• Published 21st Aug 2015
  • 628 Views, 163 Comments

Daring-Do and the Leaf in the Wind - Sylvian

Daring-Do, along with her friend Leaf Wind, are assigned a mission by Princess Luna. What they find may change Equestria's past and future. And, perhaps, their relationship.

  • ...

Daring-Do and the Temple of Life

The transition from the bright light of the desert into the darkness inside the ancient library blinds Daring and Leaf, especially after the door closes behind them silently on its well oiled hinges.

Daring takes the initiative and grabs a torch from a nearby wall socket, Leaf producing flint and tinder and quickly striking a flame that roars to life on the already prepared torch. The room they are standing in is instantly bathed in flickering amber light that dances and reflects off of the multitude of polished stone surfaces that make up the inside of the building. The walls and floors seem to be made out of a highly polished pale stone, perhaps granite or even quartz stone which send Daring and Leaf’s reflections back at them from almost every surface. The effect is only broken by wall coverings, which mostly consist of tapestries and drapes over a few larger windows which, unlike the ones on the upper levels, seem to be closed against the elements.

Stepping forward, Daring’s eyes try to take in everything, including the partially sand-covered mural on the ground beneath them. Looking to Leaf, Daring looks back at the Mural and extends her wings, Leaf doing the same, and both of them flap slightly to create a small gust that brushes the sand away.

The emblem on the floor becomes uncovered, and Daring’s face splits into a wide smile, as the large green leafy tree matching exactly the description of the emblem Luna had given them when they had set out on this journey. They had made it, but now the hard part starts.

Continuing forward, they come to the bottom of a twin grand staircase -- made of the same polished stone as the floor and walls with beautifully carved and well worn redwood railings -- with a pair of large redwood doors between the two stairs, the same emblem etched into their faces.

“Well, up or down, Double-Dee?” Leaf says glancing at the stairs, then at the doors. “Because, I don’t know about you, but those doors look promising.”

Daring shrugs and walks up to the door, “We’re already down here. Might as well check this out first.” She presses her hooves against the door, but unlike the front door, this one does not slide open easily. She puts her shoulder into it, and it starts to grudgingly move, but not far.

“Here, Double-Dee,” Leaf says as he puts his shoulder into the door next to her, “I can’t stand to see you struggle like that.” He starts pushing with her, their hooves sliding on the polished floor. “It had to be the one door that hadn’t been oiled in the past century, didn’t it!”

“Shut your mouth and keep pushing!” Daring replies breathlessly, the door moving inch by creaking inch under their efforts. Then, all at once the door swings open, crashing against the wall beside it with a thunderous boom that resounds through the entire structure. Daring and Leaf land side-by-side on the dusty floor, a few thousand years worth of dust billowing up around them in a thick choking cloud. Coughing and waving a hoof in front of her face, Daring stands up and looks around.

“We really need to stop falling for each other like this, Dee,” Leaf says from beside her as he coughs a few times. “I mean, ending up on the floor in dark, dusty rooms. Ponies are going to talk.” Daring rolls her eyes at her friend and goes forward, stumbling slightly over something in the shadowy darkness beyond the door’s light. “Daring, no stop. Let me get the torch.” Leaf goes back outside of the door, coughing a few more times, and picks the torch up from where Daring had left it.

Coming back inside the light from the torch illuminates a scene of utter chaos. The room looks as if a full grown dragon had torn through it, deep scratches line the walls and floor and what had at one time must have been chairs and tables lie broken and splintered all over the floor. Coming up beside Daring, who had made her way in the dark to the back of the room, Leaf stops beside her and looks up at what had at one time must have been the crowning jewel of the room.

Before them, on a raised platform, is the splintered wreckage of what looks to have been a throne. Stylized to look like a large oak tree, and made out of wood that seems to have almost grown from the stones beneath it, the throne now lays splintered and burnt. Hanging limply from the crowning branches is a disc of stone, the emblem seen on the floor outside barely recognizable beneath the charring and deep grooved scratches.

“What happened here?” Leaf asks in a near whisper.

“I don’t know,” Daring says in an equally soft voice, “but I am definitely going to ask Luna when we get back.” Leaf nods at this, tearing his eyes away from the destroyed throne and looking at the wreckage all around them. All around them are small shards of what at first glance looks like pottery, the dusky white-grey of them not unlike pottery you could buy in a marketplace, but as he wanders over his breath catches, as behind an upturned and shattered table is anything but pottery.

“Daring, be sure to emphasize us getting hazard pay on this one,” Leaf says, his voice growing a little louder.

“Why?” Daring asks as she walks over, her own breath catching as Leaf points with the hoof gripping the torch, light instantly behind shone on the collection of skulls and mostly intact bones that until that moment they had not seen litter the room. “I think it’s time we get out of this room, Leaf,” Daring says slowly. “We’re not going to find what we need in here...and I’d rather not disturb anything…” Leaf nods and starts backing out of the room, Daring right beside him. Leaving the room Leaf shivers as Daring does her best to close the door they had opened. When it doesn’t budge, she looks to Leaf who is still sort of just standing there. “Leaf, I need help.”

“Hm?” Leaf looks over to Daring, “Oh? You need my help?” He smiles and walks over, putting the torch down in a nearby wall sconce. “Music to my ears.” Daring just sticks her tongue out at him, and he chuckles as he pulls with her, the door creaking back slowly into a closed position. Once it is closed, Leaf goes and gets the torch again before looking to Daring.

“So, door number one was a creepy tomb! Shall we try the stairs?” Leaf asks in a hesitant voice.

“I guess we should. I mean, what’s the worse that can be up there?” She retorts with a smirk to cover her own unease. “More dead ponies?”

“I hope not!” Leaf replies as he starts up after her. “I don’t want a repeat of that time we disturbed that tribe’s burial site!” Daring laughs, perhaps a little too loudly, and shakes her head.

“Oh, come now, Leaf!” she says with a warm smile, “You know running is good for you!”

“Not if the alternative is being turned into a pony-pin-cushion!” Leaf replies, a smile creeping through his own unease. “My Doctor says it's very bad for my health to have holes poked in me, you know!”

“Oh, what does your sister know about adventure!” Daring replies with a wink. “She needs to get out more often, go on some epic quests that drag her tail across the breadth and width of Equestria!” This time Leaf joins in on the laugh.

“Oh, I don’t know, Daring!” Leaf replies as they near the top of the stairs. “We’d have to get her out of her books long enough to convince her the world wouldn’t end if she went on a vacation!” They both share another laugh before quieting down as they reach the top of the stairs.

Before them is another set of doors, but these ones are open and showing off rows of bookshelves brightly lit by what seem to be tall arching windows that are just outside of the line of sight. Stepping forward their hoofsteps are instantly muffled as they cross the threshold, soft green carpeting covering the floor and dampening the sounds of walking, their eyes instantly attempting to look at everything at once as they progress. There are indeed windows, huge ones in fact, that nearly reach the roof and would not be out of place in the Castle back in Canterlot. Every other window, starting with the one nearest to the door, is a stain-glass relief of what Daring assumes to be ancient events. Some of the windows look to have been repaired, their original glass having been broken somehow, the original image lost as these windows are now just a collection of stained glass in no discernible pattern.

However, as wondrous as these things are, what truly catches their attention is at the center of the vast hall of knowledge.

They come upon it after turning a corner around a bookshelf, a large polished sandstone statue lounging on a pedestal large enough that it could easily hold an entire squad of Guardponies with room to spare. The statue itself is of a hippogryph. The horse section that of a painted horse and its bird that of some form of hawk, both parts brown and differing only by a few shades. It seems to not only be wearing a pair of very large metal framed crystal reading glasses, but also peering at a large book in front of it, one large taloned hand propping its chin up as it peers at the book.

Moving closer, Daring moves around to its front and raises an eyebrow at the fact that, next to the glasses, it is also wearing a large pendant held on by a golden chain, a large glowing green gem set into its center.

“That is quite an interesting pendant,” Daring says slowly as she motions to Leaf. “I think I’ve seen something like this once. But I don’t know where…” Leaf shrugs and continues to look around.

“Knowing you, Dee,” Leaf starts as he puts the now unnecessary torch into a holder attached to a bookcase, “you saw it at a museum and argued with the curator over how old it was.”

“Hey now,” Daring says, turning her back to the statue, “that only happened once, and I was right! It was a fake!” Leaf turns, smirking, to reply only to stop dead in his tracks. “What? No witty reply?” Leaf shakes his head and points over Daring’s shoulder. Turning around Daring blanches and takes a few quick steps back. Staring at her with one piercing glowing green eye, is the statue.

It opens its beak and says something, but when Daring or Leaf do not reply, it shakes its head and clears its throat, sitting up on its haunches and tries again.

“Welcome, to my mistress’ hall, travelers,” the statues says in an echoing voice in a very old dialect of Arabic.

“Thank you for the welcome to these halls,” Leaf replies quickly in the same language, earning him a raised eyebrow from Daring, albeit with an approving smile.

“Yes, we are deeply humbled by your mistress’ halls,” Daring speaks, her own accent slightly different than Leaf’s, a little more refined. “Please, forgive us for our shock, for we have not seen a creature like yourself before.”

The hippogryph statue closes its book and leans back down so it is resting its beak on both its clawed hands and almost eye-level with Daring, “I find that hard to believe,” it says in a slightly annoyed tone. “My mistress was commissioned by the Council of Virtues to create many a brother and sister of mine, who faithfully serve all across the Empire as stewards and protectors of important places.” It waves a clawed hand, the amulet around its neck glowing brightly, and a book comes drifting from a nearby bookshelf to stop in front of Daring and Leaf. The stone creature gestures with one finger and the book opens, the pages quickly flipping until they get to a page with a picture of the creature in front of them. “I was the first, my Mistress’ favorite. I alone was given stewardship of this vast hall of knowledge.”

“We are not citizens of the Empire,” Daring says slowly, choosing her words carefully. “We are citizens of one of its successor states, and are here on behalf of one of its rulers, Princess Luna.” The Statue leans its head to one side, one eye growing narrow the other opening wider as if it is raising an eyebrow at them.

“Successor state?” it asks quizzically. “The Empire is eternal, as are the Virtues who lead it.” It waves its talon again, the book goes back to its place, the statue then sighs. “However, I have never heard of this ‘Equestria’ before, nor its Princess. I shall admit then that it is not a part of the Empire, or at the very least a new state within it.” It then rises and steps off of its pedestal. “What, then, can the Librarian do for the envoys of this Equestrian Princess?”

“We seek knowledge, Librarian,” Daring replies, Leaf beside her keeping quiet as this is not his field.

“As do many who cross into my domain, little pony,” the Librarian replies with a smirk. “Knowledge has a cost, however. Tell me what knowledge you seek, and I shall set the price.”

“I am an explorer, Master Librarian,” Daring replies. “I have nothing to offer you save for my own knowledge of the world beyond these walls.” The Librarian smiles slightly, or at least the corner of his beak lifts ever so as he regards her.

“Again, state the knowledge you seek, and I shall determine if what you offer is worthy,” the Librarian says as it reclines on its haunches.

“The Princess requested books on revival,” Daring starts, an uneasy tone entering her voice, “research, spellbooks even, that cover the return of life to the dead or dying.”

“What you ask is forbidden,” the Librarian replies flatly. “My Mistress, nay my mother locked such things away and bid none touch them.” It leans down close to Daring, one glowing eye glaring at her. “They are defilements of the very things she stands for. Even your Princess should know not to touch such...tainted magics!” Leaf steps in front of Daring and gets between her and the Librarian.

“Princess Luna would never ask it of us, of you, if this was not of the utmost importance!” Leaf says, his voice shaking slightly under the menacing gaze of the stone creature. “She abhors all things dark, she would never use what she is asking for... “ Daring puts a hoof on Leaf’s shoulder and gently pushes him aside.

“My spirited companion is correct, Librarian,” Daring says slowly. “The rulers of our Kingdom are alicorns, the older sister of Princess Luna performed a spell, a dark and ancient one, and is paying the price heavily. She would not tell me how, but Celestia is beloved by all her subjects. We all owe her much, and I will pay whatever price you deem if it means seeing her well.” The Librarian narrows its eyes, holding Daring under its gaze for a few moments longer before sighing and sitting back as it pushes its glasses up.

“There is no price I could ask of you that your Princess is not already paying.” It gestures with one taloned hand, a few books coming from a nearby bookshelf. “I will still ask a price of you, knowledge for knowledge.” The books stop in front of Daring and open, their pages blank. “These books are enchanted to record your words. Even if what you say about the Empire’s fall is false, it can still be housed in the fiction section.”

Nodding to the Librarian Daring looks to Leaf, who is shifting from hoof to hoof somewhat nervously. “I will handle this, Leaf,” she says with a smile. “I know you want to go explore a little. I am sure it is safe,” She looks to the Librarian, “Isn’t it?”

“Little one, this is a house of learning and Life not death. There are no traps, nor dangerous creatures.” It pauses and smiles in what can almost be called a sardonic manner, “Myself excluded, of course. My mistress made me to defend this place, after-all.” Leaf chuckles a little at the remark, and gives Daring a shaky smile.

“Right, I guess I’ll go see if there are any… plants to look at.” He offers a bow to the Librarian who inclines its large head. “By your leave, Master Librarian.” He then takes the torch from where he had placed it and walks off.

“Now then, where shall I start…?” Daring says as she sits down in front of the floating books. “Ah, yes. As it has been told to me, and through my own research, the fall of the Equusese Empire began a couple thousand of years ago…”

Leaf wanders through the rows of bookshelves along what he assumes to be the eastern wall of the Library, his torch casting light into places that have not seen any for perhaps a literal age. It has been a while since he left Daring and the Librarian on his quest to find something more along his line of expertise, but so far the doors he had opened had led to lecture rooms or smaller sub-sections of the library.

More than a few times, he had found a door barricaded, some even blown off their hinges by some force that to the naked eye would look like charring, but to practiced eyes like his he could tell it was actual decay. It was almost as if some creature had decayed the barriers to get to whomever had been behind it. He had not dared venture beyond those battle-scarred doors, afraid of what he might find within.

Turning the corner around another of the endless supply of bookcases, he finds himself at the top of set of stairs that look to go down and outside of the Library. Curious, and perhaps a bit claustrophobic at having been inside the narrow passageways so long, he heads down the stairs and towards the outside.

The doors at the bottom of the stairs are intact, their solid oak surface bearing the same emblem as all the others but with vines surrounding it. Reassured that, perhaps, there’ll be something nice behind this door, he places a hoof against one of them and pushes. It opens with little resistance, and Leaf is instantly bathed in soft sunlight as a covered walkway is revealed. A broad smile on his face he puts the torch in a sconce for when he returns, and quickly heads into the blissful sunlight.

The covered walkway is located in an large garden space, beautifully carved fountains and benches standing side-by-side with rows of flowers, trees and bushes that Leaf has only read about! And that wasn’t all, as he walks he catches snatches of movement, once or twice catching enough of a glimpse to recognize animals that did not live in the desert. Everything from deer to a few creatures he was sure no longer existed in the wider world. As giddy as a school foal, Leaf reaches into a pouch on his vest and produces a notepad with a charcoal pen.

Making his way off the path he gets closer to the flowers and bushes, sketching most of the ones he knows and taking samples along with the sketches for those he does not.

His attention is so focused on the plants that when he puts his notebook away he is surprised to find that he has gathered a small audience. A few of the more docile creatures have wandered over to study him as he had studied the plants -- minus the sketchbook of course -- and even some of the creatures he would consider dangerous if he was in a jungle in Equestria. More specifically, there was a rather large adult manticore staring at him, side-by-side with a few deer and collection of rabbits.

Smiling at the small group, he stands up and starts off to continue exploring and taking notes. The group of creatures follow him, at a respectful distance as they’re not quite sure of this stranger but he seems to mean them no harm so far.

After a while of wandering and collecting sketches and more samples, Leaf looks to the position of the shadows, and the position of the sun, and decides he has left Daring alone with the Librarian long enough. If he let her ramble any longer than he already has, he is afraid the Librarian will never be able to get her to leave. Plus, he needed to tell her about all these amazing plants he found! Just the sheer variety he has seen already makes this trip worth it, and he had only explored a small portion of the place!

Yes, he needed to get back and rescue the Librarian, then explain to Daring that they needed to stay for a while so he could continue to catalogue these plants!

Quickly heading back to the door he had come from, he stops just short of going back inside and turns to the group that was still following him. He raises a hoof and waves goodbye, and, to his surprise, most of the animals return the gesture before dispersing.

Heading back inside, he grabs the torch again and quickly navigates his way back towards where Daring and the Librarian last were. It doesn’t take him long to hear Daring’s voice, his pace picking up a little, his heart beating just a bit faster at his excitement to get back to her. To tell her about the plants, of course.

“And then, Princess Twilight ascended and became an alicorn,” Daring seems to be concluding on a point, “and that is really more or less the history of Equestria, the important parts, at least.” Leaf turns the corner to rejoin them right as the Librarian replies, its tone quite amused.

“You are quite the storyteller, Miss Yearling,” the Librarian states with a nod, “Even if I cannot verify your facts, these books will make fair additions to my Mistress’ collection.” it waves a talong hand and several large books, larger than the ones that Daring had in front of her when Leaf had left, levitate over to the Librarian and lay themselves down beside him on his diaus.

“You should talk to my publisher, Epic Prose,” Daring says with a chuckle, “He would agree with you, I think.” She turns and looks at Leaf, her smile growing, “Ah, there you are Leaf! Did you find anything interesting?” Leaf returns the smile and nods quickly.

“I did!” he says excitedly. “There is a huge garden outside! So many plants, I...I could spend days, no weeks, here attempting to catalogue it all and I would not even scratch the surface!” He all but prances in place. “I… I really want to stay here and explore more!” He reaches over and puts an arm around Daring’s neck. “You should see it too! It’s perhaps the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”

“Most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” Daring says, a bit of mock hurt in her voice which causes Leaf to stop in his tracks.

“Well, okay, not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” Leaf admits, “but, I mean, you know, besides you.” Daring blushes at that and rubs the back of her head under her helmet.

“I… You know,” Daring clears her throat, “I meant out of all the places we’ve been… but… I’m flattered, Leaf.” From his perch the Librarian chuckles and rests his chin on a taloned hand.

“You certainly know how to flatter your mate, little pony,” the Librarian states. “Such a strong budding romance. How I have missed seeing such things.” This time, both Daring and Leaf turn a few shades of red and take a few shuffling steps sideways to gain some room between each other.

“We’re… not a couple.” Daring states emphatically, perhaps a little too strongly.

“Y… Yeah I just work with her when she goes to places like this,” Leaf says slowly. “I mean, she helps me get to places with some really rare plants and… with really… pretty views…” The Librarian chuckles and shakes his head.

“You two remind me of an epic I once read,” the Librarian says slowly, pushing his glasses back up in front of his glowing stone eyes. “I recall the ones portrayed in it denied their feelings for quite some time.” It sighs and shrugs, “but then what does this old statue know. It was an entertaining work of fiction, I am sure such does not happen in reality.” The Librarian looks over his glasses at them, a smirk on its lips. “Of course, stranger things have happened.”

All throughout this, Daring and Leaf have been doing their best to look anywhere but at each other. It really doesn’t work. Daring keeps glancing over at Leaf, and Leaf keeps glancing over at Daring.

“So, about that garden,” Daring says slowly, “I think we have some hours of daylight left, and I am not keen on traveling in the heat.” Leaf nods slowly, clearing his throat before replying.

“Yeah, its also nice and cool out in the garden,” he says as he looks over at Daring. “Plus, you know we’ll be able to see when the sun is setting.” Daring nods and steps over closer to Leaf, but not too close.

“That… makes sense, and I could use a rest somewhere peaceful after the trek here…” She pulls her helmet down in an attempt to hide her still present blush. “Lead the way, Leaf,” she states as she gestures forward with a hoof. Leaf just starts forward without another word, Daring following close behind.

As they round the corner the Librarian sighs and opens the book he had been reading when they had entered back up. He smirks as he turns the page. “Foals these days, so blind to what is in front of them.”

After a few moments the stone creature sighs and closes the book again, the things Daring had told him weighing heavily upon his mind. Standing, he starts off through the domain given to him by Life, a desire to get a second opinion on what he had heard burning in his chest. To do that, though, he’ll need to speak to a Virtue, because even if what the young Daring said was true the power of the Virtues was eternal and could not vanish from this world.

Striding up to a pair of large doors with a series of locks set into their face, the Librarian reaches up with a clawed talon and draws it down the middle of the doors. The locks, as ancient and powerful as the Virtue that had built this place, release with echoing clicks and allow the doors to swing open with barely a whisper. Stepping forward, the Librarian sighs sadly at the thick layer of dust coating the floor, speaking of just how long it had been since last he had dared enter this room.

Thousands of years, at least, had passed since he had unlocked her sanctum. Since he had dared set foot upon this sacred ground.

Perhaps it was the memories, as thick and visceral as the day they had been made. A drawback of being stone made living; he cannot forget, nor do his memories fade. The screams of the staff, those he had been sworn to protect, as they had died beneath her hooves still haunt. He had been in here, pleading to the other Virtues, begging them to come and help stop her.

Life had been out dealing with other things, and the only one who had been able to speak to him had been Hope. Even now, he could see the pain darkening her forest green eyes. She was too far to help, but she could get ahold of Life, get her to return quicker.

Walking deeper into the room, the doors close behind the Librarian, and he strides to the center of the room, his glowing eyes not affected by the darkness. There, covered in a sheet, is a faintly glowing crystal and five large mirrors evenly spaced a few paces back in a circle around it. He reaches up and pulls the sheet down from the crystal, which is a pale blue, almost the same color as a clear and cloudless sky.

Life had returned quickly, Hope having found a way to talk to her despite the distance. What she had found had broken her heart. Everyone, right down to the smallest foal, was dead. In the middle of it was her Guardian, her Librarian, and if he could weep he would have wailed his own keening sorrow upon the winds. But he could not, and had not. Instead, he had watched her break. He had watched in abject horror, as she had fallen.

It had not happened quickly, and he had hoped, dared to believe, she would be strong enough to overcome it. But when she had put on her armor and made ready for battle, he knew she would not return the same, if at all.

Walking up to one of the mirrors -- the lush oak tree that had symbolized Life for as long as he could remember at its crown -- he puts a taloned hand against its surface and speak softly.

“Mother, I need you.”

“My dear child,” a voice comes from all around. It is not the voice he remembers Life speaking with, but there is no doubt it is the Virtue he seeks. “How can I help you?”

The room suddenly is filled with bright amber-yellow light that flows forth from almost every direction and coalesces into a large glowing sphere above the crystal. Turning, the Librarian strides over and sits before it, staring at the sphere.

“I have visitors, mother,” he says softly. “They speak of the fall of the Empire, of all that I had known and held dear.” He looks down at the floor and sighs. “I… I need to know if their words are true.” A tendril of light reaches down, gently brushing along the side of his face before slowly lifting his gaze back towards the glowing apparition.

“They speak the truth, my son,” the sphere responds softly in an echoing voice. “The Empire fell many thousands of years ago. The age of the Virtues ended with it.”

“Then how are you still here?” the Librarian pleads desperately. “How can I speak with you if the Virtues were broken?”

“Our power is eternal,” the sphere comforts, “and we still exist. Even if our forms have changed, even if our homes have crumbled, our roles in this world have not changed.”

“What of me, mother?” The Librarian replies, a sorrowful look spreading across his features. “Am I to guard this place? Alone and hidden away from the world? Was I not made to help you, help the Virtues guide your people with the knowledge contained here? Am I to no longer serve you?” The sphere floats down from above the crystal and goes behind the Librarian. There is a bright flare of light, the entire room becoming bathed in it for a moment before a tall alicorn mare -- her coat the pure white of freshly fallen snow with a sun upon her flank -- walks out from behind him to sit beside her child. Her form is ephemeral, constantly moving and without true corporeal form, and as she sits she drapes a wing over him, the feeling of soft soothing heat, but not of physical contact, the only indication that she is truly there.

“My child, you are still one of my most valuable servants,” she coos softly as a mother would to their distraught child. “To aid the other Virtues and I, first, you must know who we are now, and not cling to the memories of those who came before.” The Librarian sighs and looks over to the Alicorn, so different from the Life that had created him and yet so similar, and nods.

“I will try, mother,” he says softly, a soft smile on his face. “I will try.” Life nods, her own smile as beautiful as a morning sunset.

“That, is all I ask.” She looks up towards the Crystal, tendrils of light flowing forth from her horn and touching it. It glows brightly, beams of light shooting from it to touch the mirrors of Strength, Love, and Hope. Static images of three mares, two other Alicorns and one young unicorn, appearing upon the surfaces. “Then, allow me to tell you of my family.”

The Librarian looks at the images, attempting to commit them to memory, overwrite the old memories of who he had known.

The first, in the mirror of Strength is an alicorn of a deep blue, her flowing mane jeweled with stars. Next, in the mirror of Love is another alicorn, this time pink with a long flowing tri-colored mane. And lastly, in Hope’s place is a grey unicorn mare with a blue mane. These, these were the Virtues now, and he would do his best to serve them, to his dying breath.

Daring sighs under the weight of the books the Librarian had given them, no longer complaining about their contents for some reason. She had expected him to continue his grumbling about them being forbidden or something. She had also expected him to comment about the fact there was now a rose sticking out of a vest pocket.

Looking over at Leaf, who is preparing himself for the trek they’re about to undertake back to the oasis they’d spent the night at just before arriving here at the Library, Daring smiles softly. He had given her the rose, said something she couldn’t quite remember when he had put it in her vest pocket. Normally, the fact that she couldn’t remember something somepony had said would bother her, but this time it didn’t.

“If there is nothing else, I believe you should depart now,” the Librarian says in a matter-of-fact tone. “Luna has raised the moon, and you had best not waste it.” Daring nods to the Librarian, still slightly distracted.

“Thank you, Librarian,” she says absently as she looks back to Leaf. “Our visit was most educational…” The Librarian inclines his head, a smile on its face.

“Then I have done my duty, little adventurer,” it replies softly, “Now go, no more time for talking. You shall always be welcome.” It then turns and starts back towards the stairs, leaving Daring and standing at the entrance. With a sigh, Daring turns to Leaf and gestures towards the door with her helmeted head.

“Shall we?” Daring asks excitedly. “I’m ready to get back to civilization.”

“I don’t know, Double-Dee,” Leaf replies with a smirk. “Being out here with just you does have a certain appeal.” Daring rolls her eyes at that and chuckles, heading out the door.

“You always do know how to ruin a moment,” she chastises. “Can’t you just agree with me like a proper stallion?” Leaf winks at her and continues to smile.

“Nope!” He then speeds up, “Now, come on! That living hunk of stone was right, better not waste Luna’s night!” Daring starts after him, then slows down. The Librarian had said Luna’s night as well…

How had he known that?

Shaking her head and pushing that thought aside Daring picks up her pace and shouts over to Leaf, who is already nearly at the tunnel.

“Hey! Wait for me! I have the map!”

Author's Note:

I made a thing! :derpyderp1:

I mean, here is the second chapter of Daring-Do and the Leaf in the Wind! We get to see inside the mysterious structure, and who is this mysterious construct? What role might he play in the future? And who in the name of Celestia are the Virtues? For that matter, was THAT CELESTIA!? :trollestia:

I hope you all enjoyed this, it took me a while to write! But I did it, with no small amount of help from friend and ever patient editor Witching Hour!

Well, I'll see you all next time! Hopefully not too far from now, with the next chapter!

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