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The Legend of the Ruby Knight.
Daring pranced in spot, her hoofs biting against the old concrete staircase leading up to the massive double doors of the Canterlot Museum. The sun had yet to touch the sky, but the adventurous mare found that she could not rest peacefully in bed knowing there was so delicious a Legend to chase and treasure to find. Groaning she flapped her wings and jumped up the columns which lined both sides of the museum’s front, kicking from pole to pole trying to kill time. Her mind was afire with the possibilities, the idea of adventure in a far off land she had never been before; a mysterious treasure that no pony alive had ever seen hiding just beyond the horizon, a piece of history just waiting for her to take it! It was an overwhelming and euphoric feeling for Daring as she did a loop in the air, almost losing her hat in the process. At that moment she noticed the dull haired earth pony two roads over, hobbling its way in her general direction.
Dry Pages had finally arrived!
The old stallion had not noticed that Daring was zooming above his head until he reached up to the door with the aged steel key lodged between his teeth; the key itself a thick barrel like device with a dull hook. When Daring’s shadow cut right over his face in the early dawning sun, Dry Pages almost choked on the key he had in his mouth.
“Daring!” he yelped looking up for the first time to notice the Pegasus swirling around him in the sky. “You startled me!” the old stallion wheezed, letting his necklace which holds his key to the museum drop as the Pegasus landed beside him; tipping her hat in his direction.
“I’m really sorry Dry, but I was just so curious that it couldn’t wait till later in the day. I just had to get to you first thing in the morning before your job became so overwhelming you would be unable to help me.” Daring rambled, if there was two things she knew about Dry it was that he enjoyed apologetic youngsters and that he liked being reminded of the fact that he did a lot of work at the museum all on his own. Two things that Daring could pull off easily if it meant she could get her fix for adventure.
The old pony flushed a little, coughing awkwardly he ran a hoof through his hair and pushed open the door. “Hum…” he motioned for her to go in, following after her, a motion that she gladly accepted.
“So what has your blood boiling today, Daring?” Dry said looking at Daring who was bursting at the seams. “I’ve only ever seen you like this right after you get a job.” He chuckled at her enthusiasm keeping an eye on her wings making sure she didn’t break anything, something she had done before.
“I heard a really interesting bit of gossip and I was wondering if you could enlighten me to its subject.” Daring asked, carefully wording the request; dealing with older ponies was a specialty of Daring.
“Oh-ho? And what fable has you so moved?” he chuckled, turning on the main switch lighting up all of the displays and exhibits for any visitors who would come in throughout the day.
“The Legend of the Ruby Knight.” Daring said in her raspy drawl, eyes flashing brightly.
Dry gave her a reproachful look, his old tired eyes parted wide. “Oh? Such an old myth, there’s really no stock in following such tales.” He chided, knowing full well he’d have to tell the adventure garbed filly the legend due to the extreme waving of her long black and gray tail.
“Oh my…” he sighed, “where to begin with such an old tale as that…” Dry walked slowly over to his stool and pulled himself up on it, his back creaking a little.
“It was began long before Equestria had been founded, the country at least…” the old stallion wheezed. “In a small village hidden within a tropical forest that a young earth pony was born. Now this is where the legend gets confusing, an early start I know…” he chuckled agedly, eyes lost on the tale. “Nopony in any field of history could ever determine or find a paper trail back to this pony’s name so he had been called simply “Knight” in the stories in which he is involved.” Coughing Dry shifted on his stool and repositioned his specs. “Knight was an average pony living an average life, until, one night a dragon flew over their village spewing flames and raining blood. The ponies of the village were terrified that a dragon, something that at the time was quite unheard of, I assure you, had chosen to burrow near their village. After a day there was no sight of the lizard, only angry howls and bestial roars, or so the legends say.” He said looking up at the ceiling as if living the tale, Daring found herself enthralled in the story, the way she always did whenever Dry took it upon himself to treat her. “I personally believe it was the dragon crying…”Dry said his voice distant for a moment. “Well nopony would go near such horrific sounds, nopony except Knight.”
“Knight wasn’t hindered by the sounds and went to visit the new guest in town. When Knight arrived and found the state the dragon was in he was deeply moved, many legends say that Dragon lashed out at Knight; worried that he was there to steal his treasure, other say Dragon was sarcastic mocking that Knight had come to tease him in his weakness.” Dry shifted and leaned back against the wall. “But when Knight witnessed that Dragon was dying he looked and felt nothing but sadness. ‘You poor thing…’ Knight said to the Dragon, aware of the proud monster’s mortality. Dragon looked at Knight and they talked, they talked together for days it seemed and with each passing story the two became fast friends.”
Dry sighed sadly, “When Dragon knew that his time was near he looked to Knight and said, ‘Knight, my friend…When I die my children will come and take me back to our homeland... and my treasure… My friend I want to leave you something, Tell me what you want, my friend and I will give it to you if I can.’ Knight looked up to Dragon who looked so peaceful and soft, as if his face was made of flesh not scales. He smiled to Dragon and called up to him, ‘I want to be able to protect my friends and be with them, so I can see that smile on their faces.’”
“Dragon smiled at Knight and pulled from the pile of gems which was his bed a magnificent chunk of ruby. Breathing on it with dragon magic and fire he molded it with gold and forged it into a suit of armour. ‘This armour will protect you from all things, so you will never need to worry about yourself…’ Dragon said to Knight handing him the magical armour. ‘Use this to only care for others my dearest friend, and may that smile be on your face when it is your time.’ And with those words Dragon died. Knight cried over his friend for days until his children arrived. When they did they witnessed this pony crying over their passed father wearing a suit of armour which was thick with his magic. They took what they came for and parted ways, leaving the lonely Knight behind.” Dry said and let his voice trail leaving a displeased Daring Do staring at him.
“Is that it? Is that the full legend?” She said, the original buzz feeling deflated.
“No there’s more…” Dry said waving her down, taking a deep drink from a nearby glass of water that never seemed to be emptied. “You see Knight went on and helped many a pony, never fearing injury or sickness. And over his journey he made many friends and five true friends. But all of this… would not be for the best…for in all ponydom there is one thing that can drive ponies to ignore the goodness in their heart.” Dry said looking now at Daring with those knowledgeable eyes.
“Oh? And what is that?” Daring asked, curious; wanting to hear more of the story.
“Fear. Fear can do terrible things to ponies, and when they learned that there was this stallion running around… Invincible… well then the ponies truly knew fear. It was a darker time, the Princesses had yet to come to rule, and the stability of the populations was in question. Everypony feared this invincible “Ruby Knight” and there were many wars surrounding the armour… Over time the six friends became a myth, a legend… but Knight’s friends were vulnerable and he could not protect them all with his invincible armour… An illness struck most of Equestria and though Knight was immune within his armour, his friends were not. When they became sick, Knight built a massive tomb and entrapped himself inside with them…Together they told the most amazing tales inside the tomb of which nopony could enter, and nopony could ever leave. Knight sat upon a throne and talked with his friends for days as their sicknesses progressed and slowly one by one they passed away, until he was alone trapped within the tomb he had built. The legend says he kept talking to his friends long after they had passed… And when he passed there was this smile on his face like he had never been happier.” Dry finished his story looking as if he had not been as tired as he was in that moment in all of his life. It must have been draining on the old stallion, Daring knew that… she looked to speak to him but he cut her off and spoke, with a tone of finality.
“That is the Legend of the Ruby Knight.” He said drinking deeply from his cup and pushing himself off. “I think that’s more than enough story telling today.” He said walking away,
“One last question, where was the tomb…?” Daring asked, already plotting ways all over the world in a heartbeat.
“The northern part of the desert, a few days journey from Calimare….That’s the furthest any research has gotten.” Dry said walking away from Daring. “Be careful Mrs. Do, nopony knows what sort of traps Knight may have put in place, I’d hate to lose you on some ghost hunt.” He said and all he received in reply was Daring’s winning smile and a flash in her eyes that spoke volumes.