Brilliant rays would descend down onto the precious article. Or perhaps it would be a secret tome on a pedestal that would hold some wonderful, yet terrible spell. Or she may see a treasure map leading to some hidden relic of Equestria! Spotz’s mind raced as she followed her grandmother up the secret stairs. It was all she could do to not push past the small pony and gallop to the top. Then they were there, only a wooden hatch between them and this library’s national treasure.
Heather pushed open the hatch and crawled up on to the floor followed by an enthusiastic Spotz. Here lay a small barren room with a simple desk and stool. Heather sat heavily upon the stool clearly showing her age. She looked back at her granddaughter and smiled.
Spotz just stood there slack jawed. “That’s it?”
Heather chuckled and motioned for Spotz to turn around. Against the back wall a large tapestry hung. Woven of golden thread, mother of pearl and black onyx it depicted a terrible looking pony. The pony was white as snow but was surrounded by thick black smoke and bright golden flames. Fire seemed to roar forth from its mouth and nostrils. Most troubling was its eyes in which shown both a deep sadness and ferocious hatred at the same time.
“That is your greatest ancestor, Incendious, Lord of the Fire Ponies.” Heather bowed in reverence before the depiction.
Early morning in Canterlot
Spearmint sat in despair as he awaited the arrival of the ancient commander. His career had been lackluster to date but he was a shoe in for officer candidate school if only he kept his record clean. His chances now fouled up by something as foolish as missing muster. He sighed deeply. No, nothing short of a calamity could save him from not making the cut.
With a loud boom the chamber doors slammed open and a foul tempered commander stormed in with two other ponies in tow. Spearmint shot to attention and was about to speak when silenced by the tone and words of his commander.
“Not now Spearmint!” He stormed by and into his private office. He was followed by a meek looking Rusty and an angry looking lieutenant.
A look of shock turned to glee as he realized what must be happening. The golden child had messed up. Not only would he get in but at the expense of Rusty! And wait until he came out an officer, he would make sure lowly guards-pony Knightsbridge would be assigned to him. The lieutenant snorted at him as he passed and the door slammed shut.
The commander sat heavily behind his desk and started reviewing an open file. “Candidate Rustic Star Knightsbridge.” Rusty stood at attention. “What was it you saw yesterday that lead you to believe the museum was in danger and why did you not report it!” He slammed his hoof down hard on the table. Rusty regarded the scarred and malformed hoof a moment.
“Nothing sir.” Rusty answered calmly.
“What?!” The lieutenant hissed. “Then how did you come to be there that evening after your detail was over, in fact after the museum itself was closed?”
“It wasn’t anything I saw sir.” Rusty stood rigidly at attention. “Had I seen anything I would have reported it immediately, sir.
The commander glared at him. “Then how is it you were there to apprehend…”
“Attempt to apprehend, botched it up really.” The lieutenant interrupted.
“Yes.” The commander’s focus shifted to that of the lieutenant.
Rusty stood quietly a moment lost in thought as to how he had decided to stay that evening. “I just… had a feeling sir.”
“Tsk.” The lieutenant rolled his eyes. “A feeling.”
“I see.” The commander’s look seemed to soften. “Very well Rusty. You had best return to your duties.” The commander waved a hoof and turned away.
Rusty clicked his hooves and rapidly retreated from the office.
“And you had better look sharp when I come to check on you!!!” The astonished lieutenant ranted. “I don’t care that you have been up all night!” The lieutenant turned toward his commander. “You can’t possibly believe...”
“What? That an earth pony had a premonition of some sort.” The commander looked lost in thought. “There are valid accounts of such and considering his lineage it would not surprise me if he had. Still, no, I do not believe he has had any such thing. I believe he is telling the truth, as he knows it. He must’ve seen something without realizing it. Still, keep an eye on him for a ‘sixth’ sense.”
Several floors below
“What happened!” Commander Dark Staff grumbled. He was tired from his watch and the additional duty of visiting the hospital had not improved his mood. Beside him a thestral Captain by the name of Night Watch stood infuriated.
Sparks stood straight and tall, “While on patrol I was alerted to a chase in progress by Corporal Rogallo sirs. We joined pursuit but lost the perpetrator when… it entered the Canterlot Cathedral.”
“Where you allowed one of my thestrals to nearly be killed!” Night Watch boomed.
“It was not my intent that…”
“What is it winged guards are for?!” Night Watch growled.
“To protect against assault from the sky and in the absence of that provide for fast communications.” Sparks barked out the standing order without a moments thought.
“And which led you to send her in there!” Night Watch raised his wings a moment before backing down to Commander Dark Staff’s raised hoof.
“She went of her own accord according to those who were there.” Dark Staff stood and looked up at the candidate towering over him. “Still to have allowed it and not alerted more of the guard is short sighted for an officer candidate. However, we may still have the perpetrator trapped within the cathedral.
“Had a certain thestral corporal been in the AIR, we would know for certain.” Night Watch grumbled.
Dark Staff sighed. “I’m sorry Sparks. I will be returning you to your unit at your proper previous rank. Perhaps with a bit more experience…”
“Yes sir.” Sparks’ face remained neutral.
“Dismissed Corporal Sparks.” Darkstaff watched the pony walk off.
“Hardly the punishment I would have laid out.” Night Watch fumed.
“Perhaps you are a little too close to the matter?” Dark Staff turned to his old friend.
“To loose a thestral to such a trivial theft.” Night Watch grumbled.
“But she is not lost, merely injured and will make a full recovery.” Dark Staff sat relieved at this fact. “What was it that was stolen?”
“Some silly statue.” Night Watch turned to leave. “An eagle of some sort.”
***** Canterlot Museum
All morning royal inquisitors had been scouring the museum looking for any trace of where the perpetrator had been or clue as to who exactly the perpetrator was. Rusty had been watching them with great interest trying to get close to the scene but his lieutenant had been watching his every move. It wasn’t until they had finished and the crime scene tape removed that Rusty could gain access to the room.
He quickly looked about the room his eyes coming to rest on a small wooden pedestal where the item had been on display. This room contained many spoils of war. Fine treasures either seized or surrendered as reparations after The Second Pony War. This section had contained those taken from the conquered griffons.
A small plate on the side of the table attested to this and read simply “Statuette from the Griffon Kingdom”. The polished top showed the shape of the statues base outlined by the dust that had accumulated around it. He stared at the familiar shape until the museum staff came in to clean up and wiped the pedestal top back to a polished shine. He knew that shape. It clearly resembled the cutie mark of one of his family’s oldest friends. Rusty was distracted for the remainder of his shift as he considered this.
By the time he was relieved, the fact he had been up for two days had started to show. He was exhausted and trudged back to his barracks room for the first time in two days. He quickly showered, polished his armor, and then flopped on the bed to stare at the ceiling while pondering what the shape he had seen on the table meant. His vision blurred and his eyes closed when he picked up a familiar scent.
It was a woody smell that he had only been recently exposed to. He rolled over a saw his mail sitting on the small table next to his bunk. Within was a letter from Spotz, who had taken to putting a pressed flower in them as of late. Heather, a flower found up north where she was presently working as a librarian. The thought still made him laugh. Of all the jobs in Equestria, he never would have though his partner in crime would end up working in a library.
The bishop put out a small plate with a dead fish on it and a bowl of cream. He looked about the dark reaches of the tall ceiling of the sanctuary for any trace of his visitor. Lightning illuminated the stained glass windows for a moment and his eyes came to rest on one of a white pony lamenting over a fallen love. All around were her comrades stood not knowing how to comfort the pony.
“I would gladly listen to anything you have to say.” Gentle Spirit called out. Only silence followed his words. “Well then… you have sanctuary here and can stay as long as you like.” Still silence. “I will put out food so long as it is eaten… when you do leave… please do not damage any more of the stained glass windows. They are very dear to me.” The bishop turned and sighed, then left the sanctuary to return to his own quarters.