• Published 4th Oct 2020
  • 7,156 Views, 359 Comments

Prince of Dreams - ShadowStar_IMHP

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. What happens when a human with the ability to lucid dream finds his way to Equestria? Answer he becomes Morpheus the Prince of Dreams, the son of Nightmare Moon.

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Chapter 1

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment; however, this is not necessary for a dream to be described as lucid.

The apartment was not grand, just a simple home of a bachelor college student. A brown couch that screamed ‘found on a street corner’ stood in front of a coffee table with so many scratches and stains that its original color was lost to time. Off to the side was a TV along with an Xbox game system collecting dust. Mounted on a wall just next to it was a cheap bookshelf, which, among other oddities, bore six figures of pastel-colored ponies, all dust-free and apparently cared for with love. These were the main six characters of a recently concluded cartoon show targeted at little girls. Admittedly, the owner of said figures didn’t fit in that demographic but enjoyed it nonetheless.

Next to the ponies were books about magic artifacts. Not fantasy novels or stories of hobbits, or anything like that, these books were about Wiccan rituals, Norse rune deviations, and magic from a host of other cultures. There were also a few books on new age guidance meditation. They shared the shelf with books about psychology and dream interpretation, almost all of them coated by a layer of dust. The only book that has seen some use lay on the coffee table in the center of the room. The title was ‘Modern Lucid Dreaming and Meditation Techniques’, and its pages were filled with bookmarks and staples sticking out its sides. The owner of this meek apartment was David Tanner, a college student going for a Psychology Major.

Rubbing his shoulder tiredly, David entered his apartment. His eyes landed on a light gray speaker on the end table. “Alexa, turn on the lights,” he muttered.

A light blue ring lit on the top of the device, and a female artificial voice responded, “Okay,” along with a chime. The lights of the apartment turned on. Alexa was a useful hands-free device, but, ultimately, it just reminded David of how lonely he felt.

He moved to the makeshift kitchen and looked into the refrigerator at the meager supplies left. “Do I want to cook, or order out?” he mused. He sighed, choosing to decide later. “Alexa, make a reminder to buy fresh groceries on Friday.”

Once again, the device chimed and lit up. “Reminder made, buy fresh groceries on Friday.”

David shook his head. “Alexa, what would I do without you.”

“Hmm, I don’t know that one,” the device replied.

David smiled and went for a good hot shower after a long day of work, throwing off his janitor uniform as he trotted into the bathroom. Once in the stream of flowing water, he let the liquid flow down his back to soothe all the aches and exhaustion of another night shift.

He ran his hand over the pale skin of his right arm and the Norse runes tattooed therein--the runes of Uruz for Strength of Will, Eihwaz for Stability, and Raidho for Growth. The tattoos were styled to look like stones with the runes glowing a light blue, lined with vines twisting and turning in an endless loop of branching paths, all to hide the deep jagged scars from an earlier trauma. His fingers brushed along the damaged tissue as two-year-old memories bubbled up in his mind. David blinked a few times, his gaze growing distant. He winced when a wet lock of his brown hair flopped into one of his eyes. He snapped out of his memory, and, moving the hair away, he noted it was time to have it cut again.

He sighed and stepped out of the shower when his gut rumbled hungrily. “Alright, I’ll feed you.” He patted it and walked into the kitchen, where he again took stock of the few foodstuffs left in the fridge. “Eh, whatever,” he muttered as he pulled a frozen pizza from the freezer and tossed it into the oven. He grabbed a bottle of beer, settled down on the couch, and turned on the TV. Logging into Hulu, he started watching My Little Pony.

Shortly after the first episode of the list ended, a ding from his oven alerted him to when the pizza is ready. He brought the steaming dish back to the couch and settled down with a content smile. His binge-watching of the last season has begun.

The leftover slices of his pizza gradually got cold, his beer warmed, and his eyelids started drooping. He yawned and shook his head. “Who approved of a filly being sent to Tartarus and now turned to stone? No one thought of reforming her? Jennifer would have been so pissed.” He sighed bitterly, looking at the ponies on the shelf. They stared back with their unmoving eyes. David shook his head and stood up and tossed the remaining pizza.

His only desire as he crawled into bed was to escape the mundane, boring life he now lived. Two years ago it was different, she was a part of his life back then.

David nestled into the cushions of his bed and lifted his hand, his fingers brushing over the dream catcher pinned above his head. It wasn’t the mass-produced, decorative one, but a handcrafted dream catcher he bought when he visited the Cherokee Nation. He smiled at the memory of the old woman demanding to know if he was just buying it for decoration or a reason. After telling her about the nightmares he was having, she let him buy it.

He rolled over on his side and looked at an amethyst crystal geode on his nightstand. Even though some of the magic books he owned mentioned crystal healing, he just got the geode for how it sparkled in the morning light. Next to the geode lay another echo dot device, this one with a built-in clock showing it was past seven o’clock in the morning. “Good thing I don’t have classes today,” he mused. “Alexa, start lucid dream sounds.”

A chime and Alexa responded, “Starting lucid dream sounds… pleasant dreams.”

Lucid dreaming wasn’t an instant thing, it needed a certain degree of preparation. One key was preparing one’s mind with meditation. As he listened to the rhythmic sounds, he slowed his breathing and cleared his mind of distractions. Slowly his body and then mind fell to sleep, his consciousness left him as he entered the REM stage of sleep. Blurry images crossed his mind, then started to take a more defined shape as he stabilized the dream. He stood now near a very familiar apple cart in Ponyville. It was hard to miss the pastel-colored ponies walking about the town full of thatched-roof houses. It was a scene pulled right out of the cartoon he was watching just before bed. “Oh… okay, this is interesting.” He smirked to himself, amused at what his subconscious has decided to manifest.

“It's mine!”

“No, it’s mine!”

He sat down, watching a fight break out among the Cutie mark Crusaders over Smartypants. “Lesson Zero?” he guessed. “Yup, there is crazy Twilight.” He chuckled as said frazzled mare eyed the squabbling fillies.

“This is so much better than watching it on TV.” Pinkie Pie’s voice came from behind David. He turned to the sight of the pink pony sitting on a recliner and eating popcorn.

“Pinkie Pie?” David shook his head, the pink pony was once again invading his dream. It didn’t matter what the dream was; once he dreamt of going to class, only to have Pinkie Pie sitting at the next desk in a catholic school girl outfit. David tried to keep that image out of his head.

“Nope, er, yes. I’m your subconscious taking the appearance of Pinkie Pie. So sit back and watch the show!” the-not-Pinkie-Pie said just like Pinkie Pie would. At first, he struggled to understand why Pinkie was one constant in his dreams for the last few years, until he figured that she was likely a reminder of Jennifer. The pink pony was her favorite character, so in his loneliness, his subconscious recreated her as this enthusiastic mare.

David chuckled as Pinkie stretched out on her pink recliner with a rainbow polka dot pattern. Smiling at the perfect company, he lifted his hand and snapped his fingers. With a flash of white light a second recliner appeared, this one a deep blue. David’s clothes changed as well, now he wore a pair of black pants and a red shirt, a copy of the Star Trek uniform.

“Oh going all Q, David?” Pinkie giggled and threw a couple of popcorn kernels into her mouth.

He shrugged. “When I have the power, why not flaunt it.” He sat down on his recliner and grabbed a large chocolate milkshake that manifested itself where it wasn’t there a moment ago. “Way better than the TV. I love it when I can lucid dream.” He smiled. “Jennifer would have loved this.” The memory of both of them enjoying the show together crossed his mind.

“I know, I’m you… and somewhat her, after all.” Pinkie Pie looked over at him. Her mane hung limply, a deep sadness in her eyes. David’s face mirrored her downcast expression, and his left hand moved to rub his arm where the tattoo-covered scar was.

Celestia showed up on the scene playing out before them when a sudden rumble shook their seats. David and Pinkie looked at each other questioningly as the sky suddenly grew dark, decked in thick clouds.

A swirling vortex was so black it seemed to absorb light formed among the clouds of darkness, odd symbols of sickly green flashing around it. Pinkie gasped as the vortex grew larger and larger. Thatched roofs, trees, and ponies alike were sucked up into the dark gaping maw, their bodies twisting and vanishing.

“No!” David cried and forced himself to avert his eyes. He turned to the mare by his side, but she was gone. He stood up, his knees shaking, and his heart beating loud in his ears. He sprinted from the raging cyclone.

His conscious mind struggled to control his panic. Subconsciously, he knew this void was wrong, that it didn’t come from him.

Something grabbed him, nothing he could see, but he could feel the grip around his body. He floated up into the air, the invisible force tugging him closer and closer to the vortex. He thrashed and struggled, but to no avail. Unlike the ponies, he didn’t vanish into the void. His view was swallowed up by the dark clouds as the hole in his dream started to close. The last thing he saw was a frightened, re-appeared Pinkie Pie looking up at him from the ground far below.

He tried to focus his will on the darkness and emptiness around him. A spike of fear pierced him as the void refused to respond to his desires. “Come on, I was lucid before…” Control, he needed to regain control of the dream. He patted the top of his head then worked his way down his body. “Okay, think this through, I have conscious control of my actions, but not over the dreamscape. What is with this fucking fog?” He stepped down feeling a firm floor beneath, though his field of view ended at his knees. The mist was so thick that all around him was a wall of nothing.

Unable to think of anything else, he started walking. Blinded by the fog, he relied on his other senses. The mist felt wrong, it was as if he was trudging through a gel rather than fog. Spotting movement to his right, he turned just in time to see a shadowy form fade from sight. It was bipedal but too tall and thin to be human. His instincts screamed at him to run, but he resisted the urge. Next came the sounds.

A girl's voice called out, “Mommy? Where are you, Mommy?”

Dark and twisted laughter followed. “Georgie is that you. Georgie?” It was accompanied by many disembodied voices, speaking, echoing, and hissing from the darkness. Soon the voices were drowned out by the beating of his own heart in his ears.

“Think! Okay, I must have slipped deeper into my subconscious. It’s still a dream, no way that was Pennywise. I have been meditating and lucid dreaming for years, I cannot panic just because of some fog!” Unconsciously, he gripped his own forearms as he walked into the darkness.

There had to be a way out of what subconscious hell he fell into. “A door! Come on, David, focus on a door out.” He imagined a steel door with a large glowing exit sign overhead. Another voice and movement. He turned to look and saw a shape in the mist. It was horse-like, made of pure shadows and darkness. The figure’s head moved, and two glowing white eyes stared at him. At that time his conscious mind chose to agree with his instinct, and he ran.

He didn’t care if the shadow horse followed him or not, up ahead he saw a solid shape, the shape of a door. “Huh… that’s not the door I had in mind.” It was old, wooden with cast iron bolts, and a handle that was a lever instead of a doorknob.

He reached out and touched the handle. The door swung open. David stumbled back. Terror gripped him as a dark mass reached out of the doorway. Sickly tendrils of black ooze latched onto his leg. He tried to crawl away as more of the ooze sprang forward. A scent hit his nose, a foul smell similar to tar mixed with rotten eggs. Every fiber of his body screamed to flee, and his brain recognized something that shouldn’t be.

Rolling over so his belly was to the ground, he could now see the floor of dark gray stone. There were no seams, no edge of the stone to grab. Nothing to stop the ooze from dragging him back into its dark mass. “Someone help... meeee!” His yell of pure terror ended as the oozing slime covered his face and entered his mouth. The last thing he heard was the sounds of hooves on stone.

David groaned and groggily rubbed his head against something hard and cold. Opening his eyes, he found himself lying on a marble floor. “What the hell was that?” he mumbled, sitting up. He noted he was in some grand hall. “Um, subconscious, what’s going on? Hello? Pinkie, please show up, I need answers” For the first time he could recall, the pink figment of his imagination didn’t appear. He looked around, noticing the large, slouchy red carpet next to him. It ran the whole length of the hall and had a large stylized image of a crescent moon and a sun in the center. Something about that design nagged at David’s mind.

At the end of a hall, the carpet snaked over a few stairs onto a small podium topped by two thrones--one in shades of gold and yellow, the other blue. “The Castle of the Two Sisters,” David whispered.

His eyes moved to the wooden beams supporting the ceiling high above. His eyebrows shot up when he realized he could see the grains in the hardwood. His gaze drifted down the walls. He could make out the flecks of quartz in each block of granite and even the mortar holding the stones together. Even with his imagination filling in the gaps, it never bothered with this amount of life-like detail in his dreams. Leaning down, he let his fingers slide along the carpet, feeling every string of the woven thread. “This is way too real…” He slowly got up and walked over to the two thrones. The fires in the alcoves next to the thrones emitted faint hints of smoke. “Is that alder wood?” he asked as he raised his eyes to the pink stained glass window above a podium.

He jumped as something moved to his left. In the next moment, Princess Luna walked from behind the blue throne. However, it wasn’t the pony princess from the cartoon. This was the most realistic version of the Princess of the Night he has ever seen. Somehow this Luna was more real than an actual horse would appear.

She had a long, thick neck and thin legs, a body similar to a thoroughbred. Her muscles ripple beneath a silky, royal blue coat that seemed freshly washed. He could make out a faint scent of lavender. Mouth agape, he stared as her mane and tail flowed with a wind he couldn’t feel and stars sparkled in the waving, ethereal hair. Her horn wasn’t the same color as her coat like in the cartoon, instead, it was a spiral of dark blue. It shimmered in the light of the torches as if it was made of gemstone. Almost like a deep blue sapphire, he thought to himself, stunned at her beauty.

Bright teal eyes showed clear intelligence; they were smaller than in the cartoon, more realistic, and facing forward. anger burning within them. Seeing that intense stare, he started backpedaling, too shocked to turn away from the angered princess. Her wings fluttered as she stepped forward, showing the feathers in different shades of blue. Her muzzle was not as long as a horse’s, though it still was truer to life than the small muzzle the cartoon showed.

She started speaking in a language he couldn’t understand. It was a language just not meant for human ears, how his subconscious went that far, he had no clue. He started to turn as he felt another presence in the chamber, only to see Celestia approaching the thrones.

David gasped as he realized he was in the scene where Luna becomes Nightmare Moon. “Oh, this is interesting,” he remarked.

The royal sisters both fell quiet and looked around, trying to identify the sound. They gazed in his direction, yet neither seemed to see him. When no other sound followed, they turned back to each other and the yelling started.

So I’m a spectator in this play, David thought to himself. Even though the events were playing out differently and he couldn’t understand the words, he could grasp context from that episode. The argument was more back and forth, Celestia adding more to the verbal fight than in the cartoon. As Celestia walked by him, he saw how realistic this dreamworld was. Celestia’s horn shone like a polished pearl, and her snowy white wings reminded him of a dove. Her body was more like a draft horse breed, she had a clearly heavier frame. However, she wasn’t fat, there were well-developed muscles on her. “Should be about time for the transformation sequence,” he muttered and stepped further away from the mares. Both royal sisters’ ears turned to him, but unlike before, they ignored what they heard.

Luna let out a scream and rose into the air. Then, the window behind her shattered, revealing the sun being eclipsed by the moon. The world was cast into a sickly orangish-red tinge. David’s stomach lurched at the darkness radiating from the now-blackened moon. Dark magic.

The darkness seemed to wrap Luna in a sphere. What was not in the show was the cry of shock and fear from the strange orb of dark magic. David was confused about how Luna’s transformation was going. She was screaming in agonizing painful cries. Worry gripped his heart, the truth was he admired Luna. A sound to his right caught his attention. He looked out the window in an alcove to see a blast of the same black magic hit a tree. It twisted and deformed, darkening, and growing thorns. Everything the dark magic radiating from the eclipse touched was changing.

The sphere vanished and the Princess of the Night appeared. Her features were twisted, still following the thoroughbred appearance, but off. Her limbs were even thinner, her body stretched like a nightmare version of a horse. In his gut, he knew she was no longer Luna, but Nightmare Moon. Her fur was now growing darker, turning almost black. Her wings lost their feathers and deformed into bat-like wings. Each one of her ribcages stuck out, and bumps rose along her spine as the bones threatened to burst out of her skin. Her teeth fell out and were rapidly replaced by sharp fangs. Her pupils narrowed into cat-like slits, and her horn was now black and jaded, reminding David of onyx.

“That wasn’t like it was in the cartoon…” he muttered, eyes wide. In the show, Luna laughed all the while her teeth and wings just transformed. He blinked, only to be blinded by an explosion of magic. The next thing he saw was Celestia being hit by Nightmare Moon’s magic and tossed into one of the supporting pillars.

The fight was more graphic than any cartoon could be. It also was wrong, Nightmare Moon in the cartoon blasted a hole in the ceiling, she didn’t fire on her sister as this version did. Celestia’s side was bleeding. The scent of burnt hair was nauseating. Celestia called out in a pleading tone to her sister. Even if he couldn’t understand the words, David could tell she was telling her to stop.

He didn’t need to know the language to see the insanity in Nightmare Moon's eyes. She sprang forward and slammed her front hooves into Celestia's already wounded side. Celestia's horn lit up, a wall of magical force shoving her sister away. Not waiting for another attack, Celestia rose to her hooves and charged at her twisted sister. At the last moment, she leaped up into the air and flew out of the now broken window, knocking Nightmare Moon down with a blast of air. Once she recovered, Nightmare Moon took flight after her.

One of the first things David ever did when he learned how to lucid dream was fly. So, wanting to see this oddly-realistic fight, he focused his thoughts, only to raise his hands like a child pretending to be superman. “Come on! Why can’t I do anything! This is my dream… isn’t it?” Doubt and fear crept into his mind. Was he dreaming? Racing to the broken window, he looked out. What he saw was a city, a burning city.

Everywhere he saw only chaos. The ground shook and the buildings toppled as the caverns and tunnels under the city caved in. Whatever magic turned Luna into Nightmare Moon was still in effect, was warping any life hit by the spell. The trees' bark darkened, branches twisted and curled. The debris-covered cobblestone streets of the city were ripped apart as sickly green weeds and bushes burst forth and pushed their way to the sky.

A pegasus guard rushed to help fight Nightmare Moon, only to be hit by the strange dark magic from the moon. David flinched as the guard crashed to the ground. The stallion’s screams of pain were more from the magic than the crash. His coat turned blood-red dark, and his mane and tail blackened. His wings lost their feathers and became membranous, like those of a bat. “He’s becoming a thestral…” David muttered in disbelief. Everywhere he looked he saw more ponies transform into nocturnal beings.

“The Everfree! This is the creation of the Everfree Forest. It’s nightmarish, no wonder ponies were terrified of it,” he rationalized. Smoke from the burning fires hit his lungs, and he coughed. “Wait… I’m coughing? How can I cough in a dream? Is this real?” The sound of a loud crash caused him to turn.

The bruised, bloodied, and battered form of Celestia slammed into the floor. David ran over as one of the thick beams came crashing down through him. For a moment he stopped, shocked that the heavy beam didn’t crush him. He shook his head and knelt beside Celestia. He reached out to her, but his hand passed through her. “Right, I can’t touch anything.” Helpless, he watched as blood poured out of Celestia’s cuts and gashes, her pastel mane and tail lying still. His breath caught in his lungs. Was she dead? How could she be alive after losing so much blood? His eyes widened. It had to be real. This reality’s Nightmare Moon won. Suddenly, Celestia gasped and struggled to stand back up, determination burning within her eyes.

Celestia was quiet as she cast a spell. Stones rumbled as a slab lowered and moved aside. Rising from the hidden chamber beneath it was a large sphere with branched arms housing the Elements of Harmony.

David moved around, wanting to get a better look. Unlike the amethyst geode on his nightstand, these gemstones shone with their own inner light. Celestia flew up to the central sphere, and the gems rose into the air in her magic.

Hearing laughter, David turned, seeing the dark figure of Nightmare Moon comes through the new hole in the ceiling, her horn charged.

That was when the Elements of Harmony sprang into action. A rainbow blast shot straight at Nightmare Moon. And David. He stood between the two sisters. Both blasts of magic struck him. The magic from Celestia was stronger. It didn’t just go around him; it passed through him on its path to Nightmare Moon. It was as if he was shoved by a hurricane.

Screaming in agony, he felt his body being broken down to the purest of his essence. Every nerve, every muscle, and every cell was vaporized as he was lifted and passed through Nightmare Moon. Her screams matched his own… and the world faded to black.

Author's Note:

I'm looking for more Prereaders, the ones I found really did a number on the prologue this new chapter is the result. I made so many changes the story itself went in a new direction. There are similarities to the earlier prologue but a lot more details! That said there is always room for improvement. My primary desire to find prereaders is to point out where I need to expand ideas and to have other minds to toss ideas at. Constructive criticism is welcomed, I want to know where I can improve my work. Spelling and Grammar can take second place but if anyone wants to fix those mistakes I won't say no.

I now have an outline with multiple character story branches to follow. I enjoy reading the comments so please leave any you have. If you want spoilers offer to be a Prereader! Send me a private message for my Discord name and links to future chapters in production.

Now Edited by EverfreePony!