My Little Pony Monthly Issue 39
(June 1, 2000)
My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages
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Index of this issue--
1. Letters to the Editor
2. Contest Corner
3. The Continuation of the Beginning Part Four (by Barnacle)
4. The Insane Crossover Story Notice: This is Only the Beginning!
5. Home Sweet Vulcanopolis (by Sugarberry)
6. Invento Ponies (by Berry Brite)
7. Trickles' Troubles (by Berry Brite)
8. A Wild Time (by Sugarberry)
9. Silver Swirl on Sunset Island (by Princess Silver Swirl)
10. The Tabby and Sugarberry Gossip Hour! (by Tabby and Sugarberry)
11. The Honorable Decision (by Tabby)
12. The Evil Dragon Part Nine (by Princess of the Stars)
13. Clever Clover vs. the Flatlands Chapter 3: Isle of Destiny (by Clever Clover)
14. Ginseng and Sassafras Tea Chapters Five and Six (by Sugarberry)
15. The Lost Prince Chapter Five (by Moonjumper)
16. Important Notice to our Authors!
Letters to the Editor
email@example.com-- " ‘He looks like the kind of guy that has been lost in the Himalayan
Mountains seeking enlightenment in an Incan temple for the past twenty-five years,' she murmured aloud to
herself." LOL!!! Where did THAT come from?!?!?! *G* Character stating something no one would know...
sounds like a line from Dexter's Lab or something!! I love it! Okies, I've said this before, too many times, but THIS
edition was (one of) the best!! (I'm going to have to keep saying that forever and ever ‘cause there'll never be a BAD
one!) Keep the MLP Monthly roll'n!!
LadyVixie@aol.com-- *deep breath* I must say, Tabby-chan, that this recent issue of MLP Monthly
was spectacular! I especially loved your story about Hubert returning and all. *sniff* I do hope you plan on a story in
the future telling of what fate befell Thomas' parents. *sniffs again* I never thought... *wails for a moment, then
firstname.lastname@example.org-- Great job on MLP Monthly, as usual! I'm so glad that Thomas and Tabby got engaged.
:-) Anyway, I'm still here! I intend on continuing the Shining series; however, school and college prep have been
keeping me really-really busy! I promise I'll send in the next one *soon*!
The winner of last month's contest, to find the hidden horseshoe, was email@example.com. She received
an autographed copy of Chris Platt's novel, The Forbidden Stallion. The runner-up in this contest was
KirstieOrtiz@ggbts.edu, who is entitled to a set of Smilemakers My Little Pony stickers, but has not claimed her
There are still more autographed books to be given away, so please don't hesitate to enter our other
future contests even if you have sent your name in before! However, for this month, June 2000, we have a special prize
in order to celebrate an important milestone in the history of My Little Pony Monthly! This June 2000 issue
commemorates our third anniversary of serving the My Little Pony community online. We would like to extend our
sincerest gratitude to all our subscribers and authors, for without you, this newsletter would not be!
In honor of this grand occasion, the contest this month will revolve around the word "three". How many
times can you find the word "three" printed in this issue? After you have located them, please send an e-mail to
TabbyMLP@aol.com stating their locations in the issue. You will then be entered in a random drawing for who will get
the grand prize.
And what is the prize? It's a unique new idea we've never tried before! If you are the lucky winner of
this contest, you will receive personalized autographs of three important persons behind My Little Pony Monthly-- the
editor herself (yours truly! ^.~) and two other meaningful contributors to the newsletter, Sugarberry and Barnacle!
Now, start hunting up those threes, and remember my e-mail address-- TabbyMLP@aol.com!
The Continuation of the Beginning
by Barnacle (KrzdRaptor@aol.com)
Barnacle was not alone as he stood silently and stared at the massive wall of the fortress. From inside
the structure came the fierce sounds of battle. Occasionally, over the muffled sound of crashing steel, Pierre could be
heard crying out. However, no one could tell if they were the cries of pain or the cries of battle.
"He's being slaughtered..." Protius muttered, keeping his eyes fixed on the fortress.
"There's no way he could fend off the entire fortress," Kracken added.
"ARR, Malteeze, just how many troops be stationed in there?" Barnacle asked their feline
"I have no way of knowing for certain, but since we routed all of the warlords' forces from the land of
the Bouldiers..." Malteeze paused, "in all likelihood... all of them."
No one could bring himself to say anything further. The situation did not look good and if their gambit
failed, they would not only lose their new companion but their only chance at freedom as well. Suddenly, from the
direction of the main gate, a great crash was heard and then a moment of silence.
"ARR, what was that?!" Barnacle said as everyone turned to look in that direction.
A moment later, the gate swung down and crashed to the ground throwing up a billowing cloud of dust.
Everyone stood and strained to see through the haze, not quite sure what to make of this strange turn of events. But as
the dust started to clear, they could begin to make out a shape coming towards them from inside the fortress.
It was Pierre!
"Come, mine comrades! Ze way iz made clear! Ze advantage iz ours to take!" the crazy lizard-man
cried to them.
"I don't believe it," Protius muttered.
"ARR, well, ya better start, ‘cause we ain't got no time ta waste!" Barnacle said. "Everyone, move,
NOW!" As the motley crew ran at full speed across the grassy field in front of the fortress, Barnacle began barking
orders. "Once we get inside-- Kracken, Malteeze-- we'll be followin' Pierre's lead!"
"Aye-aye, Captain," Kracken said as he drew his long sword.
"Agreed," Malteeze confirmed.
"And what of me and the Bushwoolies, Captain?" Protius asked as he hurried to keep up with the
"You hang back and keep those two out of trouble!" Barnacle replied and shot a glance at the two
"What?" Davey said.
"Yeah, what do ya mean?" Jones added.
As the group came to the front gate they now got a good look at Pierre. Despite all of the combat he
would have had to have gone through to get this far, he looked none the worse for wear.
"See, my friends!" he exclaimed. "I told you my plan would work!"
"ARR, true, we're in the fortress but what now?" Barnacle asked over his own hurried breathing. As he
took in the surroundings of the gate room, he could see several guards lying unconscious on the floor. Pierre had been
very busy in the short time he had been in the building.
"Yes, you are no doubt wondering what iz to stop ze vast ‘ordes of the warlords' army from descending
on us and tearing us to pieces, no?" Pierre said good-naturedly.
"Something along those lines..." Kracken agreed.
" ‘ave no fear; I ‘ave thought of everyzing!" But just as the insane freedom fighter finished saying this, a
feline soldier came out of nowhere and tackled him off of his feet. Malteeze grabbed the soldier by the scruff of his
neck and tossed him aside.
"Everything?" Kracken said.
Pierre just jumped back to his feet with a wide smile plastered across his face. "Yes, everyzing! And,
thank you friend Malteeze, for ze save. One of the bandits must ‘ave escaped me!"
"One?" Protius asked, "What of all the others!?"
"Ah, I was jus' coming to zat," Pierre said. "Ze fortress is on its night shift. Zere were but a pittance of
the full compliment of guards on duty. Ze rest are soundly asleep in zere quarters."
"ARR, but what's ta keep ‘em there?" Barnacle wanted to know.
"A heavy wooden plank across ze door, of course!" Pierre replied. "Now, enough chit-chat; we ‘ave
other matters which must be attended to!" As he dashed off down a hallway that lead deep into the heart of the fortress,
he called out, "Follow me!"
"ARR," Barnacle said. "I guess we follow him."
"I had hoped the fall might have improved his social skills somewhat," Protius added as he took up the
rear following after the others.
The arched passageway down which they ran was high and wide. Periodically, a torch had been placed
along its length; but, for the most part, it was quite dark inside. Finally, the passage ended and opened into a broad
grassy courtyard brightly lit by the full moon. No one had noticed it rise as Pierre had spread chaos throughout the
Surrounding the yard on all sides were rock walls that rose about eight feet. Behind these were seats
that were stepped back to form a stadium-like area. All around the perimeter were countless torches that also cast some
light on the scene. Directly across from where the heroes had entered, a broad set of steps lead from the ground up to a
wide platform on which sat several richly decorated seats, obviously set aside for royalty.
But on this night, the ones who occupied them were nowhere near royalty. In the chair on the right sat a
huge feline who Barnacle and his crew remembered well. If his intimidating size and dark fur were not enough, then his
highly polished armor would have given him away. This was Rosweld, one of the three warlord brothers who had taken
control of the Bouldiers and laid waste to their city.
On his left sat another feline, but this one was much shorter and slimmer than his companion. He was
covered with white fur, which was broken up by deep black spots. He wore little armor and a strange smile was
showing across his lips.
"Gellatinus..." Malteeze said just loud enough so his comrades could hear. "He is the second of the
three brothers, and the one who was left to watch over the Dakytins."
"Yes," Pierre called out and boldly stepped forward. "You were the one took zis land as your own and
zen enslaved my people! I will ask you once to step down and walk away. If you refuse, I am afraid I will be forced to
make you leave."
Gellatinus said nothing but his smile spread a little wider and a flash of ivory teeth could be seen at the
corners of his mouth.
Rosweld rose up from his seat slowly and deliberately to address the group before him. "I know I speak
for both of us when I say that we have no intention of giving this land over to any one, especially to the likes of
"Zen," Pierre said and took a step forward, "you will face me in combat."
"A duel?" Rosweld said in mocking tones. "How quaint."
"ARR, what are ya afraid of?" Barnacle said. "Last time you and me fought, you ran away and said it
wasn't over. Don't be tellin' me ya've changed yer mind."
"I am a warlord of the Feline Hordes," Rosweld replied. "One small pirate is hardly worth my
"How about two small pirates?" Kracken said defiantly and stepped alongside his captain.
"And me," Malteeze added.
"Oh, yes, I hadn't forgotten about you, Malteeze," Rosweld added. "But a duel with my own traitorous
First Prime is to give you more respect than you deserve. Flogging and a lengthy prison stay would be more
"You were Rosweld's First Prime?" Protius said suddenly, turning to his student.
"What's a First Prime?" Kracken asked.
"A warlord's chief lieutenant. He would have reported directly to Rosweld," Protius said, a small
amount of shock creeping into his voice. "That means you would have been the one who lead the attack on the city of
Lowering his head, Malteeze finally replied, "Yes, it is true that I was Rosweld's First Prime. But when
the orders were given to destroy the city after we had already won, I could carry out my duties no longer. I deserted my
post, leaving this monster's service forever."
"I never thought you would break, Malteeze!" Rosweld cried. "That is why I chose you as my First
Prime. But I was wrong; you were weak! You still are!"
"A weak mind would have mindlessly continued to carry out your orders of destruction," Protius spoke
up for his pupil. "It would take a strong being to oppose the likes of you."
"I thank you for your support, Master Protius," Malteeze replied. "But this is my own fight."
"Just look at yourself," Rosweld said, "calling this flea-bitten bag of feathers your master."
"I believe the only thing that ever bit me through my long imprisonment at your hands, Rosweld, was
you," Protius replied simply.
"Worthless intellectual peacock! I should have done away with you when you first came into my
possession!" Rosweld howled, baring his teeth and taking a menacing step forward. Even as his brother was loosing his
temper, Gellatinus continued to be content to just sit back and smile at the whole situation.
"That's it; I'll deal with you all myself." Casting aside his cape, Rosweld drew his huge sword and took
a step down the stairs towards the group. A soft voice from behind stopped him, however.
"No, my brother, leave the lizard for me." Finally, Gellatinus had seen fit to speak. His voice was like a
cold breeze, not fully substantial and yet bone-chilling at the same time. "I would like to take this one up on his
"Very well; he's yours to deal with," Rosweld snarled. "But the traitor is mine!"
"Then I suppose that leaves me with the pirate rabble," a new voice spoke from behind the warlords.
Rosweld and Gellatinus both turned around to look at the heavyset figure that stepped into view. "Surely you two could
have rounded up something with a little more challenge to it."
"If you want a challenge, Fireball, you can fight me when this is over!" Rosweld spat at the third
warlord brother. He was roughly the same size as Rosweld, but his long black fly-away fur made him look much more
massive-- as well as more sinister. His two green eyes reflected the torch light from under a steel helm, and in his paws
he carried a heavy war hammer.
"Brothers, brothers, please," whispered Gellatinus who now stood with an unnatural grace. "There is no
need to argue. Let us be done with these intruders once and for all."
"Well spoken, as always, Gellie," Fireball said as he stepped to the edge of the steps and addressed the
freedom fighters below. "None of you will last long at all, for tonight, you face Obsidian Fireball and the Warlords of
the Feline Hordes!"
With that, the tyrant jumped forward and cleared the entire flight of steps in one bound. Landing just in
front of Barnacle and Kracken, the warlord sprang forward as if his legs were nothing more than powerful springs. Both
of the pirates dove in opposite directions to avoid the swing of Fireball's long-handled hammer.
As Fireball began his attack, the other two brothers started in as well. Rosweld dashed down the stairs
with a blinding speed, slicing through the air with his gigantic sword as if it were weightless in his paws. Malteeze
ducked and bounded to the side as only he could; but for the first time since they had met him, Barnacle and the others
saw that Malteeze was going up against an opponent that was just as fast as he himself was.
Gellatinus simultaneously dove headlong down the stairs only to perform a somersault that brought him
right on top of Pierre. Somewhere during his descent to the stadium ground, he had unsheathed a pair of jeweled
daggers; but no one had caught the move, it being so sudden.
As Fireball continued his assault on the two pirates, Kracken ducked and dodged to avoid getting hit by
the massive weapon. Trying to reassure himself as much as anyone else, Kracken quipped, "This guy's nothing but a
pushover; we can finish him off easy!"
"ARR, don't be getting' cocky! Remember the fight with Rosweld!" Barnacle snapped.
"That one only went the way it did because he had an unfair advantage with all of his guards staring us
down. Here we have an open playing field," Kracken replied confidently.
"Yes, open, just like your defenses!" Fireball gloated as a back-handed swing from his hammer dealt
Kracken a glancing blow to the side of his skull. This spun the sailor around several times before he fell to the ground
were he remained motionless.
"ARR, you'll be payin' for that one!" Barnacle cried as he thrust at the warlord with his cutlass.
Fireball, however, was no longer in the path of the pirate's blade and completely avoided the attack. Raising his
hammer high, he readied for a crushing blow to be delivered square to Barnacle's head. The pirate captain parried with
his sword at the last instant, which succeeded in deflecting the hammer fall; but, with a sickening clang, half of
Barnacle's blade went sailing through the air.
Taking a brief moment to examine his now useless weapon, Barnacle muttered "Blast!" before jumping
to the side to again avoid yet another swing of Fireball's hammer. Without a weapon, all he could do now was dodge
and hope that he could wear Fireball out. The prospects of that seemed poor at the moment, though.
Meanwhile, Pierre found an opponent with acrobatic abilities to rival his own in Gellatinus. As Pierre thrust at
the feline with his rapiers, his attacks met with only empty air for Gellatinus had moved to the side, performing a
graceful cartwheel to avoid the flashing steel.
"You are well-trained, my Dakytin foe," Gellatinus said in his soft tones. "Unfortunate for you that I am
"Better? Hah!" Pierre replied as he parried a thrust at his opponent. "You are better only if they have
changed the meaning of the word in my absence."
Gellatinus's disturbing smile reappeared on his lips as he said, "Obviously they have, if you think for a
moment that you are MY better." Diving forward, the feline delivered a blinding series of attacks that Pierre parried on
every front. But as one of his swords twisted around a dagger to push it aside, the Dakytin suddenly found one of his
hands empty and his sword sticking point first in the ground some distance away.
As Pierre performed a series of back flips to quickly put some distance between them, Gellatinus
continued to insult the lizard. "I believe your skills as a swordsman are no match for mine."
"Hah! I laugh at your pathetic display of what you would call skill!" Pierre said as he struck a defensive
pose with his one remaining rapier held at the ready and his cocky smile stretching all the wider. "Hah-hah!"
On the other side of the field another battle was being waged just as fiercely, if not more so. "Why do
you insist on using that stick, Malteeze?" Rosweld asked. "I taught you to fight with a sword, not a toothpick!"
Malteeze spun his staff around just in time to parry a blow from Rosweld's sword and said, "If I were
given a choice, I would not fight at all."
"Bah!" Rosweld spat. "What have these creatures done to you? There was a time when you were a
"They have done nothing that I would not have done myself," Malteeze calmly replied. "Master Protius
has merely shown me how to go about it."
"You've gone soft!" Rosweld cried and lunged again with his gleaming sword.
In the midst of all the fighting, Davey and Jones were scrambling across the field in an attempt to get
near Kracken and discover if he was all right or not. Protius, meanwhile, was chasing after them and screaming, "Keep
your heads down! We don't want to get in Barnacle's way! Arh!" The last part he cried out as Fireball's hammer
swung just inches past the top of his head on its way towards Barnacle. Dropping to the ground, the seer heard a clang
of metal that meant that Barnacle had successfully blocked the attack, but the fight was still far from over. "Oh dear,"
he muttered as he got to his feet and hurried over to Kracken's side.
Davey and Jones were already on the scene next to the senseless pirate. As Jones tugged on his arm in a
vain attempt to pull him to his feet, Davey pulled on one of his feet, trying to drag him out of the way.
"Stop it, stop it, both of you!" Protius called out to the two Bushwoolies. "You're doing more harm than
good like that."
"Sorry," they both said in unison as the dropped the respective limbs they had been holding.
Protius sighed in exasperation and helped Kracken prop himself up. "Kracken, are you alright?" the
"Yeah... fine..." Kracken slurred as he looked around and tried to make his eyes focus on something.
Unfortunately he wasn't having any luck. "Just... point me... in the right... direction..."
"I'm afraid you're in no condition to continue this battle," Protius informed him. "It appears you have
quite a concussion."
"Nonsense!" Kracken said and he tried to use his sword to push himself to his feet. But, quickly loosing
his balance, he fell right back to the ground groaning, "I think... I'll just lay here... for a while..."
"One of the few sensible things I've heard you say," Protius agreed. Turning to Davey and Jones, he
was about to tell them to help drag Kracken out of the fighting, but was instead cut off by their screaming. Looking
behind him, Protius saw that Fireball was backing up right towards them!
In a panic, the two Bushwoolies tucked themselves into balls and rolled towards the Warlord's feet.
They both struck their target, which knocked Fireball off balance and sent him crashing over backwards, just short of
The seer got no chance to thank them for their bravery, however. Fireball jumped back to his feet with
Davey and Jones clinging to his armor and biting and pulling at his fur.
"Filthy vermin!" Fireball cried in rage.
"Hey, mon, we not be filthy!" Jones said as he bit into a handful of the warlord's fur.
"Yeah, yeah!" Davey confirmed as locked on to Fireball's tail with a death grip.
As Protius was searching his brain for something he could do, Barnacle suddenly flopped down next to
him trying hard to catch his breath.
"Captain Barnacle!" the bird exclaimed. "We have to do something."
"ARR," Barnacle agreed. "But he's a strong one... and fast."
"Speed and strength can always be matched by cunning," Protius said. "Unfortunately, I am at a loss at
"ARR, and I be too," Barnacle said as he held up his stub of a sword. Considering it for a moment, he
tossed it aside. "This thing ain't be doin' me any good any longer." With that, he rose to once again confront
"Wait!" Protius cried. "Do you mind if I borrow this?" Grabbing hold of Kracken's hand-and-a-half
sword, Protius struggled to drag it over to Barnacle.
"Sure... go ahead..." Kracken replied distantly as he waved his hand.
"I think your odds might be slightly better if you took this," Protius told Barnacle who took the sword in
hoof and tested its weight.
"ARR, it be a wee bit heavier than I'm used to, but right now anything is better than what I had,"
"Good luck," Protius offered as Barnacle prepared to throw himself back into the fray.
But as they had been talking, Fireball had grabbed hold of Jones and tossed the diminutive Bushwoolie
to the far side of the stadium. Screaming all the way, Jones passed right between the two goalposts and landed in the
At seeing this, Fireball cried out, "Yes! Four points!"
From the stadium, Jones sat up rubbing his head and said, "I don't be likin' this game."
"And now for the extra point," the warlord added as he took hold of Davey and prepared to throw him as
"ARR, what was that you were sayin' earlier about leavin' yer defenses open?" Barnacle said right as
Fireball was throwing the second screaming Bushwoolie. The warlord turned his head just in time to see Barnacle's fist
hit him square in the gut. As he brought his war hammer up to parry a swipe from Kracken's sword, Fireball was
further thrown off guard when the blade severed the long handle in two which sent both ends sailing through the air! A
final kick from Barnacle and the warlord was tumbling to the ground, defenseless.
Meanwhile, Davey had not been quite so lucky as his brother. Fireball's aim was more than a little
hurried as Barnacle had attacked, and this sent the poor Bushwoolie flying right into Gellatinus's face instead of into the
stadium! Not knowing what else to do, Davey held on for dear life as the warlord flailed about trying to dislodge him.
Pierre smiled at his good fortune and took the opportunity to retrieve his fallen sword.
"Zis iz quite a turn of events, no?" he commented to his foe as Davey finally let go and scrambled to
Showing the first sign of irritation, Gellatinus snarled and said, "I don't see how. All this means is that
I'll have to personally deal with that... thing as well."
"Yes," Pierre agree smugly and then pointed over Gellatinus' shoulder with one of his swords. "And zat
thing, as well, I would believe."
The warlord spun around just in time to see the heavy head of Fireball's hammer falling back to earth
and colliding with him in the process. Needless to say, Gellatinus fell to the ground, unconscious.
"Excellent work, my friend," Pierre said to Davey, who was cowering behind the lizard's leg. "Zat
maneuver was perfectly executed! Well done!"
"Um... yeah," Davey said shakily, "but I was jus' tryin' ta get away, mon."
"Ah, but it does not matter in the slightest," Pierre replied. "It looks az zough our friend, Malteeze,
could still use our help! Come!"
With Fireball and Gellatinus finally dealt with, Barnacle and Pierre ran over to see if they could be of
any help to Malteeze. Protius remained by Kracken's side and Davey went to retrieve his brother from the stadium.
But, as Barnacle was about to step in and finish the conflict entirely, Pierre placed his sword across the pirate's
"ARR," Barnacle demanded. "What do ya be thinkin'?"
"Alas, mon'capiton, zis fight iz between zese two and zese two alone," Pierre said. "I believe we should
let them finish it on zere own."
Barnacle was about to protest; but one look at the intensity of Malteeze and Rosweld, and he knew
Pierre was right.
"You know, Malteeze, you were the best First Prime I had ever had," Rosweld was saying as he and the
other feline squared off for another melee but made no move to attack just yet. "Ruthless, blood-thirsty, and cunning...
those were qualities that you had, and you should have developed them."
Standing fully upright with his staff at his side, Malteeze didn't seem at all winded by the confrontation.
In fact, he still looked rather calm, but something intangible was brewing just beneath the surface that every one could
sense. "Those days are behind me," Malteeze replied.
"Ah, but you could bring them back," Rosweld prodded. "I can see it in your eyes; you enjoyed the
power you had over others. And you miss it, I know."
"No, you DON'T know. I miss nothing of what I blindly did under your command!" Malteeze replied,
baring his fangs as the anger welled up in him.
Rosweld smiled deviously. "Come back to my army now, Malteeze, and I will forget this entire chain of
events ever occurred. Abandon your pitiful new friends and help us conquer the entire world!"
Malteeze was silent, his head lowered in contemplation and deep thought. As Rosweld's First Prime, he
had wielded great power. Vast legions of soldiers followed his every command. They marched across countless
kingdoms with his mere direction to do so. He had been someone who was feared and respected. It had been a grand
possession to hold.
And, he could have it back...
Without warning, Malteeze let out a guttural snarl and leapt towards Rosweld. His staff swung around
with blinding speed, but was deflected from impacting the warlord at the last instant as Rosweld raised his sword.
"I'll never join you!" Malteeze howled, true rage seeping into his being for the first time since Barnacle
and the others had first met him. "Never again will I be a party to such acts!"
Rosweld laughed as he defended himself against Malteeze's frenzied assault. "You would choose this
band of riffraff over the most glorious army in all the world!?"
"Better to be regarded as a friend than to be feared as a conqueror!" Malteeze said as his staff finally
made contact with Rosweld's leg and sent him falling onto his back.
"If that is the way you want it..." Rosweld said cautiously, "...then you can die!" With that, Rosweld
jumped to his feet and charged Malteeze, his razor sword held out before him.
"No one will die today," Malteeze replied, regaining his focus. Easily sidestepping Rosweld's charge,
Malteeze thrust his staff between the warlord's legs and sent him sprawling on the ground. Rosweld quickly scrambled
for his sword that he had dropped as he fell, but Barnacle finally stepped forward and kicked it out of reach.
Lying face down on the ground, the defeated warlord looked up at the three persons standing over him
and considered his options... he had none left.
"It is over," Malteeze told him. "No more will you be allowed to crush anyone under your oppressive
"No," Rosweld muttered. "It can't end this way. Not after all we've done. Not because of a pirate and
"And do not forget about the dashing Dakytin freedom fighter!" Pierre added with a roguish
"NO!" Rosweld howled.
"ARR," Barnacle said as they tended to the wounded and secured the prisoners. "Malteeze, why didn't
ye ever tell us you were Rosweld's First Prime?"
Malteeze considered the question for a moment before replying. "You never asked."
* * *
The next morning, Barnacle, Kracken, Davey, Jones, Malteeze, Protius, and Pierre were all gathered in
the same courtyard where they had fought the terrible battle the night before. The warlords and their men had all been
turned over to the Dakytins and their newly restored government.
The lizard-men were most grateful for the group's help and were fully prepared to throw a huge party in
their honor, but Barnacle insisted that they move on as soon as possible. They had already wasted far too much time on
their journey as it was. Protius and Malteeze were going to continue traveling with the pirates until they arrived at
Dream Valley, so that only meant it was time to say their goodbyes to Pierre.
"I greatly appreciate all your help in freeing my people from zis tyranny!" Pierre was saying to them.
"But alas, my skills as a freedom fighter are no longer needed... I feel as zough zere is nothing left for me."
"You could always go into politics," Kracken suggested as he fiddled with the bandage tied around his
forehead. "I hear revolutionaries are good at that sort of stuff."
"Yes, that would be perfect..." Pierre's expression perked up for a moment. "But wait, I am not yet old
enough to sit on the council."
"I'm sure you'll find something that fits you," Protius said helpfully.
"I am afraid ze life of a freedom fighter has made me crave adventure too much to remain content with
ze peaceful and uneventful life zat takes place here," Pierre said in dismay. But suddenly he exclaimed, "Wait! I will
accompany you, Captain Barnacle, so zat I may see ze world. Zere I will learn what I need to know so zat I can one day
return here and sit on the council to lead my people. After all, you are a great leader of men; who better to observe so
zat I may learn how to lead myself?"
"ARR, I suppose that be true," Barnacle grudgingly agreed. "Alright then, ye can join me crew if ye
"Yes, I do indeed!" Pierre exclaimed.
"Welcome aboard," Kracken said shaking the lizard-man's hand.
"Whee!" Davey cried. "Pierre be comin' with us!"
"Yeah, yeah," Jones agreed. "Big fun, mon!"
"I'm sure there are worse career moves than from freedom fighter to pirate..." Malteeze muttered in the
"Well, I suppose we should be off," Protius said. "If we make good time, I should think that we could
be in Dream Valley in three days or so."
"At the rate we've been going, that would be nothing short of a miracle," Kracken said.
"ARR, hold yer tongue," Barnacle advised. "Ya'll be cursin' us before we're even off."
"Yes, there's nothing between us and our destination now except a little bit of the Dark Forest and that
Sky Bridge thing," Protius said. "And I'm sure we have nothing to worry from it, right, Malteeze?"
"ARR, I knew it!" Barnacle exclaimed. "Nothing has been easy on this whole trip yet!"
The Insane Crossover Story Notice
This is Only the Beginning!
For all our loyal fans out there-- of whom I'm pretty sure there's at least one-- who have noticed the
absence of a new chapter last month, you weren't overlooking anything. It wasn't there.
The main reason for this is because I've been feeling rather uninspired for that particular storyline lately,
probably because of a long string of personal problems that I won't go into. Well, actually, I still have plenty of
outrageous ideas-- thanks to Barnacle's insight-- but I can't get myself to put them into writing.
Before you completely freak out and pass out on the floor or something, I would like to make it clear
that The Insane Crossover Story is not over! Far from it! There are still a million things we need to cover:
She-Ra, with her scrupulous conscience who preaches to the camera audience; Earth Core, where the logic is: "Shoot
now; ask questions later"; and lots of Bunnybees-- and that's only the beginning!
So, The Insane Crossover Story is not dead. It's only on vacation for a bit. When it's going to start
again, I can't say, but-- it will return! And hopefully better than ever before!
Home Sweet Vulcanopolis
by Sugarberry (Sugrbery@aol.com)
Vanguard stood looking over the landscaped grounds that fell away from the second-story terrace of the
town house that had become his home on arrival in Italy. As he stared out at the beauty of the landscape, he shook his
head to clear it of some nagging thoughts.
"I still can't believe I'm here," he said to himself. "Vulcanopolis... half a world away from Sugarberry."
He rubbed a hoof across his forehead and closed his eyes. It had been several weeks since he'd left Dream Valley, and
he still felt the pain of leaving... like a physical wound in his heart.
The ringing of the telephone escaped him until the fourth ring finally broke through his thoughts. He
hurried to pick-up the receiver, and mustered a relatively cheerful-sounding, "Hello?"
"Hey! How goes it?" The voice was that of Guido, a local stallion whom Vanguard had met at a dinner
party that Agatha had held in his honor; that event had occurred the night before she received the news of her husband's
return to Dream Valley. Agatha had returned to Ponyland, but the ponies she'd introduced Vanguard to had aided in
making his adjustment to a new community so far from home as easy as possible under the circumstances.
"Guido! Good to hear from you!"
"Have you eaten yet?" Guido asked. "I was thinking of dinner at Pasta Plaza and thought you might like
to get out a bit."
"Sure. Why not?" Vanguard replied. "What time?"
"Make it half an hour," Guido advised. "I've got to check my stock options before I leave the
As Vanguard hung up the phone, his eyes rested on the picture of Sugarberry and himself that had found
a home on the desk. Clever Clover had snapped the pose last Christmas, and it was Vanguard's favorite picture of
Sugarberry. He picked it up and stared at it, his mind wandering to events from years past before he'd met the pony of
his dreams, back when he was still in college.
"Stupid!" he ranted out loud. "How could I have been so stupid as to get caught up in such trouble? If
it weren't for a bad decision back then, I'd still be in Dream Valley."
He set the framed photo down, and darted down the stairs and out the door as if the fresh air would help
him escape the memories that held him captive. He walked several blocks through the city before the mild evening air
soothed his raw nerves, and he began to notice the beauty of this place which for the next seven months he would call
The sound of foal's laughter in a nearby park danced along with the calming breeze, and Vanguard let
his discouraged mood slip away as he crossed an arched bridge over a slowly-flowing stream lined with bushes, their
branches loaded with scarlet blossoms. It was a picture-perfect scene and he found himself thinking, "I wish Sugarberry
was here to see this." He filed the scene in his mind to describe to her in his next long letter.
Arriving at the cafe ahead of schedule, he sat on a bench in the busy piazza and watched the ponies
pass by. Some were hurrying home from work, looking straight ahead. Others were walking in the company of friends,
moving at a slower pace and discussing events of the day. "Ponies are pretty much the same here as at home,"
Vanguard surmised as he continued his pony-watching pastime.
"Vanguard!" a voice called in surprise-- not a stallion's voice, but a lyrical mare's. Turning his head to
see who had noticed him, he recognized another of Agatha's dinner guests.
"Clare?" he said hesitantly as he stood to greet her. "It's nice to see you again."
"Are you waiting for someone in particular, or are you free to join me for dinner?" the orchid-colored
Coming up from the other direction, Guido answered the question for him. "He's with me, Clare, but
you're welcome to join us."
"Best offer I've had all day," she smiled. "It's been a dry day in the fashion world."
"Oh, come on, Clare!" Guido teased. "Every mare in Vulcanopolis is fighting to own one of your
"If that's the case, why are my racks crowded with pieces, and my seamstresses idle at their
Guido laughed. "I highly doubt that things are that bad. However, with Agatha out of town..."
"Oh! I do miss her parties!" Clare pouted. "Vanguard, do you think she'll return soon?"
Vanguard waved a hoof in uncertainty. "I wouldn't want to venture a guess," pondered the country-blue
stallion. "She and Hubert probably aren't even sure themselves at this point."
"At any rate," Clare prattled on as the threesome entered the restaurant and waited to be seated, "with
her daughter's marriage coming up, I'd bet she'll stay in Dream Valley until that is finalized."
"Yes. Tabby." Guido scowled as he remembered the vivacious, sharp-tongued unicorn that had visited
Vulcanopolis last year. Agatha had thrown the two together with designs of a budding romance; and for Guido, it had
worked. But Tabby had thwarted his efforts at every turn; her heart had already been claimed by Thomas. "I would like
to meet this fiancé of hers, and see if he can give her more from life than I can!"
Clare laughed at his annoyance. "If Tabby is in love with this Thomas, you and your amassed jangles
would mean nothing to her!"
"She's right, Guido. Those two belong together," Vanguard interjected. "Be happy for them."
The head waiter came at that moment to escort the high-tipping stallion and his friends to a choice table
with a view of Vesuvius in the distance. "Have you been to the ruins yet, Vanguard?" Clare asked curiously.
"No. I've been busy at the university, but once I get caught up in the routine of it all, I plan to do some
"Great! We can plan a picnic! What do you think, Guido? Should we include Batista or Emily in this
Guido was still sulking over his lost bid at Tabby's affection, but he shook off his melancholy with a
grin. "Let Vanguard decide."
Vanguard raised his hooves in opposition. "Whoa! Don't match me up with anyone, please!"
"Who is she?" Clare tormented him brazenly at this hint of a special someone in his life. "Come on; do
tell!" she coaxed as Vanguard remained silent.
He took a deep breath before responding, but eventually decided that these new friends deserved to
know where he stood. "Her name is Sugarberry," was all he said, fidgeting with the silverware on the table.
"Oh, what a sweet name!" Clare teased. "What's she like?"
"She's a writer and a receptionist," Vanguard hesitated in sharing too much.
"That's what she does, not what she's like," taunted Clare mercilessly. "Let me
guess." She eyed Vanguard mischievously. "She's kind and compassionate and soft-spoken and very pretty. Am I
right?" she queried when Vanguard remained silent.
Guido huffed. "That would describe any mare to a stallion in love," he scoffed.
Clare flashed Guido a chilly look that shut him up temporarily at least. "Come on, Van, ‘fess
"She's everything you said," Vanguard agreed simply.
"I knew it!" Clare beamed. "I have a knack for matching personalities up!" She sent a cool glance in
Guido's direction once more, which Vanguard noticed with amusement. Did Clare have her sights set on this wealthy
entrepreneur who only looked on her as a childhood buddy?
The evening passed in good camaraderie, and Vanguard felt more at ease in his surroundings knowing
he had friends close by to turn to. As he unlocked the door of the pink stucco three-story town house that was now his
home-- actually Giorgio's home-on-loan-- he heard the telephone ringing. But the flat dialtone when he picked it up let
him know he was too late on this one.
He was tired anyway as the night was late; he walked across the lush white carpeting of the living area
that bore out Giorgio's extravagant life-style, and checked the lock on the patio doors before heading for the third-story
bedroom. The massive, solid wooden bedroom pieces caused him to chuckle. He never ceased to wonder what
Giorgio's reaction to Vanguard's sparse efficiency apartment had been.
No sooner had Vanguard dozed off when the reverberating shrillness of the phone pierced through his
unconsciousness. He grabbed the bedside phone and mumbled "Hello" before he knew what he was doing.
"I tried earlier several times, but you weren't home," a jovial voice met his ear.
"Tawny?" Vanguard croaked as a vision of Dream Valley's illustrious police chief fought through his
"Yup. Just wanted to check on how things were going on your end."
Vanguard was fully awake now, and glad to have a chance to touch base with someone back home. "It's
been quiet and uneventful here so far."
"Yeah. I figured as much. But you'll be interested to know that Giorgio has settled into your
responsibilities at Pony Pride in an illustrious fashion," Tawny replied. "He hasn't made a move to set up his operation
here yet as far as we can tell. But he's building a good rapport with your... his students; he will decide on which one to
draw into his confidence soon enough, and then his scam will take off."
"Have you been in touch with Decagon?"
"Yes, and there was one interesting development in the investigation at Binks University."
"Which is?" Vanguard prompted.
"Well, Giorgio's got a better production going than we first thought. Besides his selling of answer keys,
he's also getting kickback's from graduates who are afraid he will compromise their careers with the truth about their
"Not a bad business for an exemplary teacher," Vanguard muttered disdainfully, getting a better picture
of the means that a fellow teacher had access to by which he could live so luxuriously.
"This also means he probably has accomplices to help him take care of all his bookkeeping and other
details. So don't trust anyone."
Not even Guido... and Clare? Vanguard wondered dismally.
When Vanguard remained silent, Tawny asked, "Did Chief Matteo brief you on what has gone on over
"Nothing you hadn't already told me.. Giorgio is a renowned teacher at Leonardo University. And his
father used to be the chancellor here. Several teachers suspect some impropriety in grading in certain instances, but no
one seems to have any evidence to verify Decagon's accusation of deceitfulness on Giorgio's part.."
"Which means we've gotten nowhere yet. But that's to be expected," Tawny remained upbeat. "It will
take some time for all the players in this game to get set-up after the last-minute change in the rules."
"Yeah!" agreed Vanguard. "Like my being here instead of Decagon, and Giorgio being at Pony Pride
instead of Binks University."
"It will all work out," Tawny assured him. "When someone like Giorgio gets greedy, he's bound to slip
up somewhere. And I'm sorry I woke you. I'll let you get back to sleep now."
"What is it?"
"How's Sugarberry? Have you seen her?"