Pink Alicorn Blues

by Hail King Sombra

1. Four Angry Ponies

The cave was damp, the sullen grey unicorn thought, shivering underneath his simple clothes. He looked over at his brown earth pony mare companion, not surprised to see her trembling also. She was just as miserable as he was, but refused to complain, yet again proving what a trooper she was.

‘I don’t deserve you, Coffee,’ he thought wistfully. Without hesitating, he extended his hooves in an invitation to snuggle up for warmth and again without hesitating, she took him up on it. Once there, he wrapped his forelegs around her and she buried her head blissfully in his chest fur, smiling. “Thanks, Kingsley!” her muffled voice echoed gratefully.

A snort of disgust came from the other end of the cave. The stallion ignored it, putting his chin gingerly on Coffee’s head, closing his eyes. He knew he was only pretending to ignore their unwilling cavemate’s jibe and on the surface it didn’t really bother him, honestly.

If anything it made him very sad because he could see -

“Please,” another stallion’s imperious voice said in disgust from below a weak glow from his unicorn horn. “Don’t pretend like you’d care for another pony’s comfort!”

Coffee Talk hadn’t heard the first jab from the royal white stallion, but she heard this. Her head rose from the comforting warmth of the nest of charcoal grey fur she had been luxuriating in to stare balefully at their taunter. “Oh shut the buck - “

Kingsley swiftly put his hoof over Coffee’s mouth to stop her sharp reply. “Ah, Coffee, we’re all stuck in here together. Let’s be nice to the more-powerful-than-us-houseguests!” he urged. He withdrew his hoof quickly, wiping it on his open-chested white shirt. “Eww...was licking my hoof really necessary?” he complained. “What are you? Two?”

“I can’t believe I am hearing this,” the white Prince stood, gesturing at Coffee Talk and Kingsley, looking to his companion. “Are you hearing this, honey?”

“I wish I weren’t,” the pink alicorn Princess shook her head. “I wish I wasn’t here at all.”

“That makes two of us,” Kingsley said, agreeing with Princess Cadence. Conversation had been painfully awkward the first couple of hours since they’d unfortunately been trapped in this wretched cave, making him seek out any opportunity for agreement with the “other side” in anything.

Coffee Talk looked at him with slight alarm. “What do you mean, ‘the two of us’?” she asked warily.

Not understanding her question at first, he blinked. Wasn’t it clear? Oh, that! “No, Coffee,” he shook his head. “I meant you and me, not - “

“Not that blasted argument again,” Armor snapped in irritation. “You and that thing you blame for taking over the Crystal Empire?” He trotted over, facing Kingsley down. “I’m so sick of that bucking excuse for your behavior. What a lame defense!”

Kingsley’s green eyes widened. “What argument?” he defended. “I’m not arguing anything!”

“He really isn’t,” Cadence sighed. Coffee could tell it was wearing on her as much as herself. As ambivalent about the prissy little alicorn as she was, it was a point they could agree on, just as they all agreed that the present predicament of the four of them being trapped together under a two-ton mudslide of rock and dirt was less than desirable.

Now if Kingsley would just leave it alone -

“And I get it - kinda - “

Oh great, thought Coffee. A little bit of that less-than-mature side of Kingsley that had let the Uber demon take him over in the first place wasn’t going to let this go, was it?

“You can’t see it, so it must not exist,” Kingsley continued, further poking the Prince Regent about the overly sensitive subject. “I’d expect that level of maturity from an earth pony - “


“Sorry, Coffee,” he apologized, looking sheepishly back at her. “Not you. You just don’t know as much about unicorn magic is what I meant.” He smiled that goofy smile she had a hard time resisting. “I didn’t mean you’re immature. I know you’re smarter than that.”

“What and I’m not?” Shining challenged.

“No, I didn’t say that,” Kingsley continued in a patient, more reasonable tone. “But I really don’t get how a unicorn can dismiss its existence so readily when you saw what it did to your wife - “

“Shut up!” Armor snapped, the muscles under his fur visibly tensing.

Oh great,’ Coffee Talk shook her head. ‘You did NOT just go there, Kingsley!’ Reaching up, she tugged at the edge of his shirt collar. “Kingsley, don’t,” she warned.

“Why?” the smoky grey unicorn challenged. “‘Cause you can’t take the truth that Cadence - “

“That’s Princess Cadence to you,” Shining had trotted over to him and Coffee, his posture stiff and defensive. He wasn’t going to let this go without a fight, both mares could see that. “And she’s a thousand times more a Princess and royalty than you’ll ever be, Sombra!”

‘Oh...Armor didn’t just go there!’ sighed Coffee Talk. ‘Dammit, why are stallions always so driven by their, their, their testosterone levels?!?’

As calm as Kingsley had been up to this point, now he was seeing - and feeling - how it was to have somepony grab the end of the stick he was poking someone else with and jab it back in his face. “I don’t go by that name - not anymore,” he said quietly.

Coffee glanced back behind Shining to his wife. Cadence was still at the other end of the cave, just standing there, refusing to intervene. Surely she could reign her grandstanding, impulsive wimp of a husband in, she thought. Why wasn’t she doing anything? And then the Princess did something she didn’t expect. She sat down. Her ears weren’t laid back, but she had a look of - what was that? Coffee squinted, trying to see behind the Prince’s horn light. Sadness? Resignation?

No. It was guilt.

Shining’s biting, sarcastic tone drew her back to the stallion standoff going on in front of her.

“Why? That’s your name in the Crystal Empire birth records. That’s your name under the guard registry - former Captain Sombra.” When had Shining started circling them, Coffee blinked, surprised. “It sure as Tartarus isn’t King Sombra. You never deserved that title, you lying sack of murderous slime!”

Wow, this sure didn’t resemble the pathetic excuse of a Captain of the Crystal Army guard who had stood impotently by while his Uber-possessed wife had cowed their pony subjects into forced submission. It also didn’t resemble the white unicorn who had hidden behind his staff and guards, refusing to let Coffee interview Cadence when she had returned later to expose the truth behind the buried story of Sombra’s near takeover (a third time) of the Empire. But then all trapped here - for several hours now - had a magic all its own when it came to making the situation get on everypony’s nerves. And while Kingsley was nowhere near as annoying as he used to be when the Uber demon had been in his head, he still had an innocent way of inadvertently getting under one’s hide. But after witnessing up close and personal how intentional it used to be, now she found its milder version more...cute, even endearing.

And Coffee Talk certainly had to hand it to Kingsley. He had never had this much self-control when he had been possessed by the Uber - something that had made the possession doubly dangerous to those around King Sombra. But now, with that all behind them, Kingsley had discovered a newfound peace in forgiving himself and this had been a blessing in their time in Yakut - so much so that it hadn’t even be shaken by Coffee’s news that Cadence, Shining and the entire royal family had covered up the Love Princess’s little slip of integrity and been Uber-possessed.

And despite Shining being a Prince, he wasn’t Yakut’s Prince and he sure as Tartarus wasn’t behaving like hers or anypony else’s Prince right now. Opening her mouth to stop this insipid, royal tirade, Coffee was cut off from the least expected of places.

“Stop it, Shining!” Cadence snapped from the other side of the cave, suddenly getting to her hooves. She trotted over to him, “Just stop it, damn it!”

It wasn’t the fact this came from Cadence or that she had used a very effective if quieter version of the famed Canterlot voice. It was the pain in her voice, the sheer guilt-ridden slip of personal agony in its tone that froze the squabbling stallions to the spot.

The two stallions - and Coffee’s mouths hung open for a second. “Cadie?” Shining Armor broke the silence, reaching a hoof out to his wife.

Cadence further shocked all of them by gently batting his hoof away. “It isn’t his fault,” the Princess said, looking directly at the former tyrant. “Not entirely.”

This siding with the dark unicorn rocked everypony in the cave, even Cadence herself. It seemed she couldn’t face what she had just said, though, as much as she felt she had had to say it and as true as she knew it was in her heart. It perhaps even sent her into a little bit of a tailspin of shock. Unable to face what she had just showed them was her emotional state, she turned and trotted quickly back to the other end of the cave and sat down in the dust at the far end of the other wall.