• Published 8th Apr 2014
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Shadow's Enigma - Note Sketch

With his dark past heavy on his mind, Sombra is put to the test as he begins a reformation process. Though his mind is no longer crowded with the influence of dark magic, his heart is none the lighter. Let the test begin.

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13. His Past Self

Sombra staggered to walk as his wounds bled out. His mane trickling down his face as he did his best to navigate the destroyed terrain, he let out grunts of pain with each step. The path seem to drag on forever as he slowly walked up to a group of crystal ponies on the edge of the empire. Every pony was speechless and still as the bloodied stallion approached. The crystal guards pointed spears at him as he came close, causing him to stop only inches away from the piercing blade.

"Code 1-F" Sombra barely managed to say as he soon collapsed and a loud thud was heard. The silence lasted no longer as Crystal ponies rejoiced and some medic came to carry him off. Mothers cried and soldiers ran to position themselves for the next attack. Though every single pony in Sombra's squad was killed, this was The Crystal Empire's first ever victory over the Changelings. The foreigner has proven that they can still win this war, and as Celestia as their witness, they swore they would now that hope had been restored.


Twilight lifted her gaze from the file she had been given. With a quick glance from Cadence, she stood and made her way over to her, placing the file on the table.

"Read anything interesting?"

"Just something about Sombra coming back from some sort of battle."

"It wasn't any old battle my dear." Agatha said as she pushed a cart of many other files and journals. "It was the very first battle we had won against the Changelings."

"Yeah, I read that too. What was that about 'Code 1-F'?"

"Since changelings can take on many forms and disguise themselves as any pony, all our military spoke in code. The soldiers were interviewed on a daily basis to see if there were any changelings, and on the occasion there were, the military would recode everything."

"So what did 1-F mean?"

"At that point?" Agatha asked as she placed a hoof to her chin to think. After a long pause her face lit up in a smile. "Oh yes, it meant 'the objective has been cleared, prepare for the next objective."

"So was this the turning point for the Changeling War?" Cadence asked.

"Oh no, but it was a turning point for our empire. You see, after thirty-five years of war without a single victory, we had already given up any hope of winning, but with Sombra, that hope was renewed. This was the first real moment his actions had affected our Empire."

"I see..." Twilight said as she glanced down at the stack of files and journals the crystal pony had just set on the table. "And these are?"

"All the other times Sombra had helped us live on as a nation."

She couldn't believe it. The stack was huge! By the looks of it, it wasn't even the whole things. Agatha smiled as she began to push the cart back to get more literature, leaving Twilight in awe. Shining, having come back from getting a peculiar journal, laughed at his little sister.

"Oh Twily, you have the same look as Cadence when I told her."

"Wait what?" Twilight asked rather surprised, having been jerked back to reality, she looked at her sister-in-law for affirmation.

"Yes indeed, for some odd reason your strange brother decided to look into Sombra, with Agatha's help, he found out everything Celestia knows about Sombra." Cadence said as she turned the page she was reading. "Shining became very interested in him after his little scout trip with Luna."

"Oh right...I still haven't told you..." Shining said with a nervous look. Scratching the back of his head, he avoided the glare from his wife.

"Honey....what haven't you told me?"

"D-don't look at me like that! Celestia told me to keep it a secret!"

"Darling...what haven't you told me?"

Placed into a mental corner, Shining cleared his throat as he tried to regain his composure. "A month ago a scout had brought back news of a shadow like creature being seen lurking around the blizzard mountains. You know, the peaks that are on a constant storm? Anyway, I immediately sent a message to Celestia and she told me to keep it a secret until it was confirmed. We didn't want the Empire freaking out over Sombra returning if that wasn't the case."


"So are you sure about this?" Shining asked as he ventured out of their tent. The blizzard was as hard on their backs as it was on the mountain side without any sign of it calming down.

"Of course, We vow on Our Princesshood." Luna replied as she too exited. She pointed a hoof at the 'night' sky. "We have not set in the night time in this part of Equestria, these shadows come from elsewhere and We dread to believe Sombra has returned."

"So what should we do? Want me to go get Cadence for back up?"

"No, neither Celestia nor Cadence can be seen action out of schedule. If even a spark of fear is ignited among our citizens, our foe shall increase in strength ten fold."

"Yeah, you're right. So what is our plan?"

"We will do as We did in olden times. At times of war We would enter our opponent's dreams and find a weakness from within their subconscious."

"Okay, so what should my squad and I do?"

"Thou and thou alone must to fight King Sombra head on. Sending in a group would only add to his power. Thine rather...carefree nature, leaves thou as an exception for his ability to drain power from the fear of ponies."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Shining interrupted.

"Thine task shall be to push him back, leave him in need of rest.. That is when We shall enter his dream and find his weakness."


"I had never seen Luna so... intimidating before." Shinning told Twilight and Cadence who were eagerly listening to his story.

"Why didn't Auntie fight along with you?"

"If Sombra knew that Luna was with me, he probably wouldn't have gone to sleep even if we tired him out."

"So how did you tire him out?" Twilight asked, almost skeptical at her brother's story.

"You should believe in you're big brother's ability to fight more." Shining joked. "Those years at the academy weren't for nothing you know."


Shinning armor slid back on the snow. A blast from Sombra had propelled him back a few feet. Their battle had lasted a good while already and both parties were getting tired. Another energy blast was launched by Sombra only to have it shielded by Shining's magic. A purple aura like shield appeared in front of him to block in coming fire and quickly vanishing for him to counter attack with a blast of his own. One of those attacks managed to hit Sombra, a loud grunt echoing through the mountains.

Sombra's irises were nonexistent on his eyes, completely over shadowed by the amount of dark magic escaping the sides of his eyes. The flames in full throttle, while his eyes were drenched in sickly green. Any pony could have been terrified of such a ghastly sight, but Shining seemed unfazed. The darker of the stallions began to gallop at the other. Shining prepared a shield to protect himself from the incoming attack, but to his surprise, Sombra simply disintegrated into smoke, circling around and vanishing into the dark sky. The remaining soldier panted from his battle before nodding at Luna who had been concealing herself nearby.

As she stepped forward, her eyes began to glow as she prepared to enter the dreamscape. "Thou hast performed very well." She managed to say before vanishing, leaving Shining to return to camp. The battle had taken place far from there to make sure Sombra would not get any power from the soldiers posted there, so it took a while for the wounded and tired stallion to reach their tent. It was to no pony's surprised to see that Luna had already made it back by the time Shining had returned. What was surprising, was to see her crying.

"What happened?!" Shining asked as he rushed over to her.

"Nothing...We simply saw Sombra for who he truly is..." Luna said before making her way out.

"What do you mean?" But there was no response. Confused, Shinning Armor followed her. She walked slowly as small sniffs were heard every so often, her tears slowing to a stop. Once she had reached the bottom of the mountain the Luna Goddess called out to Sombra.

"King Sombra, We wish to speak to you!"

"What are you doing?! We aren't ready to fight him!" Shinning cried out as a gust of smokey black wind appeared before them, and a very angry stallion manifested in front of everyone. Sombra's eyes were still filled with dark matter, only adding to his frightening appearance.

Luna slowly made her way to him, but was met with aggression as bolts of dark energy were sent her way. Shining quickly jumped into action, using his magic to create shields to block the attacks.

"Retreat Princess, we'll try a different tactic." To his surprise, Luna simply placed a hoof to his shoulder, telling him to stand down. Hesitantly, he did and Luna continued her path to Sombra.

"Please stop this King Sombra, Diane would not want this!" Luna screamed out. A statement that made Sombra open his eyes in shock, followed by screams of agony as he raised his hooves to his head. A struggle with himself began as the darkness around him began to circulate him in a very aggressive manner. "Believe Us, We know what it is to be controlled by a dark force, don't give in to its influence!" Luna shouted at Sombra as she raised a hoof to shield her eyes from the harsh out-lash of the wind Sombra was creating.

"You don't understand!" Sombra screamed back, finally able to speak. "I am the darkness, I needed the darkness!"

"No Sombra! What Thou needed was Diane! Please pull away from the darkness keeping thou in the land of regret! Thou cannot change what hast happened, nor can this dark power thou harbors within thee!"

Luna's plea only intensified the struggle Sombra was facing and in one last outburst, the dark power circulating him clashed against the mountain side, almost leveling the land mark. As Shinning and his soldiers stared in awe, Luna flew over to find Sombra under some rubble, beaten and tired, but still breathing.

"Leave me be..." He muttered as Luna began to dig him out.

"We too once wished for death, but a kind soul brought Us from the dark depths of Our own mind..." She responded.


"After that, Sombra was brought to Canterlot where he and Celestia held a very long conversation before finally having him sent to Ponyville for a reformation."

Twilight was shocked at the events her brother was telling. "What exactly did Luna see in Sombra's dream?" She asked.

"Dunno, I never asked." Shinning responded.

"So wait, you mean to tell me Sombra was only miles from the Crystal Empire?...and I didn't know?!" Cadence shouted out. Shining's ears flopped down as she ran up to him in a very aggressive manner.


"What if he attacked?!" Cadence shouted yet again. The married couple seemed to have began one of those unprovoked arguments and were soon nothing more than background noise for Twilight as she was left to her thoughts. As luck would have it, Agatha had just returned with more files.

"Say, you said your sister was named Diane, any chance it's the same Diane Luna was talking about?"

"Why yes." Agatha said as she placed the files on the table. "She and Sombra were very close, so by default, so were he and I."

"What happened exactly? The Sombra we know doesn't seem like the one I am reading about. What caused such a turn for the worse?"

The smile on the crystal pony began to fade as she thought about it. "The War was hard on all of us...but I think it was the hardest on Sombra. That is all I am going to say, I don't think it is my place to tell you. Ask Sombra, if he wants to tell you, he will."


Sombra's reflection on the mug of cider held a smirk as he and Applejack stared off as they sat on opposite sides of the table in her home. Each pony with a mug of cider in their hoof, they waited until the right moment to chug the entirety of the cider down as quickly as possible.

"Ah must say, ya ain't too shabby."

"I too wasn't expecting you to last so long."

Sombra and Applejack said to one another as they waited for Pinkie to refill their mugs. They had already gone through more than half of Applejack's stash of cider, but it was completely worth it in her opinion. It had been ages since she last met a pony who could last as long as her at drinking other than her brother.

"Wow, you two sure are going at it." Pinkie said with a smile. She had seen Applejack have a drinking contest before, but never one where her opponent lasted more than half an hour. This was certainly a once in a life time moment.



Again they both gulped down their cider as the alcohol began to burn at their throats again. As soon as they both finished they sighed in unison while slamming their mugs down on the table. Both of them were beginning to feel the effects of the cider as their cheeks began to burn up looking like a strange blush and their visions slightly blurry.

"Woohoo! Here's another round!" Pinkie shouted as she poured them more to drink.

This was it, both contestants knew it. If they didn't manage to drink the entire mug in one session they would surely lose since losing one's momentum in a drinking contest meant losing the match. Both of them held onto their mugs as they stared into each other's eyes. Their glares burning at one another and if synced to perfection, both raised their mugs to begin chugging down the cider. Sombra closed his eyes as he felt the burn of the alcohol as it went down his system. Gulps were the only noise in the room as both became teary eyed. Again, in unison, they both slammed down their mugs as they panted out. Pinkie gasped as the glanced at the mugs, both contestants not losing their eye contact.

"Nice job..." Sombra said weakly.

"You too Sugarcube."

Both of them complimented one another before looking down to see the winner, and while both had left some of their cider in their mug, Applejack had only left about a fifth of the mug, Sombra a whole lot more. There was no need to go again, the winner was Applejack. Both of them leaned back as they finally were able to rest from their match, giving their throats a rest from the toxic goodness of alcohol.

"Wowie, how did you both manage to go for so long?"

"Years of practice." They both responded.

"You guys have to stop that, it's getting kinda creepy now..."

"Stop what?" Both of them asked.


All three bursted into laughter as the atmosphere began to soften.

"Ah can't believe I just beat the 'great and powerful unicorn' in a drinkin' game."

"Wrong unicorn AJ!"

"Same difference." Sombra said as he recalled the stories he read on the newspapers. "We both brought an Ursa the next day!"

Again their laughter echoed out, but along with that came a belch on the stallions part. He cleared his throat as he tidied himself up.

"My apologies, that's no way to act around mares." He said rather embarrassed. Applejack's only response was to belch out louder than he did. Laughter ensued once more, the effect of the alcohol has long kicked in and both Applejack and Sombra were laughing extremely loud and in an extreme exaggeration. Both of them fell to the floor as their eyes teared up from laughing too much.

"Pinkamena!" Sombra said as he suddenly stood up. "You, have probably been the best thing to happen to me since I got here." Having been the only one sober at the moment, Pinkie was shocked by his sudden statement and blushed on the spot. "Oh have I mentioned how cute you look when you're blushing?"

"Ain't she always pink anyway?" Applejack said as she stood up as well.

"I guess she is...Then I guess that means she's always cute."

"Ah agree, she is cute."

"Y-You guys! Stop that! Go home, you're both drunk!"

"Drunk? Who do ya think you're talkin' to? I'm your sister Applejack!"

"I thought she was your fifth cousin twice removed..."

"Details, details..." Again, some laughter.

"Any way...There is some truth to what Pinkamena says." Sombra said as he reach a certain level of vividness. "I will probably regret this moment tomorrow morning, so it's best I get to sleep as soon as I can."

"Yeah, me too, Ah have a long day ahead of me." Applejack agreed. All three ponies helped clean up and were soon on their way out. A quick goodbye to the orange mare, the other two were now on their way to their own home, in a strange kind of silence. Wobbly from the alcohol, Sombra swayed from side to side as he walked, occasionally brushing his shoulder against Pinkie who would blush slightly each time. She knew he was just drunk, so she didn't say anything, but something kept picking at her.

"So...Did you really mean it?"

"Mean what?" Sombra asked half there half in Lala land.

"About me...being the best thing to happen to you."

"Surprisingly, yes. I despised that you weren't afraid of me, but looking back, you were the only pony to treat me as just a another stallion, not one with a stigma of darkness on my head. It's kinda nice to have you as a friend." Sombra responded as he shifted his gaze at her. They locked eyes for a moment as Pinkie's blush grew in size. Unknown to Pinkie, Sombra was no longer walking oddly, instead, he was up right and holding his head high.

"So umm..." Pinkie began, but she didn't know what to follow it up with. She wanted to continue that conversation, about anything really, but did not know how. "What happens now?" She finally managed to say.

"Now, you go inside and sleep tight." Sombra replied as he pointed at the front door of Sugarcube corner.

"We're here already?"

"You sound disappointed."

"Oh no, not really." An awkward silence befell them as Pinkie was unsure of what to do.

"Aren't you going in?"

"Oh, yeah, I'm just afraid of making noise and waking the foals."

Sombra glanced up at her window which had remained open. He reached his hoof out at her and for a moment, she hesitated to take a hold of it. Ever so gently, he pulled her close, their bodies brushing up against each other. Then, Sombra's eyes erupted with purple flames, something that didn't seem to bother Pinkie in the slightest as she started into his crimson irises. The ground beneath them shook as a black crystal pillar extended upward, soon reaching the height of the window. Slowly Pinkie stepped off the pillar and into her room.

"Have a good night Pinkamena." He said before retracting the pillar and getting back to ground level. Pinkie managed to wave goodbye as the stallion walked off.

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