Summer and Shysage walked off, heading to the north, then to the west, they said, a little before noon. After they left, prince and I just couldn’t help it. We wandered back to the pond, crying softly, and laid on our bellies next to each other and cried together, on and off, most of the rest of that day. We just didn’t understand all this, any of this. Summer and Shysage were clearly friends with the amazing mare friends we had made friends with since our arrival here. It was just that… Shysage and his Mare were just not being treated very friendly, as far as we could tell. Having to spend this last freezing winter shivering next to a tree; that certainly did not sound like friendship to me. And it sounded like the previous winter was worse for them… Well, they did wander off early in the summer, and so this was not a huge concern, for now anyway. And prince and I made every effort to let them know they were welcome in our home with us next winter… But that is just what friends do. Why weren’t…

I don’t know, maybe they had done something terrible. Still, the way everymare ran to Summer’s aid during this terrible near-tragedy… Of course, we also had no idea how they knew to bring the Doc out when they did, either. Their timing was perfect. But that was just it… They were trying to be real friends to these two when things were really bad. But, for some reason, after that… It just didn’t make any sense. And Summer said that a lie was told about she and Shysage, then later clearly refuted… That should have… Well, it was clear Summer and Shysage were really hurting from all this. We hurt for them both… a lot…

Near midnight, prince sighed, and said quietly “Princess, we just don’t know what is going on. But we helped them, rescued them, and made it clear they were welcome into our home this coming winter. I think they will be ok until then, and hopefully, we will have company when it gets cold. That would only be right…” Prince carefully picked me up and put me on his back. Then he walked us slowly back to the house, and inside. He left me in one of my comfort places (there on his back), and laid on his belly in our room. We were soon asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, prince had moved us back out in front of the fireplace. There was a small fire burning; prince had probably started a small log very recently just so we had some light. As soon as I woke up, prince gently held out a hairbrush. That was a morning tradition for us. It was until the fire beast, anyway. I started crying softly, and hugged prince’s neck right away. I think prince realized that it was just too early for much else. He left me on his back; I would have climbed back up there if he moved me down. My prince got up, and headed out the door, leaving me in my place of solace. I hugged prince’s neck tightly, and cried softly as prince just… walked… slowly… We just wandered the meadows in the warm sun for a long time. Little was said. There was just not much to say…

Prince ultimately took us over to the carcass of that fire beast… I think he realized that was where we needed to be right now. Well, we stopped at that tree first… Seeing spikey, jagged, odd shaped pieces of rock mercilessly clawed, embedded in the trees around us… Then we walked closer to the carcass. For the longest time, we stood there, in solemn silence… Well, I was crying softly. Prince pointed out what he realized only now, seeing the carcass during the day… “That beast must have been huge. Standing up, its back was probably three times as high as the tallest nearby tree…”

After a while of silence, prince started crying abruptly. He knew I would want to know why he was crying. It just took a while before he could say anything… And all this came out slowly, painfully…

“I said that night…

“The Unicorn magic I was sensing was huge…

“Princess, there was nohorse else here when that beast died…

“Except those two…

“Summer and Shysage…

“Both not even Unicorns…

“They killed that beast…

Summer and Shysage killed that huge beast

“Your magic teacher… What she said…

“It was probably Summer…

“And I don’t know how…

“She somehow has access to incredible Unicorn magic…”

Prince didn’t try to say anything else, and just cried. But this just made me cry more… That a simple, small, beautiful mare could hold such amazing power… And that beast would have killed hundreds of us, thousands unless and until he was stopped… Summer and Shysage… Two insignificant and evidently shunned… They risked their own lives, and stopped him… Before he had killed anyhorse… Well, he could have killed Shysage… That just made the way they… what we were seeing anyway… This made everything so absolutely more unfair… My magic teacher said it was all their fault… How could…

We spent the rest of that afternoon, crying for our friends… for all of our amazing friends. And the next few days, more than we could remember, we went back out there, laid on our bellies in the dirt and did the exact same thing… One of those days, our neighbor walked quietly up next to us, laid on her belly next to me, and cried with us for a long time, most of the day. I was pretty sure she felt like we did. When we got up to leave as the sun set, I stopped her, hugged her, and said quietly “Why…” I couldn’t even decide how, what to even ask. That was all I could get out.

She burst into tears right away, and cried really hard. “I… We are not supposed to talk about that… I just can’t tell you… I’m so sorry…” She cried pretty hard for a while as we hugged.

And I was beginning to sense that we were not the only ones confused about all this… I said quietly “We absolutely love all of our friends…”

My neighbor answered quietly “Please don’t ever stop… that…” Then she galloped off, crying, towards her home…

Prince put me gently on his back, walked us home, and we fell asleep like that in front of a very calm, small fire. Days wandered slowly by; we just couldn’t shake this… An amazing friendship had been broken. That was such a tragedy…

————–

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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