• 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 40: The End of Something Small, the Start of Something Big

Scarlet stretched out her back and let out a content sigh as she ran through everything in her head again. Silver was peacefully sleeping in bed, which would normally be a concern to her given that it was almost seven, but considering the medication he was on and the nature of his injury, this was perfectly fine. It was still a weird sight to see, but it was also a blessing in disguise that gave her a chance to go wrap up some other business that needed to be attended to, just as long as she had someone to keep an eye on him.

That someone would be her mother, who thankfully was still awake. She hopped out of bed, being sure not to disturb her sleeping stallion, and trotted over to her mother, who was making herself busy with taking count of the food and ingredients that the pair had.

“Hey mom, mind if I ask a question?”

The older woman raised an eyebrow and ignoring her question, offered one of her own. “You two really don’t have a lot of variety stocked here, do you?”

“What do you mean?” Scarlet asked.

“What I mean is that your fridge is full of fruit and a few eggs and almost nothing else, and your pantry just has some pasta and bread. Don’t you ever change things up?”

A strange realization struck Scarlet, because up until this point neither of them had really considered that they had fallen into the routine of eating basically the same few dishes every week.

“Oh, that,” an embarrassed blush blended into her already dark red face, “guess we never thought much about that.”

Her mother shook her head and laughed, “Your sister really got all my love of cooking, eh?”

“Guess so,” Scarlet laughed, “but I got your creativity and smarts.”

“Well you two could really use a fresh selection don’t you think?”

“Maybe,” she paused, “but we don’t really have a grocery budget for that kind of thing. We get what we can get from the farmers in town and live just fine with it, but thanks for the concern though.”

“Well let me treat you then. I’ll run down to the store sometime tomorrow and get you all sorts of goodies.”

“You really don’t have to, mom,” Scarlet insisted.

“Sure I do, if I’m going to help out around here then I’m going to spoil you both. Anything you like in particular?”

Scarlet was about to protest further but realized the futility of it. Instead she simply shook her head, “Something with mango and pineapple wouldn’t be bad. We really love those.”

“Something that isn’t more fruit? You guys have a lot of that already.”

Scarlet let out a small sigh and rolled her eyes, “Mom I just started getting used to the fact that almost everything I used to enjoy eating as a human is off the table now, so of course we’re going to stock up on fruit and other things that aren’t going to make us throw up all over the place.”

“There’s got to be something else you can eat though, don’t you think? I don’t want to tell you how to live your life or anything, but you should really switch things up.”

She began to lick her lips as thoughts of all of the junk food she had avoided for the last few months floated through her head, “Maybe some chips and other snacks? Haven’t had those in a while.”

“So nothing nutritious then… Okay, I’ll figure something out on my own then.”

“Thanks mom,” she started towards the door but paused. “Also, I really need to go talk with those other ponies that were here earlier, mind keeping an eye on Silver while I’m out? It won’t be too long, I promise.”

Scarlet’s mother looked over towards the sleeping stallion and nodded, “Sure. But I don’t want to stay up all night so try and be back sooner than later, okay?”

“Will do, shouldn’t be long at all,” Scarlet replied as she jumped into a hug.

Trotting out of the cabin, she leaped up into the evening sky and dove into a low glide towards Sine Wave’s shared cabin. The cool air sent a momentary shiver down her spine as she flew up and into the inky blackness. These brief moments were often her favorite, and even though tonight’s flight would only last a few minutes at most, she still relished in the serenity offered by it.

A light on the outside of the small cabin below confirmed what Scarlet was wondering— that Sine was actually home and not out and about. She’d have been lying if she said she didn’t wish that her flight could be extended, but at the same time her mother’s loosely imposed time limit made her journey just ever so slightly more pressing. Given the time of night and the blanket of darkness that covered the rest of the village, Scarlet could only assume that the mare’s roommate was still asleep. This wasn’t an issue however, because after all this was only going to be a quick visit.

Gently dropping onto the ground, (keeping her injured hoof free from the impact) she was surprised to see Sine sitting under the covered area outside with a surprising assortment of old Nintendo and Sega cartridges carefully stacked on the table beside her. The mare sitting alone wasn’t surprising, Sine often wandered around late at night on her own, even on nights where she hung out with the couple, but her current action was definitely something that Scarlet hadn’t seen from her.

Noticing her presence, Sine flicked her ear slightly but didn’t look up from the screen. “Heya Red, you two make up your minds?” She asked as she tapped a few buttons on the controller with some weird stick strapped to her hooves.

“Are you…” she watched the colorful spaceship sprites dance across the screen in awe, losing her words for a moment.

“Playing a game? Yep. Citrus Head got tired of me doing this inside at night so I set up my own little rig out here for that.” She paused the game and looked over at Scarlet, “Wanna join in?”

“In the game?”

“No, in sitting around outside in the dark— of course Red, this stuff’s more fun with friends anyways,” she smiled, and offered Scarlet a nearby controller and a strap of her own.

Scarlet stared at the square Nintendo controller for a few moments before reaching towards it. Brushing a hoof against the aged plastic, “How does this work with hooves?”

“Simple. You take that strap and put it on your hooves and then you can press the buttons nice and easy. Then you just have fun and play the game.”

“And it really just works that well?” She eyed the weird cobbled together accessory.

“As well as it can,” Sine admitted. “I still want to make a more pony friendly design sometime. This kind of stuff is what really caught my eye before ETS.”

“Playing games or designing controllers?” Scarlet asked as Sine started up a new two player game.

“A little bit of both. I’ve never really said it to anypony, but before ETS I was really into this kind of stuff. Played in local tournaments, collected God knows how many years worth of memorabilia, all that sort of crazy stuff.”

“Huh, I never would have guessed that to be honest.”

“Not a lot of ponies do,” she shrugged. “But what does it matter to them? A lot of them see it as worthless crap now, but not me. I grew up playing these kinds of games because we never had a lot of money and secondhand stuff was the best we could get, and in all honesty I really prefer it more to all the big flashy expensive stuff.”

“Doesn’t this stuff get pretty expensive too though?”

“It can if someone knows what it’s worth,” she nodded, “but deals aren’t that hard to find. Besides, I might be a little biased, sue me,” she emphasized by sticking her tongue out.

“Guess it worked out in the end though, I feel like this kind of stuff is weirdly almost more accessible now.”

“Bingo, Red.” She smiled, “Simple controls while still having engaging and fun gameplay. Maybe it’s dumb but I’d love for this to really make a comeback. Maybe even to the point that I could make my own games sometime.”

She started up the game and Scarlet’s attention was drawn to the flashing colors and sprites, “Wouldn’t that be cool?”

“It would be more than cool, Red. Ponies are social, and what better place to be social at than an arcade, you know?”

Scarlet’s mind drifted to the memories of the tiny arcade at the mall that she had visited as a kid, which while even on its way out, was still one of the most oddly comforting places she had visited regularly back then. Scarlet looked away from the screen for a moment and nodded, “I think it’d be really cool, but isn’t that stuff a little… hard to find though?”

“A little. Helps that I had my own modest collection though, and that storage locker is the one and only thing I’ve been funneling my cash into through all of this.”

“You have a whole storage locker full of arcade games?”

“I wish. I’ve got maybe four cabinets and a few old boards I scrounged together from a bunch of Craigslist and eBay listings. But if I had any kind of prized possessions, those would be them.”

“Right…” Scarlet trailed off as her thoughts lingered on what Sine had said. “So that’s why you were waiting to see what we said then, right?”

“Part of the reason. But I also meant what I said about sticking together. I know we don’t always hang out all the time, and I know that you and I aren’t like best friends or anything, but it’s nice hanging around with other night ponies… really makes you realize how lonely it can get when there’s so few of us.”

The sounds of the game cut through the silence as Scarlet reflected on what Sine had said, and it made her realize something that she might not have seen on the surface. As loud and in your face as she could get, Sine was still just another pony, and the loneliness and constant need for friendship hit her just as hard as it had hit Silver and Scarlet.

Pausing the game, Scarlet looked Sine in the eyes, “You know, I’m really glad you and I could chat about this. I guess it made me realize something I didn’t really think about before.”

“You thought I was just some crazy in your face pony that has a weird sense of humor, right?”

A feeling of guilt passed through her as she nodded, “I won’t lie, that’s kind of how you came off at first.”

“I don’t blame you, because that’s who I am most of the time. It’s just how I’ve always been.”

“But you’re so much more than just that.” Scarlet continued, “You’ve got all of these ideas and ambitions and it really isn’t all that different from what Silver and I want.”

“Aww, now don’t get all sappy on me,” Sine laughed, though her voice also carried the lingering quivers of uncertainty in it.

“I never answered your question,” Scarlet continued, “Silver and I did make up our minds.”

“And you’re staying?” The other mare guessed.

“Is it that obvious?”

She shrugged, “A little. I know you two weren’t just being lovey-dovey for the fun of it. You’re starting a family, and a big move when you’ve barely just settled down is hard— even harder if there’s a foal thrown into the mix.”

“I…” Scarlet paused, “It is, and I think what makes it hard is that everything is just happening so fast. The world changes, we change, we find something special, and now we’re at that crossroad where we want to do one thing, but we also want to do another.”

“So relax and take it easy then. Starting a family is a big deal, running off on some adventure with a couple of mad scientists isn’t. It’s not like you can’t change your minds later on.”

Scarlet pulled Sine into a tight hug, “Thanks Sine, I think I just needed to hear something like that. If anything, just to clear my head a bit.”

“It’s all good Red, that’s what friends are for, right?”

“Right,” Scarlet smiled. “So how about a round two then?”

Sine raised an eyebrow, “Think you’re gonna beat my high score?”

“Maybe,” Scarlet replied with a smirk, “guess you’ll have to wait and see.”

The gaming session with Sine Wave turned hours into minutes, and for the first time in a while Scarlet felt completely relaxed and at peace. Guilt at the thought that she had completely disregarded what her mother had asked for hung over her as she returned home, but after explaining her extended absence to her mother, she had understood. Explaining the need for interaction and the strong emotions felt by ponies (and even more so with night ponies) was never easy for humans to understand, but her mother had tried her best to look at everything with an open mind.

With that stress out of the way, her thoughts had drifted back towards Silver. It wasn’t to say she didn’t feel peaceful and relaxed with Silver, but work stress mixed with both of their injuries meant that there were very few opportunities for her to just sit back and clear her mind on her own for a while. In a strange turn of events, that gaming session sparked the fire of a hobby that she hadn’t indulged in in a very long time, and that gave her a long neglected sense of longing for the chance to play again.

She had always enjoyed sitting back and playing a good game every now and again, but that had become a hobby that she had lost time for as she buried herself in her schoolwork, and just the feeling of getting lost in a game again made her excited that Sine (and her surprisingly robust collection of vintage games) was sticking around with them for the foreseeable future.

She couldn’t help but smile at the idea of playing games with Silver, as dumb as it was. It was a simple pastime but one that could at least inject some much needed happiness into the stallion’s recovery. Dragging him over to Sine’s cabin might be an issue though, but with more than one console in her collection and a plethora of games at her disposal, Scarlet figured that she wouldn’t be opposed to letting them borrow a few things.

Silver looked up at her when she came into the room, and did his best to give her a weak smile.

“So, how’d things go?”

“I told Sine about what we decided on and just chatted with her for a while. I was going to head over to the inventors’ camp and tell them everything but Sine said she’d pass along the message so I could get back to taking care of things here.”

The stallion sat up in bed and nodded, letting out a wince, “Mhmm, that’s good. So what’d you two chat about then? Just boring moving stuff?”

“We actually had a really nice talk about everything,” she trotted over to the bed and gently pushed him back into a more comfortable position. “A little about her past before ETS, the hobbies she likes, stuff about how you and I feel about starting a family… stuff like that, you know?”

He raised an eyebrow, “What’d you tell her about us?”

“Just the stuff that’s obviously out there. We talked about how we were deciding to stay because it’s less stress, better for raising a foal, etcetera. She had a very good point that it’s not like we can’t change our mind down the line anyways, but right now it’s just better for us if we hang out here— especially until we’re both healed and have had a chance to get checked up.”

“That’s good, I’m glad you two got along nicely.”

“Me too,” she agreed. “I didn’t expect that but I feel good about it too. So now for the important stuff, I’m going to make the call and set up some appointments for us. I can get my leg checked on, and so we can figure out what to do with you.”

“And the other stuff?” Silver asked.

“And the other stuff. We’ll get it all figured out. So do you need anything before I go get that set up?”

“Get what set up?” Scarlet’s mother asked as she looked over from her organization.

“Some of the doctor appointments we needed to get figured out. I might need your help with the phone.”

The human shook her head, “You give me the paperwork they had you sign and I’ll get that stuff taken care of.”

“Mom, you don’t need to do that. I’m an adult, I can make my own doctors appointments.”

“I don’t need to but I am. I worked at that hospital for twenty years and I know it like the back of my hand. Trust me, this’ll make it smoother for both of you.”

“But we’re not going back to the hospital.”

“Just trust me, you need to go take care of Silver.”

A weak feeling of embarrassment of having her mother treat her like a kid again flared up inside of Scarlet, but looking back at Silver replaced that with a protective feeling that pushed her towards him.

Deciding that protesting at the former nurse wouldn’t get her anywhere, she nodded, sliding her saddlebags over to her mother without another word spoken.

“There, was it that hard?”

“Nope. Just let me know what they say though, this is kind of important for both of us because you know, this isn’t like dealing with the medical stuff you used to deal with.”

“I will. Now take it easy.” Grabbing the bag, she stepped out of the cabin, leaving the couple alone once more.

“Can you believe her,” Scarlet turned toward Silver, “acting like she’s…”

“Like she’s your mom? Must be nice. Mine hasn’t bothered to even check up on me in months.”

Scarlet’s ears drooped down, “I didn’t mean to bring anything up, I just—“

“Hey, it’s all good.” Silver flashed a weak smile, “she cares a lot about you, you know. Not everypony’s as lucky to have something like that.”

“You’re right. I guess I’m just stressed with everything. It’s still so much to figure out and plan for.”

“Which is why I’m glad we have somepony to help us.”

Someone,” Scarlet corrected, “but maybe you’re right. Gives us a chance to just relax and get the rest we need.”

“And a good excuse to cuddle,” Silver added.

“That too,” Scarlet laughed.

Laying down on the bed, she cuddled up close to him and just enjoyed his presence. Their blissfully quiet stretch of cuddles dragged on for who knows how long before a knock at the door pulled Scarlet’s attention back to the present.

Rolling out of bed, she trotted towards the door and opened it up, finding herself face to face with Tinker.

“Heya Tinker, Sine passed along the message right?”

“Yes, and I just wanted to stop by before we made our final goodbye.” He glanced over to Silver, “Mind if we come in?”

Scarlet stepped aside and nodded, “Yeah, sure.”

The pegasus and his unicorn friend trotted in, wincing in sympathy as they took in Silver’s battered appearance.

“Hey Silver. I’m sure you heard what I just said, but I just wanted to say goodbye, and thank you for all of the help you did.”

The stallion sat up in bed and smiled, “Pleasure’s all mine. Sorry we couldn’t come along with you, but who knows, maybe we’ll make a trip out sometime when things cool down a bit.”

“We’d love to host you. I know you’re probably wondering about what’s going to happen with the project, and I just want to say that we’re not letting that die off. It’s a long ways away from being finished, but it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere close to where it is without your help.”

“Aww, I appreciate the flattery but we all worked hard on the prototype. I mean I really just helped with the wrist straps.”

“Well, that’s still an important part is it not? I still mean what I said, you sacrificed your free time to help work on an old fool’s project and that’s something that means the world to me. I promise you that you’ll get to help finish it in some way whenever we get to that point.”

“Thanks Tinker, I’m glad I could be a part of it.”

He nodded and looked towards Scarlet. With a wave of his wing, Gyro pushed in a large tightly wrapped package that seemed oddly familiar in form, but was otherwise unfamiliar to the mare, “There was another reason why I came here, but I think I’ll let Silver take the lead on this one.”

Silver raised an eyebrow, “Huh? What do you…” he stopped for a moment before a knowing grin spread across his face.

Curiosity filled Scarlet as she picked up on his expression, “What’s up?”

With the help of his magic, Gyro brought the package over to Silver.

Waving Scarlet over, he began to explain, “So, this is something I’ve been working on for a while now, and I wasn’t sure when I’d have a chance to finish it up. Scarlet, I broke your telescope and I’ve felt guilty about it ever since—“

“Which you didn’t need to feel,” she reminded him.

“True, but I still did,” he continued. “You’ve made me the happiest stallion in the whole world but I’ve never been able to make up for that. Soooo…” he pushed the package towards her, “Why don’t you have a look?”

Scarlet eyed the package carefully before judging at the wrapping with a hoof. Digging into it, she was briefly confused before excitement welled up inside of her. What lay in front of her was both familiar and unfamiliar in the best kind of way— it was her old telescope, but all fixed up and seemingly upgraded.

“Silver I…” she started, but a wave of emotion surged through her and all she could think to do was leap into a careful hug, happy tears welling up in her eyes, “I love it so much, thank you!”

The stallion blushed and leaned into her embrace, “I’m so happy you like it, we worked hard to get everything together for it, but it was really worth it.”

Sniffling, her smile never faded as she leaned in close to him, “I really love you, you know that?”

“Of course I do. I love you too Scarlet.”

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