The First Act: The Stage is Yours, The Servants of Justice Arrive
It all started about a few years ago, back when Pinkamena-sama was about eight years old...
The gaps... Worlds between the world of the living and the dead. A place of fear, a place of monsters. It is there that those who fell into sin, those that sided with darkness go to become servants of the Gedoushuu. Though peace and harmony had truly been spread throughout Equestria, lingering remnants of hate and anger stirred within the nation's borders.
These remnants were small, unorganized, easily stamped out by soldiers of the Equestrian Guard. Some of the nation's sorcerers and scientists blamed the fall of Nightmare Moon on their occurrences. Their evidence: Her recent banishment to the moon. However, that was not the case. It was only ten years after the banishment of Nightmare Moon that her Remnants of anger unlocked the Sanzu River and caused the legions from the other side to attack our world. The first head of the Pie Clan -Strawberry Cream Pie- led the charge against the forces of the Gedoushuu, starting what seemed to be an unending war against their armies. However, a breakthrough was made which caused a lasting peace. The Seventeenth Head of the Pie Clan -Pinkamena's Grandmother- had mastered the sealing symbol, which she used in her final battle against Chimatsuri Doukouku. An act, which would unfortunately cost her life...
-The final confrontation between the Seventeenth Generation Shinkengers and Doukouku-
The city of Rockford was burning. Under normal circumstances, the small village was quite capable of handling any sort of fires that would have broken out, but it was no natural fire that they were dealing with.
Amidst the orange and yellow blaze of the flames that consumed the city, hundreds of ponies were fleeing in terror. Smoke billowed above their heads as they ran, some tripping over their own legs others failing to keep up with the crowds. Behind them were the strangest creatures that one would have ever seen before. The creatures were as tall as minotaurs -in some instances they were taller- and wore yellow robes underneath brown armor. Their faces were almost indiscernible, being hidden behind gaping mouths and a mass of tentacles that one could mistake for being hair. They all carried the same blood-stained jagged swords in their right hands, and pursued the fleeing ponies with all of the destructive force of an inferno.
"All right you ass-holes, make them suffer! Make them scream! Make them die in despair and fill the Sanzu River!" A voice, horrible and as terrible as the chaos that filled Rockford's streets pierced through the night. Several of the fleeing ponies looked over their shoulders before bolting even faster at the sight, in the center of the monsters that gave chase was nothing short of a demon that one would see straight out of a Neighponesian nightmare, its six glowing eyes piercing through the flames as the all black plate armor that it wore reflected the brightness of the flames. In one of its hands was an all black handled katana, long enough to split a cow in two, which depicted a dragon breathing fire along its blade. "Bring me Shinken Red's Head! Bring it to me! And flood the Sanzu River!"
Ponies continued to flee as the beasts continued their rampage, smashing and destroying everything and anything in their way. Carts were over turned, Ponies that didn't manage to get away were thrown into and through walls and windows, and any that tried to stay and fight were slaughtered by the monsters. As they advanced into the city square, the sounds of a small drum could be heard over the chaos. They stopped and watched as heavily armored ponies bustled about, running every which-way as they began to form a stage. Several banners, which bore a trio of black stars on their face, were held up high as several more were positioned in front of the group. The demons stopped, staring as one of the giant banners was moved, revealing five ponies all in color-coordinated jumpsuits.
"It's the Shinkengers!"
"Thank Celestia! We're Saved!"
The pony in the red jumpsuit stepped forward, pulling out a small brush from one of the many pockets that were attached to her belt with a free hoof. The six-eyed demon appeared to be unimpressed, only for a moment as the red pony began to draw something in the air.
"You think that a little brush is going to save you? It will take more than that." The demon snapped, pointing a hand in their direction as the smaller demons charged.
The pony clad in red said nothing, continuing to draw a symbol in the air as the other four ponies charged forward, clashing their swords and keeping the demons back with all of their strength. The monsters countered, charging at the Shinkengers with the ferocity of a typhoon.
Doukouku could only watch as one by one more and more of his soldiers were cut down. But for each one that was struck down, three more took their place and picked up where the others left off. "Give it up, you are hopelessly out numbered. There isn't-"
He stopped, tilting his head slightly at the sight of a symbol, looking similar to the trio of black stars on the banners that heralded his enemy's approach, began to glow and radiate with powerful flame. If he were any other sort of being, his eyes would have visibly narrowed. The other jump suited ponies all threw their weight into the demons that they were fighting before leaping to the side, giving the symbol room to grow.
And that was their first mistake.
Doukouku, sensing that something was off with Shinken Red, readied his sword just as the symbol spun in the air to face him. The seal continued glowing, even as he dropped his sheath and prepared to strike, his fanged mouth forming a deadly smile. He could see that several flames streamed from the Symbol, and radiated off of the equine, who stomped its hooves in his direction causing the symbol to charge forward.
Without a second thought, Doukouku swung his black blade, a bolt of violent red lightning erupting from the blade and striking the symbol with tremendous force. But it seemed that both the symbol and his wave of energy were both evenly matched. The red-suited pony appeared to strain under the pressure, though he couldn't tell for sure as the helmet covered its face, and faltered slightly before putting more power into the symbol. Doukouku responded in kind, reinforcing his wave of energy with another intersecting slash of his sword, crossing the two together.
This forced the red clad pony back significantly, but it didn't stop her from trying. With a mighty roar, the flames that trailed from the pony burned significantly brighter, enhancing the symbol and driving it back further towards the demon. "Dammit, Just Fall Already!" Doukouku shouted, getting impatient towards the symbol.
As Doukouku prepared another swing, one that he thought would end it, he could see that the flames from the chaos his armies caused were empowering the symbol, strengthening it even further. He stepped back hesitantly, watching and letting out a horrified roar as the seal overtook and smashed into him.
The impact knocked the demon flying towards a crack that stood between two buildings, causing the gap itself to begin to glow a blood red. The demon struggled, but was unable to move as he was drawn into the gap before disappearing with a loud, "PLOP." The demons that were underneath him stopped, turning towards the site of where their leader fell only to also be dragged towards where the symbol was. Some struggled, others tried to run, but it was not to be as all of the monsters that had attacked Rockford and the river that they were trying to flood were absorbed into the portal that was made by the seal.
Several minutes passed as the portal was held open with all of the red-clad pony's strength. When the last demon and ounce of the Sanzu River was sucked in through the seal, it vanished leaving nothing behind.
Silence claimed the area as the results of what had just been accomplished made themselves known. The pony in red collapsed, the sound of its body dropping onto the hard pavement as it was enveloped in a bright red light. As its compatriots turned they saw a Mare, pale rose in coat color with a bright yellow mane and tail with similar stars for a Cutie Mark, laying on the stone of Rockford's streets, her breathing ragged.
The four other ponies rushed to the mare's aid, changing to reveal four other ponies: a dark blue pegasus with a white and blue mane and tail, a green earth pony with a brown mane and tail, and a pair of yellow unicorns each with a green mane and tail. The downed mare tried to get to her hooves, struggling for a bit only to have a gentle hoof help her up.
"Please Lady Pie, don't strain yourself." One of the unicorns said, lifting one of her hooves and draping it across her back.
"Pinkie... Where is my Pinkie? Is she safe? Is the city safe? Is Equestria safe?" Lady Pie asked, her words followed by a very violent fit of coughing.
"She's fine my Lady, she evacuated with the rest of the city as per your instructions towards the family farm." The other earth pony replied. "The city suffered only minor damages from inside, and the wall has to be rebuilt, but it's safe. And-
Don't lie to me Gold Miner." Lady Pie said, fighting another fit of coughing. "I know you're on leave with Stinkin' Rich's permission. I wouldn't want you to have to leave that young filly of yours in his care." She paused, her body wracked with pain before coughing again, her voice weakening before she spoke again. "What's the real damage?"
Gold Miner sighed. "The truth is your highness, the Pie Clan mansion was burned to the ground..." He paused as Lady Pie looked up, her fierce ice-colored eyes appeared to burn into his skull. "Sharpshooter and I led the Kuroko into a battle to hold off Doukouku's forces long enough for the women and children to escape while they hid there, And we suffered only few civilian casualties." He explained as the pegasus nodded. "As I said earlier, the wall needs to be fixed but truthfully it did not last during the first few hours of the attack. The Nanashi Renchuu punched through the holes and overwhelmed the guards to the point of killing them to the last." He stopped, looking away from Lady Pie.
"And Equestria? Is Doukouku Gone?" She asked.
"The seal worked my Lady." The other unicorn, Sunrise, replied. "Doukouku and all of his forces were pulled in by the seal and banished to where the Sanzu river naturally originates from."
Lady Pie said nothing, shaking her head solemnly before uttering a quick prayer to the heavens. "I want to see my family. I want to see my Pinkie." She said quickly, her strength returning to her.
The trip from Rockford led Lady Pie and her group to a nearby farm some distance away from the city. The blandness of the whole of the farm was enough to make the warrior sniff in disgust, but as she approached she couldn't help but smile. Igneous Rock stood, stoic as ever with his wife Geode in the front door. Her strength returning to her, Lady Pie broke into a gallop and cleared the thirty yard long stretch to the farmhouse in less than a minute wrapping both ponies in a hug which was returned.
As Lady Pie was led in, she stopped at the sight of three foals all hiding underneath several pillows quivering in fear. Each all had different coats one in unbelievably pink with a matching tail, one in a dull grayish color with a black tail, and one with a dark blue color and matching gray tail.
"The others were foals who were saved by the Kuroko." Igneous whispered as Lady Pie looked on the scene cautiously. "Their families were on the wall when Doukouku's siege began, and were protected by the Kuroko when the house fell to the Gedoushuu." Lady Pie nodded, cautiously stepping towards the three trembling foals.
"Pinkie?" Lady Pie called out, watching as the pink flank of the foal in question did not move. "Pinkie, come on its me. Granny Pie." She said.
"No! It's too scary, there's lotsa monsters out there that are gonna gobble me and my new friends up!" Lady Pie could hear the sniffles from the foal from underneath the pillow and shook her head. Calmly Lady Pie trotted around the three foals and laid down on the carpet, her legs grateful for not being in a standing position.
"Now Pinkie, is that how you want to show your new friends what being a Pie is?" Lady Pie asked.
"B-Bu-But they'll hurt them! An-
No they won't." Lady Pie replied gently. "Look, Darlin' you need to stand up tall. There's something that I want you to know, something that will make all the monsters and bad things go away."
"There is?" Pinkie asked, the foal's head poking itself out from the pillow just as the others did so.
"Yes, there is." Lady Pie replied, smiling a little. "You see..." She paused, genuinely looking around, and smiling at the same time. "Those monsters don't like laughing."
"Laughing?" Pinkie repeated.
"Yes, laughing Darlin'. Anything, from giggles to guffaws. It's how your Granny deals with the monsters." Lady Pie replied, smiling generously. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see both of the other foals poke their heads from out underneath the pillows as well. "And when you live for as long as I have, you get really good at it. Just make sure that you remember, the monsters can't hurt you when you're laughing." She said, watching the foals all stare at her in wonder. "Now I think it's time for some foals to get to bed. Come on now." Lady Pie said, smiling as the three foals all got up and headed for the bedrooms upstairs without complaint.
After giving Pinkie and her new friends each a goodnight kiss and leaving the door opened for them, Lady Pie returned to the living room of the farmhouse and sat down in an available rocking chair. "Igneous Rock, I want you to promise me something." She said, watching from the corner of her eye as the farm pony came back in with a cup of tea balanced on a tray on his back.
"Anything Lady Pie." He replied.
"Promise me that she'll be well taken care of and loved when I'm gone." Lady Pie replied. "That was my last fight against the Gedoushuu, I can't do it anymore. And I have picked her to be my successor."
Igneous Rock nodded quietly, setting the tray down and turning away. "I understand Lady Pie." He said, before preparing to leave.
"You seem awfully okay with this Igneous. She is your only daughter, and she will be put in danger, grave danger." Lady Pie said quietly.
"Lady Pie, as a member of the secondary house of the Pie clan, it's not my place to question the actions of the main house." Igneous rock replied. "I just do as I am bidden, and will watch over Pinkamena until the time is right for her to fight again."
Both the mare and the stallion said nothing, the silence only being broken by Lady Pie picking up a cup with one of her hooves(she had made smaller hooves appear from the major hoof to grab the cup), and drinking it before setting it back down. "I see." Lady Pie replied, a mask covering her true emotions. "Train her well then Igneous. Train her well."
-Twelve years after the attack on Rockford-
It was then just after that night that the previous head of the Shinkengers, Lady Hard Rock Pie, passed on peacefully into the next world. Her strength had done her a major service, and while it was a major blow to the Pie Clan household, and the Shinkengers as a whole, nopony took it as hard as Pinkamena-sama. However, the seal on the Sanzu River was not to last, and the attacks on Equestria returned in earnest.
Rockford, the stone and rock capitol of Equestria. A shining beacon of Earth Pony industry save for Manehatten or Canterlot, the city was the number one location in common Earth Pony technology.
The city was small, not much bigger than what the newest city of Ponyville was -which wasn't saying much-, but it had survived some of the worst tragedies ever to befall a city. The first attacks of Nightmare Moon's rebellion after leaving the Everfree Castle were waged here. The brave rebellions from the Earth Ponies against Discord took place within its hallowed streets. Even rumors said that the city was originally the settled place of the Earth Pony Capitol Dirt before Equestria was founded, though those were just tossed aside as hopeful historians trying to make names for themselves.
Yes the solid gray, and absolutely drab stone city was nothing short of a fortress town within a relatively peaceful part of the country. The buildings were made of some combination of granite and some form of marble, only because they were built pretty secure by those that plied their trade. It was relatively clean, made so by the combination of hard work and diligence by the ponies that lived there, and was protected by veteran guards around the clock.
In a smaller more isolated section down by Rockford's famous wall, several foals were playing in a small park which rested under a tree with a ball being batted between them.
As the ball sailed into the air, a dark blue earth pony filly with a cream colored mane and tail, leapt up from the grass of the park and knocked the ball higher than normal. Her two companions watched as the ball bounced several feet away from them, before landing in a gap between two buildings.
"Aw come on!" One of the foals, a bright green earth pony colt shouted, throwing his hooves in the air. "Misty, why did you knock it so far?"
The dark blue foal known as Misty shook her head. "I didn't mean too. Look, I'll go get it Snippit if you want me to."
The third foal, a yellow filly with a bright pink mane and tail shook her head. "I... I um... I don't think you should... You might get hurt."
Misty shook her head. "Nah, it's just in a gap. What's the worst that could happen Posey?" She asked, turning towards the gap.
"I heard my daddy say that you should always get a grown up when it comes to dealing with things caught in gaps." Posey replied, some of her courage returning to her. "He said that there might be monsters that can come out and get you."
"Monsters?" Snippit asked skeptically. "Really Posey? Are you really scared of a dumb old gap and a story they use to scare foals with?"
As the three foals continued their discussion, none of them noticed a dark red sliver appear from thin air between the gap.
"And what if there are portals to the Sanzu River?" Posey Snapped. "You could be cursed to living there forever!"
Misty shrugged. "It's not real Posey, now I'm gonna go get the ball back so we can get on with our game." The foal turned, blinking as she saw a ripple in between the walls of both buildings before trotting over towards where their ball had landed. It was in pretty far back, causing the foal to maneuver around several garbage bins and bags of refuse that were waiting to be picked up before reaching the object of her desire. As she placed her hooves on said ball, a chill went down her spine as a dull gurgling growl could be heard above her.
The foal looked up and shrieked, tripping and stumbling over her hooves at the sight. Hovering above her was a faceless demon, with a gaping mouth that appeared to have attached to a mass of tentacles for a head and a body that was covered in yellow robes and brown armor. The face and all the features that were not the armor or the robes appeared to be a painfully-looking bloodstained red, as the creature's shoulders appeared to be covered in solid blazing flames. Clutched in one of the creatures claws was a jagged looking, blood red sword which had a blade that gave off an unearthly glow.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Misty shrieked, turning on her hooves and bolting back towards where her friends were standing. She could see the fearful expressions on both of their faces as she turned and looked over her shoulder, seeing at least twenty or thirty of the monsters filling out the gap behind her before giving chase.
Before the monsters could step into the sunlight to give the foals a better look at them, several ponies dressed all in black appeared each wielding a halberd or a naginata in their hooves pointed towards the demons. Several of these ponies surrounded Misty and her friends before escorting them away from where they were playing previously.
The monsters attempted to give chase, only to be flung back as several explosions erupted in front of them, obscuring the retreat of the foals from a normal ponies vision. As the resulting cloud of smoke cleared, the monsters could see two ponies standing in front of them, a brown earth pony with a gray mane and tail clad in a simple black hat with a farmers shirt and black overalls, and a red-jump suited pony with a futuristic sword at its side and a full face mask covering its face with the symbol of, "Fire," on the front.
The brown pony stepped forward, clearing his throat as he did so, "Now listen up, minions of Chimatsuri Doukouku. Who you see before you is the descendant of the ones who have consistently driven your kind back to the realm of darkness where they belong: The eighteenth head of the Pie Clan, Shinken Red Pinkamena Diane Pie-sama!"
The demons said nothing, some tilting their heads in confusion as both ponies continued to stand before them.
"Now, will you retreat back from whence you came? Or will you give my lady the pleasure of cleaning your blood off of her-
Daddy Pie, Too long." Shinken Red said, cutting the old pony off.
"But my lady, this is a chance to-
Daddy Pie, don't worry about it." Shinken Red replied. "I'm going forth." She said finally, standing up on her back hooves for a second and drawing the futuristic sword from her side. After wrapping one of her hooves around the blade and resting it on her shoulder, the red-jump suited pony charged the crowd of demons, plowing through several that nearly got in her way.
Before the demons could react, one was felled by several quick downward slashes followed by an uppercut with the blade, forcing several to turn. Three of the Demons immediately landed on top of her, only to have their blades blocked by the sword that she carried now resting on her back.
With a quick flick of her leg, the demons were flung backwards, dropping to the ground before two more were stabbed in the chest. Shinken Red wasted no time, turning her attention to two more that had closed in and blocked their incoming attack with both hooves on her blade. "Too Slow." She said, raising one of her back legs and smashing it into the chest of one of the demons before throwing the other off of her. With a spin, two more demons expired before they were dropped to the ground, causing the others that were still standing to hesitate.
Before Shinken Red could make another move, the demons ran for the same gap that they had entered from, leaving no trace of the scene of the battle except the pony clad in red. A blinding flash later revealed an unbelievably pink Earth Pony mare with a gentle curly mane and tail with a trio of balloons for a cutie mark on her flank.
"Well Done Pinkamena-sama. Once again you-
"Hold it, hold it, hold it." Rainbow Dash snapped leaping from her cushion and glaring at Igneous Rock. "You expect us to believe that Pinkie Pie took care of twenty monster-demon thingies by herself? She hasn't been anything but-"
The cyan pegasus was immediately struck across the head by a giant paper fan that had somehow been moved into Pinkie Pie's hooves. Her face was emotionless, even as the shock of the act registered with her friends.
"Hey! What was that for?" Rainbow Dash snapped, turning on the offending pony and freezing.
Pinkie Pie's eyes had hardened, her mask as strong as steel and as intimidating as a dragon's. The pink pony's glare was fierce enough to make Rainbow Dash feel small, and rival that of Fluttershy's stare. Quickly the blue pegasus leapt back to her cushion and said nothing, looking down at the floor in particular.
"Now Pinkie that was-
It was necessary." Pinkie Pie replied, Looking towards Twilight. "I know that we're friends, but right now we are listening to a story. It was rude of Rainbow to interrupt, and rudeness will not be tolerated as long as the presence of the Pie Clan is here." She raised a hoof as Twilight made to speak, silencing her. "Out of respect Twilight, I do know it was wrong and I'll make it up to Rainbow Dash later. Right now we must adhere to tradition, and the tradition dictates that no one is to interrupt while a story is being told by the herald."
"Oh. Okay..." Twilight replied, looking away as Pinkie Pie nodded towards her father.
Igneous Rock nodded, clearing his throat and adjusting his position where he stood. "Yes, well believe it or not Pinkamena-sama did take care of the Nanashi Renchuu that were trying to break into Rockford for the first time in twelve years...
"Pinkamena-sama, don't you think that it's about time that we found you loyal retainers to protect you?" The secondary pony, Igneous Rock replied.
Pinkamena shook her head, casually replacing a small rectangular device back into her mane. "I have no desire to getting other ponies involved and hurt in this battle. Do as you will." She said calmly trotting away, ignoring the Kuroko that offered her a small teacup and a towel.
Igneous looked after his daughter, calmly shaking his head. "That girl can be quite stubborn sometimes." He thought, trotting after Pinkamena as the other Kuroko began to clean up the area and follow him.
A lot had changed for the Pie Clan's rock farm since the Gedoushuu last attacked it. A simple farm house was made as a disguise for a larger, more complex Neighponesian mansion that sat within, imitating the previous mansion with all of its splendor. The walls were white washed, shining against the black framing and roofing that made the majority of the house, as a major section of living quarters towered over the rest of the complex. A courtyard about as big as a stormball arena sat in the middle of the mansion, surrounded by walls on multiple sides.
On an open ledge, outside in the night air Pinkamena sat alone, a small pentagonal block bearing the same symbol of fire, and a brilliant color of red sat at her right. As the pony sat alone, the block clicked, the sides opening up to reveal tiny legs as the bottom of the pentagon extended and made two more. The front opened up and revealed a small fanged face which let out a tiny roar like a lion before turning up towards the pony. Pinkamena said nothing, her body in a meditative trance as the lion leapt into the air and landed in her mane before beginning to climb down her back. The pony's eyes opened as a front hoof extended outward as a place for the lion to land.
Pinkamena smiled gently, watching the lion roar a second time as it looked up at her. "You know, it's been a while since I've seen you smile like that Pinkamena-sama." Pinkamena turned, the lion returning to its pentagonal state as she saw Igneous Rock standing gently over her.
"Daddy Pie, it hasn't been that long. Has it?" She asked.
Igneous Rock shook his head. "No Darlin, I don't think that it has been." He watched as Pinkamena sat the block back down on the floor before sighing again. "I don't want anypony else to get hurt." She replied, looking away from her father.
"Now now, you can't stay alone forever. The Gedoushuu are strong, and it will take more than just one pony to defeat them."
"Then I'll get stronger!" Pinkamena shouted, pressing her front hooves into the floor. "I'll get so strong that there won't be a need for other ponies to endanger themselves! I'll-
And what about your special talent?" Igneous replied, watching his daughter stop. "You can't have it both ways Pinkamena-sama. You do remember what your Cutie Mark means right?" He asked, watching Pinkamena nod.
"Yeah... I do, and I want to make the best parties ever but... I have responsibilities now." She replied. "I have to protect the world. I..." Pinkamena choked up, several tears escaping her eyes.
"There there now, it's going to be all right." Igneous Rock replied, rushing over to his daughter and holding her close with his hooves.
"I don't want anypony to be miserable anymore." Pinkamena replied, crying gently into Igneous Rock's shoulder. "I don't want that at all. I don't... I..."
As Igneous Rock and Pinkamena sat in the middle of the Pie Clan courtyard, neither one of them noticed the reflection of a solid white eye spying on them.
"Oho... So it begins anew?" A voice said, mumbling under its owner's breath.
On the other side of the reflection, or at least what one would have thought to be a reflection sat not a pony, but a monster. The creature's skin was a pale, disgusting gray that went to a dark brown as it went to the ends of its body. The head of the creature was reminiscent of an octopus, elongated out over the top of the black robe that it wore as several of the tentacles at the bottom of its base formed a sort of beard. Several more tentacles were extended from underneath the back of the robe, wrapped around the staff that was clutched in their grasp which revealed the scene. The only thing that would have made the creature resemble anything like that of an equine, was the spiraling horn that sat in the middle of its head, and the heavily shrouded front hooves that seemed to ooze a black, viscous liquid.
"What begins anew? Another day languishing in this fell-prison? The rivers of the Sanzu are nice, but I would prefer to see the morning sun again Shitari." Another voice -one filled with cold, unfettered malice- asked, stepping forth into the squid demon's view. The owner, who was covered in pale blue robes that one would have mistaken for a dress and brown armored pants, flexed one of her pale white wings before turning her attention to the first monster. Her golden eyes, which appeared to be inside a full facemask that looked like a jellyfish's blinked and unnerved the squid.
"Oh uh... Dayu, it's you isn't it?" The squid demon known as Shitari asked, watching as the other monster stepped forward, her other wing tenderly clutching a small three-stringed guitar as her hooves stepped carefully over the rocks. "I was just saying that the war is about to begin anew. The next head of the Shinkengers has been chosen, and she looks to be a young one."
"Oh... You know Doukouku would be pleased to hear that. Or not." She stopped, the lips on her muzzle forming a wicked smile which revealed several fangs. "You know how he goes on for days on end on how he will, "Destroy the Pie Clan," and, "Eradicate the Shinkengers," and-
A loud, ear-splitting roar pierced the air as both Shitari and Dayu turned towards the blood-red seas of the Sanzu River. Rising from beneath the now turbulent waves was a ship, all black and rotten out from overuse. It appeared to have several holes, and the sails were torn all to pieces, but at the same time, the ship was seaworthy even by their own standards. Both demons turned, watching as the rocky beach near the river became filled with Nanashi Renchuu both big and small.
"That would be Doukouku now." Dayu said calmly, turning her back on her companion. "We had better get on board, otherwise he's going to have a fit. And then it will be both our heads." She finished, using her wing to move the guitar to her hooves before taking off into the air.
Shitari just shook his head, his staff and his horn glowing with an eerie black light as he stepped out towards the water. "No sense in keeping the boss waiting, after all, the war of revenge against the Shinkengers is about to begin!" The squid demon nearly skipped, stopping as he felt he was being watched before pressing on towards the ship.
The interior of the ship was just as much of a mish-mash as it was on the outside. There was plenty of room for Shitari and Dayu both to stand and wait around, even having a place to lie down in if one moved the giant barrels of alcohol that were strewn about. A small, tattered black veil sat inside a doorway as both Dayu and Shitari sat and remained silent, only getting up as they could hear the steps of hoof -or foot- meeting the solid ground of the ship. As the veil was drawn back, both Dayu and Shitari let out a small gasp, staring at the monster before them.
He was as tall as a minotaur, clad in black armor that had dark-red scorch marks and fresh bloodstains that were plastered all over its surface. Several spikes could be seen leaving his body and forming a set of small wings that appeared to be more decorative than useful for flight as six pale yellow eyes scanned across the room. The demon clutched his black sheathed sword tightly, taking several steps forward and sniffing, his pale white fangs never moving open.
"So... Usukawa Dayu and Shitari of the Bones eh? We meet again." The demon said, his voice nearing anger as he took a seat away from the veil and closest to Dayu.
"Doukouku-san, have you rested well?" Shitari asked, sounding concerned for the demon that just arrived.
"I'm well off, but not ready for a full scale invasion of the Mortal world yet." Doukouku replied, popping several bones back into place. "Plus, it's going to take a lot of time to refill the Sanzu River again. And I want revenge."
"Of course Doukouku-san. You'll get your revenge on those filthy Equestrians. Especially those that Banished you here." Shitari replied, bowing nervously as the demon reached for his sword and stood up.
As Doukouku was about to say something else, the three demons heard a splash, just as a sickly blue hand placed itself onto the boat. They turned, seeing another demon, only about as tall as Doukouku's shoulder. The beast wore similar looking dark red armor on the upper half of its torso, but its bottom was made of a skirt that looked like a giant face had been sewn into it, flesh and all.
"So... The first of the Ayakashi have shown up. What took you Kagekamuro?" Doukouku asked, watching the smaller demon tilt it's flaming head.
"Oh, Doukouku so yer' awake? It's about time General, when's the party gonna start?" The demon known as Kagekamuro asked, bowing slightly.
"Heh, always the same without the respect. It's why I like you." Doukouku sneered, turning on his heel to look out onto the Sanzu River. "Hmph, we'll start with some screaming to get the blood of the River flowing again. I need you to go out into the world and get the water level to rise. Can you do that for me?"
Kagekamuro nodded. "Of course General. Though it is an order coming from you I have no choice but to accept."
"Get to it then." Doukouku ordered, turning back around and plopping back down on the floor. "Ugh... The things I do for you lousy maggots... And for what? To sit here and rot in this piss-assed no good side of eternity."
Dayu immediately took a seat, her guitar gently cradled in her hooves as she pulled out a pick and began to play. Immediately Shitari rounded on the nearest demon and used his magic to haul him up on board, before passing a small bowl and a bottle to it. "Quickly now, General Doukouku needs some Sake. And don't spill a drop!" The squid demon ordered, watching closely as the demon did as he was instructed, passing a now filled bowl to Doukouku. Greedily the demon drank it down, the sounds of his slurping drowning out the melody of Dayu's guitar as Shitari turned to see that Kagekamuro had begun to lead several hundred Nanashi Renchuu through cracks in the beach nearby. "Hopefully that should satiate the General while Dayu plays her shamisen." He thought nervously. "We're in for a long and fearsome war. One those Shinkengers are sure unable to win."
-At an Orchestra Recital in Canterlot-
"It's okay... you can do this..."
Octavia Marie Pie stood nervously next to her best friend, her cello. The auditorium was quiet, too quiet for her tastes, but the destiny that was written on her flank was to play the cello, in front of hundreds of creatures both pony and non, and she wasn't going to back down.
It still didn't shake the feeling that she had only left home just last month.
The massive auditorium was like a gaping maw before her, the seats in front of her like razor sharp teeth. The young mare shivered in her chair nervously as three of the biggest names in Equestrian Concert hall sat in front of her: a dapper pale yellow pegasus by the name of Piano Concerto -the head of the review committee-, a rose colored unicorn known as Late Symphony -the conductor of the orchestra-, and a forest green unicorn with a gentle stature in Chamber Sonata -who found Octavia during her first solo music practice-, all were very big names in Canterlot, and all were very big names that she had to impress.
It was by a sheer stroke of luck that Chamber Sonata had found her, and was wowed by a piece that she was working on but never got quite right in the last bit. After reviewing her work, and comparing that to her astounding test scores, Octavia was then presented to play before the biggest names before her. And the thought terrified her.
Nervously she looked down, and saw what had been her steady hoof throughout her journeys alone -a blue hexagonal block that had the Neighponesian symbol for water on top of its face. It gave her comfort, even though she thought she was staring into certain death, and was her beacon whenever she was lost on her road to success no matter where she was.
"Ms. Pie, whenever you are ready to begin we shall be ready to hear your latest piece." Piano Concerto said solemnly, almost sounding snobbish, as he wiped one of the lenses of a very expensive pair of glasses with a small napkin and his wing.
"Okay." Octavia replied. "Well here goes nothing." She thought, pulling the bow for her cello across its strings and gently beginning to play.
"Hey! Gimme that back! It's mine!"
"Nuh-uh, that was mine first!"
Before two foals could begin throwing hooves at each other, a dark blue earth pony with a gray mane and tail and a pale rose for a Cutie Mark stepped in between the both of them. "Now, can we share or do I have to take it away?" She asked gently, picking up a small ball that lay forgotten on the lawns of a schoolhouse nearby.
"But Miss Pie, we wanted to play with the ball first!" A bright pink earth pony filly wailed, tears filling her eyes.
"But we got to it before you did so its finders keepers!" Another foal, significantly bigger than the others, snapped before sticking his tongue out at the filly.
Bellamina Ann Pie shook her head, scooping the ball in question with her hooves and smirking, before throwing it into the air. "Let's all play with it together then. That way, no pony gets left out of the fun!" She said, watching as several foals charged after it before the few that argued over it smiled and followed suit. Bellamina smiled, before following her charges as they chased the ball after them. In a saddlebag sitting next to the schoolhouse was a small white circular block with a pink Neighponesian symbol for Heaven on its face that gleamed as if it were in approval of her actions.
"Why you PUNK!"
The sound of slamming garbage cans and boxes could be heard from anywhere in the back alleys of Manehatten. Three pegasi stood over a lone pony, or at least the black pants covered legs save for the hooves of one, each itching for a fight with their prey. The hooves, which were a dark green in color, moved slightly as garbage and refuse were shoved aside, revealing a dark green unicorn with a dark green mane and tail who wore a bright red flaming cloak and had a block shaped in a square that bore a green symbol for the Neighponesian word for Forest on an necklace around his neck. The unicorn got up for a moment, shaking his head for a moment before looking around. He turned, concentrating for a moment as a pair of bright orange jagged sunglasses levitated from the garbage and were wiped clean before being placed on his snout.
"Hey you..." The unicorn said without facing his would-be assailants. "You know, picking on the defenseless isn't right."
All three pegasi shared a look before smirking. "What's it to you pointy-head? She owes our boss money, and we was gonna get it from her." The leader of the pegasi said, pointing towards a bright yellow unicorn mare with a blue mane and tail.
The green unicorn said nothing, his cloak beginning to flutter in an unseen breeze. "Well then, I guess you don't know who you're dealing with!" He snapped, wheeling around on the closest pegasus and throwing a powerful buck into another group of trash cans. The other two looked on with horror as the unicorn's glasses obscured the manic look in his eye.
"W-Wh-Who are you?" The lead pegasus asked, trembling slightly.
"The name's Humble Origins." The dark green unicorn replied. "AND WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?" He roared, leaping at and taking the other two pegasi down at the same time.
Alone in a small part of Cloudsdale, a bright white pegasus with an unbelievably curly blond mane sat playing with a small box in her hooves.
"Oooooooh!" She whispered excitedly. "I wonder what kind of extra super-duper, totally amazing surprise is in here!" Quickly the pegasus tore the box open, ripping it in two and revealing a small cherry pie that appeared to be still fresh. "Oh wow!" She whispered, getting a whiff of the pie before her. "Not as good as Nana Pie's, but still just as tasty smelling! Soarin's got good taste." The pegasus said, looking over her shoulder down on the bench. Nearby a triangular block sat lying downwards with a yellow symbol for the Neighponesian symbol for earth gleaming in the sunlight as she proceeded to see her reflection in it. "Keep it together Surprise. You've got to make something extra special for Soarin now!" She thought before looking back down on the pie in her hooves. "Maybe... After a little pie." She said before scarfing it down.
Another relatively peaceful day had passed in the Pie Clan's new family home. Alongside the fact that none of the Gedoushuu had shown up to cause trouble in Rockford, Pinkamena was spending her free time alone in the clan mansion courtyard.
"Darlin' face your fears. Stand up tall and there won't be a thing to stop you." The voice of her grandmother echoed in Pinkamena's mind, a wooden katana lay in front of her eager to be used as her eyes opened. "It's time." She said, grabbing the handle with her mouth before placing the katana on her shoulder and wrapping a hoof around it. After letting go of the katana's hilt, she concentrated, spreading her front and back legs into an aggressive position before snapping her eyes shut and bringing down the blade in front of her with a powerful slash.
Meanwhile, around the river that flowed through Rockford, several ponies were generally going about their business. They all moved about peacefully, going through several market stalls as other ponies tried their best to earn and win their customers hard earned bits. Several guard sentries stood nearby, just to make sure that some ponies got sticky hooves, but all and all it was just another relatively fine day for the small Equestrian town.
While several ponies were making their purchases together, several cracks from the sidewalk beneath their hooves began to glow a dark and bloody red. Foals looked downward and wowed at the sight. Several parents stopped to blink at the spectacle. Then silence.
Before anypony could react a sickly dark blue hand erupted from the crack, causing several ponies to leap back in surprise. It was then followed by the body of a heavily armored demon who wore a dark blue skirt with a face sewn into it. In the beast's other hand was a pair of small, pony-sized, shortswords that were silver in color and had faces carved into the metal.
"So... This is the Land of the Mortals Huh?" Kagekamuro roared, causing several ponies to shriek and yell in terror. From the cracks that were behind him, hundreds of Nanashi Renchuu appeared, roaring and growling as the seemed to encircle and trap the ponies that were too slow to get away. "All right you punks, Let's make them scream so the waters of the Sanzu River flow and flood this pathetic world!” The demon roared, unleashing several tiny balls of flame about the size of a pellet at a nearby stall before throwing a bigger one at it.
The demons that had arrived alongside Kagekamuro cheered in earnest, charging at the crowds of ponies and attacking all that were nearby, swinging their swords in an unorganized mob of general mayhem at the frightened equines and overrunning the town guards while in the process. This pleased the demon as several unicorns were pinned down, several Nanashi Renchuu holding them at blade point as he strode confidently on over.
"No. Don't kill'em just yet." Kagekamuro replied, before launching a swift kick towards one of the unicorns. "We've got to get their fear and anguish outta them before they die. Otherwise, the Sanzu River wont flood." He said, throwing another kick before turning to his crowd of followers. "Listen well Equestrians! This is the army of the Gedoushuu, and we are here to flood your precious little world! Know that none of you will be safe while we are here, and that your precious Princesses won't be able to save you!"
Just as Pinkamena had begun to ready another strike, the sound of galloping hooves met her ears. The earth pony turned, seeing her father clad in full samurai body armor with a long bow resting on his shoulder.
"Pinkamena-sama, the Gedoushuu have begun their next attack." Igneous Rock said calmly. "An Ayakashi Soldier is leading the Nanashi Renchuu into battle, we must call your retainers to battle!"
Pinkamena shrugged, setting the wooden katana down by her hooves and stretched herself. "I told you, I-
And I told you my lady that it would take more than just one pony to defeat them." Igneous Rock said, calmly walking over to a nearby room and lifting one of the panels in the floor. Beneath the panel sat 4 red oblong devices which looked like they could be held in one's hooves. "They have been raised to fight in this battle since the day that they were born, just as you have. They know their cause, and they will accept the risks. You must call on their strength too!"
Pinkamena turned, seeing her father's pleading look before finally nodding. "All right then." She said, trotting over and grabbing the devices as they were passed to her and placing them in a nearby saddlebag. "But I am not going to have to be held accountable. Their lives are in their hooves." She said coldly.
"You will have to tell that to them yourself my lady." Igneous Rock replied, stepping out into the hallway and readying his bow. After looking skyward, the old pony drew an arrow from the quiver that was strapped to one of his legs before knocking it onto the arrow and taking aim. Pinkamena only blinked, seeing a small paper with the symbol for, "Gather," was wrapped around the bow, before the arrow was loosed into the air and disappearing into view. Igneous Rock repeated the process three more times, before turning towards his daughter and bowing to her. "From now on I am not just your father Pinkamena-sama." He said, keeping his head held low. "I am a humble servant for the cause of the Pie Clan." He said, finally turning out into deeper in the house as Pinkamena stepped out into the courtyard. "OUR LADY IS GOING INTO BATTLE!" He shouted.
Hundreds of Kuroko immediately swarmed the courtyard, as if they were already prepared. Several dozen were in battle-armor and carried weapons, others were unprotected and carried banners, but even as they stood at attention, Pinkamena pretended not to see them. The Pink mare galloped out of the complex, as fast as she could and began to race towards the city, closely followed by her black-clad servants.
"Good Luck my lady..." Igneous Rock whispered, watching the procession charge out of the complex.
Calmly, Octavia was sitting alone at a nearby Canterlot coffee shop. A steaming cup of the strongest coffee that she knew that only the richest of ponies could afford was gently wafting in front of her. "I did it..." She thought, excitement in her heart. It was everything that she could do to control and contain her joy.
Her cello sat nearby, leaning in its case against the table, a worth implement to her cause. When the heads of the Canterlot Orchestra said that they would have a position available to her sometime in the near future, the earth pony could have celebrated right then and there. It was by nothing short of a miracle that she didn't freak out in the Concert Hall.
Quickly the Cellist picked up her cup and took a grateful swig, a smile quickly forming on her face. "Oh... Mother, if you could see me now..." She thought, her eyes forming blissful tears. Octavia took another swig, draining the cup before gently setting it down and turning towards her cello.
There was an arrow.
An arrow was lodged in her cello case, not too deep by from what she could see, but it was an arrow nonetheless.
She blinked again.
The arrow had carried with it the Neighponesian symbol for, "Gather," on a paper that had been tied around it.
"Well... At least it was good coffee." Octavia sighed, before removing the arrow from her case and slinging it over her shoulder. Quickly she paid for her cup before turning away from the cafe, a newfound determination in her stride as several pegasus ponies clad in black stood next to a black chariot bearing three golden stars nearby.
"Okay Cheerilee, do you know what to do?"
Bellamina Pie stood in an empty schoolhouse alone with a cerise colored earth pony standing next to her, all of the desks had been emptied, and most of the younger students had gone home.
"Y-Yes. I think I've got the gist of it." Cheerilee replied, staring at the arrow that was plunged in the center of Bellamina's teacher's desk. "Are you sure that you should be leaving your students so soon? School just started and-
They are the reason why I'm leaving." Bellamina replied, pulling the arrow from her desk and setting it gently into a nearby saddlebag. "If I don't leave now, then who's going to protect other foals from a threat like this?"
Cheerilee shook her head. "I'm... Not sure I understand. Wouldn't the Princess handle this kind of threat?"
Bellamina looked away, seeing several pegasus ponies standing near a chariot outside of the school house. "Her armies wouldn't be strong enough." She said, turning to look her best friend in the eye. "Look, you have to be strong. Strong for the foals here. As strong as you were back in Rockford." Cheerilee looked away As Bellamina put her saddlebags on her back. "It's the only thing that matters. Give as much joy to the foals as you get in return. After all, isn't that what your Cutie Mark is telling you?" She asked, nodding towards the three smiling flowers on Cheerilee's flank.
"O-Of course." Cheerilee replied, seeing Bellamina head towards the front door. "Bellamina wait!" She exclaimed, trotting over to her and placing something around her neck. Bellamina looked down and saw a black and white checkermarked bandana wrapped around her neck and looked back up to Cheerilee.
"But this is-
Give it back to me when you get back." Cheerilee replied. "It's a good luck charm, and I want it back." She said, smirking a little.
"Okay." Bellamina said, giving her best friend a hug. "Don't ever let them see you cry." She said, watching as Cheerilee nodded.
"Give'em Tartarus Bellamina." Cheerilee replied, returning the hug. She then stepped back watching as Bellamina left the school house, before quickly racing towards the ponies that were nearby.
"Good Luck Bella..." Cheerilee thought, before turning away from the window.
"So... You aren't hurt are you?" Humble Origins asked, staring into the mare's eyes.
"No... Not really." She said, the pale blue orbs drinking in her rescuer for the third time that day. Blunderbuss was a different sort of pony, always prone to accidents, always prone to getting hurt, but the dark orange unicorn was thankful that Humble was there looking out for her.
"That's good. Look, you may wanna stay outta trouble for the next couple of days." Humble replied, withdrawing an arrow from underneath his cloak. "I'm gonna be leavin' town and I can't have you constantly in danger 'kay?" He asked, watching as Blunderbuss blushed slightly.
"I'm not always in danger..." She said, feeling something being placed around her head. Looking up, the unicorn saw a pair of dark green lensed goggles placed above her horn and around her head. "What's this for?" She asked.
"To keep those pretty eyes of yours from getting dirty." Humble replied, turning to go.
"Wait!" Blunderbuss exclaimed. "Where will I find you?"
Humble stopped, before sniffing a little. "Tch, you don't need to worry about that. I'll find you little lady. That's a promise."
"How am I supposed to believe you?" The orange unicorn replied.
This got her confused. "Don't?"
Humble nodded. "Don't believe in me. Believe in the you that believes in me." He paused, smirking a little. "Believe in the heart that knows that I'll come and find you. After all, it's the best thing to trust." He said, before calmly raising a hoof into the air before leaving.
Blunderbuss said nothing, her brain completely confused by what Humble had just said as she watched the unicorn round the corner and out of sight. "What does that mean?" She thought.
Surprise looked down.
Before her was an arrow, the symbol for gather painted on a paper that was tied to the back end.
However it was stuck in her hoof.
"Now that's not a nice place to put something." The pegasus said, grabbing the arrow with her teeth and pulling it. After a few good yanks the arrow came free, leaving a small hole in her hoof.
"Hey! I could pass as a pretty good changeling!" She giggled, staring at the hole in her hoof. "Who knew I'd be a holey-pony!" Another laugh before her face became serious.
Quickly she traced the direction of where the arrow came from before leaping into the air, her own saddlebag carrying the arrow with her as she flew. "Gotta get you home to your owner little guy!" Surprise shouted, flying out over the horizon. "After all, the main event's about to start!"
As the chariot that she was riding in sat down, Octavia could see that she was currently standing in a different part of the city of Rockford. Several buildings towered over her, and it looked mostly abandoned. "We're meeting here?" She asked, leaping from the chariot, her cello case in tow. After taking several steps out into the open, the chariot that she arrived on immediately took off, causing the pony to turn back towards them. "Hey wait!" She shouted, galloping forward only to watch as the chariot disappeared behind a roll of cloud cover. "Great." She said, snorting loudly.
The earth pony turned, her ears pricking upwards towards the sound. "Only two ponies in all of Equestria call me that, and if I know Vinyl she's probably still sleeping from her club job." Octavia thought, hearing the sound of a loud, "WHUMP," before turning around.
Bellamina stood behind her, her jaw slack.
"Bella, what are you doing here?" Octavia asked, watching the dark blue pony leap from the chariot.
"I should ask you the same thing." Bellamina replied, looking over Octavia. "I thought you would be in Canterlot by now!" She snapped, watching as the cellist blushed slightly.
"I was, and I made the Canterlot Grand Orchestra!" She said excitedly, before looking away. "Though I did get my message before I could really celebrate."
"Celebrate? Who's celebrating here?"
Both mares looked up, watching as Humble trotted casually into view. "So neither of you guys are her huh? That makes it interesting."
"Um, excuse me sir, but we were having a conversation." Octavia snapped.
"And I was overhearing it, thinking that there would be other ponies with this-" Humble raised a hoof to show the block with the symbol of the forest to the two mares, "on them." He paused. "You two wouldn't happen to be them would you?"
Octavia and Bellamina blinked looking into their bags before pulling their respective symbols out to show Humble. The unicorn nodded before plopping down on the concrete. "Right, so you guys must also be retainers." He said, giving a snort. "Welp, we'll see what you can do soon enough."
"And that's supposed to mean... What exactly?" Octavia asked, her eyes narrowing.
"Oh, don't take it the wrong way." Humble replied, holding his hooves up in defense. "I was just saying that we're all going to prove ourselves to the lord of this place." He smiled a little before popping some joints in his neck. "Though I would say that now that I'm here the fight's going to be easy."
"And who are you?" Bellamina asked.
"The name's Humble." Humble replied. "Humble Origins. But seeing as how we're working on the same side, you can call me Humble Alexander Pie. It was the name the Pie Clan's previous acting lady gave me before she passed." He stopped before smirking. "And you two are?"
"Bellamina Ann Pie." Bellamina replied.
"Octavia Marie Pie." Octavia said curtly.
"Well, cool. That's nice to know." Humble said casually. "Let's get along."
"If get along you mean by working together than sure!"
All three ponies turned, as a bright white pegasus stepped out from the shadows. Her incredibly goofy grin only matched by her incredibly curly blond mane and tail bouncing as she trotted over to where the others stood. "I'm Surprise, and I guess you're my partners too?" She asked, watching as the other ponies continued to look at her suspiciously. The pegasus stopped for a moment before drawing out her symbol, causing the other three to breathe a sigh of relief as she put the symbol back in her saddlebag.
"So you're the four retainers?"
All four ponies turned, blinking as what appeared to be a pink earth pony with a modestly curly mane and tail standing before them. Several other ponies in black stood at her sides, each holding banners that bore a mark of a trio of black stars on each side of her.
Immediately the four ponies bowed, but Pinkamena raised her hoof to stop them. "I'm only saying this once for your sake." She began, trotting towards the group before stopping about a foot away from them. "This is a fight that you cannot win. Not at your current state."
The other ponies cast a glance at each other but remained silent.
"The Gedoushuu are incredibly strong. If you leave now and return to your lives, there's no shame in it." Pinkamena continued. "This battle is only reserved for the strong of heart and will. But know this," She paused, looking into the eyes of the four ponies. "It is either kill or be killed. The Gedoushuu will not give you mercy, and you shall give them none. Either you defeat them, or they destroy the world."
Octavia and Bellamina cast a glance at each other as Surprised smirked.
"My lady," She began, bowing low, "We all trained for this moment. We've been given the chance to do something for the world that is bigger than each of us on our own. And that's a sacrifice that we're willing to make."
The others nodded, causing Pinkamena to withdraw the oblong devices that she received from her father. "Then take these, and prepare for battle." She said, tossing each pony one.
Before any of them could react, several of the ponies clad in black swarmed them, preparing them all for the battle that was coming. A banner bearing the same crest circled them, as their clothes were immediately changed for them all if they had any.
Rockford town hall was the sight of misery. In its current state, the town guard had barricaded the manor from all access as best as they could to protect themselves from attacks from the Nanashi Renchuu. Several soldiers had died in the poor defense of the city, in being completely unprepared from the attack, and many more innocent civilians were either gravely injured or dying in wake of the first attack.
Kagekamuro smirked. "Well now, we just need to break down that door and get the rest of those ponies outta there before we dry out." He stepped forward, wading through the crowd of Nanashi Renchuu before getting to the steps towards the front of the manor. "Well... If you want something done, you might as well do-
Kagekamuro stopped, the sound of a drum echoing through the air. The drum continued, echoing repeated, "BONG's", as several ponies dressed in black began to charge out in front of the Nanashi Renchuu. As they worked at setting up what appeared to the demon to be a stage Kagekamuro felt entranced, almost as though he were hypnotized by the scene. Two ponies hefted massive banners as several more carted in flags which revealed a crest which bore several stars on its face. Others carried a massive screen, which appeared to be set out for five sections, towards the front which also bore the same crest on each of the sections.
As the set was finished, and fully prepared the closest screen towards Kagekamuro was lifted, the drumming reaching its highest tempo before stopping, revealing several ponies wearing all white kimono's that one would see in Nippony. In the center of them was an impossibly pink earth pony mare with a curly mane restrained into the safety of a bun, her face as firm and as strong as steel.
"That's far enough. Gedoushuu." Pinkamena snapped, looking down on the demons before her.
"And who the fuck are you supposed to be?" Kagekamuro snapped, glaring at the five ponies that were standing in his way of total conquest for Doukouku.
"You shall soon see." Pinkamena retorted, before drawing from a smaller pouch a rectangular object that unfolded and revealed a brush tip hiding within. "MOBILE BRUSH!" She shouted. As if trained to act on command, the other ponies that were with her drew the same devices, resting them in the palm of their hooves. Then, in near perfect synch, they all shouted:
"WITH THESE STROKES, WE REPORT TO THE PRINCESS!"
"So you guys are finally here?" Kagekamuro scoffed, watching as the ponies all began to write in mid air, each of them all taking time to write the Neighponesian symbols for fire, water, heaven, wood, and land respectively. After almost a second of writing the ponies then gave their hooves a quick flick, before flipping the symbols around and concentrating as blinding flashes of light enveloped them.
What the demon did not see was that the symbols all took the form of their jumpsuits, which matched in color to their symbols: Red for Fire, Blue for Water, Pink for Heaven, Green for Wood, and Yellow for land. The jumpsuits had a similar look, looking more stream lined than the kimonos that they wore, only with the colored tops tucked into their pants save for the only stallion on their team, all being held together by a golden belt. In a flash of colored flames, each of their swords materialized to their sides, sliding onto the belts just as smaller versions of the symbols they had previously written appeared, covering them in matching helmets which bore those symbols in black.
As the light died away, Kagekamuro lowered his arm before letting out a low rumbling growl at the ponies assembled in front of him.
Pinkamena immediately opened her belt buckle, drawing a black disk from within and sliding onto the guard position from her sword before drawing it with a hoof. "Samurai Pony of Flames, Shinken-red! Pinkamena Diane Pie!" She declared, resting the sword on her shoulder and getting down on all fours.
Octavia followed suit, only after drawing her sword making it look like she was pulling a bow across a set of cello strings. "The same, but of water! Octavia Marie Pie!"
Bellamina followed her sisters, drawing the sword from its holster before bringing it closer to her heart. "The same, but of the heavens! Bellamina Ann Pie!"
From within his helmet Humble smirked, drawing his sword before thrusting it forward, before running his hoof along the dull side of his sword. "The same, but of wood! Humble Alexander Pie!"
Surprise said nothing, leaping into the air and doing a backflip before drawing her sword, before clutching her sword tightly in her hooves. "The same, but of land! Surprise Lydia Pie!"
As soon as all of their roll calls were finished, four of the five ponies got down and kneeled as Pinkamena twirled her own sword a bit before drawing her hoof along the dull-side of her blade. "We are the Samurai Sentai authorized by Faust's Providence!"
The four kneeling ponies rose from their kneeling positions, bringing their blades with them as they did so, before bringing them all down at the same time with Pinkamena and shouting,
It was then that Pinkamena snapped her head back upwards to glare at the demon from within her helmet, before righting herself and striking a pose along with her companions.
Kagekamuro said nothing, raising one of his two swords towards the now jumpsuit clad ponies, leaving the Nanashi Renchuu to charge at their small group. The ponies, undeterred by the demon's charge surged forward, readying themselves for the initial clash as they closed the gap.
Pinkamena was the first to meet the enemy, her sword dropping against the blade of one of the Nanashi Renchuu before picking up the slack and retaliating with an upward swing with her blade. Two more had filled in the gap, only to get cleaved in two by her sword as she charged further into the melee. Several of the Demons followed her in pursuit, wildly swing their swords at her and giving easy chances to guard and retaliate with a strike with her own, continuing to carve a path out towards Kagekamuro.
Octavia, who was trying to find her groove with the weapon she was using, had been driven off of the stairs that led to town hall and to a nearby square, where several of the Nanashi Renchuu had begun to gather. After taking several of them down with a few well-placed strikes, she turned and saw more advancing from her right. "No, you're not getting past me!" She shouted, charging forward and taking several more down with quick slashes from her blade. The demons looked down at her, swinging their swords in her direction only to strike the metal of her sword and having their attack pushed off of her. Before they could get another chance to strike, Octavia cleaved through them, turning her back on the demons before they fell and picked another target from the crowd, charging after it.
Calmly Bellamina was driven to another square, only the numbers against her were not as thickly one-sided as Octavia's was. She dispatched her foes quickly, bringing her sword up and down in a fluid-motion almost like a professional master. Wherever one of the Nanashi Renchuu would strike, she would effortlessly guard and turn the opposing blade away before retaliating with a slash of her own. "This isn't so bad. Thought it would be worse actually." She said, thinking aloud as several more demons charged in from behind her. Bellamina turned, cutting two more of the enemy down with her blade before charging into the crowd, continuing her dance-like fighting style.
Humble however wasn't having as easy a time as the others in getting ready for launching an attack. Quickly the Nanashi Renchuu overran him, forcing the unicorn on the defensive and having him to take opportunities as they came. "Come on... Come on, come on, come on!" He shouted, finally breaking the guard of several of the demons before taking them down with quick, successive thrusts of his sword. Quickly Humble rounded on several more that had surrounded him, forcibly removing the blades from the enemy's hands with the force of his strikes before dropping them too. By complete accident, the unicorn threw too much weight into his following strike, splitting a Nanashi Renchuu almost cleanly in half but throwing the blade several feet away from him into the head of another one nearby. "Shit!" He shouted, ducking and evading the resounding attacks from the other demons until he grabbed the sword and yanked on it with his teeth, driving the blade it out of the fallen monsters head and into another one of the demons nearby.
Where Humble was having problems, Surprise seemed to have a blast. The pegasus ducked and dodged every strike that came her way, countering with a leaping attack that was boosted by lift generated from her wings. Surprise turned, concentrating before leaping towards the other demons that surrounded her, carving a path through her enemies and leaving several of them defeated in her wake and countering a few more before dropping them with quick decisive strikes. "Hehe, if I didn't know any better, I'd say this is fun!" She cheered, leaping into another nearby group of demons with her sword held high.
While her companions were attacking the lesser Nanashi Renchuu, Pinkamena had made it to where Kagekamuro was standing, bringing her sword down in a single strike only to have it casually blocked by one of the demon's swords. Loosening her guard slightly, the red-clad samurai dropped her blade to intercept another attack from the Ayakashi, before retaliating with a powerful buck of her own, causing him to slide backwards on his heels.
"You know, you're making this harder on yourself." Kagekamuro sneered, hefting one of his swords high into the air as several Nanashi Renchuu appeared, all wielding longbows. "But that's the fun in all of this. To see you struggle in futility!" He roared, lowering his raised sword.
Pinkamena tensed up raising her guard as the demons loaded their bows and proceeded to fire at her, each shot taking dead aim. Reacting quickly, she swung her sword in a defensive arc, knocking several airborne arrows aside before ducking and dodging more that barreled towards her. She stopped, watching as the Nanashi Renchuu readied another volley and fired, only to be stopped as both Octavia and Bellamina moved to intercept and deflect their shots.
"Pinkie, we're here!" Bellamina shouted.
"Get behind us, we'll keep you safe!" Octavia added, just as Surprise and Humble charged towards where they stood.
"Don't worry about me, be more concerned about yourselves." Pinkamena snapped, opening her belt buckle to reveal a red sword guard on the inside. After changing the guards out, Pinkamena sniffed. "After all, you all have your own reasons to live and are here to protect them. What good will that do if you're worrying about me?" She snapped, holding the blade aloft before causing the guard to spin rapidly.
In a flash of bright red flame, the small katana immediately changed into a bright red gigantic paddle, bearing a sharpened edge along one side and a long groove along the other. The paddle looked to be big enough to cleave a horse in two, and caused the other Shinkengers to marvel at it as she wrapped a hoof casually around it and rested it on her shoulder.
"Oh wow..." Was all that could be heard from Surprise before Pinkamena charged, swinging the paddle and carving a swath of destruction through the Nanashi Renchuu as she charged straight towards the Ayakashi.
"Shouldn't be surprised you guys." Humble replied, opening his belt and revealing an all green disk from within. "We've got our own too. Remember?" He asked, watching the others nod in his direction.
"We have to prove to Pinkamena that we are just as worthy for this cause as she is." Octavia replied, holding a blue disk in her hoof.
"Well then, what are we waiting for?" Surprise asked, flashing a yellow disk in one of her hooves. "A special invitation?"
"Let's do this then." Bellamina replied, holding up a pink disk of her own before placing it onto the sword guard in a similar manner to how Pinkamena did hers.
"Wooden Spear!" Humble declared, drawing his sword back and watching as it lengthened out into a decently sized spear, bearing the symbol of wood at the end of it with the green disk attached. Immediately a small blade came out from the end of it, finishing the spear for the unicorn who then proceeded to charge into the melee, taking several out with long sweeping slashes from the blade end of the spear.
"Water Arrow!" Octavia shouted, her blade turning into a bow with a flash of light, which bore her symbol and her disk on the handle of said bow. Calmly she drew the weapon backwards, pulling an almost invisible string towards her before firing, watching as a small cone on the end in the center of her bow began to release a stream of aquatic arrows at her enemy.
"Heaven's Fan!" Bellamina said, leaping into the air as a giant gust of wind picked her up, guided by the gigantic fan which bore her symbol and disk that was now in her hooves. Quickly a tornado was generated as she began to wave the fan towards the enemy crowds, sucking up and throwing hundreds of Nanashi Renchuu into the air, before cleaving through them with the sharpened edge of her fan.
"Land Shuriken!" Surprise shouted, throwing her sword towards the enemy as it turned into a multiple bladed throwing star which bore her symbol on its surface. Several Nanashi Renchuu that didn't get away were cleaved in two, and as the shuriken returned to her, the pegasus flew into the air before dive-bombing the demons that were below, throwing and quickly catching the shuriken as it cleaved through more of the Nanashi Renchuu.
Meanwhile, Kagekamuro and Pinkamena traded blows with each other, the demon unable to get around the pony's defense with the gigantic paddle that she used as a sword and a shield. Quickly he threw several fireballs that emerged from his hands, only to have them blocked by the pony who used the massive weapon as a shield before swinging it over her head and smashing it into the demon, flinging him back into several carts that had been abandoned.
"Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!" Kagekamuro roared, grabbing and hefting a cart over his head. "Just die already!" The demon snapped, throwing the cart at the red-clad earth pony.
Pinkamena did not move away, and quickly brought her blade down to split the incoming cart in half, causing both halves to fall harmlessly away from her before charging Kagekamuro. The demon moved for both of his swords to block her initial attack, but all it proved to do was to drive him into a wall behind where the carts were. Pinkamena then reeled back with a follow up slash, only to watch as the demon rolled underneath just before the strike out of the way.
"Your good, Shinkenger. Real good." Kagekamuro replied, charging at the pony and bringing down his blades on her neck, watching as she evaded the strike and retaliated by slamming the paddle into his chest and throwing him into a nearby pillar. "But you will never be as good as I am. NEVER!" He roared, only to stop as the pony had charged as he was flying towards him and had impaled him with the massive sword that she had used.
"I know I won't be as good as you are." Pinkamena retorted, holding her blade within the belly of the Ayakashi as bolts of excess energy erupted from his body. "I won't be as good as you are because now your dust." She finished, withdrawing the blade from his body before bringing it around and splitting him and the pillar in two. Kagekamuro grunted and groaned in pain, excess energy arcing outward from his body as he fell to his knees, the pair of swords that he carried dropping to the ground before he looked to the heavens and let out a fierce demonic sounding wail. Pinkamena turned her back on her enemy, her paddle turning back into a katana as she sheathed it before calmly trotting away as Kagekamuro exploded in a great ball of flame.
The sound of the explosion drew the other Shinkengers near as Pinkamena walked to a nearby light pole to catch her breath. "The Nanashi Renchuu?" She asked.
"Gone." Octavia replied, bowing low. "As soon as we reduced their numbers to about half, they retreated back through the gaps."
"What about the Ayakashi?" Surprise asked.
"He's not dead yet." Pinkamena replied, turning as the flames from the explosion began to coalesce and solidify.
"Whaddya mean he isn't dead yet?" Humble asked.
"Ayakashi have two lives, only using the second when their first expires." Pinkamena replied, watching as the flames reformed Kagekamuro and made him grow.
"DAMN YOU SHINKENGERS! I'M GOING TO CRUSH YOU LIKE THE BUGS YOU ARE!" Kagekamuro roared, his gigantic form echoing across the city.
Immediately Pinkamena pulled out her symbol, and her Mobile Brush before cracking her neck. "Get your Origami ready." She commanded, not looking over her shoulder as the other ponies looked up at Kagekamuro nervously.
"You mean these things?" Surprise asked, holding up her own symbol in a hoof.
"Yeah, these are the Origami. The weapons that the Shinkengers used to fight the Ayakashi's second life and-
Are you going to stand there babbling all day and get crushed or are you going to get ready?" Pinkamena snapped, rounding on the group of ponies and cutting Octavia off harshly. The other ponies nodded before drawing their own Origami and Mobile Brushes as well.
Quickly, and almost in synch with one another, all five ponies set their respective origami down in front of them, ignoring the sounds of Kagekamuro advancing on them before beginning to write the symbol for, "Big," over top their origami. Following Pinkamena's lead all five Shinkengers then shouted:
Kagekamuro stopped, watching as the emblems all unfolded, each taking the vague shape of an animal: A bright red lion unfolded out from the pentagon emblem that sat in front of Pinkamena, followed by a blue dragon from Octavia, a white turtle from Bellamina, a green bear from Humble, and a yellow monkey from Surprise all unfolded away from the city and grew to a respectable size to match the demon.
As the Origami unfolded, each of the ponies found themselves transported inside an all golden cockpit complete with a back screen and a place to sheathe their swords, acting as joysticks. As each samurai placed their swords within the central console, the lion that Pinkamena was in led the charge, leaping over the city wall of Rockford and onto Kagekamuro, swinging both of its front claws at the demon before leaping off and rearing up for another strike.
"Don't give him a chance to cause damage to the city!" Pinkamena ordered, placing her right front hoof over the hilt of her sword and nudging it forward, causing the lion to charge at the demon.
"You think your toy's can stop me? Heh! I'll show you!" Kagekamuro challenged, throwing several fireballs at the charging origami, destroying several buildings as it moved from street to street to avoid incoming fire.
"Pinkamena, I've got you covered!" Octavia declared, pushing the hilt on her sword as the dragon she was piloting let out a roar. Kagekamuro looked up, and recoiled as a stream of blue fire erupted from the mech's mouth, knocking the demon over and causing several explosions to erupt from the body.
"She's not the only one!" Bellamina cried, following her fellow samurai as the turtle she was piloting began to spin rapidly before generating a Cyclone.
"You think that this is going to stop me?" Kagekamuro roared, recoiling slightly as the cyclone flung debris into his face and blinded him. "TAKE THIS!" He roared, throwing another wave of fireballs directly at the turtle and scoring several hits.
"Ah! I've been hit!" Bellamina shouted, nearly losing her balance on the control stick.
"Hang in their Bellamina! I've gotcha!"
Kagekamuro watched as the turtle origami was immediately caught by the bear origami and gently set down. He scoffed, but stepped back as the bear continued his charge at him.
"Eat this You Bastard!" Humble roared, pushing his sword forward. The bear charged, leaping onto its back legs before swinging his front claws out almost like a real bear's would and causing major wounds to Kagekamuro. The demon continued to recoil, and tried to kick the bear with one of his feet before recoiling in pain as the eyes on his skirt popped out at the same time.
"DAMMIT, YOU LITTLE-"
He was cut off as he met the fist of Surprise's mech, knocking him back down to the ground. The demon staggered and struggled to his feet, only to get knocked in the face again, leaving him wide open for Pinkamena's mech.
"It's all yours Pinkamena!" Surprise shouted, using her mech to move out of the way from the demon as Pinkamena's mech charged.
"The finisher!" Pinkamena declared, drawing her sword from the console as her mech continued to gather speed. Kagekamuro staggered, his exhaustion overtaking his body as the lion mech continued to charge, it's flames growing until it turned into a massive controlled fireball that was heading straight for him. "GOKAKU DAIKAIEN!" She roared, thrusting the blade forward, urging the lion forward, causing it to fold back into its emblem form minus the legs sticking out on either side. Kagekamuro staggered, holding his hands up in a futile defense of the attack, only to get run through by the pentagon which was already changed back into a lion and cooling down before he realized that he had been run through. The Ayakashi let out a dull groan before falling to the ground, exploding in a spectacular ball of flame and light behind her.
"And with that, this chapter comes to a close." Pinkamena said calmly, sheathing her sword and taking a relaxing breath.
Sometime later Igneous Rock had found the five of them, a big grin on his older face. "Pinkamena-sama!" He shouted, causing the five of them to look up at the elderly stallion.
Pinkamena turned, watching as her father raced over to her with several Kuroko following in his wake. "Daddy Pie... You know-
Well Done Pinkamena-sama!" Igneous Rock replied, watching as several Kuroko began to present themselves, bearing trays that were covered in tea and towels for each of the other Shinkengers as well as Pinkamena. "Your grandmother would be as proud of you as I am. Come, come, we need to get home. After all, you must rest-
I know Daddy Pie." Pinkamena said calmly turning and trotting away, several Kuroko following her closely behind.
Igneous Rock turned towards the other Shinkengers, a cross between a frown and a scowl on his face. "You all did well to serve our lady, continue to do so. Follow me." He said, turning and leaving as the other Kuroko began to follow him.
"You think this is gonna be something to look forward to?" Humble asked.
Bellamina shrugged. "I don't know, but we have a job to do. And we've got to do it right."
"Let's just hurry, Pinkamena wouldn't want to be kept waiting." Octavia added.
"Plus the story needs to close out for this chapter!" Surprise replied, getting weird looks from her companions. "Fourth wall joke. Just something I do, don't worry about it." She replied, watching as they scratched their heads in confusion.
"Well are you four coming or what?" Igneous Rock snapped from over the top of a nearby bridge. Three of the Shinkengers shrugged as Surprise took off towards where Igneous Rock was standing, leaving nothing behind them but a peaceful look over the water.
"I hadn't realized what kind of dangers that I had placed upon my lady or her companions. If I had known that day... If I had known before then I would have made it my duty to better prepare them all. However hindsight is twenty-twenty, and you can't be prepared for everything. In time I came to understand the nature of the new threat of the Gedoushuu as much as our predecessors had, and was grateful that Pinkamena-sama had made great strides in her samurai training. Only time would have told that her companions were given the same amount of training as she had."
A Kuroko had presented itself as Igneous had paused, presenting a small glass of water that was balanced on a tray on his back. Calmly the old stallion took a sip from the glass before sending the pony away before turning. Compared to the samurai that sat on Pinkie Pie's left, her new friends sat to her right with a mix of confusion, wonder, and excitement. All of them were slack-jawed, and he could have sworn that the white unicorn -he wasn't keen on learning her daughter's friends names- looked about ready to faint.
"You all seem to be shocked." Pinkie Pie said, looking towards her friends.
"Shocked?" Twilight began. "Shocked? SHOCKED? That doesn't even begin to describe it!" Part of the alicorn wanted to leap up and give Igneous Pie a solid thrashing. Another part of her wanted to see the Mobile Brushes and the symbols that they apparently had, if only to satiate her scholastic hunger. But more importantly, she wanted to know more.
"Pinkie... Is this true?" Fluttershy was the first to ask, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Of course Fluttershy, why else it wouldn't be?" Pinkie Pie replied.
"Well then how about you prove it." Twilight said finally getting to her hooves, watching Pinkie closely. "I want to see one of your brushes. I want to see you transform. I. Want. Evidence." She hissed, her feral knowledge-seeking instincts taking over.
"Of course." Pinkie Pie replied, getting up and pulling out her Mobile Brush. "Anything for a friend."
"Pinkamena-sama, I would advise against it." Igneous Pie replied, causing Pinkie Pie to turn towards him.
"And why is that?" Pinkie Pie asked.
"Your Caligromancy has not fully recovered yet. We need time for you to recharge." Igneous Pie said before turning towards Twilight. "I apologize your highness, but everything will be explained in due time. For now, I ask your patience."
"Patience? Patience? But this is-
Twilight please, we don't want to insult Pinkie or her family now, do we?" Rarity asked in an attempt to reign in the alicorn.
"As much as I'd hate ta' say it Twi, Rarity's right." Applejack replied, causing her to look back at the farmer. "This seems to be serious, and we have to hear what they have ta say. Ah'd be interested in some of that fancy magic brouhaha mahself, but it's best ta' wait until their story was finished."
Twilight nodded her friend's arguments solid. "Fine. I'll wait, but I want to see some of this stuff first hooved okay?" She asked, getting a nod from Igneous Pie.
"Of course Princess, it will all make sense sooner or later." He replied before clearing his throat. "Though the battle with the Ayakashi was fierce, it was one of Doukouku's weakest lieutenants that was the first to fall. But before the samurai were ready to face another Ayakashi, they had to get over their own weaknesses of each other..."
-End Act 1-