Sombra was trotting for his very life in a race against both time and a furious pink banshee dead-set on making him pay. All things considered, he would have much prefered just time over a raging Pinkie Pie.
Indeed, she was certainly in a fury. Not like any weakling peasant mare could ever frighten Sombra, but without his magic, there was certainly no sense in taking chances, either.
“Out of the way, fools! Out of my way!” Sombra bellowed. He shoved aside anypony that obstructed his path, from the smallest foal to the oldest grandpa. It didn’t matter, because the threat of Pinkie getting her hooves on him made any process of formality or manners dissipate in an instant. Not like he had many to begin with anyhow.
“Sombra, get back here!” Pinkie screamed, the very earth shaking from the volume of her voice. “Pinkie Promise breakers don’t get away so easily!”
Sombra jumped over an errant cart, and unluckily managed to get his cape stuck on a corner. Desperately pulling and tugging it, all the while knowing full well with horrifying realization that Pinkie was approaching closer and closer by the second. He was finally successful in freeing himself and sprinted again like his life depended on it—which, given the circumstances, it very well may be.
Seconds later Pinkie obliterated the cart in a shower of broken boards and splinters in a well-placed headbutt.
Dodging falling pieces of broken wood, Sombra decided to cut corners and dive through a conveniently placed alleyway. After running blindly into the shade, he was forced to skid to a stop when his path was obstructed by a ten foot tall brick wall.
“Damned peasant masonry!” he panted. “When I regain my powers, I’ll turn you into rubble, you hear!” He growled, cornered, until the sound of hooves fast approaching from behind made his coat stand on end.
Turning around, Sombra looked at Pinkie, who was in every sense of the word resembled a rage filled monstrosity in her own right. Pinkie’s face was contorted into a visage of pure wrath, the usually bubbly mare now replaced with a being of only destruction and outrage. Sombra could only back up helplessly against the wall, Pinkie nearing closer as each of her steps created cracks in the earth.
“W-Wait, please, I implore you to have mercy!” Sombra begged. He held out a hoof of surrender, cowering in quite a pathetic state on the ground. “Pinkie, I’m too young to perish!”
“You’re over a thousand years old!” Pinkie reminded him.
Sombra waved his hoof passively. “That’s neither here nor there.” He looked sheepishly upward where his only escape was high above his head. “What is here is a king who is dearly sooooo—” He almost choked on the word, and tried again. “Ngh, I’m regretful for breaking such a sacred promise to you.”
Pinkie stopped in her tracks, her anger cooling down to a simmered curiosity. “You actually mean that?” she asked, ears raising up to full mast.
Sombra spread his hooves apart in a clear sign of a warm welcome. “Of course. We are friends, after all. Aren’t we?”
Pinkie stared, eyes scanning him with a somewhat blank, but purposeful expression.
After several moments of this, her extremely frizzy mane poofed up to its usual fluffiness, and before Sombra knew it, Pinkie was hugging the stuffing out of him.
“Oh, yes, yes, yes! I knew you’d come around, I just knew it!” Pinkie gripped tighter, her embrace squeezing Sombra so hard, he was sure his spine would crack. “You’re not a big meanie-head, you’re just a misunderstood stallion that needs a friend, and now you’ve finally got one!”
“Thank... you… P-Pinkie,” Sombra gasped. He patted her on the back, and eventually wrapped his hooves around her as well. The two shared a playful hug, Pinkie practically buzzing with excitement in Sombra’s grip. Even she hadn’t expected him to hug back!
However, that grip quite suddenly grew quite powerful, and before Pinkie knew it she was swept off her hooves.
“Thank you for being so dumb!” Sombra laughed, throwing Pinkie upwards and over the wall of the alleyway, where she crashed into a pile of filth and garbage on the other side. “Also, I was never sorry about breaking your moronic promise!”
Sombra cackled in the typical villain manner as he made his escape, exiting the alley in a spur of the moment jump of victory.
That victory turned moot fast, however, along with the surprise appearance of a cart at the entrance of the alleyway.
Sombra didn’t have time to stop, and barely knew what hit him as he tumbled in an uncomfortable pile of… apples? Stars danced before his eyes, and he groaned, knocked senseless. “By the gods. Is it time for the harvest this year already?” The strange sense that he was moving, even if he wasn’t walking, occurred to him. “Oh. Uh oh.”
Thanks to Sombra’s momentum, the stand-alone cart was rolling forward, and fast, dramatically gaining speed due to avenue’s steep hill. As fortune would have it, he’d hidden in the alley just beside the biggest hill in Ponyville.
Back in the alley, Pinkie had already clammered over the brick wall in a matter of seconds, fueled not only by the rage at a broken Pinkie Promise, but also the betrayal of her trust by Sombra’s cruel hooves, twice! In other words, her anger had been doubled!
Pinkie burst out onto the street with fire practically burning in her eyes, head swinging to check left and right to find the backstabbing promise breaker. But, the only pony Pinkie could see within the vicinity was Applejack, whistling and trotting by with a basket full of ripe apples.
“Applejack!” Pinkie shouted, and was upon her friend in an instant. Holding Applejack’s cheeks in her hooves, Pinkie shook her about like a ragdoll, Applejack’s flying right off her head. “Where did Sombra go!? Where!? I demand to know! The crime for Pinkie-Pie-Pinkie-Promise breaking cannot go unpunished!”
Applejack pushed Pinkie’s muzzle out of her face, then shook her head to fight back the growing nausea that had turned her freckled cheeks greenish-orange. “Pinkie, what is tarnation are ya talkin’ ‘bout? I haven’t seen Sombra all day. Shucks, I thought he was still a prisoner in Twilight’s basement. All I’ve been doin’ is unloadin’ my…” Applejack checked over Pinkie’s shoulder and blinked several times. “My apples. What happened to the rest of my apples? I swear I’d left my cart right there not a minute ago.”
Pinkie’s eyes focused on the spot Applejack was pointing to. With a missing cart that was supposed to be right next to the alleyway, that could only mean one thing! She looked to the wide Ponyville avenue leading downward into town square, and found her target.
An apple cart, but also carrying what looked like a dark blur, was traveling uncontrollably through the streets. It was pulling away fast, and now that she listened, she could hear a faint bit of girlish screaming coming from the cart as well.
“Aha! Trying to get away using wheels, eh?” Pinkie proclaimed, striking a pose with a hoof pointed to the sky. Her hoof slowly and dramatically fell to point at Sombra’s location, while her brow furrowed in concentration.
“Well... that won’t save you, Sombra! Not with Pinkie Pie on the job! There will be justice, or my name isn’t Pinkamena Diane Pie!”
In a pink flash, Pinkie was gone, only an outline of her body made of dust where she once was, which slowly dissipated in the wind.
Applejack blinked, in a daze, and stared slack jawed at thin air. Looking down at the chase scene towards what was apparently her stolen property, Applejack picked up her hat with a grimace fast forming. “Great. Terrific. Now what am supposed to do without my apples and my cart?”
The only answer came in the form of Sombra’s screams carrying themselves upward in the wind, along with a tumbleweed blowing past quietly.
As for Sombra himself, he was currently seated on a runaway cart that had no brakes. Of course, he was screaming his mind out, barely wrestling control over the wooden vehicle by leaning it to and fro to dodge obstructions. He narrowly avoided running into an orange cart, only to dodge a watermelon cart coming the other way. With only a second to spare from colliding with an errant plum cart, he leaned the other way, the near-crash causing the other cart to tip over and spill its wares all along the road.
Sombra looked back briefly, the wind annoyingly whipping his mane in his eyes. “What is with all these fruit carts everywhere!?” he asked frantically to nopony but himself.
Up ahead was, of course, yet another cart. Sombra shoved his body to the left this time, and managed to avoid a head-on with the pear cart, only for the other cart to overcompensate and run into a pole as the driver dove off into a nearby trashcan.
“For Tartarus’ sake, why do these ponies need so much fruit?” Sombra rolled his eyes.
Up ahead was a break in the hill in the form of a largish town square, centered by an irritating, ugly statue of Princess Celestia. A wide basin fountain was built around it, gurgling with water. It looked like a good place with enough room to slow down and stop, then maybe find a place to seek refuge.
Sombra turned the cart, scowling. “Well, that was horrifying.” Circling around the fountain, the grotesque Celestia statue at its center spitting water, Sombra checked over his shoulder. “But at least it seems that pink menace is no longer breathing down my neck.” He smirked. “Ridding myself of that shrill fool was the best decision I ever made.”
Just as he was about to figuratively pat himself for a job well done, his eyes went wide, red pupils shrinking to pinpricks. Pinkie was trotting at an outlandish pace down the hill, moving yards at a time with every step she took. A dust trail followed in her wake, anything in her way running like their lives depended on it to make sure her path was free of obstructions, or said obstructions being thrown about like they were nothing.
“Strike that,” Sombra muttered, turning back around. Looking everywhere, all he had of use to him were apples. A crazy amount of apples, all fresh, right off the tree. Sure, many were smashed to mush by his hooves, but most looked serviceable.
Sombra steered the still moving cart back towards the hill. Then, picking up several apples, he began lobbing them in Pinkie’s path, hoping they’d at least buy him more time. “A better decision would’ve been a smarter escape plan!”
“You’re not gonna get away a second time, Sombra!” Pinkie shouted. She was hot on his trail, crushing all matters of fruit beneath her hooves as she ate up the distance between her and her off-the-rails target. “Broken promises and broken apologies shall not be tolerated!”
Sombra grimaced in response. “Tolerate this!” He threw an apple right smack in the middle of Pinkie’s face. A cruel grin of satisfaction split his face. “Hah!”
Without missing a beat, Pinkie’s tongue scooped the fruit up and she gulped down the apple in a single bite.
Holding up another apple he was about to launch, Sombra stared at it and then back at Pinkie, a cold sweat traveling down the back of his neck. “Oh… looks like you can tolerate that.”
Pinkie puckered her lips, and before Sombra knew it, apple seeds started hitting him in the face. Pinkie’s seed spitting had an accuracy Sombra couldn’t beat by mere dodging, so his only retaliation was throwing more and more apples, which only resulted in giving Pinkie more firepower.
As the battle between royal escapee and pink vengeance seeker continued across Ponyville, the borders of the little town grew nearer.
“Hey now, careful with that!” the stallion called out.
“Sorry, boss,” the much younger and barely out of colthood stallion replied. He grunted, struggling with the great weight on his backside. “It’s just that this is so heavy!”
“I know, I know,” the boss replied. He took another few steps forward, his partner following close behind. Between them on their backs was a large brick wall, already pre-assembled for them to transport. “Just be careful with it. We’ll be outta a job if this thing breaks.”
The two stallions neared the other end of the street, having made it clear across the road without much trouble. “Gently now. Gently. Don’t want it to break,” the boss warned. Finally, the two stallions got the brick wall on the ground without any further trouble.
The boss stallion wiped his forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. “Whew, got that done with.”
His much younger partner leaned on the wall and groaned, straightening out his back with a large crack in response. “Sheesh, that was way trouble than it was worth.”
“Ain’t over yet,” the boss stallion said. Already making his way across the street, he knocked his hoof against another wall. This one was rather tall and imposing, but made of steel. The second wall was also covered with menacing spikes situated evenly along its front. “We still got this bad boy to move over there, too.”
“Ugh, why do we got all the heavy liftin’?” the young stallion asked. He moved to the opposite end of his boss, both ponies hefting and huffing to move the second wall on their backs and across the street. “And why do they have to be walls?”
“I dunno,” the boss grunted, moving at an incredibly slow pace across the street. Each step was a colossal effort, and they had to stop one too many times in the middle of the street so they wouldn’t get too winded. “Some new weirdo art gallery or somethin’. I don’t get paid to ask questions, I get paid to move the stuff.”
The boss’ partner stopped in his tracks, his ears perking up. “Hey boss, you hear somethin’? Almost like… screaming.”
The boss shook her head and snorted. “I don’t get paid to hear, rookie, and you don’t either.”
If he could shrug, the younger stallion would’ve, but instead he just continued in his task of transporting the large wall with steel spikes lining the front to the other side of the street. Just looking at their painfully pointy ends made him wince at any poor sod that could accidentally run into it.
In no time flat, their task was complete, the steel wall resting and not a scratch of damage on either it or its brick wall brother.
As the younger stallion slumped to the ground in exhaustion, the boss poked him in the side with a hoof. “Hey, get up, we ain’t done yet. Just one more thing to move.”
“Aww dang, seriously?”
“Ah, just get up.” The boss moved to the other end of the street and tapped his hoof against the glass of large aquarium. “After this, we’re out on lunch. Get off your flank and help me if you want your hayburger or not.”
Groaning, the younger stallion got back to his hooves and moved to the other end of the aquarium. “I better get extra fries outta this,” he muttered, heaving the aquarium up on his back.
“With extra ketchup too, don’t worry,” the boss replied.
With their combined strength, the two managed to get the aquarium moving at a steady yet sluggish pace across the street. The end was in sight at the streetside, both stallions practically tasting their hayburgers already. However, instead of lunch being their destination, tragedy reared up, instead.
A runaway cart streaked in between them both without warning, smashing the aquarium right down the middle. A pink flash soon followed, water splashing and broken glass flying all around.
Both stallions stumbled back, each holding half of a shattered aquarium. They stared after the rapidly escaping cart with its pink blur following close behind, the utter randomness of the situation leaving the two without words. Then, a few seconds later, the boss stallion looked at the ground.
Sighing, he muttered, “Well, looks like no lunch break for us two. We gotta clean this mess up.”
Growling, the young stallion fell to his knees and shook his hoof at the heavens. “Noooooo! Not now! Not when the hayburgers were within sight! We were so close! So close!”
“Ah, quit your whinin’ and get a mop.” Scratching his chin and taking a glance at the steel and brick walls, the boss stallion muttered, “Why an art gallery needs a brick wall, a steel barricade with spikes, and a piranha aquarium, I’ll never know.”
“Ahhhhh! Ow! Ow! Ow! What in Tartarus’ name are these things?” Sombra ripped off a piranha that was snacking on his ear, narrowly avoiding its chomping jaws, before flicking it away. Wincing, he reached underneath his cape and dislodged another piranha that had its teeth set in his backside. “They’re like tiny hydras, but without the extra heads!”
He cried out, discovering another one attached his rump. Desperately trying to remove it, he didn’t notice Pinkie clammering onto the back of his cart. Finally successful and holding his prize to his face, Sombra’s smile dropped when he spotted Pinkie behind the wiggling, snapping fish in his hoof.
“Pinkie!” Sombra shouted, releasing the piranha just for it to snap down onto his nose.
“Sombra!” Pinkie shouted back in reply. The wind pulled at her poofy mane along with Sombra’s scream. “The time has come for you to pay! I want a real apology and for you to be really sorry about breaking a Pinkie Pie Promise! And for a whole lot of other stuff I’m not even gonna get into just yet! You are apologizing for everything, mister!”
With a pained grunt, Sombra removed the piranha from his sore nose, only to snicker. “You honestly believe I’ll ever apologize for something like that?” A sneer curled up his muzzle. “You’re an even bigger simpleton than I had thought!” With a salute, Sombra jumped off the cart, laughing villainously all the while.
That is, until he fell into another cart that was directly in his landing zone.
Sombra blinked several times, the sensation of the cart moving dawning on him at just the same moment when he realized what type of cart he had fallen into. Underneath him was a giant pile of fireworks, with even more stacked neatly at the open end of the cart for display.
“What in Tartarus’ name are all these fireworks doing in a cart?” Sombra asked himself, picking up a tiny bottle rocket. The smell of gunpowder surrounded him, fireworks being a common sight for the royalty in the Crystal Empire to enjoy. But this, these were much more highly developed than the crude fireworks he was familiar with.
The firework salespony tipped her hat to a small filly. “Thank you for your business. I hope you enjoy those ‘Firecracker Firecrackers’! Just remember, don’t blow your hooves off with them!”
Humming to herself, she turned back around to her cart, which she had just moments ago set down to sell her wares. However, both the cart and wares were gone, having disappeared in the span of what must have been a matter of seconds.
Tilting her head and blinking a few times, the mare asked herself, “Where in blazes did my cart go?”
Sombra shrugged, setting the firework down. “Well, at least I escaped—PINKIE!” Sombra rolled to the side to avoid Pinkie’s hoof snatching at him. Pinkie had taken control of the apple cart and was ramming it against the side of his firework cart, reaching out each time to grab at him.
Getting back up, Sombra growled. Taking hold of the sides of his cart, he leaned towards Pinkie’s cart and shoved her away. She nearly went toppling over, but threw herself against the cart’s side and towards Sombra to right her cart back up.
“When will your impotent mind learn that you can’t beat me!?” Sombra hurled his cart against Pinkie’s another time, one of Pinkie’s back wheels coming dangerously close to cracking under the constant strain of the chase. “I am a king, and you a mere peasant! You never had a chance in the first place!”
Pinkie gritted her teeth and shoved all her weight against her cart so that it struck Sombra’s with a collision that nearly sent both of them hurling into the streets. “It’s not about beating you, it’s about making you see your mistakes and correcting them!”
Sombra snorted. He pushed Pinkie’s chest so that she was shoved back into the pile of apples in her cart. “Mistakes? I don’t make any,” he said, grinning wickedly at her enraged face. “The only mistake I can see is you, Pinkie. And that’s all you’ll ever be!”
And with that, Sombra crashed his cart into hers one last time, breaking the back wheel so that Pinkie’s cart keeled over and out fell Pinkie and a river of apples. Both she and the cart disappeared out of sight.
Looking ahead, Sombra hoofpumped and cheered. “Finally, I’m rid of that cursed mare! I’m free, free as a…” Sombra turned around, a sudden bump from the back of his cart catching his attention. He couldn’t believe his eyes. “Chained dog!?”
“You’re… not getting… ngh, away!” Pinkie grunted. She was barely holding onto the end of Sombra’s cart, fireworks spilling out randomly. She was so close, Sombra could see the whites of her eyes, which were no longer white but a fiery red. Smoke and flames blew out of her ears. “I won’t let you!”
Sombra’s eyes widened at the flames pouring out of ears so close to the fireworks. “Uh, Pinkie, I think now would be a good time for you to calm down.”
Pinkie threw back her head and wailed in response, “Not until you apologize!”
Sombra scowled back, shouting, “Never!”
“Then I’ll never calm down either!” Pinkie’s steely glare locked with Sombra’s own, neither of them blinking or backing down an inch.
It was then that the first fireworks were caught aflame, and not a second later, everything exploded in a shower of lights and burned manes.
The cart was instantly kicked into turbo speed and bolted down the street at a speed that would leave even Rainbow Dash impressed.
Pinkie was dislodged from the cart’s end, with colorful flames and sparks from the various stacked fireworks quickly replacing her. Sombra held on desperately to the front of the cart, his eyelids and lips pulled back as the g-forces increased more and more.
“Ahhhhhhhh!” Sombra screamed in a most marish way. However, the fear gave way to glee when he quickly realized something. The borders to Ponyville were in sight, and left in the dust was that pain in the flank Pinkie Pie. Soon, sweet, sweet freedom would be his!
“So long, Ponyville! So long, you miserable sods for ponies!” Sombra laughed, waving farewell to the town he was quickly departing from due to the lightning fast speeds of the fireworks cart. “I’ll see you all in Tar—”
The sentence was cut off when he slammed right into an invisible force field, making contact square on Sombra’s face, his teeth loosening in his jaw from the impact.
The cart, however, passed right through the force field, leaving Sombra to slide down it slowly, where he formed a pile of pain on the ground while the cart continued on its fiery way. A few seconds later, it launched itself off the end of a hill, crashing to the earth a good ten seconds later, then promptly exploded in a rather large fireball.
Picking himself slowly up from the ground, Sombra spit out dirt and wiped his lips. “What the devil?” He poked a hoof in front of himself, still obstructed by that invisible, force field from before. Pushing harder against the field, he noticed a faint purple outline surrounding his hoof the harder he applied force against it. “Why can’t I go further?”
It then dawned on Sombra like a bag of bricks to the skull. “Twilight!” he cursed, stamping his hoof to the ground. “She must have placed a tracer spell on me that prevents me from leaving town!” He rubbed his chin and nodded his head knowingly. “A clever ploy, I’ll give the mare that. And a complex spell as well. Now, there must be a weakness somewhere. If I search long enough, there has to be a spot that can give way. I just need some time.”
Sombra looked over his shoulder, where Pinkie was back in hot pursuit like never before. She was like a stampeding bull, except pinker and much more terrifying.
“Oh yeah… her.” Sombra started banging his hooves against the magical force field and shouting at the top of his lungs: “Get me out, get me out, get me out! Don’t let this fiend get her hooves on me, I beg of you!”
But in the end, it was too late. The pink doom was upon him. And not even cries of mercy could save him this time.
“Soooooooooombra!” Pinkie leaped into the air, and like a bolt of lightning, struck fury with a side order of hot justice upon her prey.