“Hold still… this may sting a little.” Starlight, as a battle mage, was used to inflicting wounds on ponies; but, since she was highly skilled in magic, she had been asked by Fletcher to help tend to the wounded. She recoiled slightly at the horror that the Wyrm had caused to these ponies bodies with his poison spines. They were weeping openly, spewing gunk and blood everywhere. One pony was trying desperately to gnaw off his own arm to escape the pain. Starlight was trying to bind it, but he refused to remove his mouth. Finally, Starlight cast a simple sleeping spell, and the poor ponies head lolled to one side. She wrapped the clean dressing over the old one, and then prepared to clean the next ponies wound.
“Thank you, ma’am.” The pony said.
“It’s no problem sir.” Starlight said as she worked.
“Pwah! What IS she doing! I taught her to be one of the greatest battle mages! Not a nursemaid!”
Discords pride was wounded as he watched Starlight cleaning and dressing the wounds of the ponies that had been injured in the attack on the Wyrm. The slaughter of that wyrm had been very depressing for Discord…he had sent it to try and eradicate the Everfree gang, or at the very least, drive those Ponies out of hiding. Now, however, it seemed he would have to result to more dramatic tactics…he snapped his fingers. The small brown pony appeared again.
“Go and call the Queen. I want a word with her…I need numbers. LOTS of numbers…” He grinned wickedly.
“When I’m done with this place, no pony will EVER remember it existed!” he laughed heartily.
Starlight finished sewing the wound shut of the last pony, and looked with pride on her work. Many of the ponies, after drinking a mug of “cure-all-Ale”, fell asleep. She left the tent and trotted back to Fletcher’s rooms. Inside, she found Scales curled up by a fire, and Crabapple discussing the best plan of attack with Fletcher. The 3 had planned earlier with the council to leave the following morning, while a pony named Greenhorn would be in charge. Despite his name, which stemmed from his knowledge of plant life, he was an experienced captain under Fletcher, and one of her closest allies. The trio prepared to leave for the Colossal Hills the next morning. Scales was to remain behind, to take messages.
The three left early, with no fanfare. Just three ponies; an Alicorn, an Earth pony, and a Pegasus. They walked east, in the general direction of the Hills.
“Now, here’s the problem as Ah see it…these are the Colossal hills, right?”
“Then how in the hay are we ‘spoused to find one single pony in them huge hills!”
There was silence. Starlight had never considered that. The hills were pretty huge, and she had only glanced at a map of them. She knew general geography, but if she was going to narrow it down, she would assume they should start at the tallest peak, and said so.
“Why would Laughter be in the Hills anyway? It’s even more dangerous than the Forest” said Fletcher. “There are all manner of beasts up there; Yetis, Snow Dragons, Wulfs, and the like. And no pony lives up there. How would they pass on the Element?” Fletchers concern was apparent in her voice. She felt that they were no embarking on a fool hardy voyage, and that nothing would come of it.
“Well, we need to find Laughter to complete the set of the Elements of Harmony. If we don’t find something, then…I don’t think we could ever defeat Discord.”
“Your quest was doomed before it even started ponies!” The trio turned to see Queen Chrysalis, the Queen of the Changelings, laughing at them from a nearby hill. Her blue mane was draped across he face, but all the ponies could see her fangs gleaming in the light.
“Now, my Changelings. ATTACK!” the queen raised a hoof and all the Changeling minions swarmed across the plains where the trio stood. Crabapple had now time to even raise her axe before she was covered by the foul, black creatures. The changelings may not have been very powerful, but they lived by “Strength in Numbers.” Starlight managed to blast them off Crabapple with a burst of magic, then scooped up Fletcher and Crabapple in a sphere of magic, carrying them high above the commotion.
Unfortunately, The changelings took wing and would have swarmed the trio again, leaving no hope of survival, expect for one thing; something which no pony expected.
A cannon ball came out of nowhere, exploding in midair and driving away many of the Changelings. Looking up, the trio saw a large airship, with multiple cannons on each side, and flying around it, with swords and daggers, a crew of Pegisii pirates!
“Oh no…not again” groaned Fletcher. “It’s HER again…”
“Who?” asked Crabapple. Her answer came when a dark gray pony with a white mane flew down. She was wearing a leather jerkin, and had a belt, into which were thrust an assortment of weapons. On her head was a bandanna, and she had a patch on one eye. Her cutie mark was a cannon and crossed swords. She shook her head at the misfortunate ponies.
“Just what do you think you’re doing?” She said. “I’m Shadow Skies, feared pirate of the Clouds, and YOU are trespassing!” she whipped out a dagger and pointed it at them. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t gut you now!”
In response, Starlight used her magic to turn the dagger into a limp noddle. Shadow made the dagger wobble a few times before throwing it away.
“Ah well…I can still fight you!” and she put of her hoofs in an imitation of Irish Boxers. At that moment, however, a rouge changeling came barreling out of the sky, and crashed dead on into Shadow. They went tumbling out of the sky, and Shadow would have fallen to her death if Starlight had not caught her with her magic. She floated Shadow to the magical platform, but kept her wings bound.
“Can we have safe passage on your ship? We’re kind of in a hurry.” Fletcher growled.
“Uh…yeah…sure…but I get 40% of all booty acquired at the end of the voyage.”
The platform floated up to the airship, where Starlight could see the name written on the side in large letters.