• 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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28. Test of Courage (pt 2)

"Hey Sombra."

"Yes Fluttershy?"

"Just wanted to let you know, you're a really nice stallion and you deserve to be forgiven like any other pony." Fluttershy said with a sweet smile. Though Sombra didn't actually see her smile, he could just hear it in her voice.

"Says the mare who was too scared to even speak to me when we first met." He replied, making the pegasus react in a rather comedic manner.

"B-B-B-But that was different!" She shouted, clearly caught off guard by his response. She began to talk really fast while turning around to avoid any teasing glances coming her way, no doubt he was enjoying her freaking out. "You had flames coming out of your eyes and you were wearing that outfit from when you attacked the Crystal Empire!" Finally she turned back around and saw Sombra starring at her, his king crown high on his head and his royal red cape upon his shoulder while his eyes set in a purple blaze. "Yeah, just like that."

Sombra, the real Sombra, who had just now noticed his friend was no longer walking next to him, turned around to see a mirror image of himself standing in front of Fluttershy. His eyes widened as he saw what he once was: The Tyrant King. Without hesitation, Sombra leap over his double and stood between him and the yellow mare.

"S-Sombra? There are two of you?" She questioned, but no answer came from the dark stallion who was too busy glaring at...himself.

Sombra was fighting in internal battle, one that he never thought he'd come across in his long life. Without a second thought, he unleashed his purple flames and summoned crystal spikes as warning fire for his double. "Leave. Now." He shouted at the Tyrant King to which he only got a chuckle as a response.

"You dare order me around peasant? I am King Sombra! Bow before me and I shall spare your life maybe even take you one of my personal slaves!" The King finished with a chilling laugh that frightened the mare behind Sombra.

Sombra was angry, no he was furious. He reason behind it wasn't all too clear to him, but if there was one thing he knew was is that the figure in front of him was nothing more than a grim reminder of who he once was, a stain in the history of the Crystal Empire. Without any restraint, Sombra let out a barrage of skewers that extended from the ground beneath the 'King', each one impaling him and penetrating his entire body and holding him up in the air, each stab thrusting the shadow's double higher and higher into the air.

"Sombra stop!" Fluttershy screamed, finally getting Sombra's attention, but by the time he had reacted, what laid in front of them was nothing more than a corpse who had been killed fifty times over, each impale a deadly wound that bled out onto the crystal spike, slowly drenching the crystal in red.

Tired from utilizing so much of his dark magic, Sombra breathed heavily and gazed upon his own handy work, not something he was proud to have done, even less in front of such a delicate mare. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't wish for you to-"

"Just stop!" Fluttershy said as she pushed Sombra down. He was shocked at the amount of strength she could exert, but before he could react, he felt something cold fall on his face. Over him stood Fluttershy who had pinned him down, not letting him move in an effort to keep him from hurting himself further, her tears falling on him.

He was confused, but things began to become clear when he felt a sharp pain on his body. Taking a quick look at his abdomen, he saw many open wounds, each one mirrored to the ones he had made on his double.

"Please Sombra, please stop hating yourself so much that you attacked yourself with the intent to....kill yourself!" Fluttershy said through her choking voice. "Do you really hate yourself so much? Please....please...please stop hurting yourself like this..."

Sombra flinched as the pain began to catch up to him, the sort of pain he was once used to. Glancing at his body again he saw his dark essence already starting to reconstruct itself, and in a pained voice, tried to comfort the weeping mare.

"H-Hey, Fluttershy, no need to cry. See? I'm already healing."

"That doesn't matter!" She said, falling on the stallion and burying her face in his neck. "It isn't right! You shouldn't be willing to attack yourself so savagely. It just isn't right!" She said, holding on to his blood drenched clothes. "Why do you hate yourself so much?!"

Sombra, like usual, didn't have an answer. It's not just that he had a reason to hate himself, it's that he also did not have a reason to forgive himself either. He was at a stand still. He couldn't move forward with so much baggage holding him back.

"Please Sombra....Just stop..." Fluttershy said, her shouts now no more than a whisper and her weeping had died down to whimpers.

"I-I'll try." Was all he could say to the distraught mare on top of him. That's all he could promise her. If nothing else, he had to try to move on from the past that chained him so much.

《=●=》

"Pinkie! Pinkie!" Twilight shouted as she tried her best to calm her friend who had not stopped screaming her heart out.

"S-Sombra! No, it can't be true!" Pinkie shouted, her arms flailing around as her friend tried to shield her from the gruesome image.

"It isn't! This isn't real! It can't be! We're in a Test of Courage, this must just be something placed here to throw us off." She continued to try to reason with the mare, but mostly ineffective, after all, the corpse in front of them seemed like enough proof.

"T-Twilight's right dear." A soft voice said from afar. Rarity had been brought back to reality by her friend's screams and with Applejack's help, made her way to Pinkie. "Sombra took on an Ursa Major remember? There's nothing that can kill him." The white mare said, kneeling down next to Pinkie and holding on to her. Her sudden embrace made the mare cling onto her. The show of affection seemed to have calmed down their cries, but both still whimpered together.

Finding some relief in her friends finally quieting down, Twilight walked back and gave them some space. As she finally reached an adequate distance, she glanced up and felt her chest ache. The sight she beheld was truly horrific to say the least, but as she looked closer she noticed that something looked off.

"Hey Applejack?" She asked, waving her hoof to get the farm pony to come closer. "Do you see that?"

"A dead friend? Yeah..." She responded, not willing to stare at the scene for very long.

"No, look again. Sombra is wearing his crown and cape."

"And?"

"They were destroyed in his fight with Chrysalis weren't they?"

Applejack looked up again and paid closer attention to the lifeless body only to find her friend's observation's true. "Yer right! Sombra only wear the fancy clothes Rarity made him nowadays."

"That's right, not to mention..." She said, bringing Applejack close to help point out something. "Look, the crystal spike killed this...'Sombra', if this was the real Sombra then it would mean he killed himself."

"So what yer saying is that our Sombra was the one who killed this Sombra?"

"What else could have happened?" Twilight said, beginning to make her way to her friends, happy to tell them of her findings. But as Twilight walked away, Applejack felt a chill down her spine. She looked around the dark forest for whatever was making her feel so anxious, but the more she searched, the worse the feeling became. Thinking it was best to stick together, the farm pony begins to regroup with her friends.

《=●=》

"How are you keeping up?" Fluttershy asked, Sombra leaning on her as they walked.

"I'm fine, I can walk on my own." He said, trying to move away from the mare, but was quickly pulled back in with a yellow wing.

"Sorry, but you shouldn't strain yourself. Just lean on me until you feel better."

"I do feel better."

Fluttershy stopped and allowed the stallion to stand up straight as she inspected him. "Really?"

"Yes." He responded, but it did not seem to convince her at all since she came close to take a closer look at him.

"Well your wounds are gone..." She said, glancing at his stomach area.

"See? I told you I'm- GAH!" Sombra, however, was interrupted by a scream, one that came from him. Fluttershy had poked his abdomen to see just how well he had healed, but evidently, not very much.

"Sombra you liar!" She said, pouting at him. Sombra did his best to avoid eye contact with the mare as her rather cute anger fit made her capable of making him agree to almost anything. But in his antics of avoiding her eyes, he noticed peculiar in the distance, an engraving of some sort.

"What's that?" He asked out as he made his way to it.

"Don't you go changing the subject mister."

"Calm yourself Fluttershy and come take a look at this." He said as he sat down to see what seemed like a drawing of some kind.

"What is it?" Fluttershy asked as she peeked over his shoulder.

"An apple and a diamond..." Sombra responded as he stroked his chin in thought. "What might this mean?"

The yellow mare gasped as a smile filled her face. "It's Applejack and Rarity!" She shouted happily.

"How can you tell?"

"It's their cutie marks. And also an arrow..." She said, pointing her hoof at the drawing. As she reached over Sombra he could feel her weight strain his healing wounds but did his best to keep his expression stoic to no concern her.

"The arrow is pointed straight from where we came from..." Sombra said from under her, Fluttershy practically crawling on him to get close enough to the drawing. "But that means that they went in our direction."

"Oh my, they've probably seen the other Sombra by now..." Fluttershy said, terrified of what they would do if they found the corpse.

"More importantly, if we were walking in their direction...why didn't we meet up?"

《=●=》

"So are you really sure that Sombra isn't our Sombra?" Pinkie asked as she wiped away what tears she still had on her face.

"Of course it isn't." Twilight said with a smile. "Sombra is practically immortal remember?"

"Yes darling, besides you heard what Twilight said, it looks like the real Sombra took care of the problem." Rarity said as she helped her friend stand up.

"And what problem would that be?" Twilight asked, slightly confused at what she was getting at.

"Well think about it dear, what if instead of the fake Sombra meeting the real one, it had met one of us? We could of have been in some serious trouble."

"So I guess Sombra was looking out for us even when he's not around huh?" Pinkie said, finally started to cheer up from all her crying.

"Seems like it." Twilight said, giving her a reassuring smile.

"Ah hate to break up this touching moment, but Ah think we should get going." Applejack said, rejoining her friends. Every pony gave her a puzzled look as the fidgety mare looked around.

"What's wrong Applejack?"

"Ah don't know, Ah just got a real bad feeling about this place...Lets just go okay?" She said, already trying to make her way back into the forest. Her friends all looked at each other with worried expressions but decided to humor her. However, before leaving, Rarity quickly left something behind as fast as she could. Finally finishing, she ran after her friends to catch up to them.

A soft growl was heard from the trees behind them, eyes opened up as it got back on the move, slowly stalking it's oblivious targets. It was swift as it barely created a shadow in the already dark terrain. As it ran, however, it left a foot print in the soft dirt, a foot print that was beginning to be covered up by mist.

《=●=》

"How much further do think?"

"Not much, I doubt we walked that far since...the other Sombra." The dark stallion replied, still not willing to recall the little engagement he had with himself. A quick glance at his friend beside him and it was clear she didn't either. Again silence reigned between them for a time, not awkward silence or even hateful silence, but rather uneasy silence. Something was really weird about their environment. It took a while for Sombra himself to understand what was just to unsettling about everything, but he finally understood.

It was the quiet atmosphere itself. When they had first started, the forest made eerie and noises, there were creatures running on top the trees and eyes peering at them form the shadows, all the usual scare gags, but now, there was nothing. Sombra narrowed his eyes as he strained his senses, he wanted to find something, anything that gave him some sort of clue as to what was going on. Before he could think of something, however, Fluttershy's voice interrupted his train of thought.

"W-We're here..." She said softly. A whisper that he could hear plainly even though she was meters away. He sighed, trying to get out of his strange mood and looked around for signs of their friends.

"Look there." He said, spotting another drawing on the ground. He and Fluttershy stepped closer to take a look and noticed that it was drawn much more elegantly than the previous.

"Rarity must have drawn it this time, and look there's a balloon and a star, that means they met up with Twilight and Pinkie!" She said, over joyed to know that all her friends were alright.

"Another arrow, this time pointed that way..." Sombra said, turning his head in the direction they would soon head on. Fluttershy was so excited to meet up with her friends once more that she was already started to make her way forward, but Sombra stayed back a minute. Slowly he began to look up at 'his' corpse.

"I'm sorry." He told his lifeless husk. "I might have over reacted. I know that you're part of my past, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy that you are." As he spoke up to the other him, the blood continued to drip out from its wounds, a single drop landing on Sombra's red horn. With a deep breath he clenched his teeth as he once again used his dark magic, but this time it was to retract the 'king' from it's imprisonment of crystal spikes.

As the body began to fall towards Sombra, he closed his eyes and said. "I am breaking the chains holding me to you, I will surpass my past, and that means, surpassing you 'King Sombra'." Before the corpse actually hit Sombra, it dissipated into thin air, white shards of light exploding from his double and gently falling on him. As he opened his eyes, he saw a beautiful array of color around him, not just the dark shades of the forest and it resonated with he now lifted weight form his shoulder, he could breath easier now.

"Sombra?" Fluttershy asked from behind a tree. "Are you okay?"

"Yes. I'll be right over." Sombra said, hiding his smile from her. "I was just...making amends."

《=●=》

"Slow down Applejack!" Twilight shouted as she tried to catch up to the now fleeing mare. "What's wrong?!"

"Hurry everypony!" Applejack screamed out, she was in some sort of hysterical frenzy, as she looked all around she saw eyes glaring at her from the shadows. Those yellow, leering eyes only made her anxiety rise more and more. The more she ran the more she felt as if she was about to be pounced on by her aggressor. Applejack began to hyperventilate and her eyes began to tear up as she finally came to a halt.

"No...no no no!" She shouted out as she fell to the ground. Soft growls began to be heard all around her, only making her even more paranoid. "Ah don't wanna die." She said, her pupils small and her eyes wide open.

"Applejack? Applejack!" Twilight shouted out, trying to find her friend.

"Applejack?!" Pinkie echoed her friend, she too worried for the farm pony.

"Goodness, where did she go?"

"I don't know, but we better find her fast." Twilight said as she continued her chase, but to her discontent, she noticed a mist starting to build up around them. "Oh no, the fog is coming back! Not now! Hurry every pony, lets find her quick!"

"What wrong with the fog Twilight?"

"Things get super hard to see when the fog sets in!" Pinkie answered the question. "We got lost in it just before we met up with you and Applejack."

The three mares did their best to run as fast as they could, but no matter how fast their hooves seemed to take them, the fog set in faster than they could run. Soon, they were engulfed in white. Cold, cold whiteness. They couldn't see anything and with that, their dear friend Applejack would be lost to them...lost to the monster chasing her.

《=●=》

Sombra and Fluttershy continued their walk into what seemed to be an endless forest. The mare beside him seemed happy to finally be well on their way to their friends, but Sombra himself was too busy thinking about what exactly the purpose of this forest really was. Discord and Luna, why did Celestia want both of them to work together? Was it just so Luna could turn the forest to it's night time? Discord could have managed that just fine, so why didn't he? What was really going on? His thoughts were short lived as something caught his ears.

"What is that?" Fluttershy asked as she stopped to listen.

"It sounds...like a filly crying..." Sombra said, following the sound to it's origin. The duo walked slowly as they approached the source, after all, it could be a trap of some sort. If the forest could produce a doppelganger of him, what else would it do? Finally the reached a moving bush, the crying now loud and clear. Sombra and Fluttershy glanced at each other as they slowly got closer, and together they moved the leaves apart to see what was behind. What they found was a surprise alright, it was indeed a filly, and it was indeed crying, but what was specifically strange was that it was a filly version of Twilight.

"Wah! Shining!" She cried as she saw Sombra, instantly jumping on to him and clinging to him.

"S-Sparkle?"

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