• Published 27th Jun 2014
  • 6,123 Views, 68 Comments

In His Presence - Ocean Heart



Trapped in prison is quite the life...not much to worry about after you've done and plotted your revenge...so how does one pass the time? Maybe if he had visitors that he could converse with, at the least.

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If by chance

In life, there is always a reaction to an action; a counter to every decision made, and a harsh change to be suffered. A tectonic shift in how life is lived that can cause unfathomable amounts of pain.

That is what the officer academy taught every captain, that their decisions would shake nations, cripple armies; Spike was in the unique position where he could sunder the economy or even attempt to usurp the throne. All his actions changed the future. Perhaps that is why he hesitated.

A sword at his neck, the stench of decay all around him...the world was waiting for him to swing breathlessly. Even Sombra was accepting of his role in this moment; so perhaps it was pity that snuck doubt into his mind. Twilight was keeping him alive for a reason, Spike had just not seen it yet. Pulling the sword back, Sombra lifted his head and looked static.

"I suspected as much..."

Spike felt a bitter retort on the tip of his tongue as the spells around him fanned the anger in his heart, but he turned around and left as quickly as he could, the door slamming behind him and a cold wind chasing him out. The sound of the dog stepping back into place made him shutter; to think Celestia or Luna would conjure such a beast to guard a prisoner with no hope of escape...which means that it was not meant to guard him, but to keep others out.

Ascending the stairs quickly, the darkness did not fade until he broke free of the tunnel and entered once again into the throne room, pushing the throne back in place and thinking about what the implications could be if Twilight trusted Sombra enough to keep him alive. Spike felt an odd mistrust of his closest friend taking root; a feeling he was wrong for letting the king live, but still wanting to trust Twilight's decision...but he felt something more pressing at the back of his mind...something important.

"Hayseeds! I almost forgot!"

Spike slammed the stone back in place and stomped over the tattered heavy cloak and rushed outside, stirring up plums of dust in his sprint until he threw his shoulder into the heavy doors; grunting with the force, he kept the sprint going until he got outside and his eyes darted up and down the street. He needed a taxi.

"Gotta hurry...maybe it isn't closed yet."

How many weeks gone…? Two? Three? A month. An entire month of forgetting or stuck in a meeting, Nashta was getting angry, she didn't say anything, but he knew…as a father always knows. It had been a month! Spike put his feet to the pavement and spotted a cart with a duo of ponies stretching their wings and talking. Spike didn’t care about protocol for a split second, he ran to them, sword still in hand and flashed his badge, shouting at them to take him to Ponyville. The larger stallion looked like he had a retort on his tongue, but spying the sword, the bloodshot eyes of the dragon, he gulped and nodded. Spike threw the door open and climbed in, realizing his mistakes and quickly put away his sword. At least the fear he put into them spurred their wings into breaking a few flight laws. He’d pardon them if need be, though he really didn’t want to do the paperwork.

"I was down there for five minutes!" He shouted to himself through gritted teeth in frustration. He was wrong, of course.

The pegisi were much faster than the train, and they didn’t need to stop, though normally they only move ponies within the city of Canterlot and were not even permitted to fly outside the city, he was glad the two stallions were rather experienced flyers. The carriage bumped on headwinds, but it was almost all he could do not to leap out when he saw Ponyville coming into view. He dug into his leather pants, a pouch at his belt, and held two rectangular pieces of mithril. He would just transfer the money from his account back to the treasury.

There it was...

The little tea shop where Spike would spend hours on end catching up with his daughter. Nashta would order the green tea; he always got coffee and a small loaf of bread for them. Landing hard and going into a full sprint, he had the shop in view...and the lights were still on!

"Made it...I just made...it?" He said under his breath, just as the last waitress walked out and locked the door behind her...

Heart crashing; Spike saw the shop pass under and the stallions landed at the steps of the castle. He recalled he never gave them a proper destination. Not that he expected them to know the shop...he hopped out, shutting the door firmly and handing them the mithril, smiling a little at their shock under the puffing and sweat they were trying to endure. Spike thanked them and began a slow jog to the shop and stopped just a few yards away from the shop.

"I got it...you were busy."

Spike nearly jumped out of his scales when his daughter stepped out of the shadows of an alley next to him, spinning around to face her, mouth trying to work something that would spare her feelings, cut off quickly.

"Or was it diplomacy? Your studies? Or did you just forget? Frankly, I don't care, go finish your work, I won't bug you about this anymore. " She ended with the hate just seeping into her tone. There was silence for a moment, that's when the emotions boiled over...

"You know how hard it is to do this every day? The guard has me all over Equestria chasing spooks- I haven't slept in two days thanks to your sudden "follow the princess"!" She started shouting. "Did you even think how hard that was for me to do?! And all I got was a good job kid...thanks, dad...honestly, thanks for being a thick headed..." She stopped and took a deep breath. "Forget it, its not even worth it."

"Nash-" He started, cut off by her

"Throw yourself in a timber wolf den." She ended toneless, suddenly backing into the shadows again and fading like smoke with not even the sound of footsteps remaining. Leaving Spike with nothing but his thoughts...bitter, shamed thoughts...

Lingering around, the shop owner slinks away quickly to avoid any backlash, Spike just took a deep breath.

Count to four...inhale.

Spike took another slow breath and turned around. Ignoring the pony and what she might be thinking. Judgment, perhaps she'll enjoy the rumors out of the argument. It didn't matter; things out of his control. There were far too many things out of his control that he refused to worry about, gryphons, guards, princesses and now his daughter. Carrying on his walk back with a quicker pace, he made a rapid calculation in his head and judging on a few possibilities.

She's getting to that age...but damn she’s good at that fade trick…

Resigning to his thoughts, Spike kept his pace and rubbed his sore ribs, the memory of the trap forcing its way into the front of his thoughts. Sombra was an even newer thing out of his control; it seemed like a lot of things were out of his control suddenly. Pushing open the castle doors and let them shut with a bang behind him. It didn't take long for a gold clad guard to find him and rush to deliver news...

"Sir! -"

Spike cut him off with a sharp glare, not meaning to scare the guard; still trying to push the useless thoughts away.

"Sir...She has...well..."

Spike pinched his brow.

"I don't want to hear it, ensign; save it for tomorrow morning." Looking up and forward, mind set on doing one thing. "I'm going to my study, do not let any other guard disturb my research." Ending the conversation with a dry tone.

The guard saluted slowly, stuck with indecision and shock with how cold the normally friendly captain of the guard acted. Regardless, it didn't take Spike long to push the thought down and enter his quiet and calm study, even his book was still on the desk.

"Thank Celestia..." He said under his breath.

Moving around the desk to sit down and opening up the book back to the page he left on; ice dragons, glancing up only to blow a small out of flame at the three-stick candelabra on his desk. Taking one last deep breath before his mind is fully engrossed in the book, no worries to bother him for the time being as long as he keeps shoving people away.

Frost drake...found in high mountains and prefer isolation, while fairly new to the field of study, frost drakes are often found to enjoy the company of others, or at least the entertainment small groups can bring. This study is one of debate, but we have found that it is rare to find a frost drake, but even rarer is it to find a pure breed. It seems that the mysterious race dislikes the company of its own kind; which makes for explosive conflict when a dragon trespasses on the territory of another...

_ _

Fighting the strong winds along the mountain. The two stallions and their taxi cart were struggling now against wind shoving them from the back. Nashta forced down the lump in her throat, they broke above street level and stopped, the castle in view again and the stallions sighing happily seeing the spot they were just at.

Screw him...I want to know what's down there that was so important.

Landing gently nearby the castle, the stallions watched the black dragon step out and didn’t know what to expect. She dropped fifty bits for each of them. They were a little disappointed, but they didn’t bring up the gripe when they saw the look in her eyes if they dared speak up. The stallions nodded and aid their thanks and well wishes. Nashta nodded and left for the castle. The stallions both spoke about visiting the pub.

Nashta found the door unlocked, rolling her eyes glancing up and down the street before she entered the castle. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust. The bright lights of the streets were all casting a somber light through the windows and it made everything feel darker. She also shivered, feeling a chill in the air.

Why do you have to be so stupid sometimes...?

The dark hallways stank of neglect, the same moldy smell she encountered following the princess; nothing but decaying painting and shredded tapestry along the walls, top it all off with a damp and disgusting rug over the faded tile and it made her regret not wearing shoes for once. Exploring deeper, she stopped and stooped over a torn brown robe. Picking it up, seeing red blotches, inhaling a little to get a scent. Blinking when she realized it was Spike’s robe. Experience kicked in and she began to take the room seriously, looking around, seeing depressions of boots, hooves, dust that was moved. Wandering through the room, she guessed Spike came here after their meeting. Thankful for her natural night vision to guide her along the empty hallways and keen memory to take her right back to the throne room.

Did something attack you...?

Nashta continued, finding the frozen ice star in place over the throne.

Isn't that Twilight's mark? but if it’s there...and I remember Daring Do enough.

With a smirk, she walked to the throne and spied a passage with a stone door open.

Score!

About to charge down, she hesitated at the first step when her night vision failed. Backing up a step, she was shocked that she could not see. A deep breath, moments to steel her nerves and with a bold step, she took the step and began descending the stairs, keeping slow to avoid falling. Nashta felt the darkness around her somehow...welcoming, like it knew her. Emotions began to bubble, her anger with her father rolling and heating up despite her curious mind being occupied with the steps. She was grinding her teeth by the time she reached the bottom, she had to take a breath and continued.

It’s just dark...there's nothing out there but stone and... something that got my dad good.

The realization sunk like a lead weight in water and she felt the dark around her watching her every step, a low growl at her left caught her attention, spinning around and walking backwards to get away from the noise.

"Don't even think of it!" She shouted at the noise.

Another snarl at the right, causing her to yank free her short sword.

"I'm warning you!"

She bumped into something...something warm, furry and... big. Nashta looked up slowly to find two red eyes looking down at her and gleaming teeth in the muzzle of a dog growling, drool hitting her shoulder.

"You are not allowed here." It said, the bass in its tone chilling her nerves.

Nashta quickly jumped away and held her sword backhand, making sure it knew she would defend herself if it attacked.

"Did you attack my dad?" She asked, putting as much command into her tone as possible.

The beast's expression did not change, still looking angry...and hungry.

"You are not allowed here." It said again. "Leave this place."

Nashta started thinking up lies, backing up a step in reflex more than fear. Thinking for what seemed to be an eternity, she found that no lie would work in this situation, she was caught, and only the truth would get her farther.

"My name is Nashta...I'm here because my father was here earlier-" The dog cut her off.

"That does not grant you rights to enter this place, leave!" It shouted this time, fire in its eyes and casting a glow that made Nashta nearly breakdown and run for her life; something about the beast was enchanted, it had far too much control over her emotions, even now, her body screamed to run...so perhaps this dogs bark was worse that its bite...

Nashta steeled her nerves and sheathed her sword, bowing curtly to the dog and lifting back up to smile.

"I apologize...I merely wanted to see what a legendary creature such as yourself was guarding so willingly." She said, reveling in how many traps were set on just one sentence.

That got the dog to flinch, a crack in his resolve, she found the right chord.

"Do not speak as if you understand, I exist only to keep your world safe from yourselves. There is nothing legendary about my duty to the princess." It said flatly, the hate sinking into his tone at the end of the statement.

"How long have you been down here...? Did Celestia summon you?" She asked innocently, stepping closer to the dog.

"Longer than you have lived, young dragon." It cut, making her stop her approach.

Wrong note...gotta tune it right.

"I'm sorry...it must be rough being trapped here for so long. I’d hate it if some princess yanked me from home to sit here." She prodded, resuming her walk to get closer...just a few feet away.

"This is my punishment and mine shared with another creature of darkness, be thankful that I do not fight my fate and leave yours to his will."

So close...

The layers were peeling back, and the dog was getting more relaxed, just needed a finisher...

"And you've done a great job it seems..." Fighting the urge to smile in victory, she put a hand on the dogs neck and scratched it gently, the dog's resolve melting on the inside judging by his loosening muscles and pointed ears falling back. "I can tell you're tired...Trust me, I am too...and I'm just complaining about two days with no sleep; I bet you haven't slept in ages." Moving her hand to the dog's chin, the demon finally cracking somewhat of a smile and closing his eyes, big tail thumping the ground behind him. "Relax big fella...I won't do anything; you just rest and enjoy some sleep."

Claw moving up and on her tip toes, she got right behind the ear, and like a brick, the dog hit the ground and snored loudly, showing the way for an old wooden door.

I am so an animal person. She thought with pride.

Nashta almost felt bad, but the sight of the old dog sleeping made her want to take the big demon home like he were a puppy; but with goal in sight, she cast aside those thoughts and tip toed her way over the guard, pulling the door handle up to unlock it and enter as quietly as possible. The door creaking as she shut it; it took her a moment to see with the beam of moonlight entering the tiny room...but her heart fell once again when she saw what the dog was guarding.

A stallion bound by rusty iron and pinned to the wall without any freedom of movement, his crooked horn bearing a ring with runes along it and a thick brace around his neck that his chin was currently resting on to sleep.

"Dear Celestia....what did you do, dad...." She said under her breath.

The stallion woke up from just the small noise and looked at Nashta dead in the eyes, his iris a blood red and thin, almost unnoticeable green mist falling from his eyes.

"And I awake to more visitors..." He started, making her shiver from the coldness of his tone. "Are you hear to kill me like the previous? Or will you fail as he did?"

Now nothing was adding up...

A pony wrought in chains, a hell hound guarding him and her father trying to kill him...with Twilight doing Celestia knows what...

"Who are you...?" She asked quietly.

The stallion seemed to mull it over in his head, making the silence almost unsettling.

"My name is Sombra." Nashta was about to ask another question, but he cut her off. "And I am very tired...so what is it you want from me?" He ended dryly.

It was all wrong; this pony trapped in darkness like an animal. Memory of this being Celestia's doing made her even more unsettled at the idea of this pony being here, no matter the purpose, this kind of punishment was wrong. Without a word, Nashta rushed to the pony and began unhooking his chains.

How could you let this go, dad...? How dare you let this continue when you had the chance to stop it. Celestia was supposed to be a kind pony! The stories all said she was more benevolent than any…

Sombra seemed shocked at the development, speechless and expression blank, only his jaw hung to show his emotions. This stranger entered his cell and began breaking him out, without so much as a 'How'd you do?'. Part of him wanted to cry when the neck brace was removed and his head fell over, joints in so much pain from the years of forced lethargy, when his chest was freed, he fell and landed on the shoulder of the dragon, unable to move any part of his body more than to turn his head. With one last yank of his left leg shackle, he was removed from the wall and held like a wounded solider on the back of this mysterious dragon.

This is all wrong; dad, Twilight, Celestia and Luna for doing this.

Opening the door slowly, she stepped over the sleeping dog again and walked as carefully out as she could, the door behind her shutting slowly as he left. Walking to avoid making any noise, she was thankful again that she didn't wear shoes, but that wouldn't save her...

The door shut and lock clanked into place, the dog waking up with a startle and spotting her; no words, no shock of betrayal, just a hateful snarl and the dog was on his feet and charging them. Sombra got the best view, seeing the dog he thought was a mere pony stomp all fours to take back its prisoner. The moment was almost surreal, like it was another dream of his...the dog would catch him, kill his savior and put him back in the cell. Nashta sprinted up the stairs and whipped around, taking a deep breath and about to burn the demon alive...but she didn't...

The moment the dog entered the throne room it stopped, huffing at the two; bitter, tired...but somehow...content. It lifted its head up and looked to the window, the moonlight on its fur and smelling the fresh air.

Nashta took the chance and ran, rushing out of the castle and ignoring the pain in her legs while he rests on her shoulder. Once outside, she made a break for the train station, knowing it would be dead at this time of night; avoiding populated areas and keeping a steady pace to make sure she didn't knock Sombra around too much. That was when she felt the water hit her back, feeling guilt by relation, she slowed down to a walk let him enjoy the moment.

"You're gonna be okay..." She said to comfort him.

_ _

Light...air...so many feelings he was without, Sombra wanted to move, he wanted to walk on his own, he wanted to run for miles and find that dream castle he had created in his mind; but for now, he only watched the sky and the moon. Unable to hold back his waves of emotions finally freed, he ignored all plans he had, all appearance on being the same cold king he was and managed to move a hoof around his savior's neck and hug her...as awkward a position it might be, for no words came to him that would express his gratitude.

For he was free...