**Translated for Modern Equestrian**
Ugh, I remember when I used to hate that nickname. Though it’s kind of grown on me. And I guess it’s not so bad, especially when it’s just my best friend that calls me that.
“Hello, Herby,” I said, throwing my own nickname for her at her. She stuck her tongue out at me, causing us both to go into a fit of laughter. I brushed my deep purple mane out of my eyes as we calmed down, and waited for Herby to catch up to me before we continued along the path we were on.
Herby, or Herbal Remedy, was the local healer. She had finished the training her parents were putting her through a year or two ago. If you had an illness, her family could fix you right up. She had a very light green coat, much like the paste she made from her mint leaves. And her mane was also green, but much darker, like a Hearth’s Warming Eve tree, or perhaps one of the many dark green herbs her family used. Her Cutie Mark was of a pestle and mortar, something her and her family used to grind up plants. I always thought that they were lucky to be Unicorns, because having to be an Earth Pony and use one of those must be terrible.
“So how was your day, Moony?” Herby asked.
“Fine, really. Not many children showed up. Again. Though with the harvesting season starting, I expected as much. I just hoped I was able to teach them as much about magic as I could. A foal able to use magic can harvest crops a lot better than one that can’t.”
I continued to tell her about my day, teaching magic to the four or five fouls that did show up that day. I think the hardest part about teaching magic to foals is that every time they learn how to do a new spell, even the basic ones we teach them, they always want to test it out. They never want to wait until the scheduled day of the week when we let them try out everything.
At least anything they try isn’t too powerful. But the downside to that is that accidents and haywire spells happen a lot. Whether it be pebbles-turned-missile, or accidentally turning another student’s quill into stone (Which sometimes also gets turned into a missile), I constantly have to do clean up after class. Luckily, in my few years of being a teacher, I haven’t had to send an injured colt or filly home yet.
Though I couldn’t really say the same for myself. Gone home? No. Injured? Well, let’s just say I’m glad I’m good friends with Herby and her family.
“Have you heard about those news buildings they’re building, Moony?” Herby asked. I shook my head.
“They’re starting work on buildings made of stone, Moony! Can you believe it? Stone! Do you know how much that’s going to help out with things? We won’t have to worry about fires burning down our wooden houses anymore! Or having to dry them when it rains! Or having to dry out our herbs anymore, for that matter. It’s wonderful!” she exclaimed. I smiled at Herby’s excitement. She always was pretty exuberant about even the smallest things.
“Stone, huh?” I said, giving Herby another light smile. “That will be pretty expensive, won’t it?”
Herby’s excitement was replaced with a thoughtful expression. “I suppose. But my family makes quite a bit, being the only healers around. Well, unless you count the ones at the Castle. But they’re super expensive. None of the ponies around here could afford their treatments.”
“You know, Herby,” I began, “Don’t you think that the Castle of the Royal Pony Sisters should be the only building made of stone? I mean, the Princesses might get insulted if we start trying to be like them,” I finished, voicing my concerns over this news.
“Oh, you’re worrying too much! I doubt they’d really care if we build our homes out of the same stuff they do. It’s not like we’re giving ourselves our own castles, Moony!” Herby countered, reassuming her carefree attitude.
“Where are we going, anyway?” Herby suddenly asked.
I had been so immersed in talking with my friend I had completely forgotten we were walking. “I have no idea. Just walking, I guess.”
“Hmph.” Herby huffed. “Well, Princess Luna is going to raise the moon in a few hours, I should probably get back home!” Herby called, as she began trotting away.
I waved a hoof as she left. “Alright! I’ll see you tomorrow then!” I called back.
I looked around to see if I could get my bearings on where I was. Not too far from my home, I thought, judging by the nearby well. I normally pass that on the way to the small schoolhouse, so I knew exactly where to go.
It took me about a quarter of an hour to reach my home. As I trotted inside, I used my magic to light the tinders in the small fire pit. The heat was readily welcomed as it washed over my coat. My house laid in the shadow of several large oaks, so it could get quite cold at times. But the upside is that they protected my home from the sun in the heat of summer.
I sighed as I adjusted two small boxes resting on a shelf below the only window in my home. Between them laid a vase with a single rose in it. I regularly kept that vase filled with water, and that rose nice and healthy. The rose was somewhat of a memorial piece for my parents, who occupied the small boxes. Of course, I had to replace the flower every once in a while when the current one got too old, but there was always a rose in the vase.
The original flower was one my father picked for my mother just before they died. I always think, it was kind of like he knew a wolf would come and...
Anyways, that happened just before I finished school. I was still just a filly, really. Herby’s family took me in, since my parents and her’s had been friends since they were in school. It was really rough for me during that time, but my teachers were the ones that helped me through it. They all cared so much for me. One even suggested I get a part time job working with Herby’s family, so I could work towards affording my own home when I was old enough.
Oddly enough, it was working with the Remedy’s that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. It was because all of mine, my mentors that helped me through such a rough patch in my life. I wanted to work with colts and fillies like that, too. Plus, I was always one of the smarter fillies in class. Not the brightest, but I always got good marks.
I remember I was helping to clean up in the Remedy’s store when a stallion came in and asked me what all the different herbs were. And I told him what every single one was, and what sort of illnesses they cured. And then I got my cutie mark: a green book with a quill lying over the top right corner of it. I’m actually glad the book was green and not some other color. The green really compliments my blue coat.
I sighed again as I pulled myself from my nostalgia. I looked around my home; small, but it was just the right size for me. Like every other pony, I spent most of my time outside when I’m not teaching. But the sun would be setting in a few hours, so I would be needing to head to sleep soon.
I scrounged about and found some fruit and some hay. I put the hay in a stone bowl and set it over the fire. I always did like my hay a little crispy.
I brought my meal outside, and set it down on a small blanket I brought with me. Sort of a makeshift picnic, I suppose. As I ate, I watched the clouds drifting through the blue sky, which was gathering wisps of orange and red in it. I said hello to my neighbors, a few of which coming from work in or near the Castle. I always wondered why, if they worked in the Castle, they didn’t live there like many servants of the Royal Pony Sisters.
I cleaned up the crumbs of my meal and headed back inside my home. I snuffed out the fire, the nights generally being quite warm. I readied my sleeping area and laid down. I glanced over to the rose, which guarded the ashes of my mother and father. Like usual, I had timed it perfectly: the sun was just behind the rounded petals of the rose, with the flower blocking my view to the light source. It cast a wonderful glow around the plant, the perfect thing to see just before I closed my eyes and drifted into slumber.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about mornings. Sometimes they’re wonderful, and you can’t wait to start the day, but other times you just don’t want to get out of bed. Luckily today I was having the kind of day where I just had an extra spring in my step. I quickly got out of bed and made myself some tea.
As per my norm, I woke up before the sun had even risen. Does that mean it isn’t quite morning yet? Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter. I’ve made it a daily routine to wake up just before Celestia brought up the sun, because watching the sun rise has always been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I quickly snatched up my tea as it finished its time above the fire. I’ve always loved magic for reasons like this. I don’t have to actually grab the cup, so I don’t have to wait for it cool down. Which means I can take it to my normal spot while it’s still warm. The place I go to, it’s sort of my morning ritual spot, a quiet place I go to before the day starts to watch the sunrise.
I stepped outside, and was met with a light, chilly breeze. Perhaps Winter is coming early, I thought. I took a small sip of my tea, the warm liquid helping to banish the small chill. I only took a sip, though. I wanted to save the majority of it for the sunrise.
The grass was still wet as I trotted along my way. I’ve always wondered why it’s wet in the morning. It doesn’t rain, the weather pegasi confirm that for me. As far as know, plants don’t sweat. Which would be silly, anyhow. And nopony else knows, so I guess that will just have to be one of life’s many mysteries.
It’s a half our trip to my destination. At a brisk trot, though. Which is fine, really, as I get my exercise in for the day. My tea bobbed lightly along with me, my magic able to keep the drink from sloshing out of its cup.
As I went along, the Castle came into view. A splendid structure, made out of dark grey stone, the large house being quite intimidating for just about anypony. A home fit for a king, I suppose. Or two princesses, rather. I continued quickly, with the Castle getting larger the closer I got.
Of course my destination wasn’t the Castle itself, but rather a large hill just behind the Castle. The crest of the hill was about a dozen paces above the peak of the Castle, giving quite the view to anypony standing atop it.
I veered off to the right of the Castle, not wanting to get too close. Sometimes the guards of Equestria’s rulers got too over protective, and would throw you into the dungeons for days if you stepped too close to the Castle. I entered a small grove, which at the other end started a small path I had made after years of making my way to the small hill.
It was darker along this path, the moon unable to reach through the thick trees. I quickly cast a small light spell in order to illuminate my way. The path was rather short, ending just I rounded the side of the Castle. Princess Celestia would raise the sun in just under an hour, so I quickly left the path, the thick of the trees ending just as the path did.
“Hey! Who’s that? Is somepony there?”
I let out a small curse as I quickly cut the light spell. It had been so long since the last time, I had almost forgotten that every now and again I’d encounter a guard as he went about his patrol in this area.
“I say, is there a pony there?”
I looked around hastily for the spot I normally hid in. I could see the silhouette of the guard four dozen paces away, a pegasus or earth pony judging by the lack of horn. I said a silent thank you to the Princesses for that, as he wasn’t able to cast a similar light spell and thus easily detect me.
I slid into a small groove at the base of a large tree and set my tea down. I glanced back to see the small form of the guard lighting a torch. He looked around for several moments, but was unable to find anything. I sighed in relief as he continued along his way.
One day I’m going to get caught, I told myself. Which wouldn’t be too far fetched of an idea, considering I was almost caught once. The first time I had encountered a guard in this area, actually. When I first found that little spot on the hill, and began this routine. Since I was still just a kid, I was able to convince him I wasn’t up to no good, and he let me on my way.
But I hadn’t encountered a guard for at least half a year now, so I had almost but forgotten they came by this way. The distance from the Castle helped, I suppose. I’d always assumed they were just making sure that nopony who had ill intentions was hiding among the trees, much like I was doing now.
The guard left my line of vision, and I quickly grabbed my tea and darted across the small clearing. The Castle was off to my left, with the hill just a few hundred paces behind it. All I had to do was get back into the thick of the trees at the base of the hill, climb it, and I’d be good to navigate my way to my secret spot.
I recast my light spell as I entered the small wooded area, and in my haste smacked my head against a low branch. I stumbled about, attempting to regain my bearings. I took another sip of my tea, hoping for the drink to clear my head some. I inspected the spot where the branch struck with my hoof, to make sure there was not any serious damage. I found nothing but an aching spot on my head, and continued through the trees.
I quickly made my way through, stopping as I reached the base of the hill. Off to my left, I could see the Castle was lively and active, no doubt the servants preparing for the day. I trotted up the hill, resting as I made my way to a small flat bit on the hill, barely half a pony wide.
I hastily made my way over to a small opening in the hill; a cave. That is, if you could really call it a cave. It was more like a burrow, a temporary shelter that a medium sized animal had made long ago. It was not very tall, as I had to crouch in order to get inside.
I wormed my way into the snug hole in the side of the hill, folding my hooves underneath me as I looked upon the Castle. I normally made it here with about a quarter of an hour until sunrise, but my delay probably meant I had slightly less than that.
I laid there, sipping my tea, as I looked upon the stars. Each one, a twinkling point of light in a vast sky. They were scattered about, the array making it possible to decipher basic images from them, as if connecting dots. Many a time had I gazed upon them, having picked out several different objects. A spoon, a sword, even a teapot, and many more.
Suddenly, I knew that Princess Luna was about to lower the moon and Princess Celestia would raise the sun. I don’t really know how I knew, but I did. I think it’s something all Unicorns have, a sort of connection with one another via their magic. I could feel the magic in the air, a powerful tingling sensation that told me that magic of unbelievable proportions was about to be used.
I waited, looking upon the Castle, for the Princesses to take flight and carry out their duties, and for the sun to rise just beyond the horizon. I waited for the sun the bathe me in its glorious light, the warmth from it spreading over me just as the warmth from my tea did.
I waited, and waited. And nothing happened. My face contorted in confusion. Had I come too early? No, I don’t believe so. I can sense that the sun should be rising now. But it’s not. Have the Princesses forgotten? No, impossible, they would never. But if they didn’t, then why isn’t-
A tremor shook through the earth, rattling my teeth. My tea cup fell on its side, the remainder of my drink spilling onto the dirt. I shifted my hooves, trying to maintain my balance.
Suddenly, an explosion of light and force rocketed the Castle, blowing it to pieces. I screamed as I witnessed this, bits of stone and other assorted material flying in all directions.
The earth shook once more with this explosion, dirt from above falling onto my head. I looked up, just as a mass of rock and dirt came tumbling upon me. I was able to let out another shriek just as my vision went black.