The Plague of Ponyville - Chapter 1
By ~Blaidd Llywd
Co-Author~ Kade Wiedeman
Grey Star ambled along tiredly, his hooves catching on what seemed like every stray rock in the path, causing him to stumble whenever he did so. His grey coat and black mane were both filled the red dust of the road. Around his shoulders was a dark brown and tattered cloak, the edges of which were almost completely falling apart, a sign that it had seen plenty of travel travel and wear. His eyelids seemed almost too heavy to keep open. His pace was slow but determined, one weary hoof after another. He felt as if he could drop right there on the spot, lay down and pass out. Sleep sounded heavenly at this point, as he had been deprived of it for days. But he had to keep going, had to get his message to the princess. She had to know what was happening for she was the only one Grey Star knew who could possibly stop the nightmare that was what he had witnessed. At that moment, that night suddenly assailed hi mind, grotesque images of ponies doing horrible things, of ponies turning into monsters...
He almost did fall down this time, not from exhaustion but from grief. Tears silently streamed out of his eyes and down his muzzle. He had left his little town behind to be overrun by a nightmare hoard. he had friends whom he saw doing such bestial and violent things, leaving nothing but a shell of them left to be filled with the evil of whatever disease had infected them. His friends... ponies he had known since he was a foal, had talked to on a daily basis, who were his friends...
He pushed those thoughts aside, focusing on just moving forward. His head bent down, he walked on, his destination: Ponyville.
It had been hours by now and Grey Star was beyond what could be defined as tired. His very hooves were sore and bleeding, scratched and cracked in various places. His legs quaked with fatigue and the effort of supporting his body. His breath came out in ragged puffs, his throat feeling even more raw with every pant. Sweat poured of of his brow in torrents under the noon day sun. He thought he had felt tired before, but this was much more than that; this was dangerous to his health. He would either have to stop soon or make it to his destination before soon if he were to keep up this pace.
His prayers seemed to be miraculously answered when, as he lifted his tired head, he spotted a homey looking cottage just up ahead on the path. He felt like crying again at the sight of any type of establishment. At the very least, a pony might let him rest a bit before he set off again, maybe even give him something to fill his empty belly.
"Thank you, sweet Celestia," he uttered, the words being hardly understandable for lack of energy. He quickened his pace, heading towards the warm looking estate with renewed effort. He started at a fast trot, pushing himself harder to get there, the prospects of a bed and possibly food heartening him just a bit.
But the effort was just a little too much for Grey Star. He was almost to the door of the shady cottage, maybe not even two hundred feet left, when his hoof caught on a tree root poking discreetly to the surface. He didn't have the energy to keep his balance and, in the next moment, he found himself sprawled on the ground, forelegs splayed before him, hind legs bunched up behind him. The thought of getting back up floated to the front of his mind, but quickly drifted away. He was here, already under the shade of the tree that had tripped him, the soft grass beneath him.
He simply let sleep envelope his mind, it's soft, caressing tendrils stroking his consciousness. His mind was thick with sleep when he saw something standing before him. Though his vision was already too blurry to make out any details, he was still able to determine two colors: pink and yellow. And eyes, two big, very pretty teal eyes.
Through his foggy haze, he mumbled what words he could, the first words that came to mind.
"Pretty..." was all he managed before he finally slipped all the way.
Fluttershy looked down at the young stallion at her feet, her eyes wide. She had come trotting over to see what was wrong with him when she had first seen him when he suddenly tripped and went sailing forward, landing just in front of her. Again, she had gone to ask him what the matter was, this time though she was more urgent, seeing as how his face had just met the ground in such a violent way, but what he had said upon seeing her had stopped her.
Now, she was blushing as the single word ran through her head. She hadn't had a colt say that to her before. He passed out quickly after, and that was where he was now, laying on the ground in front of her. She continued to stare for a few more seconds before coming to. She knew that she would need to do something about him and couldn't just leave him there. But she also wasn't strong enough to move a full grown pony by herself, and he needed to be moved.
She thought for a little while before an idea struck her. With one more glance towards the grey pony behind her, she set off for the edge of the woods.
Once there, she called out to all the animals, greeting several of them by name. Small rabbits, raccoons, birds and a few deer showed up along with various other animals, emerged from the brush. Unafraid of the equine in front of them, they recognized Fluttershy as a non-threat and welcomed her presence.
She stood before them, wide eyes shining with kindness. "Umm, excuse me but, I really need your help with something if you don't mind" she asked in her soft voice, "it's just over here and won't take but a minute." She indicated towards the clearing in front of her cottage before trotting in that direction.
The animals followed her, understanding every word she said and more than willing to help. When they reached the place where the colt lay, she showed them what she wanted them to do and where to go. As the animals piled up around the pony, she turned towards her house, leading the way. Birds tugged at his ears and mane while raccoons and bunnies pushed up his sides and the deer supported his hooves. In this way they half carried and dragged him towards the homey establishment that was the yellow pony's home.
Pushing through the door, and after a little bit of confusion, they finally managed to get him inside where he lie on the rug in front of the couch. During the whole transaction, he had only mumbled a few words, but other than that he had remained quite comatose. While he lay there, Fluttershy trotted over to a closet and pulled out a light blue blanket. Going back to the grey earth pony, she placed it over him, in hopes he would be a little more comfortable.
Fluttershy turned and addressed the animals, saying, "Thank you all so very much! I think I can take it from here. Again, thank you!" The animals all left through the door in their own way, flying, bounding, hopping and running, each of them filed out until the last raccoon scampered away.
The only remaining animal, however, was Angel Bunny, Fluttershy's own pet rabbit. He had stayed inside the whole time, deeming not to help in the slightest, and was now looking over the grey coated colt in front of him with a skeptical eye. Finding nothing of interest, he turned back to his carrot and resumed munching the end of it.
Fluttershy walked back and forth, again thinking of what she should do. She would need help, that was for sure. She didn't know when or if the pony would wake up and if he was badly hurt or not. Deciding she would need someone she could trust and someone who was intellectual enough to figure those kinds of things out, Twilight immediately came to mind. She would have to travel all the way into town to get her, but it was the best option, she decided.
Having made her decision, Fluttershy turned to Angel. "Now Angel Bunny", she said "I'm going to need you to watch after our guest here while I'm gone. Do you think you could do that for me?" The rabbits only reply was to turn away with his arms crossed, carrot in one paw. "Alright, I'll be going now" she announced as she turned about and headed towards the door. "You be good now, okay?" The rabbit simply waved over his shoulder in a dismissive gesture as the door closed after her.
Outside, Fluttershy headed off in the direction of Ponyville, flying for the most part but stopping to trot in between. She met little to no trouble on the path towards town and soon found herself amongst the bright, cheery buildings and mutually alike ponies, all bustling about, heading from store to stall to pick up whatever groceries they needed.
Maneuvering through the crowd, and with many an apology to ponies she bumped into, Fluttershy headed off in the direction of Twilight's library. As the unmistakeable building came into view, Fluttershy picked up her pace to the point of a fast trot. She was just about to the front when the door suddenly opened, Twilight Sparkle standing in the doorway.
"Twilight!" Fluttershy screamed as she attempted to halt. She pushed her hooves as hard as she could into the ground, causing her to complete several spins while kicking up a cloud of dust behind her. Twilight barely moved out of the way as the yellow pegasus shot past her into the library, followed by a crash and several thuds. Twilight turned back to see her friend amidst a pile of books, some still falling off the shelf she had run into.
"Fluttershy! Are you okay?" Twilight asked, trotting over to her.
"Oh I'm fine Twilight, thank you." Fluttershy answered as she pulled herself from the debris. "And I'm sorry about your books."
"Well that's okay. It's not like they didn't need reorganizing anyways!" Twilight said with a laugh. Fluttershy simply nodded, knowing how much organization meant to Twilight and glad that she was able to be so positive about it.
"By the way," Twilight asked, "why were you in such a hurry anyways?"
"Oh! I'd almost forgotten! I came here because I needed your help. You see, there's this colt that showed up at my cottage and I think he may be hurt and I don't know what to do with him and I thought that you might be able to help because you know a lot of things and you might know what to do in a situation like this and that-"
"Woah woah woah woah! Hold on a second! You say there's pony at your cottage? And that he might be hurt?" Fluttershy nodded her head, biting her lower lip as she did so.
"Now, do you know how he got hurt?"
"Uh, no! He actually just showed up outside my house and I came to see what was wrong. But when I got to him, he passed out!"
"Okay, well, did he say anything to you before he passed out?" Twilight inquired.
Fluttershy tilted her head down, allowing her hair to cover most of her face. "Umm, well..." Beneath her mane, she had begun to blush again as she remembered what the colt had said.
"Fluttershy? Is everything okay?" Twilight listened as Fluttershy mumbled a couple of words, but she was too soft to here.
"So, I take it he didn't say anything of real importance?" she asked, attempting to get something out of the pegasus.
"well.. yeah, I guess so. I mean, he didn't really say much at all, not anything like where he came from or what happened to him." Fluttershy was still blushing, but not as hard or as noticeably as before.
"Alright then, why don't we go check and see how he's doing now. Come on, let's head back."
"Oh, okay," Fluttershy said, "Let's go!"
Before closing the door, Twilight turned and shouted up the staircase, "Hey Spiiike! I'm going out for a bit! I'll be back in a while, okay?" There was a muffled groan as the baby dragon replied groggily, not wanting to get up from his bed.
"He hasn't been feeling good all day," Twilight told Fluttershy, turning back towards the outside once again.
"Oh my, what's wrong with him?" she asked concernedly. They walked through the center of Ponyville as they talked, most of the crowd having dispersed.
"Well, he's been running a fever for awhile and he hasn't been able to blow any fire except some puffs of smoke. I don't know what exactly is wrong with him and none of the doctors I've spoken to have any knowledge of dragon illnesses. In fact, I was just on my way out to the Everfree forest to see if Zecora could help. But I'll get to that later. Right now, let's work on your problem."
"Ooh, poor Spike. I do hope he gets better. I can't imagine what might be wrong with him, I just hope it's nothing too severe."
"Yeah, me too."
They walked on in quiet, the only sound being their hooves against the road. The sun had started to dip towards the west, causing shadows to become longer as they day went on. Soon though, they came upon the familiar sight of Fluttershy's cottage, animal pens and housings strewn about, their inhabitants settling down for the day.
"He's just inside," the yellow maned pony stated. "I left him there because I couldn't find any better place to put him. I wonder if he's still asleep." Twilight nodded as she opened the front door.
"Well," she said, "I guess that answers your question."
Inside the living room of the cottage was a light blue blanket and sleeping white rabbit, but no pony.