It had only been a matter of days since the first few cases of the Blue Tongue plague had been discovered. Now there was several dozen steeds were sick, and none showed signs of improving.
About a day after Pebblebreeze had been diagnosed, Petalcloud had taken Honeyfall to the side, and tasked her with looking out for steeds who might attempt to leave Snow Herd. And so far, Honeyfall had reported close to 50 steeds, and the number kept rising. But despite the efforts of young filly, and Petalcloud's other spies, every morning came with more and more reports of missing steeds.
At dawn of the 5th day since the outbreak had begun, Honeyfall woke to the sounds of sobbing. It took her a matter of moments to discover where they were coming from. A small group of steeds with black expressions had gathered around the medicine mare cave.
Curious, Honeyfall trotted over to figure out what was up, and almost ran into Snowfrost. "Thank goodness." he breathed, "I was coming to get you." The gray colt look like he was on the verge of a melt down.
"What's wrong?" asked Honeyfall, concerned for her friend.
"It's Pebblebreeze." gasped Snowfrost, "She's not going to make it much longer."
Snowfrost's words echoed in Honeyfall's ears as she quickly followed the colt to the medicine mare cave.
Pineroot usually kept her cave in in perfect order with neat piles of herbs stuffed into the nooks and crannies, but now the cave was in disarray. Sick pegasi were sleeping on beds of moss in almost every open space, and it look as if Pineroot's stores of herbs were almost gone.
Near the back of the cave, there was a little group, that consisted of Sunnyglow, Coldfire, Patchfeather, and Pineroot, were gathered around Pebblebreeze's small body. When Honeyfall and Snowfrost approached, the group made way so the filly's friends could be near her
Pebblebreeze look thin, and her coat was a dull color. Even though she had been sick for only a few days, the Blue Tongue plague had clearly taken it's toll on the yearling filly.
Honeyfall had been avoiding Pebblebreeze the last few days, mostly because every time Honeyfall laid eyes on her friend she was hit with a wave of guilt. As more time passed since she had killed Dragonflight, it was starting to become harder and harder to convince herself that she had done the right thing. The seen in witch Honeyfall felt her hooves crushing the buckskin stallion's skull, and later when Pebblebreeze had called Petalcloud a murder played over and over again in the young filly's head. Now, as Honeyfall looked at her friend, all she felt was a different type of guilt, the guilt for not being with Pebblebreeze as she need her most.
The blue roan filly smiled weakly at her friends, "Hi guy. What's up?" Pebblebreeze's voice fait, and sounded like it was coming from a long was off.
"Shh, save you strength." said Sunnyglow
"What's the use." said Pebblebreeze, "I over heard you and Pineroot talking. I know I don't have much time left."
Sunnyglow bent down and nuzzle her daughter, she looked like she was about to cry, but she was staying strong for Pebblebreeze.
"Aren't you going to answer my question?" asked Pebblebreeze, looking at Snowfrost and Honeyfall.
"Not much." answered Snowfrost.
Pebblebreeze looked as if she was about to reply, but she was interrupted by a fit of coughing so fierce that it caused her whole body double over. Pineroot rushed over. "Everyone stand back." barked the medicine mare.
Honeyfall did as she was instructed, and her view of Pebblebreeze was blocked by Pineroot and her assistants. Moments later, Pineroot came over, with a saddened expression on her face, the mare took a deep breath then said, "I am very sorry, but I doubt Pebblebreeze will make it another few minuets."
As soon as the word were out of Pineroot's mouth, Sunnyglow dashed to her daughter's side, and started whispering word of encouragement to her. Coldfire stayed where he was, "I thought you said we had a few hours."
"This resent fit of coughing has put to much strain on her already weak body." said Pineroot, "I am so sorry."
With that the rest of the group clustered around Pebblebreeze. Sunnyglow was still whispering to her daughter, and everyone else seemed like they were on the verge of a melt down.
"Geeze guys." said Pebblebreeze, her voice was barely a whisper "I'm dying, it's not that big of a deal."
At that Sunnyglow burst into tears, "I can't loose you to. Dragonflight is already dead." she sobbed.
"Mom, please don't cry." pleaded Pebblebreeze.
Sunnyglow just couldn't stop, "Why does this have to happen to us? How could I be loosing both my foals?"
"Mama, don't worry, I see Dragonflight over there." said Pebblebreeze. At that Sunnyglow burst into another round of tears. "Ma, Dragonflight wants you to promise something."
Sunnyglow looked around, appearing to search for her deceased son, "Yes what is it?"
"Ma, he doesn't want you, any of you, to see revenge for his death."
Patchfeather leaned down, "Tell him we promise."
Pebblebreeze smiled, "My work here is done. I'm coming Dragonflight " and with that she lay her head on the moss, closed her eyes, and took her last breath.
It was all to much for Honeyfall, killing Dragonflight, Pebblebreeze's reaction, and now her death. What had made it even worse was her friends dying wish was to protect Honeyfall, even if Pebblebreeze was oblivious to the true identity of her brother's killer.
How did this happen? What the question that echoed in Honeyfall's head as she watched Coldfire carrying his daughter out of the medicine mare's den.