• Published 4th Apr 2021
  • 2,134 Views, 89 Comments

Sombra's Recovery - MisterEdd



Hunted by the crown, Sombra tries to evade capture while rediscovering who he is.

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Primrose

After exiting the library, Sombra stopped for a bite to eat at a small cafe, enjoying a nice potato salad and a root beer. As he sat alone in his booth, he observed the customers around him, many of whom were parents with their young offspring, chatting, laughing, holding hooves. Such a sight temporarily made Sombra forget about his meal and he felt that familiar ache in his chest reemerge. Pushing it back deep down, he finished his food, left a nice tip, and almost ran out the door, eager to rid himself of the merry surroundings. Outside, the sun still hung in the sky, bathing him in its light.

He took a cab to the address on the envelope that held Primrose's letter, ignoring the passing scenery in favor of quiet contemplation on the approaching meeting. It was eerie how much the mysterious oracle was capable of being correct, as so far, her instructions had led to Sombra's discovery of a frighteningly accurate book of prophecies and a possible job at a low-key place of employment. Then again, there were still the questions of Nightmare Moon's scant prophecy, the abrupt ending of the book, the cancelled follow-up, and the blank parchment. "Primrose the Prescient" somehow knew of Sombra's title of "Darkhame", a fact that only a few were privy to, and yet she couldn't even foresee the conclusion of Nightmare Moon's return or the rise of the new bearers of the Elements of Harmony? He could buy that Celestia could've shared this information with her in order to trick him into falling for this ruse but then, how could Primrose sell a book that successfully detailed events that wouldn't happen for another ten years since its publishing date?

Besides, Celestia did all she that could to bury Luna's identity as Nightmare Moon and create a happy, singing utopia. Why would she jeopardize that by alluding to a returning threat to the peace? Perhaps it was to defeat a threat in front of her subjects in order to boost her public image but by that time, she no longer had access to the Elements of Harmony, the only tools that could defeat Nightmare and free Luna from the eidolon's grasp. The idea of a trap also fell apart when he considered that setting up a fake seeress just to capture him should've been executed as soon as possible, not months after his initial escape and aid in taking down a dark alicorn. Of course, if Primrose was who she claimed to be, then why would she contact Sombra, a known terrorist and dark magic user, instead of serving as Celestia's advisor and preventing all of the issues Twilight and her friends face in the first place?

Sinking back into his seat, Sombra placed his face in his hooves, massaging his temples as he muttered in his mother-tongue. A crinkling sound interrupted his thoughts and he extracted the blank parchment from his cloak pocket. Of course! If you wanted to deliver a hidden message, how else would you kept it secret? Unfolding the parchment, he touched his horn to its surface, arcanic forces pouring into the paper, little light blue arcs popping in short bursts to reveal a brief image that quickly faded.

It wasn't a blank parchment; was a magically-concealed map!

But to what?

The cab gradually slowed and then stopped, the cabbie tapping on the front window.

"We're here, sir."

Sombra quickly put the parchment away, gathered up his saddlebags, and stepped out of the cab.

"Thank you," he said and passed some bits to the cabbie, who tipped his hat before hauling the cab down the street, around a corner and out of sight.

The house in question was a two-story brick townhouse painted mustard-yellow with baby-blue window shutters and light red roof tiles. Clearly whoever decided on those colors must either be color-blind or absolutely demented, both of which could be applicable to its owner. Decorating aside, what was of real interest was the slightly chilly air radiating off of the house, sending goosebumps down Sombra's spine and caused his horn and skull to throb. The townhouse was steeped in magic, throwing off a constant field of esoteric energy that was otherwise imperceptible to the average pony. Such raw magic like this was seldom seen in this era and Sombra was about to enter right into the thick of it.

Here goes nothing...

Making his way up the stairs and onto the porch, Sombra found a brass knocker on the indigo-colored door and gave it a good rapping. Hanging on the wall beside the door was a gray-brown wooden sign: "PRIMROSE: FORTUNETELLER AND SPIRITUAL ADVISOR" and beneath that read: "NO SOLICITORS OR FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY." There was a click and the door opened, revealing a young mare around twenty or so. She was a light amber-gray earth pony with a light gray pink mane and inquisitive light blue eyes. A ring of hearts adorned her flank, calling her profession into question.

"I'm looking for Primrose?"

With a nod, the mare answered, "Yes, Grandma's been expecting you. Come right in."

The mare stepped aside and Sombra, having gone past the point of no return, slid in past her. If the exterior was a bonfire, the interior was a roaring forest fire, burning with ancient magic that gave Sombra temporary vertigo. Regaining his balance, he made note of the neon blue wallpaper covered in yellow ducks and the shaggy light brown carpeting. The furniture consisted of a dark green recliner, two light orange couches, and several yellow-brown wooden chairs. The young mare gestured towards a doorway covered in reddish-brown bead curtains.

"What you seek...is in there," she intoned with a touch of melodrama.

"Right..."

After a moment of hesitation, Sombra pulled the curtains back and entered, finding himself in a wooden-floored kitchen. Stepping over a small rug, he found a square oak table with a steaming coffee mug situated on the side closest to him. At the furthest end of the kitchen, an elderly mare was absent-mindedly humming to herself while preparing a cup of tea. She turned and smiled at him.

"Hello Sombra. You're right on time. Oh, and don't worry about that vase."

Disarmed by the friendly reception, Sombra took a step back.

"What vase-...?"

His right hindleg bumped into a small stand, causing an orange and yellow vase covered in red polka dots to tumble and smash on the floor.

"That vase," the mare pointed out pleasantly. "It was a gift from an old friend and I didn't have the heart to refuse it or toss it out."

Appearing in her late seventies, early eighties, the mare's coat was a light gambogeish gray, which was thin enough to where Sombra could see her skeleton underneath the places where her indigo and white-spotted apron didn't cover. Her cobalt bluish-gray mane was intermixed with light gray streaks and gathered into a neat bun. A pair of cat eye glasses hung around her neck connected to a beaded lanyard and over her moderate purple eyes, which were red and surrounded by dark bags. Unsurprisingly, her cutie mark was a crystal ball with a swirling vortex within the orb.

"Primrose the Prescient, I presume?"

"You presume correctly, King Sombra. You can drop your glamour. Nopony will see you in here."

The illusion dropped, revealing Sombra's true form. To Primrose's credit, she didn't bat an eye.

"Just 'Sombra.' I'm no longer a king of any kind."

"That remains to be seen," Primrose murmured and then added, "Please, take a seat."

Setting his saddlebags down, Sombra pulled up a chair and eyed the coffee mug. Taking a sip, he smacked his lips and looked at Primrose. "It's black. Just the way I like it."

"I know much about you." Primrose took a seat across from the umbrum. "About many things."

"So it would seem. Why am I here?"

In lieu of an answer, Primrose took a slip of paper out of her apron pocket and slid it face-down across the table. Taking up the paper, Sombra read it and groaned. It said: "Sombra reads a piece of paper." He glared over at Primrose, who broke out in a fit of manic chortling.

"So you're a comedienne?"

"I'm...I'm sorry," Primrose managed between wheezing laughter. "I couldn't resist!" Once the laughter subsided, she wiped her eyes with a handkerchief and sniffled. "When you get to be my age, you learn to enjoy the little things."

"I'm older than you, you know."

"And yet, here you are," Primrose gestured with both forelegs. "Seeking my counsel."

"Only because you invited me!"

"You could've declined."

Sombra snorted contemptuously. "If you know so much, then why is your book incomplete?"

For the first time since he'd met her, Primrose's face drooped. "Ever since I was a filly, I had the gift of foresight. Visions just...came to me without warning. I had no control over what I saw or when I saw it. I just knew what I needed to know. They became stronger with age, often depriving me of sleep, so I compiled a diary of everything that I witnessed. Ten years ago, I wrote a book but when I got to the ending, the visions...stopped. I thought they were gone forever.

Then a curious thing happened: at the time of Lord Tirek's defeat, my visions returned, this time stronger than ever. 'Predictions and Prophecies Volume II' could finally be completed, and I'm almost finished with it. However, I can't publish it. Not yet. Now is not the time."

Sombra leaned forward. "What do you mean?"

"I mean, the information that I have is not ready for anypony else's eyes apart from mine. Events must play out as they should. Think of Equestria as a massive play created by an unseen director and all of us as its actors. It is nearing the end, the curtains are ready to fall, and only the director has the complete script."

"So you're nothing but a puppet, just like the rest of us?"

Primrose's gaze momentarily became icy. "I may be a puppet, but I'm the puppet that can see the strings."

This is going nowhere!

"You never answered my question," Sombra reminded her in a low tone. "Why am I here?"

Primrose's cheery, grandmotherly demeanor returned. "As I said, we all have our parts to play. You know about the rising darkness, don't you?"

"Yes. Midnight, or Nightmare, mentioned it and I've detected its presence."

"We're heading towards the show's climax. The Director has set events in motion that cannot be undone or altered. Twilight Sparkle and her friends are the main stars and you, Sombra Darkhame, are an essential player."

Sombra was on his hooves and towering over the senior citizen, purple mist curling from the edges of his eyes. "Why do you soothsayers insist on being so cryptic? Just spit it out and stop wasting my time!"

Primrose, however, refused to flinch. "What I see is the future but still a ghost of a future. If I simply tell you the results, will it remain as will be or become what is never? Throw a rock into a pond and the ripples come smacking back to the shore. My visions will not change if the course is never altered. As long as I see events play out the way they are, I have some modicum of control. Believe me when I say that your role shall reveal itself to you once it is time."

A clock ticking on the wall became the only audible sound in the room. Slowly, Sombra sank back into his chair and willed the mist away. He felt some shame, some anger at his actions. He looked back up at Primrose.

"Can...may you please tell me about the map?"

The old mare's face brightened. "That I can do. It is a map to a powerful artifact: the Scales of Taijitu."

The Scales of Taijitu were a relic from ancient Chineigh and were said to purge the darkness from one's soul. Sombra, however, couldn't see why Primrose needed to give him a map to their location.

"Really? I thought those were lost ages ago. Why would I need them?"

"You shall see soon enough," Primrose stated cryptically. "You first need the key to reading the map."

"Which is...?"

Swaying her head from left to right, the seeress answered:

"Always chasing, yet always chased,
Has no legs, but will always race
Always full, yet never spills
Always young but over-the-hill."

Sombra frowned. "I'm not fond of riddles. Couldn't you just-...?"

"I would love to chat longer but I have another client coming in soon. We shall talk later."

"That we shall." Sombra finished his coffee and gathered his things. "Good day."

He passed the granddaughter, who smiled, "See you later!"

"Much later, I hope," he answered, not caring if she heard him or not.