All I know is that a few moments ago I was falling and now I’m sitting on a bed in a pony’s house that smells like apples. Tasty.
While pondering to myself I noticed the orange mare looking a bit defensive, she let an unknown stranger into her house and cared for me (noticing the bandages) when she could have left me where I was as most ponies would have do.
She’s looking anxious, time to break the ice with some Ponitalian charm.
“Hello. I am grateful for your caring and hospitality considering I’m a complete stranger,” I said with thanks.
“Well, Howdy to you too! My name’s Applejack what’s yours?” she asked while shaking my hoof with an incredibly fast rhythm.
My arm’s going to fall off if I don’t say something.
“Mm-myyy name ii-ss-sss Sha-adddo-www,” I said still shaking her hoof.
She let go, Oh thank Celestia! “Well howdy’do Shadow! And if you don’t mind me asking: what’s with the getup, why are you injured, and you know you’ve been out for two days right?”
“Well you see- TWO DAYS?” I exclaimed.
“Yup, good thing you weren’t worse, of course you had two arrows sticking out in your body, a stab wound, a few crushed ribs and a lot of blood loss,” said Applejack with concern in her voice but also one with an inquisitive tone.
“Lucky me.” I said looking at my broken wing.
“Doc said that wing will never heal. You can’t fly ever again, I'm sorry. This must be so hard for you,” said a saddened Applejack.
“Nah, it’s fine I never flew much to begin with.” I replied.
Ok I should, end this conversation before I reveal any of my true intentions and blow my cover.
“Thank you for your hospitality, but I really must be-“ I said standing up from the bed only to have fallen to my knees due to the agonizing pain of my body.
“Whoa! Easy there pardner,” she said while picking me up.
“I don’t know who you think you are, but you have to calm down, most of your injuries are still there, and I know this was no accident so don’t bother lying to me. I can see through anything for what it is.”
“Forgive me. I think I just need some fresh air, and maybe go see that doctor for more medicine.” I said with a sheepish smile.
“Well, I guess you’ve need some air. Ok I’ll show you ‘round town and then you can tell me about your…accident,” she winked.
“Deal.” I replied contently.
We moved downstairs with me leaning on Applejack’s shoulder, I noticed two other ponies a big burly red one and a small filly with a bow.
“Big Mac, Apple Bloom, this here is Shadow. You know, our patient.”
“Eeyup,” replied the red one. “Why howdy there!” replied the filly.
“I’m going to show Shadow our town and maybe figure out how he got this way,” Applejack said advancing towards the door.
“I’ve been meaning to ask where are we?” I asked.
Applejack opened the door.
All I saw was a bunch of apple trees and a hill, I have to admit it was a nice hill. A very nice hill.
“Umm.. ya we’re here on the farm and Ponyville is on the otherside just a few hoofsteps away,” sheepishly said Applejack.
“If these hills are nice looking I’m pretty sure Ponyville will look wonderful.” I replied.
------A Few Minutes of Walking------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“*Ahem*, well here we are, Ponyville!”
Cue the musical choir playing in g-major. Honestly Ponyville looked so colourful and new, compared to the century old buildings I experienced in Ponitaly.
“Now then, let’s find that doctor, can’t have you falling now can we,” said Applejack with a smug grin.
“I feel great! Let’s go-“ I said as I tripped falling face-first into a pile of mud.
Ohhhh the emotional pain! THE EMOTIONAL PAIN!
After I cleaned myself off, we approached a cart carrying vast amounts of different mushrooms.
Wait… (I breathe in) ..... Mushrooms?
Just then a red stallion wearing a white doctor’s coat appeared from behind the cart.
“ALLO! DON'T YOU REMEMBER ME?” shouted the strange doctor.
“Oh… it’s you…” I blankly said while slapping my head in shame.
“MAREIO!” shouted the doctor.
“Uh, Shadow you two know each other?” asked Applejack with a confused look in her face.
“Ya, we met in Ponitaly a few times, I barely know him.” I replied.
“Ponitaly that’s exotic, isn’t it Shadow?” she said with a grin and an overconvincing voice.
Ah crap, I told her where I’m from! Well at least she doesn’t know-
“SHADOW! I’m hurt, you know I’ma the guy getting all the contracts and healing you every single time at the Guild! How could you have a forgotten me!”
Noticing my bandages he sighed and shouted, “MAMA MIA SHADOW! AGAIN!? Balthazar is too strong for you and I see your hidden blade is broken too, need I go on!?”
Honestly Mario, just tell her everything, tell her I’m on a rage mission to brutally murder the duke, and while you’re at it tell her I’m an Assassin. Oh wait: Balthazar, hidden blade, guild.
Mareio you really know how to keep a secret, don't you!?
As if reading my thoughts Mareio pulled me towards him and whispered in my ear, “Shadow. I know your trying to stay incognito, but these ponies are friendly, if you open your heart to them you can then find enough star power to save the galaxy.”
“Now take this mushroom and go rest, because you’re going to feel like crap in the morning.” Mareio said handing me a red mushroom. “And remember don’t touch the purple ones.”
Images flashing through my head, purple mushroom, those... those poor villagers! NO!
I snapped out of my state and started eating the red mushroom as I walked back to where Applejack was waiting for me.
“So… Balthazar, hidden blade, quite an “accident”," Applejack cunningly said.
“Um… ya maybe when I’m done eating this mushroom,” I said taking a bite out of this red fungus as my eyes widened and a feeling of euphoria washed over me.
Power going through me, adrenaline filling my veins, pain no longer existent...
“YAHOO!” I shouted while jumping through the air.
As soon as I said that a pink blur ran towards me and also shouted, “YAHOO!”
“A NEW PONY! Ohmygosh! Hi, I’m Pinkie Pie!” said the pink mare ecstatically.
“Hey there Pinkie, this here is Shadow, you know the one who was injured for two days,” said Applejack.
“And now your BETTER! OOOhhh, we should throw you a super-awesome-mega-tastic-you-just-got-better-and-welcome-to-Ponyville PARTY!”
“That mushroom might have helped me but I think I’m still too injured to attend a party,” I apologetically said.
“Then we could throw a GET WELL WELCOME PARTY HORRAY, YAY!”
“Meet me at sugar-cube corner tomorrow at noon and don't be late! I'LL BRING MY PARTY CANNON!” she said excitingly as she bounced towards a gingerbread-house.
I don’t know if it was the mushroom, or my adrenaline, but parties are nice! Also is that a gingerbread house? Wow Ponyville is technologically inovative! Too bad most of my recent ones ended… unexpectedly. *hee hee* Also a Party Cannon? Guess this pony loves explosives.
“Yep that’s Pinkie Pie alright. Now let’s go see Twilight at the tree house maybe she can fix your… butter-knife,” said Applejack nearly bursting out in laughter, before calming herself down a bit and stifleing a few chuckles.
Crap, she’s almost piecing this together. Maybe I should listen to what Mareio said and just tell them. Then I remembered his speech on how he saved the galaxy by collecting 424 stars...
Nah, maybe some other day.
Approaching the tree house, Applejack knocked on the door. The door opened with a little lizard-creature standing there.
“Hey Applejack, who’s that?” asked the strange lizard.
“Howdy Spike this pony here is Shadow, is Twilight in?” asked Applejack.
“Hey Shadow. Ya you can find her by the edge of the library doing some studying,” he said showing us inside.
This creature with scaly skin, a tail, hard shell-like exterior, and claws. I wonder if Mareio was right about all those creatures he fought in his youth.
“Twilight! You’ve got visitors!” shouted Spike.
“Damn it Spike! Don’t bother me when I’m studying the Elements of Harmony- oh sorry about that Applejack” shouted a purple unicorn before quickly apologizing.
Elements of Harmony? Piece of Harmony, the Apple? No it couldn’t be. A connection?
“Twilight, this here’s Shadow.”
“Ooo a foreigner! I’m Twilight Sparkle number one apprentice to Princess Celestia,” she said cheerfully.
The Princess!? I wonder if she knows about this war we waged in the shadows.
I doubt it, unlikely that Celestia would even tell her own sister, Luna.
“Twilight, I was wondering if you could fix this… improvised utensil doohickey,” said Applejack showing Twilight my blade on my arm.
“Wow! I never seen anything so improvised! This is amazing! Can I study it? PLEEASE!” pleaded Twilight.
“Go right on ahead,” I said while handing my blade over to Twilight.
“Fascinating, a spring, it uses a paperclip mechinism and an unknown metal,” Twilight mumbled to herself, deep in thought.
“Ok then she'll be busy for the next few hours or so, let’s go see Fluttershy, she’s over by the Whitetail Forest,” said Applejack as we quickly exited the house.
Interesting a pony reading about the elements, apprenticed to Celestia and oppressive over inventions. What’s more interesting is how Applejack covered for me. “Improvised utensil doohickey” I chuckled, what a terrible liar she is.
A few minutes of walking and we finally reached a house covered in flowers, plants and animals.
“She’s probably in her garden.” Said Applejack as we turned around the corner of the house.
Sure enough there was a yellow Pegasus mare with a pink mane hiding her eyes; she was trying to coax a rabbit to eat a carrot.
We were right behind her when I said, “Hello there!”
“EEP!” she squeaked while jumping into the air and taking shelter under a patio.
“Hey Fluttershy don’t be nervous this here’s Shadow,” reassuringly said Applejack.
“Oh you must be that poor pony who had a bunch of wounds and a broken wing that will never heal…Oop..sorry I didn’t mean to make you sad, you’re not sad are you?” she asked me with her eyes getting as big as the moon and a werid uncontrollable amount of d'awww heading my way.
“Uh. No it’s alright no need to get sad it was my fault to begin with. I never will open my wings during a 10,000 mile drop ever again,” I reassured her.
“10,000 mile drop!?” both Applejack and Fluttershy exclaimed with worry in their eyes.
Damn it more details! I wish I was as trained as well as Le Duck.
Le Duck my mentor, pain just went through my heart.
I quickly shook away the negetive feelings and changed the subject, “So Fluttershy are you a veterinarian?”
“Oh yes, I love taking care of animals as well as these plants.” She said showing her garden.
“Wow are those Trilliums, and is that a Euphorbia pulcherrima?” I asked.
“Wow I never thought anyone else would know the scientific name for poinsettias!”
“Here this plant makes a pungent smell when you add sulfur to it,” she said holding up a yellow plant.
Interesting, she knows a lot about healing and the properties of plants to make certain potions and poisons I bet.
“So you can use it like a smoke bomb then. If you ever need to protect yourself from timberwolves.” I said.
“TIMBERWOLVES! WHERE!?” she said as she flew back under the patio, no more unlikely to come out.
“Come on Shadow let’s go to Rarity’s, maybe she can give you some tips about… blending in,” said Applejack again with a weird grin on her face.
Oh crap she’s almost figured out everything. I just hope I can trust her not to tell everyone until the time is right. And even if she does promise I don’t know if she can lie to her friends. She’s a terrible liar.
Now approaching a froo-froo looking house my jaw dropped. “There is no way I’m entering a clothing store as frilly as that; my outfit is fine thank you very much,” I said while remembering the fashions from Ponitaly. The horrible, horrible designer store mishaps....
SO MUCH FRILLS! NO I DON’T NEED ANOTHER HANKERCHIEF ONTOP OF MY OTHER TWO. THESE TIGHTS ARE TOO TIGHT!!
I planted my feet firmly on the ground, and removed that mental image.
“Come on Shadow, Rarity is a bit froo-froo but there’s nothing to be scared about.” She assured be.
“I don’t see you having to try on blouse after blouse after blouse after blouse after blouse aft-“
I said until she snapped my mouth shut and with pure intent looked me straight in the eyes.
“Shadow, you are going to go in that store, if you do, I won’t tell my friends who you really are are deal?”
“Fine,” I said walking towards the door and opening the handle.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought I guess the outside just looks frilly. I walked in and saw two mares an icy-white coloured one with an extravagant purple mane and Twilight from before.
“Darling you’re finally here! Twilight told me you would come eventually. We are just finishing your device. I’m Rarity," said the purple-haired mare with a classy politeness.
Ah a mare in a class as fine as this, needs some of the Ponitalian charm.
“Ah bella madona! A flower as beautiful as you and a heart as generous as the sun, I thank you for your craftmareship on an item so important to me,” I said kissing her hoof.
“Oh, a gentlecolt and a kind spirit. I love seeing such new fashions from exotic places,” replied Rarity feeling my fabric.
“Ok that’s enough you two, now Shadow here is from Ponitaly and he-“ Applejack said.
“PONITALY!” screamed Rarity.
“WOW that place is EXOTIC! But… isn’t it gone now…?” asked Rarity trying to make a less impact on me.
“Gone you say?” asked Applejack looking at me suspisiously.
“Um ya, there was a warring siege on the city and the mountain by the High Duke of Equestria, luckily some the townsponies escaped," I leaned my head down with my hood, "Some."
Applejack saw this and gave me a comforting hug.
“I’m so sorry Shadow, I had no idea. But here is your tool anyways,” said Twilight handing over my blade.
I attached it to my hoof and forced my hoof out, sure enough the blade came out and I retracted it back inside.
I noticed Applejack was fixated on it when I tested it.
“Such an interesting design. Also what is that symbol on your robe?” asked Rarity pointing to my insignia.
“Um, it’s just something to make me remember what I lost,” I replied while looking at the symbol of the Assassins.
“Well it’s been a long day I should head back with Applejack, right?”
“Sure Shadow, but eventually you need to get your own place to live.” Said Applejack.
“Of course. I wouldn’t dream of overstaying my welcome. I greatly appreciate it,” I replied.
After making our goodbyes, Applejack and I headed back towards the farm. I noticed the clock tower in the middle of town and thought I saw something move at the top, something with wings and a beak. I also noticed Doctor Maerio peddling his cart of mushrooms.
Talking to Applejack I confessed my story,
“Well, I guess I can tell you who I am, I’m an Ass-“
I was interrupted as something blue or rather somepony who’s blue slammed into me making me fall right into Doctor Mareio’s cart scattering his mushrooms all across the town streets.
“OH NO! AHH! THE BLUE COLOUR! BLUE SHELL! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” said Dr. Mareio screamed while flailing his arms and running in circles as his cart was toppled.
The thing that crashed into me went over to me, I noticed it was a light blue mare with a rainbow mane and she was laughing hysterically at me.
I looked on my lap and noticed a purple mushroom in a glass container…
“AHHHHHHHHH! NOT THE PURPLE MUSHROOM! GET IT OFF ME! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” I shouted as memories of that day surged through my head.
“Wooh, dude chill, no need to get upset over a purple mushroom,” she said to me.
“IT”S EVIL! ABSOLUTE EVIL! CELESTIA DAMN IT TO TARTARUS!”
Purple mushroom, purple mushroom, purple mushroom, purple mushroom. Very, very, very, bad ,bad, bad ,bad, bad...
I wasn't usually like this, I was sane but also a bit insane you could say. Let's just say that memory is the most "what the hell" I've ever experianced in my lifetime, and WILL ever be experainced.
Once I was out of my mental breakdown, I turned to the mare and said with a stern look in my eye, “You’re lucky this... abomination already slightly spoiled and is inside this container, oh if it was ripe, if it was outside and it landed on anything, oh then we’re screwed. Now, I’m pretty sure you have a good reason for knocking me into that cart and nearly making Ponyville the living APOCALYPSE!”
“I was testing out a new game, I call it Rainbow Dash DASH!” she said shouting “Dash” with as much emphasis as possible.
“Rainbow, you can’t just hit ponies for fun, it’s wrong and besides Shadow is hurt,” said Applejack helping me up to my hooves and pointing to the bandages.
“Wow your pretty fast I got to admit that, but I bet you’re not as fast as me,” I said to Rainbow Dash, knowing she would fall into my trap.
“Are you kidding me? I’m the fastest flier in all of Equestria! I’ll race you to the top of the clock tower!” challenged Rainbow.
“Hey hold on there! Shadow is hurt, and besides he can’t fly, EVER.” Said Applejack sternly.
“A Pegasus that can’t fly, what’s up with that!?” said Rainbow Dash with me giving a grimacing expression.
“I don’t need to fly,” I said while picking up a red mushroom from the cart and eating it to gain some energy.
Instantly adrenaline flowed through my body.
“Well, ok but I’m sure you won’t win before I do!” said Rainbow Dash as we went towards the clock tower's base.
“3, 2, 1..”
“GO!” shouted Rainbow Dash propelling herself at quite a speed.
I knew I wasn’t a match for a Pegasus that moves at that speed. I wonder if she had more training… no I can’t get these ponies involved in my war, for my revenge. I at least owe them that much.
Grabbing ledge and ledge I hauled myself up at a constant rhythm while using the flapping motion of my wings to give me boost in every step. Surprisingly I noticed Rainbow Dash right next to me; she turned to me with a look of surprise on her face. She was a formidable opponent, but just as I knew it from the beginning I lost.
“HA! I beat you! But I have to admit you’re not bad. How did you learn to do that?” she asked me.
“Maybe some other time,” I said looking around the tower.
“Huh? That’s it? What’s with you!?”
An eagle swoops down and lands on my shoulder.
“I knew that was you up here.” I smiled to the eagle, Rainbow Dash was dumbfounded.
“Rainbow Dash meet my friend, Ace," I showed her my friend.
*SCREE* said Ace as he flew off my shoulder towards his makeshift nest on the tower.
Ace, was my best friend when I joined the Assassins, for you see he was a member himself. Whenever there was a team that needed coordination, Ace would always let out a screech signaling an attack. If it weren’t for him I would be dead. I guess he must have been following me all these years and keeping an eye out. I can always depend on him.
“Wait? You knew he was here? You tricked me!” an outburst from Rainbow.
“Speed matters both physically and mentally, I won one you won the other. So it’s a tie,” I smirked causing Rainbow to puff out her mouth.
After whispering to Ace telling him I’ll be back I went over to the edge of the tower and looked down, a hay bale next to the front doors of the tower entrance was a convenience.
Turning around to Rainbow with me still on the edge I calmly said, “Race you to the bottom!” and I fell down back-first.
*LEAP OF FAITH*
I picked myself up from the hay and dusted my robes off. Not a scratch.
I heard Rainbow Dash call down, “THAT WAS AWESOME!”
And I heard Applejack running towards me shouting, “THAT WAS STUPID!”
“Don’t worry I do it all the time AJ, I’m an expert among experts,” I boasted with a smug grin.
“You are going to my home right now mister. Who knows what those mushroom’s side effects are and the strain of all that climbing and fallin’,” Applejack said while pushing me towards the direction to her orchard.
“See you later Shadow!” waved Rainbow Dash.
Amazing speed. And a devoted heart. With proper training she can easily be the fastest pony around.
-------At the Farm-----------------------------------------------------------------
When will she let go of me? She’s been dragging me for hours! Those mushrooms are fine I feel absolutely nothing at all! At least the farm is right there. “HELLO HILL!” I pretended to shout. “Hello,” it replied back. Those mushrooms were really good not to mention I’m exhausted.
Pushing me through the door and up the stairs, Applejack brought me back to the place where I had laid unconscious for the past two days.
“You mister, need to get some rest!” she said putting me into the bed.
“I’m sorry Applejack. I didn’t mean to scare you, but you must understand that I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
“Finally, I’ve been waiting to hear this all day.” Applejack smiled.
“Well, you see I’m an Assassin.”
I continued the story of my life to Applejack, telling her about my family’s death, Balthazar, joining the Assassins and plotting for my revenge, a part of Ponitaly's fall and my visit to Balthazar's flagship zepplin.
At the end of my story, Applejack was surprised. “My, and here I thought you were a lying, cunning, theivin', murderer. I’m sorry I made you tell me, I never could have imagined-“
“Please do not feel sorry these were my choices and I’ll accept the consequences. All of them, they will forever haunt me and I do not wish or anyone else to suffer what I have suffered so long ago.”
“So the reason you’re here is because you charged after Balthazar without any plan? That’s stupid,” she said with her hoofs crossed.
“Yes I know, but please I don’t want to involve you townsfolk. Or the same fate will befall your village just like Ponitaly. Now if you please, have a pleasant night, I’m sure the numbing effects of the Shrooms will wear off soon.”
“Well ok then, Goodnight Shadow.” Said Applejack closing the door.
Staying awake in the bed without any chance for sleep, these thoughts were torturing my mind.
I can’t involve these ponies, these… friends. Dr. Mareio isn’t an assassin but he is a member and Ace isn’t enough. Each pony I met today had a unique talent that would make our cause more foreseeable maybe even ending the Templar crusades.
But I can’t.
If I stay here I’m only endangering the lives of the innocent.
I walked towards the window and opened it. I leaned out and looked at the height to the ground and back to my damaged wing.
I almost forgot why I was here in the first place.