• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 881 Views, 22 Comments

I Can Read Names in Clouds - Yuu



In the aftermath of the confusion with replacing the newest princess, a human arrives to learn about pony society.

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Princes of the Universe

“Of course you’re special,” Gracia said, guiding Bright Eyes to come closer to the other ponies. “And not just because every pony is special, but because your talent really is unique.”

Medley moved closer to me to make more space for Bright Eyes near the table.

“But I don’t know anything, really.”

“That’s why I’m here to teach you,” Gracia said. “I can tell you about your gifts, but it’s better to show. Please, sit here.”

Gracia let go of Bright Eyes and nudged her to the nearest pillow, then sat next to her.

“Do you have anything you would like to show us, but don’t have with you?”

“Well, I like to show pictures of my daughters to ponies I know.” Bright Eyes looked on the table before her. “But I don’t have any right now.”

Gracia took another pillow and put it next to one Bright Eyes sat on.

“I will take your forehoof and guide it under this pillow. Please close your eyes.”

Bright Eyes looked at me and at ponies around her for several seconds, but soon did what Gracia asked. Gracia slowly took her right foreleg and moved it under the pillow.

“Now you should wait some time, until you feel an empty space around your hoof.” Gracia seemingly stopped moving her foreleg under the pillow.

Ponies looked attentively at Bright Eyes, Medley even began to jump up and down, fortunately she did it quietly and didn’t distract the others. But her hooves were hard, weren’t they? Maybe she was just very good at jumping, as she did that very often.

I wasn’t sure how long it took, but finally Gracia disturbed the silence.

“And now imagine the picture you want to take. It’s somewhere close. Move your hoof, if you need to, and take it.”

Bright Eyes sit still for several seconds then stirred her foreleg under the pillow a bit. Gracia slowly removed her our foreleg and remained staying next to Bright Eyes.

“When you take the picture, just remove the hoof from under the pillow.” Gracia didn’t moved her gaze away from Bright Eyes.

Bright Eyes nodded without opening her eyes. We waited a minute more, then she pulled her foreleg out. Bright Eyes didn’t have a picture in her hoof, but a cylindrical cake of some kind.

“Oh, sorry, I couldn't get the picture.”

“Don’t worry,” Gracia said, smiling, “you already used your talent when you took this cake from another world.”

“Really?” Bright Eyes looked on the cake. “It doesn’t seem very special. I think I just wanted to eat something, and then I got this instead of the picture.”

She bit the cake.

“Please, let me taste it!” Medley cried. Everyone looked at her and she added, “I’ve never eaten food from another world before!”

Bright Eyes smiled and broke the cake in half, then offered the half she didn’t bite. Medley moved closer with her pillow and took the piece of the cake. Medley looked at it for several seconds, then whispered something inaudible and bit the piece.

When she finished chewing, her eyes glimmered and several drops of tears felt on the floor. Medley paused for a second, then bit the cake again. Other ponies just stood around and silently watched.

“I can’t say it was the best cake I’ve tasted,” she said. “But it’s still good and it has a unique taste. Thank you.” Medley moved closer to Bright Eyes and hugged her.

“Anyway, please try once more to fetch the picture,” Gracia said. “Now that you know how it feels.”

Bright Eyes nodded and put her foreleg under the pillow. After a minute or two she stirred her foreleg a bit.

“I think I got something,” she said, looking at the pillow.

“Did you imagined the picture?” Gracia asked.

“Yes, I did,” Bright Eyes said. “And I just ate the cake, so I’m not hungry.”

“Good, then pull it out.” Gracia made pulling movement with her own foreleg.

Bright Eyes stirred her foreleg some more and pulled it out with a rectangular piece of paper. She turned it to us; it was a photo of two mares with shag cuts: a grown mare with an amethyst mane and a light lavender coat, and a filly with a pale golden mane and a lilac coat. The one with the amethyst mane didn’t look much younger than Bright Eyes, and the filly was about the same height and possibly the same age as Curiosity’s younger sister.

For the next few minutes the other ponies closely examined the photo, and it appeared more interesting to them than the fact that Bright Eyes could create wormholes through space.

Finally, Gracia turned from the photo to Bright Eyes. “You see now, this is your gift. And I can teach you how to improve it, and how to do even more than pull things out of pillows.”

“Well, I will try to study it.” Bright Eyes made a small smile.

I suddenly remembered a quote that had helped me, especially in the beginning of my musical career: ‘There is no try’. I had an impulse to say it to Bright Eyes, but quickly decided that Gracia was a better teacher than me.

“Don’t worry, I will help you, along with Medley,” Gracia said, smiling. “I also propose for us to meet your family with you and tell them about it.”

“Sure,” Bright Eyes said. “Let’s go. See you.”

Medley and Gracia followed her outside. I remembered that I had to prepare to meet with musicians, and that I had to hurry, because of the time I spent in the clinic.

“Gloaming, do you have any books about music theory?” I asked, hoping my translator could help me to read pony language. Or I could ask some of ponies to read for me....

“I think I have some.” She came to one of the shelves and checked the books there.

“I believe Gloaming and the musicians can help you,” Curiosity said, “I know a bit of musical theory, but I’m only an amateur. So I will leave you for now.”

She nodded to me and Gloaming, and left the library.

“Please look for books about fundamentals.” I turned to Gloaming. “Maybe also about novice music lessons, so I can compare music here and on Earth.”

“Good idea, I would also like to know about differences and similarities,” Gloaming said. “Could you share your findings with me?”

“Of course.” I took the first offered book.

I didn’t get a chance to read it, because someone knocked on the door, and Gloaming opened it. A mare with a powder blue shag cut and a light aquamarine coat came in. She wasn’t very broad or muscular, so she would have been a unicorn, or less likely a pegasus. She had a rather large saddlebag with her and two spiral-like sea-green boots on her forelegs. When she came closer I saw she had a string instrument on her mark. This instrument resembled a zither, or maybe a modern konghou.

“You should be Snowy Clothes,” she said to me, “Nice to meet you. My name is...”

Some string instrument, played with magic? How could I translate that, if we didn’t have that kind of instrument on Earth?

“Nice to meet you too.” I nodded to her. “Do you have any instruments with you?”

“Of course I do.” She opened her saddlebag with an orange magic field and levitated the instrument similar to one on her mark. Well, it was closer to konghou. But, still, what could I call her? If this instrument was played with magic, ponies needed to touch several strings at once, I thought. On Earth an instrument like that would be played with fingers, so I could call it a small hand harp, actually.

“It’s a nice one, I know instruments like this.” I compared the actual instrument with her mark once more. “But I’m still thinking about your name—”

“Medley told me about your translation problem,” she interrupted.

“Yes, so as you are named after this kind of instrument, can I call you Harpy?” I asked. “That’s what we call them in my world.”

“I think you can,” she said, smiling. “I understand that it’s something very similar.”

“Thank you. So I already understand with Gloaming’s help you have a different scale here.” I pointed my talon on the unread books. “As we have seven or twelve, you have sixteen tones.”

“Yes, we also use different temperaments, but mostly the equal temperament.” Harpy checked her instrument from different sides. “And often we use only a subset of these tones, not all of them. Do you also have different ones?”

“We do. Anyway, I propose you to listen to several music pieces, then we decide how can we arrange a performance.”

“Great, I can’t wait.”

I took my phone and played several melodic compositions to her. Gloaming also stopped whatever she was reading and listened too. When the sixth and the last one was finished, ponies were silent for nearly a minute.

“Well,” Harpy was the first to speak, “That was nice, but unusual.”

“I can even say it had some alien sounds,” Gloaming said. “I heard some familiar parts in it, but the rest was so extraneous, outlandish, extrinsic—”

“What are you, a thesaurus?” Harpy interrupted.

Gloaming twitched her lips, but said nothing.

“And can you also sing something a cappella?” Harpy asked. “I want to get some impression of your voice alone.”

I nodded. As for what song to sing, I needed something melodic, and not so long…

“I have something in mind, I think. It is a song which I used to master pronunciation of some difficult sounds from foreign languages.”

And I sang them “Ievan polkka”.

“For some reason it doesn’t sound too alien for me,” Harpy said when I finished.

“Well, there may be two reasons for that,” Gloaming said, smirking. “You may become familiar with the music you already listened before. Or you just like this song and your impression and emotions diffused to the musical key. So this effect can cloud your judgement—”

“Oh, you still can’t forget how I did better than you in grade school, can you?” Harpy said, turning to Gloaming and grinning.

“I mainly can’t forget how annoying you were.” Gloaming stood up from her pillow and turned to Harpy. “And you still are now. Do you really have to interrupt me so often?”

Maybe these two should never be in the same room...

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