Among the many...

by Sexy Frog

Chapter 4 - Stalliongrad Menace part 1

A quick gasp shot from both Pepper and Opal as they spotted the ship, it couldn’t be Stalliongrad. If they were in Equestrian waters then they were in violation of the Treaty of Sacamoore in 1872 after the Battle for Sacamoore. Pepper galloped across the deck to the base of the mast and shouted up to the pony in the lookout post. “Sailor, I want a visual on that ship right now! What do you see?!” Hollered Pepper frantically her ears pressed back from worry. The sailor held a brass telescope up to his eye with two hooves and quickly reported in as he looked. “Aye Miss Spice, it be a Stalliongrad Navy vessel!” exclaimed the colt from above but then pauses as he took another look. “They don’t look mighty friendly neither.” he ended with a hate filled snarl. “Toss down the telescope now!” commanded First Mate Spice with a tone so serious she almost sounded like another pony. The sailor nodded and quickly dropped the telescope down for Pepper to catch.

Once it was in her hooves he lifted it to her eye and looked over the sea. There was no question. That was definitely Stalliongrad! Stalliongrad was a rival region of Equestria who competed with it in almost everything. They had been allied once for the sake of prosperity but things quickly grew sour between the two nations after rogue Stalliongrad soldiers massacred a settlement in western Equestria thus leading to the seven year long war between the two that ended in Stalliongrad’s surrender at the Battle of Sacamoore. “All hooves on deck! Arm the cannons and brace your selves, fillies and gentlecolts! We might be going into battle!” shouted Captain Shine at the top of her lungs her expression now deathly stern. The crew ran about like headless chickens making preparations for battle, better safe than sorry.

“Go oversee the preparations, Pepper. We need to be ready!” commanded Opal who had turned to First Mate Spice and then added. “After come see me, we need to arm you…you know how to use a blade do you not?”

“W-well, my father taught me a little in Trottingham before he passed.” Pepper managed.

“Good enough. Get moving!”

Pepper quickly took off scurrying around the lower and upper decks making sure the cannons were being loaded and the sailors were armed for possible battle. “Move! Stalliongrad will be here any moment! Let’s hurry, ponies!” she shouted, her voice echoing across the ship. Pepper raced to the steering wheel and looked over yonder to where they last saw the vessel. ‘Stalliongrad draws near…’ thought Pepper frantically. It was true, they neared a few miles since the last spotting and she could make out the ship much better. The ship was made of robust sandalwood and had several hooves on deck. There was one pony in particular who looked the most decorated out of them all from what she saw; she guesses that was the captain. He was looking right this way. He intended on coming here. As the galleon neared she could make out the name of the ship, ‘The Equine Assault’.

Pepper soon rushed to Opal’s quarters as ordered. When she burst in, Opal was standing beyond her writer’s desk, looking out the bay window; she was standing on her hind legs and had her fronts legs placed calmly behind her back. “Opal?” called Pepper as she saw the Captain. Captain Shine turned around at her call and then replied. “Ah Pepper, over there on the desk is all you’ll need. Take it and go out, we have a battle to fight.” Said Opal in a neutral tone her face still stern yet calm. Pepper had never seen her friend Opal this way, this was a first. Opal had always been carefree, kind and bit flirty towards her but never serious. Then again it was the eve of battle but she expected her to be more nervous than so calm. She strode over and quickly took her effects from the desk.

Suddenly a low explosion sounded off in the distance and seconds later was accompanied by a loud crash aboard the Dawn Legionnaire and the shrieks of the crew! Pepper and Opal rushed outside to see a good chunk of the ships railing gone and a heavy iron ball lying against a wall just under a splintered dent in the wood. “They fired on us, ma’am! No warning!” exclaimed one of the sailors frantically as the rest of the crew continued loading their own cannons. “All hooves on deck, ready the cannons!” hollered Pepper, her eyes morphing into revenge hungry slits. She drew her sword in her mouth and waited for the crewmen to point cannons at The Equine Assault. Then a chain of explosions came from the enemy galleon as black dots in the distance grew larger and ever closer. “Look out!” shrieked a mare from the crew. “Cannon fire!” All the ponies scattered and jumped out of the way just as the barrage of iron made contact. Some of them landed in the water but some of them struck, spraying splintered wood about and filling the air with the sound of screams and smashing timber. Once all the ponies recovered, Pepper quickly pointed her blade out to sea and she shouted angrily. “FIRE!!!”

All at once the cannons fired, sending ear shattering booms echoing through the blue yonder as their own cannon balls hurdled toward the Stalliongrad menace. During the onslaught, the navy vessel had come a few miles closer so it made hitting them a lot easier. Pepper looked on in triumph as several holes were punched in the side of their ship but that feeling was short lived as another round of return fire was delivered! “Return fire!” shouted a faint but angry voice from the other ship. Another wave of cannon fire sailed toward the Dawn Legionnaire as The Equine Assault kept coming strong. This time most landed direct blows as she heard the shattering of wood from down below and the smashing of glass. Once she stood she looked around the ship to make sure everyone was okay. Thankfully, aside from a few cuts and bruises all was well. The galleon had grown much closer in such a short amount of time; its speed was almost legendary. It continued to close in, now only a mile away! She could almost hear the attacking crew’s hollering. “Another round!” Screamed Pepper over the enemy noise her voice crackling from the volume.

Again they loaded and fired and it struck but did nothing to stop the rocketing vessel, it was still coming as strong as ever! The Stalliongrad Navy fire ceased abruptly and Pepper’s heart sank as she saw their ship a few yards away now able to clearly see the scowling faces of the infantry. Combatants on both sides drew their swords as burly colts from The Equine Assault plopped down sturdy wooden planks to connect the two ships. The time for battle had come! The two factions clashed in an explosion of slashing metal and blood as each pony, colt and mare were locked in combat. Pepper barely knew what hit her as a large colt with a blue bandana on his head barreled into her, causing all the air in her lungs to disappear. She met the floor, and tumbled down the stairs. She barely had time to recover before that brute was on top of her again, his sword held menacingly in his teeth. He lifted the blade high in the air and then swung it down with all his might. Pepper managed to lift her sword in the way just in time and parry the attack, though the blow made her teeth ache. She scrambled to her hooves and the fight was on, even the muscular colt knew it.

They circled one another ominously for a moment as the sounds of combat and clashing metal sounded off all around them. The colt was first to strike, he lunged his blade towards her neck to which she moved out of the way of with much effort. But that wasn’t the end of his barrage, swiftly he sent another slash towards her side that she dodged also but the blow managed to graze her side. Pepper winced as blood trickled from the cut but kept her ground; this time she was on the offensive!

She quickly stabbed forward as he began to move back from his recent attack. The colt simply jumped back with ease. Pepper took a quick step forward and slashed at his hooves. As the slash came, the sailor simply lifted his hoof so that the blade stuck the bottom and metal met metal seeing as he had on horse shoes! ‘Great…he’s got metal on his hooves!’ though Pepper frantically. Then suddenly a memory passed through her. ‘That’s it! It’s perfect!’ she thought to herself slyly but the colt was having no distractions as he lunged for her again which she blocked with a slap from her blade. Once she had the chance she quickly spun on her back legs and ran towards the Captains quarters, the burly Stalliongrad Navy pony following suit!

To be continued…