• Published 13th Nov 2017
  • 908 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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Give a Reason

“Why? It isn't fair!” someone said from inside the library.

I came in and found Medley, Gloaming and Curiosity. Medley was screaming and swinging her hooves around.

“I can travel between locations in our world, but I can't even go to the spirit world!” she continued.

“Maybe it's a different skill,” Gloaming said.

“No, it's all the same.” Medley stomped both forehooves. “Gracia showed me what travelling to another world is like. I can even go from one alien world to another! But I can’t leave or enter the physical world on my own.”

Medley stopped her rant and panted quietly. I turned to Curiosity.

“How long has she been like this?”

“She came back about an hour ago, said everything was fine and you and Rainbow would tell us what happened,” Curiosity said. “Then she announced she needs to find Gracia and train a bit. And just before you two arrived, she came back saying... well, this.”

“That's unusual.” I remembered what I knew about this way of travelling. “This ability is hard to block, especially for a single person, without blocking all transportation magic in the area. Another user of this kind of magic should be involved, someone like Gracia.”

“Yes, Gracia told me something similar,” Medley said. “She went to her world to check something, and said she’d be back later.”

“Could the embodiment of chaos do that?” Gloaming asked. “Or, maybe, doppelgängers?”

She looked around her as if a doppelgänger might be hiding in the bookshelves.

“Doppelgängers use the same magic as you,” I said, “so it shouldn't be possible for them. Remember, we just visited them. And this chaos person, we shouldn’t rule him out either. But we should look for other reasons first.”

“Wait a moment, how can we verify you aren’t doppelgängers?” Gloaming asked.

“Silly mare, just use a diagnostic spell on us, if you want,” Medley said. “Meanwhile, can anypony think of a reason why someone might have done this to me? I’ve got no clue.”

No one answered this. Gloaming quietly did her magic scans.

“I can't think of anything,” Curiosity said. “I don't believe somepony blocked your transportation powers because they considered you a threat. As I understand, it couldn't be more dangerous than scientific work inside the polar circles, when they find and unfreeze some prehistoric life forms.” She possibly noticed my opened beak and decided to continue. “I mean, they can accidentally dig out old viruses and bacteria, then bring them back home.”

“Yes, Gracia told me people have done that for ages, travelling from one world to another. So why me?” Medley asked no one in particular.

“Well, let's look from a different angle,” I said. “Is anyone we know powerful enough to do something like this? Or knowledgeable or resourceful enough to help us find an answer?”

“Let me think,” Gloaming said, as she grabbed several books with telekinesis and looked into them.

I remained silent while Gloaming checked her books and Medley quietly discussed some old legends with Curiosity.

“Well, there aren’t many legends that could really help us right now,” Gloaming said, frowning. “But, well… when I was studying zebra magic I also learned a few things about their folk tales. Zebras have stories about somepony they call the mistress of the dark river. This pony can be called by zebras. This pony can be called on, apparently, or even summoned... Maybe she's actually spirit, not a pony.” Gloaming looked at me.

“What else do these legends say?” Curiosity asked.

“This mistress could supposedly answer some questions, or do something for you,” Gloaming added after some reading. “She requires some form of payment, but these books don't give any details as to what kind.”

“Do you think she really exists?” Curiosity asked.

“I'm not finding any direct evidence,” Gloaming said. “Although there are some stories about what happened after her help. For example, she helped one of the zebra tribes to locate a small vein of semiprecious gems, which helped them to establish trading relations with our country.”

We could check the existence of these gems, but not how the zebras really found them. But it was still an interesting catch.

“I just remembered a story I heard from griffins,” Medley said. “It was about a strange pony, who they actually call an evil spirit.”

“But why?” Gloaming asked.

“They never told me why, exactly,” Medley said, “but I suspect they wanted something from her and couldn't get it. It gave the ponies what they wanted, though, the griffins knew that much.”

“She may be not the same person, but it is another lead, albeit a weak one,” Gloaming said.

“Wait a minute,” I said to Gloaming, “didn’t you tell me that some spirit could bring the dead back to life? In zebra legends, I mean.”

“Well, I think I did,” she said. “Yes, I remember this legend now.”

“Could the spirit who can do that be the mistress of the dark river?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” Gloaming said. “Let me cross-reference some texts about zebra culture.”

She took several books from shelves, put them on the table with her journal and began skimming through pages.

“I’m sorry, I should head back home,” Curiosity said. “Can we continue tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Gloaming turned her head from a book, yawning. “It’s quite late.”

“Well, I’m also going home,” Medley said. “Maybe I will feel better tomorrow...”

We bid farewell to Curiosity and Medley as they left. Rainbow looked at me, then at Gloaming, and turned her gaze to the floor. We sat in a silence for several minutes.

“Gloaming, you know,” Rainbow said, “I... Well...”

“If you’re tired, you can sleep here again,” Gloaming said.

Rainbow cocked her head. “Really?”

“Of course, you can use the guest room.”

“Well, thank you,” Rainbow said. “I’ll prepare my bed then.”

Rainbow glanced at me and went to the guest room. Strange, she didn’t even try to argue over who would sleep in the bed. I waited until she left the room, and turned to Gloaming.

“I will also check my mattress,” I said. “And maybe go to sleep after that...”

“Good night then,” Gloaming said. “I’m going to finish soon too, I’m already feeling sleepy.”

When I came to the guest room, Rainbow was sitting on the bed and looking out the window. I couldn’t see anything outside, just some distant lights of another houses’ windows. Abruptly, she turned to me.

“I... want to talk to you again. You know, continue the same topic...”

“Oh, I see,” I said.

“I’m still pretty tired after our trip, but I think I could manage to fly home if I wanted,” she said.

I waited maybe a minute, before she continued.

“You know, I still haven’t talked with Shimmering,” she said. “Maybe tomorrow.”

“You can talk to me,” I said.

She nodded. “I have a crazy idea... Maybe I can hug you?”

“Sure.”

“But it wouldn't just be a hug between friends,” Rainbow added.

I felt my face became warm.

“No no no, it isn’t what you think.” Her face tinged with sapphire. “We can hug like friends, I’m just trying to be more open and think about stuff, I told you before.”

“I understand, I think,” I climbed on the bed and sat next to her.

Rainbow inhaled deeply several times and slowly wrapped her forelegs around me. I mirrored her actions and hugged her in response.

A few minutes later, Rainbow stroked me on the back. She also whispered something very faintly, but I didn’t understand a word. She repeated it several times, then we sat in silence for maybe ten minutes.

Suddenly I felt Rainbow tumble down onto the bed, pulling me along. We remained almost in the same pose, but lying horizontally. I waited some time for an explanation from Rainbow, but she said nothing.

“Hey, Rainbow,” I quietly asked, after another minute of silence.

She still said nothing. I slowly unwrapped myself from her and moved back a bit to see her face. Her eyes were closed.

“I see, you used me as a hugging pillow to fall asleep.”

Rainbow said nothing.

I covered her with a blanket and went back to my own mattress. “Well, good night then.”

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