• Published 1st Sep 2014
  • 18,481 Views, 1,823 Comments

Sweetie's Shadow - Note Sketch

Looking for a way to get over her fear of public speaking, Sweetie Belle borrows an instructional book from Twilight's library to help out. One thing leads to another and some how ends up binding King Sombra to her as her shadow...

  • ...

15. Cursed

With a large jump, Sweetie Belle used the thick tree branches to propel herself from one tree to another. The strength behind such physical feats had been impossible before, but her body being now that of Sombra's, she couldn't be having more fun making her way through the Everfree.

With a soft giggle every other jump, she continued to make her way through the dense foggy forest, Sombra on her back to make sure they stayed on course.

"Take a left over there." He said as he pointed with his small white hoof. His grip on Sweetie's mane could easily be used to pull her in the right direction, but he took a more gentle approach. After all, he'd like the same treatment if their roles were reversed, which was ironic given the circumstances.

"Okay!" Sweetie Belle responded as she twisted her body in the air, landing her hooves on a tree trunk and pushing herself away in the direction he had said. "Woohoo!"

Sombra did his best to stay on Sweetie's back, but her sudden exerts of strength made it difficult at times. Still, he kept from saying anything so that she could continue with her now happy attitude, one he missed during her sudden depression just a few moments ago. How in the world did she bounce back so quickly? Was it that she was faking it? Or perhaps a sort of mental guard against negative feelings? Either way, Sombra just wanted her to stay the way she was.

"We're here." He said as he once again pointed with his hoof. At once Sweetie Belle shifted her pose in midair to redirect herself to the ground using the next incoming tree.

In a powerful thud, the pair landed and cracked the hard ground behind them. The inertia from the landing was much too strong for Sombra this time, and was forced off of Sweetie, face first into the ground. Giggling at Sombra's expense, Sweetie did her best to hide her amusement as she spoke.

"You okay?"

With an annoyed expression in his eyes, the only part not buried into the dirt, Sombra responded.

"Never felt more alive." His voice was muffled by the earth trying to make its way into his nostrils. In one swift pull, Sombra managed to get himself out of the ground and proceeded to wipe away the remnants from his face. Though as he cleaned himself, he noticed Sweetie Belle to be in a frenzy.

"Wh-Where are they?" She asked as she ran back and forth, looking for her friends. "There aren't any Timber Wolves either, are you sure we're at the right place?!"

"So that's what they're called? Timber Wolves? Fitting name." Sombra said as he finished his grooming.

"Mister Sombraaaaa." Sweetie whined as she came face to face with him, her eyes almost teary at the thought of what could have happened to Applebloom and Scootaloo.

"Calm yourself." He said as he gently pushed her away to a comfortable space. "Remember what I said before? About your turn to act like me?"

"Well, yeah."

"Then what would I do?"

"Umm." Sweetie Belle said as she took a step back to think. "You would probably make a smart-alecky remark about me and then find my friends."

Sombra chuckled as he made his way to her. Pulling his way back onto her back, he then leaned in over her shoulder to speak.

"That's a start at least." He said as softly. His voice was rather calming to her, he always seemed to know exactly what to do, if only she could do the same. "Close mouth, open your eyes."

Sweetie Belle did as he said. She quickly turned her gaze over to the scenery around them. There was a small black crystal spike poking out of the ground. It was the same one Sombra had conjured up in self defense, that alone proved they were in the right place.

"Look at everything presented at you. Look at all the pieces you have at your disposal." Sombra said as he gently guided her vision to the next clue at hoof.

Broken shards of crystal laid on the ground. Between them was an almost dug in hole, no doubt from where the fillies were fidgeting around while trapped in the crystal.

"That's where my friends were!" Sweetie Belle shouted as she ran up to the place and pushed around the shards. "Were they eaten by the wolves?!" She asked out, her eyes stricken with fear.

"Calm yourself, look again for clues." Sombra said as he jolted her head to face him. "There isn't any blood, it means that the wolves did not eat your friends."

"The-Then what?"

"You tell me." He said as he gestured his hoof for her to look at the area around them.

Taking a deep breath, Sweetie Belle once again moved her eyes throughout the ground and noticed a rather big detail she had missed since their arrival. The ground had all sorts of marking on the ground. Paw and claw prints were all over in a strange manner, some parts of the ground was even broken and scarred from a powerful slash.

"It looks like there was some sort of fight..." She said as she circled around the large dents on the ground.

"Yes, between the wolves and a rather large creature by the looks of it. Since the wolf's broken pieces aren't around, we can assume..."

"That the Timber Wolves ran away after they were defeated, so whatever won took my friends. When did you notice them?" Sweetie asked as she turned to him.

"Since before we landed."

"Why didn't you say anything then?"

"If I simply pointed things out without giving you the chance to look for yourself, you'd never learn." Sombra said as he gesture her to follow the tracks that led deeper into the forest.

"Think my friends are still alive?"

"Like I said, no blood. There are only two reasons why a creature would not eat when fresh food is presented at them. They either fled because of a rival beast like the wolves, or they are moving it to another location so they can eat safely."

"Then we better hurry!"

Using her strength to leap forward, Sweetie Belle once again took to the tree tops to propel herself through the forest. Though now, she had a different air about her, a flame of determination in her eyes. One that Sombra was happy to see.


"It's dark in here!" Applebloom said as she reached around to find her surroundings.

"Hey, watch it!" Scootaloo shouted back as she felt something hit her wing.

"Opps, mah bad."

"Just stay still, you don't want it to accidently swallow us!"

"Ah'm wondering why that giant Cragadilee didn't chew when it put us in its mouth."

"You're actually questioning it? I'm happy we're still alive at all!" Scootaloo said as she too tried to readjust herself subtly as to not disturb the spongy tongue they were both on and make the creature accidently bite them.

"Well yeah, Ah'm happy, just curious."

"Who knows, it might be taking us out of the Everfree Forest. You know, it saw two small fillies being attacked by wolves and decided to rescue them?"

"That might be a tad bit on the hopeful side. Ah really don't think that's what's going on."

"Well you think of something then!"

"To be honest, Ah don't really wanna think about what it wants with us..."

"It can't be that bad, right? I mean-"


Suddenly both fillies felt something push against them. In a strong twist of its neck the beast spit the duo out onto the water nearby. Scootaloo was the first to surface and face her fillynapper, and with and angry hoof, shouted at it.

"Hey! If you went through the trouble of putting us in your dirty, germ infested mouth, you could have at least eaten us!"

"Scoots! What are ya shouting at it for?" Applebloom said as she too came out of the water.

"What? It will take hours to get this nasty spit off of my coat." Scootaloo said as she brushed her fore hoof with the other, a large mass of thick saliva peeling off her as it slid across.

"That don't mean you should make things worse by screaming at it!"

"What are you talking about? It hasn't moved even a bit." She said as she ruffled her small wings while looking over at the beast. It's the same kind that Applejack has told them about once. A large crocodile that's made of stone. This one, however, was much bigger than the one she had described. While the other was still a terrifying monster, this one would fit both of them in its mouth without much trouble. Easily five times larger than the one Applejack and her friends faced.

"Why is it just standing there?" Applebloom questioned as she started to use the water around them to wash away the saliva. Though the feeling of ease soon left her as she felt something tug at her tail from below the water. Confused, Applebloom lifted her hind and propped her tail to see what she had 'caught'. Hanging from her red tail was a small cragadile that was busy trying to chew the hair in its mouth.

"Uh...Applebloom?" Scootaloo asked as she began to look around, finally realizing dozens of tiny eyes were surfacing around them. "I'm starting to think we weren't tossed in here to wash up..."

"Run!" The other shouted as she began to move across the water away from the mass of baby beasts now making their way to them. Though their first reaction was to get to the shore, they retreated back when they saw the Cragadile mother step in front of them.

The fillies were now trapped, the babies were creeping ever closer and the mother would not let them pass. Standing back to back, Scootaloo gave out a nervous laugh.

"I guess...we're stuck between a rock and a hard place huh?"

"This ain't not time for jokes Scoots!" Applebloom shouted as she turned to look at her friend. "We need to find a way out."

"Maybe Sweetie Belle and Mister Sombra will get here in time to save us?" Scootaloo said as she watched the small cragadiles now walk on land and make their way to them.

"I hate to say it but-"

"Look out!" A voice cried out as it crashed into the mother cragadile. Using her hooves to brace her impact, Sweetie Belle managed to come to a stop while simultaneously pushing the animal several meters away.

"You might be right this time." Applebloom finished as she saw Sweetie Belle and Sombra land close to them while the large beast was thrown far behind the tree line.

"Por el amor de Dios, be more careful!" Sombra said as she struggled to keep himself seated on his mount. "I told you you'd crash if you didn't slow down."

"Yeah, but since you didn't tell me to slow down, I thought you were just letting me know or something." Sweetie said as she looked over at Sombra with oblivious eyes.

"If I had told you to slow down, the curse would have made you slow down by force...and I rather not hurt the one currently in charge of getting us from point A to point B." Sombra said as he looked away, a subtle change in his tone as he came up with the excuse to keep from using commands. In his motions, he noticed the audience and a serious expression spread across his face.

"Sweetie Belle! Mister Sombra!" The fillies cried out as they ran to them.

Relieved to see them alive, Sombra sighed with a small smile, but it was soon replaced by a serious expression as his vision focused behind the fillies. The Cragadile's actions quickly made sense to him and with a quick tap to Sweetie Belle's shoulder, he gesture her to take action.

"Sweetie Belle."

"I'm on it!" She replied as she cast out some of her magic. Raising a wall of crystal directly behind her friends, she managed to save them from being jumped on by the cragadiles. One of these creatures hit itself hard on the wall and bounced back, landing onto its brethren. Soon they all began to cry out.

A rumble was heard from close by, all the ponies switched their attention in the direction Sweetie had pushed the mother cragadile and in a burst of force, it ran out and jumped its way towards them. Sweetie froze for a second as fear struck now that she had a good view of the monster charging at her.

"Move!" Sombra said, both bringing her back to reality and activating a command for her to follow. In a dexterous jump overhead, Sweetie Belle managed to leap into the air while the beast sped under her and Sombra, just barely missing the fillies on the ground, a detail Sombra caught.

Sweetie Belle twisted around mid air to keep her sight locked on the cragadile as she landed. Her friends quickly began to come close and clenched onto her hind legs as the babies started to make their way around the crystal wall from before.

"Umm, Mister Sombra?"

"I'm thinking..."

"Should we just run?"

"With both of your friends and me on your back? Your lack of restraint could put us in danger."

"So...we fight?"

"That would leave you friends vulnerable..."

"So what do we do?!"

"I said I'm thinking!"

Again the mother cragadile began to charge at them and with the fillies at their position, jumping was no longer an option. Sombra glanced around and made a quick plan to keep them all out of harm. He jumped off of Sweetie Belle while issuing a command.

"Propel me at that tree!" He shouted as landed and held onto the fillies. Sweetie Belle obeyed and used her magic to catapult them using an erected crystal pillar.

Using the same pillar to jump off, Sweetie Belle once again moved out of the incoming charge and avoided the attack. The fillies on the other hoof were less graceful in their landing, or lack thereof. Sombra reached out and grabbed onto a branch as each filly held onto one of his hind legs.

"Mister Sombra!" Sweetie shouted out as she looked over at Sombra holding himself and the girls in place from the branch.

"I'm fine! Focus on your fight!" He shouted as he gestured with his head for her to turn around. In a rather unstallion like yelp, Sweetie moved out of the way of a slashing tail that crushed the tree behind her.

No longer just charging at her, the cragadile began to fight more intelligently. Using its claws when Sweetie landed in front of her, and her tail when she landed behind her. Sweetie Belle just couldn't stay on the ground for very long before an attack of some sort rushed towards her.

Sombra groaned as he used all of his strength to keep his grip on the branch now holding them from the hungry baby cragadiles under them.

"You okay Mister Sombra?" Applebloom asked.

"I'll manage..." He replied with a strained voice.

"Scoots, you're a pegasus, flap yer wings and get us on the branch!" She said as she turned her attention to her friend.

"Oh right!" Scootaloo said as the idea dawned on her. She too began to grunt as she furiously flapped her wings to raise her body.

Sombra could feel some of the pressure holding him down lighten as the pegasus managed to move upwards a few inches. Exhaustion soon took over her however, and Scootaloo's wings quit on her, making her fall back down and putting all the weight back on Sombra. The sudden jolt of weight caught him off guard and even made him let go of one of his hooves.

They shouted as they swung around, their only anchor to the tree now Sombra's right hoof as he tried to reach out with his left once more.

"Quickly! Grab onto da branch!" Applebloom shouted.

"Hooves weren't made for grasping!" Sombra shouted back in an angry and annoyed tone, though he was finally able to grab on and regain some stability.

Sweetie Belle looked over at her friends with a worried expression. Worry she didn't have the luxury of having for very long thanks to her opponent.

"Dang it, I have to win quick so I can help Mister Sombra." She said to herself as she landed far away from the cragadile who wasted no time in trying to close in the space between them. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself and relaxed her muscles. "Close your mouth, open your eyes."

Sweetie Belle began to analyze her opponent. Apart from the obvious size difference, the cragadile seemed to be just another crocodile in every sense of the word. Its rough skin on the back replaced by live stone that gave it even more of a protection. Though a small detail crossed her mind as she began to recall the crocodile's cousin, the alligator.

"Gummy is like a crocodile, I mean, they're from the same family. So if a cragadile is like a crocodile, then it must have the same soft tummy gummy has. I could raise a spike underneath it and-" Sweetie's sentence cut itself off as she realized what it was she was about to say.

She dreaded to believe she was actually thinking of killing the creature before her. Sure it had attacked both her and her friends, but it was a mother. Her children were right here. How could she even consider such an idea?

Her head stuck with her own thoughts, Sweetie Belle failed to realize just how close the beast was now from her. In only a moment it would be close enough to land an attack. Sombra saw and quickly understood her hesitation.

"So she finally realized it huh?" He asked himself as he looked at the fight. "Sweetie Belle!" He shouted out, snapping her back to reality and making her look over at the one calling her.

"I said you should act like me, didn't I?"


"I would find a solution that would help me reach my goal! There is more than one way to win a fight!" Sombra shouted. Sweetie Belle paused for a moment before nodding and turning her head back at the beast now dangerously near her.

"Close your mouth, open your eyes, close your mouth, open your eyes. Close your mouth. Open your eyes!" She said as she gritted her teeth in desperation. For a moment, everything seemed to slow down around her. Like Sombra had said, muscle memory took over and Sweetie's eyes quickly looked over the cragadile that was about to take one last step towards her to bite her. She could see everything in incredible detail, making it easy for her to see her next action. "There."

Using her magic to trap one of the monster's claws on the ground, the inertia from the dash made the cragadile spin to the side slightly, barely missing her bite on Sweetie Belle while also having some of her body raised to reveal the squishy underbelly.

Taking a quick step forward, Sweetie Belle reached around with her fore hoof and grounded herself to throw a powerful blow towards the beast. It was far stronger than she had thought, however. Not only did it manage to wound the cragadile, but even tossed it over a meter or two, breaking both the crystal and the feet trapped in it. For all intents and purposes, the mother cragadile was now incapable of fighting any longer.

The baby cragadiles all quickly took notice of their mother's defeat and rushed over to her, leaving the fillies out of danger for the time being. Just in time for Sombra's hooves to give out and allow them to fall without the fear of being eaten alive.

"Ooomf!" The fillies cried out as Sombra landed on top of them.

"Mister Sombra...you're heavy." Scootaloo said as she tried to push him off of her. Struggling to his hooves, he slowly responded.

"Blame Sweetie Belle for eating so many sweets." He said as he stood up, but his joke subsided when he looked over at Sweetie. Once more he saw a deep depression in her eyes. Taking advantage of the fillies helping one another up, he made his way to Sweetie Belle and joined her in her gaze of the babies crowding around their mother.

"Are they going to be okay?" She asked him as he sat down.

"More than likely. It will take more than a broken foot to stop her from finding her children food."

"But she'll be in pain every time she takes a step." Sweetie said as she turned to Sombra who kept his gaze glued on the beast. The mother cragadile, though clearly in pain, snuggled her young in an effort to quiet them down. She cared little for her own pain and wished simply to ease their worry.

"A parent would do anything for their child." Sombra said softly. Slowly his gaze came to the ground. "Anything." Though just as fast a flash of memory tried to enter his head, a headache also came, making him grasp his head with one of his hooves.

Sweetie Belle saw this and quickly began to react, but before she could say or do anything, another voice interrupted.

"Right you are Sweetie Belle, though if that is really you, I cannot tell."

"Zecora!" Applebloom shouted out as she ran up to her friend. "We've been looking for you!"

"Is that so Applebloom? Do you not know that entering the Everfree means certain doom?"

Shaking whatever pains remained in his head, Sombra made his way to the zebra, Sweetie Belle quickly followed as well.

"I take it you're the one the fillies spoke about. The one who could help with Poison Joke."

"Poison Joke? I suspected as much." Zecora said as she looked back and forth between Sombra and Sweetie Belle.

"How'd you guess?" Scootaloo asked.

"Just call it a hunch." She said with a wink. "Now follow me to my hut, there are herbs to cut." Zecora said as she began to walk away, the fillies quickly tailed her and so did Sombra. Sweetie Belle hesitantly took a step forward, but had to take another look at the cragadiles before following, a guilt weighing down on her heart.


"What were you doing there anyway?" Sombra asked as he sat in a tub of green liquid.

"Some animals fled from your area in devastation, so I decided to go make an investigation." Zecora said as she poured a small vase of leaves into the tub and around Sombra. He eyed her intently as he tried to get accustomed to her way of talking, though never asking her directly.

"You would have been very useful while I and the fillies were hanging for our lives." He said with a small tone of annoyance of having herbs tossed onto him.

The mare laughed as she put the base down before turning to Sweetie Belle who was in a separate tub. She proceeded to do the same thing she had done for Sombra and poured some cut leaves into the water.

Much to Sombra's surprise, he soon became disoriented as he felt the room change around him. Or rather, a new perspective of the room. Shaking his head to see if he was perhaps hallucinating, he saw Zecora now standing close by.

"How did you-" He began. He was about to question how she was able to walk back to him so fast, but the moment he heard his voice he realized she hadn't traveled at all.

"You are no longer 'cursed', the spell of the Poison Joke has been reversed." Zecora said as she grinned at Sombra. She couldn't help but find his inspection of his body to be strangely adorable for his appearance. But as she looked him up and down, her eyes squinted in suspicion.

"I'm back in my body!" He shouted out.

"And me and mine!" Sweetie Belle screamed as she jumped up. She was soon tackled into a hug by her friends and they all began to play around in a friendly wrestle. One that Sombra smiled softly at.

"Hmm, that is strange. There still seems to be some change." She said as she inspected Sombra more closely.


"This cannot be, perhaps this curse is beyond even me." She said as she stepped back and looked Sombra over one more time before walking away to a book sitting on her desk.

"Umm, Miss Zecora? Is there something the matter?" Sombra asked as he came close to her.

"You still have a drastic change about you. But a cure for it, I cannot brew."

"Are you talking about me being bound to the filly?" He asked, still baffled by what she was referring to.

"The fact that you are her shadow I already knew. It is out in plain view. Yet there is still a sort of curse placed on you. But the cure or how to treat it, I haven't a clue." Zecora said as she turned back to Sombra.

"Lo siento I don't know what you're talking about."

Zecora grew silent as she tried to think of a way to explain what she was trying to say.

"May I ask you where you learned Spanish?"

"Huh? Well it was..." Sombra began, but as he tried to recall, a strong headache spread over his mind. He grunted in pain as he tried to recall the memory.

"Your memories, they seem to vanish?"

"N-Now that you mention it. I can't recall some things..."

Again Zecora took a moment to think. Around him she could see all kinds of signs that told her all about him. She could see a dark past in his red eyes, yet in the same gaze, she saw kindness.

"You seem to act very civil. So may I ask you, how you became evil?"

"How did I...I just am, no?" Again Sombra was hit by a headache, and this time his grunts caught Sweetie Belle's ears. Her giggling from her friends died down a little as she looked over at Sombra. His grey coat seemed to be have a strange change in its color before returning to the normal grey.

"Mister Sombra?" She asked softly as she saw Zecora try to help his headaches. "Is there something wrong?"

Author's Note:

That took longer than expected. Let's try to update quicker next time shall we? :twilightblush:

Spanish Used:
Por El amor de Dios :: For the love of God.

Lo siento :: I'm sorry

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