Chapter 4: A Noble Return

Grounds of the Beckwithshaw Hotel, Outskirts of Harrogate, England, Earth, Winter, 2010 A.D.

Twilight spat a wad of snow out of her mouth as she woke up. She was lying on her side. She rolled over onto her back and looked up to see a clear night sky filled with stars. As she sat up she couldn't help but be confused by the sudden disappearance of the heavy blizzard that had been occurring right before she had blacked out. She rubbed the back of her head and coughed up a few more wads of snow.

"When will I have an adventure with the Doctor where nopony loses consciousness?" Twilight groaned as she rubbed her sore foreleg. Suddenly, Twilight heard a moan. She turned to her right to see Donna Noble lying on the snowy ground with her arms and legs spread out. She looked extremely pale and tiny bursts of golden gas were evaporating from her hair. Twilight couldn't believe that she was actually sitting a few feet from the Donna Noble. The companion who the Doctor had traveled around with before his arrival in Equestria. The companion who had to forget all about the Doctor or else her mind would burn. Twilight was beginning to panic as she thought back to the explosion of golden energy from within Donna as well as the flash of memories that had flowed through the two of them. Twilight hoped that Donna would be okay. She wasn't dead for she was still breathing but she looked quite weak. Twilight walked over to Donna and sat down next to her. She used her magic to lift Donna above of the snow a bit. Twilight's horn stung slightly. She was still suffering the after effects of her imprisonment as well as her fight with the ice creature. Twilight gasped as Donna's eyes suddenly shot open.

Twilight placed Donna back on the ground. Donna sat up and rubbed her temple. She still seemed to be out of it. Twilight wondered whether she should leave or stay. She decided to stay.

"My head," Donna moaned. Her head felt slightly hot but the feeling quickly melted away to be replaced with a sense of relief. Donna let out a loud sigh before taking in the scene around her: the calm winter night as well as the lavender unicorn. Her head was buzzing with thoughts. Some she was able to put together but others quickly slipped away. One thing that she was able to hold onto was her memory of that brilliant man in the TARDIS: the Doctor. She let out a laugh as she suddenly realized what had just happened. "I...remember." Donna smiled and let out another series of joyful laughs. "I remember the Doctor! I remember everything!" Donna felt an indescribable joy as she thought back on her adventures with the Doctor: from her first meeting with him in 2007 to her parting with him after the defeat of the Daleks. She even remembered the events of last year's Christmas that she had forgotten. "My head!" She grabbed her head and laughed again. "It doesn't hurt! It doesn't hurt anymore!" Donna jumped up off the snowy ground with a proud look on her face. "Aw yes! The DoctorDonna is back...I think." Donna grabbed her temple. She could still feel several thoughts floating around in her head but many of them she couldn't grasp and those she couldn't grasp faded away altogether.

"Donna Noble?" Twilight asked suddenly. Donna turned to face the unicorn in front of her.

"How do you know who I am? And...what are you?" Twilight figured that she might as well give it to her straight.

"My name's Twilight Sparkle. I'm a unicorn from the land of Equestria that exists in another dimension." Donna was silent for moment. She then nodded her head with an accepting look.

"I don't find that too hard to believe after all I've seen. But how do you know me?"

"Because...the Doctor told me about you." Donna's eyes widened. She rushed forward and stared Twilight straight in the eye.

"You know the Doctor?!"

"Yes. I'm currently traveling around with him. His Sonic Screwdriver's lying in the snow over there if you want physical proof." Donna turned away from Twilight and took a few steps towards an object lying in the snow. Donna picked up the Sonic Screwdriver and carefully brushed the snow off it. She clicked the button and the Screwdriver gave off its signature noise and blue light. An expression of happiness, relief, amazement, and anger appeared on Donna's face.

"He's here! He's really here! I can see him again! Oh! Just wait until I get a hold of him for erasing my memories! I'm going to slap him!"

"I can't believe it's really you, Donna," said Twilight. "I've heard plenty about you...and about what happened."

"At least the Doctor hasn't forgotten about me," said Donna. "And how did he come across you anyway? I thought travel between dimensions was impossible."

"Long story. Right now I need to rescue the Doctor and Derpy." Twilight began making her way towards the hotel. Donna followed.

"Who's Derpy?"

"She's a pegasus from my universe who's also traveling around with the Doctor. They were sucked under the earth by a bunch of icy hands." Donna froze in her tracks. "Is something wrong?"

"Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! Shaun!"

"Shaun?"

"My husband! A bunch of icy arms took him as well!" Twilight sat down and began to think.

"This is so strange."

"Hmm?"

"Something kept calling out to Derpy. A voice. The Doctor and I heard it at one point."

"Was it an...icy voice?"

"Yes!"

"I've been hearing it too, though I kept forgetting about it due to the Doctor's fail-safe."

"A voice that both you and Derpy can hear calling out to Derpy, icy hands and ice monsters all over the place, and, to top everything off, you of all humans comes into the middle of this."

"And let's not forget the fact that I now remember everything about the Doctor." Twilight rubbed her temple.

"I actually have a hypothesis about why that happened."

"What is it?"

"We need to rescue the Doctor, Derpy, and your husband first!" said Twilight as she stood up.

"Tell me as we walk," said Donna as she and Twilight began making their way towards the hotel.

"Maybe, somehow, me touching you at that exact moment where your fail-safe was activated was what allowed your memories to return without your mind burning."

"I don't understand."

"I'm still cloudy on the details myself but I think the magical energies inside of me channelled the Time Lord energies out of you."

"Thus allowing me to keep my memories without my mind burning up!"

"Exactly."

"I guess I'll take that theory for now. I'm still trying to digest that I remember the Doctor as well as the fact that he's now traveling around with a unicorn and a pegasus from another dimension. So, Twilight, where are we supposed to start looking?" Twilight turned towards Donna with a determined look on her face.

"I know just the place."

Ice Tomb Beneath the Beckwithshaw Hotel, Outskirts of Harrogate, England, Earth, Winter, 2010 A.D.

The Doctor awoke and was relieved to find Derpy lying down next to him. At least she was all right. He quickly took note of his surroundings. He was lying on a cold, rocky surface. The ceiling above him was curved and appeared to be made out of ice webbing. The Doctor half-expected to see ice spiders appear at any moment. He sat up and dusted a few mounds of snow off his suit. The room they were in was huge. It was about the size of a ballroom. A large pond of water was situated in the middle of the room. It should have been pitch black in there but the ice webbing appeared to be luminescent. The Doctor could make out several tunnels in the ceiling and walls that extended off to who knows where. They were definitely underground. He could easily make that assumption. Just then, he heard a soft groan. The Doctor turned to see Derpy slowly awaken.

"Derpy? Are you okay?" he asked soothingly. Derpy nodded as she sat up.

"I think," she replied. "My head hurts...and I'm really cold."

"Me too." The Doctor couldn't stop thinking about what Derpy had said just before the hands had taken them. She mentioned Donna. Her knowledge of other languages was one thing but her knowledge of Donna was another thing entirely. As far as he could remember, the Doctor had only mentioned Donna to one pony: Twilight. And Twilight, as far as the Doctor was concerned, hadn't told anypony else about Donna. He had to ask her. "Derpy, how do you know about Donna Temple-Noble?"

"Who?"

"The woman you mentioned just before the hands grabbed us." Derpy scratched her head.

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but I don't remember much of what I said just before we were taken. I don't even think it was even me who said it. Does that sound crazy?"

"No. Something might have been speaking through you or directing your body to say things that you didn't mean to. But do you remember anything?" Derpy turned away from the Doctor.

"I remember the voice...and some of what she said."

"She?" Now that the Doctor thought about the icy voice more, he did remember it sounding quite feminine in nature. "Derpy...you know more than what you're letting on." Derpy refused to turn to look at the Doctor.

"I'm about as confused as you are, Doctor, but I think I know who's behind this."

"How? How can you know someone from my dimension?"

"Because the pony behind this isn't from your dimension. She's from Equestria."

"Who is she?" Derpy was about to respond when the cavern shook. The Doctor and Derpy looked up as a large white mass climbed out of one of the tunnels. Derpy gasped with fear. The Doctor stood up. The white mass consisted of an ice cage being carried by eight legs that resembled those of a spider. A pony was floating inside the cage and was connected to the mass by a series of veins and intestines. The spider/pony creature made its way down the wall and glided its way across the pond. The mass came to a halt at the edge of the pond and just a few feet from where the Doctor and Derpy were standing. The Doctor was able to get a closer look at the pony in the cage. It was a pegasus mare with a white coat and a golden mane. Her eyes were dark red. He looked for the mare's cutie mark but patches of thick ice covered the mare's flank.

"You are awake, Ditzy. I am so happy to see you again," said the mare in her icy voice. Derpy appeared scared at first but she cleared her throat and stepped forward.

"Derpy? Who's Ditzy?" asked the Doctor although he could already work out the answer. Derpy sighed.

"It's who I used to be. I didn't always go by Derpy Hooves. I was born as Ditzy Doo."

"Why go by an alias, Derpy...er...Ditzy...er-"

"Please don't start calling me Ditzy, Doctor. I gave up that name long ago and I intend to keep it that way."

"But why, Derpy? Why did you give up your name? Tell me what's going on!" Derpy sighed again.

"I changed my name so that I could separate myself from her and so that she could never find me again." Derpy pointed up at the mare in the cage. The icy mare smiled. "I am confused about how you ended up in this universe and how you ended up like this."

"It's a lovely story, Ditzy. I will be happy to tell it to you and your companion. Oh how I've missed you!" said the mare with a cold smile.

"I'm not really sorry to say that the feeling isn't the same between us." Derpy stared at the mare with a expression of pure hatred. "It's been a long time. Hello, Mom."

Grounds of the Beckwithshaw Hotel, Outskirts of Harrogate, England, Earth, Winter, 2010 A.D.

Twilight and Donna stood at the edge of the pond and looked down at its reflective surface.

"I'm certain that this is where Derpy first heard the voice," said Twilight.

"I visited this pond earlier today. I heard the voice here as well," Donna replied. Donna knelt down and tapped the ice. The surface was still cracked from earlier. "Do you think they're underneath here?"

"There's only one way to find out. Stand back please." Donna stepped away from the pond as Twilight aimed her horn. There was a bright flash of light and the ice proceeded to crack and melt away. Donna gasped with surprise as a magical barrier suddenly formed around her and Twilight. "Down we go, Donna Noble."

Donna gulped as she and Twilight walked into the pond and disappeared beneath the surface.