Sunshadow came back from talking with Flamefrost just in time. Foxfire’s platoon of three hundred steeds were about to take off. As easy-going as Foxfire was for a captain, he would not tolerate any of his under-stallions being late.
Sunshadow joined the fourth rank of ten columns of thirty pegasi each and Foxfire lifted off. When they were in the air, Foxfire called an order.
“About-face!” the chestnut-and-palomino captain shouted. The three hundred steeds changed direction by 180 degrees, and they were flying in the other direction.
“Face mock opponent!”
This is what the warriors had been waiting to hear. Each steed turned to their right or left to face the next steed in their line. When they were positioned this way, the order was given to begin the mock combat.
Sunshadow found himself facing a chestnut Appaloosa stallion with twilight-blue wings and a circular star. The buckskin knew the steed’s name was Brightriver, but that wasn’t important. Sunshadow curled back his intentionally blunted hooves to strike at the Appaloosa stallion. According to Foxfire, staying in balance was the most important thing, so they were not supposed to have their hooves make contact. Once the steeds were controlled enough to be able to do that, then they would go onto deathblows, training on the ground. Forgetting about that and focusing on the fight to come, Sunshadow kicked his legs forward, stopping short of hitting Brightriver in the shoulder. Brightriver retaliated by flying up over top of Sunshadow and mouthing toward the buckskin yearling’s sky blue wings. Sunshadow darted away and pretended to do a rear-leg kick to the Appaloosa’s flank.
“Hey! None of that!” he heard Foxfire shout.
Sunshadow turned and saw the red and gold pinto glaring at him.
“You don’t have traction in the air, so you can’t spin and kick like that! In battle, your opponent could grab your leg and seriously injure you!” Foxfire said angrily.
“Sorry, Foxfire,” Sunshadow said apologetically.
Foxfire nodded, accepting the apology, and flew away. Sunshadow and Brightriver got back to their mock combat until Foxfire gave the order to land.