• 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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40. Two Dark Mages

Her eyes flinching before slowly opening, Twilight began to waken from her sleep. She let out a grunt as her weak body struggled to move. She had a headache, one that seemed almost unnatural. Tossing her blanket aside, Twilight did her best to stand from her bed but as her hooves touched the ground, she felt her legs shake.

"Wh-Why do I feel so weak?..." She asked herself with a weary voice. Just then her eyes widened as the memory of Sombra taking her dark magic rushed back to her. "Oh...right." She said, sitting down on her bed.

"I...I really blew it this time huh?" Twilight said, her voice her only comfort in the empty room she was in.

"I suppose...I deserve it. Sombra was right, I was being really irresponsible, I could really had lost my sanity if I continued like that." She said, but just as she finished her sentence, a wave of pain came to her, her head pounding with jolts of what felt like a hammer slamming on her skull.

Shacking her head, Twilight slowly opened her eyes. Her irises faded in and out of her normal purple shade into red as she struggled to remain conscious from the powerful pain she was feeling.

"What is going on?" She asked out as she jumped to her hooves, still trying to shake the pain away. As if put in a trace, she suddenly stood tall and still. Opening her eyes wide, her red irises were in clear view before fading all together. Shaking her head one last time to knock away the daze, he began to speak to herself again as if she had never had her small episode.

"S-Sombra was right. I disobeyed him and got into very dangerous ground." She said as she turned around, glancing at her reflection on a nearby mirror.

"But it isn't like I can't handle myself." Twilight saw her reflection say. Blinking a few times, the mare took a step towards her reflection in curious caution.

"Did...my reflection just talk to me?" She asked out, but despite what she thought she saw, her mirror was just mimicking her, nothing out of the ordinary.

"Well..."She said as she took a step back. "I am an alicorn princess."

"That's right! And Sombra is just a normal unicorn. How much more powerful can he be?" The Twilight in the mirror asked herself. Again the real Twilight felt like her reflection had spoken out of sync of her. Though she wished to question whether she was hallucinating or not, the topic her reflection brought up seemed a little more interesting for her.

"There is nothing normal about Sombra, I mean have you seen what he can do? He was the only pony to be able to drive back an Ursa Major not to mention take on, and win, against the Changelings Royals!" Twilight said, turning around and looking at the ground. "While I on the other hoof am a just a newbie alicorn who just got her wings."

"But I'm also Celestia's star pupil! She carefully crafted me into my role of princess. I am special and powerful!" The reflected shouted. Twilight found herself in the boasting pose her image was in, and it was there that she realized that the reflection in the mirror really wasn't moving on its own, but rather that she was indeed speaking to herself.

"Yeah, but Sombra is...was my teacher and I broke the rule he set down for me." Twilight said, looking down again, sad at her self. Her eyes shifting to red, she spoke again.

"A rule that only slowed me down. If he spent all day with me while I practiced nothing would have gone wrong." She said, regaining some confidence, but just as she finished, her eyes returned to purple.

"There's no way he could have even done that! We all need to sleep, not to mention do other things than just study." Her eyes turning red again.

"Is there really anything more important then extending one's knowledge?" Again her eyes changed.

"But every pony needs to have moderation with study. Long periods of study will actually do more harm than good."

"But I did it just fine both as a filly and now."

"And both times I got screamed at by my teachers. I am sure they just want the best thing for me."

"Though, I am an adult mare now. I should be able to push myself as far as I think I can manage."

"But my friends would be so worried if I did something so reckless..."

"Then again, they all know that I'm an alicorn. Princess Celestia raised both the sun and moon on her own for a thousand years. I now have the potential to do the same."

"But that's just it. It's only potential. We all have the potential to do great things, but not every pony does it."

"But what does Sombra always say? 'I'm not just any pony, I assure you'."

"But Sombra isn't just any pony. He is the pony. The pony who single hoofenly won a war, survived trapped inside ice for a thousand years, and continues to fight on any pony who challenges him to this day."

"But I have lived through my own set of ordeals as well. I have defeated Nightmare Moon, Discord, Chrysalis, and Sombra himself."

"But I never could have done any of that without my friends, besides, Chrysalis and Sombra were defeated by Candece's love and the Crystal heart's power respectively. I could never have done that on my own."

"What am I saying? I'm not giving myself enough credit! I have my own set of accomplishments, and even if I didn't have friends to back me up, I would have still stepped up to the plate to keep Equestria safe!"

"No, this is wrong. I shouldn't be thinking like this. It's unlike me."

"Because I have been used to being held back by others. I can do things on my own given the chance."

"So what? I just go solo? Sombra would never allow me to continue my studies on my own, he'll just take away my magic again."

"Unless..." Twilight said as she turned to her window. "I get on his level of magic. I mean, he did get to where he is by using a tome, the same tome I had transferred to Canterlot."

"What am I thinking? Have I gone...mad?" Twilight said with a sadden tone of realization. She was losing her sanity...

"Of course not! I know the signs of insanity."

"I'm literally having conversation with myself! I am going insane!"

"But it isn't like it's the first time I've spoken to myself."

"Yeah! Last time I did it I made all of Ponyville go crazy with my Want it-Need it spell."

"I need to get a hold of myself. I am perfectly sane. I mean, look at me. I am Princess Twilight Sparkle! I can handle anything."

"Anything...right. Even...the power of the tome of Las Artes Oscuras." Twilight said, her red irises not fading this time as she began to smile. Walking up to her window she placed a hoof on the window frame before taking off. Her destination: Canterlot Library.


Pinkie tried to keep a smile on her face as she greeted a costumer. Going through the usual routine to make a sell, she placed some cupcakes in a small box and began to prep it further for the sell.

"Is that going to be all?" She asked with a smile.

"Yeah. Say, are you okay Pinkie?" The mare asked as she was given her pastries. "You don't seem like yourself."

"Oh I'm fine." Pinkie lied. In truth, she was worried. Just a few minutes ago she saw Sombra through the window of Sugarcube Corner. He was running and the expression he had wasn't exactly one of happiness. She had been worried that maybe something bad had happened.

"Well if you say so. Have a nice day." The mare said as she left the store. It was the slowest part of the day for business and so with her gone, the store was now empty. With a sigh, Pinkie slumped down on the counter.

Her cheeks pressing against the wood of the counter, she blew some air upward at her hanging mane, making it move to the side. She was bored, more over she was worried. She was borried, the worst combination of feelings she could possibly feel at once. A glance to the clock on the wall told her that it hadn't even been a minute since the customer left and that only made things more depressing.

In an exaggerated and very loud sigh, Pinkie stood up. She hated when no one came to buy anything because then she was just stuck here doing nothing. Looking around for something, anything to do, she noticed a trash can. Walking up to it, she saw that it was only half full, but her eyes began to glow with glee.

"Mr. and Mrs. Cake! I'm gonna take the trash out!" She shouted as she pulled the half full bag from the container and rushed outside.

Taking a deep breath of the fresh outdoors, she smiled at her temporary freedom. Taking her time in walking around Sugarcube Corner, she waved at any and all ponies that passed by with a large smile. Finally getting to large trash bin behind her work place, she threw it over head, having it land perfectly in it.

"Well, that takes care of that." She said, turning around in a boastful pose, feeling proud of how productive she was. Her smile quickly faded as she saw something in the sky. A few meters in the air, Twilight was furiously flapping her wings as she flew at high speed towards Canterlot.

"What has Twilight so worked up?" Pinkie asked herself as she saw her friend disappear into the distance. "Could it be the same thing that Sombra was in such a hurry about too? Is there maybe some sort of huge problem!?" She asked out, worry once again taking hold of her.


Wind pressing against him, Sombra found his crystal pillar coming to the end of how far it could extend, sending him flying forward from it's momentum. Reaching the peak the thrust the pillar gave him, he extended yet another pillar from the mountain wall and continued his trip upward. He couldn't get to Canterlot fast enough and even skipping over the train ride and simply jumping his way to the city, he still felt like he was still wasting too much time.

Finally the end of his trip was in sight. The city of unicorns now in plain view from where he was, he used more force in his magic, sending him rocketing over the walls of Canterlot and landing quite hard on the concrete ground. His landing was far from subtle as the stone he was on shattered and created a crater for him. Ponies all looked his way as he began to gallop down the busy streets of the city.

Any obstacle in his was was either leaped over or he ran though in his smoke form to keep him from losing pace. Canterlot Castle was soon in throwing distance for him, and that was just what he wanted to see. Jumping into the air, Sombra extended a pillar that shot him forward in an arc towards the Castle. Many ponies were in awe as they saw a flying unicorn pass over them, his shadow like a flash of black on the ground.

Landing on the courtyard, he quickly made his way around the castle to where Celestia was, though when he set hoof in the building a strange sense of familiarity came over him. Brushing it off due to the urgency before him, he continued on his way. Passing many hallways and corridors, he quickly made it to the thrown room where a busy Princess was silently sitting and reading.

"Celestia!" He shouted out as he opened the doors with force, perhaps too much so as the walls around them chipped and cracked. It certainly shocked the guards around the princess enough for them to take arms against him.

"Stand down every pony." Celestia said as she stood up, slowly making her way to the stallion as the guards hesitated to follow her command. "You should be more careful, one would see your actions as aggression."

"I care not what others think, I need to speak to you now." Sombra said as he and Celestia were now face to face.

"Yes...I just now received your letter from Spike. Something about Twilight?"

"Twilight Sparkle has-" Sombra began, but quickly realized they had an audience in the room and stopped mid sentence. "Began to be corrupted by dark magic." He whispered, not wanting to stir up any panic that could only make things worse.

"Excuse me?" Celestia asked out, a little confused by what Sombra was saying.

"Twilight Sparkle. Dark magic. Corruption. Problem." Sombra said, a little louder.

"Oh!" Celestia said in surprise. "Right then. Umm, could every pony give us a second?" She asked to the others in the room, gesturing for them to leave the throne room. They all looked at one another before complying, all glancing at Sombra as they walked passed him.

After finally every pony was gone, the dark stallion breathed calmly again. "Thank you." He said.

"Now, what seems to be the problem?"

"Sparkle seems to have grown a little too friendly with the dark arts. I fear for the same corruption that befell me to befall her."

"But you took the necessary steps to stop it right?"

"I did, but Sparkle disobeyed me. It has been more than two days without her seeing her friends, her anchors. Further more, she has been practicing dark magic on her own for even longer."

"So you think she's already corrupted?"

"If not already, then will be soon."

"You're her teacher. Just put a stop to it." Celestia said with a smile, clearly not grasping just how grim things are.

"Celestia. Do you not see the amount of danger every pony is right now? Think for a second will you?" Sombra said, his words almost offensive. "Twilight Sparkle is a 'natural', she will grasp dark magic in days what would take others years. She has the tendency to take things too far, and if she loses her morality, she will begin to experiment with her magic in ways I can only see in nightmares."

"So what are you getting at?" Celestia asked, not exactly enjoying the tone he was taking with her.

"I need you to talk some sense into her!" He said, quite frustrated at her ignorance.

"Sombra, she is no longer my student, she is yours."

"But she trusts you more! You have to do it!" He shouted. This time the princess truly did get upset at his voice.

"And if I don't? What will you do?" Celestia asked out, calling out on his aggression.

"That is just it Celestia. If Sparkle continues down this path, I won't be able to do anything." Sombra faced off against the sun goddess who's expression began to soften into a frown.

"W-What do you mean?"

"Let's face it Celestia, that mare...she whole reason you even took her under your wing was because she was so powerful. I read the articles on her 'entrance exam'. Hatching and aging a dragon? As a filly? She managed an aging spell on something that wasn't even a pony!"

Celestia remained silent, not knowing how to respond to his claims, more over, most of it was true.

"I am very perceptive, I know there have been puppet strings attached to your hooves since I arrived. Now I don't care the why or how's but right now, I need you to help me, help her."

"Sombra..." She began. "This is all my fault."

The dark stallion narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean?" He asked, his voice holding back emotion. He wanted to hear her out before jumping to conclusions, but he was already at the end of his rope.

"I brought upon a thousand years of peace." Celestia said as she turned around, taking a few steps away. "After Discord's rule, I wanted to bring harmony and stability to Equestria."

"And you did, did you not?"

"Yes." She said, lowing her head "But at a cost."

"You mean your sister?"

"No Sombra. You see...I--" For the first time in a long time, Celestia was left without the accurate words that could portray what she was meaning to say. "The world cannot be at peace, at least not for long. By bringing a thousand years of peace, I accidently tipped the balance."

"I'm not exactly following princess."

"Luna's banishment and Discord's petrification. Both of these things were meant to be permanent. And though I am thankful that my sister was brought back to me, Discord's return was less than welcomed. Still, for many months I wondered why these events even occurred."

"And what were your thoughts?" Sombra asked, now intrigued by the topic the princess brought up.

"I turned to ancient writings, many of which told of a balance in the world. I did not quite understand it myself, but after your umm, first return, I was sure that these occurrences were no coincidences. I brought Discord back and had him reformed by Fluttershy in hopes of bringing back some balance to the world."

"I'm not exactly undertanding. How can Discord, the Lord of Chaos, bring balance?"

"I brought to Equestria one thousand years of peace, something so grand did not come without precautions."

"You've already said that, but you haven't been clear on what it means."

"It means, that we have had a period of peace, now comes a period of chaos. The world wants to bring back balance and has done many things to tip the scale of back away from harmony."

"Are you saying that Equestria is facing one thousand years of chaos?"

"I...I fear so. Your second coming was proof that Discord, though now present in the world, was not enough to balance out my doings."

"This is madness, how can 'the world' do anyth-" Sombra said, but came to a very abrupt stop as something caught his attention.

"Is everything alright?" Celestia asked, worried for how he was acting.

"Celestia..." He said as he turned around, still looking around as if able to see through the walls and into the castle around them. "Get your sister." Sombra said before he began to run at full speed again.

Bursting open the door to the throne room, he startled the numerous ponies who has all gathered around the door to try to eavesdrop. Paying no mind to them, he ran passed them as he followed the strange sixth sense of his. It was the same sense of familiarity he felt when he first entered the castle grounds, but now it was much stronger. It was almost like when he felt the power of his dark magic trapped in the vase Celestia had, but this time it felt more primal. More...fresh.

Sombra found himself running down what seemed to be just random hallways, just following the faint trail that had been left behind. The question of what was leading him kept poking at him to his own distant memories, as if it was something he really shouldn't have forgotten.

Finally his road came to an end as he stopped in front of a double door with a sign that read 'Royal Library' over them. As if forced to recall a moment from his past, it seemed to be strangely familiar to the sign over the entrance to the Crystal Empire Library the day he and Diane had sneaked in to find a way to beat the changelings.

Sombra's heart began to beat faster as he dread to think that perhaps the same was happening now. Taking a soft breath before calming stepping forward and opening the doors to the library, his doubts were thrown away as he saw the room engulfed in darkness in a swirling vortex. Green and red eyes leered from the dark as purple flames sparked wildly around the vortex. He knew that there was nothing he could do at this point and simply waited.

He waited until the darkness was sucked into a pony, one he already expected her to be. Gently being placed on the floor of the library, Twilight stood, her eyes shut. The tome that the darkness has come from also began to slowly drop down, coming to a soft clunk on the ground near the mare's hooves.

"Twilight Sparkle." Sombra said, not moving, not blinking, not reacting. "Do you realize what you have done?"

Twilight slowly opened her eyes, her sclera bright green and her irises red to match Sombra's; she smiled as she responded. "I've gotten on your level now, teacher."

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