It had been over three moons since the Herdmeet. Marshmane had just had a healthy colt name Troutfoal. Whitewater was very proud.
Swanwings nodded to Bluepond as she walked by. She stopped, and looked again. If she wasn't mistaken, Bluepond looked pregnant. Swanwings shook her head. She had never seen Bluepond involved romantically with any of the stallions.
She walked over to Mudpelt. "I need to talk to you in my den, right now."
Mudpelt nodded and followed her into her den.
"Bluepond is pregnant," she neighed.
Mudpelt looked surprised. "What?"
"Do you have any idea who the father could be?" Swanwings asked.
Mudpelt thought for a few moments. "Blackshell, maybe?"
Swanwings nodded. "I think that's most likely. But I thought she didn't like him."
"Me too," Mudpelt nodded. "But I have to go on a patrol soon, so I'd better go."
Swanwings followed him out. She saw Bluepond walking by and stopped her.
"You're pregnant, aren't you?" Swanwings asked.
Bluepond nodded sadly. "It was a mistake."
Then she turned and walked away. Swanwings turned around to see Splashstream staring at her. Swanwings prayed to StarHerd that Splashstream hadn't heard them. She was the biggest gossip in the Herd.
By that afternoon, Swanwings knew she had been right. Every horse in the herd knew that Bluepond was pregnant. Most of the horses thought Blackshell was the father. He hadn't denied it, but he hadn't said it was true, either.
Wavetail was Bluepond's best friend, but he refused to speak to her. He had always bullied Blackshell, and he couldn't stand to think of his best friend as Blackshell's mate.
Fishleap and Goosefeather were struggling to comfort Bluepond. Swanwings saw her leave the camp, probably to find some peace. Swanwings had noticed earlier she was low on borage, so she left the camp to find some.
She was picking some borage when she overheard two horses. It was Bluepond and Blackshell.
"Please, Blackshell, just say you're the father," Bluepond begged. "I can't have the Herd find out who the real father is."
"What's in it for me?" Blackshell asked coldly.
"I'll be your mate," Bluepond replied reluctantly. "I know that's what you've always wanted."
"Fine," Blackshell neighed. "But who is the real father?"
"I can't tell you," Bluepond responded. "I made a mistake."
Swanwings backed away from the two horses. She felt even more confused. If Blackshell wasn't the father, who was?
Swanwings made her way back to the camp. Soon after, Blackshell and Bluepond came into the camp together. They walked over to Goosefeather and Fishleap.
"I have something I want to tell you," Bluepond neighed. "Blackshell and I are mates."
"Congratulations," Fishleap excitedly neighed.
"I was too nervous to tell any horse before," Bluepond neighed.
Splashstream and Toadnose walked over and congratulated Blackshell. Swanwings felt bad for Bluepond, but she must have wanted the father to remain a secret very badly to go through all of this trouble
Swanwings walked over to Mudpelt and told him everything she had overheard.
"I can't believe it," Mudpelt neighed. "But it makes sense now. Fishleap and Goosefeather were confused at her choice of a mate."
"Do you have any idea who her mate could be?" Swanwings asked.
Mudpelt shook his head.
"But you can't tell any other horse," Swanwings warned him.
"Not even Fishleap?" Mudpelt asked.
"No," Swanwings replied. "If Bluepond didn't tell her, then she doesn't want her to know. It must be very important for her to keep this secret."
Mudpelt reluctantly nodded. "I suppose you're right."
Swanwings watched him walk away, still full of confusion. Why did Bluepond want to keep this secret so badly? And who was her mate? Swanwings hoped that StarHerd would reveal all in time.