The monster was like as if someone stank’d a monster. Rippling muscles on its serpentine body, sickly blue scales, solid yellow eyes, and two large forearms with four long black claws on each. It had large, wild orange hair and only the mustache on the left side of it’s face was intact and glowing a sickly green color, frayed and split. Twin pairs of fangs jutted out, two massive upper and two slightly smaller lower ones. Upon seeing this frightening visage, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, having long lost their oars, froze in terror before renewing their screams.
Randy galloped faster than should have been possible and leapt from rock to log with expertise, only occasionally using the hoof spikes to keep his balance on some of the slipperier rocks. Finally, from halfway where he saw the monster to its maw, Randy landed on the girls’ kayak. “Ninja save!” he shouted, pulling the girls from the kayak and in one powerful leap, landed on the shore. “Stay here,” he commanded while pulling out his sword, “I’ll deal with this monster.”
“Are you going to kill it?!” Scootaloo shouted in concern.
“What!? No!” Randy was incredulous. “It looks stank’d. So, I got to d’stank them!” He pointed and the sword and waved it over the monster’s form. “Just have to find what it holds most dear and destroy it and poof, returned to normal!” Scribbles and doodles appeared in Randy’s vision, pointing to the glowing mustache. “Ah ha!” He leapt and flipped multiple times in the monster’s direction. He did catch Apple Bloom remark, “Was that ninja-looking guy familiar to ya?”
On the jagged rocks, Randy stood on his hind hooves with confidence, blade in his pasterns. “Okay, monster, let’s dance.” He jumped for the monster’s face. “Ninja Slice, Ninja Slice, Ninja Slice!” Each called strike either bouncing off scale or deflected with a durable fang. “Fine then, enjoy a Ninja Bee Ball! Woah!” He was able to reach into his sash and fish out the black and yellow ball, but it slipped from his grasp as he had tried and failed to hold it with a hoof. It struck the stone and plopped into the river. Both monster and Ninja had stopped to stare at this fumble. “Heh, heh, whoops.” The monster then only moved its arm, and backhanded Randy to the shore opposite to the girls. “Ow, that hurt.” Flipping back up, he resumed his attacks, the monster still blocking. “I don’t get it! Why are it’s scales so hard and why won’t you let me d’stank you!” Randy’s eyes widened before dodging a hefty swing. After it’s attack, though, a rock pelted the right side of its head. Turning, both Randy and the monster saw all three girls on the banks, determined faces morphing to fear at the stank’d creatures snarl, Sweetie Bell dropping a readied rock from her magic. Randy, taking advantage of the distraction, called out “Ninja Slice!” and cut the other side of the mustache off. Roaring and screeching, the monster slowly deflated to about half it’s size and turning purple in color, remaining frayed ends of the mustache then matching its hair. It landed heavily on the bank next to the girls, groaning in pain or exhaustion. It was hard to tell.
The stank lifted from the chopped mustache, slowly morphing into a purple color with green. “Pew! That stank is always shnasty!” He took another couple of whiffs. “Wait a minute, I recognize that stank anywhere! First, I gotta check out that serpent dude. Once he leapt to the shore, the river also d’stanked, leaving it in its natural state. Nice and calm. Once by the girls, he then addressed the monster. “Hey, you okay?”
They lifted their head into a manicured hand. “Oh, my aching head. Whatever did happen?”
“You got stank’d: turned into a terrible monster. Anything coming back?”
“Well, now that you mention it, yes! Yes, I do!” The righted themselves and folded their hands. “I was just headed through the rivers through the Everfree Forest to get to Ponyville and meet my friend, Cranky Doodle.”
Apple bloom interrupted briefly, “He’s one of the few donkeys in town.”
“Any who,” the monster continued, “I was half-way there when I saw this strange lady flying in the air – if only barely. She wore these purple robes with darker purple ball necklace. I’m going to have to say a slightly pale violet and a dark magenta respectively.”
“The Sorceress, great. Guess she managed to get here from the Land of Shadows,” Randy then looked at the monster. “Sorry, continue.”
“Well, she did offer me power to aid her in spreading chaos, but I politely told her that’s not my thing. She then got mad and slashed at my mustache with her wicked claws. Oh woe, is me!” He brought his arms up to his forehead, distressed. “Then, after that,” he resumed, lowering his arms, “I don’t recall a thing.”
“Well, worry not, kind monster! For I have freed you from being a terrible monster and back to your old self!” He looked side to side, “Because that’s what she did, she used magic to turn you into a monster.”
“A monster! And a terrible one!” His hands flew to the sides of his head, “Oh, my new friend, thank you for saving me from a terrible fate!”
“Yeah, one thing real fast,” Randy took out a sai and moved towards the monster, “you might need a trim.”
“Oh!” Sweetie Belle chirped up. “I can help with that.”
“Just be careful, it’s sharp.” He held out the sai as Sweetie moved it within her magic and trimming away split ends into a fashionable short mustache.
“Rarity taught me that one. She wanted me to be able to at least trim my own mane.”
“Ooooh!” The monster cackled in glee. “This is perfect! Wait! Did you say Rarity?”
“Oh, lovely! How do you know her? Wait, let me guess, sisters?”
“Yeah! How do you know her?”
“Oh, when we first met, we were in the Everfree forest. She noticed my lovely mane, scales, and nails, though did something wonderful for my mu-stache after a mean shadow sliced half of it right off. She used her lovely tail to complete and fix my mu-stache. I had to help them across the river I was in at the time after that! It was only polite.”
“Wow, my sister knows a river serpent. Cool!”
“Cool indeed!” He then lowered himself and held out a scaled hand, “My name’s Steven Magnet, pleasure to meet you!”
Everyone shook his claw with a hoof and introduced themselves.
“I’m Sweetie Belle!”
“Mah name’s Apple Bloom.”
“And I’m Scootaloo!”
“You can call me Ninja.”
“Huh?” The Crusaders chorused.
“What? Secret identity.” Randy then trotted the girls up the river. “Well, I’ve got to get them back to town, you have a good visit.”
“Oh, nonsense, let me get you a lift!” Steven insisted.
“That’s very kind of you,” Sweetie Belle said.
“Faster than walking,” Scootaloo chimed in.
“Especially since we lost a kayak,” Apple Bloom stated sadly.
Randy looked around and pointed to the river. “Found it. Though I don’t think you want it back.” True enough, there was the kayak, however it was dashed against a rock on the opposite shore, massive crack ran through the middle of its hull. The girls groaned.
“Well, hop on. I’ll get you all home!” Steven then rolled his body to where there was a hump on his back for each pony. Randy scooped up the girls and placed Apple Bloom in front, Scootaloo next, followed by Sweetie Belle then himself. “Onward!”
Within minutes they were just within Ponyville town limits. “Thanks, Steven, we’ve got it from here. You meet up with your friend Cranky.”
“No problem, Ninja! Have a good day!” With that, Steven dove under the water and zipped off further up river.
After saying goodbyes, Randy turned to the Crusaders. “What happened to ‘stay here’? You could have gotten hurt!”
The Crusaders all fidgeted with their hooves in the dirt, none of them making eye contact with the masked ninja. “Sorry.”
Randy sighed, “Well, at least none of you got hurt.”
“Yeah! Thanks again Ran- uh, I mean Ninja!” Sweetie Belle began to sweat and look between her two friends. Randy facehoofed electing an “ow” from him.
“Ran? As in Randy? Tha colt that fell out of a bench? That Randy?” Apple Bloom kept trying to debunk it, yet there was still doubt in her eyes.
“Hang on, I can see it!” Scootaloo exclaimed. “Same build, same expressions and same peach fur that you can see from the mask!”
Apple Bloom looked closer. “Now that ya mention it, I can see it too.”
Sweetie Belle was stammering, though Randy held up a hoof. “It’s okay, Sweetie Belle, I didn’t expect you to keep it from your friends for long. Believe me!” Looking around, he then saw the coast clear being away from the center of town before pulling off the mask, ribbons revealing Randy as they saw him earlier that day. “I didn’t want you girls to know because it’s supposed to be a secret, but I couldn’t just let you get swept away to your doom. Then I saw the Steven stank’d out and that wasn’t good at all!” He pocketed the mask to an inside pocket. “Now, I need you to promise me that you won’t tell anybody else, or I’ll have to mind wipe ya.”
“Don’t worry we won- wait, you can do that?” Sweetie Belle nearly tripped.
“Just, do you promise?”
“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” The girls all said this little chant gaining a smirk from him. Scootaloo said, “It’s a Pinkie Promise, and no pony breaks a Pinkie Promise.”
“Good enough for me.”
“Wait! Why are you a ninja? There a super cool backstory to it! Did someone hurt your family? Your honor? Did someone steal something from you and you vowed revenge?” Scootaloo began to rattle off potential backstories, ever curious how Randy got the suit.
“Easy, nothing like that. I was chosen to be the next ninja because I’m pure of heart and brave beyond reason. Well, uh, that’s what I was told, anyhow.”
“Brave beyond reason? How so?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Well, I once jumped off a hydro-electric dam that was a couple thousand feet tall to snag a best friend from a free fall to the bottom. Totally wasn’t scared. Worried for my best friend’s life, yes. Scared, ah no.”
“I think I’ve got it!” Sweetie Belle cheered. “Your special talent! You’re great when it comes to saving the day so much that it comes naturally! It has to be!”
“I don’t know, if that were the case then I wouldn’t need to learn the Ultimate Lesson after a certain point and get mind wiped.”
“Wait, you’d have to stop? Why?” Scootaloo asked.
“Because that’s how it is. Each ninja is chosen, and normally, after defeating the Sorcerer, I wouldn’t need to be the Ninja anymore, but instead, the Sorceress has escaped, again. Not to mention a lot sooner than before, did she find a shortcut?”
“Gah, think about it, what about any time you weren’t in a suit! Did you still save the day? Was it still satisfying and the best?”
Randy looked away, though in thought. There were a few times, but…. “Okay, there were a few times, but still-”
“I didn’t hear a ‘no’.”
His face grew serious for a moment before splitting into a grin. “You know what, you’re right! I am not only the Ninja, but I’m the brucest one there is!” He adopted a power stance before a blinding light surrounded him, lifting him into the air. The light concentrated on his flank before revealing to be a swirled 9, just like the one on his chest while wearing the ninja mask. As he lowered, the Crusaders cheered and surrounded him, enveloping him into a big group hug. Randy returned the hug and smiled. Even if he were to lose his memories, he could always learn how to be a hero, even as a civilian.
“Shame I got to still figure out how to beat the Sorceress like I did with the Sorcerer, somehow.”