• Published 3rd Apr 2014
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The Purloined Pony - Chris



When a young foal goes missing, it's up to Carrot Top to step in and save the day.

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Page 3

You shake your head and take off after Twilight; work will have to wait, it seems.

The two of you quickly arrive at her home, the massive hollowed-out tree near downtown which serves as Ponyville’s library. She rushes in ahead of you and starts pulling books off the shelves, frantically searching for something. After hauling down dozens of books (and leaving them scattered all over the floor, you note with distaste), she appears to find what she’s looking for; an ancient leather-bound tome titled "Regarding the Majical and Heretofore Unknown Among the Lesser Fey: a Compendium." Opening the book, she asks you as she reads, “Has anything strange been going on at your farm? Broken equipment, missing or damaged crops, that sort of thing?”

You shake your head slightly. “Well of course, but that sort of thing happens all the time. It’s just part of being a farmer.” As you think about it a moment longer, you do remember something odd, however. “...Actually, the last few days I’ve been having trouble with some thief coming and taking carrots in the night. Figured it was probably just some foals wreaking havoc. Haven’t caught them yet.”

Twilight nods. “Yes, yes... that’s how it would start...” Suddenly, she swings around to face you. “Do you know what brownies are?”

You briefly consider making a dessert-related joke, but it’s obvious from Twilight’s tone that she’s in no laughing mood. “Yes, of course. According to the folktales, they’re tiny little ape-things that sometimes live in rural homes. If a farmer pony is always good and kind, and sets out a plate of milk for them each evening, they’ll do all her chores for her while she sleeps. Everypony knows that.” You don’t mention that even now that you’re grown up and ostensibly don’t believe in old mare’s tales anymore, you still leave a saucer of milk on the doorstep each night. Just in case.

“Yes, but do you know what happens when a brownie turns bad?”

“I didn’t think they did. Or could, for that matter.”

“Oh, they can. Evil brownies are called boggies, and their mischief knows no bounds. They’ll blight crops, spoil harvests, and even...” Twilight gulps, “Kidnap foals.

“Luckily, they can’t stay near pony villages long. All the local animals know what horrible fellows they are, and will chase them away. So boggies usually travel to lonely mountains, where they can gather together without being bothered by other creatures.

“But sometimes, a large band of them will decide to raid a town all at once. Then they’ll come in and cause as much chaos as they can for a few days before returning to their mountain homes.”

You interrupt Twilight as she continues to babble on. “Okay, okay, that’s really interesting, but so what? What do a bunch of fairy-stories have you all worked up about?” And why is it so important that I couldn’t just go back to my farm and get to work, you silently add.

Twilight takes a deep breath. “I don’t think boggies are just fairy-tales, Carrot. I think they’re real.”

Before you can point out how silly she sounds right now, Twilight continues, “For the last five days, Sweet Apple Acres has been under attack by these creatures. Of course, none of us thought that it was boggies at the time; AJ just started complaining that the trees were getting infected, that bucket handles were snapping, that the apples she did harvest were sour or rotten... all sorts of things.

“I began to guess what was happening yesterday. I tried to warn AJ, but she wouldn’t listen. She told me she didn’t believe in brownies, or their evil cousins.”

Twilight hangs her head, and with a choking voice, she says, “Then this morning, Applebloom went missing.”

*****

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