It would have been a lie if Morningleaf claimed she had been ready for this question. She stared at Star, kneeling at her hooves, in shock. Tears pf happiness trickled down her muzzle. She wrapped her wings around Star. "Yes! Yes, I will!" She hugged him close, and he cried tears of joy. Star nodded once she let him go. "We need to get back," he said. "But what about Brackentail?" Morningleaf blurted, then slapped her mouth with her wing. Star eyed her. "What's wrong, Morningleaf?" He asked. She whispered. "Brackentail told me he is going to claim me as a mate to River Herd tomorrow," she whispered to him. Star nodded, his face grave but his eyes full of hope. "Then lets beat him to it." He said. Morningleaf gasped. "What do you mean?" She asked. "If I claim you as my mate before Brackentail does, then we will be official mates!" Star gulped. Morningleaf locked eyes with him. She nodded, not taking her eyes off his. "Then we better hope it works."
⚜️ ⚜️ ⚜️
The two set off from the woods, taking the opposite way around and out so that they didn't run into Brackentail, and flew onto the huge ledge in the territory, where the council made the new announcements. Star trumpeted for a meeting. Immediately, every one of his followers assembled, including a horrified and enraged Brackentail. "Attention all," Morningleaf neighed. She let Star continue. She stepped back and Star stepped forward. "It has time for me to become Over-Stallion of this Herd. But we shall still have a council to decide the future plans." He let his words settle on the pegasi. They were silent. "What about a Lead Mare?" A pegasus asked. This triggered whispers throughout River Herd. Morningleaf whinnied. They all silenced. "I have thouht abiut that, and I know who is worthy to take such an honour; who will willingly become my mate," Star said. He sucked in a breath, and looked at Morningleaf, who nodded her encouragement, a smile spread across her muzzle. "Morningleaf is my mate, and your Lead Mare!" Absolute silence followed Star's words. Suddenly, all at once, every single pegasus cheered, creating one huge, ear splitting symphony. All except Brackentail was happy. His plans to claim Mprningleaf his have been bucked! But he knew how to make his points even with Star. In the cover of all the joy and happiness, Brackentail slipped away to get his revenge.
He slithered out to crush Star's heart, and everyone's hope.
He galloped off to summon River Herd's ultimate doom.