Panting I ran from a large beast again. Soon it would catch and devour me. There wasn't anything I could do but run. I was running out of wind. I could feel its breath on my back.
A brilliant flash of light turned my attention back towards the monster. The beast had been slew and stand in front of it was a large indigo alicorn. On her flank was the image on my blanket. Her starry mane flowed with the breeze never quite staying the same. She spoke with a gentle voice that calmed my heart, “No more shall these monsters plague your dreams to night little one. Sleep gently now.”
My dream faded to more pleasant things. A picnic with Bon Bon and Lyra. It was a strange yet pleasant experience.
The morning light filtered through the windows. Lazily I removed myself from under the covers. The bed had become thoroughly dismayed. For a few futile minutes, I attempted to make the bed. Giving up, I tumbled to the floor and managed to land right side up this time. I definitely needed some step ladders or something of the such. I visited the bathroom before heading to the top of the stairs.
On further inspection the stairs were not something I wanted to attempt yet. So I turned back towards my room. I had two options: wake Bon Bon or Lyra for help down the stairs or wait for them to come find me. It was an easy choice and so I waited in my room. The weather outside seemed perfect for such an early spring day. Every so often a pegasus flew past the window. Their wings surely couldn't let them fly with such ease. They were much to small for how little they were flapping.
After a short while I heard someone's ascent up the stairs. Seeking refuge from the boredom of my room, I rushed out to the stairs. Greeting Lyra with a smile, I said, “Good morning.”
“Good morning to yourself,” Lyra chirped back. “I was just coming to see if you had awoken yet. Want to come downstairs and get some breakfast?”
I nodded. I edged up to the stairs and started to step off. The stairs seem to warp and twist for a second. For a moment cars drove under me and the wind seemed to push on my out into the drop. There was a part of me that knew it wasn't real but it felt like it was. I started to wobble as I stood on the edge.
“Woah there,” Lyra said. Her voice cleared my vision and the stairs returned no longer slithering to and fro. “Do you want me to help you down the stairs?”
“Yes,” I said while nodding my head.
Lyra's magic engulfed me and she levitated me down the set of stairs. With me now firmly on the first floor, Lyra headed back into the dining room. She asked, “You hungry? You slept in and its almost lunch time.”
Her mention of food caused my stomach to rumble in consent. Following, I replied, “Very.”
Lunch today was another half of humus sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, though the humus was garlic herb flavored today. The food here was definitely better that or my new mouth was just not used to the stuff.
“Where is Bon Bon?” I inquired between bites.
“She had to go tend her stall in the market,” replied Lyra. “She should be back in a few hours. I got a book to read for you. I am sorry we don't have much other entertainment right now but in a few days we can go out shopping for some stuff you like.”
“Reading is fun. What type of book is it?”
“A stunning tale of adventure and subterfuge. Its called Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Stone. First one in a series.”
“Why don't I read it to you? Might be a bit hard till you get used to your hooves, or for that mater your magic.”
I smiled at her. It must have been over a decade sense anyone had read me a book. After finishing lunch, Lyra deposited our plates in the kitchen and grabbed the book. The both of us sat on the couch as she started the book. The plot was fairly simple but engaging and soon enough Bon Bon returned home. None of the symbols that made up the book made sense, I was tempted to ask about it but didn't want to interrupt the story.
“Hello,” Bon Bon said as she entered the door.
“Hello,” I replied.
Lyra bookmarked the page and set the book down. She asked, “How was your day, Bonie?”
“Fairly slow, but I guess that's to be expected of Tuesdays. How have you two been?” She said as she joined us on the couch.
“Good,” I replied. “Lyra is reading me a book. Daring Do and some stone thing.”
“Well do continue,” Bon Bon said, smiling.
Lyra continued the story. After a bit Bon Bon excused herself to make diner. Spaghetti with large chunks of tofu in place of meatballs. With a full belly it wasn't long before I grew groggy. Not noticing in my food induced stupor, I found my self once again snuggled up in my blankets in bed.
Sleep was difficult that night, and when the morning rays woke me my head was filled with a fog. Lyra checked in from time to time, but between the haze filling my head and the coughing fits that over took me occasionally the day passed as a blur. Lunch didn't settle well and diner ending up being a simple broth with a few crackers floating soggily in it. Lyra spoon fed me both. A Lasting sleep found me later that night.
The next morning found me still coughing though the haze had lifted. Lyra spent the day with me. We finished the Daring Do book between my naps which were frequent. Lunch was more of the soup. Bon Bon brought up diner of a bean and leaf salad.
Pleasant dreams brought forth a well rested awakening. The my lungs felt clear for the first time in days and while sleep still filled my limbs a restlessness had also found its way into my body. The morning sun glared through my bedroom window. It must have still been early. Slipping out of bed I found my way down the somewhat treacherous stairs. Bon Bon was in the kitchen her hooves fast at work preparing some sort of dish. The smell of chocolate filled the air.
“Good morning,” I said from next to Bon Bon.
Smiling down on me, Bon Bon replied, “Good morning to you, too! Did you sleep well last night?”
“Yes. I feel much better now,” I said. “Can I have breakfast? I am ravenous.”
“Of course, silly,” Bon Bon replied. Pausing what she was doing she got me a pastry out of the oven and placed it on a plate. “I have to finish my prep for today, so do you want to just eat in here instead of at the table?”
The cherry filled danish was almost perfect and I deposited my plate near the sink. It was nice just to be in a place that seemed to love me. I asked, “Is Lyra up yet?”
“Not that I know of, though she should be soon,” Bon Bon said.
“I will be up in a second. Coffee first.,” Lyra joked as she walked in. She stifled a yawn with her hoof. A danish was devoured with the cup of coffee while she sat next to me. “I figured we should go visit Twilight today. She came by two days ago while you were sick but you were sleeping at the time.”
“She is out of the hospital then?” I inquired.
“Yes,” Bon Bon stated. “I think that would be great. Maybe while your there you can borrow the next Darring Do book.”
“Good idea,” Lyra said. She looked me in the eye. “Though the most important reason is that we need to get you started on magic. If a unicorn doesn't use its magic, the build up can hurt her, or in rare cases become released violently.”
“Has it been long enough for that to be a worry?” Bon Bon asked.
“I don't know,” Lyra replied. “It doesn't happen all that often. Well under normal circumstances.”
“Well the castle doesn't accept visitors till a bit later. Maybe you should get a bath, Alex?” Bon Bon asked. “Lyra could you help her with that?”
“No problem. I guess I could use one too,” Lyra replied.
Her magic levitated me onto her back and upstairs we went. The bathroom had a large tub, that looked like both Bon Bon could fit in it. Lyra filled it with hot water and some bubble bath formula that caused suds to cover the steaming water in no time. She hopped in first and then levitated me in after her. Lyra's magic gently held me upright in the tub the water being to deep for me to stand on my own. The hot water felt good, and Lyra's magic held me as she scrubbed gently with the brush. After she was satisfied I was properly cleaned she propped me on the side of the tub where I could hold on and washed herself. Shortly there after, she levitated me out of the tub and wrapped a towel around me rubbing as she went. Then she did the same to herself.
A short brushing later and we were headed out the door. Turning the corner from the house our destination became obvious, as the large crystalline tree castle came into view near the outskirts of town. How did I miss that? The town was bustling as it prepared for the day. Most of the ponies we passed stopped and smiled as we strode by. It all seemed too perfect.
“Hello,” a red maned mare said as she came to walk next to Lyra. I buried my face in Lyra's mane.
“Hello, Rose,” Lyra chirped back.
“So whose cute little filly have you stolen?” Rose asked. I couldn't tell if she was being serious or not.
“Mine,” replied Lyra shortly.
Shocked Rose stood there looking dumbstruck as we walked on without her. Lyra increased her gait and soon enough we found ourselves outside the castle gate. A pair of white stallions guarded the entrance. Each wore golden armor and were in every way I could tell identical. One of their horns glowed and the gate was lifted by a silvery aura. Lacking any seems or cracks, the tree appeared to be natural, or at least it grew here, I concluded. Inside a corridor a four more guards stood part way down leading to a set of crescent stair ways. The walls of the room were covered in bookshelves though only a few were all the way filled. In between the two staircases, Twilight sate at a desk, pouring over a book.
Walking up to the desk, Lyra stated, “Hello Twilight.”
“Hello,” Twilight mumbled her attention still in the book. After a second she pulled herself from her book. “Oh Hello Lyra-” I peeked my head out from behind Lyra's “-and Alex. Glad to see your up and about.”
“Hi,” I whispered before hiding behind Lyra's head again.
“Alex has been a bit shy today,” Lyra giggled. “So I was hopping you would have some time to help teach Alex to use her magic. I'm not the best teacher.”
“Well I do have a book on it,” Twilight replied. “Sadly, I have been summoned to Canterlot today so I don't know how much time I will have to help.”
“Well, I am just worried about magical build up, so if you can help her just get started that should be enough I would think.”
“Has she had any outbursts since she got to your house?”
“Not a one,” Lyra replied. “Is that unusual?”
“I don't know if she was a natural born baby at five days of age yes. The age she appears, not really but at this age she should at least be able to wrap her aura around objects so most fillies would be practicing allot. There is a spell in this book” -she picked one up and handed it to Lyra- “that should be able to let you read how much magical energy she has but I have been too busy with a few other things to try it out yet. Well that and I am not supposed to be doing any major spell-casting yet.”
“Well maybe I can pick it up. As long as it's not too complicated.”
A small bipedal lizard came trouncing down the stairs and said, “Twilight we have to get going since we have to take the train.”
“Thanks for the reminder Spike, but your not quite right,” Twilight said. “I got a message from the Princess that Luna is gonna come and teleport us to Canterlot.”
“Princess Luna is coming to get you personally?” Lyra asked a tinge of fear could be heard in her voice. “Is everything alright?”
“Oh its nothing to worry about but Celestia has decided that we can't have too many public visits or people might start to panic, and since Celestia has visited already once this week she figures a teleportation might help avoid such stuff. Though maybe if you could not tell anyone else might be a good idea,” Twilight rambled.
“Yeah I guess I could see all the Canterlot elite getting the pants in a twist if that occurred to much,” Lyra laughed. “Though I don't really see that happening here in Ponyville.”
“Luna should be here soon, so maybe she knows that spell,” Twilight said. “Oh Spike could you go retrieve my crown, I am supposed to bring it with when we go to Canterlot.”
“Right away,” Spike said as he hustled back up the stairs.
“Twilight, can we borrow Daring Do and the Griffon Goblet?” Lyra asked. “I read Alex the first one and she seems to like it.”
“Oh sure,” Twilight said. “It should be over-” She pointed to the second set of shelves “-there. Just make sure to bring it back when your done.”
Lyra walked over to the shelf. Many of the books looked worn. The Daring Do books themselves were quite well used, the first one in particular. I only recognized the book due to its spines image. None of the words made sense again. Lyra grabbed the second and third ones.
“Maybe we should get the third one as well?” Lyra asked.
“Lyra, why can I speak your language but not read it?” I asked quietly. The floor was my ever constant friend once more.
“That is a great question, and I have no idea. You should ask Twilight,” Lyra stated. “Why don't you go ask her while I pick out a few easy readers to help you with that?”
I slipped from her back and walked over to Twilight's desk. The eyes of the guard closest to me seemed to follow me. Circling over to the stairs, I avoided the guard as much as possible. Twilight had returned to her book and seemed thoroughly engaged in it. She would turn and explode me when I interrupted her reading or at least that was what was running through my head. Dreading such a fate I sat and waited till Twilight noticed me on her own.
Spike ran up carrying a large golden crown adorned with purple gems. The center gem resembled Twilight's cutie mark.
“Here you go Twilight,” Spiked said.
Twilight responded, “Thanks Spike, your my-”
“-Number one assistant. I know,” interrupted Spike. “Hey Twilight, I think the little one wants something.”
“Her name is Alex, Spike,” replied Twilight. Twilight pivoted to look at me. “Do you need something Alex?”
“Well, I, um...” I mumbled.
“I am sorry. You'll have to speak up I can't hear you,” Twilight said.
“Gosh, Twilight. What did you do to scare Alex so much?” Spike asked.
“Nothing,” replied Twilight. “Well at least I don't think so. So what do you need, Alex?”
Twilight knelt down to my level.
“Well, why can I speak your language but not read it?” I asked. I stared at my hooves to hide my blushing. “I used to be able to read in my....”
“The spell Princess Celestia cast on you can only impart the ability to speak,” Twilight stated. Her gaze lifted and her eyes grew distant. “I bet I could tweak it to give you reading but that would require allot of experimentation. Even with that I don't know how easy it would be to do, I have not cast that spell before. But I do know it could easily be very dangerous. The spell took away your old language didn't it? Don't normally have very many people with whom to test such a spell on. If it works you wouldn't be able to tell and if it didn't you might accidentally take someponies speech away from them.”
“Twilight, that might be a bit too much at once,” Spike commented. “No wonder you scare her.”
“No, it's fine,” I said. Gently I pawed at the floor with one of my front hooves. “How far behind on schooling does that put me? In my world people around my age can read fairly simple stuff by now.”
“A bit behind but not too much to be insurmountable. Besides you should pick it up quickly whence you get down the basics,” Twilight said. Her gaze returned to my face. “I am sorry I can't help you settle into this world more. My job has gotten a bit more demanding as of recent.”
“Lyra and Bon Bon are helping fine,” I said. My temper flared for a second till I met her gaze. Sadness was all that I could discern from her eyes.
“I didn't mean that they weren't,” Twilight said.
Lyra sauntered over to us, a pile of books floating behind her. Smiling she asked, “Did you get your answer Alex?”
“Yes,” I said. Lyra's collection of books were interestingly varied. Hopefully they weren't all kiddie books. Still as long as it wasn't Fun with Dick and Jane it should be fine.
“So I hope you don't mind but I grabbed a few more so I can help Alex learn to read,” Lyra stated. Her gaze had turned to Twilight.
“No of course not,” Twilight beamed. Happiness had beat away any hints of sadness left in her eyes. “If you need more please come by again. I don't know how long I will be in Canterlot but if I am not here, Captain Shining Spear has instructions on how to run the library when I am absent.”
“Well hopefully you won't be gone for too long. Besides I think I am cleaning you out for easy readers,” Lyra said. A tear ran down her cheek only to be caught by her hoof's wiping. “I had a naming dream last night.”
“Really,” Twilight exclaimed. “I think I did too. It was much more vivid than my normal dreams. A collection of paint buckets spilling onto a field of white over and over.”
“Similar to mine. Though not with paint, just splashes of color flicked onto a canvas over and over. Though it's weird that we both had the dream,” Lyra said.
“What's a naming dream?” I asked.
“A naming dream is a dream all expecting mothers have shortly before their foal is born. It has something to do with what their child will be good at. Helps with coming up with a name for the foal,” Twilight explained. “It is unusual for us both to have one, or for that mater that they have something to do with you, Alex.”
“In that neither of us carried you, in us,” Lyra added. She blushed at this and found a particular empty shelf to be fascinating for a bit.
“What does splashes of color have to do with my name?” I asked. I quickly alternated my gaze from Twilight to Lyra, and back.
“Well probably nothing to do with Alex,” Twilight said. “But the dream wouldn't show us what you were named simply what you are going to be good at in an abstract way.”
“My mom said she say a lyre slowly being plucked over and over again,” Lyra explained. “Hence the name Lyra.”
“I think you should think about taking an equestrian name,” Twilight said. “It may help you fit in. Besides it would also help avoid questions that you can't answer.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. Oh floor how are you today? Oh great don't mind me I just split the beans to Lyra's friends. No no, apparently not. Sorry for the mess I think I am going to be exploded now. As usual the floor neither talked back nor appeared to be judgmental.
“The Princess wants to keep your world a secret,” Twilight said. She hesitated for a bit. When the words came to her they sounded forced. “She doesn't want your past to color your future anymore than it has. Everypony deserves a second chance, and you got the most unusual of second chances.”
“I already told Lyra's friends,” I said. The floor still held my gaze.
“And I have told my friends,” Twilight said. I looked up at her, our eyes met. “You don't have to bear this alone, we just don't want ponies to ask too much about where you came from and instead just try to be your friend. So don't worry about telling Lyra's friends, I am pretty certain they understand that this is your tale to tell, and will not take that from you.”
“So what would that name be from that dream be?” I asked.
“Well my first guess would be Color Splash,” Lyra said. “Though maybe Lilac Splash, more in tune with your coat color.”
“I am notoriously bad at naming stuff,” Twilight said. “I was gonna name Spike Dragon till my brother convinced me otherwise. So don't ask me.”
“You almost named me Dragon?” Spike said. He rolled his eyes. “And I thought Spike was a bit unoriginal.”
“Sorry Spike,” Twilight said.
He just shrugged his shoulders. My mind was drawing a blank. Lilac Splash didn't seem like such a bad name, well for a pony. “I guess Lilac Splash would work, though its gonna take a while to get used to.”
“I can imagine,” Lyra said as she smiled. “Lilac Splash. Lilac Splash. Hmm Lilac or Splash for short?”
“Lilac, I think,” I said.
“Well Lilac, why don't we try to get some magic training in before Luna gets here?” asked Twilight.
Magic training did not go well. Try as hard as she might I just couldn't figure out the trick, what to feel for. Twilight to her credit didn't get frustrated, if anything the lack of progress seemed to spur her on more. She found book after book to quote from but none of them seemed to solve the problem of not knowing where my magic was. Thankfully before too long our session was interrupted.
The mare with the moon mark from my dreams can walking down the stairs. All the guards saluted as she entered.
“Twilight Sparkle,” she bellowed from the stairs. “Are you prepared for our trip to Canterlot?”
“Yes, Princess Luna,” Twilight said. “I hope coming to get me wasn't too much of a bother.”
Luna walked the few remaining feet to join our group. She dwarfed the rest of us nearly twice as tall as Twilight, and more so than Lyra. Luna said, “No bother at all. I agree with my sister that we should limit our public appearances here, so as to not arouse suspicion.”
Tilting her head to the side she stared at me with a strange intensity.
“I must commend you, Twilight,” Princess Luna said solemnly. “That is the best aging spell I have ever seen preformed. Truly miraculous. Now little one, I welcome you officially to Equestria. May your stay here be more pleasant than your previous endeavors.”
“Thank you,” I mumbled.
“Sorry to cut our visit short,” Luna said. She nodded at both Lyra and me. “But my sister waits for our return. Are you ready, Twilight?”
“Yes, Princess,” stated Twilight. She levitated Spike onto her back and place the crown upon her mantle. With a brilliant flash the three of them disappeared.
“Well why don't we get going?” Lyra asked. She levitated me onto her back and we headed back out into the town.
“Do you feel like anything in particular for lunch?” Lyra asked. Our time inside the Library had lasted longer than I thought.
“Hmm, not really what would you want?” I asked back. Food definitely sounded good just uncertain as to what.
“How about a burger? There is a place near by that makes the best black bean and mushroom burgers. Comes with a side of fried potatoes.”
“Sounds fine to me.”
Our course took a small change as we stopped at a food stand a block or so off our course. There were quite a few other vendors on avenue. The Street it was on was bustling as ponies went about getting lunch or serving it. By far it was the most amount of ponies I had seen in one spot. They had such a variety of colors though most seemed a bit more pastel in coloration. A particularly bright pink one seemed to explode when she saw us. The line for the burger stand thankfully was fairly small.
Seemingly landing from a great height the pink pony came bouncing over to us.
“Hello,” the pink one said. “Are you new to town? I bet so, and I would know 'cause I know everypony, well except you, though I guess I know you now? Do you like parties? I like parties.”
The pink one was still rambling while I buried my face into Lyra's mane. Lyra turned to the pink one, and said, “Hi Pinkie. Slow down a bit your scaring Lilac.”
“Oh right sorry,” Pinkie said. “So when can I throw your welcome to Ponyville party? I bet the whole town will show up.”
My face could not go further into Lyra's mane. The idea of a whole town showing up somewhere because of me made my body shudder. Please let the pink nightmare go away.
“Pinkie how about we talk about this later, Lilac is still feeling a bit under the weather right now,” Lyra said. She walked forward a bit.
“Okie-dookie-lowkie,” Pinkie said as she walked away.
“Two mushroom burgers with extra cheese please,” Lyra told the stand owner.
The rest of our walk home was uneventful thankfully. After eating, Lyra and I worked on learning to read. It took a bit, but soon enough I could read pretty much anything Lyra showed me, even if I was a bit slow at it. All attempts at writing though proved difficult and quite illegible. My manual dexterity would need some work.
“I'm home,” Bon Bon announced.
“Hello,” I said. I pranced over to her in the entryway. “I learned to read today. Oh and I got a new name, Lilac Splash. Twilight said that I should have an equestrian name and apparently her and Lyra had a dream about it.”
“Well that's a cute name. Are you certain you want a new one?” Bon Bon asked.
“Not really but Twilight said we should keep where I came from a secret so I guess I kinda need one then,” I replied. “It doesn't bother me all that much, though its gonna take a bit getting used to.”
“I would imagine,” Bon Bon said.
Lyra had joined us in the entryway. She kissed Bon Bon on the check. Lyra said, “How was your day?”
“Fine,” Bon Bon said. Bon Bon returned Lyra's affection with a kiss of her own. “So you had a naming dream? I think I am jealous.”
“Well maybe we can get you one,” Lyra said. Her face had the most suggestive look to it.
“Remember, we are being watched,” Bon Bon said. Lyra blushed to which Bon Bon giggled. "Besides that is already taken care of."
“Really! So, uh, whats for diner?” stammered Lyra.
“I was thinking something healthy so probably a salad of some sort,” Bon Bon said.