The Necklace Dilemma
written by Tabby

"Isn't it awful how many different spellings my name has?' Tabby complained. "There's Tabby-- that's the best of all-- or Taby, or Tabbie. Of course, there's always the dreaded Tabitha, which could also be Tabbitha..."

"My name has no variations. You can't misspell it," Tiffany sighed happily.

"Sure, Tiffy," Tabby smirked.

Tamara glanced reproachfully at her cousin. "Tabitha! How many times do we have to tell you-- full names are the way to go. It's the wave of the future!"

Tabby and Tamara had been invited to the Royal Paradise by Tiffany, and the three were now wasting time looking up their names in a book of names and meanings they had found lying around.

" ‘Tabitha' means ‘gazelle'." Tabby paused in thought. "What's a gazelle?"

Tamara furrowed her brow. "I think it's a pony-like creature," she decided.

"And it has two unicorn horns!" Tiffany added.

"Two?" Tabby frowned. She didn't want any creature having more than one unicorn horn. "Well, one horn is better than two," she finally philosophized.

"But everyone knows pegasi are more beautiful than unicorns," Tiffany declared snobbishly, closely inspecting her own set of pure white wings.

"I beg to differ!" Tamara said indignantly.

"Tammy's right. Unicorns are better, Tiff," Tabby said in dismissal.

"That's Tiffany!" the princess retorted.

"And my name is Tamara!" Tamara wailed. "Hmm... let see what Tamara means!" the pink unicorn exclaimed, grabbing the book from Tabby. "I'm sure it's something wonderful." She glanced through the columns of print. "Ah-hah! Here it is... Tamara... ‘palm tree'?" she echoed.

"That's a pretty boring name definition," Tabby said.

"Exactly what I was thinking, Tabitha," Tiffany said breezily, and took the book from Tamara. "Now, Tiffany, on the other hoof..." She hummed as she browsed the pages.

"But ‘palm tree' really isn't that bad," Tamara said in self-defense. "It makes me think of a nice, tropical vacation."

Her two friends weren't listening, though. Tiffany was still flipping through pages, and Tabby had leaned back in her seat on the couch, her thoughts appearing to be centered elsewhere for the moment.

"Mmm." Tiffany looked up smugly. "My name means ‘in the image of God'."

Upon hearing this, Tabby couldn't help but start snickering. "You really oughta live up to your name better, Tiff."

Tiffany looked at Tabby in annoyance, but didn't comment. "I am a princess," she finally said.

"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Tamara blustered. "Isn't there anything else to do today?"

"Arguing over names is a rather thrilling occupation," Tabby said.

"Let's go to the Perm Shoppe!" Tiffany squealed.

"That's what you suggest every time I'm visiting," Tabby complained.

"She suggests it every time I'm here, too," Tamara agreed. "But it's still a good idea."

"It's too hot to go anywhere," Tabby pointed out. "And it's air-conditioned here at the Royal Paradise."

Tamara and Tiffany nodded slowly. They really didn't want to face the intense heat outside, either. "Tomorrow," Tiffany declared.

"Let's plan a party!" Tamara suggested next.

Tabby rolled her eyes. "You two are so predictable," she sighed. "I always know you're going to want to go to the Perm Shoppe or throw a party."

"But they're both so much fun!" Tiffany said.

"We can always gossip!" Tamara said excitedly.

"Of course!" Tiffany clapped her front hooves together in delight.

Tiffany and Tamara both seemed happy with that idea, and Tabby just sat there listening in. Sometimes she could pick up valuable information from these two.

"Did you know that Chocolate Chip has been with Current at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe the past two nights?" Tiffany demanded.

Tamara raised an eyebrow. "I think he's too young for you, Tiffany."

"That's not what I meant," Tiffany went on. "I meant, what can he see in such a boringly-colored pony?"

Tamara nodded. "That's true. She's so... plain. I must admit, though, she has a wonderful cat. I hope she'll enter the next cat-show I'm setting up."

"And then there's the fact that Toby hasn't called me all day," Tiffany prattled on.

"Well, Tex dropped in to see me just this morning," Tamara bragged.

"Unfortunately," Tabby agreed, and yawned. Hanging around with these two could get awfully boring. It had been more fun arguing over names. Usually, though, there was something of interest in their gossip. Tabby stared out the window, wishing she had something to drink. Why didn't Tiffany offer her guests anything to drink on such a hot day?

Suddenly, Tabby's attention was back on Tamara and Tiffany's conversation.

"...and Princess Dawn told me that her friend heard that someone wants to buy Tabby's old vet clinic building," Tiffany was informing Tamara.

"I thought I sold that disgusting place months ago," Tabby interrupted.

Tamara shook her head. "No you didn't, Tabitha. The flower deliverer looked into setting his shop up there, but decided against purchasing it."

"So who wants it?" Tabby demanded. "I just want it off my hooves."

Tiffany shrugged. "Dawn didn't know exactly."

"Are you sure you want to sell the building?" Tamara questioned. "Doesn't it hold a lot of memories?"

"That place is ugly and unaesthetical," Tabby said is disgust. "I could never keep it organized."

Tiffany nodded. "Yes. I remember last year when I first got Theodora and brought her into your clinic... it was still running just a year ago, wasn't it? It seems longer than that."

"Being a Pokčmon nurse is much better than being a veterinarian," Tabby went on. "Why, I had to put up with being in charge of my old clinic ever since I got out of college. And the only reason I became a vet was because my mom was always pressuring me to go into that field... I think."

"Probably because it's a well-paying occupation," Tamara said in approval.

"The pay would have been a good part," Tabby contradicted, "except that I forgot to open it half the time... therefore, I was always broke anyway..."

Tiffany started giggling. "You and Sugarberry were always washing dishes late into the night at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe to pay off Scoops for the sundaes you'd had. Of course, that was before--"

"And then I discovered Atlantis-- well, Cleve Clove was with me, I guess-- and when I got back to Dream Valley, I found out that some creep had opened a better clinic while I was gone!" Tabby shrieked in outrage, forgetting what she was saying.

Tiffany paused for a second. "That ‘creep' was Thomas," she reminded.

"Oh... yeah," Tabby blushed. "I lost track of myself."

"You know, that's a good idea!" Tamara exclaimed suddenly.

"Losing track of yourself?" Tabby questioned.

"Tiffany, let's host an Atlantean-themed party!" Tamara suggested, ignoring Tabby's remark.

Tiffany smiled radiantly. "What a perfect idea!" she said excitedly. "Tamara, you and I can come up with some really Atlantean-looking jewelry and hair-styles. And we'll-- that is, I'll-- look even more beautiful in them than the Atlanteans do."

"This will be fun! Everyone will want to come!" Tamara said gleefully. "Tabby, you were in Atlantis. What jewelry were the Atlantean ponies wearing?"

"I didn't meet any Atlanteans--" Tabby started.

Tiffany scoffed. "Atlantis is a bustling metropolis, at the height of fashion. You couldn't go there and not meet anyone. Maybe you didn't go at all."

"We'll plan an Atlantis party just fine without your help, Tabby," Tamara added.

Tabby rolled her eyes, but didn't bother to correct Tiffany and Tamara's ideas on Atlantis. "Hey, you two. It's five-thirty. Time to head to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe."

Tabby led the group out of the Royal Paradise, with Tiffany and Tamara following behind; those two were bubbling over with non-stop talk about their new party idea. Tabby had nearly forgotten the fact that Tiffany had hinted that someone was interested in buying the building of her old vet clinic.

* * *

A few days later, Tamara and Tiffany were out shopping for decorations and other supplies for their Atlantis party.

"Navy blue crepe paper," Tamara said firmly.

"No, it has to be aqua!" Tiffany argued. "Navy blue is too... dark. Aqua would capture the true essence of Atlantis."

"Well," Tamara sniffed. "I don't see how we know what the true essence of Atlantis is. None of my fashion magazines have any articles on Atlantean styles."

"I don't care what you say," Tiffany said stubbornly. "I'm buying it in aqua."

"Let's forget about crepe paper for now," Tamara said, consulting the check-list she held in her hoof. I'll go pick out plates. You find some decent-looking candles. We'll have those on the refreshment tables, and they'll look quite nice."

In a huff, Tiffany trotted down the aisle in the party supplies shop to find candles. I hope they have them in aqua, she thought to herself.

Navy blue paper plates would be excellent, Tamara was pondering as she went in search of the needed items.

Tiffany lightly stepped into the aisle, where a large section was devoted to various-sized candles of every different color available. She dove straight to the aqua ones.

"Hello, fair lady." A strange figure stepped into the aisle Tiffany was in and bowed to her.

Tiffany gasped as she looked up, and dropped the long, slender candle she had picked up. This stranger was definitely not a normal pony... or human, for that matter, even if his form did resemble one.

The figure stood up straight on his whale-fin shaped legs. He appeared to be a cross between a human and a whale. His body was muscular and smooth like that of a whale; but in the place of fins, he had strong-looking arms and legs. Though his head was clearly that of a whale, his eyes and mustache were definitely that of a human. A pair of spectacles was perched near the end of his nose.

"Wh-h-hat... are you?" Tiffany stuttered.

The whale-man smiled charmingly. "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation in the other aisle about a party you're throwing." He stretched out an arm, and displayed an ancient-looking medallion. "I'm selling this fine Atlantean necklace."

Tiffany gasped again, but this time in wonder. She stepped closer to the whale-man and picked the medallion up in her hoof. It appeared to be made of bronze in the shape of an ominous-looking whale head. It was strung on a thick, gold-plated necklace cord.

"It's beautiful!" Tiffany exclaimed. "And it would complement my Atlantean outfit perfectly!"

"You like it, then?" the whale-man questioned.

"I love it," Tiffany breathed.

"I heard you mention an Atlantis party, and I thought this necklace couldn't find a better home than with such a fair pony as you," the whale-man declared.

"I'll take it!" Tiffany squealed. "I'll look so beautiful when I wear it. It is genuine Atlantean, right?" She scrutinized the medallion carefully.

"Be assured, it is not a fake," the whale-man assured her. "I'm a highly educated student of Atlantis, and this definitely dates from that ancient city."

"You are simply too kind, sir," Tiffany gushed. "How can I ever repay you, Mr...?"

"Shane. Dr. Malcolm Shane," the whale-man informed the princess. "The cost of this fine piece of jewelry is only two thousand jangles, which is, indeed, a great bargain."

"Here you go." Tiffany flashed Dr. Shane a winning smile as she handed over the requested jangles from her purse.

After glancing at the bills Tiffany handed him, Dr. Shane smiled back. "Have a wonderful time at the party." With that, he bowed again, and was quickly on his way.

"This is too perfect!" Tiffany whispered to herself, slipping the necklace around her neck. "I'll be the star of the party with this." She smiled dreamily and imagined the scene...

"Tiffany, haven't you got the candles yet?" Tamara demanded. She had entered the aisle while Tiffany was lost in her daydream. "I have plates and glasses. It doesn't take that long to pick out candles."

Tiffany ran her hoof across the surface of the medallion. "Oh, I wasn't taking that long, Tamara," she murmured.

Tamara's mouth dropped open as she saw what Tiffany had around her neck. "Where in the world did you get that?" she asked enviously.

"Oh, a Dr. Shane sold it to me while you were looking at plates," Tiffany said nonchalantly, picking up a box of the aqua candles she had been inspecting.

"Didn't he have another?" Tamara gawked.

"No, it's unique." Tiffany smiled to herself. "And I think Toby will like it on me; don't you?" She briskly started walking towards the check-out. "Come on. We're done at this store."

Tamara followed behind, too jealous of Tiffany's necklace to complain about the color of candles the princess had picked.

Dr. Malcolm Shane grinned evilly from a shadowy corner of the store as he watched Tamara and Tiffany leave. "Soon, I will have my revenge!" he said to himself, and laughed demonically.

* * *

Tabby swatted at a mosquito that had landed on her foreleg. Why in the world had Tamara and Tiffany decided to host their Atlantis party outside? By the river? With no protection against mosquitos?

Tabby had just arrived at the party, which was just starting. Tiffany and Tamara had certainly gone all out on this occasion-- except for mosquito prevention. Bright, colored lights lit up the early evening sky and made beautiful splashy patterns in the river. Fancy desserts and aqua candles covered the long refreshment tables. They probably all have raisins or something else disgusting baked into them, Tabby reasoned. The Sea Ponies added their festive songs to the party atmosphere.

It reminded Tabby a lot of the summer dance last year Sugarberry had told her about. She was certainly glad that annoying stallion, Cliff, didn't show his face around her any more.

Just as I thought, Tabby thought to herself, inspecting all the desserts laid out on bright tablecloths covered in fish designs. Everything's smothered in whipped cream. What does whipped cream have to do with Atlantis?

"And where's that over-styled cousin of mine?" Tabby muttered. "I'm going to give her a piece of my mind over all this whipped cream if it's the last thing I do!"

Tamara had obviously been nearby, as she suddenly appeared in front of Tabby. "Were you mumbling about me, Tabitha?" she questioned, pushing a stray lock of hair back into place.

"I want to know," Tabby said viciously, "why you had to cover all the food in whipped cream. Why, I'm sure it'd all be perfectly wonderful if it weren't for that-- that-- vile, disgusting stuff." She shook her head.

"Tiffany and I both thought that these cakes would be the best for this party, and you wouldn't believe how much they cost," Tamara reprimanded. "Here, try this one." She gestured towards one of the fancy cakes on the table. "It has delightful raisins it. I thought it tasted wonderful."

"You know I hate raisins and whipped cream," Tabby said impatiently. "What you should have done is put frosting in place of the cream--"

Tamara was obviously ignoring Tabby. "And did you get a load of Tiffany's new necklace?" she demanded.

Tabby cocked her head. "Another new necklace? She gets a new one every day... really, I haven't seen her for the past few days."

"She says she paid two thousand jangles for it," Tamara sighed. "And it looks so Atlantean, you wouldn't believe it!" She tugged at her own simple gold necklace. "I feel so embarrassed being a hostess of this party, and this thing is the closest I could get to looking Atlantean."

"Where is Tiffany, anyway?" Tabby questioned.

Tamara waved a hoof in the general direction of the beach, where the dancing was taking place. "Dancing with Toby, or maybe somebody else by now," she scowled. "She's getting all the attention with that cool necklace of hers."

"It's not worth whining over," Tabby sighed impatiently. "All necklaces look pretty much the same."

"Oh, Tabitha!" Tamara shook her head. "You simply can't understand fashion."

"Say!" Tabby's face suddenly brightened, as she noticed Tex hadn't joined Tamara. "Did you dump Tex or something?"

Tamara looked indignant. "Of course not," she said haughtily. "He's just-- he's just-- he's just--"

"Just what?" Tabby prodded.

"Having a boring conversation on sports with Quarterback," Tamara scowled again.

"Tough luck," Tabby said unsympathetically.

"By the way, I don't see Thomas with you," Tamara said lightly.

"He said he was going to show up a little later," Tabby said defensively.

"Whatever you say, Tabitha," Tamara said. "Oh, would you look at that! I've got to go over there! Buh-bye!" Tamara trotted off to see whatever it was that had interested her.

"Such a polite cousin I have," Tabby muttered under her breath.

"Hello, Tabby!" Sugarberry's voice called out. "What're you doing, just standing around?"

Tabby swung her head around to face her friend, who had just entered the party grounds. "Don't ask what I'm doing; just look at what Tamara and Tiffany did to the food," she hissed, pulling Sugarberry over closer to the refreshments.

"I don't know; they all look pretty good to me," Vanguard, who was accompanying Sugarberry, commented, picking up one of the navy blue paper plates.

"But it's all whipped cream!" Tabby wailed.

Sugarberry giggled, and took a bite of the white, fluffy dessert she had on her plate. "This is yummy. Try some, Tabby," she advised. "Just a little bit."

Tabby shook her head firmly. "I do not eat whipped cream," she stated simply. She trailed along beside Sugarberry and Vanguard as they walked over the grounds.

"The Bushwoolies look like they're busy on fire duty," Vanguard said. The Bushwoolies were usually called upon at parties to make sure no fires started from the lighting. Friendly and Hugster were dousing down a dessert which had somehow gotten on fire.

Serves the stupid whipped cream right, Tabby thought to herself.

"My, I hope no one got hurt in that," Sugarberry frowned, referring to the fire.

"It's a sign that desserts were not meant to have whipped cream in," Tabby suggested.

Sugarberry rolled her eyes. "You don't know what you're missing, Tabby," she teased. "I saw you talking to Tamara right when we got here. How are she and Tiffany taking the responsibility of being hostesses at this party?"

Tabby paused in thought. "Tamara didn't really say anything in that aspect, except for the fact that Tiffany has a better necklace than she does."

"Tiffany must have gotten something really special if Tamara admits it's better than hers," Vanguard said.

"Well, I haven't seen Tiffany at all yet," Tabby frowned. "let alone this necklace she has."

"Her hooves will get sore from dancing sometime," Sugarberry assured Tabby.

Tabby scrutinized the scene on the beach. "I dunno... Tiffany can go for a long time..."

"She's been so wrapped up in party preparations this past week, I've hardly seen her," Sugarberry commented. "She forgot to schedule an appointment for Theodora at the clinic, and she's usually prompt about that."

"Ooh, yes." Tabby nodded in remembrance. "Does she still bring that snobby cat of hers in as often as she did when I worked there?"

"Not as much, after she started seeing Toby," Sugarberry winked. "Well, we'll see you later, Tabby. Don't look so upset over the whipped cream!" With that, Sugarberry and Vanguard trotted off and began chatting with another group of ponies that Vanguard obviously knew.

"I feel a song coming on," Tabby said out loud to no one in particular. At that moment, she noticed Tiffany and Toby leave the dancing on the beach.

"Hey-hey-hey!" Tabby exclaimed, zipping directly over to the two, who appeared to be in deep conversation. "Whatcha talking about? Hmm? Hmm?" She simply adored prying into other's conversations.

"It doesn't concern you, Tabby," Tiffany frowned.

"Say!" Tabby caught a glimpse of the medallion strung from Tiffany's neck. "That looks a lot like the necklace that possessed me in Atlantis. Is it one of those museum reproductions? Now, I wish I would've thought of mass-marketing imitations of Atlantean necklaces. I'd be even richer than I am now--"

"This is a genuine piece of Atlantean jewelry," Tiffany informed Tabby haughtily. "I'm sure you've never heard of the Dr. Shane who so kindly sold it to me, but he's a highly educated student of Atlantis, and he assured me it's not a fake."

"Gosh," Tabby breathed. "I'd be careful with that medallion if I were you, Tiff. You never know when some weird Atlantean spirit is going to take over your mind."

"Don't scare Tiffany with stories like that," Toby chided. "There aren't any spirits going to possess her."

"Toby's right," Tiffany said indignantly. "There's no Atlantean spirit--"

"Who's possessed by an Atlantean spirit?" a voice from behind Tabby queried.

"Tiffany is," Tabby said promptly, turning to Thomas, who had finally shown up. "It's that necklace she's wearing."

"I'm telling you, it's--" Tiffany shrieked, the pitch of her voice rapidly rising.

"So this is the two thousand jangle necklace I've heard about," Thomas said in interest. "And you got a genuine spirit thrown in the deal, too."

"It does sound like you got a great bargain there, Tiff," Tabby agreed.

"You... are... making... fun... of... me," Tiffany said slowly through clenched jaws.

"Tiffany, don't get this upset," Toby warned. "Perhaps you'd feel better if you got something to drink."

With a final bitter glance back at Tabby and Thomas, Tiffany willingly went along with Toby to the punchbowl.

"And be careful not to turn yourself into a whale," Tabby called after her friend, not passing up another chance to annoy the princess.

"Peasant," Tiffany was heard to mutter.

"Peasant! She hasn't called me that in ages!" Tabby shrieked with laughter. "Peasant! She said I was a peasant!"

"Tiffany certainly got more upset than she usually does... when a certain someone is annoying her over her jewelry," Thomas winked.

Tabby blinked innocently. "She's just mad because she's afraid she wasted two thousand jangles on a cheap imitation," she predicted. "I, however, was honored enough to wear a real Atlantean necklace with a real Atlantean spirit!"

Thomas-- along with all of Tabby's other friends-- had heard the story of Tabby and Clever Clover's adventure in Atlantis a million times over. "You're not seriously thinking that necklace has an Atlantean spirit in, do you?" he prodded.

Tabby suddenly paused. "Well, no, not seriously... but now that you've brought it up-- maybe it is the real medallion, and she'll kill us all!" Tabby exclaimed dramatically. "...or maybe not..."

"Clever Clove will have something to say on this," Thomas predicted.

"If he shows up tonight at all. And if he doesn't," Tabby chattered, "I'm going to bug him about it into all infinity."

"You're always bugging him about something into ‘all infinity'," Thomas reminded.

"Well, yes, that's true," Tabby admitted. "But it's the principle of this party. Being the second discoverer of Atlantis, he should be here to make sure no Atlantean spirits or such show up."

"Clever Clover was the second discoverer? And I suppose that makes you the first?" Thomas said playfully. "You can continue this fascinating conversation on Atlantean spirits, but I say we should go dance." He urged her towards the beach.

"I suppose so..." Tabby cast a frown back at the refreshment table. "..since the food is ruined, there's nothing else to do." She broke into a quick trot towards the beach. It probably won't affect me if Tiffany is possessed, anyway, she decided to herself.

* * *

Clever Clover saw Toby and Tiffany at the punchbowl as he entered the party grounds. "Hi-ho!" he called out to the couple.

"Good evening," Toby greeted the archeologist from Friendship Gardens.

Tiffany took a sip of punch from her glass. "Yes, hello, Clever Clover," she added. "Now, I'm sure you have better sense than Tabby."

"Well, probably," Clever Clover said slowly, hoping Tabby wasn't in the vicinity.

"This necklace does look like a genuine Atlantean item, doesn't it?" Tiffany asked worriedly.

"She's still shook up over an incident with Tabby that took place earlier," Toby explained.

Hmm, what did Tabby say this time? Clever Clove mused. To Tiffany, after scrutinizing the medallion around her neck, he said, "I'd have to get a closer look at it and do some testing."

"If you're this distraught over it, Tiffany, perhaps you should have it professionally examined to determine its age," Toby suggested.

"No one is getting their hooves on my necklace," Tiffany said possessively, clutching a hoof over the whale medallion.

Interesting... that looks exactly like the Nur-Ab-Fin necklace Tabby had in Atlantis, Clever Clover thought to himself. But it can't be the same one. There's no way it could've gotten to Dream Valley. Tiffany sure is acting the way Tabby did under the influence of it, though.

"You can't take my necklace," Tiffany repeated, piercing through Clever Clover's thoughts. "It's just right for what I want it for, and that's all I need to know."

Toby nodded approvingly. "That the way to look at it. Don't let what Tabby said get you down."

"Uhh... so... have you gotten into Pokčmon training yet, Tiffany?" Clever Clover finally asked. I wish I had an oricalcum bead handy to put in the medallion. That'd clear this up.

"Theodora is more than I can keep up with already," Tiffany retorted. In a huff, she turned her back on Clever Clover and walked off. Toby had no choice but to go with her.

"This is very interesting indeed," Clever Clover mumbled to himself. "Something is definitely wrong here. Tiffany loves that cat of hers; she'd never get sick of having her around! I'll have to get to the bottom of this, somehow..."

* * *

Later that night, Clever Clover caught up with Tabby, who had just finished having an interesting conversation on Pokčmon with Merry Treat. "Don't you think Tiffany is acting differently from her usual self tonight?" he questioned.

"Ooh." Tabby nodded knowledgeably. "You saw her Nur-Ab-Whatever necklace. Do you think she's really possessed? Do you think the medallion is really real?" To herself, she was thinking, Oh, dear, he's here. Now I can't bug him about not coming.

"We can't take this too lightly," Clever Clove warned. "Who knows what damage she might cause... if it is genuine..."

"Oh, Cleve Clove," Tabby sighed. "We left that stupid necklace lying somewhere on the bottom of the ocean. It can't be that one. Unless the Sea Ponies found it and brought it to Ponyland. Or else--"

"Perhaps it is different than the one you had, but still works on the same principle," Clever Clover mused. "In which case, we must get it away from Tiffany as soon as possible!"

"I'll let you handle this on your own," Tabby suggested. "It sounds too confusing for my mind to comprehend."

Clever Clover, however, had stopped listening to Tabby, like most ponies did eventually. "Yes, this is very strange," he mumbled, beginning to walk off, deep in thought. "I must get to work on this..."

Tabby watched him go. "Hmm, maybe there is something up with that medallion. I might do some investigating of my own... later... if I feel like it..."

* * *

Tamara arrived home about fifteen minutes after Tabby that night. "I simply need a necklace like Tiffany's!" she wailed, pouting as she flopped down on the living room couch.

Tabby looked up from her seat on the other side of the room. "Oh, you don't want one, Tammy," she assured her cousin.

"Why wouldn't I want one?" Tamara shot back. "And my name is Tamara! T-a-m-a-r-a!"

"That's good; you're picking up some of Tweeg's lines," Tabby said in approval. "Cleve Clove thinks that Tiffany is possessed by an Atlantean spirit because of that medallion. Now, I had a necklace like that in Atlantis and I was possessed, but I still think he's overreacting. For all I know, it might be true, though... that's why I'm going to start an investigation."

"If you're trying to make me feel better, it's not working," Tamara grumbled, slouching deeper into the couch.

"Oh, I'm not; don't worry," Tabby said quickly. "Hmm, I can conduct my first interogation now!"

"With whom?" Tamara questioned. "I'm not letting you call all my friends at this hour of the night!"

"I won't do that, either," Tabby assured her. "You'll do just fine for tonight."

"I don't want to talk about that necklace," Tamara sniffled.

"But I do," Tabby continued. "Where did Tiffany get the medallion? She mentioned getting it from some Atlantean doctor, I think. What was that about?"

"It's late," Tamara complained.

"That's not what I asked," Tabby said impatiently.

"Uhh... we were shopping for party supplies, I think," Tamara said reluctantly. "I went to find plates-- I'm the one that picked those wonderful navy blue ones out-- and when I went to candles to find Tiffany again, she had that wonderful Atlantean-looking necklace." She sighed at the remembrance.

"But who'd she get it from?" Tabby prodded.

"I think she said some Dr. Shame sold it to her-- the rumor is for two thousand jangles."

"Dr. Shame, eh? I thought she told me it was a Dr. Mane. Well, Tamara, you have told me nothing. You're dismissed," Tabby said, waving her hoof through the air. "My, it's late, isn't it? Really, you shouldn't keep me up like this!"

* * *

Tabby and Merry Treat heard a variety of rumors on Tiffany and her necklace while working at the Pokčmon Center the next day:

"Sunbeam told me Tiffany paid twenty thousand jangles for that necklace!"

"Have you two heard about the spirit that has possessed Tiffany? I couldn't believe it when I heard it at the Perm Shoppe earlier this morning!"

"Princess Tiffany is getting rid of her cat, and then she's going to become a Pokčmon trainer."

"Tiffany has been seen with a handsome new stallion in town who's name is Spirit!"

"Tiffany's going to donate twenty million jangles to charity. The spirit of good will has finally hit her."

"Would you believe a spirit is haunting the Royal Paradise?! It's hiding a treasure of twenty thousand jangles."

"Clever Clover summoned up a spirit to possess Tiffany!"

"I did no such thing!"

"Why, Cleve Clove!" Tabby trotted up to the counter, where her friend from Friendship Gardens was defending himself of Love Melody's claim. "What an awful thing to do!"

As Love Melody discreetly left the building, Clever Clover looked reproachingly at Tabby. "You know I didn't summon up any spirit... Tabitha!"

Tabby smirked. "Yes, but I simply had to bug you about it... for a little while. Say, do you have an injured Pokčmon or not?"

Clever Clover shook his head. "Farfetch'd and Rattata are both fine. We've got to talk about Tiffany's medallion--"

"We still need a fair match, Cleve Clove!" Merry Treat added to the conversation. Clever Clover had recently gotten a Forest Badge for defeating Merry Treat, the Dream Valley Pokčmon Gym Leader-- however, Tabby's Jigglypuff had somehow gotten involved in the battle and caused Clever Clover's Farfetch'd to win. Merry Treat still wanted a re-match.

"Later," Clever Clover said distantly. "Now, I've been thinking about the necklace scenario. Tabby, when you had yours on while we were on our Atlantis adventure, it only really took control of you once we were in the center of the city, right?"

Tabby paused in thought. "Yeah... I think so. When we got to that Whale Machine thing, I really went crazy."

"Exactly," Clever Clover continued. "When you were wearing it in Dream Valley before we left, it didn't affect you one bit. I'm sure Tiffany's behavior is strange, but why would the necklace be affecting her, since we're not anywhere close to Atlantis or anything Atlantean?"

"Because... because..." Tabby paused in thought. "Because some Atlanteans escaped from the city and fled to Dream Valley and built a settlement in the Dark Forest and made lots of necklaces and Whale Machines and then all the people died out and the city hasn't been discovered yet in modern times!!!!" she rambled on dramatically without pausing for breath.

Clever Clover stopped for a moment to digest this information. "Interesting theory, but there aren't any signs in Ponyland of Atlantean settlements. But I'm sure the necklace is behind this whole thing!"

"However," Tabby said proudly, "I did find out the name of the guy Tiffany got the necklace from."

"You did?! Why didn't you say so earlier?!"

"I didn't remember until now," Tabby recalled. "But Tamara and I both heard it was somebody called Dr. Tail."

"Dr. Tail? I've never heard of such a pony. Maybe he works at the hospital, and Toby would know something about him..." Clever Clover mused.

"Cleve Clove, you're holding up our business here at the center. Think of the sick Pokčmon that are dying because you're worrying about an Atlantean spirit," Tabby chided him.

Clever Clover whirled around to look behind him. "There's nobody waiting, Tabby," he sighed.

"That's not the point. Shoo! Shoo! Call me later! Why don't you just go whack Tiffany over the head and then take the medallion off?" Tabby tapped her hoof on the counter.

"I wonder..." Clever Clover said to himself as he backed away from the counter. "Have a nice day, Tabitha!" he called cheerfully as he walked out the door.

Tabby clenched her jaw. "Tabitha! I'd rather be called a peasant than Tabitha!"

"Tabby!" Tarquin, her Meowth, jumped up on the counter in front of her. "Don't worry about names; there's a patient to attend to!"

"Thanks." Tabby quickly patted Tarquin on the head and went to look over a Pinsir that had just been brought in. She'd worry about Atlantean medallions and spirits and such later.

* * *

"Hey-hey-hey!" Tabby exclaimed cheerfully into the receiver of her phone that evening. "Do you want me or Tamara, hmm?"

"Eh..." The caller paused. "Whoever is in charge of the sale--"

"Oh, my old vet clinic building?" Tabby interrupted. "Talk to me. I'll sell it to you cheap."

"Actually, that is what I was calling about," the voice said. "I'd like to get a closer look at the inside. Would you be available in the near future to give me a tour?"

"Sure! How about tomorrow morning?" Tabby was excited; maybe she could finally get that old place off her hooves!

"That would be wonderful. I can meet you there at... nine o' clock?"

"Yep, yep, I'll be there," Tabby said quickly. "What's your name, by the way? How much do you want to pay?"

"I'm Dr. Malcolm Shane. Just arrived in town. If it's as good on the inside as it is on the outside... I'd be willing to pay two thousand jangles."

"Excellent!" Tabby exclaimed. "You're prepared to pay tomorrow? That's great! Buh-bye!" Not waiting for a reply, she hung up the receiver and skipped out of the room cheerfully. "Yes! I'll be rid of that thing tomorrow!"

* * *

Tabby was only slightly surprised to see the strange figure standing in front of her old clinic building the next morning. Strange figures were always showing up in Ponyland, and this human-like whale wasn't that outlandish. "I'm Tabby," she introduced herself, brushing past the whale-man to unlock the front door. "I'll just give you a quick tour, and then--"

Dr. Shane's eyes opened wide as he saw this pink unicorn trot up. "It's you!" he gasped.

Tabby cocked her head as the door swung open. "Me? I don't remember you. Who are you?"

"Uhh... nobody. I just want to buy this place, that's all," Shane said quickly as he followed Tabby into the main hallway.

"Oh." Tabby shrugged. "Maybe you know my cousin... you said you're new in town? Where'd you come from?"

"Uhm... a small town across the mountains," Shane said quickly. "I want to find a place here to stay as soon as possible. I'm expecting a delivery soon, but I need to get them an exact address to ship it to."

"Ah." Tabby accepted that as a valid reason. "So, uh, here's this room. And then there's the one across from it. Plus, some more in the back. There's a really big room in the back. It's a nice place. Happy with it?"

Shane glanced into several rooms. "Is there running water?" he questioned. "Any sinks or bathtubs?" He looked down at his whale-like arm. "I enjoy being around water," he explained.

"Oh, sure!" Tabby said, ducking under a doorway and turning on a light. "There's a nice sink in here. Maybe... wait, it's not here. Oh! Yeah, it's in the other room..." Tabby scurried from room to room, and finally found the correct one. "Yes, it's here, in the examination room," she said proudly.

Shane walked into the indicated room and inspected the large, rectangular, silver-colored sink. He switched on one of the faucets, and with a satisfied look on his face, watched the deluge of cool, clear water pour out. "I like it," he said. "Now, what was that you said about a large back room?"

"Right down here." Tabby hurried down a hallway, and Shane followed her at a slower pace. "See? Nice and empty. You can fill it up with whatever you like."

Shane looked up and down the walls of the back room. A strange, somewhat demented smile spread across his face. "Perfect."

"You'll buy it, then?" Tabby asked. "I have the papers to sign right here." She whipped out a pen and a sheet of paper. "Just sign there, and give me two thousand jangles-- you'll still pay that much, won't you?-- and it's all yours."

Shane handed Tabby several large bills, and signed where Tabby indicated. "Thank you very much," he said charmingly. "I can't wait to start moving my stuff in."

"Have fun!" With that, Tabby took the jangles from him and ran out. "Yipee!!" she exclaimed once she was outside and out of Shane's hearing distance. "Two thousand jangles!! I'll give Tarquin some of it, of course. The rest of it I'll spend on.... oh! It's too exciting!"

"Ahhh, water!" Shane started filling the sink in the old clinic with water while he made a phone call. "Ponyland Delivery Company? Yes, this is Malcolm Shane. I have an address you can send my boxes to now... you can get them here today? Wonderful..."

* * *

Tabby hadn't heard anything from Clever Clover yet that day, but after depositing her two thousand jangles back in her house, she decided to head over to the Royal Paradise and see what was up with Tiffany by now.

Upon arrival, she knocked on the door. Princess Royal Blue answered. "Hello," the princess said hesitatingly.

"I'm here to see Tiffany," Tabby said briefly, pushing past Royal Paradise into the spacious and sunny entryway.

"Yes... well... she hasn't been feeling that well lately," Royal Blue confessed. "I suppose you can go see her in her suite. She's been acting terribly crabby, and getting worse by the hour."

"Oh, that's okay!" Tabby called as she dashed over to the stairs which would lead to Tiffany's room.

"Clever Clover says it has something to do with that necklace she's been wearing," Royal Blue said, slowly trailing along behind Tabby. "I hope it's not a serious condition."

"Just as long as she doesn't get near any Whale Machines," Tabby said distantly, running up the stairs as fast as she could. She had to find out exactly how crabby Tiffany had gotten.

Tabby tried opening the princess's door, but Tiffany had apparently locked it. "Open up, Tiff," she said impatiently.

"I don't have time for visitors," Tiffany's voice snapped back from beyond the door.

"Tiffy," Tabby said sweetly, "I'm not here to visit, just to gossip."

With a sigh, Tiffany slowly opened the door. "You're always bothering me about something," she muttered.

"Can I see your necklace?" Tabby questioned, reaching out to grab at the medallion around Tiffany neck.

Tiffany stepped back abruptly. "Don't say anything about the necklace," she hissed.

"Don't you get sick of wearing the same jewelry day after day for this past week? Doesn't Toby get sick of it?" Tabby prodded. She felt just like she was in an adventure game-- if she repeated herself long enough, maybe she'd hit upon the right line eventually.

"Toby!" Tiffany snorted, sitting down at her vanity. "I don't know why I waste my time with that stallion."

"My, my," Tabby chided, "you certainly aren't sounding like Tiffany."

"I am entitled to change my mind," Tiffany said haughtily.

"What about Theodora? Where is she?" Tabby questioned.

"Theodora? Oh, the cat. Friendly is entertaining her down in the living room," Tiffany murmured, gazing at herself in the mirror.

"And do you know what, Tiffy? I sold my old clinic today!" Tabby announced cheerfully.

"If you don't have anything interesting to say, please don't stick around any longer," Tiffany snapped, flashing Tabby an icy stare.

Tabby jumped out of the room and hid behind the door as she glanced back at Tiffany. "Err... yes, I'd better be getting out of here. Bye!!" She was off like a streak back down the stairs.

"What happened?" Royal Blue asked questioningly.

"Oh, she's very crabby indeed," Tabby agreed. "But I wouldn't worry about it..."

* * *

Sugarberry, among Tabby's other friends, had lots of stories to relate on Tiffany's unnatural behavior. Tiffany had rudely called Sugarberry at the vet clinic and informed her that there was no need to keep sending postcards out; she would remember to schedule an appointment for Theodora when she thought her cat needed one.

Then there was Tamara, who was extremely upset because Tiffany refused to loan the pink unicorn her emerald bracelet for one night while Tamara was on a date with Tex. Clever Clover called Tabby and noted that she hadn't been at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe the past two nights. Friendly had to take care of nearly every single duty required for Theodora. The other princesses hoped Tiffany was just coming down with a cold.

The most concerned of all, however, was Toby. Tabby was sitting around at home the next day, staring off into space daydreaming about what to do with her two thousand jangles. Tarquin was pondering what kind of an extravagant date he could take Tess out on for that much. However, that was when the phone rang.

"Hello," Tabby said cheerfully. "Do you want me or Tamara?"

"This is Tabby, I presume? Toby speaking. "I was wondering if I could consult with you on Tiffany's condition."

"Tiffany's condition?" Tabby said brightly. "What do you need to find out from me?"

"There is obviously something behind her strange behavior, and you did seem to know a lot about that necklace that night at the party," Toby explained. "And, well... do you know how to stop the effects of it?"

Tabby sat back in her seat. "Well, well, advice! You will, of course, have to pay a twenty jangle fee for that, I hope you realize."

"Certainly. However much you need," Toby said quickly.

"Alrighty, then." Tabby smiled to herself. "Now, the best course of action would be to get the necklace off of her."

"Get the necklace off... how would I accomplish that?" Toby queried.

"It's very simple," Tabby assured him. "First, you must acquire an oricalcum bead, and--"

"What was that? An oricalcum bead? Let me get a pen. How would you spell that?"

"O-r-i-c-a-l-c-u-m... I think. Anyway, then insert the bead into the mouth of the necklace medallion," Tabby went on.

"Then what?" Toby asked eagerly.

"Fangs should suddenly appear on the medallion," Tabby said knowledgeably, "and it should grow so hot that even the spell of the spirit can't keep Tiffany from lifting it off her skin."

"Very interesting," Toby murmured.

"After she lifts it up with her hoof-- oh, here's another thing you'll need. A gold box, preferably Atlantean-looking-- take the box, open the lid, and quickly snap the medallion inside of it."

"I think I'm getting all this down..."

Tabby continued without pausing for breath. "After the necklace is securely in the box, throw the box and necklace in a deep pit of lava."

"Lava... where would be a good place to find that?"

"Somewhere near the center of Atlantis; but if you can't get there, you could try an active volcano," Tabby advised.

"This sounds simple enough," Toby said in relief. "I can't thank you enough for this information. By the way, where can I buy an oricalcum bead?"

"Try calling Clever Clover; he might sell you one cheap if he has any," Tabby said. "By the way, since you've kept me on the phone for over five minutes, that'll be an extra twenty jangle charge." Tabby shrugged; she still had to get back at him for sending her those roses back in March.

"I'll start working on this right away," Toby said exuberantly. "I'll try to deliver the forty jangles to you by tonight. Thank you very much, again."

"No problem," Tabby said slyly, hanging up the receiver.

* * *

That afternoon, there was a knock at Tabby's door. She rushed to answer it. "Hey! Cleve Clove!" she called out merrily as she swung the door open.

Clever Clover eyed her suspiciously as he stepped inside. "I received a call from Toby earlier," he started.

"Oooh, yes." Tabby nodded. "I told him to call you. I kindly told him my idea on getting the necklace away from Tiffany."

Clever Clover raised in eyebrow. "Yes, that's what I wanted to talk to you about... the story he gave me of your plan sounded suspiciously like it came out of Friendly's Fate of Atlantis computer game."

"Well, it came to me when he called that the same principle should work in Dream Valley as it did in the game," Tabby said innocently. "I mean, we did come across oricalcum beads in Atlantis, just like were in the game. I told him exactly how the necklace was disposed of."

Clever Clover rolled his eyes. "I don't have any oricalcum beads, anyway-- the plan may have worked, but he also mentioned something about a forty jangle fee..."

"Oh, that." Tabby waved her hoof through the air in dismissal. "Don't worry about it; Toby's the one paying. Anyway, have you come up with any ideas on the necklace?"

"Well..." Clever Clover frowned as he made his way into Tabby's kitchen and rummaged around in the refrigerator. "The whole scenario is very confusing."

"That's what you said last time I saw you," Tabby said impatiently. "How are you going to find out anything by locking yourself up in your house?"

"I was doing research out of all my books on Atlantis," Clever Clover defended himself, finding a bag of potato chips in a cupboard and opening the sack. "It takes time, and I'm sorry I wasn't able to go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe yesterday."

"Well, you still didn't figure anything out, did you?" Tabby said reproachingly.

"I couldn't find any references to that Dr. Tail you mentioned. I have decided, though, that Tiffany's necklace is either a lot stronger than the one you had-- if it is a different one-- or else there is a Whale Machine in the vicinity," Clever Clover explained.

Tabby sighed. "It's obvious there's no Whale Machine around. Where would anyone put one? I still say you should just whack her over the head and rip it off her neck while she's down."

"And if you're so smart, why haven't you come up with anything, besides that computer game theory?" Clever Clover demanded, crunching on a hoofful of chips.

"I've been extremely busy," Tabby retorted. "I'll have you know I had to sell my old vet clinic yesterday." She didn't mention the fact that the sale hadn't taken her more than ten minutes the way she had conducted it.

"Oh?" Clever Clover perked up in interest. "You've been trying to sell that for a long time. Who finally bought it?"

"Some whale-dude," Tabby said nonchalantly. "Dr. Malcolm Shane, I think he said. He's new in town."

"A ‘whale-dude'?" Clever Clover abruptly jumped up from his seat at Tabby's kitchen table, making quite a racket. "What kind of a whale-dude?!"

Tabby paused in thought. "He looked sorta like a whale... and sorta like a human. But I don't see what's to get excited over."

"Tabby!" Clever Clover yelped. "Don't you remember what happened in Atlantis... what happened at the Whale Machine?"

"Uhh..." Tabby stared up at the ceiling. "There was that guy following us around that wanted Atlantis to himself. And we... and we..." Her face brightened. "Oh, yes! We turned him into a whale with use of the Whale Machine."

"Tabby, it has to be him!" Clever Clover exclaimed, running out into the hallway. "He's the one behind this... somehow! Don't stop to ask questions! We've got to get to your old building right away!"

Tabby obediently trotted behind him. "Do you suppose he used an alias when he sold Tiffany the necklace?" she questioned as Clever Clover ran out the door. "That was a Dr. Tail. This guy who bought the clinic is Dr. Shane."

"Either that, or his name got corrupted as it went through the grapevine," Clever Clover responded. "Which could have happened easily, knowing your friends."

"He didn't seem very evil when I sold it to him," Tabby prattled on. "Are you sure it's him? Maybe it's another whale-dude we're after."

"How many whale-dudes can there be running around?" Clever Clover demanded. "Somehow, he got that necklace under his control, and brought it to Dream Valley... for whatever reason."

"Maybe he's not home," Tabby suggested as they reached her old clinic. The front of the place looked dark and ominous.

"There's a light on in the back," Clever Clover said, struggling to open the locked front door.

"Oh, the back room." Tabby nodded. "Maybe he's just having a party, Cleve Clove. But if you're so anxious to get in, why don't you try using the key?" She rummaged around in the dirt in the flowerbed off to one side of the main door and came up holding a copper-colored key in her hoof. "See? I remember hiding this here years ago... in case of emergency, you know."

Clever Clover gratefully took the small object from her and easily opened the door. Filtered moonbeams shone on them as they entered the main hallway.

"He hasn't been moving much stuff in," Tabby noted as she glanced into the various rooms.

"Something tells me we're going to find something in the back..." Clever Clover muttered as he marched resolutely onwards.

Clever Clover came to the last door in the hallway. He opened it as slowly and silently as he could. "Cool," Tabby breathed as she pushed in on him to get a closer look at the room.

"Be careful!" Clever Clover hissed.

"Come on, come on, let's confront him," Tabby said fearlessly as she simply pushed the door open and revealed the full sight of what she had caught a glimpse of from her peeking. Set up in the back room was now a massive, ancient-looking stone machine with many whales intricately carved into it-- the exact same Whale Machine Tabby and Clever Clover had dealt with back in Atlantis. It was impressive to look at it. The machine just nearly fit in the room, the whale carved at the peek just missing the ceiling.

The figure standing in the center of the machine looked rather familiar to the two, as well. "Hello, hello!" Tabby called out merrily as she pranced into the room and up to the platform in the center of the machine.

Dr. Malcolm Shane had been glaring at Tabby and Clever Clover ever since Tabby made her abrupt entrance. "It's you again!" he hissed, not moving from his place on the platform.

"What're you doing in Ponyland, Dr. Shane?" Clever Clover demanded, pushing Tabby out of the way.

"I was going to keep it secret for awhile longer," Shane said craftily, "but it appears you'll have to find out about it sooner than I expected."

"What're you going to do?" Tabby asked eagerly. "Take over the world? Destroy the world? Have Atlantis rise out of the sea? Can I help?"

Shane eyed this pink unicorn bitterly. "You are the one who forever doomed me to stay in this body!" He looked down at his sleek, gray whale-skin, and then pointed at Tabby. "And now I seek my revenge."

"You're the one who forced her to turn you into a whale!" Clever Clover protested. "It's your own fault!"

"That's right." Tabby nodded. "I--"

"You put in too many oricalcum beads!" Shane declared.

"I did not! One hundred was the perfect amount," Tabby said defensively. "You have changed, though, haven't you... you look a lot more whale-like than when we left you..."

"No bother arguing over that," Shane interrupted with an evil glint in his eyes. "After you abandoned me in the sunken halls of Atlantis, I was doomed to forever wander those ancient quarters in my freakish new form! But, I found that my metamorphosis was not yet complete. Soon, I found myself with this powerful new body; and with it came the means of your undoing, Tabitha!" Shane's evil laughter echoed throughout the room, giving an even eerier touch to the scene.

"Even he can't get my name right," Tabby muttered under her breath. "So, what're you going to do with this ‘powerful new body'? And this Whale Machine here?"

"And what's with selling that Nur-Ab-Fin necklace to Tiffany?" Clever Clover added.

"All part of my revenge against you two ponies," Shane said craftily. "There's no escape for you now, so if you wish to know--"

"I love stories!" Tabby clapped her front hooves together in delight.

Clever Clover glanced at his friend warningly. "Tabby..."

Shane paced back and forth on the Whale Machine platform. "Yes, this is the device you used to change me into this form. However, having spent so much time in Atlantis, I learned even more secrets of its uses by the ancient Atlanteans." His gaze pierced through Tabby. "Whoever stands on this very platform can control the thoughts and actions of the wearer of the renowned Nur-Ab-Fin necklace."

"Wow!" Tabby exclaimed in delight. "Is that what you're doing with Tiffany? Can I try it? Clever Clover, don't do anything yet. I want to hear the whole story."

"After many long months, I recovered the precious Nur-Ab-Fin-- which you so hastily disposed of-- from the depths of the ocean floor," Shane continued. "I then had the Whale Machine disassembled and shipped to Ponyland. Before I had found a new place to set it up, I did some research and sold the necklace to the richest of your friends, Tabitha. Though I could not have her completely under my power until I had the Whale Machine reassembled in this new location, the essence of Nur-Ab-Fin contained in the medallion would cause her to throw away all thoughts of her friends, and this would grow stronger in her the closer the Whale Machine got to Dream Valley."

"I simply love it when mysteries like this just start suddenly falling into place," Tabby squealed.

"However, when I first contacted you about buying this building," Shane went on, "I had no idea it was you, my arch-enemy. Fortunately for me, you didn't recognize my modified whale form, and the sale was completed without a hitch. I knew you or your friends might catch on sooner than expected, but if I was able to assemble the Whale Machine fast enough, I knew I would be able to eliminate you before that happened. Though a bit sooner than expected, it will still work for me..."

Tabby gulped, nervousness beginning to set in. "What exactly do you mean by.... ‘eliminate'?"

"You'll see soon enough." Shane laughed once again. "For here comes Tiffany, ready to do my bidding, whatever that may be."

"Why, you little--" Clever Clover stuttered angrily.

At that precise moment, Tiffany entered the room. She eyed Tabby coolly, and began talking in a deep, evil voice, very unlike her own. "I, Nur-Ab-Fin, must destroy you!"

Tabby suddenly jumped behind Clever Clover for protection. "Do something, Cleve Clove!" she shrieked.

"There's no escape now," Shane laughed.

Tiffany made a dive at Tabby, but Clever Clover blocked the assault, giving Tabby time to run for cover behind the Whale Machine.

"Run, but you won't survive, little pony," Shane taunted as Tabby cowered and Clever Clover struggled with Tiffany.

In the small corner of the Whale Machine where Tabby was hiding, she looked around. Through a crack between two pillars in the intricate design of the machine, she saw Dr. Shane. Now, she could easily jump through there... and what was that he'd said? Whoever stands on this very platform can control the thoughts and actions of the wearer of the renowned Nur-Ab-Fin necklace... the words echoed through her head. Clever Clover was doing a good job at hoof-to-hoof combat in keeping Tiffany away from the machine, but he looked like he was getting weary.

"It's our only chance," she said to herself as she leaped through the crack towards Shane. He had been watching the fight between Tiffany and Clever Clover, and was not concerned with Tabby at this point. Her attack caught him completely off guard, and he went sprawling off the platform and hit the floor with a thud as the pink unicorn tackled him.

With Shane now off the platform, Tiffany paused. Clever Clover was confused as to what to do now. Was that Tabby who had just knocked Shane off the platform? Hard to believe...

"You won't keep me away from it!" Shane declared as he started to run back to his platform. Tabby kept him back a few steps by pushing him with her unicorn horn. "Clever Clover, the platform! Get on the platform!" she hissed to her friend.

Tabby discovered it was rather thrilling using her horn as a fencing sword against Shane. She was doing a pretty good job at keeping him away.

Though still under Nur-Ab-Fin's influence, Tiffany was no longer obsessed with the even more vicious instructions from Shane. She stood up and brushed some dirt off her coat. "Clever Clover, how dare you fight me like that!" the princess said shrilly.

Clever Clover quickly glanced from the necklace to the platform. Should he get the necklace off Tiffany, or run over to the platform and try to make her slow down on her insults... or worse?

The urgent look on Tabby's face made up his mind, and he jumped onto the platform. Gosh, he'd never been in the position to control someone's mind like this before. He was still pondering over what to do when Shane broke free from Tabby's defense. She wasn't able to keep him back from the machine, and he was only a few seconds away from getting onto the platform. Tiffany, as well, looked none-to-happy, and was advancing towards Clever Clover.

Clever Clover looked down frantically at a panel in front of the platform. What was this? A switch, of some kind. There was Atlantean writing carved at each end of the switch... Clever Clover was no pro at reading Atlantean, but he loosely translated the slot on the top as "Good" and the slot on the bottom as "Bad". He quickly pushed the switch up, and would've crossed his hooves for good luck, if a pony could do that.

Several things then happened at once. Tabby watched with interest. Clever Clover leaped off the machine. Shane and Tiffany collided from different sides of the platform. A strange, green glow emanated from both the switch Clever Clover had just pushed and Tiffany's medallion.

Tiffany sat up and rubbed her head with a hoof. "Why, I'm very sorry to have crashed into you like that," she said politely to Shane.

Shane glared at her. "What are you talking about? You were supposed to eliminate that unicorn and her friend!"

Tiffany just smiled. "Oh, I could never eliminate anything. It would be much too evil to do anything like that." Her voice was almost too sweet for Tabby to stand.

"You're supposed to be evil! What happened?!" Shane screamed in outrage.

"What was that switch you pushed?" Tabby questioned Clever Clover.

"Obviously, the machine can either control the necklace-wearer in a way that makes them either evil or nice," Clever Clover reflected. "It had been set at the ‘evil' setting all this time. I changed the setting."

"Gosh," Tabby breathed. "Personally, I think Tiffany's a little too nice..."

"Oh, please, don't blame yourself for the crash," Tiffany was telling Shane. "I assume all responsibility for it..."

"Well, I suppose she might let us take the necklace off now, in which case she'd be back to normal," Clever Clover pondered.

"But what'll we do about Shane?" Tabby wondered.

"We'll see about that in a second." Clever Clover walked up to Tiffany, who was just helping Shane back up on his feet. "Tiffany, can I please see that necklace you're wearing?"

Tiffany smiled sweetly. "Why, certainly. You can borrow it as long as you like." She carefully unlatched the hook and handed the medallion over to Clever Clover.

All of a sudden, who should walk in but Toby. He looked on in amazement at the scene that met his eyes. His gaze fell to the necklace Clever Clover held in his hoof.

Tabby couldn't help but snicker at the look on Toby's face. "It's too late to save her yourself," she explained. "Cleve Clove here already did. He always has to be the hero in these situations, you know."

"I can't believe this," was all Toby could stutter. "All this talk of Atlantean spirits, and..."

Tiffany blinked slowly. "Oh... but... what happened?" She looked around at all the ponies... and the whale-man... surrounding her. "Where am I... what..."

"No! No!" Shane shrieked. "What did you do to the machine?! What's wrong with the necklace? This plan of mine couldn't fail!"

Clever Clover and Tabby held down the outraged Dr. Malcolm Shane, while Toby embraced Tiffany reassuringly. "Everything's back to normal now... I think..." he consoled her. "I'm so glad I saw you coming this way, and was able to follow you."

Tiffany looked back at the Whale Machine. "Everything's a blur... but that contraption looks absolutely atrocious! Who in the world built that? What's it doing here in Dream Valley?"

"We saved the day, Clever Clover! Isn't it exciting?" Tabby squealed. "It's so exciting I can hardly stand it."

The surprise of defeat hit Shane as a shock. He was now just standing there, stuttering, "No... the necklace... the machine... no!!"

"Oh, Toby, I'm so glad you were here to save me," Tiffany gushed, looking up at him adoringly. "You'll have to tell me of all your heroic actions. Oh, you risked your life to save me..." She sighed happily, oblivious to Tabby, Clever Clover, and Shane.

"First of all, Tiffany, I'd suggest that you get back to the Royal Paradise," Toby advised. "And then you'd better get some rest. You've had a big shock."

"Don't we get any of the credit?!" Tabby shrieked in outrage as Toby and Tiffany walked off down the hallway, hoof in hoof. She herself forgot about Shane. "Toby didn't do anything!! He just showed up here at the end!!"

"You can argue about that with the gang later," Clever Clover said. "Right now, let's go over to the river. I think the Sea Ponies will know what to do with Shane..."

* * *

Tabby watched Sea Mist and Sand Dollar swim away underwater, with Shane (tied up in seaweed ropes) in tow. "We'll be sure he's kept under lock and key," High Tide assured Clever Clover and Tabby. "He's not going to be causing any more problems."

"Thanks," Clever Clover said cheerfully.

Tabby kicked at a rock as the two ponies walked away. "I know Tiffany is going to be spreading rumors like crazy about how Toby saved her!" she wailed. "It's not fair, Cleve Clove!"

"Just be glad we don't have to worry about Shane or the necklace or the whale machine any more," Clever Clover said. "I'll keep this necklace in safe-keeping at my house." He pulled the whale medallion out. "It'll be a cool artifact for my museum I'm going to start."

Tabby snorted. "You're never going to start that museum, Cleve Clove. You came up with that idea a year ago, and nothing's been done."

"The Whale Machine will be a great centerpiece for it, too!" Clever Clover said brightly. "Since it's switched on ‘good' now, there's nothing to fear..."

Tabby rolled her eyes. Clever Clover would never get his museum set up. The Whale Machine would never be moved out of the back room. She still had her old vet clinic to sell.

But at least Tiffany was back to normal... that was proved by the stories she told of how heroic Toby had been to save her.

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