• Published 15th Mar 2020
  • 770 Views, 6 Comments

A Pegasus Promise - Waterwindearthfire



In a tragedy's aftermath, Fluttershy will take on her to honor a promise she made to a dear friend.

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Chapter 1 - Everfree Forest

Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.
- Amelia Earhart, pegasus -

Except for a few fluffy clouds, occasionally chased by one or two playing pegasi, it was a gigantic sun that reigned supreme in the spring sky, above Equestria.

A pleasant, inviting and refreshing breeze blew across the country, to the delight of everypony who enjoyed this beautiful afternoon, under the warm rays of the bright sun, the luminous emblem of Celestia's power, which extended its light from the small village of Apple Loosa, in the south, up to the gates of the immense castle of the Crystal Empire, in the north.

And yet, despite the radiation of the star, high in the sky, there was still a place in Equestria that seemed indifferent to this summer sun. A forest that seemed, on the contrary, to absorb the heat of the rays of light in its sinuous mass of dark and twisted trees.

At the edge of Everfree Forest, a young and magnificent winged pegasus with a light yellow coat and long pink mane was stumbling along the path, in the shade of the sinister trees.

The pretty Fluttershy looked carefully at the sky, in between frequent frightened glances at the dark and disturbing forest. This place terrified her, yet it was essential to her in order to ensure the well-being, comfort and food of her many beloved animals, the permanent, but nevertheless beloved, tenants of her cottage.

With great kindness, her most precious quality, Fluttershy felt compelled to look after the fauna of Equestria and had vowed to always take care of all the animals. This ideology sometimes required some sacrifices like, for example, searching for ingredients within areas of the frightening forest that were sometimes magical, sometimes unknown and, on very rare occasions, dangerous.

Naturally, while thinking of the element of kindness, her greatest treasure and irrefutable proof of her greatest quality, Fluttershy began to think about one of the other five elements of harmony, that of a pony she had been waiting for a few minutes already; Loyalty.

Only the presence of her faithful and courageous friend, Rainbow Dash, would give Fluttershy the strength to face, once again, the hostile dangers of Everfree Forest and its sinister occupants.

While waiting for the blue pegasus, Fluttershy began to hum a sweet song, full of the tenderness that characterized her so much. She needed courage, that quality that was cruelly lacking in her and she hoped, at the very least, to acquire, with the help of her melody, a little bit of serenity.

Three passing birds, attracted by Fluttershy's charming voice, landed in the grass near the yellow pegasus. Fluttershy, faithful to her element, welcomed them with her most beautiful smile. Then, without ceasing to sing, gently nodded her head in order to invite them to mix their voices with her.

Charmed and eager to please the pegasus, the birds quickly joined their songs to Fluttershy's and, in a few seconds, the melody harmonized to reach an astonishing complexity where the sweet voice of the pegasus orchestrates itself perfectly with the low and high voices of its three improvised guests.

Fluttershy closed her eyes and, with joy, began dancing gracefully to the music. The melodious notes, carried by the breeze, soon rocked her tenderly to the sound of an elegant symphony that finally succeeded in calming her apprehensions a little bit.

But, too quickly, the song was over, bringing the pegasus back to the present moment. Always polite, whatever the circumstances, Fluttershy gave her feathered companions a warm smile.

“Oh thank you! Thank you so much misters”, Fluttershy said to the birds, overflowing with gratitude. “You have all been marvelous. This was a very beautiful song and your voices played a big part in this success. You should all be very proud of yourselves.”

When the birds began to chirp their thanks and praise to her about her beautiful voice, Fluttershy could not help but blush.

Extremely shy, the pegasus felt her cheeks burning under the effect of praise. She had always felt embarrassed by compliments gave to her by one of her close friends and even by her beloved animals.

Fluttershy took note mentally to work on this aspect of her personality that had always caused her a lot of communication problems in Ponyville’s community, to the point that she chose to live a little further away from the village, surrounded by her animals, in a comfortable little cottage.

However, she had never regretted this decision. There were so many happy memories there...

_________________________

Lost in a whirlwind of comforting memories, Fluttershy saw, too late, the menacing shadow that was coming straight at her, promising the pegasus a violent death. The birds fled in all directions, leaving Fluttershy alone in a state of shock.

Instantly, terror came. A feeling far too familiar for her.

Cold sweats descended along Fluttershy's neck and back as her muscles tightened painfully. Then her strength suddenly abandoned her and her knees gave way, throwing her to the ground where, terrified, Fluttershy closed her eyes and covered her face with her hooves.

All trembling, from hooves to her head, she made a little moan of distress, the only thing she could still do, waiting for the fateful blow.

It never came, but was instead replaced by a frank laugh that Fluttershy knew only too well because she heard it several times, often at her own expense.

"Sup, Fluttershy! I didn't scare you too much, did I?"

Fluttershy painfully loosened her legs, still tense, and lift her head, displaying an air of reproach and relief mixed together at the sight before her eyes. In front of her stood her best and oldest friend.

Proudly standing on her legs, her wings still half-opened after her flight, a little panting, and showing a little smile of satisfaction, Rainbow Dash stood in front of her, radiant, admiring the effect that her little act had caused.

“Oh... my... goodness!... Dash! You almost scared me to death!” shuddered Fluttershy, relieved, however, to see her good friend.

Rainbow could not hold back a loud burst of laughter.

“Pwa ha ha! You should've seen your face, you dropped to the floor so fast I thought you were gonna dig underneath it. You didn't even try to flee!” gently mocked Rainbow Dash by handing her hoof to Fluttershy who hurried to take it to get up, still a little shaky after the blue pegasus joke. “Sorry Shy for the fright, really I am, but I couldn't resist.”

“It's... it's okay Rainbow... I don't hold it against you. But.. hum... you know... I don't react very well during stressful event… Oooh, I hope you are not mad against me... I wanted to fly but my legs collapsed and... I fell on the ground. I am really... really sorry...”

“Huh?”

“... but I will try to do better next time Rainbow... I... I'm sorry,” she continued before quickly adding, “Please don't be mad...”

“Really, Fluttershy? Argh. Why are you apologizing for my prank? Listen, I was trying to get you to scream like you just did! What's your fault if I'm so awesome you can't help but fall for it?”

“So... sorry,”

“Oh, for the love of... Fluttershy! Stop apologizing already. Why should I even be mad at you, jeez... I just told you I was trying to get you scared.”

“Oh!... well, in that case... I'm really happy to have reacted this way.”

Despite her apology, Fluttershy knew she just did something wrong again because Dash did something very uncharacteristic of her: she hovered for a few seconds, looking at her in pensive silence.

“Shy, you're a mystery. Even for me,” Rainbow finally said.

With a shy, yet warm smile to her friend, Fluttershy began to dust her flanks with her wings. She was quickly helped by Rainbow, still showing a puzzled look echoing her confused thoughts. Between the two of them, it didn't take long to chase away the sand and blades of grass that had stuck to Fluttershy's body.

Once cleaned of the dirt that covered her, Fluttershy set out in search of a small basket of pale brown wicker nicely adorned with small yellow and pink ribbons, a gift from her good friend Rarity, which she found a little further along the path to the dark forest.

While Fluttershy, clearly nervous, slipped a wing under the handle of the basket she was about to carry on their way into the darkness of Everfree Forest, Rainbow came to position herself, in a protective manner, near her side and looked defiantly at the black trees as they seemed to stretch their long branches towards the pegasi with futile hope of grabbing them.

“So Shy, why are we going into Everfree Forest today?”

“Well... I need to find some plants for some of my animals, including Angel. The poor dear is quite often sick,” Fluttershy told her.

Urgh... Only Fluttershy would love this little white rabbit from hell so much, thought Rainbow without expressing her thoughts aloud.

“These herbs will serve for medical infusions. I have read the recipe in a book that Twilight kindly lend me... Unfortunately, these plants only grow in this forest... and that's why I've asked you to accompany me if... if it's okay with you... that is...” admirably pleaded Fluttershy in her softest voice.

This voice...

Rainbow knew it very well and could not resist it. Gentle and begging, it was the secret weapon that Fluttershy unconsciously used against her, without any evil intentions, however, ever.

Fluttershy was desperate, frighteningly desperate.

Rainbow turned her gaze away from the horrible forest and set her eyes on Fluttershy, who was nervously waiting for her answer, eyes wide open, head and ears slightly lowered, cheeks rosy because of the embarrassment of having made such a request to her friend.

Rainbow sighed, amused, she couldn’t refuse anything to the yellow pegasus when she asked for help, especially in this way.

“Of course I don't mind, you know you can always count on me Shy... but let's go get those plants quick then,” pressed Rainbow by pushing her with her flank. “Pinkie's having a party later and she made us promise to be there.”

With a smile, Rainbow took a higher tone of voice that reminded Fluttershy a lot of the voice of their energetic friend, Pinkie Pie.

“Remember,” Rainbow said in a more than correct imitation of Pinkie. “The most important thing is...”

“... to never break a "Pinkie promise",” they said in unison, laughing heartily as they recalled the crazy gestures associated with the promise they had to perform at the request of the overexcited pink mare.

“I've sorted it with Twilight. She will cover us if needed.” Fluttershy announced to Rainbow once their hilarity had passed. “I told her we needed to go into the forest before the evening... If all goes well, we just need a few hours.”

“Don't worry Shy. Everything will be alright if I’m there.”

With these words, she winked at Fluttershy who felt a wave of heat and well-being invading her heart. Her doubts and anxieties were dispelled by the friendly gesture of the blue pegasus.

I hope so, thought Fluttershy as she walked towards the gaping mouth of Everfree Forest. With her loyal friend on her side, there was not much left to fear. At least that's what she hoped with all her heart.

Once she arrived under the cover of the tall trees, Fluttershy, still a little worried, turned her eyes one last time towards the sunny, warm and hopeful landscape that she would leave behind for the benefit of the darker and crueler Everfree Forest. She took a deep breath and began to trot nervously after Rainbow Dash who was already moving, without fear, towards one of the many paths that snaked into the heart of the forest.

_________________________

As soon as they entered the forest, the landscape changed into a gloomy vision. It was dark and cold under the foliage of the tall trees and the two pegasi had to wait for their eyes to get used to the lack of light.

All around, winding roots twisted out of the ground, tree trunks were twisted and seemed to make angry faces and, to top it all off, an unhealthy fog hovered over the forest floor. It seemed, for Fluttershy at least, that the forest seemed even less welcoming than any of her previous visits.

“Rai... Rainbow, now that I think about it, the plants can wait a little more... Let us leave this place, please? I don't like the atmosphere in the forest today. Something is not going... as usual,” begged Fluttershy, less and less at ease, already taking a few steps backward.

“Fluttershy, stop being afraid,” Rainbow said nicely. “You said that these herbs are super important and, besides, you have me to watch your back. With my training for the Wonderbolts, I don't know when I will be able to come back here. So hang on, Shy, and let's find theses plants then let's get to party at Pinkie's house!”

As she recalled the evening ahead and the good times she would have with her friends, a pale smile came to the lips of the little yellow pegasus. Her friends, the other heirs of elements as important as hers, were always a source of comfort from which the pegasus drew hope.

In addition, Fluttershy was pleased to see that Rainbow took her request at heart and was committed to finding the plants at all costs. It filled her with a tenuous joy, a feeling she desperately clung to, despite the fact that she was still convinced of the need to get out of the forest as soon as possible.

Seeing Rainbow continue on her way, Fluttershy put her doubts to one side and forced herself to follow her blue friend through the sinister wood.

_________________________

They walked far, far too far for Fluttershy's taste, without any problem, however, except for some twig cracks that scared the poor yellow pegasus a little.

After a long walk along the banks of a wide river that flowed lazily eastward and near which the ruins of the castle where Nightmare Moon was defeated could sometimes be seen in the distance, Fluttershy began to relax a little.

She knew she tended to be frightened easily. Too often since the beginning of her life, that was what she was blamed for, but she couldn't help it. Fluttershy was wondering if her horrible sense of apprehension was due to a disposition toward fear rather than a real danger when she heard them.

The howlings, certainly very far away, nevertheless enjoined her to quickly travel the short distance that separated her from Rainbow to come and take refuge, side by side, under the protective wing that her friend extended over her.

“Ti... Timberwolf,” Fluttershy whimpered, trembling so hard that Rainbow felt the jolts of the yellow pegasus body.

“I think so too,” Rainbow confirmed as she looked through the dark wood. “But they are away, far, far away,” she added as she saw Fluttershy looking frenetically around her.

After a few moments, mostly filled with fear and tension, Fluttershy finally made the same observation. She breathed a sigh of gratitude.

“Let's get going Shy,” Rainbow gently said after giving her some time to recover.

Then Rainbow hesitated. Since the beginning of their journey, she was only following Fluttershy's timid directions and had no clue about where they were going.

“Hum Shy? How long before we arrive?”

“We... we're not far away, fortunately, from the place the plants grow,” announced the shy pegasus with a note of hope in her voice.

Satisfied, Rainbow folded her wings against her flanks and friendly disheveled Fluttershy's mane with one of her hoof. This small gesture comforted the yellow pegasus, who found enough courage to continue her march towards the heart of the forest, Rainbow bravely walking by her side.

“Shy, where are we going anyway?”

“Well... To answer that, I guess I would have to start at the beginning... if, if you're okay with this.”

“Sure, why not?” simply nodded the blue pegasus, who had nothing better to do anyway.

In order to calm down, Fluttershy took advantage of the last stage of their journey to tell Rainbow the reason explaining the distance between the forest's entrance and the place where these plants grew.

According to Twilight's book, an ancient volume about the magical properties of plants, this kind of medicinal plant, in order to grow properly, required a place where moisture was very present. Everfree Forest, with its large and very dense twisted trees, easily kept the wetness trapped in its foliage. That was, according to Fluttershy, the speciality of this forest.

But these medicinal plants, in addition to constant humidity, had to have access to a bright sun during the day to literally absorb the brightness of the rays of Celestia's favorite star and to a silver moon, at night, to transform the sun's brightness into a magic juice to which Luna's favorite star gave the benefits of a night of restorative sleep.

These two conditions had to be met to obtain the plants whose juice would be used in the medical decoctions that Fluttershy intended to prepare for winter.

“...so that's why we will find these plants in one of the very few clearings of Everfree Forest. It is the only places where the light of both the sun and the moon enters while the humidity stays,” Fluttershy concludes by pointing out, to Rainbow, the closest clearing they reached a few moments later.

_________________________

As they entered the clearing, the two pegasi had to wait for their eyes to get used to the strong presence of light in this area. The clearing, compared to the rest of the forest, was like an islet of light in the middle of a sea of darkness. Fluttershy was happy to bathe in the warmth and brightness of the place. For the first time since the beginning of their journey, she finally was able to relax completely.

Fluttershy, charmed by the magical atmosphere of the clearing, placed her basket on the ground and walked a little further into the vegetation with a light and graceful step. It didn't take her long to find the first shot of herbs she was looking for.

“They really are magical.” Fluttershy was ecstatic as she studied one of these plants, whose fragile petals, dotted with bright droplets, were sucking in a ray of sunlight. “They're beautiful”

She happily waved her hoof to show the flower to Rainbow, picked it up and then placed it in the basket. Some luminous drops had remained on her coat and were now slipping along her hoof. Fluttershy watched the liquid light make furrows on her skin. She let out a little crystalline laugh.

Rainbow, on the other hand, took off to land on a large rock, about in the middle of the clearing. This way, she enjoyed a view of the entire plain surrounding her.

She saw, in addition to the dark vegetation dotted with luminescent flowers, other rocks like the one she was standing on. They were scattered here and there, heavy and immobile, unlike the grass that was sometimes agitated by rare wind breezes.

Tall tree trunks were lying further down on the ground, broken, silent witnesses to a pack of timberwolves that usually left this kind of chaos in their path.

Time passed slowly, pleasantly.

Rainbow enjoyed watching Fluttershy make endless round trips between the basket and the various herbs while humming a sweet melody.

_________________________

The two pegasi each enjoyed, in their own way, the late afternoon sun which caressed them both with its warm rays and rewarded them from time to time with a cool breeze bringing a pleasant smell of woodland, tree leaves and sap.

Fluttershy thanked Rainbow many times for bravely accompanying her. The presence of blue pegasus was very important to Fluttershy. She felt safe around her best friend and knew she would never have made it to this clearing without her courageous and loyal friend.

The sun, under the supervision of Princess Celestia, continued its infinite revolution over Equestria as Rainbow and Fluttershy talked about everything and nothing, safe in their haven of light lost in the middle of a sea of shadows.

Fluttershy told her friend about her fears about the quality of her medical infusions. She was afraid that she would not be able to create remedies effective enough to cure her animals during the harsh winter months ahead. Rainbow quickly reassured her that Fluttershy was the best placed, and especially the most motivated, to succeed in making these infusions.

Fluttershy blushed when she heard Rainbow praising her efforts to preserve the health of all her animals.

Aware of her weaknesses, Fluttershy also took advantage of Rainbow's presence to ask her to give her some flying lessons to fill her gaps. Rainbow, surprised although flattered by her friend's request, quickly accepted, way too happy to help Fluttershy get rid of this handicap which, according to the blue pegasus at least, had long prevented her from fully enjoying the benefits of being a pegasus.

Rainbow, in turn, asked Fluttershy, an expert in animal care, for advice on how to keep her little turtle, Tank, healthy. She also explained to an attentive Fluttershy the basics of her weekly training to become the next Wonderbolt recruit. Then Rainbow, proud and fearless, began to list to her friend the new tricks she was practicing for a future air show.

“Oh my goodness! This sound impressive Rainbow, at this rate you will be the next Wonderbolt in no time. I'm sure this is making you happy.”

“Happy isn’t even the beginning of it, Shy! It's my life goal, my biggest dream! For Celestia's sake, this is the most important thing I want!

Fluttershy laughed, a laugh shy but overflowing with affection, at the optimism of the blue pegasus.
This clearing is so quiet, it's perfect, Fluttershy happily she listened to Rainbow praising her future exploits with renewed enthusiasm.

_________________________

Fluttershy was delighted, contemplating the basket of her lovely fashionista friend, filled to the brim with medicinal plants. She had insisted on staying a little longer than necessary in order to avoid, as much as possible, coming back for more. When she declared itself ready to depart, Rainbow, not far from there, stretched out in finesse on the top of her rock, preparing to leave.

It was time, the sun was already beginning its descent among the trees, creating a dark and somber contrast in the glade in which some rays of sunlight still stood out, promising the coming arrival of the favorite star of Luna, princess of the moon.

A breeze, stronger than the previous ones, suddenly blew into the clearing. A breeze that had wild hints of old oak, wet tree moss and rotting meat. Rainbow straightened up, all her senses alert, remembering that Applejack had already warned her about this strong smell that was characteristic of one kind of animal: the Timberwolves.

Rainbow caught a glimpse of Fluttershy, who was standing by the basket admiring her harvest, still unaware of the danger that was threatening them.

“FLUTTERSHY!” Rainbow Dash shouted as she quickly flew over the trees to see where the threat came from, which she finally identified coming from the north. “FLY AND GET OUT OF HERE, NOW!”

Fluttershy jumped when she heard Rainbow yell at her. The tone of her voice had nevertheless had its effect. Panicked and trembling, Fluttershy tried to fly towards Rainbow.

Wasted efforts.

As soon as terror took possession of her being, Fluttershy, struggling with an insurmountable psychological block, lost all her means. Her body simply refused to obey her once again.

Her wings, although made of light feathers, now seemed to weigh tons and refused to open, resolutely tight and cramped against her sides. She was shaking like a leaf and, every second, her heart was beating more and more, threatening to explode in her rib cage. Her breathing became more and more erratic as tears of helplessness and terror rushed down her cheeks.

“I... I can't fly...” Fluttershy panicked. Then she started screaming in a strangled voice. “RAINBOW! I CAN'T FLY!”

Terror and despair crept into Fluttershy's brain and swept away what little hope remained in the heart of the pegasus. Short of a solution and unable to find the strength to calm down, Fluttershy began to rush, completely frightened, towards her friend, the only person who could get her out of this bad situation.

Fortunately, she was already flying in her direction. Rainbow had heard Fluttershy scream her distress and she was now diving towards her at full speed.

If the situation wasn't so urgent, Rainbow would have slapped herself for having left Fluttershy alone. She had wanted to assess the threat as she used to do in her Wonderbolt training classes, but she had forgotten Fluttershy's tendency to lose control over her body in the worst moments. It wasn't the yellow pegasus fault, Rainbow knew it, but this handicap was putting Fluttershy and her in a very critical situation.

Rainbow then heard a loud noise of cavalcade interspersed with the sound of uprooted trunks. Shouts broke out and she knew that she and Fluttershy were now being hunted. Rainbow growled in frustration. She mistakenly thought, in view of the situation, that the timberwolf was further away.

She could see, or rather hear, the wolf, which was finally far too close to her taste. Time was playing against them, but, a few more moments and she would have joined Fluttershy. They would then quickly leave the clearing, together, by flying, even if it meant dragging Fluttershy along the entire length of the forest.

This somewhat wobbly plan was quickly eclipsed when, halfway between Rainbow and Fluttershy, the trees at the edge of the clearing exploded as a result of the entrance of a gigantic Timberwolf.

Large pieces of gutted tree trunks and multiple splinters of wood swept the entire clearing. One of these massive pieces of trunk hit Fluttershy on her left flank, in the middle of her run, and both of them crashed a few meters further from the initial point of impact.

“FLUTTERSHY, NO!” Rainbow screamed with terror, her fragile hope of escaping unharmed from the forest, broken, like the body of the yellow pegasus. “NO, NO, NO!”

_________________________

Fluttershy had never run at such high speed in her life. As soon as she had felt the Timberwolf’s musk a few moments earlier and failed in her attempt to fly away, Fluttershy started running as quickly as possible towards her friend, her only hope. But the distance from Rainbow was so great.

In her distress, overwhelmed by guilt, she blamed herself for releasing her guard and vowed to be more attentive from then on.

Then, to her great misfortune, Fluttershy had seen the huge Timberwolf entering the plain with a crash but, while running towards her friend, she could never avoid the big trunk that hit her hard, breaking a few ribs and the bones of her wing.

As she was propelled into the air, she felt a great pain on her left flank invading her and she fell to the ground in a loud, inert, stunning crash. Then all the lights in the world faded away.

_________________________

Rainbow had watched helplessly as Fluttershy was being swept by the trunk like a rag doll and was now lying motionless on the ground among the wood debris.

Miraculously unharmed, unlike Fluttershy, Rainbow stopped in mid-flight to face the Timberwolf, which was shaking his massive body a little further into the clearing, releasing fine wooden particles that floated in the air, visible in the last rays of the sun.

Wishing to protect Fluttershy's poor body, covered with wood debris and branches, Rainbow initiated a flying attack on the Timberwolf.

He tried to bite her by slamming his monstrous jaws but only managed to catch some air, while Rainbow hit him with all the strength of her hoof as she passed. The timberwolf, surprised by the violence of the attack, was destabilized, but he quickly regained his balance, growled and then set his huge yellow-green eyes on the blue pegasus.

“You... will... pay... for what you have done,” Rainbow threatened him, tears of rage running down her cheeks.“FLUTTERSHY WAS MY FRIEND!”

Rainbow plunged towards the timberwolf and the battle resumed violently, like the rage that was bubbling in Rainbow's heart.

_________________________

There was absolute silence in the forest as the terrible battle to the death between the brute force of the Timberwolf and the agility of Rainbow seemed to eclipse any other noise. Only the concert of blows, screams and growls of frustration testified of life inside EverFree Forest.

The wolf was a monster made for carnage. Sharp claws, razor teeth, solid and resistant oak body, he was a fierce predator and a strong opponent.

Rainbow, on the other hand, used her speed to strike her enemy with powerful blows. This proved to be very effective. The timberwolf showed signs of pain where Rainbow had managed to break its wooden shell, exposing sensitive areas that she had struck as vehemently and forcefully as she could.

Unfortunately, Rainbow's efforts were paid for in blood, her blood. Several times, as she kicked the monster, the claws and fangs of the powerful predator found flesh to torn.

A hiccup of pain, blood and tears seemed to be the price to pay to save her friend's body, Rainbow observed with anger.

_________________________

Time went on forever. Rainbow was unable to remember when the fight had started or when it would end. Every second passed at the rate of an eternity.

Her physical exhaustion was felt. Her movements were slower and her breathing more shallow. Her burning lungs were craving for oxygen, which she spat out violently with each blow from the timberwolf. Blood was flowing at the corners of her lips and multiple bruises started appearing on her body.

The fight seemed endless but, after a brief but particularly violent scuffle, Rainbow wounded the wolf, who, yelping in pain, withdrew further into the plain to lick his wounds with his moss tongue.

Taking advantage of this moment of respite, Rainbow flew as best she could, with her wings shaking, towards her friend. Her arrival looked more like a crash than a landing.

Crawling with difficulty towards her friend, Rainbow was relieved to find that Fluttershy, despite her twisted wing in a more than worrying angle, was breathing faintly, testifying to the spark of life that still inhabited her.

“Shy... wake up, I beg you,” Rainbow begged as she stroked her fragile friend's hair and cleared the debris from her body. “We have to go... now...”

Fluttershy moaned and then opened her eyes, weeping and humid. Tears had run down her cheeks creating mud furrows on her face soiled by the debris. After a great effort that threatened to send her back into unconsciousness, she raised her head with difficulty and looked into the eyes of her blue friend.

“Rain... bow? I'm hurt... really hurt... and I... I'm stuck. I can't move...” Fluttershy began, bathed in a confused fog of pain and fatigue.

“I'll move that thing Shy, then, we'll get out of here... fast,” Rainbow said with a pale smile, pointing to a trunk that was crushing Fluttershy's wing. “I won't let us die here.

Rainbow struggled to stand up and put her flickering hooves against the trunk, drawing on her last strength to move it. Despite her ardor, she did not have enough strength to move it and had to suppress severe nausea caused by her intense effort.

To make matters worse, the Timberwolf, having noticed the weakness of his prey, regained his fighting spirit and approached them with the confident step of a winning predator. The ancient magic of his race had done its work and the wounds of his previous fight against the pegasus were healed.

Rainbow, exhausted, trembling and wounded, stood as proudly as possible, in her condition, in front of the wolf, protecting Fluttershy who was fighting her comatose state.

“Don't worry Shy,” Rainbow courageously said to the little yellow pegasus behind her. “As long as I'm here, I will prote...”

She was not able to finish her sentence. Her energy drained and her wounds much more severe than she thought propelled her into the dark world of unconsciousness. Her eyes reverted and she collapsed from exhaustion beside Fluttershy.

At that moment, the timberwolf bent its legs and rushed towards the two pegasi at its mercy, reducing in a few seconds the long distance that still separated them a few moments earlier.

With his fangs uncovered and his tongue hanging out, he looked at his prey. His gaze drifted to Rainbow, breathing with difficulty, exhausted and covered in blood, then to Fluttershy, struggling with pain, her wing trapped under a trunk.

The Timberwolf straightened up to its full height, in front of its prey. The moon, which had sneakily replaced the sun during the length of the fight, bombarded its rays on the creature's back, darkening the wood of his body to such an extent that the wolf looked like a monster of black darkness haloed with light. A striking image in this clearing, an image that came to an abrupt end when the Timberwolf, his snout pointing towards the sky, shouted his thanks to the forest for this perfect meal.

Then he leaned over to his dinner, salivating in advance at the thought of tasting the pegasus flesh. To his great misfortune, however, his big yellow-green eyes came across Fluttershy's eyes.

Instantly, he was terrified.

A feeling of terror was compressing his heart. The menacing eyes of the yellow pegasus told him to leave them alone, immediately, promising him unnamed pain and horror if he did not turn around in the second. Horrible images started creeping into his head.

He was afraid. He was no longer a predator, he was a prey. The prey of the pegasus with terrifying eyes.

Fluttershy's gaze finally overcame his will, a frightening look that froze his blood and drove him to run away, which he did the next moment, forgetting even his meal ideas. He went far, at full speed, without ever looking behind him even once.

Seeing, from her blurred vision, the massive body of the Timberwolf leaving the clearing by the path he had entered, Fluttershy silently thanked Celestia, Luna and the whole sky for having given her the gift of the "Stare". She didn't like to use it and used it as little as possible, but she could not ever be more happy to have it that at this exact moment.

After painfully glancing at Rainbow beside her, wounded but still alive, Fluttershy, under the protection of the moon and its starry vault, finally allowed herself to sink into the sweet world of unconsciousness, the place where the painful wounds on her side would no longer make her suffer.

“I am... so sorry... Rainbow...” Fluttershy said weakly, devoured by remorse, just before darkness invaded her consciousness once again.