“Yes, yes come in! Hurry it up!” hollered the voice from inside. Pepper wondered for a moment if she should perhaps come at another time but her mind was quickly changed when the voice lashed out again sounding a more cross. “Well? I’m busy you lout! Come in!” Pepper pushed the door ajar and walked in, scoping the interior. The cabin was honestly not too shabby she had to admit, its redwood walling and expensive looking marble finished flooring. Another door was on the opposite end of the room most likely leading to the bedroom portion of the cabin. Several expertly stroked paintings lined the walls along with a few hoof cannons. There was a bay window on the left side of the Captains quarters overlooking the blue abyss with a writer’s desk just before it with the figure of a pony hunched over a paper, a quill in her mouth. As Pepper approached, her hooves made a faint clicking sound on the marble and the pony asked without even bothering to look up her tone as stern as before. “What could you possibly want? I am very busy!” Pepper opened her mouth but nothing came out as her pupils dilated a bit from fear. She had to admit, the Captain’s tone was pretty intimidating. “I do not have all day, are you going to talk?” lifting her head abruptly while still going on. “Or am I going to- oh! Pepper, darling! I thought you were a crew man. I didn’t frighten you did I?” asked the Captain who’s tone faded from stern to more apologetic, her voice becoming more feminine and sophisticated than when angry. Pepper Spice replied her pupils still wide from fright, “Not too much…”
The Captain apparently didn’t pick up on it and continued on with a sigh of relief. “Good, good. Anyhow, welcome aboard the Dawn Legionnaire, Pepper, I had been meaning to speak with you! You do remember what I told you your job would be when you agreed to come aboard, yes?” proposed the dashing mare of a captain with a smile as she rested her cheek on her hoof with interest. “I was supposed to be a cook for the crew, right?” inquired Pepper, tilting her head in question. The Captain began to beam, as a mischievous glint shined in her flawless blue eyes. She lifted herself from her seat, her demeanor becoming much less regal and much more like that of an adventurer especially since her clothing had finally been revealed. As she simpered, Pepper’s chartreuse peepers began to size her up. She certainly had the look of an adventurer with her loose but sporting white blouse with ruffles about the chest piece and her cutie mark in full view it being an expensive looking tea cup. “That’s not all, Pepper dear. You are from here on out my First Mate!” exclaimed the mare who was bustling with excitement so much so that it looked like she might pop. “Head of the crew and first in command, just under myself of course.”
“But Captain-” began the pepper furred mare
“Captain this Captain that, that’s all I hear all day Pepper! You know my name, use it for Celestia’s sake!” moaned the Captain her ears flattened and scowling with annoyance to which Pepper Spice corrected herself with a meek sigh.
“But Opal…I-I don’t know how to be a First Mate! I mean this isn’t even a pirate ship…do you even need one?”
“Do I even need one? Do I even need one?! Of course I need one, Pepper! Every ship has a First Mate, why should mine be an exception?” Opal remarked lifting a hoof to her cheek moodily and put on a pouting face after sighing. “I thought you would have liked the position…”
Pepper Spice may not have known Opal Shine for too long but she knew her well enough to know when a guilt trip was coming on. “I’m not saying that Opal, it’s just-” began Pepper meekly only to have Opal interject midsentence. “Oh so you do want to be my First Mate? How delightful!” squeaked the Captain who had brightened up from her false state of sadness, her eyes gleaming with anticipation. As Pepper opened her mouth to protest Captain Opal quickly strode across the room to the door leading out. “You’ll have to excuse me Pepper, I’m over due to address the crew.” Was the last thing she said before walking out at a brisk pace to avoid any further nay sayings from her newly christened First Mate.
Pepper Spice soon followed behind her, as she left the Captains quarters she finally noticed the sound of churning water. The time she had been outside they had been on relatively calm waters but it seemed that after she entered the cabin they struck a rough patch. She hadn’t heard a peep until she walked out. When she stood outside, the neatly carved door closing behind her she looked about for Opal who was nowhere in sight. All she saw was the labor of the crew, the spraying sea foam spitting on the deck, and the now deep orange sky. It was only after she heard the creak of something above her did she realize where the Captain had gone. Opal had gone to the wheel of the ship now steering it confidently, though Pepper had a feeling she was only doing so playfully while the Navigator was charting the course on the map not too far away. As Pepper climbed up the short flight of oak stairs she heard the creaking of the steering wheel halt and Opal’s voice assertively echo about the ship. “Crew of the Dawn Legionnaire gather ‘round! The Captain has an announcement for you!” shouted Opal, her nobles’ accent seeming to dissipate. “As you know our very own Miss Spice has joined aboard our lovely vessel!” This was met with acknowledging murmurs from the nautical colts and mares down below on the deck. “I’d like to announce to you that apart from being the cook of the ship, Miss Spice will also be my acting First Mate!” announced Opal finally her face not with a smile but more of an unreadable expression.
Pepper Spice finally reached the steering wheel when she saw the crew glanced at one another unsure, this decision obviously was as much of a surprise to them as it was to herself. “Also, it’s about time I told you all where we’re headed…” the captain turned to the Navigator with a short nod and as if an unspoken order was given the course the course charting pony rolled up what was on the table and scooped it into the grasp of her teeth. As the Navigator walked over to stand next to Opal, his mane tucked under a rather interesting cartographers hat as well as sporting a well fitted nay blue coat. He gave a little cough to clear his throat and once in position he announced briefly but clearly, “I am the Dawn Legionnaire’s Navigator, Tracey. As ordered by the Captain Shine I have plotted out our course to our…” he paused as he bit down on the end of the map and tossed his head forward, sending the other end over the Oak railing dividing the steering wheel from the deck below so the crew could see before continuing, the map held in his lips contorting his words. “We ‘ead fur unknown land, ‘rom the contacts e’ve recived this is a ‘ocation ‘eaded to by meny…”
Pepper raised an eyebrow at his speech as she listened but did not comment only glancing at Opal whose face was still unreadable and then back to Tracey. The navigating pony went on for several long minutes (or possibly even an hour, Pepper was never had a good grasp of time but it was a rough estimate) about how much of an honor it would be if they were to discover something out there and the money it would bring in to the crew. The sailors, who had been a bit distant at first, appeared to really warm up to the idea; especially the money part. Once the announcement had ended, everyone began to stream into the lower deck as the evening began to melt into a starry night and the humid sea air turned into a foggy broth as if the clouds had fallen to kiss the endless blue. ‘Looks like its dinner time.’ Thought Pepper as she saw the deck empty out and hustled down to the kitchen where as the head cook she had several crew members scurrying about helping her prepare the meal for the starving sailors. Pepper Spice walked down and the cooking volunteers who hadn’t been on deck saw her for the first time, their jaws nearly dropped. Pepper knew she was an attractive mare at least from what others back at the Trottingham bar would always insist on, but she didn’t think that highly of herself and felt rather uncomfortable about being gawked at.
With her black and white blotched coat that granted her the name ‘Pepper Spice’, her light violet hair wrapped into an easily maneuverable pony tail and her usually timid chartreuse eyes reflecting the flames from the ship’s stoves she never really felt all that. Though the one thing she was proud of was her cutie mark that she earned as a little filly helping her mother in an old family owned shop that sold food which was a pepper shaker on the left being tipped over, accompanied by a salt shaker on the right mirroring the other’s action. ‘Time to cook...’ she thought as she took a deep breath and began her duty, telling the others what to do, how much to add, and making sure they did it right as she also worked on her own components to the meal. Once it was done she and the cooks brought it out to the crew who had been drinking their pints and hollering merrily without a care in the world. Once she placed their meals in front of them they all ooo’d and aah’d in wonderment and dug in without a moment’s notice.
“Lights out, off to bed with the lot of you!” shouted Opal once every pony had finished. Her proper British accent making it sound more like a suggestion than a command but everyone knew what she meant. She soon strode over to Pepper who had been just finished tidying up the kitchen of the ship and called to her with an amused tone. “I hope the boys did not give you too rough of a time.”
“Not really, they were actually pretty tame. I’ve been through worse back in Trottingham at the bar.” Remarked her First Mate casually. “Off to bed then?”
“Right. You are more than welcome to stay in my quarters, Pepper dear. First Mates don’t have a separate cabin as far as I know.”
“I’d like that, thank you Opal.”
To which the Captain nodded and turned, treading as light as a feather over to her quarters. Pepper soon followed once the rustling of the crew settling down in the lower decks subsides. She pushed the antique door open with a hoof and walked into the room she had been in earlier that was so elegantly furnished but this time saw the other door on the opposite wall was now open, the flicker of candle light inside. Pepper poked her head through the door way to see Opal who had already sunk into a green night gown. The room around her was much how she expected it to be, breath taking. The bed was a queen sized with wondrous looking silk sheets and a masterfully hoof-stitched quilt large enough for three, maybe four ponies at once. The bed also had a nice wood framing in which curtains were held from. There was a rectangular dresser with a mirror above it against the right wall and two ebony nightstands on either side of the bed, one having a lit candle on it, the flame dancing seductively as if luring in a mate.
“Wait, am I sleeping in the same bed as you?” asked Pepper in a perplexed manner, one of her ears up and the other down.
“Well,” Began Opal as she looked around. “Unless you plan to sleep on the floor…then yes. Is that a problem?” ended the Captain with a seductive look.
Pepper reacted to the look with shocked puzzlement. “Oh…oh my, I-I um…” she stuttered, her face nearly flushed bright red as her eyes jetted about the room for another alternative.
Opal simply placed a hoof innocently to her lips and giggled, “Calm down, Pepper, it’s only a joke. You are more than welcome to sleep in the bed with me, I am not like that.” She reassured her First Mate with the cheekiest of grins before slipping under the quilt.
After a few moments hesitation and an impatient glare from Opal Shine, Pepper decided to risk it and join her. As she crawled under the blanket and snuggled in the thick fluff Captain Shine blew out the candle and all went black. Opal had finally shuffled into a comfortable position and almost instantly drifted to sleep, leaving Pepper laying there staring into darkness. She rewound her entire day in her mind over and over again wondering if she made the right choice coming aboard, but her thoughts were cut short as she was inevitably lulled to the loving embrace of slumber by a combination of the ships gentle rocking motion and the comforting body heat radiating off of her bed mate, Opal.