My Little Pony Monthly Issue 68 (November 1, 2002)
My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997
This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages
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1. Thanksgiving Contest
2. Ember’s Wish Part 2 (by C. Alan Loewen)
3. A Note From the Author of the Ella Fay Series
4. Chapter #3: Locked in the Library (by Melody)
5. Soul-Mates (by Sugarberry and Tabby)
The following story contains the hidden names of at least thirty-four My Little Ponies from the l980's. They are used in this story as common nouns rather than proper nouns. (Remember grammar class?) How many can you pick out? EX: It was a gusty day in Ponyland. “Gusty” would be the hidden pony name. E-mail your answers to Sugarberry at Sugrbery@aol.com. The winner will receive a special graphic for their webpage or personal use!
“I’m sleepy,” yawned Cara as she and her siblings trooped into the kitchen early on Thanksgiving morning.
Cockleburr ruffled her curly locks. “You said you wanted to help,” he reminded her.
“You said I could dump in the cranberries,” said seven-year old Nugget.
“They’re craisins, really,” said Cockleburr, slipping Jellybean into the high chair. “Dried cranberries.”
“What’re we making again?” asked Cara.
“Cupcake!” grinned the toddler, Daffodil.
“No, not cupcakes. Muffins. Cranberry muffins,” retorted Casaba, pulling the proper tin from the cupboard.
Cockleburr, the oldest of the family’s six foals, called the others to attention. “Now, the reason we’re here is to fix a surprise breakfast for mom and dad. They were both up late last night, and Mom’ll be busy fixing Thanksgiving dinner today; so we want to help her out, okay?”
The gathered foals all shook their heads in agreement... even the baby, Jellybean. As he gurgled his approval, tiny bubbles oozed down his chin.
“Casaba, you grease the pan; Nugget, you get out the eggs; Cara, you find the vanilla in the cupboard, and Daffodil...” he looked at the two-year old cautiously, “...you can hang on to the package of craisins until we need them.” The little foal was easily pleased and responded with a bunny hop around the table to show her pleasure.
“Where’d ya get the recipe?” asked Nugget.
“From Aunt Karinda; she won a blue ribbon for it at the fair.”
Approaching her brother with a small bottle in one hoof and the lid in the other, Cara wiggled her nose. “Does vanilla smell minty?” she asked.
“Umm... no. You must have grabbed the peppermint. Vanilla begins with a v, like an up-side-down teepee.”
“Oh.” Cara returned to the cupboard to hunt some more.
Cockleburr was in the process of measuring the flour and thereby succeeding in spilling the white powder on the counter when he noticed Jellybean who had grown squirmy and whiney in his high chair. “What’s the matter, Beanie? Those sniffles bothering you yet?” He sent Casaba to tend to the foal, wiping away the trickles and giving him some rattles to bang against the metal tray.
“Is this the right stuff?” asked Cara, returning with a brown bottle that, indeed, was the vanilla. In her other hoof she held a container of colored candies. “Can we put on some sprinkles?” she asked hopefully.
“Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt,” agreed Cockleburr, unable to disappoint his little sister.
“They’ll turn the muffins into a merry treat.”
“Okay, Daffodil, we need the craisins now,” Cockleburr said, helping the toddler up on a chair so that she could see what was going on. Quick as a flash, the tiny filly tossed the craisins, bag and all, into the mix.
“Ah... that’s not quite how it’s done,” giggled Casaba, grabbing the package out of the sticky batter.
The little foal was not deterred; seeing the batter clinging to the outside of the bag, she leaned toward it and swiped a taste with her tongue. “Yum yum,” she cooed. “Sugar sweet.”
“You and your sweet tooth,” Cockleburr grinned.
In the meantime, Nugget had also tasted the batter. “It’s not salty enough,” he complained.
“Oh! I forgot the salt!” Cockleburr quickly remedied the situation, and Nugget added the red, shriveled cranberries. Then, pouring the mix into the cupped tin, Casaba declared the muffins ready for the oven.
While waiting for the sweet stuff to bake, the siblings gathered by the window to talk and watch Jellybean and Daffodil play; outside, the one chrysanthemum that their mother had planted was a mound of brilliant blossoms in deep bronze that glistened in the bright sunlight following the dawn.
“Are we going to play football this afternoon?” asked Cara.
“Yes,” frowned Casaba. “But no way are you going to play quarterback.”
The little filly cast her brother a spunky grimace. “You never let me have any fun!”
Cockleburr grinned and pushed a ringlet from Cara’s forehead. “Don’t little girls like more dainty pastimes?”
“No,” she replied, a grumpy expression still on her face.
Nugget pointed his hoof at her and moved it in tiny wiggles. “Tickle, tickle,” he teased as his hoof came closer and closer to the little pony.
Unable to resist the gentle teasing, Cara broke out in little giggles just as the buzzer on the stove went off.
“Does that mean they’re done?” asked Nugget.
“What’s done?” asked Blue Bonnet, coming into the kitchen at that moment, followed by Firethorn.
“Happy Thanksgiving Day!” chorused the foals with bright eyes sparkling.
Ember’s Wish (Part 2)
by C. Alan Loewen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
(Author’s note: This story takes place several months before the events depicted in the 1984 animated My Little Pony video that introduced Dream Castle (TM), Spike, the Sea Ponies (TM) and Megan. Your welcome comments and critiques may be sent to email@example.com)
Synopsis: Due to a wish stone, Ember, the youngest pony of Dream Castle, has switched bodies with Rowen Reynolds, a ten-year-old girl on Earth. During an exhausting session of cheerleading practice, Ember meets Rowen’s three friends, Shayla, Mandy, and Anne. The three girls are unaware that Rowan isn’t really who she appears, but they think their friend is merely reacting strangely to a busy day. While eating lunch at Shayla’s house, there is a knock on the door. It’s Firefly who has traveled to Earth to fix things up and get Ember and Rowen back into their right bodies.
There was a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it, mother,” Shayla called. Still shaking her head, she got up from the table and went to answer the knock. Ember went back to eating her sandwich while Anne and Mandy made comments to each other about friends who watch too much television.
A moment later, Shayla came to the door, her normally mocha-colored skin many shades paler than when she went to answer the door.
“Rowen, you have a visitor,” she said, her voice trembling. She stepped aside.
“Firefly!” Ember said with delight. “How did you find me?”
Anne and Mandy stared at the winged pony standing next to Shayla in the doorway. Her disheveled mane made it evident she had been flying fast just moments ago.
Firefly shook her mane into place. “That’s not important now. You and I are in trouble and we have to hide until you and Rowen change back into your regular bodies. Can your friends help us?”
“Sure they will,” Ember said. She turned and looked at the others. “Right, guys?”
* * *
Outside Shayla’s front door, two eyes, black and shiny as buttons, stared at the door where the pony had entered. Fix the ferret turned and hushed his three ferret brothers behind him. Once again, they had forgotten their names and they were trying to help each other remember.
“Will you three clowns be quiet!” he ordered.
The three stopped their arguing and looked at him chagrined. “But boss,” one of them whined, “we can’t. We’re ferrets.”
“Listen,” Fix scowled. “If you want to get back to the Dreamlands, you’re going to have to be quiet. Now, hush!”
With that, he turned his attention back to the front door with great interest.
Last year, Fix had fled the Dreamworld to Earth with his three brothers, aided by a magical talisman he had stolen from the wizard who was their master. The talisman, a huge diamond, now hung around the ferret’s neck, glittering on a golden chain.
It wasn’t that Fix was a thief, at least not as much a thief as a ferret tends to be; but the thing sparkled so, and he liked things that sparkled.
He remembered the first day he had broken out of his cage when his master was gone. Fix found the diamond on a table, and he drooled as he looked at the light glinting off its surface. When he pounced on it, to bite it and worry it with his teeth, a strange sort of wisdom and knowledge flooded his mind and he knew himself for who he was.
And the strange object had an area of effect. As long as his three brothers stayed within a reasonable distance of him, they too had wisdom and knowledge, though greatly limited. Far too often, they resorted to their ferret nature.
The four had fled to earth through ancient magics they found in their master’s laboratory. Sadly, it was a one-way trip and their hearts ached for home, not this strange place called Earth where wonder ruled instead of magic.
This morning, Fix had seen a flying mare and followed her to this house.
* * *
Shayla, Mandy, and Anne had recovered enough from their shock that they listened once again to Ember’s story, this time without teasing.
“So,” Shayla said, “our friend Rowan is actually back at Dream Castle in Ember’s body while Ember is here in Rowan’s body?”
“Yes,” Firefly responded. “That’s it exactly. And as the wish wears off in twenty-four hours, they have to be back in the exact same place where the transfer happened or they’ll be stuck in their new bodies forever.”
“No problem,” Anne said. “Rowan ... I mean Ember ... has to go home soon. You say the exchange happened when Rowan was in bed? It’s simple. Ember goes to bed and when she wakes up, she’ll be a pony again back in Dreamland and Rowan will be where she belongs.”
“Not exactly,” Firefly said. “They will be in their right bodies, but their bodies are going to go to them. That means that Ember will wake up in Rowan’s bed as a pony and Rowan will be in Dreamland as a girl.”
Mandy shook her head. “Could you explain that to me again?”
“I understand,” Shayla said. “After the transfer, how are you going to get Rowan back home to Earth?”
“My sister, Moondancer, will fly Rowan back and then we’ll rig up a harness to fly Ember back with us.”
Shayla paused and looked at Ember. “You don’t have wings?”
Ember shook her head, “No, I’m an earth pony. I stay on the ground.”
Shayla shook her head. “Next you’ll be telling me I’ll be seeing unicorns.”
“Well ...” Ember said, but Firefly interrupted.
“We have to get ready for the transfer and someplace for me to hide out until morning. Any ideas?”
Shayla, Mandy and Anne looked at each other and smiled as they all thought of the same thing at the same time.
Shayla got the phone off the wall and dialed a number. “Here,” she told Ember. “Tell Mrs. Reynolds that you want to invite us over for a slumber party.”
Ember put the phone to her ear upside down. Shayla corrected it just as the phone was answered.
“Hello, Mrs. Reynolds?” Ember asked.
The other three girls waved their hands in panic. “Call her Mom!” hissed Anne.
“I mean, Mom,” Ember said quickly. “Can my friends come over for a slumber party tonight?”
The other three heard Mrs. Reynolds’ voice coming through the phone, sounding tinny and far away.
“Thanks, Mom. Thanks a lot,” Ember said. She gave the phone back to Shayla and smiled. “What’s a slumber party?” she asked.
Shayla put her arm around Ember’s shoulders. “My friend, we are going to introduce you to pizza and make-up.”
The girls went and hid Firefly in the backyard arbor. Later that evening, Ember and her human friends piled into Shayla’s parents’ car for the trip to the Reynolds’ home. After they pulled out from the driveway, Firefly would take to the sky and follow them.
As the car pulled out from the driveway into the road, nobody noticed the four pairs of shiny eyes staring out from the wheel well.
* * *
Fix and his brothers waited under a rose bush for the sun to set. As Fix’s mind hatched all the different plots and schemes they could use to make the Dreamland ponies take them back to their world, the other three played a game.
“I spy,” said Tricks, “with my little eye, something that is ... red!”
Kicks looked around, his head moving in sharp, quick movements. “Is it a rose?” he asked.
Tricks sighed. “How did you guess? Oh, well. It’s your turn.”
Kicks smiled. “I got one you’ll never guess. I spy, with my little eye, something that is ... red!”
“Is it a rose?” Mix asked.
“Wow!” Kicks said. “You’re good!”
Fix turned on his brothers in fury. “Will you be quiet so I can think!” he yelled in a thin, tiny shriek. “And stop playing that silly game! You’ve been playing it for the last half hour and all you’ve ever selected, each time, was a rose!”
“What’s gotten into him?” Tricks whispered to his brothers.
“I don’t think he likes roses,” Kicks muttered. “Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Let’s play that ‘I Spy’ game!”
Fix groaned and held his head in his little paws.
* * *
“Mom?” Ember said to Mrs. Reynolds, “Shayla, Mandy, Anne, and I are going out on the back porch, okay?”
“No problem,” came the call from the living room. “But your father will be home in ten minutes, so be ready to eat when I call.”
The four girls went out onto the back porch and looked around for Firefly. A quiet hiss got their attention, and they saw Firefly’s head peek out from behind the small backyard shed that held the lawnmower and the gardening tools.
“Is it safe?” she asked.
Shayla looked through the door and beckoned. “Mrs. Reynolds is still in the living room. Let’s go.”
The four girls and the winged pony quickly made their way upstairs to Rowan’s bedroom.
“Please, girls,” Mrs. Reynolds called from downstairs. “No running in the halls. You sound like a herd of horses up there.”
Giggling, the girls and Firefly crowded into the bedroom and shut the door. After supper, they ordered pizza and introduced Ember and Firefly to a new taste treat.
Shayla decided Ember would sleep alone on the bed. When Rowan and Ember changed places come sunrise, there would suddenly be a small pony in the bed; and anybody sleeping in the bed would most likely find themselves on the floor. Shayla, Mandy, and Anne rolled out sleeping bags on the floor where Firefly would join them for the night.
As evening fell and the moon rose, they chatted about movies and fingernail polish; and Ember and Firefly answered endless questions about the Dreamlands.
* * *
Fix glared at the window in utter frustration. His three brothers had finally fallen asleep leaving him in peace with his thoughts.
Finally, the light went off and Fix sighed with relief. “Wake up, chowderheads,” he said.
Grumbling, his brothers got up from the ground, yawning and stretching.
Ten minutes later, Mix stood on his hind legs, braced against the front door. On top of his shoulders stood Kicks. On top of his shoulders stood Tricks, and balanced on top stood Fix with a thin piece of metal.
“Quiet!” Fix ordered. “And be still. I have to pick this lock.”
From below, Mix started singing a song he had heard sometime ago. “Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh, ho, heigh ho, heigh, ho, heigh ho, heigh, ho ...”
“Quiet!” came a whispered command from above.
“But I like that song,” grumbled Tricks.
“Especially that ‘heigh ho’ part,” agreed Tricks.
Fix said nothing. Ferrets are natural born lock-pickers; and it’s rumored that Houdini, the great escape artist, was taught everything he knew from Rascal, his pet ferret. Coupled with high intelligence, even if magically created from a shiny talisman, a ferret could easily be a master thief to the envy of all criminals around the world. In three minutes flat, Fix had the lock picked and the door opened.
Silently, four ferrets crept into the dark house.
* * *
Anne was having an unpleasant dream that something heavy was sitting on her chest, and she woke up to find it was true.
“A rat!” she shrieked and immediately the room was in bedlam.
Sleeping bags were flung aside along with ferrets who had been foolish enough to be sitting on them when the girls awakened.
Mandy had enough presence of mind to flick on the light; and in the ensuing chaos, Fix was commanding everyone to be quiet while Firefly tried unsuccessfully to hide under Rowan’s bed.
There was a knock on the bedroom door. Everyone froze.
“Girls?” came the voice of Rowan’s father. “Is everything okay? What’s the problem?”
The girls looked at Firefly and at the small, furry intruders and they realized they didn’t have answers for Mr. Reynolds’ questions when he saw the strange visitors to their slumber party.
“Everything’s okay, sir,” she called. “I’m really sorry, but Anne had a bad dream. Everything’s fine.”
There was a pause.
“Okay,” came the voice through the door. “Please go to sleep.”
Anne pointed at the ferrets that had gathered together on the floor. “There’s rats in the bedroom!”
Fix stood up on his hind legs, his expression, he hoped, suitably fierce. “We, little girl, are not rats.”
Anne moaned and gathered her sleeping bag around her. “And they’re talking rats!”
“No, Anne,” Shayla said. “They’re not rats. I recognize them.”
“That’s right!” piped the ferret named Tricks. “We’re not those hairy critters. We’re ... we’re ...” He wrinkled his nose in thought.
“We’re kangaroos!” Kicks responded.
“No. No, I don’t think so,” Mix interrupted. “I know the word starts with the letter ‘f.’ “
”We’re fish!” Tricks said triumphantly.
“Quiet!” Fix thundered, “We’re ferrets. Ferrets!”
Firefly had given up trying to crawl under the bed and tried to shake her wings and her composure back into order. “You’re Dreamland ferrets,” she said finally. “What are you doing on Earth?”
“That is not your concern, pony,” Fix said sternly, “except that your wings are our ticket home.”
Firefly shrugged in that strange way only ponies can. “No problem. You want to return to Dreamland. I can take you back right after sunrise.”
“No,” Fix said. “We want to go back. Now.”
“I can’t fly in the dark,” Firefly said. “That’s way too dangerous.”
Fix paused in thought and turned looking to his brothers for support. He saw them clustered around a lava lamp oohing and ahhing over the red plastic bubbles boiling in the thick purple liquid.
“Wait a minute!” Firefly cried. “I recognize that stone around your neck. That’s the Moochick’s wisdom gem. You stole it!”
“Ferrets don’t steal,” Fix replied in contempt, deciding to ignore his brothers’ slide into ferret behavior. “If it isn’t locked up, it belongs to the finder. That’s first rule in the ferret rule book.”
“Thief!” Firefly shot back. “The poor Moochick has been confused and scatterbrained ever since you stole it.”
Ember and the three girls had gotten onto the bed and were watching the exchange with great interest. For Shayla, Mandy, and Anne, the novelty of a talking pony had just doubled with the arrival of four talking ferrets.
“Firefly,” Shayla said, “I can solve this problem right now.” With that she reached down and picked up her sleeping bag and with a quick toss, flipped it over the four ferrets. With a laugh, she jumped on them where they wriggled under the fabric. “No big deal,” Shayla said.
Except it was.
With a yelp, Shayla found herself rising into the air, still clutching the sleeping bag. Anne and Mandy dove under the covers as Firefly and Ember watched the four ferrets inhale deeply and began to expand. The ferret brothers were not Earth ferrets; they were ferrets of Dreamland and sometimes they could be nightmares.
Shayla rolled off the sleeping bag to fall to the floor watching in disbelief as the ferrets grew in size. In moments, their heads touched the bedroom ceiling.
“Not smart, little girl,” Fix thundered as his three, now giant, brothers snickered.
The wisdom gem, brilliant as a faceted diamond, hung around his neck on a special chain designed to expand when he did. “Now,” he said to the four girls and the pony, “let’s not wake Daddy and Mommy with the big, bad ferrets.”
He looked at Firefly. “You can’t fly in the dark? We’ll wait for sunrise.” With that he sat on his haunches while his three brothers went back to staring at the lava lamp.
Concerned that somebody might see four giant ferrets through the lit window, Fix made the girls pull the shades down over the windows.
And they waited.
Fix’s three brothers spent the time playing “I Spy” with the lava lamp.
At one point, Shayla, in an attempt to overcome the boredom of the wait, got out some sparkly fingernail polish. Immediately, Tricks, Kicks, and Mix insisted the sparkly fluid be put on their own claws while Fix looked on with growing impatience.
Watching the ferrets’ attraction with anything that glistened and sparkled, Shayla thought of a plan. Casually, she whispered her idea to the other three girls and Firefly.
Eventually, light from the rising sun made the edges of the pulled window blinds glow.
Feigning exhaustion, Ember got into Rowan’s bed and pulled the covers over her head. Shayla casually stood by the window while Firefly, Mandy and Anne stood by the closed bedroom door.
“Don’t try and run,” Fix warned. He nodded toward the shape of Ember under the bed clothes and Shayla standing by the window. “You’ll be leaving your friends behind and that’s not a good thing to do.”
Shayla shrugged. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Suddenly, the shape under the bed clothes began to shift and expand.
“What’s going on?” Fix asked. “You! Little girl. Get up!”
The shape under the covers was definitely not the shape of a ten-year-old girl and Fix and his brothers leaned over to see what was going on.
As Fix leaned over the bed, the faceted gem he wore on the chain hung free and at that moment, two things happened.
Shayla pulled open the blinds in a flash allowing the light from the rising sun to flood the room. The light beam hit the gem and shattered the light into thousands of bright, glittering rainbows that turned the room into a glorious show of color. The effect on the ferrets was immediate. With a cry, they were overcome by the glory of cascading colors, distracting them for one precious second.
At the same time, Ember, now a little black pony, pulled back the covers with her hooves. With a snap of her front teeth, she snipped the chain that held the gem allowing it to drop to the bed covers.
Mandy scooped it up and tossed it to Firefly who caught it in her teeth. Anne opened the bedroom door and Firefly fled down the hallway.
“No!” Fix cried and suddenly all four ferrets deflated like old balloons.
Fix fled to the door hoping to stay in range of the influence of the gem. “Come back!” he squeaked. “I want to be smart!”
Anne shut the door in his face and the next moment, Mandy put a waste paper can over him.
* * *
Firefly met Moondancer and Rowan in the clouds way above Rowan’s house. Rowan, happy to be back in her proper body, held on tightly to her winged mount’s mane, but still managed to free one hand to wave excitedly to Firefly.
When they landed in the backyard garden, Rowan entered her house to discover that Shayla, Mandy, and Anne had already helped Ember roll out of Rowan’s bed and get all four hooves on the floor.
About their feet, four little ferrets played with some sparkly costume jewelry Shayla had found in Rowan’s dresser drawer. To keep the curious creatures occupied, Shayla had tossed the cheap trinkets on the floor.
“Oh, how cute,” Rowan said. “Who do they belong to?”
Shayla pointed to the one that was bigger than the rest. He was worrying a glass brooch with his teeth while rolling on the floor. “That one is yours if your mom and dad will let you keep him. The rest of us will take the other three if our parents give us permission to keep them.”
Ember shyly walked over to Rowan. “I just want to say,” she said shyly, “that I liked being a human girl for a day, but I’m glad I’m back to being a pony.”
Rowan laughed and threw her arms around the pony’s neck. “And I was glad to be you for a day, but I’m glad to be home, too.”
* * *
Mr. Reynolds rubbed his eyes as he stumbled into the bathroom. He blinked at the bright morning light when suddenly something flew by his window. Later, he would have sworn that he saw two tiny winged horses carrying a smaller horse between them resting on a sleeping bag tied between the two flying mounts. However, as he wasn’t wearing his glasses, he may just have seen a shadow.
His head starting to ache, he walked out into the hallway to find Rowan and her three friends each holding a small furry animal.
“Daddy!” Rowan said. “They followed us home.” She held out a thin, furry creature with shiny, black eyes. “Can I keep this one?”
“Ask your mother,” was all he could say. “I have to go back to bed.”
A Note From the Author of the Ella Fay Series
Hello all. I am very sad to inform you that this month Ella’s adventures in Dream Valley aren’t quite here... I am not quitting for the umpteenth time, just give me a month and you’ll have your Christmas Story... I promise :) And that should be fun... set in a Victorian mansion. Sorry about this month though :( Time just slipped away from me! So, I’m typing this note here at 10:00 at night on the 30th of October knowing that there’s no way I could possibly finish my Thanksgiving story in time. I’m only about two-thirds of the way done. But I can mold what I have to fit a Christmas story, so next month you’ll have it!
Locked in the Library
by Melody (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bright Eyes sat at the breakfast table, quietly eating her porridge and warm milk. Classy brushed past her to pick up his readily made breakfast. “Did you make breakfast for me, Princess?” he asked.
Bright Eyes nodded. “I’m as sweet as sugar, aren’t I?” she grinned.
“Yes, sure,” Classy, playing along. He picked up his newspaper and flipped through the pages. “Aha! Here it is!” he cried excitedly, pointing to an article on the amount of litter in Ponyland.
“Dad, that’s great! Your article got published!” Bright Eyes hugged her father. Like him, she cared deeply for the environment and even hoped to be an environmentalist when she grew up.
Classy smiled down at his daughter. It had been extremely tough for him and five-year-old Bright Eyes when his wife and Bright Eyes’ mother had died.
“Hey, Dad, today I’m going to the park for a while, then I’m going to the library to do some research for my project. Is that okay with you?” said Bright Eyes.
Classy nodded. “Of course. Do you want to buy some lunch?”
“Yes, please!” replied Bright Eyes, and her father handed her five jangles.
“Have fun, but be back in time for dinner,” called Classy as Bright Eyes pulled her parker off the hook, put it on, and wound her scarf around her neck. She paused briefly before she left to look at the framed photo of her, Classy, and her mother. She kissed it and ran off into the snow.
She skipped through the now thick snow and down the road to the park. “It’s amazing how much it snowed overnight,” she said to herself, looking up at an icicle on a tree branch, glistening in the sunlight. Suddenly, she was knocked to the ground. “Ouch!” she cried, rubbing her side.
“Oh, Bright Eyes!” exclaimed a voice. “I’m terribly sorry!” It was Lancer, and he helped Bright Eyes up from the snow. For a magical moment she felt as if she and Lancer were the only ponies in the world. Her dream was interrupted by a shout from Patch.
“Are you coming to the park?” yelled Patch.
Bright Eyes blushed. “I have to go,” she told Lancer, and she hurried down the street towards Patch. Together, the girls trotted into the park gates and saw their five friends having a snowball fight against some of the boys from their school.
“Wahoo!” cried Patch, and she and Bright Eyes hurried to join in the fun.
“Take that!” shouted Clover; but as she was about to throw the snowball, she tripped and the snowball landed on her head! Melody and Bon Bon chucked more snowballs at the boys who responded quickly by throwing some back at the girls.
The group enjoyed a wonderful morning and by lunchtime, they were both happy and exhausted. “Snowball fights are hard work!” exclaimed Starlight. Sweetheart nodded and Bright Eyes agreed. The ponies waved goodbye to each other and Bright Eyes bought herself a sandwich for lunch. Then it was off to Ponyland Library.
She entered the library quietly and set her notebook and pencil case down, then went to look for some books. She studied hard all afternoon, taking notes, looking for books, reading, photocopying, and using the library computers. She was putting a book back in its place on a shelf and was so exhausted that she found herself nodding off. She laid her head on the soft carpet, and her silky orange mane spread out around her. Within a few minutes, Bright Eyes was asleep.
The librarian checked the clock and looked around. It was 6:00 p.m. and that meant closing time for the library. She shut the door behind her and locked it tight. Then she ran off down the street.
Bright Eyes woke with a start. She looked around her and then at the library clock. It read 6:09. With a gasp of horror, Bright Eyes realized that she was locked in the library. At first she sobbed and wondered how she had let herself fall asleep that easily. Usually, she got to sleep very late and sometimes even had to wake her father up for company.
“Dad!” she cried, tears streaming down her cheeks. What would she do? What would Classy do? He’d be worried sick about her.
And now Bright Eyes was beginning to feel cold and hungry– but not the least bit tired. She looked at her notes and library books. It was going to be a long night and she might as well make use of it. But first, she would try to get help. But how? She knew that there was no phone in the library– the librarian (who was Clover’s mother!) always used her mobile phone. Bright Eyes thought that she would just have to wait until morning for help to arrive. Even though it would probably be absolutely no use at all, Bright Eyes banged on the locked library door. “Somebody, anybody!” she cried. Life was not perfect now.
by Sugarberry and Tabby (Sugrbery@aol.com and TabbyMLP@aol.com)
Many of the characters and events referred to in this story have been documented in earlier tales which can be found at: http://mlpmonthly.tripod.com/StoryM.htm
A waxing moon softened the shadows as Sugarberry lowered herself into one of the easy chairs that graced the turret section of the bedroom. “Why can’t I sleep?” she sighed wearily, rubbing her hooves against her temples. She and Vanguard had mingled with visitors from Vulcanopolis the evening before at Agatha and Hubert’s mansion, and it had been a late night. Sugarberry had thought she would sleep soundly; but now– at three in the morning– she was wide awake, yet terribly exhausted.
A slight tightening of the muscles of her mid-section caused her to drop her hooves to that area. The foal had been calm of late, she realized... not nearly as boisterous as he had been when the punches from his tiny hooves had been quite a distraction. She smiled into the indefinite darkness. The baby was due to be born soon, and then she could hug the little one to her and kiss his soft cheeks and look into his trusting eyes. She closed her own eyes and leaned her head back, savoring the anticipation of meeting her and Vanguard’s foal for the first time face-to-face rather than very present but yet hidden.
Her reverie was interrupted by another pain that crossed her abdomen, and the mare altered her position. Could these be labor pains? But if they were, they weren’t nearly as intense as she had expected. Of course, that would come later. Dr. Toby had assured her that he anticipated no problems with the delivery, aware of her nervousness over this first birthing experience.
This led Sugarberry’s thoughts back to her and Vanguard’s wedding day when Tabby had introduced Faline into the world almost during the exchange of vows. And what a darling Thomas and Tabby had been blessed with! What would it be like to hold a foal that was so uniquely special? Only vaguely aware of the twinge in her muscles this time, she marveled once more over the miracle of new life.
She was so completely immersed in her private pondering that she was oblivious to the fact that Vanguard had awaken to find her gone from his side, and she only surfaced when he laid his hoof on her shoulder. “Are you okay?” The concern in his voice was apparent.
“Just couldn’t sleep,” she assured him, taking his hoof in hers. “I think I partied too hard with our friends last night.” She smiled at him through the weak moonlight.
“Nothing to do with the foal?” he asked, still not convinced.
Shaking her head, the mare responded. “There are some mild pains, but nothing worse than the preliminary contractions that I’ve been feeling for weeks now... and those, Toby says, are perfectly normal.”
“They’ve never gotten you out of bed before,” he noted.
“I just plain ate too much,” insisted Sugarberry. “And there are so many thoughts rambling around inside my head after seeing our friends again.”
“It was good to be with them,” agreed Vanguard, sitting himself down.
“Hydrangea and Pacificus’ little one is a sweetheart.”
“He certainly seemed comfortable– I don’t think I saw him with his eyes open once.”
“It was his first long trip– Hydrangea hasn’t been back to Dream Valley herself since she quit her job at the Café Carousel and moved back to Vulcanopolis.” Sugarberry grinned. “Back then, no one knew she was Giorgio’s sister.”
“Many things have changed since those days.”
“Yes, I love you more than ever.”
“I was going to say that!” Vanguard leaned to his wife and kissed her to prove his point.
“Enrica is glorying in her new grandson; what a wonderful thing it is to have found her long-lost daughter in time to see the next generation make its debut. And Grandpa dotes on little Dante– he won’t make the same mistake with his grandfoal that he made with his own son.”
“He and Enrica are definitely the doting grandparents. And with Giorgio and Clare’s foal so close to delivery, they’ll soon have another little one to love.”
“Mooncurl was beautiful as ever; she and Nello seem to be happy, don’t you think?”
“Very. And I’d be happier if I could be sure you shouldn’t be in touch with Dr. Toby. How do you feel by now?”
“Trust me; if I thought I was in labor, you’d have been the first to know. Now, help me up; maybe some of this night can be salvaged yet.”
* * *
Sitting on the edge of the bed with the darkness outside the windows just beginning to be fringed with the arrival of the new day, Sugarberry yawned and stretched and resisted the temptation to return to the warm blankets. There was something about this day that she had been looking forward to... that was it!
Tonight was the big charity fashion show and dinner that had brought a number of Vulcanopolis ponies to Dream Valley. That enlightenment succeeded in opening the mare’s eyes– literally– but she was still engaged in another all-encompassing stretch when Vanguard appeared from the bathroom, his wet hair signifying that he had just showered. He grinned at her as he saw her sleepy appearance and met her with a kiss on her forehead.
“How are you feeling?”
“I’m rallying,” she yawned.
“Any more pains?”
Sugarberry sat still, thinking. “Nope, nothing.”
Vanguard looked doubtful. “Maybe you should stay home from work, just in case.”
“What? And miss the big party tonight?” She flashed him a smile that dispelled the haggard look around her eyes momentarily. “A shower will fix me right up.” She reached out and patted his cheek. “Trust me.”
The mare stood with only a little boost from Vanguard and made her way to the shower while Vanguard stared after her with a smile. His graceful wife had become a bit less light on her hooves with the addition of the foal’s weight; but in his eyes, she had never been more beautiful. He almost envied her these past months, however, as she experienced first-hoof the growth of the foal within her and felt that first stirring of movement; it was a moment-by-moment bonding that occurred between the mother and the foal as they shared every detail of each day. One of these days, he would have his chance to shower a father’s love on the foal, too; and as the anticipation of the blessed event was beginning to rattle his nerves, that day could not come soon enough.
Vanguard had coffee waiting by the time Sugarberry entered the kitchen; Chocolate Chip was not far behind, and Wishbone soon came up from his basement rooms. The talk was not of an impending birth, however, but of the splendid event that was promising to be a highlight of the Dream Valley social scene. What could one expect when the most sought after fashion designing firm, Clare’s Creations, and one of the richest entrepreneurs of the current times, Guido Casale, were backing this extravaganza?
* * *
There were very few inhabitants of Dream Valley and the surrounding area that were not aware of Guido Casale’s radical change of direction since the unexpected and mutual jilting that had occurred in June on the day of what should have been the most spectacular wedding of the new century. Whether it was nerves or insight, Guido, at the last minute, had seen Tiffany for what she really was... a materialistic-minded mare who could see no further than her next costly purchase. And the white pegasus princess had gotten a good look at her prince... and found that he had scruples. The wedding had been canceled at the very moment when the guests were filling the church, and Tiffany and Guido had gone their separate ways; and if Tiffany was to be believed, she– for one– never gave her ex-fiancé a thought.
Guido, if he himself ever thought of Tiffany at all, had learned something from the experience and had come to realize that the jangles he amassed were worthless if they were not being used for the benefit of his fellow inhabitants of Ponyland. Overnight, it seemed, he aligned himself to every worthy charitable organization that was in need of a wealthy patron, even going so far as to create several foundations that he thought were needed to fill the gaps. And whether it was his name, his reputation, or his dashing good looks, the stallion had evoked a tremendous response to his efforts. And that was what lay behind the fashion show and dinner that was being held tonight in Dream Valley.
As stated, very few ponies were unaware of the underlying purpose of the jangle-raiser and who the ponies were behind it; yet Princess Tiffany, once hearing that Clare’s Creations was involved, listened to no more– her mind immediately began planning her wardrobe needs for the coming season. She was, therefore, only one of a hoof-full who was unaware that Guido Casale was to be an honored guest at the evening’s gala.
* * *
Still uneasy over the dark circles around his wife’s eyes and her sluggish gait on the way to work at The Vet Clinic, Vanguard made another effort to glean her true condition.
“Sugarberry, you will have to admit that you’re not feeling up to par; I’d feel better myself if you’d either go home to rest or call Toby concerning your restless night.”
“I’m here now,” reasoned Sugarberry, looking over the day’s schedule. “And I do feel fine, even if I look a little wan.” She looked up at Vanguard with a positive countenance, but he did not miss the motion of her hoof to her abdomen that signaled another pain. Before he could say anything, she sat down. “But maybe I should call Toby just in case.”
The good doctor wasn’t in his office yet, but his telephone nurse was quick to assure Sugarberry that, unless the pains became stronger and more regular, they were probably not real contractions; she should, however, take it easy and stay off her hooves as much as possible. Sugarberry, hanging up the phone just as the first customer of the day came in, smiled at Vanguard.
“Nurse Pill Bottle says, too, that I have no need to worry; so, you, my darling, have no excuse not to get to work yourself.” As for resting, she thought it best not to share that with Vanguard. She could get as much of that here while still being useful as long as she stayed tied to her desk.
“If I don’t hear from you before then, I’ll call you at noon,” Vanguard said, touching her cheek. “Take care of the two of you.”
“I will,” the mare smiled.
* * *
“Sugarberry, do you know where those samples of cat food we got a day or two ago disappeared to?” asked Tabby, coming out of one of the examining rooms. “I can’t find any.”
“Sure, Tabby; they’re in the storeroom. I’ll bring you some right away.” Sugarberry went off to fulfill her errand, noting with some irritation that the food samples had been set out of reach on the top of the cupboard. Sighing, she moved a chair across the room to the proper vicinity and was just about to climb up on it to reach the samples when Thomas came into the room. He took one look at her and scowled.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.
“Tabby needs those cat food samples,” responded the mare, making another move to climb up.
Thomas restrained her with a hoof. “I’ll get them for you. You’re in no condition to be climbing up on chairs.” He swiftly retrieved the box for Sugarberry. “In future, ask for help... please.”
“I don’t remember you curtailing Tabby’s activities when Faline was on the way,” Sugarberry grouched.
“That would be an impossibility, wouldn’t it?” grinned Thomas. “But you look a little peaked, Sugarberry; and I wouldn’t want you to overwork yourself, for the foal’s sake as well as yours. You’ve gotta think of Vanguard, too. This is a harrowing experience for the father as well.”
“Yeah, I’ve been noticing that,” Sugarberry rejoined, leading the way out of the storeroom.
* * *
Meanwhile, Faline had wandered into the main room after her mother, and so both were present when the door opened shortly to admit a distinguished-looking yellow stallion. “Why, Guido!” Tabby exclaimed in surprise. “How unexpected to see you here!”
“Hello, Tabby,” Guido said, smiling charmingly. “I see you’re looking well. And this must be your daughter!”