Wild Fire Meets Tabby
written by Salaries and Tabby

Author's acknowledgment: I would like to give special thanks to Tabby for allowing me to use her characters in my story, and I also want to thank Tabby for her invaluable help in the writing of my story.

As January was ending and February was beginning, we find all the foals in school sitting in their classroom as the principal was heard over the PA system. "To all colts and fillies, this February fourteenth is the annual Valentine's Day dance and I hope to see everyone there; so don't be shy, guys, and ask that filly of your dreams to the dance." As the principal finished his announcement, all the foals young and old began wondering who to ask and who would ask who. As the day rolled on and the lunch bell rang, all the foals gathered in the cafeteria to eat.

Paintbrush and Outback saw Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil sitting at their usual table and went to sit next to their fillyfriends. Paintbrush along with Outback asked them, "Would you two like to go to the Valentine's Day dance with us?"

The fillies acted nonchalant about their request and said in a uninterested tone, "We don't know; there are a lot of good-looking colts out there to choose from."

The two colts' eyes widened and their mouths dropped open when they heard the fillies' response to their request. Outback said to Baby Daffodil, "You are kidding, aren't you? Please say you are kidding."

Paintbrush said to Wild Fire in a possessive manner, "You can't really be serious about going to the dance with another colt, are you?"

Then Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil looked at each other and said to their coltfriends, "Well, if it means that much to you guys, then we would love to go to the dance with you."

The colts, feeling triumphant, gave a kiss to the fillies' cheeks; then Paintbrush said, "That's great, and we will be at your homes to pick you two up for the dance."

Then the fillies gave them a smile and said, "That sounds fine with us."

As the colts left and Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil were alone again, Wild Fire said with a little giggle, "Did you see the looks on their faces when they thought we were thinking of going out with other colts?"

Baby Daffodil looked at their coltfriends as they disappeared from sight and said to Wild Fire, "Weren't you afraid that they would give up and look for other fillies to go to the dance with?"

"Of course not; Paintbrush and I have a strong relationship with each other and I know that he would not give up so easily," Wild Fire said with confidence.

Then Baby Daffodil smiled at her best friend as she said, "I guess you're right; Outback did look like he was not going to take no for an answer." Then the school bell rang and the two fillies got up and went to their classrooms.

When they got to their desks and sat down, the teacher began class with an announcement. "Class, some of the teachers are very ill and will not be able to chaperone the dance this year, so the staff has asked your parents if they would do this duty. Mrs. Daffodil and Mrs. Devilin have agreed to do so, and I would like Daffodil and Wild Fire to stay in the classroom at the final bell to take some information to their parents."

When the teacher finished her announcement and began class, a puzzled Wild Fire could not understand why her mother, who hated socializing, would volunteer to be a chaperone at a dance that would be full of other adult ponies. As the day went on and the final bell rang to go home, Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil stayed behind to get the information from the teacher. As they walked home, Baby Daffodil said in a worried tone, "I hope our parents don't embarrass us at the dance."

Wild Fire only thought to herself, "I just hope my mother won't kill anyone who may get on her nerves at the dance." But she said to Baby Daffodil, "Yeah, that would be terrible."

When the fillies finally got to their homes, they parted ways with a "goodbye" and "see you tomorrow." As Wild Fire got into the house, she heard her mother yelling in the living room; she peered through the doorway as Devilin ranted, "Why is it that that mare thinks every time a good deed needs to be done that I have to be a part of it!"

"Well, my love, maybe she just sees the good in you and thinks that you would be more than willing to be a good Samaritan to the Valentine's Day dance," Salaries said, hoping to calm down his wife.

"Maybe so, but sometimes I feel that I should have ripped her tongue out at Lemon Treats' Boutique when I had the chance, instead of being Mrs. Goody-Four-Shoes." Then Devilin saw her daughter standing in the doorway and motioned her to come in. "Well, look who's home," Devilin said with a softer voice and a calmer expression.

Wild Fire, not wanting to cause her mother any more stress than she already had, kept the papers hidden in her backpack until she could show them to her father first. Instead, she gave her mother a hug while saying, "I am sorry that you are not happy, Mother."

"There is nothing that you need to be sorry about, my sweet little flame," Devilin said as she became more restful. Then she realized that since her daughter was home, it was close to dinnertime. "Well, I guess I should start dinner now. Wild Fire, sweetheart, would you like to help me in the kitchen?"

"I would love to, Mother; I just need to put my backpack upstairs and I will be right in."

"Okay, sweetheart, just don't take too long."

"I won't, Mother." Then, as Devilin disappeared into the kitchen, Wild Fire went to have a quick talk with her father. "Dad, can I talk to you for a second?"

"Of course you can; what's on your mind?"

As Salaries looked at his daughter, Wild Fire pulled out the papers that her teacher had given her and hoofed them to her father, saying, "The teacher gave me this to give to you and Mother; but after seeing how upset she was, I thought that it would be better to give them to you first so you can look at them and come up with a way to show them to Mother without her getting more upset."

As Salaries held the papers, he told his daughter, "You did the right thing by showing me these papers first; I am very proud of you for showing such concern for your mother's peace of mind. Now, get to the kitchen before she wonders where you are." So Wild Fire gave her father a hug and headed to the kitchen to help her mother.

After dinner, the family went and watched some television and as the clock struck nine o' clock, Salaries said to Wild Fire, "It is time that all little ponies go to bed."

Wild Fire looked at her father and said with a yawn, "Do I have to? I am not a bit tired."

Salaries walked over to his daughter while saying, "You know the rules, Wild Fire; on school nights, little fillies go to bed at nine." Then he picked her up from the floor and carried her to her bedroom with Devilin following, and after Wild Fire was tucked in her parents decided to retire as well.

* * *

The next morning found Devilin fixing breakfast and Wild Fire dragging her hoofs to the kitchen. Devilin looked on with concern as Wild Fire dragged herself to the breakfast table and plopped down in one of the chairs. "Did you have a bad night, little one?" Devilin asked as she sat next to her daughter.

"I had a very bizarre dream last night of a pink mortal unicorn that had very powerful ancient magic within her that could rival the spirit ponies' powers, and I could not shake the feeling that we will meet this pony someday soon and that when we do a horrible catastrophe will happen. It kept me up most of the night."

As Wild Fire finished her story, Salaries came into the kitchen and saw his daughter barely able to keep her head up with Devilin hovering over her with a troubled look on her face. He asked in a concerned voice, "Is there something wrong with Wild Fire?"

Hearing her husband's voice, Devilin got up from her seat and gestured to him to follow her to the other end of the kitchen, while still keeping an eye on Wild Fire. As they reached the other side of the room, Devilin told Salaries about the dream Wild Fire had had and suggested that their daughter should not go to school in her condition. Salaries fully agreed with his wife. They went back to where Wild Fire was sitting and Salaries picked her up to take her back to her room while telling his wife, "Why don't you call Baby Daffodil and tell her that Wild Fire will not be going to school this morning, so she will not have to make an unnecessary trip to our house?"

Devilin went to cover the food she had made and gave her husband a nod while saying, "And after I call her I will come upstairs to help you tuck her in." Devilin went to the phone to call Baby Daffodil while Salaries carried Wild Fire to her bedroom.

As he laid her down, Wild Fire's eyes opened up as she said, "Oh my gosh, I am going to be late for school!"

She started to get up, but Salaries stopped her and said, "You are in no condition to go to school today, so just lay back down and close your eyes, and when I get home this evening we will talk more about that dream you had." Hearing her father's words, Wild Fire laid back down and slowly closed her eyes.

When Wild Fire finally fell asleep, Devilin appeared in the doorway and went in to look at her sleeping little darling. She murmured, "I have never seen a dream affect her like this; do you think that it is something we need to worry about?"

"I do not know, but when I come back home this evening we will all see if we can figure out the meaning of her dream." Then Devilin and Salaries gave their daughter a kiss on the cheek and went back downstairs to the kitchen so Devilin could fix Salaries's breakfast.

When Salaries finished his meal and got ready to go to work, he remembered the papers that Wild Fire had given him and said to his wife as he got them out, "Before I forget, Wild Fire hoofed me these papers about the Valentine's Day dance that she was to give you, but when she saw how upset you were she decided to give them to me so I could give them to you when you felt better."

As Devilin took the papers she said in reply, "That's our little flame, all right, always thinking of others' feelings and doing what she can to help them."

Salaries with a loving smile on his face, "That's because she takes after her mother."

Devilin gave her husband a sarcastic look as she said, "Very funny! What pony in their right mind would ever say that about me?"

Salaries came up to his wife and said with conviction, "Your shopping partner Daffodil for one, and your daughter for another." Then, before Devilin could react to her husband's words, Salaries gave his wife a passionate kiss goodbye and went to work.

As the day progressed, a better-rested Wild Fire came downstairs to get a bite to eat. As she entered the living room, her mother, who was reading a book, began sensing another presence in the room. She looked up and saw her daughter coming toward her. "Did you have a peaceful sleep?"

"Oh yes, but now I feel awfully hungry," Wild Fire said as her stomach started rumbling.

"Well, I guess we will have to do something about that, won't we?" Then Devilin got up and headed to the kitchen with Wild Fire walking right beside her. As Devilin was making Wild Fire's breakfast, she asked her daughter, "So is that dream you had still bothering you?"

Wild Fire, not completely over the uneasiness of the dream, said with an exhausted expression, "I still feel a little drained; that dream was very intense."

Devilin said to her daughter as she brought her breakfast over and laid it on the table, "Well, when your father gets home, he will figure your dream out and put your mind at rest."

"I hope so," Wild Fire said as she began to eat.

After Wild Fire finished her meal, the two females went back to the living room to watch a little television. As they sat on the coach, Devilin held her daughter, hoping that her warm embrace would give her comfort. As the afternoon progressed into evening, a loud knock from the front door was heard, causing the two females to get up and see who it was. Devilin pulled the curtain back and looked out the window and saw Mother Daffodil with her daughter. She said with a sigh, "I was wondering when Mrs. Helpful-Hoof was going to show up."

Wild Fire giggled at her mother's words as Devilin opened the door and allowed them in while saying as pleasantly as she could, "Well, Daffodil, what brings you to our home on this fine evening?"

"My daughter asked me if she could come over to see how Wild Fire was doing and I thought that I would come, too, to see if there is anything you may need that you could not get while taking care of your daughter," Daffodil explained.

Devilin turned to her daughter and said, "Why don't you and Baby Daffodil go up to your room and play while Daffodil and I go to the living room for a friendly talk?"

"Okay, Mother; come on, Daf." Then the two fillies scurried up to Wild Fire's room and the mares went to the living room.

"Would you care for anything to drink, Daffodil?" Devilin asked as the other mare seated herself.

"Well, I would like a cup of you wonderful hot chocolate; it was a bit chilly today. If it is no trouble?"

"Of course not; one hot chocolate coming up."

Meanwhile, upstairs in Wild Fire's room, Baby Daffodil was giving Wild Fire the latest gossip at school. "And when she turned around to see what was making the noise, the volcano filled with chocolate pudding exploded all over her and everyone in the science class broke out in laughter."

Wild Fire laughed at Baby Daffodil's story, then paused to ask, "And what about Paintbrush? Did you see him at school today?"

Baby Daffodil smiled at her friend's obsession with Paintbrush as she said in a nonchalant manner, "Oh, Paintbrush... ah, let me think..."

Wild Fire, seeing her friend hesitating on purpose, said in a whiney voice, "Come on, Daffodil, spill it."

"Okay, okay! He came over to our table at lunchtime and asked me where you were and when I told him that you where feeling ill, his eyes almost fell out of his sockets and asked if I would give you a message from him."

Then Baby Daffodil suddenly stopped talking, causing Wild Fire to say in exasperation, "Well, what did he want to tell me!"

Baby Daffodil, snapping out of her trance-like state, said, "Oh yeah, he said for you to get better soon, because school is no fun when you are not there."

Wild Fire's face became flushed after hearing Paintbrush's message. Baby Daffodil looked at her friend and said with a little mischief in her voice, "Either you are getting a fever or Paintbrush's message had more meaning to you than it had for me."

"Don't be silly, Daf; it is just a little warm in here, that's all."

"If you say so, Wild Fire."

Then the fillies heard a knock on Wild Fire's bedroom door and a mare's voice was heard coming from the other side. "Wild Fire, this is your mother; could you open your door for me."

"Coming, Mother," Wild Fire said as she headed to the door to let her mother in.

When she opened the door she found her mother standing with a tray of snacks and two cups of hot chocolate in her hoofs. "I thought you two fillies would like some refreshments."

Then Baby Daffodil trotted over to Devilin while saying, "Oh, wow, hot chocolate! Mrs. Devilin, I think you make the best hot chocolate in all of Ponyland."

Devilin smiled at the filly as she put the tray down and said in reply, "Well, thank you, Daffodil; that is sweet of you to say." Then she turned and headed back downstairs, leaving the fillies to enjoy their refreshments.

When Devilin got back to the living room and took a seat across from Mother Daffodil, the other mare said, "I am glad to see that little Wild Fire is feeling better since the last time we spoke."

"Yes, keeping our daughter home has helped her regain her strength after the ordeal she went through that night."

Then Mother Daffodil had an idea. "If you feel Wild Fire is well enough, we could all go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe together and treat the little ones to one of Scoops' special sundaes tomorrow."

Devilin, feeling unsure that her daughter would feel comfortable around other ponies at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe right now, said to Mother Daffodil, "I feel that it may be too early for my daughter to go out just know."

Mother Daffodil smiled at Devilin as she took her friend's front hoofs and said, "I understand how you want to protect your daughter and I would not do anything that you feel would hurt her, so we will just forget about the sweet shop until you feel that she is ready."

Suddenly Devilin's jaw dropped to the ground as she saw Mother Daffodil give in to her, something she thought she would never see happen.

Mother Daffodil looked at the shocked mare and said in a worried voice, "Is there something wrong? I hope you are not coming down with something, too."

And as Mother Daffodil released Devilin's hoofs and leavened over to feel her forehead, Devilin said in a calm voice, "I am fine, I was just overwhelmed by your lovely sentiment."

Mother Daffodil gave a warm smile to Devilin as she said, "You know me; I would never push you into something you did not want to do."

Devilin almost choked on Mother Daffodil's words as she said to herself, "Is this mare for real? When has she not pushed me into something I did not want to do?"

As Devilin came out of her thoughts, the front door opened and her husband walked in. "Oh, Daffodil, I have a message from Ranger; he says to please tell Daffodil that her husband is going to starve if she does not get home soon."

And with that said, Mother Daffodil went and called her daughter downstairs and headed out the door. As she left, she reminded Devilin, "If you change your mind about going to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe tomorrow, just give me a call."

And Devilin said in return, "Don't worry, I will."

Then Mother Daffodil was gone from sight. Salaries turned to his wife and asked, "What's this about a Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe?"

"Oh, Daffodil wanted to take us out to the place tomorrow, but I thought it would be best that Wild Fire stay home until we understand her disturbing dream and put it to rest."

"Then I guess we should go and do just that." So Devilin with Salaries went upstairs to talk to their daughter in her room. Salaries found his daughter on her bed and sat next to her while Devilin stood at a distance, waiting for a sign that she was needed. As Salaries sat there he spoke in a gentle voice, "Are you ready to find out about your dream you had last night?"

Wild Fire looked at her father and said in a unsure voice, "I am as ready as I am going to be."

Then Salaries stood up and called for his wife. "Devilin, would you come and sit at the front end of the bed, please." Hearing her husband's request, Devilin went and sat in position. Then Salaries took Wild Fire and laid her head on her mother's lap while saying, "Wild Fire, I am going to need you to lay your head on your mother's lap and when you are comfortable your mother will sing you a special lullaby that will put you into a deep sleep and allow me to guide you through the dream. Do you understand, honey?"

"Yes, Father," Wild Fire said as she snuggled her head into her mother's warm lap. As Wild Fire got comfortable, Devilin started singing the lullaby in the most enchanting voice that would make even a siren of Greek mythology envious. As Wild Fire listened to the enchanting melody, she began going deeper and deeper into a trance-like sleep. When Salaries felt that their daughter was in a deep enough sleep, he began to place his hoofs on Wild Fire's temples and closed his eyes. Within a few minutes, Salaries and Wild Fire were standing in total darkness.

"Father, where are we and why is it so dark?" asked a frightened Wild Fire.

"We are in your subconscious, where we will watch the dream that has caused you so much uneasiness, and I will help you solve the meaning of the dream so you can feel at ease again." Then Salaries knelt down to Wild Fire's level and asked her, "Now I would like you to go back through your subconscious to the time of the dream in question."

Then Wild Fire thought of her dream that still haunted her memories and it began to unfold in front of them. Salaries saw a great ancient city in all its splendor and felt a great energy within the city, an energy he had not felt in centuries; and as he watched this magnificent sight, the city suddenly collapsed and sank beneath the ocean. Then an image of a pink unicorn with red hair appeared to them and within this mare was contained the same energy that he felt when he saw the ancient city. Salaries tried to see if he could see her birth symbol on her side, but the symbol was too blurred. A building shaped to look like a slipper appeared with a pony that had ice cream cone symbols all over her body holding a cake full of small candles. Then the whole town of Dream Valley was shown as Salaries felt an ancient evil; a brilliant white light covered the town and as it faded away, a giant crater was the only thing left of Dream Valley. The dream came to an end and Salaries and Wild Fire came back to reality.

Salaries looked to his wife as he said, "Devilin, this is no dream our daughter is having, but a glimpse of the future that may mean the end of Dream Valley and perhaps Ponyland itself, unless we can find a pink unicorn mare with red hair that carries an ancient power within her that combined with ours may defeat the evil when it comes."

"But how will we find this pink, red-head unicorn? There must be dozens in Ponyland... and that's if she is even in Ponyland at all," Devilin said in disgust.

Then Salaries remembered the conversation Devilin had had with Daffodil and asked his wife, "Didn't you and Daffodil talk about a place called the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe? If it is shaped like a slipper, it may be the building we are looking for; and if it is, we will need to go there to find the unicorn."

Devilin, seeing where this was going, said in a disappointed voice, "You are not going to tell me that I have to contact Daffodil and tell her that we will be going to that Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe tomorrow, are you?"

"You know deep in your heart that it is the right thing to do, my love."

So Devilin got up and went downstairs to call Daffodil; as she went, she could be heard mumbling to herself, "Unfair! Daffodil gave in to me and she still gets the upper hoof. When we meet this evil, I will show it what evil really is for doing this to me."

When Devilin was gone, Wild Fire said to her father, "I hope we find the unicorn mare at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, or Mother may do to Mother Daffodil what the evil force will do to Dream Valley."

"You may be right, sweetheart." Salaries started to worry about what his wife would do if they did not find the mare. Then the two went downstairs; as they reached the living room, they saw Devilin sitting on the coach with flames coming out her eyes. They sat on each side of her and Salaries asked his wife, "So, how did the phone call go with Daffodil?"

Devilin turned her head to face her husband as she said in a growling voice, "She's so happy that we changed our minds and she can hardly wait until tomorrow. If this mare is not at this Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, someone's going to be in a lot of pain."

Salaries, seeing how upset his wife was, put his forelegs around her and gave her a nuzzle while Wild Fire gave her mother a hug and laid her head on her lap. As the flames in Devilin's eyes died down, she said to her two pacifiers, "All right, you two, I know what you're trying to do and it won't work, so you can just stop it."

"Stop what, my angel? We just want to show you how much we appreciate the sacrifices you go through to help the mortals of Ponyland."

"Sure you are," said Devilin as she gave a mischievous grin to her husband. As Wild Fire began to yawn, she added, "We better go to bed now; we are going to have a long day ahead of us tomorrow." So they all got up and went to bed.

* * *

The next day found the three spirit ponies sitting in the living room after eating breakfast. Wild Fire asked, "Mother, Father, what if this unicorn mare does not want to help us fight the coming evil?"

Devilin looked at her daughter with a smile and said, "Then I guess I will have to grab her by her red mane and drag her to the battle."

But Salaries replied, "What I have seen of these ponies tells me that we will not have to resort to physical persuasion to get her to help."

Devilin looked at her husband and said with a disappointed voice, "Salaries, you sure know how to take the fun out of persuading someone." But all Salaries did was shake his head from side to side as Wild Fire gave a little giggle to her mother's comment.

Then the three ponies heard the front doorbell ring; as Devilin got up to answer it, she said to her family, "Well, if this mare we are looking for cannot be found in time, we can always throw Daffodil at the menace and she would just drive it to the point of insanity and it would destroy itself just to get away from her."

Wild Fire burst out in laughter while Salaries just said, "No matter how much you act like you don't like Daffodil, I know that deep inside you would do anything to protect her."

But all Devilin said in response was, "You think so, do you?" She opened the door and ushered their friends in and took them to the living room to sit down and chat for awhile.

Then Mother Daffodil spoke. "When Devilin called me and told me that you all changed your minds about going out to the sweet shop, it was a total surprise, seeing that she felt that it was too early for Wild Fire to go out."

"Well, my daughter had heard what you wanted to do and begged me to change my mind; and my husband, being such a soft touch, gave in and asked if I would call you; and with two against one, it gave me no choice but to call," Devilin explained.

Salaries and Wild Fire gave Devilin a shocked look, while Devilin just gave one of her evil smirks. Ranger said to the group, "Well, we better get going if we want to beat the lunch crowd and get a place to sit." Then the group headed to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.

As they reach the ice cream parlor, Salaries saw that it was exactly the same as the vision. When they got inside, they looked around and saw that one corner of the shop was decorated with streamers and balloons with a banner that had the words "Happy Birthday" written on it. Sitting under the decorations was a group of ponies, and as Salaries looked to the counter he saw a mare with ice cream cones all over her body, exactly like the mare in the vision; he knew that they were in the right place.

Mother Daffodil said to the group, "So what would you all like to have?"

As the group was placing their orders and went to sit down, Salaries went to ask the mare behind the counter about the birthday party; as he reached the counter, he placed his hoof on top of the mare's hoof and caused her to feel a type of ecstasy that made her free to answer his questions. "Miss, may I ask who is having a birthday?"

The mare looked at Salaries with an inner peace about her and said, "This birthday is for Tabby Fairfax."

"And would you mind describing her to me?"

"Well, she's a pink unicorn with a red mane and tail and a symbol of two kittens on her side."

Then Salaries took his hoof off the mare's hoof, and as he did she began to come out of the ecstasy. As she looked at Salaries, she asked, "May I help you?"

Salaries said with an angelic smile, "You have been more than helpful, my dear." He walked back to his table, leaving a puzzled mare behind.

At the table, Mother Daffodil asked Salaries, "So what were you and Scoops talking about?"

"Oh, I was just curious about that party over there and asked Scoops who it was for," said Salaries in a nonchalant manner.

Mother Daffodil, being the curious type, asked him, "Oh, and what did she say?"

Salaries, seeing an opportunity to find out more about the mare, said to Mother Daffodil, "Well, Scoops said that the party is for a mare called Tabby Fairfax. Would you know anything about her?"

Ranger, knowing that his wife loved to gossip, started shaking his head from side to side and, thinking that they would be there for awhile, said to the group, "You all better eat slowly; when my wife starts gossiping it may be hours before we leave."

Mother Daffodil, after sticking her tongue out at her husband, turned to Salaries and said, "Oh, yes, Tabby and her husband Thomas have the local veterinary clinic in town and two lovely young fillies."

Seeing if he could get more information from Mother Daffodil, he asked her in a casual voice, "So Tabby's a wife and a mother; I guess the excitement in her life is pretty much over."

"For a normal mare, yes; but Tabby is anything but normal, and any chance she can get to go on some crazy adventure, she will."

So that no one would start getting suspicious, Salaries decided to end the conversation. "Well, Daffodil, this has been a really interesting conversation; you should had been a reporter with such knowledge."

"Well, I always say that you should always keep your ears open; you never know what you may hear," said a proud Mother Daffodil.

Then the door opened and a pink unicorn walked in. All the ponies at the party got up and yelled, "Surprise! Happy birthday, Tabby!"

As Tabby got to her table, the spirit ponies could feel the ancient energy within her and knew that she was, indeed, the one they needed to fight the great evil. When Scoops brought the birthday cake to the table, the spirit ponies and their friends decided to go back home; but as they passed Tabby's table, Salaries stopped and bowed his head to Tabby as he addressed her. "I would like to wish you a most happy and fulfilling life on your day of birth and hope that all your wishes come true." Then he placed an empty hoof in front of Tabby and, before her eyes, a rose with all the colors of the rainbow appeared. As Salaries placed the rose behind Tabby's ear, he gave her a gracious bow once more and walked back to his group as they left the establishment.

Tabby turned to her husband with a confused expression on her face. "A magician? Was this something you planned ?"

All Thomas could do was shrug his shoulders in reply. "Seeing that stallion was as much of a surprise to me as it was to you, but that rose does look lovely on you."

Tabby gave a polite smile to her husband's compliment, but inside she felt uneasy over the encounter. She could not shake the feeling that the stallion would cross her path again.

* * *

As the two families got near their homes, Salaries asked their friends, "If you all do not have any plans for dinner tonight, I would like to invite you all to dine at our house."

"We wouldn't want to put everyone out," said Mother Daffodil.

"Do not worry about putting us out; it will be no problem at all."

Mother Daffodil and her family talked it over and decided to accept. "Well, if you really want us to come to your house for dinner, we accept your invitation."

"Good, then let's say seven o' clock."

Ranger added, "We will see you at seven, then."

The two families parted ways and as the spirit family neared their home, Devilin said to her husband, "What in Hades made you ask them to come over for dinner?"

As Salaries was reaching for the door, he said to his wife, "When we are inside, I will tell you my reason." When they got to the living room and sat down, Salaries cleared his throat and told his family the reason for his invitation. "I have given this a lot of thought and decided to tell Ranger, Daffodil, and Baby Daffodil who we really are."

Devilin jumped out of her seat and yelled at her husband, "Are you out of your angelic mind! Do you know what would happen if others found out who we are!"

"I am only going to tell these three, and I feel deep in my soul that they would keep our secret to their graves; besides, when we go to fight this great evil, we will need someone we trust to take care of all the spirit devices we have."

"Well, I hope you are right, my love; for if you are not, we will have to leave Dream Valley and maybe even Ponyland."

"I know, my love... I know."

Wild Fire interrupted her parents. "I don't want to leave Daffodil; she is my bestest best friend in all of Ponyland, and I'm beginning to really like Paintbrush."

Salaries picked his daughter off the floor and said in a gentle tone, "Do not worry, little one; I will not let that happen, I promise you."

Devilin said to Wild Fire as she took her from Salaries' hoofs. "Come on, my little flame, and help your mother make dinner while your father thinks about how he will tell our guests about us without giving them a heart attack ."

As six-thirty came around, the spirit family heard the doorbell ring; as Devilin was still in the kitchen preparing diner, Salaries went to answer the door and found three familiar ponies standing before him. "Well, come on in and have a seat in the living room; dinner is almost ready."

The three ponies walked past Salaries and went to sit down; as they got comfortable, Baby Daffodil asked Salaries, "Do you know were Wild Fire is?"

Salaries, looking at the little filly, said in a gentle voice, "She is in the kitchen with her mother."

"May I go and see her?"

"I wouldn't have it any other way, sweetheart."

Baby Daffodil smiled at the stallion and turned toward the kitchen; as she trotted away, Salaries went and sat with Ranger and Daffodil. After a few minutes, Devilin came out of the kitchen with the fillies right behind her and announced, "Time to eat, everyone." So the ponies got up and headed to the dining room. As Salaries began to pass his wife, Devilin stopped him and asked, "So when are you going to tell them about us?"

"After dinner; I feel it is best to tell them on a full stomach." Then Salaries and Devilin went to the dining room to eat.

* * *

After dinner, the ponies went to the living room to chat awhile before their friends had to leave. Mother Daffodil said in a complementary way, "That was the most delicious dinner I have ever tasted; you must give me your recipes, Devilin."

"It is a very old family recipe and the ingredients are very hard to find, so if you still would like the recipe I will give you the ingredients that the stores do not carry."

"If it won't be a problem for you."

Devilin smiled at Daffodil and said, "Not at all; I have plenty."

Then Salaries stood up and said to his family. "Devilin, Wild Fire, will you two please stand next to me." And as the two females went to stand next to Salaries, he looked at the three other ponies that were still sitting down and said, "I have something that I need to tell all of you, and I hope all of you will take what I say in a good way." Salaries took a deep breath before continuing. "Ranger, Daffodil, and Baby Daffodil, all of you know that my family and I consider all of you like family, and I think it is time that you know a secret that we have kept to ourselves since we arrived in Dream Valley. We are from a race of ponies called Spirit Ponies, and we lived in a place called the Spirit World. Our job was to keep good and evil in balance so one would not be dominant over the other."

Ranger, not truly believing Salaries, said, "You are kidding, aren't you?"

"What I tell you is no lie, Ranger."

Then Baby Daffodil said to Wild Fire, "So those outrageous toys we played with in your room, are they from this Spirit World?"

"Yes, they are our spirit devices that we used to make sure everything was in balance."

Mother Daffodil asked the spirit ponies, "Why do you keep talking about this Spirit World in the past tense?"

Salaries looked at Devilin as he held her foreleg, then looked at Mother Daffodil and said, "Because we are spirit ponies, we are forbidden to fall in love or have children; to do so means sudden death."

Mother Daffodil gasped in horror as she said, "That is a horrific thing to do to two who are in love with each other."

Ranger said in a puzzled tone, "But all of you are very much alive. Why is that?"

"We really do not understand it ourselves; all we know is that before the other spirit ponies could destroy us, the Great Creator stopped them and banished us to Ponyland."

"And who is this Great Creator?"

"The Great Creator is the father and mother of all creation; you ponies call Him God."

Mother Daffodil looked at her family and then at the spirit ponies and said as she walked over to Devilin, "Ever since the mall incidents, I have felt that there was something special about you; and I might sound selfish, but I am glad that you got banished to Ponyland."

Devilin looked at Mother Daffodil and said, "You still want to be our friends even though you know the truth about us?"

"It does not matter to us how you came to be in Dream Valley; and as far as I am concerned, all of you are still part of our family."

Ranger stood up and said, "Daffodil is right, and I see no reason why our friendship has to stop just because of your background."

Salaries said to his mortal family, "I am glad that all of you feel the way you do." Then they all gathered together and gave an emotional group hug, except for Devilin who just gave a regular hug. Being that she was created from pure evil made it difficult to show emotions of a positive nature.

Then Ranger and Daffodil decided that it was time that they went home and said their farewells to the spirit ponies. On their way out, Mother Daffodil said, "And you can be certain that my family and I will never tell another soul about your secret life that you have shared with us."

As they went out the door, Salaries added, "We are truly blessed with friend like you."

Then Devilin shut the front door when their friends were out of sight. She turned to ask her husband, "Salaries, when you told them about how we got here, you left out that one of the reasons we were banished here was because you were of pure good and I was of pure evil. Why?"

"That is because I felt that they would become nervous around you, being that mortals see evil as something to fear."

"I guess you are right." Then the spirit ponies went up to their bedrooms and went to sleep.

* * *

The next morning found the spirit ponies in the kitchen eating breakfast and discussing how they would approach Tabby and explain to her who they were and why they needed her to help them against the great evil that they would soon have to combat. "If this mare is as important to this mission as you say, why don't we just tell her that and let her vanity do the rest?" asked Devilin.

"Because when I was at their table I could sense an overwhelming protectiveness for Tabby emanating from within Thomas, so we must figure out a way to convince them both to help us," said Salaries with a grim look on his face.

"Then what are we going to do?" a frustrated Devilin asked.

Then Wild Fire jumped up and down and waved her forelegs for attention. "I have an idea that could convince them both to help us."

Salaries and Devilin both looked at their daughter as Salaries asked, "All right, sweetheart, what is your idea to convince them?"

Wild Fire cleared her throat as she said, "Remember when Mother Daffodil said that Thomas and Tabby are parents? If their children are endangered, wouldn't you think that they would do anything to keep them from harm, even help us fight this great evil?"

"Wild Fire, I think you may have the answer to our problem," said Salaries as he patted his daughter on the back. To his wife he said, "I think that if we show them what will happen to their loved ones if the great evil is triumphant in its goal, we will convince them to help us."

"And what will we use to show them?"

"We will use the Eye of Oren; with it you are able to see visions of possible events of the future." Salaries grabbed the Dream Valley residential phone book and looked up the address of Thomas and Tabby Fairfax. "All right, everyone, I've got their home address; now let us go and hope that we are successful in convincing them." The spirit ponies headed out the door and towards Thomas and Tabby's home.

As they reached the outer gates of the mansion, they could already feel the ancient energy within the mare that dwelled there. As they came to the front door, Salaries said to his family, "All right, everyone be on your very best behavior; and Devilin, my love, don't take this the wrong way, but I will need you to be especially pleasant if this is to succeed."

Devilin turned to her husband and said, "What do you mean 'especially pleasant'? I'm pleasant; Daffodil is still breathing isn't she?"

Salaries turned his head toward the sky as if praying for a miracle, while Wild Fire tried her best to hold in her laughter and not doing a successful job of it. In the end, Salaries rang the doorbell, and as the door opened a pink unicorn mare with red mane and tail stood with a little pink unicorn filly with pink mane and tail beside her.

Tabby raised her eyebrows as she recognized the stallion. "Aren't you the magician that gave me that rose yesterday at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe?"

"I am so honored that you remember me," said Salaries as he gave the mare a charming smile.

Tabby looked even more skeptical, and took in the mare and filly that were standing next to him. "I assume that there is something you want, so let's get our business with each other out on the table."

Salaries saw a little of Devilin in Tabby's attitude and proceeded carefully. "I am Salaries, and this is my wife Devilin and our daughter Wild Fire; and we would like to speak to you and your husband about a serious matter."

"And what serious matter would that be?" said Tabby guardedly.

Devilin, tired of standing outside, pushed in front of her husband and in a not-so-pleasant tone added her own thoughts. "Listen, you red-headed twerp, if you don't want to see Dream Valley destroyed, I suggest that you let us in!"

Greatly affronted, Tabby drew herself up to her full height and glared at the other mare. "No one addresses me in that tone, half-wit! Why, if you knew who I was-" And both mares stood staring at each other, each with fire coming out of their eyes.

Salaries, with a hoof over his face, stood shaking his head from side to side and said to himself, "Why didn't I see this coming?"

Unbeknownst to Tabby and the spirit ponies, Faline had run inside to complain incoherently to her father that there were crazy ponies at the door. Thomas arrived in time to find Tabby and Devilin shouting at each other. Pushing Tabby behind him, he made his presence known and demanded, "Would you please stop your bickering and tell me what is going on here!"

The mares did quiet down, and Salaries had the opportunity to speak. "This is totally our fault, and I would like to apologize for my wife's rude manners." Before Devilin could say a word, Salaries placed his hoof over her mouth to keep her quiet. "But what my wife said about Dream Valley being destroyed will indeed happen, and you two are the only ones that can save Dream Valley from its terrible fate.

Tabby and Thomas looked at each other briefly as if to divine what to do, and in the end Thomas turned back to the spirit ponies. "And how do we know that you are telling the truth?"

"And that you're not just crazy lunatics escaped from the asylum?" Tabby added unhelpfully.

"If you let us in, I will show you all the proof you need," Salaries said in an urgent tone.

"What do you think, Tabby?" Thomas asked his wife.

"I admit to being curious," Tabby acknowledged as she noted the desperation in Salaries' face. "Very well, come in and make your case. I suppose there is no harm in that." So she pulled the door open and led the spirit ponies inside.

Once they were seated in the living room, Salaries began their story. "We are spirit ponies from a place called the Spirit World, and we have come to ask for your help in fighting an evil force so powerful that it could destroy the whole universe if not stopped."

"Oh, another save-the-world mission! I get one of those every week!" Clearly, Tabby had not had a favorable first impression of the spirit ponies and their request.

"What proof do you have to these claims of yours?" Thomas added in a skeptical tone.

"I mean, I'm all about these epic adventures against evil forces," Tabby explained, "but I don't know who the heck you are and why I should trust you!"

"You wish for proof, then behold!" As he stood up to say this, Salaries lifted up his right front hoof. "Eye of Oren, come to my hoof!" A white orb of energy appeared, and when it faded away a large Egyptian-looking eye with a blue crystal imbedded in the center showed in his hoof. He turned to Tabby and Thomas. "This is the Eye of Oren, and with it we will be able to show you two what the future holds if you two decide not to help us."

"Cool!" Tabby jumped up and trotted over to Salaries to get a better view of the object. "So it's going to show us the future? Bring it on!"

Such childlike innocence in such a powerful mare, Salaries thought as he watched Tabby stare at the Eye with unbridled enthusiasm. Then he motioned everyone to stand, after which he lifted the artifact into the air and said, "Eye of Oren, show us what the future will be like without Thomas and Tabby's help in fighting the great evil."

The Eye of Oren levitated high above them and began to glow; as it did, the room around them began to fade away and a dark and dreary landscape took its place. Thomas and Tabby saw a group of ponies chained like slaves with shadowy creatures standing over them, taunting them and forcing them to do their bidding.

"So this is what Dream Valley will become if we do not help you," Thomas said thoughtfully.

"This is what Dream Valley and all of the universe will become if we fail in defeating the great evil," Salaries corrected.

Tabby held Faline close to her as she asked, "And what will become of us if we help you?"

Devilin walked up to her and said, "You would probably die a painful and horrible death; but if you don't do anything, your children, friends, and family will suffer an even worse fate than that."

"Well, I don't plan on dying that easily!" Tabby said boldly.

Thomas saw how uncomfortable Tabby was becoming even though she showed a brave front. "I think we have seen enough of this place; take us back to our home."

"As you wish. Eye of Oren, take us back from whence we came." The horrible sensory image faded as the living room reappeared. The Eye floated back down to Salaries' hoof and the spirit stallion continued, "Eye of Oren, return from whence you came." The energy orb reappeared in his hoof; and when it had faded away, so had the Eye.

They all stood there in silence for quite some time when Tabby finally broke the silence with her brash proclamation. "Well, so when do we go?"

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Thomas asked.

Tabby tossed her mane. "Are you afraid? We've faced the Ponies of the Apocalypse, so I don't see what this great evil has to show that we haven't taken care of before. Besides, I would do anything to keep that horrid future from happening to our daughters."

"I see that Queen Kaliope of Atlantis chose her successor wisely," Salaries said, standing in front of Tabby.

"And what do you know of Kaliope!" Tabby said sternly.

Salaries only smiled. "My kind is immortal and we have lived since the world was young. There has been only one mortal pony in all of history that carried within her power such as the power that dwells within you. That mortal pony was Queen Kaliope; and for you to have this power, you must be a descendent of the Queen."

Tabby smoothed her hair, preening a little over the praise of her immense power. "Yes, and that's the truth. But you won't tell anyone here about the connection, will you?"

Salaries bowed. "I will keep your secret if you tell no one who we really are."

"Then it's a deal," said Tabby as they shook hoofs.

"When do we start our journey?" Thomas asked the spirit ponies, getting back to practical matters.

"Two weeks from today," replied Salaries.

"Why so long?" Tabby complained.

"The only way to enter the underworld during the season of winter is as spirits; and even though my family and I would be able to do this, it would be fatal for you and Thomas," Salaries explained.

"But won't that give the great evil you speak of time to attack Dream Valley?" Thomas pointed out.

"No. During winter the energy of good is at its peak as you ponies and other creatures celebrate holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day. The gates of Hades are kept closed, keeping evil from getting out... but also in return not allowing us in until spring thaw. Then the energy of good is not so strong and that is when we enter the Underworld to do battle with the great evil. I would advise that for the next two weeks you two put your affairs in order so that no one will get suspicious when we leave."

Thomas, thinking ahead, asked, "What kind of supplies will we need on this journey?"

"All you need is yourselves; my family and I have everything we need at the house."

"Well, that makes it easy!" Tabby exclaimed.

Salaries hoofed Thomas a piece of paper with their address and phone number on it and explained, "When it is time for us to leave or if any of you feel the need to talk about this some more, please use the information that is on that paper."

"Do not worry; Tabby and I will be at your home when the time comes," Thomas said.

Salaries smiled once again at their new-found friends and said, "Then my family and I shall be on our way." Once they were let out and Tabby and Thomas were alone again, Tabby turned to her husband and asked, "Do you suppose this great evil is as bad as they make it out to be?"

Thomas took Tabby in his forelegs. "Yes, I feel that it will be a difficult battle; but for some strange reason I feel that we will also be triumphant against whatever it is we're going to fight." And he gently placed his lips on Tabby's as he gave her a most passionate kiss, and Tabby slowly closed the door.

* * *

While the spirit ponies were walking home, Devilin asked her husband, "So did you know this Queen Kaliope personally?"

Salaries, not wanting to sleep on the coach when they got home, said to his wife, "No, my sweet, I did not know her personally; but her courageous attempt to save her subjects from a watery grave even though it meant her own death is known and respected in the realm of the spirits of pure good."

"I see," said Devilin, thinking that her husband was not giving her the whole story.

As they reached their home, Wild Fire asked her parents, "So what do we do now?"

"We do what we normally do until it is time to go," said Salaries with a smile.

So the spirit ponies went back to their normal routines; and as the days passed and the Valentine's Day dance approached, Wild Fire went to her parents who were sitting in the living room and said, "I do not think that I should go to the dance tomorrow with us getting ready to fight that evil force."

Salaries looked at his daughter and said, "Nonsense! I know how much you have been waiting to go to this dance with Paintbrush; and I am not going to let this evil force interfere with your going, even if I have to put you over my shoulders and carry you there; besides, your mother can hardly wait to go herself."

Devilin, upon hearing that remark, said with a snort, "Oh, yes, I can hardly wait." She went over to where her sword was mounted and said as she picked it up, "Maybe I should go over to Daffodil's place and thank her personally for involving me."

Salaries looked at his wife as she swung her sword around. "I think it would be safer for Daffodil if you thanked her over the phone."

Devilin, giving her husband a mischievous look, said, "But it would also be less enjoyable."

Salaries gave his wife a disciplinary look as he said, "Devilin, don't make me have to put you in the corner for a time out."

Devilin gave her husband a flick from her tail and said in a challenging tone, "I would like to see you try." Then Salaries got up and began to chase Devilin around the living room; Wild Fire expressed amusement at her parents' tomfoolery and she forgot about the battle that they were soon to have.

* * *

As the next day came around, we find Devilin and Wild Fire finishing getting ready for the Valentine's Day dance, while downstairs in the living room Salaries was entertaining Ranger, Daffodil, Baby Daffodil, Outback, and Paintbrush who had all came from Daffodil's house to the spirit ponies' home. The ponies in the living room heard hoofsteps coming down the stairs and as they saw Devilin and Wild Fire enter the living room, Paintbrush jumped up from where he was sitting and presented Wild Fire with a corsage. "You are going to be the most beautiful filly at the dance, Wild Fire."

Wild Fire, giving Paintbrush a dazzling smile, said with a little giggle, "Thank you, my Prince Charming."

Then Salaries said to everyone, "We better get going or there won't be a dance to go to." So all the ponies headed out the door toward the school auditorium.

As they reached the auditorium and went inside, they all gazed at the pink, red, and white heart-shaped decorations that covered the place. Then the spirit ponies felt the ancient energy of an Atlantean Queen which made them turn around as they saw Thomas and Tabby walk their way.

Tabby hailed the spirit ponies. "Hey, guys, what's happening!"

The spirit ponies were completely caught by surprise as they stood there staring at the couple. Salaries finally said, "Isn't Faline a little young to come to a dance like this?"

"We were actually surprised ourselves when the school called to ask us if we would chaperone the dance," Thomas said with a little smile.

"And of course you had to bee a good Samaritan and say that we would do it," Tabby said with a bit of disgust in her voice. "I don't get it at all. I mean, sure, I went to school here once; but they couldn't get any more of the parents with foals here to chaperone? It's a conspiracy." She nodded knowingly.

"By the way you were asking about Tabby and Thomas at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, I didn't think that you knew them," Daffodil quizzed Salaries.

"At that time we did not, but between then and now our paths crossed in friendly conversation and we have gotten to know each other better." Salaries turned back to Tabby and Thomas. "But where are my manners. Tabby, Thomas, I would like you to meet our good friends and neighbors Ranger, Daffodil, and Baby Daffodil.

"I am pleased to meet all of you," Tabby said politely (she could act thus when the situation called for it).

"Likewise," Thomas replied, shaking Ranger's hoof.

As the adults chitchatted, Paintbrush as well as Outback asked Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil, "Would you lovely fillies care to dance?" They held out their forelegs and Baby Daffodil took hold of Outback's, saying with delight, "I would love to."

Outback and Baby Daffodil went to the dance floor, leaving Paintbrush and Wild Fire behind. As Wild Fire took Paintbrush's foreleg, she said with a little embarrassment, "I am not that great of a dancer and may step on your hoofs, but I am willing to try if you are."

Then they went to the dance floor and as Paintbrush held Wild Fire close to him he said, "Wild Fire, I would endure anything to be close to you."

And as they were dancing, a small tear went down Wild Fire's cheek as she thought to herself, And I would do anything to be close to you, too, Paintbrush, even if I have to fight hundreds of evil creatures to do so.

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