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Posts posted by dragonofruin

  1. Thankfully the few books that'd flown off the shelves at him had missed Raven, although one pony was not so fortunate. Sombra couldn't fight back the smile that spread across his lips when he heard Blueblood growling- or at least attempting to. It sounded so much like Blueblood was trying to sound angry, or perhaps like himself, and failing. Ponies just couldn't growl, and all their attempts to sound like they were was.. cute.


    While Raven went to inspect the bookcase, which just looked like any other bookcase though had a lingering, steadily fading magic around it, Sombra turned to face Hogo-sha and Blueblood, mostly to give the latter a curious look. Beyond a bloody nose, the noblepony seemed fine. His attention shifted to the book Hogo-sha had sniffed and recoiled from, the book Blueblood now held. Sombra reached out with his own magic, hoping to pry it from the unicorn's magical grip so that he could get a good look at it too- there was something in the glimpse he'd caught of the title on the book's face that looked a little familiar to him and he couldn't put a toe on it just yet.


    "I will," he stated, almost boredly, though Hogo-sha's reaction to it told him it was about the same: dark magic. Sombra didn't think the book would really be anything, beyond a random object the strange force in the castle had flung. The magic was likely already shifting towards some other part of the castle to wreak more havoc, and it'd only grow stronger as it wore on towards night- it already had been since it started. He couldn't fathom what might happen beyond scaring ponies, though the fact that it'd managed to harm one didn't seem to bode too well.. Sombra's mind was particularly stuck on the 'scaring ponies' part of it. Rather useful to somepony like him, but he was the only pony like him.


    There were a few other disturbances in the castle, scattered among the rooms, although distant enough they likely might not hear anything from here.

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  2. A grey ear twitched back towards the sound of Raven and Blueblood's voices as they talked, as well as the latter's musing on what could be going on here and something involving Luna. It did seem like a haunting- not that Sombra would really know anything about haunted places. This was his first experience with it, as well as most things since he'd come to Equestria. He didn't answer Blueblood's question as he stepped into the room, feeling that he'd answered with everything he knew about it so far.. which was very little. Just unusual.. activities.. Nor did he try offering Hogo-sha another greeting, in usual, grumpy fashion; not that he'd really said hello to start with.


    This particular room was just one of a few public rooms in the castle on the ground floor. Sizeable enough for a small gathering, with some furniture, a coffee table, and a couple shelves of books just for appearances, as well as two tall vases of flowers in the corners and some tapestries along the walls. Sombra stood just beyond the doorway, looking around the room with his usual frown for any sign of.. whatever might have lead Hogo-sha to this particular place. So far, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary..


    A book flew at him, flying off of one of the shelves. Sombra ducked his head just in time, and its passing over him ruffled his mane as it went flying out the doorway behind him. He scowled, straightening up, only to narrowly avoid a second one that flung itself at him. Maybe Hogo-sha had managed to sniff out something here, after all, though it was, thus far, a little half-hearted. Or perhaps it was just the beginning tonight? The castle always grew more active as evening waned towards moonrise..


    Sombra quietly grumbled to himself, seemingly unbothered by what had becoming something of the norm for him. "Maybe you've found something."


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  3. It'd been some time after he and Blueblood had gone out together for drinks, although Sombra couldn't recall how long it'd been between that time and when it all started. He did, however, have a general idea of when it might've started. His brow was furrowed throughout the time he'd fallen into step behind Hogo-sha, following the strange biped through the halls of the castle as he sought out a 'scent', what Sombra assumed was the magic the canine could smell. However that worked.

    "A week ago," Sombra replied. "Maybe a little longer?" his voice held a questioning lilt as he tilted his head, eyeballing the ceiling in thought. "So far it's been strange noises, and some of the castle staff have seen chairs or tables move by themselves. A few books flying off shelves. Doors slamming on their own. Things like that. It's becoming more and more common. Escalating."


    It hadn't escaped his notice that Raven had chosen to walk beside Blueblood instead of him, leaving him to walk alone between the yokai ahead and the pair of ponies behind him. Sombra tried to ignore this slight and tried to keep track of the bipedal canine, who was roaming further and further ahead in an attempt to track down the magic-scent. Soon, Hogo-sha had disappeared around the corner, and all Sombra heard of him was strange sounds. His brow furrowing, his pace increased to a trot and then to an all out gallop after that last, loud shout and the sound of a door banging open.


    He skidded around the corner and came to a halt some distance away from Hogo-sha, who was no longer a biped, but something four-legged and wolf-like, eyes aglow.


    "No," Sombra replied with a confused frown. This was.. unexpected, but it wasn't much of a problem. At least as far as he could tell.. ? Glancing over Hogo-sha, Sombra strode to the room the yokai found and took a step inside. His eyes narrowed, unsure what he expected to find in here.

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  4. Rose sniffed. "Very well, you can have your victory." Despite her jibe, however, she was looking forward to this trip to some extent. It was surely peaceful out in the Whitetail Woods, and it might give her some time to simply relax and think. She'd be free to do whatever she liked, if anything at all, after they set up camp of course. "It's such a pity. I was hoping to get even a hint of what this danger was so I could at least know what I could expect. Alas," the pegasus shrugged.


    Her attention was snagged by the heavy sound of the train's approach and her ears perked towards the sound as it steadily grew louder. Their ride was here! It stirred some excitement up within her for what lay ahead of them, and it was with an effort that Rose pulled herself back to her hooves. She tried to do it with as much grace as she could muster so that nopony would see her struggling, though she'd likely be unsuccessful in that attempt.


    In any case, she could strive for that grace now that she was on her hooves, holding her head high and looking as unbothered as she possibly could as she moved closer to Grey on the platform. The stallion had pulled his bags on with ease, something she could admire just a little bit. After all, he was stronger than she was, and he was far more used to the weight and.. everything else about travel. Rose stood by him, watching the train's approach as it came ever closer to the train station, and soon, slowing down in front of the boarding platform with a squeal of brakes.

  5. Those hours passed Sombra by and lead him right back to the train station, where he was planning on returning to Canterlot after a less than productive trip to the country town. The only thing notable that he could tell Celestia about when he returned to Canterlot would be his encounter with Hope, but beyond that? Eh.


    He started up the wooden steps of the platform when it happened. The feeling of dark magic just on the edge of his awareness. Sombra came to a halt and looked back at the town with a frown, scowling when he saw the gathering of dark clouds and various ponies drifting up in what looked like... bubbles? He blinked. Somehow, he had a feeling he knew who was causing it. Sombra turned back to the platform, finding himself in a dilemma. It would be very easy for him to simply get on the train and go right back to Canterlot, to leave ponies to deal with this on their own. Surely the Princess Twilight Sparkle would rise to the occasion to meddle, as she did, but who knew? His tail lashed. He had no interest in helping.


    Grumbling to himself, Sombra heaved a sigh and turned back towards town with a roll of his red eyes. Perhaps he would decide to meddle, though why Hope didn't come directly back to him to blast him with magic in some fit of distraught anger was a mystery.


    The king of shadows trod right back into town, heading for where he knew Hope's house to be. He ignored panicked ponies along the way, feeling that what ponies were still on the ground were more than capable of reigning in the upset children without his help.

  6. The quiet ambience of the town had finally settled over Sombra, who was intent on trying to pick up where he left off: exploring this town. It gave him a reason to get out of Canterlot for a while, gave him something to do, though after his meeting with Hope, he could scarcely manage to resume his explorations before. Thoughts still crowded his mind and anger still sat uncomfortably in his chest, burning like a flame.


    He was only distracted by the sound of wingbeats and the sudden appearance of Hope, flying swiftly by him. He ducked to avoid her, feeling wind ruffling his coat and his long mane, though his hooves remained firmly planted on the ground. Where could she be flying off to so swiftly, or had she made an attempt to attack him after considering he was worth fighting? No.. perhaps not.


    His eyes narrowed and Sombra straightened, frowning after the disappearing blue blur of Hope.


    [You would have to apply to play her, since she's considered a canon character.]

  7. King Sombra felt a certain vicious satisfaction in letting loose that secret he'd been harboring ever since he'd discovered the mare's identity. He saw the way her eyes flared red with dark magic and his body tensed, expecting a fight. He would've even welcomed one if it meant a little excitement, but instead Hope appeared to struggle to control her breathing until finally taking that one, deep, calming breath. Some disappointment filled him and he quietly snorted, relaxing.


    His magic flickered out to tear down whatever illusion she'd put in her house, returning it back to normal. He hardly looked away from her as he did so, watching the changeling leaving him alone in her own house. Sombra debated on following her this time- he could easily end up pushing the issue without trying to.


    Sombra pulled himself to his hooves and strode after her, just far enough to exit her home. He shut the door behind him with his magic, red eyes focused on Hope as she headed off in between Ponyville's straw-roofed buildings. From what little he could tell of her body language, she was deep in thought. Perhaps it would be best to leave her be to think.


    "Find me when you want answers!" Sombra called after her. Leaving it at that, he waited until she was out of view before he started off, picking a random direction to wander in. There was still time left in the day for him to wander Ponyville..


  8. A grin flashed across Sombra's face, baring many of his pointed teeth at the yokai. "I am exactly who I claim. Being trapped in an icy pocket-dimension beneath the ice as a shadow can do wonders for preserving one's looks," he quipped. Chuckling low in his throat, he turned away with a little toss of his mane.


    "I'm sure we can look into making this sword after this problem is dealt with, presuming we can do away with it tonight," Sombra told Raven, looking her way as he initially picked a direction to walk in. Whether there were any civilians still in the castle, or if any might have slipped through the door, he neither knew of them nor cared if they were here as long as they didn't get in the way. Blueblood leaving leadership to him encouraged a smirk to flash across his face and Sombra paused then at the question that came afterward, glancing back at his current companions with a thoughtful look on his face.


    "I can't really say. It comes and goes," he paused as the tall, double doors of the castle's entrance finally swept shut with a hard bang. It didn't look as if the guard had much to do with it. "Maybe the two of you have a good idea. We can start out and work our way inward, though I doubt we have to go out onto the castle grounds anywhere.. It's only been in the castle." He frowned. "Let's look into where it's weakest, then. Take the lead."

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  9. "We were at the part when I was telling you about the very beginning of the Crystal Empire's history and the umbrums' attack on it," Sombra stated flatly, quietly glad that the apparition had gone. It allowed him to relax a little again, nevermind the way Hope tried to change their surroundings with an illusion. It didn't look much like any room that he'd keep, though the sheen of dark crystal echoed the time he'd once ruled the empire. How she could know anything, unless she'd come to the empire the same time those meddlers had, then she would've seen the effect his corruption had on the city.


    "You've never seen it, and you'll never know it. This isn't it. My history lesson isn't over." The umbrum abruptly straightened up in his seat, dark magic flickering around his horn for a moment to try and halt the music record Hope started to play. With anger, some of his usual rashness was resurfacing and he had to emotionally bite down on it to control it.


    "The Crystal Heart kept the empire safe so long as it was kept on its pedestal beneath the palace, in the city's heart. The Crystal Faire strengthened its magic through the love and light of its citizens, aided with the help of a crystal princess. It has always been like that until I came along. Throughout most of my life I thought I was normal, despite how terribly I was treated by most crystal ponies for not being like them. I'm sure somewhere in their hearts they knew what I was and feared me. All save one, but she's unimportant," Sombra sneered, his upper lip curling.


    "What is important is that I knew agony every Crystal Faire that came and never knew why. Never understood any of it. Until something good happened to that mare and drove me out into the wastes where I discovered what I truly was. I returned to take the heart and carry out my purpose, feeling as if I had no other choice now, and Amore tried to stop me. And you know what happened then?" Sombra's head cocked and he verbally barrelled on towards his harsh reveal. "She revealed she knew what I'd been all along and let me suffer all those years. She called me a monster, so I turned her to crystal and broke her for it."

  10. His ear twitched towards the voice, and it took only one glance before Sombra faced forward again, staring directly at Hope. He had no idea what he just saw, or who it was. What was even going on? Was he having a stroke? Unfortunately, as far as he was aware, perhaps not..


    Sombra was torn between deciding whether this new apparition was an illusion of some sort, though he'd never sensed Hope using her magic, or if this being was simply the lord of chaos, Discord himself, in some strange form. From what Sombra knew of Discord, the spirit was known for all sorts of strange hijinks, but he had never personally met the draconequus yet. He didn't want to ask, either. Something like bitter anger was growing in his chest as he frowned across the space at Hope, angry that his attempt to teach her about the Crystal Empire's history and to simultaneously tell a story was being spoiled.


    He would never admit to anypony that he had a love of stories, mostly of hearing them, and occasionally to share it through telling one too without making his love of stories obvious. The shadow king grumpily crossed his forelegs and slouched back in his seat, his ears pinned back. Sombra could only stare at Hope, disgruntled.

  11. The umbrum made a face, eyes narrowed and brow furrowed. What was she even talking about? "I don't know what part of this world you're talking about, but Equestria does have education here. History is taught, among many other things from what I'm aware of, more so than what was taught a thousand years ago." Scowling, Sombra waited until the mare had settled down, and the book sent elsewhere in the house, before he'd deign to speak.


    "The Crystal Empire found humble beginnings as a race of ponies tried to settle in the Frozen North, despite its wild, uncontrollable weather and deadly temperatures. They managed, however, and made rudimentary homes out of rough crystal and rock with the magic they had. Eventually, their growing village drew the attention of creatures living out in the wastes. It was not the Windigo, who are drawn by disharmony, but umbrum, shadow creatures who fed off of fear and despair. They burned the homes and crushed the hopes of the crystal ponies, and their magic was seemingly lost until a young princess by the name of Amore rose to the challenge. While her mother did what she could, Amore left to find a weapon she could use against the umbrum." Sombra paused then, head cocked. It was evident that he enjoyed telling it, like it was a story.


    "The legends vary between different details, but some say that Amore found caves in the mountains north of the empire that contained a special type of crystal that she used to make the Crystal Heart. Other legends say she found the Crystal Heart and brought it back. Whatever the case, she used it to rally her citizens, using her love magic and the light that still existed within them to drive the umbrum back. The Crystal Heart amplified it, for it is a special type of crystal, and Amore used this magic to seal the umbrum away in a prison deep beneath what is now a city. It is on the anniversary of that day that the crystal ponies came up with the idea of the Crystal Faire, something that would strengthen the empire's magic and ensure that it would always be safe. Until.. well." The grey stallion stopped abruptly, uncomfortable. Perhaps it might be better he told her here and now, 'rip the bandage off' as ponies said. If Amore had done the same with him, would things have turned out differently? Instead of waiting all those years to tell him?


    [That's probably not a good idea, tbh xD It'd be rather OOC to this setting and against the rules of this site.]

  12. Sombra grunted. Personally he thought that was a naive way of thinking, something that could be taken advantage of by those who were less fussed than he when it came to using ponies for their own gain. He chose not to say anything on the matter and simply walked beside the mare in brooding silence, reflecting on various memories. All that he remembered of the day of his defeat was the feeling of being ripped apart, and then nothing. The next thing he knew, he was waking up in the snow and ice of the frozen wastes some distance from the Crystal Empire with vague memories of being less than the meanest ghost, anchored to his severed horn. He could've told Hope such if he'd known what she was thinking, but as it was, he didn't.


    The king was certainly glad to be outside again and out of that crystal castle, if he could ever dare call an abomination like that a castle. Though his brief time outside was cut short when they finally came upon Hope's house, as humble as the rest of them in Ponyville, and he strode after her through the open door. Sombra stuck a back hoof out to swing it closed behind him while he eyed the interior of her home to see what sort of house she kept.


    There were certainly a lot of books, which was a good sign, he supposed. Moving to the living room where she was, he unceremoniously dropped down on one of the seats and settled without asking so much as permission to do so. Sombra eyed the book she'd plucked up and felt tempted to pull the book from her grip- he'd have nopony reading while he talked.


    "Hope," Sombra stated her name, aiming to get her attention, "sit down. I'd like to give you the history of the empire, since you must have been far too young then to even remember much of it."



  13. "If you were a baby, or a small foal, I wouldn't be surprised you wouldn't remember, especially if they were never mentioned," Sombra pointed out. It was clear that she was distressed, and her attempt to leave the castle without him meant that she wanted to be alone to cry in peace.. but Sombra was hardly ever a creature to care about others' feelings. He didn't entirely know why he was following her either, beyond refusing to let her escape before this conversation could truly be finished. He'd just discovered one of two, perhaps, illegitimate children that Amore had that had been kept secret from the empire. There'd never been any news that she'd married, unless it had been in secret, or that she had children and now he thought he might know why. If her partner had been a changeling.. imagine the scorn from her citizens!


    "They're more than just fairy tales. More than just foal's tales. They are very much real, and I'm sure I can tell you more about the history of the Crystal Empire since you must've been far too young to even remember much of it." Did that mean she was older than him, or around the same age? He had no idea, nor did he think he cared much when it was a detail that didn't matter. Though it would give him a more accurate time frame.


    What else- Sombra wasn't even sure why he was thinking of spilling it all to her. He couldn't say it was entirely some old, sadistic desire to hurt somepony on a whim, especially the child of his enemy who had been the reason why he'd suffered all those years.. Maybe it was some strange want to be better than Amore and tell Hope what she needed to know instead of keeping it all a secret. It was in a confusing tangle for him.


    He eyed the look she'd given him after she made that offer that she would listen if he wanted to talk. After his experiences with Celestia, he could recognize something in that look now to name what it was he saw: some form of kindness. Despite her clear distress, she was still attempting to offer it. "In time. You're a mere stranger to me, despite all that I know, and after what I tell you.. I cannot say if we'll ever be.. friends."



  14. Sombra wasn't sure whether he should believe it, or if it was just another factor of how strange genetics were- especially pony genetics. Whatever the case, he grunted at the possibility of being wrong. Surely Amore never.. No, perhaps she could have. He'd hardly known the mare beyond her position as a princess, the one responsible for the imprisonment of the umbrum, and the one who had harmed him. Anything else, beyond her public image? Not a thing.


    His sharp eyes spied the beginnings of tears falling down Hope's face and he turned in place when she started out of the kitchen, saying something that he loudly scoffed at. The umbrum was on his hooves at once, following her. She couldn't get away from him that easily. His longer stride helped him catch up to her and walk beside her, looking indifferent to her tears. "It should be quite obvious that I am neither horse or pony. I am an umbrum. Do you know what that means?"


    Her assumption that he couldn't possibly know how she felt had rankled him, who knew more than anypony. Albeit, he hadn't entirely turned away from his nature, nor was he good or evil.


    "How wrong you are," Sombra told her. "I know quite well how that's like. Do you think my upbringing was a happy one? Full of love? Far from it." What little he'd dared to mention said enough, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to spill out his life to a pony like Hope; he'd done that enough, if partially out of manipulation. Would she be any better than her mother, or just like her? Amore had dared to consort with a changeling, and yet called him a monster in the same breath she'd spoken of his kind. The king snorted softly.

  15. An eyebrow rose. "I do have all of it. Including a few articles of clothing. Simple clothing, of course. As vain as I am, I would never put any of my dresses or finer clothes at risk for something as rustic as camping." She sniffed, mock offended, and she revealed a small smile afterward to show Grey that she was playing, to an extent. She still meant what she said. "I brought everything we bought for me, along with a few additions I felt I would need. It's all here in my bags. There's no need to worry about me."


    "I'm sure it must be, if you spend all of your time traveling on your own and without a companion you can talk to. I can't say I'll be able to put any of this information to use too often, but I'm sure it will be of use if I manage to learn and remember anything." Rose quieted and tilted her head, her ears alert. A bonfire, and a visit to a 'lake or a river', as Grey put it. It might be nice, to see the way the moonlight and stars reflected off of the water in the dark of night.. She could only imagine it in her head. Black waters reflecting glints of silver light off of its rippling surface.


    Rose couldn't wait to see for herself, if it might be as pretty as it sounded.


    "Dangerous?" she echoed. "Well.. I'll have to find out what this surprise is first before I can really agree to doing anything dangerous. Even if you've come out of it unscathed."

  16. The name brought a disgruntled frown to his face. It reminded him of another mare he knew once, a childhood friend. Only her name had been Radiant Hope, and she looked far different than the one sitting across from him. Lavender fur and a pale blue mane..


    Sombra roughly pushed thoughts of her from his mind. He didn't want to sit here thinking about traitors when he had a far bigger problem sitting in the room with him. The name this mare, Hope, had given him was an odd one- he'd heard plenty of pony names and this didn't seem to particularly fit pony naming habits. Although, if she was a changeling.. maybe they had different ways of naming offspring? He wasn't sure.


    "Both, I suppose," Sombra admitted to what he was feeling upon being prompted by that question. He couldn't meet Hope's eyes as he next added to correct Hope: "Half-sister."


    He'd felt Cadance's magic for himself, and it was love magic, just like Princess Amore's. Yet this mare, Hope's magic, did not feel the same way. It felt somewhat strange, and sometimes unlike pony magic. "I don't think Cadance even knows of any family at all, much less who her mother might have been, if she is indeed not Amore's descendant, but a daughter. I don't know how Amore ensured Cadance would be here to live a thousand years later, unless through some strange preservation or time travel spell, so that the Crystal Empire would still have its crystal princess after.." he trailed off and shrugged. Perhaps he'd revealed too much; Sombra still didn't know if he wanted to tell Hope anything.

  17. Sombra eyed the bowl of ice cream for a few seconds, but his attention was mainly for the mare herself as she deigned to give him some more information. She claimed that she'd saved a stallion 'who looked like him' from the Crystal Heart. He wasn't sure if he should believe it, or if perhaps her magic was the reason why he hadn't been destroyed entirely. Whichever the case, he certainly couldn't remember seeing even a glimpse of this blue mare- he had been out of his mind after a thousand years locked beneath the ice and he hadn't acted like himself after he'd escaped it.


    He couldn't be sure which it was: memory, or somepony else. Chances were, it might've been him since he'd hardly ever seen any pony with his coloration. Just one in Canterlot, so far, a bat-winged pony who's name he remembered to be Midnight Oil. His wandering thoughts came to a crashing halt and his full attention snapped back to the mare.


    The queen before Cadance.


    Either she spoke of Princess Amore, who had been ruling almost since the Crystal Empire's beginning- some time before the three tribes made their home in Equestria- or she spoke of Princess Amore's mother, who might have ruled for a time until Princess Amore took the throne. Amore's mother could've been a casualty when the umbrum terrorized the humble beginnings of the Empire, encouraging Amore to create the Crystal Heart, or.. she was simply queen until her daughter was old enough to rule. That particular bit of history had always been hazy, even in the Empire's legends. That didn't matter though!


    This mare could very easily be Princess Amore's half sister.. or a daughter nopony had ever known about. There wasn't a doubt in Sombra's mind that Cadance was a descendant of Amore after he'd felt her love magic for himself, just like Amore's, but perhaps this was another child, an illegitimate child. Whether Amore had ever had children was something that was never spoken of. Kept secret, perhaps. And here sat a mare who was very likely related to Amore herself. And he had brutally done away with her. Turned her to crystal, and shattered her. His mind swam.


    The blue pony's comment about his lack of smiling sailed entirely past his ears as he stared at her, stunned. He wasn't sure if he dared to tell her he was responsible, that his kind might be responsible, for the reason that she was a orphan. All that he knew, was that he had something to use to hurt her if she were to ever force his hoof..


    "What is your name?"


    [Sorry about the long post, I figured there'd be some possible plots behind Hope's backstory and Sombra's 👀]

  18. His brows furrowed in confusion once again and he eyed her, noting the lack of both answers and details. Lost changeling princess told him nothing beyond how she was shifting between the forms of a unicorn, and a pegasus, which solved that particular question. The stallion grunted at her shift in mood. He knew her to be offended that he'd refused her offer of barbecued chicken, though he didn't think it should stop her from eating it.. if she'd fixed any at all.


    "What long lost changeling princess? Perhaps you can tell me more about this and more about who you are. I still don't know your name," Sombra replied. It was just in his nature to act the way he did around complete strangers, to be coarse and standoffish.


    The umbrum's head cocked. Saving a stallion from the crystal heart.. a few months ago. It perfectly fit the timeline in which his body had reformed and he'd traveled south to descend upon Equestria. Yet, it sounded like something she'd simply tossed in to catch his attention, as if she wanted to reveal that she knew something about him and how long he'd been here. Had he been.. spied upon? Something crawled down his spine at the thought, but he didn't show it. His face remained as grumpy as ever.


    "I want to know more."

  19. The umbrum's teeth were as monstrous as his slit-pupiled red eyes, all sharp points, and they were revealed in an expression close to disgust when his snout wrinkled and his lips were peeled back from those very teeth. He wasn't sure if he should ever dare try meat. Would it make him sick? Even worse: would it taste good? Ponies would surely see him as something worse than they already saw him if they ever discovered he'd consumed the flesh of a once-living creature. Not that he.. cared much, if he wanted to keep up appearances among the masses.


    It wasn't the only thing that his mind was consumed by. She'd said that he looked familiar. How could that possibly be?


    "We'll see," Sombra growled out and moved then, automatically stepping towards the dark wooden table at the center of the room as he looked around at the kitchen. It was a nicely sized space, and it looked like the rest of the castle with modern additions: wooden, teal colored cabinets, iron stoves and ovens off in an arched nook in one wall, various pots and pans hanging from a green glass structure that hung from the ceiling over the very table he approached. Among other, smaller things like pots and containers he disregarded as the usual.


    "Who are you, exactly, if I am familiar? And what are you?" Having returned his attention back to the stranger, he noted that she had a horn again, and no wings. Sombra knew he wasn't crazy, and he couldn't let himself be lead into thinking such a thing when he knew what he'd seen. She'd mumbled something under her breath that he didn't catch before he'd asked his questions, and he puzzled over it and this strange mare as a whole. Maybe he could now get some answers.

  20. Sombra's ears flattened back when a voice echoed back to him through the crystal hallways. It was, as he thought it would be, unfamiliar. Without answering, he looked to the glowing line that lit up along the floor and began to follow it, listening to the pony speak to him through her magically amplified voice. As the words barbecued chicken met his ears, his brow furrowed once more in confusion. He knew what chickens were, that wasn't the problem. It was the fact that this mare sounded as if she was offering up chicken as food. Sombra had never so much as touched meat in his life, and he knew well enough ponies were herbivores.


    So what did this make this pony? If she even was a pony?


    His curiosity grew and the umbrum walked on, traversing the winding halls that were so similar it felt as if he were going nowhere at all.. until the light finally lead him to a room. Pushing open the door, Sombra strode inside and came to a halt where the blue mare he'd been following now was. The only question was: what was she up to? And..


    "I have no idea what 'barbecued chicken with hot spices' even tastes like, and I'm not sure if I want to find out."



  21. Sombra kept his distance while he followed the strange, blue mare, and it was at one point that he saw her horn disappear and wings appear at her sides with a flash. Confusion flitted across his face, his brows furrowing. He knew he wasn't crazy, and had seen exactly what he thought he had seen; but how could that have happened? How could she switch between a unicorn and a pegasus? Was her appearance little more than an illusion or was there something else at play?


    Shaking his head, Sombra trotted after her on quiet hooves.


    The crystalline castle soon loomed into view, and it was there that he got to see the mare take flight as if she had always been a pegasus, rather than a unicorn so shortly before. His eyes followed her as she flew up to what he assumed was one of the floors of the castle above, where it branched out, tree-like, and held various structures of the castle. He wasn't sure if they were meant to be like the canopy of the tree, or like parts of an oddly shaped treehouse. Whatever the case, he found the entire castle to be a little.. tacky, albeit the only thing vaguely familiar to the Crystal Empire in the material that made it up. Spying what looked like a balcony similar to the one on the Crystal Empire's palace, Sombra chose it to teleport to- he didn't know the layout of this castle, and he'd rather not be at odds with this stranger just in case it was a trap.


    Dark magic flared around his horn, charging.. and soon he was gone in a flash, reappearing a few seconds later on the balcony. The door was open, and Sombra invited himself inside. He could work in close quarters well enough, especially against a winged foe- if this mare was a foe, and not some harmless, albeit strange, pony.


    "Hello?" Sombra called out, the power of his deep voice allowing his voice to travel across the empty space. Now he just had to find his way, and see if he couldn't pick up on the blue mare's magic.

  22. Sombra tilted his head from where he lurked in the shadow of a building, watching as the mare seemed to pick up on something. He always had that sort of presence about him that ponies came to notice sooner or later, and it was no fault of his beyond his general, bad-tempered nature. When that dark magic passed over him, he felt it and stiffened, taken by surprise. It wasn't often he saw ponies use dark magic, and with ease, so for this mare to use it.. it made him wonder. And not just about that, but the hiss her voice seemed to adopt. He didn't bother answering, not yet.


    The umbrum watched as she moved away, towards the unusual gingerbread-shaped building he'd seen before- it was hard to miss among the rest of Ponyville's buildings, and when it was out in the open. She soon came back into view carrying a pair of cupcakes, and his ears perked towards the voice. Twilight's place? If he recalled from what Celestia told him, and what glimpse he'd seen of the mare once, her 'place' was the giant, tree-shaped crystal that he could hardly call a castle. If that was the place this pony seemed to want to meet, then so be it. Sombra finally stepped out into the open, making himself visible as he followed after the mare. The dull grey of his coat, long, swept-back mane and the curve of his red horn made him stand out sorely among the ponies he passed- and that was not counting the rest of his features.


    Sombra would meet this stranger at Twilight's.. 'castle' to see why it was she was intent on meeting him, and perhaps learn more about why this unicorn used dark magic the way she did. It was unusual.

  23. It'd been some time since Sombra had last been to Ponyville- perhaps the last time had been during a discrete visit to the spa upon following a suggestion from Prince Blueblood. He could still remember the first time he'd ever run across this small, country town with its hardpack dirt roads and straw-roofed houses, one of very few memories to crop back up once he'd gotten off of the train. They weren't terribly important to review.


    Canterlot had gotten stifling enough to drive him to visit Ponyville on a whim, and his dark hooves carried him through the streets he'd not yet had a chance to properly explore before, unlike the capital city. And here, he was free to wander without feeling pressured to hide behind a disguise or lurking in the shadows; the royal sisters knew about him now, one far more than the other. Any suspicious or fearful looks that ponies gave him were ignored, and the wide berth most of them gave him left him free enough to walk without tripping or running into anypony- he was tall enough to loom over most, but he didn't have Celestia's height, thankfully. All that he'd come to town wearing was his signature red, fur-lined cape; everything else was gone.


    Sombra's attention had been on the shops that he passed by, shops that he occasionally peered in on through the large display windows to see what all they sold in a little town like this, before a voice drew his focus away. Initially, it sounded like a call for help.. but after he heard the rest of it, he knew it simply to be somepony offering help. His ears perked up and Sombra looked around for the source, a faint scowl on his face. If he was looking in the right direction, it looked to be a blue unicorn mare. He moved a little closer, sticking to the edge of the street; next to Ponyville's daily crowd, he was a dark intimidating shadow among brightly colored ponies. He stuck out like a sore hoof.


    Thinking about it, for whatever reason that even got him thinking about it, Sombra wasn't sure if he'd need any help to get it from a stranger.. beyond a guide, probably.

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