• 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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26. Finally They Talk

Sombra looked intently at the scene before him. Mares, not just any mares, but royal mares, were eating in such a strange manner. Before him sat the royal sisters and Twilight Sparkle whom were all enjoying what they called 'a hay burger.' With each bite they took their face would get smudged with a condiment they called 'ketchup'. It was almost like he was having a terrible dream where the world was upside down.

"Not gonna eat?" Twilight asked him, his tray of food still untouched.

"Umm, not very hungry..." Sombra responded. Truth is, he was starving, but like any time he ate out with a group, he would wait to see how the meal was eaten lest he made a fool of himself. What he never expected was to find that his particular meal was to be devoured like if a carnivore.

"Yar gonna need your strength if yar gonna heal up from what happened earlier." Applejack said as she spoke with her mouth full. It was not a good show of manners to say the least.

"Yes...well." He said, looking at Twilight gobbling down her food. His expression became one of grimace as he imagined himself having to mimic her eating habits to 'fit in'. "I heal fast. I'm already back to normal." He said, rotating his arm showing his full range of motion.

"That must come in real handy I bet." Discord said as he gentle grabbed a hold of his arm, with a light pinch of his index and thumb, probably the only creature who could pull it off at the moment.

"Yes, plenty of times." Sombra responded as he pulled away, leaving Discord with a jester like smile, only thinking of other ways to bother the stallion.

"So Sombra, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?" Celestia asked, using a napkin to become more presentable.

"Like I said, I wanted to speak to you in private."

"And just what is so private anyway?" Twilight asked, still not liking how Sombra wanted some alone time with her previous teacher. She did not think he wanted to court her, but was simply bothered by the secrecy.

Sombra sighed and looked down as he began to think through his words, but really, only one word needed to be spoken. "Anchor." He said, raising his head and staring back at Twilight. The purple mare felt her heart sink at the word, quickly growing quiet from her previous bravado.

Celestia gave him a confused look that was only met with a gesture to follow him. Sombra led the sun goddess away a few yards which was only to the edge of their new picnic area. As the two spoke, Twilight's friends all looked at the troubled expression she wore.

"Everything alright Sugarcube?"

"What's this 'anchor' that seems to have you all upset dear?"

Applejack and Rarity asked as their friend pondered whether to tell them or not. "It's um, something I need to learn dark magic."

"What?!" Every pony shouted out in unison, all except Luna whom already knew.

"Yes. I managed to convince him to teach me dark magic."

"But don't you remember that Sombra became a tyrant because of dark magic?!"

"That's what the anchor is for. It's supposed to be something to keep me on the right path and keep me from going mad."

The picnic area remained quiet as they all looked at each other fr a hint as to how they should react. No pony did anything though, just blank and worried stares were exchanged.

"Don't worry! Sombrie is a great teacher." Pinkie shouted out, getting every pony's attention. "I've seen him teach Dinky how to use magic."

"Darling, teaching a filly how to use levitation and teaching a princess dark magic are two very different things."

"That is not completely truth." Luna interjected, putting down her burger. "In both situations one is taught foreign techniques." She said, drawing a parallel between Dinky and Twilight. "The reason Sombra wished to speak to Our sister was to make doubly sure Twilight Sparkle is not taken by thy own darkness as both he and We once did."

Everypony murmured among themselves before coming to an agreement. With a smile they all crowded around the expecting mare and hugged her with all their might.

"Princess Luna is right ya'll, lets just encourage Twilight as much as we can." Applejack said from with in the dog pile.

"Can't Breath!" Twilight shouted from under the weight of her friends. Instantly they all stood up and looked down at their friend come puffed up her cheeks as she looked around at them, angry at the sudden physical assault. An anger that did not last long before she burst out into a giggle fit, her friend's care getting the best of her. Again they all gathered and hugged.


"And so I need some advice dealing with Sparkle." Sombra said, finishing his story on the matter of Twilight's dark magic training.

"Hmm." Celestia said as she thought. Looking over at her ex student, a gentle smile grew on her lips. "I think Twilight's anchor is right in front of her eyes."

"Truely?" He said, looking over at the mares embracing eachother and laughing. "Well perhaps you might enlighten me on the matter."

"You don't seem to understand the power of friendship just yet."

Sombra gave an annoyed expression as he glanced back at Celestia who had a plotting grin on her face. "What are you scheming Celestia?..." He asked, though he was almost too anxious to actually find out.

"A test of courage!" She shouted out.

"A what?"

"A test of courage. You place Twilight in a scary, dark environment and see how long she can last."

"That's awfully mean spirited."

"Nonesense, school fillies do this all the time for fun."

"Let me ask you this, what would putting her through this 'test of courage' accomplish?"

"Trust me Sombra."

"I've no other choice do I?"

Celestia did not responded, simply continued to smile as she looked at the ground. "You'll help won't you Discord?"

Though a little confused at first, Sombra quickly realized that the lord of chaos had taken the form or a small ladybug. Its sickly red and yellow eyes were the only thing that gave him away.

"But of course! How could I pass the opportunity to wreck chaos and not be punished for it."

"Great!" Celestia finished and began to walk towards the still giggling mares. Though Sombra wished to continue their conversation further, it seems he was once again dragged into Celestia's plan. He sighed and followed the princess. As the shadow of the duo reached Twilight whom was laying on the ground laughing, she quickly saw both her teachers and stood up as quick as she could, quieting down all together. She gulped as she saw the contrasting expressions upon Celestia and Sombra. His was stoic and more on the annoyed side while Celestia's was calm and regal like usual.



"Sombra and I have agreed that you must go through a Test of Courage."

Twilight looked perplex as she took a step towards the sun goddess. "Pardon me, but what's a Test of Courage?"

"Haven't ya ever done one as a filly?" Applejack asked. "It's a silly little game where a bunch of colts and fillies go into an abandoned building or scary part of the woods and see who lasts the longest."

"I...wasn't very social as a filly." She responded with a faint blush.

"But my question is, why does Twilight have to do something like that?" Rarity asked. Sombra looked over at Celestia for an answer since himself wasn't sure as to why either.

"Well, I hear Twilight is having a hard time finding her anchor, correct? Now as I understand it, your anchor is suppose to keep you in line and on the right path to keep you from succumbing to the darkness, so if we actually put you in darkness, perhaps you will find what your anchor really is."

Sombra raised an eyebrow. Her plan was really astute, it was hard to believe that she thought it all up in the span of the few minutes since he told her. He looked over at Twilight who seemed unsure about the entire situation.

"Don't you fret Sugarcube, we'll be right there with you, right Princess?"

"Of course."

"They are?" Sombra asked, shocked at how quickly she agreed.

"Well of course, roaming in darkness can be quite scary, right? What would be better than to have a few friendly faces to keep every pony safe."

Sombra was liking this 'test of courage' less and less his idea of simply getting some advice had been thrown out the window, ran over by a wagon and then disposed off in a bottomless pit. Again he sighed as he grabbed Celestia's attention. "So how will this work?"

"Well, Luna and Discord will create an environment worthy of a Test of Courage while I moderate to keep everything under control."

"Thou can place thy trust in Us!" Luna shouted, happy to help.

"Don't worry Sombra, I'll make sure to make things scary enough to meet your standards." Discord said, almost in a teasing manner, but Sombra brushed off his comment.

"Alright, but what of me?" He asked, confused as to his role in the Test of Courage.

"Just a moment Sombra." Celestia said as she gestured the elements to gather around. "Now every pony, I will now partner you all up."

"Partner?" Pinkie asked as she glanced at Sombra. "So we'll be in groups of two?"

"That's right. You and Twilight will partner up. Applejack and Rarity will also be a pair and lastly, Fluttershy and Sombra."

"What!?" Discord jumped in. "You're not serious about making dear Fluttershy take part of this Test of Courage are you?! And with Sombra?!

Before Celestia had time to responded, Sombra also spoke out his opinion. "Yes, I would rather not be partnered up with Fluttershy or-"

"What's wrong with Fluttershy?" Discord asked, quickly switching his attention to the stallion. "Don't think she's good enough for your standards?" He asked, getting really close to him, one eye open as it stared into one of Sombra's

"Uh, no that's not what I meant-"

"Then it's decided! You are to be paired up with Fluttershy!"

"Oh Tartarous..." Sombra managed to say to himself, while glancing out at his pegasus friend. "This can't end well."

Author's Note:

I know this is rather short compared to what I usually put up, but I wanted the actual Test of Courage to the a chapter of it's own. I'm already working on it so you can be sure it will be up very soon.

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