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Ninja Apple Bloom: The Wild Imagination of a Blank-Flank Filly
The day was dreary and dark. The landscape devoid of lush life, replaced with jagged rock and twisted trees, branches like arms outstretched. The calm bluish-grey day hidden behind a veil of dark grey and thunder, yet neigh a drop of rain fell from the sky.
The lone figure of a pony hid behind one of the many trees, her face mostly hidden behind the black fabric of her outfit. Her orange eyes darting around. She was focused, determined to accomplish her mission. "Now to find a way to sneak into the castle."
The filly, Apple Bloom, muttered. Her country drawl clear even if her mouth was hidden behind the black fabric. She gazed up towards her destination. A large, gothic castle perched high atop the mountain, towers rising up to end in cone-like roofs. Fire could be heard crackling in isolated spots around the castle. Apple Bloom knew this place had depressions scattered all around it, where flames danced and smoke rose. This was not a welcoming place for the ninja filly. But she already knew this, and she was going to press on regardless of the danger it posed.
Taking a quick glance right and left, making sure nopony would see her- not that they could, she was
a ninja after all- Apple Bloom made her way over towards the castle. It was about fifteen feet away and she kept alert. Even darting behind a nearby bush at one point- sticking her head through the thick leaves and berries to make sure the coast was clear- before continuing. Once she reached the base of the mountain, she pressed her back against the cold rock. She looked around, scared that she was being watched.
She craned her head towards the skies. Giant dragons circled the top of the mountain, guarding the castle from intruders. Their menacing shadows would engulf Apple Bloom, darkening her even more than her suit already did. Her heart began to race and worry began to take hold of her. But she wouldn't relent, she wouldn't give up. For her beloved prince, Smarty Pants the Grand, awaited her inside. Oh, how she missed him so. Such great distances traveled, so many dangers faced just to get to where she was. She would do anything to save him, even if that meant sacrificing herself.
Apple Bloom listened to the beasts screeching above, keeping their reptilian eyes peeled for potential invaders.
But this filly wasn't any ordinary invader...she was Apple Bloom, the most stealthy, sneaky, quickest filly in all of Equestria. When travelling by herself, she could sneak by anypony like an apparition.
But she wasn't dealing with ponies here. She was dealing with dragons, and the two species differed in more ways than just their appearance. She couldn't simply sneak past them. Dragon's didn't only rely on their eyes to catch prey, they sniffed
them out. Their noses were the most effective tracking devices, able pick up the smallest scent even at a great distance. It was possible that she could find a way to sneak past them, but it would be difficult. She would have to be extremely careful not to draw attention to herself.
She had to find a way into the castle that didn't, but how? She looked around until her eyes landed on a group of jagged rocks that escalated up to the castle. They looked like a makeshift staircase, and most likely at one point, were. But for now they were just an oddly shaped set of rocks leading up.
Moving towards the rocks, her back still pressed against the base of the mountain, she started her climb. Each move freezing in the shadows, looking around to make sure the dragons didn't spot her. Once she felt it was safe to proceed, she continued up.
She managed to get about ten steps up when she heard a roar. Quickly, she dove into the shadows and looked around. The sound of wings flapping growing closer until she realized the dragon was directly above her. She was horrified. Even the most skilled ninja couldn't successfully sneak past a dragon that close. She scanned the area around her, trying to find something that could help her. That's when she saw it. A spherical, shining red object, roughly the size of a softball, to her right. She lifted it up and looked it over, tossing it in her hoof as she examined it.
It was an Empire Projectile. Something that, when launched, would explode as the white substance within smashed all over the target. Normally she wouldn't use such means to "sneak" by, but with the dragon flying around so close to her position, she didn't have a choice. "Right, let's see if these bozos know how to dodge."
Apple Bloom thought, staring up at the dragon with pure determination, its red scales glimmering even in the dark shadow of the mountain. She grabbed Empire Projectile, aimed it, reared back and tossed it at the threatening beasts. The apple exploded upon contact, a blast of yellow and red mush spread across the sky. The dragon howled in agony as it spiraled out of control before crashing to the ground. It let out a weak screech before letting its head fall back to the ground. It was knocked out colt.
"Ha-ha! Ah've got ya!" Apple Bloom shouted, pumping her hoof triumphantly when she heard another screech just above her. Looking up, she saw the other two beasts descending towards her. Knowing she'd have to act fast, Apple Bloom dove down the stairs, narrowly avoiding one of the dragon's jaws as they clamped right where she'd been standing. She managed to have such a powerful jump that it only took two bounds to reach the ground, where she rolled before coming to her hooves, her face covered in dirt.
She then did a flip before landing on all four hooves, bracing herself. She then jumped once more, dodging the second dragon. She turned to see the second monster's muzzle stuck in the soft ground, firmly planted into the soil. But that still left the first dragon, which was currently making another b-line at the ninja filly. She looked around and realized there weren't any other red balls to hurl at the coming monster. She was done for.
She looked up at her red-bow and immediately had an idea. It was crazy, but in her capable hooves, it just might work. She quickly, yet carefully, untied the bow and held it out in front of her like the tape marking the end of the race. She readied herself, aiming the ribbon so it lined up with the dragon's mouth.
The dragon opened its mouth, ready to chomp down onto the filly when Apple Bloom jumped up into the air, just as the dragon flew beneath her. The red ribbon was now in the clamped jaws of the beast, which was doing everything it could to break free. Alas, Apple Bloom wouldn't have any of it and wouldn't relent in the slightest. She sat her flank firmly onto the dragon's neck and pulled on the ribbon, as if it was reigns on a wild bull.
"Ye-haw! Settle down there ya beasty!" Apple Bloom laughed, the dragon thrashing around underneath her. She then placed her hoof onto the back of the dragon's head and began to whisper soothing words to it, using her ninja animal-whispering abilities. Eventually the dragon stopped its struggle and gave in, Apple Bloom slowly stroking its smooth scales, "Shhh, don't fret. That's a good boy, ah ain't gonna hurt ya, as long as ya don't hurt me."
Apple Bloom looked up, the sight of the castle only made her desperation to reach the prince in time grow.
"Now, let's go save Smarty Pants!" Apple Bloom shouted triumphantly, pulling back on the reign-ribbon to get the dragon airborne. The dragon let out a quick screech before launching itself off of the ground and flying up towards the castle. The wind whipped through Apple Bloom's mane as she ascended the castle and the single lit window drawing nearer and nearer. Finally, she reached the window, bringing the dragon to a stop just outside of it. She pulled the ribbon from the dragon's bite and jumped off of its neck and into the castle. Apple Bloom turned and watched as the dragon flew off into the night. She gave it a quick, but pointless, wave, before turning her attention back to her ribbon.
"Can't be without mah bow. That'd be like Daring Do not wearin' her hat." She put the ribbon into her mane and started to tie it when she heard a very familiar voice.
"You should leave it out. I think you look good without the ribbon."
Apple Bloom turned around to see Smarty Pants sitting in the corner of the room. A small smile on his face, his mane blowing in the seemingly non-existent breeze of the room. Even in the darkness of the cell, his grey coat was visibly mangy and his silver eyes glistened. One would never suspect he was royalty. But it didn't matter how he looked to Apple Bloom. He was still the pony she had traveled so far to save, the one she loved.
"I think you look splendid without it." Smarty Pants said.
"Smarty Pants!" Apple Bloom shouted, running over to the living doll, throwing her hooves around his neck. Smarty Pants' eyes bulged for a moment from the shock of the hug before he relaxed and returned the hug. "Ah knew ah'd find ya!"
Smarty Pants chuckled, "Easy there, Apple Bloom. It's good to see you too, I've missed you alot."
"Not as much as ah've missed ya." Apple Bloom said pulling back so she could look into Smarty Pants' eyes. Even though her mouth was covered by the black cloth of her outfit, Smarty Pants could tell that she was smiling. "How did ya recognize me in mah outfit?"
"Only one pony has a mane and tail that beautiful." Smart Pants said, "Besides, when you turned I got a good view of your eyes. I could never forget what they look like."
"Aw, that's so sweet of ya." Apple Bloom said, thankful that her outfit hid her blush. The two ponies stared at each other for about a minute before Apple Bloom spoke up.
"Okay, enough dilly-dallying around. Come on; let's get ya out of here." Apple Bloom said, trying to drag Smarty Pants to the door, but the stubborn pony refused to budge.
"Wait." he said, causing Apple Bloom to stop pulling on his arm and look up at him, urgency in her eyes. "There are dozens of guards patrolling the castle. We can't just go into the hallway; they'll see us before we get two flights down. We have to find another way out."
Apple Bloom stared for a moment before she started laughing like Smarty Pants just told her the most hilarious joke ever.
"Ha-ha! Oh Smarty Pants, ya know there's a reason why ah wear the suit." She pulled at her black suit while Smarty Pants just tilted his head. "Ah'm a ninja."
She then took a few combat-like poses, "Stealthier than the night! More silent than a mouse! Quicker than a zephyr in the sky!"
"Quicker than a what
?" Smarty Pants asked.
"Sorry, new word ah learned from Sweetie Belle." Apple Bloom said with a blush before turning around, "Follow me, and ah promise we'll both get out of here safely."
Smarty Pants nodded and followed his rescuer. Apple Bloom zipped towards the wall beside the door, pressing herself up against the side. She motioned for Smarty Pants to follow her. He stood next to her, an anxious look on his face as Apple Bloom used her hoof to slowly open the door. She poked her head out and looked to the left, then the right.
The coast was clear.
Grabbing Smarty Pants, Apple Bloom made her way out of the room and into the hall, pulling her Prince in Distress behind her. At first nopony appeared. In fact, the duo made it down a spiral staircase, only torches lighting the way, without even spotting a single guard. The walls were the blandest of concrete, sticky to the touch. Whenever Apple Bloom made herself and Smarty Pants press up against the wall, fearful of being seen, they'd have to literally peel themselves off once they were certain the coast was clear.
"Ack, what's on the walls?" Smarty Pants whispered, pressing his hoof to his back, feeling the gooey substance that had stuck to his fur. "It feels like sludge."
"Ah don't know, and honestly, ah don't want ta know." Apple Bloom said, trying to ignore the wet feeling on her back. She poked her head around the corner to see two guard ponies standing at the bottom of the stairs, spears and shields in their possession. Apple Bloom turned back to Smarty Pants and pressed her hoof to her lips, shushing him as she scaled up the walls, up to the ceiling, like a spider on a web.
The dim lighting made her blend to near invisibility, crawling on the ceiling over to where the two guards were. Her orange eyes were fiery and determined. She was directly above them when she reached down and placed one hoof on each of their heads, smashing them together like coconuts. The two ponies collapsed, unconscious, as she whistled for Smarty Pants to join her.
The grey colt trotted over, looking over the two knocked out ponies. His jaw dropped. Apple Bloom leapt back onto the ground, hooves-first. She brushed herself off and turned to Smarty Pants, who was still staring at the damage his rescuer had done.
"Holy Mother of Celestia above."
"Forget them," Apple Bloom said, motioning for Smarty Pants to follow her, "We have ta get out of here before..."
"Hey! Hold it right there!"
Both Apple Bloom and Smarty Pants looked down the hall to see about four guards standing tall, staring straight at them while a fifth pointed his hoof in their direction. His eyes were cold and heartless, yet with a glimmer of desire. The desire to catch the two escapees.
"Uh-oh." Apple Bloom muttered.
"Run?" Smarty Pants asked.
Apple Bloom nodded, "Eeyup."
Both of them ran off down the hall. The guard ponies hot on their tails. The next few minutes consisted of a growing crowd of ponies chasing after the ninja and her sidekick. Every now and then the duo would evade their pursuers in the shadows. Unfortunately, as soon as they'd re-enter the light, even for the briefest moment, somepony else would spot them and they'd have the same problem they had before.
"How do they keep spotting us, you're a ninja for Pete's sake!" Smarty Pants scolded as they made their way down the hall.
"Me!?! Yer the one whose body's always sticking out. Maybe if ya were more careful we could sneak by them!" Apple Bloom hissed, her eyes still searching for an alternative route so they could ditch their pursuers. Finally, her eyes landed on a slightly-open doorway to their left.
"There!" Apple Bloom said, darting for the door, Smarty Pants right behind her. They burst through and immediately found themselves outside, a narrow strip ahead of them. What the duo didn't realize was that the strip ended only a little ways out. Only when Smarty Pants almost fell to his death, did they find this out.
Smarty Pants dangled from the edge of the bridge, over an inferno of flames that roared below. The heat rose, searing some of the fur on his legs, threatening to consume him. His hooves kicking and face grimacing as he attempted to push himself back up. Apple Bloom took Smarty Pants by the hooves and began to pull him up, grimacing the entire time.
"Ugh, geez fer a prisoner ya really kept the weight on." Apple Bloom grunted, trying her best to pull her dangling friend up.
"Shut up and get me up." Smarty Pants said, Apple Bloom complying as she pulled him onto the strip. Once safely on concrete, Smarty Pants let out a sigh and looked up at Apple Bloom, grinning, "I guess neither of us was up for this whole adventure thing, eh?"
Apple Bloom was about to respond when she remembered their pursuers. She turned to see a group of very angry looking guards slowly approaching them, their eyes glassy. Their smiles sinister and dark, threatening the terrified duo. It was like a coming storm.
Apple Bloom snickered. "Yeah. Also, ah think mah ninja skills need ta improve."
"You think?" Smarty Pants asked with a small smile as the horde approached. Both ponies looked into each other's eyes, then over the edge of the strip. Down below the flames danced around, enticing and beautiful, the heat shooting up into the ponies' faces reminded them of the deadliness concealed by its beauty.
"What now?" Smarty Pants asked. Even though he tried to keep his voice steady, there was an undeniable anxiety in it.
A tear ran down Apple Bloom's face and she looked up at Smarty Pants, shaking her head. "A-ah can't go with them. Ah refuse to."
Smarty Pants wiped the tear off her cheek and smiled, "So do I."
Both ponies gave each other a quick peck on the lips, holding each other by the shoulders. They broke off and looked into each other's eyes, smiling one last time before looking over the edge of the walkway.
They then held hooves, inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly. They took the leap, falling quickly towards the ground, the heat of the fire growing ever nearer. Colors of orange, yellow, and red approached them. Apple Bloom and Smarty Pants exchanged one last look, smiling briefly at each other, before they turned back to the approaching fire and closed their eyes as the fire engulfed them.
"Gah!" Apple Bloom screamed, holding the stuffed Smarty Pants doll in her hooves. All around her were leaves- red, orange and yellow- scattered as she sat on a somewhat big pile of the leaves. She looked around, realizing that she hadn't jumped into a pit of fire. Rather, she jumped into one of the multiple leaf piles her sister had raked together earlier that morning. Now half of the pile was decimated and the leaves were scattered, all because of Apple Bloom's dive.
She looked down to her hoof, which still held the hoof of her sweet prince. Though she realized her sweet prince was no longer the handsome stallion she took a leap of faith with moments before. He had gone back to his real form, that of a simple doll one could easily purchase at any store that sold foal's toys.
She looked up. Instead of seeing the giant mountain topped with the creepy castle, all she saw was a simple apple tree that held the Cutie Mark Crusader Clubhouse. Also on the tree was an extremely low-hanging branch she jumped off of to land into the "fire", that was nothing more than a harmless pile of leaves.
Apple Bloom then looked at her sister, who was staring her down. Applejack's hoof tapped against the grass, and her green eyes were filled with aggravation.
"Why in the hay did ya jump into that there pile of leaves, huh?" Applejack asked, pointing to the scattered mess that had once been a neatly-made pile of autumn leaves. "Ya know ah spent the entire morning raking up the orchard, and in five seconds ya mess it up."
"I was just playing around." Apple Bloom said.
Applejack face-hoofed. "Ah worked so gosh-darn hard on cleaning up this farm of the leaves and now ah have to go all the way back to the farm, get the rake, and clean up this here mess ya created."
"Ah'm sorry, sis." Apple Bloom said, sheepishly pulling herself and Smarty Pants out of the pile.
Applejack sighed, "It's all right. Just don't go jumping around in the leaf piles anymore, ya hear?"
"Got it." Apple Bloom nodded, lifting up the Smarty Pants doll from the "fire" leaves.
"Thankfully ya didn't create too much of a mess," Applejack said, looking at the still-whole piles of leaves all around them. She then looked down at her sister and tilted her head in confusion, pointing at the grey doll, "And where did ya get that mangy old thing, anyway? Ain't that Twilight's old doll?"
Apple Bloom looked down at Smarty Pants and nodded, "Yeah, but it's weird. Ah found it in Big Macintosh's room."
Applejack gave her sister a perplexed look, "Big Mac? Now why would he have a little filly's toy?"
"SMARTY PANTS, AH'M COMING FOR YA!"
Both ponies turned to see Big Macintosh. He barreled through the still-made piles of leaves, his eyes only on the doll in his little sister's hooves. He leapt through the air, eyes fixed on Smarty Pants like it was a block of gold. Apple Bloom shrieked and tossed the doll up, ducking from her brother's missile-like attack. Big Macintosh snatched the doll and crashed into the remaining pile of leaves. Each pile was now destroyed by Big Mac, effectively destroying all of the hard work Applejack put into cleaning up the ground. Applejack's face turned red as Big Mac stood up, Smarty Pants dangling from his mouth. Big Mac started to make his way back to the house when Applejack finally spoke up.
"Really Big Macintosh?" Applejack said, gesturing to the destroyed leaf piles. "Did ya really have to destroy all mah hard work for a doll
Big Mac closed his eyes and held his nose high, "Don't judge me, AJ. Ah'm still the most masculine pony in this town. Now if ya'll will excuse us, Mr. Smarty Pants and ah have to get back to have our tea party with Mister Fluffer-Nutters the bunny and Miss Moo-Moo the cow."
Big Mac trotted off towards the house, both of his sisters watching him leave.
"Huh, ah guess little fillies ain't the only ones with big imaginations." Apple Bloom said.
"Ah...ah have no idea what's goes on in that stallion's head." Applejack sighed. "He loves dolls so much. What kind of guy likes dolls made for little fillies?"
"Don't ya collect merchandise for the Appleloosan Hoofball Team? Ain't that, like, more of a stallion thing?"
Applejack thought about her replica jerseys of the Appleloosan Cowcolt's, all hanging in her closet, collecting dust while her one league championship poster still proudly stuck to the wall in her room. Her room was even painted to match their team's uniforms, green and gold. She wasn't ashamed of her more stallion-like interests in sports rather than girly stuff. Still, Applejack was stubborn, and hated to be proven wrong. So all she could do was grind her teeth.
"Just help me get mah rake." she grumbled, walking off.
Apple Bloom smiled, "Ha, see sis ya are a hypocrite!"
Apple Bloom laughed a little before striking a pose, as if she were going through tai chi. She then turned to the CMC clubhouse, pressed her hooves together and bowed. Her eyes flared up at the treehouse, now back to its creepy castle form, and smirked.
"Until next time."