Chapter 27: The night for bad news

The sun was setting fast as the sky began to get darker. Buster and Charades started to look brighter as they walked through the shadowy forest. Booster and Rosebud followed them quietly as they thought about Luna. They walked through the forest and up the hill on the cobble stone trail. The animals stopped and watched them as they walked by.
By the time they reached the Gate there was only a sliver of the sun left. Buster and Charades were glowing even more than they did before.
"It'll be open very soon," Charades told everyone.
Buster lowered his head at a thought he had. "I feel awful. We are her guards, we were suppose to protect her."
"Protect her from what?" Booster asked. "No one knew this would ever happen or who took her and why."
"Yes you're right, but we are still her guards and it is our job to protect her," Buster told them.
"That does not bother me," Charades suddenly said. "What bothers me is what King Stardust will say to us for not guarding his daughter."
"I'm sure he will understand. Besides, she was going to school. You guys can't follow her to school every morning," Booster pointed out.
"Your right," Buster finally admitted.

Once the sun was completely gone, the gate opened showing a mirror rippling image of the other world.
Stardust wearing his crown and golden collar walked through the gate with his two brothers. They too wore their golden collars.
Stardust stood before them and noticed Luna was not with them nor could he sense her anywhere nearby.
"Where is Luna?" Stardust asked.
"She's gone," Charades answered.
"She went to school this morning but never got there or came home," Booster explained.
"What happened to her?" Skyview asked.
"We don't know," Charades answered. "We looked all over town and didn't find her."
"We only found her school bag and locket," Booster added.
Stardust was deeply worried as he suddenly looked at the ground. "This seems to be the night for bad news."
"What do you mean?" Buster asked.
Stardust looked up at them with a serious look. "Star Cluster and Fallon are gone. A pony snuck into Dream Castle and took the crystal ball that they were in. We came here to warn you and Luna but...it looks like we're too late."
"What?" Buster exclaimed surprised what he had heard.
"I thought the crystal ball was well guarded!" Charades exclaimed.
"Yes it is for any normal pony," Skyview replied.
"But this pony wasn't normal," Starfire added.
"He had the ability to freeze anyone. He froze my guards and took the ball. Keep an eye out for him," Stardust told them. "He's ice blue, wears a cloak and is about the same age as Luna."
"Isn't he...part of the Royal family?" Buster asked.
"No he is not," Stardust answered.
"But how is it possible for someone outside the Royal family to have abilities?" Charades asked.
"We don't know," Skyview answered. "We don't know anything else about him."
"So could he have taken Lunarstar?" Rosebud asked as her tears slowed down to a slight trickle.
"I doubt it. He was after Star Cluster and Fallon, not Luna," Stardust pointed out.
"Could Star Cluster have taken her?" Rosebud asked.
"I can't see how. The Gate was closed when he was taken and hasn't opened till now. No one can possibly go through the gate, not even Star Cluster," Stardust answered.
"So who could have taken her and why?" Booster asked.
"Stardust, what are we going to do?" Starfire asked.
"We should stay and look for her," Stardust answered. He looked at Booster and Rosebud. "Do you have room for us in your house for a while?"
"We only have one guest room," Booster replied.
"That will be fine. We can manage," Stardust told him.
"King Stardust, what about Queen Royal Heart?" Charades asked.
"I will send a letter to her to explain everything," Stardust replied.
"Well come with us to the house," Booster said to him.

They left the gate and began walking through the forest as the light from their glowing bodies lit the forest surroundings. They followed the copper stone trail down the hill and through the thick forest. When they came to the edge of the forest they stopped and looked around.
"I think I better wink Starfire and me to the house," Skyview muttered. His horn began to glow, he turned facing Starfire and touched his horn on Starfire's head. Suddenly they disappeared in a misty gray cloud. A second later, Skyview appeared and touched Stardust on the head then winked out.
Booster, Rosebud, Buster and Charades left the forest and walked quickly to the house. They walked in and saw the black ponies standing in the living room.
"I need a piece of paper and something to write on," Stardust said.
"I'll get it," Rosebud hurried up stairs, a few minutes later she came down stairs carrying a large pink and blue paper with a pen. She set it on the table next to Stardust and sat on the couch next to Luna's school bag.
Stardust took the pen and began writing on the paper while everyone stood silently watching. Stardust wrote a long letter and hoped Royal Heart wouldn't worry. When he was done, he folded the paper and handed it to Skyview, "Take that to King Sea Mist and have him send a pegasus to Dream Castle. It must be given directly to Royal Heart. Hurry Skyview before the gate closes."
Skyview took the paper and winked out.
"We should get to bed when Skyview gets back. I want to get an early start tomorrow looking for Luna," Stardust said.
"She's not in Ponyland," Booster told him.
"I'd feel better if I looked for myself," Stardust replied.
"I can show you where her stuff was found," Buster proposed.
"That's fine," Stardust replied.
"What stuff?" Starfire asked.
Booster pointed to the couch. "Her school bag and locket."
Stardust picked up the torn end of the bag, "Looks like it was torn from the seems."
"She had to be struggling hard for it to tear like that," Starfire commented.
Stardust picked up the locket and opened it.
"She never takes that off," Rosebud whispered as she tried her best not to cry.
Stardust set the locket on the table.
"If your going to tomorrow, you might not want to wear your crown and collar," Booster suggested.
"Oh," Stardust took his crown off his head. "I forgot. If it's alright, I would like to leave my crown and our collars here until we return through the gate."
Of course," Rosebud said.
Booster took the crown. "It'll be safe in the attic for now."
Rosebud took Starfire's collar and waited till Skyview returned.
After a short while Skyview winked back into the living room, "The letter is on it's way to Dream Castle."
"Good. Skyview give your collar to Rosebud," Stardust told him.
Skyview slipped his collar off his neck and handed it to her. "Why?"
"We can not wear them in this world. We'll get them back when we're ready to return through the Gate," Stardust explained, "In the meantime, let's get some sleep."
I'll show you to your room," Booster said and lead them upstairs with Rosebud behind them.
Buster and Charades left the house and headed back to their rented apartment.
Booster took them to the room next to Luna's then he left them and went to the end of the hall where a set of stairs stood in the corner, Rosebud followed him.
"Goodnight," Rosebud said to the black ponies as they entered the room.
"Goodnight," the black ponies replied.