Cayo el Bayo.
The name alone evokes sparkling ocean waters and a beach the color of the moon. A vacation destination where pretense of class, nobility and station are meant to be left behind, a place where rubes and riches rub rumps to enjoy the delights of this sea-side paradise together. Cayo el Bayo was, originally, a mundane small town atop sheer rocky cliffs overlooking the southern sea. However, nearby the cliff had been eroded away into a charming crescent shaped cove, creating a beach shaded by tall grey walls. The dominating walls cast a safe shadow over the beach for a good deal of the day, creating a peaceful haven to enjoy the ocean. Over time the cliff face had been carved into a dozen flights of stairs and many a shop and restaurants had been dug into the rock wall itself. Cayo el Bayo beach had brought prosperity to the small town and it was among the top 10 vacation spots in Equestria.
This was the location Trixie Lulamoon, personal student of Her Highness Luna Equestris, Representative of the Night Court of Luna, and Element of Magic, had chosen for what she felt were well-earned vacations. After dealing with a mad alicorn, a malicious griffon prankster, Night Court spies, a swarm of voracious parasprites, and even a rampaging star bear, not to mention all the other strange happenstance that just seemed to be part of daily life in Ponyville; she felt it was time to take a week off somewhere. With only a little pleading she had managed to convince Luna to lend her a cottage owned by the royal treasury, one big enough to house all her friends. This time of the year was hardly high season and thus the train tickets had been pretty cheap.
Right now Trixie was reclining in a beach chair under the reassuring shade of the cliff, hat and cape discarded. A mojito was floating on her left and the latest Ace of Clover book hovering in front of her eyes, both held aloft by the blue glow of her magic. This latest book was a pretty decent mystery, revolving around some divorce case going sour on the gritty private detective main character. The sound of the waves and the laughter all around her made for a decent soundtrack to her relaxation. Knowing her luck this perfection couldn’t hold all day. On every clear night a little rain must fall.
“Miss Lulamoon! What a coincidence!” declared a cheery familiar voice from behind Trixie.
Trixie flinched at the mention of her last name and turned to look at the intruder. “Miss Rarity?”
Ponyville’s most fashionable mare stood behind Trixie, a white hat perched atop her purple mane, big gaudy red-rimmed sunglasses adorning her face.
“I had no idea you were here Miss Lulamoon! When did you get here?” asked the white unicorn.
Trixie was hoping to have left Ponyville behind for the week, but fate seemed to have other ideas.
“Yesterday,” she finally answered, putting her bookmark into her novel.
The mare’s purple curl bounced slightly as she smiled “How wonderful, I just arrived this morning myself. One of my Canterlot contacts is hosting a beach party later this week and I am hoping to do some networking there. What about you Miss Lulamoon? What might bring you here in Cayo el Bayo? Some type of official Night Court business perhaps?”
“No… just a nice vacation, with my friends,” said Trixie, hoping to discourage the nosey unicorn from trying to strike a conversation with her by remaining stoic.
“Oh,” simply responded the other mare, suddenly sounding disinterested. “Good for you Miss Lulamoon. After all the work you do in Ponyville, you deserve this.”
“Yes, it is true I do a lot of important work for Ponyville. The Great and Powerful Trixie is always on hoof to save the day! Like the Ursa Minor incident! If the Great and Powerful Trixie hadn’t been there to take charge, who knows how much damage that beast could have done,” bragged Trixie, swelling with pride.
“Indeed,” said the white unicorn, half-heartedly.
Luckily for both of them, Dinky trotted up to Trixie, full of youthful excitement.
“Miss Trixie! Miss Trixie! Lyra and Sparkler are going to teach me beach magic-ball! We need a fourth player. Do you want to play? Oh hello Miss Rarity.”
“Oh hello… dear.”
Trixie looked beyond the foal to see the jeweler and musician taking turn throwing a clear inflatable ball over a net with their magic. Inviting Amethyst Star hadn’t been in Trixie’s original plans, but when Cheerilee, Carrot Top and Raindrops had been unable to free themselves for this trip Dinky suggested using one of the spare train ticket to invite her half-sister. Amethyst Star had been reluctant but Dinky proved convincing. Trixie herself found it almost impossible to say no to foals, and whatever quality made foals irresistible was apparently multiplied ten-fold within Dinky. Even right now, beaming up at her with those hopeful eyes, Trixie could find no reason why her book couldn’t wait for her.
“Well Miss Rarity it’s been a pleasure running into you, but my assistant requires my presence on stage,” said Trixie, finishing her mojito in one gulp before turning to Dinky. “Let’s play ball!”
“Yay! Nice seeing you Miss Rarity!”
The white unicorn rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses.
“Useless as ever,” she said under her breath before resuming trotting toward her original destination.
That destination was the nearest beach bar. The bar was mostly a slab of stone used as counter with a colorful tarp used as a roof, but it was there that a certain stallion was waiting for her. The beige pegasus stallion swept nervous green eyes around the beach before he spotted the white unicorn. He waved her over with an awkward smile that she returned warmly.
“He…Hello again Miss Rarity!” the stallion said, stammering just a little.
“Hey there, Sailor,” she replied, lowering her sunglasses so he could see her eyelashes batting.
Wind Sailor blushed at the attention of the beautiful mare. The two exchanged a few pleasantries about the weather and the recent train trip they had shared and they both ordered a drink.
“So tell me, Wind, is your boss… what was his name? Brigadier-General something?” she began.
“Brigadier-General Gloom Wing,” answered the pegasus.
“Yes Brigadier-General Gloom Wing. Is he still as stressed now that you two have arrived?”
The stallion sighed. “More than before, this deal is very important to him. I barely managed to get this break from him.”
“You poor thing, I know you’re his aide but he should be more considerate. This is Cayo el Bayo! You need your chance to have some fun on the beach,” the mare said, winking at him over her sunglasses. “What would a high ranking army official be doing here anyway? I don’t understand what kind of deal can be done here.”
Wind Sailor blushed again and moved in close to whisper his answer. “He just needs to be out of the way of prying eyes. He came to Cayo el Bayo so everypony thinks he’s on vacation.”
The unicorn gasped. “How exciting! You must be a very important pony if the General trusts you!”
Wind Sailor chuckled, blushing while he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. He was about to speak up again when a loud shout interrupted him.
“Look out!” Came the unmistakable voice of Trixie Lulamoon.
Wind Sailor watched as his date turned around just in time to receive a clear inflatable ball right in the face. Far off on the beach, by the net, a certain blue unicorn was on her hindlegs, waving, clearly hoping for the ball back.
“Are you…are you okay Miss Rarity?” Wind Sailor asked.
Without saying a word the mare threw the ball up in the air with her forelegs, then when it came back down she smashed it with her fore hoof, sending the ball flying like a cannonball. Trixie’s eyes bulged when she realized what was going on, but the ball came too fast for her to move as it hit her in the face as well. The showmare fell backward into the sand. Wind Sailor has surprise clearly etched on his face. Before he could ask his question again they received their drink.
The unicorn surrounded her glass with the lilac glow of her magic.
“Now, I’m okay,” she replied, taking a sip.
My little pony, My little pony
Ahh ahh ahh ahhh...
My little pony
Friendship never meant that much to me
My little pony
But you're all here and now I can see
Stormy weather; Lots to share
A musical bond; With love and care
Teaching laughter; It's an easy feat,
And magic makes it all complete!
You have my little ponies
How'd I ever make so many true friends?
It was a little while later and - after a quick dip in the waves - Dinky and Sparkler were both trying to use their magic to sculpt sand into a castle. Trixie watched Dinky grow ever more concentrated as she shaped the wet sand in her telekinetic field. Beads of sweat were rolling down the filly’s head and she was slowly going cross-eyed. Suddenly her power spiked and she crushed the sand structure. The little spray of sand shooting from the top of the structure startled Sparkler who also lost control of her gripping strength. They looked at each other, blinking in confusion, before laughing.
“I’m so happy my little muffin is getting along with her sister,” said Ditzy from her resting position on a towel next to Trixie.
The mail mare had such a happy smile on her face that Trixie felt a grin of her own developing. The mother’s happiness was truly infectious. Ditzy had spent quite a while just playing in the waves, often flying up in the sky before performing what she called a seagull dive into the water. Sometimes she would fly really low, skimming the waves and letting her hoof break the surface of the water. Apparently she was quite the adept swimmer, but just rarely had the time to truly indulge in the activity. Trixie decided she could now go back to her book and turned to call it to her. She saw Lyra lying on her stomach, Bon Bon draped over her back, examining a few brochures she had acquired. The other unicorn turned to Trixie and levitated a brochure toward her.
“The weather program says there will be rain the day after tomorrow. How about we visit the Hippocamp Museum they have in town?” said Lyra with a smile.
“Hippocamp?” repeated Trixie.
Lyra nodded a few times “Hippocamps! You know, Aquatic Ponies, the tribes who live beneath the waves.”
Trixie lifted an eyebrow at Lyra’s enthusiasm “Like the Seaponies? Sounds a bit boring.”
Lyra gave a cute pout at that response. “It’s not boring, it’s really fascinating! It’s been a century at least since Ponies have had contact with Seaponies! Longer with Merponies… and it’s been over a millennia since the last recorded sighting of a Plesiopony!” said Lyra, her smile returning as her eyes began to sparkle. “There’s barely any artifact from them but they feature prominently in works of other tribes from that era! The brochure says Cayo el Bayo used to be a trading point between the Hippocamps and Equestria, that it was the point closest to their legendary city of Andalantis!”
Trixie’s book levitated back to her and she opened it up, still looking at her eager unicorn friend. “You sure seem to know a lot about them.”
“In my sophomore year at the Academy we staged the Fall of Andalantis opera. It’s such a tragic story and the opera is such an influential piece that I read a lot of related material. I read the original legend; I read all about archeological findings and what was known about Aquatic Ponies. I also read a lot about the opera itself. It’s one of the great works of the Esperia era and radically changed the narrative structure of operas. Did you know it was the first opera written in Equestrian rather than Cavalian? That radical departure from tradition caused a minor scandal at the first presentation. It almost ended Wagnhorse’s career before Princess Luna gave the work her blessing.”
“You’re such an egghead,” commented Trixie with a grin.
Before this could go any further, Bon Bon piped up. “Lyra played Shining Pearl, the ruler of the Seaponies! It was the first time I saw her sing in front of such a large audience. Her Sea Pony costume was really cute too,” she said, nuzzling Lyra’s cheek.
Lyra blushed, while Trixie rolled her eyes at the display. It was possible Trixie had heard Luna mention the Hippocamps before, after all she would have known them personally, but Trixie couldn’t remember every little History lesson her mentor had given her.
“When I realized it was impossible to meet any of the Hippocamp tribes I just stopped reading about them but…” Lyra began, blushing a little. “After we met those evil Sirens I decided to go check what books on Hippocamps were at the Ponyville library and I’ve been reading up on them since.”
“I’m up for the museum,” commented Ditzy
“I’m curious to see what kind of jewelery Aquatic Ponies had,” added Sparkler.
“I guess it’s as good as any a way to spend a rainy day,” said Trixie, shrugging a little, turning her attention back to the mystery in her book.
“We also spotted something interesting for tomorrow,” said Bon Bon, distracting Trixie from her book again.
“Oh?” simply replied Trixie, another brochure floating up to her.
“They organize boat rides out to the coral reef! I hear it’s really beautiful and if you dive in the fish swim right up to you,” explained Lyra.
“That sounds great! I like swimming,” said Ditzy.
“Oooh I’d love to see all the beautiful corals and colorful fishes! I could use the inspiration,” added Sparkler, still trying to make a castle, but this time by hoof.
Dinky had a big smile as she made her opinion known. “I want to see the fishes!”
Trixie sighed and just waved her hoof “Fine, we’ll do the boat thing too. Now can I return to my book?”
She thought it was a foolproof plan. Fate, and fools, can be so cruel. Off course, with her around, it was no wonder plans would be lead astray.
The boat for the excursion was a bright red single-mast sail boat with the ridiculous name of Autumn Delight and belonged to Captain Sunset Beard, an older bright red Earth Pony with an orange mane and beard. Trixie and her friends had woken up early to take part in the morning tour, the boat being scheduled to return for midday, with a second tour in the afternoon. Lyra had assured Trixie the morning trip was usually empty, but as the showmare walked up the pier toward the boat she could spot a beige pegasus and a certain familiar white pony.
“Miss Rarity, what a happy coincidence,” said Trixie, not looking, or sounding, happy at all.
“Oh! Hello Miss Lulamoon. You’re all going to see the reef?” asked the white unicorn, looking at the six ponies before her, all decked out with hats and sunglasses.
“Hi Miss Rarity! We’re going to see the fishes!” called Dinky, from her perch on her mother’s back.
“Are those friends of yours from Ponyville, Rarity?” asked Wind Sailor.
“We’re more like acquaintances,” answered Lyra in a neutral tone, her face an expressionless mask.
“Well, my name is Wind Sailor and it’s a pleasure to meet you all,” said the stallion, beaming like an idiot. “Let’s make sure to have fun on this excursion.”
“Hi! I’m Dinky and this is my momma Ditzy, and my sister Sparkler!”
Sparkler smiled at the stallion.
“I’m Lyra and this sweet thing here is my marefriend, Bon Bon,” said the musician, putting her foreleg around the cream colored mare’s shoulders
“And I am the Great and Powerful…” began Trixie, stricking a dramatic pose, her cape fluttering in an otherwise non-existant wind.
“Trixie Lulamoon,” said Rarity, interrupting Trixie’s little number. “She’s the Night Court representative to Ponyville.”
Wind Sailor seemed to flinch at the mention of the Night Court.
“The Great and Powerful Tri…” she tried to say, only to be cut again.
“Miss Trixie is Princess Luna’s prodi…pote… protej… personal student, she’s also the greatest magician ever,” added Dinky, standing on her hindlegs on her mother’s back.
Wind Sailor seemed to brighten up a little, a spark of recognition in his eyes. “Oh! So you’re that Trixie! You’re the one who caused all that flooding when the ice pala–”
Trixie’s blue hoof shot forth and plugged Wind Sailor’s mouth.
“Yeah I know, I know. I was there. Now let’s get on this piece of painted flotsam they call a boat and let’s go see some fishes,” said Trixie, glaring at Wind Sailor.
“Did I hear somepony badmouth my ship?!” asked a stocky red Earth Pony who suddenly appeared on the deck of the boat.
Trixie, to the delight of a snickering white unicorn, put her other fore-hoof to her face in embarrassment.
“Guess Sailor’s isn’t the only mouth you put your hoof in,” she said, trotting onto the boat.
Lyra had her forelegs over the side of the boat as she watched the waves speed by with trepidation, an excited gleam in her eyes. The sea was shimmering under the gaze of the Sun. This was the kind of day that made a pony regret even more that Corona had turned the life giving Sun into a symbol of devastation and pain. Lyra wondered what it would be like to be able to enjoy the Sun on a seaside beach without the threat of the Tyrant Sun hanging above one’s head. It wasn’t easy to contemplate so she turned her attention back to what laid beneath those sparkling waves. She was really looking forward to diving in the coral reef. A Bon Bon clad in an orange life jacket walked up to her and leaned against her.
“I like to see that spark in your eye,” She said, closing her eyes. “It makes me forget my seasickness.”
Lyra turned to her marefriend, blinking. “I didn’t know you got seasick! I’m so sorry!”
“Don’t be, I didn’t know myself until today,” said Bon Bon, nuzzling her neck. “The captain gave me some pills, said I should feel better soon.”
“Miss Lyra, Miss Lyra!” called Dinky, bounding up to the pair with her mother and sister in tow.
“Can you tell us the legend you talked about yesterday? The legend of Atlan…Anta…Andalantis?” The little filly said, her face scrunching up as she navigated the unfamiliar word.
Lyra smiled broadly. “I’d love to,” she said, before turning to glance toward Trixie who had just finished enchanting her life jacket to match her cape. “Unless somebody object to a little History lesson.”
Trixie took on an exagerated expression of offense. “Object to education? Moi? I’m shocked you would think so!”
Lyra raised an eyebrow. “I tried to teach you all about the founding of Ponyville and you fell asleep five minutes in,” said Lyra, causing the group to laugh.
Trixie’s cheeks puffed in anger while they turned red with embarrassment. “That… that was different! I hadn’t slept well because that was when I was spying on that spy! Besides… besides Ponyville History is boring!”
Trixie’s timing was off by a few weeks in reality, but Lyra just grinned and let her get away with her little lie. The problem with the Representative wasn’t so much that she lied a lot, almost out of pure reflex at time, but rather that once you knew her enough she was painfully obvious to read. Lyra had come to accept this part of her friend’s personality and just found it amusing how she would cause trouble for herself that way. After laughing at the blue unicorn’s antics she simply closed her eyes, casting a familiar spell. In a flash of golden light her precious lyre appeared and was instantly grabbed in her golden telekinetic field. The flash attracted the attention of Wind Sailor and his date, both wearing those gaudy orange life jackets, and they both came to join the improvised show. Lyra sat down in her peculiar way, back against the side of the boat, and she began to strum a few whimsical notes on her lyre.
“Hear me one and all, listen and learn of the lost city of Andalantis. It’s lost splendor and the tragedy that took it away from its people,” she began, matching the rhythm of her flighty notes to the cadence of her words.
Long, long ago, before the reign of the Royal Sisters, three tribes of Hippocamp lived in the oceans.
The majestic Plesioponies, marshals of the waves and currents, the playful Merponies, sheppards of all that swam, and the diligeant Seaponies, stewards of the sea floor. Together the three tribes lived in a majestic city constructed by Princess Thetis, goddess of the oceans, called… Andalantis! That city was said to glimmer with a thousand color be the source of art and music the likes of which the land had never seen.
All three tribes lived in harmony, each performing their duties to help the ocean thrive. However, the Merponies and Seaponies did not always see eye to eye on where their duty ended. Merponies wanted Seaponies to limit themselves to seaweed and corals, while the Seaponies wanted to take care of all the creatures that crawled on the sea floors, and the fish that called their majestic coral reefs home. Always, the gentle Plesioponies would calm their brethren and settle disputes, and all would be harmony again.
At this point, Lyra’s notes went from high pitch and happy to a lower octave and invoked anger. Her words came at a harsher pace.
But then, the Bringer of Strife appeared, and wanted nothing more than to shatter that beautiful harmony. The Bringer of Strife gave birth to a new creature, harmless in its appearance and demeanor, but whose very nature would cause clashes between the rival aquatic ponies! The creature would grow from the seafloor like seaweed, but as an adult it would swim throughout the ocean without ever stopping. Both the Merponies and Seaponies wanted control over the new creature. Stoked by the demon watching from the shadows, the two tribes began a terrible conflict!
The Plesioponies pleaded with the two sides to stop, but no one would listen to them. They called upon Princess Thetis, but the secretive goddess was impossible to find. Thus the Plesioponies took it upon themselves to stand in the line of fire and stop the two tribes. Sadly, their heart empty of Harmony, the Seaponies and Merponies could no longer recognize the Plesioponies as friends.
Once again, Lyra shifted her cadence. Her words were soft, almost a whisper, and yet thanks to her magic all present could hear it clearly. Her words and notes came more slowly, and were tinted with sadness and melancholy.
When finally Princess Thetis appeared, all the Plesioponies, save for one young filly, had been sacrificed to sake the Bringer of Strife’s thirst for carnage and conflict. Upon the grim spectacle the goddess of the sea stripped away all magic from the Hippocamps that remained, rendering the oceans wild, untamed, and hostile to the ponies. No longer would animals or plants obey the aquatic ponies, and their great city was cast away, far beyond their reach. They would have to survive on their own from now on, to grieve together for their lost family. The spirits of the departed Plesioponies became one with the waves and currents they had controlled, remaining forever a monument to the lost tribe. The pain of having lost so many of her precious ponies caused Princess Thetis to fall into terrible despair, and her tears began to fill the oceans.
Soon the oceans were overflowing with the tears of the goddess, threatening to swallow the land. The ponies of the land tried to plead with the goddess but her tears were forever flowing and would not stop. Her pain was too great, the depth of her sadness as profound as the oceans themselves. The unicorns, pegasus and earth ponies came together and created an enchanted vase they gave to the grieving goddess. The enchanted vase would forever contain her tears, no matter how much flowed from the goddess, so that the oceans may never overflow, so long as no pony removed the cover. The goddess entrusted custody of this powerful artifact to the last Plesiopony that remained. The young Aquarius took the vase and was allowed to rejoin Andalantis, disappearing into the mist of myth, never to be seen again.
Lyra closed her eyes as she finished her tale. She took a deep breath and opened them. In her excitement to share her knowledge she had glossed over the fact the legend was terribly sad. When she opened her eyes she could see that Dinky had tears flowing down her face but she looked fascinated. Ditzy was hugging her daughter tenderly. Both Amethyst Star and Wind Sailor were fighting away tears of their own. Lyra turned to Bon Bon who gave her a soft hug while the two other unicorns gave her a polite hoofstomp.
“Darling that was very well done! You are quite the bard I must say,” said the white mare, patting the pegasus stallion on the back to calm him.
“If Princess Luna had told me that story like you just did I bet I wouldn’t have forgotten it,” said Trixie, rubbing her chin. “Say, how about we work together on my next show?”
Lyra’s eyes bulged wide. “No, no, no, and absolutely not!”
“Don’t worry! I’d just want you to do some narrative framing for my show! I’d do the magic on my own and you would do music and story telling like you just did! Beside you could use the work right?” explained Trixie.
Lyra groaned. “Trixie, how any times will I have to tell: I get plenty of work.”
Bon Bon giggled at Lyra’s frustration with the showmare.
It was half an hour later when they finally reached their destination, right in the middle of the coral reef. Not far from the boat’s location stood a rocky island, jutting from the sea like the mountains around Canterlot. Even from a distance it looked imposing. The captain caught Lyra staring at the island. He explained to her that the island was called Lucky Seagull Island because, despite being a dangerous navigational hazard, nopony in recorded history had ever crashed a boat against it. The waves and water currents would always push boats away from the inhospitable rock. Then the captain pointed out that Lyra’s friends were already gazing down the glass bottom, and that she should join them.
Lyra thanked the captain, happy to have learned some new lore, and did as he said. Near the back of the boat a large part of the bottom had been removed and replaced by a thick panel of glass, allowing the passengers to gaze at the sea floor. Trixie was trying her best not to get to close to the panel while still getting a good view, muttering about her rotten luck with windows. The sea floor was covered in large coral formation of various colors: large green mounds, skinny pink tree-like formations, white ones and blue ones, all covered in anemones, colorful seaweed and hosting many fish.
“Look momma! Look!” said Dinky, pointing to a clown fish that darted through a patch of colorful sea anemones.
“Clown fish like that are immune to the sting of the sea anemones, so they hide in them to protect themselves,” said Lyra.
“You seem to know a lot about sea life Lyra,” said Ditzy, one of her eyes trailed on the glass panel while the other looked to the green unicorn.
Lyra beamed. “My roommate for junior year was studying marine biology, she taught me tons of interesting stuff.”
“My friends were telling me I should be jealous of her because Lyra kept mentioning her in her letters,” said Bon Bon, poking her marefriend in the flank, “but then I showed them who was right when you wrote to me about helping her find a birthday gift for her coltfriend.”
The two giggled at the anecdote. “Last I heard they’re getting married,” said Lyra.
Bon Bon look thoughtful “Think she’ll invite us? I wouldn’t mind catching the bouquet,” she said, winking.
Lyra began to blush and stammer, much to the amusement of her friends.
“Woh! Look at that stingray! It looks so graceful. It’s like it’s flying underwater,” commented Sailor, bringing everypony’s attention back to the sea floor.
“Those starfishes are giving me ideas,” said Sparkler with glee. “That reminds me, Miss Rarity...” she began, turning toward the white unicorn.
“Yes dear?” she replied, batting her eyelashes.
“Dinky tells me you have a gem finding spell, I was wondering if you would be willing to teach it to me? For a fee off course! It would certainly help my business if I didn’t have to buy all my raw material,” answered Amethyst Star.
“My gem finding spell?” repeated the unicorn, blinking in a confused manner “Well it could be possible… how about you come see me with a formal business proposal once we are all back in Ponyville. I’m sure we could come to some arrangements that would prove beneficial to both our businesses beyond a simple spell.”
“You’re a businessmare too, Miss Star?” inquired Wind Sailor.
Sparkler nodded at the stallion. “I recently opened a jewelry store in Ponyville. I’m a jeweler.”
“Sparkler makes the most beautiful jewelry ever!” said Dinky with a bright smile.
“Amethyst Star’s jewelry really is something,” added Ditzy, wistfully.
Sparkler and Ditzy exchanged an awkward smile. While the two weren’t quite what one would call friends, they always seemed to get along fine as long as Dinky was there, acting as a bridge between the two. Sometimes Ditzy would use her full name and sometime her nickname. The way she switched between the two felt like a constant reminder of the bittersweet circumstances around their recent reunion. Wind Sailor completely missed the silent exchange, distracted as he was by a school of silver fish suddenly racing by.
“You don’t say. Maybe I should make a quick shopping trip in Ponyville one of these days. It’s not far from Canterlot and it could be an excuse to see you again Miss Rarity,” said Sailor, winking at his companion.
“But off course dear,” she said.
Trixie rolled her eyes at the obvious lie. It was clear to the Representative that the snooty unicorn didn’t really care that deeply for the guy. He made for decent arm-candy, or at least she supposed, and he apparently had connection with some Canterlot big wigs. Trixie figured the fashion designer was probably fishing for business contacts. Speaking of fishing…
“We’re going to be diving right?” asked Ditzy, fishing a blue diving mask and snorkel out of one of the bags they had brought along.
Lyra nodded with enthusiasm, “Yes! In fact, I’ve got a surprise for everypony!” she said, grabbing hold of her lyre with her magic.
“What kind of surprise?” asked the grey pegasus.
Lyra stood proudly, closing her eyes. “I know a spell that will let us breathe underwater.”
All of her friends were impressed, and a little excited. Ditzy was dancing in place.
“Really? That’s sounds amazing!” she said, taking flight to hover above Lyra. “I didn’t know a spell like that existed.”
“Neither did I,” added Trixie, raising an eyebrow.
“It’s a fairly obscure spell so it’s normal neither of you heard about it. I would actually be more surprised if Trixie had known about it,” said Lyra, with a smirk.
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Trixie.
Lyra just ignored her and grabbed hold of a bright yellow diving mask with her magic. “The spell won’t make it easier to see underwater so you should all put on a mask,” she explained.
Everypony quickly went to pick a mask but a certain white unicorn was taking her sweet time to pick between two differently colored ones. Finally she selected a yellow one and levitated the white one she didn’t want over to Wind Sailor. Meanwhile Ditzy convinced Trixie it would be best to leave her hat and cape behind.
“Gather around me everypony!”said Lyra, plucking at her lyre.
Lyra’s specialty when it came to magic was spellsongs, spells recorded in the form of pieces of music. To perform the spell the caster would simply have to match the harmonic frecquency of their magic with the music. Her horn glowing with golden light, Lyra began to perform a series of five notes, her lyra pulsating with magic. Soon the sound of her linstrument was joined by the phantom sound of a type of flute, as the five notes were repeated three times before coming to a soft finish. Like a wave of water the magic washed over the assembled crowd of pony.
Ditzy brought a hoof to rub her neck. “Did it work? I was expecting to grow gills.”
Lyra nodded. “Trust me, it did.”
A pair of white hoofs clapped politely. “Quite impressive dear, this was no ordinary spell!” said the fashionista, getting an approving nod from the jeweler.
Trixie however looked at her friend, her face furrowed in concentration. “Was that the Serenade of Water from The Legend of Epona?”
Lyra blushed. “All the magical pieces of music in The Legend of Epona are proper spellsongs! I did a research project on the musical score back in school!” she said, glaring at Trixie.
“Okay, okay professor, don’t snap at me,” said Trixie, backing away.
“Wait, if they all work… what does the Bolero of Fire do?” Asked Sparkler, rubbing her chin.
“You don’t want to try that one,” answered Lyra, looking sheepish as Bon Bon began to giggle.
Trixie made a mental note to inquire more about it later. Now it was time to dive in the water, and she was taken with the irrepressible urge to throw a certain vain unicorn mare off the side of the boat. She briefly wondered if Lyra and Sparkler would want to help out. Sadly Wind Sailor had decided it was time to be bold and had grabbed on to his date.
“Com’on Miss Rarity! Let’s try that spell!” He said, taking flight with her.
“Wait! Wait no!” she cried out as he dived head first into the water with her.
“Hey! I wanted to do that!” complained Trixie, shaking a hoof uselessly toward the water surface.
Then she felt hooves wrapped around her midsection from behind. A quick look back revealed the smiling face of Ditzy Doo. For some reason that face sent a chill down Trixie’s spine.
“You just had to ask, Trixie!” she said, also taking flight.
Trixie could only scream as Ditzy and her dived toward the water at a reckless speed. Soon the pair was submerged in cool salt water in a loud splashing noise. The mares and Dinky, left in the boat, laughed at the display and soon joined the rest of the group in the water.
In the end the dive hadn’t been so bad. It felt a little frightening at first, but turned out enjoyable. Trixie had to admit this had been a good idea after all. Swimming like this, while not being worried about running out of air, felt very liberating. She briefly wondered if that was close to what a pegasus would feel while flying, and resolved to ask Ditzy about it later. All around her was a rainbow of corals, fishes, seaweed, anemones, starfish, crabs and even a few turtles and squids! The large masses of colorful corals were like mountains on the sea floor, creating shallow valleys were all sorts of creatures dwelled. She swam through a school of blue fishes that scattered as she went through, only to return to a cohesive mass afterward. Lyra and her marefriend were apparently playing hide-and-seek amidst the reef. Right now Bon Bon was hiding behind a large curtain of dark green seaweed, but Lyra had been more clever and had headed closer to the surface and spotted her from her higher angle.
Meanwhile, much to the dismay of his companion, Wind Sailor was following the stingray he had noticed earlier (or one like it), obviously fascinated by its graceful swimming. Sparkler in the meantime was skimming the sea floor, kicking up silt in grey clouds, as she looked with wonder on the various shades and shapes of starfish. One particular large red one with a ridiculous amount of arms impressed her greatly. Dinky, for her part, was swimming in circles around a large sea turtle; her giggles reaching Trixie’s ears loud and clear even from a long distance. She stopped harassing the poor turtle when a couple of moon jellies floated by and attracted her attention. She floated in front of them and reached out a hoof, only to be stopped by her mother.
“Careful Muffin, a jellyfish can sting!” she said, sternly.
Dinky retracted her hoof quickly, but kept on observing the nearly translucent creature. Lyra, having heard the warning swam up to them with a big grin.
“Only the tentacles are dangerous though, so you can still do this,” she said, giving a gentle bump to the top of the jellyfish, sending it floating in a different direction. “Jellyfish are really weird creatures, they have no brain and are made mostly of water. You remember, in the legend I told, that the Bringer of Strife created something that grew from the sea floor and swam like a fish?”
The mother and daughter duo nodded at the same time.
“Well most experts think the legend is talking about jellyfishes. You see, when a jellyfish larvae is ready to grow up it digs into the sea floor and becomes what is know as a polyp,” said Lyra, pointing a hoof downward. “Then the polyp grows bigger and bigger, like a plant, until the uppermost part detaches, flips around and becomes a new jellyfish!”
“Oooh… so does that mean jellyfishes were made by a demon Miss Lyra?” asked Dinky, eyeing the creature warily.
Lyra shrugged. “No one knows for sure Dinky, but even if it was it’s pretty harmless to ponies.” And with that the unicorn gave another bump to the nearby moon jelly.
Bon Bon took that moment to hug Lyra from behind, claiming to have finally found her. While Lyra was complaining about not actually having had time to hide, something else caught Dinky’s attention. A small squid swam by at full speed. The little filly smiled and launched herself in pursuit.
“Dinky wait! Don’t go too far Muffin!” called Ditzy.
Sparkler put a hoof on Ditzy’s shoulder and smiled at her “Don’t worry Ditzy, I’ll go keep an eye on her, you just enjoy yourself.”
And with that the jeweler swam off after her half sister. Ditzy giggled and broke into a big smile. She did a loop in the water and then swam off on her own. Reading water current, as it turned out, was just as easy to her as reading air current. She did a few barrel rolls, some loops and then dived to the bottom of the ocean, following a current in a groove between two young sandy cays. On the other side she found that the sea floor was slowly descending toward the edge of the continental shelf, and more rock formations began to appear. As she let the water carry her between pink coral branches, she did not notice the eyes glaring at her from behind a nearby by wall of kelp. Her left eye spotted something shining nearby that caught her attention. When she went to investigate she found the entrance to a tunnel in a rocky formation where glowing algae were growing in patches. The patches were like a series of neon green night light lighting up the twisting passage. Ditzy could feel the water current pushing her into the tunnel at a slow pace, indicating there was an exit somewhere.
She hesitated. This could be dangerous but at the same time she was really curious to see where it went. A blue colored fish swam past her, darting into the tunnel with apparent familiarity. In the end she decided to go check out beyond the first bend and then come back if the exit wasn’t in sight by then. She let herself be carried by the current, spreading her wings to catch the flow of water and slowly advance down the tunnel. The green glow of the algae gave off an eerie feeling. The pegasus could feel her heart accelerate slightly from the excitement. She turned the bend and exhaled a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Beyond the bend the tunnel was splitting in two, one taking another bend to disappear out of sight, while the other led toward a patch of sunlit ocean. With a smile Ditzy headed for the light. She hoped she had found a hidden lagoon on a small island where she could grab some tropical fruits and fly them back to the boat as a snack. Ditzy had to briefly wonder what a mango and coconut muffin would taste like.
That’s when that light became partially blocked by a dark shape. The pegasus stopped dead in her tracks. The figure was a long lean fish with a distinctive tail and dorsal fin. The shark was cast in darkness because of the bright light behind it, but Ditzy could see two eyes reflecting the glow of the algae… and then two more opened. She gave a little startled yelp and the shark swam toward her, entering the tunnel and letting the algae illuminate its dark blue shape. It was no ordinary shark. Rather than the long snout associated with sharks, this nightmarish abomination had the head of a blue tiger with four yellow beady eyes! The creature licked its lips with its large tongue, letting its fangs show, and then growled. Ditzy strangled a scared cry and quickly backed toward the entrance.
That was not meant to be. She turned only to find herself blocked at the split by another monstrous shark, this one a pinkish red color. This one had an ordinary head, but she barely avoided the large pincers attached to the crab arms growing out the side of this one as they snapped toward her. Thinking fast she swam down the third corridor, hoping it would lead to open ocean where she could swim upward and fly above the wave to escape those creatures. The two sharks were growling and snapping behind her but Ditzy found herself slowly gaining distance. However, if a third one were to block her way…
She shook her head to chase that thought away. She had to escape and get to the others fast. It didn’t take her long to spot a clear exit in the distance and she gave an extra burst of speed. This time there were no monstrous shark blocking her way and she escaped the confined tunnel, turning sharply upward.
Her world exploded into light and pain. She spun toward the sea floor, broken piece of whatever coral structure she had hit following her slow descent. Ditzy tried to move, but the only thing swimming was her vision. As she fought to hang on to consciousness she saw the two blurry shapes of the sharks exiting the tunnel and heading toward her. She lost sight of them during one of her rotation, and when one of her eye turned their way she saw a bright green shape between her and her pursuer.
“Ly…ra?” she asked, before everything faded to black.