The Prince's New Sweater

by Hail King Sombra

2. The Princess of Darkness

In the Past - One Thousand Years Ago…

King Sombra stalked through the hallways of the Dark Castle (as he had so proudly and affectionately called it) right after breakfast. Slaves threw themselves down and buried their muzzles in their own reflections off the perfect crystal floors while servants bowed deeply. He rolled his eyes and sighed quietly to himself. If the slaves kept throwing themselves to the floor like that every time he walked by, the cleaning slaves would be polishing the floors all day.

Still, it wasn’t as bad as what his little filly Cadie had done in the dining hall to his chief scheduler, Tight Planner. He snickered to himself, remembering how breakfast hadn’t agreed with the tiny, pink-haired Princess of Darkness and Planner had just happened to be in the way. The prissy pony would be picking puke out of his mane for days, he thought in satisfaction. At least it would keep the pony out of his mane until he got to the throne room. Perhaps he could get a moment of peace in the meantime…

Throwing the doors open before the guards could do it for him, Sombra greeted them as he went inside. Every pony snapped to attention. Oh yeah, best to make a grand entrance, he nodded to himself and changed into smoke, save for his head, and floated down the length of the long walkway up to his throne. Managing to maintain a menacing veneer most of the way, his scowl dissolved into a grin upon seeing his littlest one hanging upside down from the tail of her wetmare (i.e. wetnurse), chewing on it as if she had just discovered how tasty it was.

Seeing her father floating in an evil, black cloud above her was nothing new to the tiny filly, but as always, fascinated her, pinkish purple eyes going wide in wonder at his appearance.

“Mmmm, what is this I see before me blocking my way to the throne?” he rumbled pleasantly. “A pretty pink princess ready to be EATEN!” he finished, scooping her up in menacing, black tentacles of smoke and shadow.

She squealed in laughter, flailing tiny hooves barely visible through the smoke as he gently tickled her. Behind him, he sensed the fear and hatred that usually nourished his power diminish as smiles broke out at their play together. No matter. There was plenty enough fear of him within the walls of the Empire and without to more than make up for the loss. Giving her one last affectionate nuzzle, he carefully placed her back in the hooves of the crystal Earth pony and dismissed them. “Be certain you thoroughly clean her face. She failed to aim the entirety of breakfast at Tight Planner, I see.”

The mare bowed, hiding her smile, which the King saw anyway but said nothing to as she left.

The audiences with his court and petitioners took into the early afternoon, when a break was declared and the rest dismissed until the next day. Tired yet satisfied, Sombra stood, stretched and was about to trot down the stairs when a voice behind him was heard along with clapping.

“Bravissimo, Somby!”

The Shadow King’s good mood soured immediately. Stone-faced, he turned to the source of the irritating noise. “Discord. How very unpleasant to see you.”