Author’s Note: This story parallels the events in “History,” in which Clever Clover vanquishes the Furby from the Isle.
Enchantment rushed urgently through the passages of Malachite Castle toward the magical laboratory of her teacher, the mysterious Magus. She brushed past the ponies of the castle who now wandered aimlessly about, their minds virtually blank. They had been that way when she and Magus had returned from a magical herb gathering expedition on the north slope on the mountain. Raven, the regent and the king’s most trusted advisor, was unaffected as was Enchantment herself and hopefully Magus. Raven had sent word to Prince Clever Clover in Friendship Garden, but Enchantment feared he would not arrive in time to save them.
The young pony knocked on the door of her teacher’s laboratory. “Master Magus, are you there?”
“Oh, Enchantment. Come in, we’ve got work to do.”
She entered the laboratory to find it more cluttered than usual. “It looks like you’ve been busy. Do you know how to deal with that thing?”
“What? Thing? Oh, no, the others will see to it. We have more important things to attend to.” The pink-maned Magus rummaged through bottles and bowls on the workbench.
Enchantment was dumbfounded. “What! That thing is stealing the minds of everyone on the Isle. What could be more important?”
“The force behind our uninvited guest. Our old friend Jack O Lantern has returned.”
“Jack O Lantern? Are you sure?”
“Quite. This is just the sort of thing that he would try. If he’d unleash that vile imp Bic upon his own people, there’s no telling how low he would go.”
“But how will we defeat him? When I encountered him at Clever Clover’s, I was able to catch him off guard. I doubt that will work again.”
Magus grinned. “Don’t worry, I’ve got other tricks up my sleeve.” The master magician produced a small glass vile apparently from out of nowhere.
Enchantment stared in wonder. “Oh, what is it?”
“It is something I found in the laboratory shortly after Jack O Lantern was banished and I became master wizard. It seems to be a base for a potion Jack was making for himself. To insure maximum potency, he concocted this preparation using a sample of his own hair. Any potion we choose to make from it will be a powerful weapon against him.”
“So, what sort of potion are we going to make?” Enchantment asked eagerly.
“That is a good question. Since we don’t know exactly what he’s up to, we don’t know exactly what type of potion to make.”
“So what do we do?”
“We make a general potion, like the one in your pouch. It will lose some power, but the preparation Jack O Lantern left us will make up for it. Now, you get to work on gathering the ingredients while I prepare some special equipment.”
Enchantment went to work gathering the necessary bottles for the potion while Magus disappeared down one of the many winding passages of the laboratory. By the time the ingredients where assembled, Magus had returned with a large chest. The master magician began to carefully mix the potion, with help from his apprentice Enchantment. When the potion was finished, Magus produced an ancient key.
“Oh, is that for the chest?” Enchantment asked.
Magus proceeded to unlock the chest and lift the heavy lid. Inside lay the most gaudy magical device Enchantment had ever seen. Some sort of wand perhaps? But it was too big to be a wand, and it was decorated with pink and red hearts and bows.
“What is it?” gaped Enchantment in disbelief.
Magus lifted the object from its resting place. “It is an ancient talisman of great power.” He grabbed the large heart on the end of the wand and pulled it off, reveling a hollow inside. He proceeded to pour the potion into the hollow and replace the heart. “There, it is ready. But you must be careful how you use it. The potion will only be good for three spells, so use them wisely.”
“Me? I have to use that? Why can’t you?”
“I am going to be busy making sure that this cannot happen again. Don’t worry. I’m sure you can handle Jack O Lantern.”
“That goes without saying. But do I have to be seen in public with that?”
“What’s wrong with it? Besides, the only one who will see you will be Jack O Lantern.”
“Oh good. He’ll be laughing so hard I won’t even need to use magic. I’ll just club him over the head with that doohickey.” Enchantment picked up the talisman and swung it like a baseball bat.
Magus grabbed it away from his apprentice. “That is not a toy! Treat it with respect. Now, I have determined Jack O Lantern’s location in a valley to the east; but I’m not sure exactly where in the valley he is, so you will have to do some searching once you get there.”
“But how far is the valley? If Jack O Lantern is there now, how can we know that he will still be there when I get there?”
“It is far, but I can open a portal. You will be there within minutes.”
“Hey, if you can open portals like that, why do I have to hike all the way to Friendship Garden to visit Clever Clover?”
“This is powerful magic that I reserve for urgent maters such as this. Now, are you ready?” The master handed the talisman back to his apprentice.
Enchantment took the magical item, twirled it deftly in one hoof, and struck a pose. “You can count on me!”
Magus waved his hooves and spoke the ancient magic word, “Adarakadabara!” A swirling, floating disk of nothingness appeared before the ponies. “Now, Enchantment, all you have to do is step through and you can begin your search.”
“And away we go!” Enchantment hopped through the ethereal portal. When her hooves touched ground, she stood on a wooded hillside. Birds sang in the distance and the sound of flowing water filled the air. There was no sign of Jack O Lantern, or anyone else in the tranquil valley.
“I’m not going to find Jack O just standing around, but I have no idea how to find him. If I had been studying tracking instead of magic, I might have a chance; but all I know is magic. And not even Magus’ magic could find his exact location. Hm, I wonder if this thing can help?” The red and white pony held the talisman in front of herself. “It only has three charges; but if I can’t find him, I won’t be able to use any of them. Here goes nothing.” A word appeared in the pony’s mind, and she somehow knew it was the ancient spell she needed to find her adversary. “Hocus Pocus!”
The talisman began to glow and Enchantment was lifted into the air. In a trance-like state, she lowered the talisman and began to swivel on air. A moment later she was once again standing on the hillside, holding the talisman pointing down the valley.
“Well, that seems to have worked. I hope.” And she began to walk.
* * *
Down the valley several miles, in a cave overlooking the river, Jack O Lantern sat hunched over an ancient magical text. He lifted his head as if he heard something. “Hemlock, come here!”
A black-maned, green pony entered the cave. “What do you want, master?”
“I have sensed something. I wondered when my old apprentice would use that preparation I left him. But he sends his own apprentice in his place. He does not even respect me enough to come himself! I had hoped to provoke the Magus himself. I will not even worry myself with this; I shall leave the apprentice to you.”
Hemlock bowed. “As you wish, master.”
* * *
Enchantment strode cautiously through the wooded valley. She knew what direction to go, but she didn’t know how far. She could come upon the evil wizard at any moment. The talisman was held at the ready as she contemplated how to best use the two remaining spells. If she caught Jack O Lantern unaware, she could finish it with just one... a sleep spell perhaps or freeze him in a block of ice. But if he was aware of her presence, she would have to do something to distract or confuse him. Little did she know it was Jack O Lantern’s new apprentice, not the master himself, who would confront her.
An unusual odor met the young pony’s nose. A fire... and something else. A familiar smell. Something magical, a potion of some sort. She was getting close. Focusing her mind on her mission, she crept forward, keeping to the bushes. Up the hillside toward the cave she crawled, preparing her spell. She paused at the mouth of the cave. Holding the talisman in one hoof, she took out her magic pouch with the other. “Mana of all creation, hide me from the prying eyes within.” And with that, she turned invisible.
Jack O Lantern was still hunched over his book when Enchantment entered. She held up the talisman and concentrated on the sleep spell, waiting for the magic word from the talisman; but before she could speak it, Jack O Lantern broke the silence. “Hemlock, see to our guest.”
Enchantment gasped in astonishment, then she noticed the smoke swirling around the floor of the cave and around the voids where her unseen hooves would be. In her shock, the invisibility spell faded. Before she could recover her composure, a handsome young stallion stepped out of the shadows between her and Jack O Lantern. Their eyes met and time seemed to stand still.
Shaking her head clear, Enchantment blushed and held the talisman behind her back. “I have come to put an end to your evil, Jack O Lantern!”
Hemlock still stood slack-jawed before the filly apprentice. “Hemlock!” Jack O Lantern bellowed at his apprentice. “Deal with her!”
“Uh, yes master.” Hemlock formed a magical sign with his hooves and mumbled a spell in an ancient tongue. Tendrils of darkness swirled around him, reaching out for Enchantment. The tendrils radiated cold.
Enchantment felt them come near to her. She could not use the talisman; it was only good against Jack O Lantern. Again she wielded her magical pouch. “Mana of all creation, drive back the darkness with the warmth of your light.” A ring of fire appeared around her. Hemlock’s tendrils evaporated as they neared the flames.
The villain’s apprentice formed another sign, and a heavy rain fell from the roof of the cave over Enchantment. Her protective flames where quenched, and the cave filled with steam. The water vapor was so thick that Enchantment couldn’t even see her hoof in front of her face. Thinking quickly, she twirled the talisman and shouted the magic word, “Alakazam!”
Hemlock was frantically trying to come up with a spell to entrap the magical pony girl. Making another sign he cast a spell of wind, which quickly cleared the cave of steam. It also filled the cave with the confetti-like remains of Jack O Lantern’s tomes, which Enchantment had shredded in the confusion.
“That brat!” The evil pony bellowed. “She ruined years of research! And you, Hemlock, what were you thinking? Why didn’t you deal with her when you had the element of surprise?”
Hemlock hung his head. “I am sorry master. But you didn’t tell me Magus’ apprentice was a…girl! It caught me off guard, but I won’t let it happen again. I promise.”
“See that is doesn’t. Now we have a lot of work to do to make up for this setback.”
* * *
Enchantment returned to Magus’ laboratory through the portal. Her teacher was waiting for her. “Weren’t you supposed to bring Jack O Lantern back? How can we make sure he won’t cause any more trouble if he’s still on the loose?”
“Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned. But I did manage to destroy a lot of his research.”
“I suppose that’s something. But unless you did it without wasting the potion, he’ll be considerably more difficult to defeat next time.”
Enchantment hung her head. “I used two spells.”
Magus shook his head. “Only one left? I suppose it’s better than nothing.”
“We could always make more of the potion,” Enchantment suggested.
“How? Without the preparation or something from Jack O Lantern himself we cannot make a potion to combat him.”
“Would this do?” Enchantment, grinning, produced a large part of Jack O Lantern’s tail. “I chopped it off while shredding his books. I figure we can make quite a bit of potion with this.”
“Ha ha! Enchantment, I’m sorry I doubted you! But if you were able to bob his tail, why couldn’t you defeat him?”
“He had an apprentice (a really cute one).”
“Oh? Hm, I should have expected this. That will complicate matters a bit.”
“The apprentice, Hemlock, is from the Night clan.”
Magus recoiled at Enchantment’s announcement. “That’s impossible. The Night clan never made the great migration. They haven’t been seen in centuries.”
Enchantment grinned knowingly. “True, but neither have the Fire clan.”
“Hu? Fire clan? What do they have to do with this?”
“Oh, nothing I suppose. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go wash up and get some rest.”
“Yes. You deserve some rest. I have everything under control here.”
The young apprentice trotted off to her room. Magus began to return bottles to the cupboards. “That girl is clever. Yes, I made a good choice for my apprentice. Given time, she will figure everything out.” He took off his pointed hat and hung it from a peg. Inside, hidden from view, was a small pin. A silver disk with an emerald in the center. “The lost clans will return soon. But if Jack O Lantern has influence over the Night, I dread to consider the consequences.”
After his encounter with the Furby, Clever Clover made the long trek home and arrived at Friendship Garden early one evening. As he lazily plodded down the path to his house he ran into Morning Glory.
“Hey Clever Clover, how’s everything going back home?”
“Oh, hey Morning Glory. Fine, now.”
“I was talking to Lady Moonshine the other day and she told me the most fascinating things about the Isle.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Well, like that when you were sent here as a baby, so was another pony, a princess. And she was going to marry you some day.”
“Uh hu, I’ve heard this all before.”
“And do you know who she said the other pony was?”
“No. And as I told Raven, I don’t think I want to know. Not right now any ways.”
“Do you mind if I told you what she said about me? That I’m a princess!”
“Uh hu, that’s nice…” The purple prince froze in his tracks. “Princess?”
Morning Glory threw her forelegs around Clever Clover’s neck. “That’s right. You and me are destined to be together!”
Clever Clover hung his head. “Oh boy.”
The purple pony arrived at his doorstep shortly, followed by Morning Glory, who had been going on and on about their destiny together. Clever Clover opened the door, which wasn’t locked, and headed right for the kitchen. As soon as he set foot inside, his black and red houseguest, the pirate pony Minoko jumped from the couch where she had been reading romance novels and bounded toward the front door.
“Oh, Clever Clover, you’re home. How was the trip? What lies did Raven tell you about me?”
Morning Glory scowled at the pirate. “Oh, you’re still here?”
Minoko returned the pony’s scowl. “Yeah, so what’s it to you?”
“Well everyone knows that you’re a freeloader, and Clever Clover has exceeded every reasonable expectation of hospitality; and you have done nothing to repay him. And while I respect his compassion, I’ll have to insist he throw you out. It just wouldn’t look proper for my fiancé to have another woman living under his roof.”
Clever Clover poured himself a glass of milk, apparently oblivious to the other ponies.
Minoko turned to her host. “Hey Cleve, you’re not going to marry this chick, are you?”
“Of course he is,” Morning Glory didn’t give Clever Clover time to respond. “Our marriage was arranged before we were born!”
Just then the front door swung open to revel Belle Star. “Mr. Clever Clover, I heard you were back and wanted to return your iron. Thank you so much for letting me borrow it. I have no idea how mine bust into flame like it did. Are you having a party?”
Clever Clover drained his glass in one long draw. Minoko and Morning Glory were too busy arguing with each other to worry about Belle Star and Clever Clover’s iron, even though it had been Minoko who had loaned it to her while Clever Clover was away.
“Clever Clover doesn’t have to marry you just because your parents made an arrangement. He’s free to choose whoever he wants, even me.” Minoko had never thought of marrying Clever Clover before, but with Morning Glory threatening to have her evicted with the same breath that she announced she was going to marry Clever Clover made her want to crush all of her ambitions. And if that meant marrying Clever Clover, then so be it.
“Oh, and why would he choose you? I am a princess, and a beautiful one at that. What have you got to offer? You’re a pirate and you’re not that much to look at.”
“Now both of you,” Belle Star cut in. “There’s no need to argue. I’m sure if we just talked this out…”
“You keep out of this,” Morning Glory snapped.
Belle Star began to pout. “B…but…”
“Shuddup will ya?” Minoko commanded. “Mind your own business.”
As Clever Clover rinsed his glass, Belle Star began to bawl at the top of her lungs. Clever Clover would normally have wanted to comfort her and try to calm the others down, but tonight he was too tired and afraid it would just cause more trouble. So he decided to go to bed. “Good night everybody,” he said wearily as he shuffled off to his bedroom.