• 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 43: Ponies Helping Ponies

Sharp aches and pains jolted through Silver as his consciousness slowly returned to the waking world. As weird as it was to think of it that way, in a sense, a part of him was traveling to an entirely different realm when he slept. In his current state, he had been doing a lot of that— being stuck in bed with few other sources of entertainment meant that small excursions to the dream realm both while awake and sleeping were becoming ever more common in his life.

Of these two options, sleep was definitely his preferred because it dulled the pain significantly more, with little of it bleeding over to the dream realm as a result. Sitting up, he let out a pained groan, earning a concerned glare from his marefriend, who quickly abandoned the notebook she was toiling away on to trot over to his side.

“Morning, how’re you feeling?” she asked with a compassionate but hushed tone to her voice.

Taking note of her tone, Silver glanced over at her sleeping mother and lowered his voice to a raspy whisper. “Still feel like I was kicked by a horse, but it’s aching a little less than before.”

“Good.” She smiled and looked back towards the notebook, “Just an FYI, I’ve been poking around at some of the observatory fundraising stuff some more, so I might have to take a little field trip later.”

“Yeah? Well, maybe we can go for a little night flight, and you can tell me all about it.”

“Nice try,” she laughed, “Doc said no flying until the follow-up, and I’m not going to budge on that.”

Silver sat up in bed and flexed an uncomfortably stiff wing, “It’s been days, though, and I really ought to stretch them out some more.”

“Then you can stretch them out when you go take a shower, but I’m not going to let you make your injury worse by flying and overexerting yourself.”

“What about a little glide then?” he proposed. “That wouldn’t be putting too much pressure on it.”

“Nope,” she refused, “I can call the doctor up and ask about wing exercises, but until I hear back from her, then that’s a hard no.”

Silver let out a deep sigh, “Okay, fine. How about we just take a little trot outside then and look at the stars? That doesn’t count as overly strenuous activity.”

“If you want to do that, then we can do that, but I’m going to set everything up, and you’re going to take it easy, got it?”

“Got it.” He stole a glance over towards the bathroom and then back to Scarlet, “Mind helping me up? Might as well get the shower out of the way.”

“Right now?”

“If it’s not too much trouble. I can go shower myself; I just need help getting out of bed.”

“You’re not going to shower yourself; I know you’re not going to be able to get everything.”

“It’s all good; I’ve got this. Trust me.”

“And I’m saying I’m going to help you because I don’t need you slipping and falling when you accidentally put too much pressure on your ribs.”

“It’s just a shower; worst case, I call you or your mom for help.”

Scarlet glanced over to her sleeping mother, “You really wanna wake her up?”

“No, probably not. But I also don’t want to bother you.”

“You really think it’s a bother? After all this time we’ve spent together?”

“Well, I dunno,” he started, “I just don’t want you to have to stop what you’re doing just to take care of me.”

“And what if I want to? Maybe I need a shower too?”

“Yeah? And is that all we’ll do?”

“What else would we do?” She teased.

“Probably stuff that counts as strenuous activities,” Silver replied.

“And you know what the doc said about that then.”

“You’re a tease; you know that?”

“Maybe I am. But it’s fun to see you get all flustered. Maybe if you’re good and don’t overwork yourself, we can have some fun in a dream later?”

“What’s your definition of fun?”

“Guess you’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?” She smirked.

“That doesn’t exactly instill hope.”

“Oh? Why not?”

“Because knowing you, it’s going to be an embarrass your stallion friend in front of the Warden of Lust kind of dream.”

Scarlet gasped and stepped back in mock offense, “You insult my honor; I would never do such a thing when my stallion’s recovering from an injury.” Notably, she was silent about the possibility of such a thing after he was recovered.

“You promise?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Yep. I’ll even have Yinyu close off our dream so we can do whatever we want uninterrupted.”

“What if I just want to snuggle up with you?”

“It’s your call. I just thought you’d like to do something a little more special.”

“Wanna see how the night goes and go from there?”

“Sounds like a plan.” Scarlet glanced back over to her mom and then back to Silver, “I’m serious about taking things easy though, she’s gonna kill me if I let you overexert yourself, so just sit tight and let me take care of things.”

Gently pushing Silver back into bed, she trotted towards the bathroom and flipped the shower on. Unable to do much at the moment, Silver’s thoughts drifted back to the conversation with Stanley that he had had in his dream. Dreams were always fuzzy when he woke up, even if they were a lot more vivid now, but the dire nature of the other stallion’s request was crystal clear in his mind. He needed help, and Silver was determined to do his part as soon as possible. A quick glance at the clock told him that the day pony inventors were still asleep, so a call to them would have to wait. The thought to simply dreamwalk to them crossed his mind, though it would probably be best to wait until a little later to jump into that line of questioning.

There was probably more than a lot to think about, and it wouldn’t hurt to prepare what he needed to say in advance. The prior day had also brought along an interesting deal that involved them at its core, and if they agreed to it, it could solve two potential problems at once. Silver honestly didn’t know what the inventors would say or how they’d react, but the chance at possibly being able to get their own workspace would probably be enough to push them towards it.

“Ready to go, or do you need some more time to daydream?” Came the playful interruption from Scarlet.

“I think I’m good. Just thinking a lot about that talk we had with that friend yesterday.”

“Yeah?” She trotted up to him and gently rested a hoof on his side,” still on the fence with it?”

“Haven’t had a chance to talk it over with the others yet, so yeah. Something like that.”

“Well, why don’t we get the showering out of the way so we can kill some time with a little stargazing. I’ve been dying to play with my new telescope some more; then when we’re done, maybe you can go do your weird dream trance thingy and touch base with them?”

Silver smiled and nodded his head. “That sounds great.”

A blanket of bright shimmering stars hung in the sky above the pair as they sat together in the soft grass outside of their cabin. The refurbished telescope that Silver had worked so hard to fix up for Scarlet sat off to the side, momentarily forgotten as the two simply gazed up at the shimmering void with their own unaided eyes.

Breaking his gaze, Silver looked over to Scarlet and smiled, “I really mean it when I say this is one of my favorite things to do with you.”

“You mean hearing me geek out about a bunch of fiery orbs in the sky that are millions of light-years away from us while we just look at them?”

“Uh-huh,” he nodded.

“Don’t you think it’s a little boring, though? I know you’re not super into this stuff like I am, but you can’t really enjoy it that much, right?”

Silver laughed. “I don’t get like half the things you’re saying when we look up at the night sky, but it’s adorable that you’re so into it, and I just love spending the time with you. Even if I feel a little lost when you get into the real complicated physics.”

“Right, well, what I’m trying to get at is that maybe we should take some time and do stuff that you like to do once you’re feeling better. I get that you like stargazing too, but what about those trips we talked about a while ago?”

“Stuff like the amusement parks and the beach?” he asked. “We could take a look at that sometime. I just don’t know how some of those are gonna work with ponies.”

“We’ll have to give it a look and see then. Maybe we can’t do all of the rides, but it’d be fun to go look around and try out the ones we still can,” she offered.

“That’ll be expensive. You know that, right?”

“Then we save up, easy.”

A twinge of wistfulness filled Silver as he thought about his former job, “A little hard to do when I just lost my job,” he replied.

“Who said you have to pay for it? I still owe you something special for the gift you gave me.”

“You don’t need to do that for me,” he smiled, “I’m happy just relaxing with you somewhere.”

“And you didn’t have to fix up my telescope, but you still did because you wanted to make me happy. So just sit back and let me make you happy; it’s something I’ve been wanting to look at too.”

“You like that kind of stuff?”

“I did growing up,” she confirmed. “My mom and dad used to bring us to Six Flags and Knott’s all the time. I just haven’t had a chance to go back in a while.”

Silver began to speak up in objection but stopped himself. He had no real reason to try and get out of it, and Scarlet was clearly not going to budge on spending her own money on a small trip for the two of them.

Instead, he smiled and cuddled up closer to her, “Let’s call it a date then. We can figure out where we want to go once I’m not hobbling around like an injured puppy.”

“I’d say you’re a little more graceful than an injured puppy, at least.”

“And as cute as one, right?”

Scarlet laughed and nodded her head. “Right.” She looked up at the sky and let out a content sigh, “As much as I want to just stay out here, what do you say we stop back in and get something to eat? I think there’s some leftovers from yesterday.”

The thought of the previous night’s meal made Silver’s mouth water in anticipation. Grilled cheese had been one of his favorite meals as a human, and that was one thing that ETS hadn’t taken from him. As much as the pair had the resources to make them, fumbling around to try and make the sandwiches had proven to almost be more work than they were worth, which left them as a sort of delicacy for the two night ponies.

Breaking from his trance, he vigorously shook his head in agreement with the idea.

“I’m sold,” he blurted out, earning a laugh from his marefriend.

“Well, let’s go in then, and I can warm them up. If you want, I could even put on a few movies after.” Scarlet carefully helped him up, and the two started the short walk back to the cabin.

“I need to go dreamwalk to Tinker and talk about the stuff too, so maybe I’ll do that while you’re getting dinner ready?”

“Think it’ll take long?” She asked as she pushed the door open and held it for him.

“Not at all. Maybe like fifteen minutes at most?”

She raised an eyebrow as Silver trotted towards the bed, “Do you think he’ll have an answer that soon?”

“Doesn’t matter much if he does or not, we’ve got time to think about this.”

“I guess that’s fair.”

The mare trotted over towards their laptop that was hooked up to the tv and browsed through the list of movies that Silver had saved on his hard drive, finally landing on the classic Frankenstein.

“It’s just putting the idea in their court and seeing what happens. I honestly hope it does because Stanley’s counting on it too. He’s got a whole lot of ponies that might be out of a home soon, and this might be the best way to take care of them.”

“Hooves crossed,” she commented.

As Scarlet started to prepare their leftover meal, Silver took the opportunity to drift into a waking dream.

As he closed his eyes, Silver’s perceptions crossed into the dream realm, and in a moment, he found himself standing in the starry void of the open dream realm. A serene quiet filled the space around him, but the sounds of the waking world still echoed around in little flashes of auditory sensation. Unsurprisingly to him, he soon felt the telltale uneasy feeling of an unseen warden staring at him from all around.

“Good evening, little dreamer,” the friendly voice of Yinyu spoke out, “you’ve been stopping by here an awful lot lately, haven’t you?”

Silver quickly recited his oaths and nodded, “Yep. Turns out that being confined to a bed for most of the day leaves you pretty bored, and there’s only so many pirated movies you can watch before it gets boring.”

“I would think that movies about pirates would be extra entertaining.”

Silver chuckled at her misunderstanding and nodded, “Guess too much of a good thing wears you out. It’s not all bad though, I’ve been able to practice a lot more in here as I’m sure you’ve seen.”

The warden giggled, “I suppose that makes sense. Have you tried flying outside of your body yet, or are you just sticking to the stuff you know?”

Silver raised an eyebrow and shook his head. “That’s a thing?”

“Maybe,” she slyly replied, “guess that’s something you’ll have to try for yourself sometime.”

The weird half denial only piqued his interest even more, and he couldn’t help but press forward with another question. “Is that actually a thing, though, or are you just pulling my leg? Because I honestly can’t tell with you sometimes,” he looked up at her, “No offense.”

“None taken,” she replied. “But to answer your question, you’ll have to tell me. What’s the fun in just telling you what is and isn’t possible? That’s why you’ve been practicing in here, right?”

“Right, something along those lines.”

“So that’s your homework then. Give that a try sometime and let me know how it works; I’m sure Psy would love to hear about it too.”

“You’re teaching me too now?” He laughed, jumping back in shock as a sharp pain shot through his side, briefly pulling him out of the waking dream. A brief moment of meditation and a few deep breaths helped him return, however.

“Didn’t that cute doctor tell you to take it easy?” asked the hauntingly familiar voice of Yinyu from all around him.

“I am,” Silver exclaimed, “just took too deep of a breath out there, I guess. I’m still getting used to the whole consciousness disconnecting from the waking world thing.”

“You’ll get used to it, trust me. If you’d like, though, I can try to ease your pain in here. It won’t disappear entirely, but I might be able to dull it a little more.

The sounds of the monster movie that Scarlet had put on echoed faintly in the background, serving as another reminder that he was still awake out there and only partially in the dream realm. The reminder also brought forward a few solitary thoughts on what Yinyu had said about leaving his body. Was this something possible, or was it just the stuff of fantasy? Regardless it would be yet another item on his increasingly growing list of things to try out.

“I haven’t lost you, have I, little dreamer?” Yinyu’s voice pulled him back to the dream.

“Huh? No,” he replied. “Guess I just got lost in thought.”

She swam closer and nodded, resting a fin on his head. The sounds and sensations of the waking world faded further into the background but were still faintly perceptible. A cold numbness also spread throughout him, giving him a strange feeling of almost nothingness. His pain, however, had dulled into a nearly unnoticeable ache, which was a more than fair trade-off in his book.

“There, feeling better?”

Silver’s eyes widened. “Yes, actually. Thanks!”

Yinyu smiled and swam away from him, “That should help you for the time being. It’ll only last as long as you’re in here.”

“What did you do exactly? And why won’t it just stay this way?”

“I temporarily altered how you perceive sensations inside of the dream. It’s not stopping the pain, but you’re not perceiving it. That also means you’re not perceiving a lot more of what you normally would, and we can’t have that. You’ve got your big dream date with Scarlet after all.”

Silver’s face reddened for a second, and he quickly changed subjects to avoid what would probably be an unneeded embarrassing conversation. “Well, I appreciate it regardless.”

“It’s my pleasure. Now I believe you had some other business you wanted to attend to?”

Silver raised an eyebrow in confusion for a moment before the realization that she could still read his memory flashed back into his mind.

“Right, boring business talk with my pegasus friend. Thanks again for helping.”

She returned a smile and flew off into the dark sky above, leaving him alone. With a clearer head, he was able to turn his attention to the matters at hand and quickly felt out his friend’s dream. Wasting no time at all, he dove into it and was quickly thrust into the active and unfamiliar dream.

Silver found himself in a dark and foreboding dungeon— a scene that was straight out of one of the classic monster movies he had loved so much growing up. All around him were several strange and weird creations that littered the lab, but the strangest and weirdest one was the device that the dreamer he was looking for was working on. In the center of a large room sat a metal pony on an industrial-looking metal slab. Several glowing electrodes that pulsed with a dim light connected it to the various instruments around the room as if it was feeding energy into the mechanical creature itself.

“At last, my greatest creation shall become a reality!” Shouted the mad doctor, who looked like Tinker’s deranged evil twin.

Silver couldn’t help but stifle a laugh from the shadowy hiding place he was inhabiting. The sight of his friend acting out his role in the dream was just so absurd but also somewhat fitting for the cheerfully optimistic pegasus.

With a dramatic flourish with an equally dramatic clap of thunder, the mad doctor continued his speech. “At last! The moment we have been waiting for this entire time is finally at hand! Gyro, throw the switch!” he once again dramatically yelled, striking an equally dramatic pose.

“Yes Sir.” Shouted the assistant aaa another well-choreographed flash of lightning illuminated the European countryside outside.

In the Dream’s climax, the humble assistant threw the switch, a flurry of sparks flying in all directions as the various scientific instruments around the room began to light up as if they too were coming to life. An electric hum echoed through the room, and the lights brightened to a blinding level, threatening to shatter into a flurry of sparks and glass. That didn’t happen, though; instead something much more dramatic occurred. Like a scene straight out of Frankenstein, a bolt of lightning struck the lightning rod on the side of the castle, the raw energy flying through the cables and directly into the automaton in the center of the room.

A low mechanical groan joined the electric hum and a set of piercing blue lights lit up on the robotic creature’s gaunt face. Sparks began to dance around the machines as electricity arced through the wires connecting it.

“We need more power!” Tinker suddenly shouted as the room grew brighter.

“It’s at maximum power sir!”

As if on cue, another bolt of lightning struck, shaking the walls of the castle and threatening to raze it to its foundations. Of course that didn’t happen either, this was a cliche monster movie dream after all. Instead more energy poured into the machines, earning another round of sparks and electric arcs. Finally the machinery and instruments gave out their last breaths, shaking and sparking into an explosion such as the mad scientist had never seen.

“This is it! THIS IS IT!!!” he excitedly yelled.

The lights in the dungeon finally gave out as the room was plunged into darkness. That wasn’t a cause for alarm though, for the once piercing blue eyes of the automaton had now darkened into an intense red that lit up the surroundings in an eerie, almost threatening glow.

“Yes… YES! Gyro… We’ve done it... It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!!!” The doctor screamed and laughed to himself. “Eat your heart out Doctor Frankenstein!”

With another barrage of maniacal laughter, the mechanical creation began to rise from it’s cold lifeless slumber. If Silver didn’t have other more pressing things to talk about, he might have summoned a box of popcorn and let the dream run its course. There was no telling what kind of Frankenstein-esqe direction the story would take, but unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to find out.

Hitting the proverbial pause button, the stallion finally made his presence known to the dreamer who had frozen in place like some kind of scripted NPC.

“So this is what your dreams are like?” Silver chuckled to himself. “I’m not going to lie, this is more or less what I figured it would be.”

“Silver?.. How… Oh... the dream…” Tinker took a moment to compose himself.

“Everything okay?” Silver raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah, no it’s all good,” the pegasus stammered out. “It’s just…” he paused.

“Weird?” Silver offered.

Tinker shook his head, “Not quite. Just… fascinating.”

The pegasus trailed off for a moment and looked around at the frozen dream in awe.
He stared back at Silver and opened his mouth, clearly trying to find the words to describe the experience.

“I can tell it’s a little jarring, it is for all of us the first time we realize we’re in a dream.”

“It’s more than just a little jarring, Silver. It’s amazing! So this is what my brain cooked up then?”

“Uh huh,” the stallion replied.

“Are you enhancing or augmenting this?”

“As in what you see or as in was I the one who paused the dream?”

“Both?” he shrugged.

“No, and yes. I could change things in here if I wanted to, but I don’t need to and it’s harder than trying to change my own dream. No you can’t go there either.”

The pegasus nodded and opened his mouth again, clearly having another question or eight on his mind.

Silver raised a hoof in the air and stopped him before he could star, “Let me just try and answer your next handful of questions that I’m sure you’re already thinking of: Yes it’s really just a dream, I know it’s realistic and feels like we’re out in the waking world but we’re not. No, I won’t tell anypony out there about what I saw in here. Yes it’s really me talking to you, no I don’t know how it all works other than it’s just magic. That clear everything up?”

The pegasus hesitated for a moment and confirmed as much, “Probably as much as I could hope to understand. It’s just… wow, you get to experience this kind of thing every night?”

“Sure do. But I’m not here for a Q and A. I’m here because I had somepony approach me with an offer that I think you might be really interested in.”

“What kind of offer would that be?”

“Well here’s a little background for it. Yesterday a pony representing a big research and development group out east stopped by. Said that some of the chit chat about the stuff we were doing out there spread around in here and made its way to them.”

“And they’re interested in the prototype?” He guessed.

“They didn’t say specifically. But what they did say was that they’d like to offer us a contract to work on some part of a project for them. What kind of project that is I don’t know. But here’s the deal, they’re offering us funding, facilities, and automation. That’s something you and Gyro were trying to get set up a while ago, right?”

Tinker didn’t immediately answer, but the look on his face told Silver everything he needed to know: the terms of the deal had hooked the pegasus.

“I…” he started. “I— who did you say they represented again?”

“Some group out east. They don’t really have hooks here yet, but they’re clearly trying to branch out.”

A confident look crossed his face and he raised an eyebrow. “Would this group happen to be called SPEC?”

It was Silver’s turn to be surprised, “What makes you ask that?”

They’re the only group out there big enough to try this kind of thing. I don’t keep up with everything in the world, but you better bet I keep up with stuff like this. So what does the preacher really want with us then?”

Silver shrugged, “Probably some big fancy secret project that they don’t want getting out there.”

“Or maybe they’re more interested with pushing more pony-centric products out there?”

“Like your inventions?” Silver asked.

“Potentially,” he considered this for a moment before continuing, “That could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, you know that right?”

“It could be,” Silver agreed. “But here’s the benefit for us. They’re funding whatever you need, including a base of operations and whatever you’d need for a lab. Like maybe that old mining town in Arizona that Gyro was talking about?”

“You think that town’s a good investment for this?” Tinker asked.

“I’m not an expert at all on that, I’ll be honest,” Silver admitted, “but there’s another reason why I bring it up.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

“I have a friend who’s having some trouble in his home. Basically there’s some management issues in the village he’s in and it’s probably going to result in a bunch of ponies getting exiled very soon…”

“And he was hoping they could crash with us?” Tinker finished for him.

Silver nodded, “Yeah. It’s mostly farmers with some pegasi, a couple of night ponies, and maybe some unicorns.”

“So ponies that would be willing to help out around the place then.” He looked up at Silver, “I’m going to have to run this by Gyro, you understand, right?”

“I do, and I know he’ll probably look at this as deeply as you will.”

“Now here’s a question for you,” Tinker spoke up.

“Oh? What’s up?”

“If we do this, are you moving out with us, or staying back home?”

Silver hesitated. Not because he didn’t know the answer, but because he was still split on what he truly wanted. The creative spark he had always had never faded, but the hesitation that kept him in his village was still at the forefront of his mind.

“I don’t know. As much as I want to join you guys, I still have my family to consider, and I don’t think I can just turn away from that.”

Tinker smiled, “I figured. But you still want to work with us, right?”

“I mean I’d love to, but that’s not really easy.”

“Are you still off of work?”

Silver let out a sarcastic laugh, “Yeah. Forever actually.”

Tinker’s face shifted into a sympathetic grimace, “They cut you loose?”

“Mhmm. Sucks but what can you do? Boss was going to get hit with OSHA fines and kind of had to sweep me under the rug. My coworker got some paperwork written up to cover their bases. I’m not gonna pretend like I understand all of it, but he had me sign some stuff and said basically I was working for him, so I didn’t need to lose sleep over it. Didn’t say no to having me come back someday, but also said he’d probably have to replace me, so it wouldn’t be anything that’d happen anytime soon. It’s fine though, what’s done is done.”

“Well, if we’re going down this route, and there’s no promise that we are. But if we do actually agree to the deal, then we’ll need somepony to help out with the paperwork stuff. Do you think that’s something you’d be interested in helping with?”

“Record keeping? I mean I guess I could. Isn’t that gonna be an issue when I’m in an entirely different state though?”

“Probably not,” Tinker shrugged. “You could probably manage all of that stuff online anyways.”

A happy feeling began to well up inside of Silver, and a warm smile spread across his face. “I think I could do that then. Just let me know what Gyro says and I guess I’ll relay that back to my friend and the SPEC rep.”

“It’s not the sciency stuff I know you want to do,” Tinker added, “But any help is still greatly appreciated.”

“Thanks Tinker… I really hope this all works out.”

“Me too Silver. I’ll give you a call sometime tomorrow and we can figure out what the next step is, okay?”

“Okay.” Silver confirmed.

“Great. Now am I just gonna return to the dream? Or am I stuck here or something?”

“I should probably put you back into it before you get lost in some dream void or something.”

“I understand. This was a nice chat, I hope you feel better soon, and please do give Scarlet my regards,” He finished with a smile.

“I will. See you when I see you, friend.”

In a flash the dream had resumed as it was before, as if the entire conversation had simply never happened. As Silver left his friend’s dream and returned to the waking world, his thoughts filled with a mix of anxiety, excitement, and optimism for the future.

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