Chapter 23:  Lost little Peaches

It was a sunny afternoon on a weekend, there was no school and it gave Amaryllis a great chance to go to town and take Peaches with her. Star Cluster walked them to the gate and hugged Amaryllis.
"Come and get me if there's any trouble," Star Cluster told her.
"I know and don't worry, I doubt they're will be any trouble," Amaryllis assured him.
Star Cluster looked at her worriedly, "Are you sure? I mean after all everyone knows you're my fiancee and they don't particularly like you because of me."
Amaryllis sighed sadly, she had heard all the rumors, whispers and glares from ponies for a few weeks, "I know and I have tried to go out and make friends with them. I've got a few who actually talks to me when I take Peaches to the meadows and play," Amaryllis replied.
"Meadow?" Star Cluster asked curiously.
"It's where a lot of little ponies likes to go and play. Stardust should put some sort of playground there, it's a perfect spot for it," Amaryllis suggested.
"Playground?" Star Cluster asked curiously.
Amaryllis smiled, "It's...well, It's not important. I'll see you later."
Star Cluster ordered the soldiers to open the gates, allowing Amaryllis and Peaches to walk through. As soon as they past the gates closed and Star Cluster walked back to the castle.

Amaryllis walked through town saying hello and trying to be nice but ponies just looked at her and left, some glared at her. Peaches didn't even notice, all she wanted was to play with her friends. Peaches got excited the closer she was to the meadow. She could almost hear her friends laughing.
"Slow down, Peaches, we'll get there soon enough," Amaryllis quickly said noticing that Peaches was walking fast than she was.

The soon left town and came to the meadow at the edge of town. Peaches ran to her friends who were just playing ball, the boys seemed to be chasing a frog, some just tackled each other. Amaryllis sat down next to three ponies, a white unicorn, a pink pegasus and a yellow unicorn.
"Hi, Furn, Lula, Petal," Amaryllis said to them.
"Hi," they replied.
"Any luck with your husbands?" Amaryllis asked.
"Not mine, he will not change his mind about Star Cluster," Furn answered, she was a yellow unicorn.
"Mine just refuses to hear about it," Lula answered, she was a pink pegasus.
"We just argued," Petal answered, she was a white unicorn.
"I'm sorry Amaryllis but no one wants anything to do with Star Cluster. A few of our friends are willing to change their minds but our husbands won't," Furn told her.
"If they could change their minds then they could get everyone else to change their minds too," Amaryllis explained.
"I know but they just won't listen and...I'd admit, I didn't want to listen either at first," Lula replied.
"Amaryllis, is Star Cluster nice as you say he is?" Petal asked curiously.
"Oh yes, as I have told you before. He's nice, caring and loves Peaches," Amaryllis answered.
"I still can't believe it, that doesn't even sound like Star Cluster," Furn told her.
Amaryllis smiled, "Well it is," She pause looking sadly at Peaches as she played, "I can't marry him until everyone excepts him. We wouldn't have much of a life the way things are now."
"Yes I guess you wouldn't," Furn agreed.

Amaryllis sat in the grass for hours, talking and watching Peaches. She thought of how Star Cluster loves to play with her and holds her. Amaryllis smiled at the thought of being a real family once they're married. She hoped to move into a house but not to far from Dream castle or the school. Hopefully the house would be bigger than her last house. She often wondered what had become of her old home. Amaryllis shook the thought out of her head, that was her old life, she was happy with her new life. She has friends who had been known as fairy tale ponies in her world but here they were real, here is where dreams come true or at lest she hoped they would.
As she pondered on what her future would be, he began to feel a ache in her stomach. She had been anxious to come to the meadow and talk to her friends that she forgot to bring something to eat with her. She couldn't as her friends, the food they brought was for their children.
Peaches left her friends and ran to her mother.
"Mommy, I'm hungry," Peaches exclaimed.
"So am I. I'm sorry I forgot to bring something with me. Perhaps I can go to town and buy something for us," Amaryllis suggested.

The little boys by the tree stood and watched, secretly whispering to each other.
"Star Cluster is her dad...right?" a white pony whispered.
"That's what mom and dad said last night," a dark pink pony answered.
"There's no way we can pull this off," the light green pony muttered.
"We do this and our parents will be proud of us," The white pony replied, "It's all they ever talk about now, Star Cluster and the teacher."
The boys looked at each other and nodded.
"Alright but how do we do this?" the light green pony asked.
The white pony smiled, "Looks like her mother is leaving. Now would be a good time."

Amaryllis stood up, "Furn, Lula, Petal, can you watch her for me?"
"Sure, "Furn replied.
"Peaches, go play, I'll be back soon," Amaryllis told her and then she left. She hurried to town and went to the newly built store. It was like she had traveled through time, some stores were old and some were new. The store was made of bricks and had shinny floors and smooth flat counters. There were rows of foods and drinks, some were in freezer. Amaryllis took a bag of potato chips, a homemade sub and two drinks. She took them to the counter and quickly paid for them. The dark blue pony packed them in a bag and left it on the counter for her. Amaryllis took the bag and hung it around her neck. She left the store and walked through town which was full of ponies going from store to store. She did her best not to bump into ponies as she left town.

Amaryllis walked down the road a bit and sat next to her friends. She put her bag down and scanned the meadow for Peaches.
"Furn, where's Peaches?" Amaryllis asked worriedly.
"Playing with the girls," Furn answered.
Amaryllis stood up and looked around the meadow, she saw the girls playing ball and the boys talking to each other but Peaches was no where to be found.
"I don't see her," Amaryllis told her.
Furn, Lula and Petal stood up, they too scanned the area and saw the Peaches wasn't there.
"Amaryllis, she was right there playing," Furn pointed tot he girls.
"Lula, Petal, did you see her?" Amaryllis asked worriedly. her heart began to bound with worry. Her daughter was missing.
"Girls, Boys," Furn called to them. the girls hurried over to their mothers and so did the boys.
"Have you seen Peaches?" Furn asked.
"No," They answered.
"When was the last time you saw her?" Amaryllis asked.
The girls looked at the boys and pointed at them.
"She was talking to them," the yellow pony answered.
"She left us and went to play with you," the pink pony answered.
Amaryllis deeply worried, "I got to tell Star Cluster." She turned and ran back to Dream Castle.

She ran through town not caring weather she knocked ponies over, all she wanted was to get Star Cluster's help. She ran out of town and up to the gates. her legs were worn out from running such a long way. Her heard pounded in her ears as she breathed heavily.
"Let me in!" Amaryllis cried.
The soldiers opened the gates and Amaryllis squeezed through. Tears ran down her cheeks as she thought of her missing daughter. She hurried inside and paused, not sure where Star Cluster could be.
Just then a tinny yellow summer winged pony flew from the chandelier and hovered in front of her.
"What's wrong?" Little Flitter asked worriedly.
"Where's Star Cluster?" Amaryllis asked, "I have to talk to him."
"He's...ummm," Little Flitter paused, she didn't know where he was. Then another summer winged pony approached her, "I saw him heading for the library."
Amaryllis ran past them and down the hall to the library. She burst the door open giving Star Cluster a fright.
"Amaryllis, what's wrong?" Star Cluster asked seeing tears dripping from her cheeks.
"She's gone. No one has seen her. I don't know where she is or where to look!" Amaryllis exclaimed.
"Who?" Star cluster asked.
"Peaches!" Amaryllis exclaimed.
Star Cluster put the book in the book case and held Amaryllis by the shoulders, "Calm down. Now where did you last see her?"
"At the meadows, playing. I left for a little bit to get something to eat and when I came back she was gone," Amaryllis answered. She was trying her best not to cry and calm down but her heart flooded with sadness and worry.
"Come on, lets go find her," Star Cluster told her.

Star Cluster left the castle and took four solders with him. Amaryllis stood closely by his side as they walked through town. Ponies gave him the same look as they always had and yet they wondered what was going on.
They walked to the meadow where Amaryllis's friends stood waiting.
"She was here. I left her here. Star Cluster, I should have never left," Amaryllis exclaimed.
Furn, Lula and Petal were scared of what Star Cluster would do to them but they tried not to show their fear. They knew what Star Cluster was like and yet they also knew what Amaryllis had told them.
"I'd like to speak to the little ponies," Star Cluster told the mothers.
"Boys, Girls, come here for a minute," Furn called to them.
The little ponies reluctantly approached Furn while keeping their eye on Star Cluster who only looked at them with a blank face. It was hard to tell if he was mad, worried or upset.
"Have you seen Peaches?" Star Cluster asked.
The girls pointed, "They were talking to her."
"She left us to play with them," The boys pointed to the girls.

Just then three male ponies arrived.
"What's going on?" the dark green pony asked.
"Who are you?" Star Cluster demanded.
"I am Tailor," The dark green pony answered.
"I'm Snapshot," the light purple pony answered.
"I'm Tag," The white pony answered, "these are our boys."
"Peaches is missing and she was last seen here," Star Cluster answered.
"Our children has nothing to do with any of this so don't blame them," Snapshot exclaimed.
The boys smiled slightly at what their father's had said but did not realize Star Cluster saw it.
"Let me ask again," Star Cluster said, he looked at the little ponies, "Now tell me again who saw Peaches last."
"They were talking to her," The girls pointed.
"She went to you to play," the ponies pointed.
While they argued, Star Cluster noticed one little pony who wasn't in the argument, she stood aside and watched.
"You, the little orang pony," Star Cluster called to her.
"Your little girl probably ran off somewhere," Tailor guessed.
Star Cluster glared at him.
"She wouldn't do that!" Amaryllis exclaimed.
"Come here," Star Cluster told her. The orange pony was scared, she had heard so many stories about him that she feared to go near him.
Star Cluster lowered his head and smiled, "Please, I'm not going to hurt you, I just want to talk. It's much easier for me if your right in front of me."
the orange pony approached him but not to close, at lest she was in front of him.
"Have you seen Peaches?" Star Cluster asked.
The little pony stood not answering. Star Cluster figured she knew something, something she's afraid to tell.
"I need to know," Star Cluster told her, "Do you love your mother?"
The little pony nodded.
"If she was in trouble, would you tell your father?" Star Cluster asked
The little pony nodded again.
"I love Peaches as if she was my own daughter but she is missing. Her mother is scared for her. If you know anything, please tell me," Star Cluster muttered in a soft voice.
"They took her," The little pony answered.
"Who?" Star cluster asked.
the orange pony pointed to the boys, "They took her into the forest and...said if I told anyone I'd be in trouble."
Star Cluster looked at the boys, "Where is Peaches?!"
The boys glared at the orange pony.
"Where is she?!" Amaryllis cried.
"Boys!" the Tag called them then looking a bit upset.
"We took her into the forest and left her there," the white pony answered.
"Why?" Star Cluster asked.
"We thought our mom and dad would be proud. They yell and argue about you and our teacher every night," the light green pony answered.
Amaryllis stared at them sadly and in disbelief.
"What part of the forest did you take her in?" Star Cluster asked.
The white pony pointed, "In there."
Amaryllis dash past the girls and ran frantically towards the forest.
"Amaryllis!" Star Cluster called but she wouldn't listen.
Star Cluster looked at the three male ponies angrily, "You said your children has nothing to do with this. They're just as bad as I was and you hate me? Can you forgive your sons as well?" He looked at the soldiers behind him, "Follow me." Then he ran past the girls hurrying as fast as he could after Amaryllis.

The three male ponies looked at each other them their wives next to them realizing Star Cluster was right. Tailor looked at the boys, "My son, you stay here, We have a lot to talk about." Then he ran after Star Cluster.
"The same goes for you," Tag said and then ran after Star Cluster.
"And you my son have better be here when I get back," Snapshot told him and then left, following Star Cluster.

They all ran into the forest. Amaryllis looked around hoping to see Peaches.
"Wait," Star Cluster called to her, "Wait, Amaryllis. You can't find her this way!"
Amaryllis stopped and waited for Star Cluster and the soldiers.
"Alright, lets split up," Star Cluster ordered the soldiers, then he noticed the three ponies, "that goes for you three if you plan on helping us search for Peaches."
The three ponies nodded and left in different directions. The soldiers also left and began searching the forest.
Star Cluster and Amaryllis began walking and scanned all the bushes and fallen logs for Peaches as they called her name. The forest was quiet except for the sounds of birds echoing through the tree tops. The ray of sunlight hit the forest floor as shadows danced in the wind. Star Cluster could hear the other ponies call for Peaches as well, Amaryllis kept hoping Peaches would be show up soon.
They had walked far and was still calling for her name when they heard a faint noise.
"Shhh," Star Cluster told Amaryllis.
Amaryllis stopped and listened carefully but heard nothing.
"Peaches!" Star Cluster yelled
"Daddy!" They head a voice cry frantically.
"Peaches!" Amaryllis shouted feeling relieved that she could hear her voice.
"Peaches!" Star Cluster yelled again.
Peaches continued to yell allowing Star Cluster to follow her voice. He was soon joined by a soldier and Tag. They raced through the forest till the came upon a steep cliff but that didn't stop Star Cluster. Peaches voice came from on top of the cliff.
"What do we do?" Tag asked.
"You three go around it, I'll meet you on top somewhere," Star Cluster answered. He ran up to the cliff and jumped high, surprising tag and the soldier. Star Cluster landed and continued to run.
"He...jumped?...that high?" Tag asked surprisingly.
Amaryllis turned right and followed the cliff.

Star Cluster ran from the cliff and followed Peaches voice.
"I'm coming Peaches!" Star Cluster yelled.
"Daddy!" Peaches yelled again. This time her voice became louder and more clear.
Star Cluster ran through the thick bushes and pine trees that grew close together. Peaches screamed in fear, Star Cluster hurried as fast as he could. He ran up hill and past several trees. He could hear the river wild and roaring loudly. It made him wonder if she was close to the river or worse, maybe she was in the raging water. He didn't know and a part of him was scared to find out. Star Cluster made a sudden stop at a steep slop that ran down to the river. On the slop was Peaches hanging on the hoof full of grass.
"Peaches!" Star Cluster cried worriedly.
Peaches looked up at him as tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Daddy!" Peaches cried.
Star Cluster could see she was scared, if she continued to fall down the slop, she would hit the river and be lost of good.
"Hold on, Peaches," Star Cluster told her.
He took a few steps down the hill, and then a few more, slowly inching off the flat land. His front feet slipped and he was about to fall when Snapshot grabbed his tail in his mouth. Star Cluster looked back, Snapshot nodded and slowly inching him down the slop. Star Cluster reached out with his hoof but he was still to far. Then suddenly, Tag grabbed Snapshot's tail and inched them down the hill, then the soldiers and soon Tailor and another soldier. They had formed a chain link and slowly lowered Star Cluster towards Peaches.
"I'm coming," Star Cluster told her. He reached with his hoofs and grabbed her by the hoof. He pulled her close to him and held her. Peached hugged him tightly crying.
Everyone pulled and soon Star Cluster was safely back on flat land. Tears streamed heavily out of Peaches eyes, she refused to let go and look down the slope, she continued to hug him and cry. Amaryllis approached as she too cried, realizing how close she almost lost her daughter. Star Cluster closed his eyes and the three of them hugged each other for several minutes.
Tag, Tailor and Snapshot realized that maybe they were wrong about Star Cluster. They saw how much he loved her and was willing to fall down the slope after her. They saw his love and sadness and fear he had for Peaches.
They looked at each other sadly knowing what the other was feeling.

Amaryllis looked up at Star Cluster, "I want to go."
"Ok," Star Custer answered.
"No I mean leave Ponyland. I can't stand it Star Cluster. I tried I honestly tried and I even made a few friends but when they try to hurt my daughter then that was the last straw," Amaryllis explained.
"Go where?" Star Cluster asked.
"Anywhere. As long as we're together," Amaryllis answered hugging him again.
"Alright but not till after Stardust returns. I want to say good by," Star Cluster replied, "Lets go back to the castle. Could you put her on my back?"
"Sure," Amaryllis answered and held Peaches. Once Star Cluster was on all fours feet, Amaryllis put Peaches on his back. Peaches grabbed his mane and buried her face.
Amaryllis walked past the three ponies with Star Cluster at her side and the soldiers behind her.

The three ponies stood sadly and watched them leave.
"Have everyone in the meadow early in the morning. I think it's time we all talked," Tag said.
"I think we gone to far, look at what our children did for us," Snapshot pointed out.
"What about Amaryllis, she's the only teacher," Tailor added.
Tag lowered his head, "I don't know about you two but I'm willing to give Prince Star Cluster another chance." Then he began walking with the other two behind him.

The next day, the sun was shining and Star Cluster spent his time with Amaryllis and Peaches playing board games. Peaches was enjoying herself and had forgotten all about her frightening experience from yesterday. Amaryllis was happy and enjoyed seeing Star Cluster smiled and laugh. They were in the library enjoying the day when a soldier walked in.
He nodded his head, "Prince Star Cluster, Amaryllis, Peaches, there's someone outside wanting to talk to you two."
"Who?" Star Cluster asked.
"I'm sorry, I they didn't want me to tell you who," the soldier answered.
"They?" Star Cluster asked.
He looked at Amaryllis and Peaches, then he stood up, "Lets go and see who it is."
Amaryllis and Peaches followed Star Cluster out of the library and down the hall, they turned left and went through the doors. Star Cluster stopped suddenly when he saw the small group of villagers standing at the bottom of the steps. They didn't look mad or scared which was quiet unusual. Peaches notice the boys that had tricked her into the forest. He hid under Star Cluster and peaking around his front legs.
"What do you want?" Star Cluster asked.
Amaryllis could hear a hint of anger in his voice when he spoked to them. He was obviously not happy to see them or the little boys.
Tag stepped forward, "We came to apologize."
"Apologizing for your sons?" Star Cluster asked.
"No, for how we all acted towards you. We did not believe you changed, we thought it was another trick to take over the kingdom again," Tag paused for a minute, "After what we saw you do last night for a little pony who isn't your real daughter, we realized you do care."
Snapshot came forward, "We want you to stay in Ponyland."
Then Tailor came forward, "We are giving you another chance."
"Ever since you came back to Ponyland, we talked and argued with our wives. Our children wanted to help us and tried to get rid of Peaches because she was close to you," Tag explained. He turned and looked at the three little boys, "Well?"
The little boys came forward with their heads hanging low sorrowfully.
"We're very sorry," the white pony said.
The other two boys nodded their heads in agreement.
Star Cluster looked at Amaryllis and smiled which caught the villagers by surprise, "Do you still want to leave?"
Amaryllis smiled at him, "I suppose I can give them one more chance."
The villages smiled.

Word about what had happened to Peaches spread like wildfire all over Ponyland, some found it hard to believe and some decided to give Star Cluster another chance.
"Well, Star Cluster. Does this mean we can start planning a wedding?" Amaryllis asked smiling at him.
Star Cluster smiled and nuzzled her.