• 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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35. The Grand Galloping Gala (pt 2)

Walking, ponies began to step back to let Sombra pass by. No pony wished to get in his way despite him not acting in any form of aggression. It was a strange feeling to have others 'respect' him enough to give him right of passage. However, Sombra was too busy feeding on their fear of self image to worry too much about what others thought of him.

The sun was low on the horizon as the day was coming to a steady end. The Gala was within the hour and it showed as the other ponies began to crowd around the courtyard, where it began every year before every pony head inside for the party. Following the crowd, Sombra stayed near the back. They soon reached the garden where many small tables were placed along with longer table which had all the small meals for appetizers. Any pony would have considered this the party itself. It was large and all that was missing was a small band of instruments to accompany the outing, no doubt that would take place inside the castle.

As Sombra walked over to the table with food, he had the itching feeling some pony was watching him. He brushed it off since practically every pony around him was glancing at him, not without reason, his eyes were in a constant blaze but he didn't really have any control over that.

"Sombra!" A voice shouted out as it came close. Surprised to have some pony call him out by name, the dark stallion slowly turned to look at the stallion coming his way. "It's so good to see you!"

"Do I know you?" Sombra asked as the running stallion came to a halt in front of him. His wore a bright white coat, though it was only showed on his legs because of his red and blue outfit, military by the looks of it. His eyes matched his mane, blue. The stallion's mane wasn't bland like most others, it held highlights of more lighter shades of blue, almost as if trying to compete with the brightness of the rest of him.

"Oh, well I guess not really. We've only met a few times. My name is Shining Armor."

"Shining Armor?" Sombra asked as he raised a brow. This stallion in front of him...was so completely different than he was. How in Tartarous did Twilight confuse him with her brother when she was a filly?

"The one and only! And you're Sombra."

"Yes, I suppose you know that by the newspaper?"

"Nope! By the files in the Crystal Empire."

Sombra was bewildered, just who was this stallion? He sure did have a familiar air to him, though he just couldn't put his hoof on it.He stared at the joyful stallion for a while longer as he strained to make sense of him. Finally it hit him, quite literally. A distant memory of a white stallion attacking him with energy bolts came to him.

"You! You're the new royal of the Crystal Empire!"

"Yeah! You remember me now." Shining said with a smile, coming close in a 'buddy buddy' manner. This, of course, repulsed Sombra a few feet back.

"You do realize I tried to kill you right?...Twice." Sombra asked the much too jolly 'friend' of his.

"Oh come on, that's all water under the bridge? I'm sure you would have done the same."

Sombra began to sweat at just how carefree Shining was. "I would have killed you on the spot if I was in your shoes."

"Well, good thing you're not in my position, now isn't it?" Shining said, his grin never leaving him.

"Fluttershy was right to laugh when I asked her if I was like you." Sombra said to himself as he got the drink he wanted from the start.


"Nothing. So tell me Shining Armor, where is the other new royal of the Crystal Empire?"

"Oh you mean Cadence? She went off to greet the other mares. You know, they are pretty mad about you leaving them behind."

"I had something to discuss with Celestia." Sombra said as the two of them began to walk towards where Shining had agreed to meet with the others.

"Did you manage to talk to her?"

"Not exactly..."

"Aw, don't worry, they'll be plenty of time to get to talk to her later."

Carrying his drink with his magic, Sombra and Shining made their way around the garden, the two of them looking quite strange next to one another. Like two sides to the same coin. Soon, their destination came into view as a group of mares and a stallion began to walk their way as well. There were only three mares, however, all wearing very elegant dresses and their manes in a very beautiful style, each suited to fit their personality very well. Rarity was the first one to notice him, and after a quick glance, let the others know.

"Sombrie!" Pinkie shouted as she was the first to run up to him.

"Sombrie?" Shining asked the dark stallion next to him before the mare managed to get to them.

"Don't ask." He responded before greeting Pinkie. "Hello there Pinkamena."

"How could you just leave us behind like that?!" She shouted, her cheeks puffed up in cute anger.

"I had business to attend to."

"I told you he must have had a good reason." Fluttershy said as she too stepped up to them, her gentle smile making him feel a little guilty.

"Well aren't you popular?" Shining asked as he nudged him on the side. His eyes told Sombra what he really meant by that statement, only getting an annoyed look as a response.

"Eeyup." Big Mac said, joining them.

"I hope they weren't too much trouble for you Macintosh."

"Not more than usual."

Every pony began to crowd around Sombra, much to his own displeasure. They all greeted each other, but out of the corner of his eyes, Sombra saw Twilight and an unfamiliar alicorn come their way. He could only presume it was the new Crystal Princess. She seemed a little nervous to greet him, though it was understandable, he did try to kill them all at one point.

"Hello Sombra." Twilight said as she pushed her friend towards him.

"Hi Sombra." Cadence said meekly.

Against the background noise of every pony around him talking, Sombra motioned his drink to his mouth as he responded before taking a sip of his drink.

"Hello My Love." As he spoke, the once noisy crowd around him became silent. He didn't notice the sudden change in atmosphere until after he took his drink. Sombra looked around at how he was now the center of attention once more.

"W-W-W-What!?" Cadence screamed out. The rest of the ponies didn't react any less surprised.

"How could you do this to me?" Shining asked his wife with teary eyes, rather comical for him to have such a polar opposite persona than his usual.

"I...It's not- Sombra! Don't lie to every pony!" Cadence shouted out. Sombra wasn't sure what every pony was freaking about about, but he answered as h would have normally, after all, he didn't see anything wrong with his statement.

"I haven't lied about anything, I was just greeting you." He said with a calm voice, not that it was helping his position.

"Have we already lost before we even had a chance?" Fluttershy and Pinkie asked themselves as they too gave sadden looks at Sombra.

As if something had been a joke, a laugh was heard as it came close to them. "Sombra, thou must not be aware of thine situation." Luna said with a giggle.

"I have no idea what's going on." He said before taking a drink.

"Take another look at thy words. One would presume a romantic involvement."

Sombra almost chocked on his drink as he heard Luna speak. "What!? No! I was simply calling her by her name!" He said, trying to fix the situation.

"What? How do you mean?" Rarity asked

Regaining his composure, Sombra did his best to ignore the stares of those around him. "Mi Amore Cadenza, in the Olden, it means My Love, Cadence."

"The Olden?"

"An old forgotten language. I'm not surprised you hadn't heard of it before, it was already a dead language in my time, and that was a thousand years ago." The dark stallion said as he began to give a little history lesson. "Like today, many ponies had name used in their every day language. Take Shining Armor for instance. In The Olden, he would be called Brillante Armadura, or in certain parts of the world, Armatura Splendente."

"That's really cool sounding!" Shining said, completely over the whole ordeal a few minutes prior.

"Yes, many royals tend to have names in the Olden. Luna's name literally means 'Moon', while Celestia's means 'A heavenly entity'."

"And you? I don't know of any word that in Equestrian that sounds even remotely close to 'Sombra', what does your name mean?"

"...Shadow." Sombra said, though a hint of melancholy in his voice as he recalled the name being given to him.

"Thy name suits thee well." Luna said, taking notice of his faint smile as he said it's meaning. "How about we mares take a delightful walk in Our Garden? We have been meaning to share Our blooming flowers for quite a long time now."

"N-Now?" Pinkie said as she was gently pushed by the tall alicorn. "I thought we could still hang out a little more." She said, glancing at Sombra.

"There shall be more time for such things later." Luna said as she turned to wink at Sombra. She was clearly just doing him the favor of giving him some time to rest. He returned the gesture with a half smile before being stared by the two stallions still left over.

"Well well well, what have we here?" Shining said as he referenced the wink. "You being popular is an understatement it seems."

"Eeyup." They both said with a teasing smile.

Sombra sighed as he feared he'll never hear the end of it. The three stallions began to walk around without any real destination, just looking around at the elegant scenery and aesthetics that were placed to make the Gala look great, it was no wonder why every pony wanted to come.

"So you're Applejack's older brother?" Shining asked, trying to start small talk.

"Eeyup." Big Mac stated with his chest out in pride.

"Must be hard to have your sister always in harms way, I know it is for me."


"What about you Sombra?"

"I've no siblings." He answered blankly.

"I know that, but you might have some family alive today, you know, generations still happen."

"...Yes, I know of a pony who is part of my lineage." Sombra said as he looked away.

"Oh? Who?"

"No pony I really wish to speak to."

"Oh come on, whatever bad blood you had with your family a thousand years ago, they aren't here anymore, you can find new family!"

"I'd rather not." Sombra said, still not comfortable to speak about the topic. Big Mac and Shining glanced at each other in a worried furrow of the brows, then, almost in sync, both smiled as a devious tease popped into their heads.

"Oh I see...." Shining said with a devilish grin, one that Sombra was already weary of.

"Where are you going with this?..."

"We understand what ya mean perfectly." Big Mac joined, getting on Sombra's other side as both began to press against him.

"Yeah! Instead of looking for your old family, you probably want to start a new family!"

A light blush betrayed Sombra's stoic expression as the subject quickly came into view. Quickly, he tried to push again from them. "You two seem to be quite interested in my personal life." He said, trying to change the subject.

"You're our friend, of course we want to get to know you."

"We've known each other for just over half an hour."

"Doesn't mean we can't be friends, does it?"

"Weren't ya the one who said that stallions click faster than mares?" Mac asked, competently throwing Sombra's argument out the window. Their sly smiles were beginning to give Sombra a head ache, and as he placed a hoof to his brow, spoke.

"I need a drink."

"Oh! I know where those are!" Shining shouted excitedly.

"Where do you keep all of your energy?" Sombra asked as the stallion began to remind him of Pinkie.

"I'm just always like this, Cadence says its my natural born gift."

"Or curse."



The party had officially started, and the doors to the castle had been open to the guests. Joining the masses, the three stallions made their way into the castle where they passed by others who were 'in line'. It wasn't anything required, but each guest usually wished to greet Celestia as they entered. Passing by every pony, they all nodded in a silent greeting at Celestia who returned the gesture before returning to her line.

Soon they entered the main hall, where the soft melody of string instruments were heard. It was a grandiose scene, the room being several dozens of meters in side all sides where every pony could comfortably stand on the sides or dance in the glossy floor. The three of them looked in awe as they walked around the sidelines, the dancing ponies posing majestically in their slow dance, Sombra in particular was interested in the dance, which caught his friend's attention.

"You gonna dance tonight?"

"I've no one to dance with."

"Yeah right." Shining teased. "Anyway, there they are.' He said as he pointed his hoof over to a small table. Many kinds of drinks were there, some even alcoholic. They were on their way to it when some pony intercepted them.

"Oh goodness! It is so good to see you again Prince Shining Armor." Another white stallion said.

"Oh, hello Blue Blood." Shining said, though the new comer wasn't too pleased with his introduction.

"Prince Blue Blood, that title is very important to a royal."

"Right, sorry."

"And you must be King Sombra!" Blue Blood said, turning to look at the dark stallion to look him up and down.

"Ex king."

"Oh don't be so modest, your title hasn't been revoked."

"A King can't be a King without a Kingdom to rule Blue Blood." Sombra responded with a distasteful voice. The stallion in front of him... he came from the Blood lineage, one he hated with a passion.

"We can talk philosophy later." Blue Blood said before turning to Big Mac. "You, how about you go get us some drinks?"

"He doesn't have to get you anything." Sombra stepped froward, holding back a growl of anger. Big Mac held his arm out as he hinted him to calm down.

"Sure thing."

Sombra tried to regain his composure to no avail. The mere presence of the stallion made his blood boil. Shining didn't seem to have a much better time handling him, his face giving off a rather apparent discomfort while speaking with him.

"It is so good to be around other male royals. I mean, the Princesses are great and all, but they don't understand what we have to go through."

"Oh the horrors of being groomed." Sombra said sarcastically. Big Mac, who was on his way back with the drinks, was carrying them all on a tray he was holding in his mouth. He made the mistake of walking next to Blue Blood who, for some sick humorous reason, decided it would be funny to stick his leg out to make him trip and drop all the drinks.

Sombra's horn glowed a crimson red as he caught a hold of all the falling glass before they could shatter on the ground. Shining helped Mac to his hooves as Blue Blood chuckled to himself.

"Commoners, they can't even do a simple task, am I right?" The stallion held a smile that sickened Sombra.

"No. You're wrong." Sombra said as he placed the drinks down. "But it comes down to more than that, you see, your whole existence is wrong. Nothing but a blight in society."

Blue Blood held a shocked expression as he heard Sombra speak. "What? How dare you?! Did you not hear who I am? Do you not know what influences I have?"

"Oh I know who you are, I probably know more about you than you even do." Sombra said, his patience at its end. "You are of the Blood lineage, a blood line of powerful unicorns who placed a large role of the founding of Canterlot. But you are also the last 'Blood' alive since their thirst for power made them kill each other off."

Sombra's voice echoed through out the room and soon ponies stopped what they were doing to listen in.

"So you were taken in by Celestia to keep you from going down the same path. You're nothing more than a pet under heavy surveillance to make sure you don't break anything. Now, if you dare try to hurt or humiliate my friends again, I will show you what kind of influences I have, and I am sure they are much more powerful than yours." Sombra finished with his eyes erupting in larger flames than were already set ablaze. After a few seconds of silence, Sombra cleared his throat and walked over to Blue Blood. "So in short. Shut up, or buck off. Ideally both in either order."

With a grin, Sombra gestures Shining and Big Mac to follow him. They walked away with a triumphant stride in which all three were walking head high and with a smile on their faces. Embarrassed by what had just happened. Blue Blood shouted out.

"What are you all looking at?!" In an instant, every pony went back to their conversation and the hall was soon filled with noise again. "You!" Blue Blood shouted at one of the butlers nearby.

"Yes sir?"

"I want to know everything about this 'King Sombra'. He knows a lot of my lineage, and I want to know why."

"Y-Yes sir."

As the butler ran off to do as he was told, Blue Blood glared at Sombra's back, now too far away to see any real details of his image. "Just who are you?"

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