Home in Banishment

by Shadow Lord Malice

The Healing Flame and a Foreign Friend

Ponyville was once more treated to a beautiful morning. Everypony had now awoken and was going about their day, but one place in particular had been active much earlier. Twilight, and Naruto watched as Sasuke blazed through book after book relating to the anatomy of pegasi, his Sharingan spinning. Naruto was impressed that Sasuke's reading speed could give Twilight a run for her money, and Twilight was bewildered by Sasuke's lack of notes.

"Um, Sasuke, don't you need notes?" She asked.

"No. I can perfectly remember everything I read, thank you" Sasuke responded, continuing to go through another book. Not believing that Sasuke's memory was that good, Twilight grabbed a random book from the pile, and flipped it open.

"Sasuke, Body of the Pegasi, page forty five.." It took Sasuke one second to remember the book, one second to bring up the page, and a final second to bring up the text.

"The magic of the pegasi are stored and channeled through their skeletal structures. This allows them to instinctively alter their weight, allowing them to be capable of powerful flight despite their small wingspans. The magic can also be instinctively channeled into their hooves, allowing them to walk on and manipulate the clouds. With correct teaching, pegasi can channel their magic further to create and manipulate weather, and through this..." Word for word, Sasuke perfectly recited the text on the page, much to Twilight's complete shock. Doing the test further only yielded the same result.

"Wow Twilight, his memory's even better than yours." Remarked Spike, causing the unicorn to grumble.

"So Sasuke, how'd you figure out the riddle?" Asked Naruto.

"By complete accident actually. I was complaining how the damn jutsu was in a riddle and not just written out like a normal jutsu scroll, when it hit me that the riddle was written like a jutsu scroll." Answered the Uchiha.

"Huh?" was the blonde's intelligent response. Sasuke could only facepalm at the stupidity of Naruto.

"Okay, do you remember how a jutsu scroll is formatted? First name, then rank, then prerequisites, then handsigns, then elemental affinity. Every jutsu when written down has to follow this format. Therefore, the riddle was in such a format." Naruto just stared blankly.

"...What's a prerequisite?" He finally asked, and Sasuke's Etenal Mangekyou sprung to life.

Applejack was walking down to the market square, her apple cart being towed behind her, when suddenly the door to the library exploded, forcing her to reflexively cover her face. When Applejack looked back, she saw Naruto sprawled on the ground, and a weird purple appendage sticking out of the doorway. She then heard two voices arguing inside the library, whom she recognized as Twilight and Sasuke. Soon, the appendage withdrew back into the library, and the door was rebuilt via magic. Looking over to Naruto's groaning form, Applejack just shook her head.

"Nnnope, ah don't wanna know." And with that, she continued on her way.

"Okay, I feel better." Said Sasuke, the skeletal fist of his Susanoo still outstretched out the doorway.

"Sasuke! I can't believe you! Why did you do that?" Screamed Twilight, causing the Uchiha to raise a brow.

"Naruto's stupidity was getting overbearing, so I punched him as hard as I could. Worked for Sakura." He replied, withdrawing his Susanoo's arm from the entrance.

"I wasn't talking about that, Naruto had that coming. What I meant was why did you have to break my door again? That's the second time in this morning alone." She said, and used her magic to gather and reconstruct the door. Sasuke blinked at that.

Oh. Uh, sorry about that." He said. Soon, he was back to his studies, and an hour later, had finished the last book of relevance in the library. Spending another two hours reviewing and being tested by Twilight to make sure he knew absolutely everything he needed to know, he was ready to restore Rainbow Dash.

"Are you sure this will work, Sasuke?" Asked Twilight as they walked out the library.

"Very. My clan always made potent jutsu, so I know this one will be able to heal the damage done to Rainbow Dash." Soon the two reached the hospital.

"Alright Sasuke, I'll go round the girls up, you get in there and get Rainbow's wings back." Said Twilight, and headed back into town while Sasuke entered the hospital. Getting the doctors to go ahead with the procedure was tricky, but with enough persuasion, and a little genjutsu, Sasuke was soon ready, having an entire room to himself for the procedure.

"Um, Sasuke sir, are you sure none of the staff can help?" Asked Nurse Redheart as she finished prepping the room.

"Positive. Unicorn and human magic are completely different, so nothing you can do will help." He replied. Nodding, Redheart left the room, and one of the doctors brought Rainbow Dash in. "Lay her on the table." Instructed Sasuke, and the doctor did as he was told. Soon, Sasuke and Rainbow Dash were alone in the room, the only illumination being the overhead lights.

"Is this going to work Sasuke?" Asked Rainbow, her voice quiet.

"Yes, this will work." Answered Sasuke, and with that he began channeling his chakra, converting it to heal. Then he began adding his fire element to the mix, and soon his hands were cloaked in teal flames. Naturally, this made Rainbow Dash extremely nervous.

"Woah woah, back up. Nopony said this would involve more fire." She said, fear coloring her voice.

"Do you want your wings back or not?" Sasuke asked. Rainbow Dash gulped, and stayed still, and Sasuke placed his hands on her back. The effect was immediate, the flames instantly spread across Rainbow Dash, cloaking her in the azure flames, causing the cyan pegasus to gasp and whimper in terror.

"Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh, putmeoutputmeoutputmeout." Pleaded Rainbow, and she began to thrash.

"Would you quit being such a scaredy-cat and let me work here. I know those flames aren't causing you pain, so stop moving and let me concentrate. One slip up and things can go very bad." Snarled Sasuke, causing Rainbow to go still again, though she still shuddered in terror of being covered in fire, healing or not. Then the flames began to burn, not Rainbow Dash herself, but the bandages surrounding her injuries, and in moments the burns were exposed. Soon, the fire began restoring the burns, but Sasuke immediately noticed something wrong. There was no control, the flames were just healing, not actually restoring, and then he realized what he had to do. Sharingan active to help his focus, Sasuke reined in the jutsu, and began concentrating it to Rainbow's right wing. Immediately he began imagining the many diagrams of a pegasus wing, controlling the jutsu to restore the burned wing to it's proper state. Seconds crawled by as Sasuke kept the jutsu in control, as uncontrolled healing could permanently cripple Rainbow. Rainbow herself could literally feel her wing being mended. Every muscle, tendon, and patch of skin ravaged by the dragon's fire was being restored. As Sasuke worked, he soon became aware of another vital fact.

'Holy Sage of six paths, how much chakra does this jutsu take? I'm already through a third of my reserves and this wing isn't done yet.' Panting from the effort, Sasuke kept going, and finally the last of the wing's skin had been restored. As the feathers began to regrow, Sasuke idly noticed the structure of the pegasus' wing, and despite having seen it in diagrams, still thought it was interesting. The wing was structured mostly like a bird's, but it also had four finger like protrusions as well, allowing a pegasus to grip things with their wings. Soon the wing was covered in feathers, signifying it was completely restored.

"One wing down, now for the other one." Said Sasuke, his exhaustion seeping into his voice. As soon as Rainbow heard that, she flexed her right wing, and began to silently cry in joy when she felt it respond as naturally as it had before being burned. She was getting her wings back, she was actually getting her wings back. Immediately she felt her hopes and dreams re-ignite within her, no longer held back by her formerly crippling injuries. Meanwhile, Sasuke was working on the second wing.

'Come on, come on, hurry up, this is consuming way too much chakra. Damn it, what was I thinking, using medical ninjutsu without training.' He thought to himself. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the second wing was fully restored.

"Second wing done." He said, panting in exhaustion from the amount of chakra he'd used so far.

"Are you okay, Sasuke?" Asked Rainbow Dash, catching Sasuke's exhausted tone.

"I'm fine, now to get started on the back." He responded, and directed the flames to Rainbow's back. A quarter of the way through, Sasuke was running low on chakra, and the flames began to die. Sasuke immediately reached into his supply pouch, and brought out a clear jar of round blue pills. expertly unscrewing the cap with one hand, Sasuke retrieved a pill out of the jar, and popped it down his mouth. Almost immediately, he felt a portion of his chakra return. Replacing the lid on the bottle, and returning it to his pouch, Sasuke once more worked the jutsu, the flames reviving. Just as he was nearly done the back, Sasuke was hitting low levels again, but this time, he pushed through, keeping the jutsu alive. Finally, Rainbow Dash was completely healed of her burns, and Sasuke ended the jutsu.

"Done." He said with a gasp, and began sucking in deep breaths. Tentatively, Rainbow Dash lifted herself up into a crouch, and began to work her wings. There were no delays, nor anomalies in her flaps, nor was the effort causing her any pain, and with that, Rainbow realized she could fly once more.

"You did it Sasuke, you did it! I got my wings back!" She exclaimed in joy, flying around the room ecstatically. Sasuke watched her for a few seconds, then decided to interrupt.

"Well, are you just going to goof around or are you going to say hi to your friends." That got her to stop.

"Oh, heheh, right. Well let's go then." With that, Rainbow flew over to the doors. Sasuke began to follow, but it was then that his chakra exhaustion hit. With a groan, Sasuke toppled, but before he hit the ground, he was held up by Rainbow. "Okay Sasuke, you are definitely not alright. What's wrong?"

"Just a mild case of chakra exhaustion. I'll be fine tomorrow." Sasuke answered. Rainbow Dash felt he was hiding something, but since she had no idea how human magic worked, she had to trust his word on it.

"Well if you say so. You okay to walk, or you gonna need me?" Sasuke responded by getting back upright.

"I think I'll manage, but stay close just in case." He said, and Rainbow nodded. With that, the two made their way out of the room, and into the sunlit hall of the hospital, where a familiar group waited. Upon seeing Rainbow Dash flying like nothing had gone wrong, the five ponies gasped in shock.

"Hey girls." Said Rainbow Dash as she flew over to them. Suddenly, she was hit by a missile of pink.

"Yay, you got your wings back, Dashie. This calls for a super duper special party!" screamed Pinkie Pie in joy, squeezing Rainbow in a fierce hug.

""Gah... Pinkie....can't... breathe." Rainbow squeaked out, and was soon released, allowing her to fill her lungs with precious air.

"Well slice me up, an' bake me into a pie, Sasuke actually did it. It's great to see yah flyin' again sugarcube." Said Applejack, and gave Rainbow a fierce, but much less constricting, hug of her own.

"Oh I am so glad you have your wings back, darling. These past few days were just dreadful without you around." Said Rarity, overjoyed that her friend was back in top form.

"I can't believe it. Sasuke's healing spell worked perfectly. Is there anything human magic can't do?" Said Twilight, completely shocked by the power of Sasuke's healing jutsu. Rainbow was soaking up the attention she was getting, but then she noticed one of her friend's hadn't responded at all.

"Hey Flutters, is something wrong?" She asked the butter yellow pegasus, getting a squeak of surprise in response.

"N-no, nothing's wrong, I'm happy that you have your wings again. It's just that, I feel like I'm the reason you lost them in the first place. If I wasn't such a coward, things could have gone differently." She replied.

"Whoa whoa whoa, hold up. Me losing my wings had nothing to do with you. That was entirely my fault. If I hadn't rushed into that cave, none of that would've happened. Don't go thinking you were at fault, because you definitely weren't." Rainbow responded, and swept Fluttershy into a hug. Soon, the two parted, and Fluttershy's demeanor was lighter than it had been for a while.

"See Fluttershy, just as I said, you weren't responsible for what happened." Said Naruto, then he tousled Rainbow's mane. "Great to see you up and about, Dashie. Sasuke does a damn good job." Soon, the five ponies in the group went their separate ways, leaving Rainbow with Sasuke and Naruto. Rainbow Dash then impacted into Sasuke with a flying tackle, wrapping her forelegs around the Uchiha in a fierce hug, causing Sasuke to stumble back from the force. As much as Sasuke wanted to push her off, doing so would make himself look bad, so he let Rainbow Dash hold onto him, sobbing on his shoulder and repeatedly thanking him. Finally, her cries ceased, and she released him from her grip.

"Tell anyone I did that and I'll make sure you regret it." She told him, before flying back to her cloud home. With a grunt, Sasuke began heading back to the boutique, but staggered when the effects of his chakra exhaustion struck him again.

"You need help there, Sasuke?" Asked Naruto upon seeing the Uchiha sway.

"No. It's just some minor chakra exhaustion. I'll manage on my own, my pride's taken enough damage already." Sasuke answered, and with that, was on his way. Upon reaching the boutique, Sasuke made a beeline straight for his room, and upon reaching his bed, flopped right into it. Just as he was about to fall asleep, a bright flash of white light startled him out of bed. His hand instinctively reached for his sword, but the Uchiha stopped the impulse. The light then faded to reveal princess Celestia herself.

"Let me guess," Said Sasuke, cutting Celestia off before she could say a thing, "you just heard from Twilight that I completely healed Rainbow Dash, and now you want to thank me profusely for such an act, am I right?" Celestia chuckled a bit.

"Mostly. I also wanted to extend to you a boon. Whatever you wish, if it is within my power to grant within reason, it will be done." Sasuke thought about it, and came to a decision immediately.

"There's a plot of land for sale at the south western edge of Ponyville, close to the Everfree forest. The deed to the land, and a house atop it would fit the bill quite nicely." Celestia considered it and nodded.

"Easy enough Sasuke, but why such a quick decision?"

"I've been looking at that plot of land for a while now, but I'm still trying to figure out a way to make money here. I've taken enough of Rarity's generosity."

"Fair enough. You should have that piece of land by tomorrow, and the house itself will take two weeks. I will need a blueprint from you though." Sasuke nodded at this.

"I have an idea for the house, so the blueprint will take only a few days. Now if that's all princess, I mean no disrespect, but I need to sleep. Healing Rainbow Dash took an insane amount of chakra to do, and I'm running very low." At this, Celestia, raised an eyebrow.

"You and Naruto never informed me on the effects of low chakra, care to enlighten me?"

"Gladly. If a human uses too much chakra they enter a state known as chakra exhaustion. Depending on it's severity the effects vary from heavy drowsiness, to catatonic shock. If a human uses up more chakra than his body can produce, they die, as chakra also fuels our life force." Celestia went wide eyed at this.

"I see. Had I known, I would have never interrupted you at this time. Excuse my oversight, Sasuke."

"It's fine Celestia, but I would appreciate it if I could be allowed to sleep, I didn't get much last night and this chakra exhaustion isn't helping." ansered the Uchiha, and the solar alicorn nodded before vanishing in another burst of light. As soon as it faded, Sasuke got back into bed and was soon asleep.

It had been a week since Sasuke had healed Rainbow Dash, and things were finally winding down. Twilight, Spike, and Naruto were walking down the road to Ponyville square, when he and Twilight noticed something very peculiar.

"What? Where is everypony?" Asked Twilight as the group looked around.

"Is it some sort of pony holiday?" Asked Spike in confusion.

"Not that I know of." Answered Twilight. The guesses Spike made soon devolved into outlandishness from there. The group stopped when they heard Pinkie Pie whisper for them.

"Psst, Twilight, Spike, Naruto, in here, hurry before she gets you." With that, the group dove into Sugarcube Corner, the top half of the door slamming shut behind them encasing the three in darkness. The darkness was immediately pierced by a flashlight that shone directly into Twilight's eyes.

"Before who gets us? The zombie pony?" Asked Spike in nervousness."

"Zombie pony?" Pinkie stammered out, causing Spike to hug Twilight's neck in fright.

"Spike, there are no zombie ponies." Said Twilight in annoyance, then she turned to her friend. "Pinkie, what are you doing alone in the dark?"

"I'm not alone in the dark." She answered, and pushed open a curtain to let some light in, revealing the rest of Twilight's friends, Sasuke, and Applejack's little sister Apple Bloom.

"Okay then, what are you all doing here in the dark?" asked Twilight in confusion.

"We're hidin' from her." Answered Applejack, gesturing out the window. The group all looked out of it to see a strange pony in a cloak standing out in the market square, looking about, and pawing at the ground. The pony then glanced their way, causing everyone but Twilight, Naruto, and Sasuke to flinch away from the window.

"Did yah see 'er Twilight? Did yah see... Zecora?" Asked Applebloom, who was then admonished by her sister.

"Well, I saw her glance this way." She answered.

"Glance eeeeeevilly this way." Pinky interrupted, getting right up in her face.

"And then a bunch of you flip out for no good reason." Twilight finished.

"No good reason?" Stated Applejack, offended. "Yeh call protectin' yer kin no good reason? Why as soon as my sister saw Zecora ridin' into town, she started shakin' in 'er little horseshoes." She punctuated her statement by shaking Applebloom.

"Did not." Applebloom countered.

"So ah swept 'er up and brought 'er here."

"Ah walked here mahself."

"Fer safekeepin'."

"Applejack, ahm not a baby. Ah can take care of mahself." The younger Apple stated angrily.

"Not from that creepy Zecora." Countered her elder sister. Naruto and Sasuke watched the proceedings with disinterest.

"Is it just me, or do you think they're all overreacting?" Naruto asked Sasuke.

"I think overreacting is selling it short." Said Sasuke as he heard what Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie had to say about the pony outside. Soon, everypony looked back out the window, and once again all but Twilight and the two humans gasped when Zecora pulled her hood down, allowing her features to be seen.

"Will you cut that out." Said Twilight in annoyance at her friends' antics.

"Just look at those stripes, so garish." Said Rarity in disgust.

"She's a zebra." Said Twilight.

"A what?" Everypony asked. Sasuke and Naruto also listened in.

"A zebra. and her stripes aren't a fashion choice Rarity, she was born with them." Upon hearing that, Rarity fainted.

"Born where? Ah ain't seen a pony like that in these parts, 'cept her." Applejack shuddered out.

"Well she's probably not from here, and she's not a pony. My books say that zebras come from a far away land, but I've never seen her in Ponyville. Where does she live?"

"That's just it. She lives in, the Everfree forest." Replied Applejack, and was followed up immediately after by a crash and boom, which soon changed to the clattering of pots and pans.

"Spike!" Yelled Twilight, and the dragon apologized from within the kitchen. Naruto and Sasuke became interested when Applejack said the forest was unnatural, but that turned to utter shock when the ponies gave the reasons why.

"Are you kidding me? that's why that forest is unnatural?" Naruto said in shock, halting Rarity's faint for dramatic effect.

"What do you mean, are we kidding? That kind of stuff should not be possible." Said Rainbow Dash.

"Dashie, that's pretty much how the entirety of my world works." At this, everypony gasped, and Rarity fainted.

"And here I thought the place was actually dangerous." Remarked Sasuke.

"oh but it is, Sasuke, what with all the monsters roaming inside it." Said Fluttershy.

"And that wicked enchantress Zecora lives there doing all her evil...stuff. She's so evil, I even wrote a song about her." At that, Pinkie leaped into song. However, nopony noticed Naruto's expression getting darker and darker, until he finally exploded after Pinkie finished.

"That's It! I can take no more of this. All of you are shunning someone for their differences without even trying to get to know them, all the while cooking up crazy rumours to justify your actions. And here I thought you ponies were better than that. I can't believe my friends turned out to be such bigots. The only one with any sense here is Twilight, and she's the minority, I'm outta here." With that, Naruto made a half ram sign, and vanished in a swirl of leaves.

"You know what? Naruto's right." Said Twilight angrily. "You guys are just pointing hooves at every little thing she does to prove she's evil, when you've never tried to find out for yourself. And how do you think Naruto and Sasuke feel about all this? They're not ponies, do you think they're evil? They've certainly got powerful and dangerous magic. I mean, you all saw what Sasuke did to that dragon." Everypony was silent at that.

"Now those two are different. Naruto and Sasuke ain't like that." Defended Applejack

"Oh really? So two strange beings get brought into town, and you aren't frightened in the least? I'll bet if Naruto and Sasuke just showed up like Zecora did, then you would all be acting like this to them as well." With that, Twilight turned around and headed for the door.

"Twilight, wait. Where are you going, darling?" Asked Rarity.

"After Naruto and away from all of you." She answered, cantering out the door and slamming it shut behind her. Sasuke also used a body flicker jutsu to vanish in a swirl of black fire, leaving behind five mares that felt awful about themselves.

"Maybe we have been overreacting about this," said Rainbow, "I mean, none of us have so much has talked to Zecora. Who's to say she's really what we make of her."

"Now don't y'all go sayin' that, Rainbow. Ahm tellin y'all she's bad news." Argued Applejack.

"Um, I think Twilight may be right. Maybe we shouldn't judge Zecora until we get to know her." Fluttershy put in.

"Oh fer land sakes, not you too Fluttershy. Pinkie, Rarity, yer all with me on this, right."

"Definitely, darling. There is something definitely not right about that zebra." Said Rarity. Pinkie Pie was continuing with her song, which Applejack took as an affirmative. Rainbow Dash just glared.

"Fine. If you want to be like that, then I'm not stopping you. Come on Fluttershy, lets go." With that, the two pegasi flew out the door. After flying away for a bit, the two alighted on a cloud.

"So why are we here?" Asked Fluttershy. At this, Rainbow Dash let out a sigh and looked out over Ponyville.

"I think Twilight's right. By doing all this to Zecora, we're basically doing it to Naruto and Sasuke. If not for Sasuke, I'd never fly again, so hurting him in anyway is something I don't want to do."

"I know what you mean Rainbow. Zecora is a bit frightening, but that shouldn't stop us from getting to know her. Maybe we should go down and talk to her?" Offered Fluttershy. Rainbow looked down to see Zecora leaving Ponyville, when her eyes caught two ponies following her.

"Heh, looks like Twilight and Apple Bloom are doing just that. Come on, let's go meet up with them." And with that, the two flew towards their friend. Upon reaching the lavender unicorn, Twilight glared at them.

"And what do you two want?" She asked, her tone frosty.

"Listen Twilight, you're right. Just because Zecora's different shouldn't keep us from getting to know her." Said Rainbow in an apologetic tone.

"And it looked like our actions really hurt Naruto, when he's done nothing to deserve it." Said Fluttershy. Twilight continued to glare for a bit, then huffed.

"Well come on then. If you're serious about it you can come with us to meet her." Soon, the four ponies cantered off to catch up to Zecora. After passing into the Everfree forest, they were soon coming up to the cloaked zebra.

"Apple Bloom!" At that the four ponies and one zebra turned to the shout and saw Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie amidst a large patch of blue flowers. "Y'all get back here right now little missy." The orange earth pony finished.

"Beware, beware you pony folk. Those leaves of blue are not a joke." Zecora called out.

"Leaves of blue?" asked Rainbow Dash.

"I think she's talking about the flowers." Answered Twilight. Applejack rushed over to the group, and scooped up her little sister, then told the zebra to high tail it, the other two joining in. with a final warning, the mist closed in around Zecora and all was silent.

"Ah can't believe yah Apple Bloom. Why didn't yah listen to yer big sister?" Apple Bloom looked away in shame at that. Then Applejack tuned her angry glare to Twilight, Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy. "And you three. Ah thought we were friends, but here you are helping to bring mah little sister inta danger. Who knows what kinda curse Zecora could've put on her." Soon the situation devolved into an argument over if curses were real, and soon Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie headed home. Rainbow and Fluttershy were about to follow, when Twilight stopped them.

"Wait a minute you two, remember what Zecora said? I don't think we should go through those flowers."

"They're just flowers Twilight. Maybe Zecora was just saying that to scare us, to get back at us for being pushed away like that." Said Rainbow.

"Fair, but Zecora lives in the Everfree forest. Therefore, she knows a lot about it, and if she told us to watch out for those flowers there's probably a good reason for it. I don't think we should chance it." Sighing, Rainbow nodded in agreement, and she and Fluttershy took to the air while Twilight followed from the ground, skirting around any patch of blue flowers she came across.

With a groan, Twilight got out of bed. She had not had a good sleep that night as her dreams had been plagued by the previous day's arguments of Zecora and curses. Grumbling to herself, she walked over to her vanity.

"Whoa, maybe Zecora cursed my mane." She said upon seeing her reflection. After a bit of brushing she had it as pristine as ever. "There we go, some curse." Chuckling to herself, she walked downstairs, the scent of breakfast hitting her nose.

"Morning Twilight." Greeted Spike, bringing over her breakfast.

"Morning Spike. How's Naruto doing?" She asked, taking a drink of her orange juice.

"Uh actually, he didn't come back last night. He said he was going to spend the night cooling down." At this, Twilight got worried.

"Why did he take yesterday so harsh? I mean sure everypony was being bigoted yesterday, but that was nothing to get so worked up over." Just then, there was a knock at the door. "Better get that. If it's Sasuke, he'll bust it down." Spike went over to the door, and opened it up, revealing Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and Naruto.

"Oh it's you guys. Come on in, we're just having breakfast." Said Spike, ushering the three inside. Ten minutes later, breakfast was done, and Naruto and Spike were doing the dishes while the girls talked.

"So we're going to see Zecora today right?" Asked Rainbow Dash.

"That's right. We'll be off in a couple of hours. I also want you to come with us, Naruto, if you're okay with it of course." Said Twilight, and Naruto accepted the offer. Suddenly, there was frantic knocking at the door. Twilight opened it to reveal Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Apple Bloom, Rarity, and Sasuke, and three of the aforementioned ponies did not look right. Rarity's fur and mane had grown into huge shaggy dreadlocks, practically obscuring her. Appllejack had been shrunk to a comically miniature size, and Pinkie Pie's tongue had swollen to beyond her mouth's capacity and was covered in turquoise spots.

"Theeve thbn thurthed!" Pinkie exclaimed, her words barely decipherable and spittle flying everywhere.

"Well Twi, ah hate to say it, but ah told yah so." Said Applejack, her voice higher pitched do to her size.

"I have to agree with Applejack and Pinkie, darling. This has curse written all over it." Stated Rarity. Naruto and Spike were outright laughing at the states the three ponies were in.

"Look at you three, we've got Hairity, Appleteenie, and Spittie Pie." Chortled Spike.

"Now this ain't funny you two. Zecora doggone cursed us. Twi, yeh got somethin' to cure us right?" Asked Applejack.

"I'll look around, but I doubt it." Answered Twilight. Sure enough, two hours passed by and the lavender unicorn had nothing to show for it. "Sorry girls, but I have nothing. Every book I have claims curses to be supernatural phooey. My guess is if Zecora cursed you, then only she can uncurse you, and you three are in luck because Rainbow, Fluttershy, Naruto and I are heading there anyway to meet her. We can all get to know her as she fixes you three up."

"What!? Y'all expect us to go over there after what she did to us?"

"Do you want to return to normal?" Twilight asked, and thus started another argument. It was cut short when Rarity snagged on something, causing her to stumble and crash into her friends.

"Is everypony alright?" Asked Rarity, getting groans of affirmatives in response.

"Whew, thanks fer the save there, Naruto." said Applejack, who was grasped in Naruto's hand. Then the earth pony noticed something. "Applebloom? She's gone! She must have gone off to Zecora's!" She exclaimed upon seeing her sister to be nowhere in sight.

"Sasuke's missing too. I bet he went after her." Said Rainbow Dash, causing Applejack to sigh in relief.

"Thank Celestia. If Zecora does turn out to be evil, ah know Sasuke'll keep Apple Bloom safe."

"So we're off to Zecora's?" Asked Twilight, causing Applejack to sigh.

"Unfortunately. Ah don't like it, but ah gots to catch up to Apple Bloom." And with that, the group was off to Zecora's. The going was slow, as Rarity's dreadlocks would snag and snarl on practically everything, tripping her and forcing everypony to slow down. Finally the group reached Zecora's hut, the appearance of which was a bit unsettling to the ponies.

"Ugh, I look terrible." Complained Rarity as she caught up to the group while getting mud and debris out of her dreadlocks.

"Thith thlathe tthlooths thorrible." Said Pinkie, lifting Rarity's dreadlocks out of her face.

"Oh my, this place really does look horrible." Cautiously continuing on, the group looked into a window. "Nice decorations, if you like creepy." Odd, sinister masks adorned the walls, and stoppered bottles filled with unknown liquids lined the shelves. The door then opened, and Zecora walked through and into her hut, a red and yellow jar clasped in her muzzle. Tipping the purple dust within into a cauldron of bubbling green liquid, she then chanted something in a strange language. Pinkie Pie then went off on how the zebra stole her song, which Twilight shot down. Pinkie wanted to sing it, but two reasons stopped her. The first was her cursed tongue, and the second was that the last time she sung it, she had hurt Naruto, and Pinkie Pie hated hurting friends.

"You saw those horrible things, Twilight, now do you believe us?" Asked Rarity, and Twilight couldn't really fight the facts laid out.

"Or... perhaps Zecora's just making soup." as if to affirm Twilight was correct, Zecora tasted a sample of the brew, but what she said next shot that down fast.

"Ah, the perfect temperature for ponies I presume. Now, where is that little Apple Bloom?" Everypony recoiled at that.

"Or, maybe she's making Apple Bloom soup." Said Twilight in worry, then she and Rarity began to scream at the thought. Applejack went berserk at that, but Fluttershy held the tiny pony from tearing into the hut.

"Hold on," Said Rainbow Dash, quelling the two screaming unicorns and the enraged earth pony, "Sasuke's not around, so he still must be with Apple Bloom. Zecora might not know he's coming as well. we should wait and see what happens. If Apple Bloom is in danger, we bust through the window and step in with Sasuke."

"Good idea Rainbow." Said Applejack, and the group quieted down and waited. It wasn't long before the door opened again, revealing Apple Bloom wearing some saddlebags while riding on Sasuke's shoulders, while being accompanied by Naruto as well. The group of ponies looked at the Naruto in the hut, to the one beside them, only for that Naruto to grin and vanish in a smoke cloud.

"A shadow clone? When did he... oh, when Rarity tripped into us all at the library. But why did he leave the clone with us?" Twilight asked herself.

"Howdy miss Zecora, we got all the herbs yah needed. Sasuke and Naruto were ah big help." Said Apple Bloom excitedly, and Sasuke set her down on the floor.

"Marvelous, Apple Bloom, please bring those herbs to me. All what's left now is to wait for the poisoned three." Replied Zecora.

"No need Zecora, they're already here." Said Naruto, pointing over to the window the ponies were looking through.

"Oh? Well do come in young ponies, no need to intrude. One mustn't lurk about, it's very rude." Seeing as they were busted, the group went inside. "Now come here you three ponies, I just finished the brew. We must get that poison joke off of you."

"Poison joke?" Asked Twilight, and Zecora nodded.

"Yes, those dreadful flowers blue. Though to be honest, I was expecting to cure all of you."

"Wait, you mean those blue flowers are what did that to Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie?" Twilight asked in surprise, and at Zecora's nod, turned to her two pegasus friends. "Hah, see girls, I told you those flowers were bad news."

"Wait, so all this was caused by those flowers we walked into yesterday? But how does that work?" Asked Rarity, and Zecora explained in rhyme how poison joke worked.

"Alright little ponies, no more delay. Time to wash that poison joke away." Said the zebra, and gestured to the cauldron.

"Ah don't know, this whole poison joke thing seems mighty fishy. Maybe-" Applejack was interrupted when Pinkie dashed to the cauldron and jumped right in. A few seconds later her head poked out, and no swollen tongue stuck out of her mouth.

"So Applejack, still believe this is fake? And Pinkie Pie, I would appreciate a splash you didn't make." Said Zecora.

"Okie dokie loki." Pinkie answered, and hopped out of the pot. Rarity came up next, but couldn't get into the pot.

"Um, could somepony please be a dear and help me in? The pot's a little too tall, and this poison joke stuff isn't helping." Deciding to help her friend out, Twilight Levitated the alabaster unicorn into the pot. A minute later, Rarity popped back up, fur and mane the same as it was yesterday.

"Well I say, this bath feels absolutely luxurious. Zecora, would it be possible to get the recipe, I know the spa maidens would just love this for their business." A bit of talk later, and Rarity was ready to get out. "Oh Naruto, Sasuke, would one of you two please be a gentlecolt and help me out, please?" After Naruto helped Rarity out of the herbal bath, it was Applejack's turn. Rainbow Dash Picked the earth pony up and brought her to the cauldron.

"Um, if yah don't mind, Rainbow, could yah maybe lower me-" That was as far as she got before Rainbow Dash let go and plunked Applejack into the pot. A few seconds later, Applejack burst out of the bath in a spray of whter, back to full size.

"Tarnation Rainbow Dash! I was tellin' yah tah lower me in nice and slow!" She shouted at the smugly grinning pegasus, then clambered out of the cauldron. "Hooey, is it good tah be back to full size again."

"Aw, I was hopin' yah'd stay tiny. I was enjoyin' bein' the big sister fer once." Said Apple Bloom in mock disappointment, causing the two apple sisters to share a laugh. Soon, everypony talked to and got to know Zecora, and found she was an extremely likable zebra, even if she did always speak in rhyme. Soon the group of nine bid their farewells and headed home, making sure to avoid anymore poison joke on the way.

"Well that was fun, wouldn't you agree Sparkles?" Naruto asked as he, Sasuke, and Twilight walked into the library.

"Ugh, would you quit it with that nickname. And while I do admit meeting Zecora was nice and all, I was still worried for my friends the whole time." Answered Twilight.

"Aw come on Twi, you had to admit, those three looked hilarious." Said Spike as he approached the three. "Oh, while you guys were out, this came for Naruto and Sasuke." He said, holding up a rolled piece of parchment. Taking the offered message, Naruto opened it, and two things fell out, which Sasuke caught.

"To Naruto and Sasuke;
Within this letter I have enclosed two tickets for this year's upcoming Grand Galloping Gala. Consider it a reward for the services you've rendered for my little ponies. It is my hope you two will attend along with my faithful student Twilight Sparkle, and her five friends. I hope your time in Equestria has been wonderful so far, and I hope that your continued lives here will be far better than the ones you lived back in your world.

Signed: Princess Celestia
P.S: You should come to visit sometime, Sasuke. Luna greatly enjoys your company.

"Whoa, you two got tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala?!" Twilight practiacally screamed.

"I guess so? What is the Gala like anyway." Naruto asked. Twilight then filled the two humans in, and when she was done, Naruto had a sour look on his face.

"Oi Sasuke, burn my ticket would you." Twilight's jaw hit the floor and her eyes extended five inches when she heard Naruto say that.

"No, you're going. It's doubtful, but those nobles might be able to pound some manners into you."

"Oh no. I am not dealing with stuffy nobles who think everyone not like them is beneath them."

"Doesn't change the fact that you're going."

"No I'm not."

"Twilight's going."

"Good for her."

"Everypony else is going."

"More power to them."

"That includes Fluttershy."

"Don't even know why. She hates large groups."

"If you don't go, you'll make her cry."


"Like I said, you're going. I'll let Rarity know so she can design your clothes." And with that, Sasuke left for the boutique, tickets in hand.

"That dirty rotten guilt tripping jerk." Naruto snarled out as he stomped off to his room, slamming the door behind him. All the while, Twilight's expression had not changed in the slightest.

"Um, Twilight, you okay?" Asked Spike, and tapped the unicorn. That tap however, set the bomb off.