Sugarberry, with light steps, trotted up to Tabby's door one fine spring Saturday
with Chocolate Chip close behind. Just as she was about to knock, the door opened and Tabby
"I suppose you still want me to go on your picnic today," Tabby sigh dramatically.
"There are so many other things someone could do on a beautiful Saturday like this. For
example, watching all the Pokèmon I have on tape--"
"It's a perfect day for a picnic," retorted Sugarberry. "The air is warm, the birds
are singing, the grass is green, the trees are--"
"And the description is killing me," Tabby finished. "Do I have to bring
"Actually, I anticipated the fact that you wouldn't have anything ready; so I packed
plenty-- fried chicken, potatoes, and salad!"
"With brownies for dessert," added Chocolate Chip.
Tabby paused in thought. "I'll bring a can of cherry pie filling," she said, without
even bothering to officially accept the invitation. "I don't suppose anyone thought ahead to bring
that..." And she disappeared back into her house.
Just then, Thomas came up the walk. "Morning, girls!" He was carrying his
donation to the picnic-- two blueberry pies. "Where's the rest of the gang?"
"We are to stop by the Royal Paradise to pick-up Tiffany and Toby and Friendly,"
answered Sugarberry. "Clever Clover and Spike will be here soon, I'm sure. Quarterback
decided not to come; he'd miss the start of the race he and Four-Speed want to watch on T.V."
She rolled her eyes in exasperation.
"Ho-ho!" called Clever Clover as he and Spike came toward the gathered ponies.
He and Spike were packing a large picnic hamper between them. "Hope everyone has brought
along a hearty appetite!"
"I know I have!" responded Sugarberry. "Let's get going."
So off they went to meet Tiffany, Toby, and Friendly. They were waiting outside
the Royal Paradise. Tiffany carried a fancy floral parasol, and looked very prim and proper at
Toby's side. Toby was carrying a giant cheese tray, while Friendly had a bag of delicious-smelling
Tabby looked critically at Tiffany. "You are going to get dirty; did you realize
that?" she said slyly. "After sitting on the ground and all."
"Where are we headed exactly?" queried Thomas as the group again headed for the
grassy meadow. Both he and Chocolate Chip were new to the area since last summer, and had all
the delights of the upcoming season to experience first-hand.
"See that grove of trees along the curve of the river? That's our favorite picnic
spot," directed Clever Clover. As they crossed the meadow, the larks and robins serenaded them
with their sweet-sounding songs.
Sugarberry jumped and stifled a gasp as a small garter snake slithered across her
path. "A snake!"
"Look at the cute thing!" Tabby squealed. She pounced on the elusive reptile and
held it up. "Such sweet beady eyes," she cooed.
"Snake nice! Me like snakes!" Friendly commented.
"Here, Tiff, get a load a' this!" Tabby said with a malicious glint in her eyes as she
dangled the squirming snake in front of Tiffany's face.
Tiffany swooned into Toby's forelegs and refused further comment.
"Teehee!" Tabby tittered.
"Here, let me see," Clever Clover said, taking the snake from Tabby's hooves. "He
has a unique stripe pattern," he noted.
After everyone had thoroughly enjoyed the snake (well, except for Tiffany), Spike
let it go to attend to its business of the day.
In several minutes, they had reached the picnic spot. Chocolate Chip ran to the
river's edge and picked up pebbles to throw into the sparkling water. Clever Clover joined her.
"Here. Watch this." And he skipped a stone across the surface of the stream.
"Oh, neat! Let me try!" She chose a flat stone as Clever Clover directed her and
attempted to follow his technique in throwing it. "It just sank!" she groaned.
"Try again!" urged Clever Clover. So the two of them took turns and soon
Chocolate Chip was smoothly sailing the stones over the surface, too.
In the meantime, Sugarberry had laid out the picnic cloth under a sheltering tree.
"We've got enough food here to feed half of Ponyland," she commented to no one in particular.
She looked up from her work, and noticed that everyone had wandering off. "I thought everyone
was starving; now the food's ready, and no one is here to eat it."
She grumpily pushed the mane out of her eyes. But as she looked around at the
greenness of the springtime, her mood softened. "Who can blame them for wanting to enjoy this
beautiful world?" she questioned the warm breeze that caressed her face.
While Chocolate Chip and Clever Clover were still at the water's edge, Tabby had
commandeered the old swing that had hung from the shady branches of the elm tree since as long
as anyone could remember. Thomas was pushing her in the swing, and Sugarberry could hear her
friend tittering insanely.
Tiffany and Toby had wandered into a patch of wildflowers and were contentedly
admiring the colorful blooms, while Friendly came out of the grove of trees carrying an armful of
kindling. "Need fire. Roast marshmallows!" he gleefully informed Sugarberry as he approached
her. Soon Spike, too, returned with another load of wood; he and Friendly carefully arranged it in
readiness for the picnic.
Several bright blossoms in a bush nearby attracted Sugarberry's eye, and they were
so very vibrant that she decided to go pick them for a centerpiece.
"Friendly! Spike! I'm going over there to pick those flowers. You round up
everyone. It's time to eat!" Sugarberry moved away to the bush and was stunned at the
extraordinary beauty of the two red tulips that appeared to be growing out of the bush. "I've
never seen a tulip bush before," she thought to herself. As she stood admiring the flowers,
Tiffany and Toby came over to check them out, too.
"What lovely blooms!" cooed Tiffany.
"Yes, aren't they wonderful?" agreed Sugarberry. "I thought they'd liven up our
picnic as a centerpiece."
"Oh, yes, that would be perfect," Tiffany nodded. She reached toward the flowers,
but pulled back as the scratchy branches of the bush brushed her foreleg. "Toby, you get them,
please." She batted her eyelashes endearingly at him.
Toby reached into the bush where the stem of the tulip should have been, and
pulled. To his utter surprise, Toby found himself holding more than a tulip. The extraordinary
flower and its mate were attached to the ears of a... bunny.
"What the..." Toby stuttered as he started into the bright eyes of the bunny staring
back at him.
Sugarberry and Tiffany, startled and speechless, could only stare, too. The tulips
were on the tips of the apricot-furred bunny; she wore a mint green hat and shoes, a print dress,
and white gloves.
Luckily, Friendly showed up at this precise moment. One look at the flower-creature
dangling from Toby's hoof and he grinned. "Tea Bunny, yeah, yeah. Me hear about.
"Tea Bunny?" Toby queried as he lowered the animal to the ground. "I guess I owe
you an apology."
Once firmly established on solid earth again, the Tea Bunny smiled at the wide-eyed
ponies and friends gathered around her. They all had gravitated to the spot with a look of wonder
on their faces-- except for Tabby, who was frowning.
"They're not hares," she said bluntly.
"It's incredible," whispered Chocolate Chip.
"Maybe it's a mutant," cautioned Clever Clover.
"No, no," spoke-up Spike. "Tea Bunnies are quite common in some areas."
For the first time since seeing the unbelievable bunny, all eyes turned to Spike.
"You know about these things?" Sugarberry asked.
"Sure," Spike responded. "Tea Bunnies are--"
"Tea Bunnies are hungry!" This statement came from behind the clustered critters,
and they spun around to see who had spoken. It came from yet another flower-topped lagomorph
with sky blue irises topping her ears. She wore a wide-brimmed yellow hat and a blue floral-print
dress with white gloves and white shoes. The bunny's fur was pale blue, and she was carrying a
tea tray, complete with a pot of tea and tea cups. "I see you have your food ready... we Tea
Bunnies have the tea! Let's party!"
With that, the first Tea Bunny walked through the still tongue-tied ponies and
joined her friend; together, they headed for the picnic set-up.
Friendly started after the Tea Bunnies. "Tea and wooliecakes. Yeah."
Spike joined the parade. Was it easier for a dragon and a Bushwoolie to accept the
reality of this strange sort of being? The ponies looked at each other, then shrugged and fell in
When everyone was gathered around the picnic cloth, the Tea Bunny with iris ears
introduced herself. "My name is Iris Bouquet. And this," she said, pointing at the second Tea
Bunny, "is my sister, Tulip Blossom." Soon everyone had been properly identified, and the
original coolness melted into chattering camaraderie as the assorted group got acquainted.
"Spike, you'd better get your bonfire going. I see Clever Clover has hot dogs here
that need cooking," ordered Sugarberry. As Spike lit the fire, Clever Clover and Thomas
sharpened some sticks to use for holding the hot dogs over the flames. Soon everyone was busy
preparing food and stocking their plates with yummy tidbits.
It was a delightful picnic-- good friends, good food, good weather. Everyone ate
and talked and ate some more."
"I'm stuffed," groaned Sugarberry. She stretched out on the warm grass. "I can't
eat another bite."
"Yeah, yeah, stuffed," agreed Friendly.
Spike crawled up on a large, smooth rock and rolled over on his back to bask
awhile. "Stuffed, and then some," he moaned.
The ponies soon were all lazily lying about the picnic area, content with their meal
and their lives.
"Now this is a peaceful day!" commented Thomas as he snapped a dandelion in
Tabby's direction, who was making a dandelion chain for lack of anything better to do.
"And to think that I could be at home watching my recorded Pokèmon shows,"
Clever Clover was watching a line of black ants carry away particles of food.
Chocolate Chip appeared to be close to sleep. Toby was holding Tiffany's parasol carefully to
shield her face from the sun, while Tiffany herself gathered a nosegay of violets from the grass she
was sitting in.
"Is that all you have to do, Cleve Clove?" Tabby said in exasperation. "For Pete's
sake! Who'd want to watch ants?!"
"Look at you," Clever Clover retorted. "You're just making a flower chain."
"You're right." Tabby abruptly tossed the chain away. "Lemme see those
Clever Clover shrugged. What else could you except from Tabby?
Amidst the general relaxed atmosphere-- well, peaceful except when Tabby broke
out arguing-- the only ones with energy were the two Tea Bunnies. They were cleaning up the
food and sorting out everybodies' dishes, packing things away in the proper carriers. When they
had the area in its pristine condition, Tulip Blossom stepped into the center of the ponies and
cleared her throat.
"Ahem!" the apricot Tea Bunny began. "We thank you ponies for sharing your
picnic with us. You have been very kind."
"Oh, and your tea was delicious!" quickly responded Sugarberry appreciatively.
"Nothing tastes worse than cold tea with sugar added," Tabby added, receiving a
reproving glance from Sugarberry, at which she put on a sulky expression. "I never said that their
tea tasted like that," Tabby defended herself. "As a matter of fact, I didn't even taste their tea.
Iris Bouquet stepped up next to her friend and interrupted Tabby's tirade. "What
Tulip Blossom is trying to say is, ‘We need your advice.' "
"Yes," continued Tulip Blossom. "You see, our homeland depends a great deal on
"Tea Bunny Land is beyond the Dark Forest," Clever Clover interrupted her. "You
told us earlier what a pleasant place it is."
"Yes, it is pleasant," agreed Iris Bouquet. "But for Tea Bunnies, we find our
happiness in baking and making tea and serving others."
"So we need visitors to keep us buy and happy," added Tulip Blossom.
Chocolate Chip raised her sleepy head. "It sounds like a place that would be ideal
for vacationers to go."
"Yes, and so it used to be," sighed Iris Bouquet. "But the Dark Forest has become
too dangerous to pass through-- everyone has been scared off by the reports of monsters in the
Tabby perked up at the mention of monsters. "Monsters! Who'd be scared of
"But Tea Bunny Land is completely surrounded by the Dark Forest," explained
Tulip Blossom, "and the area around it is becoming saturated with monsters. No one dares to
come anymore, and we have no one to bake for, and make tea for."
"Tea Bunny Land isn't a happy place anymore," sniffed Iris Bouquet.
"What kind of monsters are showing up?" questioned Clever Clover.
"Very strange monsters. On our way out, we saw a giant rock-like snake, and a
white furry monkey-like creature. And they were very scary." Tulip Blossom shuddered at the
"Oh, how horrible," Sugarberry commiserated.
Tiffany's eyes grew fearful, and she moved closer to Toby. Spike sat up on his
rock, and Friendly grew attentive.
Thomas heard a gasp from Tabby and saw her blink broadly at Clever Clover.
Clever Clover returned the wink. Unspoken words seemed to be flashing between the two
ponies, and bridled excitement was obvious in their actions.
"What were some of the other monsters you've heard about?" asked Clever Clover
as he turned his attention back to the Tea Bunnies.
"Well, one guest who got through said he was chased by a giant bee," informed Iris
Bouquet. "And we had heard some intense buzzing in the forest that day."
"One of our friends was picking berries at the edge of the forest when a three-headed
bird like an ostrich came up behind her." Tulip Blossom was nearly in tears. "Who'd
want to come to Tea Bunny Land with creatures like those lurking in the bushes? Even the river
has brutal fish with horrid horns on their heads."
Thomas had continued to watch Tabby and Clever Clover as the Tea Bunnies
talked, and he saw their eyes meet again; they both looked extremely happy to be hearing of the
plight of the Tea Bunnies. We wished he knew what was going on between them.
"Has anyone seen a, like, really big butterfly?" questioned Tabby, her voice rising in
Sugarberry looked sharply at Tabby, and saw what Thomas was puzzling over.
Why was her friend looking pleased rather than frightened?
"No," replied Iris Bouquet. "But yesterday I saw an extremely large green
caterpillar with big eyes."
"Yippee!!" Tabby shrieked. "It's a Catterpie, and I'm gonna catch it!" she called
out in a sing-song voice.
"That place is crawling with Pokèmon!" Clever Clover cried out jubilantly. "Just
think, Tabby! It's a Pokèmon paradise!"
"Yippee!" Tabby repeated herself.
Well, that explains it, thought Thomas. Since Clever Clover had
acquainted Tabby with the unusual world of Pokèmon, Tabby had been caught-up in nothing else.
Thomas, not wanting to stand in her way, had supported her move from his vet clinic to head
nurse at the Pokèmon Center.
The Tea Bunnies, however, stood silent; they had never heard of Pokèmon and had
no idea why Clever Clover and Tabby were so excited to learn of an abundance of them across
the Dark Forest.
Sugarberry noticed the Tea Bunnies' confusion and hurried to explain the situation
to them. "The monsters aren't really dangerous--"
"Unless you look a Primeape in the eye," Tabby added.
"Because then he'll chase you forever," Clever Clover confirmed.
Sugarberry silenced them both with a sharp look. "And these Pokèmon can be
captured by Pokèmon trainers," she continued her explanation to the Tea Bunnies.
"And once trainers hear of the Pokèmon, your troubles will be over," added
"Trainers will simply swarm to Tea Bunny Land!" said Tabby, pausing in her happy
little dance to clutch her two front hooves together dramatically. "You'll have plenty of visitors
to fix tea for."
"You mean these monsters will actually be good for Tea Bunny Land?" Iris
Bouquet asked skeptically.
Clever Clover grew serious. "You will have to build a Pokèmon Center to care for
any sick or wounded Pokèmon. And a Pokèmon Gym for trainers to participate in Pokèmon
"Oh, my!" exclaimed Tulip Blossom. "This sounds very complicated."
"We can help you get started," offered Clever Clover. "There are lots of ponies in
Ponyland who are Pokèmon followers."
Tabby began snickering. "Tea Bunnies aren't that much different than Pokèmon
themselves, with those flowers growing off their ears. Watch out for PokèBalls being thrown at
"You'll fit right in," Clever Clover agreed.
"Yes," Sugarberry said. "It's perfect!"
Everyone excitedly began offering ideas for the development of Tea Bunny Land
into a hot new Pokèmon town; yet the Tea Bunnies themselves looked rather dazed. Sugarberry
suggested that they cut the day short, and return to her house where they could educate the Tea
Bunnies on Pokèmon.
After gathering up their picnic fare, the group headed back across the meadow.
Their number had increased by two since they'd crossed this expanse earlier. And their minds
were filled with ideas to help the Tea Bunnies bring in more visitors to Tea Bunny Land. The soft
spring air was filled with the sound of suggestions and laughter. And the Tea Bunnies had
become more relaxed and at ease as they became more familiar with the whole Pokèmon
"It all sounds like a dream come true," murmured Iris Bouquet. "We'll have such
good news for all the Tea Bunnies when we get home!"
"Tea Bunny Land will be busy and happy again!" verified Tulip Blossom. "I just
knew you ponies would help us!" She turned to Toby. "I sensed your compassion when I first
looked into your eyes.
Thinking back to that encounter (Toby holding the Tea Bunny by her ears), Toby
began to chuckle. Tiffany giggled, Friendly snickered, and one by one the others joined in.
Tabby began laughing insanely and it was several minutes before she suddenly
stopped and blinked her eyes slowly. "What was so funny? I didn't catch what Tulip Blossom
Chocolate Chip, wiping tears from her eyes, finally was able to choke out, "This
gives new meaning to picking your friends carefully."
On that note, the group arrived at Sugarberry's house, and buckled down to the
serious work of setting up a plan of action for the Tea Bunnies. By the end of the day, it was
agreed that Clever Clover, Tabby, and Spike would accompany the Tea Bunnies home through
the Dark Forest. Once word was out about the Pokèmon available, the trainers would come.
And the Tea Bunnies would be fulfilled.