Honeyfall gasped and her eyes fluttered open. She was lying on something soft that smelled like moss in what the filly was sure was a cave. Honeyfall tried to stand up, but she as still weak from hunger. Suddenly a shadow moved on the other side of the cave, and Honeyfall froze.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you." said the shadow, "Your safe now."
"W-who are you?" stammered Honeyfall.
The shadow moved closer to the filly, and Honeyfall was now able to make out it's appearance. It was a smallish light palomino mare, with a thin blaze, four white socks, and light green wings. "My name is Pineroot." said the mare. "And I'm going to assume that your next question is 'Where am I?' so I'll just answer it before you can ask it, you are in Snow Herd's medicine mare's den, and I of course am Snow Herd's medicine mare."
Honeyfall stared at Pineroot, momentarily stunned, but she got over it quickly. The filly made another attempt to stand up, and this time succeeded. "Look, thanks for the help, but I have to go."
"Go where?" asked Pineroot, sounding a little confused.
"I-I don't know where, I just have to leave." Honeyfall took a step forward, and almost fell over.
"Easy." said Pineroot as she caught Honeyfall, "You are in no condition to go any where at the moment."
"How long until I could leave then?" asked Honeyfall as Pineroot helped her lay back do and get conferrable.
Pineroot looked down at the filly sympathetically, "I'm not sure that's an option anymore."
"What does that mean?"
Pineroot took a deep breath, "You'll see."
"What does that mean?"
"You'll find out soon enough." said Pineroot sadly.
The rest of the day was really boring, but Honeyfall was grateful she was alive. It turned out it was a good thing that the two stallions had found her when they did, because there had been an ice tiger spotted in that area a few days before. And the stallions were part of a patrol that had been sent out to kill it. Just after Honeyfall had been found, the rest of the patrol located the tiger in a cave just a short distance from where she had been hiding.
When Pineroot told her this, Honeyfall shivered. If the stallions had not found her, she would have definitely been dead by now.
Despite being grateful to be alive, Honeyfall still hated to be in the cave all day. But Pineroot wouldn't let her leave.
Finally as the sun was setting, a mare came to the cave. She was a gray, with a wide blaze, one white sock, a silver mane and tail, and violet colored wings. She held her head high, witch told Honeyfall that this mare was of a high rank.
"Come with me, foal." said the mare, her voice was soft, but it couldn't hide the cruelty that was there.
The mare turned to leave, and Honeyfall glanced at Pineroot. The medicine mare looked very nervous, but when she saw the filly looking at her, she gave Honeyfall a reassuring nod. So Honeyfall carefully stood, and followed the gray mare out of the cave.
The light out side the cave was about the same as it was inside, so it didn't take Honeyfall's eye to long adjust. "Who are you?" asked Honeyfall.
"My name is Petalcloud." said the gray mare. Honeyfall gaped at the mare, Petalcloud had the reputation for being the most beautiful and the most cruel pegasus in all of Anok. Petalcloud smirked when she saw Honeyfall expression, "Ah, I see my reputation has proceeded me."
Honeyfall's momentary shock gave way to fear, what could this mare want with an orphaned filly like her? "What do you want with me?"
Petalcloud smiled, "Oh don't worry, nothing bad." she said, "Walk with me."
The two mares started walking side by side. "What does that mean?"
"I have a proposal." said Petalcloud, "I need you to do something for me."
"What makes you think I'll do something for you?" snapped Honeyfall.
"Spunky, I like that." said Petalcloud. "You are going to help me because you need protection. And I can offer you that." Honeyfall opened her mouth to protest, but before she could say anything, Petalcloud added. "Oh you don't think I would let a strange filly be treated by my medicine mare without knowing where you came from."
Honeyfall glared at the lead mare, "I can make it fine on my own."
"No you wont. You almost died out there, face it, a foal can't last to long without a herd. And you are no exception. I'm offering you protection, and a new life. All you have to do is take me up on my offer."
Deep down Honeyfall knew Petalcloud was right, so after a long pause, the filly said, "What is your deal."
Petalcloud smiled, "I'm glad you see my point. I will grant your protection if you agree to be my spy."
"There's a group of pegasi that I don't trust. And every time I have a spy try to get close to them, something happens."
"How could I, a filly, do better then your spies."
"It's because your a filly you'll succeed." Honeyfall gave Petalcloud a confused look, so the gray mare quickly added, "A filly would be less suspicious."
"Okay. Then how do I get close enough to spy on these pegasi?"
"One of these pegasi has a sister, about your age, and they are very close. I want you to become friends with this filly, she will be your way inside this group."
"What if I'm caught?"
"I have faith you wont be."
"What if I don't agree to this deal?"
"Then I will make you watch as I kill your cousin."
Honeyfall was shocked, how could Petalcloud have Sunstrike? "What did you do to him?"
"Nothing. He came to Snow Herd on his own." Petalcloud paused, "Oh Pineroot didn't tell you? Well after you abandon Sun Herd, that blasted black foal received his starfire. On the night of his birthday, he managed to deceive hundreds of steeds to follow him. Most of Sun Herd is now livening in his sorry excuse for a herd. The steeds with sense enough to not fall for that foal's tricks, were divided up. Sunstrike is now a Snow Herd steed."
How could this happen? Sun Herd destroyed? Sunstrike in Snow Herd? The black foal with starfire? It was almost to much for Honeyfall. Just days before she had a mother and father, a herd, friends. Now, her whole world turned upside down.
A tear trickled down Honeyfall's cheek, but she wiped it away quickly. Petalcloud waited for Honeyfall to pull her self together.
"I need an answer Honeyfall." said the lead mare.
Honeyfall gazed into Petalcloud's eyes. Some part of the filly screamed not to trust her, But Honeyfall had already made up her decision. "I'll do it."