Dinky stared at the octopus shuffling along the seafloor. The cephalopod suddenly realized it was being observed and it quickly disappeared in a crevice between rocks that seemed ridiculously too small for the creature to fit. Dinky giggled at the spectacle.
“I wish my friend Snails could have been here, he’d have love to see all this,” she said, looking at her half-sister.
Amethyst Star smiled. “He’s miss Raindrops’ little brother right?”
“Yup!” answered Dinky with a smile. “He collects bugs and other crawly things. He knows a lot about them,” she added, spreading her forehooves wide to put emphasis on ‘lot’.
Sparkler suppressed a shiver at the mention of creepy crawly things. “He sounds really smart. How about, when we get back to the beach, we go look for sea shells to bring back to him as a gift?”
Dinky looked up to her half-sister and give her a big beaming smile. It was such a bright smile that even Trixie, floating fifty feet away, could spot it. It distracted her as she was observing the slow gliding of a nearby ray. She chuckled at how outrageously cute the kid could be sometimes and returned to her observations.
The teeming wild life of the coral reef was already giving her an incredible amount of ideas for her next magic show. With some more info from Lyra she could easily create an entire show based around the theme of underwater adventures. Visions of nautical themed tricks (Tricks with seashells! Knots on a rope! Fishes magically moving from one bowl to another!) and aquatic illusions were flashing through her mind at the very moment.
Trixie was already listing supplies she could acquire while in Cayo El Bayo when a voice behind her called her name. She didn’t take the time to identify the voice and simply turned around. She turned only to see a dark shape, engulfed in a lavender glow, fill her field of vision. Something slimy, sticky and heavy was gripping her face!
“Aaah! Get it off! Get it off! Get if off” she cried, her voice somewhat muffled by the attacker, as she flailed her hoofs around in a panic.
“Trixie! Calm down!” suddenly called Lyra.
“Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!”
Her field of vision was suddenly awash with a golden glow, revealing a frightening round mouth with tiny pointy teeth inches away from her eyes, thankfully protected by the diving mask she was wearing. She couldn’t help but close her eyes shut and screech in terror, just as Lyra pulled away whatever monstrosity was trying to eat her face.
“You have a horn you know,” said an annoyed Lyra.
Trixie opened her eyes, finding her unicorn friend glaring at her. Next to her, still held aloft by her golden telekinetic field, was a big starfish.
Trixie rubbed the back of her head sheepishly. “It took me by surprise,” she said weakly.
The sound of someone finally giving in to laughter they were holding back filled the water around them. Trixie scanned the nearby area and found a certain white unicorn holding her sides as she laughed her head off. Wind Sailor was swimming by his companion, looking rather sheepish.
“Rarity! You did this?” asked an enraged Trixie, her blushing cheeks puffing in anger.
Rather than answer the other unicorn just kept laughing, much to Trixie’s anger. She briefly considered lobbing the starfish back to its sender, but in the end Trixie decided on a different angle of attack and began to weave a spell, causing her horn to glow in its signature glow. The spell then flew off toward the pranking mare, temporarily blinding all those around her. The target of Trixie’s spell blinked away the blindness and took on the surprised look on Wind Sailor, Lyra and Bon Bon’s face, as well as the smug look on Trixie’s.
“What? What…what did she do?” she asked, concern creeping into her voice.
“Now stay calm Miss Rarity,” began Wind Sailor. “I’m sure it’s just temporary…”
The unicorn then saw something float into her field of vision, something green. She reached up and pulled her hair into view. Instead of a luxurious purple mane, a mess of thick green hair met her surprised stare.
“You…you made my hair green?” she said quietly.
“I made it look like kelp, but I guess that level of detail would just be…splitting hair,” said Trixie with a smug smile.
Lyra groaned at the bad pun. “Trixie, I think you spend way too much time with Pokey.”
Trixie didn’t care. She knew from personal experience with Rarity that the fashionista couldn’t stand green, or someone messing with her mane. She kept staring at the strangely still mare, expecting her to break into an an angry diatribe or maybe an anguished wail at any second. She was sadly disappointed when it didn’t come.
“If that’s the best revenge prank you can think of, that is rather pitiful, Miss Lulamoon,” said the now green-haired mare as she cast a spell of her own, returning her hair to its violet color and curly form. “Besides, you’re not the only unicorn who knows a thing or two about illusions.”
The slacked jaw look of surprise on Trixie’s face made the nearby Lyra and Bon Bon chuckle in amusement. That’s when Sparkler and Dinky swam back to the rest of the group.
“We heard you scream, what happened?” asked the older sister.
Trixie was glad for an excuse to turn her back on her nemesis of the day. “Nothing, just this… this… pouffiasse de fille de pute that’s causing trouble,” she answered.
“Three things, Miss Lulamoon,” came an irritatingly chipper and haughty voice, “ sounds carry very far in water, my father was from Prance and don’t assume my mother was anything like yours.”
Trixie froze into place, nearly sinking down to the bottom before Lyra pulled her up with her magic. She was fighting really hard not to blow up in front of Dinky and make even more of a fool of herself. She took a few deep breathes to calm down and eventually managed to resume swiming unassisted. Lyra gave her an amused glance, which was quickly curtailed by Trixie's own furious glare.
“I didn’t know that about your dad Miss Rarity,” said Dinky, completely missing the true nature of the exchange. “Sweetie Belle told me your parents are from Minneighsota.”
The white unicorn coughed a little at that and smiled awkwardly at the little filly. “Oh that’s quite true my little darling. Father moved there when he was younger than you, but his parents made sure he knew the language of his homeland even if he doesn’t have any memories of it.”
Lyra cleared her throat, attracting the attention of everypony present. “How about we head back to the ship for a snack before heading back to shore?”
There was a moment of silence and finally all the adults present agreed it was a good plan. Wind Sailor even threw in a stomach growl for good measure. There was just one problem with this plan.
“Hey, where’s momma?” asked Dinky.
Ditzy opened her eyes to find herself staring up at a strange rocky ceiling. There was a small patch of green fluorescent algae right above her, but sunlight was also streaming into the room from somewhere. Ditzy reached a hoof up to her eyes and suddenly realized she was wearing a diving mask.
Everything that had happened to her previously suddenly flooded her memory and she quickly bolted upright. Or at least she tried to do so but found herself fighting against the water resistance. Her head complained about the sudden movement by throbbing painfully, but Ditzy ignored it, scanning her surrounding looking for those freaky sharks that had chased her and her friend who had showed up to save her.
The room she found herself in wasn’t part of the tunnel system she had rushed through however long ago it was since she had lost consciousness. She was lying on the sand in a rather small circular cave, about three pony length in width and two ponies in height. Part of the wall to her left was actually made of coral rather than rock like the rest of the room. There, in the rock, were carved a few holes, presumably to act as storage units. Over the mouth of each hole attached, through methods Ditzy couldn’t grasp, a type of net made of woven green fibers, preventing the items within from just being dislodged by water current. A similar type of weaving was acting as a curtain over the triangular doorway left at the base of the coral structure. The curtain’s slow undulation allowed sunlight to shine into the small room.
Ditzy didn’t understand why Lyra would bring her to this strange underwater cave instead of heading back to the boat. Plus this place looked like somepony lived in it.
“I’m going to check up on her!” said a cheerful voice from the other side of the curtain.
Ditzy didn’t recognize the voice and quickly got up on her hooves, or at least managed to float upright. The creature that swam into the room was certainly sporting the right colors, but she definitively was not Lyra.
It, or rather she, was roughly the size of a pony and floating upright, with a body like that of a seahorse, but with the head of a pony. She had a curly tail, two little translucent fins on each side and a delicate dorsal fin. She sported a smooth green coat that matched perfectly with Lyra’s own coloring, and her short spikey mane was very similar in color but lacked Lyra’s near-white streaks. There was also no sign of a unicorn's horn. Her eyes, rather than the warm golden yellow that Lyra sported, were a vibrant magenta. Those same eyes grew in surprise when their owner realized her guest was awake.
Ditzy and the sea creature stared at each other in stunned silence for a few seconds. After a while the creature broke into a wide smile and her eyes sparkled with joy and excitement.
“Hi! My name’s Sea Cucumber! What’s your name?”
"You're a seapony!" blurted Ditzy, recognizing the creature.
The seapony, Sea Cucumber, swam up to Ditzy and used her tiny fins to take hold of Ditzy's forehoof. "Nice to meet you Miss Yoora Seapony... what a weird name, especially for a dry pony!"
"What? No! My name is Ditzy, Ditzy Doo. I meant that you're a seapony! I... I never met a seapony before!"
Sea Cucumber chuckled, her grin growing bigger. "That's great, because I've never met a pegasus pony before! Com'on, I'll introduce you to everypony!"
And with that, Sea Cucumber swam out of the small cave.
Trixie got back to the group just in time to see Wind Sailor plunging back into the ocean. The pegasus stallion had been sent above the ocean to look for sign of Ditzy, by the way his date was patting his shoulder and his own sad expression, it wasn’t hard to deduce that he hadn’t turn up any lead.
“What do we do now?” asked Amethyst Star, holding on to the worried Dinky.
There was no need to ask any other question, the lack of Ditzy made it obvious no one had found the missing pegasus.
“Miss Trixie, you’re going to find momma, right?” asked Dinky, hopefully looking up at the blue unicorn mare.
Trixie nodded. “The Great and Powerful Trixie swears it, kiddo!” she said before turning to Lyra .“How long is your enchantment going to hold?”
Lyra looked uneasy. “I’m not sure.”
“Lyra!” gasped Trixie.
Lyra crossed her front hooves and looked a bit frustrated. “Dangit Trixie, I’m a musician not a mage! I only had to take one mathemagical calculus course and it was my worst score of all my university years. It should hold for roughly a day but I can’t give you a more precise timing.”
Everypony present let out a sigh.
“You could have said that first, I was starting to worry I would suddenly drown!” commented Wind Sailor, speaking for everypony present.
“A day is plenty enough to find Ditzy,” added Bon Bon, smiling at Dinky.
Lyra looked at the little filly, who seemed to have calmed almost immediately. Lyra, not for the first time, contemplated the idea that her marefriend would make a wonderful mother one day. For now though, she had to be a foalsitter and keep Dinky from panicking. Lyra looked at Trixie, who seemed to be pondering the same thing, and reached out a hoof to Bon Bon.
“Sweetie, how about you take Dinky back to the boat for a snack?” she suggested.
Bon Bon looked at her marefriend, understanding where she was going with this. She wordlessly asked Lyra if she was certain and the green unicorn gave a similarly wordless answer.
“Be safe,” simply whispered Bon Bon, giving Lyra a quick peck on the cheek before turning to Dinky. “Let’s go eat some candy Dinky!”
While the pair left toward their boat, the rest of the older ponies formed into a closer circle. Sparkler looked back at her departing half-sister with a guilty look on her features.
“How are we going to find Miss Doo? It’s not like she left hoofsteps to follow,” said Wind Sailor, looking at the white mare at his side.
Said mare was rubbing her chin with her fetlock, deep in thought. “Maybe we could use a detect magic spell to follow Miss Heartstring’s enchantment?”
Trixie was somewhat taken aback by the helpful suggesting. “I can do that,” she blurted after a second.
Before Trixie could think she had an easy solution to the problem at hand, Lyra went and put a damper on her enthusiasm. “We’re underwater Trixie. Water is notorious for not holding magic well.”
The other two unicorns nodded in agreement, while Wind Sailor looked a bit perplexed.
Trixie shrugged “Let me try anyway.”
Trixie turned back toward the general area of the coral reef they had all frolicked around for the last few hours. Her horn flashed and her eyes took on the telltale glow of her magic sight. She studied the scene before her, her brow furrowed in confusion.
“That’s strange,” she mumbled to herself.
Trixie turned back to her group, magic sight still in effect, and gasped. In addition to Lyra’s enchantment being all over them, she saw something else very interesting.
“What? What is it?” asked Lyra, confused.
Trixie turned off her spell and shook her head before answering. “You were right about water… wait… where’s Rarity?”
The stallion and two mares suddenly realized Rarity wasn’t amongst them and looked left and right.
“Sorry!” came a familiar posh voice from above as the white mare swam back down to the group. “I was making sure Miss Bon Bon and little Dinky were in the boat… so Miss Lulamoon you saw something?”
“Ah yes. Water is playing havoc with Lyra’s enchantment. It’s like leaving a trail of sand in a windy area. I can still pick up traces of her magic, especially if somepony was swimming close to rocks or the sea floor, then the residual magic would sort of bleed into them,” explained Trixie. “The real interesting stuff is there were a couple of incredibly clear tracks, like ribbons floating in the water. I didn’t understand it until I turned and looked at Wind Sailor here.”
“Me?” asked the stallion, confused.
“Of course! Pegasus magic!” said Lyra. “Pegasus magic is the only type that can interact with water! It’s how they can mold cloud and make it rain!”
Trixie pointed at Wind Sailor’s wings. “Every time you use those big magical appendages of yours to swim, you leave behind traces of your magic. Between Ditzy’s pegasus magic and Lyra’s enchantment I should be able to track her down. Won’t be perfect but we can at least get into shouting distance of her.”
The pegasus smiled broadly and flapped his wings. “Great! Fire up your spell and let’s go!”
A white hoof reached out to his shoulder and yanked him backward. “I don’t think so Sailor.”
“What do you mean Miss Rarity?” he asked the unicorn, confused.
“Aside form the fact you’d probably throw off Miss… Trixie’s spell with your own magic,” she said, “you’re the only one of us with wings. Somepony just disappeared in the ocean, we need you to fly back to shore and warn the coast guard.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Rarity’s right,” said Trixie as she caught sight of Sparkler looking in the direction of the boat. “Amethyst Star, can you work a sending spell?” she asked, catching the jeweler’s attention.
“Huh? Yeah I learned how to in school,” she answered, whipping her head back to the de facto leader of their little group.
“Good. My hat is enchanted to send messages to Princess Luna’s office in Canterlot. If we’re not back by sunset, I want you to send her a message explaining the situation. In the mean time you should be with your sister,” explained Trixie.
“If we run into trouble before that I’ll summon my lyre, so keep an eye on it.” Added Lyra.
“You can count on me! Thank you Trixie, please find Ditzy,” said the pink unicorn, smiling slightly.
Trixie nodded, giving her a wordless promise.
“I’ll escort the two of you back to the boat, Lady Rarity, and then I’ll head for the coast,” suggested Wind Sailor.
However the object of his attention had other plans in mind.
“You’re quite the gentlestallion, Wind Sailor, but that won’t be necessary as I’ll be accompanying Miss Trixie and Miss Heartstring in their search,” she said.
“You’ll what?” asked everypony else at the same time.
“Why would you do that?” asked Trixie.
The white unicorn gave her an incredulous look. “Ditzy Doo is one of the Elements of Harmony. She’s a hero who saved us all from the Tyrant Sun, and if something were to happen to her she wouldn’t be there when that crazy alicorn shows up next!”
“I guess you want to repay Ditzy any way you can Miss Rarity.” commented Lyra, remembering the events of the latest Longest Night.
The other mare nodded. "Or any of you six, my dear,"
Trixie groaned. “I can’t talk you out of it, can I?”
A vigorous head shaking was her answer. Ultimately Trixie didn’t feel like wasting precious time arguing the point with the other unicorn. After saying their goodbyes and working out a few other details the three unicorns, one blue, one green and one white, were ready to depart.
“Wind Sailor, Amethyst Star, good luck with your tasks. If all goes well we should see you guys shortly,” said Trixie, turning a pair of glowing eyes toward the vast ocean and the last place Ditzy Doo had been seen. “Let’s find our friend!”