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Typical Day at the Library (Open)

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201px-Crystal_librarian_rejuvenated_S3E1.pngTilly Tome

Sitting behind her desk, faithfully watching over the Crystal Empire Library is an elderly Crystal Pony mare wearing glasses. It's Tilly Tome, long time Head Librarian, who is carefully sorting through the record cards of the library, inspecting them for any overdue books.

"My stars! Seems that everypony has been returning their books on time! This library's sure been much busier with all those new books that have been shipped here from Equestria. Since we've all been gone for a thousand years, there's been millions of books and scrolls written! Oh my! Look at the time! Got to unlock the doors!"

Tilly Tome walked over and unlocked the huge front doors of the library and then stepped aside. Today was the start of another busy day at the largest library north of Equestria!

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In a lot of ways, the Crystal Empire Library was a second home for young Tourmaline Glass. The crystal filly had a number of hobbies, but her absolute favorite was certainly reading. Good books had a way of pulling her in for hours and not letting go. It was when lost in their pages that the usually downcast filly was at her very happiest. As such, she'd often spend whole days at the massive library, pouring over the pages of any volumes she can get her hooves on. On weekends, when she didn't have to trouble herself with the tedious excuse for a school she attended, it wasn't uncommon for her to stay there from the opening to the close, just pouring over book after book.

She would read all manner of things, but Tourmaline's favorite books were fantasy novels, the thicker and more complex and involving the better. There was something about a high fantasy epic that just left the young filly absolutely enraptured. She also had a thing for occult texts; books about lost dark arts, bizarre ancient practices, psychic abilities, fortune telling and other such things. She was however, open to all things when it came to reading. It was not uncommon that new passions could be ignited in her from reading a single good book.

As the library opened, Tourmaline trotted right in. She approached the aged librarian, Ms. Tilly Tome right away upon seeing her. Tilly Tome was a kind older mare who, of course, shared Tourmaline's passion for reading. Considering she was her host in this magical library, Tourmaline always did her best to be respectful toward the mare.

"Good morning, Ms. Tome," Tourmaline greeted the librarian. "Have you received any new books from Equestria I might enjoy since last week?" she asked. As far as Tourmaline was concerned, one of the best parts about being lost in time, was coming out with 1000 years worth of new literature to digest. The library had been receiving a steady stream of books from Equestria since the empire had returned, many of which she had already enjoyed. Seeing the new books arrived often proved quite exciting.

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Tilly Tome was delighted to see Tourmaline Glass again! She was one of many library 'regulars' who had been waiting for more Equestria books to arrive.

"Good morning, Miss Glass!" the elderly Crystal Pony neighed as she rushed over to her desk and grabbed an unrolled scroll. "I have here a list of the new books that just arrived yesterday! My stars, my staff and I worked through the night to get them on the shelves by opening, let me see.... Ah yes! We've just received several copies of the entire Daring Do series! And oh! I see they shipped several copies of the entire 'Pioneer Pony Days' series! That Louise LaMare can certainly spin a good tale! I'm currently reading 'Pie Fight At The O.K. Corral,' one of her best selling novels! Ah! They also sent the encyclopedia sets I requested! This will add to our knowledge of the world outside of the Empire! There's also a number of history texts as well! I think you're going to love this shipment of books! Was there any particular books you were looking for today? Perhaps they're on this list too!"

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Tourmaline gave a polite nod as the elderly mare spoke. She was at the library a lot, but Ms.Tome still didn't seem to have a very firm handle on her preferences. Either that or she was just being an adult and encouraging the young filly to "branch out" and try reading new things. Either way, she was skeptical. She knew well how popular Daring Do was as a series in Equestria, but to her it seemed far too rote and simplistic. As for LaMare's works, Tourmaline knew nothing about the modern frontier regions of Equestria and couldn't find an ounce of interest in such things. The history texts, however, could perhaps be interesting. She'd consider giving those a look if there was nothing else.

When the mare finished speaking, Tourmaline was quick to respond. "No, I can't say I have any specific works in mind."

She started to glance at the list, but wasn't really sure what if anything would interest her just going off the listed titled. "Perhaps that list has some epic fantasy novels...? Or maybe some books about magic or the occult? If not, I would take a few of those history texts you mentioned to peruse."

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"Oh my stars! I'm sure I can find some books to your liking from our latest shipment, Miss Glass," Tilly Tome said as the Crystal Pony librarian matron examined her list very closely. "If you'd like to try a fantasy novel, here's one called 'War of the Roses' by Louise LaMare. From it's description, it's takes place in Pre-Equestrian times and involves two tribes of feuding griffons! Oh my! Did YOU know griffons are REAL? I actually met a few on my recent trip to Ponyville for Nightmare Night. It was a frightful experience, but the one griffon male I got to talk to was rather pleasant. Oh my stars! I'm rambling! Sorry about that, let's see what else I have here,,, AH! In the area of magic, I have 'The Primer for Magical Spells" written by Professor Hoofcourt Magic. In fact, there are several beginner's magic book by him in this current shipment. OH! Three volumes of Equestrian History too! I have many copies of those! Sounds exciting! "The history of magic, the collective works of Starswirl the Bearded?' WOW! I might want to read that one myself! Do any of those suit your fancy?"

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Unbeknownst to Tilly Tome and the filly she was talking to, a very important patron trotted into the Imperial Library. Technically, Cadence didn’t really think of herself as “very important” compared to the likes of everypony else, but it was hard for her to argue against that point of view as a ruling princess of the Crystal Empire. Anyhow, the pink princess found herself spending a lot of time in the library these days, hoping to learn more about the realm she now looked after. By now, Cadence understood a basic understanding of the history of the Empire and its geography back in its prime, before the entire region was allowed to be buried by the cruel snows of the Arctic.

However, Princess Cadence needed to learn more. She couldn’t claim to be a good ruler unless she read about all there was to know about her new Empire, or so she believed anyway. For the time being though, the alicorn did not wish to needlessly distract the librarian as she attended to the young pony, so she silently made her way over to the building’s historical section. The only problem was; which subject should Cadence research next? The mare mused for a few seconds as she rested a horseshoe-encased hoof on her chin in thought. Maybe she'd ask Ms. Tome for assistance once she finished with the filly.....

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Tourmaline tried her best to keep a polite face as she listened to the librarian's suggestions. Some of them seemed interesting. The War of the Roses, at least from the mare's description, sounded passably interesting but more like historical fiction than fantasy. Perhaps it was some romanticized, fantastic portrait of the period? That could be interesting, but Tourmaline had never been as interested in griffons as she was in more magical creatures. Beginner magic books, were likewise, hardly something of much interest. Tourmaline understood the basic principles of magic and didn't honestly find them very fascinating. She was more interested in the mysterious and arcane magics which few could perform. The Collective Works of Starswirl sounded like the pick of what the mare had mentioned, but she imagined this to be a rather bloated and hard to maneuver text. She'd probably pull it from the shelf in time, but for now she'd go for something a little more accessible.

Then there was the rest of what the mare had said. Honestly, she wasn't sure what to make of this mare at times. Her own library was fronted by fairly accurate statues of griffons. It really shouldn't come as a surprise that the inspiration for such things actually exists. Adults really could be weird sometimes. her comments about Nightmare Night brought Tourmaline back to the event herself. Had Miss Tome been visiting that little town during that invasion as well? What were the chances.

"You too were in Equestria when the changelings launched their latest invasion?" Tourmaline started, surprised. "I had quite the experience there myself. It was a rare pleasure to see such rare magical beings as changelings up close.They're really just fascinating."

She gave a nod as the idea then hit her. "You wouldn't happen to have any books about changelings, would you? I can't say I honestly know very much about them and the nature of their quite particular magic," she started, liking the idea more and more. "Good reference material would be absolutely invalu--"

Tourmaline cut off with a start when a sound drew her to look behind her. Her eyes widened at the sight of none other than the new Princess of the Kingdom herself. The filly didn't really know what to make of this pony, this solid coated alicorn successor of the tyrant. Her history had its curious moments though, none more so than the details of her wedding. "How perfect!" she started as she moved toward the princess. "You know all about changelings, do you not, Princess Cadenza?"

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"Oh yes, I did happen to be in Ponyville visiting during the last Nightmare Night," Tilly Tome explained. "It was a rather frightful experience I must say. Works on changlings? I'd have to consult the Library's main index. I'm sure we have some books on.."

The elderly Crystal Pony stopped in mid-sentence when she spotted Princess Cadance in the library.

"MY STARS! It's the Crystal Princess!" she shouted, quickly trotting into position to give the ruler of the Crystal Empire a proper royal bow. "Your highness, I am honored that you would visit our humble library!"

Tilly Tome looked very shocked at the question young Tourmaline asked the Princess. She had read up on the events of her wedding to Shining Armor and of how the ceremony was nearly ruined when the changling queen had kidnapped Cadance and took her place. The librarian mare was left speechless. She didn't think Tourmaline asked this very loaded question to purposely upset the Princess, but it was certainly a subject that could make her nervous.

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"MY STARS! It's the Crystal Princess! Your highness, I am honored that you would visit our humble library!"

Hehe, so much for not distracting the librarian. “There’s no need to bow Ms Tome,” Princess Cadence delightfully explained; “I’m just here to research a subject like anypony else.” It probably wouldn’t do much to convince Tilly Tome to dispense with the formalities, but at least the old crystal mare would be more inclined to feel relaxed around Cadence.

"How perfect! You know all about changelings, do you not, Princess Cadenza?"

Suddenly, a morbid question from the filly in the room. Princess Cadence had mostly managed by now to put the bad memories of Queen Chrysalis behind her, but they tended to emerge from the depths of her psyche once in a blue moon. Whenever they did, such as right now, the alicorn’s face lost its color as she made every effort to not let her emotions get the better of her.

It were these unwanted memories of her imprisonment that encouraged Cadence to start learning how to use deep breathing exercises to calm down. For fifteen seconds after being asked that cringe-inducing question, the pink princess breathed in and out, until she felt at peace again. Once she collected herself in front of the two crystal ponies, Cadence responded in a professional manner; “Please call me Cadence... and I can’t really say I know anything about changelings. Can... I ask why you are so interested in learning about those creatures?” Cadence dearly hoped this conversation would not turn towards the morbid direction she wished to avoid.....

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“Please call me Cadence... and I can’t really say I know anything about changelings. Can... I ask why you are so interested in learning about those creatures?”

The princess seemed very hesitant to answer the question given. Tourmaline wasn't entirely surprised. In her experience, princesses always evaded the questions that deserved answering. At least she hadn't put Tourmaline to task at something shameful and ridiculous as Princess Luna had when asked about Nightmare Moon. No, she was at least leaving it open for further discussion.

"I was in Ponyville this Nightmare Night when the invasion happened," she said. "Seeing them up close, it was fascinating. They weren't that physically dissimilar to how E.W. Moon describes them in his Untold Schism Saga. Though of course while his changeling kingdom is one of good natured, cunning tricksters, true changelings seem to be far more malevolent."

The filly gave an eager nod. "Seeing the changelings that night, left me curious about them and I recalled hearing you had an experience with them. I just wondered if you didn't know more than I."

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Recovering from the shock of seeing the Crystal Princess visiting the library, Tilly Tome went back to work, searching the library records to find the books about Changlings Tourmaline had requested. Working feverishly while the eager filly conversed with Princess Cadance, the elderly librarian mare soon produced a written list to give to her.

"Pardon me, your highness, but I have that list of book you asked for, Miss Tourmaline!" Tilly Tome neighed as she gave the filly the list. "You're in luck! We have a brand new four volume reference set on Changlings that came to us all the way from Canterlot! Also on this list are a number of earlier works that have recently been rewritten in book form. In fact, this library donated a number of very old, ancient scrolls to the team who put some of these other books together. We did keep a few of the ancient scrolls, but they're in the library's Reference section. Those scrolls can be examined, but NOT taken out of the library. They are considered national treasures. Princess Cadance, is there anything I can help you with?"

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".....Seeing the changelings that night, left me curious about them and I recalled hearing you had an experience with them. I just wondered if you didn't know more than I."

Hoping to dodge a rather uncomfortable subject, Princess Cadence took one last shot at convincing the filly that her story wasn’t one worth needing to tell. “My experience with the changelings would not have been much different from yours, I’m sorry to say,” the alicorn explained on a solemn note; “I was captured and taunted at… but I was able to resist in the end.” There was always a chance though that the filly would press for more information; given her rather unyouthful demeanor, the probability remained quite high. The pink princess had to admit though that the younger pony had very good taste in high fantasy.

".....Princess Cadance, is there anything I can help you with?"

The librarian came back at an opportune time, which would give Cadence a respite so she could introduce a new talking subject. For the time being, she happily informed the aged civil servant; “Oh, I’ve been doing research on this land, and I think I’ve got the most important things about the Crystal Empire down pat. However, I’d be interested to know if you have any recommendations about what sort of things about the Empire that I should research next.....?”

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“My experience with the changelings would not have been much different from yours, I’m sorry to say, I was captured and taunted at… but I was able to resist in the end.”

Tourmaline nodded. "Yes, yes, but you encountered their queen face to face, did you not? Surely you must have seen something? What kind of magic can a real life changeling queen do?" the precocious child continued her line of questioning, excitement in her amber eyes.

"Moon's changelings in the Schism Saga were mostly limited to illusions and trickery even amongst the royalty, but I seem to recall a source somewhere stating that a real queen is stronger even than an alicorn. Is that true?" she added, head tilted in curiosity.

"Pardon me, your highness, but I have that list of book you asked for, Miss Tourmaline! You're in luck! We have a brand new four volume reference set on Changlings that came to us all the way from Canterlot! Also on this list are a number of earlier works that have recently been rewritten in book form. In fact, this library donated a number of very old, ancient scrolls to the team who put some of these other books together. We did keep a few of the ancient scrolls, but they're in the library's Reference section. Those scrolls can be examined, but NOT taken out of the library. They are considered national treasures. Princess Cadance, is there anything I can help you with?"

Intently focused as she was on the princess, Tourmaline was still interested to hear about what sources the library had. She gave a nod. "I see. The ancient scrolls sound fascinating. it's always a must to examine the original source when you can," she started excitably. "Though of course, the modern volumes might have more accurate information, taking recent events into account. I may need to give both a look."

She said these words, but she didn't run off. Why would she when a living alicorn was right there? it was an opportunity not to be passed up for anything. She was very interested in hearing everything that Princess Cadenza had to say.

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Tilly Tome was absolutely giddy with delight! Nothing made the elderly Crystal mare happier than when she was helping library patrons find the books they wanted. First, she turned her attention to the young Tourmaline.

"Young filly, I'll show you where to find the items you've requested," Tilly Tome said as she pointed a hoof at the doorway that had a plaque that read "Reserve Room" on it. "Here is where you'll find the reserve scrolls I mentioned. If you'll give me a moment, I will be happy to help you sort through them, As for the modern volumns you mentioned, they're over on that bookshelf over there near the doorway, bottom self to the far right,"

Tilly Tome then turned her attention to the Princess.

"Your highness, if you are interested in Crystal Empire history, the best source would be the Crystaline Encyclopedia. Those books were published two years before.. well.. before.. King Sombra sent the Empire away.."

Suddenly, Tilly Tome's crystal body faded a shade as the bad memories of King Sombra overcame her for a brief moment. However, she shook her head, focused on her job and then the brightness of her crystal body returned.

"Well, as I was saying, the Crystaline Encyclopedia is in the Reserve Section. The library has several complete sets of the Encyclopedia. Normally, the library doesn't allow them to be taken out or borrowed, but since you are the Crystal Princess, I can arrange for you to borrow a set if you desire. Who am I to refuse our glorious ruler?"

Tilly Tome punctuated her statement by bowing before Princess Cadance.

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"Yes, yes, but you encountered their queen face to face, did you not? Surely you must have seen something? What kind of magic can a real life changeling queen do? Moon's changelings in the Schism Saga were mostly limited to illusions and trickery even amongst the royalty, but I seem to recall a source somewhere stating that a real queen is stronger even than an alicorn. Is that true?"

Princess Cadence stood there uncomfortably for a few seconds, still trying to figure out how to proceed. Then with a heavy sigh, she spilled the beans to the young crystal pony; “If you must know… I may not be certain about the upper limits of Queen Chrysalis’s magic, but I have witnessed how she used her leechcraft to brainwashed my hus- I mean Prince Armor. And when fully powered with stolen love, even the Queen can summon a strong-enough blast of magic to incapacitate even Princess Celestia.”

Least the filly gain the wrong impression about changeling strength, Cadence felt more lecturing was necessary; “But that’s only if she succeeds in stealing enough love for herself. But for the most part, she cannot hope to win without treachery and deceit. Without those tools, the Changeling Queen and her minions can be easily repelled by good-hearted ponies,” the pink alicorn used this moment to playfully ruffle the little filly’s mane; “Ponies like you and me!”

"...the Crystaline Encyclopedia is in the Reserve Section. The library has several complete sets of the Encyclopedia. Normally, the library doesn't allow them to be taken out or borrowed, but since you are the Crystal Princess, I can arrange for you to borrow a set if you desire. Who am I to refuse our glorious ruler?"

“That won’t be necessary,” Princess Cadence affirmed to the librarian; “If the Crystalline Encyclopedia is supposed to stay in the library, then I won’t check it out of here.” Like the other ascended princesses of Equestria, Cadence didn’t feel it desirable to be accorded with special privileges. Plus she’d have an excuse to get out of the palace more if those books stayed where they were. “You can show me to the Encyclopedia now, if you’re able.”
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"Young filly, I'll show you where to find the items you've requested, Here is where you'll find the reserve scrolls I mentioned. If you'll give me a moment, I will be happy to help you sort through them, As for the modern volumns you mentioned, they're over on that bookshelf over there near the doorway, bottom self to the far right,"

"Understood, Ms. Tome," Tourmaline replied simply as she looked at where the older mare pointed. She however showed no intention of moving toward them. No, well she was sure Ms. Tome wanted to be rid of her so that she could focus her attentions on the Princess, Tourmaline was determined to get as much out of this chance meeting with royalty as she could herself.

If you must know… I may not be certain about the upper limits of Queen Chrysalis’s magic, but I have witnessed how she used her leechcraft to brainwashed my hus- I mean Prince Armor. And when fully powered with stolen love, even the Queen can summon a strong-enough blast of magic to incapacitate even Princess Celestia. But that’s only if she succeeds in stealing enough love for herself. But for the most part, she cannot hope to win without treachery and deceit. Without those tools, the Changeling Queen and her minions can be easily repelled by good-hearted ponies, Ponies like you and me!”

Tourmaline just stared at the princess blankly as she ruffled her mane. She supposed there was some truth to her words at least. That was what had happened in Ponyville, more or less. Common ponies had repelled the changeling invasion, even with their deceptive tactics on display.

"Fascinating!" Tourmaline started with excitement. "So it follows that were the Changeling Queen to find a plentiful enough source of love and the time to draw from it freely without interference, she could make herself powerful enough so as she could not be stopped. A sure danger."

"Though I do wonder if a pony like Sombra isn't still a more immediate threat? An ordinary unicorn with exceptional magical aptitude, mastering curses on such a grand and powerful scale... He can use them relatively freely so as to overwhelm his foes en masse. Even if his potential isn't as great as a royal changeling, there is less need for careful strategy and planning to acquire the power needed. It's there from the onset and can be applied readily to in time wear down even formidable defenses," she started reflectively, nodding along.

"As one who has confronted both face to face, would you concur with that assessment?" she asked, following along when the princess started toward the reserve section.

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Tilly Tome was always happy to help library patrons, but she could see that Tourmaline's questions were starting to make the Crystal Princess very uncomfortable. The elderly crystal pony decided that perhaps the best thing to do in this situation is try to tactfully separate the two.

"Your highness," Tilly began to speak, "we have several complete sets of the Crystaline Encyclopedia here at the library. It would be no trouble at all to allow you to take one set back to the castle with you to study at your leisure. Why not take a closer look at the Encyclopedia in the Reserve Room up ahead before you make your decision? Feel free to browse through it as much as you like, I will join you there shortly."

Tilly Tome then turned towards Tourmaline and smiled warmly.

"Please young mare, allow me to show you precisely where the books you asked for are located, if you'll come with me," the elderly librarian mare said as she walked towards the towering bookshelves, hoping Tourmaline would follow behind her.

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"Though I do wonder if a pony like Sombra isn't still a more immediate threat? An ordinary unicorn with exceptional magical aptitude, mastering curses on such a grand and powerful scale... He can use them relatively freely so as to overwhelm his foes en masse... As one who has confronted both face to face, would you concur with that assessment?"

King Sombra also wasn’t much of a good memory for Princess Cadence. While Queen Chrysalis imprisoned her within the Crystal Mines, Sombra left her deprived of rest for days as she heroically kept the barrier protecting the Crystal Empire. And when he did break through, his darkness was such a horrific sight to behold. Never had Cadence seen a unicorn literally transformed into shadow, a force of nature whose dark crystal spikes could spring up from the ground at will. Cadence shuddered to think at what would have happened had the Evil King safeguarded the Crystal Heart that day.

But here now was a precious filly requiring reassurance that King Sombra would never return, even though she expressed all her concerns so far in a disinterested academic manner. “The thing with Sombra,” Cadence hypothesized; “Is that he may have gotten all his strength by inflicting despair on the crystal ponies, and then using the Crystal Heart to snatch all that negative energy for his own cruel purposes. At any rate, I saw him shatter into countless of pieces with my own eyes. It’s impossible for anypony in that situation, even Sombra, to… you know, 'come back'." Coming up with that euphemism might have the hardest part of that lecture. Otherwise, the alicorn felt strongly more reassured that those black-hearted enemies who occasionally starred in her nightmares weren’t as powerful as the princess’s skewed memories made them out to be.

"Your highness, we have several complete sets of the Crystaline Encyclopedia here at the library. It would be no trouble at all to allow you to take one set back to the castle with you to study at your leisure. Why not take a closer look at the Encyclopedia in the Reserve Room up ahead before you make your decision? Feel free to browse through it as much as you like, I will join you there shortly."

The librarian jutted in right as Cadence answered the filly’s question. “Thank you Ms. Tome,” the Crystal Princess thanked; “I’ll head right there then.” Not wanting that little girl to think she was being brushed off off, the pink alicorn generously offered; “Well sweetie, if you need a reading buddy, you know where I’ll be studying,” and gave the filly a playful wink.

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"Great, another book report to do," Garnet said with a scowl, not hiding his disdain, "Why do I get stuck doing all the icky jobs?"

Normally the colt didn't spend much time in the library, considering that he had better things to do than look through endless shelves of similar looking books. The only exception though were his searches for new adventure or fantasy books, what he considered his kind of research! This was on his own terms though. Being forced to look through the library for a project made him cringe at the very thought.

"Alright, where is the history section?"

As he weaved his way through the aisles, he spotted an interesting sight. There was the librarian, one that Garnet swore was as old as the building that she watched over, a fellow school mate named Tourmaling Glass, and most interesting Princess Cadence. The third member of this group made him think of a grand idea, one that had to be played correctly if he wanted to make his report go from hard to easy in a snap.

"Hello Miss Tome and Tourmaline. And hello to you Princess Cadence."

With that the colt gave a bow and the cheesiest grin he could muster.

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“The thing with Sombra, Is that he may have gotten all his strength by inflicting despair on the crystal ponies, and then using the Crystal Heart to snatch all that negative energy for his own cruel purposes. At any rate, I saw him shatter into countless of pieces with my own eyes. It’s impossible for anypony in that situation, even Sombra, to… you know, 'come back'."

Tourmaline gave several small nods at the princess' words in comprehension, though she couldn't help but feel her own sentiment had been glossed over. It seemed the princess still wished to talk to her at least in part like she was just a child. It was fair enough, though she was in no hurry to relent.

"Yes, yes, I am aware that Sombra is no more. That is why I said a pony like he. That is what I find most fascinating about his character in far. He is not some extant threat to our species like the creature Discord or the Queen of Changelings, nor is he like the Nightmare Moon, a corruption of a princess. Sombra was a simple unicorn, and yet he achieved such great and terrible power. He is not the only unicorn to do so as well, as history records other great masters of magic, like the sorcerer Starswirl who were also mere unicorns," the filly began, showing some excitement as she prattled on. "So does it not stand to reason that the future might in time see more Sombras rise to take this fallen one's place, that unicorns might be born both with ability and ill will, that in time might come even a manner of power that will make princesses shudder with fear?"

"Please young mare, allow me to show you precisely where the books you asked for are located, if you'll come with me,"

Tourmaline gave a small sigh as she glanced over toward the old librarian. She supposed this would be easier once she had the books in front of her. The princess, from her language, seemed prepared to continue discussions with Tourmaline as they studied, so there was really nothing for it. She nodded and then decided to chase after Miss Tome. "I'll be back in a moment, Princes Cadenza," she said.

She rushed to the high bookcase where Ms Tome was waiting, barely even noticing when her schoolmate Garent arrived on the scene. "All right, Miss Tome," she said. "I would be pleased to see these books."

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As Tilly Tome was ready to show Tourmaline to the books she desired to see, she heard a familiar voice call out to her. The elderly crystal mare turned around to see that Garnet Facet was addressing her. Now Tilly was getting excited! It wasn't often she had so many library patrons to serve at one time!

"Hi there, Garnet!" Tilly Tome neighed, "so glad you came to the library today! If you need assistance, I'll be happy to provide it when I've finished helping this young mare here. Do you know each other? I seem to remember seeing you both as part of a school group that once came here on a field trip a while ago.. I think.. well anyway, right this way, Miss Tourmaline!"

The giddy crystal mare walked a short distance before pointing to the third row from the bottom of a large book shelf.

"Here you are! Start on the far end of this self, and then if you'll look all the way through it, I do believe all of the books you asked me about are located here." Tilly said as she backed away to allow the young mare room to search. Glancing over to the Reserve Room, she could see Princess Cadance there.

"DO YOU NEED ANY FURTHER ASSISTANCE, YOUR MAJESTY?" Tilly Tome called out, breaking the usual silence found in the library. Usually, the Head Librarian was not prone to outbursts like this, but this was a special occassion, with royalty being around and all!

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Princess Cadence felt a little unnerved by the crystal filly’ demeanor. Precious few in the Empire could dare talk about their former tyrannical ruler without suffering painful flashbacks. Tourmaline not only displayed no sign of past trauma, but she even seemed like she viewed the coming of a new dark unicorn with curiosity. Cadence wondered if it was a result of Tourmaline’s early years, that lacking any positive role models of her own, she turned her interest to the Evil King, the one pony who had still possessed agency of his own. No matter; Cadence vowed to be the role model that her young subjects never had in their lives.

Ah, another crystal foal! Because this was the second child the alicorn princess saw in the library, she assumed that the youth of the Crystal Empire did in fact understand the importance of this sacred place of learning. Lightly giggling at the colt’s bow, Cadence playfully addressed him; “There’s no need for anypony to bow to me, little sir. If you need a study buddy, I’ll be in the reserve room.” Winking to the black and red colt, Cadence turned to enter the reserve room.

Once inside, Princess Cadence scanned the room and found a multi-volume set titled the Crystalline Encyclopedia. Ah, that’s what she was looking for! Naturally, the pink princess started with the first volume, magically lifting it onto a table to read. But the librarian rudely interrupted with a loud yell before Cadence could open the book, and the princess shot back a stern glare and a “Shhhhhhhh” at Ms. Tome's direction.

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"Hi there, Garnet!" Tilly Tome neighed, "so glad you came to the library today! If you need assistance, I'll be happy to provide it when I've finished helping this young mare here. Do you know each other? I seem to remember seeing you both as part of a school group that once came here on a field trip a while ago.. I think.. well anyway, right this way, Miss Tourmaline!"

Garnet looked over at the filly that the librarian mentioned. In reality he didn't know much about the filly name Tourmaline, even though her was in the same grade as her. The pony was an odd one, keeping mostly to herself with a nose always permanently placed in a book. Then again he thought that most fillies were strange, something he called a "double dose of crazy," although of course never to their faces. He was hesitant to meet this pony knowing that her version of "fun" would be endless trips to a museum or this library and not the kind of fun he saw himself doing. Still he knew never to judge a pony by their first appearance, especially since Tourmaline had the same black crystalline coat is him, although lacking the awesome spiky red mane and tail.

"Yeah, I guess you can say that," Garnet said to the librarian before turning to the filly and putting out a hoof to shake, "The name's Garnet Facet. That's G-A-R-N-E-T. Got it memorized?"

Princess Cadence disappeared into the Reserved Room, momentarily shattering Garnet's chance to enact his plan. Now he would have to ... study, something that sent a chill up his spine and make his already spiky mane and tail stand on end. He wasn't a slacker, but he wanted to study whatever interested him, not some stuffy teacher telling him what to do and especially not history. But he felt redeemed when she addressed herself to him and invited him into the spot.

"It would be my honor to study with you," Garnet said turning on his charm while trying not to overplay his hoof as he followed the Princess into the room, taking with him a random book to make it look like he was actually doing something.

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[sorry if I don't post fairly as good as you guys]

Dashing walked into the library, and went straight to Tilly Tome. "Do you know where I can find someone who knows a few things about the Crystal Empire's architecture? I was hired to build more houses, and I just need a few tips on how." Dashing asks Tilly Tome, looking around at the amazing library.

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"Hi there, Garnet! so glad you came to the library today! If you need assistance, I'll be happy to provide it when I've finished helping this young mare here. Do you know each other? I seem to remember seeing you both as part of a school group that once came here on a field trip a while ago.. I think.. well anyway, right this way, Miss Tourmaline! Here you are! Start on the far end of this self, and then if you'll look all the way through it, I do believe all of the books you asked me about are located here."

"Yeah, I guess you can say that, The name's Garnet Facet. That's G-A-R-N-E-T. Got it memorized?"

Tourmaline supposed it was correct to say her and Garnet knew each other, at least in the same sense that she knew any of her classmates. Which of course meant that they didn't register much regard from her. Garnet was probably only of note because he was the most similar in her class to her in terms of coloration. Like her, he had a black coat and his red mane wasn't so far off from her own amber mane. Their colorations were similar enough that there might be an infrequent crack of some kind about it if ever they stood near enough each other. Beyond that, there had never really been much interaction. To her, Garnet seemed strange, insistent and perhaps slightly self absorbed but so far she really hadn't seen much that needed to be committed to memory. If he was less obnoxious than some of her classmates, like that awful Flakey Shards, he was stlll just a minor footnote in Tourmaline's life.

"We're classmates," Tourmaline explained the relationship. There wasn't anything more to say about it really. She gave a nod to the librarian then. "Thank you, Ms. Tome," she said. "I already see a number of things that look interesting..."

She pulled a number of old, dusty volumes on rare creatures, abstruse magic and classical history and nodded in satisfaction. She then went back to where Cadance was and set her books on a nearby reading table.

"So what do you think, Princess? It's been over 1000 years now really? Do you think we might see the next Sombra level unicorn rise in the modern era?" she asked, eager to resume their conversation where she had left off.

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