"TRAITOR!" Tenten screamed as she threw several senbon at Sarada, following up with two kunai and a series of high, spinning kicks. Sarada, taken aback by the sudden attack, went on the defensive, using her own kunai to deflect Tenten's weapons, evading her taijutsu strikes with superior speed and skill.
"What—" Sarada grunted as she spun out of the way of a hard punch, then swept Tenten's leg, handplanted to combo into a scissor, and hauled her to the ground, pinning her. Kneeling on top of Tenten, Sarada held a kunai to her throat. "—are you talking about?!"
Shego blinked. "Well. That was unexpected."
"TENTEN!" Kim yelled, eyes wide. "What's going on here?! She's one of you, right? From your ninja village?"
Tenten growled as she thrashed around underneath Sarada. "Her! Clan! Are!" She abruptly exploded into smoke, leaving Sarada kneeling atop a log. "TRAITORS!" Tenten yelled from above, dropping onto Sarada with a diving knee. She passed straight through Sarada, who disappeared in a puff of smoke. A dozen shuriken flew out of nowhere, trailing wires which wrapped around Tenten, pinning her arms and legs.
"Alright, both of you, that's enough," the black-suited man said roughly, snapping both hands out to his sides. Two blue-edged Batarangs snapped into place, crackling with electricity. With an expert light throw of each, he stunned both shinobi; they screamed and twitched as they dropped to the ground. The Batarangs returned to him; he scowled. "I used the lightest stun I have," he said. "Are you girls gonna play nice now?"
Kim shook her head as the two kunoichi struggled to move. "Who...are you, anyway?" she asked.
"Batman," Batman said calmly, watching both kunoichi intently. "Sorry about my friend here. I don't know what got into her."
"No, our friend started it," Kim said. "I mean, that just kinda came outta nowhere—"
Tenten sat up, grimacing, and glared at Batman. "The Uchiha...are not to be trusted," she growled. "They betray and murder their comrades! They lead enemies of the Hidden Leaf to destroy us!"
"That's a lie!" Sarada spat. "My father is a hero! My mother is the greatest healer in our village!" She sat up shakily, adjusting her glasses, and glared at Batman. "Why'd you knock me out too?"
"Because you both needed a time-out," Batman said grimly.
Sarada scowled at him, then turned away with a pouty sniff. "Don't do that again," she warned. She glared at Tenten. "How can you accuse my family of...of such horrible things? I don't even know you!"
"I know the Uchiha," Tenten said. "I know Uchiha Itachi murdered his entire family and left our village to join Akatsuki. I know Uchiha Sasuke betrayed his two best friends to join Orochimaru! I know—"
A kunai flashed at her throat.
"How dare you," Sarada seethed, eyes taking on a reddish tinge, teeth bared. "My father would never—"
Shego groaned, facepalming. "Oy."
Tenten blinked in confusion. "Father?"
"My father, Uchiha Sasuke," Sarada snapped. "Who spends his entire life protecting Konoha from threats from the outside! He's so committed to his duty he almost never comes home! Nanadaime himself told me Papa is a great hero! So don't you dare—"
Tenten drew back suddenly, gently pushing Sarada's kunai away, her brow furrowing. "Nanadaime?" she asked quietly. "Matte yo..." She took Sarada's chin gently, turning her face this way and that. She then sat back, drawing up into a formal seiza. "Sumimasen, I..." She coughed. "I think we have a...misunderstanding here."
"A misunderstanding?" Kim asked, raising an eyebrow.
Sarada frowned, sitting back as well but remaining tense. "You're going to apologize for insulting my Papa?" she asked.
Tenten shook her head. "No, but I think we're not on the same page here, either." She studied Sarada intently. "You said...Uchiha Sasuke is your father?"
"And you've spoken to...Nanadaime Hokage-sama about him?"
"Sou ka..." Tenten scratched the back of her neck. "Anou...if you don't mind my asking, what...what is the name of this Nanadaime?"
"Uzumaki Naruto," Sarada said, frowning.
Tenten's eyes widened. "Yappari." She chuckled.
"Tenten? What's going on here?" Kim asked.
"That's...a good question," Tenten said. She shook her head. "I, umm..." She coughed. "W-well...this girl, umm..." She laughed shakily. "This is gonna sound really funny, but...we're both from the same place, but I don't think we're from the same time."
Sarada blinked. "Eh?"
Tenten looked Sarada up and down, frowning thoughtfully. "And then...your mother..." She pursed her lips. "Haruno Sakura?"
"Y-yeeeessss," Sarada said slowly, frowning.
"Naruhodo ne," Tenten mused, rubbing her chin thoughtfully.
"You're from her past," Batman said. "From the same shinobi village, but before she was born."
Tenten nodded. "Right," she said. "Her parents are about a year and a half younger than me."
Sarada's eyes widened. "You know Mama and Papa?" She frowned, adjusting her glasses. "When they're my age?"
"That's right," Tenten said. She sighed. "Well, I...guess that means Sasuke-kun comes back to the village sooner or later and isn't executed for his crimes." She laughed. "Somehow, I'm not surprised..."
"Executed?" Sarada asked shakily, eyes wide. "Wh-why would—"
Tenten shook her head. "You don't know, do you?" Seeing Sarada's stricken look, she sighed. "Well, I guess it doesn't matter."
"Sounds like it kinda matters a lot," Shego said.
Tenten bit her lip. "If Sasuke-kun has been absolved by the time this girl is born, and her parents have never told her about any of it, then...I don't see any reason she needs to know. Umm...I mean, that's up to Sasuke-kun and Sakura-chan, if they ever want to tell her the truth." She shook her head. "I'm not going to do that to her." She smiled. "Sarada-san, was it?"
Sarada nodded. "Hai."
Tenten extended a hand and smiled. "We got off on the wrong foot," she said. "Let's be friends, ne?"
"Ah...hai," Sarada said numbly, taking the offered hand and shaking it.
Batman sighed. "Good, now we've got that cleared up," he muttered. He turned to the others. "We're looking for Sunset Shimmer. We know where she was last night, but if she's moved, we'll need to catch up with her at CHS."
Kim blinked. "You know about CHS and Sunset?"
"We've been observing all of you for some time now," Sarada said. "Gathering information before making our move."
"From the looks of things, this mess is just getting worse," Batman said sourly.
Shego snorted. "Understatement of the year."
Kim frowned. "Is it me, or is the fact that this catastrophe is starting to pull people from different times in the same world kind of...alarming?"
"Oh, what, magic chaos dildo breaking reality and unraveling the multiverse wasn't alarming enough for you already?" Shego asked archly.
Batman blinked. "Magic chaos...what now?"
Kim, Shego, and Tenten all sighed and related the story of Sunset Shimmer's reality-breaking orgasm...
* * * * *
Shortly after returning to the ground to resume his search for Sunset Shimmer, Trunks found himself surrounded by a group of teenagers—very unusual teenagers.
It began when an unassuming pigeon (unassuming save for being green) that had been following him across the city unexpectedly landed in front of him as he was getting on his bike. Trunks was taken aback as the green pigeon expanded, becoming a large, shaggy green gorilla that blocked the mouth of the alley.
Behind Trunks, a swirling vortex of blackness opened up in the alley wall. A girl in a hooded blue cloak emerged, eyes glowing with power.
An orange-skinned girl with long red hair glided down from above, her green eyes glowing. She landed gently between Trunks and the gorilla.
Lastly, an intense-looking, short, spiky-haired teen dressed in red and green with a black cape dropped down from the roof above.
*The shapeshifter could be a problem. The girl...she's the one Raditz was fighting. The boy with the cape is strong for a normal human but no real threat. The other girl...something about her makes me uneasy. I need to be careful here.*
The spiky-haired teen relaxed his stance. "We don't want to fight," he said. "Not unless we have to."
Trunks squared his jaw. "You have a strange way of showing it," he said. "Are you in the habit of beginning conversations by cornering people in grimy alleys?"
"No, but we saw you talking to that man Starfire fought," the dark girl said. "After what Beast Boy saw you do to him, I think you can understand our...caution."
Trunks sighed. "Fair enough," he said. His eyes flickered to the girl who had been identified as 'Starfire', then back to the spiky-haired boy. "I take it you're the leader here?"
"That's right," the boy said. "I'm Robin. We're the Teen Titans." He introduced the others as Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy.
"The hairy man you spoke with earlier," Starfire said once the introductions were over. "He is a criminal. We encountered him with a gang of criminals led by a most unpleasant, psychotic, deranged, homewrecking glarb'nog—"
"We fought some bad dudes and he was there," Beast Boy interrupted, having changed into a short, pointy-eared, green-skinned boy that vaguely reminded Trunks of Piccolo—if Piccolo were a midget.
Trunks nodded. "I suspect he was using them to get information about this world," he said. "We are from the same universe. He is...from a point in the past before I was born. He once served my father."
The Titans digested this. "He's a...soldier?" Robin asked.
"In a sense," Trunks said. "It's complicated. I have...convinced him to behave while here. He will not kill anyone or destroy anything. He doesn't dare. He knows if he does I'll break him." He glanced at Starfire. "He does still want to fight you, and I've told him he's free to do so. I figure as long as he's fixated on fighting you, he'll be less likely to cause trouble elsewhere."
Robin scowled. Starfire frowned. "I am not particularly pleased with such an arrangement," she said.
"I'm sorry," Trunks said. "It seemed like the best way to keep him contained while I'm dealing with other matters."
"And he'll listen to you?" Raven asked.
Trunks shrugged. "I'm the Prince of the Saiyajin. And far more powerful than he is. He fears me twice over. He won't risk my anger."
"And these...other matters you're dealing with?" Robin asked suspiciously.
Trunks nodded. "I'm searching for this world's counterpart of a girl from a parallel world who is, indirectly, the cause of everything that's happening here." He passed around the photo of Sunset Shimmer. "There are two Sunset Shimmers in this world at present," he explained. "One—the one who broke reality—is in a city called Canterlot, working with her friends to try to fix all this. The other is here in Manehattan, and has somehow acquired superpowers. We're trying to establish contact with her."
Robin nodded. "Alright. We'll help you if you'll help us."
"I'll help in any way I can," Trunks said.
"We need a base of operations, food and water for the four of us plus our friend Cyborg, and any technological assistance we can get. Especially if you can help us rig up a charging station for Cyborg. He's..." He frowned, tilting his head.
Trunks raised an eyebrow. "A cyborg?" he suggested.
"Yes, that is correct," Starfire said. "He is half man, half machine. His machine components require periodic recharging."
"That...shouldn't be too much of a problem," Trunks said. He frowned. "Sumimasen, I'm late meeting up with a friend. We'll have to meet up later this evening."
Robin nodded and handed him a round communicator with a white T in a black circle on the front. "Just give us a call on this," he said. "Titans, let's regroup at the park and fill Cyborg in."
With that, the Teen Titans scattered. Trunks snorted, climbed onto his bike, and roared off to meet up with Coco.
* * * * *
"That's the last of them," X said. A small group of fighters and CHS students stood around the courtyard at Canterlot High, which until moments earlier had been overrun with chocobos. The flock had steadily thinned over the past two hours; the surviving birds had finally withdrawn from not only CHS, but the rest of Canterlot.
"Almost," Rainbow Dash said, casting a wry glance in the direction of the portal statue. A bright red chocobo squatted on the grass, nuzzling Fluttershy, who was happily stroking its feathers and offering it handfuls of fresh, fragrant greens.
Brook scratched his skull. "I can't believe she tamed one of the red ones," he said. "They're the nastiest, most dangerous ones and she's completely tamed it."
"Aww, he's not nasty or dangerous," Fluttershy cooed. "He's just a sweet, fluffy little guy!" She wrapped her arms around the chocobo's neck. "Who's a good birdie? Who's a good birdie? Yes you are! Yes you are! Who's a good boy that'll let me ride him, and play games with him, and rain fiery death meteors on anybody who threatens me?"
Rainbow stared. "Uhh..." Her phone suddenly rang. "It's Twilight. Hang on, let me put her on speaker—"
//GET EVERYBODY OUT OF HERE NOW! SOMETHING'S HAPPENING! THE PHASE SPACE IS COLLAPSING! I'M PICKING UP A MASSIVE MANA NEXUS TRYING TO INTERSECT OUR REALITY! IF IT MATERIALIZES—//
The ground shook violently. Storm clouds gathered over Canterlot High, stabbing the ground with lightning. Fluttershy's new pet flapped his wings madly, screeching raucously. Fluttershy clung onto his neck for dear life.
"TWILIGHT!" Rainbow Dash yelled. "She's in there, we gotta—"
A shell of dark grey stone began to form around the school. Hazy and translucent at first, it coalesced into a massive shape: ancient, vine-covered stone walls, surrounding and connecting a veritable forest of tall, round stone towers topped with ancient, crumbling ramparts. As the front wall of the seemingly ancient castle took shape, those standing witness gasped in shock and awe.
The entire front wall of the castle was a massive carved skull. An archway of enormous stone fangs surrounded a gaping maw, within which stood a towering wooden drawbridge adorned with an iron coat of arms and girded by armored crossbeams.
The impromptu storm cleared, and the bright sun shone down on the ancient, weathered walls.
//Uhh, Rainbow Dash? Things just got really really castley in here...//