• 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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Thank You for the Music

“Don't tell me it's your special sense again...” Gloaming said, scoffing.

Medley sighed and looked at her forelegs, saying nothing.

“Darling, I don't see any harm,” Curiosity said. “If Snowy Clothes writes a letter and Medley asks her friend to deliver it....” She looked at me, than at Gloaming.

Gloaming glanced away from Medley. “Fine, go ahead.”

I got a sheet of paper from my notebook and began writing. I decided to tell my parents a short story about coming here after meeting a messenger spirit, and meeting talking ponies. I hadn't finished the first sentence when Gloaming abruptly excused herself and went to another room for a minute. She returned with a medium sized journal in her telekinetic grip.

“We should send it with the letter.” She put the journal next to me on the table. “This journal has a second issue, and it uses the same technology as our medical sensors. It can transfer writings from one issue to another. I'm not sure if it will work between worlds, but it’s worth trying.”

“That's marvellous!” Curiosity said, smiling. “Snowy Clothes can write to her parents and they can write back.”

“Thank you, I will mention the journal in my letter. So they should only write in it?” I asked Gloaming, and she nodded.

When I finished, Gloaming brought an envelope big enough for the journal. I wrote the full address to my parents' house and added “Earth, Sun” just to be sure. Medley took it with her forehoof, placed on her back, and went off to the post office. Gloaming brought out the second journal and put it on the table.

“Can you tell me how this journal transfers information to the other one?” I asked Gloaming, who most likely would know the answer.

“It was very old invention, actually,” she said. “The paper for the journal was made from a special plant, which also has cells that produces magical organelles. But we only recently developed a theory on how it really works. Our scientists believe that some of the matter in the two journals becomes connected in such a way that they change their states after each other.”

“I see, thank you.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know physics very well, but I had heard something like this in the Coalition laboratories.

Curiosity gazed after Medley as she left, then turned to me. “Could you tell us about your career as a singer?”

“Hey, maybe she can tell us something more interesting,” intervened Rainbow before I could answer.

“Why wouldn't that be interesting?” Curiosity turned to Rainbow. “I know that you also have a nice voice, and like to sing from time to—”

“Fine,” Rainbow interrupted. Her muzzle changed colour slightly and became more sapphire. She was blushing?

“Well, I became interested in music and singing in high school, and I got some additional tutoring later on,” I said. “After I graduated, my parents arranged different kinds of promotions for me, so I could work for little or no money to get experience and exposure.”

There was a knock on the door, followed immediately by Medley bursting through it. “Anypony miss me?” she asked, out of breath. “Did I miss anything?”

“Not much,” Gloaming said, though she suddenly stopped mid-sentence. “I mean, we missed you, but we haven’t discussed anything substantial. Snowy Clothes just started telling us about her singing career.”

“That's good.” Medley sat on the pillows with us. “I have sent the letter.”

“Thank you,” I said to her. “So, at the beginning I sang popular songs from other singers. When I became more popular I hired a good composer and a songwriter to prepare some songs of my own. I knew I wasn’t very good at those things... And I continued to expand my repertoire, because it helped me a lot in smaller concerts, when guests asked for a particular song.”

“Could you sing for us?” Medley asked.

That was unexpected. Well, maybe not.

“Sure, why not,” I said. “As I said before, I know many songs, so I can sing songs from different countries and time periods, and you can become familiar with various musical styles.”

“Do you mean we can even ask you for some specific songs?” Curiosity asked. “Or, rather, about specific topics these songs are about?”

“Yes, of course,” I said, “I can even find a song with a given phrase and sing it. Or, at least, a part of it. You only should take any misunderstanding due to translation between languages into account.”

“It would be nice to get some impressions about songs from your world.” Curiosity said.

“I’m ready.” I would have liked to say I was born ready, but it would be a cliché and a lie too. But a fun thing to say anyway.

“Let the fun begin!” Medley proclaimed. “My mind's made up.”

“You know I love you, I always will,” I sang after some thinking, “My mind's made up by the way that I feel.”

“Oh, nice,” Curiosity said, smiling. “Life is peaceful there...”

“In the open air,” I sang. “Where the skies are blue, this is what we're gonna do.”

“I also would like to try,” Gloaming said, “right here to stay?”

“I’m right here to stay, when I’m old and grey, I’ll be right in my prime.”

Other ponies looked at Rainbow. “What?” she asked. “Fine, my turn. Find a friend.”

“Seems the hardest thing to do, is to find a friend or two.”

“Hurray!” Medley jumped from her pillows and landed on the table. She was immediately asked to go down by Curiosity. Gloaming clopped her hooves on the table several times and smiled broadly, soon Curiosity joined her. Only Rainbow diligently trained her poker face.

“Rainbow, why are you still sad?” Medley asked her.

“I’m not sad. I just silently approve of a good job when I see it,” Rainbow said after a pause.

“Yeah, sure.” Gloaming nodded, but she didn’t look like she agreed.

“Unlike you,” Rainbow said, turning to her, “I still remember the important lessons from school. Choosing a goal, working on it without any distractions. That’s how I became who I am now.”

For some reason, I suspected she was actually thinking about something else, and only mentioned school to avoid talking about it. Maybe the other ponies reminded her about something sad.

“We know, you surely fly very fast.” Gloaming nodded several times without smiling.

“Girls.” Curiosity stood from her pillow and went between Rainbow and Gloaming. “Don’t do this again. Gloaming, you surely don’t think that Rainbow can be only a good athlete or only a smart mare, and not both?”

She turned to Rainbow.

“And you, do you really think that only you are good enough to follow your plan and achieve your foalhood dream?”

Both Rainbow and Gloaming turned theirs muzzles down on the table. Curiosity appeared more mature than other ponies here—why? Maybe she had some experience with children, like working in a school?

“I love both of you, but you can behave like small fillies sometimes.” Curiosity sighed.

“I’m sorry,” Rainbow said, still looking on the table.

“Me too, I shouldn't fight against you,” Gloaming said and turned to Curiosity. “And you guessed correctly. I behaved like a small filly, thinking only about extremes...”

“So, do you really think I can sing before an audience around here?” I asked, trying to change topic.

“There are several musicians in town,” Gloaming said to me. “We can ask them to come and play music for some of your songs.”

“Let me, let me!” Medley said. “I wanna invite the musicians!”

“Fine, you can do that,” Gloaming said.

“I can play many songs from this device,” I pointed on the phone.

“Marvellous,” Curiosity said, smiling. “That would be a great support for musicians.”

“Medley, please ask them to come in two hours,” Gloaming said, and turned to me, “if that’s convenient for you.”

“That's good, thank you for your help, Medley,” I said.

She joyfully jumped to the door and left.

So, each hour here was longer than an hour on Earth—it had 89 minutes, I reminded myself. Two hours here were almost three on Earth. And ponies didn't have an analogue for a minute, they just divided the hours into sixteen parts, then divided again and again.

“By the way, can you tell me about these pictures?” I pointed at my own haunch.

Gloaming looked at me for several seconds, then suddenly answered.

“You mean our flank-marks? They usually appear when a pony is between ten and twenty two years old.”

So in Earth years, that would be from seven to fifteen years old.

“The marks represent some aspect of pony personality: her aspirations, her talents or dreams. Unfortunately, we don't really know how or why they appear,” she made a little smile to me and looked at Curiosity.

“Really.” I was impressed. Though the Coalition also knew about many as yet unexplained phenomena, so maybe it wasn’t that unusual.

“They have a significant place in our culture,” Curiosity continued after Gloaming. “For example, foals often use these marks, or more specifically, sketches of marks instead of the written names of ponies. And speaking of foals, some of them overrate the importance of its appearance.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have personal experience with my little sister, who still hasn’t gotten her mark,” Curiosity said. “She and her two friends constantly attempt crazy stunts hoping to get them....”

“Is your sister similar to you in appearance?”

“Yes, you might say so.” Curiosity adjusted curls on her mane.

I described the three fillies I met in my first hour in the town.

“Yes, that’s the three of them.” She smiled to me. “Please be careful, they can drop on your head in any moment.”

“By the way, do you have any means to detect magic?” I asked.

“We can detect magical particles and structures made from them.” Gloaming pulled a book from a shelf and showed me several diagrams of magical structures. “But not the actual medium for magical interaction. Unfortunately, we still don’t know many things about our magic. There are also kinds of magic that don’t involve cellular automata and we know about them even less.”

“Could you tell me about some of them?” I asked.

“Well,” Gloaming paused.

I waited but Gloaming didn’t continue. Curiosity moved her ears several times and gazed on Gloaming, who bit her lower lip.

“It isn't a secret, really.” Gloaming inclined her ears backwards. “I just don't feel comfortable talking about it right now.”

Something else, connected to doppelgängers?

“If you're not sure, you don't have to tell me,” I said to her.

“Thank you, I think we can talk about it later,” Gloaming said, and turned her gaze to her journal.

“By the way, Snowy Clothes, how is your talon?” Curiosity asked.

Rainbow came to me from her pillow and poked my talon with her hoof.

“I don't feel any differences between the two of them,” I said and looked at Rainbow. “I believe we can fly around a bit, if you want.”

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