• 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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43. Trust

The sound of hooves clopping on the cold hard ground was all Sombra was focused on. His gaze was at the ground and his eyes dull from disinterest in anything going on around him. He was walking, though to where he did not know. What he did know, was that he didn't want to stop any time soon. He just wanted to get away from everything.

Something did catch his attention though. The sound he was so focused on now suddenly changed. Instead of the hard sounds his hooves made on contact with the ground, it was not a soft crunch. Actually playing attention to the ground, Sombra realized that he was now on grass instead of the stone streets of the empire. A glance around made it apparent that he was in the refuge camp.

With a faint sigh, he shook away whatever thoughts came to his mind. He didn't need to think didn't want to think, he was done with everything. Still, every cell in his body prodded him to think of a solution. Sombra made himself believe it was out of force of habit, but the bottom line was that despite not wanting to interfere, he still cared deeply about those around him.

Going against his better judgement, Sombra's mind raced as scenario after scenario played out in his head. A way to deal with Twilight and get things back to normal, or as close to it as he could. He wanted to bring a stable life back to Equestria, the life he had ripped apart because he did not watch himself. Another sigh escaped him as once again Sombra fell into shame and despair for himself.

His downward spiral, however, did not last very long. Ponies had gathered around him, so many that even in his distracted state he noticed.

"You!" One stallion screamed out. "How dare you show your face here!"

Sombra remained quiet as he soon realized what was happening.

"What did you do to Princess Twilight?!" A mare shouted from the crowd

"You brought this to us!"

"Our home is gone because of you!"

Again and again ponies shouted at him. They shouted out their desperate cries of pain and suffering that he had caused. Sombra's vigilant eyes quickly scanned the crowd and it became clear that a riot was about to break loose. One pony reached for a stone, no doubt to throw at him and though he could have stopped him, maybe even just dodged it, Sombra simply closed his eyes and took a breath. He was ready to take anything they would throw at him. Nothing mattered to him anymore, he deserved it.

To Sombra's surprise, the stone never hit him. The lack of noise from an impact also made it seem like it was never thrown. Slowly he opened his eyes to see the stone floating just inches away from his face, a yellow aura holding it in place.

"I won't let you hurt Mister Sombra!" A voice shouted by his hooves. Sombra looked down to see Dinky facing off against the crowd of ponies all ready to kill him, no doubt they would have no problem going through a filly.

Murmurs were heard among the ponies as they began to debate why Dinky was defending him.

"Isn't that Derpy's daughter?"

"Did he corrupt her too?"

"She's just as bad as Sombra if she's on his side."

Sombra's eyes opened wide as he saw them all step forward in aggression, though Dinky didn't falter. She stood her ground and was even preparing to fight back. Pulling the stone back, she was ready to throw it, but Sombra grabbed it with his hoof. shocking her.

"Every pony calm down." He said as he stepped forward, getting between the masses and the filly. "Yes, I am responsible for Twilight Sparkle's madness, and I will wholeheartedly accept any punishment you wish to give me. Throw stones if you wish. Push me out into exile. I care not, but do not hurt Dinky Doo, it is I who is at fault not her." He said, raising his head up high once more.

Though those that threw accusations had been headstrong at first, their determinations seemed to had died down. They all glanced at one another as they began to ponder to actually do anything to Sombra. Slowly, they began to disperse, leaving him and Dinky alone in the grass field and returning to their tents.

"Wow!" Dinky shouted. "How did you get them to stand down?"

Sombra's eyes began to dull again, the fire that had sparked when he declared himself at fault seemed to have diminished and he had returned to his sadden self. "I suppose they thought me not worth punishing after all." He said as he began to walk. Dinky began to follow him, something was clearly wrong with him and she was worried.

"Mister Sombra?" She asked out, but didn't receive a response, he continued to walk with his head down. "What's wrong?"

"Dinky, it would be best if you stayed away from me." Sombra finally said as he came to a sudden stop.


"I tend to hurt those around me."

"Really? Cause I just saw you save me from those bad ponies."

"They aren't bad...just afraid and they have the right to be so. I brought in the destruction of Equestria." Sombra said as he began to walk again, once more Dinky followed.

"You mean about Princess Twilight?"

"The magic I taught her corrupted her. She turned evil because of me."

"You taught me magic too, remember? I haven't turned evil. At least I don't think I'm evil." The filly said, oblivious to the grim circumstances around her. She managed to get a soft chuckle out of f him.

"Dinky, I taught you normal magic, the one that comes from inside you, from your heart. The magic I use, the magic I taught Sparkle is dark magic. It comes from fear and hatred."

"Does that mean you have fear and hatred in your heart?"

"Uh...no, it means I absorb fear and hatred from other ponies. That fear becomes the basis for my power to create crystal constructs." He said, trying to find a simple way of explaining how dark magic works, though not able to ind the right method to convey the message to a filly.

"That sounds awesome!" Dinky said with a small hop. "That means that you help ponies get rid of their fears!"

Furrowing his eyebrows, Sombra was left confused. "What?"

"You said you use other pony's fears to power your magic right? That means that you take away what they are afraid of and use it to make yourself stronger. Right?"

Sombra's sadden expression disappeared once more as his curiosity won over his self pity. He took a moment to look around to see all the depressed ponies around him who got back to their lives. Struggling to bring out his dark flames, he began to willingly drain fear from those around him.

Will we ever get home?

Where is mommy?

Did he make it back?

How will my sons react when I tell them all our stuff are gone?

Princess Celestia will fix everything, won't she?
We'll get back home, right?

I wanna go home

I don't like this place

I miss my bed

Voices were once again filling Sombra's mind as he came to understand where the voices he heard back in Canterlot came from and why the sounded so familiar. Dinky seemed to be right, when he drains a pony's fears he takes them in along with their fearful thoughts. Something he wasn't aware off before.

"So all this time..." Sombra said as a glimmer came to his eyes. "I truly was helping, I was able to take the fear of others and help them from it."

Dinky's smile only grew larger as she saw him begin to return to his old self, though it was a short victory as Sombra let out a sigh that reverted him back.

"This...doesn't change anything." He said as he continued to walk away. This time, Dinky chose not to follow as he pouted at his stubbornness.

"What is wrong with him?" She asked out with her cheeks puffed out. Deciding it was best to simply leave him be, she began to make her way back to her own tent where she and her mother were staying. The trip was short and without any delays.

"Mommy?" She asked out as she pulled her tent curtain to the side as she entered.

"Yes?" Derpy asked as she stirred soup in a cooking pot. The mare held a gentle smile as she gazed down at the food she was cooking, something she was grateful she could still do for her daughter.

"What's for dinner?"

"Some soup I made from the stuff I bought at the market earlier." She said as she began to set their small table.

"I saw Mister Sombra today." Dinky said as she sat down, her mother serving the food for them.

"Really? I heard he had been unconscious since the fight in Canterlot. How is he?" Derpy asked without missing a beat in her motions, quickly getting everything ready for their meal and then joining her daughter.

"I don't know..." The filly said as she placed an elbow on the table, pressing her face against her hoof. "Some ponies were picking on him, saying he was responsible for what happened..."

"Ahem" Derpy said as she gestured to her daughter's arm, quickly making her sit right up. Happy with how everything was set, she began to eat the soup. "Some ponies need to blame others to feel better." She quickly said.

"Yeah, but why Mister Sombra?" Dinky asked as she began to use her magic to stir her soup before getting spoon fulls into her mouth. As Derpy saw her use her magic, she was quickly reminded of how much help Sombra had been to them, and how her daughter just went on and on about him whenever she could.

"Sombra has it tough, many ponies are afraid of him because of his...past. They would prefer to lash out instead of understanding where he is coming from."

"Are you afraid of him?"

"Not anymore." Derpy said with a soft smile. "I was when I first found out who he was."

"What made you change your mind about him?"

"I found out who he is now. He's made some mistakes in his past, but we all do. We can't hold him accountable for them, especially since he seemed to truly regret what he had done."

Dinky looked down at her soup bowl and stared at her reflection for a while. Finally making up her mind, she grabbed the bowl with her hooves and began to chug the entire soup down as quickly as she could. Afterward she shot out of her seat and ran outside.

"Thanks for the meal! I gotta go help Mister Sombra, I'll be back later!" Dinky shouted out, already well out of the tent, leaving her mother with a soft half smile and caring eyes. Quietly she returned to her meal and took one spoon full before talking to herself.

"Sombra, a lot of ponies care about you. I wonder what the future holds for you."


Dinky ran back and forth all over the empire looking for Sombra. For a stallion that often stood out, he was incredibly hard to find this time. No doubt he had hidden himself away somewhere, but Dinky wasn't about to quit, besides, she was Ponyville's hide-and-seek champ. This was just another challenge for her.

Coming to a stop, the small filly began to think hard about where her friend could be. "Mister Sombra was really sad, he'd probably would like to be somewhere where no pony would ever bother him..." Slowly her gaze shifted upward. Up above there were several towers where one had a beautiful vista of the empire, and for a pony who was almost obsessed with the past, it would make a great bench where he could stare at his past home.

A grin spread across Dinky's face as she quickly turned around and began to run, but as she turned, she hit something. Bouncing back and landing on the ground, she heard a mare speak.

"Oh goodness, are you alright?" Fluttershy asked.

"Yeah..." Dinky said as she stood up, dusting herself off. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bump into you, I was. Hey wait a minute! You're one of Mister Sombra's friends aren't you?"

Fluttershy was a little confused, but the filly began to explain the situation. The pegasus' expression changed as she looked up to the tower.

"You can get up there much faster than I can, think you can talk to him for me?" She asked out with a smile.

"I-I'll try. Just leave it to me." Fluttershy said as she took to the air, making her way up to towers. A quickly look around the rooftops and Sombra was quickly found. The poor stallion sat on the red tiles as he stared off into the horizon of the Empire. His eyes were still dull, but they had a sense of rich melancholy, as if looking for an old memory to latch on to.

The yellow mare smiled as she saw him and began to make her her way to him, but her momentum was lost as she got a better look at him. Sombra was not one to express his emotions, so this state of sadness broke Fluttershy's heart, she hated to see him like that. She began to think to herself of how she could help. How she could perhaps console him. But nothing come to her. She was at a loss at how she could be of any help to him. Slowly, she looked over at the crystal castle as he gradually began to make up her mind. With a sigh and watery eyes, Fluttershy flew in the castle's direction.


The night was beginning to set in and with it, so too did Sombra's dark thoughts. To him, the dark was a comfort where he could be left alone to his thoughts, but the last thing he wanted to do was think right now. All he wished for was to forget, forget everything and disappear.

"Mind if I sit here?" A gentle voice asked. Sombra turned to see Fluttershy timidly flying just over the roof top of the tower, the flapping of her wings muffled by the sound of the wind.

"I'd rather be alone Fluttershy." He responded as he went back to his view.

"I won't be long." She said as she sat down anyway. "I just wanted to apologize."

"Apologize for what?" Sombra asked, not exactly sure what she was talking about.

"For not being able to help you. For not being able to bring a smile to your face." She said in a soft voice, not looking his way. "Ever since the day you told me you needed me, back when Chrysalis attacked I had a crush on you." Fluttershy said, her face beet red.

Sombra sighed as he turned in her direction. "Fluttershy I-" He was interrupted when the mare held up her hoof, gesturing that she was not yet done.

"I wanted to be there for you, for anything you needed. But it looks like now when you need some pony the most I can't help. I want to help, but I don't know how. Maybe it's because I don't know you well enough, or maybe I'm just not cut out to help comfort you. Either way, I just wanted to say that I was sorry..."

"You have nothing to apologize for. I suppose I shouldn't have allowed this to go on for as long as it did, perhaps I would not have broken you heart." He said, not exactly sure of what to say to the mare.

"It's alright. This is no pony's fault. But you don't need me right now, you need some pony who can help cheer you up." Fluttershy said as she stood back up. "Right Pinkie?"

Behind them, Pinkie climbed up from a window, silently waiting for them to finish. Sombra looked behind them and was even more distraught. The two mares he had led on were here trying to help him, but he couldn't bring himself to say anything to them. This strange sensation only worsened how he felt.

"I'll leave you two alone." The pegasus said a she walked by Pinkie.

"Thanks." Pinkie said in a whisper as her friend passed her by. With a nod to her, Fluttershy took off into the air, leaving an awkward atmosphere for the dark stallion and pink mare.



"What are you looking at?" Pinkie said as she sat down next to Sombra.

Raising his hoof to point out the grass land outside the empire, Sombra spoke. "There used to be a horrible blizzard there. Ever since Mi Amore took over the empire for me, the storm had retreated into the mountains, but back in my time that whole area was one big storm."

"Did something happen there?"

"I died." Sombra said quietly. "Elite Blood died right there, and Sombra took his place." Again He looked around and pointed to another place in the empire, this time the Royal Library. "Sombra died there, and was reborn as Sombra, The Embodiment of Darkness. Then there, Sombra became a King and then a Tyrant." He said as he shifted his eyes to the castle.


"And then right over there, just off the balcony of the castle, the Tyrant died and became just Sombra again. And soon after that." He said as he placed a hoof to his chest. "That Sombra was reborn as became reformed. Sombra, The Reformed."

"And what happened to that Sombra?" Pinkie asked.

"I've yet to figure that out." He said as he turned his gaze to the horizon.

"You know...we could really use your help right now."

"I don't have anything to contribute."

"You haven't tried..."

"I've thought of ways to try to solve Equestria's problem, but none of them have a very high chance of working, especially not the ones where Sparkle has a chance of survival."

"So you've thought this through?"

"Various times...The one solution that has the most likely chance of working is not even a fifty fifty chance."

"But it's better than nothing, we could go back and tell-"

"No..." He interrupted. "That plan will never work."

"Why not?"

"Because..." He said before sighing. "I have to drain Sparkle of her dark magic."

"What's the problem?"

"That she and I are of the same rank in the dark arts, once the connection is made, it will be a battle of wills to see who drains whose magic. In order for me to have a higher chance of success I have to break her will. I have to find the one thing that will make her crumble, I have to take on the role I once took as Tyrant and break her down until she is nothing and then I will be able to drain her magic..." Sombra said as he clenched his teeth. "I do not want to become a Tyrant again."

"You won't become a Tyrant..."

"Only a Tyrant is capable of doing such a thing to some pony. Only a cruel being could shatter one's very being. But let's ignore that for just a moment. Let's say I do this and win, I will then have all of Sparkle's magic. What is stopping me from going mad again? What is stopping me from losing my sanity as well? You'd have an even greater threat than before. This plan has the highest possible chance of success, but it comes with too many risks in the long run. I cannot go through with it. I don't trust myself to do so..."

Pinkie remained quiet as she thought of a way to prove to him he was wrong. She had been the only one to trust Sombra since the beginning and time and time again he had proven worthy of her trust. He wasn't wrong in his doubts, but deep inside her she knew that if he went through with this he could handle it.

Taking a deep breath, Pinkie stood up and face Sombra. They exchanged gazes for a while as her heart began to beat faster and faster for what she was about to do.

"Sometimes Sombra, you have to take a leap of faith." She said as she left her body fall off the tower. The air pushed against her as she began to descend towards the hard ground. Sombra quickly jumped after her as his eyes sparked in flames. They were small from his lack of will power, but the closer the ground became, the more he pushed himself until the dark blaze as in full throttle.

Diving close to the tower, Sombra's hooves slid and scrapped against the stone bricks. Timing things right, he used his dark magic to propel himself with a small pillar that he extended from the tower. Quickly catching up to Pinkie, he wrapped his arms around her as he erected a spiral pillar from the ground where they were heading to. Using it as a slide to soften their fall, Sombra threw Pinkie on his back as he crystallized his hooves and slid on the spiral crystal, gently coming to a stop once they reached the ground.

"Are you mad!?" Sombra shouted to the mare as she jumped off him only to wrap her hooves around his neck in a tight hug. His expression soften as his eyes lit up from fear...her fear.

"I was so scared that you wouldn't get to me in time..." She said softly.

"Then why did you jump?"

"Because I trust you." She said as she took a step back. "Sombra, every pony trusts you. Even Twilight trusted you to save Canterlot when she did what she did. So please, trust in yourself..."

"I can't, I do not want to even think of what would happen if I-"

"So what if you become a Tyrant?!" Pinkie shouted out. "I'll just reform you again! You can become a Tyrant twenty times over and I will be there next to you each and every time to get you to see the light. I'll be here for you, I'll be here to keep you from going mad. So please...please trust in yourself like I trust in you..." Pinkie said as she began to tremble. Holding back her tears, she embraced him once more as Sombra began to take in each word she had spoken.

They stood still for a while as Sombra forced himself to speak.

"Okay..." He said hesitantly. "I'll trust in myself to go through with this. But I am also going to trust in you to keep me in check if anything goes wrong." He said as he pulled her back, looking at her teary eyes. With a soft smile Pinkie nodded. "Good." Sombra said as they separated, his stance was once again tall and graceful. "We've better get back to the others, we've wasted enough time."



Sombra and Pinkie quickly made their way around the castle. Reaching their destination he pushed open the doors to the tactics chamber, making quite a loud entrance.

"Sombra!" The mares shouted out. "You're back."

"Yes, and I have a plan that can get Sparkle back." He said as he walked to the table.

"Hold up!" Rainbow Dash interjected. "I thought you were through meddling. We don't need your help, you'll only cause more problems!"

Some of the mares motioned that they were about to speak out, but Celestia stopped them. Holding her wing out to hold back the other, she allowed Rainbow and Sombra to face off against each other, something about how Sombra's eyes looked gave her hope.

"Not now Rainbow Dash, we've wasted enough time already, we need to prepare."

"Exactly! And you're getting in the way of our preparations, so beat it!"

Turning to look at her with a stern look, Sombra took a deep breath. "Mare, I know you and I do not see each other eyes to eye, and I understand that. But right now, I am your only hope of bringing Twilight Sparkle back from her insanity, so either get with me or get out. I've no time to waste."

"And what? Am I suppose to just trust you?"

"Yes. You can do whatever you wish to me after this whole mess is over, but right here, right now, trust in me. Trust that I will do as I say and bring things back to how they were before."

"And if you can't?"

"I can. I am Sombra, The Reformed, and I can do anything I set myself out to do." He said, not backing off from his position. The chamber stayed quiet for a while as Sombra and Rainbow glared at each other. It seemed to had gone on forever, but finally the pegasus spoke.

"Fine!" She shouted. "For Twilight. I'll trust you for Twilight, but I swear, if you don't bring her back..."

"I will. And once I do, everything will be back to like the time before I had arrived."

"I'll hold you to that." Rainbow Dash said as she sat back down. "So what's this marvelous plan of yours?"

Sombra began to breath easily now him and every pony else in the room. Every pony smiled as they saw things become a little less chaotic, but more so because Sombra was back in the team. He truly was the only pony who could think of a way out of this And after a moment to collect his thoughts, Sombra opened his mouth to speak.

"We need to fight Sparkle. We have to fight fire with fire."

"So thou wish to fight Twilight Sparkle alone?" Luna asked.

"No, Sparkle is a natural, by now she must wield more raw dark power than even I. I cannot best here in a one on one."

"So a combined assault?" Cadence asked out this time.

"Yes, though only of me and Luna." Sombra said, getting a few gasps from the room.

"Yer kiddin'! You expect us to just sit back and twiddle our hooves?" Applejack asked out, many others seemed to agree with her.

"You're all forgetting where dark magic is drawn from. Fear and Hatred. Right now every pony out there is just a power source to Sparkle. Celestia and Mi Amore need to be pillars of hope for every pony to lean on. The presence of the Elements of Harmony would further improve the morale."

"We hate to be pessimistic, but art thou sure we could even take on Twilight just the two of us?"

"We can...if we change things up a little."

"How so?"

"I ask forgiveness in advanced Luna, what I am about to ask of you is something perhaps out of line."

"Well do not hold thy tongue. Speak so We may hear thine plan already."

Taking a moment to brace himself for what he was about to say, Sombra spoke. "I need you to become Nightmare Moon."

"What!?" Every pony shouted in unison, quickly beginning to argue back.

"Quiet now, We wish to hear him out." Luna said as she hushed the room.

"I read about how you turned into Nightmare Moon. The Nightmare forces of the moon possessed you. In my smoke form, I am pure dark energy, similar to those forces. I could act as the shade that took over you, allowing you to both use dark magic and take on the form of Nightmare Moon." He said, explaining his plan out. "Both you and I are still from the era of war a thousand years ago. You remember how to fight. With dark magic you can be an even greater warrior."

"And what is stopping Us from falling into the same madness Twilight fell to? Surely thou jests if thou thinks to teach Us how to use the dark arts in a day."

"You won't have to worry about that. Once I am absorbed into your subconscious, I will fight off any demons that might plague your mind. You will have nothing to worry about."

Luna stayed silent for a moment as she thought everything through. With a sigh, she raised her head and smile. "Alright, We shall go through with this endeavor."

"Are you sure?" Cadence asked.

"Yes. Sombra has yet to be wrong. His mind has the uncanny ability to see all possible outcomes."

"If my father did one thing, it was to keep a vigilante eye on everything. I assure you, if we go through with this, we can bring Sparkle back." He said, almost boasting. Sombra took another deep breath as he turned to face Celestia.

"One last thing..." He said, getting the sun goddess's attention.


"I am going to need that vase."

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