Tabby's Battle Against the Giant Squid
Tabby stared at the express mail letter clutched in her hoof as she sat on her porch
steps. The mysterious cloaked figure had just dropped by to deliver it.
"There's only one pony in the world that would use that name on a letter to me,"
Tabby muttered to herself as she ripped into the envelope with a foreign postmark on it.
Tabby read over the paper inside, and shoved it back in the envelope. "How
interesting," she said to herself. "No bother. I'll just see what the gang thinks at the Satin Slipper
Sweet Shoppe tonight."
* * *
Clever Clover tried to hide his peals of laughter when he looked at the outside of
the envelope. "Tabitha Fershund. How quaint," he snorted.
Tabby glared across the table at him, like she did most every night. "I cannot help it
if my mother still insists on calling me that," she said loftily.
"The letter's from your mother?" Sugarberry asked curiously.
"Exactly," Tabby confirmed. "I haven't heard from her for years, but she's--"
"My, I remember the days of our childhood when she still lived in Dream Valley,"
Sugarberry said nostalgically. "And then she moved away after you were through collage-- where
is she now?"
"I think somewhere in Spain," Tabby said critically. "Or was it Italy? It might be
"Try checking the postmark," Thomas suggested, a smile playing across his
"Postmark? Hmm, I never thought of that. I'll check later."
"Here, just let me see it," Clever Clover interrupted.
"It'd probably take ten minutes for her to find the postmark on the envelope,
anyway," Spike whispered to Clever Clover.
"Ah-hem, but I need advice--" Tabby started.
"A hem is the edge of a piece of clothing," Clever Clover said promptly. He and
Spike broke out laughing.
Tabby glared at Clever Clover again. They really were good friends; they just
argued all the time. "As I was trying to say before I was so rudely interrupted..."
"What is it?" Thomas asked attentively.
"Yes, tell us," Sugarberry agreed.
"My mother--" Tabby paused. "Spike, give that envelope back to me!" After a
short skirmish, Tabby pulled a slip of paper out of the envelope. "My mother wants me to visit
her for two weeks in--well--Spain or Italy or France." She displayed the plane ticket."
"Two weeks?" Thomas echoed.
"That's a long time," Sugarberry fretted.
"What about the Pokèmon Center?" Clever Clover demanded.
"And your cat, Callie?" Spike added.
"Two weeks isn't that long," Tabby contradicted.
After the initial shock had worn off, her four friends were able to think more clearly
on the matter. "I didn't mean to sound discouraging, Tabby," Sugarberry quickly apologized.
"You really should take up your mother's offer."
"You still can't forget about your job at the center, or the Pokèmon of your own,"
Clever Clover accused.
"That's right," Spike agreed. "Don't let all those Pokèmon down like that."
"And I've already figured that out," Tabby yawned. "I'm sure Merry Treat will be
happy to fill in for me at the center for a couple of weeks."
Up to this point, Thomas had been silent. "And when exactly do you have to
leave?" he questioned.
"It says the plane leaves at eight o'clock tomorrow morning," Tabby said
Sugarberry gasped in alarm. "Eight?!...but that's hardly no time at all!"
"Your mother didn't give you an earlier notice?" Spike said skeptically.
"It's nothing to get alarmed over," Tabby said in dismissal. "It won't take more
than five minutes to call Merry Treat, and another ten to throw a suitcase together."
"I think you're taking this too lightly, Tabby," Thomas warned.
"Of course she's taking it lightly," Clever Clover whispered to Spike. "She refuses
to take anything seriously."
"I heard that, Cleve Clove!" Tabby shrieked.
"Whatever you say, Tabitha," Clever Clover smirked.
"Why, you little--" Tabby snarled.
"Uhh, Tabby," Sugarberry interrupted the argument, "if you're serious about going,
shouldn't you get home and start making arrangements?"
Tabby snatched up her plane ticket and pushed back her chair. "I suppose I should!
She was just about to jump up from her seat when Sugarberry held her down. "I'll
stop in at your house in the morning to see you off," she said tearfully.
"Uh-huh, uh-huh," Tabby said impatiently. "And you'll give a sentimental speech
and all that. It's not like I'm never coming back."
"But what if you don't?" Sugarberry sobbed. "You'll get caught up in the
European lifestyle, and we'll never hear from you again!"
Tabby sighed. "I'll be back in two weeks, alright?"
Sugarberry managed a smile. "If you say so," she said weakly. "See you
"And now I'm off," Tabby said briskly, standing up.
"I'll walk you home," Thomas offered quickly.
Tabby nodded in reply, and the two set off. Thomas was rather silent, and Tabby
just stared at the envelope with an insane grin on her face (and not really watching where she was
Thomas hesitated as they reached Tabby's porch. "I suppose I'll say my goodbyes
now." He forced a smile. "Have a good time in...well...Europe."
"Don't worry; I won't," Tabby said cheerfully; she had to keep up her pessimistic
She eyed him critically. "Say, you don't look too happy."
"You're only going to be gone for two weeks," Thomas said sarcastically.
"You can't expect your friends to be totally thrilled over it."
"They don't have to act like it's the end of the world, either," Tabby retorted. "I'll
be back in two weeks.
"The way you change your mind, I wouldn't be surprised if you decided to stay
there," Thomas said accusingly.
Tabby's eyes lit up with anger. "Why, that's--I wouldn't do that! You--you..."
"We'll see what happens in two weeks," Thomas stated simply.
"Indeed we will!" With that, Tabby stomped into her house, and slammed the door
in Thomas' face.
"Hmph!" Tabby stood there fuming for several moments.
Tarquin walked through, rubbing his eyes as if he'd just woken up from a nap. "I
figured it was you with that slamming door." His eyes lit up. "Hey, is that a special delivery
Tabby immediately forgot about the argument. "Oh, Tarkie, It's so exciting!" she
squealed. "My mother sent me a ticket to go visit her for two weeks!"
"But...I don't have to go with you, do I?" Tarquin said after the information had
"I suppose you could board at Merry Treat's if you wanted to," Tabby figured.
"Along with Jigglypuff and Oddish."
"Merry Treat's?" Tarquin's face lit up even more. "For two weeks? Yeah, I'm
staying in Dream Valley!"
"I'll call her in a few minutes," Tabby yawned. "I leave tomorrow at eight in the
"I get to start my stay with Merry Treat tomorrow? Yipee!" Tarquin cheered. "Of
course, it's not that I don't like you, Tabby," he added quickly.
Tabby smiled and patted him on the head. "That's okay. You'll like being with
Merry Treat better than being in Europe." Merry Treat also owned a Meowth who was good
friends with Tarquin.
Tarquin hovered around as Tabby made the call. "Hey, Merry Treat! I need you to
take over for me at the Pokèmon Center for two weeks and watch my Pokèmon."
Merry Treat blinked slowly. But then, she was used to hearing things like this from
Tabby. "I think I can do that," she said cautiously. "You're not quitting, are you?"
"Of course not!" Tabby exclaimed. "I'm just going to visit my mother."
"Ohhh!" Merry Treat said in awe. "You get to go to Spain? You're so
"Yep," Tabby confirmed. "Or, it might be Italy or France..."
"I'll be happy to do the Pokèmon stuff for you," Merry Treat said graciously.
"How about if I come over tomorrow morning to pick-up Tarkie and the others? Or is that too
"That'll be perfect; my plane leaves at eight."
"You'll have so much fun!" Merry Treat squealed. "See ya!"
After hanging up, Tabby turned to Tarquin. "It's all settled," she informed him.
"Merry Treat will come by tomorrow."
Tarquin clapped his paws together in excitement. "I can't wait!"
"Now, where's Tamara?" Tabby questioned. "She's not out, is she? I have to set
some things up with her."
"In her bedroom," Tarquin said promptly.
"Great!" Tabby said brightly. "Now, you can go off and pack whatever you might
Tamara was indeed in her bedroom. "One of my necklaces is missing!" she wailed
as Tabby entered.
Probably the one Tarquin found lying around and gave to Tess, Tabby
reasoned to herself. To her cousin, she said quickly, "You'll have to watch over Callie and be
sure her dishes are full while I'm gone for two weeks."
Tamara frowned. "You'll be out in the wild catching Pokèmon, won't you?" she
sighed. "Really, that can't be good for your complexion."
"As a matter of fact," Tabby said lightly, "I'll be in...in...France or Italy or
Tamara blinked slowly. "Europe? You're going to Europe?" she exclaimed.
"Since when did you want a vacation there?"
"Since Mom sent me this plane ticket." Tabby waved the tiny slip of paper through
"Aunt Agatha?" Tamara echoed. "She invited you to visit? What about me?
Doesn't she want me to come, too?"
"There's only one ticket, and she wants me," Tabby said in dismissal. "I'm leaving
in the morning at eight. Like I said, be sure to watch Callie. Merry Treat is taking my Pokèmon,
so you don't have to worry about them." With that, Tabby abruptly stepped out into the hallway
and closed the door, leaving Tamara to complain to herself.
"Now the only thing left to do is pack my suitcase," Tabby said cheerfully, entering
her own room. Digging a suitcase out of the depths of her closet, she scrutinized her room
carefully. What should she take?
The first items in the suitcase were some of her favorite My Little People,
Pokèmon, and Teddy Ruxpin videos. Next was her beloved plush ‘Koosa, Brownie. Of course,
Tabby couldn't forget her two plush Tea Bunnies and Kitty Brite...Tabby went around the room,
pulling out her favorite toys from her different collections.
After preparing for bed, Tabby decided to throw in her toothbrush. Sugarberry
would really rip into me if I forgot that, she thought reasonably.
With that taken care of, Tabby collapsed into bed.
* * *
"Hey, hey, hey!" Tabby exclaimed to herself as she woke up the next morning. "I
get to go to Europe today!"
There was something nagging at her memory from last night...but Tabby didn't stop
to think about it. She leaped out of bed and looked at her clock: seven o'clock.
Plenty of time, she thought as she went through her morning ritual. She
was just finishing breakfast as Tarquin entered the kitchen.
"I've packed what I needed," he said eagerly. "Will you bring me back something
"Mmmmph." Tabby struggled to swallow. "Oh! A souvenir? Certainly, and I'll
find something for Tess, too."
Tarquin grinned broadly. "You're a great trainer, Tabby," he said sincerely.
"All in a day's work," Tabby proclaimed.
"Tamara is sulking in her room," Tarquin informed her.
Tabby yawned. "Figures. She should be happy that I won't be around to insult
"And she'll have complete rule over the house," Tarquin added.
The doorbell rang. Tabby grabbed her suitcase (and she had even remembered the
plane ticket) and ran to the door. "It'll be either Merry Treat or Sugarberry," she told Tarquin as
she twisted the doorknob.
It turned out to be Merry Treat. "Tess and Spearow can't wait to see you, Tarkie."
She bent down to pet the Meowth and turned to Tabby. "I'll be sure to take extra-good care of
your Pokèmon. And the center."
"Here are Jigglypuff and Oddish," Tabby said as she handed two PokèBalls to
Merry Treat. "I'm sure they'll be fine with you."
"I don't mean to rush off so
quickly," Merry Treat said apologetically, "but I've got
to be sure to get to the Pokèmon Center on time. Have a great time! Be sure to send me a
postcard!" She winked and started down the porch steps.
"Buh-bye, Tarkie, Merry Treat, Jigglypuff, Oddish!" Tabby called after them. "I'll be
Then Sugarberry trotted up the walk. "Hey, hey, Sug!" Tabby greeted her.
"Good morning," Sugarberry said. "Is there anything you need help with before you
go?" She put on a brave smile.
"I've got everything in this suitcase," Tabby assured her friend.
"You remembered a toothbrush, didn't you?" Sugarberry asked suddenly.
Tabby rolled her eyes. "Of course, Sugarberry."
"Well, goodbye," Sugarberry sniffled. "Though I'm not sure how good I'll be as
secretary at the clinic for these two weeks."
"You'll be okay," Tabby assured her, but then her face suddenly fell. That's what had
been nagging her memory...her argument with Thomas last night.
"You okay?" Sugarberry asked in concern.
Tabby blinked. "Oh! Yes! I was just thinking that I'd better be heading to the airport
now!" She ran down the walk. "See ya!" she shouted back at Sugarberry, who waved in
Once Sugarberry was out of sight, Tabby slowed her pace to think. I hope he's not
too mad, she mused to herself, remembering last night. But to think I wouldn't come
Hmph! She marched resolutely on to the airport.
Upon arrival at the airport, Tabby realized she had never flown on a plane before. I
may not come back alive! she thought to herself in alarm, but quickly reassured herself.
Well, it can't be any worse than a walk through the Dark Forest.
The next thing Tabby realized was that she had no idea what to do now. She did have
her ticket...maybe she had to do something with that. Hmm...a desk was on the far side of the
that Tabby was in, with an official-looking pony standing behind it.
Tabby dug frantically in her suitcase for the ticket while walking towards the counter.
"Here," she said briefly, pushing the ticket over to the other pony.
The lavender pony in a cap which bore the emblem of the airport glanced at the ticket
for a second. "Gate 5," she yawned.
"What about Gate 5?" Tabby asked impatiently.
"That's where you wait for your flight," the ticket-taker explained in a bored tone of
"Alrighty!" Tabby skipped along on her new quest to find Gate 5. "Let's see...Gate
4, Gate 5, Gate 6, Gate 7..." She paused. "Gate 7?! But seven is after five. That can mean only
thing." Tabby took a deep breath. "Gate 5 does not exist. Unless...unless! Perhaps I missed
Eventually, Tabby did find her way to Gate 5 and seated herself. Though the airport
hadn't seemed very busy, there were quite a few ponies waiting as well.
After two minutes of waiting, Tabby was already bored out of her mind. As she was
concentrating so hard on how bored she was, she was only dimly aware of a voice over the
loudspeaker... "Gate 5 now loading..."
Hearing the commotion of hooves trotting across the floor, Tabby looked up. "Is that
Gate 5 loading?" she exclaimed to herself. "Well! They didn't even tell me!"
* * *
I hope it doesn't take long to get to...err...France or Italy or Spain, Tabby
thought, staring out her window to the ground below. She had been lucky enough to get on the
The plane should crash just about now, Tabby figured to herself. And all
my beloved videos will be lost forever!
The flight was uneventful, but it took much too long to reach its destination, in Tabby's
opinion. She wished she had Clever Clover to bug about how much longer it would be until
It sure was fun, stealing his pocket watch and wasting five minutes figuring out what positions the
hands were in.
Barnacle n' Cleve Clove n' Spike n' Friendly'll probably watch Pokèmon again
tonight, Tabby sniffled. And I won't be there!
Tabby looked out the window again. There was... ocean under the plane.
She shuddered. The ocean reminded her of giant squid, and she was petrified of giant squid.
was still scared silly that-- someday-- a squid would emerge from the drainhole in her
Tabby settled herself back in her seat, and whimpered quietly. Thinking of giant squid
had made her ill at ease. Monsters from the Dark Forest were better than giant squid...
* * *
"Hey, hey! I made It!" Tabby debarked the plane and merrily skipped along, swinging
her suitcase in the air. "Sorry," she quickly apologized as she swung it into someone's leg.
"Tabitha! Tabitha!" A pastel blue unicorn was waving frantically at Tabby.
"Hey, hey!" Tabby pushed her way through the bustling crowd of ponies. "Hey!
"Oh, Tabitha, it is you!" Being silent for a moment, the unicorn embraced her
daughter in a tight hug.
"Mmmff. Err. A-hem!" Tabby struggled to entangle herself. "And that's ‘Tabby,'
"Hmm, well..." The blue unicorn frowned for a moment, but quickly brightened.
"Come, let's get outside and we can think more clearly. My house isn't far from here," she said
quickly, leading the way.
"Alrighty," Tabby obediently trotted after her mother. She wouldn't mind getting out
of all this noise, either.
"Now, then," Tabby's mother sat down on a park bench after walking a ways. Looking
Tabby up and down, she said happily. "You've grown to be so beautiful, Tabitha!"
"Tabby," Tabby reminded, and sat down next to her mother--a pastel blue unicorn with
dark blue hair and the symbol of two dark pink cats (it ran in the family). "It's actually quite a
being beautiful. All my friends are always trying to get me dressed up, or have my hair done."
Her mother raised an eyebrow. "I would think you'd like to keep your looks up...but
that doesn't matter now. You only brought one suitcase?"
"Yep." Tabby nodded and held up her case for display. "I only brought my most
"You must have a wonderful jewelry collection," her mother said gleefully. "I can't
wait to see it. But, we'd better get to my house. You'll certainly want to rest after that plane
Not bothering to correct her on the jewelry collection, Tabby just fell in step behind her
* * *
The house actually wasn't that near the airport. Tabby's hooves were sore and she was
tired of gripping onto her suitcase by the time they reached a residential section on the outskirts of
the city.. and a rich residential section by the looks of it. Tabby stared in awe at all the
expensively-decorated mansions surrounding her on the slope of a hill.
"And here we are," Tabby's mother announced, pausing to open a gate in the fence
surrounding one of the homes. "This is where you'll be staying for the next two weeks."
To Tabby's satisfaction, the house was painted in vibrant shades of blue. She had
always despised houses which were-- in her way of seeing-- "dull colors." Tabby figured if you
bright colors like blue, purple, and pink, why should you choose a color such as white or tan to
your house with?
"You do like it, don't you?" her mother asked critically.
"It's wonderful," Tabby said exuberantly. "The blue paint looks excellent." She
skipped up the stone path leading to the porch. Tabby looked out across the spacious lawn. It
appeared that her mother did not let any flowers grow except for those of the color blue, judging
from what was growing in the flowerbeds.
The light blue unicorn fit right in with all her blue surroundings. "I'll show you your
room now," she explained, opening the front door that-- appropriately-- had panes of transparent
"That's a... lot of blue, isn't it?" Tabby stepped inside the hallway. The carpet was
pastel blue. The walls were dark blue. Pictures on the wall were hung in blue frames.
"I didn't want the place looking gaudy," Tabby's mother said logically. "Too many
colors can give that effect."
Everywhere Tabby stepped, there was blue-- blue-- blue! It was rather strange. She'd
never had an experience like this before.
Walking up a flight of stairs to the second floor and turning to the right, her mother
opened a door-- an aqua door. "Here you are," she announced, waiting for Tabby to
"That's a big bedroom," Tabby gasped, peering inside.
"Freshen up a bit, and when you're ready, you can come back downstairs," her mother
instructed. "I'll be in the parlor. It will be so much fun finding out what you've been doing all
years!" She waved as she skimmed back down the hallway.
Tabby tentatively stepped inside her room. It was-- blue. "I have the feeling I'll be sick
of blue in two weeks," she muttered to herself as she flopped down on the bed and dropped her
suitcase to the ground.
Tabby surveyed the room with a critical eye from her vantage point. There was a tall
dresser, a desk, the bed, a bookshelf. Nothing out of the ordinary, she thought to herself,
except the room's so large. Even with the pieces of furniture, it didn't cover up half the
floor space in the room.
Then, something more interesting caught her eye. A trunk-- very antique by the looks
of it-- sat in one of the corners. Curious as a cat, Tabby sat up. "I must check that out later," she
said out loud. "But for now, I've got to unpack." Whipping her suitcase open, she quickly found
homes for everything-- Brownie, Kitty Brite, and the Tea Bunnies went on top of the dresser; the
videos she lined up neatly on the bookshelf. That just left her toothbrush. Tabby flung it on her
she didn't have to do anything with that now.
Next, Tabby noticed something even more interesting than the chest: another door
within her room, next to the desk. This could not wait to be explored! She leaped off the bed
turned the doorknob. Oh, but what if there's a giant squid behind it? she thought in
As it was, her concern wasn't too far off-- the door revealed her own private bathroom.
It's somewhat nice having a rich family, she mused to herself, except for the fact that
they're all fashion-crazy, as well. The bathroom, like everything else in the house, was rather
large. Just to reassure herself, Tabby stared down the drainhole in the bathtub. I hope squid
don't live around here, she worried.
Tabby was not one bit worn out by the plane ride. She splashed some water on her face
and then prepared to go back downstairs, noting the time on the clock. "It's already afternoon?"
exclaimed out loud.
She carefully descended the stairs. Her hooves were still sore. Tabby peeked into
several rooms on the ground level as she looked for the parlor. "Kitchen... dining room..." she
mumbled to herself. "Ballroom?!" she shuddered. "I hope Mom is not going to throw a party
Finally, there was the parlor-- furnished with blue chairs and couches, of course. Her
mother was sitting erectly in one of the chairs, reading a book. "Hey, hey!" Tabby greeted her as
sat down on the couch.
Tabby's mother abruptly set her book down. "Oh, good, you're back," she said
delightedly and pushed a plate towards Tabby. "You must be starving after the plane ride."
Tabby suddenly realized how ravenous she really was. She munched contentedly on
one of the chocolate chip cookies as her mother started asking questions.
"And are you still into veterinary work, Tabitha?"
Tabby cocked her head. "Basically--- sort of. And Mom, call me ‘Tabby'!"
Her mother sighed. "You always did like to go by that nickname. I thought you would
have learned to like your full name after all this time."
"Nope." Tabby shook her head vigorously. "Anyway, I'm the Pokèmon nurse in
Dream Valley now."
"Pokèmon? I've heard of those," her mother contemplated. "Is the pay good?"
"Three thousand jangles a month," Tabby boasted.
"I'm so glad you've made a name for yourself," her mother said proudly. "But still not
Tabby tossed her head in defiance. "Of course not," she said bluntly.
Her mother frowned for a moment. "Someday, Tabitha, someday... well, do you still
have that calico cat? Callie, was it?"
"I've still got her," Tabby declared. "And three Pokèmon, too," she added
"It must be delightful for you to have Tamara around again," her mother said blissfully.
"You two look so much alike."
"But I have the better eye color," Tabby defended herself quickly. "Say, isn't there
anyone else living in this area?"
"Certainly!" Her mother waved her hoof through the air. "You saw all the other
mansions on this street. All the affluent families live around here."
"And are there any giant squid living down the drainhole in my bathtub?" Tabby
Her mother seemed to ignore that question. "There are several stallions who I'm sure
will be pleased to make your acquaintance," she informed her daughter.
"Hmph." Tabby stuck her nose in the air and searched her mind for a question to
change the topic. "What does that trunk in my room have in it?"
"The trunk?" her mother exclaimed. "Oh, dear, I was going to move it to the attic
before you came. It has been here since I moved in. The previous owner's diaries are in it, I
"Oh," Tabby yawned. She wasn't exactly thrilled by diaries, either. "Hey, how about
watching some Pokèmon episodes with me?"
"You mean to say you still watch cartoons?" Her mother looked shocked. "I mean,
I'm having a friend over this afternoon. You can watch them alone, if you please."
"Alright," Tabby sighed. It was always fun getting new ponies addicted to Pokèmon.
"I'll go do that, then." She trudged off to get her video supply.
* * *
The next morning, Tabby was staring out her bedroom window at the surrounding
terrain. She could see a tall, peaked mountain in the distance-- really not that far from the house,
considering. I wonder what that weird red glow around the top is, she wondered to
"Tabitha, good morning!" Her mother walked into the room just then. "How was your
first night here?"
"Are you sure there aren't any squid in the bathtub?" Tabby asked skeptically. She had
experienced nightmares about giant squid while she slept.
"Certainly not!" Her mother looked horrified. "Anyway, would you like to do any
sightseeing today? Or shopping?"
"What sights are there to be seen?" Tabby questioned.
"There's always Mt. Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii." Her mother pointed out the
window at the same mountain Tabby had been looking at a moment before.
"Are there any thrift stores in town?" Tabby prodded further.
"Really, Tabitha! The clothes they sell in those places are so outdated!"
Tabby decided not to mention the fact that she'd be looking for toys. "I'll go see the
mountain thingy," she decided. "I don't need a guide, do I?"
"You may go on your own if you please; it's really very easy to get to," her mother said
cheerfully. "Just don't stay too far into the afternoon. You'll want to get washed-up before
"Why?" Tabby asked curiously.
"You'll find out when you get back," her mother said quickly. "I'll pack a lunch for
As Tabby headed out, she pondered what country she was in. She still hadn't found
out. That's something she had to remember to ask her mother.
Tabby carefully walked up the hilly slopes. At least her hooves felt a bit better from
the walk yesterday. And she didn't have to worry about giant squid here in the mountains.
This is my second day here, she figured to herself. That leaves twelve more
to go-- if I'm calculating that correctly. She thought some more. Would Sugarberry still be
heartbroken over her departure? Was Tamara still jealous that she couldn't be in Europe? Had
Cleve Clove and the rest finished watching all the Pokèmon episodes? On that topic, had Cleve
Clove figured out a good recipe yet to make for the gang? And was Thomas still mad at
Then she got around to worrying about squid again, but by that time she had reached
her destination. What had her mother called the mountain? And she had said something about a
too. Obviously not a modern city, she thought to herself, staring at the old, crumbling
Tabby wandered around on the ancient stone roads and cocked her head to get a better
view of the mountaintop. That red glow certainly was eerie. She paused in thought. What in the
world could have emptied out a city like this?
Peering into the foundation of one of the ruined buildings, Tabby noticed a perfectly
preserved skeleton of a small dog. "Poor thing," she whispered. It reminded her of a story she
read in school way back in seventh grade, but she couldn't quite remember the plot.
Investigating the ruins of the old town made the time fly for Tabby. She remembered
to stop for lunch sometime along the way; and after more exploration, Tabby sensed the day was
growing late. Perhaps she'd better head back home. Back she ran.
* * *
"Tabitha," her mother said sternly, "you have very little time to get ready for the
Tabby blinked several times. "What party?" she finally asked.
"The one I'm sponsoring tonight to introduce you to all the affluent ponies in town,"
her mother declared dramatically.
Tabby groaned. "I don't like parties," she protested.
"All the stallions would be disappointed if you didn't show up," her mother said firmly.
"You only have half an hour to get cleaned up! And you're a mess!" She picked a bit of rock out
of Tabby's mane. "Now, up to your room, and be in the ballroom in presentable condition by
Grumbling, Tabby stomped up the stairs. This was not going to be a fun night; she
could sense it already.
* * *
Tabby did not look like a whole new pony as she entered the ballroom as her mother
had hoped. She looked just like before... except less dusty.
Tabby's mother pulled her to the side of the room. "Tabitha," she said in
discouragement, "you don't have any jewelry on."
Tabby noticed her mother's sapphire necklace and earrings. "Jewelry is just a bother.
You waste time worrying about whether it's fallen off or not."
Her mother just sighed. "Now, look, the party is in full swing already. You were
fifteen minutes late."
"If I'm already fifteen minutes late, I could just forget about this party and go back to
my room," she suggested.
"Not so fast, Tabitha!" Her mother grabbed her foreleg and started dragging her across
the room. "There are some ponies you must meet."
"I don't want to meet anyone," Tabby muttered.
"That's not a good attitude," her mother chided, still pulling Tabby behind her.
"Ah-hah! Here's someone." She abruptly stopped in front of a stallion, causing Tabby to stumble
up sprawled on the floor. "Good evening, Guido!" she addressed the light yellow stallion. "And
is my daughter, Tabitha."
Tabby flipped the mane out of her eyes and snobbishly refused Guido's hoof to help
her up. "And that's ‘Tabby'," she informed him coolly, struggling to get back on her
"A pleasure to meet you," Guido said formally.
"And Tabitha, this is Guido," Tabby's mother finished the introduction.
"What was that? Weed-o?" Tabby smirked, not refusing the chance to rip the
pronunciation of someone's name apart. "Sounds like a weed repellent. Hello, Mr.
Tabby's mother looked horrified. "Tabitha!" she gasped.
Guido appeared to be taking it calmly. "No, it's not pronounced as in ‘weed,'" he
"Whatever you say, Weed-o." Tabby waved a hoof through the air in dismissal.
"I'm very sorry, Guido," her mother apologized quickly. "Tabitha is not feeling her
"Oh, no, this is how I always act towards overly charming stallions," Tabby said
bluntly. "Perhaps if I was sick you'd like my behavior better."
Tabby's mother set her mouth in a straight line. "Tabitha, you can help me get
something from the kitchen. Guido, you'll be able to see Tabitha later." She flashed him a smile
she walked off with Tabby in tow. Tabby just scowled back.
"Do you realize what you said back there?" her mother reprimanded Tabby once they
were in the privacy of the kitchen.
"Uh-huh," Tabby said truthfully. "And it was just what I wanted to say."
"Well!" her mother fumed. "I would not be surprised if Guido never speaks to you
again!" She looked out the doorway. "Why, he's dancing with Battista now!"
Tabby rolled her eyes. "I don't care," she yawned.
"There are others, of course," her mother continued. "Come, let's go back out." She
paused in the doorway and looked her daughter in the eye. "Any more insulting of any of the
and I will rip all your precious videos apart one-by-one!"
Tabby gulped. She wasn't sure anyone could rip videos apart, but she did not want to
find out. Unwillingly but silently, she followed her mother back out into the crowd of dancing
* * *
Later that night-- much later that night-- Tabby was back in her room brushing her teeth
furiously. She wasn't exactly brushing her teeth furiously to get them clean; it was more because
was... well... furious.
The names of all those stallions her mother had introduced her to kept running through
her head... Benito, Jacopo, Giovanni, Domenito. And not a single one of them had any class, in
opinion-- even if they were rich. Thomas was much better company than any of them, and he'd
probably never speak to her again-- at least that's what Tabby told herself, being a pessimist and
Before jumping into bed, Tabby quickly checked the bathtub. Nope, no squid.
* * *
Tabby felt rather like she was breaking the law as she spread out a bright pink rug in
the middle of her all-blue room. She grinned mischievously to herself.
She'd bought it while out shopping earlier that afternoon-- her mother had shown her
around to all the best shops. Unfortunately, they hadn't gone to any thrift stores. Tabby had been
lucky enough, however, to find one of the new My Little People dolls she needed in a toy store--
she even had a package printed in a foreign language. What language it was, she still didn't
It was now after supper (Tabby had convinced her mother's cooks to fix chicken, and
they did a good job of it) and Tabby was closely inspecting her purchases. Gleefully, she opened
My Little People package. She couldn't read the foreign name, but she knew from seeing pictures
in a Dream Valley flier that her name was Elaine.
Just as Tabby was untangling Elaine's blonde hair from the package, she could hear
voices from the main entry hall. She opened her door to see if she could hear any more. Her
mother's voice drifted up the stairs... "Yes, Guido, I'm sure she'll be pleased to see you!"
Tabby abruptly slammed the door shut. The Weed-o guy was back to see her? And
she thought she wouldn't have to worry about stallions any more on this vacation!
Just a moment later, Tabby's door opened again. "Tabitha!" her mom declared
jubilantly. "Guido has come to visit you!"
Tabby closed her eyes and lay back on her bed. "Tell him I'm busy," she
Hearing this, her mother stalked over to the bookshlef where Tabby had placed her
videos. She selected one of the Teddy Ruxpin videos-- "Teddy Outsmarts M.A.V.O.," which
happened to be one of Tabby's favorites-- and threateningly waved it through the air. "Remember
what happens to your videos if you're not polite!" she warned.
Tabby's eyes opened wide, and she gasped as she saw which video her mother held.
"No!" That's one of the best ones!" she wailed, trying to grab it back.
"Then you will not say anything rude to Guido?" her mother interrogated.
"Yes," Tabby whispered.
"Alright, then." Her mother set the video down. "Guido is waiting in the parlor."
With that, she left the room.
Tabby carefully placed the video back in the line-up, and exited the room to meet her
fate-- but nothing was worth losing her videos.
* * *
"It has been a pleasure visiting you, Miss Tabitha," Guido said as his closing
Tabby pushed him towards the door-- making it look polite, of course-- and smiled
fakely. "Yes, goodnight," she said in relief as she pushed the door shut after him.