Aquastorm laughed as her cousin, Morningstar, raced after her. "Can't catch me!" she called as she swerved to the right. Her flaxen tail streamed behind her as her hooves raced a mile a minute.
"Unfair!" Morningstar panted and flopped into the grass. "You are older.... than.....me, and faster! I hate this...... game!"
"You were the one who suggested playing," Aquastorm pointed out, slowly trotting back to her cousin, preparing to leap away if Morningstar started chasing her again.
"Well. I officially..... hate tag now. Let's do ......something else," Morningstar gasped and breathed in deeply. She rolled onto her back and stuck her legs in the air.
"Do you want to fly?" Aquastorm asked hopefully. She loved flying and the feeling of wind rushing against her mane. She stretched her large wings.
"Let's..... wait...... a moment. Let me catch..... my breath."
Aquastorm laughed again and looked around as she waited for her cousin to regain her breath. Dawn Meadow was so beautiful and was plentiful of grass. River Herd had chosen the perfect home. "Let's fly to Feather Lake and swim!"
Morningstar shot up, forgetting that she was supposed to be exhausted. "Yes! I'll race you there!" The small chestnut filly flared her pale yellow wings excitedly and galloped into the sky.
Aquastorm waited a moment for her cousin to have a head start and followed her into the sky, her dark aqua feathers catching the light.
A pegasus stepped out of the shadows of the nearby forest. The light reflected off her emerald feathers. "She has Morningleaf's spirit." Dewberry watched as the dark dapple grey filly flew away.
Star followed her into the fading sunshine. "She does."
"She must meet the Black Foal after it's born. She will lighten its spirit once it is feeling down," Brackentail commented from where he half dosed in the grass.
"You must be proud of your great granddaughter, Star." Dewberry ducked her head to graze. "It must be a comfort to have her near when you are missing Morningleaf."
"I won't miss her for much longer," Star sighed.
Brackentail gasped. "You're not saying....." He broke off, his mouth hanging open.
"I will join the ancestors soon." Star placed a wing on each of his friends' shoulders. "But don't worry, the foal will meet each of us after it is born."
"That isn't exactly reassuring, Star," Dewberry whispered and tears welled up in her eyes. "It is only a few days till the foal's birth."
Star touched his muzzle to hers comfortingly. "The ancestors have told me I will leave peacefully."
"That's all they told you?!?" Dewberry exploded. "Why didn't they also tell you that the sun was going to shine tomorrow? Or that the birds will sing in the morning? Of course we know that you won't die in pain. You have done to much for Anok and the Golden Meadow to deserve pain." Dewberry stared at the ground, her nostrils flaring.
A long pause in the conversation filled the air.
"Is that all they told you?" Brackentail asked quietly, breaking the silence.
"They have been telling me to pass information about the Starfire to one of my kin."
"And you believe Aquastorm will be the only one who understands the situation," Brackentail finished.
"Yes. Aquastorm understands much, much more than most fillies at her age." Star sighed through his nostrils. "I wish most adults would soak in as much as she does."
"Do the ancestors know anymore?" Dewberry asked, her voice strained from holding back her tears.
"If they do, they haven't told me." Star stretched his large black wings.
"It sounds like they are hiding something from us," Dewberry grumbled. "Or they don't know anymore than we do about the situation."
"Do you think they would tell you every single moment of the future, Dewberry?" Brackentail sighed. "If so, don't you think you would have somehow saved Bumblewind?"
"Of course I would have saved him!" Dewberry snapped, a tear rolling down her cheek. "Anyone would've!"
Brackentail sighed again. "But without his death, the tribute would've only been for Nightwing. The secret of it being Bumblewind's would have never been there to kept hope in our hearts. Star might have never had the courage to kill Nightwing, then we would have been hopeless forever." Brackentail ducked his head, waiting for a furious look from Dewberry.
"He has a point." Star let Dewberry lean against him.
Tears filled Dewberry's hazel eyes as she rested her head on Star's shoulder. "I- I- wish he never d- d- d-died!" She sobbed and tucked her wings close to her sides.
"Don't worry," Star whispered in a clam voice. "You'll see him again."
Star's soothing words didn't help though.
Dewberry sank into the grass, tears staining her face. "But- but w-w-what if h-h-he doesn't lo-o-ove me anymore when I do see him a-a-again?"
Brackentail looked Dewberry straight in the eyes. "Dewberry, you all of pegasi know better than to say that. Of course, Bumblewind will still care for you when you join the Golden Meadow. And if he doesn't, it just means he doesn't deserve you. Understand?"
His harsh words seemed to dry up Dewberry's tears. She nodded and looked up at Star. Her eyes, still glistening from tears, pierced into his. "Go find Aquastorm. Tell what she needs to know in the upcoming days."