• 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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25. Things Go To Tartarus

Every mare was currently sitting in a circle as they each spoke about news in their lives, so mostly gossip. No pony had really set it up, they all just sort of circled around on their own, even the princesses. For Sombra who was definitely not used to this much social interaction, he simply stayed back a few feet and looked at the crowd of mares talking.

"Mares, they can go on for hours, am I right?" Discord asked, again floating around Sombra as if swimming in the air. The dark stallion sighed and figured it best to humor the draconequus in his friendship.

"I would not know, I do not exactly spend a lot of time with mares."

"Liar." Discord teased as he maneuvered his way around Sombra without touching him but just close enough to bother him. "Fluttershy has told me all about your little misadventure here in Ponyville and I must say, not even I wouldn't have thought of doing half the stunts you pulled!"

"Spare me the lecture." Sombra said turning away.

"You misunderstand, I am praising your work! Seriously though, you must have got it rough, I suppose now that another has been reformed I can compare mine and say it wasn't so bad."

"I am not reformed." Sombra responded almost spiteful. He wasn't sure why it was bothering him so much that every pony kept commenting on how much more 'good' he was. Even he would say he was reformed, but somewhere deep in his heart told him otherwise. He wasn't there, wasn't good.

"Sorry Ah'm late ya'll!" Applejack shouted out as she ran over to the group of mostly mares all enjoying the sun and basking in each other's company.

"It's no problem at all." Twilight responded as she waved at her friend whom was joining them.

"Ah was just caught up on some chores, finished as quick as Ah could to get here."

"Don't worry dear Applejack." Discord said as he found a new pony to mess with. "You haven't missed much at all, it's been all talk and gossip." He said as he 'swam' her way, causing the mare to narrow her eyes in annoyance.

"Who invited Discord?"

"I did." Fluttershy proclaimed with a gentle smile, oblivious to the tone of grimace her friend projected. "He was visiting when Twilight came over so I decided to bring him along."

"Goodie..." Applejack said as she came close to the group to join in their chat. As Discord made his way back to the only other male in the group, Sombra began to count.

"One...two...three.......five?" He said as he counted off the elements. "Where is the sixth element of harmony?" Sombra asked the Draconequus who could only answer with a shrug.

"You mean Rainbow Dash?" Twilight asked out, overhearing Sombra. "She had some stuff to do with the Wonderbolts so she's out of town."

"I see, I remember reading about these 'Wonderbolts.' Created soon after the Banishment of Nightmare moon, no? I'm surprised to see how quickly every pony race responded to the call as the E.U.P Guard."

"We were not so surprised. We did almost become the cause of a catastrophe."

"Still, the crystal guards had few recruits whom most almost felt like they had to join, not out of choice or some sort of morality."

"Simply put, you relationship with a guard force was that of survivalbility and necessity, the E.U.P. was born for a sense of security. Quite different if thou asks Us."

"I suppose you have a point..."

As Luna and Sombra continued their conversation, every pony listened in, all except Rarity whom had ignited the seed of suspicion in Pinkie. That is not to say it was without cause, clearly they had something going on. Looking around, the white mare quickly and quietly made her way to the lord of chaos himself. Whispering, he called out to him.

"Discord?" A hushed Rarity asked out only a few inches away from the rather bored Draconequus. Without so much as a word, Discord grew another arm, grabbing a hold of Rarity and teleporting both of them away, leaving behind stuffed animal replicas of each to 'fill in' for them. Being in the back of the crowd, they did their job.


"Yes Rarity?" Discord asked as he set the mare down, a silly grin on his face. Surprised by being suddenly snatched away, She looked around anxiously at her new surroundings. A wave of hot air hit her face as she saw that thick brown stone surrounded them as well as notice that the ground she was standing on was slowly moving and shifting.

"Wh-Where are we?!"

"A top a volcano of course!" He replied as a burst of hot steam divided them, causing the mare to become even more frightened.

"And why are we here?!" She shouted out as she tried to find balance on a block of stone which was floating in the pit of lava.

"Huh, good question." Discord said as he took a thinking pose. "I suppose this heat is bad for one's mane."

"You think?!"

Finding some twisted pleasure in seeing her so worked up, Discord smiled as he snapped his fingers, causing them to be transported once more. "How about this then?" Discord asked as he sat down at Rarity's fine and rather expensive dining table.

"Are we at my boutique?" Rarity asked as she looked around at the familiar scene.

"Where else would you feel more at home?"

"Haha, very funny..." She responded as annoyance bled through her expression.

"Now my dear, what is it that you wanted to talk about? This wouldn't have anything to do with how Sombra is getting so much attention from the princesses would it?" Discord asked as a monocle and top hat appeared on him along with a cup and tea pot which he began to serve himself upside down.

"No. Well I suppose yes, but it's-"

"More complicated?" He asked, raising an eyebrow at the suddenly rather interesting subject. Rarity sighed as she brought up the courage to ask Discord of all ponies for a favor."

"Discord, I know we haven't exactly seen each other eye to eye..." She began. Discord took the opportunity to pop his head off and stare blankly at Rarity whom did her best to ignore his antics. "But I would like you're help with something..."

"I don't know Rarity, I usually only do favors for Fluttershy, not that she ever asks for any, but I just can't go around doings favors willy nilly." He said as he went back to drinking his tea in a 'sophisticated' manner.

"Fluttershy likes Sombra." Rarity said bluntly, getting the draconequus's attention quickly as he spat out his tea.


"Yes, and like a good friend I wanted to know if Sombra is a good fit for...my friend." She said, stretching her statement to make it truthful but still on par with her ultimate goal in mind. "So I wanted to know if perhaps I could get your help in getting Sombra into some...questionable situations where we can see where his real intentions hide, hmm?"

"Why yes of course! I will not let anypony break my dear Fluttershy's heart!" Discord declared as he snapped his fingers, causing them to teleport back to the picnic, the ponies none the wiser at their little chat.

"Futher more I think that perhaps if the E.U.P. placed a little more emphasis on actual 'guarding', most of the events where the elements where needed would not have come up." Sombra said, getting about half of the ponies around him to nod in agreement.

"Buuuuuut~" Discord said as he began to coil around Sombra, still keeping safe distance from actually touching the stallion. "Then these lovely mares would not have learned all that they did."

"Discord speaks truth, each challenge hast helped them grow two fold." Luna agreed, once again taking the opposite stand as Sombra as they have the entire conversation and though he wasn't present at the time, Discord could feel a certain tension building between the two.

A plan soon began to pop in his head as Discord sought to play Devil's advocate, just making sure both sides had more pressure to continue the debate. "Still Princess Luna, don't you think you and your sister have been putting too much strain on these youngings? Surely you understand the dangers of allowing them try to save the day all on their own."

"Yes, back in my kingdom, the common folk should never have to concern themselves with the security of their life style."

"Still, these aren't just any ponies right? These are the elements of harmony." Discord continued to poke at them.

"Doubly true! We declare them more than capable of assisting in the salvation of their home."

"Assistance is one thing, but they seem to have been in the front line each and every time." Sombra responded, both he and Luna basically inches away as they stared down at each other's eyes. "When I was king I was the one leading my army into battle, not the other way around."

"Art thou implying We lack leadership?"

"No, I am simply saying your tactics aren't very safe for your citizens."

At this point Luna and Sombra were clashing horns as the mares around them gave worried expressions. Applejack waved her hooves as she tried to gesture them to calm down, but neither one paid her much mind.

"Now now. I think this might have been taken a step too far." Celestia said as she tried to intervene. As she spoke both of the clashing forces turned their leers at her, making her feel a chill go down her spine.

"Quiet sister, We are trying to defend our honour!"
"You've no room to speak when you're the pony behind most of the mishaps in Equestria as of late." Both of them said. Celestia felt a large drop of sweat slide down her head as she slowly back away, allowing them to continue their rebuttal.

"Still thy tongue, thou shalt not speak to Our sister in such a manner."

"Well excuse me princess, but I find it had to hold back when my own experience have showed me otherwise."
The ponies around them began to quiver as each one began to raise their voice ever so slightly with each statement.

"Thou is not excused! We shall make Our point clear before this is over!"

"Your point is plenty clear! And clearly you lack strategy in war tactics!"

"Would thou like to place thy magic where thy tongue stands?!" Luna shouted out in her Canterlot Voice.

"Gladly!" Sombra shouted out, though not as loud but equally confident.

Both of them jumped back a few feet as they took a battle like stance, each building up their magic in their horns but neither making a move. The atmosphere around them was tensing up as the ground and dirt shifted around with the auras clashing at their center. Both were plotting out their own strategy in their heads. Every possible outcome with every possible counter to each, perhaps one of the most intense chess matches either had ever taken part of.

Discord looked pleased with his work, not that he did much anyway. Still, it was missing just one final icing on the cake. He looked around as he thought about what he could do to spice thing up just a few degrees more to something more peaceful, after all, all he wanted was a disagreement, not a war. He snapped his fingers and stood back as his magic began to unfold and something neither parties could ever anticipate happened.

The ground beneath them began to crumble as a the once firm earth caved in under the weight of the ponies. To Sombra, it was no cause for concern as a simple crystal pillar kept him from falling into the rubble forming beneath them, as for every pony else, they each took to the air as most of them had wings, and Rarity and Applejack who to did not, were held up by the joint efforts of Twilight and Fluttershy. Still, one scream of surprise did not let up.

"Help!" Pinkie shouted out as she began to fall into the forming crater. Both of the alicorn princesses whom were free to help began to make their way to her in an effort to help, but something moved much faster than either of them could. Both stopped mid flight as they saw a jet of black smoke maker it's way to the falling mare.

"Diane!" Sombra cried out as he materialized himself into a stallion again to grab a hold of Pinkie. He proceeded to wrap himself around her as he did his best to keep himself between her and the falling debris.

The noise of falling rocks soon died out and with it brought the shouts of every pony as they called out to the buried duo. They all placed their hooves to the dirt as they did their best to begin their excavation of their friends, even Rarity joined in.

"Leave this to me!" Discord shouted as he held out his arm and snapped his fingers, causing the debris to turn into balloons and confetti, quickly revealing the duo, with Sombra holding himself up with what strength he still had left. Pinkie stared up at him, and though last time they were in such a position they were both flushed at the face, this time neither had a hint of it, instead they both had a mutual concern for one another.

"Are you okay Pinkamena?" Sombra asked as he sat back, allowing the mare to pull herself up from the ground.

"Am I okay? What about you!? Are you okay!?" She said as she came close to the hurting stallion.

"Never better."

"Oh my goodness! Are you sure? That looked like it hurt." Fluttershy added as she flew down to check on them.

"I've had worse."

"That ain't the point, ya'll could have been seriously hurt!"

"Goodness yes, what happened exactly?"

"We believe it might have been Our fault." Luna said as she flew down with her sister. "We took the debate too far. We apolgize, We did not intend for this event to unfold."

"It is as much my fault as it is your's, Luna." Sombra said, brushing off some dust from his head. "I said something things I shouldn't have."

"Please, allow Us to make up for this incident." Luna pleaded.

"No need."


"Oh Jeez!" Discord suddenly interjected. "First you two couldn't stand each other now you're all lovey dovey and apologetic, get a room."

Sombra's expression, though stoic on the outside, was nothing like it on the inside. He threw a quick glance at Pinkie who was still clinging on to him from their spot on the ground as he began to think of something to say before things became more complicated.

"N-No, I've no interest in mares at the moment." He said, trying to loosen the topic that was soon to ensue.

"Wait, WHAT!?" Rarity shouted out, as she quickly closed the distance between Sombra and herself. "Are you saying you go for the other team?!" She said, implying something that he was not too eager to hear.

"Is that why you've been spendin' so much time with mah big brother?!" Applejack accused.

"No! You've got it all wrong! I've simply not....looking for a relationship!" He shouted, trying to mend what was too far broken to mend. Sombra looked down at Pinkie whom had large almost teary eyes, then to Fluttershy whose expression was none the better, and finally at Twilight who shot daggers from her glare.

"Damn it, no, I didn't mean that either it's just..." Sombra said, shaking his hooves around, his composure all but lost at this point. Finally, he used his magic to pull Discord's head by his white beard so they might stare face to face at each other. the Draconequus give a cheekish smile as he began to sweat from the death stare Sombra was giving him. "If I were to kill you now, would any pony miss you?"

"Fluttershy would...you wouldn't make Fluttershy sad now would you?"

"I am seriously considering it."

"Now now, I think every pony has learned a valuable lesson today." Celestia said as she stepped close to lighten the atmosphere. The familiar tone and statement seemed to have made every pony calmer, even just a little. "How about we all go inside and get ourselves something to eat? It seems that the collapse of ground left our lunch in ruins." She said with a gentle smile.

Slowly every pony began to agree with her, and soon stood at ease as they prepared to make their way back home. Sombra let go of Discord and took a few deep breaths as he regained his stoic nature. He looked around at every pony whom had all lost interest in the rather strange conversation and he smiled to himself.

"I hate picnics." He said, his smile contradicting his statement.

Author's Note:

Celestia....I never realized how hard it is to have so many characters interact!

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