Chapter 3: The Switch - Part 1

 

Early that afternoon Lunarstar climbed out of bed and went downstairs, still in her winged unicorn form. The smell of fresh, steaming pancakes on the table made her very hungry. Booster sat at the end of the table with the newspaper folded up neatly. Rosebud sat on the opposite side of the table. Booster was reading his morning newspaper which was on the table as he ate his pancakes.
"Good Morning, Lunarstar," said Rosebud as Lunarstar sat down between her parents.
"Morning," whispered Lunarstar who was still half asleep.
"Look at this," Booster held up the newspaper showing a picture of a half built stage in a park, "There's a baby contest in the park."
"When?" Rosebud asked.
"Starting this afternoon and it ends at sundown," Booster replied.
"Today?" Lunarstar asked, feeling a little more awake.
"Yes, it's today. I was thinking that we could go after breakfast," said Booster.
Lunarstar was happy that her parents was going but she wondered if her friends were going to be there.
After breakfast, Lunarstar and her parents walked to the park. A big banner reading 'Baby Contest' stretched across the park entrance . To Lunarstar's surprise there were a lot of ponies playing around or having picnics with their friends and family. Normally there would only be a few ponies, but today was a special day. As they walked, passing the ponies on the playground, they could hear the speaker announcing the contestants for the baby contest. Lunarstar didn't want to miss anything, so she ran ahead. Upon arrival, she saw it was crowded. Ponies stood everywhere all bunched up. Lunarstar could barley see the stage in front, she tried squeezing through the crowed but ponies kept telling her there's no room and to find another spot. She was about to give up when her parents showed up.
"What's the mater?" Booster asked.
"It's to crowed here and I can't see the stage." Lunarstar replied.
Lunarstar stood on her hind legs which helped her see better. On the stage there was a large table and a patterned tablecloth with baby toys on it. Backstage, there were lots of playful babies with their favorite toys. Behind Lunarstar and the crowd, were large poster boards of baby toys. Suddenly, she felt someone tapping on her shoulder. She turned around and saw Starlight who was also trying to see the stage.
"Hi, Lunarstar!" Stalight shouted smiling.
"Starlight, where are the others?" Lunarstar asked.
"They're here but I don't know where." Starlight replied.
"Let's go look for them." Lunarstar suggested.
Starlight and Lunarstar walked around the crowd, looking for their friends. Suddenly Starlight heard someone calling their names.
"Lunarstar, did you hear that?" Starlight asked.
"Yes, It sounds like Patch but I don't see her anywhere." Starlight replied.
The two looked to the left and to the right but no glimpse of their friend. After standing a few minutes Lunarstar spotted Patch who was standing next to the stage.
"Over there!" yelled Lunarstar, pointing at Patch.
Starlight and Lunarstar ran to Patch who wasn't alone, she had Bright Eyes, Sweetheart, Melody and Bon Bon with her.
"We couldn't find a place to stand. Melody thought we could stand here and see the contestants as they get on stage." said Patch.
"It's not the best spot but it's better than not seeing them at all," chuckled Bon Bon.
Backstage there was a curtain wall where the baby ponies waited to be called out.
It wasn't long till the first group of contestants were called. One by one they walked out from behind the curtains, each carrying a baby pony to the stage.
A few of the baby ponies looked in Lunarstar's direction, smiling.
"They look so cute!" said Sweetheart.
"They sure are," Bon Bon agreed dreamily.
"I wonder who's going to win the contest.." Patch wondered.
"My sister," said a familiar voice.
The girls turned around and saw Raspberry standing proud like she always does when she had something to show off. None of the girls knew who she was at except for Lunarstar and Melody.
"Your sister?" Lunarstar asked, curious.
"I have a baby sister in the contest. Her name is Blackberry and I'm certain she'll win." Raspberry said with a smile.
"You won't know who will win until the contest is over." snapped Melody.
"Sure I do, she's the cutest baby pony in the group, the judges will have to pick her." Raspberry replied
Raspberry walked away, smugly, back behind the curtain leaving the girls speechless.
"Who does she think she is?" Patch asked.
"Who was that anyway" Bon Bon asked.
"That was Raspberry," said Lunarstar.
"She seems so snobby," added Patch who was cringing.
Lunarstar realized Clover was missing, she looked around for Clover but couldn't see her.
"Where's Clover?"
"I almost forgot about her, she's in the park with her mother having a picnic. I ran into them on my way here," said Bright Eyes.
"Why isn't she here?" Bon Bon asked.
"She's babysitting Cuddles, Meadowlark's baby pony," Bright eyes answered.
The girls were surprised. None of them knew Meadowlark had a baby. Lunarstar didn't even know who Meadowlark was.
Bright Eyes agreed to show them where Clover was and before Lunarstar had a chance to ask about Meadowlark, the girls ran. Lunarstar followed them even though she didn't know who Meadowlark was; she was curious about the baby boy. The girls ran until the contest announcer could barley be heard. In the distance was Clover and her mother sitting on a big blanket under a tree.
"Clover!" yelled Patch.
Clover looked up after she had just put a diaper on Cuddles.
The girls stopped and sat down for a rest, while catching their breaths they noticed Cuddles peaking from behind Clover.
Cuddles had a tan body with yellow and pink hair, he had a symbol of a teddy bear which was covered by his diapers.
"It that Cuddles?" Sweetheart asked.
"Yep, he's Meadowlark's baby boy." answered Clover.
"I guess that makes you an aunt," said Bon Bon.
"Really?" Clover never thought about that she could be an aunt, she was to excited about Cuddles to think about such a thing.
Cuddles kept a watchful eye on the girls from behind Clover, after a while he decided to come out. He sat down in front of the girls and smiled. The girls couldn’t help but say how cute he looked.
"He so cute," cooed Sweetheart.
"We got him last night. Meadowlark went on a second honeymoon and left Cuddles with us to babysit." said Clover.
Sweetheart picked him up and held him, Cuddles looked at Patch, Starlight and Bon Bon who were peeking over Sweetheart's shoulders. Cuddles smiled at them but suddenly something caught his attention. He began to wiggle out of Sweetheart's arms trying to get down.
"I think he wants down" suggested Starlight.
"I think you're right," Sweetheart replied and gently put him down on the blanket. Cuddles looked behind Sweetheart and saw Lunarstar laying on the blanket, she didn't put her head down, fearful that she might fall asleep. She rested on the blanket enjoying the cool breeze and the shade of the trees as she watched the ponies in the distance playing, she was to busy thinking about her parents that she didn't notice Cuddles staring at her.
"Lunarstar," whispered Melody.
Lunarstar looked at her and noticed her pointing down at Cuddles who was walking closer to her. Lunarstar didn't know what to think about Cuddles, she had never been so close to a baby pony, she didn't even know what to do. Cuddles got close to her face and sat down with a smile as he held his hooves up. Lunarstar could only figure that he wanted her face but she had no clue why. As she lowered her head down, he hugged her face. The girls thought it was cute, Clover's mother thought it was odd that he took to her so fast.
"I think he likes you," said Bright Eyes lovingly.
Cuddles looked up with his big, buggy eyes and started snatching at something that had caught his eye. Lunarstar knew right away what he was going to do and quickly raised her head.
"That was close," said Starlight.
"You don't want him to grab your hair," warned Clover's mother.
But Lunarstar knew that wasn't what he was going to grab, he wanted her horn. As Cuddles tried to reach her face, Lunarstar kept thinking about what Cuddles wanted but she knew it was impossible for anyone to see her true form. Then she remembered back at the time the contestants brought out the baby ponies, a few of them kept staring at her but she never thought about it until now. Could it be possible that only baby ponies can see her true form? She wasn't sure but she had to tell her parents and to find out if it's true.
Lunarstar got tired of moving her head from one side to another just to keep Cuddles from reaching her horn. She stood up and walked around the girls hoping he would leave her alone but it didn't work, he followed her on his wobbly little legs, smiling at her. The girls all laughed, they had never seen a baby pony follow someone before, even Clover's mother laughed, "Clover do something!"
Clover gave Cuddles a red book to keep him occupied while Lunarstar laid back down.
"A book?" Patch asked.
"It's his favorite book called Fairy Tales for Bedtime," replied Clover.
"I used to have that book," giggled Bright Eyes.
Clover's mother put her book down and stood up, "I'm going to check out the contest, I'll be back soon, so you watch Cuddles for me."
"Sure, mom." Clover replied.
Clover's mother left and followed the faint voice of the contest announcer.
While the girls talked and Lunarstar listened, Cuddles continued to look at his book when suddenly, a frog jumped out of the bushes and onto the book. Cuddles had never seen a frog before but thought it would be fun to play with it. As he was about to pick up the frog, it jumped back into the bushes. Cuddle left his book and went into the bushes where he found another frog, suddenly another baby pony who looked just like him jumped out of the bushes and onto a frog. Cuddles began to laugh and jumped on the other frog but missed instead. While the two baby ponies continued to play with the frog, Lunarstar noticed Cuddles wasn't with his book. "Clover, where's Cuddles?"
Clover and the girls looked around but there was no sign of him. Bright Eyes could hear a faint laughter from the near by bushes behind the tree. Just to be sure she wasn't hearing things, she got up and looked in the bushes.
"Bright Eyes, did you find him?" Patch asked.
Bright Eyes picked up the baby pony and set him down on the blanket in front of his book, but he was more interested in the other toys laying scattered around the blanket.
What no one knew was that the baby pony Bright Eyes picked up wasn't Cuddles.
Meanwhile Cuddles had wandered out of the bushes where two adult ponies sat.
"There you are, Sprinkles. I think you had enough excitement for one day," said the mother pony.
The father folded the blanket and pack the toys in a bag.
Back on the other side of the bushes Lunarstar and her friends kept an eye on Sprinkles who had no interest in Lunarstar.
"Clover, how long will you have Cuddles?" Bon Bon asked.
"I think Meadowlark is coming to get him tomorrow night." Clover replied.
"You'll only have him for one more night?" Patch asked, sad.
"Yeah," which was all Clover could say, she didn't want Cuddles to go so soon, but was happy that she'll get to see Meadowlark again.
"Who's Meadowlark?" Lunarstar asked after hearing the name for the third time.
"She's my sister." Clover answered.
"She's in the Dance Company," said Bright Eyes.
"I wouldn't mind meeting her sometime," said Lunarstar.
As the girls continued to talk and eat, half the day went by before anyone noticed the time. The sun was no longer above them but was just a few hours away from sunset.
Clover's mother had just came back from the contest, she looked tired and was ready to head home.
Clover and the girls got up and began picking up toys that were scattered around the blanket. With the girl's help, Clover and her mother were able to go home sooner.
"Thanks for your help," said Clover's mother, smiling.
"That's okay. It would have taken you longer to clean up without us," said Bright Eyes.
Before departing, the girls said their goodbyes and hugged one another.
Lunarstar was the last one to leave, as she started for home someone yelled out her name. At first she thought it was one of her friends, but she realized they're nowhere near her. She looked around for the voice that was calling her name and to her surprise her parents were standing on the side walk at the light post not too far from her, waiting.
Lunarstar was happy she didn't have to walk home alone. She ran up to her parents and asked why they hadn't gone home.
"The contest just ended and we saw you helping your friends," said Booster.
"So, we decided to wait for you," added Rosebud.
"I'm glad you waited." Lunarstar replied.
Her parents smiled and hugged her. "Let's go home." said Booster.

 

 

 

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