[The cover for the book is a black as night, and the book is bound by a magic seal which only shadow magic can open. The pages aren't even weathered, despite the book being obviously old. This is evidence of magic weaved into the pages. The entries are in a dead language known as Old Equestrian. The first entry reads:]
Hours. Endless hours, pouring over every ancient, dusty tome of knowledge I could find. I am so close, but so far...
My name is Lord Sombra of the Crystal Empire, "loyal subject" to the Crystal Queen. Pah. She is not worthy of the title of ruler. She is weak. She spends her time fawning over the peasants, and catering to their every whim. A proper Queen would rule her subjects! Dominate them! No... she is no Queen. She is a peasant like the rest of them. Nay, worse than a peasant. She is dirt on the face of this Empire.
But a new day approaches! The Queen knows not of the studies I have conducted in my personal library. I am beginning to learn the art of shadow magic from a few spellbooks I acquired from... well, should this journal be found and somehow unlocked, I wouldn't want to reveal everything, now would I? Regardless of my secrets or lack of such, I feel certain that this shadow magic is the proper tool to counter the magic of... bah... "love, kindness, and joy". This is not to say that such qualities have no place in an Empire, but it should be the peasants' love for their ruler! The peasants' kindness and obedience! The peasants' joy to be ruled by a wise and powerful King!
This shadow magic is neither good nor evil, either. It is a tool, like every other spell. A means to an end... the Queen's end. A dynasty's end. And the beginning of a new Era for the Crystal Empire!
[The second page is in just as pristine of a condition as the first, and the entry is apparently written on a different day.]
Shadow crystals! This is an outbreak in my research! Using shadow magic, I can change the very source of power for the Empire: crystals. This "infection" easily spreads from one crystal to another, using the very same type of magic that radiates the so-called "positive emotions" across the land. Perhaps I can use this on the Crystal Heart. It would all but ensure my victory.
Hmph. The Queen is considering abdicating her crown to the young Princess Cadenza. I should hurry my research, if I am to take revenge on the Queen for her weak rule. I have confirmed that my shadow magic will not work on the Heart, at least not with my power alone. But I cannot trust another pony with my secrets! This magic is mine, and mine alone! Nopony deserves such power but ME!
I may have a plan. First, I will require aid. Secret aid, of course. I know of two other nobles who may be willing to accompany me. If not, I'll make sure my plot does not reach the Queen's ears. Second, I will abduct the Crystal Heart to keep the enemy from using it. Third, I will kill the captain of the guard with a poison I've created - untraceable, so that it will have merely been a tragic accident. Finally, I will interrupt the coronation by ending this pathetic dynasty, and taking the crown for my own!
My plans are in motion. I have two accomplices, who are equally dissatisfied with our rulers and both claim to wish me upon the throne. As if I don't know that they are plotting against me. As soon as the royal family is out of the way, they will turn on me to take the throne for themselves! Oh, but they won't have it... oh, no... They know not of the shadow magic! I can kill them in an instant! And I will! Hah! These peasants think they are a match for me, but I'll show them!
The Crystal Heart has mysteriously vanished from the Empire's center. Hah, they will never find it. They won't even think to suspect me. I will find a more permanent hiding place for it in the future. Despite the panic, the coronation will proceed tomorrow as planned. It is perfect, isn't it? What's more, the poisoned food and drink is on the way to the guard captain at this very moment. He will not wake up from his slumber tomorrow morning. This coup is coming along almost frighteningly easily. But then, this does happen with weak rulers, does it not? They are destroyed by the mighty and clever.
Oh, I do enjoy this cape and armor. The armor is polished steel, perfect for going to battle, and the cape is fit for a King. Rather fitting for what I will be within the hour, hm? I am about to head to the throne room, where the ceremony is starting to progress. I must not be late!
[The eighth and final entry of the book is written with a scratchy shorthand, making it both more difficult to decipher and evident of the writer's excitement. Tiny black crystals decorate the page's borders, despite not affecting the appearance of other pages.]
It is done! Haha, it is done! The Queen breathes no more, and though the Princess has fled, she will find no aid! I have made examples of my accomplices, and their bodies hang from the tower. None shall ever attempt a betrayal of my perfect kingdom! Oh, but I must be careful. The Crystal Heart reacts violently to shadow magic. It is time to begin work on a more permanent home for it. I suppose I know what to do first with my new kingdom!
The Crystal Empire now belongs to King Sombra, master of shadow magic! All shall hear my name and bow!