A few years later, everything was fixed, and Spiritstorm, who was now Spiritstar, had foals of her own. One foal was a colt named Sagewind. The other was a small filly named Silversoul. “I never knew you were so cool, Mom!” whinnied Silversoul.
Spiritstar had giggled at that because she knew she wasn’t that special. “Thanks, dear, but I’m not special.” Fernheart flew over and sat next to the foals, who looked up at her and squealed with happiness. “Auntie! Look what I can do!” whinnied Silversoul. She galloped, lifted off, and flew as high as she could, then she tucked in her wings and dropped.
“Silversoul!” screamed Spiritstar, flying after her. She failed to make it, and Silversoul fell to the ground in a crumpled heap of feathers and blood. “Silversoul, are you okay?” neighed her brother, Sagewind. Spiritstar fluttered her wings and touched down. “Why are you doing something so absurd?” whinnied Spiritstar angrily.
Silversoul tried to get up but immediately fell. “Sorry, Mama. I just wanted to show Auntie Fernheart what I can do.” nickered Silversoul. Spiritstar galloped to the medicine mare named Starroot. “Starroot! My filly is hurt and needs help!” she neighed, anger blazing in her light-golden eyes. Starroot grabbed her items, and they flew to Silversoul and saw that she was gone.
“Silversoul? Silversoul, where are you?” yelled Spiritstar. She sighed, feeling dreadful. They flew to the cliff and saw Sagewind’s broken body at the bottom.
“Sagewind!” screamed Spiritstar. She angled her wings and rocketed down to her son. “Get your aunt, Silversoul! Tell her everything!” nickered Spiritstar. A few seconds later, it dawned on the mare as she realized what had occurred.
Silversoul had been playing with her brother, and she had playfully shoved him off the edge, thinking he would be able to fly, not knowing about wing bones breaking due to pressure. His bones had broken on impact.
“I’m here, Spiritstar!” neighed Fernheart. “What happened to him?” she looked from Sagewind to Starroot to Silversoul to Spiritstar. Spiritstar explained what had happened, and how Silversoul caused it. “Silversoul!” whinnied Fernheart angrily. Silversoul trotted over to Fernheart with her head low, ready for what was to come.
“Why did you not attempt to save him? More importantly, why did you not tell Starroot about it?” neighed Fernheart, sad. Spiritstar, Starroot, and Fernheart picked up Sagewind and trotted away from Silversoul, who sank to her knees, crying into her wings. “She did this to herself. If Silversoul hadn’t shoved him off the edge, we would not be in this situation!” said Spiritstar. “Hurry up, Starroot! My son is dying and needs your help!” the mare’s eyes were full of hurt.
“Of course, Spiritstorm, er, Spiritstar!” neighed Starroot, fearful. She bowed down, fearing what Spiritstar would do to her if her son died. Spiritstar reared and slammed her hooves on the lush, green grass, creating fractures in the soil. Starroot fell through the ground, screaming. She tried to spread her wings, but there was no room for that. Since she could not spread her wings, she fell into the void, unable to breathe. As she died, Spiritstar laughed. “Wait, she had Sagewind!” whinnied Fernheart. She looked into the crack. Oh, my stars! thought Fernheart. “Sagewind . . . he’s gone,” said Fernheart. Spiritstar whinnied, desperate. “What! Go get him then! Please, I can’t have my colt die!” Fernheart nodded, determined to save Spiritstar's son. She flew up and then pinned her wings and rocketed into the void. She saw Sagewind and raced toward him, picked him up, then flew up and out of the darkness.
Fernheart landed and laid him down, letting him sleep. Spiritstar raced to him, curling up beside him. “I’m going to stay awake and watch over him,” said Spiritstar. But in seconds she was fast asleep.
Silversoul woke up and stretched, surveying the land surrounding her. Today was the day she would leave her herd and travel to Spring Herd. She cantered toward Spring Herd, lifted off, and flew in the direction she wanted to go.
A few hours later, Spiritstar woke up and trotted toward where Silversoul would be, but she was gone. She reared and trumpeted a distress call, a loud and sharp whinny, calling for her army. The Moon Herd army came and gathered in its new formation, small steeds at the front and larger steeds at the back.
Spiritstar cleared her throat, preparing to speak. “My daughter is missing.” She neighed, her voice loud and strong. “I want each one of you to search the land and find my missing daughter.” she finished. The army bowed their heads to her one final time, and then they began trotting to Spring Herd’s land.
Once they were gone, Spiritstar began pacing, nervous and angry that her daughter would betray her. Fernheart and Sagewind woke up, saw Spiritstar pacing back and forth, and walked to her. “What’s wrong, Mama? Where is Silversoul?” asked Sagewind.
“She just went for a little trip, don’t worry,” said Spiritstar, lying.
A few hours later, the army returned, having failed to find Silversoul. After the lead captain, Stormfire, told her the news, she reared, and let her power flood the soil, creating fractures in the ground. The battle steeds fell, then they swiftly opened their wings and flew, driven by fear, fueled by terror.
When Silversoul reached Spring Herd, she went right to Hazelmist—now Hazelstar—and asked to join her herd. “What happened to Moon Herd? Why are you wanting to join my herd, when you are already in a herd?” asked Hazelstar.
“I—I was banished from Moon Herd after I accidentally killed my brother.” neighed Silversoul. Hazelstar reared, shocked. “WHAT?! Never!” She stamped her hoof on the stone. “Why in the name of Sunstar would I ever let a traitor enter my herd?” She stomped her hooves. “Leave! I will tear you to shreds if you do not!” whinnied Hazelstar, now angry.
“Fine, I’m sorry for wasting your time . . .” mumbled Silversoul. She walked away with her head down, silently sobbing. A few minutes later, she collapsed, unable to breathe. Hazelstar galloped over to Silversoul, concerned.
Hazelstar whinnied for the Medicine Mare, Sandroot. The palomino pinto mare flew over to Hazelstar. “What’s wrong with her, Sandroot?” asked Hazelstar.
“What did you say to her to make her cry?”
“All I said to her was she couldn’t be in the herd because she betrayed Moon Herd.”
Sandroot was shocked. Hazelstar’s ears dropped.
Sandroot trotted away from Hazelstar with Silversoul in her wings. Hazelstar galloped to Moon Herd, heading for Spiritstar. Once she had gotten to Moon Herd, she stopped and trotted over to Spiritstar. “Hello, Spiritstar. How are you today?” asked Hazelstar.
“I am not doing well. My filly is missing.”
“I know where she is. She’s at Spring Herd. She ran away from you because she said that you banished her.”
“I did banish her, but it was only supposed to be temporary so that she can learn how to fend for herself so that she will be ready for when I die.”
“Hm, alright then. If that is the case. But it is still a foal on her own. If you’re lying, I will surely begin a war.”
A few days later, Silversoul returned to Moon Herd. Spiritstar was standing on Death Rock. “Hello, Silversoul.” Spiritstar narrowed her eyes, angry. “Why are you here? I banished you!”
“I’m here because I wanted to see my brother. I’m sorry, Mother.” neighed Silversoul. And I wanted to help him as well. she thought.
Spiritstar glided down to Silversoul. “So, you want to see him? I suppose I’ll let you. Follow me.”
A few weeks later, winter began. Echosong had already begun to form a plot against Tigerstar, who had given up her power and was now known as Tigerwhisper. She knew exactly what to do. Echosong grabbed an icicle with her wing and trotted to Tigerwhisper. “Hello, Tigerwhisper. Welcome to the Stingerwing Forest. I have a surprise for you.” she nickered. Tigerwhisper looked happy that day, but what she didn't know was that her happiness would soon turn to something else, something darker. Echosong clutched the icicle and galloped at Tigerwhisper. “You're annoying daughter dethroned me!” she whinnied, angry.
Tigerwhisper advanced, ready to fight. Echosong dodged her blows, slicing Tigerwhisper's hide in the process. Tigerwhisper retreated to the woods, not noticing that Echosong was close behind. Echosong flew up and then flipped Tigerwhisper, causing her to fall. “Say goodbye to your filly. She will be nothing without you,” said Echosong. She stabbed Tigerwhisper in the leg, who collapsed. Echosong smiled and trotted away, leaving the mare to die. She deserved it. she thought, walking away.
I need to get back to Spiritstar right now! thought Tigerwhisper, bleeding from her leg. She got onto her hooves and began cantering and limping toward her herd. Spiritstar, who was standing next to her colt, looked up to see Tigerwhisper galloping toward her. “Are you alright?!” whinnied Spiritstar, alarmed.
Tigerwhisper dropped her haunches and skidded to a stop, out of breath. “No, I’m not alright! Echosong wants to kill you and Autumnberry!” she whinnied, bursting into tears. Spiritstar's ears perked up, suddenly ready for battle. “Where did you see her?” she neighed, already getting an adrenaline rush.
Tigerwhisper was inching away from her, terrified of what she was capable of. Spiritstar's voice rumbled from deep within her chest, like thunder. Her hooves were sharper than a knife.
“She’s in the forest, just south of here. I think she called it ‘Stingerwing Forest’ or something like that.” said Tigerwhisper, her legs trembling in fear and pain.
Spiritstar healed Tigerwhisper, then galloped away, opened her wings, and launched herself off the ground like a firework, flying to Death Rock. When she got there, she landed and faced her herd, clearing her throat. “Steeds of Moon Herd, listen! Stay within the borders of our land, a war is erupting!” she whinnied, raising her wings and standing to her full height, looking and acting like a true lead mare.
Autumnberry began to pace, terrified. What if we don’t win? What if I die? This is scary! I wish Spiritstar would just stop trying to be everything for everyone! thought Autumnberry. Spiritstar flew down and landed a few winglengths away from her. “Are you okay, Autumnberry?” she nickered, sitting down. Autumnberry stopped pacing and faced her. “Do I look alright to you?!” she whinnied, not meaning to yell. She sighed. “I’m sorry, I’m just scared of what will happen.”
Echosong galloped into the herd, toward Autumnberry. “Autumnberry, watch out!” whinnied Spiritstar, galloping toward her friend. Autumnberry got kicked in the neck. “Autumnberry!” neighed Tigerwhisper, scared. She cantered toward Autumnberry, her ears flat. “Get away from my daughter! I will not let you hurt her!” she whinnied angrily. Fernheart stood, rooted to the ground, afraid.
Spiritstar stepped in front of her family protectively. She unfurled her huge wings and used her magic to create a protective barrier around Tigerwhisper and Autumnberry. She flew toward Echosong and bowed her head to the mare. “I am only doing this so you don’t harm my herd,” she whispered, tears falling from her eyes.
Autumnberry tried to shatter the barrier that protected them with her hooves but failed. “Spiritstar, don’t bow your head to her! Please!” she whinnied, crying. She looked down, knowing she could do nothing.
Spiritstar opened her eyes and screamed as a tree branch fell onto her back. “Why are you doing this, Echosong? What have the steeds in the herd done to you to deserve all this?” she asked, feeling defeated. Echosong ignored her.
Spiritstar was terrified, she couldn’t deny it. I can’t help her, I can’t win a fight against her. I guess I’ll have no choice but to kill her. thought Spiritstar. She grabbed a small twig and turned it into a spear. She pulled it back and then stabbed it into Echosong’s chest, causing blood to splatter onto her clean, white hide.
Spiritstar dropped her head to her body. “I’m sorry, Echosong,” she whispered, raising her head. She started trotting to the herd with blood all over her hide. Autumnberry was the first to notice. “What happened to you?!” she whinnied to her friend.
Spiritstar was breathing heavily. “Nothing, nothing happened at all.” she nickered, lying.
“I know you’re lying to me, Spiritstar. Please tell me what’s wrong,” said Autumnberry. Spiritstar sighed, knowing Autumnberry would hate her if she said it, but she had to. “I killed Echosong. She was trying to kill me, so I had to do it,” she said, cringing.
Autumnberry was speechless, all she could do was turn her head and trot away. Why would she do this? thought Autumnberry, saddened and angry. She lay down under the shade, trying to collect her thoughts.
“Autumnberry, dear, are you alright?” asked Tigerwhisper.
“Why would I be alright? Spiritstar just murdered someone!” Autumnberry yelled.
“But dear, she had to! Otherwise, she would be dead!”
“She didn’t have to! She could have easily banished her so she couldn’t hurt anyone else!”
“You don’t know what would have happened to her if she hadn’t killed Echosong. She could’ve been seriously hurt, or even killed. Besides, Echosong isn’t in our herd, so Spiritstar couldn’t have banished her.”
Autumnberry sighed, knowing she was stupid for throwing a fit.
A few days later, news had begun to spread throughout the herds. There were two very large, mysterious rocks in the middle of the Red Hoof Desert.