I took my position, just outside the library. I was here to make a visit, yet I was not here to read.... well, not to stay and do so, that is.. A certain book, however, did have my eye.
I signaled the King's Talons ordered to guard me to stop at the entrance, before making my way inside, alone. The librarian I was here to visit was a gryphon that I'd trust with my own life, even without a royal position akin to that of a personal guard.
I hailed the elderly gryphoness who sat behind the library's front desk, dipping my head in respect.
"Prince Alevrus? What brings you here, mi'lord?" The old gryphoness asked, attempting to bow, even with her frail bones. I stopped her, knowing her venerability myself. No more than twelve years ago, said bow would have been accompanied by a nuzzle on my forehead, followed by the then (relatively) young gryphoness escorting me, a young child, through the massive building. Now I was fifteen years of age, and it was no longer appropriate to show such affection.
"No need, Taltria. You're too old to be bowing to royalty." I informed her, as I made my way towards her desk.
" Ah, you're a good boy, Alevrus. I'm sorry to hear how your father is doing. He's supposed to be younger than myself, but it seems that fate has decided otherwise..." Taltria told me, her face decaying into sadness.
"He's been a great leader Taltria, but all leaders fall... he still has time, but it won't be long now. It's unfortunate how soon it's come, but if my father is willing to give me the crown in the wake of his death, I am ready." I assured her, staying confident myself.
It is true that my father, King Antrius, has fallen terribly ill in the last few weeks. The doctors don't know what the cause is, and the castle servants have run amok, wondering if poison is the cause. The guard have been on high alert, pushing their efforts to protect me, my mother, and the castle in the wake of all this. I left today because I couldn't stand it anymore.
"Right you are, my prince. You've grown in all these years, and you should remember that. " Taltria told me, and I simply nodded.
"Yes, but that isn't the reason I've come. I'm here for a book. The same one from when I was a child. I want it, please." I asked the librarian, and she raised her brow at my request.
"You mean the tale of Hearth's Warming Eve? You know that tale is a children's story, right? And for Equestrians." She questioned, to which I nodded.
"Yes, Taltria. A foal's story. But I'm not a child anymore. I know for a fact, however, that the story is true. And there's a lot of information that can be derived from it. Things I've yet to figure out, but I know are out there: Secrets. Answers. Mysteries, all hidden in the text.... " I began, becoming sterner as I went on.
"It may be a child's story, but I need that book, Taltria. I won't ask again."
Taltria stepped back, her eyes growing wide. " I.... why are you... It's in section B-374, under Equestrian Tales, sir... you may have the book."
"Good. Thank you." I told her, before making way to the section Taltria stated. It was easy enough to find the book, and to get it off the shelf.
Hearth's Warming Eve: A Foal's Tale of the Birth of Equestria. My favorite childhood story. My father would bring me here every day, to teach me history and reading. And we'd end every day with this same old book, that I picked out every day, every time. My father was proud, and hoped one day I'd be well informed with equestrian history, and would become a perfect king to have as a trade ally to them.
Back then, maybe. But now? That wasn't exactly my goal. I opened the book, and began reading. I knew the story like the back of my talons, but I read it anyways.
I already knew the synopsis of the story:
Before the time of Celestia or Luna, equestria was split into three tribes: the Unicorns, the Earth Ponies, and the Pegasi. The Earth Ponies grew large surplus of food, of which for in return for bringing good weather, the Pegasi wanted a portion, and the Unicorns wanted payment for bringing about night and day with their magic. The Earth Ponies, feeling pressured into giving up more than they had, refused, which brought a lot of hate between all of the tribes.
In time, a new land was found, unclaimed by any tribes, of which they all wanted. The Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns all sent their delegates, which included their leaders, and servants. Upon finding the land, they yet again were unable to agree upon settlement, after which snow began to fall heavily, though with no foreseen source. After retreating to a cave together, the tribes leaders began to fight among themselves, alone, with even more ferocity, after which the source of the snowstorm was revealed: Windigos, Ice Spirits that fed off of hate, who promptly froze the tribal leaders, as well as started to encrust the entire cave in ice.
Their servants, who were also in danger of being frozen, met at the center, accepting their fate, while also declaring their acceptance of one another. And like poison to the windigos, their acceptance unfroze the leaders, and drove the windigoes away.
In honor of how the three tribes ceasing hatred of one another, the leaders claimed they would live off the land together, and in harmony, naming the land 'Equestria', and vowing to help one another.
It's almost too good to be true. On the brink of war itself, simple servants acted as diplomats to end the coming conflict. I didn't care about the ending, however.
No... my concern was with a single line that is stated near the beginning: Before the time of Celestia and Luna.
At some point, the moon and sun were controlled by unicorns, which implied one thing.
The two rulers of the neighboring kingdom of Equestria.... Were disposable.
I took the book with me, and left the library, and back towards the castle.
When I become king, my first order will be to find whatever spell allowed unicorns to control day and night...