It was a beautiful day in Ponyland. But that's not what the Witches from the Volcano of Gloom would think.
"What a disgustingly beautiful day outside today!" Hydia shouted. "Smell that fresh air!"
Reeka and Draggle breathed in the fresh air, and began coughing and wheezing.
"Smells awful, Hydia!" Reeka shouted. "How can those little ponies stand it?!"
"You know those little ponies," Hydia grumbled. "They think everything is just wonderful! Well, I'll put a stop to that! Where's my spell book?!"
Hydia began scrounging through the house on top of the volcano, throwing things everywhere. She had finally unearthed her spell book when the doorbell rang. Hydia was less than please.
"Dooooohhhhh!" she shouted. "DRAGGLE! Get the door!"
"Yes, Mama," Draggle said.
"What . . . . . did you . . . . CALL ME?!" Hydia yelled at the top of her voice.
"Hydia! Hydia! I mean Hydia!"
Draggle ran to answer the door before she could make Hydia madder than she was now! She opened the door, and something came zooming in at an alarmingly fast pace.
"Whoooaaaa!" Draggle shouted as she stumbled backwards, and landed on top of her sister.
"Hey!" Reeka shouted. "Watch where you're falling!"
Draggle didn't say anything. The flying object came back and began knocking things off the walls. The noise brought Hydia upstairs.
"What's going on up here?!" she shouted. "Good grief. A witch tries to get a little dishonest day's work done . . . . ."
Before Hydia could go on, she was clobbered right in the face by whatever it was that was flying by. She ended up flat on her back, and whatever it was that was flying around stopped.
"Hi, Aunt Hydia," a little witch, about ten years old, said. She had red hair in a pageboy cut, and freckles. She wore a purple dress with a black belt and gold buckle, purple tights, black shoes with gold buckles on them, and a purple pointed hat.
"Oh no," Reeka groaned.
"Not cousin Winnie!" Draggle moaned.
"Winnie, what are you doing here?!" Hydia shouted.
"Mama wrote and said I'd be dropping in," Winnie said. "Didn't you get her letter?"
"No, we don't get mail," Hydia said. "We keep a live alligator in the mailbox."
Suddenly, the quartet heard growling, and a scream from outside.
The scream stopped abruptly, and was followed by the licking of lips, and a small burp.
"That's the fifth mailman we lost this week," Hydia said with a cackle.
"Yeah, and it's only Tuesday," Draggle said.
"Oh well," Winnie said. "So are the little ponies still givin' ya trouble, Aunt Hydia?"
"Never you mind, Winnie," Hydia said. "Go play with Reeka and Draggle. I've got work to do! I've got to make Ponyland dark, dank, and dreary!"
Hydia left the room, leaving her niece with her daughters. Winnie looked at Reeka and Draggle, and gave them a sneaky look.
"Oh boy, we're gonna have fun!" she shouted.
Reeka and Draggle looked at each other, nervously. They never liked to be put in charge of their baby cousin. Winnie was fun loving, and very reckless. She liked to use her magic to annoy her cousins, and this time was no exception. Right away, she began zapping at Reeka and Draggle until they ran out of the house. Winnie jumped on her broom and followed them.
"You can run, but you can't hide!" she shouted as she sped off.
Meanwhile in Ponyland, Julie raced out of the Estate. She began singing and skipping outside.
"Julie, where are you going?" Megan asked, leaning out the window of the Estate.
"I'm going to pick flowers, Megan!" Julie called to her older cousin. "Is that okay?"
"Sure, it's okay. Just stay away from the Haunted Forest!"
"I will! Bye!"
Megan waved good-bye to her cousin, and then went back inside to help Cupcake do some baking.
Julie skipped along the forest and began picking flowers of all kind. She liked to pick the flowers, but she knew she'd have to do it in certain places. She once tried to pick the flowers in Posey's garden, but that didn't go over too well with Posey.
As Julie picked the flowers, Winnie flew overhead on her broom, looking for Reeka and Draggle.
"Oh dear sweet cousins!" she shouted. "Come out, come out wherever you are!"
Winnie continued circling until her broom ran out of gas. It sputtered, and then started to go down.
"Oh darn it!" she shouted. She landed in the bushes with a loud CRASH!
Julie jumped and dropped the flowers she had picked. She looked over at the bushes, and walked over, thinking it was a bird, or maybe a Pegasus pony. Actually, she was hoping it was Firefly, making one of her not so perfect landings from her Double Inside Out Loop. She pushed the bushes away and saw Winnie sitting on the ground, holding her broom in her hand.
"That's the last time I use unleaded broom juice," she said.
"Are you okay?" Julie asked.
"Yeah, I'm okay. My broom ran out of juice."
"Are you a witch?"
"But . . . . but I always thought all witches are ugly!"
"My mama and my auntie and my cousins are ugly. But not all witches are ugly. My name's Winnie. Winnie Witch. What's yours?"
"Julie. Julie Olsen. How old are you?"
"So am I."
"I was looking for my cousins but I can't find them. Wanna play?"
Winnie took Julie's hand and the two of them ran into the forest.
Winnie and Julie went to the edge of the forest, that just led into the Haunted Forest. This was the first time Julie had seen it, but she knew it not only led to Skull Mountain, but also to the Volcano of Gloom. She stopped.
"What's the matter?" Winnie asked.
"I'm not allowed to go in the Haunted Forest by myself," Julie said.
"But you're not by yourself! You're with me!"
"No, Megan will be mad if I go in there. It's scary in there!"
"Oh all right. We'll play out here. What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. You're a witch, right?"
"Can you do any magic tricks!"
"Sure I can! Watch this!"
Winnie pulled a small magic wand out of thin air, and waved it. Sparkles flew out of the sky and created a fireworks display. Julie giggled and clapped her hands.
"That's not all I can do!" Winnie shouted! "Look at this!"
Winnie waved her wand again, and bubbles came out of nowhere. Julie began popping a few of them. Every time Winnie waved her wand, something new would come out of it. Soon, both girls were giggling among the bubbles, feathers, and other things Winnie was making out of her wand. The two of them then laid back in the grass and watched the clouds go by, just talking about things.
"I live over the rainbow," Julie said. "And I've got a little brother and a dog. But I like to visit Ponyland a lot, and play with Twinkles. She's an orange kitten."
"I have a kitten," Winnie said. "Her name is Midnight. She's black and she's got green eyes, and she wears a green witch's hat. I'll bring her over some time."
"And I'll bring Twinkles with me some time. Maybe our cats will be friends."
"That would be neat!"
Julie and Winnie giggled, and continued watching the clouds, and talking. They weren't keeping track of the time at all. Megan was leaning out the windows of the Estate, calling her cousin. It was almost time to go home. Medley and Firefly were looking for her, too.
"Julie!" Medley called.
"Come out, come out wherever you are!" Firefly shouted.
"She's never strayed far from home before," Megan said.
"Maybe she's still playing in the forest," Gusty said, coming out of the Estate.
"We'd better go look for her," Megan said. "Or else her mother will be plenty mad!"
Megan, Firefly, and Gusty started for the woods. Medley was going to stay behind, just in case Julie came back while they were gone.
While Megan and the two ponies were looking for Julie, Hydia, Reeka, and Draggle were skulking through the forest, looking for Winnie.
"You were supposed to be watching her!" Hydia yelled. "I've got better things to do with my time than look for my niece! I've got to find a way to turn Ponyland dark, dank, and dreary!"
"It was Draggle's fault, Hydia!" Reeka shouted. "She was supposed to be watching Winnie!"
"No, you were supposed to be watching her, Reeka!" Draggle retorted.
"Shut up!" Hydia yelled. "And come on! The sooner we find Winnie, the sooner we can get back home and turn Ponyland dark, dank, and dreary!"
The two groups walked on. Julie and Winnie were drawing in the dirt with sticks when they heard rustling in the bushes. Both of them stood up straight and alert.
"What was that?" Julie asked.
"Get behind me!" Winnie hissed. She held up her magic wand. "I'll scare them off!"
Suddenly, the ponies and the witches jumped out from opposite bushes.
"Julie!" Megan shouted.
"Winnie!" Hydia shouted.
"Megan?" Julie asked.
"Aunt Hydia?" Winnie said.
"Ponies!" Reeka and Draggle shouted at the same time.
"Witches!" Firefly and Gusty shouted.
"I'll save you Julie!" Gusty yelled, lowering her head. She was about to light up her horn, but Julie stopped her.
"No, Gusty! It's okay!" Julie shouted. "Winnie's my friend."
"Winnie?" Firefly asked. She turned to the little red haired girl and gave her a suspicious glance. "Are you a witch?"
"Darn tootin' she is, sister!" Hydia shouted. "Winifred Hogatha, you naughty little witch! What is the meaning of socializing with a friend of those puny little ponies?!"
"And what are you doing with a witch, Julie?" Gusty asked.
"We were just playing," Julie said. "Winnie's really nice."
"No witch is ever nice!" Gusty shouted.
"And nothing good can come from a little pony!" Hydia shouted. "You're a witch! You're supposed to like dark, dank, and dreary!"
"But I don't like dark, dank, and dreary," Winnie said. "I like picking flowers, and playing with Julie. She's my friend."
"What have you done to my niece?!" Hydia yelled at Megan and the little ponies. "That little brat put a bad influence on her!"
"Don't call my cousin a brat!" Megan shouted.
"Yeah, unless you want a taste of the Rainbow of Light!" Firefly threatened.
"Besides, all witches are mean and nasty!" Gusty shouted.
"But Winnie's not that bad!" Julie protested.
"Not that bad?!" Gusty yelled. "The witches only tried to bury us in Smooze and tried to take over Flutter Valley! And you're telling me a witch is not that bad?!"
"Come on, Julie, it's time to go home anyway," Megan said. She grabbed Julie's hand, and glared at the witches. Then she walked off. Firefly and Gusty glared at the witches as well and started back to Paradise Estate.
"Winifred Hogatha, I don't ever want you to see that goody two shoes again!" Hydia yelled, as she, Draggle, and Reeka began to take Winnie back to the Volcano of Gloom.
"But I like Julie!" Winnie shouted. "She's my friend!"
"Witches don't have friends!" Reeka shouted.
"You're a witch, and witches don't make friends!" Hydia shouted. "Especially not with little girls who are friends with little ponies!"
"That's not fair!" Winnie yelled, stamping her foot. "I like Julie! I want her to be my friend!"
"Oh brother," Reeka groaned.
"You'll thank me for this when you're an evil mean old witch like me!" Hydia shouted.
Winnie pouted. She started to brew a thunderstorm to take out her frustrations, but it was only affective in the Haunted Forest and at the Volcano of Gloom.
Meanwhile, back at Paradise Estate, Firefly and Medley were getting ready to take Megan and Julie back over the rainbow. Julie was crying her eyes out.
"Julie, witches are bad and that's all there is to it," Gusty said, trying to explain.
"Glinda the Good Witch wasn't bad!" Julie cried. "She was a good witch!"
"Glinda the Good Witch wasn't real," Megan explained, calmly.
"Not all witches are bad!" Julie shouted.
"All of them around here are," Gusty said. "I think it would be best if you stayed away from that little witch."
"But she's my friend!" Julie wailed.
"Julie, the Witches from the Volcano of Gloom aren't anyone's friends," Firefly said. "I agree with Gusty. Even their relatives must be mean and evil and nasty."
"Megan!" Julie yelled.
"I happen to agree with Gusty," Megan replied. "We've had too much trouble from those witches."
"But . . . . but Morning Glory . . . . Morning Glory said you have to find the good in people!" Julie protested.
"Yeah, but there's no good in those witches!" Gusty shouted. "You'll thank us for this someday, Julie."
"It's all for the best, anyway," Medley said. "Witches can be dangerous."
And with that, Firefly and Medley flew into the air, and over the rainbow. Julie cried all the way home. She thought everyone was being so unfair. She didn't think it was fair she couldn't be friends with Winnie, just because she was a witch.
The next morning, Megan and Julie returned to Ponyland. Julie was still upset that no one would let her play with Winnie. She spent the day holed up in the Estate, with only Twinkles the cat to comfort her.
"Julie, we're all going over to Flutter Valley," Buttons said, walking into Medley's room. "Want to come?"
Normally, Julie would have jumped at the chance. She loved Flutter Valley. It was one of her favorite places in Ponyland. She loved Morning Glory and Peach Blossom almost as much as she loved Medley. But that day, she didn't want to go.
"I wanna play with Winnie," she said, tearfully.
"Winnie is a witch," Gusty said. "And witches are dangerous. That's all there is to it."
"But Glinda was a good witch," Julie said. "She . . . . she gave Dorothy the ruby slippers."
"Julie, that was a movie," Buttons said. "That wasn't real. This is real life."
(Whatever you say, Buttons)
"But Winnie's really nice!" Julie continued.
"Forget it, Julie," Gusty said. "There's no way you're gonna convince me that the little witchlette you met is good."
"See you later, Julie," Buttons said, and she followed Gusty out the door, and they were on their way to Flutter Valley. Julie threw herself face first on Medley's bed and cried into her pillow. Twinkles jumped up on the bed, and rubbed against her hair.
"Mew," she said, and the purred a little, as if to say "don't cry, Julie. It'll be all right."
"It isn't fair, Twinkles!" Julie shouted, leaning up. She sniffled. "Winnie's not a bad witch. Why can't I be friends with her, just 'cause she's a witch?"
Twinkles mewed again, and leaned against Julie.
Back at the Volcano of Gloom, Winnie was throwing a temper tantrum. She was stomping on the floor, and screaming at the top of her lungs.
"I WANNA PLAY WITH JULIE!" she shrieked. "I WANNA GO BACK TO PONYLAND!"
"That's not gonna do you any good!" Reeka yelled, while chewing a chopped bat wing sandwich (ew, yuck!)
"Yeah, Hydia will never let you go to Ponyland," Draggle said. "Witches hate little ponies, and we hate people who like little ponies."
"But that's just plain stupid!" Winnie shouted.
"We're witches, and that's the way it goes!" Hydia said. "You're a witch, and you're not supposed to like little ponies or their friends!"
"What am I supposed to like?" Winnie asked, with a pout.
Hydia, Reeka, and Draggle looked at each other, and then burst into song.
Dark and dirty - isn't it wonderful?
Dank and dingy - isn't it grand?
Hydia: We love watching flowers wilt
Hey, watch out - the ketchup spilt!
All: Dark and dirty is better than beautiful
Nice and shiny we cannot stand
Reeka: We prefer when things look seedy
Draggle: Shirts unlaundered - gardens weedy!
Hydia: Why bother making things look neat?
All: Messy, scattered, soiled and tattered
Simply can't be beat
Dark and dirty - we think it's fabulous
Nothing can compare
How we wished that dark and dirty flourished everywhere!
Ooh - dark and dirty - we think it's wonderful
Dark and dirty - we think it's fabulous
Dark and dirty - yeah!
"You guys would make a fortune in laundry soap," Winnie grumbled. "But I still wanna go to Ponyland and play with Julie! I WANNA, I WANNA, I WANNA!"
"She takes after our side of the family," Hydia said with a sigh. "Oh how I love to hear children throwing temper tantrums. Winnie makes me so proud!"
Winnie realized throwing a tantrum wasn't getting her what she wanted. So she tried another tactic.
"Dear, sweet, Auntie Hydia," she said as sweetly as she could muster. "May I please go to Ponyland and play?"
"AAAHHHHH!" Hydia shouted, horrified. "Young lady, I ought to wash your mouth out with soap!"
"She said the P word!" Draggle gasped.
"Boy, is she gonna get it!" Reeka shouted.
That's the way it is with some witches. The word "please" was considered as bad as any bad word in the book, maybe even worse. And throwing a temper tantrum was the equivalent of a child asking nicely and politely for something to witches.
"Please, please, please?" Winnie asked. "I won't stop 'til you let me play with Julie!"
"Winifred Hogatha Witch, I will not tolerate that word on my volcano!" Hydia yelled. "NOW GO TO YOUR ROOM AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU JUST SAID!"
Winnie began muttering under her breath and she stomped off to her room. Hydia sighed.
"Where do kids learn to be nice and polite?" she asked. "Such language! I ought to give her ice cream and cake for dinner tonight!"
"Eeewww, yuck!" Reeka shouted. "How disgusting!"
Hydia grumbled and went back to searching for spells to turn Ponyland dark, dank, and dreary.
In the meantime, Winnie was hopping on her broom, followed by her little black kitten, Midnight.
"If Aunt Hydia won't let me see Julie," she said. "I'll just go to Ponyland by myself!"
Winnie and Midnight took off. They flew to Paradise Estate, and tapped on the bedroom window. Julie sniffled, and looked up. She saw Winnie hovering on her broom, and raced to open the window.
"Winnie!" she shouted. "You shouldn't be here!"
"I know," Winnie said. "Aunt Hydia won't let me play with you."
"Megan and Gusty won't let me play with you. They say all witches are bad."
"I'm not bad! I don't like dark, dank, and dreary like my aunt and cousins do."
"I know you're not bad. But what can we do?"
"I know! Let's go someplace where we can play together and no one will ever know!"
"You mean run away?"
"Yeah! That'll show 'em!"
Julie thought it over. Then she grabbed Twinkles, and climbed onto Winnie's broom. She didn't care what Megan was going to think. She didn't think it was fair that she couldn't play with Winnie just because her aunt happened to be Hydia. Once the girls and their kittens were on the broom, Winnie took off towards the forest.
A few hours later, Megan, and some of the ponies returned from Ponyland. Peachy was waiting for them.
"Peachy, you look worried about something," Buttons said.
"What's up?" Gusty asked.
"It's good news bad news time," Peachy said.
"Uh oh," Fizzy said. "That doesn't sound good!"
"What's the good news?" Megan asked.
"Julie finally left Medley's room," Peachy said.
"What's the bad news?" Buttons asked.
"I can't find her anywhere."
"You WHAT?!" Gusty shouted.
"Twinkles is gone, too," Peachy said.
"Let's not panic," Wind Whistler said. "There must be a logical explination for this. I propose we go search for Julie and Twinkles and interrogate anyone who might have seen them."
The others agreed, and went off. They ran across the Bushwoolies in the forest and asked them if they had seen Julie.
"Yeah, we did," one said.
"We did, yeah, yeah, we did, yeah," the others chimed in.
"She was flying on a broom with a witch."
"Yeah, witch, yeah, yeah, witch, yeah, witch!"
"A witch?!" Buttons shouted.
"Oh no!" Fizzy cried.
"What did the witch look like?" Megan asked.
"And where were they going?" Gusty asked.
"The witch had red hair," the Bushwoolie said. "And she was little!"
"Yeah, little, little, yeah, little," the other Bushwoolies said.
"Then it had to be Winnie," Megan said.
"They went thattaway!" the Bushwoolies all shouted at once, pointing to the left.
Megan and the little ponies ran off in that direction.
In the meantime, Winnie and Julie had landed the broom in a small valley. The grass was green, flowers were in bloom, birds were singing, and butterflies were fluttering. The only thing about it was that the sky was a mix between pink and orange, like a sunset. Winnie was playing with her magic wand, and Julie was picking flowers and making chains out of them. Twinkles and Midnight were frolicking about, chasing the butterflies.
"Isn't this great?" Winnie asked. "I could stay here forever!"
"It's nice," Julie said. "But I don't know if I'd want to stay forever."
"Aw, come on! Nobody will let you play with me 'cause I'm a witch! But here we can play together forever and ever! We'll have lots of fun!"
Julie nodded, and sat down with a sigh. Twinkles and Midnight stopped chasing the butterflies, and walked over to Julie. Twinkles rubbed up against her. Julie picked up the little orange kitten and held her in her arms.
"What's the matter, Julie?" Winnie asked.
"I want to go home!" Julie shouted, and she started to cry. "I miss Megan and Medley! I don't want to run away anymore!"
Winnie felt bad. She hadn't meant to make her friend cry. She sighed, and started up her broom.
"Let's go back to Paradise Estate," she said. "The ponies are probably worried."
Julie sniffled, and climbed onto the broom with Twinkles. Midnight was about to jump onto the broom, when she turned around suddenly. She let out a hiss, and the fur on her back bristled, and her tail puffed out.
"What's the matter, Midnight?" Winnie asked.
Midnight let out a growl, and the girls looked up. There was the biggest dragon Julie had ever seen in her life! It was as big as Dream Castle's highest tower! He didn't look very friendly, either, not at all like little Spike. The dragon let out a roar, and swiped at the girls.
"Let's get out of here!" Winnie shouted, and her broom soared off into the sky at top speed.
The dragon growled and chased after the girls, trying to grab them for a snack. Winnie increased the speed, and Twinkles and Midnight flew off the broom.
"Meeeewwww!" they shouted.
"Our cats!" Julie shouted.
"We'll go back for them!" Winnie shouted. "Once we lose the dragon!"
"Hurry, Winnie, hurry!" Julie yelled. "It's right on top of us!"
"We need a place to hide!"
Winnie looked around, and spotted a cave. She smiled, and sailed inside of it.
"We should be safe in here," she said.
Suddenly, the girls heard the pounding of footsteps, and then they saw a big, green eye looking in on them. They screamed.
"It's the dragon!" Winnie shouted.
The dragon growled and reached his paw into the cave, trying to grab the girls. They began screaming and backing farther into the cave, until they couldn't go in anymore. They were trapped, and they couldn't do anything about the dragon. Midnight and Twinkles watched from outside the cave, and looked at each other.
"What can we do?" Twinkles asked.
"I don't know," Midnight said. "We can't get them out!"
"Wait! I've got an idea! The little ponies! We have to get the little ponies!"
"What can the little ponies do?"
"Trust me, Midnight!"
Twinkles ran off. Midnight shrugged, and followed. The two kittens began mewing at the tops of their voices, trying to imitate an emergency siren.
Megan and the ponies continued along the path, looking for Julie and Winnie. So far, they had come to a standstill.
"The girls have got to be around here somewhere," Wind Whistler said. "It's impossible for them to disappear into thin air."
"Hey listen!" Buttons shouted. "Do you guys hear something?"
Everyone stopped in their tracks as they listened carefully to whatever it was Buttons was hearing.
"Sounds like a siren," Fizzy said.
"Sounds more like a couple of cats to me," Gusty replied.
Out from behind a rock ran Twinkles and Midnight, mewing like sirens. They were jumping all over the place, trying to lead Megan and the ponies to the cave.
"What are they saying?" Fizzy asked.
"I think they're trying to lead us somewhere," Megan said. "Come on!"
Megan, Wind Whistler, Buttons, Fizzy, Gusty, and Peachy followed the two kittens down the path until they reached the cave.
"Oh my!" Fizzy shouted.
"That's the biggest dragon I've ever seen!" Peachy commented.
"How do we get rid of it, Megan?" Buttons asked.
"Wind Whistler, you go and distract it," Megan said. "We'll get the girls out of the cave."
"Will do, Megan," Wind Whistler said, flying into the air.
Wind Whistler flew in front of the dragon's face and began tickling his nose with her tail. The dragon growled and began making grabs for the flying pony. Wind Whistler led him away from the cave. Winnie and Julie ran out of it, and directly to the little ponies, cheering.
"Let's get out of here before the dragon comes back!" Gusty shouted.
"Good idea!" Wind Whistler shouted from the skies.
The little ponies and their friends ran away from the woods as fast as they could and they didn't stop until they reached Paradise Estate. By the time they got back, it was time for Megan and Julie to go back over the rainbow, and it was time for Winnie to go back to where she came from.
"I have to go home now," she said. "Mama will be worried."
"You mean you don't live at the Volcano of Gloom?" Gusty asked.
"Nope," Winnie said. "I come from the Cauldron Caves. Hydia's just my aunt."
"Oh," Gusty said. But she didn't say anymore.
"Will you come back to play one day, Winnie?" Julie asked.
"I hope so," Winnie said. "You're really a great friend, Julie."
"So are you."
"I have something for you."
Winnie pulled up her magic wand, and waved her hand. A gold bracelet appeared on her wrist. Half a gold heart charm was on it. An identical bracelet appeared on Julie's wrist, complete with the half heart charm.
"If you keep your half, and I keep my half," Winnie said. "That means we'll be friends forever."
"Friends forever," Julie repeated, and she gave Winnie a hug.
Winnie climbed on her broom, and Julie climbed on Medley. The two of them went their separate ways, but waved goodbye to each other, both knowing that they would meet again, someday.