"So, Twilight, tell me about this sickness."
The two had slowed down to a walk after the Doctor had tripped over himself numerous times during his mad dash towards Ponyville. His balance was steadily improving, but Twilight was still amazed by his clumsiness.
"Well, it all started about a month ago," she began. "A few ponies started acting weirdly, having sudden bouts of anger or sadness. We thought it was just mood swings until they suddenly fell ill. It happened again the next day, and it soon spread over the next few weeks, until nearly every pony in Ponyville was sick. There are only six of us left healthy, and we've got our hands full."
"Yes, how did you manage that?" the Doctor asked. "Not getting sick, and all that?"
Twilight sighed. "I don't know. And honestly, I almost wish I would get sick."
A nearby apple tree reminded Twilight that she hadn't eaten breakfast that morning. She plucked an apple with her magic and took a bite out of it. It didn't taste as sweet as normal; Applejack hadn't been able to tend the orchards for some time.
She stopped chewing when she noticed the Doctor staring at her.
"Do that again," he said.
The mare swallowed. "What?"
"The thing with the apple and the glowiness," he said, waving his hooves in an attempt to explain.
this?" Twilight's horn glowed as she waved the apple through the air.
The Doctor's face broke out into smile wider than Twilight thought possible. "Oh, that is beautiful!" he exclaimed, leaning towards Twilight to get a better look at her horn. "Biologically produced zero-point energy! Brilliant!"
Twilight stepped away from the strange colt. "Yeah
haven't you seen magic before?"
"Magic? Well, I don't know about that, but this is amazing! Can all ponies do this?"
"Just unicorns," she replied confusedly. "Where have you been all your life? Everypony knows that."
"Oh, here and there." The Doctor said, shrugging. "Just not here, here. But I've never seen anything like ah! We're there."
The Doctor ran towards Ponyville, leaving Twilight to wonder if Pinkie Pie had just met her match in randomness.
"Ah, there ya are, Twilight," Applejack said as she heard hooves behind her. "I need some help with ah!" She turned around to see two ponies instead of one. "Who's yer friend, here?"
"Applejack, this is the Doctor," the purple mare explained. "He's here to help us with the sick ponies."
The colt grinned. "Yep, that's me. Doctor Whooves, certified pony physician." He whipped out his card the same way he had done with Twilight.
Applejack gave him a confused look. "That paper's blank."
The Doctor paused only for a moment before regaining his composure. "Oh, yes, yes, sorry!" he said quickly, looking at the card. "This must, er, be one of the blank ones. Oh, well, that's not important." He stuffed it back in his pocket and led the two mares further into town. "So, where do I start?"
we're keeping everypony in the town hall," Applejack answered. "'Twas the only place big enough to hold 'em all, 'cept for the barn, but I think you'd understand why we didn't "
"Applejack?" A new voice came from town hall. A white pony with a well-cared-for purple mane and tail stepped out of the door. "Have you seen Twilight? Spike's acting oddly around me again," Her eyes fell on the Doctor. "Oh, hello, sir!" she said cheerfully.
The colt returned her smile. "Hello, I'm the Doctor."
"Rarity, at your service," she replied, batting her eyelashes. "If there's anything you need, dear, and I mean anything, don't hesitate to ask."
"I'll be sure to. Now, the patients are in here?" he motioned to the building. "I hope it's not as bad a New New York. Well, technically, it was New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York, but that's beside the point." He continued to ramble as he entered the building.
The three mares stared after him. "Well, you've certainly roped yerself an interestin' colt, haven't you, Twilight?" Applejack said, winking.
Twilight gave her a confused look. "What?"
"And my, isn't he a looker!" Rarity said. "A little scruffy, perhaps, but still very dashing."
Twilight's cheeks began to redden. "I don't know what you're "
Their conversation was interrupted by a loud thump. A quick look told them all they needed to know: the Doctor had met Pinkie Pie. The two had landed in the road, the Doctor on his back and Pinkie standing over him, hopping excitedly.
"Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie!" she said cheerfully. "What's your name? Where are you from? How'd you get here? What's your cutie mark? Can we be friends?"
"The Doctor stared at her. "Uh
the Doctor, Gallifrey, TARDIS, hourglass
"Yaaaaaayyy!" Pinkie jumped even higher than before. "I'm so happy you're here! We haven't had anyone new in weeks because all the ponies are sick, and because all the ponies are sick, nobody wants to play, and everypony's soooooo sad, but then I heard you talking outside and I was like " she gasped dramatically, "NO WAY! And you walked in and I said 'Hi! I'm Pinkie Pie!' and I asked if we could be friends and now we're friends!"
The Doctor dusted himself off, wondering if he had been wrong to accept her friendship. "Yes, and you also tackled me doing so."
"Uh-huh!" the mare affirmed happily.
" the Doctor rubbed his brow. "Listen, it's been lovely meeting you, but I've got
doctor stuff to do, so, if you'll excuse me
" he edged past Pinkie Pie, and then ran as fast as his legs would carry him into the doorway before someone else had the chance to stop him.
"Wow!" Pinkie Pie beamed. "He's so noble, rushing off to care for his patients! I should throw him a hero party when he's cured everyone!"
Twilight shook her head as Pinkie hopped after the Doctor, not surprised that the colt had received a welcome from Pinkie Pie similar to her own.
Her amusement melted to depression when she saw the situation inside. The building was packed wall-to-wall with the residents of Ponyville, some of the ponies so ill that she couldn't look at them without feeling sick herself. Twilight's heart sank; how could one pony hope to fix all this?
The Doctor was undeterred, judging by his animated conversation with Rainbow Dash.
The blue Pegasus was eager to flaunt her abilities to somepony new. "Yeah, some say I'm the biggest, baddest, fastest pony in Ponyville," she said. "I don't like to brag, but, they're right! I've got moves that'll make your head spin!"
The Doctor, however, was more interested in her wings. "Amazing! And you can actually achieve flight with these?"
"Um, duh? Every Pegasus can." She flashed a cocky grin. "Just not as awesomely as me."
Twilight coughed. "That's all very nice, but don't you have a sickness to worry about, Doctor?"
"Ah, yes!" The colt ran to a bed and looked up and down the pony that occupied it. "I just need to get a good look before oh, hello!"
A sudden, "Meep!" was heard as a cream-colored pony jumped up and hid behind a nearby desk.
"Oh, dear, you spooked the poor girl!" Rarity sighed. "Now she won't come out for ages."
The Doctor walked slowly towards the desk. "Hey, hey, it's alright," he said softly, kneeling closer to the frightened pony. "I'm the Doctor, what's your name?"
The young mare poked her head out slightly. "I-I'm
" she whispered.
"Fluttershy? That's a beautiful name," the colt said, smiling warmly. He edged closer, lowering his voice to match her whisper. "Listen, Fluttershy, I'm here to help you. I'm going to get these ponies better, so you can come out now, alright? Come on, it'll be okay."
She lowered her head bashfully and walked out from her hiding spot.
"See?" The Doctor said, gesturing her to keep coming out. "I'm not a bad pony. A little kooky, perhaps, but not bad."
Fluttershy giggled softly. "Thank you for coming to help us, Mr. Doctor."
"It's my pleasure. And please, it's just 'Doctor.'"
The mare nodded, blushing slightly, and ran to join her friends.
Twilight walked over to the Doctor as he began to examine the sick pony again. "I'm impressed, Doctor. Nopony's ever handled Fluttershy that well before."
"Well, you don't come away from all the places I've been without picking up a few things," he said digging in his pocket. "Like how to use Venusian aikido with only four limbs. Still haven't quite figured that one out yet, though." He pulled out a silver-colored stick with a blue tip. He pointed it at the pony and pressed a button; the tip lit up and made a whining noise. "But blimey! All these ponies in a month? That's impossible. Well, it should be, anyway."
Rainbow Dash crossed her arms. "Great! A disease that shouldn't be happening, and all we have to help us is a doctor who refuses to make sense and whose only skill so far is to calm Fluttershy." She huffed in defeat. "We had better resources when we went to find the Elements of Harmony!"
The Doctor looked up from his work. "The Elements of what?"
"The Elements of Harmony," Twilight repeated. "You don't know? It's
kind of a long story."
The Doctor pulled up a chair and sat down facing its back and putting his arms on the headrest. "Well, we're not going anywhere, are we? Besides, I love a good story; it takes the edge off of life-and-death situations. Especially having the in-laws for tea."
With constant interruptions from both the Doctor and the six mares, the story of the quest for the Elements of Harmony and the confrontation with Nightmare Moon lasted well into the afternoon. Most of the Doctor's questions were centered on magic he was especially fascinated with Spike's method of letter delivery and details about the manticore and the sea dragon. The others simply wanted to "correct" Twilight's narration with their preferred version of the story.
The Doctor rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "So the Elements of Harmony are essentially vessels of psycho-empathic energy, and you six are the metaphysical embodiments of their power?"
The six mares all stared in silence; even Twilight was baffled by his terminology.
guess?" she ventured.
"Brilliant!" the colt cried, jumping out of his seat. "I love new planets."
A moan brought their attention back to the sick ponies around them. The Doctor ran over to the colt, putting glasses on and pulling out the silver object again.
"His condition is worsening," he said, waving the object up and down in front of the colt, "but I'm not detecting any responses from his immune system. No white blood cells, no hemoglobin, nothing. But why?"
"None of our medicine is working, either," said Twilight. "They didn't have any effect on their bodies at all."
The Doctor's head snapped up. "No, of course not, because it's not a sickness of the body, it's a sickness of the mind!" He pointed the stick at the colt's head. "But what kind of neural disease causes an emotional response before a biological one? Think, Doctor, think!"
The silver rod beeped suddenly. He stared at it for second, eyes widening.
"Is that good?" Applejack asked.
oh, no, that's very bad
" the colt said, turning to the mares. "And it's not just them
it's you, all of you
He started to run out of the building, but was caught by the tail by Applejack.
"Ah-ah-ah-owowOW!" the colt yelled, falling on his backside. "Blimey, was that really necessary?"
"Just hold yer applecart, Sugarcube." said Applejack. "You ain't just dashin' off an' leaving us in the dust with nary an idea what's goin' on."
"Well, then come along," he said, running out the door, "We have to get to the TARDIS!"
"The what?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"Just follow me, alright? We have no time to lose!"
Left no other option, the six mares took off after the colt, not knowing how much stranger their lives were going to get.