• Published 8th Jun 2014
  • 9,196 Views, 800 Comments

Shadowy Love - FinnPony



King Sombra, the tyrant of Crystal Empire is back, only to be imprisoned by princesses and put through reformation with Twilight Sparkle as his teacher. Can somepony with heart as black as night be reformed? Twilight believes so.

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Chapter 15

Shadowy Love
By FinnPony
Chapter 15

The study room of Twilight Sparkle was a real mess. Mainly due all the books that she had moved there from the living room, away from curious Sombra. There were many stacks of unsorted papers on the piles of books that were as high as a grown pony. Her desk was also under a big pile of book, papers, quills and other equipment that she needed. That included some basic things like theodolite, anemometer and high-end microscope. Yeah. Everyday things like that. Most of the books were piled on a spot where they weren’t too much in the way. In front of the only window that is. They blocked most of the sun’s light, making the room quite dark.

In the middle of all that chaos sat Twilight Sparkle, her horn glowing. She was levitating books and papers all around in her, making it look like there was actually some kind of an order in the room, and that she knew exactly where everything was. The truth was that she didn’t.

“Argh! Where is it?” she exclaimed annoyedly, levitating book after book in front of her. She always read the tittle and when she noticed that it was wrong book, she placed it back onto the place from where she had taken it. She kept at it for a while, groaning from frustration and dropping all the things in her magical grasp. She stood up and flapped her wings couple of time making some of the nearby paper stacks fall down, spreading all over the floor. That only fuelled her frustration.

“I know it is here somewhere, I know I saw it when we were moving the books around,” she spoke to herself. She spun around couple of times, desperately trying to locate the thing she was trying to find for the last time. She didn’t manage. Twilight hung her head and sighed deeply. She knew that there was only one option left, and she didn’t like it. She brushed her hoof through her long mane and lifted her head.

“Spike!”

“What!?” was the dragon’s answer. Twilight heard her number one assistant making his way towards her study. It didn’t take long before Spike’s head popped from the doorway, questioning look on his face.

“Where is the copy of ‘The Magic Studies of Star Swirl the Bearded?’” Twilight asked from Spike, who looked around the room.

“How did this happen?” he asked with a grin. “You are the one single most well organized pony I know.”

“I’ve been busy!” she answered annoyedly. “Now do you know where the book is or not?”

“Which volume?” Spike asked and knelt down in front of a small pile of books right next to the door. He picked them up and showed them to Twilight, who groaned. All of the volumes were there, in his hands.

“Sixth, thank you,” she said with her ears folded. Her answer made Spike look at her curiously, one brow raised.

“Sixth? You almost never read that one,” he wondered out loud. Twilight levitated the books from his hands, landing them to her desk after making some room. Spike walked over and examined the theodolite, asking, “What’s it about?”

“Don’t touch that,” Twilight scolded and snatched the instrument from Spike’s hands with her magic. Then she answered, a bit hesitatingly, “It has all the studies of Star Swirl the Bearded written down.”

“What studies? There’s like twenty volumes. Surely they all have their own subject matters,” Spike asked, sensing that Twilight was trying to dodge his question. His doubts were proven right as Twilight started to rub her front legs together, a troubled look on her face. She carefully glanced towards Spike, before starting to fiddle with her own mane.

“Dark magic,” she finally mumbled.

“Dark magic?” Spike asked, sounding more worried than surprised. “Come on Twi. You know that you shouldn’t be messing around with that stuff. Look what happened to Sombra!”

“Pfft. Stop being such an baby,” Twilight said to Spike, who still looked worried. That made Twilight smile warmly at him. She placed her hoof on his hand and asked, with gentle tone “And do you really think that I could ever do anything that would harm you or our friends?”

Spike took a hold of her hoof with his both hands, staring down at it. He then looked up at Twilight, a small smile on his lips. He rubbed her hoof with his thumbs and said, “Of course not Twilight. But be careful, okay?”

“Of course Spike,” Twilight said, before giving him a quick hug. They chuckled at each other after the hug, before Spike let go of her hoof, and said, “I have to go and help Rarity at Carousel Boutique. I might visit Applebloom after that.”

“Have you finished your chores already?” Twilight asked, and Spike nodded in response.

“I finished them half an hour ago,” Spike said as he started to walk away from her study.

“Don’t be too late!” Twilight called after him.

“Have I ever been late?” Spike shouted to her from the living room, making Twilight giggle. She knew that Spike wouldn’t be late. He never was. Still, something made her always remind him about things like wearing enough warm clothes in the winter and reminding him about the importance of eating his vegetables.

After Twilight heard the door of the living room opening and closing, she turned towards her desk and pulled a chair closer to it with her magic. She sat down and took the sixth volume of ‘The Magic Studies of Star Swirl the Bearded’ from between the books Spike had given her. It had a small layer of dust on it, which she blew away. She read the title with excited sparkle in her eyes.

“The complete study of dark magic,” she read out loud, her wings quivering a bit. With a swift move she opened the book, revealing the table of contents.

“History… Voodoo… True name spells… Immortality rituals… Necromancy… Curses and hexes…” she mumbled as she read the titles. All those words were sparking up her interest towards the branch of magic she was not so familiar with. She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t studied it more in the past. Probably because Celestia had always found something more important for her to do. Yes. That had to be it.

Without hesitating any longer, she flipped the first real page of the book, which subject was History of dark magic. To her unpleasant surprise, there wasn’t any text on the page that had anything to do with it. Instead there were two little sentences.

“Dark Magic is really dangerous. You shouldn’t read about it Twilight Sparkle.

Yours truly, princess Celestia.”

Clearly just a warning from Celestia. Twilight flipped to the next page, but it was empty too. A small amount of worry started to build up in her as the three other pages were empty too. She then lifted the book up with her magic, going through the whole book quickly. All the pages were blank.

Something in Twilight snapped. She folded her ears against her skull, gritting her teeth. There was an angry frown on her face and there was even smoke rising from her nostrils. She suddenly sprung up from her chair, sending it to a short flight across the room. Her wings flared open and she angrily started to pace around the room, toppling every pile of books or stack of papers that was unlucky enough to be on her way. She huffed and puffed as the angry look on her face grew even angrier, almost menacing like scowl. She still levitated the empty book in front of her face, before slowly lowering it, staring blankly in front of her.

“I’ve had enough!” she suddenly shouted in her royal Canterlot voice and the book flew against the wall across from her.

“I am a princess!” she continued to rage. “She can’t do this to me! I can study all I want, whenever I like!”

Twilight breathed quickly and then let out the rest of her frustration by shouting, “I’m a grown up mare for buck’s sake!”

She held her breath for couple of seconds, before letting the rest of her rage out by shouting as loud as she could, “Buck!”
After her outburst was completed, she fell down to her stomach, panting a bit. She was a bit embarrassed by herself, but knew that she had a good reason to be mad. She thought that maybe she should send an angry letter to Celestia, but remembered that Spike was away from the castle, and that she would handle everything like a princess she was. No need to get any more angrier towards her fellow princess.

Twilight suddenly heard hoofsteps coming closer. Soon Flash Sentry and Sam rushed to the room with startled looks on their faces.

“Princess Twilight! Are you alright?” Flash inquired and looked around for a possible intruder.

“I’m fine Flash,” Twilight groaned and swept a hoof across her face. “I just overreacted a bit. No need to be alarmed.”

“Oh,” Flash said slowly. “Well if you need anything, just call us princess Twilight.”

“Yes yes, I will,” Twilight said and dismissed them by waving her hoof towards the door, where the guards soon left. After that Twilight stood up, swept her hoof through her now tangled mane while sighing deeply. She then took a deep breath and levitated the book that had caused all the ruckus towards her. For the one last time she opened it, and noted that it was still empty. With a frustrated groan she threw it on her desk, while lifting the chair back to it’s place. She sat down and thought. Celestia had given those books for her when she was just a filly, and surely she had thought that dark magic wasn’t a thing a filly like Twilight should be playing with. Still, it made Twilight really angry at Celestia, whether if she had meant good or not.

She flapped her wings a couple of times, before retracting them firmly against her sides. Her rage had calmed down, but her need for learning hadn’t. Actually it had just gotten even stronger. What could she do now? Her only book about the subject was no use, and it would take days before she could get a new one from the royal library, if Celestia would even allow the library staff to send her one. The situation was making her nervous and annoyed. Where could she learn about dark magic now?

She suddenly perked up, realizing that she knew a pony that knew more than enough about the subject. Even better, he was in her castle, unable to escape. With a quick flap of her wings, Twilight hopped up to her hooves. With a determined stare on her face, she started to walk towards the living room. Not even Celestia could stop her now. Sombra would tell her everything she wanted to know, she would make sure of that.

“Flash?” she called as she walked through the living room. The door’s that lead towards the staircase opened a little, and Flash Sentry peeked inside.

“You called princess?” the orange pegasus asked

“Yes. Where is Sombra?” Twilight asked and walked towards the guard, who opened the door for her. Sam was standing in pose on the other side of it.

“We saw him in the lower halls,” Sam told her. “ He was wandering around and looking at paintings.”

“I will have a conversation with him. Do not disturb us,” she told them, and the guard ponies saluted, Flash not looking too happy. Normally Twilight would have told them not to salute her, but this time she didn’t care.

With that she left the guards and started to trot down the spiralling stairs, towards the lower parts of her castle. She realized that she hadn’t asked that in which floor Sombra was, but she knew that most of the paintings her castle had were in the second floor, right over the big throne room. She soon reached her destination, and opened the heavy doors with her magic, revealing a long, dark corridor behind them. It was almost identical to the many corridors in Canterlot’s Castle. The walls had paintings evenly spaced on both sides of the corridor. The paintings were showing the rulers of Equestria in chronological order, meaning that Twilight herself was in the far end of the corridor from her spot.

Twilight stared into the dark corridor for a moment. Had it always been so poorly illuminated?

“Sombra?” she called, but did not get an answer. Her enthusiasm died down a little when she stared down towards the darkness. She didn’t let it stop her though. With a little concentration her horn came to life, starting to glow in bright white light. It illuminated the corridor for about twenty meters forward, and she started to move. Somehow she knew that Sombra had to be there.

“Sombra? I know you are here,” she called again, with same results as before. She continued to trot towards the darkness, passing by the pictures of her predecessors. She soon slowed down, into a steady walking pace. She kept thinking that she should really get some torches there or something.

“Looking for me? Twilight Sparkle?” she heard familiar, deep voice from behind her. She yelped and spun around. She got into her defensive stance, her head held low, wings erected and her horn ready for action. Sombra’s big form stood behind her, grinning. The white light from her horn made his facial features seem overemphasised. The light also reflected from his curvy red horn and the magic-preventing cuff around it.

“Why so jumpy, Twilight Sparkle?” He asked from the startled mare.Twilight panted from surprise and then cursed, which was very unladylike.

Sombra started to chuckle, before saying, “I still seem to have it in me.”

Twilight let out an angry snort, before shouting, “You idiot! I could have hurt you!”

“I doubt that,” was his answer. Not saying anything more, he turned towards the nearest painting and examined it with an interested look on his face. Twilight too turned towards the painting, and to her surprise it was a painting of herself, in her representative dress.

“How did you even do that?” she asked from him.

“Dramatic entrance is the key to everything,” Sombra said and kept staring at Twilight’s picture, which made her feel rather awkward.

“What are you doing in here?” Twilight asked, trying to not think about the fact that Sombra was now staring at her picture so… weirdly.

“It’s nice and dark in here,” Sombra said. “Quiet too.”

He then turned towards Twilight, his mane swaying over his face. He didn’t let that bother him as he asked, “How about you?”

Twilight had to think for a moment, before actually remembering why she was there.

“I-I need some information from you,” she answered his question.

“What kind of information are we talking about?” Sombra asked, a frown on his face. “I’ve told you many times that I won’t be answering any questions about my past. Not after your last trick.”

“I know, and It’s not about you,” Twilight told. “I want you to…”

She trailed off as Sombra kept looking at her with deadpan look. The tips of his fangs could be seen peeking from between his lips, and his red eyes were fixated to hers. For a moment, him staring at her made Twilight feel hot around her cheeks.

“Yes?” Sombra asked, clearly a bit annoyed now. It soon caught Twilight too.

“I want you to tell me about dark magic.”

Sombra looked surprised for a moment, before he cracked a laugh. An eerie laugh.

“Oh. Twilight Sparkle, the princess of friendship wants to know about dark magic?” he mocked. He then leaned a bit closer towards her and asked, “Aren’t you a bit too young to know about such things?”

“You better watch your tongue right now,” Twilight hissed. “I’m not in a mood for fooling around today.”

“So did I hear,” Sombra said with a smirk, referring to her earlier outburst. Twilight blushed because of his remark. He then continued, “I have to say I was quite amused by it. You don’t hear a princess screaming such uncouth words like that everyday.”

“I told you, I’m on the edge right now!” Twilight snapped. She then sighed, and spoke in a bit calmer manner.

“Are you going to tell me about dark magic or not? Because I’m going to make you speak if you refuse,” Twilight spoke calmly, yet sternly. That made Sombra smile.

“That’s good. You spoke in a way that made me think that I had a choice, before you made clear that I don’t,” he said with a chuckle. That made Twilight frown at him angrily. He saw it and quickly said, “It seems that I don’t actually have any choice.”

“No. You don’t.”

“Alright. Shall we start?” Sombra asked and lied down to his stomach, folding his forelegs. Twilight gave him a wide eyed stare.

“What? Here?” she asked with confused look.

“Why not? I find this place the most fitting for a subject like this,” Sombra explained. After that they were quiet for a moment, just staring at each other. Twilight was trying to determine if Sombra was just trying to mess with her, but after a while she groaned and lied down in front of him.

“So…” Sombra dragged. “What would you like to know?”

“Everything,” Twilight answered with a nod, earning only a deep laugh from the stallion in front of her. She frowned and asked, “What is so funny about it?”

“Oh, nothing… nothing…” Sombra answered, still laughing a bit. “It is just that even I don’t know everything about dark magic.”
Twilight’s ears were drooped, and her eyes wide.

“B-but you are one of the most powerful wizards know to ponykind. It’s because of you that the term dark magic was invented!” she said, waving her other hoof for emphasis.

“That’s very flattering,” he smiled. “But that still doesn’t mean that I know everything about that branch of magic.”

“Well what do you know then?” Twilight asked, an irritated frown appearing onto her face.

Sombra eyed at her quietly for a moment. He then started to speak.

“What I know is that the magic you master is completely different from the magic I master, all while our magic is in fact the very same thing,” he told her.

“What do you mean?” Twilight asked.

“That they are same force,” Sombra said, earning a suspicious look from Twilight.

“What are you talking about? Good magic is good magic. Dark magic is dark magic,” Twilight protested.

“For an alicorn, you are quite stupid one,” Sombra said, but the murdering look on Twilight’s face made him quickly add, “Or of course it is because you have never used dark magic yourself.”

“I have used dark magic!” Twilight said. “And it didn’t feel too different to me. Just a lot harder to do than normal magic.”

“You may have used dark magic, but have you never used it?” Sombra asked, raising his eyebrow. Twilight opened her mouth to say something, but closed it as she thought about the sentence he had said.

“That makes no sense!” she said and crossed her front hooves.

“It makes all the sense,” Sombra answered with a nod. “You may have done some simple spells that your precious princess Celestia has taught you, but you have never even scratched the surface.”

“Surface?” Twilight asked, looking as confused as ever.

“Yes…” Sombra said with a grim look on his face. “When you really start to understand the powers of dark magic, you start to feel the effects on yourself too.”

“What kind of effects?” Twilight asked, leaning closer towards him.

“First it is just weariness, fatigue and trouble sleeping…” Sombra told, before holding a small thinking pause. “You see, mostly dark magic is used for actions of ill nature. It eats pony’s soul bit by bit…”

“Magic is making the pony using it turn evil?” Twilight cut in, wide eyed.

“No. Somepony interrupting them is making them evil,” Sombra said, making Twilight zip her mouth. Then Sombra continued, “But no. The magic itself is not making the user ‘turn evil’ as you put it. What I was trying to say that the actions those ponies do will eat their soul bit by bit. Not the magic. I do believe that it is just the opposite.”

“What?” Twilight asked. “What do you mean by that? That the things the ponies do is affecting their magic?”

“Exactly,” Sombra said and nodded. “You see Twilight Sparkle... Dark magic feeds on the feelings like hatred and greed, while this ‘magic of friendship’ of yours feeds on…”

He spun his hoof slowly in circles, and Twilight realized to continue, “Friendship.”

“Yes, something like that.” he answered. “I think that you know that when you truly believe in the elements of harmony, and act by them, then your magic is a lot stronger, yes?”

“T-that’s actually what I was studying before you showed up…” Twilight muttered, maybe to herself.

“And what comes to dark magic, when you reek of hatred, act greedily, crawl in sorrow or anything like that, your powers get even stronger.”

“What about… lets say evil unicorns like you. There have been many of them before, and not all of them have used dark magic in any form,” Twilight spoke, earning a nod from Sombra.

“Yes. As you know, every unicorn will learn to use their magic for day-to-day needs, but how many can do anything besides that?” Sombra asked.

“Not too many,” Twilight answered, starting to see what he was trying to say.

“Like any magic, dark magic needs years and years of practice before you can master it like I do.”

“I-I think that I understand…” Twilight said slowly. Then she looked like she was wondering on something. “Do you know anything about magical artifact that use dark magic?”

She kept a small pause, trying to think for a good example. She got one, and then she dropped the bomb.

“Like the Alicorn Amulet?”

Suddenly the air was heavy with intense silence. Sombra’s eyes were fixated to her’s, an strange, dark look in them.

“What did you say?” Sombra asked with stern voice.

“The Alicorn Amulet. You don’t know about it?” Twilight asked, making Sombra’s expression turn more serious. Twilight took the silence as ‘no’.

“The amulet that Trixie wore when she went all evil only to humiliate me?” she continued.

“Who is this Trixie? Where is she?” Sombra asked.

“You don’t even know Trixie!?” Twilight asked with a confused look. Then she remembered that Sombra has been out of the picture for more than seven years, so no wonder that he didn’t know about the whole Alicorn Amulet accident.

“Sorry. I forgot that you were…” she started, but didn’t finish as she didn’t want to remind him anymore about it. Instead she skipped couple of words and continued, “Well I think I have all the newspapers stashed around the living room shelves if you are interested in knowing more.”

“Where does this Trixie live?” Sombra said with a strange, curious look in his eyes that Twilight did not notice. Unfortunate for her.

“I don’t know,” Twilight said with a shrug. “I haven’t seen her since she left after we got the amulet away from her.”

“Do you have it?” Sombra asked with his eyes wide. “That amulet, do you have it here in this castle?”

“No,” Twilight said. “I gave it to Zecora so she would hide it somewhere where nopony would find it. It’s too dangerous.”

“Do you know where she hid it?” Sombra asked, and Twilight started to wonder why he was so interested about the Alicorn Amulet.

“Why you ask?” she asked.

Sombra looked away from her and said casually, “It just sounds interesting. I would love to study such an artifact like that. I used to gather things like that when I was still in power. I had quite an collection back in the day.”

“Really!?” Twilight asked excitedly. “What kind of artifacts are we talking about?”

“Everything that was related to dark magic actually. There were runes, enchanted jewelry, cursed weapons… Almost everything.”

“Where are they now? I would pay to get to see them.” Twilight said, dreaming about the lairs of magical things to study with her complex equipment in order to learn their secrets.

“They were destroyed...”

“Oh.”

“...By Celestia.”

“I see…” Twilight said slowly, remembering why she had raged earlier. “Well anyway, the Alicorn Amulet made the magical powers of it’s wearer grow. Trixie could do spells she will never be able to do, even with intense training, it is impossible for her to learn such spells.”

“But there is a downside for using the Amulet, isn’t there?” Sombra asked.

“Yes. It corrupts it’s user, making even the nicest pony turn evil to the bone. How did you know?” Twilight asked with a raised brow.

“Just a lucky guess. Nothing in dark magic comes without a price,” Sombra said.

There was a silence between them again. Twilight thought about what Sombra had said. ‘Nothing in dark magic comes without a price. Was he talking about his own experiences? What had been the price Sombra had paid?

“Were you talking about yourself? What did you pay?” she asked quietly.

Sombra’s expression grew serious.

“I thought that we were not supposed to talk about me or my past,” he said coldly.

“No! I didn’t mean it like that!” Twilight tried.

They stared at each other for a moment longer, before Sombra closed his eyes and stood up. Twilight was confused by his actions and asked, “Where are you going.”

“Somewhere else,” was his blunt answer.

Twilight was getting fed up with his constant running away when the conversation turned towards his past.

“You can’t just keep walking away every time! Why did you learn dark magic!?” she shouted after Sombra, as he was walking towards the darkness of the corridor, towards the way where Twilight had came from.

“I had a lot of hatred and sorrow to work with. Let’s leave it at that.”

Twilight was dumbfounded by his answer. Actually she hadn’t waited for an answer of any kind, and now when she got it she didn’t know what to say. She looked towards Sombra, and saw him peeking over his shoulder, towards her. For a moment when their gazes met, Twilight thought that she saw pain in his eyes. Before she was sure, he turned away and disappeared into the darkness.

“Wait! I still have questions!” she called after him.

“Maybe some other time,” Sombra answered.

“Why The Crystal Empire?” Twilight continued. “Tell me about your cutiemark!”

“Some other time,” Sombra answered, his voice echoing in the corridor. His hoofsteps got further away, and soon Twilight saw light at the other end of the corridor as Sombra opened the door and walked out, leaving her alone.

Behind the doors, Sombra sat down, leaning against them. He stared at the wall across the staircase, not actually seeing it. There was too much going on his head at the moment. It was still in existence? The Alicorn Amulet. That wasn’t the best of names for the sign of ultimate power, the crystal ponies didn’t have much of an imagination during those times. He personally liked the name that it had had before he wore it around his neck thousand years ago.

“The King’s Gem,” Sombra muttered and continued to stare at the wall.

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