Chapter 16: Land of hills

It was morning and the birds began chirping. Stardust and an army of soldiers continued walking through the shadowy forest as they looked around for wild animals. At times a soldier would spot a deer or possum and at times a rabbit would run by. Starfire had yawned several times since he first woke up.
"Haven't you woken up yet?" Skyview asked him.
"Yes, I'm simply tired from being board," Starfire replied.
"Well we can't play which I'm kind of glad. I don't feel like playing," Skyview told him.
"You never feel like playing. If it wasn't for me you'd be an old grouch," Starfire replied.
Skyview glared at him.
Luna giggled, "well there is a game I used to play with..umm...Rosebud and Booster when I was li..I mean younger." Luna almost forgot that not all the soldiers knew about the gates.
"Luna, you know what I said about playing," Stardust warned her.
"I know but this game require no running around. Just your eyes and brains," Luna replied.
"What kind of game is it?" Starfire asked curiously.
"Well, you look around and choose something you see. Tell what color it is and only one color. Then the other pony has to guess what it was that you were looking at," Luna replied.
"That does not sound like fun," Skyview replied.
"It is. It'll help pass the time. I can go first," Luna told him. She looked around for something, anything that wouldn't be hard to guess and not so easy either, "I see something you don't see and it's...yellow."
"Yellow?" Starfire and Skyview asked.
"There's nothing around here that's yellow," Skyview exclaimed.
Royal Heart laughed.
Starfire and Skyview looked around but all they saw was green grass, green trees and blue skies.
"Oh, the flowers," Starfire guessed.
"Nope," Luna replied smiling.
"Something yellow...Oh how about, yellow pony soldiers?" Skyview asked.
"Nope," Luna replied.
"Oh, I know...gold like Stardust's crown and our collars," Starfire guessed.
Luna smiled, "Yes. I'd thought you'd never guess."
Royal Heart laughed, "how could you not notice that?"
The two just smiled not sure why neither of them noticed.
"Well I'll go next," Starfire quickly said.

They spent all afternoon playing the game till they came to the edge of the forest. They stopped and stared at the open valley. Not much grew there, only a few trees, grass and flowers. The valley was also full of hills and flattened again at the other end of the valley where the forest begins again.
"Wow, all those hill and not one flat ground," Luna exclaimed surprisingly. She had seen places with quite a few hill but nothing like this place.
"This is the Valley of Hills," Stardust told her, "Royal Heart want to rest or continue?"
"I'm fine, lets get going," Royal Heart told him.

They continued walking slowly going down the hill, as soon as they reached the bottom they started to climb. After going over four hills Luna was getting tied of the constant ups and downs, she was ready for flat land. Royal Heart's feet was starting to hurt her as she climbed the hill.
"Wait, I got to rest," Royal Heart told Stardust on the fifth hill.
Stardust stopped and Royal Heart sat down resting. The soldiers sat down too. Luna could only imagine the armor tiring them out easily on the climbs. Starfire laid on the grass next to Stardust enjoying the wind blowing through the valley. Skyview was scanning the forest as usual.
"Skyview, what are you looking for?" Luna asked curiously.
"Oh..uh...nothing. Nothing at all. Just...noticing how pretty the forest is," Skyview replied smiling.
"Oh," Luna replied as she sat and watched Skyview continue to scan the forest as if he was still looking for something. She knew something wasn't right, there was something he wasn't telling.

After a while Royal Heart stood up and was ready to leave again. The soldiers stood up and followed Stardust over the hill. Their hooves thundered the ground as they walked, the wind blew harder at the top of the hills. They soon reached the forest and left the hills behind them, Royal Heart and Luna were relieved.
"The sun will be setting soon. We'll have to find a place to sleep for the night," Stardust said.
They walked through bushes and past large rocks till they came to a place that had few bushes and soft grass, perfect for a bedding.
Buster took the royal Family's blanks off another soldier and handed them each a blanket. Then each soldier unrolled their blankets and laid on the grass under their blanket.
Royal Heart curled in a ball next to Stardust, Luna slept next to her mother. Blizzard slept next Skyview and Starfire. As the sun set and the sky got dark, the ponies slowly fell asleep.