• 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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42. A Broken Will

Feeling groggy, Sombra slowly opened his eyes. His vision was blurred as he struggled to focus. His surroundings weren't foreign to him, but they weren't reassuring either. With a blue crystal ceiling above him, he began to plead he wasn't where he thought he was. A wet towel soon interrupted his train of thought as he saw a blue hoof move around him.

"So you've finally woken up. You sure know how to sleep." An old mare said as she smiled down at him. Sombra's eyes remained dull despite being conscious, his weak and frail feeling not leaving his body.

"Agatha..." He managed to say, his voice barely audible.

"Hush now. You seem to be weak form using up all dark magic. My, I haven't seen you like this since the battle of Arlock shore. You remember that don't you? You decided to go in as a one pony army and barely came out alive." Agatha said as she began to reminisce on the past.

"Agatha, where am I?" Sombra asked, not really looking forward to the answer.

"In the Crystal Empire of course. I thought you would have figured that out already." She said with a giggle. walking over to a near by window and pulled the curtains aside, allowing him a view of the empire.

Sombra sighed as he looked out the window from where he laid on the bed. It was a melancholy sight to be hold, but not one he was mentally prepared for. For many nights he would dread of ever returning, ever showing his face to the ponies he cruelly ruled for so long. Scared to know that maybe they still feared him and thought of him as a tyrant.

"You were brought here along with all of Canterlot and Ponyville. Many towns all over are making their way here as well."

"Why?"

"Well, Canterlot isn't exactly a stable place despite your efforts. You indeed managed to save every pony, so there's that. Still, Princess Twilight was not found after every pony was evacuated, for security measures Princess Cadence offered to house as many ponies as we could here in the empire." Agatha said as she pointed to the surrounding area of the empire. What once was grasslands was now a camping area.

"Do they know where Sparkle is?" Sombra asked as he tried to get up, but his legs couldn't seem to sustain his own weight. Agatha frowned as she saw her old friend so weak, definitely not a side of him she was used to seeing. Coming to his aid, Sombra leaned on her as he tried to get to his hooves.

"Princess Celestia sent Discord to find her. He can sense magical imbalances, so she shouldn't be too hard to find for him..." She said, though trailing of as her sentence went on.

"But?"

"But...if Princess Twilight managed to weaken you so much, I don't know if it is such a good idea to find her. I mean, we're having a hard enough time to keep things together as it is. His magic would be really useful right about now."

"How long have I been out?" Sombra asked as he gesture his friend to help him out the door. With a sigh, she complied to his request. It was useless to deny him. He would just find some way of leaving on his own anyway.

"About a day and a half. Why?"

"Sparkle said that she would come back and play the role of the bad guy. She gave me three days to prepare." She said with a grunt. "I've wasted one already."

"Oh Sombra..." Agatha said under her breath. Once again he was trying to pull off a miracle. While he could do so most of the time, each time he did he always came back inches from death. Sombra always had that luck about him, always just barely avoiding death, but every pony knew it was luck, and luck can run out. By the looks of it, Sombra's luck had run out long ago.

"Where are the princesses?" He asked as they slowly made their way through out the building they were in. As he had expected, he was in the Royal Library where she worked. No doubt she had requested to take care of him.

"They are in the castle along with the remaining Elements of Harmony. you're not planning on going are you?"

"Of course I am." He said as he once again tried to walk on his own. Seeing him struggle broke Agatha's heart, but she allowed him the freedom he craved and soon he was taking slow steps on his own.

"Why can't you let others do some of the work? You'll end up killing yourself if you keep on like this." She said, making Sombra stop in his tracks. With a slow turn of his head, he looked at his old friend.

"Thing is, I have already died many times over. I was once Elite Blood, but he died in the blizzard. I was also once Sombra The Tyrant, but he was killed. Now I am Sombra, The Reformed. If I am to die and be reborn again, it would be nothing new." He said as he reached the door to the library. Using almost all of his strength to even turn the knob, the sound of the door creak echoed in the empty library.

As the outside became revealed to him, his eyes were set ablaze as he felt a heavy weight of fear and depression befall him from the emotions every pony outside held. Their heads down, ponies slowly walked down the streets of the Crystal Empire. Many seemed to have given up hope, after all, one of their Princesses had turned to the dark side. A pillar of hope that once held them up had betrayed them. Who could blame them for feeling anxious and distressed?

The sudden surge in his dark magic was almost overwhelming, so much so that Sombra was stunned as he took in his surroundings. Agatha soon joined him, oblivious to the reason he had stopped moving.

"As much as I want to stop you. As much as I want to tell you to let others handle it this time, one look outside tells me that they need you. I'm sorry." She said as she turned to him, a gentle glance up at the stall stallion. "We are always depending on you, I'm sorry that you have to carry us on your shoulders."

Sombra spared her a look as she spoke. "Do not apologize. It gives me a purpose. I will happily take your burdens if it means that my dark magic can be used for something other than destruction." He said as he began to walk, now no need for aid from how much his dark magic healed him.

It had been many centuries since last time he walked the streets of the Crystal Empire. However, he still knew them, he still remembered each nook and cranny of the empire. He could even recall some of the names of the ponies around them. Ponies that were shocked to see him as he passed.

"It's King Sombra..." One stallion said as he watched him pass. The name almost made him cringe, but he feigned ignorance. As he walked, more and more crystal ponies became glanced his way, remaining still.

At this moment Sombra felt shame and guilt. Who was he to walk these streets again? After what he had done to them, after how he treated those he swore to protect. This was disrespect in the highest regard and more than anything, it was saddening to see the once glowing crystal ponies dim in their depression. What Sombra did not notice, however, was that as he walked by, those that saw him we revitalized, their coats shinning and glowing. No flames erupted from Sombra's eyes either, meaning no pony was afraid of him. Still, his guilt left him blind to these small details.

Letting out a sigh as he closed his eyes, Sombra tried to clear his mind. He needed to get to the castle, regroup with the elements and princesses. There was little time to waste, but some how, he couldn't bring himself to run.

Sombra felt as if he wanted to prolong this walk. Make it last forever. It reminded him of the old days, the days he lived as nothing more than a soldier who looked for changelings. Some pony who every pony else knew was there to help. He missed those days. He missed when others came to him for help, he missed being useful to others, having a purpose. He missed being a just king.

Sombra let out a deep breath as he looked up at the castle. It was just as he remembered it from before, beautiful and grand. His walk had come to an end which brought some sadness to him, but he knew he had wasted enough time and so with a fortified heart, he began to make his way in.

Guards saw him, but none said a word. Sombra did not need to speak either. As he came to a pair, they stood in silence as they stared at each other. Suddenly one of the guards pointed down a hall and Sombra went in that direction. Every pony knew where he needed to go and why, there was no need to exchange words of any sort.

Finally he reached his destination, and like he had thought, every pony had gathered in the tactics chamber. It was a room he had placed in the castle way back in his early days as king. It was simple, just a single round table where many could come and talk of how to win a particular battle. Nothing special about it, only that as Sombra opened the doors to the chamber, he was met with shocked faces.

All the elements safe for Twilight were present, same with the princesses, but they stared at him wide eyed when he made his entrance.

"S-Sombra!" Pinkie shouted as she ran up to him. "You're alright!" She said with a smile, one that not many others shared. Every pony turned to look at Rainbow Dash who seemed like she was about to exploded from anger.

"Hold it right there!" Rainbow shouted as she flew between him and Pinkie. "What are you doing here?"

Sombra wasn't exactly shocked to see her so offensive towards him, it was normal, but there was something more...real about it this time.

"I've come to speak to you all about Sparkle, she-"

"We know! Every pony knows! She went crazy with dark magic and nearly killed every pony in Canterlot...and it's all your fault!" She shouted, getting ever closer to Sombra.

"Rainbow Dash!" Applejack said, calling her out on the statement. "Ya know it ain't like that!"

"Yes darling. Sombra always did his best to keep Twilight from getting corrupted." Rarity spoke out this time.

"Big help that was. In the end, it didn't matter did it?" She replied.

Sombra wanted to argue back, tell his side of the story. Tell every pony how it was ultimately Twilight's fault for disobeying him. For hiding her training from him. He wanted to say he wasn't responsible for this mess, but for some reason they the words wouldn't leave his throat. Instead they remained trapped there, slowly choking him, and the more he fought the feeling, the worse it became.

"Sombra did the best he could with what he had." Celestia said as she too stood up to defend him. "I am sure he can explain it better to us, tell us what it was that happened won't you...Sombra?" She said as she turned to him. To every pony's surprise, the once graceful poise he had entered with had become one of grimace that trembled, as if it would collapse under it's own weight.

"Sombra? Whats wrong?" Pinkie asked him. Without raising his head, Sombra turned on his heels and walked to the doors he had come through. Placing a hoof on the the frame to the door, he spoke in a soft voice.

"Sparkle told me she would like to play the role of a villain before she left. She said she would give us three days to prepare before her assault."

At once every pony erupted into chaos.

"What?!"

"What do ya mean 'play the villain'?"

"Oh dear, Twilight wants to attack us?"

"We've already spent more than day just looking for her. Sister, should We move the resources to that of war instead of searching for her?"

Every pony began to speak over one another, trying to get their talk out what their next plan of action was, and in the chaos, Sombra began to make his retreat out of the chamber. Quickly taking notice, Pinkie called out to him.

"Sombra? Where are you going?" She asked, once more getting every pony's attention.

"I don't know. I suppose I'll just fade into the background until this is over." He said, pausing in his walk, still not facing her...not having the courage to face her or any pony for that matter.

"What? Surely thou jests." Luna asked out as she joined Pinkie by the door.

"We still need your help!" Pinkie echoed through the halls.

"I've helped enough!" Sombra shouted out, his voice, though bold and loud had a hint of distraught in it. "Rainbow Dash is right, this is all my fault! I taught Sparkle the magic that corrupted her. Everything around me only breaks down. It is best if I just fade away, I'll only bring pain and suffering otherwise." He said, continuing on his walk.

"Good riddance!" Rainbow Dash shouted as she watched him go. Once he was out of sight, she quickly went back into the room where she began the conversation again. Leaving Pinkie looking out, staring at where Sombra used to be with a heavy heart.

Sombra soon made it outside, his posture still slumped and weak. He had been the pillar that held others up for so long that it had left him brittle. He could only sustain so much weight, and now he was crumbling under the burdens he once was willing to carry. He who had given everything he had was left with nothing else to offer. Sombra, who had withstood all kinds of hardships was now left in a broken state, after all, nothing is eternal. Time has a way at withering away even the hardest and toughest of rocks.

So now, as Sombra gazed into the outside as night slowly began to set in, the second day was coming to a close. And Sombra was now in no position to help. He was will was...shattered. Just as Agatha feared he would be one day. He finally collapsed under the weight he tried to carry on his own. After all, no one pony can carry the whole world on their shoulders, not even some pony like Sombra.

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