Pandemic: Departures

by Cosmic Eclipse

"A World... Changed!" - Epilogue

Six Months Later:

Dr. Moray sat in The Roost drinking away his troubles as he had often done ever since the tempest had wrecked his ship and drove a wedge between him and the rest of the mariners. He had tried to stay positive as they resorted doing odd jobs to try and fund their repairs but their morale had been steadily declining to the point where he just couldn’t bear to face their disappointment anymore.

He chuckled to himself and began to somberly sing to no one in particular as he reflected on the turn his life had taken lately.

Show me the way to go home, 
I'm tired and I want to go to bed, 
I had a little drink about an hour ago, 
And it's gone right to my head, 
Wherever I may roam, 
By land or sea or foam, 
You will always hear me singing this song, 
Show me the way to go home.

The bell on the door rang as a lone night pony walked into the bar and took a seat next to him, eyeing him over for a few solitary moments before hesitantly speaking to the disgruntled Pegasus, “So your luck’s run aground eh Doc?”

Moray simply took another gulp of his drink and shrugged. “Aye, that’s a bit of an understatement if I’ve ever heard one.”

“Care to share your story? I can’t say I’ve seen too many ponies that drown out their sorrows like this.”

He began to speak in a somber tone, “I don’t see why it matters. Why do you care?”

“You could say I’m a bit of a sympathetic soul.”

He shrugged again, “Well I thought that we had a breakthrough, our boat’s run aground, my team’s on the verge of breaking up, and here I am… drinking away my troubles like the failure I am.”

The figure shook their head, “Oh you’re not a failure, believe me. Life has a funny way of showing it sometimes but you’ve definitely still got a lot of potential.”

He rolled his eyes and took another sip of his drink, “And why should I believe that? Let me guess? This is all some part of God’s plan, and I should just pray and beg for the answers I need?”

He interrupted the pegasus, “Because I’ve been in your place once, maybe not in the same way you are now, but I shut myself away from others because It was the only thing I could do to keep my mind off of what was getting to me.” The figure waved over the bartender. “I’ll have something with mango please.”

The bartender nodded and returned with the requested beverage.

“So why are you here then? Just want to rub it in?” Moray cut in. 

“No, I’m here because I have an offer for you. An offer I don’t think you’ll want to refuse.”

“Oh a mysterious offer? Ha, that’s a good joke,” he sarcastically chimed. 

The figure smiled, “It’s not a joke, this is a serious offer and I wouldn’t have travelled all this way from Arizona if I didn’t feel that you were up to the challenge.”

“Alright, well who even are you then?”

“Well, let’s just say a friend. But I guess a proper introduction is in order. My name’s Silver, Silver Eclipse. Nice to meet you.”

He turned towards Silver, raising an eyebrow in confusion, “Silver Eclipse… why’s that sound so familiar?”

“Oh I believe we’ve talked before, Doc. Not in person though. No, I met you a few months ago, in your little dream adventure out on the high seas… though I guess adventure really isn’t the right word for it.”

Moray suddenly snapped up. “So that really happened then?”

Silver nodded his head, “It did. As for why I’m here though, some… friends of mine brought some of your work to my attention and I think it has promise. I can’t help but notice you’re down one research vessel though. What would you say if I offered to fully cover the cost of repairs or a replacement of similar value, and in return you help me and my team on a few vital projects?”

“I’d say that that’s some sick joke and you should take a walk off the pier… but then again, if you really did make your way all the way out here from Arizona I guess you wouldn’t be joking unless you get some sick pleasure out of crushing other ponies’ dreams,” he said coldly. 

“It’s no joke Doc, I mean it. I have some grant money set up for this kind of project specifically and your group’s expertise is well worth the cost to me.” Silver reached into his bag and pulled out a set of blueprints, carefully passing it over to the disgruntled captain. “This is what we’re working on… or at least part of it. The Arizona desert isn’t exactly the most ideal place for this kind of construct though, and I can think of no better team suited for this than yours. You still want to prove to them that you can be more than just a group of pegasi with their heads in the clouds? I think this could be your chance. Do you still think that this is some kind of sick joke?”

He raised an eyebrow as he carefully looked over the plans, finally turning to face Silver, “The Sea Castle eh? It’s got a nice ring to it, but what is it?”

“It’s an undersea laboratory, an experimental one, but an important one nonetheless. You see, I’ve got a little plan for the future and this kind of research would be very useful for it.”

“Well what kind of research do you have planned exactly?”

“Well let’s just say that I think mixing magic and machinery could be a very useful project. We’re still probably years away from making any kind of headway on anything super complex like space travel, but the ocean still has many mysteries that are just locked away from us. What if we could try and use our new gift to unlock some of those mysteries?”

“That's… a bit of a tall order but if you’re seriously offering this than I guess I can’t question your reasons. So why do you want us to work on it specifically?”

“Because researching the sea is your life’s work, and you obviously need some help. You’re the kind of pony that I think we need more of in the world, your whole team too. You’re the ones that care about the future and want to make the world a better place with your work.”

“This is insane though, how are we supposed to even build this?”

Silver waved a hoof dismissively at him, “Don’t worry about that part. We’ve been pre fabricating most of the major components for a little while now, in fact we could even be ready to begin construction this week. All I care about is the data you get from it, you can do whatever other research you want in the lab. Just keep it running and report back on the data we need. I’ll even turn the lab over to you once we’ve gotten that data. No strings attached, it’ll be yours, lock, stock, and barrel. Sounds fair?”

“And if we don’t agree?”

“Well if you don’t, you can go back to sulking in the bar and running up a tab the size of this island, we’ll look at other options, other options that might not be as good as you guys and go from there,” he waved over to the bartender, “I’ll take my check please!”

“So you’ll really pay for our repairs?”

“Or the cost of a ship of equal value. Whichever you want.”

“And all we need to do is manage an undersea lab for you and report back some data?”


Moray sighed. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt then. You have a deal then Mr. Eclipse,” He carefully lifted his mug, “Here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women.”

Silver smiled, “Fantastic, let me get the information for you!”

One Year Later:

The sun had long set but that meant nothing to the ponies below who were enjoying their evening. Scarlet sat at the top of City Central, looking down at the city below, enjoying the view while she waited for Silver to return. She glanced down at her gauntlet to check the time, and then smiled as she slowly walked over to the purple night pony foal that was playing a short distance away, “Orion guess who’s going to be here in a few minutes!”

He smiled and ran over, earning another smile from her, “That’s right, Dad’s going to be home soon! Are you excited?!”

The foal responded with a big grin, jumping into the air and flapping his wings in excitement, earning a laugh from her, “Alright, calm down little buddy, Silver’s gonna be so sad if you’re all tuckered out when he gets here.”

Orion ran up and cuddled up next to her as she draped a wing over him. She gazed back down at the city, reminiscing at how much The Oasis had grown in In just a year’s time. It had gone from a humble ghost town to a slowly growing city of their dreams, a place where imagination and creativity were more important than anything else. On the surface, the city was merely a modest example of what ponies and humans could do when they set aside their differences and worked together, but it was also a place where its scientists and researchers worked tirelessly to inspire the world around them, in the hopes of making it a better place.

It was a woefully optimistic dream, but it was something that they felt was worth fighting for. The PRISM was still a fledgeling group, but this city was their gift to the world. It was impossible to truly know whether they’d ever discover something that could brighten the dark future that they feared, but it didn’t matter to them, not as long as they at least tried. What started as an escape for Silver, a desperate attempt to try and make sense of his fears, had now become a goal that was becoming more and more attainable as the days went on.

In the distance Scarlet could make out a helicopter flying in, Silver was punctual as usual, something she could always count on. As it neared closer she picked up Orion and took a few steps back, giving the pilot some room to land. The helicopter came to a graceful landing and a very tired looking night pony hopped out. Orion took up, cheerfully running over to his father, who’s face lit up at the sight, “Hey there buddy, I sure missed you!” He said as he pulled him in for a hug, then carefully lifted him onto his back.

With a big smile on her face Scarlet ran over, excitedly calling out to him, “Welcome back Silver! You get enough sleep on the ride over? I know you’re probably a little tired.”

The night pony smiled back, lightening up a little, “I did, but hey, at least I’m home now.” He lifted the sunglasses he wore off of his head, and warmly greeted her, “You sure are a real sight for sore eyes you know that?” 

He waved to the pilot and walked off of the landing pad as the helicopter took off. “You know, I really need to bring you along on one of these trips sometime, the Mariners’ lab up in Maine is starting to really show some promise, they’ve really been making some amazing progress with the Sea Castle.”

Scarlet leaned in and hugged Silver tightly, careful not to disturb Orion, “It’s great to see you too, I don’t know how you manage to stay sane after running everything here non stop.”

“Well I have you and Orion and that helps quite a bit. C’mon, let’s go take a walk.”

The two ponies started to walk back into the large building, chatting and catching up along the way.

“You know what Silver? We really need to take a proper vacation sometime, no business, no responsibilities, just us relaxing somewhere for once.”

“Well go get ready then, I can put in a little vacation time for just the two of us. Where do you want to go?”

“Wait, you mean right now? What about Orion? I can’t just leave him here alone with a sitter.”

Silver shrugged, smiling as an idea came to him. “Well We’ll just take him along too, it could be our first big family vacation.”

“You think he’s fine to travel?”

Silver nodded. “Of course! My Grandmother took me all over the place as a kid and I turned out just fine.”

Scarlet laughed at him. “Well that’s certainly debatable.”

“So where should we go? California, Florida, Hawaii... anything in particular pique your interest?”

“Hawaii sounds fun, but I’d rather save that trip for later. What about Michigan? You know, we never took Sapphire up on her invitation. It might be nice to show that we’re not still mad over everything.”

“Michigan? You know it’s going to be pretty cold up there right? Like colder than anything we're used to down here.”

“I think I’ll manage just fine, I mean how bad could it be?”

“Alright well if you say so… I’ll go get everything settled once we get to my office.”

The two looked out the window and over the lake in the distance, watching the residents enjoying their evening, “You know, this place sure has changed a lot over the last year… I mean that whole storm fiasco last year kind of threw a wrench in our operations for a while, but it was oddly productive.”

“I’d say it worked out really well. Sapphire really lightened up once you explained that it was all one big misunderstanding.” 

“That’s true, it could have been so much worse right? Like thank God she’s only a pegasus, can you imagine what would have happened if a unicorn of her caliber had tried a stunt like that?”

“I don’t want to think about that, let’s just be glad we pissed off who we did, otherwise we’d have never made the kinds of connections that we did. How did Sunset handle your request by the way?”

“She said it was fine, but I made it very clear that if she ever does something like she did with the whole Sapphire situation again we would not hesitate to pull out of the deal. She seems a lot more welcoming in person, but I still don’t know what to make of her yet.”

She chuckled, “Maybe that sudden vacation is a good thing after all. Want me to come along with you to your office? Keep you company?”

“Don’t you have some work over in the new observatory?”

“Nah, the shipment got delayed again, nothing big, just a lot of complicated parts that they found defects in. Had to recall a whole truckload.”

“Well in that case, I’d really love that.”

The two continued walking down the plain hallway, an occasional door or window breaking up the bland walls. 

“So did I miss anything interesting while I was gone?”

“Oh you know, nothing special, just the Neptune team making an emergency call right before you touched down. Isa wanted to speak to you over the video phone, it sounded like they ran into an issue with the Aquarius project right after you left and needed some emergency resources to make repairs.”

“Oh just approve it. Their research was starting to really show some potential when I was down there. I know they’re a bit eccentric but they’re hard workers and we need that data for the Horizon project. How’s the Helios team been handling?”

“They’ve been… handling.”

“Not good?”

The lights flickered a few times before briefly blacking out, “Not good. They’re trying though, the grid’s just having trouble holding up.”

“That’s fine. I know they’re giving it their all.”

Silver opened the door and walked in, cheerfully greeting Stanley. “Hey Stanley, so what’d you need?”

“It’s Phoenix. Anyways… I don’t know how to say this Silver, so let me just rip the bandage right off. I’m stepping down. Effective immediately Patrick’s taking over as director of the Facilities and Operations division.”

Silver shifted uncomfortably.“That’s… err, ok. It’s just a little sudden Stanley.”

“Silver I told you, it’s Phoenix now. Rising Phoenix.”

“Right, sorry, I’m still getting used to that. Look Phoenix, I really think you should reconsider. It’s not that I don’t think Patrick is up for the task, it’s just, well.. you’ve been such an integral part of making this place what it is and I just hope this isn’t a sign that you’re leaving.”

He nodded his head, “Silver, are you still afraid of a looming apocalypse?”

“Phoenix, what does this have—“

“Are you?” he interrupted

Silver sighed, “You know the answer to that…” He looked away.  “Yes.”

“Facing my fears, and helping others get over their own has become an integral part of who I am.” Phoenix said as he gestured to his cutie mark of a phoenix rising from a dark cloud of ash. “One year ago I was probably the most fearful pony there was, but look at me now. I’m confident, I’m not as fearful, and a lot of this is because of you.”

“But what does that have to do with any of this?”

“You’re afraid that I’m going to leave, and you don’t want that. You’re still afraid of change, even if you don’t consciously realize it yet. It’s only natural Silver. Fear is something that’s a part of what makes us who we are. But I could argue that change is something that’s almost equally important too.”

“What do you think you’ve learned from my fears?” he asked as he made eye contact.

“That you’re a pony that cares deeply about his friends but is still trying to hold onto the cold and indifferent public persona that you’ve meticulously crafted to try and give off the illusion that you’re fearless. I’m not leaving Silver. This is my home and a dream that I feel is finally starting to come true, but I also found something in it that suits me better. I have the chance to really help other ponies this way. I was happy before but now I have the chance to really share what I’ve learned to help others. You included.”

Silver shuffled in place, finally taking a deep breath. “Maybe I am afraid of change.”

“And that’s perfectly fine. I know you’re afraid of their arrival, but you can’t let this obsession with the devourers consume your entire life. I know it’s scary, and I know you only want to help other ponies, but you need to help yourself too. If you won’t do it for your sake do it for Scarlet and Orion’s.”

“I… I’m just so worried that in the lines upon lines of calculations and predictions that we’re still missing something. What if this isn’t some far off threat?”

Phoenix shrugged, “We'll never know that Silver, all we really do know is that the best thing we can do right now is to try and find a solution to that threat now, in the present, if not for our sake, for our descendants sake. You’re not going to live forever Silver, so you shouldn’t let fear control your life like I did. You’re only going to miss out on the special moments in life and wonder where all the time went if you do, and then it’ll really be too late.”

“Do you think so?”

He nodded his head, “I know so. Trust me on this Silver.”

Silver hugged his friend. “Thanks Phoenix, I really appreciate this.”

“I know you do, now go enjoy the rest of your day off, I know Scarlet’s been waiting for you.”

Tinker, Gyro, Sprocket, and Marcus were hard at work trying to get the new system online. The helios team had done their part and now it was up to them to get the grid to hold with the modifications. It had been a thorn in their sides for the last few weeks, but they were finally at a stage that they felt might be the end.

“Alright, go ahead and count me down Marcus!” Tinker called out from the maintenance pit.

“Sure thing Barney.” Marcus flashed a nervous glance over towards the unicorn who was currently monitoring the computer readout, “Giles, you think this’ll work?”

The stoic unicorn shrugged, “Probably not, if this doesn’t trigger another shutdown then I’d say we’re extremely lucky.”

“Oh come on Gyro, you know what they say, 25th times the charm right?” Sprocket said with a laugh.

He turned towards him, “Yeah alright, well if this works I’ll pay for the celebration party.”

“Alright well I’ll hold you to that.”

“Don’t worry, I’m a pony of my word.”

Marcus looked over at the two, “Alright, well if you two are done with your little back and forth I’d like to get this over with. You’re good to go for a full powerup of Project Helios in 10 seconds and counting.” he hesitantly pulled down on the lever as the computerized voice began to count the seconds down.”

The tension in the room was steadily rising as the team looked on at the system’s status readout, praying that it would stabilize successfully. “Reaching peak output in 5 seconds.”

C’mon, don’t fail on me now! Tinker pleaded to himself, “Where’re we at Marcus?”

“We’ve reached peak power output and… and it’s holding-- It’s actually holding!”

“Power output successfully stabilized.” the computer announced.

Tinker excitedly flew out of the maintenance pit, coming to a land in the field next to Marcus, Sprocket, and Gyro. “I… I can’t believe we’ve finally gotten it to hold!”

Sprocket raised an eyebrow, looking over to the pit, “So how’s the capacitor bank looking?”

“Well with Gyro’s new driver it seems to be holding up perfectly fine, I don’t know how we managed to get it to adapt to the old grid, but it’s holding surprisingly well! We’ll have to keep an eye on it for awhile just to get some more data, but I think we might be good as gold!”

“Well hey, that’s better than rolling blackouts! How about a round of drinks to celebrate? Gyro’s paying.”

“Sure, just as soon as we’re all set here.” the pegasus looked over to his assistant, “You coming along too Gyro?”

“Uh huh.”

“Splendid, I’ll call ahead and set up a reservation, I’m sure Silver would love to come along too!”

It was close to noon the next day and the two night ponies walked down the hallway, trying to stifle their yawns as best as they could. Orion slept peacefully on Scarlet’s back, a sight that melted Silver’s heart. They paused for a moment as a pegasus quickly flew past them in a gray blur before coming to a well practiced landing. 

Scarlet looked towards Silver, “Oh boy, this should be good.”

Zipper folded his wings, walking towards the couple, “Oh hey, what’re you two up to today?”

Silver smiled, trying not to laugh, “Heya Zip, not painting your wings anymore?”

He rolled his eyes, “No. That was… that was just that one time.”

“Oh lighten up Zip, I thought it looked pretty cool. Anyways, we’re just taking that vacation you were briefed on yesterday.”

“Oh that’s today?” He asked in mock confusion.

“Yes, that’s today. Can we help you with something?”

“No… but maybe I can help you. You’re going up to the MWMP right? I was just thinking that I could come along, ya know to pickup… some of the more advanced techniques so I could come back and teach the team down here…”

Silver shook his head, “That’s not quite how it works. Sure we’ll be up in the UP but we’re there strictly on vacation, for real, not like that vacation they took down here last year. At most Sapphire will probably show us around and that’s it.”

“Okay, but I could still stop by and try and touch base with them.”

The two started walking forward, Zipper quickly following behind them. Silver shook his head once more, replying with a calm but stern tone, “I think we’re good Zip, that’s a federal program and they aren’t going to just let you fly around with them. What happened a year ago was a one time deal and we almost got washed away because of it. Besides, flights full, they’re not going to let you squeeze into the seat next to us.”

“Oh come on, are you sure you don’t need an extra set of hooves to help out on your trip? I could keep an eye on Orion if you two just wanted a little time to yourselves.” 

Scarlet flashes him a warm smile, “Really, we’re good Zipper, thanks.”


Silver paused, turning towards the gray pegasus, “Zipper, I know you want to come along and visit, but you’re the weather captain and your team needs you here. You knew that the job came with a lot of responsibilities when you volunteered for it. I can look at giving you some vacation time once you finish training your co captain, alright?”

“But… it’s not fair! you guys get to go up there and see Dazzle and the others…” he quickly corrected himself, “I mean you guys get to go up there and see all of the other weather ponies while I have to stay here and work!” He grumbled out in a sad tone.

Silver chuckled, “You want me to tell Dazzle you said hi?”

His face lit up, “Would you?!”

He let out a few more laughs, “Absolutely Zip, maybe I’ll see if she wants to make another trip down here.”

He jumped into the air, coming to a hover, “You’re the best, Silver!”

“Alright Zip, now please go get back to your team, they’re kind of waiting for you.”

“Sure thing Boss!” He nodded his head and zipped off into the distance, meeting back up with his team.”

Silver scrolled through his list one final time, “Alright, sunglasses… check, chargers… check… I think we’re ready… are you all ready to go Scarlet?”

She smiled back and nodded her head excitedly, “I sure am, this is exciting!”

“You got all of Orion’s things packed in there? I know it’s not much but you know how he gets sometimes when he gets cranky.”

“Yeah, just the essentials. I’m sure they’ll be able to help if we need anything else up there.”

He nodded, “alright, just making sure. The last thing we need is a cranky colt on a plane without anything to distract him.”

“You realize that that’s why we’re leaving so early right? So he’ll just sleep the entire trip over there?”

He nodded his head, “Yeah yeah, I know. You know how he can get though, waking up and crying for seemingly no reason at all. At least he’s not dreamwalking anymore.”

“Yeah no kidding, I didn’t realize that surging night ponies could do that, and I thought making sure he didn’t run around in the waking world was hard enough as it was.”

“That lecture from Sha’am sure didn’t make it any easier, at least she’s nice around foals. And at least she sent him back to his own dream before laying into me about keeping an eye on him.”

“Oh come on, I thought she was pretty tame with that, she didn’t even punish you.”

“Alright, fair enough. We should probably start heading out if we want to get there on time, I don’t know how much you’ve flown before but getting through security was always such a pain in the ass for me.”

She nodded, “Yeah I get it, it’s probably going to be better for Orion too.”

They trotted over to Diamond Glider who was waiting at the landing pad, a portfolio held under a wing, “Alright you two, I got your tickets all printed out, you’ll have a connecting flight at Chicago, before landing at Sawyer. I sent your itinerary ahead so they’ll be waiting. I’m sure you’ll recognize them the second you see them.”

Silver chuckled, “Yeah, it’s kind of hard to forget the pony that can summon Oasis sized storms, thanks for getting this all set up Diamond, you’re sure you don’t mind taking over for a little while?”

“Ha, you kidding man? I’ve been used to doing your job for a while now,” Diamond joked. “But I’ll give you a call if anything important comes up, your gauntlet should still function up there, if not then I’ll just have Phoenix dreamwalk over to you.”

“Thanks again Diamond, I owe you one for this!”

“It’s my pleasure, enjoy your vacation, I know you’ve earned it.”

Silver nodded, patting his friend on the shoulder, “You’re the best Diamond, seriously. I don’t know what we’d do without you.” The trio walked over towards the helicopter, Orion meekly hiding behind the pair and lowering his ears in worry as they approached it. Silver looked down to the purple night pony colt that was hiding behind Scarlet and began to reassuringly talk to him, “Hey don’t worry buddy, you’re gonna have so much fun on your first big vacation.”

“As adorable as that is, I don’t think he can understand your sentiment,” she chimed in with a smile. 

“But he understands the tone, right? Don’t you?” He insisted in baby talk, Orion responding with a big smile and happy little squeal. Straightening up he turned towards Scarlet, “See! Don’t doubt my highly tuned paternal instincts.”

“Hmm kay,” she replied sarcastically. “Let’s not keep the nice helicopter pilot waiting while you show off your stallion instincts, there’s plenty of time to make some more memories when we get there.”

“You’re right,” he watched as she wrapped her legs around Orion and quickly flew up into the helicopter, much to the colt’s delight.

They had made it to the Phoenix airport without any hassle, and as tired as they were, they were more than grateful for an afternoon flight if it meant that they wouldn’t have to worry about Orion causing a scene. Checking in was an easy enough process, almost easier than what he had remembered from his past experiences, and before they knew it they had made their way to the security checkpoint. 

Orion was peacefully asleep on top of Scarlet’s back, much to their relief. If there was one really great thing about becoming a pony it was being able to go through the security checkpoint with ease. No shoes or belts to remove and they didn’t pack as much so didn’t need to pay for more luggage. Not wanting to press his luck, Silver quickly put the single small bag they had packed onto the conveyor, and walked forward. As if on cue Orion chose this moment to stir awake, drawing annoyed looks from all around when he began to cry and make a fuss. 

Silver flashed a frantic embarrassed look and quickly ushered the two through, grabbing his bag with a wing on the way out of the checkpoint. Scarlet was able to soothe him quickly, ending the tantrum almost as fast as it began. Silver gave a sigh of relief and helped lay Orion across her back again and they continued over to their gate. 

“Thank God you got him calmed down, I was worried that we were going to be that family whose kid just screams the entire time” He looked around, letting a big smile come across his face, “I don’t know about you but I’m so excited for this!” he enthusiastically shouted before snapping a couple quick photos, gaining some annoyed looks for the outburst from nearby travellers.

“Silver, do you really need to document every single leg of the journey? I mean we haven’t even left the state yet.”

“Of course! It’s our first big family trip, we’re going to want to remember this forever!”

She smiled and shook her head, “You’re such a goofball, let’s find a spot to rest, I know I could sure use it.”

He nodded his head, letting out a few yawns, “Yeah, me too.”

Good morning everyone, this is the pre flight announcement for flight 82 from Phoenix to Chicago, please gather your belongings and have your boarding passes ready, we will be boarding in just a few minutes. Thank you.

The pre flight announcement was enough to pull Silver from his nap, but Scarlet and Orion were still peacefully asleep next to him. He reached over the goal and gently shook Scarlet awake.

“What is it Silver?” She asked with a yawn. 

“They just gave the pre flight announcement, we should get ready. Wanna trade?” he asked as he looked down at the sleeping foal at his side.

“Nah, he looks so happy right now, I wouldn’t want to ruin this precious moment.”

He smiled and stood up, carefully lifting Orion as to not wake him, “Wanna give me a hoof?”

“You want him up on your back?”

“Yeah, just so he can stay nice and comfortable. We can settle him down when we’re on the plane.”

Scarlet gently deposited the sleeping foal on his back and he adjusted his wings to act like guards so Orion wouldn’t fall of. “Want me to go first then?”

“Yeah go ahead, I’ll let you handle the tickets.”

They trotted towards the line, waiting their turn to board.

Scarlet greeted the attendant with a smile, handing over their tickets and waving Silver over, “We’re all set to go in the pony section, three seats on the outside.”

He walked down the gangway and onto the plane, cheerfully greeting the attendants along the way. He moved forward into the pony section and stashed their bag under one of the cozy seats, carefully laying Orion down on the middle seat. The pony section was still a weird sight to get used to, instead of the standard seats, there were rows of what almost looked like cushions with lower seat backs spaced out in rows, that sat closer to the floor.

Content that he wasn’t going to suddenly wake, Silver and Scarlet took their seats and settled down for the long day of travel ahead of them, excited for their first big trip. He glanced over to Orion and Scarlet, who had already begun to fall into a peaceful sleep and smiled. He made himself comfortable, and closed his eyes and fell into a relaxing sleep, not even bothering to dreamwalk.

Orion was wide awake as they began their final descent and eagerly looked out the window with a wide-eyed expression. Silver looked towards Scarlet and laughed, “He really takes after me, my grandmother always told me that I looked like that when I used to fly as a kid.”

“Well now you can tell her that goofy wide-eyed expressions run in the family.”

“She’s gonna love to hear that, Mom and Dad will too... quick, get a picture! They’re going to kill me if I don’t snap this for them!”

She chuckled, “You sure you shouldn’t have taken the name Shutterbug? You’d think that three dozen photos of a plane ride were enough.”

“But that’s not enough! We’ve gotta remember this forever!”

She smiled and shook her head, “Alright shutterbug. You better sit upright because we’re about to land.”

He nodded and faced forward, tapping on the seat with his hooves in excitement. 

“You excited?” Scarlet asked as she slid the camera back into their bag.

“Do you even have to ask that?”

She chuckled, “No.”

Orion lost all sense of bravery as they walked down the noisy arrival corridor and out into the gate area, keeping close underneath Silver’s hooves. “It’s okay little buddy,” he said reassuringly as he gave the foal a nuzzle. 

Even for a pony the gate area was small, it had enough seats for just one flight but had gates for two planes to be loaded. The TSA screener was right next to a glass door that went out into a larger airport space. With the rest of the passengers already streaming out through the doors, he encouraged Orion to follow and headed out with Scarlet. Much of the crowd immediately took a left to head through a larger waiting area to the baggage claim area. 

Which gave them an easy view straight out the main doors and over to Sapphire and her family waiting. The blue mare was sitting on the floor with a sign saying Eclipse Family resting against her forelegs. Her fiance, Crescent Shadow sat next to her with a green pegasus filly peeking her head out from between his legs. 

Silver had thought Sapphire was the most well muscled pegasus he had ever met but the black furred Crescent looked like he could take on an earth pony. Which he supposed was fitting as the pony was from Luna’s guard. 

Silver gestured towards her, “That’s her,” he got down to Orion’s eye level, “Alright buddy, I need you to be on your best behavior when we meet miss Sapphire, she’s being very nice and invited us over for our vacation, can you do that for me?”

He responded with a big grin and happy flap of his wings.

The group worked their way over to the pegasus, Scarlet leading the charge, “Sapphire, you weren’t kidding when you said this airport was small.”

The pegasus smiled, “It’s cozy. So how was your flight? Hopefully you all got some rest on the way over. Better visit the bathroom before we head out for the hotel, it’s about a thirty minute drive.”

Silver nodded, gesturing down to the excited colt, “Sure did, he slept almost the whole way, woke up about an hour ago,” He looked towards Crescent and smiled, “I don’t believe we’ve met before, I’m Silver Eclipse, this is my wife Scarlet, and our foal Orion.”

“Greetings, I’m Crescent Shadow and this little filly here is Aurora,” he greeted with an Equestrian accent and gestured down towards the filly with a wing. The young pegasus was watching everything with bright hazel green eyes but refused to come out from underneath her father’s legs, “Sapphire’s told me all about you.”

“Good things I hope?” He said with a nervous chuckle.

He chuckled and nodded his head.

Scarlet broke in with a question. “You’re into astronomy right? I would love to hear about Equestria’s stars.”

“I have a couple books that you may want to have a look at then,” he responded with a small smile as Scarlet lit up at the prospect of having access to actual Equestrian astronomy books. 

She excitedly nodded her head, “I’d love to take a look at them! Thank you so much, I wish I had thought to bring some of my own.”

Silver chuckled, “Looks like everypony is going to get along well,” He looked over to Sapphire, “So where are we staying anyways?”

“Normally I would put you up at my place but I thought some place closer to the nightlife and fancier would be nice. I know how hard it can be to fly around with a young foal. So I got you a room at the Landmark Inn. It’s right downtown so it’s easy to get around and has one of the best views of the lake.”

“Thank you so much for setting up this trip, it’s so nice to get away from work and see someplace new.”

Sapphire smiled, “We’re glad to have you.”

“I can’t wait, this is going to be so much fun!” He excitedly shouted as Sapphire led them out of the terminal. Or intended to up until Orion started whining and getting in his way. “I guess we do need to visit the restroom.”

Two Years Later:

Silver sat back and let the starry expanse of the dream realm materialize in front of him. He tried to get a sense for Sapphire’s dream, but found that he just couldn’t locate it.

“Figures, looks like we’re doing this the hard way,” His thoughts drifted towards who would be able to get him to Sapphire’s dream the easiest. Emily seemed like the best pony for the task, She was with Will who was good friends with Sapphire. He was familiar enough with her to easily find her in the dream realm. He felt out for her dream, suddenly finding himself out in the open dream realm.

She turned towards him, “Silver? Did you need something?” Emily asked like he had interrupted something.

“Hey Emily, long time no see. This is going to be an odd request so let me just get right to it. I need you to help me get to Sapphire’s dream.”


“I just want to catch up with her, I heard she’s back on Earth again.”

“Sapphire’s not your average pony, you know that right?”

“Yes…” He thought back to his first encounter with her,  “I’m well aware of that, but what does that have to do with it?”

“Alright, well I don’t know how many powerful ponies’ dreams you’ve visited so be careful. Their dreams are a bit more… than anything you’ve probably normally seen out there. It’s not going to be easy for you to control so just keep that in mind.”

“Thanks for the heads up, I’ll be careful,” He watched as Emily nodded, bringing him to a star that seemed a little larger and brighter than others. “Thank you Emily, do you want to go in first and feel it out?”

She shook her head, “Oh no, I’m not going in. This is all you.”

He looked to the star, trying to get a feel for what the dream might be but found that he couldn’t, “Is it really going to be that bad?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve dream walked her a couple times but she wasn’t dreaming at the time and Luna isn’t a good barometer.”

“Ah, I see… wait did you just say Luna?” 

“Yes, Princess Luna. Sapphire mentioned that she has visited her to assist with a couple bad dreams she had on Equestria.”

“Oh dear,” he nodded with a gulp, “Right, well here’s hoping it’s a nice peaceful dream somewhere relaxing and not something crazily chaotic.”

He hesitantly entered the dream, closing his eyes as he crossed into it. When he opened them he was relieved to see that the dream he had entered was… relatively boring and normal. “This almost looks like a castle”, he thought to himself. He tried to look around but found it was a struggle to even move his head away from the scene of Sapphire pacing back and forth across a closed double doorway high enough for the tallest human to pass through easily. Crescent Shadow stood resolutely watching, clad in the dark royal armor of Luna’s guard but with his helmet held underneath a wing..

He sighed in relief and began to hesitantly walk forward. Or tried to, he struggled in alarm as he found that he couldn’t move at all. He took an unneeded breath, trying to relax for a moment, “alright, this is just a dream, no need to panic. Nothing can really hurt me here,” Sapphire’s voice echoing through the dark hallway pulled his attention forward again.

“What do we do if they say no?” she asked and he felt a wave of despair tinged with hope wash over him, pulling him sharply into the dream’s narrative.

“They won’t,” Crescent responded reassuringly.

“But if they do…”

Silver couldn’t help but feel hopeless, like he was speeding towards a brick wall and about to hit.

Crescent stepped forward and embraced Sapphire. “Then we’ll convince them to change their minds. Even if you return to Earth without me, I won’t stop trying until they agree.” 

“I won’t return without you.”

“Then we’ll convince them together.”

He fought against the emotions, trying to break free from its hold. Silver took in another breath and focused his magic, trying to push forward through the dream with everything he had in him. After a few long moments of trying, the dream came to a pause and he collapsed onto the floor in front of her, the feelings of doubt and worry fading away along with Crescent Shadow.

“Silver?! How’d you get to the palace?” A look of realization spread across her face, “You’re in my dream.”

He slowly stood up, “Just trying to pay an old friend a visit…” he paused for a moment, looking around the hallway, “Is there someone else here? I swore I could feel another dreamer… maybe it’s just the emotion running through me still” He rubbed his temple with a hoof, “Sorry if I seem a little out of it, your dream was a lot stronger than anything I’ve ever really dealt with before.”

“Was it really that strong?”

He slowly nodded, “Yeah, worry and doubt are strong emotions and really drown out everything else. I couldn’t move for a while and it was kind of frightening at first. I wanted to ask how everything went over there… but I feel like you’re still figuring that out for yourself, want to talk about anything?”

“I don’t know, my counselor tends to be much taller than you.”

“Right, well she’s not here right now, I’m sure it’s still productive to get it off your chest if something’s bothering you.”

Sapphire spent a moment looking around at the palace around them. “I don’t remember many of my dreams, this seems like it was a conversation I had with Crescent before our audience with the Princesses. It went well so I’m not sure why I would be reliving this.”

“Well I’m not a psychologist but I can only assume that it’s something you were stressing over, I used to get stress dreams about work and school and even though something might have turned out okay it’d still creep up in my dreams. Even though this might have gone well you still might be worrying about it if that makes sense.”

“Odd, if it was stress I would think I would worry about her.”

“Who’s her?”

“That would be me!” A voice cut in from the end of the hallway.

Silver turned to the voice to see a black pony with a strong resemblance to Sapphire lazily walking through the hall towards them, her iridescent green eyes passing over him with cold dismissal, as a pale blue mane and tail floated through the air like they were in water. He thought for a moment she was a pegasus until he saw the dark spiral horn and realized this was an unfamiliar alicorn. 

“A friend of yours or a dream?” he asked, hoping desperately for the latter with how this alicorn oozed malice. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this intense need to get away from a pony before. 

“She is my nightmare.”

“Nightmare? I should be so lucky to carry that moniker,” the alicorn chuckled, her voice echoing in the empty hall but instead of falling off it grew louder. “I would like to pick up where we left off,” her laughter in the hall fell away to a dead silence. The black mare’s wing’s spread wide and her horn lit up with a sickly green color. 

Sapphire spread her own wings and took a defensive stance. “You want me to hit you with another lightning bolt? I’d be happy to!”

“Maybe some other time,” Silver cut in, using every ounce of his strength to pull Sapphire from her dream. Briefly they were out among the endless stars of dreamers before being deposited into Somewhere. Checking to make sure that Sapphire’s nightmare hadn’t followed somehow, he breathed out a sigh of relief. “Sorry for the sudden shift in location, I’ve never tried to pull a dreamer out of their dream before, I hope you don’t mind.”

“Unexpected but better than the alternative,” she answered while looking around at the strange location she now found herself in. “And this is?”

“Somewhere… it’s a sort of persistent dreamscape I threw together a couple years ago. It was the easiest place I could pull you too on such short notice.”

“I didn’t know that was possible.”

“I didn’t either at first. It seems to be a rare talent, I haven’t met another night pony that can do it like I can but Emily got kind of close with her own method before,” he paused for a moment, “So did you want to talk about THAT?"

“There isn’t much to talk about.”

“Not much to talk about?! I may have not visited very many powerful dreams but that’s the first time one came to life and tried to attack me!”

“My imagination runs away from me sometimes. And she wasn’t going to attack you, she was going to attack me.”

“Forgive me then, I’m still a little dazed from being dragged into the dream’s narrative, I could feel every emotion as it was happening, really threw me off.”

“Don’t worry, she was just something brought to life briefly and now I hold onto that memory so that if I ever find myself agreeing with her then I know I’m on the wrong path.”

“That’s… actually not a bad idea. It feels a little odd, but if it works for you I can’t argue with that.”

“It’s not literal. I just remember her mentality. Luna has warned me about letting our thoughts gain lives of their own, thankfully I have no power in the dream realm. As I really don’t need my own Tantabus.”

“Tanta-what?” he shook his head, realizing she was referencing something she picked up on Equestria that Earth wasn’t yet ready to find out. “Since that dream is done, did you want to find a nice place to sit? I would love to hear about your trip and to catch up. If not I can put you back into a dreamless sleep.”

“I’ll tell you about Equestria, while you give me a little tour.”

Silver paced around his office in Somewhere, finally turning towards Scarlet, “I don’t really know what to make of it all, those strange projects that are more advanced than anything else we’ve ever seen? Some shady contract with Sunset Blessing? That has to be the connection right? I mean this can’t just be some big coincidence.”

“You’re back on this? Do you think they’d really involve themselves? I mean it’s waking world stuff we’re talking about. They’ve made it pretty clear that they wanted to stay out of that.”

“I know, I know. But just think about it for a second, I mean who else would have the potential ability to do this? I mean they’re functionally immortal and shy away from the outside world as much as they can, who knows what else they’re keeping from us.”

The feeling of another dreamer entering Somewhere drew his attention away for a moment. It wasn’t uncommon that he’d have visitors, but something felt off. It was as if a different type of dreamer had entered and he couldn’t quite place who it might be.

He paused for a moment, “I… I think we have a visitor…”

“Well let’s go give them a hello, maybe it’ll take your mind off of this a little.”

He shook his head, “That’s just it, I felt another presence enter, but I can’t pull them over, it’s as if they’re not really here or something...”

“Maybe it’s one of the Wardens, I mean we were just talking about them and they do have ears everywhere.”

“I… I guess that makes sense. Something just feels off about this. Maybe it’s just me imagining things...”

“Well it’s not worth fretting about, if there was really something wrong then I’m sure you’d know by now.”

“I guess you’re right. Things have felt a little off ever since I dreamwalked to Sapphire the other day, maybe there’s still some residual emotion that’s just carrying over, I mean that was the most powerful dream I’ve ever been in.”

“That’s probably it. So we’re still sticking with the SPEC partnership for another year?”

“For now, yes. I’ve made it very clear that we’re not going to do anything outside of our original agreement unless we can be absolutely sure that we’ll never run into another incident like Sapphire’s storm. I mean if my theory is correct, and there’s no way to prove that it is, dropping our partnership could mean losing the path towards a viable solution. It’s a huge what if but it might be our best bet right now.”

“You’re still convinced that we should be doing more?”

“Yeah. I mean why not try and solve two problems at once? I don’t think it’s wise to just completely cut her loose… at least not yet. I want to feel this out a little more, wait and see how these projects all pan out, you feel me?”

“Yeah I do. Just think this through okay? Now I’m going to go visit Midnight’s dream, you want to come along and we’ll all go on another adventure or do you want to sulk around in your castle contemplating dealing with a backstabbing manipulator some more?”

“You run ahead, I’ll meet up with you guys in a little bit. I wanted to add a few items to the museum, I was thinking that a little nightmare Sapphire would compliment that miniature storm cloud nicely. It’d make for a cool little moving visual.”

She smirked, as she started walking towards the door, “Alright, see you in a few hours then…”

He stood up and laughed, “Oh alright, I’ll add that to the museum after our adventures are done. Go ahead and tell them I won’t be long, I’ll be right over.”

She nodded and vanished, leaving him alone. As he stood up and began to follow her, a calmly soothing voice spoke out from behind him. “You have a wonderful ability to create such detailed scenes.”

He hesitantly turned towards the source of the voice, marveling at the strange dragon like creature that stood in the center of the room. He cocked his head to one side in confusion “I’m sorry but are… Are you one of the wardens?” He paused for a few moments, thinking this over. “No… no, you’re something else surely. You do seem familiar though, have we met before?”

She smiled and shook her head. “I am certainly not one of them and we have not met, though I have been keeping an eye on you for some time now.”

He was taken aback by surprise. “Me? Hold on, so what are you here for…” He paused for a moment, flashing an embarrassed look. He stood up and walked over to greet the creature. “I’m sorry, how rude of me. I’m Silver Eclipse, and you are?”

She smiled warmly, as if to ease his confusion. “While I long for the day when I might hear my name spoken aloud again, it is far simpler if you merely acknowledge me by Triss.”

He slowly nodded. “Nice to meet you… Triss. So uh… to what do I owe the pleasure? You’re obviously not a warden, but you’re not just a normal dreamwalker either are you?” He began to walk over towards some comfortable looking chairs near his desk at the far side of the room, pausing and waving her over. “Please, feel free to make yourself comfortable.”

“You know of the Equestrian princesses, the Alicorns, I am… this reality’s only remaining one, though I am not a pony as you can likely tell. As for why I am here, I have been watching you for some time now, I believe you have the potential to accomplish tasks far above what you have done so far.”

He idly inspected one of the many shelves that surrounded them, nodding his head and turning back towards her. “If you don’t mind me asking, what do you mean by potential? I’ll take it that this isn’t just some chance encounter, this place isn’t exactly the kind of place that ponies have just stumbled on into. Usually the only ones that are here are the ones that have specifically sought it out.”

She hesitantly sat down in one of the offered chairs, shaking her head in response to his question. “I’m here to get a sense of who you are. You spent a considerable amount of time to create this dreamscape, please tell me about what inspired you to shape it?”

He shrugged and smiled, taking his seat behind his desk. “Well I’m glad you asked. It’s an amalgamation of many different things. Some of the stories I’ve read, the places I wish I could be, and places inspired by my encounters out in the waking world,” He swiveled his chair around, pulling them both out onto the balcony, “That submarine down there for example, I’ve always loved the ocean and that was one of the first things I started building here,” The two were suddenly standing in the Nautilus’ Grand Salon, “In this case I was inspired by one of my favorite books, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I guess I always found a certain sense of peace from having a little world to myself under the sea.”

“What about being under water soothes you? Do you wish to hide away from the world?”

“It’s quite the opposite actually. I want to help so much but obviously I can’t do everything. The world’s such a hectic place sometimes, in comparison, the ocean is a tranquil place away from it all, a place where I can just sit and reflect on everything and not have to worry about the world out there for a little while.”

Her questioning continued. “So you feel helpless at times? That you want to do more but find that you can not?”

He quickly looked up at her and nodded his head. “That’s exactly how I feel.”

“Tell me a little more, about this place, about your dreams. I can tell that you really do care about the world around you.”

Their perspectives shifted once more, giving a beautiful overhead view of the Island, “Well I guess I can start with the beginning, you asked what inspires me to make dreams like this, I guess I never really thought much about it before. When we all first… well transformed I learned that with practice you could craft your own dreams. It wasn’t easy at first, but it was something I could work on. It was originally something I could distract myself with, something I could do to keep my mind off of what was troubling me at the time but it quickly spiraled into this grand place once I figured out how to make things stick around after I had awoken.” 

“Was it merely things that you feared? Or something else entirely?”

They were suddenly back in the Grand Salon, the room seeming to darken a little as he thought back to those days. “Well, it was more than just my fears, but those did play a bit of a role. To tell you the truth though, it was unease, anxiety... the kind of stuff that makes you feel like you’re helpless in the world. At the time I felt helpless. I had just had my entire body changed into something completely alien to me. I didn’t really know any other ponies, and I mistakenly kept to myself in dreams as a sort of escape because it was something I could be in control of.”

“Please, do go on. What was it that finally drew you from this place?”

“It was after the counterspell and when things seemed to be calming down that I heard about the Devourers. Naturally it scared me, a real life apocalypse after going through what many still think of as one. That’s when I started venturing out more, trying to find others who had that same fear as me but didn’t want to cower in the face of it. But to move forward and face it head on. It was... woefully optimistic for me to think I could really do anything when I didn’t have anything but a backpack full of stuff, but I was driven to look for others who wanted to try and do something to address it.”

“Something to address it? You’re quite an ambitious little pony. But you believe their threat is hundreds or thousands of years away, what could you achieve in your lifetime?”

He nodded his head and smiled. The landscape shifting into the form of the Oasis with the sun rising behind it, “That’s correct. But I figured that maybe if we started to try and make a better world in the present, it would build up into something that our descendants could have in the future. Maybe we’d find something we could use to stop them along the way. Made sense to me then, does now too. Even if it’s a fool’s goal It’s a goal I want to keep working towards.”

“That is very noble of you, young Silver. Being the change you wish to see in the world is not an easy path when one wishes to see grand change.”

“It’s easier now that I have help from my friends, that’s what our oasis really is, it’s a chance to try and show the world what’s possible if we all try and make a difference together. Some would call it a fool’s dream, I call it optimism.”

She pressed on further. “Do you ever feel that you could be doing more?”

He considered this for a moment. “To tell you the truth, sometimes I do. Is… is that why you’re here?”

She nodded. “It is a reason, yes. Though I had hoped not to weigh our first meeting down with such a difficult subject.”

“But the cat’s out of the bag now isn’t it?”

“I am not familiar with what that idiom means.”

“It means that something secret is now known.”

“That tale you mentioned earlier, it has been so long since I have been able to read a story, tell me, was a cat let out of the bag in it?”

Silver smirked and sat up in his chair as the two were returned to the Nautilus, “That’s… That’s just an expression, so not literally. It’s a fantastic story about three humans who hunt what they think is a sea monster and wind up getting lost at sea after they are shipwrecked and saved by the mysterious Captain Nemo. He and his crew roam the ocean in the Nautilus, but because no one can ever learn of the Nautilus, they are his prisoners. At first it seems like they’re in pursuit of their own scientific knowledge, but then he shows a more vicious side, sinking ships in an act of revenge against the world that he believes has wronged him.”

“Is his reason for vengeance a just one? The ones he hurts deserving?” She asked with both concern and curiosity in her voice.

“It’s… kind of tricky. You see, Nemo believes his cause is just, but he was misguided, overcome by grief after losing his family and home. He’s not a complete monster in the story, at times he even grieves for enemy sailors. He’s neither good nor evil.”

“I fear that there is nuance lost in this summary.”

“I wish it was possible to share these with you, there’s probably so many different stories that you’ve never even had the chance to hear about.” He seemed a little sad at this thought. “Humans have so many stories about trips to the moon, aliens invading the earth, invisible men, time travel, monsters, legends, impossible odysseys… so many that might seem impossible, some that are now all too real after ETS. But a lot of them share good lessons that we can learn from. That’s what I try to take away from them the most.”

A dark shadow passed over the room as a shape flew past the portholes, and Silver felt the presence of a Dreamwarden manifesting in his dreamscape. 

Triss seemed to glance at the porthole with a look of annoyance

Silver’s face briefly shifted into a look of concern, quickly changing into a cautious smile, “Well it appears you’re not my only guest today, Triss,” he remarked before a heavy metallic clang resounded against the closed door to the room. “Come in friend,” he called out.

The door unlocked itself and swung open but the large shaggy furred form beyond was too big to fit. There was a snort and then the Dreamwarden shrunk in stature just enough until the minotaur form that could only be Tikhiy Krik ambled through carrying a trident. With a few heavy steps he came in to sit down before resuming his previous size to almost have his head reach the ceiling.

Silver smiled as he stood up, extending a hoof out in a warm greeting, “Well this sure is a pleasant surprise, I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you yet. Welcome to Somewhere, I believe you’re the first warden to stop by, so it’s a real honor. Please, do make yourself comfortable. If there’s anything I can do to make your stay more… hospitable, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

Krik regarded him with an unreadable expression before looking to the left where one wall had been replaced by a field of stars that shifted to spell out a sentence. Forgive me for intruding upon your dream.

“Oh hey it’s no trouble at all, you know that you’re all always welcome here. I’m not normally this popular in dreams, so I take it this isn’t some personal visit? If you’re wondering how this all works I’d be more than happy to share, I know you probably haven’t encountered too many perpetual dreams.”

It is not about that, Triss knows she is not welcome in the dream realm to conduct her business. She is here to manipulate you for her own ends.

“I don’t mean to sound rude, but we were just having a nice conversation about old stories, you know, the books I like to read. That kind of stuff. I appreciate the concern though, I truly do.”

Her nice conversation is a pretext to offers of ascension. I do not mean this as an insult to you but she is reckless and desperate to force others into the same curse of immortality as her.

He glanced back over to the dragon-like creature. “Ascension?.. Triss is this true?”

She nodded. “I recognize your potential and hope that I can help worthy ponies ascend with their eyes open to all the risks and rewards of doing so.”

He raised an eyebrow. “And just what are the risks and rewards?” He looked back to the Minotaur. “I’m not agreeing to anything yet. I’m just curious about what exactly she’s trying to offer, please let me hear her out.”

I will only force her from the dream if you request it, but know that nothing has ever bound her to the truth. Be wary of her silver tongue. 

“That may be, but I’m also the one in charge of making my own life decisions, having power that’s far beyond any earthly comprehension is an extremely scary thought, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious as to what she’s seen in me. Not to mention who the others are.”

She spoke up with a resigned tone to her voice. “I’m sorry, Silver. But I don’t think I’ll be able to properly explain with this one looming over us. He already knew we were talking without manifesting a form. So this is just cheap intimidation.”

He looked down sadly. “I… I understand. I do wish I could hear more about it though, even if I’m not necessarily fully on board with the idea. I know what he says is true and that you’re not obligated to tell me the truth, but this is kind of like the cliffhanger to a good story. It just builds up all of the interest and leaves you hanging there.”

Triss gave Krik a dark glance before favoring him with a smile. “Sometimes, as another once told me, waiting is part of the story.”

“Hopefully it’s not too long.” Silver said with a smile, feeling as if he recognized those words from somewhere.

“Then farewell Silver Eclipse, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.”

Triss faded away as she left, leaving Silver and the warden alone once more. 

He turned towards the towering minotaur as the two were suddenly transported to the peak of the smoking volcano, “Sorry if I seem a little annoyed, I’m sure you can understand that it’s frustrating when someone brings information like this up and leaves you hanging.” He stood up and walked over to the dreamwarden, extending a hoof out in greeting. “You know, it’s been far too long since I’ve had so much company here, let alone two unfathomably powerful beings, we should really do this more often. Please do give my regards to the others, It’s been genuinely nice to see one of you on better terms again. I do hope we’ll meet again under better circumstances someday.” 

Krik looked at him and nodded, fading away and leaving Silver alone once more. He smirked and signed goodbye to the now vacant floor space, lowering his hoof back down. “Alright, nice seeing you too. Take care Krik.”