• Published 7th May 2014
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To Be The King - Rinnaul



A brony cosplaying a humanized King Sombra finds himself in Equestria, with the humanized form and all the power of the Sorcerer King.

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Sombra: Crossing Over

I don’t say this to threaten anyone, but sometimes I just feel the world would be a better place if certain people were on fire.

Like that asshole who got me fired.

Got me fired, he’d be on fire. It would be like karma. I think the world owes me that much, at least.

I work at your typical soulless big box store – worked, I mean – and I was stocking whatever junk is popular right now in the Electronics department. This included a handful of the new PS4s, which were incredibly hard to find around here because my home town sucked. Our store was probably the biggest local employer, and everyone else was on welfare. So the welfare people came to our store and spent their welfare checks, then our company paid us just enough for us to not be on welfare, allowing the government to tax our pay and use that to provide our customers with their welfare. Then we took what was left of our pay after the welfare families got their share, and spent it at our own store.

It was a perfect little incestuous microcosm of failure.

Anyway, so I was stocking these things, and find what seemed to be an empty shelf section for them. I put a few in the case, then got pulled away to handle something else, because despite our criminally low wages, we were still always understaffed. I came back a few minutes later, and this guy wanted one. Okay, sure. I pulled one out and walked him over to ring him up.

“$399”, I read off of the machine (or whatever the price was).

“But the sign said $199.”

‘Bullshit!’ I could have said, ‘You speak naught but lies, for there is no sign there!’

But the customer is always right, so instead I said, “Sir, I just stocked those, and I don’t think there was a sign over there.”

“Yeah, there was. I can show you.”

So he led us over and pointed it out. Sure enough, there was a price tag underneath the place I’d put the PS4s, and it indeed read ‘$199.00’. Thing is, the PS4s were in a locked security cabinet behind a sliding glass door. The tag was on the open shelf, and clearly for the older PS3s instead. I couldn’t even see it standing up, because the security case hung over the edge a bit.

“Sir, this tag is clearly for the PS3s. The PS4 is $399 almost everywhere.”

“Oh, well, I don’t know that much about video games. All I know is this tag says it’s $199.”

‘Bullshit continues to flow from thy mouth!’ I could have said, ‘No honest man wears such a shit-eating grin!’

Instead, it came out. “That’s half the price, sir. I can’t sell it for that.”

And then he spoke the dread invocation wielded by every entitled asshole to ever set foot within a retail establishment.

“Could you get me your manager?”

Shit. Ranting aside, my stomach dropped out at that one.

I‘d been warned about this kind of thing before, after quoting the wrong price over the phone. My company really, really hates having to take the hit for pricing errors like that. Customer’s always right, so if they say they were told $20 for a $50 item, then it’s $20, and someone’s suffering for the lost profits there.

I was the one who put the systems there, which meant I was about to cost the company $200.

I could easily be leaving the ranks of the employed over this.

“Okay, give me a just a minute to find someone, and I’ll hope I don’t get fired.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble,” Entitlement Whore said, his grin never becoming any less shit-eating. “But I still want to speak to your manager.”

I groaned, hopefully not so loudly that he could hear it. Not that I was afraid of causing offense. It’s just that this guy seemed like such a cock that I thought he might enjoy knowing he was causing some lowly retail worker pain. Considering how the rest of the day went, he probably heard it.

It was almost as much fun as going to find one of my managers for this guy. Allow me to explain Pete and Wanda. Simply put, Pete doesn’t give a shit. About his workers, his customers, actually performing his job in any fashion whatsoever… Pete just kind of rolls with it. On the other hand, Wanda hates me. I have no idea why. All I know is that, for some reason, she insists on treating me as if I was suffering from some kind of mild mental retardation. So, of course, I go to Pete, on the grounds that caring neither for the customer nor the employee means I’ll have a 50/50 chance of walking away from this with a job.

And upon hearing my explanation of what happened, Pete made his decision.

“Well, if there was a price tag there, I’ll have to give it to him for that.”

Fuck.



Well, I honestly should have expected that.

I was reprimanded for pricing errors, and let go due to “a history of these incidents”. Wanda had this smug grin the entire time. I wanted to tell her off; let her know that she was an awful manager and not one person in our department respected her. That she was really just a bully who destroyed morale and was responsible for most of our department’s problems. That I’m not fucking mentally challenged and acting like I am is so childish it hurts.

I’d also love to have called Pete out on being lazy and generally worthless, told him that every employee we’ve lost who wasn’t pushed away by Wanda’s attitude quit because Pete doesn’t work with anyone when he schedules things.

That’s the funny part, actually. I would have probably wound up losing my job anyway, and it still would have been Pete’s fault. There’s this convention coming up for a certain tiny-equine-themed cartoon, and I was planning on going.

Yeah, I’m one of those guys.

I had already gotten my tickets and everything, all of it was paid for, and I put in for time off to go.

A week later, my time off hadn’t been confirmed, so I talked to Pete about it. He said to remind him and he’d look into it.

Soon after, I checked again, and it still wasn’t confirmed. I talked to Wanda, and she said I had to go through Pete. She even said it really loudly and slowly, while exaggerating her words and making hand gestures, because she’s a bitch. It took me the rest of the week, but I caught Pete. He said he’d get right on it.

When the schedule went up, I was scheduled for those days. So I went and found Pete again. He said he’d fix it before he left.

A few days later, it still hadn’t changed. I found Pete. Again. He said he’d just gotten done with it, and if I went and refreshed my schedule on the website, I’d see the changes. I went and tried it, only to discover that nothing had been done, and Pete had left for the day while I was occupied with that.

Finally, I cornered him and asked him what was going on. He admitted that he’d only just then gotten around to checking the time off requests, including vacation time requests from four months ago. Turns out, Donna and Lita had already both requested that week off for vacations, which normally isn’t allowed. In this case, it just meant there was absolutely no way I was getting that time off.

Tickets being non-refundable, and the total cost of my tickets plus my costume being more than I’d make working those three days, there was no way in hell I’d be showing up to work. I planned on just calling in all three days, since Justin and Chase get away with that shit constantly, but with my luck that probably would have gotten me fired anyway. So, I guess in the end it didn’t matter that I got fired, because I wasn’t going to be long in that job anyway.

Still would have loved to have left thermite on top of the vat the deli stores their old fryer oil in. An 80-gallon grease fire would have been a nice note to end my retail career on, instead of the smug looks, angry glares, and awkward silence I got.

Yeah, I didn’t actually do any of those things. Not even the legal ones like telling Wanda off. There’s plenty of reasons. Referrals. No burning bridges. Being kind of intimidated by authority (and for some reason thinking those two had any real authority). That my entire 16 years of education mostly served to teach me that I’m not allowed to talk back. That arson is a felony and you go to jail for way longer than you would expect for it.

Still, I tried to look on the bright side – getting fired two days before I left for the con meant I had two days to finish up my costume. I was doing a humanized character, in part because I saw some absolutely awesome fanart for him online, and in part because people who do fursuit cosplay honestly kind of creep me out.

I had pretty much everything together already – red cloak from an old halloween costume, pants and assorted other bits I put together with help from either friends or my mother, and armor courtesy a friend in the SCA. Only thing I was missing was a crown. I had a fallback plan in case I couldn’t find one, but after paying $200 for a set of armor, I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of getting a cheap plastic one and coating it in silver spray paint.

I had been digging through the local thrift stores the past few weeks, hoping to find something a bit more impressive, maybe from someone else’s old costume or something, but was having no luck. That’s when a friend in the theater program at the local college suggested asking their props and costumes people. That’s when I struck gold – or spiky, jeweled steel, anyway. There was this crown sitting on top of a shelf in their props room, and it was perfect. A steel band, lined with spikes, and set with a large red gem in the center of the forehead.

I was totally prepared to beg for this crown, but it turns out nobody knew where it had come from or how it had gotten in there. Nor could they think of any performances they had coming up which could make use of it. Which meant that I could have it, for free. First good news in this entire process. They even let me have this long, curly black wig as well. Good thing, since the one I had was kind of cheap garbage.

The next day, I was supposed to leave early in the morning. Of course, due to staying up “looking for a new job” (or “sucking at Team Fortress”), I’d only slept about four hours. I got my stuff together without much difficulty, and by the time I was getting into my car, I felt fine. It was looking to be a good trip. I’d even gone ahead and put the costume on – in part because I wanted to walk into the con already in-costume, and part to screw with workers at the fast food places and toll booths I’d be driving through.

But despite that good start, things to snack on, and more Mountain Dew than is probably reasonable, I started getting a bit tired after the first hour of the drive. I gave myself a couple light slaps to wake up – which I regretted after remembering the gauntlets I was wearing – and turned the radio up. Just another 15 miles to the next rest area. I figured I could pull that off.

Hitting the gravel at the side of the road woke me up. Oversteering on said gravel flipped me into an embankment.



At first, I thought I must have been out for hours. When I came to, the sun was directly overhead. It took me a few minutes of trying to process this through the worst spike-driven-into-my-skull headache ever before it occurred to me that I was no longer in my car.

Looking around as best I could without moving, I realized my car was nowhere to be found. Nor was the highway. In fact, I seemed to be deep in a forest. I groaned and pushed myself to my feet for a better look at my surroundings, figuring I’d been thrown from the car and somehow landed unscathed past the treeline. Though with nothing but ever-deeper forest in all directions and no sound of cars passing on the freeway, it became pretty obvious that something weird was going on.

So, as a rational person, my first thoughts were pretty normal.

“Oh god, this is like in The Last Battle, isn’t it? I died in that crash and now I’m in Narnia.”

I hold that talking to oneself in the middle of a forest after inexplicably surviving a car crash is perfectly reasonable behavior. It also drew my attention to the fact that my voice didn’t sound right at all.

I stumbled over to a nearby pond (okay, more like a largish puddle, but it was clear enough to be reflective, so it works) and got a good look at myself. And then, in stark contrast to the regal image I presented, I promptly fell back on my ass.

I was my costume.

No, seriously. The cloak looked like actual velvet and furs. The armor looked like it could stop a bullet, not to mention a sword. The long black hair looked natural, and a quick pull confirmed that to be the case. And more importantly, I looked something like 20 years older. In short, exactly like the fanart I’d based my outfit on.

I was just coming to terms with the prospect of spending eternity looking like a dark wizard when I saw a faint red glow out of the corner of my eye.

A curved red object was embedded in a tree nearby, like something had driven it into the wood. Something about it drew my focus entirely. As I watched, what seemed to be a small black flower at the base of the tree grew up towards it, the petals curving outwards and opening like a mouth full of sharp teeth. The vine creature stretched upwards and clamped its jaw around the base of the red object, but was only able to try to pull it away for a few moments before the red glow dimmed, and shifted to a violet tone. A sort of mist in the same color flowed down the vine from the red thing, wrapping around it like ribbons.

The vine snapped where it met the ground while the red object finally fell from the tree. Now that I could see it clearly, I recognized the object for what it was – a broken horn. The vine and horn seemed to be bound together, and undergoing some kind of transformation. The horn changed shape, taking on a jewel-like appearance, which looked a lot like the one currently sitting on my forehead as part of the crown. At the same time, the vine straightened, becoming a staff of black wood.

It wasn’t long before the completed staff lay there in front of me. I could feel a pull from it, like I was supposed to pick it up. I sat there, debating with myself as to whether that would be wise. I was pretty sure I knew exactly what that horn was. And considering my costume, it was probably even meant for me. I don’t know how it could have been meant for me, but no other explanation made any sense. Not that any of this made sense.

On the one hand, this thing probably had a lot of power, and that power was probably very dark. On the other, who said I had to use it for evil?



I shook my head. It seemed like something… Nevermind. I reached for the staff. After all, why not see just how far this rabbit hole goes?

As my fingers wrapped around the staff, it felt like my arm was numb and tingling with energy at the same time. It felt like the staff was electrified, and I could feel the power flowing from it.

This would be awesome.

Or I’d fall into some kind of destructive spiral of dark magic use, either-or.

Staff in hand, I finally stood again, only to hear a growl from behind me. I turned slowly, hoping to make the move look intimidating in case whatever had found me was intelligent, only to discover a diamond dog.

Okay, apparently I’m not in Narnia at all. I’m in Equestria. Which means it isn’t quite as much like The Last Battle as I’d originally thought, even if Celestia does make a good stand-in for Aslan.

Also, holy shit I’m in Equestria best afterlife ever! Minus the dark wizard angle. I’d probably have to play this carefully to avoid being blasted by the princesses, or fighting the royal guard, or getting zapped with the Elements or something.

I suppressed my first instinct to cheer and clap my hands at the whole idea, and only let out a smile that I hoped was grim and menacing. I turned my attention back to the diamond dog, which I now saw had glowing green eyes, like a timberwolf.

“You seek to intimidate me?” I asked, feeling appropriately badass.

“You gives us the horn,” it growled back.

“It is mine,” I answered, suspecting this was literally true. “What use would one such as you have for this?”

So sue me, I was talking as much like a D&D wizard as I could. It only felt right to play the part, after all.

“Give us the horn so he comes back.”

I pointed the staff at the dog, guessing what was going on here. “He already has.”

Of course, the epic one-liner was ruined by the fact that I didn’t actually know how to use magic. The diamond dog growled again and charged me, dropping to all fours in a loping run. I braced myself, hoping the armor–



Suddenly, my mind was filled with images of spells taking shape and magic being used, in so many different forms. And everything seemed so simple, so obvious. All it needed was my own will. All I had to do was will it and…

A slight violet tint arose at the corners of my vision. I suspect it was more of the smoke, coming from my eyes now that I was using the power. I became steadier in my stance, leveling the staff at the diamond dog and pushing my will into the red gem. A swirl of black and purple energy appeared around the end of the staff, then erupted into a lance of the same energy. The blast of magic tore across the clearing, bisecting a few trees, including the one I’d gotten the staff from. However, the diamond dog seemed to have escaped, as I saw no sign or it or its body.

There was, however, a largish hole in the dirt nearby.

Damn. I knew the things could pop up anywhere, and I didn’t want to spend too long trying to pin the dog down to finish it off. I kept a careful watch on the ground for a minute before a thought occurred to me. I smiled as I recalled more of the magic I now held. The staff regained its glow as I held it overhead, but this time I focused my power into the earth.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of crystals erupted from the ground all around me. Each one was only a few inches thick and razor-sharp. I made sure they all began their rise from deep beneath the soil.

I only needed a brief glance at the crystal spikes to locate a handful clustered together, streaked with red blood. I smiled at how easy it had been to defeat the creature. This was some impressive power.

However, my gloating was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a hazy, shadowy shape rising from the ground where I’d killed the diamond dog. I raised the staff, ready to defend myself. But instead of attacking me or running off, the shadow thing was drawn along a spiraling path into the crystal at the tip, which glowed briefly once again before going quiet once more. I felt a tingle in my fingers, as if power was flowing from the staff again.




Visions filled my head again. This time, I saw through the eyes of creatures throughout Equestria. Sometimes I saw the violet haze in the corners of my vision. Sometimes everything I saw was tinged with green.

I recalled the green glowing eyes I saw on the diamond dog, and it clicked.

That shadowy thing was drawn into the staff – or, more accurately, the horn – because it was the same power as what was inside the horn. They were the broken pieces of a larger whole, and they were scattered all across the land. Judging by the diamond dog’s behavior and a few glimpses I saw during the vision, it seemed as though the pieces wanted to reunite the whole.

But if I could use the horn to capture them, maybe there was a way they could be contained or destroyed permanently. I even had some ideas as to how. I mean, granted, eventually the dark magic was going to tempt me into turning to evil because of course it would. I’d seen Star Wars; I knew how this story went. But if I already knew it was evil, why would I ever choose it?

With a goal now in mind, I drew on my magic again, calling up a spell that would lead me to my destination. No matter what was going on, I knew the problem would eventually rear its head in one particular place.

Everything happens in Ponyville eventually.

Besides, it wasn’t like I was going to miss an opportunity to meet the Mane Six.



It was a surprisingly short trek to Ponyville. I arrived at the edges of the town just as the day was passing into evening, Sweet Apple Acres visible off to one side of the path. As I came up the path, I couldn’t help but wonder how the ponies would react to me. A faint noise overhead drew my eyes upward, and the vanishing sight of a rainbow streak through the sky suggested that I’d have my answer soon enough. As I reached the fork in the path where the approach to Sweet Apple Acres split off from the road to the Everfree forest (which I’d apparently been walking through), I decided the least threatening option would be to simply sit down and wait for the inevitable.

I sat, cross-legged, in the middle of the road for about half an hour before the ponies arrived. Well, Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie, anyway.

“See!” Rainbow Dash said. “Just like the things you told us about on the other side of the mirror.”

“Oh! Is that what they look like? Oh wow, I was thinking of something totally different.” Pinkie zipped around me, examining me from every angle as she bounced from place to place. “They don’t look like squirrels at all!”

Dash cocked her head at Pinkie. “Squirrels? Why the hay would you think they looked like squirrels? Spike even drew us a picture of mirror-Rarity.”

“Well, when Twilight was telling us all about them she said they had little grabby hands kind of like Spike’s, except they weren’t scaly and didn’t have claws because they weren’t dragons, and when I tried to think of things that had little grabby hands like Spike’s that weren’t dragons, all I could think of were squirrels!” Pinkie paused. “Or raccoons, but that would be ridiculous.”

“Yeah? Well, what about diamond dogs? Or minotaurs like Iron Will?”

Pinkie waved a hoof at that. “Come on, Rainbow Dash. If they looked like diamond dogs or minotaurs, Twilight would have just called them that.”

My joy at seeing this happening right in front of me, in what seemed to be real life, was offset slightly by the confirmation that Equestria Girls was canon.

Oh god, I hope this doesn’t mean FlashLight is a thing, too.

“Girls,” Twilight interrupted, “Would you mind not having this argument in front of a, um… guest?”

“Oh yeah. Right.” Dash tuned to me. “Sorry.”

Pinkie opened her mouth to say something, only for Dash to put her hoof in it.

“Pinkie’s sorry, too.”

“You have not disturbed me,” I said, keeping up the wizard character. I stood, and all three ponies’ eyes widened at the sight.

Sitting, I’d been at eye level with them. If I had to guess, I’d say the ponies were actually about the same size as humans, maybe a bit smaller. But because they walked on all fours, they seemed a lot smaller. Even in my normal body, the ponies would have been closer to waist-high. I was at least 6’6” in this body, and powerfully built. I probably looked like I could crush them bare-handed.

Twilight visibly swallowed. “Sorry, but you aren’t from beyond the mirror, are you?”

I shook my head and tried to devise an explanation.



“No,” I said at last. “I would be as alien to that world as I am to this one, though I suspect it may, in a sense, lie between our worlds.”

“Mhs mhn mhmnhn!” Pinkie said around Dash’s hoof, as she pointed a shaky one of her own at me. “Mhs mhn mhmnhn!”

I ignored her and carried on.

“I’ve come here for a reason. I’ve seen evidence of a dark power manipulating creatures here. Are you familiar with such a thing?”

Twilight gasped and nodded. “You know something about that?”

“Indeed. I may even have an answer to the problem, if you'd care to hear it”

“I'll take any help you think you can give us, but first, I think introductions are in order.” Twilight gestured to herself, and then the other two ponies. “I’m Twilight Sparkle, and these are Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.”

I looked between the three of them as Dash and Pinkie waved at me as they were pointed out, and decided how to play this.



“I am called Sombra,” I said at last.