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Everything posted by dragonofruin

  1. What Tongue Twister, what she introduced herself as, mentioned sounded terribly familiar. Sombra was sure he'd read something of the sort during his reading sessions in various libraries, but the name for it escaped him for the moment among many other things floating around in his memories. It almost sounded like some sort of split personality, but it didn't seem like it developed from any usual causes. He made a thoughtful sound in his throat as he contemplated it for a moment and eventually had to set it aside for now- it'd come to him later, it always did. The mention of STAR, if he was hearing her emphasis correctly, was enough to make his lip curl. He'd been invited to join that organization, and.. eventually chose not to be a part of it. Sombra looked at Tongue Twister and tried to recall if he'd seen her there at that initial invite-meeting; he hadn't paid much attention to most of the other present, beyond a few that stood out to him or were familiar to him, and couldn't be sure. Maybe she could've been. "Considering what she's done to you now, you probably should've fled while you still had the chance. Hou Shuren has gone far with her practice in dark magic, as well as.. whatever the rest of it was, so I can't be sure what can be done about.. this.." Sombra gestured to her with a hoof, indicating her altered coloration and the earlier, fluid strangeness of her wing. His attention switched back to the stallion to hear him out, annoyance flashing across his grey face. That was.. it? "All that for his own stupidity? I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to go back and simply destroy him for such a petty overreaction to his foolishness. Really. Doesn't Equestria teach its foals each generation not to stare at bright lights? Like the sun?" Sombra scoffed, tossing his mane back. "Were I to give you any lessons, I would tell you: find yourself a nice knife or sword and catch them by surprise." He shrugged. Unless this stallion's, whose name he hadn't learned yet, father was some sort of expert spellcaster that the pony couldn't hope to best, Sombra didn't think it'd be much of a challenge.
  2. The former tyrant had little idea what was going on in the mare's head, only that she was a chatty one, willing to detail all that she'd seen and that she'd stayed to watch the fight. A soft, amused snort escaped him as he looked back down at the crown he held in his magic, a frown crossing his muzzle again at the sight of it. "I am a danger to Equestria- at least, I would be, if I bothered to do anything," he replied, his eyes dropping to the strange notes that the mare chose to show him them, doing something with her wing that he knew wasn't normal. If he'd been the average pony, it might've made his skin crawl- well, perhaps it did a little, but he was so used to being able to shift into shadow and alter his shape however in that particular state that it wasn't much to him. His attention was quick to return to the other newcomer at the sound of their voice. There was something about it, but.. Sombra shrugged to himself and heard the stallion out. "I'm sure," he agreed. He did understand that desire, and while he could teach this complete stranger 'something useful', he wasn't feeling particularly inclined to unless there was something he could get out of it. For the moment, the only thing that'd decided to rear its head and change what had become so standard for him was Hou Shuren. There was something to be done about that sorceress, although what Sombra wasn't sure. She'd been completely unreasonable, and had a mysterious goal in mind- while Sombra didn't care what it could be, there was the potential that it could become a pain in his flank regardless. The crown he held felt like it was a piece to something, he just wasn't sure what yet. She'd mentioned he was 'sighted' in Canterlot's throne room, so did that mean somepony was pretending to be him? Was Hou behind that, if she had this? Sombra jumped from the shout of the pony mare, whose name he still hadn't learned, and he watched her following freak-out over what Hou had done to her. His lips peeled back from his teeth in distaste. "Y..Yourselves?" Sombra queried, confusion flitting across his features, softening the scowl he'd fallen into. He glanced over at the stallion. "What are these.. unjust wrongs, by the way?"
  3. A low growl rumbled out his throat, shaking the air. Perhaps he may have lost to them twice, but one had been a pyrrhic victory for the royal pony sisters. He'd still taken the Crystal Empire away with him. He remained quiet about it, however, deciding that there was no longer a point trying to point out his justifications or what he'd experienced first-hoof and that she likely only heard about. Unless she somehow happened to witness it in one way or another.. It didn't matter to him now. A scowl would meet Hou the next time her attention shifted back to him from the madly cackling pony; he was sure he recognized corruption when he saw it. He just didn't quite know what was wrong with this pony. As the bonds around them disappeared, he hit the ground, barely managing to keep on his hooves; he stumbled a little to ensure he did. "You've got that right," Sombra growled out, his eye twitching as she tossed the item she'd summoned at his hooves, but he didn't dare look at it yet just in case it happened to be a distraction. He was stubborn, and just as determined, and he had a reason to remain so detached to all but the world itself; ponies, companions, meant nothing to him. It remained to be seen if that, and he, would ever change. Perhaps in little ways, he would, he was adaptable enough. His upper lip twitched as, after her tirade, Hou disappeared behind an abrupt flock of ravens who he had no doubt were magical. Sombra leaned away from them, holding a hoof by his face to protect it.. and soon enough they were gone, leaving him with the mad pony and an unknown fourth he hadn't noticed yet amidst all the chaos of his fight with Hou and her speeches. His gaze finally dropped, and it was there he finally saw the item she tossed him for what it was: his old crown. All this time he thought it'd been destroyed, broken with the rest of his armor, and yet here it was, still whole. Sombra picked it up, catching part of his reflection in the iron band of the crown itself. He tilted his head and looked up, his attention briefly caught by the glare of rainbow light in the sky, far from here, disturbing the clouds. Grunting, Sombra sidestepped towards the mad pony, eying her. "How long had you been watching us?" was all he could think to ask, while daring to glance around the area for any other possible surprises, and through the slowly dissipating fog, he was sure he could see a figure standing just short of the clearing.. His red eyes narrowed. "Who's there?"
  4. Sombra could only lean his head back and roll his eyes with great exaggeration. "You really are trying too hard to act as if you're on top of everything when you're not. No, I don't owe any obligation to anypony. I never would. I owe nothing. I am allied with nothing. As for the newspapers?" The umbrum barked out a laugh. "I don't even read it. I've long since found Equestrian news dull. I'm sure it's 'interesting' sometimes whenever some fool tries to conquer it again, but," he shrugged, indicating that he had no interest regardless. If he wanted to deal with some pony's view or retelling of events he could just ask the next pony he ran into on the road. The tyrant's struggling ceased the longer his mind worked on potential solutions to his current predicament, trying not to let Hou aggravate him more than she had been. Dark magic was slowly bubbling and sparking up around his curved horn, preparing himself; his magic would feel, thus far, aimless, its purpose unshaped. Hou could yammer as long as she wanted about her assumptions about him- and that was all they really were, assumptions. He wasn't in any form of denial, no matter how he looked at it or how he tried to pry apart what she'd told him and what he'd seen. All he knew was that something was falling apart within Equestria for some time, the way ponies had been acting towards each other, those not of their species. Something happened in Canterlot, certainly, it's just that Sombra never looked at any newspapers when he had better things to read and do on his curious way through the country. His brow furrowed. Maybe he did 'live under a rock', though that wasn't quite right. Regardless of Hou's interference, he'd find out exactly what happened sooner or later. Why she insisted he was in Canterlot's throne room when he'd never set foot there.. "I could almost wonder if it isn't you who's delusional here," he idly put in, his attention shifting from the silvery liquid to his glowing bonds. "A few hazy memories are one thing, and this isn't it." His magic sparked and he focused it onto one of the glowing strands, wrenching at it. If he could get free, he wasn't sure if he might try freeing the pegasus too for the hell of it- one less soul for Hou to take.
  5. The explosive sound of crystal shattering pulled Sombra's attention from the thing that'd been bearing down on him to Hou, now bloody and pricked with many shards of his shattered crystal. Perhaps, if given the chance, he could've done something creative with those little shards and Hou's flesh, but he never had that chance when she started to perform blood magic, creating an orb of her own blood which she then used for a spell. He found himself suddenly ensnared by glowing threads of red light, his body caught up in them and his hooves off of the ground in a way that Sombra found uncomfortable, and because it was made of her blood too. He immediately began to writhe in his bonds, snarling with dark magic sparking around his horn again in an effort to get free despite Hou's speech filling the quiet and fading energy of their fight seconds ago. Just listening to her was beginning to infuriate him, and he was only distracted long enough by that pull of something dark far away in the general direction of Canterlot. His teeth bared and he turned blazing eyes up towards Hou. "What does your plan matter to me? Do you think I was just going to stumble in and stop it because.. what? Because I might like to play the hero?" His tone was sneering and harsh laughter bubbled up his throat. "What do I care?" There was a lapse in his verbal retaliation, taking in that accusation again that he had been in Canterlot in the.. throne room? He'd never even set foot in that castle much less the throne room. "I TOLD YOU! I was never there!" Sombra roared, his fury spilling out with the frustration that'd been building ever since Hou engaged him in this pointless fight. A display of power was one thing, but what she'd been attempting to do? He snarled and squirmed in his bonds, before briefly falling still as Hou's attention turned skyward. There had been another! Sombra knew he had to have seen the shadow of something up above, over the fog.. His head snapped up to spy the helpless pegasus Hou had snared, just as she had with him, and Hou's following thoughts on something Sombra was unaware of with the unknown pony. His brow furrowed and he took the moment Hou was distracted to try to start working on how he could free himself, if he might still be able to use his magic to do.. something. He wasn't sure if he was any sort to care that she had her magic on another, and he'd likely not make any effort to free this pegasus unless it served a purpose for him. "Have I really lost when I never even cared to start with? Whatever your plans might be, or when I had no goal myself?" Sombra asked her, his lips lifted in a sneer. "You're doing a lot of showing off for an audience that has no interest. If anything, you're wasting your time and mine!"
  6. Sombra scoffed behind his cover of crystals. His dislike for Hou was slowly growing the longer this fight went on, if he could call it one. With Hou's magic and new tricks, it seemed possible it would be more his slaughter, but that was a line of thinking he never followed. Either he'd win, or he'd be forced to flee to live another day. There was already so much going on. He hardly had any concentration to spare to even respond to the sorceress. He peeked between two of the crystals he shifted to get a good look at Hou and her defenses, his ears splayed back against his dark, swept back mane that had taken on its trademark shadowy appearance. He was forced to quickly retreat as more of her skull-shaped bolts came flying his way, his magic holding the floating, sharpened crystals in place against their onslaught. One shattered and he grew another in its place, disturbing the soil with its emergence. The stallion twitched and moved again, advancing towards Hou, after a lightning struck too close for his liking; he imagined it might've singed him some. It was something he couldn't check while everything else was taking up his attention, like the disappearance of Hou's barriers. Another peek out through the gaps showed him as much and he tensed against another lightning strike, dancing away as something slipped through and grazed his shoulders. Sombra shook himself and stole a few minutes to finish working the crystals he'd lifted into points, taking his cue from the next of Hou's tricks to take action: the mass of silvery liquid gathering behind him and coming his way. He moved then, lifting and flinging the crystals towards Hou. Her maneuverability with the help of the silvery liquid made it hard to take a proper aim at her with so much putting pressure on him, but he made his efforts, guessing where she might be next until he expended what he had. Sombra was left with no defense to hide behind, for the time being, but it had gotten him moving for the sake of avoiding the tearing mass bent on ripping him apart.
  7. His monstrous teeth were bared when Hou deflected his blast up into the sky. He glanced up long enough to watch its path, up by the lumpy shape of something he'd glimpsed earlier before his attention snapped right back to Hou and the defenses she was laying down for herself. Her offer of a bet drew a scowl. "Why would you even bother? What is there to gain from attacking me, if I've already expressed, in a manner, that I'll avoid central Equestria if you really did mean to catch up later on?" Sombra asked, sliding to a halt on the ground as he eyed the vial and the liquid that spilled out of it soon after. He didn't have a clue what it was, only that it was strange. His brow furrowed in a confusion that was quickly wiped away by an expression of determination. He wasn't about to let some centuries-old pony witch get the upper hoof on him.. He made a mental note that Hou wasn't worth his time anymore and shifted to shadow, paying attention only to the important information Hou happily slipped him in what could almost come close to being a monologue if she ever kept going as those blades came flying out from the sphere behind her. He retreated, the weapons passing through his incorporeal body as he threw up another shield of jagged black crystals between himself and the sorceress. His ears were up, alert, listening for any sign that the assault of flying blades stopped- if they did- so that he could work on his next attempt. His magic lifted the black crystals he used as a wall, breaking them off from where they grew. They sharpened in his magic and Sombra waited for silence to fall so he could fling them Hou's way, and batter her magic domes with their scrawls of unfamiliar symbols.
  8. His eyes narrowed. There wasn't a single chance this unicorn mare could've managed to hold her ground against two alicorns. He wasn't even a pony and he'd managed to hold his own for a little while. Ultimately, they'd lost to him when the Empire disappeared with him. It was a pyrrhic victory for him, to set everything up so nicely so that they could lose what they were trying to take from him. He supposed it had something to do with the dark magic Hou picked up, absorbing souls for power. A wicked though flashed across his mind: she had to take the souls of others just to have any measure of power. A smirk managed to slip across his muzzle before he had to protect himself from the onslaught of eldritch fire that Hou's forehooves sent his way. The wall of black crystals managed to protect him well enough, but it likely wouldn't from Hou's next attack. Sombra started moving then, shifting into shadow as he ran around his jagged barrier to avoid the screaming skulls. The noise grated on his ears, sparking his temper. His power focused and he released a beam of dark magic, intent on getting past the strange, jade bolts of magic to strike Hou with it. At some point, he really would have to see what he could do about her horn. Could she still perform without it? "I wouldn't say that I am!" Sombra exclaimed, a growl lacing his voice. He'd forgotten about investigating the shape he thought he'd seen above moments ago. Hou took all his focus.
  9. Sombra flashed Hou a smirk, the tip of one fang visible between his lips. It was enjoyable, seeing her confusion. He'd been hoping to fluster her. "I was well prepared, thanks to your tip. The one thing we both didn't expect was that little banishing trick of theirs. Light magic from two powerful, immortal alicorns against one umbrum?" An eyebrow rose and he tossed his mane in annoyance. "I can't imagine what they'd be able to do to you, or if their little Element of Harmony bearing pawns would be the ones to take you down instead. I'm at least aware of how fond they've become of letting them do all the heavy lifting." An eyeroll was soon to follow in response to Hou's jabs about overcompensation, and her 'explanation' about how she couldn't let him go to central Equestria. He'd been hoping to get her to spill a few more details, but the sorceress was stubborn and still wouldn't give him more of the information that he wanted. The exact reasons behind why she wanted to keep him away, or what equation he would 'throw out of wack' with his mere presence. He'd just have to settle for her vague reasoning for now, much to his annoyance. If she wanted to underestimate him, then all the more power to him. "I'm sure," Sombra replied dryly. Her food metaphors were growing stale. His inequine red eyes followed her rise into the air, levitating through her own power. He made a soft noise in his throat, his brow furrowing. "Oh, is that what you wanted? My.. soul? And here I thought you just wanted to have a comfortable get-together in some tavern to drink together, like a couple of old acquaintances. Maybe plot a little." The king shrugged one shoulder and sighed heavily, as if disappointed. "Shame." A shadow falling onto the fog still drifting about the area drew his eye up past Hou, his eyes squinting. He wasn't sure what he'd seen, if there was something flying up above. Somepony? Maybe it was just a bird. He couldn't really investigate just yet, not with Hou flashing her power; she took up most of his focus. Sighing softly through his nose, he returned his eyes to the sorceress, waiting for what she was planning to do.
  10. He inclined his head and regarded the shift of the equine form into that of a feminine yokai. If he tried to look for them, he could've seen the familial resemblances. Sombra studied the disguised appearance of Miles' sister, committing her appearance to mind before he finally looked down into the mirror, the curve of his red horn flaring with dark magic that he focused onto its surface. His eyes narrowed, holding the image of the female yokai in his head as he gathered and cast his spell onto the mirror's surface. Hopefully he knew how to do this right; it was something he only tried and toyed with back then just to try and see if he couldn't spy on others during his reign. To keep an eye on the crystal ponies. The mirror's surface darkened and grew murky reacting to the spell that he cast and powered. Now all he had to do was wait and see if any sign of her surfaced.. [I have no idea if it should work or not, so up to you if you want it to or w/e? o3o]
  11. His demanding posture never changed, but an eyebrow did lift at her answer. Either he was reading into it in a certain way, or she was possibly suggesting she'd been obsessing over him for the past thousand years. Of course, she'd indicated she'd been up to other things too, that neither helped nor hurt what he thought he was hearing. "I'm not sure about my mental state, I certainly wasn't in any sane place when I and the Crystal Empire returned together," Sombra began and his gaze twitched to a random spot on her face for a scant few seconds before meeting her gaze again; he wasn't sure how to voice anything more than that concerning his imprisonment. How he'd obsessed and raged and just spent so much of his time thinking about everything, mulling over certain memories and trying to keep himself in one piece. Certainly a few things likely still did slip through the cracks by the end of his time in that prison, when everything had collided into a restless haze of his fury and obsession and need for control that lead him to act so irrationally once he was free and physical again. A lesser pony would have been driven entirely mad in that place, if being stripped into a nonphysical state didn't outright kill them first, if it didn't do something worse to them than death. "I just don't think you know as much about me as you think you do, we only met once before haven't we? Or have you spent that lengthy period of time with me in the forefront of your thoughts? Obsessing.. ?" The king trailed off in the face of how quickly her playful demeanor changed to something more wicked, and the full power she wielded came to light. He could feel it pressing against him, and his magic flared and crackled with more ferocity in an attempt to push back. It'd been quite a while since he'd ever had to bring his own might to bear, and he dug deep within himself to hold his ground despite the inches he'd lost against her own, his hooves digging into the earth and making grooves where he slid. A few, jagged black crystals sprouted aimlessly around him with his effort, his monstrous teeth bared and his eyes glaring a neon green so bright it drowned out his red irises. The sound her magic made hadn't escaped his notice, and he was astounded that magic could make any sort of sound at all. What had Hou been up to all this time to have grown so strong? Perhaps he'd dare to admit he was rather impressed by her display of power; he really needed to do more, strive for more, than the role of a wandering vagrant he'd fallen into just to see more of the world. "You really don't want me there, do you? I'm curious about why," Sombra said as he tried to take a few steps forward, mirroring Hou's movements. "If it might be a threat to you." The umbrum king paused and eyed her. Just from the sense of her magic, she was preparing for a fight with him if he refused her. Oh how he was torn between finally seeing some action and taking the time to build up more of an understanding of Hou. He wanted to deny both options she gave him, but he couldn't figure out if there was a third he could make for himself. Sombra flashed a smirk. "I was just going to go and peek out of curiosity.. but, I suppose I could give you some time with me, since you've thought about me so much." His phrasing made it sound as if he was twisting her reasons for keeping him here, as he absolutely refused to give into her demands or even make it sound like he was. He wasn't. "I wouldn't mind that drink."
  12. Sombra regarded the mirror in silence, vaguely aware of the sliver of Miles' reflection in the edge of it. In theory, it seemed doable, but now that he'd sat down in preparation for what he was about to attempt, the more he thought about it the more difficult it was starting to look. Well, he could always run through each of his ideas and see which one worked, if the scrying spell turned up anything at all. The most they might get would be a blurry mess of colors, with so much about Miles sister not as defined as they'd need her to be to find her after a thousand years. He licked his lips with a pointed tongue, wetting them before he thought to bring one idea to light. "If you remember what she looks like, then.. or at least as much as you can remember, do you think you'd be able to make yourself look like her? Whether this is a transformation or illusion that you're using as a disguise, whatever the case," the stallion gestured vaguely at Miles' current appearance, "try and see. I can attempt to scry her based on her appearance alone. If that doesn't work, I'll just have to move on to what else I have on my mind."
  13. The king snorted softly, his nostrils flaring. She was circling him now, and he tried to keep an eye on her, rather than waste his time trying to turn to keep her in view. His tail flicked behind him and one eyebrow rose in response as she spoke about his memories; the compliment was overlooked, for now; he'd prompted that one. Sombra turned his head as she circled around to his other side, keeping a watch on her out of the corner of his glowing eye. "What would you know about me? About anything going on in my mind or memories?" Sombra chose to ask, rather than justify anything she was saying. There were a few small gaps in his memory, or at the very least, a few memories that'd grown hazy with time. "Even if there was anything at all, I doubt anypony would be able to hold onto picture-perfect memories after a thousand years in a void." He was unable to help adding that on with a bit of huffiness, his tail sweeping behind him again. Memories aside, he didn't think there were any spells missing.. His brow furrowed, and he glanced over the aura now flowing over Hou's body. Fascinating. Mentions of Grogar caught his attention. Sombra had heard legends about him, although not what happened to Grogar. The information Hou dumped on him took him by surprise. Discord, using Grogar as a disguise? How disappointing.. The other names, aside from Cozy Glow, were familiar and he'd at least heard about the former two having made an appearance near Central Equestria. The fact that they were trying to take over Equestria was laughable. How many others have tried and failed? Sombra snapped out of his thoughts and stared at Hou, the purple smoke streaming from his eyes growing a little more opaque. "Me?" he blurted out and moved towards the sorceress. "How could I have been summoned to a meeting I never attended?" The king asked, his tone demanding answers, an explanation. How? Could it have just been an illusion of some sort? Some trick of Discord's? He was baffled. "I deny nothing when I know I was never present!"
  14. His pace quickened to hurry them off of the streets, and he slipped into the cooler shade between the buildings. The dark unicorn lead the way down the narrow passage to the alley that ran behind the buildings and picked a spot in the shade to sit, his back against one building and his magic pulling the round mirror out to lay it where both he and the disguised Miles could see it. Now he.. just needed to figure out how exactly they were going to try this spell. His dark brows furrowed and he pointed to the spot on the other side of where the mirror lay, indicating where he wanted Miles to sit. Sombra briefly considered his options: mind-controlling Miles to perform the spell with his memories of his sister, showing the yokai how to do the spell, or perhaps trying to figure out a way to do it together. Hell, if Miles could disguise himself as his sister for just a moment, Sombra would probably be able to use her image to scry her. The umbrum rubbed at his chin with a hoof, mulling it over. "Do you remember what she looked like?"
  15. The way Hou leaned on empty air was.. odd, and not something he could figure out while her response held his attention captive. His eyes narrowed, disliking what she was implying about him with her.. unusual metaphors. "As a matter of fact, I haven't aged a day since my return," Sombra replied, taking a few slow steps towards the sorceress. Towering. "My mind is still sharp, and I'm just as handsome as ever," he continued, his lips twisting into a sneer that bared some of his monstrous teeth. He cocked his head, strands of his long mane brushing over one of his shoulders. "I wouldn't say I'm one of the reinforcements.. merely following them," he jerked his chin towards the distant group, who he'd lost sight of in the fog, "out of curiosity. I've been hearing about something going on around central Equestria that has ponies all in a fuss, and acting very unusually towards one another. I'd like to find out exactly why that is, unless you'd care to tell me.." The shadow king trailed off and leaned in, the pale white-green of his sclera brightening dramatically to a neon green glow that trailed faint wisps of purple. She was threatening him. Him. But why? What exactly would his presence do there that would have the mare so willing to try to stand off against him? The potential for a fight left Sombra missing his old armor, and he made a note to try to have some new armor made sometime. Something better than what he had. "If all you want is a drink with me, you don't have to threaten me to get it; all you'd have to do is ask," Sombra added, his gaze intense as he stared into her eyes. "I'd just like to know what has you so ruffled over this, and the Crystal Empire to boot. Tell me up front, without your silly metaphors, Hou."
  16. The shadow king's hoofsteps were quiet as he strode into the shop and moved among the shelves, eying the products displayed there with small paper tags announcing their prices. It was peculiar, that so much would be so easily available now, no matter whether somepony was nobility or peasant. Even soap. He poked around at a few bottles, squinting at their labels, before moving on among the aisles. He finally glanced out at Miles and instead of a yokai, he found a rather burly unicorn. A disguise, Sombra guessed. An eyebrow rose and he turned back to his search. Mostly beauty products, of course. Sombra almost gave up until he came across one wall and found a small selection of hoof mirrors. Supported by wooden displays, small oval or round mirrors within decorative gold or silver frames of different shapes and designs. They were, to his eye, a little tacky. Albeit, the face he caught reflected back at him in a few of them were not. Sombra smugly tilted his head this way and that, admiring his reflection and preening just a little. He thought highly of himself, mostly of his looks, and this was a momentary, distracting opportunity to gaze at his own reflection. He stopped, remembering what he was here for and looked around as if he was making sure nopony had seen. Turning his attention back to the mirrors, Sombra selected the simplest one: a small round mirror with a plain frame. It would do. Tucking it under his cape by one shoulder, he slipped out of the shop to meet back up with Miles, clearing his throat and gesturing with his head to head into the alleys.
  17. His dark eyebrows twitched up. Was that a jab at him? Sombra had no illusion that Hou was any sort of friend- she was just an odd, brief acquaintance he met once. His eyes dropped to the crumbling raven and back up to the mare, intrigued by it. "I haven't figured that out yet, although.." Sombra tilted his head, taking note of their surroundings and how they shifted oddly. She had to be using magic of some kind, illusions.. "Considering what I've read about Equestrian history and how long Princess Luna was imprisoned in the moon, I'd guess it was over a thousand years." Unless somepony knew the exact number, it was just what Sombra would have to stick with. His gaze snapped back to Hou. Her questions were beginning to make him wonder if she was driving at something about him, perhaps something about how he was no longer the tyrant of the Crystal Empire? Did she find issue with that? The king studied her coolly, his expression guarded. "I asked you first," he retorted with the lift of one brow. "How would it be inconvenient, might I ask? As pointless as it may be to ask considering how you've been dodging my questions." The latter sentence was grumbled more than spoken as Sombra eyed her, unable to glean much from her decidedly coy attitude and the sinister edge to her smile. His body tensed under the drape of his cape, preparing himself for anything Hou might decide to throw at him; she was clearly up to something, he just couldn't figure out what. He had nothing to lose, and she had nothing to gain from him beyond his power, or an alliance of some sort.
  18. As they drew further into the city, dark magic bubbled to life around Sombra's horn as he cast a small spell on himself to ensure that anypony who looked at him would forget about him, or that he was there, and he did this without breaking stride. It was better than manifesting a cloak for himself here, just so he wouldn't stick out more than he already did, and his vanity prevented him from simply using an illusion to disguise himself most of the time. Unless he had to. Miles was exempt, of course, since his spell was focused towards ponies. He didn't have to look behind him again to know that Miles was obediently following, despite how silent the yokai was. Sombra wasn't sure if he was glad that Miles wasn't very talkative, or if it meant it'd take him longer to really learn more. The king lead the way down one street of shops, peering in through the large display windows until he found something promising: a beauty shop. It would likely have anything ponies needed to buy for home use: soaps, makeup, mane and curry brushes, and.. personal mirrors. It'd be easy to just have one on hoof so they could hunker down somewhere private and test the spell. For fun, Sombra supposed. He slipped into the store to look around, finding how.. peculiar it was to be in such a place; nothing like this ever used to exist a thousand years ago.
  19. His aggressive search through his memories, even of that time in the Crystal Empire, eventually faltered when he began to notice the white haze filtering into his peripheral vision. He tore his eyes away to look around, taken aback by the appearance of what looked like mist drifting in from between the trees, of which had begun to change too. His mind no longer entirely consumed by the possible identity of the mare was now able to focus on the feeling of magic in the air. A glance ahead showed him that some of the ponies he'd been trailing after were out of view for the most part. Hm. Sombra's eyes snapped back to the mare at the sound of that giggle and there was a slight widening of his eyes as her appearance changed towards somepony he could finally recognize. Of course. It was the one who'd visited him sometime during his rule in the Crystal Empire. One of very few unusual visitors, next to his yokai servant, Miles. "I've had a lot on my mind," Sombra finally replied, eying her. He would always have some degree of suspicion for everypony he met, and Hou was no different. He hardly had any idea what reason she had for running into him like this, if she'd purposefully sought him out at all. If she had, how did she manage to find him? Dark magic briefly flickered up around the king's curved horn beneath his hood and the cloak he was wearing quickly dispersed into shadow, no longer concealing most of him from view; his signature cape was the only exception. "Why are you here?" Sombra tried to cut straight through to the point.
  20. It wasn't surprising that his suggestion met no resistance; he was so used to the defiance of others that to have Miles so agreeable to the plan threw him off guard for a moment. Of course, the yokai wanted to find his sister. Internally shrugging, Sombra stood up and strode off without a word, picking his way along the park paths to head into the city. It'd still be fairly active around this time, which made Sombra wish that it was closer to sunset, if not nighttime. It wasn't that it was going to be difficult to get anything that he could use, he just hated being around ponies. And, of course, there would be some challenge, too; he couldn't afford to grow lazy and soft, now could he? Sombra glanced back at Miles, though there was no need to check to see if the koma-inu was following; the king knew he was. He strode ahead, seeking out the street he knew many of the shops to be. It could be a good starting point.
  21. [ooc: This rp is based sometime during The Ending of the End. Sombra is currently traveling with a few ponies, (can be whoever!) on the way towards where everything's going on. The other Sombra still happened, it just might as well be a poor copy that mine never knew of, albeit he's likely to still catch the blame for it.] The pleasant atmosphere of the Whitetail Woods was overshadowed by a peculiar foreboding aura. It'd been hanging over Equestria for a time now, and had only recently begun to boil over in the kingdom's capital city. Snippets of news occasionally reached the shadow king from where he traveled to the northeast of what had been happening during his travels, caught either from the mouth of ponies or the occasional newspaper he happened to stumble across. There was a mention about the Crystal Empire a few months back, too, one he tried not to pay too much attention to for the sake of distancing himself from it. Although now these events were impossible to ignore. Talks of attack and ponies heading to help reached him, and Sombra felt curious enough to join a particular group heading towards the stretch of plains near Ponyville. He needed some sort of action in his life again, and whether or not STAR would call upon him for his assistance wouldn't matter, although they'd likely rope him into it anyway. This was something he was doing out of his own interest. The former tyrant hung at the back of the group of ponies he was trailing through the Whitetail Woods. A dark, hooded cloak wrought with a little shadow magic mostly concealed his appearance from them to avoid any recognition, if it could be helped. He was still tall enough to tower over most ponies, and the grey fur of his legs and muzzle were still visible, details he hadn't bothered to mask because of how much he hated hiding any part of himself. It wasn't as if anypony would bother him for it, though, if their focus was more on the destination and whatever was happening. He'd caught the mentions of names elsewhere, like Tirek and Queen Chrysalis, names that he vaguely recognized. Sombra tried to listen to what he could hear, although his attention kept straying towards one particular pony in the group. There was something about the mare, something about her magic, that was so.. familiar, and it bothered him. They'd met before, hadn't they? He was sure they had, but he couldn't quite place it. He kept a careful eye on her, puzzling over his memories. He was sure he knew this mare from a long time ago..
  22. The umbrum nodded and glanced over at Miles. Scrying spells would be a start, then. The only thing Sombra needed was a reflective surface. It was always what worked best with such a thing, even if he hadn't used it terribly often; it'd just been something useful to learn, should he actually need it. Although, Sombra realized, he needed to know what Miles' sister looked like, a description or a picture, that could help him at least try since Miles expressed he wasn't any good at such spells. A picture would be out of the question, when it'd been a little over a thousand years since Miles last saw her, and cameras hadn't existed until.. recently? By some years, from what Sombra understood. Hm. This was going to be a problem to figure out. Scrying might not even work, but it was always worth a shot. "As much as I enjoy seeing my reflection, I'm afraid I don't have a mirror on me. If we want to try this, just as something to do instead of sitting around and brooding," as if he hadn't already been doing just that before Miles showed up, "we'll have to find one. I'm sure in a city like this we'd be able to find something we can use." He turned in place to face Miles, pulling one foreleg off of the railing. He was up for looking into it in this very moment; it'd give him an excuse to do something, and take something too.
  23. The king rumbled softly from his spot against the tree and considered Miles for a moment. A traveling companion? He wouldn't mind that so much, especially since Miles didn't seem to be overly talkative like some ponies he'd heard. He snorted softly and pulled himself up from where he'd been lounging to stretch his legs and give himself a shake, dislodging any small bits of bark that might've stuck to him. He strode up next to Miles, albeit with a bit of distance between them, and sat down to hook his forelegs over the marble railing. "Have you ever tried using any spells to find her? If you have anything that used to belong to her, you might be able to track her, or perhaps some reflective surface for scrying to see if you can glimpse her or her location." Neither was likely to be reliable, considering how long Miles had been a part from his sister, but it was already a start. Maybe he wouldn't mind.. helping.. if just to glean more about his rather loyal servant. Companion? He wasn't sure what Miles would be to him. Any gestures like he was giving now was rare for Sombra, but he wasn't incapable of them. Most saw him as an irrefutably evil being who would never stoop to lending even a crumb of assistance to another, a view that was incorrect. Sombra was just a very complicated being, if rather selfish; anything he did would always serve him in some way.
  24. The umbrum inclined his head, attentive to the explanation. It helped answer some questions he had concerning the pact in particular and he guessed it was something unique to Miles's species. He grunted softly. "I've wondered, because of my circumstances, if there's a chance I could be partially immortal- kill-able, but long lived. Albeit, anything has yet to manage to really put me down, even the Crystal Heart failed. This could last for a very long time.. if your species' lifespan is so long lived. I suppose it does at least benefit you in some way." As Miles would likely benefit him. He really would have to actually get to know the yokai better, now that there was nothing consuming Sombra's focus like the subjugation of a city. "I suppose I shouldn't expect anypony to stick around the same location for a thousand years.. I wouldn't. There's a whole world out there to explore." Maybe that was something he could do, at some point.. He could see the world. Learn new languages, and explore to his heart's content if he really was going to live as long as he thought he would. It might be nice. He quickly pulled himself away from his wistful thoughts to continue. "I'm sure we can find her eventually. She couldn't have gotten far, if she's stuck around Equestria at all."
  25. "Your sister?" He was somewhat surprised to hear that Miles had a sister. If she'd ever been mentioned, he didn't recall, and Sombra didn't think he'd ever thought to ask much about Miles to begin with. Mostly he just questioned the loyalty of any who'd willingly follow him. Scratching at one of his sideburns with a hoof, Sombra eyed the yokai leaning on the railing. "The fact that you seem to have a better bond with me than your sister is concerning," Sombra commented, lifting one dark brow. "Do you know where she'd been last, or if she's still alive? I don't think I have any idea how long your species lives, or anything about what you mean by the bond. Is it part of your species' magic?" It could've easily been some part of this pact Miles had made to him too, as Sombra knew there could be such things, and forced servitude forged with magic. "What exactly does your pact to me entail, and how does it work?"
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