• 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 25: All Work and Some Play

The deafening silence that had earlier embraced Scarlet was now starting to fade away as the sounds of both nature and man started to pick up more. It was still too early for the majority of the humans to be out, but this area was home to more than a handful of early birds it seemed… and that only annoyed Scarlet even more. Not to say there was anything wrong with being up early and starting your day before the sun had even risen… but Scarlet wasn’t in the mood for random stares and whispered conversations about the weird mean looking pony sitting on the cold concrete bench in the less than pristine part of town that she most definitely did not want to be in this time of night. In all fairness, nothing was actually keeping her there aside from the fact that she didn’t have her phone to message Silver with. Sure, she could always trot on over and knock on the door to get her answer that way… but she didn’t even know whether anyone else would be there at this hour, and didn’t want to get Silver in trouble on the off chance that there was. No, she just had to be patient and wait for Silver to get off work, which would hopefully be sooner than later.

Scarlet tapped her hoof on the cracked concrete, trying her best to stay patient. As is often the case though, that was infinitely easier said than done, especially in the mood she was in now. She found it hard to place her exact mood, because it was drifting in that nice little gray area between being tired, frustrated, and pissed off. Her first night at her new job had gone as well as it could go— meaning it was quiet and boring, but easy enough for her to deal with, the disgusting environment and indifferent supervisor aside. Mildred had gone over the basics of her job, making it clear that she probably wouldn’t do much aside from playing solitaire on the front desk computer, or at least that was what Scarlet guessed based on how the older woman spent the bulk of her night, leaving her little in the way of an actual understanding of what she was going to do, and more with the impression that that meant she’d be doing most of the work while the human slacked off.

She glanced up at the slowly brightening night sky, debating on whether it was worth taking another flight to clear her mind and burn off some aggressive energy, or whether she should just stay right in her place. As she considered this, she took notice of her stallion trotting out of the scrap yard’s small office building, a decidedly cheerful look plastered on his face in stark contrast to her more than likely sour one.

Thank God he’s not gonna keep me waiting any longer, she thought to herself, just wanting to get back home and into her warm comfy bed— after a hot and thorough shower of course.

Putting on her least I’m in a bad mood face that she could muster, which was hard in her current state, she leaped off of the bench and cheerfully trotted up to Silver. Without so much as a hello, she leaned up against him and sluggishly nuzzled up against his neck, taking in his familiar scent, and just happy that she was with another pony.

“How was your night?” she asked, the slight tremble in her voice betraying how hers had gone.

The stallion blushed at the sudden display of affection and returned the embrace, “Pretty good. Gotta say, I wasn’t expecting it to be all that great, but it was actually kinda neat,” he looked up at her, taking notice of her body language that more than likely clearly betrayed her actual mood, “I’m guessing yours wasn’t as nice?” He shifted into a more comforting tone.

“Ha,” she laughed, “You could say that,” she flicked her tail in annoyance, “The observatory’s out for now, but I managed to pick up a job at the seediest motel imaginable. It’s like that place couldn’t be any more cliché if it tried.”

Silver slowly nodded in understanding, clearly trying to gauge how best to handle this. He shifted his expression into a caring one and embraced her tighter, “Aaaaaand I’m gonna guess it wasn’t your first pick…” he winced in sympathy.

Scarlet let out a sarcastic laugh, “Oh hon, this place wouldn’t even be my hundredth pick… but it was the only one willing to hire a night pony.”

Silver softened his expression and nudged her along, “Why don’t we chat about it on the way home? I don’t know about you, but I could go for some before bed cuddles.”

She nodded in agreement, “After I take a nice hot shower. Just sitting in that place made me feel like I was absorbing all the grime and dirt in the world.”

“That bad?” He chuckled, “You know, you don’t have to stay there if you don’t want to. I can set enough aside for what we need for right now.”

“No,” she agreed, “I don’t have to, but I want to. At least until I can get a nice little nest egg stashed away. There’s some stuff I want to organize around the library so we can get the observatory open, and that’s gonna make it all worth it in the end. I just have to keep telling myself that there’s that awesome light at the end of the tunnel.”

“That’s the spirit!” He playfully jabbed her side, “just gotta look at the bright side there.”

“And then I can never set hoof in that place again,” Scarlet added, with an almost gleeful tone that clearly emphasized her dislike of the establishment.

“Exactly,” Silver gently rubbed the base of her wings, “Now how about we get to the part where we fly home and relax for a bit, I’ve got a fun dream related idea in mind for today and I think we’re overdue for a nice fun adventure.”

She flexed her wings and relaxed her tensed muscles, giving the stallion a brief head nod, “Do I want to know what kind of a dream this is? Or should it be a surprise?”

Silver considered this for a moment and met her with a sly smile, “Let’s leave it as a surprise, It’s something we haven’t done in a while and I know you’re just gonna love it.”

“Let’s get going then. I’ve been waiting to unwind for hours and I’m ready to do more of that and less of whatever this is…” she waved a hoof around the two.

“Being grumpy and tired in the shady side of town?” He jokingly offered.

Sticking her tongue out at the blue stallion, Scarlet offered a simple “Yep!” Earning a laugh from her stallion.

As annoyed as Scarlet was after work, she couldn’t help but smile, unsure of what kind of adventure she was in store for, but sure that with Silver by her side it’d be a special one.

Obnoxious red lights flashed and warning sirens blared all around, giving Scarlet a dull throbbing headache that she didn’t even think was possible to get in the dream realm.

“This was your idea of a good time?” She yelled over the deafening noise.

Silver nervously glanced around and shook his head, “I didn’t think it was gonna be a nightmare!” He shouted back.

Warning, containment breach detected! A computerized voice robotically announced.

Great, now we’ve probably got some big monster chasing us now, just my idea of a relaxing dream, she thought to herself. She paused and took a deep breath, calming herself down. The breath was completely unnecessary in the dream realm, but she found that going through the motions helped all the same.

“Okay, it’s fine,” she turned to Silver, “So dream boy, what do we do now?”

The stallion peeked down one of the metal hallways and turned back to Scarlet, “We could abort and go elsewhere but…” he trailed off, glancing back again.

“But… what?” Scarlet asked with a furrowed brow.

“Well…” he hesitated.

“Uh huh?” She pressed on, “You can get it out, I believe in you.”

“Well, it’s a nightmare and I… I don’t know if we should stick around here.”

She let out a loud laugh that cut through the sirens and alarms, “So we’re staying here and helping this pony out then is what you’re saying.”

The hallway rumbled, surprising the two for a brief moment before Silver continued, “Do you want to stay here?” He asked, his voice betraying a mix of emotion that Scarlet found hard to place.

“It’s stay here and help out this pony or leave them to deal with the nightmare on their own so…”

“I figured that’s what you’d say,” he replied with a smile, “You know we’re technically not supposed to dispel nightmares though right?”

“Phobia doesn’t want us to dispel them… which is fine. I can’t do that anyways and you can barely even handle it with smaller ones.”

“Barely even?” He replied with a confident pose? You’d be surprised at what I can do in here now.”

“You been practicing or something?” She laughed, “Alright dream boy, let’s see it in action then. Let’s go help this pony work through her nightmare.”

“You’re still fine with this?”

It would have been a bold faced lie if Scarlet had said yes, because in her mind she wasn’t fine with it… at least not fully. It’s true that she wanted nothing more than to just lay down and relax in some dream, or go explore some serene environment, but a part of her was also secretly overjoyed at having the chance to go running through a nightmare, and that’s the part of her that was coming to the surface right now.

“You promised me a fun time tonight, so let’s see it.”

Silver nodded and waved her along, “Okay,” he closed his eyes for a second and turned toward one of the large metal doors, “The dreamer should be down this hallway, past the turbo lift on the left, and in the bridge. Whether there’s any defenses set up…”

Another loud rumble interrupted them, prompting them to continue, as Scarlet could only imagine that whatever creature was loose was inevitably going to track them down, and she sure wasn’t ready for that.

“Down the hallway, past the turbo lift, and up to the bridge. Got it,” she replied, tapping her hoof against the metal grate that made up the floor, “So what’ll it be then? Mad dash to the bridge or stealthily navigate it?”

Silver considered this for a moment before shaking his head, “Probably mad dash to the bridge. This is a pretty detailed dream, but it’s not my kind of detailed dream,” he concluded, tapping a hoof to a nearby vent and pointing inside, “It’s all just visual, there’s nothing we can sneak through.”

Scarlet peeked into the vent (or what she had previously thought was an actual vent) and gave a silent nod of understanding, “Okay,” she looked back up at him and the hallway beyond, “Lead the way then Mr. Navigator.”

“Mr. Navigator?..” he questioned, shaking his head and trotting forward, “Okay!”

The pair began a steady trot down the dim hallway, the amber lights bathing them in a warm glow, but it still seemed infinitely darker than it should have been. This was always the weird thing about dreams. Endless hallways that led to nowhere, stairs that seemed straight out of an Escher painting, or in this dream’s case: doors and vents painted onto walls that gave the impression that the ship they were running around in was actually a living breathing space. In reality, like many dreams that weren’t specifically crafted, this place was merely more like some fantastical movie set; designed to only show what was meant to be seen, and nothing else.

Scarlet never really concerned herself with this kind of thing. She much more preferred to spend her dreams the way they were meant to be played out. However, having a stallionfriend like Silver— who was eager to explore and learn about every facet of dream magic that he could (even managing to do things that regular night ponies seemingly couldn’t, as small as they were), meant that she was given more than her fair share of glimpses behind the metaphorical dream curtains.

Dreams were weird, she admitted. But as the two ran down this hallway ducking into cubby holes and avoiding exotic looking creatures, she could see what drew Silver to them. In the waking world, the idea that you could do anything you dreamed of was always just a clever optimistic phrase meant to emphasize that someone could do seemingly anything if they put their mind to it, but in the dream realm that was literally the reality. There was no chance that the two could ever go on the kind of adventures they embarked on in here out there, and that’s exactly the kind of creative canvas that she knew Silver relished.

She knew from their first day spent in the dream realm that he was the caring and creative type, but he didn’t exactly have the best outlet for his hobby in the waking world like she did (or previously did before her telescope had been damaged), and his dream magic gave him all of that and more. As high octane and energetic as this dream was, it scratched an itch that Silver didn’t really have a chance at scratching while awake, and she could appreciate that. This wasn’t just an adventure for adventure’s sake, it was Silver sharing everything he loved about his hobby with her, just like she often did with him, and that only managed to bring them closer, even in an alien environment like the one they were running through now.

“Okay,” He whispered, somehow still being able to be heard over the sirens, “See that big door up ahead?”

Scarlet looked toward where he was pointing with a hoof and nodded. The door was sparking and opening slightly every few seconds, halted by the body of one of the creatures that had broken containment.

“Let me guess, we’re gonna have to slide under that and not get crushed or eaten by a monster?” She replied.

“I… Uh… am I really that predictable?”

“It’s video game logic,” she shrugged, taking note of his confused expression, “What? Didn’t you ever just get into gaming to blow off some steam?”

“I— well, yeah, but I guess I didn’t…”

“Expect the bookish mare with her head in the stars to be into that sort of thing?” She finished for him with a sly smirk, “Oh hon, you’d be surprised at the hobbies I used to have.”

“Like…” he paused, “Okay, we can share more of our hobbies later… you better bet I’m finding us something to play when we get up though!”

She shook her head and laughed, “Can’t wait.” Scarlet narrowed her gaze at the door and gave a confident nod, “Okay, so there’s no creatures running about in this section… except for the dead one under the door.”

“Timing seems steady enough too,” he observed.

“Two drops down and then it stops, shoots up, and repeats,” Scarlet commented on the door’s pattern, “Giving us about two seconds to slip in. Cutting it close, but it’s a dream and I’m sure we’ll be safe enough.”

Silver flashed a nervous glance, “I… I don’t know, something inside of me doesn’t want to find out if you’re wrong.”

“All the more reason to nail it then,” she laughed, “It’s that, or you leave this poor frightened pony alone in a nightmare without helping them work through it.”

Silver seemed on the fence, but looked back at the door with a confident look on his face, “We wouldn’t be very good night ponies if we left then, would we?”

“Some would say it’s better to leave them alone and let them work through whatever’s caused the nightmare,” Scarlet pointed out.

“But we’re not those kind of ponies,” Silver finished, “I know Phobia’s got her whole mentality about this thing, but she’s also the pony advocating for the beneficial role of fear in your life. If you think about it, helping them work through this,” he waved around the room, “is just helping them learn from and work through their fear.”

“That’s the spirit!” She cheered, “Now, you wanna give this a go first or do you want to get shown up by a mare?”

Silver glanced over to the sparking door and then back to the mare and shrugged, “You’re the expert on this apparently,” he gave a sly smirk, “So I’ll let you one up me.”

Scarlet felt a wave of both anticipation and adoration well up inside of her, making her break the sarcastic facade for a moment with a warm smile, “This is the fun part,” she laughed.

She trotted forward, glancing to the sides of the hallway before directing her gaze back to the door. Two drops down and then it stops, shoots up, and repeats, she mentally repeated back to herself, taking note of the door’s timing and pattern. Seeing the right opportunity come up, she ran forward and dove down, sliding through the barely open space and whipping her tail through just before the door slammed down again.

While it’s true that Silver probably could have just paused the dream if he had really focused hard enough, she had to admit that this made the experience more fun, and if she was going to explore this dream with him then they might as well play by its rules.

She leaped up and did a happy trot in place before looking through the glass and smirking at Silver, “Your turn!” She teased.

The stallion took a few slow steps forward and kept his eyes on the door, following its motion like a hawk tracking its prey. She giggled at the adorable expression he was making and watched as he finally ran forward and slid under, narrowly missing the door on its harsh return down.

With unexpectedly shaky hooves, Silver stood up and nodded, “You beat me.”

“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow, letting out a snicker, “This is a game now?”

He playfully punched her in the shoulder, “It was a game the second you decided to stick around here. And guess what, that was the final trial,” he gestured to the door, “At least it should be.”

“This is a big cliche sci-fi nightmare,” Scarlet reminded him, “You just know there’s going to be a big cliche sci-fi nightmare boss fight up ahead when we get there— assuming we’re not going to interrupt it.”

“Well,” he glanced down the hallway toward the even larger door ahead, “There’s only one way to find out…”

As the pair stepped into the ship’s bridge the alarms and sirens seemed to fade away into the background, giving Scarlet a much needed respite from the irritating sound. Instead, the loud noises were replaced by the sounds of a frantic purple night pony firing some strange energy weapon at a large alien queen, a sight that both terrified and excited Scarlet.

“I told you so,” she teased, playfully jabbing Silver’s side.

“You two just gonna sit there or are you gonna help?!” the purple mare with a striking red mane called down to them.

Silver flashed a confused look and then glanced to Scarlet, who gave him an equally confused look of her own. The other mare’s sudden shout more than likely meant that she was aware of the dream… and she was running through it just like Silver liked to do. This told Scarlet something else as well: this mare was fully aware of her nightmare and was actually running through it instead of immediately dispelling it...

“What uhh…” Silver started, shouting up to the mare.

“Grab an energy lance from the rack and get your tails over here, it’s got a weak spot under the belly but it’s hard to hit when it’s moving!” She grunted.

As Silver ran to the rack, Scarlet eyed the creature, noticing the bright glowing spots under its belly that the mare had described.

Bright energy beams shot out from behind her, striking the creature, but missing the weak spots entirely. Silver evidently wasn’t as good of a shot as he thought he was, even with the strange magical dream weapon he had strapped to his arm.

“This is actually kind of cool!” He excitedly exclaimed, sliding Scarlet one.

Scarlet tapped a hoof to the strange, circular device, jumping back as it quickly liquified and wrapped around her hoof, solidifying into the same form as the one on Silver’s forehoof.

“I…” she started, giving Silver a confused look.

“Just point and think about firing, trust me.”

Scarlet raised an eyebrow but didn’t question him further, instead choosing to aim toward the creature. With an electric spark, the hoof mounted device shot out, striking the creature’s weak spot with a bright flash.

A loud scream echoed out, shaking the walls and windows, threatening to crack them apart. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but what did happen was the creature being thrown into a wild frenzy that was now dangerously close to hitting them. The mare jumped out and pushed both Silver and Scarlet back, giving Scarlet reason to shout out in anger for a brief moment as she was harshly thrown against the wall.

Sensation in the dream realm was never quite what it was like in the waking world, but that still didn’t mean the action didn’t hurt, and she wasn’t afraid to really speak her mind on it.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing?!” She shouted back at the purple mare who had leapt into the creature’s path.

Before she had a chance to even reply to Scarlet’s angered questioning, she was consumed by the creature in a bright flash of lights and menacing roar, giving Scarlet a momentary feeling of dread followed by confusion as she realized that this must have been according to some plan… at least that’s what she hoped. Because what reasonable pony would just willingly do something like that, even if it was within a dream? Before she had a chance to question it further, the creature suddenly burst apart in a gory mess of entrails and liquified goop, that she was thankfully able to duck under a console to doge in a surprise, almost reflexive move. Silver however, clearly wasn’t as lucky at all, at least that’s what she could guess based on his coughing, curses, and loud sounds of disgust. As she slowly poked her head out of her hiding place, she let out a snicker before flashing the stallion a sympathetic look from a distance as he loudly retched in disgust.

“My mouth was open!” He exclaimed, looking more green than his usual midnight blue… That is, more green underneath the bits of liquified alien queen.

The purple mare trotted up and shook like a dog that had just gotten out of a mud puddle, shaking the goop and entrails all over the place, which miraculously missed Scarlet entirely. Brushing her mane out of her eyes, she extended a hoof in greeting before noticing the pair’s disgusted expressions and blushed.

“Guess I owe you a greeting now, eh? I’m Morgana… Morgana Darkshadow.”

Silver nodded, still looking nauseous, but less so than before, “Nice to meet you… I’m guessing you’re into this kind of thing then?”

“Nightmares?” She asked, “You could say that. In fact, I love em! Maybe even as much as Phobia Remedy herself!”

“So you’re a Phobia fangirl then?” Scarlet interjected.

“In a way,” Morgana agreed, “The Warden of Fear’s words have true value to them, especially when you live in an area that’s dangerous,” she seemed to trail off, as if lost in thought. Perking up, she continued, “Fear keeps me strong and safe, and my nightmares give me insight into my flaws giving me a chance to better myself out there. In the place where they can harm me.”

Scarlet couldn’t help but let out a small snicker. Silver was into some strange mediums of fun in the dream realm, but this mare clearly gave him a run for his money.

“Interesting…” Silver trailed off, “So did you make this? Or did your subconscious?” He asked, gesturing around at the grisly scene, “The detail’s fascinating and I’ve never seen a pony embrace a nightmare like this before… it was almost… fun?” He said with a smirk.

“A little bit of both,” she explained, “The mind made the broad strokes of it all and I just painted in some of the details. I’ve been doing this for a while now.”

“Look at that Silver, you’re not the only one making your own crazy dreams to play in,” Scarlet laughed.

“You’re into this kind of thing too?” Morgana asked with a curious expression, “Dream crafting that is,” she clarified.

“Well yeah,” Silver proudly stated, “I haven’t been doing it for long, but I’ve been giving it a spin a lot more lately— and I think I’m getting pretty good at it.”

“Would you care to share it?” she asked, stirring a weird protective urge inside of Scarlet, “If your marefriend is okay with it, that is.”

Scarlet flushed a surprised look, unsure of whether something in her body language had betrayed her feelings, or whether it had just been an innocent coincidence from out of the mare’s courtesy.

Silver looked over to Scarlet and raised an eyebrow, “What do you say Scar? Wanna head back to that experimental dream I’ve been working on?”

Scarlet shrugged, “That place is… weird, but sure. I’m sure you two will have a ball there.”

“I’ll let you choose the next dream,” he promised, “Even if it’s just a nice relaxing one,” he added.

Scarlet smirked, “That sounds wonderful, Silvie.”

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