• Published 23rd Mar 2020
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Do Ponies on Earth have Magic Dreams? - Tiki Bat

The story of an optimistic young night pony, the special pony that enters his life, and how the two of them follow their dreams to make the world a better place!

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Chapter 24: Letting Her Passion Take Flight

Scarlet leaped up into the air and gracefully took off into the rapidly darkening sky. The lights of the city below comforted her and gave her this warm sense of familiarity that she hadn’t realized she had longed for. Maybe both of us getting jobs down here is a good thing after all, she mused to herself.

Sure, maybe there would be a little disappointment over the fact that she couldn’t spend as much time with Silver, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. They were both in that super lovey-dovey frame of mind now, but how long would it be until spending every single moment of every single day got to them? As much as she loved hanging out with him, she had to admit that spending at least a little more time apart would help make their relationship even stronger in the long run. They had plenty of time on the weekends to catch up on that kind of stuff after all.

Even right now the solitude gave her a chance to reflect on her day and the thoughts that ran through her head, a chance that she might not normally have when spending time with Silver.

See Scarlet? You’re already finding something productive to do and it’s not like you’re gonna be crushingly lonely again, she thought to herself.

She glanced back at her bandaged leg and grimaced. It was still sore, but not nearly as bad as before. The harsher realities of the world were already starting to crack through the perfect idealistic facade that came with being a pony, and it was pretty clear that they would only continue to do so going forward. This reality brought another thought to her head; she had neglected to bring her phone along. As frustrating as it would be to use it, it meant that if there was any kind of emergency she’d be on her own to deal with it.

A momentary feeling of worry washed through her, but a quick glance back down at the bright lights below eased her fears. Nothing bad was going to happen, and if it did she’d just have to go find somepony to help. Sure, that was easier said than done, but not outright impossible. From her vantage point in the sky, she could easily see the library’s observatory in the distance, and her thoughts turned toward that exciting hope that maybe, just maybe, she’d be able to spend more of her nights there.

Keeping her goal in mind, she shifted her attention down to her target; the community library that just so happened to have an attached observatory— the very same place that she had tried to bring Silver to just a few nights before, but had been closed. That small, sometimes overly optimistic voice in her head was screaming that maybe it was only a temporary closure, and that surely she’d be able to find her way into a job at the very place that would perfectly fit her passion. On the other hoof, the realistic part of her told her that it was probably still closed, and that this was a fool’s errand. Still though, she had nothing to lose except a whole lot of time that she wasn’t planning on doing anything crazy with.

Swooping down into a steep dive, she glided toward the building in question. The rushing air and burst of adrenaline was one of her favorite parts of flying at night, and she relished every moment of it. Before long though her trip was nearing its end and she touched down onto the neatly swept sidewalk out front. Running a hoof through her mane, she smoothed it back and slowly trotted up to the tall glass doors, frowning as she noticed a simple paper printout taped to the window that taunted her with a simple Observatory Closed Until Further Notice :(. She let out an annoyed whinny and gave the door a tentative nudge, seeing if there was at least a chance at it opening and her being able to talk with someone inside, but her efforts were for naught. From her completely uneducated observations, the library simply didn’t have enough people to staff the observatory, and likely not enough people actively interested in that sort of thing to bother doing so.

“Anything I can help you with?” Came a voice from behind her, scaring her and spurring a frightened hiss from Scarlet.

Taking a second to compose herself, she dropped the defensive stance that she hadn’t realized she had taken, and nodded at the pegasus that was pushing a broom along the sidewalk, “Yes actually. I was wondering if the observatory was open… but I guess I got my answer,” she sheepishly gestured to the paper sign.

The stallion nodded, “Ahh, I see. Sorry to scare you by the way, there’s usually not a whole lot of people ‘round here right now,” he shifted the broom over and held out a hoof, “Name’s Marshall, I handle some of the cleaning before closing.”

“Mhmm,” she replied, extending a tentative hoof of her own, “I’m Scarlet.”

“Nice to meet you,” he grinned, “Don’t see too many night ponies ‘round here,” he paused, “So what’re you interested in the observatory for anyhow?”

She lazily meandered a short distance from the door and looked up at the sky, gesturing back at her cutie mark, “If it’s not all that obvious, I’m kinda into this stuff… and I’m guessing I’m really the odd one out around here.”

“Funny way to put it,” he mused, taking his own look up at the stars, “But yes, for the most part.”

She nodded, “So it’s safe to say that there’s no one keeping an eye on the observatory then?”

The sky blue pegasus gave an affirmative nod, his long rust mane bobbing down in front of his eyes, “Hence the sign on the door.”

A sly smirk spread across Scarlet’s face as she glanced toward the makeshift sign, “I see… sooooo… what would you say if say… I knew a pony who could keep an eye on it,” she not so subtly asked, giving the stallion a probably more than gleeful grin.

Marshall let out a hearty laugh and shook his head, “You’d be running the place by yourself,” he took notice of her disappointed look and set the broom aside, trotting away from the door and lowering his voice into a friendlier tone, “The real truth of the matter is that you’re not the only one who’s been asking about the observatory, but there’s not enough interest to warrant getting it set up and calibrated again— at least not now.”

“Figures,” she bluntly said aloud. Doesn’t anypony care about astronomy anymore? I mean it can’t be that costly to get it working. She returned a smile and nodded, “So it’s out for right now… but what about in the future? What if I tried to round up all the would-be astronomers around here and build up some interest?”

Marshall shrugged, “You could try, but that still leaves the budgetary issue. Volunteer astronomers are nice and all, but maintenance costs aren’t. I’m no expert, but this isn’t just like going into Home Depot and getting a few space parts off the shelves.”

“Right, money’s an issue,” she trailed off.

Scarlet’s thoughts drifted back to the whole reason why Silver was getting a job in the first place, remembering the conversation the two of them had had in turn. I know I said I’d maybe get one just to get some cash built up too… but what if I tried to organize some donations for this place too… she smirked as the idea came to her mind.

“Okay, well what if I got the volunteer group together, and helped coordinate donations? I know I can’t pay for this on my own, and a couple others won’t be able to too, but what if we started working on small stuff? Get some milestones set up, work up to hosting little events here and there… you know, stuff that’d build up interest so it’s not just sitting here on mothballs?” She proposed.

Marshall considered this for a moment, leaving the two in silence save for the clicking of one of the nearby flickering lights that Scarlet had only just now noticed, giving her some brief sense of annoyance now that she couldn’t get it out of her peripheral.

Finally after a long minute, Marshall nodded, “I suppose you could try doing that. You’d have to go bring it up with the head librarian, but it’s worth a shot.”

Scarlet squeed in excitement, jumping up in a victorious pose before flashing the flustered pegasus an embarrassed look, thanking her luck that once again someone couldn’t see the deep blush that enveloped her crimson face.

“That’s great! Do you have her card or something? Or a time when she’ll be in again?”

He’ll be in sometime tomorrow, but I don’t know when you’ll be back around this way. You all sleep in all day right?”

Scarlet raised an eyebrow in confusion before realizing that he clearly meant night ponies as a whole, “Yes, generally we do, but I could be here earlier if needed.”

The pegasus began to speak up, but paused, choosing to raise up his wing instead. Scarlet hadn’t noticed this before, but a small strap ran across his body, leading to a small, almost flush to his body, pouch that he had kept safely under his wing. He gently pulled it forward and rummaged around a pocket for a second, holding out a business card in offering, “Here,” he spoke up, “You should take his card anyways. Give him a call, set up an appointment, and come with your idea written down and ready to present to him, it’ll help your case a lot more, trust me.”

Scarlet took the offered card and flipped it over in her hooves, taking note of the name and number before stashing it away in the bag she had slung across her body, “Thanks Marshall, I’ll give it a look.”

“Don’t thank me, I’m just the janitor ‘round here. Good luck though, you might need it.”

The stallion made his way back toward the abandoned broom and pulled it back toward him, giving it a short, but sturdy push, “It was nice meeting you, Scarlet.”

Scarlet returned a nod and trotted toward the empty street, “It was nice meeting you too. Guess I’ll see you around,” if this even gets off the ground, she thought to herself. With a graceful leap, she took off into the sky, no real destination in mind except for the dark and inviting sky, her mind full of new thoughts to mull about.

As she reached a comfortable altitude (Noticeably higher than what she was accustomed to) she slowed her ascent, coming to a gentle cruise in one of the places where she could feel most comfortable— the night sky. She wouldn’t normally have flown this high up during the day, but in an odd way, having the blanket of darkness around her gave her comfort that she didn’t usually have otherwise, even with Silver. Despite her wishes otherwise, the observatory likely wasn’t reopening anytime soon, and she’d just have to deal with that. She didn’t have to give up though, she just had to work hard toward this new goal.

“Okay, observatory job is out,” she shook her head, taking a deep breath and letting herself relax, “Guess we’re going with the finding something else route.”

The memory of the numerous help wanted signs that were plastered in the windows of some of the businesses near the scrapyard popped back into her head again, earning a scowl as she remembered the state of some of those businesses.

I’m not that desperate, she mused to herself, thinking back to the distinct lack of any such signs on this side of town.

“I don’t even really need a job anyways,” she said aloud, glancing back down to the building from her position in the sky. A deep sense of longing filled her, pulling at her heart and soul and earning another sigh, “Okay, maybe I do. I mean I could always just buy a new one…” she trailed off, considering the opportunity she might be able to wriggle her way into, “Buuuuuut I could also work my way into an actual observatory… even if it’s just a community one.”

With her mind made up, she swooped over toward the direction of the part of town she had left Silver in, and dove toward it, her hopes high that she’d be able to find at least something that’d get her some semblance of an income.

Scarlet let out an annoyed whinny as she trotted out the door of one of the nicer looking buildings on the otherwise run down street. This had been her fifth attempt at trying to see if anyone was willing to hire a night pony, and so far they had all ended with a polite, but stern We’re not hiring.

“Not hiring ponies is more like it,” she grumbled, giving an angry flick of her tail as if to emphasize her frustration to the empty street.

She took a breath and sighed, glancing over at the last two options she realistically had. A shady looking gas station or a seedy looking motel, neither of which looked particularly appealing to her. With another drawn out sigh, she turned toward the motel, seeing it as her only real option.

She glanced into the street out of habit, not really expecting too many cars to be driving around right now, and trotted toward the faded stucco building, grimacing at the dead planters that sat out front, which she could have only imagined had once looked beautiful back in their heyday. In fact, she could have imagined that this whole town had once been beautiful… time just hadn’t been kind to it.

Remember Scarlet, don’t judge a book by its cover, she mentally prepped herself. She took a glance up at the grimy, but perfectly intact front door with a brightly colored HELP WANTED sign proudly on display, and pulled it open, hearing a dull bell ring as she stepped in.

An older looking woman with graying hair glanced up from the magazine she was reading, and seemed to do a double take at the sight of the night pony. The room smelled of stale cigarettes and looked as if it hadn’t been updated since the day it was furnished, tempting Scarlet to scrunch her muzzle up in disgust. Not wanting to offend the woman, (and likely dash her hope of getting this job,) she put on the warmest smile that she could muster and trotted up to the desk, using it to steady herself so she wouldn’t be putting as much weight on her bandaged hoof.

“You lost?” The woman asked inquisitively, but bluntly.

Scarlet shook her head, taking note of the woman’s surprisingly pristine name tag that read Mildred, “Nope. It’s gonna sound weird, but I’m actually here for that job,” she gestured back over to the door, “I know it’s probably weird to you, but I’ve been trying to put some cash away for something.”

Mildred stared at her for a few moments, making Scarlet acutely aware of how much she stood out here, “This isn’t some joke, is it?”

“Of course not,” she replied, almost offended that this woman would assume that.

“Because ponies don’t usually get jobs,” she continued, an almost annoyed tone carrying in her voice.

“Well this one is,” Scarlet countered, resisting every urge to roll her eyes or really speak her mind. She flashed her forced smile again, “Look, I know it’s weird, but trust me. I’m not some communal farmer, and I’m not gonna go protect some field for a cut of the harvest. I just need a job that pays actual money and if it’d be an issue having me up here then I’ll gladly go work laundry or housekeeping or something,” she pleaded, trying not to sound too desperate.

She didn’t really want to work in either of those departments, but it was that or the gas station, and she really didn’t want to have to resort to that option.

“Think it’s worth giving me a chance?” She politely asked.

Mildred sat there for a moment, clearly considering just turning her away, an outcome which Scarlet was bracing herself for, but much to her surprise the woman nodded, “Just hang out here. I need to go talk with someone.”

Scarlet’s eyes widened in surprise, more out of shock than excitement, but it was at least a step further than she had gotten before. Not a bad sign, but also not a confirmation of anything… yet.

Not really having anything else to do, Scarlet took another look around the room, taking in the detail of the quaint lobby. It was old and outdated… and that was putting it very lightly. For one, the furniture of the place was old, faded, rickety, and clearly hadn’t been touched or really even cleaned in a very long time. Being the only one in the room, Scarlet freely scrunched up her muzzle, glad that she didn’t take a seat on the worn down couch. The wallpaper was peeling in a few areas, but surprisingly well maintained… at least compared to the rest of the room’s condition. Water lines ran down a corner of the wall, making it all but evident that the roof had some serious problems, which at least wouldn’t be much of an issue out in the desert valley.

Finding it hard not to pick apart the place, she stole a glance at the worn down shag carpet, which was torn in more than a few places, and haphazardly patched up in even more. Giving another grimace, she shifted on her hooves, no doubt sure that the carpet hadn’t seen a good cleaning in years. Just looking at the whole place made her feel as if she needed a good bath, and she couldn’t wait to have that chance. She could live with this though. It was just a job, a job that was going to be temporary. It’s better than the gas station, she mentally reminded herself.

The loud creak of the door behind the desk pulled her attention front and center, making her ears perk up and her thoughts of disgust momentarily fade away.

“So you’re the pony looking for a job, eh?” A significantly older looking woman with white hair asked.

Scarlet nodded, “That’s me alright.”

“Mhmm… I’m Sherry, the manager here. Do you know how to use a computer?”

Scarlet glanced down at her hooves, “Probably not the best with these,” she held a hoof up, “But if you need me to, then I can learn.”

Another thought ran through her head. She had seen Silver awkwardly using his wings to type on his phone just a day prior, which gave her an idea, “But— I might be able to use my wings to type away too,” she offered, flexing one of the appendages.

“We don’t see a whole lot of activity here at night, so plenty of time to learn either way.”

Scarlet’s brow furrowed, “So…”

“So, let’s just say you’ve got the job.”

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