• Published 23rd Mar 2018
  • 1,597 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 Eight: Starbright

“Can I talk to him yet?”

A repeating whine from two minutes prior invaded my ears. I set down the mortar and pestle, and smiled down at my poor, tortured bat of a daughter.

“You’ll let me go in first, Moon Flower, or it might be nights before you get a chance. Fainting is not good for the heart, little bat.”

Watery eyes looked back up from the chair beside me; Moony had stuck out her bottom lip with a practiced quiver. “But… I was the one rescued him.” A scowl formed across her face. “I even cleaned him up and everything! He’s my patient!”

Deep breaths.

Scooping a bowl from the table into my hooves, I dusted some salad greens with powdered horsenettle and shredded lemongrass. “Let me see how he’s feeling first; if he’s up for a visitor, I’ll call you in.” I reached over and rubbed her between her ears.

“Fine.” She struggled not to mew as I stood up. Trotting up the stairs, the medicinal salad balanced atop my back, I smirked at the flap of wings from behind me.

I knocked on the door to the small spare bedroom opposite to my own, then waited. And waited…

“I’m coming in.” My voice was a tranquil pool. The door creaked as I looked inside, seeing the colt peeking from over the covers with watchful eyes. “Good evening, my little pony.”

He didn’t shrink back and scream, but he did pull the covers more snuggly against his chest.

“My name is Nightshade. I am a doctor of sorts, and…”

“Is it g-gone?” His voice was a little high, but gentle like the tinkling of silver bells.

“Is what gone?” My muscles tensed as I held my breath.

“The m-monster!?”

I could feel Moon Flower’s heart break from behind the closed door. I did my best not to scowl out of reflex. “That’s no way to talk about your rescuer.”

“B-but aren’t you the one—” He raised a hoof to point at me, but I shook my head.

“My daughter found you just inside the forest. You’re lucky she brought you home and treated your injuries or else we might not be having this conversation.”

“B-but I—”

“No, no. You owe her an apology for that night, and for ten seconds ago. Consider it payment for your treatment.” I turned on my ‘or else’ face and he nodded. “Good. Now eat this before it gets soggy; it’ll help with the replenishment of blood and the bruising.”

I stepped up to the side of the bed and passed him the bowl. He made no complaints as he took the wooden fork and munched on the shredded spinach and herbs. After a moment, he smiled. “Thank you, Sir.”

I smiled back and nodded. “You are quite welcome, and you can call me Nightshade if you want.” He nodded back and kept eating. “Now, if you think you can handle it, I’ll be sending in the monster for you to apologize to, and perhaps, make friends with.” I glowered at him. “If you upset her, I’ve always wanted to test the properties of powdered unicorn horn in some of my recipes.”

He gulped and I stepped back. After I left the room, the door clicking behind me, I found Moon Flower staring back at me. There was a mixture of annoyance and laughter on her face, but as I met her eyes and held out my hooves, she leapt straight at me.

“Daddy, you’re the worst; powdered unicorn horn, really?”

I caught her, and she nuzzled against my neck as we both laughed. “A father must lay down the law.” I ruffled her mane before setting her down. “Now, play nice, and no screeing—that might actually upset his constitution.”

“Aw…” she said, but was smiling nonetheless. “I won’t bite… hard.” There was a shared chuckle between us before she put a hoof to the door. “Daddy? What’s his name?”

I blinked for a second. “Oh, I thought it might be fun to leave that for you to figure out.”

She rolled her eyes, and I gave her a little shove through the door.

“Hey!” But it was too late as she turned to face the now wide-eyed unicorn. “Oh, uh… Hi, there?”

I held the door ajar to peek inside, watching as Moon Flower slowly stepped closer. He watched her every move, and Moony was surprisingly reserved in how she approached him.

“I’m Moon Flower,” she started to say, but as a glint of moonlight crossed through the window and reflected off her fangs, her little patient took cover. “Oh, come on!” With a scowl and a heavy step forward, she yanked the blanket right off.

“D-don’t eat me!” He shrank back, hooves in front of his face. “I don’t even taste good!”

I chuckled as Moon Flower adopted the perfect, mischievous grin before sauntering right up to him. His back was already against the wall and thus, he had nowhere to go. She got right up into his face, opening her mouth wide to reveal all of her teeth.

He screamed. I facehooved.

Moony had licked him from the tip of his chin, up the side and all the way to the top of his forehead. There was a long pause afterwards.

“Tastes pretty good to me.” Moony licked her lips and I think the little pony almost died on the spot.

I opened the door a mare’s hair. “Moon Flower, that’s not funny!” It totally was.

“But, Daddy!” She started to apply the pouty lip, but stopped and turned back to face the poor, confused unicorn. “I’m Doctor Moon Flower.” I snorted, but was ignored. “And I am, in fact, not a monster.” She pressed her hoof against his foreleg before he could pull away from her. “And today, you’re my patient.”

His eyes flicked from her fangs, to her thick wings, to her big, turquoise eyes, and finally nodded. “I’m Starbright. A-and I’m sorry.”

Moon Flower was silent as she felt and timed his pulse. “And what exactly are you sorry for?” There was a no-nonsense tone to her voice and I felt a burst of pride.

“I’m sorry for calling you a… a monster.” He managed to stop shaking and look her in the eyes. “Thank you for saving me.”

Finally, Doctor Moon Flower went on a break and my daughter came back to play.

“You’re so super welcome!” She jumped from the bed and flapped her wings around the room before plopping back with an oof. “Can we be friends? I hardly ever get to meet other ponies.”

“I wonder why.” It was quiet, but I still caught a bit of uncertainty in his voice. I coughed, and then stepped inside.

“Moony, we’re going to be having dinner later at the hot springs; they do wonders for recovery.” When she nodded, I waved at the door. “I would love if you collected lavender and honeysuckle for tea while I attend to young Starbright here.”

Moon Flower opened her mouth to protest, but stopped and shrugged. “Okay!”

When she had left, and I heard the front door shut, I turned back to face Starbright. “I take it you know what a thestral is?”

He gulped, pulled the covers off the floor and back over himself. “Yes, Si—Mr. Nightshade. My papa told me they were evil monsters that attacked the sun.”

Sighing, I sat on the edge of the bed. “That’s not… entirely wrong.” I turned and looked out into the moonlit forest. “But hear this: Moon Flower is the brightest light in the night sky. Whatever happened between the Princesses at the old castle was before she was even born…” I scowled. “And you will not judge her for it, understand?”

This time, he was fast to answer. “Yes, Sir.”

“Now get up—the hot springs await.”

‘Yaaaaaay! Hot, steamy, bubbly water, here I come!”

The soft clop of my hooves through the dirt provided the percussion to Moony’s whimsical, spontaneous melody. Little Starbright bounced and bobbed lightly on my back as we made progress towards one of the larger hillsides in the Everfree.

Looking back, I caught Starbright staring up at Moony, his eyes doing loops in time with hers. After a moment, he had to catch his head with his hoof as his vision swam.

“Careful, Starbright. You couldn’t pin that one down if you tried.” I chuckled, making the little bits and bobs in my saddlebag tinkle merrily. He rubbed the back of his head out of embarrassment, or to alleviate the headache, perhaps.

“I wonder what it’s like to fly.” A little smile crossed his face as we both looked up. Moon Flower flapped hard, twirling between branches and knocking leaves down around us like something out of a painting. She seemed completely unaware of our fixation on her, or perhaps not, as she turned and stuck out her tongue at us before zooping off.

“I’ve wondered the same myself, little colt.” Then I turned and gave him a wide grin. “I bet she’d give you a lift if you asked her.”

The result was an immediate mix of purple and red on his face as he stuttered, “Oh-h, I, uh, don’t know if I could, uh…”

“Are you still afraid of her? Or is it the heights?” We had almost arrived at the crack in the hillside, and I had to stop to extract the lantern from my saddlebag and Starbright gently climbed down.

“Both, I guess…” He gave a sheepish smile as I raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t know fillies were so… ferocious.”

My laugh boomed into the cave, and then out again in a wave of echoes. A variety of birds scurried from the nearby trees, and even Moon Flower stopped to stare.

“What’s so funny, Daddy?”

Fighting the laughter, I waved her down to join us. “I’ll tell you when you’re older.”

“Ugh!” She flopped over with a plop. “I hate when you say that!”

Starbright was watching the exchange, struggling to contain his own giggles. “My parents say that, too.”

A length of silence followed as I gently woke the fireflies from their nap. Once I was sure they were fed and the light was sufficient, we started inside.

“So, Starbright? Why don’t you tell us about your parents?”

Moon Flower sprung onto my back, her head sticking out right beside mine. “Yeah! Yeah! Tell us! Did you have a mommy? I never got to meet mine, so I really want to know what it’s like, and…” She looked at my expression and settled back down. “And, uh, yeah.”

Starbright shuffled his hooves next to us as we proceeded into the darkness, the soft, golden glow only just illuminating the path.

“Well… My mom is nice, I guess.” His voice softly echoed through the cave, mellow, but not somber. “She’s a unicorn like me, and she’s kinda pretty, I guess.” He looked back and reeled back as Moon Flower had fluttered off my back and was now inches from him, her eyes wide as silver plates.

“And? And!?” As her fangs started to show with the wideness of her grin, I had to snag her tail with my teeth and pull.

“Thaft’s enuff, Moony.” I pulled her into the air and felt her plop back on my back. “Let him talk.”

“Sowwy,” she murmured, sagging down against my saddlebag.

After a moment, Starbright turned and continued walking with the lantern’s guiding light. We turned right, the head of the hot springs dampening our coats.

“My dad is nice, too, I guess…” There was a long pause. “When he wants to be.”

“Ooh?” We passed a big geyser that Moon Flower gave a fond wave and smile. “Need to talk about it?”

“Well…” Starbright started to say, but was nearly blown off his hooves by a screech.

“Hot Springs!” She jumped off my back and blew past us, diving right in with a plunk. “Yaaaaay! Come on, you slow pones, water’s great!”

I looked down at Starbright and shook my head. “We’ll talk about it later, if you want.” He nodded and I nudged him forward. “Just try to relax, you need a few more days to recover, and this will help.”

“Yes, Sir. I mean, Mr. Nightshade.” He trotted slowly to the water, stuck a hoof in, then nearly turned red. “Hot! Hot! Hot!” He shook his hoof frantically while Moon Flower and I filled the cave with laughter.

I settled into the water with a bit more care than Moony, watching as she did the batstroke in front of a shaken Starbright. There was a little scuttling behind him, causing him to jump right in with an ‘eep.’

“Look, Daddy!” A pony-sized creature with chitin black as smoke had come in from behind us, with antennae-like antlers and four, rather skinny legs that ended in points. “What is it?”

I blinked as it came closer into the light, then lowered itself into the same large pool we were in. “It’s an Antelope.” I watched as it floated, belly up, to Moony’s delight. She swam over and gave the creature’s chitinous chest a rub, and I swear it cooed in response.

Poor Starbright just watched with a strange mix of fascination and horror. “Who are you ponies?”

Author's Note:

Heya, folks! It's been a while, and a thousand mile drive since my last post. I moved from Georgia to New York and am still settling in, looking for a job and all that. In the meantime though, I'm going to try and write my heart out.

I've got the next chapter mostly written already, so it shouldn't be long until the next chapter. (Knock on wood) Special thanks to my editors and prereaders as always.

With love and dedication, Dreams of Ponies.