Spark watched Starpebble walk away, her head down. He sighed. What was he to do? Maybe he should just let Starpebble handle Ember. He spread his wings, straining toward the sky. If only he could fly. Then he would feel so much better! To feel the cool wind in his face, and the wet clouds on his face. Starpebble had told him about it, and she made it sound so wonderful. He had expressed this hope to Ember, and he had grinned at him. “In time, Spark,” he had said. “In time.”
He wanted to do it now!
He sighed and turned as Starpebble took off and flew up to her cave, her silver body, now sleek and not furry, flashing in the sunlight, so different from the golds and browns of Desert Herd. She was a jewel among rocks.
Spark turned into the water to exercise his wings.
Ember floated under the water, his eyes squinting through the clear blue depths. He swam in a wide arc, the water ruffling his feathers. He felt thankful to Starpebble for teaching him, but he was sure he would have figured it out on his own.
One black feather came out of his wing and floated behind him in his own wake. He needed a breath.
He tilted his wings up and shot to the surface. He breathed deeply and folded his wings like a swan upon his back. Across the oasis, he saw Spark and Starpebble walking together, then Starpebble walk away and Spark rear toward the sky. He wondered what they had been talking about.
Ember swam toward the shore and climbed out, his wings shedding water. He glanced toward Starpebble, flying toward her cave and feasted his eyes upon her slim silver figure. She was a beautiful filly, and a brave one.
That night, Star and Morningleaf appeared in Starpebble’s dream, Star’s eyes glowing gold. She confided in them and they both frowned. In the sea of white blankness around them that was the rest of Starpebble’s dream, they looked ethereal. Finally Morningleaf turned to her.
“Talk to Ember, make him see, and be a good friend to both of them. Star will teach you about the starfire and tell you what it can do.” Then she faded back to the golden meadow.
Star began to talk, and when she woke up Starpebble felt as though she had had no sleep at all and had been flying for two days.
During their talks, Ember noticed that Starpebble looked tired. He took her aside when they were done. He took her face in his wings.
“Starpebble, is something wrong?” he asked tenderly.
She shook her head. “No, but I do need to talk to you.”
She began to walk into the desert, east. “Come on.”
He followed and she began to talk. “It’s about your plans for Anok. Spark told me about them. Don’t you see, it’s almost like Nightwing… just nicer. But you don’t want to be anything like Nightwing! Promise me you won’t to that. It would….” She trailed off.