2:00pm, 27th of Summer, 1002 C.R.
Angel Bunny was enjoying a lovely salad that Fluttershy had gracefully made. Although he would never admit it, it was times like this where he could just relax with Fluttershy and not worry about impending danger taking her away from him. After all, Fluttershy was the only one who could fluff his tail properly.
"How are you enjoying the salad?" Fluttershy asked, gently hovering over the bunny. Angel looked at her with a moderately indifferent expression and waved his paw in a shaky manner; so-so.
"Oh, well, I could always make another one if you don't like it," she offered timidly.
Angel shook his head and pulled his bowl closer. He could never fully express himself in front of her properly; he has an image to uphold.
He was, as the fillies would say, a bunny who couldn't be honest with himself.
"Well, I'll just get out of your way. The chickens need feeding." Fluttershy picked up a bag of chicken feed, smiled warmly at Angel proceeding to head to the door. She stopped when she heard the noise. Angel heard it as well, his ears perked as the distinct sound of somepony screaming suddenly grew louder and louder until… An explosion detonated in the backyard. Fluttershy jumped at the noise, dropping her bag. "Oh my," she gasped, "What was that?"
Angel didn't know, but he was intending to run whatever it was out so he can enjoy his salad. The pegasus and the bunny ran to the backyard.
The entire chicken coop was absolutely mangled, Angel was wrong in his assumption that it was an explosion as the coop still stood where it was except now it had a huge hole on the roof and all of the chickens ran around frantic.
"Oh no, Ms. Cluck, please don't run away, oh, Sir Feathers-A-Lot it's okay, you're alright." Fluttershy flew around the place, grabbing chickens and trying to calm them down, but Angel had little interest in the clucking little menaces and headed for the coop.
He heard coughing and groaning in the coop, so, Angel armed himself with a chicken feather; whoever was here was going to get tickled to death if they don't cooperate. Entering the dusty coop, Angel was practically blinded by the shower of features from the panicking chickens.
"Well, that was new, never been launched by a catapult before." A lilting voice rang out with a distinct accent, Angel didn't recognize it but it sounded just as arrogant and pompous as the Diamond Flank's accent.
Angel Bunny squeaked out a few accusatory swears at the intruder, stated his hostile intent and demanded to know who the intruder was.
A stallion poked his head out the smoke and darkness and revealed a bright smile, a wild mane, and eccentric eyes as he looked at Angel with curiosity. "Oh! A bunny! You are a cute one, aren't you?"
Angel wasn't one to be swayed by compliments, so, he pointed his feather at the stallion and demanded, once more, his identity before death by tickling.
The stallion chuckled and scratched his mane, "Fine, fine, if you want to know so badly, I'm the Doctor, sorry about your chicken coop but I decided to… drop in."
The bunny stepped back, confused. Could this stallion understand him? Impossible, nopony can understand him, save Fluttershy of course.
"Well, of course I can understand you!" The Doctor said in response to Angel's squeaking mutterings.
Angel shook his head and stared at the Doctor with disbelief.
"Oh my, Angel are you in here?" Fluttershy timidly called from outside. Angel simply stood there, stunned that this Doctor could speak to him.
The bunny squeaked once more at the Doctor, furious yet curious to see if he wasn't hallucinating.
"Actually, if you don't mind, it's just the Doctor," he answered humorously with a great big smile that Angel quickly learned to hate.
"Who is that?" Fluttershy entered the chicken coop and gasped as loudly as she could—so essentially louder than an insect buzzing—as she saw the Doctor with Angel. "Oh my, are you—I mean, how did you—why…"
She looked helplessly to Angel for moral support, but the bunny looked at her with an equally hopeless expression, for once, Angel was left speechless.
"So sorry!" the Doctor flashed out his psychic paper, showing off the Canterlot Royal Seal along with a list of credentials from places Fluttershy had never even heard of! "Royal Domestic Animal Lodgings Inspector! Dropping by to check if everything is in order with this chicken coop and I have to tell you, there's a fault in this one."
Angel jumped at this chance, throwing out a torrent of swears that would make a sailor blush. The Time Lord quickly patted the bunny on the head and scratched underneath his chin with such remarkable finesse that Angel was silenced instantly and went cross-eyed with pleasure.
"Oh my, what's the fault Mister…"
"Oh, I'm the… um, Sepia Tock! I'm Sepia Tock, yeah, that's my name. And don't worry about the fault, nothing major just the fact that there is a huge hole in the roof. I'll get somebody to fix it. We should get inside though, and I'll be more than happy to discuss this issue with you."
"Sepia Tock" grinned happily exuding a cheerful demeanor that Fluttershy felt more than obligated to get along with; though she still acted with trepidation, leaning back slightly, allowing her mane to fall over her face and averted her eyes even as she led him out.
The ponies walked through the backyard, amongst the chaos of the chickens. Fluttershy stopped to calm them down to no avail, but the Doctor whistled once and declared with a commanding voice to calm down. As if by magic, all of the chickens became docile and went off clucking quietly. It was as "Sepia Tock" could communicate with them at a level Fluttershy was unable to.
Grinning at the shy pegasus, the Doctor nodded and allowed her to led them into the cottage.
With how eccentric he was, the Doctor reminded Angel of Rainbow Dash mixed with Pinkie Pie, a mixture of arrogance and carefree personalities that when combined created this stallion that the bunny couldn't stand.
As typical of his owner, Fluttershy avoided eye-contact with the Doctor who was blissfully unaware of the pegasus's shy personality.
"By the way, I didn't catch your name," the Doctor said upon entering the cottage.
Fluttershy nervously shuffled her hooves and frowned. Mentally, she counted to ten, mustering up enough courage to answer him. "I'm… Fluttershy."
"Fluttershy?" he repeated curiously. "Brilliant! I think I'm getting used to the naming conventions of this universe, certainly not like back home, well! That isn't entirely true, but still, Fluttershy? Ha! I'm beginning to like this place more and more, is your last name Shy or is that just one name? Flutter would be a strange first name, well then again my first name is Sepia! Isn't that funny? Sepia!"
His little outburst startled Fluttershy. She jumped back slightly, giving him a wide berth for the Doctor's antics and gestures. This strange pony reminded Fluttershy too much of Pinkie Pie, in fact, if she looked hard enough she could practically see her bouncing pink mane on him.
"What a lovely little place, plenty of animals here but isn't that a little weird? You know, a pony taking care of animals? Oh, do you have any tea? I could really go for something to drink, perhaps some biscuits if you've got them?"
A few minutes later
It took Rarity a full twenty minutes to get from her place to Fluttershy's cottage. Mind you, it wasn't for lack of trying, the walk was only about five minutes with a brisk pace. The reason it took so long was because of how difficult Opalescence was behaving. It was time for her bi-weekly grooming and since Fluttershy was the only pony brave enough (and kind enough) to deal with the pampered cat, she was the first choice obviously. But, Opal never did take to being stuffed in her carriage so roughly and she certainly didn't take to Rarity's coaxing either.
That resulted in several unseemly scratches and a bruised ego for the fashionista and a less than cordial cat.
Still, the walk did Rarity well; she did enjoy visiting Fluttershy although her animal company left plenty to be desired.
In her carriage, Opal hissed when Fluttershy's cottage came into view.
"Now dear, don't be like that," Rarity said. "You love Fluttershy, don't you?"
In response, Opal banged against the carriage, nearly jostling her way out of Rarity's magical grip.
"Well, hopefully your mood will improve once you come out all pretty and prim." Rarity trotted up to the door and prepared to knock when she heard a voice coming from inside, it wasn't Fluttershy it was… a stallion?!
Rarity practically became one with the door as she pressed her ear against it, she was never one to eavesdrop (on accident that is) but the implications set by this situation! Fluttershy; Ponyville's shyest resident and the sweetest mare Rarity has come to know alone with a stallion in her home? The pegasus never showed any romantic interest, for so long in fact Rarity began to suspect that Fluttershy was…
"… ah, how did that happen?" The stranger's voice said, muffled considerably by the door though Rarity was able to identify an exotic accent; Hoofington?
"Oh my, are you okay?" came Fluttershy's quiet voice, so inaudible that Rarity only caught the last bit of that sentence.
The conversation became indistinct as Rarity strained to catch what few words were exchanged.
"… tight fit," said the stallion.
"… gentle, please," asked Fluttershy timidly.
Rarity's cheeks burned crimson red.
"It'll be fine, just lift your legs up like that. Good, and here we go."
Grunts of exertion.
"Nope, definitely tighter than I anticipated. Hm, let's try this then…"
Fluttershy gasped as quietly as she could. "Oh my, it's so big."
"With this I'll loosen it up." A strange whirring noise echoed, followed quickly by Fluttershy's vibrating voice.
"Right, now one more time."
Another grunt of exertion.
"Blast, still too tight…"
"Have you any butter?"
Rarity burst through the door, cheeks flushed and with Opal in tow right behind her. "What is going on here?!"
She happened upon Fluttershy and her stallion guest standing in front of her… with Angel Bunny held between them, the poor bunny's head was trapped inside a large pickle jar and the two ponies were attempting to free him. Fluttershy nearly dropped the jar in surprise, shrinking away from the fashionista's sudden outburst.
The stallion, however, grinned at Rarity with genuine kindness. "Oh, hello! Angel's got himself in a bit of a pickle, do you mind lending a hoof?"
"W-what… who are you? A-and—"
"Oh my"—Fluttershy glided toward Rarity, placing a motherly hoof on her forehead— "You're absolutely red, are you feeling well?"
Rarity shook her head, stepping away from Fluttershy for a moment to regain her composure. "Y-yes dear, I'm perfectly fine. I must've… misunderstood."
"Nothing, nothing." Rarity coughed, feigning disinterest before turning back to the Doctor. "My apologies. I am Rarity, what, ah, are you doing in Fluttershy's cottage?" Alone, she wanted to mention.
"Hello! I'm Sepia Tock, I'm here to investigate Fluttershy's chicken coop."
Rarity gave him a sideways glance. "Chicken coop?"
"Oh yes, it is in severe disarray. It'll need some patchwork, that gaping hole will need some filling, after all."
Another furious blush returned to Rarity's cheeks. She turned to Fluttershy for some form of explanation, but the peagsus merely nodded affirmatively.
"Complete shambles!" continued the Doctor. "Looks like it receives maintenance every month or so."
"Oh no. I take care of it every week. Big Mac even comes by to check it out," Fluttershy asserted.
"Really? From the state of it, I'd say it hasn't been checked out in a long time!"
Under normal circumstances, Rarity wouldn't have so blatantly misconstrued conversation like this, but after hearing their exchange from before it was quite easy to produce perverted images.
"Still, it's what I'm here for. Don't worry Flutterbutt, I'll have your chicken coop sorted out," he promised with a hearty grin. Rarity faced the oblivious stallion and slapped him right across the face.
Well, considering her hooves it wasn't as much of a slap as it was a vicious left hook. The Doctor staggered back, whimpering pathetically. "Ouchie kadoodles! What was that for?!"
"I'll have you know that regardless of Fluttershy's interest you will not refer to her with such vulgarity!" Rarity snapped. "She is a lady and I will expect you treat her as such!"
"But… I was just talking about her chicken coop!"
Rarity gasped, outraged that he would again refer to her… "intimate parts" with such a flippant attitude and slapped him once more. "Well, I never!" She huffed as she took Opal and stormed out.
Fluttershy, who remained shocked and mute at Rarity's passionate display, could only gaped as poor "Sepia" nursed his cheeks which remained bright red from the assault.
"Are you okay?" she timidly asked.
"Lovely friend you have," he snapped impatiently. "I hope she didn't leave a mark…"
"I'm not sure what got into her," admitted Fluttershy. "It's probably a big misunderstanding."
"No misunderstanding here, it's all quite clear to me," he declared dramatically. "All unicorns are crazy!"
Ten minutes later
"Uh, Ah don't know about this Scootaloo," chimed Apple Bloom as the three fillies treaded at the very edge of the cliff with just a large hang-glider to keep them from tipping over.
"Oh, come on! What's the worst that could happen?" asked the pegasus with confidence in her voice that was betrayed by slight fear in her eyes.
"Horrible maiming and debilitating pain that could leave us bedridden for months?" supplied Sweetie Belle.
Scootaloo waved her hoof and blew a small raspberry at the unicorn's concern. "I don't know the meaning of half those words."
"Ah really don't think we should do this," tried Apple Bloom again. "We tried for our hang-gliding cutie mark before you know?"
"Yeah, when we crashed into that maple tree? I didn't even know Sweet Apple Acres had maple trees!" recalled Sweetie Belle.
"We don't, we landed far away from Sweet Apple Acres," corrected Apple Bloom.
"Quit being chicken," snapped Scootaloo. "I figured out the problem. We weren't high enough!"
"Ah think we're plenty high now," remarked Apple Bloom gesturing toward the cliff and the expansive forest under them with only a sheer 300 foot drop separating them.
"Blah, blah, blah, words later, cutie marks now!" Scootaloo pushed at the hang-glider and sent the three of them flying off the cliff.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders took to the skies as delicately and expertly as you may expect; screaming all the way down to earth.
The Doctor walked around the forest, slightly lost. After promising to send a few workers to repair Fluttershy's chicken coop, he managed to get directions back to Ponyville but lost his way there in a few minutes. He wasn't sure how he got so hopelessly lost in a manner of minutes, he usually had a terrific sense of direction! But still, the walk was invigorating as he trotted on the cobblestone path passing many trees and many woodland animals along the way.
He's never had a chance like this to simply slow down and take in his surroundings with Zen-like calmness and a larger appreciation of nature. No danger, no aliens threatening to destroy the planet, no wicked beings aiming laser guns at him. Just him, the forest, the birds chirping, and screaming.
The fillies tumbled into the Time Pony, rolling violently while wrapped up in the hang-glider, off the path and into the dense forest in front of them. "My legs! My head! My legs!" complained the Doctor before they came to a grinding halt smashing into a large oak tree, thankfully, the Doctor cushioned the impact considerably.
"Well!" The Doctor poked his head out of the wreckage, dazed and confused. "Not as dangerous as a Cybermen fleet, but awfully close to it."
The three fillies crawled out of the wreckage, groaning and complaining, they stopped to examine their flanks to find… them blank as per usual.
"So much for that idea," moaned Scootaloo.
"Uh, girls," Applebloom said, pointing at the Doctor. "Ah think we can add assault to our charges."
The Doctor rubbed his head and quickly checked his body for any life-threatening injuries: no bruises on his barrel, legs were fine, his hooves were still fantastic, nope! Perfect.
He looked at the fillies with a severe expression and they shrunk in the sight of his scrutiny, bowed slightly with their ears visibly down. They waited, expecting a lashing on how reckless they were with a severe punishment to go along it.
"Lift up your forelegs," the Doctor ordered.
Confused, the fillies looked at each other, then at the Doctor and finally complied. The Doctor ran his sonic screwdriver over the three fillies, glanced at the device, and said, "Now then, 'ahhhh'."
They mimicked him, opening their mouths as wide as they could. The strange stallion glanced at them for a moment then leaned back, and grinned widely. "Well! No visible injuries, save perhaps a bruised ego, good, good. Now, on the case of your glider."
They winced and expected the scolding any second now.
"The design isn't anywhere near close to compensating for your combined weight, and along with your rather exaggerated point of descent, it'll never carry you like it should! As soon as you drop, the thing will collapse on itself! No, no, no, it won't do, it won't do at all!"
Again, the three fillies looked at each other with absolutely astonished expressions. Why wouldn't this adult, who was supposed to be the mature responsible one here, punish them? And most importantly, why is he repairing their glider?
Although the glider was in complete disarray upon the crash, he managed to make it much bigger and much more support with a few sticks and waves of his device.
"Wait, mister, what are you doing?" cried Scootaloo, unsure whether to be offended or frightened at this stallion's ridiculous behavior.
"Please, call me the Doctor, and what I'm doing is readjusting your wing loading, it was too high for you three, and now with this you'll be able to reach the optimal running speed!" He looked at the three with a perfectly manic smile. "Let's give this a test run, shall we?"
In a matter of moments, the four ponies were on top of Horseshoe Pointe, underneath the Doctor's adjusted glider. The Crusaders were unsure on whether they should be ecstatic that they get to try again, or fearful that this was some form of trick by the Doctor to get them into more trouble!
The Doctor's behavior, however, reassured them that he wasn't playing any sort of trick. His goofy smile, the excited silly look in his eyes and his thousand-mile-per-hour ramblings promised that this Doctor wasn't like normal grown-ups, he was as reckless and juvenile as the Crusaders.
"Wait, Doctor, are you sure this is going to work?" asked Sweetie Belle.
"Seventy percent sure. I haven't factored in my additional weight, so, we might end up crashing and burning faster," he answered without hesitation.
"Wait, what?!" cried Scootaloo.
"Geronimo!" The Doctor interrupted, pushing the glider forward and forcing the Crusaders to run right alongside him, screaming helplessly as they jumped off the cliff and took to the skies.
They soared over the forest with a certain expertise that didn't seem apparent in the eccentric stallion. Instead of the usual formula of crashing horrifically, they were flying majestically as they overlooked the forest, so close to the clouds they could practically touch it.
The fillies stopped their screaming and became mute; awe-struck at what they had accomplished. Sweet Apple Acres could be seen in the far north, and the entire town over to the left, everypony looked like insects from up here! Scootaloo whopped excitingly, as this was the first time she was this high in the sky without the threat of impeding injury upon her.
The Crusaders looked over at the Doctor who was laughing and smiling proudly. "Not bad for a test run huh? Now then, we should probably get down, this is going to fall apart very fast."
"What?!" they cried.
"I know!" The Doctor said gleefully, laughing as they finally descended back down to earth.
The landing, albeit bumpy, was a lot better than what the Doctor had originally envisioned.
After ten terrifying minutes, the Doctor managed to land the blasted hang-glider with everypony intact. Once down to earth, the Doctor jumped off the glider and laughed victoriously.
"Ha! That was great wasn't it?" he said, turning toward the dizzy fillies with the exception of Scootaloo who jumped with enthusiasm matching the Time Lord.
"Yeah! Let's do it again!"
"No!" Applebloom and Sweetie Belle cried, feeling as though they were the only sane ones in this party. Scootaloo pouted and turned to the Doctor who she hoped would agree with her.
"They're right, you lot should be heading home. I'll handle the glider, but no more dangerous stunts." He flashed a severe look while wagging a disapproving hoof at them. "You could get hurt doing them, so avoid pitching yourselves off cliffs, got it?"
Confused at the Doctor's sudden change in attitude, the Crusaders nodded regardless. The Time Lord, satisfied, sent the fillies on their way, but not before they ducked behind a tree to spy on him… curious at why a seemingly responsible adult would condone their actions before scolding them for attempting it without proper supervision. Silently, the three agreed on a new method of earning their revered cutie marks; Cutie Mark Crusaders Private Investigators.
Rainbow Dash sighed for the twentieth time as she trudged alongside Applejack, lugging a dozen or two apples on her back with a sour attitude. The cyan pegasus was not looking forward to this. Applejack had managed to rope Rainbow Dash into helping setting up her apple stand today, it wasn't very difficult, Rainbow was distracted by her Daring Do books to pay attention to the earth pony.
Naturally, Rainbow didn't hesitate in assisting Applejack (even if she can't remember promising to assist to begin with) being the Element of Loyalty has its downfalls. Lounging around, pulling pranks and flying sounded a lot more fun than selling apples, but a promise is a promise and Applejack is a friend even if she was overly enthusiastic about this.
"Thanks again for offerin' to help Rainbow," Applejack said as she stopped beside Roseluck's flower stand and began to set up shop.
Rainbow grimaced. "No prob, happy to help, but, uh, how long will this take?"
The earth pony happily put up her Sweet Apple Acres sign over the stand and began setting the apples beside them, grinning as the fruit gleamed in the sun. "Ah hope to sell everything we brought, so, that might take a while. Why? Got somethin' to do?"
The pegasus considered for a moment, refraining from mentioning that she wanted to get back to reading and shook her head. "I guess not. But AJ, I don't think we can sell everything today." She looked at the apples she brought, in total there were at least a hundred apples, and it would take Flim and Flam to be able to sell everything here.
"Can't hurt to give it a try," Applejack responded cheerfully. "Apples here! Fresh apples from Sweet Apple Acres!"
Her demanding voice and Southern twang caught the attention of everypony there. Applejack may not be the most business savvy and may not have the wealth of knowledge that Twilight has, but her charisma and energy was more than enough to attract everypony to her stand.
Soon enough, there were plenty of customers practically throwing bits at Applejack for her produce. If her famous reputation for her grade A apples weren't enough to lure customers, her charisma would be more than enough.
Rainbow Dash's duties were easily outlined by the farm pony. She was to assist in bagging the product and reload the canisters when needed. Rainbow originally figured that this process would take ages considering the lackluster population of Ponyville, but there were ponies buying apples by the wagonful! This would be a cinch!
Applejack kindly thanked the batch of ponies for their patronage and prepared to deposit the bits when another customer had approached already.
"Howdy there!" Applejack turned to the pony with a friendly enough smile. The stallion wore a smug smile that went perfectly with his ridiculous bowtie and coat. He didn't say anything to Applejack and instead tugged his bowtie off his neck and showed it to the mares.
"That proof enough for you?" he asked with a voice barely containing his excitement.
Before Applejack could muster a response, Rainbow beat her to the punch. "Uh, what're you talking about? You gonna buy something or what?"
"In a bit," he answered before trotting away.
Applejack turned to her winged friend for some plausible explanation, the only response she received was a shrug and a bored expression. Ponyville was nothing without its eccentric residents, after all.
"Ooh, look at that apples! Love a good apple." Directly behind Rainbow Dash stood that same pony, curiously eyeing the basket of apples before him. Rainbow and Applejack stared incredulously at the stallion.
"Ya gonna buy something this time?" Applejack asked.
"You came by like ten seconds ago, took off your bowtie, and just walked off without buying anything," supplied Rainbow impatiently.
"Why'd ya do that anyways?" the farm pony asked.
He looked confused for a moment but smiled brilliantly all the same. "Oh, I'll explain later. I'm Time Turner, by the way, how much for a few apples?"
"Time Turner?" Applejack repeated, staring intently at his face. "You… look familiar, haven't Ah seen ya around before?"
"Not me, no. New face." He opened his mouth as if to show her his teeth. "Twelfth one."
Applejack grimaced slightly, trying to place him in her memory but to no avail. Finally, she shook her head and answered him, "Five bits for a bushel."
"Bits huh?" he mused. "Strange currency, but what can you expect from ponies huh?"
"You say that like you aren't a pony," remarked Rainbow.
"I'm afraid I don't have any, heh, bits on me," he said sheepishly.
Applejack's hospitality disappeared instantly, frowning at the strange stallion who wasted too much of her time, still, it wasn't like her to snuff a pony regardless of how they acted. "Oh, well, thank ya for yer interest but we take cash only."
"Oh, but ah, I'd like to know your names of course. I'm new here, you see, opening up a much needed clockwork shop and such and it'll be beneficial if I become neighborly," he said, stopping Applejack from leaving the conversation.
"I'm Rainbow Dash, this is Applejack," offered the pegasus, sensing Applejack's impatience. "Clockwork shop huh? Might be nice having a clock, I guess."
Applejack scoffed lightly. "Not like it'll make you any more punctual Rainbow. Yer always late to Pinkie's parties, not to mention keeping up with the weather schedule."
"Fashionably late," Rainbow corrected. "It's something cool ponies do, you wouldn't know about that AJ."
"Heh, sure," amended Applejack, wary of her defensive nature and impulse to argue. "Now, is there anythin' else ya need Time Turn—" she looked around to find that he was gone.
Golden Oaks Library
Twilight was barely finished her letter to Princess Celestia when the Doctor came strolling in. The arrogant Time Lord wore a smug expression with confidence she could practically see radiating off him. "What's got you in such a good mood?"
He chuckled as he ran his hoof through his mane. "Nothing much, just took a little stroll through town, lovely place. I met some ponies along the way, several of which, I believe, are your friends?"
The Doctor recounted his experiences with Twilight, delighting upon his explanation of his encounters with her closest friends. Although Twilight was happy with how well his day went – with a few exceptions – she was admittedly jealous of how easily he was able to encounter all of them, as if guided by some external force conveniently meeting everypony.
"Oh, Twilight, have you any place where you can gather all of your friends with no one else around?" he asked suddenly.
"Nopony," Twilight automatically corrected. "But, yeah, why?"
"Personally, I think one needs a flair for theatrics. One's entrance should be exciting, but one's exit should be just as equally as exciting." The Doctor gave Twilight his best mad-pony smile. "And I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I show up."
Practically squealing, the Doctor ran off to the basement and within moments left with his TARDIS. Twilight sighed, unsure of how to interpret all of this. She's been through so many things after moving to Ponyville, but this was on another level. Glancing at her letter from the Princess, Twilight almost reconsidered for a moment but quickly made up her mind.
Making her way to the door, Twilight thought of who to see first when it opened and Spike stepped through with a few cupcakes in his claws.
"Hey, Twi, I brought you a cupcake—whoa! What's the hurry?" He dodged her as she nearly barreled right over him. "What's the hurry?!"
"Nothing, gonna meet up with Pinkie, is she at Sugarcube Corner?"
Twilight grinned to herself, ignoring Spike's question and running off to the confectionary, elated at coming events.
The Doctor certainly did have a flair for theatrics. He had her waiting here for hours before delivering a note indicating his arrival. Twilight scoffed, annoyed and intrigued at the Doctor's fascination with the number twelve, maybe it was an ego thing.
Still, the ponies arrived on time. Twilight could hear their conversation as they came up the considerable hill; Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie and Fluttershy walked together up the hill while Rainbow hovered above. Once they spotted Twilight, their expressions didn't improve, save Pinkie's who bounded toward her like an excited dog.
"Ooh, is this a surprise party or something? I didn't bring any snacks but I've got this!" She shook her head madly and a few bits of candy fell out of her mane. Twilight chuckled, declining the mane-candy, but placated her by saying she could have it all.
"Twi', why in the name of Equestria did ya bring us up here?" Applejack asked straightforwardly.
"Though I don't mind the view so much, this is cutting into my beauty sleep, darling," added Rarity.
"Don't tell me you brought us out here to show us another one of your encyclopedias?" groaned Rainbow Dash. "I told you Twilight, it's cool that you know every constellation, but you don't need to remind us every week."
Fluttershy timidly reassured Twilight that she didn't particularly mind being brought here, but Twilight turned to the group in total. "I've got something important to tell you, it's… big."
"Ooh, bigger than your discovery of Daring Do's lost volume?" asked Pinkie.
"Yes," Twilight said, a bit embarrassed as she remembered her overreaction when she found those books.
"What is it darling?" asked Rarity.
"Are you okay?" worried Fluttershy.
"I'm fine… I think. I need to show you girls something, before he gets here."
"Who?" Applejack asked.
Twilight ignored her and produced a letter from her saddlebags. Although the girls didn't receive correspondence from the princess as often as Twilight had, they still recognized the Canterlot Royal Seal and Princess Celestia's writing.
My most faithful student, I've come across some news of your encounter with the pony who calls himself 'The Doctor'….
It only took a minute to read the letter in its entirety, but it felt like an eternity for Twilight. She wasn't very sure why this letter made her nervous, but the fact that Princess Celestia had met the Doctor already made Twilight feel guilty, as if she were caught doing something bad.
"I don't understand," said Rarity finally. "Who is this Doctor?"
"Ooh! I know him!" cried Pinkie. "He's Doctor Clockwork, right? I met him earlier right before I sent him flying with my catapult!"
"That weird pony with the bowtie?" asked Rainbow Dash. Pinkie nodded fiercely. "Yeah, we met him too, he called himself Time Turner."
"He told me his name was Sepia Tock," added Rarity with a nod from Fluttershy.
Twilight chuckled. "I guess he took my advice. Sorry girls, those are obviously fake names, he calls himself the Doctor and—"
"And Celestia is askin' us to foalsit him?" interrupted Applejack, who stubbornly shook her head. "Ah'm sorry Twi, but Ah don't get it. Is he dangerous or something?"
"N-no, well, yes, but—"
"But, why is she asking us? If he's so dangerous, why isn't he locked up or something?" Rainbow asked.
"It isn't that simple, he's just—"
"He didn't seem dangerous to me. He was funny! And he can talk to foals too!" insisted Pinkie.
"Girls!" Twilight cried, preemptively squashing the ensuing argument. "He's dangerous, yes, but, he's a good pony. Just a few days ago he stopped an alien invasion lead by monstrous trees!"
Everypony responded with a resounding "Huh?"
"Look, that doesn't matter. Thing is, the Doctor is an alien. He isn't from this universe, he somehow dropped here by accident and has no way to get back."
"An alien?!" Applejack chuckled skeptically. "Now Ah've heard everything."
"It's true," insisted Twilight. "He may look like a normal pony, but he is far from normal."
A murmuring of agreement answered her.
"Supposin' we believe you," started Applejack. "What's that gotta do with us?"
"The Doctor is alone here, trapped in this universe with no way to return home. I think we should help him. Can you imagine that? Being so far away from home with no way to go back? Being so alone? He must be so sad."
The girls didn't respond, neither agreeing or disagreeing with Twilight's thoughts on the eccentric Doctor. Applejack felt, however, that this sympathy toward the Doctor was triggered because of how much he reminded Twilight of herself before she came to Ponyville.
The only difference was now the Doctor had Twilight to look after him.
"I dunno Twi," Rainbow muttered. "When he showed up in front of us, he didn't look very lonely."
Before Twilight could respond, Fluttershy, of all ponies, spoke first, "He did to me." Suddenly aware of all the unwanted attention on her, however, Fluttershy shrank slightly. "I-I mean, I could see it, the loneliness I mean. In his eyes, didn't you notice? They were so sad."
"I suppose if Fluttershy says so, I can't help but agree," said Rarity.
"So, what? You want us to be his friends?" asked Rainbow.
"We should definitely throw a party for him!" interjected Pinkie.
"Well, yes, hold the party though Pinkie. You girls helped me so much when I came to Ponyville, and it might be too much to ask, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd help the Doctor in the same way."
Applejack chuckled, slightly put off by Twilight's ambiguous request. "If ya wanted us to be his friend, all ya had to do was introduce us to him. No need to bring us all the way out here."
Twilight looked up at the night-sky with a concentrated expression. The girls looked up to try to find whatever she was looking for but to no avail, until a gust of wind blew through the hill, nearly sending Applejack's revered hat flying.
"Oh, yes, I did AJ," answered Twilight with a rakish smile disturbingly resembling the Doctor's. "Where else would the Doctor park?"
"Park?!" cried Rainbow and Applejack as the wind became to violently churn over them. A lyrical noise thundered over the hill, like air being pumped through a mechanical exhaust. It was so indescribable and enchanting that everypony watched in shock as a large blue box materialized in front of them.
The air became still and everything was silent. They weren't even very surprised when the doors opened and the Doctor stepped out with his smug smile.
"Hello!" he beamed at the ponies. "I bet you lot have several questions in mind, don't worry, I'll cover it all in a bit. I hope Twilight has explained to you who I am and my situation here, but just in case she hasn't, I'm the Doctor and this is the TARDIS!"
He jumped out of the TARDIS, spun around and spread his forelegs in perfect showmanship to display the magical box. "Time and Relative Dimension in Space, best ship in the universe and hopefully you'll agree in a little bit."
"Wait, wait, wait, you really are an… alien?" asked Rainbow, still skeptical despite the fact that he literally appeared out of nowhere.
"In this case, yes, I am the alien in this situation, though my body is that of a pony's. Well, except the fact that I've got two hearts and a highly evolved immune system. But first I want to propose something to you. A question, a simple one really, probably the most important question in your entire lives!" Twilight rolled her eyes with a smirk as the Doctor yammered on dramatically, this pony may be an alien but he loves to show off.
"Want to see the universe?"
"And what do you mean by that?" asked Rarity with some composure in her voice.
"You see, after sending you lot through my rigorous screening program—"
"Rigorous screen program?" parroted Rainbow.
"—I've decided to take you on as my companions!"
"Companions?" echoed Fluttershy.
"Blimey, is there an echo here? Yes. To take you to see the wonders of the universe, to every supernova that ever was, every black hole, everything in the infinite expanses of time and space!" He looked out to the star-struck expressions of everypony and couldn't suppress his growing smile.
"In a blue box?" asked Applejack.
"Brilliant isn't it?"
"It looks a little cramped mind you," remarked Rarity.
"Oh, don't worry, there's plenty of room for us. Come and see." With that the Doctor turned right around and stepped inside the TARDIS.
Unable to contain her excitement, Rainbow was the first to step forward, ready to follow him when Applejack intervened. "Wait! Ah don't know about this."
"Oh, don't be a wet blanket," sniped Rainbow. "If the Doctor is everything he says he is, then this is gonna be awesome!"
"Don't tell me you actually believe him," Applejack countered.
"If you have doubts, then follow him in and find out for yourself," said Twilight with a mischievous smile. She entered the TARDIS, closing the door behind her leaving everypony else.
"If Twilight trusts him, then we would be foolish not to. She's never led us astray, after all," Rarity said.
Applejack grimaced, finding it difficult to argue with that before finally nodding. And, as a group, the ponies opened the doors and walked right through.
To stop right inside and gaped at what opened up before them. They stepped into an entirely different world it felt like as this impossible box opened up much bigger than physics should allow. Twilight and the Doctor stood at the large console atop the platform, grinning impishly at the group.
"Impressed?" asked the Doctor.
Nopony could say anything but stare wide-eyed at everything. Moments past before everypony – save Fluttershy who stood there completely mute and Pinkie who jumped around the platform excitedly – ran right outside and circled the impossible box.
The Doctor chuckled wistfully as the mares returned into the box and muttered those famous words, "It's bigger on the inside!"
"Really? Smaller than usual…" he off-hoofedly remarked as he operated the controls.
"Y-you weren't lyin'…" muttered Applejack.
Everypony made their way up the staircase to meet the Doctor who was busy at the controls. Rainbow could hardly contain her excitement as she flew right behind the Time Lord, asking about the function of every button and lever she could see. Rarity remarked about the possibility of such technology implemented to her close while Pinkie wondered if there was a bakery inside.
"Don't press that," he warned Rainbow. "That will blow up the sun. Sorry Rarity, afraid we can't make your closet bigger on the inside for your own needs though we do have a considerable wardrobe below. And… I'm not sure actually Pinkie… never needed a bakery before."
"What're you doing?" asked Twilight as Applejack finally joined the group.
"Now that I've shown them the place, I figure it's time for demonstration!" he laughed. "Where do you want to go first? Any time or place you want!"
"Whoa, whoa, this is a time machine too?" Rainbow asked.
The Doctor's face broke up in an infinitely mischievous smile. "Yep."
"I thought you'd ask that." With a flip of the lever, the entire TARDIS shook, throwing everypony, save Twilight and the Doctor, off their hooves and tumbling all over the place. After a few moments, the movement stopped and the Doctor giddily jumped down the stairs.
He excited the TARDIS and came back only ten seconds later. He threw his bowtie at Rainbow and Applejack both of which fumbled with the piece of fabric, staring at it dumbly before recognizing the significance behind it. "B-but that was hours ago…" muttered Applejack.
"No way! That was you back then? No wait, just now… I mean… Ugh! Time travel is confusing!" cried Rainbow who was beginning to develop a headache over the implications of time travel.
"Confusing, yes. Dangerous, definitely yes. Crossing personal timelines and established events is forbidden," he said solemnly before breaking out in a wide smile. "Except when you've got to make a point or for a laugh."
"Wait, why us?" asked Rarity, breaking the mood severely. "I mean, Twilight I can understand, but why are you showing this all to us?"
"You're asking us to travel through time with you," insisted Rarity. "There must be a reason."
The Doctor fiddled with the controls for a moment, recalling the conversation he had with the princess so long ago…
"Elements of harmony?" he echoed as the Princess led him toward the main room. All around them in full display were large glass-stained windows depicting ponies throughout history. He recognized Princess Luna and Celestia in a few but as they continued to the modern age there were more ponies in the art, including Twilight Sparkle. "Like knights at the roundtable."
"Something of that sort." Celestia nodded toward a particular window which had Twilight surrounded by five other ponies blasting another pony with magic. "They are powerful artifacts which draws the magic of friendship in its wielder to produce monumental magic. Twilight and her friends are the current wielders of the elements."
"Why are you telling me all of this?" asked the Doctor warily, after all, it felt suspicious that Celestia would just explain everything about her arsenal after threatening him.
"No need for suspicion," she placated. "I admit, knowledge of the Elements of Harmony isn't exactly common, so, my explaining it to you may come across as strange. But, I have my reasons."
However disarming Celestia was behaving, The Doctor never dropped his guard.
"I'm still unsure of your intentions, Doctor, no matter how charming you may behave. And while it would be simpler to place you under lock and key, my solution is beneficial to all of us. I will place you under the watchful eyes of the Elements of Harmony."
"What? Like baby-sitters?"
"Nothing of the sort," Celestia promised. "More like… insurance. I'm not sure where your travels will take you, but I can tell that you come a long way and you intend to travel far from Equestria. In the event I am unable to act, the Elements will act in my stead."
Although her words were neutral, the Doctor could tell that she was talking about acting against him, if need be.
"I'm sure you'll find them as worthy companions. They are all brave in their own right."
"They're always brave…"
The Doctor shook his head and plastered on a comforting smile. "I choose my companions wisely, and you fit the bill perfectly. Isn't that reason enough?"
Rarity was about to voice her concerns again when he bounded toward the staircase and faced all of them. "Well then? You've got all of time and space to choose from, where do you want to start?"