PRINCESS TWILIGHT'S CASTLE
50 Years from now
"Gather around everypony!" The voice of a wise old purple alicorn said loudly at the castle. All of the fillies started to gather around as the elder took a seat in a chair in the corner.
"Is it story time?" A young unicorn filly asked with wonder.
"Why yes it is my little ponies." The old pony replied
"Whatcha gonna tell us about this time Twilight?" A pegasus colt pondered.
"Well I'll tell ya." she said. "You've heard the tales of the likes of Nightmare Moon blanketing Equestria in eternal night, Discord creating untold havoc for Earth Ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi alike, and how Lord Tirek attemtped to steal all the magic in Equestria. Well today I'm gonna tell you a tale about the Crystal Empire."
"But Twilight, you already told us about how King Sombra banished it for 1000 years and how Spike the Dragon used the Crystal Heart to save the Crystal Empire." A red Earth Pony hollered.
"Yes those all happened." Twilight answered. "However this story is different. I'm going to tell you about The Shard." All the young fillies gasped in unison after first hearing the name. "The Shard was an expert criminal who targetted priceless artifacts; but he did not start out that way." The Princess said using her magic to grab a book off of the shelf. "He was just a regular unicorn like I was and he had everything a pony could ask for; money, magic, friendship." Twilight said as she opened up the book she had grabbed.
HEART AND SOUL GIFT SHOP
Deep in the Crystal Empire, two unicorns ran their exquisite gift shop. The first was a beautiful yellow mare named Jewel Heart. The other, a navy blue stallion named Soul Shard.
"Soul Shard!" Jewel Heart shouted in the gift shop. "Could you watch the shop? I have a family emergency in Ponyville!"
"You got it Jewel Heart." Shard responded as the mare exited out the door to catch the train. "Hey Obsidian, I need some snowglobes on the front shelf pronto!!" The colt yelled into the back room. A muscular dark grey stallion trotted into the room carrying a giant wagon fll of boxes behind him.
"Sure thing Boss!" The brute answered. As Obsidian worked, two gorgeous looking mares made their way into the store; one was a delicate pink with a bright red mane, the other has sky blue and her mane was aquamarine with a cyan streak down the middle.
"Welcome to the Heart and Soul Gift Shop fillies." Soul Shard called out with a slightly confused look on his face. "How may I help you?
"Oh hi. We're looking for Jewel Heart. Have you seen her?" Asked the blue pony.
"Sorry but you just missed her." Shard replied.
"Oh I see." The blue replied. "And where abouts is she right now?" The red mare questioned.
"She has a family emergency in Ponyville she needs to attend to." Obsidian responded whilst putting out a variety of souvenirs
"OK. We were just wondering." The ponies said in unison.
"Wait a second, aren't you those ponies who run that rival sounveir shop down the street?" Obsidian questioned.
"You mean, the vastly superior Ruby and Sapphire Souvenir Store?" Ruby replied with glee.
"Yeah that's the one." Shard answered.
"What are you two doing here anyway?" Obsidian pondered. "Shouldn't you two be running the store?"
"First of all, our sisters Emerald and Topaz are taking care of things at our shop." Ruby answered.
"Second of all, we're here strictly for business." Sapphire muttered through closed teeth as she used her magic to pull something out of her bag. The item in question was a piece of paper and a pen; more specifically a contract.
"What is this?" Soul Shard asked with an even more perplexed look on his face.
"This..." Sapphire started to speak as she roughly dropped the paper on the front counter.
"This is a contract." Ruby completed the sentence. "We're cashing in on the place."
"What!? You can't do that! It's crazy!!" Shard shouted in defiance.
"Listen here!" The red unicorn aggressively stated. "Our father runs the most luxurious gem cutting business in all of Equestria. I'm sure he'd have no problem with us suing you for trepassing on our property."
"So what's it gonna be Soul Shard?" The sky blue mare said; her voice just above a whisper. "Are you gonna stay and force us to take legal action? Or are yoiu gonna walk away?" Fearing the consequences about staying, Soul Shard glared at the ponies, took the pen and signed at the bottom of the document before storming out of the store.
"This isn't over!" The navy stallion grunted as he and Obsidian exited the store before slamming the door.
"Little did Ruby and Sapphire know, they had just created a monster that would shift the balance of harmony in Equestria for generations to come." Twilight read as she slightly looked down at the young fillies.
"But what does that have to do with The Shard being a criminal?" One of the children asked.
"Patience child; we'll get to it." The lavender alicorn answered. "That day threw Soul Shard's life into an eternal downward spiral. First, he lost his job, then his home, then his love." The princess told as she used her magic to create tiny visual displays of the events she had described. "Angry at the world, Shard took to the shadows and targetted the Gem sisters. His attacks all varied in severity; but were all fuelled by hatred. Shortly after that, he turned his focus to becoming a thief; his first target was the famous Diamond Clear headquarters in Canterlot."
DIAMOND CLEAR HEADQUARTERS
"Are all of the vaults secure?" Asked a wealthy looking stallion as he looked at two guards.
"Everything is locked up Mr. Clear." The first guard said.
"And I'm assuming you've taken extra measures to ensure that my newest artifact is well protected?" Clear asked with an eyebrow raised.
"We put a special lock on the door to it sir." The second guard added. "Only the strongest magic can open it."
"Good." Diamond said as he started to leave the building. "I expect that gem to be in its regular place when I walk in tomorrow morning." He stated before closing the door and locking it. Once the wealthy unicorn was out of sight, the two shady figures of Soul Shard and Obsidian popped their heads out of a dark alleyway.
"Is the cost clear?" Obsidian asked.
"Crystal clear." The bandit responded. "That slimeball is gonna regret the day he messed with us." The navy blue colt whispered as he and his heavy companion dashed across the street. "I'm gonna sneak into the building through the roof. I'll open the main entrance for you from the inside after I've taken out the guards." Soul Shard teleported to the top of the building and used his magic to carve a circular hole into the roof. The stealthy criminal silently levitated to the floor; making sure not to cause any noise. He silently made his way to the main entrance of the building; using his magic to open the door. Poking his head out and glancing left and right, the unicorn motioned for his Earth Pony comrade to advance into the facility. Once the criminals were in the building, they quietly advanced down the hallway before stopping around the corner of the hallway that housed the vault. The vault was heavily protected by four guards that stood in front of it
"What are we gonna do about those guards?" Obsidian whispered.
"Is that supposed to be a serious question?" The mastermind replied quietly. "Take 'em out you brute!" Obsidian then proceeded to step out of hiding to challenge the guards. The massive Earth Pony gently brushed his front hooves on the ground before proceeding to charge at the four unicorns protecting the vault. With a simple heave of his heavy hooves, the steed sent the guards sprwaling in a panic before Shard used a freeze spell to trap three of the guards in place.
"That was too easy!" Obsidian shouted with glee.
"Agreed." Soul Shard muttered with a scowl as he trotted up to the heavy iron door The navy blue unicorn narrowed his eyes as he inspected the lock on the door. The colt turned his head and stared at the lone guard who cowered in a corner of the room; Shard's bright blue eyes staring a whole through the stallion.
"Please don't hurt me!" He begged. "I'll do anything! just let me go! I have a wife and 2 young fillies to fend for!"
"Oh I wouldn't hurt you." The thief whispered. "You're of use to me." Using his magic, Soul Shard moved the guard up to the door. "Unlock the door now!" Shard's voice booming and commanding. Fearing what would happen if he fought back, the guard inserted his horn into a space in the door and deactivated the locking spell on the door.
"Let me handle this!" Obsidian shouted as he shoved the guard out of the way and used his back legs to kick the door open. Soul Shard entered the room shortly after and looked around for what valuables he could find. Nothing caught his attention until he saw a single gem sitting in a glass case on a pedastal. Carefully using his magic, the criminal opened the box and placed the gem in front of him.
"You!" Shard asked pointing to the guard who was slowly getting up on his hooves. "What makes this gem so special?"
"If you shine magic into it, something happenes!" The guard whined in a panicked tone of voice.
"What happens exactly?"
"I don't know!"
"Guess we'll find out for ourselves!" Soul Shard said in an intrigued. Placing the gem on the ground, he carefully lined up his horn with the gem and blasted a beam of magic at it. The gem stone lit up the room as magic energy began to spark throughout the entire room. An electric bolt of magic connected itself from the gem to Soul Shard's horn; causing the stallion to shout in agony for a short while before the energy stopped. The gem had now lost its luster and no longer had its glossy shine.
"Shard? Ya alright?" Obsidian asked with concern.
"Never been better." The criminal said silently.
"So what did the gem do?" The muscular brute said.
"I'm not sure, but I think we'll find..." Soul Shard's mind began to wonder as a banner on the wall caught his eye. Trotting up to the poster, he looked it up and down before reading the big bold letters on it. "NEW EXHIBIT!! SECRETS OF THE CRYSTAL EMPIRE COMING THIS WEEK!" Shard's eyes glimmered with glee as he slowly turned his head to look at the guard. "Has this came by yet!?"
"I-I don't know!" The guard screamed in a panic.
"Listen here you." Obsidian cut in. "Don't make us hurt you." Fearing for his life, the lone nightwatch finally cracked.
"It's in the back room on an altar!" Having gotten the information he needed, Soul Shard froze the guard in place with the rest of the guards and made his way to the back of the building. Once there, the criminal stepped up to the altar and levitated the book off of its place. With his magic, the unicorn opened to a random page and tried to decipher the ancient writings.
"What does it say?" The brute asked his colleague.
"These scriptures date back thousands of years; it may take a while before I figure out what they actually do." Soul Shard said scanning the pages with his eyes. The scoundrel looked out the window and saw the sun was starting to rise. "We gotta run. The sun is rising!" The duo promptly left the facility and dashed out of Canterlot
"Soul Shard eventually became aware of the power he had gained that night." Princess Twilight explained to the fillies. "Sure he didn't quite figure out about the spells in the book, but that first gem made him and his colleague immortal."
"But what exactly does that have to do with the Empire?" One of the children said; a confused look stretched across his face.
"Well my children, this new power helped Soul Shard and Obsidian survive the curse that King Sombra had placed on the Crystal Empire." Twilight elaborated. "Unfortunately, Shard and his friend never knew that until it was too late. Now without a home, The Shard took to northern Equestria to study the mystical spellbook."
"Give it up Soul Shard." Obsidian said. "You've been trying this crystal spell for over a thousand years now. It's not going to work."
"Shut up over there! I'm trying to concentrate!" The navy stallion shouted as he put the spell book down with his magic. Turning to a small bush in the cave, Shard focused his magic as he tried to cast the spell he had spent so long practicing. After a short while, his horn began to glow and shortly after that, a beam shot out and engulfed the bush with blue flames. After a while, tje flames slowly began to solidify and crystalize. "Yes! Finally! Thousands of years have finally paid off!!"
"Took ya long enough." Obsidian scolded. Before Soul Shard could respond, the two stallions were caught off guard by a bright glow shining into the entrance of the cave. The two colts trotted out of the cave and stared off into the distance in complete shock at what they saw. "Is that what I think it is?" The big brute questioned.
"You bet your cutie mark it is!" Soul Shard responded. "That's the Crystal Empire."
"Does that mean what I think it means?" Obsidian asked.
"Yes it does; we're going home." The mastermind replied. Little did his muscular comrade know, Soul Shard had much more diabolical plans for his old home.