Inés scanned the pasture. Which pegasus did she want to catch? A blue roan coloured mare caught her eye. She was darting playfully through the air, twisting and turning.
Inés moved towards her, her steps slow and measured. she stayed close, waiting for her to land. When she did, Inés made her move. She started by creeping very slowly, getting so close that she could practically reach out and touch the mare. Then she lunged, only to have her prey dart quickly into the air while she fell to the ground.
She located the mare quickly enough. She was flying right overhead, looking almost amused.
“If I didn’t know better,” Inés muttered. “I’d swear you were teasing me.” The mare turned away from her, kicked in her direction and whirled around, flying right in front of her and away, turning after a point to look at her.
“You are teasing me!” Inés declared. “I’m definitely catching you now!”
Serena moved carefully, not wanting to startle any of the pegasi. She spotted a steel grey mare. Strangely, this pegasus also had a horn jutting out from her head.
Serena moved carefully towards her. “Hello, Girl,” she spoke softly, soothingly. “How are you doing?” She inched closer. “Where id you get that horn? Did your mama breed with a unicorn?”
The mare reared back, visibly agitated and Serena froze in place. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “I won’t hurt you.” She put her hands up by her sides. “See, I don’t have anything dangerous.”
The mare examined her, looking quizzical. She took a few steps back away from Serena and grazed on some grass, keeping her eyes on Serena.
Sylvie examined the nearby pegasi, trying to determine which one would be the easiest to catch.
A palomino with her wings folded caught Sylvie’s eye. Her right wing seemed to e injured. Had she crashed or been in a fight?
Either way, she couldn’t fly. At least not now. The damage didn’t look permanent. Surely, the codger wouldn’t complain about a pegasus just because she had a temporary injury.
Sylvie moved towards her carefully. Even if she couldn’t fly, a wounded horse could be very dangerous.
The mare looked back at Sylvie and Sylvie froze in place. The mare stared at her before turning away to continue grazing. Sylvie waited for a moment and started moving again. The mare looked back and Sylvie froze again The mare stared at Sylvie, looked down at the ground and backed quickly away from Sylvie’s location. Moving much farther than she had been before returning to grazing. Sylvie sighed, this was going to be difficult.
Inés didn’t wait this time, she lunged as soon as the mare landed. Her hands brushed her sides, but the pegasus was swiftly back in the air. She touched her hooves gently against Inés’ back and darted back into the air.
“This really is a game to you, isn’t it?” Inés gasped. The mare looked smugly at her. “You’re fast, I’ll give you that,” Inés said. She stretched, feeling sore from the number of times she’d crashed into the ground while chasing this mare.
Inés looked back. Lilis was approaching. She was alone.
“Lilis, what’s up?” Inés asked.
“I thought you might be hungry from your trial,” Lilis said. She held out a small box. “Please, accept some provisions.”
Inés opened the box and examined the variety of food inside. Most she recognised. There were some sausages, steamed vegetables, apple slices and a strange golden coloured flaky thing. “What’s that?” she asked.
“Ambrosia,” Lilis answered.
“I’m honoured,” Inés said.
“Not at all,” Lilis stated. “You deserve only the best.”
Inés began eating, but didn’t touch the apple slices. She had a plan for them.
Serena took another slow, careful step forward, watching the mare to judge her reaction.
“You’re a very pretty horse, aren’t you?” she asked, her throat getting dry. She pondered whether or not she could get her canteen without upsetting the pegasus and ruining her progress. “Do you mind if I drink some water?” She indicated her belt.
The pegasus whinnied. “Thank you,” Serena said. She slowly reached down and took a long drink from her canteen before returning it. “You’re getting used to me, aren’t you?”
The pegasus moved the last remaining steps up to her and nudged her shoulder. Serena reached up and gently stroked her mane. “That’s a good girl.”
The pegasus looked at Serena and then looked back and whinnied.
“Can I really?” Serena asked. The pegasus whinnied again. Serena moved over and hesitantly climbed on her back.
Sylvie moved carefully, cautiously. She was tired, sweaty and annoyed, but she maintained her focus. It seemed that her target kept moving away every time she was starting to get near.
The mare looked at her, looked at the ground separating them and moved as though to trot away again.
“Wait!” Sylvie cried. The mare paused and looked back at her. “You’re hurt, right?” Sylvie asked. “I have some salve. If you’ll let me put it on you, it should help your wing.”
The pegasus looked at her, looked away, looked back at her and then, seemingly making up her mind, moved slowly towards Sylvie, stretching out her wing towards her.
Sylvie slowly grabbed the salve from her bag and began gently applying it to the wounded wing. The pegasus shook but she stayed put.
“It must be scary,” Sylvie said. “I understand.” She glanced at the pegasus’ back. She might be able to grab her. Then use her lightning magic to bring her under control but something stopped her. It just seemed wrong to use force against such a magnificent beast. She finished putting the salve on. “Better?”
The mare whinnied and nuzzled her shoulder. Sylvie patted her muzzle. “There you go. Will you come along with me?”
The mare backed away from Sylvie, looked back away from her and back to her. Finally, she moved back alongside Sylvie.
“Thank you,” Sylvie said, leading the pegasus away.
“Hey, want some apple?” Inés asked, holding out a slice. The pegasus swooped down, ate it from her hand and dashed back up. “You won’t be satisfied unless I catch you, right?” Inés asked.
The mare let out a loud nicker.
“Didn’t think so,” Inés said. She tossed another slice into the air. “Catch!”
The mare hurriedly grabbed it and moved back, watching Inés for a reaction.
“Catch!” Inés called, throwing another. Again, the mare caught it.
“Final slice,” Inés muttered. “Catch!” This time, she leapt from the ground when the pegasus moved to catch the slice. She was able to catch her side and scramble up to her back. “Satisfied?”
The mare landed gently on the ground. Inés dismounted and turned to face her. “This way,” Inés nodded back towards the gate. Obediently, the mare followed.