• 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 Five: Exploration

So. Excited.

My wings nearly buzzed as I flew around the room, chanting repeatedly as Daddy gathered supplies.

“We’re gonna see the castle! We’re gonna see the castle!”

Daddy looked up at me, having packed everything but one small jar. “It’s fine to be excited, Moony, but we need to be careful once we get there.”

I stopped, hovering in place as I cocked my head. “Careful? More careful than dealing with manticores or poisonous plants?

He stopped and tapped his chin with a hoof. “I guess I don’t rightly know.”

A hoof wrapped around my neck and pulled me right out of the air. In an instant, I was subjected to a snuggie—that’s a snuggle and what daddy calls a noogie put together.

“Nooooooo!” I wailed, pushing myself away, laughing the entire time. He set me down, chuckling as he looked me right in the eyes.

“Just promise you won’t go off on your own. The castle was home to magic of all kinds before Princess Celestia left it to the forest.”

“Oh! Can you tell me about her, Daddy?” I had a goofy smile, which meant he had to say yes.

“Why not? It’ll be a good tale for the journey,” Daddy said without hesitation.

Well, that was easy. “Yay!” Then my eyes fell upon the last bottle that remained on the table. Two small glowing balls of yellow gel rested at the bottom, wobbling slightly as Daddy trotted around.

“That’s… catseye, right?” I pointed a hoof at the bottle.

A proud smile was flashed my way. “Indeed, little flower.” He picked up the jar and gave it a little shake. “Only a couple left,” he sighed. “Suppose I’ll need to make a trip soon; why is it so hard to find threshnettle in the forest?”

I shrugged. “I’ll ask Teddy.” Then I blinked. “A trip? Where are you going, Daddy?”

“I’ve heard it’s called Canterlot. And I suppose I’ll need an assistant to come with me, one who’s just a little batty.” There was a fun little grin on his face as my eyes widened.

“Oh, can I? Can I!?” I jumped around him as he nodded.

“Settle down, Moony. Let’s survive this trip first.”

I stopped jumping. “You’re really worried, aren’t you, Daddy?’

He chuckled. “Yeah, I don’t think I can survive all of your silliness for that long.” I frowned and put on my best weepy bat eyes. He gave up within seconds. “I’m just kidding, jeez. Put those things away!”

Giggling, I snuggled up next to him as he uncapped the bottle. “Why do you need catseye anyway? What about the firefly lamp?”

“I don’t want to take them to such a possibly dangerous place…” He looked over at a small bowl where the little bugs were snugly and soundly asleep. “I’d feel really bad if anything happened to them.”

“You’re such a softy, Daddy.” I nuzzled my nose against his, and he gave me a kiss on the forehead.

“I think I owe that to my darling daughter.” He popped the catseye into his mouth and smiled at me. “I used to be a bit of a grouch, you know?”

I watched as his blue eyes gained a yellow tint, the pupils stretching vertically as he winced slightly. “Cooooool.” Then I smiled. “A grouch? Daddy? Pffff…”

“Yeah, laugh it up.” Daddy picked up his saddlebag after placing the nearly empty jar inside, then swung it over his back. “Now let’s go! Only so much time before sunrise, right?”

I hissed and scrunched up my nose. “That’s a bad word, Daddy.”

“Heheheh.” Daddy pulled the door open, motioning for me to follow with a flick of his tail. “Forgive my terrible potty mouth.” He turned and grinned, making a grand sweeping gesture with his hooves. “Let us make haste, princess. Moonset grows closer by the second and a great adventure awaits us!”

Snorting, giggling, and eye rolling at the same time is definitely one of my greatest feats to date. I shrugged on my little saddlebag and flew after him, closing the door behind me with my tail.

A cute crescent moon looked down upon us as we crossed the edge of our home, my eyes automatically glancing at the growing fungi that sprouted there. Daddy had said that it protects us, that it keeps away the timberwolves; I think he called them Rotshrooms. All I know is that they smelled funny.

I flew up into the trees, Daddy’s hoofsteps still clueing me in to the path he was taking. Wonderfully crisp air brushed through my mane as I slowly crept higher and higher. Daddy’s voice came from below, muddled by the thick leaves and branches.

“How’s the weather up there?”

I rolled my eyes. “It’s raining colts and fillies,” I shouted downward.

“What?” he said, and judging by the lack of further hoofsteps, had stopped in place.

I grinned, then turned and angled my wings into a downward spiral. “Screeeeeeeee!” Within seconds, I was upon him, biting and tugging his ear as he gave a loud whinny of surprise.

Then, a hoof reached up and tossed my mane. “You are just absolutely batty, you know that?”

I fell back at the terrible joke, my wings splayed across Daddy’s withers. “That hurt… soooo much.”

“You’ll live,” Daddy chuckled. He slowed his pace, stepping more carefully to avoid shifting me from his back. “Besides, now you’re comfortable for story time.”

“Yay! Story time!” My wings buzzed, my smile so wide that moonlight reflected off my fangs.

“Settle down and quit squirming, Moony.” I stuck out my tongue, but did as asked. “Well now, let’s see… Ah yes, that’s a good place to start.”

“Come on already!” I whined.

“Hush now.” He flicked an ear back and bopped me on the forehead. “Storytelling is an art form. Alright, so in the past, the three major tribes have had… let’s call them disputes. The biggest of these was focused on the sun.”

“Blehh!”

Daddy gave a long, low chuckle, which tickled a bit. “The sun is good for some things, you know.”

“Like what?” I raised an eyebrow.

“Mangos.”

I breathed out a sigh like a deflating balloon. “Fine, the sun is allowed to live… for now.”

“Glad to hear it. Anyway, part of the reason the tribes had issues with the sun in the first place was the heavy toll it took on the unicorns to raise and lower it each day.”

“It can’t be heavier than you, Daddy.” I caught a bit of air as Daddy gave me a small toss from his back. “Oof.”

“I’m not that heavy, you silly filly.”

I giggled, pushing a bit of mane out of my face with a hoof.

“So the tribes fought over the sun, through blizzards and starvation, until they were cowed by two beautiful princesses.

“Lovely and powerful, they took hold of the sun, and the moon. The ponies of all tribes praised the wondrous divinity, holding them up as the unquestioned rulers of what is now known as Equestria.”

“So were they pegasi? Or maybe they were unicorns…”

Daddy nickered slightly. “What? Don’t think an earth pony could be a princess?”

“Mmm… too dirty to be a princess,” I teased. “So what were they?”

“The two princesses were alicorns, made of all three tribes.”

“What about bat ponies?”

Daddy stopped, turned his head and bit my wing playfully. “Their story is for another night, little bat.”

I huffed. “So there were two princesses? Celestia, right… and who?”

“Princess Luna. She controlled the—”

“Moon, Dad. I know what ‘luna’ means.”

“Alright, smarty pants, you tell the rest of the story.”

I squirmed forward a bit, snuggling my nose into his mane. “I’m sowwy…”

“Fine,” he huffed, though he didn’t really sound mad. “So the princesses, Luna and Celestia, ruled for years and years, living in the castle that you stumbled upon. That was, of course, until about seven years ago.”

“I’m seven years old!”

Daddy chuckled. “Indeed you are, but we’ll have to pause story time… We’re coming up on the bridge in a moment.”

I let myself fall sideways, flapping my wings as I landed next to Daddy. “I… just flew over it last time. Teddy was with me, and the bridge didn’t like him; it groaned and growled when he tried to step on it.”

“It doesn’t look like it’s been maintained at all since Princess Celestia vacated the castle. I’ll have to take it slow. Just… be ready to catch me, okay?”

“You’re too heavy for that!”

“Call me heavy one more time, and no mangos for a whole moon.” He turned and smiled. “Besides, you’re a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for.”

I bit my lip, then fluttered my wings. I kept myself just above Daddy as he crossed. The planks creaked and cracked as Daddy took slow, careful steps. Fortunately, we made it across without any problems.

Daddy breathed a big sigh of relief as his hoof touched solid earth. “Maybe I could lose a couple of pounds after all.”

“You could join me on my hunts!”

“I’d rather not.”

There was a moment of shared laughter before we turned back towards the woods. The moon shone down just ahead of the archway that formed the entranceway into the castle area. Passing into the near darkness shouldn’t have bothered me, but a small shiver passed down my spine regardless.

Daddy scooped me up once again, setting me carefully onto his back. “Stay close, and if I say so, fly home as fast as you can.”

“I-I’m not scared.” I bit my lip.

“There’s nothing wrong with a healthy bit of fear. It keeps you ready, so long as you don’t let it overtake you.” We had stopped right at the main entrance, the old castle door hanging open eerily before us. “Tell me, little shadow, what can you see from here?”

I squinted, peering down what seemed to be a long hallway. Small figures stood on either side, unmoving, while ragged cloth twitched in the breeze. I described what I’d seen to Daddy, and he nodded.

“Give it a pulse, just in case.”

I gave a small smile. I didn’t get to do it that much, seeing as it typically attracted the larger critters. I opened my mouth wide, pushed my head past Daddy’s ears, and unleashed the bat.

“Screeeeeeeeee!” I waited, and listened. Closing my eyes, I felt the vibrations return to me, relaying multiple openings in the hallway that I had missed. The figures I’d seen were particularly dense, and probably not living things. Finally, satisfied, I opened my eyes and gestured forward with a hoof. “It looks safe from here, Daddy.”

“That’s my filly.” He reached up and rubbed my mane with a hoof. A soft eeee escaped me before he started moving, pushing the door open with a hoof. The wood creaked, echoing creepily throughout the dusty hallway. Strong wind pushed past us, blasting the doors completely open which drove a heavy cloud of dust into the air.

“Ack,” Daddy coughed. “This place needs a serious cleaning.”

“Not it!” I called instantly. Daddy chuckled, stepping forward after the dust had mostly settled. “It’s so quiet, and dark… like a cave or something.”

“So I’m guessing that means you like it?” Daddy turned his head to gaze at me with one eye.

“No,” I started. “I love it!”

“Of course you do,” he said, reached back and ruffling my mane. “You can hop down if you want, but stay where I can see you.”

I smiled and got up, stretching my wings. “Don’t worry, I will.” We had made it halfway down the hallway when I turned and looked through one of the doorways to spot something amazing. “Look, Daddy, there’s books! Lots and lots of books!”

He turned just in time to snag my tail between his teeth as I attempted to rush towards the delicious words of wisdom. “Down’t jus go runnin oph.”
With just a hint of embarrassment, I nodded. “Sorry, it’s just… look at all the books!”

Daddy let me go and smiled. “I’m curious, too… and a little surprised they’re still here after all this time. I wonder why they didn’t take these when the castle was abandoned…”

We trotted slowly towards the small library, spooked only once or twice by the occasional squirrel. When we crossed the threshold, I couldn’t stand it anymore and lunged at the nearest bookshelf.

“Look at this! One Thousand and One Uses for Horseradishes by Infalle Solair. And this one! A Beginners Guide to the Stars by Lunoe Starcaller.”

Daddy pulled a particularly thick book from the shelf and blew the dust off it. “Hmm… Super Naturals.” He flipped it open and flipped through the pages. An eyebrow raised as he smiled. “Yep, that’s a keeper.”

“Can we take a few of these home?” I whipped a hoof across my muzzle where just a bit of drool had collected.

He smiled and seemed to think for a moment, then nodded. “They’re not getting any use here, and honestly—” He looked around before continuing, “—they’ll eventually deteriorate if we leave them be.”

“I’ll start picking out the good ones!”

“Let’s save that for later, Moony. I’d like to explore a bit more before we load ourselves down.”

“Aww, but boooooks!”

“They’ve waited this long, they can wait a bit longer.”

I huffed, but stood up and followed, giving a disappointed look backwards as we exited the library.

The castle seemed a lot bigger on the inside than the outside. There were secret passages, little slides and tunnels that had us turning and winding around for hours. As promised, I stayed close to Daddy the best I could. It didn’t help, though, that my mind kept wandering back to all those lonely books that were just waiting for me to devour them.

“Eeeeeeee!” My voice filled the narrow passage as we descended yet another slide. This one had been behind a strange statue that seemed to be winking at us. Pulling down on its horn had activated a small trapdoor, sending us cruising through a series of loops and turns. The first time this had happened, Daddy had nearly fainted, but now even he was smiling as we came to the end of the ride.

“So they’re not traps,” Daddy said with a silly smile. “No way anything that fun could be meant to harm intruders.”

I stared forward, hearing but not really listening. Before me was a strange… thing, with long metal cylinders running up from a beautiful wooden base. Dusty white and black rectangles ran down perpendicular to the height of the structure, and before I knew it, my hooves were running along its smooth surface.

“Daddy, what’s this?” My hoof pushed down, a long, low sound blasting through me, and out into the quiet castle. “Woah!”

Daddy let out an appreciative whistle as he trotted up beside me. “That’s quite a nice organ.”

“What? Is the castle alive… Is this its heart!?” I pulled my hoof from it, my eyes darting around wildly.

There was a soft chuckle as Daddy shook his head. “No, my silly filly. This is a type of instrument, used to make music.”

“Oh… I guess that makes a bit more sense.” I blushed slightly, tapping the ‘organ’ again. The further to the right I went, the higher the frequency of the sound rose. “Do you know how to work it?”

A slow, wistful smile crossed Daddy’s face as he pulled something out from beneath the noise-making white and black things. He moved around and then sat upon a small wooden bench, his hooves poised over the musical marvel.

“I do… and it’s one your favorites, too.”

I blinked for a moment, then grinned. Fluttering my wings, I joined Daddy on the bench, ready and waiting.

A quiet, but playful melody danced out as Daddy’s hooves pranced before me. The powerful hum of the organ filled my bones, each note tickling my ears as we opened our mouths together to sing.

She came to me that night for, to set upon my life, the great and wondrous magic of the night.

The world, and all that life has, made clear inside my mind, and now here I stand bathed in crystal light.”

We turned and smiled at each other, the magic of the collected sound seeming to brighten the gloom around us. He nodded to me, and I took the lead, the lyrics as familiar as the feathers in my wings.

A wondrous soul that’s thrust into never-ending sky, a light to behold, descending from above. I have all the power of the world at my hooves, a magic that comes only from love.”

Together in harmony once more, we sang out the final bit.

Hear us, all that truly matters, unto the world we bring. That is why we open wide our hearts, close our eyes, and sing.”

Daddy finished with a little trail of sounds for the instrument, slowing gradually until he finally turned to smile at me. “You’ve really improved, Moony.”

I giggled and jumped down from the seat. “I’ve been practicing with Teddy in secret. He moaned about it for a bit, but he’s been a big help.”

“Heh-heh, I bet.”

“How did you learn to play, Daddy?”

He blinked and looked back at the organ as he swung his hooves around. “My mother had played, and I took a bit of interest when I was your age.”

My smile slowly sank back. I scuffed the ground with my hoof, and took a slow, deep breath. Finally, I spoke, “Dad…”

He stepped away from the organ, and looked me right in the eyes. The changing expression on his face told me he suspected what was coming.

“Can you… tell me about my mom?” I asked. He closed his eyes and breathed in heavily as well. “I-I know you’ve said you’ll tell me when I’m older, but—”

He held out a hoof, shaking his head slowly. I sighed, trying to stop an argument I felt coming to my lips. Finally, Daddy surprised me. He sat down, gesturing me to him. After a moment, I obliged, sitting between his hooves, my mane brushing against his barrel as he held me.

“Starshine was truly a unique soul, Moon Flower.” My ears perked, though I remained silent, not wanting to interrupt. “It’s because of her that my life is what it is now.”

There was a moment afterwards that was long enough that it drove me to speak. “What happened to her?”

“Everything good about her was put into performing a single, beautiful miracle.” He pulled me closer, nuzzling my ear as I held my breath. “She gave birth to you, and then she left us… forever.”

A small shiver passed through me, and I turned and snuggled against Daddy’s warm chest. “Do you think mom would have liked me?”

Daddy ran a hoof through my mane before he whispered, ever so softly, “Yes, Moony. I think she would have adored the filly you turned out to be.”

Author's Note:

Heya, ponies. Sorry for the delay with this one. I hope the next chapters won't take so long, I had gotten a little hung up on some of the details.

Please drop me all your lovely comments and critiques; I feed off your energy like a hungry bat.

With love and dedication, Dreams of Ponies:twilightsmile: