• Published 26th Dec 2013
  • 18,623 Views, 316 Comments

Lost into Shadow - Lucidenn



King Sombra returns to Equestria, requesting a chance to be reformed like Discord, on the condition that Twilight be his reformer. Fascinated by Twilight's ascendance, Sombra intends to study and corrupt her, but things do not go according to pl

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5) Getting Comfortable

We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.
~Jim Morrison

The sun was high in the sky over ponyville, and by Twilight's calculations, only an hour away from noon. Turning to her friends who had finished grabbing their luggage, she called them and the still glowering Sombra over to her. "Alright girls, we've got an hour before noon, which means we have just enough time to get unpacked and have lunch before we spend the afternoon reforming Sombra. I want you all to keep your elements on at all times just in case."

To Sombra she added a very clear warning. "And don't think we won't use them against you at the slightest hint of trouble. I took the precaution last night to cast a spell on each element of harmony. All the wearer has to do is to say the phrase elements unite, and the rest of us will be teleported to their location ready to assist. That means that you will always have at least one of us with you to make sure you behave yourself."

"Now Twilight, is treating me like a prisoner really to be your preferred tact? After all, aren't we supposed to become good friends like that draconequus did? How can we do that if you can't even trust me?", mocked Sombra with feigned innocence. Without missing a beat, she shot back, "Right now you have enough trust to be a guest in my home; any more than that must be earned by your behavior."

Meekly, Fluttershy shuffled up next to Twilight and softly inquired her, "Um, Twilight? How will we start with reforming him? He's different from Discord; when he looks at us it feels like a kitty staring at a poor mouse, and we're the mice."

Hearing this Rarity chimed in "Worry not dear Flutter-shy, us mice are together for all of our troubles, and we've plenty tricks to make the cat friendly with us." encouraging a small smile from the yellow pegasus, feeling just a tad more brave. "Oh my", Rarity continued, "but we have completely forgotten about the mayor in this whole adventure! However shall we break the news to her and the rest of ponyville that we'll be harboring a highly dangerous criminal whose last known evil act was to cause an entire empire to vanish from the map for a thousand years!" As an after thought, she also politely added with a nod in Sombra's direction "No offense meant, of course"

He responded only with a satisfied chuckle, "I'm glad to see my reputation precede me."

Twilight on the other hand was deep in thought; Rarity was completely correct, since Sombra would be in town, the other ponies had a right to know they danger they faced. But how to tell them without starting a panic? All this thinking was making Twilight hungrier than ever before, yet inspiration struck her like lightning as her stomach gave a loud grumble. "I've got it girls! We'll invite the mayor to lunch with us and Sombra. That way she'll be informed on the situation, and have a first hand account of how Sombra acts in public!"

Clapping her hooves with the brilliant simplicity of the plan, the mare said "Spike, please take a letter to the mayor to formerly invite her to the lunch, please refer to Sombra simply as an important pony from the Crystal Empire, and make sure to include my title of Princess with my name. That way, if the Mayor has other lunch plans she'll understand the importance of the request and prioritize meeting with us instead."

"Alright everypony, lets quickly get unpacked, we'll be meeting with the Mayor in just one hour. Rarity don't worry, Spike will be back in no time to help with you luggage again. Sombra, if you will please follow me its time for you to see where you'll be staying for the foreseeable future."

With a quick nod, everypony took off to reach their homes with Sombra calmly following close behind Twilight, trying hard not to let his disgust at this simpleton town urge him fast towards its destruction. He was forced to modify his opinion however when they entered Twilight's tree; he had not expected that she had lived in a library, nor that it would have such an impressive collection of tomes at its disposal. Why he could see a full shelf dedicated solely to the works of the great Starswirl the Bearded, and beyond those many more rare or exotic books that Twilight must have accumulated during her stay here.

"I hadn't thought you were a book lover Sombra"

Secretly furious with himself for being read so easily by the lavender worm, Sombra shook himself from his reverie and replied with an old saying that he had learned to live by. "Knowledge is power, Princess, and I love them both. Therefore I love books and all they contain."

Now that he had gotten over being in Twilight's library, Sombra decided to put the first phase of his plan into action. Slowly he stepped forward, advancing on the lavender mare until he was but inches away from her. Twilight, unsure of his intentions, stood her ground and prepared herself to summon her friends to her aid, even as she could feel the dark musk of his breath against her skin.

They were so close now, that Sombra's next words were breathed into her ear like a whisper carried on the wind. "But knowledge isn't everything, is it princess? I wonder if your knowledge has brought you the gift of understanding, and with it, wisdom. Tell me, how can you possibly hope to reform me? I am the fear in your heart, the hatred in your soul. I am the shadow that stalks everything that light can touch, and yet I grow stronger with as the light grows brighter for my shadows grow darker and deeper than you can know. How can you, a minion of that light, have any hope at all in this endeavor?"

Sombra had made sure that he was standing close enough to the alicorn so that he had one of his hooves standing on her shadow. As he spoke to her, he slowly edged a part of his consciousness down into her shadow. This was far more delicate and slow than what he had done with Plain Strider. This time he needed only a part of himself to intertwine with the mare's thoughts. This time there would be no attempt to control her mind, no she was probably strong enough to fight such an influence anyways. Instead, he planted a dark seed of thought deep within her mind, it would be the voice inside her head, and with time it would hopefully color her point of view to one he deemed more, favorable.

Twilight stood there, still, for what seamed an eternity, slowly turning over Sombra's words in her head. It is true, what Fluttershy said. Sombra is nothing like Discord was. He may not have the widespread and devastating power of the draconequus, but there was something about him that was far more dangerous in its own way. Something dark and infinite.

Finally she spoke, pulling back enough to look Sombra directly in his eyes. "It's true Sombra, that this will not be a simple nor easy matter. I do not know when, or how, but I believe that if there is any good inside of you, however far buried in your heart; I do believe that my friends and I will be able to bring it out in you."

"For your sake, I hope you are correct Princess. For if you fail, what then is there to stop me from bringing out the evil inside of you?"

The way that Sombra spoke that sentence unnerved Twilight more than anything else he had done so far. It was not how an empty threat would sound. In fact, he spoke it most like the promise of a stallion incapable of breaking his promises. They stood there a few moments more in silence until Twilight could bear it no more. Clearing her throat she walked around Sombra and proceeded to the staircase leading to the second floor. "Let's go Sombra, you still have to yet to see where you'll be sleeping, and we must hurry if we want to make it on time to the meeting with the Mayor."

Sombra watched the purple mare shuffle past him and up the stairs out of view. For once he was not thinking of the endless ways he could spread destruction and misery on the insects surrounding him. He found himself puzzled, and curious. Not the curiosity that eats at your mind until you have satisfied its needs, but instead the calm wonder to be found when you catch the moon rising over an ocean horizon as a million stars dance with their reflections. When he had touched her mind to plant his seed of dark thought, he had encountered something he hadn't seen before in any other pony. While Plain Strider's thoughts had been as shallow as a puddle, and with the intelligence to probably drown in it too, her mind had felt like a rippling pool of endless thought, going far deeper and stretching farther than probably the mare herself even knew. And when she had pulled away from him to give her answer, he had seen that same depth and brightness swirling behind her eyes.

He had been pleasantly surprised to find she had such a wonderful mind, and looked forward to manipulating it to his needs. But that is what concerned Sombra the most. It had been eons and he could not once recall a time when he had thought of that word, or used it to describe anything. It was concerning because somehow he had been made to feel something he should not have felt, he was the Master of Shadows after all! His power, unquestionable, his control, absolute. He had sent countless minds to ruin with the superior manipulations of his own, and not once, ever, had any of his victims been able to maneuver, trick, or otherwise get him to act or think the way the wanted. He was simply too clever for that, he saw through his opponents and read them like a filly's diary; exposing all their plans, their secrets, their intentions.

And yet here he stood, feeling something he could not ever remember feeling before because of that mare. A feeling only describable by a single word.

Beautiful

"Sombra I said the guest bed is up here, unless you like downstairs so much that you'd like to sleep there, I recommend coming up to make sure everything is comfortable."

Sombra shook his head clear and made the ascent to the next floor, passing off his lapse as nothing more than a temporary side effect of his previous exile and its complete lack of pony minds to encounter and exploit. He noticed as he went that the library had many crevices and folds in the wood that would be ideal for hiding deep shadows. Perfect to disappear into if the need arose.

Meanwhile, at Twilight's favorite cafe all of her friends were gathering for the lunch. In strode the Mayor, carrying a look of both optimism and apprehension. She greeted each of the ponies warmly, but the worry line on her forehead only deepened. "I do not mean to be rude, but where is Princess Twilight? I had thought for a matter of such importance as conveyed by her letter would warrant her being here already."

Spike shifted uneasily at this, he agreed, Twilight was never late, ever. It could only mean that "the delegate" was causing the delay; and the many horrible ways Spike imagined such a delay being caused soon caused his small frame to start shaking from the increasingly ghastly what ifs.

Thankfully Rarity noticed his plight, and reached a hoof out to hold Spike close as she answered the mayor. "Twilight was showing the foreign delegate her guest accommodations before this meeting, and getting settled in a new place is hardly quick as a snap. I'm certain they'll be along very shortly. This is Twilight we're talking about after all. Let's all get our drinks and consider our orders, and I guarantee she'll be here in no time flat."

Just like she said, no more than 10 minutes later Twilight walked into the cafe as if she did not mind terribly that she had arrived late. The glaze of sweat in her purple coat however betrayed that she had in fact been galloping furiously just moments ago. Approaching the mayor, Twilight bowed her head in respect and shame. "I am so very very sorry for being late, and I want to thank you for taking the time from your schedule to meet with me and my friends on such an incredibly short notice."

"Not at all Princess Twilight. While such haste is unusual, I know that you would not have asked this of me without appropriate reason. Now where is this crystal empire delegate? I would very much like to greet him and welcome him to our humble town"

"He's right here." The sound of the voice made the Mayor's blood run cold, it had a malevolent echo that made butterflies blossom in her stomach, and every nerve in her body seemed to be telling her to run. From behind a corner stepped a unicorn the color of a granite mountainside and a flowing onyx colored mane. His horn an angry red like iron left in fire, but what caught her attention most of all were those sick green eyes that seemed to be wafting purple smoke from their back edge. She had heard only rumors, but the pony standing before her matched them in exact detail. "King Sombra" whimpered the Mayor.

Twilight had to stop herself from rolling her eyes at the Mayor's obvious fear. In her mind she heard a small voice saying, what a pathetic sight. Aghast that she would think such a thing, she asked Sombra to join them at the table and tried to console the trembling Mayor.

"Don't worry, Sombra is here for completely diplomatic reasons. He surrendered to the other princesses and myself at my coronation last night. He is to be reformed by us here in Ponyville. The reason I asked you here today is because of the fact that even though we can hold him in check just as we did with Discord, he still poses a significant danger. To avoid panic we must spread the word in an orderly fashion, so that families can be prepared for anything that may happen."

Hearing this the Mayor ceased her quivering and sat up tall, when it came to the safety and well-being of her citizens there was no greater priority, and she would need to lead by example if she wanted to keep Ponyville a calm and safe place to live. "Thank you Princess Twilight, for letting me know immediately of this situation. I must prepare a speech immediately, and have a safety procedure drawn up for everypony to practice.

"Before you go, please enjoy lunch with us first. It will give you the opportunity to see how Sombra behaves for yourself, so that when you speak to the rest of Ponyville it will be from your own experience instead of just words." Implored Twilight.

"Of course, you're quite correct Princess Twilight, I shall do as you ask." Returning her gaze to Sombra now with a newfound determination, she bluntly asked just how long he would be staying in Ponyville.

"That, madam Mayor, will be entirely up to how quickly these ponies think they can reform me." Then, adding in a malicious grin, "But I can say THIS with great certainty. One way or another, this will all be over within a year's time"