My Little Pony Monthly Issue 22 (January 1,
My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Child-Friendly
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All The Pretty Little Ponies
(A Revisionist Interpretation of the MLP Mythos)
C. Alan Loewen
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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. In their first encounter, the winged pony Medley lies injured,
having saved Draggle from a spell that backfired on Hydia. Comments and constructive criticism
may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan knelt on the grass, shocked at the extent of Medley's injury. Her right
foreleg was definitely broken and they were miles and probably years away from anybody who
had the skill to set a pony's broken leg.
Megan looked up as the whole cap of the Mushrump flamed. The Moochick, the
Mushrump's strange little innkeeper, hadn't even turned to look at his house; his whole attention
was centered on the winged pony that lay on the grass.
Twilight carefully nudged Medley with her nose. "Medley?" the little unicorn asked.
"Can you hear me?"
Medley groaned and lifted up her head, blinking, and stared at her foreleg. "Looks
like I had a bad landing." She suddenly groaned. "It hurts bad."
The Moochick stroked Medley's face. "Now don't worry, Mistress Medley. I do
have some other talents other than innkeeper." He turned to the group and asked them to step
back. "I have to set the leg and you can help me by going into the shed out back if it hasn't
burned down and get me some pieces of thick stout wood and some cord.
"You," he said to Aunt Constance, "can help me by going to the garden over the
hill. You'll find a large tall plant with a spike of yellow flowers and very large leaves. Get ten of
the largest leaves for me."
The six ponies and Megan went in search of the shed while Sarah accompanied
When they returned, they found Medley with her leg straight, but in great pain.
"There, there, Mistress Medley," the Moochick said as he tenderly wrapped the leg in the large
leaves, "the worst is over."
Skillfully, the Moochick then braced the leg with the stout wood and tied it securely
with the cord. During all this time, the Moochick never once glanced at the burning remains of his
mushroom inn, centering all his attention on the injured pony.
"There," he said some time later. "Not a bad job for an old mushroom of a man like
me." He turned to the ponies. "She has to stay off that leg for at least a week. Then she can take
some small steps and see how she does. And no flying for at least six weeks.
"Now," he said anticipating the questions that were surely to come. "I believe that I
have a small wagon just large enough to transport a wounded pony and I will need volunteers
from your sisters to pull it."
All six sisters volunteered to pull the cart. Ember was too small and Firefly's wings
would be in the way of the traces. That left Twilight, Starlight, Bowtie, and Applejack. Taking
turns, they would be able to pull the cart through the Wood of the World providing the roads
Working with Aunt Constance, Sarah, and Megan, the Moochick showed them how
to put the leather harnesses on the ponies so they would be comfortable. After a lengthy review
and practice session with the harness, the Moochick was able to rummage up enough straw to
make the cart comfortable.
The only guests that remained behind were the bears who snuffled and snorted as if
waiting patiently for something. The Moochick nodded at them and carefully, though Medley
cried out several times, they gently lifted the pony up onto the cart. Twilight and Applejack were
the first volunteers to pull the cart, and with that they prepared to resume their journey.
"But, Mr. Moochick," Megan asked. "What about the Mushrump?" She pointed
sadly at the smoking ruin that had finally burned down to the ground. The Moochick sighed and
surveyed the damage.
"I suppose it is a complete loss, yes?" he said. "Well, never mind; I'll just have to
grow a new one."
"A new one?" Megan asked.
"Oh, of course," the Moochick replied. In fact, that one at your feet will do quite
Megan jumped back and scrutinized the ground. There, almost buried within the
grass, stood a tiny mushroom whose cap was no larger than a dime. "That?" she asked
The Moochick knelt and studied it carefully. "Yes," he said nodding vigorously,
"that one will do quite nicely. I'll have everything right as rain in just two weeks.
"Now, go with good speed and may the Wood show you your way."
Before they left, the Moochick took Aunt Constance aside and spoke low so that
only she could hear. "There are some things you need to know, madam," he said. "A pony or a
horse cannot lay for long. They get very ill, but as Medley is not a true pony, it may be that her
still for a week may not harm her. If she begins to cough, you need to make her walk regardless of
her leg. Nonetheless, I hope the Wood delivers you to your destination quickly.
"Finally, I know that was no normal fire that destroyed my inn. I can smell magic,
and magic was behind that fire. I suspect the old woman and her two daughters for many reasons,
so if you meet them in the wood, take care."
Megan's final glimpse of the Moochick was of him waving goodbye, while, behind
him, the ruins of the Mushrump continued to smolder. At his feet, there was a mushroom at least
a foot tall and visibly growing.
Before they had traveled any great distance, the landscape slowly changed until
once again they found themselves walking among the monolithic trees of the great silent Wood.
Mercifully, the path had grown wider and more level making the cart easy to pull and more of a
gentle ride for Medley. Spike insisted on riding in the cart next to Medley and after several
attempts to make him walk under his own power, Twilight and Applejack assured everybody that
the weight of the little dragon made no great difference in pulling the cart.
Sad and depressed, Firefly walked close to the cart where she could be next to her
twin sister. She did not feel like flying without her constant companion, and Madra was doing a
good job as a scout, racing ahead and sniffing among the great trees so Firefly's services were not
really needed. The rest walked in silence with none of the usual conversation or friendly banter
that marked their earlier walks into the Wood.
That night, they set up camp next to a small stream, and after looking after
Medley's needs and rubbing down Twilight and Applejack from their day in the harness, they all
fell into a deep sleep, except for Medley. Her leg throbbed and, though not in any great pain, it
was enough to keep her focused on the dying fire.
Two hours later and still awake, Medley heard somebody stumbling up the dark
path. Medey raised her head to cry out a warning when she saw in the dim firelight it was the girl
who had ridden on her back from the window. Putting her finger to her lips to ask for silence, she
quietly made her way among the sleepers until she stood next to Medley's cart.
Medley simply stared at the thin, homely girl: her hair a wreck, her face stained with
dirt, and smelling like she desperately needed a bath. In the firelight, the girl simply stared at the
wounded leg while one solitary tear cleared a path through the dirt-stained face.
"I feel bad," she whispered to Medley. "My mother didn't really mean for this to
A million questions ran through Medley's mind; a million things to say, but of all the
questions, she merely asked, "What's your name?"
"Draggle. Your leg's broke, isn't it?"
Medley nodded her answer.
"I feel so bad. I've never felt bad about anything before, but Morgan's spell book
has nothing in it about fixing broken legs. My mother said so."
"Why does your mother want to use Morgan's magic against us?" Medley
"Mother—her name's Hydia, but it used to be Hilda—wants to be a sorceress so
bad. All she's done before is cook and slop pigs. Anyway, Morgan said if we took her spell book
and used it to stop you from going where you're going, mother would finally be a sorceress.
Mother wants to be a somebody, but if it means hurting ponies, then I don't think that's really so
good." She sniffled and wiped away another tear. "I feel so bad," she whispered again. "I feel sick
and sad and I want to make it right and I can't.
"Hydia, Reeka, and I are camping not that far away. I had to come after they fell
asleep to make sure you were all right."
"But, Draggle, you didn't break my leg. We had to do something to escape the fire.
There was nothing else to do."
"But if mother hadn't started that fire, you would never have needed to jump out
Medley nuzzled her softly. "It's okay, Draggle. For your part, it was an accident. I
know you're sorry. I forgive you."
Draggle looked at her quizzically. "Sorry," she half-muttered to herself. "Is this
what feeling sorry is like? This bad feeling? This feeling of wanting to go back and undo it?"
"Yes," Medley said, puzzled at Draggle's ignorance. "And I forgive you."
"And what does that mean?" Draggle asked.
"It means that in my heart, I make a done thing undone," Medley said gently.
Draggle burst into tears. "But that doesn't fix your leg; it's still hurt."
"True," Medley said, "but the hurt in our hearts is much less."
Draggle paused for a few moments as the realization of Medley's words sank into
her heart. Impulsively, she hugged the pony about the neck and kissed her. "I will always be your
friend," Draggle whispered. "Always."
"Then come with us," Medley said.
"No," Draggle said sadly. "Hydia may be Hydia, but she is still my mother. And
Reeka may be Reeka, but she is still my sister." Once again, she gave the pony a quick, though
pungent, kiss and disappeared back into the night.
As Draggle disappeared down the path, Twilight raised her head and looked at
Medley. "I did not know you had such wisdom," she whispered just loudly enough for Medley to
hear. "I'm very proud of you."
Medley clucked her tongue and lay down in the sweet-smelling straw. "My, my,"
she said, "all this over a broken leg."
Draggle squatted by the fire and tossed some more twigs onto it to get the flames
shooting higher. Her mother and Reeka lay snoring on the ground. It had taken some work, but
Draggle had managed to gently wrestle the heavy book from underneath her mother's head, who
had used it as a pillow.
Laying it carefully on the tiny fire, Draggle smiled with contentment as she watched
the book burn with an eerie green flame.
by Blu Flyer
======= Episode 3: A.I: Part Three =======
Previously on Pony Trek--
The Artificial Intelligence living in Lollypop's warp core has made reason for the
Captain to evacuate the crew of the ship.
===AND NOW, THE CONCLUSION===
Medley stared out the window in the Briefing Room. The Captain was
"...get started. Medley and Ensign Countdown, I'd like to see you in the
Engineering deck of this Segment."
"Yes ma'am," Medley stuttered, blinking. She yawned discreetly. She hadn't had
any sleep for two days. The Captain and the Commander seemed to be faring well, but she was
feeling the wear. She followed the Captain out of the room, and into the turbo lift.
"You're handling this well, Lieutenant," the Captain said in a reassuring
"Thanks," Medley said, shaking her head. "Engineering," she told the turbo.
Countdown stood next to Medley, on the opposite side from the Captain. He
yawned. Medley gave him an I-know-how-ya-feel look. He gave her a sleepy-eyed grin.
The turbo doors opened, and Medley followed the Captain out into S2 Engineering.
S2 Engineering was a room about the size of the Bridge. S2 was just in case of
situations, like this, when Main Engineering was inaccessable. Medley walked to the closest
console, and accessed Operations.
"I have a theory," she began.
"I'm listening," Captain Flyer said.
"The Intelligence raised the temperature of the Warp-Core before attempting
communication. I was theorizing that if we drop the temperature, such as ejecting the warp core
into open space--"
"--the AI will either abandon ship or leave!" Countdown finished.
"There's only one problem," Medley said. "The only way we can eject the warp
core is by going onto S1. The ship was built with all main controls on the Main Bridge, just in
case hostile beings ever got control of any other sections. But the computers that regulate
important things like self-destruct and warp core ejecting are heavily guarded with encryption and
security codes. The only way any of the important events can be executed is if every Senior
Officer is present and gives the order."
"That presents a problem," the Commander stated. "I see that now. So what we
need to do is find a way to get on board without the form knowing about it."
Medley thought. "The being inside the core really has no sensory organs; it is
completely confined to the warp core, and its power only controls the main computer. The main
computer regulates members of the crew by their comm-badges. Perhaps the entity is tapping
into the comm, and identifying the crew via the computers. If we take off our comm badges, it
won't be able to identify us."
"But it will still be capable of detecting life-forms," Captain Flyer said. "Even if it
doesn't know our identities, it can still monitor all life forms aboard the ship."
Medley growled under her breath. "Then what..."
"I know!" Countdown blurted. "Remember when we first encountered it? It
contacted us at the engineering console, instead of heading straight for the bridge. It needed to be
transferred. Perhaps it hasn't... assimilated the entire network yet. Maybe there are still sections
of the ship that it can't detect and control, and those areas are left out of its consciousness."
Medley smiled at the Ensign. "Triumph!" she said. "Now all we need to do is
figure out where those areas are!"
Blu Flyer looked more doubtful. "IF this theory holds true," she said, "perhaps it
has already taken the entire ship. If that is so, we will be in great danger, and I do not wish that.
Is there any way to test?"
"I'm sure there is. I can get on it right away," Medley said.
"Right away," the Captain agreed.
Blu Flyer returned to the Bridge. Well, not the real Bridge. Why had the ship been
built so strangely? Good idea to put main computer access AND warp core AND life support
systems all on the same section. She'd have to report this malfunction to Admiral Night Glider
Her comm badge chimed. She tapped it. "Captain here."
"Captain? This is Medley--"
"You've got something already?"
"Well, yes and no. Could you redirect your ready room moniter to frequency
"Sure. Wait a second." Flyer moved to her ready room, and switched on the
monitor. A schematic appeared, and Medley's voice came over the comm. The layout was that
of the main ship.
"Alright. Take a look at this." The screen changed, showing a bi-section of the
ship. Medley's voice narrated.
"The AI started in the warp core... here." The warp core brightened. "It then
spread to the main engineering computers, like this. The process took well over five hours. It
took the AI another two hours to create a contact via the console. Ensign Countdown and I have
been analyzing the main computer located throughout the ship; Main Engineering, holodecks, and
Bridge. These computers have easiest access. If the AI is cybernetic, synthetically engineered
like we think it is, it will go straight for energy supplies. After the time I've been away, the
Ensign and I think this will have been its range."
Blu looked at the bi-section. The brightened warp core spread along the core of the
ship, fluctuating on the bridge and the holodecks. But--
"It's left the crew's quarters and the mess hall untouched," Flyer said. "Along with
cargo and hydroponics. Can we access warp core ejection from there?"
"Yes. And a few more things: first, I don't think the AI'll spread. It has all the
power it needs. I suspect it hasn't been able to activate the warp nacels yet, but other then that,
it's sittin' pretty. Secondly, I found this while looking at a systems analysis." The screen
flickered, showing a sort of microscoped fluid. Small... machines seemed to be floating around
inside of it.
"What is this?" Blu asked.
"Warp Core plasma," Medley said. "I was able to access this via unprotected visual
data concering the warp core. Look closer." Medley magnified the screen, then focused it on an
individual machine. It seemed to have a symbol on it.
Blu sat back, shocked. "Lieutenant, that's the PonyFleet emblem."
To be continued? Of course! I wouldn't stop there!
The Tabby and Sugarberry Gossip Hour!
by Tabby and Sugarberry
Sugarberry: Happy New Year, Tabby!
Tabby: Yeah, whatever.
Sugarberry: One more year to the big 2000!
Tabby: Hooray. Big deal.
Sugarberry: How was your New Year's celebration?
Tabby: I stayed up until midnight and was sorely disappointed. Nothing happened. The digital
clock just went from 11:59 to 12:00.
Sugarberry: What did you expect?
Tabby: That's a good question!
Sugarberry: I actually went to sleep early last night. Not a party animal, I guess.
Sugarberry: Did you get all the presents you wanted on Christmas?
Tabby: Let's see... I got the salsa My Little People doll from Friendly.
Sugarberry: Aren't Bushwoolies sweet?
Tabby: Especially Friendly. I got a present from Tex, too, which was probably another salsa doll,
but I didn't bother opening that one.
Sugarberry: What do you mean, you didn't open it?
Tabby: Just like I said: I didn't open it.
Sugarberry: Are you ever going to open it?
Tabby: I tossed it into one of my closets.
Sugarberry: What if it wasn't a salsa doll, and was something perishable instead?
Tabby: Well, I haven't noticed anything strange yet.
Sugarberry: I'd keep an eye on it if I were you.
Tabby: How about your Christmas presents?
Sugarberry: Spike gave me a CD of one of my favorite singers!
Tabby: You got more than that, didn't you?
Sugarberry: Tiffany went all out this year with her gifts, didn't she?
Tabby: Why, what'd you get?
Sugarberry: I got a diamond bracelet.
Tabby: That sounds expensive... all I got from her was a certificate for one free strawberry sundae
at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.
Sugarberry: Well, better than nothing, I guess.
Tabby: You could sound more sympathetic than that.
Sugarberry: Poor Tabby.
Tabby: That's better. Not much, though.
Sugarberry: How did you fare at the after Christmas sales?
Tabby: Ooh... I don't like thinking about that.
Sugarberry: I was beaten out of a beautiful Christmas wreath at 75% off by Skylark.
Tabby: Tell me about it! I nearly broke my hoof fighting off the hordes to get the very last special
limited edition Calico Kitten figurine!
Sugarberry: Was that on sale, too?
Tabby: No, but you would have thought it was by the way ponies were kicking and scratching and
everything. While they were fighting, I snuck in and grabbed it; then I ran for my life.
Sugarberry: Isn't shopping fun?
Tabby: Whatever you say.
Sugarberry: What's this I hear about Clever Clover taking up a musical instrument?
Tabby: He's taken up bagpiping, Sugarberry. Bagpiping!
Sugarberry: Aren't they those strange instruments that make those really weird sounds?
Tabby: Right on.
Sugarberry: What made him decide to do that?
Tabby: Well, he is on break from his archeology work for the winter, so he needed something to
pass the time.
Sugarberry: Where did he ever find a bagpipe in Ponyland?
Tabby: He bought it out in the Flatlands. I really hate those Flatlands. Even before he got his
bagpipe from over there.
Sugarberry: What actually does a bagpipe look like, Tabby?
Tabby: It's exactly like a plaid scarf with wooden chairlegs sticking out of it.
Tabby: You could say that, I suppose. If you really wanted to.
Sugarberry: The Bushwoolies are sponsoring their annual ice sculpture contest.
Tabby: I'm not anywhere near creative enough to enter that.
Sugarberry: I've heard that Patch and Starlight are going to sculpt a replica of the Royal
Tabby: That would get awfully intricate.
Sugarberry: Wigwam and the Playtime Baby Brothers are going to make a life-size space
Tabby: That's one boring idea. Butch and Sundance are doing a giant hot pepper.
Sugarberry: We've got to think of something we can sculpt!
Tabby: Let's do a cat.
Sugarberry: Callie, or Fluff?
Tabby: Why, Callie, of course!
Sugarberry: I know! You do Callie; I'll do Fluff! We'll have them sitting side-by-side.
Tabby: All right!
Sugarberry: Let's invite Friendly to sculpt Fuzz, too!
Tabby: The Bushwoolies aren't allowed to participate in the contest; too bad.
Sugarberry: Well, we can't leave Fuzz out! Maybe Spike could do Fuzz.
Tabby: That's a good idea! We'll have to ask him.
Sugarberry: Guess who had a birthday back in December?
Tabby: Barnacle! On December 4.
Sugarberry: I suppose it's rather difficult to send a present to a pirate.
Tabby: I wouldn't trust the Ponyland Postal Service with anything. Who knows what they'll lose
Sugarberry: A little bitter, aren't we, Tabby?
Tabby: If you'd lost as many packages as I have, you'd be bitter, too.
Sugarberry: Do you ever wonder where all those lost packages end up?
Tabby: The postal service must have a special room set aside where they store those things.
Sugarberry: Wouldn't it be fun to find that room!
Tabby: And then there's the most exciting news of all!
Sugarberry: What's that?
Tabby: Why, the closing of my vet clinic, of course!
Sugarberry: You're sounding awfully cheerful about it.
Tabby: Sorry, but it's just so much more thrilling than what we usually get to talk about.
Sugarberry: You're thrilled that your clinic is closed?
Tabby: Really, Sugarberry, it's not as bad as we're making it out to seem.
Sugarberry: You mean because you hardly spent any time there, anyway?
Tabby: Of course that's not it, Sugarberry.
Sugarberry: You'll still be practicing though, won't you, Tabby?
Tabby: Sugarberry, don't you even know what's going on?
Sugarberry: Of course I know what's going on! I just didn't want to ruin the plot of your
Tabby: Oh, yeah, that's right! We can't do that. You'll have to read my story, Tabby's
Trauma, to actually find out what's happening.
Sugarberry: What'd you think of Queen Serena's open house on Christmas Eve?
Tabby: O-o-oh... Santa Pony was there.
Sugarberry: You had quite a run in with him, didn't you?
Tabby: Yeah, you could say that...
Sugarberry: What really happened, Tabby?
Tabby: I tried to pull his beard off.
Sugarberry: You what?!
Tabby: To prove that he wasn't real. It didn't come off, though.
Sugarberry: How did Santa Pony take that?
Tabby: He said I'd get coal for Christmas.
Sugarberry: And did you?
Tabby: Now that you mention it, there was a lump of it sitting on my doorstep... I thought Cleve
Clove might have left it there, with his forge and all.
Sugarberry: Trust me, coal at Christmas comes from Santa Pony, and no one else.
Tabby: Well, anyway... at least the food at the open house wasn't that bad.
Sugarberry: Ooh, there were so many delicious treats that I gained five pounds.
Tabby: Let's see... there were Scottish Shortbread cookies baked by Cleve Clove, and Spritz
cookies by Quarterback.
Sugarberry: What did you think of my cut-out sugar cookies?
Tabby: They were burned, Sugarberry... burned, I tell you!
Sugarberry: They weren't burned, Tabby; they were delicately browned. But knowing your
fettish for raw cookie dough, I can see why you'd think they were burned.
Tabby: Everything at that party was burned... cookies don't need to be baked!
Sugarberry: Just like you think pie crust doesn't need to be baked?
Tabby: Ahhh, raw pie crust!
Sugarberry: Raw egg, Tabby?
Tabby: Oh, no... even I don't go that far. Eggs must be fully cooked. No raw yolk.
Sugarberry: Now it's time for some New Year's resolutions!
Tabby: Friendly's resolution is 640 by 480.
Sugarberry: Clever Clover said that he resolves to become the best Pokémon trainer in
Tabby: And Quarterback resolves to follow his team all the way to the Super Bowl.
Sugarberry: I resolve never to eat that many Christmas cookies again. How about your
Tabby: I'll get back to you on that.
Sugarberry: Spike says he'll cut back to only five glasses of chocolate milk a day.
Tabby: And then Tiffany resolves to spend some more time with "that cute Clever Clover from
Sugarberry: And a direct quote from Barnacle: "ARR! Barnacle be resolvin' ta give no more
rides ta strange Bushwoolies! ARR!"
Tabby: On that note, let's wish everyone a happy New Year.
Sugarberry: Happy New Year!
"So here I am back from Atlantis!" Tabby exclaimed cheerfully. She and
Sugarberry were sitting at a table in the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. Tabby had recently returned
to Dream Valley after she and Clever Clover had been on a quest to find Atlantis.
"It's good to have you back," Sugarberry said warmly. "It must have been exciting,
being in Atlantis."
"Yes, it was extremely exciting. Especially when I nearly got myself killed several
"I could never do anything that daring," Sugarberry commented.
Tabby took a spoonful of her strawberry sundae. "I suppose I'll go back to
working at my vet clinic again now."
As Tabby said that, a shadow passed over Sugarberry's face. "Err... that's
Tabby noticed that there was something wrong with her friend's manner. "What's
"Umm..." Sugarberry stalled.
"Spill it," Tabby ordered.
"Well... you see... while you were gone... someone opened... a new vet clinic,"
Sugarberry stuttered, fearing Tabby's wrath.
"What? WHAT?" Tabby screeched.
"He's a new pony in town," Sugarberry went on to explain.
"So I go off to find Atlantis and some creep thinks he can go and open a new
clinic!" Tabby slammed a hoof down onto the table, making the dishes rattle and attracting the
attention of several nearby tables. "So who is this new pony?"
"His name's Thomas... he's a unicorn stallion."
"And what kind of a name for a pony is that?" Tabby demanded.
Sugarberry cocked her head. "It's really not any worse than Tabitha, when you
think about it."
"Don't you dare call me Tabitha!... and he's disgustlying handsome, I
"Yeah," Sugarberry nodded.
"And that means I have absolutely no chance against him."
"I did take Fluff into the new clinic for his yearly check-up," Sugarberry
"Talk about loyalty!" Tabby said bitterly.
"And I heard Tex took Emilio in once."
"What is this; is everyone ganging up on me?" Tabby exclaimed.
"Well, you were out of town... we really didn't have a choice," Sugarberry
"What I'd really like to do is to give this Thomas a piece of my mind!" Tabby
"Are you sure you want to go that far?" Sugarberry said timidly, knowing that
Tabby often took her anger too far over the edge.
"Of course I--"
"So you want to give me a piece of your mind, huh?" interjected a mildly amused
"AIEEE!" Tabby shrieked and nearly jumped out of her skin when she saw who it
"Uh-oh." Sugarberry shrank back in her seat.
Thomas slipped into the chair between Tabby and Sugarberry. He was a white
unicorn stallion, with brown mane and tail and the symbol of a brown cat. "Hello again,
Sugarberry. And who is this?" he questioned, glancing at Tabby.
"I'm Tabby." Tabby held up her head up defiantly and added, "The other
vet in town."
"I was just telling her that you had opened a clinic as well," Sugarberry piped
"I've been hearing a lot about you from my new clients," Thomas directed at
"Oh really? What did they have to say?"
"Actually, they all said your service was good... but they find my clinic to be more
efficient," Thomas said.
Tabby snorted. "Figures."
"They especially liked those magic injections you give... I've been meaning to ask
you, where do you get those?"
"I get them from a secret supplier in the Dark Forest, and I'm not allowed to give
out his whereabouts to anyone," Tabby said haughtily.
"Well... I've heard you've been off exploring, Tabby," Thomas changed the
"Yes, I was off finding Atlantis," Tabby said.
"So Atlantis really does exist!" Thomas exclaimed.
"Yes-- but getting back to the vet clinic business--" Tabby glared across at Thomas--
"I'm sure that I'm still the best vet in Dream Valley."
Sugarberry sat back in her chair and listened to their conversation with
"Why don't we just see about that?" Thomas challenged.
"All right, we'll see who can run the other out of business first!" Tabby said
brightly, her eyes gleaming with excitement.
"This ought to prove interesting," Thomas said. "Let's do it."
* * *
Early the next morning, Tabby was busy at her clinic. She wasn't open for service
yet; she was working on cleaning the place up.
"Okay... I've vacuumed, straightened the chairs in the waiting room, and put the
magazines in a neat stack." Tabby paused in the middle of the floor and tapped her hoof on the
ground. "What else is there to do?"
Tabby glanced over at her filing cabinet. Papers were piled up on top of it and
many were laying on the ground. "Maybe I'd better arrange those better," she decided.
After about half an hour, she had all her files in much neater order. Her clinic was
actually looking pretty neat now. "Not a half-bad job!" she said aloud.
"Now for the advertising." Tabby pulled out several large sheets of poster board
she had found in her house the previous night, along with a pack of markers, and sat down at her
desk in the main room. She started writing out in big letters on one of the sheets: "Come to
Tabby's Vet Clinic! Offering the Exclusive **Magic Injections**! 25% off all visits
Tabby stood back and surveyed the poster. "If that won't get ‘em, nothing will."
She got to work copying the message onto the other sheets of poster board.
As she was working on the last poster, the door opened and someone walked in.
Tabby looked up from her work; it was Princess Tiffany who had entered.
"Hey, Tiff," she greeted the princess.
Tiffany came over and glanced at the paper Tabby was working on. "Advertising, I
"Yes." Tabby hastily wrote out the last words. "Thomas and I are seeing who can
run the other out of business first." Her eyes gleamed.
Tiffany raised her eyes. "Personally, I think that Thomas's clinic is the best there
Tabby narrowed her eyes. "We'll just see what everyone else thinks... hey, what're
you doing here, anyway?"
"I was just on my way to Sparkler's jewelry store, and I saw you were working in
here so I thought I'd stop in and have a little chat," Tiffany explained.
Tabby sighed. "Now I'll go put these posters around Dream Valley... you can go
on to the jewelry store.
Tiffany flounced out of the clinic and Tabby followed. Tabby's first stop was the
Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. "Scoops!" she called inside the shop. "Can I hang a poster out
here?" She pointed towards the bulletin board outside of the shop.
"Oh, sure, Tabby!" Scoops called back. After all, Tabby was one of her best
Tabby got permission to hang posters at several area businesses, including the Perm
Shoppe and Pony-Mart.
After all her posters were hung, Tabby headed back to her clinic and waited for the
ponies to start coming.
She waited. And waited. And waited...
Tabby tapped her hoof impatiently on the counter. "Where is everyone?"
she sighed in exasperation.
At that moment, the door came open again. In came Posey, with her pet
"Hey, Posey!" Tabby greeted her.
"Hello, Tabby." Posey's eyes shone with worry.
"So what's wrong with your iguana?" Tabby questioned.
Posey's lip quavered. "Well... I was hoping you could tell me."
"What're his symptoms?" Tabby prodded.
"He's stopped eating," Posey said softly.
"And that's it?"
"Yes; he hasn't eaten since yesterday morning. You can help him, can't
Tabby sighed. "Of course I can help him. I'll just give him one of my magic
injections, and he'll be all better!"
Posey smiled with relief. "Oh, I hope it works!"
"It'll work; trust me," Tabby assured her. She whipped out one of her magic
injections and pricked it into the iguana's skin.
"He's looking hungry already!" Posey exclaimed with delight. "Look, he's poking
his head around, looking for food! Oh, thank you ever so much, Tabby!"
"No problem," Tabby said. "That'll just be twenty-five jangles."
Posey quickly paid the twenty-five jangles. "I'm sure you're the best vet in all of
Ponyland," she said earnestly.
"Just be sure to spread that around to all your friends," Tabby said as she took the
jangles from Posey.
"I will!" Posey called as she walked out the door with her iguana.
"Hooray, one visit for today," Tabby said dryly.
A few minutes later, Sugarberry came in the door. "Tabby! How's business today?
I saw that you put up some posters."
"Yes! And I've still only had one visit today!" Tabby said. "That Thomas must be
getting everyone to go to his clinic!"
Sugarberry paused in thought. "Well, most of the inhabitants of Dream Valley are
female, and since the new vet is a very handsome male--"
Tabby sighed. "Yes, that's it, of course. And that means I'm doomed," she said
"Don't give up yet," Sugarberry said encouragingly. "Why, look, here comes Salty
"Two visits for today," Tabby said sourly.
Salty brought his pet guinea pig up to the main counter. "He cut his foot up on the
floor of his cage," he explained.
Tabby inspected the guinea pig's cut-up foot. "This is easy enough to fix," she said,
and took out another of her magic injections. She pricked the guinea pig with it.
Sugarberry was also looking at the guinea pig with interest. "Look! The cut is
healing over already!"
The magic injections certainly worked fast; within a few minutes the guinea pig's
foot looked normal again.
"Wow, you're good!" Salty said. "What's the total cost?"
"Twenty-five jangles," Tabby responded immediately.
Salty gave her the twenty-five jangles, picked up his guinea pig, and left.
"All right! Two visits for today!" Tabby cheered. She frowned. "What am I
saying? I'm never gonna beat the new clinic with two visits a day!"
Sugarberry shrugged. "It's better than nothing."
Tabby survived the rest of the day at her clinic; she got several more patients to
take care of. Finally, it was time to close up for the day. Sugarberry had since left.
It was now evening, and Tabby headed over to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe for
her daily visit. If she was lucky, Sugarberry would be there as well, and maybe even
As she entered the shop, Sugarberry waved to Tabby from a table she was sitting at.
Tabby waved back, and after she got her order (a strawberry sundae, as always) she headed
towards the table Sugarberry was at.
"Hello again," Sugarberry greeted her. "Tiffany's supposed to be coming,
"I'll never be able to run this other clinic out of business!" Tabby complained.
"Maybe you shouldn't aim for actually running it out of business," Sugarberry
"That's no fun," Tabby said.
"Hi there, you two!" came Tiffany's voice as she joined them at their table.
"You're really getting into this peasant thing, aren't you, Tiffany?" Tabby
commented. "You're at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe almost as much as I am!"
"Yes, I've found out that it's rather fun being a peasant," Tiffany said. "You were
just talking about the new vet clinic, weren't you?"
Tabby groaned. "It's a tragedy."
Tiffany sighed dreamily. "I simply cannot wait until Theodora gets sick again!" she
said, referring to her pet Bombay cat.
Sugarberry and Tabby both looked up at her in shock. "Why would you want her
to get sick?" Tabby questioned.
"So I can take her in to that handsome new vet," Tiffany explained.
Tabby shook her head. "Really, Tiffany!"
Tiffany swung her head around to face Tabby. "And I don't think you'll be able to
beat Thomas's clinic."
"You don't have to rub it in," Tabby grumbled.
"Just stay in business without competing," Sugarberry suggested.
Tiffany looked paused in thought. "Why not get employed at the new clinic!" she
Tabby stared at her. "Why would I want to do that?"
"Think about it, Tabitha!" Tiffany said dramatically. "You'd be able to do the work
you like but not have any responsibilities of keeping the place up!"
Tabby scowled. "I don't want to have anything to do with this new clinic."
Tiffany, however, was very pleased with her idea. "I'll bring up the idea to Thomas
tomorrow; I'm scheduled to have lunch with him then."
"You can ask, but don't expect to get anything out of me!" Tabby warned.
Tiffany waved her hoof in the air. "Just leave it to me, Tabitha."
* * *
The next day was another slow day at Tabby's clinic. Tabby had to admit that
Tiffany's idea was actually pretty appealing-- but she wasn't going to give into anything
involving the new clinic that easy; no way!
That evening, Tabby finished up at the clinic and trotted along home. As soon as
she was in the door, the phone jangled. She ran to pick it up. "Yes? What? Who is this?"
"It's Tiffany... this is Tabitha, isn't it?"
Tabby clenched her jaw. "That's Tabby to you!"
"Yes, well, anyway, Tabitha-- I talked my idea over with Thomas this
"And he thought it was an extremely good idea to get you employed at his
"And he said he'd be calling you concerning details tonight," Tiffany went on.
"I don't see how you got me into this mess!" Tabby said. "I never even wanted to
get employed at another clinic!"
"Just think it over, Tabitha," Tiffany said briskly. "I'm sure you'll decide to take
the job in the end."
Tabby sighed. "Whatever you say, Tiff... goodbye..."
"Yes, goodbye, Tabitha. I'll see you tomorrow." With that, Tiffany hung up.
Tabby slammed down her receiver. "I don't care what they say; I am not
getting a job at the new clinic!" she said stubbornly.
She was still silently fuming when the phone rang once again. Tabby picked up the
receiver. "What?" she said irritably.
"This is Tabby, I presume?" It was Thomas.
"Yeah, yeah," Tabby responded, very annoyed. "It's Thomas, isn't it?"
"Yes, and Tiffany was just explaining an interesting idea of hers to me at lunch
today," Thomas went on.
"Look, I already know what this is all about," Tabby interjected.
"Uh-huh," Thomas said. "So, would you want to be employed at my clinic as a
"No," Tabby said immediately.
"Won't you at least think it over?"
"I'll think it over, but the result will be the same," Tabby said haughtily.
"All right then... good night."
Once again, Tabby slammed down the receiver.
* * *
By the next evening, Tabby was beginning to regret not accepting the new job.
Sure, she didn't want to have anything to do with the new clinic, but it might not be a half-bad
"Well, maybe I'll decide to take it anyway!" she said aloud. "But I don't have to
worry about it now. I'll just go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and see if Sugarberry's
And so, Tabby trotted on along to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. Luckily
Sugarberry was there, again, and Tabby soon ordered and sat down at the table her friend was
"Hi, there!" Sugarberry said.
"Yep." Tabby took a spoonful of her strawberry sundae. "Watcha been doing
"Working on my latest novel," Sugarberry explained. "But I was talking to Tiffany