How long had he been away from home? Four years? Five? As he trotted down the road to Ponyville, Heart Shade wondered if the quiet little town had changed any during his absence. He doubted anything drastic had happened, certainly, but there would be little things to find and wonder about that he was actually looking forward to discovering upon his return. Was that boutique still open, he wondered? How were the Cakes and their business doing? Was someone actually running the Golden Oak library now or was it still self serve? He couldn't help grinning as the town came into sight, eager to see it all. His parents had moved to Manehattan shortly after he had left, so their letters couldn't have prepared him in the slightest for what he saw after he cleared the next rise. He stopped, frozen, eyes wide as he stared at something he never could have hoped to expect after so long without news about the place.
"...when did we get a castle?" He asked the air numbly, his hind legs giving out on him so he plonked his flanks down in the dirt as he continued to stare in complete shock. It was a grand structure, certainly, looking very much like a tree made of iridescent crystal that caught the light beautifully and sparkled in the noon day sun. But it didn't make even a lick of sense! Even in the time he'd been gone, there was no way a castle could have been built! "What the buck is going on here?" He managed after a moment, getting to his hooves and deciding to find out, galloping the rest of the way into town, heading right for the town square, only to freeze as he passed by another glaring change. "W-where did this hole come from?!" He gasped, looking around and feeling completely confused. "Where's the library? You don't just lose an entire library!" He continued on his way, passing by a few ponies as he headed for town hall, intent on getting some answers, likely earning some strange looks in his mad rush. After all he was a relative stranger to the place, so nopony was likely to recognize him. The Earth stallion only stopped once town hall was within view, panting a bit from the exertion of his run. "T-time to...to get some answers."