My Little Ninja

by NoMoreNormalcy

First published

Summer begins and so does someone's anxiety once they realize that they never really had a backup plan for when they had to stop being a ninja. A certain draconequus fixes that in the best way they know how....

Randy Cunningham just finished ninth grade and his fifteenth birthday is right around the corner. No worry, no stress, still wondering how they had that part-time job earlier in the year with their best friend, and being the Ninja was pretty cool. Well, after High School he'd have to give it up, naturally, because the last guy who had it for longer went a little off his rocker.

Wait, didn't McFist Industries just host a job fair on one of the last days of school?

Did he have a plan?


"Oh my, did I over-do it or just bad timing?"

Rated E for everyone. Yes, there may be some stressful situations and potentially life-threatening, though no pony gets seriously hurt. Mostly MLP Shenanigans.

Cover by me if I could ever get the dang thing to save.

1. Post-Job Fair

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Randy Cunningham, for all intents and purposes, was a professional procrastinator, if one could even be a professional at doing nothing until the very last minute. The tall, lanky teen wore his usual fare: red t-shirt with a white swirl of The Ninja's (his favorite hero even before becoming them, though that's a whole 'nother story) design, blue skinny jeans, full zippered red McKicks, and his dark hoodie which was now tied around his waist due to the intruding heat of summer in Norrisville, Oklahoma. He walked next to his best friend, Howard Weinerman, with he in his blue jean shorts, matching McKicks with his best friend, deep blue squid character t-shirt, and a light blue button-up collared shirt. Together, they could achieve absolutely nothing save for breaking high scores on video games, beating each other in them, or eating massive amounts of junk food. This afternoon they were walking along one of their city's streets to their favorite place, Greg's Gamehole.
"Man, why did we have to go to that Job Fair on the last day of school? That's so wonk!"

Also complaining about school. What 14-to-15-year-old doesn't complain about school in some manner?

Randy looked to his shorter friend, their orange pompadour taking up most of his field of vision as Howard listed off reasons explaining his displeasure. "I mean, we're not old enough to get a job, we get an allowance, and -still don't know how we got that job with McFist- we don't really do well when we work together, especially if I get promoted."
"You mean I get an allowance that doesn't get blown the moment they get it and therefore don't get one anymore, and if either of us get promoted." Randy scratched his head, ruffling his somehow-natural dark purple hair. "Though you are right, how did we get hired? Don't they check age and other stuff?" Howard's only response was a shrug. It wasn't long before Howard spoke again.

"Besides, you're the Ninja, since when do you need to know what job you're going to have for the rest of your life now? I mean, you probably had it figured out since grade school, or something."

"Uh, huh," Randy began to agree before his eyes popped open, pupils dilated in fear, "that is if I had thought about it at all!" Stopping entirely and picking up Howard by his shirt with both hands, the red-head found his vision shaking as Randy wouldn't stop panicking. "Not to mention, if I think about it now because being the ninja isn't forever, won't my mind get wiped because of it?" Howard now found himself looking up at his friend again from the ground as he was unceremoniously dropped. "I'll just have the Ultimate Lesson and I'm not sure how that works?! Howard, what do I do!?" Once again, Howard was hoisted in the air.

"I don't know, just tell me and I'll remind you when you are done with the stupid book?"

"Howard, one: it's not stupid, and two: you'll just forget," Randy offered, interrupted by a single, if angry, vibration from a book hidden in his jacket behind his back. "Also, the 'Nomicon didn't like that 'stupid' comment."

"Oh, sweet cheese, are you translating for it now?"

"What? That's ridiculous! I agree, I don't always catch on to what it's teaching me," another buzz, "okay, almost always, but it's not stupid. In fact," Randy folded his arms which was shortly mirrored, "it's kind of bruce."

Suddenly unfolding his arms, Howard gasped in exaggerated horror. "You take that back! It's not bruce, it's wonking our style!"

"Well, too bad, because 'Nomicon is here to stay!"

"Yeah, until you gotta get mind wiped! Which could be any moment because the Sorcerer, oh yeah, he's GONE!"

"Not. Helping. Howard," Randy growled through his teeth.

"Well, I'd like my best friend back! Wait, what the cheese is that?" Howard pointed to an alleyway not too far from where they were standing and the face of a goat of some sort with a snaggle-tooth fang and one horn being knotted like some sort of antelope's and another being deer antlers. It raised a lion's paw and waved at them before turning and showing a rust-red colored tail with a white tuft of hair that inexplicably became a beckoning hand. The boys looked at each other before crossing the road.

"Yeah, no that spells all sorts of trouble."

"Yeah, not that dumb. Wait, shouldn't you deal with that, Cunningham?" Howard inquired.

"What, why?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe it's probably evil and The Ninja should do something about it," was the smug reply.

Grumbling, Randy shoved his bag into Howard's arms and walked to a different nearby alleyway. While there, Randy then fished a black mask with thin red markings on it out of his jacket, grumbling the whole time.

"Stupid Howard, for being right. Stupid responsibilities. I just want to hang out some days," He muttered before slipping it on. Gold and red aura of magic surrounded him in the form of glyphs and drawings as though someone took the inspiration of eastern Asia and drew all of it in one picture. At the same time, black ribbons from the mask snaked their way around his torso and limbs, completing The Ninja's outfit. Solid black with a few thin lines of red, a red cloth sash around his waist, and a billowing red scarf around his neck. One pose later, The Ninja slouched over, tugging at his scarf, "Seriously, why is it so hot already?" Complaining completed, he leaped into action, flipping many times unnecessarily from the alley across the street back to the one he saw the strange goat-headed creature-

Only to be caught by a catcher's mitt face-first. "Oh, nice job," a strange, masculine voice quipped, "I'd give you a nine for style and seven for the landing, all things considered." After prying his face from the mitt, Randy got a good look at the holder. With the mitt in his right hand -possibly the paw seen earlier- was the goat-headed creature seen in full glory. Upon closer inspection, his eyebrows and beard matched the tuft on the end of his tail and his eyes were red and the irises two different sized with yellow sclerae. His body was furred with a dark-brown fur and his left arm ended in a yellow bird's talon. He had rather small wings for his size, one dark blue and feathered, the other a leathery purple. His right leg was a green lizard's clawed foot and the left one was a fawn-colored cloven hoof. This was perhaps one of the most bizarre creatures he had ever seen, and Randy would admit that he's seen some strange-looking stank'd students.

"Okay, what the juice is going on?"

"I thought it was obvious," the creature said, "or was it only obvious to me?" He put his talon to his chin and stroked his beard in thought. "Oh well, hold onto your scarf because we're going on a trip to two dimensions!"

"Wait, what!?" and before Randy could react, the talon snapped, and both disappeared from this reality that only Randy knew.

"Oh, what the cheese am I supposed to do now!" Cried out Howard before he, too, vanished just moments later.

2. A Quick Debriefing and Suddenly in Equestria

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A springing sound of magic later, Randy found himself on a floating chair in a house he would describe as "grandparents trying to be hip" style. It seemed that gravity was sporadic as there were also furniture on the ceiling, the walls, also floating, or a couple on the floor normally. A tea table with the obligatory tea kettle and cups floated in the space between him and the miss-matched being across from him in a high-backed, overstuffed chair also in the air. He was sipping on tea sparing a glance at the still suited Randy.

"Uh, what the cheese going on?"

"Really? That's what you kids there say?" The being let go of his teacup and it sprouted wings to hover in place, so he could scratch his chin before replying, "Well, not only are we going to change that ever so slightly, but I'm going to turn you into a pony."

"Weirdo say what?" And with a snap of his talons, he turned Randy into a pony version of himself. Still in the suit. "What?!"

"You said it, not me," the creature chuckled. "Okay, so you can stop referring me as a monster, creature, being, or beast, I do have a name."

"I never called you that, and why am I a pony!?"

"My name is Discord. The Now-Reformed Spirit of Disharmony and Element of Chaos."

"Reformed? And you still didn't answer my question-"

"Hold on, I have an exposition to dump to fill you in on some things first before I get you to Ponyville," and snapping his talons again, Discord summoned up a crystal ball that had colorful images flashing on it. With a flick of his wrist, the orb flew across the room and right into Randy's face, popping like a bubble.

"What the juice was that-" and his eyes widened and glazed over as information of Equestria was suddenly imported to his mind. The two sisters that ruled the day and night, how they raised and lowered the sun and moon respectively. The legend of the Mare in the Moon and how it turned out to be real. How Nightmare Moon, Discord himself, and the changelings were reformed. How Chrysalis attacked the Canterlot wedding and was defeated. The fact that the Crystal Empire exists again. The information of a student of the Princess of the Day ascending into alicorn-hood. What an alicorn was, and pegasi, earth ponies -for one of which he was- and unicorns. Knowledge of magic, importance of friends, and what a cutie mark was. Especially what a cutie mark was and stood for. How to walk and run as a pony. Sayings and colloquialisms. Once all the information was deposited, Randy shook his head. He was then curious. Did he have a cutie mark? What did it mean? He brought a hoof too his jawline and remembered a few things: One, he had hooves now and made it harder to hold things unless he focused his held them in his fetlock -oh yeah, he knew what a fetlock was now. Two, there was still the matter of Discord staring at him. "What?"

"So, remove the mask and then we can get you on your way! Don't worry, you will still have your book and jacket. It's also normal to be mostly naked."


"Don't worry, I can wait." He looked at a watch on his talons that wasn't there before. "You have five seconds."

In those five seconds, Randy determined that if this Discord nabbed him, even though he's never said his name, it was almost out of respect for some reason to not have him have a meltdown. At the tail end of those seconds, he yanked off the mask and as the ribbons unraveled and fled into the mask in a golden light, Discord snapped him to a new location. Luckily, he was stashing the mask in an inside pocket the promised jacket he still wore. Once all the light disappeared, he noticed he was on the outskirts of a medieval-looking town. Cobblestone walls and thatch roofs. There were a few sights already that stated that this wasn't all true. A train station was to his right. Forward and to the left was a building that Hansel and Grettle would fight a witch in. Further forward and a bit to the left was a building styled like a carousel. And straight ahead was the largest building in town. A crystal castle shaped like a tree. Realizing he was still seated, he stood and started walking. Big castle, belongs to that new princess, right? She'd know what is happening.

As Randy trotted, he got a good look at himself. He was a little on the lanky side with peach fur. Pulling his hair -or mane, now- down, he noticed it was still its royal purple. His eyes were likely still the same. His jacket was still tied around his waist. The only thing that made him frown, was the lack of a cutie mark. "So wonk." In a now soured mood, he kept trotting forward, accustomed to his new body only thanks to Discord's exposition dump. "Other than see the princess, what should I do?" He barely had a chance to think on it when a pink blur raced up to him. Once it stopped in front of his muzzle a hair’s breadth away, he saw bright, light blue eyes, pink fur, and hints of a dark pink, curly mane.

"Hi! My name's Pinkie Pie! You're new to town, right? Of course, I'm right, because if I wasn't then I would have seen you before and I'm sure I haven't. Hold on real fast, I have to get my Welcome Wagon ready!" He voice was bright, cheery, and sweet, with a whole lot of pep. She backed up a bit and turned to reveal her cutie mark of three balloons and a wagon hitched up to her. Unhitching herself -somehow-, she then pushed a button on the wagon which activated a song that she sang along and danced to.

"Welcome, welcome, welcome!
A fine welcome to you!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
I say how do you do?
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
I say hip hip hurray!
Welcome, welcome, welcome!
To Ponyville today!"

"Wait for it." She said as then the wagon churned and then spat up burnt confetti from what was now identified as the oven and cake batter was thrown into the air by a horn and onto Randy. The whole while, he starred wide-eyed and confused. "What the juice was that?"

"Whoops!" Pinkie Pie snorted and chortled. "I accidentally swapped the cake batter and confetti. Again! That, my new friend, was my Welcome Wagon! Were you welcomed?"

He couldn't help but pause a bit at the question before responding with a hesitant, "Yes?"

"Yay!" She proinked in place, bouncing up and down before settling and smiling at Randy. "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name, and you are?"

Physically shaking himself out of it -and the cake batter out of his fur, he tried to give his best smile, "Randy. Randy Cunningham. Nice to meet you, Pinkie Pie."

"That's a nice name, Randy! I'm sure we'll be good friends, and if you need more, I know everypony in Ponyville, so just ask and I'll introduce you!" She then re-hitched herself to the welcome wagon. "Well, I've got to get back. If you need something to eat, just head to Sugar Cube Corner! It's the shop that looks like it's made of gingerbread! Mmmmm, gingerbread...." And with that, she trotted off, wagon in tow.

"That was weird. Nice, though." He turned to explore while he mulled things over. So that girl -or mare, I guess- was pretty nice. Don’t know what exactly is going on here. Maybe I aught to shloomp on it? He then trotted around and found an alleyway. After deeming the cost clear, he reached to the Ninjanomicon, 800-year-old book of ninja knowledge, and placed it in front of him. Once fully opened and Randy had stared at its pages, his eyes glazed over, and he fell roughly on top of the book. Within his mind, however, he was falling through the pages as sketched clouds. He cried out as he hit five clouds, bouncing between them on his way down. Once on the ground looking up, the clouds swirled together and formed words that Randy read aloud.

“When a threat appears thwarted is when a ninja is at their weakest, what the juice is that supposed to mean?! The Sorcerer is totally defeated, and I doubt McFist is going to try to send any goons after me now without his precious super power.” As he cried out he looked to his right and saw a sketch ninja of himself in pony form. “Oh hey.” The sketch then picked him up by his scruff of his neck before turning around and bucking him back into the air. He screamed the whole way back.

Awaking with a start, Randy wiped the drool from his muzzle and put the book back in its rightful spot in his jacket. He idly thought about wearing the jacket normally, but the reminder of his blank flank came back, along with the implanted knowledge that a kid -or it was probably colt now- his age wasn’t without a cutie mark. “Really convenient that Discord did that. Why did he?” His question was unanswered. “Well, may as well ask the princess here. Oh!” His eyes widened as he realized something, “Maybe she’ll know what the ‘Nomicon meant!” With that, he made a brisk canter for the crystal castle.

3. Meeting Royalty and Friends

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Randy trotted up to the crystal tree of a castle that the Princess was residing in. He was feeling confident and trying not to think too hard on how nonchalant he was without most of his clothing and just chalked it up to the info-dump and being a pony. After all, horses don’t need clothes, so why should ponies? Trotting by the carousel building did raise more questions when spotting the dresses on the mannequins -or perhaps ponyquins. Once they were on the other side of town, he was finally at the large double doors with two pink hearts, one over the other on it. Overall, the thing looked very girly to him, but then again, this was a land of colorful, magical, talking ponies. Though a crystal tree as a castle was still cool. Once up the stairs, Randy knocked on the door with a forehoof, before taking a step back and waiting for a response. He got a “Coming!” from inside before they opened and revealed a small dragon.

“Seriously, a dragon? That’s bruce!”

“Bruce?” The small purple dragon inquired. “That’s like cool, right?”

“Indeed, indeed. Anyhow,” Randy attempted to get back to the original topic at hand, “is the Princess in? I would like to talk to her. I had a question about a really strange guy named Discord.”

The dragon’s face morphed quickly to a deadpan at the mention of the name. “Oh boy, what’d he do? Wait, let me just get Twilight. She might be able to help.”

“Thank you.”

“Why don’t you come in and wait. Name’s Spike, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Spike, name’s Randy,” Randy said as they shook hoof and claw. Once properly inside, Spike showed him the central room. It had six large chairs, each with a mark on the top-most part by the point. A seventh was a bit smaller and lacked a mark was closest to the chair with the purple star mark. Seeing all the pink star motifs and the huge six-pointed star on the top of the castle were telling him that this might be her cutie mark or just a symbol she really likes. Though the expo-dump was trying to tell him the former. In the center of the chairs was a non-descript circular crystal table though above it is what caught his eye. A chandelier made of roots from a large tree had multiple crystals of different colors. As the light caught different crystals, faint images flashed within and sometimes briefly reflected on the walls. He scarcely heard Spike say something and chuckle as he left. It wasn’t long before the clicking of claws was replaced by a set of hooves marching towards him. And a few other smaller sets?

Turning around, Randy saw the purple alicorn Twilight Sparkle followed by three young girls -no fillies- and it seems like they were wrapping up a class of some sort. The fillies were one unicorn, one earth pony, and one pegasus at a brief glance with matching cutie marks.

“Now remember girls, keeps practicing, and you’ll keep getting better and better. Now let me see what Discord did this time,” she said kindly to the three fillies which chorused an okay to the mare. Twilight then strode to Randy as a kind smile was on her face. Ponies are really friendly around here, huh? He couldn’t help but think to himself.

“Hi, I’m Twilight Sparkle, now what’s this I hear about Discord? What’d he do this time?”

“Oh wow, he’s a, uh, bit of a prankster, huh? Gives me some ideas,” Randy trailed off, hoof to his chin.

Twilight had to have seen the glint in his eye as she cut off his train of thought, “As intriguing as that sounds, it’s actually a really bad idea.” She eyed him up and down. “Now that I think about it, you’re not from here, are you?”

“Nope! I’m Randy, and I’m from Norriseville,” he said as he reached out his hoof for a shake. The princess reciprocated, before Randy continued, “I don’t know why he got me here, though. Just popped me to his place for a bit of a ‘chat’,” he used one of his hooves for an air quote, “and then popped me just outside of town!”

“That’s weird. He hasn’t done that before,” she spoke with a contemplative look on her face, “Where is this Norriseville, I haven’t heard of it.”

“That’s probably because it’s in another world. Did you know his house is in some dimension where gravity sorta works and sorta doesn’t?”

A different expression overtook her features as Twilight became some combination of upset and disappointed. “Okay, I’ll have to see if I can find him. He probably knows he’s in trouble now, so he might be hiding somewhere I can’t find him.”

“Wonk. Well, there something I could do while we wait for him to show up then?” Suddenly, the three fillies that Randy thought were gone were suddenly by his side, eyes wide and excited.

“We could show you around Ponyville!” a small white unicorn chirped.

“We could show ya some of the places to eat and hang out at!” a yellow earth pony drawled.

“We could also show you our clubhouse!” an orange pegasus with wings a few sizes too small for her body all but shouted.

“Girls, I thought you already left!” Twilight said, exasperated.

“Nah, we got interested in seein’ the newcomer, too! What’d ya think? Wanna hang out for a bit? We know Ponyville like the back of our hooves, seein’ as we’ve lived here our whole lives.” The young filly’s red mane swished about as she looked between Twilight and Randy. Then, all three fillies looked at Twilight with a pleading look as they sat on their haunches, brought their forehooves up to their chest and said, “Please~!” Twilight had her face set and was just about to object when she looked and saw that Randy was doing the exact same thing.

“Oh! Fine! Okay, but nothing too crazy. I don’t know how long this will take.” Everypony then cheered. “Now, first, however, since your so far from home, why don’t I show you a place you can stay. Being from another world probably means you don’t have any of our local currency.”

“I wonder if Discord took care of that….” Randy then sifted through an outer pocket of his jacket and found his wallet. As he did so, he caught that the unicorn filly attempts a closer look at his flank. Lightly embarrassed, he tried to keep the jacket close to his flank to prevent her from seeing his blank flank. He then finally managed to hook his wrist -perhaps fetlock was the better word- around his wallet and examined the interior. Paper bills were all that showed. “Nope, just regular money from home.” He then hastily shoved his wallet back into the pocket.

“Well then, why don’t you follow me. I have plenty of room and one of these spare rooms would be perfect as a guest room for you.” She then turned and headed down a hallway. After a few minutes of walking, they found quickly a simple guest room. “Here we are. Found one closest to the exit for you so you don’t go wandering accidentally into a wrong room. Don’t want you misplacing anything here. If you’d like, you can leave your jacket here.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Okay! Now that you know where you’re going to stay until we can get you home, let’s show you around Ponyville!” The orange pegasus spoke up again, wings buzzing with excitement. “My name’s Scootaloo, and this is Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle!” She then pointed to the earth pony and unicorn respectively.

“Sweet, my name’s Randy. Randy Cunningham.”

“That’s a weird name,” Sweetie Belle chimed in.

“Well, he is from another world if we heard right,” Apple Bloom put in.

“Come on! Let’s go, already!” Scootaloo was buzzing with anticipation -literally- and she raced for the palace’s front doors.

“I’ll, ah, keep in touch, somehow.” And with that, the three young girls pushed him through the front door.

They had walked scarcely a few paces when they all started talking at once.

“We should check out Sweet Apple Acers!”

“No, my sister’s boutique!”

“No way, we should walk around and see if we can spot Rainbow Dash!”

“Girls, girls! Calm down! How about this, I’ll choose a random building, and we’ll go there since I’m the one new to town, okay?”

“~Okay!~” All three of them now content, Randy took his time and spotted the closest one to him was the carousel building that he had passed earlier. “Okay, how about we check that place out first and get it out of the way?”

“Yay!” cheered Sweetie Belle.

“Aww,” was the remaining unanimous cry. However, all four of them trotted to the building.

“This is my sister’s business-slash-house, the Carousel Boutique!” Sweetie Belle decided to give Randy the rundown. “Her name’s Rarity, and she has this boutique and three others! One in Canterlot, one in Manehattan, and another in Baltimare!”

“Wait, are all the towns some sort of horse/pony pun here in this world?”

The three fillies stopped momentarily before resuming their trot, “Huh, guess so.” “Never realized it before now.” “Now that you mention it….”

Once they passed the threshold, a chiming of a bell and a pristine white unicorn with violet mane curled to highlight volume called out, “Welcome to the Carousel Boutique where everything is chic, unique, and magnifique! How can I- Oh! A stallion?” Upon further examination by her, she noticed the small equines surrounding him. “Oh, I see. Are you new to town? Sorry if my little sister and her friends dragged you here, I know that colts or stallions don’t typically like to walk in here, even if I do make clothing for them, also.”

“It’s cool, it’s cool, they were just showing me around and this was definitely a place to check out right out of the front doors to the castle. I know I don’t check out places like this also, but I figured I’d get it done first. They wanted to show me all of Ponyville.”

“Ah, I see! Glad to know you weren’t dragged in here.”

“Does that happen often?”

Rarity laughed, “Goodness, no. Not unless somepony got really excited about another pony’s date or some other thing, I haven’t seen it happen that often.” She looked closer at Randy, in a manner that was lightly off-putting for him. “Girls keep him here, I think I have just the thing for his visit to Ponyville!”

“Okay! Can I show him some of the stallion’s line?” Sweetie Belle asked.

“Of course! I have to just find it!” and with that she trotted to a backroom. While she did, Sweetie Belle’s horn glowed a light sea-green as a different door was opened and a rack with suits, shirts, and a few pants were wheeled out. Randy couldn’t help but whistle. They all looked sharp. Something he would have to save up his allowance to buy for that kind of party or even get a job to pay for the rent on some of the suits.

“Wow, she made these?” Randy asked.

“Yeah! It’s not that hard to do when you’ve got to manage four boutiques!” Sweetie Belle replied. “I think that would be the hardest part right now, for her.”

“That is the cheese! Some of this I’d have to save up for months before I can buy it! They’re that good!”

Apple Bloom became quizzical, “Why do you say stuff like ‘bruce’ and ‘cheese’?”

Randy adopted and ‘oh’ look and though briefly before replying honestly, “It’s the slang in my hometown. It replaces things like, ‘What the hay?’ or ‘That’s pretty cool!’ and stuff like that.” To emphasize his point, he twirled his hoof around at the end.

“Oh, neat!”

“I think you mean ‘bruce’!” Scootaloo said.

“I found it!” Rarity then trotted back, a simple box in her blue aura that emanated from her horn. Randy sat down so he could properly take and open the box. Inside was a thin cotton scarf that was red with two thin black lines at either end. “I though this would complement your fur and contrast nicely with your mane.”

“This is really bruce!” Randy’s face lit up momentarily before recalling something, “But I don’t have any money.”

“It’s no trouble really, think of it as a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ gift!”

“Wow, thanks!” He then took the scarf out and noted it was just thin enough to wear for the season, though could keep his neck warm if we wore it in spring or fall. He wrapped it once around his neck. “How do I look?”

“Very chic, darling. It was very nice meeting you, but I think there’s still a lot of Ponyville to cover.”

“That’s right! Next place from here is the marketplace! We could show you all the different stalls!” Scootaloo said as she began to push Randy out of the store.

Apple Bloom then spoke next, “If we’re lucky, mah sister might be at our stall! Being an Apple, we sell apples of all kinds!” Suddenly a rumble was heard. “And it sounds like it’s lunchtime!”

With that the girls all did their best to hurry Randy’s hoofsteps along as he tried to take in the sights slowly. I wonder what culture shock feels like? Something like this?

4. Afterparty

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It took most of the day, but after lunch, they were able to meet most of the group of friends that were close with the princess as well as most of Ponyville. The girls were slowing down a bit and Randy decided that they should take a break. That break happened to be Sugar Cube corner.

The bell rang as they entered the shop, they noticed something odd. The lights were out and hardly anything could be seen. “Hello? Anypony here?” Randy called out. He jumped about half a foot into the air when the lights flicked on and half the town yelled out, “Surprise!” Pinkie Pie rushed up to Randy and picked him up into a big hug. “Surprise! Have a wonderful ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ Party!” She almost screeched.

“Bones, being crushed. Can’t. Breath!” Randy gasped.

“Whoopsie! Sorry!” Randy felt air rush into his lungs as Pinkie set him down. “Were you surprised? I bet you were!”

“All this, just for me? But I just got here!”

“Trust us when we say she does this for every pony,” Apple Bloom said.

“Bruce. So,” he looked around, “cake for supper?”

There were games played, cake eaten, and punch drunk as the party hit full swing. After sundown, the crowd began to thin out as they all headed home. Even Randy was beginning to tire, his eyes trying to get him to fall asleep even. “This was the cheese! Thanks again, Pinkie Pie!”

“No problem! If you want to hang out, just let your friend Pinkie know!” She then proinked over to the stairs and sat on the rail before sliding up, jumping onto the landing and walking into her room, closing the door from a curl in her tail.

“How does she do that?”

There was no response and a brief examination of the room showed him that the young girls had fallen asleep. Applejack, an orange earth pony mare with straw mane, had Apple Bloom draped over her back. Rarity had Sweetie Belle in her magic aura. Rainbow Dash, a cyan pegasus mare with rainbow mane and tail, was hovering with Scootaloo in her forehooves. They all said their goodbyes and headed to their respective homes and to drop Scootaloo off. Tiredly, Randy also slowly trotted back to the castle. Seemed that Twilight had missed the party as she was still looking for Discord, along with Fluttershy, a crème yellow pegasus mare with light pink mane and tail that he met earlier that day. As he stumbled over to his bed, he fell asleep before his head hit the pillow. Right before he did so he thought, I never did ask Twilight about that message the ‘Nomicon gave me.

He was human again and leaping through the air of Norrisville as The Ninja. He flipped, spun, and twisted through the air. “Fear not, citizens of Norrisville! I am still here!” However, the streets were empty. “Huh? What the juice is going on?” He leapt from the tall building he was on to the street with ease and no injury. “Where is everybody?”

“Oh, hey Ninja!”

“Howard! Hey, where’s everyone?”

“Oh, they’re all worshipping McFist. Seems he got a superpower or something, I dunno,” his portly friend.

They stared at each other for a bit before Randy laughed hard at the notion. “McFist getting a superpower! Ah ha! He could only get that if the Sorcerer got free and he never did get anything. He’s defeated!”

“Nope, there’s another group worshiping him, too. They don’t wanna get stank’d.”


Suddenly, noon-day sky gave way to dark, ominous overcast, tinged with green. A wicked laugh echoed through the streets.

“Whelp, see ya, don’t wanna get stank’d, so I’m going to just head home, bye!” And with that, Howard ran as fast as he could away from Randy. In front of Randy, however, was a man with gangrene skin, thin limbs, a surprisingly pear-shaped body, and crooked teeth riding a giant rat. He was draped in green robes with gold trim.

“Sorcerer!” Randy exclaimed. How the juice…? He was then momentarily blasted from his feet just before getting into a battle stance by green and black energy from a spell of the Sorcerer’s. Using another spell, the Sorcerer summoned a sword that was wicked and jagged. Randy flipped back to his feet and reached for his own sword.

Only to pull out a hilt with a broken blade.

“Oh, wonk.” He then dropped it and pulled out his staff as quickly as he could and barely parried the mounted charge. Both combatants then pushed themselves away and dropped into ready stances. Twirling the staff, Randy charged first, leaping into the air, spinning the staff all the while and then swung it down as hard as he could, only for the Sorcerer’s sword to cleave the weapon in two. Dismayed, he then pulled out his chain-sickle opting for mid-ranged combat. He sung, shouting “Ninja Chain-sickle!” as the bladed end was swung to his opponent in hopes of wrapping him up. However, the rat only reared up to catch the blade in its teeth. “Whuh?” Randy was then thrown into the building by the rat’s tail as the Sorcerer directed it to spin around. Groaning in pain, he carefully lifted his head up to notice that his vision doubled and spun. Never a good sign. There was also the Sorcerer standing over him.

“Finally!” He spoke joyously in his grating voice, “I will have my revenge on you, ninja! Yet first,” he reached down and ripped Randy’s mask off, black ribbons trailing as they unraveled from his body, leaving him back in his street clothes, “I want to see your face proper when I destroy you!” His laugh chilled Randy’s blood. As he cried out, covering his face, he waited for the final blow.

“Back, foul dream! Thou shall not harm this one’s dreamscape no more!” A blast of midnight blue energy struck the Sorcerer, causing him to cry out in surprise and pain before vanishing in white light. All that was left was Randy, the streets, and the new comer. Once he opened his eyes, he saw someone he recognized from Discord’s magic.

Princess Luna was almost twice as tall as Twilight with midnight blue fur and an ethereal mane and tail that looked like the night sky, complete with stars. Her wings were half-way unfurled as she swim-walked down towards Randy, her horn still alight. A moon adorned her flank, white against black. “Art thou alright?” When she landed, her hoof lowered to Randy in a gesture to aid him up.

“Uh, yeah.” He grabbed the hoof and stood, noticing that he was perfectly eye-level with the mare. “So, I was dreaming this whole time?”

“Indeed, and such a strange one, this. I have not seen fighting that intense for a long while, even in the dreamscape.”

“Wonk. Well, uh, Princess Luna, right?” She nodded. “Well, uh, thanks for helping out. I don’t thing I would have liked falling onto crystal floor.” Randy chuckled at that last bit.

“Thou art a strange being. Are thou one of those creatures called ‘human’ that I have heard tale of from Twilight Sparkle?”


“Yet thou art in Ponyville, correct?”

“No, yeah, that sounds about right.”

“Does thou know how you’ve come to this place?”

“Oh, is that a story I gotta tell!” With Randy’s words, the scene shifted to the strip that the Game Hole was located on. “Oh, convenient. Me likie, me likie. Though first, I gotta ask.” The princess rose a brow. “How much of the dream did you see?”

“I believe I trotted in upon seeing you getting tail-slapped by an oversized rodent.” Randy groaned and completed a double facepalm. “I apologize, t’was that an embarrassing moment?”

“No, it’s what happened after,” Randy groaned out. “Okay, you can’t tell anyone what you saw, I’m not supposed to tell anyone that I’m, well, ya know.”

Luna stared at Randy with a deadpan. “No, I do not.”

Randy’s resolve wilting, he finally blurted out, “I’m not supposed to tell anyone I’m the Ninja!” He then flinched, flailing his arms before drawing one leg up and shielding his body. “Huh, normally the ‘Nomicon would so chew me out for this.”

“This ‘nomicon’, is it malicious?” Luna’s voice became steel.

“What, no! Wait, what does that mean? Nevermind, it’s an 800-year-old book of ninja knowledge and it kinda tries to keep the current ninja in check.” A replica of the NinjaNomicon appeared between the two, causing both to take a momentary step back. “You tell someone who you don’t trust to keep it secret or perform any other act unbecoming of a Ninja, you get the Ultimate Lesson early, get mind wiped as a result, and someone else gets chosen to be the Ninja!” After his final word, the book vanished in red smoke. “So, Princess, can we keep this between us?”

Princess Luna was stoic throughout the whole explanation. Oh, cheese it, I’m shoobed aren’t I? However, it wasn’t long before she smiled unexpectedly.

“Does thou not know how many times I have accidentally trotted in on an awkward dream? I may as well be the Mare of Secrets,” she chuckled out.

“Oh, thank cheese, I thought I was shoobed there for a second.”

“Dost thou always say such strange things? Is it this ‘slang’ I’ve heard of, or at least just where you are from?”

Randy smiled, “It’s a Norrisville thing, yeah.” He then cracked his knuckles. “Now, where were we? Ah, yes, getting stuck in Ponyville.”

It took not too long, though Luna was caught up on pretty much everything. “You have done well to make friends as swiftly as you have, though with your presence of mind, you tend to, how they say, ‘go with the flow’, do you not?”

Randy’s eyes darted around, “What? That’s ridiculous, me? Just go with whatever?” He became thoughtful, however. “Though I do tend to go with whatever Howard suggests, but they are good ideas. Though I do end up getting us in trouble because of that, though I do learn something from it.”

Luna only blinked at the ramblings. “I am confused, if this Howard is a friend, then why is following their suggestions potentially bad most of the time, even if they are considered to be good at the time?”

“We’ve been best friends since we were three. How is that not biffers forever? Huh?”

“Perhaps it is not my place unless I must need to make a royal decree. Sleep well, human.”

His sleep was then peaceful and dreamless.

5. Crusading

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Randy woke up to the bright guest room in Twilight’s castle, the light reflecting from the walls through the windows was almost unnaturally bright. Groaning, “Oh, why the juice does it have to be so bright?” He then rolled to his right and promptly fell on the floor. “Right, forgot. Pony.” As he picked himself up from the floor, he noticed Twilight was standing in the doorway with a look of concern.

“Are you okay? I was about to wake you up when I heard you hit the ground!”

“I’m cool! I’m cool!” He shook himself. “I’m good, little sore, but okay! What’s up?”

“I just wanted to let you know Spike and I made breakfast and you’re welcome to join us. I don’t think you’ve met my student, Starlight Glimmer yet?”

“Star-who now?”

Twilight deadpanned. “Well I supposed I should have guessed that reaction. Maybe you just haven’t seen her in the halls yet, you were out of it from the party.”

“Heck yeah! I party hard!”

The princess turned, and started for the hallway, “Well then you might want to hurry. We made pancakes!”

“Yes!” Randy hoofpumped.

Once in the dining room, Randy was introduced to a lighter purple unicorn named Starlight Glimmer. After some polite conversations, he finally remembered what he wanted to ask the princess. “So, Twilight?”

“Yes, Randy?” She responded idly as she ate the remainder of her pancakes.

“So, say you had some enemies, but you saw them get super defeated. What would it mean when someone tells you ‘when a threat appears thwarted is when a- you are at your weakest’?”

She stopped eating her meal for a moment with a thoughtful look. Starlight was the one to speak up. “Sounds like whomever is either really cryptic or trying to pull your leg.”

“I’ve got it! It means that even though they are dealt with, there are still other threats and you shouldn’t think you’re totally done!” Twilight beamed.

Randy smile widened upon hearing Twilight’s epiphany, “That sounds great! Great. Guess I -uh- gotta let a friend know when I get back home. Oh, by the way, how’s that going?”

Twilight’s mood suddenly soured. “I can’t find him, I don’t even know how to get to his place. I asked Fluttershy and she said that he always pops her in over to his dimension.” Using her magic, she played with the remainder of her food, fuming. “On top of that, he’s been dropping random notes, teasing me. He’s been really ornery, lately, and I’m not sure why.”

“Huh. Weird. Anyways, I’m going to head out, explore more of town, figure things out. See ya, thanks for breakfast!” With that, Randy galloped for the front door.

Once outside, he looked around before noting the coast clear and closed his eyes to focus. “Okay, maybe if I dial my senses up a bit I can-”

“Hi Randy!” The chorus of the greeting and the increased senses randy had at the time caused him to launch into the air and then onto his back. The trio of fillies from the other day surrounded his vision. “Oh, hey! Scootaloo, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle, right?” A nod from all of them. “Great, nice to see you again!” He then righted himself, his jacket still around his waist from the previous day flapping in place. Sweetie Belle gasped. “What, what is it? Something happen?”

Sweetie Belle then lifted his jacket at his right flank. “Wait, you don’t have a cutie mark?!” This remark elected a gasp from the other two girls.

“Okay, yeah, I don’t have one, though I figured I aught to hang out and relax and not worry about that.”

“But why not?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Because I- uh, well- you see…”

“Do you need help finding it?” Scootaloo asked.

“Well, maybe I- uh…”

“We can help!” Sweetie Belle shouted.

“We’re the Cutie Mark Crusaders, yay!” All three girls cheered before they took turns explaining.

“We help ponies with finding thar cutie marks!”

“Or help them figuring them out over again!”

“And you are a perfect client for us to help!”

“You sure? I mean, I have a few skills, but that’s only because I practiced.”

“What’dya mean by that?” Apple Bloom had a look of curiosity.

“Well, I can sing all right and play keytar -it’s like a guitar and a keyboard got mashed together. I can also beat nearly any high score in any video game given time. Other than that.…” Randy trailed off.

“So,” Scootaloo interjected, “what you are saying is that we need to figure out what your talent is that is probably not those things.”


“Right then!” Sweetie Belle rallied the Crusaders and Randy. “We’ve got a camp to go to!”

“Okay, sure. Sure.” He followed the girls for a few paces. “Wait, you have a camp?”

“You have a camp!”

To say that Randy was in awe was a bit of an understatement. “You girls, about four to five years or so younger than me, have a camp of your own?”

“What’s so hard to believe about that?” Scootaloo replied.

“Well- huh. Not sure. Guess you just need some space someone said you could use.” He looked around. “I guess.”

Sweetie Belle held some paint and paintbrushes in her magic field, “Let’s start you off with something simple.”

“Wow. Just. Wow.”

It was just two hours later, and the Crusaders had gone through everything from painting to poetry, woodworking to tailoring, obstacle courses to simple exercise and everything in between. However, Randy seemed to either mess it up, or was just okay at it without a cutie mark.

“Wonk,” Randy said, slamming his head on the wooden picnic table he was at from his latest scrapbooking adventure. “We even tried the things I liked and could do again. Just to see if it was a fluke!”

Apple Bloom patted his back between his shoulders, “Don’t worry, we’ll find somthin’.”

“I’ve got it!” Everypony looked at Scootaloo. Glitter and paper hung from Randy’s forehead. “Why don’t we try some extreme sports!”

“Well, I never thought I was the sports type, but I guess?” Randy shrugged at the suggestion. An orange vest hit him in the face followed up with an orange helmet placed upon his head.

“Great!” Scootaloo’s excitement could barely be contained. “We can all go with you! Saftey and all that.”

“Are we going white water rafting again?” Sweetie Belle asked. Scootaloo’s eyes darted around.


“That is something we shouldn’t NOT do! I am in!” Randy rose to his hind hooves, throwing a foreleg into the air. He only maintained this pose for about three seconds before falling backwards, tripping over the bench behind him and knocking his helmeted head on the ground. The helmet popped off due to not being fully secured. “I’m okay.”

The Crusaders had two kayaks ready for the nearby river which turned into fair rapids none too far from town. On the bank they paired up, Scootaloo with Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle with Randy. They each had their protective gear on and fully secured, oars in hoof. They hopped in, heavier ponies first and to the back.

“Though why? Why heavier pony first?” Randy inquired.

Apple Bloom responded, “So that way, the kayak doesn’t float away before any pony’s ready.”

“Well that makes sense.”

Once inside the kayaks, they then pushed themselves off the banks and started rowing with the current. “Okay,” Scootaloo explained, “we’re going to go through some rookie to novice-level rapids, before it get’s calm, so we’ll take it nice and easy.”

After rowing for about two minutes, the waters became choppy and rough. Nothing the Crusaders couldn’t handle. Sweetie Belle was giving Randy pointers with navigating the rocky river using his oar to push the kayak away from rocks and logs or just steering in the right direction.

“You’re doing pretty good! Maybe we can get the next part after a break.” Sweetie Belle had turned to face Randy, she didn’t see what was behind. Randy got a good view, however. “Randy, what’s wrong? You can’t be scared, it should be,” she paused as she turned around, “calm….”

Instead of a calm break, the river twisted and turned with sharp rocks jutting out and jagged fallen logs interspersed making a maze within the river. Reacting quickly, Randy jammed his oar into the water, steering his kayak a hard left into the bank. “Okay, I don’t know about you, but that’s no honkin’ break!” Screams interrupted whatever Sweetie was about to say. Further down the river, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom were in their kayak, desperately trying to navigate the suddenly unfamiliar river, terror in their screams. “Oh, no. Sweetie Belle, stay here.”


“Stay here!” Randy then pulled out the ninja mask, “Also, try to keep this a secret, okay?” Standing on his hind legs, he pulled the mask over his head and the black ribbons created the suit once more. He didn’t waste time on a pose. “That river looks way dangerous, what the juice is going on? Ninja Sprint!” He galloped faster than he anticipated, though he was still lagging due to the twists the river took, knocking the remaining two Crusaders around. “Hold on! I’m coming!”

Suddenly, a few hundred feet ahead, a terrifying monster with a glowing green half mustache burst its torso out of the river, roaring and snarling.

“Oh, shoob-tastic.”

6. Old Enemies

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The monster was like as if someone stank’d a monster. Rippling muscles on its serpentine body, sickly blue scales, solid yellow eyes, and two large forearms with four long black claws on each. It had large, wild orange hair and only the mustache on the left side of it’s face was intact and glowing a sickly green color, frayed and split. Twin pairs of fangs jutted out, two massive upper and two slightly smaller lower ones. Upon seeing this frightening visage, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, having long lost their oars, froze in terror before renewing their screams.

Randy galloped faster than should have been possible and leapt from rock to log with expertise, only occasionally using the hoof spikes to keep his balance on some of the slipperier rocks. Finally, from halfway where he saw the monster to its maw, Randy landed on the girls’ kayak. “Ninja save!” he shouted, pulling the girls from the kayak and in one powerful leap, landed on the shore. “Stay here,” he commanded while pulling out his sword, “I’ll deal with this monster.”

“Are you going to kill it?!” Scootaloo shouted in concern.

“What!? No!” Randy was incredulous. “It looks stank’d. So, I got to d’stank them!” He pointed and the sword and waved it over the monster’s form. “Just have to find what it holds most dear and destroy it and poof, returned to normal!” Scribbles and doodles appeared in Randy’s vision, pointing to the glowing mustache. “Ah ha!” He leapt and flipped multiple times in the monster’s direction. He did catch Apple Bloom remark, “Was that ninja-looking guy familiar to ya?”

On the jagged rocks, Randy stood on his hind hooves with confidence, blade in his pasterns. “Okay, monster, let’s dance.” He jumped for the monster’s face. “Ninja Slice, Ninja Slice, Ninja Slice!” Each called strike either bouncing off scale or deflected with a durable fang. “Fine then, enjoy a Ninja Bee Ball! Woah!” He was able to reach into his sash and fish out the black and yellow ball, but it slipped from his grasp as he had tried and failed to hold it with a hoof. It struck the stone and plopped into the river. Both monster and Ninja had stopped to stare at this fumble. “Heh, heh, whoops.” The monster then only moved its arm, and backhanded Randy to the shore opposite to the girls. “Ow, that hurt.” Flipping back up, he resumed his attacks, the monster still blocking. “I don’t get it! Why are it’s scales so hard and why won’t you let me d’stank you!” Randy’s eyes widened before dodging a hefty swing. After it’s attack, though, a rock pelted the right side of its head. Turning, both Randy and the monster saw all three girls on the banks, determined faces morphing to fear at the stank’d creatures snarl, Sweetie Bell dropping a readied rock from her magic. Randy, taking advantage of the distraction, called out “Ninja Slice!” and cut the other side of the mustache off. Roaring and screeching, the monster slowly deflated to about half it’s size and turning purple in color, remaining frayed ends of the mustache then matching its hair. It landed heavily on the bank next to the girls, groaning in pain or exhaustion. It was hard to tell.

The stank lifted from the chopped mustache, slowly morphing into a purple color with green. “Pew! That stank is always shnasty!” He took another couple of whiffs. “Wait a minute, I recognize that stank anywhere! First, I gotta check out that serpent dude. Once he leapt to the shore, the river also d’stanked, leaving it in its natural state. Nice and calm. Once by the girls, he then addressed the monster. “Hey, you okay?”

They lifted their head into a manicured hand. “Oh, my aching head. Whatever did happen?”

“You got stank’d: turned into a terrible monster. Anything coming back?”

“Well, now that you mention it, yes! Yes, I do!” The righted themselves and folded their hands. “I was just headed through the rivers through the Everfree Forest to get to Ponyville and meet my friend, Cranky Doodle.”


Apple bloom interrupted briefly, “He’s one of the few donkeys in town.”


“Any who,” the monster continued, “I was half-way there when I saw this strange lady flying in the air – if only barely. She wore these purple robes with darker purple ball necklace. I’m going to have to say a slightly pale violet and a dark magenta respectively.”

“The Sorceress, great. Guess she managed to get here from the Land of Shadows,” Randy then looked at the monster. “Sorry, continue.”

“Well, she did offer me power to aid her in spreading chaos, but I politely told her that’s not my thing. She then got mad and slashed at my mustache with her wicked claws. Oh woe, is me!” He brought his arms up to his forehead, distressed. “Then, after that,” he resumed, lowering his arms, “I don’t recall a thing.”

“Well, worry not, kind monster! For I have freed you from being a terrible monster and back to your old self!” He looked side to side, “Because that’s what she did, she used magic to turn you into a monster.”

“A monster! And a terrible one!” His hands flew to the sides of his head, “Oh, my new friend, thank you for saving me from a terrible fate!”

“Yeah, one thing real fast,” Randy took out a sai and moved towards the monster, “you might need a trim.”

“Oh!” Sweetie Belle chirped up. “I can help with that.”

“Just be careful, it’s sharp.” He held out the sai as Sweetie moved it within her magic and trimming away split ends into a fashionable short mustache.

“Rarity taught me that one. She wanted me to be able to at least trim my own mane.”

“Ooooh!” The monster cackled in glee. “This is perfect! Wait! Did you say Rarity?”

“Uh, yes?”

“Oh, lovely! How do you know her? Wait, let me guess, sisters?”

“Yeah! How do you know her?”

“Oh, when we first met, we were in the Everfree forest. She noticed my lovely mane, scales, and nails, though did something wonderful for my mu-stache after a mean shadow sliced half of it right off. She used her lovely tail to complete and fix my mu-stache. I had to help them across the river I was in at the time after that! It was only polite.”

“Wow, my sister knows a river serpent. Cool!”

“Cool indeed!” He then lowered himself and held out a scaled hand, “My name’s Steven Magnet, pleasure to meet you!”

Everyone shook his claw with a hoof and introduced themselves.

“I’m Sweetie Belle!”

“Mah name’s Apple Bloom.”

“And I’m Scootaloo!”

“You can call me Ninja.”

“Huh?” The Crusaders chorused.

“What? Secret identity.” Randy then trotted the girls up the river. “Well, I’ve got to get them back to town, you have a good visit.”

“Oh, nonsense, let me get you a lift!” Steven insisted.

“That’s very kind of you,” Sweetie Belle said.

“Faster than walking,” Scootaloo chimed in.

“Especially since we lost a kayak,” Apple Bloom stated sadly.

Randy looked around and pointed to the river. “Found it. Though I don’t think you want it back.” True enough, there was the kayak, however it was dashed against a rock on the opposite shore, massive crack ran through the middle of its hull. The girls groaned.

“Well, hop on. I’ll get you all home!” Steven then rolled his body to where there was a hump on his back for each pony. Randy scooped up the girls and placed Apple Bloom in front, Scootaloo next, followed by Sweetie Belle then himself. “Onward!”

Within minutes they were just within Ponyville town limits. “Thanks, Steven, we’ve got it from here. You meet up with your friend Cranky.”

“No problem, Ninja! Have a good day!” With that, Steven dove under the water and zipped off further up river.

After saying goodbyes, Randy turned to the Crusaders. “What happened to ‘stay here’? You could have gotten hurt!”

The Crusaders all fidgeted with their hooves in the dirt, none of them making eye contact with the masked ninja. “Sorry.”

Randy sighed, “Well, at least none of you got hurt.”

“Yeah! Thanks again Ran- uh, I mean Ninja!” Sweetie Belle began to sweat and look between her two friends. Randy facehoofed electing an “ow” from him.

“Ran? As in Randy? Tha colt that fell out of a bench? That Randy?” Apple Bloom kept trying to debunk it, yet there was still doubt in her eyes.

“Hang on, I can see it!” Scootaloo exclaimed. “Same build, same expressions and same peach fur that you can see from the mask!”

Apple Bloom looked closer. “Now that ya mention it, I can see it too.”

Sweetie Belle was stammering, though Randy held up a hoof. “It’s okay, Sweetie Belle, I didn’t expect you to keep it from your friends for long. Believe me!” Looking around, he then saw the coast clear being away from the center of town before pulling off the mask, ribbons revealing Randy as they saw him earlier that day. “I didn’t want you girls to know because it’s supposed to be a secret, but I couldn’t just let you get swept away to your doom. Then I saw the Steven stank’d out and that wasn’t good at all!” He pocketed the mask to an inside pocket. “Now, I need you to promise me that you won’t tell anybody else, or I’ll have to mind wipe ya.”

“Don’t worry we won- wait, you can do that?” Sweetie Belle nearly tripped.

“Just, do you promise?”

“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!” The girls all said this little chant gaining a smirk from him. Scootaloo said, “It’s a Pinkie Promise, and no pony breaks a Pinkie Promise.”

“Good enough for me.”

“Wait! Why are you a ninja? There a super cool backstory to it! Did someone hurt your family? Your honor? Did someone steal something from you and you vowed revenge?” Scootaloo began to rattle off potential backstories, ever curious how Randy got the suit.

“Easy, nothing like that. I was chosen to be the next ninja because I’m pure of heart and brave beyond reason. Well, uh, that’s what I was told, anyhow.”

“Brave beyond reason? How so?” Apple Bloom asked.

“Well, I once jumped off a hydro-electric dam that was a couple thousand feet tall to snag a best friend from a free fall to the bottom. Totally wasn’t scared. Worried for my best friend’s life, yes. Scared, ah no.”

“I think I’ve got it!” Sweetie Belle cheered. “Your special talent! You’re great when it comes to saving the day so much that it comes naturally! It has to be!”

“I don’t know, if that were the case then I wouldn’t need to learn the Ultimate Lesson after a certain point and get mind wiped.”

“Wait, you’d have to stop? Why?” Scootaloo asked.

“Because that’s how it is. Each ninja is chosen, and normally, after defeating the Sorcerer, I wouldn’t need to be the Ninja anymore, but instead, the Sorceress has escaped, again. Not to mention a lot sooner than before, did she find a shortcut?”

“Gah, think about it, what about any time you weren’t in a suit! Did you still save the day? Was it still satisfying and the best?”

Randy looked away, though in thought. There were a few times, but…. “Okay, there were a few times, but still-”

“I didn’t hear a ‘no’.”

His face grew serious for a moment before splitting into a grin. “You know what, you’re right! I am not only the Ninja, but I’m the brucest one there is!” He adopted a power stance before a blinding light surrounded him, lifting him into the air. The light concentrated on his flank before revealing to be a swirled 9, just like the one on his chest while wearing the ninja mask. As he lowered, the Crusaders cheered and surrounded him, enveloping him into a big group hug. Randy returned the hug and smiled. Even if he were to lose his memories, he could always learn how to be a hero, even as a civilian.

“Shame I got to still figure out how to beat the Sorceress like I did with the Sorcerer, somehow.”

7. Silver and Gold

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The next day was a bit less eventful. Having agreed previously that he needed a bit of experience helping others to make the most of his new cutie mark, Randy agreed to help some of the local ponies with random chores after resting up. Fighting a monster, saving the Crusaders, and the stress of waiting for the ‘Nomicon to chew him out for telling not one more, but three more his secret. However, it remained silent, as though to tell him that he did the right thing and believed these girls as well when they made their promise. Now, bucket in mouth, Randy trotted around Fluttershy’s backyard, helping her with her animals.

“Now, remember, some of these critters can be very jittery and can get spooked very easily, Randy,” Fluttershy explained. “You need to approach some of them with care.” She lowered to her belly and approached a small group of ferrets. “Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Ferret. This is Randy, he’ll be helping me today.”

Randy, following her lead, also crawled a bit on his belly cautiously to the ferrets. “Hey there! Oh, my cheese, you are cute!” The ferrets covered their muzzles and blushed.

“I’m sure you’ve got this. I’ll take care of the animals inside while you help the ones out here. If you aren’t sure how to help them, just come and get me. Talking to animals of all kinds is my special talent, so I can translate for you.”

“That’s so bruce! Thanks, Fluttershy.”

Once they went their separate ways on the ground, Randy started placing out treats that were in the bucket, on top of all the birdseed. He couldn’t help but wonder how many birds were at the place, but he made sure to keep them in there until he found a place for them. He fed snakes, skunks, a giraffe – How the juice did that get here? – and even Harry the Bear. Turns out there is a butcher in town for the more carnivorous pets and visitors to town, such as Harry or even griffon visitors. Randy wanted to try to see if he could eat any but was worried his new anatomy may not accept meat in his diet any longer. Halfway through the bucket, all that remained was birdseed and he had only encountered a few feeders that needed a little filling. “Okay, where do I need to go now?” After voicing his concern to himself, he saw a wire fence with a small wooden building, doorway barely big enough to squeeze into.

“No.” White feathers dotted the penned yard, and some hung on the latch to the gate. “No.” Clucking was heard before a wobbly white head with wide eyes appeared from within the coop, clucking and bobbing upon exit. Words failed Randy this time around, holding stock still, praying that the foul feathered fiend hadn’t seen him. Idly, he looked down and saw the bucket and saw the neck-high fence. The chicken still didn’t notice his presence, facing the other direction upon a double-check. Back and forth between the two, he then pulled his head back and tossed the bucket into the pen.

Only for it to have not even a single seed fall out and to land upright.

Though the clang of the bucket got the chicken’s attention, upon several others that were still in the coop. They flooded out and swarmed the bucket, however they weren’t successful in reaching in the bucket or knocking it over. Groaning, Randy slowly trotted to the gate. “I hate doing this. I don’t wanna do this, I should have offered to cover the inside instead. Should’ve known there would be chickens.” He slowly reached for the latch yet hesitated as he looked back at the fowls. They clucked and still swarmed the bucket, oblivious to his presence at the gate. However, the pen was a bit on the small side, and even though only a half dozen chickens were present, his mind’s eye couldn’t help but play tricks on him, seeing nearly twice as many. Sucking in a short breath, his hoof hit the latch, slowly opening the gate. What mortified Randy was how squeaky the gate was. Everything froze right as the chickens looked up and stared at Randy. Seconds ticked by and no one made a move. Right as his right hoof lowered from flipping the latch and hit the ground, everything exploded.

A swarm of white feathers fluttered in the air, clucking intensified up to at least an eight, hooves thundering within the pen, and Randy screaming the entire time.

Not that he’d ever admit to that.

During his frantic escape from the foul feathered fiends, he caught a glimpse of Fluttershy in her window on the first floor, looking at Randy with concern and worry. Another pass told him she had disappeared from the window and he could only pray that she was on her way.

Only moments passed by before a slightly raised and assertive voice called out, “Elizabeak! Henrietta, Beatrice! Clarabelle, Harriette, Tillie! Come here right now, girls, and leave poor Randy alone!” Sullenly, the chickens obeyed. Upon noticing that they were at the gate, cowering, Randy inched over to the bucket. Once there, he kicked it over, sprinted for the fence and jumped over it, left hind hoof catching on the top of the fence, forcing him face first into the ground. “Ow.” Upon seeing that Randy had cleared enough of the fence, the chickens were allowed back to the seeds that had fallen. Fluttershy came back, bucket under a wing. “Randy are you okay?”

“I’m good, Fluttershy. I’m good,” he said dismissively from his grounded position. He rose carefully and untangled himself from the fence. “Sorry about that, should have realized you had chickens and warned you about my, uh, issue.”

“Oh no, it’s quite alright,” Fluttershy assured. “I didn’t know anypony was scared of any cute little critters.”

“Cute? Well, to me, they’re terrifying!” Randy shuddered. “Did you know they have more bones in their neck than a giraffe?! A giraffe!” He exclaimed, waiving a foreleg into the air.

Fluttershy chuckled, “Yes, I did know, but I’m sure you know a lot about them. Did you try to learn as much as possible to get over your fear?”

Randy stopped waving about and stood upright, eyes flicking back and forth, “Maybe.”

Fluttershy giggled again, “Well, that’s all for today, would you like to join me for tea? Discord usually joins around this time.”

“I don’t think I should – wait, did you say Discord?”

Fluttershy nodded, “Though he hasn’t been around lately, I do hope he makes it to tea. He’s yet to miss a day with me.”

“Well, I don’t see why not. Never been a huge tea fan, though.”

“Maybe you just hadn’t had the right tea."

Howard was getting impatient. This Discord guy-thing-whatever kept droning on and on about something or other. There were more important things to worry about. Like that lava flow that just stuck to the ceiling like gravity was backwards complete with mini volcano, not setting a single thing on fire. There was even that swirling vortex in the center of the floor like a decorative rug. A staircase lead to the ceiling with no door or trapdoor in site. Singing teabags floated about in a wordless tune. Both he and Discord were sitting opposite to each other on floating chairs with a table hovering between the too. While looking around, Howard realized then that the lava flow was now below him and Discord was upside-down and smiling.

Or is that a frown? Oh, wait, I’m upside-down.

“Confound it, boy, are you even listening to a word I’m saying?”

Howard looked at Discord with a matter-of-fact expression, replied with, “No, no I am not. Where are we? Where’s my best pal, and why are you a mix of all sorts of animals?”

Discord deadpanned before slapping his lion’s paw over his face and literally rubbed it off. He took a marker from thin air and drew a more serious expression back on. “Honestly, your ninja friend is just fine and probably making more friends. I would love to send you with him-”

“The Ninja, make friends without me? Hah! Come on, you can do better than that.”

“No, really, I was planning on tea time with Fluttershy, so I can check up-”

“HAH! Tea time!” Howard slapped a hand on his forehead and let out a bellowing laugh. He then held up his hand in a mocking manner and adopted a faux British accent. “Well then, why don’t you just scurry off now to yon tea time?” He resumed into his boisterous laughter, slapping his knee all the while. Meanwhile, Discord resumed his deadpanned look as he snapped up another bubble, like he did for the other guest he had. Though instead of popping on his forehead, it popped about five inches away as it was slapped unceremoniously out of the air. Steam simmered from his head as he clenched his lion’s paw in annoyance. He snapped again, bubble in his hand. He then lobbed it and it bounce beautifully off the ceiling in a gap in the lava, ricochets off a random folded napkin duck that was in mid-flight, hit the wall behind Howard and knocked the boy in the back of his head with an audible smack followed by a pop. While stunned, Discord snaps his talons and transforms Howard into a pudgy, dark blue unicorn colt with orange mane in the same style as his hair usually took, wearing a lighter blue outer shirt and sporting a cutie mark of a pair of binoculars falling apart. Howard righted himself from his position and glared at Discord all the while. “Why you, I aughta-”

“Oh, look at that, it’s getting late and I really need to be at Fluttershy’s now, so I’ll just drop you off. Toodles!” Another snap and Howard found himself teleported in the middle of a busy street of a small town. Still sitting upright. Now sans a chair and due to his new physiology, Howard found himself listing backward before landing solidly on his back.

“Okay, what the juice is going on?” A mint green unicorn filled his vision. “And just who the heck are you?”

“Are you okay, there? Did Discord prank ya?” The mare held out a hoof which Howard, whom after a brief thought, reluctantly took it and was helped up. He tried to stand on his hind hooves, but his body automatically lurched forward, and he landed on all fours.

“Big mis-matchy guy? Oh yeah. Got me good, hardy har.” His tone was unflattering and he adopted a scowl after he said it all. “Yeah, just wandering my hometown, normal day and everything, then suddenly he appears from nowhere and just pops me and my best friend somewhere that I don’t even know where it is!” He looked around and notice all the ponies that were bustling about. “So, where am I?”

The mare gasped, “You don’t know where you are? Goodness, that’s a little far nowadays for him. Also, to answer your question, you’re in Ponyville, central town of weird. My name’s Lyra Heartstrings, what’s yours?”

“Weinerman, Howard Weinerman. So, where do I find Discord?” He lifted a forehoof and tightly curled his pastern, “I’ve got a friend to find and he knows where he is!”

“Oh, what’s his name? Maybe I can help!”

“You, help?” Surprise made its way easily to Howard’s face. “But I just met you.”

“Sure, but you’re a teenaged colt wandering in a new town. I live here, and I could show you around! I could also introduce you to Pinkie Pie. She’s the party pony of Ponyville and knows everypony in town. No, really. Every. Pony.”

Howard pulled his Thinking Face™ and pondered on the offer. It wasn’t long before he thrust out his forehoof with a big grin on his face and shouted, “You’ve got it! Hey, maybe after this we could hang out or something? I dunno.”

“So, what’s your friend’s name?”

“Randy Cunningham. He’s a pretty bruce guy.”

“Oh, hey, I’ve met him! Pinkie Pie threw a ‘Welcome to Ponyville’ Party for him!”

“Oh hey, that’s weirdly convenient.”

“Come on, let’s see if we can’t find him in town, somewhere.” They both trotted at a leisurely pace, keeping an eye out for Randy. Very little time passed before Lyra asked another question. “So, what’s your cutie mark mean?”

“My what?” He looked to his flank where Lyra was pointing, “Oh, that. Funny story. I have always had this knack for destroying things, but I figured it was my special talent when I helped a local company make their stuff actually unbreakable. Seriously, I would break everything. It was awesome!” Lyra simply had a look that was between bemused and amused as she lightly shook her head and resumed her search for the second newest colt in Ponyville.