*It was morning in Ponyville, At Sugar Cube Corner, Mezmo was enjoying a cinnamon bun when he looked outside to see a mule molly wearing a red scarf and large earrings walking down the street*
Mezmo: Hmm… Nice earrings.
Pinkie: *trots up with a pitcher of juice* Oh, lookit that. Flo's out and about.
Mezmo: Huh? *turns to face Pinkie* You know her?
Pinkie: I know everypony in town. Flo moved here before me. She mostly keeps to herself in her house on the other side of town, but she comes in every once and a while. Same order every time, too. Spice muffins and a pot of hot water so she can make tea.
Mezmo: What's so special about her, anyway?
Pinkie: You can't tell? *looks around, motions Mezmo to lean close and whispers* She's a gypsy.
Mezmo: A gypsy?
Pinkie: Yeah. She has one of those fancy wagons in her front yard and everything. She taught me how to tell fortunes.
Mr. Cake: *comes walking up* Oh, Flo's out, is she? *checks the calendar on the counter* Yeah. I guess it's just about that time.
Pinkie: Wow. Is it that time of year already?
Mezmo: What time of year?
Mr. Cake: Oh, Flo's waiting for her son to come and visit.
Mezmo: *raises an eyebrow* Her son? What does he do for a living?
Mr. Cake: I honestly don't know. He just comes into town for a few days every year and then he's gone again. I asked Flo once, but she snapped at me. Said it wasn't for an outsider to know.
*Later, back at his cottage, Mezmo was explaining to Salem about Flo and her mysterious son*
Salem: Wait…this Flo is a MULE?
Salem: And the fact she has a KID isn't enough to arouse your suspicion? I mean, everyone knows mules can't breed.
Mezmo: *pause* I didn't know that
Salem: Oye… A mule is what happens when a donkey and a horse get a bit too friendly. Like all hybrids, male mules are sterile, so it's impossible for a female mule to have offspring.
Mezmo: Well, Pinkie said she was a gypsy, so…maybe she used magic or something.
Salem: Look, I'll keep an eye on her, see what I can find out. *jumps to the floor* You focus on your lesson for this afternoon. *pads to the door* Ah-HEM.
*Mezmo sighs, walks up to the door and opens it*
Salem: Would it kill you to install a cat flap? *runs out into the yard and disappears into the tall grass*
*Later that day, at the library, Mezmo was taking his current magic lesson with Twilight, who had drawn a circle on the floor with a piece of violet chalk*
Twilight: Now, let's begin with a deep, cleansing breath. Summoning magic requires absolute concentration and focus. We'll start with something small. See that book on the table? You're going to summon it into the spell circle I've drawn here.
Mezmo: Uh… Okay.
Twilight: Focus. Concentrate on the book. Picture it in your mind and let the magic flow into your wand. Recite the incantation as I taught you. And remember, you're doing this without my help this time.
Mezmo: Okay, okay, I got it. *holds out his wand* Telepara Intervalia!
*The book disappeared from the table in a flash of light. In the center of the spell circle, a glowing light appeared and the book began to reform*
Twilight: That's it. Keep your concentration. Don't let the magic go wild.
*Just then, Salem leapt in through the open upper section of the door and jumped onto Mezmo's head. In a loud BANG, the book was reduced to scraps of burnt paper*
Salem: *stammering* B-B-B-B-B-B-BIG!!!
Twilight: Salem! You ruined the lesson!
Salem: Sorry, Twi, but what I just saw out there just startled me out of a couple of my lives!
Mezmo: *pries Salem off his head* Oh yeah, what?
Salem: Flo's kid is NO mule! He's a HORSE! BIGGEST horse I've seen since we got here!
Salem: Yeah. Muscles that would put Big Macintosh to shame, and hair like…well…you know those guys on the covers of romance novels?
Mezmo: He's got Fabian hair?
Salem: Yeah. Kinda like Fluttershy's now that I think of it.
Twilight: *levitates a notepad and a quill and begins to jot down notes* And…his color?
Salem: Black and white all over…but not like a zebra. Like…white with huge black blotches, like a Holstein, kind of.
Twilight: Hmm… *levitates over a book on horses and flips through the pages* You mean…like this? *shows a full-color image of a Gypsy Vanner Stallion*
Salem: THAT'S HIM!!! THAT'S HIM!!!
Mezmo: *looks at the picture* A Gypsy Vanner Stallion, eh? Nice.
Twilight: I've heard of the gypsies, but I've never actually seen one. The gypsies are…private, to say the least. Keep to themselves.
Mezmo: I see them all the time when they visit Mareheim during the summer.
Twilight: You've SEEN these ponies? PLEASE, what can you tell me?
Mezmo: Well, they were mostly human, but some of them were ponies…and horses.
Salem: And the ponies all kind of looked like Flo's son.
Twilight: Wow. So…what were they like?
Salem: A bunch of palm-readers, fortune tellers and pickpockets, that's what. My dad always said never turn your back on a gypsy.
Mezmo: I always thought your dad said "Get out of my house, you no good freeloader!"
Salem: What really scared me…I was watching them take tea in Flo's garden when…Flo LOOKED at me. Like THIS! *turns head and widens one eye until it stares at Mezmo, his pupil narrowing to a thin slit*
Mezmo: Whoa! Dude, that's creepy.
Salem: She KNEW I was there! She was givin' me the evil eye.
Twilight: You know, this reminds me of the time I first met Zecora.
Mezmo: The zebra? You know her?
Twilight: Yes. When we first met, everypony in town was afraid of her. Convinced she was some kind of evil sorceress.
Mezmo: But she isn't. She saved me and my friends from a Naga when we were traveling through the Everfree forest to get to Ponyville.
Twilight: Yeah…kind of a funny story. We thought she's cursed us and went to her hut to demand a cure. Turns out Applebloom found out Zecora's a shaman who specializes in making natural remedies.
Mezmo: So the same can be said for Flo and the other gypsies, huh?
*Just then, the sound of heavy hoof beats could be heard from outside*
Salem: *fur stands straight* It's Flo's giant son! He found me! *zips under a table* Remember, you never saw me!
Mezmo: Jeez. I'll get it. *goes over to the door and opens it* Can I help yoooouuuuuu *eyes widen* Whoa, mama, you're tall!
*There, standing at the door, was a large Vanner stallion with a flowing white mane and tail, legs covered in thick fur and large black splotches all over his white fur. He then walked into the library and moved over to examine a bookshelf, exclaiming in a strange language*
Twilight: I'm sorry, sir, but may I help you?
Vanner Stallion: *continues in a questioning tone* Storybelle?
Twilight: Uh… I'm afraid Storybelle moved to Baltimare a few years ago. I'm the librarian here now and I guess your upset that I've re-shelved.
*The Vanner Stallion walked past Twilight, tossing his neck so his mane flew dramatically, and continued to another shelf, finally seeming to find what he was looking for*
Twilight: *knees wobbling* Oh my goodness, what a stallion. *shakes her head* Uh…sorry you had to hear that.
Mezmo: Steady there, Juliet.
Salem: What language is he speaking? It sounds like…German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian…like a bit of everything!
Twilight: It's called Romani. It's the Gypsies' language.
Mezmo: Hey, buddy, do you speak English?
Vanner Stallion: Now that one of you has the nerve to address me to my face, yes. Quite fluently, in fact.
Mezmo: Okay, cool. So, uh, what's your name, big guy?
Vanner Stallion: I am King Pathfinder.
Mezmo: *raises an eyebrow* King…?
King Pathfinder: My title since I became the leader of my tribe.
King Pathfinder: Figures. I go away for a year or two and the sections are rearranged. Oh, well. I found what I was looking for. *sits at a table and opens a book on botany*
Salem: Told ya. He's weeeeeeird.
King Pathfinder: *snorts* Does this cat under the table belong to someone? My mother said she saw one rolling around in her herb garden.
Mezmo: Yeah, he's mine. Don't mind him, he's just…scared…of you.
King Pathfinder: Scared? Of ME? I know I'm large, but I'm not a violent sort of horse. *stops on a particular page* Ah. I knew it. Those WERE White Dragon lilies I saw outside town.
Twilight: Excuse me?
King Pathfinder: Well, when I was coming into town to see my mother, I saw a whole field of these flowers growing wild. *shows the picture in the book* They are delicious!
Mezmo: Wow! And they look pretty too.
King Pathfinder: Oh, indeed. So much you can do with them, to. Eat them raw, fry them, bake them, stick 'em in a stew. Personally, I prefer to dry the flowers and use them to make tea.
Mezmo: I always read that they had magical properties. Is that true?
King Pathfinder: Indeed. They can purge even the WORST of poisons from the body.
Mezmo: *nods* Thought so.
Twilight: I never even knew flowers like this existed.
King Pathfinder: It is a well-guarded secret of the Roma people. Tell you what, my friends. How'd you like to experience a real Gypsy supper?
King Pathfinder: Aye. My mother and I will be going to join our tribe this evening. You meet us on the road to Whitetail woods at 5, and we'll lead you the rest of the way. *gets up and heads for the door* Until then, my friends.
Twilight: Wait! Could I bring my friends along?
King Pathfinder: Never let it be said that my people are not welcoming. I hope to see you all.
Mezmo: Thanks…your majesty.
King Pathfinder: *chuckles and trots out the door*
Salem: What an unusual fellow.
*That evening, Mezmo and the Mane Six were all gathered on the path that lead to Whitetail Woods*
Rarity: So…we're going to eat in the middle of the woods with a bunch of filthy vagabonds?
Twilight: Rarity! They are not vagabonds, they are gypsies. And they're NOT filthy. As the element of generosity, you should know better than to insult our new friends like that!
*Just then, over the hill came King Pathfinder, walking beside Flo, who was now hitched to a light blue gypsy cart, trimmed with gold*
King Pathfinder: Mother, I can pull it for you. I really can.
Flo: Son, I may not be as young as I once was, but I can still pull my own wagon.
King Pathfinder: Yes, mother. *sees Mezmo and the Mane Six* Ah, my friends! Good to see you!
Twilight: *bows* Your highness.
King Pathfinder: Please, there is no need for such things. We Roma are not ones for formality among friends. Please, follow us to a meal you will never forget.
*Mezmo and the Mane Six followed King Pathfinder and Flo down a small trail through the forest until they came to a clearing none of them even knew existed. Around a merry bonfire was a circle of gypsy carts. All around were people and Vanner horses, milling about, chatting, laughing and playing music*
Pinkie: Ooh! Look at all the colorful wagons!!
Flo: Our caravans are as much a part of ourselves as our souls, so we decorate them accordingly.
King Pathfinder: *shouts out in Roma* My people, these strangers are friends. Let them be welcome in our tribe!
*The other gypsies, both horse and human, cheered and waved at their king and his guests*
Applejack: Golly! Y'all sure seem to like havin' guests, huh?
King Pathfinder: We Roma are always happy to have new friends. We are a people with no country. Having friends wherever we wander makes us feel that there are places we belong.
Twilight: Well, you all are welcome in Ponyville anytime.
Flo: *smiles* I learned that long ago, child, when I decided to cease wandering with my tribe and settle there.
Pinkie: Enough chit-chat! LET'S PARTY!!!
*Soon enough, the group was joining in the revelry around the gypsies' fire. Twilight and Rarity watched as one male human gypsy was juggling four wooden pins while a pony gypsy was walking on her front hooves alone occasionally kicking back a pin when her performance partner tosses it to her*
Twilight: Oh, wow!
Rarity: Such lovely scarves!
*A pair of Vanner colts saw Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy walking around the camp and quickly set up a small stand*
Colt 1: OO-DE-LALLY! OO-DE-LALLY! FORTUNE TELLERS!
Colt 2: Get your fortunes forecast! Lucky charms! *unrolls a small mat set out with rabbit's feet, four leaf clovers and various amulets, talismans and charms*
Colt 1: *pulls down an astrological chart* Catch the dope with your horoscope?
Fluttershy: Oh, how cute!
Rainbow Dash: All right then, if you two can tell the future, tell me when I get to join the Wonderbolts.
Colt 1: *Pulls a deck of cards from under the table and spreads them before the two mares* Take any three.
Rainbow Dash: *takes three cards* Okay.
Colt 1: Don't look at them. Just set them down on the table in a straight line.
Rainbow Dash: *sets the cards back on the table* There.
Colt 1: The card on my left is the card of the past. It tells me of your history. *flips over the card, which has a jester on it* The Fool. You had grand dreams that no one believed in. Your family never understood you. Your friends all turned their backs on you. You couldn't take it anymore, so you left home and never looked back.
Fluttershy: How'd he know all that?
Rainbow Dash: *sweat drops, looking nervous* Uh, I-I-, uh… W-What about the other card?
Colt 1: The center card is the card of the present. It tells me who you are in the here and now. *flips over the card to reveal a man walking down a trail carrying a lute in his hands* The Wanderer. The troubadour. Your heart isn't chained to one place. You have a home and dear friends, but you dream of being free, flying from place to place.
Rainbow Dash: Whoa… That's amazing! But…will I ever join the Wonderbolts?
Colt 1: Let us see. The final card. The card of the future. *pulls the card toward himself and flips it to look at it* Hmm… *flips the card to reveal a man in royal robes sitting on a throne* The Emperor! Great fortune coming your way! Dreams coming true!
Rainbow Dash: YES!!! I KNEW IT!!! WAHOO!!!
Colt 1: A word of caution! Always in motion is the future! Always changing! You've come this far on your hard work and determination! Never let them waver and continue to work hard for your goals!
Rainbow Dash: I will. Thanks.
Colt 1: *nods and holds out one hoof*
Rainbow Dash: Huh?
Fluttershy: *whispering* He wants you to pay him.
Rainbow: Oh! Uh… *checks around her body* Guess I left my wallet at home. *chuckles*
*The two colts grumbled in Roma took down their stand and walked away*
Rainbow Dash: *calls out* Sorry!
*Meanwhile, Mezmo and Applejack were watching a man with a moustache and wearing an orange bandanna on his head twirl about two lit torches in his hands. He then put the lit ends in his mouth, extinguishing the torches. Suddenly, a stream of his flames shot out from his mouth, startling the two watchers. Afterwards, he smiled and took a bow*
Applejack: *eyes widen* Whoa Nelly!
Mezmo: That was awesome!! How did you do that?
Fire Breather: Oh, it's a bit of gypsy magic, lad.
Mezmo: Come on, show me!
Fire Breather: As you wish, lad.
*The Fire Breather begins to cough and gag. Then, with a great heave, a small, empty sack with a long tube comes out of his mouth*
Fire Breather: See lad? A hidden sack of lamp oil hidden in my esophagus.
Applejack: Ugh! Gross!
Fire Breather: But you're too young to do this trick yourselves. However, I can teach you a more simple trick. Fire eating.
Applejack: Y'all can?
Firebreather: Of course. *takes out two cups of cider* Here, drink this cider, but do NOT swallow.
Mezmo: *takes the cup* Okay. *drinks the cider and holds it in his mouth*
Applejack: Alrigh'. *drinks the cider and holds it in her mouth, her cheeks bulged out*
Fire Breather: Good. Now… *lights the torches back up* Takes these torches and hold them about a foot away from your faces.
*Mezmo and Applejack both nod and take the torches in their hand and hoof*
Fire Breather: All right, now spit your cider into your torches till it catches fire, then slowly bring the torches into your mouths without burning yourselves. And… GO!
*Both Mezmo and Applejack do as he says and spit their cider into their torches, quickly igniting them. They then slowly bring the torches into their mouths and extinguish the flames*
Fire Breather: Bravo! Well done, my friends!!
Mezmo: *takes the extinguished torch out of his mouth* Whoo!! That was hot!!
Applejack: *spits out her torch* How do you do that without burning your mouth clean off?
Fire Breather: Simple. When you closed your mouths on the torches, it cuts off the oxygen to the flames, quickly extinguishing them.
Applejack: It's…it's all just a buncha parlor tricks?
Fire Breather: Of course!
Mezmo: Some trick! *eyes widen* Ooh! Hot, hot! Water! I need water!
Firebreather: Here, lad. *passes a canteen to Mezmo* You've earned it.
Mezmo: *quickly chugs down the canteen* Ah! Thanks.
Applejack: I wonder how the others are doin'.
*By now, Twilight, Spike and Pinkie had gathered with a group of children to listen to a gypsy elder tell stories. The elder was an old gypsy Vanner with gray fur, along with a white mane and tail, a long white beard on his chin, and was dressed with bandanna around his neck, along with a wide-brimmed hat with a big red feather*
Elder: And so we fled from Egypt, did our people, to wander the corners of the world. That's why they call us "Gypsies". From Egypt, you see.
Spike: *raises an eyebrow* Uh… What's Egypt?
Elder: Oh, all sorts of names has we, besides our own. "Gitanos" in Spain, and "Zingali" in Italy.
Spike: What kind of places are those?
Elder: Stories for another day, young fire breather. You work hard and grow strong, and perhaps one day you will know them for yourself.
Little Gypsy Girl: Miss Unicorn, ma'am, is the little dragon your pet?
Twilight: Spike is hardly a pet. He's my best friend, my number one assistant, *bucks Spike from her back and grabs him in a hug* And the best little brother I could ever ask for.
Spike: *blushes* Aww, gee…
*Just then, Mezmo and the other ponies came walking over to where Twilight, Spike and Pinkie were .Mezmo was holding a cup of cider in one hand and a lit torch in the other*
Applejack: Boy, howdy, do these guys know how to throw a party or what?
Rarity: I always thought a gypsy camp would be dirty and full of…creepy things, but these folks are amazing.
Mezmo: No kiddin'! Look what I learned from 'em. *takes a sip of cider along with the torch and performs his fire eating trick for the others*
Rarity: Oh my goodness! Mezmo, doesn't that hurt?
Mezmo: A little, but… *coughs up a bit of smoke* you get used to it. Applejack learned it too.
Applejack: Y'all think these folks'll be around come harvest time? These big black and whites would be useful come applebucking season.
Twilight: Hmm… I don't know.
Rainbow Dash: I don't see why they live like this. Moving from one place to another, no real homes. Not natural.
*Just then, Flo was seen approaching the group*
Flo: And to us, putting down roots and staying in one place for the rest of our lives is unnatural.
Mezmo: Oh, Flo, hey! Guess what? I'm a junior fire eater!
Flo: Good for you, child. *lays down near the fire* Ah. I've missed this.
Fluttershy: Being with your people?
Flo: Yes. This tribe is my family, and has been ever since it took me in when I was a filly.
Rainbow Dash: You have a great family here, Flo.
Flo: Oh, yes. I was so young when the old king and this tribe found me.
Twilight: What happened to your parents?
Flo: I honestly don't remember. I only remember being driven from the village where we lived and getting caught in a snowstorm.
Rarity: Oh, how dreadful!
Flo: Nothing I'm not used to. I know what ponies say about mules.
Pinkie: That's ridiculous! Some of my best friends are mules!
Twilight: And mules have made great contributions to society. Remember Muelia Mild?
Flo: Yes, and I am forever grateful to your town for showing me there ARE places we can live without fear of prejudice. The whispers, the jokes...the dirty jobs nopony else will take. That was all I knew of the world until I was found shivering in a snow bank by an old Vanner stallion. He was the King of this tribe when I was a girl. He saved me and brought me to the tribe. The gypsies nursed me back to health and welcomed me as one of their own. For years afterwards, I traveled with them.
Pinkie: Wow! Great story!
Spike: But…about Pathfinder…
Flo: Yes. You see…I didn't birth Pathfinder. He CAME to me as a foal.
Fluttershy: You mean…he's an orphan?
Flo: Yes. I found him, barely a month old, stumbling around near my herb garden. I searched the forest and found signs of a great struggle. I can only guess Pathfinder's parents must have died protecting him from some great danger. So, I took the little colt in and raised him as my own.
Pinkie: Aww, that was sweet.
Flo: Those were some of the happiest years of my life. And now, look at my boy, all grown up and the King of our tribe.
Mezmo: And boy has he GROWN!
Flo: Has there ever been a prouder mother than I for her son?
Rarity: I should say not.
*A group of gypsies came around the fire, passing out bowls of salad and bubbling stew. The stew doesn't look like much, but when Mezmo tastes it, it is delicious*
Mezmo: Whoa! This stuff's great! *eats some more* What is it?
Gypsy Woman: Oh, just some roots and herbs from the forest and some venison we brought down in the forest not far away.
Fluttershy: What's venison?
Gypsy Woman: Deer meat.
Fluttershy: *sees everyone turning to stare at her* Why does everypony automatically look at me?
Spike: Well, it's just that you love animals so much…and…well…
Fluttershy: Spike, I work with animals everyday. I've accepted that some animals eat other ones to survive a long time ago.
Spike: Oh, thank Celestia!
Fluttershy: I imagine it tastes better than worms, anyway. *tastes the dish* Ptooey! Blech!
Mezmo: I've got to say, your highness, you and the other gypsies are awesome!
King Pathfinder: It's nice you think so, Mezmo. It always feels good to have people who don't stare and mock us.
Twilight: Who would do that?
Flo: Plenty. There are those who look down on we Roma as outsiders for the way we choose to live. In places we are looked at and whispered about with fear, derision, suspicion! *spits* FEH on they who cannot tolerate those who are different.
Applejack: We've learned that lesson before… Twice.
Rarity: We know what its like for ponies to treat you differently just because you're…well…different.
King Pathfinder: This is our way of life. We Roma cannot do with roofs over our heads, is the simple fact of it. No. We're better with the open road under our hooves and the stars overhead.
Rainbow Dash: *looks up at the countless stars visible in the night sky* Whoa…
Pinkie: Not to mention you guys throw one heck of a party!
King Pathfinder: Thank you, Pinkie.
Twilight: So how long are you planning to stay near Ponyville?
King Pathfinder: Oh, a few weeks at most. This is really just a rest stop before we head north to a trade town we know.
Mezmo: Are you planning to perform for our town?
King Pathfinder: A few of us no doubt will to earn extra coin for the tribe, but we are not performers by nature.
Mezmo: Well, you sure seem like it to me.
King Pathfinder: We do what we can to help support our tribe. Those of us who can entertain the creatures who call the villages and towns we pass through in hopes they will reciprocate by giving coins. What one of us earns, we all earn. That is our way.
Mezmo: *smiles* Heh… My friends Nikola and Lian would love you guys.
King Pathfinder: If they're friends of yours, I'm sure I'd like them, too.
*Much later, tired and very full, Mezmo and the others make their way back to town*
Spike: What a night. *hiccups* Oh, I'm SO full.
Pinkie: *more bloated than Spike* YOU think you're full? I've never eaten so much cake in my life!
Rainbow Dash: Oye… I'm gonna have to double my training regimen tomorrow to work these calories off. I'll tell ya, those gypsies really know how to live.
Fluttershy: It's a goodly life they lead, I'll admit.
Applejack: Yeah. *hiccups* Good and healthy.
*Just then, a pair of green eyes appeared in a tree. It was Salem, stretched out on a branch*
Salem: Evening, one and all. So, how was dinner with the nomads?
Mezmo: It was AWESOME!
Salem: Well, I'll take your word for that. *stretches and scratches behind his ear* You're all gonna be sleeping in tomorrow, as late as it is. Or early, depending on your point of view.
Twilight: One thing's for certain, you were definitely WRONG about Flo and her son.
Salem: Yeah, yeah. *yawns* Like I'm scared to admit I'm wrong.
Mezmo: Come on, Salem, let's go home.
Salem: Right behind ya. *jumps from the branch and lands on Mezmo's shoulder* Or, rather, ON you.
Mezmo: *sarcastically* Very funny…
Salem: You love my sarcastic sense of humor.
Fluttershy: *heads off towards her cottage* I'll see you all tomorrow. Goodnight everyone.
Mezmo: 'Night, Fluttershy.
Rainbow Dash: I gotta head to bed, too. Cya! *zooms up to the cloud where her house is*
Applejack: *yawns* Good thing work's light this time o' year. Or Granny'd never let me the end o' stayin' out this late. See y'all.
Twilight: You too, Applejack.
Spike: *yawns deeply and falls off Twilight's back* OOF!!!
Twilight: *in a cute baby voice* Aww, him's so sweepy he can't even keep his widdle bawance. *levitates the baby dragon in front of her* I'll see you tomorrow, Mezmo.
Mezmo: You too, Twi. Come on, Salem. *walks for home*
Salem: Right with ya, pal. *wraps his tail around Mezmo's neck and purrs quietly*
*Soon, Mezmo and Salem get back to their cottage. Salem pads to his cat basket and settles in while Mezmo changes into his night shirt*
Mezmo: Wish you could've been there, Salem.
Salem: Look, Mezmo, I'm just telling you to keep your guard up. My dad always told me you can't turn your back on a gypsy.
Mezmo: Oh, be quiet. You can never admit when you're wrong, can you?
Salem: When have I ever steered you wrong? *kneads his pillow with his claws*
Mezmo: How about the time you tricked me into turning Lian into a giraffe?
Salem: Hey, it got her out of that marriage meeting her dad arranged, didn't it?
Mezmo: Yeah, but after the spell diminished, she still had a giraffe's head and tail for a week.
Salem: Don't blame me for your lackluster skill in transfiguration. G'night. *is asleep in seconds*
Mezmo: *sighs and changes into his pajamas* Night, Salem. *crawls into bed and falls asleep*
*The next morning, the sun peeks in through the window and shines down on Salem, making his ears warmer*
Salem: *opens one eye* More sleep, thank you. *turns and tries to bury his head under his pillow, only to realize that his pillow, blanket and even his basket are gone* MREEOWWW!!!! MEZMO!!! MEZMO!!! WAKE UP!!! *pounces on Mezmo's chest*
Mezmo: *wakes up* OOF!!! Salem?! What's your deal, man?!
Salem: I've been robbed!
Salem: Look! My bed's gone! *points at the spot where his basket was*
Mezmo: Huh? Where'd it go?
Salem: *looks around* I don't know…but…it looks like your trunk with all your magic books went with it!
Mezmo: *eyes widen* WHAT?!!? *goes over to where the trunk was* My trunk!! My books!! I'VE BEEN ROBBED!!!
Salem: That's what I said! *runs over to the door* And look, the lock's been picked!
Mezmo: *goes over to see the unlocked door* Who could've done this?
Salem: Give you three hints. They wear fancy scarves, tell fortunes and ride around in gawdy wagons.
Mezmo: Salem, will you quit accusing the gypsies of being thieves already!! Now's not the time to jump to conclusions. *snaps his fingers* We need to get Twilight, maybe she knows who could've done this.
*Later, at the library, Mezmo and Salem had finished explaining to Twilight about how their things had been stolen while they were asleep*
Twilight: I was robbed, too! Some of the valuable books in the collection are gone! Spike and I went over every shelf! They're just not here! Oh, what will Princess Celestia say? She put me in charge of the library while I'm here.
Mezmo: This isn't right… How does someone just waltz into the home of the most powerful mage in town without waking her up?
Twilight: I don't know. Somehow, they picked my lock and got past all my magic wards AND Spike's senses of smell and hearing.
Salem: I still say it was those gypsies that did it!
Twilight: Don't be ridiculous. We were with them half the night!
Mezmo: That's what I said, but he just won't admit when he's wrong.
Salem: Well, how else do you explain a string of mysterious robberies carried out in the middle of the night the instant a tribe of gypsies make camp in the forest?
Mezmo: I don't know, but it couldn't have been them!
*Just then, the door slams open as Rarity was seen standing in the doorway, tears streaming down her face*
Rarity: I'VE BEEN ROBBED!!! My sewing machine, every bolt of cloth and every gem! ALL GONE!!! Of all the things that could happen, this is the. Worst. Possible. THING!
Twilight: Rarity, you say that EVERY TIME something bad happens.
Mezmo: You're not alone, though. WE'VE been robbed too.
*Suddenly, there was a scream heard from down the street*
Salem: That sounds like it came from Sugar Cube Corner.
Mezmo: Great! Now PINKIE'S been robbed!
*Later, at Sugar Cube Corner, Mezmo and the others had just arrived to see the Cakes comforting Pinkie Pie, who was sobbing on the floor*
Pinkie: *sobbing* They stole my party cannon!
Mr. Cake: And worse, all our recipes are gone!
Mrs. Cake: We've worked half our lives to make those recipes.
Twilight: This is getting out of hoof! Who knows how many other ponies this thief has robbed!
*Just then, the sounds of an angry mob were heard just outside the shop*
Salem: You just love to press our luck, don't you?
Mezmo: *looks out the window* Uh, guys, there's a very angry looking mob outside the shop.
Rarity: *looks out the window* And they're all going on about having been robbed.
*The group walked outside, only to be greeted by a mob of angry ponies, yelling and complaining about their stolen possessions*
Scootaloo: They took my scooter!
Rose: All my gardening supplies were stolen while I was asleep!
Lily & Daisy: Ours, too!
Ditzy Doo: All my muffins are gone, and I didn't get to eat ANY of them! *tears stroll down her face*
Twilight: This is weird. Some of these robberies were valuable, but others were just…random.
Rarity: Indeed. Why would somepony steal muffins?
Salem: Maybe stealing all that stuff made them peckish?
Twilight: *addressing the mob* Settle down, everypony! I assure you that my friends and I will get to the bottom of these robberies.
Bonbon: We don't need your help! Everypony knows it was those mange-infested nomads who did this!
Lyra: Mange? That's contagious!
Mezmo: Great! Now everypony in TOWN is blaming the gypsies!
Salem: Well, what do you expect? Equines are herd animals by nature. A string of robberies begins when a bunch of wanderers show up; of course the whole town blames them.
Twilight: *irritated* Are you calling us mindless followers who'll believe anything we hear?
Salem: That's exactly what I'm saying.
Twilight: *eyes flare with anger* Why you little--
Mezmo: Enough, you two! We've got to get to King Pathfinder and tell him about all this!
Pinkie: How are we supposed to get there without this monster movie-esque mob seeing us?
Mezmo: Easy. Teleporting spell. Ready, Twi?
Twilight: I think so. *horn glows* Everypony gather around.
Mezmo: *pulls out his wand* Okay then. Telepara Intervalia!
*Mezmo, Twilight, Spike, Rarity, Salem, and Pinkie quickly vanished from Sugar Cube Corner in a flash of light*
*Within a second, the group found themselves in the middle of the gypsy camp, where King Pathfinder was just stepping out of his caravan, clearly still half asleep*
Pinkie: Ooh, that was fun!
Salem: I think I just lost another life during that trip!
Twilight: Serves you right, you little liver-licking sack of--
Mezmo: Not now, Twi!
*King Pathfinder shook his head, sending his long mane flying in a halo around his head*
Rarity: *swoons* Oh, my.
Twilight: Your majesty! Are we glad to see you! It's an emergency!
King Pathfinder: Emergency? What has happened?
Mezmo: There have been a string of robberies all over Ponyville, and now, everypony is putting the blame on you and the other gypsies.
King Pathfinder: *sighs* Not again. Why does everypony always blame us? All we want is to be left alone. To live our lives in peace! Why do others take offense at us for that?
Mezmo: Look, we all know you're innocent. But if you're not the thieves, then who's been stealing our things?
King Pathfinder: I do not know. Most likely, someone who knew we were coming and waited until they knew would take the blame for their crime.
Spike: It's sick the way some creatures' minds work.
Rarity: But who in town would have anything against you all?
Mezmo: Aside from Salem…
Salem: Even if I wanted to, how could I have done it?
Mezmo: You're a warlock, remember? You could've used magic to do it… Which you are forbidden to use.
Salem: I am twenty years away from getting my human body back! Why would I risk it on a stupid thing like this?
Mezmo: Look, I'm not saying you DID do it, but you're the only one we know who doesn't trust gypsies.
King Pathfinder: *raises an eyebrow* Are you…talking to that cat?
Mezmo: *sighs* Long story, your majesty. He's my uncle, turned into a cat for going against the witches council, yadda, yadda, yadda. Etcetera. Point is, we need to find out who's been robbing Ponyville.
Gypsy: IT'S GONE!!! *runs out of a caravan* The lockbox with all our savings! It's gone!
Salem: Hoo boy… Well, I feel stupid.
Twilight: So, the gypsies have been robbed too… Aha! This proves that they're innocent!
Colt: *sniffs the air* What smells like brimstone?
Mezmo: Huh? *sniff the air, then covers his nose* Ugh! It burns!
Twilight: Hmm… Something about this smells…familiar. But I can't remember from where.
Spike: *drops to all fours and begins to sniff at the ground, his long tongue flicking out every so often* Whatever it is, it went this way. The scent gets stronger in this direction.
Pinkie: Everypony, FOLLOW SPIKE!!!
*Spike continued to follow the smell as the group, including King Pathfinder, followed him. Finally, they reached what appeared to be a large dugout animal den under the roots of a large tree*
Rarity: Oh my… What in Equestria is this?
Twilight: It looks like some kind of animal burrow.
Spike: *growls, his pupils narrowing to slits* It's down there!
Twilight: Now I remember this smell. It smells like Spike does when he doesn't get a chance to bathe!
Mezmo: *raises an eyebrow* Spike bathes?
King Pathfinder: Lead the way, young dragon!
Spike: Stay close. *stalks into the hole*
*Mezmo and the others slowly and cautiously followed Spike down the dark burrow. After following the tunnel deep down into the darkness, the only light coming from Mezmo's wand and Twilight and Rarity's horns, the group finally came out into a huge den that had been lit by glowing crystals. Inside was a huge pile of everything from priceless heirlooms to worthless junk*
Mezmo: Aha! So THIS is where all our things went!
Rarity: But what in Equestria is this place?
Salem: Oh nothing… Just a Knucker hole…
Spike: What's a Knucker hole?
Salem: It's a hole where a Knucker lives.
Pinkie: What's a Knucker?
???: *loud hissing* I'M a Knucker!
*The group whirled and shined their lights onto a long, serpentine creature that was slithering into the den. It had short, bowed legs and vestigial wings on its back. It face was dominated by two huge yellow eyes*
Salem: *scared out of his wits* You just had to ask, didn't you?
Twilight: I've read about Knuckers before. They're a type of forest dragon. Most of them live in the water while others live in burrows.
Rarity: A-A-Are they friendly?
Twilight: It depends…
Knucker: What are you doing in my lair?! *scuttles over to the pile and reclines on it, keeping his bulbous eyes on the group*
King Pathfinder: I am King Pathfinder of the gypsies. You have stolen from the good citizens of Ponyville and I demand that you give everything in your pile back to them, or else!
Knucker: *snarls* Don't try to belt orders at me, horse. I've stolen nothing.
Salem: Then why is your grubby claw in my beddy-bye basket?! *dashes up the small mound of objects and points at the wicker basket where the knucker's hand is resting*
Knucker: What? *examines the basket* This is nothing I've collected.
Salem: Liar, liar, pants on--
*The Knucker hissed at Salem, rattling his finlike ears and sparks of flame coming from his teeth*
Salem: WAAHAHAHA!!!! *hides behind Mezmo's leg*
Knucker: *shifts his weight* Now that I'm looking at it, there's lots of stuff I don't recognize here. *tosses out a large trunk* Like this.
Mezmo: Hey, my trunk!
*Soon, the Knucker is digging through his horde, tossing out seemingly random objects, including gardening tools, books, and even a small box filled with recipe cards*
Knucker: How'd all this get into my horde?!
Pinkie: Look, there's the Cakes' recipies!!
Spike: And Daisy, Rose and Lily's gardening tools. And there's the books that went missing!
Twilight: It's all here.
Rarity: Including my sewing machine, my fabric, my gems…
Pinkie: AND MY PARTY CANNON!!! *runs over to it and begins to cuddle and kiss it* I'm never letting you out of my sight again, baby!!
Mezmo: All right, pal! If you didn't steal all this stuff, then how did it get in your burrow, huh?
Knucker: *growls* I think I can answer this riddle. ROAWR!!!!
*Soon, there are smaller roars coming from outside the den. A trio of much smaller Knuckers come scrambling into the den and run into the adult's arms*
Knucker: My boys!
Knucker Chick 1: Daddy!
Knucker Chick 2: Hi, papa.
Knucker Chick 3: Did you call us?
Knucker: Yes, I did. Did you boys go into the pony village and swipe all these things I found in my horde?
Knucker Chick 2: Uh-huh.
Knucker Chick 1: It was for you.
Knucker Chick 3: We wanted you to have the best horde in the forest.
Twilight: Awww… *hugs Spike*
Spike: Ugh… Twilight, you're embarrassing me.
King Pathfinder: Well, because of you three, the entire town of Ponyville blame me and my people for the disappearance of their belongings.
Knucker: Children, it means a lot to me to went to this kind of trouble for me, but I've told you that you can't just sneak around, using what I've taught you to swipe things from other creatures like common sneak-thieves. If you keep doing that, eventually, you'll be seen and then some sword slinger thirsting to carve a reputation out of your scales will come after you. Now, I want you to say you're sorry to these people.
Knucker Chicks: *in unison* Yes, papa. We're sorry.
Mezmo: It's okay, little guys. At least we know it wasn't the gypsies who stole our things.
Knucker: I'm really sorry for what my sons did. All dragonlings get a little grabby at this stage of life, but… *chuckles at Spike* I'm sure you've seen that for yourselves. You can take your things home and I assure you this won't happen again.
Salem: It BETTER not!
*The three baby Knuckers hiss at Salem, and the cat promptly returns to his hiding place behind Mezmo*
*Later, the group, with King Pathfinder pulling an enormous wagon, return the stolen objects to Ponyville and grateful citizens*
Scootaloo: My Scooter!
Applebloom: Mah ribbon!
Sweetie: Our capes!
Ditzy Doo: MY MUFFINS!!!
Doctor Whooves: MY SCREWDRIVER!!!
*Pumpkin toddles up to the small wooden box and sticks it in her mouth*
Mr. Cake: Look, honeybunch, our recipies!!
Mrs. Cake: Thank the goddesses! We're not out of business.
Rose: So…it wasn't the gypsies?
Twilight: No. Just a trio of very curious baby dragons. That explains how they got past my wards, since dragons are resistant to magic.
Rarity: I think you all owe King Pathfinder here an apology, don't you think?
*Various apologies from the ponies*
Rose: We're sorry.
Daisy: We really should stop jumping to conclusions like this.
Lily: Our mother calls it a bad habit.
Mezmo: Ahem! Salem, don't YOU have anything to say?
Salem: Yeah, yeah… *quietly* I'm sorry, too.
Twilight: *playfully* What was that? I didn't quite hear you.
Salem: I said I'm sorry.
Rarity: *playfully* Little louder, please.
Salem: ALL RIGHT!!! I'M SORRY!!! I WAS WRONG!!! YA HAPPY NOW?!?!
King Pathfinder: *smiles* Quite.
*Some days later, the gypsies were packing up their caravans for their journey north*
King Pathfinder: *nuzzling his mother* Goodbye, mother. I'll come back as soon as I can.
Flo: I'll be waiting. Have a safe journey, my son.
Mezmo: If you see my friends, Nikola and Lian, tell them I said hello and that I miss them!
King Pathfinder: We'll do that, my friend. You've all been so kind to us. I hope we find others we can trust out there in the world. *walks over to his caravan where a pair of human gypsies attach his harness* Be ready, everyone. We'll be leaving in a few minutes.
Twilight: Hope you have a safe journey, your majesty.
King Pathfinder: Thank you, Twilight. May our paths cross again one day.
Mezmo: Farewell, Pathfinder! *turns to Salem* Salem?
Salem: *grumbles* Oh right… Yeah, see ya.
Mezmo: *raises an eyebrow* Salem?
Salem: *forces a smile* Have a safe trip.
King Pathfinder: Take care, small one. Consider yourself very lucky to have Mezmo as your master.
Salem: *sarcastically* Yeah… Thanks.
King Pathfinder: Farewell, everypony!
Mane Six: Goodbye!
Applejack: Come back anytime, ya'll!
*With a wave goodbye and a mighty neigh, King Pathfinder lead his band of gypsies through the Everfree Forest. Mezmo and his friends watched the band fade in through the trees, not certain where they would go or when they would meet. But one thing was certain, they would surely miss those band of colorful characters*
Salem: *sighs* Do I really have to do this?
Twilight: Well, YOU'RE the one who learned a lesson during all this.
Salem: *sighs* Fine… *clears his throat, takes out a quill and paper and writes a letter*
"Dear Princess Celestia,
How's it going? This is Salem, Mezmo's best pal. As of today, though it gives me a hairball admitting it, I have learned a great lesson about conclusions. I'm aware that this lesson was undoubtedly done to death by now, but coming from my experience even I had to learn how unfair it was to judge ponies based on their life. Even though to this day, I still think gypsies are filthy, scheming, tricky…
Mane Six: Salem!
"In short: I admit to being wrong for judging the gypsies and hope we can all learn to never make mistakes like this again. Much obliged.