• 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 48

You set off into the Everfree Forest, carefully picking your way through the dense undergrowth. Although the location Danneltuft described isn’t too far from Ponyville as the crow flies, you’ll have to take a circuitous route around the river chasm that splits the forest. And of course, there’s always the risk of encountering one of the woods’ more dangerous denizens.

It is with a sense of great relief that you arrive at the Bhrùnaidh-mòd’s location a few hours later. The sun has yet to go down; in fact, not only are you on time, you’re almost half an hour early!

Relief quickly turns to disappointment, however, as you realize that you are completely alone. You briefly wonder if you might have taken a wrong turn somewhere along the line, but a quick glance at your surroundings assures you that this is the right place. The shallow depression lined with close-cropped grass, the veritable wall of trees surrounding it, the four foot wide flat at the bottom of the depression, all are exactly as Danneltuft described them. You spend a few minutes wandering around the area, looking in vain for some sign of the brownies. Eventually, you give up and settle down at the bottom of the depression to wait.

Ten minutes pass, then twenty. You’re feeling very nervous now. Danneltuft told you not to be late, but the sun’s about to set and you’re still the only one here! You start to worry that something terrible might have happened. Could the boggies have caught Danneltuft before he could send word to the other brownies? What if there’s a gang of boggies coming after you right now? What if the brownies have already decided not to help you, and you’re sitting here waiting for a convocation that will never come?

You have almost convinced yourself that you should leave and go try to find out what’s wrong when the last rays of the sun recede over the hills. As if by magic, the tall trees surrounding the depression you sit in soak up the last vestiges of light, and you find yourself plunged into total darkness as suddenly as if someone had flipped a light switch.

Well. There’s no way you can leave now; the Everfree Forest is dangerous enough when one can see where one’s going, but trying to navigate the woods while blind? That’s tantamount to suicide! You’ll just have to wait here for dawn.

As you make yourself comfortable, dozens of tiny torches blaze to life all around you at once. You leap to your hooves in shock as you take in the sudden transformation of the depression. Where its softly sloping sides were bare mere minutes before, now they are covered in brownies, all sitting and talking to one another in a strange, guttural tongue. You find that you are at the center of a gathering of a hundred or more of the wee folk.

Before you can gather your wits, a low chime sounds and all conversation stops. Looking in the direction of the sound, you see Danneltuft standing by an ornate gong that you are certain wasn’t there a moment ago. He winks and gives you a thumbs-up. Assuming that he’s using the gesture the same way Spike does, he’s probably trying to reassure you that everything is alright.

You take a deep breath and calm yourself. Unsure what to do, you wait quietly for one of the brownies to speak. It isn’t a long wait.

From the crowd, a particularly tall and lanky brownie steps into the center of the depression and up onto a small podium by your side (which you are positive wasn’t there just a moment ago). Clearing his throat, he announces, “Called by Danneltuft, and sanctioned by the elders, I, Glomgrime, declare this Bhrùnaidh-mòd to be open.” He turns to you. “Speak, and you shall be judged.”


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