Second chapter up and running. I appreciate the positive reviews. Please keep in mind that I'm not going to write down everything that happens in the cartoon. Naruto's story will run a parallel quite often, entertwining with canon, and then branching off again. Watching the show to keep up wouldn't be a bad idea, otherwise you may be a tad confused. Other than that, I hope you enjoy the second installment. One last note. I feel I tend to overthink the details sometimes and my writing suffers. So, I'm trying to condense and keep things mysterious, while coming back later to important plot points and little nuances. Well, here we go. Art is Dead by Bo Burnham.
Applejack woke the next morning earlier than usual, excited to get out and work. They had a new hired hoof! One who could probably work on par with Macintosh and this made her nearly want to squeal. Almost. Kinda sorta...not a chance. In any event, she was excited to show him what to do around the farm. And on the weekend, they'd start building that room.
As she tramped down the stairs she noticed she was the only one up. That was strange. Granny was the first one up, followed by Mac. Always. She figured she must have been more excited than she thought. The coffee pot began to perk and brew as she yawned and inhaled the thick scent. Her half-lidded eyes looked out the window, at the moon hanging low in the sky and the figure silhouetted against it.
Naruto sat on his haunches, his forelegs bent and hooves touching together before his chest. This was how he'd been taught to meditate, to reconnect with the magic of Nature around him by the Princess. He could feel everything it seemed. He could hear every beat of a moth's wings, slow and measured. He could feel the heartbeat of the sleeping squirrels in the tree above him. He could feel his strength returning it seemed.
Meditation brought him a sense of peace. A sense of calm. He hadn't had the time to meditate in quite a while. Meditation required a sense of safety. He hadn't had that in the Everfree Forest. He hadn't felt comfortable enough to do it in any of the other places he had visited either. He felt that here. It was almost like being...back home...
His eyes opened slowly and he looked at the moon. Just a couple hours and the sun would be rising. He'd start his first day of work on the farm and, if he was honest with himself, he was a tad excited. He hadn't done any actual physical labor in a long time and it would be great to stretch his muscles. He'd decided last night that he would give this six months. If he liked it here, he'd stay. If not, he'd consider his debt repaid, collect what bits the family owed him, and continue on his journey. With a quick thrust forward he was back on all four hooves and moseying back into the farmhouse.
Applejack watched him lift his nose at the smell of the coffee and quietly shut the so as not to wake her family . She smiled as he wandered into the kitchen and took a quick sip of her coffee. He nodded to her once he rounded the doorframe and glanced at her coffe cup.
"Cups are in the cupboard yonder. Are you a coffee drinker, Mister Naruto?"
"Not much. I drank it in the early morning hours when I needed to be awake back home."
Now this was a line of inquiry she could get into.
"And where is 'back home'? You never told us last night. Didn't tell us much of anything really."
Naruto tipped the mug back in his teeth and slowly let the hot coffee dribble into his mouth. Yep, that was good stuff. A soft sigh escaped as he sat the mug back on the table.
"I'd rather keep my past in the past, ma'am. No offense to you or your family, but I'm a private pony and my past has both good and bad memories. If I decide to stay on as a worker, I'll tell you everything you want to know, but its for the best right now that you don't get too attached to me."
Applejack ground her teeth a bit, but accepted the answer. Then a thought hit her.
"You know, little Applebloom took a shine to you fairly quickly."
"Children often do when something catches their attention."
Applejack's voice sounded very smug.
"She'll get a story or two out of you for sure. I ain't met anyone yet that can say no to those big ol' eyes of hers. And if she hears it, I'll hear it."
"I've spent time around the young ones before, you know. I'm quite sure I can deflect any questions of hers."
"We'll see. On to business. When Big Mac gets up, we'll get started. You ready?"
Naruto rolled his shoulders and grinned.
"As I'll ever be."
Celestia was just raising the sun as the Apple siblings and Naruto walked to the equipment shed. Macintosh elected to let his sister do the talking.
"Now there ain't much to do this time of year except harvest the apples. It's pretty much what we do every season except for winter. There's always some kind of different apple that grows during some time of the year. What with you being here though, I wanted to try something a little different. See, last year I bought some seeds of a few different vegetables and I wanted to try growing our own plot. Kinda ease up on the grocery bill a bit, ya know?"
"Soooo, I figured, you know how to buck apples, obviously. But me and Mac can handle that this morning, until I go to set up the stand in town. I want you to plow that field over yonder."
Blue eyes regarded a rocky, unbroken field. His eyebrow cocked and he looked at the sheepishly grinning Applejack.
"I know it ain't exactly fair to ask on your first day, but it would be a big help. And don't think I expect you to get it all done the first day. It's a big field. And its only you. And you've obviously never farmed before."
"I'll handle it, Miss Applejack. Just help me get everything set up. I've never pulled a plow before, but I'm sure I can handle it."
Applejack positively beamed at him as Mac pulled the plow out. Naruto's hopes sank as he looked at the delapidated thing and her face fell, somewhat ashamed.
"Yeah, I know it ain't purty. But it's all we got until we can afford a new one. Mac has a tough time with it, so I understand if you do too."
The plow was rusty and dull along the blade. The harness was old and worn. Clearly, he would have to fix this first.
"Miss Applejack, I simply can't work with this blade as dull as it is. Do you have a sharpening stone?"
Applejack glanced back to the corner and nodded to Mac, who ambled off.
"Well, yeah, but neither me or Mac are good at sharpening things. We just tend to make them more dull. We'd usually take it in to the blacksmith in Canterlot to get worked on, but last year's crop was kinda smaller than usual soooo..."
Mac nudged the grinding wheel into the light with a grunt and stepped around it.
"Are ya any good with this kinda stuff, Mister Naruto?"
Naruto nodded and began the task of unhooking the plow blade from the frame.
"I've sharpened a few blades in my life. Part of my training in the pal...past..."
Well, that had been rather lame, he thought. Thankfully, neither one pressed him on the point and Applejack just nodded.
"Well, if you can sharpen it, I'd be mighty grateful. It ain't part of your agreed upon duties, but it would help us quite a bit. And it would make your job easier as well. Say, I got a question. How old are you?"
"I'm around Big Macintosh's age, I suppose. Mid-twenties?"
"You don't know?"
Naruto shrugged and lifted the blade up to the stone.
"It was never important where I was before. All that mattered was doing the job. Well, that's what I thought anyway. In any event, I'd better get started, Miss Applejack. Sooner I start, the sooner I finish."
"Uh, yeah. Alright. Well, I'll be in town later, so if you have any questions, just get Big Macintosh. He'll help ya hitch up to the harness and get you started."
Naruto nodded and began to pump the wheel, setting the stone turning and dropping the blade to the stone.
Applejack returned home with Applebloom at almost sunset. She'd sold every apple at her stand and she was feeling good. Mac was sitting on the porch when they arrived and Applebloom ran to him and jumped up, giving him a hug.
"Hey, Big Macintosh!"
Big Mac returned her hug with a massive foreleg.
"Evening, Sugarcube. Y'all have fun at school?"
"Well, go on in and wash up for supper. Me and AJ will be in shortly."
After a hearty 'OK' from the diminuitive little filly, Mac turned to his sister, his eyes still half-lidded but she could tell he had something to say.
"So, how'd Naruto's first day of work go?"
Macintosh sighed and looked up at the ceiling of the porch. There was a hole in a corner. Best to get that fixed before wasps decided to make a nest. But back to the matter at hand.
"He's a beast when it comes to work, AJ. He's pure muscle, like me. He had those blades sharpened and he started on the field by midmorning."
"You told him to move the rocks right? Before he slammed into one with the plow?"
"Eyup. AJ, I don't know what to think of that. He piled them up to a side of the field. The smaller ones that is. The big ones he either smashed into smaller ones or tossed aside. Said we can always use rocks for something later. I can't even do that AJ. I'm strong and I can buck a tree with the best, but he was smashing rocks with his bare hooves."
"Well...supposedly Pinkie Pie comes from a family of miners and rock farmers. There's gotta be tricks."
"It weren't tricks. It was brute strength. AJ, he moved all those rocks and still got a quarter of that field plowed. Sis, I ain't too smart, but we've got a gem here if ever there was one. He's a solid worker. And I bet by the time this season is up, we'll have gotten more accomplished than we ever have."
"It ain't like you to praise somepony after knowing them for so little time, Macintosh."
"I know. That's why we need to tread careful here. There's more to him than meets the eye, Sis. A lot more."
"I reckon so. Where is he?"
"He's puttin' the plow up in the shed. Said he'd finish up tomorrow."
Applejack nodded and headed on inside the house.
Naruto let out a deep breath and stretched his back. No wonder Big Mac was strong enough to buck apples off a tree with one kick. Plowing took a lot of strength. Luckily, he had it in spades. It didn't compare to the thrill of combat though. Training to defend the princess... He missed that. But that life was behind him now. He had to find a new lot in life.
Being a farmhand wasn't so bad. It was honest work at least. And no less monotonous than guard duty. The Apples so far had been nice folk. It was also nice to sleep inside for a change, without waking up with dew on his back.
And Granny Smith was a pretty good cook. She'd regaled him with tales of her youth the night before, while the rest of the Apples sat by and smiled and rolled their eyes. He had sat there, ever the perfect gentlecolt, and listened to every word. But for now, he wanted some food and sleep.
His hoofsteps echoed as he stepped onto the porch and turned the knob with his mouth. He heard the little clops of Applebloom as she ran up to greet him, a huge grin on her face.
"Hiya, Mister Naruto! Didja have fun today?"
He smiled down at her.
"I wouldn't say 'fun' persay, but I feel good, better than I have in a long time."
"That's what my brother says all the time. You two sure sound alike."
A laugh rang out from him.
"I doubt that, little lady. Your brother has a drawl I can't match."
"Yeah, I noticed that too. You sound like one of them high-falutin' people from Canterlot."
Naruto's ears slightly drooped, but he kept a smile on. No reason to worry the little thing.
"Yeah. I get that a lot."
He walked past her calmly toward the bathroom, intent on cleaning up before supper. Applebloom padded along behind him, suddenly intent on something. He heard her gasp.
"You...you don't have a cutie mark! But you're as old as Big Mac!"
Naruto looked at his flank, unadorned and the same color as the rest of his body.
"I just haven't found what I'm good at yet. Part of the reason I'm a wanderer, I suppose."
Applebloom's head was spinning. An adult who didn't have a cutie mark? Unheard of! And it made her sad. It was usually something a pony discovered early on in life. Some got it sooner, some got it later, but everypony eventually got one.
"Don't worry about it, Applebloom. I stopped worrying about it a long time ago. When it happens, it'll happen."
His smile seemed to melt away any of her apprehension and her bounciness returned.
"Maybe it'll be an apple like the rest of my family? You're real good at working on the farm. Least that's what Big Mac says."
"I'm flattered your brother thinks so. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to wash up."
Applebloom bounced away and into the kitchen and he continued up the stairs, uninterrupted.
"So, how was your first day, Mister Naruto?"
Naruto stopped chewing on his stalk of celery and swallowed.
"Pretty good, ma'am. I got those blades sharpened and all the rocks moved out like you asked. I was able to get about a quarter of the field plowed before evening. I haven't worked that hard in a long time. It felt real good."
"I'm glad to hear that. Big Mac says you're a hard worker and he's a good judge of character. I apologize for your sleeping arrangement at the moment. We'll get on that room this weekend and get it built for ya."
"It's nothing major, Miss Applejack. I don't mind. Being inside is enough at the moment."
"Ugh. Call me Applejack. Drop the 'Miss' stuff. Makes me feel old."
"I can't do that, ma'am. It's how I was raised. You're my boss. It's just respect."
"Grrr...fine. Be like that."
Applejack dove back into her meal with aplomb, not bothering with anymore conversation. Granny Smith cackled from her end of the table and grinned at Naruto.
"She don't like not having the final say, son. Remember that."
That would be a good thing to remember, yes. Especially since she was the boss. He had a vague sense of deja vu. Seems like at one point he was always in trouble for disrespect. Now he was in trouble for respecting someone. Life was so confusing sometimes.
One Year Later
Applejack sighed contentedly. The work was done for the day, no, for the season. They'd had a record year so far. Profits were up, way up. They'd never been more productive. And it was all thanks to their new farmhand.
Naruto was a god-send. He could keep up with Mac without stress. Plow what needed plowing. Fix almost everything...or at the least hold whatever Macintosh needed him to. He wasn't much of a carpenter. At the last Winter Wrap Up, he'd outdone everypony except Mac at dozing the snow, keeping pace with his coworker. Nah, 'coworker' was uncalled for. Mac and Naruto were practically best friends. Hell, he was practically family at this point.
Applejack took a drink of water out of a rainbarrel and smacked her lips. They'd built him that room the first weekend and he'd been ever so grateful. It was still spartan, hardly anything in it. Just a few momentos from his past. Some medals, she guessed from contests he'd won. A couple of books, odd ones from the covers and titles. And a strange necklace that he never wore, hung on a hook above his bed.. A simple rope necklace with a tiny green emerald. He said he'd had it commissioned once when he was in Canterlot after he'd seen it in a dream.
He'd taken to farmwork like a duck to water. He'd taken to her family even more. Applebloom adored him and he'd taken to correcting her manners at the table and her grammar when she misspoke. AJ chuckled at that thought. Applebloom didn't like it when he did that, but she liked to impress the older stallion. Her reward for good behavior was a gallop across the farm on his back at full speed...and he was fast. Faster than her, and she was the fastest Earth pony in town. Or he told her a story of his wanderings. Always good for a laugh.
He never even left the farm. Said that he had no need to go into town. If he ever needed anything, he'd give her or Mac a list and ask that it be taken out of his wages. Not much of a list ever. Just one or two things. It was a shame, but she didn't press him on it. It was just sad to see a pony less sociable than Macintosh. At least he went into town sometimes.
At the six month mark, he'd come to the family at supper one evening and said that if they'd have him, he would stay. Their answer was given when Applebloom tackled him with a hug. Of course they wanted him. He'd become a great friend to the family and a hell of a worker. And he'd told them some of his life. Not all, Applejack presumed, because it was pretty brief.
He was a soldier back at the palace. Raised in the military all his life. Youngest Earth pony to ever join up. But a few years before Big Mac found him stealing apples, he left the military and began to wander.
That story was too simple, she suspected, although he loved to tell Applebloom tales of his travels and the ponies he'd met. She had to admit, it was a great way to pass the time in the evening...and way better than one of Granny Smith's 'Why back in my day...' stories.
He cooked for them sometimes when Granny was down. Said he'd learned from the chefs in the palace on a whim. Took care of Applebloom when she was sick. Said he'd learned a bit of medicine from the palace physician.
He was a mystery, wrapped in a conundrum, boxed inside of more...mystery. She'd never been good at fac...fasci...big words. Probably wasn't the right word anyway.
She looked out to the field again to see Naruto dragging the plow back to the barn. Not the hard way, like Mac had always done. He'd outfitted it with foldable wheels for the journey back to the barn.
"It only adds about a hundred pounds to the weight when you're pulling, Miss Applejack. I don't even feel it."
"What about Mac?"
"You think he's gonna admit he can't do something I can do? He's stubborn as a mule. All of you are. Too much pride at times. Although that's not always a bad thing."
That was a good memory. Mac had never complained out loud, but she was pretty sure he didn't appreciate the extra weight. He did like the wheels at the end of the day though. And the consistently sharpened blades.
As she sauntered back to the house, her mind turned to their newest business venture. Something Naruto called 'rootbeer'. She'd come home to find him brewing something in the still out back that they used for cider. Horrified that he was making alcohol, she had confronted him and found he was making something similar to their cider, only from sassafrass roots he found in the Everfree Forest. Her first taste of the completed brew was heavenly.
She'd started bringing a barrel with her once a week to the stand. The profits from it stood next to the apple sales all on their own. Ponies in town loved it. Oh, their cider was still the real moneymaker, but now they could sell a beverage and not sacrifice apples.
It was hard to believe it had been a year and none of her friends had even met him yet. Even when they came by to visit, he was always out in the field. She swore he was worse than Big Macintosh. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had seen him when they had flown over, but one was too shy to approach and one was too busy and embroiled in her tricks. Rarity never came to the farm. And Pinkie Pie was...well, she was Pinkie Pie...
But that was all about to change. The Summer Sun Celebration was around the corner and she was shutting the farm down for it. He was going into town with her and the family whether he liked it or not. It wasn't good to be a social recluse, especially someone as friendly as Naruto. Mind made up, she wiped her mouth with a hoof and rang the dinner bell.
"Soooo...Summer Sun Celebration is in a month."
All the ponies at the table looked at Applejack, her trademark hat no longer on her head (since Naruto had mentioned it was bad manners to wear it at the table whether it was a colt or filly wearing it), and Big Mac nodded.
"Well, I was thinking. This year Ponyville has been elected to host the Celebration and the Princess herself will be in attendance. We'll have a whole lot of the family here to help with the preparations, so I thought once all the chores were done we could go as a family. That includes you, Naruto."
Applejack leveled him with a glare, pinning him in his seat.
"No buts. You haven't left this place in over a year. I know that Sweet Apple Acres is a big place and you do get out of the house, but you haven't even gone into town yet. The Princess herself is coming this year, so you're getting out and making some friends. It'll be good for you. I promise."
Naruto looked helplessly around the table. Sure he didn't go into town, but he had no need to. And with the Princess coming he really didn't want to go. He didn't want her to see how far he'd fallen. His resolve crumbled when he locked eyes with a teary-eyed Applebloom.
She didn't even need to say 'please'. He just gave in and consented.
Her little cries of triumph and Applejack's smug grin weren't helping though.
He hadn't known that the Apple family was that extensive. It seemed that the farm was overrun with ponies of all colors. He hadn't felt this overwhelmed since he left the Royal Palace. Everyone wanted to shake his hoof, welcome him to the farm, wish him well. He upheld his bearings and took it all in stride. Welcoming each hoofshake, returning every greeting, and always, always maintaining eye contact.
He was amused that little Applebloom was following his lead...or trying to at least. She was still a little shy when some of the older mares got their hooves on her. Everything was going great. The pies and apple related confectionaries for the celebration were coming along nicely. Then he heard AJ shout.
"Soup's on, everypony!"
Well, that was odd. Everyone had agreed to hold off on eating until the celebration was under way. Why in the world would she holler now? That's when he noticed the unicorn and the baby dragon with her. She seemed official, perhaps she was an emissary from the palace, down to check the preparations?
He could swear he'd seen her before. Or perhaps a relative? He wasn't sure. She seemed quite unsettled though, with all the attention and food suddenly thrust upon her. Their eyes locked for a moment when Applejack introduced him as their farmhand and for just a second, something clicked in her mind it seemed. It was gone just as quickly though and she was off with a full belly to inspect something else.
AJ threw her head back and laughed hard.
"Wheeee doggies! That was a hoot. Didja see her face? She's a laugh riot."
Stamping her hooves to get the attention of her family, she spoke loud and proud, the only way she knew how.
"Alright, everypony! Let's get everything together and ready to go! We've still got to set up in Ponyville!"
A round of cheers was her answer and everyone scurried to their respective posts.
"Woooow! Everything looks so beautiful!"
Applebloom was glancing all around as she sat on Naruto's back, her tiny hooves resting on top of his head for a look at the scenery. He'd worn his necklace on impulse. The Apples all said it looked nice on him, but he really only did it because he felt compelled to. As if it would matter. He smiled up at Applebloom and nodded once, deciding to mimic Big Mac.
"Yeah, little sis. Rarity outdid herself this year. The Princess being in attendance must have really got her pumped. I bet she started on all this like a week ago."
Naruto kept silent and just kept walking. He sincerely hoped that the Princess wouldn't see him and yet, at the same time, he hoped she would. It would be nice to see her again, however briefly. Perhaps he was overthinking things again. It seemed to be a bad habit lately. Applebloom seemed to pick up on his mood and thumped him on the head.
"Sis says I ain't supposed to let you act like that tonight. And I'm also supposed to help you find some friends. So I got an idea. While Mac and Sis catch up with other ponies, lets go meet some people I know."
Naruto looked up at his rider and blinked his big blue eyes.
"Well, how about we just walk around and you show me where everything is first? I've never been to Ponyville before and I have no idea where we're going."
That seemed to brighten her up. She gave him a chipper 'OK' and off they went. She showed him the school, the library, all the various shops around the square. The park, the market where Applejack set up her apple stand, and then finally they came to townhall, where everyone was gathering. Applebloom hopped off his back to find her schoolfriends and Naruto wandered off to find either Mac or Applejack.
He looked up to where a yellow pegasus with a pink mane was conducting a bird choir, engrossed in her work. It sounded lovely. He saw AJ at a refreshment stand, talking with a blue pegasus with a rainbow mane and wandered over when she waved. He couldn't hear what she was saying but she was pointing animatedly in his direction and the unnamed blue filly was looking at him with wide magenta eyes.
"...and this is Naruto. Naruto, this is my friend Rainbow Dash, the fastest pony in Ponyville. She's also part of the Weather Management team in charge of the clouds and rainfall."
Naruto nodded and smiled.
"Nice to meet you, Miss Dash."
Rainbow Dash pooched out her bottom lip and stepped a bit closer.
"He doesn't sound like a cool person. He sounds kinda snooty, like Rarity."
"Dash! He's my farmhand and friend. Be nice!"
Naruto had started to say something else when the birds rang out the tune for the Princess' arrival and all attention turned to the mayor. She gave a small speech welcoming the Princess and a white unicorn with a royal purple mane pulled back the curtain revealing...nothing!
Now he was worried. The Princess was never late to anything. The unicorn ran into the room that she was supposed to be sequestered in and ran back out with a gasp.
Panic started to set in amongst all the ponies present and the mayor struggled to keep her cool and maintain what little order she could. He could hear a pink pony yelling about 'hide and seek' and babbling to the purple unicorn he'd seen earlier. He was about to slink off and see what had happened himself when a purple haze began to form on the balcony.
Murmurs soon turned to outright screams when the haze split apart and a large black mare, an alicorn, appeared, her head held high and a sneer on her face. Naruto froze when he saw the horn and wings. He'd only seen them on one other. And the flowing mane made of starlight was a dead give away.
"Hello, my loyal subjects. It's been so long since I've seen your precious little sun-loving faces."
Rainbow Dash piped up beside him.
"What did you do to our Princess?"
The mare on the balcony merely laughed and Applejack had to grab Dash by the tail to keep her from flying up to confront their tormentor.
"Why? Am I not royal enough for you? Has my name been forgotten in my exile?"
"Oooooh, I know, I know! Queen Meanie! No, Black Snooty! Bla..."
Applejack was quick enough to shove a cupcake in the pink one's mouth, shutting her up. The pink pony moved to speak again and Naruto clapped a hoof over her mouth while Applejack hissed at her through a mouth of rainbow colored tail.
"Pinkie Pie, shut up!"
At least he had a name now. He had barely listened to what else the nightmarish mare had said to taunt the ponies nearest her, but snapped to when the purple unicorn, Twilight Sparkle, he remembered from her visit to the farm, declared that she was the Mare in the Moon, Nightmare Moon.
'Well prarie shit. That's gonna make this more difficult if she's Princess Celestia's sister.'
"I'm glad to see that somepony remembers me. Now, you little sun-lovers, I will cast my shade over this world and the night will rule eternal!"
The mayor finally snapped out of her stupor and ordered the royal guards to attack the black alicorn. They tried valiantly, but were knocked aside by a swipe of her everflowing tail and mane. She cackled evilly as lightning crashed around her and seemed to dissipate into the air, like a mist, and out a window. Everyone stood still, not knowing what to do, as the guards struggled back to their feet. Applejack let go of Rainbow Dash's tail and Naruto released Pinkie Pie's mouth. Rainbow Dash immediately barreled outside. That snapped his mind out of the fog.
It was time for action. Everyone was in disarray, the guard seemingly didn't know what to do. It was time for him to step forward again. A quick look and he found little Applebloom cowering with her friends. That was enought to spur him into action.
Everyone froze in place, even Twilight Sparkle, who had been on her way out to try to discover a way to stop Nightmare Moon. The royal guards all snapped to attention, their backs straight as Naruto walked forward. His voice rang of authority and one soldier, a Sargeant by the shield on his armor, seemed to recognize him, and even seemed relieved.
"Lieutenant? Lieutenant Naruto, it is you! Fall in, soldiers! Officer on deck!"
Everyone stood slackjawed as Naruto stood before the assembled guard, his head held high.
"Alright, listen up! I want a detail of guards to patrol the perimiter of the town. No one gets in, no one gets out! A detail of no more than five and no less than three to scour the area for clues to Princess Celestia's whereabouts. You!"
Twilight Sparkle jumped, nearly dislodging her small dragon pet...Spike, that was his name. She meekly turned to face him.
"As the only one who knew who Nightmare Moon was, you know the most about her. Get to the library and research where she might have gone as fast as you can."
He ignored the indignant grumble that Twilight gave him and turned back to Applejack, only to find her and her friends sprinting after Twilight Sparkle. Well, he'd catch up to them quickly enough. The guards were still stock still, awaiting orders. He stared at the one who had recognized him.
"You! You're in charge til I return. Keep the townsfolk safe and keep things orderly. Do not let anything else happen!"
The Sargeant snapped a salute.
"Yessir, Lieutenant! Its an honor to serve under you again, sir!"
Naruto nodded and made for the door. He had to catch up to the fillies before they did something rash.
Aaaand done. Working on the third chapter now. Trying to keep it interesting. I wanted to get into the meat of the story, so that time skip was necessary. Don't worry. I'll delve into his past the further we go. I feel that may be why I burnt out on The Melt. I spent so much time on detail that I just...fizzled. But I'm trying. Also, any grammatical errors you catch, please let me know so I can correct them. Thanks guys. Let me know what you think.