“Wait!” said Darkblaze. “We need the council to hear this!”
Starfall was annoyed with the interruption but realized the sense behind it, so she nodded.
Darkblaze and Nightpearl went over to Brackentail, Morningleaf, and Star. The three adults would probably have gone to sleep at sundown, but Brackentail was arguing with them and with Cloudpepper, who was nearby.
“But you did!” Morningleaf protested to Brackentail.
“No, I didn’t,” said Brackentail, trying to stay calm.
“Prove it!” said Star.
“It was someone else!” Brackentail proclaimed.
“Yeah, right,” said Cloudpepper.
“Oh, com-” he stopped as he realized that was Cloudpepper, and he didn’t want to offend her.
Nightpearl didn’t know what they were talking about, but she had heard enough. “All right! Stop!”
The adults looked over at her in surprise. “Shouldn’t you be asleep, Nightpearl?” Morningleaf asked, recognizing the filly by the small circular star on her forehead.
“Probably, but there’s something happening with the Hundred Year Star.”
“Well, obviously!” Brackentail said, nickering. “Why would you be here otherwise?”
“Oh, stop it,” said Star. To Nightpearl, he asked, “What’s happening with it?” Before she could answer, he looked up at the sky, seeing it flicker and pulse as the black foals’ birthday grew nearer.
Nightpearl answered anyway. “You might be interested to know that a mare with a strange star marking on her forehead seemed to fly straight out of it when my friends and I flew up there.”
That got a reaction quickly. “What?!” Star whinnied.
Darkblaze walked forward and tried to calm Star down. “It’s okay, she’s friendly. Her name is Starfall, and she claims to know what the Hundred Year Star is doing. She was about to tell us her story, but I thought the council should hear it.”
Star was growing even more surprised, but he nodded. “Then let’s get a few more of the council together,” he said. “We won’t need everyone, and a few of the members are asleep. Me, Morningleaf, Brackentail, Redstorm, and Riverlight should be enough steeds to repeat Starfall’s story to the rest of the herd.”
Twenty minutes later, when the very last of the light was leaving the sky, the council was assembled on the rock outcrop.