After I got properly dressed the murderer, ten of my royal guard and I set sail to the supposed shipwreck. In the span of that time the water had become unnaturally wild, as if by magic. Was this the stallion's plan to get away with murder? It dwelled in my thought as a guard motioned me starboard and I saw the hoofful of bodies float on a receding wave. They were the same crew the female delegate boarded with, along with some goats. The darkness if Luna's night was making it hard to make out if the water was stained with blood. Come to think of it, the stallion had only bruises. I asked my guard to fetch him when the sea had calmed down.
"Is this enough proof, Prince?" The stallion nickered.
"It isn't..." I turned to face him. "What is your name?"
" Umbra." He spat. I could taste his bitterness, but that didn't hold me back. I walked closer to him and inspected his damp yet uncomfortably pristine tan surcoat. Even all of the buttons of his scarlet cape where secured. I glared darkly to the Pony.
"Well then Umbra... would you mind telling me where we are going, since I can tell you are controlling these waves?"
"Relax, Prince!" He chuckled "I mean you no harm... I thought you wanted to go Equestria." he added in, to by chance mollify my growing distrust.
Yet he seemed to only bury himself deeper."I am able to-wait how did you know that? Those letters are for royal eyes only." I growled.
"Are they now?" The stallion scoffed. "Don't fret then, Prince Norm. Not a single commoner's eyes will witness your petty attempts to reason with them. You have my word Prince to Prince." He grinned cocksure stomping his hoof to the planks, and before I could react in kind I felt my the lids of my eyes sink heavily and my muscles become numb.
I woke up in a overgrown and twisted looking forest and in the center was a bright red glow. I felt myself rise, compelled to investigate. As I made my way closer to the light my heart began to beat faster. My hind legs gave out and I fell bowing to the light, then a voice spoke within me.
"Sow the seeds of balance Norm."
My head throbbed as my ears rang a mind-halting drone. I must have been hexed to sleep, by the "Prince's" magic, no doubt yet I didn't have time to dwell on it. The sound of hoofsteps was certainly getting louder, and yet I felt stiff. A deeper breath revealed the smell of fish. It didn't take long for me to connect the dots. I was in a fish barrel... A few muffled voices bickered on about gold and wasting goods, then the barrel flung to its side apathetically and my face followed suit.
Now I was not only recovering from my half-deaf ears, but the bleeding of my snout. The long barrel ride did helped wake my sleeping muscles, which did not include my throat, or my eyes, though mattered it little since I had been tied and gagged. No, the only thing my mind dwelled on was the validity of my forced dream.
My family always sought the wisdom in their dreams, said they were visions of the future. They implored me to do the same not only because as Prince it would give me an advantage, but with my link to magic my visions could have deadly repercussions. The dream had told me just as I had vowed to my country; To sow the seeds of balance, to keep discord in check with which would let the country flourish. The lid to the barrel lifted as did I out of its confines and met my glare to the supposed Prince's.
"Have a nice nap Norm?" He gritted his teeth mockingly as he untied my bindings. "A word for wiser. Keep your regality in check until you reach the castle, mmm?" He whispered. Then he lifted the gag and told me quietly his plans. He had stowed me away in the brig under the guise of a spoiled shipment. Which I replied to with a dirty look. Shipments of this sort had to be sent to the harbor master, and if his records where in order that would be it. But we wouldn't be telling the harbormaster the whole truth, which would lead us being sent to the castle. So off we went to the Harbormaster.