ADVENTURES OF THE EQUESTRIAN NINJA
Chapter 35: The Apple of My Eye
It is another day in the life for the residents of Ponyville as everypony go about their daily activities once Celestia's sun rises horizon and is currently marking the time of noon as everyone is hard at work. One of them happens to be Naruto who was currently walking down the street whilst levitating a small notepad and pencil with magic from his horn and reading some things off of it.
"Let's see, help Rare with some of her clothes design…check, assist Pinks in baking pastries at the Sugarcube Corner…check, deliver packages with Derpy…check, race against Dash in a daily…check," Naruto let out a sigh before chuckling to himself "Twilight must have rubbed off on me if I'm actually using a checklist to know what I've done and will be doing,"
Normally one would ask why the spiky maned stallion isn't at The Whirlpool selling his custom crystals or even delivering them. He certainly has no trouble doing any of those things at all, but there are times when Naruto would want to get up and actually do something while on the go due to his nature or the strangely warm feeling that he gets when with Twilight and the others, with the same going for the princesses whenever he's over at Canterlot.
Naruto snapped out of his musings and turned his attention back to the notepad for a quick once-over "Ok what's left is applebucking at Sweet Apple Acres, helping Shy care for the animals, and finally book arrangement at the library with Twilight since Spike's bedridden from a stomachache…dude really needs to watch how he puts away those gems. Anyways, I better get a move on," he proceeded to trot in direction of the Sweet Apple Acres.
Upon arrival, Naruto was greeted with the sight of Granny Smith at the porch and reclining on a rocking chair with a look of contentment, so he happily called out to her "Hiya Granny Smith,"
The elderly mare perked up to see the stallion waving at her and responded just as happily "Well howdy do sonny! I reckon that you're looking for Applejack, she's over at the orchard with Big Mac,"
"Thanks Granny, I'm heading over there right now," Naruto was about to trot away when Granny Smith called out to him again.
"Oh and be sure to come over for dinner tonight, I'll be cooking up my special recipe of apple pies,"
A long trail of drool leaked out from the corner of Naruto's lips before slurping it up as he nodded mirthfully "I definitely will, be sure to save some for me!" he trotted away, giddy at the thought of eating one of Granny Smith's scrumptiously cooked meals. He trotted past the red barn and found his way into the apple orchard where he saw Applejack currently kicking her hind legs against an apple tree, causing the apples to be knocked down into the buckets placed below and Big Mac pulling a cart along, Naruto approached whilst calling out to them "Hey guys!"
Applejack turned towards the voice and smiled upon seeing who it was "Howdy Naruto, good to see you,"
"Eeyup," Big Mac nodded in agreement to his sister's words as he chewed on his straw.
"Me too, had to do some activities before coming over to help out with the applebucking," said Naruto.
Applejack quirked an eyebrow in confusion "Really, I reckoned that you would send your shadow clones to help,"
"Nah, makes me feel kinda lazy so I preferred to do it on my own. Don't want to be as lazy as my former sensei," Applejack nodded in approval of Naruto's statement.
"A fine reason if I do say so myself, let's get to bucking,"
"Sure thing," Naruto strode towards an apple tree with buckets placed around it. He shifted his weight to his forehooves then spun around before lashing out with his hind legs to kick at the trunk with the impact strong enough to make the apples fall into the buckets neatly. Naruto smiled in satisfaction but knew that there are more apples to harvest as he turned towards the numerous trees ahead. After a couple hours of applebucking, it was time for Naruto to carry on with the remaining activities.
"I gotta go now guys, there's still some more tasks for me to carry out," said Naruto.
"Okay, but I reckon that you'll be coming back later right?" said Applejack.
Naruto nodded in affirmation "Yeah, Granny invited me over for dinner tonight. Definitely can't afford to pass up the chance of eating one of her special apple pies,"
Applejack giggled quietly at the dreamy look in the stallion's eyes even Big Mac chuckled in amusement "Okay, but you better be early or we just might eat it all up,"
Naruto feinted shock at her joke "Oh no AJ, please don't take away my piece of heaven," Applejack laughed out loud with Big Mac and Naruto himself joining in as well for a few moments before calming "Ok, I'll catch you later," he waved at them before trotting away to his next destination to meet up with Fluttershy at her home to help out with the animal.
Later on when Celestia's sun had set and Luna's moon rose, Naruto was back at Sweet Apple Acres and sitting at the dining table with the family. After eating dinner and having apple pie for dessert, everyone were exchanging stories with each other and most came from Naruto as he's been around a lot today. Everypony was currently laughing at what Naruto had experienced over at Fluttershy's place.
"…I'm telling you every time I look away, one of the birds would sit on my head with one actually trying to build a nest on it!" said Naruto.
"Maybe one of them wanted a mobile home," Apple Bloom giggled out loud.
"Maybe if you cut your mane down a bit, they might leave you alone," said Big Mac in amusement.
Naruto protested "No way! I like my mane the way it is, Rare already tried to make me take a cut and I wouldn't allow that!"
"I gotta admit, Naruto would look weird with his mane cut short," said Applejack, Naruto nodded in agreement with her statement.
"Exactly! Even Dash told me I looked cooler with my mane spiked up,"
Granny Smith was watching all this and laughed out loud "Ahhh to be young and active, makes me look back when I was a filly and caused all sorts of trouble. Which reminds me…have I ever told y'all about the Scarlet Apple?" Everypony turned towards the elderly mare with a look of confusion and mild curiosity.
"Ya never told us of any scarlet apple Granny," said Applejack.
"Eeyup," said Big Mac.
"So what's the deal about this scarlet apple?" asked Apple Bloom.
"This tale dates back to when your great-great-great-grandmamma, there were legends about a forest where spirits of nature live and deep within is an apple tree which grows apples so delicious that not even the princesses' golden apples can match could match a bite of them,"
Everyone's widened at such a proclamation, Applejack mostly. If these apples were so delicious, how come she hadn't heard of it? Her interest in the story has grown immensely as she paid rapt attention.
"What is the name of the forest that the scarlet apple grew in?" asked Naruto curiously.
"It is called the Whispering Woods because of the voices belonging to the spirits being heard whenever a pony goes inside," said Granny.
"But Granny, if this apple is so great then how come we don't have it?" asked Apple Bloom.
"That's because many years later, the voices were no longer heard and whosoever enters the forest never come back out. Which is why the name Whispering Woods changed into Whispered Woods,"
"Hmmm, sounds like something bad had happened to the spirits inside the forest," said Naruto.
"Right you are sonny, and because of that the scarlet apple's existence became nothing more than a fairy tale. But I can tell ya, they exist," said Granny "Though the strange thing is her grandma had forgotten about the story sometime ago,"
After a little more conversation, it was time for Naruto to make his way back home to catch some sleep for the next day as always "Okay, goodnight everypony. I'll see you all in the morning,"
"Eeyup," said Big Mac in affirmation.
"Goodnight Naruto!" said Apple Bloom.
"…yeah goodnight Naruto…" Applejack responded rather distractedly, Naruto blinked in mild confusion but decided to ask later for the reason. Till then he left Sweet Apple Acres and made his way back home.
The next morning, Naruto woke and performed the daily routine of taking a bath, cleaning up the rooms with a few shadow clones pitching in, making breakfast for Scootaloo, Trixie and himself. At the moment, Naruto was taking Scootaloo to school while Trixie headed for the shop to open it up for business.
"Alright Scoots, I'll see you later okay?" said Naruto.
"Ok big bro, I'll be at the CMC clubhouse after school," Scootaloo waved at him before trotting into the schoolhouse with Naruto watching on before turning to leave when he saw Apple Bloom and Big Mac walking up to him.
"Morning guys, say where's Applejack? Doesn't she normally come along?" asked Naruto curiously.
"My sister's been acting weird since last night's dinner, and this morning she rushed through the chores before running off saying that she has something to do which I find kinda weird," said Apple Bloom.
"Eeyup," said Big Mac.
"That does sound unlike her, I'll check up on AJ when I run into her," said Naruto then he thought "Could it be about the story Granny Smith told us about?"
He said his goodbyes to both and headed over to The Whirlpool and began work on creating custom crystals and overlooking the requests and delivery of the ordered crystals. After a while of organizing, he was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Trixie call out to him.
"Naruto, Twilight wants to see you!" said Trixie.
"Okay, I'm coming!" Naruto got up from his seat and strode over to the counter where he saw Twilight having a short conversation with Trixie "Hi Twilight, so what's up that you wanted to talk to me?"
"Well I was at the library this morning when Applejack came in and asked for maps concerning the Whispered Woods, she was so focused that I don't think she even heard me asking her what it was that she was looking for before leaving. So I came over to ask if you know what's going on with her?" said Twilight.
"It might have to do with that story that Granny Smith told us over at dinner last night, she was really paying attention to it," said Naruto.
"Story? What is it about?" asked Trixie. Naruto proceeded to tell them about the scarlet apple which of course surprised them, mostly Twilight.
"How come I've never heard it? I'll need to check on the books to learn more about this! I'll see you later," Twilight left the shop in direction of the library to do just that.
"What do you think Applejack might do?" asked Trixie.
"I'm not too sure, but I might need to check up on her just to make sure," said Naruto.
"…Say Naruto, Trixie wanted to ask if you would be willing to escort her to Canterlot to get something when you're free?" Trixie looked nervous when she asked.
Naruto simply smiled "Sure thing, when I'm done I can have a shadow clone watch the place and we can go together,"
Trixie's heart was beating fast as she nervously waited for his answer and had to keep herself from leaping with joy when he responded positively to her request "That's great! Trixie will be ready when you're done!" Then she thought "This is perfect! Now Trixie has a chance to spend time alone with him,"
"Okay, I'll see you later," Naruto left the shop and took the route to the Sweet Apple Acres, then he used his Aura Sight to look search for Applejack and found her magic signature over at the orchard, he heading over there and found her looking at the map which she had taken from Twilight's library "Hey AJ, what are you up to?"
Applejack looked up to see Naruto approaching her "Oh howdy there, Naruto. Just looking at this here map,"
"Yeah, Twilight told me about, and she also told me that you acting a bit strange. Even Apple Bloom and Big Mac said the same thing when I met up with them," said Naruto.
Applejack looked a bit sheepish at that "Sorry about that, it's just that Granny's story has got me thinking. If I were to go and find the Scarlet apple, it would really help the farm. I guess I wasn't really paying much attention since I was thinking so much,"
"Surely you weren't planning to go alone, were you? Remember what Granny said, those who go into the Whispered Woods never come back out," said Naruto.
"Oh no no, I wasn't planning on going there alone. I've learnt my lesson already, so I was going to ask you to come along with me to search for the scarlet apple together,"
Naruto's eyes widened in surprise "But won't it help that Twilight and the others come along to help?"
"No problem, I'm sure we can handle this on our own. Besides we can handle whatever could be inside the forest," said Applejack.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head, feeling rather unsure of himself. He was able to take care of himself whenever he trains in the Evertree Forest with Applejack being able to handle most thanks to his training, however this is a new area both haven't been to before with little knowledge of the place. This might require some serious preparations if he's to go there.
"Fine we'll go, but we'll need to prepare carefully because this might be more than evicting a dragon. That's for sure," said Naruto.
"But I know we can handle whatever comes our way," said Applejack confidently.
"So when you plan on us leaving?" asked Naruto.
"We'll leave tomorrow, the Whispered Woods is three days away from the west of Ponyville by walking," said Applejack.
"In that case, I'll go and prepare my gear for the journey then. See you tomorrow AJ," said Naruto "I've a feeling that there's more to this than we might even know,"
"Okay Naruto," Applejack resumed looking at the map as Naruto left.
Back at home, Naruto was currently in the workshop looking over the table which his chosen equipment are laid out. Those were his ninja tools, scrolls, seal tags, crystals of varying functions, camp gear and etc. He was halfway through storing the selected equipment into his medallion when the door opened up and Scootaloo walked in.
"Hey there Scoots, how's your day been?" asked Naruto while still storing the items away.
"Hi big bro, normal as always and still no good leads to getting our cutie marks," said Scootaloo before looking at Naruto curiously "Are you preparing to go out on another adventure?"
"Something like that, Applejack and I are in search of something extremely rare," said Naruto.
"Can I come along this time?" asked Scootaloo.
"Sorry Scoots, but no. Where Applejack and I are going, neither of us know it very well and there's the high potential danger there," Naruto had finished storing the equipment away and looked up to see filly deflate in disappointment "Hey now, there's no need to be so down. Remember that I promised to bring you along to Winsome Falls to watch me do my ninja training,"
That rose her spirits back up "Yeah, I almost forgot about that!"
"That's right, I needed to get back into training anyways. So when I'm free, we'll go together,"
"Great, I can't wait for that to happen! And I'll also be waiting to hear of your expedition with Applejack when you get back,"
"Sure thing, Scoots. Now go back upstairs and wash up, my shadow clone has just finished with dinner right now and has set up the table too," said Naruto upon receiving the memories of his dispelled clone.
"Okay, I'm totally starved!" Scootaloo galloped up the stairs in direction of the dining room with Naruto close behind as they joined Trixie for dinner. The former show mare was a bit letdown upon learning that he was travelling again but cheered up when he reassured her that he'll accompany her when he returns.
The next day when Celestia's sun slowly poked out from beyond the horizon, Naruto was woken by a preset alarm which got smashed before being tossed into a growing heap of them, he took his bath then went for a cup of coffee to erase any trace of sleep. Afterwards he bade Scootaloo and Trixie farewell before leaving the house and leaving for the outskirts of Ponyville to find Applejack already there waiting for him.
"Howdy Naruto, ya ready to go?" asked Applejack.
"Yup, I'm all set so let's get moving," said Naruto. Both ponies nodded towards each other before turning to walk down the dirt road away from Ponyville towards their destination which is the Whispered Woods.
It has only been a day since Naruto and Applejack left Ponyville, they traversed through many prairies, mountainsides and many more. Right now the duo are currently making camp next to a lake with Applejack cooking dinner and Naruto setting up the tents with some help from his shadow clones. After pitching in the last one, Naruto wiped some sweat off his face with his tail.
"Phew, it was a real scorcher out here," said Naruto.
"You're right about that, a dip in the lake will cool us off," Applejack looked up from the pot which she was paying attention to over the fire.
"In that case, I'm going in first," Naruto took off his jacket, headband and goggles before leaping into the lake with a splash before floating back to the surface with a look of contentment "Ahhh, this feels so good,"
"Better not stay in for long, the food is almost ready," said Applejack.
"Sure thing AJ," Naruto swam around for a bit before finally climbing out of the lake, Applejack turned to see Naruto shake his body rapidly as droplets of water flew off his mane and sparkled in the sunlight, giving him an alluring appearance.
"Sweet Celestia…" Applejack's face was bright red and her heart was hammering against her ribcage very hard at such a breathtaking scene that she wasn't aware of Naruto approaching her while using a towel to dry the rest of the moisture off his body with his magic.
"Hey AJ I'm done with the…" Naruto noticed that she wasn't paying attention and waved a hoof over her face "AJ are you okay?"
Applejack finally snapped back to normal and her blush grew even more with Naruto standing so close to her "I-I-I'm just f-fine and d-dandy Naruto, n-nothing to worry about! I'm taking a dip too while you dish out the food into the bowls!" she ran past Naruto and jumped into the lake with her hat still on much to the confusion of the stallion "I always thought that Naruto was good-looking, but I never thought that he would look so…so…I can't even bring myself to think it!"
"I don't know what's up with AJ, but I gotta admit that seeing her so flustered like that is pretty cute," thought Naruto with a pink tinge on his cheeks.
Later that night, Naruto and Applejack were having dinner but it was a pretty awkward one with both ponies throwing glances at each other while trying to be unnoticeable about it. This kept on going till they finally finished eating and quickly went into their tents after cleaning the utensils and bidding each other goodnight. The next morning, they woke up and packed their camping gear then sealed them into their medallions before resuming their journey and they could talk to each other like they normally would. Passing through several more prairies, rivers and valleys. Applejack and Naruto stood on a tall hill as the former looked through the map.
"Hmmm, according to the map. The Whispered Woods is straight ahead from here," Applejack looked up from the map and pointed ahead for Naruto to look, there they saw a rather huge woodland several miles ahead from where they stood.
"Guess that's the place, huh?" asked Naruto, looking at the place with caution.
"Yep, the scarlet apple must lie deep within it," said Applejack.
It took the duo a while to walk but they eventually arrived at the very edge of the forestry, it was a bit dark for them to peer through within it and so far they haven't heard of any sounds of 'whispering' from the spirits.
"We should be very careful once we're inside AJ, there might be something more than just spirits inside the forest," said Naruto.
"Gotcha, we'll watch each other's backs in there," said Applejack, Naruto nodded in affirmation before the two walked into the forest with tempered determination to face down any oppositions they would encounter.
It has been about an hour sin their entry into the Whispered Woods and so far there was nothing out of their perspective of ordinary, the atmosphere was very silent and slightly nerve-racking. Naruto's ears twitched to listen for any unusual sounds nearby and scoped their surroundings just as well, his tail waved around but ready at any time to reach into his ninja pouch for a ninja tool or crystal for defense. Applejack was just as twitchy, the silence was really hard to get used to as she kept her trusty lasso close by for use…
Applejack was startled when Naruto used his tail to wrap around her and quickly pulled back to his side without warning, she turned towards and noticed that he was staring at something with a frown on his face, she looked to see a layer of fallen leaves ahead of them.
"What is it Naruto? Did you see something?" asked Applejack.
"Something like that, hold up a minute…Shadow Clone jutsu!" Naruto created clone which strode towards while grumbling a bit about paranoid originals. When it stepped on the leaves, something burst from the ground without warning and scooped the clone up in a net to hang from a rope overhead.
"What the hay?!"Applejack was stunned at the sight, she wasn't expecting anything like that at all!
"I noticed that the leaves weren't lying ground like they had fallen from the branches, but more like someone laid them there," said Naruto as his shadow clone disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"Hold up a minute, you mean that there's somepony living in this forest?"
"It makes sense because I pretty much doubt that spirits would have need for traps,"
"Then the question now is who lives here?" asked Applejack, Naruto was about to reply.
The duo were surprised to hear what sounds to be the scream of a female and Naruto's sensor ability suddenly picked up two emotions, one of fear and the other of hatred.
"I think we're about to find out, come on AJ!" Naruto took off with Applejack galloping next to him as he led the way to the source of the sound, they drew close to the source which happened to be in a small clearing and there they saw something that the duo had never encountered till now.
Leaning against a tree and quivering in fear is what appears to be a feminine humanoid with a greenish skin color, her arms and legs are plantlike appendages that look like wood and her hair appear to be made of green leaves, her state of dress appears to be a green sundress with the skirt reaching just below her knees which seems to have been sewn from a giant leaf. Looming is a creature with the upper body of a man and yet possessing the brown furred hind legs, head and grey horns of a goat. It wears a loincloth made from animal skin as it wielded a tomahawk.
"What are they?" asked Applejack curiously.
"Don't know, but we need to help her out. I reel him then you go for the knockout," Naruto replied with the mare nodding in affirmation. Naruto then shot out a chakra tendril which wrapped around the arm holding the tomahawk, much to its surprise. He jerked it back as the creature was pulled towards them while screaming all the way, then Applejack spun around to lash out with her hind legs to plant a double kick into its face, resulting in an audible crack and the second unknown creature to slump to the ground and laid there unmoving. The duo quickly moved in with Applejack using an extra rope to bind it while Naruto slapped a paralysis tag for total immobility before turning to the second unknown creature who was looking at them in shock.
"You two are ponies, we haven't seen your kind for so many years since that day. Oh thank you for saving me from that satyr!" said the plantlike creature happily bowing to them.
"Uh you're welcome, so that there's a satyr but who and what are you?" asked Applejack.
"Oh! My name is Ptelea and I'm a nymph," said the now introduced Ptelea.
"A nymph? I've never heard of ya'll before," said Applejack.
"What? You haven't heard of us? Well it shouldn't be a surprise with what the satyrs did," Ptelea looked down sadly.
"Hang on, I had Twilight make a copy of an encyclopedia on the mythological supernatural. Release encyclopedia!" a white orb of light emerged from the medallion and transformed into a large volume book which he levitated with his magic and started flipping through the pages much to the nymph's awe "Let's see here…aha! Nymphs…spirits of nature and protectors of springs, mountains, grottoes, and trees, the sea and rivers. They're known to be kindhearted and caring but would punish any that would harm nature. Is that right?" asked Naruto after reading.
Ptelea nodded happily "That's about right! Back then we got along with the ponies, especially the earth ponies since they interacted with the earth just like we do,"
"Sounds pretty dandy, then what's a satyr?" asked Applejack, seeing Ptelea frown from the question.
Naruto flipped through the pages then stopped to read "Satyrs…while also connected with nature, these creatures share an enmity with nymphs due to their selfishness and overbearing obscenity,"
"They just don't know how to take 'No' for an answer and leave us alone, plus they take food from the earth ponies out of greed and drink wine which is forbidden in our presence! We nymphs always made sure that the Satyrs stay away from the Whispering Woods…until that day came," said Ptelea, angry at first but became sad in the end of her sentence.
"What happened?" asked Applejack.
"It was many years ago, we nymphs were preparing for the arrival of the saplings for the young nymphs with Epimeliades, our queen of the forest when the satyrs came into the forest with ill intentions. We rose to fight back but then some of those abominable brutes held some of the saplings hostage and threatened to harm them unless we surrendered to them, our queen had no other choice but to comply with some of us fleeing to escape capture. We waited in hopes of the ponies coming to our aid, but the satyrs revealed that they had used a special concoction which erased any memories of our existence with the ponies," said Ptelea sadly.
"Why those no good…" Naruto gritted his teeth in anger.
"How could they do something like that?" Applejack was just as angry.
"But what made you two come here if we were to be forgotten?" asked Ptelea curiously.
"My granny told a story about you and the scarlet apples, so I invited Naruto along to see if the tale is true and if it's possible to find some of the apples," said Applejack.
Ptelea's eyes widened in surprise "Our queen produces those apples but she's in captivity and can't fight back as long as the saplings are still held hostage,"
"Then we'll just have to save those saplings and give everyone that chance," said Naruto.
"Y-you'll help us?"
"We already started helping when we saved you from that satyr, and we ain't stopping now," said Applejack with Naruto nodding in agreement.
Ptelea bowed to them with tears flowing "Thank you very much!"
"Okay, could you lead me to where the saplings are held? I'll have AJ and a shadow clone search for the satyrs' hamlet," said Naruto then creating a shadow clone which stood next to Applejack.
"I can't go too far from my tree, but maybe placing a part of it on your person can fix that," Ptelea waved a hand and a vine adorned with flowers grew from the tree behind her and wrapped around Naruto's left hoof before detaching from the main body. The nymph transformed into a green orb and floated ahead of him "Come this way,"
"Be careful Naruto," said Applejack.
"I'll be okay AJ, I'll be over soon," said Naruto before following after Ptelea.
"Let's get going then," C-Naruto nodded in affirmation Applejack's statement and activated his Aura sight and began the search for the satyrs.
Naruto and Ptelea silently traversed the forest whilst keeping an eye and ear out for any patrolling satyr. Naruto wanted to use the trees but Ptelea alerted him that some of them belonged to the hidden nymphs so he resorted to the old fashioned walking for the meantime. It took them a while but Ptelea suddenly stopped and transformed into a much smaller version of herself as she pointed ahead.
"Over there, that's where the saplings are kept prisoners," said Ptelea. Naruto looked ahead to see several satyrs standing guard in front of a barricade made out of large stones while equipped with tomahawks, spears and daggers, Naruto's ears could pick out sounds of crying which truly enraged him to no end as memories of when Gato suppressed the Land of Waves came across his mind.
"I'm getting them out of there," Naruto went several steps back and formed his chakra wings and took to the air till he was right above the forest itself "Shadow Clone jutsu!" a squad of clones appeared flying next to him "Half of you guard the saplings and the rest of you guys are with me, let's go!"
"Roger boss!" the clones responded.
Down below, one of the satyrs with the spear yawned loudly before taking a swig of wine from the gourd strapped to the waistline of his loincloth.
"This is so irksome, we've have been guarding these saplings for years now," said the satyr.
Another satyr with a dagger turned towards his companion with a quirked eyebrow "What would you expect when a perfect plan results in no true opposition towards us? It's not like something will drop out from the sky,"
At that moment, something did fall from the sky and land on the ground right in front of them while forming a small crater and dust cloud. Next thing they knew was that something flew out of the dust cloud and slammed into the face of one of them to be sent flying, the cloud cleared to reveal something they never thought to see again.
"A pony?! That's not possible!" said the satyr.
"Quite the contrary, and you might want to look up," said the orange pony.
The satyr pointed his spear at the enemy "Like I would fall for such a…aaaaahhh!" he felt something impact the back of his head which drove it straight to the ground, knocking him unconscious which turned out to be another pony similar to the first.
Naruto heard the sound of running and turned to see a group of satyrs running towards them whilst brandishing their weapons, he smirked as his tail reached into the ninja pouch and took out a flash crystal which he threw at their feet, unleashing a flare of blinding light that forcing them to halt and close their eyes in pain. Then the rest of the clones landed next to Naruto before charging straight at the satyrs and unleashing an onrush of punches and kicks, Naruto himself joined in as he lunged at one of the satyrs and slammed a haymaker punch on him then used his tail to wrap around the hoof of another and swung around to throw him into the cohorts.
Soon enough, all of the satyrs laid on the ground in a heap while being tied up in ninja wire and paralysis tags placed on each and every one of them. Naruto and clones turned their attention towards the stone barricade with chakra arms emerging from their backs as they proceeded to tear it down piece by piece until there was nothing left. Beyond it were Ptelea and the clones comforting the much younger nymphs who were cheering happily and the saplings appear to be in good conditions despite not having been properly nurtured all those years.
"It looks like everyone's okay now," said Naruto, looking relieved.
"Thank you very much for saving us, Mr. Pony," said one of the young nymphs with a smile.
"I've sent a message from my tree to the other nymphs, telling them of the good news so they're on their way here,"
"I thought you guys can't leave your trees a far distance?" asked Naruto confused.
"Some of them are actually able to do so unlike me since I'm still younger in a certain perspective," Ptelea replied.
Naruto simply shrugged "I'll leave my clones here to make sure of your safety while I go and give those satyrs what for,"
"Be sure to add in a few for me,"
"With relish," Naruto turned around and took off at high-speed after channeling chakra to his hooves for a boost towards where Applejack and his shadow clone had headed off to in search of the satyrs' hamlet.
Meanwhile, Applejack and C-Naruto had been tracking down the location of the satyrs until they eventually found where they were. Hidden behind the thick shrubs so as not to be seen, they could see multiple tents strewn throughout the large clearing with the largest tent at the other end, many satyrs were dancing around a large bonfire while playing reed pipes and drinking wine in a festive atmosphere. They also another of the nymphs but this one is taller than Ptelea with pale skin color and actual hair long enough to reach the ground and is as white as the apple blossoms, she wears a laurel wreath adorned with many flowers , a red gown covering her feet and could trail along the ground. As of now, she looks down at the ground in sorrow while shackled from the left leg to a large boulder next to her
"That must be the queen of the forest Epimeliades. How much longer until Naruto and Ptelea rescue the saplings?" asked Applejack.
"I just received memories from my fellow clones that the rescue is a success and the boss is already on his way here. He'll strike the campsite any minute from now," said C-Naruto.
"He better be here soon, I can't take any more of this watching," said Applejack.
Not a moment too soon that an orange blur ran past their hiding place straight into the camp, there were some satyrs which had the misfortune to be in its path and got slammed into and sent flying into the air before crashing back on the ground. The blur slowed down till it revealed to be a pony much to everyone's shock except Applejack.
"So much for a dramatic entrance," said Naruto nonchalantly.
"What is a pony doing here? They weren't supposed to remember this place!" said one of the satyrs.
"Guess your plan wasn't exactly a 100% foolproof," Naruto quipped which annoyed them.
"Seize him!" the satyrs charged at him with weapons in hand.
"That would be a problem because….Multi Shadow Clone jutsu!" in a poof which cleared to reveal a multitude of clones much to the shock of the opposition "Which one of us are you going to seize?" then Applejack walked up next to the original.
"Ya'll ain't leaving me out of this one!" said Applejack.
"No problem AJ, there's enough to go around!" Naruto turned towards the satyrs with a hoof pointed at them and uttered a battle cry "Charge!" He and the others rushed forwards with the satyrs rushing back at them with both sides clashing in the middle.
Music Start: Naruto Original Soundtrack; Sarutobi
It was a full-scale battle with both oppositions fighting to get an edge over the over but so far Naruto's side is gradually gaining that edge. Naruto himself was rapidly punching at some of the satyrs with his chakra arms then he quickly jumped high into the air to avoid thrusts from multiple spears aimed at him from all directions. He reached into his pouch and took out several impulse crystals which he tossed below to unleash a chain of nonlethal blast to knock them. He landed back on the ground and formed a pair of chakra arms which proceeded to weave through a set of handsigns and the air started swirling around him "Wind style: Divine Wind!" four pillars of spiraling wind conjured around Naruto before he directed in different directions as they swallowed the satyrs who are unable to escape from the elemental ninjutsu.
With Applejack, she was putting Naruto's training to good use as she evaded the incoming attacks before countering with powerful strikes of her own, she heard something whistling in the air and quickly ducked to avoid a thrown tomahawk then turned to charge at the thrower to deal a powerful punch to knock it down for the count. Applejack reached for a lasso and started twirling over her head "Yeehaaw!" then she flung it to snag a satyr which was pulled over before she dealt a double kick to send him flying into his cohorts.
Back with Naruto, he was wielding the Hoshi no Ha to slice the satyrs' weapons apart to disarm before either punching or kicking them for the knockout. Suddenly he saw a large shadow looming over him from behind and quickly dashed away to evade an overhead blow which struck right where he stood. He turned around to see a satyr much larger and burlier than the other, in each hand he wields a battle-axe while donning steel armor over his loincloth.
"I'm guessing that you're the leader?" asked Naruto while remaining in his fighting stance.
The armored satyr nodded in affirmation "Indeed, I am Zrac the leader of the satyrs. It was foolish of you to raise your blade against my tribe, and now you shall pay the price with your life!"
"Can't do that, especially since this actually my second," Naruto retorted.
Zrac let out a roar before charging towards Naruto and swung a battle-axe at him, but the stallion jumped away from the first swing and then deflected the second with the glaive. Naruto spun around with his tail low for a sweep only for Zrac to jump into the air and come down with a double descending strike, two chakra tendrils shot out to hook the ground then pull Naruto away from the attack before launching him back like a slingshot as he slammed into the satyr's head and somersaulted away to avoid potential retaliation.
The armored satyr in his rage flung one of the tomahawk straight at Naruto who channeled magic from his horn and called "Terra Bunker!" he punched the ground as he was enclosed in a dome made of earth in time for the airborne tomahawk to bounce off and clatter to the ground. Zrac rushed forward and proceeded to punch wildly at the dome until it crumbled to the ground but there was no sign of the pony anyway. Suddenly he heard a sound from behind and then felt something latch to his back before agonizing blows began to pelt at his head. He flailed wildly in attempt to grab the cause of the attacks then it jumped away to land elsewhere, Zrac turned around to see that it was Naruto who smirked with mischief.
"You're truly becoming an irritation, little pony!" said Zrac angrily.
"I seem to get that a lot from my opponents, so you're not the first," Naruto replied.
Elsewhere, Epimeliades watched the battle with worry as well as hope when she heard something land next to her and turned to see that it was one of those duplicates that the orange unicorn had created using his magic "Who are you?"
"The name's Naruto Uzumaki, my friend Applejack and I came here looking for the scarlet apple after hearing a story from Granny Smith when we found one of your nymphs Ptelea about to be captured by a satyr and we rescued her. Then she told us what's been going on, also you don't have to worry about the saplings cause they're safe now," the Clone turned towards the shackles and took out a kunai which he channeled his wind chakra through then proceeded to carefully cut through the shackles.
Epimeliades looked at the clone in surprise "You mean the saplings are safe from the satyrs?"
"Yes, we made sure to rescue them first so that they wouldn't have any leverage over you…there! You're free now!" the clone finally broke the shackles as Epimeliades got to her feet with a soft smile.
"Thank you very much, now the time has come for these goats to learn a lesson that has long been overdue!" the queen of the forest stood up to glare at the satyrs before thrusting her hands out, the ground began to rumble and many vines adorned with thorns burst out from the ground as they lashed at the unsuspecting satyrs and were inflicted with multiple bruises on their already battered bodies.
Back with Naruto and Zrac, the satyr looked around in shock as his fellow kinsmen are relentlessly attacked by thorny vines and then tied down regardless of the agony. He looked back to see Epimeliades waving her hands around for more vines to grow and attack more of the satyrs.
"This can't be! She shouldn't raise her hands against us?" shouted Zrac in disbelief.
"That would be the case if your trump card was still available," said Naruto.
Zrac turned towards the orange stallion who had an innocent look on his face with a golden halo hovering over his head "You…you had something to do with this!"
The golden halo disappeared as red devil horns sprouted from both sides of his head as he smirked mischievously "Like Dash would often say…Duh! Of course it was me, you're pretty slow to catch on,"
The satyr saw red as he tossed aside his tomahawks and charged at the stallion with the intent to snatch him up and rip apart. Naruto looked unconcerned as Zrac drew close when a lasso suddenly wrapped around the satyr's neck and jerked him back, revealing it to be Applejack who's currently holding him back.
"He's all yours Naruto, bring em home!" said Applejack.
"Right on!" said Naruto, then he held out a hoof as chakra around it and took on the form of a white spiraling sphere, then he quickly closed the gap between him and the satyr "It's over with this Zrac, Rasengan!" Naruto rammed the sphere into Zrac's torso as he was sent flying backwards in a spiraling motion with Applejack jumping out of the way for him to skid along the ground before slowing to a stop.
Many of the satyrs saw their leader go down hard and laid down their arms in a gesture of surrender
Later on, all of the satyrs knelt before Naruto, Apple, Epimeliades and the other nymphs while bound in rope or ninja wire with paralysis tags placed upon them.
"As you can see Zrac, this is your loss and our victory. You're have not been welcome to this forest for the longest and will never will, which is why I'll say that you will leave this place and never appear here…for there will be no second should you do otherwise," said Epimeliades, if not for the paralysis Zrac would have looked back at the nymph with defiance.
Then Naruto was the next to speak "If you're even thinking of coming back here, you should know that the Alicorn princesses will be informed and place this forest under their protection along with my friends and I ready to answer their call for help. So you better think twice before going through with a dumb plan you might come up with,"
"And ya'll wouldn't want to mess with them," Applejack added in.
Zrac and the other satyrs started sweating nervously, it was bad enough that the stallion is willing to protect the nymphs but should Princess Celestia and Princess Luna be involved, then the consequences would be too high for them to risk. They begrudgingly agreed never to return to the Whispering Woods and left once free of their bindings.
"I can't thank you enough for helping us gain our freedom from the satyrs, you have our eternal gratitude," said Epimeliades as she along with the other nymphs bowed to Naruto and Applejack, making them feel a bit shy.
"It's no problem at all, we're glad to help," said Naruto.
"Same here," said Applejack.
"Even so, I still wish to give you something…ah yes, I believe you two traveled here in search of these…" Epimeliades waved a hand as an apple tree instantly grew then bore apples which were the red like that of rubies, none of which they had ever seen "I hope that these will suffice for now,"
"A-are you sure?" asked Applejack, slightly in shock.
"Of course, these fruits would benefit your family as well as serve as a link between us should you cultivate them. And furthermore, as the queen of the Whispering Woods, I proclaim you two allies of the nymphs!" the nature spirits cheered loudly at their queen's proclamation.
"Whoa, this is quite an honor," said Naruto who was overwhelmed with surprise.
Epimeliades smiled warmly at them "No, the honor is ours to have met you two,"
After a couple hours of celebration, the time had come for Naruto and Applejack to return to Ponyville as well as inform the princesses of what happened much to their disappointment. Ptelea had them promise to visit again along with their friends soon with the duo acknowledging her, and so they left with the nymphs seeing them off with gratitude. Along the way, Naruto and Applejack were having a small conversation of their own.
"I never thought that I would be taking part of a rescue when I started this journey with you," said Applejack.
"Me neither, but I kinda expected it with how my missions often went back in my old world. But I gotta say thanks for having my back against Zrac, as expected from my Ace-High Cowgirl," Naruto's eyes widened upon what he just said and quickly clamped a hoof over his mouth.
Applejack looked at Naruto as her face turned red from what he just called her "W-what did you call me?"
"A-Ace-High Cowgirl, it was a nickname I came up with but I didn't want to say it out loud and embarrass you," said Naruto fidgeting a bit while blushing.
"Ace-High Cowgirl? That's a really nice nickname he made for me," thought Applejack with a soft smile, she could feel a sense of warmth in her heart as she approached a flustered Naruto and kissed him on the cheek with the stallion staring at her with wide eyes "It's a reward for helping me and also saying something so nice. Now come on, we're burning daylight here,"
Naruto watched Applejack walk ahead as his heart bashed against his chest, feeling the lingering sensations of the kiss on his cheeks. He felt so at peace as of that moment, something he rarely felt back at Konoha. Just why does he feel that way when with them and want more of it? He just can't seem to figure out an answer!
"Naruto, ya coming?" Applejack called out, snapping Naruto out of his musings.
"Y-yeah, wait up!" Naruto galloped to catch up with her "I seriously need some help to figure out this feeling," soon he was next to her as they continued on their journey back to Ponyville.
This is Hussbek online with the latest chapter, Naruto had been invited to dinner with the Apple family after carrying out his daily activities outside the shop. There Granny Smith told them of a story which caught Applejack's attention. Naruto went to speak with her after being told of her strange behavior from the others and was invited to accompany her in search of the scarlet apples. Turns out that it was more than just a story and they had to assist the spirits of nature to gain back their freedom from the satyrs which led to them becoming friends. Now Naruto finds himself more confused than ever before with these strange feelings which seem to grow when he's around the mares, will he figure out just what they are?
This is Hussbek from Ghana.