• Published 14th Jul 2019
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Dreamers and the Moon - Krixwell

Life as a unicorn raised in Cloudsdale isn't always easy.

  • ...

The Lifted Eclipse

“Hi, moon.”

Enterprise watched the moon rise through her window, frowning. Her friend was the only thing lighting up the bedroom, her mom having blown out the lights an hour ago.

“How has your day been?” She knew the moon wouldn't answer - she never did - but she asked the question anyway. She always did.

She even gave the moon a pause, some time to say something. Anything. But the dark unicorn’s head imprinted on the pale gray disc stayed as tight-lipped as ever.

Still, Enterprise eventually nodded, as though the moon had answered her, and went on, “Mine wasn't great.”

No reaction. The moon only continued her steady climb towards its place in the sky. Enterprise hadn't expected anything else.

“Shadow Rider and Thunder Crack were picking on me all day,” she elaborated. “They called me names, like they usually do. Chicken. Freak. Dodo. That's a new one - miss Windy Wisdom says it's another bird that doesn't fly, like chickens. Stickhead. Don't-er-flies.” With each awful nickname she listed, the knot in her chest grew tighter. She could feel her eyes getting wet, not for the first time that day.

“And then… then they said that pegasi,” she forced herself to say the words, “have pegasus kids, said my mom and dad… th-that they probably a-aren't even m-my real mom and d-dad.”

Even faced with an openly weeping filly, the moon said nothing. But she was a great listener.

“Th-they s-s-said,” she sniffed, “that n-no pegasus parents c-could…”

Enterprise broke down. The moon watched her sob, watched her as she let all of her emotions flow out onto the bedroom floor.

It took several minutes to finish crying. When she did, Enterprise finally looked back up, looked back up at the moon, and finished, quietly: “...that they couldn't love a daughter with no wings.”

Enterprise wiped her eyes with her hooves, then gave the moon a soft smile. “Thank you for listening,” she said.

The moon didn't smile back at her. She never did.

“You're the only one here who truly understands,” Enterprise said, touching a hoof to her horn, “the only one who is like me.”

Enterprise turned away from the window and walked over to her bed. As she tucked herself in, she muttered: “Good night, moon.”

The moon didn't wish her good night in return. She never did. But Enterprise knew her friend meant it.

~ * ~

19 years later

A manticore sat patiently in the middle of an empty Manehattan street, dressed in a fancy vest. The unicorn next to him seemed content, working on sewing matching manticore leggings.

Luna had long been vaguely curious about how exactly a manticore would wear leggings, but what happened here wouldn't answer anything. Besides, she had more important matters to attend to.

She put the orb displaying the manticore to the side and moved on to the next dream.

It belonged to a pegasus Luna recognized from a description. She had a purple coat, a mane gray like Luna’s moon, and wings that were slightly bent. Luna had been meaning to talk to the mare, but it could wait.

Besides, judging by what the orb was showing of her dream, she was currently a little… preoccupied. Luna blushed, very briefly, and moved on to the next orb. Even after more than a century of tending the dreams of her subjects (and a millennium of twisting them into nightmares, to her endless shame), she had never quite gotten used to those dreams.

After looking through a few more orbs, Luna found what she was looking for: A nightmare.

The orb showed a strange vehicle gliding through the air like an enormous pegasus, piloted by a yellow unicorn. It didn't take long before the vehicle's wings fell off its core.

The vehicle crashed down onto a stage, then turned into a pile of pogo sticks surrounding the pilot, who was left sitting on the stage with her back to an audience consisting of blurry faces on shadowed bodies. Neither the stage nor the pilot were hurt by the impact. Such things were par for the course in the realm of dreams, but it did suggest to Luna that the fears fueling this dream were not about being physically hurt by a crash.

Luna watched as the pilot turned around to face the crowd. Before she had finished the movement, her pilot helmet had been replaced by a full-body chicken costume, which turned from pure white to a stained red as the crowd pelted the unmoving unicorn with tomatoes.

Luna had seen enough. She touched her horn to the orb, and it grew, expanding along two axes into a circular portal. She began to flap her wings softly before she had even entered.

The shift from the abstract dreamscape to the world of a particular dream was always jarring. It felt like the atmosphere… no, the entire fabric of reality changed as she stepped through the portal, and no two ponies’ dreams had the exact same feeling to them. This dream felt as though a turbulent storm were tugging at her, cold wind in every direction, even as the air Luna was gently floating down through was still and warm.

When the unicorn noticed her, Luna was taken aback. Typically, Luna’s interference in a nightmare was met with either confusion (from those who did not realize why she was there), relief (from those who thought her a welcome rescue from the nightmare’s horrors) or, since her return from the moon, fear. And there was always a lingering hint of the fear or despair the nightmare had caused.

But this was different. The mare, still dressed in a chicken costume that was getting more and more red-tinted, met Luna’s gaze before Luna had even landed, seemingly ignoring the crowd. Her eyes were wet with both tears and tomato juice, but above all, they were cold. It was one of the coldest, most disgusted stares Luna had ever received.

Luna put up a magical barrier between the shadow constructs and the unicorn to ward off the tomatoes. The unicorn might be able to ignore the crowd, but Luna wanted to talk to her without either of them being pelted. It was also meant as a gesture of goodwill.

“What is it that burdens you, my loyal subject?” Luna asked, as much about the unicorn’s cold stare as about the nightmare.

The unicorn turned away from her without a word, looking to the pile of pogo sticks. The red chicken costume vanished in favor of an engineer’s hard hat and tool-fillet jacket. She pulled a wrench from a pocket using her magic, but seemed at a loss for how to apply it to the pogo sticks.

Luna took a step forward, only to collide into an invisible barrier. Had the other mare placed it there? “I promise you, I only mean to h--”

I'm. Fine,” the mare interrupted her icily, stressing each word. She picked up another pogo stick with her horn.

Luna looked behind herself. The crowd of shadows was still there, still pelting the barrier with unreal tomatoes. “But your nightmare,” she protested, “it has not ended!”

“Go away,” was all the unicorn said, still refusing to look at Luna. The voice was still cold as ice, but Luna could detect a tinge of something else in it. What was that?

“The crowd…”

“GO! AWAY!” the unicorn snapped, finally turning her head back towards Luna. Her face was filled with anger, but her eyes were filled with tears, even more so than before. Then the unicorn seemed to realize she was showing Luna more than she wanted, prompting her to turn away again.

Luna found herself pleading, “Please… Have I done something to offend you?”

“Offend me?” the unicorn repeated in a low voice. She sounded somewhat choked up, but the rage was gone. “No. No, I suppose not.”

“Then what is the problem?”

“Hi, moon,” the unicorn began flatly, still not looking at Luna, “how has your day been?” There was something about the way she said it that made it sound like she was quoting something.


“Mine wasn't great. Shadow Rider and Thunder Crack were picking on me all day. They called me names, like they always do. Chicken. Freak. Dodo. That's a new one. Stickhead. Don't-er-flies.”

Luna stared at the unicorn’s back. Was she insane? Luna had never visited an insane pony’s dreams before, that she knew of.

“And then they said that pegasi have pegasus kids, said my mom and dad… that they probably aren't even my real mom and dad.”

A unicorn born to pegasi? Luna knew it was possible, but very rare. By what little Luna could put together here, it sounded like the unicorn had been bullied for not being able to fly. But what did that have to do with the hostile reception the unicorn had given her?

“They said that no pegasus parents could love a daughter without wings.”

Luna winced in sympathy at that. Children could be very cruel sometimes.

“Thank you for listening. You're the only one here who truly understands.” The unicorn touched a hoof gently to her horn. “You're the only one who is like me.”

Luna tried to reach forward a hoof to put on the unicorn’s shoulder, but the invisible barrier was still there. She quickly withdrew her hoof as the unicorn whirled around, rage, sorrow and desperation working to twist her face into an expression Luna was sure could create new nightmares by itself.

“But you weren't! You never understood! You were never like me! You were always there to comfort me, to remind me that I wasn't alone, but IT WAS ALL A LIE!” The unicorn suddenly charged towards Luna.

Luna tried to back off quickly and take off, but the charge had taken her by surprise, so she didn't get very far before the unicorn tackled her to the stage floor. Except it wasn't a stage floor anymore; it was a hard-cloud floor in a little filly’s bedroom. A window faced out towards the moon in a beautiful night sky.

The moon in this dream world still had the imprint of Nightmare Moon’s head on it. That wasn't unusual - many ponies were still not used enough to the moon being blank that their dreams reflected it - yet in this dream, it felt like an important detail.

And just like the stage floor wasn't a stage floor anymore, neither was the tackle really a tackle. It took Luna a moment to realize that the unicorn was hugging her tightly, crying into her chest fur.

Unsure of what else she could do, Luna wrapped her wings around the unicorn and held her close. She was still very confused about what was going on, but it seemed like this was what the unicorn needed.

“It was all a lie,” the unicorn muttered between sobs.

And so they sat there, dreaming of warmth and compassion.

Author's Note:

Enterprise is about 7 in the first section of this snippet, placing this after The Question but before Moon Dream moved to her school. The second section takes place at some point in season 1-2.

I like how all of this sprang out from a throwaway parenthetical in the previous snippet. It really goes to show how even the smallest hint of characterization can be explored as something bigger.