Author's note: In this chapter you will read about three new characters; here are the pronunciations of their names:
(Thomicus pronounced Thom/mic/us)
(Tabbathia pronounced Tabba/the/a)
(Elainya pronounced Elaine/yea)
Two weeks had passed since the battle with the Great Evil, and during those weeks the spirit ponies learned to adjust to mortal life with the help of six very good friends, namely, Ranger, Mother Daffodil, Baby Daffodil, Thomas, Tabby, and Sun Glow. The latter had decided to stay in Dream Valley to help the spirit ponies and lived in secret at their home. No one outside this circle of ponies knew of the existence of the Fairy Flutter.
As morning came, Devilin came downstairs with Sun Glow on her back as they headed to the kitchen to fix breakfast for the others. As Devilin was walking, she said to her friend, "I think that I would have gone insane if you and the others weren't here to help me and my family adjust to this mortal life."
As they reached the kitchen, Sun Glow fluttered to the breakfast table and said to Devilin, "It is my honor to help such noble ponies as yourselves." Devilin just smiled at the little Fairy Flutter as she started breakfast.
Then the sounds of little hoofsteps were heard as Wild Fire appeared in the kitchen doorway and smelled the delicious food her mother was preparing. She said with a smile, "The food smells so delicious I can hardly wait to eat it."
"If your father will get his lazy tail to the kitchen, we can start," replied Devilin in a sweet and gentle tone.
Then the females heard the sounds of hoofs scurrying to the kitchen as they saw Salaries with a fire extinguisher in his hoofs. He said in jest as he held it up, "I heard that my wife was cooking, so I brought back-up just in case."
Wild Fire and Sun Glow giggled with delight, but Devilin gave her husband a dirty look as she said to him, "I do not think that your little joke is all that funny."
Salaries walked over to his wife as he laid the fire extinguisher down and began to tickle her. "Well, I will just have to fix that, won't I?"
While she was being tickled, Devilin burst into laughter. "You are not playing fair!"
"All is fair in love and war," Salaries said.
Devilin, after composing herself, said to the others, "Breakfast is ready. Everyone to the table." As they ate, Devilin commented to her husband, "Ever since the Great Creator took our spirit energy away from us, my evil nature has suddenly become dormant within me. Every time something happens, I end up saying sweet and nice things instead of my usual sarcasm, and it is beginning to get on my nerves."
Salaries gently rubbed his wife's back. "Do not fret, my love. It is just that your inner self has not yet fully adjusted to the change, but it will pass and you will become that mare that I fell in love with those many years ago."
"I hope that you are right, my love, or I will without a doubt lose my mind."
As they finished eating, they heard a knock at the door. As Wild Fire got up to answer it, she said to the others, "I'll get it; it's probably Daf coming to walk to school with me." When she opened the door, the filly found Baby Daffodil with Mother Daffodil standing next to her.
"Where can I find your mother, Wild Fire?" Mother Daffodil asked as they came inside.
"She is in the kitchen with Father and Sun Glow," replied Wild Fire as she pointed to the kitchen, and then she and Baby Daffodil headed off to school.
When Mother Daffodil got to the kitchen she saw the three still sitting at the table. She looked toward Salaries and Devilin and said, "I hope that mortal life hasn't been giving you two any trouble."
Devilin looked up at Mother Daffodil as she said in a sarcastic voice, "Oh, no, being mortal has been such a piece of cake."
"You see, my sweet, it just takes a good friend to bring out the real you," Salaries said as he looked at his wife.
Devilin gave her husband another dirty look. "Isn't it time that you headed to work?"
Salaries, looking at the clock, said to his wife, "So it is." Then he got up while giving his wife a loving kiss. As he walked passed Mother Daffodil he asked, "Would it be okay with you and your husband if I borrowed the Orb of Creation next week?"
"I don't see any problem with that," Mother Daffodil said.
Salaries took her foreleg and said, "You are just an angel, Daffodil." Then he kissed her hoof, causing the mare to blush.
Once Salaries had left and the three mares were alone, Mother Daffodil said, still flushed from Salaries' kiss, "Your husband sure knows how to make a mare's heart skip a beat."
"Yes, he does have his moments," replied Devilin. "So what brings you here, Daffodil?"
"I just came to see how you are doing and if there is anything you need," said Mother Daffodil as she sat in one of the chairs.
"I am fine and do not need anything right now," replied Devilin.
"Then why don't we three go outside and stretch our legs for awhile?" suggested Mother Daffodil to both her friends. Devilin tried to think up an excuse to stay home, but Mother Daffodil beat her to the punch. "And I do not want to hear any excuses! You have kept yourself locked in this house for two weeks, and I think it is time for you to let the rest of Ponyland know that you still exist in our little part of the world."
Devilin, looking at Sun Glow, thought that she may have found a loophole she could use. "But how are we going to explain Sun Glow? You know that her race likes to stay in secret," she pointed out.
But all Mother Daffodil did was smile at Devilin's lame excuse as she got up and went to the living room. She returned with a basket with a mirror in the center of the lid around her neck. "I had this basket especially made for Sun Glow so she could see the sights without others seeing her," she explained to the other two. She laid the basket on the table and opened up the top as she said to the Fairy Flutter, "Sun Glow, why don't you fly inside and see how you like it?"
So Sun Glow fluttered inside; and as she went, she saw that the mirror was a two-way mirror, allowing her to look out without anyone being able to look in. She also found Fairy Flutter-sized furniture for her comfort. As she came back out she said to Daffodil, "The basket is so wonderful; thank you!"
Then Daffodil added, "And my husband gave me these miniature walkie-talkies that Devilin and I can hide in our ears, with a third one in the basket, so we can both communicate with you, Sun Glow, when you're in there."
Seeing that Daffodil had everything covered, Devilin gave up fighting and took one of the miniature walkie-talkies, placing it in her ear. Then she picked up the basket and placed it around her neck. "Well, what are you two waiting for? Let's get going?" Daffodil put on the other walkie-talkie as Devilin lifted the basket lid for Sun Glow to get back inside. Devilin shut the lid and they headed to the door. With a sigh, Devilin said, "It's starting to feel like old times again."
As they walked around Dream Valley, Sun Glow said to Devilin, "Devilin, thanks for deciding to go out. It is so beautiful here in Dream Valley!"
"I am glad that you are enjoying yourself, Sun Glow," replied Devilin in a sincere tone.
They came to the Dream Valley park and sat down on a bench to rest. "It is getting close to lunchtime; is anyone getting hungry?" Daffodil asked.
Sun Glow heard her little stomach growl. "I am a little hungry, but how am I going to eat without showing myself to anyone?"
"Leave that little problem to me; you just think about what you would like to eat," said Daffodil in a confident tone. So the mares got up from the park bench and looked around for a restaurant; as they were walking, they bumped into Thomas and Tabby, who were also heading for a place to eat.
"Devilin!" Tabby squealed upon seeing her friend. "You've finally decided to venture out into the world with the rest of us mortals!"
"It wasn't by choice," replied Devilin as Daffodil just smiled at the remark.
"And where were you lovely mares headed to?" Thomas asked gallantly.
"Sun Glow is a bit hungry, so we are going to get something to eat," replied Devilin.
"Where is Sun Glow?" asked a curious Tabby. Devilin opened the top of the basket and gestured for Thomas and Tabby to look inside, so they were able to see Sun Glow in her nicely laid-out basket.
"Tabby and I are heading to the Café Carousel for lunch, so you three would be welcome to join us," Thomas invited.
"I'll have to keep an eye on you; you're allying yourself with entirely too many other mares," Tabby said cheerfully and completely without malice. She knew he was too much of a gentleman to let them pass without an invitation to join them.
"We would love to have lunch with the two of you," Daffodil said after a quick conversation with Devilin and Sun Glow, "but when we get there could we find a secluded place so Sun Glow can eat without being seen?"
"Of course, we can't leave Sun Glow out of it," Thomas agreed. So the group of five headed to the Café Carousel, and Thomas searched for the most secluded area in the restaurant. He found that a table in the corner was surrounded by plants, so he suggested that to the mares and they agreed that it was perfect. They all sat down and as the waitress gave them menus, Devilin made sure to keep hers low enough so that Sun Glow could read it.
After placing their orders and sending the waitress on her way, Thomas asked Devilin, "How is the mortal life treating you, Devilin? We haven't heard from you lately."
"I do not see how you mortals can do what you do every day of your life without totally losing your minds," replied Devilin as she put her foreleg over her head like she had a headache.
"Don't worry, Devilin; you'll get used to it and we'll be here to support you if you need it," replied Thomas as he tried to comfort Devilin, not knowing that he would make her feel so miserable by bringing that up.
Devilin looked at Thomas with a smile and said, "And I thank the Great Creator every day that he has blessed me and my family with such caring friends as all of you have shown time after time." As Devilin finished her praise, the others all felt a warm feeling inside. Then Devilin heard Sun Glow make a sigh of sadness, causing the mare to look inside the basket to see what was wrong. "Why are you so sad, Sun Glow?"
"Hearing what you told your friends just made me feel a little left out," replied Sun Glow as she tried to keep her tears from falling.
"You silly Fairy Flutter!" Devilin said in a caring tone. "Don't you know that you are as much of a blessing to me as the others, and I consider you as my little guardian angel?"
Sun Glow, hearing Devilin's praise, looked up and gazed at the mare. "You really mean that, Devilin?"
"Of course I mean it, and I want you to never forget that you are a very important part of my family."
Sun Glow smiled as she began to feel better about herself, and Devilin closed the basket as the waitress came back to their table with their order. After the waitress was gone, Devilin tipped the basket on its side to let Sun Glow come out and eat the food she had ordered.
"And how is Salaries doing?" Thomas asked casually as they started eating.
Devilin looked at Thomas with a devilish smile. "Do not worry, Thomas; my husband has not forgotten his promise to you."
Thomas looked abashed. "I admit to being a little curious about my medallion, but I didn't know it was that obvious."
"It does not take spirit powers to know how anxious you are to learn the history of your heirloom," replied Devilin as she gave Thomas a little smirk.
" 'A little curious'!" Tabby echoed sarcastically. "It's been the only thing on your mind since Salaries told you he knew its story, and I for one will be glad when it's been told so you can get on with your life! If I didn't know better I'd say it was starting to possess you again. It seems that you spend a lot more time thinking about that than about me!" And at the end of that little outburst, which had been building up in her for some time and just needed an outlet, Tabby turned away from her husband and stuck her nose in the air.
The other mares began to giggle at Thomas' discomfort as he tried to appease his wife with protestations against an undue occupation with his ancestral medallion. By the end of the meal Tabby was partially appeased, but still acted miffed as she and Thomas took their leave of the party to get back to the vet clinic.
As Daffodil, Devilin, and Sun Glow headed back to Devilin's house, Daffodil said to the other two, "That Thomas sure has a one track mind if all he can think of is that medallion of his! Tabby wasn't at all happy with him!"
"Well, you know stallions. If they find something they think is worth their attention, they will stay at it to the end," replied Devilin.
"Isn't that the truth?" Sun Glow said. "Just so long as he doesn't forget that Tabby is worth his attention." And all three gave out a hearty laugh at Thomas' expense.
When the mares reached the house, they went in and Devilin opened the basket lid. Sun Glow fluttered out and landed on the living room coffee table and the other two mares sat down and talked more about Thomas and to explore Sun Glow's thoughts on Dream Valley and its inhabitants. The afternoon turned to evening, and the front door opened, admitting Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil.
Mother Daffodil, seeing her daughter, got up while saying, "Well, I see our daughters are back from school, so I better be getting home to start cooking before my husband gets home and wonders where his dinner is."
Devilin got up and walked Mother and Baby Daffodil to the door; after waving goodbye to their good friends, Devilin shut the door and headed to the kitchen with Wild Fire and Sun Glow by her side. "I guess we should start dinner as well."
Awhile later the door opened again and Salaries walked in to the living room. "My beloved, are you home?"
"I am in the kitchen and dinner will be ready in thirty minutes, and I better not hear any jokes about my cooking!"
Salaries gave a big grin at his wife's last statement, and then went to the phone to call Thomas. After dialing the number and waiting for a few rings, the receiver was picked up and Tabby's voice was heard. "Hello, this is Tabby!"
"Hello, Tabby; this is Salaries. Is Thomas home?" replied Salaries.
"Oooh, I see! I hope this is about the medallion finally. Let me go get him," Tabby said as she laid down the receiver.
A few minutes later Thomas was on the line. "Salaries? It's Thomas; did you need to talk to me?"
"Do you think that you can get your sister to come to your house this coming Saturday?" asked Salaries.
"You want Elaine over? I don't think that's a problem, but why do you need her?"
"Because the history of your medallion affects you, Tabby, and Elaine; and it would be best that all three of you heard the story at the same time," explained Salaries.
"I think we can arrange that," Thomas said, a bit puzzled. "What time should we expect you over?" After finalizing arrangements, the two stallions hung up.
As Salaries released his hoof from the receiver, he heard his wife announce, "Time for dinner; everyone to the dining room table!"
So Salaries went to have dinner with his family (and to make it clear to everyone, when I say dinner with his family, that also included Sun Glow, as she is now considered part of the family).
* * *
Before he left for the Fairfaxes' house, Salaries began collecting everything he thought he would need. As it came time to leave, Salaries put on his backpack and told his wife, "My lovely angel, I am leaving now."
"And how long until your return, my beloved?" replied Devilin.
"It should not take more than three hours." And Salaries gave his wife a long, passionate kiss. As he saw his daughter and Sun Glow coming downstairs, he said to them both, "Come here, you two." As they came up to him, he picked his daughter up and gave her a fatherly kiss. Then he turned to Sun Glow and bestowed the same upon her, as he felt that she was more like a daughter than a guest.
Salaries then headed out to Thomas and Tabby's mansion and knocked on the door as he arrived. He heard hoofsteps inside coming towards the door, and it opened to reveal Thomas on the other side. "Welcome, Salaries. Do you have anything special planned for explaining the origin of my medallion?"
"You will see; but first, where are the two lovely mares?" replied Salaries with a smile.
"We're in here! Come on!" Tabby said, popping her head out a doorway down the hall and waving a foreleg.
As the two stallions joined the mares in the den, Salaries asked Elaine, "And how are you at keeping secrets, Elaine?"
Elaine directed a puzzled glance at Tabby, and Tabby in turn looked at Salaries. Salaries gave his approval with a nod and a smile, so Tabby proceeded to tell Elaine who Salaries and his family were and how they had come to meet them.
Meanwhile, Salaries began taking things out of his backpack and placing them on the table. As Tabby finished the story, a wide-eyed Elaine turned to stare at Salaries and then asked her sister-in-law, "You're kidding, aren't you?"
"Oh, Elaine, you know my lifestyle, so it shouldn't surprise you too much," Tabby reassured her. "I assure you it's all true. They're magic ponies, that's all, with powers a bit stronger than the average unicorn. And we fought with them in the underworld. It's nothing that out-of-the-ordinary."
"And he's just here to tell us about Thomas' medallion that has magic powers?" Elaine said, trying to digest and sort all this new information.
"Yes, so hopefully he'll stop obsessing over it!" Tabby enthused. "So let's get on with it!"
Then Salaries gestured for Elaine to join him at the table where he had set up his items. Salaries pulled forward the Orb of Creation as Elaine stood at his side with Tabby and Thomas next to her. "Elaine, this is the Orb of Creation," he explained, "and with it you are able to see anything from the past to the present, anywhere in the known universe." He guided her closer to the Orb. "Just look into it and think of a time and place, past or present, you would like to see."
Elaine, not really allowing herself to believe that the Orb could really show her anything, decided to humor the others anyway. She gazed into the orb and thought about how she would have loved to see her parents' wedding. As the thought occurred to her, the orb suddenly began to glow; and as she concentrated on it, images began to appear. As the images got clearer, her eyes began to widen as she saw her parents, younger versions that how she knew them, at the chapel they had eloped to so that they could be together against the wishes of their families. As she watched it, she suddenly turned to Salaries. "It's true; everything Tabby said about you is really true!" she finally admitted.
Salaries, looking at the wide-eyed unicorn mare, just smiled as he turned back to the table that held his props. He stood over them and gestured his friends to come closer. "My friends, the items you see on the table are for our journey back in time."
"A journey back in time?" Thomas asked. "Is that necessary?"
Salaries paused for a few seconds, then began to talk. "I have been giving it a great deal of thought these past weeks and decided that the best way to tell you about the medallion is to take the three of you to the time in which the medallion first existed."
"Oh, wonderful! I love time travel!" Tabby exclaimed, hugging Thomas. "This is going to be fun!"
Thomas looked at the excitement in Tabby's face, but then saw the foreboding and distrustful look of his sister. "I'm sure Tabby and I would be pleased to go back in time as you say," he said carefully, "but I can't force my sister to come if she doesn't want to."
Salaries turned back to Elaine. "Elaine, I will understand if you do not wish to go; but not unlike your brother, I can feel the spirit within you that urges you to go onwards. So before you make your decision, look within yourself."
Elaine paused in silence for a moment and thought about what Salaries had just said. She had always been a timid mare, and even as a foal had been afraid to try new things. Her friends may have been thrilled to try out for the cheerleading squad or acting club, but Elaine had hung back and tried not to get involved. The unknown frightened her. Even now, her loving husband still kept her shielded from doing anything she was uncertain of. Her brother and his wife were so different from that, though. And she had just gotten used to accepting the fact that she would stay in the background of any adventure and not get involved. But now, at Salaries' proposition of an adventure in time, she searched deep in her soul and heard a voice within her say: "Who you will become in the future is waiting for you in the past."
"Elaine? Elaine? Are you okay?" Elaine was suddenly aware of Tabby peering anxiously into her face.
"What?" Elaine shook her head to clear out the cobwebs. "Yes, I'm fine."
"Well, you totally spaced out there," Tabby said. "You can just tell Salaries to leave you alone, can't she, Salaries?" She sent the stallion a piercing glance. "Don't get stressed out over it."
Elaine shook her head. "No, I've decided he's right. I want to go with you."
"Are you sure, Elaine?" Thomas asked in a brotherly tone.
"Yes," said Elaine firmly. "I feel that it's something I need to do. I've never been on an adventure like you two, but maybe it's something I have to do for my own good." Turning to Salaries, she said, "Please continue with what you were saying."
Salaries smiled at the young mare, and then began to tell them about the items on the table. "These artifacts laid out on the table are what the ponies of the time we are going to wear and use." He picked up a rein and said to the mares, "This is a slave rein, which is worn by the mares of the time. Both of you will have to wear one of these."
Tabby eyed the dirty old leather strand with distaste. "And if we don't wear it?"
"Then any stallion will have the right to claim you as his own," Salaries said.
Tabby wrinkled her nose, but picked up the rein as if it was diseased. "If those are my only two options, I suppose I'll have to."
Next, Salaries selected a four-hoof-length wooden rod and placed it in Thomas' hoof as Thomas asked him, "What is this for? A walking stick?"
"This is called the punishment rod; it is used by the stallion when he thinks a mare needs some disciplinary action done on her."
Tabby took the rod from Salaries and waved it menacingly at Thomas. "And you'd better not even think about using it on either of us," she warned, "or I will take it and smack the living daylights out of you!"
Thomas bowed humbly and made Tabby set the rod aside. "Of course not. I don't know what kind of a brutal time period we're going to, but nothing would make me abuse you in any way."
"My brother will always be the gentleman," Elaine giggled.
"There is only one more thing to point out," Salaries said, gesturing at the remaining items on the table. "I have decided that we will be going as upper-class citizens, so I brought what the ponies of the time consider high-class apparel."
Tabby and Elaine looked at the beautifully colored ribbons, lovely necklaces, and fancy headwear. "Well, that's a lot better than the slave reins!"
"All right, everybody, time to get yourselves dressed up for the journey," Salaries said in an upbeat tone. So the ponies began putting on their attire.
"Now, Tabby," Salaries said when they were ready, "before we go, I will need you to use your changeling power to transform the four of us into earth ponies; and we must not have birth symbols and our colorings must be drab."
Tabby looked around skeptically at the three other ponies. "I can't change four of us! It's hard enough keeping a transformation going on two!"
Salaries, giving Tabby a smile, said, "You are no longer the pony you were those many years past; you will find that your abilities are greatly heightened since our essence was merged during the battle with the Great Evil. So you should not have any difficulties in being able to change us."
Tabby, with the reassurance of Salaries, closed her eyes as she concentrated on changing the four of them to earth ponies, per Salaries' instructions. The horns on the top of Tabby, Thomas, and Elaine's heads slowly started to disappear, as well as Salaries' wings. Then their symbols began to fade away and their body and hair color began to bleach out. Tabby finally opened her eyes and looked around her. "I did it; I really did it!" she squealed. "I am powerful! Mwahaha!"
"And Tabby, this is just the tip of what you will discover about yourself," Salaries said before going back to the Orb of Creation. He took the three pony sculptures from the base and turned to the others. "These three figures that I hold in my hooves are what will help us travel back in time." He went to each of them in turn. "The Earth pony is the symbol of wisdom and strength." This figure he placed on Thomas. "The Pegasus pony is the symbol of love and courage." This was given to Elaine. "And the Unicorn pony is the symbol of cunning and vitality." And this was Tabby's. "With them, you will be able to go anywhere in the past or present. And now, Thomas, may I see your medallion?"
Thomas didn't see any reason to refuse, so he excused himself and went to his and his wife's bedroom to extract his medallion from a drawer in a side table. When he returned, he hoofed it to Salaries.
Salaries went back to the orb and placed the chain of the medallion over the top with the medallion lying at the base. Salaries placed his front hoofs on top of the orb while saying, "Medallion of Light, hear my wish and show us the time you exist!" Then the medallion began to glow, followed by the orb, with an image appearing and becoming slowly clearer. Salaries gestured for the others to join him. "Let us all hold hoofs." As they held hoofs with each other, Salaries instructed, "Now, I would like the three of you to gaze at the image in the orb and think of yourselves being there." So everyone stared, and as they concentrated the room they were in began to fade away. Within a few minutes, they found themselves in a scene foreign to them except what they had seen through the orb.
Elaine looked around and asked Salaries, "Where are we now?"
"We are where pony society first began, when places like Dream Valley, Atlantis, and even Ponyland itself had not yet become a reality."
"And where do we go from here?" Thomas asked.
Salaries pointed to a small town just visible in the distance. "That is where our journey begins."
So the four pony time travelers started to walk to town; and as they arrived at the bustling little metropolis, Tabby looked around at the ponies. Mares were being treated like pack mules while the stallions enjoyed themselves. Her stomach turned with disgust. Is this what her ancestors had been like?
Thomas, feeling a little thirsty from the long walk, pointed toward a pub right ahead of them. "Why don't we stop and get a drink before we're completely dehydrated?"
"I am dying of thirst!" Tabby said, cheerfully skipping ahead.
The four travelers headed for the establishment; but when they started to go through the door, a stallion stopped them and said, "The mares stay outside."
Thomas turned to his wife and sister. "Just wait out here for a second and stay inconspicuous; Salaries and I will bring drinks out for you."
As Tabby and Elaine stood outside, too awed at looking at their surroundings to talk much, they heard a loud crash behind them. Turning around, they saw a mare who had fallen in the dusty track with parcels scattered all around her. The stallion that owned her started to yell, "You clumsy wench! Look at the mess you made!" Raising his punishment rod, he prepared to direct a blow at the mare; but as Tabby saw this, she bolted towards him and knocked the rod out of his hoof. Quickly turning around, she kicked him square in the chest with her back hoofs, causing him to crash into the stands a few hoofs behind him.
Tabby turned her back on the stallion and went to the mare to help her up. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"You had better go before the guards come," the mare whispered urgently, staring at Tabby.
Tabby saw the worry in the mare's eyes and worried about what the guards would do to her, seeing how mares were treated in this world. She nodded briefly and stepped back to join Elaine; then she looked across the way towards the stands she had kicked the stallion into. He was still there, but now he was talking to five more muscular stallions and pointing in her direction. Before Tabby knew it, the five intimidating guards were heading in her direction.
"You are under arrest, slave!" one of them announced, grabbed Tabby by the foreleg.
"Stop it!" Elaine cried out, lashing out ineffectually at the stallion who had a hold on Tabby. But two of the other guards came up from behind and took Elaine into custody as well.
When Thomas and Salaries came out of the pub, they saw Tabby and Elaine being dragged away by strange stallions. Before Salaries could stop him, Thomas was running after them. "Let them go!"
The leader of the five, who was holding Tabby, turned around to face Thomas. "And who are you, who dares to order the captain of the guards?"
"I am the owner of these two slaves," Thomas declared emotionally, "and I demand that you release them."
But all the guards did was laugh at Thomas, and the head stallion explained, "These mares are now the property of the city and will be auctioned off at the slave auction. If you interfere, you will be put in chains and sent to the auction as well."
"I protest and wish to speak to your superior," Thomas snapped, standing his ground, not about to have his wife and sister put up for auction, at least not while he was still standing. But snapping his hoof, the head guard summoned two more stallions to restrain Thomas.
Salaries, seeing what was happening, went over to the captain and got close enough to place his front hoof on the stallion's chest. He spoke calmly and simply, "You do not wish to take the two mares and stallion to the slave auction, but instead you will release them to my custody."
Surprisingly, the captain released his hold on Tabby, and told the other stallions to release Thomas and Elaine. They did as they were told. Thomas, Tabby, and Elaine joined Salaries as he addressed the leader again. "Now, go back to your duties and forget about this conversation." So the captain and the four stallions under his command turned around and left.
As the guards disappeared into the crowd, Tabby congratulated Salaries. "Your Jedi mind trick is amazing, but I thought the Great Creator took away your spirit powers!"
"The reason my spirit powers have returned to me is because in this time, the Great Creator had not yet taken them from me; thus, they are at my disposal to use," Salaries explained.
"What about our unicorn powers, if unicorns don't exist at this time?" Thomas asked.
"I am afraid that you three no longer possess unicorn magic; and, Tabby, that also includes the ones you inherited from Queen Kaliope," replied Salaries.
"Darn!" said Tabby. "But why are we able to keep these forms that I transformed us into with my unicorn magic?"
"The Orb of Creation is not like a normal time device; when it transported us here it also scanned our bodies so it can retrieve us when it is time to return to the present. The forms we are in now are permanent until we are back in our own time."
"My, you have an explanation for everything, don't you?" Tabby said dryly.
Salaries just smiled at the mare as he said in a more up-beat tone, "But we should go now; there is something I need to show you three that you will find very interesting." He guided his friends through the marketplace until they reached a large stage area. "We are here."
Thomas saw a crowd of ponies milling around, but nothing of extreme interest. "And what are we supposed to see here that is so interesting?"
Salaries pointed to the stage and said, "What I want you three to see will be coming on that stage in a few minutes."
As the ponies waited, a stallion walked onto the platform and hollered out to the audience, "Are you stallions ready to feast your eyes on the most astonishing slaves on the market?!" Cheering broke out.
At hearing this, the three mortals all turned to look at Salaries. "I was hoping that we would learn about my medallion on this trip, not attend a slave auction," Thomas hinted.
"Just be patient and you shall see," Salaries said. So the three decided to give him a chance and resisted their complaining for the time. As the auctioneer sold slave after slave, everyone's patience was tried and they still didn't know what in the slave market could interest them.
Elaine shuddered. "I really don't like being here; haven't we seen enough? Let's go."
Tabby put her hoof on her sister-in-law's shoulder, becoming agitated as well. "I agree with Elaine; I've had enough of this."
"They're right; it's time we leave this place," Thomas said, becoming a little angry at Salaries for making them watch such a shameful debacle. As the trio was turning to leave, Elaine gazed back at the stage one last time and suddenly cried out. "Oh, oh! Look who's on the stage!" The others turned around as well, and Tabby and Thomas stared in surprise.
The mare being dragged on stage could have been Tabby's twin sister. Spellbound, the time travelers watched as the auctioneer said, "Here we have an Amazon Princess that would be a prize for any stallion; now, what is my bid for such a fine mare?"
As the stallions began to bet on the Amazon, a large stallion with a scar on his right cheek hollered out, "Five hundred janglers!" The other stallions, seeing who had made the bid, all stopped their clamoring over the mare, knowing that if they bid over the scar-faced stallion they would find themselves dead the next day. "Going once, going twice..." the auctioneer rambled on as he heard no more bidding.
A voice suddenly yelled out, "I will give seven hundred janglers for the Amazon Princess!"
The scarred stallion yelled, "Who dares to over bid me!"
A stallion with a mare by his side walked right up to the other stallion. "It is I who dares to bid against you, and my bid stays at seven hundred janglers," the white stallion said, staring the scarred one in the face.
The auctioneer stared at the scar-faced stallion as he backed down and walked away. "Going once, going twice, SOLD for seven hundred janglers!" As the bidding stallion and the mare walked up to the stage to collect the Amazon Princess, Thomas, Tabby, and Elaine stared with unbelieving eyes.
"Thomas, it's us," Elaine said in wonder. "How can this be?"
"I don't know, but I think Salaries here does." And all three of them turned to stare at Salaries.
"So, what's going on? How can we be here in two incarnations at once?" Tabby demanded to know.
Then Salaries said to them, "Haven't you three ever wondered why all of you are so close to each other, that even when all of you first met you felt more like a family than strangers to each other?"
"We have a common heritage involved with Atlantis, but does there need to be more of an explanation than that?" Thomas asked.
"Atlantis is just one piece of the puzzle; there are many more sections that you three have not found yet, but will in time." Salaries looked up at the stage and said to his friends, "Now, let's watch as you three truly meet for the first time."
The others turned toward the stage and listened to the three ponies as they talked. "You may have bought me, but you will never possess me," said the Amazon Princess as the gazed at the stallion with hatred.
"I may not be able to possess you, but who said that was the reason I bought you?" replied the stallion as he paid off the auctioneer. Then he said to the mare beside him, "Elainya, take this mare to our home and I will be with your shortly after my other business is conducted."
The group split up then, with Elainya taking the Amazon Princess and the stallion going deeper into the marketplace. "Now, we must follow their progress as the origin of the medallion unfolds," Salaries said to his companions.
"But how can we watch without being seen?" asked Elaine.
"Since I have my spirit powers, it will be as easy as walking on air is to a Pegasus pony." With that said, Salaries lifted his hoofs and said, "Let us be off." Then the four ponies faded away, but in the blink of an eye they were standing in Elainya's brother's house, invisible to everyone but to each other.
Elainya and the Amazon Princess walked through the doorway, and once they were inside Elainya took off her own slave rein. "Would you like me to take that horrid thing off your head?" she asked the Princess.
The Amazon looked at the young mare coolly. "I do not need help from you, nor am I planning on spending the rest of my life as a slave to a stallion."
Elainya, seeing that the mare was agitated and irritated at what had happened to her, tried to think of what to say to make her more relaxed. "My brother is a wonderful stallion, completely unlike the others you have seen, and he treats every mare with respect."
"It did not look that way at the auction," replied the Amazon Princess with a little anger. "He bought me, didn't he?"
Elainya tried to explain to the Amazon Princess. "My brother only acts that way in public to fool the other stallions. He is in reality a gentle and caring stallion at heart."
While Elainya was explaining this, the Amazon Princess stared into the young mare's eyes to see if she was telling the truth; seeing that the mare did not turn her eyes away from her, the Amazon was convinced. Just then, the door opened as Elainya's brother returned.
He came over to the Amazon and gave a gracious bow while saying, "My name is Thomicus and I am greatly honored to have such a lovely princess at my house."
"As if I had a choice to be here!" the Amazon snapped.
"You may come and go as you wish; I do not keep anyone at my house against their will," Thomicus explained. "But before you decide to leave, may I please know your name?"
The Amazon Princess, seeing the sincerity in his eyes, said in a more pleasant tone, "I am called Tabbathia."
Thomicus said as graciously as he could, "And would the Princess Tabbathia wish to freshen herself with a relaxing bath and food before she leaves?"
Tabbathia thought it would be nice to wash the stench of stallion off her body, so she nodded to Thomicus and gave her approval to the plan. 'Would you mind helping Princess Tabbathia to her bath?" Thomicus politely asked Elainya.
"Not at all, my brother," replied Elainya as she guided Tabbathia to the bathing room.
As Tabbathia's bath was being prepared, the Amazon commented to Elainya, "You have spoken the truth; your brother is not at all like the other stallions I have met."
"I am glad you believe me, and your bath is now ready." So Tabbathia entered the pool and Elainya stood by helping the princess clean herself.
* * *
Back in town, the scar-faced stallion called one of his henchstallions to his side. "I am tired of Thomicus making me look like a fool and buying all the decent mares! I want you and some of your stallions to go to his house," he commanded, "and as he sleeps, kill him. Then bring me back the Amazon as well as his sister."
"As you wish, master," replied the henchstallion. The scar-faced stallion laughed a most evil laugh as his henchstallion left the room.
* * *
Back at Thomicus' house, Tabbathia was finishing her bath and automatically went to put back on the rags that the enslavers had forced her to wear. But instead of finding the rags, she found a most beautiful outfit befitting an upper-class mare. Normally she would refuse such a gift from a stallion, but for some reason she did not as she put it in. Then she walked into the main hall of the house where Thomicus was still waiting for her. As she approached him, she said in a harsh manner befitting her warrior heritage, "You may dress me in this feminine outfit, but I am no dainty mare. I am an Amazon warrior, and I would advise you not to forget that!"
Thomicus stood and looked her in the eyes as he said, "I did not mean to disrespect your Amazon heritage, but I thought that you would be more comfortable in this outfit than your slave uniform; I give you my deepest apology for any offense I have given you."
Tabbathia, not expecting such humbleness from a stallion, stood in speechlessness. Elainya walked in and found the two standing in silence. "Dinner is ready and being served in the dining room," she announced graciously.
As the two heard Elainya's call, Thomicus asked Tabbathia, "Shall we eat, Princess?"
"After you," replied Tabbathia.
As the two left the room for their meal, Tabby said to Salaries, "Don't we get to eat, too? We may be invisible but I still have an appetite!"
"Then let us go and eat along with Thomicus and the other servants," replied Salaries.
"Even if they can't see us, won't they notice us if we take their food?" asked Thomas.
"We will become visible for the meal, but there will be many ponies sitting at the dinner table, and we will be only a few out of many."
As Tabbathia and Thomicus sat down at the table, Tabbathia gazed over all the food on the table. "You have enough food here to feed the entire Amazonian army."
"Of course," said Thomicus. "There is enough here for all my servants, as I believe that everyone in my home should eat well."
As he said that, Tabbathia started to notice the other ponies (including the time travelers), some with foals, coming to the table; and not one of them look sad or mistreated. Tabbathia was intrigued, thinking that there was something about the stallion she had not realized before.
After dinner, everyone gravitated to their chambers to prepare for bed. The time travelers went along with the others to keep from being discovered; but once they were out of sight, Salaries waved his forelegs, causing them to go invisible again so that they could return to Thomicus and Tabbathia.
"As it is becoming late, Tabbathia, and knowing the rough time you must have had with the enslavers, why don't you stay for the night?" Thomicus was saying to the princess. "In the morning, I would be more than happy to guide you out of this region."
Tabbathia, feeling a bit tired after feasting, said to Thomicus, "I shall take you up on your offer, but do not think that I have softened up to you!"
"Never, Princess," replied Thomicus as he guided her to her room, a most beautiful bed chamber with cushy sheets and embroidered wall hangings. Tabbathia had wondered what kind of sleeping quarters this stallion gave his slaves, but could not believe that this was typical. "I insist that I sleep like all the other slaves kept here!" she announced, turning to him with a stubborn look in her eye.
"My slaves, as you call them, sleep in rooms similar to this one," replied Thomicus as he smiled at Tabbathia, gesturing for her to come into the room. Closing the door on her, he murmured, "I wish you a good night's sleep."
Then Thomicus headed to his own chamber to retire for the night, with the time travelers following close behind him. Thomicus was not only unaware of the time travelers, but also of the intruders just outside his house as he lay in bed.
The leader of the group outside said to the others, "Wait out here while I do away with Thomicus; after he is dead, we will raid the house and take his slaves for our own." So the leader snuck inside and crept through the house, eventually reaching the master's chamber. Gently opening the door, he stood over the sleeping Thomicus and smiled as he slipped a dagger out of its holster and placed it over Thomicus' heart.
Tabby, seeing what was happening, began to move toward the henchstallion out of instinct; but Salaries held out his forelegs to keep Tabby or the others from interfering. "Do not worry about Thomicus' safety; everything will be as it should." His companions looked on with horror as the henchstallion lifted the dagger high into the air and plummeted it towards Thomicus' heart. Suddenly, a flashing sword appeared over Thomas which reflected the dagger and prevented it from piercing Thomicus' chest.
The henchstallion staggered back from the unexpected shock of hitting the steel of the sword. Thomicus woke at the sound of clashing metal over him, and as his eyes focused he saw the rough-looking stallion tumbling backwards in a bewildered state. Then Thomicus felt a presence next to him, and turned to see a winged pony appearing at the side of his bed.
"Be gone, you filthy creature, before I send you to the next dimension!" the winged pony's voice rang out.
The henchstallion, seeing the winged pony prepared to defend Thomicus, dropped his dagger as he ran out the room and jumped through an open window. He landed in the middle of the other stallions as the house began to glow with a brilliant white light. The other stallions began to run off in fear as their leader yelled after them, "Come back here, you cowards!" But none of them listened as they disappeared into the dark of the night, leaving the henchstallion by himself. Only his fear of what the scar-faced stallion would do to him if he came back empty-hoofed caused him to stay to see if he could still get anything that would please his master.
Back at the house, Tabby, Thomas, and Elaine could see who the mysterious winged pony was- Salaries himself! They turned to Salaries, and he smiled and said, "I did say that I know the history of the medallion, but I didn't say how I know."
Their attention was distracted as they heard many hoofsteps coming their way. The other ponies in the household, having heard the commotion of metal and hoofbeats, came running in. As they stood in their master's room, they gazed at the winged pony as he stood over Thomicus. Elainya and Tabbathia, at the front of the group, saw the sword in the winged pony's hoof, and instantly assumed that he was the aggressor. Both mares jumped between the stallion and Thomicus, making their own bodies shields to protect him.
As the winged stallion saw this he said to the other stallion, "Your slaves are very loyal to you, Thomicus."
"They are not my slaves," Thomicus replied, "but my family."
The winged stallion bowed his head as he said to the two mares, "Forgive me for my mistake." He holstered his sword as he continued, "I am not here to harm Thomicus, but to give him a message and a map to a wondrous power."
Thomicus hoisted himself off the mattress and stood face-to-face with the winged stallion. "And what kind of wondrous power would this be?"
"All I can tell you is that it is a medallion which was made of the five elements of the planet and forged deep within its heart," replied the winged stallion.
"But there are only four elements of the planet: earth, wind, fire, and water," Elainya pointed out.
"You are right, young one; but there is also a fifth element that a very rare few know of. This element connects the other four into one great power, and this element is called the soul." Then the winged stallion hoofed Thomicus the map as he said, "This is the map that will take you to the medallion, and it can only be read by the one sent on this quest. To anyone else, it will only look like gibberish."
Thomicus looked at the map and then back at the winged stallion. "And do I go on this quest alone?"
The winged stallion look around at the other ponies and said, "You will only be allowed to take two companions, so choose them carefully."
Thomicus gazed over the ponies he called his family and as his glance settled on his two protectors, he said in a confident tone, "The choice is simple; I choose the two who put themselves in harm's way to protect me." And he gave a short pause before he said, "Tabbathia and Elainya."
The winged stallion smiled at his decision and said to Thomicus, "You have one week to prepare for the journey ahead."
"But what about the rest of my family? If I leave for a long period of time, the enslavers will raid my house and take them away to sell."
"Do not fear; one of my kind will be here to guard your house and family from any harm that could happen while you are gone." And with that, the winged stallion vanished in a flash of light.
From outside, the henchstallion laughed an evil laugh; he felt that with the information he had collected, he would please his master and make up for not succeeding in his task of killing Thomicus.
Back at the house, the rest of the household returned to their respective rooms, leaving Thomicus, Elainya, and Tabbathia alone. Thomicus turned to his two protectors and said, "Tabbathia, Elainya, I know you two did not ask to go on this journey; but I felt that if there was anyone I could truly trust, it would be the two of you."
Elainya, who loved her brother deeply, went up and gave him a loving embrace as she said, "My brother, I will follow you to the ends of the world if you ask it of me."
As Thomicus held his sister, he said, "Elainya, I am very proud to call you my sister." Then he looked at Tabbathia. "Tabbathia, I know you wanted to return to your Amazon sisters and I am truly sorry that I dragged you into this, but I truly felt that if my life or my sister's life was ever in danger, then we could count on you to always be there; so I hope that you will come with my sister and me on this quest."
Tabbathia walked toward Thomicus she said in her proud Amazon nature, "An Amazon does not shy away from a quest, especially if there is danger involved. My sisters have been without me this far; a few more days will make little difference." And as everyone was content in their decision, they also returned to their rooms and went back to sleep.
As dawn approached, the henchstallion reached his master's house. As he came in without the mares, the scar-faced stallion took his sword and placed the point over the henchstallion's heart. "Do you have anything to say for your pitiful failure? I see no mares!"
The henchstallion, fearing for his life, said quickly, "Yes, master, I know of a power that can make you master of the world."
The stallion, curious, took off his sword. "Tell me more about this power."
So the henchstallion told his master everything he had heard at Thomicus' house, making the scar-faced stallion grin with delight. "We will let Thomicus go through the trouble of getting this medallion and then take it from him, as well as his two mares." And the two stallions laughed at their evil plan.