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dragonofruin

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Everything posted by dragonofruin

  1. King Sombra quietly grunted and cast Raven another sidelong glance, this one a curious one. What sort of magic could she do with a cracked horn? It made him wonder, and he filed it as another question to ask her once he even broached that topic. For now, he kept his silence, letting Raven talk on the way through Canterlot's streets and towards one of the few buildings left still with their windows lit. It was a restaurant. Sombra paused in front of the building to give Raven a look, his brow furrowing in confusion. Help him? So she knew who he was, but why help him? He was a monster, the very king of monsters, who was responsible for the terror and trauma the crystal ponies went through during the time of his reign. And she wanted to.. help him. He was still torn between wondering if she was merely bold, or foolish. He wanted to lean towards the latter, but the fact that this mare had managed to keep it together and wanted to stick around and help him spoke of something of her character. Perhaps he'd come across one of the few ponies who was an individual, a pony who thought for herself and stood up to the threats and challenges of life rather than running away. His opinion about her might change yet. The tall stallion followed her into the restaurant, idly sniffing at what scents of food there were as he seated himself across from Raven. The waiter arrived, and Sombra was caught by surprise when Raven chose to order cider for the other ponies present. It spoke of wealth, and her earlier mention of a Dupone family made it much more clearer that she was from a distinguished house. However, it still meant nothing to Sombra. Seeing her look, he waved a hoof at her, indicating that she might as well go ahead and order something for him. If she knew what was good, then she was free to order it if she wished. He would try whatever it was, so long as she didn't deliberately get him something disgusting as some sort of.. prank. "So. What was it that you meant by 'the least you can do for Equestria' by helping me?" Sombra ventured to ask, first. It was one detail that'd snagged at his mind, an important one that implied.. something. Something he might not like, depending on what her answer was.
  2. The fear that rippled through the crowd after his reveal was palpable, and he breathed deep of it. It was a feast for an umbrum, made better by the crystal ponies present. King Sombra took a black and vicious pleasure in it, and knowing that they would never be able to escape from him, that they would know he would never die. That he could never be killed, no matter their efforts. His decision to reveal himself, while risky, meant that he would have some control over the situation. With him, it would always be about control, so long as he never found a reason to change. Nothing so far had ever given him that reason to change; he was comfortable where he was at, unchallenged. Sombra worked himself up from a trot to a gallop once he was on the tilt-yard proper, charging down his side of the fence with his familiar aggressiveness and solely focused on the opponent that he'd successfully unsettled. They were afraid, he could see it in the lines of their body and on their face as they attempted to recover and face him in this match. He bared his monstrous teeth and aimed his lance, intent on trying to knock the crystal pony over as they met. Sombra felt their own lance hit and glance off of his armor harmlessly. The crowd was working its way back up to its usual cheers and stomping, and Sombra soon became aware why as he reached the other end of the tilt yard, the end of the fence. The announcer was attempting to pass off his reveal as a miscast illusion spell, a mere mistake that they would have somepony fix. Sombra gritted his teeth, snout wrinkling in annoyance. They couldn't possibly take this away from him.. and judging by the way many of the crystal ponies were looking, some of the control still remained with him. They still had their memories, their reminders, and they could see him clearly. The stallion snorted and trotted back around to the side of the fence his opponent had been previously occupying, ready to run down the tilt-yard again for another pass. No matter.
  3. Everything going on within the room, the voice of Black Ice and Stormstride, were paid close attention to by Sombra even while he turned to see who belonged to that oddly familiar voice. His eyes alighted upon Miles, and it took him that moment to register who and what he was looking at. Having been around ponies for a little too long made Miles' appearance slightly jarring within this meeting room, but it- he- was unmistakable. A pleased, fang-baring smirk crossed Sombra's face and he rose, removing his rear hooves from the edge of Black Ice's table to approach the koma-inu. "Why, of course it's me. Who else could even come close to my looks?" Sombra replied, shaking out his long mane. The way it moved, it had a slight wavy movement to it, like rippling shadows. "I thought you were gone, dead perhaps, to the years." Escaped, perhaps, from the Crystal Empire before his curse dragged it down with him. Abandoned him. Truly, no matter how intriguing or unusual the pony or creature, Sombra could trust nopony, and could trust the supposed loyalty of nopony. In his eyes, loyalty was a lie. It was time for him to discover what happened with Miles after his defeat, and the Crystal Empire's disappearance from the world, and see if there was anything to Miles's loyalty. Behind him, the conversation went on between Black Ice and Stormstride, the latter pony answering the question Sombra asked. Equestria had no real protection and, as he could guess, no real army to speak of to deal with the real threats it'd been putting up with. It was both disappointing, and not surprising. The royal sisters seemed to have gotten soft over the years, and they'd let their citizens be soft, too. Spoiled, sheltered foals who put their princesses upon a pedestal. If he'd managed to regain the Crystal Empire and could actually go through with something he'd been thinking about, a plan he'd been toying with, Sombra would have likely met no resistance in his attempt to conquer Equestria, too. It would've been done for a variety of reasons, and for the umbrum most of all.. But that had never come to pass, and the umbrum were never freed. The king knew, in some small way, that they were just using him to achieve their freedom when he'd never asked to be their champion to start with. An ear twitched towards the word, orphan, and Sombra paused to listen. It was surprising to hear that the angry Stormstride, and her brother Buck were- had been- orphans. He made a mental note to get to know the pair sometime, if he could. Perhaps he'd be able to work with them too if he was given a chance to. He wanted to know more about them, why such grey-furred ponies also had curved horns when nopony else he'd seen ever did. The shadow king stepped up near Miles to glance back over the room, noticing there were two new arrivals. A new pegasus, and a certain bat-winged pony he recognized. An eyebrow lifted and he grunted, amused. It figured he'd see Midnight here of all places.. His attention drifted back to Miles, deciding he'd paid the rest of the room enough attention for now.
  4. The mare didn't react the way he expected her to and it disappointed him. In revealing his real name, he would think ponies might react with fear, to flee or quake in their horseshoes once they realized who exactly they were dealing with. The king of monsters, and the tyrant of the Crystal Empire. Yet, this mare chose to react with a pun. Was he losing his touch? It wasn't a good sign if he was- it meant starvation if he couldn't feed off of their fear. A heavy sigh escaped him, as though he dealt with plenty of puns and he'd found hers especially wearying. One thing was made certain: she did know who he was, or suspected it. "If you can call it good companionship," he muttered, turning in place and falling into step by Raven's side. An ear was still focused on her while she asked her questions, told him a little about herself and even went so far as to dare offer him a place to rest. Him, a mere, intimidating stranger. It puzzled him. His brows furrowed and he glanced over at the mare, wondering if she was simply clueless, or foolish. Still, he had to admit, he did need a place to stay.. a place to rest his head, and somewhere that would allow him to bathe. After the first chance he'd gotten to bathe in Equestria, he wanted to do so a little more regularly if he could help it. "You would be correct. The Frozen North; more specifically, the Crystal Empire itself," Sombra answered truthfully, as if he intended to confirm any suspicions about him. "As it stands, I don't really have a place to stay. I was lingering around Ponyville for a while." After he'd admitted that, he glanced over at Raven after how she'd seemed to ramble and noticed that slight change in her expression. She certainly seemed worried now, but about what, Sombra couldn't be sure. "Do you really intend on offering me a room? We only just met. It seems.. strange. You could be inviting home a thief, or something worse. Are all ponies in Equestria like this?" Sombra still intended on asking the mare about the crack in her horn, a more substantial answer than 'abnormality', but that chance would come in time. He was merely being patient, and following the flow of this conversation.
  5. A dark eyebrow rose in disbelief. Did ponies put the royal sisters on so high a pedestal that they believed the princesses to be omniscient? Gods? King Sombra quietly scoffed and rolled his eyes. They weren't gods, they were vulnerable, but long lived, immortals with great power- and still ponies. They were flawed beings, they made mistakes, they could lose, they could fail. Though they defeated him, they had lost the Crystal Empire to his curse, had failed to protect the very ponies he'd been hurting and terrorizing during his reign. He knew exactly what he was doing; there was no excuse not to know. They weren't omniscient, nor could they know he returned, although he was sure that somewhere in the backs of their minds, they might suspect his potential to return. Sombra could only hope they thought him truly dead after the way the Crystal Heart's magic had torn him apart before the eyes of their pawns, the very pawns they'd sent to prevent him from retaking the empire. He knew, for certain, that the new crystal princess was just a puppet they'd placed upon the empire's throne.. no matter how much like Amore she seemed to look, but he'd only managed to catch a glimpse of her when she flew by him that day. A scowl had settled on Sombra's face while he walked, and some of it lingered when his mind came back to the present, becoming aware again that Midnight was talking about how he hadn't foalnapped some 'princess of love' unlike this Queen Chrysalis figure. He sifted through his mind, letting what'd been said catch up to him with recall. "As I've said before, you certainly seem to make a lot of assumptions about me. I had my reasons for taking over the Crystal Empire, and it'd been the only choice left to me too. I do not have dreams about taking over kingdoms. I hardly dream, or sleep, at all," Sombra grumbled. A soft grunt was the response to the apology. Offended? Maybe he was, a little. "The original part of the city?" he repeated, musing. It might be interesting to see it, something that made it clear that the capital city of Canterlot wasn't so perfect as it tried to present itself. Although he knew the truth, especially when it came to ponies. Remaining quiet, Sombra continued to walk with the areion and began to notice the change in the structure of the buildings until they finally reached Old Canterlot, and he eyed the wooden buildings and their more dated architecture. "I can see why they wouldn't," Sombra quietly commented. Those stuck up so-called nobles thought they were too good for anything. The mention of it being in the shadow of the castle drew his eye up to the skyline, where he could still see the spires and towers of the marble castle against the star-flecked blue-black night sky, and the moon. "Why do you.. areion live here?"
  6. King Sombra could see how he'd affected the mare through those subtle details in her body language, as well as her voice when she finally spoke up again. One of his ears twitched and he glanced up, looking at the surrounding street and pondering where he'd even seen restaurants further back. He knew he'd caught the scents of food wafting out of the building whenever a pony entered or exited one. Maybe he'd be able to find them again, if he really was deigning to help her despite what he'd already told her: he didn't know any restaurants here. His brow furrowed. "The name, your house, means nothing to me. I'm not from around here, or Equestria at all," Sombra replied flatly. It did sound like it'd been a name, a family, of some importance once, but he didn't know what kind of importance. Royalty? Wealthy? He lifted a shoulder in a small shrug and turned his intense red gaze back upon the mare, Raven. She'd said her name was Raven. "There will be no mister." Sombra paused, considering what name he would give her. He had two choices: to give her a fake name he'd thought of, despite how obvious it was when paired with his appearance, or he could simply tell her who he really was with a little theatrics for his own entertainment. See how Raven reacted to that, if she would recognize who he was at all. The Equestrians' knowledge of him was patchy at best. Either they might have heard some mention of him in the history books, or didn't even know who he was, much less recognized him by appearance alone. It.. intrigued him. Was Equestria's education so -- poor? "Sombra. I am Sombra." Settling on a decision at last, the king gave the mare his name, unintentionally doing the same as she was: pulling himself out of his rambling thoughts. After he'd been stuck in that icy void of a prison for a thousand years, he'd had nothing to do but think, and often he felt as if he were trapped within his own mind, his thoughts pulling him away from the world around him for whatever crossed his mind. "I suppose I can attempt to show you the way to whatever might still be open. I know I passed a few on the way, though I didn't stop for them. I don't know Canterlot."
  7. It was Sombra who was the silent one, a single ear cocked Chesster's way and taking in all of the crystal pony's comments and observations while he watched the jousting competitors face off. Their numbers thinned as jousters failed their matches and walked away defeated. Soon it came time for Chesster himself to go on, and Sombra was surprised for a split second before he remembered that they were both competitors too- sitting on the sidelines had made him forget. His interest piqued, and the king straightened up from his slight slouch. Practice was one thing, getting to see Chesster in an actual match was entirely another, and it excited him. A little. He'd get to see Chesster in serious action, and judge whether he'd be able to exploit anything should he make it far enough for the crystal pony to become his opponent. Sombra quieted his thoughts and concentrated on the pair, making notes of how equally matched they were until Chesster pulled off something daring to win. It'd been a risky move, but he'd managed it and claimed victory rather than making a mistake and failing. Sombra was going to remember that. What bothered him was that he wasn't quite sure how to deal with Chesster himself. Those dark eyebrows of his rose at Chesster as the stallion made his way back over, wordlessly expressing how he felt about the win: impressed. It was rare for him to show anything of the sort, but he'd allow it this one time. Soon, much to his surprise, the fake name he was given was called out by the announcer. Something like dread coiled in his stomach and Sombra pushed himself to his hooves, stepping past the lances the tournament left for its competitors and plucked one out, locking it onto his armor as he made his way around the edge of the tilt yard to his side. He could see the pony he was to face off against doing the same on the opposite side. Upon noticing that they were a crystal pony, he knew exactly what he would need to do in order to gain an upper hoof in this tournament, something that he had been planning from the start. It was time. King Sombra took the little time he had to finally reveal himself. Dark magic flickered up his horn as he removed the illusion around it. No longer did it look like a spiral unicorn's horn, but his own- wickedly curved and red. He knew it would cause a stir among them- Sombra could only hope they didn't try to interfere, panic, or cancel the tournament entirely all because of his very presence. Surely the crystal ponies had some spine. Perhaps they'd even get angry and wish to defeat him, and that anger would make them reckless. A smirk crossed his muzzle, baring one of his sharp fangs to both his opponent, and those near enough to see it; among other aspects of his appearance that would make it well known who it was. Sombra tossed his head and aggressively pawed at the hardpack earth with a hoof before he started forward, intent on the start of the match. If he let himself think, his thoughts and his anxiety would get in the way. He only needed to act and do what he'd been practicing.
  8. A soft grunt escaped him and Sombra fell silent, his ears tilting towards the sound of the mare's voice. "I don't live here so I cannot tell you what unique restaurant you can eat at," he answered flatly. Her mention of a party was enough for him to wonder why she hadn't eaten before she left, and ended up with this apparently difficult decision. Was there anything in Canterlot that could still be open this late? He hardly knew. The only thing that'd become familiar about the city was the way its streets were set up and decorated, the types of shops it offered, and the white marble buildings with their lovely purple and gold roofs. Sombra inclined his head when the pony stepped into the light. The golden glow of the streetlamp altered her colors somewhat, but he could pick out what they might be well enough. He made a note of them, and eyed her horn where he'd seen the flicker of magic. Her horn seemed.. cracked? Perhaps it was the light, or a stray hair, he couldn't tell exactly. Not from here. "Stop apologizing." The statement could've been given harshly as a command, but Sombra carefully decided to phrase it as a neutral statement instead. While he fed on fear, and he could easily frighten ponies in a number of ways, he didn't feel particularly keen on frightening this one. Not unless she started to annoy him, and so far, this was merely an encounter. A pony asking for directions. "I'm new to Canterlot, so I cannot help you." Sombra paused, his head tilting. He could see an advantage in this, possibly, a way he might be able to ask about her horn. It'd been the one detail that was keeping him from simply walking off like a disinterested passersby, leaving this mare alone in the street. "I could escort you, if you wish. There do seem to be some places still open that I've noticed."
  9. The silence seemed to stretch after he'd offered up his fake name, his painfully obvious fake name. Chesster seemed to be staring at him, judging by how quiet the stallion had gone, and something of a shit-eating grin wanted to cross Sombra's face then. It felt, to him, that this sharp crystal pony might have either figured it out at last and was stunned (or frightened) into silence, or Chesster already knew and was absolutely baffled by the name he'd chosen to write down. Either way, it made Sombra want to smile and bare his monstrous teeth. Some of it managed to show through. The shadow king responded to Chesster's advice about memorizing the rules, and he stepped after the other stallion, heading back to the tilt-yard. It was no longer so quiet as it had been before. More spectators had shown up with their fair food, excitedly clamoring to see the jousting begin. There looked to already be a few competitors out on the field, and Sombra eyed them while they circled, glancing away every so often so that he could safely navigate without running into anypony while Chesster lead them to the lances. Sombra picked a spot near them to sit down, where he'd be able to wait and watch the action. His ears flicked back from the announcer's amplified voice, and the event began. The two first competitors faced off, and the heavier pony won the first. Sombra leaned a little ways towards Chesster, an ear turning towards the sound of the crystal pony's voice as he offered up advice, and soon pointed out how Silverlining lost, and Deadlift's flaws. The umbrum grunted softly and straightened back up, considering it. He really would have to keep those rules in mind, and size up the competition that survived before either he or Chesster went out to the tilt-yard, and pick out the competitors' flaws. Keeping that in Mind, Sombra settled in to watch, ignoring the jokes made by the enthusiastic announcer. They were.. poor. Sombra heaved a sigh, and scanned the tilt-yard.
  10. As the night wore on for King Sombra, he began to consider seriously wandering closer to the castle just to start some problems. It wasn't as if he had anything better to do, although a better alternative would be looking for another bookstore he could nose around in, whether it was open or not. It wouldn't be terribly difficult to become shadow and slip through the cracks between the door and its frame. Nothing, and nopony, could stop him from doing it, not even whatever laws Equestria had in place to keep the peace- and Equestria was terribly peaceful so far in his experience. Why STAR needed to exist was beyond him, but Sombra knew he couldn't judge too soon. Something was bound to happen. Movement on the street drew his eyes, pulling him from his wandering thoughts. There were a few ponies on the street and they had been beneath his notice, but this particular movement was a pony coming his way. The tall stallion slowed to a halt, his eyes glittering red-gold in the light cast by the streetlamps. The pony had noticed him, and they were looking right at him. To his annoyance, she had stopped at the circle of light the streetlamp cast, making it difficult for him to pick up on much more than the fact that this pony was a mare. Had to be. Sombra cocked his head, eying her curiously and debating on whether he should acknowledge her. He knew the moment he talked to the pony, any pony, there would be no escape from their chatter and their incessant friendliness. The umbrum took a few steps as if he intended on moving on without a word to the mare, who seemed to be watching him expectantly, and he stopped when he saw the small glow of magic flicker around her horn. A soft rumble rolled up his throat, followed by a sigh. If there was anything that could keep him from wandering off and outright ignoring the pony, it was his damnable curiosity. Everything new and unusual interested him, and he always had to know about it, to learn. "What is it that you want, pony?" Sombra spoke up at last, the silence broken by the deep rumble of his voice.
  11. The night had settled over the world in a great swath of darkness littered with stars, and a single round, silver moon. It lit up part of the night sky, but failed to compete with the golden streetlamps that lined Canterlot's streets in orderly lines, spaced so that hardly a sliver of any street was left dark. The glow of the streetlamps flames, however, still cast great shadows in between the buildings where there was space for narrow alleys and behind the decorative trees. Even at this hour there were still a few ponies on the streets, night owls who were spending the dark hours that they were still awake going from one destination to another. A party, a get together, to hang out with their friends. Among them, spotted on occasion, were the night guard in their darkly colored armor, moving with a confident stride while they kept an eye on the streets to ensure there was no danger and that nopony was up to trouble. There was hardly ever anything of the sort, not in a peaceful place like Equestria- and not right under the princesses' noses. Although, there was one such creature who was still lurking Canterlot's streets this night, somepony who had done his best to hide his more intimidating features. For now. It was only so that he wouldn't get noticed, if anypony was able to recognize him. King Sombra was taking advantage of these quiet hours to get back into exploring Canterlot alone, in the peace and quiet. The stores had long since lost his interest, although he couldn't help peeking in through the large, clear display windows from time to time to see if there wasn't anything new or interesting outside of the norm. Most of the display windows were dark, but there were some stores, and some small restaurants, still open late. Sombra wasn't sure about entering any of them, much less the restaurants. He had no real reason to eat actual food when he could sustain himself on the fear and despair of others- as could others of his kind, the umbrum. This left him with very little to do, and he was slowly tiring of Canterlot. The only excitement was being discovered at any moment, or running into one of the royal pony sisters- yet he doubted they left their castle all that much to mingle with the common rabble.
  12. Sure thing, I could definitely start it. c: Just a few questions before I do~ like what location? Do you want me to make the rp open (for others to join) or invite-only? (i'm honestly okay with whatever option you wanna go with O: ) annd, like day/night?
  13. The grey stallion eventually cut short his practice on the field when it was made clear that he'd had enough. It felt like he had, and he didn't want to tire himself out before the tournament actually began. Besides, he felt as if he'd improved remarkably. There'd been no more embarrassing blunders, and he was actually getting a proper feeling for jousting. Sombra returned to where Chesster and his lackey had been spectating, and spent the time Chesster used to practice to remove his practice lance and allow himself to rest. Sombra couldn't help watching Chesster practice, to see how good the stallion was and to see what it was that he could use against the pony. What mistakes he might be lead to make, anything that would allow him an advantage against Chesster, provided that they both made it to the end and were required to face off against each other. He watched Chesster closely, curious, hoping a detail, any detail, would stand out to him. If he was going to defeat this crystal pony, he was going to need it. The amplified voice of an announcer caught Sombra's attention and he looked towards the direction it came from, his ears perked and attentive. It was about to begin. A mixture of excitement and anxiety swept through him and he rose to his hooves, giving himself a brief, fullbody shake to try to shake the feeling off. Huffing, he straightened, those intense red eyes of his fixing upon Chesster when the crystal pony came his way. Soon. He'd find a way to get back at Chesster, and -- simply defeat the pony at a sport he was good at. If he could. Sombra still wasn't entirely confident in himself when it came to jousting, but there wasn't any chance he'd end up backing out now.. or ever. He would see this through to the end. The question Chesster asked him caught him a little off guard, and he had to seriously consider it. The name he'd put down for himself was a fake name, a pony name, but it wasn't exactly.. creative. At the time, Sombra thought he was being a smartass by doing it- writing down a name close to his own, and never being suspected for who he was. Yet with Chesster, who seemed to be sharp-witted and observant for a pony, even a crystal pony, it would make it painfully obvious who he really was when it was paired with his appearance. Black mane, grey fur, red eyes, tall stature- it wouldn't be difficult for anypony to put it together. Well.. he had nothing to lose. The tournament was about to begin, and that was when Sombra intended on making it clear who he was. "Somber."
  14. King Sombra inclined his head and sneered. "Behind this.. changeling queen? Again, I'm offended. I should at least be considered worse than that." An appraising eye swept over Midnight, ponderous, wondering why this pony refused to flinch in the face of the very king of monsters himself. Either this pony was stupid, foolish, or just plain arrogant. If the areion was underestimating him despite his warning, then Sombra would be sure that Midnight paid dearly for that foolishness. Snorting softly, Sombra tossed his head, his long, wavy mane fluttering and resettling back around his neck and on his shoulders. "Am I on the 'princess' list'? I would have expected they'd think I was dead. Surely they don't still have any suspicions about me." The phrasing of Midnight's statement concerned him greatly. They.. couldn't think he survived, could they? A frown crossed his muzzle and the tall stallion moved, following after Midnight when he wordlessly insisted that he follow. "Old Canterlot.." Sombra quietly repeated, curious. "I look forward to seeing what exactly this 'night-life' nonsense is you speak of. I'm unfamiliar with the term, if it means anything beyond something to do with a nocturnal schedule," the king mused with a flick of his tail. This pony was assuming quite a lot about him to think that he might like this 'Old Canterlot', or this 'night-life'. What exactly was it? He'd just have to follow this pony and see for himself, if Midnight wouldn't bother explaining it along the way. As Sombra often expected from ponies. They liked their surprises, as if they were pleasant things and not something obnoxious or fearful as it truly was.
  15. King Sombra tried not to allow the crystal pony's response ruffle him further. It wasn't as if he'd been entirely serious, after all. But Chesster was correct- he didn't care about the pony, his ego, or anything else. So, too, would he have laughed at the crystal pony's blunder. Didn't he have the right to mock the crystal ponies for everything? Sombra had lived in fear of other ponies throughout most of his life, mocked, bullied, betrayed.. lied to. The princess was responsible for the latter two, most of all, after she'd let him suffer for so long through each Crystal Faire and never bothered to tell him why. So, Sombra felt he had the right to mock the crystal folk- but they, he felt, had no right at all to mock or laugh at him. The umbrum snorted softly and rolled his eyes, shrugging Chesster off. He very well will feel angry about it. He had a right to anger too. "Is that all?" Sombra finally queried, once his question had been answered. Chesster's reasoning for the armor seemed too.. simple, the closed helmet aside. That he could understand. If an opponent couldn't read one's facial expressions, then they'd never be able to pick up on anything one intended to do. The unknown was scary to ponies. A soft grunt left the grey stallion and he straightened up from his slight slouch, pushing himself back to his hooves to tower over Chesster. "Very well then. If I must be patient, so shall you. I look forward to seeing what questions you wish to ask me, however." With a flick of his tail, Sombra stepped away and back over to the practice lances, plucking out another one with his magic and attaching it to the side of his armor. He felt he'd calmed down enough to try the practice field again, as well as the weighted quintain that'd defeated him in his first attempt against it. There was still enough anger left over in him to use, to channel it into knocking his target over.. or whatever damage he'd manage to do against it. After a last glance Chesster's way, to see if the stallion had anything else to say, Sombra went back out onto the field to spend the time he had practicing. He'd need it for the actual tournament.
  16. It was with deep breaths, and idly digging a hoof into the earth beneath him to distract him from the pounding fire in his chest, that Sombra gradually calmed to the point that he no longer felt so.. murderous. That he could think clearly and know, for certain, he wasn't going to do anything rash with so many eyes around. It hadn't escaped his notice that the other ponies had seen his blunder, though the mistake of another pony running into their own target seemed to distract from that, and for that he was glad.. to an extent. The glow of his green sclera had faded to the usual pale white-green, and he turned his unusual eyes upon Chesster when the stallion finally dared to approach him, after sending his lackey off to pick up the pieces. The latter pony earned a brief scowl towards his retreating backside before Sombra focused on Chesster again, his short black tail flicking slowly back and forth like a cat, looking as if he was waiting for the right moment to pounce. Though when the crystal pony was in reach, Sombra did nothing, he merely eyed the other stallion's blank, helmeted head. He was grateful that Chesster didn't dare sit too close. "Another question? It almost sounds as if you want to soothe my damaged ego out of pity, or perhaps pacify me." Sombra cocked his head, fixing Chesster with a look. "I don't appreciate being laughed at or mocked," he added, some of his annoyance over it showing through in his tone. "I don't have to take long to consider the next question I wish to ask you. And it is this: why is your armor different? It is clearly of crystal pony design, yet the color is wrong and you wear a full helmet." The umbrum wanted to add why is that? but that was already another question in itself. He'd just have to wait and see if Chesster's answer had anything in it that would tell him. Brushing off his hoof in the grass, he lifted it to his armor again and idly felt around on the chest again, now that he could focus again. There felt like a small dent after his crash into the weighted quintain, but he wasn't sure if it was worth changing that part of his armor out for. Possibly, yes. It was just a small detail that he let himself get distracted with while he tried to put what'd just happened behind him.
  17. Through the haze, the king became aware of laughter. One was muffled, the other was not. They were laughing at him for his failure. The old, familiar flicker of shame was enough to spark his anger and set his heart pounding; angry that he even felt ashamed, angry that he was being laughed at, being mocked, and most of all- angry that something like this reminded him of memories best left forgotten. The bullies. It seemed stupid to get angry about it, something that had happened over a thousand years ago, but he was upset regardless. The shadow king slowly extracted himself from the heavy quintain and pushed himself to his hooves, using a small fraction of his magic to unhook the remains of the lance from his armor. His movements were stiff in his fury, and his ears were lying flat against the helmet he wore. Chesster's voice was getting closer as the stallion drew near, and Sombra fought the old urge to lash out. It wasn't good to make a scene, more than the one he'd already made by crashing so spectacularly into the weighted target. The others on the field had to have noticed. His tail flicked, dispelling dust from it and Sombra shot Chesster a sidelong glare, the pale green of his sclera glowing a more vibrant shade. "I am quite fine. It is only my pride that is bruised," Sombra growled out, nearly through gritted teeth. "I have accepted worse losses than this, pony." Snorting, his nostrils flaring, the umbrum stiffly turned away and retreated back to the edge of the field where Chesster and his underling, Shieldbreaker, had been lurking. He found a patch of grass to seat himself on and begrudgingly began checking over his armor for any dents or anything else that'd prove to be an issue when they finally went out onto the tilt-yard. The task allowed him some peace and quiet, hopefully long enough for him to cool down before he actually tried to crush this crystal pony under his hoof.. just out of spite. He merely needed to work through his anger, past the old memories and shame and -- most of all, how this one incident only seemed to make him hate crystal ponies more. King Sombra quietly grumbled to himself, his ears splayed out from his head. It looked like he'd have to try for another run at the weighted quintain once he'd calmed himself enough- this blunder couldn't get in the way of his practice.
  18. "Does it not?" Sombra answered with a mixture of boredom and disbelief in his tone. Of course he didn't believe this pony. He'd seen enough, in both the Crystal Empire and Equestria, to know that ponies practically worshiped their princesses, put them on a pedestal, looked to them for guidance and.. hoof holding. The stallion scoffed and, for a moment, became a pony-shaped shadow that swept forward with a suddenness and he solidified again, standing inches from Midnight and leaning close, a growl to his voice. "I am not a common threat. Keep that in mind, pony. I am not one to be trifled with, nor should you underestimate me. It may cost you." Sombra straightened, exhaling heavily through his nostrils and sought to pick back up the mischievous attitude he'd been employing. "Without question? I'm appalled." The flicker of a threat in his eyes, his posture, was gone as quickly as it'd come. "What, pray tell, has forced your hoof beyond a little chat? My existence?" A weary sigh escaped him and he averted his eyes from the areion to curiously sweep their surroundings. "It is the Frozen North, and in it the Crystal Empire. The empire itself is not frozen, though it can still get quite cold despite its protection against the icy elements. Still, I'm not sure what it is you're implying." Sombra was, essentially, just being an asshole. Nitpicking Midnight's phrasing, threatening and toying with him.. it was all just for his own entertainment, to an extent. It covered up other things, other feelings, he had about the treatment he was getting.. although it wasn't unwarranted, not with the way he was simply tossing everything the pony said back into his face. "You did call me a twisted, demented tyrant. What would such a creature know of being a ruler like your dear princesses?" King Sombra quietly snorted and dismissed it in favor of this mention of a bookstore. "Is there such a thing in this city? I'm curious, though I must ask if this bookstore is the only source of information in this city. A city I.. don't feel too inclined to leave so soon, not for so simple a bribe as what you're offering me. I know little about this night life you speak of, much less anything else.. Surely you can entertain a king for a little while without resorting to your threats."
  19. An ear was turned towards Chesster, indicating the umbrum was listening closely despite the fact that he was no longer looking at the crystal pony. The tone in the other pony's voice, he noted, sounded as if he missed those days. Sombra would've never expected any sort of violence to exist in crystal ponies beyond petty bullying, but his understanding of them had been colored by the naivety of youth, that it had all been just a game rather than anything serious or dangerous. A soft grunt escaped him, amusement coloring the sound over the memories. How foolish he'd been. "Very well then, I'll listen to your suggestions." He finally turned his head to fix one monstrous red eye on the blank faceplate of Chesster's helmet, making it sound as if just this once he would deign to listen to somepony he saw as a lesser being. It wouldn't be far off. Sombra was still terribly curious who, or what, was under that helmet, but it was something that would have to wait until after the jousting tournament was complete; the crystal pony's unwillingness to answer all of his questions so soon was proof of that. Sombra turned away again, facing the practice field. The explanation about the shock quintain allowed him to get a general understanding of it, and what force he ought to put behind his charges. He thought he had a good enough feeling of it just by the explanation alone.. It was just assumption. The king knew this, even after his run at the spinning target, that it wasn't quite going to be like what he expected, or how he grasped what he had been told. It all came down to doing. Without a word, Sombra trotted off, making a few mental notes from the suggestions Chesster had given him as he approached the target. As before, he worked his way up to a gallop, focusing on the way he ran with the lance on his side to see if he couldn't make a small effort to improve himself. His approach went well enough, but it wasn't until he struck the heavy quintain that everything seemed to go wrong. The lance glanced off of the target, splintering, in the wrong direction. He couldn't move it to avoid the heavy target that he soon ended up crashing directly into, his hooves digging into the earth a second too late. Sombra hit it hard, and went crashing down. Much to his pain, and displeasure.
  20. The wait for Chesster's judgement was a moment of impatience for Sombra. His tail flicked behind him as he eyed the tap of that armored hoof until the pony finally spoke. He wanted to be offended by the assessment, but Chesster wasn't wrong. Besides, this was his first time actually trying out jousting. Instead of letting his snark rise up in the face of a lack of praise for managing what he had, he accepted what he'd been told and made a note of how he could improve himself for the sake of winning this jousting tournament. And defeating Chesster. King Sombra's eyes followed the gesture to the next target, one that looked far sturdier than the spinning target, a target made for taking a hit. Inclining his head, the stallion slowly turned in place to eye it. This was going to be a lot harder on him, he knew; it wouldn't be like the spinning quintain he'd taken on. He might even embarrass himself this time, if what scant stroke of luck he'd found decided to up and disappear. "I didn't think jousting was so complicated," Sombra commented, taking the rule sheet from Chesster's hoof with his magic. It was, quite noticeably, dark magic- the only kind that Sombra could use. Thin purple streams of smoke curled from the corners of his eyes while he looked down the rule sheet, and gave it a second read to make sure he understood what was written there. The rules made enough sense to him, despite never knowing that jousting even had rules. He'd thought that it was something done only as some almost-deadly sport. Grunting, Sombra handed the rule sheet back with his magic. "I suppose I'll keep them in mind while I practice. You'll want me to practice on the next target now, I expect." He nodded towards the heavy quintain, indicating it with his head. "I'll give it a shot."
  21. The circling monster paused to look up at the hovering pony, his red eyes flicking to watch the way Midnight's unusual wings moved. They weren't like a pegasus's, not at all, and it wasn't because they lacked feathers. How did such a pony come to be? Did they always exist, or were they the result of something, some sort of magic? These questions were filed away as Sombra came striding back around to stand before the flying bat pony and considered him, a frown on his face. "Now that is going too far. I'm almost offended." King Sombra snorted. A heart as black as night? To some extent, perhaps they weren't wrong, but for them to make him out to be so.. heartless just showed him how many assumptions they made about him and about his very nature. Did he enjoy conquering the empire and finally putting the crystal ponies in their place? Well, yes, he did, but there were other reasons involved in his decision. He'd had no choice to after he found the truth, because.. after what he discovered what he truly was, how could he go back to living the life he'd had? The crystal ponies would have been ruthless in their treatment of him, once his true nature had been revealed. They -- deserved what they got. A faint scowl had settled over his features and he grunted, a slight shrug following it. "I suppose 'tyrant with a heart as black as night' does have a nice ring to it regardless." Sombra fought the urge to roll his eyes and focused on the pony's smirk. "I came to do a little exploring, a little hunting.. for knowledge. That is all. How rude of you to assume such foul things about little ol' me." Sombra lifted an eyebrow. "Would you really be such a, as they say, tattle-tale? Running off to your dear princess at the first sign of an issue, or because a new bully on the playground gave you a mean look you didn't like? Is this what Equestria's protectors resort to?"
  22. To have a lance strapped to one's side felt a little unwieldy, at first. It was a new experience, and it took Sombra taking a couple of practice passes at the spinning target before he started to get a feeling for it, each time he circled around and went galloping towards the target as if he was threatening an opponent without ever really striking. His hooves pounded heavily upon the earth, and he could tell by the distant sound of hoofbeats that there were others in the practice yard too, doing the same. The tyrant never stopped to size up the other competitors to see how well the rest of them were doing, to see if he'd be able to match up to any of them. As far as it should concern him, they didn't matter. They couldn't match up to him, because there was nothing else like him. It wasn't that he thought he was special, or unique; they were thoughts that allowed him to think more.. positively about himself. A way for him to stroke his own ego, since he had nopony to praise him. And never had. The tall stallion took his time practicing out in the training field, letting everything fade into the background while he tried out jousting. Once he felt confident enough to, he finally around for another run at the quintain with the intent to hit it this time. To actually try to aim for what he'd been doing mock charges at. It was the only way to put what practice he'd been doing to the test. Biting back any hesitation, Sombra galloped towards the quintain with his lance ready, aimed.. and managed to strike. When the thing spun, he ducked his head much like he'd seen Chesster do. It wasn't a clean miss; he felt the weighted bag box the top of his ears and he immediately flattened them against the metal of the helmet with a wince. Shaking his head, he came back around and cantered towards Chesster, intent on seeing how well he might've done. Sombra might have just gotten lucky on his first try, because he knew his luck- the next time, it would probably be an embarrassing fall. There was also the matter of the rule sheet, and perhaps that next free question he could ask. "Well?"
  23. A dark eyebrow rose. Demented former ruler? It wasn't so much the 'former ruler' part that bothered him than it was the demented part. The tyrant scoffed, and soon barked out a laugh in response to the comment on his sideburns. If he only knew Midnight considered his appearance to be a re-enactment, he would've had something to say to that. "I wouldn't want to bother such a busy mare for a bit of idle chatter. So, you know who I am.." It was less of a question and more of a statement, and said as Sombra took a few, measured steps towards the grey areion, his toothy smile fading to a cocky smirk on his muzzle. "I find it interesting that you would call me demented. Is that really what you think of me?" A soft sigh escaped him, as if the umbrum found this fact a disappointing one. Demented. "I've been called many things, among monster, demon, devil.. to be called demented is a new one. I hardly think I am mad for what I've done. I acted on my own choices, my own desires; I wasn't driven by madness, or some dark entity. Would you ponies think that mad, to act for your own reasons? Or must you have a princess to dictate your every move to be good little foals?" Sombra began to circle the areion while he walked, studying the other stallion like he was sizing him up. Although he'd never directly introduced himself or stated that Midnight's assumptions about him were, mostly, correct, he made it clear from what he was saying that he was, indeed, King Sombra himself. Tonight, this meeting with this bat-winged pony, this areion, had put him in a mood to toy with the pony. If it was possible.. although it was certainly a dangerous thing to do. If this pony really did have connections to Princess Luna, they could fly off whenever they wanted to alert the moonbringer to his presence. Now that would be a bit of a disaster, but Sombra felt he'd likely be gone before Princess Luna could come for him.
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