Silver Swirl's Balloon Trip
written by Princess Silver Swirl

One lazy summer morning, Princess Silver Swirl of Friendship Castle woke up early. This was very unusual, and generally happened once in a blue moon. The moon was ordinary now, without the slightest tint of azure. So why the early rising? Silver Swirl was excited.

"Jade! Melisande!" Silver Swirl awakened her dragon and her Mew Pokèmon. "It's balloon day!" The two small creatures rose groggily.

Silver Swirl, we don't start ballooning until this evening. Why did you have to wake us up now? complained Jade telepathically. Melisande seemed equally disgruntled.

"Oh, sorry," said Silver Swirl, somewhat abashed. In a moment, however, her spirits were high again. For this very evening, she was going to do something she had dreamed about for months. She was going to ride in a hot air balloon across the night sky. The moon would be full, the clouds would be silvery, and...

"Snap out of it!" said Melisande.

Silver Swirl blinked and left her daydream behind. "Sorry," she said. "Here, let's go down to the kitchen and get some breakfast."

All Silver Swirl could talk about that day was the balloon voyage, which was planned to begin after sunset and last till dawn the next morning.. She chattered to her friends about how wonderful it would be, how much she was looking forward to it, and how she would tell them all about it the next morning.

"Better try to take a nap before you go," advised Princess Morning Glory. "You wouldn't want to fall asleep in the balloon."

"Bring a book in case you get bored," suggested Princess Twinkle Star. "And a blanket in case it's chilly."

"Don't forget snacks," reminded Lady Cupcake. "It would be hard to enjoy the scenery on an empty stomach."

"If you have a really good time, maybe I'll try ballooning-- so make sure you remember what it was like," Princess Ivy added.

Princess Crystal looked worried. "Be careful, Silver Swirl. I foresee strange happenings on this trip."

"Oh, come on Crystal. You worry too much," scoffed Lady Light Heart.

Nevertheless, Silver Swirl promised to heed the advice of all her friends. She carefully selected equipment to bring on her odyssey. She packed two blankets, a book by Marianne Equina and a flashlight to read it by, six Balance bars (Silver Swirl's favorite snack), a camera, her journal in case she had time to write, and a thermos of milk.

Finally, evening came. Silver Swirl, Jade, and Melisande climbed into the basket of the balloon with all of their paraphernalia. Melisande had read a book on ballooning and claimed to know exactly how to handle it. Sure enough, the balloon lifted off when the Mew did her stuff. All of the other ponies waved goodbye as the balloon began to drift away.

Melisande piloted the balloon in the direction of the ocean. The sounds of the earth below them hushed to a distant murmur, and then to pure silence. Silver Swirl gazed at the strange new world around her.

It was everything she had imagined and more. The moonlight reflecting off of the clouds made them look glowing and solid, like silver islands in a black sea. The stars were much brighter and bigger than when seen from the ground. Jade, who was into astronomy, pointed out various constellations in a whisper. None of them dared to raise their voices; it seemed that to do so would shatter the magic of this dream world.

Silver Swirl silently passed snacks to her friends and munched a few herself as the balloon sailed over the shimmering ocean. The night was rather chilly, and Silver Swirl was glad of the blankets she had brought. She thought of her camera, but she knew that no picture could show the true wonder of this trip. Besides, the night might not appreciate mechanical devices interrupting things, and Silver Swirl was beginning to think of the night as a living being.

Silver Swirl saw that Jade and Melisande were asleep in the basket of the balloon. In the night's magic, she forgot that Melisande was supposed to be the pilot and did not wake the Mew. With the two small creatures asleep, Silver Swirl and the night had this whole world to themselves.

The unicorn, who had forgotten to take a nap before the nocturnal journey, found herself getting very sleepy. She kept blinking her eyes open, trying to concentrate on staying awake, for she didn't want to miss any of the midnight splendor. Suddenly, she was jolted out of her thoughts by a horrible whooshing noise as the balloon began to move very fast-- much faster than it was supposed to.

"Melisande, Jade, wake up!" Silver Swirl shouted somewhat hysterically. "There's something wrong with the balloon!" She shook her two small friends out of their slumber.

Melisande checked their status. "There's a big hole in the balloon, and I don't know where we are! I think we're going to have to abandon ship and wink back to the castle!"

"Wait!" declared Silver Swirl. "I see a little island down there! Let's pull the balloon over to it and see if we can fix it, and figure out where we are."

The dragon, the unicorn, and the Mew flew towards the island, pulling the balloon behind them. The balloon was bulky and made flying difficult, but all three were determined to reach the shore. They landed in a grassy glen and tied the balloon to a tree.

"It's too dark to do anything now," said Silver Swirl. "Let's sleep here for the night and check the balloon in the morning." She made a sort of nest out of the blankets. She and her exhausted friends curled up next to each other and fell asleep.

* * *

The next morning, Silver Swirl's first thought was that she was surrounded by baby ponies. She examined the small creatures gathered around her and-- as her vision cleared-- she realized that they were not baby ponies but small pigs, in various shades of pink, purple, blue and green.

"Uh..." Silver Swirl was unsure what to say. Then she was struck by the creatures' resemblance to someone she had once met. "Hey, is there one of you named Wissp?"

The pigs whispered to each other excitedly. Then a green pig stepped forward. "There is. Why do you seek a pig by that name?"

Silver Swirl could tell that she was in a touchy situation. "Oh, I'm not seeking her; it's just that she's the only one of you I've ever met. I'm a friend of hers, sort of." Silver Swirl had once saved Wissp from a Rhydon, and the magical pig had rewarded her with flying power.

"Silver Swirl?" A purple pig pushed her way through the crowd. "It really is you!"

Silver Swirl recognized the pig. "Wissp! It's good to see you."

"Silver Swirl once saved me from a large, hostile creature," Wissp explained to the other pigs. "She is a kind pony. We have nothing to fear from her or her companions."

Silver Swirl was relieved that Wissp seemed to be smoothing things over. "My friends and I were taking a ride in a balloon, but it crashed," the unicorn explained. "Maybe you could help us get home."

The pigs looked very serious. They conferred with each other for a few minutes. "I'm afraid we cannot do that," finally replied the green pig.

"Oh," said Silver Swirl. "That's all right. We'll just wink back." Silver Swirl grabbed hold of her friends and closed her eyes, visualizing the palace. She reopened her eyes. Nothing had happened.

"What happened?" Silver Swirl was very confused. Winking was a method of transportation used by unicorns for centuries. It had never failed her before.

"There is much about this place that you do not know," said the green pig mysteriously. "Sit down. I will do my best to explain this situation to you." The rest of the pigs, including Wissp, vacated the area. Silver Swirl, Jade, Melisande, and the green pig sat down in the shade of a tall tree.

"We of this island are formally called My Little Piggies, although we are usually just referred to as piggies," explained the green pig, or rather piggy. "We have lived on this island for longer than we can remember. Our legends say that we once inhabited a far larger place, and shared it with your kind, the Little Ponies. Then somehow, the ponies and piggies had a disagreement. Our ancestor piggies, being timid folk, left their homeland to seek another sanctuary.

"After much traveling, the piggies reached a green and beautiful place. However, it soon proved to be inhabited by horrible monsters. The terrified piggies used the magic powers they possessed to flee, settling at last on this island. Wanting only to be left in peace, the piggies created a powerful spell to keep creatures from entering or leaving the island by magical means.

"Since then, we have lived in harmony here on our island. No matter what, we must not let anything endanger our lives here. So that is why we cannot let you leave," the green Piggy finished.

It took a moment for Silver Swirl to fully understand. "But you have to let me leave! This place is nice, but I can't stay here! I won't bring monsters, I promise! I won't tell anyone! Not a soul! Please, you've got to let me get back!"

The green piggy cut through Silver Swirl's babbling. "I'm sorry, but this is the way it must be. You will learn to like it here. I will have Wissp show you around." With that, he disappeared.

After a few hectic minutes, Wissp appeared with four other Piggies-- two pink ones, a blue one, and a green one, all smaller than Wissp and very excited-looking.

"Wissp, the piggy in charge won't let me off this island!" Silver Swirl informed the purple Piggy.

"I know," Wissp replied. She looked almost as unhappy as Silver Swirl felt. "But try to be happy here. It's nice on this island, and maybe the authorities will change their minds. They really aren't mean, just very cautious. Come on, my friends and I will show you a great place to swim."

Wissp led the way out of the grove and across a field to a beautiful, calm bay. The piggies proceeded to paddle around merrily. Silver Swirl, Jade, and Melisande just sat and watched. The piggies were surprisingly good swimmers for their portly shapes.

They seemed to be playing a game of tag. One of the pink piggies was chasing after the other ones, who were all laughing. The blue piggy fled to an area near where the bay emptied into the ocean. Suddenly, a large creature arose from the depths and lunged toward the helpless piggy.

"Shark! Shark!" screamed the other piggies. Without thinking, Silver Swirl flew over to the shark and tapped it on the head. When it turned to see who was behind it, Silver Swirl snatched up the blue piggy and carried him to safety.

The piggy panted and thanked Silver Swirl again and again. Wissp and the other piggies comforted the blue one, whose name turned out to be Yorui.

"Come on, Yorui; Jinji and I will take you home," offered one of the pink piggies, and Jinji (the other pink one) agreed. The two of them stood next to Yorui and all three disappeared.

"Thank you, Silver Swirl," said Wissp softly. "Yorui is my little brother, and I don't know what I would have done if the shark had gotten him." She closed her eyes and seemed to be thinking, or meditating, or maybe praying. Silver Swirl hugged Jade and Melisande to her. Things could be worse. At least they were together.

"Silver Swirl," Wissp's voice cut through the silence, "I believe that you are trustworthy. I believe that if you get off the island, you won't tell anyone about us piggies. I believe in you, so I am going to take you to the one place on this island where you can wink back home. Come," she beckoned.

Silver Swirl, astonished, stepped toward her with Jade and Melisande. Then they all vanished from sight and reappeared on a mossy tree stump. On the stump were Silver Swirl's journal, Marianne Equina book, thermos, and flashlight.

"The piggies who made the island magical knew that someday, piggies might need to escape from here. So they left one place where winking-- or teleporting, as we call it-- could be used to get off the island," Wissp explained. "Good luck, Silver Swirl. I think we will meet again someday," the piggy finished.

"I hope so," replied Silver Swirl. She held on tight to her two friends and all of her possessions and winked back to the castle.

When she got there, she was pelted with cries of "You're alive!" and "Where were you?" and "We were so worried!" Silver Swirl calmly explained that they had gotten lost and had had to wink back to the castle. It was true, of course, and Silver Swirl figured that what the other ponies didn't know couldn't hurt them.

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