The four escapees stayed unmolested for a few more winglengths. But when they were about five feather-lengths away from the nearest thorn bush, the wolves charged.
They singled out Cloudsun in the rear of the small group. She would have screamed, but had enough sense to realize that the alarm noise would alert a number of Mountain Herd steeds. She clamped her teeth shut on the tail of the largest wolf. He growled menacingly and bared his teeth at her, but she had a good enough hold that the wolf couldn’t pull his tail out of her mouth. The wolf had a better idea. He jumped onto her withers, clawing frantically and biting at her neck.
That was when Smokesky reacted. He charged the other wolves, snorting in fury. All but two of the wolves scattered, the other two stayed fiercely hooked on Cloudsun. Smokesky reared and delivered a deathblow to the wolf on Cloudsun’s leg but it was too late. Having delivered the perfect stroke to the palomino pinto’s neck, the largest wolf shook itself free of the dying Cloudsun and leapt towards Smokesky.
The wolf almost landed on Smokesky’s back but a icy-blue wing intercepted itself, knocking the wolf senseless. Smokesky turned, stunned as to where his salvation lay, and found himself looking at a heavyset white Mountain Herd steed. Frostfire.
The bulky captain glared furiously at Smokesky, seeking for an excuse to harm him. In the moment, the two other mares managed to slip away into the Vein unnoticed, both sobbing silently. From being them, they heard the unmistakable thumping crack that could have been mistaken for thunder had Frostfire not been there.
It was the sound of Frostfire kicking and breaking Smokesky’s wingbones. Smokesky was now grounded for life but he still believed in Star. Smokesky later told Riverlight that he had fallen to the ground sobbing, pretending to be incredibly sorry for himself while actually keeping an eye on Frostfire. After another glare at the iron gray steed, the white captain went back to Valley Field. That was when Smokesky crept out of the forest after the two other mares, convincing them to go the rest of the way to River Herd on hoof but as fast as possible.
Riverlight thought that Smokesky was rather rash, but they did. Her other regret, other than Cloudsun of course, was the fact that after their ordeal Duskmist was much more reserved and frantic.
She had taken a long time to even talk comfortably again, palomino pintos set her to crying, and she had always jumped at harmlessly rustling bushes. Nightwing had freaked her out further, to the point where she was often breathing hard. In Wind Herd, she had been the mare that Nightwing had killed because she had stubbed her hoof on a rock. Riverlight had been furious about that but also reluctantly admitted that it may have been a release for the blue roan mare, not knowing about the Beyond but glad when Star killed Nightwing all the same.
She, like Morningleaf and the others, had kept a feather of her deceased friend. She now pulled it out as she thought of it and wove it into her basket, which she had completed as she was reminiscing. She also tugged a feather of her own out of her wing and wove it into the basket with Duskmist’s feather. The silver and pale aqua complimented each other and the dull green well, she thought.
Up ahead, she heard a pegasus whinny. She was alarmed at first, that alarm triggered by her recent morbid memories, but looked up toward the sound and realized it was Smokesky. The iron gray steed was still relishing in his renewed ability to fly, and the sight lifted Riverlight’s spirits. She took the handle of the basket in her mouth with a light heart and walked over to Cloudpepper’s clearing.