Chapter 11: The Necklace Part 2

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Tabby and Toby made their way across town to the church rectory, and knocked on the door.

“Tabby, nice to see you,” said the priest, a subdued black-and-white colored stallion, upon opening the door. “What can I do for you?”

“We’ve got an Atlantean spirit!” Tabby burst out excitedly.

Fr. Isaac looked at her markedly. “You know,” he said significantly, “we’ve talked about this…”

“I didn’t do anything this time. I swear,” Tabby said impassionedly. “I mean–honest, it wasn’t me. It was my sister’s fault.”

“Mmhmm, blaming the other party, a classic pitfall,” said Fr. Isaac, nodding shrewdly. “Anyway, Atlantean spirit, eh? It’s been awhile since I’ve had one of those. That last beast you cooked up in your kitchen was a doozy.”

“Sauce demons are the worst!” Tabby said emphatically. “It was never my intention–”

“You know what they say about intentions,” the priest said, nonetheless remaining upbeat. “The road to–”

“Yes, yes, I know!” a flustered Tabby broke him off.

“Well, let’s get going,” Fr. Isaac announced, after collecting some supplies in a satchel.

* * *

“Is it true, that you’re not really Athena?” Tamara asked, cautiously approaching the silver pegasus, who was eyeing a cabin cruiser in the harbor.

“What do you think?” snarled Athena, hurling a magic blast that Tamara narrowly dodged.

“Well, I suppose that IS new,” Tamara said to herself, thinking rapidly. “Maybe Tabitha’s on to something.” Raising her voice, she addressed the pegasus. “Athena, remember that… uh… spa day? The microdermoabrasion mask?”

“I see what you’re trying to do,” laughed Athena, “but I assure you, it is futile to reach your friend. I am fully in control.”

“Will you at least sign a release to appear in my video?” Tamara boldly asked.

Athena was taken aback. “Wait–what?”

“Sure, I always have a videographer with me,” Tamara said matter-of-factly, gesturing at a stallion in the bushes, who waved back.

“Don’t make light of this!” Athena said furiously.

“Oh, I assure you this is my business and I take it very seriously,” said Tamara in a somber tone.

Athena lifted her hoof into the air, just as the camera stallion started levitating off the ground as if held by an invisible thread. He started choking.

“Okay, just chill,” Tamara said placatingly. “We’ll cut the footage. Let Cedric go.”

“Don’t underestimate what I can do,” Athena growled, dropping Cedric to the ground.

“Ugh, I’m really not in practice for this sort of thing,” Tamara complained, “but I guess I have to fight you now.” Aside to Cedric, she added, “Keep the camera rolling, but stay out of the way.”

 * * *

Tabby, Toby, and Fr. Isaac arrived on the scene. Tamara was holding her own, but much like Tabby, hadn’t been able to mount her own attack but was merely fending off the aggressor’s psychic blows.

Tabby came across a young stallion with a camera, frantically dashing around and dodging blasts as he attempted to film the scene. “What are you doing?” she asked incredulously. “Oh, you’re with Tamara, aren’t you?”

“Yes, and there’s a bonus in it for me if I can pull this off without getting the camera fried,” the stallion said excitedly. “Look at her yeet that energy bolt!” And he bounced off energetically, shouting “YOLO!”

“Those aren’t real words,” said a perturbed Toby.

“Uh… right. I would maybe be more concerned about getting fried personally,” said Tabby with a frown, but the young stallion was already gone. “I’ll help Tamara distract her so you can do your thing,” she addressed Fr. Isaac before darting off.

 * * *

“Ugh, there’s two of them?” Shane realized, seeing a second red-maned pink unicorn appear on the scene. He was watching from the shadows behind a boathouse and waiting for an opportunity to get his map back, knowing he had no skills to help in this situation. “It’s a regular party out here. I hope someone knows what they’re doing,” he muttered, shaking his head.

 * * *

“Tabitha, what’s the plan!” Tamara shouted, seeing her sister approach.

“I don’t know! I don’t have one!” 

Fr. Isaac took out a book and started reading the ancient language contained within, mystical energy emanating above the pages.

But the great energy released attracted Athena’s attention. “What is he doing? Stop that!” she shrieked.

“I need a few minutes,” called Fr. Isaac to Tabby.

“Uh, right,” said a flustered Tabby, jumping over to him and throwing up a shield and narrowly deflecting a blast from Athena.

“You can’t stop me!” the silver pegasus insisted.

“Hah, take that!” Tamara cried out, finally able to get off a shot of her own with the entity targeting Tabby.

“You’re weak,” Athena sneered, batting the blast away effortlessly.

“Uh, Tabitha, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up!” Tamara yelled.

“UGH! Why does everyone expect ME to have all the answers!” Tabby complained, feeling a distinct lack of resourcefulness. Then she remembered the clatruna from Butch’s shop, and her hoof went into her satchel to pick it up. It only had a tiny bit of magic, but if she magnified it with the last remaining energy she had, then maybe it would serve as a distraction long enough…

Tabby threw the jewel aloft into the air where it levitated. She pointed a hoof at Athena, and the jewel orientated itself with its point in Athena’s direction, and unleashed a beam of energy, which hit Athena square in the center of the necklace medallion. The pegasus screamed in pain and lifted the medallion off her chest, as if it were burning her flesh.

At this juncture, Fr. Isaac chanted an impressive-sounding incantation, and mystical energies crackled from the book and sent out winding fingers toward the pegasus. With an unearthly shriek, a vaguely humanoid ethereal form rose up out of Athena’s body, then a blinding flash of light and the ground shook under them.

Athena slumped to the ground, and Toby ran to her side.

“That was a most dreadful experience,” she said, gasping for air and getting her bearings. “Toby, you saved me!” she cried out, her eyes lighting on the doctor.

“What? He didn’t do anything,” Tabby protested. “No offense,” she added with a nod in his direction.

“None taken,” Toby assured her, holding Athena’s hoof in his. “This was your show.”

“My knight in shining armor,” Athena continued gushing, gazing at him admiringly.

“Whatever,” said Tabby, rolling her eyes.

“Well, that’s settled,” Fr. Isaac said with a satisfied nod, tucking the tome away in his satchel. “I may be able to catch the end of the parish council meeting,” he added, consulting his watch. “Try to stay out of trouble, Tabby.” And he went on his way.

“I’ll just be taking my property back,” said Shane, stalking off after reclaiming the map which was sticking out of Athena’s purse.

Tamara whistled. “Come along, Cedric! Time to get editing.”

“You got it, boss,” he said, scrambling along after her.

“Next time you’re going to stage something like this, give me advance notice, so I can get my whole team lined up,” Tamara said chidingly to her sister before going off. “The lighting could have used some work.”

“Your convenience is always at the forefront of my mind,” Tabby said dryly.

* * *

Meanwhile, Thomas’ flight had come in and he was walking through town, on his way to find Tabby. He had caught an earlier flight and was hoping to surprise her. He had a gnawing fear that they hadn’t been connecting since he had made the change in teams, and been distracted by the publishing agents. And this separation had only served to intensify the feeling. He had resolved to try harder to show how important she was to him, and with that in mind had armed [legged] himself with a bouquet of flowers to present to her.

But suddenly, there was some sort of explosion in the direction of the river, and a resultant shockwave that shook the ground, and Thomas hurried in that direction to lend aid.

Thomas met Fr. Isaac on the way, who gave him a distracted greeting, and not long after noticed Dr. Shane leaving the area. It was not entirely surprising, then, to find that Tabby was at the epicenter of things at the harbor. “Tabby? Is everything okay?” Thomas asked anxiously, but the party seemed to be over, as everyone was walking away.

“Oh, you’re back early,” Tabby said, innocently enough, yet it was not exactly the warm reception he had been planning for. “Yeah, it’s fine, Toby and I just had to get Fr. Isaac and it was this whole thing…” She rolled her eyes expressively.

Thomas was not exactly thrilled to find that his fiancee had been spending his absence in the company of her ex-suitor–though that stallion seemed to be occupied with Athena at the moment, walking off with her leaning heavily into his side. “Toby? Fr. Isaac?” Thomas asked, much perplexed.

“Yes,” Tabby said confidently, and Thomas almost thought she was not going to expound on further details, but she finally continued, “Tiffany was possessed by an Atlantean spirit–it wasn’t my fault! But I was cleaning up the mess.”

That, and the kiss she gave him, went a long way to assuaging Thomas’ troubled soul.

“I got you these…” Thomas said, holding out the bouquet and belatedly realizing the flowers had fully wilted, some effect of the psychic shockwave. “Oh… never mind,” he said in some dismay.

“Oh.” Tabby eyed the bouquet. “Well… they’ll probably still compost at least.”

“Right. Well, why don’t we head to the SSSS, and you can tell me the whole story,” Thomas invited.

“Okay!” Tabby chirped.

* * *

So, over ice cream, the story was related; and other citizens, having heard rumors about the events of that evening, had sought Tabby out at the ice cream shop for more details. In any case, the couple did not find themselves truly alone until the walk home some time later that night.

“So, Wexford was acquitted of all charges?” Tabby broached the topic tentatively. “That’s good? Bad? What is it?”

“Well, the justice system did its job and that’s the decision, so it is what it is,” Thomas said prosaically.

“You think he’s guilty,” Tabby said plainly.

“I think he has a lot of work ahead of him repairing his damaged reputation,” said Thomas guardedly.

“What’s going to happen to him?”

“He’ll be okay–this was a setback, but he’ll rebuild.” Thomas fell silent for a long moment. “He may not have done anything to be charged for in the legal system,” he said at length, “but as for his marriage vows, I think he has a lot to answer for.”

“I see.” Tabby was unsure how to go on.

“He was my mentor for many years. I let him shape me. If I hadn’t come to my senses and gotten out of there…” Thomas trailed off pensively. “I just want you to know,” he said, taking hold of her hoof, “I would never do that to you.”

“I’ll try to never give you reason to want to,” said Tabby softly.

They walked in silence for some time, neither willing to verbally acknowledge that their first kiss had technically been cheating…

Anyway, the future was what mattered, Tabby told herself. And she trusted him.


“Something’s on your mind,” Thomas said.

“It’s just, uh… how many mares have you, uh…” She blushed furiously, unable to continue.

“Slept with?” he said with a self-deprecatory smile. “No one. It never went that far. I could have, but… maybe it was the memory of what my mother would think, that held me back. She had high standards for us.” He looked at her questioningly. “Did you and Toby…”

“No!” Tabby said quickly. “And there’s no one else, either. That’s not how we do things here.”

* * *

“Well, that unpleasantness is over,” Wexford announced upon entering his New Pony home. “Now we can all get on with our lives.”

“Indeed we can,” said his wife, Spindrift, who was coming down the sweeping main staircase.

“It would have made for a better showing if you had been there today,” he said chidingly to his wife, hanging his cloak on a rack.

“Yes, anything to put on a good show,” Spindrift said coolly.

Wexford eyed her warily as she approached.

“I’m not surprised at the favorable outcome,” she continued. “You always have been good at covering your tracks.”

“Spindrift, I don’t know what you’re getting at,” he protested.

“I am not such a cuckold as you think,” Spindrift said. “You have discounted me, thrown me aside when my youth was no longer an attribute, and I have been silent, but… it is time to speak for myself.”

“You’ve let this trial nonsense get to you,” said Wexford with a frown. “Don’t give it another thought.”

“Do you remember, when we were young and in love, back on the commune farm?” Spindrift closed the gap between them. “When the world seemed to be in our grasp…”

“Yes, we were happy,” Wexford said with reluctance. “Back then.”

“I think we could have stayed that way, had we remained in that paradise,” Spindrift said with a sad smile. “But then your parents gave you that ultimatum to follow their plans. You should have walked away and left me.”

“With the twins on the way? No.” Wexford shook his head emphatically.

“The commune would have provided for us,” Spindrift said. “But now you’ve driven Nox and Sol away, and I have nothing.”

“I didn’t know you felt this way.” Wexford frowned.

“No, you’re much too busy with your doxies to spare a thought for your wife’s feelings,” spat Spindrift.

“Those days on the commune… I was young and naive,” Wexford considered. “I grew up. You didn’t.”

“You think that my personal development counseling is nonsense,” said Spindrift, drawing herself up imperiously. “And yet, the most influential ponies in the world have come to me for help. The Casales, Vandercorns, Kirschtortes–I’ve helped them all reach their full potential, and they’ve paid me handsomely in return.” Quietly she added, “There was a time that you believed in me. But that was a long time ago.”

“Spindrift, it’s been a long day,” Wexford said wearily. “I can’t have this conversation now.”

“We have it now, or not at all. I’m leaving,” Spindrift announced.

Wexford started in surprise.

“You don’t think I have enough spirit to do so?” she said tauntingly.

“I think you’d come to your senses soon enough and realize you like having a roof over your head,” he said sardonically. “And crystals and incense don’t pay for themselves, you know.”

“You’re not the stallion I married,” she said bitterly, reaching for the door handle.

The door closed behind her, and he was alone in an empty house.