• Published 26th Dec 2013
  • 18,648 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

  • ...
41
 316
 18,648

6) Secrets of the Heart

Author's Note:

WARNING! This chapter contains graphic violence and gruesome death near the end. Just thought you ought to know.

(wasn't sure if this little bit warranted rating the whole story with the gore checkmark, but if you guys disagree just let me know in the comments)

Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.
~Corrie Ten Boom

As the luncheon came to a close and the Mayor excused herself to begin her speech preparations, Twilight breathed a deep sigh of relief. All in all, the meeting had gone better than she'd hoped, the only incident being the slight panic attack the Mayor was subjected to at first. Now that the public relations part was over, they could focus on the important task at hand, how to actually begin reforming Sombra. Applejack however, was the first of them to point it out.

Standing up and stomping her hoof on the tabletop to emphasize her point, she exclaimed "Alright y'all, now that that's outta the way, let's get down the business of actually reforming this villain. Fluttershy, you knew just what to do with Discord last time, what's our next move?"

At this Sombra turned his evil gaze and his widest smile showing the most teeth possible to the yellow pegasus, watching gleefully as she trembled and stuttered out her response. "W-we-well, all I really d-did was gi-give him room to be h-himself."

Levitating a napkin with her magic, Twilight gave Sombra a swift flick on the nose that resulted in an audible smack. Gesturing to the still quivering pegasus, Rarity added "Though I think we can all agree that method may not be the best for this matter."

Slowly Twilight looked around at her friends, one by one, as she mulled over ideas in her head. A spark beginning to form, she looked at her new wings and smiled. Generosity, Honesty, Laughter, Kindness, Loyalty. Without her friends and their strengths she would never be where was today. By living and learning from their examples she had reached her true potential.

"I propose, that we do nothing!"

So as not to miss the moment, Pinkie grabbed a glass of water from the table, downed it, and appropriately spat it out in shock at her words. Though not as dramatic, the surprise was still evident in the faces of everypony else at the table, even in Sombra, who was beginning to wonder at how this purple mare managed to keep surprising him.

"I mean no offense Sugarcube, but how are we supposed to reform this fella if we don't actually do anything?"

"Well the idea came as I realized Sombra and I have something in common"

"You Dooo!?!" They all exclaimed at once. Sombra for his part remained silent, carefully scrutinizing the alicorn, patiently waiting for her explanation.

"Well, yes. We both came to ponyville not caring about friendship, believing it something unnecessary. But through you ponies I learned just how wrong I was, and just how valuable having friends is. After all it is because of all of you that I am who I am today, and because of you that I stand here an alicorn. Perhaps it will be the same for Sombra; by living amongst us, he'll have the opportunity to connect with other ponies, and at his own pace learn what friendship is and how to live a life of good"

"That sounds real nice and all Sugarcube, but you're forgetting that Sombra here is happier terrorizing others than getting along with them, just look at Fluttershy!"

"I for one agree with Twilight's plan"

Again, shocked silence. This time all heads turned to look at Sombra. Twilight more surprised than the rest of them, for she had noticed what the other's had not. Not only had Sombra actually agreed with her, but he'd actually used her name! Not scum, or insect, or the sneered title Princess. More than that, he was still giving her that strange look, a look that nopony had given her before that made her stomach feel, almost fluttery. His eyes had lost some of their malice, and in their place was the look of a pony in deep thought, the look one would give the stars at night as one searched for a reason for them being there, for why some fell and others seemed to twinkle on forever.

A small blush was toughing her cheeks as she spoke to her friends again as she tried her best to ignore the inexplicable stare, and the even stranger effect it was having on her. "It's as I always like to say, practice makes perfect. Sombra has been practicing being evil for who knows how long, the only way for him to learn good is for us to help him practice that as well."

At this point Rainbow Dash soared into the sky and back down next to Twilight in a perfect parabola. "I don't know how its going to work, but I trust Twilight, she hasn't led us wrong before." This simple praise caused Twilight to blush again, but it had the needed effect on her friends. Each one nodded their agreement and support.

"Besides, its not like we have any other plan even close to as good anyways, so let's give it a go!" Cheered Rarity.

"So how exactly is this going to work Sugarcube? We can't exactly let Sombra wonder around"

"It's simple really, from this point forward we'll simply resume our daily activities, and Sombra will get to choose which of us he wants to follow around. He'll be there to help out and hopefully learn what its like to simply hang out and enjoy the company of other's"

"As I am currently living with you Twilight I feel it would be best then to start by being your shadow. Once I am more, comfortable, with your company I'll be ready to branch out." Said Sombra, still giving her the look she was having so much trouble ignoring.

Again, he spoke without that menacing echo of malice, again he had called her by her name. All of her friends used her name, all of Ponyville, even all of Equestria, had called her by her name. So why was it that when he said it that way it sent shivers up her spine?

Nine weeks.

Nine, long, hot, frustrating weeks since that day at the cafe. The light of the Sun this final month of summer was fading over Sweet Apple Acres. It will be time to go home soon. Twilight thought to herself. Another day, another failure. It didn't seem to matter how or what she tried, Sombra had remained unchanged since the day he first stepped into her life. With great effort, she was barely able to keep the tears from her eyes as the day closed on her latest attempt to integrate him into the Ponyville way of life.

Despite her diligence, Sombra's condescending attitude had only managed to turn the town's fear of him into a strong loathing instead. This had led to everypony avoiding him when possible, and, by extension, Twilight as well. Due to the need to keep the everyday citizens of Ponyville protected, it was quickly learned that wherever Twilight was found, Sombra would be less than a stone's throw away. Sure She had tried to hang out with her friends with Sombra in tow, and even tried to have him spend time with them while she got her own time, but he had a way of quickly wearing their patience thin enough to return him to Twilight's watch.

Despite the growing lack of casual convention with other ponies, Twilight still heard the rumors pervading Ponyville. There were whispers that she must have a will of iron to be able to tolerate Sombra each day and night. If perhaps, it was a lost cause that should be abandoned so that they could all return to more normal lives. Others, that wondered if she would ever be successful in transforming him. The worst of the whispers however, came from her own mind.

See the way they all look at you? They're just watching, waiting for you to fail
I'm sure they just avoid me because of Sombra, once its all over everything will be back to normal. Won't it?
Even your friends aren't around much anymore. Is it really just because of Sombra? Or is it something more?
Just keep smiling Twilight. Just keep going. You wouldn't want to make your friends unhappy now would you?
Why do I feel so alone now? Can't they see it in my eyes? Can't they feel it? Don't they KNOW?

She was snapped back out of her memories by the sound of Applejack calling her name. "Hey Twil, can we talk real quick?" The orange earth pony trotted up next to Twilight and sat down beside her. "Look Sugarcube, I really appreciate you coming out here today to help me out with apple bucking season, but..."

But, there was always a but... Twilight thought.

"I just don't think it would be the best idea to bring Sombra around again..."

Of course not, everypony had said the same before...

"He swears he used no magic, and I didn't see his horn glowin' but the trees he 'helped' with are all wilted and dying. And I aint never seen Apple Bloom cry so much in me life..."

More bitterly now, Poor Apple Bloom, it must be SO hard for her....

"And I was just thinkin', maybe it's time we tried something else Sugarcube."

Of course she does, she never believed in me from the start of this. She thinks my plan's failed, I bet she's just waiting for the right moment for a great big I told you so letter to Celestia! This thought replaced Twilight's gloom with a heated anger. "And just what to do you in your great wisdom suggest we do Apple Jack? As I recall you didn't have any useful idea nine weeks ago, maybe by now you've had enough time to figure out a better option?"

Taken aback by Twilight's outburst, Applejack hurriedly racked her brain for something. "Well, I uh, we could....um"

"No? Nothing at all? So after nine weeks you still don't know, but you've had plenty of time to figure out all the things wrong with mine?"

"Now hang on I never said..."

"No, instead I've been doing all the work while you lot sat back and did NOTHING!"

"I said hold on one apple bucking minute!"

This time, it was Twilight's turn to be shocked. Stunned out of her tirade, she could only sit there with her ears laid back and her head hung low in ever greater shame as Applejack continued.

"Now Twilight that was completely uncalled for. We're your friends, and that means we'll always be here for you. No more than a dozen cries of the rooster ago did little Apple Bloom come to me and ask if you was sick. I asked her why, and she said it was because of how worn out you looked, especially in your eyes. And I told her it was cause a' how hard you'v been working, on something most ponies would have given up on already, and that all your time with the nasty Sombra feller was just wearing you down. Then she asked me, 'Applejack, is she going to feel better soon?' And do you know what I said?"

Twilight simply shook her head no.

"I told her that I honestly didn't know. But I do know one thing, and that's for sure of it, if there's anypony that can change Sombra, its our Twilight. She don't know how to fail, and she ain't never lead us wrong before. So if nothing else there's one the we sure can do for her, and that's to trust Twilight, and believe in her."

Upon hearing this Twilight's purple frame became wracked with quiet sobs. She had been carrying the wait of her doubts, her frustrations and anxieties, her fears, for so long that suddenly feeling the strain of them being lifted away made her weak and dizzy. Applejack edged closer to her friend, and gratefully Twilight leaned upon her for support as sobbing slowly faded.

"I am so sorry Sugarcube. I didn't know we were putting you through such a hard time, making you feel so alone like that. We all saw you trying your best day in and day out, and we say you hurting each time. We all wanted to help, but I'd be a lier if I said anyone one of us had a clue how. I guess we just got caught up hoping and praying your efforts would turn Sombra around, then everything would be alright again."

"I'm sorry too Applejack, I should have never doubted you girls like that; and I'm so sorry for yelling at you and letting all of that get the best of me."

"Aw don't you sweat it now Sugarcube, it ain't your fault. Besides, nopony's really been acting like themselves ever since Sombra came along."

At this Twilight's tears stopped and she bolted upright, a spark twinkling in her eye. "Applejack, could you watch Sombra and make for a few minutes, you are absolutely right, and I need to try something real quick." Then, in a softer voice, "and thank you, I could never do this without you girls, you've helped more than you know tonight."

Unsure of what Twilight had in mind, yet completely confident in her at the same time, Applejack trotted down the hill to busy Sombra (or at least try to while he condemned the work for peasants) with pulling some weeds. "Anytime Sugarcube, any time."

Sitting back down, Twilight crossed her hind legs in front of her. Seated comfortably, she rested her forelegs upon the knees of her hind legs, and took several slow, deep breathes. With each inhale, she pictured wisps of light flowing into her body, filling her lungs and spreading through her circulation. With each exhale, she pictured the light pooling back into her lungs and leaving her, taking with bits of detail.

Slow, deep inhale. Pausing. Slow, steady exhale. The tingling of the blades of grass against her flank, gone. Once more, slow, deep inhale. A pause. Slow, steady exhale. The kiss of the cool dusk air and the caressing of the wind in her mane, faded. With each cycle, the less she was aware of the world inside. Even the thought of her own lungs filling and relaxing faded away, leaving only the wafts of light, floating in darkness as dust seen through a shaft of sunlight. She followed one of the specks for a time, not in the normal sense of following, but instead just letting herself be in the place it wanted to go.

The first thing she noticed was sound, a rushing, whispering sound. Next was a gentle rocking sensation, identical to the rise and fall of breathe, but it was somehow much larger, enveloped in arms swaying back and forth, keeping her safe. Finally, her surroundings where revealed to her in the form of sight. She was in the middle of what seemed to be at first an ocean, stretching off in all directions all the way to where the horizon should be. Should be. How peculiar, the farther she looked, the farther she saw the ocean stretched out, never seeming to come in contact with the soft starry blackness that was the sky. The world was both flat and, if not infinite, than at least much larger than she could explore in a lifetime. That was not all that was far from ordinary about this ocean however; the second thing she noticed was how the water seemed to be its own light source, glimmering and glowing softly like billions of dimmed fireflies. Looking down she noticed the third oddity. She was lying on the surface, gently being rocked by the waves, but she was not sinking or getting wet at all. The, well, water, for lack of anything better to call it, seemed to be supporting her like the softest and most pliable bed in existence.

Last but not least she noticed what she had come her for, the reason for her meditation. Far down below her, she noticed a singular spot that was not glowing like the rest of the ocean around her. What's more, though she couldn't quite tell from this far away, but instead of moving in the circular rise and fall with the rest of the ocean, it seemed to be fixed still, pulsing like a heartbeat. Twilight did not know what it was, but she knew she had to find out. Pressing firmly against the surface with her right fore-hoof, she shoved with all her might and tore through. The water beneath the surface layer did not seem to mind the intrusion, instead she found that she could actually breath like air as she swam down toward the black object. The closer she came however, the more resistance she felt, until she her breath came in labored gasps, and her hooves strained and struggled to reach just those last few meters to her goal.

At this close, she could now see that it wasn't just the mysterious seed shaped like object that was down here. Wrapped tightly around apple sized shape were spiny black tendrils with large suckers firmly grasping the black seed like a drowning sailor to driftwood. The breath was being crushed from her body now, just one meter away.

Half a meter, vision blurring, the world growing dark around her.

Less than a foot away now, but she could not continue, as the world was about to lose the last bit of light around her, she could think of only two words. Breathe, Light!. Wrenching herself back from the brink she forced her lungs to open, to gasp for air force, wanting, no making, her entire body obey her will and take in that life giving force. Light exploded around her, it had not just been her perception, but the whole ocean around had been dimming with her suffocation. The brilliance of that saving breathe made the tentacles from the depths writhe in pain. Still, they were firmly clasped to the dark seed, refusing to relinquish it.

Again

Again Twilight focused with all of her might on breathing, taking in the greatest breaths she ever had. Light blazed once again throughout out ocean, even stronger and steadier. The jagged movements of the tendrils pantomimed the shrieking of their torture, yet still the refused to let go.

Again!

This time when Twilight breathed again, it was not to fill her lungs, instead she imagined filling the ocean itself, of taking more and more in to pour into this infinite expanse of light and water. This time the entire ocean became lit up like sunlight itself, all around for miles and miles. Unable to resist now the tendrils finally released their grip on the black seed. As Twilight reached forth and grabbed it, she noticed that with all the ocean lit around her, she could still only barely make out the bottom far below where those dark tendrils were retreating. It was a forest of black shadowy trees, more sinister than even the Everfree Forest could hope to be.

Now was not the time to investigate however, turning her attention once more to the seed within her hooves, she ascended back to the surface. Much to her surprise, the journey up seamed to be taking much longer than she had taken coming down. The farther up she went, the more the water around stopped glowing by itself, instead the source of light was up above, like a guiding beacon leading the way home. Up and up she went, and she realized she was suddenly holding her breath tightly, soaked through to the bone, and that the water around her was acting like normal water now.

Just a little farther.

With one final stroke she broke through to the surface gasping for breath, but her respite was short-lived. Before she had even finished filling her lungs with the first gasp, the whole world flipped itself around. The moon and stars were bright, reflected perfectly back by the unbroken calm of the ocean; which was sky and which was water? Not even gravity knew as she tumbled and tumbled with greater speed through space.

Thud!

Twilight slowly, delicately opened her eyes. She was lying on her back on the hill in Sweet Apple Acres where she had been talking to Applejack. Night had fully fallen now, and cool night air was a relief against her skin. Gingerly, she sat back up again, and noticed the prick of something hard in her right hoof. Looking down she saw a small black crystal no bigger than a cat's eye, and perfect in it's diamond shape. Smiling, she raised her hoof and brought it smashing back down on a nearby rock. As the stone shattered on impact, it continued to fracture itself apart, until it was no more than a fine dust carried away harmlessly by the wind.

Already, Twilight was feeling immensely better. Applejack didn't know it yet, but she had been much more correct than she had thought. Twilight really hadn't been acting like herself at all. She wasn't sure when, but she knew that it was Sombra who had planted that thing inside her mind, and because of that thing that she had been having all those inexplicably negative thoughts the past nine weeks.

Well she thought to herself, two can play it at that game. I'll simply plant a seed of good in his mind, and I'll bury it so deep he won't ever be able to find it. Maybe then we'll see his attitude turn around. She hadn't felt this good in weeks, not only had she discovered and destroyed Sombra's sabotage, but she finally had a way to make all her hard work finally pay off! Everything was looking up from here, now all she had to do was find him and take him back home to give it a try.

Finding Sombra at night turned out to be a lot easier than expected. All Twilight had to do was follow the sounds of agitated hollering. There she found and odd sight, Applejack up in the boughs of one of her apple trees. Ever stranger was that the tree appeared to have uprooted itself and was taking great crashing steps toward the Apple's barn. Applejack was protesting quite firmly against the bewitching of one her precious trees at Sombra who was calmly strolling along beside it, trying to reason with her that this way was many times more efficient than the laborious bucking.

Twilight's horn glowed brightly, and with two flashes of purple light, Applejack was teleported back down onto the ground, and the tree had ceased to move forward, instead choosing to happily root itself mid stride. Sombra turned toward the Princess as she loped forward, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. She had been gone for more than an hour, and he did not like the look of the renewed determination in her face. He had not seen that face on her since the day he'd stepped into her shadow.

Closing the last couple of feet with a strong bound and flap of her wings, pulled up short of running into AJ. "I think I'll be taking Sombra and heading home now, its high time we got some good rest!" Then in a soft whisper to Applejack, she thanked her again for her invaluable support. Without any further ado, she looked Sombra straight in the eye and said "I feel like taking a shortcut home tonight." With another blast of lavender magic, they were gone from the orchard, appearing in the bedroom.

"Why such the hurry Princ..." but Sombra never got to finish that sentence, for Twilight surprised him again by leaning in close, horn still glowing bright with the force of her magic, and crossing her horn with his as she touched the tip to the crest of his forehead.

Blinding, searing white light. The air was humming with the energy pouring through it in this white featureless expanse. Suddenly, static, stuttering and fierce, the silhouette of something else juxtaposed over this reality, and gone again just as quickly. Then with the mournful groan of two worlds colliding it reappeared in full detail. The sky was an angry crimson set against the blaze of an ancient and dying star. All around Twilight was an expanse of jagged obsidian protruding from every surface like crystal blades. Most prominent, was the colossal mountain that reared from the earth before her. Surely something so big could never exist! The mountain she had climbed with her friends to remove the dragon from it's cave was but a toy beside it; and in fact if she were to lay it down next to this monstrosity, that mountain would still not even be as tall as this one was wide! It reached angrily from the earth, razor cliffs clawing higher and higher into the sky, as if it were challenging the very rule of heaven itself, throwing its might into tearing past the atmosphere so as to finally scream in victory over the rest of the world.

So this she shuddered, is Sombra's mind. Twilight shook her head in an attempt to regain focus, she must find a place to place a seed of good in Sombra that would be difficult for him to find, while also having the most affect on sheer force of the rest of his mind. If this mountain represented Sombra's mind, then what properties of a mountain could she exploit? The rock, the density, the height? No, useless all of that. Taking her eyes from the daunting mountain side, she looked down at the hard rock beneath her hooves, and something she'd read about geography from her library came to mind.

Roots, mountains have roots. Though in this case rather metaphorical, the theory should still apply. If she went down to the 'roots' of this mountain that was Sombra's mind, she'd find the perfect place to plant a seed of good that affect him on truly the most base of levels. She closed her eyes and focused once again, thinking of below the base of the mountain. Take me to his roots.

The landscape all around her trembled once more, the static crackle in the air as the world blinked in and out of phase. This time it wasn't from Twilight breaking in however. This time, something was trying to break away. Rocks shattered around her as an earthquake loosened deadly boulders to tumble down and crush her beneath their bulk.

He knows. Then, with even greater determination, But he can't stop me. And with that, the world seemed to break apart around her, matter stretching and blurring past as she zoomed, down and down past the base of the mountain. But something was wrong, the world was nothing but bright blinding light again, yet she could feel herself going faster and faster. She couldn't stop anymore, she couldn't even slow down. She could only watch the forces she'd unleashed to bring her here to this deepest part of his mind took control, and forced her to live through exactly what she had been looking for. King Sombra's deepest roots.

The world was so bright and blurry, shapes were out of focus, and blurry at the edges. Everything was so big and wide and scary out here in the open that he started crying. Then he felt something holding him close and warm to its chest, and that something was speaking. Almost immediately he calmed down. He knew that voice, he knew that heartbeat. He'd known them his whole life. Feeling safe again he snuggled closer still, and then looked up to see his mother for the first time.

She was beautiful. Her amber colored mane cascaded from her head in a copper waterfall, with a single streak of ebony accenting its perfection. Her coat was a gentle purple pastel color, soft and cozy. And those eyes, looking down at him just beaming with love and adoration. He couldn't help but to smile back at her.

"Hello my little Sombra. How I love you so." Still lying in the hospital bed, she stretched out her right wing over him. He held completely still, fascinated by this unexpected sight, until she reached down and tickled him on the nose with it. Bubbling over with giggles, he reached out with all four hooves and tried to catch the wing in his embrace as it continued to hover over him, tickling him with its strange texture. Soon his giggles became bursts of laughter as his mother chuckled with him. To his young eyes there was no big scary world anymore, it was just him and his mom, and their love and laughter filling everything to the brim. That was his whole world, and nothing could have made him happier.

The memory flashed forward, Sombra, now a little foal of five years old, prancing around his father on the most exiting day of his young life; dad was taking him to his work that day! Sombra's father a stark contrast to the glimmering landscape of the Crystal Empire they called home. A physically strong and proud unicorn, it was impossible to tell the original color of his coat. Between the oil and smoke of the factory he'd worked in for 20 long years, he was stained a permanent splotchy grey and black. The day wound up being much shorter than planned however. As soon as they arrived at his dad's factory, his boss was already there, waiting for him with a small pack of security guards.

"Stay here son, I need a moment to talk to my boss, alone, to see what this is all about."

Sombra stood back anxiously while he watched his father talk with his boss. Soon talk became heated argument, and then became hollering and stomping of hooves on the ground. Sombra was scared, he'd never seen his father loose his temper. Not once ever. Suddenly the security guards jumped on his father and pummeled him into the ground. "Poppa!"

Hearing his son, Sombra's father immediately stopped struggling, and did something else he'd never seen him do. He begged to his boss "I'll leave without another word, nothing at all, please, just let me leave in peace with my son." With a grin, the boss spat on the face of Sombra's father, and then had the guards release him. The journey home was made in silence.

That night Sombra was lying in his bed, he hadn't had any dinner, and sleep just wouldn't come. Though she had tried to hide it, he'd seen his mother at the dining room table, sobbing ever so gently, and that image hurt more than even watching his father get kicked out of work had. "Sombra darling, are you still awake?"

He didn't answer her, he couldn't. But he nodded his head anyways. "Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry you had to see that today."

"Momma," he replied, trying to keep the tears from his own voice, "why did they do that to Poppa? He never did anything to them."

"The new manager didn't like your father working there honey."

"But why? Poppa's the hardest worker, he's never done anything wrong to anypony!"

"It's because we're different Sombra. We came from a land far to the south to live here in the Crystal Empire, so they think we shouldn't be here at all."

Looking directly at his mom now, eyes brimming with his tears. "But why Momma? Why?"

"Shhhhh, shhh, there now its ok sweetie. It doesn't matter what they think or do. We've got everything we need to be happy right here."

*sniff* "We do?"

Smiling gently, she slid into bed with him and wrapped him in a warm, loving embrace with her wings and her legs. "Of course we do honey, your father and I love you so very, very much; we're a family. Family means you'll always be loved, that you'll always belong right where you are. Family is the most important and wonderful thing in the world, and when the world is tough, with family you'll have everything you need and more to be happy"

"I love you Momma."

"I love you too dearest, I love you too"

The world flashed forward once more.

Momma had just gotten home from the hospital, and Poppa was smiling for the first time again since the day he'd lost his job. Their family had just gotten one pony bigger. Looking at the small pink shape curled up tightly in a blanket, Sombra could contain his curiosity no more. "Momma, what's having a sister like?"

Smiling sweetly just like she always did, she reached out a wing and pulled Sombra in close with it. "Well honey having a sister is a wonderful thing, the more you make her smile, the more you'll smile too. See when your sister smiles at you, it means she knows how much you love her, and how much she loves you. That makes it one of the greatest treasures of the world, so keep it safe my Sombra."

"Don't worry Momma, I won't let anypony take her smile away"

Memories flashed by in a blur now, of dancing, playing, and laughing. Sombra was keeping true to his word that he would keep his little sister smiling and loved. Now he was strolling down the street, it'd been his sister's first day of school, and Momma had trusted him with the very important job picking her up and bringing her back home. Chest swelled with pride that he would be trusted with such an important mission all on his own, nothing could get his spirits down. Nothing that is, until he came to the school yard. There he saw his beloved little sister pinned to the ground, crying for mercy as the older kids kicked and taunted her. "This school has really lost its standards letting washed up Equestrian trash taint the halls!" "Go back where you came from freak." "Scum like you don't deserve to live with us crystal ponies."

Sombra's vision went red with rage, using his magic he blasted apart the school yard fence and used its shattered pieces to bludgeon the bullies away. Their leader, older and larger than Sombra, charged at full speed, intending to teach the spat of dirt a lesson. Instead, Sombra used his smaller size and his enemies momentum to dodge underneath the bully and flip him onto his back. In a flash Sombra had him pinned down with his hind legs while he brought his front feet smashing down as hard as he could on the face of the crystal bully who had stolen his sister's smile away. Again, and again, and again, until he could hear the crunching collapse of bone and blood began to spatter, and still he continued.

"Please brother stop it, I'm scared, I just wanna go home."

The sound of his sister's voice broke him from his pummeling trance. "You're right sis, lets go, we'd better hurry." They dashed back as fast as their little legs could gallop, and as soon as they got home they told Momma everything. Sombra had expected her to hold them close and tell them how it was all going to be ok, like she always did; but instead he saw something in her eyes he'd never seen before, fear. "Honey!" She yelled to his father, "get the bags ready, we can't stay any longer!"

"Momma, what's going on? I don't understand."

"Sombra there's no time to explain. Remember what I've always told you? Family is the greatest treasure, family always comes first. Right now I need you to trust me when I say that we need to leave now, so I can keep my treasure safe. I want you to promise me something Sombra. I want you to promise me that no matter what happens tonight you'll keep your sister with you, keep her safe. Can you do that for me?"

"Yes Momma."

"Good, now grab some blankets, we're going to wrap what food we can carry, quickly now."

But they weren't quick enough. Less than 15 minutes later while Sombra, his sister, and his mother where in the back of the house were wrapping the last bits of food and getting ready to leave through the back door, his father went to the front to find anything that could be used as a shield in case of danger on the way. At that moment the door was smashed down and crystal ponies carrying torches, knives, and pitchforks rushed into the house. Sombra only heard his father yell "Get out now!" before the sound of clashing steel rang through the house. Surprised, his mom darted a look out the window, and the fear in her eyes only grew.

"Sombra, I need you to keep your promise now. Forget the food, just take your sister out the back and hide in the foothills. I need you to keep each other safe. As soon as tomorrow morning dawns I need you both to run, just run, keep going south and don't look back."

"Momma you're coming too aren't you, Momma what about you and Poppa?"

"I can't my angels, it's time for Momma and Poppa to protect our treasure. Now go, and remember, we'll always love you."

Tears running freely down his face, Sombra nodded his understanding, and together with his sister dashed into the darkness of the night out the back door. Running up to the crown of the closest hill, they paused a moment and looked back. Their home was surrounded by a mob of angry crystal ponies, and as they watched their mother crashed through the kitchen window and flew north, trying to gain altitude as fast as possible. She was carrying two large dark bundles, each about the size a young pony would be. The weight of the decoys must have been too much for her however; before she could climb high enough to escape, a rope flew threw the air and synched tightly around her throat. With a great tug from ten of the crystal ponies she came crashing down to the ground, her bundles spilling apples and cheese everywhere. This only seemed to enrage the mob even more, and instinctively, Sombra held his sister close, shielding her view with his own body as he watched what happened next. The mob pounced upon her, ripping her feathers out by the mouthful, then they threw the other end of the rope up and over a support beam protruding from the doorway to Sombra's home. From the crowd one stepped forward, and even from this distance his words could be heard, carried by the wind.

"For years we tolerated their presence here in our home, for years now we have ignored this blemish upon our sparkling village. Today, they repaid our kindness with MURDER! The spawn of this filth has killed one of our own precious children in cold blood! Let this night be marked forever as the day we cleansed this scum from our lands, with FIRE!" With that he grabbed a torched from a pony nearby, and used it to set his mother's purple flank aflame. Now screaming with pain, she was hoisted again by the rope around her neck, lifted up until she was struggling high above the ground as she burned alive.

It's time for Momma and Poppa to protect our treasure......Keep you sister safe Sombra Sombra, turned away from the awful sight, and looked down at his sister, trying to stem his never ending flow of tears. "Come on little sis, we're going to run now, and we're not gonna stop running. We gotta keep our promise to Momma, we gotta."

"Oh you ain't going nowhere" From out of the darkness behind them a crystal pony suddenly leapt out and struck Sombra hard on the side of his head, nearly knocking him unconscious. He watched with blurred double vision as the pony tied them both up and dragged them both back downhill. "Hey y'all guess who I caught trying to leave the party without even saying good bye?"

The mob laughed at that, a cruel monstrous laugh as he was drug to the center clearing along with his sister. In his dazed state, he could just make out his mother's body, now still, burning like a torch overhead. The pony responsible grabbed his sister from their captor, and stood with her in the center of the clearing ready to give another short speech. In the torchlight he could just barely recognize the leader, it was his father's old boss. "Ladies and Gentle-colts! I present to you the demon spawn that shed the blood of our innocent children earlier today. Let us send the both back to hell where they belong!"

Sombra could only watch as his sister, staring straight at him and flailing in fear screamed out "Help me Sombra, Sombra save me! I don't wanna die, Sombra help MEEEEEEEEE.." He strained with all of his might against his captor's bonds, trying to get to her in time, trying to do something, ANYTHING. As such, he was close enough to watch the terror and agony in her eyes as a silver knife flashed through the torchlit night, to hear the gargle as her scream was severed short, and to feel the spray of blood from his sister's slashed throat splatter across his face.

"NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Sombra screamed and screamed the word, so forcefully his vocal chords themselves began to bleed. All semblance of thought was destroyed, there existed only in his mind only the destruction of his world, of his family, his love. Everything was paved away for the sheer force of his hatred, memories of making his sister laugh and smile, of his mother holding him close to say "I love you", the very force of everything, all of it being ripped away from him was gasoline for the flames of his wrath inside.

For the first time that night the crystal mob felt fear and confusion, his captor even letting go of the ropes and stepping back. The very air around sombra was warping and crackling. Still screaming and without even realizing what he was doing, he levitated to a height of 20 feet off the ground. He had but one thought now, to release all of his hatred down upon them, to make them pay.

Sombra's scream was joined by the screams of the atmosphere itself, as black lightning blasted from his horn again, sundering flesh, stone, steel, and air. Where it struck land black crystals exploded forth, impaling everypony near. They screamed and ran in every direction, trying to get away from the massacre.

But it wasn't enough, it was still only the beginning. He focused all of his wrath on the earth now, reminding it of days long gone when it had belched flame and molten rock, pouring his endless hatred into feeding his spell the energy it needed. The foothills behind trembled as if from an earth quake, until they could handle the pressure no more, exploding outwards as geysers of lava, adding meteors of rock to the already potent destruction of lives.

This night all the crystal ponies of this small village would know the hell they had unleashed, this night, for the murder of all that he had ever loved he would make their whole world BURN!

Twilight could stand it no longer, having been forced to live through his memories like that, his rage had been her own, and she had to sever the connection before it completely consumed her. She was back in her library, as Twilight Sparkle, no longer seeing through Sombra's eyes.

Sombra felt it the moment the connection was severed, as he was able to wrench himself back from living the memory into dealing with the present. Nopony had ever invaded his mind before, nor even dared try. HOW DARE SHE? HOW DARE SHE! I'LL KILL HER, I'LL KILL HER NOW! and with a roar leapt through the air at her. Purple bands of crackling light appeared around him and locked him to the floor as Twilight's horn glowed, amplified by the power of the element of magic she still wore. Still roaring like a savage beast, Sombra struggled against his bonds, her magic keeping him unable to complete his shadow form transformation to escape them.

"I am NOT some weak and helpless mare Sombra!" Twilight cried. "And I am not here to fight you! I am NOT your enemy!" Then, with a soft and shaky voice and tears in her eyes, "Let me help you." She released her spell, the magical bonds dispersed. Snarling, Sombra reared up to attack her again, but he could not bring the deadly blow down upon her. Something in her damnable eyes stopped him, something that reminded him all too freshly of the loving eyes of his mother and sister, long since passed. He roared, shaking his head to clear the images and try again, but still he could not strike her down. Instead he turned around and pounded down the stairs, where Twilight heard a mighty crack-a-boom, followed by another, and another, as Sombra vented his pain on the walls of her basement.

Meanwhile, Twilight could only collapse to the floor, sobbing hysterically as the emotional weight of living through Sombra's greatest love and pain came crashing down upon her. Crying harder than she had with Applejack that evening until she was so utterly and completely spent that her mind drifted off to sleep to the rhythm of the thunder in her basement.