The Story in Which Dietrich and Caprice are Rescued, and Thomas Proves his Worth
written by Tabby
Warning: You will probably notice that the action scenes are rather lacking in content. That’s because I forgot to get ideas from my brothers before it was time to send the newsletter.
Ponyland South Pacific
The storm winds blew blinding sheets of water across the deck of the rapidly sinking boat. The beige unicorn shielded her eyes from the rain and saltwater as she stepped back from the now-lowering lifeboat she had just helped a mother and her children into. Now, was there anyone else who needed aid? She peered around as best she could through the thick wall of rain and sea. She just couldn’t dream of evacuating herself when there were ponies more in need of help than she and her husband. But thankfully almost all the other passengers had made it off the sinking vessel and into lifeboats that would take them to safety. Oh, good, there was Dietrich leading an elderly stallion to one of the last lifeboats. She carefully navigated towards them.
“Is there anyone else?” Caprice shouted above the roar of the waves.
Dietrich shook his head. “The captain is making a last check around the ship, but this appears to be everyone.”
“Here, let me help,” Caprice said soothingly to the elderly stallion, who seemed to be having difficulties with one of his legs. She lent him her support. Then the deck started rocking with even more fury as an especially strong gust of wind blew. Crying out, Caprice lost her footing and went sliding down the deck, the old stallion with her.
“Caprice!” Dietrich shouted, holding out his hoof to try and catch her, but she slid by too quickly. He had been fortunate enough to grab onto the railing, and he started inching his way towards the other edge of the deck where Caprice was now grasping onto the railing with one hoof and the stallion, who seemed to have been knocked unconscious, with the other. “I’m coming!!”
But a strong wave whipped across that part of the deck, and due to the force of it Caprice felt her grip on the ship weakening. “Dietrich!” she screamed as the force finally bowled her and the elderly stallion overboard.
“Noooooo!” Plunging forward, Dietrich did the only thing he could think of and dived in after them. He couldn’t lose Caprice like this- he couldn’t!
Another great wave tossed over the vanishing ship, and soon it was gone from sight...
8 years later...
“It has a lot of frosting.” Thomas eyed the cake before him with some misgivings. At least, he thought it was a cake. Unless it was all frosting...?
“Yes!” Tabby beamed proudly. “Isn’t it lovely? I made it myself, you know.”
“I thought so.” Thomas didn’t know of anyone else who would layer on quite so many frosting flowers and trims onto a single cake. Maybe it had been a mistake buying Tabby that deluxe cake decorating kit. Well, even if he could live with a little less frosting himself, he wouldn’t let on with his trepidation and ruin her enjoyment. He smiled up at her. “You did an admirable job. I’ve never had a more... er... extravagant birthday cake than this.”
Tabby giggled girlishly at the praise. “Oh, I’d hoped you’d like it! And Faline put on the candles. Light them now, would you?”
After that was accomplished, Tabby proceeded to cut the confectionary overdose into rather large slices while Faline licked excess icing off the removed candles. Tabby stared at Thomas expectantly as she set the first piece in front of him.
“Go ahead and take your piece,” Thomas urged her hurriedly. It really was a lot of frosting. He couldn’t quite face it on his own.
Tabby shrugged and extracted another slice from the platter. “Mwine?” said Faline hopefully.
Tabby laughed and Thomas smiled wryly at his daughter. “I think you’ve had enough already,” he started to say as way of warning, but Tabby was already helping Faline to a luscious-looking purple frosting rose.
“Oh, she needs something special,” she defended herself. “It is her father’s birthday, after all!”
“Very well, but no more, or she’ll be sick,” Thomas gave in. “It is very rich,” he added, taking a tentative first bite.
“Yes,” Tabby said happily. But before she touched her own piece, she leaned forward and, resting her chin on her hooves, stared at him intently. “Well... there is something I’ve been saving to tell you today...”
“Oh? And what would that be?” Thomas looked at her curiously.
“I...” Tabby had just opened her mouth to speak when a loud rapping sounded on the door. “Well, who would that be at this time of night!” she exclaimed irritably.
“I’ll get it,” Thomas offered, pushing his chair back. “Hold that thought.”
“Sure... oh, Faline, you’ve gotten frosting all over Lee-Koo! Lee-Koo, you’re filthy. Come on, let’s get him cleaned up...” Tabby was quickly occupied by other matters as she took an unwilling Furby to the kitchen sink to be cleaned with an amused Faline overseeing the process.
Tabby pulled Lee-Koo up out of the water, and he resembled a drowned rat. “No doo-ay,” he said forlornly, puffing out his hair and shaking violently to remove the excess water. Faline was drenched in the process, but she only giggled hysterically.
Lee-Koo quickly forgot the trauma of his bath, however. He yawned several times in succession and dropped off to sleep. Tabby sent Faline to put her Furby guardian to bed and then went to see who the visitor had turned out to be. She hoped they wouldn’t be long, as she really had wanted to tell him...
* * *
Thomas opened the door and, even with the beam of the porch light illuminating the guest, couldn’t say that he recognized the pony before him. “Can I help you?” he asked cautiously.
“Well, Thomas, m’boy!” the stranger, a pale tan stallion with pastel blue hair, exclaimed, patting him heartily on the back. “So this was the right address after all. Not a bad place. Anyway, I got an interesting lead and I thought I’d better let you know about it right away...”
“Wait a second,” Thomas said, holding up a hoof and stalling the stranger’s speech. “Do I know you?”
“Well, I should hope you do!” the stranger said, looking affronted. “Don’t you remember your Uncle Colin?”
Thomas looked at him strangely. “I don’t have an Uncle Colin.”
“You don’t? Well, that’s news to me.” The stranger raised an eyebrow.
“I think you must have the wrong pony.”
“You’re Thomas, aren’t you? Thomas Fairfax?”
“Well then, this is the right place.” Colin crossed his forelegs stubbornly.
“I’ve still never heard of you before,” Thomas said bluntly.
“Nonsense! You must have been all of, oh, two years old the last time I saw you! I visited my sister and her husband a few times after you were born.”
“Your sister?” Thomas echoed.
“As in, your mother.” Colin looked at him with disdain. “Really, I never expected Caprice to raise such a slowtop as you!”
“Caprice? My mother is... was... your sister?”
“Yes! Now you’re getting it!” Colin said sarcastically.
“Well, if that’s the case,” Thomas challenged, “why didn’t I meet you or at least hear about you from the rest of the family when I was in Forest Brook?”
“Oh, I imagine they’d given me up for lost again... they usually do whenever I disappear for a few years. Or else I’ve been disowned; it’s always difficult to know what my father is going to do.” Colin paused a moment to consider this. “He actually expected me to become some paper-pusher in the publishing firm! Hah, what a joke! In any case, he was none too happy when I flaunted his wishes and became an adventurer instead. Oh, and that brings me back to what I came here for...”
“Why don’t you come inside,” Thomas, after some deliberation, invited. From the facts this mysterious uncle had given him, paired with some faint recollections of his mother’s stories of her brother Colin, he was beginning to sound legitimate. Still, this was all very strange...
“It’s about time,” Colin said, availing himself of the invitation and stepping into the entrance hall and following Thomas’ lead. “Now, as I was saying, I got a lead on the whereabouts of your parents...”
“My parents?” Thomas paled and turned around quickly to face Colin. “What did you just say?”
Colin sighed. “Here we go again. All right, kid, your parents-”
“I know who my parents are... were,” Thomas said a bit shortly. “What did you say about them?”
“Oh, just that I finally located where they are,” Colin said cheerfully. “I was planning on setting out tomorrow and figured you might want to come along. Shall I count you in?”
“Is this your idea of a joke?” Thomas said furiously, his color heightening. The loss of his parents eight years ago had remained a sensitive point with him, and any violation of their memories met unfavorably with him.
Colin looked affronted. “I should think not! I’m one hundred percent serious. No need to blow up at me like that.”
“My parents are dead and I’ll thank you to refrain from using them as objects in your future pranks.” Thomas spoke evenly, but there were strong emotions brewing just beneath the surface.
“Dead? What are you talking about?” Colin was taken aback. “Surely you didn’t give up on them? Were the bodies ever found? Think about it!”
And it was then that Tabby came on the scene. “Hello?” she said, cocking her head at an impossible angle as she saw Colin for the first time. “Who are you? What’s going on? What bodies have been found?” She glanced from one to the other, sensing the tension in the air.
“Well, what was I supposed to think!” Thomas cried out bitterly, rounding on his uncle and ignoring Tabby. “All the reports said-“
“The reports! You listened to the reports?” Colin was shocked. “And you believed them?”
“What was I supposed to believe if not the authorities! Why should I believe you, instead, after all these years?”
“My, my. You really do have a lot to learn.” Colin shook his head slowly. “Well, I can tell you your first mistake was taking the authorities’ word for their demise. You’ve gotta get out there and find the facts for yourself. Which is what I’ve been doing.”
“Hello! Would someone please tell me what is going on here!” Tabby stamped her hoof on the ground angrily. It was so annoying to be ignored like this!
Colin finally looked in her direction and bowed slightly as he realized there was a lady present. “I apologize. Very rude of us indeed. Perhaps you could introduce us, Thomas?”
Thomas glowered at Colin, but complied anyway. “Very well. This is my wife, Tabby; and Tabby, this is my... Uncle Colin.”
“Well, and what a fine family reunion this is.” Tabby crossed her forelegs and glared at them both. “Perhaps you could at least fill me in on what you’re both squabbling over.”
“I simply came to impart the news that my nephew’s parents are alive and well after all these years of him obviously believing them dead,” Colin said with great dignity.
“They’re preposterous claims, that’s all,” Thomas said with equal conviction. “I’d prefer to have my parents’ memories undefiled, not dredged up and put into public speculation!”
“Preposterous claims! As if you even listened to them!” Colin protested heatedly. “Look here, if you just don’t care enough about your parents to help recover them I’ll leave peaceably and do it on my own. I needn’t have my integrity doubted!”
“How dare you imply that!” Thomas said furiously. “You don’t know the first thing about the situation! If you-”
“Thomas, come with me.” Her own temper barely in check, Tabby grabbed him by the foreleg and propelled him into the next room where, shutting the door behind her with authority, turned to face him. “All right, what’s going on here?”
“I think that’s already been explained.”
“Not really.” Tabby faced him crossly. “I don’t see why you’re being so stubborn and insisting your parents are dead. I thought you’d jump at the opportunity to find them. Why are you acting like this?”
“You don’t know what it was like back then, Tabby,” Thomas said darkly, looking away. “You have no idea how many times I got my hopes up, thinking they’d come back again and everything would be like it was before.” When he looked at her again there was anguish in his eyes. “Do you think I didn’t do everything in my power to find them back then? And every avenue I tried assured me it was impossible for them to have survived. There are no islands close enough in the vicinity for them to have reached... alive. All vessels that had been in those waters were questioned, but they hadn’t found anything either. It’s impossible. It can be nice to dream, but sometimes it’s better and hurts less in the long run to just be realistic.”
“But everyone is fallible,” Tabby said quietly. “You can’t know anything for certain. Shouldn’t you take the risk, just one more time? What if they are there, Thomas? As long as it’s a possibility, it merits looking into.”
Thomas sighed and shook his head. “You can be remarkably reasonable when you want to be. Why do you let on to the world that you are a featherheaded ditz?” he asked softly.
“Because that’s what I like to be,” Tabby said simply.
“Very well then, I’ll listen to him, at least. And I’m sorry for snapping at you.”
“That’s all right,” Tabby said, giving him a quick kiss.
* * *
“Would you like some cake?” Tabby ran back into the living room, plate in hoof.
Colin looked at the offering with pleasure. “Ah! Just how I like it. Lots of frosting. Thanks.”
Tabby smiled broadly and took her seat next to Thomas, eagerly anticipating what this mysterious uncle had to say. Stories were so much fun!
“Well then,” Colin finally began, “now that that’s cleared up.” He beamed at his captive audience- or at least Tabby was captive. “I’ve been searching all this time for clues as to my sister’s whereabouts after the boating accident. Nothing had come to light, until just recently I found a piece of the very boat that had met its demise in the South Pacific eight years ago in the possession of a certain pony up north.
“He was reticent in giving me any details on how he came to possess this piece, but after some persuasion on my part-” Colin didn’t go into any details on what “persuasion” he had used- “he finally divulged what he knew. As it turns out, he had been on the same cruise as Caprice and her husband and was washed overboard in the storm. Later on he was picked up by a Yeti fishing vessel and taken to their island, along with two other ponies the Yetis had recovered. Interestingly enough, these two others answered to the names of Dietrich and Caprice.” He looked around smugly. “Any questions so far?”
“Ooh! Ooh!” Tabby’s hoof shot up and waved in the air wildly. “Question! What are Yetis doing in the South Pacific?”
“Why, it’s an outpost left over by the Great Yeti Migration, of course,” Colin said promptly. “During their journey from the Andes to the Himalayas, naturally.”
“Oooh,” Tabby nodded. “Right.”
Thomas cleared his throat. “Getting back to the original topic...”
“The original topic? Oh, right. In any case, Dietrich, Caprice, and this other guy had been rescued by the South Pacific Yetis and taken to their island for sanctuary until they could be rescued by their own kind. That was all well and good; but as fate would have it your father, Thomas, stumbled across something he shouldn’t have.” Colin shook his head. “No matter what I tried I couldn’t get any more details on what this was out of the old guy. But it must have been extremely important and sacred to the Yetis, for as a result of Dietrich’s having seen it, the Yeti chief decreed that none of the three ponies could leave the island.”
“What did they do with them?” Thomas leaned forward.
“Oh, nothing too harsh. The ponies were given a hut in the Yeti village to inhabit and were free to go around the village as they pleased, but were prohibited from going beyond the boundary. Dietrich, however, with his overwhelming urge to make the truth known on whatever this ‘thing’ was, would not allow them to be coerced like this.”
Thomas smiled a little wistfully. “Yeah, that’s for sure.”
“Several escapes between the three ponies were planned, but none were successful. Each time the captives were punished for their disobedience, but it didn’t break their spirits. Not Dietrich’s, at least.”
“What?! Were they hurt? What did the Yetis do to them?”
“Oh, nothing too serious I’m sure... Yetis are actually a very peaceful species, you know. Of course, when they get angry... but anyway. The last escape attempt that was tried failed in its entirety, but this other stallion took advantage of the situation and managed to slip away on a piece of debris left on the shore while the Yetis were occupied retaking Dietrich and Caprice. A lamentable way to repay them for their kindness to him, abandoning them and never attempting to send help to them.”
“But why?” Thomas’ eyes blazed. “Why didn’t he?!”
Colin shrugged. “Must have been afraid the Yetis would come after him if he did anything. This was several years ago, of course.”
“Then how do we know what’s happened in the meantime?”
“We don’t. That’s what this expedition to the South Pacific is for.” Colin looked at his nephew condescendingly. “Now that you’ve consented to hear the story, do you care to come or not?”
“Well, of course I will!”
“This is going to be fun!” Tabby said. “By the way, Colin, would you happen to know my father, Hubert Fershund? He talks like he would be one of your crowd.”
“Fershund... hmm... the name sounds familiar,” Colin mused. “Was it at the Monitarch... no, that’s not right... oh, yes, of course! Hubert Fershund! I believe I did meet up with him and a certain Lord Cobblestone once years ago at a Lartellian sacrifice ceremony. He had some interesting theories on the flying saucer men; I always wanted to look him up again...”
“In any case, that reunion can wait until this mission is carried out,” Thomas inserted firmly. “When do we leave?”
“That’s the spirit!” Colin beamed. “I suppose it’s too late to set out tonight yet.” He looked downcast. “Well, we’ll have to settle for the morning. I’ll aim at leaving the dock by six.”
“Lovely!” Tabby enthused. “Well, I’d better go and start preparing for the trip. Oh, and put Faline to bed, too. I wonder where she is...”
“Will Sugarberry be available to take care of her?” Thomas asked.
Tabby stared blankly. “Why?”
“Well, I hardly think she’s old enough to be left on her own yet.”
Tabby laughed. “Of course not! I’m not stupid! She’s coming with us, naturally.”
“Really, I don’t think that’s a good idea! We don’t know how dangerous this could get. It would be safer- ”
“This is her first opportunity for an adventure!” Tabby insisted. “I won’t have her miss out on it. It’s time she experienced more of the world.”
“There’s plenty of time for that in the future. She’s only three...”
“I started traveling when I was only two, so Faline is definitely behind,” Tabby said stiffly. “Say, did I ever tell you about that first trip Mom and I went on to Paris? I don’t really remember it, but apparently I got involved with undoing some criminal element...” Tabby shook her head fondly at the memory. “That must have been amusing. But anyway...”
“Well, as long as she’s inherited her mother’s dumb luck for avoiding death in risky situations.”
“Oh, nothing. Very well, Faline can come.”
“Oh, great! I’ll go tell her.”
“By the way, wasn’t there something you wanted to tell me before?”
“Tell you? Oh... oh! No, that’s nothing important,” Tabby said and hurriedly excused herself from the room.
* * *
The next morning on the sailing vessel, Colin outlined what he knew about the island and the Yeti settlement. He spread out a rough map. “This,” he announced grandly, “is the island. It’s fairly small, only about ten miles in diameter. The village is located approximately in the center, on the edge of a minor mountain range. We will land on the eastern edge, where the best shore is. From there we will walk; and, upon reaching the village, we take it by storm and rescue the prisoners. Any questions?”
“Ooh! Fun!” said Tabby.
“Wouldn’t it be best to negotiate with the Yetis first before using force?” Thomas asked.
Colin looked at him strangely. “What are you talking about? Why would we want to negotiate with them? In any case- ” he pointed back to the map- “from the information I gathered from the escapee, the house they were assigned is located on the western side of the village. The only entrance is a gate to the east. It’s surrounded by a wall, you see. So the plan is- ”
“Create a diversion at the gate while someone sneaks over the wall and enters the village!” Tabby said gleefully.
“Exactly!” Colin said. “The wall is erected of logs placed perpendicular to the ground and about fifteen feet high, so there are really no hoofholds to be counted on. But, a grappling hook should do the trick. Never leave home without one, I say. Anyway...”
“Who gets to act as the decoy?” Tabby asked eagerly.
Colin considered this. “How about Faline?”
“Hooway!” Faline cheered.
“I don’t think so,” Thomas said.
“Why not?” Tabby countered.
Thomas muttered something unintelligible and refused further comment. There was absolutely no point in arguing, and none of his suggestions were ever taken seriously. He didn’t know what use he was on these adventures, anyway. Apparently there was no need for adventurers to think rationally about anything! Sure, storm a village before even attempting negotiations! Sure, place a three-year-old as a decoy! Obviously these were all very sound courses of action to a certain clique of ponies to which he did not belong.
“It’s settled, then,” Colin declared. “Tabby and Faline will go to the gate and engage the Yetis in polite conversation. While they are distracted, Thomas and I shall climb over the wall and evacuate Dietrich and Caprice. Then we all make a run for the beach and head back to mainland. Any questions?”
“No,” said Tabby.
“Nwo,” said Faline.
“Whatever,” said Thomas darkly.
“Excellent,” said Colin.
“How much longer until we get there?” Tabby asked.
“Oh, we should be to the island by noon,” Colin assured them.
“Me bowed,” added Faline.
“Me, too,” Tabby sighed.
* * *
The rest of the journey was uneventful. The island came in sight on the horizon at the scheduled time and, after docking at the sandy white beach and having a light lunch, the foursome disembarked for the next part in the adventure, infiltrating the Yeti village.
Colin led the way through the thick jungle growth that grew up past the beach, cutting a path though the dense foliage. Tabby complained that there were no wild beasts a la Jem lurking in the shadows. Faline found a fairly large tropical spider to play with, which would have freaked her mother out had she ever looked behind her. Thomas wondered if the mission would end in anything other than disaster.
“We’re coming up on the village now,” Colin cautioned them quietly. “Let’s survey the situation.”
Suddenly the thick green jungle gave way into a clearing of moderate size. A sizeable wall of tropical tree trunks made a circular enclosure around what was obviously the Yeti village. A cluster of thatched huts stood within. Mist-shrouded mountains rose in the background. None of the village inhabitants could be seen, but there were a variety of noises coming from within the wall which indicated plenty of life.
“Excellent! The map seems to have been accurate on all counts so far,” Colin beamed. “Everyone in position!”
“Be careful,” Thomas admonished as the two groups split apart.
“Okay,” said Tabby brightly.
“Come on, let’s go,” Colin said, dragging Thomas off with him. Tabby waved encouragingly while Faline skipped ahead to knock on the gate.
“Hewwo, Yetis!” she said cheerfully as she rapped on the entrance exuberantly. When no one answered, she reiterated herself. “HEWWO, YETIS!”
After a few moments the gate was finally opened a crack and a furry white creature peered out. “It’s a little pony,” he said in surprise.
“A little pony? What sort of a little pony?” Another face appeared through the door. “What is it doing here?”
“I don’t know. There shouldn’t be any other ponies on the island. Unless there was another shipwreck?”
“Bah, not another shipwreck.” The Yeti’s tone clearly stated what he thought of shipwrecks.
“Yeah. So what should we do about these?”
“Send a messenger to the chief. And organize the rest of the militia in case this one should turn violent.”
“HEWWO!” Faline shouted, stamping her hoof. “I am WIGHT HERE! You are IGNOWING ME!”
“Yes,” Tabby agreed, stepping in. “You could ask us our purpose before organizing the militia against us.”
The Yeti tapped his hand on the stockade impatiently. “Very well then, what is your purpose?”
“We,” Faline announced, “are cweating a dwiversion.”
“Lost, Faline, lost,” Tabby said emphatically. Turning to the Yeti, she laughed nervously. “Diversion, lost. She’s always getting those two words mixed up. Funny, huh?”
The Yeti looked skeptical. “Well, where do you come from?”
“Oh, y’know, Ponyland.”
“Then how did you get here?”
“Well, by boat of course.”
“Then I would suggest that you leave by boat.”
“But... we’re...” Tabby waved her hooves in the air.
“Cweating a dwiversion,” Faline offered.
“Lost,” Tabby insisted. “Faline, what is that on your hoof?!”
“It’s my new fwiend, Mwommy.” Faline extended her hoof where the fuzzy little spider crawled. “Isn’t he cute?”
“Faline! You know I hate spiders! Get rid of it!”
“Oh,” said Faline reluctantly, lowering it to the ground. “Cwan we see the village now?”
“No outsiders are permitted inside,” the Yeti said crossly.
“Well, what abwout the pwonies that came here befowe? ‘Ou let them in, didn’t ‘ou?”
“You know about the captives?” The Yeti’s eyes widened.
“Yes, and we have come to wescue them. That is why we are cweating a dwiversion. Duh!” said Faline.
“Faline!” Tabby exclaimed, finally paying attention to the conversation again. Hmm, leave it to Tabby to leave negotiations to a three-year-old.
“Spies!” the Yeti yelped, summoning helpers to his side. “Huelin, sound the alarm! Increase security around the captives’ hut! Capalija, we need to restrain these two! Bring the ropes!”
“Did I do somethwing wrong, Mwommy?” Faline asked, turning to her mother.
“It would appear so,” said Tabby.
* * *
Meanwhile, Thomas had just made it over the top of wall and was scanning the area from above.
“Well, how does it look?” Colin called from the ground.
“It’s pretty quiet... there are a few Yetis in the area, but they’re just going about their daily business... but I don’t know how we’ll know which hut to go to... wait!” Thomas gasped as he saw a beige unicorn approaching one of the huts carrying a basket with her. “It’s Mom!”
Colin heaved himself up as well. “The one on the right, eh? Looks good. The girls have the guards occupied at the gate, I see. All right, are you ready?”
“They really are still alive,” Thomas said in wonderment.
“That’s what I’ve been telling you all along, isn’t it?” Colin shook his head and then dropped to the ground on the village side of the wall. Thomas followed soon after.
Unfortunately, as they were creeping up to the hut in question, some sort of commotion broke out at the gate. Yeti cries resounded across the village as more of the creatures started pouring out of the woodwork.
“Something’s wrong,” said Thomas, peering around the edge of the closest hut which afforded him a view of the gate.
“Very observant,” said Colin sarcastically. “Mm, looks like the girls botched it.”
“Tabby! Faline!” Thomas cried out, ready to dart forward, but Colin stayed him.
“Not so fast, m’boy! The Yetis will be coming after us next.”
“But they need help! You’re not just going to stand back and let them-“
“FLEE INTO THE FOREST AND REGROUP, YOU IDIOTS!” Tabby shrieked as two Yetis tied her forelegs behind her back.
“She’s right,” Colin asserted, grabbing a hesitant Thomas as he saw a group of Yeti warriors quickly advancing in on them. “We’ll have to retreat and determine our next course of action.”
“If you want to stay behind and get captured as well, fine!” Colin said impatiently, managing to grip the top of the wall in a single leap with the threat of an advancing Yeti militia on his tail. “It’ll just be one more pony for me to get out of trouble. Now come on, and be quick!”
With a last anguished look back at Tabby and Faline, Thomas did as his uncle bade.
* * *
Three strapping Yetis were required to hold down a screaming, kicking, biting Faline. They had underestimated the force of a baby pony, but with Tabby they saw fit to tie her forehooves to prevent violence being done to them.
“And just where are you taking us?” Tabby said indignantly as she and Faline were prodded along by the Yetis.
“You will be held in the house of the other ponies until our chief has been informed of the situation.”
“Held prisoner?!” Tabby shrieked. “This is an outrage! Do you know who I am? I am the Queen of Atlantis! You can’t hold me prisoner!”
“The Queen of Atlantis?” The younger Yeti started perceptibly.
“Hmm. This changes matters,” the older one agreed thoughtfully.
“Yes,” Tabby said, pleased that she was finally getting the respect she deserved. “Needless to say, it was a terrible breech of conduct on your part treating me like this, but I may be inclined to overlook it if...”
“Take her to the barrier cell,” the older Yeti cut her off, pointing a long arm towards the mountain side of the village. “The little one can remain with the other prisoners.”
“What! This isn’t fair! What do you think you’re doing, treating a foreign dignitary like this?! A barrier cell, I can’t believe it! They’re putting the Queen of Atlantis in a barrier cell! What is a barrier cell, anyway?”
The older Yeti shook his head as Tabby was carted off by some more muscular Yeti guards. “It won’t do to take chances with a Queen of Atlantis. There’s no telling what they might do with those magic powers they have.”
“Yes,” the other agreed solemnly.
Meanwhile, the other Yetis dragged Faline off in the opposite direction. Faline had settled down and was being more annoying than physically troublesome with all her questions. “Me know a Bwigfoot, but nwever sween a Yeti before. Is it twue that ‘ou are enwightened Bwigfeet? Thwat’s what my gwanpwa says. Are all of ‘ou white? Cwould you dwye your hwair? I thwink a pwurple Yeti would be nice. Hey!” Needless to say, the Yetis were relieved when they reached the house of Dietrich and Caprice and were able to hand this talkative disturbance over to someone else’s care. The door was quickly opened and Faline tossed in with no explanation given to the two ponies seated at a table in the main room.
* * *
“There’s some sort of a commotion outside. Something’s got them riled,” the aqua stallion noted, peering out the window. “I wonder...”
“Oh, don’t think of trying another escape! You know what they did to you the last time!” the beige unicorn that was with him cried, setting down the piece of mending she had been working on to help out Jeeka, one of the Yeti matrons she had befriended during her eight year exile.
“Risks have to be taken sometime, Caprice. There must be a way out of this! We’ve already been stuck here eight years, and I don’t intend to live out the rest of my life like this.”
“I do so wonder how Thomas and Elaine are doing,” Caprice sighed, lapsing into a melancholic mood herself. “Just think, Dietrich, we could be grandparents by now!”
And it was at that moment that Faline was tossed through the door and landed in an undignified heap on the grass-covered floor. “Mean ol’ Yetis,” she muttered to herself as she sorted out her position and brushed the dirt out of her hair.
“Wh... wh... who are you?” Caprice gasped, startled, immediately going to the aid of the baby pony.
“Oh, hewwo,” Faline said sweetly, realizing that she was not alone. “Me Fawine. Who’war ‘ou?”
“Faline, what a pretty name,” Caprice mused. “Well, I’m Caprice, and this is Dietrich.”
“Capwice and Dweetic,” Faline repeated. “Okway. What are ‘ou doin’ here?”
“More to the point, little girl, what are you doing here?” Dietrich interjected. “Where are your parents?”
“Oh... awound,” Faline said vaguely. “Mwommy was just cwaptured, ‘ou know. Me don’t know where Dwaddy and uncle went... I thwink adventures are fun,” she finished.
“Why is your family on this island?” Dietrich asked gently.
“Lookin’ for some pwonies I gwuess... are there lots of pwonies awound?”
“We’re the only ponies here,” Dietrich said, kneeling down to face her better after exchanging a meaningful glance with his wife. “What are your parents’ names?”
“Mmm... Mwommy and Dwaddy,” said Faline proudly.
Caprice hid a smile. “Of course. What ponies are they looking for?”
“Mm... Mwommy said something about my gwandparents, but I already hwave thwose, and they are not lost, so I dwon’t get it.” She looked up questioningly. “Do ‘ou?”
“Well, Faline, every pony has two sets of grandparents,” Caprice revealed.
“Oh,” said Faline, frowning in concentration. “So are ‘ou the other swet?”
“It’s possible,” Dietrich murmured.
“Tell us about your parents.” Caprice urged.
So the three sat down and got to know each other some more.
* * *
The barrier cell, it turned out, was a dank little cave set into the mountains that framed part of the village. It was guarded by a mystic jewel, however, that prevented magic from being used. Obviously Yetis had a phobia of Queens of Atlantis and their magic powers.
Tabby lamented her sad fate to be trapped in such a cell. She had searched the cavern tirelessly, looking for some natural means of escape since she could not use her magic. Unfortunately for her, however, the plot did not call for her escape, so she hunted in vain for a way out. “I want more action!” she complained aloud as she paced back and forth in the holding chamber, waiting for something to happen.
* * *
“That went remarkably well,” Thomas said sarcastically as he and Colin finally found a safe place to stop and reorganize in the forest. They seemed to have lost any Yetis that may have been on their trail. “Now we only have four ponies to rescue, instead of the two we came for!”
“These things happen,” Colin shrugged, crouched on the ground and rummaging through his sack of supplies. “Now we just need to come up with a plan B.”
“But now they’ll be on their guard and it will be nearly impossible to get in unnoticed a second time,” Thomas ranted. “If we could have had a rational talk with the Yetis in the first place-!”
“Ah, here we go. Another item I never like to leave behind. My Yeti skin!” With a flourish, Colin produced a white fuzzy fur closely resembling the shape of a Yeti. “Well, it’s not a real Yeti skin,” he admitted. “But it’s very close to real. These are very popular costumes in Recotoma, you know. I had to pay a fortune for this, and even then I was lucky to get my hooves on one. I was in town at the peak of their costume celebration, and, well, the Yeti costumes are always the first to go. But you just can’t go to Recotoma and not pick up a Yeti suit! So I found this vendor who offered to sell me one if I was able to obtain this one mystical artifact for him- ”
“That’s very interesting, but how is it going to help in rescuing my family?” Thomas asked impatiently.
“Oh, that’s simple,” Colin said, slipping into the Yeti suit. “What do you think? Heh, heh. Convincing, eh?” He stood on his hind legs and lumbered about in a somewhat accurate Yeti fashion. “Anyway, I’ll escort you into the village as my prisoner. Wow, this is fun stuff!”
“Oh,” said Thomas, already not liking the way this was heading. “And what happens after we’re inside the village?”
“Why, you’ll overtake your Yeti captor, of course,” Colin said cockily, picking up a fallen branch from the ground and roughly carving out a point on the end.
“And then I can evacuate the others, right?”
Colin chuckled. “No, no. Of course not. That’s my job. You’ll be keeping the Yetis busy while I rescue them.”
“Of course,” Thomas said submissively.
“Move along, insolent pony!” Colin brandished his roughly-sharpened stick at Thomas. “To the village! Keep up the pace! Hah, hah, hah!”
* * *
Thomas had no problem in acting the part of an outraged prisoner by the time they reached the village. Colin had taken his role a bit too seriously in Thomas’ opinion. Really, had it been necessary to poke him with that stick so often and heap so many insults on his head? He glared at his uncle as Colin the Yeti explained himself to the Yetis at the gate.
“I have recovered one of the trespassers that fled into the forest,” Colin declared, shoving Thomas roughly forward. “I was close to capturing that dashing fellow that was with him, but he put up an admirable fight and was able to escape. Never have I seen a pony possess such prowess in hand-to-hand combat!”
“I see. An excellent catch,” the Yeti on guard praised. “I’ll take him on into the village for you. Refresh yourself after your strenuous battle.”
“Oh, that’s not necessary,” Colin assured him, stepping over the threshold of the gate. “I’d just as easily see this pony to his quarters.” He waved as he went on his way. As a sidenote to Thomas, he added, “Hmm, it’s a little disorientating to come in on the village from a different side.
“You mean you don’t even know where we’re going?” Thomas hissed when they were out of hearing range.
“Not at all!” Colin assured him. “Don’t worry. Following these hoofprints should take us right to the hut.”
Thomas looked down on the ground. Faline’s hoofprints. Faline... what had they done with her?
Colin cleared his throat as Thomas sank into his private reverie. “I would suggest attacking me any time now.”
“Attack you? Oh, right.” Thomas abruptly swung around and knocked the pole from out of Colin’s hooves... hands... whatever. Colin cried out as he fell to the ground. “That was lame, but hopefully no one was watching closely,” he muttered under his breath. Raising his voice, he yelled, “THE PRISONER HAS ESCAPED! HE’S- RUNNING- ” Colin gestured wildly for Thomas to get moving. “EVERYONE ON ALERT! THE CAPTIVE MUST BE SECURED! ALL YETIS PURSUE!”
“A prisoner? Which one? Not the Queen of Atlantis?”
“No, it’s a new one! He was just brought in!”