It’s back again! Sorry this is a little long as well. Enjoy!
Arion sat on the bench with three books stacked next to him and a fourth in his hands. He’d never really perceived himself as a bookworm, but the books Caddie had given him were practically impossible to put down. Currently he was reading about weapons, and he was on a rare one depicting lackluster green stones.
“The green stones in the picture above are not harmless river-stones as one might think. These are actually dangerous weapons. The green, stony-appearance shell is hollow and can contain anything, as it is a literal Void container with infinite capacity; most commonly it contains an explosive substance. When the shell is smashed, whatever is inside is unleashed upon anyone unlucky enough to be in range. Only beings of great power can wield them, much like the Gravity Stone, but unlike the Stone, it does not disintegrate any nearby organisms.”
Arion was interrupted from his reading by a tiny foal hybrid who cantered up beside him. “Wow, you’re the unmortal!” he whispered in awe.
“Hi there,” Arion greeted the foal. “I’m Arion.”
“Really?” The foal’s small brown eyes widened. “My name’s Arion too!”
“That’s interesting,” Arion replied. “Aren’t we named after a god or something?”
“Arion is the name of a swift immortal horse in Greek mythology,” the foal neighed, clearly proud to know this.
“Cool!” Arion grinned at his little foal friend. “I didn’t know that. Maybe my parents named me after the immortal horse too.”
“Awesome, right?” The foal turned around in a circle, flicking his dark brown tail. “My mum told me I’m descended from him.”
“I can see the resemblance,” Arion responded. “Any horse as noble as yourself must be descended from the original Arion.”
“You think I’m noble?” The foal did a little skip. “Wait ’til mum finds out!” He cantered off with a quick “Goodbye!”
Arion waved to him as he left, then sat back with his book and began to read. He thought the town and its inhabitants very nice, but also a little unsettling that they treated him as a sort of savior. He wasn’t sure he was ready for that responsibility.
The foal returned before long. “Mum thought it was cool too!” he neighed proudly, but Arion could tell something was bothering him.
“What’s wrong?” Arion asked, closing the book.
The foal’s ears and tail drooped. “Mum has to go do field work,” he muttered dejectedly. “And dad’s not around anymore, either. Mum always has so much work to do, and now we have to do it because she’ll be gone.”
“What field work?” Arion asked concernedly.
“You know, the forest is dying and all that,” the foal sighed. “And invasions of other species. She works in the forest restoration department, but now they got a hint that there might be a statue outside somewhere, so now she has to fight her way through the human world to get to it. She might not come back.”
“Statues? What? The forest is dying?” Arion could hardly believe it.
“Yeah, that’s why the hybrids want more territory in the human world,” the foal explained. “Mum said it’s because the statues that keep this forest alive have gone missing, so now the forest is dying and we can’t live here anymore. Plus all the elves and angels and demons and other creatures keep trying to invade our space.”
“That’s terrible.” Arion frowned, trying to fit the pieces together.
“But now you’re here!” The foal brightened up a little. “You’ll fix it! You’re the all-powerful unmortal! You can control anything! You’ll find the statues, and the forest will be alive again, and we’ll all be happy! That is why you came, right?”
“Yeah,” Arion said, not having the heart to tell him that wasn’t his reason, that he couldn’t even use his powers to begin with. “We’re trying our best.”
“Whatcha reading?” The foal asked, changing the subject. “I can’t read yet. Mum said my older sister’s gonna teach me when I get a little older.”
Arion glanced at the title of the book. “Advanced Weaponry,” he said. “Right now I’m reading about these lackluster green stones.”
“Oh, yeah!” The foal did another little skip. “Dad told me about those once, before the last war. They sound really dangerous.” He leaned in to whisper something, and Arion bent down to hear. “I overheard Peregrine saying something to Obsidian the other day. I think one of The Master’s servants has a whole laundry-basket full of them.”
“Laundry basket?” Arion frowned. “Why a laundry basket?”
The foal shrugged. “I dunno. Just be careful.”
“You too,” Arion told the little foal. “I can tell from your spirit that you’re a strong fighter, so you’d be a great asset to this town should it ever be under attack. Don’t go looking for a fight, but I can tell you’ll be fantastic if you ever have to. Be aware of it, though. Use that smart mind of yours.” Arion patted him on the head.
“Thanks!” The foal pranced around in a circle again. “I think I must have gotten it from Dad. He was one of the best!”
The foal’s ears and tail drooped again. “Yeah. He died in the last war. Victim to a stone giant guardian thing.”
“He would be proud of your spirit.” Arion smiled at the small foal.
“You think so?” The foal looked up, chocolate eyes brimming with hope.
“Of course!” Arion pointed to the sky. “He’s waiting up there, watching you, and thinking, ‘Wow, am I lucky to have such an amazing little foal!’”
“Thanks, Arion. You’re the best.” The foal clip-clopped his hooves on the concrete sidewalk. “Nice talking to you!”
“And you,” Arion told the foal. “You’ll make a great warrior someday.” He waved goodbye as the foal left for the last time.
Once again, as he sat back to read, he felt the pressure of everyone on his shoulders. He wasn’t sure if he could do it, but he certainly wouldn’t give up trying.