My Little Sentai: Shinkenger

by RaisingShad0ws

First published

Pinkie Pie is the princess to a Samurai Clan, trying to save the world from demons. Friends find out after receiving letter from family and hear her story.

Pinkie Pie, Element of Laughter. Best friend of everypony that would come across her. Dependable and reliable, and a very competent maker of sweet treats in Ponyville's own Sugarcube corner. But it was not always that way.

Taking place directly after Cutie Mark Sentai Crusader, during an average day hanging out with a few of her close friends on one of her days off, Pinkie Pie receives a mysterious letter, which instantly changes her mood for the worse, leaving Rainbow Dash and Twilight to feel concern for their pink friend. After gathering their other friends, They meet part of the reason for Pinkie's troubles: Strange ponies wearing black around front of Sugarcube Corner. After meeting with her father, Igneous Rock Pie, and getting admittance inside, they find that they are wrapped up in a serious matter. In meeting with relatively famous ponies, and spurned on by their curiosity, Twilight and her friends delve into Pinkie Pie's past. A time when she wasn't the crazed party pony that they knew and love. A time when the world was in danger of invasion. A time when Pinkamena Diane Pie was a leader of a group of Samurai.

This is the story of that time, and the trials and hardships that she and the rest of her family would endure to save the world from an otherworldly threat. This is the story of the Shinkenger.

Prologue Act: Sunny Days are perfect for a Play

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My Little Sentai: Shinkenger

By: Raising Shadows

Prologue Act: Sunny Days are perfect for a play

"Okay Dashie! I'm all set!"

Princess Twilight Sparkle, the star protégé to Princess Celestia and ex-avatar to the Element of Magic looked on with wonder. Two of her best friends, Rainbow Dash -a cyan pegasus with a rainbow mane and tail-, and Pinkie Pie -an unbelievably pink earth pony with an even more unbelievable curly pink mane and tail-, were standing off from each other in a small meadow in the local park in town. Rainbow Dash, needing someone to release all of the tension that was wound up in her body from staying indoors all day long, lowered herself close to the ground and raised her wings. "Rainbow, are you sure this is a good idea?" Twilight asked, looking between the two ponies and seeing a small trampoline placed precariously in between them.

"Don't worry about it Twilight." Rainbow Dash said, easing up for a moment and waiving a dismissive hoof towards the lavender alicorn. "It's just a harmless stunt. What could possibly go wrong?"

Twilight raised her hoof to say something, but decided against it, shaking her head as Rainbow Dash got back to her ready position. High above them were clear enough skies, until a dark brown blur could be seen coming from the west.

"There's something coming." Twilight said quietly, trying to make out the details on the blur. As she watched the blur, the alicorn could hear the sound of Dash's hooves charge towards the trampoline. "Wait Dash Don-

"YAHOO!" Dash shouted, shooting up in the air like a comet. However the pegasus never saw the blur, and before she could get going to continue her stunt, both blurs slammed into each other.

Twilight cringed, only for a second at the impact before taking action. Using her magic, she grabbed Rainbow Dash and the entity that she collided into - a black and brown tawny griffin with a modestly sized brown mail bag slung around her front shoulders- with her magic before steadying the pair of them. The griffin didn't appear to be hurt all that much, with a few feathers appearing to be out of place here and there, and regained her bearings before Twilight released her.

"HEY!" The griffin snapped. "Watch where you're going!"

Dash blinked, quickly recovering from her daze before rounding on the offending voice. "Where I'm going?" She countered, glaring at the griffin. "You need to learn how to fly!" She snapped, ignoring the griffin's growling as she descended to the ground.

"Dash, you know that wasn't called for." Pinkie Pie replied, racing over to where Rainbow Dash and Twilight were as the Griffin descended on them both. "It was an accident and you both should apologize."

"I'm sorry Pinks, but there isn't any-

Pinkie Pie is right, Dash." Twilight replied, cutting the pegasus off before she could say anything else. "You should apologize, after all this was partially your fault."

"Oh okay fine. Look I'm..." Rainbow Dash stopped, watching as the Griffin appeared to be digging in the mail carrier bag that she had around her neck. "Hey!" She snapped.

"Yeah, yeah. I heard you. You're sorry about what happened." The Griffin said gruffly. "Oh where is it... Ah! Here it is!" She said excitedly, pulling out a small letter that was sealed in an envelope. After a few moments she turned towards Pinkie Pie and completely ignored both Rainbow Dash and Twilight. "Pinkamena Diane Pie?" She asked, watching as Pinkie Pie nodded nervously. "This is for you." The Griffin said, extending the letter towards her.

Twilight couldn't help but look at the envelope, seeing the bright red loopy writing that was on its face that clearly spelled out Pinkie's name. Or at least that was what she assumed. However, as Pinkie took the envelope, she noticed the Neighponesian symbol for fire on the back of the letter and blinked as the pink earth pony passed the griffin her money.

"Thanks miss. Take care." The griffin replied in the most professional-sounding voice before spreading her wings and taking to the air, leaving the three ponies to stare at the envelope.

"Uh... eh... heh heh heh Pinkie, what's that?" Rainbow Dash asked, watching as Pinkie's usual smiling face was nowhere to be found. The pink party pony said nothing, flipping over the envelope with her hooves and opening it carefully with her mouth.

After pulling out the letter and looking over it, Pinkie Pie's mane deflated significantly. Both ponies watched as she sighed, before trotting away.

"Hey Pinkie! Where you going?" Rainbow Dash snapped, flying over near the earth pony as she continued to walk away. Twilight followed suit, but only walked on the ground behind Pinkie.

"I have something to take care of at Sugarcube Corner." Pinkie replied, her voice unusually quiet. "I'm sorry Rainbow Dash, we'll have to take this up some other time."

Before Rainbow Dash could say something else, Pinkie Pie galloped off, leaving both the alicorn and the pegasus confused. "What's her deal?" Rainbow Dash asked, watching as the earth pony rounded a street corner and vanished from sight. She turned to Twilight, who shook her head.

"I don't know, but we need to see if she's going to be okay." Twilight said, trotting after Pinkie Pie.

----

As Twilight and Rainbow Dash, followed by Fluttershy -a yellow pegasus with a pink mane and tail-, Rarity -an alabaster unicorn with an indigo mane and tail-, and Applejack -an orange earth pony with a blond mane and tail and a dusty looking cowpony hat- approached Sugarcube corner, they could see that there was a sort of commotion going on inside the confectionary establishment. A crowd of at least fifty-something ponies had gathered outside the front of the building as a pair unicorn ponies dressed in all black armor similar to what one would see in Neighpan stood guard in front of the front door. Neither said a word, and both had fearsome looking halberds wrapped around their front forelegs.

"Seems ta me that there's a problem here." Applejack commented, staring at the ponies in front of the front door as they approached.

"They must be sweltering in this heat." Rarity whispered, looking towards both of the ponies sympathetically. "And that armor, so drab. I don't even think the Guardsponies from Canterlot wear that style anymore." She added, taking note of the black robes that they wore beneath the armor.

"They don't look too friendly." Fluttershy whispered. "M-Maybe we should come back another time?"

Twilight shook her head. "Sorry Fluttershy, but Pinkie Pie needs us. And we need to be there for her." The lavender alicorn stepped forward, giving a generous smile at the two ponies in front of the store. "Excuse me sirs, would you mind moving out of the way. Our friend is inside and-"

Twilight leapt back as one of the halberds was skillfully dropped to where she had been standing previously, much to the shock of the crowds. The curved blade cut into the ground, but was easily withdrawn and placed back into position in the clutch of the pony's leg.

"Hey what's your Problem?" Rainbow Dash snapped, flying into the face of one of the guards. "She's a Princess of Equestria and-" She stopped as both halberd blades pointed towards the pegasus, causing her to fly backwards.

"Now Ya'll lissen here! Ya'll need ta-

They're not going to listen to a word you say. Stubborn as Quartz crystals they are."

Everypony turned to the sound of the voice that cut Applejack off and blinked at the sight. Before them stood several more ponies dressed in black robes, all of which were completely unarmed, as a brown pony with a gray mane and tail who wore a simple black, wide brimmed hat stepped forward. "'Cept, that's what they were trained to do. They don' care bout nothin' 'cept the way's of the Pie Clan." The stallion said with a low drawl.

The stallion wearily stepped forward, the other ponies making a path for him as he approached. When the stranger stepped forward he turned. "I s'pose that you would be Princess Twilight Sparkle wouldn't you." He said, with an almost bored tone. "Pinkamena has told me so much about you in her letters. I believe I ought to thank you."

Twilight and her friends blinked as the old stallion bowed before her as best as he could before being assisted by the robed ponies. "I'm... Not sure that I understand. We were just here to see if Pinkie Pie was okay. We're her friends and-

Ah that's good. It's good to see that she finally has friends. Well at least more friends than she had hooves." The stallion replied. "Name's Igneous. Igneous Rock Pie, the seventeenth." Igneous said, turning towards the group of ponies before him. "I had hoped that none of you would have seen this. Especially with what's about to happen... But it's not really going to make a difference."

"Whatever are you talking about sir?" Rarity asked. "What's going to happen?"

"'Best not to talk about it to those who aren't in the know." Igneous replied, turning towards the front door. "I s'pose that you bein' her friends would make this explaining bit a lot better than what it has to be, but..." Igneous paused, turning back to the mares. "I would much appreciate it if you told me everything that Pinkamena has told you."

The group of mares looked towards each other before looking back towards Igneous. "I'm sorry, but we weren't told anything." Fluttershy whispered, watching as the old stallion shook his head.

"Well ain't that a shame." Igneous Pie turned back to Sugarcube Corner and breathed a sigh of relief as another one of the robed ponies practically lunged for the front door and opened it for him. "Well, you bein' Pinkamena's friends makes this all the easier to say this. So... I guess we had better explain this better inside. No sense in flappin' our jaws out and around here." He said, calmly walking into the confectionary shop.

The group of mares shared a sideways glance before following Igneous Pie into Sugarcube Corner, being followed closely behind by the ponies in robes. As soon as the last pony stepped into the establishment and the door closed, Twilight and her friends all exhaled a breath that they didn't know they had been holding.

The inside of Sugarcube Corner had been drastically changed. The layout was still the same of the candy shop, but there were major decorative changes. A major paper screen blocked out the view of the kitchen and the major counter, as silhouettes of ponies trotted and bustled about as if to keep busy. The display racks were all also closed shut, leaving nothing behind but the wooden cabinets. The clean wooden floor was covered in incredibly small pebbles as a makeshift lagoon was built into the design, which surrounded cushions that would contain several mares, by Twilight's count there were at least fifteen all down in rows going length-wise between both the door and the shop's counter. But that wasn't what Twilight could see that bothered her. Another cushion, sat on a pedestal that was as big as she was while standing. Igneous breathed a relaxed sigh before taking a position closest to the pedestal.

"What happened here?" Rainbow Dash asked, her wings and tail twitching nervously.

"This was the work of the Kuroko-san-tachi." Igneous Pie replied, remaining stock still as the mares continued to marvel at the work.

"The Kuro-who-what now?" Applejack asked.

"Simply put he means the Stage-hands." Rarity Explained. "Like in a play one would see in Neighponesian theater... I think." She said, her hooves daintily adjusting as she continued to look around.

"You would be correct Miss Rarity." Igneous Pie replied. "The Kuroko are similar to stage hands just like you've said." Another pony in black robes appeared before trotting over to Igneous and whispering something in his ear. The stallion nodded before waving him off, and offered a seat to Twilight and her friends. "Pinkamena should be ready now, please have a seat." He offered, extending his hoof to several of the cushions that were seated to the right of the platform. He watched as the mares nervously shared another glance before trotting over to them, taking seats all next to each other as ten more appeared to be available.

As soon as they sat down, the door opened a second time, causing Rarity to let out a quick gasp. In the doorway, stood a grey earth pony with a dark gray mane and tail with a treble clef for a cutie mark. She bowed quickly towards Igneous, before taking a seat on a cushion that sat on the left side of the platform, closest to it. "So these are Pinkamena's new friends?" She asked, a smirk forming on her face.

"That's Octavia Philharmonica!" Rarity whispered excitedly. "She's a nationally known Cellist and Philanthropist!"

"You are well read and too kind miss Rarity." Octavia replied as the door opened a second time. Everypony looked up again, watching as a dark blue earth pony with a gray mane and tail and a pale rose for a cutie mark, stepped inside and bowed towards Igneous before freezing at the sight of Twilight. She then tripped over her own hooves in another bow before getting up and hurrying over to the open spot next to Octavia's left.

"Bellamina Rose?" Fluttershy asked, her face peering from out of her mane and tilting sideways as the earth pony blushed nervously. Before she could say anything however, the door was flung open a third time, to reveal a dark green maned unicorn who wore a bright red cloak with a tall collar with orange jagged-looking sunglasses. The unicorn smirked, giving a casual bow towards Igneous and trotting over towards where Bellamina and Octavia were sitting.

"That must be Humble Origins... Somepony Ah've never heard from in a long time..." Applejack whispered.

"The one and only." The unicorn known as Humble replied. "And I guess all we're missing is Sur-"

A loud explosion flung the door open almost off of its hinges, cutting Humble off. What followed was a perpetual set of streamers and confetti that made it look like Pinkie was back to her old self, but when a white pegasus with a unbelievably curly blond mane and tail stepped in and closed the door gently behind her, Twilight swore that she was seeing what Pinkie Pie would have been like if she were born a pegasus.

"Ohmygosh, Ohmygosh, Ohmygosh, Ohmygosh!" Rainbow Dash squealed, nearly fainting at the sight. "It's Surprise, one of the Wonderbolts ace flyers!"

"Oh, so you're the one they call Rainbow Dash? Cool, maybe when you get in I can really show you how to throw the crowd a party." Surprise replied, flapping her wings and gently taking a seat next to Humble. She then quickly turned, bowing towards Igneous, before grinning. "So is this everyone?" She asked.

"Kosher Pickle will be here in about an hour, and the Princesses will be here as soon as they can Surprise." Igneous replied.

"The Princesses?" Twilight repeated. "Princesses as in Princess Celestia and Princess Luna? Those Princesses?"

"Yes your highness." Igneous replied as another Kuroko appeared from behind the screen and whispered something in his ear. The old stallion nodded. "Until they get here, I would like to present you with the current head of the Pie Clan, and my daughter: Pinkamena Diane Pie." He said, pointing a hoof towards the stairs.

The first thing that happened that struck Twilight odd was that the room fell uncomfortably silent. The second thing was that she heard a gentle clacking of wood against wood instead of a secure stomp from a hoof against the wood. Everypony in the room turned, and while the recent additions said nothing, Twilight couldn't help but stare in stunned disbelief at the sight of Equestria's number one party-pony.

Pinkie Pie was different, totally different than she normally looked. She was clad in an all white kimono that went down and covered her flanks as her hooves were clad in Neighponesian Horse-styled geta. Her mane was back to being curly, but in a more refined manner, almost like she were a samurai general instead of a sugar-crazed maniac. Her tail was done up in a similar manner, and a bow was wrapped neatly around her waist, giving her a sense of refinement that made even Rarity do a triple take.

Pinkie Pie finished descending from the stairs that led into Sugarcube Corner before walking towards the platform and climbing up on it with help from another Kuroko. Calmly she turned, sitting down on the cushion with all of the elegance of a foreign ruler. Her face an unreadable mask, her eyes seemingly full of her same energy but without it at the same time. "Father, where's everypony else?" She asked, her voice not betraying the mask she constructed.

"They will be here soon Pinkamena-sama." Igneous Pie replied, bowing low.

"I see." Pinkie Pie replied. "And from your message I take it that this is urgent. Have the Gedoushuu broken through to the mortal world?" She asked, watching as Igneous shook his head.

"No, your mother has seen to that to the best of her abilities while you recovered." Igneous replied again.

"Understandable."

It wasn't until Rainbow Dash shook her head that caused the party-pony to look in their direction. "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Wait a minute. Pinkamena-sama? Gedoushuu? Either this is some elaborate prank Pinkie, or I'm dreaming." Rainbow Dash scoffed, getting smacked in the leg by Applejack as everypony looked in her direction.

"I see that you haven't been told anything." Pinkie Pie said, her unfeeling voice seemingly mocking the pegasus. "I tried to keep this from you, but it seems that is no longer possible."

"Keep what from us darling?" Rarity asked, watching as Igneous Pie took a deep breath.

"The world is in danger. It is in danger by a threat that not even the Elements of Harmony could combat." Igneous began.

"Danger? From what?" Applejack asked.

"Oh my..." Fluttershy whimpered.

"The Gedoushuu. Demons that thrive on the waters of the Sanzu River, which is generated by strife and hatred between the races of Equestria." Igneous replied somberly, looking towards the other mares.

"But the Sanzu River leads to the pit of Tartarus." Twilight replied, shaking her head. "Why would there be demons coming from there?" She asked, watching as Pinkie Pie turned her head to her father and nodded.

"I guess that it would be best if I told you." Igneous replied, shaking his head. "It can't be helped. What you are looking at right now is the newest generation of Shinkengers. Guardians that fight against the Gedoushuu and keep the Sanzu River from flooding the world."

"Now wait just one minute." Applejack said, rubbing one of her temples with a free hoof. "So you're saying that, Pinkie Pie and these other fine ponies are monster hunters? Ah just don't see that ta' be the case."

"Applejack's right, Pinkie Pie wouldn't ever hurt a fly intentionally." Rainbow Dash replied.

Igneous shook his head before sighing again. "Well then, get comfortable ladies, because I'm going to take you back to before you all met. To a time after Pinkamena earned her cutie mark. To the time when she and these other good ponies became the only bulwark against Chimatsuri Doukouku and his legions of Soldiers. To the time when these ponies became Shinkengers."

The First Act: The stage is yours, The Servants of Justice Arrive

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The First Act: The Stage is Yours, The Servants of Justice Arrive

It all started about a few years ago, back when Pinkamena-sama was about eight years old...

The gaps... Worlds between the world of the living and the dead. A place of fear, a place of monsters. It is there that those who fell into sin, those that sided with darkness go to become servants of the Gedoushuu. Though peace and harmony had truly been spread throughout Equestria, lingering remnants of hate and anger stirred within the nation's borders.

These remnants were small, unorganized, easily stamped out by soldiers of the Equestrian Guard. Some of the nation's sorcerers and scientists blamed the fall of Nightmare Moon on their occurrences. Their evidence: Her recent banishment to the moon. However, that was not the case. It was only ten years after the banishment of Nightmare Moon that her Remnants of anger unlocked the Sanzu River and caused the legions from the other side to attack our world. The first head of the Pie Clan -Strawberry Cream Pie- led the charge against the forces of the Gedoushuu, starting what seemed to be an unending war against their armies. However, a breakthrough was made which caused a lasting peace. The Seventeenth Head of the Pie Clan -Pinkamena's Grandmother- had mastered the sealing symbol, which she used in her final battle against Chimatsuri Doukouku. An act, which would unfortunately cost her life...

----

-The final confrontation between the Seventeenth Generation Shinkengers and Doukouku-

The city of Rockford was burning. Under normal circumstances, the small village was quite capable of handling any sort of fires that would have broken out, but it was no natural fire that they were dealing with.

Amidst the orange and yellow blaze of the flames that consumed the city, hundreds of ponies were fleeing in terror. Smoke billowed above their heads as they ran, some tripping over their own legs others failing to keep up with the crowds. Behind them were the strangest creatures that one would have ever seen before. The creatures were as tall as minotaurs -in some instances they were taller- and wore yellow robes underneath brown armor. Their faces were almost indiscernible, being hidden behind gaping mouths and a mass of tentacles that one could mistake for being hair. They all carried the same blood-stained jagged swords in their right hands, and pursued the fleeing ponies with all of the destructive force of an inferno.

"All right you ass-holes, make them suffer! Make them scream! Make them die in despair and fill the Sanzu River!" A voice, horrible and as terrible as the chaos that filled Rockford's streets pierced through the night. Several of the fleeing ponies looked over their shoulders before bolting even faster at the sight, in the center of the monsters that gave chase was nothing short of a demon that one would see straight out of a Neighponesian nightmare, its six glowing eyes piercing through the flames as the all black plate armor that it wore reflected the brightness of the flames. In one of its hands was an all black handled katana, long enough to split a cow in two, which depicted a dragon breathing fire along its blade. "Bring me Shinken Red's Head! Bring it to me! And flood the Sanzu River!"

Ponies continued to flee as the beasts continued their rampage, smashing and destroying everything and anything in their way. Carts were over turned, Ponies that didn't manage to get away were thrown into and through walls and windows, and any that tried to stay and fight were slaughtered by the monsters. As they advanced into the city square, the sounds of a small drum could be heard over the chaos. They stopped and watched as heavily armored ponies bustled about, running every which-way as they began to form a stage. Several banners, which bore a trio of black stars on their face, were held up high as several more were positioned in front of the group. The demons stopped, staring as one of the giant banners was moved, revealing five ponies all in color-coordinated jumpsuits.

"It's the Shinkengers!"

"Thank Celestia! We're Saved!"

The pony in the red jumpsuit stepped forward, pulling out a small brush from one of the many pockets that were attached to her belt with a free hoof. The six-eyed demon appeared to be unimpressed, only for a moment as the red pony began to draw something in the air.

"You think that a little brush is going to save you? It will take more than that." The demon snapped, pointing a hand in their direction as the smaller demons charged.

The pony clad in red said nothing, continuing to draw a symbol in the air as the other four ponies charged forward, clashing their swords and keeping the demons back with all of their strength. The monsters countered, charging at the Shinkengers with the ferocity of a typhoon.

Doukouku could only watch as one by one more and more of his soldiers were cut down. But for each one that was struck down, three more took their place and picked up where the others left off. "Give it up, you are hopelessly out numbered. There isn't-"

He stopped, tilting his head slightly at the sight of a symbol, looking similar to the trio of black stars on the banners that heralded his enemy's approach, began to glow and radiate with powerful flame. If he were any other sort of being, his eyes would have visibly narrowed. The other jump suited ponies all threw their weight into the demons that they were fighting before leaping to the side, giving the symbol room to grow.

And that was their first mistake.

Doukouku, sensing that something was off with Shinken Red, readied his sword just as the symbol spun in the air to face him. The seal continued glowing, even as he dropped his sheath and prepared to strike, his fanged mouth forming a deadly smile. He could see that several flames streamed from the Symbol, and radiated off of the equine, who stomped its hooves in his direction causing the symbol to charge forward.

Without a second thought, Doukouku swung his black blade, a bolt of violent red lightning erupting from the blade and striking the symbol with tremendous force. But it seemed that both the symbol and his wave of energy were both evenly matched. The red-suited pony appeared to strain under the pressure, though he couldn't tell for sure as the helmet covered its face, and faltered slightly before putting more power into the symbol. Doukouku responded in kind, reinforcing his wave of energy with another intersecting slash of his sword, crossing the two together.

This forced the red clad pony back significantly, but it didn't stop her from trying. With a mighty roar, the flames that trailed from the pony burned significantly brighter, enhancing the symbol and driving it back further towards the demon. "Dammit, Just Fall Already!" Doukouku shouted, getting impatient towards the symbol.

As Doukouku prepared another swing, one that he thought would end it, he could see that the flames from the chaos his armies caused were empowering the symbol, strengthening it even further. He stepped back hesitantly, watching and letting out a horrified roar as the seal overtook and smashed into him.

The impact knocked the demon flying towards a crack that stood between two buildings, causing the gap itself to begin to glow a blood red. The demon struggled, but was unable to move as he was drawn into the gap before disappearing with a loud, "PLOP." The demons that were underneath him stopped, turning towards the site of where their leader fell only to also be dragged towards where the symbol was. Some struggled, others tried to run, but it was not to be as all of the monsters that had attacked Rockford and the river that they were trying to flood were absorbed into the portal that was made by the seal.

Several minutes passed as the portal was held open with all of the red-clad pony's strength. When the last demon and ounce of the Sanzu River was sucked in through the seal, it vanished leaving nothing behind.

Silence claimed the area as the results of what had just been accomplished made themselves known. The pony in red collapsed, the sound of its body dropping onto the hard pavement as it was enveloped in a bright red light. As its compatriots turned they saw a Mare, pale rose in coat color with a bright yellow mane and tail with similar stars for a Cutie Mark, laying on the stone of Rockford's streets, her breathing ragged.

"Lady Pie!"

The four other ponies rushed to the mare's aid, changing to reveal four other ponies: a dark blue pegasus with a white and blue mane and tail, a green earth pony with a brown mane and tail, and a pair of yellow unicorns each with a green mane and tail. The downed mare tried to get to her hooves, struggling for a bit only to have a gentle hoof help her up.

"Please Lady Pie, don't strain yourself." One of the unicorns said, lifting one of her hooves and draping it across her back.

"Pinkie... Where is my Pinkie? Is she safe? Is the city safe? Is Equestria safe?" Lady Pie asked, her words followed by a very violent fit of coughing.

"She's fine my Lady, she evacuated with the rest of the city as per your instructions towards the family farm." The other earth pony replied. "The city suffered only minor damages from inside, and the wall has to be rebuilt, but it's safe. And-

Don't lie to me Gold Miner." Lady Pie said, fighting another fit of coughing. "I know you're on leave with Stinkin' Rich's permission. I wouldn't want you to have to leave that young filly of yours in his care." She paused, her body wracked with pain before coughing again, her voice weakening before she spoke again. "What's the real damage?"

Gold Miner sighed. "The truth is your highness, the Pie Clan mansion was burned to the ground..." He paused as Lady Pie looked up, her fierce ice-colored eyes appeared to burn into his skull. "Sharpshooter and I led the Kuroko into a battle to hold off Doukouku's forces long enough for the women and children to escape while they hid there, And we suffered only few civilian casualties." He explained as the pegasus nodded. "As I said earlier, the wall needs to be fixed but truthfully it did not last during the first few hours of the attack. The Nanashi Renchuu punched through the holes and overwhelmed the guards to the point of killing them to the last." He stopped, looking away from Lady Pie.

"And Equestria? Is Doukouku Gone?" She asked.

"The seal worked my Lady." The other unicorn, Sunrise, replied. "Doukouku and all of his forces were pulled in by the seal and banished to where the Sanzu river naturally originates from."

Lady Pie said nothing, shaking her head solemnly before uttering a quick prayer to the heavens. "I want to see my family. I want to see my Pinkie." She said quickly, her strength returning to her.

----

The trip from Rockford led Lady Pie and her group to a nearby farm some distance away from the city. The blandness of the whole of the farm was enough to make the warrior sniff in disgust, but as she approached she couldn't help but smile. Igneous Rock stood, stoic as ever with his wife Geode in the front door. Her strength returning to her, Lady Pie broke into a gallop and cleared the thirty yard long stretch to the farmhouse in less than a minute wrapping both ponies in a hug which was returned.

As Lady Pie was led in, she stopped at the sight of three foals all hiding underneath several pillows quivering in fear. Each all had different coats one in unbelievably pink with a matching tail, one in a dull grayish color with a black tail, and one with a dark blue color and matching gray tail.

"The others were foals who were saved by the Kuroko." Igneous whispered as Lady Pie looked on the scene cautiously. "Their families were on the wall when Doukouku's siege began, and were protected by the Kuroko when the house fell to the Gedoushuu." Lady Pie nodded, cautiously stepping towards the three trembling foals.

"Pinkie?" Lady Pie called out, watching as the pink flank of the foal in question did not move. "Pinkie, come on its me. Granny Pie." She said.

"No! It's too scary, there's lotsa monsters out there that are gonna gobble me and my new friends up!" Lady Pie could hear the sniffles from the foal from underneath the pillow and shook her head. Calmly Lady Pie trotted around the three foals and laid down on the carpet, her legs grateful for not being in a standing position.

"Now Pinkie, is that how you want to show your new friends what being a Pie is?" Lady Pie asked.

"B-Bu-But they'll hurt them! An-

No they won't." Lady Pie replied gently. "Look, Darlin' you need to stand up tall. There's something that I want you to know, something that will make all the monsters and bad things go away."

"There is?" Pinkie asked, the foal's head poking itself out from the pillow just as the others did so.

"Yes, there is." Lady Pie replied, smiling a little. "You see..." She paused, genuinely looking around, and smiling at the same time. "Those monsters don't like laughing."

"Laughing?" Pinkie repeated.

"Yes, laughing Darlin'. Anything, from giggles to guffaws. It's how your Granny deals with the monsters." Lady Pie replied, smiling generously. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see both of the other foals poke their heads from out underneath the pillows as well. "And when you live for as long as I have, you get really good at it. Just make sure that you remember, the monsters can't hurt you when you're laughing." She said, watching the foals all stare at her in wonder. "Now I think it's time for some foals to get to bed. Come on now." Lady Pie said, smiling as the three foals all got up and headed for the bedrooms upstairs without complaint.

After giving Pinkie and her new friends each a goodnight kiss and leaving the door opened for them, Lady Pie returned to the living room of the farmhouse and sat down in an available rocking chair. "Igneous Rock, I want you to promise me something." She said, watching from the corner of her eye as the farm pony came back in with a cup of tea balanced on a tray on his back.

"Anything Lady Pie." He replied.

"Promise me that she'll be well taken care of and loved when I'm gone." Lady Pie replied. "That was my last fight against the Gedoushuu, I can't do it anymore. And I have picked her to be my successor."

Igneous Rock nodded quietly, setting the tray down and turning away. "I understand Lady Pie." He said, before preparing to leave.

"You seem awfully okay with this Igneous. She is your only daughter, and she will be put in danger, grave danger." Lady Pie said quietly.

"Lady Pie, as a member of the secondary house of the Pie clan, it's not my place to question the actions of the main house." Igneous rock replied. "I just do as I am bidden, and will watch over Pinkamena until the time is right for her to fight again."

Both the mare and the stallion said nothing, the silence only being broken by Lady Pie picking up a cup with one of her hooves(she had made smaller hooves appear from the major hoof to grab the cup), and drinking it before setting it back down. "I see." Lady Pie replied, a mask covering her true emotions. "Train her well then Igneous. Train her well."

----

-Twelve years after the attack on Rockford-

It was then just after that night that the previous head of the Shinkengers, Lady Hard Rock Pie, passed on peacefully into the next world. Her strength had done her a major service, and while it was a major blow to the Pie Clan household, and the Shinkengers as a whole, nopony took it as hard as Pinkamena-sama. However, the seal on the Sanzu River was not to last, and the attacks on Equestria returned in earnest.

Rockford, the stone and rock capitol of Equestria. A shining beacon of Earth Pony industry save for Manehatten or Canterlot, the city was the number one location in common Earth Pony technology.

The city was small, not much bigger than what the newest city of Ponyville was -which wasn't saying much-, but it had survived some of the worst tragedies ever to befall a city. The first attacks of Nightmare Moon's rebellion after leaving the Everfree Castle were waged here. The brave rebellions from the Earth Ponies against Discord took place within its hallowed streets. Even rumors said that the city was originally the settled place of the Earth Pony Capitol Dirt before Equestria was founded, though those were just tossed aside as hopeful historians trying to make names for themselves.

Yes the solid gray, and absolutely drab stone city was nothing short of a fortress town within a relatively peaceful part of the country. The buildings were made of some combination of granite and some form of marble, only because they were built pretty secure by those that plied their trade. It was relatively clean, made so by the combination of hard work and diligence by the ponies that lived there, and was protected by veteran guards around the clock.

In a smaller more isolated section down by Rockford's famous wall, several foals were playing in a small park which rested under a tree with a ball being batted between them.

As the ball sailed into the air, a dark blue earth pony filly with a cream colored mane and tail, leapt up from the grass of the park and knocked the ball higher than normal. Her two companions watched as the ball bounced several feet away from them, before landing in a gap between two buildings.

"Aw come on!" One of the foals, a bright green earth pony colt shouted, throwing his hooves in the air. "Misty, why did you knock it so far?"

The dark blue foal known as Misty shook her head. "I didn't mean too. Look, I'll go get it Snippit if you want me to."

The third foal, a yellow filly with a bright pink mane and tail shook her head. "I... I um... I don't think you should... You might get hurt."

Misty shook her head. "Nah, it's just in a gap. What's the worst that could happen Posey?" She asked, turning towards the gap.

"I heard my daddy say that you should always get a grown up when it comes to dealing with things caught in gaps." Posey replied, some of her courage returning to her. "He said that there might be monsters that can come out and get you."

"Monsters?" Snippit asked skeptically. "Really Posey? Are you really scared of a dumb old gap and a story they use to scare foals with?"

As the three foals continued their discussion, none of them noticed a dark red sliver appear from thin air between the gap.

"And what if there are portals to the Sanzu River?" Posey Snapped. "You could be cursed to living there forever!"

Misty shrugged. "It's not real Posey, now I'm gonna go get the ball back so we can get on with our game." The foal turned, blinking as she saw a ripple in between the walls of both buildings before trotting over towards where their ball had landed. It was in pretty far back, causing the foal to maneuver around several garbage bins and bags of refuse that were waiting to be picked up before reaching the object of her desire. As she placed her hooves on said ball, a chill went down her spine as a dull gurgling growl could be heard above her.

The foal looked up and shrieked, tripping and stumbling over her hooves at the sight. Hovering above her was a faceless demon, with a gaping mouth that appeared to have attached to a mass of tentacles for a head and a body that was covered in yellow robes and brown armor. The face and all the features that were not the armor or the robes appeared to be a painfully-looking bloodstained red, as the creature's shoulders appeared to be covered in solid blazing flames. Clutched in one of the creatures claws was a jagged looking, blood red sword which had a blade that gave off an unearthly glow.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Misty shrieked, turning on her hooves and bolting back towards where her friends were standing. She could see the fearful expressions on both of their faces as she turned and looked over her shoulder, seeing at least twenty or thirty of the monsters filling out the gap behind her before giving chase.

Before the monsters could step into the sunlight to give the foals a better look at them, several ponies dressed all in black appeared each wielding a halberd or a naginata in their hooves pointed towards the demons. Several of these ponies surrounded Misty and her friends before escorting them away from where they were playing previously.

The monsters attempted to give chase, only to be flung back as several explosions erupted in front of them, obscuring the retreat of the foals from a normal ponies vision. As the resulting cloud of smoke cleared, the monsters could see two ponies standing in front of them, a brown earth pony with a gray mane and tail clad in a simple black hat with a farmers shirt and black overalls, and a red-jump suited pony with a futuristic sword at its side and a full face mask covering its face with the symbol of, "Fire," on the front.

The brown pony stepped forward, clearing his throat as he did so, "Now listen up, minions of Chimatsuri Doukouku. Who you see before you is the descendant of the ones who have consistently driven your kind back to the realm of darkness where they belong: The eighteenth head of the Pie Clan, Shinken Red Pinkamena Diane Pie-sama!"

The demons said nothing, some tilting their heads in confusion as both ponies continued to stand before them.

"Now, will you retreat back from whence you came? Or will you give my lady the pleasure of cleaning your blood off of her-

Daddy Pie, Too long." Shinken Red said, cutting the old pony off.

"But my lady, this is a chance to-

Daddy Pie, don't worry about it." Shinken Red replied. "I'm going forth." She said finally, standing up on her back hooves for a second and drawing the futuristic sword from her side. After wrapping one of her hooves around the blade and resting it on her shoulder, the red-jump suited pony charged the crowd of demons, plowing through several that nearly got in her way.

Before the demons could react, one was felled by several quick downward slashes followed by an uppercut with the blade, forcing several to turn. Three of the Demons immediately landed on top of her, only to have their blades blocked by the sword that she carried now resting on her back.

With a quick flick of her leg, the demons were flung backwards, dropping to the ground before two more were stabbed in the chest. Shinken Red wasted no time, turning her attention to two more that had closed in and blocked their incoming attack with both hooves on her blade. "Too Slow." She said, raising one of her back legs and smashing it into the chest of one of the demons before throwing the other off of her. With a spin, two more demons expired before they were dropped to the ground, causing the others that were still standing to hesitate.

Before Shinken Red could make another move, the demons ran for the same gap that they had entered from, leaving no trace of the scene of the battle except the pony clad in red. A blinding flash later revealed an unbelievably pink Earth Pony mare with a gentle curly mane and tail with a trio of balloons for a cutie mark on her flank.

"Well Done Pinkamena-sama. Once again you-

----

"Hold it, hold it, hold it." Rainbow Dash snapped leaping from her cushion and glaring at Igneous Rock. "You expect us to believe that Pinkie Pie took care of twenty monster-demon thingies by herself? She hasn't been anything but-"

"WHACK!"

The cyan pegasus was immediately struck across the head by a giant paper fan that had somehow been moved into Pinkie Pie's hooves. Her face was emotionless, even as the shock of the act registered with her friends.

"Hey! What was that for?" Rainbow Dash snapped, turning on the offending pony and freezing.

Pinkie Pie's eyes had hardened, her mask as strong as steel and as intimidating as a dragon's. The pink pony's glare was fierce enough to make Rainbow Dash feel small, and rival that of Fluttershy's stare. Quickly the blue pegasus leapt back to her cushion and said nothing, looking down at the floor in particular.

"Now Pinkie that was-

It was necessary." Pinkie Pie replied, Looking towards Twilight. "I know that we're friends, but right now we are listening to a story. It was rude of Rainbow to interrupt, and rudeness will not be tolerated as long as the presence of the Pie Clan is here." She raised a hoof as Twilight made to speak, silencing her. "Out of respect Twilight, I do know it was wrong and I'll make it up to Rainbow Dash later. Right now we must adhere to tradition, and the tradition dictates that no one is to interrupt while a story is being told by the herald."

"Oh. Okay..." Twilight replied, looking away as Pinkie Pie nodded towards her father.

"Continue please."

Igneous Rock nodded, clearing his throat and adjusting his position where he stood. "Yes, well believe it or not Pinkamena-sama did take care of the Nanashi Renchuu that were trying to break into Rockford for the first time in twelve years...

----

"Pinkamena-sama, don't you think that it's about time that we found you loyal retainers to protect you?" The secondary pony, Igneous Rock replied.

Pinkamena shook her head, casually replacing a small rectangular device back into her mane. "I have no desire to getting other ponies involved and hurt in this battle. Do as you will." She said calmly trotting away, ignoring the Kuroko that offered her a small teacup and a towel.

Igneous looked after his daughter, calmly shaking his head. "That girl can be quite stubborn sometimes." He thought, trotting after Pinkamena as the other Kuroko began to clean up the area and follow him.

(Sometime Later)

A lot had changed for the Pie Clan's rock farm since the Gedoushuu last attacked it. A simple farm house was made as a disguise for a larger, more complex Neighponesian mansion that sat within, imitating the previous mansion with all of its splendor. The walls were white washed, shining against the black framing and roofing that made the majority of the house, as a major section of living quarters towered over the rest of the complex. A courtyard about as big as a stormball arena sat in the middle of the mansion, surrounded by walls on multiple sides.

On an open ledge, outside in the night air Pinkamena sat alone, a small pentagonal block bearing the same symbol of fire, and a brilliant color of red sat at her right. As the pony sat alone, the block clicked, the sides opening up to reveal tiny legs as the bottom of the pentagon extended and made two more. The front opened up and revealed a small fanged face which let out a tiny roar like a lion before turning up towards the pony. Pinkamena said nothing, her body in a meditative trance as the lion leapt into the air and landed in her mane before beginning to climb down her back. The pony's eyes opened as a front hoof extended outward as a place for the lion to land.

Pinkamena smiled gently, watching the lion roar a second time as it looked up at her. "You know, it's been a while since I've seen you smile like that Pinkamena-sama." Pinkamena turned, the lion returning to its pentagonal state as she saw Igneous Rock standing gently over her.

"Daddy Pie, it hasn't been that long. Has it?" She asked.

Igneous Rock shook his head. "No Darlin, I don't think that it has been." He watched as Pinkamena sat the block back down on the floor before sighing again. "I don't want anypony else to get hurt." She replied, looking away from her father.

"Now now, you can't stay alone forever. The Gedoushuu are strong, and it will take more than just one pony to defeat them."

"Then I'll get stronger!" Pinkamena shouted, pressing her front hooves into the floor. "I'll get so strong that there won't be a need for other ponies to endanger themselves! I'll-

And what about your special talent?" Igneous replied, watching his daughter stop. "You can't have it both ways Pinkamena-sama. You do remember what your Cutie Mark means right?" He asked, watching Pinkamena nod.

"Yeah... I do, and I want to make the best parties ever but... I have responsibilities now." She replied. "I have to protect the world. I..." Pinkamena choked up, several tears escaping her eyes.

"There there now, it's going to be all right." Igneous Rock replied, rushing over to his daughter and holding her close with his hooves.

"I don't want anypony to be miserable anymore." Pinkamena replied, crying gently into Igneous Rock's shoulder. "I don't want that at all. I don't... I..."

As Igneous Rock and Pinkamena sat in the middle of the Pie Clan courtyard, neither one of them noticed the reflection of a solid white eye spying on them.

"Oho... So it begins anew?" A voice said, mumbling under its owner's breath.

On the other side of the reflection, or at least what one would have thought to be a reflection sat not a pony, but a monster. The creature's skin was a pale, disgusting gray that went to a dark brown as it went to the ends of its body. The head of the creature was reminiscent of an octopus, elongated out over the top of the black robe that it wore as several of the tentacles at the bottom of its base formed a sort of beard. Several more tentacles were extended from underneath the back of the robe, wrapped around the staff that was clutched in their grasp which revealed the scene. The only thing that would have made the creature resemble anything like that of an equine, was the spiraling horn that sat in the middle of its head, and the heavily shrouded front hooves that seemed to ooze a black, viscous liquid.

"What begins anew? Another day languishing in this fell-prison? The rivers of the Sanzu are nice, but I would prefer to see the morning sun again Shitari." Another voice -one filled with cold, unfettered malice- asked, stepping forth into the squid demon's view. The owner, who was covered in pale blue robes that one would have mistaken for a dress and brown armored pants, flexed one of her pale white wings before turning her attention to the first monster. Her golden eyes, which appeared to be inside a full facemask that looked like a jellyfish's blinked and unnerved the squid.

"Oh uh... Dayu, it's you isn't it?" The squid demon known as Shitari asked, watching as the other monster stepped forward, her other wing tenderly clutching a small three-stringed guitar as her hooves stepped carefully over the rocks. "I was just saying that the war is about to begin anew. The next head of the Shinkengers has been chosen, and she looks to be a young one."

"Oh... You know Doukouku would be pleased to hear that. Or not." She stopped, the lips on her muzzle forming a wicked smile which revealed several fangs. "You know how he goes on for days on end on how he will, "Destroy the Pie Clan," and, "Eradicate the Shinkengers," and-

"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

A loud, ear-splitting roar pierced the air as both Shitari and Dayu turned towards the blood-red seas of the Sanzu River. Rising from beneath the now turbulent waves was a ship, all black and rotten out from overuse. It appeared to have several holes, and the sails were torn all to pieces, but at the same time, the ship was seaworthy even by their own standards. Both demons turned, watching as the rocky beach near the river became filled with Nanashi Renchuu both big and small.

"That would be Doukouku now." Dayu said calmly, turning her back on her companion. "We had better get on board, otherwise he's going to have a fit. And then it will be both our heads." She finished, using her wing to move the guitar to her hooves before taking off into the air.

Shitari just shook his head, his staff and his horn glowing with an eerie black light as he stepped out towards the water. "No sense in keeping the boss waiting, after all, the war of revenge against the Shinkengers is about to begin!" The squid demon nearly skipped, stopping as he felt he was being watched before pressing on towards the ship.

The interior of the ship was just as much of a mish-mash as it was on the outside. There was plenty of room for Shitari and Dayu both to stand and wait around, even having a place to lie down in if one moved the giant barrels of alcohol that were strewn about. A small, tattered black veil sat inside a doorway as both Dayu and Shitari sat and remained silent, only getting up as they could hear the steps of hoof -or foot- meeting the solid ground of the ship. As the veil was drawn back, both Dayu and Shitari let out a small gasp, staring at the monster before them.

He was as tall as a minotaur, clad in black armor that had dark-red scorch marks and fresh bloodstains that were plastered all over its surface. Several spikes could be seen leaving his body and forming a set of small wings that appeared to be more decorative than useful for flight as six pale yellow eyes scanned across the room. The demon clutched his black sheathed sword tightly, taking several steps forward and sniffing, his pale white fangs never moving open.

"So... Usukawa Dayu and Shitari of the Bones eh? We meet again." The demon said, his voice nearing anger as he took a seat away from the veil and closest to Dayu.

"Doukouku-san, have you rested well?" Shitari asked, sounding concerned for the demon that just arrived.

"I'm well off, but not ready for a full scale invasion of the Mortal world yet." Doukouku replied, popping several bones back into place. "Plus, it's going to take a lot of time to refill the Sanzu River again. And I want revenge."

"Of course Doukouku-san. You'll get your revenge on those filthy Equestrians. Especially those that Banished you here." Shitari replied, bowing nervously as the demon reached for his sword and stood up.

As Doukouku was about to say something else, the three demons heard a splash, just as a sickly blue hand placed itself onto the boat. They turned, seeing another demon, only about as tall as Doukouku's shoulder. The beast wore similar looking dark red armor on the upper half of its torso, but its bottom was made of a skirt that looked like a giant face had been sewn into it, flesh and all.

"So... The first of the Ayakashi have shown up. What took you Kagekamuro?" Doukouku asked, watching the smaller demon tilt it's flaming head.

"Oh, Doukouku so yer' awake? It's about time General, when's the party gonna start?" The demon known as Kagekamuro asked, bowing slightly.

"Heh, always the same without the respect. It's why I like you." Doukouku sneered, turning on his heel to look out onto the Sanzu River. "Hmph, we'll start with some screaming to get the blood of the River flowing again. I need you to go out into the world and get the water level to rise. Can you do that for me?"

Kagekamuro nodded. "Of course General. Though it is an order coming from you I have no choice but to accept."

"Get to it then." Doukouku ordered, turning back around and plopping back down on the floor. "Ugh... The things I do for you lousy maggots... And for what? To sit here and rot in this piss-assed no good side of eternity."

Dayu immediately took a seat, her guitar gently cradled in her hooves as she pulled out a pick and began to play. Immediately Shitari rounded on the nearest demon and used his magic to haul him up on board, before passing a small bowl and a bottle to it. "Quickly now, General Doukouku needs some Sake. And don't spill a drop!" The squid demon ordered, watching closely as the demon did as he was instructed, passing a now filled bowl to Doukouku. Greedily the demon drank it down, the sounds of his slurping drowning out the melody of Dayu's guitar as Shitari turned to see that Kagekamuro had begun to lead several hundred Nanashi Renchuu through cracks in the beach nearby. "Hopefully that should satiate the General while Dayu plays her shamisen." He thought nervously. "We're in for a long and fearsome war. One those Shinkengers are sure unable to win."

----
-At an Orchestra Recital in Canterlot-

"It's okay... you can do this..."

Octavia Marie Pie stood nervously next to her best friend, her cello. The auditorium was quiet, too quiet for her tastes, but the destiny that was written on her flank was to play the cello, in front of hundreds of creatures both pony and non, and she wasn't going to back down.

It still didn't shake the feeling that she had only left home just last month.

The massive auditorium was like a gaping maw before her, the seats in front of her like razor sharp teeth. The young mare shivered in her chair nervously as three of the biggest names in Equestrian Concert hall sat in front of her: a dapper pale yellow pegasus by the name of Piano Concerto -the head of the review committee-, a rose colored unicorn known as Late Symphony -the conductor of the orchestra-, and a forest green unicorn with a gentle stature in Chamber Sonata -who found Octavia during her first solo music practice-, all were very big names in Canterlot, and all were very big names that she had to impress.

It was by a sheer stroke of luck that Chamber Sonata had found her, and was wowed by a piece that she was working on but never got quite right in the last bit. After reviewing her work, and comparing that to her astounding test scores, Octavia was then presented to play before the biggest names before her. And the thought terrified her.

Nervously she looked down, and saw what had been her steady hoof throughout her journeys alone -a blue hexagonal block that had the Neighponesian symbol for water on top of its face. It gave her comfort, even though she thought she was staring into certain death, and was her beacon whenever she was lost on her road to success no matter where she was.

"Ms. Pie, whenever you are ready to begin we shall be ready to hear your latest piece." Piano Concerto said solemnly, almost sounding snobbish, as he wiped one of the lenses of a very expensive pair of glasses with a small napkin and his wing.

"Okay." Octavia replied. "Well here goes nothing." She thought, pulling the bow for her cello across its strings and gently beginning to play.

----

"Hey! Gimme that back! It's mine!"

"Nuh-uh, that was mine first!"

Before two foals could begin throwing hooves at each other, a dark blue earth pony with a gray mane and tail and a pale rose for a Cutie Mark stepped in between the both of them. "Now, can we share or do I have to take it away?" She asked gently, picking up a small ball that lay forgotten on the lawns of a schoolhouse nearby.

"But Miss Pie, we wanted to play with the ball first!" A bright pink earth pony filly wailed, tears filling her eyes.

"But we got to it before you did so its finders keepers!" Another foal, significantly bigger than the others, snapped before sticking his tongue out at the filly.

Bellamina Ann Pie shook her head, scooping the ball in question with her hooves and smirking, before throwing it into the air. "Let's all play with it together then. That way, no pony gets left out of the fun!" She said, watching as several foals charged after it before the few that argued over it smiled and followed suit. Bellamina smiled, before following her charges as they chased the ball after them. In a saddlebag sitting next to the schoolhouse was a small white circular block with a pink Neighponesian symbol for Heaven on its face that gleamed as if it were in approval of her actions.

----

"Why you PUNK!"

The sound of slamming garbage cans and boxes could be heard from anywhere in the back alleys of Manehatten. Three pegasi stood over a lone pony, or at least the black pants covered legs save for the hooves of one, each itching for a fight with their prey. The hooves, which were a dark green in color, moved slightly as garbage and refuse were shoved aside, revealing a dark green unicorn with a dark green mane and tail who wore a bright red flaming cloak and had a block shaped in a square that bore a green symbol for the Neighponesian word for Forest on an necklace around his neck. The unicorn got up for a moment, shaking his head for a moment before looking around. He turned, concentrating for a moment as a pair of bright orange jagged sunglasses levitated from the garbage and were wiped clean before being placed on his snout.

"Hey you..." The unicorn said without facing his would-be assailants. "You know, picking on the defenseless isn't right."

All three pegasi shared a look before smirking. "What's it to you pointy-head? She owes our boss money, and we was gonna get it from her." The leader of the pegasi said, pointing towards a bright yellow unicorn mare with a blue mane and tail.

The green unicorn said nothing, his cloak beginning to flutter in an unseen breeze. "Well then, I guess you don't know who you're dealing with!" He snapped, wheeling around on the closest pegasus and throwing a powerful buck into another group of trash cans. The other two looked on with horror as the unicorn's glasses obscured the manic look in his eye.

"W-Wh-Who are you?" The lead pegasus asked, trembling slightly.

"The name's Humble Origins." The dark green unicorn replied. "AND WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?" He roared, leaping at and taking the other two pegasi down at the same time.

----

Alone in a small part of Cloudsdale, a bright white pegasus with an unbelievably curly blond mane sat playing with a small box in her hooves.

"Oooooooh!" She whispered excitedly. "I wonder what kind of extra super-duper, totally amazing surprise is in here!" Quickly the pegasus tore the box open, ripping it in two and revealing a small cherry pie that appeared to be still fresh. "Oh wow!" She whispered, getting a whiff of the pie before her. "Not as good as Nana Pie's, but still just as tasty smelling! Soarin's got good taste." The pegasus said, looking over her shoulder down on the bench. Nearby a triangular block sat lying downwards with a yellow symbol for the Neighponesian symbol for earth gleaming in the sunlight as she proceeded to see her reflection in it. "Keep it together Surprise. You've got to make something extra special for Soarin now!" She thought before looking back down on the pie in her hooves. "Maybe... After a little pie." She said before scarfing it down.

----

Another relatively peaceful day had passed in the Pie Clan's new family home. Alongside the fact that none of the Gedoushuu had shown up to cause trouble in Rockford, Pinkamena was spending her free time alone in the clan mansion courtyard.

"Darlin' face your fears. Stand up tall and there won't be a thing to stop you." The voice of her grandmother echoed in Pinkamena's mind, a wooden katana lay in front of her eager to be used as her eyes opened. "It's time." She said, grabbing the handle with her mouth before placing the katana on her shoulder and wrapping a hoof around it. After letting go of the katana's hilt, she concentrated, spreading her front and back legs into an aggressive position before snapping her eyes shut and bringing down the blade in front of her with a powerful slash.

----

Meanwhile, around the river that flowed through Rockford, several ponies were generally going about their business. They all moved about peacefully, going through several market stalls as other ponies tried their best to earn and win their customers hard earned bits. Several guard sentries stood nearby, just to make sure that some ponies got sticky hooves, but all and all it was just another relatively fine day for the small Equestrian town.

While several ponies were making their purchases together, several cracks from the sidewalk beneath their hooves began to glow a dark and bloody red. Foals looked downward and wowed at the sight. Several parents stopped to blink at the spectacle. Then silence.

Before anypony could react a sickly dark blue hand erupted from the crack, causing several ponies to leap back in surprise. It was then followed by the body of a heavily armored demon who wore a dark blue skirt with a face sewn into it. In the beast's other hand was a pair of small, pony-sized, shortswords that were silver in color and had faces carved into the metal.

"So... This is the Land of the Mortals Huh?" Kagekamuro roared, causing several ponies to shriek and yell in terror. From the cracks that were behind him, hundreds of Nanashi Renchuu appeared, roaring and growling as the seemed to encircle and trap the ponies that were too slow to get away. "All right you punks, Let's make them scream so the waters of the Sanzu River flow and flood this pathetic world!” The demon roared, unleashing several tiny balls of flame about the size of a pellet at a nearby stall before throwing a bigger one at it.

The demons that had arrived alongside Kagekamuro cheered in earnest, charging at the crowds of ponies and attacking all that were nearby, swinging their swords in an unorganized mob of general mayhem at the frightened equines and overrunning the town guards while in the process. This pleased the demon as several unicorns were pinned down, several Nanashi Renchuu holding them at blade point as he strode confidently on over.

"No. Don't kill'em just yet." Kagekamuro replied, before launching a swift kick towards one of the unicorns. "We've got to get their fear and anguish outta them before they die. Otherwise, the Sanzu River wont flood." He said, throwing another kick before turning to his crowd of followers. "Listen well Equestrians! This is the army of the Gedoushuu, and we are here to flood your precious little world! Know that none of you will be safe while we are here, and that your precious Princesses won't be able to save you!"

----

Just as Pinkamena had begun to ready another strike, the sound of galloping hooves met her ears. The earth pony turned, seeing her father clad in full samurai body armor with a long bow resting on his shoulder.

"Pinkamena-sama, the Gedoushuu have begun their next attack." Igneous Rock said calmly. "An Ayakashi Soldier is leading the Nanashi Renchuu into battle, we must call your retainers to battle!"

Pinkamena shrugged, setting the wooden katana down by her hooves and stretched herself. "I told you, I-

And I told you my lady that it would take more than just one pony to defeat them." Igneous Rock said, calmly walking over to a nearby room and lifting one of the panels in the floor. Beneath the panel sat 4 red oblong devices which looked like they could be held in one's hooves. "They have been raised to fight in this battle since the day that they were born, just as you have. They know their cause, and they will accept the risks. You must call on their strength too!"

Pinkamena turned, seeing her father's pleading look before finally nodding. "All right then." She said, trotting over and grabbing the devices as they were passed to her and placing them in a nearby saddlebag. "But I am not going to have to be held accountable. Their lives are in their hooves." She said coldly.

"You will have to tell that to them yourself my lady." Igneous Rock replied, stepping out into the hallway and readying his bow. After looking skyward, the old pony drew an arrow from the quiver that was strapped to one of his legs before knocking it onto the arrow and taking aim. Pinkamena only blinked, seeing a small paper with the symbol for, "Gather," was wrapped around the bow, before the arrow was loosed into the air and disappearing into view. Igneous Rock repeated the process three more times, before turning towards his daughter and bowing to her. "From now on I am not just your father Pinkamena-sama." He said, keeping his head held low. "I am a humble servant for the cause of the Pie Clan." He said, finally turning out into deeper in the house as Pinkamena stepped out into the courtyard. "OUR LADY IS GOING INTO BATTLE!" He shouted.

Hundreds of Kuroko immediately swarmed the courtyard, as if they were already prepared. Several dozen were in battle-armor and carried weapons, others were unprotected and carried banners, but even as they stood at attention, Pinkamena pretended not to see them. The Pink mare galloped out of the complex, as fast as she could and began to race towards the city, closely followed by her black-clad servants.

"Good Luck my lady..." Igneous Rock whispered, watching the procession charge out of the complex.
----

Calmly, Octavia was sitting alone at a nearby Canterlot coffee shop. A steaming cup of the strongest coffee that she knew that only the richest of ponies could afford was gently wafting in front of her. "I did it..." She thought, excitement in her heart. It was everything that she could do to control and contain her joy.

Her cello sat nearby, leaning in its case against the table, a worth implement to her cause. When the heads of the Canterlot Orchestra said that they would have a position available to her sometime in the near future, the earth pony could have celebrated right then and there. It was by nothing short of a miracle that she didn't freak out in the Concert Hall.

Quickly the Cellist picked up her cup and took a grateful swig, a smile quickly forming on her face. "Oh... Mother, if you could see me now..." She thought, her eyes forming blissful tears. Octavia took another swig, draining the cup before gently setting it down and turning towards her cello.

There was an arrow.

Octavia blinked.

An arrow was lodged in her cello case, not too deep by from what she could see, but it was an arrow nonetheless.

She blinked again.

The arrow had carried with it the Neighponesian symbol for, "Gather," on a paper that had been tied around it.

"Well... At least it was good coffee." Octavia sighed, before removing the arrow from her case and slinging it over her shoulder. Quickly she paid for her cup before turning away from the cafe, a newfound determination in her stride as several pegasus ponies clad in black stood next to a black chariot bearing three golden stars nearby.
----

"Okay Cheerilee, do you know what to do?"

Bellamina Pie stood in an empty schoolhouse alone with a cerise colored earth pony standing next to her, all of the desks had been emptied, and most of the younger students had gone home.

"Y-Yes. I think I've got the gist of it." Cheerilee replied, staring at the arrow that was plunged in the center of Bellamina's teacher's desk. "Are you sure that you should be leaving your students so soon? School just started and-

They are the reason why I'm leaving." Bellamina replied, pulling the arrow from her desk and setting it gently into a nearby saddlebag. "If I don't leave now, then who's going to protect other foals from a threat like this?"

Cheerilee shook her head. "I'm... Not sure I understand. Wouldn't the Princess handle this kind of threat?"

Bellamina looked away, seeing several pegasus ponies standing near a chariot outside of the school house. "Her armies wouldn't be strong enough." She said, turning to look her best friend in the eye. "Look, you have to be strong. Strong for the foals here. As strong as you were back in Rockford." Cheerilee looked away As Bellamina put her saddlebags on her back. "It's the only thing that matters. Give as much joy to the foals as you get in return. After all, isn't that what your Cutie Mark is telling you?" She asked, nodding towards the three smiling flowers on Cheerilee's flank.

"O-Of course." Cheerilee replied, seeing Bellamina head towards the front door. "Bellamina wait!" She exclaimed, trotting over to her and placing something around her neck. Bellamina looked down and saw a black and white checkermarked bandana wrapped around her neck and looked back up to Cheerilee.

"But this is-

Give it back to me when you get back." Cheerilee replied. "It's a good luck charm, and I want it back." She said, smirking a little.

"Okay." Bellamina said, giving her best friend a hug. "Don't ever let them see you cry." She said, watching as Cheerilee nodded.

"Give'em Tartarus Bellamina." Cheerilee replied, returning the hug. She then stepped back watching as Bellamina left the school house, before quickly racing towards the ponies that were nearby.

"Good Luck Bella..." Cheerilee thought, before turning away from the window.
----

"So... You aren't hurt are you?" Humble Origins asked, staring into the mare's eyes.

"No... Not really." She said, the pale blue orbs drinking in her rescuer for the third time that day. Blunderbuss was a different sort of pony, always prone to accidents, always prone to getting hurt, but the dark orange unicorn was thankful that Humble was there looking out for her.

"That's good. Look, you may wanna stay outta trouble for the next couple of days." Humble replied, withdrawing an arrow from underneath his cloak. "I'm gonna be leavin' town and I can't have you constantly in danger 'kay?" He asked, watching as Blunderbuss blushed slightly.

"I'm not always in danger..." She said, feeling something being placed around her head. Looking up, the unicorn saw a pair of dark green lensed goggles placed above her horn and around her head. "What's this for?" She asked.

"To keep those pretty eyes of yours from getting dirty." Humble replied, turning to go.

"Wait!" Blunderbuss exclaimed. "Where will I find you?"

Humble stopped, before sniffing a little. "Tch, you don't need to worry about that. I'll find you little lady. That's a promise."

"How am I supposed to believe you?" The orange unicorn replied.

"Don't."

This got her confused. "Don't?"

Humble nodded. "Don't believe in me. Believe in the you that believes in me." He paused, smirking a little. "Believe in the heart that knows that I'll come and find you. After all, it's the best thing to trust." He said, before calmly raising a hoof into the air before leaving.

Blunderbuss said nothing, her brain completely confused by what Humble had just said as she watched the unicorn round the corner and out of sight. "What does that mean?" She thought.
----

Surprise looked down.

Before her was an arrow, the symbol for gather painted on a paper that was tied to the back end.

However it was stuck in her hoof.

"Now that's not a nice place to put something." The pegasus said, grabbing the arrow with her teeth and pulling it. After a few good yanks the arrow came free, leaving a small hole in her hoof.

"Hey! I could pass as a pretty good changeling!" She giggled, staring at the hole in her hoof. "Who knew I'd be a holey-pony!" Another laugh before her face became serious.

Quickly she traced the direction of where the arrow came from before leaping into the air, her own saddlebag carrying the arrow with her as she flew. "Gotta get you home to your owner little guy!" Surprise shouted, flying out over the horizon. "After all, the main event's about to start!"
----

As the chariot that she was riding in sat down, Octavia could see that she was currently standing in a different part of the city of Rockford. Several buildings towered over her, and it looked mostly abandoned. "We're meeting here?" She asked, leaping from the chariot, her cello case in tow. After taking several steps out into the open, the chariot that she arrived on immediately took off, causing the pony to turn back towards them. "Hey wait!" She shouted, galloping forward only to watch as the chariot disappeared behind a roll of cloud cover. "Great." She said, snorting loudly.

"Octy?"

The earth pony turned, her ears pricking upwards towards the sound. "Only two ponies in all of Equestria call me that, and if I know Vinyl she's probably still sleeping from her club job." Octavia thought, hearing the sound of a loud, "WHUMP," before turning around.

Bellamina stood behind her, her jaw slack.

"Bella, what are you doing here?" Octavia asked, watching the dark blue pony leap from the chariot.

"I should ask you the same thing." Bellamina replied, looking over Octavia. "I thought you would be in Canterlot by now!" She snapped, watching as the cellist blushed slightly.

"I was, and I made the Canterlot Grand Orchestra!" She said excitedly, before looking away. "Though I did get my message before I could really celebrate."

"Celebrate? Who's celebrating here?"

Both mares looked up, watching as Humble trotted casually into view. "So neither of you guys are her huh? That makes it interesting."

"Um, excuse me sir, but we were having a conversation." Octavia snapped.

"And I was overhearing it, thinking that there would be other ponies with this-" Humble raised a hoof to show the block with the symbol of the forest to the two mares, "on them." He paused. "You two wouldn't happen to be them would you?"

Octavia and Bellamina blinked looking into their bags before pulling their respective symbols out to show Humble. The unicorn nodded before plopping down on the concrete. "Right, so you guys must also be retainers." He said, giving a snort. "Welp, we'll see what you can do soon enough."

"And that's supposed to mean... What exactly?" Octavia asked, her eyes narrowing.

"Oh, don't take it the wrong way." Humble replied, holding his hooves up in defense. "I was just saying that we're all going to prove ourselves to the lord of this place." He smiled a little before popping some joints in his neck. "Though I would say that now that I'm here the fight's going to be easy."

"And who are you?" Bellamina asked.

"The name's Humble." Humble replied. "Humble Origins. But seeing as how we're working on the same side, you can call me Humble Alexander Pie. It was the name the Pie Clan's previous acting lady gave me before she passed." He stopped before smirking. "And you two are?"

"Bellamina Ann Pie." Bellamina replied.

"Octavia Marie Pie." Octavia said curtly.

"Well, cool. That's nice to know." Humble said casually. "Let's get along."

"If get along you mean by working together than sure!"

All three ponies turned, as a bright white pegasus stepped out from the shadows. Her incredibly goofy grin only matched by her incredibly curly blond mane and tail bouncing as she trotted over to where the others stood. "I'm Surprise, and I guess you're my partners too?" She asked, watching as the other ponies continued to look at her suspiciously. The pegasus stopped for a moment before drawing out her symbol, causing the other three to breathe a sigh of relief as she put the symbol back in her saddlebag.

"So you're the four retainers?"

All four ponies turned, blinking as what appeared to be a pink earth pony with a modestly curly mane and tail standing before them. Several other ponies in black stood at her sides, each holding banners that bore a mark of a trio of black stars on each side of her.

Immediately the four ponies bowed, but Pinkamena raised her hoof to stop them. "I'm only saying this once for your sake." She began, trotting towards the group before stopping about a foot away from them. "This is a fight that you cannot win. Not at your current state."

The other ponies cast a glance at each other but remained silent.

"The Gedoushuu are incredibly strong. If you leave now and return to your lives, there's no shame in it." Pinkamena continued. "This battle is only reserved for the strong of heart and will. But know this," She paused, looking into the eyes of the four ponies. "It is either kill or be killed. The Gedoushuu will not give you mercy, and you shall give them none. Either you defeat them, or they destroy the world."

Octavia and Bellamina cast a glance at each other as Surprised smirked.

"My lady," She began, bowing low, "We all trained for this moment. We've been given the chance to do something for the world that is bigger than each of us on our own. And that's a sacrifice that we're willing to make."

The others nodded, causing Pinkamena to withdraw the oblong devices that she received from her father. "Then take these, and prepare for battle." She said, tossing each pony one.

Before any of them could react, several of the ponies clad in black swarmed them, preparing them all for the battle that was coming. A banner bearing the same crest circled them, as their clothes were immediately changed for them all if they had any.
----

Rockford town hall was the sight of misery. In its current state, the town guard had barricaded the manor from all access as best as they could to protect themselves from attacks from the Nanashi Renchuu. Several soldiers had died in the poor defense of the city, in being completely unprepared from the attack, and many more innocent civilians were either gravely injured or dying in wake of the first attack.

Kagekamuro smirked. "Well now, we just need to break down that door and get the rest of those ponies outta there before we dry out." He stepped forward, wading through the crowd of Nanashi Renchuu before getting to the steps towards the front of the manor. "Well... If you want something done, you might as well do-

BONG!"

Kagekamuro stopped, the sound of a drum echoing through the air. The drum continued, echoing repeated, "BONG's", as several ponies dressed in black began to charge out in front of the Nanashi Renchuu. As they worked at setting up what appeared to the demon to be a stage Kagekamuro felt entranced, almost as though he were hypnotized by the scene. Two ponies hefted massive banners as several more carted in flags which revealed a crest which bore several stars on its face. Others carried a massive screen, which appeared to be set out for five sections, towards the front which also bore the same crest on each of the sections.

As the set was finished, and fully prepared the closest screen towards Kagekamuro was lifted, the drumming reaching its highest tempo before stopping, revealing several ponies wearing all white kimono's that one would see in Nippony. In the center of them was an impossibly pink earth pony mare with a curly mane restrained into the safety of a bun, her face as firm and as strong as steel.

"That's far enough. Gedoushuu." Pinkamena snapped, looking down on the demons before her.

"And who the fuck are you supposed to be?" Kagekamuro snapped, glaring at the five ponies that were standing in his way of total conquest for Doukouku.

"You shall soon see." Pinkamena retorted, before drawing from a smaller pouch a rectangular object that unfolded and revealed a brush tip hiding within. "MOBILE BRUSH!" She shouted. As if trained to act on command, the other ponies that were with her drew the same devices, resting them in the palm of their hooves. Then, in near perfect synch, they all shouted:

"WITH THESE STROKES, WE REPORT TO THE PRINCESS!"

"So you guys are finally here?" Kagekamuro scoffed, watching as the ponies all began to write in mid air, each of them all taking time to write the Neighponesian symbols for fire, water, heaven, wood, and land respectively. After almost a second of writing the ponies then gave their hooves a quick flick, before flipping the symbols around and concentrating as blinding flashes of light enveloped them.

What the demon did not see was that the symbols all took the form of their jumpsuits, which matched in color to their symbols: Red for Fire, Blue for Water, Pink for Heaven, Green for Wood, and Yellow for land. The jumpsuits had a similar look, looking more stream lined than the kimonos that they wore, only with the colored tops tucked into their pants save for the only stallion on their team, all being held together by a golden belt. In a flash of colored flames, each of their swords materialized to their sides, sliding onto the belts just as smaller versions of the symbols they had previously written appeared, covering them in matching helmets which bore those symbols in black.

As the light died away, Kagekamuro lowered his arm before letting out a low rumbling growl at the ponies assembled in front of him.

Pinkamena immediately opened her belt buckle, drawing a black disk from within and sliding onto the guard position from her sword before drawing it with a hoof. "Samurai Pony of Flames, Shinken-red! Pinkamena Diane Pie!" She declared, resting the sword on her shoulder and getting down on all fours.

Octavia followed suit, only after drawing her sword making it look like she was pulling a bow across a set of cello strings. "The same, but of water! Octavia Marie Pie!"

Bellamina followed her sisters, drawing the sword from its holster before bringing it closer to her heart. "The same, but of the heavens! Bellamina Ann Pie!"

From within his helmet Humble smirked, drawing his sword before thrusting it forward, before running his hoof along the dull side of his sword. "The same, but of wood! Humble Alexander Pie!"

Surprise said nothing, leaping into the air and doing a backflip before drawing her sword, before clutching her sword tightly in her hooves. "The same, but of land! Surprise Lydia Pie!"

As soon as all of their roll calls were finished, four of the five ponies got down and kneeled as Pinkamena twirled her own sword a bit before drawing her hoof along the dull-side of her blade. "We are the Samurai Sentai authorized by Faust's Providence!"

The four kneeling ponies rose from their kneeling positions, bringing their blades with them as they did so, before bringing them all down at the same time with Pinkamena and shouting,

"SHINKENGER!"

It was then that Pinkamena snapped her head back upwards to glare at the demon from within her helmet, before righting herself and striking a pose along with her companions.

"GOING FORTH!"

Kagekamuro said nothing, raising one of his two swords towards the now jumpsuit clad ponies, leaving the Nanashi Renchuu to charge at their small group. The ponies, undeterred by the demon's charge surged forward, readying themselves for the initial clash as they closed the gap.

Pinkamena was the first to meet the enemy, her sword dropping against the blade of one of the Nanashi Renchuu before picking up the slack and retaliating with an upward swing with her blade. Two more had filled in the gap, only to get cleaved in two by her sword as she charged further into the melee. Several of the Demons followed her in pursuit, wildly swing their swords at her and giving easy chances to guard and retaliate with a strike with her own, continuing to carve a path out towards Kagekamuro.

Octavia, who was trying to find her groove with the weapon she was using, had been driven off of the stairs that led to town hall and to a nearby square, where several of the Nanashi Renchuu had begun to gather. After taking several of them down with a few well-placed strikes, she turned and saw more advancing from her right. "No, you're not getting past me!" She shouted, charging forward and taking several more down with quick slashes from her blade. The demons looked down at her, swinging their swords in her direction only to strike the metal of her sword and having their attack pushed off of her. Before they could get another chance to strike, Octavia cleaved through them, turning her back on the demons before they fell and picked another target from the crowd, charging after it.

Calmly Bellamina was driven to another square, only the numbers against her were not as thickly one-sided as Octavia's was. She dispatched her foes quickly, bringing her sword up and down in a fluid-motion almost like a professional master. Wherever one of the Nanashi Renchuu would strike, she would effortlessly guard and turn the opposing blade away before retaliating with a slash of her own. "This isn't so bad. Thought it would be worse actually." She said, thinking aloud as several more demons charged in from behind her. Bellamina turned, cutting two more of the enemy down with her blade before charging into the crowd, continuing her dance-like fighting style.

Humble however wasn't having as easy a time as the others in getting ready for launching an attack. Quickly the Nanashi Renchuu overran him, forcing the unicorn on the defensive and having him to take opportunities as they came. "Come on... Come on, come on, come on!" He shouted, finally breaking the guard of several of the demons before taking them down with quick, successive thrusts of his sword. Quickly Humble rounded on several more that had surrounded him, forcibly removing the blades from the enemy's hands with the force of his strikes before dropping them too. By complete accident, the unicorn threw too much weight into his following strike, splitting a Nanashi Renchuu almost cleanly in half but throwing the blade several feet away from him into the head of another one nearby. "Shit!" He shouted, ducking and evading the resounding attacks from the other demons until he grabbed the sword and yanked on it with his teeth, driving the blade it out of the fallen monsters head and into another one of the demons nearby.

Where Humble was having problems, Surprise seemed to have a blast. The pegasus ducked and dodged every strike that came her way, countering with a leaping attack that was boosted by lift generated from her wings. Surprise turned, concentrating before leaping towards the other demons that surrounded her, carving a path through her enemies and leaving several of them defeated in her wake and countering a few more before dropping them with quick decisive strikes. "Hehe, if I didn't know any better, I'd say this is fun!" She cheered, leaping into another nearby group of demons with her sword held high.

While her companions were attacking the lesser Nanashi Renchuu, Pinkamena had made it to where Kagekamuro was standing, bringing her sword down in a single strike only to have it casually blocked by one of the demon's swords. Loosening her guard slightly, the red-clad samurai dropped her blade to intercept another attack from the Ayakashi, before retaliating with a powerful buck of her own, causing him to slide backwards on his heels.

"You know, you're making this harder on yourself." Kagekamuro sneered, hefting one of his swords high into the air as several Nanashi Renchuu appeared, all wielding longbows. "But that's the fun in all of this. To see you struggle in futility!" He roared, lowering his raised sword.

Pinkamena tensed up raising her guard as the demons loaded their bows and proceeded to fire at her, each shot taking dead aim. Reacting quickly, she swung her sword in a defensive arc, knocking several airborne arrows aside before ducking and dodging more that barreled towards her. She stopped, watching as the Nanashi Renchuu readied another volley and fired, only to be stopped as both Octavia and Bellamina moved to intercept and deflect their shots.

"Pinkie, we're here!" Bellamina shouted.

"Get behind us, we'll keep you safe!" Octavia added, just as Surprise and Humble charged towards where they stood.

"Don't worry about me, be more concerned about yourselves." Pinkamena snapped, opening her belt buckle to reveal a red sword guard on the inside. After changing the guards out, Pinkamena sniffed. "After all, you all have your own reasons to live and are here to protect them. What good will that do if you're worrying about me?" She snapped, holding the blade aloft before causing the guard to spin rapidly.

In a flash of bright red flame, the small katana immediately changed into a bright red gigantic paddle, bearing a sharpened edge along one side and a long groove along the other. The paddle looked to be big enough to cleave a horse in two, and caused the other Shinkengers to marvel at it as she wrapped a hoof casually around it and rested it on her shoulder.

"REKKA DAIZANTOU!"

"Oh wow..." Was all that could be heard from Surprise before Pinkamena charged, swinging the paddle and carving a swath of destruction through the Nanashi Renchuu as she charged straight towards the Ayakashi.

"Shouldn't be surprised you guys." Humble replied, opening his belt and revealing an all green disk from within. "We've got our own too. Remember?" He asked, watching the others nod in his direction.

"We have to prove to Pinkamena that we are just as worthy for this cause as she is." Octavia replied, holding a blue disk in her hoof.

"Well then, what are we waiting for?" Surprise asked, flashing a yellow disk in one of her hooves. "A special invitation?"

"Let's do this then." Bellamina replied, holding up a pink disk of her own before placing it onto the sword guard in a similar manner to how Pinkamena did hers.

"Wooden Spear!" Humble declared, drawing his sword back and watching as it lengthened out into a decently sized spear, bearing the symbol of wood at the end of it with the green disk attached. Immediately a small blade came out from the end of it, finishing the spear for the unicorn who then proceeded to charge into the melee, taking several out with long sweeping slashes from the blade end of the spear.

"Water Arrow!" Octavia shouted, her blade turning into a bow with a flash of light, which bore her symbol and her disk on the handle of said bow. Calmly she drew the weapon backwards, pulling an almost invisible string towards her before firing, watching as a small cone on the end in the center of her bow began to release a stream of aquatic arrows at her enemy.

"Heaven's Fan!" Bellamina said, leaping into the air as a giant gust of wind picked her up, guided by the gigantic fan which bore her symbol and disk that was now in her hooves. Quickly a tornado was generated as she began to wave the fan towards the enemy crowds, sucking up and throwing hundreds of Nanashi Renchuu into the air, before cleaving through them with the sharpened edge of her fan.

"Land Shuriken!" Surprise shouted, throwing her sword towards the enemy as it turned into a multiple bladed throwing star which bore her symbol on its surface. Several Nanashi Renchuu that didn't get away were cleaved in two, and as the shuriken returned to her, the pegasus flew into the air before dive-bombing the demons that were below, throwing and quickly catching the shuriken as it cleaved through more of the Nanashi Renchuu.

Meanwhile, Kagekamuro and Pinkamena traded blows with each other, the demon unable to get around the pony's defense with the gigantic paddle that she used as a sword and a shield. Quickly he threw several fireballs that emerged from his hands, only to have them blocked by the pony who used the massive weapon as a shield before swinging it over her head and smashing it into the demon, flinging him back into several carts that had been abandoned.

"Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!" Kagekamuro roared, grabbing and hefting a cart over his head. "Just die already!" The demon snapped, throwing the cart at the red-clad earth pony.

Pinkamena did not move away, and quickly brought her blade down to split the incoming cart in half, causing both halves to fall harmlessly away from her before charging Kagekamuro. The demon moved for both of his swords to block her initial attack, but all it proved to do was to drive him into a wall behind where the carts were. Pinkamena then reeled back with a follow up slash, only to watch as the demon rolled underneath just before the strike out of the way.

"Your good, Shinkenger. Real good." Kagekamuro replied, charging at the pony and bringing down his blades on her neck, watching as she evaded the strike and retaliated by slamming the paddle into his chest and throwing him into a nearby pillar. "But you will never be as good as I am. NEVER!" He roared, only to stop as the pony had charged as he was flying towards him and had impaled him with the massive sword that she had used.

"I know I won't be as good as you are." Pinkamena retorted, holding her blade within the belly of the Ayakashi as bolts of excess energy erupted from his body. "I won't be as good as you are because now your dust." She finished, withdrawing the blade from his body before bringing it around and splitting him and the pillar in two. Kagekamuro grunted and groaned in pain, excess energy arcing outward from his body as he fell to his knees, the pair of swords that he carried dropping to the ground before he looked to the heavens and let out a fierce demonic sounding wail. Pinkamena turned her back on her enemy, her paddle turning back into a katana as she sheathed it before calmly trotting away as Kagekamuro exploded in a great ball of flame.

The sound of the explosion drew the other Shinkengers near as Pinkamena walked to a nearby light pole to catch her breath. "The Nanashi Renchuu?" She asked.

"Gone." Octavia replied, bowing low. "As soon as we reduced their numbers to about half, they retreated back through the gaps."

"What about the Ayakashi?" Surprise asked.

"He's not dead yet." Pinkamena replied, turning as the flames from the explosion began to coalesce and solidify.

"Whaddya mean he isn't dead yet?" Humble asked.

"Ayakashi have two lives, only using the second when their first expires." Pinkamena replied, watching as the flames reformed Kagekamuro and made him grow.

"DAMN YOU SHINKENGERS! I'M GOING TO CRUSH YOU LIKE THE BUGS YOU ARE!" Kagekamuro roared, his gigantic form echoing across the city.

Immediately Pinkamena pulled out her symbol, and her Mobile Brush before cracking her neck. "Get your Origami ready." She commanded, not looking over her shoulder as the other ponies looked up at Kagekamuro nervously.

"You mean these things?" Surprise asked, holding up her own symbol in a hoof.

"Yeah, these are the Origami. The weapons that the Shinkengers used to fight the Ayakashi's second life and-

Are you going to stand there babbling all day and get crushed or are you going to get ready?" Pinkamena snapped, rounding on the group of ponies and cutting Octavia off harshly. The other ponies nodded before drawing their own Origami and Mobile Brushes as well.

Quickly, and almost in synch with one another, all five ponies set their respective origami down in front of them, ignoring the sounds of Kagekamuro advancing on them before beginning to write the symbol for, "Big," over top their origami. Following Pinkamena's lead all five Shinkengers then shouted:

"ORIGAMI DAIHENKEI!"

Kagekamuro stopped, watching as the emblems all unfolded, each taking the vague shape of an animal: A bright red lion unfolded out from the pentagon emblem that sat in front of Pinkamena, followed by a blue dragon from Octavia, a white turtle from Bellamina, a green bear from Humble, and a yellow monkey from Surprise all unfolded away from the city and grew to a respectable size to match the demon.

As the Origami unfolded, each of the ponies found themselves transported inside an all golden cockpit complete with a back screen and a place to sheathe their swords, acting as joysticks. As each samurai placed their swords within the central console, the lion that Pinkamena was in led the charge, leaping over the city wall of Rockford and onto Kagekamuro, swinging both of its front claws at the demon before leaping off and rearing up for another strike.

"Don't give him a chance to cause damage to the city!" Pinkamena ordered, placing her right front hoof over the hilt of her sword and nudging it forward, causing the lion to charge at the demon.

"You think your toy's can stop me? Heh! I'll show you!" Kagekamuro challenged, throwing several fireballs at the charging origami, destroying several buildings as it moved from street to street to avoid incoming fire.

"Pinkamena, I've got you covered!" Octavia declared, pushing the hilt on her sword as the dragon she was piloting let out a roar. Kagekamuro looked up, and recoiled as a stream of blue fire erupted from the mech's mouth, knocking the demon over and causing several explosions to erupt from the body.

"She's not the only one!" Bellamina cried, following her fellow samurai as the turtle she was piloting began to spin rapidly before generating a Cyclone.

"You think that this is going to stop me?" Kagekamuro roared, recoiling slightly as the cyclone flung debris into his face and blinded him. "TAKE THIS!" He roared, throwing another wave of fireballs directly at the turtle and scoring several hits.

"Ah! I've been hit!" Bellamina shouted, nearly losing her balance on the control stick.

"Hang in their Bellamina! I've gotcha!"

Kagekamuro watched as the turtle origami was immediately caught by the bear origami and gently set down. He scoffed, but stepped back as the bear continued his charge at him.

"Eat this You Bastard!" Humble roared, pushing his sword forward. The bear charged, leaping onto its back legs before swinging his front claws out almost like a real bear's would and causing major wounds to Kagekamuro. The demon continued to recoil, and tried to kick the bear with one of his feet before recoiling in pain as the eyes on his skirt popped out at the same time.

"DAMMIT, YOU LITTLE-"

He was cut off as he met the fist of Surprise's mech, knocking him back down to the ground. The demon staggered and struggled to his feet, only to get knocked in the face again, leaving him wide open for Pinkamena's mech.

"It's all yours Pinkamena!" Surprise shouted, using her mech to move out of the way from the demon as Pinkamena's mech charged.

"The finisher!" Pinkamena declared, drawing her sword from the console as her mech continued to gather speed. Kagekamuro staggered, his exhaustion overtaking his body as the lion mech continued to charge, it's flames growing until it turned into a massive controlled fireball that was heading straight for him. "GOKAKU DAIKAIEN!" She roared, thrusting the blade forward, urging the lion forward, causing it to fold back into its emblem form minus the legs sticking out on either side. Kagekamuro staggered, holding his hands up in a futile defense of the attack, only to get run through by the pentagon which was already changed back into a lion and cooling down before he realized that he had been run through. The Ayakashi let out a dull groan before falling to the ground, exploding in a spectacular ball of flame and light behind her.

"And with that, this chapter comes to a close." Pinkamena said calmly, sheathing her sword and taking a relaxing breath.
----

Sometime later Igneous Rock had found the five of them, a big grin on his older face. "Pinkamena-sama!" He shouted, causing the five of them to look up at the elderly stallion.

Pinkamena turned, watching as her father raced over to her with several Kuroko following in his wake. "Daddy Pie... You know-

Well Done Pinkamena-sama!" Igneous Rock replied, watching as several Kuroko began to present themselves, bearing trays that were covered in tea and towels for each of the other Shinkengers as well as Pinkamena. "Your grandmother would be as proud of you as I am. Come, come, we need to get home. After all, you must rest-

I know Daddy Pie." Pinkamena said calmly turning and trotting away, several Kuroko following her closely behind.

Igneous Rock turned towards the other Shinkengers, a cross between a frown and a scowl on his face. "You all did well to serve our lady, continue to do so. Follow me." He said, turning and leaving as the other Kuroko began to follow him.

"You think this is gonna be something to look forward to?" Humble asked.

Bellamina shrugged. "I don't know, but we have a job to do. And we've got to do it right."

"Let's just hurry, Pinkamena wouldn't want to be kept waiting." Octavia added.

"Plus the story needs to close out for this chapter!" Surprise replied, getting weird looks from her companions. "Fourth wall joke. Just something I do, don't worry about it." She replied, watching as they scratched their heads in confusion.

"Well are you four coming or what?" Igneous Rock snapped from over the top of a nearby bridge. Three of the Shinkengers shrugged as Surprise took off towards where Igneous Rock was standing, leaving nothing behind them but a peaceful look over the water.

"I hadn't realized what kind of dangers that I had placed upon my lady or her companions. If I had known that day... If I had known before then I would have made it my duty to better prepare them all. However hindsight is twenty-twenty, and you can't be prepared for everything. In time I came to understand the nature of the new threat of the Gedoushuu as much as our predecessors had, and was grateful that Pinkamena-sama had made great strides in her samurai training. Only time would have told that her companions were given the same amount of training as she had."
----

A Kuroko had presented itself as Igneous had paused, presenting a small glass of water that was balanced on a tray on his back. Calmly the old stallion took a sip from the glass before sending the pony away before turning. Compared to the samurai that sat on Pinkie Pie's left, her new friends sat to her right with a mix of confusion, wonder, and excitement. All of them were slack-jawed, and he could have sworn that the white unicorn -he wasn't keen on learning her daughter's friends names- looked about ready to faint.

"You all seem to be shocked." Pinkie Pie said, looking towards her friends.

"Shocked?" Twilight began. "Shocked? SHOCKED? That doesn't even begin to describe it!" Part of the alicorn wanted to leap up and give Igneous Pie a solid thrashing. Another part of her wanted to see the Mobile Brushes and the symbols that they apparently had, if only to satiate her scholastic hunger. But more importantly, she wanted to know more.

"Pinkie... Is this true?" Fluttershy was the first to ask, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Of course Fluttershy, why else it wouldn't be?" Pinkie Pie replied.

"Well then how about you prove it." Twilight said finally getting to her hooves, watching Pinkie closely. "I want to see one of your brushes. I want to see you transform. I. Want. Evidence." She hissed, her feral knowledge-seeking instincts taking over.

"Of course." Pinkie Pie replied, getting up and pulling out her Mobile Brush. "Anything for a friend."

"Pinkamena-sama, I would advise against it." Igneous Pie replied, causing Pinkie Pie to turn towards him.

"And why is that?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Your Caligromancy has not fully recovered yet. We need time for you to recharge." Igneous Pie said before turning towards Twilight. "I apologize your highness, but everything will be explained in due time. For now, I ask your patience."

"Patience? Patience? But this is-

Twilight please, we don't want to insult Pinkie or her family now, do we?" Rarity asked in an attempt to reign in the alicorn.

"As much as I'd hate ta' say it Twi, Rarity's right." Applejack replied, causing her to look back at the farmer. "This seems to be serious, and we have to hear what they have ta say. Ah'd be interested in some of that fancy magic brouhaha mahself, but it's best ta' wait until their story was finished."

Twilight nodded her friend's arguments solid. "Fine. I'll wait, but I want to see some of this stuff first hooved okay?" She asked, getting a nod from Igneous Pie.

"Of course Princess, it will all make sense sooner or later." He replied before clearing his throat. "Though the battle with the Ayakashi was fierce, it was one of Doukouku's weakest lieutenants that was the first to fall. But before the samurai were ready to face another Ayakashi, they had to get over their own weaknesses of each other..."

-End Act 1-

The Second Act: The Five are united as One, Enter Shinken-Oh

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The Second Act: The Five are united as One, Enter Shinken-oh

As with anything that has been started fresh and new, there are always a few problems that have to be worked out from beginning to end. As the previous battle with the Ayakashi had drifted into memory, there were several problems that were beginning to develop between Pinkamena-sama's retainers. Most could have been dealt with easily, but there were some that had to be called to my attention immediately.

"Oh wow!"

As Igneous Rock and Pinkamena led the other Shinkengers back to their home Surprise had stopped and took to the air, surveying the site around them. Her face was filled with glee and brightened significantly amongst the scene before them.

"Well now... This is interesting." Octavia commented. "It's good to be home, and good to see that nothing much has changed since I left father."

"Looks like the rocks are growing nice this year." Bellamina added, looking curiously over another boulder before turning towards the old stallion. "Did you happen to get the Kuroko to help you with it?"

Igneous just simply shook his head. "No, I didn't." He replied. "The Kuroko wouldn't know geodes from limestones or quartz from diamonds here. It takes a Pie to grow good rocks around here."

"You... Grow... Rocks?" Humble asked, looking at Igneous from over the top of his sunglasses. "Seriously?"

"Well duh." Bellamina replied, turning towards the unicorn. "The Pie clan is one of the richer families in Equestria. Where do you think all of the gold for Princess Celestia's castle in Canterlot came from?"

Humble shook his head. "But... You can't actually grow... This doesn't make sense!"

"It'll help if you don't think about it." Octavia replied, shuffling her cello case over her shoulder.

"If you all are finished."

Everypony looked up, seeing Pinkamena standing in the doorway with a small frown on her face. Igneous Rock was standing near her, as were several Kuroko, also with a frown on his face which caused the ponies to share a bewildered glance before turning back towards them.

"There is still the matter of getting you all situated before we start your training." Pinkamena replied before turning her back on them. "Meet me in the courtyard in a few minutes, after which we'll see what you all are capable of." She said, before disappearing into the house.

The four ponies followed after, wiping their hooves on the mat outside the front door before entering the small home. It was cramped, but something that they could all manage, barely holding enough room for the four Shinkengers in the living room as they looked about the place. Several older looking chairs stood comfortably in front of an old fireplace as several pictures which bore Pinkamena and her sisters along with the rest of the family rested on the mantle. They all stopped to look for a moment before Octavia and Bellamina went deeper into the house.

Humble and Surprise shared a look, stopping only as Octavia turned back towards them. "Well? You coming?" She asked. Both the unicorn and the pegasus said nothing, following the cellist deeper inside.

Quickly and quietly they followed both Octavia and Bellamina through the small farmhouse's dining room and kitchen and out through another door which led into a modest-looking courtyard. A training mat was placed in the center, right alongside a pool of koi fish that peacefully swam nearby. A huge garden took up the left side of the courtyard from where they were all standing, and on the opposing side inside a hallway that led deeper in the mansion stood Pinkamena near a rack of wooden swords.

"It took you long enough." Igneous Rock said, coming out from behind the sword rack and giving each of the ponies a stern look. "What were you doing? Lollygagging?" He asked, holding out his hoof to silence him. "Don't answer that. But now, allow me to introduce you to your new-

Daddy Pie, enough." Pinkamena commanded, calmly trotting down onto the training mat in the middle of the courtyard. "This is the new home for the Pie Clan, after the first one was burned down during the attack made by Chimatsuri Doukoku and the Gedoushuu twelve years ago," Her eyes narrowed, gazing at each of the ponies in front of her, "We will all train here. Though the majority of our time will be spent in battle together, this is the place where you will prove whether you have earned the right to be truly called a Shinkenger. If you cannot keep up with that, you don't deserve to be here."

Nopony said anything, doing nothing in an attempt to attract the pink mare's wrath. Casually Pinkamena turned and gave a curt nod to her father, who motioned towards several Kuroko nearby who then moved the rack of practice swords nearby. "We'll start with your swordplay." Pinkamena said quietly. "If you aren't good with your sword or I deem that you need more practice, then we will keep going until you do. Is that clear?" She asked, before turning towards the sword rack.

"Yes my lady." They all replied, kneeling slightly before her.

"Psst... Hey, Surprise."

The white pegasus cast a glance over to her side, seeing the unicorn look over in her direction. "Can't talk now. Getting ready to train." Surprise whispered back.

"Come on, loosen up a little." Humble whispered, a smirk on his face. "It's not like we're in boot camp or some-

THWACK!"

Everypony looked up, seeing a long bamboo pole that was clutched in Igneous Rock's hooves. Humble cringed slightly seeing the end of the pole appear dangerously close to his face, before meeting the gaze of the old stallion.

"You would disrespect your lady in this manner?" Igneous Rock asked coolly, glaring at Humble. "We haven't even gotten-

Enough." Pinkamena rounded on Humble, a wooden sword in her hooves. "Seeing as how you're the first to say anything, you're the first up." She replied, tossing the unicorn the wooden blade.

The unicorn took the wooden sword in his hooves and smirked, wiping his hooves off on the stone that he stood on before walking onto the mat. Pinkamena said nothing, her face affixing into a solid glare as the unicorn used his magic to move the origami from his neck and back to where he stood. "You sure about this?" Humble asked, sliding the hoof that held his sword against his shoulder off to one side as he assumed a ready stance.

"If you are confident enough to speak out while I am giving instruction, I would assume that you are confident enough to handle yourself in a sparring session against me." Pinkamena replied, the sword that she was using rested underneath her hoof, gleaming almost like a metal blade.

"Right then."

The air suddenly got thicker for the ponies that were not involved. Pinkamena grasped the end of her sword with her hooves, using the tips of said hooves to maintain balance. Humble remained in his stance, his sword resting on his shoulder in a casual, almost relaxed manner.

"Oooh..." Surprise whispered, pulling a bag of popcorn from out of nowhere and taking a seat where she stood. Octavia and Bellamina each cast her a curious glance but said nothing, turning their attention to Humble and Pinkamena.

"So... she's using Griffin Kendo." Octavia said quietly.

"It doesn't seem to suit her though. Maybe it's a handicap?" Bellamina asked.

"What's that?" Surprise asked, through a bite of her popcorn.

"It's a technique that was created by the Griffins that hung around Ancient Nippony, a few hundred years before their Warring States period." Octavia replied. "It simply means way of the sword, and the way that the Griffons used their swords, several Neighponesian swordstallions and swordsmares tried their hooves in the technique, though our version is a heavily bastardized version of what a griffon would be capable of."

"Well... Why's that?" Surprise asked, her interest piqued.

"Because of two things," Bellamina replied, continuing for Octavia, "First and foremost, they have claws and we don't. Sure, we can use our hooves to grip things, but those said things have to be made larger for our hooves and legs to wrap around. The Griffons had better control over their weapons because of the claws that they were given."

Surprise nodded. "And the second Reason?"

"They had been training at it for at least several hundred years longer than the Neighponesian ponies had been." Octavia replied, her eyes narrowing. " The Griffons had been around and well organized long before the Ponies of the Three Kingdoms had united under Harmony's fires. Nippony was almost no exception, and was only united at times when the entire smaller nation was in jeopardy. One of those times was when a rogue group of Griffons had attacked the nation's capitol, and had roused the entire strength of the nation to force them out. The griffons that did not participate instructed the ponies on the way of their sword, as reparations, and had brought peace between the two nations up to the present day." She took a deep breath. "They're about to start. Just watch."

Neither pony could honestly say for sure what they were going to see next, only that the two ponies hadn't made a move since they finished speaking. A breeze that didn't exist before kicked up a little, which caused Humble's cloak to flutter slightly in its hold.

A small drop of water had fallen into the nearby Koi pond from the roof, scattering the fish with a gentle splash.

Before anypony could blink, Pinkamena and Humble were on top of each other. Their swords were clashed, and the force of the impact of the first blow generated a small ring of dust to circle both ponies in the air.

Pinkamena was the first to break the guard, shoving Humble backwards before hefting her sword into the air in an attempt to bring it down on the unicorn's head. She stopped in mid-swing, hastily throwing up a guard as the unicorn retaliated with a horizontal slice towards her exposed middle.

Humble smirked before throwing all of his weight into breaking her guard, knocking Pinkamena off balance in an attempt to end it quickly, bringing his sword around for a downward strike. The unicorn's attacked was blocked by one of Pinkamena's hooves even as she lay with her back on the mat which caused him to take a half-step backwards.

The pink mare rolled over righting herself and spun, using the momentum of the spin to add force to her next strike. Humble ducked, aiming another strike at her throat only to have Pinkamena's sword guard and block the incoming attack. Before the unicorn could react, the sword was wrenched from his hooves and sent sailing into the garden, impaling the ground blade first.

As Humble looked from his fallen weapon to where Pinkamena's was, he saw that it was at his throat. "You have some skill." Pinkamena said calmly, keeping the wooden blade where it was. "However, some skill does not win you battles."

"Wow..." Surprise uttered, "That was totally amazing."

"Heh, you're good. I'll give you that much." Humble replied. "But if you think I'm going to go down that easily, you've got another thing coming."

Pinkamena said nothing, lowering her blade and turning towards the other three ponies. "I said you had some skill. I never said that it was good." She turned back towards Humble and continued glaring at him. "I could have killed you before you picked up the sword, and you would have never even expected it. You think this is a game? Ponies could die from this conflict, your teammates could die from this conflict, you could die from this conflict. Until you understand the consequences from fighting in such a reckless manner, you cannot be my equal."

Silence fell on the grounds as Octavia, Surprise, and Bellamina shared a nervous glance. Humble growled but said nothing, stamping his back hoof before turning away.

"Well... You..." Humble growled, casting a glance at Pinkamena before stamping off of the training mat in a huff.

"Pinkie's never acted that way before..." Bellamina thought, watching out of the corner of her eye as several of the Kuroko had replaced the damage that was done to the sword landing in the garden.

"Well then, let's see what the rest of you can do." Pinkamena snapped, turning on her hoof and wiping her face with towel that was placed in her hoof. She immediately turned back to face the other three ponies, a glare of determination on her face as she rested a new wooden sword on her shoulder. "And don't be like him, come at me with everything that you have."

Without another word, the remaining Shinkengers each took their turn against Pinkamena. Octavia was the first to spar, taking her time and planning her strikes according to Pinkamena's ever changing offense. This resulted in her falling on her face several times when the pink mare switched her stance to a better version of Humble's own, before making it impossible to land a strike against her. Bellamina followed Octavia shortly after, but was unable to get a proper rhythm going to keep up with her sister before shortly falling in defeat. The only pony to get close to scoring a hit on Pinkamena was Surprise, who took to the air after a few moments of clashing with the earth pony mare before dropping down like a rock on top of her. The resulting impact shattered both swords, but it didn't stop her downward momentum from having her slam onto the mat harder than any of them.

Igneous looked from Pinkamena, who was presently sitting down on a mat in the nearby hallway, towards the potential Shinkengers, who were laying in a disorganized pile nearby the entrance to the farmhouse. "Oh Faust... We have a lot of work to do before they're ready to face the Gedoushuu for real." He thought nervously, stepping out towards the resting samurai. "You were all too sloppy in your attacks towards Lady Pie," He snapped, glaring at each pony in turn. "If she were a member of the Gedoushuu then you would be-

Daddy Pie."

Igneous Rock turned, watching Pinkamena calmly wave away a towel that was hovering in the black aura of a unicorn Kuroko's magic. "Y-Yes my Lady?" He asked.

"While it is true that they were being too sloppy, they each have their own ways of fighting to bring to the table." Pinkamena began, picking up a small teacup with her hooves and taking a sip, "That's not what I was concerned about. I was concerned about how they would handle themselves against a stronger opponent," Her eyes narrowed, "However, there are major improvements that are to be had. Major improvements indeed."

The Shinkengers looked up, only to see Pinkamena set her glass of tea down before standing back up a second time. "Now let's see how you are with Caligromancy."

----

"That sounds a bit rough don'tcha think?"

Everypony that could hear the story go on looked up to see Applejack turn towards Pinkie Pie and Igneous Rock. "Ah mean, Ah understand tha' hard work an' its somethin' that Ah can git by. No doubt about that but... They jest' came from a battle, why'd you go ahead and start with that now?"

"We did what was necessary for us to defeat the Gedoushuu Applejack." Igneous Rock replied. "The war had officially started, and we were still dealing with plenty of unknowns. Like how much training the Samurai had received from their predecessors in both the sword and Caligromancy before they had moved on. Also, we hadn't known how much the enemy knew about our strengths and weaknesses. We were caught off guard, but we weren't allowed to let the world pay for our mistakes."

"It does sound like you guys had it rough." Applejack replied, giving a polite nod to the ponies across from her.

"It wasn't that bad," Surprise began, smiling a little. "It's always the first day that's the worst. That's what they usually say anyways."

"Okay, so you all are good with swords," Rarity began, before clearing her throat, "I wish to know, what is this Caligromancy that you've kept on saying? We've been told about it, but nothing's really happened with it."

The room immediately fell silent. The Shinkengers turned their attention towards Pinkie and Igneous Rock, the former of which gave a brief nod towards the four ponies sitting on their respective mats. Quickly several Kuroko appeared, bearing small tables which bore the Shinkengers Mobile Brushes. As the cloaked ponies stepped away, each of them took their brushes in hoof and held them out for the others to see.

"Caligromancy is one of the many forms of Magic that is available to Earth Ponies," Igneous Rock began calmly. "It's simple in its form, using the elemental forces of nature to manipulate the world around us just like a unicorn could. However, unlike unicorns which use their horns as a channel for their magic, we Earth Ponies use words for objects we wish to manipulate like so-"

Igneous Rock then nodded to each of the Shinkengers, who then began to draw in the middle of the air. Twilight and her friends sat transfixed as the words for Dirt, Sprout, Breeze, and Drizzle appeared before the ponies before being concentrated at a singular point before the Princess of Magic. Before their very eyes a small lump of dirt dropped from the symbol that came from Surprise's brush before it was followed by a tiny tree, whose roots were covered by the dirt carried in a small breeze, which was then doused in a small Drizzle of rain.

"The result is whatever we can think of to write down can be made possible." Humble Pie continued, smirking at Twilight's dumbstruck look. "But that doesn't mean that it's easy."

Octavia nodded. "Earth Ponies have to train for most of their natural fillyhood's to gain mastery and control over the ability itself. Plus, it's a type of magic that's generally reserved to Earth Ponies."

"But Humble and Surprise aren't Earth Ponies." Rainbow Dash said finally, looking up from the demonstration. "If Caligromancy is a type of Earth Pony Magic, why can you use it?"

Surprise smirked a little. "Well now, that is an interesting point." The pegasus smiled, setting her Mobile Brush down back on the plate where it came from. "You see, unlike Humble here, I had to work really hard to get even the simplest of Symbols to work for me when I started Caligromancy. Pegasi are the most removed from the earth as they can fly. However, the ponies that were in my mother's line were all Earth Ponies, and their influence made it so that I could use Caligromancy."

"Tch," Humble sniffed, "You make me seem like a bad pony Surprise." He said, taking his Mobile Brush and setting it down. "I didn't have the training that the rest of the guys had. However, it didn't slow me down from actually getting my act together. I had to improvise if I was going to actually be useful to the cause."

"Improvise?" Twilight asked. "What do you mean?"

"Allow me to explain your highness." Igneous Rock replied, before clearing his throat a second time. "This next part should make sense after what we have explained here. I would not have felt it best to continue had you not known what we had been talking about further." Igneous looked up to Pinkie, who nodded in his direction before continuing again. "Now we said that there was to be an immediate start into their Caligromancy exam, just to see how they had prepared for the battle but there were even more problems to work out in the team itself...

----

"To be useful to your Lady is to not only be skilled in the use of the sword, but in the arts of Caligromancy. If you cannot accomplish this, then you cannot be effective as a Shinkenger."

Igneous Rock paced in front of a set of easels, behind which stood the four Shinkengers, their Mobile Brushes in their hooves. Calmly Pinkamena sat nearby, observing the four as they continued to provide their skill with Caligromancy for her.

With a final stroke Octavia was the first to finish her word, "Torrent," which began to glow with a bright blue light. Cringing the Earth pony shielded her face from a blast of water which knocked her off of her hooves into a wall behind her, which earned a snicker from Humble. The cellist staggered to her hooves, gratefully taking a towel from one of the nearby Kuroko before trotting back to her place and toweling herself off.

Bellamina was the next to finish, gently placing her last stroke onto the page before smirking. In a flash of pink light her word, "Wind," lit up before the wind in the area picked up and blew the bangs from her mane out of her face. She smiled, lowering her Mobile Brush before turning towards Igneous who gave a pleased nod in her direction.

Surprise seemed to be struggling with her word at first. "Stone," appeared to remain dull for a few moments, forcing the pegasus to look down in defeat, only to begin glowing as she looked away. When Surprise looked up, a modestly sized rock took the place of the word on the page before dropping into her hooves. "Yes!" She shouted, leaping into the air with glee as Igneous passed behind her.

"It would seem that most of them have the general understanding of Caligromancy Pinkamena-sama." Igneous replied, trotting over to where the pink mare sat and smiling.

"I'm not so sure about that." Pinkamena replied, nodding towards where Humble Pie stood, appearing to get frustrated with his word, "Growth." "He's trying his hardest, but it doesn't seem to be getting anywhere." Pinkamena added, calmly taking her teacup with her hoof and taking another sip.

Igneous Pie nodded, before narrowing his eyes. Unlike the others that had written their symbols by hoof, Humble Pie had his Mobile Brush written with his Magic and was trying to write another one on a different page. The old stallion trotted over to Humble and blinked, watching as the unicorn rewrote the word stroke for stroke but received nothing in response.

"What am I doing wrong?" Humble uttered, his telekinesis dropping the brush into his hoof as he stared at the word on the page. "I wrote it down as exactly as I could but-

Your magic was interfering with the transference of the Caligromancy."

The unicorn turned and nearly jumped as Igneous Rock stood by him. "W-W-Where did you come from?" Humble asked, blinking slightly.

"I said, your unicorn magic was interfering with the Caligromancy's energies." Igneous Rock repeated. "You need to stop using your telekinesis for this part otherwise you won't be able to be a use for our Lady Pinkamena."

"Whaddya mean I have to stop using Telekinesis? That would be like asking Surprise to stop flying every chance she got!" Humble snapped. "Besides, it's worked for me before. I just need to..." He stopped, wrapping the Mobile Brush in a dark green aura again and turning another page before rewriting the word another time. As soon as he finished and placed the brush back into his hoof, the word began to glow a bright green before fizzling out and reverting back to black.

"It's as I was telling you, you need to stop using your magic and let the Caligromancy work for you." Igneous Rock replied, stepping back as the unicorn rounded on him.

"And really, how do I-

You just do it."

Everypony stopped as Pinkamena stood up from her pad and calmly trotted over. Her gaze was firm, but it wasn't as fierce as it could have been. The mare trotted over to where Humble and Igneous Rock stood before looking over Humble's work. "You know the stroke order, and you have appropriate force when you write your strokes. However, your basic unicorn magic is interfering with the transference of the symbol to the page." She turned towards the unicorn. "Do it again."

"What?" Humble asked.

"I said, Do it again." Pinkamena replied. "And do it without your telekinesis this time." She ordered, using a hoof to turn to a blank page. She heard the unicorn growl slightly before moving back in front of the blank page, and smirked as he began to draw the symbol. After a few moments the completed symbol glowed a bright green before bathing a nearby flower in the same light which caused it to rapidly grow into a bush. "You haven't had a lot of Caligromancy training have you?" Pinkamena asked, watching Humble round on her.

"Of course I have!" Humble snapped. "I just had to improvise when I couldn't do it with my hooves anymore."

"And that improvisation has led you to slack off." Pinkamena countered, glaring at Humble. "You may be good with the sword, but your skills with Caligromancy leave much to be desired. You are a liability, and could cost somepony their life one day if you don't concentrate and practice."

"What was that?" Humble snapped. "I'll have you know that I worked my hooves off to the bone just to get to where I've gotten in life. You know it's not easy-

Well then you need to work harder." Pinkamena countered, turning her back on the unicorn. "If you can't do simple symbols, you can't count yourself as a proper samurai. And I don't accept anything less than the best from you."

"But that's what I've been doing damn it!" Humble snapped. "You act all high and mighty like Princess Celestia on her throne, when you're doing the same Faust-damned thing like the rest of us!"

"Humble!" Bellamina snapped, glaring at the unicorn. "You would disrespect Pinkie like that?"

"Oh?" Humble replied, rounding on Bellamina. "I'm disrespecting her? What about you, not using her full name?" He asked through a growl. "If you get to call her what you want without penalty, then so should I."

"Hmph, only cowards act as belligerent as you are." Pinkamena replied, walking back towards the hallway that led deeper into the manor. "You may not see me as the Head of house here, and I'm not going to force you to give me the same respect as the others do However," She stopped, turning towards the unicorn, "You will give this household the respect it deserves. If you can't do that then you're fired."

"Hey, what the hell! You can't-

I can make that decision and I will if I must." Pinkamena snapped, her face contorting into a glare. "There will be no weak samurai in this house. And that's final." She finished, turning on a hoof and marching back inside, leaving the other Shinkengers and Igneous to their devices.

----

"So... Kagekamuro has fallen then." Doukoku snarled, staring out at the Sanzu River from his vessel.

"It would appear so Doukoku." Shitari replied, nodding in response. "He was a fool, trying to make a name for himself so early on."

The leader of the Gedoushuu said nothing, continuing to gaze out into the river as the sounds of Dayu's Shamisen continued to float in the air. "It would seem that we need a better understanding of how we're going to flood that pathetic world beyond ours." Doukoku commented, turning on his heel as both demonic ponies remained still. He could see that Shitari was busily flipping through several books nearby, his horn enveloped in a black aura as several of the books that he was looking through were colored in the same way.

"Doukoku-san, I have an idea that may work. I have noticed something during my time waiting for your arrival that you might find interesting." Shitari said finally, looking up from one of his books and setting it down on a crude bench nearby. Doukoku stepped forward, looking over the squid-pony's shoulder and said nothing for a few moments.

"Well?" Doukoku snapped, glaring down at the squid who turned back towards him.

"Well it says here that when the Mortal world encounters some form of suffering through Misfortunes, the rivers of the Sanzu will raise." Shitari replied, presenting the book before the demon, which he took.

"I see what you're saying... Hmm...." Doukoku thought, looking over the page in question.

"That sounds simple enough." Dayu replied, stopping her song before fluttering over to the Doukoku. "Hey Doukoku, let's try something like that."

Doukoku nodded, before letting the book go, turning towards the only entrance on board his ship. "HEY, OOTSUMUJI! Get your ass up here!" He roared, taking several steps towards the back of his ship and glaring. Both Dayu and Shitari watched as the splashing of waves could be seen from where they stood, as several blades rose from the water like a group of sharks. The blades rapidly began to move in a circle generating a whirlpool which drew the ship closer. After a few moments a figure leapt from the whirlpool, landing on the open portion of the deck of the ship and stepping forward.

"General Doukoku, you rang?" The figure asked, stepping into the light. Ootsumuji was small for a demon, about as big as a Nanashi Renchuu, and was covered in grey armor. A long sash ran up from the demon's breastplate to the top of its head, which bore several blades that looked like fins on a fish. The face of the demon took the guise of a sort of snarling beast, as several wisps of blood red hair made it look like it had clouds flowing through an unseen wind. The rest of the armor had curved blades built into the armguards and boots that it wore which all ended in vicious looking claws. Casually rested on one of its shoulders was a vicious looking scythe-like sword with serrated fangs running down one edge of the blade.

"We need you to cause some havoc for those Equestrian Worms in the Mortal World." Doukoku replied. "It should possibly raise the water level of the Sanzu River."

"Cause trouble in the Mortal World?" Ootsumuji asked. "Heh, of course I'll go!" He said, turning to go.

"Wait a second. Before you head out, send some of these-" Doukoku paused, throwing Ootsumuji a bag filled with several small spheres which radiated a dark red light. The spheres appeared to have something growing in them, but what was in there wasn't clear to the demon. "They'll be useful to our cause, plan out our strikes better." Doukoku added before taking a seat near where Dayu played her shamisen before turning towards Ootsumuji. "Just toss them into some water nearby and call out if you get into trouble. Those'll know what to do."

"You honor me Doukoku." Ootsumuji replied before turning to go. "Now, I'm off." He added, turning to leave before leaping into the water of the river.

"Weren't those gems for summoning the Oonanashi Renchuu?" Shitari asked nervously.

"Yeah? What of it?"

"You don't think that he'll need it do you?" Shitari asked.

"Don't really know." Doukoku replied. "But it's better to have back up in case something goes wrong. Hmph, though there shouldn't be anything going wrong now..."

Shitari said nothing, turning away from Doukoku before looking through his staff. "Hopefully nothing goes wrong..."

----

-Several Hours Later-

As the day wound down into night, each of the samurai were shown to their quarters. Each room was spartan, only having a small bed lying against the wall furthest from the entrance to their rooms underneath a window along with a small dresser and the things that they brought with them.

"This is... Nice..." Octavia commented, calmly stepping into her room. She could see that her cello was resting in its case after opening it, before quickly closing it back up and leaning the instrument against the wall. "It sure beats some of the hotels that Vinyl and I stayed in over the past month."

Bellamina smirked as she trotted towards the dresser in her room. On it bore a budding rose ready to bloom and a picture with her standing behind a group of rambunctious foals, all with big smiles on their faces. "Surely... I'll come back to you guys." She thought, using a hoof to move a bang from her face.

As soon as Surprise entered her bedroom, the white pegasus immediately flopped on the bed, giggling as she rolled around on the covers. "Hehehe, it's not as cozy as a cloud mattress, but it'll do for now." Surprise looked over and saw a small yellow saddlebag that sat across from her and got up, trotting over towards it and opening the contents. Inside sat a tiny picture, one big enough for a personal wallet like the rich ponies would keep on them, of a bright white earth pony with a pink mane and tail standing next to a younger version of herself, both smiling generously in the picture. "Sissy... I'm finally a Shinkenger, just like I promised you I would be,” She thought, picking up the picture with a hoof and wiping one of her eyes with one of her wings, "I hope that you're okay with my decision. It was for the best after all." She clutched the photo tightly against her chest, taking a seat on the floor as the smile nearly evaporated from her face.

As the other mares on the floor were settling in, Humble's jaw had dropped as soon as he set hoof into his room. "Wow... A bed and room just for me?" He thought, staring at what was inside as though it were a godsend. Gingerly he stepped into the room, looking over his shoulder multiple times before touching the blanket cautiously. "Am I dreaming in this hell-hole? Is this where we're going to be sleeping for the rest of our time here?" The unicorn climbed up into the bed, pushing his weight down on the springs several times before realizing it was real. A wide grin then plastered itself onto his face as Humble flopped on the bed, falling asleep a few moments later.

"You would think that he never slept on a bed before." Octavia whispered, staring at the slumbering unicorn. Surprise and Bellamina both shared a glance, before trotting back off to their own bedrooms in question. The cellist lingered behind for a few moments, hearing the gentle snoring of the unicorn, before shaking her own head and heading back to her own room. "Glad I'm not sharing a room with him..." She thought before falling asleep as well.

----

-The Next Day-

"Aww man... What the hell was that?"

The peace and quiet of the samurai's meeting hall was abruptly ended as Humble stormed into the room, his body covered in visible bruises and his mane drenched in sweat. The meeting hall, which had a pair of pads for anyone to sit down on along with several raised platforms for those who were of great importance was something that had not been mentioned at all by Igneous Rock or any of the Kuroko that had worked there. Humble proceeded to flop on one of the raised platforms, one which gave him a perfect view of the courtyard from the windows, and groaned as the Kuroko were proceeding to clean up after the earlier training session they were given.

"I know I can do better than that... Man, this sucks all the fun outta this... If only-

If only you took your place as a samurai more seriously, that wouldn't have happened." Octavia said calmly, trotting into the room and taking a seat. "Both Pinkamena and our father want us to be in top form after all."

"I know that." Humble groaned, flipping over onto his side and glaring at Octavia. "If we aren't at our best, we can't beat the Gedoushuu and save the world."

Octavia only shrugged. "If only it were that simple." She said, causing the unicorn to sit up.

"What do you mean if only it were that simple?"

The cellist said nothing, looking away from Humble. After a few moments she turned back to the window. "I-I've heard stories. Stories about how powerful the Gedoushuu can be."

"Really now?"

Octavia nodded, looking down at her hooves. "Father was always telling Pinkamena, Myself, and Bellamina that even though we discovered who we are we needed to be strong for the world. There were monsters back in the days before the three tribes united, the previous forms of the Gedoushuu, that were immensely powerful. Some could even level cities with just a thought..." She turned away, shuddering slightly.

"Level cities huh? That bad?" Humble asked.

"Yeah." Octavia replied. "I may be a trained samurai, but I'm still afraid. I have so much to live for, so much to fight for. But there are those that don't have the power to fight, those that may have just as much reason to fight as I do but don't carry the same strength as me. That's why... that's why I'm here. To do what I can. And if it beats the Gedoushuu back then-"

A hoof was placed on her lips, which caused the cellist to look up. Humble said nothing, his eyes filled with some warmth that she herself couldn't explain. As he lowered the hoof, Humble turned to the window and began to look skyward. "You know, my old colt used to say things like that."

"Don't you mean stallion?"

Humble shrugged. "Colt, stallion, it makes no difference. A pony's a pony. And everypony does what they can to keep this world in some semblance of Harmony. We're just doing the harder parts." He turned back towards Octavia. "But seriously though, we have our own problems in dealing with the Gedoushuu, and making sure that it doesn't get out of hoof. Before he dumped me off to set out for my own he told me this once, "Don't let fear get the best of you. Do what's right, and do it to the best of your ability. If it's something that you believe in, then give it your all." It's been one of my motto's ever since."

Before Octavia could ask anymore, Bellamina appeared from around the corner. "Hey, have you guys seen Surprise?"

Both ponies looked up, shaking their heads.

"Haven't seen her since training ended." Humble replied.

"Well she kinda ran off after training, and I went up to her room to check on her, and she was gone along with her bag and most of her things."

Octavia and Humble shared a glance.

"You don't think that she could have..." Octavia began.

Humble shook his head. "Not this early, come on. We've gotta find her." He said, leaping up from where he lay and charged out of the hall. Both earth ponies watched him leap rapidly across the courtyard, picking up his cloak and his glasses in his magic, before disappearing into the farm house. They both then got up and galloped after, thinking the same thing.

"Let's follow him before he gets hurt."

----

Their search carried the three ponies all throughout the city, looking through as many side streets and talking to as many ponies that would be willing to listen. The damage to Rockford had been moderate, several buildings had been damaged slightly while others were getting major repairs done. According to several ponies, while they were grateful that the damage wasn't too severe they had hoped that the battles didn't take place within Rockford's walls. Some were even less helpful, ignoring and walking away from them as soon as they were stopped.

"Man... Ponies don't like talking much here." Octavia said quietly as a lavender earth pony trotted away in a huff.

"Your hometown that you've been living in for the past few years has become the sight of a battle zone." Humble countered, narrowing his eyes. "On top of the fact that said home is the center for trade and convenience in the center of Equestria since Canterlot was formed, and you'll have a bunch of snobby upstarts who wouldn't know how to help others even if it bit them in the-

Hey, do you guys hear something?" Bellamina said, raising one of her hooves to an ear. Octavia and Humble watched her closely, and blinked as her other hoof began to tap to a beat that they hadn't heard.

"What are you doing?" Humble asked.

"There's a party going on somewhere near here." Bellamina replied. "Come on!" She said, galloping into the direction of the sound. Both ponies shrugged, following Bellamina's retreating form as she weaved in and out of other ponies that were going about their daily business like it came naturally to her. The sound that she was apparently hearing was the sound of a light and upbeat polka, which carried through the air and had several ponies tapping their own hooves to the beat as they passed.

Bellamina herself stopped at a small park, just near the outskirts of town and was dumbstruck. Standing underneath a tree, surrounded by things one would consider to be placed at a relatively young filly or colt's birthday party, was Surprise. The white pegasus held a wooden sword between both of her front hooves, a blind-fold for a piñata wrapped around her forehead like a bandana, as she hovered above the ground with her wings. Her bag was sitting near a table which had a spread that looked like it could feed a good hundred ponies easily, as several balloons seemed to float out of it and take their positions at several key points that were surrounding her. Ribbons and streamers hung down from the tree branch above her head, and gently rustled as Surprise lifted and swung her sword in rapid succession never appearing to break a sweat.

"W-What the heck?" Bellamina whispered.

"Surprise?" Humble asked, watching as she swung her sword again before stopping.

"Oh!" She said, turning towards the other samurai. "Oh hey you guys! What... What are you doing here?" She asked, watching as they shared a glance.

"We were about to ask you the same thing." Octavia replied.

"And why does it look like a filly's birthday threw up here?" Humble replied.

Surprise nodded, setting her wooden sword down and trotting over to a nearby table, which had a full punch bowl and proceeded to serve herself some. "Oh, I do my best practice when I'm surrounded by something I love." She replied, taking a small gulp before turning to the others. "It's what my Cutie Mark says. I'm great at parties. Specifically surprise parties. But what nopony else knows is that I'm also good at using the sword."

"Good at parties and the sword? Never heard of that before." Humble said quietly, watching as Surprise finished her drink.

"Well before I wanted to do parties and make ponies happy, I was interested in being a great swordsmare." Surprise began, smirking slightly. "My big sister was so good at it. She made it look like a dance, it was so so so pretty. But..." She paused, setting the cup down on the table.

"But?" Bellamina asked.

"But she got really bad sick. Really really bad sick." Surprise said quietly. "I wanted to know if I could help her, but she said that she just wanted to know that I was okay. I wasn't going to accept that as an answer though, and threw her a small surprise party just to make her feel better." She looked up, tears were in her eyes but she wasn't anywhere close to crying. "She liked it, and said that it was the best medicine that anypony could give to anypony. So... I figured out how to do them better and better, and I got my Cutie Mark out of it. But because she was sick, I had to take up her mantle..."

The other samurai shared a glance before looking back to Surprise. Her mane had dulled slightly as she hung her head low. "Look... Surprise, somehow I think your sister is proud of you." Octavia replied, gently trotting over and putting a hoof over her shoulder.

"I know... But-

No buts about it Surprise." Humble said, trotting over to where the pegasus stood and lifted her face up. "Nopony needs to cry at a party. And I'm sure... No we're all sure that your sister is really proud of you." He said, using his magic to move his cloak around the pegasus.

"Humble has a point." Bellamina replied, stepping forward. "Your sister sounds like a good pony, and must've understood the risks of letting you be here with us." She paused, smiling generously. "Personally I wouldn't have had it any other way."

The pegasus' face brightened as the other samurai were gathered around her like her friends. "Thanks you guys." She said, the faded color in her mane re-brightening. "I guess we have to head back to the house now huh?" She asked.

"Yeah." Octavia replied. "I guess we do."

Surprise nodded, wiping her face with a hoof before turning to the party that she had set up. With a gentle clap of her hooves against each other, the other samurai looked on as all of the decorations proceeded to fly towards her saddlebag, leaving the small park as clean and as normal as it was before.

"H-H-How... How did you-

Saddlebag of Infinite Space, plus one." Surprise said as she cut Octavia off, giggling a little before grabbing her saddlebag and trotting over to the entrance of the park. "I told you earlier, fourth-wall humor is something I do. Don't worry about it."

Octavia, who was still trying to process what just happened, said nothing, her jaw almost locked into a half-opened position. Humble and Bellamina just shook their heads, the former throwing the cellist over his back before they all proceeded to leave the park. "I think you broke her Surprise." Bellamina said quietly, watching the pegasus stop.

"If she breaks that easily, then I don't think she'll be able to handle what I'm really capable of later!" Surprise said through a laugh, happily trotting off back towards the Pie clan farm.

----

As the samurai returned back to the manor, in a nearby market shops were winding down as ponies made their final purchases. None were even close to wanting to remember the attack that had happened the previous day, and had relaxed to a sense of false security.

That all stopped as a gap between a pair of vegetable carts began to glow with a dark red energy, black lightning crackling from the entrance. Ponies stopped for a moment, some trembling at the spectacle and some in awe at the sight until a silver-bladed claw reached out and grabbed the edge of one of the cart.

Ootsumuji stepped out from the vegetable carts just as ponies started to scream and flee in terror. Casually the Ayakashi rested his sword on his shoulder as Nanashi Renchuu began to file out from other nearby gaps and cracks, surrounding the ponies.

"Well. This is the mortal world now?" He asked, taking a deep breath before stretching. "Heh, this is going to be interesting." Hefting his sword high into the air the demon turned to the nearest pony and smirked, a town guard had attempted to stop the attack all by himself and made a very valuable target, before bringing down the blade on his victim.

----

"And so after we had our first big gig in Manehatten, me and the other mares who set the big party up-

Eh-hem."

The samurai looked up from Surprise as Igneous Rock stood in the doorway that led deeper into the house. His face was slightly stern, but not so much as to look like he was about to snap.

"I'm sorry to be interrupting your story, but there is something that I have yet to show you at all." Igneous Rock said, turning his back on the ponies and entering the meeting hall. Curiously, all four samurai followed the old stallion, staring at a small table which had a map placed on top of it. Gesturing over to the left corner of the room, the stallion pointed towards a small box that looked like a holder for straws one would see in a movie theater which had a rope that was attached from the back of the box to a pair of bells that were stuck on the ceiling. "That's the Crevice Alarm. We also call it the Gap Sensor or if you wish to go with its traditional name, it's called the Sukima Sensor. It's what we use to locate the Gedoushuu that have invaded our world."

"And what's with the map?" Humble asked, looking down at the map on the table.

"That's the secondary part of the sensor." Igneous replied, placing a hoof on the map. "When the sensor detects an incursion from the Gedoushuu, it will activate and cause a layout of the city to appear with the exact location of the incursion. This will help you in to locating and exterminating the threa-"

The sound of ringing bells cut the old stallion off as a small stick gently rolled out of the bottom slot that came out of the sensor. Immediately the stick was in the magic of a unicorn Kuroko and placed into the hooves of Igneous Rock, who then looked it over. With a gentle tap against the table the stick unrolled itself into an exact copy of the map on the table before being placed over the present map.

"I guess we got a live demonstration then huh?" Humble asked.

"Plus it gives us the strength of the enemy." Octavia whispered. "There's going to be a bunch of them huh?"

"That's what samurai deal with."

The ponies in the room looked up to see Pinkamena standing behind them, a gently glowing bright red ribbon wrapped in her mane as she stared at the map from above where they all stood. The earth ponies eyes narrowed. "Five-hundred and sixty of them huh... Interesting." She whispered before turning to go. "Daddy Pie, I'm heading out to meet them." She said coldly, calmly trotting away.

"Was she always like this?" Octavia whispered to Bellamina, who shook her head.

"She was a silly filly no doubt, but I don't think she would be this crazy." Bellamina answered.

Igneous tapped a hoof onto the floor behind them. "Crazy or not, she is your Samurai. And as her retainers, you need to go after her." He ordered, watching as they shared a glance before beginning to follow after her. Igneous shook his head, watching the four ponies leave before looking down at the map overlay. "Five-hundred and sixty three of them... Though samurai are built to face those odds, I personally don't like them..." He thought, shaking his head nervously.

----

"Aaaah... This is a fine setting isn't it?" Ootsumuji thought aloud, looking at the scene of destruction that had just recently formed. Several buildings were full of gaping holes, carts and stands were reduced to rubble, corpses could be seen littered here and there and it made the demon felt good. Sure several ponies died in the process, and yeah there were several, "Accidents," that had happened but Ootsumuji shrugged them off as minor occurrences. "What Doukoku doesn't know doesn't hurt him.” He added quietly.

The sounds of ponies screaming could be heard as he rounded another street corner, the Nanashi Renchuu rounding up stragglers and keeping them from moving at any chance they could. They were weak and stupid, but could be smart when they needed to be. "Now now... Don't kill'em yet, after all the Sanzu River needs to raise from their suffering so-RAAAAGH!"

The demon was flung back several feet as a small miniature lion charged forward before crashing into the demon and knocking him to the floor. The assault was followed by the sounds of a large drum being played as five ponies in particular charged out from the chaos with a large white banner being presented behind them.

"That's far enough Gedoushuu." Pinkamena snapped, glaring at Ootsumuji as he got up on unsteady feet.

"Why you little fuckin' bitch!" The demon snapped. "Talk about a fuckin' warning next time why don't you? And who in the hell..." He stopped, staring at the crest that was on the banner. "Oho, so you're the members of the Pie clan that wasted that good for nothing Kagekamuro eh? Well then, let's have it. Let's see what you've got."

"WITH THESE STROKES WE REPORT TO THE PRINCESSES!"

The samurai said nothing, drawing their mobile brushes before writing their respective symbols into the air. After flicking their hooves around to flip the symbols in the air, they all vanished in a flash of blinding light, only to reappear in their samurai uniforms, with their swords gleaming at their sides.

"Samurai Pony of Flames, Shinken-Red! Pinkamena Diane Pie." Pinkamena declared placing the sword guard from her belt before drawing it, resting the dull side of the blade on her shoulder.

"The Same, but of Water! Octavia Marie Pie!" Octavia shouted, pulling the dull side of the blade across a set of imaginary cello strings.

"The Same, but of the Heavens! Bellamina Ann Pie!" Bellamina cried, drawing her sword closer to her heart.

"The Same, but of the Forest! Humble Alexander Pie!" Humble said, thrusting his katana forward before resting it on his left shoulder.

"The Same, but of the Land! Surprise Lydia Pie!" Surprise finished, doing a flip in mid-air with assistance from her wings before clutching the katana with both hooves.

As soon as Surprise was finished, she and the other ponies with the exception of Pinkamena kneeled as they placed their katana behind them. Pinkamena took a hoofstep forward, running a hoof along the dull side of her katana. "We are the Samurai Sentai authorized by Faust's providence!" She shouted before swinging her sword downwards, the other samurai following suit.

"SHINKENGER!"

"GOING FORTH!" They finished before each struck a pose.

"Eh... I've seen better... But it doesn't matter." Ootsumuji replied, before lifting his sword at them. "Get them!"

The demons that were under his command immediately swarmed the Shinkengers, giving those ponies that they had trapped ample time to escape. Quickly, before any of the samurai could react at least thirty or fourty of their enemy had immediately set upon them, throwing them on the defensive.

Picking out the weakest in the enemy lines, Pinkamena shoved the demons off of her, swinging her sword in a V-like motion to strike two of them down. Three more fell into their place, but were easily blocked before meeting the same fate as their fellows from a well place strike to the lower chest. The red-clad pony then charged, seeing the Ayakashi turn away as the crowds of innocent ponies had been fleeing the scene, only to be stopped by a few more demons who swung their swords down on her. Pinkamena blocked the attack, throwing the blade over her back to protect herself before rearing up and forcing the other demon's swords to slide off, before retaliating with several more slashes from her own katana and cutting her assailants down.

Octavia was pushed backwards, the number of enemy swords that she had to defend against kept her forward momentum almost null. The cellist only stopped upon hitting the back of a wall before throwing her attackers off of her, placing each of her strikes at exposed points in the enemy's armor. Five fell before her attackers retaliated with several wild strikes of their own which were easily parried, leaving their guards exposed for the samurai to move in for the kill. After looking up from the last Nanashi she struck down, Octavia could see that Pinkamena had already rounded the corner and began to chase after the Ayakashi, making quick and effortless strikes as she went through the crowds of Nanashi Renchuu left in the demon's wake. Octavia wasted no time before charging after her, cutting through several more before being stopped by another group of Nanashi.

Bellamina had immediately ducked as soon as the enemy pressed upon her, using a fluid motion to cut her blade through their armor and through the bodies of the monsters from the Sanzu. Getting a rhythm and a pattern down, the pink-clad mare skillfully cut through several more before guarding and evading attacks that were sent her way. Six of the demons all attempted to end her flowing movements with a strike all of their own, only to swing at air as the mare danced and evaded their blades, before retaliating with several swings of her own. Calmly she looked up, guarding another high swing from another Nanashi before retaliating with a swing of her own at the offender's chest, watching Pinkamena chase after the Ayakashi and shook her head. "Pinkie... What happened to you?" She thought, reflexively dodging several swings from more of the demons before retaliating with several strikes of her own.

Humble was immediately thrown backwards just as the Nanashi had set upon them, his sword almost wrenched from his grasp before he got it under control. From the ground the pony immediately threw up a hastily formed guard before shoving the demons off of him, wildly pushing off and countering any that got close. Three of the demons fell, suffering major stab wounds as the unicorn repeatedly thrusted the blade forward like a small spear, before getting to his hooves and ending the careers of four more. Quickly the unicorn galloped to a nearby light post, jumping up to it before grabbing it with a hoof and swinging on it with his sword drawn. Several of the Nanashi Renchuu stayed back, not wanting to get close as the unicorn stopped his spin, before charging the pony and attempting to get close. As they approached, the unicorn easily broke their guards, and cut down any that would get near him. With room to breathe, Humble Pie looked up and saw Pinkamena charge after the Ayakashi and shook his head. "And I thought I was eager to get this battle finished." He thought, charging forward and cutting down two more.

Surprise was having the time of her life, even though she was being put at a disadvantage. After throwing six of her assailants off of her with assistance from her wings the pegasus sprung up like a rocket, using the initial thrust to knock several of the Nanashi to the ground before dive-bombing several more while swinging her blade at their heads. The groups of Nanashi ran in terror as more and more of their number were cut down by the flying menace even as she passed over their heads and landed in front of them. Surprise stopped, taunting the bravest of the Nanashi to come at her with a stomp of her hooves only to have the group of about thirty or so run into her comrade's blades. The pegasus charged forward, with the intent of helping her comrades but not letting the sight of Pinkamena chasing the Ayakashi from out of the corner of her eye escape her thoughts.

As the first group of Nanashi Renchuu were being dealt with by her teammates, Pinkamena continued to chase after the Ayakashi and stopped as he swung his blade, parrying the attack quickly before shoving the red-clad samurai backwards. "You think that little butter knife's gonna take me out pony? You don't know who you're dealing with!" Ootsumuji challenged, smirking a little as even more Nanashi Renchuu charged the pony with their swords drawn. The demon turned, thinking that the samurai was dead, but stopped at the pained roars and growls of the Nanashi that were attacking the samurai.

"REKKA DAIZANTOU!" Pinkamena countered, resting her massive sword on her shoulder.

"That still changes nothing." Ootsumuji scoffed, glaring at the pony before readying himself as she charged, guarding the first downward swing before throwing the blade off of him. Before getting a swing at the pony's exposed body, he had to guard another downward swing from the pony's blade, before throwing it off to side and backing off, using two of the Nanashi nearby as living shields as the mare swung the blade horizontally in his direction. "Hmm... This might get interesting.” He commented before guarding another swing.

As Pinkamena was dealing with the Ayakashi, Octavia had moved on towards the next street over and had drawn a blue disk from her belt. "Water Arrow!" She cried, her katana changing into a bow before placing the disk into its slot on the top portion of the bow. Before the demons had a chance to retaliate with the red clad mare, several of them had dropped to the ground, arrows punching through their bodies as Octavia drew their attention towards herself and begun to bombard them with said bow. The cellist then charged as the enemy ranks thinned, leaping to a nearby wall and running along the side before firing another barrage at the crowds of Nanashi that were beneath her, using the momentum to leap over the crowd onto a nearby balcony before dropping several more with a set of point blank shots from her bow.

Nearby, Bellamina's katana had already changed into her fan and was being used to counter and dispatch a group of Nanashi that had survived Octavia's initial bombardment. "Heaven's Fan!" She cried, using the sharp edge of her fan to cut three Nanashi down before generating a small tornado in the direction of a group of about ten that were in her way, which caused them to be thrown into the nearby river. The pony turned, leaping backwards as several more Nanashi had attempted to flank her, and threw and threw another cyclone in the direction of them which knocked them into the direction of where Humble Pie was fighting another group.

"What the..." The unicorn growled, staring at the fallen Nanashi before seeing the earth pony in the air with her fan. "Dammit Bellamina, what are you trying to do? Crush me?" He snapped, using his spear to drop at least ten to twenty at once with big sweeping strikes.

"I'm sorry, I'll try not to let that happen again!" Bellamina replied, landing on the ground and countering several attacks with her fan and dropping several more Nanashi.

"See that you don't!" Humble snapped, before continuing to drop more with his spear, before thrusting forward, catching several demons with the blade and tip of his spear and throwing them over his shoulder into a group of demons directly behind him. "This is the power of my Wooden Spear!" He snapped, running through several more demons before continuing his long sweeping strikes and driving the Nanashi Renchuu back.

"Really now?" Bellamina whispered, knocking several more demons to the ground with a gust of wind from her fan, dropping them easily before scanning the battlefield. "Hey, where's Surprise?"

As Bellamina said that, Pinkamena and Ootsumuji were continuing to fight on the next street over, the demon and the samurai matching each other sword-stroke for sword-stroke. Neither appeared to give each other an opening, and even though the pony was smaller than her adversary the demon was struggling. Pinkamena leapt backwards, throwing her paddle over herself as the Ayakashi swung the blade down on her.

"WHY THE FUCK IS IT SO HARD TO HIT YOU, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!" Ootsumuji roared, kicking the pony backwards before taking a deep breath. "If you want to play that way, let's play that way! Take this-" He roared, beginning to spin his head to undo the sash that was attached to his breastplate, said sash growing significantly in length. "SHINKUTSUMUJI MUCHI!" He roared, swinging his head and in turn swinging the sash like a whip at Pinkamena, throwing it at her at the last minute and having it smash into her blade. The red-clad pony slid backwards but said nothing, charging forward and bringing her blade down onto Ootsumuji only to have the blade blocked with his own sword.

As Pinkamena and Ootsumuji were clashing nearby, Surprise had chased a small group of Nanashi to the end of the street and was cutting through them like butter. Her Land Shuriken was doubling as a bladed shield as she flew through the crowd and cut several of them down, shoving several to the ground before throwing the weapon at the stragglers. While it did take out the monsters, her shuriken began to fly towards where Pinkamena and the Ayakashi were fighting. "Look Out!" She cried, causing Pinkamena to look backwards and leap back out of the way from the weapon as it passed between them.

"I appreciate the opening!" Ootsumuji cheered, throwing his weight into his next swing which smashed powerfully into Pinkamena and knocked her into a nearby wall. Her weapon had changed back into its previous form before spearing into the debris-strewn street below just as the pony dropped to the ground at the same time.

The remaining samurai turned their attention towards the next street over as Ootsumuji readied his next attack. Quickly they all rushed over to the fallen samurai, quickly finishing whatever foes that were in the way before the attack was unleashed.

"SHINKUTSUMUJI MUCHI!" Ootsumuji roared, throwing his bladed sash at Pinkamena as she staggered to her hooves. Before the sash could make contact, Octavia leapt into intercept the attack, spreading herself out as far wide as possible just as the initial hit struck her, the demon's follow up attack finishing the remaining samurai and de-morphing the four of them.

As the four samurai collapsed Ootsumuji turned on his heel, scoffing slightly. "Hmph. You actually think that this was a big problem? I don't see why Kagekamuro lost. These guys were pushovers." He said, before beginning to walk off.

Pinkamena was the first on her hooves, resting slightly against the wall she smashed against. "Can you guys stand? If you can stand up, there's still work to be done." She said, not looking at the other samurai as they struggled to their hooves, with Octavia lingering on the ground.

"Octy? Octy come on, we need to-

Leave her." Pinkamena snapped, stepping over the fallen mare and retrieving her sword. "I told you once before, either the Gedoushuu are defeated or they defeat you. If you are that easily beaten, then we don't need you." The red-clad mare was about to charge when a green hoof stopped her.

"What was that you? She's your teammate! She stuck her neck out for you!" Humble snapped.

"I told you once before, take after yourselves." Pinkamena replied, brushing the hoof aside and charging after the Ayakashi.

"She's your own flesh and blood Pinkie!" Bellamina replied. "She did her best for you! She's doing her best for you, you don't need to say it like that!"

"Doing your best isn't enough for the world!" Pinkamena roared, preparing to charge at the demon. "Doing your best isn't enough to save ponies that are in trouble!" She added, galloping forward after Ootsumuji.

"But she risked herself for you, you cheap b-

Humble stop."

The unicorn stopped, turning as Octavia struggled to her hooves on her own. "But you-

I'm not so easily beaten, but that's not the reason." Octavia replied, pointing towards the ensuing rematch between Pinkamena and the demon.

Quickly the pony slid underneath an incoming strike on her belly, scooping up a small filly with one hoof and parrying an attack that was aimed for her back. Quickly forcing the enemy blade off of her, Pinkamena turned and went on the defensive as Ootsumuji continued to swing wildly in frustration as several of his attacks were blocked and countered. The demon staggered backwards taking several slashes to the chest just as the sounds of another pony, a unicorn mother, filled the air.

"SUNSHINE!" She cried out, scanning the battlefield. "SUNSHINE!"

Immediately Pinkamena raced over to the noncombatant, and gently set the filly down, who was immediately scooped up into the mother's hooves. With a quick, "Thank you," the unicorn galloped off, just in time for Pinkamena to dodge another attack which came from the Ayakashi.

"It doesn't really matter about protecting Pinkamena." Octavia replied, continuing to watch the earth pony do battle with the Ayakashi. "She can handle herself, and it was a mistake that I made. Our job isn't to protect her, but to keep others safe and make sure that the Gedoushuu don't hurt anypony else." She finished, drawing her Mobile Brush.

"Well when you put it that way..." Humble replied, scratching the back of his head and drawing his brush just as the other samurai did so.

"Don't react, just do." Bellamina said, stepping forward. "That's what my instructor taught me."

"Come on now! Let's do this thing!" Surprise shouted, finishing the line that they formed as the Ayakashi forced Pinkamena backwards.

"WITH THESE STROKES WE REPORT TO THE PRINCESSES!" They roared, writing a singular stroke into the air as they charged, their suits reforming.

With a singular blow, Pinkamena sent the demon flying backwards, smashing into the remains of another fruit cart and into a far wall. As Ootsumuji staggered back to his feet, he growled and began to shake and spin his head wildly again. "SHINKUTSUMUJI MUCHI!" He roared as the bladed sash erupted from behind him and flew directly at the red-clad samurai. Before the attack could connect, the remaining samurai struck the sash, splitting it into four separate pieces before destroying it entirely, leaving nothing but a harmless flash of air to wash over Pinkamena. "WHAT THE TARTARUS?" Ootsumuji roared, staggering backwards as samurai formed up.

"Pinkie-

Attack at the same time as I do." Pinkamena ordered, cutting Octavia off as she replaced her sword's black disk with a red one. The earth pony nodded, replacing her guard with a blue one just as Surprise replaced hers with a yellow one, and Humble and Bellamina replaced theirs with a green and pink disk respectively.

"SHINKENMARU!" They all roared, their swords all glowing with the same colored light as their suits just as they assumed ready stances. "RASEN NO TACHI!"

Just as Ootsumuji finished getting to his feet they charged, leaping into the air as they cleared half of the distance. The demon didn't have time to throw up a guard, and could only watch in horror as the samurai cut through his body. Each blade that passed through was met with an explosion of the element they represented: a burst of flame, a splash of water, an explosion of the earth, a gust of wind, and a barrage of leaves. As the attack finished, Ootsumuji collapsed, falling backwards before exploding in a ball of fire as the samurai sheathed their swords.

"We got him!" Surprise cheered, taking a relaxing breath.

"Not yet, there's still the second life." Pinkamena replied, retrieving her origami.

"DON'T THINK THAT IT'S OVER SHINKENGERS! WE'VE GOT A SCORE TO SETTLE!" Ootsumuji roared, his body reforming from the fireball and growing to the size of a giant.

"Let's go!" Pinkamena ordered, drawing her mobile brush quickly with the other samurai following suit.

"ORIGAMI DAIHENGE!" They all cried, setting their origami on the ground before drawing the symbol for, "Big," above them. In a flash of light the origami grew, before unfolding into their respective animal shapes outside of town.

"Where d'ya think you're going?" Ootsumuji roared, swinging his blade and kicking up a storm with it, which blinded the mechs and their pilots.

"Ah man!" Humble snapped, unable to see anything from the smog. "I can't see anything!"

"We need to combine." Pinkamena said coolly, looking through the screen as the fog cleared.

"You mean the Samurai Gattai?" Octavia asked. "I've heard about it from father back before I left! You guys heard about it before right?"

Humble nodded. "Yeah, it's supposed to be stronger than what we're facing now."

"Hehe, sounds like a good Idea."Surprise added. "Let's do it!"

Octavia smirked proudly from within her helmet. "Well then, Samurai Gattai!" She declared, pushing her joystick forward.

"You guys wait!" Bellamina cried, only to have it fall on deaf ears.

Ootsumuji watched curiously as four of the five mechs folded back into each other, before they all stacked one on top of the other with the square and hexagon being on the bottom and the circle and triangle on top. The Ayakashi scratched his head with a free hand. "What the heck? Is this some kind of joke?" He asked, glaring at the odd construct.

"Shinken-Oh! United under providence!" Octavia declared from within her mech.

"Uh... Yeah, there's just one problem..." Humble replied, looking upward from his mech. "Why in the world am I on the bottom?" He snapped, glaring upward.

"Hey easy down there, it isn't exactly steady up here!" Surprise shouted, looking downward from her perch towards the mechs below.

"Well maybe if you had listened to me we could have done this together! You know, as a team?" Bellamina had snapped from underneath Surprise.

"Octavia... Please tell me why you left me out." Pinkamena asked, staring at the scene from inside her mech and shaking her head.

"Oh... Uhm... oops?" Octavia replied, looking at something that wasn't the demon or her fellow samurai.

"Okay, now I get it. You're trying to give me a free shot! Well, no sense in looking a gift horse in the mouth so... HERE WE GO!" Ootsumuji roared, swinging his blade at the samurai's construct and knocking it down. Almost immediately, the samurai within were thrown around inside their mechs, leaving Pinkamena to shake her head.

"Here, let me do it." She finally said, taking her brush and drawing the symbol for, "Combine," in front of her. With a gentle flick the symbol flipped around, and began to glow, which also caused the other mechs that were on the ground below to glow. Ootsumuji had to shield his eyes for several minutes, but as soon as he lowered them he was dumbstruck.

The machine before him stood as tall as he did, using the rectangular and hexagonal mechs which were folded along the middle to form its legs. They attached to the pentagon, which took the form of a lion which made it look like a torso as a small head popped up from beneath the surface of the mech. The triangle and circle mechs had each formed the arms of the machine as a giant samurai's helmet covered the head on top. A long katana, filled with grooves that appeared to be runes that he couldn't understand appeared at its side, and as the machine's cold green eyes glared at him the demon could feel that the ponies had all gathered in its core.

From within the other samurai's cockpits had appeared next to Pinkamena's, forcing the other to look around in surprise. "So this is Shinken-Oh?" Humble asked aloud.

Pinkamena nodded as the others turned towards the main screen. "Focus now, this is the main event." She ordered as they returned to their senses.

The machine drew its sword from its side, clutching it tightly as it and Ootsumuji began circling each other. The demon made the first move, swinging high in an attempt to end the machine before it started. The attack was parried however and cast aside, but the follow up was evaded by Ootsumuji, who casually stepped aside and tossed a leathery bag in the nearby river.

"GET OVER HERE OONANASHI RENCHUU!" Ootsumuji roared. With a flash the nearby river glowed blood red, before erupting to nearby gaps between nearby buildings. With a flash, several gigantic Nanashi Renchuu appeared wearing black armor and carrying spears instead of their smaller sized cousins.

"So they come in this size too?" Surprise said calmly.

"Let's take'em all out!" Humble roared, pushing his joystick forward with the other samurai.

The giant demons charged the mech just as it swung its sword, cutting down the first few in the initial stroke. As two more approached from the side, Shinken-Oh smashed into them before catching them on the backswing. This caused the demons to back up, forcing Shinken-Oh into a ready stance. The Oonanashi Renchuu reacted quickly, charging the mech with spears ready, only to be knocked backwards from a gout of flame that erupted from the lion's head in the center of the mech.

"Don't worry about the Nanashi Renchuu and go after the Ayakashi." Pinkamena commanded, urging Shinken-Oh forward. The other Samurai followed suit, continuing to pilot the mech through the crowd towards Ootsumuji.

"You think that tin-can's gonna stop me?" He roared as several of the Oonanashi Renchuu backed off. "Then try THIS! SHINKUTSUMUJI MUCHI!" He roared, throwing his bladed sash at the mech.

Shinken-Oh stood firm, swinging its blade only once before shattering the incoming attack and staggering the demon. The Oonanashi Renchuu behind it stepped back and cringed at the sight, some fleeing for the cracks they had come out of before the mech launched its next attack on the demon, slashing its chest.

"Bu-BU-BUT IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY!" Ootsumuji roared as another strike pushed him further backwards, causing him to fall into the river. The Ayakashi staggered to his feet, his blade forgotten under the surface, and held his hands up to defend himself.

"The finisher!" Pinkamena declared, drawing her sword from its holster in the cockpit and pointing it at the screen. The other samurai followed suit, their blades all glowing with a bright white energy as they did so before the symbol of, "Cut," appeared before them.

Shinken-Oh's sword began to glow and radiate the same white light just as everything around both it and the Ayakashi darkened to almost nothing. Sparks of energy flew from above them, illuminating where both the machine and the demon stood, just as the sword was held high into the air.

"DAISHINKEN! SAMURAI GIRI!" The samurai all declared, swinging their swords downward.

The symbol for cut appeared directly where Ootsumuji stood, just before the blade split him in two. There was a loud gurgling roar then nothing as the demon collapsed, erupting in a ball of flames.

"And with that, this chapter comes to a close." Pinkamena declared, placing her sword back in its sheath.

----

"You all did well for your second battle." Pinkamena said later on, calmly walking ahead of the group. The damage from the battle was minimal, and there were minimal casualties, but at least the Ayakashi was driven off.

"Pinkamena-sama, I'm-

Don't bother. You just reacted. That's all that matters." Pinkamena replied, placing a staying hoof in front of Surprise. "I'm going back to the house." She said finally, trotting away and leaving the samurai alone.

"I think that we need to start looking out for ourselves first, protecting her will come naturally after that." Octavia finally said, watching Pinkamena's retreating form.

"I don't like how she treats her comrades." Humble snapped, glaring at Pinkamena. "But if it protects the world, I'll work for her."

"I don't know what happened but..." Bellamina stopped before wiping her eyes. "Something's changed in our little sister." She said, looking to Octavia who said nothing.

"Let's just finish this out okay, Igneous is going to be mad if she goes back home alone." Surprise replied before chasing after Pinkamena, leaving the others behind her. They all shared a glance before following suit, leaving the battlefield behind.

Though their bond was true enough for Shinken-Oh to hold together, I still had my doubts on the situation. A fortress is only strongest at its weakest points, and those weakest points were going to make themselves apparent in the weeks that followed. I as a stallion could only do so much, but that's just hearsay now. After all, the team worked its own problems out as time went on and grew stronger because of it.

-End Act 2-