• Published 16th Jul 2014
  • 2,957 Views, 51 Comments

That Which Plagues the Mind - Journey Blue



King Sombra has returned from the shadows, his sights on a new conquest. Twilight Sparkle's efforts to save the Crystal Empire may have gone unnoticed by the masses, but not by Sombra. She has earned his interest. Much to her dismay.

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Chapter 4 - This First of Many Lessons

Twilight slid her hooves across the desk, and was pleased. It was no longer sticky. The rest of the library was a different matter. It would probably take days to clean away all the sugar that coated ever inch of floor, wall, and ceiling. How Apple Bloom had managed to concoct such a potent growth potion in such haste, and with so little experience, baffled Twilight. The boundless wonder and insight of a foal, perhaps? Apple Bloom and her two friend were indeed a passionate and curious bunch, but those three fillies could dish out mayhem with an ease that would give Discord a run for his bits.

Much to Spike’s dismay.

“Everything is still sticky!” said Spike in aggravation, coming across yet another sugary patch Twilight’s magic had missed.

Twilight rolled her eyes, “Spike, it was you who refused to let Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo help you clean up?”.

Though, in his defense, it was probably for the best that they hadn’t.

“Yeah, yeah.” said Spike, now lugging a mop and bucket of water. “In the future though, I suggest never giving Apple Bloom appleseeds, every again. Or any fruit seeds for that matter. Unless you ants of course. Cause That’s How You Get Ants!”

Good point.

Twilight decided that sticking with flower seeds would be a much safer option. She would also cast a spell to ward off insects. The last thing the library needed was an ant infestation.

Still, the thought of those three fillies brought a smile her face. Their eagerness and desire to learn, their enthusiasm and curiosity to try new thing, reminded Twilight of herself when she was a filly. A thought the made her jealous. But so too did it make her proud. The progress those three were making gave her great pride. Both as their teacher, and as their friend. Just being able to help guide them in their studies made Twilight happy. And she still mused at the thought that she could help them find their cutie marks.

Now, however, it was time for Twilight to focus on her own studies. And her thought began to sour.

She looked at the wall in front of her. Spread across its surface where diagrams and blueprints she had made of The Box. Of its shape, its dimensions, the design of its contorts and its keyholes, even the signatures of both is electromagnetic and electromagic spectra. Twilight had assessed and analyzed every aspect she could conceive of. And what now lay before her was the vast amount of data her efforts had yielded.

Efforts that so far were proving useless.

It made no sense. For all her efforts, she could do no more than prove that The Box was, in fact, a box. Just a box. Just an empty box that she could find no way to open nor determine what was inside. Whatever magic sealed The Box, or lay within it, did not exist. At least she couldn't prove that existed, not by any methods known to her. But if she had no way of obtaining any useful information, then what?

What could she do?

Just sit around a wait for an answer to appear?

No. Twilight was not going to accept yet another puzzle that she couldn't solve. Pinkie Pie would remain the sole exception. But only because Pinkie was her friend, and she’d rather preserve their friendship than have her answers. But even that wasn’t enough to make her completely content. Even now the thought still ate at her.

But this was a different puzzle. The Box was more important. She didn't just want to find answers. She had to find answers. But the question was how. How and what. How to find the answers, and what to do now?

If Twilight had to guess, it likely had to do with the magic she herself created: the Magic of Friendship. Or, more precisely, the ability to manifest it. The spell she had rewritten from Starswirl’s was the first spell to draw its power from Friendship. And both The Spell and The Box were connected and common factor: The Elements of Harmony. Twilight believed that, somehow, The Magic of Friendship was the key, if not The Keys, to opening The Box.

But there was one problem. Twilight knew just as much about the Magic of Friendship as she did The Box. Sure she knew a lot about friendship, but not friendship as a source magic; even if she was the one the discover it. And in the past months, she hadn't done much, if any, research on the Magic of Friendship. She had devoted so much of her time to investigating The Box. Now it was becoming clear –after so many months– that she had gone about it the wrong way.

And it was back to square one.

She was not pleased. Not because of the time and effort she would have to dedicate, but because of the time and effort she had wasted. She had spent countless hours cooped up in her study, and many a sleepless night. She had spent so much time by herself, anguishing in her thoughts. Time she could have spent with her friends, time she could have been enjoying.

Yet it had been worth it. Worth it when she had thought there had been a purpose. But now, to her dismay, she knew it hadn't. And that thought didn't just frustrate her.

It angered her.

Twilight put her head down on the desk and sighed as she rubbed her temples. It was getting late, and her head hurt. But she couldn't sleep. Not with everything she had to do. Not with all the thoughts that weighed on her mind.

It was going to be another long night.

---

She must have dozed off. When she lifted her head back up, the library was completely dark. The candles had all burnt out. Which was odd. She couldn't have been asleep all that long.

Something was off.

Twilight lit her horn, at the familiar sight of the library came into view. Except it wasn’t her library.

It was the Library of the Royal Sisters.

How?

How was she here? She knew she had to be dreaming. Yet she felt far to lucid for it to be a dream. She could see the books, the shelves, the woodwork, the masonry, with perfect clarity. She could feel the cold stone, the cool air, the soft carpet, without distortion. She could smell the subtle aroma of book binding and old pages: sweet and stale. And she could hear. . .nothing. Complete silence.

Then the soft swish of a page being turned.

Twilight had no doubt where she was. She was indeed in the Library of the Royal Sisters. But not has she had known it. The library looked has she would have imagined it to be, and had seen it to be, a thousand years ago.

She knew she had to be dreaming. But it didn't feel like any dream she had had before. If not a dream, then what? A trance? If anything it felt like. . .

No.

It couldn't be.

Swish

Twilight began to look around, almost frantically, straining her eyes to see beyond to aura of light her horn emanated. But she could not see anything but utter blackness.

It was. She was certain.

It would seem her spell couldn't ward off every insect.

“Show yourself, Sombra!”

And as she spoke, the torches that lined to wall became ablaze with a dull orange light that illuminated The Library in its entirety. She stood in the main hall, all around her and down its length were reading tables, all in pristine condition. And all empty.

Where was he?

“It has been a while, Princess.” said a mocking and all-too-familiar voice. A voice that came from right behind her.

With a fright, she spun around to face the speaker. In front of her was King Sombra, sitting with his back to her. In his hoof was an open book she did not recognized, its pages making a soft swish as they were turned by a crimson aura.

How. . . Odd?.

After a moment, he continued to speak. “I am rather impressed. You were more thorough with this library than I had expected. You uncovered a thousand year old secret without any aid. With but a little guidance, you will no doubt uncover the truth.”

His praise was like poison. It disgusted her. Before Sombra could continue, Twilight cut in. “Why are you still here, Sombra?”

“Oh? Is it not clear?” said Sombra, feigning surprise, and turning to look at her with his good eye. “I am here to offer you my assistance, of course.”

This again.

“I said to you already, and I will say it to you again. I have no interest in either you or your offers.”

“Is that so?” said Sombra with amusement. “Because your curiosity and your actions, say otherwise. I needn’t be able to read thoughts to know you are not content with your ignorance.” He turned back to his book.

Swish went another page.

“I needn't any assistance. Least of all yours. All you have done is distract me from duty. Tempting me with offers in order to guide me away from my path. What can you possibly hope to accomplish? That you can use me to help you reconquer the Crystal Empire? Or that I’ll restore your powers? I can tell you now that that will never happen.”

She could feel her agitation growing. Sombra showed more interested in his book than what Twilight had to say. His indifference was insulting.

He sighed and spoke without turning to face her, “I had hoped you would see that I am not your enemy, but as an ally, a friend.”

Did he just say friend?

“You're Joking!” Twilight found the thought appalling. “You want me to be your friend? You can’t be serious?”

“Oh but I am,” –He turned to look at her– “My offers were not obligations, but gifts. Gifts of knowledge and guidance. I had sought to make peace with you, to help you. But alas, you are determined to see me through Celestia’s eyes.”

What was she hearing? An apology? He’d have to do a lot more to earn her forgiveness.

“You wish to make peace? What about everypony in The Crystal Empire you wronged. How about you make peace with them before you ever consider asking it of me. I can see with my own eyes, thank you very much. And I see that you are cruel and evil. How could any good pony justify what you have done ”

For a moment Sombra said nothing. Then—

“Tell me Princess, what is the purpose of having power?”

?

Where had this come from? Was he trying to distract her with another question, or did he expect an answer?

Regardless, Twilight pondered it.

“I guess it would be to protect those how don’t have it.”

“You can think of something better than that, surely.”

Alright, fine. Twilight thought about it some more.

What was the purpose of power? Well first off, what was power? Celestia could raise The Sun, and Luna, the Moon. Was that not power? Were they not powerful? So then, what would be the purpose of such power? To do what others couldn’t, perhaps. Only they were able to move the Sun and Moon across the sky. What’s more, they used their power as well as their influence to make Equestria a better place.

Twilight had her answer, “ It is to guide. The purpose of power is to guide others so that they may prosper.”

Sombra grinned. Her answer was acceptable.

“Good. So then, if that is the purpose of power, then how does one acquire power.”

Twilight knew he was leading her somewhere. But where exactly? She did not know. It was obvious that it was another one of his games. And it annoyed her to no end that she was curious enough to play along.

How does one acquire power? That origins of Celestia’s and Luna’s power were unknown to her, so that was of no help. Then how about her? Twilight was powerful. So how had she acquired her power?

“Power is earned.” She said confidently.

He smirked, “So power is earned. Well then, I guess I vindicated of my wrong doings, because I earned it.”

Twilight opened her mouth to retort, but then bit her lip. He was mocking her with her own words, and she felt foalish.

Twilight said nothing.

Sombra returned his attention to his book.

Swish

“No, one does not earn power,” It was Sombra who spoke, “Power is given, either by birth or by one with power, or taken by those who seek it.”

He focused his attention back to Twilight.

“Now tell me Princess, which would you say is the right way to acquire power?”

Twilight didn't answer at first. Neither answer seemed right. To say power must be given would be saying that she had had no hoof in her accomplishments. Yet to say power must be taken would ultimately validate Sombra’s actions.

Was this what he had been playing at, tricking Twilight into justifying his own actions?

“Neither are right.” Twilight answered.

Sombra raised an eyebrow, “Oh?”

“Neither are right unless you are worthy of having power.”

Sombra spoke disapprovingly, “Now you are just begging the question Princess. What does it mean to be worthy? Who decides if you are worthy if not for the ones with power?"

He turned his attention back to his book that was now held aloft by his magic.

“No, the right way to acquire power, is to take it. Power given, is but an extension of the giver’s power. It is not true power. True power, must be taken. And taken by choice.”

“Or you trying to say I am not worthy of my power, but you are?”

“That is exactly what I am saying!

As he spoke he turned to face her, his face wearing a sneer.

“Tell me Princess, at what point did you actually have a choice in your rise to power? A choice that was not influenced by Celestia’s guidance, or made possible by your natural magic talent?

Twilight began to speak, but then was silent. It was Celestia who had chosen her to be her person protégé. Chosen her because Twilight had been gifted with raw magical abilities the she had never seen before. And she had taught and guided Twilight. She had sent Twilight to Ponyville, to face Nightmare and Discord, and to save the Crystal Empire. And it had been she who had given Twilight the book with Starswirl’s unfinished spell. The spell that had led to her ascension.

But Twilight had had a choice didn't she? She could have chosen not to be Celestia’s student. Chosen not to have follow her guidance. She could have made several choices that would have led her down different paths. But, to make such choices would have gone against Celestia’s will. And Twilight knew she would never do that. Could never do that. She could never say ‘no’ the anything Celestia ask of her.

Nor did she ever want to.

But –looking at scar over Sombra’s eye– there had been one choice she could call her own.

“So what if it I was guided by Celestia? It doesn't mean that I am not worthy of my accomplishments, or that I take what I have been given for granted. I have come this far by both my own efforts and through the help of my friends.”

Sombra was unimpressed.

“That may be so. But all of your and their efforts have been in accordance with the destiny that has been chosen for you. Your accomplishments are indeed impressive, but so too were they expected of you.—" He turned away, his book floating in front of him. "—The fact is you cannot call the power you have your own. It is only the power one acquires through their own actions, their own choices that are truly ours. Because having true power is a choice.”

Twilight simmered for a moment. She could feel herself growing anger at every word he spoke, but she wasn't going to let him make her lose her temper.

“Then I choose not to have it. If it was indeed my destiny to become a Princess, then so too in it my responsibility do what is right, and I will prove myself worthy of what I have been given. This is what I choose.”

Sombra didn't look at her as he spoke. “Hearing that from you comes as no surprise. You who were destined to be given power. But what of those who were destined for nothing? What about the ponies who are destined to never have power? Should they simple let themselves be guided by those who have it?”

What was he getting at? Why was he still asking her questions? And how was she supposed to answer them? Was there even a point? And even if there was, why should she even bother?

“I’m not sure. I suppose if they are happy and one guiding them is a good leader, then there is nothing wrong with it.”

“Spoken like so many other.” He said disapprovingly.

Twilight was becoming impatient. “How about you quite with the lecture and get to the point. How does this have anything to do with what you did to the Crystal Empire?”

This conversation was getting old, and she was tired of listening to him. Nothing good ever came from listening to him.

“Not one for patience are we? Very well then. For a pony not destined to be given power, their only option is to take it. That is a choice available to everypony. To chose to be a leader, or to be led. Even those given power have a choice on how to use it. They can either walk the path laid out in front of them or forge their own.”

He looked up for his book and smiled at Twilight, “That is what interests me in you, Twilight. Though you have followed entirely in Celestia’s hoofsteps, I see in you the desire and potential to do far more.”

Then his expression darkened and her looked away, “But what disappoints me is to see a pony, or an entire nation of ponies, who have the potential to be great and powerful, yet choose to be mere followers. No," he grimaced, "it disgusts me.”

Nation of ponies? Did he mean the Crystal Empire?

Sure enough, as Sombra spoke, the book he held glowed crimson, and summoned an image of the Crystal Empire.

“It was said the the Crystal Empire was the greatest nation in all of history. A land of love and light. A land truly powerful in magic and might.—”

The tone in Sombra’s voice sounded reverent. The of image of the Crystal Empire portrayed the land even more elegant than Twilight had remembered.

“—But it was all a lie. A fantasy.” the image darken, and the colors faded. The Empire now looked tarnished. And Sombra now spoke with disdain.

“The Love that was the source of their magic, the magic that they believe protected them and helped them prosper, only imprisoned them. It made them dim-witted and blind to the truth. The truth that they were slaves to there the magic. Magic that they themselves feed and replenished year after year.—”

Twilight could see the streets of the Crystal Empire. Streets filled with ponies trotting around with happy yet blank expressions. Merry but dull-minded.

“—And year after year the Empire prospered but never progressed. Ponies by the hundreds came the Empire, yet none ever left. They believed it to be a utopia, yet the Love that protected the land also bound them to it.—”

As Sombra spoke, Twilight could hear the contempt growing in his voice.

“—Yet they were content. Content to live in their ignorance. Content to live in a fantasy, and forget that there was a world around them. A world they chose not to see. A world they chose to ignore.” He almost spat these words.

Sombra then turned Twilight now, voice was calm, but lanced with hatred, “You asked me to justify my actions. But there is nothing I need justify. All I did was open their eyes. I did not enslave them for them for they were already slaves. Yet unlike their past rulers, I made no attempt to hide the truth. The truth that they were living pointless lives. So I gave them guidance, I gave them purpose.” –he turned back to his book– “And yet they would call me evil.”

That was the last straw.

“That’s because you are! You're evil, and you're insane. You talk like your actions were act of kindness. But they are acts of pure cruelty, for which you feel no compassion! You’re no hero, you’re a power-hungry tyrant who used his power to take over the Crystal Empire. You dare claim that I am unworthy of my powers, and dare to claim that you were right in taking yours! You're a Foal!"

This got a laugh out of Sombra.

“You give me far to little credit, and others far to much. You speak as if I was an oppressor. One who overthrow the Crystal Empire by force. But it was nothing of the sort. You see Princess,” –he waved his hoof and the image focused on the Crystal Heart– “For all the power the Empire is said to possess, it in truth is so very weak. All I did was remove what blinded them from that truth,” –the Crystal Heart disappeared– “And then they were all too willing to submit.”

Twilight managed to calm herself, yet she was still seething “So you’re no King, but a thief. A thief who stole the Empire’s Power”

“A Thief? Ha! How can one steal what is willing given up! You say I have no compassion for the Crystal Ponies. But how can I have compassion for those who so willing submit. Those who never once tried to resist. They are worthy of neither their precious love nor of my remorse. They who could only beg and plead, yet do nothing. Nothing but pray for somepony else to save them. They are worthy only of my contempt.” It was with a cold rage with which Sombra spoke. One that chilled and frighten Twilight.

He hadn't spoken with a mad insanity, but a righteous fury.

“So then why did you make the Crystal Empire disappear? Because it seems to me like a petty act of spite.”

He sneered, “I was doing Equestria a favor by removing that obscenity of a Nation." –He frowned– "But I have no more interest in the Empire. It an its Love can go to Tartarus.” With that he said no more and returned to his book.

Celestia had been right when she said Sombra’s heart was as black as night. How else could a pony despised something, as beautiful as love, to the point that the would raze an entire Empire built on it. What would push a pony so far as that, Twilight didn’t want to know.

Swish

So why was he still here? What was his interest in her? If he didn’t want to reconquer the Crystal Empire, then what did he want? He had said he was interested in Twilight, but what was Sombra hoping to accomplish? To what ends did he intend to go?

. . .

Swish

Another question occurred to Twilight, one more pressing than the others.

“How are you doing this?” Twilight finally spoke.

“Whatever do you mean?” Replied Sombra, sounding almost curious.

“This.” Twilight waved her hoof around, indicating The Library, “What is this place? A dream? How are you able to do this?”

How could Sombra control dreams? Wasn't that Princess Luna’s domain? And if it was a dream, wouldn't she be aware? She had to be.

But then, why hadn't she interfered?

He chuckled, and then said with a smirk, “What makes you think this is a dream? What else could it be?”

Always answering with questions. It was like he was trying to—

“Think about it.”

—teach her.

She was growing irritated. Irritated that she didn't know. Irritated that she wanted to know, and had to play his game to figure it out.

What else could it be if not a dream? How could he create this space? If he still hadn't the power to physically manifest himself, then this structure was certainly beyond him. One thing was certain though. Something that gave Twilight a chill. It was certain that Sombra was no longer a mere shadow.

His powers were returning.

Swish

It was not a dream. Nor was it the real world. It felt real, but there was no way she could be here physically, that Sombra could be here physically. They were in The Library as it had been a millennia ago. Just like the castle had looked when she had used Zecora’s potion. But that had all been in her mind.

Aha!

“This is a memory.” She responded.

Sombra grinned. Pleased by her answer.

“Very good, Princess,” –The condescension of his praise was sickening– “however you are only half right. This is not a memory, but many.”

Something worried Twilight. If these were memories, then to whom did it belong? They could be his. This library would have been constructed before his banishment. So he could have knowledge of it. But that didn't seem right. If she had to guess—

“Why have you brought me hear? I have no interest in your memories.”

He frowned. “You makes you think that these memories are mine?”

—They were her memories.

“You still haven’t answered my first question.” She spoke with agitation. What she was losing in patience, she was gaining in anxiety. “How are you doing this?”

“Those who cannot control the darkness within them are at the mercy of those who can.” He spoke as if it were obvious.

“So you're using your power to invade the minds of others?” She didn't think she could despised him more. But she had underestimated him.

He laughed. Then stopped. Stopped and sneered, “You are wrong if you think I need to use any of my power. Tell me Princess, where do you think memories go when you try to forget them? Fade away in some dark corner of your mind?”

Twilight didn't answer. Nor did she want to.

“Whether they be memories be of anger, hatred, fear, despair. It is through those memories that darkness can enter the heart. And if you chose not to face them, if chose to forget them, both you and your memories become forfeit to the darkness.”

He stood and turned to face Twilight. His expression was gleeful, and malicious.

“You see Princess, darkness never forgets, and never regrets. It is absolute. My eye will never heal, just as you will never be free. Once darkness finds its way into your heart, it will never let go.”

Twilight’s anxiety turned to fear. If what he said was true, then wouldn't that mean her attempts to forget about him, only made him stronger? The thoughts she had suppressed, instead of addressing, but fuel to the fire? Could the time she had spent with her friend, with Cadence –attempts to forget what had truly bothered her– be hurting her rather than helping?

Whatever the answers, she knew she couldn't let her inaction continue. It had already cost her too much. And could cost others much more.

But what to do?

What could she do?

It was obvious. The answer was right in front of her. Wearing a sneer.

The first thing she would do was removed Sombra from her mind. If he wanted to flit through the library of her memories, he’d have to put forth more effort. A lot more.

Her horn began to glow.

“If you think you can enter my mind and look through my memories, whenever you want, then you are wrong. Dead wrong. I have been far to lenient, far to passive, with you. But no more. You will leave me and my memories alone from here on.”

She had expected him to react has he had the last time she had threatened him. But instead he merely turned back to the book held aloft by his magic, still baring his gleeful expression.

Had she missed something?

“What makes you think this is your memory.” His said, his voice calm.

Swish

“Then, whose. . .” Twilight spoke aloud, but to herself. If they weren't his memories, or hers, then whose where they? Who but her and her friends would have any memory of The Library of the Royal Sister? Who but her would know what it had once looked like in the past? And why would Sombra want to use their memories and not hers?

The answer came to her quickly, and she knew before Sombra even spoke.

“It is Celestia’s.”

It was a moment before Twilight could fully appreciate the situation.

This was Celestia’s memory! She was in the mind of Princess Celestia! Without her knowledge, Sombra had turned her into an unwitting trespasser of her mentor’s mind!

Swish

This realization fill her with fury, and horror. This was an act of desecration, and she a desiccator.

“Impossible!”

“Is it? Did I not already tell you that those who cannot control the darkness within them are at the mercy of those who can? You did not think I was referring to you when I said that, did you? I told you that Celestia’s shadow was the darkest of all, and here is the proof.”

Sombra closed his book and faced Twilight, matching her expression of horror with one of amusement.

“Come now Princess, you should be pleased. Before you is the opportunity to find the truth that Celestia thought to hide so many centuries ago. The Library, as you know it, is incomplete, as much of its knowledge removed by Celestia’s hoof as by the sands of time. But not here. Here it is complete. Every book where it belongs, every page in its place. What knowledge Celestia sought to hide, sought to forget, is all here. And you need not even read it. Simply open your mind, and that knowledge will be yours.”

Twilight looked around The Library. At all of the books at adorned the selves. New, pristine, complete. Not a single book missing. To say she was tempted would be an understatement. No. She longed to learn all the knowledge in these books. In all these books. Even the ones she knew she should never read.

Her curiosity was maddening.

“No.” she forced herself to say. “Not like this.”

She looked back at Sombra, who was no longer amused. But before he said anything, she had gathered her thoughts and spoke.

“I will neither take advantage nor betray Celestia, or anypony else for that matter. I will find my own answers, with my own magic: The Magic of Friendship. Not with the Dark Magic you possess. Nor will I ever let your offers sway me from my path, no matter how tempting. Now cease whatever magic or spell you're using to create this mockery immediately, and I will see to it that Celestia shows you mercy.” Like banishing him to the moon this time.

This made him laugh. A laugh that was loud and mocking. When he finally spoke, it was with both anger and mirth. “Your conviction betray your ignorance. You think Celestia’s light is guiding you to the truth, but it is only blinding you from it. I fear neither Celestia nor her judgment, nor that of her sister. What’s more,” he said, on the verge of laughter. “Is that you are gravely mistaken if you think it is by my magic that we are even here.”

!

What?

“You’re not doing this?” said Twilight, genuinely confused.

What was going on? His word, his laughter, confounded Twilight. Her thoughts that were once gathered, were now in disarray. She was becoming frustrated. She knew her surprise would only amuse Sombra. But she couldn’t help it. How could he not be the one responsible.

“But, how?” She spoke without meaning to.

And it made Sombra laugh yet again. Then he look directly at Twilight, his face inches for hers, his voice mocking and cruel.

“It is not my magic. It. Is. yours.”

!

Her magic? But she hadn’t cast any spell. Nor could she sense any spell cast on her. What was he talking about.—

“You have become complacent, my Princess.” Sombra said calmly.

—There! There in the back of her mind. She could find the trickle of magic being drawn away from her. Being drawn into her surrounding. Giving it form. Allowing her to be here. Allowing her to access Celestia’s memories.

How? How was she doing this. The magic was moving by it own will. There was no spell forcing it to do so. Nor was she forcing it to do so. So then how was she doing this? And why?

Why couldn't she make it stop?

“You’re doing this! I don’t know how, but you’re using your magic to do this!” Twilight said angrily. But her voice betrayed her panic.

Twilight put her hooves on her head and tried to focus. She could feel the magic being drawn away more quickly now. But try as she might she couldn't stem its flow.

Sombra smiled. A smile that showed his every fang.

“But I am not, my Princess. Did I not say darkness will never let go. Do you think that you could use the dark powers, then forget about it. Your complacency has left you venerable. Unaware, you have allowed the darkness to saturate your magic. And you have allowed it to grow by feeding it all the thoughts and feelings you hoped to forget.”

No, this wasn't happening!

“All I had to do was give your magic a bit of guidance, and you have done all the rest."

What was a trickle, became a stream.

He looked around The Library, “I must say you never fail to impress. Even with your lack of control, you so easily reconstructed this library from Celestia’s memories.”

Now the flow of magic had become intense. Intense enough that Twilight’s body began to glow at the magical output.

His smile grew wider, and the violet light from Twilight casting shadows across his face. He looked insane.

“How Do I Make It Stop?” said Twilight, her panic now obvious. She was losing her control. As she spoke, her magic began surging forth, snatching books off the shelves, and tearing out the pages. Pages that began spinning around her and Sombra.

And she was frighten. Frighten by Sombra, by his smile, by what he had done, and by what he could do. Frighten by the fact that everywhere she looked, all she could were thousand of pages whirling around her. Page containing words, containing images, containing memories. Memories that, when she looked at them, became hers. Each new memory contain a vast amount of information. Information she couldn't make sense of. Didn't want to make sense of. And there was nowhere to look but at the pages. At the pages or at Sombra, and his smile.

Twilight squeezed her eyes shut. She couldn't look anymore. She had to focus. Had to focus on stopping her magic. She had to focus, and the pages, that smile, were making it impossible.

But how could to stop it? No matter how much she focused her efforts, she couldn't hold back her magic. It was like catching the wind: it evaded her every attempt. All she could do was prevent the stream of magic from becoming a deluge.

“TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THIS STOP!”

Seconds when by, and she heard nothing. Nothing but the hum of her magic, and the whipping of pages.

More seconds past.

Then—

“Taking up my offer to teach you, are we now, my Princess?”

—She flinched. Sombra’s voice was right next the her,

“Well consider this your first lesson.” He hissed in her ear.

Sombra stood up, “You lack control because you do not understand the true nature of darkness. You think darkness is evil because it is the opposite of light, because it can draw its power from negative emotions? That is but a shallow misconception. One that will leave you forever at the mercy of the dark powers."

Twilight heard him moving away.

“Consider what I have told you about Power. About True Power being a choice. It is a choice that you either choose to make or let others choose to make for you. Know that there is power in choice, my Princess.”

“Wait! I don’t understand—”

“I will leave you at that.” Sombra cut in. “You should be able to figure it out from here. Think of it as a test. I do know how you so love tests. And" –Twilight heard something being placed an her hooves.– "I will leave you with this.”

Twilight risked a glimpse, and saw that it was the book Sombra had been reading.

“In here you will find knowledge that will aid in your studies, as well as several spell, some of my own make. Consider it a. . . Required reading."

Sombra"s body began to fade into the shadow, his form becoming indistinct, his voice becoming echoes.

“You will learn that this world not made up of Good and Evil, But of Wills and Won’ts. You will learn that there is darkness at the heart of all things. Even Light and Harmony. There is much you have to learn, my Princess.”



“And. You. Will. Learn.”

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Comments ( 17 )

Moar... and good job man

I have out-done myself in both the quality and quantity of my writing. I would say this is a good place to end. . . But I jest. I would never end this story. Not when it is getting good. I have decided to split it into parts so that I can give each part its individual attention.

As for now, I am hungry. So feed me feedback.

Why is this listed as complete? This is a story that needs to be continued. You have a very clear and interesting writing style, and this story has such depth and darkness that needs to be explored.

You're continuing this, correct? Because there is still a ton of stuff that can be done with it. This chapter, like the previous, was fantastic. You can really see Twilight's confidence breaking down throughout the chapter, to the point that by the end she is begging for answers and a way to make it stop. The little spark of doubt in her mind is stoked into a raging inferno by Sombra's words, as she realizes that unconciously, she wants to take him up on his offer. This mixture of anxiety and emotions leaves her a shattered wreck of self-doubt and moral questioning, and Sombra takes that as the answer he needs.
I loved this story, and can't wait to see what you have planned next.
Have a follower, my friend. You deserve it.

Uuuuuuuummmmm............................................................................SEQUAL?! :twilightoops:

Thus is why Hasbro destroyed Sombra from taking the opprotunity to have a REAL villian.
You air somehow always to give me the chills
.

Very Baldur's Gate, that last line.

Having read this, here's my opinion:

First, I like what you try and do with the italics and larger font words to add emphasis. Unfortunately, it's overused, especially in Chapter 1, and it ends up being more distracting than anything. The increased font is particularly noticeable when reading via mobile.

Second, you've got typos. For example, from Chapter 1:

Twilight remained unmoved. Her face stone. Her eyes glaring. Her horn glowing with an angry hummed.

Hummed is past tense, you want present tense. In this case, just "hum". Some names are wrong, too. You have "Pinky Pie" instead of "Pinkie Pie", "Ever-Free" instead of "Everfree", "Applebloom" instead of "Apple Bloom", and "Sweetie Bell" instead of "Sweetie Belle".

Chapter 5 in particular needs a proofreader badly. You've got typos like "every" instead of "ever", "destine" instead of "destined", and "your" instead of "you're", and you've got a lot of them.

Capitalization is a bit off, too. Random words have their first letter capitalized in some places when they shouldn't be.

Third. You overuse periods. I suspect it's a stylistic choice. Feels bland, though. Lacking energy. Doesn't feel like a story. Feels like we're just being told things. All tell. No show.

Fourth, you really haven't gotten far enough in the story, at least in my opinion, to really justify calling this Part 1 of whatever. In a multi-part epic, this would barely be a prologue. If I hadn't read your first comment on Chapter 4, I would have thought you were stopping and set the story to Complete instead of Cancelled.

Like all stories of this nature, I really want to like it, but it's just too unpolished in its current state.

4791101
Thank you for your opinion. i can actually do something with this.

It is funny that you called my work unpolished. I've said my work could be a real gem if it could only be refined.

I have worried that messing with the font would be distracting, which is why I prefer increasing the size as to using italics. I find it more subtle. However, this observation is from desktop only. I was not aware that FimFiction had a mobile site. I don't think I can tailor my envisioned writing style to both view points.

You're right about this story not being long enough to be a part 1. If anything, I think it would be more fitting to call it a prototype story, or an experiment. The reason I didn't select "cancelled" is because I still want to continue writing it. It's just that I want to focus more on writing my own story than continuing Omny87's. In a sense, this story acts as that transition. So then, why not just start from scratch? Well, why reinvent the wheel, when you can build a bicycle?

Also, thanks for bothering to proofread and critiquing the entire story. This was some much needed feedback, even if it is a bit deflating.

4790539
Can't say I am familiar with that reference. I hope it is a good one though.

4785923
Well, you will now hear otherwise. Having read the said comic, I have a few things to say. One, like always, the comics sure knows how to throw a wrench into continuity. Two, Starswirl and Sombra were best friends. And three, I actually liked how Sombra's character got portrayed; it did a splendid job portraying him as a Tragic Hero. I'm still on the fence about the comic's choice of shipping though.

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Sorry about the intentionally vague post concerning this story's continuation. I am adding a link to a blog post on that topic at the end of Chptr. 4.
Here is a link.

4794326
Well, in Baldur's it was the same parting words (minus the "and") in the protagonist's dream, said by a dead, evil god about how the protagonist would learn to embrace their dark powers and all that jazz.
I thought the similarities were notable.
Baldur's gate plot spoiler: Also, there was a Vader twist, but I guess that might not be the case here.

4794300
I notice that you don't make mention of having an editor or proofreader on your blog or in the story. There's a few groups that offer editing services to aspiring writers; might I suggest you poke around and try and find one?

Comment posted by Journey Blue deleted Oct 18th, 2014

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I wouldn't say I am trying to distance myself for this story, per se. I would say I am modestly acknowledging my mistakes, and actually doing something about them.

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