My first summer there in my own home, out in the middle of nowhere; it was just amazing. Well, it was like everything just went right for a change. That was a hard change for me to actually accept. I absolutely was not used to that. There was nohorse around to tease me. Usually, there was just nohorse around. I could actually relax and watch the sun set, or the raindrops fall, or the gentle breeze blow softly through the trees that were guarding my house. I spent many afternoons… Well, after my chores were done, I would lay down on my belly in the shade of one of my trees, and just listen. It was so quiet! I soon began to hear more though. Birds, crickets, frogs sometimes, the occasional large bird high in the sky; these sounds were much quieter, and quickly became a delight to me. Tears often came to my eyes as I just enjoyed all this. I think my dad was right. The city was absolutely not where I belonged. But here… I felt so at home…

The missing roof solved itself not too long after I moved in. I was starting my garden with the seeds my dad gave me. Right now, there was plenty to eat all around me. I didn’t have to walk far to find a lot of grass, especially oats. But I knew that wouldn’t… I knew I would need to plan ahead for the winter. My garden was an important part of that, and I started it within days. My first task was to clear a large enough area of tree branches, bushes, weeds and such. It was a hot day, maybe the first hot day of the summer. I made a few trips back into the house that day, to the water bucket to get a drink.

But when I came out after getting a drink, a flying horse landed nearby, and introduced herself. She was wildly colored, but very nice. She said that she loved to fly, and, well, watching over her town and the fields and houses around it — that was her job. She noticed me ‘moving in’ right away, and waited a few days before she stopped to chat. Still, she noticed the roof, or no roof, of course. She laughed and said that, from the air, she could see everything I did. Well, that was mostly relaxing, with some crying, so I wasn’t bothered at all. She was not teasing me. We would get along fine.

Still, she asked what I planned to do about that (the roof). I didn’t say anything, because I honestly had no clue. My only idea was to try to break some branches from the trees, and lay them down over the rooms. I realized though that the first time it rained… She quickly smiled, and said that she had a friend, and they would be delighted to help their neighbor. Well, I didn’t know how far away my neighbors were, just yet. I didn’t complain though, and thanked her for offering that. I think the few tears that formed in my eyes said a lot more though. I was just not used to other horses helping me. Like I said, this was all new territory for me.

The next day, she and her friend showed up with a real wagon, real roof stuff, and another helper. After everyhorse hugged (also something very new; I guess that happens a lot here), they got to work. I just watched in awe. I knew I would get in their way; they knew exactly what they were doing. By the time the Sun was in the trees off to the West, they were done. I cried a lot; there is just no way I could have done that. The roof they put on would clearly last years, and keep all the rain and wind out too. One of the mares said it snowed here occasionally, and the roof would help with that, too. This other horse (the one that didn’t fly) was also a mare, and very nice, and said she lived on a farm over the next few hills (she pointed west). She laughed and said it would be nice to have a neighbor again. I think the other helper was her brother. Well, the flying mare helped a lot too. I hugged them all and just cried. They said they would be back occasionally to check on me and visit. I actually looked forward to that, they were so nice.

Oh, and the mare that didn’t fly looked my fireplace over carefully and said it was in very good shape. Still, she said I would need a lot of wood for the winter. She promised she would bring a load of wood by in the fall. She laughed again, and said another friend had made plenty, years worth for her. She didn’t mind sharing it. I gave my neighbor another hug for that. Hugging such nice horses… I didn’t even know nice horses existed. I cried myself to sleep that night, too.

And about that water bucket… Horses need to eat and drink, even small horses like we are. There was plenty of grass all around me, and even a few nice patches of oats. I love eating oats first thing in the morning. Still, the water bucket was left over from the last owner of the house. I would use my small wagon to carry the bucket and fill it. Down a slight hill from my house (away from town) there is a creek that flows at an angle across the meadow behind my house. It flowed nicely all summer. At one point, the creek opens up into a pond. That is where I take a bath when I want to. And the bucket would go in my small wagon, and I would walk down the creek to the pond. My magic was strong enough that I could fill the bucket up, and put it back in my wagon (just barely). I took it back up to the house, and used my magic again to move it inside. Well, it went fairly close to the door. That was just about as far as my magic could last.

Still, within the first week maybe, I had all these details taken care of. There was plenty of food around me, although I realized a long winter would require some planning ahead. I had plenty of water in my house. And with a nice roof, rain and storms were never a problem, not any more. There was a small, covered porch outside the front door, and I would lay down in the doorway and watch the rain bluster by. The smaller of the two rooms was furthest from the door, and I decided that was my bedroom. I always slept in there, on the floor because I didn’t have a bed. That was fine. And, like I said, I was starting my garden too. I would actually eat the grass that was where the garden would be, where the next seeds would go, then I used my hooves to work the soil loose. Then I planted a seed with my magic. I could do that, at least. And I had no clue what these seeds were. That made this whole garden very exciting! I would find out when stuff came up. Don’t tell anyone, but I watered the freshly planted seeds by getting a mouthful of water from the bucket, walking back out to the seed I just planted, and then letting the water out of my mouth. It worked very well. And it rained often enough here that after that first watering, the earth took over. I wasn’t in a hurry, and planted a few seeds a day that way. My garden slowly grew as the summer progressed. And I usually just ate any weeds that grew up around my plants.

I also found myself spending more time out in the warm sun. Not all afternoon, but just a while late in the afternoon. The sun felt absolutely amazing on my coat, my skin, I guess. And I quickly realized that my light blue coat… Well, exposed to the sun consistantly gave it a slight purple hue. I thought that looked really nice. There was nohorse around, but that was how I felt, anyway. And, it turned out, my favorite place to take in some warm sun for a while, was down next to the pond. I would lay on my side near the water and just enjoy the warmth. I could get a drink whenever I wanted, then I would lay on my other side for a while. Again, my mom had talked to me about too much sun, especially because my skin color was light. It was blue, but it was light. The sun could change that color slightly, but it could also burn my skin if I got too much sun all at once. And my sides and belly were more of a concern, because they seldom saw a lot of direct sunlight anyway. I only remembered what my mom said after maybe a week of enjoying the warmth of the sunlight. From then on, I was careful. And I have no idea how she learned that. I would think, actually laying around in the sun like that, there in the big city, may not be the best idea. And taking a bath outside… But basking in the grass next to my pond, in the quiet of my meadow, in the warm sunlight… That felt so amazing. Well, one afternoon, I did fall asleep on my side, next to the pond. That was painful for a few days. I didn’t do that again. And a few times that summer, a storm would blow through, but it stayed hot. Relaxing in a warm, soft rainfall, that felt amazing too.

And I was just laying there, in the warm sunlight one afternoon, just looking ahead, which was into the pond. This animal scooted up to the surface, poked its head out, then vanished below the surface again. Well, I had never actually looked into that water. I had to think a while, they were called fish. They swam very fast, but occasionally poked their heads out to see what this big blue thing was next to their pond. I later saw them grab small flying bugs from the surface of the water and eat them. They ate bugs, that sounded absolutely gross to me. Those fish could stay down in the water. I hoped they didn’t mess the water up for me. I don’t think they did. I had no way to catch them anyway. And, they seemed to dart away when I took a bath, which I usually did after relaxing in the sun.

Compared to the horses I had met here, I clearly was a little on the small side. But they didn’t seem to care in the slightest. And nomare said anything about my eyes. Maybe my eyes were really ok, I don’t know. But, like I said, with each passing day, especially after the roof was taken care of, and the garden was taking shape… I just felt so relaxed. I am sure I smiled a lot more. I can’t remember ever smiling in that big city. Crying softly out of pain, that was the norm there. But, if I was on my belly on the porch, feeling the warm breeze, or watching the sun set (the front door faced west), or so many other new, seemingly insignificant little delights… Tears of joy slowly fell. It all felt so amazing. And… I had not been teased at all since I arrived here… I honestly felt like I was starting over, living a new life.

Well, I cried often for my mom and dad, but realized that I would wander back and visit, maybe next summer. I thought about sending a message, but that would get expensive real fast. Still, leaving home like I had when I was old enough, that was just the way we lived, the way it was done. I just had to accept it for now.

————–

1. The Background Music for this entire story is entitled “The Divine” from the “Forever Today” add-on for the original soundtrack for the “Seekers of Adoulin” expansion for Final Fantasy XI, and is copywritten by Square Enix. Players of FFXI will recognize this tune immediately, and this tune is fitting since a lot of this story takes place in the dead of winter. Please purchase this tune, and play it softly in the background while you read each chapter.

2. This story, “CSR Princess” is vol. 14 of the Chronicles of Summer Rain, and is copyright 2017 by Shysage

 

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