And so the autumn passed. Starpebble taught the twins how to fold their wings and told them all the legends she knew. They became the best of friends.
Then, one day in the middle of winter, Starpebble was relaxing in the shade of a palm tree when they both sought her out. Starpebble raised an eyelid. “What is it?”
Ember unfolded and folded his wings, delighted that he could. “Starpebble, I thought you would tell us why you wanted to see us.”
Starpebble sighed and stood. “All right.” She said it all without sugarcoating it.
“I came to you because my brother was kidnapped and I want you to help me get him back.”
Spark stepped back, his eyes wide. “A pact?!”
Starpebble was shocked. “No no no, not a pact. Just a request. From a friend to a friend.”
Ember nodded. “When?”
“When? When do you want us to help you?”
“Oh.” Starpebble lowered her head. “I sort of thought after you get your powers, which is in another moon. That way you can make a shield around us, right?”
They both looked uncomfortable. “If we learn how,” said Spark. His eyes glistened with worry and nervousness, and he looked very sweet and small.
Ember flared his wings, looking determined and with a light in his eyes. “We will learn how.”
Starpebble looked at them both, gratitude filling her heart. She couldn’t speak.
Later, she was telling Spark a legend of Spiderwing as they walked around the oasis when he suddenly stopped and looked at her.
“Starpebble, what if I’m a Destroyer?”
Starpebble stopped short. “What?”
“What if I can’t do it? Sometimes I get really angry at all the pegasi who ignore me and laugh at me and tell me I’m a dud. I feel as though I want to use the silver starfire on them.”
Starpebble put a wing over his back. “You will never be a Destroyer, Spark. You are good.”
Spark nodded. He looked at her with eyes full of trust. “You know, you might be the only steed I trust.”
“Not even Ember?”
“Well, maybe. But he wants to unite the herds again, but not the way Star did. He says he was too soft. He wants to keep them united, ruling with me at the top of a council. But He wants to keep everyone who doesn’t agree with her in the Trap.” He shuddered. “At least he doesn’t want to kill anybody.”
Starpebble’s mind raced. She couldn’t let Ember do that…. That would be going down the path of Nightwing, only less violent.
What could she do? She would need to talk to Ember, that was for sure. Suddenly Starpebble felt very young. And she would need to talk to Star.