Regarding Falling Villains

by naturalbornderpy

Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Regarding Jobs, Bad Ideas, and Roofs

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I came back into this world not of my own accord but by that of my tormentor—the one that greets me each morning with that punctual smile, always followed by that curt nod. I arrive only a few minutes before her every horrendous day and am now starting to wonder if she times her entrances with mine.

Celestia usually starts her mornings with a few sips from her small tea cup while hovering a lengthy scroll near her head—whatever treachery she must have planned for the day. When I see her coming I lower in my hard-back seat and try to concentrate on the black coffee I fetch for myself each morning. Sometimes it feels like the only thing I have going for me.

“Good morning, Sombra,” she always says brightly. “Busy day I assume?”

I regard her with the same wrath that has made the weak scream for a pittance of mercy and the strong shiver in their armor. I bore everything into both red and green eyes and wish the high ceiling above would suddenly cave in and take the white alicorn to the floor in a hurry. Most mornings I hope for a lot of things, but alas seldom few are granted. Instead of receiving any of the things I wish for, I only cling desperately to my warm cup and say nothing at all.

“In time you’ll thank me, Sombra,” she says this particular morning, uncaring of the plight she’s placing on me or unaware of the doom that’s steadily coming her way. (I haven’t worked out all the details of the pre-mentioned doom but it’s always coming.) “I don’t think a single villain started off evil, Sombra, so why should their actions label them forever? Give it time, and I’m sure you’ll come to welcome friendship just as much as Discord has.”

I loudly sip my coffee and as I watch her I feel my eyes grow dry as I try not to blink. If she thought I was just another nut to crack, she was plainly wrong. She was dealing with a King and she only hadn’t noticed yet. My time was coming, I knew.

“Just stay off the roof, okay?”

She tips me a wink and I feel a wash of blood rush to my face. I damn my body for the injustice done to me, yet can’t stop the reaction. My only hope is that my darkened appearance masks any such blemishes. She just had to mention it, hadn’t she?


Months ago, Princess Celestia decreed that all notable villains should be given a second chance to discover the magic of friendship for their own wellbeing. A creature by the name of Discord (I’d never heard of him either, but if he’s been under Celestia’s torment for the years he’s been around, I pity him more than most) was the first of such nefarious baddies to be strapped down and forced into the cult of friendship and overall good-natured-ness. Whatever they had done to him—whatever sick, and twisted acts they had performed on the poor soul—had altered his very identity and made him a type of model citizen for the rest of Equestria to gaze upon.

Congrats, Celestia. Really. Wonderful job. Not only must you defeat your adversaries, but now you must rub their faces in the dirt—remind them of their loss and force them to spend countless hours with the very ones that had originally brought them to their knees. And I always thought I was a monster most foul. I never could have guessed just how far these heroes of ours would go. Do they not know of the dance we do? The intertwining dynamic that creates positively exciting existence from the delicate balance of good versus evil?

Discord had been revived from his stone prison for all of three seconds and then instantly thrown through the grinding friendship machine. From what I had heard, a pegasus of yellow and pink had done the dirty work and every day behind my desk when I see a mare with pink mane do I slide down behind my counter as far as I can go (although my elongated horn makes such immature tactics close to impossible to pull off). For days they must have tortured him. Thrown him on a rack until every natural villainous calling had been wiped clean before they must have re-trained him the way Celestia would have wanted him to be. Although I never would have classified Discord as one of the greats (I hear he did chaos, but mostly… messy and not woefully evil chaos), it was still hard to hear of one of my brethren forcibly changed against their will.

Yet he had had a better chance than myself.

Discord had been able to keep his magical abilities—for use in the department of helpful activities. I was never allowed any such reprieves. Even now, as I keep my head bent and try to dodge as many absentminded questions from wayward ponies as possible, I scarcely make the quill to the page, a light sweat already boarding around my wonderfully styled mane. On good days I will store as much extra magic as I can, fill out the forms and busy work balancing a quill between two awkward hooves, all in the attempt at being able to write with more accuracy later on.

While Discord had been released from stone, I was brought back to life from a chunk of bone that had been thrown clear of my Crystal Empire. It’s not often I like to recall my horrifically unnerving day of defeat, but sometimes when I’m asked the same question for the tenth time in a row from ponies visiting Canterlot castle (“Two doors down on the left”), I almost wish I was beaten even more than I had been. Find my bones. Dig them up. Pound them to dust. At least then I wouldn’t be here in Canterlot, sitting behind this desk and waiting for one of several things to occur: for my tormentors to lose hope and place me back into the blackened void known as death; for them to slip up enough to make my escape and triumphant return; or for myself to wake up in a cold sweat, back in my Empire over a thousand years ago. Sadly, choice number one is the only one that grows more prevalent in my head. Anyway, the roof.


After being brought back from wonderful death and after first glaring at every Princess that sat before me (there were like… four of them—even some purple one I had completely forgotten existed), I was told of my punishment in lue of my lifetime of misdeeds. I was to help the daily operations of the Canterlot castle, and with any hope, some of what I should bear witness to would rub off on my blackened heart. My initial response wasn’t so much a well retorted argument about how change should never be forced upon others and that these alicorns shouldn’t try and play creator with those they’d deem below them, but more so myself laughing around on the floor until tears welled up in both eyes. Not only had they brought me back from the dead and delivered me right to their very hub of operations, but they planned on giving me free reign to mingle with the populace that passed through it. My, oh my, how times had changed.

“You are serious?” I had asked Celestia, back when I would have considered my outwardly guile resembling something close to a ruler.

“Very,” she told me, a shine of determination set in her eyes. “Every one deserves a second chance, Sombra. Even you.”

“Then I must thank you, Celestia.”

I smiled at them all. Let every fang hang out in the air. This was to be the last time that I’d see them, so I wanted to leave on a somewhat professional note. I would start with the purple one—the one that had bested my traps all those many years ago. The pink one would charge soon after, I knew, but she would be done away with hastily. (I could never imagine the Princess of Love somehow turning into the Princess of Combat overnight, not with that slender frame of hers.) I would bathe in their youthful blood as Celestia and Luna would unite to put a swift end to me. Remembering what had occurred the last time we sparred, I would unveil a new tactic that would all but guarantee my victory. Then Equestria would find itself under new rule.

But when I focused all my rage and hate upon the smallest alicorn of them all, did only a small lock of her mane slide in front of her eyes. Bemused, she huffed it away.

“Ugh,” I grunted, as I focused my blood-red horn to her.

The same batch of hair fell to her nose. “Stop that!” she yelled at me.

I tried something new on each of the alicorns glaring down on me, only to come away with close to the same result. They had robbed me of my magic—my talent. As well as nearly all my physical strength and the crown I wore atop my head.

Following my little outburst, Celestia regarded me warmly. “I should thank you for bringing up my next point, Sombra. Until you are deemed a friend to Equestria, your magical abilities will be limited severely. If you have any hope of being granted them again, I would try and find the good inside you as soon as possible. We are all here to help—not hurt you, as you might think.”

By her side, Luna stood to face me. “And if you should try a single thing out of order, monster, I will not hesitate to put you down again!”

In just a few choice words, Celestia had ripped open a hole in my chest, upending the order of the world as I knew it. At least Luna was not following the abysmal change of tactic as orderly as the rest. Quite empty inside at that moment, I mouthed the words, “Thank you,” to her and sat back down on the suddenly cold ground. Next they took me to my cell.

Even though my cell had no real bars to speak of or to bang my head against when some days seem to drag out for eternity, I would have preferred a place in the deepest pits of Tartarus over such a room. A circular desk, chin height with a shelf underneath lined with dozens of document holders. A few meters directly in front of that were four glass doors that fed out into the Canterlot courtyard—the hustle and bustle of hundreds of ponies mere steps from my workstation.

For a solid minute I regarded my desk: the hard, black swivel seat behind it; the silver bell atop the counter; the “Please ask for assistance” sign that sat opposite the bell. I viewed over a patiently waiting Celestia and in my mind, told her, “No, thank you.” What actually came out was, “I’d rather die all over again than possibly sit here, for hours a day, on display for all your guests.” Because, isn’t that what she was exactly doing to me? “Look, everyone, look!” Celestia would cry to her throngs of devoted followers. “Remember that tyrant King from so long ago? Now he works reception! Really! Go ask him a question and he’ll answer it! He works for me now and now I’m rubbing his nose in it! Seriously! Touch his mane! It isn’t fake I swear!”

“I told you this wouldn’t work,” Luna said from behind her sister, already pursing her lips in annoyance. “Even your attempts on the reformed Discord have been hit and miss at best.”

Luna will die last, I told myself that bleak day. It will be quick, too. She has shown she is far above such ridiculousness as this.

Celestia bared down on her sister. “Luna, we will not get anywhere with attitudes like that. The friendship that Twilight has shown me over the years has done a lot to sway my opinion on even our worst nemesis. What is so wrong about trying a different ploy in the singular goal of peace? How do you fathom Sombra will feel if even my own sister does not believe in his rehabilitation?”

“I’d think I hate her a lot less than you, Celestia,” I said, well away from my desk of punishment.

Celestia huffed and stormed from the room, not before lifting me up and setting me down in the small chair behind the counter. Once my plot hit the seat I could hardly keep my mouth from trembling. No one had ever moved me as easily as then. No one had ever told me what to do… and then made me do it. But this was still during the time when I thought this might be nothing more than a fever dream and not cold, harsh reality.

So what else was there to do but press on?

For a time I fiddled with documents and read a few lines of fine print, trying to grasp the enemy stronghold along with all of its dealings. This only made my eyes nearly water from the small print, so instead I glared at the set of glass doors ahead. Maybe I could out-bore my own dream, I had thought foolishly. The wall clock behind me ticked away loudly. Every few seconds a new colorful pony would trot across the entryway outside, and each time my stomach would sink at the very thought of one of them entering here and seeing me. Then it happened.

A pink mare with green and white mane trotted in with a notebook in tow. She watched me with a quizzical expression before smiling at me. Not a returned expression.

“You must be new!” she exclaimed, as though every sentence should be uttered loudly and with enthusiasm.

I blinked slowly. “I won’t be around for long.”

Oddly, she laughed at my statement. “I’m sure you’ll do fine. Could you tell me where the historical archives are?”

I sighed. “I don’t know.”

She waved it off. “That’s okay, I’m sure I’ll find it. Is this your first day?”

Something began to throb in my temple. I repeated, “I won’t be around for long.”

Horrifically, her look changed from one of simple joy to one of concern. Before I had a chance to move away, she snatched up one of my resting forelegs from the counter and held it between two of her own. “Don’t think like that! Don’t you dare think like that!” Her all consuming eyes never left my horrorstruck pair. “Everyone has trouble on their first day, but soon I’m sure you’ll get everything down pat and know just about everything. A good attitude can always help, too, you know.”

I said not a word and only concerned myself with my lost leg trapped between her warm hooves.

Finally, she noted my trepidation. “Or… you know, showing up on time and being punctual can help.” Then she did something I hadn’t seen coming. Still clutching my poor, weak limb, she pulled at it until my chest hit the desk and she wrapped both legs around my darkened shoulders.

She had hugged me.

Some peasant stranger from Canterlot thought she could embrace the King without his permission. And I had done nothing about it—could barely do anything about it.

“Gah!” I muttered, as her mane tempted to tickle my snout.

“Well, good luck!” she said before departing, unhooking from me as my rear found my seat again.

Unsure of what had just happened I watched the clock behind me, sure that hours must have passed since first forced there against my will. Color drained from my face as I learned only twenty minutes had elapsed. It was then that I knew what I had to do.

The roof was easy to find once I discovered the stairwell. Celestia had sat myself down and kept a bubble on the King for the first ten minutes at best, but when she went too far or lost interest, I was sure I would be free to do as I please. The outside air felt wonderful in my lungs and as it gently pulled at the hair on my shoulders. It would have been a wondrous sight had I been left my cape and crown, but those items had been lost somewhere along the way.

I viewed the ground several dozen meters below and waited for a group of ponies to come galloping by. If I could time it right I could land on a bunch of them and then we’d all go out together—wouldn’t that put a damper in Celestia’s plan? After a few minutes of no one passing by at all, I dismissed the idea as more than likely someone would start looking for me soon. Without a single thought about pain or whether this height was even enough to finish the job again, I stumbled off the roof head first and waited for the ground to come greet me.

Celestia might have taken my powers and brought me back from the dead without my compliance, but that didn’t leave me completely without options. Another death was almost like another victory. Celestia’s new friendship plan hadn’t worked and the second villain she tried it on jumped off a roof. I honestly couldn’t see many more villains lining up for her treatment after that. My last thought before smearing across the sidewalk was just how easy a solution that had been. In my reawakening I had grown quite naive.

So came the blissful dark.

Next Chapter: Chapter 2: Regarding Falling Villains, Colors, and Purple Alicorns Estimated time remaining: 6 Hours, 56 Minutes
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