Your Summon is Pink
Disclaimer: ... not to say that some ponies don't eat meat.
Chapter Four: Ponies in the Leaf
Naruto signed the contract with his dominant hand, which caused Twilight to cock her head. She cleared her throat, catching the attention of all the ponies in the room. The boy turned his head to face her as he made his bloody handprint.
"I thought you were left-handed; why are you signing with your right?"
"Aren't I limited to one contract per hand?" He asked as he stood.
"Actually, you are not," stated Celestia. "I am glad Lord Basil wasn't offended by the fact that you signed with your off-hand."
Naruto shrugged. "I figured that I'd better reserve my right hand for the Summons I'd call on the most - my left hand is for emergencies only."
The mares in the room giggled as the stallions looked around, lost in thought.
"Naruto," began Rarity, "we are absolutely flattered by the idea that you reserved your dominant hand for us."
The blonde grinned and put both of his hands behind his head, causing Rarity to grimace.
"... that's disgusting."
"You just put your own blood in your hair," Twilight explained with a laugh.
The next week became a blur, as Naruto spent nearly every waking second training with the ponies. The first morning, Twilight summoned him to Equestria. He left a clone with her to study with her. Since Pinkie was quite adept at fighing while standing on her hind legs, it was agreed that she'd train the boy in taijutsu (hand-to-hand techniques) every other day. On the days that Pinkie wasn't training him, Rarity would. She insisted on training his etiquette as well as teach him a special chakra control technique that he'd never learn from anyone else.
Each successive day that Naruto was summoned, he left an additional clone with Twilight for additional study, especially since at the end of the first day...
"You really think I will remember everything he's read today?"
Twilight nodded. "Considering that you remembered carrying Fluttershy partway up Whistling Peak from six different perspectives, you should have complete retention of everything your clone has experienced since breakfast."
"It means you'll remember everything he did perfectly," clarified Spike as he reshelved the books the clone had read that day.
Naruto missed the annoyed glare Twilight briefly gave the human boy.
"No no no no!" Pinkie admonished. She walked over to where Naruto stood in a stance. Balancing on her hind legs, she pressed down on his shoulders. "Keep your spine straight and your knees bent. Your feet should at least be as far apart as your shoulders are."
The blonde had to shift his feet a few more centimeters apart. He had to bend his knees just to keep from falling over.
"This keeps your center of gravity closer to the ground. Your bent knees also allow you to take stronger blows without losing your balance, so keep them loose."
"It's a little difficult to balance with my back so straight," he complained.
She giggled. "That's because you're a human, not a pony. While I need to keep my spine like a ramrod, you have a bit more flexibility when it comes to yours."
She took two steps back. "Now SWAY!"
Her hoof swung at him with incredible velocity. He had to bend backwards just to avoid it. Keeping the balls of his feet anchored to the ground with chakra, he managed to dodge the attack in such a way that would make a contortionist green with envy.
"Don't let me touch you!" She yelled as she slammed her hooves down towards his mid-section. He twisted his waist and brought his left foot up as he spun on his right heel, getting a fair distance away from his pink assailant. She swung around on her front hooves to plant a bruising buck on his right thigh with her hind legs. This was finally enough to cause Naruto to lose his balance.
He managed to arch his back and catch himself on his hands before back flipping into the ready stance Pinkie had taught him, but he still had to favor his right leg due to the goose egg that was swelling on his thigh. Unfortunately, he did not have enough time to react to the chocolate cake that impacted with his face. This caused him to flinch, which caused his leg to ache sharply. Finally, he fell down with a cake-muffled yelp.
Pinkie shook her head. "You're going to need to practice this when you can - and Twilight says you can't use a clone to practice with. Something to do with muscle-memory."
She walked over to the open door of the building. "Now you stay here in the dojo while I get Fluttershy to heal you."
"No problem," the blonde muttered though the delicious confection splattered on his face.
"Once you are able to adapt my technique to chakra use instead of magic, then I will have you practice it with your clones," the white mare stated.
"Wait, what? I thought that magic is no different from chakra!"
Rarity thought about it for a moment. "There is a difference between the two methods of use. Chakra is generated inside of the body into a jutsu and released through focal points or along a chakra string."
She demonstrated this by taking a threaded needle and stitching it into a piece of fabric before pulling it through and having it fly through the air. "Magic, on the other hoof, is sent to the area to be affected before being assembled into the desired spell."
This time, she set the fabric down and took the thread (sans needle) and tied it into a bow. She pointed a hoof at the mannequin next to Naruto. "Now take that dark blue scarf the dress form is wearing and we can start with the control exercise I personally devised."
She grabbed a scroll with magic and led him into her backyard where she laid down on a mat in the middle of her zen garden. Naruto sat, cross-legged, on a mat just in front of her. Her horn still glowing, she unfurled the scroll to show that it was blank - it was simply made of a durable fabric.
"What I am about to teach you is a breakthrough in armor and weaponry." The loose end of the scroll curled up and became fist-shaped. "Tetsu Kireji Koura." (Iron Cloth Shell)
The fist-shaped end of the scroll smashed into a boulder, sending rock chips flying. The ground around the stone had cracked and a healthy amount of dust had been kicked into the air by the shockwave of the blow.
"That technique is my secret weapon!" Rarity boasted. "It allows me to armor myself in the simplest of clothing without requiring sturdier, not to mention heavier, materials. I can also turn cloth into a blunt-force weapon using this spell."
The end of the scroll became as straight as a ruler and cut through the boulder diagonally. "Koutetsu Kireji Sori." (Steel Cloth Razor)
As the top half of the boulder began sliding down against the other half, Rarity rolled up her scroll. "That was the more advanced version. It is strictly offensive in nature."
She locked gazes with Naruto. "I am the only one to have developed this technique. Other battle seamstresses use fabric to confuse and constrain their opponents."
Naruto hands trembled as he contemplated this information. "You're giving up a personal technique for my sake?"
Rarity gave a smile, more genuine than any Naruto had seen from her before, making him realize just how much she seemed to hide from the others.
"I shall tell you a story from when I was much younger," she declared. "I managed to pass the minimum power requirements to join Celestia's Academy for Gifted Unicorns in Canterlot. Unfortunately, the tuition fees were far too much for my family to afford. I turned to dressmaking to save up enough to attend the entry exam and that took several years. But when I finally had enough, the Mage Council laughed at the idea that a battle seamstress could ever become a proper Magician. By that time, I was too old to join the Royal Ninja Corps Training Programme, so I couldn't even become a proper battle seamstress."
Rarity frowned. "Because of this, I was forced to train myself in ninjutsu and magic. Of course, the most useful knowledge was kept secret, so I figured things out on my own." She grinned and leaned forward. "And I developed an entirely new hybrid of both."
She abruptly stood and pressed a hoof to Naruto's chest. "And you shall be the first human to become a battle tailor."
Naruto smiled faintly. "You didn't exactly answer my question."
Tossing her head to the side, causing her mane to cover her left eye, she laughed. "True. I have heard from Twilight and Pinkie about your Chuunin Exam Finals and who you shall face in the first match. A Hyuuga? The elitist clan known for ignoring armor and attacking internal organs?"
She shook her head. "Already, that is a tall order to prepare you for. But I hear he's considered a genius. I shall teach you my technique and you must learn it by the time you face Hyuuga Neji in the ring."
She sat back down on her mat. "I am a genius. You are as well, I believe. Let's prove it to the world!"
While Pinkie's training regimen was quite physically difficult, Naruto felt he was making real progress. Rarity's technique was another matter entirely. Try as he might, Naruto didn't feel as if he was making any headway in getting the cloth to do anything, much less what he wanted it to do. Rarity didn't seem concerned, but she happened to be busy filling orders for outfits and only occasionally checked on Naruto.
At the end of the third day of training with her, Naruto's six library clones dispelled. He was almost ready to go home and Rarity was going to send him back to Konoha when he snapped upright.
"Is anything the matter?" She asked.
One hundred and eight hours' worth of knowledge settled in his mind, giving him a slight headache, but the memories told him one of the clones had been excited about what it had read.
"Hand me some cloth!"
Raising a delicate eyebrow, Rarity levitated some fabric into Naruto's waiting hand. He grabbed it and poured a meager amount of chakra through it. The cloth straightened out as if it had been marinating in starch.
Rarity smirked as she threw a pair of pinking shears at the fabric only for it to bounce off. "I knew you'd figure it out."
"We'll have to thank Twilight that I did," the blonde said with conviction. "I didn't fully understand the nature of chakra until she handed me that book."
"I thought I had to flood the cloth with my chakra to get it to work - but there is apparently chakra in all things."
"Sage chakra, yes," Rarity said. "Applejack talks about it sometimes."
"I didn't need to energize the cloth - I simply needed to tell it what I wanted to do."
"Now you know something of my secret technique. You can practice it on your own. I expect you to send a clone over here for etiquette training though."
"Can your technique work on other things?"
Rarity gave him a look. "I have tried, darling. Many times. It simply becomes telekinesis when trying to use it with other objects. My understanding is that it works with fabric because you have many different strands that you are holding in a shape and they resist changing when force is applied to them."
At the end of the week, Twilight suggested that he should spend a day with her brother. Of course, Pinkie wanted to come with. Naruto shrugged and took Twilight's advice.
That morning, instead of being summoned to Equestria, Naruto summoned Pinkie and Shining Armor to his apartment. However, because he was still half-asleep, Naruto put a little too much chakra into the jutsu.
"Seven reporting for duty!"
That woke the blonde up. "Figgaro! I'm sorry."
Pinkie giggled. "You put too much chakra in the jutsu, huh Naruto?"
"Ah. We are to be off-duty then?"
"That's correct," confirmed Shining Armor. "Twily said that Naruto needed to take a break. Interesting that he summoned you on accident."
"With your permission-"
"At ease, soldier."
"- I'd like to look around a bit. I'll meet you for lunch." He burst into smoke and slipped through the crack under the front door.
Shining facehoofed. "He's always working, even when on break."
Naruto shrugged. "Some people are like that, I've noticed. Anyway, I want you to meet one of my favorite people!"
"Are we going to go see that old man?" Pinkie asked.
"Yup. Old Man Hokage."
It was blatantly obvious to Naruto that the presence of his summons was unexpected. Civilians openly gawked at Shining Armor. Ninja observed him briefly before concluding that the unicorn was part of the same contract as the pink pony. ANBU carefully tracked the group from the shadows - they had been briefed on Naruto's contract with the ponies and were unperturbed by the vast difference between the two summons.
"Hey boy!" a familiar voice called out from a side-street. "I see you got that contract!"
Naruto turned and saw Jiraiya.
"Well if it isn't the Pervert Sage?"
Jiraiya stumbled and faceplanted in the cobbled street before flipping back into standing. "I told you not to call me that!"
"He's the one who taught you how to summon?" Shining asked. At Naruto's nod, the unicorn's horn began to glow pink. A pink barrier about the size and shape of a basketball rocketed towards Jiraiya's head. Being so fast and unexpected, the Toad Sage forgot to dodge. The barrier disappeared shortly after knocking the old man on his rear. "That's for letting him do something as dangerous as an uncontracted summoning!"
"Am I supposed to say 'ow'?" Jiraiya asked only to find a bottle of wine floating just within reach. "What's this?"
"That is thanks for allowing the circumstances for ponies to have a contract with Naruto."
"Uh, thanks," the old shinobi muttered as he pocketed the bottle.
"You should be glad it was me who brought that message instead of the princesses," Shining chuckled.
"Yeah; you'd be hospitalized for certain."
Jiraiya thought about it for a moment before nodding in agreement. "So squirt, have you learned anything in the past week?"
Naruto smiled as he pulled out a washcloth. One moment, it was limp, but the next it was a rigid square.
"Doesn't seem that impressive..."
"I can do it with any fabric to create armor."
Jiraiya smiled. "I take it back. That is subtle and scary as hell." Standing up from the ground, Jiraiya's face turned a little more serious. "I need to see you by the end of the day, boy. Bring these summons with you."
Arrival at the Hokage's Tower didn't take long. The kunoichi Chuunin at the door opened it to allow the group to enter. They made it to the eleventh floor before they were stopped by the receptionist.
"I'm sorry, Naruto-san," she said. "Hokage-sama is in a meeting with the head of the Agricultural Association. They've been arguing semantics for a couple of hours now."
Naruto groaned. "Why does that man keep trying to take up all of the Old Man's time?"
"So you're saying that the Hokage would welcome an interruption?" Shining asked the receptionist.
"Well, not in those words specifically," she answered with a grin.
Smiling mischievously, the unicorn sauntered right up to the door. He could hear murmuring coming through the heavy oak door. Using telekinesis, he picked the lock and dismantled the hinges. Waving Naruto over, he raised his eyebrows and mimed kicking at the door. The boy grinned before kicking the door down.
The middle-aged civilian shrieked girlishly as the door crashed to the floor. The Hokage glared at the opening briefly before he smiled, relieved. He pocketed the kunai he had drawn before turning back to the idiot he had been arguing with only to find that the man had passed out and soiled himself. He rolled his eyes and got up from his desk, exiting the office.
"Postpone my other appointments and have a Genin team clean up the mess!" He told the secretary.
"Of course, Hokage-sama."
"Naruto, let's take a stroll, shall we?"
Figgaro was observing various civilians and their reactions to Naruto. While there were quite a few who outright hated him, others were curious about the ponies that were following him around. Yet more looked at him with a combination of sadness and guilt, and others still seemed genuinely interested in the boy. This last group was smallest in number, but Seven's heart was softened towards Konoha by their existence.
The batpony nearly lost his perch when Shining Armor attacked an old man that looked like a kabuki actor only to realize who he was when the Captain gave the man a bottle of wine. When the group of three entered the Tower, Figgaro realized he wasn't alone on his rooftop. He barely needed to turn his head to see an ANBU casually crouched right next to him.
"Keeping your own vigil on the boy?" Whispered the white-masked person of indeterminable gender. Figgaro couldn't identify the gender even with his excellent hearing. "We don't blame you, considering how many times we've had to save him from his detractors."
"Even once is too many," agreed another whisper to the opliptera's other side. "The attacks petered off after the boy turned six though."
"Good to know," whispered Figgaro in agreement. "I'm surprised you found me."
"One of us noticed you about five minutes before Jiraiya called to Naruto," admitted the ANBU to Figgaro's left.
"I noticed three of you at about the same time. Seems we each need to ramp up our stealth and detection training."
"Indeed," agreed both whisperers as Naruto, the Hokage, Pinkie, and Shining exited the tower.
"You fought a dragon?" Hiruzen asked incredulously.
"Well..." Naruto began before Pinkie interrupted him.
"Considering he was to be our first summoner, it'd have to be a doozy of a test."
The Hokage began to massage his temples. "You ponies may just drive me to drink."
"At least he got a bonus out of it," Shining pointed out. "He can summon that dragon now."
The old man groaned.
"What's the matter, Jiji?"
"I'm going to need to check my tobacco soon; I swear I just heard the unicorn say you can summon a dragon."
"When you put it that way..." Naruto began only to be silenced by a glare from the Hokage. Naruto couldn't hide the smirk on his face though.
"It's true, though," Pinkie chimed in. "Naruto impressed Lord Basil with his actions sooooo much that he let Naruto sign his contract."
"And you didn't tell me this because?"
"We didn't have time the last time we met," admitted Naruto.
"That was a week ago," Sarutobi Hiruzen growled. "You've had time after your training."
"In his defense," Shining began, directing the old man's attention to himself. "We usually kept him training until late into the night, when he was ready to drop."
The old man glared at the unicorn. "Are you trying to kill one of my ninja?"
"Have you seen how long that boy can keep going? Give him a few minutes of rest and he's ready to bounce off of the walls again," Shining couldn't help but smirk at the old man. Especially given what was now sitting on the Hokage's hat.
Using special magic, Figgaro was atop the Hokage's head as if he was part of the hat.
"I don't see what you find so amusing," ranted the old man. "You work Naruto to the bone almost immediately after you have him tangle with a dragon just to test him?"
"Assuming it was a combat test," chimed Figgaro, startling the Hokage. The opliptera leaned down so he could look the old man in the eye while staying on his hat. "If it had been a combat test, he actually would have had Lord Basil dead-to-rights before coercing him out of his contract. That would have been impressive on its own if that were the case."
"Another horse," Hiruzen groaned, ignoring the fact that the batpony was sitting on his head. "How would you know?"
"I was there. And the parameters of the test were actually how he handled working with ponies of various personality types in a hostile environment. It was concluded that Naruto is what we were looking for in a summoner. The fact that he took out a dragon and kicked it out of its lair are just icing on the cake."
"Like this!" exclaimed Pinkie as she held a cake up to the Hokage. It had white frosting and bore the words "We apologize for your near-cardiac-arrest!111one" in blue gel frosting.
"Is that a pudding cake?" the opliptera asked.
"Uh, no. Sorry Figgaro," Pinkie answered.
"Pity." He turned his attention back to the Hokage. "Are there any other misconceptions you'd like us to clear up?"
"You ponies are crazy," stated the old man.
"True," said all three ponies in unison. Pinkie immediately shouted "Jinxed!"
Hiruzen sighed. "I heard that your princess was named Celestia, but then Pinkie said something about a Princess Luna."
"We have two ruling princesses at the moment," Shining stated. "Celestia and Luna, returned from her exile to the moon. We also have a third princess, but she's not a ruler. Not yet, anyway."
Eventually, Figgaro got bored of being on the Hokage's hat and trotted alongside the group. They finished their trek at Naruto's favorite restaurant: Ichiraku Ramen. Unfortunately, Hiruzen had to decline the offer to eat lunch with them - he had to return to the Tower to make a dent in his paperwork.
"Hello Naruto-kun!" Ayame greeted.
"Oh?" shouted Teuchi from the back. "Tell him the first bowl's free!"
"Huh?" Naruto eloquently stated, his greeting dying in his throat. "Why's it free?"
Ayame giggled. "It's because we haven't seen you since before the Chuunin Exams began!" She eyed the ponies. "And who are you three?"
Naruto puffed out his chest. "Ayame-nee-chan, allow me to introduce my summon animals. They're ponies! The big white one is Captain Shining Armor."
The unicorn tipped his helmet in greeting.
"The pink one is-"
"HIMYNAME'SPINKIEPIE!" went the words that tumbled out of Pinkie's mouth. "Sorry, I just got so excited to meet someone who actually likes Naruto I couldn't hold it in any longer, which I doubt I could have even if I-"
The opliptera shoved an armored hoof into the mare's mouth, muffling her long-winded run-on sentence.
"And my name is Figgaro," the batpony said as he extended a wingtip for Ayame to shake. "I think it's safe to say that we're all hungry."
"Right," Naruto agreed. "Pinkie, would you like to order first?"
She removed Figgaro's hoof from her mouth before speaking. "Do you have any vegetarian dishes?"
"We have vegetable and bean ramen," Ayame happily stated, understanding that horse-like summons would balk at the offer of meat.
"I'll have a bowl of that then," Pinkie giggled as she pulled her veil down.
Shining piped in next: "Can I have three bowls of the vegetable and bean ramen?"
Naruto snorted. "A stallion after my own heart. I'll have one each of beef, chicken, and pork to start." He turned to Figgaro. "Are you not hungry?"
The batpony's slitted eye twitched just before his stomach growled. He sighed.
"I'll take a beef and hot pepper ramen," he said after some hesitation.
Pinkie's eyes widened as she gasped. Ayame simply looked confused. Figgaro's cheeks flushed with embarrassment as he tried to pretend he was anywhere else.
After a long pause, Naruto spoke up. "I hate being confused, but I thought ponies don't eat meat."
"Opliptera need to ingest meat daily," Shining told them. "Going from an herbivorous species to an omnivorous one that focuses on protein is hard on them, I hear. Considering the social taboos regarding the practice of eating meat that are prevalent in Equestria today, I don't blame Figgaro for his hesitation to admit to needing it."
Naruto rolled his eyes and grabbed the back of the batpony's armor and yanked him into an embrace. Figgaro seemed to squeak at the sudden physical contact.
"When we get back to my apartment, Figgaro, I'm going to let you know something that Pinkie knows."
Pinkie leapt over Shining's back to land on Naruto and the opliptera, knocking them both off of their stools. She wrapped her hooves around both of them.
"It's okay, Figgy! I won't tell anypony if you don't want me to!"
"Too. Much. Love!" Figgaro squawked. "Can't. Breathe!"
"So," Shining began, ignoring his three companions as he turned to Ayame. "How's the weather here? I assume you don't have anyone who can control it, do you?
End chapter four.
Next Chapter: the wyrm crawls in; the wyrm flies out; guarding Tartarus is what it's 'bout!
This took way too long.
So a quick update on stuff you don't care about: the rack-and-pinion on our Corolla is leaking, the timing belt needs replacing, we're approaching our move date at the end of April, and I'm still not getting enough hours at work. In the meantime, my father is going to let me borrow his Toyota Pickup (it's just barely old enough that Toyota didn't have multiple models of truck when it was built) which has its own problems while he tries to fix it. The good news is, once we get settled into the new apartment, we'll likely have internet. Updates (hopefully) will be closer together and more job opportunities will open up for us.
TL;DR: Don't expect an update before May 12th due to crap that is happening. If you get an update before then, rejoice. If you don't, then DON'T PANIC. If you get worried about me, flag down a flying saucer and ask them to check up on me.
Thank you Dumbledork for fixing my misteaks. I mean mysttakes.