Prince had backed away, most of the way towards our room. All of our new mare friends were now scattered around this stallion and mare, on their bellies, crying softly, talking some… It was clear that every other mare in the room were good friends with the mare and stallion we had rescued. I walked slowly over and stood next to prince… I needed to cry too, but this group… I ran into our room, fell on the leaves, and just cried. Of course, prince was quickly right next to me, crying softly himself. This had been tough for both of us, and only now…

I don’t think my magic teacher was real comfortable with this. Without getting up, she said “Princess, please come join us. You are our friend too, and you and prince rescued our other close friends. Come out here with us.”

Well, I couldn’t stop crying, but prince knew what to do. He got up, then gently picked me up, and put me down on his back. I grabbed his neck right away and hugged tightly, then I tried to calm down. Prince walked us over, then laid down on his belly near the group with me on his back. We had spent most of the winter like this, and I cherished being back up here.

I guess the hurt stallion saw us like this. He must have been feeling a little better. He said quietly “Mare, we should try that.”

His mare smiled. “We need to get you healed up first” she said quietly.

Everyone else went back to talking. The fire slowly faded down but was still making it pretty bright in our house. And the door was open, too. Well, I actually looked at the Mare of the Stallion we had rescued, and gasped… She was white and her hair was a beautiful gold. But she was small… maybe even smaller than me… And her eyes… Her’s were closer together than mine… But she was… beautiful… I sighed, and hugged my prince’s neck tightly. Well, he must be right. I was beautiful. I just wish somehorse had told me that years… nevermind… I was prince’s beautiful Mare now. Not much else mattered.

Well, I had been up half the night, and had even carried that mare all the way back here. I was beat. There on prince’s back, my comfort place, I fell asleep. I woke up hours later, and gasped right away. Without thinking as much as I probably should, I said “Where is everyhorse?”

The mare answered quietly, right away. “All… gone… They went back to town, back to their… lives…” Then, almost as if talking to herself, she said quietly “We are used to it though…” Then this small white mare began to cry softly… “Even my sis…”

The stallion said quietly “Oh, Summer… true friend will work everything out… We just need to be patient…” The two of them cried together for a little while. Then, it was quiet again.

“Hi, my name is prince spelled with a small p, and this is my Mare, princess, also with a small p. We are not really royalty, well unless you ask us about each other!” We all laughed at that.

“My name is Shysage, and this is my Mare, Summer. We have been through a lot… together…” They started crying softly again.

I was beginning to feel… “But all our amazing friends… What happened?” I really wanted to know. This seemed…

Summer and Shysage looked at each other briefly. Summer tried to explain. “Well, we used to all be very close, and our whole group really has been through a lot together. But a lie was told, very high in the government… and our friends actually believed it… And even after that lie was clearly refuted… I don’t know, it just seems like something is broken in our friendship… We used to live in town, in a nice house… but now…” Summer could not continue, and just cried softly. I could tell this whole thing was really troubling both of them…

I was aghast… “Where did you two spend this last winter?”

Summer was crying. Shysage answered quietly “Shivering together under some really big trees. Still, that was better than the winter before…”

Prince… “Hey, you are both welcome in our home… Please don’t spend next winter…” Prince couldn’t continue. I think he had his fill of shivering too, and would wish that on nohorse…

I said quietly “Yes, by all means… Please don’t spend next winter outside… Come stay warm with us… You are welcome here whenever…”

This seemed to make them both cry a little more. Maybe none of their other friends… I just didn’t know…

Shysage said quietly “Well, that may just happen. Thank you both, you are very kind.”

It was quiet for a few minutes. Prince said “I think we are going to relax down by the pond for a little while. We will be back in a bit and maybe have a bite to eat. Is that ok?” Summer and Shysage smiled at each other. I think they needed some time alone, and prince had just realized that.

We left the door open, then walked down to the pond. The sun was high and warm, but we… I laid on my belly facing the pond, and prince quickly laid down right next to me, and curled himself as close to me as he could get. I was quickly crying. “They seem really nice… Why…” Our amazing new friends had literally scooped us up since my first day here. But this Stallion and Mare, why not… Prince and I cried together for a while. Our amazing meadow seemed to hide some terrible secrets…

Our crying tapered off, and we just laid there together, gazing out across the meadow past our pond. Prince said quietly “Well, Summer and Shysage are our friends, and we will help them any way we can.”

I nodded in agreement. “No matter what” I added.

It was hard for us to know how long we should leave Summer and Shysage alone. We knew they probably needed that, but we just didn’t know. And so we were a little uncertain when we should head back. Quite a bit later, we decided we should just head home. The door was still open, but Summer and Shysage were both asleep. Somehow, Summer had worked her way up between Shysage’s front legs, and was up against his chest, his neck. It looked very comfortable, very, well, close. I made a mental note… The fire was low, but it was warm anyway, and so we didn’t think that was a problem. Prince and I were beat too, so we walked quietly into our room, laid down together in the leaves, and were soon asleep.

Summer woke up crying in the middle of the night. The fire had gone out, and it was dark. I think she had a bad dream. Shysage was very tired, and was clearly having difficulty calming Summer down. Prince got quickly up, and started one of the ends of the logs in the fireplace on fire. This made a little light. Then prince moved a larger log to the fireplace, and started it on fire. Summer apologized, and calmed down quickly. “Shysage, I think we both just need a break…” she said. She sounded so completely wearied…

Prince said what I felt… “You can both stay here as long as you want. We want to help you…”

This made Summer especially cry again. “Thank you… I think you are the first…” She and Shysage cried together some more. Well, Summer needed at least a little light from the fire. Prince was pretty sure that log would last the rest of the night. We all went back to sleep.

I think the stallion, Shysage, was feeling a lot better the next morning. He was laying on his belly now, not stuck on his side like yesterday. Summer was on her belly right next to her Stallion, where I would be, if… Prince and I got up, then laid on our bellies near them. With great difficulty, Shysage said quietly “I think things would have worked out far differently if you both had not found us right away… Thank you…” Shysage and his Mare cried brifely, then it was quiet.

Blushing, I am sure, I said quietly “Prince and I are newlyweds, and we just couldn’t sleep that night. We had actually got up, and headed to the pond when…” I didn’t know what else to say.

Shysage and Summer smiled at each other, probably over the newlywed remark. It was quiet for a minute, then Shysage said quietly “please tell us your story.” Well, we had all day together, and I didn’t think either of them could walk very far. It was morning, and I started telling them my story. Prince and I cried a lot as I talked, as I remembered. I was glad he was right next to me. Summer and Shysage cried with us. At about noon, which was about me finding prince in the middle of a blizzard, we took a break. Prince helped Summer carefully onto Shysages’ back. Then we all headed out back. Prince put Summer down, and we did what we needed. It was clear that such a short walk was the extent of what Shysage could do. Prince put Summer on my back, and we all returned to our spots in front of the fireplace. Of course Prince put Summer down next to Shysage. Well, it was a warm day, and so the door was open. And Summer wanted to be up on Shysage’s back again like she saw us the other day. Prince put her up on Shysage’s back, then he put me up on his back. That was very nice for me. But I guess Summer and Shysage appreciated that, too. And, as the Doc suggested, Shysage drank a lot of water. Summer did too. We realized we would need to refill the water bucket later this evening.

I resumed my story from the point of finding my prince just by recognizing the form of his Unicorn horn buried in the snow. I think prince and I cried a lot as I explained that and what followed. A lot of this, what was going on inside me, prince just didn’t know. He kept saying “Princess, I feel terrible, I had no clue…” I just hugged him tightly. I… Now, we were married. It just didn’t matter anymore.

And I did carefully describe our encounter with that pushy Unicorn. I explained that my Prince used feeling my magic to find the wagon, then he promptly turned that Unicorn’s wagon, his whole house, over on his head, breaking his Unicorn horn. Well, I added that my magic teacher made it clear that my prince had solved a terrible problem even before it became that. And he was blind at the time! And yes, I included both his words to the Unicorn, as well as his wish to quietly walk us home.

I got to the day the avalanche hit me, and pretty much failed to not cry a lot. That whole process just unwrapped so amazingly. And I was so… that my prince would ever want me… Then we were married… I had to stop after that. I think I was crying too much to go on. And I think the more intimate areas of our lives… Maybe only prince and I would care about that. But, after that… I, we prince and I, we worked on calming down. Besides that, it was quiet.

“You should write all that down” Shysage said quietly. “You never know…” That idea… The more I thought about it… Well, the rest of that summer, my prince and I, we did exactly that. We had plenty of paper and such. Doing that together was such fun… We cried a lot…

But it was early evening when we had finished telling most of my story to Summer and Shysage. They were hungry, so we all had some yummy oat pies. But we needed water, so prince and I walked down to the pond for that. Prince kept me on his back, and I just hugged… Shysage drank a lot of water again, so we got to walk down to the pond again together for more. When we got back from the second trip, Summer and Shysage were asleep; Summer was still on Shysage’s back. Prince and I walked into our room, and we quickly fell asleep too.

When we woke up the next morning, Summer and Shysage were not in front of the fire anymore. But we quickly heard them outside… “Ow… ow… well, ok… I just need to keep walking…” That was Shysage. Summer was still up on his back, hugging tightly, smiling. I was still on prince’ back from last night, so prince just walked us both out there.

“Prince, princess, we are heading back to our tree. Can you walk us part of the way please? We have really appreciated your hospitality, and don’t want to overdo it….” Shysage stopped there, thought briefly, then said “We may be back to get some help getting this tiny coat off.” Then “And we will probably be back this winter to keep from freezing to death.”

Prince said right away “You are welcome here any time. Don’t hesitate…”

“Are you both sure you should go?” I asked carefully.

Summer said quietly “I think we will be fine. Our trees aren’t far, maybe two hours on a slow walk. And since it is warm…”

We walked with them some distance past our pond. They kept going, and we turned around and returned to the pond. Summer and Shysage walked off together towards their big trees. Summer was riding on Shysage’s back, hugging him tightly…

————–

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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