• Published 3rd Nov 2019
  • 420 Views, 7 Comments

Their shared history - Askre

Princess Cadance wanted answers from King Sombra regarding his rise to power in the Crystal Empire. He gave her a bit more than she bargained for.

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Chapter 3. Things are cleared up.

Chapter 3

“So did he or did he not kill her?” Cadance asked, utterly confused. She and Luna had stepped away from King Sombra’s cage, walking down the steps leading to the walkway that led to the gates. It was the Moon Princess who had gestured for them to walk away, as the king seemed unwilling to respond any further.

“I do not know,” was all her aunt could say. Luna looked thoughtful as she considered what they had learned. They stopped at the bottom of the stairs, Cerberus walking over, all three heads panting.

“So Sombra does not have a son?” the Love Princess then inquired.

“No, as I already explained, he was remembering memories belonging to a Sombra from a different world. I believe now that he’s imprisoned, that it is first now fully registering with him how affected he was back when he was a spirit. He could focus his mind on other things before, so it never truly appeared to bother him,” her aunt explained.

Cadance rubbed her forehead tiredly as she tried to make sense of all of this. Luna in the meantime flew up to scratch Cerberus behind the ears on one of the heads. The pink alicorn glanced back up to the glowing platform, her eyes focusing on Sombra’s cage. The Dark Pony looked to have fallen asleep again.

“Is there any way to get the information we want?” the princess of love wondered. She was not convinced that Sombra would be very cooperative anymore.

Luna landed back on the ground next to her niece. She was staring towards the platform as well, regarding the slumbering form of the Dark King. Her eyes narrowed a little as she considered an option that was only available to her.

“He is currently sleeping. I could enter his dreams. Dreams are often memories,” Luna said and frowned heavily. “However, considering who we are speaking of, it might be too dangerous. Sombra may not have his magic with that block placed on him, but he still has his tongue and you yourself have felt how stinging it can be.”

Cadance could only nod, remembering how easily Sombra had gotten under her skin yesterday just by talking.

“Do you care to tell me in more detail what he told you yesterday? Shining Armor gave Celestia only an abridged version,” Luna looked at her niece. “I might be able to spot the inconsistencies.”

The Love Princess sighed and braced herself as she began telling Luna exactly what Sombra told her. The Moon Princess listened attentively, only occasionally furrowing her brow during the tale.

“Alright we know he did not kill Commander Hurricane - he was already dead. Removing him out of the story, however, isn’t overly tricky. If these two time ponies existed in our world, it is possible they witnessed your mother’s murder and managed to evade Sombra and escape with you…” Luna’s stopped as suddenly something came to her. “The time ponies. We are in the wrong place to ask questions.”

“Oh, please don’t tell me we have to deal with the Time Pony Council,” Cadance groaned in exasperation.

“No, no, I have a specific time pony in mind,” Luna assured her and opened a portal. “Come with me.”

“You know, this really isn’t a very constructive way to form any kind of relationship!” a brown pony yelled as he clung to dear life to a tree branch. The tree was dangerously close to a cliff and attacking the tree were several timberwolves trying to bring it and the pony down.

“I was just passing through your territory. How was I supposed to know this was your budding grounds,” the pony snapped and cringed when the tree shook more as the wooden wolves growled and continued to ram themselves up against it.

“Okay, let us just calm down and think about this rationally,” he continued to try and talk to them, but the creatures seemed little interested in conversing. The tree was loosening from the soil and starting to lean dangerously over the cliff edge.

Oh, how I wish the myth that we time ponies can change into a new pony form when near death was true right now, the pony grimaced when gaining an uncomfortable view of the rocky bottom of the cliff.

Suddenly there was a yelp as a bolt of magic landed on the ground close to the wolves and they jumped away in panic. A second and third bolt sent them all fleeing. The time pony looked up and raised his brow when seeing two alicorns, one pink and one blue, descending from the sky.

“Having some timberwolf trouble, Doctor Whooves?” Princess Luna asked as she and Cadance landed next to the tree. She grabbed the pony with her magic and safely floated him to the ground next to them.

“Let’s just say I have gained a new appreciation for the term ‘papa wolf’ and leave it at that,” Whooves said as he put a hoof over his racing heart. “Thank you, your highnesses.”

“It was no trouble,” Cadance said with a smile.

“So what brings you two here?” Whooves asked as he took another peek down the cliff. At that moment the tree loosened completely and crashed downwards. The time pony gulped when seeing it smash at the bottom.

“We need to ask you something related to King Sombra,” Princess Luna explained, prompting the doctor to give her an uncertain glance.

Cadance sighed and started telling him about her visit to King Sombra in Tartarus, both yesterday and today. Luna noted instantly that Whooves looked uncomfortable at certain points in the telling, especially when the two mysterious time ponies were brought up.

“Well I suppose it was only a question of time, pardon the pun,” Whooves muttered and sat down.

“What can you tell us, doctor?” Cadance had now noticed how uncomfortable Whooves looked.

“We time ponies have been dealing with King Sombra for quite a while. He found his way into our hidden lands and stole copies of some volatile time spells, spells he later used to do some damage with. You can ask Private Iceland about that,” the time pony began. Both Luna and Cadance nodded.

“Initially yes, we did send two agents after him…my great-great-great-great grandparents,” Whooves looked down and shook his head. “And they rescued you, Cadance, after Sombra had wormed himself into your mother’s court, either corrupting or mind-controlling her entire staff and guards. They were too late to save your mother before Sombra had her own guards attack her, claiming she was a changeling spy having replaced the princess. My great-great-great-great grandparents were also accused of being changelings and had to run for their lives. They managed to grab you and had hoped to deliver you straight to Princess Celestia.”

“But Discord?” Luna asked and nodded when Whooves groaned in confirmation over what had complicated that plan.

“So why was I delivered to an earth pony village nearly a thousand years later?” Cadance asked, confused.

“Three guesses and the first two don’t count,” Whooves grumbled and though the Love Princess didn’t catch on, Luna did.

“The Time Pony Council ordered it?” Luna rolled her eyes and shook her head. “How many lives have they irrevocably altered with their insane decisions?”

“Too many.” Whooves snorted and shook his head. “Anyway, the Time Pony Council refused to allow my great-great-great-great grandparents to take care of you for the time being while the Princesses dealt with Discord. Instead, they ordered you to be left at some random village at some point in time when Discord was no longer ruling Equestria. My great-great-great-great grandparents decided to take it a step further. They decided to leave you at a point in time that would ensure you could return to the Crystal Empire as its rightful ruler eventually.”

“But that didn’t happen until a thousand years later because after my sister and I defeated King Sombra, his curse on the Crystal Empire kicked in and it vanished for that long,” Luna said and both Whooves and Cadance agreed.

“We knew of course when Discord would no longer rule. That was 30 years tops, so you can imagine how happy the Time Pony Council was when they learned Cadance had been pushed a thousand years further forward because that’s how long it took for the Crystal Empire to return,” the time pony said with a slight smirk.

“Not very happy at all, I can imagine. I see that your tenacity to ignore and disobey the Time Pony Council is a family trait,” Princess Luna chuckled and smiled when Whooves took a deep bow from his position.

“Guilty as charged. My family has always been vehemently against how it operates. This is why my family has always worked so well with you and your sister,” he claimed with a proud smile.

“So Sombra was mostly telling the truth after all, just mixed up with those… uh, other world versions?” Cadance looked at Luna, still not quite getting that part.

“Oh dear, don’t get me started on them. Did you know there are versions of us time ponies in other worlds that travel time in strange boxes? That guy in the blue one is insufferable. He actually rammed his damn - excuse my language - box into the timestream, sending a shock wave across the multiverse that affected our world. We personally now aren’t affected by it, but it created several alternate timelines, one of which where Sombra is raising Private Iceland as his own son. It’s a mess!” Whooves groaned.

“We’ll take your word for it,” Luna couldn’t help but chuckle a little again, Whooves looked so irritated.

“I don’t even understand half of it, so don’t worry, I won’t ask any further. I’m quite happy with this world as it is,” Cadance assured the time pony.

“But do you, Cadance, now feel satisfied that all your questions were answered?” Luna asked the younger alicorn. Cadance frowned.

“Well, I rather not think too hard about it but… Sombra being my crystaller, was that true?” the love princess wondered and looked at Whooves, who smiled nervously as if he really did not want to answer that question.

“Why is that so important?” Luna wondered. Before Flurry Heart, a royal crystalling hadn’t been performed since before Sombra took power. She was a little murky on the details of the office of a crystaller.

“No, it’s just that the Royal Crystaller is basically the caretaker of the royal foal. I’m not relishing the thought that King Sombra probably held me in his filthy legs as a baby,” Cadance shuddered.

“Ah,” Luna nodded, understanding why that wasn’t exactly a pleasant thought. Then she frowned. “Would he even know how to care for a baby?”

Then the Moon Princess smirked and looked at Cadance. “Want to go torment Sombra some more?”

“Are we even allowed to do something like that?” her niece whispered.

“Oh, we won’t cause him any physical or mental harm, just embarrass him a little,” Luna chuckled.

Cadance arched her brow, then glanced at Whooves who just shrugged, not really wanting to comment on this. The love princess looked at Luna again, then she smirked herself.

“Aunt Tia will not be happy about that,” she remarked and rose to stand.

“I won’t tell her if you won’t,” her aunt chuckled.

“Are you wasting what little magic you have left to write letters?” King Sombra asked skeptically as he watched Tirek in his cage, writing a letter then with great effort managing to send it away. Every time the centaur did this, he looked even older and frailer.

“Oh if this works, it will be more than worth it,” Tirek chuckled gleefully, then entered a coughing fit. Feeling tired, he laid down, still smiling wickedly.

Sombra shook his head. Then one of the monsters in a cage down below roared for some reason or another. “Oh, be quiet down there.”

Surprisingly there was a whine and things went silent. Tirek looked at Sombra, mildly impressed. He did his best to see further down and noticed that some of the monsters did glance towards the Dark Pony’s cage almost fearfully.

“I see that your title King of Monsters isn’t too out of place,” the centaur remarked.

“Grogar may have fathered them,” Sombra looked at Tirek and smirked. “I ruled them.”

Then he sneered a little and rolled his eyes. “Didn’t do me much good. Discord started his havoc in Equestria when I took over the Crystal Empire, so the ponies just thought the monsters I sent down south to scout things out were his doing.”

“Back when I was in hiding after my resurrection, I decided to test the field a little. I sent a bugbear to Ponyville, just to create a little ruckus.” He eyed to the cage with the bugbear. “Of course Princess Twilight and her meddlesome friends took care of it.”

“Then Celestia clearly went on a cleaning spree across Equestria,” Sombra rose a little to scan all the cages. “Yes, she got most of them. I swear next time…”

Tirek wouldn’t hear what Sombra planned for next time, a glowing portal opened and through it came Princess Luna and Princess Cadance. Sombra groaned in exasperation and slumped back down. He gave them a very tired ‘now what’ look because he already knew they were here to talk with him.

“We have confirmed parts of your memories and filled in the gaps for the rest,” Princess Luna announced as she and her niece approached the cage.

“And I take it you are here to share those gap fillers with me?” Sombra snorted, then became unsure when seeing the smirks come over the two alicorns.

“So you were my Royal Crystaller after all,” Cadance said and laughed to herself.

“I fail to see what’s so amusing about that?” the king raised one eyebrow.

“Oh just the thought of you trying to feed an infant, changing a diaper,” Cadance tried to stifle more laughter, having already witnessed poor Sunburst trying to do that with Flurry Heart. There was no reaction from Sombra. He just stared at them for a long minute.

Luna and Cadance became aware that there didn’t seem to be anything at all coming from Sombra - he just stared at them. Tirek was laughing and coughing, but the king just remained silent.

“Did we break him already?” Cadance looked at Luna unsure. That had been way too easy.

Sombra finally crossed his front legs, moved his eyes for a moment as if he was trying to find the right words before finally peering uncertainly at the princesses.

“And you find that amusing?” he asked, confused.

“Well…” the love princess found that reaction rather odd, it was as if Sombra wasn’t bothered at all that they knew he had probably done these things.

“I’m a Dark Pony, a stallion. Who do you think did the majority of the child-rearing in our culture?” Sombra asked and this time the princesses were the ones who looked confused. “Do you know anything about my time as a prince in my mother’s court? I raised my sister from infancy. Sure we had servants to help, but I was the older brother. It was my job to take care of her.”

“Wait, did you come here expecting me to be embarrassed that you knew I took care of an infant?” Sombra blinked, then started laughing. “For the record Princess Cadance, you were a very fussy infant. If your porridge weren’t exactly right, you would throw it across the room.”

Both alicorns were at a loss of words, they had a hard time picturing the dark king holding and caring for an infant, yet here was Sombra making light of it, even sharing an embarrassing story about Cadance as a baby.

“And don’t get me started on your flight bursts. You started flying so early; you went all over the place. It sometimes took me hours to find you again,” Sombra snorted and rolled his eyes, sounding far more like a parent right now than a dark, defeated ruler in a cage.

“Once, you actually grabbed such a firm hold on the Crystal Heart in one of your escapes, your mother and I had to let you sleep with it until your grip loosened,” the king continued and sighed tiredly.

At this moment, Luna and Cadance decided that it was high time to leave. Things had not gone at all like they had pictured and by the looks of it, Sombra appeared to downright enjoy reminiscing about this, despite his apparent frustration. Without a word, the two princesses disappeared through a portal.

“Well, you handled that well. They were clearly here to try and gain some satisfaction from the mental image of you handling an infant.” Tirek had stopped laughing, but he was still smirking himself, finding it an amusing thought.

“Exactly. These ponies… they always expect me to react with roaring rage or great embarrassment.” Sombra shook his head. Then he grinned. “But it was all true, want to hear more of the chaos Princess Cadance caused in her infancy?”

“Embarrassing stories about one of our enemies,” Tirek rubbed his chin thoughtfully before grinning. “I’m all ears.”

“Oh then let me tell you when that Princess of Love escaped into the Royal Library. It took weeks to reorganize all the books she threw around,” Sombra began, mocking laughter soon echoing through Tartarus.

The two mildly embarrassed Princesses stepped through the portal, glancing at each other and chuckling halfheartedly.

“Let us never speak of that again,” Cadance whispered and shook her head. A throat being cleared caused both of them to snap their heads forward. Staring down at them was Princess Celestia.

“Luna, Cadance,” the sun princess addressed them.

“Sister, ah, we had just finished that visit we needed to make to give our niece a peace of mind,” Luna started and smiled. It started to drop when she noticed that her sister looked stern.

“My sister, you are aware that we have spells active that track all visits to Tartarus. I allowed that second visit when seeing that Cadance needed to finish up what she had clearly started with Shining Armor when they first visited Tartarus to get some answers from King Sombra,” Celestia said, her eyes narrowed a little. It was almost painfully obvious to the smaller alicorns that she knew something. “Care to explain that third visit I detected on the same day, because we clearly detected an earlier departure several hours ago.”

Sighing in defeat the two alicorns confessed, adding in an explanation of what they had learned both from Sombra first and then what Whooves had told them. They then waited with bated breath for Celestia’s reaction. They were mildly surprised to see a smile crack on the sun princess who then quietly chuckled.

“And you two honestly thought that would work on King Sombra? Tirek maybe, but Sombra?” Celestia chuckled.

“I admit we expected another reaction,” Cadance muttered.

“Oh Cadance, that stallion is utterly shameless. He would brag about tending to his garden of roses if he thought it would rob you of the enjoyment of seeing the reaction you expected,” Celestia claimed as she turned her attention to her niece. “He doesn’t care what others think about him, he really doesn’t.”

“Would you know how to embarrass him?” Luna asked, narrowing her eyes a little when Celestia gave her a knowing smile.

“I might, but after the stunt you two pulled, I’m not telling you,” Celestia shrugged a little, then she resumed a more stern look. “Being powerless is what torments Sombra right now and that is his punishment. Let that be enough. He’s in prison, he’s contained and that’s where he will remain.”

Princess Luna and Cadance just quietly nodded, figuring they had just dodged a bullet and that it was better not to push their luck any further.

End chapter 3

Author's Note:

The accident caused by the "idiot" in the blue box, happened in Frozen Shadow, a story by Hail King Sombra.

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