Herd Life

Celestia is a growing filly within the herd, as she and many ponies struggle to just survive in their primitive times. Upheaval is soon to come, as new ideas clash with the old, when Celestia's parents join together in their struggle to move ponies into a new and unknown future, amid the dawning of the pony nation.
Contains: Stallion on Mare mating and impregnation. With lovemaking and experimentation later.
Online reading by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9RpH3CFcO8&feature=youtu.be
I do not claim ownership of the cover art. It is publicly posted art. Artist for Celestia: alasou

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17. Chapter 17

Are you out of your mind!?" Meadowlark exclaimed in shock, her shout startling the twins awake. "This is the most outrageous idea I have ever heard from you!"

"Calm down and just listen for a moment," Melodious patiently said over her wailing twins, "if they’re raised right, then they won't be a danger at all."

Seeing that the twins needed to be soothed, Dove hurried over to the wailing pair to quickly lift Winter Snow out of his basket. Unable to handle both foals, Dove passed the bawling Winter over to a startled Strongbuck so she could lift his brother out as well. Rocking her body, Dove began to make soothing, shushing sounds as she attempted to calm the distressed foal.

"They’re wolves! They will always be dangerous!" Meadowlark turned to Bell, causing her to flinch from the hard gaze she settled on her. "And you! How could you bring them here!? You know how much grief their kind has brought to us over the seasons! How so many of our precious young were taken by those beasts!"

Melodious suddenly moved forward and jabbed her hoof into Meadowlarks chest. "That is quite enough of that!" she snapped, raising her voice in anger for the first time. "I will not allow you to start berating her for following her heart. She was only doing what she felt was right!" She pointed her hoof to a spot on her mat. "Now, sit down and let's talk this through. I believe we have an opportunity here to get something really good from this, and I won't allow your hostility for them ruin it! Now plant your rump down, right now!"

Meadowlark looked started for a moment at Melodious' uncharacteristic outburst. Blinking her eyes, she contemplated Melodious for a time, her expression unreadable. Taking a few calming breaths, Meadowlark finally nodded her head and sat down.

Having calmed Summer down, Dove was now trying to help a panicking Strongbuck with Winter. With gentle encouragement, Dove quietly talked him through what he needed to do with the colt. Following her instructions, Strongbuck's movements became less awkward and clumsy, and his voice took on a less gruff and stiff tone with the colt. Smiling, Strongbuck's movements became more relaxed as his confidence grew.

Watching him, Dove felt a warm feeling of pride for her stallion. It was obvious that Strongbuck had never handled a foal before, but, with a little guidance and patience, he was turning into a natural. She felt assured that he would make a good father someday.

Settling herself back down, Melodious let out a sigh as she regained her calm composure. "Now, as I was saying before, wolves and ponies share many common traits. They hold a great loyalty towards their pack, just as ponies do for the herd. They look after and protect each other and their young, just as we do. I believe that this trait can be very beneficial. If the pups are raised with ponies, they will assuredly imprint on us and see us as their pack."

"Even if that is true, what use would it be to have a pair of wolves running around thinking they were ponies?" Meadowlark asked, not sure where Melodious was going with this.

"Perhaps the very answer to our problems," Melodious answered with a nod. "The discovery of those giant spiders have many ponies greatly worried. Myself, very much included. And despite Happy's best efforts, he has been unable to track the spiders beyond the edge of the Deep Woods in the north." Bending forward, Melodious lifted Sentry out of his basket and held the puppy up in her hoof. "Wolves are natural trackers. They can sniff out a trail many days old, and follow it right back to its source. These little pups are absolutely perfect for what we need."

"Are you suggesting that they could track the spiders back to their nest!?" Meadowlark gazed in shock at the pup Melodious was holding. Could they really be used in such a way? She had to admit, she’d thought of wolves as nothing more than a menace that needed to be destroyed. But if what she was saying is true, that wolves could be turned into a useful aid to the ponies. Perhaps she she should consider Melodious's idea.

"Wolves are very clever. I'm confident that Bell, here, can train them to do simple things like tracking," Melodious said, giving Bell a nod of confidence.

Pursing her lips thoughtfully, Meadowlark shifted her attention to Bell. "Well? You've been awfully quiet. What do you have to say? Can you do it? Can you teach them to sniff out the spiders?"

Bell swallowed nervously. She had been giving that very thing some thought ever since Melodious shared her grand idea with her earlier. It wasn't going to be easy. She would have to figure out how to teach them what she wanted them to do. It was definitely going to be a challenge, but the idea that she would be doing something no other pony has ever done, nor even thought about doing before, was kind of exciting. Meeting Meadowlarks gaze, Bell gave her answer."Yes. I believe I can do it."

The moment her answer left her mouth, a warm sense of rightness settled over her as a sudden flicker of light at the corner of her eye caught her attention. Hearing Strongbuck and Dove both let out a gasp in surprise from behind her, Bell turned and looked back to find that she now had a cutie mark. Emblazoned on her flanks were the images of a wolf and pony in profile, with the two arranged in a circle around each other.

Meadowlark gave Melodious a shocked glance at the sudden appearance of Bell's cutie mark. To say she was surprised would be an understatement, but with all the various talents that ponies were recently showing they were capable of, she guessed that it shouldn't be all that shocking to see a pony show a talent in training wolves.

Letting out a sigh, Meadowlark smiled and shook her head. Hooking her hoof onto the edge of the basket, she brought it closer so she could look in at their old, hated enemy. With a careful hoof, she lifted out the wiggling, light-gray pup and held him up. He was tiny, a little less than half that of a newborn pony foal. Bending in close, Meadowlark could see that his little eyes were barely open as he gazed up her with an unfocused gaze that just melted her heart.

If Melodious was right, then these little pups could be their answer to this newly discovered threat. They had proven several times before that they could easily entrap their prey when they took Sky's entire flock as well as a full pack of wolves, leaving these two orphaned pups as the only two survivors. In a way, they were just like Sky, left behind with no home or family. "Very well. I will allow them to stay. But only so long as they never pose a threat. The moment they do, the moment they ever attack a pony, I want them put down." She looked up and met Bell's gaze. "Understood?"

Bell quickly nodded. "Yes, I understand. Thank you for this chance."

Meadowlark set the pup back into the hay-filled basket and stood, "if Melodious is right about them, then this will be well worth a try. I'll wish you good luck." Stepping closer to Bell, Meadowlark wrapped her hoof around her neck and hugged her. “Congratulations on your cutie mark, by the way."

 

 

 

 

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With Luna nestled comfortably into her carrying basket, Dark hummed to himself as he walked through the settlement. With Meadowlark having been called away by Sage to see to something that Melodious just absolutely needed to talk to her about, little Luna had been left in his care, and Dark couldn't resist taking her out for a little walk around with Papa to see to some things.

First, he went to speak to Juniper Rose about her sun-dried fruit. After sampling some of her dried apples and strawberries, Dark promised to have a word with Bright Star about constructing some larger drying racks for her, and finding some ponies that would be able to help her. The more fruit she could add to their stores, the more bearable the long winter would be for them all.

Meeting with Birch Bark. Dark had a long talk with him about how they were going to keep rodents from getting into their newly-made storehouse. It seemed they were going to be a big problem, and they needed to be taken care of before winter came or they’d be back to scratching roots and dry grass out of the snow.

The next thing Birch Bark brought up before Dark could leave, was how to best keep a tally of what the working ponies had earned for their labor to fill the storehouse. At the moment, they were being given a portion of what they had brought in, or what others had brought in, as compensation for their work, but that didn't always work for everything. There was also the problem of how to reimburse those who were working in the new fields. Greenhoof was making due using strands made from ponies tails with knots tied along their length to denote days of work for each pony, but that had it's own limitations. Dark didn't know what to do about it, but he assured Birch Bark that he would try to figure something out as best he could.

Snatching up Luna, Dark hurried away before Birch could bring anything else up. He meant well, but Birch did tend to over-worry about things. With her basket swinging about from his mouth, Luna made happy babbling noises as she swung about. Moving through the settlement, Dark waved or nodded at ponies as they passed by. Despite the late night of food and dancing, many ponies looked happy as they moved about their daily tasks. Dark had been surprised at how festive the night had gotten, and how much the ponies had enjoyed themselves. He would have to make sure to arrange for more of these festivals throughout the rest of the season, as well as for future seasons.

As he neared the edge of the settlement, his destination came into view. Magpie Cackle didn't like staying close to the other ponies, preferring her hut being built right up against the outer wall. Most of the other ponies huts were rounded, but Magpie had hers build with straight walls that leaned into each other at a sharp angle. Stepping up to her door, Dark tapped his hoof against a log beam to announce his presence.

"Whoever it is, go away," Magpie's harsh voice snapped out at him.

Magpie had always been a bit gruff and blunt at times. Dark found it to be part of her charm. "Magpie, its me."

"Dark?" she asked, her voice losing none of its gruffness. "Here to check up on me, already?"

Dark stuck his head through her door, "I just wanted to see if you discovered anything as of yet."

"We just started last night! What do you expect to be done in such a short time?" Magpie didn't even bother turning around to look at him as he entered.

Set out on the ground was a large mat with what remained of the spider’s body sitting on it. It had been opened up and much of its organs had been removed for careful examination by both Magpie and her new assistant, Sunflower Patch. The young mare had shown an intense curiosity and talent for studying bugs and other creepy crawlies that normal ponies would stay clear of. On her flanks she had a cutie mark of a sunflower with a bumblebee on it.

Setting Luna down onto a cut log that ran along the side of Magpie's hut, Dark looked over the gruesome scene that lay before him. The spider had been laid on its back, and, with sharp cut-stones, the two had opened it up and pulled out almost everything that was inside it, laying it all out in neat piles on the mat. The smell of spider entrails was gut-wrenchingly horrible, and Dark wondered if he would need to find a dung pile later to stick his nose into in order to rid himself of the stench. He was glad he had set Luna close to the door where the smell wasn't so bad. But, still, he should keep his visit here short for her sake at least.

Getting as close as he dared, Dark observed as Sunflower and Magpie poked at a strange blue blob. "I'm telling you, I think this is what it uses to breath with." Sunflower said.

"But why would its lungs be so far back in its body, instead of nearer its mouth?." Magpie asked dubiously.

Sunflower took a cutting stone and sliced into the blue mass to look inside the fibrous organ. "I don't think they breathe the same way we do."

"Oh? And how do you think they breath? Through their legs?" Magpie shook her head in exasperation at the young mare.

"From what I see on how this thing is put together, I wouldn't dismiss that possibility."

Watching the two bicker over what the organ they were looking at was, Dark wondered if the two had been at this all night. Seeing a strange framework of small branches tied together with a rabbit trapped within, Dark walked over to see what she was doing with it. The rabbit was laying on its side as it appeared to be either asleep or dead. Tapping a hoof on the side of its entrapping framework, confirmed to him that it was quite dead.

"You think he's dead, don't you?" Magpie said, appearing next to him. "I assure you that he is quite alive. If you look closely, you’ll see his chest slowly rise and fall, and he's still warm and limber."

Bending down, Dark closely watched the rabbit, and, sure enough, he noticed its chest slowly moving. "What's wrong with him?" Dark asked.

Magpie pointed at a gourd sitting nearby with a milky fluid inside. "I managed to extract a fair bit of its venom, and I tested a tiny portion of it it on the rabbit. I was surprised at how quickly it affected him; within a few moments, he had fallen into a deep sleep that was very much like death."

"Can he be awoken from it?" Dark asked, wanting to know if a pony could survive a venomous bite from one of these things.

Magpie thoughtfully rubbed her chin with her hoof. "Hmm, that would be very interesting to know. I'll try some things on him and see what happens."

Giving the rabbit a last look, Dark nodded. "Good. Please let me know if you come up with something that works."

Magpie was already across her hut looking through her collection of herb-filled gourds, sniffing at their tops and muttering to herself as she searched through them.

Seeing that the two were once again engrossed in what they were doing, Dark crossed over to Luna and picked her up. Leaving the malodorous hut, Dark set out to find a nice smelling manure pile to stick his nose into.

 

 

 

 

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Laying in the shade of a tree with a small group of fillies, Celestia worked at braiding Strawberry Zest's light-green tail while Strawberry braided hers. Ash was off with the other colts, trying to catch frogs near the river, leaving Celestia to play around with the other fillies. Pausing in her work, Celestia picked up a blue flower out of a small pile she had next to her and worked it into Strawberry’s braid. She was almost done and Strawberry's tail was now wonderfully festooned with brightly colored blue flowers all throughout its length. Celestia thought that the blue flowers went really nicely with Strawberry's red coat and light green mane and tale.

Glancing back at her own tail, she saw that Strawberry had worked in a lot of yellow flowers into it. "Yellow?"

Strawberry glanced up and smiled. "What? You don't like yellow? I think you look good with yellow; it goes wonderfully with your cutie mark."

Giving herself a good look over, Celestia had to agree that Strawberry was right; yellow did look good on her. Nearby, Tulip Blossom was braiding Misty Grove's mane. Instead of using just one color like they were, Tulip was using every color she had gathered in Misty's rather dull brown mane in order to try and add some color to the flat-gray filly.

Not counting Celestia, Misty was one of the few fillies their age who already got her cutie mark. On her flank was a wispy grey cloud encompassing the base of a small tree. She had an amazing talent was for being hard to notice. With her drab coloring and soft steps, she was practically invisible wherever she went, oftentimes startling ponies who failed to notice she was standing just next to them until she spoke. It was no surprise she got her cutie mark in anonymity.

Tulip Blossom was her best friend. In almost every way she was the opposite of Misty. Her bright yellow coat and orange mane and tail stood out wherever she went, and she was as chatty as a songbird, and being just as flighty as one too. Sitting still was something that seemed to go against her nature, and boredom was her greatest enemy.

"Celestia? Which colt you do like the most?" Tulip Blossom suddenly asked, breaking Celestia out of her thoughts.

"Ash, of course." Celestia didn't even have to think of her answer.

Tulip shook her head. "He doesn't count. He's too much like a brother or something."

Celestia was about to respond when Strawberry suddenly cut in. "That's not fair, they're not even related," she retorted strongly.

Tulip blinked at Strawberry’s unusually strong vehemence in surprise. "Okay, fine, I'll allow it, I guess," she said, giving in. "So, what about you?"

"Me!?" Strawberry exclaimed back, surprised that the question had been turned on her. Nibbling her lip nervously, she glanced at Celestia with an uncertain look. It seemed like she was reluctant to answer.

"Oh, come on, Strawberry, you can tell us." Tulip said with a eager nod. Even Misty was looking over with interest.

"I, ah... I also like Ash," she finally answered.

Celestia felt a strange anger suddenly rise up in her. Her heart started to hammer painfully in her chest, and she felt a twisting in her gut. She didn't know why Strawberry's confession about her feeling towards Ash was affecting her so strongly. She didn’t like this feeling at all.

"Ash, again!?" Tulip said with a sigh. "I don't get it. Really, what do you two see in him? His coat is as drab as Misty's here." She waved her hoof towards Misty. "Now, Mighty Oak, that's a good looking colt if I do say so myself."

"Tulip! Tulip!" a younger, dark-orange filly shouted as she rushed up to them. "I did what you said, but I didn't get my cutie mark!"

With a look of irritation, Tulip let out a sigh. "Pine Blossom. I already told you, I don't know how you can get your cutie mark. I only told you to walk backwards all the way around the settlement to keep you from bugging me over it."

Pine Blossom ignored her as she continued on. "Oh come on Tulip, you’re older and you know so much more than me. I'm sure you can think of something I can try. I came so close last time, I thought I felt it starting to happen!"

Tulip let out another sigh, then nodded. "Okay, how about you try hopping around for awhile and see if that does it."

A big smile split Pine's face. "Ooh, that's a good one!"  She suddenly turned and started to hop away. "I wonder what a hopping cutie mark would look like?  Oh! Oh! Maybe it will be a bunny!"

The group watched as the younger filly hopped away.

Strawberry gave Tulip a disapproving look. "Why are you so mean to your sister? You know how much she looks up to you."

"It’s because she's a giant pest, and I'm glad we're only related with just our father." Tulip said with a snort.

Irritated at her insensitive attitude towards her sister, Celestia angrily folded her ears back and tossed one of her flowers at Tulip. "That's no excuse to be mean to her. You should go apologize to her."

Tulip looked like she was about to argue, but after a moment she seemed to change her mind, instead, opting to turn away to silently brood to herself as she slowly shredded a flower of its petals. Celestia decided to leave her be to think things over herself, and hopefully she'll decide to listen her them and start treating her sister a bit better.

Celestia was working on Strawberry's mane when Bumblebee and Soft Step suddenly dashed up to them. "Celestia! You need to come! It's an emergency!"

Hearing the urgency in Bumblebee’s voice, Celestia quickly jumped up. "What is it!? Did something happen!?"

"It's Pine Blossom!" Soft Step shouted. "She needs to be stopped before she hurts herself!"

"Pine Blossom?" Tulip said turning back. "What kind of trouble can she get into hopping around?"

"When Autumn Leaf and Sparkling Night saw her, they thought to have a bit of fun with her by telling her that she could get her cutie mark by walking across that log that crosses the river where the water’s all rough!" Bumblebee answered.

"What!?" Tulip exclaimed with alarm. Jumping up, Tulip dashed off towards the log.

"Misty! Go get my papa. Quickly!" Celestia shouted out as she ran off to catch up with Tulip, Strawberry following along with her.

The log wasn't very far, and in a few moments, they arrived at the base of the fallen tree where a small gathering of fillies and colts stood watching. Looking out, Celestia could see that Pine was standing at the middle of the log, right over where the river was most turbulent. The bark under her hooves was old and flaking off. Each shivering step Pine made, sloughed off a bit more of its outer covering, dropping it down into the waters below.

"Pine!" Tulip exclaimed in panic. "What are you doing!? It's dangerous out there, get back over here, now!"

"I'm going to get my cutie mark!" Pine shouted back, her voice quivering in fright. "Autumn Leaf said that if I show my bravery by crossing, I was sure to get it!"

"Don't be stupid! She was lying. She only said that to have a bit of fun with you! Please listen to me and come back before you get hurt!" Tulip pleaded desperately.

"Listen to her! Please come back!" Celestia added her plea's to Tulip's.

Pine paused to look back. Her eyes filled with fear, and she looked like she was about to listen to them and come back, but after a moment her brows furled down in determination. Turning back, she took another step. As her hoof came down on the rotting trunk, it suddenly slipped out as the bark broke away under her hoof.

With a terrified scream, Pine slipped off the side of the log and tumbled into the river below.

"Pine!" Tulip screamed as she desperately dashed into the river’s edge. Acting quickly, Celestia grabbed Tulip's tail to hold her from going deeper with Strawberry quickly joining her to help hold her back. "Let me go! She can't swim!"

In the tumbling waters, they could see Pine frantically splashing around as she attempted to keep herself at the surface. Celestia frantically tried to think of something she could do to save Pine Blossom. Only one thing came to her, but it would be really dangerous. "Strawberry! Keep a hold on her!" she shouted, releasing Tulip so she could run over to the log.

Before she could move more than a step, a thundering flash of charcoal brown suddenly shot by her. Blinking her eyes in amazement, Celestia watched as Ash boldly leapt up onto the log ahead of her and recklessly galloped down it's length. Reaching the center, he suddenly vaulted off the log with a great leap toward the flailing filly.

With a splash, Ash plunged into the water, appearing moments later as he paddled towards Pine. Celestia felt her heart hammering painfully in her chest with worry. Papa had taken them a few times to the calm shallows in the wide river bend to teach them a bit about swimming, but never before did they ever go any deeper than they could reach the bottom.

Dashing along the banks as best she could with Tulip and Strawberry, Celestia followed along as Ash paddled for Pine. Ash struggled in the swift flowing waters to reach the filly as she weakly thrashed around. He was almost there. Just a few more lengths and he would have her.

Abruptly Pine disappeared as she slipped under the water. "Pine!" Tulip wailed, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Pine! Don't give up! Ash is almost to you!"

For a moment, Pine reappeared, but her movements were weak and she quickly slipped under again. This time, she didn't come back up.

Ash paddled himself over to where he thought he last saw her and dove under. Celestia was having trouble catching her breath, and Tulip was whimpering beside her as they trotted along the riverbank. After what seemed like forever, Ash reappeared without Pine. Taking a few breaths, he dove under again to search for her.

Celestia felt so helpless. She wanted to be out there with Ash, helping him to search for Pine, but she knew he was a stronger swimmer than her, and he would have the best chance of bring her back. If he could only find her. A sudden thought came to her. Perhaps there was something she could do. She didn't know if it would work. She never tried it without actually touching somepony before.

Racing ahead, Celestia ran as hard as she could until she was well ahead. Skidding to a stop, Celestia closed her eyes and planted her hooves firmly into the soil. Letting her senses flow free, she stretched them out from herself. Through the air and through the ground, she let her senses flow outwards. Life. She could feel the life all around her. The grass and the trees all glowed brightly in her mind. A vast multitude of tiny spots of life flooded her senses from all the various insects that thrived along the river. Racing towards her, she could sense Strawberry and Tulip shining like bright stars.

Turning her attention to the river, Celestia pushed out into the water. Ignoring the fish, Celestia quickly located Ash's strong familiar life sense as he searched blindly along the bottom of the river for Pine Blossom, who Celestia sensed was only a few lengths from him. Pine’s life pulsed weakly and every moment it grew even weaker. She was almost out of time. She needed to rescued and fast!

Turning her attention back to Ash, Celestia moved in close and allowed her life to touch his. It was a strange sensation. It was like a piece of her had been found and she was now whole. Doing her best to keep her mind on task from the flood of sensations that now coursed through her being, Celestia focused on Pine's location and hoped that with them touching in this sense, he might feel where she was as well.

Ash paused in his searching as he shifted himself around as if he became aware that something was happening.  Focusing as hard as she could on Pine Blossom's ever fading life, Celestia imparted everything she could to Ash. Hoping beyond hope that he would feel it. After a moment, Ash suddenly turned himself about and set off straight for Pine Blossom.

The moment he grabbed Pine, Celestia let out a great breath and collapsed to the ground in exhaustion. She was distantly aware that Strawberry and Tulip had rushed up to her. Batting their hooves away, Celestia managed to clamber back up onto her hooves to look out and watched as Ash towed Pine back to shore.

Tulip quickly waded out to help Ash take her the rest of the way in. Setting Pine down on the shore. Tulip bent down and listened. "She's not breathing!" Letting out a wail, Tulip bent and wept over Pine. "It's my fault! If I wasn't so dismissive of her and actually helped her, she’d still be alive!"

Celestia set her hoof to Pine's chest and let her senses flow into her. It was weak, but Pine's life still pulsed within her. "She's still alive."

"She needs to breathe! Celestia, do you remember what Dove did when Luna wasn't breathing?" Ash exclaimed.

Celestia locked gazes with him, sudden hope welling up in her. "Do you think it will work?"

"One way to find out." Bending down, Ash put his mouth over the end of Pine's muzzle and blew. Pine's chest rose as his breath entered her. Releasing her mouth, Ash inhaled and tried again, but he felt resistance with the second breath. "Its not working anymore, she needs to breathe out!" he said.

Seeing what needed to be done, Celestia quickly placed her hoof onto Pine's chest and pressed down to force her breath out. Bubbles and water suddenly came out of Pine's mouth as Celestia pushed down. "She must have breathed in the water when she was in the river!" With Ash holding Pine's head to the side, Celestia pressed down as much as she dared, getting as much water out as she could. When she lifted her hooves from her chest, Ash quickly put his mouth back over Pine's and breathed back into her. They both continued like this, Ash would breathe in and Celestia would push the breath back out.

Hope swelled up in Celestia whenever she pressed down. She could feel Pine's life growing a little stronger each time she did. "It's working! Keep going!" Celestia exclaimed in excitement.

Ash put his mouth over Pine's and breathed into her once again. Suddenly, Pine gave a jerk and more water came out of her mouth as she started coughing and gasping for breath. Sitting back, Ash glanced over at Celestia and smiled. They did it! They saved her! Tulip let out a happy cry and moved in to hug Pine to herself.

"Celestia! Ash!" Papa exclaimed as he rushed through the gathered foals. "Misty said that there was an emergency! Is everypony alright? Did anypony get hurt!?"

"It's Pine Blossom, Papa! She fell into the river!" Celestia answered.

Rushing over, Dark checked on Pine Blossom and found her breathing. “I'm going to take her to Dove. She needs to look her over." Picking Pine up, Dark carefully set her over his back. "Every colt and filly get back to the settlement. None of you are allowed near the river until further notice." Dark ordered the gathered foals. "Ash, Celestia, come with me. I want you to tell me what happened here."

 

 

 

 

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Unseen by any of them, two figures stood on the surface of the river, watching them. One was a silvery earth pony mare with an elegantly long mane and tail of every color. Next to her stood a golden earth pony stallion with a mane and tail made of billowing fire.

"Very interesting. The filly shows a wonderful potential," the stallion said, watching the scene.

"Indeed, she does," the mare answered, her lips forming a soft smile. "The colt also shows some remarkable potential. Together they altered Pine Blossom's fate and set her on a new path."

The stallion nodded as his mane and tail changed into a crackling thunderstorm."Agreed. They make a remarkable pair."

Turning, the two silently walked away, crossing over the river's surface to vanish on the other side.

 
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