• Published 26th Sep 2015
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Can You Find it in Your Heart? - Ravenmane



As broken as he is. As unforgivable as he acted. Could anyone find it in their heart to care for a tyrant such as King Sombra?

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3 - A Simpler Time

Sombra woke the next day, not with the dawn but with a sneeze. Infernal plague of idleness, thought the unicorn as he slowly stumbled out of bed. Too tired to cleanse the room or too lazy. Pointless debate would be childish. With each passing step, Sombra sneezed at an increased rate. “Don’t last long damnable,” Sombra sneezed, “infernal blight of a cough.” No doubt there’s no food, but why don’t I feel hungry? Tiredness but a lack of other needs? How does that even work? Even the occasional cough couldn’t shake the thought from Sombra’s mind. Knowing he had no interest in either food or drink was more than odd to the unicorn, it was impossible.

Applying magic to cleaning the bedroom distracted Sombra from his sneezing. Opening the window, he began to clear the dust with the vigor he expected from a pony after a full meal and peaceful sleep. His mind raced as his sleeping hours surfaced. A dreamless sleep bothered him even more than his preexisting problems. “I should be dreaming. Nightmares at least but why is it vacant?” Does my mind wish to hide from some guardian of dreams? It makes no sense. None of it fits. “I need answers.”

Further ramblings and thoughts were silenced by a knock on the door downstairs. “You awake in there,” called one voice. While not exactly deep, it still sounded like a stallion.

“Minty said it’s a unicorn,” said a second one, “maybe they’re exhausted from the work she got them to do yesterday.” This voice sounded feminine to Sombra’s ears as he fixed the covers of the bed.

“Gotcha, you feelin’ alright in there? Don’t mean to wake you or anything but this note says you can help us out.”

“Wheat, just calm down. We can’t rush them.”

“Says it’s a stallion Flax. She told him to be up bright and early. Says so right here.”

“That’s what it says? I can’t make heads or tails of this thing.”

As the bickering continued, Sombra donned his shadowy cloak and went downstairs towards the door.

“Least unicorns have good penmanship right?”

“Totally. Think we should just get started?”

“Wake him up that way? Wheat Grass, you still have some stuff? Thought you were giving it up.”

“You might be awake but I’m not! I want to be in bed and sleeping on the train wasn’t my idea of rest! The bedframe back at the farm would’ve been better!”

Sombra hesitated as his magic enveloped the lock’s latch. A sigh was stifled by one last sneeze, one that forced the door open from the momentary loss of magical control.

“Ah, so you’re awake,” said a mare with long, straight mane at the door. She wore a plain looking brown jacket and pink tinted glasses. “I’m Flax Seed and this,” she gestured to the stallion next to her, “is Wheat Grass.”

As Sombra slowly looked towards the stallion he noticed the strange frayed looking jacket he wore long before his half-combed mane. “Onyx right? Onyx Lament?”

“Yes,” Sombra managed before a sneeze took hold. “I was told you need help fixing this house up.”

“Yeah,” said the stallion. “Roof beams don’t let us get to everything that needs patching. Also have’ta replace some of em or it won’t look so good.”

Sombra stared at the two of them with an unamused look on his face. “The house needs to be cleaned, floors needs polishing, and the railing of that staircase should be replaced since it’s barely holding up as is. Just how long have you been trying to sell this place?”

“I’d say two years,” interrupted Flax Seed as her companion began to open his mouth. “Maybe two and a half. It’s been a while since we came up here so this dummy could try and fix it up.”

“It’s not my fault things took off way they did,” quipped Wheat Grass. “Ever since Rarity fixed everything up we just don’t have the time.”

“Rarity,” asked Sombra.

“A very helpful unicorn from Ponyville,” replied Flax Seed.

Again with Ponyville, thought Sombra, it’s starting to sound like a very peculiar place. “Know what it’s like there?”

“It’s pretty quaint,” added Wheat Grass, “kinda peaceful an’ stuff. Heard a bunch ‘a stuff goes down there though.”

Flax Seed sneered as she glared at Wheat Grass. “If I’ve told you one thing I’ve told you a thousand times stop talking like that! We do business from Manehattan to Sacramareto now and that kind of talk doesn’t help us at all!”

“Calm down Flax Seed,” said Sombra with an authoritative tone in his voice. “Wheat Grass, try harder at what she says. Now, we need to focus on the task before us. We need to fix this house up. Wheat Grass, I want you to tell me where both of you can’t reach on the roof. Flax Seed, I want you to begin to clean the inside. Any objections or can we get started?”

Both ponies looked at each other and back at Sombra before shaking their heads. Flax Seed passed Sombra and took a broom resting against the wall while Wheat Grass went over to grab a ladder. Sombra calmed down that instant, content that one crisis was averted. Even if he had to resort to raising his voice.

*****

Work progressed nearly in silence for several hours and small talk was minimal. Focus was always returned to working on the repairs either by Sombra or Flax Seed when something distracted either of the earth ponies.

So this is a simpler life in a peaceful time, Sombra thought as he helped replace one of the beams supporting the roof. I may not be used to it, but I can appreciate the quiet. He smiled. It keeps the monster at bay and that is a victory all its own.

“I finished with the upstairs boys,” said Flax Seed as she descended the staircase. “Need a helping hoof?”

Wheat Grass looked over and smiled. “Yeah, Onyx is great at helping me get this out, but we got the roof all fixed and doing it all over again would be a real drag. Sorry, I mean a problem.”

“It was fine Wheat,” stated Sombra calmly as Flax Seed took his place. “It’s fine to act naturally from time to time. If you don’t then you start to sound like some uptight pony with better things to do.”

“See Flax, even Onyx agrees. You’ve gotta relax sometimes. It’s not like we’re selling stuff all the time. We can like, be ourselves doing this stuff.”

“So Onyx, you’ll take his side when we can’t even see your face?”

Sombra kept his focus on holding the roof up despite Flax Seed’s attempt to startle him. “I don’t get the best of receptions Flax so I’d rather keep my face concealed. It’s not either of you, it’s how ponies have treated me after they see it. Silently judging the scowl they think they always see or the color of my eyes, my curved horn. They think I’m evil just because of how I look and don’t give me a chance. That is why I hide my face Flax, so they can only judge the fact that I hide my identity.”

“That’s deep,” said Wheat as he finished hammering the beam in place. “So you travel a lot then?”

“I want to find someplace where I can do some good. That place. Ponyville right? That sounds like a good start doesn’t it?”

“I don’t think you can hide your face for long if you go there,” said Flax Seed. “I’ve heard that strange things come and go through Ponyville and you’ll look really suspicious. It might be better if you try a less populated location.”

“No, it sounds like a good place to start. Yesterday Minty told me that most of the trains go through Ponyville anyways so that makes it easier to find a different location if I don’t fit in there.”

“Sounds like a good plan,” added Wheat Grass as he came down his ladder. “I know you think so too Flax so don’t worry. Anyways, I think you’ve more than earned enough to get you wherever you want to go Onyx. How about you let the roof down so we can see if it’ll hold.”

Gently, Sombra lowered the roof, silently hoping that they wouldn’t have to put it all together again. As Wheat Grass and Flax Seed joined him, the roof finally rested on its supports and remained in place. “I would like to say that this looks like a job well done you two.” Sombra stepped away and turned to face them. “Flax Seed, Wheat Grass, this has been a very enlightening experience. If I stay there then feel free to look me up next time you find yourselves in Ponyville alright?”

Flax Seed hurried upstairs and retrieved a satchel of bits. “I found this when I was cleaning,” she said after setting it next to Sombra. “Bits like that will get you a ways and with our help you might be able to go all over Equestria. Well, as long as you eat sparingly and take the train the long way to some places.” She went outside and quickly returned with a pair of saddlebags, which also jingled with the sound of coins. “For services rendered and so you aren’t lugging a big bag everywhere.”

Sombra nodded as he rested the saddlebags over his cloak and added his previous earnings to them. “I mean it, feel free to look me up if you find out I’m in Ponyville. If not, then I might see you somewhere else sometime. If that happens at least talk to me for a while.” He calmly left the two without another word. He did something good for somepony else and it felt good.

It felt like only an instant before he found himself at the train station, paying for a one-way ticket to a town he was more than eager to visit. As they say, curiosity killed the cat. I should be thankful I am no such animal…