"Uh-huh," Belle Star nodded. "That's right, Morning Glory; Clever Clover has amnesia."
"He can't remember anything?" Minoko asked.
"Uh, he remembers how to talk, and how to walk, but he doesn't remember anything about his life. He doesn't even remember who he is."
"So when is he coming home?" asked Morning Glory.
"Well, the doctor wanted me to tell you about the amnesia so you'd be prepared. I guess, since I've told you, he can come home any time. But we'll have to help him get settled in for the next few weeks."
"When will he get his memory back?"
Belle Star shook her head. "The doctor doesn't know. He says it could come back at any time... or never at all."
* * *
The three fillies went to the hospital to meet Clever Clover and escort him home. Belle Star led the way to Clever Clover's room. Minoko rushed ahead of the others and threw her forelegs around the amnesiatic prince.
"Oh! My love! I'm so glad to see you again!"
Clever Clover seemed both confused and amused at the same time. "You must be... Mi...Minoko? Belle Star told me all about you."
Morning Glory grabbed Minoko's ear and pulled her off of Clever Clover. "You should be ashamed of yourself! Carrying on like that with an engaged pony."
Minoko crossed her arms. "You're just saying that because I beat you to him."
"I am not! But in any case, this is a hospital, and you should be on your best behavior."
"Didn't Belle Star say that we should behave like ourselves to help bring his memory back?"
"That's right!" confirmed Belle Star. "We shouldn't treat him any differently that usual."
"Well, in that case, I'd say that we're off to a great start," mumbled Morning Glory.
Belle Star grabbed Clever Clover's foreleg. "Come on, let's get you home."
Clever Clover nodded. "Yeah, I could use a change of scenery. And I look forward to seeing what kind of life I had."
After checking with the admissions desk to make sure everything was in order, the foursome made their way to Clever Clover's home on the outskirts of Friendship Gardens.
"Boy, I sure live out in the boonies," said Clever Clover.
"Yes," replied Belle Star.
"It's nice and private, though," added Minoko.
They reached the house and Clever Clover was shown around. "So, what do you think?" asked Belle Star.
Clever Clover shrugged. "Ah, I guess it's all right. I mean, I didn't really know what to expect. It'll take a while to used to."
Belle Star glanced at the clock. "Oh! Your favorite show is starting!" She rushed into the living room and turned on the TV. "Do you want to watch?"
Clever Clover followed Belle Star and stood regarding the TV screen. "A cartoon?"
Belle Star nodded. "Uh huh!"
"Is there anywhere in town to go and dance?" Clever Clover asked.
"What!" the three fillies replied in unison.
"You never liked to dance before!" Minoko said.
"I've spent three weeks in a hospital bed. Now that I'm out, I need to do something physical."
Belle Star thought for a moment. "Well, there is that new club downtown. But when we walked past it before, you complained about how loud the music was."
"Well, I'd like to give it another chance."
"I think it sounds like fun!" declared Minoko.
Clever Clover took Minoko by the hoof. "Well then, shall we go?"
Belle Star jumped up and down. "Let's all go!"
"If you like," Clever Clover replied.
"Well, it's not the type of place I'd normally hang out," said Morning Glory. "But if the rest of you are going, I might as well tag along."
* * *
Later, at the club, The Shod Hoof, Clever Clover and Minoko danced while Belle Star and Morning Glory watched from a table off the dance floor.
"If I had known that Minoko was going to monopolize Clever Clover's time, I wouldn't have come," said Morning Glory.
"Oh, I'm sure he'll dance with each of us. The club doesn't close until two o' clock, and it's only ten-thirty. But if you're bored, maybe you could dance with someone else. Those two stallions over at that other table keep looking over here; maybe one of them would dance with you."
"I don't think so."
"Oh! Come on!" Belle Star grabbed Morning Glory by the foreleg and dragged her over to the other table.
"Hey, what's up, ladies?" asked one of the stallions with a grin.
Belle Star pushed Morning Glory forward. "My friend wants to dance!"
Morning Glory cringed. "Not really..."
One of the stallions stood up. "What about you? You're not going to leave my friend without a partner, are you?"
Belle Star blushed. "Oh, well, I'm waiting for my fiancee! I'm sure he'll be finished soon."
The other stallion rose. "But that wouldn't be fair to us, leaving one high and dry."
Belle Star backed away. "Ah..."
"Maybe we should just go back to our table," Morning Glory suggested.
One of the stallions stomped his hoof. "Oh no! Once you've made the offer, you've got to see it through."
"I didn't make any offer!" Morning Glory shouted.
"I'm sorry..." Belle Star whimpered.
"Hey!" Clever Clover grabbed one of the stallions by the shoulder. "The ladies don't seem to be interested in your company!" With that, the purple prince slugged the stallion.
The other stallion took a swing at Clever Clover, only to be blocked by Minoko. She grabbed his foreleg and threw him onto a table, which collapsed under the impact.
"Oh my!" Belle Star and Morning Glory gasped in unison.
The club's bouncer, a big, burly pony, walked up to the scene of the commotion. "I think maybe you should be leaving."
Minoko manifested her energy horn and leveled it at the bouncer's face, but Clever Clover restrained her. "Don't waste your time with this hooligan. Let's get out of here."
Clever Clover and his friends made their way out of the club under the nervous gaze of the other patrons. Once they were outside, Clever Clover let our a hearty laugh. "Boy, that was the most fun I've had since... ah... well, as long as I can remember."
Minoko nodded. "Yeah, it was a hoot!"
"You didn't have to hurt them," whined Belle Star.
Clever Clover shrugged. "Oh, they'll be fine."
"I hope so!" said Morning Glory. "You are a prince and a regent! As a public figure, image is important, and this sort of thing is not good for your image."
Clever Clover sighed. "If this is the way you acted before I lost my memory, maybe I lost it on purpose."
"That was rude!" said Belle Star.
"I'm going home!" Morning Glory stomped off.
"Oh! Don't be mad!" Belle Star called after her.
Morning Glory paused. "I think we all need a good night's sleep."
Belle Star nodded. "Oh, well, goodnight then."
"Yeah, whatever," mumbled Clever Clover, without breaking his pace. "See ya when we see ya."
Minoko followed Clever Clover while Belle Star stood watching her friends go in different directions. She looked back and forth between them for a moment before trotting after Clever Clover and Minoko. When they reached Clever Clover's house, Minoko yawned and excused herself, retiring to her bedroom.
"So, are you planning to sleep over or what?" Clever Clover asked Belle Star once they were alone.
"I... just wanted to make sure you were all right. You haven't been acting like yourself."
"Myself? I don't even know who that is. Maybe my memory will come back, maybe it won't, but if it doesn't, all I can do is live my life. And if my new life doesn't live up to your expectations, maybe we should call off this whole engagement thing."
Tears welled up in Belle Star's eyes. "Call it off? But..."
"Now, don't go crying. If my memory comes back, we can pick up right where we left off; and even if it doesn't, maybe you'll learn to like the new me. But until then, I'll have to ask for the ring back." Clever Clover held out his hoof.
Belle Star couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was as if her whole world was coming apart. Her mind was lost in an abyss of loneliness.
"Well!?" Clever Clover demanded. Belle Star, as if in a daze, slid the ring from her hoof and held it up for a moment before dropping it into Clever Clover's outstretched hoof. She turned and walked out the front door and burst into tears.
She cried all the way back to her apartment. By the time she climbed the stairs, she had run out of tears and was sobbing loudly. As she fumbled with the lock to her door, Coral, her next-door neighbor, poked her head out her door.
"Hey, Belle Star, what's the problem?"
Belle Star burst into tears again. "Clever Clover... he... he..."
Coral put her forelegs around her teary neighbor. "What is it? What did Clever Clover do?"
"He dumped me!"
"Oh my! And I had such a strong premonition about you two."
"He lost his memory and now he doesn't remember loving me and he isn't even the same pony but I still love him! Why did this have to happen to us!?"
"There, there, Belle Star. Come into my apartment and I'll make you some herbal tea to help you relax."