• 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 3: Only the Essentials

Silver sat on the small hill that overlooked his family home, glancing down to his phone every few minutes. It felt so silly to glance down at his phone constantly, it wasn’t like he was just jumping into this out of the blue. He had called his brother early in the morning and asked if he could stop by later in the day. Luckily he was home, and more importantly, his parents weren’t, and surprisingly he was very nonchalant about it. The sun was just barely starting to set over the horizon, and his brother was turning on the lights in the house, a sign that he was home. It felt weird to duck around the property like this, but the truth was that he didn’t feel comfortable or fully welcome, so there was more than a little bit of nervousness on his part. If there was one saving grace to the whole situation, it was that his brother was the only other person in his immediate family who had gotten close to fully transforming, and so he at least understood Silver’s situation to a certain degree.

A week had passed since he had first met Scarlet in his dreams, and since then they had spent each night together, learning more about each other as they explored the different dreams that surrounded them. Silver couldn’t tell if it was just the herd instinct at play or if there was already a genuine friendship forming, but the more time he spent with her the more he loathed returning to the waking world. Being the only pony around that was up all night could be painfully lonely at times, and it only pushed him closer to doing something that he would have formerly thought was incredibly stupid: meeting up with some stranger he only met a week before. If anything it offered him somewhere to get away to for the weekend, and if it turned out that he liked it there, then maybe it was all meant to be.

A small smile spread across his face as he imagined a place where he could fit in and feel at home, though it also brought up a lingering feeling of doubt and anxiety. As weird as it was to say, it was almost as if a small part of his former human self was protesting the idea of just upheaving your entire life and contemplating doing something so big so soon. He couldn’t help but reflect on this for a moment, shrugging as he put more of the pieces into perspective.

His formerly comfortable life here was more or less done, he had burned the last bridge with his parents in the argument that had caused him to leave in the first place, and he was stuck drifting around from place to place, hoping that he could settle into a new sense of normality. It was obvious that the idea was woefully optimistic and moving to a community that was mainly made up of ponies was no doubt the best option he had right now. Sure it was making a quick decision, but he also had nothing to really lose from it.

A shiver ran down his spine as his thoughts returned to the argument. In hindsight it had been something he had sparked on his own, but that wasn’t necessarily hard to do when tensions were strong and he was still getting used to his new aggressive instincts. The snappy replies and aggravated remarks that might have seemed normal to his new self were admittedly maybe not the best to use with his rehumanized family, and he knew that it had only added fuel to the fire.

In retrospect the act that had sparked up that argument wasn’t as big of a deal as Silver had made it out to be, but it still didn’t excuse either of their actions. It was obvious that his parents still loved him, but it would be a lie to say that they weren’t in the camp of humans that wished life could just return to the way it had been before ETS had happened. To Silver, their frustrated remarks and comments read as them saying they cared more about if he was human or not than if he was happy.

The aggressive night pony part of his brain seemed to always latch onto that feeling, and in a matter of weeks he had grown more distant and frustrated until it got to the point where his father had snapped at him over it, implying that becoming a pony had completely changed him from the man they knew into someone that seemed just as alien as they looked. His father’s bad wording had sparked up an argument that grew increasingly heated until Silver had finally let out all of his bottled up emotions, ending the argument with some emotional words that in hindsight were incredibly shallow and uncalled for. Regret had instantly filled him but that didn’t change the fact that both parties had made it clear that they didn’t want to be around each other, so Silver had simply taken off, choosing to venture out on his own until he could either resolve things with his parents or find a place of his own.

Now that time had passed and he had grown more accustomed to his instincts and had gotten better at controlling them rather than the other way around, he couldn’t help but feel regret every time he thought back to that memory. The pony side of him made him want to run back home and apologize, but the protective side of him still felt resentment and anger, even if he knew that it wasn’t fully warranted. None of it made a difference however, it seemed as if his parents had gone out of their way to avoid him at every cost, and at this point it felt like a lost cause to him.

Maybe moving on was the best thing he could do for now? Regardless of what the answer might be, he realized that he couldn’t start his new life on his own, which brought his attention back to the small two story house that sat below him. While he was lost in thought he had failed to notice that the outside light had come on, and as he looked down towards his phone he noticed that sure enough, his brother had replied to him, asking when he was going to stop by again.

He slowly stood up and collected his few belongings, slinging his bag over his back as he leaped into the air and glided down towards the small home, coming to a landing in the soft overgrown lawn. He took a moment to adjust his bag again and trotted towards the front door, knocking on it a few times and stepping back. A few long minutes passed before he heard sounds from within, and he couldn’t help but feel an anxious longing as he waited to greet the person inside.

After what seemed like an eternity to the night pony, the door opened and the tall figure of his brother greeted him with drowsy eyes, “Sorry, was taking a nap. What’s up Josh?”

Silver cleared his throat and nervously looked around, “It’s um, Silver now. But anyways sorry to bother you, I’ll keep it short. Are you still off of work by chance?”

The human scratched his head and slowly nodded, letting out a long yawn, “Yeah, at least until next month when the shop’s back up and running… why?”

“I have a favor to ask.”

Letting out a small chuckle, he slowly shook his head, “Why did I have a feeling that this wasn’t just going to be a friendly visit?”

“So is that a yes?”

The human’s brow furrowed as he looked down towards the pony, “You haven’t even told me what kind of favor it is yet.”

“Oh”, Silver replied in embarrassment, “It’s nothing big, I just need you to drive me somewhere. I promise it isn’t far, it’s just an hour or two away.”

His brother reached down and gently grabbed a wing, “And you can’t use these to get there… why?”

The night pony flexed his wing back in agitation and let out an annoyed sigh, “Because flying around long distances with a lopsided backpack haphazardly strapped to you doesn’t work well. Also I wanted to grab a few things before I go and It would be a lot easier if you could help.”

His brother stepped through the door and slowly walked towards a worn wooden bench that sat near the garden, “Alright alright, simmer down. So where are you going and why do you need to go there all of a sudden?”

Silver followed his brother and laid down in the grass, shifting his bag to the side, “It’s a campground up in Idyllwild, I met a new friend last week that lives up there and they offered to show me around, I figured it’d be a nice change of pace to actually hang out with a night pony that doesn’t treat me like some freak for not wanting to commit an act of mass brainwashing.”

His brother let out a laugh, “So just hold on, you want me to go drive you an hour away to go meet up with some pony you’ve only known for... how many days now? Two?”

“Seven,” he flatly replied. “And yes, weird I know, but they’re like me— a night pony.”

The human paused for a moment, “And none of that seems sketchy to you at all?”

Silver raised an eyebrow, “Why would it?”

“Josh you’ve known this pony for a week and you’re acting like he’s already a trustworthy friend, how do you know he really is who he says he is?”

“She, and it’s a night pony thing, you wouldn’t understand. Trust me on this,” he replied with a smile. ”You know how you said sometimes it was easier just to go along with something instead of asking a bunch of questions? This is one of those things.”

His brother laughed, “My big brother the big nerd has discovered girls?” getting a glare from Silver.

He rolled his eyes, “Okay fair enough, but what do you mean by it’s a night pony thing though? You’re not going off to join some cult are you?”

Silver flashed him a mockingly confused look as an idea floated into his head, “What do you mean? The night watch isn’t a cult, it’s just a group of night ponies working in secret.”

John stared at him with a confused look, “You know, I was joking about the cult thing… right?”

Silver’s serious facade broke and he burst into laughter, “Yeah, I did. I just wanted to see your reaction.”

His brother shook his head and smiled, “Glad your sense of humor’s still around,” He paused, “So for real though, what’s up?”

Silver nodded, “It’s honestly nothing too crazy, but probably sounds really crazy to a non night pony. We’ve been chatting in our dreams, and she told me a little more about the village she’s in. Invited me over because she’s also the only other night pony there, and figured it’d be better for both of us if we weren’t all alone.”

“Uh huh,” He replied, “Don’t you think you’re moving a little too fast there? Like isn’t this usually how one of those catfishing shows goes?”

Silver shrugged, “I told you it’d sound crazy.” He paused for a brief moment, trying to figure out the best way to form this in a way that wouldn’t sound like he had completely lost his marbles, “Okay, look at it this way. It’s better than all the couch crashing I’ve been doing for the last couple months and it beats being alone. This gives me a place where I can just be around another night pony and not have to feel like a burden to all my friends.”

The human shook his head and sighed, “It’s not a bad point, but that still just sounds weird. I’ll just take your word for it and assume you know what you’re doing.”

“Thanks,” he smiled, “I wish I could explain it more,” He thought back to the dreamwardens that governed the dream realm, and the complicated rules that surrounded both them and it, “It’s just really complicated dream magic stuff that’s hard to explain unless you’ve actually experienced it. Think of it like this,” he gestured between the two and then around the overgrown yard.

“Like what?”

“Like this— like we’re sitting in a place just having a conversation. That’s what dream walking is like.”

The reality of dream walking was way more complicated than his example, but this was probably the easiest way that he could explain it to a non-night pony.

“Right… and you just, like see the other pony? Like in the real world?”

He nodded, “Just like the waking world.”

“And she can’t just pretend to be someone else?”

He shook his head, “Maybe with other ponies, but not to another night pony. Being able to dreamwalk means knowing what’s real and what’s not. It’s like another world, but just… dreamy? I guess that’s the best way to put it.”

John sat there in silence for a few moments, clearly trying to wrap his head around the whole explanation. With a shake of his head and a short chuckle, he continued, “I swear you ponies are way too trusting.”

“Is there a problem with that?” Silver replied with a low growl.

“Aside from you just running off to meet someone you’ve never actually met like some brainwashed lunatic? I guess not. Just don’t come crying to me when you wake up missing a kidney or something okay?”

Silver rolled his eyes, “Okay look John, you’re acting like I’m going to actually go run off and join a cult or something, how is this any different from you meeting up with those weirdos from that online prop making forum? I’m an adult, I know how to take care of myself. I’m the older brother remember? I think that makes me qualified to make my own life decisions and not get hassled by you over them.”

“That was in a public place with plenty of other people around, this is you going up to a secluded campground in the mountains after showing up out of the blue for the first time in months. It sounds pretty sketchy if you ask me,” He let out a deep sigh, “But you’re right. You’re just some small scary horse with anger problems and I’m some big dumb hairless ape right?”

“Oh don’t tell me you’re coming back again with the pro human crap like mom and dad were? I mean really, it’s not like I have a choice at this point, so what if I want to go be around ponies that actually accept me?”

His brother shook his head and reached into his pocket for his keys, “Alright fine.”

“So that’s a yes then?”

“If I say no then you’re just going to try and get there on your own anyways, might as well get you there safely. Now do you have anything you need to grab before we go? Your books? Computer?”

Silver nervously looked towards the house, “They’re not home right now… are they?”

“Nope, they’re off on another weekend getaway so if you want to go grab some stuff then now’s your time to do it.”

Silver nodded, “Okay. I won’t be long then, just need to grab a few things before we go.”

The night pony trotted up towards the door and paused for a moment, remembering the trouble he had before. His brother let out a small laugh and walked towards him, “Betcha wish you had hands eh?”

Silver shrugged, “Not really, I think being able to fly and walking around dreams is a fair trade off if you ask me.”

“If you say so.” He pushed open the door and stepped aside, “Just give me a heads up when you’re ready to go okay?”

“Gotcha,” he nodded, “I promise I won’t be long, just gonna make sure I’m not leaving anything important behind,” Silver replied with a nod.

“Mhmm, take all the time you need.”

Silver carefully climbed up the stairs, almost tripping a couple times as he wasn’t used to climbing stairs with four legs. After a couple minutes and a few hushed curses later, he had reached the top, and he excitedly trotted towards his room.

Much to his relief, the door was already cracked open so he didn’t have to resort to awkwardly fumbling with the handle with his mouth. He slowly pushed the door open and stepped into the cozy room, smiling at the familiarity.

Almost immediately he began to browse through his many possessions, and for a brief moment he wished that he was a unicorn, realizing that packing a bag wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought it would be. As Silver gazed out the large window in his former room, he couldn’t help but feel a small twinge of sadness, knowing that he would genuinely miss the familiarity of it all, the beautiful sight of the mountains in the distance being a strong source of inspiration for him.

He slowly trotted towards the window and gazed up into the sky above. A bittersweet feeling of nostalgia with a dash of sadness filled him, with the thought that he’d be saying a final goodbye to the place he had lived almost his whole life. He knew that he was never coming back before, but now the reality of it started to hit home harder than he imagined.

Seeing no point in delaying the inevitable any further, he began to carefully search through his trinkets and treasures, a wave of memories and emotions flooding back to him as he did so. Silver turned to one of the many shelves that lined the small room, glancing at the bound volumes that were organized before him. He brushed a hoof over the aged books on his shelf, trying to choose only the most important volumes to bring with him. He paused when he reached one of his favorite books, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

A smile spread across his face as he thought back to all the stories that he used to read as a kid, and he began to pick through some of them, finding it hard to pick which ones he would take, and which ones would stay here. Silver knew that the vast majority of what he used to own as a human would serve him no use now, so he decided to take only the essentials with him and leave the rest in the care of his brother. He began to dig through it all, settling on a few choice selections from his private library, his camera, compass, a durable blanket, his laptop, and a few hard drives would more or less be all he needed. He realized that some of this would be harder to travel with, but he was willing to deal with it if it meant that some of his greatest treasures would be safe.

“You almost done there Josh?”

Silver turned towards his brother, “Huh? Oh, yeah. I think I just about have everything I needed.”

“Good, car’s all warmed up, I’m gonna assume you’re not going to pay me back for the gas, so let’s just consider this my repayment for making you drive a few hours to pick me up that one time, sound fair?”

Silver let out a chuckle, “Well I don’t really have anything to pay you back with aside from my old consoles anyways so that’s fair to me.”

Silver looked up at the car and then back towards his brother, “I uhh… don’t suppose you’d be willing to help me get in right?”

“What? Haven’t ridden in a car as a pony yet?”

Silver shook his head, “Nope. I mean I could try climbing my way in, you’d be surprised at how good my wings work for that sort of thing, but I don’t think you’d appreciate me scuffing up your nice clean seats with my wings and hooves.”

The human nodded, “Good point. Give me a second,” He jogged back towards the house and picked up the doormat and returned to the car, dropping the mat in front of Silver, “Wipe your hooves off first.”

The night pony eyed the mat with an annoyed expression, “For real?”

“For real,” He nodded, “I just got this thing detailed, I don’t need you tracking a bunch of mud and grass into it or scuffing up the seats with your hooves.”

He let out a sigh and stepped towards the mat, wiping off his hooves and turning back towards his brother, “Happy?”

“Yep!” The human teased with an exaggerated smile.

“Okay then, mind lifting me up then?”

The human awkwardly reached around Silver and lifted him into the back seat, being careful not to pinch his wings in the process, “There you go, all set. Make yourself comfortable, I don’t think the seatbelt’s going to really work well for you so just try and stay low okay? I don’t need to get a ticket over this.”

Silver laid down on the seat and shifted his bag off, making himself as comfortable as he could. He let out a few yawns and turned towards his brother, who had taken his seat in the front, “Hey John, do you mind if I drop out for a few? I’m kind of running low on energy here, had to get up early after all.”

“You mean I don’t have to listen to you for an hour or two? Oh man why didn’t you say that earlier?”

The night pony rolled his eyes, “Har har, you’re a real comedian you know that?”

“I try my best.”

The night pony shook his head and adjusted in his seat as the car started to move. As his eyes started to close he turned towards his brother one more time, “Thanks again John. I really appreciate this.”

“Sure thing Josh— Silver. Sure thing.”

A smile slowly spread across the night pony’s face as he fell into a deep sleep, thinking about the new life he was embarking on.

Silver opened his eyes and smiled at the familiar dream that greeted him.

“Geez, what took you so long? I was starting to think you suddenly became another pony with how late you fell asleep.”

Silver smirked and turned towards the familiar mare, “Sorry about the wait, had to pick up a few knick knacks from home before I left. My brother’s human, so I figured it’d be best if I worked on his schedule for this.”

“So you’re on your way then?”

Silver nodded, “Yep! Should be like an hour or so before we get there, though I’m sure you can help me pass the time.”

A smile spread across Scarlet’s face, “Well I don’t think we’ll have enough time to go on another dream adventure, but we can definitely chat the time away if you’d like.”

“I’d love that, I’ve been meaning to try and play with my dreams some more, I could try and make us a cool hang out or something if you’d like.”

“Sure, give it a go and let’s see what happens.”

Silver nodded and closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath and focusing on what he wanted the dream to be. He was still new to this, and he found that it helped to visualize something familiar. Immediately his thoughts turned to one of the books he had brought along with him, and when he opened his eyes he found himself in the grand salon of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea… or at least something that borderline resembled it.

The dream was sort of there, not very detailed, but not exactly a blank slate either. Two large windows, a boxy looking thing that he meant to be a pipe organ, and some couches were all that filled the room, but it brought a smile to his face nonetheless.

Scarlet looked around the newly crafted dream and smiled, “Let me guess, the Nautilus? Can’t say I’m surprised you chose this, you did talk my ear off about your favorite stories the other night after all.”

Silver smirked, “I know it’s not much, but hey it’s a start right? It seems like the easiest dreams for me to craft right now are small cramped spaces. Less detail to add in and all that.”

Scarlet nodded as she walked towards one of the couches and took a seat, shuffling around as she tried to get comfortable, “It’s cozy, has a nice feel to it, though maybe next time you could make the couches a little softer.”

“Duly noted,” He trotted over towards her and took a seat on the couch, “So anything fun happening up there that I can look forward to?”

“Well this geeky stallion I met is stopping by for a visit, maybe if he asks nicely I can take him stargazing tonight.”

Silver smiled, “Well, how about it?”

“Hm?” She replied with a smirk.

A small smile spread across Silver’s face, “Could you please take me stargazing tonight?”

“I don’t know, you don’t sound all that excited for it,” She teased.

Silver rolled his eyes, “Pretty please? I promise I’ll be a good student and pay attention to everything.”

“Oh do you now? How do I know you really want to go?”

Silver let out a laugh, “Because we're a couple of dorks and I know you’ll make it interesting and fun for me despite the fact that I haven’t done this in a while and I’ll probably mess things up.”

She smiled, “Well, when you put it that way… Oh alright, I’d love to take you stargazing tonight.”

“I can’t wait. You’re sure this isn’t a bother or anything? I know it’s just such a sudden move up there, I don’t want to be troublesome.”

She shook her head, “Not at all, it’s so boring up here, I’d love to have another night owl around to geek out about the stars with, I’m sure you understand how lonely it gets at night.”

Silver nodded, “Painfully so. But hey that makes all of this worth it. You don’t think it’ll still be lonely with just us two though?”

Scarlet shrugged, “I’m sure it’ll beat being all on our own separately.”

“Good point, well thanks again for inviting me over, I really can’t wait to be around actual ponies again.”

“Of course,” she paused for a moment, as if she was unsure of how to continue, “So what did you actually do before all of this? Didn’t you say you were a teacher or something?”

“Close, a teacher’s assistant at the university, I internerned in the robotics program, we were actually doing some pretty cool research before ETS shut it all down.”

“So a book nerd and a science geek, I think we’re definitely going to be great friends.”

Silver smiled, “And what about your astronomy stuff? I know you said you were in a program, what wound up happening with that?”

She shrugged, “Same as you, ETS came in and swept everything away. I’m not too upset about it though, it was a lot of your boring standard fare college coursework where they don’t let you have fun, if anything it was a blessing in disguise. I’ll take it wasn't quite the same for you though was it?”

Silver shook his head, “Not really. I’m kind of bummed it’ll probably never see the light of day again. We were working on advanced artificial intelligence and robotics, not as cool as it sounds though I’m afraid. Basically we were working on training an AI to control a rover. The project lead, Alex, had a lot of big plans for it, it’s a shame he’ll probably never get to see those come to fruition.”

“I’m guessing he wound up as a pony too?”

Silver nodded, “Yeah, it’s funny. You’d think something like this would bother someone in his position, but he’s always really been into fate and destiny, wasn’t phased by this at all. Wound up turning into a pink unicorn, started calling himself Luxor and kept talking about how he wanted to try and study magic. I swear he’s the most optimistic pony I’ve ever met, gets his dreams crushed by some forced transformation and all he can think about is how he’s going to make the best of it.”

“Sounds like it didn’t bother him too much then.”

“Yeah, no kidding. Maybe I should take a few notes and follow his example, just run off and do what I want to do, you know? It’s like all these other ponies know what they want to do and I’m sitting here trying to figure that out for myself. I’ve definitely met a few interesting characters.”

“Oh? Tell me more.”

“Well the bulk of them seemed to hang out in their own little pockets, were super interested in chasing the vision— well most of them at least, it seemed like almost all of the ponies I came across were interested in following the vision to a T, but I ran into one that actually questioned it, or rather, questioned me about it.”

“So I’ll take it you’re not into the vision then?”

Silver shook his head, “Not entirely. There’s stuff I like about it, like the value of forgiveness, helping others, et cetera, but I know it’s not realistic to fully follow it. More power to the ones that do, and I hope they’ll be successful, but I don’t personally think it’ll work out as perfectly as the vision painted it to be.”

“So what did they question you about?”

The stallion shrugged, “Well, what I thought about it, why I only chose to follow parts of it, that sort of stuff. I think his name was Lunar… something? Dusk maybe? It’s kind of embarrassing that I can’t remember it right now.”

“Hey you’re just a pony, nothing wrong with making a mistake here and there,” she consoled.

Silver shrugged, “Still kinda embarrassing if you ask me. I mean he must have been one of the first ponies I had run across that seemed interested in doing more than just what the vision told them. I think there were only one or two others who fell into that category at the time, some pony named Stardust was one, and the other’s name escapes me. He went by a human name though, and I still run into the two in dreams occasionally.”

“Just not as much as me I’m guessing?” She asked with a smile.

Silver nodded, “Yep, you’re my best dream friend.”

“That’s what I thought.” She smirked, “So what kind of stuff were they into then?”

“Some kind of interesting stuff,” He smiled, “Stuff like making their own place in the world, and well, I couldn’t fault them for that. It’s a cool idea, and It’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now. In hindsight it probably would have been smart to tag along with them, but I guess I just didn’t think about how lonely it would be if I didn’t. In the end I invited that Dusk guy into my camp for a few days but he parted after the interview, had some big plans of his own it seemed. It definitely gave me some inspiration to go off in my own direction, especially after feeling like I had missed that message a couple times before, though if I’m going to be honest I don’t really know where that’ll take me.”

Scarlet smiled, “Well you’re on your way here, I hope that’s a step in that direction.”

Silver perked up, “Oh absolutely! As much as I’d love to get back into those projects I’ve got enough of a direction to go in after ETS to at least keep busy.”

“What kind of stuff do you have in mind?”

Silver looked away, “Well it probably sounds silly, but I want to learn more about my dream magic, It’s a long story but I’ve got big dreams for what I want to do with it— no pun intended.”

“A long story eh? Well I’ve certainly got time to listen.”

Silver hesitated for a moment, “You sure? It’s probably really boring.”

Scarlet shrugged, “Maybe? But so is stargazing to a lot of ponies, so we can be boring together.”

Silver smiled, “I like the sound of that, well I guess let me start at the beginning… it all started the night before the counter spell, when I wound up meeting someone that really gave me some encouragement for where to go next…”

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