• Published 20th Oct 2013
  • 9,863 Views, 249 Comments

The Tale of One Shadow - RadBunny



Sombra was a much more complicated pony than history lent him credit. The Crystal Heart having freed him from the clutches of his own creation, Sombra now tries to find his place in the world. But can he escape the shadow of the past?

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Chapter Two: Crystal Hearts

Sombra awoke with a cold sweat plastering his fur to his body. Apparently having a demon use your body for a millennium wrecked your subconscious mind.

Go figure.

He shivered, noticing there was a good reason for being rather chilly. Steel bars surrounded him, matching the dark walls of what Sombra assumed to be a prison.

You should know, you built it.

The poisonous thought was hard to shake. Thankfully, the entrance of somepony helped brush away the thought, for now.

“You need to eat.” The crystal guardspony said, voice flat and emotionless.

Forcing himself to look up, Sombra met the other pony's cold eyes, despite being a cheery green in color.

Guard 72. Posted on gate three.

“You need to have some strength. Besides, the Princess is coming to visit you.” The guard drolled.

Sombra struggled to his feet, only now noticing the simple bread and apples placed in front of him.

Wait. My coat?!

“Guard Seven- I mean, is the crystal heart back? Of course it is.” Sombra's train of thought died along with his words. He recalled a few brief flashes of it.

“Of course it is. How else could we have defeated you?” The pony said as he left.

Shards and ice this is going to be difficult. But do I deserve anything but scorn?

Perhaps not.

“Sombra, are you feeling alright?”

The feminine voice caused him to look up from the bread and apples once again. A strange flurry of emotions flooded his mind and heart at seeing the familiar alicorn in front of him, along with a unicorn stallion who regarded him with a guarded set of eyes.

Princess. Alicorn. Right.

“I am-” Sombra let out a chuckle- or tried to. It came out as a half sigh, half wheeze as he bowed.

“Truthfully, I am not well at all.”

He then looked up at the Princess Cadence, for Sombra assumed her to be such.

“With respect, your highness-” His other legs gave out, and the ground once again became his companion.

“Why do you care? I do not understand.” The words clogged up in his throat. Despite the reassuring words from two immortal beings, Sombra still found it difficult to believe that he wasn't to be executed, or at least imprisoned for life. Such a sentence would, even now, be an easing of guilt on his mind.

Sombra's thoughts were reinforced by a slight snort from the other unicorn- Shining Armor, if he was to be correct.

“Princess Celestia and Luna explained your situation. It is difficult for me to instantly forget everything that has happened, and I still have my suspicions. The Princess's have been wrong before, no offense Cadence." Shining Armor said, glancing over to his wife briefly.

“However, I've been instructed to give you benefit of the doubt. I'll do my best in that regard. I'll meet you topside when you're done Cadence.”

The burly stallion then took his leave, and Cadence shook her head slowly.

“I apologize if he came off as a bit rough. He's a sweetheart, but this is all very difficult for us to understand. Understand though, we do want to help, and not just because Celestia asked us to. If what she said is true, then you're going to need all the assistance we can offer.”

“That's putting it mildly.” Sombra interjected.

His ears instantly flattened, eyes widening.

“I'm sorry Princess Cadence! I didn't mean any disrespect." He stopped as Cadence held up a hoof.

“Just Cadence please. Celestia and Luna are trying to break away from the whole groveling thing, and I am trying to do the same. I'm just a pony, one who wants to help you. Would you be willing to fill me in on the details of what happened?” Cadence said calmly, settling down on her haunches.

Sombra was dumfounded for a moment, finally regaining some form of speech.

“I-ok, Prince- I mean, Cadence. What do you already know?” He asked, munching on the offered food, and trying not to wolf it down.

“Well, you meddled in dark magic, released a demon, tried to defeat it, and it won. You were possessed until the Crystal Heart broke it free. From what I heard, you cut off its head, and here you are.”

Swallowing, Sombra nodded slowly.

“I-that about covers it, the basics I mean.”

“Why did you do it? Try dark magic I mean. You knew it was foul and evil."

Cadence's voice wasn't prying or accusing, but purely curious.

Sombra stayed silent for a moment, mulling the question over in his mind. He couldn't tell if Cadence was gathering information in a subtle interrogation attempt, or just being kind.

Probably the first one, not that he had anything to lose.

“The answer is painful. I knew what I was doing.” Sombra paused, looking up at the Princess.

“I wanted more." He said softly.

Cadence stayed silent as Sombra continued to speak, grieving undertones present on every word.

“I wanted to be better than I was. Stronger, more powerful. The book I read promised those things.” He let out a slight huff at the thought.

“Instead, it gave those aspects to the demon the spell spawned, using my own emotions as a template.” The stallion now closed his eyes.

“King Sombra- the demon, was me. The darker parts at least. So powerful. I should have listened. She tried to convince me to not go, to let the guards handle it.”

How could I have forgotten?

“Amber Leaf."

Cadance's ears flickered slightly; the only indication she had heard Sombra.

“Who?”

Sombra's eyes were wide with horror as he looked up at the Princess.

“Amber Leaf! Where is she?! One thousand years-”

Cadence must have seen where his reasoning would take him, because she quickly spoke up.

“After Sombra- erm, the demon's defeat, there was a stasis spell placed on the Empire. It disappeared. Whoever this is, maybe she is still here? I do not know, is she your mother?”

Rebellious tears carved paths down Sombra's cheeks, sides shaking with the emotional strain.

“My family is dead. Amber Leaf, and her family are all that I have. My special somepony. The only one who saw-She saw it coming. She tried to warn me, to save me.”

Cadence looked on with a pitying expression- and was caught totally off guard as the stallion let out a heart-wrenching scream. It was more of a roar than anything else, causing the walls to vibrate with power, a few pieces of crystal falling from the ceiling.

Six guards materialized into view- having been magically hidden just inside the door and along the walls, their weapons turned inwards towards the distraught stallion, who now was lying prone on the crystal floor.

“Hold! Return to your posts.” Cadence ordered, approaching Sombra as she waved off the guards.

“I don't know who this pony is Sombra, but I'll do what I can to find out about her. I can't promise anything though. I am sorry.”

With that cold statement, Cadence left, glad that Sombra couldn't see the dampness on her cheeks.

With nobody but camouflaged guards to keep him company, Sombra sobbed. Utter grief tore into his mind as memories finally flowed free of their bounds.

Cadence burried her head into Shining Armor's shoulder, composure cracking as she took a few shuddering breaths.

“I hate this." She whispered.

“I know, but you also know it has to be done. We need to be sure.” Shining's voice was comforting, yet at the same time, guarded and almost heartless to her ears.

“P-Princess?” A voice spoke up from across the room.

Cadence dawned her 'ruler mask,' as she called it, walking over to the individual who looked on with questioning eyes.

“I am sorry about all this I had no idea, we just need to make sure it is really him.” Cadence whispered, not able to meet the other pony's gaze.

"He does still care." She said softly.

Nodding simply, the pony left the room, no guards barring the way. It was a short trot to home, where the pony shut the door to her room, walking over to a simple dresser.

The crystal drawer was opened for the first time in over a thousand years, and a red scarf lay neatly folded inside. A few particles of dust swirled about, catching the fading light from the nearby window.

“Please be real. Please.” Amber Leaf whispered as she withdrew the scarf, running her hoof over the soft threads.

“I haven't forgotten."

Author's Note:

Thank you to everyone who has Favorited this story! I apologize for not commenting on each of your pages- I'll try to get around to that! (you each deserve a personal thanks!)
Also a thank you for the thumbs-up! =)

Please PLEASE let me know if anything here seems out of character for Cadence or Shining Armor. I appreciate any and all feedback!