• Published 28th Dec 2011
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The Night's Companion - BrookwoodBronco



An OC character becomes Luna's friend, but trouble is afoot

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Prologue

The Night’s Companion

By: BrookwoodBronco

Disclaimer: This is a fan-based work of fiction. All My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters are owned by Hasbro and shown on the Hub television station. Please support the official release.

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Prologue

The maroon stallion yawned under the shade of a huge oak. It was midday and the birds in the tree above him were singing their afternoon song. Previously curled up, the pony looked up into the branches and groaned. He got up, stretched, shook his mane, and plopped back onto the ground. His crimson mane fell over his eyes as he tried to drone out the chirping with his thoughts. It wasn’t helping. His dull, grey irises slowly crept out from under his eyelids as he scanned the open field for a better spot to sleep.

To his surprise, he spotted a duo of fillies scampering toward him. He grimaced as he thought of their grating, high-pitched voices. “Well, it’s not like I can get much rest anyway,” the stallion thought. He lifted his head as the fillies came to a halt in front of him. The fillies looked surprised when they saw the lazy pony awake and exchanged a hesitant glance. After a few seconds of awkward silence, the bolder of the two piped up.

“Sorry to wake you Sleepy Head, but we were told to invite you to Pinkie Pie’s latest party,” the turquoise filly said shyly. She tried not to make eye contact with the maroon stallion and kneaded the ground as she spoke, “She wanted to break her old attendance record…”

“Yeah. She said, ‘Invite everyone! Even Sleepy Head!’” The light pink filly squeaked out. After doing so she realized what she said and looked down, ashamed. Her friend rolled her eyes and finally met his uninterested gaze.

Sleepy Head smirked at their efforts and thought aloud, “It’s been a while since my last party…”

“So you’ll come?” The pink filly said excitedly. They both smiled in eager anticipation because Pinkie Pie promised free cupcakes for the ponies that brought the most guests. With Sleepy Head, they would be one step closer to fluffy, sugary goodness.

Sleepy Head laughed and responded, “Nope.” The two fillies looked at him dumbfounded as he chuckled some more.

“Wha- Why not?!”

Sleepy Head shrugged. “I hate big groups of ponies. There’s a reason no one invites me to anything, hon. Plus, having to go there… it’s just too much of a hassle,” he stated with a lazy grin. The turquoise filly gave him a displeased look while the other had a disheartened expression.

“Are you even a pony at all? What pony doesn’t like parties?!” The turquoise filly shouted.

“THIS pony doesn’t. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got things I need to be doing,” Sleepy Head retorted. He was getting irritated by their persistence.

“Like what? All you do is sleep all day!” The blue and red ponies glared at each other. The pink filly stepped in between her friend and the sitting stallion to quell the argument.

The blue filly sighed and snorted, “Well if you gather up the effort to actually come, the party’s at Sugarcube Corner.” With that she turned, motioned to her friend to follow, and the two sped off back toward Ponyville.

Sleepy Head yawned as he watched the fillies race off. He looked up into the oak to see the birds had flown away, scared off by the equine bickering. “Well, at least some good came from this.” He thought with a smile.

But as he rested his head on his hooves once again, he had nothing but his thoughts to preoccupy his time. And they weren’t happy thoughts.

“Oh who am I kidding, I’ve got nothing to do! That filly was right; all I do is sleep during the day. I mean, look at my cutie mark! It’s a nightcap! My special talent is to sleep all day…” Sleepy Head turned his head toward his flank and studied his cutie mark. Sure enough, his cutie mark was a blue night cap with a star in the middle of it. He snorted in disgust and tried to sleep again, but his mind would have none of that.

“Man, those fillies really ticked me off. Don’t they know I hate being bothered? Well… I think they knew that since they were kind of reluctant to talk to me… now that I mention it, I think everyone knows what I’m like. My name is Sleepy Head for crying out loud! What were my parents thinking when they named me? …Who were my parents… I wish I wasn’t an orphan…” Sleepy Head put his fore hooves on his skull and shook his head. Why now, of all the times, is he getting philosophical and moody. Times like these were reserved for the starry night sky.

“The night… why do I sleep during the day and roam at night…? It isn’t normal… hell, nothing about me is normal. I’m supposed to be cheery, light-hearted, fun, exciting. I’m supposed to like parties, enjoy working hard, help others, have BUCKING friends! Why don’t I care about anyone… why don’t I put effort into anything? During the night… I read, I play, I dance, I sing, I’m energized! Why…. WHY?!”

At this point, Sleepy Head was rolling on the ground. Every question he asked himself was like another blow to his body. He twisted and distorted his body in the soft meadow grass near the oak. This was unlike him; he’s normally calm, normally chill, normally tired. The mysteries of his life seemed unimportant in the past; he would brush them off and say ‘I am who I am.’ Now, the realization of what he really was seemed to have a physical toll on his body. His mind was racing at a million miles per second.

“I’m not normal, but who governs normality? Why does loving the night seem wrong? Is it the fact that the moon used to house evil? That must be it… but even when Nightmare Moon was in the night sky, I still loved the night. Does that make me evil? Were my parents evil night dwellers… or worse yet, is Nightmare Moon my mother? Ugh, that would be horrible… and unlikely since I’m the complete opposite color of her.” Sleepy Head was racking his brain with so many questions that he was starting to lose consciousness. He was grinding his skull with his white tipped hooves when he finally fell on his back. He had one more question before he blacked out completely,

“Who… who am I?”

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“Hello, Sleepy Head,” A voice said with slight amusement. Sleepy Head moaned as he rolled over, eyes still closed.

“I’m not going to your stupid party, go away,” the maroon stallion grumbled.

“I did not know I was having a party…” The voice said kindly. Sleepy Head’s eyes shot open once he realized who was talking to. Only one being in Equestria had a presence like that; her shadow surrounding the body of the pony. He looked up at the face of the most powerful being in Equestria, shielding his eyes since he wasn’t accustomed to the light yet. Her mane blocked the sun and gave a godly halo around her as Sleepy Head squinted upward. This wasn’t just any pony, this was THE pony: Princess Celestia.

Sleepy Head lazily got to his feet and noticed that it was nearly sunset. He yawned a little as the alicorn smiled at him. Even though this was his first time seeing her (he slept through all of her visits to Ponyville), Sleepy Head wasn’t particularly at awe. Her frightening majesty had nothing on his persistent, unexcited stare. Besides she was the symbol of peace and harmony, nothing too exciting about that.

“So, what’s up- er I mean, how are you, Your Royalness,” Sleepy Head mumbled, still trying to shake off his lethargic state. He really had no idea how to greet the alicorn that brings out the day, and honestly, he couldn’t care less. He hated the day anyway.

“I apologize for waking you, but I have an important… favor to ask of you,” She said benignly. Sleepy Head had trouble growing accustomed to the motherly voice coming out of a pony that was twice his size.

“A favor huh? How could I be any help to anypony? My name’s Sleepy Head for a reason, ya know,” The maroon pony said, falling backwards to sit with his back against the tree. He has never really done anything of high importance, never achieved some outstanding feat, never discovered any new material. There are the famous six ponies of Ponyville to do that. So why would the pony of all ponies want him to do her favors?

“But I heard that you have a particular love for the night,” she said grinning meekly. At first, Sleepy Head gave her a shocked look, but it quickly turned into a glare of annoyance. It figures that she would know, what with Twilight sending her letters and royal guards patrolling the air. It’s not fair that she can just spy on everyone’s private lives, but she is the princess after all. Even if Sleepy Head could stop her, he would probably think it’s too much of a hassle anyway.

“Yea… so I like the night. Sue me,” Sleepy Head grumbled. His crabby attitude was just because he wished he were asleep. For some reason, the longer the day went on, the sleepier he got. But once night came around, something about the night would shower him with energy. Was it the moon? The stars? Maybe the brisk night air or the cool wind blowing through his mane. He could never figure it out, and he didn’t care one bit. As long as the moon rose, he would rise; simple as that.

“That is why you’re special, Sleepy Head. And that is why you’re the only pony for this job,” Princess Celestia stated matter-of-factly.

“Oh, so now it’s a job? The more you talk about this, the more it seems like work,” Sleepy Head retorted with an irritated look.

The princess chuckled, “Trust me, it will not feel like work when you are doing it.”

Sleepy Head grinned bitterly, “So, what would you have me do? Sleep for you?”

“Magic does not work like that, my little pony.”

“Darn, that was our only hope.”

Princess Celestia ignored his contemptuous remark and continued with the job description, “You see, Sleepy Head, Luna has been alone for one thousand years. She is only been here for a year since then and I feel like she is just as lonely as she was before. You see, she sleeps during the day but is up all night, just like you. I think-”

Sleepy Head quickly interrupted her, “Oh no. No no no no no! I can’t hang out with the Queen of Night! She could still be unstable! Who knows what a thousand years of solitary confinement can do to you. And she’s big and menacing and powerful and dark. I saw her at Nightmare Night, she was intimidating!” At this point, Sleepy Head was rattling off like a little colt. He was pacing the ground in front of the Princess, who had her smile on the whole time.

“I remember hearing that you were quite the party animal at Nightmare Night.”

Sleepy Head again gave her a look of shock. He blushed and said, “Yea… it’s the only party I attend. I really get into it…”

“I say you would be the perfect match for her.”

The maroon pony’s grey eyes gave the princess a worried glance and he muttered, “But… night is my alone time. I enjoy the peaceful dusk air and the freedom the night brings. Being around other ponies… it feels like I have to meet their needs instead of meeting mine…”

Again Princess Celestia chuckled lightly, “Well, now I KNOW you are the perfect match for Luna.”

“Huh?”

Princess Celestia’s body towered over him. It seems when he wasn’t looking, the sun goddess had glided silently toward him. With her this close, he could almost feel the raw power she radiated constantly. A white hoof fell on the maroon pony’s shoulder as a comforting gesture. To him, it was kind of threatening. He felt as if she could take him out with a single flick of her hoof. He swallowed hard as she gave him a serious look, then she smiled.

“Look, if Twilight Sparkle has taught me anything, it’s that a person needs friends,” She said as she backed away from him. He found himself holding his breath during that time, but quickly let it out. She continued, “With friends, your experiences are a trade-off. You might have to do tasks for your friends, but they are more than willing to return the favor. Plus, the feeling you get when you help a friend is indescribable. I feel that you and Luna will be the best of friends.”

Sleepy Head gave the white alicorn a quizzical look and then turn to face the oak tree. He had to collect his thoughts, “Ok… so the goddess of Equestria is asking me to be Princess Luna’s play mate. The more I think about this, the more I feel like I’m being used. But then again, that’s what happens when you get a job.” The stallion then remembered his break down earlier, “It’s true. I need to do something! I can’t just be a sleepy head all my life. If my break down taught me anything, it’s that I’m desperate for work. And who knows, maybe I’ll find out who I really am.”

Sleepy Head turned back toward Princess Celestia. “This job… this job is probably the best job I can get. No, scratch that, this IS the best job I can get. Night dwelling with a princess; some stallions only dream of this! Ok… then it’s decided.”

“Alright. Sign me up, I’m in,” Sleepy Head answered. His mind was made up. Though he didn’t like making friends, I guess he will have to try.

Princess Celestia gave him an approving smile and nodded, “Good, I am glad you see the benefits of this opportunity.”

“Sooo… uhhh, when do I start?”

“You aren't busy now are you?”

“Not particularly…”

“Then how about tonight? It’s almost sunset and the sooner she gets an aid, the better.”

“You’re acting like she’s already unstable…” Sleepy Head laughed nervously.

She gave him another comforting smile, “Oh no, you do not have to worry. It’s just… my sister means a lot to me, and I physically cannot keep her company while she does her duties. With you around, it gives me the comfort of knowing that she does not feel destitute.”

“Well, that’s sweet and all, but tonight? I’m just an Earth pony and it would take half of the night to reach Canterlot by train.”

The white goddess laughed and pointed behind the red haired stallion, “That is why I brought my chariot.” Sure enough, behind the oak tree, Sleepy Head spotted a golden chariot with two pegasus guards in the front. They stamped the ground in alert formality as the two ponies approached them. Sleepy Head wondered why an alicorn needed to be pulled around the sky when she had wings. He didn’t mind though, it was better this way.

They climbed inside the chariot and Princess Celestia gave the guards the signal to start flying. The maroon pony slammed his back against the rear of the chariot as they lifted off. These pegasi are stronger than they look, and Sleepy Head clearly wasn’t ready for takeoff. Once he gathered his bearings, he looked back down on the ground at his field. The oak tree seemed to get smaller as they rose into the clouds, fast approaching the Canterlot castle. Sleepy Head was already missing his napping spot.

“So, how long do I have this job for?” He asked in a melancholy tone.

“As long as you like, Sleepy Head,” She said warmly. The maroon stallion didn’t like how she was using his name. It’s like he was expected to be formal, but she could be as casual as she wanted to be. I guess she’s aloud to do that, being a princess and all, “Wow, these alicorns can get away with doing anything,”

“So what is this job going to be like again? Sorry, Your Highness, but you were kind of vague on that subject.”

“Well, all you have to do is keep Luna company while she does her nightly duties. She usually plays by herself or reads during the night. With you around, she’ll have someone to talk to and she can build better pony skills. I feel that interacting with you will better suit her for when she will have to go into public. You saw that embarrassing show at Nightmare Night,” she stated all this while looking onward, toward Canterlot.

“So what? I’m her pet or something?” Sleepy Head said indignantly.

“Haha, certainly not. Think of yourself as… Luna’s companion. Her personal friend.”

Sleepy Head didn’t like the sound of that either. He felt as if he would turn into her butler. He had seen her at Nightmare Night, and she seemed bossy and stuck-up. Sure, Twilight kind of helped her, but the dark princess still never completely loosened up. In fact, she kind of acted like Twilight when she’s in one of her moods. “That’s probably why they got along so well,” the stallion thought.

As they grew closer to the great city of Canterlot, Sleepy Head couldn’t help but have a slight feeling of dread. He had no idea why, but there was something about this job that was too far-fetched. Was it Princess Celestia’s impeccable timing? Or maybe the convenience of the job. These thoughts weighed on the maroon pony too heavily, and the sun had yet to set. Still drowsy, Sleepy Head curled up on the floor of the chariot and fell asleep. He decided to worry about all that later, and hoped for a long ride to the castle.