What a head ache. It was as though Hero's head was being pierced by an iron spike. He rubbed his head, cringing in pain, as he sat up from his bed. Glancing out his window, he could see that he had been sleeping since the fight with Lord Vines. The moon was high and rested over storm clouds that had rolled in while Hero slept. But what happened? He couldn't recall anything after that freak of nature grabbed him with those fleshy tendrils. Maybe some fresh air would clear up this headache.
Hero groaned his way to the front door, his mane of brilliant stars a jungle of bedhead. He opened the fluffy gray cloud door and under a flash of lighting a cloaked mare rushed her head forward, planting a kiss filled with pent up emotion on Hero's lips. He pulled away from a stunned and now wide awake Hero. "Now be quiet and listen my hero." The deep blue mare, fluffed her wings, knocking rainwater out of her feathers. "The power you experienced that allowed you to defeat that creature was catylized by the chemist's power and sparked by your greatest weapon, the faith you inspire in others. It was I who shouted my belief in you and brought forth that power, which I hadn't seen in so long."
Hero recovered from the shock of the mare's sudden kiss. He noticed that even though she clearly had no horn she glowed with a deep blue magic that wrapped about her gray cloak and elegant wings. "I, I'm not sure I totally understand." He glanced behind him quickly, nopony there. Was this actually happening?
The mysterious mare quickly turned Hero's face to look back at her. "Pay attention my hero. What I'm about to tell you is important. This self proclaimed king, the one who sent Lord Vein Vines, is an ancient and powerful foe. You wont be able to defeat him from Ponyville. You must travel deep within the Everfree Forest and find the master smith, Hammerforge." She produced a leather necklace that held a single saphire embedded in the center and fastened it around Hero's neck. "Present him with this and he will show you the path you must follow. "
The Saphire, which displayed a spiraling galaxy deep within, felt familiar and warming. But this request hurt him at his core. "I can't leave! I swore to the princess to protect Ponyville with my life!" He shook his head and pulled the necklace from his neck. "I'm thorry, I an'th take thith." He dangled the necklace from his mouth for her to take back.
The mare stepped back into the rain, a frown crossing her face. "You're as stubborn as I remember. This is the only way, have faith." In a flash of lightning an incredible wing span had carried her into the night and out of sight.
Hero looked at the sapphire that dangled from his mouth.Who was that Nightwinged Mare? What is all this about? How is this thing supposed to help defeat King Black Star? This was probably a trick, a dream, or some kind of strange hallucination from being hit on the head. He refastened the necklace and made his way back to his bed. Regardless of what it was, the necklace was very comfortable. It was almost as though it were made for him. As he crawled under his blankets he noticed his headache had subsided and wondered when that happened.
"HEY!...... -ake uf. det uf Hero... c'mooooooooooooooooon." Dazer grabbed at Hero's ear dragging his stary maned ass out of bed. He let Hero flop against the ground and groan, rolling onto all fours and flapping gently. "Come on Hero, I know you're tired but the princess is back. She wants you to appear for reward. c'mon c'mon c'mon!"
Dazer hopped up and down excitedly while hero pulled back his mane and sleepily flopped his ears. "You're only excited cause you get to do something aren't you?" Hero had come to know his good friend all too well. He was often to lazy to get his own mail unless one of his many magazines were supposed to arrive. Hero had taken to the task of retrieving the mail most days.
"Ugh that's not the point" The excited stallion rolled his eyes as he trotted over to the table. Oddly enough the table had been cleaned off and a breakfast set out for Hero. "Now come eat your oats and lets book it. 'I' get a medal too so I don't want to be late." He trotted in place a couple times. It was obvious in his overzealous smile and manner that he was filled with energy.
Chuckling lightly, Hero trotted past Dazer and opened the door. "Lets go I'm not really hungry." With out skipping a beat Dazer bolt out the door in full flight. Hero shook his head, a smile creeping over his face.
It was mid day and the ponies of ponyville were hard at work putting up decorations to welcome the princess. Hero must have slept well into the day. He couldn't even see Dazer, who he had assumed was already waiting where the ceremony would be held. Hero stopped as he overheard a couple who were reading the newspaper. "Hey look at this. There's been another attack. 'The Valiant Starshield Shatterhorn Fallen in Defense of Appleusa.' It says his battalion was never seen again after the small town caught fire. Even the Buffalo were helping defend it." The Stallion read to his mare. "It really makes you wonder why the Princess is holding a celebration at a time -"
"It's HERO! hi Hero!!!" A little filly shouted, immediately capturing Hero's attention.
"Huh? oh... hello little Miracle." He knelt down to the mismatch-eyed filly, her black and sparkling blue eyes shining up to him. "How's that wing doing?"
She giggled and flapped it about. "Oh it's much better. So did you really beat up that scary guy!? of of course you did. you're HERO! the cutiemarkless Stallion of WONDER!" She jumped around in little circles, making swooshing sounds as she imitated Hero flying to someone's rescue.
Hero laughed, ruffling her brown and yellow hair. "You're a goof ball" She smiled back up to him and stuck out her tongue.
"Hey I'm going to go play with my friends. See you Hero!" She quickly galloped her way over to the other fillies who hadn't gotten their cutiemarks. They liked to pretend they were on missions or something. Hero had spent a day with them when they were sad once. The fact that he didn't have a cutiemark and still accomplished so much really made the little crusaders happy. That's all he ever really tried to do, help out anypony that needed it. He continued along his way towards the Town Hall stopping briefly to watch the frantic purple librarian teleporting from place to place to make sure the decorations were all in order.
When he arrived at Town Hall he was immediately greeted by an eccentric pony in glasses and her crew of makeup artists. She was shouting her name in dramatic pauses as she ranted about how the pictures of this ceremony would be PERFECT. He didn't get much time to see the beautiful streamers, balloons, decorations, or the long red carpet as he was rushed into a dressing room. The room they had cleared for the dressing room was hectic, ponies rushing everywhere to make the gathered heroes look spectacular for the occasion. Hero spotted Dazer, who was practically posing, Blue Flame, and the surprisingly well composed Grapple all being tended to by the makeup artists.
Hero had always thought of grapple as a rough and tumble type of mare, but she seemed to be fidgeting right in as two ponies went to work styling her mane. It was obvious Blue Flame was uncomfortable as he fidgeted away from everything the stylists were trying to do. When Hero looked either side of himself he noticed the two mane stylists next to him, that were supposed to be grooming his mane, hadn't even begun. They were sitting with their utensils hanging from there gaping mouths as they stared in awe at the glowing stars the gently wandered through his mane. "So beautiful..." one of them managed to squeak out.
Before any of the four heroes of ponyville knew it, trumpets began to bellow through the Town Hall welcoming Princess Celestia. At the sounding of the first trumpet all four guests of honor were shoved through the door and lined up in order of appearance outside the front door, Starting with the Graceful Grapple and ending with the hero of the fight. By the time they wer all lined up the princess had already begun her speech and an excited crowd stood on either side of the long red carpet. Another horn bellowed introducing Grapple and then periodically Blue Flame, Dazer, and the valiant Hero.
As Hero stepped into that crowd of ponies, he was overwhelmed by the amount of joyful faces that watched his every move. Princess Celestia continued her speech as Hero began his walk down the carpet to stand by his friends. "My little ponies, It is in these times of need that we must be strong, brave, wise and cunning. Today we honor these four ponies, who by their own initiative protected the whole of Ponyville from a powerful foe. My wish is that their valiant efforts will inspire others to do the same." She paused for a moment as Hero reached the pedastool and kneeled. The Princess bowed her head and addressed the four ponies directly with a voice all could hear. "My dear heroes, Grapple the Adventurer, Blue Flame the Chemist, Dazer Hooves the Weather pony, and Hero the Fallen Star. We thank you deeply and offer these medals so you might know our appreciation." With that, Princess Cadance and three other guards walked in from a door off to the side and aligned themselves before each of the guests of honor carrying a golden medallion tied to a blue ribbon save for Cadence who lined up with Hero.
The medals were placed over each of their heads as Celestia stated their names again. "Grapple, for your bravery in seeking out those who needed you most, we award you the medal of the Valiant. Blue Flame, For your wisdom in quickly utilizing the enemy's weakness, we award you the medal of the Scholar. Dazer Hooves, For your cunning in confusing the enemy with your strange fighting style, we award the medal the Swift. And finally Hero, For your strength, heroism and delivering the decisive blow, we award you no medal but the royal name Borealis so that you might be known for your heroic deeds!" Cadence Tapped her horn to either side of Hero's bowed head and gave him a quick kiss on the forehead. "Hero Borealis please stand and be known to those you have saved. Let them Take faith that you will be here for them!"
Slowly, Hero turned to the gathered ponies. As he held his head up before his neighbors and friends, they began stamping there approval shouting Hero's name and whistling in a joyous uproar. Hero couldn't could help but smile brightly, The Blue gem tied about his neck began to glimmer and then shine as he felt their faith in him fill his being.
"CONGRATULATIONS! HOW ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! A CHAMPION AMONG WEAKLINGS." Boomed a deep stallion's voice from the entrance that brought the crowd to a dead silence. The silhouetted figure kept his wings spread and his horn raised n the sky. "IT'S TOO BAD HE'S STILL NOT ENOUGH TO STOP ME. HAHAHA!"
"Black Star!" Celestia took to a battle ready pose, her horn glowing in anticipation of an attack. "How did y-" She began.
"GET PAST THE GUARDS?" The black stallion stepped into view, his bat like wings folding to either side. "EASY, THEY'RE DEAD."
Hero couldn't bare this ponies presence any longer, Alicorn or not he wasn't about to let such an injustice go unchecked. He lept off his pedastool into a full, wing powered, charge. The leather bound pendant around his neck, glowing brightly, near instantly formed a barrier of brilliant star specked shadowy energy around him.
A sinister grin crept across Black Star's blue eyed face at the thought of yet another pony's retaliation. "BOW BEFORE YOUR KING!" He commanded, full well knowing how this would play out. Hero continued his super speed charge, an oddly deep seeded anger pressed into his determined expression. "NO?" The Alicorn stated as if surprised. His horn flash an emerald green and Hero was blasted to the side, launching him through a window. "THEN DIE. HAHAHA" He found this all to enjoyable as the crowd of ponies filling the hall bowed down in fear of their own lives. "OH LOOK PRINCESS, IT SEEMS YOU HAVE BEEN FORSAKEN."
Celestia stepped in front of the three remaining heroes, who remained standing and ready to fight, and shielded them with unfurled wings. "You will not get away with this!"
Outside, Hero's body remained motionless upon the ground amongst the glittering shards of glass, blood pooling about his body.
"They said the stars would aid in her escape, and so they did. In a years time a star fell from the night and carried with it the heart of her people." The Nightwinged Mare stood over the moon lit Ponyville, a single building lit into a raging fire. "So the heart of her people slows to a still beat, but with no dawn there is no day. Hero, You must live. Because even now I believe in you. Even when those around you have lost faith and the world is crumbling beneath our hooves, I still have faith that you will save us." She turned from her cliff side to look at a bundle a blankets covering somepony. "Because you, are MY Hero."