My Little Pony Monthly Issue 100 (July 1, 2006)


My Little Pony Monthly
A publication of Nematode (Electronic) Publishing
Established June 1997
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Issue 100
July 2006
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From the Editor

Dear Readers,

Here we are at issue 100 of My Little Pony Monthly! It's a year or two late, if this publication had kept going on at the rate of one issue a month.

I would like to give special thanks to Clever Clover and Salaries, our two contributors to this month's issue. Clever Clover has kept going admirably forward in documenting the lives of his characters, and Salaries has breathed new life into the Dream Valley of Sugarberry and Tabby. Please take the time to read their stories and drop the authors a line! Clever Clover can be reached at [email protected], and Salaries at [email protected]

Let me just tell you all that MLP Monthly has not breathed its last yet, not as long as we have dedicated writers such as those gracing this issue! If any other readers have MLP story submissions, I can be reached at [email protected]



Best Wishes,

Tabby, Editor

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My Little Pony Monthly Author Profile on Salaries!


You've read their stories; now it's time to meet the person behind the stories! In this new feature, we will survey one of our authors every month to find out more about them!


Real Name? Carl Wayne Riegel

If you use a pony alias, why did you choose it? I use the alias Salaries, for he is the type of pony that I thrive to be as a human; plus it helps me create the stories that you all read.

Birthday? 12/04/60.

Zodiac Sign? Sagittarius.

Gender? Male.

Location? San Antonio, Texas.

Occupation? I build and program medical equipment as well as computers.

Dream Job? Was to work with horses, but never had the opportunity.

Hobbies and Collections? Nature hikes, horseback riding, and helping our animal friends.

Any Pets? No, but working on getting a pony and horse ranch.

Favorite My Little Pony? Bowtie, but recently Tabby and Sugarberry have hit the top of my favorite list as well.
Favorite color? Green.

Favorite food? Chili dogs.

Favorite animal? Ponies and horses.

Favorite mode of transportation? Car.

What kind of music do you listen to? Old rock and county.

Favorite song? Cheer Up Sleepy Jinn by the Monkeys.

What kind of movies do you enjoy? Fantasy and science fiction.

Favorite actor/actress? Robin Williams

What kind of books do you read? All types of classical books as well as fantasy and science fiction.

Favorite author? H.G. Wells.

Favorite quote? "A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet."

What made you interested in My Little Ponies? My interest in My Little Ponies was based on my love I had for my own pony and horses that I had when I was a child.

If you collect MLPs, how many are in your collection? I am not an avid collector and only have about twenty along with other pony and horse figures I have collected over the years.

How long have you been writing? I began writing when I was in elementary school, but stopped after college except for the occasional story doodle until I found and read the stories in Tabby's MLP newsletter which inspired me to write The Adventures of Wild Fire.

What advice would you give for those that want to start writing? If writing is your choice in life, then do it not for money or fame but for the joy and passion of writing; for it is that which makes one a great writer.
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Shadow Clover
by Clever Clover ([email protected])


Officer Key of the Pony Sea Patrol sat in her Port Scurvy office sorting through a pile of arrest reports. There was a knock on the door, a welcome distraction from mind-numbing paperwork. Key pushed back from her desk and sighed. The knocking repeated.

"I'll be right there." The officer crossed the small room and opened the door. Standing on the doorstep was Lucas, the delivery pony. He extended an envelope to Key.

"I have a letter for Ms. Key."

"That's me." Key took the envelope and was about to return to her desk when young Lucas cleared his throat. Key turned back to the delivery pony and saw his hoof extended, as if he was waiting for something. "I'm sorry, I can't really afford a tip."

Lucas shook his head. "Postage due."

"Oh." Key looked at the envelope. If it had been addressed to "The Office of the Pony Sea Patrol", she could pay the bill out of the office operating budget; but it was addressed to her personally, so the money came out of her pocket. After rummaging for some loose change, she handed the money to Lucas. He carefully counted out the coins and dropped all but one into his pouch.

"Did I overpay?"

"Oh, come on! It's only one jangle!"

"Like I said before, I can't afford tips. If you've got a problem, take it up with the cheapskate who gave you the letter to begin with."

Lucas handed Key her coin and turned to leave, grumbling. "Yeah, like I'm going to peddle all the way to Port Cactus for a measly tip."

Key returned to her desk and regarded the envelope. It was addressed to her, but there was no return address. She opened the envelope and withdrew the folded page within.

* * *
The weeks wore on since Jack O Lantern had occupied Malachite Castle. The evil wizard payed a daily visit to the king and queen to convince them of the reason of his plan. King Oak had requested that his wife, Gooseberry, be excluded from the daily ritual, but Jack O Lantern insisted on her presence. Nightshade always accompanied the evil wizard, but never contributed anything to his dialogue.

Jack O Lantern paced before the king and queen as he made his daily argument. "Why will you not listen to me! Zotikos is the greatest threat the clans have ever faced. He will not abandon his mad dreams. Not even the grave can keep him from them. Against such a force, the clans must be united under a strong leader."

"I am more than capable of leading the clans. If you want to help the clans, you will join us and bring the Night Clan back into the fold!"

"That will not do. We need a leader who can make strong decisions and make them fast. I know Zotikos. I can make the decisions that need to be made without hesitation. Even if I were to join you as an advisor, the time lost in committee could be our downfall!"

"The clans will not follow you. If you insist on leading the clans, it can only lead to Zotikos' ultimate victory."

"That is enough for today." The wizard and swordpony left the royal couple to contemplate what had been said.

The queen, sobbing, threw herself onto the bed. "Oh! Dear Oak! What are we to do? I am losing hope."

Oak put his forelegs around his queen. "There, there, my love. I'm sure everything will turn out for the best. We just have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity."

* * *
Much as Jack O Lantern made his daily visit to the king and queen, his young apprentice Hemlock visited Enchantment. But their discussions were less gloomy than that of the adults. Both of them being apprentice wizards, they had plenty of anecdotes of embarrassing mistakes and surprising successes to share, as well as their thoughts and dreams for the future.

One day, as Hemlock was leaving, Enchantment laid her hoof on his shoulder. "Hemlock, why are you doing this?"

"I enjoy your company."

Enchantment shook her head. "That's not what I meant. Why do you continue to serve Jack O Lantern?"

"I... Zotikos is dangerous, to all the clans. Jack O Lantern knows him better than any other clanspony, having been his host for so long. He may have chosen the wrong path to Zotikos' defeat, but he is our best hope of defeating him."

"You were also his host. If you joined us, could you not guide us as well as Jack O Lantern?"

"Thank you for your trust, Enchantment, but I could not. I lack the strength." Hemlock walked through the door and signaled the armored guards to close it.

"You are stronger than you think," said Enchantment as the door swung close.

* * *
Shadow Clover spent much of his days in the gymnasium, thrashing about with a sword. It was at the same time both exhilarating and frustrating. It seemed there should be something more to it, but however hard he tried to find the true meaning of the sword, it always escaped him.

One day, Nightshade entered the gymnasium while he thrashed, but she didn't sneak in through the shadows as she usually did; sneaking did her no good with Shadow Clover. "You know, it helps if you do that with another pony," she commented on his exercise.

Shadow Clover lowered his sword and glared at the dark swordpony. "Why is it that you always want to stick your nose into my business?"

"We're on the same side. I want to be sure that you can handle yourself when the time comes."

"Handle myself? What is that supposed to mean?"

"Have you ever heard the saying, 'The chain is only as strong as the weakest link'? I know what Jack O Lantern, Hemlock, and I are capable of. You are the only link in our chain that is untried."

Shadow Clover raised his sword. "Very well then, test me if you wish. You will not find me lacking."

Nightshade grinned and drew her sword. "I like your attitude. I hope you can back it up." She lunged at the purple pony. Shadow Clover knocked her blade aside with his own and made his own lunge. Nightshade stepped aside and stuck out her hind hoof, tripping Shadow Clover. The purple pony stumbled but quickly regained his footing and twirled about, swinging his sword at Nightshade's neck. She parried the blow and struck Shadow Clover up-side the head with the hilt of her sword in one fluid motion. Shadow Clover leapt backwards and leveled his sword at Nightshade, but he didn't attack. He circled the dark swordpony, waiting for the right moment to strike. Just as he was about to lash out at her once again, Nightshade launched her own attack, striking low, toward his hooves, with the edge of her sword. Caught off guard, Shadow Clover barely jumped in time to avoid the swift blade.

Nightshade sheathed her sword. "You're not bad, but you could use some polish." She turned toward the door.

Shadow Clover didn't let his guard down. He felt more alive than he had since being carried from the passages underneath the kiva in the Crystal Desert. As Nightshade was about to step through the door, Shadow Clover dropped the point of his sword. "Could we do this again?"

Nightshade didn't pause or turn her head. "Sure."

Once Nightshade had gone, Shadow Clover raised his sword. He didn't thrash about as he used to. He weighed the sword in his hoof and felt its balance. He slowly and carefully went through the motions. After a few minutes, he lowered the sword. "This just won't do."

The purple pony stormed from the gymnasium. He made his way through the passages of the castle to the armory tower. He walked the racks of swords, spears, and other arms, picking up the occasional blade and testing its weight. But not finding one that suited his liking, he continued to wander. In the deepest corner of the armory, Shadow Clover found a locked cabinet. With a swift kick, he shattered the lock. Inside the cabinet was a finely crafted sword with scabbard and belt.

He picked up the sword and drew it from the scabbard. Though brightly polished, the blade seemed dark. The cross was intricately etched bronze and the grip was wrapped in braided black silk. A polished black onyx was set in the pommel. The sword felt good in his hoof, neither too heavy nor to light. Satisfied with the blade, he buckled the belt about his waist.

Unbeknownst to Shadow Clover, Magus was watching his search through a crystal ball from a chamber hidden deep below the castle. The wizard smiled. "So, it has finally chosen a master."

* * *
Meanwhile, in Friendship Gardens, Morning Glory was plodding through her daily life. While making flower deliveries, she pondered what had become of Clever Clover. She walked down the lane, concerned more with Clever Clover and her other friends she had lost touch with than with where she was going.

A familiar voice startled her. "Hi, Morning Glory." It was Minoko. The salutation had little feeling behind it. It had become habit for the two of them to greet each other when they happened to bump into one another, if only in memory of the friendship they had shared with Clever Clover. But since his disappearance they didn't spend any time together, even though they were the only two members of Clever Clover's circle left in Friendship Gardens.

"Oh, hello, Minoko." Morning Glory's reply was equally empty. For so long their lives had revolved around Clever Clover; now that he was gone it was not easy to get back to their normal lives. The only thought that gave Morning Glory any comfort was that somehow Clever Clover and Belle Star had gotten back together and were living happily together, though she couldn't bring herself to believe it.

* * *
While Morning Glory contemplated the fate of her friends, Belle Star was rubbing elbows with the elite of New Pony society at a fundraiser for the poor and homeless of the city. The imposing ballroom of the New Pony Grand Hotel was full of well-dressed mares and stallions. Belle Star, who was the hostess of the affair, felt quite out of place. Coral, her closest friend, noticed her discomfort.

"Hey, Belle Star, this is your party. If the guests see that you're not enjoying yourself, they might lose interest in your cause."

The tan pony forced a smile. "Yes, I suppose you're right." Belle Star had taken up the cause of the poor of New Pony. If she could not be happy, she could at least bring happiness to those who were in need.

"Belle Star, I've got someone you just have to meet." It was the artist Rodan, standing next to an orange mare with dark purple and white streaked mane and tail. "This is Viksie. She's a singer."

Belle Star bowed. "It is nice to meet you, Viksie."

"The pleasure is all mine. I really appreciate what you're doing. You see, I grew up in the street. I was able to make a life for myself with my voice."

"Viksie may not be very famous yet, but she would like to put on a concert to benefit the cause."

"Oh! Is that right?"

Viksie nodded. "I don't know how much it will help, but I just have to do something."

"Thank you very much for your offer, but you'll have to talk to mister Roger. He's the one who really arranges these things."

"But you are the one whose idea it was, right? Roger only arranges the fundraisers out of friendship for you. I'm sure if you suggested the idea to him, he'd give me a chance."

"Very well; I'll talk to him."

"Oh, thank you, Belle Star!"

Rodan and Viksie wandered off to mingle with the other guests. Coral slapped Belle Star on the back. "Good job! You see, your smile is your most valuable asset. And I've got a good premonition about Viksie. I'm sure she'll do a lot of good for the cause."

As much as Belle Star appreciated her friend's support, Coral fit in too well with the society ponies. When she had gone to the royal wedding with Clever Clover, even though he was royalty himself, he had been as much an outsider as she was. Neither had been outsiders as long as they had each other. But here, Belle Star was the only outsider.

* * *
Far away, a ship sailed upon the waves. On the deck stood a slender stallion with long blond mane and tail. "I will rescue you, sister."

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The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 4: Wild Fire's First Date
by Salaries ([email protected])


The morning after Christmas, Baby Daffodil got up from bed and scurried downstairs to eat breakfast. When she got to the kitchen her parents were already at the table; Mother Daffodil saw her daughter coming in so she got up and said, "We are having pancakes this morning. How many would you like to have, honey?"

Baby Daffodil thought for a minute and said, "I will have four, thank you."

Then Mother Daffodil went to make the pancakes and after about fifteen minutes was back to set them in front of Baby Daffodil. As she was eating she asked her parents, "Can I go to Wild Fire's house to play?"

"Be sure to call them first to make sure that they are home or don't have any plans of their own," Ranger told his daughter.

As Baby Daffodil finished her pancakes, she got up from the table and went to the living room to call her friend. She picked up the receiver and dialed her friend's number, and within a few seconds the other end was picked up and a mare's voice was heard. "This is Devilin."

"Mrs. Devilin, this is Baby Daffodil; may I speak to Wild Fire?"

Baby Daffodil heard Devilin lay down her receiver and say, "Wild Fire, you have a phone call."

Then the receiver was picked up again and Wild Fire's voice was heard. "Hello."

"Wild Fire, this is Baby Daffodil and I was wondering if I could come over and play at your house."

"Let me ask my mother if it will be okay," Wild Fire said, going to ask. Within a few minutes, she was back on the phone. "She said that you can come over."

"Great, I will be right there after I tell my parents." Then they said their goodbyes and Baby Daffodil went back to the kitchen and announced, "Wild Fire talked to her mother and got permission to let me play with her at her house."

"All right, dear, but I want you to be on your best behavior while you are there," Mother Daffodil told her daughter.

"Yes, ma'am," Baby Daffodil replied as she trotted off to her friend's house. When Baby Daffodil reached the front door and knocked, it suddenly flew open and Baby Daffodil was face-to-face with her good friend Wild Fire.

"Come on in, Daf," Wild Fire said as she moved to let Baby Daffodil in. Then Wild Fire shut the door and guided her friend up to her bedroom while she yelled to her mother, "Mom, Daffodil and I are going up to my room to play!"

"Just don't play too loud, honey!"

"We won't!" The two fillies trotted up to Wild Fire's room and went inside. "So, Daf, what would you like to play?"

"I thought we could play with one of those toys you brought from your homeland."

Wild Fire looked at her friend and remembered how she had accidentally found her hidden toy room that held the possessions her family had brought from the spirit world when Baby Daffodil had been over for hot chocolate after a Christmas function. "Well, okay, but remember what you promised the first time I showed them to you."

"I know, never tell any pony about them unless you say it will be okay," Baby Daffodil repeated.

"Right," Wild Fire said as she pressed against a lever on the right side of the inner frame of the door, causing the back wall of her closet to open. It revealed a small room that held the objects that came from the spirit world. Wild Fire gazed at the spirit objects to find one that would be safe for a mortal to play with; she took out a dome-shaped glass with carvings of the universe and lay it down while telling her friend, "We can play with this one."

Baby Daffodil looked at the object and said, "This looks like one of those night lights that show pictures on the wall."

Wild Fire smiled and said, "Go turn off the light and I will show you what it can do."

As Baby Daffodil went to the light switch to turn it off, she thought that she would only see a small light show, but was completely surprised when Wild Fire turned the object on and both fillies were standing in the middle of a galaxy. "Oh, wow, this is amazing!" Baby Daffodil exclaimed as she looked in astonishment at the planets and stars that were circling around her. "I wish that Dream Valley's shopping centers carried things like this."

Downstairs, Devilin was tidying up a bit when she began sensing the use of spirit energy from upstairs. She went to the stairs and yelled, "Wild Fire!"

When Wild Fire heard her mother yell her name, she went and opened her door to respond. "Yes, ma'am!"

"I need to see you downstairs for a minute!"

"I'll be right down!" Wild Fire turned the lights back on and turned off the dome while telling Baby Daffodil to wait in her room for a moment.

When Wild Fire came downstairs to face her mother, Devilin looked at her daughter with a gaze that would freeze a mortal pony's heart. "What were you and Baby Daffodil doing upstairs?"

"We were just playing," Wild Fire said, all innocence to her mother.

Then Devilin had her daughter look at her straight in the eye. "I felt spirit energy coming from your room and I want to know what you two were playing to cause it."

Seeing her mother's fiery gaze, Wild Fire began explaining the whole incident about Baby Daffodil discovering the hidden room with spirit objects. Her mother looked at her, trying to think on how her husband would handle this. "I want you and Baby Daffodil to go play outside, and we will discuss this further when your father gets home."

"Yes, ma'am," Wild Fire said and trotted back upstairs to report to Baby Daffodil. She found her friend sitting on her bed staring at the dome. "Daf, why don't we go play outside for awhile?"

"But we've been having fun playing with your space toy and it is so cold outside," Baby Daffodil said, turning toward her friend.

Thinking quickly, Wild Fire added, "Well, my mother needs to clean the upstairs but I'll ask her if she could make us a thermos of her homemade hot chocolate to take with us while we are outside."

Baby Daffodil felt a little sad that they had to stop playing with the dome, but she did love Mrs. Devilin's hot chocolate; it always kept a pony all warm inside no matter how cold it was outside. So Wild Fire put the dome back in the secret room and closed the panel, and then the two fillies went downstairs.

Wild Fire asked her mother if she could make some hot chocolate for their time outside, so Devilin went into the kitchen and after a few minutes came out with a thermos full of the drink. As the fillies left, Devilin thought to herself," Ever since we arrived in Dream Valley, that filly of ours has gotten herself into one mishap after another. I just don't know what we are going to do with her." And with that, Devilin went back to tidying up the house.

Meanwhile, outside, Baby Daffodil was beginning to feel the winter chill; seeing her friend shivering, Wild Fire poured her a cup of hot chocolate. "This will get old man winter off your back," she said as she handed the cup to Baby Daffodil.

"Thanks, Wild Fire, I needed this." As she began to sip the hot chocolate, the warmth of the brew warmed and revitalized the filly's whole body.

"Do you feel okay now?" a concerned Wild Fire asked.

"I'm fine, but I can tell you this, whatever your mother puts in her hot chocolate not even old man winter has a chance against," Baby Daffodil said, feeling more warm than cold now.

When they reached the playground, Baby Daffodil galloped toward the forested part of the park with her newfound energy. "Come on, slowpoke!" she yelled to hurry her friend along; and as Wild Fire caught up with her, a flaming ball of fire suddenly came flying towards them. Thinking quickly, Wild Fire started to build up her spirit energy; her horn began to glow and when the fireball was on top of them and exploded, causing a small dust cloud to form, the fillies were still unharmed due to the spirit force shield that circled the two fillies.

When it was all over, Wild Fire looked at her wide-eyed friend and thought that she had given her family's secret away until Baby Daffodil said, "I always wondered what your unicorn power was and lucky for us, it's a good one."

Then the fillies heard hoofsteps coming toward them as a figure of a unicorn appeared from behind a grove of trees and began to approach them. Wild Fire was already on edge because of the fireball and was sure that this was one of the evil spirits from the spirit world, so she stood in front of her friend to protect her as she yelled at the stranger, "Who are you and why did you try to hit us with that fireball?" As the unicorn came closer, the two could see that he was a male with a sandy brown body, a rusty orange mane and tail, and had the symbol of a dingo.

"Outback, is that you?" Baby Daffodil yelled out to the pony.

The male pony saw Daffodil and his heart rate started to increase. "Are you two okay?"

"Thanks to Wild Fire's unicorn magic," Baby Daffodil said, patting Wild Fire on the shoulder. Then she turned to Outback with a look of curiosity on her face. "I know that you don't have the ability to create fireballs, so tell us how you made that one."

Outback pulled a PokeBall out of his backpack. "My uncle caught a Charizard and gave him to me for a Christmas present; but when I was practicing some attack moves, one of his fireballs got out of control." He walked up to Baby Daffodil. "And I am so glad that you weren't hurt by it, or I would never have forgiven myself."

Wild Fire stood staring at the two lovesick ponies and said with a little irritation, "Hey, you two, if you are finished goggling over each other, I would like to know what is going on here."

Baby Daffodil suddenly snapped out of her trance, and both she and Outback turned to face Wild Fire. "Wild Fire, this is Outback, a very good friend of mine," Baby Daffodil made the introduction.

Outback walked over to Wild Fire and stuck out his front hoof in friendship. "Wild Fire, from what Daffodil has told me of you and what I have seen here at the park, I would think that you were more of a guardian angel than a mere friend."

Wild Fire, not trusting any pony with a horn, took Outback's hoof and then pulled him closer to her to say, "And I will do whatever it takes to make sure that nothing and no one ever hurts her, if you get my drift."

Outback, seeing the serious look in her eye as she let his hoof go, walked back over to Baby Daffodil and took her hoof in his as he turned to Wild Fire and said, "That is one thing, Wild Fire, that I can definitely agree with." A bewildered Baby Daffodil just looked at the other two ponies as they stared at each other.

After a few minutes of silence, Outback turned to Baby Daffodil and asked, "How about you and me going to the fireworks show this New Years Eve?"

"I don't know; this is Wild Fire's first New Year's in Dream Valley and I want to share it with her; and it would not be right for me to have a date, and Wild Fire have none."

Outback desperately wanted Baby Daffodil to go out with him and came up with an idea that he hoped the fillies would agree to. "If Wild Fire won't mind going on a blind date, I have a cousin that moved to Dream Valley from Vulcanopolis and he hasn't meet a filly who 'sets his artistic soul on fire', as he says."

Baby Daffodil, thinking that Outback's idea was a good one, turned to Wild Fire to see what she thought of it. "How does that sound to you, Wild Fire?" she asked with some anticipation.

"I don't know. What does he look like?" Wild Fire asked as she looked at Outback.

"He is a white pegasus with multi_color mane and tail, and his symbol is a paintbrush."

Wild Fire thought for a minute and then said, "All right, I'll do it, but under one condition. When I meet this colt and if I find that he is not my type, then Daffodil and I will go to the fireworks show without an escort." They all agreed to Wild Fire's condition and went their separate ways.

While Wild Fire and Baby Daffodil were heading home, Baby Daffodil began to speak "If this colt is anything like my Outback, you will fall in love with him at first sight."

"We will see, Daf, we will see," was all the response Baby Daffodil got.

As Outback was going to his cousin's house to see if he would go out with Wild Fire, all that he could think about was, "Please, Paintbrush, say yes; please say yes."

When the fillies got home, Baby Daffodil went to her house to eat, and Wild Fire did the same. But when Wild Fire got inside and saw her parents looking at her, she was reminded of the reason she and Baby Daffodil were outside to begin with; anticipating the scolding she would receive as she sat down on the couch, she thought that she may not have to worry about this colt after all. Instead, she was utterly surprised at what she heard from her father.

"Wild Fire, your mother told me what happened in your room and how Baby Daffodil accidentally stumbled upon the spirit devices that you keep behind your back wall closet; and because it was an accident, your mother and I see no reason to punish you for it. But not telling us about it is another thing all together and I would like to know why you did not tell us about it when it first happened."

Wild Fire looked at her parents nervously as she started to give her reason for not telling them when it first happened. "I thought that I could control the situation and would not have to worry you with it."

Then Salaries told Wild Fire, "I would like you to go to the kitchen and wait for us to come in."

Then her mother added, "And if you are hungry, I have made you a plate of food that is sitting on the time displacer, so it would still be fresh for you when you got home." So Wild Fire went to the kitchen as her parents discussed the spirit objects further.

After two hours of discussing, Salaries and Devilin got up from the living room and went to tell their daughter their decision on the part of not telling them about Baby Daffodil's discovery; when they went to the kitchen and saw their daughter and the empty plate on the table, Salaries began to speak. "Wild Fire, your mother and I decided that you should not be punished for trying to solve a problem on your own, but we would like to be informed about anything that comes up from now on. Also, your mother and I will remove any spirit object from your secret closet that we think will harm a mortal. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Wild Fire said with remorse.

Then Devilin added with flames coming from her eyes, "And I do not want to see any of the spirit objects leaving this house; if they do, you will not have to wait for your father to be punished. Do you understand?"

"Yes, ma'am," Wild Fire said with a little fear in her voice. As Salaries and Devilin began walking to the living room, Wild Fire blurted out, "Would it be okay if I date a mortal?"

As her parents heard her, they stopped so fast that you would think they had hit an invisible wall. Then they turned and with a surprised look on their faces said in unison, "Date a mortal?"

After the initial shock of their daughter's announcement had worn off, Salaries and Devilin went and sat on each side of their daughter and Salaries asked, "What brought that up all of a sudden?"

Then Wild Fire explained about Baby Daffodil and the encounter with Outback and about Outback's cousin, leaving out the fireball incident so she did not have to give an explanation for it. Then Salaries, after hearing the story, said to his daughter, "Wild Fire, honey, your mother and I know that the only colts that you would be able to go out with would be mortals, and that is okay with us."

Then Devilin added, "But we would like to see the colt before you go out with him to see if he is worthy of your affection."

Wild Fire, happy that her parents felt okay about her dating mortals, said, "That will be fine with me." And with that settled, they all got up from their chairs and went to do other things.

During Wild Fire's discussion with her parents, Baby Daffodil got a call from Outback. "Hello, Daffodil, this is Outback and I have some good news to tell you."

"And what news would that be, Outback?"

"My cousin agreed to meet Wild Fire, so we all can go see the fireworks on New Year's Eve together."

"That's great, Outback; I will call Wild Fire so she can prepare herself for the date."

"Okay, Daffodil, I will be counting the days to our next meeting, love you."

"Love you too, Outback, and good night." Then they hung up and Baby Daffodil called Wild Fire to tell her that the date was on.

When the receiver was picked up, a mare's voice was heard. "Hello, this is Devilin speaking."

"Mrs. Devilin, this is Baby Daffodil. Can I talk to Wild Fire?"

Then Devilin laid down the receiver to get her daughter and within a few minutes the receiver was picked up again. "Hello, Daf, this is Wild Fire. What's on your mind?"

With a little giddiness in her voice, Baby Daffodil told Wild Fire the news. "Outback and his cousin told me that they are definitely coming to take us to the fireworks on New Year's Eve. Isn't that great?"

"Oh yes, it sounds wonderful; I can't wait for the big day." But if Baby Daffodil could see the fear in Wild Fire's face, in anticipation of meeting Outback's cousin, she would be more worried than excited about her friend meeting the colt.

Then Baby Daffodil chatted about how much fun it was going to be double dating at the upcoming event, while Wild Fire just listened to her with an occasional acknowledgment of support. Then Baby Daffodil's mother was heard in the background saying. "Dinnertime, Daffodil honey, time to say goodbye to Wild Fire."

"Okay, Mom. Wild Fire, I got to go eat; I will talk to you later, okay?"

"Okay, Daffodil have a good dinner and goodnight."

"Goodnight, Wild Fire." Then they hung up, and after dinner went to bed.

* * *
During the next two days, Salaries and Devilin began to worry about their daughter's sanity as they watched Wild Fire coming downstairs in different outfits every hour while mumbling to herself. When they saw their daughter go up to her room to change once again, Salaries looked at his wife and said, "I think this date our daughter is going on has finally gotten to her."

"I agree, and I think that we need to talk to her before we have to commit her to an insane asylum." Then Devilin took Salaries's hoof and went to Wild Fire's bedroom; when they got there they saw the disarray of the room with Wild Fire sitting at her vanity table with her head laying on her forelegs. They walked towards their daughter and as Salaries placed a hoof on her shoulder, a startled Wild Fire lifted her head and saw the reflection of her parents in the vanity mirror.

After a few seconds Wild Fire asked, "Is there something wrong?"

Then Devilin placed her front hoof gently on Wild Fire's mane while saying, "No, dear, we just feel that you looked a little distraught and we want you to know that we are always here for you if you feel the need to talk, no matter what the subject may be." Salaries and Wild Fire looked at Devilin with a look of surprise on their faces at her sincere speech. Then Devilin looked at the two and said, "What?"

"That speech was so beautiful, my dear, that it just took my breath away," Salaries said as he took his wife's front hoof and kissed it, making his wife blush a little on her cheeks.

Then Wild Fire looked at her parent and said, "I am afraid."

Salaries looked at his daughter and guided her to her bed, where Salaries and Devilin sat on each side of her. "And what are you afraid of, sweetheart?" Salaries asked.

"Everything... the date with Outback's cousin and what if I get so nervous that I accidentally use my spirit powers on him and ruin everyone's day and I can't find anything to wear on the date!" Wild Fire spilled out.

Salaries was looking at his wife for any ideas when suddenly he heard Devilin speak up. "Wild Fire, if there is one thing that your father and I know it is being afraid of dating, but it does not matter what the consequences are as long as the one you date makes you happy and fills your inner desires with joy, and anything else has no meaning."

"But how will I know this pony will do that?"

Devilin put her forelegs around her daughter's upper chest as she lay her head on top of Wild Fire's head and said, "You will know, my sweet little flame, for when you look at him, everything around you will cease to exist and the only sound you hear will be the beat of your heart as he takes you by the hoof, engulfing you in a serene feeling of joy. As you receive your first kiss from him, you will feel as if you were reborn."

Wild Fire looked at her mother as she placed her forelegs at her side and hugged her as she said, "Thank you, Mother, I feel a lot better now."

Devilin rubbed her daughter's back and said, "Now I want you to lay down and get a little rest, and I will get you when dinner is ready." Wild Fire, feeling a little tired, did as her mother asked, and Salaries and Devilin started for the living room.

Salaries looked at his wife as he praised her for the fine job of comforting their daughter. "That was a lovely thing you said to Wild Fire, my love."

Devilin smiled at her husband and said, "It is easy to talk about things that you carry in your own heat."

Salaries, hearing this, turned to his wife and embraced her to him and said, "Devilin, you are the universe to me and my love for you is eternal."

"As is mine for you, my love." Then they finalized their love with a passionate kiss.

As dinner time approached, Devilin went to Wild Fire's room to gently wake her up. "Sweetheart, it is time to wake up for dinner."

As Wild Fire opened her eyes and turned to look at her mother, she said, "Mother, do you really think that this pony will be the one for me?"

Devilin lay her forehoof on her daughter's cheek as she said, "Only your heart can answer that question when you two meet, but I feel that nothing but good things will come at that time."

Wild Fire gave her mother another hug as she said, "Thank you for being my mother."

A tear ran down Devilin's cheek. "And thank you for being my daughter, my precious little flame." Then the two female ponies went downstairs to eat dinner.

* * *
The day of the New Year's Eve fireworks celebration was upon them and Wild Fire, with the help of her mother, was getting ready for her date. The doorbell rang and Salaries went to answer the door, thinking to himself that it was much to soon for the colts to arrive. When he opened the door, a purple little filly stood in front of him. "Well, good morning, Baby Daffodil; and what brings you so early to our house?"

"I wanted to see Wild Fire's expression of her blind date first hoof," Baby Daffodil said with a big grin on her face.

Salaries, with his own grin, said to Baby Daffodil, "If you would like to talk to Wild Fire before the colts arrive, she is in her room with her mother getting ready."

"I would like that, thank you," Baby Daffodil said as she trotted up to Wild Fire's room.

As she reached the doorway and looked inside, she saw how pretty Wild Fire looked as Devilin was fixing up her daughter's hair. Baby Daffodil accidentally blurted out, "Wow! Wild Fire, you look fantastic."

Devilin and Wild Fire turned to the doorway to see Baby Daffodil standing there. Wild Fire waved her hoof to let Baby Daffodil know that it was okay to come inside. When Baby Daffodil got to the vanity table, she stood next to Devilin to praise her for the beautiful job she had done on Wild Fire. "You are very talented, Mrs. Devilin. Wild Fire looks beautiful."

"Well, thank you, Baby Daffodil; you look lovely as well," Devilin said with a smile.

"Thank you, ma'am," Baby Daffodil replied.

Then Wild Fire asked, "So what are you doing here; isn't Outback going to your house first?"

"No, I called him and told him to come to your house; I wanted to be here when you first meet his cousin."

Devilin said to the two fillies, "All right, you two, why don't we go downstairs to wait for the colts' arrival."

All three females went downstairs. As they reached the living room, Salaries gave a whistle and said, "This must be my lucky day, to have three of the most beautiful females in one place."

Hearing his praise caused the three to blush at the stallion. Then Devilin went to sit on Salaries' lap as the two fillies went to sit on the coach. As Salaries put his forelegs around his wife, he began to notice that the fillies looked a little nervous about meeting their dates; so to ease their tension, he told them, "You two shouldn't be so nervous."

Wild Fire looked at her father and asked, "And why shouldn't we be nervous?"

With a great big smile on his face, he announced, "Because those two colts that are coming to pick you two up are probably shaking in their hoofs as we speak, wondering if they have any chance with two such beautiful fillies as yourselves." Then the two fillies looked at each other with a grin on their faces, feeling more relaxed than they did before.

The doorbell finally rang and Devilin went to answer it; when she opened the door she saw two colts standing in front of her. The male unicorn began to speak, "I am Outback and this is my cousin Paintbrush; we are here to take Daffodil and Wild Fire to the New Year's Eve fireworks show, ma'am."

"Then come inside, they are waiting for you two in the living room."

The two colts walked inside and Devilin guided them to the living room. Baby Daffodil got off the coach and went to stand at Outback's side, and Outback took out a corsage and placed it on Baby Daffodil's foreleg.

Wild Fire stood up and faced Paintbrush; as Paintbrush looked at her he said, "Hi, my name is Paintbrush."

Wild Fire, looking a little timid, said in return, "Hi, my name is Wild Fire."

Paintbrush walked closer to Wild Fire as everybody looked on in suspense. "My cousin Outback did not tell me how beautiful my date was going to be."

"Thank you," Wild Fire said with a slight blush.

Then Paintbrush pulled out a corsage. "This is for you." Wild Fire lifted her foreleg and Paintbrush placed the corsage around it.

Devilin took a camera out and started to take pictures of the group and when she finished Baby Daffodil said, "I promised my mother that I would bring Paintbrush to my house so she could see him." So the foals took their leave of Salaries and Devilin, waving goodbye as they headed to Baby Daffodil's house.

Devilin looked at her husband and said, "When I saw Wild Fire and Paintbrush together, it was like looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves those many years ago."

Salaries held his wife close to him and said, "And you are as beautiful as ever, my love." Then they went back inside the house.

* * *
After the foals went to Baby Daffodil's house to show off Paintbrush, they began heading to the New Year's Eve show. "Would you two lovely fillies care for some refreshments?" Paintbrush asked as they arrived.

"I wouldn't mind having some hot chocolate right now," Wild Fire said to her date.

"Yes, a glass of hot chocolate does sound good," Baby Daffodil replied.

Outback said to the fillies, "Two hot chocolates coming up." The colts went to get the hot chocolate and as they came back with the drinks they hoofed them to the fillies.

Outback asked the group as he looked at the rides, "How about us going on some rides before the fireworks start?"

Baby Daffodil asked, "Which one should we go on first?"

"Because this is Wild Fire's first New Year's in Dream Valley, why don't we let her have the first choice at the rides," Paintbrush suggested to the others.

"That's a great idea, Paintbrush," Daffodil agreed.

"It sounds fine with me," Outback agreed as well.

Wild Fire looked around at the rides and pointed to the giant ferris wheel. "Let's go on that one."

The others looked at the giant ride and Outback exclaimed, "I hope no one has a fear of heights!"

Wild Fire went to get on with a helping hoof from Paintbrush, and Daffodil got on next with help from Outback. When they reached the top of the ferris wheel, Wild Fire, never having been on one before, began to stand to get a better look at the ponies below. Daffodil yelled out at her friend, "Wild Fire, don't stand up!"

Paintbrush, hearing Daffodil's warning and seeing Wild Fire out of her seat, grabbed her foreleg and pulled her down to him. As he held her close he said with a concerned voice, "Wild Fire, you shouldn't stand up on a ferris wheel, especially this high up; you could get seriously hurt." As Paintbrush was talking to Wild Fire, he started to realize how much the red unicorn meant to him.

When they came down and got off the ride, Baby Daffodil trotted to her friend and gave her a hug while saying, "You gave me a terrible fright, standing up like that."

Wild Fire was confused at the reaction her standing up had caused. "I just wanted to look at the ponies on the ground."

Outback walked up and said, "And if you had fallen out, you would had hit the ground before you could wink to safety."

Paintbrush came and stood next to Wild Fire and said, "All right, everyone, I don't think Wild Fire needs to be lectured right now and there are still a lot more things to do before the fireworks start." With that said, they all went on more rides, all the while Paintbrush giving Wild Fire a more protective eye for her safety.

After the rides, the group decided to go play some carnival games that Wild Fire seemed to excel in as she won every game she played, making the others look at her in amazement.

Outback walked up to Wild Fire and said, "In all the times I've watched ponies play these games, I've never seen one who could win at them like you do, and I would like to be the first to say that you are one amazing filly."

Paintbrush added,"I agree with my cousin; you are really fantastic at these games."

Wild Fire saw Baby Daffodil standing in the background looking forgotten and said, "Would you two like to know my secret at winning all the games?"

Outback said, "Sure, tell us your secret." Paintbrush just looked on.

Wild Fire walked over to Baby Daffodil and, as the two colts watched her, put her foreleg around her shoulders and said, "Because my good luck charm was always near me and here she is, the one pony who has made me and my family feel like the luckiest ponies in Dream Valley."

As Baby Daffodil was hearing Wild Fire praise her, she turned to look at her best friend with a smile of appreciation across her face.

Outback walked over to Baby Daffodil and stood in front of her as he held one of her front hoofs in his and said, "I always knew that my Daffodil was a special filly." Then he gave her hoof a gentle kiss, which caused Baby Daffodil's cheeks to blush.

Paintbrush came around to Wild Fire's side and said, "I think that we need to get a bite to eat before the fireworks start." So the four ponies went to one of the restaurants that was close by and while they walked, Paintbrush let Baby Daffodil and Outback get a slight distance away so he could speak to Wild Fire in private. "That was a very nice thing that you did for Daffodil back at the games; you two must really be close friends."

Wild Fire looked at Paintbrush and said, "She is like a little sister to me and I care for her very much."

Paintbrush smiled at Wild Fire as he said, "You know, Outback was right when he said that Daffodil was special; having you as a friend would make any pony special."

Wild Fire then began trotting to catch up with the others and to keep Paintbrush from seeing her blush. She looked back at Paintbrush and yelled, "Come on, slow poke; we don't have all day!"

This made Paintbrush start trotting faster after her and say, "I'll show you who's a slow poke!"

Then Wild Fire and Paintbrush finally caught up to Baby Daffodil and Outback, who were waiting for them at the restaurant. As Paintbrush walked passed Outback and Daffodil with Wild Fire at his side, Outback said with a smirk on his face, "So what took you two love birds so long in getting here?"

Paintbrush said with a big grin on his face, "Wouldn't you like to know?"

This caused Outback and Baby Daffodil to smile at each other with a look of accomplishment on their faces as they followed Wild Fire and Paintbrush into the restaurant to eat. After they sat down and ordered their food, Baby Daffodil asked Wild Fire, "Isn't this a lot of fun?"

Wild Fire turned to gaze at Paintbrush as he was talking to Outback and then looked back at Baby Daffodil, saying, "In what I have seen so far, I would say definitely yes." Then Baby Daffodil and Wild Fire with Paintbrush and Outback began talking about how fun the fireworks show would be. As their food arrived the four ponies began to eat.

When they finished, Paintbrush said, "We better find a place to watch the fireworks; they should be about ready to start by now." So the four ponies got up and went to find a place. As they walked, Baby Daffodil suddenly stopped and said, while pointing her hoof at a hill overlooking the grounds, "That looks like a good place to see the fireworks."

The other ponies looked in the direction that Baby Daffodil was pointing and all agreed. "Great job, Daffodil, that will be perfect to watch the fireworks," Paintbrush told her. Then he looked at Outback and said, "Outback, gallop ahead and claim it." So Outback galloped as fast as he could to claim the spot; when the others caught up with him they sat down to wait for the show, and within a few minutes the fireworks started going off. They exploded in brilliant colors and shapes, and the ponies looked in awe at the spectacular sight. Paintbrush and Outback laid their forelegs around their fillies' shoulders and held them close as the fireworks lit up the sky.

After a couple of hours had passed the fireworks came to an end and the four ponies got up and started toward the fillies' houses. As they walked, Paintbrush and Outback each pulled a glow flower from behind their backs and placed it behind the fillies' ears and said to them, "A pretty flower for a pretty filly." The fillies smiled at the colts as they walked side by side; as they reached their neighborhood and were almost at Baby Daffodil's house, Wild Fire turned to the other three. "Before we go our separate ways, I would like to thank all of you for a most wonderful time at the fireworks show, and I would also like to say that you all have been such wonderful companions to be with." Daffodil went to her best friend and gave her a hug, while Outback went to give Wild Fire a gentle kiss on the cheek.

Then Outback escorted Baby Daffodil to her house, leaving Paintbrush and Wild Fire alone. Paintbrush turned to face Wild Fire and said with a bow, "Would my lady allow this simple pony to escort her home?"

This caused Wild Fire to blush as she replied, "I would consider it a pleasure to be escorted by such a fine pony as yourself."

Then Paintbrush took Wild Fire by the foreleg and escorted her to her house; as they reached the front porch, Paintbrush gazed into Wild Fire's eyes and softly said, "I really enjoyed our time together."

"Yes, it was very enjoyable for me, too," Wild Fire said as she stared into Paintbrush's eyes. "I hope that we can do this again sometime soon"

"Yes, I would like that." And as they talked, their faces got closer and closer until there lips barely touched.

Then Wild Fire said, "I guess that I should be going inside now." And Paintbrush, without saying another word, pressed his lips onto Wild Fire's. As they kissed, two figures looked through the window with smiles on their faces. When Paintbrush finished the kiss he said in a gentle voice, "Goodnight, Wild Fire, and sweet dreams."

As Wild Fire watched Paintbrush turn to go home, she said in a low voice, "Goodnight, Paintbrush, and let the spirit of dreams fill your mind with pleasant thoughts." Then she turned toward the door and went inside. As she shut the door and leaned against it, she gave a great big sigh of joy that Salaries and Devilin heard as they walked over to their daughter.

"It sounds like someone had a good time at the fireworks show," Salaries said as he and his wife looked at their daughter.

Wild Fire gave her parents a big hug and said, "It was more wonderful than I could have ever hoped it to be."

When Wild Fire gave a big yawn, Devilin said, "Why don't you head up to bed? You look really tired and I will be up in a little while to tuck you in."

"I do feel a little sleepy," Wild Fire said as she rubbed her eyes. She kissed her parents goodnight and trotted off to her room.

Devilin looked at her husband and with a smile on her face said, "I think that we are going to see a lot more of Paintbrush, if that expression on our daughter's face is any indication."

"I definitely agree with you one hundred percent, my love." Then Salaries also gave a big yawn and announced, "I think that we should go to bed as well."

"I will be with you right after I check on Wild Fire." When Devilin got to her daughter's room, she saw the filly staring at the ceiling with a far-off look in her eyes.

As Devilin got closer, Wild Fire turned her head towards her mother and said, "Mother, do you think there's a chance that Paintbrush will be my colt friend?"

Devilin said as she sat on Wild Fire's bed, "If what I saw when you two were on the front porch is any indication, I would say that the only worry that you should have is where he will take you the next time you two go out together."

Wild Fire turned on her side but before she closed her eyes, said, "If it weren't for your pep talks, Mother, I don't think I could have gone through with the date."

"I think that you would have still gone on the date with or without my pep talks; if not for yourself, you would have gone for Baby Daffodil's sake, knowing how close you two are." Devilin gave a kiss on Wild Fire's cheek and said, "Now, close your eyes and go to sleep, my sweet little flame." As Wild Fire slowly closed her eyes, Devilin went toward the bedroom door and switched the light out and gently closed the door behind her.

As Devilin stood in the hallway, she thought to herself, "My sweet little flame will grow up to be a fine mare one day; and if Paintbrush is lucky, Wild Fire may choose him to live her life with." Then Devilin went to her bedroom and as she reached the doorway, she turned to look towards Wild Fire's room once more, then slipped inside and went to sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dreamscapes V
by Clever Clover ([email protected])


It seemed like Clever Clover and Epona had sparred for days on end, and Clever Clover didn't even feel the slightest bit fatigued. He didn't remember it ending, but he realized that it must have, as he was sitting alone in the blackness. "That was fun," he said to no one in particular. "I wonder who I'll get to fight next?"

"What are you still doing here?" a harsh but familiar voice boomed out of the blackness.

Clever Clover shrugged. "Waiting, I guess. What are you doing here?"

A figure appeared in front of the purple prince. "Your people are in need; why do you linger in the place of my ancestors?"

"Crow? When did you die?"

The native pony glared at the prince. "I am a shaman! It is my job to walk among the spirits!"

"So you're not dead? Okay, then why am I dreaming about you?"

Crow pulled the prince to his feet and began to slap him back and forth up-side the head. "THIS... IS... NOT... A... DREAM!" he bit out between slaps.

"OW! Aren't you supposed to pinch someone to wake them up from a dream?"

"If this was a dream, wouldn't you be awake by now?"

Clever Clover thought for a moment. "Ah, you've got a point."

"What is your problem? Can't you take anything seriously?"

"I've been here too long to take anything seriously."

"Then why don't you leave?"

"Don't you think I would have done that already if I could have?"

"It's not that difficult. All you have to do is wake up."

* * *
Clever Clover was suddenly aware of a throbbing in his head. He slowly opened his eyes, which he hadn't realized had been closed. He couldn't see anything, which didn't really surprise him, but it was different. It wasn't just blackness, but it was really dark. The ground he lay on was cold, damp, and uneven. He tried to call out to Crow, but found himself a little hoarse. He was sprawled out on his side and could barely move. It took him fifteen minutes of excruciating pain to get up on his knees. "What is going on here?" he mumbled through dry lips. As he tried to stand up he fell forward, and his forehoof struck something.

He got up on his knees again and picked up whatever his hoof had struck. He felt around on the familiar object for a switch, which he found and flipped. A beam of bright, white light cut through the darkness. Clever Clover had to avert his eyes from the brightness for several minutes before he could begin to explore his surroundings.

In the light of the flashlight, Clever Clover could see that he was in a cave. It was narrow and the floor sloped steeply to one side. The cave tapered off at both ends; it was no more than twenty feet long and five wide. When Clever Clover shone the flashlight toward the roof of the cave, however, the beam was lost in the darkness. And hanging down from the darkness was a rope.

When Clever Clover finally regained his feet, the rope was mere feet above his head. Holding the flashlight in his teeth, he reached up with both forehooves and grabbed the rope. He pulled himself painfully hoof over hoof up the rope. Just as he thought that he couldn't go any further, he came to a small ledge on the side of the shaft. He sat and rested a while before resuming his climb. The second half of the climb seemed to take forever, but the purple prince finally reached the top.

He shined the flashlight around to get his bearings. He was in the passages underneath the kiva in the Crystal Desert where he and Belle Star had been working. It seemed like such a long time ago, but that was just because of the strange dreams he'd had while laying unconscious in the pit. He couldn't have been down there for too long, or the others would have come looking for him; but then again, the way his muscles felt, it was like he was unconscious for weeks. And he was hungry, not that that proved anything.

Taking the map out from under his cap, Clever Clover set out through the passages and chambers to find his friends. It didn't take him long to find the entry through the floor of the kiva, but something wasn't right. Last he remembered, they had been packing up their equipment, and there had been several large storage boxes in the first chamber under the kiva, but now there was nothing. It looked like nobody had been down there in months. But there was a rope ladder leading up to the kiva.

Though the sunlight in the kiva was filtered, Clever Clover had to shield his eyes. It was several minutes before he could see well enough to find the ladder leading to the surface. There, to his surprise, instead of the archaeologist's base camp, all he found was the shaman Crow sitting next to a small fire, much as when he had first met him at the foot of the mesa.

"You've finally made it," said the shaman.

"Finally? Where are the others?"

"They left... six months ago."

"Six months! But... what's going on here?"

Crow gestured to a pot cooking on the fire. "Why don't you sit down and have a bite to eat; I imagine you're quite hungry after six months."

"Yeah," Clever Clover sighed. "I could use some food."

As the purple prince sat down and started to eat, Crow explained what had transpired. "Six months ago, while you were getting ready to leave the kiva, you fell into a hole. We brought out someone who looked like you, but he had no memories. We assumed it was amnesia. Belle Star and the other you returned to Friendship Gardens, Kiva and Coyote went back to Port Cactus, and I went about my business.

"Then the spirits of my ancestors came to me in a dream. They asked my why you lingered in their holy place. At first I didn't understand. Then I came here to undergo a vision quest. That's when I found you."

"So I was unconscious in a cave for six months? How did I survive?"

Crow shook his head. "You were not in the cave. The cave is a doorway to the spirit world. In the spirit world, time and space work differently than in this world."

"I'm not sure that answered my question, but since I am alive, I'll take your word for it. So what's the deal with the other me?"

Crow shrugged. "I haven't got a clue. But I assumed you'd be eager to look into it, so I made arrangements for transportation from Port Cactus for you. There's still enough daylight to make it there today, if you're up to it."

Clever Clover stood up. "I can't wait."

Crow nodded, stood up, and kicked sand onto the fire. Clever Clover made for the winding path he and the other archaeologists had taken to the top of the mesa, but Crow went another way.

"This way's faster." The shaman led Clever Clover into a narrow crack on the cliff face where, Clever Clover quickly realized, there were crude steps carved into the stone. In no time at all they were at the foot of the mesa, on the far side from where the archaeologists had made their base camp.

Parked at the foot of the hidden stair was a rusty old 1936 Dodge pickup truck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Adventures of Wild Fire
Chapter 5: Devilin's Day at the Mall
by Salaries ([email protected])


As the morning came and the holidays ended, Devilin got out of bed to go and make breakfast for her family. As she was fixing the food, she heard her daughter coming down the stairs. Wild Fire got to the kitchen and saw her mother. "Good morning, Mother."

Devilin then turned her head to see her daughter. "Good morning, my sweet little flame."

Wild Fire smelled the aroma in the air. "Mmmm, that smells great; what are we having?"

"We are having blueberry pancakes and dumplings." Then Devilin asked her daughter, "Would you be a dear and set the table?"

"Okay, Mother," Wild Fire said as she went to the cabinets and stood looking up at the doors; she lifted her front hoofs above her head and as she did, the doors swung open and the plates levitated down to her hoofs. Then she went to the drawers to get the silverware.

When Wild Fire finished setting the table and Devilin was about to serve breakfast, Salaries appeared as his usual cheerful self. "Good morning, my beloved family."

"Good morning, Dad," Wild Fire said with a smile.

"Good morning, my beloved husband," Devilin said with her usual half-cheerful and half-grimacing self. Then Devilin placed the food on the table and all three ponies sat to eat breakfast.

As they ate, Salaries asked, "So, Wild Fire, are you ready for another day of school?"

"I sure am; Daffodil and I are going to meet Paintbrush and Outback at the cafeteria at lunchtime."

"And what are your plans for today, my sweet wife?" Salaries said as he looked at Devilin.

"I am going to take it easy today and just read a book or watch TV."

After breakfast was finished and the table was cleared, a knock at the front door was heard and Wild Fire went to answer it. When she opened the door, she saw Baby Daffodil standing there. "Hey, Daf."

Baby Daffodil asked, "Are you ready for school?"

"Sure, let me go tell my parents that I'm going." So Wild Fire went back to her parents. "Mom, Dad, Daffodil's outside so I am going to school now."

Devilin said, "Okay, dear, have a good time."

Salaries added, "And be sure you and Baby Daffodil don't let those colts suffer too much." He gave his daughter a big grin.

"What is the fun in having a coltfriend if you can't let them suffer now and then?" Wild Fire said as she grinned back at her father. She turned around and went to the front door and headed to school with Baby Daffodil.

As their daughter left, Devilin said to Salaries, "Shouldn't you be heading for Pony Pride?"

"You are so right, my love." Then Salaries gives Devilin a goodbye kiss and headed to the university, leaving Devilin to spend a relaxing day at home.

As Devilin was resting on the couch the doorbell rang, causing her eyes to flame up as she got off the couch. "If that's a salespony, I am going to give him or her a one way ticket to the underworld."

But as Devilin reached the door and opened it, a familiar face was on the other side. "Hi, Devilin!"

"Hello, Daffodil, what can I do for you?"

Daffodil was remembering her conversation with Salaries when they had met on his way to work about Devilin's insecurity when she was alone and that she would have to ease her way into the house. So Mother Daffodil walked up to Devilin and slipped behind her while saying, "You don't mind if I come in, do you?" Devilin turned around to face Daffodil as she shut the door behind her.

Then Mother Daffodil asked, "Why don't we go to the living room to talk?" She went and sat down on the couch with Devilin trailing behind her.

With a little irritation in her voice, Devilin asked, "Is there something I can do for you?"

"Well, when I was watering my flowerbed I saw your husband as he was going to work today and I asked him if he thought you would not mind if I came over for a visit- if, of course, you were not too busy with housework- and to my delight your husband said that you were taking it easy and he thought it was a lovely idea for me to come here for a visit, and here I am."

After Devilin heard Mother Daffodil's story, she thought to herself, "Salaries, if you can hear my thoughts, then hear this! When you come back from work today, I will rip your heart out of your body and feed it to the hungry wolfs in the Dark Forest for this."

Meanwhile, at Pony Pride, as Salaries was teaching history class a cold stabbing chill ran down his spine, as if Death himself was hovering over him ready to take his very life. It made Salaries feel that it would be healthy to stay in a hotel, rather than go home after work.

Back at the house, Devilin was trying her best to not throw Mother Daffodil through a window. "I was planning on taking it easy today," she said.

Mother Daffodil said with a grin on her face, "Nonsense! It is such a beautiful day out, I thought that we could go to the Dream Valley Mall and do a little window shopping, just us mares, and maybe buy a few things; wouldn't that be fun?"

Devilin then got up from her seat and told Mother Daffodil, "I need to go to the powder room, so I will be right back."

Mother Daffodil said as Devilin went to the restroom, "Alrighty, I will be right here when you come back."

But when Devilin got to the restroom, she winked to the Flatlands next to a large cliff and sensing no ponies around, Devilin began to build up all her anger and with a great big yell, threw all the built-up rage at the cliff next to her. It caused a great explosion that put a giant gaping hole in the cliff face. Feeling less angry, she winked back to the restroom and flushed the toilet for Mother Daffodil's benefit.

When Devilin got back to the living room, a worried Mother Daffodil said, "You looked a little tense when you went to the restroom. Did everything go all right?"

Devilin said with a little smile, "Everything went fine; there is no need to worry."

So Mother Daffodil asked, "How about us going to the mall? It's one of the biggest malls in Ponyland."

Devilin, seeing that there was no chance of Mother Daffodil leaving her alone, decided to give in. "That sounds fine; let me get my purse and we can go." As Devilin was getting her purse she started thinking to herself, "When Salaries gets home he's going to wish that he had battled me, instead of falling in love with me, when I get through with him for putting me in this situation." Then she grabbed her purse and Devilin and Mother Daffodil headed for the mall. When they got there and went inside, Devilin looked at all the shops and asked Mother Daffodil, "So where do we go from here?"

Mother Daffodil went to look at the mall directory to see what store looked inviting. "Hmmm, this fashion and accessories shop on the second level looks like a good place to start off on." So the two mares headed to the second level and found the shop. Going inside to browse the merchandise, Mother Daffodil saw a combo that she thought looked lovely; she put the outfit on and went to the full length mirrors to look at herself, thinking that it looked perfect on her. Then she went to ask Devilin her opinion. "Do you think that Ranger will think I am beautiful in this outfit?"

Devilin, having the ability to sense the outcome of things, said to Mother Daffodil, "Ranger will think that you look beautiful in that outfit."

With Devilin's reassurance, Mother Daffodil decided to buy the outfit. As the salespony was ringing up the cost, he said, "That will be twenty-two jangles."

Mother Daffodil, surprised at the price, looked at the salespony and complained, "But the rack this was on says sixteen jangles."

But the salespony refused to listen as he said, "This is twenty-two jangles; ether pay it or put the outfit back."

Then Mother Daffodil started to get upset at the salespony and said, "That's just not right; the rack says sixteen jangles."

As Devilin watched the two ponies argue about the price of the outfit, Devilin began to become irritated and decided to fix the problem. She walked toward the salespony and grabbed him by the neck with one of her front hoofs and lifted him off the floor. Mother Daffodil looked on unbelieving at what she was seeing. As Devilin held the pony up she said, "My friend said that the outfit was sixteen jangles and if you don't wish to be sent to the next dimension, I would advise you to change the price."

And as the salespony listened to Devilin, he said with fear in his voice, "Yes ma'am, anything you say. Just don't hurt me." Devilin let the pony down and as his back hoofs touched the floor, the salespony changed the price of the outfit from twenty-two to sixteen jangles and with a shaky hoof gave the outfit to Mother Daffodil and said, "Here, and please forgive me for my terrible mistake."

Mother Daffodil looked at the salespony sternly. "Just don't let it happen again." Then the two mares turned to leave; as they left the store, Devilin stared at the security cameras, causing the film in the security room to only show static during their time in the store.

Outside the store, Mother Daffodil, still in disbelief at what had happened, said to Devilin as she gazed upon her friend, "Devilin, I never in my whole life saw a mare lift a stallion in the air with only one hoof; you must be the strongest mare in Dream Valley."

Devilin looked at Mother Daffodil with a half-smile and said, "That stallion just made me so mad when he thought that he could walk all over you because you were a mare that my adrenalin started pumping up to a point that gave me an extra burst of strength."

"That's amazing. I sometimes wish I could do that."

"Daffodil, you are much too kind-hearted to get that angry."

"I suppose you're right; I guess I just have to take you along when I do my shopping."

Devilin smiled at Mother Daffodil, while inside she felt like going back to the Flatlands and putting another hole in the side of the cliff. She thought to herself, "Now what have I gotten myself into?"

As the two mares walked on, Mother Daffodil saw a sign at a beauty shop that said, "Today only, get two full makeovers for the price of one!" Mother Daffodil thought that would be nice after the hassle she had with the salespony and said to Devilin,"Oh, look, Devilin, that beauty shop is having a two-for-one sale on makeovers! Why don't we go halfies on it and get one?"

Devilin looked toward the beauty shop, thinking that she would prefer not to have a bunch of ponies poking and pulling on her, said, "I would rather not."

Mother Daffodil's head dropped as she said with a sad voice, "If you really don't want to I guess we can forget about it."

Devilin, looking at how downtrodden Mother Daffodil was, thought to herself, "I can't believe what I am about to say and I know that I am going to regret it later." So she said to her friend, "Daffodil, I have changed my mind and decided to do the makeover."

Mother Daffodil, hearing this, lifted her head up and with a smile on her face said, "This is going to be so much fun, don't you think?" She took Devilin by the foreleg and dragged her into the beauty shop.

Devilin said as she smiled at Mother Daffodil, "Oh, yes, it will be fun." She thought to herself, "As much fun as being in a torture chamber, as Salaries will soon be when I get home."

When they got inside, a mare walked up to them and asked, "May I help you?"

"Oh yes, we are here for the buy-one-get-one-free full makeover." Mother Daffodil pointed to the sign outside.

"Very well, if you will follow me, we can get started." The mare took them through the shop and into a back room, where two other mares were waiting to guide them into a large tub full of herbal mud. As their clients sat in the mud bath, the shop assistants began to apply herbal mud facials and placed cucumber slices on their eyes. One of the mares told Devilin and Mother Daffodil to lay still, and that they would be back within two hours to take them out of the tub.

During the two hours Devilin thought to herself, "All I wanted was a relaxing day at home, and here I am sitting in a tub full of mud with mud and a vegetable on my face; and all because a particular stallion had to tell the only pony in Ponyland, who would find a way of screwing up my day out of the kindness of her heart, that I was home; and Salaries better get ready to take a whole lot of cold showers for awhile." Then Devilin heard hoofsteps coming toward her, and when the hoofsteps stopped she felt the cucumbers being lifted from her eyes.

As her eyes began to focus, she saw a mare over her saying, "Now, let's get you two out of that mud, so we can get started on the cosmetic part of your makeover." Then she gently began cleaning the herbal mud off Devilin and Mother Daffodil.

Then Devilin and Mother Daffodil were guided to the makeup room. As they were again seated, another mare began looking over Devilin's face. "I have never seen such flawlessness in a pony's face as you have; you must take very good care of your skin."

Devilin looked at the mare. "Oh yes, it took me a couple of centuries to get this look." Devilin gave a nonchalant grin at the mare.

The mare gave a little giggle as she said to Devilin, while applying makeup to her face, "A couple of centuries, huh? You have such a witty sense of humor."

When the mare finished applying the makeup and Devilin looked at what she had done, she thought to herself, "Not bad for a mortal." But said to the mare, "You do very good work."

"Well, thank you."

Then Devilin stared at Mother Daffodil as she admired herself in the mirror. A mare came in to guide them to the hair stylist and as they sat, two hair stylists came up to them and began to look at their hair. "My goodness, I have not seen hair cuticles in this good of condition in my whole time as a hear stylist! You must tell me your secret!"

Devilin, not wanting to go through how perfect she was again, just smiled and said, "I use a homemade shampoo that's been passed down from generation to generation."

"If I was you, I would see if I could patent it; you could make a fortune."

Devilin, wanting to get off the subject, said, "That's an idea, thanks for the suggestion."

"Not at all, glad to help." Then the mare looked at Devilin closely and as she came up with a style for her mane and tail, she began to place them in the sink and started washing any contaminates that could lay within the hair.

After the washing, curlers were placed in Devilin and Mother Daffodil's manes and tails. They were placed under the duel hair dryer that dries mane and tail at the same time. During this, four mares came and kneeled in front of them. Two of the mares took their back hooves and the other two took their front hooves to manicure them. When their hair was dry and their manicure was finished, they went back to the hair stylist for finishing touches.

The two looked at each other, and Mother Daffodil said, "You look exquisite, Devilin."

Devilin, for the first time since Mother Daffodil had dragged her to the mall, gave her friend an honest and genuine smile. But Devilin, not really good at giving compliments, instead told Daffodil how her husband would react in seeing his wife all dolled up. "Daffodil, your husband is going to fall in love with you all over again when he sees you." Then the mares went and paid for the makeover and then started walking to see what other stores piqued their interest.

While they were walking, Mother Daffodil's stomach began to growl. "Devilin, I am getting a bit hungry; let's stop at the food court to get something to eat." So the two mares made their selection and sat down to eat. Mother Daffodil, while stuffing her face with food, began to talk. "I know of a wonderful store we can go to, and it is just a few shops down from here."

Devilin, trying to eat while seeing food fly out Mother Daffodil's mouth as she talked, said with a little irritation, "Daffodil, didn't your parents ever tell you not to talk with your mouth full?"

Then Mother Daffodil closed her mouth and swallowed her food, and only when there was no food in her mouth did she speak again. "Sorry, I wasn't thinking."

Devilin, trying her best to keep her cool, told Mother Daffodil, "That is all right; just don't let it happen again."

"Don't worry, I won't." Mother Daffodil gave Devilin a reassuring smile; and when they finished their food they started on their way to the store Daffodil had mentioned.

When they got there, Mother Daffodil said, "Here we are Lemon Treats' Boutique; she has the best head apparel in Dream Valley, from Clare's Creations in Vulcanopolis to the hottest fashions in New Pony!" Devilin, unimpressed with mortal fashions, looked at Mother Daffodil with a false look of enthusiasm as they walked into the shop.

"May I help you," said a yellow mare as she walked toward Devilin and Mother Daffodil.

"Oh, yes, I would like to see your latest styles for my friend and me," Mother Daffodil said, pointing to Devilin.

"Very well, then, please follow me." Then the three mares walked deeper into the store and came upon a row of hats hanging on the wall. "Here we are; the hats on this wall are the latest in fashion apparel. Why don't you two try them on and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me over!"

When Lemon Treats left the mares to help other customers that came into her shop, Devilin with a bored look on her face went to sit in a chair as Mother Daffodil started looking over the hats. As Devilin's eyelids were beginning to get heavy and she started drifting off to sleep, suddenly Mother Daffodil yelled out, causing Devilin to jump out of her seat with her heart feeling like it was coming out of her chest.

"Devilin, I found the perfect headpiece that you can wear!" Mother Daffodil walked to Devilin and placed the hat upon her head. As Devilin was coming out of the shock of being jerked out of a peaceful sleep, she thought to herself, "I should rip her tongue out for startling me like that." But as she lifted her head and looked in the mirror that stood in front of her, she saw a crimson red round-rimmed hat with a three-inch cylinder that was flat on top which had a black band laying just a quarter inch from the rim. As Devilin stared at it, she gave a small evil grin and said, "This hat almost feels like it was made for me; you have picked well, Daffodil."

"I just knew you would like it," Mother Daffodil proudly said.

As Devilin admired herself in the mirror, she thought, "Yeah, Daffodil, lucky for you or you would be in a world of hurt right now."

Then Lemon Treats came up to the mares and as she saw the hat Devilin was wearing, she announced to them, "That hat you have on comes with a red silk scarf; let me get it for you."

When she came back with it, she laid it fashionably around Devilin's neck; as Devilin took another look at herself in the mirror, she said with a gleam in her eyes, "I am going to buy this."

"Very good, madam, I shall place it in a hat box for you and you can pick it up at the counter when you are ready to go." Lemon Treats gently took the hat and scarf from Devilin and went to the back room to have her assistant, Fern, place both items in a hat box.

Devilin felt that because Mother Daffodil had found such a nice hat for her, that she should help Mother Daffodil find a hat as well. Devilin went over to Daffodil and told her, "Now how about us getting you a hat?"

Mother Daffodil looked at Devilin with a confused look on her face. "I have looked at all the hats and just can't find one that I really like."

Then Devilin told her as she gave an evil grin, "Well, let me look and see if I can't help you with your problem." So Devilin walked over to the hats and as she stood in the middle of them, she closed her eyes and began turning her head as if she was looking through her eyelids. While Devilin was doing this, Mother Daffodil was watching her with a puzzled look on her face.

As Lemon Treats and Fern walked out the back room with Devilin's package, they also saw Devilin walking around the store with her eyes closed. Lemon Treats made her way to Mother Daffodil and asked, "What is your friend doing?"

"She's looking for a hat for me," Mother Daffodil said with a troubled look on her face.

"A hat, with her eyes closed," a confused Lemon Treats spouted out as the three mares looked on at Devilin. She avoided obstacles as if she could see them; as she reached a pile of hats she placed a foreleg within the stack and, still with her eyes closed, pulled out the most magnificent hat Mother Daffodil had ever seen. Devilin opened her eyes and walked over to Mother Daffodil, presenting her with the hat. "Here is the hat that most fits the type of pony you are."

As Mother Daffodil accepted the hat, she said with a look of amazement, "How were you able to navigate through the store and find such a lovely hat with your eyes closed?"

Not wanting to go into a long story, Devilin just said, "When I was a filly, I always had this second sight and my mother told me that it was because I was a special unicorn."

Happy with the explanation Devilin gave, Lemon Treats said to Mother Daffodil, "This hat comes with a lovely violet velvet scarf; I shall go and get it for you." As Lemon Treats went to get the scarf, Fern went to the counter to wait on customers.

Mother Daffodil started examining the hat. It was a light shade of purple with an oval-shaped rim that was slightly curled in the front and heavily curled in the back with an oval-shaped domed top. Laying on top of the rim were all types of different shades of purple flowers. As Mother Daffodil was placing the hat on her head, Lemon Treats came back with the scarf and laid it around her neck. As Mother Daffodil looked at herself in the mirror, she asked Devilin, "So what do you think, Devilin?"

Devilin thought of something nice to say. "If I did not know you, I would think that you were a fashion model."

Then Mother Daffodil, with a big grin on her face, said. "I will take them."

"Very good, madam, I shall place it in a hat box for you and you can pick it up at the counter." Then Lemon Treats gently took the hat and scarf from Mother Daffodil. Devilin and Mother Daffodil went to the counter as Lemon Treats came out of the back room with Mother Daffodil's package; she laid it next to Devilin's package on the counter and asked, "Will you be paying in jangles or credit?"

Devilin and Mother Daffodil each pulled a credit card from their satchels and said together, "Place them on our Ponyland Express cards." After the two mares made their purchases, they headed out of Lemon Treats' Boutique.

As Devilin and Mother Daffodil was walking, Mother Daffodil suggested, "I think that we should at least buy one gift for our husbands and foals before we leave the mall, don't you think?"

Devilin, remembering that her daughter had been a good little filly, thought it would be nice to get Wild Fire a gift; but when she thought of her husband, the only thing that came to her mind was that she would not find a store that would carry any type of torture equipment that she could use on him. So Devilin thought that it would be a good idea to get the foals' their gifts first, so she would have more time to think of her husband's gift. She suggested to Mother Daffodil, "How about we get the fillies' gifts first?"

"Okay, let's go to B.P. Toys. They carry the most popular bands and they have a store in the mall." The mares headed to B.P. Toys and as they approached the front entrance, Mother Daffodil looked in the display window and saw the My Little People Beach set that her daughter had wanted for Christmas, but it had been sold out before she and her husband could buy it. It was now on sale for half price at B.P. Toys. "Oh my goodness, I can't believe my luck!" a happy Mother Daffodil announced.

"What has got you so excited?" Devilin asked.

"They have the My Little People Beach set that our daughter wanted on Christmas, but we were unable to get it, and now they have it for half price."

Devilin, remembering that Baby Daffodil had gotten their own daughter hooked on those My Little People toys and seeing how excited she was about getting the beach set, decided to get one for her daughter, too.

As the two mares went inside and told the sales pony that they wanted to buy the My Little People beach set, the salespony said. "I am sorry, but we only have one more left in the store."

Mother Daffodil looked toward Devilin and said, "What rotten luck, I guess our daughters can share the one beach set."

Then Devilin, with a smile on her face, said in return, "There is no need to share one." Devilin put her attention on the salespony and said, "If you would let me go to your back room, I will show you that you have two beach sets."

The salespony didn't believe Devilin but decided to oblige the mare. He took them to the back where the playset was sitting and told Devilin, "You see, ma'am, only one in stock."

But Devilin gazed around the surrounding area and saw a pile of empty boxes that the playsets had come in; she went to move the cases to reveal nothing less than a My Little People beach set that was accidentally hidden from view!

The sales pony, looking astonished, said in amazement, "Now how did you know that there was a playset under all those boxes?"

Mother Daffodil went up to the salespony and told him, "That is my friend's special unicorn ability."

The salespony replied, "Well, if I was your friend and I had her ability, I would be a private eye." Then the salespony had the stockcolt take the two playsets to the cashier for the mares.

Devilin and Daffodil reached the cashier and purchased their playsets. Afterwards, Mother Daffodil announced, "Now for our husbands." And off the mares went.

As they walked a few stores down, Mother Daffodil saw a store that read "The Stallion Store" and thought that it would be a good place to check out for their husbands. "That store looks like it could have what we need," Daffodil said to her friend.

So the mares headed inside and began looking around,; as they looked a salespony came up to them and asked, "Is there anything I can help you fine mares with?"

The flattery that the salespony gave them made Mother Daffodil give him a pleasant smile, while Devilin just rolled her eyes in the air and said to herself, "Oh, brother, how corny can you get?"

But Mother Daffodil asked the salespony, "Yes, I would like to look at anything that an outdoors pony would be interested in."

Then the salespony turned to Devilin. "And what can I show you, madam?"

Devilin was pulling on a tie a stalliequin was wearing around its neck. "You wouldn't happen to carry anything a mare can use to torment her husband, do you?"

The salespony gasped as he said in a shocked voice,"I would think not, madam!"

"I thought not," said Devilin as she released the tie.

Then the salespony took them to the outdoors section of the store and Mother Daffodil asked her friend, "Having a little trouble at home?"

"Let's just say that my husband said the wrong thing at the wrong time."

"Well, I hope that you two will be able to patch things up soon," Mother Daffodil said while patting her on the shoulder.

"Don't worry, Daffodil; by the time I get home I will have probably forgotten all about it." Devilin muttered under her breath, "Or not."

The salespony stopped and told the mares, "These six aisles have everything an outdoors pony could want."

"Thank you very much for you assistance."

And with that said, the salespony went on his way, and Mother Daffodil looked at Devilin. "Devilin, would you please use your unicorn abilities to help me find the perfect gift for my husband?"

Devilin, wishing now that she had never helped Mother Daffodil find that hat at Lemon Treats' Boutique, said in the most pleasant tone she could muster, "For you, Daffodil, it would be a pleasure."

"Oh thank you," Mother Daffodil said as she gave Devilin a hug.

Then Devilin stood in the middle of the aisle and closed her eyes as she began walking. Within a few minutes, Devilin stopped in front of a fully loaded backpack. "This is what your husband desires."

"Are you sure? My husband already has one," a bewildered Mother Daffodil asked.

"Yes, this is what he desires," an irritated Devilin repeated.

Knowing that Devilin had never been wrong on her predictions, Daffodil went to pick the pack up to buy. "This is heavy, I don't think I can lift it."

Devilin then sighed and went to pick up the pack. "Here, let me have it." With one hoof, she tossed the pack over her shoulder. "Let's go," she commanded as she started walking.

Then Mother Daffodil yelled, "Wait, you do not have a gift for your husband!"

Devilin turned around and said, "My husband and I need very little to be happy, so it would be hard to find a gift for him."

"Then I guess it's my turn to help you out." The mares walked around the store some more until they came upon a display that caught the attention of Mother Daffodil. "This looks interesting." She began to read the advertisement to Devilin. "This is the amazing unirod that can turn to any nonliving object you desire, using the latest in unicorn pony technology." Mother Daffodil looked at Devilin and asked, "So what do you think, Devilin; this looks like it would be the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for pony."

Devilin, looking the object over, said to her friend, "I guess this would do." She picked the package up and the two mares went to the cashier to pay for their purchases.

As they walked out of the store they began to hear some oohs and aahs below them; as they looked down over the balcony at the lower level, they saw a stallion doing a martial arts exhibition. "Let's go down and get a better look," Mother Daffodil said with a little enthusiasm.

"If we must," Devilin said with disinterest in the affair.

The mares went downstairs and started watching the stallion's performance. "Isn't this exciting, Devilin!" Daffodil exclaimed.

Devilin looked at the stallion as he jumped in the air, kicked his back legs, and swung his forelegs around. "I cannot see what is so great about a stallion that looks like he has a mental problem."

The stallion, overhearing the two mares, stopped his exhibition and walked on over to the edge of the stage where the mares stood. With a bitter look on his face he addressed them. "Hey you, the red unicorn mare with the big mouth! Unless you can beat me in martial arts, I would advise you to keep your mouth shut."

Devilin, her eyes turning fiery red with anger at hearing the stallion's insult, turned and faced him. "I would advise you to turn and leave before you make me any more angrier."

"Why don't you come up and make me leave, unless you are afraid of chipping a nail." Then the stallion laughed in Devilin's face.

Devilin started walking up the side steps of the stage as she told the stallion, "You will wish you had heeded my warning before this is over."

Mother Daffodil looked with worried eyes as Devilin reached the top of the stage, but also remembered how strong her friend got when she was mad. She yelled at Devilin,"Be careful and don't hurt him too much!"

As Devilin and the stallion came face to face with each other, the stallion said with a smirk on his face, "I will enjoy this."

"If pain is what you enjoy, you will," was Devilin's reply.

Then the stallion said to Devilin, "Let's see what you've got."

Devilin said in return, "Oh, no, I insist; stupidity before beauty."

As the stallion heard her insult, he began coming at her. But for every kick and punch he made toward her she easily dodged as if she knew what he was going to do before he did it. As the battle between Devilin and the stallion went on, more and more ponies started to gather to see who would win. The stallion was starting to get infuriated at how easily Devilin was able to dodge his every attack, so he decided that he would use threats to irritate Devilin so she would be distracted enough for him to get a good shot at her and show her who was the better pony. "Hey, loud mouth, after I finish with you, your friend will be next." The stallion gave Devilin an evil smirk that caused Devilin's temper to rise to a point that made her go from defense to offense.

"How dare you threaten my friend!" And what he thought was going to be his opportunity ended up to be his downfall, as Devilin brought her front right hoof around so fast that the stallion did not even know it was coming until it was to late to defend himself. Devilin's curled up hoof hit the stallion's torso so hard that it caused him to fly right over the crowd and land on the floor, sliding all the way to the other end of the mall.

The crowd, seeing this amazing feat of strength, looked at Devilin; and with a great burst of energy began cheering her skill and strength. As she walked down from the stage, each pony in the crowd told Devilin about how rude the martial artist had been in speaking and that they had heard the threat he gave her and that she had every right to punch his lights out. As the crowd went back to shopping, Devilin returned to Mother Daffodil's side and said, "I think that it is time that we headed back to our homes now."

"I agree, and I am so sorry for talking you into watching that stallion."

"Don't blame yourself for something that was out of your control; and anyway, it was kind of fun, even if he was a moron." Then the two mares headed towards the exit. As they reached the door, they passed a still dazed stallion lying on the floor. "Better luck next time, chump," Devilin said with a smirk on her face.

When the mares reached their neighborhood, Mother Daffodil started to her house while saying, "I am sorry that things did not go as smoothly as I hoped they would."

Devilin said as she helped her carry the pack to her house, "Don't be silly, I think it was a stimulating day and you were a fine companion."

Mother Daffodil smiled, as Devilin's words made her feel better. "Maybe we can do this again someday, Devilin."

"That would be wonderful, Daffodil." As they reached the front door and went inside, Devilin went to lay the pack in the living room. "Well, Daffodil, I better go and put my thing I bought away and start dinner."

"Yes, I think that I will do the same." So Mother Daffodil walked with Devilin to the door. Devilin, going to her own home, mumbled to herself, "The day I go back to that mall is the day I self-combust."

After Devilin had put away her packages and a couple of hours had passed, her daughter came back from school. Devilin said with a mischievous grin, "I have a little surprise in the living room for you."

So Wild Fire trotted in and when she saw the My Little People beach set, she yelled to her mother, "Oh wow, I love it, Mother! Thank you!"

Devilin came in and said to her little angel, "I am so glad, sweetheart." Wild fire turned to her mother and gave her a hug.

Another hour passed and Salaries walked in, calling out, "Devilin, honey, are you home?" When he heard nothing he went to the living room were he found his daughter playing with her My Little People beach set. Then he noticed that his wife's spirit sword was missing from the mantel, and began to worry that the unpleasant feeling he had gotten at the university was not a false one. "Wild Fire, sweetheart, have you seen your mother lately?"

Wild Fire looked at her father. "You're silly; she's right behind you."

Hearing his daughter's words, Salaries slowly turned around and faced his wife, as she wielded her sword in her hoof. "Is there anything wrong, my angel?"

"Anything wrong, you ask! Well, let me see, when I got up this morning I thought I said that I wanted to relax at home today, not for you to give Daffodil ideas of coming over and taking me to the mall!" Devilin started walking closer to her husband with the sword pointing at his chest.

Salaries moved in a backwards direction while trying to find the right words to say. "I just thought that you would like the company."

"Well, you thought wrong." Then Salaries's back legs stumbled on a hoof stool, causing him to fall into a chair. Devilin placed the point of the sword on his chest as she said with an evil smirk, "Do you have any last requests before I run you through?"

Salaries, not wanting to believe that his wife would kill him for telling Mother Daffodil her plans, began say in a fearful voice, "I give you my word, I will never tell Daffodil anything ever again."

Then Devilin took her sword off Salaries's chest and turned to the fireplace to place it back on the mantel. "You had best keep your word if you know what's good for you," Devilin stated.

As Devilin put the sword back, Wild Fire asked her mother, "Would you have really killed Father?"

"Of course not, dear, I love him too much. I just wanted him to think twice about the consequences, before he tells other ponies our business." Then Devilin turned to head to the kitchen and as she did, asked her daughter, "Would you like to help me fix dinner, sweetheart?"

"I would be happy to help you, Mother." Wild Fire walked next to her mother and the two females went to the kitchen while a still-bewildered stallion sat in his chair, contemplating what had just happened and wishing that he had never gotten out of bed that day.

As Devilin was preparing dinner the phone began ringing; it was an excited Mother Daffodil on the line. "Devilin, is this you?"

"Yes, Daffodil, is there something I can do for you?"

"I just had to tell you that Ranger loves the gift I got him; his pack that he had was clawed up by a bear in the Dark Forest and he was planning on going tomorrow to the store to replace it and was totally surprised when I showed him the pack I bought him and I want to tell you that I appreciate your insight on the gift and that I will never doubt you again."

Devilin, hearing Mother Daffodil's praises, thought back to the mall excursion and decided that it wasn't all that bad being with that irksome mare after all. "I am pleased that Ranger enjoyed his gift." Then Devilin looked at the kitchen table where she had left Salaries's gift. "I need to go now, Daffodil; I haven't given my husband his gift yet."

"Okay, but you will call me to tell me how it went, won't you?"

"Yes, I will call you the first chance I get." Then Devilin hung up the phone and went to pick up the gift that she had bought Salaries.

As she took it from the table, a cautious stallion stuck his head in the doorway of the kitchen and asked, "May I come in to talk, or would you prefer not to see me right now?"

Devilin, with an evil grin on her face, said to her timid husband, "And what do you have to say that was not said in the living room?"

Salaries cautiously walked over to his wife and as he looked at her, he noticed that one of her hoofs was hidden behind her. Hoping that she held nothing that had a sharp point on it, he walked until he stood almost nose to nose with her and with a belief that their love for each other was stronger than Devilin's rage, he began to speak. "Devilin, you know I love you and that I would have never said anything to Daffodil if I had known that it would cause you so much pain and anger, so can you find it in your heart to forgive me?"

Devilin looked at her husband and said, "I have thought of my day with Daffodil and decided that it was not all bad, but what I said in the living room has not changed." Then Devilin took the gift out from behind her and stuck it out in front of her husband. "I bought you this gift while I was at the mall."

Salaries looked at it cautiously. "It won't explode when I open it, will it?"

Devilin looked at her husband with an innocent look on her face. "That was one idea that I did not think about; I must remember that for the next time you put me in a situation like the one this morning."

Salaries, wishing he had kept his mouth shut, took the gift from his wife's hoof and opened it. "What is it?" he asked as he stared at the object

"As I understand, it is like our transmutater, except it is a bit more primitive."

"This would probably be hoofy to have around just in case an enraged mare comes at you with her spirit sword." Salaries threw the rod in the air and said, "Rod, transform into a sword."

As Devilin saw the rod transform, she said with a smirk, "Maybe so, but I have not seen a mortal weapon yet that could defeat a spirit weapon."

"You are definitely right on that account." Salaries reached his head over to kiss his wife.

While they were kissing, Wild Fire yelled at her mother, "Mother, I do not think that black smoke is supposed to be coming out of the oven!"

Devilin ran to the oven and took out the ruined food. "I don't think we are going to eat this for dinner tonight."

A worried Wild Fire asked, "What are we going to have for dinner now?"

As they where thinking about what to do, the front doorbell went off and Devilin went to get it. On the doorstep was a stallion, a mare, and a filly that was a carbon copy of the mare; each of them was holding dishes of food in their hoofs.

Daffodil spoke first. "Devilin, we saw smoke coming out of you kitchen and thought you may need some nourishment."

Devilin, looking at the food, said to Mother Daffodil, "Are you sure that you do not have a little of the second sight yourself?"

Mother Daffodil blushed as the three were welcomed into the house. The dining room table was set and all the ponies sat down to eat when Devilin looked at Mother Daffodil and said, "I have seen many amazing thing through the travels my family and I have been on before we came to Dream Valley, but none of them can match your amazing ability to always come when you are needed the most." And with that said, the two mares gave each other a hug and everyone began to feast on the delicious food in front of them.

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