My Little Pony Monthly Issue 99 (January 1, 2006)
My Little Pony Monthly
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From the Editor
Greetings and good cheer to our faithful subscribers that are still hanging around and reading this! It's been half a year since I last sent out an issue of My Little Pony Monthly, but due to Clever Clover's insistence in getting his 2005 Christmas story published and the stories of a new writer, Salaries, I decided to make an effort to send out a Holiday Issue. (It would have been a Christmas Issue, but I got delayed. And now it's even past New Year's. Such is my life.) Will any more editions follow this lone publication of 2006? At this time everything is uncertain, but regardless of the outcome I would like you to please drop a line to our two authors this time around and let them know what you thought about their stories! Clever Clover can be reached at Swordrat@aol.com, and Salaries at email@example.com.
Come what may, the staff here at My Little Pony Monthly wishes you all a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tabby, Sugarberry, and all the rest
The Story of Clever Clover's 2005 Christmas Party
by Clever Clover (Swordrat@aol.com)
Friendship Gardens was blanketed in snow. The sun had just set and the stars were starting to sparkle in the night sky. At Clever Clover's home, preparations were complete for the Christmas party, and the guests had already started to arrive. The first guest was, of course, Clever Clover's fiancee, Belle Star. Not far behind were her rivals for the purple prince's affections, Morning Glory and Minoko. Next to arrive was Lady Moonshine and her new apprentice, Hemlock. Lady Moonshine naturally brought several bottles of her most very special tea, with which she promptly spiked the punch.
Belle Star's good friend Coral couldn't make it since her agent had scheduled a Christmas day showing of her art in New Pony, but she promised to be free next year. She had invited Belle Star to the showing, but after the events of the last year, Belle thought it best to have a simple holiday at home with Clever Clover.
The guests gathered in the living room, sipping punch (except for Minoko who was drinking tea right from the bottle) and making small talk.
"You certainly have done a nice job of decorating," Lady Moonshine observed. "It's somewhat reminiscent of the great hall at Malachite Castle."
Clever Clover nodded. "Belle Star fell in love with the great hall decorations when we were at the royal wedding, what was that, three years ago already? And when I asked for her help decorating for the party, it just turned out that way."
"Oh yes! That was the best Christmas ever! So romantic," Belle Star sighed. "Clever Clover! Maybe we could have our wedding next Christmas at the castle!"
Clever Clover shrugged. "We'll see."
"I think it's a fine idea," Lady Moonshine contributed. "I can't imagine a more romantic place for a wedding than a castle. What do you think, Hemlock?"
Hemlock's mind had been elsewhere. He shook his head clear and shrugged. "I... suppose."
Lady Moonshine scowled at her apprentice. "I may let you get by with that answer in your lessons, but we are Clever Clover's guests. Try to be more polite."
The young pony bowed to Clever Clover. "Forgive me, I..."
Clever Clover shook his head. "Don't mention it. It's not like this is some formal shin-dig. We're just a bunch of friends getting together for the holidays."
Lady Moonshine shifted her scowl to Clever Clover. "Maybe you could use some etiquette lessons, too."
Morning Glory nodded knowingly. "Yes, yes. That is the one thing he had in common with that Shadow Clover, no sense of etiquette."
Clever Clover hung his head. "I wish Oak would get here; I know he'd be on my side."
"I need some more punch," said Belle Star, as she sprang up from her seat.
"Now there's a pony who's got her priorities straight," observed Minoko. "Hey, Ryo, could you bring me another bottle?"
"Meow," the lop-eared rabbit sighed and shook her head.
Minoko took the last swallow from her bottle and flung it aside. "Some pet you are."
"Don't worry, I'll get you another drink!" Belle Star, who was already at the refreshment table, dispensed some tea into a small serving bottle and set it along with her own cup of punch and a saucer-shaped teacup onto a tray. As she turned to rejoin the party, the tan pony tripped over Clever Clover's vulpix, Pixie. Belle Star twirled about, trying to regain her footing without spilling the drinks on her tray. She gyrated through the living room and half falling, half bowing, planted the tray soundly on Minoko's lap. "Here is your tea, Minoko."
The red and black pirate pony scowled. "I wanted a big bottle."
"Oops, my mistake." Belle Star took her punch and returned to her place next to Clever Clover on the loveseat.
Minoko took the bottle and cup and, setting the tray aside, got up and walked over to Clever Clover. She was just about to seat herself on the arm of the loveseat next to the prince when there was a knock at the door.
Clever Clover stood up. "I wonder who that will be."
"Merry Christmas!" Enchantment beamed as Clever Clover opened the door. "The royal party is not far behind, but I got so excited I just rushed on ahead!"
"Come in, Enchantment, and help yourself to some punch. Ah, but go easy on it."
"Lady Moonshine got to it already?"
Clever Clover nodded.
"That means Hemlock is here!" The eager filly rushed past her host into the living room.
"Merry Christmas!" the gathered guests greeted her in unison.
"Merry Christmas to you all!" Enchantment replied with a polite bow. "Especially to you, Hemlock."
Hemlock rose from his seat on the sofa. "It's good to see you again. Um, how are your studies going?" he asked, nervously.
"They're going well." Enchantment stepped closer. "How about you?"
Hemlock smiled shyly. "Ah, well..." He snapped his hooves and glanced upward expectantly, but nothing happened.
Enchantment giggled. "Is this what you were trying for?" She snapped her hooves and a sprig of mistletoe appeared above their heads.
"Yeah..." Before he could say more, Enchantment pressed her lips to his. Hemlock blushed as the guests oohed and ahhed.
After what seemed to Hemlock like an eternal moment, Lady Moonshine stepped forward. "All right kids, break it up. I think you've had enough for one night."
* * *
Meanwhile, a short distance from Clever Clover's, three travelers trudged through the snow. "I'd like to thank you for inviting me to the party," said Ironwood, captain of the royal guard. "But I feel like I'll be out of place. I mean, it is a prince's party and I'm just a guardpony..."
King Oak shook his head. "Oh, nonsense! Clever Clover is not the type to worry about such things. Besides, I have a special mission for you."
"A mission, your highness?"
"Aye, if our host is to enjoy a pleasant evening with his fiancee, someone is going to have to keep Minoko from getting between them. As Clever Clover's guest lists are always heavy on the fillies, I figured it couldn't hurt to have an extra stallion around to run interference."
"I see... I'm to 'run interference' with Minoko?"
"That's it exactly! I can imagine less pleasant ways to spend the holiday, or rather I could before I met my lovely Gooseberry."
The queen laughed. "That was a nice save, my dear. But look, it seems we've arrived. I do hope Lady Moonshine is already there. After this brisk walk, some of her tea would go quite well."
"Oh, yes, indeed," the stallions agreed in unison.
As they approached the front door, Ironwood stepped forward to knock, but the king held him back. "Tonight we are all equals. You don't need to do anything for me that I am not capable of doing for myself." With that, the king rapped loudly on the door.
Belle Star opened the door and, seeing the royal guests, bowed low. "Oh! Merry Christmas, your highnesses, and Ironwood. Please come in."
"And a merry Christmas to you. But this 'highness' stuff isn't necessary. Tonight we are all equals "
"See!" called Clever Clover from the other room. "I told you he'd be on my side!"
"Right! Now that that's been taken care of, where's the punch? It's bloody cold out here."
Belle Star led the guests to the refreshment table. Once they had been served, they made their way into the living room. Minoko had moved into Belle Star's seat next to Clever Clover. Seeing this, King Oak nudged Ironwood with his elbow. The guardpony nodded and walked over to Minoko.
"Ah, hello, Minoko. Merry Christmas..."
"You're Metalwood, right?"
Minoko shrugged. "So, do you want something?"
"I thought maybe we could talk."
"Why would I want to talk to you?"
"Well, you were a pirate. I'd like to hear all about your adventures at sea."
"I AM a pirate. Just because those charges have been dropped doesn't change who I am."
"That's cool. Maybe we could go over by the fire and talk about it."
Minoko shook her small tea bottle, which was almost empty. "Yeah, whatever. But I gotta' get somethin' t' drink first."
* * *
While Ironwood was trying to lure Minoko away, Clever Clover had been catching up with the king and queen.
"It's nice to see you both again. But I see Foxglove and Raven couldn't make it."
The king nodded. "Someone had to stay behind and watch the castle. And with Jack O' Lantern in the dungeon, it had to be someone I could trust." The king turned to Lady Moonshine. "Speaking of Jack O' Lantern, how's Hemlock been coming along?"
"Oh, he's been doing quite well, haven't you?" She turned to Hemlock who was so lost in conversation with Enchantment that he was totally unaware of what was being said not five feet away. Lady Moonshine shrugged. "The boy does have a limited attention span, except when it comes to Enchantment."
The queen smiled. "That seems to be just right for a boy his age."
"He gets that from his father, I've heard," said Clever Clover.
"Oh, he doesn't talk much about his father to me. Just who have you been talking too?" Lady Moonshine asked.
"Oh, I don't remember where I heard it, exactly..."
"All right, be that way if you like. But see if I bring you any tea for New Year's."
There was a knock at the door. "That must be Key." If anyone would believe that I talked to the ghost of Hemlock's father, it would be Lady Moonshine, Clever Clover thought as he went to the door. But then, I'm not even sure I believe it.
As he had expected, Clever Clover found Key of the Pony Sea Patrol at the door. "Hi, Clever Clover. Now, I know you're not going to be very happy about this, but he is Belle Star's brother so I couldn't just leave him behind..." Key handed Clever Clover a gayly wrapped gift and slipped past him into the house. "Merry Christmas."
"So, you made it," Clever Clover addressed the tan stallion standing on the doorstep. "Well, I guess since it is Christmas we should at least try to get along, at least for Belle Star's sake." He extended his hoof as a gesture of peace. The tan stallion didn't even acknowledge his presence. "You're not still upset about getting your butt kicked, are you?"
"Oh! Beau! You made it!" Belle Star rushed through the door and gave her brother a big hug.
"It's good to see you, little sister. Though I am surprised that barbaric boyfriend of yours allowed you to invite me."
Clever Clover hung his head and returned to the living room.
"Come in, Beau. And have some punch! It's very good! How are Mom and Dad, and Grandfather?"
"Everyone is well, though they are concerned for you. I told them about the reception I got when I first met Clever Clover, and they agree he is a ruffian."
"Oh, you two just got off on the wrong hoof. I'm sure once you get to know each other you will see what a good pony he is!"
Beau sipped his punch thoughtfully. "We shall see."
The evening wore on. Party games were played, stories were told, and a good time was had by all, though Beau never said a word to Clever Clover. It was nearing midnight when Clever Clover noticed Hemlock sitting by a window, staring at the stars with a melancholy expression on his face.
"Hemlock, is something the matter?" Clever Clover inquired of his guest.
The young pony sighed. "I miss my sister. I thought I could make it through the party without letting it get to me, but seeing Belle Star and her brother..."
Clever Clover didn't know what to say. For a minute, he just stared out at the stars himself, trying to find some words of comfort for Hemlock. "I suppose, wherever she is tonight, she's under the same stars we are. She doesn't seem quite so far away if you look at it that way."
A small smile graced Hemlock's lips. Clever Clover wasn't sure if his words had actually helped, or if he was just trying not to laugh at the lame attempt to cheer him up. Either way, it was an improvement.
"I just wish I had some way of telling her 'Merry Christmas', to let her know that I'm thinking about her."
"I'm sure she knows that you'd remember her on Christmas, the same way I'm sure you know that she remembers you. Now come on, we've all still got gifts to open."
* * *
Meanwhile, on the Dark Isle, Nightshade sat on the side of the bed that had been her brother's. There was a small, sparsely decorated tree in the middle of the room with one gift under it. "Brother, I hope that you have found what it seemed you were always seeking, whatever it was. I know it is for the best that you've left this place, for both you and for our clan, but it is for the sake of our clan that I must stay, that I must see it out to the bitter end. So that I may have vengeance for what Zotikos did to you."
The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 1: Wild Fire Makes a Friend
by Salaries (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Author's note: The main characters in this story are from a race of spirits- spirits of pure good and spirits of pure evil who have been at war with one another for centuries. Two of these spirits, one of good and one of evil, fell in love and had a child. When the other spirits heard of this, they cast the family of three out of the spirit world to live a mortal life on earth.
On a cold winter day, a new pony family came to Dream Valley and moved in to one of the middle class housing projects. The stallion was a white pegasus with a silver mane and tail, light blue eyes, and a symbol of a halo on his side; the mare was a red unicorn with a crimson red mane and tail, flaming red eyes, and the symbol of a pitchfork. The filly was a red unicorn with a flaming orange mane and tail, reddish-orange eyes, and the symbol of a dancing flame. If you stood near these ponies you would feel a radiant energy about them.
As the family sat down to breakfast, the mare looked at her husband with a worried expression on her face. "Salaries, do you think it is wise for us to live amongst mortals?"
"Yes," said the stallion with a smile on his face, "if we are to live on earth we must coexist with the other ponies. If not for our sake," and he put his hoof over his wife's hoof, "for our daughter's." He looked at the filly setting next to her mother.
"I guess you are right," the mare sighed.
As they finished breakfast, Salaries got ready for work; he was a history professor for Pony Pride, with excellent qualifications as he had witnessed the past first-hoof. As he got ready to leave, he kissed his wife and child and told his daughter not to use her spirit powers, unless he or her mother gave her permission.
"I won't, Father," the filly said as she smiled at him.
"That's a good filly." He smiled at his daughter in return and then turned to his wife, giving her another kiss before leaving for work.
"All right, Wild Fire, it's time to start your first day at school," Devilin said as she got their jackets. She walked with her daughter to the administrative building at the school.
"Very well, Mrs. Devilin, we seem to have everything in order," the secretary said as she put papers in a file cabinet and called out to another mare. "Mrs. Sun Bright, would you take Wild Fire to her first class?"
"Yes, ma'am!" And a bright yellow mare came to take Wild Fire's hoof. Devilin bent down and gave her daughter a kiss; then they waved goodbye to each other as Wild Fire was guided to her class.
When they reached the classroom, Sun Bright knocked on the door, and it was opened by an elderly pony. "Miss Hackney, this is Wild Fire and she will be attending your class," the yellow pony explained, pointing to the filly next to her.
"Welcome!" Miss Hackney greeted Wild Fire as she looked down at the filly and took her hoof to guide her into the classroom. As they walked across the room, Wild Fire gazed at the other foals in their seats. Miss Hackney stood in front of the class with Wild Fire and cleared her throat. "Class, this is Wild Fire; I would like to have each of you stand up and give her your name." Each student did this, and when they were finished Miss Hackney showed Wild Fire her seat and started teaching class.
After three hours of studying, the school bell rang for recess. Out on the playground, Wild Fire strolled around and looked at the other foals playing together; then she saw some older foals picking on a young filly, who was on the ground. The filly had a purple body with lavender mane and tail, with the symbol of a bouquet of daffodils. Wild Fire walked towards them and saw the tears in the filly's eyes. "Leave her alone!" the new filly growled at the older foals in front of her.
"And what are you going to do to stop us?" one of the foals said, towering over Wild Fire.
Wild Fire simply stared back at the colt and her eyes began to glow a fiery red. The colt's eyes began to show fear and his face became pale; he started screaming and ran away. When she turned towards the other foals, they, too, ran away.
With that accomplished, Wild Fire walked towards the filly. "Are you all right?"
The filly wiped the tears from her eyes and stood up. "I think so," she said while brushing dust off her body. Just then, the bell rang to start class once more, and the two had to run back to the classroom.
In class, Wild Fire thought to herself, "Why did I feel that I had to save that filly from those bullies? She meant nothing to me and yet when I saw her in tears, something within me wanted to help her." Wild Fire had never had this feeling before and did not know how to handle it.
When the lunch bell rang, Wild Fire went to the cafeteria to get something to eat and then went to one of the outside benches to sit down. As she ate, the filly she had helped at recess came to sit with her. "I would like to thank you for saving me from those mean ponies at recess," the filly announced.
Wild Fire looked at her and gave her a small, tentative smile, not being sure what to say.
"My name is Baby Daffodil. What's yours?" the filly asked, gazing at Wild Fire with her big violet eyes.
Without looking back at Baby Daffodil, Wild Fire answered, "I am called Wild Fire."
"Oh, Wild Fire sounds so dangerous and wild!" Baby Daffodil grinned. "That was really something, how you stared down those bullies. Do you live in Dream Valley?"
Wild Fire looked at Baby Daffodil and wondered why she was so interested in her. "What do you want with me?" she grumbled.
Baby Daffodil lowered her eyes and with a trembling lower lip said, "I just thought we could be friends."
A friend? I never had a friend before, Wild Fire thought to herself as she gazed at Baby Daffodil, feeling something warm in her heart.
Wild Fire stood up from where she was standing and walked over to Baby Daffodil, placing her foreleg on her shoulder. "I would like to be friends with you," she said with a smile. Baby Daffodil looked up into Wild Fire's eyes and gave a big grin.
The bell rang to go back to class, and the two friends walked together back to the classroom.
After school ended for the day, Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil met at the front door and started toward their homes walking side-by-side. Baby Daffodil queried of Wild Fire, "I never found out where you lived."
"I live at 618 Pony Lane in the subdivision," Wild Fire explained.
"No way, I live on the same road, at 619! We're neighbors! Isn't that wild?" Baby Daffodil enthused.
Wild Fire looked at the excited Baby Daffodil and only gave a big smile in response.
The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 2: Wild Fire's First Thanksgiving
by Salaries (email@example.com)
When Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil got to their homes, Baby Daffodil asked, "Wild Fire, would you like to come and play at my house?"
"I'll ask my mother if it would be okay," responded Wild Fire.
"Then I will tell my mother that you are coming over so long as yours allows it," Baby Daffodil acknowledged, as the two fillies went into their separate houses.
When Wild Fire came to the front door, the door opened and her mother stood inside. "Welcome home, little one," Devilin greeted her daughter as she guided her inside and took her to the living room. Sitting on the couch together, Devilin asked, "So how did you like your first day of school?"
"It was fine. Miss Hackney was a very pleasant teacher and the other foals were okay, too," Wild Fire said.
"Did anything interesting occur at school?" Devilin asked as she gazed into her daughter's eyes.
"Well, at recess I helped out a filly with some obnoxious bullies that were hurting her," Wild Fire acknowledged.
"And how did you help this pony?"
"I, um, made the bullies' worst fears appear to them," Wild Fire admitted as she lowered her head.
Devilin's eyes began to glow red with anger. "Didn't your father and I tell you not to use your spirit powers without our permission?!"
"Yes, ma'am, but if you could have looked into those sad eyes-!"
As Wild Fire was talking, she felt her mother getting off the couch. Devilin turned toward her daughter and with her hoof lifted Wild Fire's head and gazed into her daughter's face, seeing a stray tear roll down her cheek. Devilin thought to herself, How could a mortal pony cause my daughter to show such strong emotions? Her gaze softened and she gave her daughter a gentle smile. "This pony you helped must be very special for you to take a chance on being punished for disobeying your father and me about using your spirit powers.
Wild Fire wiped the tears from her eyes and softly replied, "It felt like the right thing to do."
"And was this filly grateful for your help?"
"We have become friends and she invited me to her house to play. May I go?" Wild Fire asked pleadingly.
"And where does this filly live?" Devilin asked.
With a small smile, Wild Fire, replied, "I actually found out, while we were walking home, that we are next door neighbors."
Devilin debated on whether she should let Wild Fire go to her friends house, or send her to her room for disobeying Salaries and herself. There was a knock on the door just then, and when she opened it she saw a purple mare with lavender mane and tail; at her side was a filly that cloned her mother's looks. "May I help you?" Devilin asked.
The new mare softly gazed at Devilin, giving her a warm and gentle smile. "My name is Daffodil and my daughter told me how your daughter came to her rescue when she was attacked by some nasty baby ponies. I wanted to thank her and invite your family to our Thanksgiving dinner."
While the mare was talking, Salaries came up behind her. "What is this I'm hearing about my daughter?" As he spoke, the mare turned around to face him; as Daffodil saw the stallion he mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. He smiled at her, and her heart did a drum roll.
"I, I-" was all Daffodil could get out as she and her daughter were ushered into the house. They sat down next to Wild Fire on the couch in the living room. Salaries sat in the ez-chair; as he sat down, Devilin came and sat on the arm of the chair with one of her forelegs draped around her husband's neck with a little grin on her lips as she watched Daffodil's expression as she gazed at her husband.
As they sat down, Salaries saw that Daffodil was holding a box in her hooves. "Is that box for us?" he asked the mesmerized mare.
Suddenly, she snapped out of her trance. "Oh, yes, I made these peanut butter cookies to give your daughter for her heroic act in protecting my little baby." As she said that, she gave her daughter a hug and Wild Fire the box and a hug.
"Wild Fire, why don't you two young ones go to the kitchen with those cookies while we adults talk," Salaries suggested.
"Yes, Father; come on, Baby Daffodil, let's go," Wild Fire invited. The two fillies slid off the couch and went to the kitchen, sitting down at the breakfast table. As Wild Fire set the box of cookies on the table, she asked, "Why did you come to my house? I thought I was going over to yours after I discussed it with my mother."
"Well, when I got inside, my mother asked me about my day and I told her what you did for me at school and that you live next door to us; and before I could tell her about you coming over, she decided to come over and invite you and your family for Thanksgiving. And she also baked these cookies for you to show her appreciation for what you did." When Baby Daffodil finished her story, she noticed that her friend had been crying. "Did something bad happen when you got home?"
Wild Fire, not wanting her friend to know about her spirit powers, knew that she would have to think of a devilishly good lie. "Yes, we got a letter from my grandmother telling us that my grandfather had passed away, and it was very upsetting to hear."
"I am sorry for your loss. I hope your grandmother will be all right?" Baby Daffodil patted her friend's hoof that lay on the tabletop.
"Oh, yes, some of our relatives live in the same town, so she is not facing it alone."
"I am glad to hear that. Are you and your parents going to the funeral?
Wild Fire began to think quickly about her reply to Baby Daffodil's question. "No, the distance we would have to go would be too great to travel, so we will send our condolences to Grandmother."
"That's nice," said Baby Daffodil.
Wild Fire opened the box of cookies. "Baby Daffodil, how about we have some of these cookies?"
"That sounds great to me!"
As Wild Fire went to get glasses and plates, Baby Daffodil went to the refrigerator for milk; when they got back to the table, Wild Fire placed the dishes and set cookies on the plates while Baby Daffodil poured the milk. They sat on the chairs and began to enjoy the snack.
After some time had passed, their parents came in to the kitchen and saw the fillies' faces full of cookies. "All right, sweetheart, it's time to go back home," said Mother Daffodil.
"I'm coming," replied Baby Daffodil. Before going to her mother, Baby Daffodil approached Wild Fire's parents and gave them each a hug, while sadly saying, "I am sorry that Wild Fire's grandfather died and would like to tell her grandmother that I hope she will feel better soon."
When Baby Daffodil had finished, Salaries and Devilin stared at each other and then looked at their daughter. Wild Fire slowly sank down in her chair.
Mother Daffodil looked at the ponies with sympathetic eyes. "Oh, I am so sorry to hear that you have lost a loved one. I hope you will be able to attend our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday?"
Salaries and Devilin swung their heads to face the mare. "I have a feeling that we will still be able to make it," Salaries assured her as he looked back towards his daughter.
"Oh, that's good." Daffodil gave a gentle smile to the family. "All right, honey, let's go." As she took Baby Daffodil's foreleg and walked out the door, they all said their goodbyes.
When Devilin closed the door, she looked toward her husband and then they both looked toward the kitchen. "I think a little filly has some explaining to do," Salaries spoke with a little irritation. They returned to the kitchen and stood on either side of Wild Fire's chair and looked down at her. "Wild Fire, I would like to know where Baby Daffodil got the impression that we had a dead relative?" Salaries chided.
Wild Fire looked up to face her parents and began to explain. "Baby Daffodil had seen that I had been crying; I didn't want to tell her about Mother scolding me for using my spirit powers, so I told her it was because my grandfather had died."
Hearing that Wild Fire had also used her spirit power without permission, Salaries looked at her with disappointed eyes and told her to stay put while the two adult ponies went to the living room to discuss the problem at hoof.
After an hour had passed, Salaries and Devilin walked back into the kitchen to tell Wild Fire their decision. "Wild Fire," Salaries began, "your mother told me that your spirit power was used because you wanted to protect Baby Daffodil from those bad little ponies. Even though you used it for a noble purpose, you still disobeyed us and also fabricated a lie that put your mother and me in an uncomfortable situation, so we have decided that two weeks of grounding would be a proper punishment for you."
"Two weeks!" Wild Fire's eyes widened in disbelief and her jaw dropped to the floor.
"Yes, two weeks; but because this 'Thanksgiving' is so close, we have decided to start your punishment the week after and if anyone asks why you were grounded, you are to say that you told a big lie that got out of hoof. That is all; do you understand?"
"Yes, sir, I understand," Wild Fire said, pouting.
Then Salaries told his daughter to tell them the grandfather story exactly the way she had told it to Baby Daffodil, while Devilin started dinner. After dinner, they all went to bed and to sleep.
For the next few days, Wild Fire kept her powers in check, no matter how much she wanted to use them at times. She feared that if she used them her parents would punish her worse than they already had.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil were playing in Baby Daffodil's backyard. As Baby Daffodil looked at her best friend who was playing with My Little People dolls, she began to giggle, making Wild Fire stare at her. "What is so funny, baby Daffodil?" Wild Fire asked.
"Oh, it's just that I'm so happy that you are going to be with me on Thanksgiving," Baby Daffodil said in a very happy voice.
Wild Fire started grinning. "What are friends for, if not to be there for each other?
After a few more hours of play, Baby Daffodil's mother opened the back door and called to the fillies, "Girls, time to come inside for dinner!"
As the two fillies nodded their heads in acknowledgment, Baby Daffodil replied, "Just let us pick the toys up and we will be right in, Mother."
"Okay, dear, but don't take too long."
"We won't, Mother." Mother Daffodil went inside and the fillies started to clean up.
When the fillies had finished and were inside, they found Mother Daffodil talking on the phone. She finished the conversation and, hanging up, addressed Wild Fire. "That was your mother on the phone, and she would like you to return home after you have dinner with us."
"Yes, ma'am," Wild Fire replied dutifully. They all headed to the dining room, where Baby Daffodil's father was seated. They all feasted on the food in front of them.
As the dinner came to an end, Wild Fire thanked Ranger and Mother Daffodil for dinner and Baby Daffodil for having her over to play. Then she trotted off to her house and went inside and walked toward the living room where she found her father in the ez-chair and her mother on the couch. Wild Fire plopped herself on the couch next to her mother.
As she sat there, Salaries cleared his throat to speak, and gazed upon the females that sat before him. "I felt that we should know more about this 'Thanksgiving' before we went to our neighbors' Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, so we will not feel so out of place when we are there. For the past few weeks I have studied the history and traditions of this Thanksgiving and wish to enlighten my beloved family to what I have learned." So his family sat and listened to him as he told them about Thanksgiving; when they felt fully acquainted with the subject, they went up to bed.
The next morning found Wild Fire and her parents at the breakfast table talking about the Thanksgiving dinner that evening. "Does anyone have any questions on our discussion we had yesterday on Thanksgiving?" Salaries asked his family.
Devilin looked at her husband with a devilish smile and told him, "I feel confident in my knowledge of this holiday."
"I do, too," Wild Fire replied.
"Good, then after breakfast we should get ourselves ready for the evening at the neighbors'," Salaries said with an angelic smile on his lips.
As they finished their breakfast, Salaries gazed at the clock; it was ten-thirty and they needed to be at the dinner by three-thirty.
It took three hours to get ready for the dinner party, so the family decided to wait in the living room. Devilin finally began to speak, "I think that we should go ahead to the neighbors' house so that we can get a look at this Thanksgiving before it actually starts."
"That sounds like a very good idea, my love," Salaries agreed, and so they proceeded over to the home of Baby Daffodil.
When they got to the house and rang the bell, the door opened and a stallion appeared. This was Baby Daffodil's father, Ranger. He was a rusty orange color; his hair was bright yellow and his symbol was an evergreen forest. As he recognized who the ponies were, he pulled the door open wider to let them in.
As Wild Fire walked past the stallion, she greeted him with a question. "Hello, Ranger. Where is Baby Daffodil?"
Ranger looked down at Wild Fire and replied, "She is in the kitchen with her mother." So Wild Fire trotted to the kitchen to be with her friend. Ranger turned back to the other two ponies. "It is still a bit early for Thanksgiving dinner, but you are welcome to relax in the living room." As they walked towards the room, Salaries and Devilin looked at all the fall decorations covering the interior.
When they got the living room and sat down on the couch, Mother Daffodil came in with four glasses of apple cider and they all sat to chat until the food was finished cooking. While the adults were chatting in the living room, Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil played in Baby Daffodil's room. Other guests began to arrive and were introduced to Salaries, Devilin, and Wild Fire.
Then Thanksgiving dinner was ready to eat, and Mother Daffodil called everyone to the dining room table. They all sat around the table and gave thanks; everyone started to eat, or talked about family, or the last gossip. When the story of the dead grandfather was told, they all gave the three spirit ponies their condolences; the spirit ponies were overwhelmed with the compassion and friendship that these ponies gave to three strangers. When the evening came to an end and the ponies were ready to go, hugs, kisses, and hoof-shakes were given all around, and even the spirit ponies were included.
When only Salaries, Ranger, Devilin, Mother Daffodil, Wild Fire, and Baby Daffodil were left, the spirit ponies gave their thanks and went back home. As they were walking back, Devilin looked to her family and said with a sigh, "Ever since my creation, I have never felt so much warmth and caring from so many in one place... excluding meeting you and Salaries." The only response Devilin got was a loving kiss from her husband and a gentle hug from her daughter.
The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 3: Wild Fire's Gift to Dream Valley
by Salaries (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Author's dedication: I dedicate this story to Tabby and Sugarberry for their wonderful Christmas stories that inspired Wild Fire's Gift to Dream Valley, and I hope that the spirit and heart that you two put into your stories that gives them so much life will always be strong and never fade away.
After Thanksgiving, Wild Fire started noticing a change in Dream Valley as she gazed at the colored lights, sphere-shaped objects, and iridescent tinsel that covered the town as she was walking to and from school with her best friend, Baby Daffodil. Eventually Wild Fire questioned her friend, "Why are all the ponies hanging all these things in Dream Valley?"
Baby Daffodil looked at her friend with a puzzle expression. "Don't you know what Christmas decorations are?"
Wild Fire gave her friend a blank look. "What is Christmas?"
Baby Daffodil's eyes widened and her mouth gaped open. "Haven't you celebrated Christmas before?"
Wild Fire looked at her friend's stunned expression and tried to think of an answer that would not get her in trouble with her parents, like when she had lied about having a dead grandfather. "Where we came from, they did not celebrate Christmas," Wild Fire finally said.
Hearing this, Baby Daffodil felt sorry for Wild Fire, who had never had a Christmas while growing up. "I feel so bad that you never had the chance to experience the joy of Christmas!" She laid her right front hoof on Wild Fire's shoulder.
"That's okay, Baby Daffodil; it doesn't bother me that I never had a Christmas, so don't worry about it," Wild Fire said, hoping that Baby Daffodil would just forget about it.
"If that's what you want, Wild Fire," Baby Daffodil said with a sigh, putting her hoof back on the ground.
The two fillies reached their respective houses and said their farewells. When baby Daffodil got inside, she saw her mother tidying up the house. As she set her backpack down, she went towards her mother. Mother Daffodil looked up. "How was your day, sweetheart?"
"It was okay," Baby Daffodil said with a frown on her face.
"By the look of you, I would say that you have a problem." Mother Daffodil held her daughter's head in her hoof and looked into her eyes. "Would you like to talk about it, honey?"
Baby Daffodil was silent for a few minutes, and then started to speak. "Mother, if you knew someone who never experienced the joy of Christmas, what would you do?"
On hearing this question, Mother Daffodil sat on the couch and placed her daughter next to her. "Well, honey, that all depends on that pony's religious beliefs; some ponies have different religious beliefs from ourselves and do not celebrate Christmas like we do."
"Well, how do I find out if this pony's religious beliefs are the same as ours?"
"Just go up to your friend and ask politely what religion their family is the next time you two are together." Mother Daffodil placed her front hoof on Baby Daffodil's leg and gave a gentle pat. "Now, go upstairs and get cleaned up for dinner, sweetheart."
"Yes, ma'am!" Baby Daffodil slid off the couch and went upstairs.
Mother Daffodil watched her and wondered if the pony Baby Daffodil was worried about could be Wild Fire, knowing how close the two fillies were now. Mother Daffodil also got up and went to make dinner.
The next day as Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil were going to school, Baby Daffodil thought to herself of what her mother had told her about different religious beliefs and wondered if her friends had different beliefs than herself.
All during school, Baby Daffodil puzzled over how she would approach Wild Fire on the subject. By the time she felt comfortable bringing it up, they were heading home from school. "Wild Fire, may I ask you a question?"
Wild Fire stopped walking and looked at her friend. "This doesn't have anything to do with Christmas, does it?"
"Not directly," Baby Daffodil said with a pleading look on her face, making Wild Fire roll her eyes toward the sky and think to herself, Why me?
However, she told her friend in a cool but pleasant voice, "What do you want to ask me?"
Baby Daffodil paused to put her thoughts in order so that she would not say anything offensive. "I was wondering what church you go to on Sundays?"
"What is a church?" Wild Fire asked with a look of puzzlement on her face.
Baby Daffodil looked at her friend with a surprised expression on her face, which made Wild Fire wish that she had never opened her mouth. "You have never been to a church?" Baby Daffodil asked in disbelief.
Wild Fire, wanting to get off the subject, told her friend, "I may have gone to a church when I was very little and just don't remember."
"Then do you think I could ask your parents what church you have gone to?" Baby Daffodil asked.
Seeing that Baby Daffodil would not stop bugging her about the topic, Wild Fire decided to give in. "Let me talk to my parents and I will tell you what they say tomorrow. Okay?"
Baby Daffodil thought it over and replied, "Okay." Then they resumed their walk.
"How am I going to explain this church thing to Mom and Dad and not sound like I got myself in a mess again?" Wild Fire berated herself when she got home and had separated from Baby Daffodil. She chided herself for being too inquisitive and ever asking about Christmas; she should learn to keep her mouth shut around mortals, even if the mortal was her best friend.
When Wild Fire was finally ready to face her parents, she went to the living room where her father was reading the paper and her mother was just coming in from the kitchen. Wild Fire sat down on the couch, and Salaries looked up at her. "Aren't you supposed to be grounded in your room for two weeks, young lady?"
"Yes, sir, but I have a little problem I need your help on."
As Devilin heard this, she walked up to the couch and sat next to her daughter. "And what type of trouble is it that you're in?"
Wild Fire saw her parents staring at her and started fidgeting to find the right words to say. "Well, I got into a little discussion with Baby Daffodil about all those decorations covering the city, and she wants to know what kind of church we go to." Devilin herself looked a little puzzled at this as well as Wild Fire, but Salaries smiled at the two females.
"A church is a place that the ponies go to praise the Great Creator," Salaries explained.
Wild Fire was still a little puzzled. "Who is this Great Creator?"
Salaries and Devilin looked at their daughter with a loving smile, and Salaries decided to tell his daughter about their life before they lived with the mortals. "You see, Wild Fire, before you were born and we came to live with these ponies, your mother and I lived with the Great Creator, me on the side of good and your mother on the side of evil. We were always in battle, keeping each other from being the dominant force. Your mother and I met in one of these battles; we were both ready to destroy each other, but as we stood and stared at each other something within us- be it love, the Great Creator, or just being unsure- kept us from wanting to hurt each other. Other battles kept us busy, but the thoughts and feelings we had for each other grew, until we could no longer ignore them.
"We knew that the consequence would be for one of pure good and one of pure evil to consummate their love for each other. We did not care as long as we were together; and when your mother gave birth to you nothing in the universe could hold back the joy I felt. However, our joy was not to last as the other spirits got suspicious of our actions and found out about your birth. They were prepared to destroy your mother, you, and me. If it wasn't for the intervention of the Great Creator, we would not be here talking right now; instead of having us destroyed, He banished us to the mortal world, where we must live and act like mortals ourselves."
As Salaries finished his story, his daughter looked at him and asked, "You are not going to want me to tell Baby Daffodil that story when she asks me what church I go to, are you?"
"No, of course not; you just tell her that we are Catholic and with our traveling and our settling in Dream Valley, we never had time for a proper Christmas nor going to church on a regular basis." Now that Salaries was finished, Devilin went back to the kitchen to prepare dinner and Wild Fire went upstairs to her room for her two weeks of being grounded.
The next day, the two fillies headed to school and Baby Daffodil asked Wild Fire, "So did your patents tell you what church you go to?"
Wild Fire recalled what her father had told her to tell Baby Daffodil concerning their religion, minus the family story, and gave the information to her friend word-for-word from what Salaries had said.
After hearing her friend and finding out why she had not known her religion or what Christmas was, Baby Daffodil felt sorry for Wild Fire and decided to ask her parents after school what could be done to make this Christmas a special one for Wild Fire, but she wanted any plans kept secret. She simply looked at her friend with a smile and said, "I am glad that you and I go to the same church and that your parents did not completely forsake Christmas."
As Baby Daffodil finished talking, Wild Fire thought that the subject was now behind them and gave her friend a smile of relief.
All during school, Baby Daffodil made sure that she did not do or say anything that would reveal her plans to Wild Fire. After school, the fillies walked to their neighborhood and parted ways after saying goodbye. Baby Daffodil, upon going inside her house, sought out her parents in the kitchen.
Her parents gave her a friendly greeting. "Hi there, sweetheart, how was your day?"
When Baby Daffodil took her seat, she began to tell her mother and father about Wild Fire's religion; Ranger and Daffodil also began to feel sorry for their daughter's friend as they heard the story. As Baby Daffodil finished, she asked them, "Isn't there something we can do to make this Christmas something special for them?" She looked up at them with a pleading look on her face.
Mother Daffodil thought to herself while looking at her daughter and then her husband. "Ranger, do you think that you could get some of your buddies to help you get a Christmas tree from the Dark Forest?"
"After I tell them why we need the tree, they will be more than happy to help," Ranger said with confidence.
"That's good, and I will go and call the mares around town; I know they will donate some Christmas decorations when I tell them what the purpose is," Daffodil continued.
Baby Daffodil, feeling left out, asked, "What about me?"
"Keep your friend and her family busy and make sure they don't find out what we are doing before we are ready with the surprise," Mother Daffodil planned.
The next morning, Ranger, Daffodil, and Baby Daffodil sat down to breakfast together. "Does everyone know what to do?" Daffodil asked.
"I am going to get my friends to help us get a Christmas tree," Ranger replied.