• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 894 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.

  • ...

What's Up

I knocked on the door, but no one answered for a minute or two. Then the door opened by only two centimetres. I opened the door wider and came in, and next to the door stood a white furry cat. It looked at me and went from the door to the centre of the hall.

I sighed. “It’s too bad Curiosity isn’t here.”

“But Opal is here,” the cat said.

“Sorry, I didn’t think about you.” I turned to the cat. “But what can you do for me?”

“Opal has wares, if you have coin.”

“Really? Don’t you only trade with ponies? Or other cats?”

“Opal does not discriminate.”

The interior scene with the cat morphed into another. I could still hear Opal’s voice, but it faded away quickly. I turned to the wooden ceiling. It didn't look like one at my home. Or in a hotel. Right, I was still in the world inhabited by colourful ponies. At least this time I woke up in the normal room and not in a hospital.

Judging by the sunlight from the window, it was morning already. A regular, unharmed pony was sleeping next to my mattress. And not a talking cat in sight...

Wait, why was Rainbow here? We agreed that she would sleep in the bed. I stood up and walked closer to her. Rainbow laid between my mattress and the bed, her head turned to me. She was lying on her side. I wouldn't feel comfortable lying like that, but maybe ponies liked to sleep this way.

I remembered Rainbow was still awake when I decided to finally lie down and close my eyes. Had she watched me while I slept? Well, there was one way to find out.

I grabbed two pillows and put them under the blanket on my mattress, arranging them to look more or less like my body. Then I took my phone, set up a timer for one minute and put it in the backpack. I left the backpack near the mattress and hid behind the bed. I also called for my translator gift, just in case Rainbow said anything after waking up.

When the phone started beeping, Rainbow’s ears turned towards it. I waited for a minute or two. Rainbow yawned and raised her head. I couldn’t see her eyes, but she turned her snout to my mattress.

Rainbow remained silent, but laid her head on her forelegs, without turning away from my mattress. I began slowly crawling closer to her, making as little noise as possible.

Finally I stopped two meters behind Rainbow, and decided to wait for some time in the hopes that she would do something funny even without my intervention. But after about ten minutes of waiting I had only heard some unintelligible grumbles.

I was getting bored, so I inhaled fully and started singing. Rainbow jumped and turned to me, her eyes were very big. I stopped before the refrain and waited for her reaction.

“Where is that song from?” Rainbow asked, after a long pause.

“From an animated series, I recorded the intro and ending songs, I also provided my voice for one of the character.”

“Good song,” Rainbow said.

“By the way, how long have you watched me sleeping?”

“Maybe two...” Rainbow began, but suddenly halted. In a second her snout became sapphire and she turned away from me.

“It actually doesn't matter.” I couldn’t help but to giggle. “You just confirmed my observation from your sleeping pose. I'm more interested in why you did this.”

Rainbow still looked away. I walked around her and looked at her still sapphire face.


“I still don't trust you,” she said and looked down. “I watched you, to make sure you wouldn’t do anything unusual.”

“I see. You didn't trust me after our first meeting, either.”

Rainbow lifted her head up and looked at me. Her snout returned to the usual colour.

“Do you know why?” she asked, then added after a moment. “Sorry, silly question.”

It was a good question, actually. Gloaming most likely hadn’t told her about the doppelgängers yet. So it would be better to avoid this topic for a while.

“I don't know much about the recent events here, but I reminded you of some bad ponies you’d met. And my being from another world probably helps.”

Rainbow didn't say anything, but relaxed slightly after my words.

“Maybe I’ll ask something else, but I don't know what to ask now,” Rainbow said.

I winced for some reason. I didn't know how I would react if I lost half a year of my life, but it seemed Rainbow was enduring this rather well. Looking at it another way, it might feel like travelling half a year into the future, so maybe it wasn't too hard for her.

Neither of us said anything else, and we went down to find Gloaming. We found her next to the table with numerous books and notes scattered across it.

She smiled to us. “Good morning, girls. I arranged a meeting with the queen later today. She will be coming to town.”

“Oh,” Rainbow said. “Can I meet her too?”

“Should I prepare in any way for the meeting?” I asked.

“She will meet all of us, including Gracia and Snowy Clothes,” Gloaming said. “And Curiosity is coming soon, to tell you about etiquette.”

“You can't teach me?” I asked her.

“I know the basics, but Curiosity knows more,” Gloaming said. “And she can also tell you reasons behind specific actions. And Rainbow, please stay for that, too.”

“Why?” Rainbow asked.

“I know most of the rules are not required for us, because we all know the queen personally, but I feel you should still learn some of it.”

Rainbow only grumbled something in response.

“You told me you have two queens,” I said to Gloaming, “but which one we are going to meet?”

“We will meet the older sister, Her Majesty Queen Azure Sky,” she said.

Fortunately the queen’s name was easy to understand and translate, though I had some doubts about the exact colour shade her name represented.

“Why her and not her sister, or both? Sorry, if it’s a silly question.”

“Azure Sky knows me and my friends personally,” Gloaming said, “and she usually makes first contact with foreign dignitaries. Her sister mostly deals with internal affairs. By the way, I'm going to arrange breakfast for you. We can go to the same restaurant as yesterday.”

“If you have nuts and grain, I can eat that,” I said. “I don't need animal protein every day.”

“I see.” Gloaming quickly made a note in one of the journals on the table. “I think I have that kind of food here.”

“I can help with preparing the food,” I said.

“Me too,” Rainbow added.

“Thank you girls,” Gloaming said, and she led us to the kitchen.

There were two tables, a sink with taps and several cabinets. One of them seemed to be a refrigerator, because I felt a wave of cold air when Gloaming opened it. She got some leaves and a few kinds of fruit, then several bowls from another cabinet.

Gloaming put everything on the table and used a magical effect to, apparently, cut the food into pieces. She basically summoned that glow on her forehead, and the food was cut. Then she levitated the pieces into bowls and gave us spoons, which had wide handles, I presumed so a pony could hold it with a hoof. Unfortunately, all our help consisted of arranging utensils on the table. In the end I proposed to clean the dishes after we ate, because I had talons, and Gloaming agreed.

When I finished with the cleaning I went to the guest room to check that I didn’t forget anything there. Rainbow followed me and watched me as I searched the room. After concluding everything I needed was inside the backpack, I turned to Rainbow.

“Do you want to go to Medley's place, if you haven't seen it yet?” she asked.

“Well, we have some time before Curiosity is coming, I think. Let’s ask Gloaming how much time we have. And I haven’t seen her house yet, so I would like to go there.”

Rainbow nodded. I went back to Gloaming, and according to her we had at least one pony hour. It was funny, that an hour here was only one sixteenth part of the day, so I needed to remind myself more often that an hour was longer here.

Rainbow and I left the library. She quickly went ahead and I had to rush to catch up with her. Fortunately, after sleeping the legs of my new form worked much better, and I could walk fairly quickly. I needed to check how fast I could run in this form, but until then I could just stick to flying if I needed to get somewhere fast.

“Rainbow, where does Medley live?”

“You will see,” she said, smiling for the first time since the crash. “She works there, too.”

In a few minutes we came to a three-story building. Its roof was decorated with colourful, more or less regular patterns of something... Was it some kind of sealant?

“Rainbow, what is that?”

“Well, according to the owners, it should be icing, like on a cake,” she said, after a short pause. “But now that you ask I'm not so sure anymore.”

I looked over the building, the roof, the walls. Well, maybe. I hadn’t seen any cakes in this world yet. I turned to Rainbow, who quickly shifted her glance from me to her forelegs. I looked at her forelegs too, but they appeared fine.

Suddenly she turned and entered the building. I followed her in.

The building turned out to be a confectionery. It also had several tables, so patrons could buy and eat something right there. We had come in as a confectioner-mare was serving a customer, and another one waited for her turn.

“Do you have strawberry-flavoured?” said the mare in front. She had a light purplish grey coat and a light grey curly mane. It felt like I had seen her in the town before.

“Of course,” the confectioner said. “Here you are.”

“Only orange and blue topping?” The mare with the light grey mane examined the cakes and moved her lips a bit to the right. “Well, let me think for a moment.”

“That's alright. You don't mind if I talk to the patron after you, do you? Next order, please.”

I sensed someone touched my shoulder, or whatever ponies called it. Rainbow removed her hoof and pointed at a free table. I nodded and walked there with her.

She sat on the pillow next to the table, and I sat on another pillow on the left side of her. Rainbow turned her head to the counter, where the second patron was getting a bag of some cakes.

“I know that you have to return to your world very soon,” she said, looking somewhere behind me.

“Yes. Your world is so interesting, but this is an unplanned visit.” At least I didn't see any obstacles for my leaving. “So I have to go back soon.”

“I see,” Rainbow said. “Wait, let me get us something to eat.”

She quickly stood up and walked to the counter. I began to think over the past few minutes with Rainbow, since she wasn’t behaving as assertively as she had been before the race. I could only hope that this head trauma hadn’t affected her personality.

Rainbow returned with a dish in her mouth with several small cakes. She put it on the table and sat down.

“Medley went somewhere else, so she won't disturb us,” she said after a pause, “and I got a treat on the house when I said you're from far far away.”

Maybe Gracia had started teaching her already.

“So, I want to talk to you exactly because you're from another world.” She briefly looked on me and turned her gaze on the cakes. “It is a very sens... No, a very personal topic for me.”

That was interesting. I liked personal topics. There were little or no ties between me and these ponies, but I was still intrigued. It might not have been useful for the Coalition, but their relations could help me to understand them better.

Rainbow nibbled a bit of mulberry-coloured cake and slowly chewed. I waited patiently.

“When Gloaming embr...” She coughed suddenly. “Hugged me when you were there, I remembered my foalhood.”

She looked in my eyes and switched her gaze between each of them several times before speaking again.

“But before I tell you.” She screwed up her eyes and slowly added, “I ask that you not to tell anyone about this. Especially in my world.”

“I won't,” I said, as serious as I could. Then a silly thought came to me. “I hope you don't want me to make some oath, like I have to poison myself with a blowfish if I lie?”

“Nah,” she said, waving her foreleg sideways, “we aren't foals anymore. You word will suffice for me.”

“Good, so what do you want to talk about?”

Rainbow abruptly toughen muscles on her forelegs. She opened her mouth as if she wanted to say something, but no sound escaped her lips. I waited patiently.

She looked around the confectionery hall, I also looked around too, following her gaze. All customers got their orders and left. The counter was also empty.

Rainbow moved a bit closer to me.

She closed her eyes, and breathed out. “Okay.”

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