• Published 4th Jul 2015
  • 894 Views, 35 Comments

Batmare: Year One - Muramasa



Ponyville is riddled with horrid crimes and bad memories. A billionaire named Applejack plans to change it, by becoming the savior her city needs: the Batmare.

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Mask

Applejack's eyes shot open. Her vision was nothing more than a chaotic flurry of multiple colors, and she could feel her body rocking back and forth; she was being shaken. Measuring carefully, Applejack launched both her hooves out, pushing the figure backwards; once her sight came back to her, she realized it was Spike, Twilight's assistant. Applejack was reassured for a second, but was quickly reverted back into a state of panic once she saw the look on Spike's face.

"Twilight's been kidnapped!" shouted Spike.

Applejack didn't answer at first. She just stared at him, occasionally blinking on occasion. She tried her hardest to figure out why she had been taken, but every possibility led back to the fact that somepony knew who she was. There would be no other reason to take her, no other reason she was valuable. It was at that moment that Applejack remembered Twilight was Princess Celestia's protégé, and that she was extraordinarily valuable.

"Did they leave a note? At all? Anything to indicate who did this?" asked Applejack, snapping out of her daze. Spike nodded and ran downstairs, and came back with a small note. Upon reading it, Applejack knew that the situation was slowly going beyond her control.

If you want your pet back, you better pay up. Three million bits and the mare goes loose. Don't keep me waiting.

-Black Mask

"Is it...is it because he knows?" asked Spike. Applejack raised an eyebrow, and reasoned that he must have been overhearing the conversation she and Twilight had last night. Applejack began walking towards the front door of Twilight's house, with Spike in tow. She approached the coat rack and donned her black designer coat, along with her Stetson, and she placed the note in one of the coat pockets. Once she had done that, she turned her head to Spike.

"I thought that was it at first," she began, "but I realized it was because of her affiliation with Celestia. Black Mask knows he can get a good price for Twilight when it comes to the royal bank, and he signed his name at the end of the note to give himself more street credibility, whoever he is. That will be his first mistake," Applejack said. Spike looked confused.

"Why is that a mistake?" he asked.

"Because I'm keeping it," she replied, patting the note in her pocket. "I'm getting this analyzed, and nopony is going to know this happened besides a few select individuals, so I need your help. Contact Princess Celestia and give her the details, and make sure to tell her to remain calm. After you do that, I need you to go down to the Ponyville guard station and ask for Flash Sentry; only Flash Sentry. Tell him to meet the Batmare on top of the Ponyville Clock Tower at 11:30 on the dot. Got all that?" Spike quickly nodded, and Applejack turned towards the door.

"I've got you now," said Applejack, before heading out the door.

Applejack had been sitting on her couch for the past hour. She had been gently sipping her coffee, but by now it had gone cold; Applejack didn't care. Her straight forward gaze never wavered, and when Mosely Orange walked into the room, she didn't turn her head to acknowledge him.

"Anything?" she asked, in a somber tone. Mosely Orange took a spot on the couch next to her and pulled out a piece of paper along with his reading glasses; he put them just below his eyes and began to read.

"Yes, actually. The pony who wrote the note was not Black Mask, though that was a given; it appears that the Stallion that wrote the message is named Hunter Swift, and his hoof prints were found on the note, along with yours, Spike's and Twilight's, of course," said Mosely. Applejack turned her head to meet his at this news.

"Twilight? Why would she grab the note?" Applejack asked. Mosely shook his head.

"I'm afraid I haven't the slightest idea. There's another thing you should know about; his hair appeared to be on the scene as well, meaning he was one of Twlight's captors, if there were multiple. Swift lives here in Ponyville, and I suspect that they may still be keeping her in the city, strange as that may seem," he said. Applejack nodded and looked down to her hooves.

"It would be more cost effective...how could I let this happen?" Applejack said. Mosely put a hoof on her shoulder.

"You already explained why you didn't. Twilight is just high profile enough to get good money, but just low profile enough that not many ponies would miss her should she be gone for an extended period of time. This was going to happen whether you asked her to help you or not, Applejack, but the important thing now is that we find out who took her. A few more things, though," Mosely said. Applejack nodded, giving Mosely the OK to continue.

"Spike has contacted both Celestia and Flash Sentry on the matter. Celestia has written back that she thanks us for keeping the matter quiet and that she hopes we can bring her back without trouble. She also remarked that she is willing to pay the ransom money, should it come to that," he said.

"It won't," Applejack replied. "Sentry?"

"Sentry agreed to meet you at midnight on the clock tower. He's currently sweeping the Ponyville area to look for hairs or markings that could relate back to Hunter Swift or Twilight, and he aims to report these findings to you at midnight," finished Mosely. An annoyed look spread across Applejack's face.

"He needs magic to do that. He's working with somepony else," she said. Mosely was about to make a comment, but Applejack waved a hoof that let him know it wasn't a big deal. Slowly, she got up from her couch.

"I'll need to get ready soon...thank you, Mosely. For everything. And I don't just mean what you've done today," Applejack said. She paused for a second.

"Did you ever run that background check on Action Shot?" asked Applejack. Mosely nodded his head, though Applejack knew from his expression that there wouldn't be anything spectacular about it.

"She checks out for the most part, no pun intended. As far as the records show, she grew up as an adopted child from Vanhoover to a farming family, and moved to Canterlot at the age of nineteen to pursue a career in journalism, which she obviously accomplished. Her adoptive family are tree farmers, named Birch Oak and Willow Oak, respectively," Mosely said. Applejack raised an eyebrow, and Mosely knew exactly the question she was going to ask.

"Her birth parents?" Applejack asked. Mosely smiled.

"That's the inconsistency. There is no record of her birth parents, and there isn't any record of her ever being put up for adoption. That was the only thing that I noticed was truly strange, however; do you still believe there's something wrong with her, Applejack?" asked Mosely. Appeljack didn't answer for a second.

"Sometimes, Mosely, you can pick up things without Analysis. Sometimes, you just know in your heart that something isn't right, and I'll only tell you this; I don't know where in Tartarus that mare is from, but I know for sure that isn't Vanhoover. Do you have a house address in Canterlot?" asked Applejack.

"Yes," Mosely replied.

"I want it," said Applejack, beginning to walk away. Mosely Orange gave a long sigh and got up himself, picking up Applejack's coffee cup in the process. He went to dump it out in the kitchen sink, and noticed it was still half full.

Commissioner Flash Sentry had been waiting ten minutes. He felt that it was unusual, and wondered if something bad had happened to the Batmare, though he found that hard to believe. He turned around to see if he could see her arriving from the rooftops, and was pleasantly horrified to find her about two and a half inches away from his face. He did his best to hide a scream, but a faint shriek started in his throat and perished before it made it out.

"How long have you been here?" he asked, stunned.

"Longer than you. What have you found out about Hunter Swift?" asked the Batmare. At those words, Flash Sentry's eyes lit up, and Applejack knew she was finally going to get good news.

"Well, it's interesting. We started from Twilight's Library, and followed a trail of hair, and...well...drops of blood, all around Ponyville. I'm sure he thought he was smart, because the trail split off and led to three different locations," Sentry said. The Batmare nodded curtly, but had a question.

"How much blood was there?" she asked. Sentry gave a reassuring look.

"You have to be looking for it to find it. It was both Twilight's and Hunter's, but...well, I hate to say it, but the majority came from Sparkle," he said. He waited for the Batmare to say something, though she stayed eerily silent, so Flash continued.

"One location was the Sofa and Quills shop down by town hall; we checked to see if they had gone in, and there was no trace of anything to prove that they had, so we moved to the second location, which was the Ponyville Bowling Alley. They did go into the back room of the Bowling Alley, and came out the front entrance, well after the lanes were closed for the night. And finally, the real interesting one; the third trail let to a Rich Industries warehouse building, and it appeared they were inside for quite sometime. She was moved, obviously, but there isn't a trace of where she went after that," Flash said. The Batmare stayed silent for a few seconds once again before answering.

"Filthy Rich is still the owner of Rich Industries, correct?" she asked. His daughter, Diamond Tiara, went to school with Applejack's little sister, and Applejack had met the man himself plenty of times on business proposals. Flash Sentry nodded, grinning wider than Applejack had seen anypony grin in quite some time.

"Yep. I think we have our Blask Mask, huh?" he asked. The Batmare nodded.

"I think you're exactly right, and that's a huge problem," she said. "This wasn't on accident. Rich is leading us right into a trap, and he's using Twilight as bate. To his knowledge, the Ponyville guard won't hurt him, and he wants to make a power play and be rid of me before I start to affect this city for good. If he doesn't get me, he'll still get quite a substantial sum of money, so he seems to assume that this is a win-win situation," Applejack said. Flash Sentry looked confused.

"Hold on a second; in order for this, wouldn't we need to know where Sparkle is in order to walk into it? There's no indication that she went anywhere after being transferred from the warehouse," Sentry remarked. The Batmare nodded.

"Except I know exactly where he took her," she said. "I'm going to Filthy's personal mansion. At 1:30 A.M I want a perimeter around the compound, and if I don't come out for half an hour, I want you to breach the complex. Understand?" she asked. Flash Sentry looked back behind him, towards the Rich manner.

"Alright, but before you go-" he said, turning around. However, he noticed that the Batmare had completely vanished once again, leaving him alone atop the clock tower. Flash Sentry rubbed his eyes and gave a sigh before slowly making his way back down the stairs towards the ground level.

"I'm gonna have to get used to that, aren't I?" he asked to himself.

The Batmare stood in front of the vast mansion that she knew her friend was being held in. It wasn't quite as big as Apple Manor, but it was still quite the achievement, and it could be seen everywhere in Applejack's field of vision. The miraculous double doors that marked the entrance of the building were made out of the finest wood Applejack had seen, and the patterns carved into it were obviously the work of a master; they were enticing, but the Batmare wouldn't be using them tonight.

Grappling upwards, the Batmare landed atop the roof, and immediately noticed the lack of goons. There wasn't a pony to be seen anywhere on the rooftop, and something as simple as that was able to send a chill down Applejack's spine.

He knew I'd use the rooftops. I won't be getting any vantage points anytime soon, she thought. She found the chimney, and, as carefully as she could, began to slide down; there was plenty of soot in it, but her full body suit made sure to not let her breathe any of it in as she made her way down.

Merry Hearth's Warming Eve, thought Applejack as she crawled out of the chimney. The humor didn't last long, though, as she was greeted by at least twelve armed guards upon climbing out. Applejack had a feeling, however, that they were not planning to harm her, which even further disturbed her.

The room she ended up in was the living room, of course, but it was just as lavish as Apple Manor. Fine, red silk furniture decorated the halls, and the biggest chandelier Applejack had ever seen was dangling from the ceiling; why it was needed next to a fireplace, Applejack wouldn't know. There was a coffee table in the center of the room made from ironwood, which Applejack recognized was the most expensive wood in the world. Finally, a large carpet that was clearly imported from Saddle Arabia covered most of the floor.

"The boss wants to see you," said one in the front. He was an earth pony, and clearly the biggest member of the group; his face was hidden behind a mask, but his blue mane and tail could be easily seen. The Batmare nodded, and the guards began to form a circle around her, intending to escort her to a different location. They began moving, and Applejack silently flipped the switch on her cowl that turned on her tactical mode.

There are only ten of them, and only half seemed to be armed. There are some stone gargoyles hanging from the ceiling above me, and I can use those to my advantage and get his henchman out of the way. In order to use that advantage, however, I'll need to strike right about...now, thought Applejack. With blinding speed, the Batmare launched a kick to the nearest henchmen, dropping him to the floor, before dropping a smoke pellet and grappling to the nearest gargoyle she could see.

She once again activated her tactical vision, and began to survey the area from her vantage point.

The big guy was armed, of course, and those who weren't would likely be protected by those who are; since there are ten of them. The one I neutralized first happened to be unarmed, so there's one on his own; I'll save him for last. There's gonna be one armed man to one unarmed man; the job will be separating those with weapons from those who don't, and then it'll be easy, thought Applejack. Sure enough, once the smoke cleared, the henchmen lined up in the exact formation Applejack predicted, and so she waited.

One pair decided to walk right under the gargoyle she was perched on, and Applejack remembered a move from her first night as the Batmare, beginning to repeat it on the armed guard below her. She caught him with the grappling hook and brought him upwards, and when he had just made it to eye level, she punched him as hard as she could; exactly how she had done the maneuver the first time. The thug was sent sprawling down, and then there were eight.

However, Applejack knew, that move now meant she couldn't use the gargoyles, as they would be looking in that direction now; sure enough the guard pointed upwards, but by that time Applejack was gone.

Black Mask had kept the house lit up, which was a smart move; the Batmare couldn't use the darkness to her advantage. There was still plenty of cover, though, and Applejack found herself hiding behind one of Rich's smooth and silky couches. It would only be a matter of time before one group came stumbling over, and that would likely be the last stealth takedown the Batmare could make before there were no other options.

There were footsteps coming from around the corner, and Applejack knew the uneven pattern meant it was a group. She readied herself, and when she popped from the corner, she immediately went for the head of both henchmen. They didn't have time to scream, and they both dropped to the floor after a vicious combo from the Batmare to both their skulls. That left six; three armed, three unarmed, as the unarmed henchmen the Batmare had stranded just grouped up with the armed henchman the Batmare had stranded.

The resulting fight was rather short. The Batmare quickly threw three batarangs, all which connected with the armed ponies' legs; they dropped their blades and fell in agony. The three unarmed henchmen looked at each other before rushing in all at once, thinking the numbers would overwhelm them. They were horribly wrong, as the Batmare punched one in the skull before ducking simultaneous attacks from the other two and launching a kick with both back hooves, connecting with the stomachs of the two individuals.

Once that was done, the Batmare walked to the three formerly armed goons writing in pain and put them out of their misery, knocking them out. She removed the batarangs from their legs and began dressing their wounds when she heard a slow clap coming from above her.

She didn't realize it, but there had been an upstairs area where the gargoyles were; she didn't bother to look to her left, or she would have seen it. Standing on the balcony was a figure that had to be Black Mask; he wore what looked to be a black skull over his head, and he donned a white and black pinstripe suit. There was a figure next to him, and Applejack was horrified to see that it was Twilight; she had white tape around her mouth, and there was fear radiating from eyes.

"Impressive," said the crime lord. "I haven't seen anything like it. I'm sure it hurts, but I don't feel like finding out today." At those words, he wrapped a hoof around Twilight, causing her to make an unintelligible noise from her sealed lips.

"I knew you'd be coming for Celestia's plaything," he said. "I'm also aware that you know of my identity. No matter. If you so much as lay a hoof on me, the mare gets her throat sliced. You're going to follow me, okay? So come on up the stairs, bat-freak, and we'll start negotiations."

Applejack nodded slowly, and began to go towards the stairwell. While doing so, she took a look at the Grandfather Clock pressed up against the wall; she wouldn't be alone for much longer.

Author's Note:

A man walks into a bar and asks for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a shotgun and points it at him. The man pauses, smiles, and says "thank you" before immediately leaving the bar. Why did the man thank him?

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