You all joined at the center of the deck of the ship. Celaeno, Twilight, and Tempest stood next to each other. They seemed ready to talk about strategy as everyone else gathered around in a circle to listen in on the plan.
“Alright everypony. This is it, our last day before the big battle. I know there might be somepony worried, scared, or perhaps even unable to fight. If that’s the case, then you don’t need to worry, nopony will judge you if you stay back on the ship. If this is the case for anypony, please speak up now.” Twilight looks to everyone, then specifically eyes Fluttershy, expecting her to mention something about hanging back or something.
But no one, not even her, steps up. It made Twilight a little teary eyed to see everyone be brave and ready to fight off the Storm King and his forces. “Thanks everypony, you’re all amazing. I’m glad we’re all together. We’ll all have each other’s backs and everypony will come out of this ok. We’ll save everypony, that I promise.” Twilight wipes a tear from her eye and steps back to let Celaeno make the first speech.
“Alright, good to know you’re all willing to fight. But this battle isn’t going to be about taking out as many goons as possible. No, to win this fight, all we need to do is take out the Storm King. But it won’t be easy. At this point, Canterlot will be crawling with his soldiers, which puts us at a disadvantage. But hey” Celaeno shrugs with a smirk “We’re pirates, it’s the kind of odds we like. Yeah, all we have to do is get the first strike and scatter the main forces so we can move in and make our way towards the castle. And to do that, we’re going to use a trick my mother taught me. The old ‘Ghost Ship” maneuver.”
“Ghost Ship? Ohhh! That sounds amazing! My mom used to tell me stories about those! So how do we do it! Oh oh! Do we have to become ghosts too? Because….wait…” Skystar suddenly felt confused and looked to these two...toy...clam things. Ok, that was odd. “What’s that Shelly?...Oh….that seems kinda dark, y’know?”
“AHRM!” Celaeno clears her throat loudly, breaking Skystar’s focus on her little toy. “Actually, it has nothing to do with ghosts. How it actually works is by the use of special sails to gather up clouds. You use heavy cloud cover that your own ship gathers up to pass by undetected. Or, in this case…” Celaeno takes out her sword and stabs it straight into the ground, smirking as she does “Make a surprise attack!...Although.” She then looks to Rainbow Dash as she rested her hands on the hilt of the sword and her head on her hands. “We don’t exactly have those sails anymore. But I think I know another way to get that cloud cover.”
Rainbow Dash could already tell where she was getting at as she looked to Fluttershy. “Hey Fluttershy, hear that? Looks like we’re gonna be on cloud duty. Ohhhh man, they aren’t going to know what hit em’!”
“Pushing clouds? I can do that. But then, what do we do after we sneak in?” Fluttershy asks.
“Easy, once we’re over the city, we fire our cannons at the largest groups. We have them set up above and below deck. Only problem is we don’t have cannonballs. But we do have a crate of Storm King brand bowling balls.” Celaeno snickers at her next set of words, finding them witty “We don’t have a lot to use. But if our aim is good, then we’ll be making quite the strike.”
Pinkie giggled at that “OHHHH! I get it! You said it’d make quite the strike because we’ll be shooting bowling balls at them. Pretty cleeeeveerrr.” She says in a sing song way.
Celaeno just gives Pinkie a silent hard stare for speaking out of turn and spelling out her pun.
“Ooops. Sorry!” Pinkie rubs her hoof around her mouth, to represent her zipping it up.
“...Right, anyway. Take it away, Tempest.” Celaeno steps back as Tempest steps forward.
“Alright, pay attention, because I’m only going to say this once.” Tempest’s stare was militaristic and cold, she was obviously taking this briefing very seriously. “The Storm King will not only have his defense force ready for us, but he most likely has most of his invasion forces supplementing said forces to make sure we can’t make any headway. Going straight to the castle will be pointless unless we clear a path and defeat enough of the Storm King’s soldiers to make the rest run away like the cowards they really are. Once you leave this ship, you’re all going to stay in groups. Don’t stray away from one another and try to coordinate your attacks to defeat as many soldiers as you can as you make your way down to the castle. We all have talents and abilities that put us far beyond any of those creatures. But to insure victory, we all must work together to take the city. If even one of you steps out of the group, you leave yourself open from all sides. Combine your talents, that way you have more strengths without any of the weaknesses. And never give up. Alright…” Tempest sighs, and relaxes herself, she hated sounding so serious. “Twilight, you’re next.”
“Right..” Twilight steps up “While we’re all fighting. We’ll need two others to sneak around the city and start rescuing as many ponies as they can. Whether they stay and fight or run away doesn’t matter. Just as long as they are safe from harm. Spike has already volunteered to fill one of the slots…” Twilight then looks to Capper “Capper, do you think you could fill the other?”
“Me? Sneak around? Skulk the city like some sort of alleycat?” At first he sounded insulted, but then he smirked arrogantly as he looked at the end of his hand “Well, I guess I kinda do do those things. Saving ponies, huh? I can do that, but I’m gonna need some keys to open the cages they’re in. You got any of those?”
Twilight nods “Tempest has some spare keys for the cages used in Canterlot, so it should be fine. I guess that just leaves me. I’ll be the one to face the Storm King. And I promise you all, I will not fail.” Twilight looks to the group with a determined look.
Everyone lets out a gasp of surprise.
“Now hold on there sugar cube. We’re a team, we ain’t gonna let you fight that varmint by yourself.” Applejack says, feeling Twilight was being foolish going in alone.
“I’m sorry Applejack, but I can’t risk any of you getting hurt...or worse. From what Tempest has told me, the Storm King wouldn’t hesitate to use any of you as a hostage to get me to give up my magic. I have to do this alone.”
Well, there goes your chance for glory. But you wouldn’t argue. As much as you wanted to win, you also had to look around at everyone in the circle. The ponies, Capper, Tempest, the pirates, Spike, Grubber, Skystar...and everyone beyond this. This wasn’t about glory, but saving everyone.
But Tempest, in fact, had something to say as she gave a stern look to Twilight. “And that’s exactly why you won’t be facing him at all.”
“W-what? What do you mean Tempest? I have to face him, it’s my duty!” Twilight exclaims at her. Feeling she was wrong.
Tempest shakes her head at her. “Sorry princess, but this is one fight that love and friendship won’t get you through. The Storm King doesn’t play by the rules and will do anything he can to win. He doesn’t need any of your friends to use as a hostage, he just needs a random anyone. You wouldn’t let anyone get hurt in your stead. And due to that, you’d give up your magic just like that. And even then, if he didn’t have a hostage, he could still drain your magic from just you entering the throne room. I’ll be the one to take him down.”
Woah, what a major turn of events. But then again, Tempest was kind of right on this, the Storm King didn’t need her. Add to the fact that she’s a great fighter and her going in seems like a smart plan.
“Tempest, are you sure? Please tell me you’re not doing this just to get some revenge. It isn’t worth it. Please, I can be careful. That’s why I’m going alone. If I go in alone, he won’t have a hostage. I have plenty of spells that can help me bring him down.” Twilight tells her, feeling she could handle it just fine.
“The Storm King isn’t a fool, Twilight. Even if he doesn’t use any of your friends hostage, he still will have one of the ponies from the city to use. And he will use one. He probably has one already prepped and ready to threaten the moment you step into the throne room. As for me, this isn’t about revenge. I know the Storm King enough to know how he works. I can move in and neutralize him before he can do anything. I’m the better choice here. If he gets you, it’s the end of everything as we know it. You know it’s true Twilight, we can’t take that risk.”
Twilight stops, she tries to think of a counter to that. She even looks among everyone else. But when she saw their unsure eyes, she realized Tempest was right. Tempest knew more about the Storm King than anyone else could ever know. She only wanted to be the one to face him to make sure no one else was in harm’s way. But she couldn’t beat Tempest’s logic. And so, she conceded. “...Alright...But Tempest…” She looks into her eyes, worried for her “Just remember, you have friends now. You have something to come back to after all this. So don’t go-”
“Spare me” Tempest interrupts her, stops, then sighs as she gives Twilight a kinder look “I already know all that. I’ll be fine, I’ll come back. Besides…” She looks to you, as a small grin began to form on her face “I have a colt I need to whip into shape. Because seriously? He needs a little training.”
“Oh, you mean Anon? Yeah” Rainbow Dash says with a cocky grin “He relies on that horn too much. So he kinda hits like a girl. And I don’t mean girl as in me. I mean more like a filly.”
“Hey! I can still kick your butt!” You exclaim towards Rainbow Dash
“Pffft, by cheating with that horn. Seriously? You hide behind it all the time” Rainbow Dash says
“I mean..I don’-....oh no” It just hit you. Those words Rainbow Dash said. ‘Hide behind.’
Your saturday morning logic was blasting through your head at super speed. You realized Tempest couldn’t win this fight either. In a cartoon, the character that would replace the other as a battle hardened warrior, would still find their ability to truly care tested by the villain.
And this Storm King guy, he’d pull out all the stops, right? That means…
You look to Tempest with a serious look “Tempest….You can’t beat the Storm King.”
Tempest raised an eyebrow at you “Is that a joke? It isn’t funny. He may be strong Anon, but he isn’t as fast as I am. I can take him.”
“No, I’m sure you can. But from the way you made it sound. It seems like he’d do anything to pull a win, right?”
Tempest nodded, that she did agree with “Yes, and? That’s why we’re not sending in Twilight.”
You take a breath and step forward. If you were going to prove her wrong, you had to hope this guy really was a discount Hades. “You mind me painting a scenario for you?”
“Alright...I guess….I don’t see where this is going though” Tempest was unsure of what you were trying to prove. She already knew the Storm King was a manipulative cunt. But she also knew not to fall for his tricks this time around.
“Anon? You’re not just saying that so you can take him on, are you? This is important! It’s not a game. You should know that.” Twilight tells you. She knew you had an arrogance streak, sometimes as bad as Discord himself. And felt that you just wanted the final blow to yourself.
“Twilight...just watch” You take another breath as you close your eyes and clear your head.
Here we go
You put on an evil smirk as you walk to the side, looking at Tempest “Well Tempest, I gotta admit, top notch work. You really did me in, kudos to you. But tell me…” You sit down, and start moving your hooves forward as if you were caressing something..or someone “And I’m just spitballing here. This place has too many princesses, am I right? I mean four of them? That’s gotta cause a lot of confusion. And check out this moon princess! She can go through dreams, ohhhhh so useful. I mean, come on. Her sister has been moving the Sun and the Moon by herself for over a thousand years. Kinda makes her pointless, doesn’t it? So come on, do us all a favor since you pretty much got me. Take me and this princess out. Because unless you shoot through her with that zappy cracked horn of yours...Well” You shrug “Then it’s a done deal for all of Equestria, isn’t it?” You give her a nastily,horrid, and monstrous sneer.
“Ohhhhh….” Skystar shivered from your words “Anyone, y’know, get this super chilling vibe? Or was it just me?”
“Anon...W-what was that? It was as if you were possessed. A-are you alright?” Fluttershy asked. She was scared, she had never seen you act like that before.
But your eyes were focused on Tempest. She was stunned. Utterly taken off guard. The pure shock in her face let you know that she knew you were right. He was in fact a discount Hades, and would put even ultimate power on the chopping block if it meant a win. “That’s how it’d go...wouldn’t it? You could beat him, but then it wouldn’t matter because he has a room of princesses he can use as a shield. He’d really use them, wouldn’t he?”
Twilight was stunned as well, she looked to you, then to Tempest. She can see that whatever that was, it had Tempest spooked. “Tempest?”
“....He’s right. T-that was spot on…..ngh” Tempest then stomped her hoof on the ground in frustration. She knew if that was the case, then there was no sound way of beating him without someone getting hurt….Or much worse. “What are we supposed to do now?! That coward has everything he needs to make us give up. None of us, and I know this for a fact, none of us would be willing to sacrifice another to a guy like him. What do we do now?!”
You already had the solution to that. You step forward once again as you point to your hoof. “Uhhh, hello? Ultimate power around my neck?” Ok, so maybe this was still somewhat about getting the glory. But dammit, you had magic that was more useful at this moment than unicorn or alicorn magic. Surely they saw that. “Look, since time is a factor when confronting the guy, how about you send me in to deal with it? I can pretty much do anything my Dad can do. So I could just blink him to Tartarus the moment I see him. Done deal.” You look around, and then fixate your gaze upon Fluttershy “Aunt Fluttershy, you’ve been around my dad long enough to know how his magic generally works. Given everything you heard so far, don’t you think that’s a good idea?”
Fluttershy was stunned. Everything she heard, to her, it sounded like a good idea. But it sounded so dangerous, facing the Storm King alone like that. “A-Anon….I-I mean. Discord can do that, he can even rip open holes into other dimensions but...erm...You facing the Storm King? D-doesn’t anypony have any other ideas?”
“What about just giving me the horn? Zapping him somewhere else doesn’t sound very hard.” Rainbow Dash shrugs “And I’m fast, remember? I’ll have it done lickety split”
But Tempest has something to say about that. She could tell Rainbow Dash had never actually used the horn. “It’s not that simple. I’ve used the horn myself and ended up cursing myself. Anon…..is the only one here who can use that kind of magic properly, unless…” Tempest looks over to Twilight.
But Twilight shook her head, even with the lessons she learned about chaos, she never had a chance to give it an actual test drive. “No, I’m afraid I don’t really have a handle on chaos magic either. But Anon, are you really serious? Are you aware that all of Equestria hangs in the balance?”
You nod. “I do. But since it’s apparent this guy likes to use ponies as shields. Then this looks like the only chance we got for a quick win. I thought this through Twilight. Heck, after we make our entrance into Canterlot, I can use a puddle of water to go home and use my portal door to get into the castle without getting noticed. Not like they’d notice a colt when everypony else is attacking.”
“That…..Actually sounds like a good plan. I...erm…” Twilight looks upon Fluttershy “Fluttershy. What do you think? We really don’t have any safer options than this. Are you ok with Anon facing the Storm King?”
But then Applejack interjects “Now hold yer carriages there Twi. Are we seriously sendin’ in Anon, a colt mind you, to deal with this galoot? Now I ain’t saying he can’t do it, he’s done some amazin’ things. But this is Equestria we’re talkin’ about. One little ole mistake and we’re done for.”
But then Fluttershy, who you thought may have went and agreed with Applejack, actually stands up to your defense. “But that mistake can happen to any of us. And none of us have a way to make sure that the Storm King doesn’t try something dirty and nasty. If Anon says he can do it, then I say we should put our trust in him. That is...erm…” Fluttershy starts to feel a little meek, realizing she just agreed to throw you into danger “U-unless anypony has a better idea?”
Rainbow Dash groaned “Nopony does, so I’m just going to throw in my vote.” she then turns to you with a serious look “Don’t go screwing up, Anon. If you’re gonna be a hero, then you got to be serious.”
You then look to Rainbow Dash with a smirk “So don’t be like you.”
“Yeah, don’t be like…..HEY!” Rainbow Dash looked at you with a sour look “I can be serious!”
That actually got a few chuckles from everyone in the circle. It was always humorous to slip up Rainbow Dash. The cunt.
So everything was set. Or almost was. Twilight still had one more thing to say as she gave you a serious look “Joking aside, this is serious. Anon, you can’t be arrogant or full of yourself when you face him. Don’t monologue, don’t say how you’re going to beat him, don’t do anything fancy. Just seal him up, that’s it. Alright?”
You nods “Yeah, I got it.” You then salute “I promise I won’t let you all down. Although…” You shrug “I could also just...Y’know….blow him up too”
Twilight went wide eyed from that “Isn’t that a little much?!”
Tempest then stepped up from behind Twilight with a nod “Sounds like a good plan to me”
Twilight’s eye twitched, she had to take moment to compose herself before speaking. “That’s not how we do things. Nopony deserves to have their life taken from them. He needs to be punished, not blown up!”
Celaeno just puts her hands to her hips as she looks upwards, disappointed in Twilight’s words “Well that’s a shame. I thought the kid had a good idea going”
Twilight groans and puts her hoof to her forehead “No blowing up, please? I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
“I have a question!” Skystar raises up her cute little talon
Twilight looks over to her with a strained look “What is it?”
“Why…….can’t we blow him up? Sheldon thinks it’d be a good idea. Y’know...because he’s a badguy and all”
“Y’know Twi, she’s got a point” Rainbow Dash adds
“.....” Twilight just stares silently for a moment before she suddenly goes early Twi S1 mode. Weird… “Wouldn’t it be better if he got sent to Tartarus so he could suffer for the rest of his life? Because if everypony suddenly doesn’t want to handle it the way we should. Then I might as well mention it.”
“Oh! Hey! There’s that really creepy chilly feeling again.” Skystar says with an ignorant smile
“Woah...Never thought I’d hear that out of you Twilight.” Spike remarks, a little flabbergasted that she’d say such a thing.
“I just….Look” Twilight sighs “I know he’s a bad guy. We’ve dealt with a lot of them and he’s one who pretty much deserves to go to Tartarus. But as a punishment so maybe he’d learn not to be bad. I didn’t mean what I said...I just..”
“It’s alright Twilight. I know” You jump in to help soothe her mind “I was just joking anyway. I knew what you meant.”
“I wasn’t...But, if it stops him all the same. Then fine….but I don’t think he’s the kind to be rehabilitated. Anyway, everyone better get rested up. Tomorrow? We fight. We have bunkbeds below deck and bedrolls for anyone willing to give up one of their bunks to one another.” Celaeno turns, and walks towards the helm. “As for me, I got a ship to steer.”
You better be fucking ready….