Pink Alicorn Blues

by Hail King Sombra

4. One's Not Communicating

On the other side of the cave, Shining Armor was going through his own roller coaster of feelings. At first he lay a few feet from Cadence, trying to get some sleep, but eventually gave up when his racing thoughts would grant him no rest. He was tired. Keeping up his guard - and anger at Sombra - was wearing on him. He was generally a pretty pleasant kind of stallion when off duty and harbored ill will towards no one, so maintaining such bitter anger towards the charcoal-gray unicorn currently snoring at the other end of the cave had not only been a new, unpleasant experience for him, but a decidedly draining one. He just wasn’t used to feeling so at the mercy of such a strong, negative emotion!

After a few minutes of tossing and turning, then quietly pacing the length of their side of the cave, the Prince had decided to just lay back down and try to analyze his feelings in an attempt to get his overly busy brain to calm down. Did that even make sense? Working to get himself to calm down? Probably not, but ignoring them wasn’t doing any good either...

“Coffee? Coffee Talk! SNAP OUT OF IT!”

His ears snapped up at the sound coming from the other side of the cave, brought back from the dozing he had drifted off into by the urgency in Sombra’s voice. Canterlot guard training brought him instantly alert and he almost jumped up, ready for anything, until he heard, “That must have been some awful dream!”

It was just a dream. Shining let his muscles relax, but only a little, recalling how his sister Twilight had told him dreams - nightmare-induced ones - were King Sombra’s specialty. He could hold prey paralyzed by them, as he had done to both her and Spike in -

“It was - and it was your fault, you big dumb jerk!” Coffee’s accusing voice lashed out at her cave mate.

The Prince’s muscles tensed again.

“What’d I do?” the former King whined. “I was only trying to help!”

Shining snorted, almost laughed. That didn’t sound like the foul, nightmare-inducing thing that had attacked him in the frozen wastes outside the Crystal Empire. Still, if Coffee Talk was in trouble, Shining Armor had a duty to intervene to ensure she was safe, even if she had voluntarily taken up the side of a former tyrant. He was rising to his hooves, when -

“Help? HELP?!?” she snapped at Sombra, obviously trying to keep her voice down. “You killed yourself, you stupid horse!”

‘Killed himself?’ Shining straightened in surprise and confusion at first. This wasn’t about something that had just now happened, then.

“You left me in a room full of possessed ponies...” Coffee Talked snapped at her companion.


“...a useless Prince and a frickin’ uber-possessed alicorn who would killed all of us if that stupid plan of yours had failed!”

What? Shining visibly flinched at the earth pony’s description of him. How could she say that? Both stallions had been discussing how to defend against Cadence’s magic at the time...

“But it didn’t fail!” he heard Sombra/Kingsley counter. “I knew it would work.”

They hadn’t come up with a plan at the time, Shining Armor thought back, sorting through the stressful chaos during the time they were being attacked by the crystal ponies. Or had the former guard captain acted on his own on some reckless, on-the-fly strategy?

He didn’t recall that, but then again, he had been pumped full of adrenalin at the time, seeing first his wife acting crazy and possessed, then her slumping, her color returning to normal, then Sombra changing from the inept fool he had been discussing blowing up his wife with back into the King of Shadows, perched above them on a crystal spire, laughing maniacally.

The ‘fool’ was probably a ploy to make everypony in the room at the time let their guard down, Armor reasoned. No pony just gains that much dark magic in the blink of an eye...

Still, the criticism about his part in the fight at the time stung. Shining turned away from them, igniting his horn in concealment to cast a cloaking spell. There was something strange and - wrong about this conversation the two ponies at the other end of the cave were having and he intended to get closer to find out what it was.