Star flapped his giant black wings and took off into the early morning sky. He loved flying in the morning, as it was a great way to help him wake up, with the cool breeze in his face and the wind in his tail. He soared higher, looking at the world around him. He marveled at its beauty as the sun rose in the east, casting off golden and pinkish rays. He hovered for a while staring at the beautiful sunrise.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" A voice said next to him. Star turned and saw it was Morningleaf, his best friend since as long as he could remember.
"I didn't know you were awake." He nickered.
"Well, I couldn't sleep knowing you were staring at the sun without me!" She bumped into him playfully, and Star shoved her back. She whinnied happily and tagged Star with her bright aqua wingtip and darted away calling over her shoulder, "catch me if you can!"
Star nickered and flew after Morningleaf, determined to catch her. They were adult pegasi, but they still loved to play and mess around. Ever since Nightwing was killed and the pegasi arrived at Crabwing's Bay, they felt carefree. Star didnt have his starfire anymore, but he didnt need it, not did he want it. He was just a regular pegasus, no longer immortal, and someday will die. Plus, he had his friends. Yes, he was content.
Star and Morningleaf played until they were hungry and then landed gently on the grass to graze. Star watched his best friend as he ate. A sudden breeze blew in from the west, lifting both of their manes off their necks and Star noticed how, in the golden light from the sunrise, Morningleaf's flaxen mane looked like fire dancing in the wind, and her feathers, turned sea green in the light, looked like waves in the ocean as the wind ruffled them. Some came loose and fluttered into the sky like dancing blue butterflies.
He would have stared at her all day, but then a big brown stallion with orange feathers and two hind socks trotted towards them. Star lifted his head and nickered a greeting to the young stallion. "Hello Brackentail!"
Brackentail dipped his unmarked brown head toward Star. "Good morning!"
Morningleaf lifted her head and whinnied happily in his direction. The two touched noses and exchanged breaths.
Star watched them. He was glad Morningleaf had finally befriended the orange-feathered stallion, but every time they got close, he had a feeling in his gut. He felt it before. Jealousy mixed with a little anger, plus some sadness, but he tried not to let it bother him. Now that Morningleaf was full grown, she would one day choose which stallion she wanted, and Star tried not to let the fact that she could choose Brackentail anger him. She was a mare and could make her own choices.
"Do you guys know if Bumblewind's Monument is finished, yet?" Brackentail asked, interrupting Star's thoughts.
Star shook his mane, trying to clear his head and answered Brackentail. "There's still about two hundred pegasi left to add their stone." After Star killed Nightwing the Destroyer, ending the captivity of the pegasi in the interior of Anok, Morningleaf had held a brown-tipped-golden feather, Bumblewind's feather, over her head and said that every able adult would carry a stone in their wings and walk to Crabwing's Bay in Western Anok, and there they would rebuild Bumblewind's Monument, honoring every pegasus who had died to help free the pegasi of Anok. It had taken the twelve thousand steeds nine full cycles of the moon to travel there, but just eleven days ago, they finally arrived. Everyday after, the monument steadily grew until there was just two hundred stones left for the structure to be finished.
As the thousands of steeds around them began to wake up, Star, Morningleaf, and Brackentail looked at the monument standing taller than the trees in the center of the large round piece of land jutting out of Anok. It really was a magnificent sight to see the unnatural tower of rocks stacked on top of itself and packed with mud to help keep it strong.
While they stared at it, they heard hoofbeats coming from behind them. They turned to see who it was and recognized Shadepebble loping up to meet them. Her mis-matched, pale-pink wings folded neatly on her back, and her expression curious.
"Good morning Shadepebble!" Star greeted.
The heavily spotted silver mare nickered a greeting back and slowed to stand with them. When she stopped, she asked, "do you guys know when the monument will be finished?"
Morningleaf answered. "We started eleven days ago, and everyday, about eleven hundred steeds placed their stones so..." She paused to do the math. "It will most likely be finished today."
Star ducked in a breath. "It's amazing how fast it's been growing."
Brackentail nodded. "With twelve thousand pegasi helping, it'll be finished fast compared to just one pegasus building it. Even a supernatural one."
Star nodded, remembering when he spent moons building a tribute for Nightwing all by himself, to save the hundreds of walkers and duds that the Destroyer was planning on killing. His back muscles ached from the memory. The work had been hard and painful, but in the end, it had made him stronger, growing his muscles so they were as big as boulders, and his neck had arched sharply from carrying the stones in a basket that he held in his mouth.
But that was then. Now, thousands of pegasi were helping to rebuild it. Star could never forget the day they started. Every single pegasus unanimously agreed that Star should place the first stone. So he did. Then Morningleaf placed hers beside his, and Brackentail did the same. No other pegasus place their stone until everyone who had helped with the tunnel, or did something to free them, had placed theirs.
That was eleven days ago, and now the monument was about eight winglenths tall with almost twelve thousand stones.
The four friends grazed until the sun was completely over the horizon, then kicked off and flew to the beach in front of a cave. The very same cave where Star had hidden in for moons when he was a weanling. Seagulls were on the ground or in the sky, excited to see the pegasi because they give them food. Lots of food. The friends each smashed oyster shells under their hoofs and tossed the meat towards the birds. They squawked and flapped and fluttered their wings as they happily gulped down the meat. They did this until the sun was high in the sky when a dappled gray Mountain Herd mare with pale-blue feathers flew over to them.
Star lifted his head and greeted the mare.
She touched down and lowered her head. "Hello Starwing."
Star swished his tail, still not used to and not understanding why the pegasi referred to him as Starwing as if he was their over-stallion. But he ignored the t