A New Potential Book I
"Oh… I'll just set it with the rest over here. When he wakes up, he'll be super happy to hear from all of you."
"Yes, we'll send letters out to everypony as soon as he wakes up."
"Dak, look! Do you think he's gonna wake up soon?"
"I don't know… This is the fourth time it's spiked this week… He could just be having another dream."
"Oh, I hope he wakes up soon…I miss him…"
"We all do, Fluttershy…"
I blinked several times and still saw nothing but black. I sat up and groaned in pain and fell back onto whatever I was lying on. I heard a gasp in the dark and a quick shuffling and a crash. Suddenly the whole room lit up and I squinted and raised my hoof to shield my eyes.
"SHADE," A familiar voice screamed. I felt a smack on my stomach and soft skin on my lips, "You're awake! Oh thank Celestia you're awake!"
My eyes adjusted to the lighting and the first thing I could make out was Fluttershy right in my face, "Hi, sweetie. Hard to sleep with all those people talking."
"Nopony was talking, Shade," Fluttershy said in my ear. I heard a door open, but I couldn't see who opened it with Fluttershy attacking me with hugs and kisses.
"Well, I'll be damned," A familiar voice said.
"Dak," Fluttershy's voice cracked and tears were falling down her face, "He's awake!"
"Tougher than nails, man," I squinted, Fluttershy's shadow no longer covered my eyes. In front of me was a green and white unicorn.
"Your voice is familiar," I said, "Who are you?"
"My name is Dakratic," the unicorn said, "You know me as Eddy."
I smiled, "Eddy, you are a handsome colt, I have to say."
He smiled, "Thanks, Enigma. It's good to see you awake."
"Where am I?"
Dak walked up and sat down in a chair next to me, "You're in Canterlot Hospital. When you took that bullet, you lost so much blood you fell into a coma. It punctured a lung and just barely missed your heart."
"Coma" I tried to sit up again, but my chest burned like hellfire, "How long was I out?"
"Eleven agonizing weeks," Fluttershy said wiping her tears away and hugging me again.
I patted her belly, still a little groggy, "How's the baby then? Did you get help?"
She giggled and wiped more tears away, "He was born four days after you fell asleep. Twilight is watching him and Sapph for me in the hotel next door."
I felt my heart sink, "I missed my son's birth…?"
"He and I slept next to you his first night," Fluttershy sniffed politely, "He was so small…"
Dak walked towards the door, "I'll run and get Twilight and the others!"
"Dak's been waiting too," I asked when he left the room.
"He delivered Lyric for me," She said, "He's the doctor's apprentice here."
She kissed me on the forehead, "He doesn't like being called nurse."
Dak showed up fifteen minutes later with a roomful of ponies. Sapphire sprinted through the doorway a full five minutes before everypony else, giving me a similar treatment to what Fluttershy gave. She was still clung to me when Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash walked in the room. Dash walked up to me and hit me in the shoulder before hugging me, "You're a jerk."
She stepped away and took deep breaths to keep from crying. Pinkie dragged herself in the room with a more than exhausted demeanor. She scrawled onto my bed and hugged me, falling asleep almost immediately saying, "If this is another dream, I'm gonna beat up the sandpony…"
With Pinkie still clung to me, Twilight stepped up. She looked at me with tears in her eyes but a smile on her face, "I don't know how I can ever repay you."
I smiled, "How about a hug and a thank you?"
She looked down at Pinkie sleeping next to me and laughed. She leaned over her and kissed me on the cheek, "This will have to do for now. Thank you, Shade. Thank you so much."
Dash spoke up to rid the room of the sappy air, "And look at all this fanmail!"
I looked over towards Dash and, sure enough, a large pile of envelopes, flowers, and candies littered the corner, "I would do ANYTHING for this many fans. Well, except take a speeding metal slug to the lung. You're a special kinda crazy, Shade."
The room got silent for a moment, and Twilight trotted out of the room. She walked slowly back in the room with a sleeping foal saddled on her back. The foal had the exact same fur design as me, but his stripes were a nice shade of green. Twilight lifted him from his carriage and laid him slowly onto my chest. I pulled him closer into my arms. His wings fluttered a little bit and he nuzzled into my embrace.
"He's beautiful," I said quietly.
"He's your son," Fluttershy said, leaning her head against my shoulder, "Our son."
I kissed the top of the foal's head and sniffed, just now realizing I was crying too. Sapphire fell asleep at the foot of the hospital bed. Smaller beds were pulled out of secret compartments in the walls and everypony else found beds, none of them wanting to leave me for the night, but too tired to stay up the whole time. I stared down the sleeping bundle in my arms and Fluttershy crawled in on the other side of the large bed that Pinkie had not already claimed. Within minutes, everypony was asleep. I nuzzled my head closer to Fluttershy and laid Lyric between us and closed my own eyes.
This time I will be sure to wake up on time.
The hospital planned to release me the next day late in the afternoon after checking my vitals and making sure there was no chance of slipping back into a coma. It gave me a good day and a half to sift through the hundreds of get-well cards and dozens of candy boxes. I stopped halfway through the pile to take a break. Dash had suggested several times to just ignore them like the Wonderbolts do to their fan mail, but I felt some sort of compulsion to read every single letter.
"So what happened after I blacked out," I asked Twilight and Fluttershy, "I don't remember anything past that glinting pendant."
They were silent at first, but Twilight answered, "Half a dozen men tackled the guy with the weapon and beat him to a pulp, but I don't remember anything else because we were teleported back to Equestria almost immediately. The best doctors in Canterlot did the surgery to remove the pieces of that slug, but there were so many splinters they thought you wouldn't make it."
"They didn't want me to donate blood because I was younger," Sapphire said, the only other pony in the room, "So Dash donated a ton of it. She was weak as heck for days. She missed a Wonderbolts show because she couldn't move without feeling tired."
"I'll have to make it up to her somehow," I said, feeling really guilty, "And what happened to the guy that…?"
Fluttershy answered, "I stayed with the others the rest of the day until Celestia could teleport me back too. They took him up to the wall and threw him off. Turned out he was a member of the Templar Order but never said anything. He felt that Twilight and Barry's magic was a work of… what did he call it?"
"Work of Satan," Twilight said, "Who is that anyway, Shade?"
I laughed, "I think it's best you guys don't know. Religion has no place in this land, so I don't want to teach it… The guy… was it Ytri? I couldn't tell because of the facemask. And why didn't he try this earlier when Twilight first did her magic?"
"It was Kalvin," Fluttershy said, watching Sapphire draw on one of the envelopes, "Ytri was the one who threw him off the wall… He was next on the list after your sniper friend. His written diary said he had a vision from some guy named God telling him to kill the witch and stop her wicked magic."
"I still don't understand how healing people is wicked," Twilight said.
With that, Lyric woke up and immediately started crying. His cry was not a deafening one, but a quiet, not-so-annoying one. Fluttershy took him from where he lay next to me and put a bottle in his mouth, "Poor thing, I forgot to feed you before your nap."
"That foal is really quiet," Sapphire said and pointed her pencil at him, "At first I thought he had no lungs."
Twilight laughed at this, but I decided to counter her joke, "Yeah, and you were really loud when you were a baby. I thought you were nothing BUT lungs."
This made both Fluttershy and Twilight laugh, but Sapphire jokingly slapped me, "Jerk."
The princesses didn't waste a moment. As soon as they heard I was released from the hospital, they met us there and asked us to return with them to the castle because they wanted to have a discussion with Fluttershy, Lyric, Sapphire and I. I could see the cities folk of Canterlot watching out their windows as we strolled past. Twilight accompanied us to the castle, but she split to hang out with Barry and Sen while the princesses spoke to us.
Celestia spoke first when we arrived in her study, a regal smile plastered on her face, "Your family has done a great service for Equestria. There is no way we can repay you enough for what you've done, but we will try. Especially for what you did for Twilight. That took a lot of bravery."
Luna continued, "There is more to our power than everypony knows. While Celestia has power over the sun and the living, I have power over the night and the dead. This is a rare privilege, but we have taken a message from the Vaults and wish to deliver it."
Fluttershy went pale, "The Vaults?"
"What are the Vaults," Sapphire asked.
Celestia answered, "The Vaults are an area in the castle where the spirits of the dead create their paradise. They no longer roam the lands because we created the Vaults. I'm sure Twilight referenced it sometime since meeting her. Every once in a while, a spirit will want to speak to their loved ones, but we have to use discretion."
"We allowed Twilight and her brother to see their sister," Luna said, "But that was a bad call on my part. She was depressed for the longest time… I'm sure you remember."
Fluttershy's color didn't return, "My brother?"
Luna nodded, "It appears Flashbang wanted to contact you for the last couple days. We took his message this morning."
Celestia lifted a book from a shelf and set it on the table, "We keep all of our messages in this book. After studying the human culture, we decided to call it The Book of the Dead. Our own twisted little joke."
The joke was funny to me, but I stopped myself from laughing, "Well…?"
Luna lowered her head and magic sparks rippled around the book. It opened slowly and the pages flipped until it landed on a page with a picture of a young pegasus around Sapphire's age. The page wrinkled in on itself and a pony sized image, like a hologram, projected itself from the book.
"Hi, Fluttershy," The image spoke. It was like a recording—it WAS a recording, "I'm sorry I didn't try to reach you before, but I figured it would be best if you just forgot all about me and lived your life. I can tell you lived your life because a while ago, this ball of black and red light appeared in the Vaults. We just took it as another coma patient and ignored it, but he talked a lot. He talked about you. He probably won't remember it because he's not in the coma anymore since, y'know, he disappeared a couple days ago, but we had a lot of conversations."
Fluttershy glanced at me and turned her pale face back at the image. The teenage colt kicked his hoof at the "ground" a couple times, "Y'see, he told me you two were married. He was a depressed fellow. Going on and on about how he left you behind and how he feels terrible about it, but he's got a lot of heart. He told me you had an adopted daughter and a young colt on the way. I wish I could see them. Perhaps one day the princesses will let you guys visit the Vaults and I can. Well, I guess what I want to say is you picked a nice young stallion and I approve. I know for a fact that Mom and Dad are still not in the picture, but if you do see them, tell them I said hi and to be nice to Shade.
"He also talked a lot about your daughter. My message to her is to stay strong and be a good sister to your little brother. And when the foal comes, tell him to be himself, to be a deviant. He'll find his talent easier that way. And Shade. You take care of my sister, understand?
"I'm proud of you Fluttershy. I love you," The image sparkled and faded like dust.
Fluttershy stared into the open space where the image used to be, but there were no tears. Her lips were moving, reading "I love you too…"
I put my hoof around her and pulled her into a hug. Sapphire got the other side, and Lyric just lay there, asleep.
Fluttershy was quiet even on the train ride back to Ponyville. She only spoke up at the stop in Stalliongrad, "I think I can describe it now."
Her voice took me by surprise. She and I were the only ones awake in the train car. Twilight, Velvet, and Sapphire were asleep on the opposite side of the car, and Dash was asleep in the middle of the floor snoring. I asked, "What do you mean?"
"What I see when I look at you," She explained, "I never knew how to say it until now."
I set down the book I was reading and my reading light, "And how do you?"
"Any big decision you make is never thought through logically. If it's not about studying, you don't think with logic," She explained and I debated whether or not it was an insult, "You make decisions based on feeling and emotion instead."
I sensed a sappy and corny moment coming up, "What do you mean?"
She pointed at my chest and then my head, "You think with your heart and not with your head. That's what I like the most about you."
I smiled and kissed her on the side of her head, "You should get some rest, sweetie."
"Goodnight, Shade," She curled herself up around Lyric, "Love you…"
She was fast asleep in seconds. I turned off my reading light and marked my place in my book. I curled up next to her, "I love you, too…"