My Little Pony Monthly Issue 49 (April 1, 2001)
My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages
If you would like to be removed from the My Little Pony Monthly mailing list, simply send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Index of this issue–
1. Baby Ice Star’s Birthday Wish (by Sailor Crystal Garnet)
2. The Valentine Mix-Up (by Cherry Sweet)
3. Sky Skimmer’s Adventure (by Berry Brite)
4. What’s Being Talked About! (hosted by Baby Jedi)
5. The Foreigner Part 1 (by K. McKenna)
6. Quest for Suncastle (by Sundrop)
7. Say What? (by Sugarberry and Tabby)
We have some first-time contributors to My Little Pony Monthly this issue. It’s great to hear from you! My Little Pony Monthly continues to promote the magic of Ponyland through the efforts of all of you who submit original writings as well as those of you who enjoy reading them. Remember that your comments are appreciated, and I’m sure all the authors would appreciate it if you could send them a short note commenting on their work– their e-mail addresses can be found next to their names in the title line. Comments or suggestions about My Little Pony Monthly in general can be sent to me, TabbyMLP@aol.com.
Author’s Note: Baby Ice Star is having a birthday. What will she wish for? Will it come true?
Baby Ice Star’s Birthday Wish
by Sailor Crystal Garnet (Isorite@netscape.net)
Little ponies from far and near
Gather ‘round to hear,
A tale of old, a tale of new–
Of how Baby Ice Star’s birthday wish came true.
See her gemstone eyes twinkle with delight
As she blows out her birthday candles, shining bright,
She opened up a squirming gift,
Off came the wrapping, she ripped,
A squeal of delight, a wish come true,
As she hugged her kitty, she said, “Thank you!”
The Valentine Mix-Up
by Cherry Sweet (email@example.com)
Sweet Berry had always loved cooking. She loved watching different ingredients mix-and-match in the bowl and turn out to be something delicious to eat. When she was little she would watch her mother stir and taste and pour. Sweet Berry loved to help and grew up knowing all the basic rules of cooking.
One happy winter morning, Sweet Berry, wearing a green scarf, trotted out of her warm home. She was on her way to the market to pick up on a few things. This was her list:
She read her list over, and then tucked it into her scarf and started strolling to The Ponyland Market. In a few days, it would be Valentine’s Day, and she wanted to talk to her friends about it over a yummy cake.
Once at the market, she went up and down the rows of canned goods and fresh yummy fruit. Sweet Berry grabbed all her needs, then saw a can (in a tiny corner that she had a strange feeling about, as if she was the only one who could see it) of something called “Magic Love Cake Dust”. It showed a beautiful cake with some sort of glitter on it and hearts around it, and a pony happily munching on the cake.
Hmm, thought Sweet Berry, I’ll give it a go! Tossing the plastic can into the basket, she didn’t realize it rained dust over all her other food...
Sweet Berry trotted home, eager to bake a cake and eat it with her friends. When she arrived at her sweet wooden cottage with its pink curtains and cute bed and armchair, she carefully put her goods away in the sunny kitchen behind the next door. She started to bake a pink cake in the shape of a flower, adding a bit of the dust to it, but she didn’t realize she forgot to read the packet properly...
A few hours later, Ivy, Petal Blossom, and Morning Glory arrived. They all gobbled the cake down and talked a bit about Valentine’s Day. All the time, Sweet Berry was thinking of Proud Hoof, who was (in her opinion) the cutest boy pony on earth, and how she would love to spend Valentine’s Day with him. After a long chat, the friends said bye to each other and headed to the door. They waved, then walked out.
That night, Sweet Berry tossed and turned. She suddenly had a desire to see Proud Hoof. Little did she know he had the desire to see her, too!
What had happened is that Sweet Berry had sprinkled the magic dust onto the cake; and since it was a love dust, whoever she thought about at the time of eating the dust would fall in love with her. Only Ivy, out of the other ponies who had eaten the cake, had been thinking about one of the boys in Ponyland– Clever Clover to be exact.
The next day was amazing. Proud Hoof worshiped the ground Sweet Berry walked on! He invited her to everything there was to invite one to, and Sweet Berry had a marvelous time, until she got home and read the packet of Magic Love Dust through again. She was going to bake another cake, but as she read it her eyes grew in horror. The Magic Love Dust made boys go crazily in love with the girls who thought of them while eating some of the magic dust! Sweet Berry was hurt. She had thought Proud Hoof really liked her, but it was just because of the dust! She didn’t know what to do!
Over the next few days, Proud Hoof got extremely annoying. Sweet Berry didn’t like him nearly as much anymore! One day when Proud Hoof was trying to get Sweet Berry to go out with him AGAIN, she galloped to her house and read the packet again and again. Suddenly, she spied a small piece of writing saying:
The victim of the dust can only be freed when the pony that used the dust falls in love with another pony!
Sweet Berry ran to Ivy’s house and talked to her about Clever Clover. They agreed to switch boys. They both flirted with the other’s guy, and the boys were obviously losing their contamination of the dust. Ivy was particularly lucky! Soon enough, both boys were out of their spell; but now, Clever Clover was in love with Sweet Berry and Proud Hoof with Ivy! The two couples got married along with Dainty Dove; and just because of each other, realized that... opposites attract!
FOR JESSICA YOUNG, FROM YOUR SECRET PAL!
Sky Skimmer’s Adventure
by Berry Brite (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Once upon a time in Ponyland, there lived ponies. These were not ordinary ponies; they were My Little Ponies! Their names were Berry Bright, Petal Blossom, Sky Skimmer, Cupcake, Sugar Belle, Sundance, Ivy, Moon Shadow, and Light Heart.
“Light Heart, wake up!!” said Sky Skimmer one bright, sunny morning.
“Uuuuuhhh. Go away, and leave me alone!” groaned Light Heart.
Now, this made Sky Skimmer mad. “I MEAN IT, LIGHT HEART!! GET UP!!”
Ivy came upstairs and said, “Here. Let me help.” Then she whispered, “Oooooohh, Liiiiight Heaaaaart, time to wake up. There’s sticky buns for breakfast.”
“YIPEEE!!” Light Heart said. “I’m awake, and here I come!”
* * *
Later, at breakfast, everyone was eating the sticky buns that Berry Bright had made. “These are yummy!” remarked Sugar Belle.
Then Sky Skimmer announced, “I’m going on an adventure. Who’s with me?” All the other ponies dropped their forks.
“ A... a what?” asked Berry Bright shyly.
“An adventure! Who’s with me?”
Still slightly startled, Sundance said, “I will go with you, Sky Skimmer.”
“Good,” said Sky Skimmer. Then, turning to Moon Shadow, she asked, “What about you?”
“Wwwwelllllll, I don’t know, but I guess I’ll come too,” answered Moon Shadow.
Berry Bright, Cupcake, and Petal Blossom said, “ We’ll come too.”
No more ponies said yes, so Sundance, Moon Shadow, Berry Bright, Cupcake, Petal Blossom, and Sky Skimmer went on their adventure. They walked on to the forest where bees buzzed, and they let out an occasional “Oh, look at that bird!” or “WOW! Here’s a neat spider!”
“SHREEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!” gasped Berry Bright as she fell down a hole. It had been hidden by the leaves. “Help me, please!”
“Someone go for help!” cried Sundance. The others ran to exit the woods. They rushed, but a net swooped down and caught them. Sundance saw her companions trapped.
“Oh, STINK!!!” shouted Petal Blossom.
Cupcake looked at Petal Blossom like she was crazy. “Yelling won’t do any good,” and very calmly she added, “except hurt my ears.”
Sundance ran to the net. She sawed through the rope with a sharp rock that was lying on the ground. Pop! Pop! went the ropes as they came apart. The ponies tumbled to the ground.
“Well, that could’ve been worse,” remarked Moon Shadow.
“Heeeeeellp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” cried Berry Bright. The pit bottom had opened up and a vacuum sucked her in. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” came her scream as she went careening down the tunnel.
Cupcake ran to the pit. “I’m coming!” she yelled. When she got to the edge, the vacuum sucked down Cupcake as well.
“Quick, give me the net!” shouted Sky Skimmer. She threw the net over the edge. The rope was pulled, and so was Sky Skimmer. She went down, down, down. Suddenly the vacuum stopped and air blew out. Up went Sky Skimmer. She landed on the ground with a thud. She waited for the others to come out, but nothing happened. “They’re gone!” she cried.
“We’ll find them,” said Petal Blossom with determination. The four friends set off to help Berry Bright and Cupcake.
* * *
Through the dark tunnel flew Cupcake and Berry Bright, wailing and screaming. Berry Bright, who was ahead, hit something. THUD! WHACK! were the sounds of the collision.
“Cupcake, are y-you okay?” said Berry Bright in a terrified whisper.
“I th-th-think s-s-so,” gasped Cupcake, her words faltering. Suddenly, the surface they were on moved. It rotated and the ponies were thrown off, finding themselves in a dimly lit room.
Berry Bright stood up, trembling. She raised her eyes to the ceiling. The whole thing was covered with diamonds and pearls, all glittering in the dim light. The walls, too, were covered with jewels. Beneath her hooves was a carpet that felt like satin, though it was not.
Cupcake got up as well. She looked at the candles that gave out light. They sat in glass– no, cut diamond– holders. She said, “Berry Bright, just look at this finery. We must be in a palace of some sort.”
Walking over to some furniture, Berry Bright sat in a satin chair. Cupcake followed her example. “I wish we weren’t alone,” sighed Berry Bright.
Suddenly, the door opened with a bang!
* * *
Sky Skimmer, Sundance, Petal Blossom, and Moon Shadow had been wandering about for some time now, and it was night. Moon Shadow plopped down on the ground in despair. “We’ll never find them!” wailed she.
A call echoed from the forest. “YOOOHOOO! Sky Skimmer! Cupcake! Sundance! YOOOHOOOO!!” It was Light Heart, who had come looking for them. She came to the clearing where the whole story was told to her. “Oh no!” cried the pony. “We’ll look more.”
After more wandering, they came to a castle. It had high spikes surrounding it, a moat, and a closed drawbridge. Sky Skimmer looked to the very top of the castle. It was immense. Light Heart, who was standing behind her, swallowed hard. “They’re probably in there,” muttered Sundance.
“Then we’ll have to get them,” said Sky Skimmer firmly. All the ponies looked at her as though she had beans growing out of her nose.
“I’m not going in there,” said Light Heart.
“Not me,” said Moon Shadow. Sundance and Petal Blossom shook their heads. So Sky Skimmer went up to the spikes, and tried to climb up them. She couldn’t, she discovered, as the poles were very slippery; and at the top, the sharp points waited. Sky Skimmer further examined the long row of spikes. Near the ground, she discovered a breach in them. She was disappointed to find, however, that it was just a bit too small for her squeeze through. She dug out the ground that was beneath the breach, and was just barely able to fit through.
After this came the moat. Sky Skimmer scanned it; there were several fish, fish with enormous fangs. She would have to swim in order to get to the castle. The pony thought that if perhaps she threw something in the water, the fish would be distracted long enough for her to get through. She found a large stick and tossed it in, as far away from her as she could get. As all the fish swam to the stick, she dove into the moat and swam as fast as she could.
Now, a stick not being very interesting, the fish soon started to swim toward Sky Skimmer. This made the pony swim even faster, and surprisingly, she reached the shore. But the moat wasn’t the last obstacle she had to pass.
The drawbridge was tightly shut, and Sky Skimmer had no idea how she would get through. She noticed that there were several creeping vines climbing up the side of the castle. She firmly took one of the vines into her mouth and climbed up the castle wall. Sky Skimmer looked down at the other ponies outside the wall of spikes and couldn’t help but feel a little angry. She had done this all without any help from them. She looked the other direction into the castle courtyard. Finding more vines on the other side, she climbed down very much the same way she climbed up.
She looked around the courtyard, but not a single door that would lead to the interior of the castle was to be found. Leaning against the wall, it gave way and drew her into a secret passage. It was one long hallway without any doors. She reached the end and found solid wall. She pushed against the wall, thinking this might be another secret passage, and so it was. It lead her to a room where, to her joy, she found her comrades, Berry Bright and Cupcake!
“Sky Skimmer!” they both exclaimed at the same time. Also in the room was a pony Sky Skimmer had never seen before in her life. She was light pink, and her hair was a darker pink with silver tinsel in it. On her back were a pair of thin, glittery, translucent wings, and the design on her hips was a row of aqua stars.
The newcomer said in a light, airy voice, “Welcome to my palace. I am Princess Twinkle Star. You have shown great bravery by conquering all the obstacles I placed. You are a heroine! Do not think that the obstacles were an unfriendly course of action, for at this very moment they are disappearing. You have saved your friends, even though they were in no danger. That itself shows that you are a very wonderful pony.”
“Thank you. I just wanted to find my friends,” said Sky Skimmer.
The princess advanced toward Sky Skimmer and placed around her neck a medal. It was made of pure gold, and the inscription was “This medal is a symbol of care, bravery, and devotion. May the owner have a long and happy life.”
Princess Twinkle Star then said goodbye and showed the three ponies out of the castle. Outside, the castle had a more beautiful appearance than before. The spikes were replaced with a pretty picket fence, and the drawbridge lay over a crystal-clear stream instead of the dark, murky moat. Petal Blossom, Moon Shadow, Sundance, and Light Heart were happy to see Sky Skimmer, Cupcake, and Berry Bright.
Petal Blossom said to Sky Skimmer, “I’m so glad you’re okay. I was so scared ever since I saw you go over the castle wall.”
Sky Skimmer had forgotten all about being angry and hugged everyone. Sky Skimmer turned around to thank Princes Twinkle Star again, but she had disappeared. So, all united again, the seven ponies headed home to Friendship Gardens.
WHAT’S BEING TALKED ABOUT!
hosted by Baby Jedi (email@example.com)
MLP 20th ANNIVERSARY PONIES!
Okay, so we ALL have heard about Hasbro hopefully re-releasing MLP IN THE ORIGINAL MOLD for MLP’s 20th anniversary. But it’s still not a sure thing. So, everybody, write a letter to THIS address:
1027-T Newport Ave.
Pawtucket, RI 02861-2500
Well, there’s my first article on What’s Being Talked About! Thanks for reading!
Baby Jedi ~.^
The Foreigner (Part 1 of 4)
K. McKenna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A tall, golden earth pony wandered into town, her eyes taking in everything all at once, so that she appeared to be very busy, while at the same time doing nothing but walking. Tyllin noticed her at once, because she had no signs of magic, and it seemed odd to him. She was gently humming her own tune, oblivious to how much she stood out among the throngs of ponies with magical eyes. He moved right in front of her, and she glided on past him without ever acknowledging he had ever been there. “Are you lost?” Tyllin spoke up.
She blinked and looked at him very curiously. True enough, a pony with glasses deserved a second look, but Tyllin still didn’t like it. “I suppose I am lost. Can you help me find Dream Castle? It’s been quite a while and I need to see Lady Serena.”
Tyllin masked his surprise at the request, and motioned toward a hill that rose to the west. “Serena always said that if you look to the west, you’ll find your heart’s desire. I guess she meant Dream Castle.”
The mare smiled her thanks, and headed off by herself through the crowds. She did not glance back, and did not hesitate as she towed her heavy-looking bag toward the castle.
* * *
“I request an audience with Lady Serena the blue,” the mare stated upon arrival at the castle.
The royal secretary looked over her stern glasses at Kaita very hard. “Name, please. Have you registered for an appointment?” the stuffy-nosed unicorn asked in a very irritable tone.
“Serena told me that when I arrived, I should see her immediately without delay. My name is Kaita of the house of Song; she will know my name,” Kaita told the unicorn very patiently as she set down her bag. The unicorn sniffed, almost as if at Kaita’s name, and knocked on a small side door.
“Come in, Joy,” said a pleasant voice behind the door.
“Ma’am, a young pony by the name of Kaita of Song requests permission to see you.”
“Dear Kaita? And you kept her out there? Bring her in, Joy!” The unicorn had no need to relay the message, because Kaita picked up her bags at the sound of Serena’s voice and had moved next to the door. She opened it, ran in, dropped her bags, and was embraced in a mammoth hug by one of the royals of Ponyland.
“Serena! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you– cousin.” The last word was added shyly, though the rest was said with great enthusiasm.
“And you, my budding musician, how are you?” Serena asked as she stopped hugging her friend and looked at her critically. “Not good enough, I see. Come, sit down in my office. Don’t mind the mess. It’s awful handling foreign affairs in Dream Valley for Majesty, but it’s quite an honor.” And Serena gently closed the door and sat her friend down.
“May I be blunt?” Kaita asked.
“Always, friend,” Serena replied heartily.
“I need a place to stay until I can find a sponsor,” Kaita said quietly.
“Won’t you consider my offer, Kaita, dear?” Serena asked gently.
“I wish I could. But you have been generosity itself to a half-cousin, and I cannot impose.”
Serena nodded at Kaita’s insistence. “You are more myself then I am some days, dear friend. You can have an entire wing, if you don’t mind dust. Relatively few ponies stay here anymore, so we have a couple of abandoned rooms in one of the wings. I’ll come down as soon as I attend to a few skippity-do matters for Maj, and I’ll help you,” Serena said in a tone of good friendship, and hailed Joy outside to get cleaning materials from the janitorial closet. The unicorn grumbled about the worst jobs, and she sent some unlucky porter guiding a pale male pegasus in to the task. The pegasus sat in the lounge waiting for Serena to come out, almost unnoticed by Joy.
“I think I’ll browse my way into the kitchens while I wait for you to finish,” Kaita said. “Domestic matters are always the dullest.” And with a smile, the two friends parted.
* * *
Tyllin waited with patience itself as Joy mumbled and grumbled over six different schedules for six different ponies, especially over Tiffany’s idea of social life; and when he was rewarded with Kaita’s leaving, he smiled at her cordially.
“So we meet again, traveler to our fair land,” he said with the utmost courtesy, standing up.
“So we meet again. I am Kaita, and I am looking for the kitchens. Has it moved in three years?”
“I am Tyllin. It has moved not, but I shall show you the way, as many things have moved.” And, with sincere politeness, he offered his foreleg; and she accepted, introducing herself as she walked.
(Part 2 coming soon)
Quest for Suncastle
by Sundrop (email@example.com)
An epic tail of miniature proportions
Find it high up in the mountains;
Hidden from sight and all sound;
Fly through the mists and the meadows:
Look what you’ve found!
- From the Archives of Majesty, Queen of the “Larger” Ponies
Sundrop had made a decision.
She had made it quickly, realizing that there was little time left to argue or discuss the matter, and that only action could solve her problems. There was no reasonable alternative.
Sundrop had made a decision.
She had decided after the events of the past week, events that left little choice in her mind, events that would change her future and the future of her subjects– forever.
Sundrop had made a decision.
Sundrop was leaving the country.
* * *
Magic Star banged her hoof down hard upon the meeting hall table amid loud voices and shouts and the stomping of hooves. “Citizens!” she cried. “Listen!! Citizens of Ponyland!!! Listen to Sundrop!!” But her voice was drowned out. A hundred ponies were arguing in loud tones, whinnying, snorting, and yelling across the meeting hall.
“CITIZENS!!!” cried Magic Star again, and she leaped up upon the table, tossing her mane and bringing both hooves down hard with a crack that echoed to the rafters. “LISTEN TO YOUR LEADER!! Have you no civilization? Are you colts frolicking in the meadows, or are you the honest, QUIET citizens of Ponyland?!? Answer me that, for the love of the Sun!! BE QUIET!!!”
The ponies looked wide-eyed towards the front of the hall, stunned into silence. Having restored order, Magic Star climbed down from the table. “It’s all yours, Sundrop.”
“Thank you, Star,” said the queen of the little ponies, and stepped into her place to address the assembly.
Every pony in that room regarded Sundrop with admiration, and it was easy to see why. From golden hair and pale fur to the symbol of the royal purple crown that adorned her rump, Sundrop was every inch a leader; and all of her subjects loved her dearly. However, the petite citizens of Ponyland were in an argumentative mood. Many recent meetings had been disbanded because of “discussions” that got out of hand; and unfortunately, the little ponies had many things to discuss, because they were in quite a lot of trouble.
“Mares and stallions all,” began Sundrop, and although her voice was not loud, each and every pony in that room could hear her speaking. “I am sure most of you all know of the trouble that we are in at this time; but some may not, so I will relate to you once the events of the past week.
“You all know that, as petite ponies, each one of us is about one-twelfth the size of a ‘normal’ pony. And you also all know that this has created many problems for us. Petite ponies are constantly getting into trouble– many times we are not seen by the larger ponies. Being so small has caused countless small injuries to each one of us. We must constantly stay out of the way of the larger ponies, although we are forced to work and shop and eat at the same places. I do not wish to say that I bear them ill will, but our population is suffering.
“For many months I have puzzled over solutions to our problem. But I am afraid that the events of the past week have made my decision an obvious one. Here I come to the part of this story that many of you have not yet heard about.” Sundrop bowed her head briefly.
“Three days ago, before the setting of the sun, a tragedy descended upon our community. One of the larger ponies, by the name of Streaky, was pulling a cart through the streets of the city. She was delivering bundles of firewood to the ponies living in the surrounding neighborhoods, in preparation for the autumn chills. But she was behind schedule, and was rushing from house to house in a great hurry.
“One of our fellow petite ponies, a mare named Singer– I am sure many of you have met her– was in the area, paying a visit to a friend around teatime. Unfortunately, she was on her way across the street when Streaky rounded the corner with her firewood cart. The larger pony was in such a hurry that there was little chance for her to brake.” Sundrop paused for a moment, and the gathered ponies waited in suspense as she gathered the courage to continue.
“The cart could not stop, and Singer stood no chance against the iron shod wheels. Although Streaky saw what was happening, she was powerless to stop it. Little Singer was crushed beneath the wheels of the cart.”
The assembly of ponies gasped in horror, and Sundrop’s eyes flashed as her voice grew louder. “Because of this tragedy I have come to my final decision. There is no choice for us but to leave Ponyland, because each one of us is in very real danger. We will begin our journey at the turning of the season to autumn, and we will travel to a place where our ponies can live in peace! There will be no more tragedy, there will be no more accidents, there will be no more sacrifice! We will live out the rest of our days happily and so will our children and our children’s children and on until the end of time! So be it, for the love of the Sun! WE MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE!”
With these words, Sundrop reared and cracked both hooves down hard on the floor. Ponies cried out in protest, arguing loudly among themselves, stomping and tossing their manes about. The room was once again plunged into conflict. Each pony was divided between the need to go and the will to stay– not one wished to leave home, but many could see no alternative. Arguments broke out all over, and the hall again echoed with whinnying, snorting, and the clomping of hooves. Sundrop lowered her head, exhausted.
“I have nothing more to say,” she whispered, and left the meeting hall in silence.
* * *
At the dawning of the first misty day of autumn, Sundrop, as promised, was ready to leave. The petite ponies gathered behind her, silent for once as she made her final speech to the assembled “larger” ponies of Ponyland.
“I want to thank you all for your understanding,” she said, looking upward at them, “and I am sorry that our situation had to culminate in this decision. I know that nobody ever meant for Singer’s death to happen. I do not fault Streaky for what took place, but I feel that action is the best solution.
“My subjects and I are going to find ourselves a home. Your Ponyland, I am afraid, is not the safest place for us, and we feel there must be someplace better. I, on behalf of all the petite ponies, wish to thank you for the love and friendship you have shown us. We will always remember you! May the Sun shine upon you always, my friends!”
And as the petite ponies began to file off through the mist, Majesty, the queen of the larger ponies, stepped forward to meet Sundrop.
“And may the Sun shine upon you too, Sundrop, queen of the little ones.” she said, bending down to touch noses with the tiny pony. “Good luck.”
* * *
Sundrop took the lead in the small army of ponies, heading northeast towards the distant mountains that bordered Ponyland. She strode out strongly through the gathering sunshine, a look of determination on her face. A few of her best friends walked right behind her, traveling for the most part in silence.
“Do you know where we’re going?” whispered one of the foremost ponies to Magic Star.
“I have no more idea than you do, Victoria; I’m sorry,” Magic Star whispered. “I don’t think Sundrop even knows. She wanted to get out of there so quickly she made plans without much of a plan.” Magic Star looked sideways at Victoria, who was wearing the royal crown. “Don’t you think you should take that off? It’s getting pretty warm out here...”
Victoria drew herself up regally. “I don’t think so. It looks lovely on my pink mane, don’t you think? Besides, this is the best way to keep it safe, and that’s my job. Sundrop appointed me as Crown Keeper.”
Magic Star rolled her eyes, and looked back up at Sundrop, who had not slowed down once since dawn. “I hope you know what you’re doing,” she muttered.
They traveled across the well-kept agricultural fields of Ponyland, crossing irrigation ditches, passing farmhouses and fruit stands. Sundrop led the little ponies without stopping all morning, until the sun reached its zenith and sweat broke out upon the little ponies’ backs. They traveled through the afternoon, with Sundrop goading them on, not letting them stop until evening came. By the time the sun started to fall behind the hills, complaints began to be heard echoing up from the back of the procession. The fillies and colts had spent part of the journey riding on the backs of the older ponies, but eventually the exhaustion had taken its toll on them all. Sundrop finally called a rest at the foot of a small hill, and most of the ponies immediately collapsed on the grass, panting with exertion.
Magic Star struggled up to the top of the hill, where Sundrop stood gazing off into the distance. “Hello, Star,” said Sundrop without turning around.
“Sundrop, this is impossible.” Magic Star stumbled up beside her. “There are young ones in the herd, there are old ones as well, and even the stallions cannot travel this way for very long.” Sundrop turned towards Magic Star slightly. “I’m sorry, Sundrop, but it’s unreasonable. I’m in no way questioning your authority, I’m–“
”Questioning my sanity,” finished Sundrop, and Magic Star shook her head.
”Magic Star, I understand what you’re trying to tell me. I know it’s hard, and perhaps we should slow down a little. But Star, you have to understand my side of things. I love each and every pony down there,” she nodded towards the foot of the hill, “and I have to get them far away from the larger ponies, who live scattered all the way across Ponyland’s Valley. The sooner we can cross those mountains the better. I have to try, for the sake of every last petite pony, I have to try! Star, I know there’s some place out there waiting for us, and I know– don’t ask me how– I know that it has something to do with those mountains. It’s written in the line of the Sun; the Sun will guide us through. Please believe me, Magic Star. We must cross them. Please believe me.”
Magic Star nodded. “I believe you, Sundrop. And–“ Sundrop looked at her as she paused. “I believe in you, too.”
Victoria joined Magic Star as she descended to the foot of the hill, and together they looked up at the figure standing on the ridge. And as the sun set, the colors reflected off of Sundrop’s golden mane and pale fur, and lit up the fires in her eyes.
And at that moment, every pony that saw her knew that they believed in her, too.
* * *
After five days of walking, hiking through lemon orchards, passing around the outside of Ponyland’s villages in order to avoid the larger ponies in the town squares, and wading through brooks and streams, the petite ponies reached the limit of civilized Ponyland. The last field of lettuce and the last irrigation ditch gave way to rolling fields of grass, filled with wildflowers and plants with tiny little burrs that clung to the fur around the ponies’ hooves. One final day of miserable trekking brought them to the edge of a dark, thickly carpeted forest, and the little ponies stopped by the fringe to rest in the waning afternoon light.
Victoria, the keeper of Sundrop’s crown, sat miserably away from the rest, picking burrs from her hooves and chunnering away to herself. “My hair’s a mess and my tail’s covered in dirt and dust and grime and these stupid little burrs won’t come out of my beautiful sea-green fur and the wildflower behind my ear is wilting and this stupid crown’s beginning to hurt and why-oh-why did Sundrop take us on this stupid journey? Stupid stupid STUPID EVERYTHING!!!”
Sundrop stepped out from behind the little pony and knelt down in the grass beside her. “Victoria...”
Victoria gasped and looked up, quickly removing the wilted flower from behind her ear. “Oh, hello, Sundrop! I’m afraid I didn’t see you!” She smiled weakly.
“Victoria, I’m sorry.”
The sea-green pony widened her eyes in surprise. “You’re sorry?”
“I’m sorry,” repeated Sundrop, smiling. “I’m sorry that I’ve put you through all this, and I’m sorry about this whole idea.” Victoria picked another burr from her hoof, lowering her head.
Sundrop continued. “I just think it’s going to end up all the better for us. I honestly do. It’s not safe around here, Vicki, try to understand that. I don’t mean to make any of this unpleasant. I believe I am doing what’s right; can you see that?” Victoria nodded.
“Look up at the Sun, Vicki; the Sun will guide us through. You just have to believe.” Sundrop touched noses with her and got up.
“I’m sorry, Sundrop, “ said Victoria as she left.
When Sundrop was gone, Victoria sighed tragically. “But I still have dust in my tail.”
* * *
The next morning at the crack of dawn, their journey through Ponyland Forest began. Sundrop once again took the lead, with Magic Star close behind her. The ponies traveled single-file, in awe of the vast silence of the forest, something they had never encountered before. Fillies buried their noses in their mother’s flanks, scared of the oppressive darkness, and the stallions covered the back of the procession, nostrils flaring at the new scents. The soft loam muffled the sound of their hoofbeats, and not one pony dared to say a word in the silence.
Suddenly the harsh caw of a raven cracked through the still air, and the spell was broken. The trees became alive with dark shapes, flapping and cawing until the forest echoed with the noise. The first crow dived down upon the procession, and a mare screamed as beak and talon raked her haunches.
“RUN!!” screamed Sundrop, breaking into flight. “FOLLOW ME!!”
Hooves pounded the loam of the forest floor, churning up mud and leaves. Dirt clods flew in all directions as the ravens flapped along behind them, eager in their quest for a meal. The ponies’ breath grew ragged in their throats, and they gasped frantically for air. The stallions at the back of the line lashed out furiously at the crows, and many of the dark birds fell victim to the lashing out of sharp hooves. But the crows were evenly matched with the little ponies because of their size, and inflicted many wounds upon the fighting stallions.
Then a foal stumbled.
A little red filly, the niece of Singer– the pony who had been killed in the village– tripped upon a rock and fell. The line passed by her quickly; her mother did not notice her absence in the mad rush through the forest, and the little pony fell into the claws of the foremost raven. She screamed, and a stallion with a blood-red mane reared up from the back of the line, dashing to her aid. He rose up on his hind legs and slashed at the crow flopping awkwardly towards the nearest tree. The crow squawked in agony as the stallion ripped at its feathers, and dropped its catch to flap into the tree above. The little red filly collapsed on the soil, and the stallion quickly threw her up on his back and dashed back to join the fighting ponies. The stallions had defended the path against the crows while the mares and little ones dashed towards the far end of the forest. But by the time the red-maned stallion carried Singer’s niece to the other fighters, the crows had beaten a hasty retreat and the forest was once again silent.
The mares and young ones, led by Sundrop, finally found the farthest edge of the forest and collapsed at the fringe, fighting desperately for air. While Sundrop stood counting them, a pink pony staggered up to her, gasping. “Sundrop, my little filly is gone! She must have been left in the forest! She must have fallen while we were running! Please, Sundrop! She could be killed! Help her! Sundrop, please!”
Sundrop whirled around to face the path they had beaten through the woods, and dashed into the undergrowth. But before she could walk two steps, the stallion carrying the little red filly rounded the corner and made his way to the grass, depositing the wounded foal next to her mother. “She is injured,” he told the pink pony. “Take care of her.” The foal’s mother dropped to her knees beside her little one and began to lick the wounds.
Sundrop led the stallion to one side. “What is your name?” she asked him.
“My name is Topper,” he replied, bowing his head and catching his breath.
She looked over at him, wondering. The stallions of the petite herd were not known for their kindness. In fact, she had never known a stallion that would risk his life merely to save a little fallen filly. “Why did you save her?” she asked, stepping around to face the crimson-haired pony.
He looked up into her face. “She’s my niece,” he replied. “I was... Singer’s mate.” He looked away. “Before she died.”
As he turned away Sundrop stopped him. He looked back towards her, but she paused for a minute. “Thank you,” she said finally. “The whole herd owes you for your bravery.” He nodded, and made his way towards the pink mare and the little red filly.
Sundrop turned away and saw Magic Star, who was standing a little off to one side and smiling at her. “What are you grinning about, Star?”
“Look up, Sundrop.” Wondering what on earth Magic Star could mean, Sundrop looked upwards. What she saw above her made her gasp in awe. They were standing at the foot of a hill, and beyond that hill huge grey mountains rose up into the sky above them. Mists and snow shrouded their tops, and rocky crags jutted out from the sides. The entire scene seemed like something from a dream, gray and foggy and magical. Magic Star looked over at Sundrop. “Welcome to the northeast mountains of Ponyland.”
* * *
The mountains took the ponies eight long days to climb. There were more and more rest stops as the hills got steeper, and nights were spent shivering together in bleak caves hollowed out of the mountainside. Ridges and cliffs were scaled in silence, all the ponies aware of the danger they were in and focusing only on clearing the next ridge, the next mound of rock. Many ponies were injured in the trek, some falling off of ledges, some getting hooves caught in cracks, some stumbling on loose rock and shale. Only from luck were none killed.
The fourth day saw the beginnings of a snowstorm on the lower peaks of the mountains, and even the thick coats of the ponies were insufficient to protect them from the temperatures that dropped below zero. For once in their lives, they found themselves in danger of freezing– the cold held more danger for them than the possibility of falling down the mountainside. No plants grew this far up the mountain. They had crossed the timber line on the evening of the fourth day, and now there was nothing more to eat. So, in desperation, the ponies battled onward. They scaled frozen rockpiles, scraping hooves and knees against stone, and many got their tails caught in cracks in the rock. But they pressed ever forward, following their queen faithfully.
Finally, on the evening of the eighth day, Sundrop reached the top of the highest ridge. Magic Star gasped as she looked upward and saw the queen balanced precariously upon a ledge of rock, wind lashing her snow-laden tail furiously against the side of her body.
Sundrop looked far out into the distance, oblivious of everything but what she saw reflected in her imagination. Her fur seemed to spark with some hidden force of electricity, turning the air into bright flashing gold that sparked off the mists surrounding her. Raising her head towards the shrouded sun, she screamed her call like a wolf into the howling wind.
The echoes of her voice reached Magic Star, who shivered and turned to Victoria in despair. “I can’t believe this has happened to us, Vicki. I feel like I’m living in a dream.”
The crimson-haired stallion, Topper, materialized out of the mists. “Perhaps we are.”
* * *
But after sixteen long days of wandering, Sundrop had finally found the perfect place. She sighted it from her perch on the mountaintop, by the rays of the sun that streaked through the clouds. And she was sure it was the answer to everything they had been through.
She gave the ponies one day to rest, and on the seventeenth day led them over the peak of the mountain. They stood on the other side, gazing downwards at what she had found.
“It’s beautiful...” sighed Victoria, and every pony in the herd silently agreed with her.
A second ridge of mountains lifted up across from where they stood. But in between the two ridges lay a flat rift, like a tiny valley. It was below the frost line of the mountains, and its rolling green fields glistened bright in the sun. Although the ponies were high above it on the mountaintop, they could see that it was green, and sheltered, and the perfect size for little ponies. To the “larger” ponies it would be barely large enough for a single village, but their tiny figures would make the building of an entire kingdom possible.
As the little ones looked down in awe at the sight, Magic Star began to cheer, and soon the ridge resounded with a great shout of joy that echoed through the little valley and bounced off the far mountains. The masses of petite ponies began to run down the mountainside, cheering and laughing and bounding through snowdrifts. And for once, Sundrop was last in line, smiling down at her subjects in their joy.
“Sunvalley,” she whispered to herself. “Because the Sun shines upon it and the Sun brought us here.”
She raised her eyes to the sky.
* * *
From that day on, the petite ponies made Sunvalley their home. They built a huge castle in the farthest corner, calling it Suncastle and unanimously electing Sundrop their ruler. Sundrop appointed Magic Star as her partner, and under their joint rule the little valley flourished. The little ponies planted fields of strawberries in honor of Topper, the heroic stallion with the crimson mane, and after a few years the Sunvalley strawberries became famous through Ponyland and the surrounding countries. Topper became the head of agriculture in Sunvalley, for he wanted nothing more than to live a peaceful life, and his little red-colored niece grew up as his apprentice. Victoria, the vain little sea-green pony, became Treasurer and Keeper of the Royal Jewels, a job she was happy to accept.
Together, the little ponies built themselves a kingdom, and it was forever ruled by Sundrop and her children and her children’s children. So even to this day, out in the Land of Magic, across the fields of Ponyland, over the northeast mountains and under the sun, lies Suncastle, legendary home of the petite ponies.
by Sugarberry and Tabby (Sugrbery@aol.com and TabbyMLP@aol.com)
Stretched out on the couch, Tabby sipped on her lemonade. “The last concert in New Pony was a big hit. All the proceeds were donated to the literacy foundation. I know it made a big difference.”
“You’re going to regret that in the future, dear,” Agatha pointed out. “Someday you’ll need that money.”
“Oh, Mother, that’s not true at all. I’m happy that the Bushwoolies and I were able to help the literacy foundation.”
“You have put a lot of your earnings into charity since I bought you that music company,” Hubert, her father, commented. “Don’t you want to keep any for yourself?”
“I will, of course, always be grateful to you for helping me start my musical career,” Tabby said graciously. “I’m just happy to have a family like you. I don’t need material possessions.”
“Your father’s always given you everything you wanted,” Agatha said. “You don’t realize what it’s like to be less fortunate.”
“Well, I do appreciate your hospitality,” Tabby said, draining her glass and setting it delicately on the table. “But I must dash and meet Cliff and the Bushwoolies now. I’ll be back tonight. Tah-tah!” With that said, Tabby excused herself and was off from the sumptuous penthouse apartment where she stayed with her parents when she was in Dream Valley.
* * *
Peering out of her third-story office window, the stylish career pony carried on a phone conversation with her interior decorator. “Listen, Quarterback, I’ve told you the money is as good as in my hoof. The bank is just going through the formalities now.”
“I’ve heard that before, Sugarberry, and look where your project stands now-- on hold and with no payback expected in the near future.”
Sugarberry’s mouth set grimly in a straight line, but she managed to keep her voice in check. “You know that the trouble has been resolved. Wigwam has assured me that there is no reason for the bank to withhold its financial backing now that things are straightened out.” She spoke authoritatively, but she knew the stallion was grinning over her situation on the other end of the line.
“I put my trust in you six months ago, and I haven’t seen a single jangle for my efforts. Before I take another step, I’m going to need some payment to make it worth my while.”
“Just keep in mind, Quarterback, that once this building is ready for furnishing, I’ll expect you to be prepared for your part. I can’t afford any more delays.”
“Exactly my point,” the stallion replied and ended his connection with a poignant click.
Boiling with anger, Sugarberry slammed the receiver down and returned to stare out the window at the skeletal structure of her very modern office complex. The building, designed by Scoops, was replacing the old and outdated block of Dream Valley’s main street. Gone were the repugnant structures that had once housed the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe and Fifi’s Perm Shoppe, among others.
The foundation and basic lines of the soaring, sleek twelve-story edifice would become the new home of her thriving fashion magazine, as well as provide office space to rent to other companies. Dream Valley was booming, and Sugarberry wanted to take advantage of the possibilities while they were hot.
As she looked from her window, she was not seeing the cold, rugged steel that climbed to the sky or the piles of dirt that fringed the block with their black, weed-infested presence. She saw instead the looming glass structure that would flesh-out this skeleton and imaged herself presiding over her staff from the highest floor and receiving the praise of the inhabitants of Dream Valley for having the foresight to prepare them for the twenty-first century.
Sugarberry’s daydream was interrupted by the entrance into her office of a short purple dragon carrying his electronic calendar and a handful of paperwork. “I’ve got those agreements prepared and ready for your signature,” he stated, then added as an afterthought. “And I made your hair appointment for tomorrow at three.”
“Spike, you know I can’t be there before four-thirty,” Sugarberry said as the dragon stopped for her approval.
“Chocolate Chip is going out of town to pick up merchandise for her stall at the convention and can only fit you in at three.”
The white, strawberry-patterned earth pony frowned. “She’s the only hair-dresser I trust, or I’d switch over to that new place at the mall. You’ll have to reschedule my appointment with Elaine.”
“Already taken care of. She’ll be here at two-fifteen; you can finish in time.”
“And on the schedule for today?”
“This morning you are to interview Tabby and the Bushwoolies, although Sparkler is perfectly capable of handling that for you.” The dragon nailed her with a piercing glance.
“No, no. I’ll take care of Tabby myself.” Again her thoughts went elsewhere, reliving some of the animosity that had always existed between the two as they had competed with each other throughout their school years over grades, sports, and friends.
She came back to her senses to hear Spike say, “Dreamcatcher will meet you at one o’clock at the Inside Track for lunch.”
“Do you have all the contracts organized for me?” Dreamcatcher was her attorney and handled all the legal work for her magazine.
“Yes. Everything is in this file.” He laid the thick manila folder on her desk.
Tentatively drawing the file to her, Sugarberry mused out loud. “I expect her to get around our legal complications within the next twenty-four hours.”
Spike continued with the agenda. “At two-thirty, Bungee and Jet will be here to discuss the final arrangements of the fashion convention.”
A smile finally lit the mare’s face. “This Fashion Extravaganza will be an enjoyable experience. I only wish the new complex had been finished to accommodate it.” She sighed deeply.
“If you are ready, we should be leaving to get over to the warehouse where Tabby does her rehearsing; I told her ten o’clock.”
The smile faded instantly. “Let her wait. I’ve got a phone call to make.” Her look told Spike he was excused.
Punching in the numbers on her phone, Sugarberry drummed her hoof on the desk as she waited impatiently for the other party to pick up. When she heard the voice respond, she sat up straight. “Is the exchange set?” The answer she received seemed to please her. She leaned back in her chair and facets of light glittered in her eyes. “Great,” she said. “I’ll be anxious to hear the details.”
* * *
In the old warehouse converted to a sound studio, a pink unicorn was singing into the microphone on a stage set off to one side of the roomy expanse converted into useable space, her bright red hair swinging with the motion of her body, her voice belting out the lyrics of a new song. As the last note rang through the air, the unicorn struck a dramatic pose and closed her eyes as the sound echoed off the rafters. When she opened them and bowed to receive the applause of her non-existent audience, she found Sugarberry standing in front of the stage with her private secretary and her photographer, who was busy snapping pictures.
“Well, I see you finally decided to show up,” the unicorn stated. “That in itself is noteworthy.” She swung herself off the stage in a fluid motion, landing next to the white mare who said nothing, yet watched the unicorn closely. “I see that your grand palace has come no closer to completion than when I was home last.”
“That will all change in the near future, Tabby, but I came here to talk about you, not about me.”
“As well we should,” Tabby observed. “I’m the one that has the public’s eye, after all.” She flung her mane in a conceited manner and led her guests to an improvised office space off the right side of the stage.
“Where’s your band?” Sugarberry’s look encompassed the area. “I thought we were to see you in action.”
“The Bushwoolies will be here shortly. We can talk first.”
Tabby sat on an available director’s chair and waved Sugarberry to another. At that moment, a stallion came on the scene. “Cliff!” said Tabby. “You weren’t here to greet Sugarberry.”
“I was just checking your schedule,” the grey stallion replied. “We can’t lose track of the time.” The two shared a smile that spoke more between them than was necessary for words.
“Sugarberry,” Tabby spoke to the mare without taking her eyes off the stallion. “This is Cliff, my stage manager.”
Any further talk was negated as a group of Bushwoolies filed into the building. Friendly went straight to his set of drums, and Chumster tested the keyboard. Cheery and Hugster played out some random notes on their electric guitars. Streaky took the opportunity to get some candid shots as they approached.
“Hey, guys!” Tabby greeted them. “Awesome hair today.” The backups in her group all sported trendy styles, ranging from mohawks to crazy arrangements of braids.
“Yeah. Totally. Cool, man!” came their replies.
“Cliff, go discuss the stage set-up with them,” Tabby instructed briskly, nodding towards the platform. “I’ll deal with Sugarberry.” Cliff obediently went to do his bidding, leaving the two mares alone.
“We’ve both come a long way, haven’t we?” Sugarberry said retrospectively.
“At least I’m still solvent,” Tabby said coolly.
“Shall we begin the interview?”
Tabby made herself comfortable in the chair and looked at Sugarberry expectantly. “Ask away.”
“When we were in high-school, you planned on becoming a veterinarian. What made you change your plans?” Sugarberry began.
“Well,” Tabby thought, “a big part of it was when I first saw Shantina on stage. She completely inspired me to pursue a career in music.”
“Is it true that your father purchased a music company to further your career goal?” Sugarberry prodded.
“Yes, my father did generously purchase my own music firm,” Tabby acknowledged. “He’s always supported me no matter what.”
“How did the Bushwoolies become part of your entourage?”
“I first met them in New Pony where they were performing a street concert. I immediately recognized their talent, and invited them to join me.”
“Who does the writing of your songs?”
“For the most part, Rosy takes care of that. She is unusually gifted for a Bushwoolie.”
“Is there a certain set of ponies you try to reach with your music?”
“That’s difficult to say. You see, I–“
The interview continued until Cliff reminded Tabby that she had an important engagement to prepare for. Sugarberry was growing tired of interviewing her rival anyway and was happy to take her leave. “Until the concert,” she said simply before strolling away.
* * *
Sugarberry found herself humming Tabby’s latest song as she waited for Dreamcatcher at a table away from prying ears at the Inside Track and promptly chided herself for falling under the singer’s spell. She was relieved to finally catch sight of the orange unicorn coming her way.
“I just talked with Wigwam,” Dreamcatcher said once she was seated and after she had looked carefully about her to make sure no one was paying them special attention.
“And he says there will be no problem with your loan this time; the construction crews can get back to work immediately.”
“It’s all final?” Sugarberry could not contain her excitement.
“All the papers are signed and sealed. Your copies are right here.” She slid a heavy brown envelope across the table.
Sugarberry scanned the papers. “This is great! I can’t thank you enough for handling this for me.”
“Just one warning. If Wigwam ever wants you to sign another contract, don’t do it. Everything is signed that needs signing. That stallion is devious; he should have been a lawyer himself.” She grinned wryly.
“Don’t worry about that. I know better than to trust him.” Sugarberry returned the grin to the mare across the table, but her ear twitched once, twice, and then again. She heard her sister’s voice from across the years when they were both in elementary school: “You’re lying! You’re lying! Your ear is twitching, and that means you are lying.”
* * *
“The convention hall is ready; everything is in place, except the ponies themselves,” said Bungee in her soft voice, her purple hair framing her face in soft, natural ringlets.
“The models went through rehearsal today so there should be no last minute emergencies,” Jet added.
“And you have all the arrangements set up for the entertainment?” Tabby was to perform to close off the Fashion Extravaganza, and Sugarberry worried that the unicorn would sabotage her endeavor by not showing up.
“No problem. She’s looking forward to it.”
“I wish I shared your confidence.”
“She’ll show,” Bungee verified. “She wouldn’t miss a chance to show off.”