From Darkness To Light

by Pixel_Spark


At last his ecstatic friends released him, all grinning ear to ear. Pinkie Pie was clearly planning a party, Sombra could see it in her big blue eyes, so he snuck her a sly nod which made her skip in glee!

"Your highness?" a tinkling, melodic voice interrupted them at last. Sombra looked over, seeing the Beacon Heart and Crystal Heart ponies standing nearby, the sunlight making their solid crystal bodies shimmer.

"It makes us happy to see you alive and well." the Crystal Heart smiled as Sombra walked over.

"Master.." Beacon Heart smiled, "it is wonderful to have you back with us."

Something suddenly jabbed Sombra's brain, now the adrenaline had faded. Wasn't there something the heart usually did-?

"The light! I mean.." He shook his head to clear it, then looked at the Crystal Heart pony "your light, like before..."

Both ponies shared looks and smiled warmly.

"Of course, now the threat is gone, we can spread our combined light throughout the Empire!" Crystal smiled at Beacon.

Sombra sighed in relief, and turned to Cadance. This had been HER task last time. But she was already looking at the two heart ponies and nodding her head, before looking at Sombra;

"It's YOUR turn Sombra." She smiled.

"M-me?" Sombra stammered "I don't know how!"

"It's easy.." Cadance smiled as she stood beside him, "You just have to ask the ponies here to share the love in their hearts with you."

Sombra blinked nervously, looking from her to the massive crowds. They beamed at him, jostling to wave a hoof or catch his eye.

Beacon and Crystal stepped forward, embracing the new Alicorn in unison, whispering final words of advice in his ears.

"Just tell them how you feel."

"You will be alright."

Then they stepped back, bowing their heads together. With a flash the two hearts were floating in front of him now. Sombra stared nervously at them, then at the crowds. Cadance stepped back, knowing he'd be fine. This was the first of many times he'd address them, afterall...

"I know it is a lot to ask.." Sombra felt the uncertain words stick in his throat and coughed, feeling a bit off kilter as the changes to his body sunk in "but there is one piece left to our celebration."

The crowds listened eagerly, all feeling so proud of their precious shadow Prince.

"The Beacon Heart is as much a fragment of my own heart as it was a way to preserve my fathers legacy. I think I know its function now. The Crystal Heart keeps the light of your love radiating out across the Empire, and Beacon Heart will help protect the home you love." He looked over their heads to the shield.

Reaching into his memory, he recovered the instinct used to control the crystal wings spell in battle and used this to persuade his new feathered wings to fly him up above the crowd. His balance was a bit wonky and a few times he wobbled mid-hover, resorting to urgently flapping his wings to remain aloft. It was almost endearing, like a baby pegasus trying to fly! But this was soon forgotten as Sombra continued;

"Your strength comes from your love, that much I am certain of. What powers one can power the other. They are entwined together, I can feel it. Let the strength of your commitment and the depth of your love fill a sky that's clear for the first time in so long!"

The crowd went crazy, jumping and cheering. One by one they bowed, every last pegasus touching down to reverently bow their heads. the ground lit up with swirls of not just blue, but purple. The power gathered into a swirling mass of magic, like miniature tornado, then both hearts aligned one above the other and the light shot through them both. Sombra sensed they were full and closed his eyes. Millions of sensations and memories rushed through him and the other Alicorn's seen that same multi hued light swirl around his horn.

Then the hearts flashed, the resulting pillar of light blazing up into the blue sky, sending multicoloured streams of magic across it. A familiar wave ran over the crowd, turning all ponies coats into that stunning crystal shade. Rarity squealed in delight as her mane was done up in the most adorable style!

The light did more then that to Sombra, however. Those looking up at him seen him glow so brightly it obscured his form for a moment. Then it faded, sparks of light drifting down as he awkwardly touched back down to ground. He wore a new set of armor now. This one had a neck-piece similar to his first armor, but this time engraved with patterns reminiscent of wings and feathers. It was made of gold metal, same for his shoes. The cloak was a deep red, and lined with pure white fur flecked with golden spots. In a way it was an amalgamation of past and present. Old and new. His mane was held back by stylized golden ribbons, which were entwined in his tail too. This plus the crystal patterning on his coat made them all stare in amazement.

The hearts turned to beams of light and flew back towards the palace, to take up residence where they belonged. Orbiting one another where once the lone Crystal Heart had stood.

Sombra blinked, spotting he had a new set of armor and cloak now.

"Ooh, just stunning!" Rarity gushed "those hearts have good taste!"

"Looking pretty awesome!" Rainbow nodded.

"Ooh...shiny!" Pinkie Pie peered at her reflection in Sombra's neck-plate, pulling goofy faces until Sombra booped her nose to her make go cross-eyed and cease.

"See?" Cadance smiled "you did pretty well for a first timer!"

Sombra chuckled.

"Sounded awkward as heck to my ears," he laughed.

"Eh, if it's any consolation, I got so nervous I accidentally hiccup-burped in an address to the citizens!" Shining Armor grinned. Sombra snorted in amusement and Cadance rolled her eyes at the memory.

"Worst part is, some of them applauded!" She shook her head. Sombra laughed, just imagining the scene...

"Oh my stars! Sweetie Belle!" Rarity blurted, everypony's gaze locking onto her "i hope she’s alright?!"

"Lets get back to the palace then," Sombra said soothingly "i'm sure they’re fine miss rarity, I left them with Blueblood."

"Under threat of an ass kicking I believe?" Celestia said in amusement. Sombra coughed.

"My apologies Celestia, but it seems he needs something of a....persuasion to do anything he's told."

"That he does. He can be a good pony, when he's not getting too full of himself." Celestia said kindly.

Sombra raised an eyebrow but smiled, she had a point. As they walked, Celestia talked a bit more about the Blueblood SHE knew...

The crowd stepped aside, still admiring Sombra's restored form. Despite the minor cosmetic differences, they still recognised the pony who'd been working his tail off to protect them. Who'd gone from being a bully and a tyrant to their trusted protector and crown Prince. Who'd been prepared to die to keep them alive.

Many ponies bowed reverently, tears in their eyes, when he slowed to thank them. The thought he'd been prepared to surrender everything for all of them, say goodbye to the ones he loved made him all the more valuable to them.

Sombra seen many familiar faces. Some of the kids from Bright Spark's class, the pony from the antique store... So many he'd spoken to and met during his foray across the shopping district to deliver Cadance's letters!

"Seriously bud, you look so many degrees of kick ass," Shining Armor trotted up beside Sombra, nodding at the wings "the Alicorn look really suits you! 'Bout time we had a guy with wings and a horn!"

Behind them, Celestia and Luna shared a brief look. Yes, it had been a LONG time since a male Alicorn had ever been seen. So, so long.

Sombra flushed slightly, nodding his head. Soft curls of jet black mane fell over his ears as he did. It was roughly the same length as it'd been that night at the ball when Rarity had used a spell to slow the constant movement of it.

--Must...snuggle...-- Shining Sea's brain whined when she spotted said ears. But now was hardly the time for that, tempting as it was!

"I wasn’t expecting this. To be alive is gift enough, but to be an Alicorn? I’m grateful Celestia considered me deserving of it." Sombra said to Shining Armor "honestly, I wasn’t expecting to survive for long once I unravelled the spell keeping my physical form in check!"

"You should know we wouldn’t let you go that easily!" Shining Armor shook his head "Don’t forget, we still have an O&O game to play!"

This light-hearted reminder of something he now had freedom to pursue made Sombra smile contentedly and nod.

"But you certainly scared the buck out of us when we realised what’d happened..." Shining Armor raised his eyebrows. "Seriously dude, don't do that again if you can help it, I feel like i lost a few years from the thought alone!"

Cadance nodded "I sensed the Heart was whole again and it gave me such dread. We all raced over as fast as we could once Luna disappeared!"

Spark was playing with Sombra's mane as the adults talked, trying to loosely plait it, but she had no way of tying it so it unravelled again, falling back into its curl. She giggled merrily at this.

"I'm sorry if I scared everypony," Sombra said softly "a selfish part of me didn’t want to have to leave you all in the lurch, but it was the only way I could generate enough power to weaken it so the girl's power could finish it off."

"We're just happy to have you back with us again," Cadance beamed happily "don’t forget, we need you with us to run this empire!"

"Of course, i still have so much i want to do." Sombra recalled his conversation with Shining Armor about travelling outside the Empire.

"Exactly!" Twilight Sparkle moved in closer so they could hear her "we INSIST you come by Ponyville some day!"

"I'd like nothing better!" Sombra smiled. "Pee for Ponyville, no?"

"Exactly!" Rainbow Dash sniggered "and with those wings, you can come see Cloudsdale too! Pretty cool~!"

"And tha farm, Granny Smith and Big Mac will ASSPLODE when they finally meet ya!" Applejack added.

"I hope you’ll come see my boutique!" A beaming Rarity piped up!

"A-and my critters would So like to meet you, i-if you'd like. Angel bunny will just love you-!." Fluttershy stammered, a smile on her doe-eyed face.

"You can stay at the castle!" Twilight Sparkle grinned "its got LOADS of room!"

"And Sugarcube Corner, I can introduce you to the cakes!" Pinkie Pie beamed.

"I wasn’t aware I needed to greet my food before I ate it?" Sombra was confused. Pinkie Pie let out a loud snort of laughter as she bounced along.

"No, silly! Mr and Mrs Cake!"

"Your marrying them now?!" Sombra had got the gist, but he couldn’t resist teasing her. She giggled even more as she jumped up mid-bounce to poke his cheek.

"Cupcake and Carrot Cake!" she hooted "they run the bakery, I work with them! They have THE cutest set of babies, Pumpkin Cake and Pound Cake!"

--Babies...-- Sea picked up on this word and shook her head hurriedly. Now she was just getting ahead of herself. She'd only just told him she loved him!

"They sound wonderful." Sombra nodded "I cant wait to see your home..."

As they walked, ponies were filling every available bit of space to see their crown Prince. Some were even being held aloft by pegasi friends, a couple using magic to float themselves. They clapped their hooves and stamped them, cheering and calling out to the group.

One pony flew up, carrying a hoof stitched flag bearing the Empire's emblem. She draped this around Sombra's neck, smiling proudly with teary eyes. Sombra thanked her with a genuinely happy smile and she flew back to her friends.

Sombra looked from one side to the other, feeling almost breathless with happiness as he seen the delighted crowds all cheering and smiling at him. Some waved flags bearing the empires symbol, others were flying by overhead, showering the royal entourage with confetti! Others bowed deeply as he approached, as words didn’t do justice. He soon realised trying to thank them all would be impossible, and his brain gave up that level of competency in lieu of simply taking it all in whilst reconciling the fact he was ALIVE.

"You’re a hewo Sombwa!" Bright Spark crowed in his ear. Sombra peered back at her and smiled.

"I’m the luckiest pony alive right now, that’s what i am.." he said honestly. Spark booped his nose, and he faced forward once more.

Bright Spark resembled a small cupcake, as her mane was speckled with a LOT of pieces of confetti. How shed attracted so much of it was beyond Shining Sea's guess.

Sombra draped a wing over Seas back, and the warmth and weight of it was just wonderful.

She looked up at his face as they walked, drinking in every detail of her precious shadow Prince. The familiar colouring on his now-regular horn, to the soft curl of his mane, to those kind red eyes...

He caught her staring and smiled softly, angling his head to gently place a kiss on her forehead. The gesture made her blush and the watching crowds went wild!

"Dibs on the bridesmaids job~" Rarity whispered to the others.

"You think so, eh?" Applejack raised an eyebrow.

"Of course darling!" Rarity nodded "they’re simply the most adorable couple, and not to mention that reunion! It was just THE. Sweetest. Thing." she sighed moonily, romance was one of her favourite genres in books and plays!

Rainbow Dash tried to say “bleh”, but instead hiccuped and burped.

“Says it all!” she joked.

“One word, Rainbow.” Rarity said with a steely gaze at the pegasus “frills!”

“AHHHH….” Rainbow's mock-scream of horror was lost in the noise of the crowds.


By the time they'd gotten to the palace, Bright Spark had woven herself into Sombra's new mane. Sort of. She'd wrapped herself in it so just her eyes and the top of her head could be seen.

"That’s just so cute.." Cadance giggled, watching the little filly. Catching the little pony's eye, the Princess gave her a wink, which made Bright Spark beam!

"No question, unofficial or not, Sombra's got a kid now." Shining Armor smiled "hay, who knows, we may have a wedding to rival OURS coming up!" he nudged Cadance with a raised eyebrow.

Cadance couldn’t help a hopeful grin. She could see the bond between Sombra and Sea was one of the brightest she'd ever seen. To see them marry would be a wonderful occasion. Sombra's strong yet gentle heart was besotted with Sea, both for her kindness and her refusal to see him as the monster he'd once felt himself to be.


As they reached the palace, they seen a crowd of ponies waiting outside. A platoon of the guard, and three little fillies.

"Applebloom!" Applejack bellowed soon as she seen her, pelting over and scooping her sister up in a hug. The armor was a bit awkward, so she shucked it and resumed hugging her sister. Soon they were mock wrestling and giggling in sheer delight!

Rarity did the same before reuniting with Sweetie Belle. And Scootaloo didn’t even give Dash time, she just hugged her anyway!

"You OK little buddy?" The rainbow maned pegasus asked.

Scootaloo nodded, her little wings buzzing her up to Rainbow Dash's level. "I'm fine! Blueblood made sure we kept away from the windows and we all helped keep the staff calm and organised in case those things broke in! Things went boom outside, and all those things just turned into dust!"

"Atta girl!" Rainbow said proudly, ruffling her mane.

"Rarity! I’m so happy you’re OK!" Sweetie Belle cried as she hugged her sister "it looked super crazy out there! The few pony’s that got here said they’d been possessed! Is that true??"

"Yes Sweetie, those poor ponies were under the shadows control! We tried to free them all, but the spell was too widely cast! In the end, we went to help support Sombra."

"Goody! Where is he? Was he kicking things up the rear?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"He's right there!" Rarity indicated Sombra proudly.

Sweetie Belle stared "hay, you made him new armor on a battlefield?" she asked "you’re GOOD, Rarity!"

"Look closer, Sweetie Belle." Rarity grinned as she seen the realisation dawn on her sisters face.

"Whuhhh....." Sweetie Belle screeched. Her eyes were wide as could be.

Applebloom, having finished pelting Applejack with questions, looked over at Sweetie now.

"Wha's going on?" she asked "why are ya makin' that face, Sweetie Belle-?"

Sweetie Belle pointed mutely towards Sombra. Her two friends jaws hit the ground seconds later as they caught up with Sweetie's realisation.

"Bad. ASS." Scootaloo whispered.


While those three had been reuniting with their siblings, the guard stationed at the Palace had come forward to greet the royals.

Sombra had reluctantly had to let go of Sea as they approached the castle. His wings folded back to his sides, hiding them from front view. With the other ponies surrounding him, nopony in the guard had spotted them yet. The CO was at the front of this group, thus he stopped nearest Sombra. The rest of the Prince's friends scooted back, this was Sombra's moment.

"Your majesty, we seen that light! Were you the one that saved us?" the CO and guards were drawn to Sombra's new armor and cloak. Seeing the new style, they figured somepony had made it prior to the battle and given it to him afterwards. How else had he changed so fast? They didn't notice the small details that were different about their crown prince just yet.

Sombra felt suddenly self conscious at the question. The whole walk here he'd been all but buried under an avalanche of gratitude and applause. It felt surreal. He was just so relieved to have finally seen the end of this war, PLUS surviving a near fatal wound, that it hadn’t sunk in just what he'd done!

"I uh.." he began, feeling himself flush and suddenly he couldn’t make WORDS. Rainbow Dash however, was having none of it.

"Yeah he did!" she bellowed, making Rarity jump.

"Saved all our rears!" Pinkie Pie stood sideways and pointed in the general direction of her backside, as if they needed assistance understanding it. Rarity face-hoofed.

"So uncouth!" she shook her head. Twilight giggled, unable to help herself.

"Yeaah! He is the saver of the rears, like she's sayin'!" Applejack confirmed to the guard.

The CO glanced from their expression to the very flushed Sombra.

"W-well- not on my own..!" Sombra objected, turning to look back at his friends. This gave the group of soldiers a clear side-on view of his neatly folded wings. Eyes widened and jaws dropped in military precise unison. There was the sound of a flashbulb going off, as Pinkie Pie took a photo. Sombra shook his head, dots dancing in front of his eyes momentarily. This drew attention to the difference in his horn too.

"Guards pulling funny faces behind Sombra" was a good photo for her collection, Pinkie decided!

"S-sir...."? the CO stared in amazement.

"What?" Sombra heard the awe and shock in their voices and quickly faced them again, "is something-?" he trailed off, realising all eyes weren't on his face, but his WINGS.

"Oh!" it wasn’t just a physical awkwardness he was having, he was still accepting he was an Alicorn now.

Figuring they'd want to see them, since they were staring so hard Sombra was surprised the new flight appendages didn’t catch fire, he unfurled them with a fwoosh of air. On the inside of the wings, the crowd noticed the feathers had a soft gradient towards black on their undersides.

"Sweet Celestia on a pogo stick!" the CO breathed. Seeing as she was right nearby, Sombra turned his head to send a glance at the sun Princess.

Celestia shrugged and chuckled "It's a long story!..."

"We will tell it later!" Luna promised.

"Whoaa...." Sombra turned back as he heard a familiar tiny pegasi's voice. Scootaloo was buzzing on a level with his wings, eyes wide as dinner plates.

"So cool!" Sweetie Belle waved up at him.

"Ah declare they’re ENOURMOUS!" Appplebloom blurted with a grin.

"Hii!" They all looked up at Bright Spark, who was waving eagerly down at them. Sombra angled the right wing down to the ground so Spark could slalom down it to be caught by her three friends.

The CO and his men were stunned. Seeing Sombra as an Alicorn was beyond anything they’d ever dreamed. None of them could deny, no pony deserved it more for what he'd done.

"Your highness," the CO recovered his voice to address Sombra as the Alicorn turned his attention away from the children. "we owe you, and everypony with you, our very lives. It is an honor to be allowed to serve under one such as yourself. Congratulations, sire!" He snapped off a quick salute, then they all bowed in unison, noses almost brushing the ground.

Sombra felt himself flush again under this mounting praise. He'd never expected or encountered anything like this before. His brain was still playing catch up and he almost felt like they were addressing some other pony. Another him that'd performed such feats and wasn’t surprised by it!

Seeing Sombra fidgeting under such admiration, the CMC had an idea. They exchanged looks and nodded unanimously.

"Everypony do the flop!" Scootaloo declared, which was followed by her and the other three all face-planting at the same time. Sombra seen them out of the corner of his eye and the sheer tidal wave of unprocessed emotion bottled inside him began to bubble up, seeking an easier outlet that the kids had just provided.

Spark's muffled giggles could be clearly heard, and this set everypony else off!

Even the best trained guards couldn’t hold back and several broke their serious expressions to let out amused sniggers.

Sombra started to laugh, unable to hold it in and any attempt to salvage dignity was thrown out the window! Hearing Sombra laughing, the CMC shared grins. Job done!

Celestia heard Luna snicker, and that set her off in turn. Cadance was biting her lip, her slender frame shaking with suppressed giggling. Shining Armor gave up, and burst into full-volume guffaws. Before long, everypony was giggling and laughing, Pinkie Pie was practically crying tears of laughter. She pulled a hanky from her mane and dabbed her eyes.

Soon everypony was laughing, and the CMC stood up and bowed jokingly.

"Oh good grief, ah got cramp..." Applejack clutched her sides, wiping her eyes in amusement.

"I gotta pee!" Rainbow Dash groaned.

"For Ponyville?" Somrba queried as she shook her head to calm down.

"No, just Rainbow Dash!" she giggled.

"Good a cause as any." Sombra laughed, which made her crack up afresh!

"Alright everypony," Celestia calmed the giggly group "lets get inside, shall we?"


They trooped inside, where the staff and any citizens that'd been evac'd to the palace got a first look at Sombra. More cheering, bowing, and a quartet of face-planting followed.

Everypony was so delighted to see their beloved crown Prince safe and sound. Awith wings to boot! It seemed like everypony wanted to congratulate Sombra, and he almost suggested they didn’t need to keep bowing so much, it would make them dizzy! But they were so pleased, he realised this was their way of showing it, and happily expressed his gratitude to them!

As the last of the crowd backed up to let the royals and co through, they heard a deep rumble.

"Ah.." Everypony turned to look at Sombra, who had gone slightly red "my apologies. I'm starving."

"After everything you ate this morning, darling?" Rarity said in bafflement "where in Celestia's name do you put it all?"

"I have no idea." Sombra shook his head "at a guess it would seem that i metabolize at the speed of a furnace!"

"Lets get some lunch, or whatever meal it is!" Shining Armor grinned at his friend.

"You two are NOT staging another eating contest!" Twilight Sparkle said mock sternly as she spotted their grins.

"Aw." Shining Armor pouted.

"Drat" Sombra huffed.

"I at LEAST have to get my title of "loudest belch in the Crystal Empire" back from him!" Shining complained to his sister, as he indicated Sombra, who looked rather smug.

"Do it on your own time, BBBFF!" Twilight Sparkle shook her head and laughed at her incorrigible big brother.

"We are so ON." Shining Armor sniggered to Sombra under his breath.

"Bring it." was the new Alicorn's reply.


Sombra noticed he hadn’t seen Blueblood and as the cooks started setting dishes on the table, he told Celestia he was going to search for the missing Prince.

So he set off to find the egotistical blonde maned stallion.

More ponies stopped him to congratulate him on his ascension to Alicorn-hood. He gratefully accepted it, thanking them and asking if they'd seen Blueblood. Bit by bit he narrowed his search down, and at last heard the ponies familiar snobby voice...


Blueblood been relieved when the sky heard cleared, and the creatures had all been evaporated by that blast. But what'd created it? It felt like magic on a scale he'd NEVER felt. Then his auntie had suddenly run off, long with the others. He'd stayed behind, unwilling to leave the kids alone, despite the fact he disliked being a babysitter. He knew Sombra would kick his ass if he...

Wait, was that magic Sombra's?

He'd let the kids go to the entrance hall to await their sisters return, while he'd hung back. But eventually he'd heard the loud happy cheering and had scuttled up to the railing, peering curiously over. So many were vying to get a look at what was going on they didn't notice him.

He looked down, spotting the gaggle of Royals, recognising distinctive black mane and colourful horn. Wait, something was different-

Just as he'd come to the realisation this was not the same stallion that’d yelled at him to look after those kids- Sombra took a step apart from everypony else, and unfurled a set of impressive Alicorn wings. Blueblood's jaw dropped. He glanced at his auntie, who looked proud beyond description.

The ponies all cheered and bowed, and the trio, -or was it a quartet?- of kids did some face-plant routine that had everypony giggling.

Sombra was an ALICORN now?! Blueblood's stomach plummeted.

"Isn’t that amazing?!" He heard one palace servant squee to the one next to her "his highness saved us, i knew it!"

"I’m so jealous of his marefriend, he’s gorgeous!" the other giggled.

"Wow," One guard close by Blueblood shook his head in astonishment "A male Alicorn. I’ve never seen anything like it!"

"A DARK MAGIC Alicorn!" His friend reminded him "Sombra's an entirely different type of magic, remember?"

"Maybe dark magic can finally be understood?" a voice further behind Blueblood commented "after all, his highness has accomplished so much, Princess Celestia just has to open up a new study on it!"

At last the crowds dispersed, and Sombra and the others headed for the dining hall. Blueblood legged it, suddenly not so eager to see his auntie. She had somepony new to fuss over now. It was obvious she was proud of Sombra and had granted him wings, bringing him to the status of Equestria's first Alicorn Prince!

He was a mix of upset and angry. Upset that auntie Celestia had replaced him with this, in his jealous mind, superior specimen. And angry at Sombra for making everypony care for him so effortlessly. Back in Canterlot, Blueblood often seen the staff scowl when he demanded the fetch him something, seen the tired looks as he stalked past them.

Sombra had been a monster, a TYRANT for auntie's sake! How had he managed


Part of him knew what the problem was. Sombra had yelled at him a few time snow, pointing out he tended to look down on ponies, a mistake he'd made himself in his past. That was why Rarity had spurned his advances before, because Blueblood treated her like she was inferior.

"-seen Blueblood?" his blood ran cold, hearing the familiar voice of the dark magic pony up ahead. He snuck forward quietly, hoping he was imagining things.

"Ah!" Sombra spotted Blueblood peering round the corner, and trotted towards him "found you-!"

"Geep!" Blueblood squeaked and in a rash moment of panic, he ran off.

"Hay!" Sombra blurted, baffled. What was the pony playing at?

"Come back!" He called as he ran after Blueblood.

"I don’t wanna!" Blueblood wailed.

He ran into a crowd of servants tidying up the palace, barging through them without as much as an "excuse me" or "by your leave". Sombra, still not accustomed to his new form, realised he'd probably knock somepony out with his new wings, and resorted to using his magic to teleport between the gaggle of ponies. He was glad his magic had restored thanks to the ascension process, or he'd have lost the petrified pony right there and then!

"I. Just. Want. to TALK. to. you!" he punctuated each teleport with an annoyed word. The staff exchanged bewildered looks as the chase soon receded into the distance, the voices warring with one another.

"I'm busy!" Blueblood paniced as he rounded a corner into a much emptier corridor.

"Doing what?! Sombra cried, wings fluffing up as they tried to balance their new owner "-how in Equestria do you control these things?!-" he grumbled to himself before he resumed talking to Blueblood.

"All you’re doing is running like Applejack said her dog did after Applebloom fed it fizzy drinks!"

"I’m busy doing just that!" Blueblood spotted a door ahead and threw it open, darting inside. He locked it behind him, uttering a triumphant "hah!" Before realising-

"You know that’s a storage closet, right?" Sombra came to a halt outside the door.

"Shut up!" Blueblood panicked. Now what?!

"If you’re that upset i yelled at you earlier- then- then you need to calm down!" Sombra spluttered, failing to think of a good reason why Blueblood was being so irrational! He began unravelling the spell Blueblood had locked the door with, marvelling at how different his magic felt now it’d been boosted by an Alicorn's gifts!

Blueblood heard the sound of the door unlocking, Sombra had undone his spell with apparent ease, so much for holding him off! Of course this was Alicorn magic he was dealing with. Sombra had already been classed as a high level magic user BEFORE the change, so what was he now?! On auntie Celestia's level?

He waited until Sombra had opened the door, then recklessly charged the stallion. He knocked into him, pushing Sombra off balance. The pony yelped, stumbling to the side unsteadily, flapping his wings in an effort to stay on his hooves. By the time he regained his balance, Blueblood was gone.

"You little-" Sombra was getting frustrated now. What was this guys issue?!


Blueblood teleported himself outside once he'd put some distance between himself and the other prince. Finally he'd lost him, right?

"Hay mister, why are you hiding in this bush?"

He jumped, spotting the four kids, three of whom he'd spent the morning looking after. All looked puzzled. Then the littlest poked his nose and declared "boop!"

He gave a groan and collapsed to the grass.


"This is nonsense!" Sombra yelled, as he came to a halt in another deserted hallway, frustrated he couldn’t locate Blueblood!

"Is everything OK sire?" A crystal guard heard the outcry and trotted round the corner, regarding the frustrated prince with bewilderment. Why was he standing in an empty corridor yelling?

"No I’m NOT having a mental breakdown before you ask." Sombra said sternly, going slightly red. The guard grinned apologetically.

"I've been trying to have a word with prince Blueblood, but that pompous idiot keeps running away from me! I realise i may have taken a few pot-shots at him verbally speaking, but his reaction is overkill! Do i look even more unnerving as i am now, is that it?" He studied his reflection in a nearby polished vase. He did look a LITTLE different, if you didn’t include the wings...

"Not at all sire," the guard said honestly, regarding the prince "you look much the same as you did before, just a few subtle changes. Including a massive wingspan. But honestly, nothing's that different as to warrant such a reaction!"

"That's reassuring." Sombra laughed, relaxing a little.

"But as to Prince Blueblood's behaviour around you, I’m afraid i cannot offer any enlightenment. Maybe he's feeling a little threatened? He's the alpha male type. And no offence, but you’re bigger, stronger and possess magic he cant argue with. He might see you as a threat on that count?"

"Threatened? How so? I'm in no way attempting to take over his life, or his aunts affec-ah." Sombra came to a sudden realisation "Oh."

"What is it sire?" The guard seen the dawn of realisation on Sombra's face.

Sombra let out a loud sigh "Blueblood is Celestia's nephew. He's very fond of his aunt, i know that. She's probably one of the few he'll be genuinely honest around from what she's told me. I think he's felt upset that since coming here, Celestia has spent a great deal of time with ME and he probably feels neglected. Her affections are probably his most jealously guarded and it must seem to him, by affording me these-" he lifted the wings "that I’ve replaced him."

The guard winced "ah, I can see how he might get jealous if that’s the case! He does strike me as being very petulant. I admit I do not know him well, but the few occasions I've assisted him has afforded me a small summary of his character."

"He's a spoilt brat at the best of times! He's smarter then he acts, that's the frustrating thing!" Sombra blurted "I can see it, he's not as dumb or selfish as he makes himself out to be! But he seems unable to show off anything besides his pretentious attitude."

He coughed "reminds me of myself when i was younger, when I was under Cloudspark's guidance. I was positively frigid to any pony besides my adoptive father for the longest time. Even when I woke up here, I still pushed the girls away every time they tried to help me."

"You were a little grumpy.." the guard hesitated. Sombra laughed.

"Oh spare me the niceties. I was like a bugbear with a sore head!"

"...just how much poop do I land in if I agree with you, sire?" the guard asked.

"A LOT!" Sombra declared in a booming, fierce voice. Then ruined the illusion by snickering. The guard chuckled, glad to see his highness had cheered up.

"What do you intend to do, sire?" he asked the prince the important question.

Sombra pondered, then had a flash back to Shining Armor offering a hoof to him after the riot act reading from Pinkie Pie.

"What the girls and Shining Armor taught me; I'm going to LECTURE him!" He paused "then offer to be his friend. It worked on me, so-"

"Good luck sire!" The guard saluted. Sombra returned the gesture and grinned, before trotting away down the hall muttering "now to find that idiot."


"So, let me get this straight, you’re avoiding Sombra?" Scootaloo looked at Blueblood like she thought he was an epic moron "seriously?"

"Y'all cant seriously be scared a him?" Applebloom shook her ehad.

"He’s a big softie really!” Sweetie Belle giggled, and Bright Spark nodded.

"Sombwa's weally nice, he wont yell at you. Weww, unless your a bad pony...."

"I am not!" Blueblood pouted "So what if he's a hero, he's got powerful magic and he's good looking?"

"The clue is in "hero"." Sweetie pointed out. Blueblood snorted arrogantly.

"Good looking, eh?" Scootaloo waggled her eyebrows and giggled.

"Not like that!" How could one small child be such a wise ass? It was mind boggling.

"Eveyrpony just loves him so much, don’t they?" He snapped back.

"Uh, yeah! He's like Rainbow Dash levels of awesome!" Scootaloo defended.

“Wait, are you jealous?" Sweetie said incredulously, eyebrow raised.

"What’s to be jealous of?!" Blueblood grumbled "he's only a crown prince, everypony's saviour, and an ALICORN! Who'd bw jealous of a pony with that much prestige!"

"Boy, he's transparent..." Scootaloo whispered to Spark, who nodded.

"Like ah window." Applebloom deadpanned.

"With the pane removed." a familiar voice piped in, sounding sympathetic. All five looked up, Blueblood craning his neck to do so. And seen it was Sombra. Poking his head into the hollow shrub he grinned at Spark, who waved happily.


A passing guard seen Sombra talking to a shrub, and stared in total bemusement. He decided to just...leave things be...and sidled away.


Back INSIDE the shrub;

"It was easy to find you, following the complaining bush was a simple task." Sombra remarked, attention back on Blueblood "now I’ve finally got you-"

"See you, sucker!" Blueblood pulled off a flash teleport, the blast of bright magic light from the spell making them all step back, and he ran off.

"Argh, that idiot!" Sombra yelled as he shook his head to clear his vision "that’s it, I'm going to catch him even if I have to tie him to a tree to make him listen!"

He raced off in the general direction of the teleports magic trail. Picking up the trace he geared his magic up again and teleported after it!

The Crusaders all shrugged and followed after Sombra, but his rapid teleportation soon left them behind.

"Dang, he's fast!" Sweetie wiped at her forehead.

They sat in a panting heap for a moment, before resuming their search, and eventually picked up on the sound of arguing voices...


Blueblood ran full pelt, heading for the rear door of the palace-

With a flash, Sombra suddenly appeared in front of him, wings raised and spread out. Blueblood couldn’t teleport in time and screeched to a halt, bumping into the bigger pony and rebounding onto his backside. Before he could move again, he found himself held in place by Sombra's shimmery purple magic. It even felt stronger than before.

"Finally! Now will you PLEASE listen to me!" Sombra said sternly enough that Blueblood fell silent.

"Why are you chasing me?" Blueblood whined after a seconds pause.

"Why did you start running?" Sombra asked "I merely wanted to check you were alright after the attack. You did an admirable job of keeping those kids safe, they seem to like you! That was all I wished to say. What did you think I was after you for?"

"I...I thought you were going to kick my ass, since you were so mean earlier! And aunty would have been no help at all-" Blueblood began to rant, but Sombra cut him off.

"-Beg your pardon?! Your aunt was looking for you too, I said I'd bring you to her!"

Blueblood opened his mouth, then shut it. Then opened it again, but nothing came out. Then his anger seemed to abruptly sputter out and his ears drooped "I seen you when you walked in, seen the crowd...." he mumbled.

"Yes, a lot of ponies.” Sombra agreed "now the sky is clear they are happier then I’ve ever seen! We all are. I'm grateful they were so concerned for my well-being, there were so many there to greet us all!"

"Why wouldn’t they be happy?" Blueblood mumbled to the grass "you’re a hero, they adore you!"

"I was once a tyrant, forget not." Sombra said calmly "it took time for them to trust in me once more, it's been a long but rewarding road for both sides. To see them express this for me, it means more than I can say. Why did you not come downstairs once the crowds left?"

"How could I show my face, with that to compete with?!" Blueblood gestured as best he could within the confines of Sombra's magic, indicating the Alicorn "They only had eyes for YOU! Everypony did! Even aunty was smiling..."

His voice reached a peak, and he fought not to just break down. He knew he was behaving like a child, but seeing the way Celestia had regarded Sombra like a proud guardian had made his heart plummet. He hadn’t done anything noteworthy to impress his aunt lately and this pony had captured not only aunties heart, but an entire Empires. They doted on Sombra, smiled at him, happily asked he become their leading Prince once more!

"Is that why you were running away?" Sombra asked. Looking at him, Blueblood seen he looked puzzled.

"Don’t pull that one with me!" He snapped "you cant pull that "I didn’t expect this" modesty, they’ve loved you for so long, even I can tell!"

Sombra looked hurt for a moment, then he sighed, seeing Blueblood's irrational angle "Yes, it's true they DO. But, I didn’t realise it for the longest time. I was afraid to accept that amount of kindness. I didn’t think I could bear it if I were to lose it, so I tried to keep it from getting into my life. The Princesses showed me letter after letter the ponies out there wrote, asking them to tell me how they felt since they couldn’t talk to me. They beseeched me to leave the palace, come to them. But I was afraid of opening up to them so I often ran when they tried to thank me, figuring I didn’t deserve it. I was so caught up in avoiding my own feelings, I never stopped to consider THIERS."

Blueblood heard something in his voice, and peered up behind his fringe. Sombra was staring off to one side. He looked upset, as if the memories of how he'd acted troubled him.

"But, when things were at their worst, it was those letters along with a certain set of ponies that convinced me being alone was no way to be. After that, I was running to catch up to the love I’d denied existed. I still AM, that’s why even after today, their cheers and smiles still stun me a little inside.." he smiled softly. "I have a lot left to learn."

He released Blueblood from his magic’s hold, and leaned down so he could see Blueblood expression a little better. Although the other pony still stared stubbornly at the ground.

"Did you know Twilight and the others, inclining Shining Armor and Cadance, all gathered together and pretty much read me an ultimatum? They said no way in Equestria were they letting me stay so sequestered in darkness. Miss Cotton Candy, the pink one, she yelled at me for a long time, telling me some facts i was refusing to acknowledge.

And most surprising of all was Shining Armor. Even after i fought him last time and tried to destroy the Empire, he STILL offered to be my friend. I didn’t know what to make of it at first, but he gradually introduced me to the idea of having somepony to confide in, that could see the side of me i was to blind to. He taught me about this game he and his friends from Canterlot play, "Oubliettes and Ogres". He even invited me to play a game with some of his club members from the Empire."

He smiled at this memory "I didn’t know how I was supposed to act, afraid they’d take one look at who was joining them and flee. But they didn’t. They WERE a little startled, but when Shining Armor told them he was my friend, and he was curious to see if his lessons had paid off, they were happy to give me a chance. As it was, i learnt a lot from studying their banter, their interactions and their game. When I succeeded in saving one of them from the in game "monsters", I learnt another occasion where hoof-bumps are a form of celebration."

"Weren’t you- wasn’t it awkward?" Blueblood asked, still sounding petulant. He hated Sombra for managing to make him curious about his story.

"At first, yes." Sombra flushed slightly "honestly I spent more time hiding in pretence behind the O&O manual at first, only occasionally poking my head above it to make a move or query something. Once that first moment had broken the barriers somewhat, I set the book down and went the rest of the game without picking it back up. After I inadvertently made an innuendo out of something in the game, they laughed their rear ends off. By the time the game was over, they were asking Shining Armor was I going to join them for more games?"

"And will you?" Blueblood asked tersely. Sombra smiled happily, and nodded.

"Now that that war is over, I hope I can travel to Canterlot to meet this other group of friends Shining Armor spoke of. He said he'd written them letters about my joining the club, and they seem curious to meet me. I'll finally get to see the world beyond the Empire!"

"You’ve really never left?" Blueblood sounded bemused. Sombra shook his head.

"I was born in a tiny village in the ass end of nowhere and fled on hoof, ending up at the Empire, where I met my foster father. I've never left since then. I would love to see the rest of this land, see the girls home town of Ponyville."

"And Canterlot?" Blueblood couldn’t help speak up for his home.

"Of course, Canterlot. From what Celestia and Luna have told me, its stunning. Once the coronation is over, I intend to travel!"

"You're lucky, you’ve got so much to look forward to.." Blueblood sank back into the doldrums once again, jealousy rearing up at how much potential Sombra had.

"What’s to say YOU don’t?" Sombra was back to being baffled "Why is it you’re so upset at my being here? Is it your aunt?"

Blueblood's bad mood welled up again, and his vision blurred.

"Of course it is!" he cried out at last "she wont need me any more, she has you!"

"She isn’t adopting me or anything, you buffoon!" Sombra sighed in exasperation "she, along with all the others, has been my TEACHER. Without their help, I wouldn’t have realised how important friendship can be, how nopony is truly alone."

"Friends? Pfft. All ponies want is to hang out with me because I have money and influence, they don’t care what I think!"

"Maybe they’re not the right friends, or even friends at all. Don’t you have one pony you can trust to be honest with you?"

NO!" Blueblood snapped "they’re all the same, only up for parties or gallivanting about the clubs in Canterlot!"

He thought about what Sombra had just said about Shining Armor, about thier bond.

"I tried friendship before, it's total baloney!"

"I thought that way once," Sombra remarked "after my biological fathers abuse and every pony I met treating me like a freak because of my magic. I told myself nopony was worth trusting. Never to let them get close to me. After all, who would be friends with a monster? But you know, I was at the stage where I didn't care if I killed myself with all the fighting when they sat me down to talk to me. It was weird at first, having so many ponies willing to give me a chance, it scared me. But, I wouldn’t trade it for all the magic in Equestria."

He looked at the jealous unicorn, Blueblood was looking at him with a mix of comprehension and upset "Don’t you have anypony you can talk to like that?"

Blueblood gave a snort "No! All ponies care about is getting seen with the right society! If you’re not hosting a party or some event, they turn their backs!"

"Well, would you like a chance?" Blueblood picked up on a note of kindness in the older ponies voice, and looked up. Sombra's expression wasn’t patronizing, or sympathetic. It was just open, and even friendly. He was holding out a hoof to him also. Was he really...?

Would somepony as important as Sombra have time for him? Doubt made him hesitate, but Sombra didn’t waver, just waited patiently. This was more than any pony had done before!

Sombra seen Blueblood hesitate, in an identical mimic of his own hesitation that morning where Shining Armor had offered him the same lifeline.

"What have you got to lose?" he quoted Shining Armor's words from that meeting.

"My mind?" Blueblood muttered, which made Sombra chuckle. Rainbow Dash had said the same thing as a joke.

And much like him, Blueblood chose the small spark inside that wanted something good, something MORE than his current lot.

Sombra smiled at the younger Prince as he accepted the out-held hoof.

"There you go." he said, in a replica of a similar comment from his own situation.

He decided to clarify a few things as he set his hoof down once more "Your aunt loves you Blueblood, she spent a lot of time telling me about your younger years, how carefree and prone to exploring you were! She sounded very proud."

"That’s when I got my cutie mark.." Blueblood gestured to the stylized compass rose on his flank.

"Maybe you’re not done exploring the world?" Sombra shrugged "i know I'm not!"

Blueblood nodded.

"She also told me of how you turned out to be surprisingly good at negotiating, that time you took her place on a trade agreement due her being sick."

"It was easy!" Blueblood said, puffing up his chest proudly "you just have to find out what appeals to their ego, or what would make them want to give YOU something, and go from there!"

“See that," Sombra pointed out "is an area I woefully lack knowledge in. The council here want me on-board asap, but I don’t know where I'm supposed to start!" He sounded properly flustered "I'm a master at kicking things up the, what is it you call it..?"

"Wazoo? Ass? butt? The list is endless." Blueblood snorted.

"All of those," Sombra said, a twitch of his mouth betraying an amused smile even as he tried to be serious "as I said, I have mastered kicking things up the wazoo, but political trading? Not a clue. My foster father did TRY to teach me, but..."

"But the madness happened?" Blueblood asked honestly.

Sombra nodded, then added "Well, that and I kept falling asleep in the lessons. Snored pretty loudly apparently."

Blueblood snorted, unable to help himself.

"Lucky for me, my father reacted the same way. Heck, he even drew on my face while I was sleeping!"

"HAH!" Blueblood couldn’t help it, the mental image was hilarious.

"Oh, I got my own back, fear not. One thing my father enjoyed was pranks, so it was just a matter of raiding his supplies for a whoopee cushion, waiting until the next public meeting-"

"-You DIDN'T". The CMC had finally caught up to the duo.

Somber snickered "I most certainly DID. Hid behind the curtains the whole time. It was priceless!"

"Thbbbbt!" Spark giggled merrily.

"Thbbt indeed!" Sombra nodded sagely, then smiled at the kids "hay, you little ones hungry? There’s a whole feast being prepared, care to join us?"

"Yeah!" The four kids yelled eagerly, and raced ahead into the palace.


"Sombra! Blueblood!" Celestia smiled as she seen them. Sombra stepped aside as Celestia ran over and hugged Blueblood happily.

"Auntie.." Blueblood hugged her tightly.

"I'm so glad you’re OK, The girls were just saying how good you were at looking after thier sisters!"

"Indeed!" Rarity stepped over as Blueblood was let go by Celestia "my Sweetie Belle was safe and sound and I am MOST grateful. So, thank you!" She bestowed a kind smile on Blueblood, who felt what remained of his anger fade to nothing.

As they made their way to the table, all four CMC magically now sat on Sombra's back grinning ear to ear, Celestia leaned down to whisper to Blueblood "I’m very proud of how you managed, the staff said you managed to keep not just the kids, but the panicking citizens focused on you!"

Blueblood was appeased, realising Sombra was right, his auntie did love him. And Sombra? Well, Blueblood had to admit he admired him. And it would be nice to have a proper friend....


Mid-way through their meal, a loud belch was heard, making everypony look at Sombra.

"What?" he objected "it was not me this time!"

"Oopsie.." Eveyrpony looked down the other end of the table where the CMC were sat. Spark grinned sheepishly.

"Whoaa..." Applebloom said at last "that’s got me beat!"

Applejack and Rainbow Dash both raised a hoof.

"NO." Sombra and Shining Armor both snorted, and the two mares started laughing and Rarity rolled her eyes.

Sombra looked at Shining Sea "I swear on Celestia, I did not teach her that!"

"Don’t look at me!" Celestia teased, eyes twinkling with amusement.

Sea started to giggle, shaking her head "oh I know that perfectly well, Sombra! She insists it's a way of showing appreciation for the chef!"

"In some parts of Equestria, it is!" Cadance piped up.

"Woohoo!" Spark cheered.

"Not here, young lady!" Sea scolded, although she couldn’t keep a straight face.

"Aw." Spark pouted, but by that point nopony could keep a smile off their face, let alone her mother and Sombra. So she got away with it~


By the time they were done eating, Sombra was yawning.

"Your body will require rest to adapt to your new Alicorn form." Celestia told him and advised he go lie down.

"But.." Sombra blinked sleepily at her "what about the damage outside?"

"It will be handled, the guard are already working on it. You’ve more than earned some sleep Sombra." The sun Princess smiled gently at the new Alicorn.

Shining Sea's heart melted at cute he looked when he yawned. Bright Spark yawned too, it’d been a big day and she was only little.

"Okay, both of you, time for sleep!" Shining Sea chuckled, kissing her daughters forehead and nuzzling Sombra's muzzle. He blinked sleepily, nudging her mane with his nose.

"Will you come and visit Sombwa?" Spark asked drowsily.

"Of course, little one." Sombra smiled. He walked with them to the door, sneaking another quick kiss with Sea.

While the adults smooched, Bright Spark clapped her hooves in glee. She caught the eye of the guard standing by the entryway, pointed at the two adults then wrapped her forelegs around herself in a hug and rolled off her mothers back onto the plush flooring. It took all the guards willpower not to laugh at the way she'd explained it!

"Spark honey," Sea scooped her up with her magic and set back on her back once more "what ARE you doing?"

"Nofink!" Bright Spark giggled.

"I can..." Sombra paused to yawn again "walk you back?" he finished.

"Not in that state!" Sea shook her head and smiled "sleep, we'll be fine. You’ve had a long day, and you deserve your rest!"

Sombra tried to insist, but she kissed him firmly and told him to relax. He gave in at last, smiling lovingly at her.

"Bye bye Sombwicorn!" Spark coined a new name for him on an impulse and was rewarded by a chuckle from the pony.

"Bye bye my little Spark!" he responded, and gave the little filly one last hug before reluctantly saying goodbye to her and Sea. He watched until they were out of sight, a smile on his face. Then, with another yawn, he stumbled back through the halls, locating his bedroom, but he never made it.


He spotted a vacant couch in one of the hallways and deliriously flopped down on it, head resting on his forelegs, and fell fast asleep. He was lying on his left side, so that wing couldn’t move, but the right one decided it was tired of staying still and fluffed up. Sombra grunted in his sleep, batted a hoof at it, then gave up and collapsed back to the soft cushions.

That was how a startled maid found him, and she wasn’t sure what to do. The Alicorn showed no signs of waking up, not even with a firm shake. He was dead to the world.

In the end she trotted away to a linen closet and retrieved a soft fluffy blanket. But the wing that was sticking up...

She concentrated really hard, and used her magic to ever so gently fold it down. Then she tucked the blanket over him, before trotting away to tell her supervisor where the Prince was if anypony was looking for him!


Sombra woke up a few hours later, rather by accident than deliberation. In his sleep he rolled to his right, which meant rolling right off the narrow seat. He fell on his back with a thud, both wings fluffing out in fright.

"Whu...?" he groaned, studying the feathery things as they loomed above him. Then he recalled what had happened.

He rolled back onto his hooves, unable to believe the war was over OR that he was an Alicorn now. He stumbled drowsily along the hall, wondering which way was to his bed? Then he heard Celestia's voice and aimed towards it, before realising that a) her voice was coming from behind a closed door, and b) that she soudned upset;

"I know sister!" Celestia sniffled, and Sombra felt concerned, was something wrong?

"He should know, they ALL should. The public believes Sombra is the first male Alicorn to be witnessed in history, but he isn’t! Valance-"

"I know, his name breaks my heart too sister. But we don’t yet have a solution to free him!" Celestia sighed. Sombra's ears were ringing, There was another male Alicorn? Who was this "Valance"?

"Maybe Sombra-" Luna began, but Celestia cut her off "he has been through enough, even for him this would be an arduous task. There is no guarantee that even HE could fix this..."

Wait, in the ancient language, "Valance" meant "Earth". Could he have abilities similar to the two sisters? Was he their relative? Sombra shook his head to clear it and ran quietly away down the hall, totally lost. Was THAT why Celestia had been watching him with that sad look on her face a few times throughout dinner. Just minute glimpses under her smile of beaming pride, but he'd seen it. Did seeing his wings remind her of somepony?

He knew it was none of his business, but he still felt odd. Had Blueblood's theory been correct, was he just a replacement for Celestia? Only not her nephew, but....her brother maybe?

He told himself not to be foolish. That couldn’t be why she'd granted him this Alicorn form. Everypony else had seemed surprised by the wings, even Luna, so she clearly hadn’t planned it.

He felt the first stirrings of concern over his new status start to grip his heart...


He staggered back to his bed, and passed out, too tired to theorize further. His dreams were filled with a strange jumble of images, including a shadowy form with wings, and a menacing laugh...


When he awoke early the next morning, he felt significantly better. He also woke up with both wings sticking up and his blankets thrown to the floor. The darn things at last obeyed after several minutes of grumbling at them, and finally folded down, but he made a mental note to ask Twilight later.


Needing some fresh air, he trotted outside, proudly wearing the new armour the hearts had granted him.

"Good morning your highness!" the guards at the door bowed to the Alicorn as he trotted by. Sombra paused to greet them, asking what was going on, he could hear a lot of hammering and calling.

"Fixing up the damage from the fight, sir! Battle that intense, we got off lucky!"

Sombra recalled how he'd likely helped cause some of it with his explosive attacks and winced guiltily.

He declared he was going to go help them before breakfast began, and was away down the street in an instant, his gait offset every now and again as the wings struggled to balance him.

"Well, guess there's no stopping him now!" the first guard said in the silence.

"We'd better tell somepony where he's gone." the second sighed.


Sombra trotted towards the closest group he seen, calling out to them. They all did double takes at the Alicorn Prince being up so early. Let alone for said Prince to announce he was there to help with the fix up operations.

They exchanged looks. Sombra was strong, but he'd been fighting all of yesterday hadn’t he? On top of saving their world. It'd be rude to make a hero do such work!

Thus Sombra was a little disappointed when, after a moments pause, they insisted they were OK. Not wanting to seem pushy, Sombra forced a smile and trotted merrily away.

But every other attempt he made he got the same response. Ponies fussed, saying he shouldn’t be working after such a big fight, and those gorgeous feathers would get damaged! Sombra wanted to point out he wasn’t fragile since developing wings and he'd slept like a log so he wasn’t tired! But he realised royalty shouldn’t be so rude and dutifully allowed them their mother-hen fussing.

He didn’t want them to be concerned, so he acted as cheerful as he could as he trotted away, making a vague comment about food, and wanting some.


Soon as he was in the quiet, more deserted streets away from the central construction area, he sat down on a bench, sighing gloomily. He looked at the wings, feeling even more uncertain about them. One of them fluffed up and he surprised himself by giving the appendage an uncharacteristic bite. He yelped and instantly moved the offending wing away from his mouth. Feeling like a complete idiot he sighed. What was wrong with him?

There weren’t any ponies out here, most seemed focused around the construction. So he sat in silence for awhile, ruminating on how much had changed now.

"Hay, you're Prince Sombra, aren’t you?" Sombra heard wings flapping and turned round. A trio of ponies wearing goggles and blue flight suits had landed in the road in front of him.

"Yes, I am. You’re the Wonderbolts, correct?" he guessed. The lead bolt, with fiery mane gleaming in the light, nodded and gave a salute.

"Name's Spitfire, your majesty. This is Fleetfoot and Soarin."


"What’s up?" came the respective responses. Sombra bowed his head politely, saying it was a pleasure to meet them, Rainbow Dash had spoken often about their abilities!

"Yep, Dash is a great flyer!" Spitfire nodded with a chuckle "she's Wonderbolt material if I ever seen it!"

This made Sombra smile. He knew it’d be the highlight of dash's LIFE if she got to join them.

"What’re you doing out here on your own, your highness"? Soarin asked. When they'd spotted him from the air, he'd seemed a little gloomy "you look kinda bummed out?"

"I ah," Sombra laughed "It is nothing. These new bundles of fluff are just causing a bit of a stir."

He indicated the wings "the citizens seem concerned I will injure myself or these new additions if I get involved in the building work.”

Spitfire studied the royals concerned expression "I see your point, but I think they’re just doing it to be nice. Not intentionally come off as rude. You saved everypony rears yesterday, including ours! They feel you deserve rest, after all you’ve been through. You’ve been kicking ass from sun up to sun down from what Dash has told us during her visits."

Sombra nodded, sighing faintly "Maybe I’ve grown too accustomed to the work, but I confess I feel lost without something to occupy my time! The guard all joke I’m built like a tank, or a line-backer, why not put it to good use!"

Spitfire nodded, opened her mouth to speak but then did a double take as the three of them suddenly noticed Sombra had an audience. A small crowd of ponies wearing hard-hats were standing not far from them, looking anxious.

"You have a crowd your highness." Fleetfoot bobbed her head. Sombra turned round, blinking at the crowd. He opened his mouth to address them, but the lead pony luckily removed his hard-hat and bowed, begging his highness to hear him out.

"We didn’t realise we'd made you feel unneeded your majesty. We thought you deserved, as the young Miss just pointed out, a rest from heavy labour. You’ve worked yourself silly since this war began right up until it ended, not just fighting but helping rebuild the shops. I didn’t see it was painful for you to be treated like you were so easily hurt by the tasks we were doing. One of my team pointed out the way you hesitated between each response clearly showed you were unhappy. If you can forgive our ignorance your majesty, you are more than welcome if it's what will make you feel content."

Sombra was touched by their concern for him. Spitfire was right, they weren’t trying to make him feel out of place, it was just a way they showed their kindness. He nodded, more than willing to get some work done!

"We're gonna be flying practise at the stadium later today!" Spitfire told Sombra "you’re more than welcome to drop by, bring Rainbow Dash along if you can find her!"

Sombra happily accepted the invitation and the trio took off into the air. Sombra followed the construction ponies back towards all the activity.


The others back at the sites were relieved to see the Prince wasn’t upset, and admitted they could use his skills at heavy lifting.

"Please don’t be concerned about over taxing me," Sombra reminded them "if anything, it feels this morning as if I have too much excess energy. I can't sit still for the love of sanity, maybe the work will tamp it down perchance?"

He felt pretty at home amongst all the work ponies. Afterall, he'd helped ferry materials back and forth during one of the most recent efforts by the locals to fix up the damage caused by the exploding cores.

And he did so again, feeling some of that energy finally being used up. He trotted from one place to the next, bearing heavy loads and carts with a practised ease. He didn’t trust himself to fly so he stuck to the ground work, using his magic to lift anything heavy!

He got so caught up in his work, he didn’t notice time slipping by, and breakfast soon came and went at the palace.


Celestia was puzzled by Sombra's no-show, but when she remembered the guards had told her the Prince had gone out to help with the repairs, she wasn’t surprised.

"In that case..!" She had an idea.


"Whew...” Sombra shook his head, sweat dampened strands of his mane sticking to his face. He nudged them aside with his magic, eyeing up the newest fixed window front.

"Excellent work sire!" the pony aiding him gave a nod of approval.

There was a commotion just then as several curious murmurs arose. Sombra looked over and spotted a set of royal guards, bearing some large boxes between them, one of which was insulated for heat.

On spotting the Prince, the guard set their load down and bowed.

"Princess Celestia suggested we bring breakfast to YOU, since you’ve been out here all morning."

"Break-OOPS." Sombra looked guilty and felt himself flush as he face-hoofed "I totally forgot!"

"The Princess knew you'd object to having to leave if you weren’t finished, so we brought enough food to satisfy a workforce!" they gestured to the crates. Sombra's stomach grumbled, and several ponies laughed.

"I applaud her pre-emptive choices. Well, I suggest we all get started!" Sombra declared, which was met by a round of cheers.

And so Sombra happily stuffed his face alongside the workers, learning a few rude jokes into the bargain. It felt good to be out enjoying the sun, relaxing after constantly being on alert with those shadows. He looked up at the sky, his mind still expecting to see a tear.

"I've been doing the same thing your highness," a foreman caught the pony’s habitual action "it still seems like a dream that that war is finally over. It’ll be awhile before we all stop jumping at shadows."

"I understand," Sombra nodded "I fear I too will still be in combat ready mode for a while, until it sinks in the fight is over."


Eventually Sombra did return to the palace, feeling full but sufficiently less over-hyper then he'd been that morning.

When he found the girls, he told Rainbow about the offer from the Wonderbolts for them to drop by, and Rainbow Dash's grin stretched across her face. She made a delighted SQUEE noise, doing a loop the loop in glee!

The whole group was intending to take the train back to Ponyville in a few days time, Sombra discovered. Twilight Sparkle missed Spike, and wanted to bring him back with her to meet Sombra! Fluttershy wished to check on her animals, and the others had various duties they’d long been absent from and needed to check up on their families.

"Heck, we were wondering if we could bring 'em here to meet ya! You did say we could bring our families to the coronation right?" Applejack grinned.

"Of course miss Applejack, I look forward to meeting them!"

"Have you seen the size of Applejack's entire family?" Twilight Sparkle said with eyes wide "there's lots of them!"

"Shucks, I wont bring 'em ALL!" Applejack chuckled "but if it's OK, I’d like ta bring an extra little 'un. She's a cousin of Applebloom's, friend of the CMC. Names Babs Seed."

"Of course!" Sombra was eager to meet so many families, he just hoped he'd remember all their names!

"We can have a massive party for you to meet them all!" Pinkie Pie decided "I can set it up, leave some off the staff in charge of keeping everything ready until we arrive, then you can meet everypony!"

Sombra agreed this plan was indeed most excellent, and Pinkie pulled a notepad from her hair to write a list!

"C'mon lets go!" Rainbow Dash was fidgeting, anxious to go see her heroes again. Sombra trotted after her, and Dash remembered she was due to teach him to fly! His wingspan was impressive, and she thought of all the tricks she could teach him. An aileron roll, maybe? Or the famous barrel roll? Or a loop the loop?

--Stick to basics, he's barely flown at all!-- she reminded herself. But seeing as Sombra had already coped under pressure using a crystal wings spell, she had a fleeing he'd be a natural!


They trotted up to the stadium entrance, where the security immediately let them through, Spitfire having told them to allow the Prince and his friend in!

"Hey Dash!" Spitfire grinned at the pegasus and Soarin trotted over to talk to her.

"Nice to see you your highness, get a lot of work done?" Fleetfoot asked.

"Plenty, the guard brought breakfast after I failed to turn up!" Sombra laughed sheepishly. Spitfire chuckled, he was an eclectic fellow, but evidently smart.

"Have you tested your new wings out yet?" she asked.

"Not yet, no, but with miss Dash as a teacher, I’m sure I will be capable of flight in no time!" Sombra said, making Rainbow Dash puff her chest up proudly.

"Couldn’t ask for better," Spitfire said, which made Dash squee in delight, "You’re more then welcome to practise alongside us, there's plenty of space!"

“Whatcha say? It'll be totally AWESOME!" Rainbow said to Sombra, eyes wide, a pleading grin on her face.

Unable to resist that look, Sombra nodded, making her whoop!


Rainbow Dash put him through the basics, showing him various stretching exercises and how to properly position your wings for maximum upwards thrust.

"Now, you’ve got a far bigger wingspan then an ordinary pegasus, so perhaps you may not require as much force?" Rainbow Dash suggested.

Sombra's first attempt nearly had him plowing face first into the field, as he hadn’t aimed his body correctly. The second attempt went better, except he put too much force into it and took off at such speed it blew Rainbow Dash's fringe backwards. She followed after him, yelling at him to flap, for the love of Celestia! He did succeed in flapping, but steering was another matter. He lurched unsteadily about, and nearly clipped Rainbow Dash as he tried to aim towards the ground.


"Oww.." Sombra shook himself, checking his wings were OK.

“You hurt?” Rainbow asked, hovering nearby. Sombra shook his head.

" managed flying pretty good during the fight, what did you do then?" She asked next.

"Well, that spell was just a thing I pulled out of my magic to stop myself from getting smooshed on rocks. And the second time it was in a life or death fight. Let me think.."

Sombra pondered it a moment, then spoke "I suppose I treated them as separate entities, and knew I needed to keep an eye on them."

"Well, they’re permanent now, but it's a good start, you’ll become accustomed to them in no time. For now try that!" Rainbow Dash suggested. Sombra nodded. Getting to his hooves, he shut his eyes, recalling the mindset of the battle.

Rainbow Dash studied him as he stretched his wings out and flapped them, taking off with less force. He hovered unsteadily in the air, his centre of balance a bit off.

"Slow your heartbeat down, deep breaths." Rainbow told him "focus on the rhythm of your wings."

Sombra did just that, closing his eyes and slowing his breathing. The wings sporadic flaps steadied out, settling into a steadier beat.

"See?" he opened his eyes at Dash's voice, and relapsed he was at last HOVERING correctly "that's step one!"


From there, moving from hover to flight was next. Rainbow Dash flew alongside, guiding him through some basic exercises she'd learnt from the Wonderbolt Academy. By the end of their first day, she'd gotten him settled at hovering without wobbling all over the shop and he was slowly getting more used to speed. She'd advised he practise whenever he could. Much like Twilight Sparkle, he wasn’t used to flight and it would take time for it to become second nature.


That evening, as Celestia lowered the sun, Sombra stood out on his balcony. He took a deep breath, and spread his wings. He clambered up onto the balcony, took a deep breath, and took a literal flying leap. It went well enough to start with, he felt the air catch under his wings. But his mind blanked and he suddenly lurched, his trajectory doing a whirl as he lost his perspective of up and down. He realised the ground was fast coming up and so were a bunch of guards. He did the only thing he could think of;


"Get down!" the trio of guards heard a commanding voice above them and ducked on instinct. Something whooshed by overhead, crashing into some shrubbery off to their left. They hesitantly stood up, approaching the bushes.

Suddenly a familiar face popped up from the bush, looking dazed.

"Your highness?" The first guard asked. Sombra staggered out of the shrub, wings sticking up at odd angles.

"Sorry," he apologised "It would seem I’m about as aerodynamic as a closet full of rocks."

The guards sniggered, unable to help it. As landings went, it was PRETTY bad. Sombra literally looked liked he'd been dragged through a hedge backwards, complete with twigs.

"I'd better get back up there.." Sombra looked up. He extended the wings again, a few more leaves drifting free as he did so.

"Uh, sire, are you sure that’s a wise-" before the guard could finish, Sombra had taken off with a back draft of air from the mighty wings that blew their manes back.

“..idea?” the word squeaked into the silence left behind.

They watched as Sombra shot up a little too high, they faintly heard him call out "Celestia! Evening-whoa!" before plummeting down again.

They heard a thud from above, and the Prince's voice yelling "I’m OK, didn’t hurt!"

The lead guard just face-hoofed.


That night, Luna came to Sombra's dreams.

"Sister tells us you had an interesting flight test."

"I crashed. Epically. Miss Dash will laugh her ass off when I tell her!"

"Maybe WE can help? We are good flyers, sister and I." she gave a firm nod "I will train you in your dreams so you can pass muster with Rainbow Dash's lessons. Will that be acceptable?"

Sombra grinned at Luna’s playful expression "that would be immensely beneficial Luna."

“Then let us begin!" she declared, and generated a cloudless blue sky around them. She watched Sombra flap awkwardly into place, and they began...

The rest of the night Sombra flew over and over, with Luna summoning different landscapes and even throwing clouds at him to test his reactions. He got hit in the face a lot. But she refused to let him give up, which although he complained about, he was secretly glad.

After a few hours of this, she finally let him go to sleep, so he wouldn’t be totally exhausted come sunrise.


The next night was the same. Sombra threw himself into learning to fly better then the aforementioned closet full of rocks.

"Stop being so hesitant about them! They’re not going to fall off if thou flappeth them too much!" Luna directed, she'd seen Twilight Sparkle be the same way, as if she didn’t trust the wings yet.

"They are a part of you, like thy magic, or that version where you turn into a fire pony. Thou control that flawlessly, this is almost the same, albeit not magical! Its an EXTENSION of you, Sombra!"

Sombra realised she had a point, and tried to get used to how the wings reacted, how they moved twitched and folded up and down.


By the third day, Rainbow Dash was impressed.

"You’re getting good!" she nodded as they took a break. They'd had another run at the obstacle course and Sombra had aced it!

"Luna...has been helping." Sombra panted, his coat sweaty and ruffled. But he was feeling a lot more confident about his ability to use the new wings he'd been granted.

"Princess Luna has?" Rainbow Dash asked, curious "doesn't she sleep in the day?"

So he explained her night-time tutorials of wings.

"Training in your dreams? Awesome!" Rainbow grinned.

"I’m hoping the repetition will sink in so I can get used to using them in the waking world." Sombra flexed a wing.

"Kinda like muscle memory? I like her methods." Rainbow Dash approved.

Sombra nodded, finishing off the bottle of water he'd brought.

"Well, we are well on the way to getting you to awesome!" Rainbow Dash clapped him on the back, proud of her Alicorn student.


As the days passed, Sombra gradually learnt to fly from Rainbow Dash and the other winged ponies. Luna was pleased when he flew alongside her one night as she patrolled over the Crystal Empire.

Twilight gave him some tips on how to sleep properly when the wings misbehaved (she'd had terrible trouble with her first few weeks)! And Fluttershy gave him some pointers on his first preening! It would take some practise…

The calm after the hellish fight felt like bliss to Sombra. Little did he know there were still further tests to come...