The Sky Is Big Enough For Both of Us

by Seether00

First published

When a clash of cultures accidentally leads to Scootaloo getting in a fight with her shy new classmate, it's up her big sis Rainbow Dash (and a garishly-dressed Twilight) to help her realize the importance of getting along with griffons.

When Scootaloo and a new student get into a fight at school, it's up to Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle to teach her the importance of Griffon/Pony relations by reading the story of the first encounter between a Griffon huntress and a Pegasus soldier.

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Editing and Pre-reading done by

Chapter 1: Why Should We Be Friends?

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The dreaded stings-like-heck hydrogen peroxide bottle cleared the opening of Rainbow’s flight bag, and Scootaloo was off like a shot.

“Scoots, get back here! You know you can’t outrun me!”

True, but Scootaloo sprinted for her scooter and freedom anyways. She was gonna make Rainbow work for it. A spirited attempt, but she only made it halfway down the slope before being scooped up and flown back to the top of the grass-covered hill. “Nooo! Let go!” An antiseptic soaked cloth came down.

Ack! That stings so bad!” Scootaloo wriggled against Rainbow’s hold.

“It’s gonna smart more if you don’t quit fidgeting!”

It was a chore holding her down, but Rainbow Dash kept at it. Usually, she’d have flown Scootaloo straight to her home and let the kid’s parents deal with this. But, nope. Like any good ‘Big Sis in training,’ Rainbow Dash had agreed to let Scootaloo crash (figuratively) at her place while her parents went off on their second honeymoon.

Sure, it was fun at first: playing games, eating pizza, watching movies. Real sister bonding time. And, like a sponge on an ego trip, Dash sopped up her little protegée’s endless stream of praise.

Dash muttered under her breath. Now, she was getting a taste of what her own mother must have put up with, and it tasted rotten. Whatever craziness the squirt got into, now Dash had to be the one responsible for taking care of her.

Next Mothers’ Day, her mom was getting an apology letter. And flowers. Lots of flowers.

The squirming filly was a disheveled mess, like a ripped tapestry, crisscrossed with scratches weaving the story of an epic fight.

One she’d obviously lost.

Thankfully, none of the cuts were too deep. Scootaloo hissed through clenched teeth each time the damp cloth made contact with a bright red laceration.

Rainbow Dash grabbed her firmly around the barrel and flipped Scootaloo onto her back before starting to dab the cuts on her undercarriage. “I said, hold still, Scoots.” Another dab, another cut treated, and an orange hoof to the face for her trouble. “Someone wanna tell me why Scoots looks like she went five rounds with a lawnmower and lost?”

Sweetie Belle looked up from the box of adhesive bandages, levitating a hoofful. She'd tried manipulating them manually, but they were so sticky they seemed to guarantee taking at least a square inch of hair along with them when they were removed. “Scootaloo got in a fight with the new kid.”

“It’s not my fault,” Scootaloo grunted. “He started it!”

“That ain’t true, and you know it,” Apple Bloom rebuked her with a shake of her head. “Sven didn’t do nothing.”

“Wait, wait. What new kid—ow! Scoot, if you slug me one more time, you can kiss the sleepover goodbye.” Scootaloo stopped her flailing, grumbled under her breath and settled for squirming instead. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and went back to work. “Okay, you two. Start from the beginning.”

Apple Bloom started to explain. “So, it’s like this: we got a new kid in class today, Sven.”

“Sven’s a griffon!” Sweetie Belle chirped.

“Right, what she said. A griffon. Anyway, Miss Cheerilee has Sven say the usual introductory stuff you’d expect. Bit of an accent. His folks moved here from the Griffon Kingdom cuz his dad’s working with Diamond Tiara’s dad on some business. Kid sits down and is real quiet for the rest of class. I figured he was shy. Didn’t say or do nothing. Then, at lunch Scootaloo tells us she doesn’t like him. She didn’t even give a reason.”

“I’m telling you guys. He’s a weirdo!”

Apple Bloom threw up her hooves. “What exactly did he do that was weird?”

“He kept looking at me.” Scootaloo’s answer got a tepid eyebrow raise from Apple Bloom. “I’m telling you! It was strange, okay?”

“That’s it? He was just looking at you funny?”

Sweetie Belle took a break from helping Rainbow wrap bandages and suggested, “Maybe he was just lonely and wanted to make friends. It must be really hard leaving all your friends behind to move all the way across the ocean to a place you don’t know anypony, and then to have your new classmates call you weird.”

Apple Bloom continued, “Anyways, the three of us agreed to meet here at the park after school. Me and Sweetie were a little slow packing our stuff and Scootaloo said she would go on ahead. So we showed up just in time to watch Scootaloo attack Sven.”

“She punched him right in the beak!” said Sweetie Belle. “Looked like it hurt. By the time we got to them, the fight was over and Sven had flown away.”

Upon pulling the last bandage tight, Rainbow scanned over her work. It was a decent enough patch job, but the filly’s wings were a mess of broken feathers. She let out another sigh. That meant preening, and preening Scootaloo was always a struggle. Her wings were ticklish and just catching her required a chase all over the house. She wasn’t a fan of bathtime either, as Rainbow’s flooded bathroom proved frequently. Thank Celestia clouds were super-absorbent.

Rainbow narrowed her eyes at Scootaloo. “Squirt, you better have a good explanation for all this. Sucker punching someone is not cool.”

Scootaloo straightened up and fired a glare right back her sister. “I was on my scooter. Just practicing some tricks, you know? Nothing major. A few ramp jumps, a couple flips over some branches, 360 degrees backwards somersault with a twist. My standard brand of awesome. When I felt like I was being watched. Turn around and BAM! There he is again. Just staring at me. So, the brave filly I am, and totally not scared, I walk over and ask the guy nicely what his deal is.”

“‘Nicely,’ nothing. You were in his face,” Apple Bloom said. “And then you punched him.”

“I couldn’t help it!” Scootaloo shouted, throwing up her hooves. “I don’t know why. It’s just the way he was acting made me mad or something. He didn’t even talk back. Just kept chirping, puffing up his chest, bobbing his head. The weirdo.”

Rainbow brought a hoof up to massage her temple. “Scoots, you’re not making this fun for me. You know I’m gonna have to ground you for…Wait…You said he puffed up his chest. Did he spread his wings too?”

“...Yeah.” Scootaloo nodded, then scowled. “I bet he was making fun of my wings. The jerk!”

“Ugh!” Rainbow thumped her forehead. “Did he stand like this?” Chest puffed, wings unfurled, Dash strutted, heading bobbing in a pecking motion.

Scootaloo punched her in the nose.

Rainbow dropped like one of Sweetie Belle’s homemade buttermilk-and-concrete biscuits.

“What the hay, Scootaloo?!” Apple Bloom ran over to the downed pegasus. Sweetie followed, levitating some tissues to stuff up Rainbow’s bleeding nose before turning to Scootaloo.

“What were you thinking? I think you broke her nose!”

Scootaloo’s eyes went wide, looking between her outstretched hoof, with a quick glance to her flank—no boxing glove cutie mark—and the older pegasus on the ground who was clutching her snout. “I don’t know! I just felt scared! Scared and kinda mad actually, and I just felt this sudden urge… like I needed to punch her.”

“That’d be those old pegasus instincts kicking in,” Rainbow explained as she staggered back to her feet, a wad of tissue stuffed up one nostril. “You felt threatened and you lashed out.”

“So I’m not in trouble?”

“Depends. Did you let him go after you socked him?”

“Heck no!” Scootaloo hopped onto her back legs and throwing some punches. “I needed to teach him not to mess with me so I pulled out those cool karate moves you taught me.”

Sweetie Belle cocked her head to one side. "Karate? Is that what that was? Looked more like you were screaming and waving your hooves around while he was beating on you."

“I was totally winning!”

Apple Bloom nodded in a supportive fashion. “Sure you were. I think you may have even hit him once or twice.”

Rainbow shook her head. “Squirt, I taught, or at least tried to teach you, karate to defend yourself, not attack innocent ponies… err… griffons. Besides, puffing up is just the way griffons try to impress someone. He was making himself seem bigger so you’d want to be… friends with him.”

“See!” declared Sweetie Belle. “I told you so. He’s just lonely and only wants to make friends.”

“Hmph…” Scootaloo sat down, crossing her arms. “Whatever. Like I want to make friends with a griffon. We’re better off without him. Ow!” She rubbed where Rainbow’s wing had flicked the back of her head.

“Scootaloo, you're this close to getting grounded ’til your folks come back and can ground you some more. I can’t believe what I’m hearing! You don’t want to give the kid a chance just because he’s a griffon? Didn’t you learn anything from what happened with Zecora? Don’t make the same mistake me and the girls made.”

Shooting back to her hooves, Scoots pointed an accusing hoof. “This is totally different. You guys never met a zebra before, but you have met griffons. You told me Gilda was a Grade-A bit—” A hoof jammed her mouth shut.

“Geez!” Rainbow looked around nervously and whispered, “Don’t ever use that word, squirt. Your mom will pluck me bald if she hears that come out of your mouth.” The hoof pulled away. “I said Gilda was a jerk. Not all griffons.”

Scootaloo just shrugged. “Whatever. Still don’t see what’s the big deal about being friends with him. On the playground, he was hanging out with the colts. He’s fine.”

“I still want to be friends with him,” piped in Sweetie Belle.

Scootaloo waved her off. “You just like his accent.”

Sweetie pouted while Apple Bloom frowned. “T’ain’t fair making fun of the way he talks, Scootaloo.”

Rainbow tsked and started packing first-aid supplies back into her bags.

“Sorry Scoots, but we’re gonna march right on over to that kid’s house, and you’re gonna apologize aaannnd now I sound like my mom. Great. Thank you for that, squirt. Now I feel old.”

“I don’t know why we need to be friends with griffons at all,” Scootaloo muttered.

Rainbow spun around and snapped curtly, “What? How can you say that? Scootaloo, it’s your duty as a pegasus to at least try and get to know him. The bond between the pegasi and the griffons is one of the oldest and most sacred in pony history. Didn’t Cheerilee teach you kids you that?”

“I don’t think we’re up to that chapter yet,” Apple Bloom informed her. “We're still on The Pre-Unification Period.”

Another tsk. “No wonder you're acting this way. Welp! Change of plans. Crusading’s canceled, girls. You’re coming with me to Twilight’s so we can make you understand just why you need to apologize first. Then we’ll go over to this new kid’s house.”

“Fine. I’ll go get my scooter,” Scootaloo started to trudge down the hill, but Rainbow tapped her shoulder, shaking her head.

“Not with those wings you’re not. No flapping until I’ve had a chance to preen you. Again. I’ll drive.”

Once she was sure the Crusaders were secure in their wagon (well, as secure as an open-air cart with no seat belts can be), Rainbow Dash hopped on the filly-sized scooter.

And proceeded to tip it over.

“Wait. Hold on. I got this.” She brushed herself off and tried again. “Just got to get my balance.” A slight wobble. Wings spread. “Here we go!”

If by “go” she meant kick off and roll a few feet before tipping over again.

“How do you make this stupid thing go?” she cried, righting the offending transport, examining where the steering pole poked through the baseboard. “And how do you even steer this thing? The handle’s not even connected to anything!”

Chapter 2: Why We Should Be Friends

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“...and that’s how the signing of the Fourth Hooves And Talon Trade Accord at Aquila lead to the intermingling of our economies!”

One hour.

One whole hour.

Rainbow knew the risks. There was always a fifty-fifty chance in coming to Twilight for help. Sometimes she dispensed advice and sent you on your merry way. The other half of the time though…

“So, any questions?” Twilight beamed a bright smile. “Oh!” Rainbow yawned and watched Twilight delight in unfurling graphs and charts. “So, who wants to hear about immigration trends?”

Rainbow buried her face in her hooves. “Twilight…”

The alicorn continued scribbling on the blackboard.

“Twilight!” Rainbow repeated louder, finally pulling her friend’s attention away from the impromptu lesson. “As thrilling as all this stuff is, don’t you think this is all a bit...umm… You know what? This is boring, Twilight! Dull and boring!”

Gasp! Twilight’s chalk fell from her magical grip to the floor.

Boring? I’d hardly call highlighting the most important treaties in Pony-Griffon history boring, Rainbow Dash. Everyone knows that increased trade is one of the best ways to strengthen friendships between nations. You understand, girls. Right?”

Apple Bloom lay snoozing, hooves batting the air while Sweetie used her as a pillow and Scootaloo snored into an open textbook.

Twilight offered a sheepish smile. “Okay, Maybe I might have gone a teeny-tiny bit overboard,” she admitted as the two adults went about shaking the girls awake.

Spike raised an eyebrow. “Really? You think so?”

“Look, Twilight,. I brought the girls here so you’d tell Scoots all about how griffons and ponies first met and became friends. Not… Interdependent Economics,” she read off the blackboard. “I mean at Junior Speedsters I became friends with Gilda when we were fighting over the last piece of cantaloupe left in the salad bar, but I don't think cantaloupe is in season now.”

“So who got the cantaloupe?” Scootaloo asked with a groggy yawn.

Dash puffed out her chest. “Me, of course. Got scratched up real bad, but it was worth it.”

“So…” Scootaloo rubbed her chin. “You want me to make friends with him by stealing a piece of fruit?”

“Yeah. Oh, wait. No. Um…” Rainbow mouthed, “Help Me!” in the alicorn’s direction.

“I don’t think that’s quite what she means, Scootaloo.” Twilight clapped her hooves. “Wait here! I have just what we need!” and called up the stairs, “Spike! Did you unpack the trunk from our trip to the Griffon Kingdom yet? And make some cocoa, please.”

“Gilda did get me back though,” Rainbow continued after the alicorn rushed upstairs. “Next day, stole my chocolate milk. So I stole her fries. Eventually, the principal dragged us both into his office and gave us a choice: Get used to each other or get kicked out of flight school. He also said something about liability insurance, I think.”

Several steaming cups of Spike’s Special Seven-Spiced Sumptuous Cocoa infused the group with enough sugar and caffeine to recover from Twilight’s “scintillating” lecture.

Scootaloo sipped from her cup. “So I should steal his milk too?”

“That just sounds likes a recipe for detention, if y’all ask me.”

Sweetie offered another idea. “What if you gave it back later?”

“Look, girls. No stealing, okay? Lets just wait for Twilight, and it’ll all make sense.”

Twilight teleported back in with a distinct pop! Annnd I’m back! So, maybe Economics was a bit much, so how about I read you the story about the first griffon to meet a pony?” Then, an embarrassed smack to her forehead, “Silly me, I almost forgot,” Twilight winked out and winked back in dressed in...

Rainbow fell off her cushion laughing. “Geez, Twilight, did you make a quick trip back in time to grab those duds? The Canterlot Renaissance Faire isn’t for two months.”

Twilight was dressed in a forest-green hooded robe with puffy sun-yellow sleeves covered in clashing red stripes that assaulted both the eyes and good taste. If that was not enough, there were even tiny bells wrapped all around everything, including the pink pointy shoes as garish icing on the fashion disaster cake.

Part of Dash really, really wished that Rarity would walk through the door in that very moment. The screaming and raw panic would have been hilarious. Fire would most certainly also have been involved, although Dash was fairly sure Rarity would remove the clothes from their wearer first.... Probably.

Sweetie Belle set down her empty mug to cheerfully applaud. “I think it looks neat.” Further proof of Rarity’s once drunken assertion that she was secretly adopted.

“Lame,” countered Scootaloo, filling Rainbow’s heart with sisterly pride.

“I’ll have you know that this is an authentic Griffon Storyteller’s outfit!” Twilight twirled her garish red cape with a jingling of tiny bells. Every time they rang, a fashionista dropped to the pavement dead in Manehatten as a ritual sacrifice to the gods of good taste. “It was a gift from King Aether on my last visit to Griffonia. Before schools became common, Royal Storytellers visited towns and villages, teaching children about their cultural history through stories, many quilled by the King himself.”

“I think the outfit’s pretty snazzy.” Showing that Spike did not understand Rarity as much as he liked to think, the little dragon was attired in a costume almost as breathtakingly 'rustic' as Twilight's, only with the addition of a somewhat out-of-tune lute which he insisted on strumming. “Ladies love a guy who plays the guitar.”

“A lute, Spike,” corrected Twilight. “And I’m not sure you’re playing it correctly.”

“Wow…” Rainbow whistled. “You got to meet The Sky King himself? Lucky.”

“What’s the big deal?” Scootaloo asked, voice thoroughly unimpressed. “I bet you could beat him in a race, Rainbow.”

“Hate to burst your bubble, Scoots, but no one outflies The Sky King. Not even The Dash.”

“Just as Princess Celestia and Princess Luna guide the Sun and the Moon, so too does King Aether command the Great Winds,” Twilight told them. “A single gust from his wings would hurtle Dash to the ground or shatter her against a cliff.”

“Total crash and burn, Scoots.” Rainbow sent her hoof spiraling to the floor. “Blam! Splat! Rainbow pancake.”

“Not that he would accept the challenge, of course,” Twilight explained. “In fact, it’s considered a tremendous breach of protocol to challenge the King to any physical contest. You wouldn’t think it at first glance, but King Aether is quite a gentle griffon. He’d feel terrible if he injured anyone.”

“What if he gave her a head start?” Scootaloo suggested.

Rainbow snorted at the mere mention of a handicap while Twilight shook her head. “That wouldn’t work. You see, Scootaloo, in griffon society everyone is expected to give their best effort no matter the task. To throw a contest on purpose, even to a friend, is seen as a grave insult, both to your opponent and to the competition. So, no, he wouldn’t hold back. Honor wouldn’t allow it.”

Apple Bloom raised a hoof. “This is interesting and all, but what do your fancy duds have to do with tellin’ us a story?”

Rainbow sighed as a familiar grin split her nerdy friend’s face. Had Apple Bloom learned nothing?

“That’s a very good question, Apple Bloom, with a long, complex answer—”

“No,” Rainbow deadpanned.

Twilight pouted. “But I have notecards—”

Eyes narrowed in suspicion. “...How many?”

“...Only several—”

“Well that’s not so bad.”


“No, Twilight.”

Oh c’mooon!”

Her whining left Rainbow unmoved. “You have ten seconds, or I’m taking the girls home.”

With a hmmph, Twilight agreed, complaining under her breath about learning opportunities wasted and unappreciated. She placed the heavy tome down on the floor and motioned towards the bright yellow cover with the inscriptions of griffins and pegasi flying in formation around a tall mountain peak covered in fluffy clouds. An iron talon clasping a brass hoof held it closed.

“The book is locked with an old griffon enchantment. Only by completing the traditional song and dance of the storytellers will it open.”

Her explanation was again met with narrowed eyes from Rainbow. “...You just made that up, didn’t you?”

“Please, Rainbow. She just wants to spread a little knowledge,” Spike whispered, nudging an elbow towards the quiver-lipped Princess of Friendship. “Is it always interesting? No. Just let Twilight have this. She asks so little.”

“Ugh… Fine,” Dash grunted, eyes rolling. “Go ahead, Twilight. Egghead away.”

“Yay!” The now gleeful Storyteller Twilight Sparkle skipped to the center of the room and nodded to Spike, who started strumming his lute. Wings were unfurled, throats were discretely cleared, and Rainbow Dash put her hooves over her ears, just in case...

(*) for a given quality of 'dance,' that is. Had she been near a medical facility, she might have received the same attention as a stroke victim or someone having an epileptic seizure. A rooster, it should be noted, would have dug her boogie and proposed on the spot.

And Twilight danced⁽*⁾. Her cape fluttered, creating swirls of loud color as she twirled. Her wings flapped and her bells jingled with each step, and she sang.

♫ Come little cubs. Come gather gather. Gather and hear the tale of how we met our best friends so true.

Come little chicks. Come gather gather. Gather and hear the tale of how we met our siblings of the sky.

Come little fledglings. Come gather gather. Gather and hear the tale of Hildegarde and Grey Feather. ♫

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

Once upon a time, long ago, there lived a young griffon named Hildegarde, a mighty huntress with no peer, most skilled in the land.

She was blessed by the Eagle Father with wings so broad that albatrosses cried out in envy. The Cat Mother granted her a lion’s size and strength thrice over, and she encountered neither beast nor griffon who could match her skills and power.

Yet, all her success made Hildegarde prideful, and she shunned the company of other griffons, preferring to hunt alone.

“Hildegarde, my proud daughter of the wind, “ her father told her one night. “You are a great hunter. This I do not deny. But to hunt alone, ‘’tis folly most great. You should hunt alongside friends, for a flock is watchful of the shadows which strike from behind.”

But Hildegarde did not heed her father's words. What need had she for friends? She was far stronger than any of the other griffons. True, the other hunters viewed Hildegarde with great admiration, and while some had approached her with offers of companionship, she rebuffed them all. Hildegarde had little time for such foolishness, instead spending all her time honing her skills with spear, sword, and net.

Then one day, a herald arrived in the village from the capital with a royal proclamation: ‘Be they peasant or highborn, whomsoever returns to King’s Nest bearing a prize deemed worthy of the King shall be inducted into The Iron Talons, the royal order of knights.’

The next the morning she packed, for she wished to fly far, far away to places unexplored, for surely there lived prey worthy of The King’s approval.

Her father was fraught with worry, and gave warning. “Hildegarde, my reckless daughter, do not fly there alone, for only danger awaits and your song will not carry. Your mother worries a grandmother she will never be. Why not set aside this folly and be wed?”

Again his words went unheeded. “I fly alone and never have I sang out for the aid of others.” She laughed. “My heart yearns not for friendship or love; it yearns for glory. What need I for a mate? Let one come who can snatch me from the sky. Let one come who can best me in a fight and has the strength to pin me to the earth. That one I shall marry and gladly bear their children. For now, fame and glory call, and my heart demands I answer.”

So she flew, for days and nights. Far, far from home to the edge of our lands in search of a worthy prize. One morning, Hildegarde made camp near a hot spring. While bathing in the steaming waters, she felt unknown eyes resting on her from the clouds above. Quick as an arrow’s flight, the mighty huntress spread her wings and took to the sky, only to find the cloud empty. Yet flapping wings drew her attention.

Hildegard knew of many beasts but this one was beyond her knowledge. Color of ash one might find heaped around a blacksmith’s forge, the handsome creature reminded her of a winged-doe, yet stockier. But it was the creature’s flight which mesmerized her. It flew with such grace and agility, and possessed such speed it became a dark speck against the sky within moments.

Her blood grew hot. Hildegarde knew this was the trophy she sought.

Quickly, Hildegard threw away her weapons and armor. As the Cat Mother commanded: Let those who hunt only for glory leave the trappings of steel behind and meet their prey as equals, for the skilled hunter needs naught but beak and claw.

Hildegarde flew higher, riding the thermal currents. The graceful beast was fast, but she knew it would soon tire.

Her prey proved wily, diving amongst a copse of needletrees, their canopy masking him from her sight. A hawk, she dove after him, but here her proud wings betrayed her. While he darted between trunks with the ease of a swallow, the much larger huntress was forced to slow, lest she crash.

For the first time, her pride was wounded, as her prey had escaped her grasp. Most vexed was she, but also filled with excitement. “For the harder the hunt, the more satisfying the taste of victory."

The next day, to her surprise, she awoke to him circling her tent, and the huntress once again spread her wings in chase. This time she was sure she would catch her quarry, and called on The Eagle Father to grant her speed.

And answer her prayers he did as she flew faster, growing closer and closer still. But this turned out to be an illusion. Just as she was within reach, he put on a burst of speed, evading her outstretched talons.

This happened numerous times. Each time she would draw near, and each time her talons would snatch only air. With each failure, the proud huntress grew more and more frustrated, her patience worn so thin she did not notice the dark clouds ahead.

By the time she realized her mistake, it was too late. The violent storm made her its plaything, casting her to and fro.

Her quarry reared back and struck a cloud. With the sound of thunder, a bolt of lightning shot forth. She had only a moment to wonder what sorcery allowed one to coax lightning from a cloud as a farmer milked goats before the powerful bolt struck her in the chest.

Stricken, the once invincible Hildegarde fell from the sky, and watched as the creature’s brethren appeared from their hiding places inside the storm to circle her like wolves. The hunter had become the hunted.

When she awoke, Hildegarde found herself inside a prison cell, the floors and walls miraculously built of cloud-stuff, but when tested felt hard as stone. The bars, crafted of lightning, were her only window to the outside world, and what she witnessed was truly amazing.

“Tis a fortress made of clouds. These creatures be not beasts, I can see it for true. Their coats may look soft and remind of flowers in spring, but their weapons look sharp and their pennant flies high. Surely this a conquering army be.”

And she sat in her cell and lamented her foolish pride as her father’s words rung true. She was alone. How would she warn her people? She was so far away and her song would not carry.

Hildegarde was not surprised when the ash-grey winged-deer entered her cell. Now far, far different from the wild animal he’d played days prior. Fine armor he wore now, more ornate than his fellows.

If he felt any fear of her, he hid it well, entering her cell alone and speaking to her in whinnies, nickers, and neighs.

Not that there was much she could do to him. The bolt of lightning had drained her might and left a full claw-width of charred flesh burned across her chest, while the fall had broken both of her wings.

Believing he wanted the glory of her death for himself, she made peace with the Cat Mother and Eagle Father and asked forgiveness for her arrogance.

But the cold bite of his blade upon her neck did not arrive. Instead, gentle hooves tended her wings, and a soft touch dampened the burning pain in her chest with soothing cream. Her jailer left her fish to eat and water to drink, and returned later laden with parchment, book and quill.

Each day he would visit to tend her wounds and teach her their letters, remaining by her side as they supped from the same plate.

Weeks passed and Hildegarde learned much. His name was Grey Feather of the Pegasi tribe, one of three amongst the pony race, and ascribed each feats beyond her imagining. Earth Ponies, who willed life from the soil at their touch. The Unicorns, who held sway over the heavens. And finally, his own tribe; they who bent the skies to their will.

Hildegarde would have scoffed at such boasts if not for witnessing the fact with her own eyes and feeling the power of the clouds on her own breast as the pegasi built a great fortress in the sky.

Grey Feather shared tales of his home, a land far away, across the ocean, ravaged by eternal winter, and of his leader, The Hurricane, who ordered expeditions to seek out a new land for their tribe. As the best scout, it fell on Grey Feather to lead this expedition.

In turn, she told him of her hunts and the many beasts she had overcome. When she arrived at the King’s proclamation, he laughed deeply, for he had only acted the wild beast to better evade discovery. To be considered a prize worthy of knighthood was most amusing. He’d feared if she returned to her people, an army would fall upon his soldiers. So, knowing he could not match her strength, the cunning soldier had lured her into the storm where his comrades had lain in wait.

Hildegarde felt her ire lessen at being bested by a worthy foe. Yet she vowed, once her wings healed, to escape.

But her injuries proved most dire, and as time passed she grew weaker; until on one visit Grey Feather found the huntress collapsed, burning with fever. The pegasus grew most worried. During their time together, he had grown fond of the griffon, although he had wisely kept his distance from her shackled limbs. But no longer. Stripping away the chains, he declared, “Do we not share the same warrior’s spirit? Just as I am son of the clouds, she is daughter to the wind. To let such heart pass into shadow would be a grave sin indeed.”

For weeks he remained constantly at her side, caring for her as a mother would her own chick. When her head grew warm, he offered wet cloth. When her body grew cold, he warmed her body with his own.

As she recovered, the pegasus did not retreat beyond her reach, nor place the chains back upon her limbs, for a bond had been formed between them, and the mighty huntress found herself troubled. Each time he left her cage, she felt a hole grow in her heart which she had never felt before. With each passing day it grew, a longing void which remained unfilled until his next visit.

One night, while between the sleeping and waking worlds, they were overcome by passion, and in the quiet night, they journeyed to places no other pony and griffon had ever visited. No longer captor and captive, but now something else, an emotion she had never experienced had come into their relationship, and she was no longer consumed by thoughts of escape.

The next morning, Grey Feather shook her awake. Outside, horns bellowed, and she watched the soldiers scramble about. When she asked him why, his face was grim.

The Hurricane had landed.

Grey Feather painted a bleak picture of his leader. Commander Hurricane was a bloodthirsty warrior who craved battle and would love nothing more than conquest over her kind. “My love, I bid you warn your king. Though letting you go shall mean my head, I do so gladly.” He offered her his lips and his sword before departing alone.

But Hildegarde did not flee. To abandon one’s mate is not our way. Instead, she did as her captors once did, and hid high amongst the clouds surrounding the fort.

Her quarry was easy to spot. The Hurricane towered as a cub amongst his toys, a full head and a half taller than his warriors. Clad in ornate silver armor and helmet crested in grey, he strode through the encampment with an authoritative air, followed by Grey Feather who matched his steps with an apprehensive expression.

More interesting was the robed unicorn who followed them, for she held parchment aloft in a strange glow from the horn on her forehead. Yet as interesting as the sorceress was, Hildegarde worried for her love and watched him to the exclusion of all else.

So focused was she that Hildegarde failed to the notice the patrol until it was too late. She cursed her lack of attention and attempted to flee, but the pegasus warriors swarmed her like bees. With nets and ropes they bound her again like captured prey. Although her claws could have made them pay a terrible toll for their assault, she found herself unable to draw blood against them. Even so, it took five pegasus warriors to drag her from the sky.

She was brought before The Hurricane bound in irons. The Commander took one look at the pony-forged blade she carried and flung it at Grey Feather’s hooves, wroth with fury. “Treason!” he cried. “You dare strike a pact with this monster against me? For your crime, there is but one punishment!”

She watched in dismay as The Hurricane’s guards threw Grey Feather to the ground and his leader raised his sword. Again, her pride had led her to folly, and now her love’s disgrace.

Hildegarde’s heart ached and she sung out, not for aid for herself but her love.

The Cat Mother, hearing her plea, blessed her and filled her limbs with power. With the roar of ten lions, Hildegarde burst free of her chains, scattering her captors to the winds. Powerful talons snapped The Hurricane's blade in twain like dry kindling, and her great wings unfurled, casting shadow enough to cow any soldier foolish enough to step forth.

Yet the Commander refused to back down. For he was The Hurricane, and cowered before no foe. Seizing a fallen spear, he thrust it at her exposed chest, a mighty blow that would have sundered even the thickest armor. But she was the Cat Mother’s blessed, the blade shattered against the power of her love, and The Hurricane found himself lifted off the ground as if he were a newborn hatchling.

With just the strength of one paw, she held aloft the great pegasus by the neck. From the other, her talons extended, for he had dared to threaten her beloved and she intended to exact a dire price.

Blood would certainly have been spilled at that moment if the horned one had not spoken.

“Cease!” Though slight of build, the unicorn’s sorcery was powerful, and the command echoed throughout the camp with the power of a thunderclap. Even the mighty Hurricane ceased to struggle in her grasp, casting his eyes away from the talons which were poised to end his life and towards the unimposing pony who seemed so soft and weak to the eye.

“Be at ease, stranger. We seek not conflict with you or your kind.”

Sensing peace in the robed unicorn, Hildegarde released The Hurricane, but stood sentinel over her love.

“Commander, withdraw your soldiers,” the unicorn ordered. “Have we learned nothing? Our tribes fought amongst ourselves for so long and through so many misunderstandings. Now we stand before a new people. Shall our first act be to repeat the same mistakes and start again down the road of hatred?”

At the unicorn’s sage wisdom, the ponies did withdraw.

Hildegarde learned later her name to be Clover the Clever, chief advisor to the Princess of the Unicorns.

Clover repeated Grey Feather’s tale of escape from a land of eternal winter and the search for a new place to settle. Through the power of friendship, the once warring tribes had unified. She had accompanied the Commander across the sea in search of the lost Pegasi expeditions so that they might return home to their new country of Equestria.

What followed should be well known to you. Both Clover and Commander Hurricane made themselves known to our King, and King Aether in his wisdom recognized the Pegasi as fellow children of the Eagle Father, offering welcome to any Pegasi who wished to stay in our lands. Many chose to do so and from them was established the first embassy our kingdom had ever known.

As for Hildegarde, the huntress was true to her word, marrying he who had bested her. Under the royal gaze of King Aether, Hildegarde and Grey Feather were wed, the first of many such unions, and went on to bear the world’s first hippogriffs; a sign from Eagle Father and the Cat Mother that the bond between Griffon and Pegasus is truly blessed.

☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁ ☁

“And they lived happily ever after. The End.” Twilight closed the book. “So what did you girls think?”

“I thought it was romantic.” Sweetie’s expression turned thoughtful. “But how do you kiss someone with a beak?”

“Carefully, Sweetie.” Rainbow unconsciously pursed her lips. “Very carefully.”

“I thought it taught an important lesson about friendship and not judging others.” Apple Bloom nodded. “Right, Scootaloo?”

The girls turned to Scootaloo who fidgeted. “...I guess the part where she busted free of those chains was kinda cool,” she acceded. “And how she kicked Commander Hurricane’s tail to save Grey Feather, that was pretty awesome. Even if was kinda mushy,” she added, making a face.

Rainbow stood up and ushered the fillies towards the door. “C’mon, girls. Twilight Time’s over. Dinner time is now.”

“One last thing, Rainbow,” Twilight laid a hoof on Scootaloo shoulder. “So, do you know what you're going to do the next you see your griffon classmate?”

The filly thought for a moment then nodded. “Yup. I totally know what to do. Rainbow, can we skip Sven’s house? I want to apologize myself tomorrow.”

Sven was enjoying lunch on his second day at school seated at a bench with the other colts from class. They’d been most impressed that he’d managed to win a fight with the toughest filly in school. However, for his part, Sven felt embarrassed.

After he’d arrived home yesterday, his parents had scolded him about fighting with ponies. These were their new neighbors, after all, and it would not do to make a poor impression. Wing language was different between griffons and pegasi, and he had likely made a fool of himself. It was rather confusing, but he hoped she’d accept his apology. Just as he thought about her, the same little pegasus marched up to his table and grabbed the orange from his tray.

“Hey, kid.” She wore a clear challenge across her face. Tossing his fruit up and down, she flared her wings proudly, and he felt his blood rise at the display. “If you want this back, you’re gonna have to catch me.” With a wink and a cocky smile, she became a cloud of dust in the distance.

And a new hunt was on.