Healing for a Spell
"Peas, peas, peas, eating Grober's peas," A male voice sang happily, as he drove in his old jeep down the dirt road.
This lucky man well, as lucky as one could get when stuck in a war zone doing surgery two, three days at a time had just been given a twenty-four hour pass to Seoul, the land where people lived! Well, okay, people lived back at the place he'd come from, but they'd been there so long that he wanted to meet new people. The kind that hadn't been living in big tents for God knows how long; the kind that didn't operate on kids' bellies, removing nothing but shrapnel when said kids should be home reading comic books or stealing their father's Chevy. Deciding to get away from such a depressing train of thought, the man with raven-colored hair continued to hum to some tune known only to himself.
Well, that's what he was doing until a bright light decided to erupt in his vision. With a yelp, the man screeched to a halt and turned away as he shut his eyes. After a moment, the light going through his eyelids dimmed and he slowly creaked them open, shutting off the jeep as he did so. First he saw the blood and the improperly bent limb, and without even thinking about it, he grabbed the first aid kit, jumped out of the jeep and got right to work. It was as he opened the kit that he noticed what he was treating: a lavender unicorn.
He paused only for a moment, "Well... this'll be a first, working on a mythological creature. Just try not to be a figment of my imagination."
It took little time for him to immobilize her broken leg, and wrap a bandage around her head, having taken the liberty to check her gender. Careful to move her into the back seat of the jeep, the man started it up, turned around, and started back to where he'd come from: MASH 4077. Only a short time later, after a particularly nasty pothole, the mare in the back seat jolted upright and immediantly looked around at the unfamiliar setting.
"Don't move much, you've got a broken leg and your head is scraped up," The odd creature in the front told her, only glancing over his shoulder. She frowned.
"Who are you?" She asked. The creature looked similar to something from some myths back home, but that was impossible, and it made her wonder if this was a dream. A pothole that smacked her leg into the back seat proved, rather painfully, otherwise. "OW! Ohhh... okay then, not a dream..."
"Yup, sorry about that," The creature said. "Don't know if you've met my kind, miss unicorn."
"I've read about you," The unicorn answered. "You're a human, aren't you? And my name is Twilight Sparkle."
"Yup, I'm human, and I go by Benjamin Franklin Pierce," The man greeted, voice cheerful. "But you can call me Hawkeye."
"Never thought I'd meet a human," Twilight admitted. She could tell that the human felt the same towards her; it was fairly obvious. "What is this thing that we're in?"
"You've never heard of a jeep?" Hawkeye inquired.
Twilight shook her head, "No. Where I'm from we don't have things like this. How does it move without somepony pulling it?"
Hawkeye made note of the 'somepony' term to ask about later, "It's an internal combustion engine."
He didn't have to see her face to know how excited the idea made her; he could hear it in her voice as she spoke excitedly, starting with how her home only just recently learned of that idea for trains. He was brought to alert when she suddenly stopped her rambling.
"What's that whistling sound?" Twilight asked curiously. Hawkeye jolted, feeling the adrenaline rushing through him instantly. "It's come from the left..."
"Hold on!" He ordered, swerving to the right. A second later, the ground erupted in a loud explosion. Twilight's only response was to duck her head and scream. "Don't worry, we'll be fine!"
Another, much closer, explosion to the right occurred and Twilight yelled, "Are you sure?!"
"Of course I'm sure!"
True to the human's word, the explosions stopped, and Twilight allowed herself to slowly calm down. Although curiosity and a bit of fear drove her next question.
"What the hay was that?!" She demanded.
Hawkeye glanced at her, getting the idea that if she didn't know, then perhaps her home didn't know about weapons. "They were mortars. Explosive weapons used by the enemy."
Twilight stared at him, horrified, "You mean they were trying to kill us?"
"And it didn't work, so it's fine, see?" He smiled comfortingly over his shoulder at her. "You're in a place called Korea, where humans are at war with other humans. I'm a surgeon at the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, or MASH. My friends and I remove the shrapnel from soldiers that get wounded on a regular basis."
"Why are you telling me this?" She asked, feeling a bit queasy towards the idea of sompony actually trying to kill another creature.
"I get the idea you aren't used to something like this," Hawkeye shrugged.
Twilight gulped, "Y-You'd be right. Equestria hasn't seen war for over a thousand years..."
"Equestria?" Hawkeye asked, looking at her. "Really?"
"What, is this place any better?"
"It's not called Humania, if that's what you're asking... we just call it Earth, plain and simple."
Twilight rolled her eyes, "So, you're taking me back to this... 4077 place?"
"Yup. That's where I can take care of your wounds. In fact, there it is now."
Twilight Sparkle's attention was caught as she straightened a bit, grinning like a little filly as she looked about excitedly. The strange looks she received from the numerous humans, however, dimmed her excitement as the machine she was in stopped in front of a large, aluminum-covered building and its doors. The man in the jeep jumped out and ran inside, opting to leave the door open.
"Stretcher bearers on the double!" He called. "And tell Beej to meet me in O.R.!"
"Yes, sir!" Someone called from inside, just as Hawkeye returned.
"What was that about?" She asked, nerviously looking at the slowly gathering crowd.
"Captain Hunnicut, please report to O.R. Repeat, Captain Hunnicut to O.R."
Twilight jumped at the disembodied voice, to which Hawkeye explained it was just an announcer. Two men with a large stretcher came up, and thankfully didn't ask any questions as they helped move her onto it. Shortly after, she found herself on a metal table with another man coming in at about the same time. After the crowd outside, not to mention learning she was in a bloody war zone, she was understandably nervous.
"Chill, Twi, this is B.J. Hunnicut," Pierce introduced happily, as Kellye set up a bucket for the cast. "Beej, meet Twilight Sparkle."
BJ was smiling, and happily shook hands with Twilight's offered hoof, "Pleased to meetcha, Miss Twilight."
"Please, Twilight will do," She stated. Thankfully, he didn't question that she could talk. Probably because he was meeting a real live unicorn.
"Beej, I need your help setting her leg here," Hawkeye said. "Mind being the foot man?"
"I think it would be hoof in this case, Hawk."
"Fine, hoof-man. See who gives a hoof."
Twilight clearly didn't mind the bad joke, as she giggled to herself at Hawk's ridiculous grin. Then she was told that they were going to realign the bone before they put it in the cast, on the count of five. Knowing she had five seconds to feel the pain, she got in a few quick deep breathes before
"OWW!" She cried as, on the count of three, her bone was suddenly snapped back into proper alignment. Whimpering for a moment, she glared at the two. "You said you'd do it on five!"
Beej and Hawk shrugged as they tried to look innocent, "Oops."
Glowering at them, she decided it wasn't worth it, and just waited and watched as the human called B.J. carefully held her leg, while his friend just as gingerly wrapped it in plaster-coated bandages. The two of them constantly consulted an x-ray that had been a fun little trip, watching Hawkeye work that machine and in the middle of it all, a rather short man walked in. He appeared to be older than the rest, if the white hair on his head was any indication. Twilight nervously glanced at the two doctors to see if this man was alright.
"It's fine, this is Colonel Potter," B.J. commented, his friend busy working. "He's the man lucky enough to be in charge of this place."
"Lucky me, in charge of a bunch of grown-up children that just happen to know medicine," Potter commented, making those in the room snort in laughter. It helped to calm Twilight, whom had the man's attention. "I see that Radar was right about you."
"Radar?" She asked, making his eyebrows raise. "Who's that?"
"The company clerk, he does pretty much all of the paper work around here," He replied with a smile. The innocence he sensed in her voice made it hard not to. "Has this wound on your head been checked?"
"It's superficial," Hawkeye said. "She appeared out of nowhere on my way to Seoul, so I patched her up a bit and headed back here."
"I was wondering why you were back so early. Let me take a look at this while you two do that."
Twilight watched as the older man put on some gloves before gently removing the bandage wrapped around her forehead. Wincing a bit at the gentle prodding, she waited for the diagnosis. After a few moments, he told her that it was nothing big, but that he had to disinfect it and put on a new bandage. She hissed a bit at the disinfectant, but didn't move the entire time. By the time he was finished, having chatted with the unicorn the entire time, so were the other two.
"I'll go out, tell the camp to fall in," He began to explain as he removed the gloves. "We need to swear the camp to secrecy about you being here, Twilight."
"Why?" She asked.
"If 'I' Corps heard about you, they'd demand you for scientific observation," B.J. told her in a flat, level voice, clearly disliking the idea.
Twilight, ever the studious scientist, felt her eyes widen. She knew exactly what he meant by that. So she agreed to the colonel's idea, and he left shortly after. The disembodied voice appeared, sounding like said man this time, announcing that everyone was to fall in at the compound immediantly.
"Well, let's go introduce you to your new home," Hawkeye said as he helped her into a wheelchair. Then he noticed how she sat. "Wait, how can you sit like that? Horses can't sit like that."
Twilight glowered at him, "First, I'm a pony. Second, my physiology is made to allow it."
Beej shrugged as he pushed her outside, "Good enough for me."
They got there in time to see everyone just arriving. The crowd stared at the three of them, especially when Potter told them to come to the front.
"Now," Potter began, as he gestured to Twilight, whom was looking very nervous in front of the large group of humans. "This is Twilight Sparkle. She arrived in Korea not long ago, and has told me that she is from a place where we're nothing but myths, just as she is here. Due to this, I must order you all to not say a word of her being here to anybody. I don't want some crazy scientist to try and drag her off to some sort of lab."
"I could probably just teleport away from them," Twilight commented.
A mostly-bald man in the front row snorted, "Are you insinuating that you can use magic?"
Twilight bristled, "Yes, I can."
"Nonsense! Magic is just a fairy tale."
The mare rolled a little closer to the man, glaring darkly, "Are you saying that my special talent is fake?"
"Come now," he said, an incredulous smile on his face. "I can see you being real, but magic? No such thing. Now gravity, that's real."
Growling, Twilight focused and her horn lit up. The crowd watched as Radar's pencil was snatched from his hand where he was taking notes.
"Hey!" He protested, but was promptly ignored.
With a flash, the pencil turned into a carrot. Said edible zoomed over to the unicorn, whom took a bite out of it, smiling smugly at the semi-bald man's look. She levitated it in front of him as she swallowed.
"It's a little stale," She commented, smugness dripping from her words. "But would you care for a bite?"
The man numbly pulled a bit off, and put it in his mouth. His eyes widened further.
"Oh my word," He commented. "It's actually a carrot."
"Let that be a lesson to you, Charles," Hawkeye chuckled. "Don't underestimate the unicorn."
"Step away from the myths, people, the war's coming. All medical personnel to triage. Repeat, all medical personnel to triage."
Twilight whirled around to face the man who'd found her, "What's that mean?"
"Remember those explosives from before?" Hawkeye asked, getting a nod. "Other humans hurt by those weapons are coming and we've gotta help them."
"Pierce, get her into the Swamp and set her up in the spare bed," Potter interrupted, before turning to the unicorn. "From what I understand, your world doesn't have something like this. It'll be easier if you hid in the Swamp, where you'll be able to rest and where they won't be able to see you."
Hawkeye nodded and quickly pushed Twilight towards a large tent labeled 'Swamp' on the door. Well, that at least revealed what the older man was talking about. Her nose wrinkled at the lack of organization, the mess that littered the floor. And the beds. And the... well, the everywhere.
"Is this mess why you call it the Swamp?" She asked, nose still wrinkled in disgust.
Hawkeye laughed, "For the most part. The bed over there is yours. And some advice: if you're queasy, don't look outside."
Twilight wondered what he meant by that as he raced out, stopping only to grab a stethescope from what was undoubtedly his corner of the place, she noticed large vehicles coming in. Humans were being taken out of them on stretchers, with large bandages all over them. Squinting at one, she gasped once she realized what it was.
"Oh my Celestia..." She whispered, horrified. "That's blood..."
All of the men that were being carried in on stretchers were bleeding, and some of them rather profusely. The amount of chaos that surrounded the tent was ridiculous; Discord would have had a field day here. Or perhaps he'd be like her, disgusted by the amount of deadly destruction that was clearly going on somewhere nearby. Twilight moved over to her new bed, carefully avoiding the mess on the floor how could they stand that, really? and carefully crawled onto the cot. It was nothing like her bed at the library, but it would do for now. She lay there, hidden from outside, but still able to hear everything and wishing that it was a dream. Either that, or wishing that she would be able to help. The voices were shouting, and she could do nothing more than sit there... and listen.
"This man's got a skull fracture, send him into pre-op stat!"
"Father Mulcahy," One voice called sadly, one she recognized. The man known as Charles?
A voice she didn't know, "So young..."
That caught her attention, and she looked over to where it had come from. A man in a black shirt with the common green overshirt open, and a faded off-white fedora, was there. The man he stood over looked young, there was still some baby fat on his face and he wasn't moving. He was unnaturally still. Twilight looked away, tears in her eyes as she realized the man was dead. Killed, by some enemy that had no respect for life. It disgusted her... but... these humans, the ones running around and trying to help the wounded ones...
Discord would really love this kind of chaos, She thought to herself with a bit of a grimace as she lay back down and tried to force herself to sleep.
Quiet had finally pervaded the camp, what with everyone inside the hospital, where she could be helping or taking notes. For the first time in her life, Twilight Sparkle was happy to not be doing so.
She didn't think her stomach would have been able to handle it.
* * *
"Thirty hours of surgery," Hawkeye moaned as he, B.J., and Charles stumbled into the Swamp. "And I what're you doing?"
Twilight looked up at him from where she sat next to the odd, radiator-like machine that was bubbling weirdly, pencil and notepad floating nearby. Glancing at it, the doctors realized that they had no idea what it said. They also noticed the ridiculously bright and cheerful grin on her muzzle.
"Science!" She said happily. "I didn't know what this thing was, so "
"It's a still," B.J. told her bluntly, carefully moving around where she sat on the old dentist chair.
Twilight looked confused, "A still?"
"A distillery," Charles clarified as he relaxed on his cot.
The mare still appeared confused, especially as Beej used the cord to pour some clear liquid into a alcoholic glass. When it was offered, she carefully took it and gingerly took a sip before sputtering at its burning sensation.
"Gah! What is that stuff?" Twilight rasped after swallowing.
"Gin," Hawkeye said, thanking his friend when he was given a glass.
Beej nodded, "It helps get over the more grueling O.R. sessions, especially this last one."
Twilight got the hint right away, smart mare that she was. Someone had died in that building. Perhaps two. It made her heart ache for them, having never encountered this in Equestria.
"Do they not have alcohol where you're from?" Hawkeye asked curiously, as she put the writing items down.
"No, we do, I just don't drink," She admitted. "It's the... the killing. We don't have that."
Beej gave her a look from his cot, "You don't have wars?"
"It's been over a thousand years since the last one."
The three officers of the room looked at each other. That was certainly a long time for no wars to happen; if only that were true in this world. The mare picked up from the silence that her statement didn't apply to where she was now; Twilight was sure she would get a lot of questions once they woke up from the sleep they needed to catch up on. She remained silent as the three of them slowly faded away into unconsciousness, before quietly leaving the tent and heading over to the larger building. Inside the room that Hawkeye had first called for help, she found what appeared to be an office.
"Hello, Miss Sparkle," Radar greeted tiredly, yawning from the long session in the operating room.
"Please, Twilight will do," she responded, looking around the room, noticing the cot and filing cabinets and the desk. "You live here?"
Radar nodded, "I'm the company clerk. This is my office. I do all the paperwork for the 4077 here with Colonel Potter."
Was that a gleam of excitement he saw in her ridiculously large eyes? Did she... like doing paperwork?
"Is there anyway I can help?" Twilight asked, barely restraining her joy for being able to do something she loved again.
She loved official work like this! Radar smiled someone was finally willing to help him.
* * *
Colonel Potter walked into the main building after a restful sleep to find a purple unicorn sitting where Radar usually sat. Then his memories caught up to his tired brain and he recalled who she was, deciding to be quiet for the sake of the sleeping corporal. He gently alerted her to his presence, although she probably already knew.
"I see my clerk finally has his own assistant," He commented, watching in a bit of awe at all the things floating around the unicorn. Each of them had a lavender-hued glow, as did her horn. She glanced at him with a smile.
"I'm just one of those odd ponies that loves paperwork," She commented. "Besides, I'm a fast learner and I figured he could use the break."
Potter looked to the outgoing box, and noticed that the desk was ridiculously organized and clean. The paperwork was almost finished. What little there was left was probably on his desk, waiting to be signed. Wallking through the double doors, he found he was right. The papers were spread out in a neat, organized manner, and it took almost no time to sign them all. Once he'd carefully stacked them back together, he glanced at the time and raised an eyebrow. It had hardly been five minutes, and he was already done with this much paper work! Clearly the odd unicorn knew her stuff when it came to organization. That was when she decided to wheel in.
"Excuse me," She said cheerfully. The innocence in her voice once again reminded him of Radar and his grandchildren, making Potter smile. "I've got some more papers for you to sign."
"Of course," He nodded, as she set them down. "You know, you're taking this whole meeting humans thing pretty well."
"I could say the same to you about meeting me."
Potter couldn't help his chuckle, "I suppose extraordinary events are easy to accept in extraordinary situations."
Twilight's face gained a sad look, "The war."
"Unfortunately," He said sadly. "It's a lot easier to simply accept what happens when there are other things to worry about."
There was a slight pause there.
"Radar mentioned he had to write some letters to some humans back home?" Twilight said questioningly. "His family?"
"No. I usually have him write up letters for the patients that don't make it."
"...Anyway, why is he called Radar?"
"He has this uncanny ability to know something is going to happen before it does. It's how we know there are choppers coming before everyone else sees or hears them, among other things."
"Choppers? Those things that came in from the air?"
Potter nodded, "They carry two, three, four wounded at a time straight off the battlefield."
"And the sooner they get here, the better their chances for survival."
"Along with blood donations," The colonel said. Then he paused and looked at her, making Twilight a bit confused before she understood.
"Oh, no, I can't donate," She said, shaking her head. "Pony blood types are probably different from human blood types."
He couldn't really disagree with that, as he finally finished the paperwork. The chatting had slowed him down slightly, but at least it was a bit informative. They didn't have the knowledge to know where to draw blood to test it, either, so it was just easier to assume that it wouldn't work. Either way, he watched as she rolled out of the office, and soon came back in.
"As far as I've been told by Radar, that's all there is for the morning," She told him, making him raise his eyebrows as she picked up the finished paperwork, opening the door only to put said papers in the outbox.
"You're pretty efficient," He complimented, making her blush a bit.
She shrugged, "It's nothing."
Potter decided to not comment, but nodded instead. He humored her questions about the war, about the army, about his world. In return, she answered questions about her own world. Both were rather fascinated by the differences, especially in regards to fighting. The colonel was honestly surprised by Twilight's world not having war, while she was just as shocked about his having war at all. Potter was especially intriqued by the fact that the pony world Equestria, she'd called it apparently had a way to weaponize friendship. And not in a lethal manner, either, which was the oddest part.
Then again, he was talking to a purple sorry, lavender, as he'd been told unicorn. That was odd on its own.
That was when Radar came running into his office.
"Radar, no inner-office running," He commented mildly.
"Yes, sir," The boy said. "I wanted... to..."
Potter looked up at his clerk, and followed his gaze to Twilight Sparkle, whom was smiling at the young man. Radar had wanted to explain that said unicorn had temporarly taken over his job, at her insistence, but apparently she'd already told his CO that. So he decided to shrug instead.
"Tell me about her taking your job for a while?" Potter said with a grin.
Radar nodded, shrugging again, "Pretty much, sir. I can't believe you got it done that fast."
It was at that moment that a quiet growling was heard. Both humans looked to the only possible source, considering it didn't come from them. Twilight blushed, looking a little sheepish.
"...Can I get something to eat?"
* * *
"Where'd you run off to?" B.J. asked Twilight as she returned to the Swamp, once again wrinkling her nose at the lack of organization. She didn't know how long she was stuck here, but she knew that leaving this mess behind was something to look forward to.
"Went to the office," She shrugged as she weaved her way to her temporary cot. "Helped Radar with the morning and midday paperwork."
"...How long ago did you go over?" Hawkeye asked curiously, raising an eyebrow at the mare that was now carefully crawling onto the little bed. She glanced at the clock.
"Well, you came back in at about seven, and it's about nine... so... two hours ago?"
The captains shared incredulous looks, pausing their drinking.
"You went over there two hours ago, learned how to do all of the morning stuff Radar does, and finished?"
Now Twilight understood why they were rather amazed at this, and blushed. Wow, she'd been doing that a lot today. That was when the door opened again.
"Here you are, ma'am," Radar said respectfully, carrying a single plate of salad.
"Thank you very much, Radar," She responded with a smile as she took the plate in her telekinetic grip, although she gave him a look. "Why did you insist on getting it for me, anyway? I can see and smell might I add that it smells horrible? that the mess hall is where the food is served."
The men in the tent, even the quietly reading Charles, looked at each other. These looks didn't pass her notice. The major, despite his initial impression of being rude and egotistical, knew to tread carefully here.
"Well, my dear," He began. "Humans eat differently from equines."
Twilight raised an eyebrow. What did that have to do with everything? Did humans not use forks or spoons? Wait, that didn't make sense, how would they eat things like soup, shove it in with their hands?
"You know what a herbivore is, Twilight?" B.J. asked.
"Yes?" She asked. "Aren't humans herbivores?"
"Yes... and no," Hawkeye continued. "We're omnivores."
Twilight gave a questioning look before a knowing look came over her face, followed shortly by a look of horror.
"You... you eat meat?" She squeaked.
B.J. was quick to intervene before she panicked, "Don't forget, you're an equine and we're not. Different physiology, remember? Our bodies need nutrients that we receive best from meat. We can get away with not eating the stuff, but it's healthier for us to do so."
"B-But... w-what do they say about it?"
"They don't," Hawkeye said. "You're the only non-human we've met that has sentience."
Okay, now that was new. Ponies here didn't speak? Radar had long since left, and the four of them in the tent talked about the differences between their respective homes. The humans learned that weather was controlled literally in Equestria, while the unicorn learned that it did as it wished here. Despite this entire planet really being nothing more than a huge version of Everfree Forest, Twilight Sparkle couldn't help but marvel at it. This huge, gorgeous planet... so similar to the one she'd magically transported from... took care of itself, for the most part. That alone was impressive, and it made her wonder at just how beautiful it was, despite all of the clearly dark parts involved with the humans.
"Perhaps we should step away from these troubling thoughts," Charles suggested, as he set his book down on his little cabinet. "Would you say you are a fair player of chess, Miss Sparkle?"
That most certainly got the unicorn's attention. "I would say I am, Mister...?"
"Winchester. Charles Emerson Winchester, the third."
Twilight gave a confident smile as she levitated the chess set over and set it up quickly.
"Ladies first," he said, matching her smug smile exactly.
And with that, the game began.
* * *
"How's she doing, Charles?" Beej asked as he returned from Post-Op duty, handing it off to Hawkeye back in the proper wing of the building. He noticed immediantly that the chess game had yet to end.
There were very few pieces left for either side. Charles didn't answer, he was busy frowning and focusing on the game. It was likely his turn. He wasn't sure what he could do to take out his opponent's king when it was so very well guarded by little more than a bishop, rook, and knight. Twilight's pawn was also frighteningly close to becoming a queen. To the unicorn, however, the knight, two rooks, and single bishop Charles had were just as threatening. She felt like she was struggling to just stay afloat!
"Wow, close game," Hunnicut complimented, taking a seat nearby. "I haven't seen you struggle this much against someone in chess."
Charles finally made his move, sending his bishop forward a few spaces. "She is a lot better than I had originally anticipated."
"Thank you," Twilight commented, before going silent.
Only B.J. said hello as the door opened to Potter, whom was just stopping by to visit the camp's visitor. He paused at the chess game he saw, and after grabbing himself a glass of gin, grabbed a seat by the captain.
"How long've they been at this?"
Twilight answered after she finally moved her knight forward, "An hour and a half so far. And Mister Charles, you're better at this than I had originally anticipated."
The major gave a small smirk at the unicorn reiterating his very sentence, "Thank you."
"Well, once you're finished, I would like to take another look at your wounds," Potter commented, receiving a nod to confirm he'd been understood.
"Heh," Charles smirked, moving one of his rooks.
"HA!" Twilight exclaimed, opting to let her knight be bait as she made her pawn into a queen and in just the right spot, too. "Checkmate!"
The major did a double-take. He checked over the board once, twice, a third time... and finally gave a sigh. She was right the unicorn had won. He stood and held his hand out, which Twilight shook.
"That was a very entertaining match, Miss Sparkle," He complimented her. "Thank you for playing me."
"Thank you for offering," She replied with a smile. She turned to the colonel. "Do we need to go anywhere?"
"No, right here should be fine. Hunnicut, examine her leg while I check the head wound."
"You got it."
Twilight watched as the bandage on her head was finally removed, and after some gentle prodding, she was given the verdict that it was clear. She noted the human's awe in how quickly it had healed.
"Ponies have internal magic that helps to speed the recovery of wounds," She explained, not wincing when the captain prodded her leg.
B.J. looked at her, "Then perhaps we should get an x-ray of this? Then we'll have an idea of how much longer you'll need the cast."
Twilight nodded, and soon followed the humans out to post-op. She still had a little bit of difficulty believing she was here, but like the colonel had said... extraordinary circumstances made extraordinary events that much easier to believe and move on from.
But she had to wonder... what was going on at home?
* * *
"Is it often that you guys go this long without wounded?"
"Every now and then, yeah."
"And then we get those deluges. By the way, you were a big help in the last one."
Twilight blushed about B.J. bringing that up, "I don't think I was that helpful. It took me half my energy to not lose my breakfast."
Beej clearly disagreed, "We wouldn't have been able to get as much done without your magic, so you were a very big help."
"I barely did anything with the surgery directly, though!"
"That's fine, you got things far faster than anybody else did," Hawkeye complimented. "Like when you grabbed that ether mask for the guy with the grenade. It would've taken someone longer than the ten seconds it took you to teleport out and right back."
It had been about seven days since Twilight had first shown up, the third day of which she'd spent her time in the O.R. helping to take care of the wounded to the best of her ability, even bound to a wheelchair. Two days later, her leg was well enough to have the cast removed, and they were int eh Swamp, watching as she tried to work out a way back home. But before the conversation could go any further, a gold light shone in the center of the compound, and a familiar form appeared... well, familiar to Twilight Sparkle, in any case. Said unicorn gasped and raced outside, the captains following.
"What's going on here?" Colonel Potter demanded as he pushed to the front of the crowd, as the light show ended and an unfamiliar creature appeared.
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight Sparkle exclaimed happily, rushing up to meet her mentor in a happy greeting.
"The same princess she mentioned yesterday?" Hawkeye muttered to his friend.
Beej nodded, "It looks like it."
"Twilight, it's very good to see you again," The princess greeted, cheerfully nuzzling her faithful student, before rising to her full height. She stood about as tall as Sophie, but her mane and tail were flowing majestically in a way that sent shivers down the spines of the humans around them. "Tell me, where are we?"
"This place is called the 4077 MASH," Twilight Sparkle answered, before a questioning look appeared on her face. "How did you find me, princess?"
Celestia took a moment to respond, eyeing the crowd carefully, "My sister and I had to track your magical signature, but we needed time to set up the ritual. It took a few weeks to finally have the proper ingredients."
Twilight looked confused, "Weeks? But princess... it's only been about a week here."
"That comes from their world spinning at a different rate than ours, my faithful student."
Hawkeye couldn't help himself, "Whoa! You never said you were a student of a princess!"
"You never asked," Twilight responded with a grin.
"I see you've been here long enough to make some friends, though," Celestia said, voice laced with some amusement.
Potter stepped in at this point, "Alright, people, back to work! Pierce, Hunnicut, meet in my office. Radar, get Winchester, Houlihan, and Father Mulcahy to my office as well. Princess, Twilight, might we continue this there?"
Twilight watched the princess nod with a patient smile, and followed them into the older man's office. She probably knew about the humans due to her ancient knowledge or something like that. Either way, the unicorn was going home soon! She paused for a moment when she realized that such a thought made her a little sad. Despite all of its shortcomings in terms of peace, this place was... was... well, it reminded her of home, of little old Ponyville. The inhabitants may have been different, as well as the world, but the feeling was the same, no matter the many differences in appearance.
This place was almost like a second home.
"Well, princess," Colonel Potter began to say, after introducing those in the office. "I must say it is a pleasure to meet you. Your student has told us much about you."
Twilight blushed at the amused look her mentor gave her. At Potter's request, Celestia explained that she and her sister had used a special kind of spell in order to trace her student's magical signature to where it currently was and be transported there. In order to get back, it would take some time for the ritual to bring herself and her student to Equestria. The ingredients used for the ritual were magically connected to her, and were now using the spell to calibrate a way to bring the two ponies home.
"How long will this process take?" Potter asked.
Celestia didn't hesitate, "It will take approximately two days, your time. It took two days for the spell to locate my student, and it must take the same amount of time in order to tie itself to the both of us so that we can return safely. Are there any other questions?"
Potter opened his mouth to speak, but froze when the door burst open.
"Sir! Choppers, sounds like plenty!" Radar called, and the room leapt into action instantly.
Celestia looked on in confusion as the humans dropped everything, even the pretense of giving her a royal audience. She turned to her student, whom was the only one remaining in the room.
"Twilight, what is going on here?" She asked.
Twilight decided to shorten it down to save time, "This is a MASH, princess, which means Mobile Army Surgical Hospital."
"Army?" That told Celestia a lot of what she needed to know. "This is a war zone!"
"It is, princess," Twilight confirmed. "The humans call it the Korean War. They take care of the wounded here."
"Have you helped them?"
"Only once, most of the soldiers shook off seeing me as part of the wounds making them hallucinate, which made it easier..." Twilight trailed off, looking out the office door a little anxiously. "Princess, may I go help them again?"
"I will join you," Celestia answered, and continued at her student's shocked look. "I have seen war before, a long time ago. I am not unfamiliar with its unpleasant methods. Lead the way, Twilight, and in this time of urgency, I must ask that you drop all needs to treat me as royalty."
After a moment, Twilight nodded, and quickly led the way back outside. The young mare had to swallow to keep her food down, but it was easier than last time. Princess Celestia found it easy, having seen such devastation millenia ago; however, it was not on this scale. Her eyes widened slightly at the amount of blood.
"Twilight, you organized the supplies last, how are we doing in terms of plasma and blood?" Potter called, to which the unicorn raced over, already answering.
"There were shipments of both this morning," She answered. "We should be full on both for now. Be careful on how much AB positive and negative is used, we didn't get that many in as I'd hoped."
"Understood, anything else low?"
"No, we should be able to make it through this session without running out of anything."
"Excellent," He said, as he finished a diagnosis and turned to the princess, whom had followed her student. "Princess, are you helping?"
"I am," Celestia nodded. "I have seen war before, but not at this level of destruction. Your kind has powerful weapons."
Charles commented from nearby, "Yes, that is one thing humanity will always be good at. Take this man inside, open chest wound."
"Colonel, the patients have been diagnosed, ready to head in?" B.J. called to the C.O.
Potter nodded, and quickly showed the way for both ponies. Celestia wondered momentarily how this experience would change her.
* * *
"It was certainly interesting meeting you," Celestia commented to the humans. "And it was an honor to watch you all work."
"It was an honor to have you watch," Hawkeye said, before being hug-tackled by the smaller of the two ponies. "Oof! Careful there, Twi, I gotta be able to stand."
"Yeah right, you'll just collapse in your cot the first chance you get," She teased, as she let go. Before hugging B.J.
"Nice to meet you, Twilight," The man said. "Have fun back home for us, willya?"
Twilight nodded and moved on to Charles, whom she merely shook a hoof with. Celestia stood back the entire time, watching with amusement at her student's antics... before finally backing up and returning to her side.
"It has been a pleasure to meet you all," Celestia said quietly. "I must admit that I hope to see you again sometime. Perhaps someday you could visit us."
"We'd like that," B.J. nodded.
Hawkeye grinned, "If you think you can handle us!"
"She doesn't need to, I do!" Twilight countered, as her princess' horn began to glow a bright, brilliant gold.
And with a flash of that beautiful, sunny-gold magic, the two ponies were gone. After several moments, the camp of MASH 4077 slowly filed out from the compound. Off to their tents, where they could dream, and wait for the end of the war in silence... and to allow the innocence of this magical event warm their hearts for as long as possible. Something that happened rarely out here in this desolate land.
But when it did happen, the camp was suddenly a brighter place... almost as if by magic...