’re finally awake! You have no IDEA how much we missed you! Can you imagine what it’s like going without any sweets? I know what it’s like going without sweets but I really don’t since I think it’s like missing you but not as totally bad, dontcha know?”
Applejack chuckled. “It’s good to be back. Well, almost…” she said and looked away. Rainbow Dash squinted at her. Fluttershy flew over to her next. “We were so worried about you, Applejack. And just look at you now all bandaged like that”
“Of course yer all worried about me,” she said with a warm smile. “Because that’s what friends do.”
Fluttershy hugged her but wary of her left arm. Since Applejack didn’t even twist an eyebrow it was clear she did it right. Twilight cleared her throat but stepped back in hesitation. Now it was Rarity’s turn.
“My, my, I for one cannot wait to see you out of those unfashionable bandages. I swear, if I was running this hospital, I would dress my patients up with something more stylish.” She said. Everypony gave out a chuckle. “What?” she continued. “I was being serious.”
Applejack shook her head as she was finished laughing. “Oh, Rarity, you’d dress up the Everfree Forest if you could.” Everypony laughed. Rarity slightly tilted her face down and smiled. “I guess I would, wouldn’t I?”
Pinkie Pie hopped in front of Rarity with excitement. “Ooh! Can we give the manticor a makeover first?”
Rainbow Dash stayed at the back, simply looking at Applejack. Twilight stepped forward now and cleared her throat. “Applejack… We know you won’t be good as new but I just want you to know that you’re still our best friend even though you may not walk again. So please, don’t beat yourself up about this. Do you promise?” as asked, looking up to her with a soft smile. Applejack chuckled sullenly.
“Twilight… Ah am not goin’ to let a lil’ fall like this stop me from doin’ what I do. Just you wait, y’all going to be amazed to see how ahm gonna manage. Just you wait.”
“But do you promise you won’t do too much? We… don’t want you getting hurt after all,” she said worrying.
“Heh… Twilight, in this here line of work, we always get hurt one way or ‘nother. Farmin’ isn’t fer the weak and squeamish after all. Care to try it out, Rarity?” she teased. Her expression went cold and replied “No, thanks, Applejack…”
Applejack moved her head back and confidently closed her eyes. “As soon as ahm outta here, it’s straight back to work. ‘Bout time I get these muscles here workin’ again. Ahm sure to be outta shape by the time I leave the place.”
Twilight sighed. “If you say so Applejack… Come on, girls. It’s time we head off.”
Rainbow Dash finally moved towards Applejack and hugged her.
“I understand what you’re going through… All I want to say is…”
Everypony waited for her to continue.
Rainbow Dash sighed and slowly helped herself out of the room with a look of defeat. The awkwardness seemed to have temporarily stopped time for a few moments. Applejack closed her eyes and sighed. Pinkie Pie moved towards Applejack again.
“Once you’re out, we’re going to have the biggest party ever! All to welcome our special pony back! I’m so excited, because there’s going to be music and dancing and punch and best of all, cupcakes! Made with my super-over-the-top-secret special ingidients!”
“Looking forward to it,” said Applejack unenthusiastically.
“Cheer up. Time isn’t going to fly if you’re all moapy. We’ll be sure to visit you every day to put that smile on your face because time flies when you’re having fun. And we really really REALLY can’t wait to have you back hanging out with us!”
“Thank you. Ah really appreciate it. Now gimme a hug, subarcube,” she responded. Pinkie went first and the others did the same. The warmth of the gesture irradiated the room, seemingly brightening the air as it did.
Chapter 2: Surfacing Intuition
The archipelago of clouds floated on the ocean of the night sky. The sky is quite an interesting place since the geological processes of the clouds seem to go far faster and more creative here than on the ground. Rainbow Dash simply glided past them with leisurely speed, though relatively speaking since this is Rainbow Dash we’re talking about. She flew to a cloud that had the size, shape and texture of a peak. Her wings fluttered as she made her precise landing on small the tip. Her head tilted down to look at the ground and although it could be seen, the abyss that lay below the clouds felt bottomless as though the ground was a mere illusion. She raised one fore hoof, raised her wings and confidently smiled, her eyes closed and head tilted up. Nothing can touch her. Her eyes opened, all she saw was gray and she felt nothing. No emotions, no sensory input, just nothing. The gray lifted and it seemed as though gravity had been switched off. As she spun effortlessly while the only functioning set of muscles was her beating heart, all she felt was the slight centrifugal force of her spin which slowly extended her limbs. With her now extended limbs and her orientation just about set, she prepared her wings to continue flight. With one powerful flap and… she just continued to spin, her wings started to flutter madly but it wasn’t doing anything. The panicked cyan Pegasus pushed her wings harder but despite her best efforts as Equestria’s fastest flyer, her altitude continue to dropped with a slightly distorted spin thanks to her jerking body. All four legs spun around as if trying to reach for something, a miracle perhaps. The sight of the ground came and went and more details became apparent with every single reappearance at an accelerated rate. Her wings fluttered so fast that feathers should be coming off but for some reason that wasn’t happening. All of her best efforts translated into nothing, is this a vacuum in which she is falling? Every new glance at the earth was like a snapshot that slowly gained greater resolution. With the final sinking in of her predicament, her limbs and wings extended out in her final horror before she met the ground.
All felt calm again after the feeling of a dull pulse that followed her landing. She could see nothing, not even her own body. She felt this strange feeling of flotation yet her sense of location told her that she remained at the site of impact, as though her soul had left her body yet remained firm in the same point in time and space. As a new world started to materialize around her, she lost all sense of location and thought up until the materialization was complete. She was in bed in the hospital room and a faceless stallion faced her.
“What am I doing here? What happened to me?”
“Miss Rainbow Dash,” the voice echoed. “Your wings”
“My wings!” she shouted. Lowering her bed sheet she could see that her entire torso and left arm were covered in bandages but her wings were missing. Tears welled up in her eyes and her jaw was shaking. “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY WINGS?!”
“In your fall, your wings got crushed. I’m afraid, Miss Rainbow Dash, that we had no choice but to…”
Rainbow Dash’s left ear turned caught a voice similar to her own.
“Amputated” the voice said.
In her shock, she placed her fore hooves on her head and arched her back backwards and the world around her steadily faded into darkness.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HHHHH!!!!” and even when she stopped, echoes of her scream replayed the song of her ultimate despair.
Just before she opened her eyes, the world re-materialized into Ponyville. She was all alone except…
“Pfahahah, good to see you, Rainbow Crash!” It was that voice that sounded just like hers! It laid on the top of a gray cloud with its head supported by its fore hooves. A Shadowbolt with cyan ears and muzzle along with a rainbow tail and mane. Rainbow Dash looked at her in disbelief.
“Ar—Are you me…?” her voice cracked from the disarray of her emotions.
“Uh-nope!” The cloud covered her up completely but she reappeared from moonlight shadow of the wingless Pegasus. “I am the shadow of your former self! Tsk tsk tsk. Do you realize what you compare to now? Tell you what, I’ll give you time to answer: ten seconds flat!”
The real Rainbow Dash simply stared at her double. Nothing moved. Not her mane, not even the grass.
“That’s it! Time’s up! Bah, haven’t you figured it out by now? I mean, come on.” The Shadowbolt knocked her own head with one hoof and then swung it widely before putting it back to its original position. “Isn’t it obvious?”
Rainbow Dash simply looked around her.
“Oh wait, that’s right. Tell you what, why don’t I give you a live demonstration. On the house!” She said, swinging her right fore hoof in a circle before her left hoof caught it in front of her face. She spread out her wings and puffed up her chest. “Watch… and learn” she said in deeper voice. The Shadowbolt quickly took to off high into the sky, then smoothly turned until she was exactly parallel to the ground. The Shadowbolt was quickly gaining speed and an air cone was forming in front of its fore hooves. This cone grew thin and electrical sparks started flying from it as she was moving to 170 feet both horizontally and vertically from Rainbow Dash. She had now executed the Sonic Rainboom and the rainbow pulse was heading straight for Rainbow Dash while leaving a wake of debris. She simply stood there.
The pulse had finally reached her. It got very bright and she now stood on her hind legs. Her steady but loud scream continued and her body below her head began to fade in the intense light. When her body was half of its original size, her mane began to fade and her body started fading from the bottom up. Her mouth faded now but still she screamed. Her eyes were the last to go.
The sound of a gasp flew through the room. Rainbow Dash found herself on her cloud bed. She spread her wings and looked at them to make sure they were there and they really were. As she thought about her dream, Applejack had randomly entered her thoughts. She covered her face and just laid there like that.
“Applejack…” She whispered. “Apple…jack… What’s going on…?” Something within her is trying to tell her something.
“What’s happening…? I… know… But what…?”
She got up, trotted outside and flew to the top of her cloud house to think about it.
“I know something. That dream…… I feel… just like yesterday when I tried to talk to Applejack. I feel the just like I did…”
She looked in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres. She lowered her head and her gaze now drifted into nowhere.
Last edited by SunBurn; 9th Nov 2011 at 10:28 PM.