• 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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7 - Why Statues and Icicles Don't Mix

The light of the morning was far from the only thing that stirred Pinkie Pie from her morning routine. I smell a something down there, she thought as she fumbled out from under the sheets of her bed. “Cinnamon, buttermilk, and,” she inhaled deeply, “something new? I wonder what he’s up to down there.” The smell continued to rouse the groggy earth pony downstairs and towards her kitchen. “What’s cookin’ Sombra?”

“A long time ago I made these for a pony who later grew cold towards me,” echoed his voice. “The least I can do before I go is treat somepony to them. I enjoy the memory while it was good, but a hoof in the right direction before the kindness is lost is wise yes?”

Pinkie smiled as she entered her kitchen, seeing her company making a large mountain of pancakes. “I guess, but you still wanna leave? I mean you remember that I said I knew someone who isn’t all down like you were?”

“I heard yesterday that the mare who grew cold toward me will be travelling here. I don’t intend to remain when she arrives.”

“Princess Celestia’s coming to Ponyville? Didja hear why she’s coming?”

“Some sort of spa treatment with her sister. Despite her sister’s fury, I never seemed to evoke much of Luna’s ire. Perhaps it was because of our friendly attitude towards one another and not the rage of a lover under the impression that she was neglected.”

Whatever Pinkie expected to hear was clearly not what was so idly mentioned. “So you and Princess Celestia were–”

“Intimate? It was a very long time ago and I was more of a suitor. There were several stallions, each vying for her hoof for their own reasons. I’m sure it needs not be repeated, but it was a different time. There were many who would trade their lives for a chance to gain more than a pleasant smile from her. I had so much more than they could dream of, even if most seemed to be of her ill will.”

*****

“Why good morning Pinkie,” called Discord from the front hall. “How are you this fine da–”

The smell coming from the kitchen gave him pause as he took it in. “Are those cinnamon and magic pancakes I smell?”

Sombra leered at Pinkie as she continued to devour her pancakes. “Please tell me that’s your associate,” he muttered as his own stack remain untouched.

Pinkie nodded to her unicorn guest. “I’m in the kitchen,” she called out before turning to face Sombra. “Now there’s no need to be alarmed. I invited–”

“Discord,” Sombra interrupted as his brow knitted.

“I take it you’re out on good behavior,” interjected the draconiquus as his gaze locked with Sombra’s. “From what I understand you were nothing more than a popsicle.”

“And last I saw, you were still a garden accessory.”

I’m reformed which is more than I can say about you and your foul temper.”

“Well, I know the stories; heard them from Celestia herself back in the day.” The irritation Sombra felt towards Discord only seemed to increase when he said the princess’s name. “If you’re reformed then I’m the king of the world.”

“Well then why are you here your majesty,” Discord asked sarcastically as a heavy gold crown appeared on Sombra’s head courtesy of a snap of his fingers. “Here to talk to the common pony about their lot in life?”

The unicorn dismissed the conjured crown from his head effortlessly and took a deep breath. “So tell me Pinkie, what is it you expect me to learn from this statue?”

“For starters, if you don’t have anything nice to say about somepony then you shouldn’t say anything at all,” she quickly replied.

“Well, he was a rather nice decoration way back then. Never a speck of dust to be seen and very well maintained. Yes, he was indeed quite the conversation starter, but a very good looking one.”

“I hardly see how that’s nice,” replied Discord as he turned his face away from both ponies.

“Well I could be rude and insensitive towards you, but I hardly see the point in poking the proverbial dragon. I learned from my past failure and know I can do better but I can only guess that you went back to business as soon as you were free.”

“Oh that is such a lie.” Discord vanished and reappeared besides Pinkie. “Pinkie, you can back me up right?”

Pinkie glared at Discord. “He stuffed me and my friends in a maze and made us all mean to each other.”

“Well I–”

Then he did whatever he could get away with when we first tried to reform him.”

“Now see here!”

Sombra mirrored Pinkie’s glare. “So why aren’t you still a lawn ornament Discord? It sounds to me like you have yet to learn a lesson about doing whatever you want.”

“Oh but I did.”

“It just took you time. Enough for you to recede into your old ways with a magic devouring monster perhaps?”

Discord scowled at the former ruler. “And what would you know of that?”

Pinkie turned her suspicious glare towards Sombra shortly after the question was spoken.

“My first stop on my way here brought me enough information to place together with your arrival here. The ponies of Trottingham are quite industrious for a small village in the northern woods. One particular mare told me about a creature that came through Equestria devouring magic and a second which seemed to do nothing. My guess is that she was generous and speaking by compare.”

Discord’s scowl slowly faded. “So I expect you are a changed stallion and I can go on my merry way, off to tell Celestia that you’ve returned. Nothing to fear from the dark and brooding smoke unicorn.”

“I don’t do that anymore,” replied Sombra curtly. “Now relax and have a few pancakes before we continue with our respective tantrums.”

Much to the surprise of everyone in the kitchen, the remainder of breakfast was relatively uneventful. The occasional attempt to get Sombra to either open up again or reveal why he came to Ponyville was often met with stern silence from the unflinching unicorn.

*****

“So what are your suggestions Pinkie,” asked Sombra after breakfast was finished and plates were cleaned.

Pinkie looked to Discord, who turned his nose up at the idea, then back to Sombra. “Lesson two is an easy one: introduce yourself to other ponies. I can’t stress the importance about being honest about the bad you’ve done. Not everypony will see you want to be a better pony but it won’t hurt to prove you’re honest about trying. Discord didn’t have to because he hit Ponyville hard when we first encountered him so most ponies around here knew what he was capable of.”

“I have been trying to be more honest about who I am so it can’t be too hard can it?”

“Oh you have no idea,” replied Discord as he turned to shoot a look of disgust at the unicorn. “To feel so small, it’s insulting really. And the aftermath, don’t even get me started. With a rap sheet like yours, they’ll want you gone before the sun sets.”

Rap sheet, thought Sombra as he tilted his head in confusion.

“He means all the bad things you’ve done,” whispered Pinkie. “I think you’ll be fine though.”

“Do you think I should begin with ponies I’ve already spoken to,” Sombra asked the pink mare loud enough for Discord to hear him.

“It wouldn’t hurt.”

“What about if word reaches the resident of the castle? Such a thing may get you in trouble for harboring a criminal. Is she not a genuine concern in this scheme of yours?”

Discord looked Sombra in the eye with an almost concerned look on his face. “Well, if you want my opinion, I would find a few ponies who won’t spread it around. The fewer ponies who know, the lower the odds of Princess Twilight discovering you. It’s not that I care for your safety, I care about my friend getting in trouble.”

“And by extension the trouble that would find you Discord?”

“Well, I could try to deny it but we both know that won’t end well. You’ll have to get used to problems finding their way back to you if you really want to reform at all.”

“Because of this ‘rap sheet’ you spoke of? Could you not speak of my reputation like any creature with your degree of eloquence?”

“And lose Pinkie in the process? I shudder to think that you would rather we speak in less than a modern way.”

*****

After a great deal of debate, and Discord vanishing in a fit of boredom, both ponies settled on risking coming clean with both spa ponies.

“Will this really work Pinkie,” asked Sombra as they took a roundabout route to the spa.

“I dunno. Oh, we take a left over here. Anyways, it’s just not something anypony can guess. Maybe they heard stories – it’s a right up here – but they might not have. You’re not exactly a pony you forget meeting so it all boils down to legends.”

“So, what did you know of the Empire on your first visit?”

“Absolutely nothing, but that doesn’t mean everypony hasn’t heard something from somewhere. Maybe some northern places had legends about the Empire or maybe there was some super-duper cover-up that Princess Celestia did.” Pinkie gasped. “I just got a crazy thought, what if she covered something up because of what you were to her?”

Sombra stopped dead in his tracks. “So she covered everything up because we were enemies or are you implying that our earlier relations were part of this conspiracy of yours?”

“I dunno, it could be but I’m just telling you what I’m thinking.” Pinkie jumped up on a nearby bench and made herself comfortable. “It’s right down that alley on your right and around the corner. I need to come up with some ideas so I’m counting on you to keep things calm.”

Sombra sighed. “Yes, remain calm, no magic, and most importantly, ignore the eerie voice should it rear its proverbial head.”

*****

By the time Sombra had entered the spa, what confidence he mustered had faded. He realized how difficult this would be as his eyes gravitated to the counter and the pleasant mare behind it.

“Miss Aloe,” said Sombra nervously. “I uh – there’s something I need to say.”

The pink spa pony smiled at him cheerfully. “What can I do for you Mr. Amore? Back again for something else?”

“It – it isn’t that. I have something to admit and I’m not sure how to put it.” Sombra sighed as he tried to ignore her giggling. “I’m afraid I was not as truthful yesterday as I should have been to either you or your sister. My full name is Sombra Lamentius Amore. I was once the ruler of the Crystal Empire and it was not the brightest of chapters in the Empire’s history while under my rule.”

Aloe’s eyes widened as the gravity of his confession began to sink in. “So you were–”

“Once upon a time I was merely a stallion – a prince – yet still no more than a stallion. In time I was the herald of a dark chapter in Equestrian history.” He gulped as fear began to take root in his heart. “I was vain. I was cruel. I was a monster. Regardless of that, I still felt horrible lying to you and your sister. I just – I was afraid of what you would think were I honest.”

“I think you should leave.”

Sombra looked at her for only a moment longer before hanging his head. “Can you please promise me that you won’t tell anypony else?”

“Well…”

“Please, I’m trying to undo the damage I’ve done to my family’s good name and the last thing I want is to be denied that task. You don’t know what it’s like being the black stain on that lineage. To worry about any other who bears the name of my family. It hurts, as if my soul is ablaze from my sins.”

“Do you mind if I tell my sister?”

Sombra still didn’t look at the spa pony, even as he nodded. “I’m sorry for my lies Aloe. Be sure to tell Lotus that I wish I could apologize to her as well but I suppose I should leave before you change your mind. Thank you for putting up with me the other day.”

Aloe watched the crestfallen unicorn leave, feeling both hatred and pity for him only complicated her thoughts of keeping his secret.

*****

Pinkie Pie waited for Sombra to stand near her from her bench two blocks away before saying anything. “No luck?”

The former king remained silent as he shook his head.

“Well, did you talk to anypony else?”

“I bought something from a member of the Apple clan after going there. As I recall, her name was Applejack. There was also a pony who decided to pay for my massage, a unicorn named–”

“I don’t think either of them is a good idea. Bad first impressions are really hard to fix. You sure Applejack didn’t notice who you were?”

“Would she?”

“She’s one of my friends who went to the Crystal Empire with me. The same is true with Rarity. I think that’s damage to fix another time don’t you?”

Sombra nodded. “Well then, can you tell me about the alicorn in the castle?”

“Well…”