Shining Armor grunted as he parried another attack from the Griffon bandit in front of him mentally cursing their preparedness as he fought. Had the gang of bandits not been wearing null magic amulets this would've been over in a heartbeat but as it was his unit was now having to fight them hoof to hoof and it was starting to become painfully obvious they were outmatched. Shining had already defeated three of the griffons single hoofedly but their numbers were just too great for him and his ten stallion unit to handle on their own. The griffon leapt backwards as he slashed for his opponent's chest just coming a hair breadth from landing a blow, and as he was just the slightest bit over extended he saw another griffon come slashing in from his right and twisted away in response, however his reaction was just too slow and a resounding clang was added to cacophony of noise that populated the clearing as the bandit's sword glanced off his armor. The captain of the guard stumbled a bit as he attempted to regain his footing settling into a defensive stance once he was solidly back on all fours. once more the two griffons came at shining again attacking him relentlessly as he continued to parry their attacks he heard a shout from above and looked up just in time to see one of his lieutenants falling from the sky, a streak of blood adorning his right shoulder. However the distraction of the pegasai's defeat left him fatally open to the bandit's attack and while he managed to parry them a few more times it was only a matter of time before one managed to get behind his guard and wrench his sword away from him with enough force to tear it from his magical grip.
Shining could only watch his sword flip away end over end as the second griffon came in to finish the job... however the blow that was supposed to come never happened, mostly because the griffon in question was currently flying 30 feet in the opposite direction. The other bandit started backing up quickly, starting in fear at something just past shining. The unicorn in question turned to find out just what had saved him only to have his jaw fall to the ground in surprise at his savior. Standing next to the captain of the royal guard was a dark grey alicorn who was easily taller than shining himself, and who wore nothing more than jet black breastplate adorned with a angled swirl symbol.
"L-lord Iatchi?" Shining managed to stammer out.
The alicorn looked at him with a faint smile on his face, "Looks like you guys could use some help."
The unicorn smiled back "Well of course, if you're offering and all."
Itachi began to step forward toward the remaining bandits, "Kind of obligated to I'm afraid, your wife would be quite upset with me if I allowed her husband to come to any harm."
The other bandit continued to stare fearfully at the alicorn in front of him, though he was shaking so much his claws were starting to chatter a bit he couldn't just run away, the boss would never accept that. Though the longer he stood there the more he began to feel like running was a good idea, unfortunately he never got the chance to come to his own decision as Itachi had already shot forward faster than any other pony the bandit had ever seen in his life. Seeing the large equine boring in for him he panicked and slashed his sword haphazardly at the alicorn. Itachi saw right through his attack and easily stepped under the horizontal slash before leaping upwards bringing his forehoof under the bandit's chin, cracking his beak and sending him flying into a nearby tree as Itachi rose into the sky.
The rest of the combatants paused in their fighting to see the result of Itachi's brief fight before bringing their eyes up to look at the alicorn in question as he hovered in the air. It took the bandits only a few seconds to realize who he was before starting to panic. A few even started shouting, "The Shadow Prince is here!" as they turned to run before their boss, a fairly intimidating looking griffon with more than few scars shouted them back into combat. He then turned and leapt up into the sky hovering a few dozen feet from the alicorn in question. "So you're the famous 'Shadow Prince' of Equestria, huh?"
Itachi just continued to hover starring directing into the Griffons eyes, his own betraying no emotion.
The Bandit boss scowled at the lack of response, "You don't look like much." he said before suddenly charging in, slashing for Itachi with his razor sharp claws.
Itachi just rolled backwards, dodging the bandit's attack all the while bringing the griffon parallel to him. As he continued rolling backwards he brought his rear hooves upwards crushing them into the Bandit leaders chest before twisting in midair to bring his right wing down onto the Griffons back and sending the criminal flying to the ground in a cloud of dust.
The rest of the bandits just stared at the crumped, defeated form of their boss in disbelief before one by one looking back up to Itachi.
"Anyone else wish to challenge me?" he asked in a threatening voice as he looked over the bandits. In response, almost all exactly at the same time, every bandit threw down their weapon and lay down on the ground bowing their heads in surrender. The exhausted royal guards, though worn out from the battle still cheered at their victory.
Seeing that the battle was won,Itachi flew over to where the wounded pegasus from earlier had fallen, "How is he?" he asked of the two unicorn guardsponies who were tending to their fallen comrade.
"He'll be fine sir, it's just a scratch that probably threw him off balance, it was the shock of the fall the knocked him out."
"Good." Itachi responded before taking flight once more, heading back to where the main contingent of Royal guards were.
Shining armor approached the dark grey alicorn as he landed. "Thanks for the help, Lord Itachi. I don't know what would've happened to me or my guards if you hadn't shown up when you had."
Itachi turned his gaze away from the guards in front of the two who were busy gathering up and restraining the bandits. " You can thank Cadance once we get back to canterlot, she's the one who put the warning enchantment on your armor." Itachi frowned slightly, "and I thought I asked you not to call me 'Lord'." He said as he turned back to watch the guards perform their duties.
Shining Armor put his hoof behind his head in embarrassment, that title had been a source of much embarrassment for both the captain of the Guard and the former shinobi. Shining was perhaps one of twelve ponies who knew the circumstances surrounding the newest alicorn's appearance in Equestria. And while being an alicorn now meant he was technically nobility Itachi still felt uncomfortable being referred to by any title really. " Sorry, I probably should start remembering that after two years, just kind of force of habit, you know?"
Itachi smiled slightly in response, "I understand." Shining was a royal guard through and through, asking him to not treat an alicorn with the level of respect he had been trained to give was like asking Rainbow Dash to clip her wings.
"Erm, anyways what's this about an enchantment on my armor?"
"Oh it's nothing really, Cadance just put a simple spell on your armor that alerts her when you're in danger." Itachi answered nonchalantly, like the two were simply discussing the weather.
Shining just stared at Itachi, his face wore an expression of total disbelief.
Itachi turned to face Shining once again, "What? You didn't think Princess Cadance would let her beloved husband go off and fight Equestria's enemies without at least some assurance of your safety?"
"And let me guess, you're the assurance?" Shining asked in an annoyed voice
"More or less." Itachi answered with a smirk. The spell had actually been Itachi's idea, but he and Cadance both agreed it would be best if Shining thought it was entirely hers.
"So just these bandits gave you all this much trouble?" Itachi asked.
"'Just these bandits' had these." Shining responded, holding up one of the null magic amulets each bandit had been wearing. "My unicorns and I couldn't do anything to them except fight with our weapons which left us at a major disadvantage. Even my pegasai guards couldn't use their weather magic effectively."
Itachi took the amulet from Shining, turning it over in his hoof as he observed the intricate designs etched onto the surface." I assume you weren't expecting them to have these?"
Shining shook his head, "To find even one outside of the Griffon royal guard is incredibly rare, this many is well, it's unheard of."
Itachi continued to examine the small bronze looking disc, "Perhaps they've managed to find a way to make their own?"
Shining frowned, it was definitely a possibility he had considered but the consequences if it were true were very dire indeed. The Equestrian Guard relied heavily on its magic users, without that definitive advantage they would be quite vulnerable. "Perhaps, but I don't think so, the ability to make these has been lost for centuries. Most likely they found a previously unknown cache of them and took them for their own advantage rather than just selling them."
Itachi tossed the amulet back to Shining, "Well either way we'll find out what they know once we get back to Canterlot."
And almost as if on cue one of Shining's guards came cantering up to the two, "Sir all the prisoners are secured and we're ready to move out!"
"Good, We'll leave for Canterlot at once!" Shining ordered before turning to Itachi, "Will you be accompanying us?"
"No I think you can make it back to Canterlot castle without me." Itachi said as he turned to leave. "Besides Luna needs my help with the wedding preparations, you know how she is."
Shining laughed, "Yeah I guess I do. Well I think we can make it back without being ambushed again. And... please make sure Cadance isn't too worried about me" Shining dropped his voice for the last part.
Itachi nodded in response to Shining Armor's request, he would have asked the same in his position.
With that Itachi spread his wings and took off into the air heading south into the heart of Equestria, looking over his shoulder watching as the group of royal guards shrank away behind him. While an alicorn of Itachi's caliber could have easily teleported himself back to Canterlot, he preferred flying as he had soon discovered after becoming an alicorn that it was a great way to calm his mind and compose his thoughts. As he dodged and weaved his way through the clouds that populated the Equestrian sky he looked over the land he had adopted as his own, small villages could been seen dotting the landscape and even the occasional pegasai building could be seen hovering over the ground. As he passed fairly close to one of these villages he could even begin to see the individual ponies as they went about their daily lives, chatting, buying and selling just living their lives. They reminded him so strongly of the villagers of konoha in times of peace, the times he had treasured most. And he was once again reminded that this was exactly what he had wanted to protect from the very beginning, peace.
It was a few hours later that the spires of Canterlot Castle came into view and Itachi began to descend into the main courtyard, seeing several guardsponies coming running out of the main gate to meet him as he landed.
"Itachi!" the first one shouted in greeting.
"Yes?" he asked as he alighted on the ground.
"Princesses Luna and Cadance gave us orders to tell you upon your arrival they wish to see you immediately regarding the whereabouts of Captain Shining armor." The unicorn guard said as he snapped off a salute.
"Very well, thank you for relaying this information to me Lieutenant." Itachi paused for a moment before speaking again, "And I get the feeling you wish to know how he is as well?"
The guard shuffled his hooves nervously before answering, protocol prevented him from asking Itachi outright, but he and his fellow guards wanted to know what had befallen their captain almost as much as the Princesses did. "Yes sir, everypony around here has been on edge since we heard that you had left to go help him."
"Well I suppose it can't hurt, Shining Armor is alive and fine, as are the rest of his unit."
The Guardspony sighed in relief, "Thank you sir, some of us were really worried."
Itachi smiled at this, such loyalty was always inspiring to see, "It's no problem Lieutenant, now where exactly are Princesses Luna and Cadence?"
"They're currently in Princess Luna's room sir." the Guard answered snapping a salute off.
Itachi nodded in thanks, turning to head into the Castle. As he entered once again he was struck by just how incredible the design of the place was. The ancient structure had once been incredibly confusing and Itachi had gotten lost quite a few times upon first moving here after having decided it was better for both him and Luna if they lived together in Canterlot. Now however, the hallways were as familiar as the back of his hand- hoof- whatever, and he had spent quite a lot of time making sure he knew every little hiding place and shady spot in the entire castle, old habits die hard.
After a few minutes of walking through the mostly unpopulated halls Itachi finally came to the room he and Luna shared, He knocked on the door a few times until a very familiar voice answered from within.
Itachi entered the room to find not only Luna and Cadence in the room but Celestia as well, normally the sun princess was attending to matters of state and wasn't even in Canterlot half the time.
Of course this observation was quickly overtaken by the dark blue blur that smashed into him hugging him fiercely, "I'm so glad you're safe!" Luna said as she continued to crush the life out of the former ninja.
"It's ok Luna, I'm fine." Itachi said laughing as he hugged her back, "You didn't really think a few bandits would be a problem for me did you?"
"No..." Luna admitted, "But anypony who's able to trigger Cadence's spell has to be dangerous." And I can't lose you again. she added silently.
Itachi hugged her tighter, even if the last part of her answer had been silent he understood it perfectly.
Finally after a few more seconds the two alicorns finally broke the embrace and looked over at the other two occupants of the room who had been silently watching them. Celestia looked worried but calm and Cadance looked as nervous as Itachi had ever seen her.
"Cadance, Shining Armor is fine, his unit was just ambushed by some bandits and they were a little more than he could handle on his own." Itachi said. "They'll be back in Canterlot tomorrow at the latest."
Itachi suddenly found himself being hugged by an alicorn for the second time that day as Cadance also jumped him. "Thank you Itachi." She said as she hugged him, sounding like she was on the verge of tears from her relief. "If it wasn't for you and your spell Shining may not be coming back to me... just... thank you."
Itachi held her for a few more seconds before backing off and letting her stand on her own four hooves, "There's no need to thank me Cadance, I'm sure Shining would have done the same in my position."
Cadence smiled for what must've been the first time in hours at this,"Yes, I'm sure he would have." she said before turning to Celestia, "You know aunt Celly, I think I'll take you up on that offer of hot chocolate together in the kitchens."
Celestia smiled serenely at the situation having been resolved, "But of course Cadence, come on we'll walk down together, I think these two need to talk. After all the wedding is in only a few days." She said the last part with a wink before she and Cadence departed the room leaving Itachi and Luna alone.
Itachi for his part was exhausted from the day's events, even an alicorn can get tired from flying as much as he had that day, and so he immediately went and laid down on the bed they both shared. Luna had to take a few minutes to remove her royal vestments before laying down with him, wrapping her wings and hooves around his prone form as they lay on the bed together.
"So what actually happened?" Luna asked a few minutes of silence.
Itachi sighed through his nose, blowing a lock of Lunas ethereal hair around and making the moon princess giggle. "It was nothing really, just a bunch of Griffon bandits." he answered, all the while smiling at Luna's giggles.
Itachi's smile vanished as he continued, "... But they had null magic amulets, that's why Shining's unit was having so much trouble. If I hadn't shown up things wouldn't have ended as well as they have."
Luna frowned, "Why didn't you say so earlier?"
"Because I'm not sure if Cadance can handle it, she's a little young to be hearing things like that. Especially after that whole Changling incident on her wedding day."
"She's nearly fifty!" Luna retorted
Itachi rolled his eyes, "You know what I mean."
Luna sighed in defeat, "Yes, I guess you're right... what do you think all this means?"
"I don't know, and we won't find out until we've questioned them." Itachi said as he began absentmindedly stroking Luna's mane.
"I assume you'll be the one doing the questioning?"
Itachi nodded, "Yes, but I won't be doing that until after the wedding and the honeymoon. I figure a week or two in the royal dungeon can't hurt them."
Luna just smiled at the thought of being alone with Itachi for two whole weeks, "You're pretty tired huh?" She asked after a few more minutes.
"Mmmhhhmmm." Itachi answered as his eyes finally closed.
"Well then sleep, my brave shinobi I'll be right back." Luna said as cornily as possible before rising to go bring in her Night, as her sister's day drew to a close.
And as Luna raised the moon into the sky over Equestria, heralding the darkness of the night, she knew ,once again, that everything was right in the world.
A/N: Sooooo after nearly year here's what many have been asking for, a continuation of LSotU. Sorry it's taken so long for me to finally get this out but here it is. I hope it measures up to your guys' expectations and as always Feedback, be it negative or positive is greatly appreciated.