The Little Pony Legend: Shadow of Ronin

by MyEcho4


A Shade in the Night

A Shade in the Night

Ponies and humans gathered around the now closed off Canterlot Castle. Guards and Republic City police officers scouted the perimeter. The alicorns called in the city's best detectives to help solve the mysterious break in. Twilight, Korra and her family arrived at the scene, surprised to see so many guards and officers present. Mako, who was levitated down once the girls landed, looked on in shock. "This is worse than I thought." He said.

"That's an understatement." Said another familiar voice. The group all turned their heads to see none other than Lin Beifong, the now retired chief of police of Republic City. Or, at least she was supposed to be retired. She had already aged, just like Tenzin, but no matter how old she got Lin Beifong was a force to be reckoned with.

"Lin?" Mako was especially surprised to see his former boss present. After many years of working for her, and becoming a prince, Mako had long since been calling the woman by her actual name rather than 'chief'. "What are you doing here? You're retired, remember?"

"A little birdy told me that Canterlot Castle was robbed. And by birdy, I mean Officer Sunburst."

Mako shook his head and sighed, "That stallion can face a chimera in the eye but never you."

"So, what exactly happened?" Korra asked.

Lin's stoic expression softened as she looked at the princess with concern. "I should warn you….you might not like what you see."

Korra only nodded her head, a gesture to signify she understood and to ask Lin to show her the scene. The royal guards opened the doors of the palace and Korra gasped.

The main hallway was completely destroyed. Curtains were ripped and burned, tapestries were torn in two, the walls were cracked as if there had been an earthquake, windows shattered and the floor had scorch marks all over. But what really shocked them were the casualties.

Rarity and Fluttershy were already helping the injured and unconscious guards while Applejack and Pinkie were helping clean up the rubble and debris. Rainbow and Flash were with the detectives investigating while Asami, Sunset and Bolin were nowhere to be found.

The ponies only looked at Korra sadly. They knew they couldn't say anything that would make this any better. And Korra knew it too. Canterlot Castle had turned into a devastating crime scene.

After a moment of silence, Mako spoke. "Who could've done this?" He asked.

"Someone who would do anything to steal something valuable." Said Lin, looking down at one of the now lonely golden color helmet which were worn by the Canterlot royal guard. A circle of chalk was drawn around it. "Even if it means taking lives."

Korra gasped at the sight. She knew what the empty helmet and chalk on the floor indicated. Not only that, but the guards who did manage to survive the night were trembling with fear, their bodies covered with blankets while several detectives tried to ease their pain, but the poor ponies were traumatized. Korra's heart tore in half. Lin looked down in regret. She had warned the princess it wouldn't be pretty. Taking in a deep breath, Korra and Mako then went over to Rainbow and Flash who were just finishing talking with the rest of the detectives.

"Alright. You go do that then we'll talk later. Take the samples back to the station." Rainbow said as the Detectives walked away, but not before tipping his hat to the princesses. Flash and Dash turned around to see the trio behind them. "Some after party, huh?" Dash said in dismay.

"What happened?" Korra asked.

"We're still figuring that out." Flash answered, "Nopony else saw anything aside from one guard who had been knocked out. It wasn't until this morning when the princesses showed up that he all came to."

"We tried asking him what happened, but he keeps mumbling his words and trembling like a chihuahua. We were hoping Korra could get through to him." Said Rainbow Dash.

"He's the only one who survived?" Twilight asked, her voice trembling.

Rainbow and Flash looked at each other with a frown before looking back at the group. "Yes."

Korra gasped in horror and Mako quickly wrapped his arm around her. What was once a day of celebration just turned into a day of sorrow and despair.

"Where is he?" Twilight asked

Flash and Rainbow signaled them to follow as they went up the to the west wing. Upon arriving the police officers and CSI were taking pictures of the crime scene while picking up anything that would serve as evidence or potential leads. Two officers were over by the lone surviving guard. The pony looked like he had seen a ghost. His pupils were smaller than a pea while his hair was singed and a mess from the attack last night. One of the human detectives was shining a flashlight to get his attention.

"Sir. Can you hear my voice?" The officer said waving his hand in front of his face. "How many fingers am I holding up?" The guard said nothing, just stared into oblivion. The officer shook his head in disappointment. "Poor guy."

"Officer Chao." Mako called out as the Officer got up and saluted to his chief and bowed to the princess. Mako saluted back and continued "How is he?"

"Not good, Sir." said Officer Chao, "He's been like this since we got here."

Korra went over and crunched down to the guard's level, feeling compassion for the poor pony. She gently tapped on his shoulder and gave him a gentle shake. "Sir? Can you hear me?" She asked, but received no response.

"We've tried everything we could, Princess." Chao said.

Korra rubbed her chin in thought as she examined the traumatized pony. "Honey, what are you thinking?" Mako asked his wife, watching her ponder on what to do about this poor stallion.

"I wonder…." She whispered. A blue aura surrounded her hand and she waved it over the guard. In an instant the guard blinked a few times and started to yell.

"AHHHHHHH-mph!" He shouted before Korra covered his mouth with her hand.

"He's fixed." she said before looking back at him and removing her hand from his mouth. "Ok, we're going to ask you a few questions." She said gently, "Do you remember what happened last night?"

"I...I…I…" The pony trembled, his ears twitching up and down frantically.

"Calm down, it's okay. I promise, nothing is going to happen to you."

"The...I can't...it's too…"

"I know, and you'll be out of here soon enough, but right now we really need you to tell us what you saw. You can tell me."

The guard nodded and began telling the princess what had happened.

"It was nothing like I've ever seen before." he said, "We heard screaming and shouting from the hallway. Next thing I knew, there was fire everywhere. He...he had a creature. A horrifying beast with the body of a wolf, but the strength of a dragon." the poor traumatized pony trembled, his eyes so open they almost looked frozen. "He showed no mercy. He made me watch as my friends were...were…" Tears began to fall down as he tried to continue. "After that, he told me to tell the princesses about what happened. Last I remember was darkness." He finished before becoming worried again, "What if he returns? What if I was just the messenger and he'll come back to finish the job?" He said, "Why didn't he just finish me of when he had the chance?! What if he does the same thing to me but worse?!" He screamed, his eyes widening and his irises shrinking.

Korra gently calmed him down. "We promise that won't happen." She said kindly. "Until we find out who did this, you'll be placed under Witness Protection until further notice. But one last thing. Do you know what he looked like? Face, features? Anything?"

The guard shook his head, "The only thing I saw was a black cloak and hood. His horn was red as blood, so where his eyes. That's all I remember about him."

Chao wrote down what he said and closed his notebook. "Alright, thank you for your cooperation. Mr….."

"Cross Guard."

"Cross Guard. Come with me." Chao escorted the exhausted guard to some medical ponies while the team watched him leave.

Mako just sighed, "I really hope he'll be okay."

"After something like this, I don't know if he'll ever come back the same way again." Korra said sadly, "Things like this changes people, Mako."

Mako wrapped his strong arms around his wife. They both knew all too well how a traumatic experience can change someone so drastically. They just hoped Cross Guard would come out a stronger pony after this, and find whoever did this.

The group turned around to see the three Royal alicorns exit the west wing and greeted the others. "Thank goodness you're here." Celestial said once they approached. "Poor Cross Guard, he's been through so much."

"To make matters worse, it was his first night as a Canterlot Guard since transferring from the Crystal Empire." Said Luna, "Several of the other guards had been his companions since the academy."

The group gasped in shock. They couldn't believe what they just heard. His own friends, killed right in front of him.

"Oh, dear." Twilight said sadly, her ears lowering down in sadness.

"Poor kid." said Flash, as he shook his head.

"This was his dream to be a Canterlot guard." Luna said, before looking at the traumatized pony, who was being taken away. "Who knew his greatest dream would become his worst nightmare."

"He said the attacker had a horn." Mako said, his anger for the mystery culprit slowly rising with each breath. "It must have been a unicorn, and judging from his work he's a very powerful one."

"All the more reason for him to break into the Canterlot Castle." Korra said, "This place is filled with ancient spell books and artifacts. If we know exactly what he stole we may have a clue as to what we're up against." she turned to Rainbow Dash, "Where did the robbery take place?"

"At the StarSwirl the Bearded wing. But, it doesn't look like anybody broke in. If anything, the door was wide open and everything is in tact. But they definitely stole something."

(~)

They arrived at the StarSwirl the Bearded wing, which remained perfectly intact, just as Rainbow Dash said. However, there was one major difference, and it was the opening on the wall. It appeared to be some kind of secret opening, now completely visible to the public. Korra noticed evidence of a struggle, due to a few books and scrolls either crushed or shredded on the floor, almost as if by a wild animal.

"I've never seen this before." she said, looking inside the apparent secret opening. There was an empty glass case. No shattered glass or anything, aside from traces of red powdered dust on the window cill. Mako traced his fingers, noticing the subtle hints of scorch marks, and that the samples were actually traces of ash. Aside from that, everything else, the scrolls, books and even every single speck of dust on them was unharmed. Korra and the group were quite confused by this.

"This makes no sense." Lin said in confusion, "Why would someone attack guards, destroy the place, but leave this wing almost untouched and steal only one object?"

Twilight walked over to the tall glass case with strange ancient writings on the glass. "I recognize this writing." she said. "It's an ancient sealing spell. It can only be locked or unlocked by the one who cast it. This case was meant to hold in a very powerful artifact. Looks like our culprit had his beady little eyes on it."

"So, the robber was the same pony who put, whatever that was, in the case in the first place?" Rainbow asked, scratching her head in confusion with her hoof. "That doesn't make any sense."

Leilani gave a small gasp, "It couldn't be." she whispered.

Celestia heard the queen whisper. "Mother, what's wrong?"

The alicorn queen turned to face everyone, "I…I think I might know who did this. But, I know he's not the one who eliminated the guards. Of this I'm certain!"

"Who is it?" Twilight asked.

Leilani appeared almost hesitant to reveal this, but she took in a deep breath and proceeded to explain. "He's some I knew from my past. He was the one who put the sealing spell on that case to protect a very powerful weapon. The Twilight Blade."

"What's the Twilight Blade?" Rarity asked.

"It's an ancient magical sword, forged by a powerful female unicorn named Madam Alpha to be a force for good. But StarSwirl saw the sword as a way to improve Equestria all the more, by eliminating all darkness. In the hands of magic, he used the sword to suck in all the dark magic he came across, but his plan backfired. The sword did not keep darkness contained, but rather it became a weapon of pure destruction. StarSwirl realized his mistake, and tasked his apprentice, Sombra to get rid of it. But Sombra became seduced by the blade's dark powers and used it to make himself more powerful than his teacher. StarSwirl eventually handed me and White the sword, where we kept it safe due to the sealing spell, but it was a spell only I and my old comrade could perform. Eventually, Sombra grew more powerful and took over the Crystal Empire when he became an adult, and my daughters defeated him."

"But it couldn't have been Sombra who did this." Flash Sentry said, "He's been long for a long time."

"I don't believe it was Sombra." Leilani said, "But, somebody far, far worse. An ancient dark creature White and I faced long before Tirek and Discord. And if we don't stop him, it could mean the end for all of us" Leilani said, her voice lowering, giving the room an ominous feel.

Lin crossed her arms, "Ancient evil, magical objects, and fate of the world hanging in the balance. Just like old times." she lowered his head.

Leilani was silent for moment before finally speaking up. "Meet me at the Sister's Castle in one hour…." She said before walking away from the group. "I can't speak of him here."

(~)

"Please mother, I thought you weren't going to keep anymore secrets." Luna said, her ears pressed against her head, once they were all gathered inside the lode castle.

"Honestly, I never thought there would be need for you to have to know this." Leilani said, "I foolishly hoped this old foe would remain trapped, but I supposed I should know by now that that is hardly the case with our family. Follow me." Leilani walked down the steps and went passed everyone, heading toward a door on the left side of the room. She signaled everyone to follow her. The group looked at each other with confusion and proceed, unaware that they were being followed.

The corridor stretched on for what felt like miles. On the wall there were a variety of paintings. From a portraits of Celestia and Luna, to StarSwirl. After walking for who knows how long, the corridor ended, just to come face to face with a stone wall with images of Celestia and Luna on it.

Leilani still didn't say a word but simply walked up to the door and looked at it, leaving the group to wonder what she was doing. "Mother?" Luna asked. "What are you-"

*shunk*

Leilani shoved her horn right into the stone wall, causing everyone to gasp. An aura of magic surrounded the stone wall as it began to change. The stone image of Celestia and Luna changed, the two stoned alicorns splitting apart along with the wall. Leilani twisted her horn, a small click sound was heard and the stone walls transformed into a wooden door. Leilani removed her horn and pushed the doors open. They creaked loudly and she entered the dark room ahead. The group peeked inside, noticing a single skylight lit up the room. The group walked inside, the light shining on an object in the middle of the room. A now shattered mirror stood there, the metal rusted, and shards of glass scattered all over, glistening in the sun.

Leilani walked over to the destroyed mirror and turned around to face the group, who were now even more confused than ever. A beam of light emitted from Leilani's horn as it went up into the air and spun around the room, making the place light up. On the walls, there were images that depicted some kind of war between ponies and some kind of shadow creature. In between the raging battle stood Leilani, White, and a mysterious pony with a crescent moon cutie mark facing some kind of shadow creature made out of black smoke.

"What is this place?" Fluttershy asked.

"A place that even time forgot." Leilani said. "This room was where I began working on the first pages of the Prophecy Book. After White and I sealed it away into the Tree of Harmony I did not have any prophesy visions for a long period of time...except for one." Leilani's ears pressed against her head as she looked at the images on the wall.

"Leilani, what do you know?" Korra asked with concern, "What happened?"

Leilani sighed, gazing sadly at the images. As she looked on, in her mind's eye, it seemed as if

they could move.

"Long ago, when White was still with us, an evil shadow creature by the name of Ronin and his second in command, Kage, appeared in Equestria with their entire army of shadow creatures. They called them the Umbra. On his own, Ronin was indeed powerful, but with the Twilight Blade, he could command the entire Umbra army. His goal was to bring chaos to Equestria, and snuff out the Light of our world."

"There's a shock." Lin muttered, rolling her eyes. If she had a dime for every story she heard of some magical creature trying to bring chaos to Equestria she'd be as rich as the Satos.

Leilani continued, "White and I tried to fight him, and while we did manage to subdue him, Ronin was very persistent. He did not rely on his magic alone, but also his wit and silver tongue. He commanded his army with contagious confidence and alluring charisma. Believe you me, while dark magic can indeed cause much harm...so can a brilliant deception."

The room fell into silence upon hearing these words. The group knew this fact better than anyone. One way or another, they all had fallen into the trap of deception. The worse kind of the danger is the kind that makes you think there isn't any at all.

"The war carried on for what felt like an eternity. White and I nearly lost all hope." she paused for a moment before continuing, "However, we did receive help from...an ally."

"The one who did the sealing spell?" Bolin asked.

"Yes. With our combined strength, we managed to finally defeat Ronin, Kage and the Umbra. The army dispersed and Kage had disappeared. We never saw him again. As for Ronin, we imprisoned him in a mirror sealed with the energy of Raava from the Tree of Harmony so that, even within it, he wouldn't use his power to escape...until now." Leilani hung her head. "There is only one other creature who knows about the sword's power, because we made sure to eradicate any known record about it. Kage was skilled in swordsmanship, and his blade could summon fire at will. I wasn't sure at first, but now I am confident it was Kage. And Kage wouldn't have stolen that sword if it's not for Ronin."

"So, he's back." Korra concluded. "How did he break free?"

"You remember when Unalaq destroyed Raava?"

"How could we forget." Korra said as she remembered what happened that day. But then it clicked to her. "Wait. You don't think that…."

Leilani simply nodded. "I honestly didn't think it would happen, but it appears to be the only explanation. Because the mirror was made from Raava's energy, I thought it would keep Ronin trapped within it forever. But, it would appear that he saw his chance when Raava was at her weakest. Ronin had been released all these years and I was too confident to believe he hadn't." the alicorn hung her head, "If I had known I would have trapped him when I had the chance."

"But, is Ronin is so powerful why is he showing up only now?" Applejack asked.

"Like Tirek, his power must have been far too week. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, he was released not long before Harmonic Convergence. And when the two worlds united it must have weakened him severely. Only now, after all these years, his magic is finally returning."

"He must've really went undercover if he wasn't ready to strike." Spike said as he picked up a shattered fragment of mirror. "And something tells me he's not too happy about what you guys did to him."

Leilani nodded at him, not denying that he was pretty ticked at her for his imprisonment

"So what if he has anger issues." Rainbow Dash said. "We'll just use the Elements of Harmony on him and send him back where he belongs!"

Leilani just shook her head, "Rainbow you don't understand. Ronin is a cruel, clever, unmerciful, and fearless monster. Even my magic wasn't enough to stop him before. I fear even our magic will not be enough this time."

"But, we're in possession of the most powerful magic there is." Rarity said, flipping her hair confidently, "They don't call us Heroes for nothing, you know."

"She's got a point!" Pinkie Pie said, smiling and pointing her hoof at Rarity.

"Yes, but remember all of the times we got our butts kicked by powerful magic?" Twilight reminded them, "Amon, Vaatu, Zaheer, Tirek, Starlight, ring any bells?"

Rarity and Pinkie lowered their heads and Rainbow Dash slowly lowered to the ground in dismay. "Yeah, but we still came out on top."

"Yes, each time in a different way. I'm not saying we won't be able to handle this Ronin guy, I am saying is that if Leilani says he's unlike any foe we've faced, we should be ready for anything."

The entire group silently agreed that this was a threat that was not to be messed with. Still, they knew they had to do something, or no one else would. This world was just as much their home as it was to the ponies and they would fight to the very end for it, just like they always did.

"So, now we know who Ronin and why he wants the sword, what do we do?" Asami asked, "If he has it how are we supposed to fight him?"

"We can't." Bolin said, surprising everyone, "Look, I know I'm normally the naive optimistic one here, aside from Pinkie, but from what we already know, Ronin is a super huge bad guy and now has a super powerful sword. He could be summoning his army right now for all we know!"

Celestia then remembered something and turned to the queen, "Wait! Mother, you said that there was one pony who helped you defeat Ronin once before, right?"

"Yes." Leilani nodded, "He knows about Ronin than anypony. Even me."

"Then why don't we contact him? He might be our only chance!"

Leilani quickly dismissed the thought. "That is completely out of the question!"

"Why not?" Celestia asked. "Mother, we are running out of options!"

"I know!" Leilani said, her voice raising a bit. "It's just...he has issues with me."

Applejack raised an eyebrow, "What kind of issues?"

"All kinds of issues." The group spun around at the sound of a mysterious voice, echoing throughout the room. "In fact, I can name several right off the bat." the voice said, growing louder. The air inside the room became cold as ice and every immediately took a fighting stance.

"Who's there?" Mako called out, getting into a fighting stance. The voice ignored him and continued taunting the alicorn queen.

"Let's see. Hatred. Selfish, Dishonest. Oh, and my personal favorite." The group turned around and saw a pair of violet eyes glowing in a dark part of the room. "...Betrayal. Those are my issues."

"Show yourself!" Korra shouted to the figure, in which he simply chuckled.

"Princess Avatar Korra." He said. The gang heard the sound footsteps going around the room. "It's truly an honor to meet you. Well, not really."

"I'm warning you!" Korra threatened, her jaw clenching.

"Korra…" Leilani whispered.

"Or what? You'll blast me with fire? Turn me into a toad? Give me a princess lecture? Oh, I'm so scared!" He taunted. "Having wings and magical gemstones you can call upon, doesn't make you a princess. Or a hero."

"Who are you?" Korra questioned, lowering her defenses. It was then, the figure made himself known.

The group were now face to face with a blue male young adult pony with purple eyes and blue hair with a silverish-white streak going down the right side. He had on a blue jacket and dangling from his side was a sword. He showed a face of what looked like anger as he walked towards them.

Leilani said as she walked towards the pony. "Nova Nightshade."

He placed a hoof in front of her. Leilani looked down with regret. The group was confused at what he was talking about till hit them.

Mako took a quick at the image of the mysterious pony on the wall then back at Nova. Then it hit him. "Wait a minute. You're the pony she was talking about?!"

"Yeah, I'm him." Nova said as began to began to walk towards the group. "Surprised?"

"Kind of." Bolin admitted.

Flash Sentry groaned and approached the unicorn, "Hold it, let's back up for a second. How did you find us?"

"I live here, pretty boy." Nova said, "Well, not here here, I've got an underground study beneath the castle. I overheard you all talking, and since nopony's used this room in decades I decided to come on up and see what all the commotion was about. Needless to say, I wasn't pleasantly surprised."

Twilight Sparkle approached the mysterious unicorn, still glaring at him. "The feeling is mutual."

Flash quickly covered his wife's mouth to prevent her from saying anything else she will regret. "What my wife was trying to say is that those comments were uncalled for."

"Why? Can't handle a little honesty?"

"Break it up, you three." Applejack said, walking towards them, "Nova, was it? A better question is, why in the hay did you give Kage the sword in the first place?"

"You would be happy to know, Miss Applejack, that the Twilight Blade Kage ran off with is nothing but a knock off."

"WHAT?!" everyone exclaimed in shock.

"That sword was used only as a warning beacon to me, so I would know if Ronin ever showed his ugly face again. It also doubles as decoy for Kage until I got to the real blade, which is hidden somewhere nobody, not even Ronin can find but me."

"But, how is that possible?" Leilani said, "You were there when we hid it away!"

"And when your backs were turned, I replaced it and put the real one in another location. Did you really think I would place the most powerful dark weapon in some fancy castle? It'd be the first place Ronin would look for it if he ever got out."

"You knew he'd come back?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"I had a feeling he might. Turns out my instincts were right."

Twilight breathed in deeply, "How do you know so much about Ronin?"

"Let's just say…we have history." Nova replied, his voice cold and uninviting.

"So, if you know where the real sword is, you can help us!"

"No." Nova replied simply.

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me. No."

"But, but you can't say no!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.

"I just did." He simply replied as he began circling the group. "Is that a problem?"

"Of course it is!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "Our worlds are in danger of being destroyed by some shadow monster!"

"Yeah, but he doesn't have his sword. Without it he won't be a threat to you."

"You know that's not entirely true, Nova." Leilani stated, "Even without his sword, Ronin's magic is still growing. Once he's reached his peak he'll be able to detect the sword wherever it is. And there's no telling who he will kill in order to get it."

Nova groaned, "Yeah, yeah, I know. I've got it covered. Once the sword is found, all I have to do is destroy it and it won't be a problem anymore."

"If that's all it takes why didn't they just destroy the sword all those years ago?" Bolin asked.

"Folks tried, but failed." Nova explained, "It takes a very unique kind of magic in order to break it. And I just so happen to have that magic."

Applejack scoffed, "What makes you think that?" she asked, only to have Nova gain up on her, narrowing his eyes in furry.

"Like I'd ever tell you, miss country flair!" he sneered. The country pony sneered in return, only for Korra to come in between the two.

"Alright, enough!" Korra exclaimed and turned to the unicorn. "Nova, you clearly know what we're up against better than any of us. We need your help."

Nova laughed, "Ha! You need my help? For what? You said so yourself, I know where the sword is, I know how to destroy it, I know how to defeat Ronin. If anything, you guys don't have to do squat! I'll take care of that shadow myself." he then narrowed his eyes to Leilani, "Besides, I helped you once and look where that's brought us."

Leilani's eyes shimmered, almost as if tears would roll down her eyes. She managed to fight them for as long as she could.

"Plus, if I trusted you guys to find the sword, chances are you'd mess everything up like always."

Rarity gasped, "AH! Excuse me?!"

"Oh, don't play dumb! Everyone else may see you guys as their heroes, but I've heard all the stories to know better. Aside from uniting the two worlds, you also caused a mad man to gain airbending and attempted to kill the Earth Queen. Helped Unalaq in unleashing armageddon and freed Vaatu, reawaken Nightmara who tried to plunge the world into an eternal dark winter, placed Kuvira in a state of power, only for her to take advantage of said power and destroy half the city with a giant robotic siren. Need I go on?"

Everyone else remained silent. While they were old enough to admit that the unicorn did make some valid points, the wounds were still pretty painful whenever one rubbed salt onto it. What more could they say? Nova made some valid points. Even Korra knew this better than anyone else.

"If we're done here, I suggest you all leave." Nova said, venom oozing from his voice.

Korra was the only one brave enough to step forward. "Nova, I don't know what your problem with Leilani is, and I won't even try to change your mind about us, but even without his precious blade, Ronin is already a threat. His pet Kage killed millions of innocent ponies last night. Those are lives we can never get back! Regardless of what issues you have with Leilani we are all involved in this now, wether you like it or not. So I suggest you stop being so cryptic and stubborn and actually help us before that monster destroys anymore lives!"

Nova's ears flickered. "Leave. Now." He said coldly.

"Nova-"

"NOW!" He shouted, catching everyone off guard. His voice echoing throughout the room. "And if I ever see you or your 'friends' ever again…." He said before pausing. He sighed. "...Just go. I'll find a way to defeat Ronin. Without you!"

In a bright purple flash, he disappeared. The group just looked at the place where he was standing, and Leilani looked away in regret.

(~)

"Well that went well…" Spike said as the group left the castle. "The only pony who knows how to defeat Ronin just kicked us out."

"So what do we do now?" Flash Sentry asked, "Just sit around and wait for Nova to find the sword? What if something happens to him?"

Leilani just looked down at the ground. "I...I don't know."

"What do you mean?" Luna asked. "You knew Nova before, isn't there any idea as to where he could have hidden the real sword?"

Leilani paused at what he said. What was she supposed to tell them? That she didn't know how to defeat a psychotic monster that could mean the end of the world? She honestly didn't.

"Mother?" Luna said.

"It's been a long day, for all of us." She said. "Everyone, return to your homes." She said. As she left the group and headed back into the forest.

"Leilani-" Korra began, only to be interrupted by the queen. Her eyes narrowing.

"That is an order!" She stated, her voice raising higher. Noticing everyone's surprised reaction, Leilani recoiled and sighed. The group took quick glances at each other before nodding to the queen. "Go home and rest. All of you." She turned around and disappeared into the forest, leaving the group at the castle. "We will discuss this after we have rested."

"But we're not just going to do nothing, are we?" Rainbow asked.

"Of course not. We just need to collect our thoughts. Besides, several of my subjects have lost their friends and families today."

"She's right." Twilight said. "Plus, we need to pick up the kids. Maybe we can all figure out a better plan with a bit of rest."

"I agree. Didn't get much sleep last night anyway." Rainbow Dash said as she yawned. "I'll see you guys later." she waved her hoof before flying up into the clouds.

"Might as well get home too." Fluttershy said. "It's almost feeding time for the critters." She waved to the group and flew back to her cottage.

"Well, I'm gonna head back to the farm." Applejack said. "See ya tomorrow!" She walked away from the group but not before Rarity stopped.

"I will accompany you, darling."

"Sure. Could use the company." Applejack said as the two friends walked back to town.

"We should get going as well." Celestia said.

The other nodded in agreement and the two princesses walked back towards the castle, leaving now only Twilight, Flash, Korra and Mako.

"We can't just give up." Flash said, "Ronin doesn't attack yet what about Kage? What if he does that to others, only worse?"

"We'll figure it out." Mako said, turning to his wife, "Flash and I will do more investigating on this Kage guy. Maybe if we locate him we'll locate Ronin."

"We'll pick up the girls." Twilight said with a soft smile, "After everything, it'll be nice to see their faces."

Korra nodded her head in agreement, but still appeared rather stressed. Mako wrapped his arms around her. He didn't say a word, knowing there was nothing he could say to ease her stress. He kissed her forehead, pouring all of the love in his heart. Korra gave him a soft smile and placed a gentle kiss upon his lips.

"I love you." she said, and the two couples walked out of the forest together.

Along the way, Korra's mind was still circling around everything that happened. She did say she missed the old days of fighting evil, but now that it was happening again, she regretted even bringing it up. Back then, saving the world was practically their job, but they were no longer the same wide eyed kids anymore. They were parents. Even if he didn't have his sword, Korra could not shake away the feeling that she could not let Nova do this alone. What if he wasn't telling them the whole truth? Could they even trust him? Leilani certainly did, but why did she look so regretful when she saw him?

Some things just didn't add up. She hoped Mako and Flash's search for Kage will help move things along.

(~)

Fragments of the sword scattered all across the room. The handle fell to the ground and instantly turned to dust. Kage and Shade backed away in fear as they saw the burning fury though their master's piercing yellow eyes.

"Ro-Ronin?" stuttered Kage. "Are you-"

"How did you not known it was a fake?!" bellowed Ronin as he slammed his hoof on a wall, causing it to crack.

"It was exactly the same!" he answered. "Even down to the type of metal. I-"

"You had one job, Kage.." said Ronin as walked towards the pony. "One job.."

"How was I supposed to know it was a fake?! Even if it was, the only ponies I know who would've switched it was-"

The room was silent as the pieces began to put themselves together inside of his head. It couldn't be but he was the only one inside the room besides him and the guards. There was no denying it.

"Nova…" he hissed. "Of course…"

"What are you talking about?!" said Ronin.

"Last night we ran into the sorcerer." said Shade. "There was a fight but he gave us the sword after I threatened his wisp."

"He must've switched them before we arrived." said Kage as he stomped his hoof. "Now's it's probably on the other side of Equestria, or maybe even that waste of land."

"You are such an idiot" said Ronin. "Do you know how much I need that blade? If I don't get it back and Nova and that abomination of a princess finds it before we do, I'm going back in that mirror or worse!"

"But, they don't know here it is." Kage said, "And knowing Nova, he won't help Leilani if his life depended on it. He hates her almost as much as we do."

Ronin flared his nostrils. "Perhaps you're right. The chances of them teaming up are pretty slim. However, he is the only one who has any idea as to where the sword is." he closed his fist, allowing for a small little purple smoke to come out of his palm. "Shade...come here, boy."

The dark wolf creature approached his master, who rapidly spun around and placed his palm right on his forehead. The canine creature whimpered and was pushed back, sliding to a stop. Kage rushed to his side, inspecting him got any injuries.

"I may not have all of my power." Ronin said, "But just enough to break through that shielding spell Nova had on his wisp. If anyone can lead us to the sword...it's our old buddy, Nova Nightshade."

Kage smiled wickedly as the wolf got up, shaking his fur. "Thank you, Ronin." the wolf said, "Now, we can both finish what we started long ago."

(~)

Back at Air Temple Island, the children continued their fun, playing and frolicking around the grass. Kai, P'Li, Pema, Kya, Jinora, Bumi, and Starlight Glimmer watched them while resting on some benches nearby. They happily watched the children chase after one another, playing pranks and various games. But, not all of the children were having a good time.

Iris sat cross legged from across the field, her elbows resting on her knees. Her mind was a million miles away. She couldn't stop thinking about her dreams and everything that has happened up until now. She watched as her younger cousins, Hiro and Mai, playing with their bending. Iris sighed sadly. Even at this age, she still wasn't showing any signs of bending. Magic sure, but not any bending.

Her powers still remained a mystery to her. She didn't know what they were meant for, let alone control them. When Akari was born, she had already showed signs of great magical power. Even Flurry Heart had incredible magic, which in turn caused a great blizzard to nearly wiped out the Crystal Empire, but that's a story for another time. When they were older, both Alicorn children learned to master their powers, even receiving their cutie marks at the age of seven and six respectively. Iris had yet to earn her cutie mark. She was curious if she would ever earn one her mother had a long time ago, but that didn't fully guaranteed she would too. Korra wasn't born half Alicorn, but Iris was.

So far, she has struggled to learn even the simplest of spells. Even simple levitation was hard for her to master at times, and it was supposed to be the most basic of tricks. She was a princess who couldn't control her own magical powers. It didn't sound right. Was there something wrong with her? All these and more swirled around in her head as she sat alone, looking out into the vast world. As she was thinking this, her head began to throb again and tried to shake the pain away. Brief images started to appear. One showing the blue fox, another showed the mysterious blue man, another showed her being attacked by creatures made out entirely of shadow while another showed an old pony.

"Iris? Hey, Iris!"

The little hybrid snapped out of her trance as she turned around to see Akari behind her. "Oh. Hey Akari." Iris greeted.

"What are you doing here all alone?" Akari asked. "Aren't you going to join us? Kai just dozed off and we're gonna do the old feather and whip cream gag!"

"Nah. I'm good. Go enjoy yourself." Iris turned back around while Akari just stared in bewilderment. Iris never turned down an opportunity like this. She loved pulling pranks. Something was seriously off with her today. Actually something had been off with her for the past several months actually. Akari sat down and joined her friend, gazing to the vast ocean.

"Well, if you're not gonna do it, I'm not either." Akari said. "And don't even think about telling me to leave."

Iris just rolled her eyes and kept staring into the distance. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Akari said.

"Yeah. Sure is." Iris said.

"Iris.." Akari said, "Is everything alright? You've been acting strange for days."

"Yeah, I'm ok." Iris said not even paying attention to the currently anthro alicorn.

"Iris…" Akari grabbed her friend's face, gently turning it over to her's where they could see each other face to face. "Talk. Now."

Iris just sighed in defeat. "Do you think I'm important?"

"Of course I do!" Akari said. "Your one of the most important friends I know!"

"No. I mean. Am I Important?" Iris emphasized.

Akari just looked at her in confusion before the realization hit her. "Iris what are you- "Ohhhh."

"Yeah." Iris removed Akari's hands from her face and looked down at the grass.

"Is it because of your powers?"

"Yeah. I don't understand why I have such trouble with them sometimes. I have a hard time levitating even the simplest thing, and when it comes to spells…" Iris held up her hand and concentrated. A purple aura began to surround her palm, but it quickly flickered and diminished as soon as it appeared. Iris sighed sadly, "..that happens. Not to mention, I have no idea why I'm having these dreams. I don't even know what they mean. Do you think they're a punishment because I can't control my powers? What if I never learn how to control them? It's not fair, Akari! I'm a princess, i'm supposed to know this stuff! What if...what if I'm can't be a princess?"

Akari just started at her friend, feeling sorry for her. It's been pretty hard on her for quite some time now. Especially when everyone else got used to their powers, she was still trying to conjure up a aura on her hand. "Don't say stuff like that." Akari said, placing a hand around her friend's shoulder. "You are a princess, and you will learn how to control your powers." Akari then wrapped her arms around Iris and placed her head on her shoulder. "You're worrying too much, Iris. Don't worry, you'll control your powers soon enough."

Iris looked over at Akari, who was on her shoulder and smiled. "You know, you sound just like my mom and Aunt Twilight."

"I get that alot." The duo laughed.

Soon they say their parents heading towards them. The two girls quickly rushed to see their respected mothers.

"Mom, is everything okay?" Akari asked Twilight.

"Yeah, we just need to talk to the others."

"Did something happen?" Little Hiro asked, pulling on his father's pants. Bolin squatted down and picked up his oldest son.

"Relax, champ. Mommy and Daddy are just gonna talk boring grown up stuff, don't worry."

"You kids keep on playing." Mako said to his daughter right before kissing her forehead and turned to Kai.

Iris caught sight of the look in her father's eyes. She knew something was amiss.

(~)

"That's terrible!" Pema said in shock after the group had explained to them what happened. Unbeknownst to them, Iris and the other children were listening in on their conversation. The young princess pressed her ear against the closed door,

"But what about the guards?" Kai asked with concern, "They must've done something."

"They did." Mako said, his expression fell in dismay. "Only one survived the attack."

Iris gasped upon hearing this. She knew about the robbery thanks to Aunt Twilight this morning, but ponies died? That was terrible!

"What is it?" Hiro asked his cousin. "What are they saying?"

"Remember the robbery I told you about?"

The group nodded.

"Well, let's just say that wasn't the only thing that happened last night."

From the other side of the door, Jinora asked. "What did this pony steal anyway? Scrolls? Documents?"

"That's what we thought." Lin said. "The thief only took a sword."

"A sword?" P'Li asked. "What kind of sword?"

"One that could mean the end for not only Equestria, but our world as well."

"What else is new?" Kai said, rolling his eyes while crossing his arms. If he had a yuan for every time their worlds were in danger of being destroyed he'd be as rich as Asami by now. Jinora gave her boyfriend an annoyed glare and Kai immediately cleared his throat, "I mean, that must've been one important sword."

"From what we know, yes." Flash said, "Thankfully, it was really a fake so the thief still doesn't have the real sword."

Bumi wiped his brow and breathed a sigh of relief, "Well, that's good."

"Of course, this also means that the real one is still out there and we have no idea where it is or where to start looking." Flash added, scratching the back of his head, his ears lowering in dismay. "But even so, if Ronin manages to get enough of his power, he'll be able to find the sword without any issue."

"And the only pony who knows it is a unicorn named Nova." Mako said, "But he refuses to tell us where it is."

"What are they saying now?" Ronan whispered from the other side of the door.

"They said something about some 'Ronin' guy and his sword." Iris replied, she placed her ear back on the door and listened more. "And about some pony named Nova who knows where it is but he won't tell them." she said as she kept on listening. For a moment, all she heard was silence, followed by the sound of approaching footprints. The feathers on Iris's back ruffled in alarm. "They're coming! Act natural!" Iris said as she ran from the door and flew into the other room. The other kids hurried behind her and went back doing what they were doing before, acting as if nothing happened. The group opened the door and looked inside to see the kids acting "natural".

"Iris, Akari, Hiro, Mae." P'Li called. "It's time to go."

The four went to their respective parents and the adults thanked the four for taking care of the kids. They said their goodbyes as they all left the island. Soon after, the team waved farewell to each other and went their separate ways with Sunset heading back with Asami and Bolin and Lin heading into the city.

When they got home. Korra and Mako went to the living room and sat down, both sighting in exhaustion. They were more emotionally exhausted rather than physically. Today was a long, confusing, tough, and crazy day. So much happened in so little time. And now, with a new threat on the loose, how were they going to explain this to the kids? And this Nova character, why did he say no to helping her parents? Questions, questions, so many questions they felt like if these didn't get an answer soon their heads will blow up.

"Mom, Dad?" Iris spoke to the exhausted parents. The two looked down and saw their daughter looking at them with concern. "Is everything going alright?"

Mako and Korra looked at each other, automatically picking up on what the other was thinking. What are they going to tell her? An ancient evil returned and plans on destroying the world? No. They couldn't. They didn't want to frighten the child. Besides, they were already tired enough as it was, they would rather explain this to her when they knew exactly how to address it without frightening Iris. Korra put on a fake smile and picked her daughter up.

"Everything's gonna be fine." Korra said. "Don't worry." She kissed her daughter on the cheek. Deep in her thoughts, Korra made a promise to herself, a promise that she intends to keep.

"I'm going to protect you, Iris. No matter what."

*(~)*