The King & Shy

After a terrible storm sweeps through the Everfree, Fluttershy finds the weakened but still powerful King Sombra on her doorstep. Unable to resist his dark magic, she finds herself trapped by a spell that forces her to aid him, protect him, and heal him until he is strong once more, all while keeping his revival a secret from her friends. Unwilling to risk bringing her friends into the situation and endanger them, Fluttershy decides on a riskier tactic
If she could reform Discord, why not the Tyrant of the Crystal Empire. After all, with his spell keeping her from betraying his presence, it might be her only hope. Can she kill the Dark King with Kindness? Or will the ancient sorcerer once more stretch his shadow across Equestria?
http://www.fimfiction.net/story/328886/the-king-shy

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11. Oh My

Soft.

That was the overwhelming sense that Sombra could feel in that moment. Everything about Fluttershy was soft. He let his hooves trail down her sides and she shivered delightfully under his touch and her wings spread out only to wrap around the two of them, her primaries tracing down Sombra’s back in turn. Her lips were like the softest velvet and her whole body seemed to mold against his in an intoxicating manner. Then there was the kiss itself; there was passion, yes, but not a fiery, scorching passion, rather it was more steady and unyielding. Constant, sweet, and deliciously addictive.

When the kiss finally ended and the two parted, Sombra was pleased to see a faintly dazed look on Fluttershy’s face. Her mouth was still just slightly open, lips parted and enticingly attractive.

“U-uh, uhm,” Fluttershy blinked a few times as she seemed to come to her senses. Sombra could feel the incoming storm as the butter-cream mare’s muscles tensed up in preparation for a panic attack. Sombra chose to forestall it by lifting a hoof and placing it over her muzzle.

“Mouse, if you apologise for that I will be sincerely displeased,” Sombra remarked dryly.

Whatever it was Fluttershy was about to respond with was entirely lost, however, in the next moment. “Awwww, yeeeeeaaaaaah, I knew it!” Both Sombra and Fluttershy turned to see Rainbow Dash standing in the doorway with two mugs of coffee in a holder on her back and a smug grin on her face. “You go girl! Get some’a that!”

Fluttershy, for her part, suddenly began doing her absolute best impression of a red delicious apple. She was blushing furiously, her ears pointed up and twitching distressedly although her wings, Sombra noted with amusement, had only tightened their grip on him.

After Rainbow had stopped laughing and set the coffee down she turned to the mortified Fluttershy and gave her a more genuine, sincere smile. “Seriously, Flutters, good for you, you deserve a good guy” she said in a much softer voice, poking Fluttershy in the back with a hoof. “And, since Coal came down here in the middle of the night- morning -whatever, and spent the last eight hours making sure Scoots came through this crazy thing okay, I don’t think I even have to ask if he’ll treat you right.” Then she rounded on Sombra and pointed a hoof squarely at his muzzle. “I do have’ta say that if you ever hurt Fluttershy I will definitely lodge my back hoof so far up your flankhole you’ll be tasting the last three asses I kicked for the rest of your life, capisce?”

“Duly noted,” Sombra answered with a wry grin before turning to Fluttershy who was still clinging to him like an adorable lamprey. “Fluttershy, as much as I enjoy your proximity I will at some point need my personal space back to check up on Scootaloo’s vitals.”

Fluttershy squeaked something in the vague affirmative before detaching herself, albeit a bit grudgingly. She still remained within a hoof-length of him, though, which Sombra had absolutely no issue with. “S-sorry, Coal, I was… uhm… wasn’t thinking.”

Rainbow snorted a laugh. “Wow, if that’s what you do when you stop thinking we should get you to stop thinking more often. I only caught the tail end of your smooch-a-thon but I could definitely tell Flutters started it. Never thought I’d say that.”

A small cough came from the bed, distracting all three of them. Sombra was next to Scootaloo more quickly than even Rainbow Dash. A few sparks of magic lept from his horn and began orbiting around Scootaloo’s body. Rainbow glanced worriedly at the dark stallion, then down to the orange filly, then back to Coal. Fluttershy simply stood stoically by Sombra’s side as he did a few mental calculations.

Letting out a relieved sigh, Sombra turned to Rainbow. “She’s fine. Just getting used to the increased airflow and improved cardio-pulmonary system. For all the danger she was in, her body has adapted to the magical influence of the infection quite majestically, see?”

For the first time, Rainbow Dash took in Scootaloo’s physical state; the wider wings, the black feathers, the healthier shape of her body. For a moment Rainbow Dash looked like she was going to cry as she turned to Coal. “D-did you do this?”

Sombra was taken aback by the emotion in her voice, so much so that for a moment he was at a loss for words. When he found he simply shrugged. “In part, I suppose I-”

His explanation was forestalled by Twilight Sparkle entering the room followed quickly by Rarity, Applejack, and lastly Pinkie Pie.

“Coal? I didn’t realise you were going to be here,” Twilight said with smile as the other three Elements filed in behind her and Sombra sketched a quick bow. “Did you come in with Fluttersh- Why are you wearing a doctor’s coat?”

Before either Sombra or Fluttershy could respond Rainbow piped up. “Because Coal’s been here since like, three in the morning, using his awesomely weird crystal magic to help the squirt through whatever made her sick!” The four new arrivals reacted with stunned silence, and Rarity was the first to recover.

“That’s so wonderful, darling,” the alabaster Unicorn stepped gracefully forward, resting her hoof on Sombra’s withers. “You really are a good stallion, you know that?”

Sombra was about to respond when he felt Fluttershy tense against his side. He glanced down and saw her muzzle was scrunched up just slightly and she was eyeing Rarity’s hoof, which hadn’t moved from where she’d laid it.

The mouse is the jealous type, who knew? Sombra noted with amusement.

Shrugging, which had the additional effect of dislodging Rarity’s hoof, Sombra just shook his head. “When Fluttershy told me what happened I knew she wouldn’t be able to rest peacefully until the filly was back in good health and I do know some ancient techniques that most doctors here in Equestria would have no reason to know.”

“So, uh, don’t take this the wrong way Mister Axiom,” Applejack joined into the conversation finally, “ah’m mighty glad to hear that little Scootaloo is gonna be okay, she’s one’a my little sister’s best friends, but ah can’t deny bein’ a mite curious as to how you managed to cure her when all the doctors in Ponyville along with our resident Alicorn Princess were plum flummoxed.”

“AJ! What the hay!?” Rainbow practically launched herself forward the few feet that had existed between the two mares. “You make it sound like he planned this or something! He saved Scoot’s life!”

“Ah didn’t mean it like that,” Applejack backtracked quickly, holding up her hooves placatingly. “Ah just said ah was curious. Ya’ll don’t think it’s a little odd?”

“That’s perfectly fair, Miss Apple,” Coal responded before Rainbow could say something more troublesome. As easy as it was to get on her good side, she made something of an overzealous defender. “I’m sure the thought was on more than just your mind, am I right your Grace?”

“Well, I wouldn’t be much of a scientist if it wasn’t,” Twilight answered with a small laugh before turning to Applejack. “You could have asked your question a little more tactfully, AJ. He’s been up for Celestia-knows how long trying to help.”

Applejack looked down at the floor, scuffing her hoof on the tiles. “Aw shucks, ah reckon yer right, Twi.” Turning Sombra, Applejack held out a hoof. “Sorry about that, pardner…. again. Ah’ve always been a little mistrustful of outsiders but you ain’t been nothin’ but civil.”

Giving the farm-mare a tired smile that, for once, he didn’t have to bother faking, Sombra took her hoof and gave it a firm grip and shake. “I understand completely.”

“So… you were going to explain?” Twilight asked a little too eagerly. She had several notepads hovering near her and as many quills too. Sombra couldn’t help but laugh a little at the sight. It was certainly endearing if nothing else. “I was under the impression you hadn’t managed to start your research project beyond the preliminary stages.”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Sombra remarked earning a few quizzical looks. “That is, I haven’t the slightest clue what kind of Everfree plant could have affected this little one so badly. However, I do know of a plant in the Crystal Empire that has similar symptoms. It’s called ‘Tyrant’s Root’, three guesses how it earned that name.”

“Ooh ooh! Pick me!” Pinkie, mostly content with listening until now, was suddenly leaping up and down in the air waving her hooves. “Is it because of the evil nasty wicked King Sombra?!”

Sombra saw Fluttershy flinch slightly but, fortunately, everypony else was understandably distracted by Pinkie. “Yes, it is in fact. You see the root has a unique effect that causes a pony’s meridians to become overactive-”

“Uhm, ya’ll are gonna have to explain mer-whatsits to the dumb farmpony over here,” Applejack remarked, raising a hoof like she was in a classroom. Before Sombra, or even Twilight, could answer her though, a bright voice piped up.

“Meridians are the magical equivalent of arteries and veins in the pony body,” Pinkie answered quickly, drawing several looks of undisguised shock. The pink confectioner continued on unperturbed. “They pull in magic from outside and from food and stuff that you eat then ponies use the magic for lotsa stuff. Earth Ponies use it to farm, Pegasi use it to make weather, and Unicorns use it to cast spells and stuff!”

“Uh… that’s exactly right,” Twilight said, flabbergasted. “Where did you learn that?”

Pinkie just grinned. “From my Granny Pie. She taught all of us Pie fillies. Earth Pony magic is how rock farms can create crystals inside of rocks. We focus our magic into our hooves and then push it into the rock! Then the inside of the rock absorbs it and gets all crystally! That’s why we have to make sure we rotate all the rocks regularly though so the crystals on the insides grow evenly. I was never very good at it, though, but Maud is super-duper good at it! Better than even my Pops!”

“Well,” Rarity said, blinking in surprise. “I suppose that’s a bit of friendship lesson there, isn’t it darling?” She said, turning to Twilight. “Sometimes even your closest friends can still surprise you.”

“Yeah, I guess so,” Twilight answered with a smile before looking over at Sombra. “Sorry about the interruption. You were explaining about the Tyrant’s Root?”

Coughing to clear his throat, Sombra nodded. “Yes, the root was used by Lord Sombra to infuse his most loyal and zealous warriors and servants with greater power. You see, the root caused Ponies meridians to draw in so much magic that it became toxic to their bodies, overwhelming them completely. It’s part of the root’s life cycle you see. Beasts or ponies who consume the root die of either magical overload or massive organ failure, then the remains of the root grows within the body and becomes a new plant. Sombra used small amounts to make unstoppable warriors and unparalleled sorcerers out of his followers, those few who survived, that is. The mortality rate, I understand, was horrifically high.”

“Holy crap,” Rainbow muttered, “Scoots ate that?”

Sombra shook his head. “No, not at all. I suspect it was some distant relative of the Tyrant’s Root, though. Everfree, being a wildly magical place, probably has a plant that thrives off of magical influx in a similar manner to the root. Most likely she was hungry and attempted to eat something that looked palatable. That is how parasitic plants evolve after all, they draw in victims with a sweet scent or taste.”

Twilight was nodding along with everything her expression became grim at the end. “You’re not wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if a plant like that existed in the Everfree Forest. It’s a really dangerous place after all. So how did you heal her without knowing what she ate?”

“Quite simple,” Sombra remarked, “since the Tyrant Root functions by overloading the Pony’s body with magic I simply used my magic to create crystalline constructs like so…” A spark of red magic drifted up from his horn and coalesced into a perfectly hexagonal crystal matrix, “and then used them to siphon out the excess magic that was poisoning her system before allowing it to disperse harmlessly. Since the buildup stopped a few hours ago I’ve been spending the rest of the time ensuring there was no damage to her organs or muscles.”

“That’s brilliant!” Twilight smiled brightly as she noted down his Sombra’s words. “How did you get the magic to safely unbind from her blood, though? That’s what stopped me from trying the same thing.”

“I didn’t,” Sombra responded, drawing a look of surprise from the lavender Alicorn. “ I just waited for the magic to unbind itself from her blood when it was preparing to transfer to her organ and muscle tissue. Once it was freed from the blood I intercepted the particles with my crystals. After all, why try and force something that would occur naturally?”

Sombra suppressed a smug grin at the look of disbelief on the Princess’s face as it slowly turned into one of self-recrimination. “Of course, that… that’s so simple! How could I have not thought of that?!” Twilight’s notepads and quills floated down to the floor as she scowled, her face down as she stared at the space between her hooves.

You’re centuries too early to try and best my sorcery, Miss Sparkle, Sombra thought to himself. A small nudge from Fluttershy drew his attention away from his own thoughts and back to the butter-yellow mare beside him. She was looking at him with a pleading gaze then nodded her head towards Twilight, who was still looking despondent. Sombra flicked his ears in irritation. Oh very well, if I must.

“Your Grace,” Sombra said softly, drawing the attention of the five other mares who were consoling Twilight with little success. “In all fairness it was hardly an obvious solution. Nor was it one I could expect an Equestrian-trained mage to even think of, let alone execute. Crystal magic specializes in the transference of energy between points of access, from pony to crystal and back again for instance. Even had you identified the weakness of the affliction there’s no guarantee you could have safely siphoned off the arcane particles. I have had decades of training in this school of magic, that is the simple truth.”

Centuries, more like, but I can hardly say that now can I? Sombra chuckled inwardly. Turning his head to regard Fluttershy, he felt a warmth grow in his chest at the radiant smile she was wearing. A smile that was directed entirely at him.

“Coal’s right, sugarcube,” Applejack said sternly. “Ya’ll can’t be expected to be able to cast magic ya’ll ain’t even heard of.”

Sombra gave a supporting nod. “If it helps, too, my diagnosis suggests that her life was never in mortal danger. I can’t say what would have happened but I can say with some certainty that she would have survived the ordeal. Whatever she consumed must have been in a small enough quantity to avoid any dire side effects. That or the Everfree strain is simply less potent than the Tyrant’s Root. It may have evolved to affect wildlife rather than the more complex system of a Pony.”

“It did way more than affect her!” Rainbow said, interrupting. “Seriously, check it out!”

Carefully, Rainbow pulled the covers away from Scootaloo to reveal the wide, dark-feathered wings and lan, athletic form. If anything, Scootaloo was starting to look like Rainbow Dash in fact so long as whoever was making the comparison ignored the colors of the two mares. Twilight stared in wonder and Rarity nudged herself closer.

“Oh my stars, her coloration is beautiful,” Rarity whispered.

Sombra hadn’t really given the filly’s appearance much thought but, since Rarity brought it up, he had to admit the combination of black and orange created a striking combination of color that evoked the image of the very last moments of sunset; the final whispers of the orange sun before the day is swallowed by the shadow of night. Sombra opened his mouth to say something but his voice was lost as he staggered in place.

Damnation, I’ve persisted too long, Sombra inwardly cursed himself for his folly. He had exhausted himself when he knew full well that he could ill afford it. I need rest and food.

In the dimness of his consciousness, Sombra heard Fluttershy speak up. “Oh dear, I should help get Coal home. He’s pushed himself to exhaustion. Can someone stay with Scootaloo in case she wakes up?” The world was fading in and out, and he felt an unpleasant numbness at his extremities. “Lean against me Coal, we’re going home.”

Home… yes, Sombra’s thoughts moved like they were submerged in syrup. Going… home.

++

It had been a struggle getting Sombra back to the cottage. It took almost an hour but Fluttershy knew it would have been significantly harder had he been in his true form. It had been a little difficult excusing herself from her friends, especially with Twilight offering her castle or Rainbow trying to help Fluttershy with the trip. She didn’t want to risk his spell failing where anyone could see him. Fortunately Fluttershy had been able to explain away her reluctance, though she felt another small pang of guilt that she was take advantage of her friends’ trust in her. This, however, she knew would have been impelled by the geas whether she would have wanted to protect him or not. Throughout it all she had felt the telltale pressure in her mind driving her to get her king to safety.  Not that she needed it anymore. The thought passed through her head without the usual vitriol, surprisingly.

Well, a few things have changed recently… she thought, remembering the passionate kiss they’d shared before Dash had interrupted them. A blush turned her face scarlet, her fur only highlighting the shade.

Carefully, Fluttershy moved Sombra, who was in a kind of sleepwalking fugue state, into the living room and maneuvered him around the dining table and towards the hallway. It was around that point that she felt him getting heavier. For a moment she thought she was imagining it, but a quick glance told her that it was no illusion. Or rather, it was. Coal Axiom was fading away, leaving behind the towering frame of King Erebos Sombra.

Oh shoot, there he goes, Fluttershy thought quickly as she began moving with a little more speed towards his room.

Every step was more laborious than the last, though, as Sombra’s frame took on its usual weight and immensity. She barely got him through the door to his room before the transformation completed. The sudden and jarring end to the change caused Fluttershy to catch her hoof on Sombra’s tail which had gotten caught beneath them when she turned him to enter the room and, with a small eep, Fluttershy collapsed as the unconscious weight of the king bore her to the floor.

Even when she had moved him before she had never really appreciated how heavy King Sombra really was. Not that he was overweight or anything, she quickly reminded herself, but that the sheer volume of muscle he possessed dwarfed estimation. Now, however, she was painfully aware of his full weight as it pressed down on her.

Oh dear… this is not good, Fluttershy thought privately.

Her wings had, fortunately, been pinned to her sides when she fell. She didn’t want to think what Sombra’s full weight against her outstretched wing would have felt like. As it was she was pinned beneath him, laying on her right side with Sombra’s frame draped over her. Maybe if I lift up I can get… nope. Well, if I just… squirm forward I might be able to… oh fudge. She had managed to get her top half mostly out from under his barrel but now her legs were pinned and she couldn’t get them free. She was positioned directly between his forelegs, which were curled in enough to catch her shoulders and no amount of wiggling was letting her get free, not unless she wanted to risk damaging her legs. Fluttershy carefully moved her legs around, ensuring they had some movement so the circulation wouldn’t cut off.

“Well, here I am,” Fluttershy said softly to nopony in particular. “I suppose this is where I’m staying for the time being. I guess it could be worse. Hm, I wonder…”

Cautiously, Fluttershy unfolded her wings just enough get her primaries loose. It took a few minutes but eventually she was able to maneuver one of them to the crook of Sombra’s foreleg. Bracing herself for Sombra moving, Fluttershy could only hope that he didn’t damage her wing, albeit unintentionally. Sucking in a breath and then slowly letting it out, Fluttershy gently slid her feather against the sensitive skin.

Sombra twitched and Fluttershy tensed for a moment, hoping she hadn’t just made an awful decision. Fortunately, Sombra’s movement caused him to shift just slightly to the right, enough that Fluttershy was able to free her legs. Before she could fully escape, however, Sombra’s forelegs tucked in, catching the smaller mare and pulling her to his chest. The grip wasn’t ironclad, or even particularly strong if Fluttershy were being honest. Now Sombra was on his side and cradling Fluttershy against him and, with a rush of embarrassment, she realised that she had managed to accidentally make herself the ‘little spoon’ to Sombra’s very, very big spoon.

I can get out easily I think, Fluttershy mused as she tested her hypothesis by pushing against one of his forelegs which were enclosing her. Sure enough they had about as much give as the turnstiles at the Ponyville train station. But… I don’t really want to. This is comfortable. The thought brought a fresh blush to her face followed by a resigned sigh. I can’t just leave him on the floor, though. That’s not right even if he wasn’t a king. I’m comfy but I’m sure he’ll be stiff and sore when he wakes up if I leave him this way.

Grudgingly, she pried herself free of Sombra’s grip and maneuvered herself back into position on his right side. Lifting him up, she pushed forward the last couple of meters to his bed and gently moved him onto it. Fluttershy couldn’t help but smile at the success as she trotted back to the kitchen and fixed herself some lunch. It had been a trying journey and she felt exhausted. After a quick meal of apples and cheese, Fluttershy sat at the table considering what had happened that morning.

When I thought about reforming him this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, she mused as a wry grin turned his lips up. I guess I can’t really complain. He may have made me help him but this… this was my choice. Even if it wasn’t a good choice.

There was that. No matter which way she cut it Fluttershy had to face the fact that she had some kind of feelings for Sombra. King Sombra. The Crystal Tyrant and Lord of Shadows. Of all ponies she could have fallen for she knew that he was probably at the bottom of the list in terms of good choices. There were plenty of other stallions in Ponyville alone; Blue Note, Time Turner, Caramel. They were all good ponies. She was supposed to fall for a pony with a good heart or… or anypony but Sombra! So why was it that everytime she thought about his eyes, burning with emerald fire and crimson light, her heart started doing flips? Why did his deep, threatening baritone excite her instead of frightening her away? Every part of her mind was telling her this was a bad idea.

Fluttershy let out another sigh. She was doing that a lot lately since the master had come into her life. I suppose I may as well get my evening chores out of the way. Even though it’s early I don’t have much else to do.

The day was sunny and pleasant, much more so now that Fluttershy didn’t have the weight of Scootaloo’s fate hanging over her like the Sword of Damareocles. Her animal friends seemed to have gotten used to Sombra’s presence as they were no longer hiding in their dens and burrows. It had only been a few days but already they were treating him like a part of the household. That brought Fluttershy an odd sense of comfort. Animals, she had long ago learned, had a sense all their own that Ponies often ignored. An animal could sense disaster hours, sometimes days, before it happened. They instinctively know when danger is near them as well. The fact that they seemed mostly at ease with Sombra was promising in a strange sense of the word.

It only took a few hours and soon Fluttershy was back in the house. She felt drained, like the last several hours had taken out an order of magnitude more than their toll. Turning her head she sniffed at herself and scrunched her muzzle at the scent. I definitely need a bath.

Trotting to her room she turned on her back hoof and stepped into her master bathroom. One of the few amenities she had spent more bits on than she was comfortable disclosing. Lingering in her open bath under the hot water with fresh, scented bubbles around her was one of her favorite ways to unwind. Turning the spout she hummed in satisfaction at the steam rising from the filling tub. Working quickly she added the bubble mixture and scented oils before setting out a large towel to the side. As soon as the tub was filled nearly to the brim, Fluttershy cranked the spout off, took a tentative step into the water, and hissed in pleasure as the heat sank into her tired legs. Careful not to cause a spill, she stepped fully into the tub and settled down, letting the water caress her flanks and withers, rising up over her wings and back to touch her chin.

She wasn’t sure how long she luxuriated in the hot water, but eventually to began the laborious task of scrubbing away the sweat of the day from her fur and mane, preening her wings, and combing out her tail. It was early evening by the time she stepped out of the tub and dried off. The water sluicing away the daily grime down the pipes. Far from feeling awakened, though, Fluttershy felt languid.

Oh my, I guess today was more excitement than I thought, Fluttershy walked out of her room and down the hall, into the kitchen for a snack. I guess I’ll make an early night of it, I should lay out some food for his Majesty. He’ll probably be ravenous when he wakes up.

Gathering some less perishable food, mostly fruits and cheeses along with slices of bread, Fluttershy carried the platter into Sombra’s room and slid it onto the nightstand. A long, heavy yawn escaped Fluttershy’s mouth, threatening to send her straight off to dreamland right there. Sombra was right where she had left him, a thought that brought more comfort than it ought to have, and the sight of his slow, steady breathing had a startlingly soporific effect.

Then an idea cross Fluttershy’s tired brain. An idea that, had she been fully awake, she might have dismissed entirely out of hoof. I wonder if his Majesty would mind if I just…

A blush crept up her face at the thought of what she was about to do, but her tired brain wasn’t in the mood to try and offer any counter-arguments. Before she could think better of her idea, Fluttershy had lifted herself onto the bed and laid down with her back to Sombra. Taking care not to disturb the sleeping king, she scooted back until she was in the same position she had been in that afternoon. Sombra’s sleeping form seemed entirely fine with that idea as his forelegs closed over her in the same manner as before. Using her wing, Fluttershy lifted the blanket and pulled it over them both, snuggling into the king.

No, not the king.

Her king.

Yes, Fluttershy thought as she drifted off, that sounds much better.

 
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