My Little Pony Monthly Issue 100 (July 1, 2006)
My Little Pony Monthly
A publication of Nematode (Electronic) Publishing
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From the Editor
Here we are at issue 100 of My Little Pony Monthly! It's a year or two late, if this publication had kept going on at the rate of one issue a month.
I would like to give special thanks to Clever Clover and Salaries, our two contributors to this month's issue. Clever Clover has kept going admirably forward in documenting the lives of his characters, and Salaries has breathed new life into the Dream Valley of Sugarberry and Tabby. Please take the time to read their stories and drop the authors a line! Clever Clover can be reached at Swordrat@aol.com, and Salaries at email@example.com.
Let me just tell you all that MLP Monthly has not breathed its last yet, not as long as we have dedicated writers such as those gracing this issue! If any other readers have MLP story submissions, I can be reached at TabbyMLP@aol.com.
My Little Pony Monthly Author Profile on Salaries!
You've read their stories; now it's time to meet the person behind the stories! In this new feature, we will survey one of our authors every month to find out more about them!
Real Name? Carl Wayne Riegel
If you use a pony alias, why did you choose it? I use the alias Salaries, for he is the type of pony that I thrive to be as a human; plus it helps me create the stories that you all read.
Zodiac Sign? Sagittarius.
Location? San Antonio, Texas.
Occupation? I build and program medical equipment as well as computers.
Dream Job? Was to work with horses, but never had the opportunity.
Hobbies and Collections? Nature hikes, horseback riding, and helping our animal friends.
Any Pets? No, but working on getting a pony and horse ranch.
Favorite My Little Pony? Bowtie, but recently Tabby and Sugarberry have hit the top of my favorite list as well.
Favorite color? Green.
Favorite food? Chili dogs.
Favorite animal? Ponies and horses.
Favorite mode of transportation? Car.
What kind of music do you listen to? Old rock and county.
Favorite song? Cheer Up Sleepy Jinn by the Monkeys.
What kind of movies do you enjoy? Fantasy and science fiction.
Favorite actor/actress? Robin Williams
What kind of books do you read? All types of classical books as well as fantasy and science fiction.
Favorite author? H.G. Wells.
Favorite quote? "A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet."
What made you interested in My Little Ponies? My interest in My Little Ponies was based on my love I had for my own pony and horses that I had when I was a child.
If you collect MLPs, how many are in your collection? I am not an avid collector and only have about twenty along with other pony and horse figures I have collected over the years.
How long have you been writing? I began writing when I was in elementary school, but stopped after college except for the occasional story doodle until I found and read the stories in Tabby's MLP newsletter which inspired me to write The Adventures of Wild Fire.
What advice would you give for those that want to start writing? If writing is your choice in life, then do it not for money or fame but for the joy and passion of writing; for it is that which makes one a great writer.
by Clever Clover (Swordrat@aol.com)
Officer Key of the Pony Sea Patrol sat in her Port Scurvy office sorting through a pile of arrest reports. There was a knock on the door, a welcome distraction from mind-numbing paperwork. Key pushed back from her desk and sighed. The knocking repeated.
"I'll be right there." The officer crossed the small room and opened the door. Standing on the doorstep was Lucas, the delivery pony. He extended an envelope to Key.
"I have a letter for Ms. Key."
"That's me." Key took the envelope and was about to return to her desk when young Lucas cleared his throat. Key turned back to the delivery pony and saw his hoof extended, as if he was waiting for something. "I'm sorry, I can't really afford a tip."
Lucas shook his head. "Postage due."
"Oh." Key looked at the envelope. If it had been addressed to "The Office of the Pony Sea Patrol", she could pay the bill out of the office operating budget; but it was addressed to her personally, so the money came out of her pocket. After rummaging for some loose change, she handed the money to Lucas. He carefully counted out the coins and dropped all but one into his pouch.
"Did I overpay?"
"Oh, come on! It's only one jangle!"
"Like I said before, I can't afford tips. If you've got a problem, take it up with the cheapskate who gave you the letter to begin with."
Lucas handed Key her coin and turned to leave, grumbling. "Yeah, like I'm going to peddle all the way to Port Cactus for a measly tip."
Key returned to her desk and regarded the envelope. It was addressed to her, but there was no return address. She opened the envelope and withdrew the folded page within.
* * *
The weeks wore on since Jack O Lantern had occupied Malachite Castle. The evil wizard payed a daily visit to the king and queen to convince them of the reason of his plan. King Oak had requested that his wife, Gooseberry, be excluded from the daily ritual, but Jack O Lantern insisted on her presence. Nightshade always accompanied the evil wizard, but never contributed anything to his dialogue.
Jack O Lantern paced before the king and queen as he made his daily argument. "Why will you not listen to me! Zotikos is the greatest threat the clans have ever faced. He will not abandon his mad dreams. Not even the grave can keep him from them. Against such a force, the clans must be united under a strong leader."
"I am more than capable of leading the clans. If you want to help the clans, you will join us and bring the Night Clan back into the fold!"
"That will not do. We need a leader who can make strong decisions and make them fast. I know Zotikos. I can make the decisions that need to be made without hesitation. Even if I were to join you as an advisor, the time lost in committee could be our downfall!"
"The clans will not follow you. If you insist on leading the clans, it can only lead to Zotikos' ultimate victory."
"That is enough for today." The wizard and swordpony left the royal couple to contemplate what had been said.
The queen, sobbing, threw herself onto the bed. "Oh! Dear Oak! What are we to do? I am losing hope."
Oak put his forelegs around his queen. "There, there, my love. I'm sure everything will turn out for the best. We just have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity."
* * *
Much as Jack O Lantern made his daily visit to the king and queen, his young apprentice Hemlock visited Enchantment. But their discussions were less gloomy than that of the adults. Both of them being apprentice wizards, they had plenty of anecdotes of embarrassing mistakes and surprising successes to share, as well as their thoughts and dreams for the future.
One day, as Hemlock was leaving, Enchantment laid her hoof on his shoulder. "Hemlock, why are you doing this?"
"I enjoy your company."
Enchantment shook her head. "That's not what I meant. Why do you continue to serve Jack O Lantern?"
"I... Zotikos is dangerous, to all the clans. Jack O Lantern knows him better than any other clanspony, having been his host for so long. He may have chosen the wrong path to Zotikos' defeat, but he is our best hope of defeating him."
"You were also his host. If you joined us, could you not guide us as well as Jack O Lantern?"
"Thank you for your trust, Enchantment, but I could not. I lack the strength." Hemlock walked through the door and signaled the armored guards to close it.
"You are stronger than you think," said Enchantment as the door swung close.
* * *
Shadow Clover spent much of his days in the gymnasium, thrashing about with a sword. It was at the same time both exhilarating and frustrating. It seemed there should be something more to it, but however hard he tried to find the true meaning of the sword, it always escaped him.
One day, Nightshade entered the gymnasium while he thrashed, but she didn't sneak in through the shadows as she usually did; sneaking did her no good with Shadow Clover. "You know, it helps if you do that with another pony," she commented on his exercise.
Shadow Clover lowered his sword and glared at the dark swordpony. "Why is it that you always want to stick your nose into my business?"
"We're on the same side. I want to be sure that you can handle yourself when the time comes."
"Handle myself? What is that supposed to mean?"
"Have you ever heard the saying, 'The chain is only as strong as the weakest link'? I know what Jack O Lantern, Hemlock, and I are capable of. You are the only link in our chain that is untried."
Shadow Clover raised his sword. "Very well then, test me if you wish. You will not find me lacking."
Nightshade grinned and drew her sword. "I like your attitude. I hope you can back it up." She lunged at the purple pony. Shadow Clover knocked her blade aside with his own and made his own lunge. Nightshade stepped aside and stuck out her hind hoof, tripping Shadow Clover. The purple pony stumbled but quickly regained his footing and twirled about, swinging his sword at Nightshade's neck. She parried the blow and struck Shadow Clover up-side the head with the hilt of her sword in one fluid motion. Shadow Clover leapt backwards and leveled his sword at Nightshade, but he didn't attack. He circled the dark swordpony, waiting for the right moment to strike. Just as he was about to lash out at her once again, Nightshade launched her own attack, striking low, toward his hooves, with the edge of her sword. Caught off guard, Shadow Clover barely jumped in time to avoid the swift blade.
Nightshade sheathed her sword. "You're not bad, but you could use some polish." She turned toward the door.
Shadow Clover didn't let his guard down. He felt more alive than he had since being carried from the passages underneath the kiva in the Crystal Desert. As Nightshade was about to step through the door, Shadow Clover dropped the point of his sword. "Could we do this again?"
Nightshade didn't pause or turn her head. "Sure."
Once Nightshade had gone, Shadow Clover raised his sword. He didn't thrash about as he used to. He weighed the sword in his hoof and felt its balance. He slowly and carefully went through the motions. After a few minutes, he lowered the sword. "This just won't do."
The purple pony stormed from the gymnasium. He made his way through the passages of the castle to the armory tower. He walked the racks of swords, spears, and other arms, picking up the occasional blade and testing its weight. But not finding one that suited his liking, he continued to wander. In the deepest corner of the armory, Shadow Clover found a locked cabinet. With a swift kick, he shattered the lock. Inside the cabinet was a finely crafted sword with scabbard and belt.
He picked up the sword and drew it from the scabbard. Though brightly polished, the blade seemed dark. The cross was intricately etched bronze and the grip was wrapped in braided black silk. A polished black onyx was set in the pommel. The sword felt good in his hoof, neither too heavy nor to light. Satisfied with the blade, he buckled the belt about his waist.
Unbeknownst to Shadow Clover, Magus was watching his search through a crystal ball from a chamber hidden deep below the castle. The wizard smiled. "So, it has finally chosen a master."
* * *
Meanwhile, in Friendship Gardens, Morning Glory was plodding through her daily life. While making flower deliveries, she pondered what had become of Clever Clover. She walked down the lane, concerned more with Clever Clover and her other friends she had lost touch with than with where she was going.
A familiar voice startled her. "Hi, Morning Glory." It was Minoko. The salutation had little feeling behind it. It had become habit for the two of them to greet each other when they happened to bump into one another, if only in memory of the friendship they had shared with Clever Clover. But since his disappearance they didn't spend any time together, even though they were the only two members of Clever Clover's circle left in Friendship Gardens.
"Oh, hello, Minoko." Morning Glory's reply was equally empty. For so long their lives had revolved around Clever Clover; now that he was gone it was not easy to get back to their normal lives. The only thought that gave Morning Glory any comfort was that somehow Clever Clover and Belle Star had gotten back together and were living happily together, though she couldn't bring herself to believe it.
* * *
While Morning Glory contemplated the fate of her friends, Belle Star was rubbing elbows with the elite of New Pony society at a fundraiser for the poor and homeless of the city. The imposing ballroom of the New Pony Grand Hotel was full of well-dressed mares and stallions. Belle Star, who was the hostess of the affair, felt quite out of place. Coral, her closest friend, noticed her discomfort.
"Hey, Belle Star, this is your party. If the guests see that you're not enjoying yourself, they might lose interest in your cause."
The tan pony forced a smile. "Yes, I suppose you're right." Belle Star had taken up the cause of the poor of New Pony. If she could not be happy, she could at least bring happiness to those who were in need.
"Belle Star, I've got someone you just have to meet." It was the artist Rodan, standing next to an orange mare with dark purple and white streaked mane and tail. "This is Viksie. She's a singer."
Belle Star bowed. "It is nice to meet you, Viksie."
"The pleasure is all mine. I really appreciate what you're doing. You see, I grew up in the street. I was able to make a life for myself with my voice."
"Viksie may not be very famous yet, but she would like to put on a concert to benefit the cause."
"Oh! Is that right?"
Viksie nodded. "I don't know how much it will help, but I just have to do something."
"Thank you very much for your offer, but you'll have to talk to mister Roger. He's the one who really arranges these things."
"But you are the one whose idea it was, right? Roger only arranges the fundraisers out of friendship for you. I'm sure if you suggested the idea to him, he'd give me a chance."
"Very well; I'll talk to him."
"Oh, thank you, Belle Star!"
Rodan and Viksie wandered off to mingle with the other guests. Coral slapped Belle Star on the back. "Good job! You see, your smile is your most valuable asset. And I've got a good premonition about Viksie. I'm sure she'll do a lot of good for the cause."
As much as Belle Star appreciated her friend's support, Coral fit in too well with the society ponies. When she had gone to the royal wedding with Clever Clover, even though he was royalty himself, he had been as much an outsider as she was. Neither had been outsiders as long as they had each other. But here, Belle Star was the only outsider.
* * *
Far away, a ship sailed upon the waves. On the deck stood a slender stallion with long blond mane and tail. "I will rescue you, sister."
The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 4: Wild Fire's First Date
by Salaries (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The morning after Christmas, Baby Daffodil got up from bed and scurried downstairs to eat breakfast. When she got to the kitchen her parents were already at the table; Mother Daffodil saw her daughter coming in so she got up and said, "We are having pancakes this morning. How many would you like to have, honey?"
Baby Daffodil thought for a minute and said, "I will have four, thank you."
Then Mother Daffodil went to make the pancakes and after about fifteen minutes was back to set them in front of Baby Daffodil. As she was eating she asked her parents, "Can I go to Wild Fire's house to play?"
"Be sure to call them first to make sure that they are home or don't have any plans of their own," Ranger told his daughter.
As Baby Daffodil finished her pancakes, she got up from the table and went to the living room to call her friend. She picked up the receiver and dialed her friend's number, and within a few seconds the other end was picked up and a mare's voice was heard. "This is Devilin."
"Mrs. Devilin, this is Baby Daffodil; may I speak to Wild Fire?"
Baby Daffodil heard Devilin lay down her receiver and say, "Wild Fire, you have a phone call."
Then the receiver was picked up again and Wild Fire's voice was heard. "Hello."
"Wild Fire, this is Baby Daffodil and I was wondering if I could come over and play at your house."
"Let me ask my mother if it will be okay," Wild Fire said, going to ask. Within a few minutes, she was back on the phone. "She said that you can come over."
"Great, I will be right there after I tell my parents." Then they said their goodbyes and Baby Daffodil went back to the kitchen and announced, "Wild Fire talked to her mother and got permission to let me play with her at her house."
"All right, dear, but I want you to be on your best behavior while you are there," Mother Daffodil told her daughter.
"Yes, ma'am," Baby Daffodil replied as she trotted off to her friend's house. When Baby Daffodil reached the front door and knocked, it suddenly flew open and Baby Daffodil was face-to-face with her good friend Wild Fire.
"Come on in, Daf," Wild Fire said as she moved to let Baby Daffodil in. Then Wild Fire shut the door and guided her friend up to her bedroom while she yelled to her mother, "Mom, Daffodil and I are going up to my room to play!"
"Just don't play too loud, honey!"
"We won't!" The two fillies trotted up to Wild Fire's room and went inside. "So, Daf, what would you like to play?"
"I thought we could play with one of those toys you brought from your homeland."
Wild Fire looked at her friend and remembered how she had accidentally found her hidden toy room that held the possessions her family had brought from the spirit world when Baby Daffodil had been over for hot chocolate after a Christmas function. "Well, okay, but remember what you promised the first time I showed them to you."
"I know, never tell any pony about them unless you say it will be okay," Baby Daffodil repeated.
"Right," Wild Fire said as she pressed against a lever on the right side of the inner frame of the door, causing the back wall of her closet to open. It revealed a small room that held the objects that came from the spirit world. Wild Fire gazed at the spirit objects to find one that would be safe for a mortal to play with; she took out a dome-shaped glass with carvings of the universe and lay it down while telling her friend, "We can play with this one."
Baby Daffodil looked at the object and said, "This looks like one of those night lights that show pictures on the wall."
Wild Fire smiled and said, "Go turn off the light and I will show you what it can do."
As Baby Daffodil went to the light switch to turn it off, she thought that she would only see a small light show, but was completely surprised when Wild Fire turned the object on and both fillies were standing in the middle of a galaxy. "Oh, wow, this is amazing!" Baby Daffodil exclaimed as she looked in astonishment at the planets and stars that were circling around her. "I wish that Dream Valley's shopping centers carried things like this."
Downstairs, Devilin was tidying up a bit when she began sensing the use of spirit energy from upstairs. She went to the stairs and yelled, "Wild Fire!"
When Wild Fire heard her mother yell her name, she went and opened her door to respond. "Yes, ma'am!"
"I need to see you downstairs for a minute!"
"I'll be right down!" Wild Fire turned the lights back on and turned off the dome while telling Baby Daffodil to wait in her room for a moment.
When Wild Fire came downstairs to face her mother, Devilin looked at her daughter with a gaze that would freeze a mortal pony's heart. "What were you and Baby Daffodil doing upstairs?"
"We were just playing," Wild Fire said, all innocence to her mother.
Then Devilin had her daughter look at her straight in the eye. "I felt spirit energy coming from your room and I want to know what you two were playing to cause it."
Seeing her mother's fiery gaze, Wild Fire began explaining the whole incident about Baby Daffodil discovering the hidden room with spirit objects. Her mother looked at her, trying to think on how her husband would handle this. "I want you and Baby Daffodil to go play outside, and we will discuss this further when your father gets home."
"Yes, ma'am," Wild Fire said and trotted back upstairs to report to Baby Daffodil. She found her friend sitting on her bed staring at the dome. "Daf, why don't we go play outside for awhile?"
"But we've been having fun playing with your space toy and it is so cold outside," Baby Daffodil said, turning toward her friend.
Thinking quickly, Wild Fire added, "Well, my mother needs to clean the upstairs but I'll ask her if she could make us a thermos of her homemade hot chocolate to take with us while we are outside."
Baby Daffodil felt a little sad that they had to stop playing with the dome, but she did love Mrs. Devilin's hot chocolate; it always kept a pony all warm inside no matter how cold it was outside. So Wild Fire put the dome back in the secret room and closed the panel, and then the two fillies went downstairs.
Wild Fire asked her mother if she could make some hot chocolate for their time outside, so Devilin went into the kitchen and after a few minutes came out with a thermos full of the drink. As the fillies left, Devilin thought to herself," Ever since we arrived in Dream Valley, that filly of ours has gotten herself into one mishap after another. I just don't know what we are going to do with her." And with that, Devilin went back to tidying up the house.
Meanwhile, outside, Baby Daffodil was beginning to feel the winter chill; seeing her friend shivering, Wild Fire poured her a cup of hot chocolate. "This will get old man winter off your back," she said as she handed the cup to Baby Daffodil.
"Thanks, Wild Fire, I needed this." As she began to sip the hot chocolate, the warmth of the brew warmed and revitalized the filly's whole body.
"Do you feel okay now?" a concerned Wild Fire asked.
"I'm fine, but I can tell you this, whatever your mother puts in her hot chocolate not even old man winter has a chance against," Baby Daffodil said, feeling more warm than cold now.
When they reached the playground, Baby Daffodil galloped toward the forested part of the park with her newfound energy. "Come on, slowpoke!" she yelled to hurry her friend along; and as Wild Fire caught up with her, a flaming ball of fire suddenly came flying towards them. Thinking quickly, Wild Fire started to build up her spirit energy; her horn began to glow and when the fireball was on top of them and exploded, causing a small dust cloud to form, the fillies were still unharmed due to the spirit force shield that circled the two fillies.
When it was all over, Wild Fire looked at her wide-eyed friend and thought that she had given her family's secret away until Baby Daffodil said, "I always wondered what your unicorn power was and lucky for us, it's a good one."
Then the fillies heard hoofsteps coming toward them as a figure of a unicorn appeared from behind a grove of trees and began to approach them. Wild Fire was already on edge because of the fireball and was sure that this was one of the evil spirits from the spirit world, so she stood in front of her friend to protect her as she yelled at the stranger, "Who are you and why did you try to hit us with that fireball?" As the unicorn came closer, the two could see that he was a male with a sandy brown body, a rusty orange mane and tail, and had the symbol of a dingo.
"Outback, is that you?" Baby Daffodil yelled out to the pony.
The male pony saw Daffodil and his heart rate started to increase. "Are you two okay?"
"Thanks to Wild Fire's unicorn magic," Baby Daffodil said, patting Wild Fire on the shoulder. Then she turned to Outback with a look of curiosity on her face. "I know that you don't have the ability to create fireballs, so tell us how you made that one."
Outback pulled a PokeBall out of his backpack. "My uncle caught a Charizard and gave him to me for a Christmas present; but when I was practicing some attack moves, one of his fireballs got out of control." He walked up to Baby Daffodil. "And I am so glad that you weren't hurt by it, or I would never have forgiven myself."
Wild Fire stood staring at the two lovesick ponies and said with a little irritation, "Hey, you two, if you are finished goggling over each other, I would like to know what is going on here."
Baby Daffodil suddenly snapped out of her trance, and both she and Outback turned to face Wild Fire. "Wild Fire, this is Outback, a very good friend of mine," Baby Daffodil made the introduction.
Outback walked over to Wild Fire and stuck out his front hoof in friendship. "Wild Fire, from what Daffodil has told me of you and what I have seen here at the park, I would think that you were more of a guardian angel than a mere friend."
Wild Fire, not trusting any pony with a horn, took Outback's hoof and then pulled him closer to her to say, "And I will do whatever it takes to make sure that nothing and no one ever hurts her, if you get my drift."
Outback, seeing the serious look in her eye as she let his hoof go, walked back over to Baby Daffodil and took her hoof in his as he turned to Wild Fire and said, "That is one thing, Wild Fire, that I can definitely agree with." A bewildered Baby Daffodil just looked at the other two ponies as they stared at each other.
After a few minutes of silence, Outback turned to Baby Daffodil and asked, "How about you and me going to the fireworks show this New Years Eve?"
"I don't know; this is Wild Fire's first New Year's in Dream Valley and I want to share it with her; and it would not be right for me to have a date, and Wild Fire have none."
Outback desperately wanted Baby Daffodil to go out with him and came up with an idea that he hoped the fillies would agree to. "If Wild Fire won't mind going on a blind date, I have a cousin that moved to Dream Valley from Vulcanopolis and he hasn't meet a filly who 'sets his artistic soul on fire', as he says."
Baby Daffodil, thinking that Outback's idea was a good one, turned to Wild Fire to see what she thought of it. "How does that sound to you, Wild Fire?" she asked with some anticipation.
"I don't know. What does he look like?" Wild Fire asked as she looked at Outback.
"He is a white pegasus with multi_color mane and tail, and his symbol is a paintbrush."
Wild Fire thought for a minute and then said, "All right, I'll do it, but under one condition. When I meet this colt and if I find that he is not my type, then Daffodil and I will go to the fireworks show without an escort." They all agreed to Wild Fire's condition and went their separate ways.
While Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil were heading home, Baby Daffodil began to speak "If this colt is anything like my Outback, you will fall in love with him at first sight."
"We will see, Daf, we will see," was all the response Baby Daffodil got.
As Outback was going to his cousin's house to see if he would go out with Wild Fire, all that he could think about was, "Please, Paintbrush, say yes; please say yes."
When the fillies got home, Baby Daffodil went to her house to eat, and Wild Fire did the same. But when Wild Fire got inside and saw her parents looking at her, she was reminded of the reason she and Baby Daffodil were outside to begin with; anticipating the scolding she would receive as she sat down on the couch, she thought that she may not have to worry about this colt after all. Instead, she was utterly surprised at what she heard from her father.
"Wild Fire, your mother told me what happened in your room and how Baby Daffodil accidentally stumbled upon the spirit devices that you keep behind your back wall closet; and because it was an accident, your mother and I see no reason to punish you for it. But not telling us about it is another thing all together and I would like to know why you did not tell us about it when it first happened."
Wild Fire looked at her parents nervously as she started to give her reason for not telling them when it first happened. "I thought that I could control the situation and would not have to worry you with it."
Then Salaries told Wild Fire, "I would like you to go to the kitchen and wait for us to come in."
Then her mother added, "And if you are hungry, I have made you a plate of food that is sitting on the time displacer, so it would still be fresh for you when you got home." So Wild Fire went to the kitchen as her parents discussed the spirit objects further.
After two hours of discussing, Salaries and Devilin got up from the living room and went to tell their daughter their decision on the part of not telling them about Baby Daffodil's discovery; when they went to the kitchen and saw their daughter and the empty plate on the table, Salaries began to speak. "Wild Fire, your mother and I decided that you should not be punished for trying to solve a problem on your own, but we would like to be informed about anything that comes up from now on. Also, your mother and I will remove any spirit object from your secret closet that we think will harm a mortal. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," Wild Fire said with remorse.
Then Devilin added with flames coming from her eyes, "And I do not want to see any of the spirit objects leaving this house; if they do, you will not have to wait for your father to be punished. Do you understand?"
"Yes, ma'am," Wild Fire said with a little fear in her voice. As Salaries and Devilin began walking to the living room, Wild Fire blurted out, "Would it be okay if I date a mortal?"
As her parents heard her, they stopped so fast that you would think they had hit an invisible wall. Then they turned and with a surprised look on their faces said in unison, "Date a mortal?"
After the initial shock of their daughter's announcement had worn off, Salaries and Devilin went and sat on each side of their daughter and Salaries asked, "What brought that up all of a sudden?"
Then Wild Fire explained about Baby Daffodil and the encounter with Outback and about Outback's cousin, leaving out the fireball incident so she did not have to give an explanation for it. Then Salaries, after hearing the story, said to his daughter, "Wild Fire, honey, your mother and I know that the only colts that you would be able to go out with would be mortals, and that is okay with us."
Then Devilin added, "But we would like to see the colt before you go out with him to see if he is worthy of your affection."
Wild Fire, happy that her parents felt okay about her dating mortals, said, "That will be fine with me." And with that settled, they all got up from their chairs and went to do other things.
During Wild Fire's discussion with her parents, Baby Daffodil got a call from Outback. "Hello, Daffodil, this is Outback and I have some good news to tell you."
"And what news would that be, Outback?"
"My cousin agreed to meet Wild Fire, so we all can go see the fireworks on New Year's Eve together."
"That's great, Outback; I will call Wild Fire so she can prepare herself for the date."
"Okay, Daffodil, I will be counting the days to our next meeting, love you."
"Love you too, Outback, and good night." Then they hung up and Baby Daffodil called Wild Fire to tell her that the date was on.
When the receiver was picked up, a mare's voice was heard. "Hello, this is Devilin speaking."
"Mrs. Devilin, this is Baby Daffodil. Can I talk to Wild Fire?"
Then Devilin laid down the receiver to get her daughter and within a few minutes the receiver was picked up again. "Hello, Daf, this is Wild Fire. What's on your mind?"
With a little giddiness in her voice, Baby Daffodil told Wild Fire the news. "Outback and his cousin told me that they are definitely coming to take us to the fireworks on New Year's Eve. Isn't that great?"
"Oh yes, it sounds wonderful; I can't wait for the big day." But if Baby Daffodil could see the fear in Wild Fire's face, in anticipation of meeting Outback's cousin, she would be more worried than excited about her friend meeting the colt.
Then Baby Daffodil chatted about how much fun it was going to be double dating at the upcoming event, while Wild Fire just listened to her with an occasional acknowledgment of support. Then Baby Daffodil's mother was heard in the background saying. "Dinnertime, Daffodil honey, time to say goodbye to Wild Fire."
"Okay, Mom. Wild Fire, I got to go eat; I will talk to you later, okay?"
"Okay, Daffodil have a good dinner and goodnight."
"Goodnight, Wild Fire." Then they hung up, and after dinner went to bed.
* * *
During the next two days, Salaries and Devilin began to worry about their daughter's sanity as they watched Wild Fire coming downstairs in different outfits every hour while mumbling to herself. When they saw their daughter go up to her room to change once again, Salaries looked at his wife and said, "I think this date our daughter is going on has finally gotten to her."
"I agree, and I think that we need to talk to her before we have to commit her to an insane asylum." Then Devilin took Salaries's hoof and went to Wild Fire's bedroom; when they got there they saw the disarray of the room with Wild Fire sitting at her vanity table with her head laying on her forelegs. They walked towards their daughter and as Salaries placed a hoof on her shoulder, a startled Wild Fire lifted her head and saw the reflection of her parents in the vanity mirror.
After a few seconds Wild Fire asked, "Is there something wrong?"
Then Devilin placed her front hoof gently on Wild Fire's mane while saying, "No, dear, we just feel that you looked a little distraught and we want you to know that we are always here for you if you feel the need to talk, no matter what the subject may be." Salaries and Wild Fire looked at Devilin with a look of surprise on their faces at her sincere speech. Then Devilin looked at the two and said, "What?"
"That speech was so beautiful, my dear, that it just took my breath away," Salaries said as he took his wife's front hoof and kissed it, making his wife blush a little on her cheeks.
Then Wild Fire looked at her parent and said, "I am afraid."
Salaries looked at his daughter and guided her to her bed, where Salaries and Devilin sat on each side of her. "And what are you afraid of, sweetheart?" Salaries asked.
"Everything... the date with Outback's cousin and what if I get so nervous that I accidentally use my spirit powers on him and ruin everyone's day and I can't find anything to wear on the date!" Wild Fire spilled out.
Salaries was looking at his wife for any ideas when suddenly he heard Devilin speak up. "Wild Fire, if there is one thing that your father and I know it is being afraid of dating, but it does not matter what the consequences are as long as the one you date makes you happy and fills your inner desires with joy, and anything else has no meaning."
"But how will I know this pony will do that?"
Devilin put her forelegs around her daughter's upper chest as she lay her head on top of Wild Fire's head and said, "You will know, my sweet little flame, for when you look at him, everything around you will cease to exist and the only sound you hear will be the beat of your heart as he takes you by the hoof, engulfing you in a serene feeling of joy. As you receive your first kiss from him, you will feel as if you were reborn."
Wild Fire looked at her mother as she placed her forelegs at her side and hugged her as she said, "Thank you, Mother, I feel a lot better now."
Devilin rubbed her daughter's back and said, "Now I want you to lay down and get a little rest, and I will get you when dinner is ready." Wild Fire, feeling a little tired, did as her mother asked, and Salaries and Devilin started for the living room.
Salaries looked at his wife as he praised her for the fine job of comforting their daughter. "That was a lovely thing you said to Wild Fire, my love."
Devilin smiled at her husband and said, "It is easy to talk about things that you carry in your own heat."
Salaries, hearing this, turned to his wife and embraced her to him and said, "Devilin, you are the universe to me and my love for you is eternal."
"As is mine for you, my love." Then they finalized their love with a passionate kiss.
As dinner time approached, Devilin went to Wild Fire's room to gently wake her up. "Sweetheart, it is time to wake up for dinner."
As Wild Fire opened her eyes and turned to look at her mother, she said, "Mother, do you really think that this pony will be the one for me?"
Devilin lay her forehoof on her daughter's cheek as she said, "Only your heart can answer that question when you two meet, but I feel that nothing but good things will come at that time."
Wild Fire gave her mother another hug as she said, "Thank you for being my mother."
A tear ran down Devilin's cheek. "And thank you for being my daughter, my precious little flame." Then the two female ponies went downstairs to eat dinner.
* * *
The day of the New Year's Eve fireworks celebration was upon them and Wild Fire, with the help of her mother, was getting ready for her date. The doorbell rang and Salaries went to answer the door, thinking to himself that it was much to soon for the colts to arrive. When he opened the door, a purple little filly stood in front of him. "Well, good morning, Baby Daffodil; and what brings you so early to our house?"
"I wanted to see Wild Fire's expression of her blind date first hoof," Baby Daffodil said with a big grin on her face.
Salaries, with his own grin, said to Baby Daffodil, "If you would like to talk to Wild Fire before the colts arrive, she is in her room with her mother getting ready."
"I would like that, thank you," Baby Daffodil said as she trotted up to Wild Fire's room.
As she reached the doorway and looked inside, she saw how pretty Wild Fire looked as Devilin was fixing up her daughter's hair. Baby Daffodil accidentally blurted out, "Wow! Wild Fire, you look fantastic."
Devilin and Wild Fire turned to the doorway to see Baby Daffodil standing there. Wild Fire waved her hoof to let Baby Daffodil know that it was okay to come inside. When Baby Daffodil got to the vanity table, she stood next to Devilin to praise her for the beautiful job she had done on Wild Fire. "You are very talented, Mrs. Devilin. Wild Fire looks beautiful."
"Well, thank you, Baby Daffodil; you look lovely as well," Devilin said with a smile.
"Thank you, ma'am," Baby Daffodil replied.
Then Wild Fire asked, "So what are you doing here; isn't Outback going to your house first?"
"No, I called him and told him to come to your house; I wanted to be here when you first meet his cousin."
Devilin said to the two fillies, "All right, you two, why don't we go downstairs to wait for the colts' arrival."
All three females went downstairs. As they reached the living room, Salaries gave a whistle and said, "This must be my lucky day, to have three of the most beautiful females in one place."
Hearing his praise caused the three to blush at the stallion. Then Devilin went to sit on Salaries' lap as the two fillies went to sit on the coach. As Salaries put his forelegs around his wife, he began to notice that the fillies looked a little nervous about meeting their dates; so to ease their tension, he told them, "You two shouldn't be so nervous."
Wild Fire looked at her father and asked, "And why shouldn't we be nervous?"
With a great big smile on his face, he announced, "Because those two colts that are coming to pick you two up are probably shaking in their hoofs as we speak, wondering if they have any chance with two such beautiful fillies as yourselves." Then the two fillies looked at each other with a grin on their faces, feeling more relaxed than they did before.
The doorbell finally rang and Devilin went to answer it; when she opened the door she saw two colts standing in front of her. The male unicorn began to speak, "I am Outback and this is my cousin Paintbrush; we are here to take Daffodil and Wild Fire to the New Year's Eve fireworks show, ma'am."
"Then come inside, they are waiting for you two in the living room."
The two colts walked inside and Devilin guided them to the living room. Baby Daffodil got off the coach and went to stand at Outback's side, and Outback took out a corsage and placed it on Baby Daffodil's foreleg.
Wild Fire stood up and faced Paintbrush; as Paintbrush looked at her he said, "Hi, my name is Paintbrush."
Wild Fire, looking a little timid, said in return, "Hi, my name is Wild Fire."
Paintbrush walked closer to Wild Fire as everybody looked on in suspense. "My cousin Outback did not tell me how beautiful my date was going to be."
"Thank you," Wild Fire said with a slight blush.
Then Paintbrush pulled out a corsage. "This is for you." Wild Fire lifted her foreleg and Paintbrush placed the corsage around it.
Devilin took a camera out and started to take pictures of the group and when she finished Baby Daffodil said, "I promised my mother that I would bring Paintbrush to my house so she could see him." So the foals took their leave of Salaries and Devilin, waving goodbye as they headed to Baby Daffodil's house.
Devilin looked at her husband and said, "When I saw Wild Fire and Paintbrush together, it was like looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves those many years ago."
Salaries held his wife close to him and said, "And you are as beautiful as ever, my love." Then they went back inside the house.
* * *
After the foals went to Baby Daffodil's house to show off Paintbrush, they began heading to the New Year's Eve show. "Would you two lovely fillies care for some refreshments?" Paintbrush asked as they arrived.
"I wouldn't mind having some hot chocolate right now," Wild Fire said to her date.
"Yes, a glass of hot chocolate does sound good," Baby Daffodil replied.
Outback said to the fillies, "Two hot chocolates coming up." The colts went to get the hot chocolate and as they came back with the drinks they hoofed them to the fillies.
Outback asked the group as he looked at the rides, "How about us going on some rides before the fireworks start?"
Baby Daffodil asked, "Which one should we go on first?"
"Because this is Wild Fire's first New Year's in Dream Valley, why don't we let her have the first choice at the rides," Paintbrush suggested to the others.
"That's a great idea, Paintbrush," Daffodil agreed.
"It sounds fine with me," Outback agreed as well.
Wild Fire looked around at the rides and pointed to the giant ferris wheel. "Let's go on that one."
The others looked at the giant ride and Outback exclaimed, "I hope no one has a fear of heights!"
Wild Fire went to get on with a helping hoof from Paintbrush, and Daffodil got on next with help from Outback. When they reached the top of the ferris wheel, Wild Fire, never having been on one before, began to stand to get a better look at the ponies below. Daffodil yelled out at her friend, "Wild Fire, don't stand up!"
Paintbrush, hearing Daffodil's warning and seeing Wild Fire out of her seat, grabbed her foreleg and pulled her down to him. As he held her close he said with a concerned voice, "Wild Fire, you shouldn't stand up on a ferris wheel, especially this high up; you could get seriously hurt." As Paintbrush was talking to Wild Fire, he started to realize how much the red unicorn meant to him.
When they came down and got off the ride, Baby Daffodil trotted to her friend and gave her a hug while saying, "You gave me a terrible fright, standing up like that."
Wild Fire was confused at the reaction her standing up had caused. "I just wanted to look at the ponies on the ground."
Outback walked up and said, "And if you had fallen out, you would had hit the ground before you could wink to safety."
Paintbrush came and stood next to Wild Fire and said, "All right, everyone, I don't think Wild Fire needs to be lectured right now and there are still a lot more things to do before the fireworks start." With that said, they all went on more rides, all the while Paintbrush giving Wild Fire a more protective eye for her safety.
After the rides, the group decided to go play some carnival games that Wild Fire seemed to excel in as she won every game she played, making the others look at her in amazement.
Outback walked up to Wild Fire and said, "In all the times I've watched ponies play these games, I've never seen one who could win at them like you do, and I would like to be the first to say that you are one amazing filly."
Paintbrush added,"I agree with my cousin; you are really fantastic at these games."
Wild Fire saw Baby Daffodil standing in the background looking forgotten and said, "Would you two like to know my secret at winning all the games?"
Outback said, "Sure, tell us your secret." Paintbrush just looked on.
Wild Fire walked over to Baby Daffodil and, as the two colts watched her, put her foreleg around her shoulders and said, "Because my good luck charm was always near me and here she is, the one pony who has made me and my family feel like the luckiest ponies in Dream Valley."
As Baby Daffodil was hearing Wild Fire praise her, she turned to look at her best friend with a smile of appreciation across her face.
Outback walked over to Baby Daffodil and stood in front of her as he held one of her front hoofs in his and said, "I always knew that my Daffodil was a special filly." Then he gave her hoof a gentle kiss, which caused Baby Daffodil's cheeks to blush.
Paintbrush came around to Wild Fire's side and said, "I think that we need to get a bite to eat before the fireworks start." So the four ponies went to one of the restaurants that was close by and while they walked, Paintbrush let Baby Daffodil and Outback get a slight distance away so he could speak to Wild Fire in private. "That was a very nice thing that you did for Daffodil back at the games; you two must really be close friends."
Wild Fire looked at Paintbrush and said, "She is like a little sister to me and I care for her very much."
Paintbrush smiled at Wild Fire as he said, "You know, Outback was right when he said that Daffodil was special; having you as a friend would make any pony special."
Wild Fire then began trotting to catch up with the others and to keep Paintbrush from seeing her blush. She looked back at Paintbrush and yelled, "Come on, slow poke; we don't have all day!"
This made Paintbrush start trotting faster after her and say, "I'll show you who's a slow poke!"
Then Wild Fire and Paintbrush finally caught up to Baby Daffodil and Outback, who were waiting for them at the restaurant. As Paintbrush walked passed Outback and Daffodil with Wild Fire at his side, Outback said with a smirk on his face, "So what took you two love birds so long in getting here?"
Paintbrush said with a big grin on his face, "Wouldn't you like to know?"
This caused Outback and Baby Daffodil to smile at each other with a look of accomplishment on their faces as they followed Wild Fire and Paintbrush into the restaurant to eat. After they sat down and ordered their food, Baby Daffodil asked Wild Fire, "Isn't this a lot of fun?"
Wild Fire turned to gaze at Paintbrush as he was talking to Outback and then looked back at Baby Daffodil, saying, "In what I have seen so far, I would say definitely yes." Then Baby Daffodil and Wild Fire with Paintbrush and Outback began talking about how fun the fireworks show would be. As their food arrived the four ponies began to eat.
When they finished, Paintbrush said, "We better find a place to watch the fireworks; they should be about ready to start by now." So the four ponies got up and went to find a place. As they walked, Baby Daffodil suddenly stopped and said, while pointing her hoof at a hill overlooking the grounds, "That looks like a good place to see the fireworks."
The other ponies looked in the direction that Baby Daffodil was pointing and all agreed. "Great job, Daffodil, that will be perfect to watch the fireworks," Paintbrush told her. Then he looked at Outback and said, "Outback, gallop ahead and claim it." So Outback galloped as fast as he could to claim the spot; when the others caught up with him they sat down to wait for the show, and within a few minutes the fireworks started going off. They exploded in brilliant colors and shapes, and the ponies looked in awe at the spectacular sight. Paintbrush and Outback laid their forelegs around their fillies' shoulders and held them close as the fireworks lit up the sky.
After a couple of hours had passed the fireworks came to an end and the four ponies got up and started toward the fillies' houses. As they walked, Paintbrush and Outback each pulled a glow flower from behind their backs and placed it behind the fillies' ears and said to them, "A pretty flower for a pretty filly." The fillies smiled at the colts as they walked side by side; as they reached their neighborhood and were almost at Baby Daffodil's house, Wild Fire turned to the other three. "Before we go our separate ways, I would like to thank all of you for a most wonderful time at the fireworks show, and I would also like to say that you all have been such wonderful companions to be with." Daffodil went to her best friend and gave her a hug, while Outback went to give Wild Fire a gentle kiss on the cheek.
Then Outback escorted Baby Daffodil to her house, leaving Paintbrush and Wild Fire alone. Paintbrush turned to face Wild Fire and said with a bow, "Would my lady allow this simple pony to escort her home?"
This caused Wild Fire to blush as she replied, "I would consider it a pleasure to be escorted by such a fine pony as yourself."
Then Paintbrush took Wild Fire by the foreleg and escorted her to her house; as they reached the front porch, Paintbrush gazed into Wild Fire's eyes and softly said, "I really enjoyed our time together."
"Yes, it was very enjoyable for me, too," Wild Fire said as she stared into Paintbrush's eyes. "I hope that we can do this again sometime soon"
"Yes, I would like that." And as they talked, their faces got closer and closer until there lips barely touched.
Then Wild Fire said, "I guess that I should be going inside now." And Paintbrush, without saying another word, pressed his lips onto Wild Fire's. As they kissed, two figures looked through the window with smiles on their faces. When Paintbrush finished the kiss he said in a gentle voice, "Goodnight, Wild Fire, and sweet dreams."
As Wild Fire watched Paintbrush turn to go home, she said in a low voice, "Goodnight, Paintbrush, and let the spirit of dreams fill your mind with pleasant thoughts." Then she turned toward the door and went inside. As she shut the door and leaned against it, she gave a great big sigh of joy that Salaries and Devilin heard as they walked over to their daughter.
"It sounds like someone had a good time at the fireworks show," Salaries said as he and his wife looked at their daughter.
Wild Fire gave her parents a big hug and said, "It was more wonderful than I could have ever hoped it to be."
When Wild Fire gave a big yawn, Devilin said, "Why don't you head up to bed? You look really tired and I will be up in a little while to tuck you in."
"I do feel a little sleepy," Wild Fire said as she rubbed her eyes. She kissed her parents goodnight and trotted off to her room.
Devilin looked at her husband and with a smile on her face said, "I think that we are going to see a lot more of Paintbrush, if that expression on our daughter's face is any indication."