My Little Pony Monthly Issue 42 (September 1,
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]
Index of this issue--
1. Contest Corner
2. Ginseng and Sassafras Tea Chapters 11-12 (by Sugarberry)
3. Atlantean Alliance (by Tabby)
4. Invento Ponies (by Berry Brite)
5. Alien Invasion Part II (by Berry Brite)
6. A Story (by Steamer)
7. Princess Willow Rosette Chapter 1 (by Akkima)
8. The Winner Is... Part Two (by Sugarberry)
9. The Evil Dragon Part 15 (by Starr)
10. Clever Clover vs. the Flatlands Chapter 5: The Three Challenges (by Clever Clover)
11. The Adventures of Baby North Star and Baby Brother Bright Bouquet Chapter 3: The Trip (by Baby Steamer)
12. The Great Apple Festival (by Sugarberry)
13. Letter About Golden Glory Chapel
14. The Lost Prince Chapter 7 (by Moonjumper)
15. Announcement About the Pacific Northwest Pony Friends
16. The Insane Crossover Story Chapter Ten (by Tabby and Barnacle)
The winner of last month’s contest (to answer the riddle “How can you fit ten ponies into nine stalls?) was [email protected]! Her answer was “You can get ten ponies into nine stalls if one is a mare that is pregnant!”, and she will be receiving an autographed copy of Chris Platt’s book entitled Willow King.
This month’s prize is another autographed Chris Platt book-- The Forbidden Stallion, from the Thoroughbred Ashleigh series.. A summary is as follows:
“Ashleigh Griffen knows it’s wrong, but she can’t help it-- she’s jealous. Peter Danworth has everything: a huge Thoroughbred racing farm, money, and one of Ashleigh’s favorite stallions, Aladdin.
“Then Ashleigh gets amazing news. If the stallion loses his next race, the Danworths will retire him to stud at Edgardale!
“Excited, Ashleigh sneaks a ride on Aladdin-- and she accidentally discovers how to run him to win. Will she keep quiet so the magnificent stallion can live on her parents’ farm? Or will she give Peter, the boy who has everything, Aladdin’s secret?”
This month’s contest involves a scavenger hunt through the stories in this issue! You will be looking for the following words phrases:
1. Sweetheart Sisters
Each only appears once in this issue. Once you have found these three words, e-mail [email protected] a message including the sentence where each was located. If you are correct, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of The Forbidden Stallion!
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
Ginseng and Sassafras Tea
by Sugarberry ([email protected])
Free Lance didn’t waste any time after her arrival at Hood’s Place. She slid into an empty chair and aimed her questions at Checker.
“Chief Checker, is it true that you allowed the elusive robber of Woodlawn to escape under the watchful eye of your police force?”
Taking a deep breath, Checker responded. “The alleged suspect seems to have left town.”
“Did one of your officers question this suspect yesterday?”
“The officer sent to question the suspect was led to believe he had talked to him.”
“Meaning your officer was incapable of seeing through an obvious deception?”
“Obvious to us in hindsight,” agreed Checker. “But understandable considering the circumstances.”
“What is your illustrious department doing about this development?” She glanced at the coffee mugs on the table disdainfully. “Other than drinking coffee,” she amended.
“My officers are combing Woodlawn and the surrounding area for information concerning the stallion in question.”
“And what is an exact description of this stallion?”
Checker wished he could hold back the details just to prevent Dreamy from getting her hooves on it, but he knew that having Victor’s description printed in the paper would acquaint more ponies with the need for facts concerning the stallion. He grudgingly gave out the description. “The stallion we are searching for is young, probably nineteen or twenty. He’s dark green with a purple mane and tail, and has a purple butterfly symbol.”
Having what she wanted, Dreamy stood up. Hood and Checker did also, but refrained from saying anything. The reporter cast a cold gaze on the two of them, and she left them with a parting shot. “My article in tomorrow’s paper will certainly accomplish what Woodlawn’s finest have failed to do.”
“That went well,” Hood muttered under his breath as he watched Dreamy walk away. As she reached the door, it opened; and Buttercup, carrying the ever-smiling Sweety, held it ajar to let Dreamy pass.
“Your Hood may need a soft shoulder to cry on,” Dreamy smiled disparagingly as she left the shop.
Buttercup, looking bewildered, came to Hood. “Since when are you ‘my Hood’, and who was that vixen?”
“It’s kind of a long story,” Hood sighed.
Buttercup sat herself down in the chair vacated by Dreamy. “I’ve got time.”
Hood motioned to Drumstick to take Buttercup’s order, then walked Checker to the door. “Don’t let Dreamy get to you, Checker. Whatever she writes in the paper doesn’t change the fact that you are doing all you can.”
Checker smiled weakly. “Even I’m beginning to doubt that, Hood.” He turned and forlornly left the shop.
Hood braced himself for a barrage of questions when he returned to Buttercup, but Patchwork Petal had come in for her shift and was talking baby talk to Sweetie as Buttercup looked proudly on. Hood took the opportunity to return to the counter, and the shop was soon crowded with ponies of all ages eager to escape the summer heat with a big serving of ice cream in the comfort of Hood’s Place.
“Good evening, Hood.” A light green stallion with a sky blue mane approached the counter, having arrived to meet his wife and daughter.
“Hi there, Homestead,” Hood responded. “That’s quite a pretty foal you and Buttercup have.”
“Yeah. She’s the greatest.” Homestead looked devotedly in the direction of his family. The foal was the center of attention from the customers at the nearby tables, and Sweetie’s cooing, gurgling, and assorted antics were a sure crowd pleaser. “But, anyway,” Homestead went on, “Buttercup says she needs to talk with you. I’m going to take Sweetie home now, and maybe you can walk Buttercup home later?”
Hood was about to plead too much work when Rosy Bells came up behind him. “Of course Hood can go,” she proclaimed. “I’m in charge now!”
“Good timing, Rosy Bells,” Hood belied. To Homestead, he directed, “Sure, I’ll get Buttercup home safely. I’ve just got to finish-up a few things in the office first.”
“Okay, Hood,” grinned Homestead. “And come in for a cold lemonade when you get there.”
“Sure thing,” Hood answered. As he trotted off to his office, he suddenly felt very, very weary.
He had no sooner gotten comfortable at his desk when Buttercup appeared in the doorway. “Mind if I come in?” she asked. Hood realized anew just how pretty she was. “Homestead’s one lucky stallion,” he said out loud.
Buttercup blushed slightly across her yellow cheeks. “Flattery will get you nowhere, Hood. I’m dying to know what was going on between you and that sassy-looking mare.”
“Meddlesome by nature, are you, Buttercup?”
“Excuse me, but it was your lady friend who referred to you as ‘my Hood’. That gives me certain rights.” She winked coquettishly.
“It’s just a misunderstanding. She saw us at the grocery yesterday and thought we made a lovely family.”
Buttercup laughed merrily. “I thought she might be the same mare I saw you talking with at the market. I hope I didn’t spoil your plans.”
“Actually, you saved me from an evening of verbal torture,” Hood admitted.
“Who is this mare, Hood?”
Hood disclosed his connection to Dreamy, alias Free Lance, holding the inquisitive Buttercup in rapt attention. “Rather waspish, isn’t she?” Buttercup offered as Hood finished his story.
Hood grinned at the idea of Dreamy being compared to a wasp. “Yes, she always was irritating and annoying.” But his mind moved back to the present moment. “And now, I think I better get you home to your family.”
As they walked through the thickening dusk, they discussed the continuing saga of Woodlawn’s woes. Buttercup was excited to find out that Checker now had a definite description of the burglar. “Green with purple mane?” she asked. “That doesn’t ring any bells with me. What is his symbol?”
“A purple butterfly... an amethyst swallowtail, I think it was.”
“An amethyst swallowtail?” murmured Buttercup. “Why does that sound familiar?”
“You’ve seen him?” Hood’s voice rose in excitement.
“No... no, it’s not that. But something... “ Buttercup trailed off, and Hood remained silent to give her time to think. It wasn’t until they reached Buttercup’s house and had gone inside that she suddenly spoke-up. “I remember now! Mom said the midwife who helped with my birth had a number of amethyst swallowtails on her sides.”
“Do you remember her name?” questioned Hood. “This could be important.”
Buttercup accepted a glass of ice-cold lemonade from her husband and concentrated hard. “Nope, but Mom will surely know!” She crossed to the telephone and placed the call while Hood paced the floor and Homestead checked on the sleeping foal.
“Hello, Mom?” It’s me... Yes, Sweety is fine... Of course I’ll give her a hug and kiss for you...” Hood nervously tapped a hoof on the kitchen counter, his impatience building; he wanted a definite name to go on.
“No, I’m just calling to get some information... What was the name of the midwife who helped deliver me?” Buttercup held the receiver away from her ear as her mother’s squeal of delight came so loudly through the line that even Hood could hear it some distance away. “No, Mom, I’m not going to have another foal, just yet. The reason I’m asking is that it’s important for an investigation here in Woodlawn.”
“Yes, that’s it. So it was in the Scoopville paper, too?... Do you remember her name?” Buttercup grabbed a pencil and jotted a name on the pad by the telephone. Hood watched over her shoulder as she added “moved” and “died” to the note.
“Okay, thanks. I’ve got to go now... Love you, too!” As she hung up the receiver, Buttercup beamed. “Her name was Sassafras and she married a farmer sometime after I was born, and they had a place east of town, but Mom never saw much of her although she heard bits and pieces about them from time to time.”
“Such as... “ prompted Hood.
Taking a deep breath, Buttercup continued. “She had several foals, Mom thinks, and they lived an isolated life on that farm until their finances ran out. I guess they moved to the city then-- Mom didn’t know where-- and she later heard that Sassafras had died.” She stopped talking and looked at Hood and Homestead in turn. “What do you think?”
“I think Checker needs to hear this as soon as possible,” urged Hood. “Do I have your permission to call him?”
“Sure,” agreed Homestead. “If this news will help in some way, go right ahead.”
Punching out Checker’s home number on the touch tone phone, Hood prayed that Moonglow wouldn’t be the one to answer and question his reason for calling. On the second ring, however, Checker’s voice came over the line.
“Chief Checker here.”
“Checker, it’s Hood. I ran into some information that you might be interested in... I’m at Buttercup and Homestead’s home... Yes, they said it’s okay for you to come now... Right.” Hood set down the receiver. “He’s on his way.”
Homestead tried to get Hood to sit down, but the potential of a clue to this ongoing mystery of thievery and deceit was too invigorating to allow him to be still. He crossed and recrossed the kitchen as Buttercup chattered about local gossip and household problems. Homestead listened to his wife, making the appropriate monosyllable reply when necessary, while watching Hood’s growing excitement.
Checker made record time in crossing town, and arrived at the front door ready to listen. Homestead brought him into the kitchen where the four ponies seated themselves around the table, and Checker kept quiet while Buttercup repeated her data.
Taking down notes as he listened, Checker’s demeanor became noticeably more buoyant. This was a lead that gave him something concrete to go on. When Buttercup had shared all the pieces of the puzzle that she could recall, Checker thanked her with a smile on his face. Haven’t seen that for awhile, thought Hood to himself.
“I’ll have to talk to your mother personally tomorrow morning on the chance that she might have remembered something else that would be useful to us,” he informed Buttercup.
“She’ll be pleased to help,” Buttercup responded, showing Checker and Hood to the door. Homestead was busy calming Sweety after she had awakened from her sleep, begging for a warm bottle and a dry diaper.
Upon opening the door for her guests, Buttercup, along with Hood and Checker, came face-to-face with Dreamy, her hoof raised to knock. “Well, well,” she clucked. “Look what we have here.”
While Buttercup wickedly wrapped her foreleg around Hood, flashing him a wink as he turned his head in surprise, Checker responded to the reporter. “What are you doing here, Free Lance?”
“I have my sources, and they spotted you on what appeared to be an important errand.” She surveyed the homey-looking trio, and continued. “Or did you just need another mug of coffee?”
“Oh, we had lemonade!” replied Buttercup as she snuggled closer against Hood’s side.” “Would you care for some, Miss...?”
Dreamy looked as if she wanted to say something, but held her tongue. Instead, she directed a question at Checker. “Have you identified the stallion who is suspected of the crimes of the past few months?”
“No, I haven’t.” Checker replied truthfully. “Now if you’ll excuse me...” He left the sentence unfinished while motioning Dreamy to be on her way. Her eyes shot sparks, but she turned and left the premises.
When she was out of range, Hood unwrapped himself from Buttercup’s embrace. “You little snip!” he chastised her but could not refrain from chuckling over the incident.
Buttercup laughed. “She deserved it, Hood. She’s so... so... so arrogant!”
Homestead came into the room from the nursery. “What’s so funny?” he asked, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
“I think Buttercup better explain,” suggested Hood. “ Checker and I need to be on our way.” With that, they left Buttercup to account for her mischievous behavior to her husband, and headed to Hood’s nearby house where they could talk in private. Once inside and seated comfortably in Hood’s study, the two stallions compared notes. “What do you make of it, Checker?”
Checker took a deep breath. “It could be coincidence, of course, with two ponies having a similar symbol without being related.”
“On the other hoof?” Hood pressed.
“If this Sassafras lost her farm because of financial difficulties, and if she passed her discouragement on to her offspring...”
“The modus operandi would fit your conjecture-- someone with a chip on his or her shoulder trying to get back at Woodlawn because of a perceived injustice,” interrupted Hood.
“We’ve got no proof yet, but it’s a starting point,” Checker stood up and prepared to leave. “Looks like I’ll be spending the night at City Hall digging through records for this Sassafras.”
“Will Moonglow be okay alone with the foals?” worried Hood.
“Stardrift was with her when I left and will stay until morning, if needed,” assured Checker. At the door, he turned back to Hood. “I forgot to thank you for uncovering this opening for us. With something solid to go on, we’ll be able to make some headway.”
“Just find what you need in those files,” retorted Hood. “That’s all the thanks I need!”
It took all of Hood’s willpower the next morning not to trot over to the police station to discover what headway Checker had made in solving the mystery. Instead, he called Moonglow. It was Laser’s voice, however, that met his ear. “Hey, kid!” Hood greeted his nephew. “What’s for breakfast?”
“Hi, Uncle Hood,” Laser replied. “Aunt Stardrift is baking some chocolate muffins.”
“How’s your mom?”
“She’s fine. Aunt Stardrift stayed here last night ‘cause Dad was busy at the station.”
“Has your dad been home yet?”
“He came in long enough to grab some breakfast, but he’s gone again now.”
“Could I speak to your mom?”
“Sure.” Laser was gone, but it wasn’t long before Moonglow came to the phone.
“Hood? Is that you?”
“Yes, and I’m home worrying about you. Everything going okay with you and the baby?”
Moonglow giggled. “Admit it, Hood. You’re looking for a free breakfast!”
“I’ll take that to mean you’re feeling good this morning?”
“As well as can be expected. Why don’t you come on over?” she invited. “If you can make it in ten minutes, the muffins will be fresh out of the oven.”
“I’m on my way!” verified Hood with genuine anticipation. Chocolate muffins were one of his favorite bakery items. Leaving by the back door, he took a minute to check on a small, two-foot high blue spruce that Lacewing and Laser had helped him plant in the spring. The evergreen had put out tender blue needles after planting, and now stood proudly flaunting its new growth which had grown sharp and sturdy. Hood was proud of this tree-- the first and only effort he’d ever made to raise something himself. Seeing the tree healthy and strong lifted his spirits, and he hurried off to join his sisters for breakfast.
Arriving at the house, Hood could hear the raucous sounds of the foals playing in the backyard. He circled around to catch sight of them-- Blush, Crush, and Puzzle, along with Laser and Lacewing-- busy with a game of hopscotch. Or at least the four older ones were; Puzzle seemed more intent on playing in the dirt around the flowerbed.
Hood’s timing was perfect, as Stardrift came to the door to call everyone in to eat. “Come on in,” she smiled at her brother. “I made a second batch of muffins when I heard you were coming.” Under her breath, she added, “Moonglow’s mood has taken a down-swing, though.”
Hood ruffled Stardrift’s mane as he entered the house. “You take good care of me, Sis!” Spotting Moonglow across the kitchen, he noted her worried expression. He hurried to her side. “You look like you have a problem. Can I help?”
Moonglow smiled, but the worry lines remained. “Checker was out all night, and this morning he was off to Scoopville first thing. Dr. Fleethoof says the foal could come any time, and I’d kind of like his or her dad to be here.” She leaned her head against Hood’s shoulder, and he hugged her to him.
Catching Stardrift’s eye from her position by the table where the herd of foals was fighting over who would get the biggest muffin, he raised his eyebrows as if to ask, “What do I say here?”
Stardrift came to his rescue. She guided Moonglow to a chair at the table. “Sit down and relax. We will get word to Checker when you need him, and Hood and I are here now. Stop worrying!”
“Mom, I’m here, too,” reminded Laser, ready to take on his responsibility as the oldest foal when needed.
Looking at her son as though realizing for the first time that he was capable of handling things for her, Moonglow visibly relaxed. “You’re right,” she admitted. “I’m over-reacting. With all you around, I’ve nothing to fear.”
Breakfast took on a party atmosphere as the adults abandoned themselves to the innocent chatter of the foals. But all too soon, the realities of life crept in as Moonglow began to clear the table, Stardrift ran the dish water, and Hood left for the ice cream shop to order new supplies.
Moonglow’s worry had transferred to Hood; and as he walked to the shop, he mulled all the events of the last few days over in his mind. “The sooner Checker resolves this mess, the better!” he said out loud; and just at that moment, he saw Checker and Sparky round the corner into the street ahead of him. He hurried his pace to catch up with them. “Wait up, guys!” he said from behind them. As they turned, he continued, “What’s the good word?”
Before responding, Checker instructed Sparky to go directly to the station and begin a computer search on the information they had uncovered. When Sparky was on his way, Checker informed Hood of the progress they had made.
“Buttercup’s intelligence seems to have been the turning point, Hood,” Checker began with renewed energy. “I checked the records and found the marriage of one Sassafras to a local stallion by the name of Meadow Minder. He owned a tract of land five miles east of Woodlawn, bordering and including some of the woodland. It’s still in his name.”
“What about their offspring?” questioned Hood.
Checker shook his head. “There’s no record of births. But their isolated location and the fact that Sassafras was a midwife might account for that.”
“Did you question Buttercup’s mom?”
“First thing this morning. She couldn’t add anything to what Buttercup had already told us, yet she is positive that Sassafras and Meadow Minder had at least two foals. She calculates that they’d be in their late teens by this time.”
“Scoopville’s east of here, too, I believe,” Hood suggested.
Checker snickered. “Yes, it is. And yes, Sparky and I planned our route back to intersect with Meadow Minder’s farm site.” He shot a sidelong glance at Hood. “It’s scary to realize that the humble ice cream parlor owner presumes he can out-think the cops!”
Hood grinned. “Hey, who got you the lead? But don’t leave me in suspense. What did you find?”
“We found the farm, all right-- what’s left of it. A place really gets rundown fast once no one’s living on it.”
“Were there any signs of someone about the place now?” Hood quizzed his brother-in-law.
“Nothing out of the ordinary.”
“The farm is in a peculiar location,” explained Checker. “It’s secluded and rough, making it a difficult piece of ground to cultivate.”
“Which would explain why Sassafras and Meadow Minder had to move to the city,” reflected Hood.
“Exactly,” verified Checker. “The land is more suited for recreational pursuits like hiking and fishing; and as the land stands abandoned, it appears that the outdoor types have been making the most of its benefits.”
“So what you are saying is that even if someone was using the farm as a base of operations, it would be difficult to spot his activity?”
Checker nodded in assent. “Hiker trails crisscross the property and even cut through the homestead itself. This morning, Sparky and I saw two stallions and a mare on the trails.” He grinned at Hood. “And, no, none of them met the description of our suspect.”
Hood scratched his head. “This isn’t going to be easy then, is it?”
Checker concurred. “Not as easy as I’d like it to be.”
They walked in silence for a few minutes, pondering the possibilities. When they reached Hood’s Place, Hood invited, “Care for a cup of coffee?”
Looking up and down the street, Checker declined. “I’m afraid Free Lance would pop out and be on my case if I did,” he confessed.
“What’s your plan from here?”
“Sparky’s running Meadow Minder’s name through the computer; he should know by now where he went from the farm,” Checker updated Hood. “That will open a lot of doors for us.”
Checker continued on his way while Hood unlocked the shop and went to his office to place orders for the needs of his business. Before he knew it, Drumstick appeared, ready to open for the day.
“Another week and I’m history, Boss,” he tormented Hood. “I’ll be off to Derby and university life.”
“Don’t rub it in. I haven’t found a replacement for you yet.”
Drumstick grinned. “I always told you I was irreplaceable.”
Hood smiled as memories flooded him of his first days in Woodlawn. The building he had purchased on Main Street needed a complete overhaul, and he had welcomed the help of the brash schoolboy who had showed up day after day to assist him. When the shop was ready to open, it only seemed natural that Drumstick would share that work as well. Now he was ready to move on to college.
“I suppose you couldn’t recommend someone?” hinted Hood.
Drumstick thought for a minute, but Hood got no answer as a group of customers came into the shop; both stallions became busy with the creation of ice cream cones, sundaes, and shakes.
William soon made his appearance, and ensconced himself in his favorite seat at the counter. “‘Morning, Hood!”
“What can I get you, William?”
“Let’s start with one of those sandwiches you’re making these days,” William ordered, “and some of that sassafras tea for a change.”
Hood looked sharply at William. He’d never ordered anything but coffee to drink for as long as Hood had known him-- and William had been his first customer here in Woodlawn. Was William aware of the search for Sassafras’ family?
But William seemed unaware that he’d said anything revealing, so Hood kept quiet. William spread his unread newspaper out on the counter to peruse the news as he waited for lunch. “Ha!” he chuckled. “That Free Lance is at it again!”
“What now?” questioned Hood as he set William’s lunch in front of him.
“Pretty much the same,” William conveyed as he picked up his sandwich while still reading the newspaper. “She’s harping on Chief Checker for not rounding up that suspect now that he has a description.”
“Figures,” muttered Hood. He himself refrained from reading the latest criticism from Dreamy-- no sense to get riled-up when he knew Checker was getting closer to solving the mystery with each passing hour.
William took a sip of his tea. “This stuffs not too bad, considering it’s not coffee,” he admitted.
Hood grinned. “I knew a filly named Sassafras once,” he baited innocently.
Chewing down a bite of sandwich, William was silent. But once he swallowed, he was quick to respond. “There was a Sassafras in Woodlawn years ago, too, come to think of it.” William smiled as if the remembrance was a pleasant one. “She was a pretty thing, lavender with those purple butterflies on her sides-- double fancy, or whatever they call that.”
“Were you sweet on her, William?”
“Gosh, no!” declared William. “She was just a filly when I was already a confirmed bachelor. But I noticed things,” he winked.
“What was this Sassafras like?” prompted Hood.
“Well, I’ll tell you this much. She didn’t have eyes for any of the local stallions around here, try as hard as they might to get her attention. Her favor went to a farmer outside of town somewhere east of here.”
“Did they ever marry?”
“Oh, yes! A quiet wedding though. She was always quiet... more at home with the plants and animals than with her own kind.”
“What was Med...” Hood caught himself, “her husband like?” he finished.
“Hmm... I didn’t know him well. A loner, too, he was.”
Hood waited on a young mother and her two foals before returning to William. Hood was considering how to continue the conversation about Sassafras without sounding overly snoopy when William saved him the trouble.
“I was just thinking back to the last time it was I ever saw Sassafras and her family,” mused William.
Hood was immediately alert at the mention of family. Would he find out from William what Checker was relying on his high-tech computer to find for him?”
“It was at a county fair over in Derby. They were there-- Sassafras and her mate and the foals.”
“Foals?” asked Hood. “So she had children.”
“Two, if I remember correctly,” pondered William. “But that was years ago. I imagine they’d be all grown up by now.” After a pause, he continued, “It’s funny what a fellow remembers. I thought when I saw them that it was too bad the colt ended up with the butterfly, and not the filly.”
So there were two-- a son and a daughter, thought Hood. He would have liked to learn more, but several of the foals from the neighborhood who knew William’s kindly nature had surrounded the grandfatherly stallion, and Hood was soon busy filling orders for each of them as William’s treat.
Before another break came in the flow of business, William had left the shop, and Hood had to be satisfied with the information he had already gleaned. So Sassafras had a colt with a butterfly pattern on his rump, reflected Hood. And the age is right, too. I wonder how Checker is doing? But Hood would have to wait to find out as business was brisk all afternoon. He put his questions behind him, and catered to the customers.
But the image of a purple butterfly never completely left his mind.
by Tabby ([email protected])
What a monster of a story this one was to complete! I only started working on it four days before the first, so you can imagine how pressed I was for time!
Anyhow, this is the story of Tabby and Thomas’ honeymoon in Atlantis. It’s so romantic!! *swoons* Oh. Well, I must warn you that it isn’t a really exciting story. I hope it isn’t boring, but there isn’t a real adventure involved with it. Basically it just opens up a lot of possibilities for future storylines. If anyone reading this has seen the last episode of the second Sailor Moon series, this story in a way plays out like that– but with original scenes!
So, this story marks the end of “season one”. I’m going to take this opportunity to take a bit of a break from writing, in order to gear up for the start of “season two”! There’re a million things I’m behind on, and I can’t accomplish a lot of them with having to write a twenty-page epic once a month. But I’ll be back, sooner than you think. I’ll have to be, to help Barnacle on our end-of-year-spectacle! It’ll be a story more outrageous than what you’ve read before.
La la la. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read this story. Then wait for the others.
* * *
The lost city of Atlantis lay before them.
Thomas looked down at his side to make sure it was all still real. And it was. The pink unicorn had her head resting gently on his shoulder, her red mane falling about her in soft waves. In her lap were nestled the two Furbish seers, Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh.
Kissing her lightly, Thomas announced their arrival. “Come on, Tabby,” he whispered in her ear. “We’re here.”
Tabby slowly cranked one eye open, and then the other. “What? Here? Oh...” A smile slowly crossed her face as pleasant memories from earlier that day came back to her. “Atlantis...” She lifted her head higher and peered out the sea pony transport.
The three sea ponies, Sea Mist, Sand Dollar, and High Tide, signaled that they had indeed reached solid ground. Thomas was the first to alight, and in turn helped Tabby (and the Furbys) out onto the stony surface. Goodbyes were said to the sea ponies and instructions were left with them to return in two weeks; and with the departure of the sea-dwelling creatures, the couple and their Furbys were left in solitude (if one could call it solitude with Furbys involved).
Tabby placed the Furbys securely off to the side, where they quickly resumed their naps after a brief hiding game, and turned to face the white unicorn stallion before her.
“Well, Tabby,” Thomas broke the silence. “Have you had any regrets yet?”
Tabby broke out smiling. “You mean on marrying you? No... not quite yet.”
“Good.” Thomas grasped her hooves tightly. “Because we have two weeks here alone together.”
“Two weeks in Atlantis... with you!” Tabby gazed adoringly at him. “The whole city is ours, Thomas! It’s going to be fabulous...” She stared at the flight of stairs that rose up ahead of them. It was the entrance into the main part of the city; a heavy wall blocked the view of the buildings, and it was very dark.
“And it couldn’t ask for a better queen.” Thomas laid a hoof gently on her cheek and stared into her eyes.
“Don’t forget your role,” Tabby replied coyly. “I suppose you’ve been made king now, what with our marriage and all.”
“Then let’s take a look at our city.” Thomas gently tugged her up the stairs; the view of the abandoned metropolis from the high balcony was magnificent.
“Oh, just look at it,” Tabby breathed, her gaze taking in each and every detail of all the stone structures before her. “At least it’s not too difficult to rule over. To think that it was once alive with inhabitants!”
“It’s hard to believe,” Thomas agreed, holding her close. “Now completely devoid of life– but still the city itself remains hidden here under the ocean.”
“It’s such a nice place, even if it’s deserted... it adds that mysterious sense to it all,” Tabby said dreamily, leaning out over the railing. “I mean to investigate each and every building while we’re here.”
“How do you suppose Nur-Ab-Fin is holding up?” Thomas said softly.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to see, huh?” Tabby said brightly. “I trust Kaliope is keeping him at bay as promised. Won’t that confounded spirit ever give up?”
Thomas gently pushed a tendril of her mane out of her face. “With you on her side, she has nothing to worry about.”
Tabby looked at him with admiration and melted in his embrace. “Oh, Thomas,” she murmured. “I love you. I really do.”
“Then the feeling’s mutual,” Thomas whispered, only holding her tighter. A moment of silence followed, as no more words were needed to describe how they felt.
It was finally Tabby who lifted her head and spoke. “Thomas, please tell me nothing will ever get between us again.”
This request caught Thomas off guard. “Wh... what do you mean?”
“You know.” Tabby looked at him beseechingly. “When Nur-Ab-Fin turned you on me... and when Dad came back. You avoided me then. Please say it won’t happen again.”
Thomas was filled with his own grief upon seeing several tears trickling down her cheeks. How he wished he hadn’t caused her such pain in those instances... how he wished he hadn’t given her these reasons to mistrust him already! “Tabby, I’ll never leave you alone again. Please believe that, Tabby. I can’t say enough how sorry I am those things had to happen. Tabby... I don’t want to see you cry.”
“You’ll never avoid me again? I felt so terrible through those times,” Tabby said softly. “I didn’t want to lose you. If it ever happened again... but it won’t, will it?”
“Never, Tabby. I promise.”
“Thank you... oh, thank you.” She embraced him as if she would never let him go. Thomas stroked her mane in an attempt to soothe her, realizing that she must be exhausted from the day’s events which only added to her distress. Tabby, unaware of how fatigued she really was, slowly closed her eyelids in the circle of Thomas’ forelegs and fell into a deep slumber.
* * *
Tabby didn’t know how much time passed while she was unconscious to the world; but when she finally awoke, she found herself laid out on a stone bench– granted, it wasn’t the most comfortable place; but as tired as she had been, it didn’t much matter.
Slowly regaining her senses, Tabby became aware of Furbys chattering in the background. “Ohhh,” she groaned, swinging her legs to the floor and assuming an upright position. “How much did I miss?”
Thomas was immediately at her side. “Not a thing,” he assured her. “I wouldn’t stray into the city without you. Besides, you needed some rest. It was a long day for you.”
“But today...” Tabby’s eyes gleamed as she looked out over the balcony. “...today, exploring will be done!”
“Do you want the royal seers to accompany us?” Thomas said laughingly.
“They can follow us if they’d like,” Tabby smiled, looking over at the Furbys. They seemed to be having lots of fun, and chattering all the while. “Or they can visit some of their own Famous Places if they would rather. Come on!” And grabbing her husband’s hoof, she dragged him along with her down the stairs and onto the city streets.
Trotting along the ancient streets of Atlantis and peering in the windows of shops and homes, the two were lost in their own thoughts; neither one spoke for a length of time. Though it was Tabby’s ancestral dwelling place, Thomas felt equally impressed as his bride did as he took in the greatness of the abandoned city. He would have liked to get a closer look at what was inside some of the structures, but Tabby seemed to be heading for a particular place.
“There!” she squealed, pausing momentarily and pointing her hoof ahead. “It’s the royal palace!”
The elegant structure was dazzlingly breath-taking, and Thomas stood and stared up in awe. It was built on a rise so it was higher than the other buildings, and it towered over the city in splendor. It was easy to imagine the Atlantean royalty having ruled there... and now there was a new one to follow in their steps.
Tabby giddily trotted up the stairs and pulled the massive door’s handle in anticipation. Alas, the entrance had become quite difficult to budge; but even if it had been brand new, Tabby probably still would have had the same trouble in opening it. As it was, she required Thomas’ help before they gained entrance into the palace.
Tabby surveyed her surroundings and nodded with approval. “Outrageous!” she exclaimed. A great pavilion spread before them, with a grand staircase spiraling upwards from both sides of the room. There were several gateways on the far side of the pavilion, and it was impossible to guess what would be found upstairs.
Ah-Loh and Doo-Moh had caught up to the couple by this point, and immediately adjusted themselves to the new environment. “Big doo-ay!” Ah-Loh commented enthusiastically.
“Whahoo! Party, wah!” Doo-Moh was quick to add, flying towards the back of the building. Ah-Loh followed her; and trusting that the Furbys knew where they were going, Tabby trotted along after them.
Doo-Moh disappeared through a doorway on the far side of the room. “Ah! No light! Ah!” Ah-Loh complained as he peeked in himself.
“Dah ah-loh,” Doo-Moh corrected, pressing her foot down on a button on the wall. The room was filled with light from a mysterious source.
“Sun up,” Ah-Loh nodded.
“They found the throne room!” Tabby said, patting Ah-Loh fondly on the head.
“Pet again,” Ah-Loh purred.
“It’s a good thing they’re here; at least they know their way around,” Thomas commented.
Tabby’s inquisitive eyes swept over the room. The walls were covered with colorful murals of Furbys, and it added a wonderful atmosphere to the throne room. The throne itself, from which countless Atlantean royals had ruled in the past, was still positioned in the center. It was an elegant piece, covered with ornate carvings of symbolic Furbish items-- hearts, flowers, clouds, suns, and of course the ever-important light sensor.
With grace befitting one in her position, Tabby seated herself on the handsome piece. She spotted a bronze rod lying to the side of the throne-- picking it up, she realized it was the scepter of Atlantis. Again this was adorned with the familiar Furbish symbols. Gripping it in her hoof, she felt very regal indeed; and she began laughing as a thought hit her.
“Doh?” said Ah-Loh questioningly.
“Yes, what is it?” Thomas said curiously.
“Oh, not much,” Tabby said, grinning. “I was just thinking of what Tiffany would do if she saw me here as a queen. She’d absolutely have a fit, wouldn’t she?”
“She would most likely have a few things to say about it,” Thomas said carefully. “She’s never been one to accept the status of others tactfully.”
“If you ask me, she and Guido would be a perfect match,” Tabby continued, still smiling as she twirled the scepter in her hooves. “They’re both money-hungry, greedy, and snobby.”
“Do you think Guido will really put up with her for any amount of time?”
“She’s rich and pretty. Of course he’ll still put up with her. He won’t notice her flaws because he has the same ones.”
“As long as she keeps him occupied,” Thomas said, his face temporarily darkening at his memories of Guido.
Tabby brushed it off and changed the subject. “Oh, but something tells me my predecessors didn’t sit around on their thrones all day gossiping,” she said laughingly. “Let’s see the rest of the place.”
There wasn’t too much more to see on the main level, and the Furbys prodded them up the stairs. Apparently the creatures had gotten bored of their current surroundings-- “Dah ooda-waylo,” as Doo-Moh had put it.
The second floor had apparently been used for the business aspect of ruling a city. Many of these rooms had desks in and various records scattered around; it was amazing how well all the details had been preserved.
In one room, Tabby stooped to pick a book up off the floor. She was intrigued to read many Furbish words within, and these were followed by notations of color and other such specifics. “Oh!” she exclaimed excitedly upon realizing the book’s purpose. “This is a record of all the Furbys that were living in Atlantis at the time! Name, body color, eye color, age, date adopted, owner’s name...”
“Atlantis really did revolve around Furbys, didn’t it?” Thomas mused, flipping through the book himself. “Everywhere you go there’s mention of them.”
Tabby nodded solemnly. “Of course. They were very important to the culture of Atlantis, what with their abilities to peek into the future and all. The citizens felt obligated to honor them somehow.”
“They certainly went all out.”
“Yes,” Doo-Moh said authoritatively, perched on Thomas’ shoulder and peering down at the book as well.
Tabby disappeared into the next room. “The Furbish nursery!” Tabby gasped with delight as she stepped through the doorway. “How wonderful!”
“Maybe me sleep,” Ah-Loh yawned, floating down into one of the Furby-sized cradles.
“Ah-Loh, you’re not a baby anymore,” Tabby scolded, scooping him up in her hoof. “Wow! Just imagine this place filled with Furby Babies!”
“Dah doo-ay wah,” Ah-Loh said in agreement.
“And citizens would adopt the babies from here?” Thomas said, surveying the place as well. “It was a nice set-up for the Furbys.”
“Ah, yes,” Tabby sighed happily. “Wouldn’t a room full of Furbys simply be grand? The noise... oh, it would be outrageous!”
“I wonder if there were any Furby-abusers back then,” Thomas pondered. “Do you suppose there were laws for that sort of thing?”
Tabby shuddered. “Oh, I hope they didn’t have to worry about that. I imagine prospective Furby-owners were screened carefully before being allowed to adopt. But still... oh, I don’t like to think about Furbys getting hurt.”
“Hey, party!” Doo-Moh screamed. This alleviated Tabby’s concern; Furbys were strange and mysterious creatures, and they probably would have done something if they were being maltreated.
“I found any entry for Nur-Ab-Fin’s Furby in here,” Thomas brought up the fact. “It’s this Dah-Boo here.”
Tabby looked at the line with interest. “The very Furby that Nur-Ab-Fin owned! How fascinating! Hmm... Dah-Boo. Red with brown. Blue eyes. Aged two when adopted by Nur-Ab-Fin.” She set the book down thoughtfully. “I should have liked to have met Nur-Ab-Fin’s Furby.”
“He could still be around, waiting on a shelf in some Pony-Mart,” Thomas suggested.
“Furbys. I’d love to own them all,” Tabby said dreamily, strolling down the hallway towards the next door. “Oh-- I remember this! It’s the library!” Tabby dove straight to the book she remembered paging through when she had last been in Atlantis. She would have liked to have read it more extensively, but hadn’t had the time then. Now she could discover everything about Furbys directly from the Atlantean Guide To Furbys-- Their History, Habits, and Hobbies.
“Wow,” said Tabby, impressed. “This must cover everything about Furbys! I had no idea the females actually...”
Thomas saw that Tabby would probably be occupied for awhile, so he browsed the other books on the shelves. One piece of Atlantean literature caught his eye, for it contained Dream Valley in the title. He doubted it was the same place they were familiar with in present times as the Dream Valley he knew had not possibly been around in the days of Atlantis; but the title still made him curious.
He was even more intrigued after he began reading about this city of Dream Valley. The description given did sound much like the location of present-day Dream Valley... on the coast of Ponyland, near the mouth of a great river. It had been called the “Gateway to Ponyland” for this reason, and had been a great city-- ranking right up with Atlantis. The Dream Valley mentioned in the book and Atlantis had been trading partners, and much of Atlantis’ culture had been incorporated into Dream Valley, and vice versa.
Thomas looked at the book thoughtfully. Could this Dream Valley and the one he lived in really be the same place? But how could that be? The current Dream Valley was certainly not that old. There was something mysterious about it, but he didn’t have any more time to dwell on the thought. Tabby had thrown her book down and announced that she was going to continue exploring.
The Furbys had discovered another staircase that apparently led to a third floor. This top-most floor had apparently been the private rooms for the royal family. Looking through each doorway, both Tabby and Thomas were surprised at how well everything was set-up. This was more than just well-preserved... it looked like someone had been purposely keeping these rooms clean and well-stocked with fresh supplies. The kitchen was supplied with food items, and dishes found in a cupboard must have been meant for the elegant dining room. New-looking cushions were included with the comfortable living room setting, and a bedroom was complete with a grand four-poster bed. Even the Furbys of the royal family had their own room set aside for them, with a miniature disco ball hanging from the ceiling.
Not much was said as they toured the level, taking in all the details and wondering who could have set it up like this for them. Even the Furbys were quiet, awed by the greatness of their surroundings.
The last room in the royal palace was in a rounded tower which rose from the exact center of the building. As they reached the top of the flight of curving stairs, a fabulous view of Atlantis was revealed to them. The room at one time had glass walls which had been destroyed; the open parapet enabled them to see any part of the city. It was magnificent.
“I bet I know who did all this!” Tabby exclaimed suddenly.