My Little Pony Monthly Issue 41 (August 1, 2000)


My Little Pony Monthly
Established June 1997

This Newsletter is Safe for All Ages

If you would like to be removed from the My Little Pony Monthly mailing list, simply send a blank e-mail to [email protected]

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Issue 41
August 2000
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Index of this issue--



1. Contest Corner

2. Chapter 1 by Yum Yum

3. The Adventures of Baby North Star and Baby Brother Bright Bouquet Chapter 2: The Fair by Baby Steamer

4. ICQ Column

5. My Little Pony: Tirak’s Revenge Chapter Two: Going Totally Mental by Crash Cymbal

6. The Uncanny X-Ponies Part 1: Awakening by Moonstar

7. Clever Clover vs. the Flatlands Chapter 4: Homecoming by Clever Clover

8. Poll

9. The Tale of the Sunfire Dratini by Moonstar

10. Ponies at Camp Chapter 1: Pals Provincial Park by Cinnamon Sugar

11. Invento Ponies by Cinnamon Sugar

12. The Evil Dragon Parts Eleven through Fourteen by Starr

13. The Mystery of the Golden Glory Chapel by Fizzy

14. Fly: Shining Series #14 by Shining

15. Alien Invasion Part One by Berry Brite

16. Ginseng and Sassafras Tea Chapters Nine and Ten by Sugarberry

17. The Battle of the Bands by Steamer

18. The Tiffany and Tabby Gossip Hour! by Tabby and Sugarberry

19. Reverie’s Journal by Princess Silver Swirl

20. Antique Store by Clever Clover

21. Dancer’s Story #9: Orion's Star by Wonder

22. Wedding Bulletin

23. Early Pony Special

24. My Little Pony Monthly Sister Newsletter

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Contest Corner


The winner of last month’s contest (to find the hidden horseshoe) was [email protected]! She will be receiving an autographed copy of Chris Platt’s book entitled Derby Day.

There are still more books to win, though; so even if you missed out on one in the past, keep trying! ^.^ This month’s prize is another autographed Chris Platt book-- Willow King. A summary is as follows:



“Thirteen-year-old Katie Durham can’t allow the newborn colt Willow King do be killed just because he has twisted legs. After all, one of her own legs is nearly an inch shorter than the other, and nobody killed her at birth! Feeling an immediate kinship with the imperfect colt, Katie successfully bargains for his life, but the real challenge is still ahead.”



To win a copy of this exciting book, we’ve come up with a riddle you must correctly solve. With school starting within the next month or so, we thought we’d better get your brains into thinking mode. So here’s the riddle; and, appropriately, it is about ponies.



How can you get TEN PONIES into nine stalls? P.S. You can’t squeeze two ponies into one stall!



Thank you have the answer? Please e-mail me at [email protected] and let me know. Correct answers will be entered in a drawing to determine who will get the grand prize. Entries must be received by July 15. Good luck! ^.^



If you would be interested in purchasing other books written by Chris Platt, try doing a search for her on www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com

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Chapter 1
by Yum Yum ([email protected])


Yum Yum licked a taste of her lip gloss. Mmmmmm! she thought, savoring the flavor. Boredom usually followed her every morning when she came in to work the sweet shop. She was normally rather garrulous; but when no one came in, she had to resort to her lip gloss licking-- it was the only make-up item she bought from Candy Kisses.

The jingling bells she had strung over the door rang as a familiar face popped in.

“Hey, Yum Yum,” Tootsie called from the doorway. “What’s up?”

“Hi!” Yum Yum smiled. “Nothing much, just simply bored to the brink of insanity-- as usual.”

Tootsie walked in and hopped on a stool at the counter in front of Yum Yum. “You poor thing. I’ll have a strawberry slushy-- ooh, one with a, um, little pink umbrella.”

Her hostess nodded. “Coming right up.” Yum Yum turned and began filling a glass with tiny bits of crushed ice and lurid, artificially flavored syrup. She popped in the little decoration on the side and handed the glass to Tootsie. “So, Tootsie, what do you do with all these umbrellas?”

“Why, don’t you know?” She slid the glass close to her and took a sip. “I collect them and those cute little swords you get out of the cherries in the drinks at Salty’s Tavern.”

Yum Yum raised an eyebrow. “You go to Salty’s Tavern? But I thought I was the only one!” she said sobbingly. “Anyway, I’m gonna have to start charging you extra. I’m running out of pink.”

Cocking her head to the side, Tootsie asked, “You mean you have other colors?”

“Yeah! There’s purple, blue, green, yellow, orange-- bunches!”

“Gee,” Tootsie grinned. “Oh, by the way, I saw Neartic on my way here.”

Yum Yum paused. “You saw Neartic? Where? Did he say anything?”

Tootsie swallowed another sip of her slushy. “Yeah, he, um, wanted me to tell you he’s going to call tonight--”

The pegasus gritted her teeth. “Why that little-- he always says he’s going to call, but he never does!”

Her customer’s mouth opened to reply, but was interrupted by the jingling of the doorbells. Baby Pictures and Baby Schoolbag walked in and climbed up on the stools next to Tootsie and stared at Yum Yum. “Hi!” they both chirped.

School must have just ended. “Hi!” Yum Yum smiled at them. “What can I do for ya’ll?”

“I want a... vanilla ice cream cone!” Baby Pictures told her.

“I want a... chocolate one!” Baby Schoolbag added. “And some rainbow sprinkles!”

“I want those, too!” Pictures whined.

Yum Yum nodded. “Okay, so it’s one vanilla--”

“Chocolate!”

“Two chocolate ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles. Coming right up, cuties.” I really do not like kids, Yum Yum thought in annoyance to herself.

Tootsie handed Yum Yum the empty glass. “See you later.”

“Yeah, bye.” Yum Yum washed it out and began fixing the childrens’ ice creams.

When finished, Baby Pictures and Baby Schoolbag each grabbed their cone and began to eat. Yum Yum smiled as they devoured the last crunchy bit of cone.

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The Adventures of Baby North Star and Baby Brother Bright Bouquet
Chapter 2: The Fair
by Baby Steamer ([email protected])


One day, Mommy Bright Bouquet asked her son, Baby Brother Bright Bouquet, if he wanted to go to the fair that was in town. Baby Brother Bright Bouquet nodded excitedly. “I’d love to go to the fair, Mommy!” he exclaimed.

“Why don’t you invite Baby North Star to go with us?” suggested Mommy Bright Bouquet.

“Okay, I will,” said Baby Brother Bright Bouquet. He then called over to Baby North Star’s house, and her mom answered. “Hello, Mrs. North Star; this is Baby Brother Bright Bouquet; may I talk to Baby North Star, please?” he asked.

“Sure, just a minute and I’ll get her for you,” said North Star.

When Baby North Star came on the phone, Baby Brother Bright Bouquet said, “Hi, Baby North Star; Mama is taking me to the fair, and said I could invite you. Do you want to come?”

“Sure, just let me ask my mom,” said Baby North Star. She went to her mom, who said her daughter could go. Baby North Star ran back to the phone and told Baby Brother Bright Bouquet, “She said it’s okay!”

“Great! We’ll pick you up in a little bit,” said Baby Brother Bright Bouquet.

“I’ll be waiting,” said Baby North Star and with that they hung up. Baby North Star then went to get ready and wait for her friend.

* * *
Soon Mommy Bright Bouquet and Baby Brother Bright Bouquet had picked up Baby North Star and were heading towards the fair. On the way, they met up with Moondancera, Baby Steamer, Baby Advenger, Wisdom, and a big horse that they did not know.

“Mama, can we go say ‘hi’ to Miss Moondancera?” asked Baby Brother Bright Bouquet.

“Sure, go on, but stay where I can see you,” said Mommy Bright Bouquet.

“We will,” said Baby Brother Bright Bouquet, and with that he and Baby North Star went up to Moondancera and her group. “Hewwo, Moon,” greeted Baby Brother Bright Bouquet.

Moondancera turned around to see the newcomers. “Hi, you two; are you going to the fair, too?”

Baby Brother nodded excitedly. “Yup!” he exclaimed.

Baby Advenger and Wisdom then said ‘hello’ to Baby Brother Bright Bouquet and Baby North Star. “Do you know Circle Dancer?” asked Baby Advenger as she indicated to the bigger horse.

“Hi,” she greeted, “I’m Circle Dancer.”

Baby Brother Bright Bouquet and Baby North Star looked up at the big pony. “Whoa!” they murmured.

“Circle Dancer, these are my friends, Baby Brother Bright Bouquet and Baby North Star,” said Baby Advenger.

Circle Dancer smiled at the two baby ponies. “Pleased to meet you,” she said.

Then Mommy Bright Bouquet caught up to the group, and from then on they decided to spend the day at the fair together. On the way home, Moondancera bought everyone ice cream.

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ICQ Column


Looking to get in contact with other pony collectors? If you have the ICQ chat service, try sending some of these My Little Pony fans a message.



Baby Sparkles: 63411762

Baby Lickety Split: 14409477

Baby Mischief: 35100651



If you have an ICQ number and would like to be listed here, e-mail your information to [email protected]

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My Little Pony: Tirak’s Revenge
Chapter Two: Going Totally Mental
by Crash Cymbal ([email protected])


I sat down on a large rock and looked around. There was nothing but woods everywhere. Ingenious. I left the group in the middle of the woods, miles from anywhere. Plus, all I had was my discman, twenty CDS, some Pringles, a change of clothes, a notebook, a pen, and the red heart locket that my mom gave to me before she disappeared.

Well, I wasn’t getting anywhere by just sitting on a rock, so I stood up and started walking in a perpendicular direction to where the campers were hiking.

After an hour or so, I thought I heard footsteps about fifty yards away. I looked and squinted, but the trees were blocking the view. My first instinct was to run, because it might be Austin and the rest of the gang. But curiosity took over and I squatted down and listened.

“What I’d like to know is how Taffeta expects us to find one person in this whole messed-up world. It’s impossible!”

“Don’t talk that way, Gusty! I’m sure she’s around here somewhere. When Princess Taffeta told us where to wink to, she said it was within five miles of the camp she’s at.”

“And that’s another question. How, may I ask, are we supposed to walk into a summer camp without anyone noticing us?”

Okay, this was weird. First off, who was this Princess Taffeta character? Were these women from the Russian Mafia or something? And second, who were they looking for? Why would they be noticed at the camp? What does winking have to do with transportation? The curiosity again took over. “Hello?” I shouted to the nearing voices.

“Oh no!” whispered one of them. “We’ve been heard!”

“I’m not going to hurt you!” I said. “Come out where I can see you!”

“Okay, but... don’t be alarmed.” Out from behind the trees trotted two ponies.

That didn’t surprise you much? Well, what if I told you that these two ponies were unicorns? Much less a white one with green and red hair, and a turquoise one with multicolored hair and sparkling red-jeweled eyes. The white one had pictures of oak leaves on her flanks and the turquoise one had ice cream sodas on hers.

“Hi! I’m Fizzy!” said the turquoise one excitedly. “This is my friend Gusty. We’re Little Ponies!”

“That’s great,” I said. “Now excuse me while I pass out.” I slapped myself in the face and was dismayed when I saw that the talking unicorns were still there. You are going totally mental, I told myself.

“Wow!” said Fizzy, giggling. “You people sure have a funny way of doing things! When we pass out, we usually just fall on the ground!”

Gusty rolled here large blue eyes. “Anyway, can you tell us where Camp Getaway is?”

“No. That’s where I’m supposed to be. But I can’t stand that place.”

“So you don’t even know where it is?”

“No; I lost my group a couple hours ago.”

“Oh, no! How are we ever going to find her?” exclaimed a dismayed Fizzy.

“Find who?” I inquired.

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The Uncanny X-Ponies
Part 1: Awakening
by Moonstar ([email protected])


Imagine waking up one day and finding out you were different.

You didn’t feel any different inside; but somehow, outside, your whole world and yourself would never be the same.

That’s what happened to me.

I was called once by the name Blue Glory, as my body was of the deepest pretty royal blue in all Ponyland. But on the very day of my thirteenth birthday, everything seemed to happen at once.

My body grew small with longer legs and a smaller head, and my body color faded to a light ice blue; my symbol (a dove) and hair turned white as snow. And from that moment the whole world sang to me and was connected to me, for I could control the weather. So it was on that day, after a completely out of control display of my newfound power, that I was renamed Storm Lark. At my home, too, my people regarded me as more than a pony-- a living goddess... but then, I was one of the lucky ones...

I wasn’t the first pony this unearthly change had taken place in. There had been a lot of such happenings in recent years-- teen ponies suddenly changing in their appearances and becoming smaller, thin earthling ponies (no matter if where they were born pegasi, unicorn, or flutter) with twinkle jewels in the center of their eye (not like Twinkle-Eyes), and wonderful powers of every type-- far more powerful than any present day unicorn.

We are known as the next evolutionary stage in Little Ponies, Equus-Superior; but to toughs that hate and fear us because of our different appearances, we are known only as mutanonys.

* * *
I flew low over the southern coast of Ponyland, the mist doing nothing to enable me to see down toward the land. I would have been quite a sight, I was sure, if any pony had been out this way.

My body was that of an earthling pony... but here I was, flying along gracefully in the air, carried by winds of my own making. My eyes were pure white with the jewel part of them shining like crystal as they always did when I used my mutanony powers.

I had decided to leave my island home about five years ago to go out in search of the legendary Friendship Gardens and Dream Valley, places where our new race of pony lived peacefully...

“I said I WAS SORRY!”

...unlike the rest of Ponyland, were hate was everywhere for us...

“You’ll have to do better than ‘sorry’, filly!”

...even where you never expected it.

The sounds of fighting and the cries of a young filly came to my ears from far below and I swooped down... down... down. The sight that met my eyes was not a welcome one.

About ten big thug-like stallions had formed a ring around a small filly mutanony wearing yellow hoof-gloves. They were armed with pitchforks, wooden rods, and just about anything a small farming pony community could think up to use as a weapon.

The filly, unarmed, was getting a few good kicks in; but it looked as though she was greatly outnumbered. I alighted on the ground just at the moment the ring was starting to close in on her.

“Okay, I didn’t want ta’ have it come ta’ this, but y’all...” The red filly was lifting her hooves but stopped talking and turned one eye to me. “Who are YOU, lady?”

“Your savior, little one... now GET DOWN!” I said quickly.

Though she was a little unsure at trusting some pony that had just dropped out of the sky, the young filly obeyed, dunking down and putting her hooves over her head.

“Aah... what’s the mare gonna do, ribbon us to death?” one of the stallions taunted toward me.

“Actually, I quite like my tail ribbon, thank you!” I said quietly. Rearing up, I held my head toward the sky and called, “RAGING WIND, AID ME!”

A wind of hurricane force whipped down from the heavens to twist around me, my symbol and eyes glowing as I took in its power and sent it blasting out in every direction. The stallion bullies were sent flying every which way. The sky cleared slowly and my eyes turned back to their normal jeweled sky blue.

The little filly, I found, had been hanging on to my back leg the whole time with both hoofs to keep from being blown away. She looked up at me now with large green jeweled eyes, her red and white striped mane frizzled. “Whoa! That was some trick you did there, umm... Ms...”

“I am called Storm Lark.”

“I can see why!” The little filly turned sideways so that her symbol showed clearly; it was a crystal-colored tiger lily. “My name’s Tear.”

“Really? That name doesn’t seem to match your symbol,” I added softly.

“I know... well, it’s not my REAL name and all... I can’t really remem’er that... the name’s ‘cause of this.” Tear pointed to her forehead. Right in the middle of it was a tiny raindrop-like scar... showing that she must have been a unicorn before she became a mutanony.

“I see... so, what is your power, little one?” I asked, deciding the fact that she had been a unicorn might be useful later but not now.

“Darn it! I wish you’d stop callin’ me that. Anyway, my powers are act’ally what got me into that fight; I can absorb anybody’s energy through touchin’ ‘em skin to skin...” A groan met her words and I looked around to see the stallions, starting to come to after my attack.

“Come. We can talk while in the air. Those enemies of yours will not be down much longer!” I grabbed one of the teenage pony’s gloved hooves in mine and took to the safety of the sky faster than she could speak another word.

“Hey, hey! Le’go! I’m a big girl, ya know... I can fly by myself!” Tear huffed, jerking her hoof from mine and hovering beside me.

I was shocked. “But you said you power was only...”

Tear laughed. “It’s a lo-o-o-ong story.”

“One you’ll have to tell me in time, I’m sure.”

“Where are ya headed, Storm Lark?” Tear asked, cocking her head to the side. “I know ya can’t be from around HERE... if we had mutanonys like you around, tough boys would give our kind more respect where it’s due...”

I turned my muzzle to the climbing golden sun. “No, I am journeying to a place called Dream Valley and Friendship Gardens to see a mushromp man named Professor Moochick Xavier... do you know of him?”

Tear’s eyes twinkled. “Know of ‘im? I was hoping to go there myself; I hear he can help with power troubles... can I tag along with ya?”

I smiled. “Sure, always happy to have company.”

Tear grinned, tying a green hair band across her forehead and mane, and flying ahead with renewed energy.

“ ‘KAY! Let’s GO-O-O!” Crash! “O-O-OW! Darn TREE!” Tear eyed the tree that she had managed to run into head first in her enthusiasm. “Take... THAT!” She rudded her muzzle and gave the giant willow a swift kick that bashed wooden splinters out the other side of its bark.

I watched in awe as the mighty tree that had probably lived for over four hundred years gave a groan of surrender and crashed to the ground. Super strength, too?! I gasped in my mind.

Tear merely dusted off her hooves. “It’s a very, very lo-o-o-ong story...” she grinned.

I shook my head. If nothing else, my mission to find Friendship Gardens and Dream Valley would not be boring...

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Clever Clover vs. the Flatlands
Chapter 4: Homecoming
by Clever Clover ([email protected])


The lake was calm. What breeze there was came from the north, which aided Clever Clover as he rowed. Despite the ease of the endeavor, the purple pony was not at ease. Bic the imp had lured him to this lake. And the calm waters of the lake could hide all manner of danger. All he could do was row on and hope that on the isle he could finally rid himself of Bic’s torment.

As he came near the shore of the isle-- near enough to smell the pines-- the wind shifted to the south and picked up. Clever Clover struggled as he rowed into the wind. “Bic, you’ll not stop me, not since I’ve come this far!” he said through clenched teeth. He leaned heavily on the ores. The small boat progressed slowly but surely toward the shore. After what seemed like hours of fighting the wind, the keel of the boat struck bottom. He had made it.

Clever Clover pulled the boat onto a small beach and recalled Farfetch’d. There was a path leading away from the beach through the trees. “Well, that’s convenient,” the pony mumbled. The path through a mixed forest of oak, pine, cedar, and yew rose slowly from the beach toward a cleft in the large hill-- a mountain, almost-- that dominated the isle. Several tendrils of smoke rose from the cleft. “That smoke could mean civilization, or another of Bic’s tricks. In any case, I don’t have a lot of options,” Clever Clover said to himself as he started up the trail. He expected to confront some terrifying apparition around every turn. Every time he found himself alone, though, and he almost wished he would encounter some monster and be done with it.

Finally, something did appear from around the bend-- the cleft, and the source of the smoke. Clever Clover stood atop a ridge overlooking the cleft, which was almost a valley between two arm-like ridges projecting from the hill. Nestled within the cleft was a quaint village. On the far side of the village, where the ridges met, was a castle of greenish stone that was built into the side of the hill. The buildings of the village had whitewashed walls and roofs of thatch.

Clever Clover walked cautiously into the village. The main street was lined with shops, but there were no signs of life save for the smoke. A flash of motion caught Clever Clover’s eye. It looked like a baby pony ducking into an alley. The purple pony continued down the main street. A door squeaked behind him. He turned to see a pony peeking sheepishly out of one of the shops. There were other ponies watching from the windows. “ ‘Allo!” said Clever Clover as cheerfully as possible. “There’s no need to be shy. Come out. I won’t hurt you.”

The ponies began to emerge from their homes and shops slowly. They kept their distance from Clever Clover while whispering to each other and glancing nervously at the stranger in their village. “Uh, could you tell me--” Clever Clover began to say before one of the Isle Ponies cut him off in a hoarse whisper.

“They’ll be expectin’ you at the castle, I figure.”

Clever Clover looked over his shoulder toward the hillside castle. “The castle, eh? Thanks.”

“It’s my pleasure,” said the other pony with a bow.

Clever Clover turned to resume his path down the main street, which led right to the castle gate. The entire length of the street was lined with ponies now, whispering, glancing, and bowing as Clever Clover walked past. Something strange is going on here, Clever Clover thought. Either this is part of Bic’s game, or they have me confused with someone else. The ponies lined the street all the way to the castle gate, and a crowd followed behind Clever Clover, always maintaining a polite distance. The gate itself was flanked by two large stallions, one dark green and the other dark blue, holding long hafted elaborately decorated halberds.

At the sight of Clever Clover, the guards genuflected. “Welcome home, your highness!” they said in unison, with booming voices.

That tears it! They definitely think I’m someone els;, but if it’ll get me some answers, I might as well play along, for now.

The castle gates opened. A young red mare greeted him. “Welcome home, your highness. The Regent and Stewardess await you in the audience chamber. Please follow me.”

“ ‘Kay.”

Clever Clover followed the red pony through the grandiose Gothic halls of the castle. Paintings on the walls depicted noble-looking ponies, many of them holding weapons-- swords, spears, axes, and the like. One pony, who bore a striking resemblance to Clever Clover, bore an unusually large and intimidating axe. The painting nearest the audience chamber door looked almost familiar to Clever Clover, like something from his distant past that he had forgotten. The painting also featured the axe he had noticed earlier, though this pony held it much less threateningly.

The young pony guide opened the doors to a grand, semi-circular chamber. Along the circular wall, high windows hung with heavy curtains admitted surprisingly little light. Torches along the flat wall illuminated the room with an eerie light. Two large ponies stood across the room from where Clever Clover entered.

The smaller of the two (a red and white mare who was still half a head taller than Clever Clover) began the introductions. “Welcome, my prince. I am Foxglove, Stewardess of Malachite Castle. This is Raven, Reagent of the Isle.” She indicated the huge black stallion standing next to her. He wore a crimson cloak and a silver pin set with an emerald stone.

“Ah, yeah, nice to meet you,” said Clever Clover, nervously.

“Do not worry,” said Raven in a deep, yet strangely soothing voice. “You have been away for most of your life. It is natural that you are confused. Allow me to explain. You are the son of a king, the last king of the isle. Before you were born, a terrible curse befell your father and all his kingdom.”

Clever Clover almost fainted. He staggered and mumbled, “Bic!” Then to himself he said, “Stay calm, this is probably all part of his scam; or could it be true?”

“Aye, that imp was the perpetrator of the curse. He stole all hope, joy, and happiness from the land-- and from your father’s heart.”

“You seem to have shocked the prince,” Foxglove interrupted. “Perhaps you should slow down.”

Raven scowled at Foxglove impatiently.

“I... I’m alright,” stammered Clever Clover. He wasn’t sure what to make of it; but for the time being he would listen, at least long enough to figure out what was going on. “Please continue,” he said.

Raven bowed. “Very well, my prince. Bic dictated that no new king would be crowned until the curse was lifted; and that only the king, or his kin, could lift the curse. It is because of the curse that when you were young, you and your betrothed were sent to Friendship Gardens to ensure your safety-- and the safety of your line.”

“Um, did you say ‘betrothed’?” Clever Clover stammered.

“Yes,” replied Foxglove. “Your marriage was arranged at your birth, to guarantee a suitable heir if you were unable to break the curse.”

“ ‘If’? Then this betrothal thing is dependant on the curse?”

“You sound as if you are discouraged at the thought of marriage.”

“Well, uh, not marriage overall, just this prearranged thing.”

“Oh, do not worry. It was merely a precaution and would not be enforced unless it seemed necessary. But now we have more pressing matters that require our attention.”

“Aye, young prince!” boomed Raven. “The curse should be your main concern at the moment! You must not allow yourself to be distracted!”

“Calm yourself, Raven. Allow the prince to be pony; we cannot expect more of him than that.”

“Well, about that curse,” said Clever Clover. “How am I supposed to stop it?”

Raven explained, “Your father struggled with that very question to his last days. He sought the wisest counsel in the land and studied many arcane texts. When he discovered the solution, it was too late for him. We have held the wisdom that he discovered to pass on to you when the time was right.”

“And the time is now right,” said Foxglove. “Your father discovered that Bic had played his game many times before, and was able to learn the pattern of his tricks. There are three challenges that must be overcome to release the curse. The first is the Green Knight, whom your father saw with his own eyes. The knight fights without sword or armor, and yet is a match for any warrior. He guards the entrance to an ancient cave high on the mountain where Bic bound the curse to the land. Within the cave dwells the second challenge, the Fire Dragon. Little more is known of this challenge. The third challenge is the Mystery, which can only be overcome by confronting it directly.”

“Gee, that sure cleared things up,” mumbled Clever Clover. “Okay, assuming I pass all these challenges, how does that release the curse?”

“That, my young prince, is the Mystery,” replied Raven.

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Poll


Wow, we haven’t had one of these for awhile! I discontinued the use of polls because I wasn’t getting much of a response, but maybe we can start them up again! Here’s this month’s poll question:



What is your version of Ponyland like?



And, what is your version like? Do all the ponies live in Paradise Estate, Dream Castle, or in homes of their own? Are there any other cities? Who rules them, and from where? Are there special relationships between any ponies? Are some enemies, best friends, or sweethearts? Please tell us! ^.^ To get you in the flow of things, here is an example for an entry which was sent in by Steamer ([email protected]):



In my herd there are some ponies happily married, and they live in their own place; the others live in Paradise Estate. The couples are Sundance and Salty, Sweet Stuff and Quarterback, North Star and Steamer, Bright Eyes and Barnacle, and Streaky and 4-Speed.



So, what is your Ponyland like? We want to know! E-mail your responses to [email protected] ^.^

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The Tale of the Sunfire Dratini
by Moonstar ([email protected])


Author’s Note: This is the first of my stories that takes place in Tabby’s version of Ponyland! (Everyone else has been having so much fun in it that I decided it was high time for me to join Tabby’s universe, too. :))



It was a hot summer day in Dream Valley. A small group of ponies was having a picnic under the shade of a leafy maple tree near a pond and chatting about Pokèmon, the shapes of the clouds, and all the other things that it was usual to talk about on long lazy summer days.

“You know, I already have all one hundred and fifty-one Pokèmon,” an orange flutter pony bragged with a yawn, stretching his hoofs out toward the sky.

“Oh, Alchemy, stop saying that already!” Gusty groaned. “Sheesh, if I had a jangle for every time you said...”

“Yes, I think we’d all be rich, Gusty!” said Cotton Candy, laughing.

“Well, I think you’re telling the truth, Alchemy-honey...” said Cloud Puff, nuzzling him.

“Thanks, ‘Puff...” Alchemy mumbled, nearly asleep.

Cloud Puff waved a hoof in front of his sleeping face and turned to the others. “Sad. I think he must be delusional or something. I mean, yesterday he said he’d caught Mew!” The other ponies nodded in sympathy.

“Hey, look over there!” Starry Wings shouted from a little way off where she and Baby Cotton Candy were playing.

“What in the world...?” gasped Cotton Candy.

“Speaking of delusional ponies, Cloud Puff, here comes another one...” said Gusty with a smirk.

Marching slowing though the tall glass of the outer meadow was a sky blue flutter pony. Her moon and stars symbol was barely visible though a thick coat of mud; and her white hair was dripping wet, covered with burs. The Squirtle riding on top of her head and the Pikachu scampering along beside her looked about the same, their pride more ruined than their bodies.

“WHA-OH, looks like Moonstar has been out on her great Dratini search again!” said Alchemy, seeming to wake from a dead sleep.

“I HEARD THAT, ALCHEMY!” said Moonstar, trotting over.

Alchemy put his hooves over his head protectively, but to his surprise Moonstar didn’t hit him like she usually did for making fun of her (which was nearly every hour of the day).

“Alchemy, for your information, it is no longer a search,” she said, flying up in the air and extending a hoof (with those little glittery sparks her wings always made when she was excited). “For at long last after all my years of hunting, I HAVE FOUND A DRATINI!”

The Squirtle that sat on her head stood up and peace-signed, “Squirtle! Squirt!”

“Oh ? So where is it?” asked Gusty.

Moonstar dropped back earth with a groan, so fast that the Squirtle had to hang onto her ears. “Sqqquuirtllle!”

Moonstar sweatdropped. “Well, I haven’t actually CAUGHT it yet...” She noticed her Squirtle climbing down her leg. The creature took a few dizzy steps on solid ground and fell over. Her Pikachu rushed over to look at it.

“Pika, pika?”

“Oops. Sorry, Ryo.” Ryo was her Squirtle’s nickname. “Anyway, I didn’t actually catch it, but I did see one...”

“Moonstar, be honest now, there’s no way you could have seen it,” said Cotton Candy.

Moonstar stomped a hoof. “Why does everyone always say that?! I’m not crazy! The Dratini are real! Pokèmon number one hundred forty six! Just because they’re really, really, really rare...”

“I have one,” Alchemy said, munching on an apple. Gusty and Cloud Puff mysteriously pulled out huge cartoony mallets and bopped him over the head.

In the background, Ryo was laying backwards on its shell and Pikachu was poking a tender spot on the little turtle’s exposed underbelly.

“Pika?”

“Squirt!”

“Chu?”

“Squirt!”

“Pika?”

“Squirt!”

“Chu?”

“Sqqquuuirtle!!!”

“Why do you wait a Dratini so much, anyway?” asked Starry Wings, trotting over.

“Yeah, why?” mimicked Baby Cotton Candy, picking up Ryo.

“Because I want to be...”

“Uh-oh, here it comes...” said Alchemy, bracing himself and holding an umbrella.

“...THE BEST WATER POKÈMON TRAINER IN ALL PONYLAND!! A-HA-HA-HA!” A tide crashed dramatically behind Moonstar at her last words, making her clean and sparkly.

“Swell,” said Gusty from under her dripping wet mane; the rest of the ponies were soaked through, too (except for Alchemy and his little umbrella).

“Well, water Pokèmon ARE the best,” said Moonstar.

“Squirtle!” said Ryo, hopping down from Baby Cotton Candy’s hooves and hugging Moonstar’s leg. “Squir... tle!”

“Pika? Chuuuu...” said Pikachu, its eyes getting teary and ears drooping. But Moonstar didn’t seem to notice.

“The only reason I couldn’t catch the Dratini is there’s a really HUGE Gyarados lurking around in Sunfire Lake... I was hoping maybe you guys could help me.”

“Ah, so you want the help of Alchemy, the Pokèmon Master, huh?” said Alchemy. Cloud Puff and Gusty malleted him over the head again.

“Actually, I was hoping to ask Gusty and Cotton Candy. Got any Pokèmon with ya?”

“Well, no,” said Cotton Candy. “All I brought today was my daughter’s pet Jigglypuff, and it’s never really fought...”

“Mama! I wanta help!” Baby Cotton Candy piped up. “WOKÈBALL, GO!” she said, tossing the ball. Pink light blasted out and took shape as a little puff of pink fur with huge eyes and short little arms and legs appeared.

“Jigglypuff, jigglypuff, jiggly!” it shouted for joy.

“Guess what, Wigglywuff? You get ta fight taday!” said Baby Cotton Candy.

“Jigglypuff? Puff! JiiigglyyyPUFF!” it said, trying to do a mini megakick and falling over.

Moonstar sweatdropped. “I see we’ve got a lot to work on...”

“Not to worry; I brought my plant Pokèmon with me! And we all know about water versus plant; it wouldn’t have a chance!” said Gusty.

“Okay then, let’s fly!” said Moonstar, taking to the air. Alchemy and Cloud Puff followed, having nothing better to do that day.

“Um, Moonstar, aren’t you forgetting something?” Gusty shouted up.

“Oh, silly me! Come on! Ryo! Pikachu! It’s time to go!” she called down.

“Squirtle!” said Ryo, starting to go, but then saw that Pikachu wasn’t following. “Tle? Sqi?” he asked, pulling on Pikachu’s paw; but the little Pokèmon just stood with its arms crossed, looking mad.

“Chu!”

“No, Moonstar, that not what Gusty mean. We can’t FLY!” Baby Cotton Candy yelled, leaping up and falling back down to prove her point.

“Oh... yeah... hee-hee... I forgot...” mumbled Moonstar. Everyone sweatdropped.

“I don’t know the place well enough to wink there; we might end up at the bottom of the lake!” Gusty added.

“No problem,” Moonstar said, pulling out a little silver whistle. Even before she stopped blowing it, a yellow pegasus with rainbow hair flew in at super sonic speed and rammed into Alchemy. The pegasus hovered in the air catching her breath and Alchemy spun wildly off into a cloud.

“Skydancer’s Pokèmon Air, we can fly you most anywhere!” she huffed.

* * *
About twenty minutes later, three flutters, two earth ponies, a Jigglypuff, a Squirtle, a Pikachu (reluctantly being dragged along by the Squirtle), and one very charred unicorn arrived at Sunfire Lake.

“Boy, that was some ride!” Cotton Candy said, smoothing out her mane.

“Yeah, I never got ta ride Fearow before!” Baby Cotton Candy said, frazzled.

“You guys should be grateful,” Gusty grumbled. “At least you didn’t have to ride Moltres!” She stomped out the last spark in her mane.

“How were we supposed to know she also used the ‘Legendary Bird of Fire’ Pokèmon?” Cloud Puff giggled.

“Still, if it wasn’t for my unicorn magic to control winds taking some of the oxygen away from the flames where I was riding...” Gusty whimpered at the thought.

“Hey! Aren’t those Water Stones?” Cloud Puff said, pointing to some pebbles that Ryo was about to walk on.

“Eek!” Moonstar yelped, pulling Ryo away in a flying version of a running tackle before the Squirtle could touch the stones. “Whew, that was close.”

“Why’d you do that? Don’t you want a Wartortle?” Baby Cotton Candy asked.

Moonstar put Ryo on her back with Pikachu again, and started to pick up the Water Stones in a hoof. “I do want to have Ryo evolve someday, Baby Cotton Candy, but only when it’s ready. Squirtles evolve naturally at level sixteen. A stone too soon would make a Pokèmon never learn some special attacks it needs. That’s why I never use stones on Pokèmon that evolve by themselves...” Moonstar said, starting to throw the stones into the lake.

Alchemy saw his chance and piped in as he was throwing one of the stones. His song sounded like the PokèRap gone terribly wrong. “The Pokèmon that only evolve with an Elemental Stone are Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Nidorina, Nidorino, Clefairy, Vulpix, Gloom, Growlithe, Poliwhirl, Weepinbell, Shellder, Exeggcute, Staryu, and Eevee.”

There was a CLUNK in the water and a giant roar thundered from where Alchemy’s water stone had landed. Cloud Puff gulped. “Um, Alchemy-honey... can water/dragon types be evolved with the Water Stone?”

Alchemy looked at her, puzzled. “No, I don’t think so. The radiation won’t affect it... it would just be a rock to that type... why do you ask?” High, rough waves suddenly broke out across the lake and crashed against the shore.

“Because,” Could Puff said shouting to be heard, “Gyarados IS that type and in its eyes, honey-dear, a certain dumb pony just hit it with a big rock!”

“Eep!” Alchemy whimpered in fright. A fearsome head rose out of the water, mouth open and roaring, with a big red bump on its face. Coil after coil of glinting scales and stone crushing muscle rose up, topped with a razor sharp dorsal fin. Baby Cotton Candy’s eyes grew wider and wider, brimming with tears, at the sight of the monster.

Gusty leaned over to Moonstar and whispered, trying not to make any sudden moves, “Okay... the good news is we found the Gyarados; the bad news is I don’t think we’ll be around long enough to celebrate.”

“Shhh...” Moonstar hissed. “I have a plan that just might work. When I give the signal, wink us up to that cliff to the right... over the water... see it?”

Gusty looked. “Yeah, I see it. But how...”

Unfortunately, Gusty’s movement had attracted the Gyarados’ attention and now it spotted the ponies. It roared while drawing its head back and then forward like a whip, jaws open.

“It’s using it’s Bite Attack on us!” Alchemy screamed.

“Yeah, a really BIG bite!” Cloud Puff whimpered.

“No, I don’t LET YOU!” Cotton Candy said, stepping in front of her baby.

“NOW!” Moonstar yelled.

There was a brilliant flash of light and the Gyarados found its mouth full of nothing but grass and dirt.

“Yahoo! You did it, Gusty! We didn’t get eaten!” Cloud Puff whooped, doing a little loopdey-loop in the air.

“Don’t thank me just yet, Cloud Puff,” Gusty said, looking out over the cliff cautiously. The Gyarados’ head was just below the cliff’s overhang. “We’ve still got to battle this thing, which means we need time to get out Pokèmon. We need... a... distraction.” Gusty suddenly grinned evilly at Cloud Puff.

Cloud Puff gulped. “Who, me? Be a distraction?” The rest of the group grinned and nodded.

“But I’m a TERRIBLE singer!” the purple flutter whined, stomping a hoof.

“That’s why you’re perfect!” Moonstar said as she and Gusty started getting out PokèBalls. “You’re bound to attract its attention, and with you controlling the cloud cover, we can attack it by surprise!”

Cloud Puff grumbled, calling down some clouds in front and around the group of ponies with her magic wing flutter. Sighing, she said, “I can’t believe I’m doing this... okay, what should I sing?”

“Anything, but make sure it’s loud!” Gusty said.

Just before Cloud Puff was about to step out completely from the protection of the cloud to the edge of the cliff, she felt a head on her shoulder for a moment. “Hey, ‘Puff,” Alchemy said quietly.

“Hmm?”

“I believe in you.”

Cloud Puff smiled and stepped out alone, with renewed confidence, right above the Gyarados, and started to sing:

Briiight lights, how I love briiight lights!

Pretty to see, shine one on meeeee!

Briiight lights, how I love briiight lights!

All in a row, look how they glow!

It’s so much fun, I like it a lot!

Singiiiiing and daaaancing up here in the spot!...

The horrible off-key singing made the Gyarados look up, a growl growing in its throat. “Now, everyone! Start calling out your Pokèmon!” Moonstar said, throwing two PokèBalls. “BUTTERFREE! PSYDUCK! AND RYO! GO!”

“Psyduck?” Gusty asked, face-fainting.

Moonstar’s eyes filled with fire. “And what’s wrong with Psyduck? It’s at level forty-eight; it can handle this!”

The duck Pokèmon ran behind her leg and practically had to be booted into the water. “PsyyyyyyyyDUCK!” came its fading cry as it splashed down.

Gusty backed away. “Okay, okay, whatever you say... GO, VICTREEBEL, ODDISH, AND VINEY!”

“Victreebel, bel,” the fierce flycatcher Pokèmon said calmly.

“Oddish!” its lively leaf -headed companion added.

“Tangela! Tang, tangela!” the last Pokèmon, looking like a bush of vines with legs and eyes, blinked.

Now it was Moonstar’s turn to sweatdrop. “Viney? What kind of name is ‘VINEY’ to call a Tangela?”

Gusty reared up with a grin. “My kind of name! Victreebel, RAZOR LEAF! VINEY, tie it up with your VINE WHIP!”

Gusty’s Victreebel started whirling like a top on its side, spinning out razor-sharp leaves at the Gyarados while the Tangela, Viney, whipped out two lines of its vine body around the huge dragon Pokèmon at the same time.

“Alright!” Moonstar grinned, giving Gusty a high-five with a hoof. “Now I’ll get ‘em! Butterfree, get around it’s back and STUN SPORE!”

“Free!” the little blue butterfly nodded cheerfully.

“Ryo! Dive underwater and headbutt its stomach!”

“Squirtle!” the tiny turtle saluted Moonstar and dived, ducking into its shell to keep from hitting the surface of the water too hard.

“AND PSYDUCK...” Moonstar called down to the yellow duck that was floating in the water. “UM... JUST TRY TO SCRATCH IT OR SOMETHING!”

“Psyduck?” the duck remarked blankly. Moonstar sweatdropped.

* * *
Everything seemed to be going well; the ponies’ Pokèmon were starting to wear the Gyarados down. “Oh boy, now it MY turn!” Baby Cotton Candy grinned and ran out in front of the group.

“WOKÈBALL, GO! GET ‘EM, Wigglywuff!” the baby shouted and threw the PokèBall at Gyarados. The shiny red and white ball hit the dragon Pokèmon right on the nose, but her Jigglypuff didn’t come out. “AAW! Why didn’t my Pokèmon come out?” Baby Cotton Candy whimpered.

“Hate to say this, but it might have just been scared, Baby Cotton Candy; this thing is very powerful,” Cloud Puff said, putting a wing around the baby’s back in sympathy.

There was a sudden humbling growl from the Gyarados and it began to whip its long body in the water slowly, and then faster and faster. Baby Cotton Candy’s PokèBall had been the last straw to its patience.

“Uh-oh. This is not good. I’ve heard about this attack before...” Alchemy whispered in the quiet horror of the moment.

Moonstar nodded. “Yeah, looks like you guys are about to get the same sort of welcome I got from this thing the FIRST time I tried battling it...”

“What?” Cotton Candy asked, standing protectively over her baby.

“Dragon Rage,” Alchemy said simply and put his head against Cloud Puff’s. The lake was starting to rise in crashing waves, lapping against their hooves. That’s when the Gyarados’ eyes started to glow.

“No, not just Dragon Rage, Alchemy...” Moonstar said so softly she could barely be heard. “It’s powering up for HYPER BEAM...”

Alchemy looked Moonstar’s way, a glint of something she had never seen before in his purple eyes. “We’ve got one chance left, but it’s risky; we’ve only have about seven minutes tops before it charges up all the way... Moonstar, I need your Pikachu’s help,” Alchemy said quickly and seriously.

“Pikachu?” Moonstar asked blankly and blinked. She had forgot all about the little lightening Pokèmon! “Pikachu?! Where are you ?” she called and turned around to see just the Pokèmon she was looking for.

The furry yellow lightening bolt-shaped-tailed mouse was siting down, looking quite comfortable, wearing a pair of sunglasses and warming himself in the late afternoon sun. Next to him lay a pile of eight PokèBalls; in all the chaos, the little Pokèmon had somehow been able to call all of their attacking Pokèmon back and keep them out of harm’s way!

“Pikachu, you have to help us,” Moonstar said, kneeling down.

“Chu chu pika ka? Pikachu chu ii pika pikachu,” Pikachu said flatly.

Moonstar frowned, trying to get back in touch with her inborn (and rather rusty) power that all flutters possessed to communicate with all living things... then the translated words hit her suddenly: Why should I help? You said I was useless.

Moonstar gasped, a little hurt. “No, Pikachu, I never said anything like that. Why...?”

“Pika pikachu chu chu, chu ika pi ii pikachu pikachu pika PIKA!” Pikachu said madly, tears flowing down his red-cheeked face. Yes, you did; you said water Pokèmon were the best; I guess then that makes me the worst in your eyes!

“Oh Pikachu, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for you to take it that way,” Moonstar murmured, starting to cry a little herself. “I just want to be the best at water Pokèmon so badly that sometimes I say things I don’t really mean... I forget and overlooked my other Pokèmon’s feelings.”

Pikachu’s face softened slowly and he stepped forward, rubbing its warm furry cheek against her muzzle. “I’m truly sorry...” Moonstar whispered.

“Pika pika,” Pikachu said softly. I believe you.

“I hate to break up the warm fuzzy moments, Moonstar, but we have about three minutes ‘till this thing uses its ‘burn everything within two miles to a crisp’ attack!” Gusty said earnestly.

Alchemy was already up in the air zipping around snaps of the Gyarados’s jaws as he flew just out of reach. “Where’s that Pikachu of yours already?! I can’t keep this up forever!” he hollered down.

Pikachu scampered over to where Alchemy had just alighted on the ground and half turned for a quick moment, smiling. “Pikachu?” Friends?

Moonstar nodded. “Best friends. Now GO GET ‘EM, PIKACHU!”

“Pika!” Pikachu yelled, giving her a little bow as he and Alchemy rose up and up and up to the Gyarados’ eye level. The great dragon Pokèmon growled deep in its throat and Alchemy grinned at it.

“Get your power from the sun, huh?” the orange flutter asked as the sun suddenly broke out full force thorough the passing clouds. “...well, so do I!! NOW, PIKACHU!” Alchemy ordered as the light hit his wings and his whole body glowed golden, shooting out a pure beam of magic energy at the monster.

“Pika... CHU!” the little Pokèmon on his back whooped, sending forth his most powerful electric attack in a wave of crackling energy.

“GYARA...!” The Gyarados reared up from the water, ready to let loose its final deadly attack upon the helpless ponies below... and froze.

A moment later Alchemy fell limp from the sky, his energy spent. “Oh, no! ALCHEMY!” Cloud Puff gasped in horror and flew up, catching the unconscious flutter’s mane in her mouth and with great effort brought his body down to rest softly on the ground.

“PIKACHU!” Moonstar gasped in unison and scooped the little electric mouse up in midair before he landed on the sharp rocks by the side of the lake. “Are you okay?”

“Pika pi?” Pikachu murmured dimly, his eyes dizzy swirls.

“Well, would you look at that!” Gusty breathed, looking upward.

“Have you ever seen anything like it?” Cotton Candy agreed.

Towering over the group casting a shadow over them was a gigantic life-size golden statue of a Gyarados, roaring mightily in the stance of its greatest attack.

“Your Pikachu’s power amplified Alchemy’s own magic talent,” Cloud Puff smiled wisely. “That way, he was able to take on something that big. He turned the whole monster into gold!”

Moonstar murmured something to herself and looked out across the water of the lake, now turning purple and rose in the sunset. Baby Cotton Candy trotted over and tugged on one of her hooves. “What wrong, Moonstar? Aren’t you happy we beat ‘em?”

Moonstar smiled and tousled the little foal’s mane. “Of course I am, Baby Cotton Candy. It’s just... I was hoping I’d at least see another Dratini here today...”

“Ready to give up on your impossible dream?” Cotton Candy asked.

“Not by a long shot. It’s not impossible!” Moonstar grinned. “Because I want to be...”

“UH-OH!” the four other ponies yelled collectively.

“...THE BEST WATER POKÈMON TRAINER IN ALL PONYLAND!!” A tidal wave crashed dramatically in the back of Moonstar at her last words, but this time everyone was ready for it: Cloud Puff flew upwards, Gusty winked herself elsewhere, and Cotton Candy and her baby hung onto a tree limb.

“Urg...” The sound of a groan made the group turn.

“So, did we win?” Alchemy asked weakly.

Everyone laughed at the sight of the dripping and soggy flutter, his long mane hanging down over his eyes and wings heavy with water...

* * *
Unknown to them...

A little blue and white dragon’s head broke the surface of the water just behind the ponies, blinking curious midnight blue eyes. Not finding ponies all that interesting, it jumped out of the water and leaped back into the depths from where it had come, with a flick of its jeweled tail.

“Dratini!” it giggled.

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

Ponies at Camp
Chapter 1: Pals Provincial Park
by Cinnamon Sugar ([email protected])


“WHAT?” Baby Cinnamon Sugar asked in disbelief.

“Pals Provincial Park,” said Windy. “It’s a nice spot, isn’t it, Cinn?”

“Sure,” said Cinnamon Sugar.

“But, Mom...” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar, her face turning a little red.

“You’ll love it,” said Windy. “Too bad your dad’s not coming... but it’s going to be great! I rented a cabin already for you city-slickers, but I can sleep in a tent outside.” She ran her purple hoof over the map.

“Um...” said Outback.

“You’ll like it, too. Nothing quite like a camping experience in the wild with no plumbing or electricity to soften us up! This’ll be a really good trip.”

The two foals were turning green. “Mom, this is crazy!” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar. “It’s going to take two hours to get there and back-- I mean, we’ll die like fish out of water after only half an hour there!” She added in a small voice, “How many ponies are there, anyway?”

“Oh, we won’t die_ you’re a little too worrisome,” said Cinnamon Sugar. “About other ponies-- well, this is a kind of quiet time of year for the park, so I don’t think there’ll be many campers there.”

“We’ll have the whole place to ourselves,” said Windy happily. “I’m bringing my fishing stuff-- rod and net and bait and tackle. I can teach you how to fish. We’re going to be really near the lake, so swimming won’t be a complete no-no unless the water is too cold--”

“It will be,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

“Fishing? That’s boring,” said Outback.

“You’ve never tried it before, that’s why,” said Windy.

Cinnamon Sugar pointed to a tiny ink speck on the map that she had marked out in the middle of the area marked Pals Provincial Park. “We’ll be camping at Janai Campground, right there where I’m pointing,” she told the others. “It has the cheapest cabin.”

“Let’s bring along some boards to fix it,” Outback suggested.

“Outback, don’t be so unsure!” said Windy. “We’re going there no matter how hard you object.”

“We’ll never live through it,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

“Will too,” said Cinnamon Sugar. “I’m looking forward to it.”

“Mom!” said Outback and Baby Cinnamon Sugar at the same time. Windy sighed.

“Can I take my Nyuura along?” Baby Cinnamon Sugar asked hopefully.

“No, there are no Pokèmon allowed at the campground we’re going to,” said Windy.

“WHAT?! But Nyuura will shrivel up without me!” Baby Cinnamon Sugar shrieked.

“Raa!!” the dark cat agreed, the icicles on her back becoming a little colder.

“Oh, no,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar. “Let’s just forget this stupid camp--”

“Nope, we’re going anyway,” said Cinnamon Sugar. “And we’re not bringing Nyuura. Splatters is staying home to take care of Nyuura and Sunset and the rest.”

“What about your Ninetales and Alakazam and Zubat and Onix and Pikachu and--”

“They’re going to be having a nice time at the Pokèmon Daycare that just opened here in town. It’s a very reliable place.”

“Oh.” The two foals stared at the map. Baby Cinnamon Sugar held her precious Nyuura tightly in her lap.

“When’re we going?” Cinnamon Sugar asked at last.

“This Saturday, for a week,” Windy sighed blissfully. “It’s going to be great...” She leaned back in her chair.

“It’s going to be awful,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar. “We’re going to die of boredom within a few minutes of getting there!”

“Now, now, let’s not make bad impressions,” said Cinnamon Sugar.

“Raaaaaaaaa...” said Nyuura uncertainly.

* * *
“Here we are!” said Windy cheerfully, parking the car and unlocking the back doors. Baby Cinnamon Sugar snorted suddenly as she woke up.

“Who-- wha-- oh.” She yawned, stretched her forelegs, and looked out the window glumly.

“I told you it would be nice!” said Windy in a high-pitched excited voice. “Look, that’s our cabin over there--” she pointed-- “and the lake. We’ll have lots of fun fishing. That’s the dock; I have an inflatable raft, I think--” she pointed again-- “and that’s the path leading to the trail ground, and that--” she swung her foreleg around to show the forest-- “is our home for a week!”

“Oh, no,” said Outback.

“Whose crazy idea was this?” Baby Cinnamon Sugar asked in despair. “This is the stupidest idea for a vacation ever! I knew it’d be bad, but it’s worse without another soul in the area!” It was true. The cabin stood alone. There wasn’t a sign of other ponies in the area save by the dock.

“That’s our cabin?” Outback asked, focusing for once on the log cabin.

“That broken-down shack?” Baby Cinnamon Sugar asked.

“It’s not broken-down, and it’s not a shack, and it’s perfect for our time in the wilderness!” said Windy.

“I want Sunset,” Outback whined.

“I’m gonna be sick,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

“I want to go home,” said Outback.

“Be quiet,” said Cinnamon Sugar. “We’re going to get out and unpack now, okay?”

“Okay,” said three voices. Outback and Windy hopped out first. Cinnamon Sugar flicked a button to open the door and literally dragged her daughter out of the car.

“You’re not making me!” Baby Cinnamon Sugar screamed.

“You are!” said Cinnamon Sugar.

When the pony was finally out of the car, Windy and Outback were carrying a box of large, heavy objects towards the cabin. “Oof,” said Outback.

“Let me help,” said Cinnamon Sugar, running over to the pair and supporting the large box with her back. “How’s that?”

“Thanks,” said Windy.

Baby Cinnamon Sugar stared around her for a few half_dead moments. She couldn’t believe it! She should have been at the baseball tournament at school; and instead, where was she? Janai Campground, Pals Provincial Park. She should have been doing her schoolwork; and instead, she was going to be jiggling a rod over some stupid lake waiting for a stupid Smallmouth Bass to be stupid enough to bite it. She should have been helping dad with his woodwork, but she was an hour and twenty minutes away from him-- an hour and twenty minutes away from decent food and her precious dad and little sister.

She sighed. At least she had smuggled some chocolate bars and rice balls into her bag. She rummaged in the back to find her bag, took it out, sighed, and started after her mom, brother, and-- weirdo.

There was a whump from the cabin and a shriek as the box landed on Outback’s tail. Baby Cinnamon Sugar stifled a giggle. She heard her mother comfort her son and help him get his tail free. There was Windy’s rainbow-colored mane. There was Windy herself. Then Windy was running towards Baby Cinnamon Sugar... and running into the side of the car. “Ow,” said Windy, rubbing her horn. She got up, picked at the slight dent in the car where she had barreled into it, and turned around to get a second box.

Baby Cinnamon Sugar looked at the cabin fully for the first time. It was made of thick logs with brown calking in between. The door had roughly-sown planks bordering the frame, and the door was made of-- plywood?! Baby Cinnamon Sugar sighed. The roof was made of plywood tiles, too.

“Mom?” the young unicorn asked, carefully entering the cabin. The floor was made of packed clay. Some cabin, she thought.

“Yes, dear?” said Cinnamon Sugar. Outback was sitting on one of the rough bunks. Cinnamon Sugar was pulling a mattress out of the box. “There,” she said, walking over to the bunk and placing the mattress down on it. Outback sighed happily and fell backwards onto his new bed.

Baby Cinnamon Sugar placed her bag on the floor and sat down beside it, thinking deeply about the trip for the first time. All alone. Nobody but her family...

And a chipmunk, she thought glumly, removing the rodent from her bag where it was trying to get at her secret riceballs.

* * *
“HEE HEE! THAT’S SO CUTE!” Windy squealed as the fish flopped in the bucket. Baby Cinnamon Sugar and Outback had X’s as eyes.

“That’s cute?” Outback asked in disbelief.

“I caught it,” said his sister.

“It is cute, no?” Windy asked, peering into the bucket again. “Oh well, it’s a... smelt, I think, and it’s my turn!”

“Amen,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

Windy fumbled with the hook, miraculously managed not to get it stuck in her hoof, attached the bait to it, and threw out the line. “Whoo! It’s a bite!” she yelled, pulling on the rod. The line bent into a semicircle as the lilac pony pulled. After a few seconds, she pulled the line up. “SEAWEED? NO-O-O-O-O-O!” Windy screeched as the green goop revealed itself.

“Let me try,” said Outback. He removed the seaweed, fit the trout fly on the hook, and threw out the line to wait for a bite.

“That’s not how to do it,” said Windy disapprovingly.

“Is too,” said Outback.

“Is not!”

“Is too!”

“Is not!”

“Is too!”

“Watch the rod!” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

Outback reeled it in. A large white spotted lake trout was furiously fighting the rod to break free. “Yes! Told you,” said Outback, flinging the trout into the pail.

“Yum,” said Windy, slobbering.

“Stop it!” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar sharply.

“Well, at least you aren’t bored to death,” said Windy. “Now I try again.”

The next try was a bit more successful. After an uneventful half hour Windy brought in a small Spotted Bass, which made the unicorn nearly die of fright by biting her hoof when she tried to release it into the bucket.

“Nice one,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar. She carefully removed the fish from the shrieking unicorn’s hoof and plopped it in the bucket. Then it was her turn.

“I can’t believe it,” Windy panted, as the younger white unicorn brought in a larger Spotted Bass. Windy wasted her next turn by taking an unexpected dunk in the lake, scaring every single fish in the vicinity of two miles, getting Outback and his sister incredibly mad, and getting dragged back to the cabin to warm up.

“Oh dear...” said Cinnamon Sugar, handing Windy a towel.

“I taught the two younger ones some valuable lessons,” said Windy proudly. “They’re the best fishers around, if you don’t count me of course. We caught seven nice little fish...”

“Right,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar. “You FLUNKED.”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Shut your vocal chords, please,” said Outback. The two closed their jaws for the rest of the evening.

“For dinner we’re having my daughter’s delicious trout,” said Cinnamon Sugar towards seven o’clock.

“Delicious bony trout,” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar.

“Never mind! It’s cooking on the campfire,” said Cinnamon Sugar.

“Yum,” said Windy, slobbering again.

“Stop it!” said Baby Cinnamon Sugar again. Cinnamon Sugar left the cabin to attend to the campfire.



Author’s Notes: For those of you who remember my old stories, you’ll remember Windy and Cinnamon Sugar and her kids. :D Any comments, HELPFUL criticism, and ideas for other stories are welcome to be sent to [email protected] :) Also, I will NOT be continuing Windy’s Twins, Sunset, or Rena and Friends (but I MAY continue Rena and Friends if I have the time). And Nyuura (that’s its Japanese name) is a Gold/Silver Pokèmon-- a dark-colored ice type with long claws and it resembles a cat. It’s kawaii. And here I go rambling again...

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Invento Ponies
by Cinnamon Sugar ([email protected])


Cinnamon Sugar and Splatter’s Family:



Name: Cinnamon Sugar

Breed: Unicorn

Color: White with red hair; cinnamon sticks and sugar cubes symbol

Gender: Female



Name: Splatters

Breed: Earth Pony

Color: Dapple grey with navy blue hair; tipping over paint bucket symbol

Gender: Male



Name: Baby Cinnamon Sugar

Breed: Baby Unicorn (twelve years old)

Color: White with red hair; a sugar cube and a candy cane symbol

Gender: Female



Name: Outback

Breed: Earth Pony (thirteen years old)

Color: Dapple grey with navy blue hair; desert and large red rock symbol; always wears a purple bandana

Gender: Male



Name: Baby April

Breed: Earth Pony

Color: White with pale blue hair; daffodil symbol

Gender: Female



Name: Sugar Dancer

Breed: Earth Pony (Sweetheart Sister)

Color: White with mauve hair; pastel pink, blue, purple, and yellow butterfly with sugar cubes symbol

Gender: Female



Windy’s Family:



Name: Windy

Breed: Unicorn

Color: Purple with rainbow hair; purple swirls symbol

Gender: Female



Name: Matrix

Breed: Pegasus

Color: Rusty red with burgundy hair; hand of fortune symbol

Gender: Male



Name: Twinkle Hearts

Breed: Unicorn

Color: Pale shiny blue with gold hair (red streak); red and pink hearts symbol

Gender: Female



Name: Baby Outdoors

Breed: Teeny Tiny Earth Pony

Color: Blue with pink hair (purple streak); sun symbol

Gender: Male



Name: Baby Raincloud

Breed: Teeny Tiny Earth Pony

Color: Pink with blue hair (pink streak); raincloud symbol

Gender: Female

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

The Evil Dragon
by Starr ([email protected])


(Author’s note: In this story you will be meeting Nessie; I left no description of her because I ‘d like her to be your own imagination’s figure of Nessie. Hope you enjoy!)



Part Eleven


It was not long before the group reached the Underground Lake. Before them they saw a huge lake covered with a strange mist. A waterfall roared on the other end of the cavern. Somehow, a rainbow spread from the waterfall over to a wall, revealing a door. This was quite strange for the only light in this cavern was a torch that hung on the wall and a small, three_person boat.

“Who will take the first ride over with me?” Vincent yelled above the roar of the waterfall.

“I don’t need a ride; I’m a pegasus!” Opal Dreams declared, floating up into the air.

“Good,” Vincent said. “Sam and Nightwind? Would you take the first ride over?”

“Sure,” Sam said, stepping toward the boat.

“Okay,” Nightwind agreed and followed suit.

“Wait!” Mouse exclaimed. “Mouse knows the secret of the lake!”

“Secret? What secret?” Opal Dreams asked, floating back down to the ground.

“A big fish named Nessie. She lives in the lake. Very friendly,” Mouse said excitedly.

“Well... if she’s friendly, that isn’t too terrible...” Locket said, glancing fearfully at the lake. “I still think I’m gonna fly over to the other side.”

“I’ll fly, too,” Northstar said quickly.

“Okay,” Vincent agreed and joined the Hobbit and dragon on the boat. Northstar, Locket, and Opal Dreams rose into the air and hovered a few feet above the vessel.

“I’ll drop these two off and come back for the rest of you,” Vincent said as he picked up an oar and started rowing. About fifteen minutes later, the boat had made it to the center of the lake. Suddenly, the water started churning and waves arose with no means of wind to force them. A massive head popped out of the water.

“Hello!” the thing said in an Irish accent. “Are you friends of Mouse?” Opal Dreams fainted abruptly at the sound of the thing’s voice, and toppled into the water. “Oh dear, I suppose I’ll have to get her,” the creature said, and dove under the water causing the boat to wobble. A few seconds later she surfaced with Opal Dreams on her nose, the pegasus coughing and spitting out the water.

“What is with this stuff!? It tastes like sugar!” was Opal Dream’s first response. Her second was, “Oh, no! I can’t fly now! My wings are soaked!”

“Don’t worry about that! I’ll take you ashore. Let me introduce myself. My name is Nessie, though I’m more commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster. I don’t get many visitors; in fact Mouse is the only one until now. Are you friends of Mouse?”

“Loch Ness Monster? You’re kidding, right?” Nightwind said, eyeing her in a skeptical manner.

“Of course I’m Nessie! But are you friends of Mouse?” she said for the third time.

“Yes--”

“Oh, good! Is Mouse with you?” she cut them off.

“Yes, he’s on the other side of the lake... where we are coming from--” Without warning, Sam gasped and looked under his seat to find himself faced with water-- water that flowed not outside of the boat where it should be but water that flowed inside of the boat through a crack.

Seeing what surprised the Hobbit, Nessie quickly ordered everyone onto her back. Just seconds after Vincent, Sam, and Nightwind were seated on her, the boat sank from view.

“Gosh, that was close,” Locket said staring into the murky water. “Nessie? How do you get from Loch Ness to this lake?”

“Oh? That’s easy! I simply swim from a tunnel in Loch Ness to this cavern. However, that tunnel is a rather tight fit.”

“That must be a very long distance,” Northstar said in awe.

“No, it isn’t. Didn’t I tell you? One mile down here is equal to hundreds up there!” Vincent said.

“You didn’t tell us that! How many miles is it from your home to Ponyland?” Opal Dreams asked.

“Not too many; in fact, it is only one and a forth!” Vincent exclaimed.

“It certainly would be much faster to get home through the tunnels!” Sam said excitedly. “Do you think you could guide us home after we are done with our quest?”

“Certainly! Father wouldn’t mind! We would just have more upper world contacts! When we get back I will give each of you a copy of the pipeline code.”

“Excuse me, but we are as close to the shore as I can get,” Nessie said. The group hadn’t even realized that they were moving. The Hobbit, dragon, Opal Dreams, and Vincent hopped off Nessie’s back and swam the few feet it was to shore.

“We will go back to the other side with Nessie so the others won’t be frightened,” Locket said, speaking for both her and Northstar. The three headed hastily for the other side of the cavern.

* * *
“I wonder what’s taking them so long!” Salty said, sitting down next to Atlas and Beauty Bloom.

“Hey! I think I see something!” Digger said, peering through the mist and motioning for the others to come closer. Nessie was the first thing the group saw.

Upon the coming of Nessie, Beauty Bloom shrieked and ran to hide behind Atlas who was stumbling backwards in surprise. The shriek caused Northstar to tumble into the water.

“Never fear! I’ll save you!” said Salty, unsheathing his dagger.

“Now it’s my turn to tell you to get your head out of the clouds!” Locket said sarcastically, referring to the rude remark Salty had given her after she told of a miraculous dream.

“Wha-- you aren’t in danger?” Salty stuttered incredulously as he sheepishly put his dagger back into its sheath.

“In no more danger then if we were being surrounded by My Little People dolls,” Northstar said, getting out of the water and wringing out her wings.

Salty flushed and said, “Well, it is good to be prepared even if you aren’t in danger.”

“Nessie is good. Never hurt a fly!” Mouse said, coming forward and smiling at Nessie.

“Come, now. We mustn’t be keeping your other friends waiting!” Nessie said, turning around to let everyone on her back.

On the ride, Nessie was bombarded with questions much the same as the first ones; and in no time, the entire group was on the other side of the lake. Nessie was thanked for the ride before the group departed. “Here,” she said, giving Mouse a shell, “just throw this into the lake when you need me. I’ll come and give you a ride back.”



Part Twelve


The group continued into the caverns and soon noticed a change. The tunnels no longer reflected a cozy kind of glow. Instead, they had an eerie greenish glow. There was a mist draped over the caverns, as if acting as a cloak-- a cloak used to hide things of the night.

“Somehow I have a feeling we are approaching Tornado’s lair,” said the usually brave Salty quite cowardly.

“Yes, but we still haven’t planned his demise,” Vincent said. “Nightwind, what can you tell us about this Tornado? When he was in our tunnels he was a dragon. However, being a sorcerer, he might have changed his appearance.”

“To tell you the truth, I’ve never seen him. He sits in a room all by himself yelling orders through the door,” Nightwind said.

“Hee-hee, sounds like the Wizard of Oz t’me,” Locket said laughingly.

“What is this you speak of?” Vincent inquired.

“Well, there was some pony named Dorothy who lived in Kansas until a big tornado landed her in a magical land called Oz. She really wanted to get home so she followed a yellow brick road to get to some wizard guy. All along the way she found lots of different friends that had reasons to see the wizard. When they got there, the wizard was projecting a big scary image and booming out orders. Dorothy’s dog, Toto, pulled back a curtain and found some wimp who really was the wizard,” Opal Dreams said. “Do you suppose that maybe that’s kind of how it is with this guy?”

“Maybe. Nightwind? How about we give you the map and you go to Tornado and try to find out what he is. Is that agreed?” Salty asked.

“Sure! He won’t suspect anything! But there’s a problem; he doesn’t allow anyone to see him.”

“What about tonight, when everyone is asleep; you can sneak into his chamber and find out. If he keeps the door locked, you can borrow one of my lockpicks!” Salty exclaimed, digging through his backpack.

“Great!” Nightwind exclaimed, taking the map and the lockpick. “I’ll be back tomorrow!” The group watched him as he departed until they could no longer see him behind the blanket of mist.



Part Thirteen


“I’m back with the map, Tornado, sir!” shouted Nightwind through the door.

“Good, Nightwind. Slide it under the door so I can see it,” Tornado growled.

“Yes, sir!” Nightwind shoved the map under the door. There was a shuffling of footsteps as the map was picked up.

“You may return to your quarters,” Tornado said in his monotone voice. As Nightwind walked off, he smiled to himself. Everything was going according to plan.

Later that night, Nightwind got up and tiptoed tediously slowly towards Tornado’s chamber. Trying the door he found it to be, surprisingly, unlocked. He tiptoed in and drew back the covers carefully from Tornado’s face. What he saw was quite alarming. This used-to-be dragon was a human!

Nightwind quickly exited and closed the door. He started out walking down the tunnel, but soon found he was running with his excitement.



Part Fourteen


“Hey, guys! Wake up!” Nightwind ran from creature to creature, shaking them roughly. Everyone was awake and bright_eyed immediately.

“Yes?” Northstar pressed.

“He’s a human!” Nightwind exclaimed.

“Then our job is easy!” Vincent exclaimed.

“Wha--! How could this possibly be easy?” Salty demanded.

“Most dragons don’t hold humans very highly. Lots of times humans are treated like dirt by dragons. However, I never knew why. I, personally, don’t have anything against them,” Nightwind explained.

“So you mean all we have to do is walk in, open the door to his chamber, and let everyone see him as he really is? That’s so simple I don’t even think Salty can mess it up!” Locket finished. Receiving a glare from Salty she added, “Really, Salty! I was just kidding!” At the sight of Salty’s glowering, the whole group exploded into laughter.



The next and final chapter of this tale will be in the next issue of My Little Pony Monthly. Please send me your thoughts on this terrible story. :) [email protected]

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

The Mystery of the Golden Glory Chapel
by Fizzy ([email protected])


The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and to make it eligible for MLP Monthly. It really did happen at my church, and I need your help and ideas to finish it.



Hello, my name is Fizzy (at least for this story it is!). I am nineteen years old, and I will begin my second year of college in the fall. But this story isn’t about me. It’s about a problem in my life that has been causing my poor little pony tummy to feel like it’s on a roller coaster! It involves some very special friends I have made over my life, and one pony who is trying to take them away (at least that’s what it seems like to me!). The story doesn’t have an ending; that’s where I need your help. My family and friends and I have been going over and over and over the problems and we just can’t find any solutions. I was hoping that you could help! E-mail me any story endings or ideas you might have to: [email protected] Remember, the story is true. I need thoughtful suggestions that might actually help us solve our problem. Okay, enough with the intro; let’s start the story!

(By the way, there’s just one thing I have to clear up before we start the story. I’ve done something a little bit unusual with my casting. I’ve made Sugarberry, one of my favorite ponies, a mean pony in this story. I decided to use Sugarberry so that all pony lovers would understand how boggled the people at our church were when a person who used to be sweet and kind suddenly became mean. The things Sugarberry does in this story are not typical actions for her, just as they were not typical actions for the person who actually did them in real life. No offense, Sugarberry!) Now, on with the story!



Windwhistler stared at the letter in disbelief. She couldn’t believe what it said. Most of it was just a lot of legal stuff, but one sentence stuck out in her mind. “The Ponyboard members of Golden Glory Chapel have accepted your resignation as Church Secretary as of June 18, 2000.” Now, Windwhistler had indeed resigned as secretary, but the weird thing was that she had only handed Sugarberry her resignation the day before! The Ponyboard couldn’t have voted on her resignation already.

Windwhistler had been secretary of the church for five long years. Along with many small odd-jobs, she was in charge of printing off church programs, restocking the church pop machine, making church calendars, assigning weekly duties to nursery volunteers, telling Fizzy everything to put in the newsletter, and patiently and politely dealing with Fizzy when she didn’t hand the newsletter in on time (which happened pretty much every month!). Fizzy had been writing the church newsletter ever since December, because Windwhistler had been too busy to continue writing it.

However, Sugarberry, the president of the Ponyboard, didn’t treat her like she was very busy. Sugarberry, who was once a sweet and kind pony, had suddenly changed overnight. For the past week, Sugarberry had hounded Windwhistler about what she was doing with her time, accusing her that the church was paying her too much money, and that she wasn’t doing anything.

On the contrary, Windwhistler was very busy. Her teenage daughter, Dawn, had been very sick. This had forced Windwhistler to have to bring her work home because sometimes she couldn’t leave Dawn alone. Dawn was even in the hospital at times. Windwhistler also recalled getting many phone calls at home and at the church after Rev. Gusty had left. The caller would hang up the phone as soon as she answered, and Windwhistler believed that it was Rev. Gusty, calling to see when she was at work and when she was at home.

Windwhistler did not like to work with Rev. Gusty. She missed Fr. Tails, who could always make everyday seem bright. Windwhistler felt that Rev. Gusty spent all her time putting other ponies down and criticizing them behind their backs. She just could not work with a pony like that anymore.

Windwhistler, being the thoughtful and kind pony that she was, did not shirk her duties after turning in her resignation. She made sure that everything was cleaned out of her office and that the copy machine had paper and that everything was taken care of in general. But Sugarberry still treated her in an unfriendly manner.

The following Sunday, Windwhistler read her resignation aloud in church. It was totally unexpected. Even the members of the Ponyboard didn’t know about it, indicating that they hadn’t voted on the issue and proving that Sugarberry sent Windwhistler her acceptance letter without even holding a Ponyboard meeting. “How could the Ponyboard accept my resignation if they didn’t even vote on it?” Windwhistler said to herself.

* * *
On Tuesday, Fizzy went down to the church to help Rev. Gusty and Sugarberry with the church bulletin and other stuff that had to be done. Sunny Bunch had volunteered Fizzy to help before she knew about Sugarberry’s attitude towards Windwhistler.

When Fizzy got to the church, she found Half Note and Yo-Yo playing with beach towels they had gathered for the upcoming Vacation Bible School. The theme was “Under the Sea.” Their mother, Powder, was helping Rev. Gusty work on the old computer in the next room.

“Fizzy, maybe you can figure this out,” Powder said to Fizzy from the small office that had recently been Windwhistler’s. “We’re trying to figure this business stuff out.”

Believe it or not, Fizzy was okay with computers; but this was an IBM and Fizzy only knew how to run Powerpoint on IBMs. Still, she tried to help out Powder and Gusty. While she was working, Gusty was talking to her about certain ponies in the church who don’t get thanked as often as they should. Fizzy asked for an example. Gusty gave her one, which was very derogatory of the ponies involved. Fizzy was appalled at her language.

Well, Fizzy thought to herself, at least she didn’t use words out of context like last time.

“Last time” was at the church garage sale held by the acolyte ponies for their upcoming trip. (Acolyte ponies, for those of you who don’t know, are young high-school-age ponies who are in charge of helping the priest out during church.) Some pony donated a portable toilet to the garage sale, and a few older ponies thought it was very funny. Towards the end of the sale, Fizzy heard Gusty tell another pony that a customer had actually sat down on the toilet, and Gusty had referred to him in extremely insulting terms. And Gusty still thought it was funny!

They never did figure out the business stuff on the computer.

“Why don’t you just call Windwhistler?” Fizzy suggested. No one really answered her. They’re acting like she’s dead or something! Fizzy thought to herself. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if we called her asking for help. The great distance that Powder and Gusty were keeping from Windwhistler suggested to Fizzy that maybe Windwhistler just didn’t want anything to do with them or the church anymore.

* * *
That Friday night, Fizzy got a phone call. “Hello?” she said. She was in the middle of moving all of her My Little People dolls into the basement because a storm was coming her way. (Wow! That sort of has a double meaning! Don’t worry, you’ll understand later!) She always overreacted when there was a storm coming, and if the house got blown away, Fizzy felt that she would be lost if she didn’t have her My Little People dolls! So she always brought them into the basement because it was the safest place in the house.

“Hi, Fizzy, is your mother there?” the caller asked. It was Posey, who hadn’t been at church last Sunday.

“No, she’s out with Barnacle and Rosedust and my father,” Fizzy explained, wandering into the kitchen to watch the storm clouds.

“Oh, well, I was just calling to find out what happened in church,” Posey said.

“Uh... what happened?” Fizzy said. Because she could be a little bubble-headed at times, she couldn’t remember anything happening at church.

“Well, didn’t Windwhistler resign?” Posey questioned urgently.

“Oh , yeah!” Fizzy exclaimed as she suddenly remembered the whole event. Windwhistler had resigned, and she herself had gone to church on Tuesday to help out. Was she forgetting anything else?

“Well, what did she say?” Posey demanded.

“Uh... she said that she resigned!”

“Is that all?”

“Well, she read a long letter, but I can’t remember what exactly was in it,” Fizzy said.

“What about Barnacle?” Posey prompted.

“What about him?”

“I heard that he took his name and 4-Speed’s name off of everything at church.” Fizzy’s heart fell. Barnacle and his son 4-Speed had gone to their church ever since she could remember.

“What do you mean they took their names off of everything? What did they take them off of?”

“Oh, you know, serving ponies wine and acolyting and that kind of stuff. And Barnacle made 4-Speed quit being the cleaning pony for the church, too.”

Fizzy was dumbfounded. “I’ll call my mom right away and tell her that you called,” she said, and hung up the phone. She searched the side of the kitchen refrigerator until she had found her mother’s cell phone number and called her up, even though she knew that she and her friends were right in the middle of dinner.

“Mom, did you know that Barnacle and 4-Speed took their names off of their jobs at church?” Fizzy cried breathlessly as soon as her mother had answered the phone.

“Yes, I just found out,” Sunny Bunch said.

“Why?” Fizzy demanded.

“I’ll talk to you about it when I get home,” Sunny Bunch explained, not wanting to talk about it in front of Barnacle and Rosedust during their dinner.

“Okay,” Fizzy said.

When Sunny Bunch came home, she explained what had happened. “Apparently,” she began, “Sugarberry accused Windwhistler and Barnacle of ‘plotting against the church.’ “

”What’s that supposed to mean?” Fizzy asked.

“I don’t know. Do you remember when the church flooded a few years ago?”

“Sure. I went down and helped Sugarberry and her son try to mop the water up all day, and then Sugarberry gave me a ride home afterwards. Why?”

“Well, Barnacle was in charge of getting a plumber. The plumber told him he would charge one thousand five hundred jangles but actually charged two thousand five hundred jangles, and Barnacle forgot to get the money problem fixed. Sugarberry thought Barnacle purposely cheated the church out of a thousand jangles.”

“That’s crazy! He wouldn’t do that on purpose.”

“Now I know that, and you know that, and Sugarberry SHOULD know that, too! I don’t know what’s come over her lately.”

* * *
Right after the fourth of July, Fizzy was at the church with Powder and Gusty again, putting together the Golden Glory Newsletter. Fizzy was late with the newsletter, as usual; Gusty had wanted it out the night before. This time, however, Gusty had been late, too.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get my article to you sooner,” Gusty apologized when Fizzy arrived. “You won’t believe what happened. Last week, we lost everything on the computer hard drive.”
“Oh, no!” Fizzy said.

“I’ve been able to restore some documents, including the mailing list, but most were lost. I just finished redoing Sunday’s program now. By the way, I still can’t figure out how to get the pictures in without text wrap.”

Gusty and Fizzy had somehow been able to put pictures in without text wrap the first week they had put together the church program, but now they just couldn’t figure it out, and they couldn’t get anything to look right. Fizzy and Powder looked through manuals some more that day, and they still couldn’t get it to work right, so they decided to put together the newsletter instead.

After the newsletter was folded up, Powder and Fizzy decided to cooperate: Powder would put on the labels, and Fizzy would put on the stamps (they were the self-adhesive ones, thank goodness!). After all the stamps were on, Fizzy volunteered to sort the newsletters into a local pile and an out-of-town pile.

As Fizzy was finishing up, she noticed something. Did she see Fr. Tails’ name in the out-of-town pile? There weren’t a lot of ponies who lived out of town, but she knew for a fact that he should definitely be receiving a newsletter. She double-checked and looked at every name in the small out-of-town pile. No, Fr. Tails was not there. Neither was Fr. Salty, who was the priest before Fr. Tails.

Should I ask Gusty about their absence? Fizzy thought to herself. No, I’ll ask Windwhistler the next time I see her.

For the rest of the day, Fizzy felt sick about the mysterious absences of the previous pony priests from the newsletter. She remembered talking to Fr. Tails right before he left a year and a half ago. She had asked him if he would visit Golden Glory again; he assured her he would. Fizzy missed him so much. Maybe Gusty didn’t take him off the mailing list, Fizzy thought. Maybe he asked to be taken off. Maybe he doesn’t want to have anything to do with us, and that’s why he hasn’t come back for a visit. She decided not to jump to any conclusions until she had talked to Windwhistler on Sunday. However, she ended up talking to Windwhistler sooner than she had planned.

* * *
Saturday night, Sunny Bunch was talking to a church friend, Milky Way, on the telephone. Milky Way was upset, but Fizzy couldn’t see why. She was still unaware of the treatment towards Windwhistler, but not for long.

Milky Way was calling Sunny Bunch to tell her that she had decided to call Sugarberry. There would be a special meeting of the Ponyboard the next day, and Milky Way was planning on politely informing Sugarberry that she and a few other ponies were going to sit in on the meeting. This was a perfectly legal thing to do at a meeting, but Milky Way was just being polite and informing Sugarberry ahead of time.

No more than ten minutes after the first phone conversation, the phone rang again. “Hello?” Fizzy said as she picked up the phone.

“Is your mother there?” Milky Way asked.

“Sure, just a minute,” Fizzy said. She could tell that there was something wrong, because Milky Way’s voice sounded dead. No emotion could be detected at all. However, Fizzy just figured that Milky Way was still upset about whatever she was upset about before. So Fizzy took the phone to her mother and left. An hour later, she went to find her mother and she was still on the phone.

“We’ve got a problem,” Sunny Bunch said right before she hung up.

“What’s wrong?” Fizzy asked after the call was over. Sunny Bunch began to tell her everything.

“Milky Way called Sugarberry, just to inform her that some ponies wanted to quietly sit in at the special meeting tomorrow. But Sugarberry began to yell at her, telling her that there wasn’t going to be a meeting because Galaxy [Milky Way’s daughter] didn’t tell her whether she could come or not. Sugarberry continued to tell her that ‘she [Milky Way] was on the outside’. So I talked to Chief [Milky Way’s husband] for an hour, and before I hung up the phone, he said that Milky Way was still crying. He also said that they aren’t coming to church.”

“You mean tomorrow?”

“Well, she’s not coming tomorrow, that’s certain. I don’t know if she’ll ever come back or not.”

Fizzy’s eyes teared up. Her parents and Galaxy’s parents had been best friends since before Fizzy was born. Galaxy would always baby-sit for Fizzy and Fizzy’s younger sister whenever their parents went out. She couldn’t imagine Galaxy and Milky Way and Chief not coming to Golden Glory Chapel anymore.

Sunny Bunch had to tell Barnacle and Windwhistler that there wasn’t going to be a meeting the next morning. So she and Fizzy walked to Barnacle and Rosedust’s house, which was only a couple of blocks away. When they got there, they found Windwhistler and her husband, Slugger, watching a movie with Barnacle, Rosedust, and their two children, 4-Speed and Wind Drifter. They stopped the movie, and Fizzy finally learned why everyone was so mad.

Sunny Bunch told her friends what had happened to Milky Way and that there would not be a special Ponyboard meeting the next day.

“Why would the meeting cancellation be Galaxy’s fault, anyway?” Barnacle said from his seat next to Fizzy. “Posey’s son told me that he didn’t know about it, either, and Windy’s out of town, so neither of them would have been able to come anyway!” Posey’s son and Windy were both members of the Ponyboard, and they were both very upset. After the last meeting, Windy’s face had looked like stone. There was no emotion in it at all, until she was able to get outside of the church. Then, she started to cry.

Fizzy realized that now she had a chance to ask Windwhistler about the disappearance of the former pony priests from the newsletter. “Windwhistler, I have a question I need to ask you,” she said to Windwhistler, who was sitting in an arm chair across the small room. “When I was helping put labels on the newsletter last Tuesday, I noticed that Fr. Tails and Fr. Salty were not on the mailing list.”

“Gusty must have taken them off,” Windwhistler said sadly.

“So they were on the mailing list while you were there?” Fizzy asked.

“Yes. Gusty wanted to take them off, but I wouldn’t allow it. They were still good friends of our church and they still would love to hear about what’s going on at Golden Glory.”

“Really?” Fizzy asked.

“Of course!” Rosedust said. “They’re our friends, and Gusty has no right to try to take them away! She’s just scared!”

“She called the Moochick and told him that she wanted Fr. Tails to break all ties with our church,” Windwhistler explained softly. Fizzy’s heart fell. The rumor was true! “I called Fr. Tails, and he was very scared that the Moochick would find out that he talked to me.” Windwhistler was quiet for a second, and then she continued. “Gusty wanted to take Wigwam and Applejack off of the mailing list, too.”

“They’re still on,” Fizzy replied, “but I’m not sure how long they will be if Gusty thinks that she can just take whoever she wants off.”

Wigwam and Applejack quit attending Golden Glory when Gusty came. It was almost like they had foreseen that Gusty would not be right for them. Fizzy missed them terribly, because their oldest son was her very first baby-sitting client, making him very special to her. She baby-sat for him regularly for about three years, and then Wind Drifter and 4-Speed sort of took over because Wigwam and Applejack now had four wild baby ponies and needed two sitters. But Applejack would still call Fizzy to baby-sit once in a great while.

“She’s scared,” Rosedust said again about Gusty. “She sees what good things Fr. Tails and Fr. Salty did for our church and they pose a threat to her, for some strange reason.”

“Did you notice how she changes everything?” Windwhistler asked. “She changed her office around so it wouldn’t look the way it did when Fr. Tails left; she changed my office after I left; she changed the Birthday Blessing--”

“She really doesn’t like doing that Birthday Blessing,” Barnacle interrupted. “She acts like it’s just a chore, like cleaning the toilets. It’s just part of her job description to her.”

“That’s what she was like when she visited my mother,” Rosedust said. Her mother had died of cancer less than two months ago. “Gusty came to visit her everyday, but Mom liked the visits from Rev. Love Melody much better. Love Melody only came once a week, but she preached to her; and Gusty just... talked.”

“I noticed that, too,” Fizzy said. “When we took Christmas presents to the invalid ponies, Gusty was complaining about how long it was going to take. She acted like she didn’t want to be there at all.”

“See?” Rosedust said. “And this was noticed from a pony who’s only twenty years old!”

“I’m nineteen,” Fizzy explained. “Nineteen and a half, actually, but at the time I was eighteen, almost nineteen...”

“Well, it’s pretty close,” Rosedust said, cutting off Fizzy’s babbling.

“She doesn’t visit the invalid couple that live on the outskirts of town,” Windwhistler added. “She says she doesn’t have time.”

“What does she do all day?” Rosedust demanded.

“Watches her soap operas,” Wind Drifter spoke up, which was exactly what Fizzy was thinking.

“That’s what I was going to say!” Fizzy said to Wind Drifter.

“That’s all she ever talks about!” Wind Drifter continued to Fizzy. “Her soaps and her dog, Brandy!”

“She does talk about soaps a lot,” Windwhistler commented. They were all quiet for a while, and then she added, “She’s a cancer.”

“And Sugarberry’s her catalyst,” 4-Speed commented for the first time that night.

Windwhistler went on to tell Fizzy everything that had happened to her before the Sunday she resigned, from the mysterious letter from the Ponyboard to Sugarberry’s change in attitude to the weird phone calls she would receive. And then Fizzy understood that they DID have a problem.

“Did anyone hear what happened to the computer?” Fizzy asked.

“No, what happened?” Windwhistler asked.

“The hard drive crashed, and they lost everything.”

“That’s pretty ironic!” Slugger laughed.

“There’s a common denominator here,” Rosedust said angrily. “And it’s not Windwhistler, it’s not Barnacle, it’s not me, it’s not Milky Way, and it’s not Sugarberry. We didn’t have any problems until Gusty came. Even Fr. Steamer said that we were a very healthy church... before SHE came!”

Fr. Steamer was a pony priest who had helped the church out when they were looking for a new priest. Fizzy really loved to listen to him talk during the services.

“I think someone should call Fr. Steamer,” Sunny Bunch suggested. “Milky Way and I feel that we need someone to mediate between Gusty and us. Sugarberry said that Milky Way was ‘on the outside’ so apparently there is are two sides now.”

“Steamer will just tell us that we need to go to the bishop,” Rosedust said.

“Yeah, and Gusty and the Moochick are like best friends,” Sunny Bunch said. The Moochick had not helped very much in finding the Golden Glory a new priest, and many of the ponies were unhappy at him. But not Gusty.

“She’s also best friends with Sweet Stuff,” Barnacle said. “Sweet Stuff called Posey and asked her who was all mad, and then she went and told Gusty. Sweet Stuff doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong.”

“Does the Moochick know we have a problem here?” Sunny Bunch asked.

“Yes,” Windwhistler said, “but he only knows what Gusty has told him.”

“Let’s call Fr. Steamer now!” Fizzy suggested.

“Fizzy, it’s way too late to call him tonight,” Rosedust said. “I’ll call him tomorrow.”

“Gusty and Sugarberry are just acting so weird!” Barnacle said. “Yelling at people, changing the lock on the office door--”

“What?” Windwhistler asked.

“Didn’t you know that?” Barnacle asked her. “They changed the lock to your old office.”

“I don’t believe that they would actually do that! Oh my gosh!” Windwhistler said with disbelief. She was quiet for the rest of the night, pondering the situation over with astonishment.

Fizzy and Sunny Bunch stayed at Barnacle and Rosedust’s house for three hours, until half an hour after midnight. After she got home, Fizzy had trouble sleeping. She knew there was a problem, but no one knew what to do.

After church the next day, Sunny Bunch went up to Windy’s mother and told her why Milky Way and Chief were not in church. Windy’s mother teared up right away and said that she and her husband had been thinking about going to other churches.

Later on in the week, Fizzy’s mother and father went to talk to Rosedust and Barnacle again. This time, Rosedust told them that they were planning on changing churches too, at least for a while.

“Fr. Steamer is leading services at a church only twenty minutes away,” Rosedust said to Sunny Bunch. “If we go there, and you go there, and Posey’s family and Milky Way’s family and Windwhistler’s family and Windy’s family and Wigwam’s family all went to Fr. Steamer’s temporary church, then Gusty wouldn’t have any money left after a while!”

“Would Wigwam and Applejack really go?” Fizzy asked hopefully.

“I’m almost sure that they would. They’re not happy at the church they’re at.”

Fizzy grew very excited. Applejack and Wigwam would come back! All they had to do was get rid of Gusty... but the thought of changing churches made Fizzy sick. She had gone to Golden Glory since she was born. She had wonderful memories of her church. She didn’t want to leave.

That night, Fizzy thought out a schedule in her head.

“Let’s see,” she thought. “Next Sunday we go on vacation, and then I have to play piano at church the next two weeks after that, because Medley’s going to be gone. And the week after that, I’m scheduled to be in the Nursery looking after the baby ponies, if there are any left. Okay, if things don’t straighten out by then, I’m out of there. I’ll go to church with everyone else where Steamer is. But then I won’t be able to write the newsletter anymore! Oh, what should I do?”

What should Fizzy do? If she goes to Steamer’s church, she’ll more than likely have to quit writing the newsletter. And then she won’t know what’s going on at Golden Glory. If she stays, then she won’t be able to make a statement like everybody else. And she really wants to see Fr. Steamer, too, along with Applejack and Wigwam.



Please, if you have any ideas, e-mail me at: [email protected] Thank you so much for taking time to read this!

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

Fly
Shining Series #14
by Shining ([email protected] www.angelfire.com/mi/shining48/index.html)


Author’s Note: I have no excuses.

The filly ran. She ran as fast as she could, fueled by red-hot anger. How dare he? A litany of ill blessings raced through her mind as fast as she was running. The gray filly zoomed past the half mile-marker of Whitebrook Farm’s training oval and put forth a seemingly impossible burst of speed, her silver tail streaming behind her like a banner of war.

“Why doesn’t he just leave me alone?” she muttered. “Why doesn’t everyone just leave me alone?” But her words were torn away by the winds she created.

Expect A Miracle loved to run. For her mother, her grandam, and her grandsire, the passion had been performing. Even for her father, who had died before her birth, dancing was a necessity of life. But Mira, the precocious gray filly, chased the wind.

Mira had grown up on her mother’s training facility, Mended Hearts Farm in Harrogate, England. Her mother, On My Honor, had been the show circuit’s dazzling sweetheart in her day, but after Mira’s father’s tragic death, Honor had given up showing to teach.

Mira’s childhood had been uneventful, full of hugs, smiles, shadow-chasing, and “I love you’s”. But Mira’s Utopia had gone to ashes when a vengeful student lit the barn on fire in a fit of jealous rage.

Honor had packed up what was left smoldering and returned to her parents’ world-famous farm, Glorified Acres in Dream Valley, with Mira in tow. While at Glorified Acres, Mira had tried out for a racing clinic at Whitebrook farm, a neighboring farm run by her cousin.

And that brought her back here, to the harrowed training track, chasing away her anger. Mira flashed past the gap and slowed, snorting a disgusted breath through her finely_sculpted nostrils.

“He will not get the best of me again,” she vowed with a toss of her silver head. Mira recalled the “incident”, feeling her cheeks burn.

Crash. Mira wrinkled her nose. The two_year_old black colt was handsome by anyone’s standards, but flirty and arrogant.

Mira had been walking to the track when she heard shrieks of girlish laughter. Looking up, she had spotted Crash and his gaggle of lovesick fillies. The fillies had looked up at the black colt with shining eyes, chortling with laughter at his antics.

Mira had sighed and rolled her eyes when she saw Crash look up and into her eyes. He had seemed surprised at first, but Mira was used to that. Her deep, dark eyes were entrancing and tended to take horses off_guard. But then Mira had seen the glint of mischief in his eye.

Crash had strode purposefully up to the gray filly. Mira had stopped walking and looked up at him with a puzzled expression. Without further warning, Crash had grabbed her slender shoulders, swooped her down into a dramatic dip, and planted his lips firmly on hers. Mira’s eyes had widened in surprise and she had been frozen for an instant. But she had gathered her wits about her quickly, and struggled in his embrace. Standing upright once more, Mira had stared wide_eyed at him. Crash had had his sly grin upon his face and his eyebrow was cocked, as if he were challenging her to protest.

And Mira had fled. She had raced to the track, cheeks burning with humiliation as the fillies laughed in her wake.

Mira shook her head to dispel the embarrassing memory. She took a deep breath to collect her thoughts and calmly stepped off the track, her eyes focused on the barn ahead. Mira thought that she had made it safely back when a slim chestnut filly stepped out from the shadows.
“Mira,” the filly greeted her in a haughty tone.

Mira lifted her chin. “Hello, Dinah,” she said coolly, cringing and thinking that her British accent made her sound foolish. “How is Madison?” she asked politely.

Dinah rolled her eyes. “How would I know what my little sister is up to?” she asked, exasperated. “I don’t want to have anything to do with that filly.”

“Oh,” was all Mira could manage.

“Anyway,” Dinah continued, waving her hooves dismissively. “What I wanted to tell you was that my father doesn’t want you here.” The chestnut filly smirked.

Mira blinked. “What does that have anything to do with?” she asked, confused.

“He doesn’t like you,” Dinah sneered.

The gray filly’s eyebrows knitted. “But I don’t even know your father,” she said helplessly.

Dinah shrugged. “He tried to prevent Wonder from letting you into this racing clinic in the first place, but that didn’t work. So now we’re looking for ways to get you kicked out.”

Mira noticed with a raise of her eyebrow how Dinah had switched to “we”. Slowly, Mira nodded her head and took a deep breath. “So...” she began.

“So you better watch your back,” Dinah hissed. “You don’t belong here.” The chestnut smoothed her face over and pasted an insincere smile on her face. “It was nice seeing you again, Mira,” she said in a syrupy voice.

“And you,” Mira whispered.

Dinah and Mira had never gotten along because the gray filly had not allowed Dinah to bully her younger sister, Madison, around. Mira shook her head and trudged toward the barn once more. The filly knew that the Andalusian stallion, Orion, Dinah and Madison’s father, tended to avoid her. She was unsure of why. Orion always seemed quiet, and kept to himself, focusing on his paintings and training. What Dinah had said must have been true.

Determinedly, Mira blinked back tears. She had come so far, and it had been such a hard battle. She let her shoulders slump. When she neared the barn, Mira finally gave up. She sat down against the sturdy barn wall with a thump and let the tears come. She cried quietly, her slim shoulders shaking with misery.

Suddenly, Mira heard footsteps. Frantically, she swiped at her tears and tried to compose herself. They would not see her anything but strong.

She cast her eyes downward as the horse approached and stopped right in front of her. Slowly, Mira looked upward into a chestnut filly’s face with a heart_shaped star. Mira sighed with relief.

“Mira, darlin’,” a southern accent drawled. “Whatever is the matter?”

“Mattie,” Mira moaned, “today has been awful.” She let her tears fall again.

“Awful?” the chestnut filly inquired, settling herself down by Mira. “It’s not even lunchtime.”

Mira grinned wryly. “My life has gone to shambles,” she said dramatically.

“I heard what happened with Crash,” Mattie said sympathetically. “He is too cocky for his own good.”

Mira nodded, agreeing. “But that’s not the worst of it,” she lamented. “I’m going to get kicked out of the clinic.”

Mattie’s eyes widened. “They can’t do that!” she exclaimed.

“Apparently they can,” Mira said with a shrug. “Orion’s looking for his chance to get me kicked out.” She sighed with resignation. “Maybe I should just quit now.”

Mattie looked at the gray filly in disbelief. “How can you say that?” she asked, astonished. “Racing is your life! Even more so than mine, and my entire family is dedicated to racing.”

“Yes, but--”

“We’ll just make sure that he won’t have a reason to complain,” Mattie interrupted.

Mira raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“Well, if you’re trying your hardest, and you’re on your best behavior, Orion won’t be able to find anything wrong,” Mattie reasoned, drawing her words out like any proper southern belle.

Mira turned to look at her friend. “ Do you think it’ll be enough?” she questioned, dubiously. She swiped a stray tear away absent-mindedly.

The chestnut filly gave Mira a comforting hug. “Of course it will be,” she said with conviction. “And I’ll help you.”

Mira smiled. “I owe you one,” she said gratefully.

Mattie winked. “Oh, I’ll consider the debt paid if you introduce me to Moment,” she teased, referring to Mira’s uncle who was a world-renowned artist.

Mira wrinkled her nose. “Moment? You can’t possibly have a crush on him!” she exclaimed.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Mattie sighed. “He is awfully cute.”

“But he’s my uncle,” Mira protested with a giggle. “Did you know that when I was little, he used to spin me around so fast that I’d throw up?”

“How romantic,” Mattie snorted. “Well, a girl can always dream, can’t she?”

The gray shrugged. “Not one I’d choose, I guess. But he’s in England, anyhow.”

“Well,” Mattie said, changing the subject. “The first thing we should work on is your time. I’ll bet that if you work on it hard enough, you could shave at least a second off your best time.”

Mira elbowed her friend. “I’m just a horse, remember? Not a miracle worker.”

“My dear,” Mattie said with false airs. “There is something to be said about what’s in a name--”

“Oh, please,” Mira groaned. “You’re sounding more like Smoothie every day,” she complained, referring to her mother’s best friend. Smoothie had helped Honor raise Mira, and was like the father she never had.

Mattie’s ears perked. “Now there is a handsome stallion,” she said with a sigh. “I always had a thing for roans.”

Mira rolled her eyes and poked Mattie playfully in the ribs. “You, my dear, are hopeless,” she declared, and giggled as the chestnut filly batted her lashes and puckered her lips.

* * *
The next day dawned bright and early. Mira was wakened by a rap on her stall door. “Rise and shine, sleepyhead!” a voice called cheerfully.

Mira curled in a ball, stretching her back. “Mattie,” she complained, her British accent thick, “it’s so early.” She rubbed her eyes sleepily.

Mira’s door cracked open, and Mattie’s face appeared. “Catch,” she said, tossing Mira an apple.

Mira yelped and dove to catch the fruit. She examined the apple briefly and took an experimental bite.

“Dancer and Jazzman are already out at the track coaching Crash,” Mattie informed her.

“So?” Mira asked, taking another bite of her apple.

Mattie raised an eyebrow conspiratorially. “Orion’s out there watching.”

Mira sat up straight. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she exclaimed. She was on her feet in an instant. “I need to make a good impression!”

Mira’s chestnut companion grabbed her slim shoulders and shook her gently. “Calm down, Mira,” Mattie ordered. “He hasn’t even set up his art supplies yet. You have plenty of time.”

Mira took a deep breath. “I just don’t want to get kicked out.”

Mattie rolled her eyes. “Don’t worry. You’re not going to get kicked out. I have it all planned out. After practice, we’ll clear the cobwebs out of the barn, clean tack, and rake the track and arena. Then we’ll work on your breezing. If you’re useful, they won’t want to throw you out.”

Mira grinned. “You’re such a schemer,” she teased. The chestnut shrugged. “C’mon. I’ll race you to the track!” Mira bolted with Mattie at her heels.

“Not fair!” Mattie cried. “You didn’t say go!”

Mira laughed and gave a playful buck. “Go!”

“Hey!” Mattie called, grinning. “You’re such a cheater, Expect A Miracle!”

Mira reached the track’s railing not even winded. She looked out across the track and watched as a black colt raced by. Mira made a face. “He’s fast,” she admitted as Mattie joined her.

“He’s cute,” Mattie added.

The gray filly rolled her eyes and turned her attention to her right where her trainers, Jazzman and Midnight Dancer, stood with a lanky chocolate brown colt. The colt was bobbing his head up and down affably as Jazzman spoke, his thick forelock falling into his eyes with every nod. With great patience, he brushed his forelock away each time.

Mira started as he turned his head to gaze at her in mid-nod. His eyes connected with hers and he grinned.

The black stallion, Jazzman, turned to see what the colt was looking at and signaled for Mira to join them. Mira hurriedly trotted over.

“Ah, Mira,” Jazzman began.

Dancer turned from the track to smile at the gray filly. “You’re certainly up early,” she remarked.

Jazzman cleared his throat and gave Dancer a look. “As I was saying,” he continued, “I would like you to meet On The Fly.” Jazzman gestured toward the brown colt.

“Fly for short,” the colt supplied. He gave her another lopsided grin.

Mira smiled politely. “Nice to meet you, Fly,” she said, extending her hoof. To Mira’s surprise, Fly took her offered hoof and kissed it lightly. Mira barely fought the urge to yank it away.

Jazzman cleared his throat again and gave the colt a stern look. “Mira, I’ll have you and Fly go out together this morning. Want to go from the starting gate again today?” he asked. Mira nodded her head agreeably. “Good,” he pronounced.

Fly cut in, “Uh, I don’t think I’m ready to go from the gate yet.” He grinned sheepishly.

Jazzman shrugged. “Can you go if the gates are open?”

The colt took a breath. “I guess so...”

The stallion nodded his head decisively, dismissing the problem. “Does Mattie want to...?” The black stallion turned toward Mattie.

Mira grinned as Mattie shook her head vehemently. “No way!” she called. “Today’s my day off!”

Mira and Fly walked to the gap in silence. They passed Crash coming off. “G’luck, Dewdrop,” he laughed, tousling Mira’s silky mane.

Mira gritted her teeth and forced herself to stare forward. Fly tagged along. “Dewdrop?” he asked with a crooked grin.

The filly turned to glare at him. “Don’t even think about it,” she said fiercely. “I hate pet names more than anything.”

Fly shrugged. “Whatever you say, moonlight baby,” he teased.

Mira picked up the pace. “Hey, wait, Mira,” Fly called, jogging to catch up. “Look, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t let him get to you.”

Turning to step into the narrow starting gate, Mira sighed. She chose to ignore the chocolate colt. The filly closed her eyes and breathed deeply as Fly took his place in the stall beside her. She waited tensely for the gates to swing open.

With the startling clang of the bell, all thoughts left Mira as she surged through to the open track. Nothing existed but the wide expanse of harrowed dirt that lay before her. She heard the brown colt whoop with surprise, but it was distant; all that mattered was the sound of her hooves beating down in the soft dirt. The wind whistled shrilly and Mira laid her ears back flat against her head and dug in. In a sudden burst of speed, the filly was a silver blur, running for all she was worth.

Startled, Mira realized that she had long passed by Jazzman and Dancer. With a shake of her finely-shaped head, Mira slowed to a lope and then to a trot. She blew loudly out her nostrils.

Fly came up then, his eyes bright. “Mira, that was spectacular!” he cried. He smiled his lopsided smile. “You lost me before the first turn.”

Mira smiled in spite of herself. “Thanks,” she said, brushing her forelock away from her face. Together, the young horses headed back toward the gap.

When Mira reached the rail, Dancer reached over and tousled her already wind-blown mane. “Best time yet, Mira,” she praised. She showed Mira her stopwatch.

Fly whistled when he saw her time, sucking air between his teeth. “Not too shabby,” he said in mock snobbishness. Casually, he slung his lanky foreleg around Mira’s shoulders, leaning into her playfully. Mira stood stock-still for a moment, struck with indecision and shrugged. She needed as many friends as she could get these days.

Mattie appeared from behind Mira, giving her a less-than-subtle wink. Mira rolled her eyes.

“I’m heading for the wash racks,” Mira announced, turning toward the barn. She marched purposefully, letting Fly’s foreleg slide off her shoulder and down her back.

Mattie trotted to catch up with the silver filly, sidling up to whisper in her dainty ear. “Orion watched you the whole time,” she said quietly.

Mira felt a chill run down her spine. She had forgotten. Slowly, the filly turned back toward the track. The gray stallion was there, a fat paintbrush in his hoof, watching her intently. There was a sadness, a faraway look in his eye, one so profound that Mira was forced to look away.

Turning back to the barn, Mira took a deep breath. He had that look. The look of being completely lost and hopelessly grief-stricken. Mira’s mother got that look when the leaves changed in autumn, or on the first snowfall, or any other time that reminded her of Caesar, Mira’s father.

What has he lost? Mira mused. And what does it have to do with me?

* * *
That evening, as Mira sat in her stall meditating, a soft knock sounded on her wooden door. “It’s me,” a deep voice called softly.

Mira’s ears perked. Hastily, she opened the door. “Fly?” she greeted uncertainly.

“Hey,” he said, letting himself into Mira’s roomy box stall. In the dim light, the colt’s dark coat looked almost black.

“Can I help you?” Mira asked carefully.

Fly fidgeted. “You were amazing today,” he said finally.

“Thank you,” Mira said at a near whisper.

The colt cocked his head, giving her a puzzled expression. “You are an intriguing character, Expect A Miracle,” Fly stated, drawing her name out slowly.

Mira felt her heart thud faster. “It’s who I am,” she said softly.

Fly grinned wryly. “Yes,” he agreed with a slight nod. Suddenly he blinked, snorted, and shook his head. “What am I doing here? It’s the middle of the night and here I am talking to a complete stranger. What, am I crazy?” Fly babbled.

The filly jumped back in surprise at Fly’s rantings. “Then I must be as crazy as you,” she said boldly, her eyes bright. Fly stopped pacing and turned to look at her. “I don’t have very many friends,” she added, looking him straight in the eye.

“Nor do I,” Fly admitted, casting his eyes downward. “It would be...” he trailed off.

“Nice,” Mira supplied, taking a step toward the lanky colt.

Fly looked up. “Yes, nice,” he breathed, “if we could get to know each other better.” He inched toward her.

Mira’s heartbeat thudded so loudly in her ears that she was sure Fly could hear its too-fast tempo. But Fly was looking intently into Mira’s dark eyes, reaching his forelegs across the gap between them to rest on her slim but strong shoulders. Slowly, Fly trailed his hooves up Mira’s neck until he cupped the fully’s delicate face. Mira held her breath, her eyes wide. Fly’s head was mere inches from her own.

And then Fly closed the space between them, angling his head to meet hers. Mira closed her eyes and managed the barest of smiles as Fly’s lips touched her own in the gentlest of kisses. The colt’s lips were warm and soft, making Mira giddy.

After several moments, Fly pulled away and straightened, his aquiline smile playing on his lips. “It would be-- nice-- to get to know you, Mira,” Fly whispered.

“Yes,” the silver filly replied.

Fly let his forelegs fall away from Mira’s face. “Good night, Mira,” he murmured. And then he was gone, out into the night, leaving Mira breathless and light-headed.

* * *
Days flew by as Mira and Mattie worked toward her mission. Jazzman and Dancer commented on her time improvements and the extra help with barn chores Mira took on uncomplainingly. The filly took the compliments in stride and continued to excel.

Mira’s friendship with Fly also grew to steadfast companionship. She dared not weigh him down with her dilemma, but he seemed to accept without understanding her fanatical and diligent work. Fly, with his unflappable demeanor, always seemed to be there when Crash tried to get the better of her temper. Conversely, Mira goaded him on his time, not laughing too hard when his gangly legs got ahead of him, making him tumble into a heap of spindly limbs.

Mira thought that she just might make it out all right. One morning before practice, Jazzman approached her, clutching a racing schedule. “Mira,” Jazzman called.

Mira had been making her way up the hill to the track with Fly, Mattie, and Mattie’s latest crush, Excellent Prospect. She turned to meet her trainer.

Jazzman held out the racing form, pointing to a race. “Want to run your maiden?” he challenged.

Mira felt her heart thump with anticipation. “Of course I do,” she breathed. Cautiously, she peered at the paper. “The Very One,” she read aloud. She heard Fly snicker.

Jazzman grinned sheepishly. “Silly name, I know. But it’s a six furlong maiden for fillies.”

“Short race,” Mattie commented.

“Shouldn’t be a problem for her,” Jazzman said with confidence.

Mira took a breath of air and blew it out slowly. “Sounds good,” she said.

Jazzman nodded approvingly. “Good,” he said. “The race is two weeks away. You’ll want to concentrate on speed for a sprint like this.”

“Okay,” Mira agreed. “I’ll meet you at the track.”

Jazzman departed, leaving the four young horses. Mira’s friends swarmed around her.

“I’m so excited for you,” Mattie squealed, giving Mira a hug.

Fly slung a foreleg around her shoulders. “It’ll take another two months before I’m ready for my maiden,” he admitted ruefully. He gave her a quick peck on her cheek.

Mira grinned. “Let’s go, guys. We’ll be late for practice,” she said, brushing off the attention. The filly started up the hill again, trotting steadily. She couldn’t help the smile that played on her lips. Two weeks, she thought. Two weeks until I can show the world who I am!

The filly met Dancer, a sleek black mare, at the track, talking to Crash. The black colt made a face at Mira, but she ignored it. Dancer looked up. “Mira,” she greeted. She nodded to the other horses. “I want you all to break from the starting gate today,” Dancer announced.

Mira nodded her head attentively. She heard Fly gulp.

“This will be your first start.” Dancer nodded to Mattie, Fly, and Excellent Prospect. “And it will be good practice for your upcoming races,” the trainer added to Mira and Crash.

“Do we have to gallop from the gate?” Fly asked with a quirky smile.

Dancer laughed. “Of course not!” she exclaimed. “I”m expecting you all to crabwalk!” Fly wiped his brow in mock relief.

Mira led the way to the track; the three new starters lagged behind. Crash walked alongside the gray filly. “So, Dewdrop,” he said conversationally. Mira could detect an edge in his voice, though. “I hear you’re running your maiden.”

“Yes,” Mira replied simply.

“The Very One.” Crash let it roll off his tongue mockingly. “You know, I’m running my maiden right before yours.”

“How nice,” Mira said tightly.

The handsome colt sniffed. “It’s the first race of the day,” he told her boastingly.

Mira refused to answer. Stiffly, she took her place in the second stall of the starting gate. She heard Fly groan loudly as he stepped into his stall on her right, but she kept her eyes focused straight ahead.

Crash loaded on the inside to Mira’s left. “You’re running against me, now,” the colt reminded her, leaning his head close to her ear. “Be prepared to lose.” The black colt straightened. “Good luck, Dewdrop,” he said loudly.

Mira clenched her teeth and waited for the gate in front of her to swing open. Mira tensed and fled as the bells clanged and the doors sprang open. At the same moment, Crash leapt forward with a war whoop. Distantly, she heard a shriek, but hot blood was coursing through her veins, urging her to run.

The filly ran for a quarter of a mile before she realized that she was hearing cries of pain. Crash and Mira thundered around a turn with Mira a head in front. She flicked an ear back distractedly and slowed down as she realized Mattie was crying. Crash flew past her, sneering as he went by. But Mira didn’t care about Crash anymore.

Relying on the skills that she had learned from her show horse relatives, Mira leapt in the air at a full gallop and pirouetted to face the way she had come. “Mattie!” Mira cried, racing back to the starting gate where her chestnut friend lay.

Mira drew to a skidding stop, spraying dirt. “Easy, Mira,” Fly said jokingly. He smiled, but his eyes held worry.

Mira knelt in the dirt by Mattie. “What happened?” she asked, smoothing the wispy strands of hair away from Mattie’s heart-shaped star.

Mattie’s lip trembled. She managed to give Mira a watery smile. “I’m such a klutz,” Mattie said. “I jumped out of the starting gate and tripped.”

Mira stared intensely into Mattie’s eyes, reading her. “What hurts?” Mira asked with level-headed control. She could hear Dancer approaching behind her.

“My right fore,” Mattie said, gesturing. The chestnut winced as Mira ran gentle hooves up and down the limb.

Dancer drew up to the small huddle as Mira announced her diagnosis. “It’s not broken,” Mira said grimly. “But it’s a pretty bad sprain. You’ll be out for a few months at least.”

“You okay, Mattie?” Dancer inquired. Mattie nodded silently.

Mira turned to Fly. “Fly, can you carry Mattie back up to the barn?” she requested. “We’ll stick some ice on it before it swells too much.” The chocolate brown colt nodded and gently lifted Mattie from the ground in his strong forelegs. Mira heard Mattie emit a southern belle sigh and hid a smile.

Slowly, Fly carried Mattie off the track. Dancer and Excellent Prospect bounded ahead to prepare an ice pack for the chestnut. Mira brought up the rear.

“Well, it looks like she’ll be out of the business for quite some time,” a voice behind Mira chimed. Mira tried to ignore the words, but they continued . “Oh well, she never was going to amount to anything anyway.”

Mira whirled around, her eyes fierce. “Crash!” she hollered, advancing upon the black colt menacingly. The colt looked back at her with a malicious glee. The filly raised her hoof to strike the colt’s handsome black face.

“Mira!” Fly called, his voice stern. “Let it go.”

Mira froze for an instant, considering her possibilities and let her foreleg drop. Dejectedly, she turned and continued her trek to the barn.

The filly felt her cheeks burn as Crash laughed cruelly behind her. “You know, Mira,” Crash called, “Mattie’s not the only one who won’t amount to anything.”

Mira glowered. Just wait, she thought. You’ll see. I will fly and leave you behind in the dust.

* * *
A visit from Dr. Rosedust confirmed Mira’s suspicions. Mattie was sent back home to Kentucky with a severe sprain, leaving Mira alone at Whitebrook.

“Oh, Mira,” Mattie cried as she departed. “I’ve always had terrible timing. Your race is coming up, and the track needs harrowing, and we never finished cleaning tack! Oh, darlin’!”

Mira hugged her friend. “Don’t worry about me,” she said bravely. “Just get better soon! Maybe I’ll see you back here in Dream Valley next year.”

Mattie peered at her friend sadly. “Be on your best behavior,” she reminded. “They won’t kick you out.”

Mira nodded silently and hugged Mattie. And then Mattie was gone. Mira sighed and got back to work.

For two weeks, Mira worked herself ragged. She cleaned the barn of every dust bunny and cobweb. Another threat from Dinah even scared her into clearing out the hayloft.

Much to her chagrin, the effort she exerted upon barn chores left Mira exhausted. Her track times suffered. She saw the look of disappointment in Jazzman’s eyes and felt her stomach clench.

The night before Mira’s maiden race, the silver filly busily scrubbed extra splint boots in Whitebrook’s large tack room, hoping to finish her self-appointed task by morning. Her eyes were heavy, and she rubbed at them distractedly.

“You must be of use,” Mira chanted, trying desperately to stay awake. But her voice was rough and shaky, giving away how taxed she was.

The next thing Mira realized, she was lying facedown in a heap of dirty tack. A warm horse blanket was draped across her slim shoulders. Mira blinked and tried to gather her bearings.

“You’re exhausted,” a deep voice commented.

Mira bolted upright to stare wide-eyed into a pair of sad, dark eyes. “Orion,” she whispered. Mira could feel the adrenaline kick in, pounding through her veins.

Despite her efforts, Mira could feel tears falling from her dark eyes. Her face crumpled. Desperately, she picked up a splint boot and began scrubbing with all her might. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’ll get this done by morning, I promise...”

The Andalusian stallion’s large hooves reached to cover hers and ceased her scrubbing. “You have a race tomorrow,” Orion said quietly. “What are you doing here in the middle of the night cleaning spare tack?” His voice was quiet and soothing.

Mira sniffed and blinked back her tears, but her voice quavered. “I thought that if I could prove that I was useful, you wouldn’t kick me out of training.” Mira looked downward, ashamed.

“What?” Orion asked in disbelief. “Why would I want to kick you out?”

Mira looked up in surprise. “Dinah said that you didn’t want me to join in the first place and that you were looking for an excuse to throw me out...” Mira trailed off.

“So you decided that you would make sure I wouldn’t be able to find fault and nearly ruined your racing career before it even began.” Orion sighed. “Dinah... she... ever since her mother died, she’s been resentful. She has issues.” Orion smiled wryly. “It is true,” he admitted, “that I didn’t want you to come to Whitebrook. But I would never consider taking away your passion.” The stallion searched Mira’s face, his dark eyes intense.

Mira blinked slowly, processing. “Why?” she asked, her voice rough with emotion and exhaustion.

Orion sighed, running a hoof through his long mane. “Why did I not want you here?” He hesitated before going on. “Whitebrook was going to be my haven; my sanctuary, if you will, where I could escape. Whitebrook was my new beginning. When I saw you...” Orion trailed off. “When I saw you, you dredged up all those memories that I’d tried so hard to forget.” The stallion looked at the filly hard, searching for indignation. But Mira was not offended.

“You could talk about the memories,” Mira said softly.

Orion’s throat constricted. “I-- I’m not ready,” he said hoarsely.

Mira nodded, understanding. She knew grief well enough. “So, you’re not going to make me leave?” she asked in a small voice.

Impulsively, Orion grasped Mira and pulled her into a tight hug. “Never,” he whispered. Mira smiled in relief.

In one deft movement, the strong stallion lifted Mira and cradled her in his forelegs. Cautiously, Orion carried the weary filly to her stall. He set Mira down in her stall gently and kissed her forehead.

“Sleep well, Mira,” Orion whispered. “You have a race to win tomorrow.” But Mira was already sound asleep, and did not hear.

* * *
The next morning, Mira woke early, feeling refreshed. After raking a comb through her silky mane, the filly jogged to Whitebrook’s barn office to meet Jazzman and Dancer. She could feel butterflies in her stomach.

The ride to the track was lost on Mira, who was too busy concentrating on the race ahead. By the time she knew it, half the day was gone, and the first race of the day was ready to begin. Mira watched distractedly from the warm-up ring as Crash won a decisive victory.

“Mira!” a voice called.

Mira looked around, searching for the voice’s source. She grinned when she spotted Fly pressed up against the rail. He waved frantically.

“You look great!” he winked.

The filly smiled and peered again at her cranberry and white saddlecloth. Although Whitebrook’s colors were blue and white, she had decided to run under Mended Hearts’ colors.

The announcer called then, ordering the horses out onto the track for the post parade. Mira nervously took her place in line, giving Fly a final glance over her shoulder.

The chocolate colt blew Mira a kiss. “Good luck!” he called.

Mira anxiously surveyed the stands and the railing of the track where horses crowded to get a glimpse of the racers. To her surprise, she found that the spectators were pointing at her. They’re here to see if a filly who has world-class show horse bloodlines can actually win a race, she realized. Or lose one, she added ruefully.

Mira jogged through the post parade in a brown study. This was a seven-horse race, and she had drawn spot number four-- dead center. She halted before the starting gate and waited for the first three fillies to load.

And then it was her turn. For a fleeting moment, she felt panic. “I can’t do this!” she whispered frantically. But she forced herself to walk forward, and into the narrow slot. She trembled with some unknown fear and felt her legs lock up.

Mira heard the stall door of the final horse close with a resounding thud and cringed. I’m not ready! the filly thought, her dark eyes wide. But suddenly, Mira was awash with a wave of calm. You have a race to win, Orion’s words came to her now. Mira’s breathing slowed, and she knew she was ready. Nothing mattered but the run before her.

The starting bells rang harshly, and Mira sprang into a gallop instantly, surging to the front. The first furlongs Mira ran with ease, half a length in front, as the fillies vied for position on the rail. But with such a short race, Mira knew that soon she would be challenged.

Sure enough, the late closers began making their move. Mira tossed her head with frustration and increased her speed. But the two weeks of extra work Mira had put upon herself had tapped into her reserves. With horror, the filly felt herself tiring.

With less than a furlong left of the race, Mira fought hard to maintain her marginal lead. She realized, her heart sinking, that she wasn’t going to make it. Her lead slipped, and tears came to her eyes.

“What’s the use?” Mira cried out to the wind.

You have a race to win. Orion’s words came to Mira again. She had come so far. She deserved this race. This was her time to fly.

Mira set her teeth with a snort and a jerk of her head. Drawing on every last bit of energy she possessed, the filly dug in, inching her way forward once more. And she flew. Her silver tail streaming, Mira streaked clear of the pack into wide open track in a sudden burst of speed. Running harder than she ever had in her life, Mira galloped under the finishing wire a lead in front.

The crowd was on its feet, cheering so loudly that Mira was nearly deafened. A huge grin split her face as realization dawned on her. She had flown.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Alien Invasion
Part One
by Berry Brite ([email protected])


Beep-beep-beep-beep! Trickles’ alarm complained loudly.

“Unggg,” the pony mumbled, and slammed the snooze button on the clock. Her cat, Bliss, sprang on her, meowing and purring. “Okay, I’m up,” Trickles growled. She stumbled into the kitchen, glanced around, and saw nothing worth eating other than the loaf of bread on the counter. She grabbed some of that, and made some instant coffee.

“Good morning!” exclaimed Wishing Well happily. Trickles was not a morning person, while Wishing Well was. Trickles slugged her coffee.

“Down the hatch,” she said, none too enthusiastically.

“My, YOU’RE a grouch today,” the filly declared. All Wishing Well received in return was an icy glare.

Trickles went upstairs, took her daily shower, and spent about five hours fussing around with her hair. At this point, Wishing Well came by.

“Remember when I was a kid? I had a great time spending hours doing my hair.”

“I haven’t been in here that long, doofus. Besides, I have da-- err, appointment,” was Trickles reply.

“Appointment, huh?” taunted Wishing Well. “With Meteor?”

“You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Wishing Well,” Trickles commented. Her voice was extremely soft... but cold.

“Bye!” The filly was frightened by the tone Trickles had used. She left the room, quite dejected. All she wanted was to be Trickles’ friend. I’m her own sister, and she hates me, she thought, tears pooling in her eyes. I wish she liked me.

* * *
That evening, Trickles went into the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe. She saw Meteor with-- gasp!-- another mare! She pranced over and flung herself on Meteor. “Hi, Meteor,” she said in a mellow tone. “Who’s this?”

“This,” Meteor said, “is Aster.”

“His cousin,” said another older mare in the corner nearest to them.

“Oh,” said Trickles, acting normal, no longer defensive over “her” (as she thought) Meteor.

“Actually,” said Aster, “I’m not his cousin.” (As soon as that was said, Trickles flung herself on Meteor again.) “You see, my mother over there was Meteor’s mother’s best friend. She insisted that we were cousins, and nothing will convince her otherwise.”

“Dotty, as you please,” hissed the other mare in the corner, apparently Meteor’s mother.

“My mother,” Meteor explained, “is British.”

“Pleased to meet you...” Trickles began.

“Solar Winds,” the mare finished. “This here is my friend, Saturn.”

“Hi,” said Saturn. “I am Aster’s mum.”

“She’s British, too,” said Aster.

“That,” Trickles cried, “is YOUR mother?!”

Aster and Meteor looked at each other. “Uh-huh,” they said in unison.

“Good grief!”

Just then, Tabby and Thomas came in. “Hi, Meteor!” Thomas greeted as they passed by. Meteor waved back.

Tabby went up to the counter. “The usual, Scoops,” she said.

* * *
Scoops felt dizzy. She looked at her customer, Tabby. “Hi-I-I-I-I-I-I, Scoo-o-o-o-o-ops! I want a frozen mud slushy with worms!” was Tabby’s request.

“Huh?!” Scoops exclaimed. Tabby faded out. Squid-like aliens swarmed in around her. “AAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!” she yelled.

* * *
“Scoops?” Tabby asked. “All I wanted was the strawberry parfait. Scoops?”

“They’re coming!” shouted Scoops.

“Who?” Trickles had come over. She was a good friend of Scoops’.

“She’s delirious,” Thomas commented. “Get her to the hospital, quick!” Not waiting for an answer, he picked up the screaming mare and said to Tabby, “Come on!” And, of course, everyone followed, not just Tabby-- everyone except Saturn, Aster’s mother, at least. She began rambling.

“I tell ya, Solar Winds, the youth these days...” Her voice broke off. “Solar Winds?” She sat there for a brief moment. “I tell ya, Saturn, the youth these days...”

* * *
At the hospital, Diamond, the new nurse, was examining Scoops. “Who’s coming?” she asked the distraught mare gently.

“They are!” yelled Scoops.

“ ‘They’ who?”

“Them! Don’t you see them? They’re everywhere!”

Diamond finally left the room. She walked into the waiting room, where everyone who had come in from the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe (except Saturn) were waiting.

“Well!?” demanded Medley, who had been there as well.

“How is she?” cut in Parasol.

“Weird,” remarked Diamond. “Crazy. Delirious.”

“Will she be okay?” asked Trickles.

“I won’t know, Trickles,” Diamond said, “until my brother gets here.”

Dr. Watch came in just then. “Sorry I’m late,” he apologized. “I had to treat a fractured vertebrae for Toby; he was busy.”

“Fractured what?” asked Parasol.

“Vertebrae.”

Everyone shot an exasperated look towards the doctor. “Hah!” laughed Meteor. “He’s a doctor, all right. Hah!”

The look was turned toward him. “Heh-heh,” Meteor said, turning red. “Sorry.”

* * *
Wishing Well had fallen asleep watching “Mulan” on the couch. She was awoken by a clank in the kitchen. She got up to investigate. A squid-like alien was on the table, and it spoke.

“Where can I find the ones called Tabby and Trickles?” It had a hoarse, cold voice.

Wishing Well shrieked loudly, and fainted. The squid took something in its tentacle. “Rayad to ship,” he said. “Two to beam up.”

* * *
Dr. Watch went into the room where Scoops was. Her eyes were glazed over and squid-like. “Hi,” she said in a voice that was not hers. She raised her hoof and socked the stallion. “Hah!” she declared, and strolled out into the waiting room. “Where is the one they call Tabby?”

“Here...” said Tabby warily.

“And Trickles?”

“Scoops...” began Trickles.

“Are you her?”

“Y-yes, but Scoops...”

Scoops suddenly crumpled to the floor. A squid stood above her. “Crinkle to ship. Rayad, I got ‘em!”

“Excellent. Beam them up like a good little squid.”

“What!?” yelled Tabby as the squid touched her. “Get your slimy little tentacles off me!!”

“Tabby!” shouted Thomas. He slapped the alien; but as he did, Tabby dematerialized.

“AAAAAACKKKK!!!” he shouted. “Tabby!”

“Trickles!” cried Meteor, for Trickles had disappeared as well.

“You can’t do this!” Thomas yelled. “That’s my fiancee!”

“Tough!” Crinkle said, and beamed up.



TO BE CONTINUED...

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

Ginseng and Sassafras Tea
by Sugarberry ([email protected])


Chapter 9


Shining brightly in the night sky, the nearly full moon made for pleasant walking conditions. Hood thought back to Grayton nights, where the streets were best not to set hoof upon alone after dark. That was one more reason why he was grateful that his sisters had convinced him to follow them to Woodlawn after they had left the big city for this quiet rural town to raise their families and live life at a slower, more agreeable pace.

But now, some of the mistrust of Grayton had latched on to Woodlawn, casting its dark shadow over the lives of the inhabitants. Someone was upsetting the comfortable, safe atmosphere. Hood knew even now that the thief could be somewhere in the town, perpetrating yet another foul deed. He peered in all directions, but could see nothing unusual... except...

As he was nearing the edge of the residential district, he caught a flash of light off to his right. Continuing along the sidewalk so as not to arouse interest, Hood kept his senses alert. Turning the corner, he stopped beside a large elm tree, and waited to see what might happen. After a few minutes with no one showing up, Hood stealthily backtracked to the corner, and looked off in the direction of the glimmer of light.

Suddenly, Hood became aware of someone behind him; twirling about, he came face to face with Sparky. At the same time, another stallion from the police force came from the opposite direction. Hood had seen him once before when Sparky had called for backup for the breaking and entering incident. This particular stallion stood out in a crowd; larger than most, he also had a distinctive overall pattern on his white body-- pumpkins and their green vines entwining across his sides, with his orange mane accented by one dark green streak.

Sparky directed the beam of a flashlight into Hood’s face. “Oh, it’s you again.” He sounded disappointed.

“Sparky, I commend you on your vigilance, but why do you always have to pick on me?”

“It’s your irresponsible nature, I guess,” Sparky grinned. “I thought the stallion coming up the path was acting in a suspicious manner just now, especially when he hid himself behind that tree.” Sparky nodded in the direction of the elm.

“I saw a light flash over behind the stone house down the block,” Hood explained. “I was hoping to catch sight of the produce picker.”

“No such luck. That would have just been Pumpkin Patch.” Sparky looked to his partner, who gave Hood an informal salute. “You needn’t worry about doing our job for us, Hood. As you can see, we are patrolling the streets of Woodlawn to ensure your safety. You’re free to go now.”

“Thanks!” Hood snapped at the obvious dismissal, and moved away down the street. He continued in the direction of his shop, his eyes and ears on guard to any sound or motion out of the ordinary, but his journey was uneventful. By the time he got to the shop, Rosy Bells was already out the door. She jumped as Hood approached her.

“Oh, you frightened me! Everyone was discussing the robberies all evening; now I’m a bundle of nerves.”

“I didn’t mean to alarm you. Trust me, I know how that feels.” Hood put his hoof to his heart, remembering how hard it had pumped when Sparky startled him.

“I never used to mind walking home after locking the place up; now I cringe at the thought.”

“”Want some company?”

“Oh, Hood, would you come with me? I know I’m being foalish, but I’d feel so much better if I wasn’t alone.”

“No problem. And it’s a great night to be out and about.” Hood didn’t mention the fact that he wanted the chance to talk with her. As they walked through the deserted streets, Hood used the opportunity to question Rosy Bells about something she’d said earlier in connection with the stallion who’d mowed her lawn. “You insinuated before that the lawn care service wasn’t to your satisfaction-- something about the stallion could have been sleeping?”

“What I meant is that he accomplished the same amount of work, but it took him longer to do it.”

“You and Dewdrop had gone shopping. How did you know how long he was there?”

“Nosey tonight, aren’t you, Hood!” Rosy Bells teased. “It was easy enough... we pay the service by the hour, and the bill this stallion left was for half an hour more than the usual pony accrues. Why do you ask?” queried Rosy Bells as Hood digested that information in silence.

“Don’t you find it curious that in the time period the robbery occurred, the stallion across the street from it was absent from his machine and slow in getting the job done?”

“You’re right!” Rosy Bells exclaimed. “He might have been involved in it somehow!”

They were nearing Rosy Bell’s home; it was dark except for the glow of the street light. Her husband, Cumulus, had probably fallen asleep watching television, and Dewdrop would have already gone to bed. Hood walked Rosy Bells to the back door where the kitchen light remained lit, shining its welcome beacon down the walk.

“Call Checker first thing in the morning. He was going to talk to the lawn service ponies again tomorrow, and he should be aware of your facts before he questions them again.”

“I’ll certainly do that! I hope it helps him resolve this mess. We need our peaceful town back.”

“That’s a fact,” agreed Hood as he waved goodnight and headed down the sidewalk towards home. A glance across the street at his sister’s house allayed any fears of Hood’s concerning Moonglow as the home was already closed up in sleep.

Suddenly feeling very tired himself, Hood quickened his gait to get home as soon as possible. Maybe by tomorrow, the riddle of the robberies would be solved.



Chapter 10


Opening the shop the next morning, Hood busied himself with the mundane tasks of proprietorship. He had spent the earlier part of the day paying his personal bills, which always put him in a grumpy mood. He was wiping down the counter when Drumstick showed up.

“A little late, aren’t you?” Hood huffed.

“Sorry, boss,” Drumstick apologized, “but I had some paperwork to send in for college.”

Hood’s frown deepened. “Summer will be over in no time.”

“And I’m out of this one-horse town,” grinned Drumstick.

“Too bad we don’t have a local university,” Hood complained. “If we did, you could still work here between classes.”

“Does this mean you’re going to miss me?”

Hood glared at his assistant for a moment, then smiled. “You’ve been a big help, Drumstick. Yes, I’ll miss you.”

“Enough to give me a raise for the duration?”

“Dream on, boy!” Hood pitched the cleaning cloth at the yellow stallion, who ducked, allowing the wet cloth to continue sailing toward the door which opened to admit an attractive peach mare with orange mane accompanied by a white stallion. Hood watched in dread as the rag struck Dreamy in the face, and slipped with a sickening splosh to the floor.

Moving towards his first customers of the day, Hood apologized while offering a clean, dry towel. “Dreamy, I’m sorry.” Then, casting a disdainful look at Drumstick, he chided, “There will be no more of that kind of nonsense, young man.”

Drumstick played the part of a stricken schoolboy caught in the act of a mischievous misdemeanor while Hood ingratiatingly led Dreamy, followed by Marquee, to a table in front of the window.

Dreamy seemed more amused by the incident than Hood would have expected, but he realized that she always seemed to do the opposite of what he foresaw.

“Don’t be too hard on him, Hood,” she smiled. “It actually reminds me of something you would have done back in high school.”

“You two went to high school together?” Marquee asked in surprise. “Where was that?”

“In Grayton. We even rode the same school bus,” Dreamy smirked.

“That means you probably have some choice inside information on Hood here,” Marquee contemplated. “That might come in handy some day, especially for a reporter.”

With a sinking feeling, Hood realized the truth of Marquee’s barb. Dreamy knew every prank and escapade that Hood had been involved in during the four years of high school. He looked at Dreamy, who was staring at him as if remembering every mistake he’d ever made.

Luckily for Hood, Marquee changed the subject. “I told Dreamy you served the fastest lunch in town. Prove me right.”

“What would you like?”

The two ordered their sandwiches, and Hood hurried off to prepare them. He was annoyed to find himself glancing periodically at the table where Dreamy and Marquee sat, obviously enjoying each other’s company. “Marquee didn’t even know who Dreamy was yesterday,” Hood reflected. “Now they look like old friends.” Hood grimaced as he realized the irony of his thoughts... he and Dreamy were old friends, yet acted like strangers.

He commandeered Drumstick to serve the lunches to Dreamy and Marquee. “They should be big tippers,” he bribed.

“Speaking of which,” Drumstick cajoled, “now might be a good time to reconsider my raise... in the light of my taking the fall for your ill-timed fast ball.”

“Keep your mouth shut, and I’ll think about it,” was all Hood would commit to.

The shop was filling up with the luncheon crowd, and William appeared in his usual spot. “Good day, Hood.”

“William.”

“No new developments overnight,” William intoned.

“Didn’t hear of any,” Hood admitted.

“Get me a caramel sundae,” ordered William.

“Yes, sir,” responded Hood.

As Hood fixed the sundae, William leaned across the counter and whispered conspiratorially, “That reporter’s here!”

Hood glanced up. “You mean that Free Lance guy?” he asked naively.

William chuckled. “He ain’t a guy. He’s a girl.”

Hood feigned surprise. “What are you saying, William?” he asked as he placed the nut-covered caramel sundae before the elderly stallion.

“That orangish mare by the window,” William hissed. “That’s Free Lance.”

Just then Marquee approached the counter to pay his tab while Dreamy chatted with another mare that Hood recognized as Flame from the Ponderings.

“Did the food and service meet Dreamy’s expectations?” queried Hood.

“Read about it in the paper,” grinned Marquee. Then, seeing the look of genuine horror that crossed Hood’s face, he added, “Just kidding, Hood. Lighten up!”

“Ha, ha; sure,” Hood tried to relax.

William watched the pair as they left the shop. “She’s awfully pretty,” he commented as he set about finishing off the sundae. “Too bad she’s so opinionated.”

Hood raised an eyebrow. “Opinionated, William? Weren’t you agreeing with her yesterday?”

“On the subject of the robberies, yes,” William conceded, “but not on her subject in today’s paper.”

“Which was?” prompted Hood.

“She says that Woodlawn is a ‘backwards hick town with no class,’ “ William spat the words like poison.

“Well, she does look like a classy lady,” Hood graciously admitted.

“But Woodlawn is just fine the way it is,” William argued. “We don’t need no stranger coming in and messing things up for us.”

Hood stopped to consider. He had left Grayton to escape the problems and hype of the big city, and he had found contentment in the slow-paced town of Woodlawn. He had to agree with William on this one. Yet he said, “She’s just one pony, William. I don’t think she’ll change Woodlawn too much.” But deep-down, Hood felt uneasy. From what he had seen of Dreamy, he knew that she was capable of accomplishing almost anything she set out to do. But he flashed a bright smile at William. “More coffee?”

“Don’t mind if I do,” William responded, his face becoming more cheerful.

Business was slowing down with just the occasional shopper or traveler coming in for ice cream and a soda. Hood’s mind became preoccupied once again with the rash of robberies in Woodlawn. He thought back over the heists as they had occurred. If Checker was right and the culprit was trying to settle a score with someone in Woodlawn, then the supposed incident had to be known to at least one person. It might even be a matter of public record. But yet again, it might have been a private score.

“William!” Hood resumed their conversation. “You must know all the goings-on in town. Do you remember any arguments or confrontations that might have left someone seeking revenge?”

“Even in a friendly place like Woodlawn, I’m afraid you’d find more of that than you’d care to.”

“Well, give me some examples.”

William sat in thought while Hood refilled his coffee cup. “There was the incident with remodeling city hall. The local architect, Tribute, lost the bid to one of those big city guys.”

“Is Tribute still around?”

“Oh, certainly. He designed the newspaper building and the bank over on Stable Street.”

“So this stallion didn’t let his losing out on the one job get to him?”

“Guess not,” William lapsed into silence for several minutes. “The Loper family had a spat with the school board when their son was expelled during his senior year.”

“And what became of it?” Hood eagerly asked. Here was a possibility-- a young trouble-maker who would be angry at a system which cost him his degree.

“Last I heard,” William brought Hood back to earth, “young Loper got himself accepted at Crossroads University and is an honor student all the way.”

“Crossroads, you say? That’s where Drumstick is going at the end of the summer.”

“It’s a good school,” William affirmed.

“Too far from Woodlawn, if you ask me,” Hood lamented, wondering who would replace his efficient hireling. Patchwork Petal was still in high school, so when classes started, she wouldn’t be available during the lunch rush. Rosy Bells homeschooled Dewdrop, so she was only free later in the day.

“The cart is unloaded,” Drumstick broke into Hood’s worries. “We were short two containers of ice cream, though.”

“What?” Hood complained. “The temperatures are supposed to stay in the nineties for the next few days, and we’re going to be short of ice cream?”

“Swan says he’ll make an emergency delivery again tomorrow,” Drumstick offered.

“I should hope so,” Hood growled.

William was just leaving when Checker entered the shop. Hood’s curiosity over the police chief’s interview with the suspect could now be appeased.

“Good afternoon, Checker. What can I get you?”

“Just coffee,” Checker replied tiredly.

Hood poured two black coffees into the rustic brown mugs bearing the “Hood’s Place” signature in bold black letters. He and Checker made themselves comfortable at a table while Drumstick took care of the slow but steady flow of customers.

“What did you find out, Checker?”

“Hood, you would never guess!”

“Tell me, then.”

“The stallion has vanished.”

Hood leaned back in his chair in consternation. “Wait until Dreamy hears about this,” he said without thinking. Then seeing the agitated look on Checker’s face, he continued hurriedly, “Who is the mystery stallion anyway?”

Checker took a sip of the strong, hot coffee before responding. “No one seems to know.”

“Not a local pony then?”

“Cutter, the owner of the lawn service, hired him last week. He worked Saturday and Monday, but didn’t come in Tuesday.”

“What was his name?”

Checker grimaced. “The name he gave Cutter was ‘Victor.’ He’s a dark green stallion-- young-- with purple mane and tail.”

“You think it’s an alias?”

“If he is smart, and I’m sure he is after all this time without slipping up, he would certainly not compromise his situation at this point by using his real name.”

Hood thought awhile. “The name ‘Victor.’ Is this his way of rubbing salt in the wound, so to speak?”

“If he thinks he’s victorious, he’s got another think a-coming.” scowled Checker. “We’ve got his description now; it’s only a matter of time.”

“Didn’t Sparky suspect anything when he talked to this Victor after your tomatoes had disappeared?” Hood wondered.

Checker hesitated in answering; and when he did, his reply caused Hood to gasp.

“Sparky never talked to him.”

“But you said...”

Checker interrupted. “Sparky talked to a stallion whom he thought was this Victor fellow. It seems that when Victor finished at Rosy Bell’s place, he returned the mower to Cutter, then took another worker aside and asked him to cover for him.”

“You’re saying Sparky questioned the wrong pony?” Hood signaled Drumstick to refill their coffee cups.

“He actually talked to Pretzel, another of Cutter’s employees. Victor told him that if anyone asked for him, to just make things easy by pretending to be him.”

“And Pretzel didn’t get suspicious?” He knew this stallion from his frequent stops at the shop for chocolate ice cream.

“Victor told him that he’d finished his scheduled jobs and needed to leave town for an emergency in the family, and he didn’t want any delays. Pretzel thought he was doing the stallion a simple favor.”

Contemplating this information, Hood shook his head disbelievingly. “Seeing a cop asking the questions should have tipped him off.”

Checker stirred his coffee absentmindedly. “Before you moved here, Pretzel had some rough times. I imagine he felt obliged to help out someone whom he saw as another down-and-out victim of the system.”

Hood refrained from prying into Pretzel’s history. He could sympathize with his effort to protect a supposed friend. “This won’t go bad with Pretzel, will it?” he asked his brother-in-law.

“No. He didn’t know about the crime involved at the time. Sparky was just verifying the information Rosy Bells gave him.”

The conversation came to an abrupt halt as the door of Hood’s Place burst open. For the second time that day, a peach-colored pony with orange curls entered the shop. But this time it wasn’t the classy, soft-voiced Dreamy. It was the brazen, loud-mouthed Free Lance who approached their table.

Hood and Checker both groaned, and braced themselves for the onslaught.

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

The Battle of the Bands
by Steamer ([email protected])


One day Medley went out to get her mail, and she started going through it as she walked back into her house. “Bill, bill, bill, junk, junk,” she was saying to herself when something caught her eye.

“Hey, what’s this?” she asked no one in particular. She had come upon a flyer for a band contest to be held the following month. “Oh, cool!” she exclaimed. “A battle of the bands.” She continued reading and found that the prize was a recording contract with a record company for an album.

Medley sighed. She liked music, and would like to enter to contest. “But I don’t have a band,” she said to herself. She felt miserable now; but then she thought to herself, Maybe I could make a band, yeah! But who could I get to sing? I don’t know anyone in Ponyland that can really sing.

She decided to go talk to her best friend, Firefly, about it. Maybe she’ll know someone, thought Medley to herself. So, she flew over to Firefly’s house.

When she got there, Baby Firefly was outside playing hide and seek with her friends Baby Half Note and Baby Tiddly Winks. Medley landed and went over to the baby ponies. “Hi, Baby Firefly; is your mom home” she asked.

Baby Firefly said, “Hi, Miss Medley; yeah, she’s inside.”

“Thank you,” said Medley, and she trotted inside as Baby Firefly and her friends went back to their game. Medley then talked to Firefly and told her about the flyer she got in the mail. “I really want to get a band together, but I don’t know anyone who can sing in Ponyland,” she finished.

“Sounds like you got a problem,” Firefly told her friend.

“Yeah, I was hoping maybe you knew some ponies who could sing,” said Medley.

“Not really,” said Firefly. “But what about Baby Half Note?”

“She’s a baby,” said Medley.

“So?” inquired Firefly. “Does it say that the band members all have to be adults?”

“No,” said Medley, “it doesn’t.”

“Well, there you are, then. I’m sure Baby Firefly and Baby Tiddly Winks will want to do it, too,” Firefly continued. “Why don’t you ask them? You know, Baby Firefly was complaining the other day that we never let them do anything fun; this’ll be fun for them.”

“You really think so?” asked Medley.

“Sure!” exclaimed Firefly. With that, Medley went out and talked to the baby ponies; and she found they would love to help her.

When she went home, Medley thought to herself, My, Firefly sure knows what baby ponies like to do.

Practice started the next day, and Medley was surprised to find the babies were eager to help her. By the time the day came for the contest, Medley and her band-- who named themselves the Upbeats-- felt sure of the song they were going to sing.

At the contest site, Medley only saw two bands there-- her’s and one from Paradise City, Melody and the Rockin’ Beats. The MC explained right away, “This contest is to find which one of you two is the best.”

“We’ll never win; they’re all older then us,” sighed Baby Firefly.

“Hey, don’t lose hope,” said Medley. “They might be older, but that doesn’t mean a thing,” she continued.

The contest started, and it was tough. In the end, the judges awarded two prizes. Melody and the Rockin’ Beats did win the prize for the audition, but Medley and her band did not go home empty-hooved. They won a special award for having the band with the youngest members, so they, too, went home happy.

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

The Tiffany and Tabby Gossip Hour!
by Tabby and Sugarberry ([email protected] and [email protected])


Tiffany: I had a dream, Tabitha.

Tabby: I had a dream, too. It was about squid.

Tiffany: My dream was a wonderful dream. You cannot fathom how wonderful it was.

Tabby: Alright, what was it?

Tiffany: I dreamed that I made the revelation that there were no princes because none of us princesses were married, mainly because there were no princes.

Tabby: Wow! What a revelation!

Tiffany: Yes. And then I got to thinking how sad it would be for the small Princess Springtime, for when she grew up there would be no princes for her to marry. And I realized that it was up to us grown princesses to help out this poor young princess.

Tabby: How’s that?

Tiffany: We would all have to marry princes so we could carry on the royal lineage in our children! And this would hopefully supply Dream Valley with many more princes suitable to marry the young Princess Springtime.

Tabby: I’m amazed by your logic.

Tiffany: And so I ordered a council of the princesses, explaining the problem. And then we set out in pairs to explore unexplored territory and to hunt out all those princes.

Tabby: Did you find any?

Tiffany: We gathered back at the Royal Paradise months later and reported our findings. Dawn had unearthed one, but he was unfortunately already married.

Tabby: A tragedy, I’m sure.

Tiffany: Sparkle had found one, single, but he was only twelve. Too old for Baby Springtime, and too young for us.

Tabby: They could still marry when Springtime was older. Things like that happen.

Tiffany: But then I saw Pristina sitting over in the corner, starry-eyed over something. Over much interrogation, she admitted to finding a prince by the name of Evergreen. We asked her to summon him to the castle immediately. At first she didn’t want to, for fear we would steal him from her.

Tabby: She had a just reason to worry.

Tiffany: But we promised we would not, and Prince Evergreen was immediately called for. Of course, Pristina also disclosed that she had not actually met this prince; she had only caught a glimpse of him. But, he came irregardless of this, and all of us princesses were held spellbound by his majesty.

Tabby: Who did he marry?

Tiffany: I asked him who he wanted to marry, and explained again of our dilemma of wanting to carry on the royal lineage. He then told us that there was an opposite problem in his kingdom. There were too many princes there, and not a single princess.

Tabby: Terrible.

Tiffany: We demanded that he bring them all to us, but Prince Evergreen then explained that all the princes were so eager to meet some princesses that they had come along with him on his trip to Dream Valley. We looked out the doorway and-- lo and behold!-- there was a whole ocean of princes milling around outside the castle grounds.

Tabby: You dream big, Tiffy.

Tiffany: All of us princesses dashed outside and swam through the congregation. There were so many, and all so very handsome! I loved them all! I was in heaven, Tabitha. Absolute heaven. Princes on the left, princes on the right, princes everywhere! I hardly knew what to do. And then I... and then I... and then I woke up.

Tabby: It must have been a heart-breaker.

Tiffany: Oh, you can’t imagine, Tabitha. I simply broke down and cried.

Tabby: I feel so sorry for you.

Tiffany: Thank you, Tabitha. I appreciate your concern.

Tabby: Why not just marry Toby and be done with it?

Tiffany: He’s not royalty.

Tabby: So? There aren’t any royal stallions around.

Tiffany: You think I don’t know that?

Tabby: Well, you’ll have to settle with what you can get.

Tiffany: *sigh*

Tabby: Hey! I know of a prince in the locality!

Tiffany: You do?!?!?!

Tabby: Yes. His name is Cleve Clove.

Tiffany: What?!?! You mean Clever Clover was a prince and he never told me?!?!

Tabby: He just found out, Tiffy. Now he’s Prince Cleve Clove.

Tiffany: I never would have dumped him for Toby if I’d known that!! Argh!! I had a chance, and I missed it!

Tabby: Yes, you did.

Tiffany: Princess Tiffany and Prince Clever Clover... that has... such a nice sound to it.

Tabby: Too late now. He has a betrothed, you know.

Tiffany: No! You can’t mean that!

Tabby: Ah, but I do. She’s one of the princesses at Friendship Castle.

Tiffany: *sob*

Tabby: It’s okay, Tiffy. You’ll get over it. At least you’ll get to be a bridesmaid in my wedding.

Tiffany: This is just too much! First I lose all the princes in my dream, and then I lose a real prince!

Tabby: Clever Clover is royalty! Clever Clover is royalty!

Tiffany: I don’t believe you. Clever Clover isn’t royalty. He can’t! He can’t!

Tabby: If it makes you happy.

Tiffany: Fine. He’s not royalty. He doesn’t even act like royalty!

Tabby: Alright, so that’s settled.

Tiffany: He isn’t, is he?

Tabby: That’s for you to decide, Tiffy.

Tiffany: I just won’t believe it. That’s all.

Tabby: Cleve Clove is in the wedding, too.

Tiffany: I don’t know how you got to be married before me, Tabitha.

Tabby: Maybe because I wasn’t so overbearing about getting a diamond ring.

Tiffany: Are you saying that I’m overbearing?

Tabby: As a matter of fact, yes.

Tiffany: It’s still not fair. I’m a princess, and you’re not.

Tabby: You’re right. I’m not. I’m even higher than that!

Tiffany: You’re a peasant, Tabitha. Nothing more, nothing less.

Tabby: That’s what you think.

Tiffany: What, you’re not trying to trick me into believing you’re a princess too, are you?

Tabby: Oh, no, of course not. Why would I want you to believe I’m a princess?

Tiffany: Well, I still should have gotten married first.

Tabby: Sorry, but I’m taking first place for this one.

Tiffany: Oooooooh, you-- you-- peasant!

Tabby: Ah, enough of this talk of princes and weddings.

Tiffany: What? I love talking about princes! And I’d love talking about my own wedding if I had one.

Tabby: Let’s talk about toys instead.

Tiffany: I played dress-up when I was a baby pony.

Tabby: You didn’t have any My Little People?

Tiffany: Those cheap plastic things? No. I had genuine heirloom jewelry from my mother to play with.

Tabby: Every girl had My Little People, Tiffy! You can’t say that you didn’t.

Tiffany: Well...

Tabby: Yes?

Tiffany: Maybe I did have a few...

Tabby: I KNEW it!

Tiffany: The princesses, you know. They were the only ones I really liked.

Tabby: You kept them, didn’t you?

Tiffany: My mom might still have them stored away.

Tabby: Well, you know, the new toy museum in Dream Valley is now open!

Tiffany: We all know that already, Tabby. You don’t have to keep telling us.

Tabby: You may know it, but the readers don’t, Tiffy. Yes, the collections of Spike and I are now on display in Paradise Estate for all to see!

Tiffany: Are you sure it was wise to plan the opening of your toy museum only a month ahead of your wedding?

Tabby: Why shouldn’t I have?

Tiffany: There is lots of work to be done with the wedding. It’s hectic enough without a museum to worry about.

Tabby: Oh, Tiffy, there’s plenty of time. Besides, you and Tamara are doing most of the planning for me, aren’t you?

Tiffany: Ah, yes. Your whole wedding would be in ruins if it weren’t for us.

Tabby: Except that I hear from Tamara that for the most part you just mope around and complain that you’re not getting married first.

Tiffany: I’ve done plenty of work! I’ve... I’ve...

Tabby: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

Tiffany: Well, anyway, you should be very grateful to us. I don’t suppose you’ll be throwing your bouquet to anyone in particular...?

Tabby: Why should I?

Tiffany: It would be a very nice thank-you to me for doing all this planning if it should happen to land in my hooves.

Tabby: Why should it be you and not Tamara?

Tiffany: Won’t you please just throw me the bouquet, Tabitha? It would make me so happy.

Tabby: I’m going to throw it at random. Maybe you’ll get it; maybe you won’t.

Tiffany: Oh, please!!!

Tabby: Calm down, Tiffy. Calm down.

Tiffany: I want the bouquet!! I want a sparkly engagement ring!!

Tabby: Tiffy, it’s okay. Nothing to worry about.

Tiffany: But it’s not okay!

Tabby: Tiffy, stop your whining.

Tiffany: *sniff*

Tabby: Anyway, getting back to the toy museum...

Tiffany: Are many ponies coming to visit it?

Tabby: Oh, yes. Ticket sales are just rolling in. Spike is quite pleased.

Tiffany: And the Bushwoolies... they’re still on guard duty around the place?

Tabby: Yes. We’ve hired a regiment of them for a twenty-four hour patrol of the museum.

Tiffany: No thieves have been reported yet?

Tabby: The Bushwoolies have made sure that they stay well away.

Tiffany: And I hear your friend Merry Treat has moved on in life?

Tabby: Yes, she got a job offer for a place out in New Pony. She’s going to be a Pokèmon watcher for the United Pokèmon Watchers Society.

Tiffany: What’s going to become of the Pokèmon Gym? Will a new gym leader be hired?

Tabby: Nah, it’s just going to close down. The Dream Valley Gym was never that hot of a place, anyway. All the trainers went to the one in Tea Bunny Land-- that’s a lot more popular.

Tiffany: What will they do with the building?

Tabby: Sell it, I guess.

Tiffany: Have you heard from Merry Treat? How is she doing out there? Is she making a lot of jangles?

Tabby: I really haven’t heard from her since she left. She’s probably doing okay. I think a guy might have been a driving force in this moving-to-New Pony thing. She was acting rather distant in these past months.

Tiffany: Will the Pokèmon Center be affected by any of this?

Tabby: Oh, it’s going to stay open. There are still a lot of ponies with Pokèmon around, even if they aren’t into gym battling as much.

Tiffany: Are you going to stay there?

Tabby: Why... why wouldn’t I?

Tiffany: You could go back to work at the clinic, since you’re marrying Thomas and all.

Tabby: I hadn’t given it any thought.

Tiffany: Blue Belle has been eying your position at the center, anyway.

Tabby: Blue Belle? The Weedle Girl?

Tiffany: She is the one you’ve asked to take over there while you’re off on your honeymoon, right?

Tabby: Well, yes... I didn’t know she wanted the job for good, though.

Tiffany: It would work out fabulously! Blue Belle could take over as Pokèmon Nurse, and you could go back to work at the clinic!

Tabby: I-I don’t know. Elaine is already a second vet there.

Tiffany: Dream Valley is a growing town. Besides, I don’t trust that Elaine, anyway.

Tabby: Still riled that Toby is paying attention to her?

Tiffany: That girl is up to something. I’m sure she’s trying to steal my Toby!

Tabby: I think if anyone is trying something, it’s Toby. He’s the one that stops and talks to her.

Tiffany: But can’t you see, Tabitha? He only does that because of Elaine’s underhanded schemes.

Tabby: Ah, the plot thickens! Have any details on these underhanded schemes of Elaine’s?

Tiffany: Well, no.

Tabby: Then how do you know they exist?

Tiffany: I just... think so.

Tabby: You have some excellent proof there, Tiffy.

Tiffany: That girl is trouble, Tabitha. Mark my words.

Tabby: Lay off, Tiffany. Why don’t we go to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe to calm your nerves?

Tiffany: Yes, and then you can see Elaine in action! *seethes like a lunatic*

Tabby: Right, right. Actually I was thinking we could get some ice cream.

Tiffany: Come on, quick! I bet she’s there already. With Toby, no doubt!

Tabby: Goodbye again, everyone! Let’s hope Tiffany comes back to her senses by next time.

Tiffany: I’m perfectly sensible as it is, Tabitha!

Tabby: We all believe ya, Tiff. And, unfortunately, I’m all out of lessons for y’all this time around.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reverie’s Journal
by Princess Silver Swirl ([email protected])


Sandstone blinked as he entered the attic of his family’s home. Unlike the dark stairway that led to it, the big attic had several large windows. Rays of light poured in from the sunset sky outside, making the swirling dust in the air look golden and giving the room a friendly, comforting atmosphere.

“Let’s see where I put that pile of papers,” Sandstone muttered. His twin sister, Wish, a magic specialist, had asked him to find an old report which the stallion had stored away long ago. “Maybe it was this box...” The box contained many old handmade toys from Wish and Sandstone’s foalhood, but no papers except a messy picture of a tree drawn by Wish.

Next Sandstone tried a huge trunk. This one looked somewhat more promising; he could smell the musty scent of old paper. However, it seemed to hold only some wooden carvings done by the twins’ father, Sunray, that had been deemed unworthy of being hung in the house. What, then, was the source of the paper smell? Perplexed, Sandstone searched deeper. Aha! He pulled out the object from the bottom of the trunk and held it up to the light. His eyes went wide.

It was a small brown book. This in itself was unusual; paper was somewhat difficult to obtain on Sunset Island, so books were rather uncommon and generally regarded as treasures. To leave a book sitting in the attic was ridiculous. This, however, was not the reason for Sandstone’s surprise. The cover of the book had two words written on it in blue ink: Reverie’s Journal.

Sandstone sat down slowly on the sun-warmed attic floor, never taking his eyes off of the book. He opened it very slowly, as if frightened that it would turn to dust. It didn’t, so he began to read.

* * *
To Whom It May Concern:



My name is Reverie, and this is my journal. I guess I should explain some things before I start really writing. First, Aunt Unity and Mother and Father and everyone said that when you write in a journal, you should say “Dear Journal” at the beginning of each entry, but I think that’s silly. It’s not as if the journal’s going to read itself! I don’t really know who will read it, so that’s why I wrote “To Whom It May Concern.” I think that sounds more interesting, anyway.

I got this journal because it’s my birthday-- I have now seen eight summers. Aunt Unity gave it to me. Father says that I am very lucky, and hardly any foals have their own journals. It’s funny: sometimes I agree with them that I’m lucky, but other times I think I’m not.

Here are some facts about myself: I am light blue with a purple mane and tail and purple eyes. Mother says that I’ll be beautiful when I grow up. My magic power is that I can give other ponies magic powers. I am good at swimming and climbing trees and telling stories. Someday, I want to sail away from this island and find other, magical lands far away. That’s mostly what I make up stories about. I don’t tell my stories to Mother or Father or Aunt Unity, because they think it’s silly to want to explore. I tell them to Sunray instead, and sometimes Willow.

I should probably explain about Sunray. Sunray is my best friend. I met him two summers ago. He likes a lot of the same things I like, and he loves my stories. He makes good snacks, too. Every day I meet him in the forest and we explore and eat the snacks he brings and I tell my stories. His favorite is the one about the land where it’s always night, and all the ponies go around with special hats with candles in them so they can see. I like the one about the land in a bubble under the ocean best.

Mother says I have to stop writing and spend some time with the family. I will write more tomorrow.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today I am going to write more about myself. Writing a journal is harder than I thought-- my thoughts keep running all over the place and it’s hard to keep them in order. Here are the things and ponies that I like:

My ferrets: Bluebell, Petunia, and Poppy

Gardens

The wind

Sunray

My family

Willow, the old mare in the tree house in the forest



Here are the things I like to do:

Exploring

Swimming

Telling stories

Writing in my journal

Giving other ponies magic powers



Sunray says I should tell how we met Willow since it was an adventure and adventures are the best things to write about. So here it is.

One day, Sunray and I were by the river. We were eating coconuts that he had hollowed out and stuffed with nuts and honey. He makes the best snacks. Anyway, we heard somebody screaming, so we ran towards the noise. There on a flat rock was an old mare, and there was a big, evil-looking snake right next to her. It was about to bite her, and its markings showed that it was poisonous! I thought quickly and I gave Sunray the magic power to levitate the snake away from the mare. He used the power, and made the snake go away into the bushes. I guess I should have given him the power to kill it, since it was poisonous, but I get sad whenever I kill something, even if it’s just a bug. Anyway, the mare was really upset (I would be too if a snake had almost bitten me) and she just lay there for twenty-five counts (Sunray counted). Then she got up and she said her name was Willow and that we were very brave and she asked us what our names were. We told her and she invited us over to her house for lunch. We said ‘yes’ even though we’d already eaten, because we wanted to be polite and because Willow was nice. Then she led us to her house, which is in a tree. She built it all by herself, and it’s the best house on the island, I think. Maybe the best house in the world. The only way to get up is by a ladder that she built into the tree. Willow explained that she was worried that someday she wouldn’t be able to climb the ladder because she’s old and she has arthritis. So I gave her the magic power of being able to lubricate (that means oil, Father says) her joints by saying the word “Willow.” She thanked me many times and I felt really good. It feels nicer to give someone a magic power when they didn’t ask for it. And that’s how we met Willow.

I don’t think I’ll be able to write tomorrow because I have to go to the other side of the island. Two ponies had a foal and he only has one magic power and they really want him to have two, so I’m going to give him another one. It’s kind of funny: I have only one magic power and nobody ever complains about it.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today I am going to write about my trip to the other side of the island, which was yesterday. The other side of the island is far away, too far for me to walk, so I got to ride in the wheelbarrow. Mostly we used the path, but there were some times that we had to go through the forest. It was very bumpy when we went through the forest, and Mother said that some ponies are talking about making more paths. They probably won’t though because most ponies think we don’t really need so many paths. I’m glad. I like the forest just the way it is.

Anyway, we got to the home of Birch and Ruby, the parents of that new foal I mentioned in the day before yesterday’s entry. Their colt is named Truth; he’s yellow with a pale green mane and tail and he’s very cute. Ruby said they want him to have an extra power because the only one he has is the power to walk on water and that’s almost useless. I think that’s a really good power; I’d rather have that than the power I have. I could walk right across the ocean and find some magical place just for me. Birch asked for Truth to have the power of always being able to find his way home. Mother and Father said that that was an okay power for me to grant, so I did. They usually let me grant whatever ponies ask for, but once in awhile they say no. The times they said no were when a pony asked to be able to live forever and when a pony asked to be able to get whatever she wished for. I am going to keep track of the times they say no to a request, because that means that the request is something bad and I think it’s important for me to know when something is bad.

After I gave Truth his new power, Ruby and Birch let us stay for lunch. Ponies usually do something nice for my family after I give them a power. That makes me feel good, because I’m helping my family, just like a grown-up.



To Whom It May Concern:



I’m sorry I haven’t written in a few days. I hope whoever is reading this isn’t disappointed not to hear from me. I never knew writing a journal would be a responsibility, but I suppose it is. That’s okay, I’m used to responsibility. It’s fun to wonder who might read this. Maybe even one of my own descendants! Anyway, I had another adventure the day before yesterday and I have a new pony that I admire. Her name is Spirit. She is a dark, dark purple unicorn with a light blue and pink mane and tail, and her eyes are a wonderful aqua color (I wish I had aqua eyes like that). That’s not why I admire her though; I admire her because of the adventure I had.

I was playing in the forest, without Sunray because he had to clean his room. His parents are very into neatness. Anyway, I heard some noises that sounded like ponies talking so I went to investigate. I came out of the forest and I saw a group of ponies-- not adults yet, but not foals either. They saw me too, and one of them said, “Hey, it’s the little pony who grants magic powers.” Another one said, “Give us magic powers, Reverie.” I told them that I couldn’t because I was only allowed to give powers if my parents were there and approved. I also said that they asked very rudely. Most of them laughed, but one got angry. This one pony said, “Give me the power to change my appearance or else!” So I said “Or else what?” I was trying to act brave, but I was a little but scared. Then Spirit came.

She stepped between the mean pony and me and glared. “She’s just a foal. Leave her alone,” she said. I could tell that the other pony was scared of her. I guess I might be scared of her if she was angry at me-- she’s really strong-looking, and she has a powerful voice. Then she said, “Let’s go do something else,” and all of the other ponies followed her away. Before she left, she waved at me and I waved back.

I want to be like that when I grow up-- brave and strong and nice to foals. I told Mother and Father that I want to be just like Spirit, and they were rather shocked. They said Spirit was not a good pony to be like because she was too wild. It’s funny; she didn’t seem wild to me. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write every day anymore. Planting time starts tomorrow and my family counts on me to help.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today was Sunray’s birthday! We had a party at Willow’s house, just the three of us. Well, I brought the ferrets too. One of the reasons I like Willow is that she isn’t afraid of the ferrets. Most grown-ups are; even my parents don’t like them very much. Sunray was going to bring snacks but Willow said that he shouldn’t have to since it was his birthday. So she made tea and muffins for us. Her snacks aren’t as interesting as Sunray’s, but they are good. She also gave Sunray a picture that she painted for a birthday present. I asked Mother and Father if I could give Sunray a magic power for a birthday present and they said yes. I gave him the power of seeing in the dark as well as if it were day. He was really pleased. It’s fun to be able to give presents that no one else can give.

Anyway, something special happened after the party. Sunray and I were on our way home, and I had an idea. You see, Sunray wants to explore someday just like me. So I said, “Let’s promise each other that someday we’ll sail off to explore together.” So we shook hooves and promised. It felt so very solemn, like we were grown-ups. I can’t wait to get older so we can sail away and discover all of the lands I make up stories about!

I made up a new land today too. It’s not really a land at all though. It’s a bunch of wooden rafts all tied together so they make a whole island. Each pony has her own little house on one of the rafts, and they even have gardens in pots so they have things to eat. And whenever they get bored of being where they are, the all take out their paddles and row their island to another place. It’s time for me to go to bed now-- more later!



To Whom It May Concern:



I think I should explain some things. I lost this journal a few days after the last entry, and I only found it today. Some changes have occurred since then, not the least of which is that I have now seen twelve summers. Hopefully my writing style has improved a bit. Lots of things have stayed the same though; I still live with Mother and Father, although Aunt Unity got married and now lives with my new uncle. I am still friends with Sunray and Willow, who still lives in her wonderful tree house. It’s funny; it’s been four summers, but it seems like I’m the only one who’s really changed. Well, Sunray’s changed too.

Sunray doesn’t want to sail away anymore. I think his parents talked him out of it; they’ve always had a great deal of influence over him. Like most grown-ups, they believe that this island is the only land in this whole world. I think that’s ridiculous; why would there be a whole world with only one island in it? I made a promise to myself last summer that however much anyone tries to persuade me otherwise, I would always believe that there is more land out there. I think I would wither up and die if I stopped believing. Apparently, Sunray isn’t the same way.

It started last rainy season, when he started being less interested in my stories. At first I thought my storytelling skills were fading, but even when I thought up extra-special stories he didn’t react the way he used to. He still enjoyed the stories, but he thought of them as just that-- stories, not possibilities and definitely not our future. Finally, I cornered him (I seem to have a habit of doing that; I just can’t bear to keep things hidden) and asked if he still wanted to go explore someday as we had promised. After much beating about the bush, he said no. I released him from the promise and told him that I wasn’t angry with him. Then I went home and cried.

I guess I’ll have to explore alone now, but I don’t care. I won’t let anything stop me.



To Whom It May Concern:



It’s hard to get back into the habit of writing. Not much happened today; lately I feel like less and less happens each day. It makes me want to leave the island more than ever. One nice thing has happened lately, though; Mother and Father told me that I am now old enough to decide whether or not to grant a pony’s request for a new magic power. Little do they know the plan I have.

You see, I think this island has come to rely too much on my power. Ponies are asking for powers for completely insignificant reasons, like that they want to impress others, and my parents let me grant their requests. Skies above, it’s disgusting. Ponies are judging each other on how many powers they have, not on their true merits, and I have been helping. I will help no more; I plan to seriously cut down on the giving of magic powers. I will, of course, still give them to ponies who really need them, but not for petty reasons. I never realized things like this when I was younger, but I know now that I have power, power that I can use for good or bad. Before I leave this island, I want to change it for the better.



To Whom It May Concern:



Sunray and I went to visit Willow today, and she wasn’t feeling very well. She says that she’s getting old. It’s funny; I always knew that she was old, and she had arthritis, but she was so full of life that she never seemed old. Now her tiredness has sucked the life out of her, turned her pale face grayish. It frightens me. I am going to write a description of her, just in case she is not with us much longer.

Willow is a very pale green. Her mane and tail are dark pink with white streaks. Her eyes are also dark pink, and very kind-looking. She has wrinkles all over her face, but they’re kind looking ones. Even though she is old, she is strong and limber. She has a soft, low voice that’s perfect for lullabies. And, most of all, she believes in me.

I told Willow about my ambition the first time that Sunray and I met her-- the time we went to her house for lunch even though we weren’t hungry. Now, most adult ponies laugh when I tell them about wanting to explore, or worse, they frown and say that I’m too old to believe in such childish things. Willow just smiled, though, and told me to stay true to my dream no matter what. And I have, even though Sunray changed his mind. I still find myself getting angry with him about that sometimes. But that’s not about Willow.

Willow is a wonderful artist-- she paints the most gorgeous pictures on little pieces of wood. Once I told her about some of the lands I’d imagined, and the next time I visited she had four perfect little pictures of them-- one of the land in the bubble, one of the place where it’s always night, one of the island that’s shaped like a ring where the ponies live on boats, and one of the island that’s one huge garden. These pictures are my greatest treasures; they bring my dreams to life in a whole new way. Someday, perhaps someday soon, they will serve another purpose as well-- to remind me of Willow.

I probably sound morbid, expecting her to die so soon, but I figure that I’ll get hurt less if I prepare myself. I talked a little bit to Sunray about it, but he doesn’t believe it, or doesn’t want to believe it. I feel sad about him; I have a feeling he’s going to take it harder than I will. I hope I’ll be able to help.



To Whom It May Concern:



I was right. Willow has passed on. Sunray and I went to her tree house yesterday and she was... no longer living. I cried a little bit and Sunray cried a lot, and then we got our parents. Willow was buried in the forest she loved, near the roots of the great tree that was her home. My parents had never met her, and neither had Sunray’s parents, but I think they knew how special she was. There was lots of stuff left in her house-- it felt just like before, except that she was gone. My parents asked Sunray and me if we wanted to take anything to remember her by, but we decided not to. I already have my pictures, and I gave two of them to Sunray. It wouldn’t feel right to take anything else.

My parents tried to comfort me, and I expect Sunray’s family did the same for him. For me, though, it didn’t really help. I’d done all of my crying already; I’d been prepared. Nothing lasts forever, and I have to move on. I’ll miss her though. Sunray says that he never wants to go back to the tree house, but I still want to. When I’m there, it feels like Willow’s spirit is all around me, and that’s more comforting than anything my parents tell me. In some ways, I think Willow’s tree house was more my home than my parents’ house.



To Whom It May Concern:



A very strange thing happened yesterday. I was in the forest, as I generally am when I’m not giving powers, and I decided to go to Willow’s home. I climbed the tree, and at first, everything seemed normal. Then I noticed that there was a pony huddling in the corner under one of Willow’s quilts. It was Spirit, the same Spirit who had defended me from those bullies four summers ago; but skies above, how she had changed!

She was no longer the strong, confident pony she’d been. She was much thinner, and there was a haunted, hollow look in her face. Her fur was dirty, and her mane and tail were matted. Even her horn was less shiny than it had been, and she was trembling.

“Spirit?” I asked. Even then, I wasn’t quite sure that it was her.

“Reverie!” she answered. Her voice had changed too; it was thin and reedy. “Oh, Reverie, please don’t tell anyone I’m here! Please!” I promised her that I wouldn’t tell anyone, and I helped her get set up. It’s funny; a few days ago I would have thought it sacrilege to let anyone else stay in Willow’s house, but Spirit obviously needed a home; and I know that Willow would have helped her. I tried to ask Spirit what had happened, but the only answer she would give was that she was in trouble. I am going to visit her with food every couple of days.

I wonder what she did to get in such terrible trouble. Suppose I’m harboring a criminal! Part of me wants to tell Mother and Father, but Spirit made me promise not to. Besides, Mother and Father don’t like Spirit, and they might get her into even worse trouble-- then I’d be betraying the pony who had saved me. What really helped me make up my mind, though, was Willow. One of the things she often said was, “Do what you have to do, but follow your heart.” I listened to my heart as hard as I could, and it told me to help Spirit.



To Whom It May Concern:



Yesterday, I refused to grant a request for a magic power for the first time. The request was made by Burl, a stallion who lives fairly nearby. He loves cooking, and he wanted the power of being able to heat food magically. And, for the first time in my life, I said no.

Burl and my parents were shocked. Burl protested that it wasn’t a dangerous power. I replied that it wasn’t a power he needed either. It was then that my parents decided that it was time for a little talk with me. They pulled me aside and whispered that there was nothing wrong with granting powers that weren’t desperately needed. So I tried to explain to them about how my gift was really hurting the island. They looked very surprised when I finished. Then I told Burl again that, though I was sorry, his request would not be granted.

He was very displeased. He practically begged for me to grant his request, finally revealing that he had only one magic power and felt ashamed because his siblings each had two. Then I made a mistake. I said, “I can’t do any magic at all, and I survive, don’t I?” I thought it was quite a logical argument. Burl didn’t.

“You’ve always lived the life of a little star!” he roared. “How dare you try to identify with us common ponies?” For a moment, he looked like he was going to slap me, but he didn’t. My parents, although they didn’t quite approve of my decision, backed me up. Then we went home.

I’ve been pondering the meaning of Burl’s words. Do I really have advantages over other ponies? It’s true that ponies tend to help my family out after I give them a magic power, but it’s never been that big of a deal-- just inviting us over for dinner or giving us a few potted plants. Perhaps they do more that I don’t know about. Maybe this whole house was built by ponies grateful for my gift. Maybe that’s why my parents don’t want me to put my plan into action. Maybe if I don’t grant any requests, we’ll all starve to death. It worries me. I think I’m going to ask Spirit about it.



To Whom It May Concern:



I asked Spirit yesterday. She smiled and told me not to worry; she said that she knew for a fact that ponies only do little favors for my family. I was very relieved; I really don’t want the island to perish without my gift when I leave. Spirit seems a little bit happier and more confident these days, but still nothing like the pony she used to be. It frightens me; I never imagined that anything could change someone so much. If it could happen to Spirit, could it happen to me? Will I someday become a trembling shell of what I once was? But I don’t run around with a bunch of wild ponies like Spirit used to. I think-- I hope-- nothing bad will happen to me.

I told Sunray about what happened with Burl yesterday; he agrees with me about The Plan. It’s so nice to have a staunch supporter. Sunray really is a very good friend, even if he broke our promise. I want to tell him about Spirit, but I know she wouldn’t approve. I wonder what Sunray would do about Spirit. I never did tell him about that time when I was eight summers old and the bullies threatened me.

My parents talked more to me about requests for magic today. They told me that maybe it would be best if we waited a few summers before placing the full responsibility of it on me. I stood firm though; I told them that it was my gift and my choice as to how and when to use it. They weren’t thrilled, but I think they understand that I’m growing up.



To Whom It May Concern:



I found out what Spirit did, and it wasn’t bad at all; it was good! Let me explain. Today Aunt Unity and Uncle Valor came to visit, and they told us the news from the other side of the island. It seems that a while ago, Birch and Ruby’s best vase, the one with the pearls in it, was stolen. A few ponies found out that Augur, one of those wild ponies that Spirit used to consort with, had taken it. The way they found out was that someone in the group had told them. They refused to tell who it was, but I know that it was Spirit! Augur must have threatened her. I wonder if Augur is the same pony who demanded magic powers from me when I had only seen eight summers.

I am going to talk to Spirit about it. Maybe she’ll let me explain to my family and she could come live with us. That would be nice, like having an older sister. Sunray has an older sister and a younger brother. He claims that they’re annoying, but I know that he has lots of fun with them. I often wonder what it would be like to belong to someone else’s family. Most foals’ parents are much more... oh, it’s hard to explain... much more there. I mean, they don’t let their foals run wild in the woods as much, and they spend more time together. I like having my freedom, but the closeness that other families have seems nice too. Oh well, I guess one can’t have everything.



To Whom It May Concern:



I can’t believe I did it again! That is, I lost this journal. This is getting to be a real problem for me. I’ve been hiding this journal in various places since I got it, and sometimes I hide it a bit too well. This time, however, it hasn’t been lost for as long a time. I am now almost fourteen summers old. As before, not that much has changed-- only two things really. The first is that, through a lot of hard work, ponies are coming to rely less on my gift. My parents have come to terms with The Plan as well. Burl even helped me with my garden recently.

The other change is that Spirit is gone. The day after I uncovered her secret, I went to the tree house to talk to her. The tree house was empty. At first I was afraid that Augur or one of the others had come and hurt her, but there were no hoof prints around. I think she used her unicorn magic to wink away. I asked several ponies if they had seen her, but there’s been no news of her anywhere on the island. I believe she might have winked to some other land far away. Perhaps I’ll see her when I go exploring.

It’s doubly sad about her, because I think she was the last unicorn on the island. She was certainly the only one I’d ever seen since old Venerate died. My parents tell me that there used to be more unicorns, and pegasi (winged ponies) as well. Supposedly they disappeared one by one. I wonder if they all went to the same place and set up a colony there. Maybe I’ll find them someday. It seems like that’s the answer to most of my wonderings.

Each day I feel my longing to explore intensify. I don’t know how I’m going to last all of the long summers and rainy seasons ahead; my parents told me that I can only leave the island when I have seen eighteen summers. They still don’t believe that I’m really going to leave, but they humor me. I hope they won’t miss me too much.



To Whom It May Concern:



Yesterday there was a great storm, and Willow’s tree house fell apart. Sunray and I went to the forest, as usual, and there we saw it-- or what was left of it. It’s funny; I only cried a little bit when Willow died, and I didn’t cry at all when Spirit disappeared, but when I saw the remains of the tree house, I wept a river of tears. It was as if I was losing both of them, and something more, all over again. I remember writing once that the tree house was my real home, and I think it was true.

Sunray and I gathered up Willow’s things; we decided to donate them to ponies who need them. I think that’s what Willow would have done. While we worked, I told him about Spirit. He said that he thinks I did the right thing. I also told him about my theory that the unicorns and pegasi set up a colony, and how I hope to find them. He nodded, and then he looked sad. I asked him what the problem was.

“Nothing,” he said, “But I’ll miss you when you leave.” It felt very nice, though sad, to think that someone would miss me. Sunray is so nice.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today was my fourteenth birthday. As usual, my parents and relatives gave me some small gifts and then I went to the forest to celebrate with Sunray. We sat by the river in the same place we were when we met Willow and ate the snacks he brought. I wonder where he learned to make snacks; neither of his parents is very interested in cooking.

He gave me a present, too, a necklace with a little flower on it made of real gold. He said that it was his mother’s, and she told him that he could give it to me. I put it on and looked at my reflection in the water; I looked elegant and dignified, not the wild forest filly I normally am. Sunray said the necklace looked nicer on me than it did on his mother, which made us both laugh.

I think I’m in love with him.

Skies above, it sounds silly and clichéd. But it’s true. I suddenly miss him when he’s not around, even though I see him nearly every day. I find myself defending him forcefully whenever anyone criticizes him, and I could list hundreds of other symptoms. I wish Willow were still here; she would be perfect to talk to about this. Spirit would probably have good advice too.

Technically, I could talk to my parents about it, but I don’t think it would be a good move. I don’t want to remind them of how young I still am. They have to see me as mature and in control; otherwise they’ll never let me leave. Oh, but how will I leave Sunray?



To Whom It May Concern:



Yesterday I granted a blind pony the power to see without his eyes. I get incredibly frustrated about my power sometimes, but occasions like this make it worthwhile. I think I may have made a new friend as well; her name is Mellow, which suits her. She’s around my age, which is extra nice as Sunray has always been my only friend of my own age. The blind pony is her grandfather, which is how I met her. Her grandfather, whose name is Munificent, has three children. They and their children live with him in the biggest house I’ve ever seen. It made me feel very wistful, seeing that big, close-knit family. Mellow invited me to visit again in a few days.

I’m not sure if you, as readers, understand what a breakthrough this is for me. Dealing with ponies my own age, excepting Sunray, has always been awkward for me. I’m not sure why; maybe it’s because I’m the only one who hears the call of the mysteries beyond this island-- I’ve been told that I have a tendency to be somewhat aloof. For whatever reason, I often fidget when talking to my peers, not knowing what to say. But Mellow and I got along quite nicely; she showed me her garden and I told her about mine at home.

It would be wonderful to have another friend, someone to talk to when Sunray is busy. Maybe Mellow would be interested in hearing about the lands I’ve created. And skies above, I just thought of another thing-- I could talk to Mellow about Sunray!



To Whom It May Concern:



I actually had a fairly nice day today-- busy, but busy with pleasant things. I told my parents about the invitation to Mellow’s house. They, of course, said that I could go but first warned me that some ponies might pretend to be my friends just to get magic powers. As if I needed the advice-- I’ve experienced that plenty of times, and I can tell that Mellow isn’t like that. I may not be able to do any magic, but I can recognize greed.

I did some work on my garden as well; I think it’s lovelier than ever this year. I don’t believe I’ve written about my garden yet. After I’d been begging practically all of my life, my parents finally allowed me to have a flower garden of my own when I had seen ten summers. It’s near the base of a hill, and there are two trees in front of it. This hides it from all except those who look carefully. I chose all of my favorite flowers and herbs and laid them out in a spiral pattern, which changes a bit each summer. Now that the tree house is gone, my garden is probably my favorite place to be.

It’s finally gotten warm enough for me to swim. I love swimming; it makes me feel so graceful. I try to be the best swimmer I can; I’m sure I’ll need it when I leave. Generally I swim in the ocean, as the river’s too shallow. I do wade in the river, though, with Sunray.

He told me a story today about something his grandmother claimed to have seen when she was by the ocean one summer. It looked like a fish, but it had the face of a pony and a long mane. Nobody believed her except Sunray, and even he’s not quite sure it was real. I suppose that’s one more thing to add to the list of things I plan to look for.



To Whom It May Concern:



A few days ago I visited Mellow’s house, and we had lots of fun. She gave me an iris bulb to plant in my garden next summer, and I promised her some rosemary. I told her all about Willow and Sunray and my dreams of adventure. I said nothing of Spirit, though, since she could still be on the island and I don’t want to get her into trouble. I also made no mention of my exploits involving my magic power; I’ve learned from experience that it’s not a good subject. Ponies tend to think I’m being snobbish, or they get jealous. Imagine being jealous of me, when I can do no magic for myself at all!

I also found out that Mellow is great at making games. She showed me some of her favorites, like the one in which the goal is to make patterns in string, and the one where there is a hollow sphere so light that one can send it into a little bowl just by breathing at it. Mellow showed me how to make my own at home.

I also decided today to make a real list of all the things I plan to search for on my expedition. Here it is:

Unicorns & Pegasi

Fish/pony things

All of the lands in my stories

The place where the rainbow ends

Other explorers like me

Not a very long list, but I’ll work on it. The rainy season will be coming in a few days-- ugh.



To Whom It May Concern:



Skies above, I never thought I could have such a horrible cold and be so happy at the same time! All right, it’s explanation time. First of all, I haven’t written for a while-- sorry. It’s now about a third of the way into the rainy season, and a few days ago I got the most miserable cold ever.

Yesterday, Sunray and I were having our usual forest meeting when it began to rain heavily, as it often does during this season. Sunray and I sought refuge in the branches of a big oak tree, and for a few moments we just sat there in silence, listening to the rain and the sound of me sneezing. I don’t know if it had to do with the atmosphere or if the cold had befuddled me, but I decided to tell him how I felt. I gathered all of my courage, which I like to think is a considerable amount, and spoke.

I had gotten as far as “Sunray, I...” when I sneezed. Not exactly an auspicious beginning! Nevertheless, I resolved to try again, and this time I managed to get through the sentence. He looked at me, surprised. I looked away under the guise of blowing my nose.

Then I heard him say, “I love you too, Reverie.”

I shan’t bore you, dear reader(s), with what we said next, but I’m sure you get the idea. Anyway, we stayed there until the rain stopped and then ambled down to the riverbank, where we munched on some of the excellent snacks he had brought along. We talked about inconsequential things, and I used many handkerchiefs, and at some points I wondered if the scene under the tree had been real. I was almost ready to dismiss it as a product of my wishful imagination when it was time for me to go home for dinner. However, we smiled at each other when we said goodbye, and I knew then that it had been real.

I was almost surprised when my parents didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary-- I was sure that I would be radiating light and love. But they just acted as if it were a perfectly normal day. I debated telling them, but I decided against it-- after all, there wasn’t much to tell, it wasn’t as if Sunray and I had gotten married. Once again I wished for Willow and Spirit, their kindness and wisdom. Oh well, I count my blessings, and they are many-- especially now.



To Whom It May Concern:



It’s rained for three days straight since my last entry. Not just rain, either: heavy, steady rain. I can’t stand it, although I try to be cheerful about it-- my mother’s pessimistic attitude towards bad weather is more than enough for one family. And then, of course, there are the usual lines about it being good for the plants, which I agree with-- my garden is probably thriving. Still, I can’t endure having to stay indoors day after day. I long for the forest and the ocean and, most of all, Sunray.

Finally I couldn’t bear it any longer, and today I begged my parents to invite Sunray and his family over for lunch. Being good parents, they agreed, with only one catch-- guess who had to run through the pouring rain to Sunray’s house to ask them if they wanted to come? Oh well, anything for Sunray. However, I would have been most annoyed if his family hadn’t accepted the invitation. (“Most annoyed,” for me, is basically the same as “distinctly angry” for most other ponies.)

I was, of course, deliriously happy to see Sunray again; and, even better, my parents had actually cooked a meal instead of it being “every pony for themself” the way it generally is. Not that I usually care, since I typically eat lunch in the woods. Today, though, it was nice to have something waiting on the table. I wonder what kind of parent I would be. Maybe I’ll have some children when I’m done exploring, if such a time ever comes. Of course, I’d have to get married first, which opens up a whole new topic... perhaps... well, it’s too early in my life to go into that.

Since it was so disgusting outside, Sunray’s family stayed until twilight. We lit a bunch of candles, and sang songs and played games-- all of the normal family-things that we don’t often do. It was so... cozy and comforting, I almost didn’t mind the rain. Of course, some of that was due to my happiness at seeing Sunray again. I was sad when his family left, but I also had a fulfilled feeling inside, sort of like when one has finished a good meal.

Now I am tired. I am going to sleep; maybe it will stop raining tomorrow.



To Whom It May Concern:



Well, it finally stopped pouring. There have still been showers off and on, but I can live with that. At least I can get outside, into the fresh air and peaceful sounds. When I’m trapped inside, I feel my mind getting foggy, or else I get into a bad mood and end up saying sarcastic things to my parents (only when provoked though) or falling asleep out of sheer boredom.

Anyway, the first thing I did the morning it stopped raining was to rush outside to my garden. One poor plant was quite battered by the heavy rain; I felt very sorry for it. The frailty of flowers often feels to me like a metaphor for how hard times can crush one’s spirit, like Spirit. But then there are plants like my fuzzy white one that survived the drought last summer.

Somehow, this wonderful plant managed to get through the drought, growing bigger and stronger than ever. I like to think of myself as being like this plant: a survivor, ready to struggle through whatever life may send and grow stronger for it. Of course, I haven’t been tested that much yet; there have been difficult things in my life, but no tragedies (thank the stars).

After spending some time with my plants, I went down to the ocean and immersed myself in the lovely, ever-moving water, made warmer by the rain. My favorite thing about the ocean is how it moves, and changes, and pushes one to and fro, almost like a living presence. If I go in deep enough, I can glimpse some bright-colored fish, which always makes me feel cheerful.

Fish are so nice and graceful and serene. Once I saw a really big fish drift by, and it was just so friendly-looking that I wanted to hug it. When I told Aunt Unity about it, she laughed. Apparently not many ponies think of hugging fish, but I really don’t see why it’s such an alien concept. Fish are sweet and gentle and pleasant; they would probably make nice pets if ponies lived in the water. Perhaps the fish-pony-things have fish for pets. Hmm... I wonder what sort of land-- well, not land really, since it would be submarine-- the fish-pony-things would live in.

Looking back at this entry, it seems to be just one long ramble. I suppose it has bored you, reader(s). It’s just that after a long rain, the island always seems renewed and fresh and exciting, and it inspires enthusiasm in me. I expect this will be the way I feel when I go exploring, except I won’t have to wait through a long rain for it.

Well, I have to stop writing now-- there’s a forest to visit, and a Sunray to talk with.



To Whom It May Concern:



I have decided that it would be wise for me to start getting some boating lessons. Of course, I already know enough to sail around a bit-- practically everyone on the island does-- but I need to be an expert. Therefore, I’m going to ask the existing expert, Tide (he’s very aptly named), to teach me everything he knows. I hope he’ll agree; some ponies can be snobby when it comes to sharing their knowledge. Oh well; if he refuses to teach me, I’ll find someone else.

Mother’s been worrying over me lately. She says she’s afraid that she didn’t raise me well enough, that I’m more like a wild animal than a pony, and that I spend too much time in my little fantasies and not enough in the real world. I tried to explain to her that I spend my time in the forest, which is most definitely a part of the real world, but she says that “in the real world” means “among other ponies.” She’s going to take me into the village in a few days, which I find a bit exciting. I haven’t been to the village since I was nine summers old, and I remember it being very bustling and lively-- perhaps the “real world” isn’t all bad.

Mother also thinks that I’ve been spending too much time with Sunray, and that seeing too much of any one pony is sure to be a bad influence. I quickly and firmly assured her that Sunray’s influence on me is only good, and that if anything I’m a bad influence on him. She just smiled and said that she thought it would be nice for me to meet some other young ponies. It really annoys me-- just because she helped give me the gift of life, she thinks that she always knows what’s best in that life. I’m going out to the forest now to calm down.



To Whom It May Concern:



I went to the village with Mother this morning, and it was really exciting! I’ve rarely seen so many ponies in one place before, and Mother seemed to know everyone. They all greeted her, and she introduced me to them and they all smiled at me, somewhat condescendingly, and said how pretty I was growing up to be. It was annoying and flattering at the same time.

Most of the houses were a bit smaller than ours, and closer together. I wanted to take a closer look, but Mother kept finding more ponies to introduce. A few of them were near my age, but they didn’t seem overly friendly-- indeed, they looked at me guardedly. I didn’t blame them; I tend to be a bit-- not afraid, really, but cautious around other ponies my age. Except for... well, I’ll get to that.

Eventually, I saw something fascinating-- a flower garden on the roof of one of the biggest houses. I tried to ask Mother if we could go look at it, but she was too busy talking to some mare with a newborn foal. After a few tries, I gave up and set off for the mysterious garden by myself. There weren’t any stairs leading straight to the roof, but there was a trellis that was quite easy to climb. As I made my way to the top, I scowled to think that there was a public garden here and my mother hadn’t told me about it.

It was even more beautiful than it had looked from the path. There were flowers of every shape, size, and color, along with sweet-smelling herbs and a few small trees. After poking around a bit, I sat down on some soft moss and gathered several fallen blossoms. Then I saw another pony.

He had been easy to miss in the verdant garden, because he was a muted spruce in color and his mane and tail were pale green. Even his eyes were green. He seemed to be a few summers older than me, but I didn’t feel as wary as I normally do-- something about the colt was reassuring. I assumed that he was another visitor to the garden.

“Hullo,” he said. There was something rather odd in the way he spoke. “How did you get up here?”

“I climbed,” I replied calmly. “How did you get up here?” He looked amused.

“I live here,” he stated. I realized then that I had made a mistake.

“This isn’t a public garden then?” I knew the answer before he shook his head. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t know that I was trespassing; I haven’t been to the village in a long time. My name is Reverie.” Looking back on this dialogue, I realize that giving out my name after I’d gotten in trouble wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but the whole situation was so surreal that all common sense fled my mind.

“I’m Reef,” he smiled. “Do you like the garden?” So I told him how much I loved the garden, and about my garden at home, and I asked him the name of a particularly beautiful potted plant that I had been gazing at. Reef told me that it was called a phlox, and I commented on how disappointing that was-- so many flowers have such pretty names, and this one, which seemed to be the loveliest of all, was called a phlox. He laughed, which irked me since I hadn’t meant to be funny, but he more than made up for it by offering to let me take the phlox home.

“Is it yours?” I asked. I remember wondering to myself: What if this whole garden is his? In this rooftop paradise, anything seemed possible. After all, who would have thought that the most beautiful garden in the world would be on a roof in the village?

“Well, not really. It belongs to my mother, too,” he answered. “But she’ll never know it’s gone. If you like it that much, you should have it.” I hugged the phlox, which made him laugh again. I was too happy to mind-- happy about getting the phlox, happy about finding this garden, and happy about meeting Reef. Then I heard my name being screamed.

I leaned over to see my mother, looking most displeased, on the path below. The only thing she said was “Come down here right now,” but I could tell that I was in Big Trouble. I picked up the phlox and headed for the trellis, but Reef stopped me and directed me toward a staircase instead.

“Your mother?” he asked as we descended the flight of stairs, which were made of polished wood. I nodded. “I’ll come with you for moral support,” he offered, and I was quite grateful. After a brief walk through his rather fancy house, we came to an aqua-colored mare who gazed at us curiously but said nothing as we passed.

My mother looked furious, but her glare lessened when she saw Reef. She driveled something about how sorry she was for my rudeness, and Reef driveled some reply about how he enjoyed having visitors, and how Mother’s daughter (me?) was quite charming. Before I knew it, I was being marched homeward, Reef waving good-bye. I waved back, taking one last look at the roof garden.

My mother had mixed feelings about my little exploit. On one hoof, she was infuriated that I had done something so shocking as trespassing. It seems that Reef’s mother, Lattice, and his late father, Jovial, are/were very respected, so it was especially bad that I trespassed on that particular roof. On the other hoof, she’s quite happy that I got acquainted with Reef, especially since Lattice has been heard to say, “He’s such a good colt; he hardly gives me a moment’s trouble!” I suppose Reef is the sort of “good influence” young pony Mother wants me to spend time with.

Skies above, this was an exciting day. The village was stimulating, the rooftop garden was marvelous, and Reef is one of the most interesting ponies I’ve met since Spirit. The phlox (really, it’s such a pity that one of the prettiest flowers I’ve seen doesn’t have a nicer name) is in my garden; I watered it with extra care. I wonder if Mother will ever take me into the village again.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today I got out of the house extra early; I had a feeling that if I stayed I would be lectured about yesterday’s mishap. I’ve developed intuition about that sort of thing. Once in the forest, though, I felt bored. This almost never happens to me-- I get bored plenty of times, but never in the forest. I suppose it’s just a letdown after yesterday’s excitement. Finally, I decided to swing for a while.

My swing isn’t anything fancy, just an old rope with a loop in it, but it’s fun. Today, however, it gave me a surprise that was not fun at all-- in other words, it broke. It’s a lucky thing that I wasn’t on it at the time. Oh well, I’m sure I can find another rope, and Sunray can levitate it to a high branch. He doesn’t like to levitate things, as it reminds me of Willow, but he’ll do it if it’s important to me.

It’s funny; he and I have such different ways of dealing with things that make us sad. Sunray tries to block it out or forget about it. I like remembering Willow, though, even if it does make me feel sad-- it’s like I’m keeping a little bit of her alive. I personally think that my way is far superior, but I’m sure Sunray feels the same about his way.

Finally, Sunray came. I told him all about my visit to the village, and the garden, and Reef, and how angry my mother was. He laughed when I told him how I’d climbed the trellis to get to the garden.

“Why is that so funny?” I asked.

“It’s just something that only you would do,” he replied. I’m still not sure whether or not that was a compliment. Anyway, he’d heard of the rooftop garden because his father used to be good friends with Jovial. Apparently the garden had been built on the roof so that rabbits and such wouldn’t get at it, although why rabbits would try to eat flowers in the first place is beyond me. I hope no rabbits were watching as I climbed the trellis; it might have given them ideas.

After I told my tale, he helped me fix up a new swing. He grumbled a lot about using his levitation powers for “some silly old swing” but I know that he likes the swing nearly as much as I do. Besides, as I told him, I’m the one who gave him the power of levitation in the first place.



To Whom It May Concern:



The rainy season is almost over! I’m so glad; it seems to last longer each time. I don’t mind rain in moderation, and I know how much the plants need it, but I sometimes wish that there weren’t a whole season devoted to precipitation. If I could redesign the weather schedule, I think I would make it rain once every five days, regularly, so that ponies could have fun on all the other days. I’m sure, though, that something would go wrong-- as the saying goes, “Mother Nature knows best.”

I wonder what Mother Nature would be like if she were a pony... probably similar to Willow. Perhaps flowers would fall from her mane in the summer, and during the rainy season she would fling raindrops from her tail. That would be nice.

I really can’t wait for summer, even if it means I have to help with the crops. Soon I’ll be fifteen-- skies above, the years go quickly. I plan to ask Mother if I can invite my friends to lunch for the occasion. It shouldn’t be much trouble, since I don’t have that many friends-- just Sunray, Mellow, and Reef. It would be fun to see all of my friends at once, and to be the center of attention for a reason other than my power.

There’s another piece of good news as well: Bluebell (that’s my ferret for those of you whose memories aren’t so sharp) is going to have baby ferrets! I wonder what the correct terminology for baby ferrets is... I’ll have to ask. Ferretlets, perhaps? That would be cute. I wonder how many there will be, and what they’ll be like. It’ll be fun to think of names for them-- I’ll probably stick with the botanical theme. Maybe I’ll name one Phlox... no, that wouldn’t be fair, especially if the others were named things like Rose and Daffodil.

Yet another piece of good news is that, for the moment, my mother has dropped the topic of making me less wild animal-ish. I wonder if my trip to Reef’s garden cured her of the notion. She’s probably just concocting a new plan; she rarely lets go of her “projects” once she decides that they need to be done.



To Whom It May Concern:



My birthday is coming in a few days. Mother agreed to let me have my friends come over, although she was somewhat hesitant about Reef-- she seemed to think that it would be presumptuous to invite him when I’ve only met him once. I argued strongly, though, and managed to win. It seems that everyone can come, and Mother is getting rather excited about it. She actually tries to spend some time with me talking about it each day. I’m not sure whether or not this is a good thing; yesterday I almost missed my daily appointment with Sunray because Mother was trying to decide what food to serve. Sunray offered to supply food, but Mother said that it wouldn’t be proper since he’s one of the guests, and for once I agreed.

Father is trying to have an extra-good crop of tomatoes this year-- he says they’re one of the most useful vegetables (I told him that they were really fruit, but did he listen?)-- so he wants me to water them especially well, which to him means checking each tomato’s welfare three times. Next I’ll be requested to sing to the peppers.

I found out what baby ferrets are called-- kits. A male is a hob, a female is a jill, and a group is a business. Fortune knows all about ferrets; he’s the pony who gave me my first three. His house belongs more to his ferrets than to Fortune himself. It’s too bad I won’t be able to bring my ferrets with me when I go exploring; I’ll miss their warm furriness. I think I’ll bequeath them to Sunray.

It makes me sad, sometimes, thinking of all I’ll leave behind when I set off for my adventure, but that’s the way life is: for every dream, there is a sacrifice. One simply has to weigh the dream and the sacrifice on an imaginary scale, and decide which is greater. Without question, exploring the great unknown is worth any cost.



To Whom It May Concern:



Sorry I haven’t written in a while; the crops have kept everyone busy. Those rotten (figuratively speaking) tomatoes are the worst; I wish I had some siblings so they could help. Of course, more ponies in the family would mean more mouths to feed, and that would mean more tomatoes, so perhaps it wouldn’t be worth it.

My birthday has come and gone; it was a lot of fun. Mellow’s parents let her take a break from watching her little cousins to come over; Reef didn’t think it was at all presumptuous for me to invite him; and Sunray secretly brought a few snacks. The three had not previously met each other, so I was a bit worried about whether they would all get along, but everything went smoothly. We ate outside, against my mother’s wishes, and each friend brought a present for me-- I must confess that was my favorite part.

From Sunray, there was an adorable little sculpture of a ferret holding a flower-- he commissioned his younger brother, who is good with clay, to mold it. Mellow’s gift was a wide ribbon of lavender silk, embroidered with tiny flowers. She had done the embroidery herself; she’s really talented. Reef had selected a small assortment of flowers for planting in my garden, and they all had beautiful names: Verbena, Celosia, Delphinium, Hyacinth, and Acacia.

The day after my birthday, I woke up feeling bored out of my wits, similar to the day after I visited the village. There are certainly advantages to having an unexciting life-- just imagine, if something exciting happened every two days, I would be bored every other day. That would mean wasting half my life with boredom, which would be awful. Of course, some ponies would argue that the exciting half would make everything worth it, but I don’t really agree with that. Life needs to have some happy mediums, not just wonderful times and horribly dull times. Technically, even a life where every day was exciting would have its downside; one would probably get bored of excitement! I used to spend time envisioning a perfect world, but now that I am somewhat wiser I know that even the most wonderful existence is marred by its very wonderfulness.



To Whom It May Concern:



Today I went to water my garden, and discovered that my precious phlox, my favorite plant, had been destroyed. It looked to be the work of a rabbit or other small animal, perhaps even one of my ferrets. I love little furry animals dearly, but I wish they could have spared that particular plant. It’s really quite ironic, considering the news I heard yesterday.

My mother heard it from one of the village gossips: Reef is gone. Not gone as in dead, but gone as in vanished. He and his pet lemur, Ice Cloud (I wonder what he was thinking when he named it that), supposedly disappeared without a trace. He couldn’t have run away, it is said, because his mother came into his room to see if he was awake, left the room, and returned twenty counts later to find that he was gone. Apparently, it’s the talk of the village, as nobody can think of a way for him to have disappeared-- he isn’t a unicorn so he couldn’t wink away, and he isn’t a pegasus so he couldn’t have flown through the window.

My father doesn’t believe it, but Mother says that Aura, though a gossip, is a truthful one with an excellent memory. I believe the story; Reef once told me a secret that gives me an idea as to where he went and how he did so. Unfortunately, I don’t feel safe writing it down in this journal; one never knows who may find it.

Ever since this morning, I’ve drifted around aimlessly. No matter what I tried to do, it didn’t feel right. Finally, Father put me to work on those awful tomatoes (I must say, they’re doing extremely well and I would think they were beautiful if I didn’t have to water them.) Today, however, I couldn’t seem to focus on the shining red orbs. Even thoughts of exploring bring no comfort.

I know this must seem selfish, but I can’t help feeling that life hasn’t been fair to me. I know that Spirit and Reef didn’t disappear to make me unhappy, but it’s not exactly normal for a pony to have two of her friends disappear within two summers. I shall wish on every star I see tonight that nothing happens to Mellow and Sunray.



To Whom It May Concern:



Well, this makes Journal Loss Number Three. Skies above, you readers must think I’m the most irresponsible pony to ever walk the island, but I actually have a semi-reasonable explanation this time. Aunt Unity and Uncle Valor had a foal (her name is Skylight, isn’t that pretty? It conjures an image of a beautiful luminous sky, at least to me). Mother and Father decided that this foal was the perfect opportunity to get rid of some stuff from when I was a foal.

Unsurprisingly, considering the luck I generally have, my journal was packed into a box with my old booties. It was only today that I discovered its whereabouts and was able to rescue it from the dreadful fate of being one of Skylight’s playthings (and I’m not joking about it being a dreadful fate-- I would hate to be one of that filly’s toys. Ah well, I suppose we were all foals once, although I would like to forget that fact).

Now for the usual Update in the Life of Reverie (I’m really getting déjà vu): I have seen seventeen summers, I’m still friends with Sunray and Mellow, Reef and Spirit haven’t reappeared, Father decided to make tomatoes one of his major crops, and he has decided that I should be in charge of them since I did such a good job when I was fifteen. It’s amazing how many thousands of boring hours I managed to pack into that sentence.

I don’t think I’ve changed much, but the world around me seems to grow more boring by the day. There are times when my only solace is the fact that I will soon be eighteen, and I can finally leave this island. “No more feeling trapped, no more boredom, no more requests for magic powers, no more tomatoes!” I tell myself over and over. On long, hot days, it is the rhythm to which I work, eat and breathe.



To Whom It May Concern:



Something unbelievable happened this morning, something that will change the course of my life. It’s funny: when one wakes up on one of these life-changing mornings, it feels just the same as any other morning. In fact, everything today felt exactly the same as any other day until the life-changing event actually happened.

I met Sunray in the forest a bit earlier than usual at his request. He was rather late and looked like something was troubling him. We talked for a while, mainly about those awful tomatoes (they’re excellent conversation fodder) and then he took a deep breath and began to speak. Or rather, he began to try to speak. He moved his mouth, trying to form words, but no sound came out. I looked at him, perplexed, and asked if anything was wrong. He shook his head, pulled out a ring and offered it to me.

Now, to the casual observer, this would look like a marriage proposal (albeit a clumsy one). However, this seemed very unlikely to me. Reverie explores. Reverie swims. Reverie gardens. Reverie does not receive marriage proposals, even clumsy ones. I looked at Sunray blankly, while he continued to hold the ring out. The nervous expression on his face, the ring, it all seemed very proposal-like, but I was not going to embarrass myself by making assumptions.

“Is this what I think it is?” I asked cautiously.

“What do you think it is?” he replied, finding his voice at last.

“You tell me what it really is first,” I countered, refusing to make a fool of myself. He tried to tell me (well, really, he could have been trying to say anything-- all I know is that he tried to say something and failed). There was a rather pleading look in his eyes, which, coupled with my curiosity, made me break down and ask him.

“Is this a marriage proposal?”

He nodded. I took a deep breath. “I accept,” I stated waveringly. And the rest, as they say, is history.

At first I was a bit confused; exploring and marrying Sunray didn’t seem to be quite compatible. But surely there’s nothing wrong with trading one dream for another. I think that I’ll be just as happy sharing my life with Sunray as I would be if I were exploring. Besides, I was getting rather frightened of leaving everyone.

We are going to be married next summer since ancient law states that no pony under the age of eighteen may marry. I told my parents about it, of course, and they seemed quite pleased. Mother even shed a few tears and immediately started deciding whom to invite to the wedding celebration. I do hope that Father’s wedding gift to Sunray and me isn’t a bunch of tomato seedlings.



To Whom It May Concern:



Only twenty-five days left until the wedding. My life has been a whirlwind of activity ever since that fateful morning. Much to my dismay, my parents have insisted on giving a huge party, inviting more than half the ponies on the island. I tried to talk them out of it-- I’m not quite comfortable having my wedding among bunches of ponies I’ve never met-- but does what I want matter? Of course not; I’m only the bride; this has nothing whatsoever to do with me. It’s most certainly not a milestone in my life, oh no, it’s a special time for my parents to enjoy.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. Anyway, Sunray and I are still excited and happy. We spend almost every day together since my parents want to get his “approval” on the wedding preparations. In other words, they want him to be prepared for whatever they plan. I asked him once if he had any objection to my parents “running the show,” hoping to get some support, but he just shrugged and said that parties didn’t really matter to him as long as we could be together. I suppose that’s a more high-minded view than mine, but I can’t help being a bit annoyed.

Another part of me is a bit nervous. After all, no one can say I’m not an adult once I’m married, and sometimes I’m not quite sure whether or not I’m ready for adulthood. I mean, this is all rather sudden; I’ve always imagined myself sailing away, which doesn’t really require much responsibility, not getting married and starting a home (which, of course, includes crops). It’s rather a big adjustment to make. I must confess, I sometimes find myself dreaming of exploring out of pure habit, and I have to remind myself that that is no longer my destiny.

Mellow is almost as excited as my mother, but I like Mellow’s excitement better since she doesn’t try to rule my life. She’s gotten permission to stay with our family until the wedding, and she generally tries to make sure that I know what’s going on. I was rather surprised at how little interest Sunray’s parents showed in the wedding; they seemed perfectly happy to let my parents organize everything. They’ll be witnesses, of course, but other than that one would think that they were Sunray’s distant relatives.

It’s funny; his parents show lots of interest in him with ordinary things but not on special occasions, and my parents are the reverse. I wonder... if Sunray and I have foals (scary thought!) will we be like a mixture of our parents? Will we show interest in our foals all of the time, or never? Well, I’m generally not in the least like my parents, so I probably needn’t worry. Yet I have been worrying, about almost everything. Mellow says that’s perfectly normal. That’s a laugh-- it’s the first time I’ve ever been perfectly normal.



To Whom It May Concern:



Ten days left. Ten days of what, I sometimes wonder? Of foalhood, perhaps. Of dependence on my parents. Of life as I know it. I’m so frightened, and thrilled, and nervous, and expectant, and maybe even a little wistful-- after all, there are advantages to running wild in the forest all day. Ten days more, and nothing will ever be the same.

I’ve taken to hiding in the attic, where I can puzzle over my feelings in peace. If I go among my family, they’ll be sure to ask me to help with preparations. I’m not trying to shirk my responsibility, but I know that they don’t really need me anyway. Therefore, I might as well stay here and ponder life. Skies above, thinking about the wedding makes me get goose bumps. I wonder if Sunray feels the same way I do.

I haven’t seen Sunray in a few days-- almost tried to avoid him. It’s not that I love him any less, of course, but I feel the need to spend some time alone. Every time I see a room or a plant or a pony or a piece of furniture, I’ve been mentally saying good-bye to it. This, I know, sounds foolish since I’m not really going anywhere, but in another way it makes sense. These ten days are my last chance to see these things as Reverie the filly. After the wedding, she will be gone forever, and Reverie the mare will take her place. Good-bye, Reverie the filly.



To Whom It May Concern:



Five days left. The violent, ever-changing feelings have left me; instead I feel numbness. My life feels like it’s happening to some stranger in a story, and I’m the omniscient narrator. “Reverie feels strange as she prepares for her upcoming marriage. She tries to...”

Oh, I can’t think of what comes next in the story. I can’t write, I can barely think, and I’m sure the words I say make no sense whatsoever. Not that anyone notices; we’re all too busy getting these ridiculous decorations set up. Honestly, I really don’t see why my mother chose those floral-wreaths-velvet-ribbons-with-lace-curtains-hanging-from-them-things-- they’re pretty, but they take so much time and energy and extra ponies to set up, which means I can no longer hide in the attic. Oh well, I don’t really feel the need to hide anymore. At least Father’s mind isn’t on the tomatoes.

Sunray came to see me this morning; he was worried since he hadn’t seen me in the woods lately. Despite my general numbness, I felt happy that he came. It was so strange to see him standing at the door-- normally there’s no need for us to make visits to each other’s homes. I suppose there won’t be any more meetings in the forest after the wedding. I wonder if we’ll ever be able spend hours there, just the two of us, like we used to. Maybe we’ll be too busy.

Sunray seems awfully cheerful and excited, not worried at all. He was able to give details on the house his family’s been building for us (it turned out that I was wrong about them not paying attention; my parents are handling the party and his are handling the house). I’m going to go see it with him tomorrow. Being with him makes me feel a bit better; his happiness is infectious. However, once I part from him my numbness returns.



Their shining hopes, my hidden fears

A sunny smile and moonlit tears

The past is gone; the future nears

I try to speak, but no one hears.



I had a sudden urge to write poetry, which I rarely do (the world should be thankful for that). My most sincere apologies. That was an odd poem; it doesn’t quite seem to fit me. It was so short, but it flowed from my (troubled) mind in a way that my poetry rarely does. I can’t write anymore; my mind has run out of thoughts.



To Whom It May Concern:



Tomorrow is the wedding. The decorations are finally set up; one of them kept falling down and we had to practically glue it to the rafter. I went with Sunray to see the house, which is finished and lovely. It’s by the sea and made of white stucco, and there’s a perfect place outside to plant a garden. It’s bigger than I thought it would be; maybe the builders are hoping for some extra magic powers. There are still types like that around.

The food for the party has been made; Aunt Unity, Uncle Valor, and Father slaved for days over it. I wonder what they’ll do with all the leftovers; perhaps they’ll be a gift to Sunray and me. I’m sure we could live on them for a whole year, and then we won’t need pesky crops.

My accessories, lovingly made by Mother, are all completed. She even offered to let me borrow her sapphire necklace, but I preferred to wear the little necklace that Sunray gave me for my birthday (was it really only four summers ago?). Mellow is going to braid silk ribbons into my mane tomorrow morning; she has them all lined up on my dresser. Lilac, periwinkle, and indigo, with tiny blue beads on the ends of them, they’re the most beautiful ribbons I’ve ever seen. Mellow’s father is a weaver, so she has access to those sorts of things.

The wedding hill is all prepared. My parents went over yesterday to make sure that nothing was out of place. I remember a few summers ago when I volunteered to plant some flowers around the wedding circle; never did I dream that I would see that circle from the inside.

The witnesses are all organized. They are to be: my mother, my father, Aunt Unity, Uncle Valor, Sunray’s mother, Sunray’s father, Sunray’s sister, Mellow (she turned eighteen during the rainy season), Ruby, and Birch. I wish fervently that Willow, Spirit, and Reef could be among them. It would have been so nice to have them all at my wedding... well, I’m sure Willow will be watching from wherever she is.

Even the ferrets have fancy new collars for the occasion; I insisted that they attend the wedding. They now number six, as Bluebell and Poppy passed away last rainy season. Fortune, who will be at the wedding, has volunteered to make sure they get into no mischief. They will live with Sunray and me after we are married-- I couldn’t bear to leave them behind, and they really are my ferrets, not my parents’.

In short, everything is ready-- except for me. I have never felt less ready in my life. Mellow says that means I’m quite ready. I wonder how she knows so much. But what if I’m not ready? What if I get so scared at the last minute that I back out? Would Sunray ever be able to forgive me?

I talked to him a little bit yesterday. I tried to tell him of my immense fears, and he was rather comforting. Apparently, he’s incredibly nervous too. He says, though, that his love and happiness are greater than his fears, so he believes that all will be well. I envy him his confidence. I must try to have faith in myself; surely getting married isn’t as nerve-wracking as I think it is. I can do this.



To Whom It May Concern:



I did it. I did it! Sunray and I were married two days ago, and are now living in our sweet new house. Oh, I can’t believe it really happened; everything seems like a dream and the only real things are Sunray, the ferrets, this home, and myself. I’ve been quite relieved and happy; I really don’t understand why I got so upset yesterday... but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The wedding itself went flawlessly, except for when Skylight tripped over a stone and started bawling her lungs out. I felt even stranger than before. Everything around me was a dreamy haze, and just walking felt like making my way through deep mud. All of the sounds I heard seemed muted and distant, and my eyes couldn’t focus on anything.

I was starting to wonder if I was going mad, but then I saw Sunray, clear as a patch of sky when all else is covered by misty clouds. I was able to wend my way to him (the fact that the crowd of ponies parted for me made it considerably easier) and, together, we ascended the hill. I looked around at the faces of the witnesses (I could see much more clearly at that point). Both of my parents, whom I could barely recognize, were crying happily.

Then came the traditional questions and answers. I could just make out the questions, and was relieved to hear that my answer sounded calm and natural. For a moment, I worried that Sunray would have another case of speechlessness, but he managed to stutter out his response. Next, we exchanged flowers and the crowd began to cheer.

Sunray looked dazed and, from my reflection in his eyes, I could tell that I did too. He smiled at me, and we both began to laugh. I wasn’t quite sure where to go next, but my family descended upon us and escorted us home-- my former home, that is; I keep forgetting that my parents’ house isn’t my home anymore-- for the party.

The evening was a blur of strange ponies coming and congratulating me. I’ve never had so much attention in my life. Many brought gifts, which pleased me immensely, and they commented on how much I’d grown up. It brought back memories of the day I met Reef in the village. All around me, ponies were dancing and laughing and talking and eating and taking tours of the house. They looked like they were having fun, and I rather wanted to join them, but Mother quietly told me that I had to be a gracious hostess.

Finally, all of the ponies left, leaving presents, good wishes, and a huge mess. When I saw the latter, I thought gleefully “I don’t have to help clean it up!” I found Sunray, who had been submitted to an ordeal similar to mine, and said goodnight to my parents. Then, without looking back, my new husband and I meandered through the twilight to our new home.

That’s where we’ve been ever since; we haven’t even had time to leave the house yet. We spent the entire afternoon yesterday unwrapping the wedding presents, sitting in the middle of the floor and strewing wrapping all over the place. Some of the gifts are quite nice, like a mirror surrounded by blue crystals and a beautiful sign painted with the words “Reverie and Sunray Welcome You to their Home.” Others are rather boring but useful (the set of plates, for example) and there are a few odd things that we can’t identify. I’ll have to ask my mother what they are.

Anyway, we finally finished unwrapping all of the presents, and we sorted them into piles. Then Sunray went into the pretty kitchen (I really love this house) to fix us some snacks. Somebody thoughtfully supplied some food in the cupboards, which is lucky because Sunray and I hadn’t brought any. I sat on one of the cushions someone sent over (really, I don’t think we’ll need to make any furniture at all) and stroked Fern.

I looked out the little diamond-paned window, and all of a sudden an unbearable sadness came over me. I felt as if someone had died-- no, worse, as if the whole world had died. Thus, I did the only logical thing under the circumstances: I buried my head in Fern’s fur and cried.

Once I started crying, I couldn’t seem to stop. It didn’t make me feel relieved, either, like crying usually does. It only made the sadness worse. I generally try not to cry noisily, but this time I couldn’t help but produce hiccupping sobs, like a foal.

Then Sunray came in from the kitchen and asked what was wrong, and I managed to calm down enough to answer. He showed me the food he’d prepared and I ate some, which also made me feel better. By the time I finished eating I was back to normal, but Sunray seemed worried. I think he fears that I no longer want to be married to him. I’ve been trying to act extra happy since then, hoping to dispel his worries. Not that I need to pretend to be happy; I’ve been quite content with the world.



To Whom It May Concern:



Once again, I fear, there’s been a pause in my entries. Now that I’m an adult, and married, and one of the caretakers of a home, I have less time for relaxation. That hasn’t made me unhappy, though; I’ve spent a wonderful two summers with Sunray. The two of us seem to be doing very well in life.

The house is completely decorated and furnished, and we have some lovely crops. I put in a flower garden, too, similar to my old one. At some points, I considered transplanting some of my flowers from my parents’ house (I’ve finally stopped referring to it as “home”), but I decided against it. I want to leave something of myself there, though it sounds silly, for my old residence to remember me by.

I’ve really been adjusting to my new life wonderfully; I’ve learned how to help manage the house, and keep the crops organized, and generally self-sufficient-- well, not entirely self-sufficient, as Sunray and I work together and help each other, but you know what I mean. That’s another thing I’ve learned, too: how to work as a team with Sunray.

Anyway, I generally feel as if I’d never envisioned myself in a future other than this one. I still daydream about exploring once in a while, of course, but it’s difficult to break the habit of seventeen summers. I’m sure that even the happiest ponies imagine themselves in different lives sometimes.

I visit with my parents quite often; they are always happy to see Sunray and me. It’s funny: I think I like them better now that I no longer live with them. Aunt Unity, Uncle Valor and Skylight are frequent guests as well. The two adults are both excellent farmers, and they give us many useful suggestions.

Little Skylight is truly adorable, as well as being very intelligent. She makes up little stories about being a star in the sky (her parents told her that foals originally came to the island as shooting stars). They remind me a lot of my own adventure stories. That gave me a profound thought about life going in circles, which I meant to write down but forgot. Ah well, that’s the way life goes.



To Whom It May Concern:



Several interesting things have happened since I last wrote (which was, by the way, quite a while ago). The first is that Sunray and I are building a porch at the back of the house. It will overlook the ocean, and we’ll eat there when the weather is nice. We started work on it a few days ago, and it looks like it’s going to take a while.

Many ponies (especially Sunray’s relatives) volunteered to help us with the construction, but we declined politely. The entire house was built for us; we didn’t hammer in a single nail, and we want to do something to make it truly a part of us. We have, however, allowed Sunray’s brother Echo to come over each day and help with the crops.

The next exciting piece of news is that Mellow is engaged to Verve, who lives in the village. They met at the party after Sunray and I got married, which makes me feel very peculiar. Just think, if I hadn’t given in to my mother’s resolve to have a big party, Mellow wouldn’t be engaged. Thinking of what-ifs tends to make me most unsettled.

The worst one, I think, is “What if my parents had never met?” Would I be someone completely different, or just me-with-some-different-qualities? Or, if my parents had each gotten married to another pony, which one would be me-- my mother’s foal or my father’s foal? Would they both be me? That would be so incredibly strange, to be divided into two ponies. It would have some good points though: one of me could stay here on the island, like I am now, and the other could go off and explore.

There’s been a rather sudden increase in requests for magic powers lately. I think it’s because many of the ponies who got extra powers from me now have foals of their own, and tell their progeny stories of the good old days when Reverie was generous with her magic. For whatever reason, many young ponies have begun making pilgrimages to our home, asking to be able to fly or see the future or become invisible or have their parents believe every word they say (I must admit some of them are quite creative).

Very few of the young travelers get their wishes granted, but most of them have the grace to be polite about it. Sunray gives them some lunch, which cheers their downcast faces somewhat, and they play with the ferrets. Many of them come back to visit on other days. It’s nice to think that Sunray and I have some young friends because they like us, not because I give them powers.



To Whom It May Concern:



I’ve just found out some incredibly thrilling news: I am going to have a foal. I found out yesterday, and I’ve been in shock ever since. Skies above, a foal of my very own! Well, it’ll belong to Sunray, too, of course. The look on his face when I told him the information was absolutely priceless. I haven’t told Mother and Father yet; I’m rather dreading their enthusiasm. I hope they won’t try to take over my life again.

My first preparation was, of course, to think of a name for my offspring. After a great deal of consideration, I decided on Wish for a filly and Odyssey for a colt. I think those would be perfect names, distinctive but not too elaborate. I notified Sunray of my choices, and his reaction was surprising. He absolutely refused to let his son be called Odyssey. I asked him why, and his only reply was “I couldn’t bear it.”

I mused over this for a while, and came to the conclusion that Sunray took the name Odyssey as a sign that I still want to go away and explore. He’s so unreasonably sensitive about that; surely he can see how happy I am. I may get a bit restless sometimes, but that happens to everyone. I’m sure I won’t have a moment to be bored once the foal comes!

Obviously, I had to choose another male name. It was quite difficult. Normally I come across scores of lovely-sounding names, but when it comes to selecting one that I’ll actually use, nothing seems right. Odyssey had sounded so ideal! However, since Sunray has so graciously let me choose the names, I feel like the least I can do is select names that he doesn’t object to. Finally, I came up with: Sandstone. I think it’ll do.



To Whom It May Concern:



My days have become busier than ever. There’s so much to be done in preparation for the new arrival, who’s been getting quite large lately. I wonder so much about it. What will it look like? Will it be a colt or a filly? How much like Sunray and me will it be? Most importantly, who will it be? I can’t wait to find out!

It’s funny; sometimes I feel as if most of my life has been spent waiting for one thing or another. When I was a foal I waited to grow up so I could explore; then I waited for the wedding; and now I’m waiting for the foal. I suppose when I grow old I’ll be waiting for death (that’s a morbid thought). Anyway, the majority of life has not been the “milestones,” it’s been the waits between them. I wonder if that means that one ought to concentrate less on the future and more on the present. There are times, though, when the future is just about all one has to live for.

There’s been a lot to do during this wait though. Sunray and I have set up a room for Wish or Sandstone. We agreed not to do too much decorating, since the foal will surely have his or her own ideas about how its living space should look. All we really did was paint the room in gentle purples and greens, put up some curtains, and add some simple wooden furniture. It’s a clean, fresh space, a good place to begin one’s life.

My twenty-second birthday is coming soon. I can hardly believe it; the space between birthdays used to seem an eternity to me. If I were to mention it to Mellow, she would say it’s a part of being a grown-up. She always has an answer for everything. The birthdays matter less and less each summer, although Sunray faithfully gives presents each time.

Perhaps someday I’ll forget my birthday entirely, and I will no longer know how old I am. That would be frightening, to be lost in limbo, not knowing how much time you’ve used up and how much you have left. No, no matter how old I grow, I shall never forget my birthday.



To Whom It May Concern:



Well, there’s been another surprising piece of news about the foal-- or should I say foals. That’s right; I’m going to have twins! I was talking to Portent today in the village, and she listened to my stomach. To my astonishment, she said that she could hear two distinct heartbeats. I could hardly believe it, but she’s never wrong about this sort of thing (she is, after all, a healer).

I told Sunray as soon as I got home, and he was even more shocked than when I found out that I was expecting, if such is possible. Then he told me that I’d better think of two more names in case the twins are both of the same gender. I have a sort of premonition that they won’t be, but it’s always best to be prepared.

Ergo, if they’re both fillies, they will be Wish and Silhouette. Two colts will be named Sandstone and Cenotaph (I didn’t even try for Odyssey this time). Sunray approved of my selections-- thank the stars. I spent from noon until twilight thinking of those names.

We haven’t told anyone the news yet; we want it to be a surprise. I know my parents will be absolutely thrilled. It’s funny; no matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine them as grandparents. Then again, I have trouble imagining Sunray and myself as parents.

I hope I won’t make a complete mess of raising the foals. I think I know how to teach right from wrong, and calm their fears, and get them to eat foods they don’t like, but I can’t be sure. I think I’ll start watching how Aunt Unity and Uncle Valor deal with Skylight; maybe it will give me ideas.



To Whom It May Concern:



Three days ago, I gave birth to the foals. I was right; they’re Wish and Sandstone. They’re also the most utterly beautiful little creatures I’ve ever set eyes on. Every time I look at them, my little miracles, I feel-- well, I can’t even describe how I feel. Right now, they’re sleeping peacefully in a cradle at the foot of my bed. I can hardly believe they’re real.

Sunray and I were able to keep the fact that they were twins secret right until they were born. The four new grandparents wanted to move in with us, but obviously we refused. I did agree, however, to Mellow staying for a while. She’s marvelously comforting with her knowledge of foals, and assures us that everything they do is perfectly normal.

Aunt Unity says that the twins are much less troublesome than Skylight ever was (Skylight wasn’t thrilled to hear that) and I think she’s right. Wish and Sandstone are very good-tempered, and when they cry it’s always for a reason. They’re also practically inseparable, and can’t get to sleep unless they share a cradle.

Mother asked me if I plan to give the twins any extra powers. I said no, or at least not until they’re much older. I wouldn’t want to seem as if I were playing favorites. Besides, magic powers are sometimes more of a curse than a blessing. Sunray agreed with me, and Mother said that she supposes I’m right.

I’m exhausted now. I doubt I’ll be able to write much for a while. I wonder if, some day, I’ll show this journal to Wish and Sandstone?



To Whom It May Concern:



Well, I was right about that. Wish and Sandstone are more than a summer old now, and I haven’t had any time whatsoever to write. Twins, I’ve discovered, mean double everything, and that includes a double helping of work and responsibility. Really, Sunray’s better with them than I am. He can almost always get them to fall asleep, or mix up something for them to eat when they refuse everything else.

It’s funny; even with all of the work of raising twins, I still feel restless. Especially at sunrise (Wish is an early riser), a nameless longing often comes over me. I’m sure if I talked to Mellow about it, she’d have some reasonable explanation for it, but I don’t want to tell her. I don’t want to tell anyone. Sunray, particularly, would get upset.

Then there are the dreams. Ever since about twenty days ago, I’ve had them. Each night, without fail, I dream of one thing: discovering new islands. Sometimes the dreams are beautiful, and other times they terrify me so much that I wake up. No two dreams are the same, although they always begin the same way:

It is sunrise. Everyone else, even Wish, is asleep. Oh-so-quietly, I creep through the house, stopping to pack a bag of food, and to leave a folded piece of paper on the table. Then I open the door and slip through, heading towards the back of the house and the ocean. There are tears running down my face.

There is a little boat bobbing up and down near the shore. I walk through the waves until I reach the vessel, and then I climb into it. I pull up the anchor and the boat drifts forward, toward the horizon, away from the island. I don’t look back.

I don’t know why I keep having these dreams; they’re perfectly meaningless. If I ignore them for long enough, I’m sure they’ll stop.



To Whom It May Concern:



Wish and Sandstone are almost four summers old now. They remind me of Sunray and myself in so many ways, but they still have many characteristics that are uniquely their own. We’ve found Wish’s magic powers: she can grow or shrink to any size she wants, and she can see through walls. Sandstone hasn’t shown any signs of magic yet; Wish claims that she’ll find out what his power is.

I’m one of the luckiest ponies on the island. I have a wonderful family, a beautiful home, and everything else I could want. Yet I am unsatisfied.

The dreams still come each night, and I no longer try to resist them. I know now what they mean, unwelcome as the knowledge is. I made the wrong choice when I married Sunray; I still want to explore. This awareness burns within me every day; it makes me restive and guilty. Too bad, I tell myself. It was my wrong choice, and I have to live with it.

I don’t think Sunray suspects, and the twins are certainly too young to understand. Oh, my family. They are all that keeps me on this island, yet they are also my greatest joy. Wish, I can tell, is very intelligent; she may well discover her brother’s magic. And Sandstone is so sweet and helpful, and always loyal to his sister.

Today, I was telling them one of the “exploring” stories that I made up as a foal. They both listened, enthralled. It seems that I still retain my gift for storytelling. As I looked at their serious little faces, my gaze traveled to the doorway where Sunray was standing. His eyes were filled with pain. I must remember not to tell those stories when he is listening. He mustn’t know.



To Whom It May Concern:



It is the hottest part of summer now. Sunray and I take the twins to play in the ocean almost every day. Sometimes I give them short rides in my little boat. They both have inherited my talent at swimming, and it makes me laugh to see them paddling about. Sometimes we pretend that they are fish; Sunray and I chase them until we sweep them up in our imaginary nets.

I try harder than ever to be happy, but it just isn’t working. I find myself longing for night, when I can escape in those blessed dreams. Worse yet, the dreams have begun to invade my mind during the day. I start walking through a snow-covered isle, home to big, shaggy ponies, when I feel Sandstone’s hoof on mine: “What’s wrong, Mama?”

I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. I used to believe that if I denied the urge long enough, it would die, leaving me in peace. It hasn’t worked yet though. Will I lie on my deathbed longing to sail away? I can’t live like that! If only there were two of me, like I used to imagine, one for the island and one for the great unknown. Why was I so very foolish nine summers ago?

On a happier note, Mellow and Verve were married recently. They’ve moved to the village, near Reef’s old house. Lattice passed away a while ago, and the place is deserted. I think Mere and Cadence are planning to move in. I wonder if they’ll replant the garden. I remember that garden so vividly for some reason.

It is dusk now. To me, dusk always seemed a peaceful time, gentle and benevolent. Like everything else, my concept of it has changed. Now dusk is wild and mysterious, a time when strange calls echo across the sea. Night is coming, night and forbidden dreams.



To Whom It May Concern:



I am leaving the island, sailing away. Much as it tears my heart apart to do so, it is my only choice-- I can no longer deny my destiny. I’ve written a note to the family, explaining. I wonder if they’ll ever forgive me, and if I’ll ever see them again. It makes no difference; what must be will be no matter what. I’ve learned that through my years, if nothing else.

Oh, Sunray, Wish, Sandstone, how I hope you are reading this journal! I will try to come back to you someday, I promise. And, in return, please try not to forget me. I’m so sorry for all I’ve done.

It is sunrise. Everyone else, even Wish, is asleep. Oh-so-quietly, I am going to creep through the house, stopping to pack a bag of food, and to leave a folded piece of paper on the table. Then I shall open the door and slip through, heading towards the back of the house and the ocean. There are tears running down my face.

My little boat will be bobbing up and down near the shore. I will walk through the waves until I reach the vessel, and then I’ll climb into it. I’ll pull up the anchor and the boat will drift forward, toward the horizon, away from the island. I won’t look back.

* * *
Sandstone put the tearstained book down. Images flashed through his mind: Willow, Spirit, Sunray, Mellow, Reef, and most of all Reverie, the mother he had never truly known. So many waves of emotion were washing over him that all he could do was wait for the tide to ebb. As he took a deep breath, he heard the sound of hooves climbing the stairs.

“Sandstone, what’s taking you so long? Did you find the papers?” Wish’s eyes lighted upon the journal. “I think you’d better put that back in the box,” she commanded quietly. Sandstone looked up, his blue eyes meeting her green ones.

“No,” Sandstone replied. “I’m keeping it. Maybe someday you’ll be able to read it, too.”

“I said put it back...” Wish narrowed her eyes and then sighed. “Whatever. Come on; let’s find those papers.”

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

Antique Store
by Clever Clover ([email protected])


The gray sky hung low over Dream Valley as Brightblade strolled slowly, almost lethargically, down the street with his head held low. The sky seemed to be reflecting his mood. Since he had returned from his great adventure, life had seemed dull; and he missed his friends-- Ramone and Cassandra the rats, Breeks the raven, and Epona the mysterious flame-maned unicorn. He hadn’t been able to find steady work since he returned, just enough to pay the bills; and none of the odd jobs he had taken were stimulating. Part of him longed for life-and-death struggles and adventure while another part looked for a comfortable routine to settle into, and neither part was satisfied.

The yellow pony looked up from his musings and realized that he had no idea where he was. He must have missed a turn or gone the wrong direction and ended up in a part of town he was not familiar with. He looked around for some landmark that might help him get his bearings. Nothing looked familiar in the least. “I guess I’ll have to ask for directions,” he mumbled to himself. Normally he’d just keep wandering until he found somewhere he knew, but today he didn’t feel like it.

He had happened to stop right in front of a run-down looking antique store with a sign reading “Going Out of Business Sale” in the window next to the “Open” sign.

“This looks as good a place as any, and they might have something nice.”

Inside, the store was dusty and cramped. Narrow shelves reaching almost to the ceiling looked as though they would topple at the slightest touch, spilling their precious contents onto the ancient hardwood floor. Brightblade made his way carefully down the narrow aisle toward the counter, feeling like the proverbial bull in the china shop. Behind the counter was an old gray mare. “Why, hello, young man,” she said in a grandmotherly voice. “May I help you find something?”

“Yeah, myself,” Brightblade replied in a dry attempt at humor.

“Pardon me?” the mare asked, puzzled.

“I’m a little lost. If you could give me directions to Main Street, I’d greatly appreciate it.”

“Oh, so you’re not going to buy anything?” The mare sounded disappointed.

“I might; I’ll look around after I get my directions.”

“Well, main is two blocks that way,” said the old mare, pointing toward the back of the store. Brightblade’s gaze followed her outstretched hoof and he noticed a rustic old chest in the corner.

“Thanks,” replied Brightblade. “How much is that chest?”

“Twenty jangles. Do you like it?”

“Yeah, it’d look great in my living room. And it would give me a place to put all my old magazines.”

“Well, the lock is broken; I’ve never been able to get it open.”

“That’s okay,” said Brightblade as he laid the twenty jangles on the counter. “Twenty jangles ain’t much for such a nice old chest.”

“I’m trying to clean out the store so I can retire and move to Florida,” the mare explained.

“Well, good luck,” said Brightblade as he lugged the old chest, which was unexpectedly heavy, out of the store. By the time he reached his home outside of town, the sun had set.

* * *
The next morning, Brightblade, who was currently between jobs, set about studying his purchase. It was an old iron-bound chest, the kind one saw in old pirate movies. There was a large lock built into the front of the chest. Brightblade pushed aside the pendulum-like keyhole cover and peered into the lock. He couldn’t see into the interior of the chest, but he could make out that it was a relatively simple lock.

Brightblade got out his toolbox and put a couple of drops of oil into the old lock. Then he rummaged through the toolbox for a piece of heavy wire which he bent into a crude lockpick. After a few moments of jiggling the wire in the lock, the latch released with a loud click and the lid of the chest was free. Brightblade slowly lifted the lid and peered inside.

The sole content of the chest was a heavy canvas bag bound with a frayed piece of cord. Brightblade lifted the bag (which accounted for more than half the weight of the chest) from its resting place and set it on the table. He untied the cord and let the contents of the bag spill out onto the table. The yellow pony couldn’t believe his eyes. Before him laid a pile of thousands of jangles!

Brightblade rushed back to the antique store. “Hello again,” the mare greeted him. “I wasn’t expecting to see you again so soon.”

“Uh, yeah, well, about that chest I bought...”

“I’m sorry,” the mare cut him off. “All sales are final and all merchandise is sold ‘as is’.”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with the chest. I got the lock open and, well, it was full of money!”

“Oh?” said the mare. “And?”

“ ‘And?’ “ Brightblade was confused. “Well, I thought that... um, the money is rightfully yours! There’s enough to retire and move to Florida like you want to!”

“Oh, no, all sales are final. The chest, and the money, are yours. Besides, what would I do with the store?” Another pony entered the shop.

“But I can’t just...” Brightblade started to say.

“I have another costumer,” said the mare. “You’ll have to come back later if you insist on discussing this further, but I won’t change my mind.”

* * *
Later that day, Brightblade sat at the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe eating a banana split and thinking about the money. After his visit to the antique store that morning, he had gone home and counted the money-- one hundred thousand jangles. Normally he’d be happy to have so much money, but it didn’t feel right just taking it from the old mare.

“Hey, why so glum, BB?”

Brightblade looked up from his split to see Medley, whom he had gone out with a couple of times, sitting down at his table. “Oh, hi, Med. I’ve got a little dilemma an my hooves.”

“Well, maybe I can help you figure it out. What’s the problem?”

“I went to this antique store and bought an old chest. When I got it home I found a hundred thousand jangles inside. I tried to return the money to the old mare who runs the store so she could retire, but she refused to take it.”

Medley stared at Brightblade for a moment in disbelief. When she regained her composure she said, “Well, you always complained that you never have enough money.”

“This is serious!” Brightblade snapped.

“Hey, I’m just tryin’ to cheer you up.”

“I’m sorry. I just don’t know what to do. The mare won’t take the money-- at least not while she’s still got the store-- and I don’t feel comfortable just keeping it.”

Medley scooped up a bit of whipped cream from Brightblade’s banana split and said, “Why not just buy the shop with the money? The mare would have her money and you wouldn’t have to keep bouncing around from odd job to odd job.”

Brightblade was struck dumb for a moment. “You’re a genius! It might just work!” He jumped up and rushed out the door.

“Mind if I finish your split?” Medley called after him. There was no response. “Well, I guess not,” she reasoned as she picked up his spoon and started eating.

* * *
Brightblade rushed home, grabbed the bag of jangles, and proceeded to the antique store. He took the money and set it on the counter.

“I’ve already told you, I won’t take your money,” the mare protested.

“Oh, I’m not giving you the money,” Brightblade said. “I’m buying your store.”

“Buying? What if the store isn’t for sale? Besides, do you really want an antique store; or are you just trying to get me to accept the money?”

“Well, I don’t think I’d be buying the store if it weren’t for the money; but I do need a steady job, and I think I like it here.”

“You seem like an honest enough young stallion. The store is yours for fifty thousand jangles.”

“Fifty? But that’s only half!”

“Oh, you’ll be happy to have the other fifty thousand. This job doesn’t pay very well. Why don’t you come back an Friday and we’ll take care of the paperwork?”

Brightblade could hardly believe what had just happened. “Sure,” he mumbled. “See you Friday.”

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

Dancer’s Story #9
Orion’s Star
by Wonder ([email protected]), with special help from Shining!


The dapple grey Andalusian stallion stepped onto the mile-long dirt training track at Whitebrook Farm with his eyebrows raised. Orion loved to go for early morning walks, and just out of curiosity, decided to jog the track today.

“Well, good morning, Orion! Decided to be a racehorse instead of a painter?” a voice said from behind him.

Orion turned to see Wonder, heavy with foal, walk up behind him. “Good morning, Wonder!” he smiled. “Yep! I’ve decided to become the first Andalusian racehorse!” he added with a chuckle, but then shook his head. “I just thought I’d walk around the track today, that’s all.”

Wonder nodded her head and together the two started a slow walk down the rail. “It’s a good thing you picked today! Tryouts start in about two weeks, and some of the campers are here already,” she told him.

“So soon?” Orion asked as he looked back towards the racing barn.

“Yeah, a few more will be coming this afternoon. A filly might be coming today to just use the track. Maybe I can talk her into trying out for camp...” Wonder mused aloud.

* * *
“There, a perfect view of the farm...” Orion sighed to himself later that day. The morning had turned out to be a perfect spring day-- just right for painting!

Brushing the long black forelock out of his face, he looked out over the farm from the hilltop by the trail. It was the grey stallion’s favorite spot to think, paint, and at night, to stargaze. Picking up his brush, Orion stroked the tip against his chin thoughtfully, and then dipped it in the blue blob of paint on his palate.

“Excuse me,” a voice said behind him. “Where should I go to run on the track?”

Orion’s ears flicked backward and he craned his neck around to see who it was, and he almost shouted with surprise. Blinking a few times, he stared at the small grey filly in front of him, and then to answer her question, pointed to the racing barn by the track.

“Thank you,” the grey filly smiled. “That’s a beautiful painting.” she added before turning and bounding off down the hill.

After she left, Orion sat motionless and in shock for several long minutes, staring in the direction she had gone. It was her; it had to be! She had his eyes, his color...

Taking a deep breath to calm his racing heart, Orion stood up and walked back down the hill to the training track to make sure of what he thought. His eyes quickly searched her out before he even reached the gap where Wonder was standing. Taking another deep breath, he leaned heavily on the fence.

Beside him, Wonder looked up at him, surprised. “Orion, I don’t usually see you by the track anymore watching workouts,” the chestnut mare said.

“I had to see something, Wonder.” Orion answered distantly. Wonder shrugged and studied him seriously. “Who is that grey filly?” he asked hoarsely.

Wonder smiled and looked out to where Mira was on the track. “That’s Expect A Miracle.”

“Mira for short,” Orion mumbled.

Wonder glanced at Orion in surprise and raised her eyebrows. “Yes, she goes by Mira. She is my niece’s daughter. How did you know--” Wonder was cut short once again as Mira began her gallop.

Orion looked up and watched her silver form race towards the gap, almost a blur. In mere seconds it was over, and Mira flashed past the gap. Out of habit, Wonder had timed the filly’s gallop and now held the stopwatch up for Orion to look at. “Beautiful,” she whispered. “Twenty-one flat, and she told me she hasn’t had any training.”

Orion stepped away from the rail and looked down. He still held his paintbrush in his hoof and intently studied the soft bristles and the traces of the deep blue acrylic paint.

“You okay, Orion?” Wonder asked him, showing the concern she felt before the breeze. Orion blinked, then nodded silently. Wonder smiled. “Just think of how fast she’d be with a little training!” she exclaimed excitedly.

Orion finally snapped and jerked his head up. “She can’t train here,” he said shortly. “I never want to see her again.” Turning before Wonder could do more then gasp in surprise, he cantered back up the hill to his lonely solitude.

* * *
Sterling and Madison got up extra early the first morning of the tryouts. As the nervous and green two-year-olds wandered around the farm grounds and were clocked for breezing, the two small fillies rested in the shade of an old oak tree. “This is so much fun! Someday I want to be a racehorse!” Sterling, the shiny bay filly, grinned at Madison.

“Yeah? You’ll be the best racehorse, and I’ll be the best jumper! Daddy said he’d teach me to jump when I’m older,” Madison said proudly.

“Maybe you’ll be lucky, and break your leg the first time!” a voice hissed from behind them.

Sterling whirled around to face Dinah, Madison’s sister, who was standing behind them. Madison cringed and didn’t bother to turn around; she knew who was behind them. “Dinah, leave Maddy alone!” Sterling growled and stood between her best friend and their “enemy”.

Dinah rolled her eyes and then smirked. “Honestly, Sterling,” the chestnut yearling huffed. “I don’t see why you even talk to that little sewer rat!” She motioned to Madison and grinned smugly as the small grey filly cringed.

Sterling backed up and hugged Madison tightly. “Come off it, Dinah!” she snapped, growing more angry at the yearling. “Madison didn’t do anything and you know it.”

Dinah snorted and pointed her hoof behind Sterling. “Yes, she did!” At that, Madison began wailing, covering her dainty face with her tiny hooves. Dinah rolled her eyes in impatience and got a glare from Sterling.

“Pardon me,” a light British accent broke through the tension. Sterling cringed and turned around, but relaxed once she saw Mira. Smiling softly at the two-year-old filly, she was about to say something when Dinah whirled around.

“What do you want?” Dinah eyed the long-legged grey filly standing before her.

Mira shrugged. “Does there seem to be a problem? Perhaps I could help...”

Dinah tossed her head at Mira’s offer and snapped at the older filly. “Mind your own business!” she exploded. “Oh, fine... I’m leaving.” She huffed again and turned to Madison. “I hope you fall down the deepest well and nobody ever finds you!” she snarled nastily. With an exasperated breath, Dinah whirled around and stomped off, nearly toppling Mira.

“She seems sociable,” Mira remarked sarcastically. Through her tears, Madison laughed and hiccoughed.

“What’s your name?” Madison asked shyly. With one small hoof, she rubbed her eyes, still bright with tears.

Mira smiled. “I’m Mira. I’m trying out for training.”

Madison smiled at Mira, noticing that she looked a lot like the older filly. “I’m Madison,” she offered.

Mira turned towards Sterling expectantly. “Sterling,” the bay introduced herself with a smile. “And that other filly is Dinah, Madison’s sister.”

“Are you going to be a racehorse?” Madison asked, wide-eyed.

“I certainly hope so,” Mira gave her a wobbly smile.

“Mira!” Wonder called from the oval. “It’s your turn to breeze.”

Mira took a deep breath and shook her thick forelock out of her dark eyes. “Wish me luck!” she whispered to Madison and Sterling.

“Good luck, Mira!” they both grinned and whispered back.

Sterling sighed deeply as Mira turned and headed to the track, her finely-chiseled head held high. Someday I want to be just like her! she thought to herself.

“Let’s watch!” Sterling suggested. Madison scrambled to her feet and followed Sterling to the rail. There, the two fillies watched in awe as Mira zoomed past at what seemed to them to be breakneck speed.

“Wow...” Madison whispered.

Sterling nodded in agreement. “That was really fast; she’s sure to get in!” she said aloud with conviction.

* * *
On the final day of tryouts, Orion walked out of the stable to see dark clouds overhead. “Just great...” he mumbled to himself. He had hoped to get some time to paint more scenery of the farm today. Stretching, he rolled his shoulders and then shrugged. Why not paint the dark clouds? He hadn’t painted them in a while; it was their turn.

Looking out across the yard as he heard Dancer’s voice, he frowned deeply as he saw Mira standing with Sterling and Madison. Wonder had told him last night how fascinated the two young fillies were with Mira. Thinking quickly, he took a step forward. “Madison!” he called out to her, then beckoned her over to him.

He looked back down the barn aisle, then turned his head and rested his eyes on Mira. She looks so much like him... everything! Even her eyes. Those eyes... he thought to himself. As he watched her take a step back, he realized he was frowning and looked down at Madison as she trotted up to him.

“What’s wrong, Daddy?” she asked as she gave him an affectionate nuzzle.

“Nothing really, Maddy. I just wanted to tell you that you can talk with the horses trying out; just don’t get in their way, okay, Sweetie?” he asked her, wrapping a foreleg around her and pulling her close for a hug. Madison nodded and returned the hug, then giggled as Orion kissed her forehead. “Now go play, and stay out of trouble!” he called as she scampered off to where Sterling was watching from the rail.

* * *
Wonder sighed and looked up at the skies as the rain started to fall. She turned her head and glancing out on the track at Mira as she and the other colts and fillies walked towards the gate. As the chestnut mare fiddled with her stopwatch, she was glad Mira had tried out. She knew without a doubt that she’d approve Mira. What potential! She had been delighted when her grand-niece had agreed to try out.

After watching her first breeze, Wonder had talked to Jazzman and put Mira on the approved list. Coming out of her daydream as a big fat raindrop landed on her nose, Wonder stepped a few feet back from the rail as the gates clanged open and the horses surged out onto the track. She watched closely as they slipped in the slick mud, and was impressed by Mira going wide.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Madison on the track and froze. Watching the tragedy unfold with her heart in her throat, Wonder wanted to scream as she watched Madison tumble out in front of the two-year-olds; and then Mira dived to save her, but found that Madison was frozen in her tracks.

For a long second everything was silent, and Wonder could hear every single raindrop fall, each like a tear. Then Madison wailed, and Wonder jumped into action. Taking a lunge forward, she gathered her hindquarters and with a grunt, leaped over the rail. For a moment the mare thought that jumping wasn’t such a hard sport, but as her front end started coming down towards earth, her eyes went wide as her belly scraped roughly against the board. Ignoring the pain, she sprinted over to where Madison sat in the mud and Mira lay. “Mira!” she cried, reaching Mira’s mud-covered form.

Mira’s eyelids fluttered and opened. Gingerly, the filly lifted her head. “Is Madison okay?” she inquired exhaustedly.

Wonder nodded. “Where do you hurt, Mira?” she asked, clutching Mira’s small hoof in her own.

Mira shook her head. “Nothing’s broken,” she assured the chestnut mare. “I just got the wind knocked out of me.” She sat up and wiped her eyes.

Wonder hugged Madison and Mira to her and gave a sigh of relief. “I was so scared,” she confessed.

Mira smiled weakly. “I just want to sleep,” she mumbled tiredly.

* * *
Orion stormed into Whitebrook Farm’s office, yanking the door open to reveal three startled horses. Wonder, Jazzman, and Dancer stared at him, wide-eyed. “I know you’re reviewing which horses you’re going to select for training,” he began. “You will not allow the grey filly, Mira, to train here,” he announced. With a decisive nod of his head, the stallion crossed his forelegs over his strong chest.

Dancer jumped up from her perch on a stool. “I don’t understand what you have against her,” she challenged, jutting her chin out. Orion shook his head stubbornly.

Jazzman cocked his head to the side and scratched an ear thoughtfully. “Orion,” he said. “Let’s be reasonable. She’s the fastest filly I’ve ever seen. She deserves to be given the training.”

“But she didn’t even finish the race,” Orion defended weakly.

“She saved your daughter’s life!” Wonder exclaimed, throwing her forelegs up in exasperation.

Orion stood numbly in the doorway. He blinked and closed his eyes, remembering what Wonder had told him of what had happened after he left that morning. “Fine,” he said quietly. “But if you accept her, I’m leaving.”

* * *
Dinah woke up later that night and squinted at her clock-- it was twelve-thirty. Groaning, she rolled over onto her back and stared up at the window. She could see the full moon clearly, and the few stars that were close to it.

The chestnut filly’s tired expression turned to a scowl as she thought of what had happened that day. The grey filly, Expect A Miracle-- why was she so great anyway? Everyone was talking about Mira as if she’d be Whitebrook’s next star. And then there was that goody-goody British accent of her’s! Dinah wrinkled her nose in disgust and stood up. Mira wouldn’t be training at Whitebrook if she had anything to do with it!

Slipping out of her stall she tiptoed quietly down the aisle to the office door and stared inside. The rejection and acceptance notices were in their unsealed envelopes in a stack right next to the computer. “This will be so easy!” Dinah hissed to herself as she picked up one stack and flipped through it until she found Mira’s envelope. “Accepted? I think not!” Dinah giggled and pulled the piece of paper out. Reading it over quickly in the dim moonlight, she shook her head and crumpled up the paper. She dropped the wadded notice in the garbage and sat down on the stool.

Taking a deep breath, she looked around the desk and found a few extra copies of the rejection notice. “Now... for the typewriter!” Dinah sang to herself as she turned around and slipped the paper into Jazzman’s old typewriter, lining the paper up and typing Mira’s full name in the space after “Dear”. There, the job was done, and the chestnut could bask in the fact that Mira’s dreams would be destroyed!

“Here’s your miracle, Miracle!” Dinah smirked as she folded the paper and restuffed the envelope, then slipped it back into the stack. Giving one last glance back at the computer desk as she slipped out the door, she narrowed her eyes and gave the stack a glare that could melt ice. She then made her way back to her stall as quietly as she had came. The letters would be mailed in the morning, and nobody would realize the switch had been made until after camp started... without Mira.

* * *
For a week, Orion mulled over his life. Had he really thought that banishing memories would magically turn his life into a fairy tale where the only option was living happily ever after? He snorted at the thought and gazed up at the cloudless night sky.

Life had never been easy for him. For the first year of his life, he and his mother had trekked the countryside, trying to find a place to belong. Finally, they had found that place. And just when Orion had thought it would finally be okay to be happy, his mother had died. He felt his chest constrict, remembering how devastated he had been.

Orion sighed and let the night’s darkness envelope him. Grief was no stranger to him. In his mind, he listed each disaster, methodically berating himself for coming out of each one untouched when those he loved left him alone in the darkness.

“The she came,” Orion said aloud, startling himself. “She had to come and dredge up memories I never wanted to think about again.”

A warm wind picked up, making the leaves of the trees whisper their secrets to the lone stallion. But was it really her fault? a voice inside him argued.

“Orion?” a timid voice broke the night’s silence. Orion turned around to face a tall black mare.

“Hi, Dancer,” Orion greeted her.

Dancer smiled. “What are you up to?” she inquired.

Orion shrugged. “Stargazing. Thinking.”

For a long minute, it was quiet. “Can I ask you something, Orion?” Dancer asked.

The grey stallion looked at Dancer, a puzzled expression on his face. “I suppose so,” he said slowly.

The mare let her gaze drift back to the stars. “Why don’t you like Mira?” she said bluntly.

Orion sighed. “That’s my constellation up there,” he said softly.

“I know,” the black mare replied. “You’ve showed me before.”

Orion ignored her comment. “Do you see that bright star to the left of Orion?” he asked, pointing upward.

“Yes,” Dancer affirmed, squinting.

“That star is called Mira,” the stallion whispered. Dancer turned to look at him, surprised. “It’s a star in the constellation Cetus. Mira’s just one star, but she is part of something so much bigger.”

“She’s not part of Orion,” Dancer pointed out.

Orion blinked. “Mira is part of so many memories I have wanted to forget.”

Dancer crossed her forelegs. “So you’ll shatter her dreams to protect yourself. That’s pretty selfish, Orion.” She raised an eyebrow, challenging him to object.

“I’m afraid,” Orion mumbled.

Dancer knitted her eyebrows. “Afraid? Of Mira?”

The stallion nodded miserably. “If she comes here, I know I’ll love her. I’ll love her as much as I love Dinah and Madison.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Dancer inquired.

“Everything connected to her...” Orion trailed off, unable to explain.

“Everything connected to her is connected to you, right?” the mare said.

Orion scratched his ear. “Well, yes,” he conceded.

Dancer nodded thoughtfully. “So if you’re in despair about things connected to Mira, don’t you think she’s felt these emotions, too?”

Orion blinked back tears that suddenly sprang to his eyes. “I just can’t face disaster again,” he whispered.

“Orion,” Dancer soothed, throwing a foreleg around his strong shoulder. “Mira is not disaster.”

The stallion nodded, agreeing. “Thank you,” he murmured. “Perhaps now the shadows will leave me and the stars will remember.”

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Wedding Bulletin


Some of you may be wondering about the wedding of Tabby and Thomas. Wasn’t it supposed to be in this issue? You’re quite right; it was. But we had a change in plans. But don’t panic; don’t panic. They are still getting married and the story is quite finished-- I have it saved on the hard drive, backed-up on CD, and printed out on paper.

So, where is it? Well, you see, the story got to be extremely long; and with Sugarberry’s companion story, it would have made for the largest issue yet what with all the other submissions we had already received. Therefore, we decided to hold off on the wedding stories.

Yes, you’re still going to be able to read all about it-- if you can wait twelve days. In addition to the regular August issue you’re reading now, we’ll be sending out an extra-special newsletter on August twelfth-- the actual day of Tabby and Thomas’ wedding! This will give you time to get through this monster of an issue before I throw another long story at you.

So be watching your e-mail boxes. It’s all happening August twelth. Don’t miss out on the fun! ^.^

--Tabby

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Early Pony Special


If you submit a chapter of your continuing storyline to me, Tabby, any time before the fifteenth of the month, you will be awarded one point. In future months, whenever you submit new chapters before the fifteenth of the month, you will be awarded one more point for each chapter. (In the case of submitting multiple chapters for one month, a point will be awarded for each chapter.) When you have built up six of these points, you are entitled to receive a free pony!

Once you have your six points, you may head over to my extensive My Little Pony sale list (http://TweegLvr.tripod.com/MLP.htm) and choose one pony (not going over a $5 value). E-mail me your selection, and if that pony hasn’t been sold or traded since the last time I updated, the pony is yours! Supply me with your address, and the pony will be shipped to you promptly. (Ponies cannot be reserved for this purpose beforehand.)

If there are any new writers out there interested in submitting to My Little Pony Monthly, please feel free to send your works to [email protected]! No matter how new you are to the newsletter, you can still take advantage of this policy. A free pony could be waiting in your future!

Any questions on this policy? Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

--Tabby



Running Tally of Points Given Out So Far


Moonjumper ([email protected])-- 1

Crash Cymbal ([email protected])-- 2

Starr ([email protected])-- 5

Sugarberry ([email protected])-- 4

Yum Yum ([email protected])-- 1

Baby Steamer ([email protected])-- 1

Moonstar ([email protected])-- 1

Cinnamon Sugar ([email protected])-- 1

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My Little Pony Monthly Sister Newsletter


My Little Pony Monthly has recently become aware of a new online MLP newsletter run by Crash Cymbal ([email protected]). This sister newsletter is completely free, as is MLP Monthly, and comes out approximately every week. My Little Pony One is preferably viewed by AOL 4.0 or higher users, as it employs the use of graphics. However, if you are satisfied with reading the text only, I’m sure there would be no problem of subscribing. Issues contain featured pictures and websites, pony of the issue, prettiest pony poll, polls, tips, fan-fictions, custom ponies, song lyrics, eBay links, and answered questions! To subscribe, just send a quick e-mail to [email protected]

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**My Little Pony Monthly Policy Statement**


This e-mail newsletter is meant to be read by all ages, and I shall reject any submissions if they contain profanity of any sort. If you have a piece you think would add to the quality of My Little Pony Monthly, feel free to e-mail it to me at [email protected] And, remember, it doesn’t have to be a story to be accepted! My Little Pony-related games, contests (please be willing to notify me of the results so I can post them in the next issue), Invento Ponies, and everything else are great as well! However, submissions must be received at least three days prior to the first of the month to be ensured to be posted in that issue. Submissions are subject to being edited by our proofreaders.

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My Little Pony Monthly is a publication of Nematoid (Electronic) Publishing.
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To view our past issues online, simply go to:

http://www.crosswinds.net/~tabbymlp/Monthly.htm
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Our next special-edition issue will be sent August twelfth.

Our next regular issue will be sent September first.

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