A boom of thunder echoed in the fanged mouth of the leonine cave, and a cloud of smoke cleared to reveal Daring Do and Red Glare standing with blank looks of shock on their faces, which changed to expressions of elated surprise when they looked themselves over.
The magic ropes that had bound their wings were gone, and they'd both been outfitted in their accustomed adventuring gear, Daring in her khaki shirt and trusty old pith helmet, and Red in his panel front canvas flight jacket and the bronze Royal Air Cavalry helm he'd inherited from his grandfather. The two halves of the amulet hung from their necks from a length of gold chain.
They gave a start, twitching their ears as Kaboobie's disembodied voice murmured in them. "Join the halves together, then speak my name and thy wish, if you should have need of me. Best of luck! Ho ho ho ho."
After blinking their lingering bemusement away, Daring arched her back and stretched her wings with a luxurious sigh. "Mmm. You wouldn't believe how good this feels."
Reds wings were straight out from his shoulders, and he ruffled and refolded them. He gave her a wry smile and a wink. "Looks good too. You were really workin' that little sequined number, but I think that outfit suits you the best, if you don't mind my sayin'."
A smile crept across Daring's face in response, and she took a step closer to him. "I don't mind, in fact I kinda feel the same about that getup of yours." She pawed the ground. "You wanna settle that i.o.u., before we set out?"
He nodded and doffed his helmet. "Sure."
She took off her helmet too, holding it the crook of her foreleg, and their lips met for a brief kiss. When they parted and their eyes met, Daring let out a soft chuckle. "I think that evens out our luck for now."
Red nodded as they both donned their helmets again. "Yeah, I think we're set. Lets go!"
Side by side they stepped out of the cave, freezing in their tracks with wings flared in alarm as Al Miraj's shrill, rasping voice rang out. "THERE THEY ARE! FIRE!"
The pegasus adventurers scrabbled in a panicked gallop across the stony ground and dove for cover behind a boulder for shelter as a hail of spittle kicked up bursts of scattering gravel in their wake. They crouched low with their wings tightly folded and their hooves over their heads as the other side of the stone dampened and crumbled beneath the camel thugs' rapid fire onslaught.
Daring gave Red a wan look. "Y'know, I don't think we had a lot of luck between us in the first place."
He ruffled his wings and shrugged, gesturing with a hoof toward the mountains beyond. "Lets just buzz. It's not like a little spit's gonna knock either of of us out of the air."
They both flinched as a large rock enveloped in simmering purple magic smashed against their shelter. Red ran his hoof along the high collar of his jacket and swallowed loudly. "Okay, that might do it."
They ducked lower as another heavy stone shattered on their cover, showering them with bits of gravel. The spitting barrage went still as Al Miraj's voice sounded again, tremulous with barely restrained rage. "I WOULD MAKE YOU A BARGAIN, PONIES! I KNOW YOU HAVE THE AMULET! GIVE IT TO ME, AND I WILL CONSIDER MERELY TWISTING YOUR WINGS OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS AND LETTING YOU WALK OUT OF THIS DESERT ALIVE!"
Red rolled his eyes and met Daring's wry gaze. "Such a great deal! Whatta ya say, Do? Wanna give it to him?"
She returned his sly smirk with a chuckle. "Yeah. Lets give it to him."
They took the halves of the amulet in their hooves and brought the zigzag edges together, then spoke in unison. "Kaboobie! Get rid of these guys!"
The horned rabbit and his thugs all flinched as a peal of thunder echoed over the hillside. They looked up in awe and terror as a column of lightning wreathed cloud descended from the sky, twirling and resolving into the mighty figure of the genie Kaboobie. "OH HO HO HO HO! WHAT'S THIS I SEE? SOME NAUGHTY CALVES BLOWING SPIT WADS? WELL, PERHAPS I CAN JOIN IN YOUR GAME AS WELL, LITTLE BROTHERS OF THE EARTH."
With that, he sat back on his haunches and conjured a cyclone between his hooves. This took on solidity and broad bands of color as a gigantic striped tube. Setting this aside, the mountainous winged camel reached down and scooped up the cowering knot of mortal camels and their furiously hopping, frothingly angry master, rolling them between his hooves into a tangled ball of flailing limbs and necks. Al Miraj's voice sounded out, muffled by the bodies of his terrified minions. "NO! NO! YOU SHOULD BE OBEYING ME! NOOO!"
Mighty Kaboobie took up his conjured tube, and shoved the wad of villains into one end with a casual smirk. He then raised it to his lips and blew a puff of air into it. The tangled ball of camels with the horned rabbit at its core launched out the other end and flew rapidly toward the horizon, trailing a five voiced chorus of fear and dismay. "AIEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeee." As they vanished, a tiny flaring star went *ping* and faded in the boiling azure sky.
The sun shone brightly on the courtyard of the Sultana's palace in the many domed capitol city of the Dromedarian Empire. A gentle breeze blew off the nearby river and rustled the leaves of the date palms as the august she-camel sat languidly in the shade of her favorite balcony, reflections from the fountains glittering in the priceless jewels that draped in settings of gold around her elegant, swanlike neck.
Down below, a cadre of her finest guards drilled, their snowy white turbans and cloaks and the gilded bronze domes protecting their humps gleaming in the glare of the afternoon. The Sultana flicked an ear, jingling the hoops of gold that hung from it, as a distant sound of wailing came from over the horizon that grew louder and louder.
She blinked in shock as a tangled ball of bull camels dropped out of the sky and landed with a tremendous crash among her loyal soldiers. The pale she-camel scrambled to her feet and reared up to plant her forelegs on the railing. Her eyes widened as a tiny, yellow, long eared shape clad in a ragged suit coat and sporting a black horn on its head staggered free of the groaning pile, and she cried out in her clarion voice over the disrupted muddle in the courtyard. "By the Everfull Oasis, it is that villainous fiend Al Miraj and his band of ruffians! Seize them, my faithful guards! SEIZE THEM!"
Al Miraj shook off his daze with a ragged snarl and took to his heels, scampering at full speed across the courtyard as bursts of packed sand exploded in his wake from the rapid fire spit attacks of the Dromedarian Palace Guard. He bounded with desperation writ upon his twitchy little face toward a crack in the base of the high marble walls, wedging himself into it as more camel spit splattered all around his fluffy tail. With a high pitched shriek of effort, he shoved himself through, his jacket and shirt tearing free behind him.
Two of the Sultana's eager guardians skidded to a stop, and one plucked up the tiny, dirt stained white jacket in his pendulous lips and raised his long, sinuous neck to hold it aloft for his ruler while the his companion called to her. "He got away, your bejeweled majesty!"
She gave a huff of exasperation and pointed toward the palace's enormously ornate gate. "Go forth and search for him! He cannot be allowed to escape! GO!"
A ragged Al Miraj emerged from the other side of the wall into a shady back street and crouched, panting, as his tiny, black heart went pitter patter in his chest. His long ears twitched at the sound of gongs and trumpets sounding in the palace. Casting around with his mind whirring behind his evilly glittering eyes, he espied a bright pink pony with frizzy magenta curls sticking out from beneath a ridiculously large turban, sitting cross legged in a doorway on a small rug and blowing multicolored bubbles from an ornate hookah.
He scampered over and grasped the edge of the little carpet, yanking it out from under her and sending her toppling backwards into the door with a loud yelp, her extravagant head wear the only thing protecting her from a nasty bump on the noggin. As she struggled upright, he laid out his ill gotten rug on the street and clambered atop it, lighting his horn with sinister purple magic with a scowl on his face. The glow suffused the carpet and caused it to lift off, sailing away over the rooftops as its tiny, fuzzy occupant muttered dark curses and promises of vile vengeance under his breath.
The pink pony shook her hoof after him as her shrill voice rang out. "HEY! THAT WASN'T VERY NICE!"
Daring Do and Red Glare came out from behind the boulder as the gigantic Kaboobie caused the striped tube to vanish in a puff of smoke and dusted off his fore hooves with a satisfied grin. With a nod to one another the two pegasi took wing and flew up to the mighty genie's eye level.
Daring gave him a smile and a wave. "Thanks a lot, Kaboobie. Those guys were really getting to be a pain."
Red shaded his eyes with a hoof and peered toward the far horizon where the gigantic winged camel had launched them. "Where did you send them?"
Kaboobie let out a thunderous chuckle as his body dissipated into smoke, leaving only his floating, grinning face. "HO HO HO HO. SOMEWHERE WHERE THEY WILL FIND AS SOFT A LANDING AS THEY DESERVE AND MORE TROUBLE THAN THEY WOULD EVER WISH FOR."
He inclined his head to them a brief bow, his topknot fluttering in the wind. "NOW GO FORTH AND FLY SWIFT ON YOUR JOURNEY, MY LITTLE PONIES, AND MAY YOUR WAY BE UNTROUBLED." With that, his head disappeared in a puff of cloud and was gone.
Daring and Red wheeled and lit out, veering toward one another to bump hooves as they soared over the mountains toward the distant peaks, their tails whipping in the breeze as their wings caught the rising thermals and took them high into the bright sky.
Al Miraj shivered on his little carpet as it skated through the dark clouds overhanging a different, more foreboding range of mountains. Lightning crackled overhead as he wound swiftly between the crags until he came to a flattened peak topped by a massive wall of chaotically interwoven tree trunks, shattered boat hulls, and chunks of shingled roofs.
He caused his woven conveyance to settle on a displaced attic dormer and called down into the center of the vast ring of wreckage, his horn sputtering with purple sparks as he shrieked at the top of his little lungs. "WAKE UP, YOU GREAT FEATHERED LUMMOX! I HAVE NEED OF YOUR SERVICES! I INVOKE MY FINAL BOON! COME FORTH!"
A crashing, splintering sound like a forest being pushed over sounded, as a looming grey shape rather like a mountain formed into the cruelly beaked shape of a giant harpy eagle surged upright and cocked its head, fixing its tiny interlocutor with a dull gaze. It nodded, and unleashed a deafening, gravelly squawk as it spread a pair of stony wings a thousand hoofs across.
Al Miraj launched his carpet skyward and landed on the huge creature's jagged crest with a maddened cackle of glee. As the terrible roc took impossibly to the sky to the crackle of thunder and stone, the downdraft from its wings causing avalanches on the mountains below.
The pegasi adventurers soared over the dry majesty of the Mountains of the Gods, feeling the convection currents of heat rising from below and the cool blast of the high desert winds in their faces.
Daring looked thoughtfully over at her companion and called out to him. "So... I was thinking. We're down to one wish apiece. What are you thinking of doing with yours, Red?"
The stallion looked pensive, stroking his chin as his brow furrowed beneath the golden crest of his antique helmet. "Hmm. Well, I guess I'm gonna wish for some money."
She flicked an ear and rolled her eyes. "I guess I'm not surprised by that."
He kept his gaze fixed on the distant peak of their destination. "It's not how you think, Do. I've been trying to save up to start my own business. High speed deliveries, express mail and package delivery. The main reason I'm always broke is I try to squirrel away every bit I can into the my startup fund for RedEx, which is short for Red's Express which is what I'm gonna call my company."
They pumped their wings to gain a bit of altitude, passing over a windswept mountain peak, gliding down the other side as he continued. "A good shot of capital from our pal the genie should allow me to set up a lot sooner, without riskin' my neck all the time workin' as a courier or doin' stunt shows. Hire some fast flyers, show 'em the ropes, make sure them and the customers are well taken care of, and then see where the whole thing takes me."
Daring cocked her eyebrow. "Huh. Color me impressed, Red. I woulda thought you'd just wish for a million bits, blow it at the track the next day, and then be right back where you started."
He met her gaze. "Well, there's a lot you don't know when you don't bother to ask."
Before too much blush blossomed across her cheeks, he changed the subject. "What about you, Daring? What are you gonna wish for?"
She furrowed her brow beneath the brim of her pith helmet. "Huh... I dunno." After a few moments thought her face brightened with inspiration. "I guess maybe I'd wish for a map to all the coolest lost treasures in the world."
He gave her a wry grin. "You wouldn't just have him dump 'em all at your hooves?"
Daring rolled her eyes. "Where's the fun in that? The best part of treasure hunting is the travel and discovery. Once the stuff is found I'd rather turn it over to a museum so other ponies can enjoy it. All that old junk would just weigh me down otherwise."
Red let out a chuckle. "Okay, now that doesn't surprise me one little bit. You're one of a kind, Daring Do."
She gave him a fond smile in return. "Well, you're a lot more collectable than I gave you credit for, Red Glare."
Before he could reply, both ponies went silent as a shadow fell across them, accompanied by a massive disruption in the air strata above them that set the roots of their manes on end. Their gaze darted upward to behold the sun blotted out by the silhouette of a set of wings as wide across as the Fillydelphia Hippodrome, which folded against a gigantic body and dropped toward them with massive stony talons flared to strike and a vast hooked beak open wide and shrieking so loudly it felt as it the sky was cracking in half.
The two relatively tiny pegasi wheeled to evade with just enough speed to narrowly avoid being caught and crushed in the hurtling monster bird's claws, but were sent tumbling head over tail through the air by the turbulence it trailed from its jagged wings as it shot past them toward the mountain below. A tiny speck of yellow atop the stony creature's head squeaked and cackled and shook a tiny, fuzzy paw at Daring and Red as they struggled to reorient themselves.
The roc's talons clipped the mountain, causing the peak to crack and tumble down its side in fragments as it pumped its wings to wheel across the sky and climb for another pass at its targets, moving ponderously through the air like a vast galleon coming about at full sail to bear down on two tiny rowboats. Cyclones of dust were cast into the air at its passing.
From his perch on the monster's crest, Al Miraj was shrieking directions and clinging for dear life to the carpet with his claws. "YES! DESTROY THEM! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE! GO FOR THE MARE! I HATE HER THE MOST! SWALLOW HER WHOLE! GRIND HER TO PASTE IN YOUR GULLET!"
Daring let out a whinny of terror as the roc's beak opened wide and rapidly rose toward her like an onrushing tunnel. She scrambled in the air with flailing hooves, desperately flapping her wings to gain attitude. A blur of ruddy chestnut and copper shot across her flight path, bearing her out of the way as the gaping, serrated maw slammed shut on empty air with a sound like a bomb going off.
She barely had time to register she was in Red's embrace, his freckled face smiling at her from behind the faceplate of his bronze helmet, before the monster bird's wing wash sent them tumbling into free fall with the horizon spinning like a pinwheel.
It was too fast. They were plummeting, and another deafening squawk sounded from above with a reedy cackle barely audible above it. The shadow fell across them again, along with the sharp increase in air pressure they both felt pounding in their ears as a mountain's worth of mass dropped toward them and compressed the sky between itself and their fragile little flesh and blood bodies.
Daring felt Red's foreleg tighten around her, as she heard him murmur in her ear. "Use... use my wish, sweetheart. Do it."
She caught up her half of the amulet and pushed it towards where she felt his half was waiting. It clicked together, and with the wind roaring around them they spoke in unison. "Kaboobie! Save us!"
An answering peal of thunder roared across the sky, and suddenly the two falling pegasi found themselves softly caught on a vast silken cushion. The booming voice filled their ears. "OH HO HO HO HO. IN TROUBLE AGAIN I SEE, MY LITTLE PONIES. JUST REST THERE FOR A MOMENT WHILE I SEE TO WHAT'S BEEN RUFFLING YOUR FEATHERS."
They looked around with wide, awestruck eyes to see the gigantic golden camel rising upward on his tawny wings, giving them a merry wink as he soared past. The roc's glassy eyes went wide as he rose to meet it in it's dive. "OH HO HO! I HAVE HEARD OF HITTING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE, BUT NEVER OF TWO HITS ON A STONE BIRD!"
With that, massive boxing gloves appeared on his forelegs. He slammed the monster's beak shut in a spray of cracked stone feathers with a sweeping uppercut that sent the tiny yellow speck on the roc's crest high into the sky, and then slammed the other hoof down on the top of its head, dropping it into a tailspin toward the shattered mountain peak below. It smashed into the sandstone crag in a vast crumpled heap and tumbled onto its back with its wings and tail splayed and its hooked talons sticking up in the air like crooked masts from a wrecked ship.
Kaboobie floated down from above and landed gently beside it. A salt shaker the size of a castle tower appeared in a burst of golden sparkles in his upraised hoof, which he placed with a flourish on its jagged tail. "THAT OUGHT TO HOLD YOU FOR NOW, LITTLE BIRDIE, UNTIL I CAN RETURN YOU SAFELY TO YOUR NEST."
He glanced skyward, and casually crossed forelegs and hind legs in a nonchalant pose. After a few moments he glanced at his fetlock as if checking a watch, glanced up again, and held his wide hoof out to catch the tiny, screaming yellow speck as it dropped. He raised it to his eye level to scrutinize it with a cocked eyebrow.
Al Miraj huddled in a little ball in on the pad of Kaboobie's foot, shivering and cringing in stark terror, his ears pressing back against his head as the genie's booming voice washed over him. "OHO! I THOUGHT I'D KNOCKED A FLEA LOOSE FROM THE TINY FLEDGELING'S PLUMAGE. GREETINGS, O INFAMOUS AL MIRAJ. STILL THROWING ROCS AT MY LITTLE FRIENDS, EH? LET US SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT."
With that he blew a puff of smoke across his hoof as the evil bunny let out a squeal that cut off abruptly. When the sparkling mist cleared Al Miraj was a stiff stone statue of a one horned rabbit shrinking back in fear and dismay with wide, staring eyes. Grinning with satisfaction, Kaboobie tossed the petrified villain toward the distant dunes beneath the mountains with a casual flick of his hoof.
With a chuckle he wheeled to rejoin Daring and Red, who perched on the large, floating pillow with dumbfounded looks on their faces. He leaned in close with a broad smile lighting up his merry eyes. "OH HO HO. NOW YOU ARE SAFE, MY LITTLE PONIES. DO NOT BE TROUBLED ANY FURTHER ABOUT AL MIRAJ. PERHAPS SOMEDAY A WANDERER MAY CHANCE ACROSS HIM, AND HE WILL RECEIVE A PLACE OF HONOR IN A MUSEUM. AT LEAST NOW HE IS OUT OF YOUR HARE. HO HO HO HO."
Red gave him a grateful smile and a wave, trying not to roll his eyes at the pun. "Thanks, Kaboobie. That's another one we owe ya."
The genie gave a brief bow. "ON THAT NOTE, ALLOW ME TO SEND YOU ON YOUR WAY. WHILE I CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSPORT THE AMULET, I CAN GET AWAY WITH HELPING YOU EASE YOUR WEARY WINGS FOR A LITTLE WHILE."
Daring settled in on the silk cushion with a sigh. "Thanks, Kaboobie. Don't mind if we do."
With that, the gigantic camel moved around behind them and gave a mighty beat of his wings, propelling the soft, floating platform rapidly over the mountain peaks. "FAREWELL, BRAVE ONES. REST WELL, AND LAND HAPPILY AT YOUR DESTINATION!"
Daring and Red lounged side by side and relaxed, as the scenery rolled past beneath them and dusk gathered on the horizon.
As night fell over the dunes, a cool wind whipped up from the Mountain of Anubis' foothills, blowing clouds of grit past a stone rabbit sunk up to its arched back in the sand.
A spark of deep purple energy crackled along the length of its single sharp horn, arcing and sparking as cracks appeared in its surface. The stone shell shattered like an eggshell and Al Miraj burst forth with a primal scream and feebly dragged himself up onto the crest of the dune.
His fur was gone, sloughed off with the stone and leaving him a shivering, scrawny little pockmarked pink thing with more than enough poisonous murder in his red rimmed, beady eyes to compensate for his otherwise pathetic appearance.
He hissed out two words through his sharp teeth, "Destroy... ponies...", and then scampered away into the night.
Daring and Red were well rested when the giant floating pillow began to ablate into the air beneath them with the first rays of the morning sun. They kicked off and took wing as their conveyance vanished into arabesques of gossamer.
The to pegasi soared effortlessly on the first rising thermals of the morning, smiling at one another fondly whenever their gazes met as they scanned the glorious, golden landscape below, their hearts as light as the distant clouds overhead.
Presently, they came upon the Seventh Mountain, a resplendent peak known as the Mountain of Ra. Wingtip to wingtip, they circled it in a rising spiral, seeking out any sign of the Seeress' remote aerie. On the mountain's sandy eastern flank, they spotted a modest compound, a small, walled in collection of mud brick huts surrounded by the lush greenery of a garden.
With a nod, the two pegasi came in for a landing at the front gate, which hung open and languidly creaked back and forth in the whistling mountain wind.
Daring cocked an eyebrow and stepped up to the opening, craning her neck to peer into the courtyard. "Hello? Is anypony home?"
She cast a quizzical look back at Red, who shrugged and nodded for her to enter. The two ponies walked cautiously into the courtyard, wary and silent as the only sounds that came to their laid back ears was the rustling of the leaves in the garden and the soft clucking of chickens somewhere nearby. Daring tried again. "Hello? We're looking for Henna Baba? Is she home?"
Red bobbed his head toward the largest hut ahead of them, which had stone brick steps leading up to the door. "I don't think the genie said anything about us needing to get a signature or something. We could just leave the amulet on her porch and take off."
Daring shook her head as they stood at the base of the steps and squinted into the hut's entrance with a hoof shading her eyes. "I dunno, Red. I'd kinda like some closure on this jaunt."
Their ears perked and their tails hiked in alarm as a raspy voice, dripping with hatred, sounded behind them. "As... would I."
As the two ponies wheeled to face their sinister assailant, rough, twisted thorn vines erupted from the ground, glowing with pulsing, fizzing purple magic, and formed a pair of cages around stallion and mare that separated them by over a pony length.
Sunburned and wretched, Al Miraj gritted his teeth and dug his claws into the ground, a grimace of madness animating his features. "Destroy… ponies..."
His twisted horn sputtered and sparked as the thorns inside the cages began to lengthen and thicken, digging into Daring and Red's sides as they yelped in pain and terror.
The pegasus adventuress yanked her half of the amulet off, snapping the chain, and stretched it toward her companion's cage, calling out to the stallion in desperation. "Eeagh! Red! Your amulet! We gotta call Kaboobie!"
He stretched his half back toward her. "Agh! Too far! Can't make it!"
She grimaced and pushed as hard as she could in spite of the sharp points threatening to pierce her as she pressed against them.
A hoof's width of space separated the zigzag edges of the two sides. Daring and Red cried out as the thorns dug in deeper and deeper while the unhinged horned rabbit hopped and cackled.
A piercing shriek echoed over the tiny compound.
Then silence. Al Miraj turned as a shadow fell across his twisted, bare little body, and cringed.
An impossibly wizened, elderly she-camel stood glaring at him over the thick bags beneath her eyes. A bottom tooth like a chisel blade jutted from her lower lip, and her sagging hump, heavily wattled neck, and all four legs were adorned with intricate, deep red floral designs.
She raised one of her decorated hooves and proceeded to viciously stomp on him, her voice hoarse and croaking like a raven's call. "UT! A naked mole rat! Disgusting! I will not abide such shameless vermin in my garden!"
Daring and Red were in an exceedingly painful predicament, but couldn't help but wince in sympathy as the villainous rabbit was flattened into the dust. The elderly camel spat on him for good measure, then ambled over to greet them.
She gave them a smile that revealed that her jutting tooth was the only one remaining in her mouth. "Salaam and good morning, o travellers, and welcome. I am Henna Baba of Ra. What brings you to my humble dwelling?"
The pegasus mare shifted a bit in her confinement, flinching and wincing as she proffered the half of the amulet she held in her shaking hoof. "Ow. Hi there. Ow. My name is... Ow. Daring Do. Ow. And this... Ow. Is my... Ow. My friend... Ow. Red... Ow. Glare."
The red headed stallion tried to give a winning smile in spite of the tears of pain rolling down his freckled cheeks. "Ow. Nice to... Ow. Meet you. Ow." He joined Daring in offering his half of the amulet as well.
Daring continued, shaking a bit as the thorns dug into some rather sensitive areas. "Ow... We're here to... Ow. return your amulet. Ow ow ow."
The elderly she camel's sunken eyes lit up as she took the halves into her hooves. "Aha! I wondered where those had gotten to."
She gave them another toothless grin. "My thanks, o ponies of the northern continent. Please, come and join me for some refreshment. I was just out gathering berries from the mountainside." She nodded to a basket hanging by a strap from her hump.
Daring tried to keep her voice level. "Th-thank you... Ow... ma'am. Ow. We'd be... Ow... honored... Ow."
Red was on the verge of passing out. "Not to... Ow. be a... Ow. bother, but... Ow. Coule you maybe... Ow."
Understanding bloomed on Henna Baba's wrinkled face. "Oh yes, of course dearie." She clicked the amulet halves together. "Kaboobie? Be a dear and help these youngsters out please."
The winged camel popped into existence beside her in a puff of smoke, towering over her by mere hooves, and gave her a deep bow. "Oh ho ho ho. As you wish, madam."
A pair of hedge clippers appeared in the air beside him, and he stepped forward to release Daring and Red from their entrapment. A few moments later they stood free from the shriveling thorn branches, the small white X's of bandages dotting their bodies. They gave one another a weary smile and let out a sigh of relief.
The wizened camel seeress proceeded to herd them toward the entry of her hut. "Now come inside and have a seat. Come! Come! You are my honored guests. Come enjoy the sweet fruits of my garden and tell me of your travels. You are both so skinny. You must be fed!"
She craned her wattled neck past her shoulder and called out to her faithful genie. "Kaboobie, dear? When you've finished cleaning up out here, come inside and put the kettle on."
He gave her another bow. " Ho ho. As you wish, madam."
As the two pegasi and their she camel hostess disappeared into the hut, Kaboobie ambled over to the flattened form of Al Miraj, who groaned feebly and reached up with a shaking paw. The jovial genie peeled the horned rabbit off the ground and lifted him up by the nape of his neck pinched between the toes of a fore hoof.
He examined the shivering little wretch with a cocked eyebrow. "Oh ho ho ho. You're quite the persistent little sand flea. I see that I shall have to be more creative to get rid of you once and for all."
The ebullient genie sat back on his haunches, and a glossy black top hat appeared, upturned atop his free hoof. As the mystical camel dangled him over it, Al Miraj began to kick and writhe in his iron grip. "No! No! Anything but that! No! Nooo! Aieeee!"
Kaboobie dropped him into the hat without ceremony, the villainous magic rabbit's wail of dismay fading as if he were dropping a great distance into a void.
The genie let out a chuckle, and flattened the hat between his hooves, where it vanished with a small pop. His work done, he brushed off his hooves and sauntered inside to help prepare brunch.
High in the remote territories of Mooskatchewan, a lone bull moose sat atop a tree stump amongst the blue spruce and pine, practicing his act for the upcoming annual potluck and talent show over in Saskahoof. He wore a threadbare tailcoat, and held a battered top hat atop his broad hoof. With deliberate care he rehearsed his lines. "Nothin' up my sleeve!"
He tugged on said sleeve to demonstrate, accidentally tearing it entirely off. He blushed, making a mental note to stitch it back on later.
Then, with a flourish he reached into the hat. "Presto!"
The moose gawped in shock and horror as he produced a hideous, emaciated little pink thing with a sputtering black horn, wild glaring eyes, and gnashing fangs. "NeeYAAAAGH! UNHOOF ME, YOU DANK SMELLING UNGULATE!"
He hastily shoved the nasty little monster back down into his hat up to the pit of his foreleg, and gave a stunned look to a squirrel that was watching him intently from a nearby branch. "No doubt about it, I gotta get a new hat!"
Three days later Daring Do and Red Glare stood at the gate of Henna Baba's compound, well fed and well rested. They said their goodbyes to the wizened she-camel, and heartily thanked her winged genie servant.
Kaboobie stopped them with an upraised hoof as they turned to take wing. "Wait, my little ponies. Are you not forgetting something? Oh ho ho ho. I still owe you a wish."
The pegasi exchanged glances, and Red gave Daring a smile. "Well, we used mine up getting out from between that roc and a hard place. So I guess this one's all yours, babe."
She stifled a groan at the pun, and stroked her chin in thought. A sly grin spread across her muzzle and a blush upon her cheeks. "Well, it kinda strikes me that our meeting at the club would have turned out a lot better if it hadn't been interrupted by that rotten rabbit and his rowdies. So how about we try again?"
Red cocked an eyebrow. "What about that treasure map?"
She shrugged and gave him a fond smile. "I like it better when the treasures I find are a surprise."
Daring turned to the genie. "Kaboobie, I wish for Red and me to have a nice night out at the Palm Club in Marekesh." She gave the coppery maned stallion a wink. "And this time, Red's buying."
The winged camel threw back his head with a peal of laughter. "Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! So be it!"
The band was in full swing, filling the heady, exotically spiced air with cool jazz in the haze of smoke and neon and the sparkle of jeweled lamps and twinkling, mosaic fountains. A stylish international crowd of ponies, arabian horses, camels, antelope, wildebeest, and zebra crowded the dance floor in a clatter of hooves like a driving rain.
Red sat at the mahogany topped bar next to Daring, who cut a svelte figure in her ruby sequined red dress, both ponies enjoying a sweet melon sherbet between them.
A tall bull camel bartender with a dark goatee leaned on the bar and gave them a warm smile. "Would sir and the lady like another?"
Daring spared him a glance, then smiled at Red and batted her eyelashes. "That was delicious, but I think what I want to do now is take a turn or two on the dance floor."
The pegasus stallion flared his wings and settled them across his tuxedo jacket. "Sure thing, beautiful. Let me settle up here."
With that, he reached into the pocket of his coat for his money. As he drew his hoof out, he looked down startled as the sound of a fountain of bits pouring forth and clattering on the tiled floor hit their ears. It continued for a few seconds, leaving a glittering pile on the floor at their hooves. Red and Daring stared in disbelief. With a tentative hoof, he reached into his pocket again and another gout of coins fell out with a musical jingle. Their eyes met, and they shared an elated smile.
Red turned to the bartender and dropped a hoof full of bits on the bar. "Here you go. Keep the change."
With that, the two pegasi trotted out into the crowd, kicking up their hooves in a lively tango.
The bartender leaned his chin on his hoof with a wry grin and chuckled to himself as he watched them dance.
The characters depicted in this fiction are copyright and trademarks of Hasbro, Inc. This is a work of fan fiction, and the author makes no claim on Hasbro's copyright or trademarks.