• Published 23rd Mar 2018
  • 1,302 Views, 98 Comments

Night Mares and Daydreams - Dreams of Ponies



It's been months since Nightmare Moon was banished, and things have started to settle down. Yet, mysterious things were still ahoof, when one night a stranger happens upon my door with something that will change my life forever.

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Chapter One: Arrival

Boom!

The branches of my tree house shook as thunder rolled past it. The blankets around me were pulled tight as I twisted my body, turning to face away from the window—an icy wind trying to claw into my side. Darkness was almost upon me once again when I heard another boom, though this one was softer, and repeated several times.

“Excuse me!” a voice called from somewhere outside, nearly carried off by the wind. “I require immediate assistance!”

I sat up, the warmth sapped from my body as the blankets fell away. Wearily, I glanced out the window. No, I hadn’t just slept in, judging from the moonlight illuminating my room.

“Just a…” I yawned, moving off the bed and shuffling my hooves toward the door, “...minute.”

Boom!

I jumped, my eyes now wide open.

“Will you hurry it up? My mane is already ruined, and you can bet I’ll be sending you the bill for a new treatment.”

Letting out a groan, I crept down the stairs, automatically moving around several tables in the dark. With a sigh, I eased the door open until I could just peer through the crack. Outside, heavy rain cascaded over a raspberry mane and slightly darker coat, barely visible beneath the mare’s gray cloak. Bright, emerald eyes narrowed, peering at me when I didn’t fully open the door.

I put on my best smile. “How may I help you?” Politeness is a two-way street.

The mare tossed her mane back with a sudden tilt of her head, which only succeeded in causing the hair to slap her neck with a heavy smack.

“I’m looking for Nightshade, the crackpot alchemist that insists on living in this wretched forest,” the mare said, causing me to roll my eyes as I stifled another yawn with a hoof. A tremor shook through the house as lightning flashed behind her. “Well?” An impatient frown formed across her face. “Can you go fetch him for me?”

I closed my eyes, and took a breath. One more try.

“Hello! My name is Nightshade. What can I possibly do to help you at this early hour?” The last bit was spoken between clenched teeth, but she didn’t seem to notice. Her eyes narrowed further as she looked me up and down, her head tilting to see the crystal flask that adorned my flank.

“Aren’t you a little young to be in this line of work?”

And I’m done. I forced a grin. “Aren’t you a bit out of your way—and too soaking wet—to complain about it?”

“Yes, yes, fine.” She turned and nodded outside. I peered around her, and spotted a pair of pegasi, who stood waiting beneath a tree in the distance. A small chariot was strapped behind them, the rain bouncing off the golden paint. I heard a nicker, and a stomp, but after one of them nodded back, she turned and came inside.

Those ponies need a raise.

I closed the door and moved to face the mare. Is there some special reason you’re waking me this Celestia-damned early?

Well…” The mare moved her hoof to her stomach as she spoke. “I’m pregnant.”

I blinked and tilted my head as I stared out at her. “And you came all the way out here… in this weather….” Deep breaths. “Why not have the doctors at the castle help? You’re from there, right?”

The mare rolled her eyes before nodding. Steady drops of rain fell from over her hood as a frown grew across her face.

“I have plenty of bits for your assistance… and your silence. Double your regular rate should be sufficient, I take it?”

Suppressing a groan, I held a hoof out to her. Green magic from her horn pulled a sack of coins from her saddlebag that clinked as she passed it to me.

“Come on, then.” I turned and walked back through the center room of the carved tree that was my home, the sound of wet hooves following behind me. Stepping over to a small glass sphere which sat atop one table, I tapped it lightly with my hooves.

“Wakey wakey, little friends. I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m in need of some early morning light.” Tiny, bright green lights from the bottom of the glass floated up to meet me. I smiled at the fireflies before I trotted across the room, aware that the mare was watching me with a confused expression.

Resting on a windowsill near the front door was a particularly healthy vivian flower, the inner crimson bud reflecting the moon’s light. Carefully, I moved the potted flower next to a long, cushioned table that I reserved for this specific purpose. With a flick of my black tail, I lifted the glass sphere and whistled. The dozen or so little lights flittered over and swarmed above the flower, illuminating that side of the room.

“What a… novel form of lighting.” The mare stepped behind me as she grimaced at the flickering bugs. “How long is this going to take?”

“It takes as long as it takes.” Hopefully not that long.

“You have a horrible bedside manner.” She removed her cloak and carefully laid atop the table. Her cutie mark was a golden quill, dipping into a red vial of ink. The swell of her stomach stretched across the table, nearly falling over one side.

“You’ll just have to deal with it. Any number of doctors could have helped you, but instead, you came all the way here. Really, you did this to yourself.”

She huffed, but waved me on. A few quick checks later, which she fortunately didn’t complain about, and my eyebrow was already twitching in irritation.

“Y-your water hasn’t broken yet!”

“And…?”

Deep breaths. “Look, Ms…”

“My name is of no concern.” She saw my annoyed glare, then amended her statement. “You may address me as Starshine, if you must.”

“Look, Starshine.” My glare didn’t lessen. “I wouldn’t recommend forcing you into labor. It’s not healthy for you or the baby.”

Starshine scowled, narrowing her eyes. “You took my bits. Now, you will make this happen, or I’ll make sure you pay for it.”

I laughed as I pulled the sack of bits from where I had left it. “I honestly don’t care. You can take your money and go.” As I finished the sentence, there was a flash. Barely a second later, a huge crash of thunder rattled the various jars and bottles on the tables around me.

“You’re going to send a pregnant mare out into that weather?” She grinned wickedly. “I see the lives of foals hardly weigh on your conscience at all!”

She’s playing me. And she knows that I know she’s playing me. Just wrap me in poison joke and call me a bouquet. I moved along the table adjacent to her resting place, scooping up several jars and placing them on the center workplace. “There’s a special place in Tartarus for ponies like you.”

“You flatter me, Doctor Nightshade.”

“Go sit on a pinecone.”

It took several minutes to gather the correct herbs, grind them into powder, and then mix them into a small pot of bubbling, green liquid. The small wooden cup smelled strongly of old socks, mixed with dandelions and lemongrass. It bubbled and popped as I placed it next to her; Starshine’s nose crinkled in disgust.

“You don’t actually expect me to drink that, do you?”

“If you plan on staying for a few days, or maybe a week, then don’t.” I raised an eyebrow. “I’d prefer we didn’t spend more time together if possible, but if you’d rather wait…”

The cup floated into her hooves before she held it to her lips. A green aura closed her nostrils as she tilted her head back. I watched in mild amusement as a visible ripple of nausea moved from her head to her hooves.

She tossed the cup into the air before she turned to glare at me. “That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. Do I even want to know?”

“Probably not.” I gestured with a hoof. “Just relax and give it a few minutes for the herbs to work through your system.”

While I waited, I set a pot of water to boil. After gathering as much clean fabric as I could find, I stopped and tried to relax. It’s not every day that you help bring life into the world. Not that it would be the first time. I’d helped a stray timberwolf that I’d come across. Needless to say, that was an extremely weird day.

“Ooh!”

Starshine squirmed on the table, gritting her teeth as the first contraction washed over her. And thus the most painful hours of both our lives had begun.


The lights of the fireflies danced about the room. I sat in the wooden chair that I had pulled alongside where Starshine was now resting, her snoring almost comical. Wrapped in my hooves was the fluffiest, most adorable filly I had ever laid eyes on. Tufted ears covered in dark fur, a tiny, wiggling nose, and finally, the surprising addition of a single fang—I just couldn’t look away.

The little bundle of warmth shifted slowly as I held her close, a smile on my face that was so huge it hurt. The overwhelming urge to prod her muzzle finally bested me as she yawned, her little hooves stretching out adorably.

Boop.

The tiniest giggle filled the air, my smile growing wider as a result. The mare beside me stirred at the sound, shifting herself until she could stare in my direction.

“Is that it?” Her eyes locked onto the bundle of cloth that held the newborn filly. I managed to hold my smile as I held the filly up to her. Starshine took the foal into her grasp, turning her around until her face was visible. “Disgusting.”

Words failed me as she floated the filly back to me. She climbed down from the table, retrieving her cloak as she moved toward the door.

“W-wait!” I stood up, carefully cradling the foal with one hoof. “What about your filly?”

Starshine turned to glare at me, her hoof on the wooden handle. “I paid you to take care of a problem.” The door opened, the volume of the rain increasing several fold. Even still, there was no way to miss the sneering voice that crept across my fur. “I have no children.”

The slam of the door far exceeded the quake of any thunder. And so I stood there, the little filly still bundled in my hooves, my body frozen in place.

“W-what just…”

I looked down to see the filly open her eyes—radiant, turquoise spheres staring out into my soul. Then she turned and buried her head further into the cloth, leaving me alone to contemplate what had transpired.

The sound of wings beating drew my attention to my window. As I approached, I spotted the vague shape of the pegasus-pulled chariot flying towards the mountain where they were building the new castle. I wanted to run outside and try to call them back, rain and thunder be damned, but…

“Eee.” The muffled sound from the filly stopped me in my tracks, my head arching down to stare at her. This storm wasn’t letting up anytime soon, if my time in the Everfree had taught me anything.

“What am I going to do with you?” I gently brushed my hoof through a tiny tuft of purple mane. I received no response, of course. Celestia help me.

Thestrals were generally a pretty rare sight, even before Nightmare Moon had been banished less than a year ago. I’d only ever had a single one as a patient, and since the old castle was gone…

“I can’t….”

I looked over the filly, her leathery wing sticking out slightly as she turned.

“I can’t.”

She gave the tiniest little sneeze.

“I…” Pulling her close to me, I snuggled her against my chest. “...can’t believe she would give you up.”

I coaxed the fireflies back into their glass dome with the offering of a small sunflower before proceeding back to bed. The filly didn’t stir in the slightest as I carefully climbed back under my cozy blankets. Holding her close, I pulled the blankets over the pair of us, my eyes fixed on her snoozing face as I started to fall back into the void of unconsciousness.

“Goodnight… Moon Flower.”

Author's Note:

So I've been waiting for quite a while to post this, having put it through multiple prereaders and edits and small rewrites. I've got quite a few chapters ready to publish, and I'm working on more this weekend, and every moment that I am able.

Again, thanks to all my friends and editors, you know who you are, for putting up with my dribble.

With love and dedication, Dreams of Ponies :twilightsmile: