Ginseng and Sassafras Tea: Chapter Two
written by Sugarberry

Blush, Crush, and Puzzle had disappeared into their home by the time Hood and Laser entered the heart of the village, and Dewdrop could be seen just opening the gate into her front yard across the road from a cozy white house with blue trim that was home to Laser, Lacewing, and their parents, Checker and Moonglow.

Moonglow was just coming out the door when Hood and Laser arrived. "Run in and wash up for lunch, Laser. Lacewing is already at the table." She watched as her son hungrily went indoors. Looking intently at her brother's face, she asked anxiously, "Did you see anything suspicious?"

"No, Moonglow. Everything was quiet today."

"No sign of anyone being there who shouldn't be there?"

"No. Not a clue. Except..." Hood reflected for a moment.

"What is it?"

"Nothing, really. I just felt like we were being watched."

Moonglow groaned. "What's happening around here, Hood? This was the most peaceful place before... before these..." Her voice trailed off.

Hood hugged his sister to him. "We'll find out who is behind this, Moonglow. And remember, you're not to worry so much. That foal you're carrying needs you to take care of yourself.

Moonglow forced a smile. "You're right, Hood. And I do try not to worry. It's just sometimes I feel so helpless." She sighed deeply as if to purge her emotions. "Join us for lunch?"

"Why do you think I'm still standing here?" Hood teased her.

"Well, excuse me!" Moonglow smiled. "Please come in!"

Hood and Moonglow were no sooner seated at the table where Laser and Lacewing were still munching on their sandwiches when Lacewing broached the sprite subject with her mother.

"Mom, Uncle Hood told us that sprites live in the forest."

That remark caused Moonglow to choke on her first bite of sandwich, but she was smiling when she reappeared from behind her napkin. "Oh, really?"

"Yes, and he says that the little caps from the acorns are really sprite caps."

"Well, Lacewing, your Uncle Hood knows a lot more about that sort of thing than I do."

"But Mom, those brown things are just part of the acorn. There are no sprites."

Moonglow looked to Hood for guidance. But it was Laser who provided the answer. "The sprites pick them up after the acorns fall and use them for their caps, just like you use cornhusks for your precious little dolls."

"Oh." His reply seemed to make sense to Lacewing, so she went back to eating.

When dessert was finished and the foals had begun washing the dishes, Hood announced that he, too, had to be leaving. "I've got a delivery of ice cream due at the shop this afternoon." Hood ran an ice cream parlor on Main Street, which partially explained his popularity with the younger set of Woodlawn.

"Who's running the shop now while you're off loafing?" wondered Moonglow as she walked Hood to the door.

"Drumstick. I'm sure going to miss him when college classes start again this fall."

"Lacewing has a crush on him, you know."

That caught Hood off guard. "She's rather young for that sort of thing, isn't she?" Hood could be very protective where his nieces and nephews were concerned.

Moonglow giggled. "At her age, having a crush simply means that she thinks he's nice. You know, kind of like Dreamy when she followed you around during your high-school days."

"Dreamy? That little scatterbrained pony? After all these years, you're telling me that her incessant annoyance was because she had a crush on me?"


"Weird!" exclaimed Hood. Suddenly, his expression changed to one of concern. "Moonglow, you look awfully tired. Maybe you should lie down and rest."

"I am rather sleepy." She looked toward the kitchen. "Want two helpers at the shop this afternoon?"

"Sure. Why not? I can teach them the ins and outs of ice cream tasting! But you have to promise to take a nap," Hood urged.

"I will," Moonglow promised. "Just don't let the kids eat all the profits!"

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