• Published 1st Aug 2015
  • 2,462 Views, 166 Comments

An Interesting Arrival - Moongaze14

Retirement in Equestria is harder than expected. Even in such a peaceful land, Statice finds that his new life can be just as stressful as his old one, especially after getting in the bad side of a certain purple alicorn princess and her friends.

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First Day on the Crystal Empire

First Day on the Crystal Empire

“You’re leaving?”

Statice frowned uncomfortably. He had left home before. He had done so many times before and had said his decision on previous occasions. The main difference this time was that…he meant it.

I promised I was going to be honest with him.

His younger brother Meadow Tails was staring at him with such disappointment in his eyes that it pained his heart, already hardened from a lifetime of hardships, trauma and abuse. This scene always happened when he came back home from an adventure and left for a new adventure. As painful as each talk was, Statice grew used to it. And yet, he knew that this last talk was going to be the hardest of them all.

Be honest with him, you weakling! You might as well give it to him straight!

They were staring outside of the outskirts of their hometown. It was going to be sunrise, the perfect time for any citizen to have a private conversation since any living being in Hobuck was too lazy to wake up at 6 AM in the morning. Statice had engrained this ritual on his younger brother in order to prevent his parents from catching them talking about private topics regarding his secret life.

“Yes,” Statice nodded his head grimly. He did so as if he had a huge weight on his neck forcing his head down.

Meadow Tails laughed sadly. “I kinda saw that one coming,” he admitted, sounding defeated yet accepting. “You always stay at home a week at most before you leave me with mom and dad until you return in about a month.”

“How are they?” Statice perked up at the mention of his parents.

“Fine,” Meadow Tails shrugged his shoulders. “They don’t get any customers so they can eat their merchandise and since you’re their mystery customer that means that they can renovate their shop when they’re in danger of getting broke.”

“Thank the stars,” Statice sighed, happy that his latest donations helped his parents to keep their house. “I guess something good did come out of my adventures.”

“Anything but the spell that’s supposed to break the curse,” Meadow Tails muttered angrily, remembering why his brother always left him and his parents in the first place.

“Come on, Meadow Tails,” Statice frowned, more hurt than angry. “You know I tried as hard as I could.”

“I know that!” Meadow stomped a hoof in frustration. “It’s just…it’s not fair that you…you go through all that for nothing. And now you’re leaving again…”

Oh crud…now I can’t tell him that I’m moving away. He’s not going to take it well if I tell him that I’m leaving home for good. But I can’t keep on with this life anymore. I just…what am I supposed to tell him?

“Where are you going this time?” Meadow Tails asked Statice, breaking him out of this train of thoughts. By the inquisitive tone of voice and the way his head cutely tilted to the side, his anger subsided for that adorably serene appearance he always had.

“I’m going to Equestria,” Statice answered automatically.

“You’re going to Equestria!” Meadow Tails yelled in wonder.

For the many ponies that lived in Hobuck, moving to Equestria was like a dream come true given their hometown’s poor living conditions. Statice recalled a few times on his childhood when his parents actually discussed the possibility of moving into Equestria should he actually prove to be good at magic.

Thinking about it, I find it ironic that trying to make life better for myself and my family ultimately ended up destroying it.

“I am moving to Equestria,” Statice repeated pensively, thinking on how life could have been better had he been blessed with a better magical education rather than just try to figure out magic on his own. Heck, maybe he would have saved himself a lot of time and effort had he just known which spells to study to find out how to break the curse rather than randomly sail around the world like an idiot and nearly die dozens of times doing jobs for morally dubious bosses.

Wait a second! A lie is not a lie if you have the intent of making it a reality. I’m moving to Equestria to start a new life. That doesn’t mean that I can’t research magic until I find a way to break the curse!

“But why do you want to move to Equestria?” Meadow Tails asked him with furrowed eyebrows.

For the first time in years, Statice gave a confident smirk that expressed an emotion that he had not allowed himself to have: hope. In the span of a few seconds, he developed a plan. It was short and simple on first sight, and it may turn out to be long and difficult in reality, but it was a good plan regardless of how he looked at it. And it was one he intended to share with his little brother right now.

“I thought you’d never asked,” he hooked a foreleg around his brother’s neck to bring him into a hug. The words he whispered into his ear that morning were a secret just between them.

Quit my dangerous lifestyle of adventures, move in to Equestria, settle down, start studying magic to find a way to break the curse, return to Hobuck to break the curse, and then decide what to do with my life once my folks are no longer cursed.

That was the plan and it was going well…or at least that’s what he thought at first when he left Hobuck and moved to Equestria. He quitted his adventures and he moved in to Equestria without any of his old enemies tracking him down or any new pony recognizing him from his old life. That was two steps down and four more to go.

The main problem rested on the middle steps of settling down and studying magic. Having been a mercenary and bounty hunter, Statice had no experience getting himself a living so he settled for the wilderness or renting apartments. The problem with settling down was that he had to remain in a town or in a city in order to have access to their resources, such as libraries and museums and that was hard to do when he ended up becoming public enemy number one by somehow managing to provoke bullies and brawlers into fighting him.

It's not like I did anything in the first place! I just fought back! Why can't a guy retaliate in self-defense without getting arrested just because I "overdid" it a little bit. It's not like they weren't going to "overdo" it with me as well.

He was kicked out of most towns and cities he visited until he visited Canterlot, where he got under parole of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. Previous experiences with royals of different countries had taught him to run away or remain incognito under an alias until he got what he wanted. Fortunately, the two royal sisters were surprisingly more merciful than any ruler he met before and agreed to pardon him of any crime he made, even making him a citizen of Equestria, and giving him the chance for a magical education. It also came with a vacation included.

This all seems like a dream. I wonder, how long will it take for my life to take all that happiness away from me just when it seems that I can reach it?

“Are you okay, Statice?”

The green unicorn opened his eyes to stare at Cadence. The pink alicorn was staring at him with concern evident in her face. It caused him to furrow his brow in shame for making her feel so bad.

“There’s nothing wrong,” he reassured her in a futile attempt to get rid of his guilt, avoiding eye contact as he did so. “I was trying to fall asleep because I was feeling tired so I was trying to bore myself to sleep with a recapitulation of the previous months.”

“How do you bore yourself in your sleep?” Shining Armor asked as he sat beside his wife with a skeptical look on his face.

“You pretty much have to start having boring thoughts in your head while you’re trying to sleep,” Statice gave the white unicorn a deadpan reply. “You add boredom to exhaustion to increase the odds of you falling asleep.”

“What’s that recapitulation of the previous months that you previously mentioned, Statice?” Cadence asked as she leaned closer to Statice.

“I pretty much tell myself a summary of what I did in the previous months, excluding the months on which I hibernated, in order to keep record of my activities,” Statice rubbed his eyes with his hoof, although the gesture was more to hide the blush that was forming on his cheeks with his foreleg.

“Does that recapitulation also include before you moved to Equestria?” Shining Armor asked with a tone that was more curious than accusing.

“Yes,” Statice sighed with a disappointed tone. It was almost a year since he moved to Equestria and there was no progress since then. He didn’t even send a letter to poor Meadow Tails in half of it because of the Hibernation Spell. Almost all the time that he spent in that magical land he spent it more on himself trying to save his hide rather than fulfill his promise.

I’m a deadbeat lowlife brother. I gotta find a way to make it up to Meadow Tails at some point in the future.

“Oh,” Shining Armor winced upon seeing Statice’s face and hearing his tone. It sounded like he was angry with himself and Shining Armor couldn’t figure out why that was. From the look his wife gave him, she reached the same conclusion he did.

“Is there something you want to talk about, Statice?” Shining Armor offered helpfully. “Sometimes, when you have a lot of baggage, holding it in will do you more harm than good.”

Is he giving me a sermon about opening up regarding MY private life? This guy is lecturing me about letting him help me deal with MY family?

“No,” Statice scowled. “I do not have any baggage, and even if I did I am not obligated to tell you.”

Rather than being offended, the royal couple was troubled.

“It’s okay,” Shining Armor lifted a hoof as a sign of peace. “You can tell us when you’re ready.”

“Yeah, and maybe I can make like Twilight and right you a whole dang list while I’m at it,” Statice stood up from his seat to storm off. “I’m going to get breakfast. I’ll see you there.”

As he left, the royal couple shook started at him with expressions that changed from aghast, annoyed, and finally frustrated.

“Did he really need to go that low with sister insults?” Shining Armor asked his wife, not happy to have to restrain himself around the green stallion.

“Give him time, Shiny,” Cadence reassured him, although with a tone that indicated that she was losing her patience. “From what we were told, he might as well be more of a foal in a stallion’s body than a real stallion.”

“This is delicious!”

As it turned out, it was hard to be in a bad mood when one could gorge himself in good food, especially fancy food. Statice was eating a frittata, especially since it came with cheese and tomatoes.

Nothing gets the anger away like a good meal.

A savory meal seasoned with mild cheese and juicy tomatoes caused him to immerse himself on his breakfast. He stared at the chef for a minute and asked him for a second and third plate.

“I see that you’re enjoying yourself,” Cadence laughed in a singsong voice as she and her husband entered into the cart. From the smile on their faces, they either forgot about the argument they had with him earlier or they forgave him already.

It’s probably the latter. They’re Twilight’s family. They don’t know how to keep a grudge. To be safe, I better keep my guard up.

“Best breakfast I had in months,” Statice laughed merrily. “I just can’t help but keep asking for more.”

“Let’s just say that out of the four princesses, I’m the one who likes to have the most fun of them all,” Cadence winked at him.

Statice turned his head away from her and hurryingly ate his frittata lest she saw him blush.

To be fair, he didn’t disagree with the notion of Cadence being the most fun-loving princess of the four. Celestia looked like somepony capable of relaxing and having as much fun as the rest of her subjects, and yet she was also the closest thing to a perfect ruler that Equestria had, meaning that she was incapable of doing the stuff she always wanted to do. Luna had a holiday and she was quite good with foals, but she also had a burden with protecting the dreams of ponies all on her own and that was not counting the whole guilt she had with Nightmare Moon. Twilight always had her friends by her side, but that didn’t change the fact that she was always filled with insecurities, doubting herself, and comparing herself negatively to the other princesses despite arguably doing more for Equestria and having fewer responsibilities than either of them. At least Cadence had a husband, had servants at her beck and call, went to the spa, and immediately befriended and bonded with Twilight’s friends shortly after her wedding.

I can see why she’s my favorite princess so far.

“How much longer do we have to wait until we’re at the Crystal Empire?” he asked, already eating his third frittata.

“Check on the window,” Shining Armor asked as he was eating his second plate while Cadence levitated a napkin to his lips.

Statice stuck out his tongue once he was sure the two of them couldn’t see him. As he opened the window and stuck out his head to see outside, he was amazed with what he saw.

The Crystal Empire was an amazing structure. It was a collection of pillars of blue, purple, and pink crystals among a warm valley of grass surrounded around a frozen wasteland. Even with the cold snow falling on top of his head and the colder winds flying around his face, he felt warm radiating from the crystal pillars, slightly warming him up from that distance. He was so entranced by their beauty that he didn’t notice the moment Cadence used her magic to pull him out of the window.

The green unicorn yelped as he was dragged on his flank, watching as Shining Armor closed the window with his magic while Cadence gave an apologetic glance. “I’m sorry for the rough treatment,” she sincerely bowed her head as she gave Statice a warm blanket and rubbed it all over his head to get rid of the snow on his mane and face. “It was excessive, but I don’t want you to catch a cold as soon as you reach my home. I want you to have fun. Can you forgive me?”

Statice blinked, not sure how to feel about having somepony rub his mane with a blanket. The last one to do it was his mother. Only one word came out of his mouth.


“Welcome to the Crystal Empire!”

The Crystal Empire was more beautiful up close than up far. The surface felt like glass, but it was just as strong as diamond. The Crystal ponies were of different colors, most of them looked like Earth ponies, except that they were made of crystal, transparent, and glowing.

“What do you think, Statice?” Cadence asked with an expectant yet playful tone of voice.

“Best place in Equestria by far,” Statice remarked, which earned a giggle from Cadence, who playfully shoved her husband.

“I told you we had the best place in Equestria,” she nuzzled Shining Armor.

“Never doubted it for a second,” he nuzzled her back.

“You mind showing me some attractions?” Statice asked in annoyance, not at the royal couple but at the Crystal ponies constantly bowing at them. He didn’t like being stuck in the middle of that.

“Oh right,” the two of them answered at the same time. This time around Cadence led the way. “Let me show you the Crystal Heart. How can we give you a tour to the Crystal Empire without presenting you the most vital part of it?”

Somehow, I’m starting to see how Sombra managed to capture the Crystal Empire even though he was just a unicorn.

It wasn’t a very long walk. On the way, Statice saw what he swore was a statue of Spike holding the Crystal Heart, which Cadence promised was going to be a part of the tour much later on. Although he was forced to leave, a small part of him was glad that the purple drake had achieved fame considering how often he was overshadowed by his six more popular pony friends.

I’m glad to know that you got some recognition for all your efforts, little buddy. If you’re lucky, I’m pretty sure you’ll get another chance to shine someday in the future.

After more walking, the trio finally saw the Crystal Heart. Statice was awed upon finally seeing the Crystal Heart up close. He’d seen gems aplenty in his life of many colors and shapes. Most of them were for monetary value, some of them were magical in nature, and this one was no exception. The sheer amount of magic power and the fortune one could make from possessing such gem was immeasurable.

I can see now how Sombra managed to conquer the Crystal Empire by himself. A gem like this holds the whole magic of the entire empire within itself, fueling the place as it is charged by the Crystal ponies. It’s like Equestria has a spare set of Elements of Harmony powered by the citizens of one area!

The Crystal Heart was shaped like itself, a light blue crystal gem shaped like a heart that was suspended over a pedestal by its magical power underneath a tower. From the pedestal, Statice saw some sort of lines that extended outside into the sides of the tower and into the streets.

Maybe they are magic circuits like the ones Digitalis told me about. The magic energy from the Crystal Heart flows from the Crystal Heart upward and downward into the tower and along the streets to distribute the magic. I guess that explains how the Crystal Empire can remain all warm and cozy in the north when it’s located in the frozen tundra.

“This is the Crystal Heart,” Cadence flew around the gem, snapping him out of his observation. “It is the symbol of love and hope of the Crystal Empire.”

“I kind of feel cozy around it,” Statice joked, earning a giggle from Cadence and even a snort of amusement from Shining Armor. “Is it because of the magic or it’s just me?”

“It’s the Crystal Heart,” the couple answered simultaneously. They stared at each other and had some sort of telepathic conversation that apparently only married couples were capable of having since it was a long staredown and there was no magic around their horns to suggest telepathy.

Gee, I wonder if that’s how my married life is gonna be like. On the bright side, I won’t have to waste magic having to read thoughts.

From the content way he smiled, it was Shining Armor who won the argument as he took over the conversation. “The Crystal Heart is more than just a symbol, Statice,” he gestured a hoof to it. “You see, the magic within it is the magic of the Crystal ponies and it protects their home from threats.”

“I kinda know that,” Statice rolled his eyes at him. “Spike pretty much told me how he and Cadence blasted King Sombra to pieces by using the power of the Crystal ponies to summon some sort of crystal beam from the Crystal Heart.”

Rather than being annoyed by his interruptions as in previous occasions, Shining Armor was amused, probably from having Spike mentioned. “Yes,” he laughed. “It’s quite a story inside and outside of here, especially when it comes from here. But did you know that the Crystal Heart also protects us from Wendigos?”

“Did you just say Wendigos?” Statice asked in shock. He’d only heard about them in the Heart’s Warming Eve and that was mainly in a play that he watched in Discord’s memories. Those things used to be enemies of the founders until the first friendship of Equestria drove them away. Finding out that they were still a threat, even if the Crystal Heart fended them off regularly, increased his interest.

“The Crystal Heart is not only responsible for the crystallization of the Crystal ponies,” Shining Armor recalled how he turned into crystal the day the Crystal Heart had its magic used for the first time in a millennium. “It is also the only thing that can prevent the eternal winter of the Frozen North from freezing over this empire.”

I knew that gem had something to do with the warmth in here! Still, I never thought it could fend off other creeps beside Sombra. Now that I think about it, I am left with only one more question.

“Why would Wendigos want to invade the Crystal Empire?” he questioned with a raised eyebrow. “The Crystal ponies don’t look like the arguing type when you compare them with the three tribes before Equestria was founded.”

At that question, Shining Armor and Cadence shared awkward looks and engaged in yet another telepathic marriage talk.

Are they gonna do that every time that I ask a sensitive topic? Give me a break!

This time around, it was Cadence who won the discussion as she answered the question instead. “As I said before, the Crystal Heart is a symbol of love and hope,” she looked behind as some Crystal ponies were looking at it reverently. “Its absence from their life can cause a crippling depression and overwhelming hopelessness on them. These negative emotions will attract the Wendigos and…you can figure out the rest.”

“Oh,” Statice grimaced. “I get it now. Thank you for educating me. Can we go to the next tourist point?”

“Sure!” Cadence and Shining Armor added hurryingly, probably to avoid talking about the morbid topic of anything bad happening to the Crystal Heart.

As they left, Statice chastised himself for taking what was supposed to be a moment of sightseeing into an awkward moment of wondering about horrible outcomes of the future.

You’re certainly starting your vacation with the right hoof, Statice. Let’s see how much of a mess you make on the next stop.

The Crystal Empire was a very interesting place for sightseeing. It was just as fancy as Canterlot and just as nice as Ponyville. Maybe he was going to move in this place once he earned his citizenship.

It’s a place of love and hope so that means that maybe I’ll find the mare of my dreams here. And maybe I’ll have a chance of finding the spell to break the curse over here. I mean, Digitalis always told me that the oldest magic spells can always be the best routes to create ANY spell as long as you find the right connection.

He had gone to play with some sort of sheep, he had gone to see jousting matches, and he went to a stadium to watch ponies play sport. The only vacation spot that he refused was the spa and that was mainly out of his refusal to let ponies touch him.

Funnily enough, this was the first time it caused his first disagreement with Cadence in the whole vacation as she was VERY adamant of him going into the spa with her and Shining Armor.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Cadence complained, not happy that Statice just ditched her suggestion like that.

“Well, I don’t like going to spas,” Statice groaned.

“You can try to phrase it in a nicer way, Statice,” Shining Armor rubbed a hoof on his face. “We ponies tend to stick to our beliefs as hard as we can regardless of how childish they can be. How do you think most of our friendship problems start?”

The green unicorn was about to give him a smart comeback, pausing only when he realized that it made sense. Ponies did have poor communication skills and aggravated their problems because they didn’t know how to articulate their feelings or took things the wrong way.

“Let me try again,” Statice took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Cadence, but I don’t want to go to the spa with you and Shining Armor. I just don’t like going there.”

“But why wouldn’t you like going there?” Cadence questioned with genuine curiosity. “You look tense and stressed. You could use a massage at least.”

Statice didn’t answer. He just remembered why he didn’t like going to the spa or any other place of relaxation. Many images flashed across his eyes from years ago until they settled on Cadence, who looked at him with concern.

I might as well take this off my chest. I wanted to confess to something. If it’s not my sins, then I’d rather talk about the bizarre stuff that happened to me over the years.

“My line of work taught me to never let your guard down. You get a massage, and suddenly you get a panda dropped on top of you. You go for a treatment in acupuncture and then you have a needle on a pressure point paralyzing your whole body. And there were many other bizarre ways, Cadence, on which you can get kidnapped, knocked out, or worse. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you incapable of going to a spa or any other place where you can relax even if you know that it’s safe because their mere existence brings back bad memories. The thing I’m trying to say is that…it’s not you…it’s me.”

Cadence and Shining Armor gave him dropped jaws, incredulous to the story he had told them. Inwardly, he cursed at himself for opening up that much of his past and being so descriptive with it. Those two were not Discord, who was either used to those hijinks or appreciative of them. They were normal ponies that’d react like he did the first time he was introduced to the experience: horror and disbelief.

I swear I’m turning dumber the longer I stay in Equestria. I just can’t figure out what’s the right thing to say around somepony anymore.

“I’m sorry that you had to go through that,” Shining Armor awkwardly apologized, finally ending the uncomfortable silence. “Life outside of Equestria must have been really hard for you.”

“That’s an understatement,” Statice avoided eye contact, not wanting to talk about it and not wanting to face him after starting yet another social faux pas after the previous one with the Crystal Heart.

“We don’t have to go to the spa if you don’t feel like it,” Cadence spoke out, now with a sympathetic tone and placing a gentle touch of her hoof on his shoulder. “There’s always more ways to relax your body besides going to the spa.”

“To be honest I do make my own homemade spa for myself,” Statice informed her quickly. It wasn’t to impress her, but to let her know that he didn’t have anything against spas after she was vouching of good they were, especially those of the place she ruled.

“Homemade spa?” Cadence repeated with an interested eyebrow.

“I use some spells to give myself a massage, to bathe myself, and to take care of my hooves,” Statice listed the facts, giving more explanation than what he did with Rarity back when he pretended to date her.

“Why did you make your own homemade spas if you didn’t like them?” Shining Armor asked with a confused frown.

“All that adventured left me rugged and dirty by the end of the day,” Statice sighed as he stared at his hooves and checked on their condition. “My mom taught me to always be clean and since I didn’t trust spas, I made a decision to make my personal spas in secret so that I can always groom myself when the enemy was not looking at me.”

“That actually sounds like a good move,” Shining Armor admitted with reluctant respect. Even if going to spa guaranteed almost nothing in a strategic battle, at least Statice managed to win a personal victory on a daily basis without risking his safety. It was indeed worthy of respect, regardless of how little worth it had.

“This is the first time you mentioned your mom to us,” Cadence perked up a bit, having noticed that little detail. She’d noticed how his voice softened when he mentioned his mom and the advice she gave him was genuinely motherly in nature.

Parents always play a part in how their children grow up. I’m not sure what kind of mother Statice had if he was actually allowed to live a dangerous lifestyle as a colt, but she cannot be a bad one if he speaks so fondly of her. So what was the true reason that caused Statice to leave his mom when he was a colt?

“Oh,” Statice raised his head, eyes blank as he stared at the sky. “Can we talk about this later? I’d rather feel more at ease when I talk about her and dad.”

“Okay,” Cadence placated him with a hoof on his shoulder and a reassuring smile on her face. “I’ll go to the spa while you boys hang out. What do you think of that?”

“Sure,” he nodded his head, watching as the pink alicorn turned around and left. He shifted his head to the side and gave Shining Armor a single remark.

“You’re the luckiest guy in Equestria to be married to her.”

“For once, Statice, I agree with you.”

In a surprising turn of events, Shining Armor proved to be a gracious host to Statice as he amicably asked him where he wanted to go next despite their earlier animosity. The green unicorn chose to go to the library.

For a library that contained books that were made about a thousand years ago, they were written in the modern language and thus very easy to read. Of course, the main problem with the books was that they were filled with information that could probably be outdated if the same topic was read somewhere else in Equestria under a different book made a few centuries later. The only books that were worth anything were those detailing the past of the Crystal Empire or those that involved spells that were related to the Crystal Heart.

Like a needle in a haystack, this is gonna be a challenge. I don’t even know where to start. I’m pretty sure the history books will be useless since Cadence will most likely have studied them as part of her princess duties. I don’t think that crystal magic will help me on my quest at all.

His meditation was cut short by a thumping sound. It was Shining Armor levitating another round of books to his table. Although he was not on the same league as his sister, the white unicorn was still a bookworm on his own. As soon as Statice asked him to bring him the top twenty books of the Crystal Empire, he easily came out with them. And then he gave him another twenty book that were his top twenty, and then Cadence’s top twenty, and Twilight’s top twenty, and the librarian as well. The green unicorn had a twitching eye as he was forced to read one hundred books in one go while Shining Armor sat by his side and started reading from his own pile of favorite books.

“You mind telling me how do you expect me to read all those books in one sitting?” Statice hissed at Shining Armor, not happy that he gave him more reading material than what was expected.

“Why are you so upset about it?” Shining Armor asked, sounding both upset and confused. “You can read those books in one sitting if you put your eyes into them. Twilight can read the whole library in just one sitting after a lifetime of reading. I can also do the same for all my years of studying as a royal guard.”

Had Shining Armor not have his face buried in a book, he would have noticed the incredulous glance Statice was giving him right now. He would have followed it with an insult or an outburst, but he was not in a hurry to get kicked out of the library.

I swear Twilight’s family is abnormal. Then again, you only get to the top of the world by being anything other than normal.

He stared at the eighty books that he had to read, not counting the twenty additional books that were going to be included once Shining Armor was done reading them. He was left wondering how he was going to speed read through all of them in one sitting.

Maybe if I use the Gallop Burst Spell on just my eyes...No... What if that gives me laser eyes? I don’t want to explain to Cadence why I burned the whole library down just by looking at it! Or perhaps I should use an Enhancement Spell on my eye muscles to increase my visual acuity and perception… No…What if it gives me bulging eyes? I will look ridiculous. Nopony in the Crystal Empire will ever let me live it down.

He stared at the books on his first pile and noticed that most of them were history books. Groaning in exhaustion, he put them by the side, not even bothering to give them a read. From what he noticed, Shining Armor preferred books on military history. Cadence was keener on romance and legends. Twilight proved to be the most help by having the most books about magic. The librarian had mainly given him books about classical literature and they were mainly not worth reading. From what was worth, Statice was left reading almost forty books just from checking their titles, and that was not counting Shining Armor’s piles.

Speaking of Shining Armor, the white unicorn was currently engrossed in the fifth book of his pile. Apparently, he was right with that statement about being a good speed reader, even if he was not on the same level as Twilight. Checking at the pile of books that he still needed to read, Statice went to check on the library some more.

“Gonna go for some more books,” Statice stood up from his seat.

“Take your time,” Shining Armor replied, not even bothering to look from his current book. “You don’t mind if I read one of your books. They’re from Cadence’s favorite top twenty books.”

“I don’t mind,” Statice walked away nonchalantly as he stared at the crystal halls, feeling exhausted just looking at them.

This is giving me a headache. Thousands of books, hundreds of them are about magic, and only one of them may have the key to solve my problems. And I can’t even be specific with my search because there’s a chance that the kind of magic I’m searching is just as taboo as black magic.

If he only had a good teacher in magic in his youth, then maybe things would have been different. As much as Digitalis helped him with learning the basics, it didn’t change the fact that he was just as green on magic as he was and that the only reason he was his superior was because he happened to know slightly more about spells than a colt did. Once Statice actually started creating his own spells, it took him little time to look at Digitalis as an equal.

Both of them were aware of their weakness and had tried to mend it by searching for teachers, hoping that they could find either a unicorn in a foreign land or a magic species whose magic style was similar to their own. If they couldn’t find teachers, they tried to find tomes, books, or scrolls containing knowledge of ancient unicorns regardless of how vague the information was. They never got anywhere with them because they were written in an ancient language only available in Equestria so they sold them for a large prize and continued their adventures.

And here he was now in Equestria, starting a magical education, only he was going to do it at the bottom because he wasted his time slacking around rather than researching the land like he was trained to do. It was probably going to take him years before he could be legally allowed to read any books in the kind of magic that he was searching at the pace he was going.

“If there’s any justice in this world,” Statice whispered so low that he was sure nopony was hearing him. “Please send me some help.”

“Excuse me, may I rent these books?”

Statice followed the voice and noticed an orange unicorn stallion talking to the librarian. His coat was orange, but had patches of white on his hooves. He had red mane and a little beard with it as well. He also had glasses as well. However, the most noticeable aspect on him was that he was dressed like a wizard with a dark blue robe adorned with stars. Floating in light yellow aura, there were the books that Statice had rejected earlier as he noticed by the titles on the covers, which further filled his authenticity as a wizard.

Is he a wizard? He is dressed like one and he’s actually reading books about magic, more specifically about the Crystal Empire. Why else would somepony travel to a place that didn’t exist a thousand years ago if not some wizard that is curious to find out more about ancestral magic?

But then again, there was a chance that he could be a poser. Trixie was a poser bragging about her power despite only being a stage magician. For all he knew, that stallion could just be a poser renting books to get some credibility on him.

He debated on whether that stallion was a wizard or a poser and whether he should approach him or not. Fate had burned him so many times when he had asked for a miracle and this was not going to be any different.

“Have a nice day, Sunburst!”

The goodbye call of the librarian snapped him out of his thoughts as he saw the wizard leave. He was conflicted on what to feel. He didn’t talk with the so called wizard, but he at least found out his name. Besides, he already found a reference point in this library once he started looking for him. If the library pony knew him by name, then that meant that he was a regular visitor and came there often.

I just found what I’m going to do here for the next few days.

“How was the library, boys?”

“It was fine!”

And so the conversation at the dinner began with an innocent conversation from the Princess of Love and a hurried reply from her husband and her guest, albeit from different reasons. In Shining Armor’s case, he genuinely enjoyed his trip to the library having read the forty books he set himself to read. However, Statice was pretty much lying as not only did he not find any of the books he wanted to read, but he didn’t enjoy having Shining Armor as company.

I can’t believe he put some soundproof bubble around himself just so that he could weep like a little girl over some romance book Cadence suggested. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my entire life.

“Did you read any good books lately, Statice?” Cadence asked, leaning forward on the table to listen to what he had to say. “Shining Armor was telling me over a book that I recommended to him so I thought about the hundred books that he suggested to you and wondered which of them was your favorite.

“The ones about spells,” he answered automatically. “I didn’t care much about the ones that the librarian suggested because they were pretty much the same books, but written in an old language. I pretty much realized it when the first book on her pile was a dictionary for the translation between modern and old language.”

The statement earned a roar of laughter from the couple and an annoyed snort from Statice, who didn’t understand the joke. Was it some sort of joke in Twilight and Shining Armor’s family or it was something that extended to all of Equestria when it came to books and knowledge?

“That is something that she’ll do,” Cadence laughed mirthfully. “You’ll have to excuse our librarian. In fact, you’ll have to excuse pretty much any librarian you’ll meet across Equestria. You’ll meet some of them that won’t hesitate to show you at least two or three versions of the same book written in different languages and act as if it were a new different one.”

Huh, so I guess it is something spread across Equestria. I guess that explains why Twilight is so book-obsessed.

“Returning to the topic of the spells, which were your favorite ones?” Cadence asked politely as she leaned back. From what she saw, Statice was just like Twilight in that he was one of the few ponies that preferred to go beyond just learning levitation. In her eyes, his interest in spells may provide insight on his personality.

“Survival spells,” Statice answered immediately.

“Why did you read about survival spells?” Cadence asked with a confused frown, not understanding the need to learn about survival when he probably had pretty of knowledge and skill about the topic.

“Most of the books were about battle spells, survival spells, crystal spells, weather spells, and old spells,” Statice listed as he used his magic to stir a plate of hot soup that had been served as his dinner. To be honest, he didn’t want to make a rant. However, he also felt the need to vent since he didn’t find any spell to help his quest.

“Old spells are unreliable, unstable, and only useful in very specific situation. Crystal spells are only limited to the Crystal Empire so I’d rather not learn something that is not bound to a single place. Battle spells I know aplenty, and even then you only need to learn how to teleport for evasion, project shields for defense, and shoot blasts for offense. Weather spells are way too advanced for me so why bother to put effort on them. Finally, survival spells are perfect because you don’t know what will threaten your life so might as well come up with the best case scenario.”

“I see,” Cadence answered, bearing a grimace on her face. “Did you find a spell that you liked?”

“Some of them,” Statice sighed, barely remembering the contents about one of them. Part of him wished he had read through the book if he had not been so sidetracked with finding the spell he desired for his research. “They were mostly about dealing with cold and surviving avalanches.”

“I think I read about that one,” Shining Armor remembered fondly. “To be honest, it used to be in my top twenty books. It still is one of my favorite books. The problem is that it just got upstaged by a biography of a former general of the Crystal Empire.”

“I’d rather not hear it, Shining Armor,” Statice politely declined, feeling that the prince deserved at least a polite refusal for indirectly supporting him, but not feeling indebted enough to hear him babbling about somepony else for the conversation.

“Would you like to go somewhere else tomorrow, Statice?” Cadence offered, ignoring the annoyed pout that her husband was throwing the green unicorn.

“I may go to the library tomorrow again,” Statice remarked hopefully.

“You want to check the spell on how to survive an avalanche?” Shining Armor asked, already gotten over his annoyance at not being allowed to speak about his favorite general of the Crystal Empire.

“Sure,” Statice nodded his head.

“Very well,” Shining Armor smiled back before giving the neutral frown that was a trademark of the Royal Guard, which alerted him of some important news. “Listen, although we agreed to accommodate you, Cadence and I still have our duties. Cadence is still the Princess of Love that must rule the Crystal Empire and I am still the Captain of the Royal Guard.”

“So you’re giving me one of your subordinates to take care of me until one of you is free of your daily duties,” Statice summarized as he grabbed his bowl of soup and drank it down in one gulp. He was already familiar with that situation, having dealt with royal guests in the past.

I wonder how many times I was hired to babysit some royal brats for a couple of hours because the king and the queen had a royal meeting to attend for a few hours and promised to do something important with their kids...and then a few days later my contract is extended and I am stuck with those same royal brats complaining over how mommy and daddy don't love them enough simply because their duties don't give them enough time to spend time with them. Good thing I have no issues.

“We usually don’t take that long,” Cadence reassured him calmly. “I promise you that we’ll have a lot of fun once we’re done working.”

“What’s the name of my guard?” Statice asked the couple. From the way Shining Armor stood and his proud manner of speaking, Statice could tell that the white stallion held the soon-to-be bodyguard in high regard.

“His name is Flash Sentry and he’s one of the few members of the Crystal Guard that is not a Crystal pony. He’s actually a Royal Guard from modern Equestria in order to forge a bond between modern Equestria and the archaic Crystal Empire and help the Crystal Guard to keep up with their absence of a thousand years.”

“How is he as a pony?” Statice asked, bothering to go to the important question. To him, a Royal Guard was a glorified punk dressed in fancy armor. If this Flash Sentry was going to take care of him, he’d better not be just some tough looking pony trained to just stare angrily at others.

“He’s a young pegasus more or less about your age,” Shining Armor summarized as he tried to come up with a profile. “He’s also very popular with the other guards because he’s friendly…and he has a guitar.”

“That’s it,” Statice gave him a confused glance.

“That’s it,” Shining Armor maintained his stance, albeit this time with a strained voice, meaning that even he didn’t know much about Flash Sentry.

“I accept,” Statice shrugged his shoulders. He didn’t learn much from Flash Sentry, but, next to Shining Armor, he was the Royal Guard with the most personality among the whole army. That had to be worth something.

Dear Meadow Tails

It’s been how long since I wrote you a letter? I’m not sure anymore. I’ve never kept track on the letters or even on what I do every day. Anyway, I’m at the Crystal Empire! You may wonder what’s the Crystal Empire. If you don’t know, it’s some sort of kingdom made entirely out of crystal that was gone from Equestria for a thousand years. If you already knew that, then I’m apologizing for making you read something irrelevant. I’m on a vacation. I’m friends with the princess there. Her name is Princess Cadence. I hope you meet her someday.

Brother, there is something that I have to tell you. I am going to attend to Celestia’s School for the Magically Gifted Unicorns in a few weeks. I will finally learn true magic. I may be able to break the curse if I am lucky. Listen, I am not sure how long it will take me to graduate, but at least I have a goal now and I can see the end of the tunnel. Apparently, it takes years, but that’s only when you start as a foal. I have experience with magic and I’m sure that if I apply myself it will only be a matter of time before I graduate. When that time comes, I’ll do my best to break that stupid curse. This family has been separated for too long. It’s time to end that.

Speaking about family, I’m sorry. I don’t think I’ve been a good brother to you, Meadow. I constantly left you because I couldn’t deal with the way things were at home, even though you were the only one who cared that I was there. I realized now that letters are not enough. They’re not enough when you realize how much your absence hurts me and how much my absence probably hurts you. I didn’t write you for six months. I was hibernating because of a spell, but that’s not an excuse. The truth is that some jerks from my past caught up with me and I’ve been running from trouble ever since. It’s why I’ve been writing inconsistently. I’m sorry if I’ve been neglectful in my letters. I may have even lied to you about how great my life is when in reality I was having a bad time. I didn’t want to worry you. I’m sorry you have a miserable jerk for a brother, Meadow Tails. I promise you that in the next letter you get from me, I’ll do a lot better as a pony and as a brother. I love you very much.

Your brother, Statice

“Curse it,” Statice angrily wiped his eyes with his right foreleg, not wanting to let tears fall on the paper that will ruin the letter. This was the third time he was writing this letter, the first two being ruined because he let his emotions get the better of him and the teardrops fell on the ink, causing it to smear all over the letters.

He took a step back from his finished letter, not bothering to read it or double check it as he was sure he was going to break down in tears if he did so. He was going to send it and that decision was final.

“Can you please send this letter for me if you can hear me, Discord?” Statice asked to nopony in particular. To be honest, it was impossible to tell if the draconequus was in the room with him or if he was tracking him since he infiltrated Ponyville. It didn’t matter with Statice, but he wanted to try at least tonight.

“It’s okay if you don’t want to send the letter tonight,” Statice offered as he stared across the room. “I promise that I’ll send it tomorrow if it’s still here.”

Having said what he wanted to say, the green unicorn opened his Archive and updated information about the Crystal Empire. He put special emphasis on Shining Armor and Cadence since they were the ponies hosting him. Finally, he opened two entries on Flash Sentry and Sunburst since there was a chance that he was going to see those two ponies for the following weeks.

Closing the Archive with a satisfied grunt, Statice got up on his bed and closed his eyes, ignorant to the draconequus who sneaked into his room and took the letter. Likewise, a certain blue alicorn slipped right into his mind while he slept, most of the mental defenses laid down more because he found something meaningful to do in his vacations than the relaxing activities he was supposed to take.

Deep inside Statice’s subconscious mind, far beyond Luna’s reach, there was a static sound. Among all the gathered up thoughts and piled up memories inside that mind, one could make up a sound.

Re---se S—ell! Break cur--! Key -- Ghostly Memory -----!

Author's Note:

Hello, my readers. Sorry for the abscence. Been looking for a job. As you can see, Statice's first day in the Crystal Empire has been quite emotive to the point of emotionally draining, far from what many would consider relaxing. Now then, what are Statice's plans regarding Sunburst? What does he plan to accomplish at the library? Will Cadence and Shining Armor give Statice the vacation he deserves? Can Luna find out what is wrong with Statice's subconscious mind, particularly that line at the end? Will Flash Sentry be relevant to the story or will he just be just for show? Find out more in the next chapters of this story.