• Published 30th Apr 2019
  • 7,672 Views, 395 Comments

New Moon - AzuraKeres



Centuries ago, Luna was shunned by her ponies and exiled at the hooves of her elder sister. She perished in her solitude, but her soul lived on through a stone. And some unknown time later a voice calls her to come out.

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03 - Vivid Dream (2e)

Author's Note:

Loving Bud

A teacher at Manehattan Academy that has always yearned for motherhood. She wished upon the moon and stars countless times to give her the chance.

Summer Lazuli

A coach at Manehattan Academy that is a close friend and roommate of Loving Bud.

Leaf Clip

A teacher at Manehattan Academy who acts as a helpful mentor to his students and associates.

Passion Touch

An art teacher at Manehattan Academy with a critique and sass that shakes the ego of her students.

Loving Bud emerged from the waters with a gasp. Hurriedly pulling herself to shore, she found herself between colorful flowers and dense clusters of trees that darkened within the distance. The atmosphere felt so unfamiliar here. Never would she imagine a place like this exists.

Her attention shifted to a faint glimmer from atop a hill nearby. It stood between the body of water she emerged from. Looming above it were large pink lily flowers that cast a curtain of light upon a blurry platform the light appeared atop.

To her luck, there was a path of large lily pads aligned towards that hill. Though she found it strange that such a convenient path by nature existed. Regardless, she was curious about the mysterious sparkle.

The light of the full moon illuminated the path of lily pads she stepped upon. The pads were thick enough to carry her weight, relieving her of her fear of falling in the water again. Bud may not fare well in the waters a second time. She was not the best swimmer by a long shot; definitely not like her friend, Summer Lazuli. That mare could be a pro swimmer if that was a legitimate sport in Equestria.

Her walk to the top of the hill led her to the platform that appeared to be a bed. A large thick leaf was sheeted atop a wide stump that was rolled up upon its ends to make pillows. A very unusual choice of design, but still tempting to nap upon.

She then noticed a stone laid upon the center of the leaf. It was a translucent sphere with dim speckles of light, radiating and whirling around inside like a swarm of fireflies.

Bud wanted to grab hold of it with her hoof for a closer look at the lights; however, when she did, the stone phased through her hoof as if it was never there, to begin with. She pulled her hoof back and then she widened her eyes when she saw that the stone was no longer there.

“Huh,” Bud was baffled. She felt around the leaf in hopes that it might have rolled off somewhere but felt nothing but the smooth surface of the leaf.

Does thou…stir feelings

Bud startled back. She swung her eyes aimlessly to trace the source of the sudden voice. All she could see however was a waterfall, still streaming glittering waters around the hill and also the full moon…which isn’t to appear until two weeks from now.

“Am I…dreaming,” Bud asked herself, but she now knew for certain she was. Of course, there’s no way she would be out somewhere no doubt far from Manehatten when she has a class of foals to teach in the next few hours. Or minutes.

Bud clapped her hooves on her cheeks. “Wake up, please. I really don’t want to be late.”

We…won’t…make…it

Her ears perked at the same voice. It made her uncomfortable. It sounded so monotone like it was relinquished of life.

CRAACK

Her eyes drew towards the moon. A small crack that was not there before formed upon the moon. Bud could not make sense of such a phenomenon, but before she could wrap her head around it, a sudden pain throbbed inside her.

Let...it…go

Bud collapsed to the ground. She groaned at a burning sensation enveloping her insides. She felt them shifting about as if something was trying to make space inside. Bud rubbed her stomach in an attempt to wane the pain, but her body only boiled hotter.

She glanced at her barrel, where the painful heat was most acute and noticed something odd. Those same dim lights. They were there, circulating inside and beaming their light through her lime coat.

Her head dropped to the grass nesting beneath her. She felt tired. Her body was burning. Yet she felt so tired. Her eyes shut to the dark. Her mind drifted and moment by moment, the pain finally began to fade.

Sleep…soundly


Bud shuffled about in her bed before her eyes opened upon another. A pair of gold glistening eyes gazed her. Bud furrowed at its owner, who was leaning on a side of her bed. “Stop that Lazuli,” Bud grumbled.

“Stop what,” Lazuli asked with a smile. “Watching you speak gibberish in your sleep?”

Bud raised from her pillow and stretched her forehooves. Her bones felt worn and the beaming light through her blinds did nothing to alleviate it, prompting her to mask her face. After letting out a yawn, Bud asked her Pegasus friend, “What time is it?”

“Mmm,” Lazuli tapped her chin. “Close enough for us to be late I guess.”

“What!?” Bud stomped her hooves on her bed. “Why didn’t you wake me?”

“Well,” Lazuli rubbed the back of her neck. “I was going to. But then I kind of got distracted.”

“By what?”

“That's not important,” Lazuli turned away from her. Bud could see a tinge of red on Lazuli’s cheeks. “Anyways, you need to hurry and get your plot off that bed and get dressed already. I have foals to discipline too you know.”

“Right,” Bud sighed. She attempted to step out from her bed on the other end from Lazuli, but instead her hooves gave on her and she fell sideways on the tan carpet. Thankfully, the carpet cushioned her fall with the extra layer of foam she had implemented to the flooring. Her body was quick to nestle so comfortably on the carpet that she nearly drew back to sleep.

“Hey,” Lazuli rushed to her side. “You okay?”

Bud managed to pick herself up, but she felt an annoying ache on her backside that made her want to quit. Her legs wobbled a bit before she could find her balance.

“What time is it,” Bud asked again.

“It’s only half an hour past six," Lazuli spoke in a gentle tone. "We still have an hour and a half before classes start. So just relax, okay.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Bud breathed and then rubbed her temple. She felt a sudden headache that was making it a challenge to relax her nerves. She then felt nausea building up from her stomach. Bud rushed to a bathroom in her room and lurched her face above a toilet seat.

She vomited green bile of digested vegetables she had last night for dinner. Her stomach contracted violently as she continuously coughed and choked.

“Maybe we should take you to the hospital,” Lazuli entered the bathroom. She covered her nose with a hoof to block out the stench her friend made.

“No,” Bud gurgled. She spat the remaining bile hidden in her mouth. “No. I can still go.”

“It’ll be fine,” Lazuli sat next to her friend and rubbed her back. “I’m sure we can find a substitute for you.”

“In an hour before school starts?”

“Look, if it comes down to it, I’ll take your place.”

“I don’t know. I don’t like the idea of leaving my foals unattended.”

“Your students,” Lazuli corrected. The two gazed at each other for a short moment. Lazuli sighed at her friend’s saddened face. “Fine, but you better not push yourself too hard.”

“Thank you,” Bud smiled.

“So how long did you get to sleep anyway?” Lazuli rubbed down Bud’s frazzled pink mane. “Not to be a jerk, but you look awful.”

“A-a good while,” Bud stuttered. “I was only up for a bit to grade my student’s worksheets.” That was a lie. In truth, she was performing another of her nightly wishes upon the stars. But if Lazuli found out about it, she would most likely urge her to stop.

“Sure doesn’t seem like a good while,” Lazuli looked unconvinced.

“I was kind of scared last night. After, you know, grading my student’s work, I started to hear this weird crackling noise.”

“Spooky,” Lazuli commented. “Did you find out what it was?”

“No. I turned the lights on and checked my room at least twice, I think. Maybe I was just tired and was hearing things.”

“Hmm. Think this place may be haunted? I did hear an old stallion died in this very apartment.”

Bud gaped her mouth. “Somepony died here!?”

“Oh yeah,” Lazuli nodded. “The landowner told me that it was some cranky old stallion that made a fuss about his neighbors over the most trivial things. But then one week went by with no pony hearing from him, so our landowner checked on him and found his body lying cold in this very room you’re living in.”

“That’s so sad.”

“He probably became a ghost and decided to haunt you since you didn’t go to sleep like you were supposed to.”

“You made that last part up,” Bud stared unamused by her friend.

“Maybe," Lazuli grinned. "Guess you’ll have to find out the next time you choose to stay up during a school week.”


Loving Bud finished her daily math lesson with her class before she scribbled today’s lesson for English on a chalkboard. She planned for her class to read a short story about a hare and a frog, she thinks. Or was it a turtle? What was the title called again? Bud was drawing a blank in her mind as she continued scribbling with her chalk.

“Ms. Bud,” a voice called to her. Her attention shifted to the students that watched her with confusion. Among them was a white filly that stood at the front desk closest to Bud’s. She was her unequivocal favorite amongst her class, but there was no way she would leak that to her students.

Bud rubbed her eyes before responding. “Yes, Raven Inkwell.”

“Are you feeling well today?”

Bud furrowed her brow at the question. “What makes you say that?”

“You’ve been scribbling lines on the chalkboard for the last two minutes.”

Bud looked at her work on the chalkboard and realized that she had indeed made numerous hatching lines across the board. With a rosy cheek, she grabbed an eraser and furiously wiped off the board as the class laughed at her swift reaction.

“Sorry about that,” she apologized. “How about we start over from the beginning.” The class, excluding Raven, groaned in a unison. “Or, we can take a lunch break?” The class then cheered as they immediately unpacked their lunchboxes from their saddlebags. It's probably for the best anyways. She was not certain if she could maintain herself for much longer.

Bud returned to her desk and leaned back on her chair. Her eyes still felt heavy and she held an odd hunger despite ingesting two loaves of bread before heading to school. She didn't expect to have such a terrible appetite but then again she also didn't expect to feel so drained either. Her whole body was having a complete conundrum.

She sighed and rested her head on the desk. “Only a few minutes,” she whispered.


Loving Bud ingrained her body upon a smooth cushion. She would have enjoyed its soft texture if not for a light irked her eyes open.

Bud found herself atop the large leaf from her previous dream. She immediately rose her head and realized that she was back on the same hill, surrounded by glittering waters and colorful flowers.

Bud checked around herself in hopes of finding the stone again. And lo and behold there it was beneath her barrel. Except now there were two, and there was no longer a whirl of light emanating within them.

Instead, she can see a tiny figure inside each, wrapping itself inside the translucent stones. Bud was about to grab hold of them, but then remembered how it disappeared last time.

“What am I supposed to do?” She questioned herself.

Desire…me

I…must...endure

Bud perked her ears. “These voices. Are they coming from you two?”

She then heard a hum resonating from one of the stones. It was a sweet and soothing sound, yet she felt an underlying sadness from it. A chilling despair that brought a tear to her eye.

She wrapped her body around the stone, providing as much warmth she could for it. “It’s okay,” she whispered to them. “You don’t have to feel sad. I’m here for you.”

Bud

“It’s okay.”

Bud

“It’s okay.”

Will you stop sleep-talking and wake up already! It’s not cute this time!

“Hmm,” Her eyes opened to those same golden pair of eyes, peering at her from the other side of her desk. “Lazuli? Why are you here?”

“Well duh,” Lazuli said matter-of-factly. “To check up on you. You know, I figured this would happen after what happened this morning. And here you are sleeping on the job and drooling on your desk.”

Bud quickly straightened herself up from her desk and wiped the slob dripping from her chin. She noticed her students grouped around her desk with curious eyes.

“I’m so sorry about this,” she hurriedly said. “I—”

“Can it,” Lazuli hushed her. “I know you’re tired. I’ll just take your class out for P.E. You can use that time to catch some z’s like you were supposed to last night."

“But I have to go over English with them,” she muttered.

“The foals aren’t gonna understand you if you’re prattling in your sleep. Now get some rest.”

At Lazuli’s command, Bud watched her class follow her friend out of the classroom. Raven, however, came to Bud and gave her a hug and said, “Please don’t push yourself, Ms. Bud.” She then scurried out of the class to catch up with her classmates.

“What a sweet filly,” Bud smiled.


Once Bud had her moment to rest, she was able to resume her teachings until the school concluded for the day. Bud kept all of her students company at the front of the school until every parent came by to retrieve them. She hoped none of her students would tell their parents about her small incident. The principal would no doubt reprimand her if he caught wind of it.

Raven Inkwell’s parent was the last to arrive at the school. A slim white stallion approached the two as Bud greeted him, “Good afternoon Hawk Inkwell.”

“Ms. Bud,” Hawk said. “Let’s keep ourselves to formality. You may only address me as Mr. Inkwell.”

“Of course,” Bud faked a smile. "Mr. Inkwell."

Hawk glanced at his daughter who stood closely to Bud. “I trust my daughter has performed handsomely today, correct?”

“Oh yes,” she honestly smiled. “Raven has been a satisfying student to my lessons.”

“I expected no less,” Hawk grinned. “She is to become the advisor of our princess one day. The knowledge she will learn will help shape the system of our country.”

“That’s a grand goal to achieve,” Bud responded. “I’m sure if that is what she wants, she’ll no doubt do well.”

“Of course, she will,” Hawk said with a disgruntled voice. “My wife and I had made plans to admit her to an elite school at Canterlot where she will adhere to the etiquette and most relevant lessons to prove her obvious worth to our princess. This academy only serves as her start.”

“Well, I’m positive she’ll do her best,” Bud’s smile began to cringe.

“She’ll do perfectly.” Hawk turned away from Bud. “Let's go now Raven, you have a tutor session in the next two hours.”

“Yes father,” Raven said. Before she followed her father, Raven hugged Bud again. “See you tomorrow Ms. Bud.”

“Of course,” Bud wrapped her hooves around her. “Be sure to enjoy yourself for the rest of the day for me, okay?”

“Yes ma’am,” Raven said as she left her teacher’s side. She waved at Bud as she galloped to her father’s side.

Bud grimaced to see the last of her students to go. She would have to wait for another series of hours before she could see them again. If only she could keep them for just a bit more time.

She clapped her cheeks together. Now was not the time to be mellow. Her job was not finished yet.


Bud hummed her way to the faculty office to review her student’s math worksheets. She mimicked the rhythm of the voice she heard in her dream. Despite its hidden yet conspicuous melancholy, it was quite catchy.

Bud reached for the knob to the faculty office, but then stopped when she felt a sudden thud in her stomach. “Oh,” she uttered. She rubbed her belly for anything strange but felt nothing out of the ordinary. “Maybe I’m just hungry,” she assumed. “It has been a long day after all.”

She opened the door and saw a plentiful of her co-workers scribbling and chatting at their desks. Among them were a group of three ponies she was familiar with.

“Hey guys,” she announced to them with a chipper voice. “Was today nice for you as well?”

“Loving Bud,” a green stallion with a periwinkle shirt approached her. “Lazuli told me that you’re feeling sick. Is that true?”

Bud widened her eyes and then glanced at Lazuli who stood next to a purple with a colorful spectrum mane. “You told them?”

“Yes,” said the purple mare. “She did because she is a concerned friend. Honestly, dear, you should have taken yourself to the hospital. I know the school hours are the best moments for you, but you should take priority of your own health first and foremost.”

“We appreciate everything you do here Ms. Bud,” the green stallion added. “But we prefer it if you don’t harm yourself while doing so.”

Bud blushed at the stallion’s words and stared at the carpet beneath her. “Um…” Should she thank him for his concern? Would he like it if she said that? Obviously, he would, right?

“Careful with what you say Leaf Clip,” the purple mare said. “She might think you’re coming on to her.”

The cheeks on Bud’s face boiled as she glanced flabbergasted at the purple mare. “I would never think that!”

“Stop joking around Passion Touch,” Lazuli said. "She needs to get checked.”

“You’re quite right,” Passion admitted. “No way she would go for Leaf Clip. Even as desperate as she is for a stallion, she would never demean herself for one so plain as herself.”

“Thanks for the compliment Ms. Touch,” Leaf Clip deadpanned.

“It’s not necessarily a bad quality my dear," Passion assured him. “It just means you require a mare to balance out your mediocrity.”

“Does everything you say have to sound like an insult,” Lazuli complained. Lazuli was not particularly fond of the school's art teacher as Bud made an effort to. Her dichotomy of kindness and hostility in her words is always a difficult task to bear. Bud could not help but feel concerned for Passion’s art students who would struggle to meet Passion’s impossible expectations.

“But on to more important matters,” Passion ignored Lazuli. “Bud, you need to take yourself to the hospital this instant. I can’t enjoy myself to the fullest if I can’t bear witness to your ill-fated attempts in your stallion hunt.”

Bud’s head lit so redly that steams were probable to stream out of her ears at any given moment. “I-I don't stallion hunt!” Bud raised her voice, but then hushed her lips with a hoof when her other coworkers glanced at her.

“There's no need to feel embarrassed,” Passion said. “We’re all friends here.”

“You make me question that every time I talk to you,” Lazuli said.

“Now that’s just hurtful,” Passion said. “If you like, I can provide a lesson or two to earn a stallion’s fancy. Celestia knows the two of you could use some.”

“Says the mare that’s also without a stallion,” Lazuli retorted.

“Can we get back to what’s important here,” Leaf Clip interjected. “Somepony needs to take her to the hospital before her condition gets worse.”

“It’s okay Leaf Clip,” Bud said. “I’m feeling better now.”

“I’ll believe it when I hear it from a doctor,” Lazuli retorted.

“Why can’t you just trust me?”

“Because you always put others before yourself. I know you like to make every pony happy, but not seeking help isn't going to put a smile on our faces.”

“...” Bud sighed.” Okay, I’ll go. But can I at least get some rest at home first.”

“Good,” Lazuli smiled. “Then let's get you to bed right now.”

“Now?” Bud questioned. “As in right now, now?”

“Well duh.”

“But I have worksheets to grade.”

"Bud, you're only teaching elementary students," Lazuli responded. "Besides you already labored yourself with most of them last night, right?"

"Yeah...", Bud started. "But that was yesterday?"

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Leaf said. “I'll handle them for you. Just make sure you have yourself taken care of, okay?”

“...Okay,” Bud grimaced. “I’m sorry for troubling you.”

“Oh don’t worry about that,” Leaf smiled. “We’re both co-workers, but more importantly we’re friends, remember? We help each other when needed.”

His kind words put a smile back on her face. She was going to thank him for sure this time until Lazuli pushed her out of the office.

“Alright then we’re off,” Lazuli hurriedly said.

“When she gets better,” Passion began. “Tell her I said happy hunting.”

“Why don’t you worry about your own hunt,” Lazuli nodded toward Leaf Cip who was seated on Bud’s desk, already marking through her student’s worksheets. Passion angrily raised her hoof toward her mouth to signal her to hush. Lazuli approved with the satisfaction of seeing rosy cheeks on her friend as she left.

Passion took a deep breath to cool her heart and approached behind Leaf Clip. “So,” she started. “I don’t mind helping if you like.”


It was still bright out when Bud and Lazuli returned to their apartment. Bud noticed a letter deposited in a slot installed to the front of their door. Bud took it out and read the sender’s name. “It’s from mom”

“Another one?”, Lazuli questioned. "What does she even write about?”

“It’s usually about her daycare center. I did leave behind a lot of foals when I decided to become a teacher here in Manehattan. Well, when she decided for me to leave.”

“She just wants you to live out your life. Would be kind of hard to do that if you spent your whole life at Baltimare, you know?”

“Mmm,” Bud voiced as she entered their apartment. “Will you still be here when I wake up?”

“Oh don’t worry about that. I’ll find something to keep me busy. Just get some rest.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll go to sleep if it makes everypony happy,” Bud closed the door to her room behind her.

She sat above her bed and looked again at the letter. It was addressed by her mother, Loving Hope.

For the last three weeks since starting her first year at Manehatten Academy, her mother has mailed her letters of all sorts. From the status of her daycare center to recipes she drafted, and reminders on how to take care of how Bud should take care of herself. No doubt this was another one to dote on her.

Bud opened the letter and read the note.

Good day my Little Lovely Flower, the letter began. Loving Bud couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the nickname. Her mother once thought that Bud would grow to be a gardener because she made a habit of collecting seeds in a journal during her foalhood. Her mother probably still thought that since her cutie mark is a budded rose.

Bud continued to read the letter.

You won’t believe what I’ve heard today, but your cousin, Chiffon Swirl, got engaged last week and she’s having her wedding this coming weekend. Isn't that amazing!?

Loving Bud paused at that sentence. She read it again to make sure she was hearing it right. “Chiffon is getting married!”

Bud let out a groan and sprawled atop her sheets. “Guess now she’s closer than I would ever be.”

She stared at the ceiling where her fan spun endlessly, blowing a small gust wind down her fur. She closed her eyes and delved into her imagination. She imagined what kind of foal her cousin would have. Maybe it’ll be a filly. Or perhaps a colt. Either one she’d no doubt would love all the same. Maybe Chiffon would make Bud its godmother, knowing how great she is with foals.

Loving Bud opened her eyes with a blank face. “I wish I could have my own.”

Bud plainly finished through her mother’s letter and then tossed it off her bed. She resigned herself beneath her sheets and snuggled comfortably till her mind drifted.


Her mind drifted back to the same recurring dream. Again she found herself atop the thick rolled leaf, showered by the pink light of the large lilies. But there was something different here again. She felt a presence close by. Very close. Bud checked beneath her barrel and there that presence was.

Snuggled between her hooves was an anonymous foal, sleeping soundly within her grasp. Its shape was hazy within her eyes, but its small size compared to her own led her to that assumption. She could feel the slow rise and drop of the foal’s body as it breathed.

If only this moment could last forever. But alas the moon beamed at her and irked her from her dream.

She let out a yawn and stretched her forehooves out. As she was about to get out of her bed, her ears flicked at the sound of a soft breath. She looked aimlessly across her room for the source but soon realized the sound was coming from within her sheets.

When she unraveled them, she discovered a small horned blue colt cuddled upon her. His small patch of white mane rustling against Bud's lime fur as the small colt rubbed his head against her belly. She was astonished. She couldn't believe it. She had to still be dreaming. This couldn't be real. Or maybe, just maybe. Something, be it the stars or Celestia herself finally blessed fantasy true.

Luna?

A hollow voice startled her. The voice emanated from beneath her bed.

Luna? Where are you?

The voice revealed itself as a large pegasus, cloaked in completely in darkness. It rose above her bed and crawled toward the sleeping colt. Bud can see the slitted cerulean eyes gaze with longing at him.

The creature stepped closer towards the colt that was in Bud's clutch. Loving Bud wrapped the sleeping colt in her hooves and shielded him from the creature.

Lu...Luna.

The creature breathed in a tired voice as it stood atop the bed. She clutched the colt closer, not knowing what to do but to protect the foal the best she could think of. She feared the creature would sink its fangs at her at any given moment. But a moment went by. And then a few seconds. And then more.

Bud peeked behind her. The creature was nowhere in sight. But instead, there was another creature. A filly. A small winged black filly lounged beside her, nearly over her loin to the small colt. The filly’s eyes gazed in dismay at Bud as it slowly lidded shut before the filly whispered.

“What have you done?”