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Phin shook his head and snorted. He'd been rescued by the man who was now giving him a light massage with the currycomb. Phin leaned into Jack with a sigh of pleasure. Drinking in the sweet smell of fresh alfalfa, clean bedding, and polished leather, Phin knew he was where he belonged.
"Well, aren't we in a fine mood, laddie?" Jack smiled at him. "Thinkin that life suits us pretty well? Glad your mistress hasn't forgotten you?"
An icy spur pierced Phin's reverie. Jack's lighthearted words had touched on a feeling—an uncomfortable, nagging feeling that had grown over the past few months—that Isabella Ingram wasn't spending quite as much time with her pony as she used to. Or showing quite the same level of ecstatic devotion, mingled with tyrannical bossiness, to which Phin had grown accustomed. But surely she was busy with school, and the weather had been uncertain . . . Phin brushed aside his dark thoughts, gave Jack a little nip to make himself feel better, and resumed his contemplation of the pink and purple petunias. It was a beautiful day, and his mistress was taking him to the park. She would bring him a sugar lump. She loved him. And that was all any pony needed.