The three of them banded close together as their hooves touched the ground. I could feel the ground beneath me pulse in agony. As my eyes strayed down I watched as the soil began to crack and the patches of grass frizzled into perfect tinder. As one lunged at me menacingly, I dodged and with the heat of my pained hip taking over I fell to the dusty earth. The cuts on my fore-legs throbbed as the sirens looked over me.
"This is who is going to help us? Hmph! I bet he can't even tell the different between the Light of the Sun and the Light of Harmony." The purple one seethed.
"Yeah sis' How is this guy our helper?" The blue one chimed in.
The orange one nickered through her snout as a small plume of smoke exited. "Our king must be from another castle."
"What are you spirits whispering about?" I dryly asked.
"You've been in contact with our father." The blue one nonchalantly blurted. "Big, stern pony?" she added.
The other two jabbed their hoof into either side of her ribs scoldingly. "What?" she huffed, obviously tired of their passive-aggressive stance.
"Yes." I answered.
All their eyes glowed with a moment of long awaited joy, all but the orange one. She was looking for something a bit more tangible than my word, or her sight.
The earth began to shake around me as the trees moaned, and rocked to my answer. No doubt the ringleader to the circus in front of me. I chuckled under my breath, clasping my hoof before the alien humor escaped me. Pony sarcasm? This would've been a more troubling malady if the rumbling hadn't coaxed the ill-thoughts from me with ease.
" If he cared for you would he not be looking for you? By manners alone, it is no wonder he left such a pitiful disguise of royalty to linger."
The Sirens gasped, hurt at this new-found venom. Then, slowly... they subtly smirked. Each paraded a menagerie of fuax pained faces as my rage continued.
"Where do you three even have the nerve to question my right to the throne... you do not even have a kingdom of your own! Unless this rumbling dust is your dominion... "
"Our home is bitter, much like the malice you speak." They began to sing. "Our home... Our home,"
They chanted, gospelling their calamity. And as they twirled around me, my fervor rose, and my tactility eluded me. The three had cast a whirlwind at my hooves clasping onto me as they wailed and chanted. After their trite lament I could feel their magic had faded from me. Now, not even a peak of interest to their caws tempted me to stay. I had overcome them. Finally I was free of them... or so I thought then.
As their voices and bodies faded I felt the last wisps of bitter air release me. When my body grounded and my senses recovered I felt something malign focus my attention. It sweetly tugged at my center, the festering darkness. Odorless plumes of purple smoke erupted from the cracked earth, thirsty for miles below me, much like the barrens of The Ashlands. There was an unnerving heat billowing from below me. A red light so bright I shielded my eyes... Then, he was there.
The shadow of my father. Red eyes that twisted his tender demeanor into a piercing spear full of judgement. His eyes effortlessly cut through mine, I could feel his disgust in me.
What I had done.
What I was becoming.
My mind was silenced... his wrath was just, he was my father. His word was just. He had no equal, he was Nonpareil. Who was I to question his word... Normalcy, a state of equilibrium. His eyes narrowed as I felt his... his... I couldn't place the word, but I knew I felt so small within his menacing eyes, so fractured within his presence. This wasn't the father I idolized, not even his wrinkled scowl could warp my validity in my youth. But now in his gaze, I couldn't distinguish if the curse was an ailment, or an abnormality.
The murkiness of my past... of that first day in Equestria. I had lost all pretense of places and things. All that remained was my feelings. There was such warmth in that memory it could only have been kindness and love. What else could calm me so sweetly as those emotions? Not the delicate rainfall of sadness, nor the rocking ebbs of serenity. It had to be love... it had to be Celestia's kindness. Yet the more I reasoned the hotter my limp hip became. Warmth. It was where my father stuck me years ago. I remember that I had hurt him, yet I did not know how. I only asked him if I would remember mother like I remembered him... In hindsight I can see why this could... could upset him.
I didn't know my mother's magic. Back then, I didn't know what magic was. I was told that magic was a tool that cruel creatures used. Yet knowing this conflicted with what I knew of my parents. They were always rather forthcoming with their magical use, even training me without issue. Maybe they did that to shield me from the unknown as a kid. The oppressive look on my father's phantom disagreed, and the searing pain from my hip helped to cement his wisdom. Everything about my past felt wrong, his gazed assured me it was. I could hear its whispers creeping into me. It ringed within my temples with words as true as ever.
"Till the soil of its-weeds. Sow the-seeds." It said to me.
I Remembered. My grandfather would always use that phase. It was his motto for everything. Unruliness in the commonwealth? Till the weeds. Not enough food to feed the people? Sow the seeds. Dragons are attacking at noon? Till the weeds, then you shall sow the seeds. Come to think if it the phrase was rather versatile. With so many meanings to his phrase no wonder King Din preferred my father as ruler. The glaring teeth of the phantom shook me from my thoughts. I was onto something. I was remembering things long past my creation, and by the growing smirk I could tell this is what it sought.
How he had judged others with either capricious malice, or wistful empathy, now it defined him. Criterion, my father's father. He had passed long before my birth. Father never spoke of him, mother only hinted at his existance. From what I remembered my grandfather never respected my father, but he trusted him enough to give him his crown. What my uncle had done surely couldn't have costed him his birthright, his very family.
He had hurt mother, that was true. He had threaten to take his kingdom back by force, that was also true. Yet when mother was hurt, he dropped his sword, he surrendered... didn't he? The ever glooming eyes of the phantom knew as well as I.
This was not true.
The narrowing of its deathly gaze shook my thoughts off of the distant, and to its origin. The unicorn from the alley. He had whispered the same phrase, and I had thought nothing of it.