• Published 16th Dec 2016
  • 1,640 Views, 12 Comments

By Way of Sorrow - Bluegrass Brooke



Reform a now powerless Sombra. For Fluttershy, it didn't sound impossible, but as time passes she learns the truth. To make this work, he won't be the only one forsaking a familiar road.

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Chapter Two — A Shaky Start [edited]

[Author's Note: If you're keeping track of the story, you'll note I published this chapter a few weeks back. Alas, I realized too late that I had some serious characterization and formatting issues so I removed it. Then my depression hit and well, it got delayed longer than I planned. My apologies for the wait!]


Home had always been Fluttershy’s fortress—a place to hide from the outside world and recuperate in blissful silence. Now however, it felt more like a prison. She did not know how long she slept, but it could not have been more than three hours. Though between the gradually progressing nightmares and Angel’s soft whimpering pleas, it was hard to tell.

Sure Sombra agreed, without a fuss surprisingly, to sleep on the couch, she still felt exposed. As if he would attack her in her sleep or kidnap her, or worse, hurt Angel Bunny. She couldn’t live with herself if something happened to her friends because of her own decision.

However, the night passed without so much as a peep from Sombra. In fact, she half expected him to be on the couch when she crept down the stairs. Early dawn light passing through her lace curtains revealed Sombra had vanished. Momentary panic rushed into her veins. What if he was running loose attacking innocent ponies? What if he tried to enslave Ponyville?

Then she remembered Discord had offered to keep an eye over Ponyville for him. Discord unlike Sombra could be trusted, even if he had his own . . . methods. A chink from the kitchen dissolved what panic remained.

Angel jumped onto her back, cocooning himself in her still mussed mane and shuddering. Legs a little stiff, she moved around the corner to the kitchen. “Sombra?”

Sure enough, the ebony stallion had seated himself at the dining room table. Instead of the expected mess, she found the kitchen in the exact same shape as last night, but with the addition of pitcher and two mugs on the table.

His ear twitched, but apparently her question hadn’t warranted a verbal response. Instead, he pushed a mug in her general direction.

She sat down, looking at the paper neatly folded in front of Sombra. His eyes tracked so fast that he must be speed reading.

“Oh, they brought that early.” She giggled, more to keep her spirits up than anything genuine. With a forced smile, she took the mug and drank deeply. The result was her spewing up half a mug’s worth of watered wine on the table. With impressive grace, Sombra lept up and backwards. “Good, gods! Where are your manners?”

Ignoring the archaic explanation, Fluttershy just stared at the mug. “Why is there alcohol in the water?”

He stared at her as if she were a particularly stupid child. “Do you want to die?”

“Come again?”

“Do. You. Want. To. Die?” He enunciated in that aristocratic accent of his.

Fluttershy could only blink. “Why would water kill me?”

“Well, if you don’t put alcohol in it, the spirits will send you to the after world.”

“Huh?” Then it hit her. “Oh, you mean the bacteria!”

“If that is what you ponies call spirits these days, then yes.”

She gave a real giggle this time. “Sombra! Water is safe these days. It won’t make ponies sick. We’ve learned how to er . . . purify the water.” Did that sound scientific enough? Obviously Twilight could do better, but she was not sitting in her kitchen at the moment.

“Oh . . . So drinking it straight won’t kill you?”

“Er . . . no, no it won’t.”

He made a tsking noise, then sat back down to drink the watered wine some more. “Well, whatever methods you may use, I prefer this one.”

“But you’ll be drunk!”

“It is watered. Besides, I assume I have a higher tolerance than one of your constitution.”

“Hmmm.” Good point. Still, she proceeded to dump the pitcher’s contents out in the sink and fill it up with just water. She didn’t need a buzz to get through today. Hopefully . . .


Pet care. It soothed the soul and helped animal friends in the process. Fluttershy could not think of anything better to introduce Sombra to the reformed life. That was, if he picked up on it better than Discord had. At least he couldn’t cause chaos-magic disasters. A step in the right direction at least.

Sombra followed her out into the yard, glancing around at the still awakening scene with what must have passed for interest given how little expression he showed. “So, what now?”

“Well, I thought we’d start off by waking up the chickens.”

“Waking up the chickens? What? Are they now incapable of rising with the sun?”

“No, but Mr. Rooster is staying with Applejack until he feels better, so we are doing his job for a bit.”

He snorted, rolling his eyes. “Very well. If you insist upon such . . . frivolities, I shall endeavor to assist.”

Fluttershy jerked a nod toward the chicken coop. “Just call them out gently, get them to seize the day.”

“Seize the day, eh?” Clearing his throat, Sombra advanced towards the coop. Then, making a somewhat showy pose, he projected until the forest rang, “Arise! Your master demands your presence, serfs.”

Fluttershy flinched, ears ringing. Celestia above, he could make words carry! The surprising factor was that it didn’t quite sound like yelling. Just talking at an unusually high volume. When the chickens didn’t come, she strode up to Sombra. “Try being a little,” less arrogant, “more gentle.”

“Why? They are beneath us.”

“Ye-s, but they are friends, Sombra. One does not speak to friends like,” a jerk, “that,” she finished lamely.

“How should I speak?” His tone took on a layer of ice that made her spine tingle with fear. “Should I grovel at their feet? Me, a king?”

“But you aren’t one.”

That made him stamp his hoof so forcefully it left a crater in the snow. “I am a king by birth and by right. That wench who holds the throne has no power over me.”

“Well, she’s the one who decides if you stay or go back to exile. So you’d better act with some respect.” Oh, I hope that wasn’t too mean. Still, she had to stand her ground.

Sombra completely ignored her as if she hadn’t spoken at all. With a forceful, deliberate kick, he knocked open the hen house door. “Get out,’’ he hissed.

The chickens surged out the of coop, almost trampling Fluttershy in the process, to get away from what they likely thought to be an earthquake. Luckily, Fluttershy dodged the flood before it was too late.

There, enjoy your chickens,’’ he sneered.

Fluttershy lowered her ears. “Sombra, that is not appropriate.”

“It got the task accomplished.”

“I . . . yes, but not the right way.”

“It is done nevertheless’’

“B-but—’’

“It’s done.’’

“. . . let’s try something else’’

“And what pray tell do you want to try?” Sombra sneered. “Serving pigs wine? Or perhaps reading a hydra a bedtime story? Or, better yet, a tea party with a dragon wearing a pink fluffy apron.’’

“But Spike likes his apron,” pouted Fluttershy. “Rarity made it for him.’’

“Equestrians,’’ Sombra muttered with a shake of his head.

“I think we should try—hmm how about we try feeding the cute little bunnies?’’

“No.” The curt reply sliced through the still morning air like a saber strike. Fluttershy watched Sombra slink over to sit atop the bridge and glower at the half-frozen stream below.


After her morning chores were done, Fluttershy decided to brave Sombra’s ire once more. Maybe by watching him first, she would start to understand him better. So she settled down in the branches of the weeping willow, grateful for once that Rainbow had taken her on those ‘stake outs.’

Sombra had his hooves crossed over the stone railings, tapping them to some unheard rhythm. His eyes, though distant held a confidence that couldn’t be faked. Though his gaze didn’t leave the water playing across the snow-capped rocks, Fluttershy could just barely make out the movements of the stallion’s mouth. Despite the words on his lips, no sound broke the winter stillness. Fluttershy wondered what he could be saying, so steadily she slowly creeped a little closer to the brooding former unicorn. Still, the words alluded her. Feeling a bit bold, she moved closer and winced at the sound of her hoof hitting the bridge’s surface.

“What you do want?’’ His words shattered the pervasive stillness in an instant. Despite his words, Sombra had not removed his gaze from the creek.

“Um . . .”

“Get on with it or leave me be,’’ Sombra snapped.

“Why are you like this? If you acted a bit nicer, then maybe you might make some friends with the animals.” She remembered where Discord had started from and almost shuddered. He had come this far, and so could Sombra. But she needed him to try. “Everypony needs to start somewhere.”

“Start? Start? What have I to start with? I lost my empire, my home and my magic . . . I have nothing to give this godsforsaken world.”

For a moment, she let him brood, then screamed in frustration. At least, by her terms. Most ponies would have called it a quiet groan. “Sombra, you’ve got more than enough to give. Just because you can’t use magic, doesn’t mean you’re useless. Just because you are in control of a whole empire, doesn’t mean you have no purpose!”

He rolled his eyes. “Really now? You honestly believe that?”

“Of course I believe it. Better yet, I will show you. Just . . . just give me a chance to, okay?”

He tisked, “Fine. I shall give you three days. Is that sufficient?”

Kind of short notice. Still, it was a start. “Yeah, that’s plenty, Sombra. Come on, I have an idea.”

“Oh, goody,” he drawled, getting to his hooves. “I can scarcely contain my anticipation.”

“Come along, we need to get you ready.”

“Ready? Ready for what?”

She giggled, starting towards the house. “You’ll see.” After a few strides, she turned back around to find him rooted to the bridge. “Sombra? Coming?”

He gave an audible groan, looking heavenward. “Why do I have a bad feeling about this?”


Fluttershy gulped as she watched Sombra steadily stepped over the pile of snake eggs, his overlarge hooves proving inadequate for traction. Of course their quest had some risk, but she hadn’t imagined it would be quite this bad. Mrs. Naga had assured her that only six eggs that needed to be transported from the nest to the warmth of the fireplace, not forty. She should have known better than to trust an elemental fire snake from the Everfree. Then again, she could never say no to an animal in need, no matter what that animal was.

“Fluttershy,’’ Sombra hissed stepping over the eggs with as much finesse a stallion of his size was complabe of, “did the gods drop you when you were foaled? This is madness.”

“Careful, Sombra! These eggs are from a fire elemental, if you so much as crack one of them you’ll burn the whole of the forest—if not all of Ponyville—down,’’ Fluttershy’s voice cracked with the worry for Sombra and the baby snakes.

“And whose bright idea was it to come here for them in the first place, hmm?” His hoof scraped against a stone in the narrow confines of the nest, making them both flinch. Sombra lowered his voice to a tone one might use in Twilight’s library, “I must ask why you didn’t get a unicorn to do this? Magic would be far better suited to such dangers.”

Fluttershy laughed sheepishly. Truth be told, she had neglected to ask Twilight for help what with the excitement of housing Sombra for the winter. “All we need to do is place the eggs in the fireproof basket.”

“All we need to do? All we need to do?!” The quiet tone evaporated. “That's easier said than done. How am I supposed to move the eggs? I don’t have hands like a minotaur or a dragon. I have hooves.”

Seriously? Fluttershy raised a hoof to point at Sombra’s muzzle. “Um . . . your mouth.”

“My mouth? Splendid, simply splendid.” He looked upwards as if staring through the ceiling at the morning clouds. “Gods, whatever I did to earn your wrath, please forgive me. It’s her fault.”

“Sombra that’s not fair.’’

“Not fair? Fluttershy you have much to learn, nothing is fair. Now help me!’’ Sombra glowered at the eggs, an unsure look plastered to his muzzle. It didn’t take an expert to see that he was trying to figure out a way to move the eggs that didn’t require touching his muzzle to eggs containing snakes of pure flame.

Fluttershy groaned. “We have to use our mouths, Sombra.” It’s not like I enjoy it, either.

“Of course we do. If we end up being boiled from the inside out, I’m going to leave you on your own in Tartarus.”

Fluttershy bit her lip slightly, knowing what could happen to either of them if they broke even one of the eggs while it was cradled in their mouths. However, there really weren’t any other methods to move them into the basket. Slowly, she and Sombra lowered their heads and nosed thought the steaming pile of snake eggs. With a bit of luck, Fluttershy managed to separate one from the pile enough to grap it with her mouth. Sombra surprisingly, managed to do the same.

Moving her tongue just the right way, she was able to safely hold the egg between her teeth. The taste? Bitter. Utterly, horribly bitter. So bitter on the tongue that even Pinkie Pie would suck on lemons than her very yummy cupcakes to rid herself of the taste. Moving her eyes towards Sombra, she could see the grimace on his muzzle.

“Mmmmhp mmm mmmph,” went the stallion, ending his protest with an muffled gagging sound.

As fast they could without breaking the eggs, they carefully placed them one at a time into the soft, fireproof basket.

When they had finished, Sombra proceeded to wipe his tongue off on his forelimb. “By the gods, never in all my years have I sullied my kingly tongue with such such disgusting little pieces of filth!”

“Aweee, they’re just a little bitter.” The babies couldn’t help it if their shells were so yucky tasting.

The fed-up stare she received in reply confirmed that she had understated the truth a teensy bit. “Well, shall we take these beasts to the fireplace then?”

They aren’t beasts, they’re babies. “Yes. Then we can wash our mouths out.”

“With wine?”

Fluttershy rolled her eyes. “Sure . . . why not?”

“At last a bit of culture.” said Sombra with a dreamy look on his face “Ah wine, how I miss thee.”


The two of them walked down the dusty road leading out the forest in almost complete silence save for the soft humming sound leaving Fluttershy’s throat. So many plans! The avenues she chose could very well make or break Sombra’s reformation. Plans therefore, were essential.

The dark stallion with his mouth occupied holding the basket of snake eggs couldn’t question her humming, but the look on his face said that he found it annoying at best. That or he was mentally cursing the wait till for his wine.

“See Sombra, that wasn’t so hard, now was it? Oh dear . . .’’ Fluttershy trailed off, eyes widening slightly as she honed in on the pink pony bouncing towards them.

“Oh gods no. It’s the pink demon,” Sombra barely manage to say out of the corner of his mouth. “Keep her away from me.”

“Sombra! Pinkie Pie is not a d-demon—she’s my dear friend.”

Sombra snorted, using his neck muscles to sling the basket onto his back, nearly giving Fluttershy a heart attack in the process. “Overly friendly? Nay, she’s the spawn of the chaotic one. A witch of unsurpassed skill. Keep her away from me.”

“Chaotic one? But Discord can’t have foals at least I don’t think he can.” A good question to ask Twilight some time she supposed.

“Naive mare, had you evenlooked at him? Logic passed to the next plane a long time ago where he is concerned. Though, you have a point. I very much doubt Discord is capable of that level of . . . lunacy. Discord’s sire perhaps . . .”

“Getting off track,” Fluttershy hissed, smiling broadly at the sight of her friend. If anypony could give her some encouragement, it would be Pinkie.

Resting on Pinkie’s back were saddlebags full to bursting with sweet treats. “Howdy doodle, Fluttershy and,” she grinned broadly, “Sombra. How’s reformed life treating you?”

Define ‘reformed . . .’ “We’re getting closer.”

Sombra appeared to be thinking the same thing. But, to Fluttershy’s amazement, he put on a perfectly polite smile that one might see in a Canterlot dinner party. Not that Fluttershy had been to many of those, but Rarity had drug her along on occasion.

“Splendid, splendid, Pinkie. Though one wonders how the handling of lethal fire elementals constitutes a safe working environment.” Fluttershy had never heard one pony lace so much sarchasm into a few sentences. Genuinely impressive. Sombra gave a sardonic laugh, “Why, I am most delighted to be accompanying our dearest Fluttershy on her quest to save that which would best be left be. I’m even thinking of starting up a daycare for poisonous toads next.”

Pinkie just blinked as if Sombra had slapped her in the face with a wet sock. “I uh . . . gr-great, Sombra. Guess things are okey dokey then?”

“The okeyest,” He purred, hoof wrapping around Fluttershy’s shoulder in a vice-like grip. “Toodleloo.”

“Yeah, er . . . toodles.” Pinkie carefully placed the saddlebags onto Fluttershy’s back. “For your animal friends and you two. From the Cakes.”

“Tell them thank you for us. It was ever so thoughtful of them.”

“Oh, indeed. Whatever would we do without nauseating sweets?”

Sombra! Fluttershy so wanted to give him ‘the stare,’ but thought better of it. Instead, she gave Pinkie a bright smile. “Safe trip home.”

“You too. Have fun with those . . . whatever they are’s!” With that, she hopped off down the road, singing off-key as she went.

Sombra sighed. “I thought she’d never leave, pink witch. We might want to burn the sweets just in case they’re laced with love potion or poison.”

“Lo-love?” Fluttershy sat down abruptly. “Why in Celestia’s name would you think that?”

“Some have tried in the past in order to steal the throne.” Sombra sneered as if reliving a particularly pleasant evil memory. “The Royal taste testers did not often fare well.”

“Sombra, we’ve been over this. You don’t have a ‘throne’ anymore.”

“A once king is always a king.” The words came out oozing with unwarranted confidence.

“Mmhmmm.” Tell that to Celestia. “I don’t want to hear you accusing the Cakes of poisoning sweets. They are very kind and the best bakers in town.”

“That’s even worse. They are simply skilled with their poisons.” Sombra said with a nod. “Now then, let us throw these eggs into the fire and perhaps I will make us some omelets in the morn.”

“You’ll do no such thing Sombra—oh, er what was your last name again?”

“What is a last name?”

“Sort of what we use to tell each other about our families.”

“Family? Oh you mean a clan name. I am Sombra of Royal Clan Huri.”

“Huri what kind of word is that?” said Fluttershy raising a brow at the word.

“A very old one, even by Crystal Empire standards. Royal Clan Huri are the direct descendants of the unicorns that originally built the crystal city, long before the age of the Wendigos and the rise of the Crystal Pony tribe.”

“What wait? I thought the Crystal ponies built The Crystal Empire?”

Sombra gives a hearty laugh. “ C-C Crystal ponies! Ha ha hen! they couldn’t even tell the difference between yak and a pile of nails let alone build an entire empire. My great grandfather had to chase a herd of yaks at them just to get them to figure out how to gallup properly!”

“Oh my, that sounds horrible.”

“Well, they learned quickly enough.” Sombra shrugged, slinging the basket back into his mouth. “Let’s get this over with,” he ground out around the handle.

“Sure . . .”


It turned out that placing the eggs safely into the fire was only the beginning of their woes. Thanks to a book Fluttershy had received from Twilight last spring, she knew that the fire had to be at a certain point to ensure healthy little snakes. Stranger still, the temperature determined the gender of the babies and Mrs. Naga had clearly stated that she didn’t want too many boy snakes. But, trying to get the right temperature proved to be easier said than done.

After an hour of finagling, they managed to get the fire just right. Sombra collapsed on the rug, grumbling something under his breath that sounded a lot like, “Who gives a shit?”

The chiming from the mantle indicated that the time had only just reached one o’clock. Great . . . They still had a full day’s work left and frankly, she did not feel up to trying out some of her more daring plans. “Sombra?”

“Hmmm?”

Fluttershy was reminded briefly of a grumpy Angel Bunny covered in flour, but thought better than mentioning it to Sombra. “Do you want to play a card game?”

“Why would I want to?” The phrase was laced with that condescension Sombra held in spades.

“Why not?”

“There are better uses for my time than card games.”

Fluttershy couldn’t stopper the snort at that one. “Like what?”

“Er . . . well . . .” Sombra glanced around the living room as if searching for something worthy of his time. His blue eyes focused in on her bookshelf. “Study.”

“Of animals?” Fluttershy’s heart skipped a beat. “What a wonderful idea!” Why didn’t I think of that?

Sombra groaned, presumably about the animals, but looked resigned to his fate. “Very well. Instruct me in the ways of . . . whatever it is you do with your life.”

“Yay.” She flounced over to the bookshelf, withdrawing a colorful book she had bought at a traveling circus. Blaire Skim's Illustrated Guide to Equestrian Wildlife. After settling onto the sofa, she flipped it open to the page on bats. “I thought you might like to learn about these cuties.”

“‘Cuties?’” Sombra looked as if he might gag. Still, he proceeded to join her on the couch while keeping a respectful distance. He eyed the page in question. “Rats with wings I say. Still,” the slightest trace of a smile flickered across his face before vanishing behind his mask, “I think it would be amusing to learn a little more.”


It turned out that Sombra could listen better than any pony Fluttershy had dealt with. No matter how many times she stumbled over pronunciations or how many tangents she went on, his ears were always at attention and his eyes sharp. A part of her wondered just how intelligent Sombra was, particularly when he referenced information that she had only touched on briefly at least half an hour after the fact. He did not just listen, but retained. A student Twilight would probably love to have.

When they reached the segment on Cocklebaru’s—some kind of weird birds with feathers that mimicked weeds—a knock on the door brought them out of study mode. “Do come in,” she sing-songed.

The door opened to reveal Applejack looking a little, well the best word might be embarrassed. “Sorry, Fluttershy. But I’ve got a bit of an er . . . situ—” She paused when she spotted the book. “Oh, I’ve read that one!”

Fluttershy failed to conceal her surprise at that one. She knew Applejack read of course, but the thought of her exploring subjects like wildlife seemed a bit out-of-character.

Apparently, Applejack noticed because she added in a bit of a rush, “Flim sent me a copy. Guess his little brother wrote it.” She shrugged, face a little red, “Since he don’t normally send books, I thought, heck, why not read it?”

“Mmhmm.” And the fact that Flim sent it was entirely arbitrary. Suuure. “He still working out west?”

“Yeah, but he says he’ll be back in the spring to be our farm hand again.”

Sombra stared down Applejack. “What did you want?”

“Ah, yeah! Almost forgot.” She trotted up to Fluttershy. “I have this problem with some critters. Thought maybe it’d be somethin’ you an Sombra could try to sort out together. Fer practice.”

“Oh, I see. What sort of ‘problem?’” Knowing Applejack it could be as simple as a lost bird or as big as an orchard full of bats.

“That’s the problem Ah have no idea what the critter is! But it’s mighty big for sure. Gone and scared Big Mac silly.”

“No idea what it is . . .” Fluttershy hummed, going through her inner catalogue of creatures. “I’ll need to see what it’s been doing for myself. But,” she glanced to the fireplace, “we have to keep these eggs at the right temperature.”

“Ah, I can do that!” Applejack sat down on the rug. “Just leave it to me. I’ve been makin’ jam all my life and let me tell you, temperature’s mighty important for that.”

“Oh, okay then. Sombra, grab your scarf. It’ll be a long walk.”

Sombra rolled his eyes. “Yes, grandmama.”


The walk to Sweet Apple Acres was closer than that to town, but in the knee-deep snow, it was a bit of an adventure. Particularly when Fluttershy did not know when she ought to look for signs of this monstrous creature.

Sombra thankfully, picked up on it first. “Hmmm. I don’t suppose that is normal.” He pointed to a mound of snow running between two lines of apple trees. The positioning in the flat of the orchard was bizarre to say the least.

“No, it’s not. Come on, Sombra.” She hopped off the road, head first into a snow drift. Before she could right herself again, she felt something clamp down on her tail and yank her upright again. Blinking the snow out of her eyes, she saw Sombra looking as stoic as ever. “Why don’t you fly?”

“Because . . .” Why didn’t she fly? Because he couldn’t fly and it was rude? Or was it habit? She shook her head, “I like to walk.”

“And get caught in snow drifts it would seem,” he drawled, walking towards the mound in question.

Fluttershy’s first impressions proved to be spot on. Upon closer examination, the mound proved to be hollow and . . . corrugated? As if whatever had made it had burrowed through the snow instead of on it. Something tubular and big. Realization struck like a snowball to the face. “Oh my.”

Sombra raised an eyebrow. “Figured it out?”

“Yup,” she squeaked, looking around, then at Sombra for the briefest of instants. He could handle something that big, right? “Can you . . .” Her hooves made a sweeping motion.

He blinked. “Come again?”

“These creatures are very very dangerous. They need a er, strong hoof.”

“Oh, you mean can I best it?”

“Sure, we’ll go with that.”

“Not without my magic, but even then, I would be somewhat hard pressed because these creatures always hunt in packs … it’s right behind me isn’t?”

“Meep.”

“Oh bother.” Sombra lept out of the way as a giant northern snow worm in all its bristle-haired glory tried to crush him under its massive bulk. “Too slow, worm.”

Again the worm tried to crush the dark stallion with its weight as another slightly smaller one popped up next to Fluttershy. This one bumped its cold, slimy nose against Fluttershy’s velvet soft one. Apparently she had surprised it as much as it had surprised her.

“Oh Fluttershy, be a dear and fetch me a torch? If I recall, these things fear fire . . .”

“A-a little occupied, Sombra,” she squeaked, wondering whether it would be best to stand still and let it sniff or flee to the heavens.

Sombra let out a long sigh, “Very well. The old fashioned way then.” He charged the large worm, aiming his head towards its beady eyes. Unfortunately, he neglected the obvious flaw in his plan. Without any kind of weaponry on his forehead, he bounced off the worm’s eyes. “Damn,” he hissed, rubbing the horn stump with a hoof.

The worm lifted its segmented body towards the sky, going nearly vertical. Sombra moved to dodge, but too slow. Worms may not be made of much, but whatever they were made of, it must be heavy. Fluttershy watched as it slammed its entire body mass atop Sombra. The stallion crumpled, making a shriek of pain that set of primordial warning bells.

As she moved to help, her worm wrapped its body around her own, not tightly, just enough to fence her in. “Sombra? Are you okay?”

“Relatively speaking,” came the muffled reply from underneath the largest worm. Then, the worm twitched and reared upright again. Sombra’s hoof hit its midsection repeatedly where it had crushed it until the worm completely removed its weight from Sombra’s back.

Then, with a motion a viper would be proud of, Sombra jumped over to the nearest apple tree, yanking off one of the brittle branches. He held it in his mouth with the skill of a royal guard holding his sword. “Not ideal,” he growled around the branch. Still, he charged at the worm. Rather than stabbing at it—something she didn’t approve of—Sombra whacked it like a misbehaving colt.

The worm backed away, flinching from Sombra’s makeshift whip.

“Bad girl, crushing ponies. Go back to your den, and take your sister with you.” He walked the worm back a few paces, lowering his head as if the horn were still there.

The worm gave a low whine much like a little misbehaving puppy wanting a belly rub after knocking over and breaking the flower vase. Or at least that how it seemed to Fluttershy.

“Go!” Sombra barked raising his stick in a feint and purposely missing the over gown worm’s hide.

Seeing that the scarey pony swinging his stick, the large worm and her sister retreated into frozen earth’s embrace, still giving whines as they left. Sombra snorted and shook his head, knocking off the snow that decide to make his mane a home. Fluttershy could only blink owlishly at just how quickly Sombra had banished two giant northern snow worms back underground by using a stick as a rolled up newspaper. Maybe harnessing such magical creature skills was the key to making his self-imposed deadline. At least, it would be worth a shot.

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Comments ( 3 )

let’s try something else

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Lovely chapter. I loved every moment of this. I loved the Blair Skim book part! :scootangel: I like world depth like that.
~Melly~

I eagerly await more to this story. :)

Where is the rest? Hello?

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