• Published 14th Apr 2015
  • 6,536 Views, 1,392 Comments

Chrysalis Wins - Arkolo

Chrysalis's invasion is successful. The challenge of ruling begins...

  • ...

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Ch.70 "Dirty Old Secrets"

Author's Note:

PLEASE NOTE - I’ve retconned a few things after working with my editor a bit. Queen Keen has been changed to Crafty, and the dragon Albane was changed to Archway.

Also, concerning what I have planned for Sombra, I redid ch.45 just a little bit. Instead of coughing out an ‘icy shard’ he coughed out a black mass of inky stuff. I changed him mentioning he’s part windigo to part Umbra. This will be relevant in coming chapters and thought I should clean that up a bit. Anyway that’s all, enjoy the chapter.

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.70 “Dirty old Secrets “

Celestia and Luna landed hastily outside their destination, Shy’s country home. The older alicorn led the way, bursting through the door and calling out her friend's name.

“Shy! Shy are you here?”

Luna slowly walked about the place, carefully studying the various features, while Celestia bolted from room to room only to make a frustrated huff every time she found it empty.

“Why did you never introduce me to this Shy? Why is she so important Harmony would send us her way directly Tia?”

“There were a hundred other things to get you oriented with Lulu. Quite frankly I don’t know why Harmony would direct us here, you know how she is.”

“Yes… she can be rather cryptic.”

In less than a minute the entire house had been checked. Unfortunately there was no sign of anypony, so the sisters converged in the living room to have a think. They sat beside each other on the couch, idly eyeing the mantelpiece and all of the portraits there on. Two of them pictured Celestia and Shy together, one backdropped in Canterlot the other in Manehattan.

“Where else could she be?”

Luna questioned, taking her eyes away from the mantle and to her sister’s face. The older Alicorn placed her fore hooves together and rubbed them slowly, her gaze falling to the floor. A moment of silence held in the air before Celestia took a breath, readying to speak. However, another voice interrupted her and filled the room.

“Oh, I know exactly where she is. I also know why you should have found her.”

Celestia’s and Luna’s eyes bolted to the corner of the room where they saw an old chimera resting in an armchair. Both of them immediately tensed at the presence of their ancient rival. Celestia growled at him.

“What have you done Discord?”

“Come on Celestia, seriously, when has a scolding tone ever helped your case? You really should learn to care a little less, just go with the flow… like you used to.”

The alabaster princess ground her teeth, angered past words. She thought about doing something physical, even if it would be a fruitless effort. Moving quickly, Luna butted before her sister could escalate things.

“You’re one to talk. Triggered into madness for but a little laughter, weren’t we.”

Discord narrowed his eyes at the Night Princess, knowing exactly to what she referred. His lion claws and eagle talons started to dance off each other in a practiced rhythmic beat.

“Yes, I’m one to talk, especially when it comes from little stuck ups that preach about the importance of friendship! But why should I care, I never had any friends anyway, I only ever met some cons that made me think I did.”

He jumped up from the armchair and began to pace around the living room. Slowly he circled the ponies on the couch, while playing with his beard thoughtfully. Luna sighed as she watched the Spirit of Chaos complete several circles.

“Can you please stop being so frustratingly obstinate! We explained this several times already. We weren’t laughing at you to be mean, we wer-”

Discord shushed her by putting his paw to her mouth.

“You don’t have the full picture Luna. I recently refreshed my own perspective and it only made the picture clearer. Ironically, I actually came here to do the most friendly thing to happen between us in centuries.”

The last line caught both mares’ attention very closely, their wings reflexively started to extend in high alert. The draconequus smiled widely.

“Oh, and don’t think of this as a favor, rather I’ll just be unveiling somepony else's curtain. I much prefer thinking of it that way.”

His paw snapped, causing both Celestia and Luna’s eyes to glow a bright green. The natural structure of their irises and pupils turned into spaghetti as ancient spellwork applied over the centuries became unraveled.

Memory after memory flashed back and forth in their minds, living years within moments. The ponies fell back in their seats, convulsing uncontrollably as the magic wracked their consciousnesses.

Discord took a step back, whistling with satisfaction at his work. Within a few moments he decided to go for a stroll out of the house. As he reached the door frame he had to stoop his tall serpentine figure, leaving the two mind blasted princesses to endure their ‘refreshed perspectives’. Once outside he stretched in a long gratuitos fashion. When he looked up he saw blue skies and a shiny sun.

“My what a dreary day, I’ll need to fix that.”

Two locks of fur on his tail snapped against each other. Instantly the sky started to fill with ravioli shaped clouds, which alternated their hue randomly. Shortly after the sky was obscured it began to rain.

Seamlessly he pulled out an umbrella made of licorice, blocking out the cherry-red downpour. Curiously he held out a paw and let it soak a little, then put the wetted digit to his mouth.

“Mmm, colored like cherry yet flavored like grape. Oh, I do enjoy surprising myself.”

The draconequus began a casual stroll down the country side, just enjoying how the place changed before his eyes. Then he stopped and stood a little straighter.

“Hmm, I suppose there’s no hurt in taking some extra precaution.”

Another snap conjured hundreds of burlap sacks filled to bursting with a dark mixture. Each of the sacks was labeled -Plunder Vine Fertilizer-. Discord began to whistle again as he continued his stroll, each of the summoned bags moved around of the own volition and exploded once they gained enough distance from each other.

“Enjoy thinking dear princesses! You’ll have plenty of time.”

He called out before Shy’s home disappeared from view, then he burst into hysterical laughter.


  • In Manehattan

Sombra and More became enveloped by the memory shard, its greenish glow shifting as it reflected another period of time. The stallion took a deep breath as he observed the changes.

“I hope you’re not wasting my time, becau-”

“Oh shush, this is a refresher you desperately need. Our conversation has only convinced me more. Besides,”

More interrupted Sombra much to his disgruntlement, as well as playfully throwing him a wink. Such audacious forwardness caused him to roll his eyes, but also impressed him enough to refrain from a sour retort. The changeling wrapped up her last words just as voices echoed from history.

“I think you’ll rather enjoy it.”


-Long ago in the distant past-

“I met an interesting pony today.”

Sly reminisced while she lay on a bed in canterlot castle, one of her hooves absentmindedly played with a lock of her foxy mane. She bit her lower lip for a moment while she thought.

“Hmm, I suppose like most things it would be easier to show you.”

With a casual swipe Sly caused the scene to shift.


  • In the hilly wilderness of Equestria

A yellow pegasus hit the ground, freshly deprived of her cutie mark and all the magic of her tribe. She trembled in exhaustion and fear as a red-black centaur loomed over her. A harsh bark escaped his maw as he gloated with self righteous conviction.

“Such magic is wasted on whelps like you.”

He circled slowly as his stare intensified, causing the little mare to yelp and curl herself into a ball. She cried at her helplessness, but the demon cared not and continued his musing.

“What could Scorpan have seen in such pathetic mongrels.”

“He saw friends.”

A burst of light emanated from a nearby hillside, heralding the appearance of Celestia, Luna, Sly, and an entourage of royal guard made of both ponies and changelings. The centaur glared in shock and anger at their appearance, but he quickly put two and two together.

“He betrayed me! He betrayed me to pony wretches!”

The equines charged forward as one unit, prepared to overwhelm their sizable foe in a mad rush. In desperate response Tirek charged his magic and slammed the ground with his fists, causing the earth to shatter and making all the guards lose their grounding. Several spires of stone also erupted skyward and disrupted the flight path of the pegasi and changelings. The princesses just blew through the obstacles, undeterred from their goal.

All of it was only a distraction as the centaur bolted away from his aggressors, he knew he couldn’t win this fight so he tried the only thing he could, run. A nearby cave mouth provided an opportunistic path, so he veered straight for it. His anger boiled as he sprinted, causing him to bellow with rage.

“I’ll destroy him for this!”

The princesses weren’t stopped by the pillars of stone, but they were slowed, so they didn’t catch Tirek before he entered the cave mouth. Their pursuit was brought to a screeching halt as another explosion of magic caused the cave mouth to collapse, immediately bringing frustrated curses from Celestia, Luna, and Sly.


Luna screamed with her volumetric voice. This made the stones rumble but failed to remove them as a barrier. Without speaking Celestia began to seize great chunks of debris with her magic and toss it out of the way.

“He is not getting away, not after his crimes.”

Celestia’s voice was cold and determined, her approach to the situation methodical. Sly tried to assist as best she could, though her specialty didn’t lie in brute force.

“Don’t worry Lulu and Tia, we’ll find him. Then we’ll exact restitution for the victims.”

All of the ponies and changelings at hoof worked doggedly at the mountain of rubble, each gaining resolve from the example of their leaders.

Not long into their dig all of them felt the earth tremble again, something ground beneath them as the fallen rocks and stones shifted of their own accord. The eyes of the guard widen with surprise and fear, none of them knew what to expect.

“Back away, it could be another trick!”

Everypony and changeling obeyed the order from Celestia as they scampered a healthy distance from the rubble. It wasn’t a moment too soon as bright red crystals exploded outward from between the stones. The rumbling intensified and shortly after Tirek burst out of the cave, clearing the way of debris completely.

Blinking in comprehension, they quickly evaluated the battered state of the centaur had acquired. Dark blood stained his normally bright crimson skin and made his black fur glossy. One of his eyes had swollen painfully shut from an impact he hadn’t seen coming.

Neither the Alicorns or changeling Princess thought long about his appearance though, such a golden opportunity couldn’t be passed up. Three concussive blasts of magic knocked the already shaken centaur off his hooves.

Immediately afterward dozens of royal guards piled upon Tirek to secure him with every magic restraining device at their disposal. Germane-crafted cuffs and chains were quickly wrapped around his entire bulky frame.

Once the primary quarry was secured, each of the royal equines turned curiously towards the cave mouth, admiring the red crystals that aided them so. Before they went to explore what may have caused it, a rough looking stallion staggered out of the cave. His coat was a dark grey and his mane a jet black.

He gave them all a wide smile despite the bruising and cuts he sported.

“Bombastic fellow that one.”

The alicorns gave the stallion an incredulous look. He was eye level with Luna and only a bit shorter than Celestia herself. Such stature was unseen except among clydesdales, though this stallion didn’t have the build of one. Strangest of the features was his curved red horn and pointed teeth. With a mixture of surprise and caution Luna inquired of him first.

“Are you the one that drove Tirek out of the cave?”

“I am. He could have easily disappeared in the labyrinth of tunnels down there, but I figured he would try to escape that way. All of you did a good job of driving him right towards my trap.”

Luna just gawked, then pointed an accusatory hoof at the stranger while deliberately eyeing Celestia and Sly.

“Sly, Tia! Did either of you hire a mercenary without my knowledge?”


Both of them quickly replied and eyed the stranger as well. The stallion made a respectful bow as he answered the question himself.

“I was not hired for this princess. I am a foreigner to these lands myself. However, I did acquire knowledge of Tirek’s ill intent and sought to aid the situation before I could notify any of you properly.”

“Foreigner? Where from?”

It was Celestia who inquired next, her tone was much softer than her sister’s. The stallion obliged her question as he stood upright.

“It is a land far south of here, those living there refer to it as the Tams.”

“The Tams? I have not heard of such a place.”

“As I said it is far from here, it probably doesn’t help that the location actually moves from time to time.”

He gesticulated with a hoof, pointing this way and that for emphasis. Luna just raised an eyebrow at this and continued with suspicion.

“So what, pray tell, brings you here? At such an opportune time no le-?”

“Lulu! There’s no need to be so pushy.”

Sly butted in before Luna could continue interrogating. The changeling strode up to the stallion and offered him her hoof.

“I’m sorry, but we should have asked this first, what’s your name daring stranger?”

Graciously he took the offered hoof, placing a gentle kiss on it before letting go.



  • Canterlot, shortly after making Sombra’s acquaintance

“He’s definitely and interesting one, I’ll have to get to know him better.”

Sly rolled around on her guest bed until she was on her back. Her fore hooves tapped together as she plotted something.

“I’ll have to invite him to here to castle. I don’t think Tia or Lulu would mind that either.”

She rolled over onto her belly and looked right into the well.

“I’ll check in after that happens”


  • Several weeks after imprisoning Tirek and making Sombra’s acquaintance, in the canterlot throne room.

“You’ll be able to ferry hundreds of ponies at a time, as well as tons of cargo for shipments. Needless to say, this will drastically change the functionality of the kingdom.”

Sombra stood over several schematics he laid over a broad meeting table. The Alicorns and Princess Sly looked at them with deep interest. Apparently Sombra had originally come to their lands with entrepreneurial endeavors, showing them this marvel of engineering called a ‘railway’.

“You say it could take hundreds across the breadth of Equestria in a single day?”

Luna leaned over the table with wide eyes, her tail wriggling excitedly. The initial suspicion she had treated him with had since melted away. Each occasion they had met only increased her intrigue. This feeling became mutual between each of the royals present.

Sly looked into Sombra’s eyes with rapt attention, her wings fluttering in excitement.

“It could even go between the Crystal Empire and Canterlot in that time?”

“Without a drop of magic.”

He smiled suavely back at them. Celestia commented with more tempered interest as she looked over the various plans.

“They teach curious methods at this ‘Tams’.”

“They definitely encourage innovation, which I enjoy taking to heart. However, the better news is that I can have it constructed to completion within a few months. Do I have you convinced?”

He looked between each of the rulers of the kingdoms, his confidence impeccable. Sly shivered a little when he locked eyes with her. She couldn’t help but smile as she answered.

“You have me convinced. The Crystal Empire would certainly be willing to invest in such a project.”

She turned to the Alicorns, who whispered among themselves before they turned and nodded in unison. Sombra smiled his charming smile as the schematics were rolled up for storage.

“I promise you won’t be disappointed.”

His eyes lingered on Sly before he turned to leave.


  • Sly’s room in the Crystal empire

“Not only is he strong with great initiative, he’s so smart and persuasive.”

Sly was on her back resting against some pillows, with one of the fluffy objects clasped tightly between her forelegs. She held a deep blush on her freckled cheeks as she continued to snuggle with herself.

“He’ll be up here in a few weeks and I just can’t stand the wait. I want to show him around, I think he’ll get along just great with mom too. I know she’ll be impressed with him.”

She looked up to the ceiling, where a fresco painting of her family resided. Her eyes lingered on the largest figure there. The water-colored Avalanche looked back at her with a perpetually fond expression.

“I know you’d like him too dad.”

Sly rolled over and looked into the well, a tired smile embedded in her countenance.

“I think I’ll have plenty to add after Sombra comes.”

She yawned, then swiped at the well.


  • Crystal Empire, balcony of the palace, shortly after the railroad’s completion.

“This is a marvelous city.”

It was late into the evening and the various crystals glowed like stars across the empire. From the homes to the streets it all mirrored the sky like a placid lake. Sombra and Sly both rested their forelegs on the railing of the balcony as they looked over it all. A small distance remained between the two. The princess sighed leisurely as she responded to his remark.

“I think so too, even after years I’ve never gotten tired of the sight.”

“Mmm, would you mind if I suggested some possible changes?”

Sly’s gaze pulled away from the vista, her golden eyes turned to the stallion beside her. Her long fox-like tail curled with poise as she replied with mock incredulity.

“You’ve only been here a week and you already want to improve it?”

Sombra mimicked her tone as he scooted closer to her.

“I thought your kind had thoroughly embraced adaptability, is there nothing in your life you’d like to change?”

The changeling dropped her mocking tone for a silly grin, she responded to the pony’s approach by scooting even closer. Their elbows knocked together as she slyly continued the conversation.


The stallion shifted and bumped the side of his body against hers.


That just got Sly to giggle as she leaned her head over to rest on his shoulder.

“I suppose I could try some change.”

Sombra rested his head on top of hers as both of them looked over the nightly spectacle once more. This time Sly could feel the words climb from the stallion’s chest to his mouth.

“So could I.”


  • Sly’s room in the Crystal empire

The burnished changeling lay on her side, her eyes closed in an expression of bliss.

“Where do I even start. So much has happened in the last few weeks.”

The warm smile on her face deepened and her hind legs kicked weakly in playful afterthought. Her eyes opened enough to reveal thin yellow lines as she looked directly into the well.

“He’s really taken a liking to the city, the crystal heart in particular seems to have captured his fascination. He couldn’t stop going on and on with ideas about it. It really hit the right note with my mom too. She’s taken a better liking to him than I expected. I suppose that sums up the last few weeks nicely, much better than I imagined they would be…”

Soft joyful laughter rang from her, even as she bashfully raised a hoof in front of her lips. She rolled around and spread her limbs into a snow angel pose. The new position had her facing the ceiling again and she pondered the figures there.

“Hmm it might be soon, but I think I’d like to introduce you all the same. At this rate it was going to happen eventually. Commemoration day will be as good as any.”

The air of whimsy left Sly as she continued to look at the painting above her, a more somber tone slowly crept over her and the angel pose wilted.

“In a few days.”


  • In the hills next to the Crystal Empire

It was rainy that day, as it was every year. The sky was shaded by clouds as the scheduled weather climbed north from Equestria. The droplets of water were a mimicry of tears as they soaked the land into a sullen mood.

Five figures sat in a private amphitheatre, just outside of a sepulcher. The tallest among them was Empress Crafty, her frame was struck with melancholy as she held closed eyes and a hoof over her heart. Celestia and Luna were to her left, both of whom were solemn as they stared at a crystal statue featured just outside of the sepulcher, it was a striking depiction of the deceased Avalanche.

To Crafty’s right sat Sly and Sombra. The changeling princess struggled to hold back tears as her eyes rested upon her father’s memorial, memories of that day refreshing themselves in her mind. The dark stallion next to her silently ran a hoof up and down her back in reassurance, while he held an umbrella to shield them from the rain.

“We shall never forget the day he saved us from Archway.”

Luna spoke loud enough for the small group to hear, her voice filled with gratitude. Celestia followed on her sister’s comment.

“Or the sacrifice he made to hinder the windigos.”

A small chuckle surprised the whole group and all eyes turned towards Crafty.

“I know just what he’d say, ‘Stop all the praise, you’re just tryin’ to make me soft’.”

The impression Crafty did of the cantankerous voice elicited a few humored snorts, then the Empress turned to the alicorns next to her.

“Thank you for your gift of weather Tia and Lulu.”

“It's always our pleasure.”

“Though maybe for next year we can do with a sunny day. I know we’ve always done rain to reflect the mood Sly and I usually feel, but I think a change in tone may be more appropriate. Avalanche wouldn’t want us to mope on his day.”

“We can certainly arrange that.”

Both pony sisters voiced in unison, which caused Crafty to smile.

Sly couldn’t hold back the tears as they began to flow freely down her cheeks, an involuntary hiccup caused her body to shake. She spoke with an unsteady voice as she was occasionally interrupted by a hiccup spasm.

“Y-you’re right mom, h-he’d just say to s-stand proud. -hic- R-remember to put the swarm first.”

The princess choked up and turned to bury her face against Sombra, who readily accepted her into an embrace with one foreleg. Sly unreservedly cried on his shoulder as he whispered quiet comforts into her ear.

Crafty looked down on the pair with endearment, her eyes briefly met with Sombra’s and she gave him a light nod of approval. The Empress turned to whisper to the alicorns and after a brief exchange they nodded and stood up. Three of the equines departed, which left the stallion and crystal Princess alone.

The rain slowly lightened and the clouds wore a little thinner, brightening the atmosphere ever so slightly. Eventually Sly’s sorrow began to even out as well, and she mumbled so only Sombra could hear.

“I-I think you’d have g-gotten along with h-him.”

“Judging from everything I’ve heard I believe so. I find the conviction he had to serve his subjects very admirable.”

“Heh, he’d never l-let you forget it.”

The two of them remained there quietly for some time, simply enjoying each other’s company. Eventually the rain stopped and the clouds started to clear, by that time the sun fell near the horizon.

Sombra gave the Princess a quick kiss on the top of her head and stood up. He beckoned her to follow him and they departed from the sepulcher.


- Sly’s room in the Crystal empire, many months past Avalanche’ commemoration day

Sly sat at her desk, her face was beet-red and an unshakeable smile had been forged across her lips. She slowly traced hearts over the surface of her mahogany desk as she spoke dreamily.

“Last night was… wonderful.”

Indecision briefly bounced in her eyes and she stopped tracing hearts.

“Should I share it?”

The thoughtful stupor was brief and her hoof went back to its curvy rhythm. She bit her lower lip as she looked into the well with lowered eyelids, she blinked her long eyelashes a few times flirtatiously.

“I don’t care who sees this, I want to make sure I never forget.”


  • In a private dining room within the Crystal Palace.

Candle light fluttered over a table set for two. Wine glasses containing a special blue cocktail rested near their respective owners, both were nearly used up. The stirring serenade of an orchestra could be heard faintly, a large performance for the whole empire had been organized for that night.

Though the revelry was far from the minds of two particular equines, both of whom were far more occupied with each other. No word escaped either pair of lips as they simply marveled in each other’s eyes. Though their gazes quickly roamed to other places, each soaking in the mutual display they had put on for this occasion.

Sly was encased in an elegant green gown with sprite patterns intricately woven into the features. A decorative feathered trim went about the lengths. Her crimson mane was tied into a careful braid, leaving just enough to frame her face with curled bangs. A necklace of gold and jade hung snugly around her neck.

Sombra wore a trim coat that was measured with exactness. His normally wild mane had been tamed slightly for the evening and his sideburns cut to an angle. Onyx cuff-links glistened along his wrists and a platinum collar braced his neck.

Both of them wore cologne and perfume respectively, their aromas mingling and tingling each other pleasantly. Despite their formal appearances, they were both sporting flushed faces and greatly dilated pupils. It was only a natural effect from both the drink and the company.

Slowly Sly seized her glass and stealthily took a sip, before she could finish she was struck by a spontaneous giggle. Sombra didn’t treat his glass so daintily, the rest of his drink disappeared in a quick draft and was placed down with vigor. His eyebrows did a small dance as he hummed suggestively. Sly started to laugh, even though it wasn’t terribly funny. Time and atmosphere had simply placed her in high spirits.

Her burnished brown hoof reached out to the middle of the table as she left it open invitingly. His dark grey one extended in answer and they seized each other. For a few moments the two just shared firm contact, then Sombra’s eyes roamed over to the empty floor space and his face lit up with an idea.

With a gentle tug the stallion rose from the table and led his partner out to the open space in the room. A hopeful smile danced along the changeling’s lips as she allowed herself to be directed. They soon came to a stop and Sombra turned about, bringing himself very close to the Princess, seamlessly wrapping a hoof around her slender waist. Instinctively she placed her forehooves over his shoulders and the two began a slow dance.

They circled each other for what seemed an epoch, a never ending dance between fox and shadow. Their proximity warmed both of them, incentivizing the two to lean closer over time.

Slowly their little dance came to a stop, causing Sly to look up into her stallion’s face. They were so close they shared each other’s breath, the warmth of it sent a tingle down her spine causing her to shiver. Slowly, almost agonizingly, Sombra brought his face down towards hers. The pace was reminiscent of the orbit of the sun and moon as they sailed their course, however the changeling was far too heated to take it that way.

The Princess mashed her lips into his and inhaled a deeply, both of their noses flared and he didn’t hesitate to respond in kind. Immediately both of his strong forelegs seized about her middle, embracing her fiercely. Sly’s hooves roamed up into his mane and broke apart the neat comb work as she was consumed by a feral passion.

Soon they couldn’t sustain their upright posture as their activity continued to intensify. Both of them fell to the floor, quickly losing any thought of restraint or inhibi-




The Sombra of modern times, who currently occupied a particular Manehattan penthouse, slammed his hoof down on an ancient artifact. Much to the hysterical amusement of Queen More. The dark King threw her a dirty look as he shoved her over with his free hoof.

“I am not watching that with you.”

The changeling was completely undeterred by the sudden defensiveness, she spoke after bringing her laughter under control.

“Hahaha, but seriously. I watched it all before, would you like me to tell you exactly what happened?”

“I’ll explore that on my own time thank you. Come to think of it, I’m actually starting to remember...”

“Oh? Do you? You remember it all in its steamy glo-”

“Shut it you meddling pervert.”

“Really? The shadowy King obsessed with subjugating the will of whole nations is going to tell me he’s not into ‘pervy’ things…”

The pony sighed and looked back down to the artifact.

“We are skipping that memory if you want to go any further tonight.”

“Ug, very well. Let me see it here.”

Reluctantly More scooted back into place and scanned through her relic. She found the next ‘appropriate’ place to resume and let the memory shard expand again.


  • In the hills of the Crystal Empire, a sunny day in winter.

A snowball soared through air and narrowly missed its target.

“Improve your aim if you plan on tagging me.”

Sombra galloped through the snow as he threw a taunting guffaw towards his pursuer. The changeling behind him chased on hoof, while she readied several more snowy missiles.

“Grr! Why can’t you just let me get you once!”

“All is fair in love and war.”

More snowballs sailed through the air only to miss, causing the stallion to cackle playfully. The two of them ran around the slope of a hill, down its banks, and near a crevice. Around a very sharp turn Sly stopped and looked about in confusion, for Sombra had disappeared. She called out at a loss.

“Hey! Where did you go?”

She didn’t look around for more than a few moments before a dark object flew towards her. The collision carried her off her hooves and they both tumbled head over hooves down the snow covered hill. Sly could feel the tight embrace of her aggressor as they tumbled, keeping her safe from hitting anything hard.

Rather quickly the rolling came to a stop. It was no surprise who she found herself tackled by. Sombra chuckled as he blew a bit of the snow drift off of her face.

“Got ya!”

She grunted in annoyance as she shoved him off. After standing up she shook herself down to clear the rest of the snow and ice. To her mild vexation the thick winter coat she wore made it difficult. Some of the chilly substance had really lodged itself into uncomfortable places. She chided him as she cleaned the last bits out.

“Seriously though, you don’t have to try so hard to win every little game we play.”

Sombra shrugged as he lay on his back. He wore a lighter attire, since the cold didn’t bother him nearly as much as it did the changeling.

“I can’t help it Sly. If I play a game, I play to win. Did you not say that’s one of the things you liked about me?”

“I liked it before you started applying it between us.”

She stuck her tongue out at him then splashed some of the snow on the ground towards his splayed body. However she still didn’t manage to catch him, for he flashed away with his unicorn magic before the snow even hit the ground. Sly groaned and sat down on her rump.

“See, like that. There’s no give in you at all.”

Sombra came up from behind then settled himself down next to her. They both looked out over the snow covered fields, the empire in the distance shined as a beacon, unmolested by the season. Sombra spoke thoughtfully as he nuzzled into Sly’s ear.

“Perhaps not in that particular area.”

“Oh? Is that another game? Am I going to have to dig around and see what I can pry?”

“Heh, I suppose you could look at it that way. Go ahead and keep testing, I’m sure you’ll find something eventually. I do enjoy the journey, so I won’t spoil it by ‘making it easy’.”

Sly shook her head, but she wore a smile all the same. She had picked a rather indomitable bloke to invest herself in, which came along with many benefits and some inconveniences. So she contented herself with just leaning against him for now.

A flash of light startled her then a whoosh of air heralded two more visitors to the scene. A very familiar pair of alicorns swooped down to the couple resting in the snow, both of them wearing bright smiles.

“Noble Sombra and Princess Sly.”

Celestia greeted them as she landed, her long legs easily keeping her body well above the snow line. Luna landed with a little less grace and slipped on something shortly after putting her hooves down. The resultant action splashed everypony else with copious amounts of white powder. They all grunted in displeasure as they tried to wipe themselves clean, but they got a second wave when the blue alicorn popped up and shook herself like a dog. Undeterred by the crude entrance the Night Princess made a vibrant announcement.

“Huzzah! We have come in time!”

“In time for what?”

Sly questioned as she wiped the most recently layers of snow off.

“Tis the anniversary of us defeating Tirek and meeting this fine fellow!”

The realization caused the changeling to open her eyes wide in surprise. The royal sisters had shown up and she had completely forgotten. They wanted to plan something special for this day. Sombra noticed the panic quickly building up within Sly, and he came to her situational rescue.

“That’s right Tia and Lulu. Sly and I were saving these for this occasion.”

All the mares turned to him with interest as he dug around in one of his coat pockets, a moment later he pulled out two objects. It was a pair of amulets on beautiful linked necklaces. Both of the amulets share similar designs, as each depicted an elegant alicorn. One was forged out of white silver and gold, with a bright amethyst stone in the center. The other was carved out of onyx and had a large sapphire as its crowning feature.

Both Tia and Lulu’s faces lit up like stars as the ogled the jewelry. The aesthetics made it obvious which was intended for who, so the ponies reached out to receive their gifts. Sombra gladly obliged them.

“Now, both of these little items are more than just jewelry. I’ve crafted them specifically with the ability for us to communicate over long distances. So if either of you want to contact Sly, or I want to reach out to you with some more schematics, we’d be able to do it when you’re all the way back in Canterlot, the Everfree or beyond.”

The sparkles in the sisters’ eyes doubled upon hearing that news, and they studied the objects they just received with wonder.

“This is far beyond what we had prepared. We are in your debt Sombra.”

Celestia spoke with reverence.

“Think nothing of it, if anything we’ll be benefiting from this exchange just as much.”

Just as Celestia was about to insist on something Luna piped up.

“Oh yes, we’ll be sure to bother you everyday now! Now I’ll be able to hear your laugh, and you mine!”

All four of them were then engaged in a tight tug of appreciation.

“Thank you so much dear Sly and Sombra”

Celestia said as she leaned over everypony. Sly made an awkward laugh as she squeezed them back.

“No problem at all, my part was quite minimal really.”

She snuck a look at her stallion and he gave her a wink. The embrace was broken and Sombra addressed the alicorns.

“Now why don’t you two go along and surprise Crafty! I’m sure she’d love it, Sly and I will be right behind you. I just need to discuss a small matter of business with her.”

Luna made a pouty face as she was ushered.

“Aw, that is disappointing. Here I thought we’d make the day of it right now. Hmm, as long as you two are quick I suppose I’ll be able to manage.”

“Come on sister, I’m sure they would like a moment for their business.”

Celestia grunted as she pushed the smaller Alicorn along, both of them took wing and began the short flight to the Crystal Empire. When the two had departed beyond ear-shot Sombra began a slow stroll in the same direction, Sly quickly got up to maintain stride beside him. When she spoke her tone was rather low and implicating.

“Those were very thoughtful anniversary gifts…”

The changeling looked down towards her own neck, frowning at the nakedness there. Trying to contemplate how her stallion could remember to give their friends something so special, but leave her without. It took her a few moments, but she noticed that Sombra was no longer beside her. She looked forward and didn’t see him, then turned around to find him a few steps behind her. She was a little taken aback at how intensely he stared at her now.

“Come here Sly.”

He made the indication with his hoof as well. She slowly answered the call, a disappointed slump in her stride, her eyes falling towards the ground. She stopped when she was only a step away. Sombra’s hoof pressed under her chin, lifting her face to gaze into his.

“I saved the most important gift for you.”

There was a ‘click’, and Sly felt a pressure around her wrist that wasn’t there before. She look down and was struck with shock. Sombra had stealthily slipped a betrothal band around her lower fore-leg. All the changeling could do was gasp and fall back on her rump. She brought the gold ring before her face to gawk at it in utter surprise.

Sombra stood there reserved, as he waited to see how her reaction would play out. He didn’t remain still for long as he was tackled over by Sly. She was possessed by a giddy laughter, assaulting his neck and face with a hail of kisses. He found himself laughing at her enthusiasm and returned some of the affection with nuzzling.

“I’ll take that as your answer.”


  • Manehattan, modernday, Queen More’s penthouse.

“I’ll stop it here for now.”

The Dark King tapped the old artifact to freeze it in time. He then swiveled about on his office chair, so that he faced the night time view of the city. Queen More lowered her eyes to stare at the frozen image. She looked between the living stallion in front of her, then back to the one lost in history. She spoke with an air of contemplation.

“You know Sombra, even after I reviewed this batch of memories dozens of times. I’ve never been able to connect the dots to my satisfaction. How did you go from this-”

She pointed to the happy couple lying in the snow.

“To the tyrant known for his black heart.”

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