The Little Pony Legend: Shadow of Ronin

by MyEcho4


Unveiling the Truth

Unveiling the Truth

At long last, they pony they had been searching for was standing right in front of them. Madam Alpha studied the group from the head down. "It's an honor to meet you all." she said in a thick Caribbean accent. She looked at Nova with furrowed brows. "What? I don't get hug?"

"Oh uh, of course." Nova said as he went in for a hug but was stopped by Ma, who began schooling him like an overbearing grandmother.

"You know I hate it when you bend down like that." she said to him with a motherly tone. "Come and hug me like you mean it!"

Nova looked away from her, seeing the rest of the team trying desperately not to laugh right then and there. Something about the stoic, unenthusiastic Nova being a complete wuss in front of an elderly unicorn was just too hilarious. Nova blushed in embarrassment, even more so when he saw Chi and Sunset snickering, their hands over their mouths in a futile effort to hide it.

Nova quickly changed into his pony form and walked on over to hug the elderly mare...only to then receive a knock on the head with her staff, which she levitated with her green magical aura.

"Ow!" he shouted. "What was that for?!"

"For being such a stubborn child! You should have known better than to give these nice folks such a hard time. Weren't you raised with any manners, lad?!"

"I'm sorry, I was just trying to-Ow!" Nova shouted once he received another hit on the head.

"Don't raise your tone with me!" Ma said. "You may be 1,600 years old but you will still respect your elders!"

"I'm 1,700." Nova grumble as he rubbed his head in pain only for her to hit it again. He heard giggling and turned around and glared at the team. They saw his expression and quickly put on a straight face.

"Heh, so he's quite the gentleman." Mekarm whispered, but Nova heard him and looked at the diamond dog.

"Shut up!" Once again he got hit in the head by Ma. "OW! Really?!"

"Never use that language in my home!" she said to him. She then turned to Leilani and smiled at her. "Leilani, darling, is that you?"

"Madame Alpha." she said as she walked up to her and gave her a hug. This time, Ma morphed into her anthro form to greet the alicorn. Her clothes were old and worn with colors of red, faded brown and was completely barefoot.

Nova morphed back and crossed his arms. "Typical." he mumbled bitterly. He knew Ma did genuinely care about him, but the unicorn was no stranger to showing a much gentler side towards the alicorn queen.

"Oh, my dear princess." Ma said. "You've grown so much since I last saw you. How are the kids?"

"They're doing fine, thank you." she replied. "How are you, old friend?"

"Oh, the same as usual. Living in a cottage that spontaneously transports from one place to another is a lot more entertaining than it sounds. At least I get to travel without even leaving home." Ma said, chuckling. She then looked and gasped. Her face lighting up with joy. "And you must be Chi."

"Aunt Ma!" the wisp shouted with glee and flew right into Ma's arms, hugging her tightly. "I can't believe I'm finally meeting you! Nova's told me so much about you."

"As am I, child. I have waited long for this day."

"You knew about me?"

"Of course. I can the future after all." she said before placing a kiss on the wisp's forehead. "Look how much you've grown." she said before looking at her with a stern expression. "Tell me, darling, have you been keeping an eye out on your energy?"

"Yes, Auntie."

"That's my girl".Ma said, ruffling her hair. "And what about that stubborn brother of yours? Keeping him out of trouble too" she asked, darting her eyes at Nova.

Chi gave her signature smug grin. "You bet I am! It hasn't been a picnic, but I can't complain that much." She said as she looked at Nova and gave him a wink. He rolled his eyes before winking back at her. The joys of having a sister.

Ma chuckled a little before speaking in a softer, gentler tone. "And don't worry. You'll get you other brother back as well."

Chi looked down at the ground and frowned at what she said, only to have her head lifted back up to look at Ma.

"Darling, that is a promise." she said softly. "He may have been seduced by darkness, but I can sense there is still light within him. Don't give up on him just yet." The vixen couldn't help but smile and embraced her once again. Ma then got back up and looked at the group. "So, I take it you're all here for the sword."

"Yes, we are." Korra said with a bow. "I'm Princess Avatar Ko-"

"Oh, I know who you are." Ma said as she looked down and saw the girls. "But I don't know who you two are." she said as she crouched down to their height. "May I ask what are your names?"

Akari and Iris looked at each other then at their parents who encouraged them to answer.

"My name's Princess Iris."

"And I'm Princess Akari."

"Iris and Akari, hmm?" Ma repeated and looked up to their parents. "Such perfect names for such perfect daughters." she said to them.

"Um, thanks." Twilight said.

Ma looked back down and looked at Akari. "May I see you're hand?" she asked the alicorn princess. Akari was a bit hesitant at first but soon stretched out her hand and Ma held onto it and closed her eyes. "Yes. I can see it…" she began, "You are quite the spitfire, aren't you? Bold and fearless. Yes, you have quite the future ahead of you. Filled with adventure, death defying thrills, and you shall meet many, many, many new creatures and places you have never seen before. I can tell you the details, but I'd rather you be surprised with what you see. After all, what good is life without surprises." she ended as she opened her eyes and let go of Akari's hand.

The young princess was too stunned to speak. She didn't know how to respond having her fortune told.

"You can see the future?" Korra asked the elderly unicorn.

"Indeed I can. Unlike you and Leilani, I don't foretell prophesies, child. I see all that had been, and all that will be. Very few are born with this gift of mine, and I doubt you'll find anyone else with this very gift. The future mustn't always be seen before it arrives. For, if we know the outcome of every choice, we will never grow wise from these experiences. In short, this gig is both a blessing and a curse. I can't develop myself like you all can. I may be all seeing, but sometimes, I'd give anything not to be all knowing."

Ma then reached for Iris, who did not hesitate to give the woman her hand. "And you, little princess. Quite a rarity, you are. Not all human. Not all pony. From birth, the symbol of a new dawn. Ma's eyes closed before opening wide once more. "I see, you've been having visions, correct? Several months, correct?"

Iris gulped and nodded. "Yeah. What do they mean?"

"Your mother and the queen have had visions of the future in their slumber before. It's bits and pieces, but they are very much guaranteed to happen." she gently gripped Iris's hands. "Listen to me, Iris. These visions will continue, and they will come true." Iris looked at the unicorn in terror, prompting Mako to quickly pull her away, narrowing his eyes at the unicorn. The moment he saw the fear in his daughter's eyes he reacted and brought her in to comfort her. Iris hugged her father's waist, gripping his shirt.

Ma remained composed. "Don't be afraid." she said to the trembling child. "These are a sign of promise. Your magic is still growing, and will continue to do so as you get older." "But, why do I have these visions?" Iris asked. "That's what I don't know!" "It's simple, child. Your sensitive towards magical occurrences just like your mother. You sense when something is wrong in the natural balance of the world, just as your mother could sense the upcoming Harmonic Convergence, even when she herself didn't know of it at the time." "So...there's nothing wrong with me?" "Of course not. There was never anything wrong with you. You were sensing Ronin's inevitable return, that's why you were having these dreams. Your magic was warning you. This is a sign that your sixth sense is already developing. It's highly sensitive now, but will grow more stable as time goes on. Some parts of your magic may develop early, others may develop late in your life. It all depends." "Can you tell me which parts?"

Ma gave a chuckle, "Sorry, hon. Like I said; what's life without a few surprises?"

Iris felt both relief, but also a bit disappointed. Here she thought she would discover whether or not she would play a role in this whole thing, but as it turns out, she was simply growing in her magic. Even if it was a simple explanation, she still sensed that Ma wasn't telling her everything she wanted to hear. And, judging by the look in her eye, that was exactly what she wanted.

Nova stepped forward, "I hate to interrupt, but we're kind of in a hurry, Ma."

"Yes, yes, of course." Ma said as she waved her hand. "Come, children. You all look tired and must be starving. You're in luck, I made a big meal!" she said as she walked towards the door, allowing for the others to enter. As they walked into the hut, Ma looked over at Avon, who briefly stopped. "I don't believe you were ever a member of their team, am I right?" "Oh, forgive me, madame. My name is Avon." "It's cool." Bolin said, poking his head from the opening of the door. "He's with us." he zipped back inside and Ma nodded her head, allowing for the unicorn to walk right in.

(~)

Ma had made the group some organic soup-like food, with traces of vegetables floating around the liquid. As strange as it appeared, the smell said otherwise. Pinkie Pie ate the entire thing like there was no tomorrow. Rarity sipped from her spoon like a lady. Avon also ate with perfect manners. The entire group sat in old worn furniture, while some sat cross legged on the floor.

Iris and Akari were a tad skeptical on eating this substance, but they knew better than to decline their hostess's meal. They could simply wash it down with lychee juice latter anyways.

"So, how do you know that frog spirit?" Mako asked the elderly unicorn.

"Before the Great Change, this little old hut of mine kept traveling from place to place in Equestria. But once the change happened I've been popping in and out around this place too, even the spirit world. I formed some close friends during my travels, even helped a few sickly spirits here and there. Kaeru was one of them."

Rarity was about to take a sip of her drink, only to find it was half empty. Thankfully, Makem politely poured more water into it. Rarity blinked in surprise. "Oh. Why, thank you, Mr. Makem. So polite." "Well, not all diamond dogs are greedy and smell like a sewer, Miss." Rarity nearly choked on her drink and patted her chest, clearing her throat. "Oh, well, I didn't-I mean, I would never-I wasn't-Oh, dear."

Mekarm only laughed, "Relax, Miss Rarity. I know us diamond dogs have a bad reputation. That's why I left my kind. I wasn't at all into hoarding all of those gems for myself." his ears lowered sadly, "But, some of the dogs didn't take likely to my choice."

"What did they do?" Spike asked sympathetically.

"Well, after I decided to leave, some of the older, and stronger, dogs tried to force me to reconsider. They beat me like there was no tomorrow but I still managed to escape. My arm was badly injured. Thankfully, Ma and nursed me back to full form again. Gave me this new beauty as a bonus." he said, showcasing his mechanical arm. Rarity placed a hand over her heart. "Oh, dear. I'm so sorry you went through that." "It's okay. I may have lost an arm, but I gained a new home and a new friend."

"But, how did you make that?" Twilight asked the unicorn.

Ma took a sip from her cup. "Aside from powerful magic, I also happen to be a skilled blacksmith, child. I did make that sword after all. I also picked up a few of this world's technology and found a way to make a new arm for Makarm. One of my best work, if I do say so myself." she said, showcasing her collection of handmade swords. Swords which Flash was currently marveling.

"This is incredible." Flash said as he looked at some of her work that was hanging on the shelves. Swords, Axes, Shields even armor littered her wall. Flash then eyed one sword that looked a lot like his own, only this one had a gold cross with a blue shield embedded on it. The blade looked brand new as Flash could see his face in the reflection. Temptation came to him as he reached to touch the blade.

"Lay a finger on my sword and you lose it!" she threatened, not even looking over her shoulder. Flash pulled his hand away and lowered his head in sadness as he walked back to the others.

Sunset placed her bowl down, "I'm sorry to change the subject, Madam Alpha, but I think we should talk about why we're here in the first place."

Ma looked at the unicorn and nodded. "Indeed. Ronin has returned and you need my sword in order to destroy it."

"So where do you keep it?" Avon asked, almost a bit anxiously. Sunset noticed at the corner of her eye that his hand was trembling. In fact, throughout the entire conversation, Avon was as silent as a mouse. His brows twitched ever once in a while. The unicorn was starting to get a strange and ominous sensation just by being near him.

Madam Alpha stood up, addressing to the rest of the group. "Before I just hand you the sword, I need to first warn you about it." she said with an eerie tone. "As you most likely already know, that sword is a powerful weapon. It contains centuries of dark magic within it. From what you have learned of King Sombra, you already have an idea on what it is capable of. I know that goodness, and kindness can give strength. But believe me, the darkness is seductive. It lures you in, tempting you with promises so close you can reach them with one try. Sombra wasn't the only victim. Many other ponies sought to keep the sword and use its power. You people, on the other hoof, have already been to the bottom of the abyss and back. You have all faced the outer darkness, as well as the internal. For example, you Mrs. Sato…."

Asami gasped and looked away in regret.

"I know your story. Your life was as close to a fairytale as it could get. Even after your mother perished, your father did everything in his power to make everything you saw appear as beautiful as yourself. You lived a happy life of deceit, and when it was gone you longed to get it back. To make it real, when you knew deep down you couldn't anymore. It was the only coping mechanism you had after your mother perished. Your perfect life."

Asami closed her eyes, trying so hard to keep herself from crying, but a tear still managed to escape. Bolin wrapped his arm around her, only for Ma to address him.

"But it's not like your husband was any better." she said, "After the defeat of Amon, you felt left out. Everyone you knew was happy with their destiny, and you had yet to find yours. When Varrick offered you a chance to shine you took it. You relished in the luxury of being famous. You believed in his false promise that you finally found your place in the world, only to completely miss that you had already found it long ago. The sirens took advantage of that side of you and brought it back to the surface, once again, hurting the people you cared about."

Bolin looked down in shame. He remembered when he and Asami broke up after he decided to stay with Kuvira. He eventually discovered the Sirens had influenced him, but he still had enough free will to make his choice. It was as if they had brought out his worst. It's strange how he and Asami were often looked as "the nice ones", but even they had a darkness that was taken over at one point, and they had fallen for it because it offered them a false promise.

"That's probably why you two are so good together." Ma said, surprising both of them. She smiled. "You know, being good doesn't mean being a saint. It just means you choose to follow good, even if you continue to mess up. You've faced the same temptations before, Princess." Ma turned to Korra, who didn't look regretful in the slightest, just not boastful either. "Aside from your uncle, you also had to deal with your own darkness. As did your husband. Two strong, ambitious individuals, determined to be more than what the world saw them as. Mako wanted a plentiful life for himself and his brother, while Korra wanted to feel important and help people as the Avatar. Both very noble callings...except for the fact that Korra here was too arrogant and stubborn that half the time her actions blew up in her face. And little cynical Mako just couldn't open himself enough to see that his happiness was right in front of him!" she exclaimed in annoyance, making the two flinch. "Don't even get me started on your own insecurities, desires or pride getting the better of you!"

The two flinched and cringed in embarrassment. They couldn't argue with that, the unicorn hit the nail on the head. They calmed down once she took both their hands and smiled. "And yet, look at where you are now. You may not be wealthy beyond your dreams Mako, but yet you are a prince. A husband and a father. You're both the man you grew up to become, as well as that sweet boy from your past. The little boy this beautiful young woman helped you to rediscover." she said, making Korra blush, "And you Korra, you have grown to be even more intelligent and courageous than you were before, thanks to the nagging influence of this young man." She took Korra's hand and placed it over Mako's. Husband and wife smiled at one another.

Ma looked at the rest of the group, "And they're not the only ones. You ponies have had to deal with fear, anger, greed, pride, envy and selfishness." she walked towards Sunset Shimmer, taking her hand into her own. "Sunset Shimmer. I can see the wickedness that was once in your heart. But now, it is a heart filled with nothing but love. You were once a student, but now you are a teacher. Never stop growing, child. Keep that heart of yours open for anyone, and everyone who deserves to see what it's like at the end of the tunnel."

Madam Alpha addressed to the rest of the group. "I knew I would entrust the sword upon the hands of those who was strong enough to withstand its influence. But only one of you can destroy it."

"We know." Nova said, standing up. But, to his surprise, Ma scoffed.

"I never said it would be you, smart hooves!"

"But-but you said-"

"I said, only a being of more than one kind of magic can destroy the sword. Your magic may be of two worlds, but there was no guarantee you would have been the one. If you were, I would have asked you to destroy that thing long ago."

"Called it!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed victoriously while raising her hand.

"You really should have trusted me words, Nova."

"I did! I thought it meant it wasn't the right time to destroy the sword!" Nova exclaimed, his voice a mixture of annoyance and anger.

"That's because the one wasn't born yet." Madam Alpha took Korra's hands once more, startling her. "Only one with a rare…convergence of magic will be powerful enough, more so than anything else in centuries." she looked at Korra. "You are definitely the rarest of them all, Princess. I have seen the future. Your magical gift shall be our savior on this day."

Korra narrowed her eyes, "And yet folks wondered why I was so arrogant as a kid."

"Well, what are you waiting for?" said Avon, who was looking a bit uneasy. "Please, hand us the sword." he took a step forward, almost aggressively, which prompted Mako to hold him back.

"Calm down, Avon." Mako said, looking a bit concerned.

The unicorn relaxed. "Forgive me. It's just…if this weapon is what this Ronin creature is seeking we shouldn't be wasting anymore time."

Ma began to walk towards a chest on the other side of the room. Nova saw Avon's tension building as Ma got to the chest. Finally, she placed her hand on it and was about to open it until she froze. Everyone was confused by her sudden stop.

"Uh, Ma?" said Mekarm. "Is everything alright?"

The unicorn didn't say anything but slowly moved her head towards the others. "Nova, dear...I'd duck if I were you."

"Huh?" Nova tilted his head until he reacted and ducked the moment Ma shot a beam from her hand. Her horn glowing while doing so. The beam struck Avon right in the chest, knocking him out the window. Broken glass flew all across the room.

"What are you crazy?!" Korra shouted. The team quickly rushed out to see Avon lying on the ground in pain. Korra quickly ran to his inspect his wound. "Avon! Are you alright?"

"You might as well give up, Ronin." Ma said once she stepped out, "There's no point in hiding anymore."

"Wait, Ronin?!" Korra exclaimed, immediately jumping back.

Avon didn't say anything but simply got up from where he was and to everyone's shock, his wound healed by itself. He chuckled.

"Very well. I was getting tired of this game anyway." He opened his eyes which instead showing his blue ones were replaced with glowing yellow ones. An aura surrounded his body as he then transformed formed into an anthro but now his appearance was much more different. He had on an attire that looked almost like Nova's but red and black. His black hair had a red streak going down his right side. He gave a wicked smile. His teeth sharp like a lions. It was him. The one that caused all this chaos and the one responsible for the Canterlot attack.

Ronin.

"Ahh, that's much better!" He said. "I didn't know how long I would be able to hold that disguise."

The team looked in utter disbelief. This entire time. The creature they were after was right under their noses this entire time. Rainbow Dash however was the most shocked by this. She knew something was up with him, and her instincts were proven right.

"AHA!" she shouted. "I knew it! I knew something was up with you! Score one for the cop! Up high!" She raised her hand to Flash who simply shook his head. She then looked around to see everyone either looking at her confused, glaring or shaking their heads. "Right, not a good time."

Korra and the rest of the team took a stance, ready to face the creature they knew they would face eventually. Iris and Akari hid behind Madam Alpha and Mekarm.

"I take it you're not happy to see me?" Ronin questioned smugly.

Applejack stepped forward, clenching her fists. "After everything you did, being angry feels like smilin'."

Ronin looked at the cow-pony before he disappeared and appeared in front of her face. "Oh, dear, sweet Applejack, don't be so cold. You've only just met me."

"And I already know everything I need to know." she replied fiercely through her teeth.

Ronin eyed the anthro mares, making them either growl or clench their fists, ready to strike at any given moment."Ooh, such a feisty little ponies." He moved with the swiftness of a snake, and as rapidly as a shadow, appearing behind Rarity, stroking her chin, making her growl in anger. "Taking you all out will be easier than I thought." he said, his voice low and suave.

"Hands off!" Rarity shouted, punching Ronin square in the jaw, only for him to disappear into black smoke and reappear in front of them again.

"Ah, ah, ah, now Rarity, you know violence is very unbecoming of a lady. Amazing how such a sophisticated, and beautiful unicorn would sink so low as to become such a ruffian."

Rarity moved her wrist, bending the waters from the diamond broach on her chest, ready to hit Ronin once more, only to be stopped when Twilight grabbed her wrist, "Save your water, Rarity. He's just trying to mess with you."

Ronin chuckled, "Not like it will do you any good."

Nova stepped forward, pulling out his sword while Chi changed into her fox form and Leilani's horn glowed, beams of light glowing from her hands. "Take another step, Ronin, and you will regret it." Leilani warned, "You may have regained some of your power, but it's still not enough to defeat us."

"Oh, I beg to differ, your Majesty." Ronin bowed dramatically, "Once I have what belongs to me, I'll be able to create an even larger army of shadowlings. Those little ones from before were just a sneak preview, as was that little lightning display. Kage would have never learned of that spell if I hadn't taught it to him."

"Big shock you were behind all of that." Rainbow Dash said sarcastically.

"Look, as much as I would love to continue this lovely chat with you guys, I came here to get what was mine. You wouldn't want anything happening to those little darlings, now would you?"

Iris and Akari whimpered and hid behind the diamond dog. Even as brave as Akari was, she knew she could never fight off against a monster like that. Hearing this caused both pairs of parents to finally snap.

"That's it!" Korra, Twilight, Mako and Flash all simultaneously exclaimed in righteous fury. Three began shooting fire from their palms, while Flash Sentry aimed his sword at Ronin. The rest of the group followed suit, sending multiple bending attacks at Ronin. Mekarm opened his robotic palm, unleashing a powerful beam of light at the shadow.

However, Ronin was able to effortlessly dodge their every move, to the point that some attacks wounded up hitting another companion, sending them flying across the swamp pond, or across the ground. Ronin kept on appearing and reappearing, laughing as he did.

Ma ordered the two girls to hide inside, but Ronin reappeared in front of them, blocking the door. Madam Alpha's horn glowed, ready to strike him, only for Ronin to extend his hand like a whip, knocking the elderly unicorn down. Iris and Akari screamed when Ronin wrapped his now tentacle arms around the two princesses, who cried for help.

"Let them go!" Nova came running, using his sword to cut right through Ronin, causing him to scream in pain, releasing the girls. He disappeared in a puff of black smoke, only to reappear again, this time fully healed. He glared at Nova, who's eyes were already showing signs of psychotic anger.

"I got you!" said Chi as she swooped in and shielded the two princesses from Ronin, who smiled at Nova.

"Kage told me you had made some new friends, Nova. And teaming up with Leilani to defeat me, again? I guess some things just never change."

"Stay away from those kids, Ronin! They have nothing to do with this!"

"Maybe not, but if I'm going to unleash my army of shadowlings on the world, it wouldn't be fair to leave the kiddies out, now would it? When I set my sights on something, I go all out. Besides, in our case...it's only fair."

Something about those words made Nova snap. His irises shrunk, his eyes widening, his jaw clenched and he charged at Ronin with everything he had, all the while yelling angrily and growling like a rabid beast.

"Nova!" Sunset Shimmer rushed to help, only for Nova to suddenly snap and hiss at her like some kind of rabid animal. The unicorn reeled back, Pinkie Pie gripping her arm protectively as they watched Nova sword fight Ronin, who dodged his attacks, but continued to get hit after hit. Unlike before, when the slice of Nova's sword appeared to have caused him serious pain, with every new hit he took, Ronin appeared to be less and less affected, no matter how much Nova continuously tried.

"Why-" Nova said, hitting Ronin's shoulder, creating a wound which healed automatically, "-Won't-" he struck again, "-You-" another hit "-Leave!?"

"You know why I can't, Nova. No matter how far you run. No matter how many friends you make, you can never deny the reality." Ronin sneered, "We're one in the same."

"Nova?" Iris voiced out, looking at Nova over Chi's back. The unicorn turned to look at the princess who then flinched in fear once seeing the red in Nova's eyes. She had never seen those before.

Ronin let out a haughty laugh, "Ha! Just as I thought, you haven't told them yet." he turned to Leilani and then to Ma, who was being helped up by Fluttershy. "Neither of you have. I'm starting to regret letting you save these pathetic heroes on that airship."

Nova took a step back and the others looked at him in confusion. "What are you talking about?" Twilight asked demandingly.

"Didn't any of you even question why I allowed Nova to stay awake while the rest of you were knocked out? I wanted to give my old buddy here his chance in the spotlight to earn your trust. Thus, making his betrayal all the more satisfying."

Nova's anger only boiled over and he tried attack the shadow again, but no matter how many hits he made Ronin remained unaffected. Mako payed close attention to the fight, concluding that, somehow, his attacks were only making Ronin more endurable. Any wound he created on Ronin, at first, took about a good three seconds to heal, then two, then one, until none at all.

Mako knew this fight was exactly what Ronin wanted. "Nova, you have to stop!" he shouted, "You're only making him stronger!" but Nova did not listen. It was as if he were blinded by rage.

"Nova, stop!" Mako lunged forward, grabbing the unicorn's arm in a desperate attempt to end this, but in his blind rage, Nova instead sliced Mako's ribcage. The firebender fell into the musky waters, clenching his wound.

"Mako!"

"Daddy!"

Both Korra and Iris rushed to his side, and Nova, hearing Iris's cry for her own father caused a memory to flash before his eyes. He heard a female unicorn shouting for her father once he was about to leave the village.

"Daddy!"

He took in slow deep breaths, his eyes reverting back to normal, his hands trembling and dropped the sword. Korra used her magic to bend the waters around her and heal Mako's wound. He breathed heavily due to the pain, but slowly eased down once his cut began to disappear. His cloths were tainted with blood, but no more was spilling out. Once the process was done, Korra wrapped her arms around her husband's neck, burying her face into his shoulder and showering his cheek with kisses.

"Are you okay?" she asked, tears streaming down her eyes.

Mako gently wiped them and kissed his wife's forehead. "I'm fine."

"Daddy!" Iris leaped into her father's arms, hugging him tight as Mako kissed her head, holding her close.

Nova took a step back, his hands trembling. He couldn't fathom the reality that could have seriously injured Mako, or worse. His anger only grew once more when Ronin started laughing again.

"You were lucky this time, Princess. But it won't be for long." Iris's fists clenched in anger at Ronin's words.

"Stay away from my parents!" she shouted, the star on her forehead glowing brightly and a powerful beam of purple magic came shooting from her hand, striking Ronin right in the chest. He was flown across the swamp, with barely a scratch on him, but no doubt he felt the punch in that blast.

"Just give me the sword and I'll leave you be!" "You want it Ronin? Come and get it!" Ma rose up the sword in her hand and Ronin smiled, swooping over and taking the weapon, rising it upwards into the air.

"Yes! At long last! Ultimate power will be-GAH." Ronin screamed when the sword suddenly started to glow, engulfing him in a bright white light, which began to suck him into the sword. Immediately he cut off his arm, which was sucked into the sword and he managed to escape quickly. The sword landed onto the ground.

"Another fake!-Ow!" Ronin flinched when he felt Korra blast his arm. Even though his wound healed, he now knew the power increase he had gained from Nova's rage was already fading again.

"Fine! You win this round, but this isn't over! You hear me?!"

With that, Ronin disappeared once more in a puff of black smoke. The area became silent and Nova got down on his knees, with Mekarm towering over him. The diamond dog gave him a sympathetic look.

"You okay, Mate?"

Nova shook his head. "No." Bolin approached the unicorn, angrily taking him by the shoulder and knocking him down on his back.

"What is wrong with you?!" he exclaimed in anger, his voice cracking, as if trying to fight back tears. "Do you have any idea what you could have done?! You almost killed him!" he shouted, pointing her finger at Mako, who was being helped up by Korra and Twilight.

"I know, and I'm sorry!" Nova tried to explain himself, "I lost control."

"How? What did Ronin mean by you being "one in the same"?!" Bolin pulled Nova by the collar, who didn't even bother to fight back, "You better tell us right now or I'll-!" "Bolin!" Mako swooped in, pulling his brother aside and placed a hand on his shoulder. "We don't need anyone else getting hurt today." he turned to Nova. "No more holding back, Nightshade." he said firmly.

Nova sighed, seeing Chi changing back into her human form, nodding her head, signaling he should indeed tell him. He looked at Sunset Shimmer, who had stayed true to her word, but it was clear that she was not going to keep it for long. He could see it in her eyes, she was regretting keeping his secret, not out of distrust, but because after witnessing one of her friends almost bleed to death, Nova knew he couldn't burden her with this anymore. He looked at Ma and Leilani, the alicorn silently offered to say it, but Nova declined by raising his hand to stop her. This was his secret, not hers.

"Please know, everything I said about Ronin was true. But, there was one detail I left out." he looked down in shame. "Ronin, didn't really steal my shadow all those years ago. Because….Ronin is my shadow." Everyone, aside from Leilani, Ma, Sunset and Chi gasped in horror. Twilight looked over at the queen. "You knew, didn't you? Why didn't you say anything?" "I know the smart thing would have been to tell you. But I had my reasons." Leilani said.

"It's true." Nova said, "Please, don't be mad at her. She was...just trying to protect me."

Applejack shook her head in disbelief, "Okay, wait one sec! First, you act like Leilani committed some kind of crime against you, and now you're defending her over something she should have told us about to begin with?!"

"Would you just let me explain?!" Nova snapped and proceed, "When my people were destroyed, I was lost. Alone and angry. I wanted to get rid of those emotions. I wanted to be free of that shadow that kept looming over me everywhere I went! So, I mastered some of the most ancient and forbidden spells to split my dark feelings from myself. Only, I didn't expect the outcome. Rather than eliminating my sadness…it took on a form of its own. My shadow too life, and it became Ronin. He is everything I never wanted to be, and worse. I felt even more regret than ever. I knew I couldn't stop him alone, so I asked Leilani for help and he was imprisoned. Unfortunately, as payback, he planted a seed of darkness inside of me. Whenever, I feel great anger and hatred I feel my dark self come forth. That's why I couldn't see what I was doing. I lost control, and being around other ponies only made matters worse. Chi is the only friend I've been able to have around without fear of going berserk. Yes, I was still angry with Leilani about what happened to my people, because I still believe if she had done something else, I never would have accidentally created Ronin. But, at the same time…I was angry at myself for what I did. My people were killed after the Elder entrusted me to look after everyone while he was away. I failed at my task, and everyone suffered because of my foolishness. Yes, I still hold much resentment towards Leilani, but the truth is….I'm mad at myself."

Nobody said a word after his confession. Iris and Akari didn't know what to think. All of a sudden, they were scared of even standing too close to him now. His eyes returned to Sunset Shimmer. While everyone else looked either angry or scared, she was the only one who showed true sign of compassion and empathy. Her, as well as Korra.

"Maybe you should leave." Flash said in a faint whisper.

"What?" Nova asked.

"I said. Maybe you should leave." the pegasus repeated through his teeth. His eyes narrowing sharply at him. "I think it's pretty clear keeping you around is just asking for trouble. You've helped us get this far, you've completed your purpose."

Sunset shook her head, standing beside Nova, defending him. "Flash, how can you say that?"

"You saw what he did. He almost killed Mako! How do we know he won't go berserk again?"

"He only went crazy because Ronin provoked him. Before that, Nova has done nothing to prove he's not on our side."

"Oh, he hasn't? Gee, I guess keeping us in the dark of what Ronin was and not revealing the knowledge of where the sword was located were all little accidental memory slips!"

"You don't know him!"

"Oh, and you do?"

"Better than you!" she exclaimed in anger before going silent. It didn't take long for Flash to connect the dots. "You saw his memories, didn't you?" he asked. Sunset nodded her head. "You saw who he was before we did. And you kept it a secret too?"

"I promised him I would, so long as it was him who told you. Nova may be a part of that creature but he's also all of the good Ronin isn't! He saved our lives!"

"Which was nothing more than a ploy created by Ronin! Not to mention, he almost killed my brother! He and Ronin may be separate but it's clear he won't be able to control himself when we run into Ronin again! For all we know, he could turn into a monster!"

"Nova is not a monster!"

"How can you be sure?"

"Because I know how it feels to still have that monster inside of you!" Sunset Shimmer spatted, breathing heavily, "I've had to deal with my own demons before, but my friends saw I could be given a second chance. Isn't that what you all strive for? You've given the worst of the worst second chances, why not do the same for him?!"

Everyone else took a step back, taking in what Sunset had said. She was right, they had forgiven worse ponies, humans and creatures in the past. Maybe the shock of seeing one of their own almost bleed to death gave them all such a shock that they briefly forgot.

Fluttershy looked at Ma. "Did you know Avon was Ronin the whole time?" "I only knew when he came into my hut. Since he enjoyed leading everyone else on, I decided to lure him as well into a false sense of security before trapping him with another fake blade. Guess I underestimated his power." Madam Alpha sighed, "Strange, I can see the future of many, but for Ronin…his, for some reason, is unsure to me."

Fluttershy placed a hand on the older unicorn's shoulder. "Don't worry. Once we destroy the sword we can vanquish him just like Leilani did before."

"Yeah…about that….I….don't have the sword."

"You don't have the sword?!" the other exclaimed in shock.

"How do you not have the sword?!" Asami asked in disbelief.

"I knew Ronin would use you all to get to it, but naturally I came prepared with both the decoy to trap him and hid the real sword in another place he would never even consider."

Korra tilted her head back and groaned in exasperation, "So we came all this way for nothing?!"

"Oh, no my dear. Not nothing. I can show you where the sword is." Ma cleared her throat before speaking.

Reflections of gold

Story to be told

Turn back the clock

A skill you unlock

An eternal dance

From a single glance

One date

Was your child's sealed fate

Silence filled the area before Bolin spoke, "What does all that mean?"

"I thought you said you didn't make prophesies." Flash said.

"I don't, but this way you'll have another advantage over Ronin. You're the only ones who will know where the real sword is. This time, I promise." Ma said.

"Can't you just give us the answer upfront?" Spike asked.

"I did, only in a more poetic way. The answer is in the rhyme and it hits closer to home than you think."

"Will we find it in time?" Asami asked, "You are the future seer here."

"I'm sorry dear, but binding by the rules of fortunetellers, this is as far as I can reveal to you."

Asami blinked, "So, you could see that Ronin was going to try and steal the sword but you can't see if we'll win or not?"

"Hey, I'm just a single thread in the tapestry of fate, honey. Believe me, if I controlled fate I'd have given you a different hairstyle."

Asami self cautiously tugs on her ponytail, "Okay, that hurt."

Korra sighed, trying to recollect herself. "Okay. You sure this is where the real sword is, right?"

"I assure you, this is the real deal. I'm sorry you all had to go through this."

Korra traced her fingers through her long multicolored hair. "It's okay. It wasn't your fault. Thank you for your help, Madam Alpha." Korra said to the unicorn before turning around to look at the male unicorn. "Alright Nova, I know things are kind of-where did he go?"

The others looked around the place, seeing no sign of Nova anywhere. "Chi's gone too!" Akari said, searching for the wisp.

"And so is Sunset Shimmer." Pinkie Pie said.

"Let them be." Ma said, "I know Nova. He's always been one to try and run from his fears rather than face them. If anyone else can get through to him, it's your friend." She winked.

(~)