Chapter 24

AN: Hello my readers, first off, I would like to apologize deeply for not updating chapters within my usual time frame, I had lost internet access unexpectedly and have been unable to update my stories and post new chapters. I am sorry for this. I hope you enjoy what I post in the future. as an apology, I am posting two new chapters for this story, one new chapter for Tales from blackwood forest, and the start of a new story.

It was another quiet day in Ponyville, it was the day after Charles woke up. Fluttershy was busy tending to her animals around the outside of her cottage in the back, when suddenly, she heard a rustle in some bushes nearby. "YAH!" The rustling startled her at first as she dropped down and covered her face with her fore hooves, then she heard whimpering, she got back up on all fours and looked to the bush the whimpering was coming from. She trotted over to it and lowered the top of the bush with her foreleg to look behind it. "oh my goodness, it sounds like some poor animal is hurt." She looked down and saw a black furred fox shaking with fear in front of her, she noticed it's left hind leg had a nasty cut on it.

"Oh my, you poor dear, come here, don't worry, I won't hurt you, I just want to help." She cooed to the fox. The fox stopped its shaking and slowly limped up to her, keeping its injured hind leg lifted up. "There there, it's all right, I just want to be your friend." Fluttershy spoke to the fox. "Don't worry, doctor Fluttershy will help you make that leg all better." The fox approached her and looked into her eyes. "There, see, come with me and I'll fix you up." Fluttershy picked up the fox and hovered back to her cottage inside to tend to the fox's wounds. What she failed to notice was as she carried the fox inside, it put on a smirk.

Twilight was going over a few books with Charles on the basics of magic, she figured it would be best to start him off at the beginning, he was able to control his magic just fine, but he lacked an understanding of it. She had two saddle bags draped across her back, both filled with magic books, She was currently levitating one in front of her and had it at an angle so she and Charles could see it. As Twilight went over a book with him, Charles received an unexpected visitor. "Charles, my friend, I can't believe this!"

Charles and Twilight both looked to the doorway and saw Discord standing there. "Discord, there you are, where were you on Nightmare Night?" Twilight asked out loud in annoyance, she set the book she was levitating down on the floor next to her. She figured with all Discord's power, Charles would have been spared the pain he was going through.

"Twlight, I am so sorry I wasn't there to help, as soon as I got back to the palace, Celestia and Luna told me all about what happened, I am so sorry I wasn't there, but the princesses sent me to a country on a diplomatic mission. Believe me, if I was there, I would have done all I can to help, though, I'm not much of a fighter, even with all my chaotic powers, they're really only good for causing chaos and pulling pranks."

"Well it's still good to see you Discord." Charles said from his bed.

"And it's always a pleasure to see you too, but look at you, your practically in a full body cast, it is so hard to look at you like this." Discord then made a sleeper blindfold appear over his eyes. "There we go, much better."

Charles snickered at Discord, Twilight was not amused. "Well, I suppose I can't be mad at you for not being here to help since it was because of the princesses sending you away."

Discord lifted the blindfold up off his eyes and looked at Twilight. "You see, it wasn't even my fault that I wasn't there, but I am still sorry about it." Discord then made it disappear.

"I forgive you discord." Twilight said.

"Same here, but I don't see why you have to apologize, like you said, it wasn't your fault you weren't here, and besides, everything turned out fine." Charles said.

"Rest assured my friend, I will do everything in my power to find out who it was that attacked Ponyville that night and put you in such a horrendous condition. I'm off to find the culprit, wish me luck." Discord then disappeared in a flash and was gone, leaving Twilight and Charles alone.

Back at Fluttershy's cottage, Fluttershy had just finished bandaging up the fox's hind leg. "Now you stay off that leg and rest here on my couch for a while, ok miss fox? I'll go and get you something to eat, don't go anywhere." Fluttershy then fluttered to her kitchen to fix something for the fox.

"Finally, I thought she'd never leave, that annoying, pathetic pony." The fox spoke. "That human and Luna were stronger than I anticipated, if I'm going to take over Equestria, I'm going to have to come up with something big to get that human out of the way first, but what?" Dark Flash mused to herself.

Angel bunny was in another room and heard all the fox said. Angel was fearful now, he had no idea who the fox was, but if it was trying to get rid of the princesses and take over Equestria, then it must be bad news. Angel was looking at the fox from behind a wall through the entryway to the living room. After hearing the fox speak, he quickly brought his head back and pressed his back to the wall, trying to avoid from being seen. Angel decided he needed to warn Fluttershy that this fox was not what she seemed.

Angel turned and began to sneak away, keeping his eyes on the entry way, but he failed to notice something in front of him. He bumped into it and fell back on his back. He shook his head and looked at what he bumped into, the fox now stood before him sitting on her hind legs. "Well, what do we have here, a little spy perhaps? Tell me little rabbit, how much did you hear?"

Angel gave out a squeal in terror, he got up and quickly tried to run, but Dark Flash had other plans, her eyes glowed and Angel was lifted up off the ground. He was moved to in front of Dark Flash and forced to look her in the eyes. "Listen here little rabbit, you will do exactly what I say, understand?" Dark Flash's eye's glowed brighter, Angels eye's became glazed over, he looked zombiefied. "You will forget everything you heard, you will remember nothing." Angel simply gave a slow nod. "Good, now go, and say nothing to anypony." Angel was released from Dark Flash's aura and set free, he just slowly walked off. "Hmpf, wish I could do that to ponies with strong minds instead of weak ones. That would make a takeover so much easier, soon, I will be the queen of this land. But for now, I will have to play fox for this pony and keep a low profile until my leg gets better and I can come up with a brilliant scheme." Dark Flash then made her way back to the couch and lay down.

The afternoon was approaching and Twilight was still going over some magic books with Charles, he had received visits from Rarity, Pinkie, and Applejack throughout the day. As Twilight went on with a lecture, Charles interrupted. "Um, Twilight, sorry to interrupt, but there's something I've been meaning to ask you."

Twilight looked up from the book and to Charles. "Yes, what is it?" She asked with a smile.

"Well, I can't help but wonder something, I'm just curious, but…what was it about me that attracted you to me? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you like me like you do, I'm just curious as to why."

"You are, well….I guess one of the things that got my attention about you was how protective you are, you never hesitate to jump into action to protect somepony. You're just not afraid to put yourself in harm's way for another's sake."

"I'm really just doing my job as a member of the royal guard, still, even if I wasn't, I would still be doing things like that I guess, I just can't stand by and watch when someone…..er…some pony needs help and there's something I can do to help."

Twilight smiled at Charles's words. "And that is what I admire about you." She put a hoof on his hand, Charles took hold and gave a light squeeze in response. "Now….I have to ask, what is it about me that you like?"

"Well, for starters, you're smart, level headed, very organized, and to top it all off, you are very pretty."

Twilight blushed at Charles's words as she smiled. "Oh come on now, I can't be that pretty."

"Don't be so modest Twilight, I'm sure you've been asked out on dates before haven't you?"

"I…was never one for trying to find a relationship, all I ever did was mostly stay indoors and just study, then I met my friends and started getting out more, even then, I was never one for trying to find a relationship with a stallion, I was just too busy."

Charles looked at Twilight curiously. "Then how is it your in one with me, what changed that you decided to pursue a relationship with me?"

Twilight looked at Charles in the eyes. "The first time you stood up for me and my friends and protected us from the timberwolves, you put your life at risk for us and nearly died."

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Charles asked.

Twilight looked at Charles with confusion. "What do you mean?"

"Your forgetting the most important thing about me that the mares love."

"Oh, what's that?"

"My rugged good looks." Charles commented as he raised an eyebrow at Twilight with a smile.

Twilight just smiled and soon started to giggle. "Oh of course, how could I forget?" She said, playing along with Charles's joke.

The two soon started to laugh together. "HA ha ha OW…..ok, mental note, for now, laughing hurts." Charles said after wincing in pain from the laughing.

"Oh my gosh, are you ok?" Twilight asked with worry.

"Yeah, I'm fine, I just gotta be careful for now, too much laughing can hurt."

It was then that doctor Stable walked it. "All right Twilight, I'm afraid visiting hours are over, you'll have to leave now and come back tomorrow."

"All right, I'll see you tomorrow Charles." Twilight said as she gathered her books in her saddle bag and left, but not before sharing a quick kiss with Charles.

Soon after Twilight's leave, nurse Redheart came in with Charles's dinner. "Dinner time Charles, hope you're hungry?"

"Great, hospital food, my favorite." Charles said sarcastically as nurse Redheart wheeled the cart up to Charles.

"Now I know it isn't exactly five star resturaunt quality, but it's the best we got." Redheart said.

"I know, I'm just kidding around."

Morning arrived as Celestia's sun rose over the horizon, the morning light beamed into Charles's room and stirred him from his sleep. He gave a yawn as his eyes opened and he stretched out his good arm. Shortly after, Doctor Stable came in. "Good morning, how is my patient doing this morning?"

"Not bad, still sore, but I guess that's to be expected."

"Indeed, you have visitors this morning."

"I thought so, wonder which of my friends it is this time?" His question was answered as doctor Stable stepped aside and Celestia and Luna walked in. "Your majesties, this is a surprise."

"Good morning Chareles, it's good to see you awake and well." Celestia said.

"Mostly well anyway." Luna added.

"It's good to see you too princesses, to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Charles asked.

Celestia answered. "We met with Iron scales about the dragon attack, after our discussion, we have reached a conclusion that the dragon that attacked may not be a dragon at all, no dragon is capable of magic like that one was."

Luna continued. "Therefore, the dragon imposter was some sort of shapeshifter. We have informed the guards here to be on the lookout for anything suspicious around town."

"Understood your majesties, I'll be sure to keep an eye out as well."

"YOU need to concentrate on getting better, let the other guards worry about this for now." Celestia said with a smile.

"And I would like to give you my thanks for saving me from the fireball that night. I am most grateful for you taking the hit like that for me." Luna said.

"Anytime princess." Charles said.

"Well then, we should take our leave now and get back to the castel, thank you again for saving my sister Charles." Celestia said before the two princesses took their leave.

A couple hours went by before Charles got his next visitor of the day, Applejack. She came trotting in with a smile on her face. "Mornin darlin, how ya feelin today?"

"Not bad, can't complain really, still a little sore but it's not too bad, I just have to be careful how I move."

Applejack trotted up to his left and the two shared a quick kiss. "That's good to hear, it'd be better if you were out of the hospital."

"Ain't that the truth? So I take it your visit is going to be short, I imagine you got chores up at your farm to take care of."

"Awe, don't worry bout that none, Big Mac said he'd take care of a few of them so I could come visit ya."

"Really, well that was nice of him, be sure to send him my thanks when you see him again."

"Will do partner."

"So Applejack, there's something I wanted to ask you, if you don't mind."

"Course not darlin, ask away." Applejack said with a smile.

"I'm just curious as to what it is about me that you like, what was it that attracted you to me?"

"Why are ya curious about that?" Applejack asked with confusion.

"Don't take it the wrong way, I asked Pinkie and Twilight the same thing, well, Pinkie kind of just told me, I asked Twilight, I'm just wondering why you girls like me is all, I'm going to ask Rarity the same thing."

"Well shoot, is that all? Well, I guess one of the reasons I like ya is that you're a hard worker, ya'll were a big help that one day on the farm when you helped me with the harvest, I probably woulda been out there half the day getting them apples out of the trees if you hadn't offered ta help."

"I was more than happy to help Applejack."

"And I'm might grateful for it too. The other thing was how you jumped into action to help my sister when she was bein held captive by the timberwolves, you were ready to help without hesitation, and Applebloom and the others seem to have taken a real shine to ya."

"Really, well that's nice to hear, how is she doing lately by the way?"

"She's doin fine, still hadn't earned her cutie mark yet, she is so persistant to get it."

"She'll get it eventually won't she?"

"Couse she will, all ponies get their cutie mark at some point, she and her two friends are just too impatient."

"I can tell."

"Anyway, I also can tell that you really care about her too, with the way you showed up and helped Applebloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo try to forget that trouble they went through, it was real nice of ya to do that. You really care fer the youngins. That is another thing I like about you, you been treatin Applebloom like she was yer own little sister."

"Yeah…sister." Charles looked away from Applejack.

"Charles, somthin wrong?" Applejack asked with concern in her eyes.

Charles looked back at her and shook his head. "No, it's nothing, I just don't know what it's like to have a sister, as you know, I don't have a family, seems like I never did."

"Hey now, I thought you were gonna forget all that stuff, remember?"

"Sorry, it's not exactly easy to forget what I went through, the pain I….never mind, lets change the subject."

"Agreed." Applejack said with a smile. "Now I want to ask you what it is about me that you like, if'n you don't mind."

"Course not, the first thing is that you're a hard worker too, you also give off this 'no nonsense, honest hardworker' vibe, I can really respect that."

"Well I am the element of honesty."

"Right, plus, I really dig the whole farmgirl…..er….farm mare thing, it's just real refreshing. It means that you're not afraid to get your hooves dirty."

"Darn tootin."

"You're a fine mare Applejack, that is why I like you."

Applejack blushed. "Shucks, thanks Charles." The two then shared another kiss. Afterwards, they just talked for the rest of the time Applejack was there until she had to get back to the farm. It was then that Twilight showed up. "I'll be sure ta bring Applebloom and her two friends by fer a visit later, I'm sure she and the others would like to see how yer doin." Applejack said as she left.

"I would like that, see you later Applejack."

With Applejack gone, Twilight began. "Now then, shall we continue, there isn't much left to go over without actual application to the lessons, so let's finish this today."

Twilight left in the middle of the day with verbal lessons done and it was now early in the afternoon, Rarity had taken time off from her day to pay Charles a visit. "Good afternoon dear, how are you feeling today?" She asked in a chipper attitude.

"Hey Rarity, not too bad, better than yesterday anyway."

Rarity came up to his left side. "That's good, how have your magic lessons been going?"

"All right I guess, Twilight says there isn't much I can do as far as learning goes without actually trying some spells now."

"Well then, you'd better hurry up and get better haven't you?" Rarity said with a wink.

"Rarity, there's something I want to ask you if I may."

"Of course dear, what is it you want to ask me?"

"It's something I asked Twilight and Applejack about already and I just want to ask you the same thing, what was it about me that attracted yourself to me?"

Rarity gave a curious look. "Why would you want to know that darling?"

"I'm just curious is all, of all the stallions in Equestria, as pretty as you are, you could have any stallion you want, instead, you chose me, a human, I'm just wondering why is all. Don't take it the wrong way now, I'm glad you did, I'm just curious as to why if you don't mind."

Rarity blushed at Charles's comment on her beauty. "Well, If you must know, I suppose the start of it was when you came to my rescue and saved me from those horrid diamond dogs. You were very brave that day. Then you went so far as to carry me out when my leg was hurt, that was very chivalrous of you Charles. And lastly, well, let's not forget your handsome looks."

"Why thank you Rarity."

"You're welcome, now since I told you why I like you, perhaps you can share with me why it is you like me so much?"

"You mean besides your ravishing beauty?"

"Yes, of course, there is more to a lady then good looks after all."

"Let's see, you really carry yourself with an air of grace about you, like a real high class mare, but at the same time, you don't act all stuck up and snobbish like some high class characters do. Plus, you were generous enough to make me clothes when you found out I only had one set of clothing, I was grateful for that. Your generous, kind, and very graceful. So there you go, why I like you so much."

"Why thank you dear, you are very kind."

"CHARLES!" Three little voices called out and three fillies ran in with Applejack coming in from behind. Sweetie Bell, Applebloom, and Scootaloo came up to Charles's bedside on his right with bright smiles on their faces.

"Hey Charles, good to see you again." Applebloom said.

"Hey you three, how are you all doing?" Charles greeted with a smile.

"We're fine, but look at you, you're gonna be ok aren't you?" Scootaloo asked as she and the others looked over him.

"Don't worry, it'll take more than a dragon to put me down for good. Besides, I had princess Luna for backup. That dragon didn't know what hit it."

"Cool." The three said in unison. "So how long are you going to be in the hospital?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"The doc says it'll be a couple weeks. I don't know how I'll last that long, being stuck in bed with nothing to do."

"Why don't you try reading a book, I read a real good one when I was laid up for a week in the hospital after I broke my wing." Rainbow said as she entered the room.

"Rainbow Dash!" Scootaloo cried out and ran over to her. The two shared a hug.

"Hey there squirt, whatcha doin here?" Rainbow asked.

"Applejack brought us over to see Charles." Scootaloo answered.

"These three have been real antsy ta see him since that dragon attack on Nightmare Night." Applejack said.

"Well we were worried about him, dragons are really strong after all." Applebloom responded.

"Like I said, that dragon didn't stand a chance against me and Luna." Charles said as he reached down and playfully mussed Applebloom's mane. She laughed in response.

Applejack and Rarity smiled at the scene. "So once you get better, can you take us flying again like you did before?" Sweetie Belle asked.

Rarity became confused at Sweetie's words. "Flying, again, Charles, what is she talking about?"

Charles grew nervous from Rarity's tune in her voice. "Uh, heh heh…you see, it's like this."

AN: To the one who submitted Dark Flash, I will need a background story on her, why does she want to take over Equestria, where did she come from?