The Growing Years

This story is a sequel to A Different Perspective
Both the House of Path and Herd Path enjoy strong growth in the years following their establishment. Like all such things though, they both have their highlights and lowlights. These are vignettes in the lives of the children of Twilight, Path, Free, & Roseclaw, from foals to young adults.
This is a series of stand-alone stories of events that occur after the events of A Different Perspective, which I strongly recommend that you read first.
My collaborator, AlaskaIsCold, has written some of these and I mostly just edited them.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/296939/the-growing-years

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10. Spring Break - part two

Author's Note:

AlaskaIsCold continues his story. Editing by Goldfur.

The sun was low in the sky as Cinder and Blue Streak slipped out of the Breath. They started to lose altitude once the settlement came into view. The large cluster of yurts was being lit up by a fire in the center.

“Ah, right where they said they would be… come on let’s go!”

From the center of the yurts, fire flared slightly. Cinder grinned and took a deep breath, blowing out a jet of fire in response. “They’re waiting for us – don’t fall behind!” Cinder folded her wings and fell from the sky quickly speeding up as Blue followed her. Soon the both of them were skimming along the surface, bleeding speed until they both landed at the edge of the encampment. They folded up their wings as one of the larger dragons walked over to them.

The large dragon was a deep brown in color which contrasted well with the red runes that were covering his body. “Saikhan Gal , ene ni kheterkhii urt baina!” <Beautiful Fire, It has been too long!>

Cinder moved up to the larger dragon and nuzzled him. “Bi aav ta aldsan.” <I missed you too, Father.>

Blue only knew a few words of Draconic. Once their pleasantries were exchanged he walked up to the dragon with a smile, and tried his best to speak. His father had always told him that it was a compliment to try to speak to another species with their own language. “Takhiany khökh öngötei.” <The chicken is blue.> He just stood and awaited his response with a smile.

Cinder and her father lasted all of two seconds before they started laughing.

Eventually the large male looked down at them both. “Come, you both must be tired from the trip. We set up a yurt for the two of you. The hunters have just come back with their haul. You can eat tonight, but tomorrow you will have to hunt with the others to earn your share.”

Blue did not know how he should feel about the prospect of hunting, but then again he could just fish. Meat is meat right? They dumped their packs in their yurt, but Blue was taken off guard when Cinder curled around him in the middle of the shelter.

“You have a week, Blue. You need to impress them. I know you will, like you did me.” Cinder licked his cheek before letting him go.

Blue chuckled a bit before he pulled out his trottie, activating it. After a few beeps he heard a very tired Free pick up.

“Hey Blue… did you just make it in?”

“Yeah, I don’t think I have ever gone so fast so long!”

“Yeah, once Tech and Twilight got ahold of the data before you went over the horizon they went into their manic mode. Anyway, I’ll let everyone know you’re okay.”

Blue blinked as the trottie disconnected. He looked over to Cinder who was walking around in circles. It looked like she was stomping out a depression in the ground, and by the looks of it, it was for two. He grinned a bit. “Think I should go out and do ambassador things? I mean, my dad really wanted me to do ambassador stuff, even though I have no idea what that is.” He sighed a bit.

“Sure, everyone here already knows who you are and why you are here. Just try not to say things in draconic that you don’t understand. I don’t know if they could handle the fact that the chicken is blue.” Cinder started to laugh as Blue rolled his eyes and walked outside.

Blue walked over to the large fire-pit in the center where several of the larger dragons were dancing around the roaring fire. A few of the smaller dragons were vibrating their wings, the thin air of the highlands and the strength of their wings started to create a strange resonance he had never heard before. He started to move and weave with the subtle ebbs and flows of the beat. A few dragons started to watch him and grin.

Blue seemed to be on auto pilot, the soothing rhythmic beats, the older dragons deep growling voices, or the flickering of the fire, but soon he was dancing in the circle with the other dragons.

Cinder came up with her father and just watched Blue for a moment before she spoke. “Interesting how he picks up our dancing so easily.”

“Not so easily. He’s tranced by the fire, and his body is mimicking the motions of the air around him. I have known this to happen to zebras when they come for trade and talks, but for it to happen to a pony – this is interesting indeed.” He watched as some of the dragons blew fire straight up into the air and was curious as to what Blue would do.

His eyes were glazed over. But he had enough of his faculties to realize in a few steps he would have to blow fire. He reached into one of his hip packs and pulled out a flint snap. He took a quick swig of his silver flask as his eyes widened. When it was his turn, the majority of the dragons not paying attention to him turned to see if he would just go through the motions or not.

His hoof sparked slightly as he blew out triple proof whiskey. He was not expecting his body to act like a conduit for the overwhelming earth magic. With no earth ponies constantly tapping into it, he was connecting to a much stronger source, so when the whiskey ignited with the aid of the flint snap, the magic found a way to escape to the air. The result was a massive upward plume of fire that dwarfed even the bonfire. It kept going for about five seconds before Blue fell onto his rump, closing his mouth and shutting the bridge for the magic to flow. He blinked a few times as the music stopped. One of the younger dragons was going to say something before he sat down and kneeled. One of the older dragons slowly stood and walked over to the pony.

“Eat. Then come to the seer tent.” Her dual-layered voice communicated in both Draconic and Equish.

Cinder looked over to her dad. “Is that good or bad?”

“We will find out, won't we?” her father said with a smirk.

Blue had an uneasy dinner, thanks to Azon, he was able to stomach their mostly meat diet. He ended up giving his portion of calcite to Cinder. It was almost midnight by the time he arrived at the seer’s hut. He didn’t really know how to knock, but soon the hut opened up and the seer called him in.

Blue looked around as he entered the hut; it was slightly bigger than the others. It had a central hole in the center of the hut, a small fire was burning in the center of it, and the ground was lined with pelts. The large dragon was sitting there.

“The interesting pony comes in with the daughter. The Beautiful Fire knows you, but you do not know yourself.” The seer grinned slowly and motioned for him to sit down, Blue sat down and looked at her and then to the fire. The dragoness started to breathe out a dull violet smoke that started to fill the hut. It was very thin and barely perceptible in the campfire light.

“Ponies… they rely on manipulating their environment to live – the cities to quell the land – the pegasi to tame the skies. The Breath no longer travels over that country; it moves to the north and sometimes the south.” She looked to him as Blue nodded slowly, his eyes growing lidded as he breathed in the smoke.

“The griffons are somewhat better; they do not destroy their land as much, but still pillage their land for iron and coal.” She breathed out again, and the smoke got thicker.

Blue was having a hard time focusing on the dragoness as he started to swoon.

“As a seer I can perceive things that most living beings can’t even comprehend – the threads of fate… they weave around you so densely… more so than anyone I’ve seen so far.” Again she breathed out another breath of smoke.

“Breathe, young Blue Streak. Breathe and look within,” the dragoness hissed out slowly.

Blue was trying his best to keep his focus on the dragoness as his eyes glazed over and he fell onto his side onto the soft pelts. In his vision, he saw that dragoness start to fade away, her glowing eyes the last thing to leave his sight as the fire started to spark and flare violently before it turned a bright blue. Soon a fire pony came out of the flames, its legs a blinding white and his irises a bright blue.

Blue’s eyes went wide as he saw the imposing figure made out of pale blue/white fire.

“Do. Not. Fail!” its voice boomed out.

“W-who are you…?” Blue squeaked out.

“Do. Not. Yield!” The white fire pony bellowed.

“Yield to what…?” Blue whispered.

“The. Darkness. Do. Not. Give. In!” it bellowed louder.

“Give in to what?” Blue whimpered.

“What could have been.” It growled before it moved in closer to Blue, so close his nose was starting to get hot. Blue was starting to lose consciousness as the being whispered something in his ear before everything went black.

“Live... Win... Die...”

Blue woke up with a start. He looked around at his environment, trying to figure out where he was. His panicked motions were soon soothed as he felt a familiar wing wrapped around him, and he looked back to see Cinder looking down at him with a smile.

“Looks like I woke up first this time.” Cinder nuzzled his neck.

“MMnhh… what happened? There was a being… made of blue fi–” Blue was silenced as she wrapped her talons around his muzzle.

“What you saw was for your eyes only; you don’t need to share what you have seen. But know that you are the first pony to see it. You must have impressed her with your fire display.” Cinder slowly removed her claw as Blue huffed.

“She also left you this.” Cinder motioned to what looked like a sealed letter. “I didn’t open it, and I have no idea what it says. Whatever it is, it's not in Draconic, Griffish, or Equish,” she said as she pointed out the writing on the envelope.

Blue slowly started to get up to his feet. He shakily stretched out before he yawned. “So what's on the agenda for today?” he asked with a grin as he looked at her.

Cinder returned the smile. “Well, today you are going with the males to hunt. This will be your chance to impress father, while most of the females are going to head to the calcite cliffs to gather some for dinner. I'll talk you up to Mom so when we have the feast tonight, she will be more apt to like you.”

“Something I was wondering – why are all of the females larger than the males? It seems to be a common trait here.” Blue looked over to Cinder and raised an eyebrow.

“Ah, well I guess ponies and griffons would call it reverse sexual dimorphism. The females here are larger because they need to fly further, carry more, bear eggs, fight for territory if the need arises. Males on the other hand tend to just hunt, and gather.” Cinder grinned.

“I… I kind of thought it would be the other way around. Huh, glad you told me that, or it might have led to some confusion down the road.” Blue rubbed the back of his head ruefully.

“It's okay – my father is going with you, and you know he speaks Griffish, so you'll be able to speak with him. Just… are you okay with the fact that you are going to hunt? I mean I heard what happened to your dad when he went on his first hunt.” Cinder wilted slightly.

“That was different; those monsters made him hunt a sapient race. As long as what we are hunting has no trace of true intelligence, I'm okay with hunting for food purposes.” Blue puffed out his chest.

“I… I was not expecting you to be so okay with it… but I am certain that father won’t make you actually do the killing blow. Such a thing could really do some psychological damage to a pony. We usually hunt herds of feral goats – they tend to graze as they move from mountain range to mountain range.” Cinder started to wrap her wings around Blue, nuzzling him.

“I'll do it, it'll be fine. Worst case scenario I freak out and I’ll have to impress them some other way.” Blue pulled out a pair of spectacles from his backpack and put them on.

“What are those?” Cinder asked as she looked over the glasses.

“It’s just an experiment that the doc wanted me to test, unofficially of course.” He stepped outside and looked around; all of the dragons had a halo around them. The females had a much larger aura than the males, but then Blue expected that the colors were generally all different shades and hues of blue or green. What he did not expect however is that that two of the dragons – one a smaller male, the other a fairly large female, had no auras around them at all. He accidentally locked eyes with the male and the dragon's eyes widened, blinked once, and then quickly looked away.

Blue put the glasses away as Cinder’s father came up to him.

“So, are you ready to earn your keep tonight?” He couldn’t help but grin.

“I will do that and so much more.” Blue started to flex the magitek wings. “Are we ready to go?”

Cinder’s father looked to the males and let out a loud booming roar. The rest of them quickly got into line and their wings opened up. One by one, they all started to take to the skies. Blue had to get a running start, so he was the last to take off after running up to take-off speed, but soon he joined the rest of the dozen males.

Back at the encampment, Cinder looked up to her mother. The young dragoness looked happy, but the matriarch not so much.

“You could have any male you wanted, literally. I could have bent any one of them to my will and then they would be yours, but instead you pick a pony of all things. A griffon I could see, I would accept a zebra or a thestral, but an Earth Pony? What is it that you see that I do not?” The Matriarch growled slowly. “Whatever it is, the seer has already picked up on it.” She tapped her rather imposing claws on the ground in irritation. “I do not like being kept in the dark Saikhan Gal.”

Cinder just smiled as the males disappeared over the horizon. “Don’t worry, Mom – before we leave, you will see the same things that I do.”

   
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