• Published 23rd Mar 2018
  • 1,330 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.

  • ...

Chapter Ten: Laughter

"Ready or not, here I come!"

With a flick, I released my tail from my hanging spot next to Daddy's bed and moved towards the door. Like a fluffy shadow, I pulled it open without a creak, peering down the stairs as an eager grin crossed my face.

"I'm coming for you, Starbright… I'm coming…” I jumped, gliding down the stairs like an owl upon its unfortunate prey. "…for your blood!"

Nothing moved, even as my hooves thumped the floor for effect. Searching, I turned my head with painful slowness. The obvious spots turned up empty, nothing under the table, chairs, or clinic bed. With a huff, I checked every corner, forcing my eyes open wide to smite the darkness.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" I added a little hiss at the end. With short work made of the downstairs, I cocked my head and moved to the upstairs. With a little push, I opened the guest bedroom. "No way you'd be silly enough to hide in here, right?"

Glancing under the bed, a big, big smile across my muzzle, I threw my hoof forward and yelled, "Gotcha!" Pulling back, I was rewarded with an old pillow, along with a moderate amount of dust. "Aww, come on!" With a huff, and a puff, I blew my way back downstairs like a flying thing out of someplace hot. Out the front door, I roared like a tiny teddy out into the woods. Birds scattered, leaves fell, and all that happened was me turning my face into a big pout.

"Going outside the shroom circle is cheating!" With a snarl, I pumped my wings and took to the air. I squinted down, pretending my target was a mobile mango and licking my lips.


Ah, sometimes it’s just too easy. Down, down, down the wind carried me to the base of our tree house, where I found a patch of leaves behaving oddly at my approach. It… wasn’t moving.

“Hah!” Pounding forward, I scattered the camouflage and revealed the annoyed frown of one Starbright pony. “Found you.” I reached forward with my hoof. “Boop.”

With a huff, he aleafed himself and stepped forward. “That’s the third time in a row. I bet you’re cheating!”

I clutched my heart like Daddy did whenever I used my super batty pout. “Oh, my feelings!” Then a long grin spread across my muzzle.

“No…” He held his hooves up. “No to whatever you’re thinking right now.”

I lunged, hooves outstretched as he tried to turn away. The tickle tackle connected, and he was helpless beneath my practiced onslaught.

“S-stop!” His laughter ruffled the trees, bushes, and especially the animals. Even from my position atop him, I could see curious eyes watching over us from outside our protective circle. “I-I can’t breathe!”

With a sigh, I climbed off and reached down to help him up. “You’re such a litt—Waah!” Yanking my hoof, Starbright pulled me down to his level and swapped places as he climbed atop me instead.

“Gotcha, you little monster!” He poked and prodded me, but stopped as he saw my eyes glaze over. “Hey… you alright?”

I sat up, closing my eyes even as he moved over to sit beside me. “Monster, huh?”

I could feel the air currents as he frantically moved his hooves. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, y’know?”

Slowly, I nodded at him, then fell back against the cool grass. “I’m not that scary, am I?” There was a flop as he joined me. Finally looking up, I watched the Mare in the Moon stare down at me, pretending she was winking at me.

“No, you’re not… Well, not now that I know you.” There was a sureness in his voice that made my heart warm.

“But I was?” I rolled over to face him, not scowling, but a sadness touching my eyes.

He raised a hoof, then stopped. “Yeah, there was a book I read in school. It said ponies with bat wings were evil, and they wanted to make the world dark forever.”

I frowned at him. “I’ve never seen any book like that… And I even own a library now.”

Huge eyes stared back at me. “What? You… What!?” He snorted and hit me with his hoof. “What a load of fertilizer.”

I puffed up my cheeks; it probably looked annoyingly cute. “I do! Well, no one else lives there, so I’m volunteering to take care of all those poor, lonely books.”

Starbright cocked his head. “You mean… at the old castle?” When I nodded, he lit his horn, and, after a few seconds, a book came floating out of the house. “That’s where I think this one came from.” He stood up and blew the remaining dust off the cover. Magia Practicarum Volume I.” He clutched it to his chest with a smile.

“You’ve been to the Sisters’ castle?” I eyed him, frowning. “That big, scary old castle, all by yourself?”

Pink tinged his cheeks as he shook his head. “No, I just, well, I stood by the edge of the Everfree, and just focused on finding something to help me. I was there for hours, or it felt like it…”

“That’s pretty amazing!” I got up and tapped the book with my hoof. “I can’t do anything like that… but at least I got to enjoy the hardest hunt ever, eheh.”

He looked down, kicking at the ground with his hoof. “Sorry ‘bout that,” he murmured. Then, with a shy smile, he looked up with stars in his eyes. “What’s flying like?”

The grin that overcame me scarcely fit my little face. Springing upon him once more, my hooves locked into place around his barrel, and up we went; my batty wings beat with sheer joy and adrenaline as the clouds quickly descended towards us.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!” Even as his voice attempted to penetrate the cloud layer, the winds nearly buffeted the sound right out of the sky. Starbright looked frantically left and right, and I could feel his heart pounding against my chest. “M-Moony! D-don’t drop me!”

“What!? You want me to drop you!?” The wind smothered our voices, but I definitely heard when he screamed ‘no’ at the top of his lungs. “Just kidding!” With a chuckle I bopped the top of his head with my chin. After riding a particularly lovely thermal, my eyes set upon the old castle.

“Here we go!” I screed at the top of my lungs as I turned with the wind. Like a leaf guided by nature itself, I circled the old bridge until coming down cleanly and slowly down on the castle side.

With a dizzy trot, Starbright ran forward and kissed the dirty stone. “Oh, thank Celestia!”

“Pffft, it wasn’t that bad, you little filly.” I inspected my wings, then gave a few flaps before settling them back down. “Now, you wanna go explore or what?

He was already trotting inside, and I had to sprint to catch up with him.

“Hey! Daddy says you’re supposed to let the mare go first!”

He snorted and continued on anyways. “My dad says that was all nonsense. A stallion should always go first, in case of danger or something like that.”

With a little giggle, I stepped up and nudged up against him, purring. “Oh, are you going to be my guiding Starbright? How cute.”

He jumped so high that the flying lessons must have paid off. “I… If that’s what you want.”

I gave him a little push forward with my wing. “Lead on, oh brave knight.”

We grinned like loons as the cool dampness of the castle surrounded us, the near-perfect darkness only interrupted by the occasional slice of moonlight. I found my hooves leading me towards the library on impulse. Nothing like the feeling of old book paper against your frogs.

“Ow!” I turned to see Starbright attempting to phase through a solid wall. He rubbed his poor horn with a hoof before I laughed, trotted over, and wrapped a wing around him. “Thanks…” he grumbled.

“Hey! I can’t have you getting injured on my watch! That’s patient negligence!” He snorted as we found our way down the old hall, past the kitchen with the bat-sized hole in the door, and into the small, yet comfortable library. “Here we are!”

“Wooooh!” His eyes grew bright as suns, his magic lighting up to brush across the old books. They shifted out of the shelves and floated in front of him one by one. “Golden Tail and the Three Timberwolves, The Changing of Hearts, and oh!” His mouth grew into a huge grin. “Beauty and the Bat! One of my favorites!”

I pounced upon him, wings wide and teeth bared in a huge grin. “Oh! Mine too!” Looking down, I found Starbright trying his best not to squirm; as his reward, I bent down and nipped his ear.

“Eeep!” He skittered away faster than a particularly tasty-looking bug. “T-that’s not funny!”

I snorted, scooping up several of the books and flocking out towards the throne room. “Come on! I know the spot that gets the best moonlight!” His groan wobbled low as it echoed throughout the castle, and I couldn’t help but giggle. “Oh, come on! I’m not that batty!”

His answer was to distractedly run into another wall, his hooves in the air as he felt for anything solid. With another laugh, I pulled him by the foreleg through the comfort of darkness, thinking nothing of the surprising warmth of his hoof.

The throne sat as silent as ever, but there was something waiting for us.

"Daddy left us pillows!" Several bundles of fluffy goodness sat piled upon the throne, plump and ready for dive bombing. “Weeee!” With a flip and a twist, I landed with a poof of feathers and a giant smile on my face.

“How did he know—” A pillow smacked him right in the face, books scattering about the throne room as I grinned down at him.

“Daddy knows things, Starbright. He just knows.” We laughed as he moved out from beneath me, grabbing the pillow and making himself comfy. I pulled down the rest and plopped beside him.

In his soft magical glow, he picked up one of the books at random; without even reading the title, he flipped to the first chapter and started reading.

“‘And so, it was on that day that I, Ichorous of the Great Hive, fell to the radiance of the sun.’” He looked up with a cute smile just in time to see me stick my tongue out at him.

“The sun burns all that live beneath it… I wonder why they don’t smell like burnt wood.” I tapped my hoof against the stone while Starbright just stared. I waited another moment, then he just smiled and shook his head at me.

“‘For none who had dared to get so close had come out unscathed, but We were strong, in our knowledge, and in our collective selves. Perhaps, I might survive. Together, I soared with a ray of sunlight, her beauty so blinding, yet We remained transfixed.’”

“Oh, sappy romance! Daddy always tries to read them to me, but I thought they were gross!”

Starbright lowered the book, gazing at me from over the thick pages with a raised eyebrow. “You want me to pick another? There’s no reason to—”

I waved, then coughed into my hoof. “No, no, go ahead. I, uh, never really gave them a chance.” I looked away, my cheeks tingling strangely before I snuggled down on the pillow.

“‘And together, she and I soared, our worldly concerns beneath, the wind our very breath as she stared into me, into Us.’”

“How old is that book?” I tilted my head, and Starbright gave a shrug. He examined the spine before smiling at me.

“It’s like old Equish, but still modern enough to be readable… I’ve never read any of his work… ‘Changing Times.’”

“‘And so, the love that was so strong to bond us, tore at Our very being as We drank both halves of the love poison. For her, and only for her, I shall become something that We are not. Love changes you, for better, or for worse, even after you part.’”

Starbright closed the book reverently. His eyes were closed, and his breathing focused until he finally spoke, “That was a bit more than a bit of light reading.”

I laughed, tears at the corners of my eyes. “I’m not sad… I’m not! That was great, and… and…” Smacking the pillow, I shouted to nopony in particular. “Why! How come they didn’t get to live happily ever after?”

A few more smacks followed before I felt the gentle touch of Starbright’s hoof; I lifted my gaze, and met his twinkling eyes and bright smile. We hugged, my wings wrapped around him. It was quite warm.

As we broke apart, I questioned him. “Seriously, though. Beauty and the Bat is so bright and cheerful. I thought that stories were supposed to be nice and happy!”

Starbright tilted his head at me. “I don’t think there’s a set rule or… How is Beauty and the Bat cheerful? That story is almost as depressing as this one.” He held up the book he had just finished, an odd bug-like creature upon the cover. “It’s been a while since I read it, but I’m sure…”

I frowned, ears splayed. “It’s a happy story! That’s why Daddy always read it to me.” I batted his head with my wing. “I think I would know. It’s my favorite, remember?”

Starbright blinked, then picked up the story that was the center of our debate. “Shall we?”

I was open-mouthed, ready for his arguments when that stopped me. “Okay…” I pulled out some of the packed food we had prepared. “I’ll fix our meal. Go ahead.”

“‘Once upon a time, in the wonderful land of Equestria, there was a beautiful princess…’”

Author's Note:

More to come soon, my ponies. This is an in-between chapter, and so is a little lighter in tone, and well, word count.

Also, I work too hard... ugh. Also, Classic WoW, why you do these things? As always, comments and critiques welcome as always, my friends.

With love and dedication,
Dreams of Ponies :twilightsheepish: