Sombra trotted down the stairs to the living room. He couldn’t wait to see the look on Twilight Sparkle’s face and how the guards would awkwardly make room for him. He smiled mischievously when he stepped to the doorway that led to the kitchen. He saw Twilight Sparkle and Spike sitting around the kitchen table, drinking tea and eating cereal. To his surprise, Twilight didn’t seem troubled by his presence, and neither did Spike. He frowned, and was about to enter the kitchen when two guards stepped from both sides of the doorway, standing in his way. Sombra glared at them annoyedly. It seemed that the small lesson he had given them last night had not sunk into their thick skulls. For a moment he thought about mentioning the small rumble they had had last night to Twilight, but decided that he didn’t need help from a mare on such matters. The guards looked nervous, but did not move. Sombra let out a small ‘hmph’ and tried to push through them, without succeeding. The guards stood on their places like statues. Sombra grunted and turned to look at Twilight, who was giving him a deadpan look.
“Order your goons to get out of my way!” Sombra hissed.
Twilight shook her head and said, “I will not do that.”
“What!?” Sombra growled, now angry. He was hungry and wanted to eat. Twilight was clearly paying back at him for the things he had said last night.
“I am not going to take this from you!” Sombra protested and tried to push past the guards again, still not succeeding.
Twilight laughed teasingly and said, “Don’t be like that. This is your first lesson.”
“First lesson?” Sombra asked confusedly. Twilight nodded.
“The subject of our first lesson is…” Twilight started, then holding a small pause and giving Sombra a wry smirk before continuing “... Apologizing.”
Sombra started to fizzle from rage. He saw what Twilight was trying. He would never apologize to her. The orange-coated guard in front of him had the most pleased look on his face. He must have been enjoying himself that moment.
“So you will keep me in hunger until I tell that I am -” Sombra let out a chuckle “- sorry?”
“That’s pretty much what I planned on doing, yes,” Twilight answered while levitating a spoonful of cereal into her mouth, munching it with teasing look on her face.
Sombra snorted loudly before saying, “Are you going to starve me to death woman!? This is torture! You can’t treat your prisoner like this!”
Suddenly Twilight rose to lean against the table with her front hooves. She had angry look on her face that made Sombra wince.
“You don’t tell me how to treat my prisoners, slave king,” she shouted, making Spike feel rather nervous. He didn’t want to be on Twilight’s bad side.
“Besides,” Twilight continued, sitting down to her chair again. “You are lucky enough to be my student, not my prisoner.”
Student. That made Sombra grind his teeth angrily. He glared daggers at the mare for a second, before turning around and slowly starting to walk away. He knew that getting food from the town was out of the question. All the exits, including windows were magically sealed shut, preventing him from exiting the castle. He decided that he could outdo that annoying princess. Sombra was sure that she wouldn’t continue her game for long.
“Just couple of magic words and you can eat all the food you want!” Twilight calmly called after him.
Sombra was quiet and laid down to the comfortable armchair in the living room. Those stained glass paintings staring down at him. It felt like they were laughing at him. Sombra made a mental note to shatter those windows someday.
He then glanced towards the kitchen and muttered quietly, “I’d rather die than apologize to her…”
* * *
Sombra was dying. Or that’s how it felt at least. His stomach was burning from the lack of food. Somehow it felt worse than when he had been hungry in the dark cell in the dungeons of Canterlot. Maybe it was because he now knew how it felt to have a full stomach. Ugh… Only thinking about having his stomach full made Sombra’s stomach twist in pain. He was still laying in the armchair, it didn’t hurt as much if he stayed still. It was already a well past mid day. Sombra knew that the dragon was going to start preparing dinner soon. It only made his stomach growl and hurt even more. Sombra tore his thoughts away from the food, and started to think about that purple mane responsible for his miserable state. Twilight Sparkle was tough opponent. She hadn’t given up yet, and Sombra started to fear that he would soon need to bend to her will and… apologize from her. As if on cue the mare in question walked past his sulking form. The guards in the doorway made way to her with a small bow, and Twilight disappeared into the kitchen. She didn’t pay any attention to him.
“Spike!” Sombra heard Twilight shouting from the kitchen.
“What?” the dragon asked from top of the stairs. Twilight didn’t answer so he started to walk lazily down the stairs, keeping his eyes on Sombra, in case he would suddenly lunge at him or something. He didn’t, and Spike quickly slipped to the kitchen.
“What?” Sombra could hear Spike asking again.
“Oh I was just thinking that we should eat something really fancy today,” Twilight almost shouted. Sombra growled quietly.
He heard Spike asking, “Geez Twilight, why do you yell like that? I’m right here.”
Sombra knew why she was yelling like that. She wanted to fuel his hunger. Next she would probably start describing the meal they would have.
“I was thinking that maybe we could eat roasted artichoke chipotle aioli for starters, then for the main course we could have fresh herbed risotto with sun-dried tomatoes…” Twilight announce with loud voice, making Sombra squirm on his place. He felt how the drool started to form in his mouth again, cursing his newfound needs. They were weaknesses in his opinion. Everything had been so much easier when he had his powers. He never felt fatigue, no hunger, no need to use a toilet, no nothing! He groaned and buried his face into his front hooves.
“And for the dessert,” Twilight continued shouting in the kitchen. “A big carrot cake from Sugarcube Corner.”
Sombra’s stomach screamed and begged him to give up. Sombra grinned. He heard Spike saying that he doesn’t know how to make fancy meals like that. Twilight answered that he wouldn’t need to, and that she would go and order it from a nearby restaurant. Sombra soon saw her trotting out of the kitchen, making her way towards the stairs that lead to the lower levels of the castle. She gracefully walked past him, Sombra following her with his red eyes. He probably would have stayed quiet, but for a short moment Twilight looked back at him.
“I apologize…” he muttered into his hooves, making Twilight froze in the middle of a step. She stayed like that for a moment, before slowly turning around, blinking her eyes.
She stepped closer, asking, “What?”
Sombra grunted, clearly annoyed. It was embarrassing enough to bend in her will, and now she was rubbing it to his face.
“I apologize,” Sombra repeated, growing even more frustrated of her. Twilight started to smile. First it was a stupid, wide smile, that slowly turned into a teasing grin.
“I still didn’t hear you,” she snickered, making Sombra fold his ears backwards. Twilight snickered a bit more and leaned against the armchair while speaking, “I must be hearing things! I thought I heard you saying that you were sorry.”
“I am sorry! Okay!?” Sombra suddenly snapped at Twilight, startling her. She backed up a bit and the guards started to move towards Sombra, but Twilight motioned them to stay put.
“Sorry.” Twilight chuckled with a sheepish smile. “I got a bit carried away there.”
Sombra didn’t say anything. He instead looked towards the kitchen for a while, before asking, “Are you happy? Can I eat now?”
“I am. Go ahead,” Twilight said and with that Sombra rose up from the armchair and walked towards the the kitchen, stopping in front of the guards. They slowly stepped away from his way. Sombra gave a victorious look at the orange-coated pegasus, before stepping inside the kitchen. Twilight soon followed him, and when she stepped into the kitchen, he saw Sombra making one of the biggest sandwiches she had ever seen. He noticed Twilight staring at him and his meal with her mouth open and eyes wide.
“Weren’t you supposed to go and order our dinner from the restaurant nearby, Twilight Sparkle?” he asked and took a big bite out of his sandwich.
“You know, you managed pretty well,” Twilight said after the surprise had cleared from her. All she got was a deadpan look from him.
Sombra took another big bite from the sandwich, before asking, “What do you mean?”
“Well… You gave up that stubbornness of yours,” Twilight said. “You managed to even apologize from me, which I didn’t think would happen… At least not so quickly. You were sulking only for seven hours. I was betting for ten.”
“Yeah! You owe me twenty bits!” Spike called from the upper floors, making Twilight chuckle nervously.
“Uhh… Anyway, You did well,” she said, not getting an answer from the eating stallion. Twilight then turned towards the doorway to leave so she would get to the restaurant before the biggest rush hour.
“You did well,” she replied.
She suddenly heard Sombra saying behind her, “Thank you, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight froze. There was a deep silence between everypony. Twilight spun around and gave Sombra a confused look. Sombra didn’t return it. He just stared at the sandwich in front of him with surprised look in his eyes. He then kept eating the sandwich in silence. Twilight blinked and then slowly turned around, heading towards the stairs. When she was out of his vision, Twilight started to smile stupidly again. She started to see the stallion behind Sombra’s bad reputation. A stubborn, mischievous, grumpy, almost childlike stallion. She snickered a bit as she started to walk down the stairs. With a bit of harsh schooling she could get some results from him. Twilight quickly trotted through the throne room to the front doors. She opened the doors with her magic, thinking that she just had to find the thing that would make him push forward.
* * *
What had gotten into him!? Sombra couldn’t sleep. The small slip up earlier that day was still haunting him. How did he let himself slip like that? It didn’t make any sense. He was enjoying his meal in silence, and then he said… that. Sombra angrily paced around his room. He kicked the nightstand every time he passed it, and it already had a small dent in it. He was furious. Not to her, not to the guards, not even at the damn dragon, but to himself. He was starting to slip. After the embarrassing apology and the even more embarrassing thank-you between him and Twilight Sparkle, he had even half nodded to Spike when he had passed the salt to Sombra. It was unforgivable! A king thanking a peasant like him. He snorted angrily and flopped to his bed, trying to settle into a comfortable position that he could not find. He kept trying for a moment, before he decided that it was a lost cause. He jumped out of the bed and started to pace again, his black tail swishing behind him. He stopped in front of the only window in his room, looking out into the night. Luna had outdone herself with the night sky again. Sombra couldn’t help but to admire it. All the stars looked like tiny crystals. The sight truly was nice.
No! What was happening again!? Sombra quickly looked away and continued to pace. He growled quietly, thinking what was wrong with him. He hadn’t admired useless things like the night sky in a long time, but now he had begun to form a strange liking towards things like that. He had started to like soft things and spicy food, a hot shower, the feeling of a clean mane and the way how Twilight Sparkle’s castle was built. He shook his head angrily. He hadn’t felt those things in so long time that he had thought they didn’t even exist anymore. When he had his powers, he felt strong… but numb at the same time. Only feeling he could feel was anger, but now… Well he was angry right now, but now he was also a bit fearful of what was happening to him. He felt helpless. He knew that it was part of his plan, but it still caused a lot of stress to him.
He once again kicked the nightstand. This time it let out a loud crunching sound, and a big crack appeared into it. Sombra didn’t care, and he turned towards the door. He knew that the guards were behind it. They always were. He hated that orange-coated one. He decided that when he would get his powers back, he would make him suffer. Just like everypony else. Those five annoying mares, the dragon, Shining Armor, Cadence, Celestia, Luna, Twil… Sombra felt the strange burning sensation in his chest again. He stopped and sat down, holding his chest with his both front hooves. What the devil was it? He thought that it would pass soon, like last time. Where were he? Oh right, Twilight Sparkle. Sombra’s train of thought came to a stop again. What would he do to her? The burning in his chest was still present. He rubbed his chest. Would he kill her? Sure, why not? What was stopping him? Sombra grimaced as the pain in his chest grew a bit, but he could manage. His thoughts centered around Twilight Sparkle now. Maybe… Just maybe, he wouldn’t need to kill her? If his plans would go well, and he would rise to the throne of Equestria, he would need a queen by his side… A queen? Sombra growled and shook his head. Where did that come from? His body was acting up. That’s what it had to be. All those strange feelings and… dreams of a queen… Hah! He doesn’t need anypony to his side! He is meant to be alone! To rule alone! That’s what he learned a long time ago, and that is what he will do! He will not be distracted by some former librarian hussy that plays to be a princess!
Sombra held his chest tightly and looked towards the door. Something made him almost sad at the moment. Was it the miserable shape in which he currently was, or was it the old unhappy memories that currently flooded his mind… or was it her? He didn’t know. What he knew was that he wasn’t right. Something in him was not like it should be. He was being emotional. Something that a good ruler should not be. Emotions were weaknesses. He heard faint talking from behind the door. The guards were talking to each other, but he didn’t care. He had his own concerns at the moment. He sighed and slowly walked to his bed. He flopped down to it and started to once again squirm in his place, looking for that comfortable position that he couldn’t seem to find.