• 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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47. Equestria's Burdens

A strange feeling traversed all of Luna's body. It was a feeling of power, dangerous power that seemed to consume her entire being. Her wings flapped only once as that alone would push her forward several meters. It was as if everything around her was fragile compared to her. The ground beneath her, the mountain sides, and even the wind around her as she glided through the air, they all seemed small and insignificant.

"This may be too much..." She said to herself, taking a moment to look over herself. She was indeed not her usual self. Her darker color scheme was the first thing she noticed, after that is was her royal accessories. She felt like Nightmare Moon once more, she was Nightmare Moon once more.

Watch yourself. A voice echoed in her head.

"Sombra?" She asked as she got ever closer to the large black fog in front of her.

Yes, it is me. Sombra's voice said in her head once again. Along with his voice, there were a few other sounds. Loud screeches and grunts were heard, causing some concern for the dark princess.

"What is that sound?" She asked as her body now pushed into the fog, slowing her flying speed as she entered.


A ghastly being surfaced from a dark void only to be pierced by a black crystal spike. As it began to disappear, Sombra's hoof came to the spot where it had come from.

"It's the sound of you keeping your sanity." He said as he looked around. At the moment he stood in what seemed to be pure darkness. Though it wasn't that it was 'dark', it was simply empty, otherwise he would not be able to see himself so clearly. No doubt that this strange void from where he stood was the Princess's subconscious. "Just now you thought about how powerful you are, no? Having trouble keeping yourself from seeing how strong you or on the fragile landscape around you?"

How doth thou know that?

"That creature I just attacked, that was what it was muttering." He responded as another ghastly being came into existence. Slowly it raised an arm from the ground, struggling to rip itself out from the void of Luna's mind.

"This power is unreal..." It said as it stood up. With a calm demeanor, Sombra once again erected a spike that impaled the creature through, making it burst into nothingness. With a gruff, Sombra looked up into the void and spoke to his 'prison'.

"It seems these things don't stay 'dead'. They'll only sprout out again after I kill them. But do not worry, I will not let their thoughts corrupt you."


"Art thou saying thou art fighting Our inner demons?" Luna, or rather, Nightmare Moon asked out as she made her way further into the fog.

Yes, it would seem so.

"Thou shall already be fighting for a thousand years, doth thou think it is proper to begin combat already?"

I'm prepared to fight non-stop for a thousand years Luna, what's a few more hours? Sombra's voiced asked in her head. She understood his point, she wasn't exactly happy about it, though she didn't have much time to worry about it, it seemed she was nearing the eye of hurricane so to speak.

In a sudden burst from the dark clouds, Nightmare Moon ripped through as her elegant body came into view. The sight before her, however, was much less regal. Twilight Sparkle was walking, her hoof steps leaving small black crystals behind as she passed. It was odd, it seemed like she hadn't even noticed her yet.

Sparkle is not yet aware of your presence. Do with that as you wish Luna. Sombra said from within her.

"What?" She whispered back. "We are right above her, surely she hath taken notice."

Right now you have merged with all of my dark magic, that means that you give off the same dark presence the dark fog around here does. You can choose to attack from her blind side, it would served as a great way to make some head way in breaking her spirit.

Taking a few seconds to think about it, Nightmare Moon could feel herself think of all the ways she could take advantage of this particular situation, and as she did, a smile grew on her face. It was an expression that quickly faded when she heard more grunts in her head, more sounds of combat.


Jumping into the 'air', Sombra landed on one of the creatures of the void and attacked it with a magical bolt at point blank range, making it explode immediately and sending him once more into the air. As he swiftly moved his body around, he landed in a crouched position as he avoided an over swing from the monster beside him. His eyes broke out into flames as he skewered it through it's stomach, again it exploded.

Art thou alright? Luna's voice echoed from the void around him.

"Yes, though it seems you are not. Having some trouble picking on how to attack I assume?" He asked as he jumped back to dodge an attack, countering with a sudden leap forward to close the distance and headbutting the creature into the ground where Sombra spun a kick to, sending him flying into the air where it dissipated.

W-What doth thou mean?

"I mean, every time you have a dark thought, another one of these demons pop up. Unless I continuously get rid of them, they will consume you and drive you to madness." Sombra said as he stood up tall. Glancing around him he saw quite a few monsters that were gathering around him. Nothing he couldn't handle of course, but definitely more than he had expected to face this soon.

He readied himself to fight, but just as he reached his stance, the monsters around him began to burst on their own. One by one each one exploded, leaving the void where Sombra was feeling more empty than before. Confused, he looked up at the void again and spoke out.

"Luna? What have you done?"


"Twilight Sparkle, We come to ask you to end this madness. Return to us as thou were before, cast away thy dark magic." Nightmare Moon said as she landed on the ground in front of Twilight. Surprised, the purple princess jumped back as she looked at her 'guest' in the fog.

"N-Nightmare Moon?" Twilight asked out. "Did Luna fall to darkness again? This isn't good, I knew I shouldn't have left Canterlot, no pony can protect it like I can." She, completely ignoring what the dark mare had said.

Care to explain Luna? You had a perfect opportunity to land a preemptive attack on her.

"Yes...but We did not wish to cause you more burdens." She responded quietly, no breaking eye contact with Twilight.


"Twilight Sparkle, it is not Us who hath fallen to darkness. We had been sent to break thee out of thine prison of madness, much like thou hath done for Us once."

The purple mare stood dumbfounded. It wasn't that she didn't hear her, more like she did not understand her. "What are you talking about Nightmare Moon, what sort of trick are you trying to play on me?"

"No trick, We stand before thee to bring thou back home safely."

"Bring me back home?" Twilight asked herself, trying to make sense of the statement. Her eyes opened wide as she began to interpret it in a strange way. "As in...home to the after life? Are you saying you'll kill me?"

"What? No, We-" Nightmare Moon did not have time to explain herself, instead she was met with a barrage of dark bolts.

Throwing herself to the side, the dark mare was able to avoid getting hit by the assault. Taking a short moment to look at where she had stood, no doubt she would have been obliterated had she not managed to avoid the attack. With frown she returned her gaze to the purple mare who held a devilish grin upon her face, a smirk that sent chills down her spine.

"No time for words then?" Nightmare Moon asked as her eyes let out a sparkling flame.

"I'd ask how you obtain your dark magic, but I know it was Sombra. He corrupted you, turned you into Nightmare Moon again and now sent you here to kill me, do his dirty work. No doubt he didn't want me around because I am the only pony who can stop him and whatever he is planning."

"Sombra has done no such thing. Art thou even listening to thyself? No logic is leaving thine mouth."

"Enough, I will not listen to your crazy talk." Twilight shouted as she took to the air. In their constricted space, it was hard to maneuver around the vortex of darkness where they were, so instead of being bound to an arena, Twilight began to use her dark powers.

With a burst of flames from her eyes, the fog around them began to lift and scatter, though not exactly in a natural way. Instead simply dissipating outward, the black smoke began to gather high above them where Twilight had flown. In one mighty yell, she condensed the raw dark fog into a magical sphere that sparked in bright lightning bolts from the intense power within it. With a wicked smirk, Twilight lifted her head and allowed her horn to glow a mixture of purple and black; taking direct control of the sphere. In a furious shout, she threw it down at Nightmare Moon.

Clenching her jaw, the dark alicorn braced herself as she began to cast a spell. Her bright blue night magic began to surround her, a protective shield that she hoped would be enough to save her from harm, after all, the sphere coming down at her was massive, there was no way of simply dodging it. To her own surprise, the magic that she cast, though blue at first, converted into a sickly green and violet shade just as the attack made contact.

A large explosion came from the impact of the orb of magic. Had this battle taken place anywhere else, no doubt it would have done collateral damage on a colossal scale. The ground was all but gone, a large crater in place of where Nightmare Moon stood with nothing but dust and debris now.

"That was easier than I thought." Twilight said from way up high. Slowly she began to descend down the hole she created in the earth, though as soon as she placed her hooves into the dirt, everything turned black. In a panicked reaction she looked all around, finally looking up to see Nightmare Moon flying gracefully over head. Not a scratch on her and her eyes burning in large flames.

"Thou art a fool of thou believes that is all that is needed to kill a goddess." She said as the sun behind her began to lower. Taking it's place was the moon, but unlike the moon that cycles day and night, this one was much larger and more detailed. It was bright, very bright. It's sight alone made Twilight squint as the moon came into the sky behind Nightmare Moon.

"I'll just try harder next time then." Twilight said as she began to take to the sky to match her opponent, but for some reason, she felt heavier than before. Struggling to keep in flight, Nightmare Moon laughed softly to herself.

"Having trouble? Surely thou of all ponies would know what happens when the moon gets closer to the earth."

"Right..." She responded, suddenly understanding what she had done. "You've changed the gravity in Equestria."

"Only slightly, though it seems that alone is enough to cause thee to lose thine flight."

"Nothing I can't get used to in a few minutes." Twilight said as she once again flapped her wings, stabilizing her flying a little bit, though as she focused on that alone, she didn't notice that Nightmare Moon was no longer above her. In a strong kick to Twilight's side, the dark mare launched her downward.

"A few minutes thou doth not possess."

A yelp escaped the purple alicorn as she was hit. Spreading her wings and regaining her balance, she managed to twist her body around as to land on her hooves instead of crashing down.

"We tried to come peacefully, but it seems thou art beyond any reasoning. With a heavy heart We shall go through with the original plan. Prepare thyself, thou shall be broken!"


"What's going on?!" Many ponies shouted out. The sudden shift from day to night had taken many by surprise, most even became frightened by having their sunlight run dry.

"Everything is 'A' okay every pony!" Applejack shouted out as she moved through the crowd she was assigned to.

"Yeah!" Shining shouted along side her. "Remember, it is Princess Luna who is fighting along side Sombra right now. She's the Goddess of the Moon, right? She probably wanted to fight in her own terms, the night is the best way to do that." He said, trying t make every pony feel at ease again. It worked, for the most part at least.

Currently every pony in all of the Crystal Empire were gathered under the castle where the Crystal Heart was located, There were at lot of ponies, so much so that there was no way to make your way through without having to squeeze through tight spaces.

"Think they're doin' alright?" The orange mare asked as she and Shining made their way though the crowd.

"I hope so. Though I have to say, this night is a little...weird."

"How so?"

"Look up, what do you see?"

"Umm." Applejack hummed as she turned her gaze to the sky. "Ah just see the moon, it's real big and bright."

"That's just it, we only see the moon."

"Am Ah suppose to see something else?"

"Yeah, there aren't any stars. Just this bright moon in the darkness of the night. It is...unnerving to say the least. I hope this is just because Sombra is lending his power to Luna and not because something terrible has happened to the night."

"Me too..."


"Raagh!" Twilight roared as she sped through the dark sky. Her eyes in a purple blaze, she sent bolts of dark magic towards the ever agile mare of the night. In a strong flap of her wings, Nightmare Moon manged to changed her position in the air over and over, each time she flapped her wings she managed to dodge an attack from her opponent.

Watch yourself, Sparkle is about to attack from below. Sombra's voice said from her head. Like if he could was able to read Twilight's mind or something similar, a crystal spike erected from the ground and had she not been warned, might have actually damaged her.

"How did thou know that was to happen?" Nightmare Moon asked as she flew around, and began to prepare for another clash with Twilight.

I was able to feel the dark magic gather at ground below you. No doubt Sparkle was trying to attack using my own technique of crystal creation. If we work together like this we can- argh.



Sliding back on the 'ground', Sombra came to a steady stop as she braced himself for the oncoming assault of monsters from all round him. Jumping over a lashing of the creature in front of him, Sombra shot a dark magic bolt that crushed the demon into the ground, though his victory was short lived as another managed to get a hold of him.

"With this power I can crush everything into the ground...nothing can get in my way." The demon said as it began to constrict the dark stallion.

Squinting one eye in pain, Sombra struggled to break free, but the creature proved to be much too strong for that, physically at least. In a savage roar, Sombra's irises faded into the green of his eyes as flames blasted through. A fury of crystal skewers erected from the ground that pierced the creature, making it explode.

In short gasps for air, Sombra looked around as more and more began to crowd around him. Again his flames ran wild as he made the ground glow. All around Sombra black crystal spikes came out, stabbing all of the creatures in the area. A collective shout was heard as they all felt the painful piercing of his dark magic before disappearing into nothingness.

"I'm...fine." he managed to say through his panting.

Thou doth not sound like it.

"Just fighting, I was distracted slightly when I sensed Sparkle's magic about to create crystallized creations." He said as he turned around to see three more demons had pulled themselves from the void. He didn't hesitate. At once he ran to them and began to shoot bolts of magic at them, all landing a deadly hit.

Thou should be more careful.

"You worry about your own fight, I can handle myself." Sombra said as he circled around more newly sprouted demons.


"We could say the same thing..." Nightmare Moon said as she flew around the array of bolts being sent at her. Twilight seemed to have lost her sense of reason, firing aimlessly at her, easy for her to avoid all the attacks.

"Hold still!" Twilight shouted as she came to a higher point in the air. Her irises disappeared as she forced out her magic. In an explosion of flames, she began to focus darkness at her horn, forming a large dark sphere again. Nightmare Moon took notice and stopped flying, instead she allowed her surroundings to grow, the darkness of the night spreading around her, consuming her body.

Twilight sent out her sphere of dark energy again, though as it reached Nightmare Moon, it passed through the darkness as if nothing was there. Confused, the purple mare looked around in confusion.

No sound was heard. Nothing but the slow breathing for Twilight was audible, though those breaths soon became faster and faster as anxiety began to take over. What was once a serious face became one of fright as she found herself alone in this empty space. It was an ominous feeling she could not seem to escape, the darkness around her seemed to creep up ever closer, or was that simply her mind playing tricks on her?

"N-Nightmare Moon!" Twilight shouted out. "Come out! Fight me!"

Nothing. No answer. Had she left? Had she forfeit the match to her? It wasn't clear, but it only made things worse of Twilight. Paranoia hit, she shook her head back and forth, searching for Nightmare Moon. What was worse than anything for her was not knowing, not knowing where her opponent was or if she was there at all.

"Is something the matter?" Nightmare Moon asked from the dark. "Afraid?"

"Me? Never." Twilight answered back, though her actions betrayed her words.

Below Twilight laid only her shadow, a small shadow that she had simply over looked, after all, it had always been there. Always will. Except that this time, her shadow seemed to be a little larger than before. Her body more slender. Her shadow...was Nightmare Moon. From the ground the darkness of the shadow erupted as the mare of night sprung out and dashed at full speed towards Twilight.

Being blind sided, the corrupt mare was left unprepared and was slammed against in midair. Grabbing a hold of her, Nightmare Moon came face to face with Twilight. As their eyes met, both of them felt their flames erupt in a burning blaze. Slowly the two purple flames began to attract one another and lock.

"W-What are you doing?" Twilight asked out as she gazed in fear at Nightmare Moon, or rather, her cold slim eyes.

"Taking what should not have been given to thee in the first place!" She shouted as their magic made a connection.


Sombra, who was still fighting the beasts in Luna's mind, felt a strange disturbance in his being. It was as if his magic was slowly being taken from him. In a loud shout, Sombra made quick work of the demons that remained and impaled each with a crystal spike.

"Luna! Stop at once!" He shouted as he turned to look up. "Her spirit is not yet broken!"


Shutting her eyes and throwing Twilight back, Nightmare Moon flapped her wings as she tried to shake the rather disturbing feeling from her body.

"What happened?" She asked herself, trying to remain stable in flight.

Sparkle began to drain our dark magic instead of the other way around. I told you, you have to break her will, otherwise when the connection is made, the magic will go to her.

"But...how could Twilight Sparkle have a stronger will then Us?"

That mare fought against you, me, Discord, and won. Do not underestimate her.

"What did you do to me?!" Twilight shouted as she too came back to her senses, though her anger soon vanished when she realized a small detail. "Wait...I feel....stronger. Did I get more magic?"

Curses. Attack! We cannot allow her to build up her confidence. Sombra's voice echoed. Without question, Nightmare Moon did as she was told. Charging up her horn with dark magic, the dark mare cast her night magic, magic that was strengthened by Sombra's dark essence.

In a flurry, Twilight did the same, sending an energized bolt of magic. Their magic collided and struggled to overpower one another. For a while they remained at an impasse, neither gaining strength over the other. Taking the chance, Twilight began to gather some magic below them and threw up a crystal spike in Nightmare Moon's direction.

Watch out! Sombra shouted in her head. Though there was little she could do to dodge. The spike was heading towards her at a rapid speed.

In a shocking turn of events, another crystal spike erupted from the ground and clashed with the one Twilight had conjured. Having intercepted the crystal spike, Nightmare Moon spared the few more seconds that the struggle against Twilight had lasted. Having ran out of magic to project at the moment, both of the mares were now free to move.

Looks like I was right after all.


"I still do have control over crystal creations from within your mind." Sombra said he jumped back to avoid an attack from the rather large demon in front of him.

We thank you, though art thou sure thou should be shifting thy focus to my battle instead of thy own? Luna's voice was heard through out the void.

"It's either that or we both die." He responded as he ran up to a demon. Spinning around and kicking him with a hind hoof. Regaining some footing, Sombra railed up a hit with his front hoof that sent the demon flying back from the physical assault, slowly starting to disappear from the strength of the hit.

We're sorry...

"For what?" Sombra asked as he returned to standing on all fores.

For being such a burden on thee.

"You need not apologize. I like being able to help. Now, back to your battle, we shouldn't falter again.

Yes...Let us win this.


"Is everything going to be okay?" A mare asked from the crowd. Many others echoed her feelings as uncertainty began to spread.

"Now now." Rarity said as she walked around the crowd. "Let us not lose faith in Princess Luna and Sombra, okay?"

Though much of the murmuring quiet down, one stallion stepped up to the white mare and began to express his own concern.

"But see here, both Sombra and Luna were evil at one point. What's to stop them from joining Twilight and come here to attack?" He asked. At once every pony around him began to shout out, all very much afraid that perhaps he was right.

"We can't just-" Rarity began, but was not really heard. Her voice has been muffled by the sudden cries and shouts of the ponies in the crowd. "Come now, every pony listen." She tired to speak, though no pony seemed to hear her.

"QUIET!" A loud shout from within the crowd echoed in the area. Every pony was surprised, by it, so much so that it became silent all of a sudden. As ponies began to step away from the one who had screamed, a small filly was revealed. Dinky, who had at one point stood her ground against an angry mob, was once again standing up to speak.

"Mister Sombra has done nothing but save us since he arrived!" She shouted, all those around listening to her. "So why don't you all just man up and wait until he gets back before throwing accusations left and right?"

"Dinky Do is right everypony." Rarity said as she made her way to Dinky. Once in front of her, she nodded in a gentle smile before levitating her and placing her on her back from where she could speak out better.

"All we were told to do is to stay here and keep calm. We're not the ones doing the fighting, we're not the ones risking our lives to save Equestria, so why is everypony finding it so hard to just sit and do nothing?" Dinky shouted, scolding all those around for even thinking badly of Sombra.

"So what? We just twiddle our hooves and wait?" A mare asked.

"Yeah! That's what Mister Sombra asked us to do." Dinky shouted, making the mare that spoke our shrink back into the crowd.

"Yes every pony, why don't we all just sit down. If you all need something to do, why do you not pray?" Rarity asked.


"Yes." The seamstress said as she raised her hoof to the moon in the sky. "Pray to the moon. Send Luna all your prayers. I do that whenever I find myself in a pinch, praying always helps me find my way."

Every pony began to whisper among themselves, but slowly, the voices died down as they all sat down and closed their eyes. Taking Rarity's advice, they each began to whisper small prayers to the moon, it was a rather sweet moment for the unicorns to witness, every pony at peace now that they had a form of outlet for their worries.

"That was very brave of you Dinky." Rarity said as she looked at the filly on her back.

"Mister Sombra would have done the same."

"You really like him don't you?"

"Yeah. He's really nice to me, I hate seeing every pony turn their back on him just cause he made a few mistakes."

"Yeah, me too Dinky. Me too."


In the light of the moon, Twilight flew round rapidly as she and Nightmare Moon exchanged attacks. Each one would dodge the other's as best as they could as they flew around in a spiral. Their grace in the air was as if they were dancing to a deadly rhythm; one wrong step and they would get seriously injured.

The air brushed against their coats as they gained more and more speed, Nightmare Moon was beginning to gain some ground on the fight. Dark magic aside, she had much more experience in combat than Twilight, and those years of experience were finally beginning to show as exhaustion began to take the young alicorn.

Swerving around a mountain side, the two of them their broke line of sight for the first time in a while as they each made their way around the mountain on opposite sides. As they began to come back together, Twilight was surprised to see that Nightmare Moon was no longer racing against her. She was no where to be found.

"What?" She asked as she came to a stop, though her moment of confusion was interrupted by the sudden burst of the mountain side. From the stone Nightmare Moon emerged as she attacked Twilight by digging her way through the mountain to gain the element of surprise.

As the dark mare was preparing to land a deadly attack on Twilight, she paused as a voice echoed through her head.

Please let everything be alright....

The sudden sound of the voice caused her to give Twilight a large enough window to escape from the hold and fly to a safe distance.

"Argh...Sombra, was it thou who spoke?" Nightmare Moon asked as she took a moment to shake away the nauseating feeling.

I haven't said a word...I have my own, argh, problems at the moment.


Again Sombra was caught in the hands of a demon who tried to crush him. Though he wished to use his magic like last time, he had come to find that he had been using his dark magic perhaps much too freely. With the realization of having to spend a thousand years with a limited amount of magic, he was now restraining himself as best he could from using it.

"These demons are popping up more and more... you have some pretty dark thoughts, you know that?" Sombra said as he tried to lighten the mood, though it was hard to do so when he felt his bones begin to crack.

In a swing of his hind legs, the dark stallion managed to land a swift kick on the demon to make him let go, and with his freedom back, was able to jump to safety. He once again found himself surrounded by the creatures of the void, finding that he had no choice, he charged up his dark magic and sent a barrage of crystal spears at the demons, destroying them all at once.

I could have sworn that I heard a voice... Luna's voice echoed.

"That must have been my fault. Perhaps I allowed too many to build up and their voices bled to your ears. I'll make sure to get rid of them more quickly." He said as he noticed another figure begin to rise from the void. Sombra ran as he prepared to attack it, but as he got closer, he realized that it wasn't what he had expected to see. Instead of the regular monster he was used to seeing, what stood in front of him was a silhouette of a stallion.

....Please let everything be alright... It said softly.

Sombra was confused, who was this stallion, and how did he find his way into Luna's subconscious. Though his train of thought was interrupted as he heard Luna grunt in pain.

"Luna? Are you alright?"

Y-Yes. We simply got sloppy with our combat. The voices are getting rather...loud.

"Voices?" He questioned as he looked around the void. "But their aren't any demons here..."

As if his voice triggered a spell, dozens of ponies suddenly rose from the ground, all silhouettes as they all murmured to themselves.

Please let Princess Luna and Sombra to return safely.

I pray that we can all go home soon.

Help my mother, she is the most panicked and I fear she might lose herself soon.
I haven't eaten in days, please let me find something to eat soon.

Make the day come back soon please.
Princess Luna, please return to us with safety.

Help Luna and Sombra bring Princess Twilight back

Their voices, though soft at first, began to resonate louder and louder within the void. Sombra struggled to hear past them, he almost didn't hear that a monster came up behind him, but as he jumped out of the way, he bumped into one of the ponies, causing him to lose his balance.

"Luna, what's going on?" He asked as he tried to regain his footing, something very difficult to do when there was a new pony to pop up every second. Now he not only had the demons to worry about, but these ponies to watch out for.


"It would seem that ponies are praying to Us...." Nightmare Moon said as she flew out of the way of an attack. As she began to counter the assault, the sudden crying of an echo in her hear caused her to jolt her head sideways, misfiring her bolt of magic.

"What's wrong Nightmare Moon? Too old to keep up with me?" Twilight taunted as the attack passed right by her.

"Thou art lucky We...argh...art handicapped." She said as she returned to normal, at least for a while. No doubt a new voice would be heard in her head soon.

You can hear the prayers of those in Equestria?

"Yes, though We've never had this many before...it is overwhelming." She said as she once again began to fly rapidly around Twilight who did her best to keep up.

Can't you cut them off? Sombra asked.

"We could...if We lower the moon. That is the only link they have to Us, but doing so would cause all of the darkness around Us to disappear, and We find it rather useful at the moment." Nightmare Moon said as she and Twilight began to direct themselves into a head on collision.

Before they could actually make contact, however, Nightmare Moon dissipated into the darkness, completely invisible to Twilight. Feeling as if she had flown right through her opponent, the young alicorn came to a stop as she looked around only to get attacked from behind.

After the small tackle that had sent Twilight flying down, the dark mare sent out a few bolts of dark magic her way. As she fired, she once again heard voiced in her head, blurring her vision and making many of her attacks to miss her target.

This is getting rather difficult...

"You don't say..." She responded, though now, there seemed to be a disturbing echo to Nightmare Moon's voice, it was her voice back when she was possessed by the shades of the moon, the same voice she had when she had fallen into darkness.


Running and jumping over the ponies taking up room in the void, Sombra was no longer concerned about his magic levels. Instead he was impaling any and every demon he saw as soon as he made them out from the crowd now around him. He didn't harm any of the silhouettes for fear that it may do something to the pony who was praying, but that meant that everything was much different.

Sombra was galloping as fast as he could to try to get to every inch of the void and kill as many demons as he could find, but a sudden mistake took place. He found himself propelling himself off one of the creatures instead of a pony, that mistake caused him his momentum and a rib.

In a sudden roar of pain, Sombra found himself flying through the air as one of the larger creatures managed to land an upper cut on his underbelly while he was over head. Though he did his best to recover and land on his hooves, he felt another hit from behind him. Sombra was out numbered, and having to look twice to make sure he wasn't hurting any pony certainly wasn't making it any easier.

S-Sombra... Luna's voice echoed.

"What's wrong Luna?"

We...We are starting to feel strange. I am starting to feel strange... She spoke again, only know she wasn't using the royal 'we'. It was clear, she was starting to lose herself, was starting to become corrupt by all the dark magic inside her, all of the dark magic Sombra had brought in with him.

"Curses!" Sombra screamed as he impaled a demon and as he was about to attack another, he had to force himself to a stop when he realized it was a mare. "I can barely tell these damn things apart!"

The dark stallion suddenly felt a large blow at his side that once again sent him though the air. As if the demons were now working together, another large creature caught him and slammed him down. He let out a yell as he felt the pain though his body, though it wasn't satisfied with that alone. The demon began to punch downward over and over as it crushed Sombra under it's large fists. Many other demons began to gather around as they all began to pile on top of one another. Sombra had no way to escape, even as he tried to conjure up his magic, a sudden jolt of pain made him lose his concentration. Reaching out with his hoof into the void was all he could do...he was trapped....done for.

Suddenly, he felt a pull on his hoof.


Pinkie gasped as she felt her body tremble. A sense of dread fell over here as something dark began to take hold of her heart. Clenching the ruby Sombra had given her, she turned her gaze to the outskirts of the Empire. To the darkness around her. Slowly she began to make through the crowd of ponies, leaving her designated area.

All around her ponies were sitting down quietly praying. The gesture had spread to all the sections of the Empire now, and every pony was now casting up their fears and doubts to the moon.

"Sombra?" She asked out as she walked, her eyes began to tear up, though she wasn't sure as to why. She continued to walk and stumbled into Shining Armor and Applejack's area whom took quick notice of her.

"Hey Pinkie!" Applejack shouted as she moved closer. "What are ya doing here? Did somethin' happen?"

"I-I don't know." Pinkie answered, though a little vague with her statement.


"I have to go! Sombra needs me!" She shouted as she began to run. Pushing ponies out of her way, Pinkie ran as fast as she could, she ran towards the darkness, to where Sombra and Luna had gone.

"Hey!" The orange mare called out. "What's gotten into that girl?! Drat, what if something happened. I need to go tell the others."




All his pain was now gone. Sombra now stood alone once more in a void, only this time it was a white void. There was no sound, there was no smell, it was empty, yet the feeling that was coursing though his body was one of peace and tranquility. Looking around, he found that he wasn't alone after all. He saw something...some pony.

"Diane?" He asked out to the blue mare in front of him. She stood quiet as she looked over him from head to hoof. Quietly making her way to him, she circled around him to get a better look at him.

"My, you're different." She said with a giggle. Her voice was sweet, it was gentle, and it sent chills down Sombra's spine.

"This...isn't a dream, is it?" He asked out, afraid to hear the answer.

As if Diane knew he didn't want to hear the truth, she slowly shook her head. They remained silent for a while as the news began to sink in.

"Then that means...I failed." He said as he looked down. "I let all of Equestria down..."

"Sombra..." Diane spoke out, reaching out and placing a hoof on his shoulder. Her touch shocked him, it sent him into an array of emotions, feelings that hadn't arisen in a long time. For so long Sombra had wished he would talk to her and now that he had that chance, he couldn't find the right words.

"Diane I-" He began as he turned around to face her. "I, I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry about what happened." He said as tears began to build up at his eyes. His chest felt heavy as he struggled to speak. This was much more difficult than he thought it would ever be, speaking to her again.

"Sombra...you've apologized enough don't you think?" Diane said as she came close to lift his head.

"I can never apologize enough Diane. I did horrible things to the Crystal Empire, I broke the promise I made to you." He said as he looked into Diane's eyes. Her sapphire eyes, the eyes he had never forgotten.

"The promise you made to me? What does that have to do with anything?" She asked, almost laughing at the subject.

"I had promised to give the Crystal Empire a better life, and instead I became a Tyrant that ruined it. Crushed it all beneath my hooves."

"Oh Sombra." She said with a smile. "Even when I was saying my last words you didn't listen to me. You never change."

"What?" He asked, a little confused by what she was saying.

"I didn't ask you to give the Empire a better life. I asked you to find a better life in the Empire." Diane said with a gentle smile. "For years all you could ever think about was war. About how to keep others safe. You never once took a day off, you never once had fun. It was all work work work with you. I wanted you to find a better life for yourself. I wanted you to find some happiness."

"A better life for me?..."

"Mhm." She nodded with a grin on her face. "And I've been watching over you. I think you've gotten quite a nice life going for you right now don't you? Mister 'Sombra, The Reformed'." Diane said with a wink. As she called him by his knew title, he blushed slightly.

"Yes, well, it seems none of that matters now, does it?" Sombra said as she took a step back. "I can't do anything now."


Pinkie's voice echoed in the white void, quickly making Sombra perk up his ears and look around.

"Now now, that doesn't sound like the Sombra I know." Diane spoke as she began to lead him down somewhere. Though it was unclear as to where. All there was around them was nothingness for miles and miles.

"I am dead Diane, I can't do anything."

"Says the stallion who jumped at the voice of the one he loved." She teased with a wink.

"That's not!...entirely...false..." Sombra said with an embarrassed expression, causing Diane to giggle.

"The Sombra I know would lash against fate. He would scream out, 'I will take every pony's burdens upon myself'. Or am I wrong?"

"Last time I did that I became a Tyrant."

"Last time you did that you also escaped death...twice. Sombra, I don't know how you do it, but you are always pull through. You've had enough loss for a thousand life times, but you still persevere. You're strong."

"But I'm also the cause for a lot of death and loss. I can't live with myself if I am the cause of another tragedy."

"And staying here will help with that?" She said as she came to a stop. Looking down into the white void, an image began to show. Twilight and Nightmare Moon were fighting one another, though now the latter was losing...bad.

"She can't win without you." Diane said as she pointed at the dark mare. "Right now she's fighting all the madness in her head, but that doesn't let her focus on the fight."

"I can't do anything to help." Sombra said with a sadden look.

"Not from here you can't"

"What are you saying?"


Pinkie's voice echoed again,though much more clearly now.

"I'm saying, you can't die just yet Sombra." Diane said with a smile. "I've been watching over you, for a very long time. I know you can do this."



Again, even louder. Pinkie's voice made Sombra feel like she was right beside him. It was as her voice was calling him back, dragging him back. The void of white began to fade out black as Diane gave on last smile to Sombra. She began to wave bye as she spoke.

"I'm glad I was able to speak to you one last time. Go, do you're best, and remember. I'm proud of you. Of everything you are. Don't forget that no matter what, you'll always be the hero in my time of need, just as now you're the hero every pony else needs at this moment."


"Go you big lug!" She shouted as her image began to fade out, a few tears running down her face. "It isn't polite to keep a mare waiting, you know."




A sudden wave of pain surged through Sombra as he was brought back to the hell hole underneath all the demons of the void.

"No...I won't die here!" Sombra shouted as his eyes began to burn in flames. "Diane is right...I'll happily take on every pony's fears and doubts!" He shouted. Around him, the silhouettes of the ponies who were praying began to glow before igniting in purple flames. Flames that began to make their way to the dog pile.

"All of it! I'll take on all of Equestria's burdens, I'll carry them all on my back!" He shouted from under the demons. Light began to shine through the small cracks the demons began to develop.

A vortex began to surround Sombra as he was beginning to drain in everything. The prayers of ponies and even the corruption thoughts of Luna. All of it was to be Sombra's power, his strength form which he would build up Equestria once more.


"You're through Nightmare Moon!" Twilight shouted as she began to charge up another sphere of dark energy. The killing blow on the dark mare who was too beaten to move. "Take this!"

The large orb of power began to make it's way to Nightmare Moon who had no choice but to look upon her own death. The attack hit and a blinding light began to illuminate the area. The large moon that had governed the heavens up to this point began to descend. As it died, Twilight's laugh echoed in the distance.

"A little early to sing victory hymns Sparkle." Sombra's voice said from the cloud of the debris.

"What!?" Twilight shouted out, his voice shocking her. "You're here Sombra!?"

"Yes." He said as the sound of flames began to fill the atmosphere. The burning sound of a blaze in full throttle, the great purple flame of fear. Taking a step out from the smoke, Sombra stood tall as his new form was in display.

His eyes were exerting a massive amount of fire, so much so that it spread to his horn, consuming much of his face in what seemed like a mask. His green eyes peered from the fire in an ominous stare. Having taken the full blast of Twilight's attack, his clothing had been destroyed, but he showed little damage, if any. Instead, his grey coat was in out along with each hoof set ablaze in the same flame his eyes were casting. His mane waved up like if it was a lit candle. His cutiemark, while the red crystal was still present, now held a background of a spiraling purple fire.

His presence alone was enough to scare Twilight, that was apparent, but it didn't seem to stop her.

"I-I- It's about time you showed up!" She shouted, trying to hide her frightened side. "I was getting bored of fighting Nightmare Moon."

"You mean Luna? The mare trying to bring you back to the Equestria through peaceful means until you attacked?" He asked as he gestured behind him. Luna was once again herself, though unconscious.

"Don't give me that! She was trying to kill me, just like you are now!"

"I haven't made a move of aggression Sparkle."

"But I know you are, I can see it in your eyes!"

"No, what you see in my eyes is the reflection of your own fear. The fear you caused."

"Shut up!" Twilight said as she darted down at Sombra. She made some simple calculations and found she had one advantage, her wings. She was to use them to keep him from getting close to her, she would have a chance then to win.

Though as she flew, Sombra simply disappeared. No trace of him what so ever.

"What? Where'd you go!?" Twilight shouted as she came to a stop.

"I'm right here." Sombra said from behind her. His voice caused her to push herself away only to see he was standing on a crystal pillar.

"W-When did you summon that!?"

Again, he was gone. He simply disappeared like he was a flame that had been blown out.

"Have you noticed?" He asked, again he was suddenly standing on another pillar, this time directly under Twilight. "It's still dark despite Luna's moon having been lowered. He said as he raised his head to look at Twilight.

"S-So what!?" She asked as she once again pulled herself back, though this time she sent out a volley of magical bolts at him. He didn't move. He didn't even flinch. Instead he stayed still and allowed the attacks to connect.

"This darkness isn't caused by the night Sparkle." He voice spoke, again he suddenly appeared behind Twilight. "This darkness is coming from me."

All was gone, or rather, everything suddenly became engulfed in darkness. Twilight found herself lighting up the dark with her horn, a small light the did little to brighten her surroundings. Suddenly she felt the ground touch her hooves, without realizing she had slowed her wings and had descended all the way down.

Her breathing began to gain pace as she found herself lost in the dark. She was in nothingness. She was alone. She was scared. A sizzling sound started to echo as Twilight's flames began to mix with tears she didn't know she was crying.

"C-Come out!" She shouted as she began to walk backwards, but suddenly froze when she felt herself bump into something.

"I haven't left Sparkle." Sombra said as he looked down at the mare who backed into him.

Twilight tried to talk, she wanted to speak, say something, but her words were stuck at her throat. The fear she was experiencing was overwhelming and left her frozen. What was worse for her was Sombra's lack of interest in her fright. This was all something he was used to. This darkness, this lonesome darkness was his. If he could create this, he was some sort of monster, he was something truly terrifying.

Finally gaining control of her body again, Twilight jumped away and faced the burning stallion. "D-Don't just stand there! Fight me!" She shouted.

"Again with this? Do you really want me fight you? Do you really want me to completely slaughter you?" He asked as he took a step forward. All around them red crystals began to sprout. They grew around them in a natural flow, taking odd shapes and spiraling around freely.


"Liar." Sombra said as he came face to face with her. She couldn't move, couldn't speak, and her tears would not stop from flowing out. The darkness around her was overpowering. It was clear this was his domain, and she wasn't welcomed.

Her eyes, though they were still burning in purple flames, were close to going out. As he came close to her, they began to spark out again as they became attracted to his down flames.

"No...don't take my magic..." Twilight managed to whisper out in a choking voice.

"Forgive me Sparkle, but this was never yours to begin with. The fears of those in Equestria are mine to carry for them. Mine alone."

Feeling her entire being start to be pulled out of her, Twilight was helpless to Sombra's power. She was much too afraid to do anything and so she laid witness to the draining of her dark magic.

All at once the darkness disappeared as Twilight fell to the ground. She was out of dark magic to use. All of it was gone, even the magic that the contract had given her. She was no longer a being of darkness, that title was left solely to Sombra. Taking a few steps to get a good look at the mare in front of him, he noticed something else entirely.

The red crystal he had conjured had grown immensely. Mirrors upon mirrors were made by those crystals, mirrors that reflected a stallion on fire, a smile that stretched in an evil grin. The same stallion that once took over the Crystal Empire as a Tyrant. His mind felt empty, his thoughts like a faraway echo. It was the same strange feeling he felt last time he lost control to the dark influences of his magic...

"Sombra!" A voice called to him. Slowly turned to see who it was, the dark stallion was surprised to see Pinkie and many others behind her. All his friends, all of the ones he cared about, though his stoic expression remained even after seeing them.

"Are you okay!?" Pinkie asked out as she came to a stop when she saw Twilight on the ground.

"What happened?" Shining asked as he too came to Twilight's side. "You didn't-"

"No look! She's still breathing!" Pinkie shouted in happiness. "That means you did it!" She said as she directed her eyes at him. She took a few steps forward but was suddenly stopped when a crystal spike erected in from of her. Shocked, he looked to Sombra for an answer.

He didn't return Pinkie's gaze, instead it went to Celestia who was busy trying to get Luna back on her hooves.

"Royal Sisters..." Sombra said in a dead pan voice. "Strike me down."


"Why!?" Rarity shouted out as she came to the front, though she received no answer, only painful grunts as Sombra backed away.

"Now!" He shouted out. "Kill me now or you'll have an even worse threat than Sparkle ever was! I've...argh! drained too much dark magic. I can feel myself slip away from sanity. Kill me now!"

"You've got to be kidding!" Rainbow spoke out as she tried to come close, though she took was stopped by a crystal pillar. Every pony was quiet, all that was heard was Sombra grunting as he struggled to keep himself sane.

"Now!" He shouted once more.

"...no." Pinkie said as she began to walk forward. Again she was met with a crystal pillar to stop her, though that did little. She continued to walk. This time a spike was erected, stopping from impaling her only centimeters away from her.

"I don't want to hurt you Pinkie!" Sombra shouted.

"Then don't!" She said as she finally ran to Sombra, tackling him in an embrace that pushed him back slightly. "You don't have to hurt any pony!"

"Get back...you fool!" Sombra yelled out as his flames began to combust further. The heat they gave off began to burn at Pinkie, but she held on through the pain.

Sombra looked down and saw Pinkie's expression of pain and it caused his heart to sink. Doing his best to pull back his purple fire, he shouted as the strain showed in his eyes. Ever so slightly the fire began to shrink until it was all pulled back into him.

"Get back....while I can hold it in..." Sombra pleaded. He didn't want to hurt her anymore than he already did.

"I won't! I told you that no matter what I would be by your side!" Pinkie said as she pressed her muzzle into the curve of his neck, her arms wrapping firmly around him. "No matter what, I'll stay right here."

"I could hurt you...."

"I don't care."

"I could kill you."

"I know you wont." Pinkie said as she pulled back her head, looking in his strained expression. "I trust in you, I know you won't kill any pony anymore. You said you wouldn't, remember?"


"Shut up." Pinkie said softly as she leaned up to him, softly pressing her lips against his. Sombra's expression seemed to soften as he felt her soft lips make contact with him. His eyes became gentle as he slowly closed them. He raised his hooves and wrapped them around her back. They remained locked in their kiss for a while before finally breaking apart and staring into each other's eyes.

"Let's go home, okay?" She asked with a soft smile.


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