• Published 23rd Mar 2018
  • 1,584 Views, 103 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 Eleven: Shadows

“No! No! No!!” I stomped my hooves against the dusty castle stone, my lips puffed out towards Starbright. “That’s not how it goes!” I paced back and forth, my wings twitching right along with my right eyelid.

Starbright, who had been scooting further away with each passing sentence, pointed his hoof at the book. “So, what’s more likely, Moon Flower: that I can’t read? Or that I’m lying?” He didn’t even budge when I hissed at him. “Well?”

I slumped, wingtips dragging against the floor. “But… that’s not how it goes when Daddy tells it.” I turned and felt a smile grow across my muzzle. “That princess of the castle invites the poor, lonely bat into her castle. They get to know each other, and well, fall in love.” I closed my eyes, the moonlight bright against my face within the throne room.

“I’ve never read that ver-—”

I stomped a hoof. “The princess does not try to throw the nice batpony out! And so he doesn’t curse her forever, because he wouldn’t have wanted to!” As he started speaking again, I puffed out my cheeks like a bat eating a mango two sizes too big. He waved his hooves, closed the book with his magic, and finally shrugged.

“You win, I guess…” His eyes kept tracing along the book’s title. “I just wonder why your dad’s version is different.”

“Better,” I growled. “Better, not different. Get it right!” He shrugged at me, not arguing, but not admitting to my superior choice in adjectives. Finally, I took a long breath and smiled at him. “Wanna go explore a bit?”

“Why? We have all the books right here!” His horn lit to levitate the books, but they all fell back down as I grabbed his hoof. “Wait! Nooooo!” He squeaked as I flapped wherever the wind took me, dragging him along through the air. “I’m too young to die!”

We tore past a series of doorways, finally turning right, then up into an old tower. The tower was cracked, blasted, and nearly ruined far more than the rest of the castle. That being said, there were the remnants of an old bedroom at the top that greeted us as we touched back down.

“Can you…” He wheezed, hoof on a wall as he caught his breath. “…give me a little warning next time?”

“What fun would that be?” We stopped as we stepped onto a woolen rug shaped into a crescent moon. A chilly breeze blew in through a large hole in the wall, drawing our gaze up and out. The Mare in the Moon looked down on us with her pearlescent glow, and then it clicked.

“This was her room, Starbright. The Luna of the Moona!” I jumped and squeed all the way onto her regal bed, which was only a little messy despite my enthusiasm. He nodded, a smile crossing his muzzle as he moved past me. His eyes locked onto a small bookcase beside the bed, his hoof tipping out a title seemingly at random.

One-thousand and one cake recipes…” His hoof pulled out another. “The Graceful Lily… It’s a book about how to brew tea, from the looks of it.”

“Do you like tea?” I jumped up and down on the bed, my wings flapping in perfect time. “My favorite’s Butterfly Lemongrass, even if it doesn’t actually have any butterflies in it.”

Starbright blinked, one eyebrow going up. “My mom likes it. She always said the better tea was too much money.” He looked down, scuffing a hoof across the tile. “I want to buy it for her.”

I cocked my head, settling down on the bed upside down, staring at him. “My daddy always says the best gifts come from the heart.” I stopped, then stammered, “N-not blood or anything inside, I mean.” My cheeks heated to a brisk simmer. “I—”

“Stop.” He held a hoof out as his face cracked into a grin. “I know what you meant.” A heartbeat later, he continued, “Thanks, Moony.” He reached down with his magic, pulled several volumes out, then hauled himself up alongside me. My eyes opened a bit wider as he snuggled close enough for me to feel the heat from his coat. “Do you know about Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns?”

I blinked. “Um, I don’t think so?”

He nodded, shuffling the books around idly as he closed his eyes in thought. “It’s why I came here, well, sort of.” I nodded back, and waited. “I heard a royal magician could make a lot of bits, but they needed to go to school and stuff.”

“For magic thingies? Like floating things?” I pointed at the buoyant books above. “Looks like you don’t need any school, especially something by the witchy princess of the sun.”

His eyes widened to the size of plates, then he snickered. I pushed him a little, and he pushed back. “Sure, I can float things… Pretty much any unicorn can. No, the school is for harder things, like turning a teacup into a frog, or making a pumpkin explode.”

I tilted my head. “Neither of those sounds useful in the least. And I like pumpkin, so you better not explode any of mine.” I gave him a rather firm boop, and he sneezed.

“Those are just examples. Anyway, I went to the school to sign up, but they said I needed bits and stuff. I told them that’s what I needed the school for, but they just kicked me out and laughed.” He rubbed his backside with a hoof. “Then they said if I could at least bring them something worth a bunch of bits, they’d see what they could do.”

“And that’s what you were doing with the library book when I met you?” My eyes widened, then he smiled and nodded.

“Then I chased you down like a loony hornhead, and got myself hurt.” His cheeks turned an adorable shade of pink. “Still don’t know why I did… Something just pulled me toward you.”

I giggled, then, as he hid his face with his hooves, the giggling intensified. “I’m glad you came. It’s made the last few days a lot more interesting.” I took a long breath as we settled back down. “What do your parents think of all this?”

He didn’t answer. Instead, he looked at the books still afloat before spreading them in front of us on the bed. “Pick one. I want to know more about your ‘Luna of the Moona.’”

I nearly burned a hole in the bed, turning my head down to look over the books, and definitely not to hide my face. “How about this one?” I pulled over a book with a quite worn binding, thick fog, a crescent moon, and a pair of yellow eyes on the cover. “Eh-Waggen-Nock?”

“Ewigenacht,” Starbright corrected, then he reached forward and booped my snoot. I nearly fell off the bed. Wait, no, there’s the ground, cold and solid. A second later, his head popped out and stared down at me. “You really are batty.” Then he laughed, and I followed a beat later. He reached his hoof down and I took it, pulling myself back up.

“What language is that? I’ve never seen it.” I snuggled back down, just a tiny bit closer than I had been. If he noticed, he didn’t show it.

“Germaine. I took a peek while you were sweeping the floor with your chest floof.” I stuck out my tongue, but he just smirked. “It’s just the title that’s like that. The rest is in Equish if you want to take turns reading.”

I shifted a little as we opened the cover, reading the opening lines together. “‘And lo, we were the mightiest hunters of the land, and we needed neither sun nor food nor magic. We hunted easily, the land beneath the pale moon defined with our echoes. They thought us monsters, and we thought ourselves their betters.’”

We both drew in a breath. “‘Such t’was both our follies.’” One of us pressed closer to the other, I couldn’t remember who it was.

The chamber of the Lunar Princess was filled with laughter, snorts and giggles for the first time in Daddy knows how long.

“‘And it was her, her majesty of the stars above, that guided us together, beneath the cool warmth of her wings. We pledged ourselves to her moon and stars, and all she was. Thus, the three races became four beneath the grand lights of our world.’”

We closed the book, our hooves touching and our breath visible in the cool night beneath the moon.

“I didn’t know… There’s so much I never knew about you, Moony.” His eyes reflected the moon’s liquid light into mine. “I’ve never heard anything but nasty things from adults…” He held the book up as if it were some sort of righteous, glowing weapon. “Maybe I could show my folks… maybe they’d be okay with y— with thestrals.”

His eyes didn’t quite meet mine, but I smiled at his energy. “I don’t get to go outside of the forest much.” I couldn’t keep a hopeful edge out of my voice. “Take me to see your place? Meet your mother?”

His ears sagged as his hoof lowered the book. “I’m sure my mother would like you… But my father, well…”

The sound of hoofsteps up the tower made my head tilt towards the open door. Before I could call out, I heard Dad’s voice.

“Moony, it’s me. We’re coming up.”

I blinked, looking from the door to Starbright’s confused face and back to the door. “We?”

My daddy stepped up, then over as a dark-brown stallion walked up onto the landing. His heavy blue eyes locked on me, a little sneer on his lips before his gaze moved to Starbright.

“Time to go, Starbright. You’re grounded. For life.”

Author's Note:

Howdy, ponies! It's been a while, hasn't it. Work has been killing me from the inside, but hey, I gotta eat like anypony. I think I'm getting back into the grove, though, so look forward to more of this story, and others.

With love and dedication, Dreams of Ponies :twilightsmile: