• 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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39. The Corruption Begins

"Jolly good show." A stall stallion said as he and his friends began to make their way out of their first class seats in the stadium. They all seem to crowd around him, responding all at once at his statement. Their voices mashed together and were undefinable, though that did not seem to bother him at all.

"Fancy Pants?" A voice called out to him. At once the blue maned stallion turned to see who it was and a large smile spread across his face. Coming his way were two ponies, one he did not recognize, but the other was hard to miss.

"Princess Luna!" He shouted out, making his way to them. "So good to see you, how have you been?"

"We have faced worse days. Enjoy the spectacle of the Wonderbolts?" Luna said as she and her friend came to a stop in front of him, Fancy Pant's friends close behind though silent.

"Very much so. I am so very glad you invited me. Oh pardon my rudeness, who might you be?" Fancy Pants asked the dark stallion next to Luna.

"Sombra, The Reformed." He answered, stoic in expression and regal in stature. His brown and red coat hung loosely on his grey fur as he bowed his head in a greeting.

"Oh so you're who every pony was talking about for the last week or so. How fairs your brother?"

"He is not exactly my brother. Blue Blood, if I has to give him a relationship towards me, would be more of a cousin."

"Ah." Fancy Pants said with a smile. "Well how is your Blood relative?"

"Better now. I managed to have enough restraint as to not break any bones. Though he is still with many bruises and aches, he should be back to normal within the month."

"That's wonderful news!"

"We do not mean to interrupt, but there was a reason for thy invitation. We wish to speak with thee...privately." Luna said as she stepped between the two stallions.

"Yes yes, of course." Fancy said as he turned to his friends behind him. "It shouldn't take too long. How about you all go on without me. I will meet up with you at the after party."

Most of the ponies seemed sad and almost hurt by how they were pushed aside, but each one complied with his request, leaving the three of them behind. With a bright smile, Fancy turned to them and began to speak.

"That should buy us about seven minutes worth of time before they take me away else where." He joked.

"Worry not, this should not take long." Luna said as she spread one of her wings, gently pushing Sombra forward for him to make his request. It was actually pretty simply what Sombra wished from the stallion, an invitation. And invitation to any party he put together every once in a while. Sombra needed to have a constant source of energy to remain alive and effective at what he does, and going to parties like the Gala proved to be an effective and peaceful way of doing so. Explaining his dark magic and how he needed it to keep alive, Sombra got a rather unexpected reaction from Fancy Pants.

"So you drain your magic from the fears of ponies?"

"Yes."

"And you need this magic to survive."

"Uh huh."

"So now that you're reformed you no longer want to scare others to get your magic, but rather utilize the loop hole you found about how you can drain any sort of fear, not just fear of you. Meaning that you can use the fear of high class ponies who are afraid about not fitting in and sustain yourself with that."

"Correct."

"Well that's amazing!" Fancy Pants said excitedly. "I never imagined such a thing was even possible!"

Sombra was amazed at just how pleasant the unicorn in front of him took the situation. His eyes were flame less, so it was no facade, Fancy Pants was genuinely smiling despite being told that who Sombra was and what he needs to survive.

"So does that mean you will help me?" Sombra asked, still a little confused about him.

"Yes of course. I wouldn't want to be the cause of your death, besides, my friends are always trying to make any excuse to have a little get together. How about next week I make you an introduction at the grand opening of the Grimlock Art Gallery? Oh you are going to love Grimlock, the pony it's named after. He is quite the painter." Fancy Pants said, quickly making pleasant conversation with him. Surely it was something that came with years of being surrounded by dozens of ponies and hosting parties.

"I'm sure I will find myself right at home." The dark stallion replied with a smile. Out of the corner of his eye, Sombra saw a pony begin to make his way to them, his eyes began to spark in purple flames. Though every pony took notice, none said anything as the pony finally reached them.

"Uh. Mr. Fancy Pants?"

"Yes my dear boy?"

"Do you think I could speak with you? There's uh, something you need to look at." He said, nervous from talking to the famous Fancy Pants.

"Yes yes." He said before quickly facing Luna and Sombra. "I do not mean to be rude, but it seems I am needed elsewhere."

"No problem at all, I believe we can get the details down later."

With a smile, Fancy Pants followed the boy towards where ever he was needed, leaving the princess and dark being to themselves.

"That went much more smooth than I had anticipated." Sombra said as he began to walk, Luna quickly followed suit.

"Fancy Pants is a fantastic pony. We met him once at a social gathering and played a game of chess! Though we lacked the board and pieces, We managed to convince other guests to be our living pieces, it was most fun."

"As odd as that sounds, I wouldn't put it past you to do such a thing."

"What art thou trying to suggest?"

"Nothing." Sombra said with a teasing smile. making his way out of the stadium where they had met Fancy Pants and into the busy streets of Canterlot. It was a refreshing sight to be hold after a week of being back in Ponyville.

"Where shall thou go now?"

"The only home I have right now." Sombra responded, turning to face the Lunar Princess, a certain shine in his crimson eyes.

"Shall We call forth transportation for thee?"

"No thanks, I can make it on my own."

"Surely thou jests, thou intends to walk to Ponyville?"

"Walk?" Sombra said with a smirk. "Of course not. I'm going to jump from the edge of Canterlot. Much faster." He said as he walked away, his smile never leaving his face form the expression Luna was giving him. One of complete awe and horror all in one. She stayed like this for a while before beginning to laugh to herself.

"Thou truly never seizes to amaze Us." She said as he watched him go, though as soon as the smile came, it left. Seeing him take one step after another until he was longer in sight, Luna frowned and looked down at her hooves. "Sister..." She said, recalling the chat he had with her.

Sombra needs to bring balance to our world, if he doesn't, we're all doomed for ruin. Celestia's words echoed in her head. The words she gave in response to why she continued to press Sombra against such incredibly dangerous odds. Though she wasn't sure what she meant by them, one thing was certain, Sombra was about to carry a large burden.

"Sombra has been through so much...felt so much pain...and now thou expects him to carry Equestria on his shoulders? We doubt any stallion, mortal or otherwise has the strength to fight for so long..." She said, her eyes saddened by the fear of Sombra collapsing under the weight of the world.

《=●=》

Finding himself on the roof of a small tower, Sombra looked down from the edge to the ground thousands of feet below him. He was indeed going to jump, and any pony would say he was crazy and he'd die. But he loved to prove ponies wrong. With a deep breath, Sombra took a few steps back, bracing himself for what he was going to do.

As far back as he could be, Sombra ran as fast as he could as his eyes combusted into flames, a ramp forming in front of him. As he reached the end of the ramp, he crouched down and made a pillar extend under him from the crystal, jumping as it reached it full size and propelling himself forward several yards than he would have without the additional help.

His eyes set on the spec far in the distance, Sombra smiled as he brought his limps to his sides allowing him to be more aerodynamic and dive down at great speeds. Enjoying the feel of the wind pushing against his face and his mane waving back, a smile was plastered on his face. His clothing did the same, zipping back and forth as the town seemed to get bigger and bigger.

His flames still burning strong despite the constant wind blowing them ever which way, they only burned brighter as Sombra once again called upon his magic to erect several crystal pillars from the ground to locations in front of him. Using them to kick off and continue his momentum, Sombra got closer and closer to Ponyville as he 'fell' diagonally.

Creating almost a sort of obstacle course for himself from crystal, Sombra took advantage of the great amount of dark magic he managed to harvest while at the Gala. Who knew that this 'loop hole' fear was so much more powerful than the one he used before?

Erecting a pillar then then having a pole stick out, Sombra used his hoof to swing himself forward while landing on a freshly summoned crystal which continue to extend in horizontal length as he ran along it. Suddenly starting to crack over the uneven weight it was taking on from the right angle pillar he was running on, Sombra jumped and made the crystal degrade before it crashed down.

Instead of thousands of feet, Sombra was now simply a few hundred feet from ground level but still not quite to Ponyville. Seeing that it was the final stretch, Sombra crystallized his hooves and brought up a spiraling pillar that he used to slide on. Making it perhaps a little more complicated than it should have been, Sombra twisted the crystal around in ways to keep the momentum of the slide going.

Ponies who were going about their business all looked up as they saw Sombra fly through the air as crystal was raised and broken down to help him keep moving. Practically on the ground, Sombra brought about an assortment of pillars that propelled him slightly to keep himself sliding on freshly summoned crystal slides only to jump and land in the middle of Ponville next to the Town Hall, the landing breaking away the crystals on his hooves.

An accomplished smile on his face, Sombra began to walk as if nothing out of the usual had happened. The ponies around him, having lived in the same town as the Elements of Harmony, knew that if no pony was screaming, everything was fine so they too brushed off Sombra's actions as normality.

"Good afternoon Sombra." A mare said as she walked by him.

"Good afternoon to you as well."

"Care for a sample?" Another called out from their stand.

"I would love one." Sombra said as he used his magic to grab a pear from the pony holding it out for him. Taking a quick bite out of it, he turned and walked backwards to continue talking to the merchant. "It is delicious, you will sell many today I'm sure."

"Thanks! I sure hope so." He said as he began to get many more customers who saw Sombra like the fruit.

"How was the Gala?" Another asked as they walked next to each other, momentarily sharing roads.

"It was eventful to say the least, got into a fight with a family member and danced with a wonderful mare."

"Sounds like a good time." The pony said as she waved bye, her path having her to take a turn.

All in all, Sombra was very much enjoying himself in his stroll down Ponyville. Now very used to the friendliness of the residents who inhabit the town, he could relax and let himself be who he was, Sombra, The Reformed.

"Sombra~" A voice called out to him making him crack a smile. Not turning around, he heard the sound of hooves hitting the ground as the pony ran to him. Soon he felt something land on his back as hooves wrapped around his neck.

"Pinkie, what are you doing exactly?" He asked with a sly smile, his gaze shifting to the mare holding on to him while hitching a ride.

"Just saying hello." She said with a giggle. "I heard you were going to Canterlot, but you were gone for so long!"

"It was only gone for two days Pinkie."

"But that was like...forever!"

"Seriously, what would you do if I wasn't around to cure your boredom?"

"I'd make my own fun." Pinkie said as she jumped down from him and began to walk with him, strangely close compared to before.

"Pulling pranks?"

"That's one way of making my own fun, yeah!"

"I hope that none of them are for me."

"Been there, tried that, but you always seem to just come out fine." Pinkie said as she recalled Rainbow Dash trying to prank Sombra various times after the Gala, but most of them backfired without much effort on his side, the others either misfired or got the wrong pony.

"I suppose I just become much more lucky since I moved to Ponyville."

"Even though you get attacked by a huge villain every other week?"

"From what I hear, that's a usual for Ponyville." Sombra said as he threw a glance at the mare next to him. "Six names have a tendency to pop up when that happens though."

Turning away in a nervous laugh, Pinkie begins to think of a way to reply, but the moment the two lock eyes their expressions softened. Pinkie had been the only one to hear of Sombra's past, and even with that knowledge, she didn't treat him any different than before. Though perhaps greeted him with hugs instead of a normal hello now that he no longer prohibited them.

"I have some work to do at Sugarcube Corner." Pinkie said, finally breaking the silence.

"I see, I wish you a good day at work."

"It always is!" She shouted out before running of in another direction, leaving Sombra with a half smile and a waving hoof in the air.

Sombra wasn't sure what it was, but he felt...different. He still kept his stoic composure during most of his conversations through force of habit, but he also seemed to smile more as well, mostly when Pinkie was around.

Continuing on his walk to Golden Oaks, Sombra was left alone with his thoughts as he searched for the reason why he felt so comfortable letting his guard down around others now. Could it be he broke out of it? Or simply because he didn't need it anymore. Was there even a need for such a resource? Why does he need to hide who he is? Hide his dark magic? Hide his emotions?

He certainly did not want to change his personality and he hasn't but there was definitely a different air about him since the Gala. Perhaps it was the 'new' name. Sombra, The Reformed. Every time he introduced himself with that name ponies would not look at him in a strange way compared to when he was just Sombra. 'The Reformed', a title that emphasized he was different and no longer a Tyrant. Something he liked others to know, and now that Sombra formed a deal with Fancy Pants, he could live here in this peaceful Equestria without worry that he could cause a cause of grief.

Finally at the front door of Golden Oaks, Sombra walked in with out hesitation, though he sure wasn't expecting what was waiting for him inside.

"Mr. Sombra!" Dinky shouted as she ran up to hug his hoof, the only thing she could grab on to.

"Dinky Do? What are you doing here?" He asked as he kneeled down to greet her.

"I heard you were coming today, and I wanted to see you! Every pony wants you to come back to our fantasy game, we really liked playing when you were in charge!" She said excitedly, causing Sombra to chuckle slightly. Using his hoof to mess with Dinky's mane, he spoke.

"I suppose I can come by later to play with you all, but you know that I won't take it easy on you fillies and colts. If we're going to train for war, we are training like true soldiers."

"Wouldn't have it any other way!" She said as she began to run out of the library. After waving goodbye, she ran to let the others know of the 'good' news.

"She really likes you." Spike said as he walked by with a stack of books on his hands.

"No idea why." He replied, back to his stoic expression. Knowing that being expressionless was normal for him, the dragon continued to talk like normal.

"You're just a natural born father."

"I guess...I'm just the father that I wished I had." He said as he remembered his own. Grand Blood was anything but kind and caring to him. Not bad per se, but not all that good either. "Need some help with that?" He asked, quickly switching the conversation when he noticed just how many books Spike had to re-shelf.

Sighing in relief, Spike allowed Sombra to take quite a large load off of him. "Thanks! Twilight has been so focused on her studies to even come out of her room, can you believe it?" He said as he went back to work.

"Focused on her studies? You mean my teachings of dark magic?" Sombra asked as he help put some books away.

"Yeah, completely immersed in her own little world."

Dropping some of the books he was carrying, Sombra turned to look at the drake. Though his face was still stoic, there was a hint of urgency and seriousness in his eyes. "You mean to tell me she hasn't left the library in two days?"

"Uh...yeah...not a hoof outside since you left." Spike said, a little panicked by Sombra's actions and expression, or lack there of.

Without another word, Sombra began to make his way to Twilight's room. His walking was a little rushed as he felt himself compelled to run but instead, another thought come to mind. His eyes bursting into flames, Sombra began to shift his body into smoke and moving forward without making any sounds. Finding Twilight's room, he materialized himself and remained silent as he opened his senses to the enclosed room.

The sound of swirling magic was barely audible but there was definitely something being performed on the other side. Using his magic to open the door forcefully, what he found was exactly what he dreaded to imagine: Twilight surrounded by dark magic and her eyes set ablaze in purple flames.

"Twilight Sparkle!" He shouted out, waking the mare from the trance like state she was in. Turning and seeing him stand at her door way, she opened her eyes wide in horror as she let the dark magic dissipate and her eyes went out.

"S-Sombra! You weren't supposed to get here until tomorrow..." She said, shocked that he was here.

A quick glance around and his eyes told him everything he needed to know. He had not been early, he had come back just as he said he would, that means her sense of time was off, no doubt from having all the windows covered. The bags under her eyes and her thin body mad it apparent that she had indeed not left her quarters while she...disobeyed his orders of never practicing dark magic on her own.

"Sparkle..." He said in a grim voice. "Putting aside that you blatantly disobeyed me, you do realized anchors have no effect on the mage if you do not see them?!" He shouted.

"Wha-huh?" Was all that Twilight managed to say. She was so in shock that she couldn't even process what was being told to her.

"Did you even stop to think that you could be falling into a darkness of your own making?!" Sombra asked out as he took a step forward. As he did, his eyes erupted into flames, but not of his own command. The mare in front of him was terrified.

"No- it's not- You see..." Twilight said, though now in full comprehension of her situation, was not able to come up with a coherent sentence to reply with. The sinking feeling on her chest not helping her calm down from her surroundings.

"How long?" Sombra asked out dryly.

"What?"

"How long have you been using dark magic on your own?"

"I...Since you got sick in bed." She said as she let her head hang in shame.

"That long? Knowing you, you probably went over board with training."

"I didn't!"

"Look at you now Sparkle! It's clear you're malnourished, you haven't slept in two days I'm sure, and those dull eyes make it apperant you haven't even seen the sun light!"

Sombra's scolding pierced at her heart. Never before had one of her teachers ever been so angry with her before. Twilight had always been the perfect student, and now, it seemed like she was the worst. In her distracted state, Twilight did not realize that Sombra had walked up to her until she had seen his hooves on her vision of the floor. Looking up at him, Sombra grabbed a hold of her shin as they were locked into a stare.

"Forgive me Twilight Sparkle, but I am forced to end the course here. There will be no more classes from here on out, and more over, I am taking your dark magic." He said as his eyes let out flames. Twilight's widened in despair, her own eyes set set ablaze as well.

"No, you can't do that!" She shouted as she tried to move away, but she couldn't. As if perpetrated by fear, she was locked in place, and locked in a stare with Sombra. The purple flames began to pull to one another, slowly merging and once one bright light, Sombra began to drain the dark magic Twilight had consumed on her own. Twilight felt herself grow weak from having her magic begin to be taken from her, but there was nothing she could do about it.

Finally done absorbing the dark magic that she had harbored, Twilight fell to the ground as Sombra staggered to remain standing himself. One eye closed as if in plain, Sombra looked down at his former student.

"You had...so much dark magic in you...What exactly did you do?" He asked as he began to regain his composure. Using his magic to pick her up and bring her over to her bed where he tucked her in, Sombra stared blankly at her unconscious body. "Unfortunately, just because I took your magic does not mean you cannot drain more. The stigma of darkness, once you are scarred by it you have to live with it your entire life..." He said to himself.

"This is not good...not good at all!" He said as exit the room in frustration. Shutting the behind him, Sombra began to run though all of his options. "I could just take any dark magic she drains...not that won't work for long. I could try to teach her the horrors of being archorless, no that's too risky. I could constantly be at her side to keep her from doing anything. Damn it, that will only cause her to try to escape and do it on her own."

Sombra was out of viable options, and with that, also about to run out of time. Every minute he remained without a plan was another minute where the dark magic would continue to corrupt Twilight.

"Spike!" He shouted as he began to make his way down stairs again. "I need you to write to Celestia. Tell her that I need to speak to her, and that I will be there shortly."

"What?! But you just got back!"

"Just do it!"

Sombra was feeling a large amount of different emotions, many of them negative, but most of all, he was feeling angry with himself. He was finally able to enjoy a peaceful life, something he never once managed to enjoy in all his years. And now...it was all about to go to Tartarous because of something he did. Why can he never be anything but destruction to the world around him?

His teeth clenched, he kept his head down as he made his way out of the library.

"No...I am going to fix this. I won't let things get any worse!" He said as he began to gallop into town.

Author's Note:

This is it, the final arc and the final stretch! The story's end is coming to a close, and the stakes have never been higher.

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