My Little Pony Monthly Issue 29 (August 1, 1999)


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

E-mail Tabby (TabbyMLP@aol.com) to be removed from the mailing list.
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Issue 29
August 1999
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Letters to the Editor


bri059@juno.com-- Tabs, I love the newsletter! Imagine my surprise when I found it in my box a day earlier than I'd expected. Now I have something to read over the days!! And I appreciate that you put my stories in past issues, and my LONG ad. Thanks sweets!



verminio@eden.rutgers.edu-- I think this newsletter is a great idea... it's so nice to finally hear from other people who still enjoy MLP! Keep up the great work!



stanb@ptbo.igs.net-- I love MLP Monthly! I find some stories downright hilarious (I really laughed at a story called "Birdsong" in one issue) and others really exciting! I wonder if you could get more Sailor Moon/MLP crossovers into it????



MeryTreat@aol.com-- Hey, hey, hey, Tabby-chan!!!!! I know you get enough of me from our e-mails and junk, but I just gotta say one thing: I LOVE THIS LIST!!!!!!! It's one of the coolest things (second only to Jar Jar. ~.^)! I love everything-- especially the stories and the gossip hour we run together. You are a true friend! ~hugs~ And to all the ponies out there who also help make this thing happen: you are great! I'm glad I'm not the only insane teenager out there who is obsessed with MLPs!



zerolwh@yahoo.com-- I LOVE MLP Monthly. You are so gifted to be able to write child-friendly stories and not make them dumbed-down or boring. :)



KSM1356833@aol.com-- Thanks for your newsletter; it's very informative, fun, and helpful.

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Tattertail
A Fairy Tale by the Ponies Grimm


with thanks to Stan R. for the name and Steven C. for the advice


C. Alan Loewen
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Author's note: This story takes place two weeks before the events depicted in the 1984 animated My Little Pony video that introduced Dream Castle (TM), Spike, the Sea Ponies (TM) and Megan. Your welcome comments and critiques may be sent to cloewen@pa.net



The setting sun illuminated Dream Castle as well as the two ponies resting side-by-side in the meadow outside its front gate. As its final rays sank beneath the horizon, they illuminated the solitary horn of the larger pony, making it glow in ivory splendor.

The smaller pony, actually little more than a filly, leaned against her companion as they watched the stars come out one by one. The air thrummed with a choir of crickets and flashed with the airborne beacons of lightning bugs.

"Twilight?" the little filly asked. "Tell me a story."

"Oh, Ember," she responded, her horn glowing faintly in the growing dusk. "Let's quietly enjoy the evening."

Ember leaned her head against Twilight's neck and deliberately gazed up at her with large, pleading eyes. "I'd really like to hear a story."

Twilight laughed, knowing she'd been outdone. "Okay. A quick one."

"Oh, thank you!" Ember said. "I want to hear one with magic in it."

Twilight paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts. "Once upon a time," she began, "in a place far, far away, a pony named Tattertail lived in a great walled city where ponies and humans lived peacefully together."

"Humans!" Ember said, mouthing the word as if tasting it for the first time. "I've only seen humans in my picture books."

"A beautiful young girl ruled the city," Twilight said, ignoring the interruption. "Her name was Princess Merry Aravis Shasta Shalott the Fair, the Sovereign of Dreams and Reverie, but her subjects, both human and pony, simply called her Princess Merry.

"Tattertail was a little orphaned unicorn-pony who made her living as a house cleaner. People and ponies who needed their houses cleaned would hire her to come and tidy up their homes and sweep out the large fireplaces.

"She was called Tattertail because, unable to correctly handle a broom with hooves, she had to use her tail as a makeshift brush. Poor Tattertail. Her once beautiful tail was shabby and matted, and she was covered from nose to tail in gray, dingy dust. Eventually her cruel nickname stuck, for nobody, not even Tattertail, could remember her real birth name.

"For a long weary time Tattertail worked in the city, earning her keep through the cleaning of homes until eventually her coat became a permanent ashen gray and her tail was a wretched, snarled, dirty mass of knots and tangles.

"Then one day, a royal proclamation announced that the princess would soon celebrate her eighteenth birthday and be crowned as Queen Merry. Kings, queens, and other nobles from many other countries would be coming to honor her on the eve of this special event. Princess Merry had decreed that all her subjects were welcome to come to the palace and participate in the ball and the dinner and enjoy the fireworks and revelry.

"For weeks, people and ponies prepared cakes and gifts and food and gowns and other lovely clothes. Tattertail worked especially hard, saving coins from her cleaning to purchase a good bath and grooming so she would be suitable for the occasion.

"And then the long-awaited day arrived. Princess Merry's castle glowed with the light from a thousand torches. The harbor was crowded with exotic ships filled with exotic people bearing exotic gifts. Tattertail eagerly finished her day's cleaning while looking forward to the evening's festivities.

"Finally, carrying the few pennies she had saved, she raced to the groom's shop to make herself as presentable as possible. The streets were swarming with Princess Merry's subjects making their way to the castle while coaches and chariots of visiting royalty rushed past. The Gallerians, with their high, pointed hats decorated with rare bird feathers, rode past on horseback. Lion Men from the Eastern Mountains walked by proudly, their manes tied with brightly colored ribbons. The learned Monkeys of Lemuria rode past, adjusting their spectacles and reading or writing even while riding the gazelles they used as mounts.

"Among all these new sights and strange smells, Tattertail noticed that everybody carried a gift for Princess Merry. Even the little match girls that stood on the street corners carried dried flowers neatly wrapped in pretty packages. Having no gift, Tattertail hurried to find one.

"Stopping at one of the stalls in the open air market, Tattertail looked over the trinkets so carefully laid out. Shining in the sunlight, she saw a beautiful glass marble. Not that a marble is anything remarkable of itself, but whoever had made this marble had made it in such a way that inside it was a small white pebble that glowed with its own brilliance. Of all the baubles on display, the glowing marble was what Tattertail wanted most of all as a gift for Princess Merry.

"Yet Tattertail still wrestled with whether or not she should purchase a gift at all. She wanted to look her best for what would probably be her only opportunity to ever attend a royal function. Yet, she didn't want to appear before the Princess without a gift when even the smallest of her subjects were eager to demonstrate their love and support for her. To purchase a gift or not?

"Tattertail sighed at her dilemma and eventually decided that if she could buy the marble for a lower price, she might have money left over for at least a bath.

"However, the man who ran the stall refused to barter or haggle. Tattertail could only have the marble if she was willing to part with all the money she had earned for her grooming. Finally, after many minutes of mulling over her problem, Tattertail agreed to purchase the little trinket and forego the grooming. After all, she thought, it is the heart of the giver that counts, not the appearance. Even Princess Merry would understand that.

"With the marble safely wrapped and stored in her threadbare saddle bag, Tattertail made her way to the castle as the sun began to set. Most of Princess Merry's subjects were already inside the spacious castle grounds. Tattertail could hear the strings and flutes of the orchestra and in her imagination she could see the people dancing together while the ponies danced as ponies do.

"As Tattertail reached the gates to the castle she bumped into a man dressed in shiny chain mail.

" ‘And where are you going, my dirty little unicorn?' he said. His voice sounded like a giant's.

"Tattertail looked up at him and her voice trembled as her legs shook. ‘I'm going to Princess Merry's party,' she said in a tiny whisper.

"The man clutched his belly and roared with laughter. ‘Hey, Mitty,' he yelled at another soldier who was carefully watching the crowd that was already inside the gate. ‘This little dustball wants to go to the party.'

"The other soldier gave a quick glance where Tattertail stood trembling, chewed his lip in thought, and shook his head before going back to watching the other guests.

" ‘Sorry, my dear,' the first soldier said in his big booming voice, ‘but not you. Maybe afterwards you can come in and help clean up.'

"Tattertail's lower lip began to quiver as her eyes filled with tears. ‘But I brought a gift.'

" ‘Aye,' the big soldier said. ‘I'm sure you did. Now be off and let me be to my work.'

"Tattertail turned away and went to her home with a heavy heart, hoof prints pressing her tears into the dust.

"The room Tattertail called home was very simple: a table, a small fireplace, and a mat where she slept. Flopping down on her makeshift bed, she wept as her heart broke.

"Suddenly, a streak of light burst through the open window and landed in the soot of Tattertail's fireplace amidst a small explosion of dust and ashes. ‘Dragonflies and luna moths!' came an angry voice from the fireplace. Tattertail stared at the little figure coughing and crawling out of the dust and ashes. The surprise of seeing this strange visitor made Tattertail forget her misfortune.

"The little creature stood up. No bigger than four inches in height, it was a miniature girl with gossamer wings.

" ‘Who... who are you?' Tattertail asked as she rose to her feet.

"Tattertail's unexpected guest coughed and then shook herself like a little dog. With a blur of transparent wings, she flew up in the air trailing dust and settled on the end of the little unicorn's nose. Openmouthed, Tattertail stared cross-eyed at the pixie. ‘You're a little girl!" Tattertail said in some surprise. The movement of the unicorn-pony's muzzle as she spoke made the pixie lose her balance. With a tiny shriek, she grabbed Tattertail's nose to stop herself from falling to the floor.

" ‘Please don't do that,' the pixie said with some exasperation.

" ‘You're a little girl,' Tattertail said again quietly, barely moving her nose.

"The pixie regained her footing and smiled. The streaks of dust and ash gave her a comical expression. ‘I'm eleven years old today," she said proudly, ‘and as your appointed fairy godmother I am here to... ' She paused in thought, wrinkling her pert little nose in deep thought. ‘I'm here to...'

" ‘I thought fairy godmothers would be a little older,' Tattertail said.

"The little pixie laughed and flopped down to a sitting position. ‘Oh, no,' she said with a giggle. ‘There're so many fairy godmothers needed nowadays, we get hired as soon as we pass basic training.'

" ‘Um. I hope you don't mind,' Tattertail said apologetically, ‘but it's hard talking with you on my muzzle and looking at you cross-eyed is giving me a headache.'

" ‘Oh, sorry.' In a blur of wings, the pixie flew over to the edge of Tattertail's drinking bucket where she sat on the rim. ‘Oh. I remember what I'm here for. Now, about your crying...'

" ‘How did I get a fairy godmother?' Tattertail asked impulsively.

"The pixie giggled and dismissed the question with a wave of her hand. ‘Oh, everybody has a fairy godmother. It's just that after awhile some people don't believe in us anymore and then we get transferred to somebody else.' She frowned sadly. ‘It's a sad thing to lose your fairy godmother.'

" ‘However, I am here to dry your tears,' she said, a smile returning to her face. Jumping to her feet, the pixie promptly lost her balance and fell over backwards with a tiny splash into the water bucket.

"With a cry of alarm, Tattertail raced to the bucket and gently pulled the floundering pixie out of the water. Hanging gently from Tattertail's lips, the pixie sputtered water. ‘I'm wet!' she shrieked. ‘I'm covered with wet ashes and... and... and I'm wet!'

"The pony gently placed the pixie on the floor and carefully backed away so she wouldn't accidentally step on the little figure. The pixie's white gown was stained with sodden gray ashes and her streaming wet hair hung over her face. Her gossamer wings hung limply down her sides where they trailed water on the floor.

" ‘Bumblebees and caterpillars,' she said a moment later, ‘this is a fine mess.'

" ‘I'm so sorry,' Tattertail said, not knowing what she was actually sorry for. It just seemed the right thing to say.

" ‘No problem,' the pixie replied. ‘Just stand back and see some fairy godmother magic in action.' The pixie pulled a tiny magic wand out of her belt, rolled up her sleeves, and said some words that Tattertail couldn't make out.

" ‘Oh, dear,' was all Tattertail could say as the pixie suddenly changed into a little white mouse. ‘I don't think that was what you might have had in mind.'

"The little mouse shrieked and waved the wand again. Tattertail patiently watched the mouse change into a kitten and then into a puppy and then into a little bunny. The bunny sighed and closed its eyes in thought. ‘Madame always said I couldn't concentrate right. Okay. I need to be quiet. Relax. Think. Concentrate.' The bunny waved its furry arms and squeaked until finally the pixie stood once again before Tattertail, but now clothed in shining white. With a whir of wings, she ascended into the air.

" ‘I've got it now,' she announced with delight. The pixie waved her wand and in a flash, Tattertail's hide transformed into a shiny brilliant pastel pink.

"Tattertail gasped at the shining brilliance of her legs and flanks. Running to her drinking bucket, she found the reflection of a unicorn-pony's light rose-colored face staring back at her. She shook her glorious mane of shining frost that was marked with one delightful streak of dark purple. Her little horn gleamed like polished marble. ‘Oh, fairy godmother!' Tattertail cried. ‘I'm beautiful!'

" ‘And now the tail,' the pixie cried. With a wave of her wand and another flash of light, Tattertail felt her tail grow heavier then she had ever known it to be. Looking back in amazement, she swished the tail she thought she'd never have again.

"Her tail was glorious. Whiter than snow, it seemed to glow with its own light. Where snarls and tangles had fought with each other, now beautiful white horse hair cascaded to the floor in lovely curls. Tattertail thought she was going to once again burst into tears, but this time from sheer joy.

"The pixie laughed again. ‘Oh, we're not finished yet." A wave of the wand and still another explosion of light caused Tattertail's mane and tail to be sprinkled with tiny sparkling purple cat's eye gems. The little unicorn pirouetted and the tiny jewels glittered and gleamed.

"Not many minutes later, the guardsmen all bowed as a shining pink unicorn with bejeweled gleaming tail and mane entered the castle of Princess Merry. All heads turned, and the guests whispered to each other, ‘Who is that?' but nobody recognized the beautiful stranger.

"Tattertail stood in awe at the sight before her: guests dressed in their finery, the massive candelabras gleaming with the light of a thousand mirrored oil lamps, the fragrances of fine foods and wondrous perfumes and incense. In the middle of the room stood a massive fountain made of white marble. Tinted water poured down a center spindle at least fifty feet high into a deep pool where strange colorful fish swam.

"Though there was a large line of guests bearing gifts to Princess Merry where she sat on her throne, the line parted as Tattertail drew near. She felt as if she was in a dream. The men bowed to her, the women curtsied, and the other ponies and animal guests paid respect in their own unique fashions. Tattertail didn't even understand she was the center of fascination as her own eyes saw only Princess Merry.

"On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Princess Merry sat on a throne of pink marble. Clothed in a dress of burgundy silk and with her multicolored crinolines and petticoats, she looked like a rose at the peak of its bloom. Her hair was deep red and a splash of light freckles across her nose were the only marks on her fair skin. Her eyes were as green as emeralds.

" ‘Welcome,' Princess Merry said to Tattertail as she came near to the throne. ‘How do I address you?'

"Tattertail didn't even know she was being addressed. Reaching into the silk pouch dangling across her neck, Tattertail took out the simple marble between her lips and gently laid it on Princess Merry's outstretched palm. The princess stared at the little marble with its white stony heart for a few moments in wonder.

" ‘A dreamstone?' she asked the pony in bewilderment. ‘I have not seen a dreamstone since I was a very little girl.' The princess held the stone out in her palm where the white stone gleamed until, with a silent flash, the entire marble disappeared. ‘Children, wherever they are, will have pleasant dreams tonight. Thank you for that rare and wonderful gift.'

"The princess motioned to the right of her throne. ‘Stay by me. I would like to know you better.'

"Standing silently in awe, Tattertail watched other people and representatives bring their gifts. A delegate from the Southlands brought a mechanical toy that, when spun, played beautiful music. A red-skinned emissary from a land the pony had never heard of brought a small monkey with a collar of pure gold. The stream of presents seemed endless, but whether they were expensive gifts from royalty or trinkets purchased in the marketplace by the commoners, Princess Merry accepted them all with sincere gratitude and she warmly thanked each person regardless of species or rank. Each gift was taken and placed carefully on a long, long table so that all guests could look and marvel.

"A lizardman, dressed in robes of a metallic sheen, had come from a mountainous land far to the east. In his hand, he held a lantern with a dancing flame inside.

"The lizardman's voice hissed as he spoke, his words sounding like they were sizzling. ‘My people congratulate our neighbor on the eve of her queenship. Please accept this salamander as a token of our esteem.' He held the lantern aloft and Princess Merry and Tattertail could see the flame was alive, a little creature of bright fire that moved about in the tiny lantern that served as its cage.

"Princess Merry stared at the little creature in wonder. ‘I thank you and your people. I have never seen its like.'

" ‘The salamander lives in the volcanoes that heat my land,' the lizardman replied. ‘As long as it is fed coal, it will burn for you and provide light. Without coal, it is a simple creature of dull color.'

"The ambassador held the lantern higher. Catching sight of the salamander, the little monkey began to screech and jump about, finally breaking the slender gold chain that secured it to the gift table. With a bound, the monkey leaped over the guests and landed squarely on the lizardman's head. With a hiss of surprise, he dropped the lantern onto the marble floor where it shattered, and suddenly the salamander was free.

"There was instant chaos. The salamander not only burned with a red-hot flame, but it was fast... very fast. While the guests fled in fear from the little living flame, the salamander rushed about the room seeking escape and setting fire to everything it touched. Princess Merry's soldiers worked frantically to put out the flames, while others tried to capture the salamander. One soldier trapped it between his helmet and the floor, but the salamander burned through the metal as if it were butter.

"Pushing Tattertail out of the way, other soldiers formed a protective line around their princess. Not knowing what else to do, the little unicorn-pony decided that outside, where she was not underfoot, was the best place for her to be.

"Running toward the door, her flight was cut short by the salamander itself. Unable to find an exit, almost surrounded by soldiers wisely keeping their distance, the little screeching creature advanced on the frightened pony. Tattertail walked backwards, wanting to run, but afraid that in turning her back, the fiery creature would jump on her. Suddenly, Tattertail bumped into something with her rear hooves. It was the fountain.

"An idea came to the little unicorn. With her heart beating fast, she waited until the salamander was almost upon her. Then, with a twitch of her hips, Tattertail plunged her magnificent tail into the cool waters of the fountain. Quickly she spun about, her tail streaming water, and swatted the salamander as if it were a fly.

"There was the sound of water hissing into steam and the overpowering smell of burnt hair. The soldiers pounced with cups, helmets or whatever they could find to trap the creature. Picking through Tattertail's scorched tail hair, they found the salamander drenched, its fire out, a little drab, scaleless lizard.

"Minutes later, the salamander was back in a small cage and already beginning to regain its glow. The guests had returned. Burned curtains were repaired, and scorched stools and other furniture were replaced. Tattertail, her mane disheveled, her tail marred from the salamander's fire and still very wet, was brought before Princess Merry.

" ‘You have served my guests and me well today, my little pony,' the princess said, smiling. ‘I know that tails grow back, but I believe there is some reward demanded by such a brave sacrifice.'

" ‘It's nothing, your majesty,' Tattertail mumbled in embarrassment. ‘Swatting pesky bugs is second nature.'

"The princess smiled gently. ‘Nonetheless, you showed courage and wisdom, attributes that I'm looking for in a pony that is willing to guard a castle of mine and watch over the uncharted western entrances to my land of dreams. Would you lead a group of ponies for me to act as my eyes and ears?'

"It took Tattertail only a moment to make up her mind. Then, she curtsied in the way of ponies and said, ‘I will do my duty, your majesty.'

"The hall rang with cheers.

"The next day, Tattertail led seven other ponies to the western castle where they lived happily ever after."

Twilight finished her story, but Ember made no sound except for the gentle snores of a sleeping pony. Twilight smiled to herself and closed her eyes. Though there were beds in Dream Castle, occasionally the ponies slept in the meadow, where the grassy ground was comfortable.

There was a flash of light and Twilight opened her eyes to see a pixie sitting on the end of her nose.

"Still telling stories, I see," the little pixie said.

"And you're still making me look cross-eyed," Twilight replied. The pixie laughed and, fluttering her wings, sprang into the air where she hovered like a hummingbird.

"Well," the pixie said, "you got the story right except you make me sound much clumsier than what I am. And you left out the part where the salamander did actually charge you."

Twilight shrugged. "Ember's just a colt. There's no reason to make the story any more frightening. And you've grown up a little more and overcome your own clumsiness."

The pixie swung a pirouette in the air. "Twilight," she said as if to herself. "I like that name. It fits you. I think Queen Merry named you well."

"Thank you," Twilight replied. "And I think you make a wonderful fairy godmother. For the hundredth time, thank you for all you've done."

"The pleasure is mine," the little pixie said. "And now I'm off; there are others to tend to." Flying in a majestic loop, the pixie left a trail of sparkling dust and swooped low to the ground. Twilight heard a tiny "Oof!"

"Twilight?" the pixie asked.

"Yes?"

"Could you help me out of this spider's web?"

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The Merry Treat and Tabby Gossip Hour!
by Merry Treat and Tabby


Merry Treat: Hello, hello!!!

Tabby: *stares out the window*

Merry Treat: Tabby??? ~waves hoof in Tabby's face~ Tabby! We're on!

Tabby: What?! What?! We're on?!?!

Merry Treat: Yes!

Tabby: O-o-oh... I guess I forgot.

Merry Treat: Oh, dear! Tabby, have you been having dreams about giant squid again? I had one of those last night... they were in a river... it was terrible...

Tabby: *yawns* Yeah, those awful squid dreams kept me up practically all last night.

Merry Treat: Anyway, how was Europe?

Tabby: It was pretty boring. And disgusting.

Merry Treat: Disgusting?

Tabby: *nods* There was this awful Weedo stallion.

Merry Treat: Weedo, eh? Sounds like weed repellent...

Tabby: That's exactly what I thought. His symbol looked like a weed, too...

Merry Treat: Tee hee! ~imitates a spokesperson~ Weedo, the latest in lawn care! Look it up in your local Pony-Mart store! ~cackles~

Tabby: *laughs insanely*

Merry Treat: Tabby, Salty informed me that he hates Jar Jar!

Tabby: Well, then, you'll have to whack him over the head.

Merry Treat: I tried. He moved from where he was standing.

Tabby: Well... well... *thinks* Let me whack him over the head for you!

Merry Treat: He'll whack you back. And he thinks the same way about Furbys...

Tabby: Umm... umm... *is at a loss for words*

Merry Treat: ~plots on how to annoy Salty in the futures~

Tabby: Sugarberry's birthday was earlier this month. Remember that, MT?

Merry Treat: Oh, yeah! She invited me to her party!

Tabby: And then we ate outside. And the cute little seagulls came by.

Merry Treat: The cake was really good... but whoever frosted it didn't do a very good job...

Tabby: Mmm... frosting? I dunno who worked on that... *smiles innocently*

Merry Treat: The seagulls were kawaii!! ~eyes Tabby suspiciously~

Tabby: *ignores the suspicious stare and rambles on about seagulls* I liked the first one that came by; he was the cutest.

Merry Treat: Oh, yes! I think his name was Harry. Then there was the one that wouldn't stop talking...

Tabby: Yeah, that one was very talkative. Even more talkative than I am.

Merry Treat: That's a surprise... ~mutters~

Tabby: *quickly straightens up* That is, almost more talkative than I am.

Merry Treat: That's better! ~grins~

Tabby: The fourth of July was cool, too. I liked the potato salad Sugarberry served.

Merry Treat: Yes, at the picnic!

Tabby: Yep yep. *nods* If only there'd been chicken, it would've been a perfect day.

Merry Treat: There was chicken... but I ate it all before you got there... hehe. ~laughs~ Kidding, kidding!

Tabby: You ate it before I got there?!? Oh... whew.

Merry Treat: ~giggles~ The look on your face was worth it, though! ~winks~

Tabby: Hmph. *sticks nose up in air*

Merry Treat: Tee hee!

Tabby: Have you battled Cleve Clove at the Pokèmon Gym yet?

Merry Treat: Nope... not since that Rattata of his beat me... ~grumbles about that~

Tabby: He keeps saying you're never around when he wants to fight at the gym.

Merry Treat: Hmm? Oh, I don't know about that... I'm just, uhm... volunteering at the Pokèmon Center whenever he goes to the gym! ~nods vigorously~

Tabby: Uh-huh. *raises in eyebrow*

Merry Treat: ~changes subject~ So, uhhhhh... I hear you and Sugarberry freaked out on the Ferris wheel.

Tabby: Remind me never to go on a ride like that again, MT. I HATE rides. I HATE ‘em. Why, I hate ‘em even more than giant squid... *rambles on and on*

Merry Treat: Tee hee, remind me never to go on the roller coaster.

Tabby: You went on the roller coaster?!?! You didn't tell me about that!

Merry Treat: ~shudders~ Oh, my gosh! Salty made me... I was glad to be back on the ground...

Tabby: So... umm... *thinks*

Merry Treat: ~thinks~ Uhhhhh...

Tabby: Caught any cool Pokèmon lately?

Merry Treat: ~grins~ Oh, yeah!

Tabby: Ohhhh!! *wails* Who?!?!

Merry Treat: Oh, just a Caterpie...

Tabby: CATERPIE!!! I LOVE CATERPIE!!!! *mutters* I've gotta go find a Pokèmon to capture...

Merry Treat: I caught him in the Tea Bunnies' forest. Oh-- and don't hurt me-- a Psyduck.

Tabby: PSYDUCK!!!!!!!!! *faints*

Merry Treat: ~sweatdrops~ At least I didn't tell her about the Togapi egg I found in there...

Tabby: WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?!

Merry Treat: ~sweatdrops~ E-e-er... oh... n-nothing... n-nothing at all... nopenopenope... ~shakes head vigorously~

Tabby: Well. I'm just going to have to do something about this. I'm gonna capture a whole bunch of cool Pokèmon.

Merry Treat: I can help you. I know of the BEST place to find them!

Tabby: Ohhhh!!! Where?!?!

Merry Treat: It's a wonderful, beautiful place in the woods! And that's where I met Salty... ~trails off~

Tabby: *rolls eyes*

Merry Treat: ~snaps out of it~ Anyway, I'll show you when we're done here! You'll just love it, Tabby!

Tabby: O-o-okay... I wish Pokèmon ran wild in the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.

Merry Treat: Why would they be running? Wouldn't they be eating, instead?

Tabby: Now, that's true. And, they might be easier to catch that way.

Merry Treat: Yeah! Tabby, you won't believe this!

Tabby: What?!?!?!

Merry Treat: While you were in Europe, Tammy-- err-- Tamara came to the Pokèmon Center!

Tabby: She did?!?! Why?!?!

Merry Treat: Persian got a sticker in her paw, and wouldn't let Tamara remove it, so I had to.

Tabby: Gee, Tamara never told me about Persian with a sticker in her paw. Did she seem upset when she came in?

Merry Treat: Of course she did! She loves that Persian! And then there was the incident where Tiffany, Clever Clover, and I were arguing over which country you were in...

Tabby: You three were arguing over what country I was in?!?!

Tabby: But I knew exactly where I was! It was Spain... or else France... but it could've been Italy...

Merry Treat: Yes... it was pathetic...

Tabby: Everything Tiffany argues about is pathetic.

Merry Treat: Tiffany thought it was France, Clever Clover thought it was Spain, and I thought it was Italy. Clever Clover started it...

Tabby: Well, everything he argues about is pathetic, too. And everything you argue about... and everything I argue about...

Merry Treat: Tee hee! What happened was Tiffany made a comment that you were "having a wonderful time in France," then Clever Clover argued that it was Spain, and I just added to the conversation by saying it was Italy...

Tabby: And I suppose everyone missed me terribly while I was gone.

Merry Treat: Yup, poor Sugarberry... and me... ~looks downcast~ ...and poor Thomas...

Tabby: *pauses in thought*

Merry Treat: I think we three missed you the most. ~hugs~ I'm so glad you're back, Tab! And so is the rest of the gang!

Tabby: Well... you didn't have to miss me that much...

Merry Treat: Yes, we did! It wasn't the same without you around! Oh! We found the popsicles you hid at the Pokèmon Center, by the way.

Tabby: Oh... that's fine...

Merry Treat: So, uhhh... find any cool things while you were in Europe?

Tabby: Just some yarnballs for Tarquin and Tess.

Merry Treat: Tess loved hers! Where'd you get those?

Tabby: My mother dug them out from somewhere in her house.

Merry Treat: Your mother?

Tabby: Yeah... she had a whole bunch of yarnballs.

Merry Treat: She likes knitting, doesn't she?

Tabby: I don't really know, but she didn't do anything crafty while I was there.

Merry Treat: Hmmm... I'd end up with a whole bunch of tangles if I tried knitting... ~laughs~

Tabby: I've never tried it at all. *giggles*

Merry Treat: Me neither!

Tabby: Isn't it amazing what hooves can do?

Merry Treat: Yeah.

Tabby: When I was little, I did counted cross-stitch. Holding that little needle with a hoof! I don't think I ever finished any projects.

Merry Treat: I used to sew when I was little.

Tabby: The weather's so hot again.

Merry Treat: Yeah... got some ice cream?

Tabby: *thinks* I have cherry pie filling.

Merry Treat: Hmmmm... is it cold?

Tabby: It's been in the fridge since last night.

Merry Treat: O-o-o-oh! Sounds yummy!!

Tabby: *runs downstairs to get some* Here ya go. *hands her a dish*

Merry Treat: Yummy! Thankies! ~stuffs her face with cherry pie filling~

Tabby: *takes a bite of hers* Ahh, nothing beats cherry pie filling. Except for a strawberry sundae. What are Tarquin and Tess up to today?

Merry Treat: ~shrugs~ Going places, I guess.

Tabby: *squirms around in her seat* I'm bored. There's got to be something else to gossip about.

Merry Treat: Uhhhhhhh... what's your favorite movie?

Tabby: I'm thinkin'...

Merry Treat: Mine are too many to bother mentioning.

Tabby: Ack! I don't have an answer!

Merry Treat: Just start naming ones you like... oh, I know! Let's start naming every single movie we can think off!!! ~says insanely~

Tabby: Ooh!! Ohhh!!! Star Wars Episode One!!!

Merry Treat: Mulan! 101 Dalmatians! Jurassic Park!

Tabby: Joan of Arc! Godzilla!

Merry Treat: Matrix!

Tabby: Umm... umm...

Merry Treat: Uhm... Jurassic Park Two! Uhhhh... Hercules!

Tabby: Mmm... mm... I ran out of movies I've ever seen.

Merry Treat: Ever After!

Tabby: Uhh...

Merry Treat: Lady and the Tramp!! Bambi!! Land Before Time!!

Tabby: The Aristocats!!!

Merry Treat: Uh... uh... what's it called? Oh, yeah! The Lion King! Pocahantas!

Tabby: All the Care Bears' movies!

Merry Treat: The My Little Pony Movie!

Tabby: The Pound Puppy movie! The Pokèmon movie, even if it hasn't come out yet!

Merry Treat: Yeah! All the Star Wars and Star Trek movies!

Tabby: All the old corny stupid Godzilla movies!

Merry Treat: Tee hee! All the Disney movies!

Tabby: Uh... uh...

Merry Treat: Lost in Space, even if I've never seen it!

Tabby: *faints* I can't come up with any more!!!

Merry Treat: Me either... all the movies in the world! There, I covered it.

Tabby: Whew. *wipes forehead* So, MT. Read any good books lately?

Merry Treat: I'm currently reading The Neverending Story; it's so-o-o-o-o good!

Tabby: I'm currently reading... not much.

Merry Treat: You finished Redwall?

Tabby: Yep, all those books I've finished. *sniffles*

Merry Treat: Me is sowwie.

Tabby: *sobs*

Merry Treat: ~pats her shoulder~

Tabby: *suddenly screams out for no reason at all* I love Furbys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Baby Fox: *wanders by mumbling about them wasting time gossiping instead of reading the wonderful fan-fics on her webpage*

Tabby: *waves at Baby Fox* Perhaps later, but now we must get back to our business!! *giggles*

Merry Treat: ~rolls eyes~ Later we will, sis! Business??

Tabby: Well, sure! Because we may get fired if we don't do it. By... the publisher. *says this ominously*

Baby Fox: You're wasting time on useless babble and not reading my fanfics...

Tabby: *turns to Baby Fox* Oh yeah?!?!

Merry Treat: Hmmm... I don't wanna get fired, so let's... uhhhhh...

Baby Fox: Yeah!! *gets right in Tabby's face* Yeah, that's what I think!!!!

Tabby: We'll talk about... how we crashed Tiffany's party last month!! Remember?

Merry Treat: ~steps between Baby Fox and Tabby~ No need to fight, you two! Oh, yeah! It was hilarious!! ~starts cackling~

Tabby: I dare you to read my fan-fictions, Baby Fox!!! MT, you changed into Rainbow Brite with that pen of yours... and I decided to change myself into Eleanore Tweeg at the last minute.

Baby Fox: I've read some of yours, and they are very good. Now there must be a trade, so you read mine!

Merry Treat: O-o-o-o-oh... the look on Tiff's face!!

Tabby: I know!!! *cracks up* MT, do you think anyone knew it was us at the party?

Merry Treat: I think Clever Clover pointed you out to somebody.

Tabby: Somebody?! Who was it?!

Merry Treat: ...because everybody knows your obsessed with Teddy Ruxpin... ~shrugs~ Beats me... I think it was some pony that looked very much like Dawn...

Tabby: Hmph. It was the perfect disguise.

Merry Treat: Yes, but it... oh, never mind

Tabby: *yawns* I'm bored. But we've got to talk about something... or the publisher will get after us.

Merry Treat: O-o-o-oh... uhm... so, uhm... what has been happening around Dream Valley lately??

Tabby: Uhh.... not much. Except for....

Merry Treat: What??

Tabby: That new house that's being built.

Merry Treat: New house??

Tabby: Near the river. No one knows who's going to move in yet, though.

Merry Treat: Hmmmm... interesting...

Tabby: But it has been bought already.

Merry Treat: Hmm...

Tabby: Who do you suppose it is?

Merry Treat: Maybe-e-e-e-e-e... some person right out of our obsessions that we must go meet right away!!!!!

Tabby: Yeehaw!!!! We can always hope.

Merry Treat: I wonder who it is?

Baby Fox: Maybe it's a guy pony.

Tabby: Maybe it's a monster from the Dark Forest.

Baby Fox: Maybe he'll have a black body and blue hair and blue crystal eyes and a blue bandana a little blue top hat... he can be named Tuwedo or Kaman! Just Kaman! ~trails off~

Merry Treat: ~rolls eyes~ You're dreamin', girl!

Tabby: Alrighty... we'll see how right you are...

Baby Fox: ...or he can have a black body and rose red hair and red eyes and a rose symbol and a rose colored bandana and he can be named Shakespear... *trails off again*

Merry Treat: ~rolls eyes again~

Tabby: I'm getting a headache.

Merry Treat: Me, too... ~bops her sister over the head with a pillow~

Baby Fox: ~flickers for a moment, glares at them, and disappears through the floor muttering about the two being hypocrites~

Tabby: Hypocrites? Us?

Merry Treat: ~shrugs~

Tabby: *shrugs as well*

Merry Treat: Wanna do some Brain Quest? ~brings out two packs of Brain Quest cards~

Tabby: *sits up eagerly* Ooh! Ohh!

Merry Treat: Okay! Ready? Ah! Here's one for you! ~grins mischievously~

Tabby: Oooh!!!

Merry Treat: Okay... ~clears throat~ Is the word "graffiti" from Italian, German, or Russian?

Tabby: Italian!!!

Merry Treat: Yousa be correct!

Tabby: *looks smug* I knew it.

Merry Treat: Hmmm... yech! I hate math! We're skipping dat category...

Tabby: Math! *faints*

Merry Treat: Is ancient Chinese history divided into ages, centuries, or dynasties?

Tabby: Dynasties!!!

Merry Treat: Right again!

Tabby: *looks smug... again*

Merry Treat: A wheel spins on... what? Fill in the blank.

Tabby: An axis.

Merry Treat: Close! An axle.

Tabby: C'mon, c'mon, ask another!

Merry Treat: Who wrote the novels O Pioneers! and My Antonia?

Tabby: Mr. Somebody-or-Other.

Merry Treat: Yousa be wrong. Willa Cather

Tabby: Gee, I was sure I'd picked the right name on that one.

Merry Treat: I'll ask another. ~flips through the cards~ This is an easy one... how do you spell "career"?

Tabby: Eh... how to spell "career"? *pauses in thought* I believe it's... c-a-r-e-e-r.

Merry Treat: Correct. Now, uhm... ~flips through the cards~

Tabby: *runs out of the room and comes back with another pack of Brain Quest cards and a cassette*

Merry Treat: I got one for you!

Tabby: *starts playing the Pokèmon soundtrack* Mmm? What's this one?

Merry Treat: Is a forgetful person a wimp, a scatterbrain, or a tough cookie?

Tabby: Scatterbrain!

Merry Treat: Ding ding ding!!! Hehehe! Now, ask me one!

Tabby: Everything changes, changes.... it's evolutionary! That everything changes, changes, changing all the time, playing with your mind, modified or rearranged... everything has got to change!!! *has been singing, but turns to her pack of cards* Uhh.... was Atahualpa the last emperor of the Incas, Mayans, of Aztecs?

Merry Treat: Huh? ~blank look, but is spaced out as it is~ Oh, uh... this is so wrong, but the Aztecs?????

Tabby: Oh, dear, I lost my place. *flips through the cards frantically*

Merry Treat: Great... then we'll never know...

Tabby: Ahh! Here it is! ‘Twas the Incas...

Merry Treat: I knew that was wrong

Tabby: *shudders at the thought of all those South American Indians*

Merry Treat: Ask me another.

Tabby: What three letters stand for the substance that directs a cell's activities?

Merry Treat: Uhm... ~wracks brains~

Tabby: How will I find another friend... like you? Two of a kind, that's what we are, and it feels like we were always winning, but as our team is torn apart, I wish we could go back to the beginning... the time has come! It's for the best I know it... who could've guessed that you and I.... somehow, someway, we've have to say goodbye... somehow, today... we have to say goodbye... *is singing again*

Merry Treat: Oh! I love that song! I want that soundtrack for myself!!!! As for the question, I haven't the foggiest idea.

Tabby: Pokèmonmonmon! Pokèmononmon! The journey's just begun! The more the better! Team Rocket's on the run! We're friends for ever! Err... the question?! Gosh, I even forgot we were doing that... hmm... it's supposed to be "DNA". Which stands for deo-something-or-other acid.

Merry Treat: I knew that... ~tries to sound intelligent~

Clever Clover: *runs in the room shrieking like a monkey*

Tabby: Now, you must ask me something.

Merry Treat: ~is watching Cleve Clove~ Uhm... where did Cleve Clove lose his mind?

Tabby: Oh, he's never had one. Don't mind his monkey screeching.

Merry Treat: Ah!

Clever Clover: *begins dancing like an Egyptian*

Tabby: Prepare for trouble! Make it double! Prepare for trouble! Make it double!

Merry Treat: ~sweatdrops and turns back to Tabby~ Hesa be crazy, methinks...

Tabby: Oh, well, he just ran off. After giving my bunny ears. How he does that with hooves, I still don't know...

Merry Treat: Magic. Teehee! ~picks up card deck~ Now, let's see-e-e-e... is Algiers a capital or a country?

Tabby: Algiers?!?! That sounds familiar. Capital!!

Merry Treat: Dang! You're good at this!

Tabby: *preens like a duck* Hmm... Did President Nixon improve U.S. relations with Russian, China, or both? *wonders what questions about U.S. presidents are doing in Ponyland*

Merry Treat: China!!! I'm probably wrong...

Tabby: You've been such a good friend... I've known you since I don't know when. We've got lots of friends but they come and go... even though we've never said it, there's something that the two of us both know! Together forever, no matter how long! Uhh... China? This soundtrack is addictive. But-- you're half right! ‘Twas both...

Merry Treat: Drat! Which song is that...??

Tabby: Together Forever! Next up is Misty's Song.

Merry Treat: ~wails~ Meesa wants dat soundtrack for myself!!!!!!!!

Tabby: ...and you can be sure, that forever and a day, that's how long we'll stay, together and forever more!

Merry Treat: ~wailing~ Meesa needs dat soundtrack, methinks!!

Tabby: *keeps singing*

Merry Treat: ~realizes Tabby is no longer listening~

Tabby: Out here in the quiet of the night! Beneath the starts, and moon. We both know we've got something on our minds, we won't admit, but it's true! You look at me, I look away... Oh! Yes! Gossip!

Merry Treat: ~wonders what couple that song is about-- Jessie and James or Ash and Misty~

Tabby: ‘Tis Ash and Misty.

Merry Treat: Ah! Meesa figured!

*Spike, Friendly, Clever Clover, Davey, and Jones all enter the room*

Clever Clover: *imitates Mankey in the background*

Tabby: Gosh, I'm thirsty.

Merry Treat: Want some apple juice? ~hums the Wild Wild West song~

Tabby: Meesa canNOT gossip with all these guys hanging around.

Merry Treat: Hmmm... scare them away, then, or they could be our guests. I can scare them off if you'd like...

Tabby: Okay! *announces to everyone that they're now guests*

Clever Clover: YEAH!

*Spike, Davey, Jones, and Friendly start laughing over something in Friendly's computer game he's working on*

Merry Treat: What computer game? ~leans over to take a look~

Tabby: ‘Tis called Banana Man. Maybe Friendly can give us the plot overview.

Merry Treat: Banana Man!? ~falls over laughing~

Tabby: Yo, Friendly, tell all the listeners out here the plot of Banana Man!

Merry Treat: Yes, do tell.

Tabby: Uhh... he's not listening... *begins inspecting the scab on her knee which has broken open*

Merry Treat: Yucky!!

Tabby: OH! OH! A BANANA MAN CUT SCENE!!! *shrieks happily*

Merry Treat: Cut scene??

Tabby: It's a... a... *trys to think of a way to explain a cut scene* It's like a bit of animation in a cartoon, only it fits into the game.

Merry Treat: Ah.

Jones: It's a segway between levels of a game, mon! It's an animated sequence to further the plot.

Merry Treat: Ah! Now I get it!

Davey: Hey, mon! Welcome to Jamaica, mon!

Merry Treat: ~giggles~ Hiya, Davey! ~bursts out laughing~

Tabby: Davey and Jones are back in Dream Valley visiting their Bushwoolie family. *whacks Davey for turning off her cassette*

Merry Treat: ~turns on cassette again~

Tabby: *turns the volume on high to annoy him*

Merry Treat: Hehehe!!!!

*Spike, Friendly, Clever Clover, Davey, and Jones suddenly run out of the room*

Tabby: Eh... well, we were finding out some interesting things from Bowtie earlier.

Merry Treat: Yes, she gave us several cool facts. Thankies a ton, Bowtie.

Tabby: There was that one about mosquitos.

Merry Treat: If you take vitamin B every day, mosquitos and other bugs will not bite you because you smell like a pregnant mosquito.

Tabby: And if you stop eating meat for seven years, you'll lose the ability to digest it ‘cause your body will stop making the needed enzymes.

Merry Treat: Same thing if you don't drink milk for an extended period. Your body looses the ability to digest it.

Tabby: And the only pointless and stupid fact I could come up with on my own I picked up from Cleve Clove and Barnacle.

Merry Treat: Do tell!

Tabby: They claim that if you take a glass of water with an ice cube in and twirl the glass in circles, the ice cube won't move... hmm... I've never noticed that before.

Merry Treat: Hmmm... strange...

Tabby: Anyway... want to do more brain questing?

Merry Treat: Okay. ~picks up a pack~

Tabby: *sits there humming*

Merry Treat: Hmhmhm... la de da... let's see-e-e-e... tee hee! Okay, I got one for you... ~evil grin~

Tabby: Ooh! Ooh! What?!?!

Merry Treat: Fifteen plus twelve equals thirty-five minus nine. True or false?

Tabby: Do I get to use a pen?

Merry Treat: If you need.

Tabby: True! True!!

Merry Treat: Oooh... false...

Tabby: False?!?!

Merry Treat: Twenty-seven doesn't equal twenty-six... I have no idea how that works...

Tabby: *faints*

Merry Treat: Tabby??

Tabby: What in the world does that mean?!?!

Merry Treat: It's math, dear. Ain't ‘sposed to make any sense.

Tabby: Oh, yes, I forgot. *nods* Now meesa asks something...

Merry Treat: Okie-dokie...

Tabby: Who founded Georgia: James Oglethorpe or George Calvert?

Merry Treat: Who cares? I mean...

Merry Treat: I guess it's the James dude...

Tabby: Hey! You're right!

Merry Treat: Hey, cool!

Tabby: C'mon, c'mon, ask me another!!!

Merry Treat: Meesa has no idea how me got dat one... okie-dokie... ~flips through cards~ In Monopoly, how many hotels are you allowed to build on a property?

Tabby: Two or one!

Merry Treat: Pick one or the other.

Tabby: One. Or two.

Merry Treat: What is your choice?

Tabby: ...or else two. Or one. One. No, two.

Merry Treat: Tabby!

Tabby: One!

Merry Treat: Thank you! You're right. Go on, ask meesa one.

Tabby: Find the interjection: "Wow, I just saw Queen Serena in the supermarket!"

Merry Treat: You did!? Where!? Oh... hehe... uhm... interjection...

Tabby: Argh... I lost my place again...

Merry Treat: Uhm... ~still pondering~ Let's see-e-e-e...

Tabby: It starts with a w!

Merry Treat: ‘Wow'???????????

Tabby: That's what it says, anyway... "Wow (an interjection is a word or phrase that expresses emotion)."

Merry Treat: Ah!!

Tabby: Could've fooled me, but...

Tabby: LA DE DA DE DA!!! *sings at the top of her lungs*

Merry Treat: This is the song that never ends... yes it goes on and on my friend...

Tabby: LA DE DA!!! LA!!! LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Treat: ...some people just, started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because...

Tabby: LA DE DA LA DE DA-A-A-A-A!!!!!

Merry Treat: This is the song that never ends... yes it goes on and on my friend... some people just, started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because...

Tabby: Yippe!!! LA!!!! LA!!! My song that never ends is much more unimaginative...

Merry Treat: ~continues to sing it over and over, driving the readers nuts~

Tabby: LA DE DA! LA DE DA! LA DE DA!

Merry Treat: Let's sign off, Tabby! Sing it with me, this is the song that never ends..

Tabby: Yes it goes on and on my friend!!!!!

Tabby: Some people just, started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because...!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Merry Treat: ...some people, just started singing it, not knowing what it was! Bye peoples! And they'll continue singing it forever, just because!!

Tabby: YIPEE!!! *runs off screaming for apparently no reason at all*

Merry Treat: ~dances off, singing insanely~

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dancer's Story #7
Orion's Secret
by Ashleigh (Wonder)


"I'm sick of practicing solo!" Hope complained as she and Dancer walked together through the garden.

"Well, I wish I could help you; but I don't know anyone as great as you are, except for Fever..." Dancer said.

"Oh, yuck!" Hope said, and then giggled.

"I have some good news for you," Dancer grinned.

"What?" Hope asked as she smiled at her friend.

"I'm pregnant!" Dancer said.

"Oh, wow!" Hope said as she hugged Dancer. "Does Storm know?" she asked.

"Yeah. We found out a few days ago," Dancer smiled. "I think he has told Orion by now."

"I remember when Mindy had Dinah; she was so cute," Hope said.

"She grew fast, didn't she? Dinah is about six months old now," Dancer said.

"Yeah, and it seems like you just got married to Storm," Hope commented.

"Time sure does fly!"

* * *
Mindy frowned as she saw Hope and Dancer wandering towards the spot where Orion was painting in the garden.

"...so I figure some colt out there is looking for a partner to show with. I want to be just like On My Honor and Noble Caesar, or even Shining and Signature Required!" Orion heard Hope say as the two friends walked by. Something stirred deep inside him, and Orion stood up so quickly the painting he was working on fell over.

"Orion!" Hope gasped.

"Are you okay!?" Dancer asked as they walked over to him.

"Um, uh, yeah," Orion said.

"What's wrong?" Hope asked.

"Umm... it's nothing," Orion slowly said.

Dancer and Hope just stared. "You sure you're okay?" Hope asked.

When Orion nodded, Dancer and Hope helped him pick up the painting and supplies.

* * *
That night, Orion couldn't sleep. He tossed and turned in his stall; and just as he was drifting off to sleep, something thumped nearby. Orion awoke with a start.

Frowning, he stood up and walked outside; if he couldn't sleep, he would go for a walk. The full moon outside made it easy to see the trails, and Orion set out.

"I wonder if I could still dance and jump like I used to..." he mumbled to himself, and then tried a capriole. "Cool, I can!" he laughed as he dropped down on all four legs and started on a piaffe and passage tour.

* * *
As the morning sun rose, Orion headed back to Whitebrook, deep in thought. He almost ran into Hope as she walked out of the training barn. "Oh, sorry!" Orion stopped and blushed.

"Orion, are you sure you're okay? You haven't been acting like yourself the last few days," Hope said.

Orion nodded and walked on to his stall. "I'm fine... really, I am..."

Hope sighed and walked outside. Orion turned and watched her go. Then he went to his stall and stretched out. When he finally fell asleep, his dreams were of his memories of Glorified Acres.

* * *
Later that afternoon, Hope was asking Magic about showing with a partner. "Well, Hope, you're definitely ready, but the only colt I know that would be a good match for you is Fever; and we all know you two don't get along," Magic stated.

"Sorry..." Hope mumbled.

"Hey, it's all right; sometimes personalities clash, but that's just the way it is. I know how much you want to do this; but you need patience. You will find your perfect partner; it just might take a while," Magic told her.

"Maybe you should ask Orion to perform with you!" Fever laughed as he poked his head in the office door.

"Fever, this is none of your business, so please leave," Magic said in an annoyed tone.

Fever rolled his eyes, then bowed and walked off, passing Orion outside the office door.

"I heard what you said... did you..." Orion started to ask, but was cut short.

"Hey, I was only joking; you're the only horse around here not training someone or being trained," Fever snapped.

"Fever! Leave Orion alone!" Hope stomped up and glared at the dark colt.

"Stay out of this..." Fever said, not bothering to even glance in Hope's direction. "I could beat you, Orion. I bet you don't even know the difference between a piaffe and a passage," he snorted.

"Yeah, right, you could beat me!" Orion sarcastically snapped back, then stopped. Fever shook his head and walked away.

"Could you?" Hope asked as she turned to him.

"Uh, well, I dunno... I'm not in training," Orion mumbled.

"But you could get in training!" Hope beamed.

Magic was now standing in the doorway, a thoughtful expression on her face. "If Orion wanted to start training, it would take months of hard work till he is able to show well," she said.

"I want to try, though, Magic," Orion nodded, a grin on his face.

"Okay! Let's go to the ring," Magic smiled.

"Yeah, let's see!" Hope said excitedly.

Orion nodded and started trotting towards the large indoor ring. Mindy looked up as Orion, Hope, and Magic walked out of the barn and headed to the ring. Orion was smiling, and so w as Hope.

"What on earth is he up to?" Mindy wondered as she stood up and followed the group.

"Why don't you watch today, Orion, while Hope practices; then maybe tomorrow we can start on some easy moves for you," Magic said.

Orion and Hope both nodded, and Hope started practicing piaffes and passages. Orion's eyes were glued on Hope as she beautifully went through the tour; and he only looked up when Storm, Dancer, and Fever walked in.

"Okay, Hope, that was pretty good; but try to lift your legs a little higher and don't be so loose," Magic said.

Orion wasn't thinking of anything else but the lesson, and nodded quickly. "Yeah, like this... " he said and sprang into a beautiful piaffe.

"Oh, my..." Hope gasped as she watched Orion do an almost perfect tour; then he swung around in a pirouette. He stopped suddenly when he realized everyone was staring at him.

"Orion! I didn't know you could do... how did you ever... who...?" Magic stuttered.

Dancer and Storm were grinning; Hope was smiling; only Fever and Mindy were frowning.

"This... is... amazing!" Hope laughed and hugged Orion.

"What on earth are you doing, Orion?" Mindy gasped and walked into view.

"I can still perform!" Orion laughed as he reared up into a levade.

"Why didn't you tell me you can do this?" Mindy demanded.

"I didn't want to ever do it again, but Hope needs my help," Orion said. Mindy frowned, and turned to go back to Dinah.

"Should we try jumping?" Hope asked as they met together in the center of the ring.

"Yeah, this is great!" Orion laughed. Hope cantered around the ring twice, and Orion followed. As they began the first round of jumps, Orion remembered how fun it had been.

"You're doing great; this is amazing!!" Magic called from the side.

"Who taught you?" Hope asked as the two cantered together around the ring a few times to cool down.

"It's a secret," Orion said quickly.

Hope frowned thoughtfully. "Itsa Secret? Never heard of him. Where did you two train?" she asked.

"I don't really want to talk about him," Orion said.

"Why? What's wrong?" Dancer asked as she stepped over to her friends.

"He died a long time ago," Orion sighed. "I know all I have been working on is my art, but I was taught when I was really little, and he was one of the greatest."

"Oh," Hope and Dancer said in unison as Orion walked out of the ring.

* * *
"So, he can perform like Hope?" Storm asked later that afternoon as he and Dancer had lunch at the food court.

"Yeah! But he doesn't want to talk about the horse that trained him; I have no clue who Itsa Secret is," Dancer said as she nibbled a carrot stick.

"Maybe he said ‘It is a secret' like he doesn't want anyone to know who trained him," Storm said thoughtfully.

"Well, he said his trainer was one of the greatest performers of all time, until he died," Dancer said.

Storm nodded. "We should get back to Whitebrook early; Jazzman wants me to help paint the outside of the training barn," he said.

"That's good; I saw you two out there painting the storage shed yesterday," Dancer told him.

"How are you feeling?" Storm asked quietly as he gently nuzzled Dancer.

"I'm feeling good so far. But soon I'll be looking like the ‘Goodyear Blimp',"

Dancer laughed as she joked about how Mindy described her pregnancy.

"Orion told me Mindy is going to have another baby. I hope she won't act the same way she did when she had her first," Storm said.

* * *
When Dancer and Storm returned to Whitebrook, Orion and Hope were back inside the ring practicing. "What's up?" Storm asked.

"Hope and I are going to show together this year," Orion said.

"That's great! You think you can get back in shape for the Fourth of July show?" Storm asked.

"I don't know..." Orion shrugged.

"If we can, it would be great; but I won't be disappointed if we don't make it; we'll try, though!" Hope added.

"And that's the way to think!" Magic praised the pair.

* * *
That night, Mindy confronted Orion outside the training barn. "Why didn't you tell me you could do that!?" she asked in a demanding tone.

"I didn't want to do it... Hope needs a partner..." Orion said.

"And Dinah needs a father!" Mindy yelled.

"What are you talking about? I'm there for Dinah!" Orion protested.

"But you're not there for me. All you do is work on your art, and now you're going to run off with that... that mare! I'm moving into the broodmare barn!" Mindy yelled.

"Min... please... I stood behind you and your dreams; what about mine?" Orion sighed.

"Art was your dream! Now you have to go live in the past and do whatever your stupid trainer taught you!" As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Mindy knew she had said too much, especially when she saw Orion's shocked expression turn to an icy glare.

"Maybe art was my dream, but I just woke up," he said, and then turned and walked from the barn.

As he looked up at the starry night sky and sighed, he didn't know what he would do now. "Well," he said, "now they know my secret."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mystery Pony


Identify the name of this pony:



blue body; light pink mane and tail; dark pink streak in mane; magenta purse symbol



And once you figure out who it is, also answer the following questions about her:



What breed of pony she is--

What year she came out--

If she was ever featured in the MLP cartoon series--

What other ponies were in the same series with her--



If you can come up with the name of the pony described and answers to all four questions, please e-mail me at TabbyMLP@aol.com! I'll correct your answers, and if they're all right, you'll be mentioned in the next issue.



Answers to Last Month's Mystery Pony


The Mystery Pony from July was Starry Wings, one of the Windy Wing Ponies! She came out in year seven (or 1988), and was never shown in the cartoon series. The other five ponies that came along with Starry Wings in her series were Moonjumper, Flurry, Cool Breeze, Whirly, and Sun Glider.



Congratulations to the Winners!


Princess Dawn (PansyPearl@aol.com) and Bouncy (BouncyPony@aol.com) both submitted all the correct answers to identify Starry Wings! Great work, you two!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bouncy's Hope
Party 3
by Bouncy


Hoping to cure a drought that has come upon Dream Valley, Bouncy and her new friend, Fractal, have just arrived back at Paradise Estate and confront a strange black unicorn stallion.



The other ponies backed up in fright of the mysterious new pony who seemed to pose a threat, but Bouncy and Fractal held their ground. "Who are you?" Bouncy demanded. She lifted her head and the sun struck down on her coat, making her fur gleam.

The black male unicorn snorted imperiously. "Really, Bouncy, must you put a name to everyone?"

How did he know my name? Bouncy though.

The unicorn continued. "However, if you really MUST put a name to me, then call me Darkness."

Fractal snickered. "Darkness!? What sort of a name is that?"

Despite herself, Bouncy started to laugh, but stifled it quickly. No sense starting a fight when we might not need one, she thought.

Darkness snarled back. "My name is more fitting than yours, FRACTAL!" His dark eyes gleamed and he appeared ready to strike.

Bouncy cleared her throat and then said, "So, exactly why did you come here?"

Darkness turned from Fractal to face Bouncy. "I came to achieve my goal. I plan to destroy Dream Valley and all of the creatures within it, starting with those annoyingly happy Flutter Ponies."

Bouncy raised an eyebrow at him and thought, Okay, who does he think he is? Out loud, she asked, "And would you mind explaining why you're telling us this?"

Darkness grinned. "Diversion. At this very moment, I'm regaining enough energy from summoning my dragon to destroy them."

Bouncy narrowed her eyes. "We'll see about that," she said. She launched into the air, with Fractal close behind.

Fractal suddenly announced, "Uh-oh, trouble behind us." They both started flying harder.

Bouncy turned in time to see Darkness with an enormous pair of black wings on his back, close on their tail. She made an about-face in the air, then yelled, "Water Arch!" A blast of blindingly blue water arched through the air and hit Darkness straight on.

Or should have, she thought in dismay as she saw the water stream off to both sides and then disappear. She tried again. "Ice Crystal!"

The air began to coalesce around Darkness, and then formed into a structure of ice surrounding him. Moments later, the ice burst out in all directions, and Bouncy said to Fractal, "He's countering all my magic!"

Fractal responded, "Let me try." He concentrated, and to the consternation of Darkness, the black unicorn slowly faded out and then disappeared entirely.

"Good job," Bouncy said, and then added, "We need to talk later, but right now we have to save the Flutter Ponies." Fractal nodded in agreement, and they set off, straining to fly even faster than before.

Flutter Valley looked the same as usual, with brilliantly blooming flowers in neat and tidy rows. The Flutter Ponies played in the air, and Bouncy recognized the game as some form of tag. Some of the flutters were in tree houses talking about gardening, or sleeping.

As Bouncy flew in, the Flutter Ponies turned to look at her curiously. One, a flutter whom Bouncy often conversed with on various intellectual subjects, flew over and greeted her. Her blue coat shone with a luminescent light and her red hair gleamed. "Hi, Bouncy," Tropical Breeze said. "What's up? Come to discuss something? And who might this handsome pegasus be?" Tropical Breeze leaned over and whispered to Bouncy, "You know, if he was a flutter, I'd be in trouble."

Bouncy raised an eyebrow at her friend. If there was one thing wrong with Tropical Breeze, it was the fact that she admired male pones WA-A-A-AY too much.

"Ordinarily, I'd be very inclined to talk with you," Bouncy said quickly, "but right now we have to hurry and evacuate all the Flutter Ponies from Flutter Valley. No time to explain right now; just please follow me."

The urgency in Bouncy's voice reached Tropical Breeze, and she said, "Maybe you should talk with Rosedust." Her shining translucent wings beat furiously as she sped her way to where a yellow flutter with pink hair was hovering curiously. After a quick word, both flew over to Bouncy and Fractal.

"Is the situation really that serious?" Rosedust inquired.

Bouncy nodded, and then quickly said, "I'm afraid so. Flutter Valley will be destroyed any second, so we need to leave as quickly as possible."

Rose Dust sighed, then nodded. "We'll need to transport the Sunstone, then." She whistled to the Flutter ponies, and then yelled, "Operation Evacuate!"

The flutters seemed startled, but quickly bustled about. "Follow me!" Rosedust cried; then she, Bouncy, and Fractal headed out of Flutter Valley. The others formed a line, staying, Bouncy noted, extremely calm and collected.

For several minutes, the procession was silent as they made their way out of the lush and beautiful garden paradise. Then Rosedust called for a halt. The flutters grouped around their leader, and she called out names, followed by quick, precise responses. One thing you have to say for the Flutter Ponies, Bouncy thought, is that they're very prepared in an emergency.

"And the Sunstone is here?" Rosedust asked. Several of the Flutter Ponies came forward, and trailing behind, suspended by nothing, was a large, luminous golden stone. Its light seemed muted, and the Flutter Ponies concentrated on the stone.

Bouncy was about to inquire exactly how they managed to do that when she heard an ominous, threatening rumble. She turned in the direction of the sound-- coming from Flutter Valley-- just in time to see the valley explode in an enormous pillar of blue lightning.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rainbow Maker
Part 1
by North Star (bri059@juno.com)


The sunshine cascaded down on the sleeping baby pony. She smiled contently and rolled over, letting the rays beat on her little blue belly. The lush, green leaves of a tree towered above her.

"Baby Ember! Come on and play!" Baby Sparkler chimed in a tiny voice.

Baby Ember opened one eye, and looked at Baby Sparkler curiously. She always wants to do something, she thought.

"I don't want to play," Baby Ember finally replied, closing her eyes again. "Why must you always pester me?"

Baby Sparkler laughed softly. "Why do you talk funny?"

"I talk properly. Unlike some babies around here," Ember retorted, insinuating that Baby Sparkler was one of the babies. Her white hair fell haphazardly over her eyes, and she slid it back into place with a sigh.

"DO NOT!" Baby Sparkler yelled, to which Baby Ember simply closed her eyes again. "Do not!" the white unicorn repeated in a softer voice. Baby Ember continued to ignore her. Huffing, Baby Sparkler stomped off to Twilight.

"Twilight. Ember's mean! M-E-N. Mean!" she whined incessantly.

Twilight smiled gently. "Ignore her. Remember, she's special."

"What so special ‘bout her? That she come from nowhere? That not special. I special. I a unicorn," the indignant baby replied.

"Yesterday, I heard Majesty say that one day Ember will be queen. She has a royal manner," Twilight told her.

"She's a brat!" Baby Sparkler bellowed, with a voice far beyond her years.

Twilight only smiled. "Give her time."

Baby Sparkler turned around on one heel and galloped back to Ember. "You're in trouble; you're in trouble," she said in a sing-song voice.

Ember reluctantly got up and shook her white mane while Baby Sparkler continued to taunt her. "Dumb old no-symbol Pony. They FOUND you, remember? You don't come from here."

Ember glared at Baby Sparkler, her eyes ablaze like fire.

Baby Sparkler looked at her, and whimpered slightly. She hated when Ember did that. "Don't look at me, meanie!" she ordered, her voice wavering.

"I can if I want to," Baby Ember scoffed. "Besides, you disturbed me first."

Baby Sparkler looked down at the ground. "I sorry," she said sincerely. "Sorry for evwyting."

Ember nodded and smiled, satisfied. "Thank you."

Baby Sparkler closed her eyes and her horn softly glowed. An ice cream cone appeared in her hoof, and she offered it to Ember. "Peace?"

"Peace," Baby Ember echoed, smiling. "Let's play."

Baby Sparkler burst into a smile. "Yay. What shall we play? Hopscotch?"

Baby Ember shook her head, her white mane flailing. "How about princesses?"

"Okay. I the princess," Baby Sparkler declared, bouncing enthusiastically.

Baby Ember shook her head. "No. I am," she said calmly. "I am."

Baby Sparkler pouted. "No," she said. "I am. I am. I AM!!"

Baby Ember stared at Baby Sparkler, her eyes beginning to flicker. "Deal with it. Okay?" she said.

Baby Sparkler planted herself firmly on the ground. "Okay," she said, dodging the pony's glare. Baby Ember had this power of fire in her eyes, and it terrified Baby Sparkler. "You're mean. You know that?"

"I am not. Let's go ask Summerwing," Baby Ember replied, not wanting to fight about such a petty thing.

"Ha-ha! I got unicorn magic and YOU don't!" Baby Sparkler's voice rang through the sky as she winked over to Summerwing.

Baby Ember smiled to herself and galloped quickly to Summerwing, who sat in a field of flowers, sniffing the blossoms. She looked up as Baby Sparkler approached.

"Hello, Baby Sparkler, Ember."

"Why do you have to call her Ember, but not BABY Ember?" Baby Sparkler asked.

"We always have. Since we found her. Such a cute thing. No symbol, though, " Summerwing replied.

"Oh. I want to be Sparkler. Or Sparky."

Summerwing chuckled softly, her wings fluttering.

"Who is the princess?" Ember asked. "It's me, right, Summerwing?"

"Why don't you two take turns?" Summerwing suggested, always the peacemaker.

Ember nodded. "You're brilliant, Summerwing!" she exclaimed.

Summerwing smiled modestly. "Now, run along and play," she replied, her wings waving slightly. The two baby ponies scampered off, with Baby Sparkler winking in and out.

"I still have unicorn magic and YOU don't."

Baby Ember bristled slightly. "I don't care," she retorted, trying to compose herself.

"You're still a dumb old pony with no symbol," Sparkler said, exasperated with this pony.

Ember raised an eyebrow at Sparkler's condescending attitude. "Mad, much? Fine, let's go to Twilight, AGAIN," she huffed.

The two ran to Twilight, who smiled weakly upon seeing them. "Hello, little ones," she said.

"She won't stop pestering me about my symbol," Ember declared, glaring at Sparkler. "Do tell her to quit bugging me. But why don't I have a symbol?"

"I believe a little song will tell you what you need to know," Twilight said, her voice taking on a melodic tone.

Baby Sparkler rolled her eyes, and sat down. "OH, NO! Not a song. Ick."

Twilight smirked to herself, cleared her throat, and began singing. "Sitting alone in the dark..."

"Why is there ALWAYS a song?" Baby Sparkler whined.

Twilight ignored her, and went on. "All of a sudden-- a spark,

‘Fire?' they breathe,

Then a voice calls out--

No, ‘Ember'-- that's me!"

Baby Ember smiled. "That's me," she echoed. "I am just a baby,

When I ask to do this or that

They say, maybe, baby, one day, maybe,

But right now you can't,

So, little pony, get on, scat!"

She frowned at the last line, then wrinkled her nose at Sparkler and continued. "Nyah. They say, we all know we're waiting,

And one day you will see and know,

All the changes you must undergo."

"Oh, my gosh, when will this stop; does anybody know?" Baby Sparkler quipped, running her hoof through her blue hair. Baby Ember giggled slightly.

"You'll have a star then,

And be bigger then,

Just take your time, go slow,

It'll happen one day or so,

Ember, don't let time fly by,

Don't give up and cry,

Take it slow,

You've still got a long way to go,

If you're lost,

And you can't find the path,

Look within yourself," Twilight sang, looking at Baby Sparkler preen in front of a mirror.

Baby Ember scoffed at her and picked up from where Twilight had left off. "I know I'm waiting,

For me to undergo,

All the changes I will come to know,

I promise, I'll take it slow,

Won't wish my life away,

And I'll be grown one day!

Sitting alone in the dark,

All of a sudden-- a spark!

‘Fire'? they cry

No, it's Ember, oh my!

One day, you'll see, I'll say,

I'm grown,

Who would've known,

I'd turn out this way?

I take it slow,

I still got a ways to go,

But I'm learning; I'm always learning,

That changes never end,

That we're always journeying,

Life we'll begin!"

"See? Life takes its own course," Twilight urged. "Now, don't worry, little one."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Moondancer's Sister
by Windy


Moondancer sighed. Her sister was coming from the United States, and she didn't like her sister very much. But just then, there was a knock on her door. Moondancer went to open it, and gasped.

A pink unicorn with blue hair and a red streak in her mane stood grinning before her. Her symbol was the same as Moondancer's stars and moon, just a different color. "Hi," the new pony grinned. "I'm Sundancer. Remember me?" She giggled.

Moondancer just stared. It was coming back... the giggle that Sundancer laughed... that she was always teasing... that... but Sundancer shoved past her sister and began to look around the house.

"Hmmm... the TV should be there, sis... o-o-o-oh! I love that book! My Little People???? What's that? Haa haa!'"

"My Little People are collectible people, and the TV's fine there," Moondancer replied.

"Hmmm..." Sundancer mused. "Can you show me my room?"

Moondancer and Sundancer were twins-- both born on the same day, the same time, and the same year. But they did look differently.

"Alright, I'll show you your room. But don't start whining or I'll send you to Tabby's house," said Moondancer.

Sundancer clapped her hooves with appreciation. "I'll dust, and be so pretty for the dance tonight!" she squealed.

"What dance?" asked Moondancer.

"The one that's at the castle, silly!" replied Sundancer.

"Oh, yes. I'm in royalty, so you'll address me ‘Lady Moondancer'; is that clear?' said Moondancer.

"Yes," said Sundancer. So Moondancer led the pink unicorn up the stairs into a blue-painted room with a queen-size bed and Roman blinds.

"This is for my guests," she said, pushing her sister in.

"I love it!" said Sundancer.

"I'm glad," said Moondancer. Then she closed the door and left her sister in the room, who was currently trying to find out every little secret about it.

* * *
Sundancer came down for dinner wearing an elaborate dress and tons of jewelry. "I'll look irresistible!" she squealed.

Moondancer nodded sarcastically. "Yes, you look beautiful." She eyed Sundancer. A fourteen-karat diamond hung from a six-carat gold necklace that Sundancer was wearing. "You must be rich!" gasped Moondancer.

"Oh, yes, I am rich," said Sundancer, nodding her head up and down very quickly. Her dress sparkled with glittery thread and a silver tiara rested over her pink horn, plus she had lots of make-up on.

Moondancer's fake gold necklace wasn't as pretty as Sundancer's. Moondancer frowned. She would have a hard time with her sister.

* * *
After dinner, Sundancer went to the dance. Moondancer decided to phone her mom, Dancer, to hear about what was happening at home, because Sundancer was very boring to talk to.

"Hi, Mom," Moondancer said.

"Hello, Moondancer," said Dancer.

"What's up?"

"Oh, well, your brother, Stardancer, has found a beautiful wife in Dream Valley!" Dancer beamed.

"Really? What's her name?"

"Lilac and Roses," replied Dancer.

"Cool name," said Moondancer.

"What's up on your side?"

"Oh, nothing, just that Sundancer's out at a dance and she's so pretty!"

"I know she'll find a handsome stallion!"

"Hmm... well... how's Spacedancer and Earthdancer? Are they okay?"

"Yes, yes. They are fine. Glad you asked."

" ‘Cause Spacedancer is just a baby."

"Okay, yes, but he's doing well in school. He got A- on his last test, but that's fine," Dancer cheerily told her.

"Hm..." Moondancer mused. Nobody in her family had gotten that low a grade before!

"How are your friends doing?" Dancer continued.

"Oh, they're fine. Powder just caught the flu a few weeks ago and Hula Hula went on vacation to some place in South America." Moondancer sighed after she finished saying that sentence.

"Well, Starry has gotten an enormous raise in his pay!" Dancer exclaimed happily. "Twenty thousand jangles a month!"

"Twenty thousand jangles?!" Moondancer repeated. "Twenty thousand jangles?!"

"Oh, yes, he's working as a woodcarver and painter. Remember that beautiful carved maple figure of a rearing unicorn I sent you last Christmas?" Dancer winked.

"Yes, it was so beautiful!" said Moondancer, remembering the life-like figure.

"Your father made that," Dancer continued.

"Really?" Moondancer said. She couldn't believe her ears. "I thought someone else did!"

"Oh, no, Starry made it," said Dancer, nodding. "We're thinking of moving to Dream Valley."

"Oh, that would be wonderful!" said Moondancer gleefully. "It's so nice here! You should see the amount of unicorns!"

"Really?" asked Dancer in disbelief.

"And baby ponies, and princesses, and Sweetheart Sisters, and Pony Friends, and..." Moondancer rambled on.

"Oh! That's splendid! I must talk to Starry more about that!" exclaimed Dancer. "But I have to go cook dinner for Spacedancer and the rest of the kiddies. Tah-tah!" And Dancer hung up.

Moondancer thought for a while after that. So that's why Sundancer's so rich! she thought. She decided to look at pictures of her family, and took out her photo album.

There was a picture of Sundancer as a baby with a bib on. Moondancer giggled at the look on her face.

Then there was a picture of Starry, his navy blue hair hanging over his light blue body. His star symbol was barely visible. He looked dreamy and glad, and Moondancer supposed that the picture was taken when she and Sundancer were born.

Then there was a picture of Dancer with Starry. Dancer's red hair and white body-- like Moondancer's-- was a nice contrast to Starry's dark hair and light body.

Then there was a picture of her young brother, Spacedancer. He looked gloomy and disappointed. Moondancer didn't remember why. His white hair and red body looked cheerful, though.

The next photo was another of Spacedancer, and the next one was of Earthdancer. He was green with a blue mane and tail, and he looked proud and eager to start something.

Well, thought Moondancer, maybe this won't be so bad.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Unicorn Army
by Fizzy


Author's note-- First, let me tell you about the star of this story. She is one I made up, and is called Dizzy. She is a purple unicorn with red and blue hair. Her symbol is three curlicues-- one is pink, one is light blue, and one is green. They have a ring of small yellow stars around them. If you can draw a picture of her and would be able to e-mail it to me, please contact me at FizzyUncrn@aol.com. Now, onto the story:



It was the Day of the Unicorns holiday in Ponyland. All the unicorns got to stay at Paradise Estate, while the pegasi and earth ponies had to go to Dream Castle, the home of the Grundles, for the day.

"This is going to be great-- a whole day of tag with winking!" Fizzy said.

"Yeah!" all the unicorns exclaimed.

"I'll be it," Dizzy said.

"Okay," the others said as they all winked out with their unicorn magic.

Dizzy counted to ten and then turned around, only to find Buttons up in a tree. "I'll get you now!" Dizzy declared.

Buttons saw that Dizzy had spotted her and tried to wink to the tree stump the unicorns used as a base in their game, but Dizzy got ahead of her and tagged Buttons there.

The unicorns played tag for another two rounds, but soon grew tired. "Let's play capture the flag; we will split into two teams. Both teams take a flag and hide it somewhere in Ponyland and both teams look for the other's flag," Gusty said exuberantly.

"We can use our magic to try and stop the other team!" Fizzy squealed.

"Let's do it!" Galaxy exclaimed. And so, they split into teams and the game started.

Dizzy's team decided to hide their flag behind the Waterfall. "The others will never find it there," Buttons said.

"You guys go look for the flag; I will stay here. Anyone that comes near here I'll confuse with my unicorn magic," Dizzy explained, beginning to patrol around the Waterfall.

"Okay!" Dizzy's teammates exclaimed and all winked out.

Just then, a streak of lighting came down in front of Dizzy. To the unicorns surprise, the flash turned into a small fairy-type creature-- about as big as a baby pony. The tiny flying lady was pale, and had glossy white wings.

She said to Dizzy, "I am a Lightning Sprite and I have come here for two things."

"What are those?" Dizzy asked curiously.

"Give me the Rainbow of Light and Paradise Estate," the Lighting Sprite said sharply as she turned back into a flash of lightning. "Give them to me, or you will pay dearly."



To be continued...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The History of Twinkle Hearts
Chapter III
by Windy


Twinkle Hearts was now a teenager with her friend, Mint Dreams. They had been friends ever since they first met. They had just finished college and were looking for homes of their own.

Mint Dreams thought an apartment would be good, but Twinkle Hearts disagreed. "Apartments are stupid and stuffy!" she said, and flipped to a magazine's "For Sale" section.

A little while later, Twinkle Hearts found the perfect house for her just on the outskirts of Ponyville, and she's been there ever since.

* * *
"And that, little baby ponies, is the story of Twinkle Hearts," Twinkle Hearts finished her story that she had been telling several baby ponies at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe.

Then she told the baby ponies that they had to go home. "Me nwo want two go!" complained Baby Blossom.

"You have to," said Twinkle Hearts. Finally, she got them all home, and then she went home herself.



The End
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Princess Twinkle Star Baby-Sits
by Princess Twinkle Star


Princess Twinkle Star was awakened by Princesses Ivy and Morning Glory talking in the room next door.

"Anyway, I started laughing because it reminded me of that pig the other day, and he's looking at me like I'm crazy..."

"Oh, Morning Glory, why did you start laughing? Now he'll never ask you out!"

"But, listen. I told him why I was laughing, and it turns out he saw that pig too! And..."

Twinkle Star looked at the clock, saw that it was time to be waking up, and dragged herself out of bed. After a quick tooth-brushing, she trotted out of the room.

"Hey, Twinkle Star!" called Ivy. "Did you hear about that gorgeous guy Morning Glory met yesterday? He--"

"Sorry, I gotta go. I'm visiting the Bushwoolies today. See you later!" Twinkle Star spread her sparkling wings and flew through the doors of Friendship Castle.

Twinkle Star had devised a method of getting places more efficiently. She would fly for five minutes, then walk for five minutes, and so on. It saved wear-and-tear on her legs and wings. While she traveled the fairly long distance, she sang her current favorite songs, which would change about once a month. Traveling provided a good opportunity to sing without annoying the ponies around her.

After passing the Royal Paradise (Hmm, it looks a lot like Friendship Castle.), the Pokèmon Center (Oh, I have to go there sometime and find out if I can get one of those cute Flareons!), and the Satin Slipper Sweet Shop (That's so funny, the way it's shaped like a shoe.), Twinkle Star reached the Bushwoolie holes. She trotted eagerly toward the home of the charming creatures. The area was unusually quiet; most of the time it was bustling with busy Bushwoolies. In fact, the only area with any sound seemed to be one large Bushwoolie hole.

Princess Twinkle Star stepped into the hole. Inside, Jolly the Bushwoolie was surrounded by young Bushwoolies. For the first time Twinkle Star had ever seen, Jolly did not look jolly at all.

"What's the matter, Jolly?" she asked with a concerned frown. An unhappy Bushwoolie was very unusual.

"Everybody else is at the fair," the glum creature explained. "I can't go because it's my turn to baby-sit. And I was looking forward to the fair so much!"

"Oh, that's too bad," sympathized the princess. "Hey, maybe I could watch them for a few hours while you go and enjoy yourself."

"You'd do that for me?" Jolly asked, brightening already.

"Sure," answered Twinkle Star. "I love baby Bushwoolies."

Jolly set off looking much more like himself. Twinkle Star grinned at the little Bushwoolies. "Would anyone like a ride?' she queried.

"Yes, yes, ride, yeah, ride!" came the chorus of answers. Twinkle Star was immediately surrounded by clamoring furry shapes.

"Wait a minute!" Twinkle Star protested. "I can only take three at a time! Get in a line, please!"

After ten minutes, she created a somewhat organized line of jostling youngsters. "Okay, now I'll give rides."

The first five times it was fun carrying the tiny Bushwoolies up into the air and hearing their shouts of excitement. After fifteen times, it began to get a little bit boring. By the time each Bushwoolie had gotten two rides, Twinkle Star was exhausted.

"You know, I think we should do something else now," she suggested. Being Bushwoolies, the little ones agreed readily. "What would you like to do now?"

A few Bushwoolies mentioned being hungry, and soon the whole crowd began to chant their request for food. "All right, all right! We'll bake some cookies," Twinkle Star decided. The Bushwoolies streamed into the kitchen, along with their frazzled baby-sitter.

"You get the eggs; you get milk; you two get the flour-- oh, don't spill it! Wait a minute! Be careful with those eggs! No, not that kind of flower!"

The baby Bushwoolies eventually assembled the ingredients, and Princess Twinkle Star combined them in a mixing bowl. After setting the cookies in the oven, she surveyed the kitchen. It was a mess!

"Okay, guys, I'm going to clean up the kitchen. Why don't you... umm... practice mental telepathy," she suggested.

"Yeah! Mental telepathy! Let's go! Yeah, telepathy! Come on!" A couple of Bushwoolies asked what mental telepathy was. Princess Twinkle Star addressed the group.

"All right, you're going to sit in a circle, close your eyes, and try to read each other's thoughts. You have to concentrate really hard." The Bushwoolies repeated her sentences and grasped the concept. In a few minutes, all was quiet except for the noises of Twinkle Star cleaning up.

Just as she finished getting the kitchen relatively neat, the oven made a noise to signal the cookies being finished. A weary Princess Twinkle Star doled out cookies to the enthusiastic Bushwoolies. After getting crumbs all over the kitchen, they agreed to take a nap.

Princess Twinkle Star flopped onto the floor. She grinned at the sound of Bushwoolies snoring softly. After what seemed like five minutes of much-needed rest, the quiet was broken by the return of Jolly. "Hi, hi! Wow, the fair was great, yeah. Rides, and treats, and all kinds of fun, yup yup. Thanks for baby-sitting for me, thanks a lot."

"No problem, Jolly," returned Twinkle Star. "But I think I'd better be getting home now. It's been quite an afternoon."

Princess Twinkle Star hummed as she began the trek home. She knew that when she got there, she would have to listen to the tale of Morning Glory and the gorgeous guy. She wouldn't mind that much, though. After all, she had a story of her own to tell.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rummage Rapture
by Sugarberry


"Are we there yet?" asked Tabby as she, Sugarberry, Chocolate Chip, Tiffany, and Tamara walked briskly along the well-traveled path that led to Friendship Gardens. Today was the day of the big village-wide rummage sale, and the girls were on their way to search out the best bargains.

"It won't be much farther," replied Sugarberry. "We should see Friendship Gardens around the next corner."

"Oh! Oh! I can't wait to see what neat toys I'll find today!" Tabby jabbered excitedly. "Maybe I'll find a plush Pitterpat, or a Blow-Kiss Lemon Meringue, or..." Here, Tabby got a far-away, dreamy look on her face. "...a Tweeg puppet!"

Tamara shook her head. "You really shouldn't waste all your time on collecting all these toys, Tabby. You're simply running out of room in your house."

"I wouldn't be if you'd move out," Tabby retorted. Her cousin had shown up unexpectedly on her doorstep months ago, and seemed to have no desire to find a place of her own. Tamara ignored Tabby's remark.

"Are you sure I'll find some valuable jewelry pieces?" worried Tiffany. "I mean, no one puts their diamonds out at a rummage sale, do they?"

Chocolate Chip giggled. "That the fun of it, Tiffany-- not knowing what you might run into."

"That's right," agreed Sugarberry. "It's really quite an adventure."

"Oh! Oh!" squealed Tabby again, pointing excitedly. "It's a sign!"

"Don't tell me you're superstitious, Tabby," reprimanded Tamara. "No chance happening is going to predict your luck today."

"What are you talking about, Tamara? The first orange rummage sign is posted up ahead," explained Tabby as she broke into a fast trot.

"That would be Berry Bright's house," said Sugarberry. "She always has some good deals."

By the time the ponies reached the array of items for sale, Tabby had already covered the entire sale and found one He-Man book and cassette mint in package and a quilted Strawberry Shortcake wall-hanging. Sugarberry found two mystery novels and a bird-watching book, while Chocolate Chip purchased a turquoise hair ribbon. Tamara and Tiffany glanced over the jewelry laid out neatly on a table. "I just paid thirty-five jangles for a gold bracelet like that," whispered Tiffany to Tamara. "Berry Bright's selling hers for one jangle."

"Cool," answered Tamara. "I think I'll buy that."

Soon, everyone was ready to head on down the road to the next sale. Typically, Tabby was in the lead. As they neared the colorful rummage site, a precious baby pony stepped forward. "Lemonade for sa-wo," she announced expectantly. "On-ee five jing-lets!"

Tabby passed her by to head straight for a large box piled high with toys of all kinds. While she was digging through the assortment of treasures, Sugarberry, Tamara, Chocolate Chip, and Tiffany enjoyed a glass of lukewarm, sugary lemonade from Baby Sweet Berry, Sweet Berry and Spic-and-Span's enterprising filly.

"Tabby, wouldn't you like a drink?" prodded Sugarberry. "Only five jinglets, and it'll make a baby pony happy."

"Nope... too busy," mumbled Tabby from deep within the box. When she finally reached the bottom, she stood up with a My Little People doll clutched in her hoof. After paying, she gloated to her friends as they moved on. "This is one of the rarest of the early My Little People, and I only had to pay ten jinglets for it!" Tabby trotted joyfully onward.

"I can't keep up with that pony," complained Sugarberry to Chocolate Chip. "My hooves are hurting already."

"She's a pony with a mission," agreed Chocolate Chip.

By the time they caught up with Tabby, she was buying several more My Little People dolls; but her mood had dipped, and she appeared angry. As she approached Sugarberry, she hissed heatedly, "Why, Sugarberry, do baby ponies insist on printing their names on their My Little People with permanent marker? Why, I ask you!" She stamped her hoof on the ground irritably.

"Settle down, Tabby!" soothed Sugarberry. "At least you are finding some."

"Yes, Tabby," Tiffany added. "I haven't found a single treasure yet."

"Come on, girls!" urged Tamara. "There's a really big one up ahead."

Several ponies had obviously joined forces on this particular site, and the lawn was covered in tables loaded down with clothes, toys, dishes, books, jewelry, and other items too numerous to mention.

Sugarberry headed to the books, Tabby to toys, Tiffany to jewelry, Chocolate Chip to the baked goods, and Tamara to the larger items at the edge of the yard. After perusing piles of books, Sugarberry found a copy of Mark Twain's Joan of Arc; she had been hunting for this book for years. Excitedly, she headed for Morning Glory, who was collecting the payments.

As she dug through her purse for a jangle, Sugarberry became aware of a tiny pink pony crying loudly by one of the tables. "Mama," stuttered the distraught baby between wails, "Mama, me want! Me want!" The little one pointed in the general direction of where Sugarberry stood waiting for change.

She doesn't want my book, does she? wondered Sugarberry to herself as she turned to see what else might have caught the baby's attention. "Why, Tabby, it's you!" Sugarberry was surprised to find her friend behind her in line. Tabby held a pastel plastic case that, when opened, revealed an intricate miniature castle complete with tiny inhabitants. The baby pony was crying even harder now, and it dawned on Sugarberry that the Polly Pocket clasped in Tabby's hoof was exactly what the heart-broken foal wanted.

"Tabby," whispered Sugarberry into Tabby's ear, "you didn't take that toy away from that sad little tot, did you?"

Tabby's round, innocent eyes flashed a "Who, me?" look at Sugarberry as she paid for her Lilliputian playset. When finished, she pulled Sugarberry down the path. "Tabby..." began Sugarberry again.

"It's this way, Sugarberry," Tabby explained. "That baby pony was looking at this..." She held up the diminutive castle smugly. "...but she set it down to go get her mom..."

"And you took it from her?"

"You're not listening to me," Tabby persisted. "The toy was on the table. If she wanted it that badly, she should have held on to it."

"But you knew..."

"Besides, it's for her own good. Small parts, you know, and she's under three."

Sugarberry sighed. "Well, I guess you're right about that, but the baby is so sad." She looked toward the pony, still whimpering at her mother's side.

"And think about it, Sugarberry. How many times did that happen to me down through the years?"

Sugarberry thought back to some equally difficult times in Tabby's rummaging career, and acquiesced.

As the two ponies waited for the others, Tabby began complaining, "I'm thirsty!"

"You should have had some lemonade back at Sweet Berry's," suggested Sugarberry.

"I wasn't thirsty then," countered Tabby curtly. "I'm going on ahead. See ya!" she called with a wave of her hoof.

Sugarberry lingered until Chocolate Chip, Tamara, and Tiffany had made their purchases. Tiffany was thrilled to have found an antique gold brooch embedded with creamy white pearls. "This will be perfect with by blue velvet cape!" she cooed.

Tamara found a cat carrier. "Can't have too many of these!" she justified as she joined the group.

Chocolate Chip finally appeared carrying an old, hand-woven throw rug. Seeing the questioning glances of her friends, her only comment was, "Don't ask." But, after following behind the pack silently for a couple of moments, she exclaimed, "I know what there is about this tattered old rug-- it reminds me of my grandmother's house!"

Sugarberry nodded approvingly. "That's good, Chocolate Chip. It's comforting to have a memento of the past."

Chocolate Chip hugged the rug to her and closed her eyes. "I can almost smell her cookies baking!" Her eyes opened expressively. "Chocolate chip cookies, of course!"

Everyone giggled at this reference to a once painful connotation given to the slender brown mare with brown mane and tail and a chocolate chip symbol.

"I wish I had a cookie and some lemonade right now!" grieved Tabby sorrowfully as they finally caught up with her. "I'm going to wilt away if I don't get a drink soon!"

They visited Tipsy Tulip's sale and Sky Skimmer's, each finding some little trinket to buy, but no lemonade for Tabby. To make matters worse, Tabby tripped over a rough spot in the path and scraped her knee and hoof on the sharp stones.

"Tabby, what happened?" worried Sugarberry as she helped her friend to a sitting position. She dabbed at the scraped and bleeding spots on Tabby's leg with her handkerchief while Tabby fumed about this needless delay in her day.

"How did you happen to fall?" asked Tiffany.

"I was just walking along and-- boom-- suddenly, I was half dead," explained Tabby.

"You should have been watching where you were going!" rebuffed Tamara unsympathetically.

Tabby shot Tamara a spiteful glance as she eased herself up to a standing position. She assured Sugarberry that she was ready to continue to the next sale.

"Hey! Look!" brightened Tabby as Ivy's house came into view with a refreshment table set-up out front. "Finally, I can get something to drink!"

Ivy was delighted to see her Dream Valley friends. "Tabby, what happened to your knee?" she quizzed.

So, while the girls revived themselves with ice cold milk and Ivy's chocolate turtle cookies, Ivy applied Band-Aids to all of Tabby's cuts and scrapes.

"Now I know how all my patients feel," reflected Tabby, wincing from the still stinging sores.

"Maybe you should have Toby clean those wounds when we get back to Dream Valley," suggested Sugarberry.

"Only if it's not too late," said Tiffany quickly. "Toby and I are dining at the Estate Manor this evening," she clarified.

"That reminds me... I've got the most gorgeous evening gown for sale," Ivy hinted. She walked to the clothesline where the clothing was displayed, and returned with a beige lace-and-satin dress.

"Oh! It's beautiful!" cooed Sugarberry

"I hate the color beige," sniffed Tiffany. "It does nothing for me."

Ivy held the dress up to Tabby. "It would look really nice on you, Tabby," she urged. "Beige lace becomes you."

Tabby rolled her eyes aggravatedly and slipped away to browse through the other articles laid out for sale.

Having wandered off to admire Ivy's flower garden, Tamara now returned to the scene. She admired the cut and quality of the garment Ivy held, but shared Tiffany's sentiment. "If it were in purple or pink, I'd be interested," she informed Ivy, "but beige? Not for me."

Standing in the background, Chocolate Chip now shyly stepped forward. "I like the dress, Ivy. How much is it?"

Ivy looked at the delicate, well-proportioned pony before her and envisioned this brown beauty swirling across the dance floor in the forelegs of a Brilliant Brother at some college party, and smiled while removing the ten jangle price sticker. "One jangle..."

Chocolate Chip's eyes lit up. "That's super!"

But Ivy continued, "...and a picture of you wearing it."

As Chocolate Chip blushed at this special attention, Sugarberry stepped in. "I'll make sure you get a picture. She'll be the belle of the ball! The only question will be, ‘Which lucky brother will be at her side?' "

Thoroughly flustered now, Chocolate Chip fumbled through her backpack for a jangle, and sealed the bargain with Ivy. "Thanks, Ivy," she whispered. "This is the prettiest dress I've ever owned."

"Now, here's something worth buying," rang out Tabby's voice as she held up a pink plush Care Bear.

This time is was Ivy's turn to roll her eyes. "I think Thomas would have preferred that you buy the party dress, Tabby, instead of another doll," she teased.

"No way," insisted Tabby. "Eighties' toys are the way to go! Besides, this isn't a doll; it's a Care Bear. Get your facts straight!"

On that note, the merry entourage set off down the path to continue its quest for discarded mementos and merchandise. The last stop was Clever Clover's home at the edge of Friendship Gardens.

"This one doesn't look like it has anything. Let's pass it by," Tabby urged.

"You know full well this is Clever Clover's house, Tabby. We've got to check it out," Sugarberry said reprovingly.

"Yes, yes... Cleve Clove!" Tabby called as she started trotting up to the yard. She waved her hoof in greeting. Once at a rummage, Tabby never ran out of energy, so she enthusiastically began rooting through the piles of books, artifacts, tools, and gear that Clever Clover had heaped around his yard.

Tamara, Tiffany, and Chocolate Chip were satisfied with their finds of the morning, so they hung back while Tabby did her searching. Sugarberry was attracted to a finch-feeder that Clever Clover was getting rid of. "I never can remember to refill it," he admitted as Sugarberry paid him her last jangle of the day.

Tamara laughed. "Sounds like Tabby and her forgetfulness in feeding Callie. Right, Tabby?" But Tabby was on the far side of the yard going through a stack of childrens' books.

To pass the time away, Tamara gingerly picked through some items in a free box, partially hidden under a canvas satchel. Chocolate Chip joined her while Tiffany perched on a wooden stool and admired her pearl brooch.

Tamara pulled out a dark and ominous plush object from the box and held it up for Chocolate Chip to see. "This is thoroughly disgusting," she complained.

"What is it, anyway?" questioned Chocolate Chip as she took the thing from Tamara's hoof. It was green and purple with evil yellow eyes. "It looks spooky, whatever it is."

"Maybe it's a dinosaur," concluded Tamara knowledgeably.

"You know what? I think it was meant to be a puppet," suggested Chocolate Chip as she pulled the monstrosity over her hoof.

At that moment, Tabby returned from across the yard and surveyed the tableau before her. Her gaze came to rest on Chocolate Chip and her covered hoof. After blinking her eyes several times in surprise and letting out a shriek of joy, Tabby stopped and raised her forelegs high into the air.

"Ah, Tweeg," she soliloquized. "I've found you!" Rushing up to a completely baffled Chocolate Chip, Tabby grabbed the strange puppet off her friend's hoof and clutched it dramatically to her chest. She closed her eyes and stood still, smiling contentedly.

Chocolate Chip, Sugarberry, Tiffany, Tamara, and Clever Clover gaped in amazement. "What's going on?" wondered Clever Clover at last.

Tabby came out of her silent reverie and into an extremely high-pitched and excited explanation. "This is the Tweeg puppet I've been searching for ever-so-long-- well, since earlier this year, at least. He was the villain in the Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, ya know. He's very cool, even if he is a villain. He's good at heart, though, I think-- being half troll and all, he really can't help but be evil. I simply adore Tweeg. He's my absolute favorite character out of Teddy Ruxpin. It's a great show. They should really bring it back. TWEEG IS SO COOL!!!" Here, Tabby turned the puppet towards her friends, who stared at the green face blankly. "As Tweeg would say, ‘I feel a song coming on.' But don't worry; I won't sing because I can't sing in front of other ponies. That doesn't mean I can't sing, because I can. I can sing ‘La la la' in public though. But I feel like singing the Pokèmon theme song, or something. I found Tweeg. I can't believe it!!!!" Stopping for a second, something striking her consciousness, she asked, "Cleve Clove, why didn't you ever tell me you had a Tweeg puppet? You knew I wanted one. And you were going to get rid of him at a rummage sale! How could you, Cleve Clove?" Tabby looked closely at Tweeg and smiled. "My very own Tweeg puppet. I'm so happy. I must be the happiest pony alive. Since I'm in such a generous mood right now, Cleve Clove, I'll pay you instead of walking off and forgetting. How much?"

Clever Clover gulped nervously. "Well, actually..."

"It was in the free box," squealed Tamara hysterically.

Tabby cast a withering glance in Clever Clover's direction. She opened her mouth to say something, but no words came. She simply and silently set off for home, Tweeg in hoof. And her friends fell in step behind her.

* * *
"I've found a recipe for turning buttermilk into gold," the Tweeg puppet declared as Tabby and a tableful of friends congregated the next evening at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. "L.B, we're going to be rich!"

"Tweeg, would you mind sharing that recipe with us poor ponies?" asked Thomas mischievously.

Tabby's Tweeg-covered hoof swatted Thomas playfully. "Yes, I would mind. But I have a potion I'll sell you cheap." Tweeg's yellow eyes glinted shrewdly... or so Tabby imagined. However, sighing, she set the puppet down on the table. "I believe I can't do Tweeg's lines right. Maybe I'll start talking like Jessiebelle instead."

Clever Clover groaned. "No! Please, don't!"

Sugarberry giggled.

Clever Clover finally spoke up. "Tabby, I swear I didn't know that was the precious Tweeg puppet you were looking for."

"That's right," agreed Spike. "If he'd have known, he'd have put an extravagant price on it!"

"Yeah, yeah!" echoed Friendly. "Lots of jangles, yeah!"

"I heard you had it out for free, Clever Clover," taunted Quarterback uncompassionately. "How'd you ever end up with that ugly thing, anyway?"

"Tweeg's not ugly," corrected Tabby before Clever Clover could reply. "He's cool." She waved the puppet in Quarterback's face.

Merry Moments agreed. "There's something debonair about Tweeg."

"That might explain what she sees in you, Quarterback," joked Clever Clover. The other ponies laughed.

" ‘Fess up, Clever Clover," prodded Vanguard. "What were you doing with a Tweeg puppet?"

"My mom had me move a bunch of boxes out of her house last month when she was cleaning-- she said it was all stuff I'd left behind when I got my own place."

"So you played with Tweeg when you were little?" asked Merry Moments. "How sweet!"

"Actually, I never had such a thing," Clever Clover frowned as he looked at the green figure in a purple cloak. "GoBots were more my style. Mom must have picked him up somewhere."

"It must have been fate, Tabby," concluded Sugarberry. "You and Tweeg, together at last!"

At that line, Thomas raised his eyebrows and shook his head. "Please, Sugarberry, don't put ideas in her head. I don't want to be dumped for a green-skinned villain."

Not one to leave a snide remark unsaid, Quarterback darted a sideways glance at Vanguard and asserted, "Green, blue... it's all the same."

Vanguard ignored the remark but cupped Sugarberry's hoof in his own, and winked at Merry Moments, who, in turn, patted Quarterback's hoof gently.

Tabby looked at her circle of friends and grinned. "Tweeg would like to say a few words." She raised her puppet to the center of the table, and cleared her throat.

"Friends," Tweeg began-- however, his voice had a thick, Southern accent to it this time-- and then paused for effect. "I feel a song coming on!"

"Any more of that Jessiebelle stuff, and I won't record Pokèmon for you any more!" Clever Clover warned. "And don't you dare start singing!" He grabbed the Tweeg puppet off Tabby's hoof.

"Hey! Give him back!" Tabby shrieked in her normal voice.

"Only if you promise not to sing, or talk like Jessiebelle."

"Okay, promise. Just give him back." Tabby reached across the table and managed to whack Clever Clover and recover Tweeg in one smooth motion.

"Now, now, children!" clucked Sugarberry in a motherly voice. "Act your ages!"

Tabby, Clever Clover, Spike, Vanguard, Friendly, Thomas, Merry Moments, and Quarterback chimed out in unison-- "What's the fun in that?" --and broke out in spirited laughter (lucky for Tabby, Clever Clover had not noticed the Southern accent that had chimed in).

Sugarberry groaned and lifted her hooves in mock dismay. "Why do I even try?"

But Tweeg got in the last word. "All I've ever wanted is to be rich, and with all you insane ponies around, I think I am!"

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The Party Mix-Up
by Princess Twinkle Star


The royalty of Friendship Castle were eating breakfast and listening to Princess Ivy describe the elaborate party she planned to give. "...I think we should have roses... red ones, to look classical... or maybe I should do something more unusual, like yellow... oh, I can't wait to see all the other princesses!"

Princess Twinkle Star thought of something. "When did you say you were giving that party?"

"Saturday. Weren't you listening?"

"That's funny. Saturday evening is when I'm giving my Pokèmon Party. All the trainers will come, and wild Pokèmon, and ponies who want to know more about Pokèmon. It'll be lots of fun!"

Princess Crystal looked up from her crystal ball. "Both of your parties sound nice, but be careful. I sense trouble around both of your parties." Quiet Crystal could sometimes tell the future with her crystal ball, and her predictions were always correct.

Princess Twinkle Star frowned. "Okay, I'll be careful; but I don't see any reason why there should be trouble."

"I've written all of my invitations," said Ivy. "I just have to put them in the right envelopes."

"Same with me," said Twinkle Star.

"I'll do you both a favor and put the invitations in the envelopes," offered Lady Light Heart.

"Thanks!" grinned the two princesses.

Later that day, Lady Light Heart decided to get to work on the job. As she looked at the guest list, an idea struck her. She knew the princesses would be furious, but it was just too good a chance to pass up. With a mischievous chuckle, she began to put the invitations into the envelopes. In the week that followed, ponies from all around were receiving party invitations. RSVPs were sent and ponies eagerly prepared themselves for a great time.

* * *
On the evening of the party, Princess Twinkle Star surveyed the decorations. While Ivy had filled the fancier ballroom with roses and lights, Twinkle Star had opted for the larger, more casual one. She put pictures of Pokèmon all over the room, and a few Jigglypuff-shaped balloons floated to and fro. There was a Pikachu pinata and favor bags in the shape of PokèBalls. All in all, Twinkle Star was very pleased. Her Pokèmon made happy noises, too.

In small groups, the guests began to drift in. There was Merry Treat with her Pokèmon, Clever Clover with his, a few wild Squirtles, Tabby and her three, and... Princess Taffeta? What was she doing here?

"What kind of party is this?" demanded Taffeta. "You all aren't royalty." Twinkle Star's Raichu hopped up on Taffeta's back. "Aaaah! What are these weird things? Is this your idea of a joke?" A few other ponies who didn't seem to belong there started to gather around Princess Taffeta.

"Hi," said Tabby.

"Oh, hi, Tabby," said Twinkle Star. "Is your Meowth having a good time? Where's Tamara and her Persian?"

"Tarquin's busy talking to Tess," answered the unicorn. "Tamara? She got invited to some royalty party."

Twinkle Star walked around and discovered that a few other guests were missing, too. Taffeta was still complaining, although many of the bewildered royals had regained their poise and had begun learning about Pokèmon. Some even seemed to be enjoying themselves.

* * *
In the other ballroom, Princess Ivy's party was in full swing. Ivy herself was discussing the latest fashions with her good friend, Princess Tiffany. Princess Crystal had agreed to tell fortunes, and many ponies lined up to have their's read.

Suddenly, Princess Pristina screamed. "What is that thing?"

Everyone's eyes turned to a small Vulpix who was calmly eyeing the guests. A few other ponies fled to the nearest corner, but Princess Dawn stepped forward. "It's nothing to worry about; it's a Pokèmon," she explained. "They're harmless if you don't provoke them... at least, most of the time."

A quick search revealed a Pikachu, two Chanseys, a Charmander, another Vulpix, and a Venusaur in the ballroom. A few guests began to screech, moan, and hide; but the braver ones held some of the Pokèmon and calmed the upset ones (Pokèmon are not used to being in rooms full of screaming royalty). "They're kind of cute," remarked Princess Primrose.

"I think I'd like one of these Chanseys," added Queen Serena. Even Princess Pristina ventured to stroke a Pikachu, wiping her hoof on a napkin afterwards.

Princess Ivy was no genius, but she was fairly sure she knew where the creatures had come from. She, the Pokèmon, and most of the guests trooped down the hallway to the other ballroom.

Princess Twinkle Star had organized an activity in which trainers took turns sending their Pokèmon to break the pinata. The royals organized a cheering section, rooting for their favorites. It was Twinkle Star's Mew's turn when the guests from the other party streamed in.

The two hostesses explained the mix-up to their respective guests, promised to send a Charizard at Lady Light Heart, and decided to combine their two parties. For the rest of the evening, Pokèmon, royalty, and other ponies participated in one of the biggest and most unusual parties in Ponyland; and when it was over, many royals had become Pokèmon enthusiasts.

* * *
Princess Twinkle Star smiled as she went to bed that night. The party had caused the trouble Princess Crystal had predicted, but it had also been the most fun Twinkle Star had had in a long time.

I'll have to thank Lady Light Heart after I've boiled her in oil, was her last thought before she fell asleep.

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Windy Baby-Sits
by Windy


Windy had been asked to baby-sit Baby Bridesmaid for Mainsail. She didn't baby-sit very well, but Mainsail didn't know that. Mainsail thought it would be okay for Windy to try.

Windy wasn't really too keen on babysitting. I guess I'll have to go to Mainsail's house now, she thought, looking at her watch.

Her French Burmese cat, Diamond, purred contentedly on Windy's bed. Windy patted her, put on her coat, and left for Mainsail's.

* * *
Windy knocked on Mainsail's door. Mainsail opened it and exclaimed, "Oh, Windy, it's you! Wait a sec ‘till I get Baby Bridesmaid."

"Yeah, yeah, sure," Windy mumbled.

"What's that? Oh, never mind; I'll just get her," Mainsail said, and then slipped into another room. After a minute, she came back with Baby Bridesmaid.

Baby Bridesmaid had a rattle in one hoof and a bottle of milk in the other. She cooed when she saw Windy.

"She's so cute, and absolutely harmless," said Mainsail, and set her in Windy's hooves.

"Really?" Windy asked as Baby Bridesmaid spilt a drop of milk on her coat.

"Yes, harmless," said Mainsail, giving Windy a cloth to wipe off the stain.

"Hmmm..." said Windy. Baby Bridesmaid cooed again and shook her rattle in Windy's face. Windy pushed it back. "Okay, I'm sure she'll be fine," said Windy.

"Yes, and remember to refill her bottle regularly. And don't let her too close to Diamond. She likes to pull cat's whiskers and tails," said Mainsail. "That's why I don't have a cat," she added. "Now, it's getting late. Love Melody will be worried if I'm not there in time!"

"Okay, bye!" said Windy, and started down the street with Baby Bridesmaid in her forelegs. Boy, she's heavy! she thought.

* * *
Windy opened the door to her house and set Baby Bridesmaid down in a crib she had prepared. "She can't wreck my house in there," she said to herself.

Baby Bridesmaid gurgled in her crib. "Baba! A ba-ba!" she cooed.

Whatever that means, thought Windy, and tossed a felt stuffed teddy bear into the crib. It landed on Baby Bridesmaid, and she gurgled again. Then she promptly threw the bear out of the crib. Windy grabbed it in mid-air and gave it back to the baby pony. This time, Baby Bridesmaid put it in her mouth. "Baba!" she gurgled again.

Well, at least she can't chew it apart, Windy thought. "Oh-- Diamond, here's your water." She put down the bowl in front of her cat.

"Pwuffy!" Baby Bridesmaid gurgled. "Baba!" Then she reached her hoof out of the crib. "Bwa baa!" she said again, and reached for the cat.

Luckily, Diamond's tail was out of the way. "Pwuffy! Waaaaa!" said Baby Bridesmaid when she found out that she couldn't reach the tail, and sat down in her crib with a whump.

Windy sighed and refilled Baby Bridesmaid's bottle. "Gaa-goo!" said Baby Bridesmaid, and began drinking. Windy watched as the milk rapidly disappeared. Then Baby Bridesmaid waved her bottle in the air. "Ba-ba, ba-ba, ba-ba, a ba-ba, ga-ga goo ga-ga," she said, and then flung her bottle at the lamp. It hit the bulb, which splintered and flung sharp points of glass at the floor.

"Bad baby!" Windy scolded. Baby Bridesmaid just cooed happily. "Oh, boy..." Windy sighed as she went around with a dustpan and brush, sweeping up the bits of glass.

Baby Bridesmaid looked on eagerly. Then one of the afternoon rays of sun bounced on a piece of glass, making it shine brightly. Baby Bridesmaid was fascinated. "Ba-ba! Gwet! Ba-ba!" she said, and reached out for the piece of glass.

"No, no, no," Windy told her, and scooped up the delicate piece.

Baby Bridesmaid's face fell. "Waaaaaaaaa! Waaaaa!" she cried. "Waaaa!" She rolled over and cried some more. "Waaa!"

Windy finished sweeping up the splinters and tossed them into the garbage. Then she refilled Baby Bridesmaid's bottle and gave it to her.

The baby pony took a sip, then set her bottle on the bottom of the cot and cried. "Waaa! WAAAAAA!" Baby Bridesmaid hollered. She was very loud now.

Windy covered her ears. "Stop it!" she said, and handed the rattle to Baby Bridesmaid. The baby pony stopped crying and shook her rattle. Soon, she was making as much noise as when she had been crying. "Ssssh... ssss... sssss... sssss," went the rattle. She did it for a long time.

"Oh, why didn't Mainsail choose somebody else?" Windy moaned. Then she had an idea. She went up to Baby Bridesmaid and gave her a tin can with thick tape on the edges (where it would have been sharp) and macaroni inside. The outside was painted with dots of red, green, yellow, purple, orange, and blue. Someone had glued the top back on after putting the macaroni inside. "There, that's for you to rattle instead," Windy said to the little pony.

Baby Bridesmaid stopped rattling and grabbed the tin. "Ga-ga goo-goo!" she cooed, and started rattling. Windy grinned. Then, after a minute, the baby also grabbed her rattle in the other hoof. She shook them both. A terrible rattling noise arose in the house.

"Arrrgh..." Windy said above all the noise.

Diamond hissed and ran up the stairs to Windy's bedroom. Windy sighed, and tossed a cushion from the couch into Baby Bridesmaid's cot.

The baby took no notice of it. She just continued rattling, to Windy's dismay. Windy decided to ignore her, so she lay down on the couch to take a nap.

Baby Bridesmaid was getting bored of the rattles. She was also bored of Windy. "Ba-ba..." she said, and sat down on the cushion. Then she dropped her rattles. "Pwuffy...Gwive..." she added, then crawled off the cushion. After sitting down alone for a minute, she put her head down on the cushion and went to sleep.

Diamond cautiously crept down the stairs when she heard the rattling stop. When she saw Baby Bridesmaid was asleep, she was very glad. She ran down the rest of the stairs and jumped onto the couch with Windy. Then she settled down on Windy's stomach and began to snooze, too.

* * *
Windy awoke to find the doorbell ringing and Baby Bridesmaid waking up from her sleep. Diamond was roused by Windy's movements, and seeing what was up, she leaped off Windy's stomach and trotted up to the door.

"Me-e-eow," she said, and scratched at the door. "Me-eow."

"Um-- coming," called Windy, and bounced off the couch. "I've just been napping."

"Then just open the door!" said Tabby from the other side of the door. Windy paused. Should she let Tabby come face-to-face with a baby pony? Whatever.

Windy opened the door. Chocolate Chip, Merry Treat, and Tabby had come to visit her. What now? "Um... hi! I was just napping with Diamond... come in!" said Windy, and yawned.

"Definitely looks like it," said Tabby.

"And your cat-- her hair is wild!" said Chocolate Chip.

"Uh-huh. She sleeps weird," said Windy.

"Have you caught any Pokèmon lately?" Merry Treat asked.

Just then, Tabby shrieked, "A baby pony! A baby pony! Take it out!!!!!" She started backing away from the crib.

"Um-- I had to babysit. She's ‘very cute and absolutely harmless',"said Windy.

"Really?" Tabby asked. "She looks very... dangerous. Baby ponies are nasty!"

"He-he... to tell you the truth, I dislike them, too," said Windy. "But what choice did I have? Mainsail had to go out and she couldn't bring Baby Bridesmaid!"

"You actually let her win?!" Tabby asked.

"Yeah..." said Windy.

"Then..." began Tabby, but Merry Treat interrupted.

"What Pokèmon have you caught?" she asked.

"A Psyduck," replied Windy. "And a Zubat."

"Psyduck? Is he for trade or sale?" asked Tabby.

"No way!" said Windy. "But you can see him. My Pokèmon are in my room."

"Oh-- okay. See me upstairs!" said Tabby, and raced up the stairs.

Baby Bridesmaid cooed. "Isn't she so cute?" Chocolate Chip squealed.

"Yes," agreed Merry Treat. The baby pony cooed, and then held up a jingly ball to wave around.

"Ga-ga!" she said, and then showed all her other toys to Merry Treat and Chocolate Chip.

Chocolate Chip giggled. "Cute," she sighed. "Would Mainsail mind if I took her along with me to baby-sit? I have to go now, anyway."

"Yes! Please do!" said Windy. "I'll call Mainsail and let her know. I'm sure she won't mind if you finish watching her. Just take her bottle, her rattle, and fill her bottle regularly."

"Okay," said Chocolate Chip, picking up Baby Bridesmaid. Then she headed out the door.

"Well, that was a good move!" Tabby said when Windy told her what Chocolate Chip had done. "No more nasty baby ponies in this house!"

"Yeah," agreed Windy.

The three ponies spent the rest of the day talking about Pokèmon and their My Little People collections (Windy only had Pansy and Emily with Camelot), watching TV (chiefly My Little People and Pokèmon), and eating.

By the time Tabby and Merry Treat had to go home, it was 8:00 at night. "Whew-- well, bye!" Merry Treat exclaimed, heading out the door.

"Bye!" Tabby added, and the two ponies went their own ways home. Windy's Ninetails stood by the door and watched Tabby and Merry Treat until they were out of sight. "Come on, Ninetails," said Windy as she went back inside.

"Ni-i-i-inetails," said the Pokèmon, and followed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Necklace Dilemma
by Tabby
"Isn't it awful how many different spellings my name has?' Tabby complained. "There's Tabby-- that's the best of all-- or Taby, or Tabbie. Of course, there's always the dreaded Tabitha, which could also be Tabbitha..."

"My name has no variations. You can't misspell it," Tiffany sighed happily.

"Sure, Tiffy," Tabby smirked.

Tamara glanced reproachfully at her cousin. "Tabitha! How many times do we have to tell you-- full names are the way to go. It's the wave of the future!"

Tabby and Tamara had been invited to the Royal Paradise by Tiffany, and the three were now wasting time looking up their names in a book of names and meanings they had found lying around.

" ‘Tabitha' means ‘gazelle'." Tabby paused in thought. "What's a gazelle?"

Tamara furrowed her brow. "I think it's a pony-like creature," she decided.

"And it has two unicorn horns!" Tiffany added.

"Two?" Tabby frowned. She didn't want any creature having more than one unicorn horn. "Well, one horn is better than two," she finally philosophized.

"But everyone knows pegasi are more beautiful than unicorns," Tiffany declared snobbishly, closely inspecting her own set of pure white wings.

"I beg to differ!" Tamara said indignantly.

"Tammy's right. Unicorns are better, Tiff," Tabby said in dismissal.

"That's Tiffany!" the princess retorted.

"And my name is Tamara!" Tamara wailed. "Hmm... let see what Tamara means!" the pink unicorn exclaimed, grabbing the book from Tabby. "I'm sure it's something wonderful." She glanced through the columns of print. "Ah-hah! Here it is... Tamara... ‘palm tree'?" she echoed.

"That's a pretty boring name definition," Tabby said.

"Exactly what I was thinking, Tabitha," Tiffany said breezily, and took the book from Tamara. "Now, Tiffany, on the other hoof..." She hummed as she browsed the pages.

"But ‘palm tree' really isn't that bad," Tamara said in self-defense. "It makes me think of a nice, tropical vacation."

Her two friends weren't listening, though. Tiffany was still flipping through pages, and Tabby had leaned back in her seat on the couch, her thoughts appearing to be centered elsewhere for the moment.

"Mmm." Tiffany looked up smugly. "My name means ‘in the image of God'."

Upon hearing this, Tabby couldn't help but start snickering. "You really oughta live up to your name better, Tiff."

Tiffany looked at Tabby in annoyance, but didn't comment. "I am a princess," she finally said.

"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Tamara blustered. "Isn't there anything else to do today?"

"Arguing over names is a rather thrilling occupation," Tabby said.

"Let's go to the Perm Shoppe!" Tiffany squealed.

"That's what you suggest every time I'm visiting," Tabby complained.

"She suggests it every time I'm here, too," Tamara agreed. "But it's still a good idea."

"It's too hot to go anywhere," Tabby pointed out. "And it's air-conditioned here at the Royal Paradise."

Tamara and Tiffany nodded slowly. They really didn't want to face the intense heat outside, either. "Tomorrow," Tiffany declared.

"Let's plan a party!" Tamara suggested next.

Tabby rolled her eyes. "You two are so predictable," she sighed. "I always know you're going to want to go to the Perm Shoppe or throw a party."

"But they're both so much fun!" Tiffany said.

"We can always gossip!" Tamara said excitedly.

"Of course!" Tiffany clapped her front hooves together in delight.

Tiffany and Tamara both seemed happy with that idea, and Tabby just sat there listening in. Sometimes she could pick up valuable information from these two.

"Did you know that Chocolate Chip has been with Current at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe the past two nights?" Tiffany demanded.

Tamara raised an eyebrow. "I think he's too young for you, Tiffany."

"That's not what I meant," Tiffany went on. "I meant, what can he see in such a boringly-colored pony?"

Tamara nodded. "That's true. She's so... plain. I must admit, though, she has a wonderful cat. I hope she'll enter the next cat-show I'm setting up."

"And then there's the fact that Toby hasn't called me all day," Tiffany prattled on.

"Well, Tex dropped in to see me just this morning," Tamara bragged.

"Unfortunately," Tabby agreed, and yawned. Hanging around with these two could get awfully boring. It had been more fun arguing over names. Usually, though, there was something of interest in their gossip. Tabby stared out the window, wishing she had something to drink. Why didn't Tiffany offer her guests anything to drink on such a hot day?

Suddenly, Tabby's attention was back on Tamara and Tiffany's conversation.

"...and Princess Dawn told me that her friend heard that someone wants to buy Tabby's old vet clinic building," Tiffany was informing Tamara.

"I thought I sold that disgusting place months ago," Tabby interrupted.

Tamara shook her head. "No you didn't, Tabitha. The flower deliverer looked into setting his shop up there, but decided against purchasing it."

"So who wants it?" Tabby demanded. "I just want it off my hooves."

Tiffany shrugged. "Dawn didn't know exactly."

"Are you sure you want to sell the building?" Tamara questioned. "Doesn't it hold a lot of memories?"

"That place is ugly and unaesthetical," Tabby said is disgust. "I could never keep it organized."

Tiffany nodded. "Yes. I remember last year when I first got Theodora and brought her into your clinic... it was still running just a year ago, wasn't it? It seems longer than that."

"Being a Pokèmon nurse is much better than being a veterinarian," Tabby went on. "Why, I had to put up with being in charge of my old clinic ever since I got out of college. And the only reason I became a vet was because my mom was always pressuring me to go into that field... I think."

"Probably because it's a well-paying occupation," Tamara said in approval.

"The pay would have been a good part," Tabby contradicted, "except that I forgot to open it half the time... therefore, I was always broke anyway..."

Tiffany started giggling. "You and Sugarberry were always washing dishes late into the night at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe to pay off Scoops for the sundaes you'd had. Of course, that was before--"

"And then I discovered Atlantis-- well, Cleve Clove was with me, I guess-- and when I got back to Dream Valley, I found out that some creep had opened a better clinic while I was gone!" Tabby shrieked in outrage, forgetting what she was saying.

Tiffany paused for a second. "That ‘creep' was Thomas," she reminded.

"Oh... yeah," Tabby blushed. "I lost track of myself."

"You know, that's a good idea!" Tamara exclaimed suddenly.

"Losing track of yourself?" Tabby questioned.

"Tiffany, let's host an Atlantean-themed party!" Tamara suggested, ignoring Tabby's remark.

Tiffany smiled radiantly. "What a perfect idea!" she said excitedly. "Tamara, you and I can come up with some really Atlantean-looking jewelry and hair-styles. And we'll-- that is, I'll-- look even more beautiful in them than the Atlanteans do."

"This will be fun! Everyone will want to come!" Tamara said gleefully. "Tabby, you were in Atlantis. What jewelry were the Atlantean ponies wearing?"

"I didn't meet any Atlanteans--" Tabby started.

Tiffany scoffed. "Atlantis is a bustling metropolis, at the height of fashion. You couldn't go there and not meet anyone. Maybe you didn't go at all."

"We'll plan an Atlantis party just fine without your help, Tabby," Tamara added.

Tabby rolled her eyes, but didn't bother to correct Tiffany and Tamara's ideas on Atlantis. "Hey, you two. It's five-thirty. Time to head to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe."

Tabby led the group out of the Royal Paradise, with Tiffany and Tamara following behind; those two were bubbling over with non-stop talk about their new party idea. Tabby had nearly forgotten the fact that Tiffany had hinted that someone was interested in buying the building of her old vet clinic.

* * *
A few days later, Tamara and Tiffany were out shopping for decorations and other supplies for their Atlantis party.

"Navy blue crepe paper," Tamara said firmly.

"No, it has to be aqua!" Tiffany argued. "Navy blue is too... dark. Aqua would capture the true essence of Atlantis."

"Well," Tamara sniffed. "I don't see how we know what the true essence of Atlantis is. None of my fashion magazines have any articles on Atlantean styles."

"I don't care what you say," Tiffany said stubbornly. "I'm buying it in aqua."

"Let's forget about crepe paper for now," Tamara said, consulting the check-list she held in her hoof. I'll go pick out plates. You find some decent-looking candles. We'll have those on the refreshment tables, and they'll look quite nice."

In a huff, Tiffany trotted down the aisle in the party supplies shop to find candles. I hope they have them in aqua, she thought to herself.

Navy blue paper plates would be excellent, Tamara was pondering as she went in search of the needed items.

Tiffany lightly stepped into the aisle, where a large section was devoted to various-sized candles of every different color available. She dove straight to the aqua ones.

"Hello, fair lady." A strange figure stepped into the aisle Tiffany was in and bowed to her.

Tiffany gasped as she looked up, and dropped the long, slender candle she had picked up. This stranger was definitely not a normal pony... or human, for that matter, even if his form did resemble one.

The figure stood up straight on his whale-fin shaped legs. He appeared to be a cross between a human and a whale. His body was muscular and smooth like that of a whale; but in the place of fins, he had strong-looking arms and legs. Though his head was clearly that of a whale, his eyes and mustache were definitely that of a human. A pair of spectacles was perched near the end of his nose.

"Wh-h-hat... are you?" Tiffany stuttered.

The whale-man smiled charmingly. "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation in the other aisle about a party you're throwing." He stretched out an arm, and displayed an ancient-looking medallion. "I'm selling this fine Atlantean necklace."

Tiffany gasped again, but this time in wonder. She stepped closer to the whale-man and picked the medallion up in her hoof. It appeared to be made of bronze in the shape of an ominous-looking whale head. It was strung on a thick, gold-plated necklace cord.

"It's beautiful!" Tiffany exclaimed. "And it would complement my Atlantean outfit perfectly!"

"You like it, then?" the whale-man questioned.

"I love it," Tiffany breathed.

"I heard you mention an Atlantis party, and I thought this necklace couldn't find a better home than with such a fair pony as you," the whale-man declared.

"I'll take it!" Tiffany squealed. "I'll look so beautiful when I wear it. It is genuine Atlantean, right?" She scrutinized the medallion carefully.

"Be assured, it is not a fake," the whale-man assured her. "I'm a highly educated student of Atlantis, and this definitely dates from that ancient city."

"You are simply too kind, sir," Tiffany gushed. "How can I ever repay you, Mr...?"

"Shane. Dr. Malcolm Shane," the whale-man informed the princess. "The cost of this fine piece of jewelry is only two thousand jangles, which is, indeed, a great bargain."

"Here you go." Tiffany flashed Dr. Shane a winning smile as she handed over the requested jangles from her purse.

After glancing at the bills Tiffany handed him, Dr. Shane smiled back. "Have a wonderful time at the party." With that, he bowed again, and was quickly on his way.

"This is too perfect!" Tiffany whispered to herself, slipping the necklace around her neck. "I'll be the star of the party with this." She smiled dreamily and imagined the scene...

"Tiffany, haven't you got the candles yet?" Tamara demanded. She had entered the aisle while Tiffany was lost in her daydream. "I have plates and glasses. It doesn't take that long to pick out candles."

Tiffany ran her hoof across the surface of the medallion. "Oh, I wasn't taking that long, Tamara," she murmured.

Tamara's mouth dropped open as she saw what Tiffany had around her neck. "Where in the world did you get that?" she asked enviously.

"Oh, a Dr. Shane sold it to me while you were looking at plates," Tiffany said nonchalantly, picking up a box of the aqua candles she had been inspecting.

"Didn't he have another?" Tamara gawked.

"No, it's unique." Tiffany smiled to herself. "And I think Toby will like it on me; don't you?" She briskly started walking towards the check-out. "Come on. We're done at this store."

Tamara followed behind, too jealous of Tiffany's necklace to complain about the color of candles the princess had picked.

Dr. Malcolm Shane grinned evilly from a shadowy corner of the store as he watched Tamara and Tiffany leave. "Soon, I will have my revenge!" he said to himself, and laughed demonically.

* * *
Tabby swatted at a mosquito that had landed on her foreleg. Why in the world had Tamara and Tiffany decided to host their Atlantis party outside? By the river? With no protection against mosquitos?

Tabby had just arrived at the party, which was just starting. Tiffany and Tamara had certainly gone all out on this occasion-- except for mosquito prevention. Bright, colored lights lit up the early evening sky and made beautiful splashy patterns in the river. Fancy desserts and aqua candles covered the long refreshment tables. They probably all have raisins or something else disgusting baked into them, Tabby reasoned. The Sea Ponies added their festive songs to the party atmosphere.

It reminded Tabby a lot of the summer dance last year Sugarberry had told her about. She was certainly glad that annoying stallion, Cliff, didn't show his face around her any more.

Just as I thought, Tabby thought to herself, inspecting all the desserts laid out on bright tablecloths covered in fish designs. Everything's smothered in whipped cream. What does whipped cream have to do with Atlantis?

"And where's that over-styled cousin of mine?" Tabby muttered. "I'm going to give her a piece of my mind over all this whipped cream if it's the last thing I do!"

Tamara had obviously been nearby, as she suddenly appeared in front of Tabby. "Were you mumbling about me, Tabitha?" she questioned, pushing a stray lock of hair back into place.

"I want to know," Tabby said viciously, "why you had to cover all the food in whipped cream. Why, I'm sure it'd all be perfectly wonderful if it weren't for that-- that-- vile, disgusting stuff." She shook her head.

"Tiffany and I both thought that these cakes would be the best for this party, and you wouldn't believe how much they cost," Tamara reprimanded. "Here, try this one." She gestured towards one of the fancy cakes on the table. "It has delightful raisins it. I thought it tasted wonderful."

"You know I hate raisins and whipped cream," Tabby said impatiently. "What you should have done is put frosting in place of the cream--"

Tamara was obviously ignoring Tabby. "And did you get a load of Tiffany's new necklace?" she demanded.

Tabby cocked her head. "Another new necklace? She gets a new one every day... really, I haven't seen her for the past few days."

"She says she paid two thousand jangles for it," Tamara sighed. "And it looks so Atlantean, you wouldn't believe it!" She tugged at her own simple gold necklace. "I feel so embarrassed being a hostess of this party, and this thing is the closest I could get to looking Atlantean."

"Where is Tiffany, anyway?" Tabby questioned.

Tamara waved a hoof in the general direction of the beach, where the dancing was taking place. "Dancing with Toby, or maybe somebody else by now," she scowled. "She's getting all the attention with that cool necklace of hers."

"It's not worth whining over," Tabby sighed impatiently. "All necklaces look pretty much the same."

"Oh, Tabitha!" Tamara shook her head. "You simply can't understand fashion."

"Say!" Tabby's face suddenly brightened, as she noticed Tex hadn't joined Tamara. "Did you dump Tex or something?"

Tamara looked indignant. "Of course not," she said haughtily. "He's just-- he's just-- he's just--"

"Just what?" Tabby prodded.

"Having a boring conversation on sports with Quarterback," Tamara scowled again.

"Tough luck," Tabby said unsympathetically.

"By the way, I don't see Thomas with you," Tamara said lightly.

"He said he was going to show up a little later," Tabby said defensively.

"Whatever you say, Tabitha," Tamara said. "Oh, would you look at that! I've got to go over there! Buh-bye!" Tamara trotted off to see whatever it was that had interested her.

"Such a polite cousin I have," Tabby muttered under her breath.

"Hello, Tabby!" Sugarberry's voice called out. "What're you doing, just standing around?"

Tabby swung her head around to face her friend, who had just entered the party grounds. "Don't ask what I'm doing; just look at what Tamara and Tiffany did to the food," she hissed, pulling Sugarberry over closer to the refreshments.

"I don't know; they all look pretty good to me," Vanguard, who was accompanying Sugarberry, commented, picking up one of the navy blue paper plates.

"But it's all whipped cream!" Tabby wailed.

Sugarberry giggled, and took a bite of the white, fluffy dessert she had on her plate. "This is yummy. Try some, Tabby," she advised. "Just a little bit."

Tabby shook her head firmly. "I do not eat whipped cream," she stated simply. She trailed along beside Sugarberry and Vanguard as they walked over the grounds.

"The Bushwoolies look like they're busy on fire duty," Vanguard said. The Bushwoolies were usually called upon at parties to make sure no fires started from the lighting. Friendly and Hugster were dousing down a dessert which had somehow gotten on fire.

Serves the stupid whipped cream right, Tabby thought to herself.

"My, I hope no one got hurt in that," Sugarberry frowned, referring to the fire.

"It's a sign that desserts were not meant to have whipped cream in," Tabby suggested.

Sugarberry rolled her eyes. "You don't know what you're missing, Tabby," she teased. "I saw you talking to Tamara right when we got here. How are she and Tiffany taking the responsibility of being hostesses at this party?"

Tabby paused in thought. "Tamara didn't really say anything in that aspect, except for the fact that Tiffany has a better necklace than she does."

"Tiffany must have gotten something really special if Tamara admits it's better than hers," Vanguard said.

"Well, I haven't seen Tiffany at all yet," Tabby frowned. "let alone this necklace she has."

"Her hooves will get sore from dancing sometime," Sugarberry assured Tabby.

Tabby scrutinized the scene on the beach. "I dunno... Tiffany can go for a long time..."

"She's been so wrapped up in party preparations this past week, I've hardly seen her," Sugarberry commented. "She forgot to schedule an appointment for Theodora at the clinic, and she's usually prompt about that."

"Ooh, yes." Tabby nodded in remembrance. "Does she still bring that snobby cat of hers in as often as she did when I worked there?"

"Not as much, after she started seeing Toby," Sugarberry winked. "Well, we'll see you later, Tabby. Don't look so upset over the whipped cream!" With that, Sugarberry and Vanguard trotted off and began chatting with another group of ponies that Vanguard obviously knew.

"I feel a song coming on," Tabby said out loud to no one in particular. At that moment, she noticed Tiffany and Toby leave the dancing on the beach.

"Hey-hey-hey!" Tabby exclaimed, zipping directly over to the two, who appeared to be in deep conversation. "Whatcha talking about? Hmm? Hmm?" She simply adored prying into other's conversations.

"It doesn't concern you, Tabby," Tiffany frowned.

"Say!" Tabby caught a glimpse of the medallion strung from Tiffany's neck. "That looks a lot like the necklace that possessed me in Atlantis. Is it one of those museum reproductions? Now, I wish I would've thought of mass-marketing imitations of Atlantean necklaces. I'd be even richer than I am now--"

"This is a genuine piece of Atlantean jewelry," Tiffany informed Tabby haughtily. "I'm sure you've never heard of the Dr. Shane who so kindly sold it to me, but he's a highly educated student of Atlantis, and he assured me it's not a fake."

"Gosh," Tabby breathed. "I'd be careful with that medallion if I were you, Tiff. You never know when some weird Atlantean spirit is going to take over your mind."

"Don't scare Tiffany with stories like that," Toby chided. "There aren't any spirits going to possess her."

"Toby's right," Tiffany said indignantly. "There's no Atlantean spirit--"

"Who's possessed by an Atlantean spirit?" a voice from behind Tabby queried.

"Tiffany is," Tabby said promptly, turning to Thomas, who had finally shown up. "It's that necklace she's wearing."

"I'm telling you, it's--" Tiffany shrieked, the pitch of her voice rapidly rising.

"So this is the two thousand jangle necklace I've heard about," Thomas said in interest. "And you got a genuine spirit thrown in the deal, too."

"It does sound like you got a great bargain there, Tiff," Tabby agreed.

"You... are... making... fun... of... me," Tiffany said slowly through clenched jaws.

"Tiffany, don't get this upset," Toby warned. "Perhaps you'd feel better if you got something to drink."

With a final bitter glance back at Tabby and Thomas, Tiffany willingly went along with Toby to the punchbowl.

"And be careful not to turn yourself into a whale," Tabby called after her friend, not passing up another chance to annoy the princess.

"Peasant," Tiffany was heard to mutter.

"Peasant! She hasn't called me that in ages!" Tabby shrieked with laughter. "Peasant! She said I was a peasant!"

"Tiffany certainly got more upset than she usually does... when a certain someone is annoying her over her jewelry," Thomas winked.

Tabby blinked innocently. "She's just mad because she's afraid she wasted two thousand jangles on a cheap imitation," she predicted. "I, however, was honored enough to wear a real Atlantean necklace with a real Atlantean spirit!"

Thomas-- along with all of Tabby's other friends-- had heard the story of Tabby and Clever Clover's adventure in Atlantis a million times over. "You're not seriously thinking that necklace has an Atlantean spirit in, do you?" he prodded.

Tabby suddenly paused. "Well, no, not seriously... but now that you've brought it up-- maybe it is the real medallion, and she'll kill us all!" Tabby exclaimed dramatically. "...or maybe not..."

"Clever Clove will have something to say on this," Thomas predicted.

"If he shows up tonight at all. And if he doesn't," Tabby chattered, "I'm going to bug him about it into all infinity."

"You're always bugging him about something into ‘all infinity'," Thomas reminded.

"Well, yes, that's true," Tabby admitted. "But it's the principle of this party. Being the second discoverer of Atlantis, he should be here to make sure no Atlantean spirits or such show up."

"Clever Clover was the second discoverer? And I suppose that makes you the first?" Thomas said playfully. "You can continue this fascinating conversation on Atlantean spirits, but I say we should go dance." He urged her towards the beach.

"I suppose so..." Tabby cast a frown back at the refreshment table. "..since the food is ruined, there's nothing else to do." She broke into a quick trot towards the beach. It probably won't affect me if Tiffany is possessed, anyway, she decided to herself.

* * *
Clever Clover saw Toby and Tiffany at the punchbowl as he entered the party grounds. "Hi-ho!" he called out to the couple.

"Good evening," Toby greeted the archeologist from Friendship Gardens.

Tiffany took a sip of punch from her glass. "Yes, hello, Clever Clover," she added. "Now, I'm sure you have better sense than Tabby."

"Well, probably," Clever Clover said slowly, hoping Tabby wasn't in the vicinity.

"This necklace does look like a genuine Atlantean item, doesn't it?" Tiffany asked worriedly.

"She's still shook up over an incident with Tabby that took place earlier," Toby explained.

Hmm, what did Tabby say this time? Clever Clove mused. To Tiffany, after scrutinizing the medallion around her neck, he said, "I'd have to get a closer look at it and do some testing."

"If you're this distraught over it, Tiffany, perhaps you should have it professionally examined to determine its age," Toby suggested.

"No one is getting their hooves on my necklace," Tiffany said possessively, clutching a hoof over the whale medallion.

Interesting... that looks exactly like the Nur-Ab-Fin necklace Tabby had in Atlantis, Clever Clover thought to himself. But it can't be the same one. There's no way it could've gotten to Dream Valley. Tiffany sure is acting the way Tabby did under the influence of it, though.

"You can't take my necklace," Tiffany repeated, piercing through Clever Clover's thoughts. "It's just right for what I want it for, and that's all I need to know."

Toby nodded approvingly. "That the way to look at it. Don't let what Tabby said get you down."

"Uhh... so... have you gotten into Pokèmon training yet, Tiffany?" Clever Clover finally asked. I wish I had an oricalcum bead handy to put in the medallion. That'd clear this up.

"Theodora is more than I can keep up with already," Tiffany retorted. In a huff, she turned her back on Clever Clover and walked off. Toby had no choice but to go with her.

"This is very interesting indeed," Clever Clover mumbled to himself. "Something is definitely wrong here. Tiffany loves that cat of hers; she'd never get sick of having her around! I'll have to get to the bottom of this, somehow..."

* * *
Later that night, Clever Clover caught up with Tabby, who had just finished having an interesting conversation on Pokèmon with Merry Treat. "Don't you think Tiffany is acting differently from her usual self tonight?" he questioned.

"Ooh." Tabby nodded knowledgeably. "You saw her Nur-Ab-Whatever necklace. Do you think she's really possessed? Do you think the medallion is really real?" To herself, she was thinking, Oh, dear, he's here. Now I can't bug him about not coming.

"We can't take this too lightly," Clever Clove warned. "Who knows what damage she might cause... if it is genuine..."

"Oh, Cleve Clove," Tabby sighed. "We left that stupid necklace lying somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. It can't be that one. Unless the Sea Ponies found it and brought it to Ponyland. Or else--"

"Perhaps it is different than the one you had, but still works on the same principle," Clever Clover mused. "In which case, we must get it away from Tiffany as soon as possible!"

"I'll let you handle this on your own," Tabby suggested. "It sounds too confusing for my mind to comprehend."

Clever Clover, however, had stopped listening to Tabby, like most ponies did eventually. "Yes, this is very strange," he mumbled, beginning to walk off, deep in thought. "I must get to work on this..."

Tabby watched him go. "Hmm, maybe there is something up with that medallion. I might do some investigating of my own... later... if I feel like it..."

* * *
Tamara arrived home about fifteen minutes after Tabby that night. "I simply need a necklace like Tiffany's!" she wailed, pouting as she flopped down on the living room couch.

Tabby looked up from her seat on the other side of the room. "Oh, you don't want one, Tammy," she assured her cousin.

"Why wouldn't I want one?" Tamara shot back. "And my name is Tamara! T-a-m-a-r-a!"

"That's good; you're picking up some of Tweeg's lines," Tabby said in approval. "Cleve Clove thinks that Tiffany is possessed by an Atlantean spirit because of that medallion. Now, I had a necklace like that in Atlantis and I was possessed, but I still think he's overreacting. For all I know, it might be true, though... that's why I'm going to start an investigation."

"If you're trying to make me feel better, it's not working," Tamara grumbled, slouching deeper into the couch.

"Oh, I'm not; don't worry," Tabby said quickly. "Hmm, I can conduct my first interogation now!"

"With whom?" Tamara questioned. "I'm not letting you call all my friends at this hour of the night!"

"I won't do that, either," Tabby assured her. "You'll do just fine for tonight."

"I don't want to talk about that necklace," Tamara sniffled.

"But I do," Tabby continued. "Where did Tiffany get the medallion? She mentioned getting it from some Atlantean doctor, I think. What was that about?"

"It's late," Tamara complained.

"That's not what I asked," Tabby said impatiently.

"Uhh... we were shopping for party supplies, I think," Tamara said reluctantly. "I went to find plates-- I'm the one that picked those wonderful navy blue ones out-- and when I went to candles to find Tiffany again, she had that wonderful Atlantean-looking necklace." She sighed at the remembrance.

"But who'd she get it from?" Tabby prodded.

"I think she said some Dr. Shame sold it to her-- the rumor is for two thousand jangles."

"Dr. Shame, eh? I thought she told me it was a Dr. Mane. Well, Tamara, you have told me nothing. You're dismissed," Tabby said, waving her hoof through the air. "My, it's late, isn't it? Really, you shouldn't keep me up like this!"

* * *
Tabby and Merry Treat heard a variety of rumors on Tiffany and her necklace while working at the Pokèmon Center the next day:

"Sunbeam told me Tiffany paid twenty thousand jangles for that necklace!"

"Have you two heard about the spirit that has possessed Tiffany? I couldn't believe it when I heard it at the Perm Shoppe earlier this morning!"

"Princess Tiffany is getting rid of her cat, and then she's going to become a Pokèmon trainer."

"Tiffany has been seen with a handsome new stallion in town who's name is Spirit!"

"Tiffany's going to donate twenty million jangles to charity. The spirit of good will has finally hit her."

"Would you believe a spirit is haunting the Royal Paradise?! It's hiding a treasure of twenty thousand jangles."

"Clever Clover summoned up a spirit to possess Tiffany!"

"I did no such thing!"

"Why, Cleve Clove!" Tabby trotted up to the counter, where her friend from Friendship Gardens was defending himself of Love Melody's claim. "What an awful thing to do!"

As Love Melody discreetly left the building, Clever Clover looked reproachingly at Tabby. "You know I didn't summon up any spirit... Tabitha!"

Tabby smirked. "Yes, but I simply had to bug you about it... for a little while. Say, do you have an injured Pokèmon or not?"

Clever Clover shook his head. "Farfetch'd and Rattata are both fine. We've got to talk about Tiffany's medallion--"

"We still need a fair match, Cleve Clove!" Merry Treat added to the conversation. Clever Clover had recently gotten a Forest Badge for defeating Merry Treat, the Dream Valley Pokèmon Gym Leader-- however, Tabby's Jigglypuff had somehow gotten involved in the battle and caused Clever Clover's Farfetch'd to win. Merry Treat still wanted a re-match.

"Later," Clever Clover said distantly. "Now, I've been thinking about the necklace scenario. Tabby, when you had yours on while we were on our Atlantis adventure, it only really took control of you once we were in the center of the city, right?"

Tabby paused in thought. "Yeah... I think so. When we got to that Whale Machine thing, I really went crazy."

"Exactly," Clever Clover continued. "When you were wearing it in Dream Valley before we left, it didn't affect you one bit. I'm sure Tiffany's behavior is strange, but why would the necklace be affecting her, since we're not anywhere close to Atlantis or anything Atlantean?"

"Because... because..." Tabby paused in thought. "Because some Atlanteans escaped from the city and fled to Dream Valley and built a settlement in the Dark Forest and made lots of necklaces and Whale Machines and then all the people died out and the city hasn't been discovered yet in modern times!!!!" she rambled on dramatically without pausing for breath.

Clever Clover stopped for a moment to digest this information. "Interesting theory, but there aren't any signs in Ponyland of Atlantean settlements. But I'm sure the necklace is behind this whole thing!"

"However," Tabby said proudly, "I did find out the name of the guy Tiffany got the necklace from."

"You did?! Why didn't you say so earlier?!"

"I didn't remember until now," Tabby recalled. "But Tamara and I both heard it was somebody called Dr. Tail."

"Dr. Tail? I've never heard of such a pony. Maybe he works at the hospital, and Toby would know something about him..." Clever Clover mused.

"Cleve Clove, you're holding up our business here at the center. Think of the sick Pokèmon that are dying because you're worrying about an Atlantean spirit," Tabby chided him.

Clever Clover whirled around to look behind him. "There's nobody waiting, Tabby," he sighed.

"That's not the point. Shoo! Shoo! Call me later! Why don't you just go whack Tiffany over the head and then take the medallion off?" Tabby tapped her hoof on the counter.

"I wonder..." Clever Clover said to himself as he backed away from the counter. "Have a nice day, Tabitha!" he called cheerfully as he walked out the door.

Tabby clenched her jaw. "Tabitha! I'd rather be called a peasant than Tabitha!"

"Tabby!" Tarquin, her Meowth, jumped up on the counter in front of her. "Don't worry about names; there's a patient to attend to!"

"Thanks." Tabby quickly patted Tarquin on the head and went to look over a Pinsir that had just been brought in. She'd worry about Atlantean medallions and spirits and such later.

* * *
"Hey-hey-hey!" Tabby exclaimed cheerfully into the receiver of her phone that evening. "Do you want me or Tamara, hmm?"

"Eh..." The caller paused. "Whoever is in charge of the sale--"

"Oh, my old vet clinic building?" Tabby interrupted. "Talk to me. I'll sell it to you cheap."

"Actually, that is what I was calling about," the voice said. "I'd like to get a closer look at the inside. Would you be available in the near future to give me a tour?"

"Sure! How about tomorrow morning?" Tabby was excited; maybe she could finally get that old place off her hooves!

"That would be wonderful. I can meet you there at... nine o' clock?"

"Yep, yep, I'll be there," Tabby said quickly. "What's your name, by the way? How much do you want to pay?"

"I'm Dr. Malcolm Shane. Just arrived in town. If it's as good on the inside as it is on the outside... I'd be willing to pay two thousand jangles."

"Excellent!" Tabby exclaimed. "You're prepared to pay tomorrow? That's great! Buh-bye!" Not waiting for a reply, she hung up the receiver and skipped out of the room cheerfully. "Yes! I'll be rid of that thing tomorrow!"

* * *
Tabby was only slightly surprised to see the strange figure standing in front of her old clinic building the next morning. Strange figures were always showing up in Ponyland, and this human-like whale wasn't that outlandish. "I'm Tabby," she introduced herself, brushing past the whale-man to unlock the front door. "I'll just give you a quick tour, and then--"

Dr. Shane's eyes opened wide as he saw this pink unicorn trot up. "It's you!" he gasped.

Tabby cocked her head as the door swung open. "Me? I don't remember you. Who are you?"

"Uhh... nobody. I just want to buy this place, that's all," Shane said quickly as he followed Tabby into the main hallway.

"Oh." Tabby shrugged. "Maybe you know my cousin... you said you're new in town? Where'd you come from?"

"Uhm... a small town across the mountains," Shane said quickly. "I want to find a place here to stay as soon as possible. I'm expecting a delivery soon, but I need to get them an exact address to ship it to."

"Ah." Tabby accepted that as a valid reason. "So, uh, here's this room. And then there's the one across from it. Plus, some more in the back. There's a really big room in the back. It's a nice place. Happy with it?"

Shane glanced into several rooms. "Is there running water?" he questioned. "Any sinks or bathtubs?" He looked down at his whale-like arm. "I enjoy being around water," he explained.

"Oh, sure!" Tabby said, ducking under a doorway and turning on a light. "There's a nice sink in here. Maybe... wait, it's not here. Oh! Yeah, it's in the other room..." Tabby scurried from room to room, and finally found the correct one. "Yes, it's here, in the examination room," she said proudly.

Shane walked into the indicated room and inspected the large, rectangular, silver-colored sink. He switched on one of the faucets, and with a satisfied look on his face, watched the deluge of cool, clear water pour out. "I like it," he said. "Now, what was that you said about a large back room?"

"Right down here." Tabby hurried down a hallway, and Shane followed her at a slower pace. "See? Nice and empty. You can fill it up with whatever you like."

Shane looked up and down the walls of the back room. A strange, somewhat demented smile spread across his face. "Perfect."

"You'll buy it, then?" Tabby asked. "I have the papers to sign right here." She whipped out a pen and a sheet of paper. "Just sign there, and give me two thousand jangles-- you'll still pay that much, won't you?-- and it's all yours."

Shane handed Tabby several large bills, and signed where Tabby indicated. "Thank you very much," he said charmingly. "I can't wait to start moving my stuff in."

"Have fun!" With that, Tabby took the jangles from him and ran out. "Yipee!!" she exclaimed once she was outside and out of Shane's hearing distance. "Two thousand jangles!! I'll give Tarquin some of it, of course. The rest of it I'll spend on.... oh! It's too exciting!"

"Ahhh, water!" Shane started filling the sink in the old clinic with water while he made a phone call. "Ponyland Delivery Company? Yes, this is Malcolm Shane. I have an address you can send my boxes to now... you can get them here today? Wonderful..."

* * *
Tabby hadn't heard anything from Clever Clover yet that day, but after depositing her two thousand jangles back in her house, she decided to head over to the Royal Paradise and see what was up with Tiffany by now.

Upon arrival, she knocked on the door. Princess Royal Blue answered. "Hello," the princess said hesitatingly.

"I'm here to see Tiffany," Tabby said briefly, pushing past Royal Paradise into the spacious and sunny entryway.

"Yes... well... she hasn't been feeling that well lately," Royal Blue confessed. "I suppose you can go see her in her suite. She's been acting terribly crabby, and getting worse by the hour."

"Oh, that's okay!" Tabby called as she dashed over to the stairs which would lead to Tiffany's room.

"Clever Clover says it has something to do with that necklace she's been wearing," Royal Blue said, slowly trailing along behind Tabby. "I hope it's not a serious condition."

"Just as long as she doesn't get near any Whale Machines," Tabby said distantly, running up the stairs as fast as she could. She had to find out exactly how crabby Tiffany had gotten.

Tabby tried opening the princess's door, but Tiffany had apparently locked it. "Open up, Tiff," she said impatiently.

"I don't have time for visitors," Tiffany's voice snapped back from beyond the door.

"Tiffy," Tabby said sweetly, "I'm not here to visit, just to gossip."

With a sigh, Tiffany slowly opened the door. "You're always bothering me about something," she muttered.

"Can I see your necklace?" Tabby questioned, reaching out to grab at the medallion around Tiffany neck.

Tiffany stepped back abruptly. "Don't say anything about the necklace," she hissed.

"Don't you get sick of wearing the same jewelry day after day for this past week? Doesn't Toby get sick of it?" Tabby prodded. She felt just like she was in an adventure game-- if she repeated herself long enough, maybe she'd hit upon the right line eventually.

"Toby!" Tiffany snorted, sitting down at her vanity. "I don't know why I waste my time with that stallion."

"My, my," Tabby chided, "you certainly aren't sounding like Tiffany."

"I am entitled to change my mind," Tiffany said haughtily.

"What about Theodora? Where is she?" Tabby questioned.

"Theodora? Oh, the cat. Friendly is entertaining her down in the living room," Tiffany murmured, gazing at herself in the mirror.

"And do you know what, Tiffy? I sold my old clinic today!" Tabby announced cheerfully.

"If you don't have anything interesting to say, please don't stick around any longer," Tiffany snapped, flashing Tabby an icy stare.

Tabby jumped out of the room and hid behind the door as she glanced back at Tiffany. "Err... yes, I'd better be getting out of here. Bye!!" She was off like a streak back down the stairs.

"What happened?" Royal Blue asked questioningly.

"Oh, she's very crabby indeed," Tabby agreed. "But I wouldn't worry about it..."

* * *
Sugarberry, among Tabby's other friends, had lots of stories to relate on Tiffany's unnatural behavior. Tiffany had rudely called Sugarberry at the vet clinic and informed her that there was no need to keep sending postcards out; she would remember to schedule an appointment for Theodora when she thought her cat needed one.

Then there was Tamara, who was extremely upset because Tiffany refused to loan the pink unicorn her emerald bracelet for one night while Tamara was on a date with Tex. Clever Clover called Tabby and noted that she hadn't been at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe the past two nights. Friendly had to take care of nearly every single duty required for Theodora. The other princesses hoped Tiffany was just coming down with a cold.

The most concerned of all, however, was Toby. Tabby was sitting around at home the next day, staring off into space daydreaming about what to do with her two thousand jangles. Tarquin was pondering what kind of an extravagant date he could take Tess out on for that much. However, that was when the phone rang.

"Hello," Tabby said cheerfully. "Do you want me or Tamara?"

"This is Tabby, I presume? Toby speaking. "I was wondering if I could consult with you on Tiffany's condition."

"Tiffany's condition?" Tabby said brightly. "What do you need to find out from me?"

"There is obviously something behind her strange behavior, and you did seem to know a lot about that necklace that night at the party," Toby explained. "And, well... do you know how to stop the effects of it?"

Tabby sat back in her seat. "Well, well, advice! You will, of course, have to pay a twenty jangle fee for that, I hope you realize."

"Certainly. However much you need," Toby said quickly.

"Alrighty, then." Tabby smiled to herself. "Now, the best course of action would be to get the necklace off of her."

"Get the necklace off... how would I accomplish that?" Toby queried.

"It's very simple," Tabby assured him. "First, you must acquire an oricalcum bead, and--"

"What was that? An oricalcum bead? Let me get a pen. How would you spell that?"

"O-r-i-c-a-l-c-u-m... I think. Anyway, then insert the bead into the mouth of the necklace medallion," Tabby went on.

"Then what?" Toby asked eagerly.

"Fangs should suddenly appear on the medallion," Tabby said knowledgeably, "and it should grow so hot that even the spell of the spirit can't keep Tiffany from lifting it off her skin."

"Very interesting," Toby murmured.

"After she lifts it up with her hoof-- oh, here's another thing you'll need. A gold box, preferably Atlantean-looking-- take the box, open the lid, and quickly snap the medallion inside of it."

"I think I'm getting all this down..."

Tabby continued without pausing for breath. "After the necklace is securely in the box, throw the box and necklace in a deep pit of lava."

"Lava... where would be a good place to find that?"

"Somewhere near the center of Atlantis; but if you can't get there, you could try an active volcano," Tabby advised.

"This sounds simple enough," Toby said in relief. "I can't thank you enough for this information. By the way, where can I buy an oricalcum bead?"

"Try calling Clever Clover; he might sell you one cheap if he has any," Tabby said. "By the way, since you've kept me on the phone for over five minutes, that'll be an extra twenty jangle charge." Tabby shrugged; she still had to get back at him for sending her those roses back in March.

"I'll start working on this right away," Toby said exuberantly. "I'll try to deliver the forty jangles to you by tonight. Thank you very much, again."

"No problem," Tabby said slyly, hanging up the receiver.

* * *
That afternoon, there was a knock at Tabby's door. She rushed to answer it. "Hey! Cleve Clove!" she called out merrily as she swung the door open.

Clever Clover eyed her suspiciously as he stepped inside. "I received a call from Toby earlier," he started.

"Oooh, yes." Tabby nodded. "I told him to call you. I kindly told him my idea on getting the necklace away from Tiffany."

Clever Clover raised in eyebrow. "Yes, that's what I wanted to talk to you about... the story he gave me of your plan sounded suspiciously like it came out of Friendly's Fate of Atlantis computer game."

"Well, it came to me when he called that the same principle should work in Dream Valley as it did in the game," Tabby said innocently. "I mean, we did come across oricalcum beads in Atlantis, just like were in the game. I told him exactly how the necklace was disposed of."

Clever Clover rolled his eyes. "I don't have any oricalcum beads, anyway-- the plan may have worked, but he also mentioned something about a forty jangle fee..."

"Oh, that." Tabby waved her hoof through the air in dismissal. "Don't worry about it; Toby's the one paying. Anyway, have you come up with any ideas on the necklace?"

"Well..." Clever Clover frowned as he made his way into Tabby's kitchen and rummaged around in the refrigerator. "The whole scenario is very confusing."

"That's what you said last time I saw you," Tabby said impatiently. "How are you going to find out anything by locking yourself up in your house?"

"I was doing research out of all my books on Atlantis," Clever Clover defended himself, finding a bag of potato chips in a cupboard and opening the sack. "It takes time, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe yesterday."

"Well, you still didn't figure anything out, did you?" Tabby said reproachingly.

"I couldn't find any references to that Dr. Tail you mentioned. I have decided, though, that Tiffany's necklace is either a lot stronger than the one you had-- if it is a different one-- or else there is a Whale Machine in the vicinity," Clever Clover explained.

Tabby sighed. "It's obvious there's no Whale Machine around. Where would anyone put one? I still say you should just whack her over the head and rip it off her neck while she's down."

"And if you're so smart, why haven't you come up with anything, besides that computer game theory?" Clever Clover demanded, crunching on a hoofful of chips.

"I've been extremely busy," Tabby retorted. "I'll have you know I had to sell my old vet clinic yesterday." She didn't mention the fact that the sale hadn't taken her more than ten minutes the way she had conducted it.

"Oh?" Clever Clover perked up in interest. "You've been trying to sell that for a long time. Who finally bought it?"

"Some whale-dude," Tabby said nonchalantly. "Dr. Malcolm Shane, I think he said. He's new in town."

"A ‘whale-dude'?" Clever Clover abruptly jumped up from his seat at Tabby's kitchen table, making quite a racket. "What kind of a whale-dude?!"

Tabby paused in thought. "He looked sorta like a whale... and sorta like a human. But I don't see what's to get excited over."

"Tabby!" Clever Clover yelped. "Don't you remember what happened in Atlantis... what happened at the Whale Machine?"

"Uhh..." Tabby stared up at the ceiling. "There was that guy following us around that wanted Atlantis to himself. And we... and we..." Her face brightened. "Oh, yes! We turned him into a whale with use of the Whale Machine."

"Tabby, it has to be him!" Clever Clover exclaimed, running out into the hallway. "He's the one behind this... somehow! Don't stop to ask questions! We've got to get to your old building right away!"

Tabby obediently trotted behind him. "Do you suppose he used an alias when he sold Tiffany the necklace?" she questioned as Clever Clover ran out the door. "That was a Dr. Tail. This guy who bought the clinic is Dr. Shane."

"Either that, or his name got corrupted as it went through the grapevine," Clever Clover responded. "Which could have happened easily, knowing your friends."

"He didn't seem very evil when I sold it to him," Tabby prattled on. "Are you sure it's him? Maybe it's another whale-dude we're after."

"How many whale-dudes can there be running around?" Clever Clover demanded. "Somehow, he got that necklace under his control, and brought it to Dream Valley... for whatever reason."

"Maybe he's not home," Tabby suggested as they reached her old clinic. The front of the place looked dark and ominous.

"There's a light on in the back," Clever Clover said, struggling to open the locked front door.

"Oh, the back room." Tabby nodded. "Maybe he's just having a party, Cleve Clove. But if you're so anxious to get in, why don't you try using the key?" She rummaged around in the dirt in the flowerbed off to one side of the main door and came up holding a copper-colored key in her hoof. "See? I remember hiding this here years ago... in case of emergency, you know."

Clever Clover gratefully took the small object from her and easily opened the door. Filtered moonbeams shone on them as they entered the main hallway.

"He hasn't been moving much stuff in," Tabby noted as she glanced into the various rooms.

"Something tells me we're going to find something in the back..." Clever Clover muttered as he marched resolutely onwards.

Clever Clover came to the last door in the hallway. He opened it as slowly and silently as he could. "Cool," Tabby breathed as she pushed in on him to get a closer look at the room.

"Be careful!" Clever Clover hissed.

"Come on, come on, let's confront him," Tabby said fearlessly as she simply pushed the door open and revealed the full sight of what she had caught a glimpse of from her peeking. Set up in the back room was now a massive, ancient-looking stone machine with many whales intricately carved into it-- the exact same Whale Machine Tabby and Clever Clover had dealt with back in Atlantis. It was impressive to look at it. The machine just nearly fit in the room, the whale carved at the peek just missing the ceiling.

The figure standing in the center of the machine looked rather familiar to the two, as well. "Hello, hello!" Tabby called out merrily as she pranced into the room and up to the platform in the center of the machine.

Dr. Malcolm Shane had been glaring at Tabby and Clever Clover ever since Tabby made her abrupt entrance. "It's you again!" he hissed, not moving from his place on the platform.

"What're you doing in Ponyland, Dr. Shane?" Clever Clover demanded, pushing Tabby out of the way.

"I was going to keep it secret for awhile longer," Shane said craftily, "but it appears you'll have to find out about it sooner than I expected."

"What're you going to do?" Tabby asked eagerly. "Take over the world? Destroy the world? Have Atlantis rise out of the sea? Can I help?"

Shane eyed this pink unicorn bitterly. "You are the one who forever doomed me to stay in this body!" He looked down at his sleek, gray whale-skin, and then pointed at Tabby. "And now I seek my revenge."

"You're the one who forced her to turn you into a whale!" Clever Clover protested. "It's your own fault!"

"That's right." Tabby nodded. "I--"

"You put in too many oricalcum beads!" Shane declared.

"I did not! One hundred was the perfect amount," Tabby said defensively. "You have changed, though, haven't you... you look a lot more whale-like than when we left you..."

"No bother arguing over that," Shane interrupted with an evil glint in his eyes. "After you abandoned me in the sunken halls of Atlantis, I was doomed to forever wander those ancient quarters in my freakish new form! But, I found that my metamorphosis was not yet complete. Soon, I found myself with this powerful new body; and with it came the means of your undoing, Tabitha!" Shane's evil laughter echoed throughout the room, giving an even eerier touch to the scene.

"Even he can't get my name right," Tabby muttered under her breath. "So, what're you going to do with this ‘powerful new body'? And this Whale Machine here?"

"And what's with selling that Nur-Ab-Fin necklace to Tiffany?" Clever Clover added.

"All part of my revenge against you two ponies," Shane said craftily. "There's no escape for you now, so if you wish to know--"

"I love stories!" Tabby clapped her front hooves together in delight.

Clever Clover glanced at his friend warningly. "Tabby..."

Shane paced back and forth on the Whale Machine platform. "Yes, this is the device you used to change me into this form. However, having spent so much time in Atlantis, I learned even more secrets of its uses by the ancient Atlanteans." His gaze pierced through Tabby. "Whoever stands on this very platform can control the thoughts and actions of the wearer of the renowned Nur-Ab-Fin necklace."

"Wow!" Tabby exclaimed in delight. "Is that what you're doing with Tiffany? Can I try it? Clever Clover, don't do anything yet. I want to hear the whole story."

"After many long months, I recovered the precious Nur-Ab-Fin-- which you so hastily disposed of-- from the depths of the ocean floor," Shane continued. "I then had the Whale Machine disassembled and shipped to Ponyland. Before I had found a new place to set it up, I did some research and sold the necklace to the richest of your friends, Tabitha. Though I could not have her completely under my power until I had the Whale Machine reassembled in this new location, the essence of Nur-Ab-Fin contained in the medallion would cause her to throw away all thoughts of her friends, and this would grow stronger in her the closer the Whale Machine got to Dream Valley."

"I simply love it when mysteries like this just start suddenly falling into place," Tabby squealed.

"However, when I first contacted you about buying this building," Shane went on, "I had no idea it was you, my arch-enemy. Fortunately for me, you didn't recognize my modified whale form, and the sale was completed without a hitch. I knew you or your friends might catch on sooner than expected, but if I was able to assemble the Whale Machine fast enough, I knew I would be able to eliminate you before that happened. Though a bit sooner than expected, it will still work for me..."

Tabby gulped, nervousness beginning to set in. "What exactly do you mean by.... ‘eliminate'?"

"You'll see soon enough." Shane laughed once again. "For here comes Tiffany, ready to do my bidding, whatever that may be."

"Why, you little--" Clever Clover stuttered angrily.

At that precise moment, Tiffany entered the room. She eyed Tabby coolly, and began talking in a deep, evil voice, very unlike her own. "I, Nur-Ab-Fin, must destroy you!"

Tabby suddenly jumped behind Clever Clover for protection. "Do something, Cleve Clove!" she shrieked.

"There's no escape now," Shane laughed.

Tiffany made a dive at Tabby, but Clever Clover blocked the assault, giving Tabby time to run for cover behind the Whale Machine.

"Run, but you won't survive, little pony," Shane taunted as Tabby cowered and Clever Clover struggled with Tiffany.

In the small corner of the Whale Machine where Tabby was hiding, she looked around. Through a crack between two pillars in the intricate design of the machine, she saw Dr. Shane. Now, she could easily jump through there... and what was that he'd said? Whoever stands on this very platform can control the thoughts and actions of the wearer of the renowned Nur-Ab-Fin necklace... the words echoed through her head. Clever Clover was doing a good job at hoof-to-hoof combat in keeping Tiffany away from the machine, but he looked like he was getting weary.

"It's our only chance," she said to herself as she leaped through the crack towards Shane. He had been watching the fight between Tiffany and Clever Clover, and was not concerned with Tabby at this point. Her attack caught him completely off guard, and he went sprawling off the platform and hit the floor with a thud as the pink unicorn tackled him.

With Shane now off the platform, Tiffany paused. Clever Clover was confused as to what to do now. Was that Tabby who had just knocked Shane off the platform? Hard to believe...

"You won't keep me away from it!" Shane declared as he started to run back to his platform. Tabby kept him back a few steps by pushing him with her unicorn horn. "Clever Clover, the platform! Get on the platform!" she hissed to her friend.

Tabby discovered it was rather thrilling using her horn as a fencing sword against Shane. She was doing a pretty good job at keeping him away.

Though still under Nur-Ab-Fin's influence, Tiffany was no longer obsessed with the even more vicious instructions from Shane. She stood up and brushed some dirt off her coat. "Clever Clover, how dare you fight me like that!" the princess said shrilly.

Clever Clover quickly glanced from the necklace to the platform. Should he get the necklace off Tiffany, or run over to the platform and try to make her slow down on her insults... or worse?

The urgent look on Tabby's face made up his mind, and he jumped onto the platform. Gosh, he'd never been in the position to control someone's mind like this before. He was still pondering over what to do when Shane broke free from Tabby's defense. She wasn't able to keep him back from the machine, and he was only a few seconds away from getting onto the platform. Tiffany, as well, looked none-to-happy, and was advancing towards Clever Clover.

Clever Clover looked down frantically at a panel in front of the platform. What was this? A switch, of some kind. There was Atlantean writing carved at each end of the switch... Clever Clover was no pro at reading Atlantean, but he loosely translated the slot on the top as "Good" and the slot on the bottom as "Bad". He quickly pushed the switch up, and would've crossed his hooves for good luck, if a pony could do that.

Several things then happened at once. Tabby watched with interest. Clever Clover leaped off the machine. Shane and Tiffany collided from different sides of the platform. A strange, green glow emanated from both the switch Clever Clover had just pushed and Tiffany's medallion.

Tiffany sat up and rubbed her head with a hoof. "Why, I'm very sorry to have crashed into you like that," she said politely to Shane.

Shane glared at her. "What are you talking about? You were supposed to eliminate that unicorn and her friend!"

Tiffany just smiled. "Oh, I could never eliminate anything. It would be much too evil to do anything like that." Her voice was almost too sweet for Tabby to stand.

"You're supposed to be evil! What happened?!" Shane screamed in outrage.

"What was that switch you pushed?" Tabby questioned Clever Clover.

"Obviously, the machine can either control the necklace-wearer in a way that makes them either evil or nice," Clever Clover reflected. "It had been set at the ‘evil' setting all this time. I changed the setting."

"Gosh," Tabby breathed. "Personally, I think Tiffany's a little too nice..."

"Oh, please, don't blame yourself for the crash," Tiffany was telling Shane. "I assume all responsibility for it..."

"Well, I suppose she might let us take the necklace off now, in which case she'd be back to normal," Clever Clover pondered.

"But what'll we do about Shane?" Tabby wondered.

"We'll see about that in a second." Clever Clover walked up to Tiffany, who was just helping Shane back up on his feet. "Tiffany, can I please see that necklace you're wearing?"

Tiffany smiled sweetly. "Why, certainly. You can borrow it as long as you like." She carefully unlatched the hook and handed the medallion over to Clever Clover.

All of a sudden, who should walk in but Toby. He looked on in amazement at the scene that met his eyes. His gaze fell to the necklace Clever Clover held in his hoof.

Tabby couldn't help but snicker at the look on Toby's face. "It's too late to save her yourself," she explained. "Cleve Clove here already did. He always has to be the hero in these situations, you know."

"I can't believe this," was all Toby could stutter. "All this talk of Atlantean spirits, and..."

Tiffany blinked slowly. "Oh... but... what happened?" She looked around at all the ponies... and the whale-man... surrounding her. "Where am I... what..."

"No! No!" Shane shrieked. "What did you do to the machine?! What's wrong with the necklace? This plan of mine couldn't fail!"

Clever Clover and Tabby held down the outraged Dr. Malcolm Shane, while Toby embraced Tiffany reassuringly. "Everything's back to normal now... I think..." he consoled her. "I'm so glad I saw you coming this way, and was able to follow you."

Tiffany looked back at the Whale Machine. "Everything's a blur... but that contraption looks absolutely atrocious! Who in the world built that? What's it doing here in Dream Valley?"

"We saved the day, Clever Clover! Isn't it exciting?" Tabby squealed. "It's so exciting I can hardly stand it."

The surprise of defeat hit Shane as a shock. He was now just standing there, stuttering, "No... the necklace... the machine... no!!"

"Oh, Toby, I'm so glad you were here to save me," Tiffany gushed, looking up at him adoringly. "You'll have to tell me of all your heroic actions. Oh, you risked your life to save me..." She sighed happily, oblivious to Tabby, Clever Clover, and Shane.

"First of all, Tiffany, I'd suggest that you get back to the Royal Paradise," Toby advised. "And then you'd better get some rest. You've had a big shock."

"Don't we get any of the credit?!" Tabby shrieked in outrage as Toby and Tiffany walked off down the hallway, hoof in hoof. She herself forgot about Shane. "Toby didn't do anything!! He just showed up here at the end!!"

"You can argue about that with the gang later," Clever Clover said. "Right now, let's go over to the river. I think the Sea Ponies will know what to do with Shane..."

* * *
Tabby watched Sea Mist and Sand Dollar swim away underwater, with Shane (tied up in seaweed ropes) in tow. "We'll be sure he's kept under lock and key," High Tide assured Clever Clover and Tabby. "He's not going to be causing any more problems."

"Thanks," Clever Clover said cheerfully.

Tabby kicked at a rock as the two ponies walked away. "I know Tiffany is going to be spreading rumors like crazy about how Toby saved her!" she wailed. "It's not fair, Cleve Clove!"

"Just be glad we don't have to worry about Shane or the necklace or the whale machine any more," Clever Clover said. "I'll keep this necklace in safe-keeping at my house." He pulled the whale medallion out. "It'll be a cool artifact for my museum I'm going to start."

Tabby snorted. "You're never going to start that museum, Cleve Clove. You came up with that idea a year ago, and nothing's been done."

"The Whale Machine will be a great centerpiece for it, too!" Clever Clover said brightly. "Since it's switched on ‘good' now, there's nothing to fear..."

Tabby rolled her eyes. Clever Clover would never get his museum set up. The Whale Machine would never be moved out of the back room. She still had her old vet clinic to sell.

But at least Tiffany was back to normal... that was proved by the stories she told of how heroic Toby had been to save her.

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The Ghost of Friendship Castle
by Princess Twinkle Star


"Truth or dare?"

"Truth."

"Uh... what are you most afraid of?"

"Spiders, definitely."

Princess Twinkle Star had invited several friends for a sleepover at Friendship Castle. Morning Glory, Seabreeze, Moon Shadow, and Light Heart had all come. It had been an evening of snacks, old movies, and games-- including, of course, Truth or Dare.

"I'm tired of this game," complained Light Heart. "Let's do something else."

"Let's tell ghost stories," spoke up Moon Shadow suddenly. She had barely said anything all evening. "I know a really good one about this very castle."

"Oh, neat, let's hear it!" piped up Seabreeze.

"Hundreds of years ago," began Moon Shadow, "Friendship Castle didn't belong to the royal family at all. It belonged to a hermit pony named Starshine. Starshine didn't like to be around other ponies. She preferred to stay among the birds and animals, singing and making the castle more and more beautiful. Soon it was the most beautiful place in the realm.

"But this brought troubles. The royal family wanted this gorgeous castle. They offered to buy it from Starshine, but she loved her home and refused to sell it.

"The royal family's desire for Starshine's castle grew and grew. Finally, they knew that they had to have the castle no matter what. So, one night, they sent one of their servants into the castle with a mission. The servant found Starshine at the top of the castle tower. Then, the servant pushed Starshine out the window and into the castle moat!"

All of the other ponies gasped. Moon Shadow ignored them and continued, her voice getting louder and her words more intense. "The last thing Starshine ever saw was the leering face of a pink pony with red eyes. In her last instant in this world, she swore to come back and push every single red-eyed pink pony in Friendship Castle out the window until the royal family left her castle.

"And Starshine," finished Moon Shadow, with a strange expression on her face, "always kept her promises."

All of the other ponies shivered, and Morning Glory looked positively ill. Princess Twinkle Star was the first to break the silence. "Wow, you're a great storyteller, Moon Shadow. But let's all go to sleep for a while."

All of the ponies crawled into their sleeping bags. Morning Glory was next to Twinkle Star. She still looked scared to death. "Is something wrong?" Twinkle Star asked.

Morning Glory shuddered as she turned to her friend. "It's just... I'm scared of ghosts. It's my worst fear. And I'm probably going to have nightmares about being pushed out the window. I'm surprised you look so calm. I mean, you're pink with red eyes, too."

"Morning Glory, you don't really believe that story, do you? I mean, there's no such thing as a ghost. And I know for a fact that the royal family had this castle built for them."

"Really?" asked Morning Glory.

"Really," said Princess Twinkle Star.

"Okay. I'm going to go to the bathroom. Um, will you come with me? I'm still a little bit scared."

"Sure," sighed Twinkle Star. The two ponies trotted down the hall to the bathroom and then back again.

Twinkle Star was just getting comfortable again in her sleeping bag when Morning Glory screamed. "What's wrong?" demanded Twinkle Star.

"L-look," stammered Morning Glory, sounding as if she was about to cry. Twinkle Star looked at what her friend was holding.

It was a piece of paper with a message written in what Twinkle Star hoped was red ink.

"You can lock the windows, pink ponies, and you can lock the doors. But it won't stop the spirit of Starshine from taking her revenge," read Princess Twinkle Star. "Calm down, Morning Glory. This was not written by a ghost."

"How do you know?" Morning Glory sobbed. "How can you know?"

Princess Twinkle Star looked at the other ponies, who had been woken by Morning Glory's scream. "Okay," she said sternly. "Who wrote this?" All of the ponies looked at each other nervously, but nobody confessed.

"Light Heart, was it you?" asked Twinkle Star. Everyone knew Light Heart loved to play practical jokes. All of the other ponies turned to Light Heart.

"Yeah, Light Heart, you're always doing stuff like that."

"Come on, Light Heart, we all know you did it."

"That wasn't very nice, you know."

Light Heart looked upset and bewildered. "It wasn't me," she protested. "I wish I'd thought of that, but it wasn't me." The other ponies continued to give her accusing looks.

"Look, guys," said Seabreeze. "We don't know who did it, so let's not accuse each other. I think we should just go back to bed."

Twinkle Star agreed, and the two of them persuaded the other ponies to get to bed. Only Morning Glory refused to go to sleep. "I'm not going to let Starshine's ghost get me while I'm sleeping," she said firmly.

Twinkle Star gave up on convincing Morning Glory of anything and crawled into her sleeping bag for the third time that night. Who could it be? she wondered. Was it Light Heart, who was always playing practical jokes? Moon Shadow, who had told the ghost story? Seabreeze, who she didn't really know much about? What a sleepover this was turning out to be!

"Aaaaaaaaaaah!"

Oh, no, not again! thought Twinkle Star, and went over to where Morning Glory was standing-- by the window. The window was wide open and there was another red-ink note. "Look out the window, pink ponies," read Light Heart. "Look out the window and meet your destiny."

"You did it!" Morning Glory screamed at Light Heart. "You know you did it, so don't try to deny it! You did it, just like you did all those other practical jokes!"

Seabreeze quickly intervened. "I was watching Light Heart the whole time, Morning Glory. You were the only pony who left your sleeping bags."

"It must have been a real ghost!" declared Moon Shadow.

Twinkle Star's mind was whirling. Morning Glory was the only pony who had left the sleeping bags... suddenly everything clicked.

"I think I know who did it," Twinkle Star stated. "I just need to ask Morning Glory a few questions."

Twinkle Star led Morning Glory over to the corner. "Okay, Morning Glory," she said grimly. "I know your little secret."

"What do you mean?" asked Morning Glory.

"I know you did it and tried to frame Light Heart. You're the only one who could have done it. I'm not going to be angry with you, and I think Light Heart will forgive you if you apologize. But why did you do it?"

"I was angry with Light Heart," Morning Glory confessed. "She's always playing practical jokes on me, and I thought if I got her in trouble for something she didn't do, she might stop." Morning Glory hung her head.

"Well, go tell Light Heart and the others," instructed Twinkle Star.

Morning Glory and Light Heart whispered together for many hours that night, and in the morning they seemed to be friends again. As all the ponies ate breakfast that morning, Moon Shadow piped up, "I know another cool ghost story."

"No more ghost stories!" commanded Princess Twinkle Star, and everyone else agreed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Windy and the Trip to the Pokèmon Trading Inn
by Windy


Windy trotted along with Tabby on her right side and Merry Treat on her left. They were headed to the Pokèmon Trading Inn to trade Pokèmon or to battle for them. Tabby wanted to get a Mew, as Windy was not about to let the pink unicorn have her's. Windy had captured it using Alakazam, who had been very badly hurt by the end of the battle. But Windy had praised it for holding out for so long, and it soon recovered.

"What Pokèmon do you want the most?" Windy asked Tabby.

"Mew, more then anything else!" Tabby exclaimed energetically. "Or maybe a Chansey..." she considered for a moment. "No, Mew," she decided.

"And what about you, Merry Treat?" Windy asked.

"I really don't know. Maybe a Clefairy," Merry Treat replied.

"I really want an Onix," said Windy. "Really, really, really, really!"

"It's about time you got a rock Pokèmon!" said a voice behind them. The three girls spun around to see Clever Clover standing behind them, grinning. "I'm on my way to the trading inn, too. I've got lots of Pokèmon to trade!" he said.

"Oh yeah? I've got three Perchidos!" Windy taunted.

"What's a Perchidos?" Merry Treat asked.

"Yeah!?" added Tabby.

"It's a Pokèmon made by me," said Windy. "Dark green above with a Poliwag-like face with pink lips and a pure white underside. Its attacks are Water Whirl, Slap, Dive, and Mist."

"Cool!" said Merry Treat. "What do you think it's worth? A Kittyhawk?"

"I suppose," Windy mused.

"Trade ya for one as soon as we get to the Pokèmon Trading Inn!" said Merry Treat with glee as she raced ahead.

"Hey!" Tabby called after her. "C'mon," she said to Windy.

"Yeah," Windy agreed, and the two raced after Merry Treat.

They opened the huge doors of the trading inn and went inside. Ponies, Grundles, Bushwoolies-- anybody who liked Pokèmon was there. The three friends immediately went to the Coin Booth to draw money. Tabby ended up with sixteen jangles, Windy with fourteen, and Merry Treat with twenty.

"Let's go our own ways now!" exclaimed Merry Treat cheerfully as they tucked their money away. "But first, I'm going to trade a Kittyhawk for a Perchidos!" She grabbed Windy's foreleg and headed towards the denser part of the crowd.

After a few minutes, Merry Treat was proudly carrying a PokèBall containing a Perchidos, and Tabby was still trying to trade a no-good Charmander for a Mew.

Meanwhile, after the successful trade with Merry Treat, Windy went to where a proud owner was displaying an Onix. He was shouting out all its qualities-- level, power, speed, and all that. Windy listened excitedly. "Level one hundred! Very fast!" shouted the owner.

Windy pushed through the crowd of onlookers and came face-to-face with the owner-- a Grundle. "I'll trade!" she said excitedly, and held out a PokèBall with a Perchidos in it.

"What's in there?" asked the Grundle suspiciously.

"A surprise!" said Windy.

The Grundle raised an eyebrow. "Okay," he said. The deal was complete. Windy had her Onix, and the Grundle had his Perchidos.

"Now! To battle," Windy said excitedly. She raced off to find Clever Clover-- he was in the battling section.

Clever Clover looked at her as she approached him. "You?" he asked. "Got something to battle with?"

"Yes," Windy replied. "And I'm battling you."

Clever Clover smiled. He held out a PokèBall. The gathered crowd made a little space for the battle. "Rattata, go!" he yelled.

The purple rat-like Pokèmon jumped out. "Ra-t-ta-ta!" it said.

"Starmie, go!" Windy yelled, and held out a PokèBall. "Starmie, Water Gun!"

"Starmie!" said the Starmie. Before the Rattata could do anything, he was all wet. Water inside his mouth, his ears...

"Rat-ta-ta!" he said angrily, and rushed at Starmie. A spine hit Starmie, but that didn't hurt him.

"Starmie, Water Gun again!" Windy yelled.

The Starmie said "Star-r-r-r Mie-e-e!" and squirted Rattata again. Then, Rattata fainted.

"No!" cried Clever Clover. "You didn't let me..."

"You better act fast!" said Windy. "Starmie, return!" Windy's Starmie returned.

"Rattata, return! Okay-- Beedrill, I choose you!" said Clever Clover. Rattata returned.

"Perchidos, go!" said Windy. The two PokèBalls opened.

"Beedril, Twin Needles!" said Clever Clover.

"Perchidos, Mist!" said Windy. Just as Beedrill rushed at Perchidos, a thick mist surrounded and blinded him. "Good work, Perchidos!" said Windy.

"Perch... i... dos!" said Perchidos.

"Wow... do you want to trade a Pokèmon like that?" said Clever Clover.

"Sure, Clever Clover. You can just have this one. Perchidos, return!" said Windy, and held out a PokèBall. The Pokèmon eagerly returned. "Here," said Windy, handing the PokèBall to Clever Clover. "I have another one at home."

"Thanks!" said Clever Clover.

Windy walked through the crowd until she found Tabby and Merry Treat. Tabby was trying to battle for a Mew-- as usual. "Hey, Tabs!" said Windy. "Tabs" was a nickname she had given Tabby. "Having any luck?"

"Yeah-- I got a Vulpix," said Tabby through clenched teeth. She was trying to battle her Oddish against a Gloom. And, very slowly, the Gloom began to gain. If Tabby won, the Mew was hers, but if she lost-- the Mew would be lost.

Suddenly, Windy threw her PokèBall in the battle ring. "Starmie, go!" she cried. "Water Gun, Starmie!" she yelled. A jet of water sprayed from Starmie, and Gloom tripped backwards and fell down.

"Yeah!" Tabby cheered. The owner of Gloom-- a strange pony with a short temper-- was clearly angered by this act.

"You-- you-- traitor!" he stuttered at Windy.

Windy smiled provokingly and yelled, "Starmie, Water Gun, again!" This time, Gloom's hit-points went down greatly.

"Yah!" Tabby cheered. "We won!"

The Gloom lay on the ground. The strange pony thought it had fainted, and began to overreact. "You've ruined it! You--"

"We won," said Tabby. "Give me the Mew."

"Oh--" began the strange pony.

"C'mon, give it up!" said Merry Treat.

"Oh-- alright! Take the Mew and be on your way," said the strange pony. "Gloom, return!"

"Starmie, return!" said Windy.

Tabby picked up the PokèBall with Mew inside it, then held out an empty PokèBall and said, "Oddish, return!" The Pokèmon returned. "Oh, yeah-- bye, and thanks!" Tabby called over her shoulder as the group headed towards the "For Sale" section.

Windy and Tabby both wanted to buy a Porygon. Merry Treat wanted to browse around. "How much is a Porygon, anyway?" asked Windy.

"I believe about seventy-five jangles," said Tabby.

"Wow!" said Windy. "To the money machine, to the money machine!"

"Yeah," agreed Tabby.

"I'll stay here," said Merry Treat.

They went and drew money until Tabby had seventy-eight jangles and Windy had seventy-seven. "Good!" panted Windy. "Now, let's go back to MT and see if there's a Porygon for sale."

So, they hurried back to the sale section and caught up with Merry Treat. "What took you so long?" she asked.

"Oh-- nothing. Now, hurry!" said Tabby. So they hurried to find any Pokèmon they'd like.

"Tabs! Look!" Windy called to Tabby. "Five Porygons for sale. Seventy-seven jangles each. No tax, PST, or GST."

"Wow!" said Tabby. "Yes, I'm game for one!"

"Okay," said Windy. "Here we go!"

The seller of the Porygons was Blue Belle. "Hi!" she said. "Wanna buy a Porygon? Or a Weedle--"

"For goodness sake, don't start to talk about your silly Weedle collection!" said Windy. "We just want to buy two Porygons."

"Oh, alright," said Blue Belle. "Here's two. They're shiny and gentle and--"

"Don't start on that!" wailed Tabby. "Here's my jangles! Now, just hand over a Porygon!"

"O-okay. Here it is," said Blue Belle timidly. She pushed a PokèBall at Tabby.

"And here's my jangles," said Windy.

"Thank you," said Blue Belle. She gave Windy another PokèBall. "And one jangle cash for Tabby." She gave Tabby a jangle.

"Thanks," said Tabby.

"I want to buy a Zubat now," said Windy.

"I'll wait here with MT," said Tabby.

"Okay," said Windy, and walked off to buy a Zubat. She returned a few minutes later with a PokèBall. "They had TONS of Zubats!" she exclaimed.

"Really?" Tabby asked.

"Yup! And they're for seventeen jangles each," Windy added. "Is that affordable or what?!"

"I guess," said Tabby. "But MT's off to buy a Growlithe-- or a Seel."

After MT came back, Windy said, "Now, let's see which Pokèmon we had before we came here. I had Arcanine, Bulbasaur, Ninetales, Pikachu, Mew, Mewtwo, Alakazam, Chansey, Squirtle, Rapidash, Vaporeon, Likitung, Jigglypuff, and Clefairy. I bought Porygon, Zubat, and Onix. Merry Treat, what did you get?"

"I've bought a Seel and a Growlithe," Merry Treat replied.

"Tabby?" Windy asked.

"I got a Mew an' a Vulpix, and Merry Treat doesn't have a Mew yet!" Tabby sang out excitedly.

Merry Treat burned. She wanted a Mew... but she wouldn't be mad at her friend. She'd catch one on her own someday.

"Let's go now!" said Windy. "My Starmie is tired of being in my pocket!"

"Okay," said Tabby. "C'mon!" So the three friends left the building.

On the way out, a man shoved a stone in the ponies' faces. "Trade a rare Pokèmon for the Water Stone!" he advertised.

"No thanks!" said Merry Treat. And they left the trading inn.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My Little People Mail Order
by Windy


My Little People collectors, this is the chance to own an eighteen-inch quartz figure of any of the Original My Little People. You can choose from Spoosh, Megan, Leah, Ambie, Nancy, Jessica, Ariadne, Kira, or Emily. You can buy one for fifteen jangles, or all of them for one hundred and sixty-five jangles. Order yours now!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Balloon Sports Day
by Windy


Baby Fun n' Games, Pinwheel, Seabreeze, Hopscotch, Quarterback, Starflower, and Molasses are sponsoring a Balloon Sports Day on August eleventh. Molasses and Starflower will provide snacks for the day. The others will set up games, including a balloon race, a three-legged race, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, soccer, baseball, swimming, fishing, and more. Later, there will be prizes for the winners of each event, and balloons and pinwheels for ponies to take home. Don't miss this fun day! Admissions are one jangle for newborns, two jangles for any baby ponies above newborn, and seven jangles for adult ponies.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Big Blowout Sale
by Windy


Toys 4 Ponies R Us is having a My Little People blowout sale. My Little People dolls will be sold for three jangles, not the usual four jangles. If you want to save jangles, get there now!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trading Inn Opens
by Windy


The long-awaited Pokèmon Trading Inn is open. There are tables for the traders, plus a money machine. Prices on particular Pokèmon may soar to around eight hundred jangles. Expect humongous crowds! I went in earlier today and there was lots of activity! If you're missing a Pokèmon from your collection, get over there to trade, buy, or battle!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Invento Ponies
by Dylansong (the black pony)


Name-- Sugarfoot

Species-- earth pony

Body Color-- periwinkle blue

Hair Color-- medium length bright red

Symbol-- yellow footprint outlined in orange

Personality-- Sugarfoot is still in the pony's equivalent of high school. She has just moved to a new part of Ponyland. She has trouble making friends at first, but she soon becomes close to Charisma, Java, and Professor Artemis. She has a pet dog named Scoot. Together, they enjoy exploring. Sugarfoot's one big dream in life is to fly like her friend, Java.



Name-- Charisma

Species-- unicorn

Body Color-- purple

Hair Color-- long flowing mint green

Symbol-- cascade of pink fairy dust

Personality-- Charisma is a very sweet and understanding pony. She is in her first year of college at the Academy of Unicorn Magic, where Professor Artemis teaches. She can be found hard at work trying to perfect her spells, but she manages to make time to hang out with her best friends, Java and Sugarfoot. She has a pet cat named Magi.



Name-- Java

Species-- pegasus

Body Color-- yellow

Hair Color-- orange

Symbol-- pot of coffee

Personality-- Java is the same age as Sugarfoot. She is very sporty, and sometimes absent-minded. She loves to pig out and watch movies at Charisma's cottage in the woods.



Name-- Professor Artemis

Species-- unicorn stallion

Body Color-- green

Hair Color-- short grey

Symbol-- leather bound book with a big "A" on it

Personality-- Artemis is one of the teachers at the Academy of Unicorn Magic. He-- like Charisma, his star pupil-- studies magic all day. He is very dignified, but enjoys adventures with his friends.



Name-- Rex (a.k.a. Villainwing)

Species-- a type of pegasus with bat wings and a lion's tail

Body Color-- deep red

Hair Color-- short curly burgundy

Symbol-- black rose

Personality-- Rex was once the pet of a great king; but after the king was killed, he became the king's daughter's property. With the help of Sugarfoot, he dethroned the evil new queen and took over control of the castle.



Name-- Queen Lauren

Species-- human

Body Color-- pasty white; wears a blue dress

Hair Color-- chocolate brown; wears a gold crown

Personality-- Queen Lauren is an evil, controlling queen who will do anything-- except fight-- to get her way. She prefers using magic. Villainwing and Lenny used to be her stooges until Villainwing stood up to her and banished her from the castle.



Name-- Lenny

Species-- male flutter pony

Body Color-- icky green

Hair Color-- short icky brown

Symbol-- dunce cap

Personality-- Lenny is Queen Lauren's loyal pet. He's always there to do her bidding-- standing by her side, smiling, and going along with all her plans.

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Sugarfoot's Friend at the Castle in the Dark Woods
by Dylansong (the black pony)


It was a boring day in Ponyland for little Sugarfoot. Everyone had something to do but her. Her best friend, Charisma, was studying for a test in Professor Artemis' magic class. Her other best friend, Java, was getting her flying lesson from Firefly.

Sugarfoot lay sprawled out on her bed, bored to death. What to do? she thought to herself. Then she had an idea. "Hey, boy," she said to her pet dog, "you wanna go explore the woods?" Her fluffy white dog, who had been sleeping, just gave her a bored look and went back to sleep. "Well, then I'll just go on my own." With that, she set out by herself.

She didn't bother packing her trusty backpack with food or anything. She just planned to take a short walk. She loved to hike in the wilderness. It was one of her great loves in life. Some of her others included animals, painting, and baking cookies.

Sugarfoot and her family had just moved to this northern part of Ponyland. She had made fast friends with Charisma and Java, and Charisma's teacher, Professor Artemis. She was thankful for that, because making friends can sometimes be difficult.

She was not very familiar with her new hometown yet. This ignorance was about to get her in some trouble, for she went into the treacherous Dark Woods without even knowing of the perils involved. Her friends had forgotten to warn her about this particular place. There were many dangers in these woods. Most of them had to do with black magic.

So far, though, she was having a pretty decent time. She had found a beautiful flowing creek with tiny silver minnows swimming in it. There was something about these woods that was different from the ones in her hometown. The leaves on the trees were a deep shade of purple, and the only birds that she saw were shining black. That's odd, she thought, but then quickly dismissed it.

Sugarfoot walked along through the paths that were somewhat taken over by thorn bushes. The flowers on the bushes, she noticed, were like very lovely miniature black roses. "Aw," she cooed to the flowers. But just as she bent down to test their fragrance, she heard a nearby cry for help.

"Help! Help! Someone, please help me!!!" the voice called.

"Oh, my!" Sugarfoot cried in surprise. Thinking it could be some poor forest creature in need of her help, she galloped in the direction of the voice.

She came to a clearing to see a frightful sight. It was a male Flutter Pony cowering in the shadow of a huge demonic-looking pony. The flutter looked to Sugarfoot with pleading eyes. Sugarfoot gathered all of her courage and rushed towards the two.

"I'll save you!" she shouted, dashing toward the flailing hooves of the red demon pony.

Not thinking of the outcome, she turned on her heels and kicked out her hind legs, catching the red pony in the jaw. The male flutter took this moment to fly up into the canopy of trees, but Sugarfoot hadn't seen this.

After striking the red demon, she looked to see if the flutter was alright. "Little Mister Flutter Pony?" she called. "Where did you go?"

The demon growled in disgust. His blue, gold-rimmed eyes burned with fury. He then reared up, flapping his big, black bat wings. But one of his steel-shoed hooves hit Sugarfoot on the nose, knocking her unconscious.

"Here I am," laughed the flutter, dropping a net over Sugarfoot. "Good work, Villainwing. We have her now. Our queen will be pleased."

Villainwing, the demon, just snarled at the flutter.

* * *
Sugarfoot woke up from her painful slumber a few hours later. She looked around. She wasn't in the Dark Woods anymore. She seemed to be in some kind of cell. It was square-shaped. Three of the four walls were made of stone, while the other was an opening protected by steel bars. She had chains attached to all of her feet. Her muzzle was in intense pain from the blow of Villainwing's hoof. She did, however, notice that there was a simple white bandage taped to her nose.

"W-where am I?" she asked out loud, dazed.

A large bony head revealed itself from the shadows outside the cell. It was Villainwing. He hissed. "You are in Queen Lauren's dungeon!"

Sugarfoot gasped and jumped up in surprise, and then cowered to the back of the cell. Villainwing pushed a bowl of steaming brown something through the bars. "Here, eat this," was all he said before leaving the dungeon by way of the stairs.

Sugarfoot felt hot tears of despair and frustration well up in her yellow eyes. "I miss my friends," she sniffed. "Oh, how am I ever going to get out of here?" She had nothing better to do, so she decided to try and sleep. There was a moldy pile of hay in the corner. It was disgusting, but it was better than lying on the centipede-ridden dirt floor. So, she miserably curled up on the hay and closed her eyes. The smell of the brown stuff tickled Sugarfoot's nostrils. It had a sweet-- almost sickening-- smell to it. She groaned, trying to fall asleep.

* * *
Meanwhile, in the queen's throne room, the two evil ponies stood before the queen herself.

"Villainwing, Lenny..." she smiled. "Excellent work. Now for the ransom note. Lenny!"

"Yes, your highness?" Lenny's green lips formed a broad grin.

"You go deliver the note, my dear."

"Sure thing!" And with that, he flew out a window and into the darkness.

The queen looked to Villainwing. "And you... um... keep watch over the prisoner."

Villainwing nodded and silently went back to the dungeon.

* * *
Sugarfoot heard metallic hoofbeats and looked up, almost face-to-face with the red demon.

"Stop surprising me!" she gasped, her heart jumping.

"So, how does your muzzle feel?" he asked with some concern.

"Awful, no thanks to you!" Sugarfoot was gaining some confidence in herself.

Brushing the harsh comment aside, he then observed, "You haven't touched the meal that I fixed for you."

"Well, of course not!"

He mumbled something under his breath. Sugarfoot got up and went over to the bars of her cell. "I demand you bring me back home to my friends!"

"Oh, you will see them soon enough," he chuckled.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Why don't you ask Queen Lauren?" he challenged.

"Fine! I will," Sugarfoot said, secretly amazed at the guts she expressed.

"Come with me..." he smiled, opening the door of the cell.

Sugarfoot gulped. She slowly followed him, with the clanking chains still attached to her feet.

* * *
At this time, Charisma the unicorn had just gotten a visit from Lenny. She galloped into her cottage where her friends, Java the pegasus and Professor Artemis the unicorn now sat, done with the day's activities. Her blue eyes were opened wide and her mouth was open in disbelief.

"Charisma, my dear, what in the world is the matter?" Professor Artemis questioned.

Java cocked her head. "You look like you've just seen a ghost."

"It's much worse than that! Look!" She held up a piece of paper in front of her friends' faces.

"What is it?" Java asked, puzzled.

"It's a ransom note! Sugarfoot's been ponynapped!" Charisma cried.

"Calm down!" the Professor said. "Tell us what's on the note."

Charisma gathered herself and said, "It says that if we ever want to see Sug again, then we have to sacrifice the Great Book of Unicorn Magic."

"That's awful," Java frowned.

The professor walked over to his desk, where the ancient book was. He spent most of his days studying magic from it. He sighed. "All of our secret spells are contained in this book. But," he continued, "we have no choice in this matter. We must sacrifice it. For Sugarfoot." The other two nodded in agreement.

"Who would do such a thing?" Java steamed.

"According to this note, a queen named Lauren," said Charisma. She flipped the note over unconsciously. "Wait! There's a map on the other side of this thing. We are supposed to bring the book to a big castle in the Dark Woods!"

"The Dark Woods?! How did Sug manage to get there?" Java asked.

"Quiet! Come, we must hurry. There's no telling what this queen is doing to Sugarfoot." Professor Artemis said. He picked up the heavy book in his mouth and trotted out the door in the direction of the Dark Woods. Charisma and Java followed behind, worriedly.

* * *
Back at the castle, Sugarfoot stood bravely before the queen with Villainwing behind her. The queen was a beautiful human, with her chocolate-brown hair in a tight bun, a velvety blue dress cascading down to the floor, and a golden crown ornamenting her head. But she was indeed evil.

"How dare you lock me up like that!" Sugarfoot yelled, her voice echoing throughout the vast throne room. "What is it you want from me, anyway?"

"Hmm-hmm!" Queen Lauren laughed. "It's not you I want, silly pony."

"What, then?"

"Why, the Great Book of Unicorn Magic, of course. That is why I'm holding you here as my hostage. Soon your friends will come to rescue you, with the book as the ransom. Hehe!" she laughed, thinking of how clever she was.

"Your stupid plan will never work!" Sugarfoot declared.

At that moment, Lenny flew in from the same window he had left quite some time before. He landed not too gracefully beside Sugarfoot.

"Your highness!" He gasped for breath, always smiling. "I just got back from delivering the ransom note. Her friends are on their way right as we speak!"

Sugarfoot almost lost her footing with surprise. She knew how much that book meant to Professor Artemis. "Oh, no!" She suddenly felt guilty.

The queen was quite pleased by now. "Excellent," she purred. "Villainwing!" He looked up, half awake.

"Take this puny blue pony back to the dungeon. I'm tired of looking at her."

Lenny fluttered up to Queen Lauren's side. They engaged in hideous laughter that made Sugarfoot's skin crawl. Villainwing gave her a shove and she began to slowly plod back to the dungeon, with him following closely.

* * *
Charisma, Java, and Professor Artemis (with book in mouth) had reached the edge of the dreaded Dark Woods. They stood there for a moment, almost afraid to enter the forest.

"Well, this is it." Charisma shuddered at the sight of the dark, blood-colored trees.

Java pressed next to Professor Artemis and said, "It's so spooky. I've heard ponies have disappeared in there, never to be seen or heard from again."

The professor looked down at her, shaking his head. "Don't be silly. Let's go!"

Charisma and Java gave each other frightened looks. Charisma shrugged and followed her teacher. Java stood alone only momentarily before flying (literally) after the two unicorns.

* * *
Back at the castle's dark, gloomy dungeon, Villainwing stood watch over his small prisoner. By now, though, he was almost asleep. His head started to sag and then jerked up as he woke himself up. Sugarfoot tried to hide a snicker behind her hoof. Villainwing quickly glared at her.

Sugarfoot cleared her throat. "Um..." She wanted to strike up a conversation with the demon. "You don't seem to enjoy your job here... Villainwing, is it?"

"Grrrrr, that isn't my real name. Just one the queen made up for me. Anyhow, what's it to you?"

"Geeze, I was just curious. Well, why don't you leave this place if you hate it so much?"

Villainwing turned away from Sugarfoot, lowering his head. "It isn't this castle that I hate."

Sugarfoot felt suddenly curious about this creature. "Tell me. Maybe I can help or something."

Villainwing tensed and swung around to face Sugarfoot, his eyes gleaming bright white now. She jumped up in mid-air and started clawing at the back of the cell, trying to get away from him. A lightening-quick beam of white light shot from his eyes and surrounded Sug's feet. The chains weakened and dropped away from her. She stared at him, shivering.

He opened the cell door and sighed. "Come. I will show you a secret way to get out of here." Sugarfoot speechlessly did as she was told and followed him.

"There is still plenty of time for you to escape and warn your friends."

They walked single-file up the stairs and onto the main level of the castle. They moved quickly through the shadows, staying right up against the wall. Villainwing looked back at Sugarfoot to make sure she was keeping up.

"Quiet now," he warned in a husky whisper. "Lenny's room is right around the corner."

Sugarfoot nodded. Villainwing pushed aside one of the many paintings of the queen that hung on the castle walls. Behind it was a hole in the wall, barely large enough around for Villainwing himself to fit through. He motioned for Sugarfoot to go first. She crawled inside the crevice. He quickly grabbed a lighted torch from the wall and handed it to Sugarfoot. She took it from him and began her crawl through the tunnel. She was horrified to see cobwebs all over the place. She was deathly afraid of spiders. Villainwing came into the tunnel behind her.

As they made their getaway, they didn't know that Lenny had seen them. He was just heading out of his room for a snack. He immediately fluttered to the throne room where Queen Lauren was lazily twirling her scepter like a jeweled baton.

"Highness!!!" he flustered.

"Yes, what is it, Lennox?" she asked boredly.

Lenny, confused for a moment, forgetting that Lennox was his proper name, finally blurted out, "I just saw Villainwing helping the prisoner escape!"

"What?!" She stood up, grinding her teeth. "I'll show them!"

* * *
Sugarfoot and Villainwing had made it to the end of the secret tunnel.

"Here we are," he said. "The back gate is right over there. Beyond it is a small wooden bridge. You need to cross it to get over the moat."

Sugarfoot smiled at him. "Why are you doing all this for me?"

Villainwing looked away.

"I don't know how to thank you. Are you coming?" she prompted.

"No, I can't. This is my home. Now hurry up before..."

"Leaving so soon?" It was the queen.

Villainwing's head jerked up. "Uh-oh."

The queen was boiling mad. Her arms were crossed and she angrily tapped her high-heeled foot. Lenny was next to her, grinning stupidly. Villainwing glared right back at the green flutter.

Queen Lauren held out her pointer finger and it started to glow. She then pointed it at the demon and the prisoner.

"You two will be punished for trying to escape!" As she said that, a light shot out from her finger, zapping the two ponies.

The zap of magic made the two weak and easy for the queen to bring back down to the dungeon. This time she put Lenny in charge of guarding both of them. She knew that she could rely on him. She was getting tired, so she went to her room for a quick nap.

"Lenny," she reminded him, "don't forget to tell me when the unicorns arrive."

"Okie-dokie," he smiled.

Villainwing paced around the cell, which was small to him.

"It was a nice gesture, at least..." Sugarfoot encouraged.

Villainwing grumbled.

"No, I really mean it Vil-- uh-- what is your real name?"

He sat down. "It's Rex." Then he took a deep breath before saying, "Sugarfoot, I am so sorry for kicking you like that."

She smiled warmly. "That's all right. It hardly even hurts anymore." She removed the white bandage.

Rex looked at it as she threw it in the dirt. "I tried to make it up to you..."

"You are the one who put the bandage on my nose?"

He nodded.

Sugarfoot was confused for a moment. "Why are you and Lenny so loyal to this queen?"

"Well," he started, "long ago Lauren's father was king here. I was his choice mount. Lauren was just a child then, and Lennox was her pet. The king became very ill after being shot by a poison-tipped arrow. Before he passed on, he asked me to watch over his daughter as long as she was a kind, thoughtful queen. And so, to this day, Lenny and I have been her obedient servants. But now I am beginning to rethink my position."

* * *
While all this went on, Charisma, Java, and Professor Artemis were still in the Dark Woods.

"I'm worried about Sug. I hope she's okay," Charisma frowned.

"It's beginning to get dark," Java reminded from up in the sky.

"Keep your chins up, girls. We will be there soon," the professor said.

"How much longer?" Charisma asked.

"According to the map, the castle should be just up ahead," said Java

They all stopped in midstep, because right over the trees in front of them they could see the towers of the castle.

"Here we are," Java pointed out.

* * *
In the dungeon, Lenny had fallen asleep, and Sugarfoot and Rex were having a nice little conversation.

"You seem like a really nice pony, Rex," Sug was saying. "You shouldn't let that awful queen control you like that."

Their conversation was broken suddenly by a voice outside. "Queen Lauren! Open up! It's us, the unicorns!"

The sounds woke Lenny up from his much-needed beauty rest. Sugarfoot happily said, "Hear that, Rex?! It's my friend, Charisma! Oh, they've come to save me!"

Rex nodded happily, but he would miss his discussion with Sugarfoot after she had been rescued.

Lenny gave a vicious laugh. "I better go tell Queen Lauren that her guests have arrived."

Sugarfoot rushed up to the bars. "I can't wait to see my friends again!"

* * *
Lenny was standing anxiously in the doorway of the Queen's fancy bedroom. "Your highness, the unicorns are here!"

Queen Lauren quickly sat up in her canopied bed.

"Uh, should I lower the drawbridge?" he asked.

"Yes, of course." She got up out of bed and said, "I'll be right back." She headed towards the dungeon.

Lenny galloped up to the contraption that controlled the drawbridge. "Lowering away!" he laughed as he cranked the lever.

The chains ground and clanked as the huge wooden door came down. The unicorns stepped back from the edge of the moat.

"The drawbridge is coming down!" cheered Charisma.

When the cranking had stopped, they looked inside the castle. It was awfully dark. They all gulped hard; then the unicorns trotted across the bridge and Java flew close behind.

* * *
The queen was leading the still weak Sugarfoot and Rex by heavy ropes. "These should stop you two from causing any more trouble," she said as she tied the ropes to her throne before sitting down.

* * *
As they walked through the castle, Professor Artemis looked around the place, amazed at the architecture. Java landed softly beside him. Charisma gasped when she caught sight of the evil queen, looking right at them from her seat.

"Welcome to my humble home," the queen grinned. Lenny hovered by her side. "I see you have something for me..."

"Sugarfoot!" Charisma cried, galloping over to her friend.

"Charisma! Java! Professor Artemis! I'm so glad to see you all!" Sugarfoot tugged at the rope, trying to free herself of it.

Queen Lauren rolled her eyes before saying, "Now that that little reunion is over with, give me my book!"

The professor walked up to the throne and took the book out of his mouth, holding it under his foreleg.

"Oh, just give it to me!" she shrieked.

"Not until you let Sugarfoot go," he frowned.

"Fine! Lenny, release the small blue pony."

He reluctantly did as he was told. Sugarfoot rushed into an embrace with Charisma. With tears streaming from her eyes, Sugarfoot said, "I missed you! I was so scared!"

The professor finally handed the book over. "It's mine," the queen greedily slobbered, taking it from him. "With the magic contained in this book, I can take over Ponyland!" She looked to the small band of ponies before her. "I will start by destroying you four." Flipping through the book she suddenly said, "Ah, this looks like a good one."

Her finger began to glow as she spoke the words of the spell. The three girl ponies cowered in a bunch. Artemis stood tall, glaring at Queen Lauren. A ball of pure magic formed at the tip of her finger. She slowly lowered her finger and pointed it towards the ponies.

"No!" Rex shouted, jumping at them. His rope held him back for a moment before snapping in half. Just as a beam of light traveled from the queen towards the ponies, Rex leaped in its path, getting a violent jolt. His body stiffened as he collapsed, knocked out by the force of it.

"Oopsie," the queen smiled, not really caring too much. "Oh, well. He was useless to me, anyhow."

"Rex!" Sugarfoot screamed, running to his side. "He tried to save us!" She nuzzled him.

Professor Artemis scowled at Queen Lauren. "You fool! You know nothing of the powers of unicorn magic!"

"Oh, no? Well, I'll show you!" She recited another spell, pointing her glowing finger at Artemis. He stood there solidly, smiling. "Ack!" she exclaimed. "Nothing's happening!"

"Heh-heh. I told you. Unicorn magic can never harm another unicorn or pony."

"Then what about Rex?!" Sugarfoot pleaded, looking down at him just lying there.

Professor Artemis frowned. Just then, Rex grunted, trying to get up.

"Oh, Rex!" Sugarfoot beamed. "You're all right."

"Huh?" he asked, dazed from the jolt of magic. Sugarfoot's friends smiled as she gave Rex a pony hug.

"Now what are you going to do?" The professor challenged Queen Lauren.

"I... um..." she stuttered. Then she shouted, "Get out of my castle! All of you!" Lenny sneered in agreement.

"No!" Rex said, gaining control of his feet and standing up. "You get out of MY castle. You are not a kind and thoughtful queen as your father wanted you to be. I now banish you from all of Ponyland."

The defeated queen frowned and slumped. "Come on, Lenny. Let's get out of here. I can see we're not wanted here any more." With that, they both left the castle by way of the still-lowered drawbridge.

"But know this!" she said suddenly, whirling around. "I will return!" Then they finally left.

Rex snorted. "Good riddance."

Sugarfoot leaned against him. "I'm so glad you're not hurt."

"Nope, just a bit shocked. But I'll be fine."

Professor Artemis looked out one of the windows. "It's already dark out. We had better be going. Come on, girls. Goodbye, Rex."

"Goodbye, everyone," Rex said. "Feel free to visit me any time."

Artemis nodded and went over the bridge, followed by Charisma and Java. Sugarfoot stayed for just a bit.

"Yes?" Rex asked.

"Are you sure you'll be okay here all alone?"

"Of course. This castle is my home. It is my duty to stay here to protect and preserve it." His neck arched proudly.

"I see." Sugarfoot started to follow her friends, then turned back. "Expect frequent visits from me, friend." Then she left, waving and smiling.

Rex shook his head in amazement at her. She was his first friend.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tabby Interviews a New Furby in Dream Valley


Time of Interview: 9:30 P.M. July 23, 1999

Place of Interview: Tabby's front porch



Tabby: Hello there on this fine evening!

Furby: kah ah-loh (Me Light)

Tabby: Very interesting, Mr. Furby!

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: Anyway, I'm conducting this interview.

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: We're in Dream Valley, Furby.

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: I'm glad you think so.

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: Tell us about life as a Furby.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: You like it that much, eh?

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: My house, in Dream Valley.

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: Anyway, do you watch Pokèmon?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Yes, it does make a pony happy.

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: Uhh... yep. Do you catch Pokèmon?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Do you like Meowth?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Furbys look like they could be a Pokèmon.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: You take that as a compliment, then?

Furby: kah toh-loo (Me like this!)

Tabby: Interviews are fun.

Furby: dah boo (Big no.)

Tabby: You just said you liked this!

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: But you're not?

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: But aren't you happy?

Furby: kah toh-loo loo-loo (Me like joke.)

Tabby: That's a joke? You're not happy?

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: What music do you listen to?

Furby: kah a-loh (Me light.)

Tabby: Light music, eh?

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: Yep, you say that a lot.

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: How do you like living in Ponyland?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy.)

Tabby: Have you been to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe yet?

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: Maybe I'll see you there tonight.

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: I'll be at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe later.

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: You sound like a very sweet Furby.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: You like compliments?

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: Do you think Tweeg is cool?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Do you know how to turn buttermilk...

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: ...into gold?

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: Have any Furbish recipes to share with us?

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: What are the ingredients for that?

Furby: kah ay-ay boo (Me see no.)

Tabby: That last line sounded... annoyed.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Alrighty!

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: Have you met Tex yet?

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: How about Merry Treat?

Furby: kah ay-ay e-tah (Me see yes.)

Tabby: Do you like her?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Do you like me?

Furby: kah may-may u-nye (Me love you!)

Tabby: I'm flattered!

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: Gee, Furby, you say that a lot.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Do you have any Furby friends?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: What did your mother look like?

Furby: dah boo (Big no.)

Tabby: You don't like your mother?!

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: You like kisses, but not mother?

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: Here, kiss Tarquin here.

Furby: kah toh-loo loo-loo (Me like joke.)

Tabby: I don't think Tarquin liked that remark.

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: You are really hung up on that.

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: Who's your owner?

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: Weesa in Dream Valley!

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: What makes YOU happy?

Furby: kah a-loh (Me light.)

Tabby: You like light? That's good.

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: Have you met my cousin, Tamara?

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: What's that have to do with Tamara?

Furby: may-bee (Maybe.)

Tabby: What's this "Maybe" about?

Furby: u-nye mee-mee noo-loo (You very happy.)

Tabby: Have you been seeing Tamara or something?

Furby: kah toh-loo (Me like this!)

Tabby: The things that go on behind my back!

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Tell us about your interests.

Furby: kah toh-loo loo-loo (Me like joke.)

Tabby: A comedian, huh?

Furby: kah toh-loo u-nye u-nye noo-loo (Me like you. You happy.)

Tabby: Tell us a joke!

Furby: kah toh-loo (Me like this!)

Tabby: Great joke! *claps*

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: Is there a Furby named Kisses?

Furby: kah toh-loo (Me like this!)

Tabby: And you're in love with her, huh?

Furby: kah may-may u-nye (Me love you!)

Tabby: But you can't forget your beloved Kisses!

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: You'll break her heart.

Furby: kah may-may u-nye (Me love you!)

Tabby: Furby! Think of your love for her!

Furby: kah may-may u-nye (Me love you!)

Tabby: Don't think of me! Think of your Kisses!

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Umm, anyway.

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Why don't you take Kisses to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: That means you'll take her? Great!

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: I think Kisses is back in Furbyland.

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: Go back and get Kisses!

Furby: koh-koh doo-moh (Again please.)

Tabby: Do you have amnesia?

Furby: kah mee-mee noo-loo (Me very happy)

Tabby: You're happy having amnesia?

Furby: kah toh-loo (Me like this!)

Tabby: O-o-okay.

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: Oklahoma!

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: Drat, you know I'm lying.

Furby: kah toh-loo loo-loo (Me like joke.)

Tabby: Let's call this interview to a close.

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: Goodbye, Furby!

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: I'm leaving now.

Furby: kah toh-loo mah-tay (Me like kisses.)

Tabby: *throws Furby a kiss goodbye...*

Furby: doo u-nye (Where you?)

Tabby: *...and quickly runs out of the room*

Furby: kah toh-loo loo-loo (Me like joke.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sugarberry's Scare
by Sugarberry


Thomas was reviewing his latest veterinarian magazines in his office before the first patient of the day arrived when he was startled to hear a piercing scream from the receptionist's area of the clinic. "That sounded a lot like Sugarberry!" Thomas jumped to his hooves as still another scream echoed off the walls, and rushed to the front room where he found Sugarberry cowering at her desk with her forelegs raised protectively over her head.

"What's wrong, Sugarberry?"

"A black, furry thing," was all Sugarberry's scared voice would squeak out.

"You saw a mouse?" queried Thomas amusedly.

Sugarberry peeked out from between her forelegs and shook her head emphatically. "No! No! Not a mouse! It was flying and..." Again she screamed as a dark winged shape swooped down low over her head and disappeared behind the computer monitor. Sugarberry pushed back in her rollered chair to get as much distance as possible between her and the unwelcome visitor.

"That was just a bat," observed Thomas practically.

"Just a bat?" squealed Sugarberry, her voice rising. She got off the chair and backed across the room toward the door, still covering her head as best as she could with her forelegs. "I hate bats!" She had just reached the door when it opened and Tex entered the office with Emilio riding on his back. The rose-haired tarantula was nesting comfortably in Tex's mane.

Sugarberry's retreat thus thwarted by Tex, she scurried behind him to take advantage of his body as a shield from any further bat attacks. "Something wrong?" questioned Tex as he looked from Sugarberry to Thomas.

With a twinkle in his eye, Thomas filled Tex in. "Sugarberry had an unexpected client come in today."

"There's a stupid bat behind my computer," Sugarberry's frazzled voice blustered. She shuddered and edged closer to Tex.

Tex chuckled and drew Sugarberry into a protective embrace. "I'll protect the lady while you rescue the bat," he offered.

"Big help!" muttered Thomas as he went to the supply room to grab a small holding cage. Returning quietly to the computer monitor, he peered over the top until he caught sight of the frightened creature hanging onto the vent holes at the back of the unit. Slowly at first, he positioned the cage, then with a sudden movement, he trapped the confused bat within. Throughout the procedure, Sugarberry had stood weak and trembling at Tex's side with her hooves over her eyes. "Got him!" Thomas' voice rang out victoriously.

"It's safe now, Sugarberry," consoled Tex as he gently guided Sugarberry to the center of the room where Thomas stared intently into the cage at the now confined creature.

Sugarberry, still not fully comfortable with the situation, sidled around Tex and ended-up face-to-face with Emilio. Due to the excitement of the morning, her nerves responded with yet another scream, ending with an embarrassed, "Oh, it's you, Emilio." She looked sheepishly at the stallions, who were grinning amusedly.

"I'm surprised at you, Sugarberry," reprimanded Thomas. "I thought you liked animals."

"Nice, cute, harmless animals," clarified Sugarberry.

"Well, let's discuss this," Thomas replied in his professional veterinarian tone. "Nice... bats consume many of the pesky mosquitos you and Tabby are constantly complaining about."

"Maybe they do," demurred Sugarberry, "but they aren't cute."

Here, Tex put in his two jinglets worth. "If I remember correctly, you said the same thing about Emilio when I first brought him in. You said he was icky with all those eyes. But once you got to know him, you liked him a lot." Tex retrieved the happy tarantula off his back and held him up to Sugarberry.

She looked into Emilio's cute, beady eyes and wavered. "Yes, some animals do kind of grow on you, but..." Sugarberry looked suspiciously at the caged bat. "What about those things getting in manes and tails? That's nasty."

"But bats don't do that," explained Thomas patiently. "They fly using a unique radar system that alerts them to everything around them. They fly fast and close in, but they wouldn't purposely fly in your mane."

Sugarberry hesitated a moment as Tex and Thomas watched her face. Slowly, she stepped closer to the cage which Thomas still held. She tentatively looked through the bars at the shivering critter inside and her heart melted. She took the cage from Thomas' hoof and turned it until she could see into the bat's eyes. "You're scared, aren't you, little fella?" she murmured comfortingly. "Poor baby!"

Looking at Thomas, Sugarberry asked calmly, "When and where can we release him?"

"How about after Emilio's examination, we walk over to the park, and let him loose?"

"Okay." Sugarberry carried the cage to her desk, and set it down front and center. Tex recovered her chair from where it had been abandoned, and pushed it to her before following Thomas to an examination room, Emilio still perched comfortably on his back.

Sugarberry sat down and studied the bat closely. She talked to him soothingly about how neat his leathery wings were, and how shiny his brown fur was. She had the satisfaction to see him settle down and stop shaking, even cleaning his fur with his little tongue.

Before she knew it, Thomas and Tex returned. "Emilio is in perfect health," Thomas was saying, "even if he did bite me." Thomas frowned as he rubbed a spot on his foreleg.

"He never bit Tabby," heckled Tex. "I guess he still resents her leaving the clinic."

"Yeah, I know how he feels," admitted Thomas as an elusive image of a pink unicorn flashed across his thoughts.

"Mind if I join you two in releasing your pet?" Tex asked as Sugarberry stood-up with the caged bat.

"Come along," Sugarberry invited. "BB's getting anxious to be on his way."

"BB?" Thomas questioned with a smile on his lips.

"We talked," admitted Sugarberry, "and I figured he needed a name."

Thomas stuck a "Will Be Back Soon" sign in the door, and they were off. Sugarberry held the cage steady, and reassured BB often that he would soon be free. Shortly, they were in the flower and tree filled park.

"Pretty place for a home," Tex commented to BB.

Thomas opened the lid of the cage, and glanced at Sugarberry. "Do you want the honor of liberating this new friend?"

Sugarberry wavered only for a second, and then reached in and gently removed the bat. She held her hoof up before her face and BB seemed to look her in the eye a moment before he unfurled his wings and rose easily into the warm summer air. He joyously flew high before returning to circle each of the ponies in turn. Sugarberry stood enchanted as BB swooped by her so closely that she could feel the breeze on her cheeks from the movement of his wings.

"Goodbye, BB," she whispered softly as BB looped one last time and headed off to continue his life in the wild. Thomas, Tex and Emilio, and Sugarberry stared into the sky until the black dot that was BB disappeared completely.

As they turned to leave, a single tear rolled down Sugarberry's cheek. Be safe, little friend, her thoughts transmitted across the airwaves. And in the depths of her heart, she felt BB's identical message.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Insane Crossover Story
Chapter Three
by Tabby and Merry Treat


Tabby and Merry Treat continue on their quest to seek revenge on an evil movie reviewer, along with several new-found allies...



"Somehow, I never imagined the Milky Way looking like this," Merry Treat commented as she walked across the transparent, smooth surface, under which was an endless abyss of darkness with the occasional light of a star.

"Well, this is it, all right," Tarquin said, rolling his map of the universe back up.

"It's rather strange; we were walking across that grassland, and all of a sudden-- boom!-- here we are on the Milky Way," Tabby said.

"This thing is interesting," Tess said, sitting down on a yellow steel dome which suddenly appeared in front of the group as they trekked across the Milky Way.

"After what we've been seeing of the Milky Way, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a cover for a black hole," Tabby snorted.

"Actually, you're right," a cheerful voice suddenly rang out. Tabby looked around frantically. Who knew what strange creatures they'd run into in such an odd place as this?

"Are you new in the area?" the voice persisted. A slim, human figure suddenly stepped out from behind the yellow dome Tess was sitting on. The Meowth began to fall off in surprise, but Tarquin caught her in his paws.

"Umm... yes, actually," Merry Treat said to the aqua-haired girl that had appeared. She was dressed in a pretty metallic purple and silver outfit, complete with a glittery headband. "Do you live here?"

The girl giggled politely. "Oh, yes, definitely. I'm Whimzee, one of the Moon Dreamers--"

"What in the world is a Moon Dreamer?" Tabby interrupted.

"Well... well... oh, my, there's a lot to explain, isn't there?" Whimzee said, flustered. "But I am sorry for scaring your cat off the black hole cover-- that is what it is, just like you said." She turned to Tabby. "Anyway, perhaps all of you can introduce yourselves to me and I'll take you to Starry Up to get refreshed."

Merry Treat and Tabby looked ahead over the slick surface of the Milky Way, and saw an expanse of beautiful domed buildings of all colors, many decorated with stars. "First off, I'm Tabby," Tabby started. "Then Merry Treat." Merry Treat nodded as Tabby said this.

"And, of course, Tess and Tarquin. They're Meowth Pokemon. Have you heard of Pokemon?" Tabby chattered on. "Then Spearow-- he's another Pokemon-- the bird. Where is he by now? Oh, right here." Spearow chirped loudly at this remark.

Merry Treat took over at this point. "The three guys in the back are Tweeg, Orko, and He-Man--"

Tweeg, He-Man, and Orko had been hanging out in the back of the group and appeared to be sharing jokes. "..so then, all of a sudden, Skeletor whirls around and says..."

"...that reminds me of something my mother did to me once..."

"...Orko, remember that time a worm erupted out of your hat?..."

Whimzee gasped in excitement. "Oh, my stars! He-Man's here?! Are you serious?!" She stood on tip-toes to get a better view of this celebrity.

"He's quite a wonderful person," Tess agreed.

"When he doesn't mistake you for a snake-man," Tarquin added.

"Row, spear!" Spearow said, rolling his eyes at Tarquin's remark.

"I'm going to have to tell Crystal Starr about this right away!" Whimzee squealed. "I just know everyone's going to want to see him!" She broke out running at full-speed toward one of the larger, pink domed buildings. The ponies and their Pokemon scurried to keep up with her.

"Crystal! Crystal! Come quick!" Whimzee was shouting.

A figure, similar to Whimzee in size, appeared at the door of the building. This girl's hair was pink, however, and her clothing was made of beautiful silver and pink material. "Whimzee, what is it this time?" she questioned, somewhat exasperated, as Whimzee made it to the doorstep. However, her eyes opened wide as she saw who followed her aqua-haired friend. "Whimzee! Where did all... these come from?"

"Well, they're travelers, I guess-- from where, I don't know-- but, oh, Crystal, He-Man is with them!" Whimzee sighed happily.

"He-Man?" This other girl, who was apparently Crystal Starr, softened her gaze towards Whimzee. "Why, you're right!" she cried, looking towards the back of the group. "Come right on in, everyone!" She quickly shooed the entire group inside.

"Hey, cool!" Tabby exclaimed, looking at the bright and spacious interior of the place.

"This is Dream Central, in Starry Up," Crystal explained. "But that's enough about us for now. All of you must be famished, after traveling all the way to the Milky Way!"

"Famished? Oh, no, there's too much to do to stop and eat," Tabby murmured.

Nonetheless, Crystal and Whimzee led them into the dining room of Dream Central, whatever Dream Central was. Everyone was soon seated around the long, oval-shaped blue table while Whimzee scurried off to prepare the food.

"So tell us, what brings you to Starry Up?" Crystal addressed He-Man.

"We are out to destroy all of King Hiss' snake men!" He-Man boomed.

Merry Treat and Tabby exchanged glances. "No, no, He-Man," Merry Treat corrected. "We're going to seek revenge on an evil movie reviewer."

"We are? Oh, yes. But it's my suspicion that King Hiss is behind this reviewing business!" He-Man clarified.

"Last time you said it was Skeletor," Tarquin piped-up.

"They may be working together on this scheme," He-Man said mysteriously.

"We may not know exactly what we're doing any more," Tabby said to Crystal, "but what in the world is this Starria place all about, anyway?"

"That's Starry Up, actually, and not Starria," Whimzee corrected, walking back in the room carrying a tray of sandwiches.

"Starry Up?" Tabby echoed. "Wouldn't Starria sound better than Starry Up?"

"Well, no matter," Whimzee dismissed the subject, reaching for one of the star-shaped sandwiches.

"And we're the Moon Dreamers, in charge of giving all children good dreams," Crystal explained. "Dream Central here is our main base."

"That's right!" Another yellow-haired girl in pink glasses entered the room. "It's our responsibility everyone has good dreams, and that's not something I take lightly."

"Hello, Sparky!" Whimzee greeted the new girl. "See our guests? He-Man is here!"

"Don't we count for anything?" Tabby scowled to Tarquin. "Hey! Just wait a second, you Moon Dreamers! I've never had a good dream in my life!"

"Never?" Sparky looked intently at Tabby. "That's strange. Our dream crystals are sent to everyone, unless Scowlene gets in the way, but that isn't often."

"Look her up in the system," Crystal suggested.

"Excellent idea!" Sparky took a seat in front of a large machine, resembling a computer. "Tabby, your last and middle name?"

Tabby glanced around furtively. "Err... ehh..." She silenced Tess with a sharp glance as the Meowth started to giggle softly. "Couldn't I type it in myself?" Tabby suggested.

"I'm not sure..." Sparky frowned, looking down at the keyboard. "You wouldn't know about this system, and you might screw it up somehow. If you press one wrong button, it could screw up the entire protonic--"

Tabby scowled, but she was dying to find out what had become of all her good dreams. "First name, Tabitha. Middle name, Elaine. Last name, Fershund," she said quickly. Tarquin, Tess, Spearow, and Merry Treat couldn't contain themselves. They broke into fits of laughter.

Sparky typed this into the computer. "City and state?" she continued.

Tabby looked witheringly at her friends. "Dream Valley, Ponyland," she directed at Sparky.

"Hmm..." Sparky frowned in concentration at the screen that came up. "There's nothing here that says you shouldn't have been getting good dreams."

"Well, I haven't been, that's for sure," Tabby declared. "Unless you consider giant squid good dreams."

"Oh, never!" Whimzee gasped.

"Computers never work, anyway," Merry Treat said. "They say one thing, but probably mean something else entirely.

"Maybe I'll just sue you Moon Dreamers for lying to me about my dreams," Tabby said threateningly.

"Let's hold a court, right here," Orko said excitedly. "He-Man will be the judge, and--"

"Though I'm flattered you should pick me as the judge, Orko, I believe Tabby is not serious about suing them," He-Man said.

"Oh." Orko's spirits visibly dropped.

"I am serious!" Tabby said shrilly. "I want those dreams I'm supposed to be getting!"

Tess looked apologetically at Whimzee, Crystal, and Sparky. "Don't worry about Tabby. She'll get over it soon enough."

"That's okay," Crystal said understandingly. "I've seen the likes of her before."

"Tweeg, how about you? Have you ever had a good dream?" Tabby demanded.

Tweeg smiled, his mind beginning to slip off elsewhere. "Ah, yes, there was that time I dreamed I was rich, up to my elbows in gold..."

"And you, He-Man?" Tabby prodded.

"I have wonderful dreams every night," He-Man said energetically. "I'm right there, fighting with Skeletor like I've done many a time, and suddenly-- I've defeated him!"

"I dream about flower bouquets from Tarquin," Tess sighed happily.

Tabby looked dejected. "That does it. I'm the only creature in all the universe that doesn't have good dreams."

Merry Treat patted her on the back. "It's okay, Tabby. I'm sure the computer has made mistakes for others, too."

"Oh, well." Tabby rested her head down on the table.

"Can I have your sandwich?" Tarquin asked of Tabby, inching his paw towards Tabby's untouched plate.

"Sure," Tabby said absentmindedly.

Tarquin immediately took Tabby's plate, gave half the sandwich to Tess, and kept the other half for himself.

All of a sudden, a little white bear with wings and patterned with an occasional yellow star, bounded into the room. "Why're there so many creatures around, huh, guys?" she squealed excitedly.

"These are guests, Ursa Minor," Crystal informed the bear. "They're stopping here, but they're on a quest to seek revenge on King Hiss and his evil band of movie reviewers."

"Why are they going?" Ursa Minor went on in the same excited tone.

"Ursa Minor, behave yourself," Sparky said sharply.

"Why?"

"Now, Ursa Minor, why don't you go play somewhere else?" Whimzee suggested.

"Why?"

Tabby gasped and pointed at the cute little bear. "She is-- she is-- she is-- exactly like a baby pony!"

Orko nervously hid under the table. "I think we're in for another ten minutes of complaining from Tabby."

"If this creature makes a sinister move towards you, Tabby, have no fear." He-Man drew his sword.

Ursa Minor's eyes opened wide. "I think I'm in trouble." She scurried out the doorway.

"I hate baby ponies," Tabby muttered under her breath.

Merry Treat began to push back her chair. "It's been really nice of you Moon Dreamers to invite us," she began, "but we really should be starting out again, if we ever want to complete our quest."

"Oh, we understand completely." Sparky nodded.

"We've been honored to have He-Man as our guest, even if it was for just a short while," Crystal added sincerely. "Stop in again if you're ever in this part of the galaxy in the future."

Whimzee silently stood back as she watched the travelers prepare for their leave. Just as Tabby began to walk out the door, Whimzee suddenly cried out, "Oh, please, wouldn't you let me go with you on your quest?"

Crystal looked sharply at her aqua-haired friend. "Whimzee! Think of how our dream production would slow down if you left!"

"Oh, fiddlestars!" Whimzee exclaimed. "It'd be so much fun."

"Besides, they may not want another person in their group," Sparky added.

"Who said that?" He-Man said cheerfully. "We're just one big happy party here. There's always room for another!"

Merry Treat looked over at He-Man strangely at his sudden burst of happiness. Had there been something in those sandwiches... no, it was probably just He-Man's way.

Merry Treat, however, did turn to Crystal and Sparky. "Well, Whimzee would be welcome to come along... if you'd allow it, that is."

At this instant, Tess wound around Whimzee's legs, making the girl giggle. "Oh, you're a sweetie, aren't you?" She picked the cat-like creature up and cradled her in her arms.

"I suppose..." Crystal pursed her lips. "If you'd really be happy, Whimzee..."

"Oh, Crystal, I would, I would!" Whimzee said earnestly.

"You have our okay, then," Sparky said slowly. "You can go along with them."

"That's wonderful!" Whimzee squealed gleefully. "And just think of all the subjects for dreams I'll see along the way!" She hugged Tess again from excitement.

"This will be fun," Tess said blissfully, beginning to purr slightly.

"Then it's settled," Crystal announced. "Whimzee, have fun. And we'll look forward to your return."

"I'll be back before you know it!" Whimzee promised.

"Welcome to the team, Whimzee," Tarquin said. "Of course, you'll have to--"

"--sign this agreement," Tabby finished for her Meowth, whipping a paper out of her backpack. "Just read through this quick list of rules and regulations, sign your name if you agree to them, and you're all set."

"...no Tweeg insults... no demon summoning... hmm... hmm... yes, this sounds simple enough," Whimzee murmured, quickly scrawling her name at the bottom, below Orko's simple signature.

After exchanging quick hugs with Sparky and Crystal, Whimzee ran along on her way with the rest of the questers. "Be safe!" Sparky called after her.

"My stars, this is going to be fun!" Whimzee bubbled over with excitement as she followed Merry Treat and Tabby over the Milky Way. "Who knows what we'll see as we go to find that nasty King Snake and his evil movie men!"

"And maybe he'll even have some treasure hidden," Tweeg plotted to himself.

"We'll help you get whatever treasure you want, Tweeg!" He-Man boomed.

Tweeg brightened. "Wonderful! Won't Mommy be proud of me once I'm Supreme Oppressor, and rich on top of it? He-Man, I'm so lucky I ran across you."

Orko floated in back of the group, glancing back once in awhile. "I think we're being followed," he said nervously.

"I'll get the evil movie-snake!" He-Man said immediately, whipping out his sword again.

A giggle erupted from behind another black-hole cover they happened to be passing by.

"I know that sound; it's the hiss of an evil movie-snake!" He-Man said viciously.

"Ehh..." Merry Treat hesitated. "He-Man, don't go jumping to conclusions now..."

The same small white bear they'd encountered earlier suddenly appeared from behind the cover. She was overcome with laughter. "Oh, you silly He-Man! I'm not one of those snake-reviewers, or whatever you keep talking about!"

He-Man put his sword back. "Ahh, it's just you again! Shouldn't you be back at home with your mother?"

"Aunt, actually," Whimzee corrected him, but did a double-take as she saw the baby bear. "Ursa Minor!! What in the world are you doing here?!"

"I followed you," Ursa Minor explained simply, giggling again.

"You should go home immediately," Whimzee said sternly. "What will your aunty think?"

Ursa Minor glanced behind her. "Gosh... Starry Up is a lo-o-ong way back now..."

"Fiddlestars!" Whimzee exclaimed, glancing back at the small dot on the horizon which was all they could see now of Starry Up. "Ursa Minor, how did you follow us so far? We can't just let you go back on your own now!"

"I'll come with you, too," the mischievous bear suggested.

"Oh, dear," Whimzee fretted. "Ursa Minor, you are so troublesome." The bear just giggled in response.

"I don't want any baby pony following us around," Tabby said sharply.

"Aww, I think she's cute," Merry Treat laughed, patting Ursa Minor on the head.

"I guess it's the only thing we can do," Whimzee sighed. "I wouldn't want to set us behind on our journey by back-tracking to take Ursa Minor back home."

"Yipee!!!" Ursa Minor exclaimed, jumping up and down.

"I'll leave a note on this black hole cover," Whimzee decided. "Bucky will find it the next time he checks all these, and everyone back home will know not to worry about you." Scribbling out a note, she tacked it on the yellow dome. "And Ursa Minor, you will follow those rules they have written up, won't you?"

"Sure!" the bear said immediately.

Merry Treat fished the paper out of Tabby's backpack again. "See, here they are."

Ursa Minor glanced at them for a second, scribbled her name down, and exclaimed, "Sounds fun!"

Tabby just scowled at the little bear. "I knew this trip couldn't be perfect."

"Why?" Ursa Minor prodded.

"Because of pesky baby ponies like you," Tabby said impatiently.

"Why?"

"Because... ohhh!! Just be quiet!!"

* * *
The travelers, with two added to their group since their last stop, continued on along the path of the Milky Way. Merry Treat was walking at a faster pace than the others, as she was prone to do, and was several yards ahead. She was humming to herself as she glanced at the stars around her when something of interest caught her eye. She stopped and gazed with wonder at what she saw. Calling over her shoulder, she shouted to the others, "Hey, guys! Check this out!"

A moment later, her friends caught up to her and spotted the planet that Merry Treat had been admiring. "What do you think it's called? Do you suppose it's inhabited?" the excited pony asked.

"It's probably full of hostile aliens that will turn us into little piles of dust if we go there," Tabby commented, always the pessimist.

Tarquin rolled his eyes and reached into his pack, extracting his map of the universe once more. "Let's se-e-e... it's called Naboo," he informed his companions. "As for hostile aliens, the map doesn't say."

"You should really upgrade that map, Orko," He-Man suggested to his friend.

"I might be able to zap up a demo upgrade version later," Orko replied.

"Well, let's go! To Naboo, that is!" Merry Treat said eagerly.

"Ooh! Ooh! Yes!!" Tabby exclaimed, in the same excited tone as her friend. She had decided to forget about hostile aliens and piles of dust.

"Spearow, row, spear," Spearow warned cautiously. Merry Treat started laughing at his comment.

"Oh, don't be silly, Spearow!" she laughed. "I doubt that we have anything to fear from that planet."

"You can understand all that!?" asked a confused Orko, eyeing the bird Pokèmon.

"Of course! It's my Pokèmon, and to be a good trainer, I have to understand what he's saying! Now, let's go!" Merry Treat responded simply.

"I do hope there's water there; we need to refill our canteens," Tess stated as the group started down.

"I still think it's full of hostile aliens..." Tabby commented nervously. Yes, her pessimistic side always came back to her.

"Stop being so gloomy!" Merry Treat chided. "Just cool down and relax. See, it's a swamp. How many aliens could possibly be living in a swamp?" she asked as the ground of the planet came into view off the Milky Way.

"Oh... lots of things... like monsters from the Dark Forest... giant squid... I sure hope there are no ducks living here..." Tabby trailed off, shuddering at the memory.

"What's she talking about?" Tweeg asked Tarquin, who just grinned.

"Long story. She hates to talk about it. Let's just say she hates ducks," Tarquin explained, a smile playing on his lips.

Just then, they reached the ground and looked at their new surroundings. "This place is cool!" Merry Treat grinned as she admired the leafy green swamp they had landed in.

"Oh, my stars!" Whimzee said in wonder.

"Yes, this is a lovely place!" Tess breathed. "Let's set up camp."

About an hour later, they had everything set up. Merry Treat turned to Spearow. "Spearie, go see if there is a lake or stream nearby. We still need those canteens filled."

The bird obediently took off and wasn't gone more then five minutes before he returned and squawked something at Merry Treat. Seeing the looks on the faces of her companions, she quickly explained that Spearow had seen a lake close to the camp.

"How can you understand all that?" Orko demanded again.

"Let's just say I have a natural touch when it comes to creatures," Merry Treat responded with a wink. "Spearow also saw some berry bushes at the far edge of the camp," she added, glancing at Tabby.

"Ooh! Berries! I love those!" Tabby squealed.

"Good! Why don't you go pick some?" Tess asked politely.

"Okay! Anyone wanna come?" Tabby glanced around the camp.

"I'll go with you!" Tarquin cried loyally, grabbing a bucket.

"Spearow and I will attend to the canteens," Merry Treat said quickly, and the four set off in different directions while the others went about starting a fire and doing other necessary things. However, Ursa Minor, was causing trouble-- currently, she was walking off with a load of twigs Whimzee had just gathered while the girl had her back turned.

* * *
Merry Treat dipped the canteen to the surface of the water, and then her eyes grew wide. Bubbles were rising to the surface of the water about ten feet away from her.

"Sp-Spearow..." she trailed off nervously. The bubbles continued to rise... "Sp-Spearow..." she repeated as she began to hunt around for her special transformation pen, which would turn her into the powerful Sailor Scout, Sailor Fauna, in the blink of an eye. "Sp-Spear-r-row... I... th-think you'd better take a look at this... Spearow!?"

Just then, two yellow eyes appeared above the surface. Merry Treat let out a shriek and fell backwards. The creature-- whatever it was -- had started to rise up out of the waters. She had obviously scared it, because it, too, fell backwards into the lake, causing a cascade of water to fall down on Merry Treat, leaving her thoroughly soaked. The two sat on the swampy ground, dripping, and stared at each other.

The creature was obviously an alien. It had a face that looked a bit like a giraffe's, minus the horns. On top of his head were two yellow eyes. He also had long floppy ears like a lop-eared rabbit. He was dressed like a hippie, in a sleeveless shirt and bell-bottoms. His skin was a weird pinkish-brown color. He had some muscle, but not enough to even look menacing. Merry Treat realized with slight surprise that he only had four fingers on each hand.

While they were studying each other, a loud cry could be heard. Both Merry Treat and the alien turned to see Spearow swooping down, full-speed, at the creature. Thinking fast, Merry Treat leaped in the way of her Pokèmon. "Spearow, stop! He's a good alien!" she cried out, realizing in her heart that the creature was harmless.

At the last second, the bird changed his direction, and swooped high above them, circled, and settled down on the bank in front of them. Merry Treat heaved a sigh of relief. "Thank you!" She then turned to the creature. "Are you all--"

"Yousa saved my life!" he interrupted, and jumped to his full height, which was about seven feet tall.

He could pass for a slightly funny-looking basketball player, Merry Treat thought as he threw his arms around her neck. He had a funny accent that sounded like African, American, and Jamaican jumbled together.

"It was nothing, really!" she said in astonishment.

"No, no, no! Meesa owes you my life!" he continued.

"Uhh... you really don't have too... it's all right. I'm just glad you're okay," Merry Treat responded as she pulled back from the embrace. "Uh... what's your name? You do have one, don't you?"

"Meesa called Jar Jar Binks," the creature introduced himself.

"I'm Merry Treat. The bird is Spearow. I'm sorry he tried to attack you," Merry Treat replied. She was starting to like this strange-looking thing.

Then they heard footsteps coming toward them. They turned again, and while Jar Jar's eyes grew wide, Merry Treat just sighed with a groan. "Oh no, not this again!" She suddenly realized how Tabby had felt when He-Man had made a move like this towards Tweeg.

Merry Treat didn't want to lose her new friend to He-Man's confusion. She grabbed Jar Jar's arm and pulled him out of the way. A moment later, He-Man's sword crashed down into the water right where Jar Jar had been standing, making a cascade splash up in his face.

"Merry Treat, why are you defending a reviewer-snake!?" asked a bewildered and wet He-Man.

Merry Treat rolled her eyes. "He's not a reviewer-snake! Or whatever they are... he's a... uh... what are you?" She turned to Jar Jar with a curious look.

"Yousa saved me again!" Jar Jar cried and threw his arms around Merry Treat once more, not answering her question.

"Really, it was nothing. But you didn't answer my question," she replied as she pulled back from him.

"Oh! Meesa be a Gungan," he responded.

"Hey, MT! Who's your friend?" Tabby called as she and the rest of the group came up to the scene.

"Guys, this is Jar Jar; he's a Gungan, not a snake-thingy!" she directed at He-Man.

"He did it again!? Oh, He-Man, you need to really find out what these snake guys look like so you don't try to hurt innocent bystanders!" Tabby sighed. "We have got to put a stop to this!"

"Yeah, He-Man! But in case of an emergency, let's make a rule that if any evil guys show up-- truly evil guys, He-Man-- we make sure that only He-Man and I-- err, Sailor Fauna, that is-- take care of them."

"Who's Sailor Fauna?" Whimzee asked curiously.

"One of the Sailor Scouts," Merry Treat clarified quickly. "I'm, umm, good friends with her. Tabby, let's see those rules we planned out!" Merry Treat held out her hoof.

Tabby dug around in her backpack until she found the sheet. "Here ya go!" she said and handed it to Merry Treat.

"Thanks! Hmm... now... that might work... no..." Merry Treat scribbled something down on the paper and presented it to Tabby. "How's that?"

Tabby glanced down and read the rule that Merry Treat had added:



#4-- Any evil monsters will be dealt with by Sailor Fauna and/or He-Man. The rest of the group-- steer clear!



"Okay, that's good! Now I have one to add!" Tabby took the pen and scribbled down:



#5-- If He-Man attacks any more innocent victims thinking they are snake-whatevers, he will be severely dealt with by Tarquin, Tess, and/or Spearow.



She presented it to the rest of the group. "Two more rules, guys, and we expect you to follow them!"

Something occurred to Merry Treat. "Hey, Jar Jar, wanna come with us? We're on a quest to seek revenge on an evil snake king and his reviewers," she asked as she turned to him.

"Sounds like fun, methinks!" Jar Jar replied happily.

"Okay, then you have to sign the Rules and Regulation list." Tabby handed him the paper and pen.

He glanced over the list and scribbled his name down and then handed the paper back to Tabby, who grinned. "Welcome to the team, Jar Jar!"

With that taken care of, the group set off... again.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Test your "horse sense" by matching the word to its meaning. The first one is done for you.

--Sugarberry and Tabby



1. Horse
_3_ a. A young female horse

2. Pony
___ b. A mature male

3. Filly
___ c. A large solid-hooved herbivorous mammal domesticated by man and used as a beast of burden, a draft animal, or for riding

4. Mustang
___ d. A spirited horse for state or war

5. Foal
___ e. A mature female

6. Stallion
___ f. A young male horse

7. Colt
___ g. A young horse (covers both male or female)

8. Steed
___ h. Unbroken range horse of North America

9. Mare
___ i. A small horse, especially one of any several breeds of very small stocky animals noted for their gentleness and endurance

10. Bronco
___ j. Like a horse (adj); a horse (n)

11. Equine
___ k. A wild horse descended from horses brought to the New World by the Spanish



(Answers appear at the end of the newsletter)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Furby Conspiracy
By Baby Fox and Merry Treat


Starring:
Tabby, Merry Treat, Baby Fox, and Thomas (the ponies)
Tarquin, Tess, Spearow, and Kit (the Pokemon)


Also Starring:
Fluffy, Sparky, and Brring (the Furbies)


Merry Treat and Tabby where sitting in Merry Treat's living room watching old episodes of Pokemon and playing with Tabby's new Furby. Merry Treat had brought her fluffy toy out as well, and they were watching the two chatter at each other. The ponies were trying to translate the furbish into English with their special Furby dictionaries and watch Pokemon at the same time, but weren't getting very far.

"Noo-loo noh-lah," said Tabby's Furby, which was named Sparky.

"Happy dance?" Tabby raised an eyebrow as the blue and purple Furby rocked back and forth.

"Sound up please!" cried Fluffy, Merry Treat's white, lavender, and yellow Furby.

"I thought you just wanted the sound down," Merry Treat growled in frustration.

"Well, at least you're at the top of the bottom," commented the Meowth on the T.V. Both ponies cackled at Meowth's humor.

"Hmmm. Boring," sighed Fluffy.

"Hey, don't you dare insult Meowth, you little rodent!" shouted Tarquin as he wandered through the room, munching on a can of cherry pie filling.

"Tarkie, be nice!" Merry Treat shouted back.

There was silence for a moment, save for the TV. Then Tabby's Furby yawned and said, "Kah way-loh koh-koh."

Fumbling around in her dictionary, Tabby translated, " ‘Me sleep more?' Oh, all right. Good night, Sparky." She patted the Furby on the head.

"Hey party! Hee-hee-hee!" Sparky responded.

"Boogie! Hee-hee-hee!" Fluffy agreed. The ponies watched in confusion as both Furbies rocked themselves back and forth a few times while singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and promptly went to sleep.

"What the...?" Merry Treat asked for both her and her friend.

"It's their own secret code, I think," Tabby said quietly, eyeing the Furbys with suspicion.

Fluffy woke up and chirped, "Bring bring. Bring. Hee-hee-hee!" Then it yawned again, mumbled something about going back to sleep, and shut down with a few snores.

The ponies both raised their eyebrows and started to get up when the phone rang three times. With a shaking hoof, Merry Treat picked up the phone. "Hello?"

She was greeted by the dial tone. Her eyes grew wide and she quickly hung up.

"Who was it? Who was it??" Tabby asked excitedly.

In a quivering voice, Merry Treat said, "N-n-nobody. Nobody there."

Their eyes both as wide as saucers, the two ponies fearfully glanced at the Furbys. Tabby rose from the couch, kneeling in front of the Furbys. "Merry Treat, I think they're alive! And we're the ones who discovered it! Know what that means?"

"W-w-what?" Merry Treat asked nervously.

Tabby lowered her voice and looked at Merry Treat and said in a mysterious tone, "It's a conspiracy."

"Yeah! They might be planing to take over Ponyland!" Merry Treat said quietly in a scared tone.

Tabby smiled proudly and stood up again. "And it's up to us to stop them!"

"But how?!" Merry Treat stood up too, and faced her friend.

"Well, you could try removing their batteries." Tarquin commented snidely. He was standing at the living room door, another can of cherry pie filling in his paws.

"Silly, because they're alive and they don't need batteries. It's just a ploy to make us think they do," Tabby said matter-of-factly and crossed her forelegs.

"Yeah, that's why!" Merry Treat agreed.

"Oh, brother," Tarquin mumbled and left the room.

The two ponies stood staring after him a moment, grinning smugly at their "victory". Then Tabby's smile faded and she ran after him shouting, "Hey, wait, that's the last can of cherry pie filling! Come back here!"

* * *
A single bright light shown through the darkness of the room at two Furbys tied to a chair. Tabby sat across from them at a desk full of clutter, wearing a yellow rain coat and white cowboy hat. Merry Treat stood next to her, wearing a similar outfit of a blue lab coat and a straw sunhat. After fiddling around with the papers on the desk, Tabby leaned forward and pushed her hat back. "All right, Fluffy and Sparky. I'm sure you both know why you are in this situation."

"Kah toh-loo u-nye. U-nye noo-loo," Sparky said.

"Lights down please," Fluffy requested.

Tabby glanced at Merry Treat, who was flipping through her dictionary. "Mr. Sparky said, ‘Me like you. You happy.' "

Rolling her eyes, Tabby looked back a the two suspects. "No, I'm not particularly happy at the moment, Mr. Sparky, but thank you anyway. And I'm sorry, Mr. Fluffy, but the light is meant to make you uncomfortable so you will tell us the truth."

"Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" Merry Treat asked in a professional tone.

"Kah mee-mee noo-loo," Sparky said in a cute voice.

"Me like clouds," Fluffy agreed.

Merry Treat leaned towards Tabby. "Mr. Sparky said he's very happy."

Tabby cocked her head sideways and looked at Sparky. "You are? Well, you shouldn't be." She rose from her chair and walked around the desk. She leaned back against it and crossed her forelegs and looked down at the Furbys. "Now, please answer Ms. Merry Treat's question."

"Dah boo!" snapped Sparky in an almost angry tone.

" ‘Big no!' " Merry Treat quickly translated.

"What do you mean, ‘big no'? Why, you..." Tabby started to shout at the Furby.

"Tickle me! Hee-hee-hee!" giggled Fluffy.

"No! I will not tickle you! You're supposed to be listening to MY orders! Now tell me..." Tabby yelled at the purple Furby.

"Wee-tee kah way-loh," Sparky said sweetly.

After flipping through her dictionary, Merry Treat looked at Tabby. "He wants you to sing him to sleep."

"Lah-lah-lah. Lah-lah-lah. Lah-lah-LAH-lah-lah-lah-lah..." cooed Fluffy. Sparky responded by snoring loudly and shutting down. After its comrade was asleep, Fluffy quickly followed. Tabby was furious.

"OH, NO YOU DON'T! WAKE UP, YOU PIECE OF ELECTRONIC JUNK!" Tabby screamed as she shook her Furby violently.

"TABBY, CHILL!!" Merry Treat shouted at her friend. She calmly walked to the frenzied unicorn and lifted the Furby out of her hooves, then gently led her outside to the front porch. After a lot of shouting, Merry Treat retrieved the last can of cherry pie filling from Tarquin and gave it to her friend. She watched Tabby eat almost the entire can in silence.

Tabby just stared blankly at her hooves, and Merry Treat grew anxious. After almost ten full minutes of Tabby being silent, the unicorn suddenly spoke. "This isn't going to work," she said in a very calm tone.

"Tabby... you're scaring me..." Merry Treat commented truthfully in a nervous voice.

Ignoring her friend's comment, Tabby continued her rambling. "We have to observe them when there is no one else in the room," she said thoughtfully.

Raising an eyebrow, Merry Treat sat next to her friend. "And how are we going to do that?"

Setting down her can of pie filling, Tabby rose and smoothed the wrinkles out of her rain coat. She looked at her friend, and in almost the tone of a madman, she said, "They must be observed at a distance."

"OKAY, now you're REALLY scaring me, Tab," Merry Treat called after Tabby as she went back in the house.

After untying the two Furbys and waking them both up, the ponies crept on their knees to hide behind the couch. Raising their heads above the edge of the couch, both watched in anticipation. They continued to watch as the minutes ticked by and the Furbys sat in silence. Five, ten, fifteen, almost twenty minutes passed; and there was still silence. Even after both the Furbies agreed on sleeping and shutting down again, the two ponies sat watching and waiting.

From the kitchen doorway, Tarquin, Tess, and Spearow watched with worried expressions on their faces.

"Now, tell me what Merry Treat had for breakfast again?" Tess whispered to Spearow.

"Row row spear!" Spearow responded nervously.

"She just had to have blueberry pop-tarts for breakfast, didn't she?" Tess groaned.

Tarquin sighed and finally turned away from the terrifying situation and looked at his fellow Pokemon. "I think we need to get help."

"Row?" Spearow asked.

Closing his eyes and shuddering, Tarquin walked towards the phone. "As much as I hate to, I think we need to call Baby Fox."

"I thought you said WE needed help," Tess said. "If we call her, she'll help, all right. THEM!"

* * *
An hour had passed, and the Merry Treat and Tabby's diligence hadn't worn off yet. They were both certain that if they just waited long enough, something was bound to happen... like perhaps a cobweb or two would be formed across their ears.

The doorbell rang, and both ponies jumped with a scream. They were still coming to their senses when it rang a second time, then a third and a fourth and a fifth and a sixth and a seventh. Merry Treat moaned loudly, and rose to answer the door. "Why is she here?"

Jerking the door open, Merry Treat reluctantly let her older sister in. "Hi, Baby Fox." Tabby glared at the white pony with brown and red hair as she walked into the living room, followed by her Meowth named Kit.

"Hello, Miss Tabitha," Baby Fox said with a polite smile.

"What are you doing here?" Tabby growled in a feral tone.

Baby Fox assumed a hurt expression. "Why, I heard that you needed my assistance in an investigation of the Furbish race." She looked over Tabby's shoulder and smiled at Tarquin, who was standing at the foot of the stairs with Tess and Spearow. "Mr. Tarquin invited me."

Tabby and Merry Treat turned to glare at the Meowth. "Did he now?" Merry Treat said sarcastically.

"Yup. And I brought my Furby, too." Baby Fox reached into the backpack she was carrying and pulled out a black and white Furby. "His name is Brring."

"Great..." Tess groaned. She glared at Tarquin as she headed upstairs. "I told you she would be no help."

Tarquin ignored Tess and called to Kit. "Come up here with us, it's much safer!" Kit glanced at Baby Fox, who nodded, and she dashed after the others.

"Ooooo! Goody!!" Tabby rubbed her hooves together insanely.

"This should be fun!" Baby Fox smiled almost as insanely as Tabby.

"Oh, no..." Merry Treat groaned.

Carrying her Furby to the coffee table on which the other two had been set, Baby Fox sat herself down on the couch. "Tell me what you've done thus far."

After relaying their attempts to the older pony, she leaned back and pulled out her Furby dictionary. "Well, I'm sorry to say you've gone about it entirely wrong. You're trying to make them say in English what they can't. What you need to do is talk to them at THEIR level."

Tabby smacked herself in the forehead. "Of course! I should have known that from the start!"

"Well, it makes sense," Merry Treat reluctantly agreed.

"Good. Then let's get started." Baby Fox sat down and took a professional position in front of the three sleeping Furbies. After waking them up, she motioned the other two ponies to be seated. She smiled, almost unpleasantly cute, and looked at the creatures before her. "Kah a-tay." (Which translated into meaning, "I'm hungry.")

"And that would be?" Merry Treat asked.

"I told them ‘Hi',"Baby Fox said matter-of-factly.

The other two ponies looked at each other with confusion, but followed along and said the same. The Furbies stared at them a moment, then Sparky said, "Kah toh-loo loo-loo."

"What did he say? What did he say?" Tabby asked hurriedly.

Merry Treat raised an eye brow. " ‘Me like joke.' "

Baby Fox did not respond to Merry Treat or Tabby, only continued her gaze at the Furbys. She looked like she was hypnotized. "Doo-moh may-lah kah," she said quietly to them. ("Please hug me.")

"Dah boo," Brring spat back. ("Big no.")

"What are you saying to them, sis? They don't seem to like you much," Merry Treat commented.

"Hush! I know what I'm doing!" Baby Fox snapped. "Kah a-tay u-nye." ("Me eat you.")

The next thing that happened surprised all of them. The three Furbys seemed to be having an actual conversation. About what, none of them could tell.

"Kah da boh-bay!" cried Sparky to Fluffy and Brring in a very scared tone. ("Me scared.")

"Me worried!" Fluffy responded.

"Wah! Kah mee mee dah boh-bay!" Brring whispered in fear. ("Yeah! Me very scared!")

The three ponies stared at the Furbys. "Baby Fox? What did you say to them?" Merry Treat asked in a worried tone.

"I asked them how they were doing!! Honestly!" Baby Fox shouted defensively.

Tabby crossed her forearms. "Baby Fox, how long have you been speaking Furbish?"

She was silent a moment as she calculated it on her hooves. "Oh, about two days."

"WHAT?!" Tabby shrieked in disgust.

"Oh, no..." Merry Treat moaned and placed her face in her hooves.

"YOU HAVE NO STINKING IDEA ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, DO YOU?! YOU MIGHT AS WELL TOLD THEM TO JUMP OVER A CLIFF!" Tabby continued to scream at the older pony.

"WELL, YOU WEREN'T DOING MUCH BETTER!" Baby Fox shouted back.

"Kah who-bye!!" all three Furbys shouted at once, and closed their eyes. ("Me hide.")

"GUYS, GUYS, CHILL!!!" Merry Treat shouted and stepped between Baby Fox and Tabby. "I think you two scared the Furbys."

The two ponies looked at the now silent creatures. "Maybe we did scare them..." Tabby said quietly, picking up her Furby.

"Yeah... sorry, Brring..." Baby Fox picked up hers as well and cuddled it close.

Merry Treat sighed and stood up. "Maybe you two should go home for tonight."

"Yeah, I'm tired anyway," Tabby said with a yawn.

Tabby and Baby Fox headed towards the door, both carrying their Furbys close. "Now, don't forget to make observations tonight, and take notes. Maybe they'll say something while they're alone," Baby Fox told the others.

"Right!" Tabby agreed, and called for Tarquin who was still hiding upstairs with Tess, Kit, and Spearow.

Tarquin came down a moment later followed by Kit, both rather timidly. "A-a-are you done yet?" Tarquin stammered meekly.

The three ponies looked at each other and then back at him. "No, but it's still time to go home," Tabby told him, grinning broadly.

"H-how 'bout I stay at Thomas' place tonight?" Tarquin asked hurriedly, but Tabby shook her head.

"I'll need you're help! I'm sure you can translate their language better than we can, and crack the code." Tabby turned to leave. "And besides, I'm positive Tamara won't help."

"That's 'cause she's smart..." Tarquin muttered and reluctantly followed his trainer out the door.

Baby Fox shouldered her backpack and waved at Merry Treat. "I"ll call you A.S.A.P. in the morning, okay, sis?"

Merry Treat groaned a little. "Not too early, though? Last time you called, it was still dark outside."

"It's not my fault I couldn't get to sleep that night," Baby Fox said innocently.

The ponies exchanged goodbyes, and Baby Fox left with Kit. Merry Treat closed the door and turned around. Tess and Spearow stood there, arms crossed. "I think we need to talk, Merry Treat," Tess said in a polite voice.

"Talk about what? I'm tired. Go away." Merry Treat shoved past the two Pokemon and headed upstairs to take a nice, hot bath.

Tess glared hard up the staircase, then turned back to Spearow. "I have an idea."

"Row row spearow spear," Spearow sighed.

"I know, but my ideas are good ones!" Tess shot back, then headed to the phone. "Help me find Tarkie and Kit's numbers."

* * *
It was close to midnight when the phone rang at Tabby's house. After about the fourth ring, a tired Tarquin answered, "Hello, Furby Interrogation Society, how may I help you?"

"One, you can cut the sarcasm; and two, listen to my idea," Tess said with a sigh.

"No, not more ideas, please!" Tarquin lowered his voice and whispered into the receiver, "Tabby's STILL trying to get that thing to talk. She only let me get the phone because she didn't want it disturbing 'His Majesty the Furby'."

Tess laughed. "That's what both Merry Treat and Baby Fox have been doing, too, it sounds like. And I've got a plan to get those atrocities to actually talk, AND get the ponies back into the real world."

"Oh, do tell," Tarquin said, his voice full of anticipation.

"All right, first, do you know how to get hold of Thomas?" Tess asked.

* * *
Early the next morning, the four Pokemon met in front of the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. Tarquin, Tess, and Kit each carried either Tabby's, Merry Treat's, or Baby Fox's Furby. All had dark rings under their eyes from lack of sleep.

After a few minutes, they heard footsteps and saw Thomas walking towards them, yawning. "What's this all about?" he called to them from down the street. As he got closer, he saw the pitiful state they were all in, and the peculiar things they were holding. "What are those things?"

"Demons in disguise, I think," Tarquin muttered as he dumped Sparky on the ground before Thomas.

Tess shot him a glare and turned to Thomas. "They're called Furbys, and we need your help to get them to talk."

Thomas blinked sleepily at them, and rubbed his eyes as if to make sure that he was actually awake. "Why?" he asked after a moment.

"Because," Kit snapped sleepily, "the sooner these things say something other than 'I like kisses' and 'Me like joke' the sooner we can get a decent nights sleep."

"Spear row!" Spearow agreed whole-heartedly.

Thomas blinked again, and sighed. "All right, what have those girls been up to now?"

Tarquin leaned against Sparky and looked up at Thomas. "Oh, nothing new. They just think that these electronic beasties are part of some large conspiracy to take over Ponyland."

"Uh-huh. And somehow, I'll be able to stop them from thinking this?" Thomas asked.

Tess nodded. "Well, as long as you still have that recording equipment you were using to advertise on the radio."

Thomas looked from one to the other, then at the Furbys. "What are you going to do with THAT?"

Kit growled and took Thomas by the hoof. "Well, let's go back to your place and we'll show you."

* * *
Tabby woke in a cold sweat. She looked around the room, taking note that it was almost ten o' clock in the morning. Finally, her eyes rested on her beloved Furby, who was still sitting on the throne she had erected for him the night before, eyes closed. Luckily, the nightmare she had just had hadn't come true.

Getting out of bed, she walked to the throne and knelt, taking Sparky in her forelegs. "Oh, Sparky I was so-o afraid that Tarquin had taken you to be eaten by the Cookie Monster! I'm so glad it's not true."

Sparky opened his eyes, yawned and said, "Kah toh-loo may-lah." ("I like clouds.")

Tabby stared blankly at him. "Yeah... anyway, we have to go back over to Merry Treat's place so we can see if you'll finally talk to us."

"Dah noh-lah!" Sparky responded. ("Big dance!")

After eating a refreshing breakfast of cherry pie filling, Tabby hurriedly left the house, followed close by Tarquin. She was happy that he was in such a better mood than yesterday. He seemed almost willing to help her and her friends make contact with the unknown.

Merry Treat quickly let her inside, and she seated herself next to Baby Fox on the couch. They lined the Furbys up neatly on the coffee table and sat, wondering what to do next. "So, did either of you notice anything unusual?" Merry Treat asked finally.

"Not a thing..." Tabby said weakly.

Baby Fox nodded her head sadly in agreement.

"Neither did I..." Merry Treat moaned and sat next to Tabby. The three ponies stared at their Furbies despairingly.

Kit, Tarquin, Tess, and Spearow all stood on the staircase, snickering. Tarquin motioned for the others to go upstairs, and they went into Merry Treat's room. "Everybody ready?" he asked in an excited voice.

"Yup." Kit picked up her microphone and handed the others theirs.

"It's showtime!" Tess cooed.

"Row row!" Spearow cackled.

There was the sound of eyes opening, and the three ponies jumped. "They're awake!" Merry Treat exclaimed.

Fluffy, the lavender and yellow and white Furby, spoke first. "Good morning."

The eyes of the ponies grew wide.

Sparky waggled his ears a couple times. "Greetings."

"Salutations, citizens of Ponyland!" chimed in Brring.

Merry Treat promptly fainted. Fluffy's ears drooped a bit and said sadly, "Oh, dear."

After reviving their friend, the three ponies sat in awe in front of the Furbies. "What is it you want, oh great ones?" Baby Fox asked reveringly.

"I don't know. What is it you are willing to give?" asked Sparky.

Tabby blinked at the purple and blue Furby. "Why do you make demands of such willing followers? You should surely know you will receive whatever you ask for!"

"Uhm, Tab, I wouldn't quite go that far..." Merry Treat started.

"Silence! You are in the presence of greatness!" Baby Fox covered her sister's mouth with her hoof.

"Yes, now, that's more like it," Brring said calmly, regarding the insolent pony.

"Well, first, we demand to have gourmet Pokemon chow. The best-of-the-best stuff-you can-lay-your-hooves-on kind of chow," Sparky said after a moment's deliberation.

The three ponies nervously looked at each other. "I think if we combine every jangle we have to spare we might be able to get a couple bags," Baby Fox said hesitantly after a moment.

"But I was going to buy more My Little People with that money!" Tabby whined.

Brushing away tears, Baby Fox stood up. "And I was going to buy a Sailor Moon wig, but we all must make sacrifices for those of higher standards."

"Even MLPs?" Merry Treat asked sadly.

"Even MLPs," Baby Fox replied.

After turning over every couch cushion they could, the three ponies found enough money to buy three bags of Supreme PokèChow. "Hmm, maybe I should clean more. I didn't know I had so many loose jangles laying around!" Merry Treat commented.

When they heard the door slam, the three Meowths burst out laughing. "If we keep this up too long, they'll have spent their life savings on those Furbys down there!" Tarquin giggled.

"Row row row!" Spearow laughed.

"I know; they're a bunch of suckers! That's why this is working so well!" Kit snickered.

"Oh, I can just taste that chow even now!" Tess said dreamily.

"Spear spear row!"

* * *
About a half hour later, the three ponies finally returned lugging the heavy sacks of PokèChow. "I wish we had a cart! That walk would have been soo much easier!" Baby Fox groaned.

"Yeah, but with what this just cost us we won't be able to get one until we're sixty!" Merry Treat complained.

They quickly brought the bags into the living room and stacked them in front of the Furbys.

"We have done what you have asked of us, oh great ones! Your wishes are our commands!" Tabby bowed before the Furbys.

"We know," said Brring.

Baby Fox quickly fixed a small bowl of the chow for the Furbys, and set it in front of them. "Please, eat this offering brought to you on the backs of your followers."

"Literally," Tabby mumbled, and Merry Treat nodded in agreement.

The Furbys made no move to eat it. After a couple minutes of silence, Merry Treat timidly asked, "Aren't you hungry?"

Sparky wagged his ears a couple of times. "No, not particularly. And besides, if we were, we couldn't eat that stuff, anyway. We don't have the teeth to grind it up, nor the stomachs to fill."

"WHAT?! IF YOU WEREN'T GOING TO EAT IT, WHY DID YOU MAKE US SPEND ALL THAT MONEY?!" Tabby screamed.

"SILENCE!" roared Fluffy. Tabby stopped in mid-sentence, her mouth hanging open. "How dare you treat us with such rage, after we came all this way to visit you," Fluffy continued more calmly.

"Why, you should be grateful that we do not leave after such insults!" Brring exclaimed angrily.

A look of pure horror crossed the faces of Baby Fox and Tabby. "NOOO!! PLEASE DON'T GO!!"

Baby Fox fell to her knees, sobbing and begging. "Oh, please, great ones! We beg for thee to stay!"

"Oh, brother..." Merry Treat whispered and put her head in her hooves. Suddenly, she thought she heard something in the background. Something that sounded like... giggling?

Furrowing her brow, she glanced upstairs. "Hey, guys, hush a sec..." Her two friends stopped their groveling and looked at her with curiosity on their faces. "Listen... hear that?"

Baby Fox raised an eye brow and followed her sister's gaze. Rising from her knees, she motioned for the others to follow her upstairs. Walking down the hall, she turned and flung open the door to Merry Treat's bed room. "You. Little. Creeps."

Tarquin, Tess, Kit, and Spearow were seated on Merry Treat's bed, holding microphones and wearing headphones.

"Uhm..." Tess trailed off.

"Heh-heh-heh..." Kit tried to break the tension by laughing, but the others glared at her and she stopped.

"Spearow..." Spearow chirped guiltily.

"Houston, we have a problem..." Tarquin spoke into the microphone.

Tabby placed her hooves on her hips and glared. "You are grounded. All of you."

"Oh, yeah," nodded Merry Treat.

"Hey, hey, it was her idea!" Tarquin complained and pointed at Tess.

"Yeah, maybe so, but you guys agreed with it!" Tess shouted back.

Baby Fox walked over to the bed and towered over the four Pokemon. "You four have some explaining to do."

The convicts stared at each other blankly a moment, the crime they had just committed completely lost to them. Finally, Tarquin stood up and looked at Tabby. "Hey, we weren't trying to be mean. We were just trying to show you that those things are just toys, not little space invaders from whatever planet you guys call it!"

"Yeah, so if anyone should be grounded, it's you." Tess pointed her finger at the three ponies.

The ponies looked at each other, speechless. They had no idea they had seemed that silly to their Pokemon. Merry Treat bowed her head sadly. "We're sorry, you guys."

"Yeah, well, you better be," Tess said, standing. "Come on, guys, we have to return this junk to Thomas."

Baby Fox glared deeply. "What does he have to do with this?"

"Oh, he's the one that lent us the equipment," Kit said cheerfully.

Baby Fox's eyes turned red and she looked at her friends. "I think I'm going to accompany them to return this stuff."

"Ehm, Baby Fox, don't hurt him. Please. We need him at the clinic, and besides, he's a friend," Tabby told her.

Baby Fox turned and headed to get her stuff from the living room. "Don't worry, he'll live."

Tabby glanced at her digital watch and flipped. "OH, MY GOSH! I'M LATE TO THE POKEMON CENTER! I GOT TO GO!!" Scooping Tarquin up, she bounded downstairs and out the door.

Merry Treat stood blinking in the sudden silence of the house, and she suddenly realized how tired she was. Yawing, she turned to her bed. "Hey, guys, I think I'm gonna take a nap; I'm tired."

"I would think so! It was midnight by the time you got to bed last night!" Tess giggled.

"Row spear row," Spearow said to Tess, who smiled.

"Ah, yes, Spearow has made a request," Tess translated.

Merry Treat sighed and smiled. "Yes, you can have some of that new chow." She followed her Pokemon downstairs and gave them the "offerings" for the Furbys. Then, scooping up Fluffy, she headed upstairs again.

Setting Fluffy on her nightstand, she collapsed on her bed with a sigh. Rolling over, she looked at the Furby. "Well, it was a fun idea, anyway," she said with a smile. "Good night, Fluffy. See ya when I wake up." Merry Treat rolled over and quickly dropped off to sleep.

In the shadows of the room, Fluffy opened a single eye and looked at the pony, chuckling softly to himself.

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After being shown a vision of a dark future for Ponyland by the mysterious flame-maned unicorn, Epona, Brightblade set out to recover the legendary Warrior's Horn to prevent the vision from coming true. Having recovered the Horn, Brightblade now travels with Epona and the warrior raven, Breeks, to confront the source of the darkness as he tells his companions of his adventures recovering the Warrior's Horn.



Brightblade Warpony
An Epic


Recorded by Clipper as dictated by the bard Ramon


Chapter 17


While Epona, Breeks, and Brightblade ascended the narrow way to the secret entrance of the Fortress of Darkness, Brightblade recounted the tale of his second crossing of the chasm in the Valley of Thorns.



I don't know how long I was carried along by the underground river. It may have been five to ten minutes, or half an hour. At one point, I hit the roof of the cave and was forced underwater. If I had a chance to take a breath before going under, I doubt it would have been as bad as it was; as it turned out, I blacked out for a while.

When I came to I was lying on a gravel bar in the river at the bottom of the chasm. I was apparently quite a way down river from where I had entered the cave, as I hadn't been able to see any gravel bars earlier.

There were gravel bars on both sides of the river, but the river was still too wide and swift to cross. I didn't want to go any further downstream but I didn't have much choice. I followed the gravel bar for several hours until I found another cave in the cliff wall.

The opening was almost too high for me to reach, and once I was inside I found nothing except a pool of water. It was deep-- I couldn't see the bottom-- but the water was still and clear so it was apparently not connected to the river.

Following the gravel bars didn't seem to be getting me anywhere so I took a deep breath and jumped into the pool in hopes that it would lead somewhere. Once under water, with the dim light of the Horn, I could see that the pool-- or rather the tunnel, as I could now see-- went down steeply but curved slightly toward the river. This gave me hope; if it was deep and long enough, it might just get me to the other side of the chasm, under the river!

The flooded tunnel plunged deeply before finally leveling out. It seemed to be going in the right direction, and to go on forever. At one point another tunnel branched off, downward, but I didn't want to go further down; I wanted to go up, as soon as possible. Just when I thought I could no longer hold my breath, the tunnel began to curve upward. I pushed on with renewed hope.

The ascent seemed to take longer than the descent had; my lungs felt like they were on fire. Suddenly, I broke the surface of another pool, just as I could no longer bear the pain and gasped for breath-- a breath I did not expect to be there, but it was-- and I was overjoyed and thankful to be alive.

After taking several minutes to catch my breath, I examined my surroundings. I was apparently in a vast cavern; the dim glow of the Warrior's Horn didn't reach the walls or ceiling of the chamber. I had no way of knowing for sure which side if the chasm I was on.

From the darkness beyond the light came strange noises, noises like those the unseen creatures of the valley made. Fearing that these creatures would be more aggressive here, in what I presumed to be there lair, I tensed for combat and the Horn shone brightly, dispelling the shadows and revealing the forms of the creatures for the first time.

They were mangy balls of fur walking about on birds feet. On their faces were huge staring eyes and vicious curved beaks. Large pointed ears spouted from the sides of their heads, though there was no clear distinction between body and head. The creatures, of many colors, milled about and shied away from my light.

Behind the creatures, I could now see an opening in the cavern wall. Hoping that it was an exit, I strode confidently forward and the creatures parted before me, disappearing into the shadowy fringes at the far side of the cavern; obviously these were not light-loving beings.

The passageway turned out to be an exit indeed. It wound its way upward for some distance before opening into a clearing in the thorns. A number of the creatures were in the clearing; they squawked threateningly before fleeing into the thorns. I assumed that they were the guards of the lair; they surely had quite a shock at a stranger coming out of their home.

I stood in the clearing looking toward the mountains in the north. The ground around me sloped to my left, westward. I had made it across the chasm. Now all that remained was to find the path and return to Dream Valley.



Brightblade ended his telling as the trio of adventurers reached the top of the perilous path. There was no door that Brightblade could see, but Epona touched her horn to the rock face and an opening appeared.

"Follow, but be quiet, as from here on we are in the very heart of darkness," The flame-maned unicorn instructed. The trio passed through the opening and found themselves in a narrow hallway, no longer the natural passages they had been in before. There was no sign of the opening through which they had gained entrance. The hallway stretched on in both directions. Either way one looked, one saw the same thing: a distant dim light, or at least a patch of less darkness. The Horn no longer glowed and the hallway was unlit. Occasionally shadows would move across a patch of less-dark, shadows highlighted by glowing red eyes.

"Come, this way." Epona turned to the left; Brightblade and Breeks followed in silence.

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Answers to "Test Your Horse Sense"


a -- 3

b -- 6

c -- 1

d -- 8

e -- 9

f -- 7

g -- 5

h -- 10

i -- 2

j -- 11

k -- 4

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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.

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My Little Pony Monthly is a publication of Nematoid (Electronic) Publishing.
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Our next issue will be sent September 1st.

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