Silver Swirl on Sunset Island
Princess Silver Swirl
Chew. Chew. Chew. Chew. Swallow. Repeat.
The unicorn princess was startled out of her trance-like state. "Oh, sorry. What were
Princess Twinkle Star looked across the wide table peevishly at the other pony. "I said,
‘How are things
going at the shelter?' You've just been so aloof the past few days. Is something wrong?"
Silver Swirl looked down at her plate of pasta with broccoli and pushed it away from
herself, as if the
very thought of eating it disgusted her. "Eh," she shrugged, the only way she could think of to
evade the question. "I
think I'm going to go to my tower and, uh, rest for awhile. Say ‘hello' to your Pokèmon for me."
With a deep sigh, she
winked away. Her friend echoed the sigh and cleared the two plates of pasta.
In the tower, Silver Swirl gazed out the open window, her chin resting on her hoof. "I
wish I could cry,"
she said absently.
"Hmm?" Melisande, Silver Swirl's Mew friend, looked up from the book of botany she
intently studying. "What was that?"
"Oh, nothing. I just wish I could cry," Silver Swirl repeated.
"Why can you not cry?"
"I have no idea. Ever since I was around twelve years old, I just stopped being able to
cry, no matter
how sad I was. I mean, I could when I scraped my knee or something, but not when it was
"Like now," projected Jade from her perch on top of Silver Swirl's dresser. Silver Swirl
smiled sadly at
the little dragon.
"It's okay, Jade," she reassured in the tone of one who has repeated the same statement
"I'll feel better in a few weeks, and I can tough it out until then. I'm strong." Jade snorted
"That is such an immature way of dealing with your problems." Silver Swirl raised her
looked at the advice-giving dragon.
"It may be immature, but it just so happens to be the only way I have. Do you have a
suggestion...?" She saw the look in the dragon's eyes. "Uh-oh. I shouldn't have asked that."
"Ask Secret Tale if you can take a few days off," the dragon instructed.
"Oh Jade, a vacation is not going to fix anything," Silver Swirl protested with an almost
in her voice. "There are some things that just can't be fixed, okay?" She blinked several times and
if one hadn't known
that she was unable to cry, it would not have been evident.
"But this isn't just a vacation. It's a journey, a fresh start." Silver Swirl made the
noise that was her substitute for tears. It was a strange, pitiful sound that she tried not to let
"Fine," she replied rather bitterly, "I give up. I'll go wherever you want me to go." She
glanced at an
empty picture frame and then closed her eyes, shivering even though the room was warm.
* * *
Secret Tale, who ran the Friendship Gardens Animal Shelter, agreed to let Silver Swirl
have a vacation
from volunteering there. Jade told Silver Swirl not to pack anything, and then instructed her to
wink to Friendship
Beach the next morning. Silver Swirl felt strangely disappointed when she was given this
command. She liked the
beach, especially because Jade's sister Seabreeze was often there, but it wasn't anywhere new or
exciting-- certainly not
a journey. She could have walked to the beach had she chosen to do so. Oh well, she
wouldn't help much, anyway. Being miserable at the beach is quite similar to being miserable in
"Okay, let's go," projected a small but forceful voice. Silver Swirl was once again
startled out of her
own thoughts. She sighed for the eighth time that morning (Melisande was keeping count),
checked to make sure that
Jade and Melisande were ready, and winked to the beach.
Seabreeze was waiting in a small boat bobbing as near the sand as it could float. Silver
that Jade must have told her sister whatever strange plan her busy mind had concocted.
"Hi," smiled Seabreeze. Silver Swirl grinned back; the beach-loving pony often had a
calming affect on
others. "Hop into the boat," continued the hostess. "You'll love Sunset Island."
"Sunset Island?" Silver Swirl questioned, settling herself in as the boat began to drift off.
heard of it." The boat was now skimming speedily over the waves, going much faster than it
would have if Seabreeze
hadn't been using her wind magic to propel it.
"That's not its real name," clarified Jade. "We just call it that because the sky there
always looks like
the sun is setting." Silver Swirl was now thoroughly confused.
"It's in another world," Seabreeze continued patiently. "The only way to get there is
through a portal
that Jade and I discovered when we were foals. It's gorgeous there; you'll love it."
"Another world?" Now the unicorn was interested. "I've heard about things like that,
and I tend to
believe them, want to believe them, but I didn't know there was proof. Have you told anyone
about it?" Seabreeze
shook her head and then giggled as a sea breeze blew her mane into her face.
"The ponies who live there don't want us to tell. It's sort of... different there. Some
might call it a bit
primitive-- not much technology, but the ponies there have a bit more magic than we do. Most of
us only have one
magic power; on Sunset Island it's not uncommon to have two, sometimes even three different
skills. Oh, look, we're
almost there." Silver Swirl gazed at the ocean as the boat began to slow down.
"I don't see anything." She scanned the water for a sign of anything unusual, but there
"The portal is invisible," Jade explained. "You just have to swim around for a bit until
you find your
"Sounds like fun," Silver Swirl muttered sarcastically.
Seabreeze giggled again. "It's a little bit weird, but trust me, it's worth it!" Melisande
cringed. Silver Swirl twisted her neck around to look into the Mew's face.
"Is something wrong?" she asked gently. Melisande started trembling.
"I have f-f-fear of water," she confided softly and hid her face in her paws. Silver Swirl
held back a
smile; everything Melisande did was so cute.
"It's okay; you can sit on my head while I swim," she comforted her friend. Jade was
"You're afraid of water?" she snorted. "It's just water, you silly! Nothing to be scared
of!" The two
small creatures began to bicker as Silver Swirl turned towards Seabreeze.
"Should we look for anyone when we get there?" She was already wondering about the
this mysterious island.
"Nah, some pony will come along. They always do. Just relax; it's very laid-back
there." The earth
pony gazed into the water. "All right, time to hop out!" She grinned mischievously and, with a
sharp turn of the boat,
sent Silver Swirl tumbling into the water. "I'll come back to get you in four days!"
The unicorn spluttered as she splashed around. There was something different about the
thought, as Melisande clung to her horn and Jade jumped down next to her. Then, a sudden
tingling feeling engulfed all
three of them as they were transported from one world to another.
* * *
Silver Swirl's head went under water for a moment and she heard Melisande screech
resurfaced. Treading water, the unicorn blinked and looked around.
The trio was adrift in an ocean of perfectly clear water, through which they could see
plants and stones
on the ocean floor. Ahead of them was a large land mass covered by pure white sand interspersed
with blades of green
grass and bluish pine trees. As Jade had promised, the sky looked just like sunset. Silver Swirl,
Jade, and Melisande
stared in awe at the beautiful sight.
"No matter how often I see it, I can never get over how beautiful it is," whispered Jade.
nodded, forgetting that she was soaking wet. Silver Swirl started to swim toward the island and
"What? What?" asked Melisande and then realized why Silver Swirl was so
The unicorn's colors had been inverted. Where her body, mane, and tail had been white,
they were now
black. Her eyes were changed from their former pinkish-red to a brilliant green. Only her silver
swirls and the silver
tinsel in her mane and tail were the same.
Jade laughed sheepishly. "Oops, I forgot to tell you about that. Any pony from our
world who comes
here gets, uh, reversed. You'll go back to normal when you go home." She grinned slyly. "So
what do you think of
your new look?"
Silver Swirl shook her head in amazement. "It'll take some getting used to," she replied
and once more
began swimming through the cold water, which felt very pleasant beneath the hot sun. Although
it was spring in
Ponyland, it seemed warmer in this new place.
They reached the island in about a minute. Silver Swirl stumbled across the soft sand
and grass mixture
and flopped down beneath one of the trees. Melisande and Jade started flying around, leaving
Silver Swirl to rest after
the tiring swim. She looked up through the branches at the sunset sky.
"This is so incredible," she whispered to herself. "If only..." her words trailed off and
became a sigh--
the ninth one of the day, she recalled. Her gaze turned to the clear ocean as she watched the
rolling crystalline waves.
Looking at water always deepened her desire to cry.
"Ponies come!" It was Melisande's voice. Silver Swirl turned around quickly. Sure
enough, two earth
ponies were trotting up a little dirt path that Silver Swirl hadn't noticed before. She watched
cautiously as they
approached her. Side by side, they walked towards her, stopping when they were a few feet away
from the tree. Silver
Swirl stood up in a rather wobbly fashion (she had never been the most muscular of ponies).
"Hello," greeted one of the ponies, a dark green female with a pale pink mane and tail.
She had no
symbol. "My name is Wish and this is my twin brother Sandstone. Are you a visitor from another
world?" She spoke
in a slow drawl that rather annoyed Silver Swirl. The unicorn found herself speaking faster than
usual to make up for
"Yes, my name is Silver Swirl." She decided not to mention her royalty yet. "My
friends Seabreeze and
Jade told me about the portal. I hope you don't mind my being here." Wish looked thoughtfully
at Silver Swirl.
"Ah... Seabreeze and Jade... well, any friend of theirs is a friend of ours, of course.
Provided you don't
tell anyone about our home," she grinned, showing very white teeth.
"Oh, I wouldn't dream of it," Silver Swirl responded with a grin of her own. She
recalled the island of
the My Little Piggies, where any outsider who went there was forbidden to leave.
"Are you all right?" the other pony spoke up in a voice as drawling as the first's.
Obviously the other
pony's brother, he looked similar to her except that his body was lighter and his mane and tail
were darker. His blue
eyes were wide with concern; Silver Swirl figured that she looked disheveled from swimming and
almost weeping. She
decided to change the situation to one she knew how to deal with by making one of her trademark
"Actually, I was thinking what a perfect place to cry this was," she commented. Now
the fun would
begin. Melisande and Jade looked at each other knowingly.
"A perfect place to cry?" echoed the male pony-- Silver Swirl searched her memory for
Sandstone. Wish said nothing but looked appropriately puzzled.
"Mmm-hmm. Crying near water is so soothing, especially an ocean. And this ocean is
"But why do you want to cry?" Wish took the bait.
"Because I can't. One always wants what one can't have."
"You can't cry?" Wish looked more baffled by the second. Silver Swirl smiled; it was
such fun to lead
others down a verbal trail like this. Now it was time to give them their reward: the answer.
"Ever since I was twelve years old I could only cry when I hurt myself or about trivial
when it was really meaningful. I don't know why." Sandstone looked sympathetic, Wish
"That must be hard," Sandstone began but Wish cut him off.
"What's your magic power?" Her green eyes looked penetratingly at the unicorn.
"Actually, I haven't figured it out yet." She shifted her legs, which were quite exhausted
by now. "I've
tried just about everything but nothing's worked."
Wish smiled. "Well, this is your lucky day. One of my specialties is helping other
ponies find their
powers. Would you like to come to our house and let me do some studies? There's a good
chance I could help
Now, this was exciting! Silver Swirl had always longed to know what her power was.
thought, it would be something really unusual and special, like being able to communicate
telepathically. She smiled,
almost forgetting her horrible sadness.
"I would love to come with you, as long as Jade and Melisande can come too, of
course. I've always
wondered what my power is. Are you sure it's not too much trouble?" Wish brushed Silver
Swirl's inquiry aside.
"No, of course not. I'm always happiest when helping other ponies with their magic.
And your friends
are quite welcome, especially since Jade and I have met before."
"Wish is one of the island's best magic specialists, and very respected," explained
helped me figure out my power when we were foals." Wish smiled modestly and began to walk
down the path, away
from the tree. The other two ponies followed.
"What's your power?" asked Silver Swirl of Sandstone. She narrowly missed tripping
over a tree root
but regained her balance quickly.
"I can communicate telepathically," responded the green stallion. "It can be quite useful
especially when I go out for the day and I need to check in with Wish."
"Wow!" Silver Swirl was quite impressed. "That's a terrific power, a really strong one.
I'd heard that
ponies on your island had more magic..." She looked at him questioningly and then noticed a
stone right in his way.
"Watch--" she was in the middle of warning him, but he nimbly hopped over it. Jade giggled at
"Watch what?" he queried.
"There was a stone, and I thought you were going to trip over it; but you avoided it just
as if you knew it
"Oh. Well, Wish and I have been over this path so many times that we know every
"Can you two walk any faster? I want to get started," called Wish from ahead of
"I think Silver Swirl is tired," Sandstone called back. Indeed, the unicorn was breathing
trotted back to the other two, looking apologetic.
"Sorry, I forgot you swam over here." Silver Swirl smiled, putting the earth pony at
"Oh, I have an idea." The mare shook her head. "I don't know why I didn't think of
that before. I'll
just fly. It doesn't take any muscles since it's a magic power."
"I thought ponies from your world only had one magic power?" Wisp frowned,
perplexed. Silver Swirl
smiled slyly; the clues-and-questions game was beginning again.
"But you said you don't know your magic power."
"Well, then how come you fly by magic and you have another undiscovered power
And now the game's end: "The power of flight was a gift from a friend."
Wish's eyes widened.
"I didn't know ponies from your world had the power to bestow magic on other ponies."
knew it was time to be cautious (a jab from Melisande was a big hint as well); Wissp, the piggy
who had given Silver
Swirl this magic, did not want to be discovered.
"This friend wasn't a pony. Unfortunately, it's best that I don't talk about it." The two
simultaneously, although the unicorn noted that Wish's nod was rather brusque and Sandstone's
was more solemn.
Silver Swirl began to fly a few feet above the ground and the others followed, Wish walking fast
so that she was soon
leading the way.
After a few more minutes, a house came into view. Silver Swirl was surprised; she had
something along the lines of a thatched hut. This dwelling was a large, elegant building of white
stucco, surrounded by
the pine-like trees as well as some pink ferns. It seemed to radiate comfort and serenity.
"Do you two live here all by yourselves?" The house looked rather large for just the
two of them.
"No," replied Wish, "Our father lives here too, and we have five ferrets. And then, of
mother was still around when the house was built."
"She sailed away to search for other lands a long time ago," added Sandstone. His sister
"I'm so sorry..." Silver Swirl didn't know what to say.
"Oh, it's all right. We were very little." Despite Wish's casual assurance, Silver Swirl
had a feeling that
the subject of their mother was a touchy one. "Come on, let's go inside," the magic specialist
changed the subject.
Silver Swirl, Jade, Melisande, and Sandstone followed her up a path of gray stone.
* * *
The house's entryway was cool and shady, and two light-brown ferrets rushed to the
door to greet the
"They're so cute!" crooned Silver Swirl, bending to stroke their fur. Wish
"Some ponies are scared of them, but..." she trailed off.
"But Mother loved them," finished Sandstone. "And so do we. Their names are Violet
and Fern. We
also have Daffodil, Rosemary, and Iris." Silver Swirl hugged Fern. Wish tapped her hoof
"Let's go into my study room," she urged. She trotted through an arched doorway, with
a unicorn mare,
a stallion, a dragon, a Mew, and two ferrets trailing behind.
Sunlight streamed into the study from a huge window. Wish gestured toward some
cushions on the
floor. Silver Swirl chose a fluffy purple one while Jade and Melisande shared a silky blue one.
Sandstone trotted away
and returned momentarily with two glasses of what seemed to be iced tea. He handed one to
Silver Swirl and the other
to his sister. Silver Swirl wondered why he didn't have one for himself.
"Let's get started," suggested Wish. "Silver Swirl, how would you describe
"Uh... idealistic, creative, strong-willed, independent, loyal..." she shrugged. "I have so
characteristics, I can't describe them all."
"And are you a pony of strong desires and emotions?"
"Oh yes," Silver Swirl nodded emphatically. "What else?"
"That's enough for now," assured Wish. "Sandstone, refill my iced tea, will you? Now,
what were your parents' magic powers?"
"My mother's symbol glows in the dark and my father can move twice as fast as an
"Hmm... do you have any unusual abilities or disabilities?"
"I can't whistle, and I can wiggle my ears."
"Could you always wiggle your ears?"
"No. I always wanted to, and then one day I could."
"What magic powers have you tried?"
"Well..." Silver Swirl tilted her head in thought. "I tried my parents', of course, and
talking to animals,
and breathing under water, and seeing with my eyes closed, and making plants grow. And lots of
others, too, but I can't
"That's enough for now. I'm going to look over my papers. Sandstone, you keep them
shook her mane briskly and exited the room.
"Do you think she'll be able to figure it out?" asked Silver Swirl.
"Of course," replied Sandstone confidently.
"So is that her job, being a magic researcher?"
"Job?" Sandstone pondered. "I suppose so."
"And what do you do?"
"Me?" He looked truly bewildered. "Uh... I help her." Silver Swirl drank her iced tea
in silence for a
moment, watching the ferrets play tag with Melisande. Sandstone did seem to view helping his
sister as his job, not just
in the community but also in life. Another ferret wandered into the room; Silver Swirl gestured to
it and it consented to
sit next to her. Silver Swirl loved to be surrounded by animals.
"You remind me of my mother," Sandstone commented abstractedly. "She always
seemed to be
searching for something."
"Do I seem like that?" asked Silver Swirl. The quiet stallion nodded.
"Her name was Reverie." He paused, remembering, and continued. "She was beautiful
and she loved the wind." Silver Swirl felt herself being drawn into the story. "Her power was
that she could give magic
to other ponies, any power she wanted. But she could never do magic for herself.
"Everyone admired her. She and Father had been friends forever, and she gave him a
power as a birthday present each year. Whenever any pony felt like they needed another power,
they would come to her.
She said she loved helping others-- like Wish-- but I heard her crying sometimes, because she
could never do magic
herself. She only cried when she thought she was alone. When you talked about crying, it
reminded me of her."
"And she left to explore?" Silver Swirl felt as if she were in a dream.
"Mmm-hmm. One morning we woke up and she was gone. She left a note. She said
that she was
sorry, but she had to know what was out there. Father and Wish were heartbroken and angry, but
I understood. She just
"So do I," said Silver Swirl, realizing something. "And so do you." Sandstone
"You talk like her, too. She had such sincerity in whatever she said." Someone made a
noise behind the
two ponies. They turned and saw Wish behind them, looking furious. The three of them stayed
frozen for a moment.
Then Sandstone turned to pet Fern; and Wish composed herself.
"I've figured out what your power is," announced the green mare.
"Oh, what is it?" Silver Swirl leaned forward in anticipation.
"It's incredibly strong, but it has many limits. You are able to change some things by
willing them to
change, but only really hard and for a long time."
Silver Swirl was astonished; this power was far stronger and more complicated than she
"Is that why I can't cry, and why I can wiggle my ears?"
"Wow," Silver Swirl whispered. "That means I can do anything."
"Err, not exactly," responded Wish. "You can't do anything that defies a law of nature;
and the more
ponies it affects, the more difficult it is to do."
"Still," alleged Silver Swirl, "it's more than I'd hoped for. If I'd known about this earlier,
stopped speaking, not yet ready to tell the other ponies of her emotional wounds. They didn't
press her to explain.
"It's almost dinnertime," Wish changed the subject.
"Dinnertime!" exclaimed Silver Swirl. "I never even had lunch!"
"We eat early around here," elucidated Sandstone. "Father made some great
"Oh, good, let's go," replied Wish, pausing to tell Silver Swirl, "We eat on the porch
when it's nice
* * *
The porch had a breathtaking view of the ocean, and the salad was as great as
Sandstone had promised.
Wish introduced the guests to her father, Sunray, a golden-orange pony who looked older than
Silver Swirl had
expected. He looked at her with kind, sad green eyes.
"Welcome to our world," he proclaimed in a slow, deep voice. "I hope you enjoy your
stay." He asked
the twins casual questions about their day and the ferrets, but his heart seemed to be far away.
Silver Swirl supposed
that it was in a boat, sailing the seas with a beautiful mare named Reverie. The unicorn gazed out
at the ocean, and the
beautiful sunset sky, which was beginning to darken. The usual longing to cry came over her, and
she thought of
"Wish, does this power I have mean that I can undo previous things I've done with
"Depending on what you did, yes," replied Wish. Silver Swirl took a deep breath,
closed her eyes, and
willed herself to remove the block that prevented her from crying. She stayed like that for a
moment, and then realized
that tears were rolling down her cheeks. She opened her eyes and stared around her.
"I'm crying!" she sobbed in wonder. All of the held-back tears from the years of control
out. Sandstone and Wish pushed their chairs over to sit next to her, while Jade and Melisande
hovered nearby and the
ferrets clustered around her hooves. The unicorn looked at the horizon and, for the first time in
years, allowed herself to
fully grieve. She was blubbering hysterically, and she felt better than she had in weeks.
After a while, the tears slowed and finally stopped. "I'm okay now," she assured the
others. "And thank
you so much." The heartache within her had not ceased, but it had become more bearable. She
looked at the salad and
began to eat it with gusto.
When the salad was gone, Sunray went inside the house and returned with a beautiful
lemon cake. Even
Silver Swirl, who was usually anti-cake, tried some and liked it.
"So," asked Silver Swirl, "are there more islands like this in your world, or is this the
only one?" The
air filled with tension.
"As far as we know," replied Sandstone. His voice was calm but his eyes were nervous.
left to search for other islands, but none have ever returned. Most of us believe that our island is
the only one." Silver
Swirl realized that she had made a faux pas, and mentally berated herself for it.
Nobody said anything for a few minutes, until Sandstone remarked to Silver Swirl,
"You're a princess."
Silver Swirl raised her eyebrows; after a surprising life she had come to expect the unexpected,
but this was rather
"How did you know?" she queried.
"Your hair. Seabreeze told me that all royalty in your world have tinsel in their hair."
Silver Swirl nodded and Wish looked surprised. "I'd forgotten all about that." Then she
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Silver Swirl shrugged. "I didn't realize it was so important."
"No, I was talking to Sandstone," explained Wish. She turned to her brother. "Why did
you hide that
from me? You've been acting strange today."
"I only just remembered it," protested Sandstone. Wish looked sheepish.
"Sorry." Silver Swirl laughed. Wish tried to glare at the unicorn but ended up laughing
joined in, and the three young ponies' laughter drifted across the sea.
* * *
Wish showed Silver Swirl, Jade, and Melisande to a pleasant-looking guest room where
spend the night.
"Thank you so much for inviting us to stay," Silver Swirl addressed her new
"No problem," Wish answered. "We love having visitors, and we don't get many.
going to visit Murmur to help him focus his levitation powers, and we're going to go swimming
afterwards. You can
come, too, if you want."
"That sounds like fun," smiled Silver Swirl. "What about Sandstone? Is he
"Oh, yes, of course," replied Wish, looking as if Silver Swirl had asked "Do birds have
"Sandstone goes wherever I go." Silver Swirl nodded, looking thoughtful.
"Thanks again," she told Wish.
"Good night," responded the other pony. "I'll see you tomorrow." She left the room,
closing the door
quietly behind her.
"You have fun here?" asked Melisande.
"Oh, yes, it's terrific." Silver Swirl grinned. "And I found out my power!"
"Yeah, and it's a really good one," added Jade. "What are you going to do with it? Are
you going to try
to make You-Know-Who realize his mistake?" Silver Swirl frowned at the dragon.
"No I'm not. That's over forever." Her two companions looked down at the floor.
Silver Swirl's face
softened. "Besides, it would be wrong to do that. You know it would." She looked around the
room. It was small, with
pale blue walls and a smooth wooden floor. The unicorn headed for the hammock that hung from
the ceiling. "Right
now, I just want to live for the moment." She hopped into the hammock and immediately fell out.
Jade and Melisande
"Okay, let's try this again." Silver Swirl carefully put one hoof into the hammock. She
then put in the
second, and the third. She started to pull her last leg in-- and tumbled out again. Jade and
Melisande laughed even
harder. Silver Swirl scowled.
"Look, not everyone is graceful and agile like you, okay?" She looked at the two of
them hovering in the
air. "And not everyone can fly," she added and her eyes lit up. "Oh, gosh! This is the second
time today that I've
forgotten..." She flew above the hammock and lowered herself in gently. "There we go!" she
cried triumphantly. Her
two friends hopped in next to her, and they all closed their eyes. Silver Swirl listened to the
sound of the waves crashing
outside, and the gentle noise lulled her to sleep.
* * *
Silver Swirl was awakened by Melisande's furry tail tickling her nose. Sleepily, she tried
to swat the tail
out of the way but the tickling persisted. She opened her eyes to see that the Mew was doing it
on purpose, with an evil
grin on her face.
"Hello, sleep-head," greeted Melisande.
"Cut it out," Silver Swirl groaned.
"You must wake if you want to pay visit to Mutter."
"Murmur," corrected the unicorn, but she sat up anyway and promptly fell out of the
and Melisande laughed. "Why do I feel a sense of déjà vu?" quipped Silver Swirl.
She got up and stumbled into the hallway. Almost immediately, she saw Wish and
were having a discussion about something.
"I've told you time and time again not to talk about-- oh, good morning Silver Swirl,"
changed from stern to friendly. Sandstone smiled at the unicorn. Silver Swirl felt slightly
embarrassed at being seen so
unkempt-looking by her hosts.
"Good morning. Jade and Melisande told me it was time to wake up. I'm so lucky that
creatures," she grinned.
"Did you sleep all right?" questioned Sandstone.
"Oh, I was fine once I figured out how to get into the hammock without toppling
"Oh," Wish looked apologetic. "Sorry about that. You could have asked me for
"It's all right," replied Silver Swirl. "It amused Jade and Melisande to no end." The
"Let's go eat breakfast," suggested Wish. Silver Swirl followed her in the direction of
the porch and
noticed Sandstone walking the other way.
"Where's he going?" Silver Swirl asked Wish.
"Oh, he's getting breakfast," answered the earth pony.
"I'll go help him," the unicorn volunteered. Wish looked shocked.
"You don't need to do that. He gets breakfast every day. It's his job."
"But he'll have to carry more because of me," insisted Silver Swirl. "I'll meet you out on
She started to trot in the direction Sandstone had gone. Jade and Melisande followed Wish
Silver Swirl found the kitchen fairly easily. Inside, Sandstone was slicing fruit. He was
surprised to see
"I came to help you," Silver Swirl explained.
"Oh, you don't have to help," replied Sandstone in a tone similar to Wish's. "I always
"But it doesn't seem fair that you should have to do it all by yourself, especially when
Melisande and I are here. I don't mind."
Sandstone's face indicated that he was looking for something to say. Finally he settled
While cutting a banana, Silver Swirl asked, "Has anyone from your world visited mine?"
Sandstone looked down intently at the orange he was peeling. "No, Wish thinks it's a
Silver Swirl detected a slight bitterness in his voice. "And whatever Wish says, goes?"
Sandstone nodded as if he didn't realize that she was being facetious. "Wish is very
She thinks that if anyone went to your world, they might not come back. Like our mother never
Silver Swirl nodded, understanding that Wish probably felt betrayed and abandoned by
looked at Sandstone, who had a desperate look on his face. "You want to go, don't you?"
She already knew the
Sandstone nodded again. Silver Swirl's heart went out to the young stallion, caught
between his loyalty
to his family and his own dreams.
"I want to go more than anything in the world," he whispered. "I feel so trapped here,
like how mother
must have been. But I can't go against Wish's wishes." Silver Swirl choked back a laugh.
"What's so funny?"
"Wish's wishes..." the unicorn echoed. Sandstone started to laugh with her. Then their
serious again. Silver Swirl took a deep breath and turned to her friend.
"Sandstone, I promise you that I will find a way for you to leave this island without
hurting your family.
It may take a while, but I will."
Sandstone looked at her, his blue eyes wide with hope. "You don't know how much
this means to me.
Silver Swirl nodded. "Let's go bring this breakfast outside." They gathered up the fruit
* * *
After breakfast, the three ponies (along with Jade and Melisande) went down the path to
Silver Swirl gazed admiringly at the sky, which was once again colored like a beautiful sunset.
This morning, however,
it was a pink-and-blue sunset, unlike the peach and orange colors of the day before. Silver Swirl
"Is something wrong?" asked Wish.
"No, that was a sigh of content," replied Silver Swirl. Wish nodded.
After a while they reached a small house similar in style to Wish and Sandstone's. A
purple colt came
bounding out to meet them.
"Hello, Murmur," greeted Sandstone.
"Hi, Sandstone! Hi, Wish! Who's that other pony? Are we going to play that game
grinned; the colt's enthusiasm was infectious.
"This is Silver Swirl," responded Wish. "She came from the world on the other side of
the portal. And
yes, we'll play the game again. Have you been practicing?"
"I sure have!" The colt produced a red rubber ball from his backpack. He then
proceeded, using his
levitation magic, to make the object rise into the air and fly around. Wish ran after it, trying to
catch it. Silver Swirl
realized that the game was designed to help the colt practice using his powers.
A lavender-colored mare came outside with a tiny fuchsia filly next to her. The mare
was carrying a
tray of lemonade and cookies, which she set down on a rock. "Thank you so much for helping
Murmur," she smiled. "I
don't know what I would have done without you; he broke three plates before you came
"Mellow, your son is a pleasure to teach," panted Wish as she rushed from side to side.
laughed gleefully, making the ball rush around in circles. "And how are you doing, Leaf?" The
tiny filly waved shyly.
Something distracted Murmur and the ball dropped to the ground.
"Aw, nuts!" the little colt frowned. Then his face lit up. "It was better than last time,
wasn't it? What
was my time?"
"Two hundred and forty," replied Sandstone.
"How did you know?" asked Silver Swirl.
"I counted," Sandstone answered. Silver Swirl shook her head, trying to imagine a
"Okay, Murmur," Wish addressed her pupil. "You did well. Let's continue this while
"Yeah!" Murmur started galloping away.
"Can I come, too?" pleaded Leaf. Wish nodded.
"How about a piggyback ride?" the mare suggested. Leaf's face broke into a huge grin
as she hopped
on Sandstone's back. Wish led the way in the direction that Murmur had gone, and in no time the
group arrived at the
Jade and Melisande volunteered to play with Murmur as their flying skills made them
adept at the game;
Sandstone helped Leaf gather seashells, and Wish took notes on Murmur's progress. Silver Swirl
inched her way into
the chilly water, finally going deep enough that she could swim. She waved at Leaf, who was
watching a crab scuttle
along the shore. Sandstone kept a careful eye on the filly (and the crab), only pausing to glance at
Murmur, Wish, and
Silver Swirl. Suddenly his eyes grew wide.
"Silver Swirl!" A wave came crashing over the unicorn's head. She splashed her way to
shaking the water out of her mane.
"Are you all right?" Sandstone called.
"I'm fine!" Silver Swirl replied. "Hey, this water has sugar in it!"
"Of course it does!" the stallion shouted. "It's ocean water; what do you expect?"
Silver Swirl laughed
and paddled toward the shore. She shivered as the water on her began to evaporate.
"I found a tidal pool!" announced Leaf proudly.
"I'll take a turn watching her if you want," offered Silver Swirl to Sandstone
"It's all right; I'm used to babysitting," he answered.
"By the way," Silver Swirl whispered, "I've come up with a solution to your little
Sandstone's ears stiffened and he looked at her attentively. Silver Swirl lowered her voice so that
it was barely audible.
"I'm going to use my magic to will Wish to realize that she has to let you go." Sandstone's eyes
widened and his mouth
opened in shock.
"Are you sure you can do that? You've barely used your powers before."
"We don't know that for a fact," Silver Swirl pointed out. "I could have changed tons of
little things that
even I didn't notice. At any rate, I can do this if I have to. It only affects one pony-- Wish-- so it
shouldn't even be too
hard. You just go on with your life for the moment; I'm going to sit on that rock over there and
start willing." She
sauntered off, leaving a shocked stallion and an oblivious filly behind her.
Silver Swirl arranged herself comfortably on the rock, enjoying the warm sunshine and
trying to ignore
the sand stuck to her wet fur. She was truly feeling a lot less confident than she acted, but she
didn't want to scare
Sandstone. The unicorn took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
Wish, you have to let Sandstone go. You have to let Sandstone go. You have to let
Silver Swirl repeated the words in her head, pleading, persuading, demanding. She felt
You have to let Sandstone go. You have to let Sandstone go. You
"Silver Swirl?" Silver Swirl opened her eyes and saw Wish, Sandstone, Murmur, Leaf,
Melisande staring at her.
"Oh, uh, hi."
"What were you doing?" asked Murmur.
"I was just resting," lied Silver Swirl. She hated being dishonest but she knew that if she
wanted to help
Sandstone, she had no choice.
"Are you tired?" Wish's tone was solicitous.
"I'm always tired," grinned Silver Swirl. "If I had my choice I would go to sleep at
eleven and wake up
at noon." The other ponies' faces looked as if she had spoken gibberish.
"Eleven? Noon?" Leaf frowned. "What's that?"
"Oh, well, in my world, we give each hour of the day a number."
Silver Swirl realized that she was getting nowhere. She sighed and began to explain
time, trying to use
her magic while she did so.
"Well, in my world we measure time. The smallest measurement is a second, which is
about the time it
takes you to count to one. Then when you've had sixty seconds..."
By the end of her explanation, Leaf was sleeping, Murmur was playing a game with Jade
and the twins were trying not to yawn.
"And that's time," Silver Swirl finished triumphantly.
"But what is it good for?" asked Wish.
Silver Swirl sighed. "It's hard to explain, but my world would be chaos without it."
Sandstone looked up at the sky. "I think we should be taking Murmur and Leaf home
suggested. The foals reluctantly agreed after Wish promised to visit again soon.
Silver Swirl kept tripping over things on the way back from Mellow's house. Wish kept
looking at the
unicorn suspiciously. Silver Swirl was terrified that Wish would figure out her secret, but there
was no turning back
"Ouch!" A thorn scratched her leg.