It was a bright, sunny day in Ponyville! The temperature was quite mild. It was summerlike weather, even though it was the beginning of fall. The trees all around were still lush and green, but the leaves would soon be changing colour. That means it would almost be time for the annual Running Of The Leaves race!

In the park outside the village, a group of ponies were having a picnic! But this wasn't just any ordinary group of ponies; these were the wielders of the Elements of Harmony themselves! First, there was Fluttershy, who wielded the Element of Kindness. She was an unassuming yellow coloured Pegasus female with light pink mane and tail who mostly kept to herself, and often times spoke in a barely audible voice, hence her shy nature. Then there was Rainbow Dash, her fellow Pegasus compatriot, dear friend, and wielder of the Element of Loyalty. She was a very boastful light blue coloured mare who wasn't afraid to call herself "Awesome!" every chance she got. The most striking feature with her was her rainbow coloured mane and tail, and she was known to perform an aerial feat known to the locals as the "Sonic Rainboom" every now and then. Then there was Pinkie Pie, the wielder of the Element of Laughter. She was a fun loving pink coloured Earth pony who really liked to throw parties and make everypony happy.

Then there was the leader of the group, Twilight Sparkle, who was the wielder of the Element of Magic. She was born a purple coloured unicorn pony with dark blue coloured mane and tail with pink and light purple highlights. She was wielder of the Element of Magic because she had a singular gift for unicorn magic and complicated spells, and she proved that fact many times over!

Recently, though, she underwent a transformation where she suddenly sprouted Pegasus wings! This was the aftermath of a very important test imposed upon her by Princess Celestia, a tall and beautiful bright white coloured alicorn who was the ruler of all of Equestria; who also acted as teacher and mentor to the gifted Twilight Sparkle. The test involved her completing a long forgotten powerful spell started by Starswirl the Bearded, a powerful unicorn mage from the days of old.

Against all odds, Twilight Sparkle was able to complete the spell; and as such, Princess Celestia transformed her into an alicorn. It was only a short time later that the new alicorn Twilight was crowned a Princess. A short time after that, she moved back to Canterlot to begin her training in mastering her newly acquired alicorn powers. Princess Celestia looked after that personally. Not only that, but she also had to get lessons in proper etiquette, as she was also a Princess now, and had to behave as such! Princess Celestia looked after that as well. Princess Luna, the dark blue coloured alicorn Princess of The Night, and Celestia's younger sister, helped every now and then in that area.

When Twilight Sparkle left for Canterlot, she left the Ponyville Library, her former home, in the care of Spike; a diminutive purple dragon who acted as her faithful assistant for years. He was also Twilight Sparkle's dear friend, and he helped her overcome many obstacles throughout her life.

There was talk of actually converting the Ponyville Library into a Palace, and making Twilight Sparkle Princess of Ponyville, but nothing was finalized yet. Yet despite her busy schedule, Twilight Sparkle still found the time to visit her friends in Ponyville once a week. On this day, they all decided to have a picnic!

They were waiting for two other ponies to arrive, though. One was Applejack, an orange coloured Earth pony mare with blonde mane and tail who worked on an apple farm called Sweet Apple Acres. She spent long hours bucking apples from the many trees of the farm's expansive apple orchards. She was also the wielder of the Element of Honesty, because she always told the truth and was very trustworthy.

The other was Rarity, a white coloured unicorn mare with highly stylized dark blue mane and tail. She worked as a Seamstress and Fashion Designer in Ponyville, and owned a shop just outside of the town square. She often thought of herself as being high classed, and was prone to having phases of extreme vanity. She also often acted out as the over reactive drama queen, which sometimes drove her friends nuts! Yet despite these flaws, she was the perfect pony to wield the Element of Generosity, because she always gave herself and her time to anypony who needed it without a second thought!

"What a super duper luper fantastic DAY to have a PICNIC!" Pinkie Pie said, happily bouncing around, like she always does.

"You said it!" said Rainbow Dash, who was lying on the picnic blanket with her forelegs tucked behind her head and her rear legs crossed in a relaxed position. She was also wearing her sunglasses!

"When are Applejack and Rarity gonna get here?" asked the soft spoken Fluttershy.

"They should be here any minute now." Twilight Sparkle said. "They wouldn't miss this for anything!"

No sooner had she said that that the familiar orange coloured Earth pony mare appeared into view.

"Hi, Applejack!"all of the girls said in unison once they saw her approach.

"Hey y'all!" Applejack said in her Southern accent. There was a lot of sadness in her voice. She also looked quite sad.

Twilight Sparkle was the first to notice this. "What's wrong?" she asked in a worried tone.

"Where's Rarity?" Fluttershy asked with one forehoof upraised.

Applejack sighed. "Rarity ain't comin'…"

"Not coming!?" Pinkie Pie exclaimed with a gasp as she pressed her two forehooves to her cheeks. "Why not!?"

"Ah just dropped 'er off at the hospital… She's ill!"

A collective gasp rose up from the group at this shocking news.

My little pony! My little pony! AAH AAH AAH AAH!

My little pony! I used to wonder what friendship could be(my little pony)

'Til you all shared its magic with me!

Big adventure

Tons of fun

A beautiful heart

Faithful and strong

Sharing kindness, it's an easy feat

And magic makes it all complete, YES!

My little pony! Do you know you are my very best friends!?

The mares just stood in stunned silence at the news Applejack just gave them.

Moments later, Rainbow Dash broke the silence by crying out "What do you mean 'she's ill'!? I saw her yesterday, and she seemed fine to me!"

"All ah know is" Applejack began. "When she woke up this mornin', she was feelin' quite under the weather. When ah went to her house ta pick 'er up, she looked quite tired, an' said that she was sufferin' from aches and pains. She asked me to take 'er to the hospital thinkin' it maght be a case o' the flu."

Everypony looked sad at the notion that their friend was sick in the hospital.

"Well, what do you think we should do?" Fluttershy asked after a few moments.

"Well, we should at least go see her!" Twilight Sparkle answered with finality. "She's our friend who's been through thick and thin with us all the way! We owe her that much, at least."

"I agree completely!" Pinkie Pie said.

"Me, too!" Rainbow dash said. "Okay, Twi, lead the way."

With this, they dropped the picnic and hurried in the direction of Ponyville Hospital, where their long time friend Rarity was hospitalized.

It didn't take them very long to reach Ponyville Hospital. They rushed in looking for where Rarity might be hospitalized. They were met by Nurse Redheart, who was dressed in full surgical gear.

"Nurse Redheart!" Twilight Sparkle said in greeting.

Nurse Redheart gasped slightly upon seeing her. "Princess Twilight Sparkle!" she said and immediately began to bow.

Twilight Sparkle stopped her by placing her forehooves on her shoulders. Nurse Redheart looked up, slightly startled.

"No formalities!" Twilight Sparkle said. "We're here to see Rarity!"

"Oh! Right…" Nurse Redheart said. "I figured you girls'd show up sooner or later. Follow me!"

She led them to an area of the hospital that was the Intensive Care Unit. She stopped in front of a bay window and gestured for Twilight Sparkle and her friends to look inside. What they saw stunned them all! They saw Rarity lying in a hospital bed hooked up to a respirator. There was a I.V. implanted in her left foreleg, and she looked ten years older than she really was! A male Earth pony Doctor was tending to her. Standing by the door to the room were two male unicorn Nurses. They were all dressed in full protective surgical gear. The threshold of the door that led into the room was curtained off, and the curtaining was extended to a few feet beyond the door. The male Nurses were standing guard. It looked like a Medical Quarantine!

This was confirmed when Nurse Redheart spoke again. "We've got her under Quarantine! I must admit, I've never seen anything like this! She's got all of the symptoms of a severe flu, but I think it's more than the flu!"

"Well, what's she come down with?" Twilight Sparkle asked.

"That's just it!" Nurse Redheart admitted. "We don't know what she's got! Even Doctor Heartthrob's baffled!"

"She looks really bad, Twilight!" Fluttershy cried as she laid a forehoof on Twilight's shoulder. "I'm worried for her!"

"We all are, Fluttershy!" Twilight said as she laid a comforting hoof on Fluttershy's shoulders.

"We gotta do something!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

"What do ya suggest?" Applejack asked.

"Well, for starters, we should go in there and-" Rainbow Dash began as she moved to enter the room.

"NO!" Nurse Redheart exclaimed as she stopped Rainbow Dash before the threshold. "Not unless you wanna risk getting infected yourselves!"

"Well, we can't just stand here!" Rainbow Dash said in despair.

"Ah agree!" Applejack said. "We gotta at least try to do somethin', y'all!"

"Applejack's right!" Pinkie Pie said. "I just can't stand to see her LOOKING like this!" She looked quite sad, almost to the point of tears.

"Hmmm…" Twilight Sparkle became pensive as she brought a forehoof to her chin. "I must contact Princess Celestia!" she finally said. "SHE'LL know what do to! And for that, I'll need Spike. You girls stay here! I'll be back as soon as I can!"

With this, she galloped off in the direction of the Ponyville Library where she was sure to find Spike.

In the Throne Room of Canterlot Palace, Princess Celestia, the official ruler of Equestria, was busy pouring over some official documents. She stood six and a half feet tall- seven foot four, if you included her alicorn's horn – and had a pure white coat with a sun symbol cutie mark, thus denoting her as the Sun Princess capable of raising and lowering the sun at will, thanks to her awesome alicorn powers. She had a multicoloured mane and tail that flowed constantly, as if by magic.

Her official business was interrupted by a green flash a few feet away from her. Out of that flash came a rolled up parchment that fell to the floor. She used her alicorn magic to pick the parchment up. She knew instantly who it was from just by looking at it! It's from Princess Twilight Sparkle. What does she want? She thought to herself.

She used her magic to unroll the parchment. She read the following:

Dear Princess Celestia,

I apologize in advance for disturbing you at this time of the day, but a crisis has arisen in Ponyville!

Rarity, my good friend and wielder of the Element of Generosity, has taken ill with an unknown disease! She is currently being looked after at the Ponyville Hospital with severe flulike symptoms, but the Doctors keep insisting that it's not the flu! Matter of fact, they are totally at a loss as to what's causing her ailment!

Can you please advise?

Princess Twilight Sparkle

After reading the letter to her by her long time loyal and faithful student, Princess Celestia became pensive. The look on her facial features betrayed worry. She cared very deeply for all of her subjects, and frequently took it upon herself to guarantee their safety and well being. The news of one of the wielders of the Elements of Harmony, the literal guardians of Equestria, taking ill suddenly, was most distressful!

Out of a side door next to the Royal Throne, another alicorn figure appeared. This alicorn was smaller than Celestia, standing only 5 feet tall – five foot nine, if you included her horn – and was dark blue in colour. Her cutie mark was a white crescent moon overlayed against a pitch black sky, thus denoting her as the Moon Princess. Her flowing mane and tail were of a lighter blue shade, and seemed to carry twinkling stars. This was Princess Luna, the Princess of The Night!

"Sister?" she said as she approached her elder sibling.

Celestia was startled slightly by the sound of her younger sister's voice. "Oh! Luna…" she said as she turned a glance at her sibling. "I didn't hear you come in…"

Luna noticed that her sister was not her usual joyous self. "What is wrong, dear sister?" she asked. "You seem… troubled…"

"I just received word from Princess Twilight Sparkle that one of the wielders of the Elements of Harmony has come down with an unknown disease…"

"Unknown disease?" Luna asked.

"Yes…" Celestia said as she handed the parchment to her younger sister to read.

As Luna read the parchment, her eyebrows lifted momentarily, thus betraying an emotion of surprise. It looked familiar to Celestia somehow. "This is most disturbing indeed!" Luna said as she lowered the parchment. "Any idea what could be causing this ailment?"

Princess Celestia looked up at a familiar stained glass window to her left. "No…But I think I know who'd might. Excuse me…" she said as she got up from the Throne and proceeded towards the side door that lead out of the Throne Room.

Princess Luna moved to follow her elder sister. "Your Highness!" came a voice from her left that made her stop. It belonged to the member of the Royal Guard who directed traffic in and out of the Throne Room. This male Earth pony was dark yellow in colour with a two toned blue mane and tail. He also wore the polished gold coloured uniform of the Palace Guards. "Sorry to disturb you," he began as he trotted up to stand a few feet away from the Throne. "but there are subjects in the hall outside who wish to have an audience."

"How many?" Luna asked.

The male pony looked nervous. "Several, Your Highness…"

Luna glanced over towards the Throne that was just abandoned by her elder sister. She took it upon herself to take her place on it.

"Thou art new here?" Princess Luna casually asked.

The male pony nodded. "Y-yes, Your Highness. I joined the Royal Guard barely two months ago."

"What is thy name?"

The male pony swallowed nervously. "F-Flash Sentry, Your Highness…"

Princess Luna smiled. "Well, I welcome thee to our service, Flash Sentry!"

Flash Sentry relaxed a bit and bowed slightly, smiling. "Thank you, Your Highness!"

"You may send the first ones in…" Princess Luna ordered.

"Yes, Your Highness!" Flash Sentry bowed, then trotted back to the large double doors at the end of the Throne Room let in the first of Equestria's Loyal Subjects who wish to see Equestrian Royalty.