Star trotted after his best friend, keeping rhythm with her despite lagging around her flank. He didn't mind, though. He was a normal pegasus. His problems were gone. The pegasi were united at last, Nightflame was gone, and Morningleaf was safe. For a moment, Star took the time to bask in the sun. His worries were gone. He had made it. And for one magical second, it felt as if his own mother were here, whispering into his ears and being his peace. He knew she saw what he had accomplished, and he was sure he knew how proud Lightfeather was. Star was at peace, for the first time since his mother had passed. And then the moment was gone, but the magic of it lingered on, making feel less peaceful but at ease all the same.
He had hardly noticed Brackentail lagging behind, talking to some other pegasi and apologising for his past betrayals. "Warm sun?" Morningleaf joked, stopping to nose him in the side. "Huh? Oh, just thinking," Star sighed and buried his muzzle in her mane, smelling the ghost of dried blood. "If I had my starfire, I'd heal you every day," he whispered, making her ear flick at him. He pulled away, smiling at his best friend. "The dirt should know not to stick to something so beautiful," he nickered mindlessly, using his wing to brush specks of dirt from her flaxen mane and chestnut coat. Morningleaf said nothing, a bit taken off guard by the compliment. "Oh," Star dropped his wing, a bit shocked at his actions. "Sorry." "Don't be," Morningleaf smiled. "I guess we're even then, when you called me... what was it? 'Incredible to look at'? that time when you took me to investigate your dirt tunnels?" Moningleaf laughed, flicking her tail at him. "What's so funny?" A familiar voice called. Star spooked then just as quickly calmed. He had completely forgotten about Brackentail. Brackentail. Uh oh. Star closed his eyes and memories came flooding back. Brackentail, who also loved Morningleaf. Brackentail, who was his friend. Star shook his head, clearing the thoughts away. He was mortal now; he and Brackentail were on equal ground. Either of them were a viable option to Morningleaf. What am I thinking? Star smiled at his brown-coated friend. "Me and Morningleaf were just reminiscing," he truthfully told his friend. "Reminiscing, eh? What about that time me, you and Shadepebble went to Jungle and Desert Herd as a decoy?" Brackentail immediately jumped in, staring at Morningleaf. She cocked an ear. "I remember," she smiled, her tone gentle. More gentle than when talking to me? Star wondered. Ancestors, what am I on about? "I'm still amazed we got to see THE Spiderwing's nest in Jungle Herd's territory. And those pineapples we ate?" Brackentail smiled, though something in Star, maybe a bit of the Ancestors' sight or an ember of his starfire giving him the ability, saw there was something else lurking in the stallion's eyes. And then Star understood. Spiderwing's nest. When Brackentail hid Morningleaf and Shadepebble from Frostfire's battalion.
When he vowed he wouldn't lose her again. The pineapples. When Morningleaf told him she wished Star was there. Star had heard it all from his best friend when she returned that night; she had told him everything there was to tell, as she did. And now he saw Brackentail's ploy: winning Morningleaf over with memories, all the times Brackentail was there for him, and Star was not. All the times Brackentail appeared a better option than Star. After all... why would a mare chose a stallion that can't protect her and was never there for her? Star felt sick to his stomach. It appears the battle wasn't over after all. No threat of death, maybe, but heartbreak? Inescapable.
His mother, Flameblaze, shook her head. Like always, she knew what he was thinking. He had to save them both. Sunray also caught the gleam in his eye and horror flashed across her face. Without another thought, he charged the huge cat, rearing up to stomp his hooves down on it, but it swiped at his stomach, causing both mares to flitch at the damage it made. Nightsky ignored the pain and continued to exchange blows until the cat snarled and stalked away, hissing when Flameblaze kicked it for good measure. Sunray and Flameblaze rushed to Nightsky, each worried and cautious at the wounds covering him. "Flameblaze? Sunray?" Nightsky wheezed out before choking on his own blood. "We are here, son," Gently, Flameblaze nudged him, letting him know it was her. "Did I win?" With glazed eyes, he looked at them both. "You sure did," Sunray moved towards him. "Rest a bit, alright? You're going to be okay." Nightsky is close to death, Sunray is emotionally exhausted, and Flameblaze is a mess. If Sunray and Flameblaze argue on what to do, comment below "Page 3-Time". If Sunray takes charge, comment below "Page 3-In Charge". If Flameblaze takes charge, comment below "Page 3-Follow the Leader". (This peticular post is pretty short, since this one kind of determines the whole story.)
Brackentail never stopped nagging Morningleaf to love him. He tried everything. Walking with her, giving her gifts, and just spending so much time trying to impress her. He never stopped getting ideas to try and make her see his worth. And it was getting on Morningleaf's nerves. This morning, Star had called a counsel meeting and Brackentail had no choice but to attend. They had finished all matters when Sweetroot, the current counsel mare, called Star aside. "Star," she sighed, "I can't keep doing this." "What do you mean?" "I'm too old. I was a leader of River Herd, but that was almost a year ago. YOU need to find yourself a mate. She can take-over my job. I know you've been waiting to find someone perfect, but she's been in front of you this whole time." She said looking at him with her old eyes. She put her wing on his chest, as if she were his Granddam. "You know she is the perfect leader." Star sighed, knowing he should've taken responsibility and not have put pressure on the old mare in the first place. He had a huge decision to make. And little did he know, Brackentail was listening the whole time. It was time for Brackentail to make his move. He knew Morningleaf would never love him as long as Star was around. He needed to find a way to get rid of Star. But how. Star had always been his best-friend. (Besides for their childhood) He couldn't hurt Star. But he could get to Star's 'special someone' before he did. And that was exactly what he'd do. He puffed his chest and walked up to the most beautiful mare he had ever met. "Morningleaf, can I talk to you." (EW. This was : A; horrible B; Short And I think the last time I wrote one of these was like............. Januaray, so uhh yah its been a hot minute. Which is why im so rusty. :l )