My Little Pony Monthly Issue 21 (December 1, 1998)

My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Child-Friendly

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Issue 21
December 1998

Letters to the Editor This newsletter is so great!!!!!! I love it! Thanks! Doin' a great job with your newsletter! It reaches so many MLP fans, I've already gotten quite a few trades and sales!

Send your letters to the editor to Tabby at


All The Pretty Little Ponies
(A Revisionist Interpretation of the MLP Mythos)
Chapter 10


C. Alan Loewen


For Candice and Allison

Synopsis: Megan, an eleven-year-old orphan who lives with her Aunt Constance, has been given guardianship over seven magical ponies also known as the Seven Sisters. Megan and the seven ponies have discovered that the ponies are the enchanted daughters of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, turned into ponies by Arthur's evil half-sister Morgan. Megan is now taking the ponies back to their parents through the Wood of the World that can take them to any time and any place on Earth. Megan and the ponies are accompanied by Madra, an Irish Wolfhound; Spike, a baby dragon; Aunt Constance; and Sarah, a distant granddaughter of Morgan. Unknown to them, Morgan has sent Hydia and her two daughters after them armed with Morgan's book of spells. Comments and constructive criticism may be sent to

Megan awoke just enough to enjoy that feeling of being half-asleep and half-awake. Nestled in a small feather bed and surrounded by the crisp smell of a cotton nightdress and cotton sheets, she stretched and yawned and opened her eyes just enough to see Sarah still bundled up in her bed. Aunt Constance's bed was empty and Megan assumed she had gotten up to greet the day in the common room.

Morning sunlight streamed through the circular window showing their small bedroom to be from another time and another place. Carved out of a mansion-sized mushroom, the walls and floor were as hard as real wood though with a grainless white color. The door had no handle, but a latch. The three small beds had rope lacing holding the feather-stuffed mattresses in place instead of springs. A large pitcher of water with a blue filigree design stood in a basin which in turn stood on an old wooden cupboard filled with coarse cotton towels.

Sarah yawned loudly and sat up in her bed rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She dreamily smiled at Megan and plopped back into the pillows with a sigh. "After four days of sleeping in the Wood with Ember as a pillow, I don't ever want to get up," she said. "Where's your aunt?"

Megan stretched and yawned in turn. "Probably with the ponies or in the common room eating breakfast." Their strange little host had placed the seven sisters in their own room with large mattresses directly laid on the floor. Megan simply assumed that Madra and Spike had spent the night in front of the walk-in fireplace in the common room.

Sarah yawned again and stretched. "I'm trying to get up. Really I am."

Megan laughed and threw a pillow which was immediately returned. Giggling loudly, the two young girls began throwing pillows at each other.

"A pillow fight!" somebody yelled from the door. Ember had opened the latch with her mouth and the little black pony laughed with delight at the scene of Megan and Sarah pelting each other with pillows. Running to Aunt Constance's empty bed, Ember grabbed the pillow with her teeth and, flinging her head, threw it with amazing accuracy at Megan.

Once again, pillows flew through the air, soon followed by feathers as Ember's sharp teeth tore holes in the pillows.

"Oh, no!" came a gasp from by the door. Twilight and Aunt Constance stood in shock at the feathery disaster before them. Covered in white feathers, Ember looked more like a chicken than a pony; Megan and Sarah had feathers in their hair as well as through the bedclothes. Feathers still floated around the room.

Megan and Sarah blinked at each other, shocked at themselves after realizing what they had done.

Aunt Constance had gone very red in the face while Twilight looked on with great disapproval. Several times, Megan's aunt tried to speak, but after a few moments simply told the girls to clean up and shut the door behind her.

Megan sighed and stared at the scene before her. Ember blinked, her equine face covered in feathers. Her nose suddenly twitched. "I forgot that I'm allergic to feathers," she said sadly.

It was very hard to clean up the room when Ember's powerful sneezes sent feathers flying.

Draggle could not sleep. Not only was the morning sun blazing through the little window in her room, Hydia and Reeka were snoring so loudly Draggle swore she could feel the entire Mushrump shake in time to their snorting and roaring. Muttering, she stumbled out of the bed looking like she was going to get all tangled up in her long, thin legs and arms. Glancing at the mirror, she brushed her fingers through her hair and stumbled out into the hallway to see if there might be some breakfast she could get in the common room.

The guests in the common room stared at Draggle, a thin apparition with her brilliant red hair uncombed and matted and her homespun dress wrinkled and slightly smelly. She had slept in her clothes. Draggle simply ignored them and plopped down at an empty bench.

"Good morning, mistress," the strange innkeeper said, plopping a bowl of something warm and spicy-smelling in front of her. "I trust you slept well."

He offered her a spoon, but Draggle simply stared at it, never having used one before. Using fingers and slurping directly from the bowl, she ignored the stares of the guests. However, she stared with interest at the great dog and baby dragon dozing in front of the fire. The rest of the guests ignored them, but as they were all a strange lot themselves, Draggle assumed that it was normal for a dog and dragon to be casual friends in front of a fire, at least in this inn.

When Draggle was halfway through her bowl of porridge, a blue-colored roan pony walked into the room, its hooves beating a rhythmic tattoo on the floor. It looked casually at Draggle who stared back in open-mouthed surprise.

"Good morning," it said to her. "Excuse me, but you're drooling porridge on your dress."

Draggle shut her open mouth with a snap and stared at the pony as it made its way toward one of the windows. Again, as if by magic, the little innkeeper appeared through the kitchen door pushing a wheelbarrow filled with fresh grasses and sweet-smelling herbs. "Good morning, mistress Bowtie. I trust you slept well."

"Very well," the pony replied. "Your feather mattresses are far more comfortable than the ground in the Wood."

Everyone jumped as, with a shriek, Draggle jumped up from her table and ran down the hallway.

The Moochick stared in surprise, looked at Bowtie, and shrugged his shoulders. "It couldn't have been the porridge," he muttered to himself. "It was freshly made this morning."

Running back to her mother and sister, Draggle ran directly into another pony. This one had wings. "Excuse me," it said with some concern. "You could have damaged my wings."

Draggle gulped and stuttered incomprehensibly. She picked herself up from the floor and continued to run down the curving hallway to the room where Hydia and Reeka still slept. On the way, she passed another winged pony and several others. She almost tripped over a middle-aged woman being escorted by a tiny unicorn.

Bursting into the room where her mother and sister were still sleeping, she shook Hydia awake, "They're here!" she yelled. "Those ponies we're looking for are here!"

"Shut up, Draggle," Reeka muttered in a sleepy, oily voice. "Go away."

Hydia groaned as she forced her old body up out of the soft bed. "Get up, lazybones," she ordered, rudely pushing Reeka on the shoulder. "Where are they?" she asked Draggle.

Excited, it took Draggle a few seconds to finally gasp out that they were all over the inn and getting up to eat breakfast.

Hydia smiled evilly to herself and grabbed the thick book of magic from underneath her pillow where she had hidden it. "Now listen and listen well," she told her daughters. "We may only have one chance to do this right and win Morgan's favor."

Good to his word, the Moochick had washed their clothes and, reluctant as they were to put them back on, Megan and Sarah were once again dressed in T-shirts and shorts. The chore of cleaning up the feathers behind them, they sat in the common room with Aunt Constance where they ate porridge. The Moochick had found another bone for Madra and once again Spike feasted on fresh fish, while the ponies contentedly munched on fresh grass and greens.

Though the lion man from the night before had long gone on whatever mission sent him through the Wood of the World, there were enough unique human guests of the inn to keep Megan fascinated. The pair of heavily cloaked travelers from the night before sat at their table as if they had spent the night there. Megan was still convinced they were bears.

Halfway through their breakfast, a small lump of a woman entered the common room followed by what Megan assumed were her two daughters. Under her arm, the woman carried a large, leather-bound book. They sat at a table across the room and though they tried hard not to stare, Megan knew the trio was intensely interested in the ponies.

"And I assume you will be leaving after your breakfast?" the Moochick asked Aunt Constance, appearing at her side as if by magic.

Aunt Constance sighed and pushed her empty bowl away. "Yes, but regretfully. Your hospitality has been so wonderful; we're reluctant to return to the Wood. Who knows how long it will be before we sleep in real beds again?"

The Moochick smiled. "The Wood has a will …"

"… and the Wood has a way," Aunt Constance said, finishing his sentence for him. "All I can say is that, hopefully, the Wood will get us to our destination quickly."

"And I hope that someday the Wood will guide you back here where you will always be welcome. I have a few food items for you to carry for the rest of your trip." With that, the funny little man bowed and, taking the empty bowls, disappeared through the door that led to the kitchen.

"Megan?" Aunt Constance asked. "Would you and Sarah get the ponies and the rest of our party together? It is time for us to leave."

Megan noticed that at this announcement, the tiny, old lady with the two daughters turned quite pale. What is going on with those three, Megan wondered.

Nonetheless, Megan spoke quickly to the ponies and called for Madra and Spike. Madra obediently came at Megan's command. Spike, however, was still in the middle of his final fish and was ignoring all interruptions.

Hydia frantically paged through Morgan's spell book looking for any appropriate spell that would stop the ponies from entering the Wood and continuing their journey. Nervously, the pages seeming to stick together in her frustration, she grabbed for the first spell that sounded even remotely useful-- a spell that would create a wall of fire.

"Dorkkulk glunguno mardglol vlerguno," she intoned, not having a hope of pronouncing the archaic words correctly.

Suddenly the fire in the fireplace flared up and exploded into the common room engulfing the baby dragon who chewed his fish. With a squeal of terror, Spike backpedaled away from the fire for though dragons are immune to flame, it can still startle them when it bursts in their face. "Hot!" Spike wailed. "Spike hot!"

The rest of the room erupted in various cries of alarm, the whinnies of frightened ponies, and the startled roars of the two cloaked figures. The fire, acting as if it had a mind of its own, jumped from table to table, igniting the floor, walls, and ceiling. The Moochick, his eyes round with terror, ran from the kitchen to see his beloved inn on fire. "The stairs!" he cried over the din. "Everybody to the stairs."

Panic spread through the room; ponies, people, and other creatures surged toward the stairway that led down to open air and safety. The cloaked travelers threw back their hoods; and, in spite of her fear, Megan noticed with satisfaction that they were bears, with the light of intelligence shining from their large black eyes. Ripping off their cloaks, they tried unsuccessfully to smother the fires that burned with a supernatural power. Realizing the futility of trying to douse the flames, they turned and waddled toward the stairway.

Hydia still sat at her table stunned at the power of the spell, her mouth opening and closing like a fish. Reeka laughed and clapped her hands at the display, oblivious to the possibility of her own destruction. Only Draggle viewed the scene with true horror. "Hydia," she cried. "What have you done? What have you done?"

"Nothing," Hydia spat back. "Come, girls. Run for the stairs."

With amazing speed for her age, Hydia sprinted for the stairway followed closely by Reeka. Draggle, once again getting tangled in her own feet, tripped and fell into Medley causing the winged pony to also stumble. Together, they rolled past the stairwell and into the adjoining hallway. In a flurry of hooves and feathers, Medley tried to regain her feet but tangled together with Draggle, had to momentarily still her panic and wait for Draggle to regain her own footing. When the two were finally able to stand, flames blocked the hallway.

"What'll we do?" Draggle sobbed.

Medley backed away from the flames. Through them, she could see the last of the inn's patrons fleeing down the stairway. "We have to find another way out," she said. "Come on." Together they turned and fled down the hallway.

On the entrance lawn, the group turned to see the flames shooting out of the western windows of the giant mushroom.

"Is everybody here? We need to count heads." The Moochick turned his back on the burning mushroom inn and tried to count his guests and employees.

Suddenly, the old squat woman screamed. "My Draggle! She's not here. My Draggle is still up there!" Frantically, she tore open her book to try and find some spell that would reverse the harm she had caused.

"Medley!" several ponies also cried out at once. "Medley's missing."

By now, flames had followed the stairwell and were shooting out the front door.

Medley and Draggle fled into one of the open bedrooms. As Draggle turned to shut the door to keep out the thickening smoke, she could see the flames racing down the hallway toward them.

"What are we going to do? How are we going to get out?"

Medley was already at the window and looking out at the ground below. "I have an idea," she said. "I'll be able to carry you on my back and we'll just fly out the window."

"But I've never even ridden a horse," Draggle blubbered. "We'll hit the ground and hurt ourselves or worse."

"Nonsense," Medley said, keeping a brave face. "It's simple. You open the window, climb on my back, and then I'll jump. Now the window is too narrow for me to spread my wings so we will drop some distance before I can control the flight, but it'll be fun."

They could hear the fire crackle at the door.

"Actually," Medley said, "you really don't have a choice."

Weeping and shaking with fear, Draggle opened the window and looked out at the ground forty feet below. "Mother!" she screamed. "Mother!"

Far below, she could hear Hydia scream in response. "That's my Draggle. Draggle, where are you?"

"I'm on the other side of the mushroom. We're trapped."

Within moments, the crowd had moved to the rear of the Mushrump.

"Tell them that we're going to fly out," Medley ordered Draggle. Draggle relayed the message below. Smoke started to pour into the room from underneath the door.

Still shaking, Draggle climbed on Medley's back while the crowd below shouted encouragement. "Remember," warned Medley, "we're going to drop a good distance before I am able to spread my wings. Don't squeeze me too hard or move about. Just hold on and be still."

Wailing, Draggle held onto Medley's mane and shut her eyes tight. "Here we go!" Medley cried, and she jumped out the window.

Draggle screamed as she and the winged pony plummeted to the ground. Medley spread her wings and strained to slow the descent, but it was not enough. With a bone-wrenching crack, Medley hit the ground and tumbled while Draggle went sprawling into the grass.

"Draggle! Draggle!" Hydia cried. "Are you all right?" Dazed, Draggle stumbled to her feet and tried to find Medley.

"Where's the pony?" she asked. "Is the pony all right?"

"That's not important," Hydia hissed. "We have to leave here. Now!"

"No," Draggle said, jerking her arm out of her mother's grasp. "I have to see."

A large group of people had gathered around something laying in the grass. Draggle pushed her way through. Medley lay on the grass, her eyes closed, her right foreleg bent at an impossible angle.

"No!" Draggle cried. "No! I didn't mean for this to happen."

Suddenly she was violently pulled back away from the crowd by her mother. "Listen, you knucklewit," she hissed. "We're in trouble here. We've failed. If you don't come with me right now, I'm going to leave you here."

Draggle bit back a retort that leaving her would be a good thing, but she looked again at the crowd that stood over the injured pony and felt a wave of shame sweep over her heart. Leaving the pony behind her, she followed her mother and sister as the furious sound of flames destroying the giant mushroom filled the air.


Ember's Halloween
by Northstar

Ember, the baby pony, sighed as she looked at her closet of dress-up clothes. "What can I be for Halloween?" she asked Baby Bubbles, who was dressing up as a pirate.

"I don't know," replied Baby Bubbles.

"I wish I had some neat clothes," Ember said. "Maybe I can be a doggy!"

"No, Baby Paws is a doggy, Ember."

"Oh," said Ember. "Maybe a kitty?"

"Nope," Baby bubbles said, "Tabby is a kitty."

"Wahhhh!" cried Baby Ember. "I can't go to the Halloween party ‘cause me don't have a costume and I don't have a symbol to help with it!"

Just then Northstar came prancing in. "What's wrong, Ember?" she asked.

"I cannot find anything to be for Halloween."

"Why don't you dress up like a princess?" suggested Northstar.

"YEAH!" yelled Ember.

"That great idea, Northy," said Baby Bubbles.

Ember went galloping across the room to her dress-up clothes. "Ohhh, pretty!" she exclaimed as she pulled out one of Ribbon's old dresses. "I be a pretty princess," she said. "But what else can I wear?" she asked Ribbon, who had just come in.

"I don't know," replied Ribbon.

"I wish I had jewels to wear," sighed Ember.

The moon heard her wish and sent his star friends to fetch her. They whisked her on top of a cloud to soar to the moon while her friends looked on.

"What's wrong, Ember?" asked the moon when she arrived in the sky.

"I need pretties for me costume for Halloween ball," she replied.

"Oh," said the moon. "Well, I don't have jewels, but I can give you stars."

"Really?" exclaimed Ember.

"Yes, I can," the moon replied. He sprinkled some stars over Ember and one stuck to her. She tried to shake it off , but couldn't.

"Keep it on," urged the moon.

Ember looked at the star. It had become her symbol! She hadn't had a symbol before! "Ooooo," she said. "Pretty!"

The moon just smiled and sprinkled more star dust on her dress and hair. "And now for the final touch," he said as he took one big star and bent it into a crown shape. "Now your outfit is done," he said.

"Thank you!" Ember cried as the stars helped her cloud float to earth.

At the ball, everyone agreed that Ember was the prettiest pony there! And that's how she got her symbol.


You Might be a My Little Pony Fanatic if...

--you paint your flesh-and-blood pony one of the colors of the rainbow just so it will look like a MLP.

--if you glue wings or a horn on your flesh-and-blood pony and expect it to fly or wink.

--you legally change your name to Molly, Megan, or Danny.

--you envy anyone with the names Megan, Danny, or Molly.

--you daydream more about Danny then your boyfriend, or Megan and Molly more than your girlfriend.

--you truly believe that you're really Megan, and Firefly just hasn't found you yet.

--you see some purple paint on the ground and you think it could be smooze.

--if you are studying volcanoes in your science class, and you raise your hand and tell your teacher about the Volcano of Gloom and that the witches live there.

--you buy a flesh-and-blood pony and are upset that it doesn't talk.

--you make your own rainbow locket and carry it around with you everywhere; and when your friends ask what it is, you tell them that you are the guardian of the rainbow locket which holds the rainbow of light and that the Moochick gave it to you.

--when you see a rainbow, you try to figure out a way to Dream Valley.

--you take a quick shower instead of a bath, so your pony friends can have a bathing session in your tub.

--you bring your Sea Ponies in the pool with you.

--Applejack "helps" you make apple confections (You all know what I mean; she sits on the counter with you when you bake apple pie-- hehe).

--you name all of your pets and stuffed animals after MLPs.

--you start calling everyone you meet by their MLP names.

--for every Halloween since you were five, you wore a MLP costume.


Whether it's rain, sleet, snow, or ice, you cannot escape! It's time for:
---------Gusty and Applejack's Talking Times!-----------

Applejack: Greeting one and all! Applejack here!

Gusty: And dis is Gusty.

Applejack: Gee, what's your problem?

Gusty: I hab a cold.

Applejack: Oh.

Gusty: Don't sound so sorry for me.

Applejack: Okay then! First topic!

Gusty: A-A-ACHOOO!

Applejack: Wow, what did you do to get that cold?

Gusty: Nothin'.

Applejack: Oh, I know what it was.

Gusty: What?

Applejack: It's when you went outside when it was freezing rain and played hockey.

Gusty: I had to practice.

Applejack: Couldn't you have skipped practicing for one day?!

Gusty: Nope.

Applejack: One of these days hockey is going to be the end of you...

Gusty: But what a way ta go.

Applejack: Aaanyway... the baby ponies are trying to decide what they want for Christmas!

Gusty: And der lists are very long, too.

Applejack: Well, didn't you have a lot of stuff you wanted when you were a little pony?

Gusty: Nope. All I wanted for Christmas was hockey stuff.

Applejack: You didn't want a baby human doll or PonyPrice things?

Gusty: Neber.

Applejack: You were a weird baby pony, weren't you?

Gusty: Yup.

Applejack: Say, I've got an idea! Let's have some adult ponies call in and tell us what their favorite toy was when they were little that they got for Christmas!

Gusty: Well, what was yours?

Applejack: Mine was a PonyPrice Kitchen Set with all the accessories! I would play with that for hours on end!

Gusty: Guess wat mine was. ACHOO!

Applejack: God bless you. I would have to guess it was a hockey stick.

Gusty: Cwose. It was a package of a hockey stwick, puck, an jersey.

Applejack: Oh well. First call is in! Hello, you're on the air on "Gusty and Applejack's Talking Times!" Who is this?

Caller: This is Quarterback. I'm calling about the favorite gift for Christmas thing.

Gusty: Yup. So wat was it?

Applejack: I bet I know...

Caller: It was my very first football given to me by my Uncle Halfback.

Gusty: Dat's what I-I-ACHOO!

Caller: You better take something to get rid of that cold, Gusty.

Gusty: Well, at weast I didn't chicken out di other day when you were supposed to practice wit me.

Caller: It was raining and the rain was almost ice!

Gusty: Devotion... that of which ou have none.

Caller: Whatever. Talk to you guys later.

Applejack: Bye!

Gusty: Yeah... bye.

Applejack: Gusty! That was kinda rude, wasn't it?

Gusty: Well, he was supposed to practice with me tat day.

Applejack: Let's take our next caller. You're on the air!

Caller: Hello. Glad you could take my call. This is Bubbles.

Gusty: Hullo.

Applejack: And what was your favorite Christmas gift as a child?

Caller: Well, I always adored going swimming. But I never thought baths were much fun. So for Christmas, I was surprised when I tore off some wrapping paper to find that there was a little rubber yellow duck sitting there!

Gusty: And...

Caller: I didn't know that those were designed for bathtubs. I only thought they were for rivers and lakes! That's when my parents told me that I could play with it in the bathtub! I was so happy. From then on I began to enjoy my baths.

Applejack: Cool. Thanks for coming on the air.


Applejack: Why, Gusty?

Gusty: Cwause we have to take a commercial break.

Applejack: We'll be back right after this!

Cupcake: Does everything you bake come out in one big glob?

Gingerbread: And it's not supposed to be jello?

Cupcake: Then let us do the baking!

Gingerbread: Here at Gingerbread and Cupcake's Diner, we can cater to any kind of party.

Cupcake: That's right. Whether it be a Bushwoolie hole or Flutter Valley, we can get the food you want there!

Gingerbread: Or you can come by and pick it up.

Cupcake: Our diner is conveniently located on the corner of Page and Rainbow. Please visit us soon.

Gingerbread: From 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM is when we are open. Hope to see you there.

Gusty: Welcomb back.

Applejack: Now we have our special guests coming in!

Gusty: We were finally able to book them!

Applejack: From one of the hottest daytime talk shows in Ponyland, here's Tabby and Sugarberry from Tabby and Sugarberry's Gossip Hour!

Tabby: Hi, guys.

Gusty: Hey, Tab. Glad ou both could make it.

Sugarberry: Glad to be here! Sorry about your cold, Gusty.

Gusty: Oh well.

Tabby: See... that's a reason to say no to sports.

Gusty: Sports are awesome. Say yes to sports!

Tabby: No!

Gusty: Yes!

Tabby: No!

Gusty: Yes!

Tabby: N--

Sugarberry: ENOUGH!

Applejack: See what I have to put up with month after month?

Sugarberry: I know how you feel.

Gusty: What was dat supposed to mean?

Tabby: Yeah. Don't you like doing the shows with us?

Applejack: Sure we do. It's just sometimes you get carried away, Gusty.

Sugarberry: And your extreme hatred about the babies and Tex get carried away sometimes, too, Tabby.

Tabby: Gee, now your true feelings come out.

Gusty: Well, den! Tabby an I will just start our own show!

Tabby!: Right! Tabby and Gusty's Cool Corner!

Gusty: Uh…that would be Gusty and Tabby's Cool Corner.

Tabby: Tabby and Gusty.

Gusty: Gusty and Tabby.

Tabby: Tabby and--

Applejack: Let's not start this again! Let's just keep our shows the way they are, okay???

Gusty: Fine.

Sugarberry: This is going to be a loooong show isn't it?

Applejack: Oh, yeah...

Tabby: So...

Gusty: What to say... ummm...

Applejack: We could talk about... uh... no... umm...

Sugarberry: Let me see here...

Tabby: So first we have too many words--

Gusty: An now we're at a loss for dem.

Sugarberry: Well, I'm writing a new Christmas mystery novel.

Applejack: What's it about?

Sugarberry: It's about how... well... I've got it here... let me just read a part of it...

Tabby: Okay.

Sugarberry: "The wind howled outside. The shutters banged against the rickety old house with the cobwebs in every corner.

‘What a way to spend Christmas,' Baby Present sighed.

‘Someone will save us... someone has to...' Baby Future's voice drifted off.

‘No one has ever done it before when we were in such a mess,' Baby Past mumbled, lying her head on the wooden floor."

Gusty: Uh... I don't get it.

Sugarberry: I guess I should have just told you about it. See, you know the Christmas story about Scrooge and the three ghosts?

Applejack: Yeah...

Sugarberry: Well, in this story, the ghosts are portrayed as babies. Mr. Miser is an evil sorcerer who traps the babies inside a magical house. And if the babies are not free to roam about the world, then there would be no Christmas celebration for anyone. No one would remember Christmas... it would simply pass on by as any other day, for the other ponies would lose track of time and not remember what day it was.

Applejack: Sounds interesting.

Gusty: But very confusing.

Sugarberry: It's hard to describe. You'll have to read the book.

Tabby: I'm getting another cat for Christmas.

Applejack: ANOTHER one?

Tabby: I love cats!

Sugarberry: What color will this one be?

Tabby: Calico.

Gusty: Wat's her name goin' be?

Tabby: I'm thinking Calico.

Gusty: So she's calico in color, so you'll name her Calico.

Tabby: Yeah.

Applejack: Actually, I love it! Very cool!

Tabby: Thanks, Appy.

Gusty: Guess what I'm getting?

Sugarberry: A new hockey jersey.

Applejack: New hockey sticks.

Tabby: Hockey... oh, what's that rubber thing called?... puck!

Gusty: Yup. And I'm also getting all new equipment! Gloves, shin pads... da works. ACHOO!

Sugarberry: I'm going to get some stuff for my strawberry garden!

Applejack: I'm getting more apple trees and pie pans!

Gusty: I can't wait for Chwistmas.

Applejack: Speaking of Christmas, we might have a special Christmas special edition of Gusty and Applejack's Talking Times-- so keep your eyes peeled!

Sugarberry: Hey, who all is on your Christmas card list? I'd send one to every pony but... you know how many ponies there are!

Tabby: Well, Gusty, Applejack, Sugarberry, Mimic, Powder, Tickle, Seashell, Crumpet, Blueberry Baskets, and Boysenberry Pie…and a lot more-- Bushwoolies, too! But NO babies and NO Tex!

Applejack: Aw... have a heart, Tabby. Just be nice to them for Christmas!

Gusty: Even I'm giving some babies some cards... and all of the big brothers... including Tex.

Applejack: I'm giving a card to lots of ponies!

Sugarberry: Me too! Come on, Tabby!

Tabby: I'll think about it.

Gusty: After all, your name has the word baby in it.

Tabby: Huh? EEEEK! It does! I'm changing my name! Let's see... how about... Bolt?

Applejack: Bolt?!?!

Gusty: I like the name Mud.

Tabby: Fine... I'm changing my name to Mud and going into hiding.

Applejack: Hehehe... well, that's all the time we have for today on Gusty and Applejack's Talking Times!!!

Gusty: It's been brought to you today by: Gingerbread and Cupcake's Diner. Got a food order you can't make? Let them do the cooking!

Applejack: And by Bushwoolie Bargain Books-- It's food for your brain.

Gusty: Yup.

Applejack: And we thank Tabby-- er-- Mud... formally known as Tabby... and Sugarberry for coming in today! Be sure to watch their show!

Gusty: ACHOO!!!!! And ours! So tune in next time for another exciting episode of Gusty and Applejack Talking Times!

Applejack: This is Applejack and Gusty signing off! Have a great day!

Theme song: Where do you go to, get all the info, your sweet heart so gratefully wants? Where do you go to, have all the fun you, ever can possibly want? Gusty and Appy, they're normally happy, to entertain you! Gusty and Appy, Gusty and Appy, they'll know just what to do. They'll love tooooo iiinnnnform yooooou!


by Wonder and Midnight Dancer

Dancer stared silently at the scene before her taking place at Whitebrook's mile-long training oval. Jazzman was practicing for an upcoming Steeplechase on the inside turf track, and Mindy was galloping around the outside dirt track. Her other friend, Hope, was in the indoor arena practicing stadium jumping.

Dancer frowned deeply and hobbled off back towards the garden. "Stupid cast!" Dancer hissed as she stared at it.

A few months ago, Dancer had fallen and broken her leg, ending her racing career before it started. At first she had been in the hospital, but when she was fitted with a smaller cast and able to move around, she was allowed to return to Whitebrook.

As Dancer approached the garden, she saw that someone was already there. It was a handsome gray Andalusian colt named Orion. He was a superb artist. Today he was painting a picture of Mindy, his girlfriend.

"Hi, Orion," Dancer said as she walked over to where he sat.

"Hiya, Dancer! How are you feeling?" he asked.

"Okay, I guess," Dancer told him. "Nice work, as usual," she said as she looked at the painting.

Orion was about a year older than Dancer, Mindy, and Hope; but he was a great friend and a good listener when someone needed to talk. "Have any more of those dreams?" Orion asked.

"No, I don't think I will again. I'm just wondering if they are really true," Dancer said.

"Well, you know there is only one way to find out," Orion said as he put down his brush. "Done!" he said.

"Are you going to sign it?" Dancer asked.

"Right, right," Orion mumbled as he picked up the brush, dipped it in the black paint, and neatly signed his name in the bottom left corner.

"What will you be working on next?" Dancer asked.

"Wonder and Jazzman thought it would be okay to sculpt a statue of Lord Whitebrook for a centerpiece to the fountain in front of the main barn," Orion told her.

Dancer nodded. Lord Whitebrook was the first Whitebrook stallion and had been Jazzman's great-great-grandsire.

"Orion!" Mindy called as she trotted towards him.

Dancer made a face and turned. As she walked down a small path, she started thinking again. Duchess... her grandmother. Her parents had wanted Dancer to meet her.

"Why didn't we go?" Dancer wondered. "In my dreams, they told me about Duchess. I think I'll go fiddle with the computer and see if I can find anything," Dancer mumbled to herself.

Dancer stared at the computer screen. She had been searching for the last hour. Wonder had given Dancer permission to use the office computer.

Beside her on the desk was a printed-out idea sheet. When she scanned the sheet, she smiled. First on the list was a racing clinic. Wonder had thought it was a good idea, and so did Dancer. That had been one of the surprises Wonder was thinking of. Dancer would be better by then, and Wonder had asked her to help her teach some of the horses since she wasn't going to take part in it.

Just then Mindy burst into the office. "He proposed!" she squealed.

"He did?" Dancer asked with a gasp. "I thought you liked Triumph," she teased.

"Don't joke about that. You know he was just trying to get us mad at each other," Mindy warned.

"I know, sorry," Dancer apologized. "If I could jump up and down and hug you, I would, but my leg still really hurts. When is the big day?" she asked.

"I just wanted to come in here and tell you; I'll be right back, as soon as Orion and I talk about it more," Mindy said, then rushed out of the office as quickly as she came in.

"Did you find anything?" Hope asked that evening after supper as Dancer slowly made her way back to the office.

"Yeah, Clover was Duchess's only daughter; Lord Ainsley was a Triple Crown winner ten years ago; and Clover was a princess. It went on and said how they died, but if I'm related to them, I don't want to read it," Dancer told her friend.

"Wow. Do you think you really are their daughter?" she asked.

"I don't know; it's kinda hard to think of yourself as the daughter of a princess when you grew up in an orphanage. And the daughter of a famous race horse when you're limping around with a broken leg and can barely walk," Dancer said, then glared at her cast.

"C'mon, you know you'll get better; the doctor said you will get your cast off in a week or two. In the meantime, we can help Mindy plan her wedding," Hope suggested.

Dancer shook her head. "No, I've got to find Duchess as soon as I get this dumb thing off," she said, then turned and walked towards the training barn.

"I'm glad you came," Dancer told Orion as they waited outside a gigantic two-story barn three weeks later.

"I'm glad I did, too; with Wonder and Jazzman busy, you need someone to come along, and I was getting exhausted planning for my wedding," Orion laughed, then looked over at the two stallions standing at the entrance to the barn.

Upstairs, a chestnut mare looked out the second story window, and down at Orion and Dancer. "Who is she?" Duchess asked the pony beside her.

"She says her name is Dancer," the pony told her.

"How old is she?" Duchess asked.

"A year and a half. She spent the first year of her life at Dream Valley Orphanage, and ran away to a place called Whitebrook Acres earlier this spring," the pony informed Duchess.

"She is limping. Why?" Duchess asked.

"A terrible accident earlier this summer; she had broken her leg," the pony replied.

"Send them away; she is not my granddaughter," Duchess said, then turned and left the window.

"Sorry, Dancer," Orion said as he helped her out of the taxi back at Whitebrook.

"It's not your fault," Dancer said. Fighting back tears, she walked to her stall. "Why is this happening to me?" she cried as she slowly laid down in her stall.

The next morning was Mindy and Orion's wedding. After Dancer took her daily walk around the training oval to get the strength back in her leg, she watched as Hope and Hollywood styled Mindy's mane and tail.

Now Dancer was watching Orion and Mindy saying their vows. Hope looked over at Dancer and smiled; Dancer smiled back.

"You looked great!" Hollywood cried as she hugged the bride. "Sorry, I can't help crying at weddings!" she giggled.

"The food is good," Hope said as she brought over a plate of appetizers.

"Yeah!" Dancer agreed as she ate a baked and breaded cheese stick.

"Look at Wonder and Jazzman!" Hope pointed over by the fountain, where music was playing. Wonder and Jazzman were dancing together; so were Mindy and Orion.

"Yeah, Wonder is a good dancer. Did you see the size of the wedding cake?" Dancer asked. This wedding reception and party was turning out to be fun.

Two days later Dancer said goodbye to Mindy and Orion as they left for their honeymoon. Hope was going to a show in the next town, so Dancer walked into town to go to the mall; she needed something to cheer her up.

As she stood in Bushwoolie Bargain Books looking through the My Little People Monthly magazine, she thought she heard someone call her name. "Dancer!" she heard someone call.

Dancer looked up and around, but saw nobody; then she looked out the door into the food court; a yellow pony was standing outside the bookstore waving frantically at her.

"Dancer!" the pony called.

"Sunflower?" Dancer gasped. "Hi!" she said as she hugged her old friend.

"Where were you?" Sunflower asked.

"I live at Whitebrook now; can you believe it?" Dancer said as she hugged her friend again. "How are you?" Dancer asked.

"I'm fine. I have a flower shop downtown, and was just having lunch when I saw you in here. Why did you run off?" Sunflower asked.

"I wanted to be a racehorse, and have a good home," Dancer told her. "I broke my leg a few weeks after I got home from Arabia," she said.

"You went to Arabia?!" Sunflower gasped.

"Yeah, I went with Wonder to the Dubai World cup; she won," Dancer said.

"Wow, you are lucky!" Sunflower smiled.

"Not really; I'm never going to race," Dancer sighed.

"There are other things you can do besides racing. You were so talented back in the orphanage," Sunflower said.

"That's what Hope said; Mindy, too," Dancer told her.

"Who are they?" Sunflower asked.

"Just some friends back at Whitebrook; I met Hope when I went to Arabia, and she came to Whitebrook. Mindy I met the first day at Whitebrook; she just got married to a colt named Orion," Dancer said.

"I've missed you," Sunflower told her.

"I've missed you, too. I have been pretty lonely today," Dancer said.

"Maybe we could see each other again?" Sunflower asked.

"Yeah, I'll come by your flower shop," Dancer said.

"Or I'll come by your stable," Sunflower said as she waved goodbye.

The next day, Dancer was going to try to trot around the oval for the first time. Wonder and Jazzman had already finished their workouts, and so had most of the other horses on the farm.

As Dancer walked out of her stall, she saw a note for her on the wall. "Dancer, Jazzman and I went into town to mail a letter to Magic and do some shopping. Hope went to Hollywood's; she didn't want to wake you up; you looked comfortable in there," Dancer read outloud. "Don't trot all around the oval if it hurts too much; you will get better if you don't push yourself. See you after lunch. Wonder."

Dancer smiled at the note Wonder had left, then walked out to the oval. A chestnut mare was standing next to the gap as Dancer walked out. Dancer had never seen her before, or she would have known it was Duchess.

"Are you a racehorse?" the mare asked.

"I wish," Dancer said. "I broke my leg earlier this year," she told her. "I'm just trotting today; my first time."

"Go ahead; I'll watch you," the mare said. Dancer walked out and started up the oval. At the quarter pole, she moved out into a trot. At first it was a little weird, but then she hadn't trotted in a while. By the half-mile pole she was trotting smoothly.

"This is great!" Dancer said as she passed the three-fourths mile marker. She smiled as she walked off the oval and over to the mare.

"Looks like you had a fun time," the mare said as Dancer looked at her leg.

"Yeah, it was okay. I wish it didn't happen." Dancer frowned.

"There are some things you just can't change," the mare said. "Do you want to take a walk?" she asked.

"Sure," Dancer shrugged. "Who are you?" she asked when they reached the end of the drive.

"I will tell you, but first I want to know a little more about you," the mare said.

"I lived at the orphanage since before I can remember, a little over a year ago. They said that they found me sleeping at the bottom of a cliff. I remember having bruises, but I was unconscious, and woke up a few days later," Dancer said.

"Wow, then what happened?" the mare asked.

"Since I couldn't remember anything, they had me stay at the orphanage. Sunflower was my first best friend; we played together. I ran away early spring. I wanted to become a racehorse," Dancer told her. "Wonder and Jazzman were so nice to me. They adopted me and gave me a real home. I saw Sunflower yesterday. She and I are going to get together soon, and I thought I'd introduce her to Mindy, Hope, and Hollywood; they are my new friends. Mindy just got married, so she is off on her honeymoon," Dancer said.

"Sounds like your life is okay after all," the mare said.

"Yeah, except for one thing. I want to find out my past."

"Your past?" the mare asked.

"Yeah," Dancer said. "When I broke my leg, I dreamed about my real family. They were so nice; they told me about when I was a baby, and about my grandmother. I wanted to find out if the dream was real, but I guess it wasn't," Dancer said as she looked at the ground.

"Yes, Dancer, the dream was real," the mare said. "My name is Duchess."

Dancer stopped and stared at her grandmother. "You-- you are?" she gasped.

Duchess nodded and took a few steps back.

"I thought you didn't want to see me?" Dancer said.

"I didn't want to that day; I also had wanted to find more about you, without you knowing who I really was," Duchess said.

"Oh," Dancer said.

"But yes, you are my granddaughter, Midnight Dancer!"


Shining Super Special #1
By Shining (

It seemed to Honor, standing in Smoothie's embrace in the London hospital, that her whole world had just come crashing down around her. "Oh, Smoothie," the bay mare wept, "Caesar's gone! Why did he have to die? I loved him too much." Honor hid her face in her hooves, protecting herself from some unknown demon that would dare take her beloved away.

With tears in his eyes, the roan stallion hugged Honor tightly. "Honor, love, he's not gone forever. You'll see him again one day," Smoothie comforted with his British accent.

Hiccoughing, Honor's cries subsided and she sat down in an uncomfortable hospital chair. "What am I going to do without Caesar?" she asked despondently. "There's no point to life without him anymore."

Smoothie placed his hooves firmly on Honor's slim shoulders and shook her gently, a light appearing in his eyes. "How dare you say that, On My Honor. Your life is indeed important. And you will go on without Caesar. It will be a hard and rocky road, but you will succeed! Because you are On My Honor and nothing and no one can change that. We all love Caesar, but we all love you, too." His voiced trembled with emotion.

The roan stallion's speech, though true and valiant, could not break Honor away from her daze. "I need to go back home," she whispered. Honor's eyes watered; tears threatened to fall down her dark face.

Smoothie's expression softened. "Of course you do, love. Learning to smile again will take time."

"I don't think I'll ever smile again," Honor confessed. Tears rolled down her beautiful face unchecked. "I didn't get to tell him how much I loved him."

Patting Honor's shoulder, Smoothie smiled ruefully. "He knows, love, he knows."

* * *
My Dearest Caesar,

I am writing this letter to you because it is the only way I know that I can express my grief. Why did you leave me? You are off to a place that I cannot go. And I am left here all alone. The world seems so strange without you here. All the colors are gone.

If only I could turn back time and save you. I relive the moment that car swung around that curve so many times that I know I will never forget it. So many "what ifs" run through my head; I try to clamp my hooves over my ears to block out the shrieks. But I cannot. Ironic, isn't it? The car was coming back from a wedding. And we were torn apart on our honeymoon. Sometimes I wish that the couple in the car had been killed, or at least injured, but then I feel remorse because I would not want anyone else to go through the agony I do. But how could they walk away from this untouched, when I can not touch you either?

London was such a special place for us. We had so much fun there. But now I think about that city and only see the dreariness of it.

I can see you so clearly in my mind, but I am afraid that with time your image will fade. I can see your quiet smile and your dark eyes. I remember the way you would look into my eyes, searching for something.

I remember the first time I saw you dance, the way the moon bathed you in all its glory, and it was wonderful. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I cherish those moments, knowing that nothing like it will ever happen again.

For you are gone, to a place where I cannot follow. Farewell, my love. Perhaps one day, we will meet again, and it will be a glorious reunion.

Forever yours,


* * *
Coming back to Glorified Acres was a blessing and a curse for Honor. The stables where she had grown up to be a champion were just more reminders that the happy times she and Caesar had shared would be no more.

Together, Honor and Caesar had trained at Glorified Acres with Honor's parents, Shining and Signature Required, to be two of the world's top dancers. Honor had lived on the farm all her life with her twin brother, In A Moment, but Caesar had come to Glorified Acres as a lost orphan. Caesar had always been reluctant to share his past with anybody, and all Honor knew was that his parents, who had also been performers, had been killed in a terrible train wreck.

For days Honor wandered the winding paths that stretched across Glorified Acres' vast property, lost in thoughts and memories. Honor remembered little about the first few days after Caesar's death.

The funeral was a blur in Honor's mind. She remembered seeing Caesar, looking nothing like he ever did alive. Before, he was strong and proud. But now, he seemed fragile and pale. His once-shining dapple gray coat was dull in death.

In the very back of her mind, Honor knew she was losing. She could feel herself being pulled farther and farther into a quagmire of oblivion, but she felt so weak and defenseless without Caesar, that she didn't have enough strength to pull herself out.

All of Honor's friends and family tried in every way to get Honor out of her misery. Honor's young friend, Liberty Bell, a baby pony from Dream Valley, baked Honor chocolate chip cookies. Smoothie read Honor poetry. Baby Gusty, a long time friend of the family, tried cracking corny jokes. Honor's best friend and twin brother, Moment, had Honor pose as a model for an art project. But it was all to no avail.

"Honor, I'm going to start training on some new two-year-olds. Would you mind helping me with their first lesson?" Shining, Honor's mother, asked one day.

Silently, Honor followed her mother, who looked exactly like her, to the training barn. To make up for Honor's muteness, Shining kept up an endless chatter. "There are a few foals out there that have a lot of promise. I've been having the older colts and fillies like Orion take some of the new ones under their wing for a while. And we might have Wonder's daughter's friend, Mindy, come in to do a clinic. She's originally from Arabia, but she's staying at Whitebrook for a while."

As soon as the two bay mares had reached the training barn, Shining saw a difference in Honor. She held her head high and perked her ears. Shining smiled knowingly. "It's in your blood; you can't stop dancing even when tragedy strikes," Shining said quietly.

Honor blinked back tears and nodded. "But Caesar's in my heart," Honor responded.

Changing the subject, Shining cheerfully discussed the new foals' strengths. "I think Adagio has real potential. He's very long-legged and can keep time to music exceptionally well; hence his name."

"What do you mean?" Honor asked, confused. She was relieved to be focusing on something other than her heartache.

"The word ‘adagio' means a very fast tempo of music," Shining explained. "I think that Adagio's full name is Can't Miss A Classic. He's a real cutie."

The two mares had reached the group of gangly two-year-olds who were gawking at Honor's handsome jet-black father, Signature Required. Smoothie stood nearby, observing Moment, who was busy sketching the scene. Signature turned to greet the approaching bays and flashed them a wry smile. "Well, ladies, we have our work cut out for us," he joked.

Shining smiled and addressed the young students. "Okay, everyone, I want you to meet On My Honor. She is an accomplished performer on the show circuit. Today we'll be using Honor to demonstrate certain passages to you.

"We'll start out with some simple dressage moves. Then work on some jumping; and then as your skills improve, we'll have a combination of the two," Shining announced.

Mechanically, Honor performed the simple passages Shining instructed her to demonstrate. Soon Honor felt herself being pulled slowly from her swamp of despair. She felt sluggish and dizzy, but dancing was something that would distract herself from her heartache.

As Honor passed Smoothie leaning against the Olympic-sized arena's railing, he gave her a worried look. On her next lap, Smoothie signaled her to stop. "Are you okay, Honor?" he asked with apprehension. "You look really pale."

Honor caught her breath and waved off his concern. "I'm fine," she said shortly.

Smoothie shrugged. "Just don't overdo it, love."

Shining called her class to the center of the arena. "That about wraps it up for today, but I'm going to have Honor do a short routine for us. She's been recognized as one of the world's best on form, so be sure to watch for that."

Looking stricken, Honor approached Shining. "Mom, I can't do this without Caesar," she said urgently.

A look of sadness and understanding crossed over Shining's face. "My poor baby," Shining comforted. "Please try, Honor. I think it will be good for you."

With a lump in her throat, accompanied by her heart in the same place, Honor began her routine. Leaping high, the bay mare demonstrated a capriole, kicking mightily. Alone in the ring, Honor serpentined down the arena to a jump standard which she cleared with ease. Tears ran unchecked down Honor's face as she continued on with her performance.

A leap, a piaffe, a carefree gallop. The moves came so easily to Honor, but without Caesar, what good were they? She ended her dance with another fantastic capriole. Her legs were shaky and she wobbled. Honor got one glance at her audience, their eyes aglow, faces showing pure awe. Then she collapsed.

Honor heard Smoothie dash into the arena and stoop beside her. "Honor! Are you okay? Honor!" the roan stallion exclaimed.

Blinking, Honor nodded slowly. A crowd had formed around Honor; anxious faces peered down at her. "I just blacked out for a second. I'm okay." She struggled to get up, but Smoothie scooped her up in his forelegs and carried her to the main barn.

"I knew I shouldn't have let you overdo it," Smoothie muttered, his British accent more obvious because of his agitation. "I'm calling Dr. Rosedust when we get to the barn."

Honor did not protest. She knew that an argument would be pointless. And she was worried that something might be wrong. Honor bit her lip.

When the local doctor arrived, Honor was resting comfortably in her stall. Dr. Rosedust's examination was quick but thorough. "I'll have to do a few tests, but I think I know what made you so dizzy," Rosedust informed Honor. "I'll call you tomorrow."

Nodding, Honor rolled over and slept. Her dream were full of confusing signs. She dreamed that she was dancing in the arena with Caesar, but when she turned, he was gone. Honor cried out his name and tore around the ring, searching for him, but he had disappeared. As Honor galloped around the arena, music blared, the tempo increasing, screaming, Adagio! Adagio!

Waking with a start, Honor cried out. "Caesar!" Blinking, the bay mare looked out the window to the bright morning sunshine. The phone rang, and Honor gasped in surprise. Regaining her composure, she answered the telephone. "Hello?"

"Good morning, Honor," a voice said cheerfully. "This is Dr. Rosedust. I have the test results back and my prediction was right; you're pregnant!"

Honor nearly dropped the phone. "Excuse me?" she gasped.

"I said that you're pregnant," Dr. Rosedust repeated patiently. "The baby will be due probably around May."

The room spun around Honor. Caesar's baby. "Thank you," she managed. Slowly Honor hung up the phone. It's Caesar's baby, she thought. It's our baby. Feeling the familiar lump in her throat rise, the beautiful young mare wept.

Talking aloud to herself, Honor made plans. "I need to get away from here. I have to leave. I just can't stay here right now."

Wiping tears from her dark and swollen eyes, Honor packed a small suitcase. With a rush, Honor ran out of the stall and down Glorified Acres' long driveway, trying to escape the horrors and sadness that followed her doggedly.

Wandering aimlessly, Honor found herself in Dream Valley, the Little Pony community. Looking to her left, she saw the Dream Valley Airport. Setting her jaw, Honor made her way to the airport.

When Honor entered the airport, she felt a sense of panic and trembled like a leaf. Was leaving everyone behind the right thing to do? Shaking her head, Honor cleared her mind and stepped in line to purchase a ticket.

"What can I do for you today?" the friendly pony at the counter asked with a smile.

"I need a ticket," Honor said urgently. "To Kentucky."

Giving Honor a strange look, the pony typed into her computer. "Okay," the pony said slowly, "What day do you want to leave?"

"Today," Honor said shortly, "now."

The pony raised her eyebrows and printed a ticket. "Here's your ticket. Your flight takes off in forty-five minutes."

Once settled on the plane, Honor took a deep breath. She knew everyone at Glorified Acres must be worried about her. She promised herself that she would call when she landed in Kentucky.

* * *
My Beloved Caesar,

When I heard the news, I nearly fainted. This is our baby. I do not know if this is a blessing or a curse. This foal is part of you, but you're not here. I wish with all my heart that you were still here. You would know what to do. I am so confused.

Is it right to leave Glorified Acres and everyone behind? Am I a coward? They have been so sympathetic, but I think I need some time alone to gather my thoughts. I cannot cope with losing you, having a baby, and training at the same time. If only you were here.

Why must good things always come to and before they have really even begun? Why did I not realize when you were here how much I would miss you when you would leave? Why am I not allowed to come with you?

I do not think I will ever be able to forgive those horses in the car. They took you away from me when I needed you so terribly. What am I without you? I feel as if I am not complete. Half of me is gone forever. What am I to do?

Forever yours,


* * *
When she landed in Kentucky, Honor mustered the courage to call Glorified Acres. Biting her lip, she listened to the ringing phone in her ear. "Hello?" Smoothie's comforting British accent answered the phone. He sounded worried.

"Smoothie, it's Honor," the bay mare said quietly.

"Honor!" Smoothie exclaimed. "Where are you? Are you okay? Everyone's been so worried! What happened?"

"I'm okay; I'm in Kentucky--" Honor began.

"In Kentucky? Why are you there, love?" Smoothie interrupted.

Hesitating, Honor swallowed and squeezed her eyes shut. "Smoothie, I'm pregnant. I just needed to get away for a while." Nervously, Honor played with the phone cord.

"I understand, Honor," Smoothie said quietly. "But your parents and Moment are worried sick."

Blinking back tears, Honor sighed. "Can you tell them I'm all right? I can't come home right now, Smoothie. I just can't. My life is so mixed up; I need time to sort it out."

Smoothie answered kindly, "I can try to convince them that you're okay. How long do you think you'll be gone?"

Shrugging, Honor said, "I don't know. I think I'm going to tour around the world a bit. I won't be gone forever, though."

"Okay. Take care, love. And be careful; you're one of the world's most famous horses. I don't want you getting mobbed."

Honor smiled. "Smoothie, think about how many bay horses there are in the world who look exactly like me. And no one's going to know where I'm going to be, so they won't be expecting to see me."

"Hey, I'm just worried about you," Smoothie said defensively. "Be careful out there love; remember, you're taking care of two now."

"I will, Smoothie," Honor vowed. "I promise."

"Good-bye, love."

"'Bye, Smoothie."

For the next several months, Honor traveled the world, seeing some of the most fantastic sites. Honor always avoided going near England. London had been her and Caesar's special place, and Honor felt she couldn't go to the old city without him.

Honor never truly escaped the heartache that haunted her. Some nights, she would wake out of a terrifying dream, crying for her lost love, tears streaming down her beautiful face.

As the days went by, Honor could sense the baby growing stronger and stronger. Thinking about the foal was the only light that Honor saw on those dismal days.

In Paris, Honor climbed all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower and let the tears stream down her face as she stood in awe of the landscape. "Why aren't you here to see this with me, Caesar?" she demanded out loud. Several horses looked over at her in surprise. Honor noticed their startled looks and quickly left.

The Peruvian Amazon rainforest was an adventure for Honor. During the day, she would travel in dugout canoes with natives, fishing for piranha, and searching for pink freshwater dolphins. But at night, as she listened to the gentle lullaby of the frogs and insects, her grief would come rushing back at her so hard that she would lose her breath.

In Rome, Honor found herself daydreaming about the lost Roman Empire. Wandering around the ruins of the Colosseum, she couldn't help but wish that Caesar was there with her.

"Excuse me," a voice pierced through Honor's musings, "do you need help? You look lost."

Honor started, and turned to face a long-nosed Akhal Teke. "No, thank you. I was just daydreaming," she said with a sad smile.

The Teke nodded wisely, his metallic coat shimmered in the sun. "Yes, this is a very good place to ponder. I come here often to think."

Smiling, Honor extended her hoof. "My name is Honor," she offered.

"A pleasure to meet you, Honor. I am called Trinket. What do you think about, dear Honor?" Trinket inquired.

Honor sighed. "I think about sadness, mostly. My husband was killed on our honeymoon, and I can't find a way to go on with my life without him." Honor surprised herself by sharing her woes with a stranger, but it felt good to get it off her chest.

Blinking, Trinket nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, loss can be very painful. I see you loved him very much. What was his name?"

"Caesar," Honor managed, blinking back tears.

"Ah, Caesar. Named after Julius Caesar, no doubt," Trinket mused. "Julius Caesar was a very strong man. He had the trust of every man in Rome. Caesar brought many good reforms to Rome. But tragedy struck when he was assassinated."

"What happened after Caesar was killed?" Honor whispered.

"Oh, for a while, Rome fell to pieces, disoriented without their bold leader," Trinket said. "But Caesar's son, Octavian, later renamed Augustus, came forth and brought Rome to its peak. They call that time Pax Romana, Rome in peace. Rome was at its finest with the changes that Augustus brought to Rome."

Honor stared unseeing at the Colosseum, absorbing all that Trinket had told her. "So Rome recovered from Caesar's death?" she asked doubtfully.

Smiling, Trinket nodded and ran his hoof through his metallic mane. "Caesar did much good for Rome, but after the initial shock of losing such a leader, Rome became an even stronger empire. I hope that will happen with you, dear Honor. It just takes time." Trinket touched Honor's shoulder lightly.

For the first time in months, Honor smiled a true smile of happiness. "Thank you, Trinket, for your story. I understand now." She leaned over and kissed Trinket's golden cheek and ran into the Colosseum's giant arena. Leaping into a tremendous capriole, Honor let out a joyous whinny, releasing all the sorrow that had welled inside her for so long.

* * *
Dear Caesar,

I finally understand. Trinket made it all so clear. I will always miss you; tears fall right now as I write this, but somehow I must overcome the obstacles and live again. But as you know, it's easier said than done. I am waiting for my Pax Romana to come.

Not a day goes by that I do not think about you, and sob. I could not stop the tears if I tried. I long to have you hold me again. Sometimes at night, just before I fall asleep, I think I hear your voice. I look up, but as always, I am all alone.

I can only imagine what you went through when your parents were killed. How did you survive? All these unanswered questions; you left me here bewildered, not knowing what to do. I wish you had told me what had happened. I know you were trying to protect me, and I honor that. Funny how you are the only one who would understand what I am going through, but you cannot be here.

I know it will be a long time still before I am ready to heal, but things have to get worse before they can get better. Our time together, as short as it was, was glorious. I will just have to trust that things will improve someday. But whatever happens, we'll always have Rome...

Forever yours,


* * *
"Smoothie? It's me, Honor," the bay mare said into the phone. Honor shifted her weight from foot to foot as she stood at the pay phone in the Saudi Arabia Airport. Pregnancy was hard on Honor; she was accustomed to being light and graceful, but with the baby, Honor felt awkward and cumbersome.

"Hi, Honor!" Smoothie's voice came through the line with false cheerfulness. "How have you been, love?"

"I'm fine, Smoothie," Honor assured him. "What's the matter? Is everything okay at Glorified Acres?"

"Yes, yes, everything's fine here, love," Smoothie affirmed quickly. "I'm just worried about you. How is the baby?" Smoothie's gentle accent was a comfort to Honor. She allowed a half-smile as she brushed her thick black mane out of her eyes.

"The baby's fine. It keeps me awake at night, kicking," Honor said lovingly.

"Is that the only thing that keeps you awake, Honor?" Smoothie said quietly.

Honor felt her throat tighten and closed her eyes. "It's been really hard," she admitted hoarsely.

"Honor, love, why don't you come home?" Smoothie asked. "Shining misses you and whenever Moment comes home, he always asks about you."

Honor hesitated and bit her lip. "I don't think so; not yet, Smoothie," she said softly. Honor twisted the metal phone cord around her hoof apprehensively and scanned the busy airport. She knew she should go back to Glorified Acres, but she couldn't face it; not yet.

Smoothie sighed, "Okay, Honor, I'm going to let you use your judgment; but really, I need to urge you to come home. When are you due?"

"Mid-May," Honor replied reluctantly. She shifted as another horse bumped her, throwing her off balance.

"Honor, consider the baby. You should get home before it's too late for you to travel. It's late April, love," Smoothie argued.

As much as she knew that it would be best to go home, Honor remained steadfast. "Not yet, Smoothie. Soon, though. Please, just give me a little time," she begged.

Honor could sense that Smoothie was disappointed in her, but he changed the subject in a light-hearted tone. "So, where are you? Where have you been?" he asked.

"I'm in Saudi Arabia right now. I've been to Peru, France, Italy, and some other places too," Honor recited her itinerary.

In the background, Honor could hear a mechanical voice on the intercom. "Last call, boarding flight forty-eight," the voice announced unenthusiastically.

"Is that your flight?" Smoothie asked, hearing the voice through the telephone.

"Yeah, I have to go," Honor replied.

"Where are you headed?" Honor felt her heart break as she listened to the sadness in her friend's voice.

Taking a deep breath, the bay mare gathered her thoughts. "To Ireland," she said in a low tone.

"Okay, I guess I have to let you go, then, love," Smoothie said unwillingly. "Take care."

"I will," Honor whispered. "I'll be home soon." Slowly, the shining bay mare hung up the phone and turned to board her flight.

Once Honor had settled on the plane, she prepared herself for a long flight. She soon fell into a deep sleep. Brow creased, Honor slept.

In Honor's dreams, she relived all of the best times that she and Caesar had shared. To begin, she remembered the first time she ever saw him, a lost foal, his eyes filled with so much sorrow, yet still managing to see right to the soul of her; Honor couldn't look away.

The next thing the troubled mare saw was the night when she watched Caesar dance in the pale moonlight. The way he moved so effortlessly mesmerized Honor, and made her fall in love.

Honor remembered their days in training together. One crisp fall day, Caesar had twirled her around and around in the cascading leaves until they had both gotten so dizzy that they fell into each other's forelegs. Or Christmas morning, in a blanket of fresh snow, when they had made snow angels. Honor remembered every detail.

Honor recalled the night of the show circuit's banquet in London, where they had met Smoothie. They had danced the night away. And then on the quiet streets of London, sharing a perfect moment.

In her dream, Honor felt herself anticipate what would come next. Unconsciously, Honor tensed, waiting to recall those terrifying seconds all over again. Through the haze, Honor could make out the fatal automobile. She couldn't look away, and right before tragedy struck, Honor felt a kick.

Honor woke with a start and then squeezed her eyes shut again, trying to bear the pain. The dark mare barely managed to press the Attendant Call button, for another contraction had seized her body. Honor gasped for a single breath, and then all was black.

* * *
Honor woke up and found herself staring into the eyes of someone familiar. Struggling to rise from her daze, she reached her hoof out to touch the being. "Oh, it's you," she said softly.
"Hello, Honor," the tranquil voice washed a wave of calm over her.

Honor rose to a sitting position with great effort and reached out again to touch her visitor. "Caesar..." Tears began falling down her beautiful face.

Caesar took Honor's outstretched hoof in his own. "Oh, Honor, I'm so sorry," he said, his dark eyes glittered with tears. "I didn't mean to leave you like this."

For the first time, Honor looked at her surroundings. "Where am I?" she asked, confusion evident in her voice.

"You're in the hospital," Caesar replied. "You went into labor on the flight and the plane had to make an emergency landing in London."

"Is the baby all right?" Honor inquired.

A smile broke on Caesar's dappled face. "The baby's fine. A beautiful filly. What shall we call her?"

Honor shook her head and shrugged. "I don't know..." she let her voice trail off.

Leaning over, Caesar kissed Honor gently. "Expect A Miracle," he whispered in her ear.

"Expect A Miracle," Honor breathed. Then abruptly, her tone changed. "What are you doing here? Why-- I can't-- you left so much--" A tear rolled down Honor's face, which was full of questions she knew could never be answered. "I wrote you letters," she said softly. Closing her eyes, Honor leaned her head against Caesar's strong body. Inhaling deeply, she breathed in the familiar scent of him.

"I know," Caesar said. "I came here to say good-bye. I've followed you all around the world, Honor. You were so sad that I knew I couldn't leave you like that. So many times, I tried to hold you, but it just isn't possible," he murmured.

"I felt so alone," Honor wept. "I still do. And I still love you."

"Oh, Honor." Caesar's voice was filled with emotion. "I love you so much."

"How did you ever survive with that much pain?" the mare asked, burying her head under Caesar's strong foreleg.

"Well," Caesar said huskily, "I had you."

Another tear made its way down Honor's face, but Caesar caught it and brushed it away. "I have to go now," he said reluctantly.

"Will I ever see you again?" Honor asked with apprehension.

"I'll always be watching you," Caesar said lovingly.

With a final kiss, Caesar was gone. When Honor opened her eyes, there wasn't a trace that he had ever been there. But she knew he had been there. In a moment of total silence, only Honor heard the quiet whisper. "I'll always love you."

For a while, Honor sat, staring straight ahead, seeing nothing. Her mind was racing, a whirlwind of memories and loss. The irony of it all overwhelmed her. Her daughter had been born in London, Honor and Caesar's special place. And she now lay in the exact bed in the exact room, number forty-eight, that Caesar had lain in.

Then sobs wracked Honor's delicate body. If it was only minutes, or hours, or days, Honor couldn't tell. For as long as it was, Honor grieved for Caesar, and for herself. "I'll always love you, too, Caesar," she wept.

* * *
My Dearest Caesar,

I am finally ready to heal and get on with my life. I am entering my Pax Romana. I am ready. Life calls to me.

Our baby is perfect. She is so beautiful, and her name is exquisite. You said that you would always watch over us, but still, I wish that you could hold her, feel her radiant joy. She almost seems to cry out, "Look, I am me!"

I know that getting back on my feet will be difficult. Certain things remind me of you, and I have to take a moment to collect myself. I know that I can't go back to the show circuit; not yet. Perhaps in time. But for now, I am content just to live life one day at a time. That's what you would have wanted, isn't it?

My love for you will never fade or end, dear Caesar. What we had was one moment of glory, and I carry that with me, close in my heart. But I know I must go on with my life, for though I have waited, I know you will never be able to join me. From the bottom of my heart I say, farewell, my friend. I will never forget you.

Forever yours,



The Quest for Atlantis
by Tabby

Thanks to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis from LucasArts for the inspiration of this story.

Tabby merrily skipped down the path leading to Clever Clover's house. She had walked over to Friendship Gardens from Dream Valley that afternoon. She and Clever Clover were going on an adventure.

Trotting up to Clever Clover's front door, she knocked on it loudly. The door opened soon afterwards.

"Hi, Tabby," Clever Clover greeted her. He was decked out in his archeology gear-- his battered fedora hat on his head and a whip in his front right hoof.

"You're not going dressed up like that, are you?" Tabby wrinkled her nose.

"It's what I always wear when I do archaeology work," Clever Clover defended himself.

"You need a whip for digging around in the ground?... well, at least you remembered we were going off to find Atlantis today."

Clever Clover looked around uneasily. "Um... I've come across a slight problem with that."

Tabby sighed. "Cleve Clove! What kind of a problem?"

"I... uh... well... I can't find the disks."

"You lost the disks!" Tabby exclaimed. Recently, Clever Clover, along with Tabby and Sugarberry, had cleaned out his house. Among the ancient artifacts they had found while cleaning was Plato's Lost Dialogue and three stone disks which they believed to be the key to Atlantis. "What in the world did you do with them?"

"Well... I think... they were stolen."

"Stolen!" Tabby's eyes opened wide. "We told you that you outta lock your house up!"

"See, I never got around to finding the house key," Clever Clover explained.

"So do you know who stole them?" Tabby questioned.

"Maybe... just yesterday when I came home I noticed a mysterious human figure sneaking into the forest behind my house."

"Weren't you even suspicious at that point?" Tabby was nearly screeching.

"No, not really. But I checked through everything in the house and then I realized that the stone disks were gone."

"What about Plato's Lost Dialogue? Is that still here?"

Clever Clover scratched his head. "It might be. I'll have to look."

"Well, come on! Let's go see now!" Tabby exclaimed.

Clever Clover led the way into one of the back rooms, and stooped down to look in a crate where several ancient artifacts were stored. Meanwhile, Tabby idly rummaged through another box in the room.

Clever Clover stood up and shook his head. "They took off with the translated copy Windwhistler figured out for us, but left the Greek original. That one won't get us anywhere."

Tabby listened and nodded her head, but her mind was on something else. She picked up an object from the box she was looking through-- it was an ancient-looking necklace; the medallion was of a strange face with fins on the side. "Hey, Cleve Clove. Can I have this?"

Clever Clover looked at it. "Sure, I guess, if you want. Just be careful with it."

Tabby strung the necklace around her neck and smiled smugly. This was strange behavior for Tabby, as she usually detested jewelry of all kinds.

"Well, now we're without the key and the Dialogue," Clever Clover said.

"I guess we'd better find them then," Tabby suggested. "We're not getting to Atlantis unless we do."

"Let's go looking around in the forest out back. That is where I saw the robber go; maybe he dropped something that would identify him," Clever Clover said, heading out the back door. Tabby followed behind.

"Now, look carefully," Clever Clover instructed Tabby once they were out in the forest.

"Yeah, yeah," Tabby said under her breath. However, she obeyed the orders she was given and walked around, looking closely at the forest floor.

"I think I found something!" she called out a little while later. "Look at this!" She waved a piece of paper in the air.

Clever Clover trotted over and took the paper from Tabby. "It's a receipt from a hotel. There's the hotel's address on here, and a person's name is written on it."

"Great!" Tabby exclaimed. "We can track him down."

"It's over beyond the rainbow," Clever Clover said thoughtfully. "It says it's in a city in Illinois."

"Well, what are we waiting for!" Tabby said. "Let's get going!"

* * *
Tabby and Clever Clover got over the rainbow all right, and Tabby winked them right to the city they needed. It was a city called Chicago in the state of Illinois in the United States.

"So, here we are in Chicago," Clever Clover commented.

"This world really doesn't feel any different than Ponyland," Tabby said.

Clever Clover studied the paper they had found. "Let's go find this hotel."

Tabby shrugged. "You can find it; I can't figure out anything from the address."

Clever Clover started walking and mumbling to himself. Tabby obediently trotted behind. "Getting anywhere?" she questioned.

"Yes, I think we're almost there," Clever Clover said. "We're on the right street."

Tabby sighed impatiently, and then realized something. "Don't you think two brightly-colored ponies walking around a human-occupied city is going to attract some attention?"

Clever Clover suddenly stopped. "You know, that's true."

"This could cause serious problems," Tabby commented. "We'll never be able to get into the hotel without someone noticing us." She stopped and ducked into a nearby alley, and Clever Clover followed.

Clever Clover sighed. "We'd better stop and rethink this."

"It's amazing no one's noticed us already!" Tabby hissed.

"We were lucky, then," Clever Clover said.

Tabby's face suddenly brightened. "Hey! I have my magical power!"

Clever Clover thought. "What is your power, again?"

"I can change into any living thing I want to," Tabby said promptly. "And I think that even includes changing into humans."

"All right!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "Can you change anyone besides yourself?"

"Hmm," Tabby thought. "I've never tried before. I might be able to."

"Try it!" Clever Clover urged. "Especially before anyone comes by and notices us!"

Tabby concentrated hard on her magical ability. Amazingly, she was able to turn both Clever Clover and herself into humans, and clothes were even included in the package.

"It's weird being a human," Tabby said, shaking her head. "Having to walk on just two legs!"

"Yeah," Clever Clover agreed.

"Anyway, onto the hotel," Tabby prompted.

When the two humans walked into the hotel, no one noticed anything out of the ordinary. Tabby boldly strode up to the front counter. "I'd like to know which room this guy is staying in," she said to the receptionist and showed her the receipt.

The receptionist typed something in on her computer. "Okay, he's staying in room number two-thirteen," she said, looking at Tabby. "You can go right up."

"Thanks," Tabby said; and then she and Clever Clover headed up the stairs.

* * *
"Here we are at room two-thirteen," Clever Clover said as the two (still in human form) stared at the door.

"Yep," Tabby agreed. "What do we do now?"

"That's right; we really didn't come up with a plan," Clever Clover realized.

"I say we wait until he leaves his room sometime, then break the door down and get our things back," Tabby suggested.

"I guess that's our only option," Clever Clover said. "It's still fairly early in the evening; maybe he'll still go somewhere tonight.

"He might even be gone at this very minute," Tabby pointed out.

"True. Let's knock on the door and find out," Clever Clover said. He started to knock on the door, and Tabby ducked down behind a large potted plant in the hallway.

Tabby watched as Clever Clover knocked. The doorknob started to turn, and a man opened the door. "What do you want?" he asked Clever Clover impatiently.

Clever Clover was struck with a sudden inspiration. "The receptionist sent me up; she wants to see you down there on something to do with your payment," he told the man.

"I guess I'll have to go see what it's about," the man said, annoyed. He brushed past Clever Clover and started down the stairs, without even bothering to close his own door.

"Yes!" Tabby stood up from her hiding place and thrust one arm up into the air. "Couldn't have worked out better!"

"Now, we've got to work fast," Clever Clover said seriously. "You just stay out here; and if he comes back up before I'm done, try to distract him."

"Like that's going to be easy," Tabby grumbled, but stood outside the door while Clever Clover went in the room to look around.

A few minutes passed. "Haven't you found the stuff yet?" she asked impatiently. "We're running out of time."

"I haven't found them yet," Clever Clover said from inside the room. "But I'm sure we have the right guy. He's got a ton of books on Atlantis and whales and stuff like that."

"Just keep looking!" Tabby hissed. "We're not letting him get away with our stuff!"

"I think they might be in this suitcase... it feels awfully heavy..." Clever Clover said, struggling to open the lock on it.

At that moment, Tabby heard footsteps coming up the stairs-- the guy was coming back! Quickly, she started down the stairs and tried to block his way up. She desperately attempted to come up with a conversation topic.

"Uh-- er-- say, aren't you Megan's father!" Tabby exclaimed brightly to the man.

He looked at her strangely. "I think you've got the wrong person."

"No, I'm sure you're her father! You must be on a business trip, huh?" Tabby persisted.

"Just get out of my way," the man snarled.

"What work are you doing these days? Megan has told me so much about you!" Tabby went on.

"Look, would you leave me alone!" the man exclaimed. "I've got work to do!"

"Just tell Megan ‘Hi' for me, would you?" Tabby said in desperation.

"I don't even know who Megan is!" the man nearly shouted.

"Oh... but... maybe you aren't the right person, after all!" Tabby said. "Oh, I am so sorry. I was just so sure--"

The man shoved Tabby out of the way and continued up the stairs. "Just forget about it!"

"Oh, Cleve Clove!" Tabby whispered. "You'd better be done in there, ‘cause--"

At the very moment the man reached the top of the stairs, Tabby saw Clever Clover sneak back out of the room. Yes! Tabby thought to herself.

Clever Clover ducked down behind the same plant Tabby had hid behind. The man stomped into his room and slammed the door shut. Clever Clover came dashing down the stairs. "Run for it!"

Tabby nodded her head in agreement and ran as fast as she could down the stairs and out the hotel doors. She was not far behind Clever Clover.

"So you got everything back?" Tabby questioned him once they were safely outside.

"Yes, all three disks and the Lost Dialogue," Clever Clover said. "Plus something extra, some sort of a diary or something. I thought I'd take it so we could find out what this guy wants."

"Good!" Tabby exclaimed. "Now we're gonna have to go see those Sea Ponies if we want to get any further."

"Right," Clever Clover confirmed. "Change us back to ponies; then wink us to a place on the ocean shore."

"Do Sea Ponies operate over the rainbow?" Tabby wondered as she changed them back to ponies.

"They'd better," Clever Clover said.

Tabby shrugged and winked them instantaneously to a sandy shore. "Well, here we are... somewhere."

Clever Clover paused in thought. "We don't have anything to summon the Sea Ponies up with."

"Aw, shoot!" Tabby exclaimed. "There's got to be something around we can use... all Megan needed was a teeny little shell."

Clever Clover spotted a small shell in the sand and stooped down to pick it up. "Can't hurt to try," he said as he tossed the tiny object into the ocean.

"Nothing's happening," Tabby commented a few minutes later.

"It might take them a while to respond," Clever Clover said.

"We've been waiting for hours, though," Tabby complained.

"It's only been a few minutes," Clever Clover explained.

"It's got to have been longer than that." Tabby tapped her right front hoof impatiently in the sand. "I say we try something else."

"Find another shell?"

"No-o, I have a better idea." Tabby stooped down low to the waves and screeched in her most high-pitched voice, "O-oh Se-eea Po-onies! If you're down there, you'd better come up, ‘cause we need help!" She stood back up and smiled smugly at her work, then tugged at her necklace. "If that won't get ‘em, nothing will."

"Yeah, it was pretty loud," Clever Clover commented.

Tabby gasped slightly. "Oh! Listen to that!"

Clever Clover leaned out over the water and cupped his hoof to his ear... yes, there was a sound...

"Shoop bee doo shoop shoop bee doo!" Sea Mist sang as she popped her head out of the water. "You two call for me?"

"Just what we wanted!" Tabby exclaimed.

"Need to get somewhere?" Sea Mist questioned. "What're you doing over the rainbow?"

"We're on a quest," Clever Clover explained.

"Sounds like fun!" Sea Mist said brightly. "So where do you have to go?"

"Ooh, you know, that's a good question." Tabby turned to Clever Clover. "Where do we have to go?"

Clever Clove paused and scratched his head. "Umm..."

"Give us a second," Tabby instructed Sea Mist.

"Crete!" Clever Clover finally decided.

"Crete? What's Crete got to do with Atlantis?" Tabby questioned. "Oh, alright, just take us there, Sea Mist!"

"All right!" Sea Mist exclaimed. "Be right back."

Tabby and Clever Clover waited in breathless anticipation. A few minutes later, Sea Mist appeared with two companions, Sand Dollar and High Tide; the three were tugging a large flat white shell.

"Hop on!" Sea Mist exclaimed.

Clever Clover and Tabby scrambled onto the shell and sat down; there were two chairs provided on the shell.

"To Crete!" Clever Clover instructed the Sea Ponies.

* * *
While on the journey, Clever Clover busied himself reading the robber's journal. Tabby amused herself by changing into all sorts of different creatures. "Wheeee! I'm a cat... and a duck... and a rabbit... and a mouse!" As she changed into a mouse, her necklace nearly broke her neck, so at that point she satisfied herself as being her own unicorn self.

"So what's in that journal?" Tabby questioned Clever Clover.

"It's a very interesting plot..." Clever Clover mumbled.

"Like what?" Tabby pressed on.

"He's some maniac who thinks he can harness the power of the ocean by finding Atlantis," Clever Clover explained.

Tabby looked puzzled. "How do you harness the power of the ocean by getting to Atlantis?"

"Well, he writes that from what he's found out, there's a machine inside Atlantis that has the power to turn living creatures into whales."

Tabby snorted. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! But it might be true. I've been doing some reading, too, and I did read that a group of these Atlantean kings got together to turn themselves into whales."

"Why would they want to do that?" Clever Clover asked.

"I'm not sure exactly... it was like they thought they could live and rule the city forever if they were whales."

"Interesting," Clever Clover pondered.

"And there was this one king in particular, Nur-Ab-Fin or something like that. Some sources say that his spirit possessed some necklace."

"You actually believe that?" Clever Clover exclaimed.

Tabby shrugged. "It might be true..."

Clever Clover just went back to reading the journal. Tabby settled back into her chair and stared out across the ocean.

Trying to strike up a conversation, Sea Mist asked, "Think there's been enough rain in Ponyland lately?"

"More than enough," Clever Clover said cheerfully, looking up from the journal.

"Not nearly enough," Tabby contradicted.

"Uh huh," Sea Mist sighed and concentrated on her swimming.

A few more hours passed like this. Finally, much to Tabby's relief, Sea Mist called, "There's Crete right up ahead!"

"All right!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"Yes!" Tabby echoed.

Sea Mist, Sand Dollar, and High Tide pulled the giant shell up to the shore. "There you are," Sea Mist said.

Tabby and Clever Clover hopped off. "When we need you again, what should we do?" Clever Clover was sure to ask.

Sea Mist pulled off a small white shell from a string around her neck. "Here. Just throw this in, and we'll be right with you!"

Clever Clover gratefully took the shell. "Thanks. We'll be seeing you."

With that, the three Sea Ponies ducked down underwater.

"You've got everything in that backpack of yours, haven't you, Cleve Clove?" Tabby questioned.

Clever Clover rummaged through the contents of the pack. "The stone disks... the Lost Dialogue... a few other items I found that might come in handy... and the shell."

"Yep, that sounds like everything." Tabby stood back and surveyed Crete. "So why'd we come here?"

"In my reading, some say that there was a colony of Atlantis on Crete. If we can find that, it might lead us to Atlantis."

Tabby pointed to some ancient ruins up on top of a slope. "Why not look up there?"

The two ponies walked up the slope. The top was tiled with stones. There was another hill on top of this, and in the side of this hill was a heavy-looking stone door blocked off with a stone slab.

"Think we'll have to get through that?" Tabby questioned. "It looks like it'd be awful hard to get through."

"I'll bet you that's what we'll need the key for!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "Look at that pedestal over there with the peg in the middle."

"Are you supposed to put the disks on that?" Tabby asked doubtfully.

"The Sunstone and the Moonstone, at least," Clever Clover explained. "This is the greater colony; only the first two are needed, according to the Lost Dialogue."

"It's a good thing we got Windwhistler to convert that Dialogue over to English," Tabby commented. "So put the disks on it already!"

Clever Clover placed the Sunstone and Moonstone on the pedestal. "We have to push these around to the right combination, then push down on the peg, and it'll open the door," he said cheerfully.

"Nothing to it," Tabby grumbled. "How're you supposed to know the correct combination?"

"The Lost Dialogue should give a clue," Clever Clover said, and pulled the book out of his backpack. He flipped through the pages until he found the page he was looking for, then stopped and read for a little while.

"Well?" Tabby pressed.

Clever Clover scratched his head. "It says to align them so that the ‘sun is dying as a new moon is born.'"

"What in the world does that mean?" Tabby asked, peering at the stone disks.

Clever Clover fiddled around with the disks. "From what I can tell, the position they're in now matches what the Dialogue said." He pushed down on the peg.

They both waited. "Nothing happened," Clever Clover noted.

"You can say that again," Tabby said.

Clever Clover tried several more combinations, but none of them worked to open the door.

"Here, let me try!" Tabby exclaimed and pushed Clever Clover aside. She started randomly pushing the stones around and pushing the peg.

Finally, as she made another random combination, the door actually opened! The stone slab that was blocking it pushed away to reveal an open doorway.

"Look at that!" Clever Clover said in awe.

"And if it weren't for me, you'd still be trying those dumb combinations," Tabby said. "So what's in here?" She peeked around the corner of the door.

"It seems to be a labyrinth," Clever Clover explained, quickly picking up the disks and looking behind the door also.

"I still don't see how we'll get any closer to finding Atlantis by going through this thing," Tabby sighed.

"We'll find something; I know we will!" Clever Clover said optimistically.

"Yeah right," Tabby grumbled.

Clever Clover advanced into the labyrinth. Stone walls surrounded them on every side. Tabby followed Clever Clover in, and the two cautiously and silently walked across the floor of the first room.

There was another door on the other side of the room. And after the two walked through that one, there were two more doors in the next room.

"We'll never find our way out!" Tabby exclaimed.

"Aw, of course we will," Clever Clover said. He picked one of the next two doors and boldly walked through. Tabby shook her head, but followed him.

"There's a funny looking statue in here," Tabby noted.

Clever Clover nodded. "It looks like a bull."

In the center of the room was a rectangular stone slab that was cut away from the rest of the floor. Tabby tentatively placed a hoof on it. "What could this be?"

"Possibly an elevator," Clever Clover decided. "There must be a lower level."

"Interesting." Tabby walked to the middle of the slab, and it wobbled slightly. "How would you go about getting it to go down?"

"It must need more weight," Clever Clover said. He also walked over onto it, but it still didn't go down. "We must not be heavy enough."

"Hmm," Tabby thought. She was oh-so-anxious to get down there; she was sure there was something terribly exciting to be found. "There's got to be a way!"

Clever Clover also paused in thought. He looked up at the statue. "I wonder..."

"What?" Tabby asked.

"The head of that statue looks loose. If we could get it off, it might provide the extra weight we need."

Tabby shrugged. "Go ahead and try."

Clever Clover tried to reach the statue head with his hooves, but he couldn't quite make it. He suddenly came up with an idea. "Get off to the side," he instructed Tabby.

"Fine," Tabby said. She walked to the edge of the room.

Clever Clover pulled his whip out of his backpack. He thrashed it through the air and aimed at the statue head. He was very skilled with his whip, and the statue head fell down, right onto the elevator platform.

"You sure handle that whip well," Tabby said in awe.

"Well, let's see if it works now," Clever Clover said. He stepped onto the elevator, and Tabby followed.

"Yes! It's moving down!" Tabby exclaimed.

"So it is," Clever Clover said.

They slowly descended to the lower floor. Tabby stepped off first. "Just more stone walls," she sighed.

Clever Clover stepped off the elevator also, and without their weight the elevator sprang back up to the top level. "There's another door, though," he pointed out.

Tabby trotted over to it excitedly. "Oh, here's something!" she exclaimed.

Clever Clover followed Tabby. In the next room was a stone stand, and on it sat a small gold box. "Cool!" he commented.

"Put it in your backpack," Tabby instructed. Clever Clover did as he was told.

"Oh, there's some beads under it," Tabby exclaimed. "What are they?" There were three small, round gold beads that glittered. "They're pretty, aren't they?"

Clever Clover scooped the beads up, too, and stuck them in the gold box he had just put in his backpack. "They must be oricalcum. I've read about that in the Lost Dialogue."

"What were they used for?" Tabby asked curiously.

"The Atlanteans used them as money... many times they could be used in a statue mouth to make it do something," Clever Clover explained.

"Oh... now, how are we going to get through this door?" Tabby pointed at the next door; a heavy bronze gate stopped them from going any further.

"I don't think even my whip can get through that," Clever Clover said.

"A dead end!" Tabby sighed.

"We can always go and finish exploring the upper level," Clever Clover suggested.

"You can go back up; I'll stay here. Just be sure to come back," Tabby said.

"Okay," Clever Clover said and walked back out to the elevator. He suddenly realized that he couldn't get back up to the first level. "Uh oh."

He started exploring the area more throughly, hoping to find a way back up. There was a waterfall to the right of the elevator; otherwise there was nothing that would be of help in getting back up.

Clever Clover inspected the waterfall closely. "Hey, there's a chain in here!" he exclaimed. "I wonder..."

Taking hold of the strong chain, he started to pull himself up the waterfall. It was very dark in the stone tunnel the waterfall ran down, but he eventually reached the top of the chain. "Now, how do I get out of here..."

He noticed a crack of light coming through the stone wall on one side. Yes, there seemed to be a door there...

Clever Clover pushed hard on the cut-out door. Luckily, it popped open for him and he came out in the room where the elevator was. "Wow!"

* * *
Meanwhile, Tabby was still in the lower level, bored out of her mind. Maybe I should have gone back up with Cleve Clove, she thought. I wonder how he got back up, anyway.

She tried to amuse herself again by changing into different creatures. This didn't hold her attention for long, though. In the end, she just sat down and aimlessly hummed to herself.

"That Cleve Clove had better come back soon," she said aloud. "Oh, there's got to be a way of opening that door!"

Tabby sat there for a while more. Finally, much to her relief, the elevator started to come down again. "Cleve Clove! Is that you?"

"Yep!" Clever Clover called down. "And I found something really neat."

The elevator came back to rest on the ground, and Clever Clover stepped off. Once again, it sprang back up.

Tabby jumped up from her seat on the ground. "So what is it you found?" she questioned.

Clever Clover held up a carved fish on a string. "It's a fish carved of amber. I found it in one of the rooms above."

"What's so special about an amber fish?"

"In the Lost Dialogue, it says that amber is used as a detector of oricalcum. It might prove useful," Clever Clover explained.

"That Plato just knew everything, didn't he?... well, anyway, we've still got to get through that blocked-off door!" Tabby exclaimed.

Clever Clover walked back to the blocked-off door. "It just doesn't seem like there's any way past it."

Tabby suddenly had an idea. "Oh, it just hit me! I can just wink us through it!"

"I thought unicorns couldn't wink through walls," Clever Clover said.

"Yeah, but we learned how to cheat..." With that, Tabby winked them both to the other side of the door.

"Well, that worked," Clever Clover noted.

"Oh, it's just another dead end," Tabby sighed. This was true; there were no more doors to go through.

"Hmm," Clever Clover thought. He pulled out the amber fish and dangled it in the air. "It's pointing at your necklace!" he exclaimed.

"That's strange... it's not made of oricalcum, is it?"

Clever Clover stooped over to inspect Tabby's necklace.

"Look, but don't touch!" Tabby warned.

"I wonder..." Clever Clover reached into his backpack and got one bead out of the gold box. He then placed the bead into the hole in the mouth of the medallion.

"What'd you do that for?" Tabby questioned. Suddenly, a ghost-like apparition appeared from out of the necklace, taking the shape of a whale. It only lasted a few seconds, and then disappeared.

Tabby gasped. "What in the world was that?"

"Very strange. Well, now we know why the fish pointed at the necklace. There must have been oricalcum residue in it from past uses," Clever Clover explained.

"I'll bet you it was Nur-Ab-Fin!" Tabby said suddenly, referring to the whale apparition.

"Back to that guy again? Come on, Tabby!"

"Well, anyway. What are we going to do know? We're at a dead end, remember."

"There's got to be something else to this room." Clever Clover paced the floor. "Otherwise they wouldn't have gone through the trouble of putting up a door."
"That's true," Tabby said.

Clever Clover's face suddenly lit up. "I've got an idea!" He made a grab for Tabby's necklace.

Tabby reeled back. "Don't you dare take my necklace!" she cried out in sudden alarm.

"I'd give it back to you after I'm done," Clever Clover said.

"Well, what do you want to do with it?" Tabby questioned.

"I want to put it in this box here." Clever Clover pulled the gold box out of his backpack.

"Wanna put it in a box, huh?" Tabby lifted her eyes. "For how long?"

"Just long enough for me to try something."

Tabby sighed. "Oh, fine. Put it in your stupid box." She unlatched the necklace and handed it over to Clever Clover.

Clever Clover placed it in the box and snapped the lid shut. "Now all the oricalcum is locked up in the box, and won't mess up the oricalcum detector," he explained.

"So that's it." Tabby still looked like she didn't really understand.

Clever Clover dangled the amber fish from his hoof again. "Look! It's pointing at the wall there!" he exclaimed. "There must be something behind it!"

Tabby yawned. "And how do you suggest getting behind the wall? It looks pretty solid."

Clever Clover walked over to the wall that the fish had pointed towards. "Well, the rocks here look loose. I might be able to dig it out." He rummaged through the contents of his backpack. "Ah ha! It's a good thing I brought this stick with me." He extracted a short, thick wooden stick.

"Well, get to work," Tabby directed. "We haven't got all day."

Clever Clover sighed and started working with the rocks using his stick. Tabby stood around and didn't do anything to help.

* * *
About an hour had passed when finally Clever Clover dug out enough rocks to reveal another doorway. "I told you there had to be another room!" he said triumphantly.

Tabby walked through the newly-exposed doorway. "And look, here's another bead." She picked up the oricalcum bead and looked at it in amazement.

"That's what the fish detected," Clever Clover said.

There was nothing else in that room, but there was another doorway. The two explorers cautiously advanced through it; they came out into a new, larger room.

"Look at that!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

"Wow!" Tabby added. What looked like a miniature diorama of Atlantis was laid out in the room.

"It's laid out in three concentric circles, just like Plato described it!" Clever Clover said.

"So is this Atlantis?" Tabby said, moving closer to the small diorama.

Clever Clover rolled his eyes. "No, it must just be a map of it. But we must be getting closer to the real thing!"

"And what are we supposed to do now?" Tabby questioned. There was another door, but the entrance was blocked off with a thick slab of stone. They wouldn't be able to get through that on their own.

Clever Clover walked through the diorama. "Look, there's a pedestal in the middle, and it looks like it's for the stone disks again!"

Tabby groaned. "We don't have to use those dreaded things again, do we?"

Clever Clover shrugged. "There really isn't any choice at this point." He placed the three disks on the pedestal, and pulled out the Lost Dialogue.

Tabby anxiously peered at the disks as Clever Clover kept trying combinations. "Have you got it yet? Have you got it yet?"

Clever Clover frowned. "No. I'm trying to do what the Lost Dialogue says, but it doesn't seem to work. It says to set them up with ‘darkest night soon to rule the western sea.' What was the combination you used to get into the labyrinth?"

Tabby paused in thought. "Well, I really don't know. At that point, I was just randomly flipping the stones around."

Clever Clover sighed. "We might be here for awhile yet."

Tabby had to sigh, too. "I'm bored out of my mind."

Clever Clover kept trying combinations in silence. Tabby tried to waste time changing into different creatures again, but that didn't hold her attention for long.

Finally, much to Tabby's relief, the last door opened as Clever Clover pushed down the peg in the middle of one combination.

"Yes!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "After all that time." He quickly started towards the open door. "Come on!" he directed to Tabby, then ran into the next room.

Nothing else in here, he thought to himself, a bit disappointed. It was just another small room, with a large amount of sloping loose rocks piled up in the back. Hmm... where's Tabby?

At that point, an ear-splitting shriek reached Clever Clover's ears; it sounded very much like Tabby. Oh, what's she up to?

He didn't think much of it, though, when Tabby didn't follow him into the room. He finished looking around it. There wasn't much to see; it was just another small room like many they had been in previously. "Well, this is a let-down," he mumbled to himself.

Clever Clover walked back in the main diorama room. "Tabby?" he said tentatively when he didn't see her. "You there?"

He looked around carefully. There wasn't a sign of her. But was that a hole in the wall over on the other side of the room? Yes, and there was sunlight streaming through it! Clever Clover trotted over to the hole; Tabby must have wandered off through that, as it lead back outside from what he could see.

He looked out the large hole in the wall, and there was grassy ground right outside. Remembering the stone disks, he quickly went back to the pedestal-- but they weren't there!
Tabby wouldn't have remembered to take them with her, Clever Clover mused. Something's not right here!

He scrambled out the hole back into the outside world and looked out over the view; he was on top of a small rise. There down at the dock built in modern times sat a small submarine! And there was that guy who'd stolen the disks and the Lost Dialogue pushing a pink unicorn down inside the sub!

"Something is definitely not right," Clever Clover mumbled and paused in thought to decide what to do.

"All right, so the guy obviously took the disks along with Tabby. With that submarine, I'll bet you he's figured out where Atlantis is and that's where he's headed. Assuming he's not planning on hurting Tabby, my best bet would be to go to the Sea Ponies."

By the time Clever Clover had thought this through, the submarine had pulled away and was now under the water. Clever Clover ran down to the shore.

Though he could not screech as well as Tabby, he called out loudly over the ocean, "Umm, Sea Ponies! You down there?" He had forgotten to use the shell Sea Mist had supplied him with.

The response was almost immediate. "Hey, Clever Clover!" Sea Mist exclaimed. "Need our services again?"

"Yep," Clever Clover said. "But... I'm not sure exactly where I'm going."

"Oh, come on! You've got to know where you're going! Where's Tabby, anyway?"

"She was just kidnaped," Clever Clover explained.

"Ooh, the plot thickens!" Sea Mist said with relish. "But that's not the point. Where do you need to get to now?"

"Well, where I really need to be is Atlantis, but--"

"Atlantis!" Sea Mist interrupted. "Why didn't you just say so?"

"But... you don't know where it is, do you?"

"Of course we Sea Ponies know where it is!" Sea Mist exclaimed. "We've known it's precise location on the ocean floor for centuries now!"

"That's good," Clever Clover said with relief. "But how can you get me there? I can't exactly swim that far down."

Sea Mist paused in thought. "We have just the thing you need!" she said after thinking a second. "Be right back!"

Sea Mist jumped down beneath the water and again returned with two other companions lugging a large shell-- but this time, the shell looked to have a large bubble covering it.

"For an extra ten jangles, you get to use this special model," Sea Mist said. "Air tight, so you don't have to worry about breathing under water."

"That sounds good, as long as I can pay you when we get back to Ponyland," Clever Clover said.

"Your credit's good with us!" Sea Mist said. "Hop on in! There's a little door on the side; be sure to close it tight once you're in!"

Clever Clover obeyed his orders and sat down inside the air-tight shell. "And now to Atlantis," he instructed the Sea Ponies.

Sea Mist nodded and the shell got under way.

* * *
Meanwhile, Tabby was stuck on the submarine. After that guy had kidnaped her in the diorama room, he'd taken her down to his submarine. And now she was stuck in a room on the lower floor of the sub-- or so the guy thought.

Tabby stared up through the grating of the floor above her. "Man, a small bird could fit through those holes easy enough!" she exclaimed. Quickly using her magic ability, she transformed into a hummingbird and hastily flew up into the upper level.

Tabby as a hummingbird aimlessly flew around for awhile; then she realized she had to do something.

After that she realized she didn't know what she had to do. As far as she knew, they were headed to Atlantis. The guy must have stuck the stone disks somewhere, but if she got them back, what would she do?

Yep, it'd probably be just as easy to stay stuck here a prisoner, Tabby decided. I can try to escape once we're at Atlantis.

She flew down into the lower room and changed back into her normal unicorn form. "I wonder how Cleve Clove's doing," she said aloud.

* * *
Clever Clover stared out into the surrounding ocean. The Sea Ponies were now taking him under water. He hoped they got to Atlantis quickly; this was rather a nerve-wracking way of getting there.

After what seemed like hours, the Sea Ponies approached a stone-walled chamber on the ocean floor and swam inside. Clever Clover noted that the submarine was already parked there.

Sea Mist was able to talk to him through the bubble. "Well, here's Atlantis for you. It's an air-tight chamber inside... so you'll have to swim; we can't take you any farther."

Clever Clover nervously opened the door on the side of the bubble and prepared for the swim. It didn't take long to get inside the air-tight chamber of Atlantis.

Clever Clover waved an okay to the Sea Ponies and they swam away. The he began exploring the place.

It was a large stone room, and very dark. Clever Clover stumbled around. How was he going to find anything in this darkness? Tabby and that guy were probably already inside, beyond this room.

He crawled up a short, sloping incline. His eyes were finally adjusting to the darkness, and he made out another pedestal where the three stone disks sat. Right next to the pedestal was a door-- an open door.

"That guy must really be an idiot," Clever Clover mumbled. "You'd think he'd have the sense to take the disks with him." He picked up the disks and put them in his backpack once again.

He could make out much more in the room now. Across from the door was a stone box. Clever Clover struggled to lift the lid off, and inside sat a gold staff with a carved animal head on the end, which looked like it could be a whale. However, there was an opening in the mouth.

"I wonder what would happen if I put a bead in the mouth..." Clever Clover extracted one of the oricalcum beads from his backpack and stuck it in the carving's mouth. Immediately, it started glowing with light and the whole room was illuminated.

"Cool!" Clever Clover exclaimed, and then proceeded through the door with his lighted stick.

* * *
Well, Tabby was locked up in another jail cell-- this time in Atlantis. The idiot who'd kidnaped her hadn't left the cell guarded, however.

Tabby hastily turned into a hummingbird again and flew out of the heavy bronze door of the cell. She flew out the door that led out of the prison chamber.

That got her out in a hallway, with several small rooms off of it. She found nothing of interest in any of these.

But let's see-- there was a big double-door that looked like it had to be opened from the other side. Oh yes, she'd remembered being taken through that. They guy had closed it again afterwards. Well, that wouldn't help her any.

The only other place left to explore was through another door; Tabby changed back into a unicorn and trotted through the doorway.

This brought her next to a large canal with water flowing through it. Two large carved fish heads with water flowing out of the mouths were on the opposite wall, and an open gate was on either side. A wide stone walkway was on either side of the canal. There were several piles of strange looking bones as well; they had odd fins growing off of them.

Tabby suddenly realized she didn't know where in the world Clever Clover was-- for all she knew, he hadn't even gotten to Atlantis. She groaned. If he didn't get here, what was she going to do?

* * *
Meanwhile, Clever Clover was making his way through the many rooms in Atlantis. Many of the rooms didn't contain anything of importance, but some were very interesting indeed. One room contained a carved pool with lava inside and several smaller streams of lava coming off of it through statue heads. Another interested thing was a very large machine. There were carved statues on either side and a funnel on the top. A long flight of steps on each side led up to the funnel, and there was a statue at the bottom holding a shallow bowl. As far as Clever Clover could tell, this was a device for making oricalcum beads.

He'd picked up several items in the other rooms-- a carved eel figurine, a stone cup, and a stone statue head.

Clever Clover had now been in all the rooms he was able to get in-- what he needed to get past was a large set of double-doors.

Before figuring out how to get past the doors, though, he wanted to try his hand at making some oricalcum with the machine. According to what he'd heard, oricalcum was made from lava-- that must be what the Atlanteans had the lava pool for. But how could he get some of the lava from the pool over to the machine?

Clever Clover rummaged through the articles in his backpack-- it was getting quite full and bulky. His hand rested on the heavy stone cup he had found earlier. "Yes, this might work!" he exclaimed, and ran back over to the lava pool room.

When he got back to the room, he realized he couldn't just dunk the cup into the pool; he'd get his hoof singed off. Could he use one of the smaller streams pouring into it? No, he'd get singed that way, too.

Clever Clover noted that there was what looked like a space for another carved head, like the ones where smaller streams of lava poured out. A small pedestal sat under the slot. He started thinking, and came up with a plan.

He placed the stone cup on the pedestal under the space for the statue head; then he got the statue head he had picked up earlier as well and placed it into the slot provided. Lava started pouring out of the head's mouth, and the cup was soon full.

"It works!" Clever Clover exclaimed. He picked the head back up, and the lava flow stopped. Then he picked up the cup of lava and carefully carried it over to the oricalcum machine. He walked up the many steps to the top of the machine and poured the lava into the funnel on top.

The large, impressive machine went through a variety of performances as the lava seemed to make its way down the machine. Finally, Clever Clover heard a tinkling in the dish at the bottom; beads fell from the statue's mouth and made quite a large pile in the dish.

Clever Clover dashed back down the stairs. "All right! Oricalcum!" He scooped up all the beads and placed them in the gold box.

"Now for the door problem." He trotted back to the large set of double doors. "Hmm..." There was a fish statue several feet away from the door, with an opening for the mouth!

"I hope this works," Clever Clover mumbled as he took an oricalcum bead out of his backpack and placed it in the fish statue's mouth. Sure enough, the set of double-doors creaked open!

Clever Clover ran through them, and was slightly disappointed when he found what was on the other side. There were just a few more rooms, like so many he'd seen before.

He peeked into one of the rooms. There were several jail cells inside. This suddenly made him remember Tabby. I wonder where she is...

Clever Clover trotted through the last doorway... there was a large canal with water running through it, and... "Tabby?" he cried out.

Tabby whirled around. "Hey, Cleve Clove! So you made it to Atlantis; that's good!"

"Where have you been?" Clever Clover questioned.

"That moron locked me up in one of those jail cells." Tabby stopped and laughed. "But I changed into a bird and flew out."

"Where'd that guy head to, anyway?" Clever Clover prodded further.

"Well, after he got through those big doors, he closed them up again. Then he threw me in jail, and left. I can only guess that he went over here after that," Tabby said, gesturing towards the canal.

Clever Clover looked over the canal carefully. "Is that a raft over there?" he exclaimed with excitement, and pointed to the opposite side of the canal.

Tabby squinted. "That crab thing?"

"Yeah, it looks like a raft." It was indeed a raft, a crab-shaped one.

"It's on the opposite side of this canal; we can't get at it," Tabby pointed out.

"Then we'll have to swim across," Clever Clover said promptly.

"You're not getting me into that water!" Tabby said. "You swim across, then get on the raft and pick me up."

Clever Clover shrugged. "Fine with me." He jumped into the canal, and swam across to the other side. He jumped up on the stone walkway, and then onto the raft. "How do you get it going?" he asked, mystified.

"Try putting a bead in it's mouth," Tabby suggested.

"Oh, yeah!" Clever Clover exclaimed. "There is a hole there." He rummaged around and got another oricalcum bead out of his backpack, and placed it in the crab's mouth. Strangely, its legs started moving up and down, propelling the raft.

As the raft neared the other side, Tabby prepared to jump on. She made the jump okay. "So now what?"

"Well, it's moving up to the other side of that gate," Clever Clover pointed out.

"So we'll keep going like this?"

"That's what it looks like."

They did go on like that, through several more gates. Once through one of the gates, a large doorway was on one side of the walkway.

"All right! Let's get off!" Tabby said excitedly, and leapt onto the stone walkway. Clever Clover followed after.

"Now through this door," Tabby said, slightly nervous. She tentatively walked through the door.

"More of the same," Clever Clover commented. It was just another circular stone hallway.

"Maybe there's another room to go into," Tabby said, prodding them on.

They had walked a little ways through the hallway when they found a doorway. "There's got to be something exciting behind that!" Tabby exclaimed.

"You'd think, after all this time," Clever Clover said. "Well, let's go."

They entered, and what they saw nearly took their breath away. It was a gigantic, circular ancient machine: huge carvings of whales and other aquatic life sat on top.

"What can it possibly be?" Clever Clover wondered.

Tabby's manner suddenly changed, and her voice didn't sound like Tabby's at all. "Silence, fool!" she cried out.

Clever Clover bristled. Sure, Tabby usually wasn't very polite in what she said, but this went much beyond what she usually did. "What do you mean by that?"

"It's obvious to anyone that this is the whale machine!" Tabby continued in her un-Tabby-like voice.

"The... whale machine?" Clever Clover stuttered.

Tabby was silent as she walked inside the machine. Inside was a platform surrounded by water; two narrow walkways led onto it. Off to the side sat another fish statue with a hole in its mouth. "And I, Nur-Ab-Fin, am the maker of it!"

Clever Clover was really confused now. "Nur-Ab-Fin? You're not Nur-Ab-Fin! You're Tabby! Aren't you?"

"Tabby is no more!" the pink unicorn roared.

"Umm... where'd she go?"

Nur-Ab-Fin, or Tabby, or whoever, was silent for a moment. "Now! I must be turned into a whale!"

Something suddenly dawned on Clever Clover. "It's that necklace!" he cried out. "That's what's doing this to you! Let me have it!"

"You'll not get my necklace!" the unicorn exclaimed. "Leave me be to my machine."

Clever Clover knew he had to act quickly if he ever wanted to see Tabby again. He took a flying leap at the unicorn and got her down on the ground. This confused her long enough for Clever Clover to snatch the necklace from around her neck.

"No-o-o!" the unicorn cried.

Clever Clover acted quickly and tossed the necklace into the pool of water. "There, it's gone now!" he said with satisfaction.

"Aw, man, Cleve Clove!" Tabby's voice sounded like Tabby once again. "It's a good thing you got that thing away from me!"

"Nur-Ab-Fin must have possessed you through it," Clever Clover explained.

"Yeah, well, whatever. I've always said not to trust jewelry," Tabby said, shaking her head.

Clever Clover shrugged. "Now what're we gonna do?"

"Umm..." Tabby was watching something behind Clever Clover. "Cleve Clove..."

"Ha!" a voice came. Clever Clover whirled around. It was that guy again! "You're not going to get the pleasure of being a whale; that's reserved for me!"

"Hey, we don't wanna be whales!" Tabby interjected.

The man faced her. "You don't, do you? Well, then you're missing out on a lot."

"Who is this lunatic," Tabby whispered under her breath.

"I'm going to harness the power of the ocean once I'm a whale!" The man laughed evilly. "And you'll be the first two I destroy!"

"Don't be so sure of that!" Clever Clover exclaimed.

The man walked out onto the platform in the middle of the water. "Now, I'll need your help. You'll have to put the oricalcum in that statue's mouth to make the machine work."

"You think we're actually going to help you?" Clever Clover demanded.

"Aww, come on, Cleve Clove." Tabby waved her hoof in the air. "It's not like it'll actually do anything."

"You doubt the power of this machine, do you?" the man said.

"Well, yeah." Tabby shrugged.

"Just put ten beads in the statue mouth, would you?" the man said impatiently.

"Go all out! Use a hundred," Tabby suggested.

The man considered this. "All right, a hundred," he agreed.

"Do you have that many?" Tabby questioned Clever Clover.

Clever Clover sighed and dug out the gold box that he used to store the oricalcum beads. He'd gotten an awful lot of beads out of the oricalcum machine. "Yep, I think there's at least a hundred in here."

Tabby took the box and walked over to the fish head. "All right, I'll count out a hundred." She was silent for a few minutes, counting. Finally, she announced, "Ninety-eight... ninety-nine... one hundred beads!" Tabby tossed them in the fish statue's mouth.

"I hope we know what we're doing," Clever Clover said.

The man on the platform braced himself. The platform he was standing on mysteriously started to rise up, and a whale-head carving suddenly started to move down from the ceiling. Several bolts of green light shot out at him, making crackling noises.

The transformation was finally complete. The result made Tabby shriek with laughter. "Aw, man! You cannot believe how funny you look! You look so--"

He did look pretty funny. He looked like a very miniature-sized whale, but still had the head of a human!

"Gonna harness the power of the ocean like that, huh?" Clever Clover said, amused.

"You-- you-- you must have counted the beads wrong!" the man stuttered as he angrily flopped around on the platform; unfortunately, he could still use his voice.

"I think this machine was just cheaply made to begin with." Tabby gave a kick at the fish statue.

"Yeah, I think so," Clever Clover agreed.

"I say we make a run for it and get away from this moron as quickly as possible!" Tabby said between fits of laughter.

"Sounds like a good idea," Clever Clover said. The two ponies ran.

"Don't leave me here! Don't leave me like this!" the whale-man cried, but Tabby and Clever Clover didn't listen.

They ran through all of Atlantis and got back to the air-lock. "I guess we'll have to call for the Sea Ponies again," Tabby sighed.

However, she saw with relief that the three Sea Ponies were already there waiting for them! "We thought we'd stick around and wait for you to get done," Sea Mist explained.

Tabby and Clever Clover swam out to the bubble-protected shell, opened the door, and climbed in.

"Back to Ponyland?" Sea Mist questioned through the bubble.

Clever Clover and Tabby nodded. They'd be glad to get back after this adventure!


Treasures in the Attic
by Merry Treat

Dainty Dove leaned against her broom as she wiped her forehead. "I'm so glad that you guys decided to help me clean up my house," she said gratefully to Light Heart and Morning Glory.

Morning Glory smiled. "Don't mention it! We always love to help a friend!"

"Yeah, if it weren't for you, I'd have absolutely nothing to do this weekend!" Light Heart added from a corner of the room.

The three of them had been working on Dainty Dove's house all morning, and were just finishing up the basement. Dainty Dove surveyed the basement one last time. "Yup. All clear here," she said to her friends as she turned to head up the stairs.

Light Heart picked up the bucket of soapy water and lugged it to the foot of the stairs. "Hey, you guys wanna help me with this?" she gasped as she dropped it with a thud on the bottom stair. Dainty Dove and Morning Glory looked at each other, and then at Light Heart. Then all three of them burst out laughing for no reason at all.

Morning Glory giggled. "Oh, I think that we've been inside for too long!" At this comment, they all laughed even harder.

When she had finally regained her breath, Dainty Dove declared, "Well, since we're finished, let's go eat some lunch, and then we can start on the attic."

Light Heart and Morning Glory agreed to that, and they went up the steps wiping their hooves on their "grudge cloths."

* * *
Once they got back from the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, they went to work on the attic. "C'mon you guys! Let's go up and start cleaning!" Dainty Dove insisted as she urged them up the stairs as quickly as possible.

As the wooden door to the attic creaked open, a shower of dust billowed out from the opening.

"Have you ever... aaa... cleaned... aAa... this room befo-CHOO!" Light Heart sneezed loudly as dust showered over her. Morning Glory and Dainty Dove burst out laughing.

"I've never heard the word ‘befo-choo' before!" Morning Glory teased. Light Heart glared at them for a moment, and then she burst out laughing, too. The three of them turned to go inside the attic, and gasped in wonder at all the old things that were piled up against the walls or in boxes. They instantly forgot about cleaning.

"Oh, wow, Dainty! I never knew that you had so much stuff!" Morning Glory marveled as she flipped through an old book. It was so old, you could barely see the gold letters across the front cover that were supposed to be the title.

"Neither did I!" Dainty replied from inside a box of junk. Suddenly, Light Heart burst out laughing as she looked at something inside a box. "Hey, guys! You are not gonna believe what I found!" She walked over to them carrying a picture of Dainty Dove in a hippie costume. Dainty Dove blushed beet red.

"Uh, guys? That's my mother!" Dainty Dove explained quickly. "You see, I look just like her. And that's not a costume she's wearing, those are her regular clothes!" She received blank stares from her friends.

"No way, Dainty! Your mother really dressed like that? Like, how old was she?" Light Heart asked, unbelieving.

Dainty nodded. "Yup! That's when she was in college in the seventies. Everyone dressed like that." As she scanned the room, Dainty's eyes landed on an old faded chest sitting in a lonely corner at the end of the room. Curiosity got the best of her, and she found herself heading towards it. Light Heart also saw the chest, and followed Dainty to investigate it.

Morning Glory saw them going to the corner and decided to check out what they were looking at. As the three ponies neared it, Dainty gasped and hurried the last few foot steps to the chest. She knelt down in front of it to examine it and discovered that it was a faded rosy pink with a pretty pale blue design on it.

"What's up, Daint? What is it?" Light Heart asked anxiously.

"I-- I think it's my grandmother's wedding chest. I know I've seen this chest before when I was really little. It's my grandmother's chest; I'm sure of it!" She carefully opened it, and a shower of dust covered them.

Coughing and sneezing, Dainty eased a faded white veil from the chest. It was made of lace, and floated like mist. The crown part was made of white roses, and was just as lovely as the day it was made. She put it on her head; it fit like a charm.

Light Heart and Morning Glory were at a complete loss for words at this point, so they just watched with their mouths open and eyes wide.

Next, Dainty lifted a beautiful gown out. It was the same color as the veil, and just as beautiful. Rhinestones glittered from the chest area, and continued to stream down the skirt and sleeves, which were puffy. The collar also glittered with rhinestones. Satin ribbons and bows covered the gown everywhere.

Dainty carefully folded the gown and set it aside. Than she looked in the chest again and brought out a gorgeous diamond ring. It was golden, and in the exact middle of it was the diamond. Oh, that diamond! It was huge and glittered like stars. As Dainty turned the ring from side to side, brilliant rainbow colors showered all over the place.

She set it down carefully and took out a pair of gorgeous slippers that were covered in rhinestones. They were the same color as the gown and veil, and just as lovely. She set them with the other things, and took out a beautiful blue hair comb. It, too, sparkled with rhinestones.

Last but not least, there was a picture. It was of Dainty's grandmother and grandfather. Her grandma was wearing all of the items that were found in the chest. They looked very happy.

"Wow. I had no idea that all of this was up here. These are the most wonderful treasures!" Dainty exclaimed. Morning Glory and Light Heart had to agree.

Dainty replaced the items, and the three at last started work on the attic.


Dream World
Part 2
by Faeriewing

Shady threw the humid blanket off of her shoulders and jumped to the ground. She landed with a thump, and peered out the crack in the door. She heard the doors slam, and she raced out of the tiny little room at full speed, which wasn't very fast.

With a pounding heart, she scanned the flowing hills and streams of Ponyland. Not a soul in sight.

* * *
A lone shadow crossed through the darkness of night. The creature opened the heavy oaken door of Shady's annex and tip-toed in. The door flung closed with a loud bang, startling the intruder out of its wits.

Shady rolled restlessly on her bed of straw. A single silent hoof lay a piece of note paper on top of the weary pony, and stealthily crept out.

* * *
Bright sunshine flooded into the musty hidden room, and flew right into Shady's sleepy eyes. She woke with a start, feeling that something had happened that night. The curious pony hurled off her worn sheets, only to find a crumpled paper sitting on her bed.

She studied the paper intensely, and read, "Meet me at the Field of Flowers after lunch!"

Shady was so excited, she trotted straight out the door, forgetting her daily rituals such as combing her tail and mane, so that the other ponies would not make jokes. Shady knew that someone, somebody must like her! Only the more popular ponies left notes for each other! But, then again, they might have dropped the note there by accident, meaning to leave it for another pony.

She was dazed and confused. Shady skipped her breakfast to think about the note. She ignored the other ponies laughs and jousts. She was too busy to care about what the other ponies were saying.


The Tabby and Sugarberry Gossip Hour!
by Tabby and Sugarberry

Tabby: Well, well! Here we are again!

Sugarberry: My, the time flies, doesn't it, Tabby?

Tabby: I didn't know we were having fun.

Sugarberry: Oh, but remember Thanksgiving day? Wasn't that fun? I'm still stuffed with sunflower seed cakes.

Tabby: Those things tasted kinda strange...

Sugarberry: You say that about anything that isn't a strawberry sundae.

Tabby: I just love strawberry sundaes!

Sugarberry: I think Rex and Nestor hated to leave Ponyland this year.

Tabby: Well, why didn't they stay?

Sugarberry: Maybe we ought to suggest that to them next year.

Tabby: If they stayed in Ponyland, turkeys would soon be overrunning the countryside.

Sugarberry: Cool!

Tabby: As it is, now the deer are overrunning the countryside.

Sugarberry: The deer over the rainbow heard from the turkeys that Ponyland was a safe place to come to during the season when the "gruesome neon orange monsters with fire sticks" appear.

Tabby: That sounds almost like something we'd find in the Dark Forest.

Sugarberry: The deer say that every November these horrid creatures materialize behind every tree, rock, and shrub.

Tabby: And these terrible monsters have fire sticks that hurt... bad.

Sugarberry: Whole families are destroyed!

Tabby: And after several weeks of this, the monsters disappear... as quickly as they came.

Sugarberry: The deer can then return to normal living.

Tabby: And now everyone's out Christmas shopping.

Sugarberry: How about you, Tabby?

Tabby: Oh... that's right. I'll have to buy presents, too.

Sugarberry: What would you like for Christmas?

Tabby: Well, I'd really like the Flip Beanie Baby, but they're rather expensive.

Sugarberry: I'll keep my eyes open for one.

Tabby: I'll just buy My Little People for everyone on my gift list.

Sugarberry: That's an easy way out.

Tabby: That's exactly why I decided on it.

Sugarberry: You don't enjoy Christmas shopping, do you, Tabby?

Tabby: It takes too long. Especially with the baby ponies in the toy aisle. Why, Sugarberry, do they let baby ponies in the toy aisle?

Sugarberry: Think about it, Tabby.

Tabby: I'm thinking, but I'm not coming up with anything.

Sugarberry: Got your tree up yet?

Tabby: I was planning on getting one from the Dark Forest one of these days.

Sugarberry: Oh, me too! Let's go together!

Tabby: What'll you decorate yours with?

Sugarberry: I've been hand-crafting strawberry ornaments and red bows for my tree.

Tabby: I've heard that the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe was putting up a tree today.

Sugarberry: Knowing Scoops, it'll be decorated with miniature plastic ice cream items.

Tabby: Food items just don't seem like they'd go well on a Christmas tree.

Sugarberry: Yes, but I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Tabby: Well. What's next?

Sugarberry: The Bushwoolie Bargain Book Store is collecting food and clothing items for the poor ponies again this year.

Tabby: Donations can be dropped in the big decorated boxes outside the book store.

Sugarberry: And please be generous!

Tabby: Isn't that the same line you had last year?

Sugarberry: It works, doesn't it?

Tabby: What's your worst Christmas memory, Sugarberry?

Sugarberry: One year when I was quite young, I asked Santa Pony for a Corn Patch Doll (this was before My Little People dolls, Tabby) and all I found in my stocking on Christmas morning was a lump of coal.

Tabby: Somebody didn't like you, did they?

Sugarberry: I cried for days, and I've never trusted Santa Pony since.

Tabby: I've never trusted Santa Pony; I was always scared out of my mind of him.

Sugarberry: Yes, I've noticed at the mall when you see a Santa Pony you always detour around him.

Tabby: My worst Christmas memory was when I had to sit on Santa Pony's lap. Man, that was scary!

Sugarberry: Did you cry?

Tabby: Oh, yes, loads! And screamed, too!

Sugarberry: I can well imagine. What's the best Christmas gift you've ever received?

Tabby: Hmm... let me get back to you on that.

Sugarberry: Mine came the year after the lump of coal incident. My mother gave me a china tea set with a moss rose design. I played with that set for hours and hours and I still have it, Tabby!

Tabby: All right, my best present was my very own personal pet ‘Koosa.

Sugarberry: Whatever happened to your ‘Koosa?

Tabby: I lost him. I think he ran back to Wykoosa Valley.

Sugarberry: How sad!

Tabby: He's probably happier there, though, with all his little ‘Koosa friends.

Sugarberry: We can only hope.

Tabby: Well! Now what?

Sugarberry: Have you started your Christmas baking yet?

Tabby: What? Christmas baking?

Sugarberry: You know, working with flour, and eggs, and sugar, and the-- oven!

Tabby: O-o-oh!

Sugarberry: What's Christmas without Christmas cookies!

Tabby: Well, what would I do with them after I baked them?

Sugarberry: Most people eat them, Tabby.

Tabby: Oh! Yeah! Sorry.

Sugarberry: And you can give them as gifts.

Tabby: That would always work.

Sugarberry: Ever try a fruitcake?

Tabby: Fruitcake, Sugarberry! Who'd want a fruitcake?

Sugarberry: Properly made, they're very delicious.

Tabby: Isn't there only like one fruitcake that keeps getting recycled every year?

Sugarberry: That's just a nasty rumor.

Tabby: But it's so true!

Sugarberry: How's everything at the clinic, Tabby?

Tabby: Tex brought Emilio in again!

Sugarberry: What more can happen to that poor little tarantula?

Tabby: He got a sliver in one of his feet.

Sugarberry: How'd that happen?

Tabby: Tex let him go tree-climbing.

Sugarberry: That sounds like Emilio; he likes to be out and about.

Tabby: He'd be happier in a cage.

Sugarberry: You know what it's like to be locked up in a cage, Tabby!

Tabby: Actually, no.

Sugarberry: It must have been difficult getting a sliver out of Emilio's tiny foot.

Tabby: Very difficult indeed.

Sugarberry: But you were successful?

Tabby: Yeah, I'm such a great vet that I was able to do it with no problem.

Sugarberry: Certainly, Tabby.

Tabby: Hey, Queen Serena's having an open house at the Royal Paradise on Christmas Eve!

Sugarberry: Yes, all of Ponyland is invited to attend! There'll be lots of food, and everyone will be singing Christmas carols!

Tabby: Aw, man, we have to sing Christmas carols?

Sugarberry: And roast chestnuts on an open fire.

Tabby: This is sounding uglier and uglier every minute.

Sugarberry: You haven't heard the worst of it yet.

Tabby: This sounds bad.

Sugarberry: Santa Pony will be there.

Tabby: That does it! I'm not going!

Sugarberry: I've been hearing rumors that there's a grove of decorated trees in the Dark Forest. Isn't that strange?

Tabby: From what I've heard from Cleve Clove, Butch has decorated the trees in front of his shack.

Sugarberry: Have you ever been to his place?

Tabby: No, but Cleve Clove hangs out there a lot.

Sugarberry: I suppose Sundance visits often.

Tabby: Well, he is her brother.

Sugarberry: Perhaps she could take us there to see his Christmas trees.

Tabby: That'd be nice.

Sugarberry: Maybe we should wish everyone a merry Christmas, Tabby.

Tabby: Oh, yeah. Merry Christmas.

Sugarberry: May the peace and love of the Christ Child be with you always!

Tabby: Eek! Don't get so sentimental on us!

Sugarberry: Tabby... don't forget the true meaning of Christmas.

Tabby: Well, I don't... it's just that I don't like sentimentality. Is that a word?

Sugarberry: Yes, it's a word. But to make you happy, I'll keep it simple. Merry Christmas.

Tabby: That's better.

Sugarberry: See you in the new year!

Tabby: Yay!!


Brightblade Warpony
An Epic

Recorded by Clipper as dictated by the bard Ramon

Chapter 12

Summary: On a warm spring day, a Dream Valley Pony, Brightblade, met a mysterious unicorn calling herself Epona. She told Brightblade, whom she called Warpony, that he was destined to save Ponyland from destruction by slaying a fearsome beast. But before he could slay the beast, he would have to recover an ancient weapon-- the Warrior's Horn from the distant Temple of Light. Five months later he returned with the horn, and Epona began to guide him to the lair of the beast as he recounts the tale of his quest for the horn.

Their way now lit, the travelers were able to progress more quickly into the unknown. The passage eventually began to level out and widen. The passage had become a massive cavern. Their course through the cavern was indicated by a sort of path weaving its way between stalactites, stalagmites, and columns. The path branched as the passage had, and the Warrior's Horn continued to illuminate the proper course.

Outside the path, amidst the shadows of the slender stone projections, strange shapes with glowing, red eyes flitted about, accompanied by the sounds of scurrying, slithering, the flapping of wings, and the occasional faint growls, moans, and mocking laughter.

"Khaa!" kawed Breeks. "We have walked into the heart of darkness. We are but three against an army. If we live, this will make a most magnificent song to sing. But if we die, there will be none to sing our praise."

"It is not the body we must fear," said flame-maned Epona, "but only the head. Without its leader, this army of darkness will pose us no threat."

"So," Brightblade said, "that is the beast I am to slay, the one that threatens Ponyland."
"Yes, but the time has not yet come for you to worry yourself with that. Why do you not continue telling your tale?"

I had just recovered the Warrior's Horn from the innermost chamber of the Temple of Light when I heard a commotion from outside. Though I feared for the safety of my friends-- Ramon the rat and Breeks the raven-- who waited for me outside, the calming affect of the horn would not allow me to disturb the reverence of the temple by rushing through its chambers. I walked slowly and calmly to the outermost chamber where my friends waited. When I emerged, I was greeted by the baying of wolves.

"We've got a problem," said Ramon.

Breeks was perched on the horn of the restored guardian statue I had battled to gain entrance to the inner chambers of the temple. "Kharr! Kerberus has followed us with his minions. They've the temple surrounded."

I remained calm. I looked out over the valley where Kerberus' wolves were assembled below the Temple of Light. "This will give me a chance to test the Warrior's Horn," I said. I stepped out of the columned outer chamber of the temple into the sight of the wolves. Their baying escalated to vicious barking and growling, but they did not advance.

"Kerberus!" I called out, trying to sound confident. "If you are truly such a great warrior as your following would suggest, come forward and face me in single combat to determine my fate and the fate of my friends!"

The massed wolves parted and the large, dark form of Kerberus stepped forward in the gap. "My, my, pony; you seem to have grown a backbone since our last encounter. Are you sure you don't want the bird to fight me in your stead?"

"I have made my challenge and I will stand by it," I replied.

The wolf grinned. "It will take more then a new hat and loud words to defeat me."

I lowered the Horn. "Then I shall have to give you more."

I walked forward with confidence; Kerberus, poised to strike, bared his teeth and growled. As I neared my foe, the Warrior's Horn began to glow; the nearer I drew, the brighter it glowed. I could see in his eyes that Kerberus was unnerved a bit by this, but he stood firm, waiting until I was near enough; then he struck.

He threw himself toward me with his jaws wide and his claws spread, but before he could touch me there was an explosion of light from the Horn. I felt nothing, but Kerberus was thrown back. He landed with a thud but was unhurt and unwilling to give up. He charged me with a mighty growl. This time he did not attack me head-on but swung around to attack from the side. I twisted my head around as he lunged, caught him with the horn, and flung him over my back. This time he landed with a rather pathetic-sounding yip.

Some of Kerberus' followers were beginning to loose faith in their leader and were leaving the valley, and Kerberus was not blind to this. "Come back here, you swine! Come back or I will hunt you down once I am finished with this pony! Hunt you down and make you suffer!" This only discouraged the wolves, and more left.

I walked up to Kerberus and lowered the point of the Warrior's horn to his face. It glowed so brightly, he had to avert his eyes. "You are beaten, Kerberus," I said. "Your pack has deserted you. There is no need to continue this."

Kerberus was silent for several moments. "Very well," he finally spoke. "You and your friends are free to go. I will cause you no trouble on your passage through the Pack Lands; but if any of you return, you will know my wrath."

All present knew the last part was only said to save face with his few remaining pack wolves, and they followed their leader off the field of battle with their tails tucked between their legs.

As the wolves disappeared in the distance, Breeks flew down from the temple and perched upon the Warrior's Horn. "Kraaaah!" he screeched. "You are truly the Warpony, friend Brightblade, just as I knew you were."

"Good job," said Ramon as he scurried down from the temple. "I was afraid you wouldn't make it at first, but that horn sure showed Kerberus a thing or two."

"Not just the horn," I told him. "Without a pure spirit to guide it, the horn is little more than a decoration. I do not know how I know this, but the power of the horn comes from its wielder."

"I hate to interrupt your tale," Epona said, "but we are coming to a challenging point in our journey that will require our full attention, even that of the freeloading bird."

Breeks huffed and ruffled his feathers at that remark, but said nothing.

"What must we do?" asked the Warpony.


Invento Ponies
by Sugarberry

Guardian Angel Ponies

Angel Breed Ponies-- these are molded both in female form (for those who envision their guardian angel as feminine) and in big brother form (for those who envision their angel as masculine).

They are pure white: body, mane, and tail. Their wings are of delicate lace molded over wire so as to be poseable. They have a birthstone-jewel imbedded in their rumps and on their foreheads.


Silent Night
by Sugarberry

Baby Nectar stood back and surveyed the manger scene. With the help of her friends and family, she had arranged to hold a living nativity in the downtown park. Baby Nectar sighed with satisfaction; everything was ready for tonight when they'd take their placed for this Christmas Eve reenactment of the birth of the Christ Child.

Only one problem remained to be hurdled-- they had no baby for the manger. None of the mothers in Ponyland would let their newborns outside in the cold, wintry air for the length of time needed.

Since last year's Christmas memory of the birth of Jesus was still very strongly etched in Baby Nectar's mind, she wanted this portrayal to be perfect. "Help us find a baby, dear Jesus," she whispered softly.

So just this morning Baby Nectar had sent word to Megan that she desperately needed a Christ Child figurine, and could Megan bring one to Ponyland. Now all Baby Nectar and the others could do was wait. They were scheduled to begin at 9:00 PM; the hours seemed to be skimming by.

When evening came with no sign of Megan, Star Glow felt so concerned for Baby Nectar that she offered to fly over the rainbow to see what was keeping Megan. In only a brief time, she returned with bad news. "The other end of the rainbow is engulfed in a major winter storm," Star Glow sadly informed Baby Nectar. "There's no way Megan is going to get here now!"

Baby Nectar hung her head. There would be no Baby Jesus in the manger. Yet the scene must go on. She bravely smiled at Star Glow and thanked her for her efforts.

It was now time to dress for the parts they were playing. Baby Nectar was Mary, clothed in a blue mantle; the Playtime Baby Brothers were also helping out; Paws was cast as Joseph. Everyone was given a part: shepherds, angels, and kings.

Baby Stripe's mom dug out an old human-like doll and wrapped it in "swaddling clothes" for the ponies to place in the manger. It wasn't nearly as nice as the porcelain figure Baby Nectar had planned on from Megan, but it would do.

Tiny white flakes were beginning to fall silently as the ponies left their homes for the park. Spotlights accented the manger and stable setting that they had previously prepared.

Moving to the manger, Baby Nectar was surprised to see that it was already occupied with a delicate figure of the Christ Child. "Hey, everybody," she called out joyously. "Megan got through after all!"

Ponies and pals gathered around the manger and "Oohed" and "Aahed" at the beauty and life-likeness of the sleeping infant. Then they dispersed to take up their appropriate spots in and around the stable.

The snow was falling harder now, and gusts of wind occasionally blew the cold crystals into the stable and onto the figure in the manger. Baby Nectar, as Mary, was puzzled that any flakes that landed on the baby's face melted immediately, while those landing anywhere else were accumulating in little puffy piles. She glanced as Baby Paws to see if he noticed anything odd, but he was standing silently with eyes closed.

The gentle baa's and moo's from Baby Wooly and Baby Leafy gave a realistic atmosphere to the stable. Baby Nectar became lost in the mystery of God's gift to mankind-- His only Son born in a humble stable.

Getting hit with a stronger blast of wind that showered her with snowflakes, Baby Nectar renewed her gaze on the figure in the manger. She noticed that the wind had blown the white blanket covering the baby away from the baby's body. Porcelain or not, Baby Nectar was convinced that the Christ Child would feel the cold; so she quietly moved closer and tucked the blankets more securely around the sleeping form.

"This is so strange!" she thought. When her paw softly touched the cheek of the baby, it felt warm. She slowly brushed across its cheek again, and drew her paw quickly away. She hadn't touched cold porcelain; it was living flesh. But how could that be?

By this time, Baby Paws had come to join her at the manger. Baby Nectar looked at Paws, and saw in his eyes that he, too, was aware of something out of the ordinary. Their gaze dropped back to the infant before them; and at that moment, the sleeping infant opened His eyes.

Baby Nectar had seen eyes like that only once before, last Christmas Eve. She and her pals had sheltered a traveling human couple in the stable behind Paradise Estate, and the woman had given birth to a child. And that child had been the Christ. In His eyes was the depth of love of God for His creatures. Baby Nectar's heart almost burst within her as the baby suddenly smiled at her.

Baby Nectar and Baby Paws dropped to their knees. There was magic in the air. The snow stopped falling and the clouds cleared the sky to allow a single radiant star to illuminate this gift of God lying in the manger. All the ponies and pals were filled with a deep peace as they gathered close around the manger. Heaven had reached down and blessed them in this very special way.

Instinctively, the multitude around the manger joined hooves and paws and began singing Silent Night. As they reached the line, "Oh holy Infant so tender and mild," the Child raised His hand in blessing, and disappeared from their sight. A crumpled white blanket was all that physically remained of this holy encounter. Baby Nectar cradled the paw that had touched the Infant and felt within herself a deep and abiding love.

"Sleep in heavenly peace, Baby Jesus," she whispered. "Sleep in heavenly peace."


All submissions are expected to stay true to the sweet, innocent nature of the MLPs. This means nothing immoral and nothing violent. I shall reject any submissions I do not think meet these requirements.


Our next issue will be sent January 1st.


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