Chapter 36: The Stranger behind them

Stardust ran ahead of his brothers through the shady forest. When Stardust arrived he got a great surprise. Luna was laying on the ground unconscious. Stardust hadn't noticed the other two ponies on the ground he was more worried about Luna. Stardust hurried over to Luna and picked her up in his arms.
"Luna," Stardust called to her but she didn't wake up. He held her close to his black coat, hugging her. "I can't believe I found you."
Luna was still unconscious and wouldn't wake up. When Skyview and Starfire arrived they too got a great surprise.
"Luna!" they cried surprisingly.
"She won't wake up but at least she's breathing," Stardust told them.
"Well that's good," Starfire replied as he looked around.
"I wonder what happened here," Skyview wondered out loud. "And who is that girl?" Skyview pointed to the pony next to Stardust.
"Pineapple," A voice answered.
The boys turned looking shocked that someone was there. The tan pony walked out from a tree and stood before them. "Her name is Pineapple. She's the Chief's daughter."
"Who?" Starfire asked.
"The Chief in my village."
Stardust recognized the pony in town who told them about the statue.
"Why are you following us?" Stardust asked.
"You knew the dragon was feathered and it was a girl. No one knows that but the natives. So I followed you hoping to learn more and then you went into the forest so I though you were after the real statues."
"Who are you?" Skyview asked.
The tan pony stared at him as if he had forgotten Skyview was a unicorn.
"My name is Mango," He looked at Skyview curiously. "Are you real?"
Starfire chuckled at the question.
"Yes, I'm a real unicorn."
"So what do we do with Luna and her friend?" Starfire asked.
"Take them to my village. Pineapple's father sent me to find her, so he will be pleased to see her," Mango replied.
"Did she run away or something?" Starfire asked.
"Sort of. She's as bad as those treasure hunters. She sneaks off looking for power and wisdom."
"Just what is that?" Skyview asked.
"I can't say. You'll have to ask the Chief that," Mango replied.
"Skyview you can carry the girl," Stardust told him. "Starfire..." He paused when he noticed Starfire wasn't next to him. He looked around and saw him a little farther away.
"Stardust, you won't believe who I found!" Starfire exclaimed.
Stardust, Skyview and Mango walked over to Starfire and saw Star Cluster laying on the ground.
"Well, he's got a lot of explaining to do when he wakes up!" Stardust said angrily.
"Who is he?" Mango asked noticing the same hairy feet as the black ponies.
"He is our little brother," Skyview replied. "Star Cluster."
Mango looked at him surprisingly. "He looks nothing like you three."
"That's because we are triplets. Star Cluster is not," Stardust explained.
Starfire lowered his head to Star Cluster's body and stared.
"What are you looking at?" Skyview asked.
"Nothing, that's the problem. I can't find his key that he always wears on his neck," Starfire replied.
Skyview moved Star Cluster's head and then his feet but he still couldn't find it.
"Look for a golden key," Skyview told Mango.
They spent a few minutes looking around but there was no key.
"It's not here. Not the key or his staff," Stardust told him.
"That is strange. He never takes it off. Not even in bed," Skyview told him.
"Well we can look again later. Let's get them to the village. Starfire, you can carry Luna. I will carry Star Cluster," Stardust turned and gave Luna to Skyview. "Can you put Star Cluster on my back?"
"Sure, just stand still." Skyview's horn began to glow. Mango watch with fascination as Skyview made a cloud appear.
It flattened out and slipped under Star Cluster. Then the cloud lifted and floated to Stardust's back. It changed shape to fit Stardust's back. Then it dissolved leaving Star Cluster on his back.
"Now for Luna," Skyview added. He walked aver to Starfire and laid her on his back. "Spread your wings so she won't fall."
Starfire stretched his wings and held Luna on his back. "Well that certainly feels good."
Mango stared surprisingly at his wings. He had no idea Starfire was a pegasus.
"Mango would you put her on my back?" Skyview asked.
"Oh, yes of course." Mango walked over to Pineapple and picked her up, then place her on Skyview's back.
"Now we are ready to leave," Stardust told Mango.

Mango took them far into the forest away from town. They crossed the river from a bridge and then through the grassy forest, where they were forced to spend the night. The next morning they continued their journey traveling to the other side of the island deep in the forest. The sun was starting to set and they had walked very far from where they had camped.
"Where is your village?" Starfire asked.
"Not far now," Mango replied. "It's close to the beach."
"I can't believe these three never woke up," Skyview remarked.
"What ever happened must have really knocked them out good," Starfire guessed.

They followed Mango through the flat grassy land till they saw a group of straw and stick houses. Little ponies ran around and played till they saw Mango coming.
Mango took the black ponies into the village. The ponies stood at their houses staring silently at the black ponies. The wings, horn and their black fur fascinated them, even their hairy feet.
The Black ponies walked past a well to a large straw house ahead of them. The silence of the village got the Chief worried. He came out to find Mango and three black ponies standing before him.
The Chief was yellow almost white. His mane was bright yellow and green but his tail was all green. he wore a silver and copper medallion around his neck. The Chief was not pleased to see strangers in his village but once he saw Pineapple on the Skyview's back he was no longer angry but worried.
"What happened to my daughter?" the Chief asked walking up to Skyview.
"We have no idea," Stardust told him. "We found her like that with my daughter and little brother."
The Chief took his daughter off of Skyview and laid her on the ground.
"She hasn't woken up yet," Mango told him.
The Chief continued to call her and shake her till she moved her leg. She opened her eyes but the light was still bright. She quickly closed her eyes and rubbed them with her hooves.
"Pineapple?" The chief called to her.
Pineapple opened her eyes again trying to adjust to the sunlight. She looked up and saw her father standing over her.
"Daddy?" Pineapple whispered. "Where am I?"
"Home where you belong."
Suddenly Pineapple remembered her friend. "Luna! where is she?"
"Here," Stardust replied.
Pineapple didn't recognize the voice. She slowly sat up from the ground and gasped at them.
"Luna is my daughter. Please can you tell us was happened to you and her?"
"Yes Pineapple. I too would like to know that," added the chief.
"Umm," Pineapple thought. "Me and Luna were...searching....and then we came across the dragon statue," Pineapple gasped when she saw Star Cluster on Stardust's back and pointed at him. "That purple pony pointed some stick with a ball on it at us. Then something shot out from it and hit us, The light was so bright we couldn't see. That's all I can remember."
"Just who is that pony?" the Chief asked.
"Unfortunately, he is our little brother. He had kidnaped my daughter and we've come along way to bring her back."
"Your daughter?" the Chief asked.
Stardust pointed to Luna who laid unconscious on Starfire's back.
The Chief and everyone in the village stared. A pegasus and a unicorn was amazing but a winged unicorn was shocking. It was unheard of.
"Is she alright?" Pineapple asked.
"I don't know. She hasn't woken up. You're the first so far," Stardust replied. Just then he felt Star Cluster move his head. Stardust looked at his side and saw that Star Cluster was waking up.
"What is it?" Starfire asked.
"He's waking up. Now we will get some answers," Stardust told him.
Star Cluster slowly opened his eyes. The light was so bright he covered his eyes with his hooves for a minute then looked again. The bright light had left and he was able to see clearly.
"Well well, if it isn't our troublesome little brother....pretty boy!" Stardust exclaimed.
Star Cluster gasped surprisingly. He lifted his head and saw that he was on Stardust's back. To everyone's surprise Stardust reared high, letting Star Cluster fall off and hit the ground. Stardust turned around and kicked the dirt under his hoof.
"Just what do you think you were doing with Luna?" Stardust asked him.
"Luna?" Star Cluster asked.
Stardust pointed at Starfire. "Luna, my daughter. What did you do to her?"
Star Cluster laid on his back staring at Luna. He couldn't remember what happened.
"What did you do to her friend too?" Stardust asked.
"I-I don't know," Star Cluster replied.
Stardust stomped his hoof creating a rumbled through the ground.
"I am serious. I don't know!" Star Cluster yelled at him.
"You're the only one who can weald the staff. Just what did you do to them when you shot them?" Stardust asked angrily.
"I did nothing!" Star Cluster exclaimed angrily. "I was told to do that and nothing more."
"Where's your key?" Starfire asked.
"My...key?" Star Cluster asked, checking his neck only to find nothing there. He laid there thinking about what Fallon had said to him the other day. 'If I can get all her powers I can be set free.'
"He's gone," Star Cluster muttered under his breath.
"Who is gone?" Skyview asked.
Star Cluster glared at him. "I forgot you have those super hearing ears of yours."
Skyview looked at him surprisingly.
"You didn't think I knew that did you?" Star Cluster turned over to his side. "Well it's none of your business."
Stardust pawed the dirt. "That does not explain what happened to Luna and her friend."
"You can stomp your mighty feet and paw the ground for all I care. I'm not telling you!" Star Cluster exclaimed angrily.
Stardust looked at him angrily but there was nothing he could do. He turned and faced the Chief. "Can we stay here for a while?"
"Yes of course you can. You can stay in my house in the extra room we have."
"Thank you. Is there a place we can put my little brother?" Stardust asked.
"Like a jail or something?"
"Yes."
"Yes, there is a place we can put him for the time being," the Chief called to the guards who walked up to Star Cluster and pointed their sharp ended spears at him.
Star Cluster sat up only to find his front legs weak. He tried to get his hind legs to stand but couldn't. They were to weak.
"What's the matter?" Starfire asked noticing the trouble Star Cluster was having trouble trying to stand.
"Nothing," Star Cluster tried again and this time he was able to get on his four feet but his legs were weak. His knees and ankle almost gave in, coming close to making Star Cluster fall. He slowly stood up, getting better balance this time. It puzzled him as to why his legs felt so weak. Pineapple had no trouble standing or walking so why did he?
"Are you ok?" Skyview asked.
Star Cluster lifted his head and looked angrily at his brothers. "Don't tell me my big brothers are worried about me?" Star Cluster turned his face and followed the guard ahead of him, as he walked slowly trying hard not to fall over.
The Chief looked at the black ponies curiously. "You three looks so much alike and yet the fourth does not."
"We are triplets, Star Cluster is not," Stardust explained.
"Oh," The Chief replied. "I am Chief Tahoe. Most calls me Chief. What are your names?"
"Stardust."
"Skyview."
"Starfire."
"You can be our first village guests. Would you please come in? I'm sure you want to lay your daughter down to rest," Chief Tahoe kindly said. He turned with Pineapple beside him and walked inside with the black ponies behind him. He took them through the hard wood floor in the living room to a large room with blankest and pillows piled high.
"You can sleep in here," Chief Tahoe said.
"Thank you," Stardust replied.
Skyview took a blanket and pillow and laid it on the floor. Then he took Luna from Starfire's back and carefully laid her on the blanket.
"Are you three hungry?" Chief Tahoe asked.
"Yes," Starfire replied.
"Why am I not surprised?" Skyview muttered.
"Not me, I'm going to stay here with Luna. You two can go with him," Stardust told them.
"Ok but let us know the minute she wakes up," Skyview replied.
They turned and left Stardust in the room with Luna. He walked around Luna, folded her wings and laid beside her. "Oh Luna please wake up." Stardust nuzzled her on the cheek, but she still did not wake up.