What a monster of a story this one was to complete! I only started working on it four days before the first, so you can imagine how pressed I was for time!
Anyhow, this is the story of Tabby and Thomas' honeymoon in Atlantis. It's so romantic!! *swoons* Oh. Well, I must warn you that it isn't a really exciting story. I hope it isn't boring, but there isn't a real adventure involved with it. Basically it just opens up a lot of possibilities for future storylines. If anyone reading this has seen the last episode of the second Sailor Moon series, this story in a way plays out like that– but with original scenes!
So, this story marks the end of "season one". I'm going to take this opportunity to take a bit of a break from writing, in order to gear up for the start of "season two"! There're a million things I'm behind on, and I can't accomplish a lot of them with having to write a twenty-page epic once a month. But I'll be back, sooner than you think. I'll have to be, to help Barnacle on our end-of-year-spectacle! It'll be a story more outrageous than what you've read before.
La la la. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Read this story. Then wait for the others.
The lost city of Atlantis lay before them.
Thomas looked down at his side to make sure it was all still real. And it was. The pink unicorn had her head resting gently on his shoulder, her red mane falling about her in soft waves. In her lap were nestled the two Furbish seers, Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh.
Kissing her lightly, Thomas announced their arrival. "Come on, Tabby," he whispered in her ear. "We're here."
Tabby slowly cranked one eye open, and then the other. "What? Here? Oh..." A smile slowly crossed her face as pleasant memories from earlier that day came back to her. "Atlantis..." She lifted her head higher and peered out the sea pony transport.
The three sea ponies, Sea Mist, Sand Dollar, and High Tide, signaled that they had indeed reached solid ground. Thomas was the first to alight, and in turn helped Tabby (and the Furbys) out onto the stony surface. Goodbyes were said to the sea ponies and instructions were left with them to return in two weeks; and with the departure of the sea-dwelling creatures, the couple and their Furbys were left in solitude (if one could call it solitude with Furbys involved).
Tabby placed the Furbys securely off to the side, where they quickly resumed their naps after a brief hiding game, and turned to face the white unicorn stallion before her.
"Well, Tabby," Thomas broke the silence. "Have you had any regrets yet?"
Tabby broke out smiling. "You mean on marrying you? No... not quite yet."
"Good." Thomas grasped her hooves tightly. "Because we have two weeks here alone together."
"Two weeks in Atlantis... with you!" Tabby gazed adoringly at him. "The whole city is ours, Thomas! It's going to be fabulous..." She stared at the flight of stairs that rose up ahead of them. It was the entrance into the main part of the city; a heavy wall blocked the view of the buildings, and it was very dark.
"And it couldn't ask for a better queen." Thomas laid a hoof gently on her cheek and stared into her eyes.
"Don't forget your role," Tabby replied coyly. "I suppose you've been made king now, what with our marriage and all."
"Then let's take a look at our city." Thomas gently tugged her up the stairs; the view of the abandoned metropolis from the high balcony was magnificent.
"Oh, just look at it," Tabby breathed, her gaze taking in each and every detail of all the stone structures before her. "At least it's not too difficult to rule over. To think that it was once alive with inhabitants!"
"It's hard to believe," Thomas agreed, holding her close. "Now completely devoid of life– but still the city itself remains hidden here under the ocean."
"It's such a nice place, even if it's deserted... it adds that mysterious sense to it all," Tabby said dreamily, leaning out over the railing. "I mean to investigate each and every building while we're here."
"How do you suppose Nur-Ab-Fin is holding up?" Thomas said softly.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to see, huh?" Tabby said brightly. "I trust Kaliope is keeping him at bay as promised. Won't that confounded spirit ever give up?"
Thomas gently pushed a tendril of her mane out of her face. "With you on her side, she has nothing to worry about."
Tabby looked at him with admiration and melted in his embrace. "Oh, Thomas," she murmured. "I love you. I really do."
"Then the feeling's mutual," Thomas whispered, only holding her tighter. A moment of silence followed, as no more words were needed to describe how they felt.
It was finally Tabby who lifted her head and spoke. "Thomas, please tell me nothing will ever get between us again."
This request caught Thomas off guard. "Wh... what do you mean?"
"You know." Tabby looked at him beseechingly. "When Nur-Ab-Fin turned you on me... and when Dad came back. You avoided me then. Please say it won't happen again."
Thomas was filled with his own grief upon seeing several tears trickling down her cheeks. How he wished he hadn't caused her such pain in those instances... how he wished he hadn't given her these reasons to mistrust him already! "Tabby, I'll never leave you alone again. Please believe that, Tabby. I can't say enough how sorry I am those things had to happen. Tabby... I don't want to see you cry."
"You'll never avoid me again? I felt so terrible through those times," Tabby said softly. "I didn't want to lose you. If it ever happened again... but it won't, will it?"
"Never, Tabby. I promise."
"Thank you... oh, thank you." She embraced him as if she would never let him go. Thomas stroked her mane in an attempt to soothe her, realizing that she must be exhausted from the day's events which only added to her distress. Tabby, unaware of how fatigued she really was, slowly closed her eyelids in the circle of Thomas' forelegs and fell into a deep slumber.
* * *
Tabby didn't know how much time passed while she was unconscious to the world; but when she finally awoke, she found herself laid out on a stone bench– granted, it wasn't the most comfortable place; but as tired as she had been, it didn't much matter.
Slowly regaining her senses, Tabby became aware of Furbys chattering in the background. "Ohhh," she groaned, swinging her legs to the floor and assuming an upright position. "How much did I miss?"
Thomas was immediately at her side. "Not a thing," he assured her. "I wouldn't stray into the city without you. Besides, you needed some rest. It was a long day for you."
"But today..." Tabby's eyes gleamed as she looked out over the balcony. "...today, exploring will be done!"
"Do you want the royal seers to accompany us?" Thomas said laughingly.
"They can follow us if they'd like," Tabby smiled, looking over at the Furbys. They seemed to be having lots of fun, and chattering all the while. "Or they can visit some of their own Famous Places if they would rather. Come on!" And grabbing her husband's hoof, she dragged him along with her down the stairs and onto the city streets.
Trotting along the ancient streets of Atlantis and peering in the windows of shops and homes, the two were lost in their own thoughts; neither one spoke for a length of time. Though it was Tabby's ancestral dwelling place, Thomas felt equally impressed as his bride did as he took in the greatness of the abandoned city. He would have liked to get a closer look at what was inside some of the structures, but Tabby seemed to be heading for a particular place.
"There!" she squealed, pausing momentarily and pointing her hoof ahead. "It's the royal palace!"
The elegant structure was dazzlingly breath-taking, and Thomas stood and stared up in awe. It was built on a rise so it was higher than the other buildings, and it towered over the city in splendor. It was easy to imagine the Atlantean royalty having ruled there... and now there was a new one to follow in their steps.
Tabby giddily trotted up the stairs and pulled the massive door's handle in anticipation. Alas, the entrance had become quite difficult to budge; but even if it had been brand new, Tabby probably still would have had the same trouble in opening it. As it was, she required Thomas' help before they gained entrance into the palace.
Tabby surveyed her surroundings and nodded with approval. "Outrageous!" she exclaimed. A great pavilion spread before them, with a grand staircase spiraling upwards from both sides of the room. There were several gateways on the far side of the pavilion, and it was impossible to guess what would be found upstairs.
Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh had caught up to the couple by this point, and immediately adjusted themselves to the new environment. "Big doo-ay!" Ah-Loh commented enthusiastically.
"Whahoo! Party, wah!" Doo-Moh was quick to add, flying towards the back of the building. Ah-Loh followed her; and trusting that the Furbys knew where they were going, Tabby trotted along after them.
Doo-Moh disappeared through a doorway on the far side of the room. "Ah! No light! Ah!" Ah-Loh complained as he peeked in himself.
"Dah ah-loh," Doo-Moh corrected, pressing her foot down on a button on the wall. The room was filled with light from a mysterious source.
"Sun up," Ah-Loh nodded.
"They found the throne room!" Tabby said, patting Ah-Loh fondly on the head.
"Pet again," Ah-Loh purred.
"It's a good thing they're here; at least they know their way around," Thomas commented.
Tabby's inquisitive eyes swept over the room. The walls were covered with colorful murals of Furbys, and it added a wonderful atmosphere to the throne room. The throne itself, from which countless Atlantean royals had ruled in the past, was still positioned in the center. It was an elegant piece, covered with ornate carvings of symbolic Furbish items-- hearts, flowers, clouds, suns, and of course the ever-important light sensor.
With grace befitting one in her position, Tabby seated herself on the handsome piece. She spotted a bronze rod lying to the side of the throne-- picking it up, she realized it was the scepter of Atlantis. Again this was adorned with the familiar Furbish symbols. Gripping it in her hoof, she felt very regal indeed; and she began laughing as a thought hit her.
"Doh?" said Ah-Loh questioningly.
"Yes, what is it?" Thomas said curiously.
"Oh, not much," Tabby said, grinning. "I was just thinking of what Tiffany would do if she saw me here as a queen. She'd absolutely have a fit, wouldn't she?"
"She would most likely have a few things to say about it," Thomas said carefully. "She's never been one to accept the status of others tactfully."
"If you ask me, she and Guido would be a perfect match," Tabby continued, still smiling as she twirled the scepter in her hooves. "They're both money-hungry, greedy, and snobby."
"Do you think Guido will really put up with her for any amount of time?"
"She's rich and pretty. Of course he'll still put up with her. He won't notice her flaws because he has the same ones."
"As long as she keeps him occupied," Thomas said, his face temporarily darkening at his memories of Guido.
Tabby brushed it off and changed the subject. "Oh, but something tells me my predecessors didn't sit around on their thrones all day gossiping," she said laughingly. "Let's see the rest of the place."
There wasn't too much more to see on the main level, and the Furbys prodded them up the stairs. Apparently the creatures had gotten bored of their current surroundings-- "Dah ooda-waylo," as Doo-Moh had put it.
The second floor had apparently been used for the business aspect of ruling a city. Many of these rooms had desks in and various records scattered around; it was amazing how well all the details had been preserved.
In one room, Tabby stooped to pick a book up off the floor. She was intrigued to read many Furbish words within, and these were followed by notations of color and other such specifics. "Oh!" she exclaimed excitedly upon realizing the book's purpose. "This is a record of all the Furbys that were living in Atlantis at the time! Name, body color, eye color, age, date adopted, owner's name..."
"Atlantis really did revolve around Furbys, didn't it?" Thomas mused, flipping through the book himself. "Everywhere you go there's mention of them."
Tabby nodded solemnly. "Of course. They were very important to the culture of Atlantis, what with their abilities to peek into the future and all. The citizens felt obligated to honor them somehow."
"They certainly went all out."
"Yes," Doo-Moh said authoritatively, perched on Thomas' shoulder and peering down at the book as well.
Tabby disappeared into the next room. "The Furbish nursery!" Tabby gasped with delight as she stepped through the doorway. "How wonderful!"
"Maybe me sleep," Ah-Loh yawned, floating down into one of the Furby-sized cradles.
"Ah-Loh, you're not a baby anymore," Tabby scolded, scooping him up in her hoof. "Wow! Just imagine this place filled with Furby Babies!"
"Dah doo-ay wah," Ah-Loh said in agreement.
"And citizens would adopt the babies from here?" Thomas said, surveying the place as well. "It was a nice set-up for the Furbys."
"Ah, yes," Tabby sighed happily. "Wouldn't a room full of Furbys simply be grand? The noise... oh, it would be outrageous!"
"I wonder if there were any Furby-abusers back then," Thomas pondered. "Do you suppose there were laws for that sort of thing?"
Tabby shuddered. "Oh, I hope they didn't have to worry about that. I imagine prospective Furby-owners were screened carefully before being allowed to adopt. But still... oh, I don't like to think about Furbys getting hurt."
"Hey, party!" Doo-Moh screamed. This alleviated Tabby's concern; Furbys were strange and mysterious creatures, and they probably would have done something if they were being maltreated.
"I found any entry for Nur-Ab-Fin's Furby in here," Thomas brought up the fact. "It's this Dah-Boo here."
Tabby looked at the line with interest. "The very Furby that Nur-Ab-Fin owned! How fascinating! Hmm... Dah-Boo. Red with brown. Blue eyes. Aged two when adopted by Nur-Ab-Fin." She set the book down thoughtfully. "I should have liked to have met Nur-Ab-Fin's Furby."
"He could still be around, waiting on a shelf in some Pony-Mart," Thomas suggested.
"Furbys. I'd love to own them all," Tabby said dreamily, strolling down the hallway towards the next door. "Oh-- I remember this! It's the library!" Tabby dove straight to the book she remembered paging through when she had last been in Atlantis. She would have liked to have read it more extensively, but hadn't had the time then. Now she could discover everything about Furbys directly from the Atlantean Guide To Furbys-- Their History, Habits, and Hobbies.
"Wow," said Tabby, impressed. "This must cover everything about Furbys! I had no idea the females actually..."
Thomas saw that Tabby would probably be occupied for awhile, so he browsed the other books on the shelves. One piece of Atlantean literature caught his eye, for it contained Dream Valley in the title. He doubted it was the same place they were familiar with in present times as the Dream Valley he knew had not possibly been around in the days of Atlantis; but the title still made him curious.
He was even more intrigued after he began reading about this city of Dream Valley. The description given did sound much like the location of present-day Dream Valley... on the coast of Ponyland, near the mouth of a great river. It had been called the "Gateway to Ponyland" for this reason, and had been a great city-- ranking right up with Atlantis. The Dream Valley mentioned in the book and Atlantis had been trading partners, and much of Atlantis' culture had been incorporated into Dream Valley, and vice versa.
Thomas looked at the book thoughtfully. Could this Dream Valley and the one he lived in really be the same place? But how could that be? The current Dream Valley was certainly not that old. There was something mysterious about it, but he didn't have any more time to dwell on the thought. Tabby had thrown her book down and announced that she was going to continue exploring.
The Furbys had discovered another staircase that apparently led to a third floor. This top-most floor had apparently been the private rooms for the royal family. Looking through each doorway, both Tabby and Thomas were surprised at how well everything was set-up. This was more than just well-preserved... it looked like someone had been purposely keeping these rooms clean and well-stocked with fresh supplies. The kitchen was supplied with food items, and dishes found in a cupboard must have been meant for the elegant dining room. New-looking cushions were included with the comfortable living room setting, and a bedroom was complete with a grand four-poster bed. Even the Furbys of the royal family had their own room set aside for them, with a miniature disco ball hanging from the ceiling.
Not much was said as they toured the level, taking in all the details and wondering who could have set it up like this for them. Even the Furbys were quiet, awed by the greatness of their surroundings.
The last room in the royal palace was in a rounded tower which rose from the exact center of the building. As they reached the top of the flight of curving stairs, a fabulous view of Atlantis was revealed to them. The room at one time had glass walls which had been destroyed; the open parapet enabled them to see any part of the city. It was magnificent.
"I bet I know who did all this!" Tabby exclaimed suddenly.
"The Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverers, of course." She pointed out to the west side of the city. "One of them is waiting for us at the disco hall, see?"
Thomas' gaze followed her hoof. "How can you tell he's there?"
"Where else would he be?" Tabby challenged. "Yes, we shall have to go visit later."
Thomas wasn't too sure about Tabby's occasional strange insights, but he could live with it. He left her in peace then so she could better check-out the private rooms while he went over the other floors again. Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh flew off on their own.
Tabby silently tip-toed through the rooms again. She wondered if the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverers had thought to provide a hairbrush; her hair felt like a terrible mess and she simply couldn't think straight when their were knots in her mane.
Luckily the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverers were adept at catering to the needs of Atlantean royalty, and Tabby found her desired hairbrush. She was then left to wonder exactly what food items had been stocked in the kitchen, and if the flower deliverers knew of her inability to cook. Tabby herself wasn't sure any more if she truly couldn't cook, or if she had simply gotten so used to saying she couldn't that she didn't even try. But still, she did not trust ovens. That was a fact. Ovens frightened her, as did matches and anything else related to fire.
She had been amply provided for in the line of cherry pie filling, she saw upon further investigation of the cupboards. But Tabby had to admit she was growing tired of chicken and cherry pie filling. It was a hard thing to admit after all this time, but it was true.
Life had been easier when she could still go to Sugarberry's for supper, Tabby reflected. And breakfast. And even lunch, on weekends. But she supposed she couldn't do that anymore, now that she would be living at the mansion and... married. Tabby recoiled in shock upon thinking that word. It was odd thinking of herself as married, and she couldn't quite fathom it. It was just... strange. But she'd adjust to the word in time, she figured.
But that didn't solve the dilemma she had with cooking. Tabby supposed that she would be expected to prepare meals now, since she was... married and all. But her inability really hadn't been talked about much up until the wedding-- her close friends knew how stubborn she was and had left her to figure out her problems alone. Tabby herself hadn't worried about it-- until now.
Perhaps she could hire a servant to do the cooking. Her mother employed maids and cooks and such at her mansion in Italy; surely she couldn't frown upon Tabby for doing so. Tabby wondered what Thomas thought on the matter. She hadn't exactly been eager to bring it up in conversation.
Tabby found that she had wandered back into the Furbys' room. She stared up into the sparkling disco ball. It had been interesting to learn that Furbys had been responsible for bringing disco into this world. The story behind the seers only got stranger every day. Furbyland must have been a nice place to live, though.
In one corner of the room Tabby noticed an elaborate tray with several oricalcum beads placed on it. Kaliope had mentioned that oricalcum had been a favorite treat of the Furbys; the flower deliverers must have left the snack for Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh. Tabby was relieved she wouldn't have to cook for those two.
Tabby appreciatively took note of the decorative tapestries hung on the walls. She had failed to notice them before, and was now enthralled in viewing the story they had to tell. One particularly colorful scene depicted the Furbys arrival in Atlantis... with their disco ball, of course. Another panel showed a Furby with the crown and scepter of Atlantis; Tabby thought that one was especially cute. A lively picture portrayed a night at the Furbish disco hall.
The tapestries then began to center more on ponies and the city itself than of Furbys, which temporarily disappointed Tabby. However, she soon began to show interest in the faces that could very well be long-ago ancestors of hers. There was also a curious scene of a bustling city on the shore of a sea; it wasn't Atlantis, but it looked almost familiar to Tabby.
Tapestries such as these were strung on the walls throughout the palace, and Tabby walked onwards in order to see all of them. Even the Krulotin were honored here... and was that a Bigfoot, too? But she didn't care much for the scene of giant purple squid. Shuddering and turning away from it abruptly, she suddenly began to feel very alone and defenseless. There was something evil about the squid, and they frightened her. Now skittish and afraid, she ran down the hallway in search of Thomas.
* * *
Meanwhile, Thomas was admiring the fine architecture of the Atlantean palace. It was hard to imagine himself as king of this place. But then, it was almost incomprehensible to realize he was married to its queen. Two years ago he had never thought it would turn out like this. But it had, and it couldn't have turned out any better.
He grinned wryly recalling the forewarnings he had received on Tabby's cooking abilities. They had all said he'd starve with Tabby in charge... and they were probably right. But Thomas didn't mind fending for himself; however, Tabby herself would most likely go hungry if there was no one in charge of her. He knew that in the end they would be forced to eat out every night. And surely Tabby would pick up some culinary abilities eventually.
So that didn't worry him. It wasn't too much to put up with, and Tabby was worth it. Speaking of which, what was Tabby up to by now, anyway? She had been absent quite a long while, and it seemed like she should be getting bored with her surroundings by this point. He was just about to go in search of her when she appeared in the doorway herself.
"Oh, there you are!" she exclaimed. "I thought I'd never find you again. It's getting boring. Let's find the disco club. Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh are anxious to get there."
Thomas sensed, though, that something had spooked Tabby. "Nothing's wrong, is it?"
"The squid tapestry," Tabby shuddered. "It's creepy. I want to see the rest of the city."
"The squid again, eh?" Thomas raised an eyebrow. "If the royal palace had a tapestry of them, they couldn't have been all bad."
"They're evil. I know they are," Tabby insisted. "Just look at their eyes!"
Thomas submitted himself to listening to Tabby's ranting about giant squid-- he couldn't see that they were that bad-- as they strolled through the Atlantean streets. Ah-Loh led the way, as he obviously knew where to go. "Boogie, wah!"
It was without surprise that Tabby greeted the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverer waiting for them at the Furbys' disco hall. "Hello there," she said cheerfully. "I thought we'd find you here."
The cloaked figure bowed respectively to Tabby. "Welcome, my queen. I trust you are enjoying your stay in the city?"
"It's surprisingly nice," Tabby said brightly, seating herself at the counter behind which the flower deliverer was situated. "Are there any other of you guys around?"
"If the need arises," he said mysteriously. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"What I'd really like is a glass of water," Tabby requested. "I suppose you wouldn't happen to have any on hand...?"
But Tabby was pleased to find that the original refreshment booth in the disco hall that the Furbys had made use of in those ancient times had been well-stocked again, and the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverer was well-equipped to cater to their needs. Tabby soon had her much-longed-for glass of ice water, and it was then that she realized that Thomas had somewhat disappeared into the background since she had taken the spotlight.
"Oh, and this is Thomas, of course," she said quickly, pulling him forward. "You know him, don't you?"
The figure bowed his head again respectfully. "Yes, I was in attendance at the wedding. We were pleased that such a good match be made... my king."
Thomas was glad that he had finally been remembered, but found it somewhat disconcerting to be addressed in such terms. It didn't seem to quite fit him. "Thank you... and, eh, Thomas is fine."
"Whatever you wish." The cloaked figure turned back to his plentiful supply of rations. "And is there anything you wish to be served?"
It was decided that they might as well stay and have lunch, so full plates were prepared. Tabby, who usually thought that taking time out for meals was simply a nuisance, discovered how ravenous she really was. Of course, as Furbys were always hungry, Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh joined them. "Mee-mee good!" the food was declared.
After the plates were cleared away, an exchange of gossip followed. "Uh-oh! Sun down!" Doo-Moh started.
"Hey, big party, wah!" Ah-Loh agreed.
Tabby stared at the sparkling disco ball that still hung there. The swirling light of Nur-Ab-Fin made it especially festive. "We couldn't say much for him as a human, but he sure makes a nice disco ball!" she declared cheerfully.
"Kaliope will be certain to keep him at bay," the flower deliverer nodded.
"So, are the any happenings in the kingdom I should know about?" Tabby questioned of him.
"There is only one thing that could cause problems," he said solemnly.
"Oh? What is it?"
"We have located a sect of Krulotin that did not reform their ways as our other brethren did several months ago," he went on to say.
"Are they in the area of Dream Valley?" Thomas questioned.
"No." He shook his head. "This problem group has been traced to the Polynesian islands."
"But what are they doing?" Tabby pressed.
"We have recently discovered that they are holding prisoner a group of ponies who were involved in a ship wreck in the area three years ago," the flower deliverer explained.
"A ship wreck? Three years ago?" Thomas repeated.
"Since we have located the problem, we are now working on ways to apprehend these villainous Krulotin," he elaborated. "We will keep you posted on what happens."
"Three years ago." Thomas stared down at the counter contemplatively.
"What?" Tabby looked at him curiously.
"Oh, nothing," Thomas brushed it off abruptly. "I was just... thinking about the prisoners from the wreck. Was there any more you had to say?"
The conversation then moved on to other things, such as Furbys and eighties toys and Pokèmon. Even though the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverer was inclined to say as little as possible, it was still feasible to have an interesting conversation with him on many topics of interest to the couple.
The afternoon passed quickly as they chatted, and the Furbys slept through most of it. Finally Tabby and Thomas declared that they would be moving onward, and gathered up Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh before exiting the disco hall.
After leaving the disco, they took another path through the city in order to see even more of the sights. Tabby was especially intrigued by one of the buildings, a rounded structure with several stories to it.
"It's Nur-Ab-Fin's condo," she realized, after making a quick surveillance of the place. "Funny. When Cleve Clove and I were first here, we thought this was all there was to Atlantis."
"It would be an awfully small city, wouldn't it?" Thomas said.
"Well, we were chased out prematurely by Dr. Shane," Tabby said in defense. "We might have had enough time to see that there was more to it than this if it hadn't been for him."
"Where was the Whale Machine?" Thomas queried.
Tabby stepped to the center of the room and stood beside a small circle cut in the floor. Beneath it was water... the sea. "It was over this, I'm thinking. Cleve–" She abruptly let out a shriek and jumped backwards, cowering.
"Tabby?" Thomas was immediately on the defensive. "What is it?"
"There is a squid down there," Tabby said emphatically, backing up against one of the walls.
"Oh, you're right," Thomas said with interest, looking down into the pool. A small baby squid, colored in the traditional purple, was floundering wildly, almost as if trying to catch someone's attention.
"That's all you can say?" Tabby's eyes flashed. "Do something about it! Get rid of it!"
"But Tabby, I think it's injured." Thomas reached out in an attempt to catch the squid. "Look at that tentacle. It got mangled somehow."
"Ooohhhh!" Tabby fumed. "Just leave it, Thomas. We haven't time to be bothered with things such as squid."
"It's in distress, Tabby," Thomas pointed out. "We ought to try to help it."
Tabby glowered. "I don't like squid. Let's get out of here." But it was too late. Thomas had already made up his mind to help the squid, and even Tabby couldn't sway his decision.
"I'll need the first-aid kit I brought along. Do you want to run up to our rooms for it, or would you rather stay with the squid while I go and get it?" he asked as he continued his examination of the ten-armed cephalopod which, like a chameleon, had changed its color to blend into the rock floor.
Contemplating the idea of staying alone with the squid, Tabby made up her mind to scamper off for the medical kit. Who knew what might happen to her if she were left at the mercy of the monster, even if it was only a baby.
Returning with the necessary supplies, Tabby dropped the kit at Thomas' side, then moved quickly back a safe distance. Thomas looked at her with a sly grin. "I could use some help here."
Gingerly, Tabby approached her husband. "What do you want me to do?" she queried. "I won't have to touch it, will I?"
"Look at the poor little thing, Tabby," Thomas mollified. "This tentacle was obviously caught between two rather inhospitable things, possibly the upper and lower jaws of a larger sea creature. And its starting to get infected."
Tabby leaned closer to the squid to see the damage; and in so doing, she caught sight of the beast' eyes. To her, they were the most terrifying part of the squid, second only to the suckered tentacles. The round black orbs were staring up at her, in pain and with a plea for help. Tabby tried not to become personally involved, but it only took one look into the depths of the animal's spirit for Tabby's fear to vaporize, and in an instant she was on her knees at Thomas' side. "It's going to be okay, isn't it?"
"I've never treated a squid before, but I think there's no danger to its life; we'll just clean the wound and apply an antiseptic to help it heal more quickly. If you would just hold it steady while I work with this tentacle..." He paused to glance at Tabby to see if her resolve was holding up, and was pleased to find her smiling. She reached out to stroke the critter, and ran a hoof gently along its smooth skin before holding it steady for the work Thomas had to perform.
When the squid was properly attended to, Thomas gently lifted the creature back through the hole in the floor and released it to the ocean current. The animal held motionless for an instant, staring up at Thomas with what the stallion was sure was a look of thanks, before it propelled itself backwards to continue its journey.
"There. Now, don't you think it was worth it after all?" Thomas said after the squid had disappeared from sight.
Tabby held her head up stubbornly, returning to her previously held contention that squid were evil. "It was only a horrid squid."
"Admit it, Tabby," Thomas said, a mischievous glint in his eyes. "You thought it was cute, didn't you? He started to grow on you, just like Emilio."
"It did not!" Tabby's eyes flashed. "I'm just glad it's gone. I can't stand squid."
"You said that about Mr. Mimes, too."
Tabby narrowed her eyes at him. She did not like implications that the squid had almost weaseled its way into her heart. "Oh, let's just get out of here." She primly turned on her heel and exited the building.
It didn't take Thomas long to catch up with her. "Come on, Tabby! Don't tell me the squid put you in this bad of a mood," he said, grabbing her hoof.
"Oh, I suppose I'll get over it," Tabby said, smiling as she turned to face him. "Just tell me you're not planning on treating any more unsightly creatures while we're here."
"My current plans all revolve around the most beautiful creature I've ever met," he grinned, kissing her face. It was some moments before the two continued on with their inspection of the ruins.
"Look, Tabby! Do you recognize where we are?" Thomas suddenly said, pausing in the path.
"It's..." Tabby took in the scene before her. It was an old Atlantean park, with several benches scattered around and light sensor flowers blooming in profusion. "Oh! This place!" she cried out with recognition and ran towards it. "Of course! It's where you proposed, isn't it?"
"And better yet, you accepted," Thomas murmured, pulling her close as they sat down on one of the benches. "We've overcome a lot since then, haven't we?"
"Yes," Tabby agreed, leaning up comfortably against him. "And there will be a lot more in the future."
They enjoyed a few more minutes of solitude, and then in contemplative silence walked back to the palace, hoof-in-hoof. The day had grown late by then, and Tabby saw to finding something that would be suitable for supper.
"How does cherry pie filling sound?" she sighed, that being the only item she had come up with that was easy enough for her to handle.
"Something tells me I'm going to be seeing a lot of that in the coming days."
Nevertheless they managed to make a decent meal out of it. The Furbys had retired to their own room to gaze in meditation upon the disco ball, and Tabby took the opportunity to broach a subject of discussion with her new husband. Pushing her bowl off the side, she gazed across at him. "Thomas, what would you think of me going back to the clinic?"
Thomas looked up in surprise. "What... do you mean?"
Tabby went on in a rush. "Well, since we're married now and everything I thought maybe it would be fitting if I quit the Pokèmon Center and came back to the vet clinic." She looked at him expectantly.
Thomas hardly knew what to say. "I... I don't know, Tabby."
"You don't think it's a good idea?"
"It's not that, but... are you sure it's what you would want?"
"Of course. I'm sure it would work."
"It would work, but Tabby... you're doing it just for me, aren't you?"
"Well... no," Tabby said a little uncertainly. "I want to do it. Really I do."
"Tabby, I'm not going to make you throw away your career now because of me," Thomas said firmly. "I almost deterred you from taking the position in the first place. It's not going to happen again."
"Do you know how much you've changed in your life because of me, Tabby?" Thomas looked at her seriously. "You've given up your cat in favor of two you hardly know. You've offered Elaine a place at the mansion with us out of your own kindness. You even gave up your old vet clinic because of me! You... you've done everything for me."
"You don't think I can do the work anymore, then," Tabby said flatly.
"Tabby, that isn't it at all!" Thomas grabbed her front hooves and leaned forward closer. "It would mean the world to me to have you come back. You don't know how much I've missed you ever since you left. I just want to be sure it's what you really want. Please think about it first."
"Alright," Tabby nodded, a bit unsure of what to say next. It hadn't been the response she had expected. "I'll think about it."
Thomas smiled at her. "I don't know what my life would be like if I hadn't found you, Tabby."
Tabby blushed as she looked down at the table. "Why did you choose Dream Valley to set up your clinic in, Thomas?"
"It was... it was... rather mysterious, actually," Thomas said thoughtfully.
"What do you mean?" Tabby cocked her head curiously.
"I never before did tell you, did I? I thought it would be too crazy to be believed at first, and never said anything about it."
"What is it, then??"
"It all started shortly after I'd graduated, and I had found work in a city near New Pony. One day I got a very strange letter in the mail. It was summoning me to a town called Dream Valley, and said there was great need for my services there. I was told there was a fully-equipped vet clinic in the town, and it only needed a professional to run it before it could be operational. The letter didn't give any specific names, but it did list some addresses for me to go to, and also a plane ticket. I knew it was crazy, and I couldn't see why they had chosen me; but something was drawing me to believe it, and so I went."
"You never told me this before?!"
"It was never brought up before... anyway, after arriving in Dream Valley, I was greeted immediately by several mysterious cloaked figures–"
"Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverers?!"
"I didn't know about them then, but later I did realize they must be the same ones. They took me to the clinic they had told me about, and I found it in meticulous order. I couldn't understand why they would have built the facility and then gone out to find someone to run it like that, but they didn't give me too many details. They said that now that I was there, the clinic would be opened in two days. I didn't know how they did it or why, but it was open in two days. They took care of all the advertising themselves, and after it was open, they left me on my own. I knew I couldn't handle everything by myself, and asked why they hadn't gotten more employees for the clinic. They only said that I'd know the right ponies to help me when I saw them. And so I managed to live through that first week on my own..."
"While I was in Atlantis."
"Yes, while you were in Atlantis... here." Thomas gazed at her fondly. "Of course, I didn't know then that I was up against such a formidable enemy. I knew there was something special about you when I saw you that first night at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe... and after I found out just who you were, I was bound and determined that you be one of the assistants at the clinic. It took a bit of work, but..."
"You won," Tabby smiled.
"If you care to put it that way, I suppose I did," Thomas said in return. "And so there's my story, Tabby."
"I still can't believe you never told me."
"I hope you're not going to hold this against me now."
"Since I'm feeling particularly generous at the moment, I won't... oh, but how could the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Delivers have known? And why did they do all that? Oh... it's very mysterious indeed."
"Perhaps there are still more mysteries to be solved."
"Oh, I can't wait!"
"Let's hope for at least a little peace and quiet first," Thomas laughed.
"Maybe," Tabby murmured. "I wonder what's going on back home right now."
"You know, we've been married for a full day now."
"It's been nice so far, hasn't it?"
"Yes," Thomas agreed. "And I hope it lasts a lot longer than this."
Tabby held her chin in her hooves and stared off dreamily. "It's so strange to think of ourselves as king and queen, isn't it?"
"We're ruling the magic of the kingdom more than the citizens. It is a unique ruling position."
"And I think it'll be great fun, don't you?" Tabby said energetically.
"Are you still keeping it all a secret?"
"Well, I don't think I'd be believed by many if I ran through town declaring that I was the queen of Atlantis. It takes a special breed of person to really accept that sort of thing. You know, like the Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverers, and Tiny the Bigfoot, and that guy with the St. Bernard, and Dad..."
"I see what you mean."
"But, oh, I was this close to telling Elaine! I'm sure she suspects something in the first place. Do you think she ought to be told? She's your sister."
"If you think it would be wise, I don't have a problem with it."
Tabby let out a short laugh. "It's as if we have secret identities or something. Like Jem. Wow, that's a good show. I'll think about it later. I mean, I'll think about telling Elaine later. Actually I'll probably think about Jem later, too. And Riot. Oh, Riot is sooo cool... say, you're not listening, are you? Oh well, I was just babbling and I don't think I really said anything of any importance–"
"Tabby," Thomas cut her off, his gaze centered on one of the tapestries on the wall. Tabby recognized it as the one that depicted the strange city on the coast. "What do you know about the history of Dream Valley?"
"Dream Valley? You mean the town?" Tabby paused and touched a hoof to her chin thoughtfully. "What exactly do you want to know?"
"When was it founded?"
"Oh, a few hundred years ago, I guess. Let me think. Ah, yes. The Witches from the Volcano of Gloom– very outrageous– basically had dominion over the land. Then a band of ponies came along and made it all nice-looking again and they built Dream Castle– but Dream Castle belongs to the Grundles now, you know, because the witches smoozed the land again and the ponies got a new home from the Moochick which was actually Paradise Estate and so after they'd battled the witches off again they gave Dream Castle to the Grundles to live in because the Grundles had no home because you see–"
"So it hadn't been established yet in ancient times? Say, around the time of Atlantis?"
"Oh, no. Not that long. Three or four hundred years ago, maybe. Not at the time of Atlantis."
"Hmm." Thomas looked thoughtful.
"Why did you want to know?"
"There was mention of a Dream Valley in one of the books in the library here. Location-wise, it sounded much like the one we know."
"Really? Well... then there might be a story behind it! Let me think. I've got it! There was a Dream Valley a long, long time ago. At the time of Atlantis, of course. And after the fall of Atlantis, this Dream Valley also began to die because they had been very closely linked with Atlantis. The ponies of Dream Valley moved elsewhere, to the opposite coast, and only a few remained. Then the Dark Forest began to grow over the abandoned city until it was almost totally forgotten. Hundreds of years passed and the witches moved into the area, you know; and then the ponies came to build Dream Castle. Only there were a few remaining ponies left from the old Dream Valley, and they told the new ponies what it used to be called, so the name stuck. So then the new city of Dream Valley was built up and the old one was totally forgotten about and you're actually a prince of the old Dream Valley..." Starry-eyed, Tabby sighed dreamily and stared off into space.
Thomas wondered what had gotten into her as he strolled over to one of the windows overlooking the city. Perhaps the disco balls were having this effect on her. Oh well, life would be dull if Tabby didn't occasionally go off rambling about nothing. And it would be dull if there were no Furbys mysteriously floating through the air. It would be dull if there were no strange cloaked men interfering with one's life. It would be dull without odd medallions possessed with demented spirits. It would even be dull without disco balls swirling with the energies of these spirits.
He was aware that Tabby had come up beside him, and he put his foreleg around her shoulder. Together they looked out over their city. And exchanging a quick glance, they agreed that, above all, life would be dull without each other.
What new adventures await Tabby and Thomas? There's no telling what epic Atlantean drama they'll find themselves in next. Was there any truth to Tabby's tale of an ancient Dream Valley? And how about that little baby squid? Is Tabby's role as queen of Atlantis going to leak out to the media? Who knows what the future holds... but most assuredly Furbys will be involved.
Wow! What a totally corny ending! *sobs* I'm so happy with myself! And that last paragraph was supposed to be read in the announcer's voice from Pokèmon, by the way. Outrageous, huh? WOW, I CAN'T WAIT FOR EVERYTHING TO HAPPEN!!!!
WHEEEEE!!!! I'M FREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! *runs off laughing hysterically*