• Published 17th Feb 2015
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Sombra The Highly Unmotivated - naturalbornderpy



When sent through a human's toaster after his defeat, Sombra craves his revenge. Seven months later, he doesn't seem all that interested.

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Toasters... Later

“I’m hungry, Steve. Find me food. I want food and there’s none around. That should change. You should change that. Are you even listening to me, Steve? Steve? Steve! Argh. Sometimes I wonder if your mother gave birth to a deaf, incompetent fool instead of—”

I knelt down and pinched Sombra’s lips with my fingers, exhaling sharply and trying my best not to do a whole lot more to the pony. Since discovering my spell book hadn’t the electrical power to send us back to Earth, we’d been wandering around the darkened town that lay underneath the Rehabilitation Center. I’d been told it was called Ponyville. Most homes were pitch black and scarce few had lights still on inside. From alleyway to alleyway we crept, listening for the sounds of hooves on dirt or stone. The mission we were on was life or death, I told myself—if only Sombra was smart enough to realize it.

I jabbed a finger at him. “You need to shut up. Twilight and her pals could come down on us at any moment, and I for one, would rather be far, far away from here before the night is through. Wouldn’t you?”

Sombra sat on the ground and rubbed his belly. “But I feel empty, Steve. I’m not supposed to feel empty. I’m supposed to be full of chips and cheese and sugary goodness.”

I shook my head, embarrassed for us both. “Where did I go so wrong with you? I’ve really ruined you, haven’t I?”

Sombra lifted his head up. “I have no idea what you mean. I am a pony of royalty, so what I want, I get. And since you’re my slave, that means you need to get it. So go get it, slav—

I pinched his lips again, adding extra force. I grabbed his horn and tilted his head up. “You know, Sombra, I could leave you right now. I really could. I could find a toaster on my own, teleport my ass out of scary pony land, and then never bother to think of you again. I came here to bring you back with me because I actually missed you for some reason, but right now you’re not doing the greatest job of reminding me why I want to save your hairy butt.”

I let him go and Sombra frowned, staring at the ground.

“Twilight has no interest in me, but she does in you. And I doubt it’s good.”

Sombra spun around and kicked at a pebble. After strolling a few steps, he lazily came back. “So what do you want from me, Steve? An apology? More cute antics so you’ll bow to my every whim?” With a smack, he fell onto his back and hung all four legs in front of him. He made a trotting motion in mid-air. “This cute enough, then? Looking like some colt that can hardly stand?”

I went over and yanked him off the ground. Before I had a chance to speak, he leapt up and put both forelegs on my torso.

“How about this, Steve?” he said, extending his lower lip and lowering his brows. “I bet I could sound cute, too.” He lightened his voice as far as it would go. “Pllllllease, Steve! You wouldn’t abandon a poor, defenseless little pony, would you? Not when he depends on you for so much. Please, Steve, you’re my only hope.”

He brought his oversized head closer to mine and I shoved him away. When he landed, he started laughing hard enough to bang a hoof against the ground.

“I’ve got you so wrapped around my warped horn, you have no idea!” he exclaimed, barking out more chuckles. “You must be one lonely, lonely human, Steve, coming all this way for me. Or perhaps it was all those nights I spent whispering into your ear while you slept—what’s the term you humans use? Subliminal messages?”

I balled my hands into fists. “I knew that wasn’t coming from the vents.”

He waved a leg towards the head of the alley. “Come along, Steve. Let’s select a house and then enter. With any luck, that one will have something to eat as well as a toaster.”

I crossed my arms and remained where I stood. “Not until you apologize.”

Sombra glared at me, bemused. “We really don’t have time for this prattle.”

“I do. Do you, though, chosen one?”

He huffed. “I told you it’s all lies, Steve. Twilight’s a big fat liar full of lies. She opens her mouth and lies come out. Squeeze her too tight, she vomits out more lies. She’s practically brimming with them.”

“Well, they may be lies, but those lies still include you a whole lot more than they include me. And at the moment, you need me more than I need you. I could ditch you right now and find my own way back home, and I’m sure Twilight and her friends would welcome such a decision. But you, on the other hand—”

“Hoof,” Sombra interjected.

I shook my head. “I’m not doing that. What was I saying? Oh, yes. Without me, your royal ass is royally screwed. So either you apologize to me now, or I start walking in the opposite direction and rid myself of ponies for good.”

He giggled. “Come on, Steve, everyone should have ponies in their lives.”

“That’s not an apology, Sombra.”

“That’s because you won’t be getting one!” he spat. “I am a King, you lowlife cretin! I apologize to no one and make those less than me bow to my every whim. Don’t start thinking you are any different, Steve!”

His last statement echoed in the still night air. A soft breeze blew a bit of trash across the alley. By the time it passed, I was already well on my way. It felt good, like a weight lifted off my back. But how long would it be this time before I missed him again? Two months of empty condo and single-player games was all it took before. How little would it take the next time?

“Steve,” Sombra said. “Stop that, Steve.”

I said not a word and exited the alley, taking a sharp right and standing just out of view.

“Steve, you imbecile! Where do you think you’re going?”

From the sounds of his hooves on the ground, Sombra must have been pacing back and forth in a small circle. After a moment of pondering, he dashed in my direction and left the alley with his head down, panting. He turned to the left, then to the right and found me.

He narrowed his eyes. “Fine! You want an apology? Then I’m sorry, Steve. Sorry about everything! Whatever you want me to be sorry for, I am. All right? That good enough for you?”

I casually stepped toward him. “It’s a start. If you really mean it, that is. Now say ‘Thank you’ for coming to get you in the first place.”

Sombra grumbled and mumbled close to the ground, but eventually I thought I heard those two choice words part from his lips. It would have to do.

I told the mildly grumpy pony, “I’m sorry, too, then. I gave you away and tried to fool you about it. That wasn’t a great thing to do, even if I thought I was doing what was right. And I’ll also thank you for rescuing me after I rescued you. That makes us even, then.”

Sombra continued his inaudible rant and strolled in a circle. He’d called me a friend before, and I think he’d actually meant it. It was only his pride that got in the way of him acting like a decent and sane creature. Perhaps if he stuck around on Earth for another hundred years he might not act like a total dick. Too bad I’d be long in the grave by that moment in time.

He stretched out each leg hurriedly. “Fine. We good? We get all feelsy enough for you, Steve?”

“Sure. Let’s go.”

***

A faint glow on the tip of Sombra’s horn lit our way through the home we broke into. Well, maybe “broke into” was being a tad harsh. The door to the house we selected was unlocked and the welcome matt was out. Curious if most homes went unlocked, I dashed across the street to try their neighbor’s home. Unlocked as well. It was at that moment I discovered Equestria was oddly similar to Canada—warm greetings (besides Twilight and company), homes that never locked up even at night. Just replace all the humans in Canada with ponies and it would become the friendliest place in all the alternate worlds. I know I’d visit.

Once inside, I shut the door and found the kitchen on the right. I entered first and was about to grab at Sombra’s horn to help me see when he lit a nearby lamp, illuminating the cozy nook in a faint yellow glow.

“You know, Steve,” he said, “toasters might not have even been invented yet.”

I stood over the counter and searched. “I doubt they were around in your time, but they must have invented them by now. A thousand years and not a single pony wanted their slice of bread burnt to a crisp in mere seconds? If the greatest invention of all was sliced bread, then what followed should be the toasting of said sliced bread.”

“All right,” Sombra said uninterested behind me.

I heard the click of a door behind me and turned.

“What are you doing?”

Sombra pulled his head out of the refrigerator to glare at me. “I’m getting something to eat. I’m hungry and require sustenance. I will soon faint away should my stomach be deprived much longer.” He stuck his head back in. “Oh, look! A whole wheel of cheese. This’ll do for a start.”

He levitated the block of yellow cheese out and broke off a piece to float into his mouth. Chewing noisily, he tilted his head back in near ecstasy. “My stomach’s going to kill me for this after the doctor’s water-based diet plan, but I’ll suffer willingly. Thus far, I haven’t come across a single type of cheese I haven’t liked.”

I scanned the remainder of the counter and found the sink and an assorted jumble of kitchen-type knickknacks—cutting board, knife set, rolling pin, bread holder. I slid open the bread holder in hopes of something besides bread inside, but found only a fresh looking loaf instead. The moment I did, Sombra grabbed it with his horn and added it to his feast, which by that point included the cheese wheel, six tomato slices, four apples, a packet of peanut butter crackers, and now a whole loaf of bread that he roughly divided in two before stuffing it with bits of cheese.

He looked up at me, chewing vigorously. “If only they had a toaster, Steve. Then I could’ve made us grilled cheese.”

Tempted to slap the floating food away from him, I instead turned to the older stallion in pajamas that had just unexpectedly strolled into the kitchen, rubbing at both eyes.

Blinking heavily, he went from me to Sombra and then back to me. “Hello, friends. What can I do you for?”

It’s just like Canada, I thought again. Only without the hockey that displays Canadians’ true animalistic tendencies.

Sombra stopped eating long enough to look at me. In return, I shrugged.

The stallion chuckled. “I see someone needed a late night snack. You could’ve just asked and I would’ve fixed you up with something.”

I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I knelt down to him. “Sorry about the… food thing. I promise I’ll pay you back if I can. But the bigger question is whether or not you have a toaster in your home.”

The stallion thought for a moment. “A what now? A tea setter? Is that like a tea set, or something different?”

“No. Not like that. It’s like a metal box that you shove bread into.” I splayed my fingers around an invisible rectangle. “And then like a minute later, it shoots the bread back out all toasted and ready to eat. Do you happen to own one of those?”

The stallion put a hoof to his chin. “Can’t say that I do. But it sure sounds nifty.”

I shut my eyes, not exactly wanting to hear the answer to my question. “I highly doubt it, but would you happen to know if toasters even exist in Equestria?”

The stallion thought a few seconds more. “Why does that name sound so familiar now? Toasters…. toast-ers… Oh, that’s right! That’s what that new business was selling in town today. The Twenty-Four Hour Toaster Emporium, I believe it was called.”

I couldn’t rightfully believe this. “A store in Ponyville that specializes in toasters?”

He nodded vigorously. “Yep. Now I remember. Haven’t gone in yet, as it just opened up this afternoon, but if it does what you say it does, then I’d better give it a go as soon as I can.”

My heart skipped a beat. “It just opened up today?”

He smiled. “Just this afternoon—like right out of thin air! Shelves upon shelves of silver little contraptions. Some unicorn was running the place when I peaked through the window.”

I turned to Sombra who was still busy munching, but at a far more subdued level. “That sounds a little ominous, doesn’t it?”

Sombra nodded and took another bite of his stolen cheese sandwich.

The stallion noted the mound of crumbs forming on his floor. “You want a plate?”

With his mouth full, Sombra said, “No. Got anything to drink?”

The stallion made for the fridge, but I stopped him with a hand. “Which direction is this store?”

He pointed a leg towards the front of his home. “Dead center of town—just follow the street outside. Can’t miss it. Not with the billboards and everything.”

My heart skipped another beat.

The stallion poured Sombra a glass of milk and he took it without question, downing half in a single gulp. The stallion rubbed at his eyes again. “Say, you wouldn’t happen to be that dark unicorn everyone’s been looking for, would you? With the curved red horn and dark coat and long mane and red and green eyes and purple smoke and complete lack of respect or manners?”

Sombra spit out what milk remained in his mouth and choked on the rest. After pounding on his chest, he regarded the stallion wearily. “Now why would you think that?”

“Because you look exactly like the stallion I just described.”

Sombra hid himself behind what remained of his sandwich. “Well, then you must have me confused with my less handsome brother. He must be up to no good… again.”

The stallion took a step away from him to stare. Sombra’s cheeks flushed red as he quietly nibbled on an apple, trying his best to avert the stallion’s gaze.

After an uncomfortable amount of time, the stallion replied cheerfully, “All right. Just thought I’d ask. Good night, and please close the front door when you leave.”

With that said, the stallion left the kitchen and made his way back upstairs.

I wiped the sweat from my hair and exited the kitchen. “Let’s get out of here. We’ll check if that place actually exists and then we’ll decide on what to do next.”

Sombra belched. “Just after this cupcake, Steve. It has sprinkles and everything.”

I grabbed hold of his horn and dragged him from the house.

***

Sombra and I stood outside the shop for close to ten minutes before entering. The Twenty-Four Hour Toaster Emporium was indeed at the very center of town, as were the large awning surrounding the building and the garish decals and blinking lights that made it the largest eyesore around. In the quarter-mile from the overly nice stallion’s home, we’d passed no less than four billboards advertising for it. Each had the same grayish unicorn with black mane holding a shiny toaster by his side. He looked oddly happy to be showcasing such a new device to the denizens of Ponyville.

It was that same stallion I kept an eye on through the window. Inside the wide shop, he went back and forth between several racks of toasters, spitting on their sides before wiping them with a cloth. Once he was done, he went back behind his counter and remained fixated on the door, waiting for whatever customer came next. I couldn’t make it out completely from the distance, but I thought his butt tattoo was of a dark tornado and nothing like a toaster. Considering he’d opened up a twenty-four hour shop selling items ponies didn’t even know about, I thought the tattoo might have been symbolizing his bad choices in life.

I told Sombra, “This is probably a trap of some kind.”

Sombra had both forelegs against the glass. “Probably. But what else are we going to do? And even if it is a trap, we could always snatch a toaster up and get out of there before something really bad happens.”

I looked at him. “You know, it’s attitudes like those that keep getting us deeper into trouble.”

He replied sharply, “Then should we just try every other house in town and hope at least some pony’s gone and invented a toaster in their spare time?”

I held my spell book to my side and gripped it tight. I hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect once we entered.

A tiny bell sounded our arrival as the unicorn behind the counter placed both legs near the register. “Hello there! And welcome to The Twenty-Four Hour Toaster Emporium. We specialize in toasters and toaster related accessories. And it just so happens that you two are my very first customers of all, meaning that if you decided to buy one toaster today, you’ll get the second half-off. Talk about a warm bargain, am I right?”

The silence in the room was near deafening. I glanced to Sombra and he did the same. We both shared the same expression of something sour and revolting. Something about the unicorn’s voice made me shiver. Something familiar I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

I quickly waved a hand. “Thanks. We’re good. We’ll take a look around and let you know if we need anything.”

The unicorn smiled widely. “Don’t hesitate for a moment now. I just love helping others.”

I pulled Sombra with me behind a shelf of toasters and viewed them up and down. There must have been close to forty on both sides of the display, but every toaster looked exactly the same—silver and generic, almost like a cartoonish drawing of the most basic of types. Unperturbed, I set one down on the floor and flipped open my book.

With Sombra by my side, I whispered the incantation from before and waited for the portal. Sadly, none came to be and I cursed under my breath. Nothing could ever be easy, could it?

Sombra pointed a leg at the counter. “The display behind the unicorn has different types than these, Steve. Maybe one of them might work.”

Like a bolt of lightning, I understood. Not only did I need a toaster to make my way back to Earth, but I also needed a toaster of the same make and model as the one in my kitchen. That was the silly logic I was hoping held true, anyway.

But if that was the case, then that would mean I’d need to deal with…

“Need any help finding anything?” asked the unicorn pleasantly from near the register.

Sombra nudged me. “Go ahead, Steve. Ask for another one. Say you want to test it out or something.”

I grimaced. “Test out a toaster? What would you even…” Then the realization of how bizarre this whole trip had been up until now hit me like a hammer to the temple. I’d better start preparing for a whole third act of things that didn’t make sense, otherwise I was certain my mind would jump ship as soon as it could.

I put the toaster back. “Here goes something.”

As I neared the counter, I held my spell book to my leg and hopefully out of sight. The unicorn by the register never stopped smiling, and as I came closer, I started to make out the colors of his eyes—red pupils with a pool of yellow surrounding them. By the time I stood in front of him, my hands began trembling. When I saw how neither of his pupils stopped moving or changing shape, my mouth became a desert.

In the few hours since I’d seen him, doctor Discord had changed his appearance and opened up an entirely new business in the very heart of town. Now the burning question was whether or not he knew I knew it was him. For the time being, I went with not.

“Quite the setup you have here,” I mumbled out.

His grin widened, giving me a full view of each sharp tooth. “Why, thank you! I’m sure business will pick up soon. I’m sure once word spreads, all the humans waiting to leave Equestria will come running to get their toasted bread fix.” He cocked an eyebrow. “Is there a certain type of toaster you had in mind, perchance? I do have a large selection behind the counter.”

I rubbed the cover of my book with a thumb. “Whatever you think is best. Bring one down and I’ll have a closer look.”

Pony Discord climbed off the counter and surveyed the mammoth wall of various makes and models. Selecting one, he brought it down with his horn to set in front of me. Thankfully, by that time, I’d anxiously opened and memorized a spell I’d dog-eared previously.

Not too long ago, I said that hitting ponies was bad and you should feel bad for doing so. Sure, Discord was a pony for the moment, but I knew full fell what he truly was underneath. And I found that that something was very hittable, indeed.

With the same infectious grin, he came back to me, his pupils bouncing around the corners of his eyes like bits of snow in a snow globe. He turned his attention to the toaster he’d brought down.

“This one here’s an older model. Thin silver casing with three dozen steel coils inside. Unlike the standard two slot toasters, this one has—”

On the verge of vomiting from fear, I dropped my book to the floor and held out my palm outwards towards him. I then shouted the short list of hard to pronounce words as loud as I could, slicing effortlessly throughout the quiet store.

From the center of my palm erupted a swirling mass of red and yellow flames, shooting forth and enveloping the unicorn’s head all the way to the tip of his horn. The half-dozen toasters behind him crumpled and bent from the heat, and the wall behind those blackened instantly. The churning, destructive force from my hand lasted for ten seconds at most, and even from an arm’s length away, my shirt and hair became damp from the furnace-like heat and a blackened circle stained my skin.

When the raging fire came to a halt, I took my hand away and prepared to shield my eyes from what remained of the unicorn. Upon reflection, I shouldn’t have worried about it.

“—four slots to place your bread in, as well as over twelve different settings,” Discord finished, his pony features still fully intact and whole, besides a wash of blackened soot coating most of him. Even his damn grin couldn’t be torched away.

My guts twisted in a knot and I glanced down at my book again, wondering if I’d have enough time to try something else. When I looked back up, the original lengthy and tall Discord stood before me, a single sharp fang poking out from his sinister sneer. I still thought the black turtleneck Discord was the creepiest of them all.

“Hey there, Steve,” he said warmly. “Is now a good time to talk?”

Deflated, I sighed and held onto the counter with both hands. The sudden rush of heat and the appearance of the real Discord made me feel like I might faint.

I asked, “Do I have a choice?”

He angled his head. “Not really.”

You!” Sombra screamed out behind me. I heard him trot from behind the shelves and approach the counter. “I’ll mash your intestines between my teeth for what you did to me!”

Discord put a finger to his lips. “Whatever do you mean, my friend? I assure you, you were in the very best of care.”

From the corner of my eye, I saw Sombra leap into the air as Discord snapped his fingers. One loud pop noise later, a party balloon filled with a fairly pissed off Sombra floated towards the ceiling, bouncing once it hit.

“Let me out right now!” Sombra yelled. “I swear the moment I get out, I’ll destroy everything you hold—”

From underneath the counter, Discord brought out a remote control and pointed it at the floating Sombra-filled balloon. With a lion’s thumb, he lowered the volume until Sombra’s shrieks faded until all that remained was a gnashing, spitting muzzle. Sombra seemed not to care in the least, as he continued to vent and bounce around the ceiling.

Discord threw the remote behind him, exploding once out of sight. “Sorry, Sombra, but us grown ups need to chat for a bit.”

I pointed a trembling finger to him. “Look, all I want to do is get the hell out of Equestria. All right? So can you just give me the toaster I need, so I can leave this crazy little world? You know I shouldn’t be here. You said so yourself.”

Discord giggled. “Of course I know you shouldn’t be here, Steve. But the better question, I believe, is just where do you think you are?”

I felt cold from the question. “Equestria—land of ponies and sunshine and clear insanity.”

His slimy grin ate up his face. “Oh, my sweet summer child, you’re in Equestria, all right. You’re just not in the right one. You’re in the one that’s going to end soon. And how could I, in all good conscience, possibly let you leave before witnessing such an event?”

He snapped a pair of small espressos with foam near the register, sliding one over.

“So let’s talk.”

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