"I think we're clear. I don't see anymore ANBU agents." A little spot of orange peeled itself from the public toilet at one corner of the foresty training field. Not that his concerns were founded. Most people except for Naruto and the ANBU themselves know the moment a ninja dons the ANBU operative mask their capabilities and intelligence drops to dangerously sub-Darwinian levels. "Okay, we're in town now, just act natural." Naruto said, peering around a corner to peer up the sparsely-populated suburban street. The occasional passerby barely gave him more than a second look before speeding up their step, expecting an impending prank from the orange menace.
"Totally natural." A cardboard box wearing the colours of a rock with a pair of holes for eyes sauntered up. "Like hay this is!" It snapped, looking up at Naruto as angrily as a rock-camouflaged cardboard box can. Which, admittedly, was actually quite menacing.
"They wouldn't expect it." Naruto said, waving the cardboard box after him as he did his best 'natural' walk into town, which involved strutting with robotic purpose. "Now, act casual."
"I'm sure....ugh!" The box cried on bashing itself into a wall, leaving a crack in the concrete. "That nobody...ouch!" It faceplanted a power pole, leaving a noticeable dent. "....nobody expects anything from you! ARGH!" The box tripped into a trash can, sending the contents of both the box and the can tumbling out into a jumble.
"You have a weird idea of casual." Naruto said, scissor-stepping along one wall stealthily towards his downed companion. Never mind that every single pair of eyes in the area were already on him. He bent down and, after dislodging a hitchhiking banana peel from her mane, pulled the disgruntled pony up onto her legs.
"I don't want to hear that from you." The pony muttered, dusting herself off with a hoof. She then turned to the box, gave it one last look of disgust, before bucking it into the air. Naruto winced at the sound of glass breaking somewhere thankfully quite distant.
"KONOHAMARU!" An angry voice filled the air, presumably at the sight of Konohamaru's signature rock-camo cardboard box sailing in through their window. Naruto silently sent up a prayer and an apology for the third hokage's doomed grandson.
"You're one to speak of weird." The pony scoffed as she pranced off down the road. "You're just plain weird. I mean, look, you don't even have a tail!"
Naruto ran to keep up as he eyed the sky-blue pony from the rainbow mane down to her physically-impossible wings. "Uhuh." He gave a sarcastic grunt. Meanwhile everyone else around them simply shrugged and went on their daily business, putting it down as just another one of the village oddball's usual oddities, talking sky-blue plushie-doll thing non-withstanding. Though a few of the younger girls did give him a few fond smiles and giggles.
"What are you anyway?" The pony asked, raising a pointed eyebrow at him. "I don't think I've ever seen you around these parts."
"Naruto." Naruto replied, simply, with a huff of pride. "Better remember it! One day simply mentioning that name will leave your enemies wetting their pants!"
"Pants?" The pony cocked her head to one side, as if giving this a moment's thought. She seemed to quickly dismiss it as she went on, "What? Your name confuses everypony into forgetting their bladders or something?"
"One day I will be so powerful my name alone will be able to protect my friends no matter where I am!" The pony couldn't help but notice the boy's eyes shine with an earnestness that outshone the sun. "Believe it!" He gave her a grin so confident she could almost imagine her uttering the name crushing an entire field of Nightmares.
"Heh, I actually want to see that." She chuckled. "So, what's a Naruto?"
"The greatest ninja that ever lived." Naruto crossed his arms over his puffed up chest.
"Ouch, that must hurt." The pony winced.
"See? See? Told you knee-in-jaws hurt!" Luna said.
"Not you too." Naruto sighed, "Looks like I'll have to teach you ponies everything from the ground up. Starting with ramen!"
"Ray-men?" The pony frowned. "Whazzat?"
"W-what have the wamen ever done to you?!" Luna squeaked.
"You'll find out in a bit." Naruto answered them both with a grin.
"Before or after we score some chow today?" The pony asked. "Where are we going for that, anyway?"
"That's what the ramen's for. We're hitting up Ichiraku's for some." Naruto said, mouth already salivating at the thought.
"Ichiraku? Never heard of that place in Ponyville." The pony cocked her head to one side.
"Never heard of Pony-fill myself." Naruto said.
"Huh, I must've flown further than I thought." The pony frowned. "I must've crossed the border into another district. Darn it, should've listened to Flitter about today's jet streams. I should probably report to the local lord. I don't want the Nightmares on my tail."
"Nightmares?" Naruto asked. "Well, if it'll help you sleep any better, we can swing by the old man Hokage on the way back."
"He's the local boss? Huh, never heard of him either." The pony's eyebrows furrowed deeper. "Where am I, exactly?"
"Only the birthplace of the world's greatest ninja ever, Konoha village." Naruto said, airily. "Also home to world's best ramen." He gestured at the ramen stand sitting at the street corner.
"You're really selling this grub, aren't you?" The pony chuckled. "Gotta warn you though, Rainbow Dash isn't an easy customer!"
"Rainbow Dash, that's your name?" Naruto asked, "Now that's badass."
"I know right. So badass I can even make pink look badass." Rainbow grinned.
"Pink is totally badass." Naruto said out of loyalty to the pink-haired love of his life. Enjoy it while you can, Naruto.
"You know what else is badass? Some grub. Right now." Rainbow stopped by the ramen stand to crane her neck up. But seeing as she only came up to around Naruto's waist she could only scowl in frustration. "Why make these so high up?" She muttered at the store counter. "Don't they want customers?"
"Upsi-daisy!" Naruto picked her up by her forehooves and heaved her up onto one of the bar stools lining the counter.
"Wha-hey!" Rainbow blushed furiously as she flailed her hooves, but she was no match for Naruto's strength. The pony couldn't help but be surprised by how much strength the strange creature's frail-looking little paw-appendages had. She was about to open her mouth to express her indignance when a tall elderly man's beaming face cut her short.
"Oh, Naruto, my boy!" Old man Ichiraku, store proprietor, chef, and one of Naruto's favourit-est people in the world, greeted his favourite customer. "And...wh-...who is this?" He said, slightly taken aback by the strange creature sitting on the counter.
"This is Rainbow Dash. Only the most badass ninja summon, ever." Naruto grinned, "And cause she's my summon, she's not leaving without falling in love with the best food in the whole wide world."
"Summon?" Old man Ichiraku was no stranger to ninja familiars. It was not uncommon for ninjas to bring their familiars for some quality bonding time over a bowl of Ichiraku's. "Excellent! Welcome, welcome to Ichiraku's, young... er...lady!" He quickly recovered from the his surprise. It was flooring to hear the young newly-graduated Naruto could already summon his own familiars but he took it in considerably good stride. After all, it meant one new guaranteed regular, if the boy's habits were anything to go by.
"Oh, hey, another Naruto." Rainbow gave the old man a toothy grin, "Thanks. I'm liking your place already, mister! It smells real good."
"Thanks, young lady. It just so happens we've got a discount for all first-time familiars. Here, the familiar's menu." Being the enterprising salesman he is Ichiraku had even produced a laminated and chakra-proof familiar-friendly menu dominated by big mouth-watering pictures.
"Familiar?" Rainbow raised an eyebrow at Naruto over the menu in her hooves.
"The usual for me, old man!" Naruto said before swivelling on his stool to face Rainbow. "Well, I kinda did summon you here. While you're here you're my familiar. Just another word for 'buddy', is all. Which means you get to have lunch on me. Get what you like."
"That works for me. Especially if you're buying lunch." Rainbow grinned. "Uh...cockroach? Flies? You guys really eat that kinda stuff?"
Naruto did an epic spit-take, spraying his own menu with tea. "Old man, what have you been feeding us?!"
"Yes! What hath the poor cocky-roaches and flies ever done to you?!" Luna cried in protest.
"That's just on the familiar menu." Ichiraku said with a smile, "I'm guessing you're more a vegetarian? There's a whole vegetarian menu on the left there."
"Ooh, hay and roses!" Rainbow planted a hoof on her choice, "One for me, pops!"
"Hay and roses? Really?" Naruto blinked. "Since when?"
"Nara clan and their deer summons." Ichiraku shrugged, getting to work.
"So, Oranges, what's this summoning stuff? Or is it, like, egghead-level stuff I should just roll with?" Rainbow asked, cradling her chin in one hoof.
"Do I look like an egghead to you?" Naruto asked, "Except when it comes to badassery. I have a Pee-Age-Dee in badassery."
"Heh, got my own professorship in it years ago with my first sonic rainboom." Rainbow said, airily.
"Ninjas like me often make summoning contracts to get a little helping hand when they need it. In return they offer to help their summons whenever they might need it." Naruto explained. "It's like being best friends forever, but better!"
"Forsooth! Woona gave Nawuto the best summoning contwact ever!" Luna declared. "Cause they're all ponies! Like Woona!"
"Huh, I see." Rainbow nodded, giving a little smile. "This can be helpful, for both of us." Naruto didn't get a chance to ask what exactly she meant by that before Rainbow went on, "So, you first. What do you need help with?"
"I have a test coming up." Naruto said.
"Ugh, tests. Sorry, you missed by about this much." She put both hooves close together to indicate the tiniest possible gap. "Should've gone for the unicorn in the next tree over. She eats tests for breakfast."
"It's a fighting tournament. I need to learn some really cool badass techniques to kick the rod stuck up this one guy's butt. I need to help dislodge it, up or down doesn't matter, as long as I can make him see how big the rod is." Naruto said. "Speaking of, you've got really cool techniques."
"And you want me to teach you some of my signature kickass moves?" Rainbow asked, beating him to the punch.
"Uh, yeah! We'd be able to go all ninja world war on his butt with that." Naruto said, "Would you mind? Teaching me that is?"
"Well, I don't mind at all. Most pegasus foals learn that stuff from an early age. All I did was refine it into my own style, all 20% cooler." Rainbow tapped a hoof on her chin thoughtfully. "Problem is you're kinda short a pair of wings. And a lot of awesome. But, hey, nopony's perfect."
"Kinda need to keep all that awesome suppressed, don't want to set everything on fire." Naruto gestured at himself with a cocky smile.
"Yay! Set evwything on fire!" Luna cried excitedly. "Set all this water on fire!"
"Well, hot stuff, you need pegasi wings to do pegasi magic and moves. I mean, you don't exactly need to be taught how to punch stuff in the face, right?"
"Well, all I need to do is get a pair of wings, right?" Naruto asked, reaching into his equipment pouch kitted with full regulation gear. He pulled out a pair of seal tags, applied the adhesive, before sticking them to his shoulders. "There, got wings, got awesome."
"Wheee! Wingies! Nawuto's got wingies!" Luna cheered. "The awesome hath been doubled!"
"Pffftt." Rainbow's cheeks blew up with muffled laughter before exploding into gails of laughter, "Bwahahahahah! That's good! That's good, Oranges!"
"Thundeeeeering hoof." Naruto put on a very serious square-jawed look as he rapped the counter with his knuckles.
"Teeheehee!" Luna giggled uncontrollably. "Do the other one! The other one!"
"Lots and lots of thundering hooooooooves." Naruto went on in a low drawl, rapping the counter repeatedly.
"BWAHAHAHAHAH!" Rainbow fell of her stool. "Ahah! Ahahah! Haaaa!" She squeaked breathlessly on the floor.
"I should probably hold back on the sonic laughing wang doom." Naruto said, mercifully.
"Hee....ah...can't...take anymore!" Rainbow heaved, coming up for air.
"You can laugh now. Wait till I show you the real deal." Naruto grinned.
"Hahah! The way you say it, I actually think you might pull it off." Rainbow chuckled, fluttering back up onto her stool weakly. "Hay, I want to see you pull it off."
"Believe it." Naruto nodded.
"In fact..." Rainbow's face lit up with an idea. Most of Rainbow's friends knew this was their queue to run for the hills, preferably well-grounded ones. Naruto, unfortunately, was as yet uninitiated to the full Rainbow Dash experience. "I have an awesomeriffic idea! There's an easy peasy cider squeezy way of getting you a pair of wings."
"Well, let's not wait till my birthday then!" Naruto said, face suddenly mirroring Rainbow's.
"But you've already got wingies." Luna pointed out. "You want to double the wingies?"
"All you need is some unicorn-brand magic." Rainbow said. "I've seen'em conjure up wings before. Not as good as the real article, but, hey, any cloud in a storm."
"Awesome!" Naruto fist pumped, "Er." He frowned, "What's a unicorn?"
"The horny ponies." Rainbow said, "You can't miss them when you see them."
"Yeah! Especially when they expwode!" Luna giggled.
"Uh..." Naruto filed away Luna's words under 'caution' but decided wisely not to comment. "Okay, so I need to summon a unicorn then?"
"Soup's up!" Ichiraku brought out bowls of his best ramen. "Tuck in, lady and gentleman."
"Oh yeaaah!" Naruto whipped up his chopstick and spun them in his fingers deftly before plunging them into the thick hot broth with relish.
"Smells awesomelicious!" Rainbow said enthusiastically. She noticed how her bowl was broad-based when Naruto's wasn't, but decided not to comment. She had more important matters to attend to, like her appetite. "Uh, what are those?" She pointed a hoof at Naruto's chopsticks.
"These? Chopsticks." Naruto whipped out another pair and offered them to Rainbow.
Rainbow looked between Naruto and the chopsticks with a look of sheer incredulity that would have made Sasuke envious. "Uh..." She bit the chopsticks and succeeded only in doing an impression of the most wobbly-tusked walrus ever.
"Pfffft! Bwahahahah!" Naruto and Luna both burst out laughing.
Rainbow just shot him a dirty look before looking longingly down at her bowl of hay and rose petal ramen.
"Don't worry, I cooled your soup with a little ice. You can eat it right out of the bowl." Ichiraku said, helpfully.
"Hey, thanks, mister! You're actually pretty cool!" Rainbow grinned. "Don't mind if I do then!" She dived right into the bowl, literally. "OOOOHHH YEAAAAAAAAH FILLY!" Rainbow made her appreciation heard loud and clear.
Naruto could only stare, frozen, eyes wide, as he watched his companion ravage the bowl with all the ferocity of Choji at an all-you-can-eat buffet. No, scratch that, the passionate noises Rainbow was making brought to mind Sissyke's personal fangirl club lavishing rather disgusting affection over his latest candid photobook. "Oh, aaah! Hmmm yes! Yes! YES! BUCK YES!" Rainbow cried.
"Hey, hey, Woona wants a taste!" Naruto could practically feel the little filly hopping up and down in his head. "Pwease! Pwease! Pwease! Pwease! Pwea-..."
"Huh, you sure you're ready for this?" Naruto grinned a feral grin.
"Uhuh!" Luna affirmed enthusiastically.
"Then, take this!" Naruto attacked his own bowl with gusto.
"Ooooooooooh!" Luna squeaked excitedly. "Yuummmyyy!"
"Mmm! How about this!" Naruto spooned up the thick, creamy broth.
"Mmmmmh! Double the yummmieeeees!" Luna cried, swooning.
"And there's more!" Naruto threatened, spearing the egg yolk and smearing in the spring onions before diving in once more.
"Uwaaaaaaaaaaaah!" Luna's squeak of passion filled Naruto's head. "Nawuto! Nawutoooo! NAWUTOOOOO!"
"And the finishing move." Naruto picked up the bowl and drained the thickest broth at the bottom of the bowl.
"WOOOOOOOOONAVEEEEERSEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Something exploded deep inside Naruto's mind.
For a moment only the wind dared make a sound, and even then very, very quietly. As remains of the battle dripped off Naruto's chopsticks, three very happy customers sat in silence, revelling in their victory in battle.
"So...good?" Ichiraku asked with a knowing grin.
"Dude." Rainbow's trembling voice came up from where she had buried her face in the counter. "Don't come to Equus. You'd send us all to heaven and kill off all life." She squeaked weakly.
"I think she likes it." Naruto concluded for her.
"One to take out?" Rainbow raised a limp hoof. "Uh, please?" She asked aside to Naruto.
"Be my guest." Naruto grinned with earnest happiness at having introduced yet another lucky soul to the joys of ramen. Or two. "Err, Luna, you still alive in there?"
"Kaaaaah....aaaaah....Woona....Woona's just...going to sit here...quietly for a bit." Luna squeaked weakly. "A-a l-long while..."
'Wow, it was enough to shut her up? Now that's something.' Naruto thought to himself.
"Whoah! What the hay! Not ready for round 2 yet!" Rainbow gasped. Naruto looked around and found that a familiar pair of hands had taken hold of his buddy.
"Whoah! She's as soft and cuddly as she looks!" The hands' owner squeed excitedly. "Hey, hey, Naruto, can I have this? Pleaaaase?" Ichiraku Ayame's familiar face beamed up at him, radiating 100% pure contentment as she stroked Rainbow's mane.
"Whoah! Hey! That mane's naturally wind-ruffled! You can't just....ah! Wait!" Rainbow cried, "Uh...please?" She pleaded as her struggles against Ayame's vice grip proved completely futile.
"Uh, I don't know, Ayame." Naruto said, scratching his hair, "She's my first summon and all and..."
"I'll make you all the free ramen you can eat for a week." Ayame said with a wink.
"Heck yeah." Naruto raised his hand, ready to bite into his thumb to draw blood. "How many more do you want?" He asked, preparing his summoning technique.
"Hey! Traitor! What happened to buddies helping each other out and all them horseapples?!" Rainbow demanded, "H-hey! Easy on the wings! Hey! HEY! Aah!" She squeaked, her wings flaring open under Ayame's probing hands.
"So soft! So wondrous!" Ayame sighed, lovingly. "So...so fluffy!"
"Uh, your take-away?" Ichiraku asked, almost afraid of getting in her daughter's way for fear of his own life. He placed the plastic take-away bowl-container on the counter with all the reverence of a fearful worshipper offering tribute to the lord of the apocalypse.
"Whoah! Thanks, pops! Catchya later!" Rainbow squeaked, grabbing the bowl and taking off from her stool, going from zero to hissy-fit-retreat in 10 seconds flat. She actually dragged Ayame a short distance, scraping a deep trough into the ground, before she gave a burst of speed, ripping herself free from Ayame's iron clutches.
"Wow...so...cute." Ayame sighed, cupping her hands over her heart, eyes shining with undisguised wonder as she slid onto her knees in the little trough she had carved for herself. "Naruto, could you...?" She turned to face the young ninja, but found nothing but a wobbling stool. Even the dust had yet to settle in the wake of his retreat. "Naruto?"
"By lightning!" Rainbow wheezed, cradling her prize as they settled in a corner of one of Konoha's many training grounds. "I-I made it!" She panted with relief. "No thanks to you!" She shot Naruto a dirty look.
"I'd fight hordes of demon spawn and armies of undead ninja for my friends." Naruto said, with conviction. "But that girl, Ayame? Uh, let's say she doesn't count."
"Pfft, wuss." Rainbow muttered under her breath.
"Would you face her willingly?" Naruto raised an eyebrow.
Rainbow shuddered visibly from the very fresh memory. "Uh, yeah. Point taken." She conceded.
"Now, we're all fueled up. Let's get to work." Naruto grinned, biting his thumb and drawing blood.
"Huh? On what?" Rainbow asked.
"Finding a unicorn." Naruto said, before rearing up to his full height. "Summoning technique a-go-go!" He roared, throwing his palm to the ground.
The wind whistled through the trees. A lone chicada chirped somewhere on a nearby branch. A cat meowed in the distance. Rainbow plopped open her ramen container and sniffed deeply, appreciating the sweet succulent scent.
A little puff of smoke finally appeared from Naruto's hands.
"Whoah! Hey, it worked!" A squeaky little voice cried out triumphantly. "Cutie mark crusaders, time travellers, yay! Uuh, Sweetie-Belle? Scootaloo? Where are yah two?" The smoke cleared to reveal a little Luna-sized creamy yellow marshmallow on legs, topped with a mop of red hair complete with bright red bow. "Oh horseapples, them two fillies must have ended up a few years behind in the dinosaur age! The ice age's way cooler! Ah told'em we had to sink-ron-nice-thingy our watches before." The little yellow blob aimed a pair of big russet eyes the size of ramen bowls up at the awestruck ninja. "Uuuh....hello, uh, prim-ee-tip creature of the distant past. Ah am...uh...your descendant? All evolved and stuff?"
"It worked alright." Rainbow nodded with a grin.
Naruto's cry of despair shook branches and shook birds off their perches for miles around. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! NOT ANOTHER TADPOLE!"