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“Shadow….” Mareio quietly said to me creating emphasis for his next line.
“That… was… some….. DREAM! HOHO!”
He fell onto the floor and rolled back and forth laughing his sides off.
“GIANT LOBSTERS!? LASERS? OH SHADOW YOU ARE A KILLING ME!!”
“Mareio this is no time for jokes, Dave is going to bring them to Equestria!” I shouted over his cries of laughter.
Mareio stopped laughing and took in my statement. His eyes widened and he immediately stood up on all hooves with a stern expression on his face.
AHA! He does know what I’m talking about.
“How do you know of a this? If you are lying I will a give you the most painful mushroom bowel evacu….”
“Mareio I’m not! Dave can somehow enter my dreams or pretty much anywhere he wants to, he said this was foreshadowing…. Mareio what is he talking about, I know that you know--.”
“MAMMA MIA! DAVE HAS BEEN VISITING YOUR HEAD!? NO A WONDER HE MUST’VE INDOCTRINATED A YOU!” Mareio shouted at the top of his lungs in fear and worry.
“Wait! He said he would stop and give us time to train,” I tried to reason with Mareio but he shook his head in disapproval.
Mareio sighed, “If you are really sure Shadow there is only one thing to do.”
I wonder what would that be… oh right probably something with a mushroom.
Please tell me I’m wrong.
Mareio reached into his left pocket and took about a plastic bag filled with white powder. He opened the back and said happily, “Sorry Shadow!”
Then he threw the powder into the air, it covered my face and I breathed in the substance.
A few seconds later my vision started to blur. The room spun for a few moments and I gradually became weak in the knees and my senses started to shut down from the hallucinogenic effects of whatever Mareio threw into the air.
Mareio was left staring at me with his goofy wide smile. He took no initiative to help me whatsoever as I approached the full effects and teetered over the edge of my hooves.
“Mareio you… son… of… a…..”
I wearily opened my eyes to sunlight shining through a window erradiating it’s bright energy onto me. All seemed peaceful until a purple hoof contacted me right across the face.
Recoiling in pain I quickly got back up to my hooves to see a somewhat angry purple unicorn.
“What is this Shadow?” Twilight said pointing to the white powder all over where I was previously knocked out.
“Were you doing drugs!?”
She prepped her hoof for the next slap but I quickly grabbed it and started to explain, “Mareio threw this strange white powder…”
“SPORES! MUSHROOMING SPORES!” Mareio shouted from across the room, he was hastily writing down something on his mushroom cart.
“Anyways, I fell unconscious and now Mareio…. *ahem* Dr. Mareio will explain…” I turned my attention to Mareio, “WHY THE HELL HE JUST DID THAT!”
From my rage I dropped Twilight’s hoof and charged towards Mareio who was still writing whatever it was he was writing. Just as he noticed me coming towards him I push up from my hooves and tackle him from the chair.
“EH! WHAT THE HELL A ARE YOU DOING!?” Mareio said with annoyance as I pinned him to the ground.
“What did you do to me Mareio? If I’m having one of those bladder problems I’m taking you down with me!” I seriously said reaching for a yellow mushroom next to me on the floor.
“You need to a chill Shadow! I only went into your mind!” Mareio then burst out into tears, “YOU AREN’T INDOCTRINATED! YOU’RE JUST MAD! VERY VERY MAD!”
I stopped holding him down and helped him to his hooves, Mareio was still sniffling and then he wrapped his arms around me and gave me a powerful bear hug.
“OH THE PAIN! THE PAIN YOU SUFFERED! IT FILLS ME WITH SADNESS!”
“Its….. okay…. this… hurts… me… more….”
Mareio now almost choking the life out of me released his grip as he shifted from his depression state into a cheerful laughter as he frolicked over to Spike who was now waking up.
….. I’m not even going to ask.
Ignoring the laughter coming from the demented doctor I trotted over to Twilight, “Say Twi, why are you here so early? Even Applejack isn’t here.”
“I came to check up on Spike, I felt so worried for him when he broke his arm. Dr. Mareio said he fixed it but even I’m not sure a medical miracle like that would work easily as he explained it,” she said looking over to Spike who had just risen from his sleep.
“To be honest he really had a lot of accidents and near-death experiences, and he’s only just a baby!”
Wow that little guy sure has been through a rough time.
Spike saw us and Twilight gave a little wave, Spike smiled then tried to move his arm only for it flop to the side like a jelly-like substance.
Oh no… he didn’t…
Spike’s expression changed to one that would make somepony cringe, he ran on his tiny feet towards the washroom and slammed the door behind him. Mareio turned his head to us and gave his doctorate smile.
“What’s wrong?” asked Twilight.
“Remember when I got that broken leg and Mareio “fixed” it during the blimp ride?”
I pointed to the washroom door, and Twilight’s eyes grew wide, she realized what’s going to happen to Spike right about now…..
“AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! IT BURNS!!!!”
Mareio clapped his hoofs together and chuckled to himself as he sat back in a desk.
“Spike! You gotta release it as much as you can as quick as you can, believe me!” I shouted through the bathroom door, trying my best to help the little guy from this ordeal.
"IT HURTS! I'M SCARED! NO NO NO! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!"
After many long gruelling painful minutes of terrifying screaming the door opened revealing a very emotionally scarred baby dragon, he was trembling from the fear. Twilight picked him up and tried her best to bring Spike back from his shock.
What Spike needs is encouragement, dragons like nothing better than appearing strong after suffuring a wound.
I quietly whispered to Spike who was now in the fetal position between Twilight`s hooves, “Spike, you are very strong; even stronger than Sparky when he sent that Templar castle to the ground. Believe me when I say that you are our number one Assassin assistant and that we NEED you.”
This got Spike’s attention and I quickly made my closing statement, “Spike? Are you strong?”
“Um well, I…”
“That’s not an answer, ARE YOU?”
“Yes….” Spike said with a pipsqueak voice.
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
“YES SHADOW! I AM STRONG!” Spike said leaping from Twilight’s arms to the ground and started to flex his muscles.
Well, at least he’s in a better mood. Also I think I found my trainer’s voice once again…
Spike ran to a table and grabbed a piece of paper with his teeth and headed back to me.
“It’s from the Princess!” Spike said when I removed the paper from his mouth.
I scanned the paper then simply tossed it into the waste bucket.
“Why would you do that? You don’t ignore a letter from the Princess!” Twilght angrily said to me.
“Well Twilight…. The letter told us that we shouldn’t fight Dave, but assuming we left earlier before Spike gotten the letter my bet was he rushed after us holding the letter and fell down the stairs. Therefore if Spike didn’t get the letter he wouldn’t have bladder problems and his arms wouldn’t be jelly and we still would have fought Dave nonetheless.”
“So what you’re saying is that…”
“Yes, the Princess trolled Spike on accident and on purpose,” I said with a grin.
After some more discussion time the rest of the assassins showed up and we were ready to begin today’s hardcore training, taught by none other than myself.
They all lined up in a straight row as I addressed them from the front of my desk.
“Alright maggots listen up! Today we are going to train; we are going to train our training until we have mastered the art of training. Today will be a day of activities that I will improvise, meaning you are learning to adapt to whatever I tell you to train on.”
“Can we call you sir?” Pinkie asked.
“I don’t care for formalities but whatever you call me will be fine.”
“Alright Mr. Sir Candy Bubblegum Huggy-Paw-Kitten!” Pinkie said excitingly.
“….just call me Shadow,” I said shaking my head, completely losing my commander’s tone.
“Everyone let’s just make today’s training worthwhile, so Dave won’t kick our flanks again.”
“Um… Shadow?” Fluttershy raised a hoof.
“Aren’t we going to go help Scales down by the lake now, I’m sure that he must be very tired and very hungry and…”
OH SHIT! I FORGOT THE SNAKE! WHY WHY WHY WOULD I FORGET THE SNAKE!?
*Facehoof* *Facehoof* *Facehoof*
I BLAME YOU DAVE!
“And… Shadow why are you punching your head?” Fluttershy asked just as I noticed myself facehoofing.
“Um… headache… ONWARD TO THE LAKE THEN!”
Leading the way out the door the rest of the assassins followed behind me chatting about what we would do today, Ace grumpily flew onto Mareio’s shoulder not wanting to train when he could be sleeping.
To show his annoyance he dug his claws even further into Mareio’s shoulder which had a bunch of holes from previous shoulder-clinging activities.
Mareio did not even notice the pain.
We all pushed against the snake’s body, the supply of fruit was gone and the raincloud had dried up leaving a very dry scaly body for us to push.
“COME ON! ONE MORE!” I shouted as I gave one last final shove onto Scales.
With our combined efforts Scales slipped into the lake and took a refreshing swim, feeling good about our accomplishment I sat down and took a sigh of relief.
“Shadow what are you doing? Now’s no time for a break now’s the time to train more!” Applejack sarcastically said to me as she lifted me back onto my hooves.
“Alright alright I just need to think for a second what we should…. AHA!”
“What is it darling?” Rarity asked me.
“Remember when you all chased me around town trying to catch me? I thought we could do a type of game like that, under a certain set of rules…”
“What kind of rules?” Twilight asked.
“First off, anything goes…. BUT! You can’t use magic to trap me, flying is permitted but not recommended, and I certainly don’t want to get stabbed or break my leg again,” I shuddered remembering the blimp ride.
“Which means anything in the environment, Ponyville in this case. Can be used to try to catch me. This is a variant of hide and seek and tag, except hopefully I’ll get you to think on your hooves.”
“And last but not least Dr. Mareio and Spike will be here to help with any injuries, worries, or personal issues. Also Ace here would be glad to help coordinate you all, aren’t you Ace?”
Ace started straight at me with no emotion.
“So how do we know when to start? I mean how long should we wait for you to hide?” Applejack asked me.
I trotted over to Scales who had now fully hydrated and was interestingly listening to us by the lakeshore, I whispered into his ear and he nodded his head.
“What is he doing?” the girls wondered as Scales was bringing his tail over his head in a long arc.
I looked over to them and smiled, “GOOD LUCK!”
The tail came around in a full circle like a golf club and whacked me into the skies.
I sailed through the skys and landed facefirst right into a haybale cart in Ponyville’s interior.
Leap of Faith!
Now the fun begins…
I jumped out of the hay and quickly put my hood on top of my head as I walked through an alleyway discarding the pieces of hay that stuck to my outfit.
Assuming that everyone is going to try to get here as fast as they can, I’m assuming that Rainbow Dash would be flying past here right about…
A cyan rainbow-maned Pegasus flew over the buildings above my head at a breakneck speed.
Good she didn’t see me, but it’s bad that she didn’t. She could learn more about observation.
My ears then picked up multiple hoofsteps running towards the town. I think it was a good time to leave the alley and head away from the sounds towards the busy marketplace.
Coming onto the path I felt a bit too exposed so I headed for a bench where I saw two ponies reading the daily newspaper, and luckily for me there was a discarded one right in the middle of the bench.
I took my place in between them and said a little greeting as I opened the newspaper and waited.
Not a moment later Rarity came up to the path and started to scan the area. Peering through a crack I made in the paper I saw her talking to a couple of stallions.
“…he’s a Pegasus, wears a hood and possibly the most exotic looking pony you’ll ever find in Ponyville. Did you see him?”
They shook their heads; Rarity thanked them and did one last look before leaving down the path.
Dodge successful, now’s my time to leave, quietly…..
I got up from the bench and accidently stepped on the pony’s hoof next to me and he cried out in pain causing his newspaper to fly up into the air and right onto Applejack’s relative, Granny Smith’s head.
“AHH! THE PAPER IS AFTER US! RUN AWAY!”
From that commotion Rarity turned her head and saw Granny attacking a newspaper, she shrugged and continued down the path in her hopes of finding me.
Luckily right after I stepped on the pony’s hoof I darted around to a very close alley and made my escape undetected.
Wow that was too close… I got to stay on my hooves and avoid mistakes like that…
While walking through the alley I saw a shadow outline of a pony’s hat coming from the roof above me.
“CRAP!” I did a forward leap.
Applejack landed right behind me catching nothing but air but a few extra inches of air.
“Hello Applejack wonderful weather we’re having, OK BYE!” I said running to the outside of the alley.
“Consarn it Shadow!” Applejack gave chase.
I shoved a few ponies aside apologizing to them in advance but this only gave Applejack more time to catch up so instead I changed tactics and weaved through the crowds trying to lose her.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING…. AHH!”
I looked back a saw a bunch of ponies were flung over and the crowd shield behind me burst open with flying ponies going everywhere and showing a very determined Applejack.
Ack! Darn her stubbornness… maybe I can use that to my advantage.
Now completely veering off the path I jump through a window of a nearby house, the glass sprayed everywhere from the window and I quickly ran up the stairs to the top floor.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOUSE!?” a disgruntled sea-green unicorn shouted at me.
“Sorry Madonna…. Miss, I’ll be leaving momentarily.”
As so as I finished Applejack jumped through the smashed window and I had to get out right now. This time (being polite) I opened the window then leaped out and grabbed the building next to it and started climbing.
Applejack shouted through the window, “OH NO YOU DON’T!” she then jumped out and gripped the building by the time I got onto the roof.
I bought myself some time, but with all this commotion I feel something is off…
Just then a purple light appeared at the end of a line of the rooftops I was running on and Twilight appeared with a smug smile on her face.
Oh you think you have me beat? I’ll just turn around and…
I looked back and saw Applejack charging towards me with no stopping, she was determined and that nearly scared me.
Nearly, ss I thought of a great plan to use that against her.
With a smile under my hood I ran faster towards Twilight, she got a quizzical look on her face then ignored that and got ready to catch me as I got closer and closer towards her.
At the last moment with a hoof’s reach away I do the sharpest right turn imaginable and jump off the building. Twilight slammed her hoof into the roof from anger then tried to use her magic to teleport herself. That is until a certain stubborn orange mare slammed headfirst into Twilight’s side and they both fell off the building. Luckily a nice bush broke their fall, a ROSE bush.
I chuckled then departed for the town square, maybe rooftops weren’t the best thing right now.
As soon as I set foot in the town square a horde of rabbits came out of nowhere and surrounded me. I got confused then I realized who of our group liked animals. Fluttershy appeared right in front of me (she was hiding behind a nearby tree).
“Oh Shadow you wouldn’t harm any of these bunnies now would you?” she looked at me.
“Being an Assassin requires tough decisions…” I replied back trying my best not to get covered in rabbits.
“Would you? Really?” she eyed me now and I felt something strange happening to my insides.
It was almost as if she was staring into my very soul.
Oh I know these techniques; first they butter you up then bam! You’re trapped.
I really hated the Observer, he did that daily...
“Would I? Fluttershy?” I gave her back my counter-stare and this spooked her a bit, but she continued to give me the stare.
We stared. We stared for a very long time. It wasn’t a matter of catching me now it was all about who would blink first, who would succumb to the other’s willpower.
Suddenly the world around me flashed and everything got darker; I looked at Fluttershy and saw that she has glowing a faint blue colour. Before I could figure out what my eyes were doing, my vision stung a lot more painfully and I quickly shielded my eyes with my hoof and galloped away as fast as I can from Fluttershy.
“Um… did I do something wrong?” she asked to herself.
Wow my eyes hurt, I thought my eyes were just tired or something but these strange colours appear out of nowhere. Maybe Dave did do something to me… No….
It happened before…
Maybe I’ll figure this out soon enough.
I rubbed my eyes with my hoof and opened them revealing the world back to my original vision.
Alright now with that delt with I can focus on not getting caught by my friends…
“Hey Shadow,” Pinkie Pie said next to me.
“Oh, hey Pinkie………. shit.”
She tried to leap onto me but I quickly grabbed her in the air and threw her down across from me. As she recovered I ran away from her and she bounced happily towards me. I picked up speed and dashed through the streets of Ponyville. I ran so far ahead that I couldn't see Pinkie behind me, instead I saw a rainbow and I instantly knew I was screwed.
“You can’t outrun me Shadow!” Rainbow dash taunted me.
I’ll never outrun Rainbow Dash!
Still I ran, somehow I made it to the school to where I saw fillies and foals playing outside for recess with Cheerlie, who was watching them from the front of the school door.
“HEY LOOK IT’S SHADOW!” a filly who I remembered as Scootaloo shouted getting the attention of all the other kids.
“WHY SO FOREIGN?”
I nodded my head to the children and shouted over to Cheerlie, “TEACHER TO TEACHER ASSISTANCE?”
She looked behind me and saw Rainbow Dash chasing after me, Cheerlie opened the door and I leaped in. Just as Cheerlie closed the door Rainbow slammed right into it. I could hear a moan than an ‘ow’ followed by the children outside cheering for Rainbow Dash.
That’ll keep her busy… in the meantime….
“Thank you Cheerlie for aiding me in this predicament,” I bowed to her.
“What in Celestia’s name are you doing?” she asked with a little concern in her voice.
“Some…. hardcore teaching regiment I’m trying. Rainbow is one of my students.”
“Interesting… what do you teach exactly?”
“Well, you see I’m…I’m…”
I let out a long sigh, I knew this would come but not so soo.
“Cheerlie, I’m sorry. I can’t be honest about who I am right now. It’s better for my identity to be a secret, I’m trying my best to help Equestria, to help everypony I can in the world. And it kills me to not to be able to tell you for who I really am.”
I looked into her eyes, “Cheerlie, I don’t want you to get hurt for the things I’ve done. Too many ponies have suffered because of me, because of my arrogance and my rash decisions. Because I wasn’t there to protect them. Believe me when I say that, I’ve lost too many things in life and I don’t want you or Ponyville to also be lost. Please forgive me when I say this…”
“Shadow… I,” I put a hoof over her mouth and shushed her gently.
“Cheerlie I’m really from a long line of ancient ancestors that changed and helped develop Equestria from behind the curtains..."
"I am really an Ass---.”
I was interrupted, the door began to slam inward as Rainbow tried to get her way in through force.
I stood up and said to Cheerlie, “Though I may be a secret I live up to my promises. Can I come tomorrow and give the students that lecture on Ponitaly?”
“Yes Shadow… yes you can, I'm sorry you can't tell me. It must be so painful.”
“Grazie, and please no need to apologize, I'm the one that has to deal with my own crusaders.” I gave her a smile.
I just wished that Applebloom, Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo would have picked a name other than what the ancient Templars were called. The Crusades were so messed up.
I went over to a window, unlocked it and climbed outside. I tried to sneak around but an alabaster unicorn who had been following my trail found me.
“AHA! FINALLY!” Rarity shouted with triumph.
Crap crap crap!
This alerted Rainbow Dash and she flew around the school towards me, I ran.
After a period of running I looked behind and saw that the rest of the assassins were chasing me except for Pinkie who was nowhere to be seen. I pointed my head upward and saw Ace flying overhead guiding them, they were relying on teamwork to help them with this challenge.
Good they finally learned. About time…
I took my run up a flight of stairs and got onto the roof of another building, a rather tall one to be exact. I stopped at the edge, and looked down. There was nothing below and it was pretty high up.
“Gotcha you slippery varmit!” Applejack shouted from behind me, covered in rose thorns.
“You can’t do anything Shadow, no hay to save you this time!” Twilight exclaimed who was also covered in rose thorns.
“And you can’t outfly me!” Rainbow boasted.
“Give up so we can end this silly little game!” Rarity reasoned with me.
I know I’m gonna get hurt and regret this but....
“That would be easy Rarity, but a major rule of being an Assassin is to never give up!”
I spread my hooves out past my sides and fell back-first over the edge.
“Is he crazy? There’s no hay there!” Twilight shouted out in fear.
“Relax Twi, remember the plan with Pinkie?” Applejack reminded her.
Her face lit up and she gave a little giggle to what I was about to fall into.
Seriously, why did I jump? They did wonderfully and they did great, I’m sure I could have showed them a different example without me getting a broken leg.
I couldn’t see what I was falling onto, would I be lucky and live? Or would I splat into the ground?
Please, I have faith in FAITH!
“CAUGHT YOU! TEEHEE!”
Pinkie grabbed me from a weird sticky container. She was covered in a sticky red substance that smelled like raspberry jam. Coincidently I was also covered from head to hoof in jam.
“Uh Pinkie? What… what is this?”
She grabbed a piece of grain and covered it in jam then she shoved it into my mouth.
“Pie?” I chewed and sure enough it tasted like the best pie ever.
The rest of the group came down from the building as well as Spike and Dr. Mareio from around a corner. They marveled at the site of Pinkie`s trap and everyone had a nice afternoon snack.
I was still dumbfounded on how Pinkie could have made a pie large enough to save my life.
Time for some answers…
------Back at the Hideout--------------
“Wait, hold on a second… You all planned this!?” I was shocked, everypony nodded their heads.
“Alright then, explain how,” I crossed my hooves and leaned on my desk (my chair was still busted).
Rarity stepped up, “Well, first Rainbow Dash flew to the other side of town so she could flank you when the time was right, I walked down to the market as I know that there would be many ponies and that you would try to blend with them. My job was to try to expose you while Applejack and Twilight were waiting for the ambush.”
Applejack continued, “Right so when Rarity came to us after mah poor Granny got spooked I knew immediately it would have to be you. So me and Twi split up, I followed you on the rooftop then chased you after. I was tryin to get you up on the roofs but instead you had to use them crowds and break into that house.”
“Well at least I apologized to the poor mare,” I shrugged.
Twilight cleared her throat, “So when you eventually got onto the roofs I used my magic to get ahead of you and trap you. Instead me and Applejack got a bush full of thorns. So while Fluttershy distracted you with her stare, Pinkie showed up and told us she needed more time to make the pie.”
“Contradiction! When did Pinkie first say when she would make a pie?” I asked.
“Back at the lake just before we all left, I think her exact words were…”
“GOTTA MAKE PIE TO SAVE SHADOW! BE RIGHT BACK!” Pinkie interrupted Twilight.
“Um… ya then she just went poof and disappeared.”
Pinkie being Pinkie Pie.
“So after Fluttershy occupied you with the stare, I randomly showed up and surprised you to not make myself suspicious. IT WAS THE PERFECT PLAN!” Pinkie laughed maniaclly, which we all just ignored.
Rainbow Dash stepped up, “Then I showed up and chased you here to the school, the fillies and children just absolutely loved me! I had to give them my autograph! While I did that I bought Pinkie more time to make the pie while you hid in the school.”
“Then I found you and alerted your presence triggering all of us to chase you to the top of that building,” Rarity finished.
“And then I fell into the pie. The question is who did you know I would live?” I asked them.
“We weren’t sure Pinkie would have made it in time, but I’m glad she did! We need you alive Shadow if we’re going to end this war with Balthazar we need your help,” Twilight said.
"You all might be still fine, not perfect... but fine," I joked.
I looked over to Mareio and Spike, “And where were you two?”
“WE HELPED BAKE THE PIE!” Mareio exclaimed.
I nodded my head and clapped my hoofs together, “I’m impressed, excellent work team. Even the Observer would have been impressed by that show of teamwork and skill.”
He’d still probably say they were mediocre compared to him. Especially me...
Oh big time.
Everyone cheered and celebrated their accomplishments, but sorry to say I had to break the mood and get back to the task at hoof.
“We still got to train hard, also I have part two of today’s training regiment thought of right now,” I said with a devious smile on my face, ready to accept the ponies feedback.
“OH COME ON!”
“MY LEGS ARE TIRED!”
“Um... I’m still covered in pie…if that’s not a problem…”
“Dreadful. ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL!”
I gave a nice long laugh, after all they haven’t experienced the hardcore training I had to offer for today and to be honest I was just getting started.
“Alright so who's up for some camping for tonight!”
“Great! I’ll get my stuff!” Dr. Mareio said to us just before rummaging through his mush-cart.
“Um… Shadow?” Applejack asked me stifling a laugh.
“What is it Applejack? Something on my face?”
“Well you could say that!” she burst out of laughter followed by the others.
I looked at my outfit and saw that I forgot to wash off the jam from the pie before, I was covered in raspberry, a bear's favourite berry scent.
Well Bear-crisis averted. Still I wonder if they can survive a night in the Everfree…
You never know what may be lurking there…