• Published 20th Apr 2020
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Disharmony: Gods Among Ponies - Mr-Astounding

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King Sombra

Chapter 4: King Sombra

As night fell on Ponyville, King Sombra couldn’t help but smile to himself as he relaxed in the carriage that pulled him around Ponyville. “Thanks for the lift,” he directed at the dead Guards he had reanimated. “Your loyalty is appreciated.” He then frowned as he observed the streets around him. “Strange place to find potential supporters, but then again, they could be dead by now, given the nature of this place.” He then shrugged. “Well, as much as I’ve appreciated your services, good sirs, I can’t have you drawing the attention of your companions too soon, so…” With that, he canceled his spell, watching with grim satisfaction as they fell like a sack of potatoes soon afterwards, not quite noticing that he himself was being watched from afar.

Having decided to take a look around, he paused as he stumbled upon some graffiti on a building scheduled for demolition, taking note of how it depicted a strange symbol featuring a combination of his dark crystals and some party supplies. “Hmm: not exactly my first pick, but still, it’s nice to know my influence hasn’t completely disappeared.”

He was brought out of his thoughts upon sensing an incoming aerial assault. Quickly turning, he couldn’t help the dark chuckle that escaped his lips upon noticing that it was Twilight Sparkle herself that he had crossed paths with. “Still playing hero, Princess?”

Twilight simply growled in defiance, ready and willing to fight even with the multiple injuries she was sporting that were starting to catch up to her. “This might not be my Equestria, but don’t think for a minute that I’ll just let you have your way with it!”

Sombra simply chuckled, having noticed two ponies approaching. “As fun as it would be to see a Princess bowing before a King, I’m afraid that you have other problems.” With that, he quickly melded with the shadows… just in time for Twilight to be shot at from behind by Rarity, who was being accompanied by Solar Gilda - the latter of whom sporting some sinister looking armor and a scar on her right eye.

“Twilight, Darling,” Rarity declared with some moderate surprise. “It’s been a while.”

“On your feet, Princess,” Gilda snarled out as she roughly grabbed the Alicorn by the forearm.

“Look, it’s good to see you again, but right now, we need to…” ...and that was as far as Twilight got before she was knocked out by a swift kick to her head courtesy of Gilda.

Sombra, having reappeared in a nearby alley way, mockingly shook his head as he took all this in. “Sorry, your highness: your friends are in a different castle.”

Meanwhile, back in Canterlot, Celestia had just put the finishing touches on Tirek's control collar and had decided to put it through its paces...just in case. Shooting a beam at the collar, she gruffly declared, “Hind left leg.” She gave a sinister smirk as Tirek raised said limb, lowering it to the ground with a loud stomp. “Perfect.”

She was brought out of her thoughts, however, upon feeling a faint buzz in her head, quickly noting that Rarity was trying to contact her via a telepathy spell. Intrigued, she decided to let it through. “Yes?”

Solar Rarity could practically be seen grinning over the spell. “Good news, Darling. We've finally done it: Twilight Sparkle's been captured.”

The Solar Empress, however, felt her eyes narrow at this news. The way the former fashionista sounded, she had done so easily: too easily, in fact. “I'm on my way,” she declared, hoping to confirm a hunch she had been forming.

Back in Ponyville, Sombra watched as Twilight was taken away, letting a sigh escape him as he did. “I almost miss her. Almost.” He shook his head to clear his thoughts. “Now, what's next on my to do list?”

“How about you drop dead?”

Blinking in surprise at that declaration, Sombra turned a certain Pink Pony approaching him. “Wait, I remember you. You wield the Element of Laughter. Pinker...Pinka...PINKIE PIE! That's it!”

“That's Pinkamena to you,” the former Party Pony declared as she circled him, an admittedly more deadly looking variation of her Party Cannon at the ready. “Funny story about the Soul-Binder Bomb: I was inside the city when it went off! Even I’m not sure of exactly how I survived the experience, but it changed me, binding the darkness it wielded to my very soul and allowing me to wield its power.” She practically shoved the cannon into Sombra's face with a growl. “Of course, you would've known all of that already that if you were actually King Sombra…”

Despite the obvious threat, Sombra couldn’t help the genuine laughter that escaped him upon hearing what he just had. “Oh, I'm sure you command the bomb's power: probably can summon dark chocolate or black licorice at will.” Needless to say, he wasn’t completely prepared for when the cannon literally went off in his face, sending him back a few feet...but what surprised him even more was that he recognized the payload. “That...that energy: it's based in Dark Magic!”

Pinkamena simply gave a dark laugh of her own. “Candy is dandy, but it doesn't solve everything.”

Maybe it was that King Sombra wasn’t prepared to fight one of the Element Bearers when they themselves were wielding his own signature weapon. Maybe it was that Pinkie Pie in any world had a rather random fighting style and thus the Crystal Tyrant had a tough time figuring out how to launch a counterattack. Maybe it was that the author felt like rambling in order to extend this fight scene for as long as possi…

Wait. Uh, excuse me, ladies and gentlemen: I’ll be right back.

Pinkie Pie, what are you doing?

What’s it look like? I’m injecting a little humor into this party pooper of a story. The last few chapters have been pretty dark in tone to them, you know?

Pinkie, this is essentially “Injustice: Gods Among Us” if it starred you and your friends. It’s supposed to get dark in tone every now and then!

Well, duh, I know that, but just because it has a few dark themes thrown in doesn’t mean that we can’t have a little fun every now and then, right?

I...well, I suppose you have a point there, but that doesn’t give you the right to mess with my script!

If you’re talking about telling everypony about how that meanie Sombra managed to beat my counterpart, I suggested to her that she let him pull off a win off-screen while you were busy arguing with me.

Wait, what?!

Sombra brushed himself off as he gazed upon his fallen opponent. “I'll admit it: I'm actually a little impressed. That was a bit harder than I anticipated.”

Pinkie, you can’t just… Ugh, look, if I let you interject a little humor every now and then, could you maybe leave my script alone?

Oh, sure!

Thank you. Anyways...

Pinkamena couldn’t help but replay the fight in her head, briefly thinking about how jealous everypony who hadn’t seen it would be…

Pinkie…

Eheh, sorry. I’m done now.

“This...this isn't possible,” Pinkamena muttered, looking/feeling a little spooked. “The way you move...the way you…”

“Command respect?”

Pinkamena shook her head. “I was going to say ‘shrug off the darkness,’ but...yeah.”

Here, Sombra couldn’t help but quirk an eyebrow, even as he reluctantly pulls the mare up to her feet. “I take it you actually respect me in this reality.”

Pinkamena simply shook her head. “I wouldn’t go that far, but I do respect what you represent. A lot of ponies know that you were the only one to go up against her and walk away more times than any other opponent. It’s that kind of determination that we need right now.”

Sombra simply nodded even as she gained a dark smile. “This isn't my Canterlot, but I assure you, I am King Sombra.” He actually had to hold back a chuckle at the irony as some of the party pony's signature poofiness started to return to her mane, some semblance of hope reappearing in her eyes after spending years without it. “I take it that means that you know where there are some ponies who are ready and willing to take the fight to Celestia.”

“Do I ever!” Pinkamena shouted with a gleeful snort. “Commander-in-Chief to the Shadow Party, right here! I can show you where they are right now if you’d like!”

Sombra gave a wicked grin as he followed the pink pony. “Very much so...though if you don’t mind me asking, why ‘Shadow Party?’”

Pinkamena simply shrugged. “It was either that or Joker Clan, and NetherRealm Studios beat me to it.”

What the…? Pinkamena?!

What? You said that “Pinkie Pie” could interject a little humor every now and then, and name change or not, that is still technically my name.

Ugh, touche. So, uh, are you and Pinkie done now?

Yeah, I’m good for now.

Me too.

Alrighty then. Anyways, like me...

...all King Sombra could do was massage his forehead as he tried to fight off the coming headache. “Shadow Party's fine.”

Meanwhile, Celestia walked through the halls of Canterlot Castle while accompanied by Applejack - now wearing more casual clothing, consisting of a brown vest and her signature hat, albeit now sporting a few spikes to look intimidating. Though the ponies around her would occasionally bow in reverence and/or respect/fear as she passed by, she paid them little mind as she headed towards her destination.

Upon reaching a certain cell, Applejack nodded to the guards. “Stand down, y’all: we just want a chat with an ‘old friend.’”

Inside the cell, Twilight Sparkle groaned as she regained consciousness, instantly gaining a concern expression upon noticing the bindings on her wings and hooves.

“I wouldn't try to escape if I were you, darling,” Rarity declared with an almost melancholy smile, gesturing to an object on her horn even as she continued to finish preparations for the upcoming visit. “That blocker is designed to produce shock whenever magic is applied to it, and with it attached to your horn…” The former fashionista shook her head upon noticing the look of betrayal that graced the features of her "former" friend. “If it’s any consolation, I was just as upset about what happened to Spike and Rainbow Dash as you were. Don’t worry, though: for the sake of our past friendship, I’ll make sure no harm comes to our late loyal friend’s daughter once we locate her. In the meantime, you have visitors.”

Twilight was still absorbing all of this when Celestia and Applejack, the former of whom instantly scanned her with her magic.

Applejack, meanwhile, couldn’t help the smile she directed at Rarity. “Nice job tracking her down, Sugarcube: how'd you manage...?”

“It's not her.”

Needless to say, Rarity was shocked to hear those words come out of Celestia’s mouth. “What?!”

The Solar Empress simply shook her head in frustration. “She’s not a Changeling, but even though she looks like Twilight Sparkle, her magical aura's all wrong.” She then approached her ex-student's doppelganger. “You're one of the duplicates we've been running into recently: tell us how you got here and what you and the others plan to do.”

Twilight, having gained an inkling of the situation, couldn’t help but glare in response. “Why: so that you can lock my friends up right beside me? So you can let the likes of Sombra walk free? Your Rarity clearly saw me trying to capture him, or rather his doppelganger, if I'm reading this world correctly, and yet I didn’t see her going after him!”

Needless to say, Rarity was shocked to hear this, as were her two companions. “Wait: that was the real Sombra!? I thought it might have been an illusion or something!”

Twilight just scoffed. “He was accidentally brought along with me to this world...but that’s not the point. Illusion or not, I would’ve thought you of all ponies would be generous enough to scout the area out, just to be on the safe side!” She leveled a scowl at Applejack. “And you: locking ponies up without a trial? Hunting down innocent creatures like a lion hunts a gazelle? They would love it here, wouldn’t they?”

“Who?”

“Bright Mac and Buttercup,” was Twilight’s immediate reply. “They’d be so proud.” She didn’t even acknowledge the way the farm pony flinched at that remark even as she turned to glare at her instructor’s doppelganger. “I don’t know where my friends are, and I can’t say for certain how we got here, but given what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t tell you anything even if I did have those answers.”

The Solar Empress merely nodded in reply. “I believe you. Analytical, intelligent, stubborn, and noble to a fault.” Her eyes hardened as she delivered the hardest glare she could muster. “You truly are the doppelganger of my former student, Twilight Sparkle.” And that was all the warning the purple Alicorn got before Celestia delivered the hardest punch she could muster straight to her gut. “I do hope you enjoy your stay here: you won’t be leaving anytime soon.” With that, The Empress took her leave, Rarity and Applejack following close behind. As they did, however, Twilight couldn’t help but notice the slight hesitation that had been in their eyes.

Meanwhile back in Ponyville, Sombra couldn’t help but smile even as he worked to calm down the crowd before him. “I honestly love what you did with the place: the Castle of the Two Sisters has never looked better.” Needless to say, he couldn’t help but share a chuckle with the crowd. “Dear members of the Shadow Party: you know the truth about the Canterlot incident. Celestia killed those ponies, and then she tried to kill me.” He quickly motioned for silence as the some of the crowd "booed" in response. It honestly warmed his heart that there were some genuine admirers of his counterpart in this reality.

“I admire the work you've done in my absence,” the Crystal Tyrant said with 100% honesty. “Distractions, disturbances, general pains in the neck for good old Sunbutt…” He once again shared a brief chuckle with the crowd before gaining a maniac grin. “...but let’s think bigger.”

Pinkamena couldn’t help but let out an impressed whistle. “I have to admit, he really knows how to give a good speech.”

Sombra approached the edge of the stage that had been set up, gesturing to Pinkamena as he did. “Our good friend, Pinkamena, has informed me that Celestia developed this pill that she gives to her ground forces, then Twilight got her hooves on them and now we have them too.” He quickly gulped down one of said pills himself even as the crowd let out another cheers.

After once again managing to calm them down, he let out a dark grin. “From now on, we'll be more than a nuisance: the barking dog will become the rampaging elephant, the whoopie cushion a landmine, and King Sombra...a GOD!” Needless to say, the crowd went hysteric at this declaration...just in time for a wall blow up, revealing several of Celestia’s troopers. One of them managed to shoot Sombra point-blank with a powerful spell...only for the Crystal Tyrant to give a terrifying grin in return. “Surprise!” He yelled out before he snapped his would-be assailant’s neck.

Meanwhile, Pinkamena, having spotted this, realized that she might potentially be a bit over her head in this situation. With that in mind, she quickly activated the distress beacon Twilight had given her back when she had first created the Shadow Party, hoping that her friend would get here before they found themselves in more trouble than they could handle.

Speaking of trouble, Gilda, who had tagged along with the other soldiers, had quickly spotted Sombra and likewise scooped him up. “So, you are back,” the Gryphon remarked as she held the Umbra/pony hybrid by the neck, even as she allowed herself to acknowledge that the Princess had been telling the truth. “Never thought I’d see that ugly mug again.”

Sombra just scoffed. “You aren’t a prize yourself, missy,” he declared before blasting her back, almost casually dropping to the ground as he did.

Gilda just growled in defiance. “I'm going to enjoy seeing you delivered to Celestia again.”

“You’ll have to catch me first,” Sombra declared.

Having been a regular sparring partner with Rainbow Dash and having five years to improve on her fighting skills since then, Gilda was not an easy opponent to beat. Still, like Pinkamena had mentioned earlier, Sombra had gone up against Celestia herself, and, while not personally at Alicorn strength personally, that meant that he was well-versed in fighting tenacious opponents. Combined with his ability to use his magic to force those around him, alive or dead, to fight in his place, and unfortunately it was only a matter of time before the Gryphon learned the hard way why Sombra was called King.

Sombra simply gave an arrogant chuckle as he approached his fallen opponent. “How would you like your wings, girl: baked or fried?”

“Thanks, but I think I’d prefer stir-fried Unicorn.” And that was all the warning Sombra got before he was blasted away from the fallen Griffon by a Changeling that looked a lot like how Thorax had appeared before Chrysalis’ second defeat, albeit with darker wings and a red neck fin as opposed to the usual blue.

The Crystal Tyrant simply scoffed as he took in his new opponent. “So, the bug got tired of dining with Twilight and cozied up to Celestia. Tell me: who’s hooves are tastier to lick?”

“Twilight’s a criminal, just like you.”

Sombra simply rolled his eyes. “Nothing like me.”

The Changeling simply scoffed. “You don’t honestly expect me to believe you’re a hero where you come from, do you?”

“Nothing so cut and dry,” was King Sombra’s reply. “You see, Twilight sways the hearts and minds of those around them in order to maneuver her foes in a position to be defeated. I, on the other hoof, remove their defiance at the source.”

While as a simple drone, the Thorax look-alike was nowhere near as strong as Chrysalis herself, that didn’t necessarily make him weak. Combined with his shapeshifting abilities, Sombra was actually on the defensive for a short while. Unfortunately, if there was one thing Sombra was multiversally known for, it was his raw cunning. Having used the first few minutes of the fight to learn about his opponent, it was a simple manner to use his magic to disrupt the Changeling’s shapeshifting capabilities, leaving him wide open for a sucker punch to the face, knocking him out.

“Once a bug, always a bug,” Sombra declared as he readied himself to literally stomp out his opponent. Fortunately for him and all of Pinkamena’s allies, reinforcements had arrived in the form of Twilight Sparkle and her inter-dimensional allies.

“We’re out-numbered,” Solar Gilda declared as she scooped up her own ally, even as the Republic overwhelmed the Empire’s forces. “Let’s just go.” Sombra could growl in irritation as the two flew off into the distance.

Meanwhile Pinkamena grinned as her friend approached her, shutting the distress beacon off as she did. “Thanks for showing up so fast, Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle.”

“Yeah, Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle,” yelled out a stallion from within the castle.

Pinkamena just smiled as she suddenly adopted a red tie and a black hat. “Darn right, Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle.”

Was...was that a reference to the Nostalgia Critic?

Yes, yes it was.

...okay.

Twilight just rolled her eyes even as she brought the mare into a hug even as said tie and hat disappeared. “It’s good to see you too, Pinkie.”

Sombra simply gave an arrogant chuckle as he approached the group. “Well, your highness, what do we do now?”

Applejack couldn’t help but growl upon recognizing the Unicorn before her. “Sombra…” …and that was all the warning the Crystal Tyrant got before quickly finding himself tied up by the Element of Honesty.

Despite the circumstances, Sombra simply rolled his eyes. “Does this mean I won't receive any apple pie?”

Needless to say, Rarity was shocked, and rightfully so. “Pinkie, Pinkamena, or whatever you call yourself, please tell me that's not who I think it is…”

Here, Pinkamena had the decency to give a sheepish, if not irritated, blush. “I know how this looks, but believe me when I say that sometimes you need to embrace the darkness to show ponies the light.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “That’s not you talking: that’s all the stress you’ve had to go through these past five years. Yes, darkness can sometimes be a good thing, but can you honestly look me in the eye and say that you think that going after Celestia with the stallion who killed her sister by your side is a good idea?”

“Speaking of which,” Princess Ember remarked even as Pinkamena looked down in shame, “if Sombra is here, there’s a good chance that he didn’t come alone.”

“She’s right,” Rainbow Dash declared as she approached with Sci-Twi at her side. “Where’s Twilight?”

“Which one?” Sombra deadpanned, nodding to Lunar Twilight and Sci-Twi even as he struggled to escape from Applejack’s hold.

Lunar Twilight simply growled in reply even as she approached the Crystal Tyrant. “Your eyes: full of wickedness, just like the ones I'm used to…”

Here, Sombra quirked an eyebrow, a wicked grin on his face. “You mean Celestia? Her little lackeys took your little friend. I might be able to help you get her back, if you’re willing to make a deal…”

Lunar Twilight just shook her head, quickly knocking him out with a paralysis spell. “No thanks: I don’t make deals with the likes of you.”

“Uh, I think he might have been telling the truth...at least about how Celestia’s allies have captured our Twilight,” Fluttershy declared. “She’d probably appreciate it if we came to rescue her. I mean, if you don’t mind that is.”

Lunar Twilight simply sighed. “It's not that simple: we don’t even know for sure where she’s being held. Don’t worry, though: I’ll have some scouts sent out to track down her location while we focus on the primary mission.”

Pinkamena gasped, hope once again shining in her eyes. “Does that mean...?”

Lunar Twilight merely smirked in reply. “It does, but first, I need you to get your forces to a more secure location: they'll be a target now…” She gave the unconscious Sombra a glare “...and you won't make that target any smaller.” With that, she quickly encases the Crystal Tyrant in her magic before looking to the others. “Gather up any supplies you believe me to be essential and then meet me at the edge of Ponyville: tonight, we’re storming the Castle of Friendship.” With that said, she teleported away to deposit Sombra in a holding cell.

To be continued