• Published 20th Feb 2019
  • 228 Views, 12 Comments

Pandemic: Departures - Cosmic Eclipse

Following the ETS Pandemic three months prior, A group of ponies embark on a journey to find their place in a rapidly changing world, with dreams to change the very future itself!

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Ch 4 - "Making Connections"

Silver’s excitement was through the roof, as much as he shied away from social interactions he couldn’t deny that they felt so good. As he ran through the wooded landscape he could only think about how much had changed for the better in just a few short days. He had finally started to feel peace with his condition. It felt wrong to think of it as a condition, but Silver just couldn’t think of a better way to describe how severely ETS had derailed his life. As he looked around the ponies that had called this place home, he couldn’t help but feel like some sort of outcast. The village was beautiful, towering pines spaced as far as the eye could see, the only smell in the air being that of nature. No cars, pollution, or fumes to bother him.

If he wasn’t already so committed to his own plans he certainly wouldn’t mind staying here for an extended amount of time. His fears and drive to change the world pushed him forward however, and he knew that he couldn’t just put his new friends behind him. He continued walking along, there was no reason to rush, it wasn’t as if he had a whole lot to pack up anyways so there wasn’t really any harm in taking the time to enjoy nature. As he meandered through the forest he couldn’t help but feel at peace… maybe this was truly what he needed all along, just some peace and quiet.

That thought was interrupted however as a cheerful voice greeted him from afar. “Well I can’t say I’ve seen too many other night ponies wander through here, why don’t you wait up a minute?!”

A red night pony ran up to him, the image of a telescope framed by stars visible on her flank.

“Sorry if I scared you, I just haven’t seen very many night ponies stop by here… I was starting to think I was all alone here. My name’s Scarlet by the way.”

With a slight look of confusion on his face, Silver replied, “Nice to meet you… Scarlet. I’m Silver… Eclipse… Sorry, you just caught me off guard.”

“That doesn’t surprise me, you seemed a little distracted after all.” She chuckled to herself, “Mind if I join you?”

“I don’t mind at all, I’m just heading back to my camp.”

“Are you just passing through then? Or do you plan on staying a bit longer?”

“I’m just passing through for now, I’m going to join those two inventors on their journey.” This reply seemed to disappoint Scarlet, not wanting to ruin the moment Silver added on, “But I honestly wouldn’t mind stopping by here again sometime… Something about the beauty of this place just gives me peace like I haven’t felt in months.”

She seemed a little happier with that reply, “It really is something special, especially at night, have you seen the stars out here yet? There’s hardly any light pollution so you can just see so much of it!”, She excitedly replied back.

“You know, I was so busy that I never even stopped to stargaze. It’s really been too long, I used to love doing that before ETS…” Silver said, with a slight hint of sadness towards the end.

Noticing this, Scarlet perked up, “Well I’ll definitely have to show you when it gets darker out! You’re the first night pony I’ve seen here in awhile, it’ll be really nice to stargaze with somepony again!”

With a smile, Silver replied, “I’d love that, I’ve really been keeping to myself so much, it’ll be nice to actually spend time with somepony again. Where should I meet you at?”

“I was hoping that we could hang out for a few… if you don’t mind that is” she said with a hint of embarrassment at the end.

“I don’t mind at all, my camp’s just over there” he said, gesturing at the gap in the trees. They started walking along the path, heading towards Silver’s camp. “You know, it’s so weird, everything here feels so far apart, but when you’re walking through it you realize how close together everything is.”

“It’s really something isn’t it? I just love it though, it makes you feel like you’re really secluded in nature.”

“It really is, there’s just something that’s so wonderful about it.”

The two continued on, walking down the natural path that was carved through the forest, and before long they had arrived at Silver’s campsite.

“So this is it eh? Not really anything to write home about.” Scarlet gestured at the rather small tent set up between a few trees on the outskirts of town.

“It’s small but cozy, besides I was only going to be here for a few days at most, it wasn’t exactly worth setting up anything larger.”

“I suppose so, but didn’t Axel offer you anything better?”

“He offered to let me stay in his guest room for a few days, I kindly declined… I just didn’t trust him at the time but after being here for a couple days, he really seems like a genuine pony.”

“Axel really is… He lost his wife shortly before ETS hit and moved up into the mountains to just shut out the world. Something about this place gave him a sense of purpose.”

“I never realized that he had went through so much. It’s kind of inspiring really.”

The two just sat there for a moment, looking around at the tall trees.

Scarlet was the first to break the silence, “So what do you need to do now?”

“Pack up the camp, go drop off my stuff, and then I guess just enjoy the view until I get tired.” It wouldn’t be long until the sun set, and Silver was genuinely excited to stargaze, this night pony was strangely cheerful but she seemed genuine enough. “So where’s the best place to stargaze?”

“There’s a nice clearing outside of the village, I had them build my cabin near it for that reason. It’s the perfect place to just watch the stars. No light, no distractions, just peace.”

As they were talking, Silver folded up the simple tent he had fashioned for himself and packed it away into his bag.

“By the time we drop my stuff off it should almost be time for that, should we start heading over?”

“Just lead the way, Silver!” she excitedly chimed back, the two walking back towards the center of town.

Coming out of his shell really hadn’t been as bad as he had thought it would be. Maybe ETS wasn’t really the worst thing to ever happen to him. It may have derailed his entire life, but was he truly happy with where he was headed before? Sure, he was planning out a big move, but ETS hadn’t really changed any of that -- in fact, in a twist of irony it only sped that up for him. Besides he had met some genuinely interesting ponies in only a few days time and he was genuinely happy as a result. It was a strangely cheerful feeling, and it made him genuinely rethink his entire plan. Would it really be so bad to just move on? I guess I’ll have to figure that out for myself… he thought, reflecting on the last few days.

“You know, you sure get distracted easily, I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve had to snap you out of it. What’s on your mind Silver?”

Silver blinked a few times, looking back up at the night sky above him. “Sorry, I’ve just been doing a lot of thinking. I started this whole journey because I was so conflicted on everything. I was afraid of some news that came up and along with that I felt that I needed to find somewhere where I could just fit in, I was afraid to just completely abandon my past and decided to run away from my own problems to try and hold onto what I really didn’t have. I feel like I’ve started to find that for myself, but in a strange way… I don’t know if I’m really going down the right path anymore. I’ve met some really great ponies over the last few days… you included… and it’s really opened my eyes quite a bit. I thought that ponies were simply following something blindly, but seeing this place, everything you guys have built here… it kind of opened my eyes. Maybe I was the one who was trying to find something when it was right in front of me the whole time…” he said, gesturing at the scenery surrounding him.

Scarlet blushed slightly at his comment, but felt like she could empathize with him. She had left her home to try and just get lost in nature, it was just too irritating living in the city and the wooded escape was a nice change of pace for her. The lack of fellow night ponies was lonely to say the least, and finding another that shared her own interests was a refreshing experience. Even though she had only known him for a short time, she genuinely felt like she could consider Silver a friend, or at the very least a step up from just an acquaintance… she almost didn’t want him to leave.

“Do you ever just look at the stars Silver? Wish you could just fly away into the unknown and see what’s out there?”

“Where are you going with this?” Silver replied, confusion evident in his voice.

Scarlet looked back to him, “We’re not so different, we both ran away from our problems… the best advice I can offer you is to follow your heart. As great as it is to finally have somepony else to stargaze with, and as much as I’d love for you to just stay here, you need to follow your own heart. If leaving with those inventors is what’s truly important to you then you should absolutely do it.”

“You… wanted me to stay here?”

“I know we’ve just met, but it’s nice to have another night owl here… I guess I see a bit of myself in you, it’s just refreshing to have somepony else to talk about my interests with. I was hoping we could be friends, you know, stay in touch?”

“I’d love that. You know it’s still possible? We can dreamwalk after all… I know it isn’t the same but it’s genuinely nice to just talk with someone who understands me.” his thoughts returned to the intruder who regularly frequented his dreams. Silver truly didn’t know their identity, but they seemed genuinely concerned with Silver’s interests. Maybe taking their advice and dreamwalking more wouldn’t be such a bad thing to do. “It’s better than just moving on and never speaking to each other again.”

Scarlet smiled, and gazed back up at the stars, “I’d like that Silver, I really would.”

Silver smiled back and looked back into the telescope, “You know, I never really gaze at the stars anymore… it’s a real shame. There’s so much beauty just sitting out there and we just ignore it.” a hint of sadness was evident in his voice.

“There’s so much unknown too… that’s the real beauty of it to me.” With a slightly concerned look, she turned back to Silver, their eyes meeting for a moment. “Silver… do you think that the Devourers are really out there? Just making their way over here from some vast unknown galaxy in some long forgotten corner of the universe?”

Unsure of how to answer, Silver just said what felt right. “I’m not sure to be honest… but that’s part of why this is so important to me… I can’t help but wonder, “what if?” What if they’re really real and we’re just sitting by doing nothing… I know that everypony seems conflicted on it, so while they’re arguing why not try and at least work towards making a better future? If anything it’s the chance to leave our descendants something to work with, even if it’s just all for nothing and there’s really no threat looming out there.”

“This is really something important to you isn’t it?”

“It’s something I doubt I’ll ever live to see in person… the thought of that is something that genuinely scares me more than anything, but what’s the harm in at least trying to make a better future?” His thoughts returned back to his favorite novels, the works of Jules Verne in particular being something that inspired him as a kid, giving him dreams set in the stars, undersea, and even within the vast unknown that was earth… these were all stories that drove him to try to inspire others.

Smiling back at him, she replied, “I can appreciate that Silver. As much as I’d like you to stay here, I’d hate for you to just give up on your dreams… and like you said, we could always dreamwalk from time to time. Oh -- that reminds me, do you still have a phone? We don’t really get service up here but Axel was able to get a mostly stable wifi connection set up, we could always chat sometime too.”

“I don’t use it as often, but I still keep it with me. Why don’t you go ahead and write down your details and I’ll give you mine.”

The two just sat there, enjoying each other’s company while gazing up at the heavens above. Silver knew that he would have to return to his new friends soon, but for now he just wanted to sit here and enjoy the peace. There was a lot for him to reflect on, and a lot for him to consider for the future going forward.

Silver was starting to get sleepy, and he knew that the inventors would likely be waking soon. As much as he wished he could just lay here forever there was work to be done and if he stayed, he would likely never leave.

Silver turned to his new friend, dreading the next few words. “Scarlet… I should start heading back over to their camp.”

“Do you really have to go so soon?” she replied, with a touch of sadness in her voice.

“I do… As much as I wish I could just stay here forever I probably would never leave. Let’s keep in touch though, if everything winds up crashing and burning I’ll at least know where to go. Do you want to walk me back over to their camp?”

“I’d love to Silver. I’d hate for you to leave without a proper goodbye.” she said with a smile on her face.

The two stood up and started to walk down the dark path towards the rest of the village.

“So what do you think you’ll see out there Silver?”

“I’m honestly not sure, Tinker and Gyro are headed towards Phoenix, I used to have some family down there… it might be interesting to see how they’ve fared. Aside from that I’m not sure. There’s a whole big world out there and I’m sure there’s plenty of things left to discover.”

The two walked back to the center of the village, to Tinker and Gyro’s campsite. “Well I guess this is goodbye.” Scarlet said, a hint of sadness in her voice.

“It’s not really goodbye, I’m sure we’ll see each other again… sooner rather than later.”

With a final hug goodbye they went their separate ways. Silver walked up to the cart and knocked on the door.

“Ah yes, hello again Mr. Eclipse!” came the cheerful reply of Tinker.

“Just Silver, please. I’m all packed up and ready to go”

“Splendid! You’ve come at the perfect time, I was just getting the morning preparations done. We’ll be all set to depart shortly!” Noticing a slightly sad look on Silver’s face “Is everything alright Silver? You seem a little down.” He added, concern evident in his voice.

“Huh? No it’s alright. Just thinking about the future, nothing to worry about I promise.”

“Well surely you must be tired, please don’t let me keep you up. By the time we awaken we should be in Blythe, after that we’ll press on into Arizona. We can brief you on the details when we arrive at our next destination. Most importantly of all, have a good night!”

“Thanks Tinker, I will!”

Silver entered the small, but cozy cart and folded down one of the spare bunks, stashing his few belongings underneath it. Without any hesitation he flopped down onto the mattress and closed his eyes, sleep soon arriving.

Silver sat in the grand salon of the observatory once again, as he had done for many countless nights before. Taking in the scene of the ocean outside one of the large windows, he truly felt at home here. He closed his eyes and just relaxed, enjoying the peace and quiet.

“So, did you make any more friends today?” Came that recognizable voice from behind him.

With an annoyed tone he replied, “Don’t you have time to bug someone else?”

“Oh I assuredly do, but you know I can always clear a spot in my busy schedule for a little check up.”

“Well if you must know, I believe that I did”

Clapping his hooves together, he cheered back, “Wonderful! I knew that you could do it!... Now how about you actually leave your own dream for a change?” The stranger said knowingly.

“I’d rather not, I’m expecting company and I’d like to discuss something rather important with them if that’s acceptable to you”

“Don’t lie to me Silver, I’m well aware of your little secret field trip. It must have been a rather refreshing change for once. Oh and believe me, any time you spend interacting with somepony else is perfectly acceptable to me. I only want what's best for you after all. You know Silver, you’re making some great progress.”

Silver stood up and walked towards the intruder, lowering his cold facade again. “Thanks old friend just don’t expect this to be a constant thing. Now if you don’t mind, could you please get out of my seat?”

The intruder smirked, and with a cheerful tone replied, “As you wish!”
And with that, the intruder was gone.

Silver was alone again, left to his own thoughts once more. The intruder was once again as right as ever. His little trip into that strange pony’s dream was refreshing, but it had only made the little voice in his head that was currently yelling at him to go explore some more dreams even louder. Maybe he could go meet up with Scarlet? The thought was tempting but he didn’t want Stanley to intrude on their dream.

He was unsure of how long he had sat there, but the sound of his new friend calling out to him stirred him from his thoughts.

“Silver are you there?” Came a voice from outside the Grand Salon.

“Yeah, I was just finishing up some business, please do come in. Make yourself comfortable, food and drink are available in the center of the lounge, they won’t do you any real good, but I’m sure the comfort will help you relax all the same. I have good news to share today, very good news.” Silver said excitedly.

Stanley walked in and took a seat in front of one of the large windows that overlooked an endless sea, grabbing a cold drink along the way.

“Firstly Stanley, let’s discuss something I neglected to talk with you about. The problems I want to try and solve.”

“So what are they?”

“They’re problems that I think go hand in hand with your own dreams… What if something loomed in the vast unknown reaches of our universe, waiting to snuff us out?”

“Like… aliens?”

“Maybe? Truthfully I doubt anypony knows. But what if?”

“Silver… is this something that you’re really afraid of?”

“Not entirely… but what if we were given a second chance as ponies? What if we can fix the damage we’ve done to the world?”

“How does this tie in with my dreams?”

“Your Oasis… the place where humans and ponies could work and live together… what if it could be a place that uses the most cutting edge technology we could get our hooves on, and inspire others to start working towards solving the problems that we’ve created? I don’t think it’s a viable option right now, but maybe someday it could be.”

“I think… I understand-- how would we even do this though?”

“That’s what makes it a dream right? I doubt we could ever truly make this a reality on our own… but what if we found more ponies and humans that could help us?”

Stanley thought on this for a moment, seeing the value in it. “Do you really think that would work though?”

“I don’t know… but what’s the harm in trying though?”

“I don’t know… but maybe we should actually work on a plan if we want to even begin this. What are your thoughts?”

“Well we can start small. Make a little village, but design it with our goals in mind from the start. We could use renewable energy, try and do things as efficiently as we can, live with the land, avoid wasting our resources-- that sort of stuff. I mean ponies can’t stand living in large cities as it is right now, the pollution is just too much for us to handle, but what if we didn’t have to worry about pollution? There’s plenty of small things that we could do to start with that could spiral into something greater down the line. When we get big we could even start pushing the boundaries of science, maybe even try and combine magic with machinery, the possibilities are limitless and all we need is the key!”

“You’ve really thought this through haven’t you?”

Silver enthusiastically nodded. “I’d be lying if I said that the thought hasn’t left my mind since you told me about your dreams. It’s a perfect opportunity to start something new, share it with others… try and inspire the change we want to see in the world. We’re both drifters right now, so is there really any risk in trying?”

“I… I guess not. Where do we start though?”

“I… I-- Haven’t really worked that out yet… but I have some ideas. We could always go talk with some of the smaller villages, or we could set something of our own up, work our way up from there. We can’t really do anything about it now, but maybe someday we’ll be able to.”

“Don’t we need more ponies to help though? A village with two ponies isn’t really a realistic start…”

“I’m glad you’ve asked that Stanley, I really am! I have some great news to share with you! News that might help with that part of the equation!”

“So what’s the news?”

“Let me cut right to the chase, we have two new allies!”

Stanley sat up and looked at Silver, “Are they here?”

“I’m afraid not, they’re not night ponies so they’re unable to dream walk like we can. One’s an enterprising pegasus and the other is a somewhat reserved but crafty unicorn. They’re part of some inventing team, hoping to help all of ponykind with their creations.” Silver explained.

With a smile, Stanley replied, “That’s great, it sounds to me like they’re the perfect fit for the team, but if you don’t mind me asking, how are we supposed to collaborate in here if they can’t dreamwalk?”

Silver thought on this for a few brief moments.

“To be completely honest, I don’t know. The best case scenario right now is that I share our progress in the waking world. It’s not quite an ideal scenario but it’s the best we can do with our resources at the time.”

“Could we try to visit their dreams, talk with them there?”

“We certainly could, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my own reservations, but if we’re visiting fellow researchers I think I can look past them.”

Why was it so hard for him to admit that he was driving himself crazy this way? No one would judge him for it, but yet he still imposed his own self enforced confinement to this dream.

Deeply sighing,Silver looked towards Stanley. “You know… I think it’s time I showed you a better way to explore the dream realm.”

“Are you sure Silver? I don’t want to force you to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing.”

With a slight chuckle, the first real emotion that Stanley had seen from him, Silver replied, “You sound like an old friend of mine Stanley… I appreciate the concern though. He was right, I need to stop ignoring who I am and embrace it. And if this is the way to do it then it needs to be done.”

“Where should we start?”

“Follow me to the Grand Hall, it’ll make the following demonstration a lot easier.”

The two stood up and walked out into a large gallery, paintings of different moments from Silver’s life lined the walls around them.

Silver turned around to face Stanley, a serious look on his face. “Ok Stanley, this is going to take some practice. I want you to close your eyes and imagine someone you know closely. Preferably someone you can imagine with a clear image. Imagine every detail you possibly can about them, the clearer the picture the easier it is to find them.”

Stanley thought back to his friend Jess… or Moonlight as she preferred to go by now. She was one of his closest friends back home, and he had hardly tried to make contact with her since he had left.

Silver interrupted his thoughts, “Before we go in, who is this pony to you? It’s important to know before beginning.”

“A friend of mine back home, one of the closest friends I’ve ever known.”, Stanley beamed with happiness.

“Perfect, that’ll make it all the easier to find them again if you so desire.”

Stanley looked at him with confusion, “How does that work?”

Silver sat there for a moment, unsure of what to say. “It’s… complicated… Let’s just say It’s magic and settle with that.”

Stanley just shrugged, not really understanding how any of this worked. “Well if you say so…”

Silver blinked for a few seconds, Stanley was nowhere to be found, presumably having found his friend. He decided to wait a few moments, so as to not intrude on their interaction.

Silver just stared towards the center of the room, not used to seeing other dreamers just vanish when trying to find a dream. This would make things interesting, it usually meant that they either woke up or the person they were trying to find was in the dream realm, outside of an actual dream. “Well that was strange.”, He simply said to himself.

Stanley suddenly found himself in the starry expanse of the dreamscape. Confusion registered on his face for a brief moment, his eyes settling on the form of his long time friend looking at a nearby star. The night pony in front of him froze for a brief moment, suddenly looking back at him, a look of confusion in her eyes. “Who… Stan?”

“Hi Jess.”, He cheerfully greeted her.

“It’s Moonlight… please. What are you doing here Stan?”, she replied, seemingly a little dazed.

“I told you I’d catch up with you when I left.”

“Well I’m glad you finally stopped by…”

Silver Eclipse walked up to the duo, Moonlight taking a more defensive stance. “...I hate to intrude on you, I just needed to make sure you were able to figure this out Stanley.”

“And who’s your friend there?” she asked skeptically, moving between Stanley and Silver.

Stanley walked around her with a disapproving look on his face, “Oh sorry, this is Silver… Silver Eclipse. He’s my new friend, he’s been showing me a better way to dream walk.”

With a slightly relieved look on her face, she relaxed a little, turning to face Stanley once more, “That’s good Stan. How’s travel been treating you?”

“Well enough, I’m not too far right now, Just outside of Orange. I stopped by to visit my parents, I really felt bad for just leaving them in the dark for so long. They were happy to see me though, my mom’s a pegasus now, I guess I didn’t really need to worry about whether they would accept me now.”

“That’s really great! I told you had nothing to worry about!” She chimed back excitedly, “ Were you finally able to get in touch with your friend?”

Stanley shook his head, “No, not yet. I think I might be getting close though.”

“Well that’s good to hear Stan. I’m so glad that you’re doing well.”

He looked a little sad for a moment, asking a little quietly, “How are the others? Back home that is?”

“They’re doing good. Everypony misses you you know?”

“I know, I know... You know why I had to leave though…”

“... I do and I can respect it. Just remember what you told me before you left...”

Silver walked up, interrupting the two. “...Well Stanley, I hate to get in the way, if you want to…”

“So tell me about yourself Silver.” Moonlight said flatly, moving back between the two.

“I’m sorry?”

“Sorry if I’m a little protective. Stanley’s been afraid of everything his whole life and he’s suddenly making friends?”

“He stumbled into my dream, he was different from the others. Something about him resonated with me and we became fast friends.”

“Have you met him in the waking world yet?” she asked defensively.

Stanley walked around her again, an annoyed expression on his face, “Moonlight… Stop being overprotective please?”

“Look Stan… I’m sorry. I’m just looking out for you, you know that?”

“To answer your question… Moonlight was it? I haven’t yet. I’m on the move in the waking world, I don’t have a permanent residence anymore. Stanley stood out to me as somepony who was interested in making their own mark on the world, a pony with dreams of something greater than themselves and wasn’t afraid to set out to make that dream a reality. I’m on a similar path in life and it’s refreshing to see somepony that doesn’t just blindly follow what everypony else is doing.”

“You’re saying it like working together is a bad thing?”

“It’s not that, it’s blindly following something that everypony else is without even considering a different option!” He said with a little more annoyance in his voice. He didn’t realize it until the damage had been done.

“I did. But you know what?! Moving on and working with everypony else is what worked the best for me.” She angrily replied.

Silver thought back to his earlier interaction with Scarlet, and the villagers in Greenview. With a sigh he replied, “Look, I think we got off on the wrong note. I’m sorry if I came off as insulting or rude to you. There’s just been so much change in my life that it’s hard to really trust others.”

The three stood there for a moment, Stanley unsure of what to do.

Moonlight shuffled awkwardly, seemingly unsure of what to say. “I’m sorry too. For being overprotective. Look, Stanley’s decided to trust you, so I think it’s only fair for me to trust you too, as much as I don’t want to.”


The three sat there for a few awkward moments, just looking at the lights around them.

Moonlight was the first to break the silence. “I should get going. They’ll be expecting me in town soon.”

“Goodbye Moonlight.” Stanley cheerfully said

“Goodbye Stanley!” Her tone suddenly changed as she turned towards Silver. “…It was nice to meet you too… Silver.”

“The same to you.” Silver said somewhat flatly.

The two ponies suddenly found themselves standing alone amongst the stars again.

“Well she sure seemed nice…” Silver said, an undertone of sarcasm evident in his voice.

With a sympathetic look, Stanley replied, “You know she means well. I promise she’s not normally like that.”

“If you say so… let’s just head back to the Observatory for now.”

Silver awoke, greeted by the sight of the two inventors.

“We’re here.”, Gyro flatley replied.

“Where’s here?”, he asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

Tinker interjected, “Sorry, don’t mind Gyro, he’s never been one for long conversations with others. We’re at our next stop, Just a few miles out from the Arizona border. We’ll be crossing over the Colorado river soon, we can stop and take a look later if you’d like.”

Silver groggily stood up and walked outside, taking a few moments to glance around at the desert expanse that surrounded them. “What’s your plan for now?”

“We make camp for tonight, and then move into Arizona tomorrow.”

“What do you need me to do?”

“Just keep guard over the camp, we’re going to set out fairly early tomorrow but we’re still a little far out in terms of getting to our final destination. We’ll likely have to make camp tomorrow as well.”

“What time is it?”

“Oh I’d say around noon, give or take an hour or two... Why?”

“I need to discuss something with you later, I want to introduce you to an intrepid young night pony who’s become a sort of protege to me. We want to discuss our plans going forward if that’s alright with you.”

“Sure, Just give me a heads up before I go to sleep so I know what to expect. None of this is familiar to me so I’d rather know what I’m getting into.”

“Sure thing, I’ll let you know beforehand.” Silver decided to explore the area, curious about where they were. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to take a look around, this whole place seems… interesting.”

“Don’t let me get in your way, just come back before dusk if you don’t mind. Try not to get lost either, don’t deviate from the road unless you feel confident enough in your abilities to navigate back.”

“You got it, I won’t go far, I’m just curious to see the surroundings.”

If Silver had to guess, they were near Blythe. The mountains and surrounding area seemed familiar enough from what he could remember, granted it was the desert so everything had a tendency to look familiar if you’ve wandered around it long enough. He had travelled through here a couple times ages ago, but the place wasn’t exactly the most familiar to him, so these views were all he had to really place it from. The town had almost seemed like a ghost town the last time he had seen it, and he couldn’t help but wonder how it had fared post ETS. Without any real reason to sit idly, he took to the skies, curious to see how the place had changed since he had last visited.

Author's Note:

This was originally going to be the last chapter before I moved releases to every other week, but I've decided to continue with weekly updates for the foreseeable future.

This chapter was one of those fun moments in the development process where you combine two chapters into one because they just didn't work out well enough on their own, and by the end of the revisions they're different enough to stand as their own chapters again. That's for the best though because this would have ultimately skipped over two days for no real reason other than to just simplify the narrative a little bit. Chapter 5's going to be a little different than I originally planned out, and the original second half of this chapter will either end the next, or follow it entirely.

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