I actually think we both slept in. I did anyway. When I woke up, my front leg, the one I usually had around his neck, well it had fallen down to the side. My head was still down against the other side of the stallion’s neck. Well, almost as soon as I was fully awake and noticed my leg had fallen, I moved my leg back up around his neck. I really should have looked around a little more. He was awake, and his head was up. He smiled when I did that. Of course, I wanted to cry. I just could not help the feeling that a looming catastrophy was spreading rapidly inside me. I had no intention of putting my leg down. If anything, I pulled it a little tighter. Hope not hoping… That seemed increasingly impossible. But maybe I had no basis for any hope… “I mean, just look at me…” I thought this, and stopped myself barely in time to avoid saying it out loud… I just stared into the fire.

After a while, he said quietly “Miss, thank you for the magic fun yesterday. It was really nice, fun, and very helpful.” I smiled, even though I knew he couldn’t see that. I had thoroughly enjoyed every… second... I refused to even want to cry, and just embraced that amazing time. But he continued. “I think that magical exercise from yesterday has left me so drained… I think I wanna take a break from magic for a day or two, if thats ok.”

“I tired my… self… out too…” That is what came brokenly out. What I almost said was “I tired my stallion out…” I could not… Well, I had no way… I gave up even trying to think after that, and went back to staring at embers. That seemed to be the safest thing for me to do right now.

A little while later he sighed. “Well, I do need to go to the bathroom however.” He paused briefly, then added “Let me know if I can help… you… uhm, down… I know it has been a few… days for you…” He was clearly having problems telling me to let him know if I needed his help. Well, he noted that I had not gone for a few days. I was pretty sure I was ok though. I just smiled that he… What a mess I was making inside…

“Thanks for… I think I am ok. I am pretty sure getting down from this… spot would hurt my head a lot…” I said this slowly, thinking slowly, and did not say near what came to my mind. I… I shouldn’t… I… Then I added “We can go outside anytime you want.” I really meant that, anyway. Maybe me not even talking was the best thing…

He got up soon after, and again used his magic to hold me on his back, even as he was getting up. We maneuvered through the door, then out back so he could take care of… Then he asked if I wanted to go for a walk. “Well, maybe to the pond and back” I said quietly. As much as I liked walking while on his back, it was windy and very cold. And it looked like it was going to snow again any minute. It just didn’t seem like a good day for being outside very long.

I explained this to him, and he agreed. We did walk to the pond though. Part way there, he said quietly “Sorry, I guess I will be under hoof today; there is really nothing else to do…”

I quickly answered “Stallion…” Not scolding, but I wanted him to know I didn’t feel that way at all. I quickly added, even before I could think it through “My head likes it here.” Then I smiled, slightly hugged… Then immediately realized I… maybe should not have said any of that, or said it that way… Then I wanted to cry again. I just hung on, maybe a little tighter…

As we were walking back up from the pond, I think the stallion was walking slower for me. We were going with the wind, and it didn’t feel so freezing. Maybe I started to relax, and just enjoy the walk.

My neighbor to the west ran quickly up to us at that point; she was out of breath. She had run hard here, either from town, or from her house further west. I said right away “Neighbor, whats wrong?”

Gasping for air, between breaths, she explained…

“Magic teacher needs all Unicorns…

“Powerful Unicorn in town threatening…

“Wants Unicorns to push against…

“Help him practice his magic, get stronger…

“Will start killing us if we don’t…”

The stallion jumped in. “Powerful Unicorns, guards, anything?”

My neighbor answered immediately “He’s too strong… No time…”

I said quietly, apologetically “I fell on the ice a few days ago, and passed out… This amazing Unicorn got me back into my house, even though he’s blind… My head still hurts some… Right here is the most comfortable, and it hurts the least…” Well, I’m not sure I convinced myself… But then I added “He’s still blind, I will direct him there slowly. You can go ahead, tell them we are coming.”

She ran quickly off, and headed back into town.

Well, this defined what we would do next, and on a miserable winter day, too. I told the stallion where to walk, and we slowly made our way to that big spire off in the distance. It was slowly getting even colder, and the wind was picking up. I mentioned this to the stallion, and he said I was the best blanket he had ever… felt… I agreed, but didn’t say anything. I just wanted to… Still, I knew this would not look the best to the townshorses gathered to try to deal with this monster. There was just nothing I could do about that…

We heard that arrogant powerful Unicorn bully even before we saw anyhorse.

“Come on, you are casting like a bunch of weakling mares… PUSH I said… PUSH HARDER…”

We rounded the side of the castle, and, I guess out front is where he had everyhorse gathered. The Unicorns were all standing in one big group, combining all their magic into a clearly visible greenish tinted beam. Maybe half way between the magical gathering point and that big, powerful Unicorn was a very intense light. The beam from the powerful Unicorn was very dark red. It was clear to me that every Unicorn present, including my amazing magic teacher, they were pushing with all their magical might.

The rest of the townshorses were behind and spread out around the Unicorns. Nohorse was smiling; many were crying loudly… And it looked like that powerful Unicorn had already used his magic to destroy a few of the nearby houses in town, probably just to make his point. What a monster… I almost said that out loud, too.

The powerful Unicorn yelled constantly, laughed abusively…

And it was very cold, and very windy, and snowing harshly by now… I was positive everyhorse gathered was absolutely freezing…

“PUSH SISSIES, PUSH! I want to be strong enough so I can take over this miserable collection of tiny horses when I get to the city where the REAL LEADERS are!” He said this, then he laughed loudly, caustically…

I had stopped the stallion, well the one I was on his back, near the edge of the Unicorn group. The powerful Unicorn was not very far away.

The stallion… My… stallion… I don’t know… He said loudly “You are everything bad about the Unicorn race…” My… stallion clearly meant that, his words were biting… My… stallion sounded disgusted…

Everyhorse gathered there, the whole town, besides the busy Unicorns, looked quickly at us after my stallion said that.

The powerful Unicorn didn’t look away from his beam, but replied loudly “CAN IT WORM! START PUSHING WITH THE REST OR I’LL THROW YOU BOTH ACROSS TOWN WHEN I’M DONE.”

The… my stallion wasn’t done, I guess. “I’m blind, but I can still smell a bad Unicorn. Should I still help?”

Most of the townshorses, including a lot of the Unicorns, gasped loudly when my stallion said this. It didn’t sound like they appreciated… I just put my head down a little, and hugged his neck a little tighter.

The powerful Unicorn shot quickly back “HANG AROUND KID, I HAVE A PRESENT FOR YOU AND YOUR MARE WHEN I’M DONE HERE.” Then he went back to yelling at the townshorses and the Unicorns especially.

The stallion said quietly “Tell me what you see. Is that miserable Unicorn all alone? What is around him?

My head was down; I think I was trying to hide… I said quietly “There is nohorse else, just a big thing behind him that looks like his house. It looks like his house is built on a big wagon with four wheels so he can pull it around… The castle is off to the left, quite a ways away.”

“His wagon, how close is it to us?” the stallion asked quietly.

I guessed, but tried to use a distance he would understand. “Maybe three, four times as far as it is across my big room” I answered quietly right away.

He thought a minute. “Move me closer to him, well closer to his house on a wagon. He will probably say something, but I think he is busy.”

I quietly directed the stallion and we moved slowly to the side of the powerful Unicorn, but also closer to his house thing. The powerful Unicorn said quickly “Beat it kids, I’m not done here yet.”

The… my stallion just stood there, so I said nothing. Well, this was scary, anyway. I’m sure this big, powerful Unicorn could… Well, if I could be my… stallion’s mare for a little while before we died… together…

“Miss, use your magic and grab the closest wheel on his wagon. Use your strongest spell, and shake that wheel as hard as you can.” My stallion quietly told me to do this. Then he added “Miss, you must hold my neck tightly, and be very still.” My stallion told me to do this too. Well, I did that, I did everything. I hugged his neck tightly with both front legs. Then, using the most powerful levitation spell I knew, I grabbed the rim of the closest wheel, and shook it as hard as I could.

I guess the powerful Unicorn could sense my magic. Well I could hear faint noise too from what I was doing. The monster started bellowing at me right away. “WOW, GO AHEAD SHAKE MY WAGON WHEEL! I AM SO SCARED!!!”  That monster Unicorn laughed loudly at this, then stopped in thought briefly.  Then he added “Well you both should be scared…  BOY AM I GONNA HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOU WHEN I’M DONE!!! Then he laughed hard again, then went back to verbally beating up the townshorses.

A few of the townshorses were shaking their heads at us; they  raised their heads in contempt, then looked away… This looked bad, and I guess we weren’t helping at all…

“Miss, I found you. Keep doing exactly that” the stallion, my stallion said quietly. So, thats what I did. I don’t know, maybe he would help…

Suddenly, without warning, the wagon… this powerful Unicorn’s entire house… It all rose high into the air, then flipped over and flopped down loudly on top of that powerful Unicorn.  His cruel bellowing stopped immediately.

Everyhorse gasped, many screamed…

The dark reddish levitation magic from that powerful Unicorn stopped immediately. His own house was on top of him, up-side-down.

Fifty or so Unicorns, their light greenish levitation magic did not stop, and quickly hit his house, and rolled it away, over and over in the snow, until all that was left was a small pile, pieces of wood, random things, mostly buried in the snow, and strewed over a long distance, leading away from where he was.

Then it was quiet right away. The townshorses were just staring — at us, then at that powerful Unicorn monster now laying on his side in the snow, then back to us… The powerful Unicorn wasn’t bellowing any more. He groaned…

My… stallion resumed the use of his magic to hold me on his back. I felt that. I still held his neck tightly. I hugged him a little more tightly with both front legs… “Thank you” I said quietly. He was my hero, even if nohorse else realized yet what he had just done — rescued the whole town, everyhorse present, my amazing new friends, he and I too…

Then there was a clear and distinct sound, like ice breaking.

This powerful Unicorn’s horn fell off, almost at it’s base, and disappeared down into the snow near his head.

The powerful Unicorn groaned again.

Otherwise, it was deathly quiet…

I don’t know what the rest of the townshorses were doing, where they were looking.  I closed my eyes, smiled, hugged my hero, then sighed.

“Miss, walk me over to him and retrieve his horn” my stallion said quietly. I directed him over close enough, then I used my magic to pick up his broken horn out of the snow. Eeewwww… This was ghastly… And, to have his horn broken like this… His magic would never be more than a ghost of what he had before… As all the townshorses watched… us… My stallion wasn’t done, and said loudly “Arrogant monster… Unicorn magic is not just for yourself… It is for helping others… Maybe you might learn that now.” All by himself, my stallion turned away. I think I sensed… disgust… a lot of disgust…

“Miss, is your magic teacher here?” he asked quietly.  I said yes, then directed my stallion over to her, then gave her the broken Unicorn horn. Well, I moved it over towards her with my magic, and she took it with hers. I was a small, insignificant Unicorn on my… this Unicorn stallion’s back, hugging his neck tightly, with my head next to his neck…. I smiled weakly at her, and she smiled back.

“Miss, direct us home please. I don’t need fanfare, recognition or anything else.” The stallion said this, clearly loud enough for everyhorse else to hear. It stayed quiet.

I directed him around the castle, then on the way to my… house. He walked slower than he had to. He was quickly crying… “Why can’t Unicorns see that… Using your magic to step on others; that is just so wrong…”

I hugged his neck tightly, and cried with him, well and tried to keep an eye on where we were going… He was walking slow though and I didn’t mind… His mare… I could hope…. Then I cried some more…

We cried for a while, walking slowly… “Miss, I just want to be back in front of the fire with you on my back…” After my… the stallion said this, I hugged him even tighter, and cried harder… But that is what we did…

We cried for hours together, and then fell asleep like that.

————–

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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