• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,858 Views, 12,522 Comments

Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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By the Light of the Moon

Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Jade sat together in a tent in the bamboo forests of China. It was yet another archaeological expedition, this time to find the lost Lotus Temple. The only others along for the trip were Jackie and an old monk who'd volunteered as their guide. The four girls were having a bit of difficulty as just before the expedition, they'd goaded themselves into watching a scary movie about a monster in the woods that attacked campers. While Jade had long considered herself tough enough to handle mere movie monsters and thought her dealing with actual demons would make it even easier. She'd overlooked how much more realistic and terrifying movie monsters could be made with the normalization of magic, as the only limit to the shaping of the monsters was the imagination of the illusion mage on the special effects crew...and illusion magic came more easily to those with more active imaginations. This was why Audrey hung amongst the bamboo in an exceptionally large form, with instructions to eat anything that came too close to the camp unless it was a mortal animal (like a panda) or a person.

Which is why all four jumped up with a scream when Jackie pulled the tent flap back to look in on them.

"WAUGH!" Jackie cried as he leapt back, patting his chest to calm his fast heart. "What are you girls doing? I thought I said for someone to gather firewood."

"And go out into the bamboo grove alone where the slavering maw awaits to devour lost little girls?" Jade asked fearfully. "With its thousand tongues and gnashing teeth and countless hands and-"

"The only 'slavering maw' out there is Audrey," Jackie pointed out flatly. "And he's on our side."

"But what if there's another Audrey out there?" Scootaloo squeaked out worriedly.

"Then Apple Bloom will make it behave itself," Jackie chided calmly, rolling his eyes.

"What if it feeds on Dark Magic and eats good kids!" Apple Bloom asked in terror.

"Then sic Audrey on it," Jackie instructed tiredly. "There are no monsters out there."

"But there are tons of monsters out in the world!" Sweetie Belle squeaked out, holding up 'The Monster Book of Monsters', a complete tome of all magical creatures known to exist throughout the world.

"I checked before we came here," Jackie countered flatly. "The only creatures of a size or strength to even conceivably be considered threatening are pandas and Qi Lin."

"We're Qi Lin!" Sweetie squeaked out fearfully. "What if the locals are territorial?"

"I checked the rules," Jackie continued. "They won't hurt you, even if they do judge you as Qi Lin from another herd, since you're all children and virgins." He raised an eyebrow. "Or at least you'd better be."

All four girls' eyes widened before squinting shut as they let out a concerted, "EWWWW!"

Jackie managed a chuckle. "Anyway, even if you do come across a local Qi Lin, they'll simply lead you back to camp."

"But what if Valmont's released a Demon with control over plants to attack us?" Jade asked hurriedly.

"One, we know all eight Demon Sorcerers, and none of them are plants," Jackie pointed out. "Two, even if one was, they wouldn't dare enter a Qi Lin range. Three, go get the firewood."

Groaning, all four girls got up to move.

"It only takes one of you," Jackie pointed out.

"If you think we're going out into a potentially monster infested forest without proper backup, you're crazy!" Scootaloo declared intensely.

"But I just said-" Jackie groaned, rolling his eyes. "Fine. If you all encounter a dangerous monster and get eaten, feel free to tell me 'I told you so'."

Nodding firmly, the four girls marched out into the bamboo.

"Stay in sight of the camp!" Jackie called out before sitting on a log seat, turning to roast a hot dog over the fire. "Kids."

"Ancient wisdom," the old monk offered. "The young cats often bite off more than they can chew. The watchful alpha does not let them wander."

Jackie frowned thoughtfully, only to become distracted as a sudden pop of the bamboo in the campfire resulted in his hot dog becoming so much charcoal.

The four girls stayed very close together as they made their way through the bamboo grove, gathering up the fallen, dried stalks for use as firewood. "So...one of us still has a bead on the camp, right?" Jade asked nervously.

"I...I thought you still had an eye on it," Scootaloo whimpered.

"Apple Bloom, can Audrey guide us?" Sweetie squeaked nervously.

Apple Bloom glanced around as a cloud shifted aside, the full moon shining its light down. "I think-no!" The last word came out in a fearful gasp. "There's a surge o' magic here! I lost track of him!"

"Look!" Scootaloo screamed out, pointing to a large temple that had literally appeared before her eyes, fading in in place of the bamboo as the moonlight shone down.

"...is that the Lotus Temple?" Jade asked hopefully.

"Must be," Sweetie pointed out nervously. "There aren't any other temples in the area."

"But where did it come from?" Scootaloo demanded. "It...it just appeared in the moonlight!"

"That...actually makes sense," Apple Bloom offered thoughtfully. "Ah mean, ah hadn't given it much thought...but the Lotus is the symbol of He Xiangu, and she's the one that sealed Tso Lan. Maybe this is her temple, built ta respond to the phases of the moon to keep watch against a return o' his magic? We are here lookin' for magic ta use against the Demon Sorcerers, after all."

"In that case, what are we waiting for?" Jade offered eagerly. "Let's go!" She quickly raced for the stairs up to the Temple.

"Jade, wait!" Sweetie called out as she raced after her. "There might be dangerous magical booby traps! Let me go first so I can read them!"

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