7 years later…
The crowd roared wildly as they watched the Kihlari rush by them, their feathers like a quick streak of rainbow as they passed.
Blaze was at the back of the pack, his aqua colored wings flapping with a perfect rhythm. His eyes scanned his opponents, watching their every move.
His rider, Aniya, was clutching his mane, holding his reins back to keep from flying ahead. Her legs were squeezed around his sides to keep from falling off, but Blaze knew the difference between kicking to go, and kicking to hold on.
There wasn't one thing that Blaze didn't know about Aniya. He knew how she sat on his back, when she wanted him to fly, when she wanted him to run on the ground, when she wanted him to stop, go...anything really. He knew her like the back of his wing, and she knew him like the back of her paw.
“Final lap!” The ref suddenly yelled, making Blaze pin his ears. It was almost time.
Aniya leaned in closer to Blaze’s face, “You ready buddy?” She said over the roaring wind.
Blaze snorted in response and nodded, tensing up for bolting.
As the Kihlari came around the final corner, most began to slow down from exhaustion, and up ahead, the finish line was awaiting them.
Blaze felt his reins loosen, giving him the cue.
With a stall in mid air, he spread his wings, reaching for the clouds. And with a mighty flap, he launched forward.
He twisted around the other Kihlari with grace and speed, dodging them one by one. His mane flapped in the wind behind him.
When the finish line finally came, Blaze dashed through, in first place.
The crowd stood and roared, throwing their fists in the air, “Blaze! Blaze! Blaze!” They chanted.
Blaze slowed and hovered in the air, smiling at his fans. He felt Aniya’s arms wrap around his neck tightly, “Good boy Blaze!” She cried over the cheering crowd. It made his heart soar at the tone of her voice, which meant that she was overjoyed and proud of him. Which made him happy.
He craned his neck around and nickered at her softly, in return, she grabbed his face and pulled it closer to kiss his muzzle.
Down in the winners circle, the humans put roses and lilies in Blaze’s mane and wings, and congratulated Aniya for the win. She and Blaze were both given a gold medal in the shape of a Kihlari. Next to them were the ones that came in second and third place. They had their bronze medals and silvers.
The one with the bronze medal, a boy with orange hair and a pale face, looked like he was about to burst with anger.
Blaze tried not to look at the boy and held his head up high to put on a show and show off his medal to the crowd.
Aniya turned to Blaze and put her head on his, “Your tenth big win buddy….I'm so proud of you” she whispered gently to him. Blaze smiled and pressed his head into hers, “You mean our tenth big win” he said.
He knew that she couldn't understand him, but he didn't care. It was nice talking to her sometimes. It made him feel, truly feel, like they could understand each other.
In the stable, the Kihlari were being groomed and fed from their big race. Blaze could hear them nickering to their riders for more food or to scratch a certain spot.
Meanwhile Blaze stood in his stall as Aniya gently brushed and oiled his feathers, running her fingers down each one until they were smooth and perfect.
Unlike other riders, Aniya made sure that Blaze was in the best condition, not because he needed to look good or because he was a racing champion, but because she wanted his wings, and his body to be healthy. And Blaze knew that.
“Whoops!” Aniya suddenly yelped. Causing Blaze to look back. He saw that she was holding one of his big aqua feathers in her hand.
She was looking at Blaze with a guilty smile, “Sorry, I hope that didn’t hurt, I was stroking it too hard” She said as she walked over to her grooming bag and stuck the feather in it.
Blaze couldn’t help but laugh, ‘Don’t worry it didn’t’.
“Are you laughing at me Mr?” Aniya said, putting her hands on her hips and arching her brown brow.
Blaze held his head up high, “Oh of course not” he said innocently. He then smirked.
Aniya rolled her eyes and walked up to his head, “Of course you are, you wouldn't be Blaze if you weren't” She said as she hugged him. Blaze smiled and hugged her back.
“Hey!” An angry voice suddenly said. Blaze lifted his head, and Aniya turned around.
There, standing in front of the stall with his large bay stallion, was the orange haired boy, his pale face was red with anger.
“You and your stupid Kihlari cheated! Revenge is the fastest pegasus in my clan, and there's no way he could have been beaten by that flea bag!” The boy said, pointing his finger angrily at Blaze.
Blaze snorted, “I beg your pardon?”.
Aniya crossed her arms and arched one of her brows, “Ok. One, Blaze doesn’t have fleas, or any type of bugs for that matter. Two, We would never cheat in a race, I just know how to save his energy so he springs in first”.
“You mean cheat! I know you did!” The boy said, stepping forward. He squared up to Aniya, his eyes narrowed and his shadow looming over her.
Blaze pinned his ears, not liking how he was standing over her, or looking for that matter. “Ok, how about you calm down. I didn’t cheat, I would never cheat” Aniya said, her voice calm and confident.
The boy suddenly grabbed Aniya by her shirt and lifted her off her feet, “Liar!” He shouted in her face.
Blaze snorted, throwing his head forward and biting the boy’s hand, making him let go of his rider.
The boy yelped with pain and clutched his hand as if Blaze had bitten off one of his fingers, when really there was a small red mark.
He looked at Aniya and Blaze with a hateful glare, “I'm gonna tell my dad about this! And you're gonna pay! You and your stupid horse!” He shouted. He then stormed off, his Kihlari followed from behind.
Blaze bared his teeth at the boys insult, but his thoughts turned to what he said. “Don't worry Blaze, his dad and my dad are close friends, he knows you're not dangerous” Aniya said, reaching up at stroking his muzzle.
Blaze nickered at her softly, enjoying the stroking of her soft hand against his muzzle. He felt reassured by her words and relaxed.
“Oh! I haven't finished oiling your feathers yet!” Aniya said, walking back to her small bottle of oil that was set on the window.
She continued on stroking his feathers with oils, finishing the right wing and then going on to the left.
Later on that night, Blaze and Aniya went for a midnight flight. It was calm and slow, and the wind was a gentle breeze.
Blaze lifted his head to the wind, gently galloping across the sky. Aniya was laying down on his back, her soft brown hair flowing gently in the wind, and her eyes facing the stars.
No saddle was strapped around Blaze’s back, and his bridle was nothing but a soft rope, making him as comfortable as she.
“Isn't it beautiful buddy?” She said. Blaze gazed up at the stars with her, their little lights flashing like beating hearts. He nickered in response, “Yes”.
“Don't you ever wonder what it's like up there? Up in the stars?”.
Blaze turned his head slightly to get a good look at his rider, seeing her eyes full of wonder, “Sometimes”.
“I bet you do, we fly almost all the time...you know what?” Aniya said, twisting around and positioning herself properly on his back, “Someday Blaze, someday, we will touch the stars. Me and you”.
Blaze felt his heart swell up at that simple word, ‘Me and you’. That's all he wanted. “It sounds like a plan” He said, throwing his head back and smiling.
Aniya smiled, as if understanding what he said. “I think it's time we head back, you must be tired from today”.
She grabbed his reins and gently pulled them in the direction of their hut. Blaze responded and flew in that direction.
When they got home, Blaze was put in his stall and given a kiss goodnight by Aniya. He then snuggled up in his soft hay bed, and let his eyes close, allowing the darkness to take him under.
(Thank you guys for reading 😄 Chapter 2 will be coming soon)