Shadowy Love

by FinnPony

Chapter 2 (Revised)

Shadowy Love
By FinnPony
Chapter 2

The air was getting colder and the ground below them had a thin layer of snow covering it. The landscape was flat and the sky got darker as they travelled. Dark clouds were making their way towards the same destination where they were headed. They noticed that the clouds were moving faster than they should have. Actually they should have been moving in the opposite direction, because a strong wind was blowing against their faces. It was the first indicator of something being wrong in The Crystal Empire.

“How is it even possible for him to return!?” purple alicorn shouted, still in disbelief. Her sapphire mane was clinging to her face as the cold wind blew against her face. She struggled to keep up with her cyan coated friend and held her crown with her hooves. She was the newest princess of Equestria, Twilight Sparkle.
“You’re the egghead so you tell me!” Rainbow Dash shouted over the wind. She didn’t seem to struggle against the wind, but she had been flying ever since she was a filly, unlike Twilight. Normally she would have been exhausted after so much of physical struggling, but knowing that her fellow princesses and friends were in danger drove her forward. She was still in shock after receiving the letter that held the grim news of King Sombra’s return. Twilight looked behind herself and saw the chariot flown by two royal guards. It was carrying rest of her friends about two hundred meters behind her and Rainbow Dash. Seeing them made her calm down a bit. They had been through worse, and when all the elements were together, Sombra couldn’t stand a chance against them. Knowing that didn’t make her feel any less nervous about facing Sombra again. Last time he had almost won. The crystal heart had been just inches from him before Cadence had stopped him. She felt a shudder crawl on her back when she thought about what Sombra could have done to her and her friends if he would have succeeded… And now he was free again.

“Are you okay!?” Rainbow shouted again, making Twilight snap away from her thoughts.
She looked towards Rainbow and shouted, “What!?”
“I asked if you were okay!” Rainbow shouted and glided closer to Twilight. She had a concerned look on her face.
Twilight blinked slowly before what she had said sunk in.
Twilight just waved her hoof and said, “I’m fine! Just a bit worried!”
Rainbow nodded and looked behind her. The chariot was still following behind them. She then said with concern, “You should go and ride in the chariot.”
“What!? Why!?” Twilight protested.
Rainbow just shrugged and said, “You must not get tired or anything, or we might be in trouble!”
“Hah!” Twilight exclaimed. “We’ve been through worse! Besides, I’m fine, really.”
“Whatever you say!” Rainbow said, but still kept flying close to Twilight.
Actually Twilight was almost ready to drop from the sky due to fatigue, but she didn’t say it. It wasn’t time to whine or rest. Celestia and Luna could be in danger, and the faster she would get to The Crystal Empire, the faster she could make sure that they weren’t harmed in any way. Still Twilight started to feel the soreness in her wings and how her breathing was getting deeper. The cold air started to hurt her throat and she coughed couple of times. Rainbow Dash noticed it and looked at her with worried expression for a moment, before shouting, “Twilight!”
“What again!?” Twilight shouted a bit irritatedly.
Rainbow Dash frowned and said, “You really need to rest! I see that you are ready to fall to the ground!”
Twilight inhaled deeply, and felt the cold air hurting her throat again. She glanced towards Rainbow Dash, and then towards the direction where the dark clouds were travelling. They still had a long way to go. She didn’t like it, but Rainbow Dash was right.
“You’re right Rainbow…” Twilight started, but her voice was drowned by a loud boom from the distance.

The mares stared in front of them, and soon saw a flash in the horizon. The sound of explosion came a moment after. It was clear that Sombra had reached Crystal Empire before they had. Twilight and Rainbow Dash stared towards the dark horizon for a moment longer, before Twilight let out and angry snort and speeded forward. Rainbow Dash was awestruck by the speed Twilight flew. She stopped for a moment, her jaw hanging open. Soon the chariot reached her and she saw her friends looking questionable at her.
“Where did Twilight go!?” she heard Applejack shout from the chariot.
Rainbow shook her head to clear it before silently flying over to the guards who flew the chariot. The guards gave her a confused looks when she positioned herself between them, grabbing the harness with her teeth.
“Ghirls! Hang ohn!” she shouted.
With that she accelerated into full speed. The guards had trouble keeping up with her pace and they looked at each other with scared looks in their eyes. All the mares in the chariot screamed in horror, or maybe Pinkie Pie was screaming out of excitement when the chariot speeded across the stormy sky, leaving a rainbow colored streak behind it.

* * *

Sombra growled at the two Alicorns flying around his shadow form that was almost a hundred feet tall. The only part of his body that could be seen was his head, which also was a lot bigger than normal. He was towering over the city that once had belonged to him. Sombra ignored the two alicorns and tried to get through the forcefield around The Crystal Empire. He rushed against it, but did no damage to it and bounced backwards. He roared and shot a beam of dark magic towards the shield, only to see the bolt of his magic being hit by a beam of blue magic, exploding the shot before it reached the shield. The explosion blinded him for a moment, and when he could see again, he saw Luna flying past his face. Sombra roared and lunged towards her. Before he reached her, he felt pain exploding on the right side of his face. Meanwhile Luna disappeared into the dark clouds above him. He turned to his right and saw Celestia levitating near his face in all her glory.
“Sombra stop this madness right this second!” she demanded and shot another beam of golden light towards him. Sombra managed to dodge the shot, which landed into the snow behind him, exploding into a big ball of fire. Sombra lunged towards Celestia, but she was too quick for his massive form. She was rather agile for her age, he had to give her that. Sombra’s thoughts came to a stop when Luna’s magic hit him on the other side of his face. This time he felt the strike actually doing damage to him. He let out a long, ear hurting roar and retreated from the force shield surrounding the city. The left side of his face was smoking and he saw both of the sisters circling each other in front of him. Sombra growled. He knew that he wouldn’t stand against those two for much longer. Sombra looked towards the city, and then at the two sisters. He came to the conclusion that those two must be destroyed before attacking the city. He chuckled darkly. That way they wouldn’t be harassing him after the city was his. Why hadn’t he thought of this earlier?

His green eyes started to glow even brighter and his long tongue licked his fangs before his next attack. The sisters quickly parted away, gliding to the both sides of his head. Sombra had predicted this after observing their battle tactics for the last half an hour. He interrupted his lunge by turning towards Luna in quick motion. He could hear Celestia shouting something with scared voice. Probably calling for Luna’s name. Sombra saw Luna’s eyes go wide and how she tried to slow down enough to dodge Sombra’s attack, but Sombra knew that whatever she would do, it would not help her. Sombra let out a satisfied laugh before opening his mouth wide open, revealing the rows of white, razor sharp fangs. Luna let out a terrified scream… Oh how he liked the sound of it. It was just a matter of meters before that brat would meet her maker.

He never reached her with his fangs. Instead Sombra’s whole world shook in pain and bright light. He had to retreat in agony, not able to hold his shadowy form any longer. He felt his body coming to a physical form and his hooves touched the cold snow. His body felt numb for a moment, his battle armor feeling heavy. His cape was burned and he threw it away before he looked up towards the skies. The thing he saw was something he would have never believed to see, and immediately his blood started to boil. Up in the sky flew a purple alicorn he recognized as Twilight Sparkle. The one who had passed all his traps to find the crystal heart. He kept staring at her, and saw that she was now speaking with the two sisters. He remembered that last time they had met she had been just plain unicorn. Somehow she had been changed into a alicorn. It, if nothing else,this made his rage grow.
“It seems that every plebeian can become a princess nowadays…” he muttered angrily, before turning into his shadow form again.

This time all the princesses started to fall back, which surprised Sombra greatly. He watched them fly towards the ground, and soon his gaze met a chariot full of ponies landing to the snow. His eyes started to glow brighter as he recognized every one of them. They were the exact same ponies he had seen in the The Crystal Empire, ruining his plans more than seven years ago. He started to growl, but then chuckled. The day was becoming even more pleasant. He would firstly kill the two annoying sisters and their new companion, and then he would take care of these commoners, before finally taking what was rightfully his. He let out a laugh that resembled more like a roar. Then he started to move towards his prey. None of them seemed to fall back or even wince as he approached, not even the yellow pegasus in pink mane. They had clearly accepted their fate. Sombra was grinning, looking pleased. It would grant him more time to spent finishing them. He thought how much he would enjoy that as he flowed closer to them. It was at that point he noticed that Twilight Sparkle had a wide smirk on her face. Sombra sensed something not being right. They seemed too calm, and he remembered how fiercely those two sisters had fought before. When he noticed that the six mares in front of him started to glow, it was already too late.

“Now!” Twilight Sparkle shouted and felt how the energy from her friends flowed into her, building up inside her. The energy from them felt warm and pure. All the good memories they had shared flowed into Twilight’s mind. She saw Sombra’s expression go from victorious into a surprised in mere seconds. Twilight formed a smile on her lips as she felt how the energy stopped flowing, now ready to be released. Her eyes started to glow with white light from the powerful magic she was working with and her mane started to flow upwards, defying gravity. She turned her horn towards the former tyrant and released the magical energy in one big burst. The light from the shot made it impossible for Sombra to see anything. He roared and tried to get out of the way, but it didn’t help. The shot hit him straight in the his shadowy body. Sombra felt the magic working inside of him, making him feel strange. It went on for a while, but then it stopped, the light slowly fading away. Sombra waited with his eyes closed for a while, but nothing happened. He carefully opened his eyes and looked at his body. Everything seemed to be fine. He turned towards the ponies on the ground in front of him with deadpan look. Was that all they had?
“You’re mine…” he started in his low voice, but felt something inside of himself stirring. It was first just a little tingling feeling, but soon it started to grow into a strong force that made him feel like being pulled down. Then he started to glow a bright golden light that peered from his eyes and cracks that formed onto his skin. When the realisation hit him, he screamed. It was happening again, and now he wouldn’t have a second chance. Still, he did not feel any regrets, only hate and rage. Twilight and others saw a giant ball of pure light exploding in the middle of Sombra. It blinded them and also made them deaf with the loud boom it made. Twilight and her friends covered their eyes and waited for the ruckus to be over.

When Twilight opened her eyes she saw that her friends were all cowering behind the chariot with the guards. Fluttershy was holding the other guard in her tight grasp, but when she noticed it, she let go of him with apology. Twilight turned around and saw that Sombra was nowhere to be seen. Only wind howling around them was heard, and the black clouds started to part away slowly. She looked at Celestia and Luna, who were panting and sitting on their haunches. They gave a proud look to Twilight, before Celestia patted Luna on the back with a smile. The Crystal Empire was safe again. All of Twilight's friends and the guards started to cheer. They jumped on the snow and hugged each other. Rainbow Dash snatched Applejack into her hooves and took off, spinning her around couple of meters from the ground. Fluttershy and Rarity hugged and Pinkie Pie was arming her party cannon while jumping on her place. The guards just cheered and clapped their hooves together. Seeing all this made Twilight smile, but then she felt the soreness and fatigue in her body returning. She sat down onto her haunches, the cold snow making her wince. She then took a deep breath and laid to her stomach.
“Twilight, are you alright?” Celestia asked as she walked next to her.
Twilight nodded and answered with tired smile, “Yes. I’m just a bit worn out that’s all.”
Celestia smiled warmly at her and sat next to her. She placed a hoof onto Twilight back and said, “You did well today…”
She was cut off by Fluttershy shrieking. They turned to look at the yellow mare and saw her pointing towards the direction where Sombra had been. They quickly spun their heads to the way she was pointing, and saw a figure of a stallion trying to get onto his hooves. They both gasped and stared at the figure for a long second, before they heard Luna shouting, “Guards!”
The guards quickly pulled their swords from their scabbards and started to gallop towards the stallion with the swords in their mouths.

Sombra was struggling to keep his balance. His battle armor was badly damaged around the chest and it smoked. It was too heavy for him to carry, and he collapsed back to the ground. Sombra gasped for air and felt how all the energy from his body started to fade away, burning pain around his chest making it hard to breathe. His vision was blurry, but he could see three figures galloping towards him. As they got closer he recognized the golden armor of the guards, and the mane filled with stars. He wanted to curse them, but he didn’t have the strength to do so. The guards soon got to him, but stayed couple of steps away from him. Luna soon caught up with them and stood next to them. She looked at him with clear disgust in her eyes. He returned the glare as best as he could. Luna then stepped closer and nodded to the guards. Other one stuck his sword back to its scabbard and walked behind Sombra, pulling his head up from his mane. It hurt but Sombra stayed quiet. He knew what they were about to do, but damnit! If he was to go down, he was going to do it with dignity. The other guard looked at Luna, who hesitated for a moment before nodding slowly. Sombra’s look was calm, he had been there once, and knew what was coming so he wasn’t afraid. He stared right into the eyes of the guard in front of him. He didn’t look back. Instead he slowly twisted his neck and held the sword high. Sombra kept staring at him. Then the sword swung down.

Sombra watched as in slow motion when the sword was wrapped in purple magic and broke into millions of pieces, leaving only the handle into the surprised Guard’s mouth. The guard blinked stupidly and then looked at the other guard. The other one was quick to react and let go of Sombra’s mane, letting him flop back to the snow. Sombra heard the blade slipping out of its scabbard, but then he heard a voice shout, “Stop!”
Everypony turned towards the voice and saw Twilight Sparkle galloping towards them with Celestia near behind her. The guard did as asked.
“Stop!” Twilight repeated and skidded to a stop in front of them. She panted and looked at them with shocked look on her face. She turned towards Luna and asked with quiet voice, “Are you going to kill him?”
Everypony was quiet.
“But he’s defeated!” Twilight said and pointed at the weak stallion in the snow.
The older princesses glanced at each other before returning to look at Twilight. Luna sighed and said, “We see it as a mandatory action at this point.”
The surprise that spread on Twilight’s face made Luna look away. Twilight looked at Celestia for help, but she too looked away. Twilight let out a small gasp and looked at Sombra, who breathed deeply and returned the look.

Sombra was getting more and more interested about this new princess. He saw a naive filly in her that believed in good and evil… Very cute. Suddenly he was struck by an idea. He looked towards Twilight and now he saw a naive filly… that he could use. Oh yes! That’s it. He would have the whole Equestria in his hooves, not only The Crystal Empire, that started to look like a filthy backwater compared to whole Equestria. He kept looking at the purple mare in front of him, his vision of him sitting on Celestia’s place strong in his mind. The idea was appealing, but now he had to figure out a way to use that filly in his advance. And it had to happen fast. He felt his powers getting weaker. He felt vulnerable… vulnerable… Yes! He needed to be vulnerable to gain this new princess’s protection. He thought for a moment. He already had plan, but it would be a risky move. It could also ruin everything. He kept balancing between opinions, but soon realised that it would be death for him if he would not make his move now. So what would he lose? Nopony noticed it, but his eyes started to glow in faint green color.

“Can’t you just capture and imprison him?” Twilight asked.
Luna cleared her throat and said, “We can’t risk him escaping again.”
“So killing him is better option?” Twilight asked, drooping her ears sadly.
Celestia sighed and started, “Twilight…”
“No, I understand your point… But can’t we just prevent him from using his magic? Then he couldn’t escape from even an ordinary prison,” Twilight tried.
Celestia took a step forward and said, “Twilight, even the most powerful magic preventing artifacts can’t stop a pony as powerful as him. And he’s evil, Twilight.”
“So was Nightmare Moon...” Twilight protested quietly, making Luna grimace.
Celestia frowned and she said, “That’s a different thing Twilight! Sombra has never been good, not even before he became what he is now, unlike Luna when she became Nightmare Moon.”
“I don’t like this any more than you do Twilight, but it’s have to be done,” Celestia said abit more calmly and looked at the stallion in the snow. Twilight stared at her for a moment before nodding faintly.
“It just doesn’t feel right...” Twilight said sadly and turned to look away. She didn’t need to see this. In a nation that hasn’t been in a war since the first time Sombra had rose to power, execution was a word nopony wanted to use. Nopony had been executed in Equestria for more than five hundred years. It was something that made Twilight Sparkle proud of her nation. She knew that Sombra was a evil thing, and that it had to be done, but it didn’t make it any easier for her. The deed that was going to happen behind her was fighting against all her nature. She noticed her friends looking back at her from the chariot. Would they have been with her in this thing, or against her?

There was a long silence between everypony. Only the cold wind howled around them. Luna was staring at Sombra with that venomy look, but Celestia was looking at Twilight with concerned and sad look on her face. Luna gave a questioning look towards her sister, who nodded slightly. Luna turned to give a one last look towards the ex-tyrant. Sombra noticed her expression softening for a moment, before she ordered the guards to proceed.

Just then Sombra started growling. Everypony took a step back and Twilight yelped. She quickly jumped up and spun around, taking a fighting stance, but what she saw caught her by surprise. The grey coated stallion was growling in pain. Then the growl turned into a scream as the blue magic from his eyes started to slip away from him, dissolving into the ground, leaving dark spots where it touched the snow. Everypony around him watched in shock and didn’t know what to do as the stallion spasmed on the snow. The battle armor around his body started to fade away in a cloud of smoke. When it was completely vanished, Sombra’s eyes shot open, staring right at Twilight. She saw how the sclera of his eyes started to turn white. After it was done, he and Twilight stared at each other for a short moment, before Sombra’s head flopped back to the snow, his mind drifting into restless unconsciousness.

Everypony stood on their places, waiting for the motionless stallion to do something. It took a moment before they realised that the stallion was truly unconscious. The guard chuckled nervously and moved closer, readying his sword to swing down upon him. The guard didn’t notice it, but as he stepped closer to Sombra, his other rear leg touched the dark spot in the snow where the blue magic from Sombra’s eyes had dissolved. The spot immediately started to climb up his leg, making him yelp. Princesses were alarmed by this, and they noticed the dark shadows quickly crawling up the guards back, soon reaching his eyes. The guard screamed as the shadows forced into his eyes that started to turn green.
“Bastion!” The other guard screamed as fangs started to form in his friend’s mouth. He tried to reach towards him, only to be lashed at by shadows that formed from from his eyes. He yelped and backed away from his now growling friend.
“What is happening!?” Twilight asked from no one in special. She was starting to panic, not knowing what to do. Luckily, princess Celestia knew.
“Enough!” she commanded with her wings flared out, her horn starting to glow brightly. Bastion, or what ever was in him started to hiss like a snake and backed away from the light. Celestia walked towards him, hopping over Sombra’s unconscious body. Bastion roared and Twilight noticed how much he sounded like Sombra. She, Luna and the other guard watched as Celestia pointed her horn towards Bastion. She seemed to know what she was doing, because the shadows started to retreat from the poor guard. As the last shadow had exited from his eyes, Bastion dropped to the snow, leaving a big cloud of shadows floating in the air. They saw familiar green eyes staring back at Celestia, who grunted and send another wave of bright light towards the shadow. The shadows seemed to be hurt by that, and after giving a last angry glare towards the princesses, it started to flee towards the tundra of Frozen North in unbelievable speed.

Celestia watched the shadow go, and it seemed for a second that she was about to go after it. She didn’t do it though. Instead she inhaled deeply and turned towards the downed guard.
“Take your friend to the chariot quickly,” she said to the other guard, who nodded and trotted next to his companion. Celestia lifted the limp guard with her magic to his friend’s back and he started to gallop towards the chariot. Twilight saw her friends helping to lift Bastion to the chariot.
“What about him?” Luna asked, pointing at Sombra. Celestia turned to look at the stallion, before looking towards the way the shadow had fled. If that shadow had been what she thought it was, maybe...
“What was that?” Twilight asked, her wings still stiff from nervousness. She saw Luna and Celestia stepping closer to the limp Sombra, craning their necks towards him. It seemed almost like they were sniffing the air around him.
Twilight started to get confused when Celestia spoke, “What can you feel sister?”
Luna leaned backwards with confused frown on her face. She looked at Celestia and said quietly, “I feel… Nothing…”
They stared at each other for a long moment, before looking towards the way the shadow had fled. They then glanced at Sombra, both clearly in their thoughts. Twilight stepped forward and gave confused looks to both of the older princesses. She then looked at Sombra, who was peacefully lying in the cold snow. He hardly breathed.
“Twilight Sparkle,” Celestia started, earning her attention. Celestia seemed a bit hesitating before she spoke, “Do you really think he is worth saving?”
That made Twilight gulp. Celestia had given her the chance to decide if one should live or not. She started to breath faster, her heart beating like crazy. This was too much handle, why didn’t they just decide it, or finish what they had started. Twilight had just managed to accept the fact that Sombra had to be ended, in order to protect the nation, but now they asked for her opinion.
“I-I don’t…” Twilight muttered, clearly a bit nervous. “I thought that it was necessary to… You said that...”
“But what do you say?” Celestia asked slowly. Twilight drooped her ears. She opened and closed her mouth couple of times.
“I-I…” she started, stammering too badly to continue. She had to clear her throat before continuing, “I think so…”
“You think he is worth saving?” Luna asked with raised eyebrow. Twilight looked at Sombra. He didn’t look so horrible pony now... Now... Now he looked vulnerable… Helpless... Something in seeing him made Twilight almost sad. As she looked at the helpless stallion, her thoughts became cleaner. She wouldn’t kill a helpless pony, not if it was for her to decide.
Twilight inhaled deeply, her ears rising up. She had confident look in her eyes when she said, “Yes.”