Teen - Dark - Human - Alternate Universe
Crimson rivers stained the deep purple of the librarian’s skirt as she held onto the unicorn, her body clasped around the pony in an embrace of selfless heroism. A salty fluid ran across Trixie’s face from above, running through her dishevelled chest and down her bruised legs, mingling with the fluid of her own weeping wounds.
“It’s Trixie…” Twilight let out a mute whisper, clutching the pony tighter into her shoulder. The clanging beats of a firearm resounded as the barrel of the shotgun dropped to the floor, Applejack’s limp hands reflecting her own petrification. Her face was white, a sliver of bile choking itself up into her mouth as she took a step back against the pen’s wooden panels.
“What?” a tiny breath escaped from Applejack. With her right hand raised behind herself, Twilight lifted her head and glanced back at her friend, her cheeks sodden with tears. Her expression shifted from despair into agony as she contemplated what might have transpired if she had been even a step too late, crumpling her brows together at the sickening thought.
“It’s TRIXIE!” she screamed, the harsh features of her enraged face outlined by the glow of lilac ether from her hand. Applejack twisted her head back and forth in disbelief, unable to comprehend what she was being told. She gazed with her jaw hanging open at Twilight through the weak, pulsating hemisphere that had been conjured in a fraction of a moment by the witch. Fourteen shards of the buckshot pellets had left the weapon’s barrel, twelve of them now spread across the floor amongst the hay, turned to nothing but harmless silver dust.
The ethereal shield flickered and dimmed, Twilight wincing as she lost concentration long enough for it to dissolve into the air. A fragment had pierced clean her hand, it quivered and she ground her teeth together harder, her pupils trembling at the sight and sense of the bloody carnage worsening by the second at the end of her limb. No longer bound by fear, understanding that her friend had saved her own life from her stupidity, Applejack’s senses returned to her, pushing her over to Twilight. Tearing the base of her orange cheque shirt up without a second thought, she grasped the librarian’s shredded palm and bound it, almost crushing it as she applied pressure to stem the tide.
“Ah’m… ah’m so sorry Twah.” Applejack’s ability to contend with tough situations was being tested to its limits. It was required for quick thinking and urgent action in dire circumstances on the farm, should her brother or, heaven forbid, her little sister ever get themselves into trouble. But at present, this moment was far and above either of those things, she had taken a point blank shot at her dearest friend with a shotgun. Bubbles formed in the eyes of the farm girl as she continued to grip Twilight’s palm, her mask of courage on the brink of faltering as her lip quaked.
With a huff and a grunt to ease the searing anguish, Twilight relinquished herself from Applejack’s grip, fighting the numb feeling in her traumatized tendons to curl her fingers up and grasp the makeshift bandage on her own. The scowl aimed towards her farm friend lightened as the intensity of the moment between them dissipated, Twilight nestling Trixie in close beneath her other arm.
A demure whimper croaked from the pony, Twilight breaking her locked stare with Applejack to see what was wrong. Dragging her head from its hanging position, Trixie looked upon the librarian with tarnished, glazed eyes, though they seemed lazy, Twilight could read pain and fear into them. Trixie let her jaw drop, rivulets of her own tears trickling around her snout, collecting beneath it in a grubby pool as another wavering whine escaped from her.
The unicorn attempted to lift her front left leg up, her frame trembling without the support, her mouth and tongue shaking as they failed to even form the breath for a few more squeaks of mercy. Rescinding her embrace, Twilight slipped the hoof of her helpless friend into her free, undamaged palm. A short breath of shock passed between her lips as a foreign source of the scarlet fluid leaked away, congregating into rivers and streams in the few and far between wrinkles and creases on the witch’s hand.
“T-Trixie,” Twilight murmured and turned her head, refusing to believe what she had seen. Amongst the blue fur on the front end of Trixie’s leg, an unforgiving shard of metal had pierced through the centre of the ankle, plunging itself out from either side. Far above it, where her limb joined to her breast, a torn, bloody crater lined a short segment on her side, the long open strip dribbling down her rounded body, her bright azure fur turning a deep, fluid red.
“Help her Applejack!” Twilight demanded, pushing her curled up, torn palm against Applejack’s shoulder. “You must know how to! You take care of animals too!”
“W-what? Well, yeah ah do, but when they’ve got cuts and bruises, not impalements an’ bullet wounds!”
“You must do something for those!” An uneasy break in the tense, brief exchange sent a crackle of fear down the Twilight’s spine. She did not even have to ask again, she could see the answer in Applejack’s eyes as they expanded, her expression altering with a near-unnoticeable precision to that of honest misfortune. Twilight grimaced and turned back to Trixie, the unicorn sniffling with a shiver, her butchered leg still raised, the agony being too much to bear to let it rest on the floor.
“No,” Twilight growled.
“Sugarcube… Ah’m not sayin’ we ain’t gonna help her, not even a little, b… b-but… when a pony goes l-… gets like this…”
“NO!” A wave of ether erupted from Twilight’s body, her screech echoing as it passed without harm through all it touched, Applejack recoiled at the sensation, feeling it brim with fury and desperation. She didn’t know why, but she suspected that her closest of friends had developed a deeper need to help the poor unicorn far past it being a simple matter of aid. Applejack’s innocent suspicions proved truer as Twilight wrapped her body around Trixie’s, letting out whispers of reassurance into the pony’s ears that all would be done to ensure that she was safeguarded and returned to normal, that everything would be fine, and that her wounds and injuries would be fixed sooner than she knew it.
As Twilight laid her free hand across the war-zone of Trixie’s devastated leg, her magic washing over it to provide as much relief from the intensity as possible, the witch gave soft, calming strokes along the pony’s mane and neck, their foreheads pressed together as she continued to murmur apologies and promises.
Applejack rose to her feet and stood back, holding her chin with contemplation. At first she considered a consultation with Fluttershy, the girl took care of a variety of animals with unrivalled expertise, but Applejack soon quashed the idea. Fluttershy was a gentle soul who fed and cared for the basic needs of her companions, her skills were not likely to be enough to deal with weeping wounds and dire injuries. There was also a question of how Fluttershy might feel about an animal that was in actuality a human.
“There’s only one thing ah can think of.” Applejack flicked her jaw with her finger, rubbing her cheek clean of tears as she thought on. “The vet, by the hospital.”
“Do they even treat things like this?” Anxious, Twilight’s voice tapered as she did not want to know the answer.
“Ah haven’t got a clue, but it’s the only thing ah can think of.” Taking a second to see to her brother, Macintosh, who had by this point pulled himself onto the chair, still in agonizing reverberations of pain, Applejack collected a ring of keys from the desk and returned to Twilight’s side. Her hands still quaking of their own mind, Applejack stalled the teary onset of her regret by offering her physical aid to Trixie.
“Come on, if we’re gonna help her, and y’all yerself fer that hand, we better git goin’ on to the hospital.” Of all that Applejack had said, Twilight now listened to and agreed with her, wincing at the sight of the bloody rag she clutched ever tighter in her right palm.
“How in Equestria are we going to get her there, Applejack?”
“There’s a trap n’ cart outside, ah’ll get the pony from the stable, and when he’s good to go, Macintosh’ll help y’all get–” Applejack took a pause, still not wanting to accept what Twilight had told her, “–Trixie… onto the wagon, then we’ll ride the two of ya there.” Heading out through the barn door, Twilight heard Applejack unlocking the waist-high stable doors outside before attempting to settle a rowdy trap pony.
Twilight’s heart hit the barn roof when Macintosh’s firm clutch found her shoulder, and though it had surprised her, there was an odd comfort to his presence. She looked up at his contorted face, framed with ruffled ginger hair, and saw that he was managing something of an assuring smile, though still doubled over and in clear masculine strife.
The brief respite from the traumatic moment, the magical pain relief of her own and her friends wounds, and what she believed to be the absolute assurance that a life had been saved all shattered back to nothing as Trixie hit Twilight’s arms with her full weight, her body crumpling and folding as though it was without the energy to carry on any longer. As Twilight held Trixie’s limp head in her arms, Applejack and Macintosh appeared at their side and lost no further time, the brother taking the paling pony and pulling it away from the wailing witch as the sister clamped her tight, holding her steady and still to let him lift Trixie into the cart unhindered by the hysterical librarian.
“SAVE HER!” she cried over and over through tears and whimpering, fighting the impossible clutches of Applejack’s unshakable strength. Twilight’s knees crunched into the ground as she lost her feet, feeling the deserved comfort of Applejack’s embrace as she was pulled in to a cushioned drop, her face resting on the broad, thick padded shoulders of the farmer.
“We will sugarcube, mark what ah say, Trixie’s jus’ fainted from the shock is all, she’ll be absolutely fine.” Applejack’s words did not convey the full certainty in her tone that they were meant to, and neither did they do much to calm Twilight down, but she pressed on regardless, lifting her friend by the waist away from the dirty floor and leading her over to the cart. The gnarled, unfixed wooden slats forming a makeshift step-up held Twilight’s weight with ease, Applejack and Macintosh jumping into the front end and taking hold of the leather reigns to encourage the trap onwards towards the town.
The rough road leading from the farm rocking and jolting the cart, the birds and cicada’s chirping amongst the foliage and fields, even the pleasant yet intrusive chuckle of young children playing hide and seek in the nearby apple orchards were deadened to the senses as Twilight sat alongside her helpless companion. As she put a few gentle strokes against the neck of the pony, Twilight gave her good hand to the open stifled wound below Trixie’s knee and began to channel a warm, tender energy to soothe the area, stopping on occasion as the feedback generated an awful twinge in her own leg, the synchronistic bond joining their perceptions for just a moment with each ebb.
Trixie remained still, her wild and unkempt coat and mane thick with dirt, stained scarlet and patched with salt. Her chest lifted very little with each breath, her lips curling with each as the expansions and retractions caused some slight pain inside of her somewhere, and though she was in tremendous strife, it was clear there was some fight left in Trixie to carry on.