• 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.

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Chapter Seven: Sparkle

“Ugh… my head.”

Dust and cold stone greeted me as I opened my eyes. The throne room seemed particularly empty as I searched quickly for little Moon Flower, and came up blank.

“Moony?” I asked the old castle, and received no response. I shook my head and turned towards the central doorway. “The castle can’t answer you, Nightshade…”

The first stop was the library, of course.

“Moony?” I turned the corner and poked my head inside, but there wasn’t a little batty to be found. “She is sooo grounded.” I plucked a few tomes she’d seemed interested in reading before returning to collect our things. I finished packing up the saddlebags and had just been about to leave when I felt a cool draft against my withers.

“Hmm?” I turned and followed, sniffing at the moist air. “Moon Flower? Where…” I had found my way into an old kitchen, my eyes narrowing at the splintered door. Picking up a piece of wood, I found that only parts of it were covered in dust.

Down through the ‘doorway’ and out into an old servants’ tunnel, I found myself in a cave that led to a near dead drop that overlooked most of the Everfree. The view was quite lovely, though the sudden vertigo made appreciating it difficult. After a moment to steady myself, I lifted my head to the stars, the moon now well on its way towards the center of the sky.

“Moon Flower!”

Flocks of Nightingales scattered to the wind like, well, a flock of birds. I held my ear to the wind and closed my eyes. Moments passed and still, there was nothing but disappointment in the air.

“Sweet little Moony, I’ll find you… sure as the moon rises each night.”

And so I took the fastest route down the mountain, by which I mean the old rocky path that ran along the cliffside because I’m not quite that insane. My hooves compacted the dirt with the one true purpose of a father that was either going to hug his daughter to pieces, or paddle her until she couldn’t bear to sit down.

Just halfway there and I was already heaving.

“I… need… to… exercise… more… Gah!” I tripped on a root and face-planted into a tree. Leaves shook, branches rattled, and as I removed my muzzle from its embarkment, an acorn thwopped me on the head. Looking up, I found myself eying a razzmatazz-colored squirrel, gibbering at me at insane speeds.

“Ah, hello, Pinkie!” After a moment, Pinkie stopped and turned slightly away from me, little arms crossed. “Alright, alright, I’m sorry for waking you… I’m just in a bit of a hur--”

Pinkie glared fiercely down at me, tapping her paw in rapid annoyance.

“I know that’s no excuse for rudeness,” I sighed. “Moon Flower is missing… Have you seen her?”

Pinkie instantly straightened and gibbered something, pointing towards the top of the tree. After a moment, there was a response back and she pointed in the general direction of my house.

“Thanks, Pinkie,” I groaned as I stood up. “I’ll make sure to send Moony over with some salted nuts… after she’s done being grounded, that is.”

She chittered, yawned, and then crept back up into the foliage. I trotted until I found the bent grass and snapped twigs that led a path to the house before switching to a full gallop.

“Only a short way now…”

The particular smell of treated rotshrooms reached my nose before my tree house came into view. A pillar of moonlight struck down to highlight the front door, which was slightly ajar.

“Moon Flower?” I stepped through the circle of shrooms, a shiver passing through me. Leaves crunched beneath my hooves as I trotted, then cantered, then sprung towards the door. “Moony!” I shouted, then kicked the door open with all my might. For effect.

Boom!

The poor wooden door nearly broke off its hinges as I burst inside. My eyes widened as the sight of knocked over chairs, broken jars, and finally a trickling trail of blood led me to what I sought. The thick crimson droplets traced towards the center of the room where something squirmed and hissed quietly from atop the long table.

“Poison Joke curse me!” The sound of small metal instruments falling into a pan snapped my focus. I stepped to the side and the moonlight shot out from behind me to reveal my little Moon Flower, bits of blood splattered against her coat, a cloth tied around her muzzle and hooves. The pale light from outside shined brilliantly off the silver and white colors of an unconscious colt, who was laid carefully across my medical examination table.

Moon Flower turned, slowly, and squeaked when she saw me, wings shooting wide. The crash of several jars wasn’t enough to break our stare as I narrowed my eyes.

“Daddy! I can explain… I was just… ”

I straightened, took a deep breath, and then pointed upstairs with a hoof. “You are grounded, little Moony. Get your little flank upstairs before I have to get the baddl— I mean the paddle.”

Moon Flower sniffed once, then turned and glanced behind her. There was a long moment before she turned back, her own eyes narrowed. “I need to finish this first, Daddy.”

“Excuse me?” I cocked my head to the side.

“I-I-I started this… I need to finish helping him. He’s my—” She choked back a gulp. “—my charge, my patient.”

Taking a long breath, I blinked slowly for a moment, and then… I nodded. “Okay.”

“I don’t care how long you ground me, I need to sa—” She stopped, and when she looked up at me, she saw the crack of my smile. “Okay?”

“You’re still grounded for going off on your own, but…” I shook my head. “We’ll talk about that later.” I stepped up, dipping my hooves in a dark solution of fish oil and smoked salt. Honestly, walking in on your daughter and a colt alone with the lights off… at least she used protection.

I turned to face her, blood smeared across her fur in dark, almost ritualistic markings. I couldn’t help but smile. “Alright, Doctor Moon Flower, what’s the situation?”

A stifled giggle later and she turned around to observe the patient. “Severe bruising, cracked ribs, and a concussion, with a bit of swelling from what I can tell.”

I got a better look as I stepped close, our bodies moving to allow more light to filter in on the foal. The slow rise and fall of his chest was uplifting, but then, as I moved my hoof across his chest, I found…

“His heartbeat is a bit erratic, Daddy,” Moon Flower continued, and I nodded. “I figured it was part of the blood swelling in his skull, but I… ” She looked down and picked up a scalpel. “I couldn’t hold my grip still, I just can’t stop shaking.”

I walked around the table and sat beside her, the foal’s head centered on the table before us. My hoof pressed against hers as she held the scalpel and I gave her my best ‘I believe in you’ face. In a motion that felt almost nostalgic, I moved her hoof towards the unicorn’s head.

“Remember, for cranial swelling in unicorns…” I started.

“Make a small incision near the base of the horn, as blood tends to pool there if the target has high magical tendencies.”

“That’s my filly.”

We shared a brief smile before she made the cut. There was a weak groan from the colt; when he stopped shifting, we continued. It was messy work, but we continued through the night as Moony cleaned and tended to the head wound. Healing salve was pressed against his ribs and the more severe bruises, before we wrapped him in a blanket to rest in the guest bedroom upstairs.

I crushed silverleaf and rosemary with a pestle grinder as Moony measured moonlight water into a wooden cup. We worked in relative silence, save for the soft snoring that carried from upstairs.

“I’m sorry, Daddy.”

A moment passed.

“For what, exactly? Leaving without permission? Or accidentally getting this colt hurt?” I raised an eyebrow, but kept grinding.

Another moment.

“Yes.” She waited. I waited. Then there was a shared laugh as we turned to each other.

“You did good, Moony, aside from leaving me to sleep in. You know how bad I can get if my sleep schedule falls out of whack.”

“But there was this book, and…” She gave an exaggerated, quiet groan.

“Yes, yes,” I murmured, a grin on my face. “And you shouldn’t have used the fish oil. You never know when a patient might be allergic.”

“I couldn’t find the striking stone for a cooking fire,” Moon Flower lamented. “Oh, right, we had it back at camp…”

I sighed. “You did the best you could, though I would have prefered you wake me, Moony.” I set the bowl aside and pulled her close with a hoof. She snuggled into my side, muzzle buried into my thick fur.

“Am I still grounded?” Her voice was soft, meek, and had just the tiniest waver.

I turned and looked down into those watery, turquoise eyes. “Of course you are.”

A frown formed instantly on her face. “Aw, come on!”

We shared another round of laughter before I tackled her to the ground, buzzing my lips against her tummy and hoofing at her sides.

“Nooooooooooo,” she screed. “S-stop it!”

This, of course, was only an invitation for more extreme forms of tickle torture as I rediscovered every little spot that elicited a laugh, a giggle, or a squirm from my batty little blossom. Eventually, though, we both tired, already mostly spent from our journey and the following procedure.

“Let’s go check up on your first patient, shall we?” I nodded towards the stairs.

Moon Flower stopped at the base, looking up before she cocked her head at me. With a wing, she waved me forward. “After you, nurse.”

I rolled my eyes so hard I thought one was going to pop out of its socket.

“If your head gets any bigger, you won’t be able to get it off the ground, Doctor Loony.”

“Hah!” she belted as we climbed. “Show a batmare some respect, nurse, or I might sneak some blue weed into your salad again.”

I huffed, pausing at the bedroom door. “You promised you wouldn’t do that again, Moony. I had polka dots for a week.”

“Well, I mean, it might happen again… by accident.”

“You’re the worst, you know that?” I rubbed her ears with a hoof.

She giggled giggily. Jumping into the air, she wrapped her hoof around me. “I love you, Daddy.”

I squeezed her back. “I love you too, little Moon.”

Opening the door, my eyes were instantly drawn to the colt’s silver mane; a sliver of moonlight refracted off the colt’s sweat-soaked mane, giving the whole room a star-littered light show. We stepped slowly inside, the silence of the night feeling particularly loud.

Then the colt stirred. Sitting up, he pushed his mane back and looked around at his strange surroundings. His brown eyes fixated on me after a moment, and he started to open his mouth to speak when a little bat popped down from the ceiling, hanging upside-down right in front of him.

“Hiya!” I could hear her wide smile.

There was a long pause.

“Monster!” the colt screamed.

Then he fainted.

Oh, fewmits.

Author's Note:

Hmm, it's been a while, hasn't it?

Life has a way from getting away from you... and dragging you into the ground. It's been a bit of both for me as of late. Anyway, my editor is out of the hospital, thank Luna, and so I'm going to try and be more steady with these releases. On that same note, go give The Best Dasher a hug. I think he could really use one right now.

As always, comments and critiques are welcome and appreciated. With love and dedication, Dreams of Ponies:twilightsmile: