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private IC: Return of the King (1x1 with Catpone Cerberus)


King Sombra

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra didn't feel anything - so why did Una end up feeling what she was feeling? It would probably make sense due to her being of a vastly different bilogy that she may be able to sense things to a much greater extent than he anticipated. "It could very well be the influence of the evil two sisters. Which is why it is important that we move quickly, and do not stay in one area for long. If the two sisters or their devilish team of 6 ponies find us - we will be slaughtered like animals or banished from the land. I have seen their cruelty, they may act all nice - but they will tear us apart and scatter our remains to the four winds, I have no doubt about that." he said in a serious tone.

"There was a strange creature I met, although, I do not understand how she could be responsible for your feeling. She did have strange eyes, but to make one feel that way when I was already interacting with her and didn't feel anything like that - I think it's probably something else, if not the two sisters." he added.

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@-Solstice-
"I don't doubt your judgment your highness, but if it was the sisters, where did this come from?" Una moved the medal slightly to signal it was what she meant "I don't remember seeing it when we got into that car, though it could be I just didn't notice it, and, if it was them, why let us go?" she was just as respectful as before, though she took a bit more neutral stance, still making sure she didn't seem like she was trying to seem any more in power than she was "I thought about it while waiting for you to return, and, how likely is it that I'm the only one here from where ever I am from?" 

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@Catpone Cerberus

He thought about that for a second and looked off to the side slightly. "I would be a fool to deny the possibility of that. You, and the whole apparatus that you were in came from another dimension. It is possible that something or someone else came along and left the site before I arrived there, but if that is the case, they likely won't be able to track us down once we lose ourselves in the city of Deltrot." he spoke somewhat abrasively, not liking the idea that it could indeed be something else other than his intended manipulations. Deltrot was a city that was unfamiliar to him, but he wasn't going to say that because that would be in a way admitting that a weakness that he had was that he didn't know the lay of the land, but Una didn't either.

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@-Solstice-
Una stared at the medal, trying her best to remember if she had ever seen this variation of the logo, but her mind hit blanks, there wasn't even that subconscious recognition that many other things had, it meant nothing to her. "I wonder why they didn't do anything if there really was someone." she said quietly more to herself than to Sombra "I was alone, easy prey"  

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@Catpone Cerberus

"It is often a more powerful psychological trick to let someone know that they are being watched and that they are indeed 'defenseless', for all intensive purposes. The two sisters and their followers, may indeed follow this principal, but it has been a thousand years so I am not sure if that is still the case." he spoke, looking out over the rails as the freight train went. 

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@-Solstice-
Una nodded, not that Sombra would see it while looking out, she then hesitated for a moment before asking "I'm sorry for a stupid question your highness, but, how long in time is a year?" "I'm not familiar with the term, I only know days and cycles." she was sure that thousand years was a long time from how Sombra spoke about it, but how long she had no idea.

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@Catpone Cerberus

(I like to put in my own details to Equestrian timescales, like different lengths for years, etc)

Sombra sighs slightly and looks back at her slowly. "A year is 335 days." he spoke to her, in a matter of fact manner and then looked back out over the rails. "We should arrive there in a few hours." he added and slumped back a bit where he was sitting. 

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@-Solstice-

"That's 35 more than a cycle" Una half-muttered in thoughtful manner, saying it mostly to herself, that helped a bit, of course she didn't know if their idea of a day was the same length, but she didn't dare to ask based on Sombra's reaction, not that it would have helped, since she didn't actually know how long her version of days was either, as she didn't remember ever living a day where she actually knew the amount that time progressed.

She laid down, she wasn't actually tired, having just woken up from a nap of who knows how long, but she figured she could as well relax since it didn't seem Sombra was on the mood for chitchat. 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra went silent and watched as she laid down for a nap. He figured that he would keep watch over her as the train went along the rails. The sound was loud, but his ears got used to it rather quickly and he looked out over the surrounding environment with a rather blank expression across his face. He was still getting used to the fact that he had to basically keep someone in line, and keep them loyal. Yeah, he did that to an Entire Kingdom at some point in the past but this is different, as it is more of a personal nature. As the train went, he observed how the landscapes changed and shifted, he saw the various fields, forests, and farms. In a way, he respected the Common pony's life style, if only for the sole reason that they were little of no threat to him. 

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@-Solstice-
Una tried to close her eyes but quickly came to the conclusion that she couldn't sleep, she simply wasn't tired enough, so she kinda just laid there for a moment before getting an idea, still laying down, she put the medal in front of her face and flipped it over, the other side was blank, and more importantly reflective, thus, it worked as a tiny mirror, how hadn't she thought about this earlier? And so, until Sombra said or did something that required Una's attention, she would spend rest of the ride looking at herself through the medal, it was fascinating to see one's own face for the first time.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra noticed what Una was doing, however he didn't comment on it. Instead what he did was manipulate the shadows behind Una in subtle manners to make the shadows more prominent, the shadows almost having a similar form to Sombra's shadow form. This was to instill Una's identity as belonging to Sombra, with Sombra doing this a psychological form of manipulation as it was the first time that Una had looked at herself before. For a while Sombra stayed silent, the ride itself lasted several hours, before they finally got close to Deltrot.

The train began to slow down, and Sombra stood up. "We need to hop off the train before the train enters the railyard, because they will likely inspect the train and we'll be more likely to be spotted." he spoke, and the urban skyline of Deltrot could be seen nearby, evidently, they would have to walk their way into the city and find another train to get into Canterlot. Sombra took a moment to appreciate the massive urban sprawl of the city, it was quite large, and impressive to see how far ponies have came.

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@A.K. Yearling
Due to the small surface area of the medal, Una didn't see much beyond her face, so the form of the shadows didn't really register to her, but the change in prominence did have a slight, for now unnoticeable effect, that Una was not aware of, so in other words, Sombra was successful at what he tried, but not necessarily in the exact way he may have assumed, but that was something to be seen as time went on, after all, tiny change was just that, a tiny one.

Another thing that was changing in her a little at a time was how she felt Sombra, his presence had a certain feel to her, even when she wasn't looking at him, or even thinking about him, she felt his presence, a presence that intimidated her, a presence that felt almost oppressive to her, but as some say, you get used to everything eventually, and what better for getting used to something than exposure to it?

Una broke out of her thoughts and got up when Sombra spoke, she was ready pretty much immediately, as the only thing she had to do to get ready was to drop the medal back into her pocket, she was still wearing only the most covering piece of cloth from what Sombra had brought, failing to look through the rest of the clothes in the hours it took to get here, but she figured it should be fine,  since the rest would have been more for her own comfort than better disguise. She didn't say anything, but the way she positioned herself next to Sombra implied her readiness to follow.

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@Catpone Cerberus

As Sombra watched the rails slow down, he had the lingering expectation of feeling watched in the city of Deltrot. If that was the case then he would know something larger is aloof, as they were hours away from where they once were now. He didn't know what to expect in truth to be honest, Deltrot was just as disorienting and unfamiliar to him as it was to Una, most likely. He wanted to find any possible ways to advance his magic. Perhaps here they could find some magic shops with magic items, and he could steal some of them with his dark magic. That was a decent plan, but he knew they would likely have possible ways to ward against his magic.

He gave a gesture and would climb down the ladder of the railcar and jump off. The train was moving slow enough to where they could do this safely. When Sombra and Una departed the train, he would quickly run towards the abandoned buildings near to the Railyard. They would be able to lay low there as they made their way closer into the city. The buildings looked to be old industrial buildings, and were in quite the disrepair. 

He would lead them past the buildings, it was eerie to say the least, seeing the overgrown exteriors and urban nature in such disrepair. He was heading towards one of the outer streets of the city, his form once again to the stallion disguise that he used before. 

 

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@A.K. Yearling
Una opened her wings before jumping and used them to land smoothly, her muscle memory for flying was lot more experienced than her actual memory would have given her reason to believe, but at this point she no longer wondered about it as much, since it had become kind of a norm for her, things she knew without knowing why she knew them. She followed Sombra close, looking a bit around them, half-expecting to get the feeling of being watched again, but the feeling never came, yet she had an eerie feeling that it hadn't been the last time she felt it, though she didn't say anything about it, because this time it wasn't based on anything, and was possibly just paranoia.

She looked curiously around at the overgrown area around them, for her it didn't feel eerie, and rather it was slightly fascinating, it had similar weirdness to her as knowing that the moon and the sun moves did, she couldn't tell why, but something about it felt off in ways that other things didn't, and it wasn't a bad kind of off, rather it was the kind to make her curious. She was broken out of her thoughts by Sombra's transformation, she hadn't seen his disguise yet, so it took her slightly off guard. "So what is the plan of action, your highness?" it was good to ask now, since she assumed they would avoid discussing such things when there was others around.

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

King Sombra pondered Una's question for a few moments and would then answer, "It is best that we stay out of sight of most ponies and avoid un-needed interactions, despite our disguises, I have a feeling we will still stick out in the crowd, but we will still be able to blend in if there are enough ponies around. I am sure that in such a large city as this, there would likely be areas with magical artifacts. Such artifacts are important to my goals. It is best to confiscate them from being able to be used by the vile Two Sisters. We will see what we can do about that, then we will find another train and see if we can head somewhere closer to Canterlot, our primary target." he mentioned.

"It is imperative that we are not uncovered here. If our true nature is discovered here, it won't bode well for us in the long run." he said in an authoritative fashion, not taking no for an answer. "Let's go." he spoke, and lead the way into the city, looking around for any important looking magical artifact shops or anything like that.

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@-HeedGreen-
"Understood your highness ,I'll keep my eyes open for artifacts." Una promised, but she wasn't sure just how useful she would be, since she had no idea what she was looking for, she only knew that artifacts tended to look apart, and while that was a start, she didn't know how to tell if something was magical or not. She was slightly taken aback by how Sombra said the last part, she could tell he put extra weight behind the words to stop her from arguing anything, but why? What had she done wrong? why didn't he trust her still? why did he think she would argue? and most importantly... why did it bother her all of the sudden? Why did she feel almost hurt by his distrust? She still didn't like him, so why did she want him to like her? 

She adjusted her clothing to hide herself as well as possible and followed Sombra, her thoughts and feelings would soon be replaced by nervousness caused by the other creatures around them, Sombra's constant lies had done their job, she was more scared of getting caught than she was of Sombra.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra walked through the city with a bold, yet casual stance. It was a clear indication that she was safer sticking near to him. The ponies about were normal ponies for the most part, all going about their lives. Their various colors and different mane styles were seen as they went about their daily lives. Some of the mares almost looked timid, cute, one could say. While stallions here seemed proud, business like, while there were a few outliers, that seemed to be the general theme. 

A single mare strolls on by Sombra and Una, looking to them almost nervously before continuing about their duties. The mare seemed almost as nervous as Una was, so perhaps she wasn't alone, in how she felt? 

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@-HeedGreen-
Una observed her surroundings, mainly the ponies that got close enough for her to look at them without it being obvious that she was looking at them, she found herself focusing more on the mares that passed her rather than stallions, again she couldn't have explained if one to ask why, maybe it was because she herself was something along the lines of a mare? or maybe they tended to be nicer to look at? Or maybe it was somehow related to Sombra? she didn't know, and it annoyed her, she didn't know anything about herself, even her own likes and dislikes were a mystery to her.

She looked back at the passing mare, doing her best to keep her face hidden, she didn't see a reason to hide the fact that she was looking back at her though, since the mare wasn't hiding her action either, though she didn't think too much about it, mainly she wondered if the mare was nervous because of them, since they did stick out a bit, her especially, or if she just happened to be nervous before spotting them.

She didn't stare any longer than would have been natural, or in other word, she broke vision when the mare was out of her line of sight and didn't turn her head, after all, it was just a nervous mare, Una had no reason to think anything of it. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra didn't seem to be thinking about the ponies that passed them as much, but then again it was hard to tell. Una would likely take notice that the mares here dressed more opulently, the area of the city they were in was clearly more an upper class area. Some of the stallions would walk with monocles or canes, with great strides indicating their highly confident outlooks on life. Many ponies were in at least some aspect of a suit, indicating business like careers. The buildings were so tall that they could pierce the sky, a testament to the work ethic of Equestrians. Sombra took more than a few glances up at these skyscrapers, wanting to decorate them with black crystals and flags adorning his banner. That would be soon to come.

As they went further, Sombra began to think further more on his plans for areas such as these. He would likely appoint some sort of regional authority to govern over the place. Perhaps it may be existing authority, but he would make them strip all loyalties to Celestia and Luna in a pledge of allegiance to him. He could imagine the Crystal Empire's banner hanging from the most important buildings. All of these ponies were needed for a productive society, he wasn't simply going to enslave them. Only the ones who offered resistance to his authority. As he thought more about this, he decided that he would import a large population of Crystal Ponies to oversee the authorities here, to rule as an elite Upper Class.

He wouldn't need to merely enslave the Crystal Ponies again, to release the Umbrum. He would enslave able bodied Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and make them use their talents to bore through the arctic rock that kept his brethren trapped beneath. It would take a while to transition, but he envisioned an Equestria ruled by a joint measure between Crystal Ponies and Umbrum, with all others being beneath their authority, with his supreme rule cemented in the Crystal Empire, which would merely Annex Equestria itself under it's authority.

They began to head more towards the city center. A pair of foals were playing on the sidewalk, before their ball would bounce off accidentally in Sombra's direction. The two colts would see the ball bounce towards Sombra, who'd quickly take notice of it. For a second he would grab the ball in his magic, looking at it curiously before rolling it back to the two colts. The colts smiled and laughed, Sombra managed a slight smile towards them, as they forged on. 

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@-HeedGreen-
Una did notice the, what to her was odd, clothing, but besides wondering why everypony was wearing such, she didn't make any conclusions, because she lacked the context and knowledge to know that these were high-end clothing, nor did she have knowledge to assume anyone's job, besides of course obvious things like staff members of shops and such. Honestly, the only thing that wasn't entirely new and weird to her was the tall buildings, but it wasn't that she recognized them specifically in any way, it was more that they kinda just...fit, it was like seeing a tree in a forest,  in her subconscious mind, it was the expected reality.

Seeing Sombra's smile made Una feel...uncertain, she lacked the experience to tell if it was genuine or faked, but regardless she wasn't sure how to feel about it, one would assume seeing a smile would always be a positive thing, and so did Una, but something about it being from Sombra made her feel off, it didn't match what she had seen of him until now. 

Something else that made her feel off was...well, a feeling, it was brief but noticeable, it was almost similar to what she felt from Sombra, and the only reason she noticed it was because it changed, the feeling appeared, she felt a physical bump to her side even though there wasn't anyone at that moment, and then the feeling was gone, it took her few moments after to comprehend what it even was she felt, after which she realized something else, her pocket was suddenly a medal lighter. 

She tested that she wasn't imagining it by poking the pocket quickly, and yep, it was gone, she was so confused about what just happened that she accidentally let out a quiet "Where did it...? Wha...?"  she looked at the ground around her to see if she dropped it, but it was nowhere to be seen.

 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Unbeknownst to Una, Sombra's smile was indeed faked. As a matter of fact, his whole act around her was all faked indeed. It was part of the plan to get her to be a loyal follower and perhaps discover offensive or unique abilities that would suit her in the future. All Sombra cared about was power and getting revenge on those who were responsible for his previous defeats, after all. Everything else along the way was merely par for the course. Taking over Equestria was never his original goal, his past self only wanted to rule the Empire and leave everything else alone - but no, the two sisters had to intervene and destroy everything he created and set him back a thousand years. While Sombra was looking away, the thought made him take on a slight scowl, thankfully going un-noticed by others. It made him full of utter rage, that he just wanted to scream.

As Sombra was thinking about his revenge, he would have heard Una say something and he turned to see her looking at the ground. He instantly became suspicious of this. Something was off about this, and he felt as if something or someone had to be following them. But what, or who? Hopefully the two sisters hadn't come up with some method to track him down, but if that was the case, why didn't they reveal themselves and attempt to vanquish Sombra where he stood? Nothing about this added up in his mind. 

"What, what is it? Tell me what it is. I can't do anything about it if you don't tell me." he said in an almost displeased fashion that she didn't tell him right there and then.

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@-HeedGreen-
Sombra's words visibly took Una off guard, she had been preoccupied with trying to understand what had happened, so she had for a moment almost forgotten his existence "S-sorry, I-I'm not sure what happened, I....I think something or someone invisible just pickpocketed me, I felt something bump into me and now that piece of metal is gone." she didn't care much for the medal itself, after all, she had found it on the ground, its worth was only in its usefulness as a mirror and as something she could grab on with her magic, she was far more concerned about the implication that someone knew it was in her pocket, because that in turn hinted at the owner having followed them. 

Only after responding she realized Sombra's tone, she also realized her response was more...casual than Sombra may like, but as there wasn't really much she could do to correct that now, she instead prepared for his anger, not knowing if he would do something in such a public place, nor did she know if anyone around them would care if he did. The only way that this preparation was visible outside was slight change in her posture, since things like her ears flattening didn't show from under the hood. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Sombra narrowed his eyes as he heard Una's words. So it was true, something or someone was indeed following them. He didn't have any indications as to what that could be. Whether his expectations for it to be the influence of the two sisters were correct or not, he couldn't really say. Either way, he knew something was up and he didn't like it at all. With a slight growl, he'd huff. "Whatever is following us has a way to hide themselves. Next time this happens, tell me." he said as he turned away. He wasn't' all that pleased with Una, but it's not like he was going to have a major meltdown in the presence of others. 

He could potentially cast some spells to see if anything was near to them, he wouldn't verbally state that he had the ability to do that - as whatever was following them could prepare accordingly. Instead, he was going to lead them to a less populated area to test if he could reveal anything that was following them. He wasn't exactly angered at Una, more so of the situation itself. 

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@-HeedGreen-
Una just gave a submissive nod as a response, she felt that saying anything would have just made things worse, and since her fear was coming more apparent in her voice again, she figured speaking could also get the attention of someone, which she didn't want to happen. She was also thinking about the situation, but unlike Sombra, she didn't even consider the sisters as an option, partly because she still didn't know enough to have a solid idea of what they could do and what they couldn't, but mostly because of the logo on the medal, she hadn't recognized the specific logo, but one didn't need to be an expert to guess it was somehow related to the place she came from, since it had been a variation of the logo from the papers.

The only questions for her were who and why? What was so interesting about her? why weren't she just attacked? and who it was who was observing her? 

 

Depending on what kind of spells they were exactly, Sombra would possibly be able to spot someone sticking out, a dragon, again, but this time male, and only partially covered in cloth, in fact, there was a chance to spot him without any spells, as he kinda just stood in the shadows just out of sight. How would one know this was the one Una had felt? well, he was holding in his fingers a very specific piece of metal, that had just left Una's pocket.  He was wearing a robe that covered most of his body, but he had his hood down, so his hands and head were visible; he was very normal looking Equestrian dragon, Very dark reddish brown in color, with red eyes and dark gray horns and claws, besides the robe and the fact that he was a dragon, nothing really stuck out...visually.

If Sombra did end up using spells, or if he could just spot such things in other means, there were two details about the dragon that were unusual, one, he was carrying something very magical with him, what it was, wasn't obvious, but it had very strong magic, two, he had...an aura, something that potentially was slightly familiar to Sombra, an aura that implied strong connection to shadows and darkness similar to what Umbrum would have, but it was just different enough to feel off, wrong, unnatural even.

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@Catpone Cerberus

As they proceeded away from the inhabited area, Sombra's mind buzzed with questions and possible situations. He was thinking he would be suddenly attacked and pummeled by Royal Guards, or something like that. He could already see it in his mind, him fighting against rookie guards and putting them in their place. He mentally smirked at the idea of his crystal pony warriors pummeling Equestrian troops into the ground and showing absolute dominance over the enemy. It was something that gave him the thrill, during the brief war between the Crystal Empire and Equestria. This time, things would be different. He would make the Royal Guards bow on their knees to accept their one true lord and master.

In order to do that, he would not only need to return to power, he would need to use the alicorn amulet to power the spells for creating their tell tale helmets. After all, he would use his dark magic to corrupt the minds of the guards to serve him. He would most certainly do the same to that of the Equestrian guards. While he corrupted their minds, their free will would remain intact other than having undying loyalty to his and every other word.

However, he quickly remembered his goal. He was not going to get carried away with power fantasies. No. This would be different. Now they were towards an alleyway. There were ponies nearby, but they were out of earshot. Sombra looked down the alleyway, and saw a draconic figure standing there. He'd remain silent to observe the figure for a second, before his eyes would be covered with black magic. This would allow him to physically see anything hidden, provided it was out of a similar nature to his own. To his surprise the aura was similar to his own. At least this didn't seem to be someone aligned with the two sisters. 

His eyes would return to normal as he approached the figure. "You there. Enlighten me as to why you were following us." he spoke, as if it was a command.

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