Chapter 2: Crystal Princess
The crystal statue of Princess Flurry Heart was the most beautiful work of art Brave Storm had ever laid eyes on. The form of the princess was wrapping her forelegs around the Crystal Heart in a protective embrace. The way her sculptor had managed to balance her on two legs was by having her wings act as a counterbalance. Brave Storm was entranced by the beautiful way her crystalline hair looked to be flowing in the wind.
But then the council member brought the dreaded truth forward. This wasn’t a piece of art of a beloved princess, this was the princess stuck in an act of defiance against Wild Magic. Brave Storm’s bottom lip quivered as she tried, and failed, to hold back tears. Princess Flurry Heart wasn’t her princess, but her heart still ached for her and the Crystal Empire. Despite the tragedy, Brave Storm’s love for the alicorn protectors only grew.
Star Atlas brought his wing over his sister’s shoulders and pulled her in. He let her weep and wiped away tears with his free wing. He said nothing, but he didn’t need to. His comfort was more than enough for Brave Storm to recover. She felt her heart beat with sorrow one last time before resolve took over. Brave Storm hugged Star Atlas, careful not to squeeze him too hard.
Brave Storm and Star Atlas approached the crystalline princess together. The pegasus stallion had wanted to see the Crystal Heart and Brave Storm wanted to pay her respects. The closer the two got, the more detail they could see on the living statue. Details so fine that it would have taken a master with lifetimes to spare to ever reach that level of craftsmanship. Brave Storm could see subtle veins running down Princess Flurry Heart’s neck. Her face was pulled into a subtle expression of love and pain and stubbornness. Brave Storm could have sworn she saw the princess crying as a streak of crystal running down her face caught the light in just the right way.
Caught up in the beauty and sorrow of the princess, a sharp feeling almost went unnoticed by Brave Storm. But the closer she got, the harder it was to ignore. It twisted her gut and made her heart beat in her throat. She wanted to get closer, but she found herself frozen in place. She saw Star Atlas trying to talk to her, but she could hear nothing but a distant muffled voice. Her focus was locked on the Crystal Heart and the horrifying realization of what they were dealing with.
“It can affect the Crystal Heart?” she barely managed to whisper.
“What can?” Star Atlas asked, finally sounding like he was at a louder-than-talking-normal.
Brave Storm felt ponies looking at her. Sure enough, she and Star Atlas had caused a scene she wasn’t even aware of. The council member looked uncomfortable and Jade Caster looked downright mad. But Sword Dancer gave her knight a level and expecting look as she waited for Brave Storm to share her discovery.
“The Crystal Heart and Princess Flurry Heart-” Brave Storm began, but found the rest of her sentence stuck in her throat. She took a deep breath of air and forced the rest out. “-were infected by Wild Magic.”