Sunshadow startled awake, confused. He had been woken up by someone. Not seeing them, he rolled over to look at the Moon. It was just setting, which meant that it was probably around midnight. Whoever had woken him up was probably trying to sneak away. He had the uncomfortable feeling that it was Wintermist who had woken him, and this had to do with their conversation about flight school.
He turned his head to look in the direction that he thought the pegasus had gone, and his suspicions were proven correct, at least mostly. He recognized Wintermist’s sleek white hide as she walked in between the sleeping pegasi of Sun Herd.
He got up and went after her. He thought he might have to stop her from doing something, so he woke up Blackstorm and Flamefrost.
“Wassa matter?” Blackstorm mumbled.
“Come with me,” Sunshadow said. “I saw Wintermist leave, and I’m going after her to see what she’s doing. And keep quiet so we don’t wake up anyone else.”
Flamefrost had been about to go back to sleep, but when he heard what Sunshadow said, he sprang up, fully awake. “Let’s go!” he said.
But Blackstorm had something else to say. “If this is about flight school, I think we should bring Hedgewind,” he whispered.
Sunshadow nodded, seeing his reasoning. They walked over to Hedgewind and nudged him until he opened his eyes. Hedgewind blinked up at them, and seeing that it was only a group of weanlings, rolled over to go back to sleep.
Sunshadow hissed, “Hedgewind, get up! A friend of ours just walked away into the forest!”
That got Hedgewind up fast. He might have lost his taste for battle, but he was determined to make up for his slip with Shadepebble.
“I’m ready to come,” he said. “Which way did they go?”
“She went that way,” said Sunshadow, pointing with his wing.
Hedgewind looked in that direction and a look of dread settled on his face. “Get clear of the other pegasi and fly!” he whisper-shouted, and galvanized by the tension in his voice, the weanlings did just that.
When they were clear of the sleeping herd, Flamefrost asked Sunshadow, “Why are we bringing Hedgewind?”
“Because if this is a flight school issue, which I think it is, the two of them can resolve it when we catch up to Wintermist,” Sunshadow answered. He saw the flash of understanding on the other colt’s face and watched as Flamefrost flew up to Hedgewind, ending their conversation.
“Why are you concerned about Wintermist heading this way?” Flamefrost asked Hedgewind.
“Well, there’s only two places that I can think of that she would be heading for this way, and one is very dangerous and the other isn’t that much better,” Hedgewind answered.
Flamefrost was alarmed. “What are they?”
Hedgewind stalled. “I told you. They’re very dangerous places.”
“That’s not what I mean!” Flamefrost argued. “What are they called?”
Hedgewind took a deep breath and decided to come clean. “Horsetail Falls or the Freedom Tribute, where we built a tower to represent being free of Nightwing.”
Flamefrost remembered hearing about the tribute from Riverlight, and he recalled her saying that it was right next to Crabwing’s Bay, where Snakewing had been eaten by an orca. He understood Hedgewind's distress.
They were nearing Horsetail Falls as they spoke, and suddenly they heard the screams of a terrified pegasus.