• Published 27th Oct 2011
  • 2,581 Views, 132 Comments

Lunar Apprehension - Vypor



A mysterious pony attempts to show Luna her work is appreciated, but Celestia sees him as a threat.

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Chapter 11: Kindness

Tsyreim walked toward home, no galloping, no dashing. He had to think instead. Tonight he felt he had come so close to gaining aid to clear his name, but everypony else was so obsessed with believing that Celestia was perfect in every way, that they refused to believe him.

He found himself growing gradually angrier everytime he even though about the name, 'Celestia'. He knew he shouldn't, as she couldn't possibly have something against him for a legitimate reason. What would she even be able to claim? That she didn't get to defeat her own sister entirely by herself? “Preposterous...” He muttered under his breath.

Tsyreim eventually found himself at the path to the ancient Royal Palace, and he sat on the road, looking at it in the distance.

He sighed and simply listened to the sound of the night, and that's when he heard it. Spinning around, he saw two large eyes watching him from the darkness in the forest. That's when he realized he had been so concentrating on thinking, that he wasn't even paying attention to whether he was being followed.

The bushes parted slowly as the faded yellow Pegasus hovered out of the forest. “I-I'm sorry, I followed you... I mean, you're probably really angry but I, erm...” She began to stutter terribly.

Tsyreim was not a fan of being followed at all, and normally he would be angry that he even let himself be followed this far, but couldn't find it within himself to reprimand the poor Pegasus.

He sighed and nodded. “YOU followed me into the forest? Why? And are the others with you?”

Fluttershy looked back and then shook her head. “No, after the others left, I flew in after you. I mean... I don't like the forest, it's frightening but umm...” She clearly had trouble speaking to him all alone. “Are you really that old? I mean, a thousand years?”

Tsyreim nodded. “Tis a long time indeed. Why?”

Fluttershy prodded her hooves together gingerly. “Yeah, it is. Did you ever try to, how did you put it. Clear your name before?”

Tsyreim sat down. “Let me tell you a short story, I know you're trustworthy enough.”

Fluttershy set down and waited patiently.

“The last time I revealed myself to anypony, was not but several months after the initial encounter with Celestia.” Recalling the event, Tsyreim swallowed. “It was to save my mother. I was the only one who knew how to possibly cure the sickness she had.”

It didn't take much of a story for Fluttershy to be on the edge of her proverbial seat. Especially when it involved healing and helping others.

“In order to do so, I had to retrieve her from the uhh... I forget what it's even called anymore. The pony-healing building.” Tsyreim fumbled with his words.

“Hospital?” Fluttershy tilted her head.

“Ah, yes. That was it.” Tsyreim nodded his head. “I had to take her from there. And so I did. Ponies saw me. And my father was there. I was there only to save my mother, yet nopony would believe me if I had even told them. They all acted as if I were some sick murderer. Yet I was naught but twelve years of age.”

Fluttershy blinked. “You did all this when you were twelve?”

“You have to realize I was trained from the day I could run.” Tsyreim chuckled. “I wasn't like the other foals, even then I was well-built.” His voice began to drift off. “But physical training, no matter how hard it is, cannot prepare you for the emotional strain of what happened next.”

Fluttershy stared at him, large teal eyes wide with curiousity.

“They took him.” Tsyreim simply said. “The guards, they took my father when I escaped with my mother. He told them to take him instead.”

“W-What happened to him?” Fluttershy sat forward.

Tsyreim prodded the soft Earth with his hoof, watching bits of it stick to the metal fetlock-guards. “...I don't know. I never found out. The last memory I have of my father, is a panicked teleportation from the balcony of that building as the guards all turned toward him. And his yells to me to just go... Go, son. Take care of your mother...”

Tsyreim planted his hooves, that stinging in his eyes began again, and he coughed, trying to keep his emotions under control. He didn't even realize he was shaking, living out the event again.

The sharp emotional pain of the unknown fate of his father was suddenly cut as he felt the small Pegasus wrapping her forelegs around him in as tight a hug as she could muster.

“Shh, shh... Hush now quiet now...” She sang slowly.

Tsyreim simply sat there, completely confused and broken. Unsure what to even do. When was the last time he had even felt a hug? It was his mother, before she became sick.

He sniffled, hugging the small Pegasus back. The floodgates opened and he wept. He wept like he couldn't remember. Why couldn't he just get along with the other ponies like this? Why wouldn't they listen? Was he cursed? Unanswered questions overran his mind.

He swore it was two hours, but not but about thirty minutes passed before he let go of her. Standing up, he immediately began to walk away. “I-I'm sorry...”

Fluttershy stood up and called out to him. “Tsy, it's okay to cry sometimes. And look at me. Look. At. Me.”

Tsyreim turned and locked eyes with her. She spoke with a rarely seen authority. “We will help you. I believe you, I believe everything you said. Twilight and the others do too.”

She smiled and brushed her mane out of her face. “And we will not stop, until Celestia knows the truth about you.”

Tsyreim stared back at her, just blinking. Her smile was contagious, and soon he found himself smiling as well. “Thank you, Fluttershy. I really cannot say that enough for the hope you all have so selflessly provided me...”

She spread her wings and soared gracefully into the air, high above the forest, following the path back home. Bolstered by the event, she felt more courageous than ever before. She was dedicated to kindness, and by Celestia, she was going to help this pony clear his name.

Tsyreim watched her fade into the sky, and then turned, and galloped all the way home.

Once again, hope had found a way back in.

- - - - - - -
Early morning, Canterlot Palace
- - - - - - -

Luna's horn glowed as she moved the sky. The stars slowly fading from view, and the moon setting behind the backdrop of Equestria. A single bead of sweat ran down the dark Alicorn's forehead. She was incredibly strong, but was still moving celestial objects.

As her moon disappeared, she watched the sun already bringing it's light from the opposite direction. She sighed and turned, not bothering to watch again. Instead, she crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up, blocking the sunlight.

At a tower across in the palace, Celestia watched her sister with a heavy sigh. She knew it was already taking hold of her. How could she stop it?

An idea crossed her mind, but she had to dismiss it. If she allowed Luna to raise the sun herself, then perhaps that would encourage her. But Luna couldn't, it was not her ability.

Celestia felt more and more hopeless as she watched her sister. Every day she would tell Luna that she loved her. She was her sister, they raised and set the sun and moon together for ages. So then, why did Luna seem to reject her friendship so much?

She walked slowly back to her room. Stared blankly at the papers she used to so diligently fill out. And pondered what sort of future would be coming.

Her greatest fear was that her dear sister would once again have to be banished. But Celestia knew she didn't have it in her to do that again. Especially since she couldn't use the Elements of Harmony anymore.

She stomped on the floor, purging the thoughts of having to call Twilight and her friends to banish her very sister. But no. She would not allow this to happen again. If it did, it would turn into an endless thousand year cycle of the same thing over and over, until somehow Nightmare Moon might get the upper hand.

Celestia, would NOT let that happen. Royal duties be shunned, her sister was more important at this point.

- - - - - - -
10:00 PM, Ponyville Library
- - - - - - -

Twilight sat up in bed and blinked, hearing voices. “What the...” She groggily wandered over to the stairs and poked her head down, adjusting her eyes to the yellow and pink blot in her vision. “Fluttershy?”

The small Pegasus immediately flew over. “Oh good morning Twilight. I didn't wake you cause umm... You probably wouldn't like that...”

Twilight rubbed her eyes and sat down on the steps, yawning. “No no... I'm fine. Eurgh...” She stretched. “Man I stayed up too late last night. But anyway, what brings you here?”

Fluttershy sat down next to Twilight and paused sheepishly.

“Does it have to do with Tsyreim?” Twilight eyed her.

Fluttershy nodded quickly.

“...You didn't.” Twilight stared at her. “You followed him?”

Fluttershy nodded again.

“Fluttershy... I don't know whether to say I'm shocked by the fact that you did that all by yourself, or that you even did it at all. What would prompt you to do such a thing?”

The yellow Pegasus sighed. “I'm the Element of Kindness, Twilight. I saw him, I saw the tears in his eyes when he sent himself away last night. He's innocent, it's so obvious. And I wasn't going to just let him leave feeling hopeless.”

“What did you do? Did you find out where he lived?” Twilight scratched her head.

“Not really, no.” Fluttershy whispered. “But... He did eventually notice me. I'm just glad he wasn't angry. He was... Well he was sad.”

“Did he tell you anything?” Twilight raised an eye.

Fluttershy swallowed, remembering the story. “H-He did. About his father. Celestia took his father when Tsyreim went to go save his mother. She had some sickness only he knew how to cure. Nopony cared about that, the guards just took his f-father...” Fluttershy's eyes began to water up, recalling how emotional Tsyreim had become.

“H-He wept Twi... He cried like a f-foal that had just lost their parents...” Fluttershy hugged Twilight. “I just hugged him... It's all I could do.”

Twilight looked down at Fluttershy. Everything she had thought about Tsyreim being innocent was proven right there. He was no criminal, she was one-hundred percent sure about it now. And she was determined to prove his innocence.

After helping Fluttershy calm down, they both sat down and planned out how to next meet him. Twilight feared Tsyreim would never return because of last night, but after Fluttershy's story, she knew he would return. She just had to find a way to coax him out.

“Mayor Mare may not approve of us bringing him out publicly. But we can do it in secret. Once the truth is known, Tsyreim won't be such a reject.” Twilight explained.

“Won't Celestia be angry with us though?” Fluttershy tapped her hooves on the table.

Twilight wasn't honestly sure either, but was going on her instincts. “Celestia has always been reasonable. I'm sure if she realizes it's a mistake, she'll apologize.”

“Yeah...” Fluttershy brushed her mane out of her eyes again. “What about the others?”

“I'll tell them to keep an eye out.” Twilight shrugged. “But to be honest, there isn't a whole lot any of us can do at this point. He likes hiding, what can I say?”

Fluttershy nodded and got up from her chair. “Well if I see him, I'll let you know.”

“Thanks, Flutter.” Twilight smiled. “I should get back to my studies now.”

“And I have animals to feed.” The Pegasus floated to the door. “It was good talking to you Twilight. Have fun studying.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “She's the only one who CAN have fun studying.”

Twilight continued smiling, whilst bopping Spike over the head.

- - -

Meanwhile back at Rarity's Boutique, the elegant equine was working on another commissioned dress for a very important pony. And being the perfectionist that she was when it came to quality work, Rarity had to make absolutely sure that the dress was flawless.

Shooing her cat, Opal off of a roll of cloth, she looked over it, planning out a good color scheme and pattern. “Hmm... Sapphire is all about blue. So it HAS to be blue. How many sapphires and diamonds do I have left?”

She ran over to her gem chest and levitated them all out in a large sparklingball. Sorting through them, her eyes worked back and forth, pickign out the blue and white gemstones. When she had pulled them all out, she looked over each one. “Good, Good, meh, good, not so good, too small, too large, too small...”

Laying out the desirable ones, she ran back to her drawing of the dress. Calculating out the design, she cringed. “Oh dear... I don't have enough.”

She paced around the room. The dress was due in a week, it was enough time, sure. IF she had the materials. Going out to look for gems was a lengthy process, and she wasn't guaranteed to even find the ones she needed.

Setting the plans aside, she wrote down how many she needed, and about what size. Rolling up the paper, she threw on her ornate packs and grabbed another smaller bag. “It's time to hunt.”

She galloped to the Library and knocked on the door. She heard a muffled something inside, and shortly after, the door opened, Twilight poking her head out. “Hmm? Oh hi Rarity, what do you need?”

“Is dear Spike here?” Rarity peeked inside. “I need him to help me go gem-hunting. I need some for Sapphire Shore's new dress, and I absolutely cannot go with a different design.

Twilight pursed her mouth for a couple seconds. “Let me see if-”

She was interrupted by the door swinging further open, Spike jumping outside. “Alright, let's go!” The small dragon immediately volunteering.

Twilight just rolled her eyes, no use asking him now. “You two have fun.” She waved as they ran off.

- - -

Tsyreim sat in his tree, watching the ponies again. Thinking back to the night before. What if he hadn't cast that spell to stop the guards? Would that have perhaps improved the Mayor's attitude towards him?

He had to shake his head. Of course not, he told the Six that right after. The Mayor believed Celestia to be essentially, perfect. Doubting her would be a crime, so no matter what he said, she would not have been convinced.

Still, it stung more now as he watched the ponies below. Seeing the possible friends he was banished from ever acquainting himself with. He had a taste of it now, and he realized what he was missing out on.

All their events, their parties, picnics, food. He leaned forward and sighed, till his eyes locked on one specific pony. That light yellow Pegasus.

“Fluttershy...”

His mind flashed back to her in the forest. So shy, so timid, yet she was so determined to help him, that she alone entered the Everfree Forest to learn more about him.

Tsyreim watched her gracefully fluttering about in the Marketplace, gathering food and such. She had given him hope. How dare he wallow in his self-doubt when she had been so kind. Why did he so underestimate the Six ponies' resolve to assist him.

So willing to help him, despite the fact that they really didn't know him aside of the few tales and things they had learned. By Celestia, if they were going to help him, he was going to help them.

Leaping down from his tree, Tsyreim galloped off into the woods. He had some things to gather.

- - -

Fluttershy glided along peacefully toward her cottage, the saddlebags she carried laden with various vegetables and sweets for both her and the animals she took care of.

She set down and trotted along the small bridge near her house as a white bunny shot out from under a bush straight for her.

“Wha, Angel? What's the hurry?” Fluttershy gasped at the peculiar antics of the bunny.

Unable to speak obviously, the bunny jumped up and down, pointing toward the house, trying to make strange strong gestures or something. “A-Err.. Gorrilla? Bear? In the house? What are you saying?” Fluttershy shook her head, trotting up till she saw a carved out wooden stump filled with various berries and fruits.

“What is this?” Fluttershy poked it. The various little birds that sat on it were enjoying themselves to the max on all the fresh berries, their beaks stained with the various colored juices.

Fluttershy enlisted all their help and drug the hollowed wooden stump into her cottage. Digging through it, she admired the quality of the fruit. None of it looked like it had been tended, it was all clearly from the forest. Digging down further, she saw something shining. “What is...” Brushing the food aside, she pulled out a large-hoof-sized clear medallion or something. It looked like glass, or crystal, and glowed faintly. The symbol emblazoned upon it was unmistakeable.

“Tsyreim...?” Fluttershy ran to the window, looking out, she scanned the forest, till she saw a large pony standing amidst some trees.

In a flash, he blinked away, and Fluttershy looked back down at the medallion. “Thank you?”

- - -

Back at the library, about seven minutes later, Twilight was still studying. Basic spell history and whatnot, since there wasn't really anything in any book regarding Tsyreim, she simply went back to her regular studies.

Hearing a knock at the door again, she sighed and got up. Ponies just wouldn't leave her alone today. Opening the door, she found Fluttershy. “Oh, hello again. Did you find anything...” Her voice trailed off as she stared at the item Fluttershy held up. “Uhh, come on in.”

“He left it.” Fluttershy said, setting it on the table for Twilight to examine. “Tsyreim. There was a large hollowed out stump, filled with berries and fruit from the forest, and that was at the bottom.”

“Well I'd say he's thanking you.” Twilight smiled bemusedly. “It looks like some kind of crystal, but... How could he engrave and cut it so perfectly?”

They both looked upstairs as there was a thump. “What was that?” Twilight mused.

“Well it's probably Spike.” Fluttershy shrugged.

“No, Spike went out with Rarity to go gem-hunting earlier... He hasn't been here for hours.” Twilight corrected her.

“What?” Fluttershy blinked.

Twilight ran up the stairs and found her window open, and a scroll laying on her bed. “What the...”

Fluttershy followed her up and looked around. “What? Was anypony there?”

“Yeah.” Twilight chuckled. “Yeah there was.” Turning around, she held a medallion up that looked just like Fluttershy's, only purple.

“Tsyreim.” They both said at the same time.

Ten minutes later, Twilight was still looking over the scroll. “This is incredible...” She mumbled, levitating a magnifying glass over the various connected runes.

“What is it?” Fluttershy tilted her head, looking at it.

“It's a spellsheet.” Twilight explained. “But it's incredibly complicated.”

She ran her hoof over an area of it in a circle. “This part resembles a concentration spell. And ponies don't normally attempt those, because they take so much energy that they can't really make use of it.”

“Well why would he give that to you then?” Fluttershy scratched her head.

“Well the other parts of this look like... Ugh... I can't tell exactly. But if I had to say, it resembles a magic usage dampening or something, so maybe it doesn't tire you as much?” Twilight shook her head to think a bit. “So many of these symbols and runes I don't understand. I've never seen them before.”

She held up the page to see it better, and Fluttershy stopped her. “Wait!”

“What?” Twilight froze, holding it still. Fluttershy began to turn her back toward the window, the light shining in on it. And that's when Twilight saw it. A faint writing revealed by the light shining through the paper.

“Oh ho ho Tsyreim you clever stallion you.” Twilight held up the paper while Fluttershy wrote down what she was told. When that was all, Twilight read over the instructions Tsyreim had entailed.

“What secrets this spellsheet thus entail, is a Prequestrian spell of my creation. It is a concentration-enhancing summons with a connected magic-usage damper to help conserve the caster's energy.” Twilight looked back at it before continuing.

“Take note, not to utilize this in public, for the spell can only be successfully cast by shouting out the ancient Prequestrian words themselves.” Twilight shivered in excitement, the prospect of having her very own Prequestrian spell was enough to make her squeal in delight.

“Do not try to understand the language it is written in, for I know you hath no accurate translation with which to convert it. Simply follow my guide within to learn the spell.” Twilight began to follow the process, laying the spellsheet on the floor and stepping on the centermost rune. Looking up at Fluttershy, the small Pegasus shivered slightly. “A-Are you sure about this, Twi?”

“More ready than ever!” Twilight beamed.

She closed her eyes and took a breath. “Read me the words again would you, Fluttershy?”

The timid Pegasus lifted the paper up and found the passage. “Umm... You need to say... What is this?”

“Just tell me.” Twilight repeated.

“Let me get it right here first...” Fluttershy said, whispering it to herself a couple times. “Okay, say... Ipfalp qbacsemde?”

Twilight spoke it. “Ipfalp qbacsemde.”

Nothing happened.

“Are you sure that was right?” Twilight walked over, looking at it. “Wait, what's that?” She scanned the page, realizing Tsyreim had included a pronunciation guide for the words.

“Ohhhh.... That's why.” She shook her head, stepping back on the sheet. “The 'Q' is pronounced 'krah'. Let's try this again.”

She took another breath and spoke the words, pronounced correctly this time. “Ipfalp krahbacsemde...”

Fluttershy jumped back as the runes on the paper began to glow brightly. “T-TWI...!”

Twilight looked down at the sheet and watched a magical energy suddenly swirl up around her leg and body. She laughed euphorically to the feeling of knowledge simply flowing into her, it was like absorbing a book directly.

Her eyes glowed for several seconds as the magic dissipated, and she blinked, stepping off of the sheet. “Wow... That was... Haha!”

Fluttershy stared at her blankly. “Wh-What just happened?”

“Fluttershy, after I speak, I want you to throw this apple at me.” Twilight handed her friend the fruit and stood away.

The yellow Pegasus stared bewilderingly down at the object in her hoof. “Wh-What? I-I could never throw anything at anypony, Twi...”

“Fluttershy, it's an apple. Just do it, it will be fine.” Twilight rolled her eyes. After some more coaxing, Fluttershy finally tossed it.

The apple landed with a soft plunk not even halfway between the two. Twilight groaned. “Okay, this clearly isn't going to work.”

She picked up multiple apples and set them on a board over her table. Fluttershy watched her sheepishly.

Twilight placed a large stack of heavy books in front of the table and then spoke the words used to engage the spell. “Here goes... Jubore Habhebr-il br blah... ugh.”

She tried to hide a grin as she looked over at Fluttershy, who was giggling uncontrollably. “Look, it's hard to pronounce okay?”

She tried again, till she got it. “Jubore Habhebrliruab Ebvibhe!” An arcane circle flashed about her, and she looked around at Fluttershy, who almost seemed to be barely moving.

Twilight quickly levitated the books and dropped them on the board, which catapulted the apples toward her. Twilight reared up on her hind legs and spun one leg, slapping an apple out of the air, and another, as fast as they came. She jumped into the air and kicked several with her hind legs as well, till the last one, which she jumped up and impaled right on her horn.

The spell dissipated not but several seconds after, and Twilight stood there in utter glee. “DID YOU SEE THAT?” She turned to Fluttershy, as a small dribble of applejuice ran down her muzzle.

Fluttershy simply stood stock-still. “How did you... Was that...”

“It was... And I don't even feel incredibly tired. Holy cow!” Twilight bounded around the room till Fluttershy stopped her, pulling the apple off of her horn. “And now you have a mess to clean up.”

Twilight looked at the apples splattered on the floor. With her much faster movements, she forgot that she had made the apples fly far faster as well, and they had been reduced to applesauce all over the floor.

The two were still mopping up when the door opened and Spike walked in with Rarity. “No luck.” Rarity shook her head. “And worst of all, I got dirt on my hooves!”

The others rolled their eyes. Twilight walking up to her. “Well there's still tomorrow. I'm sure the dress isn't due by then is it?”

“No, it isn't.” Rarity sniffed fraudulently, then again, more curiously this time. “Do I smell apples?”

Fluttershy smiled innocently, mopping near a corner.

“Long story.” Twilight reassured the white Unicorn. “Well at least you still have tomorrow. I'm sure Spike would be more than willing to help.”

Spike saluted. “Gem carrier at your service. Being able to travel with the most beautiful pony, and get tipped with delicious gemstones is like heaven.” He replied, walking past.

Rarity leaned toward Twilight, raising her hoof to whisper. “He'll do most anything for a good ruby.”

Twilight giggled and turned to Fluttershy. “Hey Fluttershy, I think that's good enough. I kinda like the smell of fresh apples anyway.”

Fluttershy shrugged and set the mop back in the bucket. “I need to get back to my animals anyway. I left them to come straight here.” Walking past Twilight , she nodded, stopping and trotting back to the desk to retrieve the medallion Tsyreim had given her.

“Heh, almost forgot something.” She shuffled toward the door. Rarity immediately stopping her. “Hold it... What is that?”

Fluttershy held out the emblem carefully. Rarity's face shot down to it as her discerning eyes ran over every curve and detail. “Where in Celestia's name did you get such... A... Jewel?” It was then that she noticed the emblem itself, and not just the fact that it was a well-carved crystal. Raising her head slowly, she looked at Fluttershy. “Did 'he' give this to you?”

Twilight cleared her throat, and Rarity looked over to see the purple Unicorn holding her own up. “You both...? Why?”

“I don't know, Rarity.” Twilight shook her head. “My best guess is it's a thank you for us trying to help him. I haven't yet checked in with Rainbow, Pinkie or Applejack. So I don't know if they got one of these as well.”

Rarity blinked. “Did he leave one at my Boutique perhaps?”

Twilight shrugged. “If he's thanking us each, no doubt you will too sooner or later.”

Rarity walked out the door. “Well I'm going to go check. I want to help him, but he had better not have broken in...”

Twilight and Fluttershy watched her run back towards her boutique. “Well, there she goes.” Twilight mused.

“You worried?” Fluttershy looked up.

“Nah.” Twilight grinned. “Tsyreim isn't THAT crude.”

Fluttershy walked outside and sighed, looking back down at the medallion. “Well, these past few days certainly have been... Interesting.”

“You can say that again.” Twilight replied. “And it all happened so fast. Hopefully we can solve this issue soon enough. I'm not sure how many surprises I can take.”

“You'll manage.” Fluttershy smiled. “I'll talk to you tomorrow Twi.” She waved, taking off and soaring back home.

Twilight closed the door, looking back down at the crystal medallion. Clearly Tsyreim had something of an affinity for crystals as well. And was very, very good at cutting them.

She walked over to her desk, taking the spellsheet and everything Tsyreim had given her, walking upstairs. Twilight looked around her room till she found a good hiding spot, folding the items up in paper and sliding them behind a large bookshelf.

She turned back to see Spike eying her curiously. “What's all that stuff?”

“It's very important.” Twilight replied. “Nopony must know about it. It's part of a uhh... Project I'm working on.”

“Right. Ok.” Spike shrugged, clearly indifferent as usual.

It was nearing dusk, so Twilight resumed her regular studies. But the memory of that spell... The feeling of the magic flowing through her as she spoke. It was much different than the spells she had studied and used all her life. It visible, and powerful.

Needless to say, Twilight didn't get much studying done. She was too busy debating and thinking about what the words meant. What other spells the Prequestrian held. She wasn't sure whether to thank Tsyreim for allowing her to see and feel the magic, or be angry since she was basically forbidden by Celestia to practice it.

A part of her felt terrible for using the spell because of that same reason. She had disobeyed Celestia's orders not to investigate the language. And try as she might, she couldn't really justify it. Tsyreim had given it to her, sure. He didn't know about Celestia ordering Twilight specifically about it. But Twilight had still chosen to use it.

She decided to go to bed early, it was too hard to study when she was fretting over these things.

- - - - - - -
Three days later, somewhere in the mountains
- - - - - - -

Rarity and Spike navigated the cliffsides, still in search of the right gems. She had an excess of every kind but the ones she wanted now. Fortunately, her gem-sense was tingling, and she knew there was one nearby, and it seemed big from what she could tell.

Spike panted from the climb, wiping sweat from his forehead. Looking up suddenly as Rarity spoke. “Aha! It must be in this cave.”

The two peeked inside and looked around. “You sure about this?” Spike asked. “I think something might live here.”

“Well only one way to find out.” Rarity trotted inside. “But there are gems here, and I just know it. At least one that's worth the hunt.”

It was rather dark, till Rarity's horn flashed, shining light all around like a torch. Looking back, she saw Spike hobbling over to her, looking around nervously.

“Relax, Spike.” She plodded along. “If something is living here, we'll just apologize and leave.”

“Well it is still just the TWO of us.” Spike mumbled.

Rarity saw a sparkle further in, and crept towards it. Spike walked over near, and they both stared at the perfect bluish diamond embedded in the stone near the center of the cave.

The stone itself looked odd around the gem. But Rarity payed no attention, walking to the diamond. “Spike, this is absolutely marvelous! This would make the most perfect addition to the headdress of the piece...”

Spike leaned down and scratched at the stone next to it. “Weird, the stone looks burned.”

Rarity grimaced at the thought of soot on her hooves, but the prize was definitely worth it. And after several minutes of prying and magic, they got it loose, admiring it in the light. “Okay Spike, we're headed straight home. This changes the costume COMPLETELY. It will be so much better with this beauty!”

The two quickly made off with their find, headed straight for the Boutique. Unaware that it did indeed belong to someone.

- - - - - - -
Several hours later, 'Tsyreim's Tree'
- - - - - - -

Tsyreim sat in the tree again. He couldn't really think of what to give Rainbow Dash for his thank you. About the only thing she liked, was flying around really fast. And despite the fact that she kind of irritated him, it was okay since she didn't really mean to.

As for Applejack, he wasn't sure there either. Giving her apples as a thank you wouldn't be much of a thank you at all, for rather obvious reasons. And her family didn't really deal in any other fruit. Besides, giving everypony fruit, wouldn't be much of a thank you now would it?

As he looked over the town, he saw Rarity trotting quickly toward the Library, carrying some sort of sparkly object. Tsyreim grinned, she'd be easy to find something for.

His thoughts of that vanished instantly however, as a large shadow quickly glided over Ponyvile.

- - -

Rarity knocked on Twilight's door, prancing excitedly. “Twilight dear, do come out. I have my most beautiful work yet.”

The door opened and the studious Unicorn looked out. “What's tha-Oh! Wow, look at that...”

Opening the door wider, Twilight looked over the headdress. A fine silk ran around the inside to make it soft to wear, several layers of lace ran around the outside in various patterns, blue sapphires worked in at symmetrical intervals. And at the center, sat a most beautiful clear diamond.

“That has to be the largest diamond I've ever seen...” Twilight blinked, shielding her eyes, till something else did for her already. “Wha-”

Ponies around town looked upwards and screamed, running in all directions. Spike turned from Rarity and looked up, his eyes growing wide. “T-T-TWI...!”

All three stared up as a very large red dragon thumped down just outside of the Library. They all stared at each other silently, till the dragon roared directly at them in anger. “YOU TOOK MY DIAMOND!”

Spike and Rarity looked at each other, then at Twilight, who looked at both in disbelief. “You STOLE IT?!”

“W-We didn't know...!” Spike stuttered, looking back at the enraged drake.

The dragon bared it's teeth and growled. “No one steals from ME!” Without warning, he threw open his jaw, a flash of light in the deep of his throat was all Twilight needed to see. She grit her teeth and concentrated, throwing up a shield over her friends in desperation.

A strange magical whirring sound suddenly emitted from between them, and in a flash of light, Tsyreim appeared, immediately rearing up and swinging his hooves. The ground began to tremble as a jagged crystal wall jutted up from the Earth before him, arcing back toward the dragon as their oral-inferno shot forth.

Canceling the fire quickly when they felt it being directed back at themselves, the drake stomped their feet and stared down at the pony that dared defy them.

Tsyreim stomped his hoof as well, and outstretched the other towards the dragon, shouting out above the noise. “DOILMUIB'FA AIRV! CALM YOUR FIRES, SCALED-ONE!”

There was a sudden pause, the dragon stared down in shock at Tsyreim before immediately backing off.

Ponies began to peek from around corners, and from under crates, wondering what happened, only to see the 'Wanted' Unicorn pasted on posters all over town, staring down the dragon.

Tsyreim finally spoke. “Tis a welcome sight when one finally recognizes the practice of old traditions, Scaled-One.”

“Holiral at rve Pifusuhi...” The dragon's deep voice echoed. “There has not been a Curator of the Basilica for ages...”

Tsyreim bowed. “My gratitude for your recollection and respect. But in all truth, I have been around for what you could call, ages.”

Twilight cleared her throat. “What. The in the unholy power of Nightmare Moon, is going on here...”

Tsyreim held his hoof aloft to silence the dragon from answering Twilight's question. Waving his hoof again, the wall of crystal he sat upon sank back into the ground, the magical energy seeming to flow back into him. “There is much. VERY much to explain to you, Miss Spark-erm, a thousand pardons. Twilight.”

Turning to the side, he saw Mayor Mare standing aloof, jaw hanging open. “That is of course, if your elder so approves of my doing so.”

“Screw permissions. She does.” Twilight grunted, pushing him toward the Library. “And you had better explain EVERYTHING.”