"Put him down. It's what he wants." Rainbow Dash stood back as the three unicorns eased Mike to the cobbles. He stumbled, gasping as his weight settled on his broken leg. She quickly shouldered into him, raising him just enough to relieve the pressure. Dr. Caduceus and Nurse Redrood moved forward and began to examine him. "A nasty break, but a clean one. Have you ever broken this limb before?" Dr. Caduceus looked up at him, horn radiating a soft, pearly light.

Mike shook his head, gasping again, leaning so heavily against Rainbow Dash that she staggered. Scootaloo and Rarity moved in to help her support him. Mike didn't object.

"That's not what my horn tells me." The older unicorn tsk-tsked, but went back to his examination, "If you allow me, I can take the edge off the pain somewhat. Was that a yes?"

Swallowing, sweat staining his golden coat a darker shade, Mike nodded again, this time harder, eyes closed, teeth clenched. The Dr.'s horn glowed as he ran it up and down the injured leg. Mike began to relax as the hot stabbing sensation slowly died down.

"Just temporary until we can get you to the Clinic. Do you think you can limp along on three? Or would you prefer we lift you again?"

"Mike, don't be stupid. Let them." Rainbow Dash gave Constable Fife the stinkeye, "They won't drop you. I'll walk along beside you and make sure of that."

"I'll manage." He tried to move forward a few steps and stumbled.

"No, you cant." She put her head over his withers, briefly gripping him between her chin and chest, "I won't let them. Right Fife?"

The little Constable backed up, nervously grinning up at her with oversized crooked teeth. If only Maude Pie would look at others that way on his behalf, "Yes M'AM!" he said loudly, and then he muttered to Shining Armor. "But SIR, what about the uniform?"

"What about it?" Shining Armor said coldly, watching the two interact. There was something going on here he didn't quite understand. Rainbow Dash was acting with typical mare bossiness as if dealing with a stallion she considered her property, but the bodyguard had given no indication earlier that there was anything going on aside from his understandable anxiety when he didn't know exactly where she was.

"He's not a pegasus. Look at those empty holes! He shouldn't be wearing a Wonderbolt uniform if he's not a Wonderbolt. That's what my informant told me."

"Your informant has been taken into custody and now faces charge of bearing false witness against another – a serious crime." Shining Armor said, "The next time a situation arises, check your sources and THEN send a runner for backup before you move in to make an arrest if there's time. As for the shirt, he has every right to wear a Wonderbolt uniform. He's earned it."

"Oh SIR… you don't mean?" Cashew suddenly deflated. How could he have been so, so, UNKIND? He counted to three the way his mother had taught him to do when he was a colt whenever he'd had gotten in over his head (which was often) and with stinging eyes, whispered loudly enough in his superior's ear that everyone around them could hear him, "You mean, he's… he's… an AMPUTEE?"

Genuinely annoyed, Shining Armor turned his head, ready to snap. Only he saw the look of apologetic chagrin in the Constable's eyes – this was the same tender-hearted creature who took in every stray dog or cat he encountered and spent weeks trying to find homes for them on his days off, who kept an unclaimed bag of jacks in one pocket that he'd found near a playground in the hopes that he'd eventually find the little owner, and who was once caught during his Academy days with a pot of glue and a tiny brush trying to mend a moth's torn wings. One eye on Mike and Rainbow Dash, he said a little more gently, "We'll discuss it later."

Mike now stood meekly submitting to Dr. Caduceus, Rainbow Dash's head over his withers. Shining Armor remembered the first time Cadence had done something similar after his long, awkward parading of himself in front of her starting in their high school days – she'd trotted right up to him after he'd graduated from Guard training and bluntly told him with marish bluntness that not only had his helmet been crooked the entire outdoor ceremony, a bird had relieved itself on it and that she wouldn't be seen in public with him until he did something about it.

There was a stir at his side that wasn't the fidgety Fife, but Shining Armor's sister, Twilight Sparkle – who was now almost as tall as he was. She settled her wings, watching the two intently. Shining Armor cocked an eyebrow in their direction; she responded with a look of distaste.


"Mike, Cheapskate," Rainbow Dash murmured, "What are you going to do now?"

He gave a sharp intake of breath when despite Dr. Caduceus's magic, his leg gave a twinge, "I have responsibilities. I have to go back." He grated.

"You'd be deaf there, if what I've been told is right." Rainbow Dash shifted so that Caduceus and Redrood could more easily splint Mike's leg, "Stay here. Things like the medallion could give you more or less a normal life."

"I don't belong here, and never will." His eyes were closed in defeat, "I might be deaf on the other side, but I belong there."

"And what would you do on the other side if you can't fly?" Rainbow Dash felt him stiffen and then ever so slowly, relax. She caught Scootaloo's eye and gave her a reassuring smile. Scootaloo, who'd been listening unobtrusively against Mike's other flank while supporting him, looked like she was about to burst into tears. Rarity shifted closer to her.

"I don't know. Retrain, find a job, go back home to cows and engines, I'll figure something… something… something… Out! ohgodthathurt!" He bucked against Rainbow Dash as Nurse Redrood used magic to tie a splint against the broken leg with a long strip of bandage.

"Now that I know you're all right, just have them send me home. I don't know how much more of this place I can-." He stiffened, and Rainbow Dash followed his gaze as he pushed himself away from his supporters, and limping on three legs, put himself between her and the approaching Twilight Sparkle, head down, ears back, teeth bared, and nostrils flaring.