• Published 23rd Feb 2013
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Friendship is SHOWTIME!! - MangaKamen



A Kamen Rider Crossover Magic – a mysterious force in this world, and each creature possess magic within itself. A gift to many, but to a few, it is nothing but a curse. And when Twilight sees a new form of magic, she'll learn that life is

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Spell 17 - Stripes, Medals and Boxers

Just as humans have changed, so has the nature of their greed. It’s become immensely large… And bottomless.
- Kazari, Greeed

TTTTTTT

Spell 17

Stripes, Medals and Boxers

TTTTTTTT

The sky was a rich, blue with the sun gleaming overhead, bathing Ponyville with its warm light as a familiar purple unicorn trotted through the town with a purple little dragon on her back. Twilight smiled as she looked up into the deep blue yonder of the sky, “What a gorgeous day, wouldn’t you agree Spike?

“Yeah! You wouldn’t even think that just a couple days ago the sky was filled with smog,” Spike replied as he looked about Ponyville. “Rainbow must’ve gotten up early and…”

“Yoohoo!”

With Spike’s comment interrupted, Twilight and her young ward turned to see a rather odd sight at the entrance of the town’s center – A goofy looking griffon was seated on a bright red carpet that had a number of odd trinkets spread out on the carpet with a large blue backpack behind him, most of the trinkets seemed to be really old and the griffon himself was gesturing towards them to come over. “Yes! The unicorn with the dragon on your back! I just opened up shop! Check out my wares and be my first customer!”

Twilight tilted her head at the griffon – He seemed very familiar with the feathers on his head styled to stand up, dressed in a bright red jersey with a hood on it – Spike on the other hoof jumped off of Twilight and skittered towards the edge of the carpet to get a better look at a small emerald statue in the shape of a serpentine dragon.

The unicorn trotted towards the edge of the carpet as the griffon lifted up a necklace that was made out of copper with a horse like design on it with a sapphire on the horse design. “Welcome! Welcome!”

“Uh, what are you doing?” Twilight asked, looking over a cracked vase in front of her.

“Well, even griffons need to eat, Miss,” the griffon replied with a sheepish grin on his face. “So, I figured that I’d set up shop and sell some of my one-of-a-kind antiques!”

The griffon lifted the necklace he had in his talons towards Twilight, “Take this little treasure for example – This is an ancient Caballon artifact, a rain dancer’s tribal necklace! And this little trinket can be yours with the low, low price of twenty-five bits! What d’ya say, Miss? I think this would look dashing around your pretty little neck!”

Twilight blinked a few times at the odd griffon, and then realized something, “Wait, aren’t you that griffon I saw a few days ago with that zebra?”

The griffon’s face lit up even more as his smile grew, “Ah! You remember me! That’s good! We should commemorate this second chance meeting with a sale! Since you remember me, I’ll take the price down to twenty-two bits! What do you say?”

“Well, as good of a deal that is,” Twilight replied as he horn began to glow brightly, the same aura appearing around Spike and lifted him off of the ground. “I am afraid I will have to pass this offer of yours.”

Spike huffed as he was placed back on Twilight’s back, and as the mare trotted off, the griffon slumped down to the ground with his head lowered. “Awe… That’s not good…”

When Twilight had distanced herself from the griffon’s shop, said griffon lifted his head up and pumped one of his talons. “No! I can’t let this get me down! I’m in a pinch! But when driven into a corner, you can think of new ideas!

“When you’re down, you can see your surroundings better! I won’t be dining on grass again tonight!”

Unfortunately, Twilight and Spike were able to hear the griffon’s proclamations, and that just made Twilight trot a little faster. “What a weird character.”

“Yeah, but he had some really cool stuff,” Spike huffed with his arms crossed over his chest. “That statue was pure jade! And did you see that he had a samurai sword there? That would’ve been awesome to have!”

“Spike, why in Equestria would you want a sword?” Twilight questioned, turning her head to look at her number one assistant. “They’re dangerous and you could hurt yourself with it.”

“Yeah, but Haru’s able to use one like a pro!” Spike answered with a bright smile. “I’m sure he could teach me how to use it!”

Twilight rolled her eyes, she had a feeling that’d be the case – While Haru was a good influence and didn’t cause trouble, the young mare did have to admit that the magical dragon did leave an impression her assistant. She didn’t really see the appeal of swordplay, but then again boys will be boys. ‘I guess even Shining Armor had his moments like that. Although, I’m probably going to have to have Haru talk to Spike about this.’

Speaking of the magical dragon, Haru had gotten up early this morning (roughly a little earlier than Twilight) and left for town to find work. The last few days, the ring mage had spent most of his time at the library in order to study up on the new ring that he had acquired in his fight against Phoenix. He had even transformed into his Flame Dragon style to test it out, and it went without a hitch… Save for part of the outside of the Golden Oaks Library that caught a flame when he transformed. But it didn’t take long for the fires to be put out.

After his testing, Haru had asked Twilight about where she got the ring… Well, that was a little more difficult to explain. Twilight didn’t want Haru to know that she was visited by White Wizard or that she and her close friends knew the magical dragon’s deepest secret. Especially since Haru wasn’t comfortable telling them about him becoming bipedal within the last half year of his life, and if he found out that they knew his secret, then it probably wouldn’t end well.

“Twilight?”

The student of Celestia shook her head from those thoughts and turned her attention towards the dragon on her back. “Uh, I’m sorry Spike, what were you saying?”

“I was asking if we could go back and pick up that samurai sword?” Spike asked with a bright gleam in his eye.

Once again, Twilight sighed at her foster brother’s request. When she turned her head forward, Twilight was about to speak up when she noticed something about Ponyville on this shiny day. The streets were empty!

“Where is everypony?” Twilight mumbled out loud to herself as she trotted slower through the town.

“Don’t change the subject!” Spike barked, before he too realized that the tow was almost completely devoid of anypony – well, save for the griffon behind the two who was still in his inner monologue. “Uh… W-What happened to everypony? Is it some sort of holiday or something?”

“Not that I know of,” Twilight replied.

“PSSSST!”

Twilight stopped in her tracks and looked around, trying to find the source of that weird sound.

“TWILIGHT! SPIKE! Come here!”

Both Twilight and Spike turned towards Sugarcube Corner, where the building was darkened yet the door was opened to reveal a pink hoof was motioning for them. “Hurry! Before she gets you!”

Without a second of hesitation, Twilight galloped into the confectionary with the door slamming shut behind her. Once inside, the darkness inside the building had completely covered the two, and the young mare stumbled about. “Pinkie? What’s going on here?”

That’s when a bright light shined in front of the two, revealing that Pinkie was standing before the two with a flashlight held up next to her face. “Oooh, one of the spookiest things ever!”

“Anything’s spooky if you’re alone in the dark,” Twilight replied with a flat look in her eyes.

“Oh, I’m not alone in the dark,” Pinkie Pie stated with a bright smile as the unicorn’s and young dragon’s adjusted to the dark. “At least, I don’t think I’m a video game series that was turned into a horrible movie rip off at the box offices.”

When they did Twilight realized that indeed it wasn’t just the three of them in sweet shop: gathered around Twilight were the other members of her little group of friends, including Haru (who was munching on a doughnut at the counter) and little Apple Bloom who had the Topaz Kraken (scratch that, the Topaz Kraken who was named Kenny) atop her head near the magical dragon. Twilight was a little surprised to see everypony around her and jumped slightly, which in turn made Spike slide off her back. “O-kay, so then, what are you all doing here in the dark?”

Applejack pulled back some of the curtains of the shop, while taking care that she was still hidden by said curtains. “We’re hidin’ from… HER!

A little curious, Twilight trotted towards the window and looked out to clearly see that the same griffon who tried to sell her something had another customer. Twilight focused her eyes to get a better look as Spike and the rest of the mares crowded behind her to watch. Standing before the makeshift shop on a carpet was an odd cloaked figure, with only their legs showing to reveal gray fur covered legs with black hooves, and at the right front leg were a number of golden circlets.

Suddenly, the cloaked figure turned towards Sugarcube Corner, showing that under the hood was a pair of glowing yellow eyes that made everypony, save for Twilight and Haru, duck for cover.

Twilight rolled her eyes, “Her? What’s so scary about her?”

“Did ya see her Twilight?” Apple Bloom asked as she stood up next to the young studious unicorn, Kraken (Kenny) squeaking a few times. “Did ya see… Zecora?”

“Apple Bloom!” Applejack scolded. “Ah told ya never to say that name!”

Twilight turned back to the window to see that the cloaked figure, Zecora, was back to talking to the griffon (who at the moment had lifted up the same copper necklace that he tried to sell to Twilight a few minutes earlier). “All I saw was her glancing this way…”

“Glance evilly this way,” Pinkie Pie corrected, putting emphasis on the word ‘evilly’.

Twilight rolled her eyes, “And you all flip out for no good reason.”

“No good reason?” Applejack questioned as she pulled her little sister close to her, with Kraken floating over the two Apple Sisters. “Ya call protectin’ yer kin no good reason? Why, as soon as my sister saw Zecora headin’ into town she started shakin’ in her lil horseshoes!”

“Did not!” Apple Bloom protested.

However, the little filly’s complaints fell on deaf ears as her big sister tossed the young filly on her back, “So Ah swept her up and brought her here!”

“But Ah walked here myself.”

“Fer safety!”

“Zecora,” Fluttershy gulped. “She’s mysterious…”

“Sinster,” Rainbow Dash chimed in.

“And spooooooky!” Pinkie Pie finished up.

“So is Haru without his morning coffee,” Twilight pointed out as she pointed towards the sleek dragon behind the counter.

“Hey!” Haru protested, stopping himself from finishing his doughnut.

“And I’m kind of surprised to see you hiding, Haru,” Twilight stated. “You fight monsters almost every week or so, but you’re afraid of a cloaked pony?”

“I’m not hiding,” Haru replied as he waved his doughnut slightly. “I came to Sugarcube Corner for some breakfast, and all of a sudden, everypony here comes rushing in here and the lights go out.”

Twilight nodded before she looked out the window once more, seeing that Zecora pulled back the hood of her cloak to reveal the back of her head with a black and white Mohawk-styled mane, stripes on her fur, and large golden earrings. Everypony, save for Twilight and Haru, gasped at the sight.

Instead, Twilight sighed loudly, “Will you please stop doing that?”

“Darling, haven’t you seen those stripes? That mane style? And that jewelry?” Rarity pointed out as she brought her hooves to her mouth. “So garish!”

“She’s a zebra,” Twilight stated bluntly.

There was a moment of silence before Haru raised his claws up into the air, “Uh, Twilight, she’s a ‘what’ now?”

“A zebra,” Twilight began to explain as she kept her attention towards the window. “And her stripes aren’t a fashion choice Rarity, they’re what most zebras are born with.”

Rarity’s blue eyes widened before she fell backwards and fainted.

“Born where?” Applejack asked, with an audible gulp following. “Ah’ve never seen a pony like her in these here parts, ‘cept fer… her!”

“Well, zebras are indigenous to Zebrica,” Twilight explained with a hint of pride that her studies were being used once more. “That’s across the sea, but, that doesn’t stop zebras from coming to this land. In fact, just the other day, I saw another zebra near your orchard, Applejack. But, I’ve never seen her in town before.”

“That’s because she lives in,” Applejack explained taking a moment to take in a breath. “The Everfree Forest!”

BAM!

All of the ponies, and even Haru, jumped at the surprising loud noise that erupted from the kitchen. From the door to the kitchen, Spike poked his head out with a claw full of sweets, “Uh, s-sorry! My bad!”

With his doughnut finished, Haru stepped from behind the counter, “The Everfree Forest, huh? I’ve heard of it, but I don’t think I’ve ever been there. What’s so wrong with it?”

“Mistah Souma, them woods just ain’t natural,” Applejack explained with a cold bead of sweat rolling down the side of her head. “The plants grow…

“Animals care for themselves,” Fluttershy added as she trotted up next to the tall dragon.

“And the clouds move,” Rainbow Dash chimed in, flying over the dragon’s head.

“All on their own!” All three yelped at the same time.

Right on cue, Rarity fainted once again.

“How does it make her evil?” Twilight asked, keeping her attention at the window. “Seems like she’s being pretty nice to that griffon out there.”

Dash flew to the window and squinted her eyes, watching as Zecora placed a few bits on the carpet in front of the griffon. Said griffon smiled goofily as he lifted the necklace to Zecora. “Hmmm, something about that griffon seems familiar…”

“She’s probably just sizing him up!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed as she bounced into the center of the shop. “She does all this evil… uh, stuff! And I even wrote a song about her evil deeds!”

“A… Song?” Haru questioned with a raised brow.

Pinkie Pie took in a deep breath before she began to sing,“There’s a light~ in the distance!

See them coming closer!
With the force of ages
Of centuries gone by!
Protectors of the right!
Defenders sworn to fight! Dino – Whoops! Sorry! Wrong song!”

Clearing her throat, Pinkie Pie began to sing once more, this time dancing about the room, “She's an evil enchantress!

“She does evil dances
And if you look deep in her eyes
She'll put you in trances
Then what will she do?
She'll mix up an evil brew
Then she'll gobble you up
In a big tasty stew
Soooo... Watch out!”

The song ended with Pinkie Pie atop one of the tables with her front hooves raised over her head, the pink earth pony trying to catch her breath.

“Wow, catchy,” Twilight admitted.

Pinkie jumped off the table and smiled brightly, “Thanks! They’re both works in progress.”

“Okay, aside from gossip,” Twilight coughed to get back on topic. “What exactly have you seen Zecora do?”

It was at this point that Rarity had gotten back to her hooves, “Darling, there’s more to it than that. Over half a year ago, Zecora appeared in town, and whenever she appeared in town, strange things start happening.”

Haru raised his brow slightly. ‘Over half a year ago, huh?’

“Yeah!” Rainbow Dash added as she flew through the air. “Once a month, she comes to Ponyville, and every time she does, something strange happens – Like one time, after she visited, a lot of ponies claimed that they were stalked by a weird cloaked figure at night.”

“Another time,” Fluttershy gulped as she shuddered to the floor. “A lot of the animals were scared and told me that a cloaked figure destroyed their homes.”

“And most recently,” Rarity chimed in once more. “As of late, a lot of ponies including yours truly have reported a number of jewel thefts! I may not have seen the culprit, but a few ponies claimed to have seen a cloaked figure lurking about at night!”

“Anypony can wear a cloak,” Twilight replied with a roll of her eyes. “Besides, did anypony see Zecora commit any of these acts? If not, then its only speculation that Zecora did them – And it’s only coincidental that they happen when she’s around. I’m sure there’s an explanation for everything, and if anypony here were actually brave enough to approach her, the truth would appear.”

Nopony noticed that Apple Bloom was quietly sneaking out of Sugarcube Corner with Kenny the Topaz Kraken floating behind her. It wasn’t hard for her to sneak out since Twilight was trying to argue her case, while Pinkie Pie was singing her songs once more, and the other ponies were trying to convince Twilight that Zecora was bad news, ‘Ah’m brave ‘nough; Ah’m gunna find that truth mahself!’

With the older mares in deep discussion (and singing), Apple Bloom snuck through Ponyville, keeping her attention on Zecora who had left the makeshift shop and was making her way out of town. Taking cover behind a rather large cardboard box, Apple Bloom and Kenny the Topaz Kraken popped their heads from behind the box. “Ah wonder if she’s as bad as everypony says…”

“There’s always one way to find out.”

Apple Bloom and the Kraken Familiar looked about to find the source of the familiar voice, Apple Bloom blinked a few times, “Mistah Souma? Where are ya?”

“I’m right in front of you,” Haru spoke once more, as the box in front of Apple Bloom lifted up to reveal that indeed the jacket wearing dragon was hidden within the box.

“Uh, Mistah Souma, what are ya doing?” Apple Bloom asked with her head tilted.

“Well, I got a little curious about Zecora,” Haru explained as he pulled the box down over him. “So, I snuck out while Twilight was making a few points.”

“Ah was more curious about the box,” Apple Bloom asked with her head tilted.

“Oh,” Haru coughed slightly from inside the box. “W-Well, I just used some of the magic I had, my Dress Up Ring, and my magic made this for me. I get that a tall red dragon sticks out, but this box just seems to fit right.”

“Ah guess that makes sense,” Apple Bloom answered with her head tilted slightly.

‘But when I put it on,’ Haru thought to himself as he turned around in the box and slowly began to follow Zecora with Apple Bloom following behind him. ‘I suddenly got this feeling of inner peace. I feel… Safe. Like this is where I was meant to be. Like I’d found the key to true happiness.

‘Does that make any sense?’

“Mistah Souma, ya’ll don’t mind if Ah tag along with ya?” Apple Bloom whispered to the hidden dragon.

“Huh? Y-Yeah, sure,” Haru replied as he shuffled a little faster in the box. “If I’m with you, I’ll make sure that nothing bad happens.”

TTTTTTT

It didn’t take long for the box covered dragon, the blank flank filly, and the Kraken familiar to follow Zecora to the entrance to the Everfree Woods. The cloaked zebra kept trotting deeper into the woods, Haru discarded his cardboard box disguise and darted behind some of the bushes with his familiar and Apple Bloom. ‘Hmm… If Everfree Forest is so dangerous, why is there an obvious path through it?’

“So, what’s the plan, Mistah Souma?” Apple Bloom asked as she leaned closer to the sleek dragon.

“Well, that’s a good question,” Haru muttered under his breath as he rubbed his chin with his dark claws. “We’ve still got Zecora in our sights, and we don’t want to lose her… But, I’ve never been in the Everfree Forest, so, we’ll have to follow her so we don’t get lost. On the other claw, I don’t know what’s in there…”

“Like a tall, fancy rooster?” Apple Bloom stated.

“Wait, what?” Haru questioned with a raised brow.

Apple Bloom pointed towards a few yards away from the entrance of the woods, where a rather odd creature was heading towards the brush. The creature itself did look like a tall rooster with black feathers sprouting from its shoulders and covering its 'hands'. The creature’s head looked like a gamecock’s head, with an odd face under the beak. The creature had red ribbons tied around its arms, was wearing an elaborate loincloth, and had a large burlap sack slung over its shoulders.

The odd creature sauntered into the woods, leaving a rather confused Haru at the bushes. “Uh, okay, that’s rather odd.”

“Ah heard that many weird creatures living in Everfree Forest,” Apple Bloom stated, garnering Haru’s attention. “But a big rooster?”

“Apple Bloom,” Haru said as he stood up. “I want you to stay here for a little bit.”

“Huh? But what about Zecora?” Apple Bloom asked with her head tilted slightly.

“There’s a lot going on in these woods,” Haru replied as he reached into his jacket and pulled out a pair of rings. “But, I’d feel better if you stay out here.”

“But Mistah Souma,” Apple Bloom protested, but Haru had already dashed off to follow the weird Rooster creature.

The young filly huffed as she turned towards the actual entrance of the Everfree Woods where Zecora was disappearing into the distance. Apple Bloom turned to see Haru disappear into the shrubbery, ‘Even Mistah Souma treats me like a baby… Ah can do this mahself! Ah’ll prove Ah can do this!’

That was when Apple Bloom galloped towards the entrance of the Everfree Woods, the topaz Kraken familiar flying after her.

As the filly went into the woods, she didn’t notice that pair of colorful, floral patterned boxer shorts flew past the entrance of the woods.

TTTTTTTT

The path that Haru took wasn’t as cleared off as the path that Zecora and Apple Bloom had taken, with the magical dragon having to get through a large amount of lowered branches, several roots that stuck out from the ground and a large amount of thorny vines that scratched the dragon’s exposed skin. ‘Ooh, that stings. Maybe I should’ve transformed before I entered here, but I don’t want to lose that creature…

‘Certainly has the look of a monster – But what in the world is it? Is it a Phantom?’

Originally, the magical dragon’s intentions were to follow Zecora – The incidents that the mares talked about were concerning, but they seemed to follow another pattern that Haru took notice. When he heard the mares talking about it, it reminded the dragon about Gilda’s own problems.

He couldn’t discount the possibility that this Zecora was a Gate being targeted by a Phantom just like Gilda was: being falsely accused of misfortunate events which would eventually ostracize the zebra. But Haru also had to consider that Zecora was possibly a Phantom herself, but deep down he hoped that wouldn’t be the case.

‘But then here comes that weird rooster thing – What is that thing supposed to be? A Phantom version of a Cockatrice?’

“Took this thing a while to get back this time.”

Haru’s eyes widened when he heard the voice and he crouched down. Thankfully, the voice kept sounding out so Haru could shift through the bushes to find the source. “C’mon, this thing’s speed is just a crime.”

“Perhaps, but he’s getting the job done. Soon we’ll have enough medals to get our own personal army.”

“Yes, the better soon than late. With our own personal army at our command, I will change every Phantom’s fate.”

Eventually after enough shifting through the leafs and thorny vines, Haru peeked through one of the bushes to see a rather small clearing – Where he saw the owners of the voices. There were three beings in the small clearing, one of which was the odd rooster creature who was dumping the contents of the large burlap sack: Dumping several kinds of jewels into a rather large pile of jewels. ‘A nest?’

The next figure that caught Haru’s attention was a tall, sleek, cloaked character with a ragged top hat covering its head. When Haru looked down at the cloaked figure’s feet, he noted that the creature was bipedal, but the being’s ankles seemed to be made of some sort of coiled metal of some kind. “But you’re damn lucky, Shocker. If we didn’t meet up a couple nights ago, you would’ve been just a gawker.”

“You’re one to talk, Spring Heel, I at least had a mission to fulfill – You were just causing mischief.”

The owner of that last voice was the remaining being in the small clearing near the jewels was a tall, eagle-like creature covered with musty grayish-brown feathers with a large gas-mask covering its face. At random parts of this monster’s body were bronze snakes that popped from the creature’s body, and around the monster’s waist was a white belt that had a large golden buckler that was engraved with a large eagle perched atop of a world symbol. The feathered monster called ‘Shocker’ lifted one of his talons towards Spring Heel. “What sort of respectable kaiju are you? You’ve got the fearsome look down, but your attitude wouldn’t even scare a filly.”

Spring Hell snapped his arms up into the air, revealing that at the end of his arms were several knife-like claws, “I’d watch my tongue if I were you, you never should underestimate a Phantom’s power. Shocker is a thing of the past, Phantoms are what ponies cower!”

“Humph, whatever delusions you wish to carry they do not matter to me,” Shocker scoffed as he walked towards the rooster monster with his right claw lifted up. “Soon this Yummy shall soon be ripe enough for us to harvest the cell medals. These ponies are a great source of desire, and so easy to determine which ones will give the most out of our medals thanks to those marks on their legs.”

It was then that Shocker stabbed his talons into the Yummy’s chest, making the gamecock monster stagger slightly before Shocker pulled his talon free. To Haru’s amazement, the Yummy didn’t have nary a scratch on its chest – No blood, no wound, just a few silver medallions falling from Shocker’s talons that fell to the ground. “You shall get your army in due time Spring Heel, but only as long as you aid me in my own desire.”

With a wave of his hand, Spring Heel knelt down and grabbed a few of the medals from the ground with his free clawed hand, “To help you find the one with the cores. Yes, yes, there’s no need to remind me of the bores.”

‘An army? Why would this Phantom need an army?’ Haru thought to himself watching the strange scene in front of him. ‘Phantoms have the Ghouls and their own numbers to draw from, why does this Spring Heel need this Shocker’s help to make an army? And how are medallions supposed to help them acquire this army?

‘And this Shocker, what in the world is he supposed to be? For some reason, I doubt he’s a Phantom, they usually have a sort of mythological theme or something like that. But for the life of me I can’t tell what this Shocker id supposed to be…’

It was then that Shocker lifted his head up and looked around. “… We’re being watched.”

Haru stilled his breath.

“Come out this instant,” Shocker demanded as he dropped the medals to the ground. “If either of us have come out to find you, then the end result won’t be pretty.”

With a roll of his eyes, Haru knew what he had to do.

“DRIVER ON – PLEASE!”

Another sound echoed through the air as Haru’s belt appeared, three chimes echoing though the forested air…

“HENSHIN!”

When Haru called out his trademarked transformation battle call, he noticed that he wasn’t the only one to say it. There was an unfamiliar voice that called out at the same time…

“FLAME – PLEASE!”

TAKA TORA BATTA!

“Hii Hii HiiHiiHii!”

TA-TO-BA! TATOBA TATOBA!

TTTTTTTT

While a battle of epic proportions was raging on in the woods (the author would write it in, but this story has a certain formula to it, and we can’t deviate from it too much or else it would be EVIL!), Apple Bloom and Kenny the Topaz Kraken had managed to catch up to Zecora, right when the mysterious Zebra was passing by a large bunch of odd blue flowers.

Apple Bloom was about to just gallop through the weird blue flowers, but the Topaz familiar had stopped her. Making sure she wasn’t spotted by Zecora, Apple Bloom carefully trotted around the odd blue flowers as per her cute little pet’s odd request.

But just as she was about halfway passing the odd flowers…

“APPLE BLOOM!!”

The young filly jumped when she heard her name called out, and she immediately turned around to see that not only was her older sister was behind her standing within the weird blue flowers, so were the other five mares that were close friends with her. “Ya’ll get back here right now!”

Before Apple Bloom could even say a word…

“Beware! Beware, you pony folk!”

Zecora had called out from her side of the blue flowers, “Those leaves of blue are not a joke!”

Applejack had already galloped to her younger sister and the young mare was hoisted onto Applejack’s head, with the filly now on her back. “Is that supposed to scare us?! Y-Ya’ll keep yer creepy mumbo-jumbo to yerself, ya hear?!?!”

The other mares (save for Twilight) were trying to speak over each other, the purple unicorn rolled her eyes, “Oh brother…”

The rants and ravings of the group fell on deaf ears as Zecora began to disappear into a mysterious fog that seemed to come out of nowhere, “Beware! Beware!”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever!” Dash barked stomping on a few of the blue odd flowers in the process. “Keep those weird flank curses to yourself Zecora! Otherwise you’ll be the one to beware!”

“Dash!” Twilight scolded.

Of course, Twilight wasn’t the only pony who was scolding, Applejack had her eyes narrowed as Apple Bloom shrunk down with her eyes looking down. “And you! Why couldn’t ya just listen to yer big sister?”

“B-But, Ah… Ah…” Apple Bloom stuttered trying to say something. “M-Mistah Souma was with me, and Ah…”

“And where exactly is Mistah Souma then?” Applejack questioned with her eyes narrowed down. “Ah know he’s a dependable dragon with these sorts of things, but still, not even Mistah Souma could break a hex from Zecora!”

“Where is Mister Haru?” Fluttershy asked.

Almost as if it was a cue by Celestia herself, an oncoming, yelling, black and red blur fell from sky, crashing into the blue flowers in front of all the mares with all the blue petals flying up into the air. When the petals began to fall, the mares saw that before them was a rather dazed Wizard with several silver coins scattered about. “Stupid… Boxing… Rooster…”

Most of the mares just looked at each other as Haru’s Wizard attire faded away. Twilight blinked a few times as her magical aura slowly materialized the dazed Haru, his blue eyes spinning. “I think he’s just a little out of sorts. I wonder what happened to him…”

“Probably just got swatted by a manticore or something,” Dash scoffed as she jumped into the air to let her wings spread out. “I dunno about you guys, but I’m getting outta here before that curse takes effect.”

“There’s no such thing as curses!” Twilight stated as Haru was lifted up into the air with her magic.

“Then how do you explain the mysterious fog?” Pinkie Pie retorted as she leaned close to Twilight. “The weird ‘warning’?” Haru falling from the sky with several coins?”

“Quite the unique design these coins have,” Rarity admitted levitating one medal that had a peacock design on it up in the air before her. “Hmm, I swear I’ve seen this design somewhere…”

“There are plenty of reasonable explanations,” Twilight started, but her friends were already leaving the path of weird blue flowers. “Curses are just pony tales.”

“Just you wait, Twi” Applejack said as she trotted off. “You’ll find that some pony tales really are true.”

Twilight sighed.

TTTTTTT

When Twilight managed to get out of the Everfree Woods with the still dazed Haru being lifted up behind her with her magic, she squinted slightly from the bright sunlight overhead. Twilight sighed as her eyes adjusted to the bright light, ‘Why would they be afraid of a curse?’

It was then that Twilight turned towards Haru and chuckled to herself, ‘Then again, we’re in a world where a stallion can be cursed to become a dragon. Speaking that, I should probably speak to Haru about what we know of his past… But, would he be able to handle that we know his secret?’

“Uh, excuse me Miss.”

Twilight jumped a little when somepony’s voice sounded from behind her, almost making her drop Haru to the ground. But she was able to compose herself before he hit the ground, and with a sigh of relief, Twilight turned around to see a familiar zebra standing behind her with a worried look on his face. “Uh, hello there.”

“R-Right! Hello,” the zebra replied as he lowered his head, his purple clothes wrinkling as his muzzle brushed up against his neck. “I hope I didn’t scare you or anything, I’m just trying to find something that got away from me.”

“Uh, okay, you didn’t scare me too much,” Twilight lied under her breath, her heart still racing a little bit. “And there’s no need to be that formal, we’ve actually met before. I think that griffon friend of yours called you Eiji, right?”

The zebra, Eiji, brightly smiled as he lifted his head up, “R-Right! It was near that orchard on that day when that weird weather came around. My name’s Hino Eiji, but Eiji is good enough.”

Twilight smiled at the zebra’s good behavior, “Well, Mr. Hino, allow me to properly introduce myself – I am Twilight Sparkle.”

“A pleasure to meet you,” Eiji replied with a slight nod before he turned towards the still floating Haru. “Oh, um, is he okay?”

“Haru? He seems alright, just a little dazed,” Twilight mused with a confused look on her face. “Do you know him?”

“Well, kinda,” Eiji replied with a nervous smile on his face. “We kinda just met a little bit ago, but we didn’t exchange names – Kinda busy with everything happening all at once. But anyway, I’m kinda searching for something, you didn’t happen to see a pair of floral patterned… Um… W-Well…”

Twilight couldn’t help but notice that the zebra’s face had a noticeable blush, even showing through his gray and black fur. “A pair of… boxers…”

“Excuse me?” Twilight questioned with her ears leaning forward. “What did you say?”

BOXERS!” Eiji sputtered out with his face completely red. When he realized that he blurted that out, his face turned completely red and his hooves were brought to his face. Then with a nervous chuckle, Eiji turned to the side. “Uh, s-sorry about that, it’s not really a subject a stallion should ask a mare, but I’m kinda in a pickle.”

“Well, if I see a random pair of boxers,” Twilight giggled with a bright smile on her face. “You’ll be the first to know, Mr. Hino.”

“O-Okay,” Eiji chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head. “Also, make sure you’re careful around here, there are a few weird things running about.”

“Tell me about it,” Twilight sighed, a flat look appearing in her eyes. “I’ve been hearing about curses, weird events happening in Ponyville, and all of a sudden my friend here falls from the sky with a bunch of weird coins next to him.”

Eiji whistled innocently as he turned his eyes away, “O-Oh, really? Well, Miss Sparkle, it was nice chatting with you, but I need to find those bo… My unmentionables…”

And with that Eiji spun on his hooves and slowly began to trot into the woods behind him.

“Wait! It’s dangerous in there!” Twilight called out.

Eiji stopped and turned around with a bright smile on his face, “Don’t worry! I may not look it, but I’m able to take care of myself. Besides, my friend lives in Everfree Forest, and she’s able to survive with the comforts of home.”

“Your friend?” Twilight questioned as she looked down at the ground. That’s when realization struck her. “Wait, are you talking about…”

But when Twilight lifted her head up, she saw that Eiji was gone. All she was looking at was the empty path that led through the Everfree Forest. “How are some ponies able to disappear out of thin air?”

“Practice, lots and lots of practice,” Haru answered.

Twilight snapped her head to the side to see that Haru was awake, and had his arms crossed over his chest… And he was currently upside down. “I hope it’s okay if I can walk on my own two feet.”

“R-Right,” Twilight chuckled as she used her magic to gently lower the dragon to the ground.

When Haru was standing on his own, the dragon dusted off his jacket and fixed his belt. “Much better.”

“Haru, why were you in the woods?” Twilight asked with her head tilted slightly.

“Twilight, I’ve got a lot to tell you,” Haru replied as he stretched his arms. “And luckily, we got a long enough of a walk to talk it over.”

TTTTTTTTT

A little time passed in the Everfree Forest, in the small clearing where Spring Heel and Shocker were discussing was completely devoid of almost every little thing that proved that the two were there – Save for the small trail of jewels that led out of the clearing and into the bushes.

“Well, well, well, looks like this forest hides more than just Phantoms…”

Stepping from some of the bushes, Sora stepped into the clearing with his trademarked smile plastered on his face. “Although, I must admit, I didn’t expect a Phantom to work with a Greeed. This just gets all the more interesting all the time.”

Sora trotted over to one of the jewels and swept it up with his wing, “Maybe I should try to get into the fun myself.

“Heeheehee!”

TTTTTTTT

By the time Twilight and Haru had reached the Golden Oaks library, the mystical dragon had explained his thoughts about Zecora and how she could be being targeted by a Phantom to make the mysterious zebra be blamed for all of the recent odd events that her friends informed her about. “That’s what happened to Gilda, right?”

“Yeah,” Haru stated with a nod as the two stopped at the front door to the library. “And as I said, I already found the Phantom with a number of jewels in the Everfree Forest. So, if it turns out that Zecora isn’t the Phantom, then at least we can prove her innocence of the jewel thefts.

“Getting them back is another matter entirely…”

“What do you mean?” Twilight inquired, a little lump appearing in the back of her throat, a little afraid of what Haru was referring to.

“This Phantom wasn’t alone,” Haru explained as he rubbed his chin. “Whatever this Spring Heel is up to, he’s got a couple of partners that are not Phantoms.”

“Not Phantoms?” Twilight questioned. “Are you talking about ponies helping the Phantom? Or…”

“I’m not sure what they are,” Haru admitted as he reached into his pocket and pulled out one of the silver medals that fell from the sky with him. “But whatever they are, they certainly aren’t ponies or Phantoms - When I fought against the three, and managed to land a couple of blows on these two…

“They ‘bled’ these coins.”

“That’s… Rather fascinating!” Twilight stated with her eyes gleaming as she looked at the medal in Haru’s claws. “This came from those other individuals? I’ve never heard of such a thing before!”

Before Haru could get a word in about the subject again, Twilight used her magic to pull the medal from his claws and floated it in front of her face. “I wonder what this thing is? It looks to be made of metal, but if it came from a living creature then… This is amazing!”

Haru sighed with his arms falling to his sides. “I think I’m just going to crash for the rest of the day, it’s been a long day…”

Twilight was more mesmerized by the odd medal that she had floating in front of her.

TTTTTTT

Eventually, night had appeared over Ponyville, and all of its residents had drifted off to dream land. Even Twilight, who had spent most of the rest of the day observing the odd medal in the basement of the library, had her own visit by the Sand Stallion. However, as she slept, the words of her friends concerning Zecora haunted her dreams – to make matters worse, Pinkie’s song was stuck in her head!

The morning couldn’t come fast enough for Twilight, who woke up when she dreamt of a maniacally laughing Zecora with yellow eyes. “Ugh, again with the dreams…”

Twilight pushed herself from her bed with a groan. “I’m starting to think I should talk to somepony about these sorts of things. Curses, schmurses.”

Slowly the mare made her way to the vanity mirror she had in her room and reeled back at the sight she was looking at. “Whoa!”

Her mane was a complete mess! Twilight elicited a small giggle before she used her magic to levitate her brush. “Maybe Zecora cursed my hair.”

With few brushstrokes, Twilight’s wild mane was easily tamed, but when her mane was tamed – Her eyes widened, the brush dropped to the floor, and her jaw dropped when she saw her horn. Her horn was covered with odd blue spots and seemed to be rather wobbly.

It took a few moments for that to sink into Twilight’s mind.

And when it did, an extremely loud scream echoed though the air around the library, scaring countless birds from trees.

TBC

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