Nuggets of Wisdom

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MLP:FIM: The Dark Stallion - Episode 03

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic presents

The Dark Stallion

Episode 03: Enter Ninja Star, The Stalwart Swordspony

*****

Last time on My Little Pony:

A mysterious pegasus falls from the sky and is saved by Rainbow Dash. He reveals that he has lost his memory except for his name, Sky Wind. Dash agrees to look after him until he regains his memories. During one of their flights together, they encounter a villainous tengu who forms a tornado with the help of an army of shadow pegasi. Fortunately, the two pegasi manage to stop the tornado before it reaches Ponyville. Will Sky Wind ever regain his lost memories? And what of the tengu and shadow pegasi?

*****

Twilight and Spike were sound asleep in their beds when a sudden breeze pushed open their bedroom window. Through it appeared a dark figure that slinked into the room and toward a nearby table. On it lay a magnifying glass with a purple diamond on its handle. The shadowy figure snatched the magnifying glass and disappeared into the night, disturbing neither Twilight nor Spike from their slumber.

****

Over at her cottage, Fluttershy was cuddling with Angel Bunny while snug in her bed when a breeze opened her window. A similar dark figure entered her room and slipped over to her dresser, snatching a comb with a butterfly gem before quietly slinking back out the window.

****


The next morning, the town square clamored with worried and angry ponies. Mayor Mare stood at her podium, motioning for the crowd to quiet and calm down.

“Settle down now, everypony!” She exclaimed. “One pony at a time!”

“Somepony stole my earrings,” one pony in the crowd exclaimed.

“They stole my favorite ring,” another said.

“My crystal glass is gone!” yet another said.

The mayor took out her gavel and struck her podium with it. “Order, everypony! I know there have been a slew of robberies in Ponyville, and I assure you, the police are working their hardest to find the culprit. Unfortunately, their office is understaffed this year, so it may take them longer to solve this case.”

The mayor’s words barely placed the crowd as ease, as they all continued to clamor in confused cacophony. Amidst the unruly crowd stood a colt with a conical Asian hat slanted to conceal his eyes. He stood in silence while the rest of the crowd rambled on.

****

Twilight and her friends had gathered at Sugarcube Corner. Twilight paced the floor while the other five sat around a table. Rarity held open a newspaper with a headline about the robberies.

Fluttershy studied the headline. “So it looks like we’re not the only ones who were robbed last night.”

Twilight continued pacing the floor, deep in thought. “Yes, whoever stole from me and you also stole from other ponies in town.”

Applejack shook her head. “It’s a mighty shame that the police department is understaffed this year."

“Forget the police,” Pinkie Pie slammed her hoof on the table and raised her other hoof in the air. “This sounds like a job for the Mysterious Mare Do Well!”

Rarity lowered her newspaper. “Pinkie, dear, we are the Mysterious Mare Do Well.”

“Oh!” Pinkie dropped her other hoof and shamefully lowered her head, which she quickly lifted back up. “Well then, maybe it’s a job for just us.”

“As if,” Rainbow Dash sneered. “Saving a bus from flying off a cliff is one thing, but catching a burglar is quite another.”

“Burglars?” Pinkie Pie scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Oh poor, deluded Dashie. This is clearly the handiwork of ninjas!”

Twilight stopped pacing to glare at Pinkie. “Pinkie Pie, it was probably just a burglar, not ninjas.”

Pinkie tilted her head and raised her eyebrow. “And how do you know that? Were you there?”

Twilight just shook her head as she continued pacing.

“Burglars or ninjas,” Dash said, “It’s still going to be a hassle trying to catch them.”

“Not quite,” Twilight said as she stopped pacing. “I think catching the crook may be quite simple.”

“Whatever do you mean, dear?” Rarity asked.

“Don’t you see what all those thefts have in common?” Twilight asked. “My magnifying glass, Fluttershy’s comb, all the other jewelry in town?”

“What about them?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Crystals,” Twilight exclaimed. “They all had crystals. Whoever is robbing everypony is stealing things made from crystal. So if we want to catch them, we just have to lure them with something made from crystal. Fortunately for us, there’s one pony here who owns plenty of those.”

Everyone’s gaze shifted towards—

“Me?” Rarity asked.

“Of course,” Twilight walked toward her. “And oddly enough, the thief hasn’t stolen from you yet.”

Pinkie leapt onto the table. “Maybe because she’s the thief!” she exclaimed, pointing accusingly at Rarity.

Rarity only returned a cold stare, which was enough to force Pinkie to slink back off the table and into her chair.

“Or not.” She quietly muttered, embarrassed.

“Which is why we simply need to lure the thief with the most exquisite crystal item that Rarity owns,” Twilight continued.

Rarity placed her hoof under her chin as she contemplated. “Well, there’s the three gem tiara that goes with my Gala dress. But it just seems too risky. I'd hate to have that stolen.”

“Don’t worry, Rarity,” Twilight said. “We’ll catch the thief before he can even touch it.”

On that note, the six ponies left. They passed another table where sat the colt with the Asian hat, which concealed his eyes. He took a sip of his tea before slowly lifting his gaze toward the six, watching their every move intently as they left the store.

****

Later that night, as Rarity slept soundly in her bed, her three gem tiara rested upon her boutique, glistening in the moonlight that shone freely through her open bedroom window. All was silent, save for perhaps a few snores from Rarity.

The silence was quickly broken by the sound of a heavy breeze rushing through her bedroom. Three puffs of purple smoke appeared, and from them, three dark figures. The center one paced towards the boutique and slowly bent over to pick up the tiara—but before he could, a large net fell upon him and his comrades. The three found themselves dangling from within the net as it hung from the ceiling by a rope.

The bedroom lights turned on as Twilight flipped the light switch, revealing Pinkie Pie in the corner holding the rope that held up the net and the trapped perpetrators within it.

“Gotcha!” she exclaimed.

Rarity threw off her covers and cast away her sleep mask as she leapt out of bed. She waltzed over to the net, inspecting the three captured perpetrators. “Good heavens! What type of burglars are they?”

The three burglars in question were violet ponies with red eyes. They had no other distinguishing characteristics aside from their ninja attire.

Twilight walked over to take a closer look. “They look like ninjas.”

“I told you they were ninjas!” Pinkie boasted.

A ninja throwing knife flew into the room and severed the rope holding up the net, dropping it onto the girls beneath. Once freed, one ninja lurched toward the boutique and snatched the tiara. The three then bolted to the window, where sat the ninja that cast the knife, and leapt out along with their companion.

The four ninjas landed gracefully on the ground and began racing forward when from out of the bushes flew a lasso, snaring one of the ninjas by the legs and tripping him. From the bushes sprang Applejack, who, with a mighty “Yee-haw!” wrestled the ninja to the ground, kicking up dust. When the dust settled, the ninja was on his back with his legs tied.

Applejack tightened the rope, making sure it was secure. “Well, I’d reckon that’s a new record for me!”

The ninja exploded in a cloud of purple smoke, forcing Applejack to recoil. “What they hay!?”

The smoke dissipated, revealing a tied-up log instead of a ninja.

“Dang it!” Applejack exclaimed. “Why do I keep mistaking logs for people?”

The door to Rarity’s house burst open as Twilight, Pinkie, and Rarity bolted outside. They noticed Applejack laying on the ground aside the log, then turned their attention to the three ninja running towards a distant alleyway.

“They’re getting away!” Rarity exclaimed.

“Not for long!” Twilight replied.

As the ninjas neared the alley, a large net appeared before them, being held on each side by Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.

“Gotcha Now!” Rainbow Dash boasted.

Before the three ninjas could be ensnared, one ninja drew his katana blade and slashed the net, causing Dash and Fluttershy to stumble backwards. The three ninja continued into the alleyway with the six ponies catching up with them.

Twilight and the others continued pursuing the ninjas though the alleyway and out into the middle of the town square, where the three halted and turned to face the six, who in turn halted, clearly confused.

“Huh?” Rainbow Dash wondered aloud. “Are you three giving up?”

One of the ninjas signaled to the sky. Throughout the town square exploded multiple clouds of purple smoke from which appeared more ninja. Some were on the ground. Others stood on roof tops. But all clearly had the six ponies outnumbered and surrounded.

Twilight gulped, her ears drooping. “No, Dash, it looks like they’re only getting warmed up.”

A maniacal laugh echoed through the night air. The six ponies turned their attention to one of the rooftops where another cloud of purple smoke appeared, clearing to reveal a large purple praying mantis.

“Bearers of the Elements of Harmony,” he announced, leaping from the rooftop, performing several summersaults before landing gracefully with his two claws crossed like a pair of swords. “Like a fly into a spider’s web, like a sardine before an angler fish’s light, you have fallen within our trap.”

“We fell into your trap?” Pinkie Pie asked. “But you were supposed to fall into our trap—or at least you three were.” She pointed to the three ninjas. “If we knew there were more of you, we would have gotten a bigger net.”

“Pinkie!” Twilight interrupted, clearly frustrated.

“Oh, but it is you who have fallen into our trap,” the mantis said. “We have been searching throughout Equestria for the likes of you, and once we discovered your location, we decided to lure you out with our string of thefts in hopes that you would try to find us. And find us you have, for now we have you.”

“Wait a second,” Twilight shook her head, confused. “All those thefts were merely a rouse to trap us?”

“That is correct,” the mantis answered, crossing his arms in pride, his chest swelling.

“But why not target us individually?” Twilight asked. “You were clearly able to break into our own houses and steal our stuff. Why not just kidnap us that way?”

The mantis scowled, his red slit eyes furrowed. “You dare question my ingenious trap!” He pointed his claw at the six. “Seize them at once.”

At once, the ninjas charged at the six, who stood with their backs against one another. They could only shirk back in fear as the ninjas approached them.

Before any of the ninjas could touch even a hair on them, a brown blur sped into the fray, intercepting each ninja with a silver flash that made them disappear into wisps of purple smoke. When all the approaching ninjas had been vanquished, the brown blur stopped.

Standing before the six was a tall beige earth pony with a brown mane and hazel eyes. His cutie mark consisted of three black ninja throwing stars. He wore a long flowing black scarf, two steel armlets, and crimson helmet and shoulder plates. In his teeth he held a samurai sword, a katana, the very one he used to vanquish the ninjas.

The mantis gave a crooked grin. “We meet again, Ninja Star.”

The sword-wielding colt gazed at the mantis. “Same as always, Slash.”

The mantis replied with a hoarse cackle. “But this time will be your last.”

He charged toward the colt with his two claws raised, but before he could strike, the colt countered with his sword. The clanging of metal against metal echoed as the two exchanged a series of blows.

After a rough minute, the colt took a large leap back, reached behind his back, and drew several throwing stars. He tossed them at the mantis, who leapt into the air, his wings beating fiercely, keeping himself afloat. The mantis raised his claws, which began glowing red, and crossed them.

“X-Cross Slash!” He slashed his claws, releasing two red energy beams at the colt, who countered one, but not the other, sending him several feet back.

The mantis landed, laughing at his achievement. He stopped when he heard the opening of windows and doors and noticed several houses light up.

 “I’m afraid I’ll have to finish you off next time,” he groaned. He motioned at the remaining ninjas. “Everyone, retreat!”

The mantis vanished in a purple cloud along with the other ninjas. In his place lay Fluttershy’s comb, Twilight’s magnifying glass, and Rarity’s tiara. Twilight paced over to the three items and picked up her magnifying glass.

“The missing items,” she said.

The denizens of Ponyville began to gather outside, all clamoring in confusion.

“Twilight!” Fluttershy called.

Twilight turned to see the five standing around the swordpony, who lay clenching his chest near his bleeding shoulder.

“He’s really hurt!” Fluttershy continued. “We need to get him to a doctor, quick!”

**********

At the hospital, the ponies sat anxiously in the waiting room while Fluttershy paced back and forth. Within the next hour entered Nurse Redheart from the infirmary.

Fluttershy instantly raced towards her. “How is he doing?”

Nurse Redheart checked her clipboard. “Just a minor flesh wound that needed to be stitched and bandaged. Nothing too serious. He should make a full recovery within a few days.”

Fluttershy breathed a sigh of relief.

“If you want to visit him, I’ll gladly take you to him.” Redheart motioned for the others to follow her through the hallway. “He’s awake now, though slightly groggy from the anesthesia.”

The six ponies followed the nurse into a room where the colt sat upright with his left shoulder bandaged. His gaze shifted to them as they approached.

“These girls would like to visit with you,” the nurse addressed him before leaving the room.

Twilight was the first to approach him. “We can’t thank you enough for saving us back there. What you did was amazing.”

“Yeah, those were some wicked ninja moves!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed. “Those ninjas were like—grr!,” she posed menacingly in a ninja pose, “And we were all like—oh no!” she posed as if she were cowering in fear, “And then you jump in out of nowhere,” she said with a leap, “And you’re like, hah!” she motioned as if slashing her sword, “and then they’re all like—blegh!” she collapsed on the floor, pretending to be dead, before shooting back up, “and then the big bad guy comes in,” she stood menacingly, “and he’s like—ho ho! And then you gaze him down, and you’re like ‘Bring it on!’” she pretended to draw a sword, “and then you’re both like—wha, wha, wha,” she performed several sword winging motions, “but then he gets you, and you’re like—ugh!” she grasped her shoulder in pain, “but they all disappear like—“ and then, somehow, Pinkie Pie disappeared in a cloud of pink smoke. (Don’t ask how it happened. Even the other girls didn’t know. This is Pinkie Pie, after all!)

The next thing the colt knew, Pinkie Pie appeared right next to his bedside without warning. “So—what’s your name, where do you come from, and how did you get all those super special awesome ninja moves?”

“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight exclaimed, rather annoyed at Pinkie’s behavior, especially in the hospital. “He just got out of the emergency room. The last thing he needs is a heart attack."

The colt merely gave a soft chuckle. “Oh, don’t worry about me. I’ve been through far worse. But concerning your questions, my name is Ninja Star. I come from Rising Sun Island far in the east where I received my training, but I have been journeying through Equestria for quite some time.”

“And what brought you here to Ponyville?” Twilight asked.

“The same reason the townspeople were robbed and you were all nearly ambushed: The Shadow Clan,” Ninja Star replied.

“The Shadow Clan?” Fluttershy asked.

“Those ninjas that attacked you,” Ninja Star replied. “They’re a band of ruthless thugs that have been scouring the country terrorizing innocent ponies. They may appear equine, but they’re really shadows magically incarnate. They can be destroyed, but not killed: for how can one kill what was never living to begin with?”

“That must explain why they were able to appear and disappear so quickly,” Twilight said. “And why they vanished the way they did when you attacked them.”

“All of them are merely puppets for their master, the Shadow Mare,” Ninja Star continued. “She is the head of the Clan, and under her are three lackeys. The first is the kappa wizard, Squish. He is able to summon shadow unicorns, but prefers not to, as he prefers working alone, priding himself in his own magic.”

“Kappa wizard?” Twilight asked, thinking for a moment before gasping. “That must have been the creep that nearly destroyed the dam a few days ago.”

“The next one is Swoosh, a tengu of a brutish nature,” Ninja Star continued. “He can conjure shadow pegasi that can unleash devastating aerial attacks.”

Rainbow Dash’s eyes widened upon hearing that. “Those were the creeps that created the tornado that nearly leveled Ponyville.”

“And lastly, there is Slash, the praying mantis,” Ninja Star said. “He and his band of shadow earth ponies are masters of swordplay and other weapons.”

“They’re the thieves who attacked us earlier,” Fluttershy gasped.

“But I don’t understand,” Twilight said. “What do they want? Why did they come to Ponyville? And why did they come after us?”

Ninja Star closed his eyes and took a deep breath before reopening them. “I have been following them for some time, and even I do not know their true intentions. They may seem like a spontaneous band of ruffians who commit random acts of terror, but somehow, I feel there is a method behind their madness. All I know is that they are searching for something—what and why, I do not know. I have a feeling it may have something to do with you six.”

“Us!” Twilight exclaimed. The other six appeared equally shocked.

“Slash did call you six the bearers of the Elements of Harmony, correct?” Ninja Star asked.

“We are,” Twilight said. “We were the ones who used the Elements to restore Nightmare Moon to her former self and turn Discord back into stone.”

Ninja Star then groaned as he closed his eyes for a thought. “Then I have a feeling the Shadow Clan is after you. Again, for what reason, I do not know. But I do know—nay, I swear—that I will remain in Ponyville and protect you all until their threat over you is no more.”

“Well, that’s mighty thoughtful of you partner,” Applejack said, “But I best believe we six girls can handle ourselves from here.”

“Are you kidding?” Rarity asked. “If it wasn’t for Ninja Star here, heaven knows what would have happened to us. We’ll need all the help from him we can get.”

Just then, Nurse Redheart poked her head into the room. “Visiting hours are almost over.”

“Again, we can’t thank you enough for saving us,” Twilight said. “We are grateful.”

“No, it is I who am grateful for having the honor to defend you all, the Elements of Harmony.” Ninja Star interjected.

“And you can continue doing so once you get better,” Fluttershy said.

Ninja Star leant back into his bed and closed his eyes for a night’s rest after the ponies had bid their good-byes and left the infirmary.

As the six walked down the hallway, Pinkie Pie glanced at Fluttershy. “Hey Fluttershy, how come your face is all red?”

Fluttershy gasped. “What?”

Dash glanced at her. “Yeah, your face is glowing brighter than a lightbulb.”

Fluttershy’s face was indeed red, and became redder once everyone started noticing, forcing her to shield her face with her wing. "I-I don't know what you're talking about!”

“You’re thinking about Ninja Star, aren’t you?” Pinkie Pie asked in a sing-song voice.

“I wouldn’t blame you, darling,” Rarity said. “He is quite the well-built stallion, and rather dashing to say the least.”

“Shucks, I’m not surprised if you fell hoof over heels for him,” Apple Jack added. “He is brave and strong, and you are—um—well—not.”

That comment only made Fluttershy blush brighter and hide her face within her wing even more.

The other girls laughed as they left through the hospital doors.

*****

Within the darkened throne room, illuminated by the moonlight shining through the stained glass windows, stood Squish and Swoosh before the Shadow Mare as she sat upon her throne. They were soon accompanied by Slash, who appeared in a puff of purple smoke. Both Squish and Slash glared at him as he approached the throne.

“What was youse thinking, you bug brain?” Swoosh yelled, pointing an accusing talon at Slash. “Youse and yours ninjas could’ve blown our cover.”

Slash smirked at him. “And yet our cover remains unblown, and we’ve managed to draw out the Element bearers and that pesky ninja who’s been on our trail, all according to my plan.”

Squish gave an indignant “humph” as he crossed his arms. “You two should leave the planning to me. I have far more intellect in the tip of my flipper than either of you have in your thick skulls.”

Swoosh waved his fist at him. “Watch it, youse!”

“Enough!” barked the Shadow Mare, drawing the attention of all three to her. “The third and final pawn is in place, and soon, the final few moves of our chess game will be played that will guarantee our winning check mate. Soon, we will have what we have been searching for, and with it, the Shadow Clan and its fallen leader shall claim their rightful place as the rulers of Equestria.”

*****

Twilight Sparkle: Hey, it’s me, Twilight. Whoa! Who’s that new stallion who came into town?

Xander: Him? Oh, he’s just someone I know from Gringhorn’s Academy.

Twilight: You went to Gringhorns? No way! That’s one of the most prestigious magical academies for colts in Equestria. No wonder you’re magic is so impressive!

Xander: Yeah, this guy is a complete braggart who has the audacity to challenge me to a wizard’s duel.

Twilight: You should totally accept his challenge.

Xander: What?

Twilight: I’ve never seen a wizard’s duel before, especially between two Gringhorn’s students.

Xander: Forget it! I’m not dueling that stuck up loser!

Twilight: Next time on My Little Pony: “An Old Rival Returns. Xander’s Wizard Duel.”

Xander: I’m not doing this for you!

*****

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and characters © Hasbro and Lauren Faust
Xander © Me
Skywind © ex626AKAKeon
Ninja Star © ninjaninjanoob23

Voice Credits

Twilight Sparkle .......................Tara Strong
Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy................Andrea Libman
Applejack, Rainbow Dash.........Ashleigh Ball
Rarity, Princess Luna................Tabitha St. Germain
Princess Celestia......................Nicole Oliver
Spike........................................Cathy Weseluck
Xander......................................Vic Mignogna
Sky Wind...................................Antony Del Rio
Ninja Star..................................Dave Wittenberg
Squish.......................................Samuel Vincent
Swoosh.....................................Derek Stephen Prince
Slash.........................................Roger Labon Jackson
Shadow Mare............................Susanne Blakeslee
Black Stallion.............................Ron Perlman