• 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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4 - The Hoof Fate Deals

Though his train ran late into the night, Sombra had convinced himself that such a trip would take far less time than it was actually taking. To think I expected a reasonable timeframe, he thought as he paced along the aisle of the caboose. He may as well have taken the car for himself, not due to any desire to be alone, rather the lack of riders caused him to remain in a state of solitude. Two hours indeed, have they chosen the longest way on purpose? Perhaps the faint moonlight is the problem. No, I could see the lights at the front and the pace has been fast and steady. Then the intent is… yes, that would explain it. No sense in arriving so quickly if it would be near the witching hour. Travelers such as myself would remain without lodging and perhaps other dangers that lurk in the shadows for all…

As Sombra’s thoughts trailed off he made his way to the window and ignited his horn, casting a beam of light along the passing landscape. His eyes drifted from the spot where the light met the ground occasionally as he evaluated the situation. “Too steady for a winding trail as Minty said it would be and the change in elevation would shift the beam more if the descent was steeper than it is. Based on the difference in elevation, Ponyville must lie in this plain. If I remembered Equestria properly then I would not require such trivial guesswork. I should be able to estimate its location but time,” he sighed, “time appears to be my enemy tonight.”

Sombra dismissed the light from his horn, pausing shortly after the fact. Odd. Why am I met with silence? Surely the creature would stir from the prolonged magic but it remains silent. Perhaps it requires food and is suffering because I’ve yet to eat. A smile drifted across Sombra’s face. Serves it right. With a yawn, Sombra found a comfortable bench, adjusted his hood, and went to sleep.

*****

Even if he wanted to, sleep continued to prove fruitless for the former king as the sun began to rise. A dreamless sleep once or twice was acceptable, even the inability to recall dreams would suffice but it had begun to wear on Sombra’s patience.

“Any further nights like that will prove far less welcoming,” he mumbled. “I wish I understood it but it makes no sense. Anxiety would keep me awake or provide nightmares,” Sombra winced, “not to mention attracting unwanted attention.” He knew of creatures that interfered with dreams, but he always had suspicions on the topic regarding any more direct influence. “It’s just blank, it doesn’t add up.”

The car’s door opened and the conductor leaned in. “Ponyville in thirty minutes,” she said. “Getting off there looking like that might not be the best idea. Folks there aren’t very welcoming towards secretive ponies.”

Sombra looked at the mare, sure that his face was still hidden. “Perhaps it might be best if I clean up a little as opposed to removing my cloak entirely. You seem familiar with the place madam, could you please tell me if there’s a place where I can get my horn done and my mane well attended to?”

“There’s a place in town, but it doesn’t sound like your kind of place. You stallions don’t often like those girly spas and such.”

“How skilled would you say their masseuse is?”

“Oh Aloe is one of the best I know. She and her sister don’t normally cater to stallions but I’ve seen ‘em in there before.”

“Should I be looking for anything in particular while I try to find their spa then?”

“It’s right there on the main road, take a left when you get out of the station and head a few blocks. Look for the building with the sweeping roof on your right and that should be it. Reach the castle and you’ve gone too far.”

Sombra didn’t reply, he found himself speechless. Of all the towns in Equestria I had to pick the one with a castle, he thought.

“Something wrong sir?”

Sombra shook his head. “I’m sorry, I’m not exactly used to being around civilization that often. How long has this castle been there?”

“You haven’t heard? Princess Twilight has lived in Ponyville for the past few years. Wasn’t always a princess though, but she became one and the envy of mares all over Equestria because of it. If you’ll excuse me, I should get back to my duties.”

Sombra smiled. “Thank you for taking the time to help me. You really didn’t have to.”

“Well I thought it best you knew before you got off the train. Best make sure you keep your hooves clean, I’ve heard the princess packs quite the punch.”

“They often do,” Sombra mumbled as the conductor left the car. “I doubt this one would be any less than them in terms of raw power,” he added bitterly.

*****

Caution, Sombra reminded himself as he departed from the train. No need to spook the ponies. Thinking it was one thing, but the stares and quickly clearing station was something else altogether. It’s almost as if I called them serfs. After heaving a sigh and making a quick adjustment to his cloak, Sombra made his way through the vacant station and onto the main street of Ponyville. Looking to his left he saw a large crystalline castle held up by a more obviously crystaline tree. Only the hoof of Fate would cast its shadow over me so blatantly, he thought as it completely sunk in that there was a castle in a place everyone called a town.

With a little reluctance, the former king proceeded down the road leading towards the castle. Block after block was the same thing to Sombra: thatched roof buildings and busy ponies going about their lives. The occasional odd look from a pony didn’t bother him, nor did the hurried gallop of a purple earth pony crossing the street.

“Let’s see, sweeping roof on my right,” Sombra mumbled as he did his best to focus on that one direction. After a near collision with a mailmare and nearly knocking over a flower stand, the shrouded unicorn found the roof in question, though the large sign that said ‘Ponyville Spa’ in elegant golden letters was far more obvious. “Most stallions in their right mind wouldn’t but,” he carefully plied his magic and slipped inside as a smirk grew on his face, I am not most stallions…

*****

“Ah, welcome to the Ponyville Spa,” said a very cheerful pastel blue mare from behind the counter. “I take it you did not want your friends to see you being pampered sir?”

Sombra’s smirk twisted into a polite smile. “Actually I’m new in town and I was hoping to make a good impression. The conductor of my train suggested I visit.” While he was sure he remained concealed one thought crossed his mind: he would have to remove his hood and show it to some unknown pony so soon after travelling.

“Ah, well I’m sure that either my sister or I can help you in that department. May I ask for your name?”

Sombra removed his hood and did his best to remain pleasant. “I know it’s an old fashioned one, but my name is Lamentius. Lamentius Amore.” Closer Sombra, not completely but this is progress.

“Well then Mr. Amore, follow me and we can get started right away. Is money much of a concern?”

“Well that all depends on the rate miss…?”

“Lotus, and please, the pleasure is all mine Mr. Amore. I can already tell you need your horn taken care of and that mane of yours is out of control. Still, you seem quite statuesque, like one of those nobles up in Canterlot. No offense.”

The edge of Sombra’s mouth twitched at the mention of nobles. You are no longer one of those ponies, he hastily thought as he recovered. “None taken Miss Lotus, but I suppose you could say that the northern winds carved that statuesque look you seem to see.”

No you idiot, he mentally commented, you should be more humble than that!

“Like a beautiful gemstone that just needs some care,” Lotus said with a sigh before leading Sombra into the spa proper. “We’ll get that shine back and you’ll feel like a new stallion.”

Sombra looked away as his face flushed. “Well, I wouldn’t want you to go out of the way on my account.”

“Aloe, we have a cute one!”

“I’m tending to Miss Rarity,” called a voice from a different room.

“Come and see him Aloe,” Lotus whined as she went towards the sound of the other mare’s voice. “Oh let me take over, go and set the dear stallion up. We shouldn’t let his looks go to waste.”

The hurried sound of hooves was followed by an eager voice. “So he’s—”

Lotus pulled a pink mare into Sombra’s view. “He needs a little work but yes, I’m almost certain. Mr. Amore, this is Aloe and she’ll get everything started.”

Aloe leaned back out of Sombra’s sight. “I’m sorry Miss Rarity, but this is something that needs my expertise.” As quickly as she turned around to apologize, Aloe had returned to the fallen tyrant’s view. “Lotus, can you please take care of the rest?”

“Don’t take too long,” Lotus said before leaning in close to Aloe, “he’s cautious about his bits. Just remember, a modest price.”

Aloe nodded and happily took over leading a very embarrassed Sombra away.