• Published 20th Oct 2018
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A Sparkle in the Darkness - tom117z



Following the return of the Crystal Empire, Twilight begins some intensive research into the history of the Empire and its late king. What she finds changes everything she knows about herself.

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8 - Living Legacy

It felt so good to have a body again. And it was a powerful form indeed, Sombra could just feel the pure mana flowing through the alicorn’s body, so much untapped potential that he doubted Twilight Sparkle knew the full extent of. Yes, it only confirmed that his choice of host was a good one… even if said form was missing certain gender features he was used to.

But it would have been a good body, nevertheless.

Would have. Those two words being key, at least if he was proven right about his own conclusions…

And yet already he could feel his grip on Twilight’s form slipping away, the alicorn soul inside it wriggling and struggling instinctively against the intrusion. He would have a minute, two at most. If they were to discover Celestia’s little secret, then he would have to act fast.

Stretching his new wings out experimentally, Sombra looked down at the uncovered roof of the buried chamber. The Sun Princess was no slouch when it came to protecting what she wished to hide, but that was to be expected. Also expected, unfortunately for her, was the decay the wards had suffered over a thousand years.

All the better.

He lit Twilight’s horn, the dark magic spilling from his stolen eyes increasing in intensity as a dark energy bubbled along the bony appendage. He flapped his wings, taking slowly to the air before gently lowering Twilight’s body down to the barrier lying between them and their prize.

The dark magic crackled, and then it was released.

A beam of putrid unholy energy struck the barrier, sparks of golden light crackling back in defiance. But not one to be dissuaded, Sombra pressed the attack as he felt for any weaknesses in Celestia’s defences that he could exploit. Any tiny little hole that had either been overlooked or created by the passage of time.

Ah, there it is.

A small crack in the spell structure. A mere hairline fracture really, a break in the spell where time had taken its slow toll.

But it was enough.

The dark magic invaded and butchered its way through the opposing spell, spilling into that crack and quickly widening it further. The golden array started to flicker and spark more violently, a mixture of its imminent collapse and a desperation to fulfil its purpose in warding off the intruder.

The crack burst, Celestia’s magic faded as the roof suddenly collapsed under the strain. Dust and rubble were kicked up, obscuring Sombra’s sight as his magic was cut off with a sharp grunt.

Then he was no longer flying.

Through the cloud he fell, landing roughly on a hard surface within. He gritted his teeth as he started to lose all physical feeling, his control over the form fading…

Twilight gave a sharp intake of breath, the last of the dark magic in her eyes being vanished as she shot up, panting heavily as her mind started to process the everything that had just happened.

“Wha…?” she quietly questioned to herself, before gasping as she felt a twinge of pain in her barrel. “Owwwww…”

Her side was stinging ever so slightly, and she lit her horn to try and administer some relief upon herself. The pain faded a little, and she was able to give her new surroundings a general look over.

Above her head, the sun shone in from a large hole in the roof that led all the way up to the surface. Rubble was strewn all around her, making a mess of the room in which she had found herself. The room in question was lit by several candles holding golden arcane fire, illuminating several bookshelves and tables containing a whole manner of artefacts that made Twilight feel guilty on remembering who they belonged to.

This was Celestia’s private collection.

“Sombra…” Twilight muttered angrily. “What did you do!?”

The stallion materialised into view next to her. But what caught Twilight off guard was how… sickly he was looking.

“Your form was required. And now we have entrance to this place,” he replied coldly.

“You can do that?” she asked in no small amount of alarm. “Then… why haven’t you just kept it?”

“I am not yet strong enough,” he reminded her. “Any control was fleeting. And I would not fret, it shall not occur again for some time.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at me,” he said with a gesture. “It took much of my regained strength to do what I had to do. It is a significant setback, and one I will have to overcome with time.”

“I see…” Twilight said in comprehension. But, then, a thought occurred to her. “Then does that mean-”

“I wouldn’t worry,” he immediately shot her down. “I retained just enough to maintain the block on your mind. It may be more difficult to maintain, but I still cannot have you revealing my presence.”

Well, that was unfortunate. At least, Twilight had to admit, he also wouldn’t be able to further increase his influence and block her attempts to remove him herself. Not anytime soon, at least.

So, she had more time. But first…

“Alright, so we’re in,” she stated, getting up and trying not to think on the personal violation she had just suffered. “Now what?”

“First…” Sombra paused, visibly wincing as his projection flickered with instability. “Ugh, first… You must find that book. I am convinced one will exist within this space somewhere.”

“Right…” Twilight muttered, biting her lip as she moved over to one of the display tables.

A small statue lay atop of it, a carving depicting two young alicorn fillies taking what appeared to be a peaceful nap together. The base of the statue read: ‘Luna and I, how things were. How things should be’.

That guilt Twilight was feeling intensified by quite a bit.

Twilight had no idea that Celestia such a proficient artist… and she could only imagine the emotion that fuelled its creation. There were other items around it on the table, small preserved artefacts that Twilight imagined had belonged to the sisters when they had been young.

There were more tables. And likewise, there were more carvings. Paintings too. All little glimpses into the mind of her beloved mentor. Twilight tried to ignore them as best she could, much to the dismay of her inner scholar. But she didn’t belong here, not in such a personal place she was defiling with her mere presence. The young alicorn just made her way towards the bookshelves at the back of the room, keeping her vision focused on them.

An ancient portrait of an alabaster alicorn with a red mane, two familiar fillies at her hooves, briefly caught her eye. But she once again tore herself away from the sight, intent on leaving the Princess’ privacy as intact as she could.

Reaching the bookshelves, Twilight traced a hoof along the edge of one as she read the titles of the books it contained. Her eyes widened once more as she did so.

“These… they’re all her diaries,” she muttered in shock. “Everything she’s ever thought since the day her sister was banished…”

“A life as long as hers, no wonder it fills as many books as it has,” Sombra noted. “Such knowledge must be contained within. The private thoughts of a hated foe, and weapons of potential use in dismantling all they have built.”

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m not reading them then,” Twilight retorted, much to Sombra’s displeasure. “It’s not what we came here for, anyway.”

“On that, I must concede the point,” he responded. “But it lies within these shelves, you must keep searching.”

“I am.”

The Princess moved on, following the shelves and looking for something out of place among the collection. The vast majority were more journals that the Princess of the Sun had kept at some point in her long life. There were even a few actual novels it looked like the Princess had written, and yet had never sought to have published.

Twilight regarded those books with reverence, knowing they must have been too dazzling for mortal eyes.

Sombra, on the other hoof, knew that they were probably created during times of intense boredom and were, in fact, actually not very good.

And then she reached the shelves lodged into the far corner of the room.

Twilight gave it a look over, bypassing some of the oldest diaries of the lot. Her gaze shifted to the bottom shelf and studying it. And there, tucked between another diary and what actually appeared to be a first edition copy of an ancient classic, was exactly what they’d been searching for.

‘Sombra’s Lineage’.

“I don’t believe it…” Twilight whispered, dumbstruck as she gingerly took the book in her magic and pulled it out.

It was old. Very old. The cover a simple brown with the title written out in golden lettering.

She had this the whole time… and never told her? Even after all of her persistent research and questions? Why… Why had Celestia lied to her?

Not missing a beat, Twilight flipped the book open and examined the first page.

A drawing of the King himself was revealed, notes jotted below it alongside the image of a mare Twilight didn’t recognise. Off to her side, however, she saw Sombra’s eyes very briefly light up with some kind of recognition.

And then both their gazes turned to the third drawing. A little baby colt.

“That’s him,” Twilight noted.

“It is,” Sombra conformed. “So… she knew. When I had Radiant Hope take our child to Equestria, the Princess must have quickly caught onto their identity. Strange, such a scenario wasn’t unthought of, but I had expected she’d react quickly and decisively…”

“Princess Celestia would never hurt a child,” Twilight retorted defensively. “Even if their father was an evil tyrant.”

Twilight continued, the next page containing an image of the same colt. Albeit he was a colt no longer, but a grown stallion that was situated next to further drawings of another mare and child.

“You had a granddaughter,” Twilight said, her tone softening a little.

“So I did. The legacy of my blood did continue on after all, stretching unseen through the ages while the only one who could have prevented it sat contently on her golden throne.”

And she’d never told a soul, despite the fact that she was clearly keeping a close eye on the family.

And there was more. Far more.

There was information on how Sombra’s son died. Simple old age, apparently. And from there it showed his daughter’s children. She’d had a filly and a colt, the filly tragically passing away during a brief plague while the son had eventually gone on to have a family of his own as well.

And so it went on. Through the centuries it continued, family after family. Child after child. Most appeared to be content with but a single child, keeping the family line rather straightforward. There were branch families, mind you. Some second or third-born children here and there would produce their own offspring, but every branch family almost seemed cursed to die out in a generation or two. Sometimes it would be under unfortunate circumstances, others would simply end when the latest of the line never had children of their own.

But the main family would persist, Sombra’s most direct descendant surviving the test of time.

They started to get close to modern day, Twilight’s excitement rising as she realised that there had to be a descendant still alive! This was history unveiling itself! All of her research, all of that effort to find the truth, it was about to pay off!

…Wait, why did that stallion look familiar?

She narrowed her eyes, studying the pony before her. She swore she’d seen him somewhere before… perhaps in an old photograph? It would have to be old at that, maybe one of the first… Maybe it was in an old research project of hers? No, that didn’t sound right.

She just couldn’t place it.

And why was Sombra suddenly giving her that knowing look?

Shaking her head, Twilight moved to-

No.

It couldn’t be.

She definitely knew that mare. But it was… it was…

The next page, and so appeared the image of Twilight Velvet.

Like that, you could almost hear Twilight’s universe shattering like a mirror.

“That’s… that’s not…” What was she supposed to say? This had to be a bad dream. Another one of Sombra’s tricks! She wasn’t… they couldn’t be… Celestia would tell her if she was!

But there was her image, right next to Twilight Velvet and Night Light. She and Shining Armor both, their images jostled down into the book alongside extensive notes.

‘Inherited his power’, that was one of the lines written for her.

“Now you see,” Sombra announced. “The extent of which the Sun Princess would deceive you. She would willingly hide your heritage and your potential, moulding you into a tool she could so easily use. Perhaps that is why she spared us, she wished to humiliate our family and turn us into her slaves.”

“No… that’s not…” Twilight shook her head, trying desperately to process this new information. “That’s not right. But would she…? I can’t be… I’m not related to you!”

“I saw it in your very blood, given to you by your mother,” he continued. “As the second-born child, you would be destined to create a branch family rather than continue my main line. And yet you inherit all I give while your brother becomes a simple-minded lackey of the Princess. How curious.”

“No!” Twilight shouted, throwing the book at Sombra’s apparition as hyperventilation started to set in. She couldn’t be his descendant! She was NOTHING like him!

“But you are, don’t you see? Your mind, your brilliance! Your potential. Perhaps, even, you could be greater than I ever was,” Sombra declared, rematerializing directly in front of the mare and staring right into her tear-filled eyes. “You are the heir to all I built. The Crystal Empire, my slaves. And with your title, you are even the rightful ruler of Equestria itself!”

“I-I’m… I’m not…”

“You need not fear me, Twilight,” Sombra said with an odd degree of fondness. “I shall not harm my own heir. You are the gift my son left in his wake, a second chance for the both of us. Equestria needs only one Princess… or perhaps even a Queen.”

“I’m not like that!” Twilight bellowed in anguish. “I’m not like you! I can’t… I don’t understand.”

“You will. If you let me help you, granddaughter,” he stated.

“I…” So much was running through Twilight’s head. Sombra. Celestia. All the lies and deception. Everything she ever thought she knew about herself…

Celestia always knew who she was. When she sent her to fight Sombra… When she was trying to discover his own legacy and, unknowingly, her own past…

“I’m so confused…” she whispered, sitting down onto the ground hard, her entire body shaking from the emotional tidal wave she was suffering.

“Understandable, Celestia’s poison will not be undone in a single moment,” Sombra noted with a nod. “I shall depart and allow you time to gather your thoughts. But then, my heir, one way or another… You will take back what is ours.”

And then, in a wave of darkness, Sombra was gone.

And Twilight had never felt more alone.

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