• Published 26th Dec 2013
  • 18,630 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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7) A way of Thinking: Part I

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
~Henry David Thoreau

Dawn cracked the first rays of sunlight through Twilight's open window as birds chirped in happy ignorance of last night's events. She slowly opened her crusty eyes to find she was no longer on the floor, but tucked in to her bed instead. Confused she sat up to look around for Sombra, whose bed did not seem to have been slept in, but instantly regretted it. Her whole body was a tense ball of muscle, and worst of all was the pain in her chest. The memories had been so real, the emotions so raw and powerful, that it had wracked her whole body, her heart worst of all; yet somehow she felt, she knew, that while the rest of her tension would be gone before long, that it would take something more than mere time to relieve the pains in her chest.

Remembering that Sombra had last been beating up the basement, Twilight clambered from her bed and slowly walked downstairs to see if he had fallen asleep down there, trying her hardest not to make even the slightest of sounds in case he had not awoken yet. She didn't want to really face him yet, the memories, his memories, were still too fresh in her mind, and she didn't know how to handle them yet herself, let alone what to say to the pony she'd just made relive what was probably the most horrendous moments of his lifetime.

She froze halfway down the staircase, luck it would seem, was not on her side today. Sombra was sitting in the main room of the library, just sitting there and staring at a picture on the wall; the one of twilight surrounded by all of her beloved friends, smiling brighter than ever at the bliss of their company. Even more unusual, was that Twilight could actually see the soft grey of Sombra's coat, and the way his long mane fell across his back, as untamed as a lion. For the first time, ever, Twilight was seeing Sombra without his armor. Not only that but the red flowing cape, and even his obsidian crown that he always wore; everything was gone, leaving Sombra, just Sombra, sitting down below.

"I see you've awoken", he said calmly, without even turning to look at her on the staircase.

Twilight blushed at this, abashed that she'd been caught sneaking, and quickly descended the rest of the stairway to stand slightly behind him, and to his right. She found herself very nervous beside him, unsure of how he would react, made only worse by the fact that he was so calm right now. His voice wasn't even echoing with its usual malice or contempt. Instead it was a deep, gentle tone that reminded her of almost like the purr of a large jungle cat. The fur along her back stood up a little as it sent a tickling sensation down her spine; her blush becoming redder as she realized how her body was reacting, and redder still at her blushing for it. Thankfully Sombra spared her from further self reflection by speaking once again.

"Its been 3000 years since last their memories lived in my heart. Dozens of lifetimes spent slowly forgetting that they had even existed; forging my darkness in the fires of my own hatred for naught but its own sake, century after century." He turned to look at her now. "Until last night."

Twilight wasn't sure which caught her more off guard, his words, or the fact that she could see his natural eye color now. Green was replaced by the natural white, and his pupils were a stunning ruby. She chose not to mention it, instead committing to memory the change, feeling that it could prove important as she continued to work with him. "How could you forget, that?" She said with a shudder, barely whispering the last word.

Looking back at the picture on her wall, he paused for several moments, letting the silence between them drag out just long enough for Twilight to shift slightly in discomfort, wondering if he was actually going to answer or not. Finally he said, "You should be dead right now. Your carcass should have been lying shattered beneath my hooves, but instead you dared do what nopony had ever done before, and now you've lived to tell the tale for it."

Looking directly at her once again, he continued, "I once considered you nothing more than a pawn, lucky enough to have somehow managed to make it to the other side of the board to turn into a queen. At best you were a nuisance to carefully trap and capture. I see now that you have the potential to be one of the players, though naivety keeps you trapped to your distinctly colored squares."

"You were never willing to give reformation a chance at all were you? It was all just a ploy from the very beginning to get close to me, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. You wanted to wear me down with that magic you placed in my mind so that when the time came, you could disable the power of the elements combining."

Sombra grinned at this. "Naive yes, but a quick learner. But do not be so modest Twilight, if I wanted to stop the element's of harmony combining I could have quite easily removed one of your friends from play at the very beginning. Now why didn't I do that?"

"Because I wouldn't have allowed it!" She cried out angrily, "Because, ....." and then the memories from last night came flooding back to her once more, of the power young Sombra had erupted with, and her voice immediately softened. "Because you know exactly what that can do to a pony."

Sombra's smile disappeared, his features hardening like granite. "And so that brings us to our current impasse. You remain an obstacle to my rightful throne, and now you know that your mission has been in vain from the very beginning. But I can be patient, since this endeavor is proving fruitless its time I left to employ other strategies. Goodbye Twilight Sparkle, I look forward to meeting you again, where we shall see which of us is the greater unicorn." With that he stood up and turned to his pile of armor in the far corner, getting ready to depart.

"Last night was not in vain" said Twilight, her voice still barely above a whisper.

Sombra froze in his tracks, his back to her. He did not move, did not utter a word, he simply stood there, waiting.

"Terrible things happen to good ponies Sombra, you and I both know now that deep down you're still the same colt that loved his family more than anything in the world. You can be him again, let me help you."

Sombra whirled around, his eyes once again green and smoking with anger. "Do not presume that you can understand me from your silly peeping, whelp! You who do not even know enough about the path that you have chosen to walk, can not possibly hope to understand the steps I have taken! I am King Sombra! Do not think you can lecture me on what is right and wrong; nor persuade me with your puny experience to abandon the life I have chosen!"

Now Twilight stood and stared Sombra straight in the eyes, challenging him. "Then MAKE me understand!"

Sombra blinked in confused surprise, the hatred draining once more from his eyes to leave them ruby and white once more.

"Make me understand the choices you have made, and why! Teach me to see from your eyes, to wield and think with your black magic. Then, when all of that is done, when there is no doubt in your mind that I can truly know your perspective, then you will take my words and my guidance to heart. Then you can trust me to bring you out of the darkness."

This mare really is full of surprises. "You know not what you ask for child."

"I know that love and light will always be right, and I know that there is still love inside of you. I intend to bring it out and show you how to share it with the world."

Sombra shook his head. If he humored the princess, there would be a strong chance that the dark magic would consume her; but she had also proven consistently unpredictable and competent. There was just as strong a chance that she could use the knowledge of the dark arts to exploit it's weaknesses. It was just too risky, he could never consider it. Yet something forced him to stay. He was hungrier than ever to understand this mare now, he could not just simply walk away anymore.

"You are a fool Twilight Sparkle, but very well. We start your training in an hour. Luckily, your basement has recently gone under renovation. With some refinement, it will make for the perfect place to practice."

Twilight nodded once, determination fierce in her eyes, to show that she understood. He simply shook his head once more, then brushed past her, descending into the basement to begin the "refinement".

Twilight only relaxed when she heard the sound of his hooves disappear on the stairs, the air vacating her lungs in a large whoosh. She hadn't realized it but she'd been holding her breath since she had asked Sombra to teach her; and now that he had agreed to her crazy proposal, she found a tiny part of herself wondering if she had bitten off more than she could chew.

"Thump Thump Thump!

Twilight jumped like a foal caught with their hoof stuck in the cookie jar at the sound of somepony knocking on her door. She cracked it open just far enough to sneak her head out and peer at who it was outside. As soon as the door was open wide enough, a small green and purple dragon dashed inside and hugged her leg tightly.

"Twilight! We were so worried about you! Rarity and I ran into Applejack this morning who told us about what happened at Sweet Apple Acres and I looked at Rarity and I said oh my gosh the sounds we heard last night must have come from Twilight's house with all the thunder without clouds in the sky and the earth shaking and then Rarity agreed I must be right only powerful unicorn magic would explain that and then I knew it must mean there was a fight but you didn't call our friends to use the elements so what if you didn't have a chance to use the elements what if you were too surprised or had lost already before you had the chance and you were hurt what if you were dying and we would have been to late and...."

Twilight shushed him with a hoof, both to stop poor Spike from working himself into any more of a panic, and also so that the baby dragon could have a chance to breath. Rarity and Applejack had now walked inside, and while both were obviously relieved, she could tell her friends were still very worried for her. "It's alright, really I'm fine see? Nothing happened to me."

"That there door don't look like it would agree with ya Sugarcube."

"Huh, what door do you mean Applejack?"

The orange pony stalked over to the middle of the room and picked up a heat-warped metal handle, still attached to a small chunk of shattered wood. Twilight's mind raced, she hadn't noticed any doors missing. But wait, she hand't looked at her basement yet, the fist boom from last night must have been the untimely demise of the door leading downstairs.

"Huh? I mean um, uh oh yes of course that door. You see I had a talk with Sombra last night to try and get him to, um, be more agreeable with ponies! And uh, well he got a little cross about that and decided to vent a little bit in the basement." It was close enough to the truth of what actually happened, so Twilight rationalized that she need not feel too guilty about hiding the rest from her friends. There was no way they could see what she had seen, she couldn't put them through all of that. No, for the safety of her friends she would have to be the only one to have lived through those memories. Unfortunately that meant that they wouldn't be able to understand the reason for the risk she was taking; if they found out what she'd agreed to this morning, they'd think she'd gone off the deep end.

Wrapping her hoof around Applejack and guiding her toward the door she continued "But not to worry, we'll be getting all the damage repaired, so much to do so little time haha!" Having successfully herded her friends outside, she was about to quickly close the door when Spike said one last thing. "Just be careful Twilight, and don't hesitate to call for help. I don't know what I'd do without you."

His words jabbed into her heart and twisted, her guilt multiplying from the secret she had to keep. "I don't know what I'd do without you either, or any of you (referring to her two friends currently standing behind Spike) in my life. I promise to be careful and stay safe." And with that, she gently closed the door on her friends, as much to shut them out as to hide the shame in her eyes. She sincerely hoped that she could keep that promise.

Meanwhile in the Crystal Empire

"Thank you for accommodating us on such short notice Princess Cadence, Prince Shining."

"Not at all Celestia, Shining and I are glad to help any way we can. How long will you and Princess Luna be staying for?"

"It is impossible to say Cadence, it could be weeks or even many months. Our task will require delicate balance and precision if we are to succeed. How soon can you be ready to join us? We must begin at once."

"I'll be ready in an hour, after that Shining will be fully set up and ready to deal with all of the Crystal Empire's royal duties on his own."

"Go quickly then. We shall await your return Cadence."

As Cadence and Shining Armor dashed off to complete their preparations, Princess Luna surveyed the room they were standing in; it was large and circular, completely featureless and smooth. In the very center of the room was a giant crystal fragment, perhaps 20 meters tall and 2 meters wide at its thickest point. It floated ominously above the center of a specially designed diagram 50 meters in diameter itself. It consisted of one giant circle, around which wrapped three connected ovals to form a peculiar triangle. A Triquetra her sister had called it. There were no torches to light this room, for there was no need, the Triquetra itself pulsed with a soft white light, that while not bright to look at, filled the room with a soft dusky atmosphere, throwing their fuzzy shadows up to the domed, windowless ceiling to play.

"Sister do you not trust the elements with their task?"

"No Luna, I have the utmost faith in them, and in Twilight especially. It is Sombra himself that I do not trust."

Celestia gave the floating crystal a steely glare of determination. "Twice now sister, has Sombra been utterly defeated. Twice now he has risen again, stronger than ever before. Should Twilight and her friends fail, or become endangered, we will have to act immediately; and this time Luna, this time we shall be prepared."