Chapter 8: Defensive
A few days later, Skysun’s head drooped in exhaustion as they travelled along the coast of Anok. Skysun was tired of all the hard flying they were doing. The steeds who had captured her and the other foals of her herd liked to put on a show of strength and bravery, but Skysun noticed the wary glances each of their captors cast to the now darkening sky.
‘Probably wary of my Herd,’ She thought with smug satisfaction. Oakfire looked back at the group and snorted.
“Let’s land,” He commanded, “Viperwing and Leafcloud will be meeting us tomorrow. They want to check out the foals we’ve got this time.” He said, dipping lower in the sky, the group following him. Once Skysun landed on the beach with the other foals, the Jungle Herd steeds circled the group again. She glared at them, rattling her feathers. “Get some rest!” Barked Oakfire, and the foals complied.
Skysun snorted quietly as she settled down on the sand, a tear slipping down her cheek as she fell asleep. Skysun opened her eyes but was startled to realize she couldn’t see anything. She tried to scramble to her hooves, but quickly realized that she was closed in on all sides with stone, and the only thing she could do was crawl forward, the stone brushing against her feathers. She grew more and more terrified as she kept going, feeling trapped in stone. And once she felt she was at her breaking point, she woke up, breathing heavily with fear.
The sun was bright over head, and Skysun scrambled to her hooves, looking around her, her legs shaking slightly from slight fear. Her eyes widen in shock and she almost falls onto her side as she scrambles backward. A bay mare stood in front of her, her green feathers tipped with a darker green folded gracefully onto her back, she looked behind her to brown appaloosa stallion with green and brown feathers.
“Oakfire and his team has done a great job as always,” She said with a smile. “Although, this one is injured.” She said, pointing to Skysun with her wing.
The stallion nodded, the worry lines under his eyes making him look older than he must be. “Good, we should return to the herd before Desert Herd sends an envoy after them. And as for the injured filly, Vineroot can have a look at her when we get back.” He said briskly.
The mare just snorted, “If you must return, you can. But I am staying her with the foals. They’re exhausted and could use a full day of rest.” She said calmly.
“But you’re exposed out here, if Desert Herd were to catch you out here, they will surely attack you.” He said, obviously worried for his mate.
The mare just rolled her eyes, “Desert Herd won’t send an envoy for a while,” She said, “And even if they did, I’m sure Oakfire’s team and I will be able to handle them rather easily.”
The stallion snorted and looked at Oakfire, “I won’t argue with my mate,” He said, “I’m heading back, make sure the foals, and your Lead Mare, return home safely.”
Oakfire nodded, “I will do my best,” He said. Satisfied, the stallion kicked up into the air and flew back in the direction of Jungle Herd Territory. The Lead Mare looked at Skysun, who was now shaking in fear, but was still attempting to put on a brave face. The mare chuckled, stepping over to her.
“Hey, calm down,” She said leaning down to get level with Skysun, “I’m sorry this happened to you, young filly, but…” “I have a name you know.” Skysun interrupted, pinning back her ears, expecting a wing to the face.
The mare just chuckled slightly, “I’m sure you do, would you mind telling me what it is?” She asked kindly.
“My name is…is…” She stopped slightly, trying to figure out if she should trust the mare. Realizing that she had no choice BUT to trust her, she decided to tell her, “It’s Skysun.”
“Well, Skysun,” She said, “I am Leafcloud, Lead Mare of Jungle Herd, and I hope you’ll be happy with us.” She said with a sweet smile. With a slight nod, Leafcloud go up and went to each foal in turn. Skysun blinked in surprise, this is not what she expected. She thought the Lead Mare and Over-Stallion were going to be cruel, power hungry steeds who stole her and her herdmates as leverage against her grandparents and parents. Leafcloud, however, didn’t SEEM cruel or power hungry. But still, she knew she had to not trust any of the Jungle Herd steeds, and she HAD to escape, no matter what it took.