• 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 6 - Gnome

“There are two things a man must never do. One is to not make girls cry. The other is to not handle food so crudely!”
- Tendoh Souji / Kamen Rider Kabuto

TTTTTT

Spell 6

Gnome


Art by Lux-Nero/FlairNightz Thanks again Dood!

TTTTTTTT

“I’m a little confused on this,” Haru stated as he followed Twilight through the town, the dragon trying to hide the fact that he was a bit winded from following the galloping mare. “How is an Earth Pony supposed to help a Pegasus with aerial tricks?”

“You shouldn’t underestimate some ponies,” Twilight replied with her head lifted up slightly. “But this isn’t the time for us to be discussing this! We need to find Applejack and Rainbow Dash!”

“Y-Yes, of course,” Haru sighed as he wiped his brow. “But do you even know where the two were supposed to be meeting?”

Twilight stopped in her tracks, and chuckled sheepishly, “Um, well, it was the heat of the moment – I just kinda ran off without thinking.”

“Yeah, I know a few others who are like that,” Haru admitted with a roll of his eyes. “I think we may just have to wait for Garuda to… Huh.”

“What’s wrong?” Twilight asked noticing that Haru was looking up into the sky.

“There’s a rainbow in the clear blue sky,” Haru answered as he pointed towards the rainbow streak that was curving through the air. “What does it mean?”

“That someone’s watching us?” Twilight suggested.

“I dunno, I think we’d need two rainbows for that excuse to fly,” Haru replied with a shrug of his shoulders. “Anyway, doesn’t it look like it’s getting close?”

Twilight looked up to see that the rainbow that Haru was looking at, and after watching for a few seconds, she realized that Haru was right. The rainbow was getting closer, getting closer to the two of them, at top speed!

That’s when Twilight realized something about the oncoming rainbow. “Rainbow Dash!!”

“Huh?” Haru questioned as he looked around. “Where is she? Do you see Applejack?”

“No!” Twilight sounded as she used her hooves to move Haru’s head to make him look back at the oncoming rainbow. “That’s Rainbow Dash!”

“Look, I know she’s got Rainbow in her name,” Haru admitted as he pulled his head free from Twilight’s hooves. “But come on, there’s no way she makes a rainbow when she flies. Then again, the Wonderbolts do have that smoke coming from them when they do their shows, and that just makes me question how they do that. Rather odd now that I think about it…”

Before Haru could continue his musings, the rainbow crashed into Haru, sending the dragon and the rainbow rolling across the ground. Twilight blinked as the two came to a stop and showed that Rainbow Dash had crashed into the sleek red dragon and they both now were in a heap with Rainbow Dash atop of Haru.

Twilight sighed as she trotted to her friends, “Now do you believe me.”

“I’ll take your word from now on,” Haru replied with a roll of his eyes. “Now, how about a little help here?”

A few moments later, both Haru and Rainbow Dash were back on their feet and hooves respectively, a few scuffs covering their bodies. Rainbow Dash sighed loudly as she shook her head to get back her senses, “Dang it! That hurt!”

“Are you alright Rainbow Dash?” Twilight asked.

“I think some pony else needs your concern,” Rainbow Dash replied as she stretched her wings. “I’ve had worse crashes, and at least this time I had something soft to land on.”

“Hey! I’ll have you know I’m rather trim for being a dragon!” Haru retorted with his arms crossed.

“Let me guess, Applejack,” Twilight sighed.

“Applejack,” Rainbow Dash answered back.

“Where is she?” Haru asked.

“I kinda lost track when I was flung into the sky,” Rainbow Dash replied with a sigh following. “Still, we were on the other side of town when Applejack ‘helped’ me with my flying tricks. She sent me flying when I wasn’t ready on that catapult.”

“A catapult?” Haru questioned with a raised brow. “Couldn’t you have just done any practicing in the air by taking off from the ground normally?”

“Yeah, like I’m really going to take advice from a flightless lizard,” Rainbow Dash retorted as she pointed a hoof at Haru.

“One, it’s WIZARD, not lizard,” Haru corrected as he pushed the hoof out of his face. “Second, I can fly, you just haven’t seen it.”

“Third, we’ve got bigger issues than that!” Twilight interrupted as she slammed a hoof into the ground. “We have to find Applejack!”

“What’s wrong?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Remember what I told you and Pinkie about when I was attacked?” Twilight explained before she began to gallop away, with Rainbow Dash flying after her. Haru threw his arms up into the air before he followed the two mares slowly. “Well…”

TTTTTTT

Applejack yawned as she stepped off of the catapult, stumbling somewhat. With a yawn, Applejack slowly leaned against the towered platform.

Pierre on the other hand smirked. It was rather comical for the pony from Prance to watch Applejack leap off the top of the tower, only to slam into the ground – multiple times. And when she had finally landed on the catapult, her pegasus friend wasn’t ready and was propelled into the air. ‘Moi did not know zat ze pegasus would make a wonderful rainbow zough.

‘But, enough of ze admiration of ponies getting hurt, it is time for ze Awakening!’

Quietly trotting towards the lightly snoozing Applejack, Pierre’s body slowly became engulfed with a mysterious orange dirt and dust that began to change his entire form. During the change, the colt began to stand on his hind legs as his skin began to morph into familiar curved armor. As the dust and dirt fell to the ground, Pierre’s transformation had finally been complete. “Zis shall not hurt but for a mere moment, madame.”

Applejack then woke up and used her front hoof to push herself from the platform, unaware that she had touched a weakened spot on the structure. As the southern mare slowly trotted away, Gnome began to reach the tower, unaware that the structure was now beginning to shake violently. “Zough zis is a rough mezod, it is necessary for moi to do. Zis shall be moi’s finest moment! And now for ze… GARGH!”

However, before Gnome could lay his claws on Applejack, the large platform had crumbled and fallen onto the Phantom. Applejack had managed to get enough distance to not get hurt by the confusing structure, and due to her exhaustion, Applejack didn’t seem to notice the sound that was made by Gnome or the clattering wood.

She just continued on her way as one of Gnome’s hands stuck out of the mass of wood, twitching slightly. The hand snapped its fingers, allowing a number of rocky pillars to erupt from the ground near the fallen Gnome to clear the wood off of him. When Gnome got to his feet, the Phantom roared loudly, “Zat is it! Moi cannot take zis no more! No more interruptions! No more dramatics! No more…”

Gnome took a couple of whiffs with his nose, and his eyes widened, “Zis smell! Zis is…”

That’s when two clawed feet slammed into Gnome’s side and the powerful attack sent Gnome flying into the catapult, breaking the contraption in two and sent the Phantom crashing into the ground several feet away.

Haru landed on his clawed feet, the dragon spun around towards Twilight and Rainbow Dash, and waved his hand a few times through the air. “This guy’s stubborn.”

“Ya know, if you didn’t break my catapult,” Rainbow Dash admitted as she landed next to Haru. “I’d say that was pretty cool.”

“Haru! Look!” Twilight called out. “There’s Applejack!”

Indeed, the southern mare didn’t get too far, and she seemed oblivious to everything that had just happened.

Meanwhile, Gnome slammed his hands into the ground and immediately spun into the ground, creating a large molehill behind him. Haru snapped his claws, “Damn it, he’s going underground again. Twilight! Rainbow! He might be running, but it’s a good idea that you two get Applejack outta here before…”

The ground beneath Applejack opened up and two familiar hands grabbed her. Even with the slightly dulled senses, Applejack jumped slightly before she was dragged underground.

“… That happens,” Haru sighed loudly. Fitting a familiar ring on his right claw, Haru brought his right hand to his belt buckle.

“DRIVER ON – PLEASE!”

As the larger, bulkier belt appeared, Haru produced another ring and fitted on his left claw. However, Twilight noticed something different about this ring – It wasn’t the usual ruby circular ring that Haru normally used, instead, this ring was a square topaz. “Miss Sparkle, tell me something, is there anything underneath Ponyville? Mines or something?”

“Sha Ba Do Bi Touch Henshin! Sha Ba Do Bi Touch Henshin!”

“Well, there’s a large tunnel that’s used for irrigation water,” Twilight recalled, remembering that she read up on some of the history of Ponyville. “But, why do you ask?”

Haru didn’t answer, and instead brought his left claw to his belt. “LAND!”

Several small rocks emerged from the ground around Haru’s feet, and the wind around him began to shift and stir with dirt surrounding the dragon. “Henshin!”

“PLEASE!”

With his arms lifted up to his sides, the rocks and dirt transformed into a large yellow runic circle that appeared at the dragon’s waist before it spilt in two and covered his body. Instantly, Haru’s body was covered in his usual black Wizard attire, but there was a major difference than when Twilight last saw him. The jewels on his attire were now all topaz and were rectangular, including his mask. “Dododo dododon! Don Dododon!”

“Whoa,” Rainbow Dash was almost for a loss of words at what she was looking at. “When you said transform, I didn’t expect something like this.”

“Ah yes, this is the first time you’ve seen me transform,” Wizard replied as he reached for his chain of rings and fitted one on his right hand. “I apologize Miss Dash, but it appears that I will have to show you how I can fly at a later time. Right now, I need to be in this style to save your friend.”

Wizard messed with his belt for a second before he brought his right hand to it, making the large device chime out, “DRILL – PLEASE!”

“You two may want to stay back,” Wizard warned before he brought his feet together.

Before Twilight or Rainbow Dash could question the masked dragon, his entire body was surrounded with a conic yellow aura and began to spin wildly until he began to disappear into the ground. When he was gone, the only thing that was left was a large hole.

“Okay, even I have to admit that’s pretty cool,” Rainbow Dash stated as she trotted over to the hole. “If he’s not using his magic against me, that is.”

‘I guess this means he has other forms,’ Twilight thought to herself. ‘I wonder what else he can do.’

Meanwhile, down below in the dank irrigation tunnels, Gnome stood before the tired Applejack. Although the tunnels were rather dark, there was some light coming from the lanterns that were built into the rocky walls. A steady stream of water flowed behind Gnome as he lifted a clawed hand up, “Moi has had enough of zis. All zis week, moi has been subjected to beatings, horrible labor and ze indignity of searching for false teez. And once moi has delat wiz you, zen that accursed ringed mage shall be next!”

“Come again?” Applejack yawned, not fully aware of what was going on. “Ah can’t understand ya’ll at all with that there thick accent of yers. Ya’ll remind me of that lazy Pierre that Big Macintosh hired.”

Gnome blinked a few times before he tilted his head. “Are you serious? You really don’t know who moi is? Zis is unbelievable!

“Zen again, you are nozing more zan a souzern hick.”

“Now you listen here you nasty little varmint!” Applejack growled as she pointed a hoof at Gnome. “Ah’m the one who should be yelling at ya’ll! Ya’ll have been damaging mah family’s property and yer messing with mah schedule! Ah’m supposed to be gettin’ back to Applebucking!”

“Moi zinks you’re about to have a change in your schedule,” Gnome stated as he grabbed Applejack’s face with his clawed hands. “Now, tell moi, what will drive you to despair? Ze terror of ripping out your heart? Or should moi break ze very bones zat you use to support your family?”

Gnome pulled its hand back, and was about to thrust his claws forward.

The rocky ceiling above shook, making both Gnome and Applejack look up just in time to see a yellow and black blur bored through the ceiling with rocks and dirt falling along with it. With the sunlight pouring through the hole above, the blur came to a stop to reveal none other than Wizard standing in the makeshift spotlight. “It’s showtime.”

“Ah, ze ringed mage,” Gnome cackled as he stood up straight, his arms folded behind him. “Could you please stop interfering? Zis really does not concern you.”

That’s when Gnome immediately threw its right arm forward and tossed several stones that flew around Wizard. The stones glowed a dull purple before they transformed into several spear armed Ghuls, all of them growling at the ringed Wizard.

However, Wizard just calmly turned his body slightly, “When it comes to protecting others from despair, I make it concern me.”

One of the newly formed Ghuls slashed down with its spear, only to have Wizard step back and slam his bicep into the Ghul’s neck, sending it to the ground with a loud boom!

Using the momentum, Wizard spun around and kicked another Ghul in the chest, making the stone monster fly into the water nearby. Another Ghul took the chance and actually slammed the pole portion of its spear into Wizard’s side…

… But Wizard just stood there before he grabbed the spear, spun around and threw the Ghul into another two.

One of the stone grunts took a stab towards Wizard, who turn his body and lifted his arm up to grab the spear. Continuing the turn, Wizard brought his foot up to slam the bottom of his boot to the attacking Ghul’s abdomen, making the grunt drop his weapon.

More of the Ghuls closed in on Wizard who turned to the nearby wall, and using the wall for leverage, flipped over the Ghuls as they all stabbed at the Wizard. When he was over one of the Ghuls, Wizard grabbed the demonic monster’s head and pulled it down to the ground as the masked mage landed.

A disarmed Ghul threw a punch at Wizard, only to receive an elbow to the face and force it to stagger back. While Wizard was distracted, another Ghul took this chance to perform a thrusting jab with its spear, but Wizard caught the spear and pulled the Ghul towards him. Just as the Ghul was about to slam into Wizard, the masked mage released his grip and clotheslined the stony creature in the chest, sending the creature into the water with a large splash.

Another unarmed Ghul tried to kick Wizard, but missed when the masked mage ducked down. The attacked Ghul’s luck was about to get worse since Wizard immediately stood up with his right arm hooked up and actually lifted up the Ghul over his head and into the air. The air born Ghul crashed into three other Ghuls, sending them all into the water.

The remaining Ghuls shook slightly before one of them charged at the Wizard, only to have its weapon knocked away and have one of Wizard’s arms locked around its neck. Then using his body weight, Wizard used the Ghul to lift up into the air and slam his feet into the surrounding Ghuls’ heads, knocking them over.

And with a mighty swing, Wizard threw the remaining Ghul into the water with the others. With all of the Ghuls temporarily disposed, Wizard fitted a ring on his right hand and brought it to his belt. “CONNECT - PLEASE!”

A yellow runic circle appeared in front of Wizard and he threw his right hand into it to pull out his odd silver gun. And with his left hand he unfolded the hand charm on the weapon. “C’MON SHOOTING SHAKE THE HANDS!”

Wizard brought his left hand on the gun’s hand charm, instilling the energy into it, making the gun glow a bright yellow. “LAND! SHOOTING STRIKE!

“Dododo dododon!”

With a quick spin, Wizard fired a volley of yellow blasts that crashed into all of the Ghuls, exploding into several yellow stones that crashed around the irrigation tunnel. Wizard sighed before he heard Applejack yelp.

When Wizard turned, he saw that Gnome was holding Applejack with his arm at her throat, making the Southern mare kick her hind legs. “Moi suggests zat you drop ze weapon! Ozerwise, well, let’s just say zat zis mare won’t be able to wear zis poor excuse of a hat no more!”

Wizard remained silent, keeping his gun trained on Gnome.

The Phantom snarled as he used his free arm to clutch the cowboy hat atop of Applejack’s head and ripped it to shreds with his hand. “Hurry up and drop it!”

When Wizard didn’t lower his gun, Gnome lifted his free hand up into the air…

BANG!

A yellow burst of energy flew from the gun heading straight towards Applejack and the Phantom, and just as the attack was about to hit the southern mare, the yellow magical energy curved and struck Gnome in the shoulder. Gnome cried out as he released Applejack and was thrown backwards by the magical force that struck him.

Wizard dashed forward just in time to catch Applejack, while at the same time fired more rounds that crashed into Gnome’s body, propelling the Phantom deeper into the irrigation tunnels. When Wizard finally stopped shooting, Gnome’s body was smoking and had several cracks in the armored portions of his body. Gnome roared loudly as he slammed his fists into the ground, “Why?! Why is zis happening!?! Moi is superior! Moi is a Phantom! Why are you stronger zen moi!?”

“It’s not a matter of strength,” Wizard replied, keeping his gun trained on Gnome. “It’s a matter of why I fight!”

Gnome’s cry echoed through the tunnel before he dove both of his arms into the ground, disappearing even further into the earth. Wizard sighed as he kept his gun at the ready, but after a few minutes, Wizard sighed loudly before he lowered the gun. “Man that guy’s a coward.”

Wizard looked over at Applejack, seeing that she was actually asleep in his arm, “… I don’t blame her for being asleep - working almost all day, dealing with this Phantom’s attacks, and trying to keep her word. She really is one of the most dependable ponies of this town.”

TTTTTT

With some help from the Extend Ring, Wizard was able to pull himself and Applejack out from the irrigation tunnels through the hole he had made earlier. As expected, both Twilight and Rainbow Dash were standing near the hole. “Haru! You did it!”

Wizard sighed as he slumped down on the ground, Applejack soundly snoozing a few feet from him. “Yeah, but the Phantom escaped again.”

In a fade of yellow light, Wizard’s armor disappeared to allow Haru to fall backwards onto the ground. He sighed loudly as he closed his eyes, “I wanted to chase him… But, I used too much magic. I’m nearly drained here.”

“Well, what’s important is that you managed to save Applejack,” Twilight stated with a smile on her face. “Thanks Haru.”

“Hey, don’t mention it,” Haru chuckled opening his eyes slightly. “You can thank me by letting me rest here for a while.”

“Sure,” Twilight replied as her horn began to glow brightly, that same light appearing over Applejack’s form. “I’ll just take Applejack back to Sweet Apple Acres in the meantime.”

That’s when a familiar chirping filled the air, and Haru saw that Garuda was not resting on Twilight’s back. Haru narrowed his gaze, “Where in Equestria were you Garuda? We managed to find Applejack faster than you.”

Garuda seemed to slump his head slightly in disgrace.

“Just do me a favor and stick with Twilight and Applejack for a while, okay?” Haru requested, getting a winged salute from Garuda. “Good.”

“Are you coming Rainbow Dash?” Twilight asked as her magic lifted the sleeping Applejack off of the ground.

“Nah, someone’s gotta keep an eye on this lazy dragon,” Rainbow Dash stated with a sly smirk on her face. “Who knows if this guy will ditch us again.”

Twilight giggled before she walked away with Applejack floating behind her and Garuda resting on her back. When Twilight was gone, Rainbow Dash sat down next to Haru. “Ya know, at first, I thought you were nothing more than a lame trickster.”

“Gee, thanks,” Haru sighed loudly as he kept his eyes closed.

“But what you did for Applejack and Twilight,” Rainbow Dash continued, ignoring Haru’s comment. “That was pretty awesome. And that suit of yours rocked too.”

“Thanks,” Haru yawned.

“But, you’re still not as awesome as me!” Rainbow Dash added with her chest puffed out slightly. “Or the Wonderbolts, or even the Skull Stallion!”

“Skull Stallion?” Haru questioned with his eyes opening. “What in Equestria is that?”

“Oh, right. Most ponies outside Cloudsdale don’t know about him,” Rainbow Dash admitted with a sheepish smirk. “You see, he’s kind of a living legend at my home city, or he was. He was a very awesome looking pegasus, covered with a black suit, white fedora and a skull-like helmet.

“He would always appear whenever there was trouble and beat up the bad guys and wouldn’t let them get away! And he even had an awesome catchphrase!”

“Oh?” Haru questioned raising a brow. “And what was that?”

The blue pegasus stood on her hind legs, shook her left front hoof, and then pointed it at nopony in particular. “Now… Count up your sins! It was so awesome!”

Haru chuckled before he folded his arms behind his head, “Sounds like my kinda pony, is he still around?”

“Actually,” Rainbow Dash sighed with her head lowered. “One day, he just disappeared. Nopony knew what happened to him, but one day, he was just gone. But, he’s still considered a legend, an inspiration to all the fillies and colts.”

With a smile on his face, Haru waved his hand slightly. “Sounds like somepony that would’ve been amazing to work with.”

“Yup,” Rainbow Dash answered with a smirk on her face. “So, how exactly can you fly?”

Haru sighed inside his head.

TTTTTTT

It took a little time, but Twilight was able to get Applejack back to Sweet Apple Acres. All throughout the trip, her friend was still asleep, which made Twilight glad to see her friend resting after the ordeal. When she reached the dirt road that lead past the opened gate to the Apple Family Orchard, Twilight decided to take a few moments to rest up and used her magic to easily place her friend on a grassy patch in the shade of the apple trees.

Twilight sighed as she took a seat next to Applejack, Garuda landing on the ground next to her, chirping gently. ‘I’m glad that Applejack’s alright, but this is getting out of hoof. If Phantoms show up here, then what’s stopping them from appearing all over Equestria? Haru’s a good wizard, but he’s only one dragon.

‘I have to write to Princess Celestia about this, there’s no other option. But, should I write about Haru in it? Maybe I should at least ask Haru about this.’

“Wha-What in tarnation is going on here?”

Twilight’s thoughts were interrupted when she realized that Applejack was now awake, stretching her limbs and was trying to stand up. “Applejack! Don’t push yourself! You were just attacked by a monster and…”

“And Ah appreciate yer concern,” Applejack sighed as she finally got to her hooves. “And Ah appreciate Mistah Souma helpin’ me as well, but Ah still need to get to work. So, if’an ya’ll excuse me, Ah need to get back to work. But first, Ah need to go get my spare hat.”

“But Applejack!” Twilight called out to her friend, but Applejack was just continuing her trek back to her family’s house. Twilight sighed with Garuda doing the same. “That pony’s as stubborn as a mule.”

Twilight realized something and chuckled sheepishly as she turned to the side, “Uh, no offense.”

Apparently, there was an old gray donkey standing a few feet from Twilight who just simply replied, “None taken.”

Garuda tilted his head and chirped a few times. If Twilight could understand the little ruby bird, she would’ve known that the familiar said, “Uh, where did he come from?”

TTTTTTT

The afternoon passed without any further incidents, well save for Applejack missing a few of the trees with her kicks, but the Phantom hadn’t returned to Sweet Apple Acres. The day turned to evening, evening turned to night, and eventually, the dawn signaled the new day.

After some early Applebucking, the stubborn southern mare was trotting her way through Ponyville, but something was a little off about the ‘most dependable pony in all of Ponyville’. For one thing, her mane was messier than usual, the lines under her eyes were more pronounced, and the usual cheery pony sported a rather grumpy frown on her face.

That frown was attributed to the fact that she had a sleek, red scaled shadow following her ever since she had left Sweet Apple Acres. “Ya know, Ah am old enough to look after myself, Mistah Souma. Ah don’t need a babysitter.”

“I’m not here to babysit you,” Haru replied, keeping his hands in his new navy blue jacket (a little gift that Granny Smith had given the dragon for helping out her granddaughter). “I’m just here to make sure that Phantom doesn’t strike.”

“Ah just said Ah’m not a tike!” Applejack growled as she used one of her front hooves to rub her ears.

“What?” Haru questioned with a raised brow. “No, I was saying that I’m just here to make sure that Phantom doesn’t attack!”

“No! Ah ain’t gonna go back!” Applejack barked back.

Haru had to shrug his shoulders in confusion. Unbeknownst to Haru, earlier while Applejack was harvesting some of the apples in her family’s orchard, she had accidentally knocked her head against a lowered branch, which subsequently had messed with her hearing.

But that still didn’t stop Haru from following Applejack to Sugarcube Corner, albeit, the dragon was a little confused with the conversation he was trying to have with the Southern mare.

When the two reached the rather delicious looking shop, they were immediately greeted by a familiar pink blur that appeared in between the two. “Applejack! Thank you so, so, SO much! We’ll make the bestest of the best muffins in all of Equestria! Ooh! And you even found Haru! I’m a little miffed at you just leaving your party, but you can make it up to me by being our official taste tester!”

Haru was a little taken back by the amount of energy that Pinkie was radiating, Applejack didn’t seemed fazed by the energetic pony, but that was probably due to the fact that she hardly understood every other word that came out of the pink mare’s mouth.

“So, while me and Applejack are working on these muffins, it’s gonna be super duper secret! So, no peaking!”

With a gentle tap with her front hoof, Pinkie pushed Haru out of the bakery, making the dragon blink a few times as he realized he was outside. With a shrug, Haru sat down on the ground near the door, ‘Huh, I don’t think she’s forgiven me for ditching her party. I guess I’ll have to make it up to her later.’

Throwing his arms behind his head, Haru sighed as he looked up into the slightly cloudy day. At the very least, if that Phantom does attack, Haru could try to intercept the cowardly Phantom – Hopefully.

“Hey! Haru!”

Tilting his head down, Haru smirked as a familiar baby dragon was running up to him. “Ah, hello Spike. Been a while since I’ve seen you.”

“That’s an understatement,” Spike replied as he stopped in front of his fellow dragon. “Yesterday, Twilight told me that you were still around – How come you left the party?”

“Meh, it’s kinda complicated,” Haru answered with a shrug of his shoulders. “But, I’m sorry I did that, I should’ve at least say goodbye.”

“Why? You apparently stayed in Ponyville,” Spike pointed out. “We probably would’ve seen each other eventually. I mean, we are the only two dragons here.”

“You got me there,” Haru admitted as he rubbed the back of his head. “You’re a smart little guy, aren’t ya?”

Spike smiled brightly, “Of course! I have to be since I’m Twilight’s number one assistant!”

Haru chuckled slightly, not wanting to point out that Spike was Twilight’s only assistant, although, that did make a thought come across the older dragon’s mind. “Speaking of her, where is Twilight? I figured she’d be trying to stick close to Applejack for a while.”

“Well…” Spike trailed off slightly. He knew that Twilight trusted Haru with Applejack’s safety, but the real reason why the lavender mare wasn’t around was actually because she was actually observing Garuda – Studying the familiar.

That in and of itself wasn’t enough to make Spike hesitant telling Haru why Twilight wasn’t here. The actual cause of that was because last night, in a stroke of luck, Spike managed to actually catch Garuda. By the time Twilight had noticed that, Spike had already taken a huge bite out of Garuda’s left wing!

Sure, Spike felt guilty, but the moment his tongue touched Garuda’s ruby wing, the dragon couldn’t help himself and took a large bite out of the jeweled bird! The ruby was nothing like other rubies that the baby dragon had eaten before in his short life! It was spicy, it was sweet, and, dare he say, Spike would’ve admitted that it was better than that one time Princess Celestia had given him that large diamond for his birthday! And that was nearly ten carets!

If it wasn’t for Twilight interfering and pulling the poor Garuda away from Spike, the small familiar probably wouldn’t have been able help himself and the familiar would’ve been inhaled into Spike’s maw.

Just thinking about it was starting to make Spike wish he had Garuda back in his claws.

“Spike!”

“Huh?” Spike sputtered, his fantasy suddenly broken.

“You’re drooling,” Haru pointed out flatly as his tail lifted up to reveal that Spike had been drooling on his fellow dragon’s tail.

“Oh, uh, sorry about that,” Spike chuckled nervously as he wiped his mouth. “What were we talking about again?”

“Twilight, and where she is,” Haru stated with his eyes slightly dulled.

“Right!” Spike yelped. “Well, she’s back at home doing some studying. And that leaves me to run some errands for her. What about you? Why are you outside Sugarcube Corner?”

“Well, I kinda got kicked out from there,” Haru chuckled. “I gotta keep an eye on Applejack, but Pinkie Pie kicked me out.”

“Yeah, Twilight told me about Applejack,” Spike stated as he rubbed his chin. “Do you think she’s okay to be in there?”

“Hey, if there’s a commotion, I’ll run in,” Haru replied with a smile on his face.

“Not what I was talking about,” Spike corrected with a nervous look on his face. “I mean, Twilight told me that Applejack wasn’t acting herself, and might be pushing herself a little too much.”

“I’m not worried,” Haru said. “Pinkie Pie’s in there, and they’re only making muffins. What’s the worst that could happen?”

– One Hour Later –

Twilight (with Garuda seated on the top of her head, its right wing covered with a temporary bandage) and Spike were awestruck at the sight before them, when they had heard the news, at first they didn’t believe what had happened. But looking at the makeshift medical center and all the occupants, it was like a nightmare come true. “Oh my goodness! We came as soon as we heard!”

“Oh thank you Twilight,” A nurse pony replied, her face tired and eyes full of worry. “This is awful, and we need all the help we can get.”

Twilight grimaced as she watch the other nurses work with all the ponies that were in the center, some of them on the floor with their faces a nasty shade of green. Those ponies that were bedridden had buckets close by, with a few of them with their heads stuck in them. “What in Equestria happened?”

“There was a mishap with some of the baked goods,” The nurse explained, neither her nor Twilight aware that Spike had just picked up some of said baked goods that were gathered for the hazardous waste disposal unit. “All these ponies were sickened after eating some free samples at Sugarcube Corner. It just some food poisoning, but I’ve never seen an epidemic of food poisoning of this caliber.”

“No…” moaned a familiar, if not sickly voice. Twilight turned to one of the beds to see Pinkie Pie bedridden, her face green and her mane a complete mess. “Not baked goods… Baked bads!”

Pinkie Pie would’ve continued, but she had to use the bucket that was set next to her bed.

Twilight turned back to the nurse, “I can’t believe these ponies would eat these ‘baked bads’. A few of them sure, but, why all of these?”

“Apparently, somepony ate one,” The nurse explained as she trotted over to another patient. “He was a taste tester of sorts and claimed it was delicious. I don’t know if that pony’s here or not, but, nopony could get by with eating these monstrosities.”

Twilight was about to ask if anyone had seen said pony, but was interrupted by a series of ‘Yums!’ and ‘Mmms!’. When Twilight turned to her scribe she was drawn back slightly when she saw that Spike was eating the baked bads. “Spike!!”

“Mmm, want one?” Spike offered, holding out one of the baked bads to the lavender unicorn.

“Well, now I think I know who the taste tester was,” Twilight stated with a roll of her eyes.

TTTTTTT

While a number of ponies were in the medical ward getting their stomachs pumped of the deadly muffins, one said muffin was being torn into by a certain red dragon. “Mmm, I’m more of a doughnut dragon, but I’ll admit these muffins are tasty.”

“Glad ya like ‘em,” Applejack sighed as she trotted on the path, Winona walking next to her and Haru following a few feet behind. “But ya’ll really didn’t need to come here either, ya know. Ah don’t really need a second shadow.”

“I completely understand your frustration,” Haru stated after polishing off the muffin he had brought with him. “And I’m respecting your wishes and not helping you with your business, but as long as that Phantom’s around, I can’t let you out of my sight.”

“Fine,” Applejack growled.

Haru tucked his claws into his jacket’s pocket, the sound of footsteps mixed in with the calming sounds of nature. Taking a quick breath, Haru looked towards Applejack, “So, why exactly are you so gung-ho about not letting anypony help you?”

Applejack sighed as she stopped and turned her head towards the sleek dragon, “Ah ain’t got anything against getting help – Tartarus, mah family helps me out a lotta the time. But Ah can do this stuff on mah own, Ah don’t need any help from nopony! Mah family, mah friends, even this whole town counts on me. Ah can’t let anypony down.”

“Applejack, you’re just one pony,” Haru pointed out with his arms crossed. “There’s just so much one pony can do on their own before they break.”

“Look, Ah appreciate the concern, but it’s not a matter of choice,” Applejack retorted with her tired eyes focused on the dragon before her. “On Sweet Apple Acres, most of the work falls on me and Big Macintosh. Mah little sister’s too small to pick them apples, and Granny’s too old to yelp with harvesting.

“And Ah gotta do this – Not fer myself, but fer everypony I care about. Ah gotta do it fer… Fer them too.”

“Them?” Haru asked.

“… Ma and Pa,” Applejack answered bitterly as she turned away. “Sweet Apple Acres was sacred to them, each tree they took care of, and Ah gotta make sure that it stays in mah family. Ah gotta fer their memory.”

Parents.

Haru sighed as he closed his eyes, “I can understand that.”

“Then ya’ll can understand that Ah gotta work hard,” Applejack continued as she began to trot away from Haru, Winona following her. “Now, if ya’ll excuse me, Ah gotta go help one of mah friends.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, Haru followed the southern earth pony, keeping a little bit of distance.

Applejack and Winona didn’t get too far when another pony soon came into view, a yellow pegasus mare with a bright pink mane. The pony smiled as she trotted up to Applejack, “Oh, Applejack, thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate you offering your herding skills to help me.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it Fluttershy,” Applejack yawned, noticing the little bunny rabbits hopping around. “Why are we doing this again?”

“Well, lots of new baby bunnies have been born,” Fluttershy explained with a bright smile on her face. “So, it’s up to me to… MEEP!”

“Meep?” Applejack questioned with her brow raised up.

Surprisingly, Fluttershy had practically frozen up on the spot, her eyes widened in pure absolute terror. Applejack blinked a few times at her friend’s odd behavior, “Uh, are ya’ll okay?”

“D-D-Drag…” Fluttershy whimpered slightly as she shook.

“Yeah, Ah know Ah’ve been draggin’ mah hooves a bit,” Applejack sighed with a roll of her eyes. “Ah’m a sorry fer being late.”

“N-No, n-not that,” Fluttershy staggered as she slowly stepped back. “It’s… It’s a…”

“So, who’s this?” Haru asked walking up alongside Applejack. “I’m guessing a friend of yours, right?”

“Eeyup,” Applejack sighed as she adjusted the cowboy hat atop of her head. “This here is Fluttershy, Ah guess she’s living up to her name now though.”

“Well, a pleasure to meet you Miss Fluttershy,” Haru introduced with a slight bow. “I am Haruto Souma, but you can call me Haru.”

Fluttershy didn’t reply. All she did was freeze up even further.

“Uh, is your friend alright?” Haru asked turning towards Applejack.

“Tartarus if Ah know,” Applejack replied with a wave of her hoof. “Now, if ya’ll don’t mind, could ya’ll step back? Ah’d like to git this over with.”

“Not a problem,” Haru replied as he shrugged his shoulders. “I guess I’ll just be resting in one of those trees for a while.”

The moment that Haru had disappeared from sight, Fluttershy relaxed and took a deep breath, “… Count all the brand new baby bunnies for the yearly census.”

“Uh, are ya’ll okay?” Applejack questioned. “Ya’ll just kinda froze up right there.”

“Um, y-yes, but,” Fluttershy stuttered before she cleared her throat. “Well shall we get started?”

“Yeah,” Applejack yawned loudly before she stepped in front of Fluttershy. “Let’s get on with this.”

“Certainly,” Fluttershy replied, back to her calm demeanor. “But remember, these are baby bunnies, not cows. They are a timid bunch and need to be treated gently.”

“Ah do not need any direction on corralling critters,” Applejack scoffed back gently before she turned to her trusty pet. “Ain’t that right Winona?”

Winona barked in agreement.

While the corralling was going on, Haru was pulling out a number of rings from his jacket pocket and looked them over. ‘Let’s see, what rings haven’t I used so far since I got into Ponyville? Looking at what I’ve got, I haven’t used Defend, Dress Up, Liquid, Smell and... It. I can’t use It though, so, I should probably do some hunting for some more Magic Stones when I get the chance.

‘But I need to think – How can I get an advantage against that Phantom. He keeps running away every chance he gets by going underground, and he’s also able to find Applejack so easily. Hmm…’

Before Haru could continue his train of thought, the ground began to rumble, making Haru quickly gather the rings he had pulled out and placed them back inside his jacket. “This shaking! Could it be that Phantom?!”

Getting back to his feet, Haru quickly fitted the Flame right on his left claw and was about to activate his driver when all of a sudden a veritable army of bunnies ran past him on the dirt path, creating a large dust cloud that followed them. Not too far behind them was Fluttershy, trying to calm down the racing rabbits.

The slim dragon just tilted his head slightly at the weird sight. ‘Well now, I don’t know what to say to that.’

A few moments later, Applejack and Winona trotted past Haru, both of them with their heads held up high. The dragon blinked a few times before he shrugged off, “That was quick. Didn’t you and your friend have to count up those bunnies?”

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” Applejack called back. “Sides, this means Ah can get back to Applebucking.”

Once again, Haru shrugged his shoulders – What’s the worst that a bunch of baby bunnies can do?

Unbeknownst to Haru, a familiar fancy speaking colt was hiding in a nearby bush, and he had been camped out there ever since Applejack had answered Haru’s questions. And a smirk appeared on his face, ‘So, it is not just for ze apple trees, it is what zey represent, eh? Zhen zere is no choice.

‘It is uncouz, but it must be done.’

TTTTTTT

The next day at Sweet Apple Acres, Twilight was able to find Applejack rather quickly, the southern mare was atop one of the hills on the farm. AJ kept kicking the lone tree until the remaining few apples shook from their branches, landing in the baskets she had on her saddle.

Twilight trotted closer to her friend as Garuda chirped a few times, perched on the Unicorn’s head, “Alright Applejack, we really need to talk.”

Applejack had her head lowered and eyes closed, and still she kicked the tree as Twilight spoke to her friend, “You can’t keep doing this on your own, you’ve got a pursuing Phantom chasing you, and there’s the Applebucking itself! It’s not only causing problems for you, but it’s over propelled pegasus, practically poisoned plenty of ponies, and terrorized bushels of brand new bouncy baby bunnies.

“I don’t care what you say, you need help!”

With one final kick, the rest of the apples fell from the tree and into Applejack’s baskets, making the southern mare smile brightly, “Heh! No Ah don’t, cause Ah’m done! Ah managed to harvest the entire Sweet Apple Acres without any help!”

Twilight looked past Applejack and saw that the orchard behind Applejack was certainly harvested, not a single apple to be seen in the branches.

“How do ya like them apples?” Applejack asked with a large smirk on her face. “Ah didn’t even need that fancy speakin’ Pierre to help me neither!”

“Zat is most impressive,” a familiar thick accented voice sounded out, garnering the two mares’ attentions towards the other side of the hill. Trotting up the hill was none other than Pierre Escargot. “Très magnifique, ma belle. Zere is but one problem, however.”

Using his front hoof, Pierre Escargot pointed behind him. Both Twilight and Applejack looked past the Pranch Pony to see that there were countless trees with apples hanging from their branches. Applejack’s eyes widened and she slumped to the ground nearly fainting. “Ya’ll have gotta be pulling mah leg.”

“Well, madam,” Pierre chuckled. “If you so wish, zen zese apple trees shall not be a problem.”

At that very moment, a powerful explosion of flames erupted from the unpicked grove. Applejack’s eyes widened as she watched the fire grow and begin to consume the rest of the trees. “NO!”

Dropping the baskets of apples behind, the southern mare galloped towards the fire engulfed trees. Twilight gave chase after her friend, “Applejack! No!”

Pierre cackled as he casually trotted behind the two mares.

Applejack was just at the edge of the enflamed grove when a bright purple aura wrapped around her body, and lifted her up into the air. Twilight skidded next to her floating companion, the horn on the unicorn’s head glowing brightly, “Applejack stop! You’ll only hurt yourself!”

“But if this here fire spreads too far,” Applejack shouted back, her gaze turned towards her friend. “Then all of Sweet Apple Acres could be burned up too!”

“Then we’ll get Rainbow Dash and other Pegasai to get a storm over here to put out the fire!” Twilight retorted.

“Unfortunately, zat will not work.”

From out from behind one of the fiery trees, stepped out Pierre, a coy smirk on his face. “Zese flames are no average fire – Regular means cannot put zem out.”

“What are ya blabbering ‘bout?” Applejack questioned.

That’s when Pierre stood up on his hind legs, while a large amount of orange dirt and stones flew around his body. The stones emerged into the Pranch stallion’s body, transforming the stallion into the Phantom known as Gnome, his arms folded behind his back. “Magic from phantoms is different zan ze magic zat all you regular ponies can use. Blue Phantoms, for example, can absorb magic, but Orange Phantoms such as moi, our magic is different.

“Anyzing zat is produced by moi’s magic is much more durable. As such, the flint and combustible materials moi produce and ze flames that occurred will not be prevented by such mundane tactics.”

Applejack’s eyes watered as she watched the flames grow more intense. Twilight’s horn glowed as she let Applejack down to the ground, “Phantom… Why are you doing this!?”

Gnome laughed loudly as he lifted a clawed hand up. “Take a good look, Gate. Ze zing zat’s been bracing your heart is about to scatter to ze wind. When zat happens, you shall fall into despair!”

Applejack quivered as she slumped to the ground as Gnome’s laughter echoed through the air. ‘Ma… Pa… Ah… Ah’m sorry…’

“I will protect your hope.”

“DRVIER ON!”

Gnome’s laughter stopped as he turned around.

Twilight and Applejack looked into the blaze to see Haru standing amongst the flames, his large belt glowing brightly. “Haru!!”

The sleek red dragon lifted up his clawed hand to reveal that there was a new ring circled around them, a blue ring in the shape of diamond. “Sha ba do bi Touch Henshin! Sha ba do bi Touch Henshin!”

“Henshin.”

“WATER – PLEASE!”

Haru threw his left claw into the air as a large blue runic circle appeared over his head. As the circle lowered over the dragon’s form, a surge of water warped around his body, changing Haru’s form into Wizard – Only this one had blue sapphires in the shape of diamonds covering his body. “Sui Sui – Sui Sui!”

When the ring touched the ground, a torrent of water surged around Wizard’s body, and the ring mage spun around before he lifted his arms up. The water erupted from the runic circle to encompass the flames, crash into Gnome to send him flying and make both Applejack’s and Twilight’s jaws drop.

The flames were immediately put out, and amazingly enough, there was hardly any damage done to the trees or apples, save for a few singed branches and leafs. The blue Wizard slowly stepped over to the two mares and knelt down before them. “Sorry for being late.”

Admittedly, those muffins that Haru had tasted earlier had taken a nasty toll on his stomach, but he wasn’t going to let these two know that.

“Mistah Souma,” Applejack muttered as she looked at the masked dragon.

“Honoring those that have been lost,” Wizard stated as he turned his head towards the trees. “I know exactly how that is, AJ. But I learned a long time ago that if you dwell on those who are gone, you’ll lose the ones who are around you now. Twilight, me, your family, and all your friends, we depend on you, but you have to be able to depend on us.

“You need to put your pride on the side sometimes and let your friends help you.”

There was a moment of silence as Wizard pulled a ring off of his chain belt and fitted on his right hand.

“DAMN YOU, RING-BEARING MAGE!”

Both Applejack and Twilight turned to see a soaked Gnome standing a few feet from the group, waving his arms in annoyance. “Moi has had enough of zis! How long are you going to get in moi’s way!?”

“As long as I need to,” Wizard retorted as he stood up and fitted his right hand in front of his belt. “Obviously!”

“LIQUID – PLEASE!”

Wizard’s body shimmered a light blue before it transformed into large amount of blue water that flew through the air. Gnome yelped as the water crashed into him sent him flying over the ground.

“Every time I turn around,” Twilight sighed with a shake of her head. “It’s like he’s got a brand new trick up his sleeve.”

“Yeah, but he’s kinda got a point,” Applejack admitted with a slight chuckle.

“Wait, what?” Twilight questioned.

“Twilight,” Applejack stated as she got to her hooves. “Do ya’ll think ya could help me out with a few things?”

Twilight smiled brightly before the two mares began to gallop off.

TTTTT

Gnome crashed into the ground with a spin, landing in a clearing inside Sweet Apple Acres, nearly hitting some of the empty barrels in the process.

The shining liquid crashed into the ground a few feet away, reforming into Wizard. As soon as he was solid once more, Wizard replaced the ring on his right hand with another and fitted his hand in front his belt buckle. “CONNECT – PLEASE!”

The blue runic circle appeared once more, allowing Haru to reach into it and draw his silver sword. At the same time however, Gnome had gotten to his feet and summoned another pillar, slamming his clawed hand into it to pull out the long trident from it. Both magical beings stared at each other for a moment before they charged at each other!

“This time, the curtain will fall!” Wizard yelled with his blade at the side.

“BUT ZE CURTAIN SHALL FALL FOR YOU!” Gnome roared out loud as he sent his trident forward with a thrust.

Wizard slammed the blade onto the trident’s blade, forcing Wizard to flip over Gnome, the Phantom was surprised and when Wizard landed on the ground behind the Phantom, he brought his blade down and slashed Gnome across the back.

As the sparks flew from the Phantom’s back, Gnome spun around to stab his trident into Wizard, but with a quick upward slash, Wizard pushed the attack back. And with the same momentum, the ring-bearing mage brought the blade down once more, mystical sparks erupting from Gnome’s chest.

With a twist of the blade, Wizard slashed his blade once more, running the blade at Gnome’s stomach allowing Wizard to pass the Phantom with the monstrous creature crying out loudly.

As Gnome was about to turn around, he was meet in the chest by Wizard’s foot, sending the phantom soaring backwards into the empty crates. Wood and dust flew up into the air as Gnome struggled to get up, using one of the barrels as leverage, “Moi curses your name! Moi will not stand for zis!!”

“You look like you’re barely standing at all,” Wizard stated as he spun his sword on his finger.

The phantom’s eyes flashed before he stood up straight and threw his arms out to the side. Several stones shot out from Gnome’s body, and faster than Wizard could respond, the stones crashed into his body and the ground around him, exploding into several small explosions that flew Wizard off of his feet. “GARGH!”

Gnome cackled as he picked up his trident.

“Gagh,” Wizard groaned as he got to his knees. “Since when could you do that?”

“Always,” Gnome answered as slowly stepped forward. “But showing every trick at ze beginning will only be a hindrance in future battles.”

Gnome charged forward just as Wizard got to his feet, and as the Phantom threw its weapon forward once more, the masked mage was barely able to block it in time. Gnome kept charging and throwing attacks, but when the Phantom brought its trident down on Wizard, the magical dragon stepped forward to allow the pole of the weapon slam into his shoulder.

Through the pain however, Wizard grabbed onto weapon and began to spin himself and the Phantom around a few times. Neither magical being released their grip on the trident, but when the spinning stopped, Wizard kneed Gnome in the stomach twice before grabbed the Phantom by the curved helmet.

That’s when Gnome’s feet left the ground and he was hefted on to Wizard’s shoulder, his legs dangling in the air, his head locked onto Wizard’s shoulder, and his left arm tightly gripped by Wizard. “W-WHAT IS ZIS!?! HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO DO ZIS TO MOI!?!”

“Showing every trick at the beginning,” Wizard growled as he began to spin around. “Will only be a hindrance in future battles!”

With one final spin, Wizard tossed Gnome as if he were ragdoll, and even got some good distance before the Phantom crashed face first onto the ground.

“Heh,” Wizard chuckled before he charged towards the phantom.

Gnome got to his feet before he brought his trident up in front of his face, “In zat case…”

The phantom spun around quickly before it dove into the ground, disappearing into tunnel it just created. Wizard couldn’t reach the Phantom in time before the digging sound subsided. “Damn it, he ran away again!”

However, the sound of parting earth made Wizard spin around just in time to block a stab from Gnome’s trident. Before Wizard could counter, Gnome and his trident spun back into the ground, “What the?”

Once again, the same sound echoed through the air making Wizard jump forward before he was stabbed in the back by the same trident. When Wizard got back to his feet, ground opened up right in front of him and a clawed fist slammed into his masked face. “URK!”

Wizard flew backwards, but gathered himself with a spin in the air and landed on his feet. “How in the world is he able to sense me from underground?”

“Moi remembers your scent quite well,” Gnome’s voice whispered into Wizard’s ear. “Moi’s nose is unmatched!”

Wizard spun around to cleave his sword into Gnome, only to hit nothing by air. Before Wizard was none other than another hole that the Phantom had escaped too. With a growl, Wizard stabbed his sword into the ground and reached for his chain of rings. “A good sense of smell, huh? In that case…”

Wizard lifted up the large yellow ring from his belt and was about to replace the rings on his left hand. But when he had slipped off the blue ring, Gnome erupted from the ground several feet away and unleashed another volley of stones that knocked the masked dragon off his claws and sent the yellow large ring bouncing a few feet away. “Damn it!”

However, before Wizard could go after the ring, Gnome leapt from the ground once and stood over Wizard, his trident held up high. Gnome cackled, “Wiz zis, ze tale of ze ring-bearing mage comes to an end. Fare zee well, you damn fool.”

Gnome began to bring down his trident, but before he could make it connect, a familiar rope flew around the Phantom’s head and tightened around his neck, pulling him backwards, “GARGH! WHAT IS ZIS!?!”

Wizard looked up and followed the rope to see Applejack several yards back with the rope gripped tightly in her mouth, “Applejack!”

With the rope in her mouth, Applejack couldn’t really reply but simply nodded towards the masked dragon. Taking this opportunity, Wizard slammed both of his feet into Gnome’s stomach, sending the Phantom to the ground.

“HARU!”

Wizard turned his head to the left to see his Land Ring floating towards him, and looking past it, Wizard saw Twilight a few yards away with her horn glowing brightly. Wizard grabbed the ring and fitted it on his left hand.

At the same time, Gnome was getting back to his feet and used his claws to cut the rope that was around his neck, “DAMN YOU, YOU STUPID EQUESTRIAN MARE!! ZIS SHALL NOT STAND!”

“LAND – PLEASE!”

Gnome turned around to see the yellow runic circle rise up around Wizard’s body, carrying several stones along with it. Soon, the sapphires turned into topazes, and Wizard slammed his right foot into the ground, making the earth shake slightly. “DODODO DODODON – DON DODODON!”

“Not zis again,” Gnome moaned before he spun around, disappearing into the earth.

Wizard spun around too, but had quickly replaced the ring on his right hand and threw it in front of his glowing belt. “BIG – PLEASE!”

The yellow runic circle appeared over Wizard’s head, and he casually lifted his right hand up through the ring, making his right arm incredibly large. And with a loud yell, Wizard slammed his hand into the ground, open palm, shaking the ground incredibly.

The shockwave shot Gnome up through the ground near Wizard’s hand, forcing the phantom up into the air, screaming like a mad pony. When Gnome began to fall to the ground, Wizard still used his giant arm and slapped the Phantom several yards away.

When Wizard pulled his hand back through the ring, he chuckled to himself, “Heh, I was always a fan of Whac-A-Mole.”

And within seconds, Wizard dashed forward and closed the gap between him and Gnome. The Phantom in turn took a stab with his trident, only to have the weapon kicked out of his clawed hands. With a loud growl, Gnome tried to strike Wizard with his claws, only to have his wrist grabbed by the masked dragon.

And with a quick spin, Wizard twisted the Gnome’s arm behind his back and threw the Phantom to the ground. With the monster still in his grip, Wizard lifted up one of his rings, fitted it on Gnome’s hand and brought the monster’s hand to his belt. “Here’s a little parting gift.”

“SMELL – PLEASE!”

Quickly releasing and jumping away from the Phantom, Wizard chuckled as the Phantom stood up. “W-What is zis accursed zing!?”

A yellow runic circle appeared in front of Gnome before it was drawn into the monster’s body, and from between its armor, a visible cloud of yellow smoke poured out from it, and the Phantom began to gag and cough. “Moi nose! Moi’s lovely nose! What is zis abhorrent smell!?!”

The cloud immediately covered the area, making Wizard grab one of his coattails to cover his mask and wave the air in front of him. “Nasty.”

Even Twilight and Applejack dashed away from the evil odor, but Gnome had the worst of it as he was gagging and had fallen to his knees. What was worse was that the ring was stuck on its claws, he couldn’t get it off. ‘If moi retreats into ze ground, moi will suffocate even worse!’

Wizard equipped a different ring on his right hand and slid it in front of his belt. “Finale!”

“VERY NICE! KICK STRIKE!”

“THE BEST! PLEASE!”

Wizard spun around and threw his coattail back as a yellow runic circle appeared at his feet. From the circle, several rocks floated around the mage’s right leg and charged up with yellow energy. Leaping forward into a frontward flip, and using his legs to backflip into the air, Wizard spun around until the energy propelled him towards Gnome who had just gotten on his feet.

And then Wizard’s magically charged foot connected with Gnome’s chest, yellow energy and stones flying off of the monster’s body. Then as the rune appeared behind Gnome’s body, Wizard passed through the Phantom’s body and landed on the other side.

Gnome’s body sparked and surged with yellow energy before a large yellow explosion covered the Gnome’s body.

When the yellow energy disappeared, Gnome just stood there, but there was something different. The Phantom wasn’t moving and all the color from its armored body was drained away. Gnome almost looked like a horrible statue.

With a loud cracking sound, Gnome’s body broke into a large heap of rubble.

Wizard sighed loudly before he walked to the pile of rubble and pulled the Smell Ring from it, “Heh, I never thought I’d have a use for this one.”

As the suit faded away, Haru turned towards the two mares that were trotting towards him, “I owe you mares a debt of thanks. But, that was kind of dangerous to follow me.”

“Ya’ll need to listen to yer own advice,” Applejack retorted before she slammed a hoof into Haru’s arm. “Ya’ll been fighting that there monster by yer lonesome each and every time, we’re friends and ya’ll need to learn to depend on us.”

“Ow,” Haru muttered as he rubbed his arm slightly. “I think that’s going to leave a bruise.”

“You really can’t take a punch?” Twilight asked with a roll of her eyes as Garuda chuckles. “You fight Phantoms, can use magic that can make you into a giant or turn you into a liquid, and yet you can’t take a punch.”

“Phantoms are easy to deal with,” Haru sighed as he drooped his arms slightly.

TTTTTT

It was about an hour since Gnome’s defeat, and Haru was standing in front of the Apple Family’s house, a backpack on his shoulder loaded to the brim. In front of him was the Apple Family, save for Applejack. “Once again, thanks for letting me stay here for a while. It was nice.”

“Do ya really hafta leave?” Apple Bloom asked, trying to give her best puppy dog eyes at the sleek dragon.

Haru knelt down as he messed up Apple Bloom’s mane with his claws, gently of course, “Don’t worry, I’m not leaving town or anything. I’ll stop by to visit whenever I can, I promise.”

“Okay,” Apple Bloom sighed still looking down.

Haru chuckled as he brought up his right claw and held it to his belt buckle, “KRAKEN – PLEASE!”

Within seconds, the topaz octopus appeared around Haru’s head, “As promise of that, I’m trusting you to take good care of Kraken. I’ll be visiting to make sure that you do and whenever I need to have him help me, okay?”

Instantly Apple Bloom smiled as Kraken landed on her head, squeaking a few times. “You bet’cha, Mistah Souma!”

Haru smiled as he turned to Big Macintosh and crossed his arms, “Big Mac, I hope you feel better, and I’ll miss our long discussions. I dare say we may have solved some of life’s greatest mysteries.”

“Eeyup,” Big Mac replied with a nod.

And finally, Haru turned to the last pony that was with him, an elder mare with a gray mane done in a bun with a pie on her flank. The elder pony smiled at the young dragon, “Ya’ll better keep them promises, sonny. Can’t have you setting a bad example for Apple Bloom.”

“O-Of course, Granny Smith,” Haru chuckled nervously with his free claws lifted up.

“Besides, after all you did for this family,” Granny Smith added. “Protecting our land, and helpin’ my hard headed granddaughter, you’re practically one of the family here.”

“Family, huh?” Haru stated as he looked up towards the blue sky. “I appreciate that Granny Smith.”

Fixing the backpack over shoulder, Haru walked backwards, waving to the Apple Family, watching them as they waved back.

A few minutes later, Haru was walking forward down the dirt path in between the trees, the shade covering his body. Although the dragon had a smile on his face, it was a slightly sullen smile, “Family, been a while since I’ve been considered to be in one of those.”

“There you are Haru!”

The sleek dragon stopped in his tracks when he saw a familiar unicorn trot towards him, Garuda still perched atop of her head. “Oh, hello there Twilight, I thought you and your friends were helping AJ with picking apples.”

“We finished a few minutes ago,” Twilight explained with a smile. “And I was hoping to catch you before you disappeared again.”

“Nice call,” Haru admitted with a wave of his hand. “So, what can I do for you?”

“What are you going to do now?” Twilight asked.

“Well, I was thinking about setting up camp somewhere,” Haru answered looking over his shoulder. “Maybe buy a dozen doughnuts for dinner.”

Twilight blinked a few times at what Haru was planning on doing, but then shook her head, “Actually Haru, I was wondering something.”

“Hmm?” Haru mused.

“You see, I’m still rather curious about your magic and the Phantoms,” Twilight explained as she trotted in front of Haru. “So, I’d like to ask if I could get a little more information from you.”

Haru rubbed his chin slightly, and then smiled slightly. “Tell you what Twilight. You got a couch at that library?”

“Yes, why?” Twilight questioned with her head tilted slightly.

“I’ll make you a deal,” Haru said with a large smile on his face. “You let me crash on your couch for a while, and I’ll give you all the answers you’d like.”

“Deal,” Twilight replied with a warm smile.

“Oh! Haru! Twilight!”

Both Twilight and Haru turned to see Spike running up to them, with a plate that had some pre-eaten muffins on it. The taller dragon blinked a few times, “Uh, hey there Spike, what you got there?”

“Muffins!” Spike cheered loudly as he lifted up the familiar deadly muffins up to Haru and Twilight. “You want some?”

Haru was a little on the edge of taking he muffins, especially since they already looked like somepony had already taken eat half of the muffins. “Uh…”

“Don’t do it,” Twilight whispered to Haru. “He got those out from the trash!”

The sleek dragon’s eyes widened before he turned to the unicorn, ‘Twilight, what are you teaching this kid?!’

TBC

Dear Princess Celestia,

My friend Applejack is the best friend a pony could have, and she’s always there to lend a hoof to anypony. The only trouble is that when she needs help, she has a hard time accepting it. So, while friendship is of giving of yourself to friends, it’s also accepting what our friends have to offer.

I also met someone new within the last couple weeks, and he’s a dragon like Spike! Well, he’s not completely like Spike, he’s a bit older and has this unique talent – He can use a weird form of magic that he’s agreed to let me study. But, the conditions on which we met were… Well, not the best situations. His name is Haruto Souma, and he actually saved me and Applejack from some weird monsters called Phantoms.

And I was hoping that if you knew anything about Phantoms, or the term Gates, I’d like to get any and all materials pertaining them, if there is any.

Your Loyal Student,

-Twilight Sparkle

Author's Note:

MangaKamen: And with that, we've gotten our first Phantom destroyed!

Thanks to my friend Lux-Nero/FlairNightz for the awesome image at the beginning of the chapter.

Please recommend this story to as many people as you can! And follow the Tumblr we've got! Featuring art from my friend and posts from yours truly! http://friendshipisshowtime.tumblr.com/

For now though, I'm gonna take a little time off. I'll see you guys in a week. But, don't worry, I'm not going to leave you guys hanging. I've got a special chapter that will be up later next week.

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