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If one were to look upon the surface of the great oceans surrounding Equestria, they would be forgiven for assuming it was calm and serene. The way the sun shone brightly upon it's surface, the way it looks so still and undisturbed. It was the very picture of tranquillity. However, these would be the mistakes of an outsider. For those who knew the sea, TRULY knew it, would know that there was never a moment when it was not bustling with life and activity. Schools of fish, pods of whales, and every manner of bright and beautiful underwater plants made their homes here, constantly shifting and changing with the very tides and currents themselves. It was a world unto itself, far from the concerns of those who dwelt upon the land. And those who lived here could not have loved it more.

In one particular corner of this vast expanse of water, amongst a brilliantly red coral reef, there was one particular denizen that could not help but feel invigorated on this happy day. Amongst a collection of dolphins, all of whom were racing in formation among the reef, was a creature that none above would have recognised. The creature was coloured a shining gold, and at first glance it would appear to have the front end of a pony. But in stark contrast to that was the hind quarters, which, instead of a pair of hooves, was an elongated scaly tail, stretching outwards and ending in a fin, not unlike a fish. The creature's head bore a fantastic and large orange fin, which the casual observer would mistake for a pony's mane. This being's face bore a look of confidence, and a veritable glimmer in her bright pink eyes. As she swam quickly alongside the dolphins, matching their movements and their speeds beat for beat, it was clear that this was a race.

The dolphins kept on swimming forward, dodging and weaving through the various crags and sharp turns of the reef, and with every movement, the golden being kept in-tow with them. Eventually, after reaching more open spaces of water, the creature thrust forward with powerful flaps of her tail, shooting herself ahead of the dolphins. Her smile widening, she closed her eyes as she kept swimming, looking utterly content at her surroundings. After carrying on like this for some time, she finally opened them again, but only after hearing a series of familiar click behind her. Turning, she looked warmly upon the dolphins behind her, who had since stopped trying to catch up to her and simply started making their happy sounds, an acknowledgement of her victory. A chuckle escaped the female's mouth as she swam closer to them. Once amongst them, she raised her hooves and stroked the side of the lead dolphin's face, eliciting another happy clicking sound. They were practically giddy to be with her, and she with them.

Eventually though, they began to move off, and she stayed behind, waving them goodbye. She kept her eyes on them for a while, until they were no longer in view. However, it was here that she began to feel something. It was a rippling of the water behind her, a sensation that something was approaching slowly. Familiarity is what she felt from this, and a small smirk appeared on her face as she began swimming slowly forward, acting as if nothing was wrong. Closing her eyes again, she tuned herself to the movements of the water behind her, waiting for the right moment. Soon enough, it came, as she felt a sudden surge of the water, causing her to quickly strafe to the side almost effortlessly. It was just in time too, as she saw the one who had been following her. It was another of her kind, except light blue in colour. This newcomer was leaping forward with her hooves outstretched in a now-failed attempt to grab onto the "unsuspecting" golden female.

As the leap forward lost it's power, the blue one turned and looked on as her golden counterpart launched her own playful attack, reaching out and embracing her tightly in a hug. As the gold nuzzled the blue, the latter let out an almost whining sound.

"Aw! Dagi! Why do you always have to get the better of me like that? I thought I had you that time!"

Her captor merely chuckled at that.

"Silly Sonata! I'd never give up the chance to do THIS on a regular basis!"

The two females both giggled loudly after that, resulting in a now-mutual hug between them. After they eventually parted from one another, they began to hear a third voice, one more husky than their own.

"I'd love to watch, but I don't think that much sugar is good for me."

Turning, Adagio and Sonata smiled as they gazed upon a third member of their group, light purple in colour and possessed of a dark purple and green fin-mane. She was reclining with her hooves behind her head on the coral reef below, looking upon her two companions. As the two swam closer to her, it was Sonata who spoke first.

"Cheer up, Aria! You're always so grumpy!"

Aria gave a short snort at that before returning the smile, albeit a much smaller one. She raised a hoof and carefully ruffled Sonata's head-fin, much to the latter's annoyance, before speaking.

"You're always cheery enough for the three of us, Sonata."

Although initially put off by Aria's ruffling of her fin, Sonata perked up immediately afterwards. Adagio, watching the playful display between the two, swam closer before placing her hooves upon each of their shoulders.

"Alright, you two. That's enough. There'll be plenty of time for fun after the ceremony tonight."

Aria rolled her eyes at that.

"Ugh! You know I hate singing in public! Why does Mother always have us do this?"

Adagio looked at her sister with a raised eyebrow.

"You know our traditions, sister. We Sirens are creatures of song. And with our Mother being who she is..."

Adagio didn't finish her sentence, but she didn't need to, As Aria let out yet another snort, making it clear that she'd got the message. The elder sister didn't much care for her younger sibling's apathy in this matter, but she comforted herself in the knowledge that she at least seemed willing to go along with things for now. However, she then felt a tapping on her shoulder, leading to her turning her head towards Sonata, who was looking at her with great joy on her face, in stark contrast to Aria.

"I can't wait! I love this time of year. All the Sirens singing the old songs! Remember that first ceremony we went to when we were little? I'd never heard so many beautiful voices!"

Adagio couldn’t help but share in her sister's sense of nostalgia for the event, and as she briefly turned her eyes to the side, she caught sight of a small smile on Aria's face, showing that there was clearly unity in this feeling. Placing a hoof gently upon Sonata's shoulder, Adagio smiled at her.

"I know, Sonata. I look forward to it too."

The two sisters shared a smile between them before a though suddenly occurred to Adagio. Looking upwards, she saw the bright glimmer of the sun far above the surface of the water, high in the sky. There was a distinct orange glow to it, which made it clear to her that the day was waning. Looking back to her sisters, she cleared her throat a little before addressing them.

"It's getting late. We should get back home. You know Mother hates it when we're overdue for this sort of thing."

She watched as both of them gave her a nod, showing that they were in agreement over this. Nodding back to them, Adagio watched as they both flapped their tails hard, thrusting themselves forward and starting their long swim back to their home. Adagio smiled to herself as she considered what today would bring. It was as she'd said to Sonata, that it was an event she very much looked forward to, just like every member of their race. And so Adagio smiled. The kind of smile that anypony would see and know it belonged to somepony happy and content. So, following the example of her sisters, she began swimming after them, practically daydreaming of what she'd been hoping to do for a very long time, and knowing that today was the day it would happen.
Tale of the Sirens
The start of my origin story for the Dazzlings. As usual with multi-chapter stories, future chapters will be put on my account at FimFiction, and my watchers will be made aware of them via updates to this fic.

Cover art by :iconharwicks-art:

Link to original: fav.me/d89hx17

MLP belongs to Lauren Faust and Hasbro.

Chapter 2: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 3: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 4: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 5: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 6: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 7: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
Chapter 8: www.fimfiction.net/story/24218…
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Twilight Sparkle had often regarded her home town, the Equestrian Capital of Canterlot, to be a place of utter beauty and refinement, and in many ways, she was right. No city in Equestria shone as bright or had seen so many good things. It was hard for any mare or stallion to think of their nation's greatest city and not smile about it, knowing just how much it had influenced the best of the best. But things are very rarely as simple as that, and the young Princess had often learned the hard way that every place has darker sides to it. And Canterlot was no exception. While the city shone high above, down below it was a different matter. And this was where she found herself, walking down cold stone stairways beneath the royal palace, making her way to a place that she had never been to, nor ever wanted to see; The dungeons. Ponykind had rarely produced individuals who ever needed to be sent down here, something for which they were always thankful, but there was one for whom this place was a perfect prison, and that was where the lavender alicorn wished to go on this day.

Despite her relative lack of familiarity with this place, she soon found herself where she needed to be, in front of a large door forged of old ironwood and wrought steel, guarded by several members of the royal guard, all of whom were unicorns. The door gave a feeling of dread as she looked upon it, and part of her wanted to go back the way she came, to forget about ever coming down here. But there were matters she needed to attend to, and she was not going to let fear drive her. So, taking a deep breath, she took on a more regal posture before striding forward, soon catching the attention of the guards who stood before the door. They saluted her in unison, to which Twilight nodded in response before speaking to them.

"I wish to speak to him."

The looks on their faces made it clear that they had not expected this, as they all cast unsure glances at one another. Eventually, one of them, a mare, stepped forward and addressed her.

"I'm sorry, Princess Twilight. But our orders come from Princess Celestia herself. We cannot simply..."

But the guard was unable to finish her words as Twilight cut her off, speaking up in a tone far more commanding than most were used to hearing from her.

"I am also a Princess, and I ask that you let me pass."

The collection of guards all looked at each other with conflicting emotions, none of them knowing what to do. After an extended period of silence, they all nodded towards her before standing aside. Twilight relaxed somewhat and gave them all a look of appreciation before making her way past them. It wasn't something she enjoyed doing, using her authority like that, especially if it meant undermining her old mentor's commands. Nevertheless, the deed was done, and she now had a clear path. She watched as the unicorn guards' horns all lit up, engulfing the old door in a faint magical glow. It was not long before the door slowly opened, letting out a loud creak as it did so. The interior within was dark, but Twilight nevertheless began to make her way inside, much to the worry of the guards who watched her. Once inside, Twilight kept her gaze forward as she heard the door close behind her. Now, there was only darkness around her, but Twilight made quick work to rectify that. Her horn lit up, and almost immediately, a slew of unlit torches found themselves ablaze around the chamber she now stood in.

Now her vision was clear, and as such, her expression turned to one of disdain. For there, right on the other side of that chamber, was the one she had come to see. Behind iron bars, there was a being unlike any other in Equestria. If anypony had been asked to describe this creature, they'd had said it was the head of a stallion attached to a body comprised of little more than smoke and shadow. A stallion whose eyes bore the most eerie green glow. All around, this creature was bound with steel chains, all of which held the faint glow of magic, for Twilight knew that no ordinary chains could contain this person. Held tightly in that one place, the creature looked up, his face bearing a look of both surprise and anger as he finally caught sight of Twilight. But that expression soon became a mocking one as a deep chuckle escaped his lips.

"Well well, if it isn't Equestria's newest Princess. I would kneel, but I currently lack the knees to do so."

Twilight's eyes narrowed after hearing that.

"I didn't come here for jokes, Sombra."

This stallion, Sombra, had once been among the most feared and despised figures in Equestrian history, having conquered the northern Crystal Empire many centuries ago, subjecting them to a life of enslavement and terror. Thanks to Twilight and her friends, especially a certain baby dragon, this monster had been vanquished. At first, it seemed as though their victory had resulted in his death, but magic as powerful as his could not be extinguished as easily as that. Much time and effort had been spent to capture this dark spirit, but in the end, they had succeeded. And now, this was where he dwelt, deep underground beneath Canterlot, under constant watch, never again to see the light of day. His ethereal form may have granted him life everlasting, but thanks to this specially-designed prison, so too would be his sentence. Twilight looked upon him, regarding him carefully before finally breaking the silence between them.

"When I heard you'd been caught, I had to see for myself."

Sombra let out another chuckle at that.

"I see. Came to see your mentor's victory prize? Or do you simply delight in seeing your vanquished foes in a state as sorry as this?"

A frown crossed Twilight's face before replying to that.

"I don't take pleasure in seeing ponies broken, Sombra. But I do take solace that you'll never hurt or terrorise anypony else ever again."

Silence passed between the two after she said that, and Sombra appeared to be deep in thought over something. Twilight watched him carefully, trying to figure out what he must have been thinking of. However, without warning, Twilight watched as Sombra's face exploded into a look of utter rage, his ethereal form rushing towards the bars while his eyes glowed their usual bright green. Fear was what Twilight felt now and she backed away immediately from this. Within moments though, Sombra's charge was stopped, as his chains pulled against him hard, keeping him in place and forcing him to stop his movements. The former King looked upon the young alicorn, whose face still bore the worry she felt just a moment ago. This sight caused him to smile devilishly, letting out a hearty laugh before speaking to her again.

"Well...looks like I can still terrorize every once and again."

Realizing what Sombra had been trying to do, Twilight gained a look of anger before stomping her hoof into the ground in frustration.

"You...you...I don't even know why I bothered coming down here. You're a monster, Sombra. You'll never change."

Sombra continued to laugh at the Princess' words.

"A monster you say? I merely took what my great power allowed me to. A whole nation, mine! And all it took was magic greater than those around me."

Twilight shook her head.

"No! Your magic is evil. It corrupts, it hurts. It doesn't even deserve to be CALLED magic! It's...an abomination!"

Sombra looked upon the frustrated mare before him, studying her carefully. It was a gaze Twilight was not comfortable with in the slightest, as her look of worry could attest to. In time though, a small smile appeared on Sombra's face.

"Methinks the lady doth protest too much."

A look of slight concern appeared on Twilight's face, causing her to look away slightly.

"I...I don't know what you're talking about."

Sombra broke out into a grin before speaking up again.

"Oh, I think you do. When you searched for the Crystal Heart in my former abode, there was only one way you could have found it. And what was by using the very power you now condemn."

Even with her face turned away, Sombra could see Twilight's eyes widen with shock upon hearing that. Twilight had not been expecting her enemy to know about that, or anypony else for that matter. It was as unpleasant an experience as she'd ever known, having those dark powers course through her, True, it may have, as Sombra just said, allowed her to find what she was looking for, but even so, she would never admit to wanting to use such abilities. As such, she remained silent, allowing Sombra to continue speaking.

"I must say though, I am curious as to what Celestia had to say about you doing that. She's always been such a staunch opponent of dark magic, so I doubt she would have been happy."

It was brief, but Sombra recognised the look of shame that passed Twilight's face. Another chuckle from him was followed by him slowly nodding his head as he spoke once more.

"Truly? The Princess of Friendship deliberately keeping quiet about such a monumental use of forbidden magic? Keeping quiet about it to her friends and family? How unworthy of you, Twilight."

The mockery in his tone was clear, as was his intent to get under Twilight's skin on this matter. As such, she turned and frowned deeply at him before finally addressing him.

"I am nothing like you, Sombra. I regret what I had to do in the Empire, I admit that. It was a power I should never have used, nor should anypony else."

Sombra merely chuckled at that.

"Dark magic is just a tool, Princess, like any other spell. The only evil that comes from it is in the use. You say all it does is hurt? Well, what about the spears your precious royal guards use? They're just as deadly in the right hooves, and I don't hear you complaining about THAT."

Twilight opened her mouth, ready to deliver a counter to the dark stallion's argument. But she fumbled her words several times as his words played themselves over and over in her mind. Eventually though, she was able to get her thoughts in order to finally provide a counter-argument that she was confident would shut him up.

"You forget, I used dark magic myself once. I know what it feels like. It's powered by fear and anger. Even you can't deny that nothing good can come from such a power."

But contrary to how Twilight expected him to react, Sombra merely gave a small smile. It unnerved her to see him like this, but she nevertheless remained silent as he spoke.

"Not so, Princess. While nopony, not even myself, can say that powers such as those sound as attractive as the notion of magic fuelled by love and friendship, dark magic need not be as evil as you claim it is."

Twilight raised an eyebrow at that, showing clear confusion and curiosity towards Sombra's words. The dark stallion noted this with a smirk before carrying on.

"Consider. A pony journeys into dangerous places. Perhaps they encounter some vile breast, or others who wish them harm. Fear takes hold of them, makes them run away faster, or fight harder to preserve their own lives. Perhaps fear even keeps them from danger altogether, warning them against rash actions. Does that sound evil to you, Princess?"

Twilight thought long and hard about what her former foe was saying, before ultimately letting out a sigh and slowly shaking her head. Pleased at this response, Sombra continued.

"And what of anger? There are many in this world who do wrong, those who hurt and defile, and many are left in their wake. Anger is born in the hearts of those victims, spurring them into action, to try and bring those others to justice, to undo the harm they've done. Does THAT sound evil?"

The young alicorn seemed hesitant to give Sombra the satisfaction of showing that she acknowledged his point. But one of the most important things she'd learned in the last few years was the value of honesty. As such, it would have felt wrong for her to just deny his words outright, no matter how much it pained her to admit to his argument. Because of this, Twilight shook her head yet again, albeit much slower than the first time. The smirk upon Sombra's face widened after seeing this, and he let out yet another chuckle.

"You see? Evil is only in your perception of things. You're an intelligent pony, Twilight. And one who has taken it upon herself to learn as much about magic as she can. Are you truly willing to cut yourself off from learning about this type of magic, simply because of the dogmatic views that have been forced upon you in your life?"

Twilight's eyes narrowed at that, the anger clear in her voice.

"Ponies have every right to worry about dark magic. Every time somepony has used it, it's always led to bad things. No amount of reasoning or justifications can change that fact, Sombra."

Rather than looking defeated at those words, as Twilight had hoped he would, Sombra merely kept smiling at her.

"Truly? Then in that case you must feel just dreadful about yourself, having relied on such darkness in your conflict with Tirek."

Twilight's eyes widened upon hearing that, as well as taking a step or two backwards from Sombra's bars. Confusion was clear upon her face, not to mention the slight wobble in her voice as she responded.

"Wha...what are you talking about?"

Sombra took a brief moment to enjoy the concerned look he'd caused in Twilight before giving her the answer she sought.

"You thought me ignorant of the goings on in the world, simply because of my imprisonment? Dark or light, magic is my lifeblood, and as such, every disturbance in the magic of the world is something I will feel as keenly as a blade through flesh. Yes, Princess, I knew of Tirek's escape, as well as your battle with him. And I must say that I admire how expertly you were dealing with him."

Twilight felt more than a little nervous at where this was all going, but nevertheless tried to look as composed as possible as she relied to that.

"I had the power of all four alicorns. Of course I handled myself well."

A dry laugh escaped Sombra after hearing that.

"Oh no, Twilight. It was not simply your raw power that drove you in that fight. Even in here, I could sense what was happening in the heart of one so powerful. It was not merely a desire to stop his rampage that drove you. No...it was something far deeper than that, wasn't it?"

Twilight's look of anger was growing with every passing moment, and she spread her wings slightly in a threatening manner.

"Don’t go there, Sombra."

But the former King did not stop.

"It was anger, wasn't it? No...far more than that. It was HATE! You hated that beast for having done what he did to your people, to your friends. You didn't want to stop him. You wanted far more. You wanted him DEAD!!!"

Twilight's wings were fully stretched out now, her gaze practically venomous as her eyes were locked onto the bound spirit.

"I warn you...no further!"

Sombra did not cease his words however. He was getting to her, he knew that, and he was not about to stop.

"Tell me...did you count the times you struck him? I imagine you did. A personal score-card to keep track of all those time you hurt him? I know I would have done. After all, he hurt your friends, so he deserved every jolt of pain you dealt him, right? It must have given you such joy to think you had the power to end him then and there. To snuff out his life as if he was noth-ARGH!!!"

The dark spirit did not have time to react as Twilight's horn suddenly glowed brightly, sending a bolt of magic his way and striking his ethereal form, sending a wave of pain right through him. He recoiled in agony over this, panting heavily for a few moments before finally turning to look upon Twilight once more. The Princess stood there, eyes ablaze, looking at him with sheer bile. Her horn still glowed, but it's light began to die down as the moments passed and her expression changed. She no longer looked angry. Instead, she looked terrified. Terrified at her actions, at what she'd just done here. She had allowed her anger to get the better of her and cause her to wilfully use her magic to inflict harm on another. She felt dirty at having done this, feeling as if she had just betrayed every single vow she ever took as a user of magic. Sombra's expression was also changing, with a wide smile now appearing on his face. He threw back his head and let out yet another hearty laugh.

This display, coupled with her own actions, caused Twilight to back away in fear from the deranged creature before her. Turning, she sped onwards towards the door, banging on it hard with her hoof, which led to it being opened immediately by the guards who still stood watch there. Sombra, still laughing, watched as Twilight fled through the doors, stopping only to give another disdainful look at the prisoner, where Sombra could see that her eyes were filling with tears over this. He smirked at that, watching as she turned from him and began running away from the chamber as fast as her legs would carry her. As the doors began to close once more, Sombra called out to her.

"Do visit again, young Princess. I would so LOVE to do this again!"

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Thejboy88
United Kingdom
Interests
Yep, another of my fics (Soaring Low this time) has received the dramatic reading treatment. And here it is:



I'd like to thank Goombasa fr doing this. It's appreciated.

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:iconcrimson-kaizer:
Crimson-Kaizer Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, Jboy...can I ask something of you?
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Go ahead.
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:iconcrimson-kaizer:
Crimson-Kaizer Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
Well, I was wondering since you are a fair better writer than I, if you could possibly critique this thing i wrote and maybe offer some advice for my future writings(both original work and fanfiction) 

Here is the piece in question;

Death Beat Chapter 1: Green haired man
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner 3 days ago
I thank you for thinking of me for critiquing this. However, it's clear from looking at it that you have a very different style of writing than what I have. As such I'm going to be at a loss of saying whether or not it's any good. So I'm afraid I'm not going to be much help to you here. Sorry.
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(1 Reply)
:iconnoboda:
noboda Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2015
www.equestriandreamers.com/for…
I've read a rumor online that the next big bad of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic will be similar to Amon and the Equalists from Legend of Korra.
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:iconjurgenzuo:
Jurgenzuo Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015
I've put a link to Your art in my picture. Hope You don't mind (If You are not okey with this I will delete the link). Thanks for the inspiration!
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:iconsaber360:
saber360 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015
Hey, Jay-bro :)
Hope you've been enjoying the New Year so far.
Listen, I don't know if I've asked you this before or not - I'm pretty sure I haven't - but if you don't mind me asking, what exactly do you do for a living?
I mean, with all of the MLP stories you write, it's almost as if you'd be qualified for a story-writing job with HASBRO's MLP Division or something like that.
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015
I work in retail mostly. As for the writing, I'm more than happy to just stick to doing it as a hobby.
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:iconsaber360:
saber360 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015
I see.
Is your retail job a good one?
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:iconthejboy88:
Thejboy88 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015
Sure, I like it.
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