Editors: DaMobbs & Comrade Sparkle
Proofreaders: Parallel Black & The11thWonder
A rude awakening, Who would Dare?
It would be none other, than the shouting Mare.
A meeting takes place, those seeking assistance.
Away from the one with such life-threatening persistence.
Chapter 30: The Wub Wub Lives On, Pt. 1
Trixie's deafening shriek sent him tumbling onto the floor in a tangled mess of limbs. In the split second he took to extricate himself, one thought popped into his head. Trixie was in his bed... or was she? He quickly looked around the room to find that it was indeed his room, not hers. But then why was she—
"What are you doing in Trixie's bed?" Trixie exclaimed, interrupting his line of thought. "Was it not bad enough that you ruined Trixie's bath that you had to invade her privacy again!?"
"What are you talking about?" he asked, glaring at her all the while. "This is my room. Take a look around!"
Trixie's mouth opened wide, ready to deliver her hasty rebuttal, but quickly shut it as her eyes darted around the room. She blinked a couple of times, her mouth slightly agape in surprise. She looked back at Naruto with that same expression, only to then furrow her brow in what appeared to be anger. Naruto tilted his head in confusion before her hoof smacked him in the face. He held the area with his own hoof as it began to sting.
"How dare you kidnap Trixie, and take her to your room!" she exclaimed, jumping off the bed and going nose to nose with Naruto. "Your perverted desire of getting into Trixie's bath time wasn't enough, so you brought me here to have your way with me?"
He remembered that he did indeed barge into the bathroom yesterday by accident but that was all it was; An accident. That didn't warrant him being labeled as a pervert. It didn't stop him from defending himself, however. Naruto shoved her off of him, sending her onto her rear. He stood on his hind legs and pointed a hoof at her.
"Kidnap!? I was sleeping peacefully until I found you in my bed!" he retorted, gritting his teeth. "Are you an idiot or something, because you've been like this since yesterday!"
"An idiot?" Trixie gasped before launching herself forward, grabbing his shoulders and shaking him left and right. "How dare you, you… you idiot!"
Naruto did the same, finally fed up with her attitude. "You're the idiot here. Try listening to what your big mouth is saying!"
"You're one to talk, smart-ass!"
"No, you're the smart-ass!"
"No, you are!"
"No, you are!"
"Would you stop copying me!?"
"Why would I want to copy you anyway, idiot!?"
The next ten minutes consisted of this back and forth nonsensical argument. Neither side wanted to be the first to back down. Naruto still couldn't figure out what was going on despite the fact that he was completely in the right.
"You dare copy the Great and Powerful Trixie!?"
"More like the Severely Lacking Trixie!"
"You have some nerve, slandering Trixie's—"
A loud, piercing howl forced the two ponies to clamp their hooves over their ears, interrupting their pointless argument.
'What is that racket!?' Naruto thought. He turned his head to find the timberwolf he knew all too well howling as if the moon was out. After a few seconds of excruciating pain, it ceased. Naruto shot a glare at the wolf.
"Now that your noisy chatter has ceased..." the wolf began, fixing his eyes on Trixie. "Horned one, do you recall what you were doing back when the moon was still high?"
Trixie, still a bit stunned, stared right back at the wolf. "Y-yes, I was sleeping in my own room," she said, before eying Naruto disapprovingly, "until THIS pervert kidnapped me!"
"I just said I didn't!" Naruto argued.
"Do you want to find out what it's like to fly!?" Trixie yelled, her horn beginning to glow. However, the wolf howled again to shut them both up. All attention focused on him once more. The wolf shook his head at Trixie.
"Blue legged one, you walked into the tailed one's room intentionally, of your own free will."
"W-what!?" Trixie gasped, not believing a single word coming from the wolf's mouth. She pointed a hoof at him in anger.
"What makes you think Trixie would intentionally sleep with this… this… pervert!?
"This one could not sleep well, therefore I was awake," the wolf said, stretching out its hind legs before focusing back on Trixie. "This one saw what you were doing. You walked past this one, legs walking and eyes closed."
"Eyes closed, walking…" Naruto mumbled to himself. Suddenly, it all made sense. "Trixie, you sleepwalk!?"
Trixie's cheeks suddenly turned slightly red as she rubbed her forehead. "N-never! Why would the Great Trixie sleepwalk? Such a trait is unbecoming of the Great and Powerful Trixie!"
"Is that what you equine beings call it?" the wolf asked, puzzled over the words. "This 'sleep-walking' is unfamiliar to this one. Is it a common trait in every animal?"
"I don't know about animals, but I had it happen to me a couple times when I was little. It depends." Naruto looked back at Trixie with a grin. "But it's kinda cute that you're still sleepwalking at your age."
Trixie's blush deepened even more, not expecting such a remark to be said to her. Her eyes darted back and forth, desperately looking for a way out of this situation. "Wh-what nonsense is this? Trixie would never… um…" It was becoming hard to find the words to defend herself. Despite her flustering, it almost seemed like her body language was betraying her as if she did find it cute. Before she could say anything else, Naruto spoke up.
"It's pretty funny though. I mean, sleep-walking? I'm surprised you didn't run into a wall or fall down the stairs. It must be really hard to—"
Her fidgeting stopped, and Trixie gritted her teeth in anger as she smacked Naruto upside the head once more. "You… how dare you!" She turned tail and ran out of the bedroom, leaving behind a stunned Naruto. He looked at the wolf.
"W-what just happened?" Naruto asked, to which the wolf sighed before looking at where Trixie departed.
"You angered your own kind. Is this a common occurrence with you, Naruto?"
"Of course not, why would it be?" Naruto asked, puzzled. "I don't know why all these ponies are getting angry at me for no apparent reason." The wolf looked him over from the face down to his tail, before his eyes drifted off towards the door once more.
"You, blonde one, are unpredictable. You speak words of kindness and mercy, but then immediately anger the one you were being kind to. It is merely confusing on why such an approach is admissible. You must think before you speak, or similar things may happen in the future," he stated, moving towards the door. "This one does not want to be involved in the crossfire."
After the wolf left, Naruto just stood there, tossing the wolf's words in his head. Thinking back to the times he had gotten into his arguments, especially the ones with Blackie, he didn't think things through. Granted, he was a knucklehead when he was a lot younger, but he changed alot since training with the perverted sage Jiraiya.
But is it possible that his old habits haven't died off yet? More importantly,
"Did he just call me an idiot?"
It didn't take long for the three to gather at the table in the kitchen. In the middle sat a small bag of apples, which Naruto, Trixie, and the wolf split amongst themselves. The only exception was the thoroughly gnawed piece of wood laying next to wolf which it chewed on every so often.
Trixie and Naruto didn't look at each other as they ate their respective meals. It didn't help that it was completely silent. Naruto looked between the wolf, and reluctantly at Trixie, and sighed. He placed the half-eaten apple down.
"Trixie," he began, catching her attention for a split second before she continued eating. "I'm sorry about earlier. If I knew that making fun of your sleepwalking was mean, I wouldn't have said it."
"Oh sure, like an apology is going to make everything better," she huffed.
"What do you mean?" Naruto asked, puzzled. She looked back at him, as if he didn't get the hint. She just sighed and put her apple down, staring straight at him.
"Let's get this straight. Trixie is not a sleep walker. I may have wound up in your bed, but now Trixie knows you didn't kidnap her."
"Then… how did you get in my bed?"
Trixie rolled her eyes at that.
"Let's just forget it ever happened."
"But-" Naruto was about to protest until she glared back at him.
"Forget, it ever, happened." She said firmly.
Naruto sighed and he went back to eating his apple.
She's stubborn… He just couldn't wrap his head around her. One moment, she's boastful and the next she shouts at every little misfortune that comes her way.
"I wonder what's wrong with her…" Naruto mumbled to himself. He wasn't absolutely sure if Trixie was telling the truth, though. Did she sleepwalk, or intentionally go to his room but not realize he was sleeping in it? So many scenarios ran through his mind, but he couldn't isolate just one. He had to put it on the backburner for now.
"So," he began timidly, "what did you two do while I was away yesterday?"
"It's really none of your business, is it?" Trixie quipped. Naruto frowned looking at the wolf, still gnawing on the piece of wood, for support. He locked eyes with Naruto and nodded.
"We wandered around this town you call 'Ponyville'. The blue legged one was shouting at how many of these little metal coins she had, and she even shouted at a couple of other multi-colored equines until she got what she wanted," the wolf explained bluntly.
Trixie's jaw dropped when she heard the wolf's story. "T-that's not what it was like at all!" Naruto raised a brow at Trixie. Seeing her flustered, a small grin appeared on his face.
"Oh? So what was it then, Trixie?"
"W-well, the Great and Powerful Trixie was certainly shouting, but she did it with elegance and style!"
"That's not something to be proud of…"
"Oh, be quiet!" Trixie snapped. "Anyway, continuing my wonderful tale of adventures in the market district… I kindly strolled along the area finding food for the right price. With a few bits and a mangy mongrel, though, it was quite hard to find a good deal," Trixie explained. The wolf looked at Naruto and nodded.
"Some of the townsfolk were avoiding us. This one believes the cause to be this one's form."
"I'm not surprised about that. The timberwolves are usually hostile to ponies here, right?" Naruto guessed.
"Normally, yes." The wolf nodded. "This one's kind takes a greater joy in the fine oak and the meats of our prey. We eat the fruits and plants of nature as well, but not through greater enjoyment." The wolf looked down and huffed. "This one's kind are feared through that alone."
Princess' power was still a mystery. If she could turn a predatory animal such as this timberwolf into an ally, what else could she do? If only there was some way he could get in touch with her anytime he wanted…
"If this mutt is done with explaining why his kind are so dangerous—"
"It's Gaia," the wolf interrupted.
Naruto blinked a couple of times. "Huh? Who's Gai?"
"This one is," the wolf re-assured.
"You named yourself?" Naruto tilted his head, confused. "Why would you name yourself after Bushy Brow's sensei? You're not even wearing green spandex." He had to admit that he hadn't heard the name 'Gai' in a long time. While he was a crazily determined shinobi obsessed with training and constantly challenging Kakashi, he wasn't that bad.
It was the wolf's turn to tilt its head in confusion. "Who is this Bushy Brows? This one said Gaia, Ga-Ai-Ya, and what is this 'spandex'?"
"Oh you said 'Gaia'," Naruto said, knocking a hoof on his head. "Sorry, I misheard you." He put a hoof on his chin in thought. "So how'd you come up with that name? It's... different," he asked as he repeated the name under his breath. The wolf brought out a book from underneath the table, placing it upright. He flipped it open to the bookmarked page and placed a paw on it.
"H-hey, what about my story?" Trixie spoke up, but Naruto ignored her and looked at where the wolf was pointing.
"A Preek goddess from mythological legend, and the embodiment of Nature. It seems to be a suitable name for this one."
"Never expected you to give yourself a girl's name… Wait, you are male right?"
"This one is male."
"That's even weirder!" Naruto said, throwing his front hooves into the air as if it was a big deal. "Why call yourself a girl's name?"
"A… girl? What is this 'girl'?" Gaia asked, looking confused again.
"Hey, are you going to keep ignoring me!?" Trixie shouted. Trixie slammed a hoof down on the table.
"You know, a girl. What Trixie is," he added, pointing a hoof at Trixie. She raised a brow and shook her head.
"Excuse me, but I'm a mare, not this 'girl' as you call it," Trixie tried to explain, but Naruto just shook his head at her.
"It's better than asking if he's a colt or a mare. That just feels awkward," Naruto retorted.
"No it doesn't. Male or female, colt or mare, they're the same thing, sort of," Trixie retorted.
"To you, maybe," he muttered quietly.
"What was that?"
"Nothing at all…"
The wolf looked between the two waiting for another argument to break out. However, they stayed silent, allowing him to continue his explanation. "Regardless, this one is male. To this one, Gaia is its name whether it sounds male or female. This is this one's opinion."
Naruto shrugged. "Whatever floats your boat, wol—er, I mean Gaia."
Trixie smiled as their conversation died down. Finally, she would be placed back into the spotlight to tell the wondrous adventures of yesterday.
"Now, Trixie couldn't find any good prices with her mongrel companion, so therefore I had to—" Before Trixie could finish, a loud series of knocks came from behind them. Naruto got up from his chair and sighed.
"Wonder who that could be," he said to himself. He looked at Trixie and rubbed his head. "What happened last night will have to wait, Trixie. Wait here." With that said, he walked out of the kitchen. For Trixie, that was the last straw.
"Urgggh! Why does Trixie have to deal with this!?" she said as she banged her hooves on the table once more, with the table legs slightly buckling under her weight.
"It is not polite to leave a guest waiting outside, horned one" Gaia commented.
"And it's not polite to walk out in the middle of Trixie's story," she scoffed.
"You mean 'our' story."
"Hmph, Trixie's story is more fabulous than yours." There was an awkward silence as the wolf looked at her curiously, but merely shook its head.
"This one does not know how it arrived to such a conclusion, but as Naruto said: 'Whatever floats your boat'." The wolf then blinked at his own words, mumbling a bit at the word that he said last. He looked at Trixie with confusion.
"Horned one, what is this 'boat'?"
Naruto walked up to the door and placed his hoof on the handle, but stopped himself before opening it. He sincerely hoped that it wasn't Blackie. He didn't want to deal with him again so soon after yesterday.
He looked out the window next to the door and, to his utmost disdain, it was Blackie. He noticed there were a few scratches on his coat, and even a few spots of dirt like he had been rolling around on the ground.
Is it possible he's that desperate to get his share? Naruto recalled that he did say he would go to Canterlot just to search for him, but surely he didn't?
Naruto sighed. He needed to end this once and for all. One thing he needed was information, though. Against his better judgement, he opened the door. Standing there was a teeth-gritting Blackie. Naruto almost regretted ever opening the door, but Blackie must have noticed his reaction, and immediately calmed down.
"Filly," Blackie said in a calm matter, which was unusually uncharacteristic of him but Naruto kept up his guard.
"What do you want now, Blackie?"
"I think it's rather obvious at this point."
Of course he did. That was the only thing that kept him from leaving him alone. It was going in circles and it needed to stop. Naruto sighed as he leaned against the door, with his eyelids halfway down.
"Alright, Blackie, how much?"
"I said I wa—huh?" he asked, backpedaling in slight surprise.
"I said 'how much'," Naruto repeated, glaring at him. "All this time I've been driving you away without asking how much I owed you. So, how much?"
Blackie couldn't help but smile as he saw a ray of hope shine upon him.
"One thousand bits."
But the ray of hope obviously didn't give a crap anymore as Naruto slammed the door in his face again. One thousand bits was not only a lot of money, but it was a completely ridiculous sum. It only showed him that Blackie was just a selfish corrupted bastard lacking any moral fiber whatsoever.
"The nerve, filly! Let me back in, I want my bits!" The door jumped on its hinges as Blackie banged on it. The only reason it was staying up was thanks to the fact that Naruto was pressed up against the other side.
"Go away already! Can't you see I'm broke!?" Naruto yelled through the woodwork.
"Don't lie to me! If you can afford that butler, then you're obviously loaded!"
Naruto flinched. He recalled back when he transformed into a butler just to get Blackie off of his tail. He didn't think it would bite him in the ass later, but now it did.
"Terrific, just terrific…" he mumbled to himself. "Now what? He's never going to listen or leave me alone at this rate…"
"Is there a problem, Naruto?" Gaia walked up in front of Naruto from the kitchen, curious of what the noise was all about.
"Huh? What are you doing here, Gaia?"
"This one was bored of the blue mare's speeches of her…" The wolf darted his eyes down and back at Naruto, mostly disturbed. "'Fabulous Adventures', as she calls it."
"She's a hand—er, hoofful, I'll give you that, but I guess she just needs time to adjust here. An overgrown teddy bear did ruin her life after all…"
The door shook again as Blackie tested his mettle against it, followed by words of loathing, hate and ignorance. Frankly, Naruto was tired of it. He looked at Gaia for a moment, and an idea popped into his head. Naruto couldn't help but smile as Gaia tilted his head in confusion.
Meanwhile, two ponies were on their way to Naruto's house. One, a grey earth-pony mare with elegantly stylish, black hair sporting a white neck collar along her neck and a pink bowtie. The other was a white unicorn mare with a striking neon blue hairstyle, along with purple sunglasses covering her eyes.
The white mare was leaning her head on the grey mare's shoulder, but she immediately pushed her off.
"Geez, Vinyl, don't lean on me like that in public," she said with a blush, "It's embarrassing." Instead, she just wrapped a hoof around her neck, bringing her closer.
"Aw, don't be like that, 'Tavi. I don't care if anyone sees us," Vinyl said in a slurred kind of voice.
"And you're not right in the head right now. You pulled another all-nighter at your last DJ session didn't you?" she asked her, to which Vinyl nodded lazily. "I told you we'd be going to a friend's house yesterday. It's your fault for partying all night long."
"But Taaaaviiiii! They were pleading for an encore! You should've seen how full my tip jar was getting! It was practically overflowing onto the floor!" she exclaimed, rocking them both from side to side as they walked. "C'mon, this isn't fair to treat me like this. What about our little night together?"
"Wh-!?" she yelped as Vinyl rubbed a hoof in her hair. "I-I don't know what you're talking about?"
"Oh come on… you know when we got into bed together…"
"Eep…" she said with a blush.
"And we got under the covers and-"
"A-ah… n-no more… Don't say anymore…" she whimpered with a blush on her face.
"Played Checkers, Hah!" Vinyl said and laughed. The grey mare, obviously, was not. Her entire face was blushing. Vinyl wiped a tear from her eye, her laughter finally dying down. "C'mon, 'Tavi, keep up with me here. We got into bed and played checkers one night. We were bored out of our minds. What did you think I meant?"
Frustrated, Octavia grabbed Vinyl by the chest, with Vinyl still grinning.
"Now see here, you—!"
Before Octavia could get anything out of Vinyl, a piercing mare-ish scream got their attention.
From further up the road, a white timberwolf was chasing a black unicorn, its teeth bared and snarling. The unicorn bolted pass the two without noticing them, the timberwolf following a moment after. The two mares watched, slack-jawed as they tore down the road.
Eventually, the wolf stopped in its tracks, watching as the unicorn continued to run into town. It panted, with its wooden tongue flopping out of its mouth.
"I-Is that…" Octavia stuttered, filled with fear. She knew exactly what it was and every muscle in her body tensed, ready to run at a moments notice.
"Ooh, it's a Timberwolf; awesome!" But Vinyl held no such fear. Octavia just looked at Vinyl in fear, her teeth chattering as she wrapped her hooves around Vinyl's neck.
"A-awesome!? It's a timberwolf! What's it doing out of the forest!?"
The wolf slurped his tongue back into its barky mouth. It turned towards them, ears perked up and its beastly glowing eyes staring right at them. They both flinched, with Octavia holding her mouth agape, while Vinyl just stared in curiosity.
"I-I think it's going to eat us!" Octavia stammered, holding onto Vinyl for dear life.
"Shhh, don't worry…" Vinyl reassured her, petting Octavia's fine-combed hair. "If it attacks us, I'll protect you, alright?"
"Y-you will?" Octavia asked with her purple eyes, finding hope in Vinyl's. Even though she couldn't see her eyes through her thick sunglasses, in her heart, she could see them.
"C'mon, would I ever lie to you?" Vinyl added with a glance before quickly locking eyes with the wolf again, charging up a self-defense spell. The wolf tilted its head at the strange ponies. Was it a threat, or thinking about how best to eat them?
The answer came when it scratched itself with its back paw.
They couldn't believe it. The wolf sat down, and scratched its back with its hind leg, not caring that they were there, either. Vinyl's battle-ready face softened as the wolf yawned. It took another look at Vinyl and sighed.
"The black one runs at a magnificent speed; this one has underestimated the legs of the equines."
Time seemed to stop when the wolf spoke. The two friends stood there, mouths agape. Octavia and Vinyl looked at each other in confusion.
"Did that wolf…" Octavia began.
"Just speak?" Vinyl ended.
They looked back at the wolf again and met its intimidating stare head on.
"Heyyy, wait up, Gaia!"
A voice from their right caused them to turn their heads as Naruto came dashing in from up the road. Octavia sighed in relief, recognizing who it was that was coming to their rescue.
"It's Naruto! Maybe he'll save us from that timberwolf!" Octavia cried with glee. As he closed the distance between himself and the timberwolf, she expected him to break out with a buck or a lunging tackle. Instead, he slid to a stop next to him and patted it on its head.
"Geez, Gaia, I had no idea you were that fast."
"I am as light as the wood of the tall ones, Naruto. The legs this one is born with is made for running."
"Still, though, that was amazing. I can't believe I hadn't thought of this before. Did you see how fast he was running?"
"Yes, but this one does not understand." The timberwolf frowned. "Why did you want this one to chase him?"
"Er, eh heh… it's a long story, Gaia. I'll tell you when we get back," Naruto said, standing back up and stretching lightly.
The musical duo stood there, glancing back and forth between Naruto and the wolf. Questions riddled Octavia's mind. Why wasn't it attacking him? Why was Naruto talking with it? Most importantly, why was it talking!?
Naruto finally noticed out of the corner of his eye the two mares off the side of the road. He flashed them a grin, locking eyes with Octavia.
"Oh, hey Octy, what's up?"
It didn't take long for all four of them to reach Naruto's house. The entire way back, he repeatedly assured the two mares that he'd explain everything once they were there. The grey mare couldn't believe her eyes at the condition of the living room: It was well on its way to being livable.
"Wow, you've been busy, Naruto," she complimented. "Did you hire someone to help fix the place?"
"I cleaned the living room; I had some help with the rest of the house as well. It's not fixed up yet, but we're working on it," Naruto explained, guiding Vinyl and Octavia toward the couch. They both looked at each other, and shrugged. They sat down on the brand new couch, getting comfortable. Naruto brought in a chair back from the kitchen for himself, sitting in it backwards with his hooves crossed over the backrest.
"I'd offer you something to drink, but we're a little tight on money at the moment. It took quite a few bits to get us to where we are now."
"It's quite alright, Naruto. Vinyl and I had lunch before we got here," Octavia said with a smile. Vinyl crossed her hind legs and leaned back.
"Wow, this couch feels great," Vinyl said with a smile, but leaned forward with a grin. "So, you must be Tails then, the great savior that 'Tavi goes on and on about huh?"
"T-Tails?" He certainly wasn't fond of the name, especially since every pony out there keeps going head over heels for them. "Why Tails? Why not just call me Naruto?"
"Nah, your real name is definitely lacking. Instead I'll just call you Tails, alright? Of course it's alright," Vinyl explained with a cheeky grin. Octavia glared at Vinyl, but took on a softer expression when looking at Naruto.
"Forgive Vinyl, Naruto. She's a bit of a wild mare with her own set of rules she follows."
"That goes without saying 'Tavi," Vinyl chuckled.
"Oh course it does…" Octavia added sarcastically. She looked back at Naruto with a faltering smile. "Now, I believe re-introductions are in order yes? As you know, my name is Octavia Clopper, cello and violinist. And this is—"
"Vinyl Scratch," interrupted the unicorn, throwing up both her hooves as if in front of an audience. "the best Disc Jockey in all of Equestria!"
"In that case, I'm Naruto Uzumaki and I don't know what I am right now," Naruto admittedly said. While he was, in fact, a ninja, most ponies here obviously had nothing of an equivalent nature. It was probably best to keep that himself for now. Vinyl raised a brow at this.
"You serious? Like, are you jobless or something?"
"I've been freelancing, mostly; Taking odd jobs in town to get by. I haven't decided on anything permanent yet."
"I thought you were a mercenary, Naruto," chimed in Octavia with a thoughtful look.
"Huh? I am?" Naruto said, confused.
"Well, what else could you be? You obviously have the fighting prowess required of one. I was telling Vinyl about it before."
He had not only risked his life to kill a Manticore to save Octavia, but also Trixie from timberwolves. He guessed it was accurate to call himself a Mercenary, since it seemed to be a common thing around here in Equestria.
"Yeah… I'm a Mercenary, I guess. It's about as close as I'm going to get to being labeled a ninja again," Naruto explained, realizing his slip of the tongue a moment too late.
"Neen-ja?" Vinyl sounded out curiously. Octavia looked at Vinyl with the same expression.
"What, pray tell, is a ninja?" Octavia inquired, her curiosity piqued. "In fact, I remember you saying that while we were walking with daddy to this house."
Naruto bit his lip. Him and his big mouth. In fact, why was he so hesitant in hiding this information? Then again, once he thought about it a bit more, a ninja was similar to a mercenary.
"Well… I guess it would be similar to a mercenary, except we're more technique-oriented and stealthy. It's… a job I used to have back where I once lived." He wasn't exactly lying, but he wasn't telling them the whole truth, either. He hoped that they wouldn't press any further than that though.
"I see, so you know your way around combat rather well?" Octavia asked.
"I guess you could say that, yeah…" Naruto nodded in agreement.
Let's not forget that my abilities are stunted because of this stupid pony form… Naruto thought sadly.
"Well, in any case, that brings me to the reason for our visit. You sent us a message saying we could come by this weekend to discuss details on a job," Octavia announced.
"Wait, it's the weekend already?"
"Heh, wow, and I thought I had lost my sense of time these days," Vinyl said with a cheeky grin, her front hooves scratching her cheek. "Then again, when you drink during the after-parties, time just flies."
Octavia glared at Vinyl. "That's because you get completely inebriated! I worry that one night, somepony is going to take advantage of you."
"Oh come on, 'Tavi, they wouldn't do that. My fans love me!"
"That's exactly what I'm scared of."
Naruto had no idea what they were talking about, especially this 'after party' stuff. In fact, he didn't even know what a disc jockey was but that was besides the point at the moment.
"I've just been busy lately. That's all. When you've got a talking timberwolf in your house and a noisy showmare, you lose all sense of time, trust me," he explained with a sigh.
"Showmare?" Vinyl asked.
"Who's that?" Octavia added.
"Just a random pony that I ran into along with the timberwolf here," he said as he petted Gaia. "We all met in the Everfree Forest. Decent place to make friends, huh?" He added sarcastically.
"Speaking of which…" Octavia locked eyes with the Timberwolf, its eyes revealing something akin to intelligence. It set her teeth on edge, wondering how such a fierce beast could have such intellect. She looked back at Naruto after taking a deep breath.
"How is that timberwolf tamed," Octavia asked as she scratched her chin, "and how is it talking?"
Naruto looked back at the Timberwol, then back at Octavia. He scratched his head and shrugged. "Frankly, I don't know. I took it back to my house, and some stuff happened when I tried to ea—" Naruto immediately clasped his mouth shut. He couldn't very well tell them he was going to eat it, given Twilight's warning. He gulped as the two musical mares eyed him in confusion.
"A-anyway, I brought him here and some weird stuff happened. It'd take too long for me to explain so just accept the fact that there's a talking wolf."
"Naruto, this one believes you have said that before," Gaia reiterated, laying his head down on the floor.
"Well what do you want me to say? How do you think I feel about this? It's just too weird…" Naruto said with his face in his hooves. Octavia briefly looked at Vinyl, but just gave a nod.
"I… see. Then I won't push the matter any further, although I still wish I could know more about it," Octavia said, her eyes full of curiosity.
"If it is because you are afraid of this one, then please don't. This one means you no harm," the wolf re-assured.
"But who is this showmare you were talking about?" Octavia asked.
"Oh, I'm talking about—"
"—the Great and Powerful Trixie of course!" interrupted Trixie.
All heads turned towards the voice to find the show mare in question standing in the doorway. She stood on her hind legs and spread her hooves wide. "Feast your eyes on her splendiferous form, audience!"
An awkward silence quickly fell as they continued to stare at the blue mare. Naruto could care less, while Octavia just stared in disbelief. Vinyl, on the other hand, smiled as she adjusted her sunglasses.
"Hey, you're that street performer that got chased out of Canterlot! What brings you here?" Vinyl asked nonchalantly. A resounding thump as Trixie crashed to the floor in what appeared to be utter surprise rang through the house.
So they know each other then, Naruto thought curiously. A distant friend perhaps, or one of the misfortunates that Trixie included into her act? She got up and pointed a hoof angrily at Vinyl.
"How dare you! Trixie was never chased out of anything!" she pronounced proudly, giving a wide grin. "All she did was make a hasty retreat as her fans could not handle Trixie's glorious performance."
"Sure, after they threw tomatoes and rotten vegetables at you," Vinyl retorted with a snicker.
Naruto raised a brow. "Is that really what happened, Trixie?"
"W-well… um…" Trixie stuttered out, obviously at a lack for words. In the end, she stomped her hoof and shook her head. "W-what does it matter? Those ponies had no sense of taste or sophistication whatsoever, so I took my act elsewhere! End of discussion!" she finished loudly, snout in the air. Vinyl sighed in frustration.
"The true story, Naruto, was that Trixie here performed back in Canterlot. All of what I know is just second hoof information, but apparently she was chased out of town due to her…" Vinyl explained, stifling a giggle in the process. "Heh, sorry. I can't help but laugh when I hear she lit somepony's mane on fire with a lightning bolt. I really wanted to see- mmmph!?"
Vinyl's mouth was suddenly surrounded in a pale light blue aura and forcefully kept shut. She growled as she stared at the offending mare whose horn glowed with the same color.
"Grrr, shut up shut up shut up! Can't anyone understand that it was an accident!? Trixie's performance isn't perfect!" Vinyl chuckled some more at Trixie's reaction to all of this. Naruto couldn't help but be a little surprised.
"You lit somepony's mane on fire?" Naruto asked, to which Trixie glared back.
"Trixie was experimenting with a new trick. The stallion in the front row should have known better than to look at me with his lustful eyes, throwing off Trixie's concentration and—" Trixie explained before clamping both hooves over her running mouth. She elected to stare at each pony in utter disdain before regaining some semblance of her old self.
"Trixie is in no mood for this. She is retiring to her room." With that, she marched —or stomped —back out of the room. A moment later, they heard the sound of a door slamming shut.
"You really got under her skin with that, but was it even necessary?" Naruto commented with a frown. The DJ pony grinned ecstatically.
"I wanted to. Her reactions were so cute!"
"Vinyl, you really shouldn't tease other ponies like that," she admonished. "It's a bit unnerving."
"Aw, she'll get over it. You know how those show ponies are: she's used to ponies like me. At least I hope she is, or she's gonna be in store for a rude awakening," Vinyl said with a shrug, giving Naruto a more serious expression as her brows furrowed.
"What I'm trying to say is, you need to handle criticism when you're in show business. Otherwise, it won't end well for you. Take it from experience," Vinyl explained, letting off an air of seriousness. "I had to go through a lot of harsh times and take a lot of flak until I got where I am today. Always listen to what the audience is saying, and you just might make it out there."
While it was a bit unexpected, he agreed with everything Vinyl Scratch was saying, despite her rather tenuous methods. He even got to hear of a side of Trixie that she probably would never had told him had he asked. For some reason, he found her reactions… cute. He could've sworn she was blushing too. Perhaps she was coming down with something? Regardless, Vinyl's advice was rather sound, but he detected a hint of sarcasm in her words. Silence filled the room as everypony and wolf took in what just happened at their own pace.
"At any rate…" Octavia started, breaking the silence. "We need your help, Naruto."
To be honest, he had almost completely forgotten that they were here for something serious. All this side-tracking was rather interesting though.
"Well, what's wrong?"
"You don't remember what I wrote in the letter I sent you?" Octavia said, a little peeved.
Naruto leaned back a little, looking up toward the ceiling as he went over what he remembered. Only one part was one hundred percent clear.
"You said you needed a bodyguard, right?" ventured Naruto.
"Correct," Octavia confirmed, smiling as she gestured to Vinyl. "Care to fill him i,n or should I?"
"Right… well, my life might be in danger." She paused for a moment, as if letting that bit of information set in. After a few seconds, she continued. "As you know now, I'm a DJ by trade and I travel a lot to different venues and gigs for my job. However, the last couple jobs had…" Vinyl explained, pausing as she took off her sunglasses, revealing her blood-red eyes to Naruto. "…well, they each had an interruption, two in total. The first was when I was playing at a charity party to raise money for a local farm. I narrowly avoided getting hit by an arrow.
"I was lucky that the DJ booth I was behind had a thick glass window in front of me. Needless to say, it scared the crap outta me," she added, running a hoof through her hair. "I made a hasty exit because of that. It also didn't help that the authorities or the club staff couldn't find any leads." Vinyl's eyes darted down as she let out a heavy sigh.
"The second time was in Canterlot. I was taking a break during half-time, drinking some good ol' apple cider. Nothing beats an ice cold glass of cider when you're parched. You know what I mean, Tails?"
"No, I don't. I don't drink."
"Well that's lame," Vinyl stated with a chuckle. "Anyway, while I was getting another at the bar, one of the stage crew was checking on one of my subwoofers when BOOM!" she spoke loudly, throwing out her hooves in exaggeration. Naruto and Octavia both flinched.
"The speaker exploded. Thankfully, I was nowhere near the blast. But the pony who was checking the equipment," she murmured sadly, frowning, "he wasn't so lucky."
Silence fell as the meaning behind those last few words sunk in. He stood up from his chair, determination evident in his eyes.
"When's your next gig?"
"It's tonight here in Ponyville, at a little club called 'Bat Crazy'. It's a frequented place for freelance DJs, making it a perfect spot for me. The owner and I are good friends and he is aware of the situation. However…" Vinyl darted her eyes toward the floor. "I was very lucky to have survived the first two times, but I don't think I'm going to be so lucky this time. Do you know the saying 'third time's the charm'? Well, I think the charm's going to be me getting killed." She looked back at Naruto. "With the way 'Tavi's talked about you, you could be my best hope in ending this problem permanently. If it all goes well, I'll compensate you for your time and effort."
Naruto didn't know who was attempting to take Vinyl's life, but the fact that it happened the last two times, meant it would most definitely happen again. But what if the assassin didn't make its attempt tonight? What if that was the end of it and the assassin just gave up?
No. Such thinking got people killed. Whoever it was would most likely try again, seeing as nopony had seen neither hide nor hair of him. He noticed they were holding each other's hooves tightly, Octavia silently supporting her in her time of need. Gaia, silently observing till now, stepped forward and nodded.
"This one does not completely understand the strange words you have said. However, this one believes you are in danger," Gaia said, staring back at Naruto. "It would be the right thing to accept this strange haired mare's request," he expressed, a nearly unnoticeable grin on his face . "I will be at your side, assisting you as necessary."
"I hate to butt in… but pets aren't allowed in the club. It's kind of mandatory, especially since you're a timberwolf," Vinyl sadly said. This raised a brow from the wolf.
"What manner of nonsense is this? This one's presence cannot be accepted?" Gaia objected, not fully understanding her point.
"It's the club rules," Vinyl answered. Gaia growled lightly, but reined himself in before laying down on the floor quietly.
"Ah, yes… of course it would be. One must have restrictions to live a comfortable life, this one believes."
"Sometimes the rules are a pain in the flank, but what can you do?" Vinyl said with a frown.
Naruto's decision was obvious: Of course he would help Vinyl. After all, it was thanks to Octavia's family that he had this house. It was only fair that he help out her friend too.
"Don't worry, Vinyl," he smiled, thumping his chest with a hoof. "I'll protect you while you're at your gig. Believe it!" He exclaimed with his trademark grin. Vinyl lunged forward, encompassing him in a giant bear hug as she profusely thanked him.
"Oh thank you thank you thank you! I knew I could count on you!" Vinyl cried out in excitement and relief. "If I didn't already have a special somepony, I'd kiss you right now."
"Er, I uh…" Naruto really had no idea what to do next. Did he hug her back? Pat her on the head? Push her away? "Could you, er, get off me?" he decided, voicing his distress. "You're suffocating me…!"
"Oops!" she squeaked as she loosened her vice-grip, giggling like a madpony. "Sorry, I got carried away!"
"I do have a question, though," Naruto added, ruffling his fur a bit.
"Sure, anything!" Vinyl excitedly replied.
"What's a DJ?" Naruto meekly replied. "Is it some kind of food?"